Happy Birthday to my Wonderful Husband!

Today is my hubby's 45th Birthday... and we're just hanging out in our jammies. We'll be doing his Birthday celebration next weekend. My In-Laws will be over today with KFC for a small family party. The hardest part is keeping him on his chair and not DOING anything!

I am so tired of the rain and gray weather already, and it's only just begun. It's so chilly, I just want to stay inside in my jammies all day, every day.

Yesterday, we went to our local clinic to get Maddi her H1N1 vaccine. It was so busy, they were directing traffic... I couldn't imagine having Maddi wait in that line, so we bagged it. I'm hoping we can get it from her doctor instead of waiting in line like that. So far, I've heard about a quite of few of my friend's kids getting it, but they're all 6 - 12 years old. My fingers are crossed that I get it for her in time, before she is exposed.

Luckily, we have only experienced colds in our household... SO FAR! I'd like to keep it that way! With the daycare in our home, it may be tough... lots of disinfecting to do!

Two Years Ago, Today!

My baby, well not so much baby, is 2 years old today! I can't believe how fast time goes by... it seems like she was just born yesterday! Madelyn Rae Gjerness was born at 8:20pm on September 16, 2007.

Maddi is sitting on the potty, but has yet to actually go peepee in it yet. She likes to help bring dishes to the counter after a meal. It makes me smile when she says "please" and "thank you", especially "bless you". She loves to dance, particularly when High School Musical is on! She is already a shoe diva, which makes me wonder what the teen years will bring... ugh! Maddi got her first tooth on her First Birthday and is still getting them in today (this is obvious by her whineyness).

I'm in aw of Maddi every single day... she makes me smile on regular basis. This little girl is really mine? I am completely and utterly in love with my daughter!

I'm Baaaaaaaack!

This has been one of the craziest / weirdest summers for our family!

Starting with my hubby losing his job at the end of May... it's now beginning of September and he's just started working yesterday! Then helping Hannah out of her situation in Cayman. And of course, last but not least, Josh visiting for the summer (not nearly long enough).

So, things are calming down for us a bit... 

Hannah starts school on Thursday. She's torn about starting school again, but I think she'll get right back into the swing of things. It's her senior year! I can't believe it! When I first met her, she was 12 years old, and very timid. What a beautiful young woman she's turning into!

I am starting an in-home daycare, Little Frogs and Pollywogs! Unfortunately, I can't pursue it too quickly because in our State, daycare's need to be licensed. And there is this orientation that I'm required to attend... but it's always full! I'm on waiting lists for October, but I'll definitely be able to do it in January. Unbelievable!

My little Maddi is growing up so fast! She's going to be two next week! Right now, she's sporting a fat lip from splitting it open last week. I hate looking at it... I can actually feel pain when I do! She's saying more words and phrases... sometimes it shocks me when she says something like "No, not at all" when asked if she likes something... um, do you hear the sarcasm at age two?

HOT, HOT, HOT

Holy crow, it's HOT! I know, I know we do nothing but complain about the weather, here in Washington... it's too cold, too rainy, too snowy, too hot! Well, I think 101* is too hot for anyone! It's cooler in Texas, for goodness sake!

Now, I don't have a lot of room to complain about the heat because I have air conditioning in the house, so we're quite comfortable.

We are sharing it with our neighbors though... I think we're going to have a full house today. I'm not sure how we'll entertain all of the kids, but we'll manage!

MADDI SAID "I LOVE YOU" FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME THIS MORNING! I'm smiling inside and out... nothing can ruin that today!

Marshmallow Madness

On Monday, we returned from a 6 day camping trip to Whidbey Island. I was ready to come home on Sunday, but it was great!

I have a bunch of pictures that I still need to download from the camera... I should probably get those taken care of before I run out of space!

After 3 days of crabbing and fishing, we had 5 crabs and 1 fish... I know, we suck, right? We made a huge seafood boil with churizo, kielbasa, potatoes, corn on the cob, shrimp and crab... It rocks! The fish ended up having worms of some sort in it, so needless to say, we didn't eat it... ick!

We made s'mores every night, Gjerness style... marshmallows, kit-kats / peanut butter cups, and graham crackers. And each night, Josh made his marshmallows get as large as possible... it's unbelievable how big they actually get!

One day, I was trying to occupy Maddi with a badminton racket and birdie. I was afraid the birdie would hurt her, so I swapped it for a marshmallow. Do you realize how far a marshmallow will go? LOL When everyone returned from crabbing, I showed them my new "invention". There were marshmallows all over the entire RV park... we did clean them up. Although, I'm sure we didn't get them all!

Maddi found her shadow... at first she ran away from it, or at least, tried to. Then she was trying to grab it... LOL... very Peter Pan!

My Dream Car

In February of 2007, I ordered my dream car. I ORDERED it! The color I wanted, the options I wanted, everything I wanted... it is my dream car! This isn't a Mercedes or a Porsche, no, nothing like that. Like most people. My dream car is a Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring in Black Cherry. I got it on April 7, 2007!

I love, love, love my car!

The problem is that the lease is up and I have to return it on August 7, which is less than a month away. With my hubby being unemployed, we can't buy it as we planned. I know, it's just a car, but it is heartbreaking.

Minivans, here we come! They are the most economical way to go, and we can fit everyone in them! Last night I test drove a 2006 Chrysler Town & Country, and it was a very nice ride. It had a DVD player, tons of storage, and stow n go... but it had 82,000 miles. This morning I test drove a 2005 Kia Sedona... it was okay and had 41,000 miles. And I drove a 2005 Mazda MPV, and it was almost like driving my CX-9... great features and only 33,000 miles.

I'm leaning towards the Mazda... scratch that... my heart is set on the Mazda. So, we're waiting to see what they come back with for financing. With it being a Saturday, they couldn't talk to anyone... remember, Dale is unemployed, so they have some finessing to do.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking positive thoughts and visualizing myself driving the Mazda off the lot. And, yes, a little prayer never hurt... although, I don't usually pray for material things. Hmmm, I'm not sure how I feel about that.

"Vacation on a budget", seems like an oxymoron, doesn't it?

