Checking In

It’s been a while since I last wrote. Although, there are a lot of drafts… I just never finish writing, and then things change…. bla bla bla…

Anyway, 2017 has been prety good so far. Work finally moved to the new office, and it’s awesome. The views are great, the atmosphere is great, and it is pretty awesome in general. There are two downsides (though nothing major); the first is the office temp. You’d think being surrounded by floor to ceiling glass that it’d be hot as balls, but it’s actually damn nippy in there. And this is coming from someone whose never owned a coat and wore shorts/skorts in the winter. Now a days, I’ll sit at my desk with my wool coat on! Who knows what summer is going to be like. The second is the location of the bathroom in relation to where my desk is. It’s a damn city block away! Like literally. While, the benefits of getting extra walking in outweigh the location… but, when you gotta go, that’s a hell of a long walk.

2017 has been good to us, so far. I think all of the sickness has made it’s course. All of us, except Amelia, caught something. The latest for me was Strep Throat, which hurt like hell. Thank goodness the antibiotics worked quickly.

We received our tax overpayment this past week and Greg and I had a shopping spree at IKEA. We got a whole new bedroom set, including a new mattress, new shelves and bookcases, rug, and other little things. Like, we spent $1500 – not including Greg’s employee discount (which is 15%) or the $420 in cash that we got back from the recalled dressers. It was a long weekend of moving heavy stuff up and down three flights of stairs. And, we still have stuff to put together. But, Greg and I are totally loving our new bedroom set. We got the Hemnes line – so everything is coodinates. I’ve never slept in a brand new bed; every bed I’ve slept in since I first moved away from home was a hand-me-down. Nothing wrong with them, and they lasted years.. decades even. But, we were ready for something that was “ours”. It’s truly the little things that can make you happy.

I’ve enrolled Sofia into soccer this season. It’s more of a fundamentals of soccer than an actual soccer league. She’s hella excited, as am I. And, Amelia has expressed interest as well… though, she’s thinking she and Sofia will be on the same team. Had to break it to her that that won’t be possible given their age difference. But, either way they’re both excited.

I’ve booked Greg’s 40th birthday cruise! We’re excited for this big vacation. It’s a long ways away.. like 399 days away! A lot of time to kill between now and then. In the mean time, we’re looking at spending a week in Ocean City, MD this summer. It’s been decades since I’ve spent more than 2 or 3 days in Ocean City, so this’ll be fun. I think the girls will enjoy it. We’re likely going to book with the Francis Scott Key Resort because it pretty much offers everything we want and need on-site. And, offers a shuttle to the beach which would save money, and time, on parking!

Well, that’s enough for a small catch-up for now.

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Change and Determination

2015 is going to be THE year of changes.
I know it is and I am determined to make sure it will be.

I have three goals this year:

Financial
Health
Career

Financial: as of today, I do not have any credit card debt. The only credit card debt in my name are the two cards that Greg and I share, but are under his name. My goal is for Greg and I to get pre-approved for a mortgage in 2015. My credit score took a massive hit this past summer and I’m going to rebuild my score as quickly as possible as well as start contributing to my savings account again.

Health: I’ve decided that I want to work on my health. The depression has had enough controller over the past two years that I am now going to take it back.  I am a person that enjoys group exercises and Zumba is looking more interesting as well as other group activities. In addition to beating this depression, I want to build up my endurance for the every day things; I’m tired of feeling tired and lazy. Healthy eating… well, I like my meats and potatoes. I’ll work on incorporating more veggies in my snacks and meals. But, must do so in baby steps.

Career: this will be the biggest challenge for me. I’ve become comfortable in my current role, though unhappy. I’m ready for a change in responsibilities and or role altogether but I lack confidence in my abilities. I suck at interviews because I just can’t sell myself. I’d rather tell potential employers that I’d rather my work speak for me. I want prove that I can do the job instead of saying I can do it.

I’ve taken a break on classes (only missed last fall) and I’m only 35 credits shy of graduating with a bachelor degree. I can do this! And, I know that having a degree will aid in my job hunt. Also, I’m going to reach out to the university for career development and help me work on my interview skills as well as where I can best apply my education and work experience to get me the career I want. 

I’m excited about this path and goals for 2015. Knowing me, I just hope I can keep myself motivated and pumped!

What are your goals for 2015?

