Wordless Wednesday

It is Wednesday right?


I am a Spoiled Brat

I have a problem. Well, honestly I have a lot of problems but this one... this is a biggie.

Do you see this? This is Adams Extract vanilla. It is the key ingredient to making my Grams famous chocolate cake. We discovered right after Kate was born that even if Grams herself made her famous chocolate cake in this beautiful Land of Lincoln, it just didn't turn out right. After much debate and trial and error spanning a year, it was discovered that the only thing different from Grams cakes made in Iowa (where she lived while I was growing up) or in Texas was Adams Extract.
So you're thinking this is just not a big deal right? Just go buy Adams vanilla and shut up about it. Right?

WRONG. You cannot get Adams vanilla in my neck of the woods. I have scoured the area. Every major grocery, all the Mom and Pop general stores, every place imaginable to no avail. The only place that I know you can purchase this fabulous extract that has become a piece of soul is in the great state of Texas.
Yes, Texas. Home to longhorn cattle, blue bonnets, ten gallon hats, cowboys and Adams Extract vanilla. Lucky for me Grams resides in this great state and supports my increasingly more deranged addiction.

For my birthday this past December Grams sent me 3 bottles of delicious goodness. I've used it in the 12 different types of cookies I made at Christmas. The 5 pies for Thanksgiving. The 9 or so pies for Christmas. Pancakes, waffles, muffins,cookies, brownies and anything else that requires any amount of vanilla. It makes everything just that much better.

And now to the point (yes I have one). I have a horrible, shameful confession to make.
Thursday morning I reach into my cupboard and realize that I only have one, yes ONE, bottle left of my vanilla. I have gone thru two bottles of vanilla since December. I have a problem.
I start to sweat and panic. I can feel the bile rising in my throat. What am I going to do? Should I get on a plane? Do I dare ask my Grams to purchase some vanilla and send it to me just 4 days before her major surgery? Do I beg my Grams, the woman who has barely been able to walk for weeks to trudge out to the grocery store purchase more vanilla and then go to FedEx and ship me the recently purchased vanilla? Can I really be so selfish, so heartless?

And like divine intervention my phone rings. Grams is calling. It's like she knows. I figured the universe was telling me to be a selfish brat and ask for my vanilla. So I did.
My Grams, being the terrific, caring, loving, wonderful woman she is, went out in the Texas heat, in writhing pain, just days before a surgery that would leave her bed bound for eight weeks, and got me six bottles of of my drug.
Ok, so she was not writhing in pain and she knows the perfect times of the day to avoid the heat but you get the point.

I am spoiled, my Grams is the best ever and if you ever come over for dessert I guarantee to spoil you with some Adams Extract.

This is not a paid advertisement. This is purely my brain hard at work after only 2 short hours of sleep last night. I shall now tuck my six bottles of vanilla into bed next to me and retire for the night.



A little mobile blogging this morning. I'm up and out the door already after only a few short hours of sleep.

Had a great time at the Milwaukee Brewers vs. Houston Astros game. Expect lots of pictures later today.

Scott may never recover from being out until 2am. He slept a little on the way home which contributed to us to missing our exit, this tacking on an extra 25minutes to our trip. (I suck)

My Grams surgery went well. I haven't spoken with her yet but her darling friend Kay called in the report last night on our way to the game. (Thanks Kay)
I think the worst part for Grams will be the recovery. A full 8 weeks of not being able to put any weight at all through her leg. Always keeping it elevated, which means laying on her back.
Yuck! I'm thinking I need to increase Scott's cell phone minutes. They can entertain each other.

More later with photos.


Mornin'- Time for a Healthy Breakfast

Just a quick little update of sorts this morning.
Scott is feeling better (at least he was yesterday and he hasn't called me yet this morning so I'm feeling hopeful).

Spent yesterday evening at Justin's birthday party. More time sitting on family deck surrounded by good people and delicious food.

A few thoughts floating in my head this morning.

"Happy Anniversary" to Justin and Kara.

Hugs, love, prayers and happy thoughts for my Grams this morning and she goes under the knife for a very, very complex ankle/foot surgery. If you guys wouldn't mind saying a few kind words for her I would appreciate it.

Jillian Michaels is an evil bitch.
I workout every morning. Sadly, I'm confined to my bedroom and whatever OnDemand TV has on their exercise channel. This morning I picked a Jillian Michaels program that now has me doubting my sanity and longing for the freedom to go outside and ride my bike or walk. You know, something where I can slack off and slow down without some TV trainer yelling at me with the abs and arms that I'm so working towards.
I hate you Jillian Michaels for pushing me as far as I can go. Oh and thanks, I need it.