In 2005, Dale and I brought the kids to Disneyland for a week... for our honeymoon, actually. I know, sounds crazy, but it was fun... AND Disneyland is the happiest place on earth! I digress... this vacation cost us approximately $6000. We have not been on a vacation like that since! Having a family with four kids (at the time) makes for costly travel. Now we have five!

Now, with Dale out of work, we can't even contemplate a family vacation like that. Our current financial situation got me thinking about ways to work our way out of it. Once Dale's working again, with careful planning, we CAN vacation like that again!

After reading the Vacation Budgeting guide by a credit counseling company, I found that if you get creative, you CAN have a spectacular vacation! We have an appointment on Friday with a credit counselor to help us work through the logistics of spending money appropriately and saving money... I know, I know, that is such a strange concept... to actually save money!

Their Website offers reports showing how you spend your money and a debt to income ratio... might I say, I did not like what I saw! But then again, it was based off of Dale's unemployment income, which is about 1/4 of what he normally makes.

What is wrong with this kid?

Yeah, that's actually a rhetorical question. I know what is wrong with JT... it's actually NOT him. It's the PEW.


This kid has been coddled and babied his entire life. Not to mention, poisoned by PEW. Have you heard of something called parental alienation syndrome? I hadn't even heard of that syndrome until reading so many books on trying to co-parent with PEW. So, now that he's here with us, he's not the baby, cuz... um... yeah, the baby is the baby!

JT doesn't even seem to like Maddi, his own sister. I know it's not because he really doesn't like her. He's been trained to think of her as only his half sister and he's told he's not loved enough since he isn't the youngest here. So annoying!

So, yesterday, while all of the other kids are watching their parents light fireworks, JT is pouting because he can't light them. Now, this kid is a pyromaniac... seriously, no joke! He built a bomb with an air soft gun, fireworks and other such materials two days ago. After I was able to scrape my jaw off of the floor, I immediately confiscated it. Who's kid is this?

This morning, I told him that on Wednesday we're going to the Imagine Children's Museum for their light splitting workshop. You know what he said?

"Yawn".

Literally, he said "Yawn".

I told him that he could just stay home with dad and do chores, because I certainly would not bring an ungrateful child to do anything that would be too boring. And proceeded to tell him that being rude and disrespectful will not be tolerated in this house.

I know, I know... he was told by PEW that I am not his parent, so he doesn't have to listen to me. This poor child! What must be going through his mind?

Tonight, Dale and I will be discussing this issue. I know it's not entirely JT's fault, but that does not mean that I should have to endure his disrespect. And I will not.

Wordless Wednesday

This is the happiest dad in the Universe! His son is home for the summer!

The Big Girl Bed

I've been trying to figure out if it's time to put Maddi into her big girl bed for the last couple of months. We've had the twin size bed in her room since day one... made it easier to lay down with her without waking up the other spouse in the middle of the night. Lately, she's been waking up several times a night and extra early, making for rough days.

It seems as though, you're either for the big girl bed as soon as possible or you're for keeping her in the crib as long as possible. A quick poll on Facebook showed a pretty even split.

So, during this past weekend, I rearranged Maddi's room. (The big girl bed was right next to the window and I didn't like that much). I put her crib right outside her bedroom, just in case. After I was done, I had her come up stairs to check it out. Here's her reaction...

"Wow!" "Wow!" "Wow!", in an almost whisper voice, with her arms out and her hands open.

Once I finished laughing at her response... she climbed into her big girl bed. But the real test had not happened yet...

She took her nap there on Sunday... I was not home, so it was all dad. I happened to call him during her nap... he says "I'm laying down with Maddi to get her to sleep". To which I yelled... yes, I yelled, "Don't you dare do that! Do you have any idea what kind of monster you'll create?" Yes, I know, a little over dramatic, but I'm the one usually at home with her and I WILL NOT lay down with her every time she goes down! So, anyway... he had to put her back in her bed 12 times... LOL!

That night, I put her down, thinking that it would be Round 1 of 10 or so. Nope, she snuggled right in and went to sleep! And she slept all night until 7:30am! Ah, success!

Today, she snuggled right in for nap again! Dale just put her down about 10 minutes ago... cross your fingers!

So far, mommy is LOVING the big girl bed! The sad part is that she's not so much a baby anymore.

Introspective

I wonder if life presents us with tough times to humble us? I've never been an extravagant person, but since we're struggling so much right now, it reminds me of how blessed I've been... and still am. Even though it seems as though we are fighting for every scrap for the time being, we're very lucky in so many ways.

Dale's family didn't have much when he was a kid, but he had a very loving home. My family didn't have much either, but I didn't come from a loving home. There is such a difference... things aren't as important... it's all about loved ones.

I don't care about living in a big house, driving nice cars, brand-name clothing or big jewelry... all I care about is that we're together, as a family. So, even if we can't climb our way out of this mess and lose many of our material things, it doesn't matter. That's not what life is about.

We have no cushion to help us out. None. Zip. Nada. Zero.

We've lost about $20k on legal fees fighting my husbands PEW on various issues... usually, it's because she feels she is "entitled" to more money, and that won't end for 8 more years (another story for another time). Dale has been laid off from work 3 times since we've been married, but this is the first time that I'm really worried. This job market is so saturated! One call back in the hundreds... yes, I said hundreds... of resumes he's sent out.

So, now we're both looking for additional work to help make ends meet. Labor, consulting, graphic design, nannying... anything to bring extra money in! Even Hannah is pitching in with babysitting money <- of which, we'll pay back!

Think good thoughts.
Speak good words.
Take good actions.

Three steps that will bring more to you than you can ever imagine.

Today is a good day!

I woke up this morning, feeling... good... actually good! I even smiled first thing in the morning, BEFORE having coffee! Now THAT is a good start to the day!

My house is almost entirely cleaned and organized... there is still stuff on the counters in the kitchen, like most people's homes (I think). You know, the mail stacks up... keys... camera... phones... ... etc... and I don't think there's a lot to do about that, but I'm going to try!

Yesterday, Hannah babysat for a neighbor... while doing so, she ran into another neighbor who is looking for a nanny for the summer! How great is that? She'd prefer to nanny over any other job, so she's super excited!

