So Many Pictures!

People ask me all the time why I take so many pictures! I’m not sure I have a simple answer, but I caught myself this weekend taking pictures of the animals and wondering, why do I snap so many photos when I see them everyday.

These guys make me smile and fostering a few of them makes my heart full ❤️

Then I realized I take pictures of more than just animals during the day.

I am a fan of my selfie – it reminds me of where I was and how far I have come, even with no makeup and messy hair I find a way to snap an image of myself and be proud of it, own it.

Heck, the other day I was so proud of the fact I found a planner I loved and was using it I snapped a bunch of photos.

I seem to go through life so quickly I can forget about all the good that has happened to me and in my life.

Simple reminders, like an amazing 40th birthday in Michigan with friends, time with my nephew, my talented daughter and family or simple things like a beautiful sunrise or a shot of the city.

You see, I take photos to remember how fortunate I am. I take them so I remember how grateful I am for everyone in my life, no matter how little or how much I see them.

I take photos to make sure I never forget. When I do forget those images are there to remind me.

So, snap away, know that pictures are worth a million words and I love seeing your pictures!

Blog Anniversary

About a year ago I started this little blog. In the last 90 days or so I have lacked in posting absolutely anything to my blog.

You may ask why I have shied away from blogging and my response would be simply, I have so much to say, but yet nothing to say.

When I lived in Cleveland (seems like eons ago) I hung out with a group of people who blogged. We met up once a month and blogged about our experiences and I looked to these individuals for support and inspiration.

Now I am here in Columbus and don’t see much of a blogging community here, so I am on my own when it comes to thinking of ideas and getting out and trying new things.

So for the last year I tried to make sure I blogged and shared recipes, lifestyle hacks and other general things like reviews and places to visit.

Have I been successful? I don’t think I have been unsuccessful, but not sure what I have done is classified as success.

This has been a year of good, bad, happy and sad.

  • My best friend in Chicago gave birth to a beautiful boy.
  • My daughter graduated high school and started her freshman year at The Ohio State University.
  • We lost my brothers cat.
  • My brother bought a new house.
  • My car was repossessed for a short moment.
  • Made many visits to Chicago and on one visit we saw Hamilton.
  • My daughter went to a lot of concerts and I saw Luke Bryan and QOTSA.
  • Friends visited Ohio a few times.
  • Took a trip to Oglebay for a night to see Christmas lights with friends.
  • Continued to be employed.
  • Animals are doing well.
  • Spent quality time with my nephew and family.
  • Saw a lot of hockey games, a baseball and football game or two.
  • Took my mom to her first basketball game.
  • Traveled to Pittsburgh and saw hockey and an old friend.
  • Took a work trip to Minneapolis and saw a long time friend.
  • Drank good wine with out of town friends.
  • Busted my foot royally.
  • Painted, threw axes and went to the pumpkin festival with fantastic friends.
  • Saw the Chinese Lanterns
  • Hosted Thanksgiving
  • Rode on Thomas the Train
  • Participated in the Rally for Recovery
  • Spoke at a few conferences
  • Saw School of Rock & Waitress
  • Cooked and baked a lot

When I look at that list I feel like there are way more good than bad things on it.

Overall 2017 wasn’t all that bad and I am hoping 2018 is pretty awesome and makes way for bigger and better things.

There are so many memories and pictures of what has happened these last 365 days and no way I could capture them all on one blog post.

This doesn’t show my awesome animals, many of my friends or rest of my family. They have all been a big part of 2017 and for that I am grateful.

Here’s to 365 more days of adventure…

Inching Along

I have been getting Facebook messages asking if I was going to blog again and how I was doing, in which case I thought maybe a post with pictures showing what’s been going on since August 14, 2017.

I took a quick trip to Chicago, came home and spent a short bit of time with these two lovelies after work one night. Then it was off to home with my daughter to get ready to send her off to college

After an extensive shopping spree and two car loads, we got her all settled in and I headed towards home.

I had spent most of my summer alone, as my girl was living life in Tennessee. While she was gone I realized I needed to start making some life choices.

After a “last meal” at my favorite place, Condado Taco, I started delving into the lovely world of meal prep. I was edging on a 4-5 day work trip and needed to make sure I wasn’t tempted to go out to eat.

