Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Updates

So I went to see my doctor today and my due date is August 8th. I am 6-weeks along, and I will have an ultrasound on Jan. 2nd to check my due date. I am feeling really good, but a little tired.

Mike and I are surving my Christmas at CCC pretty well - and I only have a short time left there. I don't have my schedule for the next week, but I am pretty focused on taking things day-by-day.

Abby has been sick for a few days but seems to be feeling much better. I stayed home from work yesterday and she spent most of the day sleeping on me. I loved (almost) every minute of it.

I am still angry about my situation, and now Judy is using my pictures on her website without my consent. I have no one to blame but myself for the situation that I am in, because I should've put the evolutions site in my own name instead of hers, and I should've taken the pictures at my house, off the clock. I will know better for next time not to be so giving and trusting. Thanks Judy - I am a better person for having known you.

I still haven't finished my Christmas cards, either. I usually have them mailed out by now, but I ran out of cards and haven't gone to the store to buy more.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A post full of venom

Boy, I wish I had seen this post before I started working for Judy at Evolutions Salon and Day Spa...(wink, wink...)



Please pardon the hateful spite, but both Mike and I are very hurt by Judy's thoughtless and irresponsible actions. I will update on the paycheck thing later...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wow! Unbelievable!!!

So I went to work on Dec. 1st and found out that I no longer had a job. I walked in and never even took off my coat. I asked my boss how she was this morning, and she said that she was wonderful, and then she told me that I wasn't making enough progress with the team and that she had made up her mind. She outlined the reasons why she didn't think I was working out, and I made a few rebuttals. After a few minutes I realized that it was a done deal, and I chose to leave rather than to stay there for as long as she would talk (for those who don't know, she "interviewed" me for 2 1/2 hours!). I left there and went to see Holly. She was home today because Brandon was sick. I was shocked.

Holly forwarded me a few job listings to apply for, which I did. I spent the evening updating my resume and applying for jobs on Careerbuilder, Hotjobs and Monster. I can't believe I am in this position, but am trying to make the best of it.

I called Pete at CCC and asked if he needed sales help for the Christmas season. I am very fortunate to have that relationship, because I have something lined up for the next three weeks, at least. It will be strange, working at my old store and not being in charge - at all. Maybe I will take a lesson from Allen and just enjoy the liberation of not being in charge...

In the meantime, Mike and I had started refinancing our house and I am praying that we will still be able to get that done. It will allow us to skip our December and January house payment, plus lower our house payment by $100.00 each month. If we can skip December and January's payments, then that will ease our financial burden with my work situation.

I am not sure how I feel about Judy and Evolutions. I had started building relationships with my team, and I enjoyed working with them. I feel that Judy cut me off at the knees and didn't give me the opportunity to do what she wanted. She told me when she hired me that she sucked at coaching, but when I came in and started doing it, she wasn't happy that I didn't do it her way. I guess, she might be the clinical definition of insane - doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. No offense, Judy, if you're reading this - I just think you're not doing it right.

Anyway, there is more to type, but I am too tired to do it now. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Abby-fix

Abby is saying so many words now - and she sometimes attempts to talk in complete thoughts or sentences. She will drop her head into her hands and say "Gosh" - which is her shortened version of hearing me say "Oh my gosh". It's cute!

She has done really well in the last month or so learning her body parts - elbow is one of her favorites, and it sounds the same as when she says "noodle". For those who haven't heard it, Abby actually yodels when she says certain words - noodle, elbow, color - pretty much anything that has an "L" in it.

She's also been learning the names of different animals, and some colors, too. She has a huge coloring book and a box of crayons - and that is her favorite pasttime right now. She will sit at the kitchen table for an hour or more and do nothing but color her book.

Her favorite foods right now seem to be macaroni and cheese, pizza, and peanut butter and jelly (note that the peanut butter and/or jelly do not need any sort of bread or biscuit - she just wants to lick it off her fingers).

I can't believe that November is already half over - I haven't even thought about Christmas. I guess I need to get started on that...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Check out my new MySpace page for Evolutions

http://www.myspace.com/evolutionspasalon

It is a work in progress.

Update

So, I have worked at Evolutions now for two weeks and I am having a wonderful time! I really enjoy my job - and feel BUSY! I never really felt this way at Clarkson. Last week, for example, I had three tasks that I wanted to complete, and I only finished two of them. I know, coming into this week, that I have a big job waiting for me to accomplish and I am looking forward to it.