This morning, I got a response to my nanny posting on craigslist.org, which is also very exciting. We're all trying everything to earn extra money while my hubby is not working!

Today is just a feel-good day! No real good reason. The sun is shining! Wahoo!

I'm just going to keep smiling, thinking positive, and good things will come our way!

Wordless Wednesday

Me and my baby girl having fun at the beach!

iPOD and Sensei GIVEAWAY now!

iPOD and Sensei GIVEAWAY now!

Enter to win an iPod Touch and 6 months of Sensei before June 26th!!

Rockstar Dad


One of the first things that attracted to me to my husband, was his good nature with his children. At the time, they were 6, 12, 14, and 16 years old... I know, quite a load of kids! That was my first thought too!

Dale has the most patient, calm and mellow mannerism towards everyone he deals with... but, most importantly, his teenagers. Let me tell you, I don't know how he held his composure on occasion... anyone with teenagers can understand what I'm talking about.

When Dale gets home from work (well, right now, he's not working, but usually), he spends quality time with Maddi, playing and cuddling with her. When she hears the garage door open, she squeals with delight. It's their ritual to have him put her down to bed each night too. On Saturday mornings, she is so excited to see him home. It is going to be so tough when my hubby goes back to work! She's so used to having daddy around all the time.

Dale, I love you and I'm so proud to be your wife. I can't imagine any other man being my husband and the father of my daughter.

My very first award!

Thank you to Ness from A Military's Wife Mayhem for This Honest Award! This is my very first one... I'm so excited and gitty... I sound like the father from "A Christmas Story" with his "prestigious award"... "it must be italian, it says FRAGILE"... LOL.

So, my next step is to follow the rules and tell you 10 things about myself that are true and then pass this award on to 5 other bloggers.



Okay, so 10 things about me:

  1. I am a self-proclaimed, Chapstick addict.
  2. I am looking into becoming a Discovery Toys consultant.
  3. My favorite food to make at home is Asian, spring rolls, pho, and curry dishes.
  4. I secretly like Hannah Montana... shhhh, don't tell ANYONE!
  5. I am working towards my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education.
  6. My fantasy vacation is to go some place tropical (Hawaii, Belize?), where I can swim with dolphins.
  7. My husband was recently laid off from his job, so if you know of anyone looking for a CFO/Controller type of person... let me know!
  8. Needs a momcation... just a weekend is all I ask.
  9. I have absolutely no patience, and I'm not exagerating!
  10. I have the most amazing step-daughter ever in Hannah. <- She told me to write that one... not that it's not true, but still funny!

Whew! That should not have been that hard!

I'm passing this award on to the following bloggers:

Karla of Confussion Never Stops

Mister M of The Psycho Ex-Wife

Melanie, Sian and Susan of Girl, Get Strong!

Redneck Mommy of Attack of the Redneck Mommy

Baby Rocas Mama of Last Shreds of Sanity

Again, thank you, Ness!

Nothing Special

We went camping through the weekend, so no online access. Ugh... What on earth did we do before the Internet? My goodness, it's quite pathetic of me! I made it through and it was so relaxing, we ended up staying an extra night! I have to get our pictures uploaded and posted soon!

I had a feel-good appointment this morning, which set the tone for the day... being excellent! We didn't really get much accomplished, but Dale got 7 more resumes sent out!

Last night was miserable... Maddi had a difficult time sleeping, or lack there of. I decided to try to sleep with her in her big girl bed, but then I didn't get any sleep. The end result is that Maddi got to sleep and Mommy did not. I woke up with bags under my eyes, literally. Make-up didn't even do a good job of covering it! Yikes! No nap... couldn't sleep... too much on my mind. So, hopefully, tonight will be better!

Please excuse my zombie post!

100 things I'm grateful for...

On May 26th, I wrote about the "Secret Daily Teachings" and the teaching for that day was to write a list of 100 things I'm grateful for. With all of the drama since then, it's taken some extra time, BUT I DID IT!

100 THINGS I'M GRATEFUL FOR:

Being a mom.
Maddi.
Dale.
Hannah.
Andrew.
Joshua.
Kendra.
My home.
Having the best Mother-In-Law in the world!
That I have the means and ability to further my education.
That I can stay at home with my daughter.
My dear friends, old and new.
My daughter’s curiosity.
To go on an annual vacation with my family.
Having such a strong marriage.
My pets… they make me laugh almost as much as Maddi.
That Andrew is doing so well in the Army.
Watching my daughter grow and change every day.
My gorgeous and fabulous neighborhood.
That my daughter will have a better childhood than me.
The way my husband looks at me.
My Chihuahua “blinking” at me.
The feeling of happiness that long alluded me.
My morning cup of coffee that my loving hubby makes for me!
Starbucks!
Chapstick!
Lessons learned.
For the health of my family.
To provide Hannah with the female, adult guidance she so desperately needs.
When my daughter blows a kiss at me to say “I love you”.
To help my friends who’ve helped me so much during my times of need.
Facebook… not just for the video games, but for the people I can now stay in touch with.
To have a relationship with my brother, Sean… finally!
His girlfriend, Julia… hopefully, I can call her sister-in-law some day!
To have not experience the loss of someone I love… yet.
Having a little more patience than I used to… still working on that!
Finding the right doctors and medications to help me through my PPD and anxiety issues.
Reduced Fat Oreo Cookies!
Losing 25 pounds so far… still a work in progress.
Waking up in the morning hearing the birds twittering.
My love for reading.
To have the wisdom to cool off before arguing with a loved one.
My daughter has such a wonderful and involved god-mother.
That my Oma and Opa are so good to Maddi.
To have so many moms in my life.
My mommy time every morning before Maddi wakes up.
My daughter’s laugh… most children’s laugh for that matter.
The uncooked tortillas from Costco.
That Dale is such a good father.
Wireless Internet.
To have Hannah home, safe and sound.
DVR.
The FREE hot tub we had delivered on Thursday.
Everything Bagels <- the best ever!
Pho.
When my daughter cuddles with me for no reason.
To everyone who worked so hard to get Hannah home.
My daughter's smile... missing teeth and all.
Captain Morgan and Diet Coke
Our beautiful flowers in the backyard.
When Diesel cuddles on my lap.
My husband's ability to provide for our family.
Our tent trailer.
All of our scheduled camping trips for the summer.
My new netbook, Dale gave me for my birthday.
That Maddi already says "thank you" at the appropriate times.
When my daughter "helps" with chores.
My wonderful mommy friends.
Safeway's chocolate cake... the moistest cake you'll ever have!
The "Secret"
The "Twilight" series and movies.
My daughter's love for the outdoors.
Waking up in the morning to sunshine.
Palm trees.
Flip-flops.
Coupons... saving money is always good!
When is snows enough to sled down our hill.
Dark chocolate.
Imagination Movers... they can entertain Maddi for 30 minutes!
Watching my daughter dance... although, it's usually "Poker Face" or "If U Seek Amy" playing!
The frogs we play with in the backyard.
Craigslist... we have found some amazing deals!
The smell of coconut, especially during the summer.
When my hubby gives me a mushy card out of the blue.
Finally going to college!
Tahiti Village.
Being so lucky.
Being free of glasses and contacts.
Hannah being Maddi's big sister.
Having Hannah here to babysit on date nights!
A well-deserved pedicure.
When my daughter "talks" on the phone.
My daughter being able to know her big sissy now.
Twitter.
Victoria's Secret undies.
Someone else making coffee in the morning.
My hubby always standing by my side.
When my daughter "sings" and does the hand motions.
Grey's Anatomy
My life.