Kate is already stirring in bed so I need to get my stinky butt in the shower.

Bring it on Monday. I'm ready for whatever you throw at me.


Eleven Things

Here are a few random tidbits of information for you.

1) I got a smile today that was so real, so genuine, so pure, so full of love, hope and faith that I wanted to capture it on film but without my camera I had to just capture it in my heart. Maybe it's better there anyways, I don't have to share.

2) I hate knees. Men and women. Knees are just plain ugly.

3) Kate had popcorn, a lollipop and cereal for dinner tonight. It's just what happens when you see a movie at 4:40pm.

4) I am planning a day for Kate to go to Grandmas so I can watch Deadliest Catch and cry for the entire day.

5) We're going to a baseball game on Monday. It will be my first baseball outside of Wrigley Field.

6) I need more weddings in my life.

7) Now that Kate says her full name I feel kind of bad that we gave her such a long name. Poor girl can barely spit it out.

8) Today is my brothers birthday. Happy 25th Justin!

9) My Grams is having major foot/ankle replacement and reconstruction surgery on Monday and I hate that I'm not going to be with her. And I secretly want to see what her foot looks like post op.

10) Kate can't say "yellow" correctly so I insist on pointing it out everywhere we go because I love that she still sounds like a baby when she says it.

11). Scott hasn't been feeling well for the past 5 days. I'm dreading Monday if he doesn't start getting better tomorrow.

There you have it 11 random things that are bouncing around in my head.
Terrifying isn't it?


Operation Do More

Thanks to those of you that shared your kind words of experience. We all are guilty of thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
I did find it fascinating that many of my thirty-something friends reached out to me today to say "that's exactly how I feel". Forget midlife crisis, I'm thinking the new "it" phase is "thirty-something crisis".

I threw all the excuses out the window today and Kate and I embraced life. There was no way I was going to fill the most beautiful day of the year with errands, bathroom cleaning and laundry. NO WAY!

Started our day out the usual way, Starbucks.
Yes, yes I know I have a problem. It's my only vice. Forgive me.
Headed to the grocery to pick up some prescriptions and a few necessities and then right back home. Kate played in the driveway, coloring pictures and terrorizing small bugs with her pink car. I busted out the hedge trimmer and attacked a few of the bushes on the front walk that were threatening to swallow Scott whole. Once I had conquered the beasts and once again saved Scott from certain death we headed inside to get Scott ready for the day.

Once Scott was settled in his chair and ready for therapy Kate and I headed out once again. Destination - Donahue's for a little quality time babysitting this face.

Baby Ryan is growing up fast and already cruising around.

Got home just in time for a nap. Well, I don't nap but, you don't want to hear about the dishes or bill paying I did. Nap time is truthful and sounds much prettier.
Decided that I hadn't done enough to make this day fabulous. So I started packing.
I packed the most half-assed, unstructured, poorly planned, anti-Brandi beach bag you've ever seen. I figured we had suits, sunscreen and a bucket the rest we would just have to figure out as we went.
Off we went. Main Beach in Crystal Lake. Here's something really sad, this place is 10 minutes away from our house. A grand total of 3.5miles. And yet, we never go there. Oh and to make it worse, it's a freaking dollar to get it. What's wrong with me?
Well, I can tell you we'll be spending some serious time at the beach this year. I'm not a big "beach girl" but the exposure for Kate is amazing. The lake, the kids, the huge park, the trees and pathways, the sand between her little toes. Talk about fantastic.
Sunshine, my best girl, beautiful weather, warm water. Just look....

Watch out world. We're just getting our feet wet.

Our house isn't the only house in the family that has some change coming. My over qualified, under-utilizied, brother Justin finally got another job today. It's been a long time and we all know in this economy finding a job is a miracle.
Kate's going to miss her weekday visits with Uncle Justin. She'll just have to get used to only having him around on the weekends. Happy early birthday Brother! Congratulations!


Time, Space Continuium

I can't hardly believe June is almost over already. Seems like just yesterday it was Kate's birthday and I had all these grand ideas of how we would spend our summer.
Mentally I planned, swim classes, bike rides to the beach, zoo trips, baseball games, nights spent catching fireflies and eating watermelon on the front porch letting it drip off of our chins.
I'm already feeling like a failure. Yeah, we've done a lot. We hosted a huge party with bounce house, good food, live music and lots of love. We've blown bubbles until our lips turned blue and colored the driveway with all the colors of a rainbow with our sidewalk chalk. But, we've also spent a lot of time waiting.
Waiting for the right weather (yeah, right it's like I forget that we live outside of Chicago). Waiting for a day when I don't have something else to do. Waiting for a day when all the laundry is done, the dishes are all put away and the jungle that is our landscaping is all primped and beautiful again. Waiting for Scott to magically heal and have enough energy to go with Kate and I. Waiting...