I am really enjoying working for Judy - she is very laid back and gives me a lot of freedom to do the things I think need done. She didn't really feel the need to proofread the job description that I was posting or any of the emails I have sent out. I offer for her to look at them, and she sometimes does, but seems just as happy to let me drive. I really enjoy that.

My new coworkers are fun to be around, and they're a wealth of new product knowledge for me to learn from. I learned more about photography from my CCC coworkers than I did in everything I ever read on my own time. I think that's cool!

Speaking of CCC, my friends Keith and Mandy are the proud new parents of a baby girl! I visited them yesterday and really enjoyed getting to see them! I still miss my friends at CCC, and would love to crash the managers meeting tomorrow, but Mike thinks it would be inappropriate...we'll see. I think it would be neat to see everyone, but I don't want to be in the way, either.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My first (and second) day of work...

So, yesterday I started Evolutions - and I am having a great time! I have been reading some books written to salon managers - and after that, I ate lunch - which one employee was kind enough to bring in homemade lasagna - and then I had a pedicure. Apparently, the newer stylists needed some practice, and I ended up being a guinea pig - this job will definitely have some perks.

Today I received a shipment of product and checked it in, priced it, put it away. I feel good to be useful - it sucks being new and feeling helpless.

Our computer software is so much easier than either ASA (CCC) or CMS (Clarkson), that I have been teaching myself how to do the things like receive product or run reports. I am eager to hit the ground running.

I will post more later.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Michele's wedding

Michele and Mike were married on Saturday, Oct. 25th. They had beautiful weather - sunny and 62 degrees. The ceremony was at the Jewel Box in Forest Park. The ceremony was beautiful and wonderfully smooth. Abby did not walk down the aisle - I carried her. She was a gorgeous flower girl - though uncooperative at best.

We left the Jewel Box and rode around on a party bus stopping to take pictures at the Muny, the Grand Basin, the Arch, the Stadium, and Kiener Plaza. I can't wait to see the pictures - there are a LOT of them!

The reception was at the Franklin Room - in Soulard. The Franklin Room had hardwood floors and high ceilings. Elvis made a guest appearance - and he sang for us. The food was excellent!

I didn't even take a camera with me - I didn't feel like myself all day - I hope to post some pictures but I will have to rely on other people to get them to me. Congratulations Michele and Mike!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My new job

So, tomorrow I start my new job - for those who don't know - I have quit Clarkson Eyecare. Last Friday was my last day there, and I will miss my coworkers there.

Tomorrow, I start working for Evolutions - a day spa. I am looking forward to my new position - as a performance coach. I will be challenged, that's for sure. I already have many ideas about what needs to be done, and how to do it. I can't wait to get through training and start being a part of this team. I am very excited and a little bit nervous about it.

Wish me luck!

Our new family pictures

 
 
 
 


These are the pictures that Sam took of our family. I love the way that they turned out! Thanks for checking them out.
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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Our 7th Anniversary

Today is our 7th wedding anniversary, and we celebrated with a mini road trip. We left our house yesterday around 3:30, and we dropped Abby off with Grandma Pat. We drove to St. Charles and checked into a hotel - Town Suites by Marriott, room 101. The studio suite had a full kitchen, a queen size bed, and many other ammenities. Tracy, at the front desk, was wonderful!

We left the hotel and went to dinner at The Millhouse, in the historic district. We had an appetizer of Cajun shrimp. For dinner, Mike had a glazed beef tip meal with mushrooms, potatoes and vegetables. I had a grilled beef tip meal with vegetables - both were delectable!

We went back to our hotel, and planned our route for today. We watched Saturday Night Live and went to bed. This morning, we got up at 7 o'clock to get ready for church. We left St. Charles and drove to Hawk Point, Missouri, just outside of Troy, where the priest that married us 7 years ago is now the pastor.

St. Mary's is a very small parish - less than 200 parishoners, I would guess. The church was very cute and very old. We chatted breifly with Father Frank, and then went on our way. We stopped in Troy for breakfast at Denny's, and then we were back on the road for Augusta - the Busch Wildlife Reserve.

We drove around the Wildlife Reserve for two hours - taking pictures of the little remnants of fall color that I could find. We didn't see much wildlife, or fall color - so we left there and decided that a midday coffee would re-fuel us both.