Who moved my... EVERYTHING?

Why is change so hard?

Even good change... I am having a very hard time adjusting to Hannah and Dale being here during the day. Today is really only the 2nd day of this... how sad is that? Two days of having more people around and I want to just get back to the way it was.

Don't get me wrong... I love Hannah and I'm VERY happy to have her here, and I love my hubby and I looked forward to him coming home each afternoon!

I just have routines with Maddi that are disappearing rapidly. I'm used to having things "my" way during the day... I don't have to worry about anyone else, just me and Maddi. Yes, I am somewhat of a control freak. I didn't even consider this adjustment period. I don't like it. I don't like it at all.

I'm sure Hannah is going through her own adjustment period too... she just went through a very tough time, and I know she was scared. Now, she's separated from her boyfriend... and I truly feel for her, I do. I hate seeing her just sitting on the couch with the laptop, hoping to chat with her boyfriend online. She's always there like a lump on a log... sometimes sleeping. I don't know how to help her... I REALLY hate that.

Since Dale was laid off, he doesn't have much choice. His job search really started yesterday... we just didn't have any additional energy to get that going while trying to take care of Hannah, who was thousands of miles away. The good news is that he's getting good response to his resume... and he's been told by 2 recruiters that they've seen an upswing in job opportunities this month. Whew! Timing IS everything!

My hope is that we'll find counselors to help us all through this difficult transition... at least it's a transition we all wanted! Otherwise, it could be so much harder on all of us.

Today, I'm just plain grumpy... I want to just hide in my room and not talk to anyone. It's not any one's fault. Everything seems off... nothing is where it's supposed to be... and my sense of time is completely a-wall... Blah!

the FUN part of dysFUNctional

So, our vacation wasn't all bad... we had a lot of fun too! Maddi made sure we had plenty of laughs during our roller coaster of a vacation.

The gorgeous palm trees by the pool.
The pool... the building is the one we stayed in.
The view from our room...

Maddi LOVED the pool!

Maddi had so much fun flirting with every passerby...

Maddi and her "ba-ba"...

I'm quite proud to say that I took this pic...

Maddi having more fun in the kiddy pool...

This was so funny... this grasshopper hitched a ride on Maddi's hat, taking 4 laps with her...

Friday morning, Maddi got her very first pedicure! It was so funny to watch her walking around looking at her toes... we would just comment on her "pretty toes" and she'd get so gitty.
I'm ready mommy...

Pretty toes...

Look mommy!

Maddi enjoyed her very first Oreo Cookies... mmm, mmm, Mommy's favorite! It was definitely not a clean experience, but it was tons of fun to watch!




Maddi is finally at a fun age, when you can enjoy watching her experience new things. While we were gone, she got to have many firsts... I'm glad I got to capture them on camera! Looking forward to taking her to Disneyland some day... she's such a ham!

Can I get a Do-Over?

Dale, Maddi and I returned from Las Vegas yesterday afternoon. It started out well... nice and relaxing. We arrived last Wednesday evening, but late Saturday night, we got a million phone calls regarding my step-daughter, Hannah. Including calls from her, herself.

Hannah's mother reported her missing at 12:30am Cayman time... and only after not talking to her for a matter of hours. I believe this is in response to Hannah wanting to return home to live with her dad and me. Since finding out that Hannah wants to do this, she has treated Hannah horribly... she has dealt with mental abuse for years, but it has recently escalated. So, Saturday, Hannah decided not to return home for any further abuse. The police got involved that night and finally helped her get her things on Monday night.

After many International calls from our cell phones (OMG, it's going to cost an arm and a leg!), several emails, and many sleepless nights... we've finally gotten Hannah home! Today has been a recovery day... we are all so emotionally and physically exhausted.

I feel just awful for Hannah... besides the fact that her mother has treated her so horribly, Hannah has found many of her belongings missing. Can you believe her mother actually stole personal items from her? I will never understand her thinking regarding this situation... and I'm actually glad I can't understand... meaning, I'm not crazy!

Dale and I didn't get a chance to work on his resume or search for a job, as Hannah became a higher priority. So, we will be working on that tomorrow. Before leaving, I was trying to list 100 things I'm grateful for... I got to #52. I need to get back to it this weekend! I wanted to get all of this off my chest tonight, so tomorrow, I'll tell you all about how much fun we DID have on vacation!

Timing is Everything

The day before leaving for our Las Vegas vacation, my hubby was laid off from his job. This is the same job I spoke of earlier that wanted to change his status to part time... the same people who told him after that, if they had to downsize, he would be one of the last to go.

He has expressed his being bored with this job anyway... he set up so many automated processes and works towards lean processes, employment, manufacturing, he kind of worked himself out of a job.

This isn't necessarily bad timing... I think because we're on vacation while looking for a job for him, we aren't as stressed about it. And he is so marketable, I think he'll find something... hopefully, sooner rather than later.

