Saturday, January 1, 2011

Change of address

What can I say... it was a good day to make a change. I'm moving over to a new blog site. Check it out here: hope you'll still follow along in my random life adventures!


Friday, November 19, 2010

What a difference a year makes

Wow, I just realized it's been a year since I started this blog as a place to ponder, vent and share the news of what was a very difficult time in my life. We were then nine months into unemployment, losing our house, living on other people's generosity and learning how to be seriously scrappy. It sucked. And it wasn't over yet.

Publicly, I was trying to stay strong for my family and be grateful for our love, good health and great family and friends. Privately, I was sad, embarrassed, upset with myself for making bad decisions and wondering if Mac and I would come through that mess one piece. Would you believe that was the easiest part? Staying united and supporting each other was one thing we could control, and so we did.

We moved on in many ways over the course of the year. Our lives as homeowners ended as well as it could, and we oh-so-gladly rent now. Our lives as unemployed or underemployed ended and were replaced by Mac's re-entry into the CPA world with not one but TWO jobs in the last four months (he was sought out by an exciting niche firm and starts the week after Thanksgiving) and my leap back into the non-profit arena which I'll continue consulting on until my due date nears.

And speaking of due dates, two unsuccessful pregnancies were replaced by one that now at 15 weeks seems to be going just fine. Another baby! At last!

These days, my worries are more along the lines of whether to take my chances on finding a good, fresh Thanksgiving turkey or to go the frozen route. Pondering whether to order from Domino's or Papa John's for the noodle's birthday party. Wondering what to call the new baby since "the noodle" is already taken. Questioning whether hypnobirthing would work for me and if this baby would please, please come naturally sometime before 42 weeks. You know, typical "Jamie" stuff.

There's no question we have much to be thankful for this year. And, so next week when we squeeze around the table in our eat-in kitchen with as many family and friends as we can fit, I might be especially misty and it won't be because of the hormones. We survived! And it's no mystery to me how we did it. We owe so much to those who helped us along the way with money, odd jobs, shoulders to lean on, wishes and prayers. And we're now charged to repay those debts or to pay them forward... a task we are happy to embark on immediately.

My heart is filled with gratitude, and my wish for you is the same as it was when I first posted one year ago - that you never experience the bad that our family went through but that you often experience our joy. It's there and it's going to carry us through.


Friday, November 5, 2010

The one where I'm super duper busy

So, the blog has been neglected, and I think you two (three?) readers might like an explanation. Here it goes. I got pregnant (yay!), have managed to stay pregnant through the first trimester (double yay!) and am now working part-time and loving it. Oh, and of course I'm still the full-time mom of my sweet, crazy noodle who will be three in just a few weeks!! So, things have been just a tiny bit busy. But it's cool.

I am feeling great in case you were concerned. The first trimester was filled with breakfast burritos and wonton soup but no sickness. I may actually stick with the breakfast burritos and wonton soup for a while ... just to be sure : ) The baby is due sometime in May. I'm not getting hung up on a specific due date this time because, well, due dates are pretty ridiculous. May should be pretty accurate though. We are looking forward to finding out the sex of the baby next month and will share ultrasound pictures when someone offers to scan them for us. Don't all raise your hands at once!

As far as work is concerned, I am doing some contract PR & Marketing work for Children, Incorporated, an international non-profit based in Richmond. Right now I'm planning a fundraiser and developing collateral materials for them. And sometimes I'm doing crazy things like making spur-of-the-moment appearances on the local news. Lovely. But it's an amazing organization and I hope to continue to work with them in some capacity over the next few months.

Oops, gotta go rescue the noodle from her "gated community" ... I'll try to keep the updates coming!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


So, I have a new obsession hobby. I couldn't resist signing up for knitting lessons from my pal, crafty mama. She's crazy talented AND it gave me an excuse to get out of the house weekly. Before the noodle's bedtime. Yay!

It all started with the little pouch:

Then there was the watermelon hat. Okay, so it's a bit on the tiny side. I'm not big into measuring, so this will probably happen often.

Next, a project just for me... a cowl. It was cuter in my mind than this one turned out, so I had to try another one.