Weekend Quickie

I am feeling way too lazy to go into detail about this weekends events (including the pictures I have that are still on the camera), so I’ll just give the simple story:

Saturday:

We all slept in; even Amelia! Oh, and I count getting up at 8am as sleeping in. We weren’t due to meet at the mall until 3:30pm, so Greg ran out to do a few errands while I packed up Amelia’s clothes and started some laundry. Eventually Greg returns with a late breakfast from McD’s (love their fruit and walnut salad – so does Amelia) and then we’re on the round around noon. First we stop by Greg’s Mom’s place of employment to pay a short visit and talk about Thanksgiving plans (still don’t know what we’re doing with Greg’s side of the family in regard to dinner) and just chit-chat for about 15-20 min. Around 1pm we make our way down to Waldorf. We were expecting traffic. There was none! And we were at the mall within 45 minutes. I tried calling my Mom to see what she was up to and to let her know we’re early but she never answered the phone. So, I napped in the car (along with Amelia which is the real reason we didn’t go in the mall). Finally, it’s about 3pm so we head inside and change Amelia for her visit with Santa. It turns out Mom was at the mall the entire time! Figures.

Amelia met Santa and didn’t fuss or anything! We were surprised. Her picture, on the other hand… somewhat entertaining. I’ll have to take a picture of it and post later (since I don’t have a scanner). Once Santa was over, the girls  – those being April, Mom, and I –  did a little shopping while the boys – those being Greg and Clayton –  took the kids to a restaurant to get us a table. It was a nice break.

Dinner was uneventful. Greg decided to treat everyone and paid the tab. Greg also get a little tipsy from restaurant quality (or lack of) sangria. I was just as surprised.

Finally, it was picture appointment time! We arrived about 10 min early and the place was PACKED. We knew we weren’t going to be seen at our appointed time (which kinda ticked me off a little). As a matter of fact we weren’t ‘seen’ until nearly an hour and a half AFTER our appointed time! I surprised the girls (Olivia and Amelia) made it that long, given the photos were taken after their normal bedtimes. And, as to be expected, the pictures were a little challenging to take. No major meltdowns though.  It was a little after 9pm by the time we all left.

Greg and I were home a little after 10 and pretty much went straight to bed (well, within an hour).

Sunday:

We woke up around 8:30ish and talked about what to do. Our original plans were to head over to Rehoboth Beach for outlet shopping. On a whem, Greg decides to go out for brunch so we get showered and ready to go. By the time brunch was over, Greg lost his motivation to drive all the way out to Delaware. I offer the suggestion of outlet shopping a little closer to home (such as Hagerstown or Queenstown) and he declines and we decide to continue as planned.

It took us a little over 2 hours to get to Rehoboth Beach! I don’t remember it taking that long the previous times (but, to be fair, I think I slept through the car ride as well). We did our traditional stop at Sonic’s for a few drinks (as we were still full from brunch).

Our first store was for Greg. We went to Causal Male and picked out nearly everything Greg will need, clothing-wise, for the cruise! He bought about 5 pants, 4 t-shirts, and 3 tropical shirts (all of which I picked out). He made out pretty good (in my opinion). While the guy was ringing up our stuff, we were chit chatting and talking about our up coming cruise and he was talking about his past cruises and stuff. Also, Greg and I decided to play a game and try to guess the total each time we visited a store. My guess for Greg’s clothes was $350, the actual total was $345! I was so close!

The second store was for me, Lane Bryant. The entire store was 40% off (except for bras and panties) and they had a huge clearance section. I bought 7 pairs of pants/capris (both for the cruise and work); 7 shits, a dress (for Greg’s company party and the cruise) and Greg picked out 2 pairs of panties. I guessed my total would be at least $250, but expecting it to be higher. I was wrong. The total came to $204! I was shocked!

By the time we finished shopping for clothes, it was about 3:45pm. We called Mom and Amelia to say hi and share our excitement about the amazing deals on the clothes. Once we were done chatting, we head over to another section of the outlets (there are three sections within a mile of each other) and search for shoes and I wanted to look for a purse/bag for the cruise. I noticed there was a Coach Outlet store so we stopped in. I did find a style of bag that I liked and would have bought, if it weren’t for $$$ – even on clearance.  Granted, Greg would have bought it for me if I really wanted it. But, I would rather spend the month on other things. So, we moved onto the Fossil store and I found a similar style bag there (something to also carry during the shore excursions and keep our passports in. And to think, Greg was going to wear a fannie-pack!!!) and while in the Fossil store, Greg bought himself a new watch, a watch for me and 2 more watches for gifts (his Mom and one of his brothers). After Fossil, we went to Sketchers. I found the shoes I wanted (and loved) but they didn’t have my size in the color I wanted!!! I used to wear a size 10 shoe; now I am a size 9!! They had a size 9.5 and it was too big and the 8.5 was too small. It was so weird. So, I settled for a similar shoe. Greg went shoe shopping at the Nike outlet about bought a new pair of sneakers and I found a pair of ‘dock shoes’ (cruise shoes).