So, if you're reading this and you hear of a CFO/Controller type position, please email me. We are currently in the Seattle area, but are willing to relocate for the right job.

Meanwhile, we're drinking plenty! <- Maybe this is why we're not so stressed! Maddi is loving the lazy river... more to come on that!

Wordless Wednesday

During times like these, we need to remember the simple things that make us happy!

The Secret

I am a huge fan of "The Secret"... I have read it 7 times, and will read it again and again. It's a "how to" live your life in harmony with natural laws of the Universe. I tend to read it again when I realize that I've strayed from the Secret. While I was shopping at my favorite bookstore, Barnes & Noble, I found "The Secret Daily Teachings" and thought I'd give it a try. It's an entire year of teachings! The first one, Monday, is basically a quick introduction to the Secret.

Tuesday's Teaching is to use gratitude to shift your energy. It asks you to write 100 things your are grateful for each day. 100 things? Each day? I'm going to have quite a time coming up with 100 things... not that I'm not a grateful person, I am... but each day? Could you write 100 things your grateful for each day? I will write a list of 100 things I'm grateful for, and post it soon!

The most important part is that you need to FEEL the gratitude.

www.thesecret.tv

Memorial Day

"...gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime....let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation's gratitude,--the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan." --General John Logan, General Order No. 11, 5 May 1868

Memorial Day originated in 1868, when Union General John A. Logan designated a day in which the graves of Civil War soldiers would be decorated. Known as Decoration Day, the holiday was changed to Memorial Day within twenty years, becoming a holiday dedicated to the memory of all war dead. It became a federal holiday in 1971, and is now observed on the last Monday in May.

To all our Service-members past, present and future... you are in my thoughts and prayers.

The Best Invention EVER!

Last weekend while perusing the Sunday ads, I spotted the Schick Quattro Trim Style for women! This is a razor with 4 blades AND a waterproof bikini trimmer on the other end! I loved the idea of trimming in the shower, so I decided to give it a shot. I have been using a razor with 3 blades for years... I cannot believe how close of a shave this thing can get! Not to mention, trimming that bikini area is a breeze now!

Look Out for Mama Bear!

I know that life isn't fair... hell, I know that more than most! My daughter (17-yr old step-daughter) has gotten the short end of the stick! Her "mother" has emotionally abused her for years, physically abused her on occasion, manipulated her, moved her thousands of miles away from her close-knit family, treated her as her own personal slave, and told her to move out several times. This is all VERY heart-breaking to me!

Yesterday, we finally got her "mother" to agree on the flight arrangements for both the kids to fly home. She had one final demand that we will not agree to... unfortunately, this set off a domino effect. Her and her sister started a full on psychological warfare with my daughter. Long story, short... Hannah will NOW be returning home, for good, on June 9th! The living situation she has been forced to endure for the last 7 months is absolutely unacceptable.

During all of the "discussions", I was practically hyperventilating and having panic attacks. Mama Bear made an appearance last night... when she comes out, I only see red. I want to protect my kids from anything and anyone... I don't care who you THINK you are! It's probably a good thing she is so many miles away, or I may be in a jail cell this morning. (No worries... Nothing murderous!)

In the end, I'm realizing that no matter how hard this is on me... God put me in these kids lives for a reason... and I'm beginning to understand that more and more!

Imagine all of that combined with being dizzy and nauseated! Yeah, it gets more fun! I have some liquid in my inner ears, causing my balance to be completely off. The meds make me SO tired! So, no driving for me for 2 - 3 weeks... good thing we'll be in Vegas for a good part of that time!

Makes you wonder how none of us are in the Nut House!

You're Fired!

Back in January, I was fired from a job for the very first time in my life. The funny part is, I quit 2 times prior to that! It was a mutual departure, none-the-less. At the time, I was struggling with depression and anxiety, not to mention the fight to keep my family intact was a losing battle. So, working wasn't quite in my cards! Now, I'm sure you're wondering why I was fired... it was an honest, stupid mistake that could have happened to anyone in the same situation! So, I was fired with a rehirable status... YAY!

I received a phone call from my old boss... yes, the same one who fired me... to see if I wanted to come back in a different position. I've been so excited about this, because I'm studying to get my AS in Early Childhood Education... and this particular job is PERFECT! The timing is better, and so-on-and-so-forth.

Last night, I got a call from the same old boss to let me know there has been a mistake and I'm not "rehirable" after all. I am very bummed about this... I miss the kids, my co-workers, and a purpose each day. She is very angry by this realization and is trying to work around it. Meanwhile, I've basically been fired again... before I even started!

While dealing with this, I'm also frustrated with the process of flying my stepchildren home from living with their "mother" in the Cayman Islands. She is making every step of these arrangements as difficult as possible... ranging from requiring so much time between layovers, to unaccompanied minor issues (these issues are in her own head), all the way to completely refusing to pay any portion of the children's airfare. My husband has certain rights under WA state law that prohibits her from keeping his children from him... maybe, she needs to read up on family law a little more. Over the past couple of years, I've researched this so much, I should be studying to be a paralegal!

At this time, I think we're buying one-way tickets for both kids just to get them home. We'll have to figure out the return flight for Josh later. I know she's doing this because she doesn't want Josh to see his father at all... apparently, she can be mom and dad? Who needs their father, right? WRONGO BUCKO!

Good times! Thank God, we leave for vacation next Wednesday!

Wordless Wednesday

Maddi experiencing one of her first ferry rides outside... she loved the wind!

Velkommen til Poulsbo


I spent a good portion of my childhood in Poulsbo... I rarely go back for visits. Not that I'm THAT far... just a ferry ride or so away. When I was a teenager, I remember wondering why anyone in their right mind would VISIT Poulsbo... you could always tell which people were the tourists: you know the folks taking pictures of EVERYTHING! Well, I am now that person! LOL

This weekend was Viking Fest weekend in Poulsbo... crazy, madness! Now, when I was much younger... heavy on the much... I LOVED it! We used to "cruise" in our cars through downtown Poulsbo... like we were cool! And, in my early 20's, we used to show up at the Viking House some time in the afternoon and drink Mary's (the bartender) yummy Long Island Iced Teas until, um, 2am ish! The Viking House isn't even there anymore!