On August 25, 2017, I hit my highest weight in years of 215 lbs. I was devastated and knew it was time to make changes. Meal prep, joining Planet Fitness and investing in an iWatch were all on the list of things to do.

Enjoyed a night out with some girlfriends and started back on the journey of deciding that I was worth it. That someone, somewhere would find me lovable, attractive and worthy of spending time with.

The following week was HELL at work, getting a grant submitted. I got home from that week and wanted nothing more than to sleep for days!

Spent Labor Day weekend visiting family, enjoying good ice cream from a local spot and baking some treats!

Loving on these four creatures as much as possible.

Had a few dates, been to the gym and have continued to cook, clean and declutter my home.

I have an outside cat (or three) who visit my porch frequently that I am feeding and I am set for a couple weeks of busy work and family/friend activities.

Things have really been uneventful, I’ve been up and I’ve been down. I’ve been pretty and I’ve been in pajamas.

Entering into sports season and that makes me happy, especially since that means post-season baseball, football, college football and hockey. I think basketball starts soon, but I’ll leave that to my mom.

Maybe this post will be my catalyst back into blogging and reviewing. Who knows, as I say that often.

Sending peace & love to you!

Living La Vida Alone

Here we go folks.

I am one step closer to being an empty nester.

After having my mini's graduation party this weekend (which was a HUGE success) I am realizing quickly how much I relied on her to be around.

Some say that this will give me time to get to know "me". Others say I will get to focus on my health and wellness. Then the third group says this will allow me to spread my wings and allow the freedom to date and travel.

To all of them I simply say "f**k off" because until you are in my shoes you will not understand the pain of realizing that person you have had in your home almost everyday for 18+ years will all of the sudden be sleeping somewhere 99% of the time.

I have been madly in love with being a mom since 1997. In between I have tried to find "hobbies" like scrapbooking, essential oil crafts, cooking, photography and many more.

Guess what – not successful.

Maybe it's my ADD. Maybe I just get bored easily. Either way I am finding myself cleaning out Rubbermaid tubs of crap that has gone by the wayside.

It has hit me recently, I just like taking care of people. That's all.

I keep busy with work, so my days plus some nights and weekends are full not to mention the animal brigade I have with me. Yet those 3-4 hours that I have alone are sometimes a little much to tolerate.

I think I'm starting to talk to myself people.

I ask the readers, what is it I should do? How have you dealt with being single and an empty nester?

Tonight I am starting with this:

What other thoughts do you have?

Sigh

Tonight I sit at home in pajama pants with the sky darkening and threatening to rain.  The dog is snoring next to me, the cats are scattered and sleeping.  We are all pleasantly exhausted.

Tomorrow brings about Sam coming home for a few days so she can get her college orientation done and a doctors appointment. This week at work is crazy busy, but will be fulfilling as always. 

I still find myself saying “sigh” tonight, even after reading, making a huge bowl of pasta salad, watching Orange is the New Black and straightening up around the apartment.  I feel unaccomplished and like I am not doing something I should be. 

I sigh because my heart is heavy.  I am lost without having my baby girl home every night. Cooking for one has been a challenge.  Pippa misses Sam and so do the cats.  I sigh because I realize how many things my daughter has done to help me around the house that now I am doing.  I sigh when I want to talk about my day and she isn’t here. 

I am grateful that she is heading to college and I am so happy that she has a bright future ahead of her. 

The sigh is because, while I know I have friends, I feel lonely.  Like there is something missing.  I’m ready for the next chapter in my life.  I’m ready to explore and cross a few things off my list.

As a single woman, who is pretty strong, I wonder – am I a superhero? Does being a superhero mean I can’t sigh?

Sigh, I just don’t know. 

Thoughts on Motherhood

I started this on May 19, 2017 ~ finally finishing and publishing on May 30, 2017 ~ Motherhood has me all kinds of cray-cray!

Everyday I read and hear people tell me how hard Motherhood is, how hard it is to work and raise kids or how hard they have it as a stay at home mom.
When I start to think about my life I am very grateful that I don’t see Motherhood as hard.  It has its challenges, that is for certain. 

My daughter is now 18.  

She didn’t arrive in a smooth fashion, instead she showed up early and spent 45+ days in the NICU. That wasn’t easy, going home and not taking my daughter with me. 