Once we were finally done with the shopping we decided to have dinner. We were on the road to home by 7pm and didn’t arrive until a little after 9pm – this time due to slow ass drivers on the backroads.

That was the busy weekend we had. Lots of driving (a whole tank worth); lots of money spent; lots of good times.

Damn Straight!

I am going to get my $5000 bonus check!

I still don’t think I’ll have it by this Friday (I’ve accepted that), but there was NO WAY I was going to let them get away with just a $1000.

Especially when I had ammunition. 

I have the email from both the CEO and HR Director stating the bonus would be a payout of $5000.

I was ready to fight and get nasty.

And, start looking for another job if they were not going to honor the amount.

Around 5:30pm, the manager came to me with a new form that showed the correct bonus amount and I signed away and asked for a copy (for my personal records because I don’t trust the HR director).

So, I am happy again. Yay me!

Financial things are looking good for us; we have my bonus check coming in, Greg’s bonus for this month (which is looking to be pretty damn good) and our ‘government’ bonus (I’m getting $900). Plus, eventually, AT&T is going to mail out my $100 rebate (hoping to have it by the time we leave for Michigan). I’m starting to get paranoid and want to horde all the extra money we get for ‘just in case’ events this summer, but at the same time I want to be able to have fun. So far, with the money we’re going to be receiving in the next 3 weeks, we’ve planned to pay off the cruise, … and I think I already went through this list before… eh, I’ll spare you the details. So, I debate if I should go out, find a Wii, and buy it. But, I don’t have a valid reason to buy one. I just want to buy something fun.

My Mom has begged, again, to have some ‘one-on-one’ time with Amelia, so we’ve planned to let Mom ‘keep’ Amelia from the 12th – 17th of May (we were going to ask Mom to watch Amelia on the 16th anyway since we’re going to the JSOH Airshow). I am so going to miss her during that week; Amelia’s personality is really starting to shine and she’s growing up so fast! Just today I was looking at her as we were playing outside waiting for Greg and it seemed that Amelia’s face has matured, like she’s morphing out of the baby face features and into child face features – becoming more ‘grown-up’ (like, I can get an idea of what her face is going to look like as an adult). It was a weird … observation… realization… I don’t know what to call it… reality check just popped into my mind, so I’ll accept that.

Also, I’ve begun to get that itch for another baby. I am missing the ‘newness’ of a baby, going through the developmental stages again, feeling the love from within of being a new(er) mother, looking at a life that was created inside of you and getting to hold it and marvel at all the changes that occurred to have this perfect little being. I want another baby. I want to experiance the mircle of life, again (and this time know of its conception in a timely fashion). But, alas, I know this want/wish is a few years away. I have a lot of other priorities that I’d like to accomplish before adding to the family, such as finishing school and being a home owner. Also, I would like there to be roughly 3-4 years between Amelia and Baby #2 (if I have a boy, I already have names picked: William and/or James. Shoot, William James is perfect for me, or William Thomas… I could go on and on), that way I feel I will be able to handle both. Again, this is wwaayy into the future…

TV is boring lately, even on cable. I’ve been playing a lot of Zelda (a game that I bought for Greg and I play it more than him) on the DS. I should go to the library and get a few books… expland my mind and all that jazz. Anyone have a few recommendations? I’m not much for self-help, romance, or politics, but would be willing to try something new.

 

 

Nothing to Say

Don’t have anything to write about tonight.

Does anyone else watch Andrew Zimmern: Bizarre Foods or Anthony Bourdain? I am hooked on both shows (and just about all the shows on the Travel Channel) Greg can’t watch Bizarre Foods; he’s too squeamish. I, on the other hand, have a curiosity that is stronger than the stomach (sometimes). I don’t know how Andrew Zimmerman can eat some of the foods that he does; I know I would be gaging and throwing up before I could pick up the item. I used to get so squeamish watching Fear Factor! But, at least with Andrew Zimmerman, it’s about the culture and not just for shock (sometimes). Anthony Bourdain is just funny; his show is great. He has such a great personality and dry sense of humor.

So, it’s confirmed. We’re doing a family Disney Cruise in July 2009. Greg and I may continue with a honeymoon cruise (no destination set), without the family. But, it’s cool to know that I’m going on two cruises in 2009!