You're hearing it here first. I'm not waiting anymore. I broke up with waiting a week ago read about it here
And maybe I just needed time to heal from the nasty break-up so I could once again embrace life. I need to stop being so structured and just make things happen.

I've been hearing from a lot of my friends that I'm not the only one feeling out of balance as of late. I'm beginning to think that this early 30's age is a tough age, maybe the hardest I've been through. Does anyone remember the show "thirtysomething"? I was a little young to really understand the topics but I'm feeling like I would be able to relate to it really well right now.

Us "thirtysomethings" have all these relatively new responsibilities. Kids, mortgage, spouse, house and all it's maintenance, friendships, future planning. And I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only one that still wishes they could have some carefree, "twentysomethings", moments. Going away for a weekend just because. Getting tickets to the Cubs game on the same day as going. Staying out too late during the week just because.
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my life. Being a mother is absolutely what I was meant to be in this life. But, I can't help but fantasize about being able to balance being a fantastic mother with being able to go for a Harley ride at 9pm just because it's beautiful outside.

I'm thinking by 40 life has settled and things are "easier". The mortgage and money stresses aren't new anymore. The kids are a little older and little more adaptable. Your relationship with your spouse is finally beginning to recover from the disconnect that happens when kids come into the picture. Things are just a little more settled.

So, I'm wondering all of you over 40's, am I right? Does it get easier? Well maybe not easier but just less of a transition.
There are a lot of us "thirtysomethings" struggling right now. Give it to us straight. We can handle it.

While, I'm waiting for the answers to one of life's many hard questions I'm going to make a list. A new list. An attainable list of all the things I WILL do this summer. I need more messy popsicles melting in the summer sun. More sand between my toes. More sun on my pale face. More smiles from my baby girl. More time with the people that really matter.
There is no tomorrow, only today. Live for today.


Eviction Notice

You all heard the tale of the first mouse we found HERE.
Then you got a chance to win some movie tickets by guessing about another mouse visitor HERE and HERE

Settle in with some popcorn kids the "mousecapades" in the WWW continue.

Picture this - A quiet peaceful naptime at the WWW. Scott is in therapy, Brian is outside working on fixing the leak in the garage ceiling, and I'm on the couch in the living room working on a few things.
Out of the corner of my eye I see something move. Instantly I spot the little shit. Another freaking mouse is under the television.
I run into the kitchen to my trusty Tupperware cabinet and grab the largest plastic container I can find, I'll shove my hand into a open body cavity but I will NOT touch a mouse. Racing back into the living I say "Your mine bitch". I even have a little bit of over confident swagger going on. After all, I did just capture one of her little friends. These bitches don't know who they're messing with.
I get down in front of the tv, where Little Bitch, is now hiding. I make a quick assessment, mutter a few, ok a lot, of curse words and wiggle the cords underneath, sending Little Bitch running for her life.
Perfect, I've got her....wrong... Little Bitch escapes my mighty Tupperware and is now running for her life in my living room.
Deciding I'm in over my head, I swallow the bile that is now creeping up my throat and head outside to get Brian for reinforcements.
After he finally stops laughing Brian assists me in systematically moving around the room moving everything.

Ever piece of furniture is moved.

Every blanket it lifted.

Every sofa lifted. Turning my living room into a disaster area.

Our efforts turn up nothing. Deciding we need to wait her out we resort to placing peanut butter and cheddar cheese out in hopes to entice Little Bitch out from her hiding.

I even bust out the stinky blue cheese.

My two wonderful cats are being so helpful in my quest to find Little Bitch. If the cats aren't careful they'll be getting the next eviction notice.

30minutes goes by. I decide to go back to work and keep a watchful eye on the "treats". I notice that Becky, the useless cat is sitting a little to attentively near the bookcases. Deciding that must be where Little Bitch has hidden I once again bring Brian in to assist.
We remove every item from the shelves and flip the cases one by one. Once again, we miss Little Bitch but this time she doesn't get far. Brian and I corner her. Suddenly is looks like a squeeze play in baseball. Brian on one-side with his Tupperware and me on the other with my Tupperware. Little Bitch has nowhere to go.

She's finally captured.