It is quite a different experience with the hubs, a toddler and a chihuahua! Not so much fun! So, we pretty much bailed on the Viking Fest experience!

We spent most of our weekend hanging out with my good friend, Karla and her family. I remember when we were BFF's <- Before that was even a term! She is now married and has 2 amazing kids... the really cool part is that they're living in the house Joel grew up in! I always thought that it would be the greatest thing to have roots like that... although, maybe not have the family SO close <- I'm sure Karla would agree with that! I considered showing up with a bunch of daisies and a bottle of Strawberry Hill Boonesfarm for old times sake (Our favorites back in the day), but I wasn't sure how that would be interpreted... LOL!

Anyway, it got me to thinking about how much I missed that friendship. Over the years, you lose touch with people, but there are always a few you often think and wonder about. Why don't I just pick up the phone and call? I don't know that answer! But I'm very glad that I spent so much time with the "Rogers"!

Our ferry rides over the weekend were Maddi's first!



Maddi loved the ferry rides!

Girlfriendology

I found this "girlfriend" book today:


"There’s a new book on a group of girlfriends whose friendships have endured for forty years - and about the strong bond, wonderful benefits and amazing relationships of a group of eleven girls who grew in to ten women. The book, The Girls from Ames, shares the story of how friendship has endured moves, life changes, sickness, aging parents and even the loss of one of their girlfriends. It’s a touching reminder of why we NEED girlfriends."Girlfriendology, May 2009


You should read the whole article.

What a Week!

This is one of those weeks that I wish I had just planned to do absolutely nothing. I have had to cancel just about everything scheduled...

Maddi is teething, and I mean TEETHING! She is 20 months and has 6 teeth... the dentist says this is a good thing. She is getting several right now <- Why do they need to come all at once? To top it off, she also has what appears to be a cold... I know low grade fevers and runny noses are part of teething... accept her boogers are greenish this morning.

If you have never had a migraine, I envy you! I get them on a monthly basis, if you know what I mean. Stress is also a trigger, and I get plenty of that! So, this week, I've had 2... and crossing my fingers that my headache this morning is just that, a headache, NOT another migraine. I've been on medications to help prevent them, but they really don't work. I'm left with taking Maxalt when I do get a migraine, which usually works. I'm thinking, um, I dunno, learning that my hubby's job is in jeopardy, didn't help! I have considered trying acupuncture... you get to a point when you'll just try anything! Drinking does not help... LOL, I've tried it!

We both just need to feel better by the end of the day... no, ifs, ands or buts! We have plans this weekend that I am just not willing to cancel! So there!

Meanwhile, I want to just curl up like a cat and sleep... for now.

A Blessing in Disguise?

Economy strikes... tough days ahead... my hubby just found out today that his employer can only afford to employ him part time. I'm trying very hard to see the silver lining. Especially with our never-ending attorney's fees (thanks to my hubby's lovely ex).

Dale is bored with his job anyway and would really like to start his own consulting business. It's not something we would have chosen to do right now... and really, it's never a good time to take that kind of risk. Maybe it's time, whether we like it or not?

Positive thoughts, positive thoughts, positive thoughts...

We have always made it through in the past, so I know we'll be okay. I just worry so much about how we'll do it. Dale is so marketable as a Controller/CFO, he'll find something. He'd like to do consulting work along those lines... I think there are a lot of companies that can't afford to have one on staff, so this could work... right?

Send more positive thoughts my way... PLEASE!

I'm ready for Vegas!

The countdown is beginning for our Vegas trip... only 2 weeks to go! I just want to sit by the pool or in the lazy river all day long (with sunblock on, of course), with beverage in hand. My hubby and I don't really gamble, which is fine, because our resort doesn't have a casino on site. It's really meant for family vacationing, more than the "woot, woot, party types" <- Not that there is anything wrong with that! Ah, a full week of just chillin'... just imagining it makes me smile!

Upon our return, I'm going back to work 3 days a week... short days. I will be doing the enrichment program for a preschool, working with preschool kids, one-on-one... phonics, math, reading, and spanish. This is perfect, because I am currently studying to get my AS degree in Early Childhood Education... although, it's going to take me longer than your typical 2 years, but that's okay! Thank goodness for online programs!

Post Mother's Day Blues

Okay, so before I start, I want to preface, by saying that by hubby is a VERY hard worker, great husband, and terrific dad. I know he does a lot for us and I appreciate and love him every day!

So, for Mother's Day, I got "a day off"... Dale took care of Maddi, made meals, and he got a lot done. Sounds great, right? Accept, today I'm left with a disaster for a kitchen, a living room that is disheveled, and laundry that needs to be done. So, I ask, what is the point of taking a day off if I have to do it all the next day anyway? This issue isn't that my hubby doesn't do anything, it's that his priorities are different from mine... AND he doesn't notice the same things I do either. For instance, the animals water dish is bone dry, both the garbage and recycle containers are full <- Dude, if your beer bottle doesn't fit into the container (it was left on the counter), the recycle is full!

This morning, instead of taking Maddi to gymnastics, I'm at home trying to get caught up on what I didn't do yesterday. I have to have it done because my In-Laws (I love them dearly) will be over tomorrow afternoon.

Yes, I would like some cheese with my whine!

Happy Mother's Day to Me!

I truly have the very best husband in the world! I haven't done a thing today, except eat & drink what ever my hubs has made. First thing this morning, Maddi brought me my Mother's Day gift... a very sweet mother's ring! It needs to be sized still... it only fits my pinky!

Dale made me the fluffiest pancakes ever for breakfast. I took a nap and woke up to the smell of brownies... mmm, mmm, good! Then he took Maddi with him to Lowes <- their favorite store, and brought me back a Starbucks... I'm in heaven.

We're going to do a little Mother's Day thing for Grandma Gjerness, while she's here on Tuesday. And we'll see Grandma Rush over the weekend. I bought Mother's Day cards for Mom's, Grandma's, Oma's, Great-Grandma's, and God-Mother's... and promptly forgot to mail them all! I will send them out tomorrow, however, so that no one thinks I forgot them... maybe?