I get a lot of people who don’t understand how I am not upset when my daughter is not home for extended periods of time. 

I have been divorced since 2001, I’m used to not having her home.  I have always shared her with her dad and his family.   

Do I love her any less?  No.  Am I a bad mom when I don’t miss her as much as other parents miss their kids?  No. 

Have I cried over the last 18 years?  Sure I did.  I have cried a lot, as there have been many things to cry about.  Today was one of those days.  It was her last day of school.  Today I took her to school, picked up leftover artwork and knew that it was the last day she would buy her coffee and water and walk the halls as a student. 

Then I sat in my car and cried.  Will I admit it openly, no, but I cried. 

In my opinion Motherhood is not hard.   Then again maybe I am not a normal mom.  I enjoy a clean home, but I would rather some home from work, cook dinner and sit my ass on the couch and enjoy the couple hours of quiet than scrub a bathroom, vacuum or clean litter boxes.  I also live in an apartment, so on a Saturday I can clean top to bottom in 3 or so hours. 

Maybe Motherhood doesn’t seem hard to me because I don’t have a spouse or significant other at home with me.  This means no fighting, no setting expectations for another person and being able to do your own thing.

What I do know is, my opinion on Motherhood will always be it is hard, you never get a day off and you will never feel the same kind of love that you get when a child hugs you, no matter what the age. 

We are now 72 hours post-graduation and all I know is the tears keep springing up and I realize how much I will miss her in my life each and every day.  

Just as my mother has loved me through my good, bad and ugly I shall do the same as my daughter makes her way through life. 

Hug your families a little tighter this evening.

Parenthood

I recently had the privilege of spending quality time with three amazing people.  These 7 days were some of the most blissful and exhausting days in recent years.  Some things that I realized over these 7 days when it comes to motherhood led me to believe that even though I love the smell, touch and sound of a wee little one, as I am rounding the corner to 40, caring for a newborn is a lot harder than I recall.

There are a number of things that are now a part of raising a baby that were not a part of raising my daughter (who is now 18 and graduating high school) back in 1998.

Let me start with bottle warmers.  We didn’t have these fancy contraptions.  Your baby cried and cried until you could get the water in the sink warm enough to soak the bottle in a cup to warm the milk.  Now, in 3.5 minutes you can have a bottle ready to go.  I find this a wonderful contraption, yet I think every parent should experience the baby wailing at the top of their lungs who wants nothing more than to be fed.

Next up, Diaper Genies.  A convenient way to dispose of stinky diapers.  Now, I think this is genius.  We had a garbage can, but it sure didn’t contain the smell the same way the Diaper Genie does.  I absolutely love this contraption.

Baby bathtubs may have existed when my daughter was younger, but I sure didn’t have one.  Instead we used the kitchen sink.

4Moms Baby Swing is something that I sure as heck didn’t have.  It is a pretty neat contraption, but I am not 100% sure that it is something that my daughter would have ever used.  I am lucky she used a bouncer seat and the one we had sure as heck didn’t have a battery operated contraption attached to it.

I forgot what cat naps were and I forgot what trying to decipher a cry was like.

I was reminded what it was like to pack up a baby, put them in the car and go to the grocery store.  It is a challenge to grocery shop when you have a baby in a car seat and can only fit so many groceries around a car seat without feeling like you are smooshing the baby and ruining whatever food you are getting.

I was pleasantly surprised that a Boba Wrap wasn’t as confusing as I thought it was and allowed me to be hands-free to work a little while he was sleeping.

At the end of the day, taking care of a baby, cooking, cleaning and working is exhausting. It isn’t for the faint of heart, however it causes your heart to swell with love and joy every time you look into the sweet eyes and catch a coy smile along the way.

As I move further away from my 20’s and closer to my 40’s I am reminded I make a good aunt to little boys and girls.  My little bit of time that I spent with a sweet 2 month old took me back to the times when things were simpler in the technology arena, but everyone still gave you advice and their two cents worth.  It is still the same though, nobody knows your baby better than you do and you can take it all with a grain of salt.

All the amazing people in my life that are moms and dads have one thing in common – their unconditional love for their children.  You can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voice, along with sheer exhaustion, there is a love, only a parent can explain.

I will always be grateful for being a parent.  Always.