Little Bitch is given her eviction notice and finds herself, along with her Tupperware in the back ditch.

Another success. Scott and I discuss bringing in the specialists to assess the situation. While I may be a full on mouse catching professional now, I'm totally sick of it and the amount of curse words that have come out of my mouth during these episodes would make Andrew Dice Clay blush.

Fast forward to yesterday (Monday). Kate and I are getting ready to head out for a bit, leaving Scott to recover from therapy stretched out on the couch. Before we go, Scott asks me to bring him a blanket. I grab the blanket off his bedroom floor, wrap it in my arms and carry it out to the couch. Spreading it over Scott I see it. Another mother fucking mouse.
This brazen little thing took a free ride in my arms and is now running up Scott's chest in an attempt to find freedom.
Once again, I'm running for the Tupperware cabinet. This one takes no time at all. I flip the sofa (it comes apart in 3 pieces) and the new Little Bitch is running. I slam the Tupperware down on top of her. She's not getting away this time. Game over Little Bitch II. Mama, ain't playing anymore.

Once again, Becky cat was so very helpful, not!

I make quick work removing LB II and tell Scott that if he doesn't make arrangements for an exterminator immediately he will be living in our beautiful house alone.
Apparently Scott doesn't want to live alone because the exterminator was at our house by 10am this morning.

Notice has been officially served. No more mice in this house. It's full out war now. Traps have been set, poison has been placed and they're all gonna die.

Tomorrow, I'll have a trip to Target to replace my Tupperware supply, just in case.

EDIT- Having my phone ring at 4:40am is a bad thing. Always. This mornings call was Scott alerting me to Becky's newest playmate. What the fuck? Catching a mouse at 4:45am and subsequently having to kill it because of where it hid is NOT a good way to start a Wednesday morning.

Adding pillow and pillow case to my Target list and trying to patiently wait for the exterminator's office to open up.

It's ok to laugh, I would. I can't because I'm too busy cursing but...


Father's Day - Part 2

Let's give this a try again, shall we?

Father's day was spent at my parents house with the entire family.
A large piece of the day was spent enjoying the back deck.
Scott, Kate and Uncle Justin (not pictured) enjoyed some bubble making time.

My dad, as usual, maned the grill. There's a reason we call him the Grill Master.

"He went with the long tongs"
The dads decided they wanted lamb. Lamb makes dads happy.

The rest of us savages went for steak. We ate, and we ate and we ate some more.

Life on the back deck was good....

There were hugs.

A little dad pampering

A few scary moments

And lots of laughs.

Scott got his present today when he arrived home from therapy. With a little help from S12 I took these photos of Kate and framed them to hang over Scott's bed. They turned out far better than I ever could have imagined.

Kate is holding the letters D A D in the photos. They are hard to see.

And so ends our photo-journal Father's Day reenactment.

Don't worry there's still a mouse story (or two) to share.


Father's Day

A beautiful day spent with two terrific dads. Great food, family, smiles, laughs, hugs and a deck big enough for all of us.

Here's how we spent Father's Day, photo journal style.

Well, this photo will have to sufice for right now. Experiencing some technical difficulties.

Ok, I lied, I got one other to load. Complete details to follow when Blogger isn't exploding with photos from the other nutty mothers out there that took 201 pictures today.
A wonderful, wonderful day.


Winner- Finally a freaking winner!

And I don't know who you are.

Anonymous – – (June 20, 2010 10:54 AM)
Mouse? Possibly chipmunk?

So step forward and tell me who you are and claim your prize.

More on the mouse story and the details from our Father's Day later.

I hope all the fabulous fathers that we are so blessed to know are spending the day doing whatever it is they want to be doing.


Contest Time - hints

What? Too hard of a contest?

A few hints -
I used profanity.
I'm mad at her.

I enlisted help.

New guesses can be posted here.


Contest Time

It's been awhile kids. Time to bust out another WWW contest.

First person to accurately guess what's going on in this photo wins
drum roll,please...........

2 free movie passes to AMC Theaters

All you need to do is place your guess in the comments section of THIS post.

Ready, set, GO!

*hint-this is the WWW living room*

Legal mumbo-jumbo
AMC Theaters did not in any way, shape, or form, sponsor this contest. AMC only knows my love for butter in the middle of the popcorn tub. They do not know that while at Costco recently I picked up a packet of tickets. They wouldn't care if they did know.
And so ends the legal mumbo-jumbo.
10-4 over and out


Happiness Tonight Is

Good News

Going flying with my best girl.

A busy airport

Imagination playtime

Having an eReader back in my alien looking hands.