On the 25th I finally receive my bonus check in the amount of $5,000 (excluding taxes)!! I am going to pay off the NCL cruise, pay a good chunk on the Dell card (for Greg’s camera) and buy some much needed clothes. Oh, and give Lisa $500, because without her I wouldn’t be receiving the $$$.

Quiet night (in my mind).

Not Too Bad

The day wasn’t all that bad.

I’ll tell ya, though, I have some awesome friends and family! Lisa stopped by this morning with a vat of home-made chicken and rice soup, that Greg and Amelia devoured, and Sean ran to the grocery store and bought us a few needed items (milk, bread, and OJ) as well as some ‘goodies’ (salt and vinegar chips (my favorite), Boston Market mashed potatoes, lunch meat, and soda)! Oh, I feel so loved!

This morning I was up just before 7:30, due to Amelia. I was fearful, last night, that Amelia would be up all night due to her overly-stuffed nose; she only woke up once after I initially laid her in bed, and that was sometime around 11pm and I brought her into bed with me and let her lay on my bare chest, as i leaned against the cold wall, and hoped the warmth of my skin, steady breathing, and hearing my heart beat, would calm her down and help her fall back asleep (all the while, sitting up so the snot would drain out). It worked, and she slept for the rest of the night.

Greg didn’t sleep as well as I did. He was hot and cold all through out the night and sweated a river! The sheets, blanket, and pillow cases were literally soaking wet. I was so grossed out by the wetness of the bedding that I stripped the bed, pillows, and duvet cover and washed them.

I didn’t do any cleaning, other than the kitchen, and just watched TV with Greg and Amelia. I didn’t even dress Amelia, she stayed in her pajama’s all day. Amelia ate a decent amount of food today; she ate a whole egg, some soup and a whole grilled cheese sandwich, and just a little dinner. That doesn’t sound like a lot but lately her appetite has been almost non existent. So, needless to say, I was happy to see her eating so much.

And get this! Remember me writing about the state of MD ‘stealing’ a good chunk of my refund because, according to their records, I never filed my 1999 taxes? Well, today in the mail there was a $600 check from the state! Why? Well, from my understanding, according to their confusing reasons, it turns out that I over paid state taxes for 2006 (so I got the $147 that I paid to them last year back and what I should have received as a refund). Interesting. But, I’m not going to question it; after all – who doesn’t like receiving a $600 check from the government and who is going to question the government; and, as I was told – they don’t make mistakes! HA HA HA!

a day

yeah, nothing really comes to mind for a proper title as I plan on writing about whatever is on my mind. also, i am going to try to use pictures and referring links (i think it’s neat to see what other people are talking about via links to their local places) for this entry. We’ll start the entry around 12:30…

the first item on our list for this weekend was to take Greg’s car to NTB for new tires and an alignment ($300 spent). i followed Greg in my car so we could do our other tasks while the car was being worked on. so, once the car was dropped off we headed to lunch

Lunch time!

i’ve lived in the glen burnie area for about four years and never ate at this little pizzeria until today. I remember when I first moved to this area with Adam that I wanted to try the place out but we never did.

feeding the baby

amelia liked the pizza…

hungry greg

greg liked the pizza. but not me, so much. it wasn’t fresh nor hot enough for my liking. the cheesecake on the other hand was delicious! it’s been a long time since i’ve had a slice of cheesecake and i now believe that cheesecake is my favorite dessert (the real cheesecake) and i prefer my cheesecake plain (no sauce and no fruit, unless it’s fresh fruit without sauce). amelia LOVED the cheesecake!

my cheesecake

she literally took the fork from me, stabbed a chunk of cheesecake, brought the chunk to her, took the chunk off the fork and shoved the chunk in her mouth! and i let her do it! she was being too cute to stop. after she took a few bites she decided to squish the cheesecake chunk in her hand and then rubbed the mess on my face, which you can sort of see in this picture:

cake in the face

but i find the expression on the lady’s face behind me more entertaining. the lady was nice and very chatty.