True love at last!

Before I admit to being excited for winter so I can wear my new cowls, I've got to get back to knitting. I've got a pumpkin hat to make for the noodle before then. Yep, this is a turning into a full-on obsession. But on the plus side, it's gaining a slight edge on my intense wine and cheese obsession so I'm just going to go with it.


Where does the time go? I blog, blink, and then realize it's been a month since my last post and perhaps someone out there would like a little update. Life hasn't changed too much since Mac started his new job as the world's finest CPA except for the fact that I've become keenly aware of the fact that it's just me and the noodle from sunup to sundown. These are trying times. Fortunately, she's going back to preschool this week so I can reclaim some small portion of my sanity or at least clean up around the house in peace a couple of mornings a week. Don't mind me while I count down the minutes until drop-off on Tuesday. She's awesome, really, but we need some space from one another.

In other news, we recently had a photo session to capture some images of the three of us as a birthday gift for Mac's dad. I can't believe we waited this long to have a professional portrait taken. Yes I can. It's expensive! Fortunately, I found a great deal on a half-off website. And the photographers were wonderful. Lucky me! Oops, I mean Mac's dad. Here are some of my favorite shots for your viewing pleasure:


the quintessential noodle on tiptoes stance

lovely, she's adopted my long, lost pout. I hope it brings her more success than it ever did me


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

the latest and "greatest"

So, here's an update. Mac has a full-time, permanent job now. Yay! Unfortunately, I'm a lot happier about it than he is, so let's just celebrate quietly, okay? Okay.

What else? The noodle has made the transition from crib (oh how I miss the crib) to a crib without a railing on one side, also known as a toddler bed. I had no plans of making the switch yet, but last week she climbed over the top of the crib and into a bassinet I keep beside it with all kinds of toys and books that she used to happily play with for long stretches of time in the morning and after her nap. It was pretty funny seeing her sitting in a bassinet, actually. Here's what's not so funny to see - the noodle in my room at 6:00 am. Oh, or the noodle coming down the stairs three times after being put to bed because "there's a seven on the clock" (she knows she's allowed to come out of her room at 7:00 - in the morning, not at 8:07, 8:17 and 8:27). Super fun. She knows how to read the clock, so don't feel too sorry for her confusion ... she's just playing us, and winning. Two-year-olds. They can't be avoided, can they?

Also, since Mac's new job is a bit of a haul from our house we are finally making the switch to being a two-car family. Until we find a car, the noodle and I continue to walk everywhere and/or harass our friends until they offer to come pick us up and take us someplace. It's lonely I tell ya. I'm hoping we'll find a suitable second car sometime this week. Miracles do happen. Please let me know if you know of anyone selling a cheap, reliable car.

And, finally, here's the news I'm sure you've been waiting for: I'm learning how to knit! Yippee! What did you think I was going to say? Did you know that 99.9% of my girlfriends are pregnant? It's true. This is the era of babies. What can I say? I still think we'll have a second child. I just don't know when or if we'll change our minds at some point. It's kind of crazy to imagine having a baby again. They grow into two-year-olds, you know!

Oh, and I almost forgot one tiny tidbit ... I just survived yet another round of the bird flu! And this time I didn't even have to consult webmd. I totally called it! : )

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

So this is "crumping?"

I was excited when a mom from the noodle's school put together an outing to Richmond's very own Crump Park. I've always wanted to learn how to crump! Turns out there is no crumping in Crump Park, which was almost as disappointing as the fact that the few other parent/child combos we know ended up canceling at the last minute. Fortunately, the noodle and I are pretty adept at entertaining ourselves, so we crumped alone.

And I think it's safe to say that we have a new favorite hangout. What a playground!

She's considering trying out for the Blue Man Group

That's a nice 'do, slide girl!

Giddy-up, pig!

Did someone call the fire dept.? No, noodle, it's just an inferno outside today.

And did I mention there's a farm, too?? We got to pet a sweet little lamb... of course there are no pictures of this since I was just as interested in petting the lamb as the noodle was. We also got to pet Clyde, who unfortunately lost his pal, Bonnie. The farmer said Clyde escapes regularly... maybe he thinks Bonnie is planning a rendezvous. Poor Clyde.