Mourn the Spider

Maddi had me laughing out loud this morning (AGAIN)... I found a spider in the bathroom and showed it to her. She thought it was pretty cool and wanted to touch it... she did... and turned around with a poor, little spider stuck to her finger tip, and said "uh-oh". LOL

I think it's almost time to move Maddi to a big girl bed... when I've gotten her out of her crib this week, she's been trying to get out. So far, it's been unsuccessful. I'm worried that I'm going to hear a thud and it's going to be her falling. Everyone says to keep her in the crib as long as possible... ugh!

I finally got the DVD player installed in my car... I've been talking about doing this for about a year! Yeah, I know, procrastinate much? While I was at it, I found 2 sippy cups with a little bit of milk in them... straight to the garbage <- I'm not even going to try to clean that up! Gross! I think I threw out about 5 empty Starbucks cups, several used baby wipes (not for poopy or anything like that), and a bunch of goldfish crackers.

GO AWAY!

Not getting much sleep last night, really made for a crummy day. I don't even want my usual Captain-n-Diet Coke, cuz I'm sure I will fall right to sleep. <- That sounded way worse than I meant... I swear, I don't have a problem (well, that problem, anyway).

Of course, Maddi is teething... she's little Miss. Grumpy-Pants! And this does not make my mood any better. To top it all off, it's THAT time too! It really sucks to be a woman! Grrr... I wanna bite every body's head off... GO AWAY AND LEAVE ME ALONE!

I had to return to Walmart today to make some exchanges... while I was there, I got quite a chuckle. While I was looking at hair products, I noticed 2 very bald men looking at Rogaine. I actually laughed out loud... when they looked my directions, I pretended to be laughing at Maddi. Do they really think it's going to help at this point? Seriously?

My hubby and I got a call tonight from Andrew, our oldest son, who is in AIT training for the Army. He is very happy in Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX. He was bored in basic training, but he's much more challenged here. So far, it looks like he will still be able to come home for 4th of July weekend... as long as he stays at the top of his class! He will!

Kuddos to Gentle Naturals

Maddi has had issues with eczema since she was only a few weeks old. I have tried everything under the sun to help... I'm not going to name any of them because this is about how wonderful Gentle Naturals Baby Eczema Cream is!

Her eczema was so inflamed, red, and raw looking, I had to figure something out. After trying everything (at least I thought so), I decided to look at my local drug store again. I found Gentle Naturals Baby Eczema Cream and thought, what the heck, I'll give it a shot. It has been only a week and it is barely noticeable! I am so thrilled with this product, I wanted to share with the world!

http://www.gentlenaturals.com/products/eczema_cream.cfm

No Baby Maker Here

My Mother-In-Law brought our niece, Korryn and her daughter, Melodie to see visit today. They flew in on Friday from Colorado for two weeks. This is the first time we've met Melodie, who was born on February 19. She is so VERY adorable... those Gjerness cheeks make me laugh. <- Maddi had/has them too!

Now, while I think she is just a doll, it firms up my decision to not have any more kids myself. One is enough... well, kind of five, but that's not the point. I absolutely do not, I repeat, DO NOT want to have any more babies. And yes, that is written in stone. Korryn, if you ever read this, it has nothing to do with Melodie directly, so no offense intended! I am grateful that Dale is on the same page as me!

It's funny, cuz I can't even remember Maddi being that small! When I look at pictures, she just looks so different. What's even more funny is that I used to think she was the cutest baby when she was younger too... she must be getting cuter as she gets older! I'm not biased or anything.

Before I was a Mom

Before I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn’t worry whether or not
my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about
immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind
and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child
so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried..
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night
watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because
I didn’t want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn’t stop the hurt….
I never knew that something so small
could affect my life so much…
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn’t know the feeling of
having my heart outside my body..
I didn’t know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby.
I didn’t know that bond
between a mother and her child.
I didn’t know that something so small
could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment
or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom.


Share this with someone who you think is an awesome Mom.
Leslie J. Allen
DSMS English Department Chair
Site Technology Rep (STR)
ConnectMe Power User (CPU)
http://cmweb.pvschools.net/~leallen

”It takes a village to raise a child.” African Proverb

Shopping with Toddlers = Obnoxious!

Early this morning, I read another mom's blog... I can't remember who it was... today is the day before her baby's 1 year anniversary of his passing. I cried while reading it, then hugged Maddi very tight. To that mommy, you're in my prayers right now!

My good friend Teddy flew home to Indiana today. I will miss you so much... next time, you must bring the girls! Hugs & kisses!

Maddi and I went to Walmart this morning... I finally got some blackout curtains for her room to help her sleep in a little more (past 6:30am), hopefully. She loves to look at the fishies, so we got her 2 female beta fish and a cool kids aquarium... but the aquarium was missing pieces, so I have to return it! Grrr! We also got our Mother's Day cards for both grandmas and Maddi's godmother. While we were there, we played with a bouncy ball in the isles... so cute... she was giggling and screaming, and probably annoying everyone else! Shopping with a toddler is one of the most difficult things to do ever.

Everyone is on my last nerve... I swear, I am attracting all the rude and ignorant people! My biggest pet peeve are the impatient people waiting for a parking space while I'm loading or unloading my daughter in her car seat! Seriously, what would they like me to do? Then, when you're shopping and someone is coming toward you, shouldn't you move your cart over to make room, or is that just me? Really? I want to just walk around and flick everyone else on the forehead today!

Yesterday, Maddi wore my red, patent leather shoes around the house. I'll post pictures soon... she is so adorable. I've created a shoe fetish, monster!

Have you seen my underwear?


You know you've had too much fun, when you ask someone if you've seen their underwear! The first phone call I received this morning was from one of my crazy girlfriends asking just that. Last night, four of us went to Olympus Spa in Lynnwood... otherwise known as "The Naked Lady Spa". We chose to not partake in the pool experience, therefore, no nakedness for us! But they do have several "hot" rooms to sit and sweat in. Long story, short... she got so sweaty, she chose to not wear her underwear home and put them in her pocket. Now, she's not sure where they are! LOL





Needless to say, we had a fun and crazy weekend with Teddy here... starting with Thursday night, which was the family friendly party. That was very nice... a good number of our neighbors came and visited with Teddy. Friday night, on the other hand, included our poor paper towel dispenser and other phallic looking objects. Five VERY drunk women sitting around laughing about everything under the sun! Saturday night (last night) six of us had dinner together, then visited the "Naked Lady Spa". My retinas are still burning from naked bodies I saw there... and don't care to see again.