Once we were done with lunch we headed to the grocery store to do some much needed shopping (as it’s been a little over two weeks since we did any real shopping). yeesh, we spent $200 on groceries! i picked out a lot of meat (chicken, pork and beef) and have plenty of dinner ideas (a couple roasts for the crock-pot, chili, and plenty of chicken to experiment with) and new spices to try out. greg and i love to flavor our meats with exotic spices (just wish the spices were much cheaper) so it was a lot fun to look at all the spices and marinades and pick out some that we’ve been wanting to buy for a while. also, greg and i have begun to shop healthier (and have been doing so since we moved in together but we’re going to be more serious with our grocery selections); we’re buying all whole grains and wheat products (such as pasta, breads, rice, snacks) to aide in our goal of being healthier (and hopes of loosing some weight for 2008); and finally during our shopping, greg’s car was finish so it was nice to be able to stop by the car shop on the way home rather than having to go back out later in the day, as we were expecting.

amelia was being a little bit… unhappy at the store. she was difficult to keep happy and occupied. we knew she wasn’t hungry as we fed her before we left the house and she snacked on some pizza and cheesecake so we chocked it up to being sleepy and cranky. and, sure enough she fell asleep in a matter of minutes once she was in the car and remained asleep for a good hour and a half!

the rest of the day was uneventful. greg and i talked a little more about our plans with the money and about next weekend. My Mom is taking amelia for a week (she was practically begging me to bring amelia down for a week long visit) and the plan is to meet with Mom, my brother and my cousin April for lunch to celebrate my 29th birthday. I believe we’re meeting at Longhorn (the one in Waldorf); i’ve never been there before.

i don’t know what the plans are once we’ve dropped off amelia with my mom – it’s all going to be a surprise; originally we were planning an Ikea trip (the one in College Park) but I don’t know it that’s still going to happen. Also, the weekend of my birthday, there is a huge bridal expo at the Baltimore Convention Center that I’ve been thinking about attending (mainly because I have free passes). Greg doesn’t want to go because he thinks we’ll run into his ex there; i have my doubts since it’s a huge expo and it’s two days long (what are the chances?); as a compromise, greg suggested we visit the Maryland Science Center to see the Body Worldsexibit. We’ll see – after all, it’s only a week away!

moving on… 

this evening, for dinner, i cooked two steaks. i bought a family pack of NY strip steaks, which, by the way, are my all time favorite steakes and I was so happy to see that they were on sale (even though I had to buy large quantities).

sales ad

and the steakes were cut nice and thick! so i decided to try one of the new marinades/sauces that we bought (and i’ve been eyeing the bottle for a couple weeks now):

new marinade - front

new marinade detail

so i took out 2 (of the 5 steaks) and placed them in a ziplock bag with the above

bag o steakdetail of bag o meat

the sauce has loads of nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and other nuts) as well as a good amount of kick for spice ( and it’s a slow kick that you don’t feel right away). I let the steaks marinade in the bag for about 2 hours. Due to the thickness of the steaks, i decided to do a quick broil (about 15-20 minutes) and then bake.

ready for the ovenready for the oven - detail

while the steaks were broiling/baking, i fed amelia and then she was bathed. after amelia’s bath (and this has become routine) the three of us laid in bed (ours) and goofed off until amelia was on the brink of passing out (again), which usually takes about 15-20 minutes. Amelia is getting to be so funny! Right now, she’s mimicked me when I flap my tongue (kinda like going ‘la la la’ but really fast) on my lips but the way she does it and how it sounds cracks greg and me up! I am going to try and get a recording of her doing it tomorrow. oh! and amelia walked across the living room all by her self!  pretty soon she’ll be running all over the place.

once amelia was asleep, i started some more laundry (which, by the way, our washer/dryer is acting up! the dryer isn’t drying and the washer makes this horrible screeching noise when spinning – going to need to dins the warranty info on the item and call for service) and checking on the steaks. they’re ready!

yummy!

and they turned out perfect! they were well done and juicy as ever! to complete the meal, we had a spinach salad and garlic mashed potatoes. the marinade had a nice flavor but i was expecting more. when the steaks were cooking, it smelt like i was baking bread (probably due to all the nuts). I am going to use the marinade on chicken (with a few added spices) next and see how that turns out. In the meantime, I have a few more new spices to try as well:

be sure that there will be more pictures of my cooking experiments later.

for now, it’s after midnight and I am pooped. I’ve been ‘working’ on this for over three hours (with a lot of interruptions and distractions). I was hoping to finish this by 10 and play some Diablo II or do some internet shopping for new games, but that never happened.

Tomorrow is up the in air. I don’t really have anything planned as of now, but Greg has to go into work for a couple of hours (he’s meeting Tim around 5, i think, and they are going to try and catch-up from the nightmare of a day they had this past Friday). I don’t want greg to go and i might join him (along with Amelia) or do a little window shopping in Columbia while he and Tim work.

Also, I want to show the wedding dresses that i’ve found and are seriously considering but that’s going to have to wait. in the mean time, enjoy this teasing:

lovely