It's nothing like the crumping I was hoping for, but it'll do for today.

Friday, July 16, 2010

me, myself and my hard drive

So, here's a real conversation that just happened in my mind:

Me: Aack, my computer hard drive is almost FULL!

Myself: Well, that's because you take so many pictures and store them on there, dummy.

Me: True, true. I'd transfer them all to the external hard drive, but then I'd never SEE them.

Myself: Unless you finally got off your lazy bum and created, say, photo albums with all of your favorites.

Me: Yeah, that's something I've always wanted to do but it's sooooooooooooo overwhelming sorting through ALL of those pictures!!

Myself: Dude, you love projects like that!

Me: I know!

Myself: You could finally make the noodle's baby album and if you really do love it, you could offer your creative services to friends who are also jamming up their hard drives with photos and not doing anything with them.

Me: The wheels are turning...

So, friends, I'm curious - have you got about a zillion digital photos that you *plan* to do something with (like create a scrapbook or album) but aren't terribly excited about actually doing it? If so, would you ever consider hiring someone to take over the project for you? I think this kind of creative work is right up my alley, but I wonder if anyone is willing to hand off something so personal. Talk to me.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The best things in life really are free?

Well, yeah, kind of. We all know love, family, rainbows and sunshine are free, but you can't dine on that. My venture into a building and growing a "money saving" vegetable garden this spring sure wasn't free. In fact, I think the cost per tomato is going to come out at about $5 apiece this year. But can you really put a price tag on the smile of the noodle getting to eat the first of the harvest? I don't think so.


In case you were wondering, our family's crisis has improved a bit over the last year and a half, but it isn't over yet. I see the light at the end of the tunnel, though, and I'm thrilled at just the idea of resuming some sense of normalcy - hopefully very soon. I don't know what the long-term effects of living below the poverty line, teetering on the brink of foreclosure, enduring insane levels of stress and so much more will be on our family, but I do know that we have managed to keep our relationships healthy, have not caved on our core beliefs and have learned to be scrappy. Seriously scrappy.

Last Friday, Sweetwonderfulmama, her boys, the noodle and I donned cow spots and ears and were rewarded with free meals from Chick-fil-A. Free! Anything we wanted! It's no French Laundry, but a free lunch is a free lunch. Sometime later today, we're heading out to 7-Eleven for free slurpees in honor of the date being 7/11. And next month for Mac's birthday we'll be trying to squeeze in as many free meals and treats we can since I signed our whole family up for every "birthday club" out there. It's mostly junk food, but, hey, our meals have been about 90% vegetarian since Mac started working for our farm CSA and getting his pick of free fruits and vegetables every week. Maybe a little saturated fat is just what we need.

I once shied away from using coupons at the grocery store and was hugely brand-loyal. Now I wonder how I could have been so naive. I mean, it really paints a picture of how perfectly willing I was to throw away money. Those days are over. Maybe one day not too long from now, Mac will be running his own CPA firm or successfully bridging the gap between financial services and charitable giving for clients, but he's still going to come home to a dinner made from what was the best deal at the grocery store that week.

It's a new era for our family. It took a little searching, but we discovered that we can do a whole lot with just a little. Oh, and there's nothing wrong with love, family, rainbows and sunshine, but a free watermelon slurpee makes my heart skip a beat!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Illegal name change

I always knew I'd have a special work title - Mama. Not Mom, Mommy or the dreaded Mother, just Mama. I think it suits me. Unfortunately, the noodle had another idea. So, I'd like introduce to you for the very first time - Mommio! Or, as it is sometimes hollered in these parts - Mommios! (Maybe she thinks of me as a tasty breakfast cereal?!)

Also unexpected in my world, the noodle's favorite word "NO" has just been replaced by (drum roll please) "OKAYYY!" I can't explain it. It makes no sense. And it came from out of nowhere! But here's hoping this phase lasts a lot longer than the "NO" phase did. Okay? OKAYYY!