It has been wonderful to have everyone together again... Teddy has a way of bringing everyone together that way. I can't believe she has to go home to Indiana tomorrow.

Girlfriends

My hubby and I have worked our tails off to make sure our house is ready for our neighbors to visit and party! One of my best girlfriends is coming home for the weekend from Indianapolis, and we're so excited to see her! Our original plan was to do a girls weekend in Walla Walla, but we've changed those plans. Hopefully, we'll get some girl-time in still!

Teddy should be here any time now... anxiously waiting! Shelly picked her up from the airport almost an hour ago. I'm so glad this day is finally here! Time to get my drink on!

I miss Teddy so much... she used to live 2 doors down. Her husband was transferred to a different facility a couple years ago. This will be the first time I've seen her since then! Maybe I can get a nap in before the festivities... our house tonight and tomorrow night! Yikes!

Here's to Teddy!

The Summit

After 8 loads of laundry, you would think I'd be done... Alas, I am not... 2 more to go. Tomorrow, I have all of this to put away, which is the very worst part of doing laundry! I am about to summit Mt. Washmore! Now, I need to make sure to stay on top of the never-ending build up.

Over the past few weeks, I've noticed that Maddi's hair clips keep disappearing. For the life of me, I had no idea where to look! Today, I found one in her toy box... she saw it and wanted it. I handed it to her, expecting that she would try to put it in her hair. NO... she walked over to the heater vent, and spent her time getting it in just the right spot... IN THE HEATER VENT! And wouldn't you know it... that's where they all are!

A very good friend, Teddy, is visiting this weekend and she will be staying at our house. I have so much to do to prepare for company! My husband and I worked all weekend to paint the bonus room, but it still needs some touching up to complete it. The house cleaners will be here on Thursday morning... thank goodness, I don't have to do that part.

Our house is getting de-cluttered and looks great! Part of my coming out of my funk, I think. My hubs finished getting the bark down over the weekend too. I must say that our yard is now one of the best looking in the neighborhood! Now very long ago... not so much!

Climbing Mt. Washmore

I have put off laundry for weeks, literally… I wish I were kidding. This is going to take all weekend to finish. My biggest procrastination is putting it all away… I hate it! My husband is of no help with this part… and I can’t blame him, he works like 50 hours a week, after all. So, I might finish some time Sunday night.

This morning I had coffee with some girlfriends in the neighborhood at our local Starbucks. It was nice to have some adult conversation, besides my husband. Tonight, we’re going to a BBQ at my mommy friend’s house. I’m looking forward to meeting their hubby’s… I've met their kiddos. It will be a good time! And we’re picking up our new kitchen table tonight! THAT will be VERY nice to eat together again!

We’re having a friend come over for the weekend to watch Maddi while Dale and I work on the bonus room… needs taping, primer, and painting. Then we need to move furniture into the space… family/toy room will be done! While we’re at it, I think we’re going to get our bedroom painted too. We have done so much to make our house look great for the spring. Busy, busy, busy… ready for all the parties!

Pillow Talk

Last night, Maddi kept me awake from 10:15pm to 1:30am, crying… I went in there 6 times to check on her. Since I couldn’t sleep, I FINALLY watched Twilight. The acting is horrid, but I still loved the movie! It was cool to watch it to get a better picture of everyone. I am totally in love with that Volvo! I have no idea what kind it is, but it is awesome!

Such a tough day, I bought a Starbucks, ventie, non-fat, white chocolate, mocha… it smelled so good… I spilled the entire drink in the parking lot. I didn’t even get a sip, just the smell.

Maddi is teething, so she is entirely too grumpy for my liking. Crying and whining over EVERYTHING! I wish they would just break through already! Tonight, she was screaming so loud, it hurt my ears… literally! But that was fun for her! Yikes, my pillow is calling my name… she cannot wake up like that again tonight or she’s going to have a super, grumpy mommy tomorrow.

Time for bed!

Sunny Days Are Here Again

Another beautiful day in the Northwest… when the sun does shine here, it is MOST gorgeous! My wonderful & loving hubby made me take a long hot bath while he took Maddi to garage sales. He bought a playhouse and some chairs to go outside. Apparently, Maddi picked out the chairs herself and Dad is just a sucker… according to him, anyway. I really do have the very best husband in the entire world. How did I get so lucky? Ah, he makes me so happy.

So, I have only gotten the office cleaned up and organized… and it’s, oh, 1pm. Sheesh, it’s a good day! So, while my hubby is outside working in the yard, I’m inside blogging, tweeting and facebooking. The kitchen is calling my name… could use some clean up. We also have a lot of work to do in the bonus room… lots of painting and rearranging furniture.

I got a call from my old boss at a daycare/preschool, and she may have a position for me! It would be a very part-time position, which is perfect for me! I’m so excited because I miss the kids and co-workers a bunch!

Ugh... Another Rainy Day

I am so tired of the rain! We’re almost a whole month into Spring already… I think we’ve had more rain than we did in the fall & Winter together! Our Las Vegas vacation is looking more and more appealing… sitting by the pool in the sun. Ah, now THAT’S what I’m talking about!

To top it off, I’ve had 3 migraines this week! Yes, 3! I mean, I expect to get 1 per month usually, but 3? Seriously? Is that related to the weather too? So, I woke up at 2:30 this morning… I’m not sure if it was the migraine or my husband’s weird snoring. OMG… it was almost grunting, then he’d move around a bunch!

I read Midnight Sun until 4:30am, when my husband got up for work. For those who don’t know, Midnight Sun is the incomplete draft to tell Edward’s side of Twilight, written by Stephanie Meyer. It is great! Except, it’s in PDF on the computer and you can’t print it, so reading it from the laptop is annoying. I hope to have some time this weekend to watch the movie… with no Maddi or Hubby interruptions!