We drove down to South County and stopped at Starbucks on Tesson Ferry. We had a quick bite to eat, and then headed over to downtown Belleville, thinking we might find some other picture opportunities there. Belleville was a bust, though, so we headed the Creve Coeur Camera in O'Fallon and met up with Allen and Laura.

Allen, Laura, Mike and I all went to Chevy's for dinner, and had a great time. We ate and laughed. I could've stayed out for another hour, but the girl was waiting on us to come home.

We are now home and Abby is in bed - both of us are exhausted! I can only imagine that we drove more than 200 miles today - but we had a lot of fun. Abby had fun, too - because she got to see all of her Grandmas this weekend - I am sure she was spoiled rotten!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Updates

It's been a long time since I posted anything here -

We've had a busy two months, and it's not over yet. I have had two cousins get married, and next weekend, Mike's sister is getting married. Mike, Abby and I have all been sick, too.

We finally bought more shelves for the basement, prompted by our Hurricane Ike flooding fiasco. Almost everything in the basement is up off the floor - I think we will need one more shelf to get the job done.

I also joined team CCC and worked my first event last Thursday. I enjoyed the evening, and hope that they will keep me on for future events.

Abby is talking now - and I can understand her occasionally. Her vocabulary expands every day, and it is fascinating to watch her learn. She really enjoys playing outside, coloring, and taking care of her Ruperts. I need to capture some of this on video before she outgrows this phase and I am forced to rely on my own memory (which I don't find very reliable).

This weekend is our 7th wedding anniversary - and we are getting ready to take a mini road trip - more details to follow tomorrow. I wanted to leave here before 3 o'clock, and I haven't packed or anything, so I guess I should get started.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I have a new job!

I called Pete and asked if I could join the street team! I am really excited about this. I will represent CCC at different events in the community, while taking pictures and having fun! I feel really good about this!

Guess who pottied in the big-girl potty!!!

No, it wasn't Mike. It was Abby! She has done it twice now! I am so proud of her. She did it on Thursday night and again tonight. I guess we're officially potty-training now. Yeah!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Trip to Arkansas, Labor Day, 2008

Abby and Shelby Free

 

Here is a picture of Abby and Shelby. We took Abby to Arkansas for the weekend, and she had a great time. She warmed up to Shelby after awhile, and they actually played together.
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New videos, too

There are also new videos on YouTube - check 'em out!

New photos of Abby

I have posted some new photos of Abby on my Picasa page - just go to www.therhoadsonline.com for the link!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Work work work

And I am talking about home! We are steam-cleaning our carpets this weekend, so yesterday, Mike and I cleaned our house from top to bottom, and today, we're steam cleaning. I am going to need a weekend to recuperate from my weekend. I really hope that this works on my carpet, because it is trashed and only 3 years old.

In addition to that, Abby is sick. She's had a runny nose and been crabby for a few days now. I don't really think it's teething, because her eyes look sick. She is handling it well, but I know she still doesn't feel good.

Also, we're having trouble getting our reservations for the third weekend in August. Holly and Gary, Danielle and Steve, and Mike and I and all the kids are supposed to go camping. Washington State Park and Hawn State Park are all booked up. I will keep trying but I am discouraged. I am thinking about going next weekend, too. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

This weekend...

So, Malcome Blitz didn't play Friday night like we thought. The show was cancelled, and we found out when we drove by the bar and their marquis named a different band as Friday's entertainment. About half of our crowd chose to go anyway, while Mike and I went to the City Museum. THAT WAS COOL!!! I loved climbing around on the contraption outside, and the slide was exciting. I can't wait to go back and take some kids! and my camera! I think I could get some really cool pictures of the boys at this place!

After we left the City Museum, we headed to the bar and met up with the rest of our crowd. We got there just in time to see some drunken hot chick twirling across the dance floor topless. That isn't the type of place this bar is, and she was kicked out after that song. She was part of a bachelorette party, and the party stayed, while topless dancer left.

The band didn't suck, but they weren't as good as Malcome Blitz. I was stupid, and didn't eat very much, so I ended up sick on Saturday. I was miserable until probably 4:00 or so - and regretted every beer I drank on Friday night! Well, not really, because I had a good time, I just should've eaten dinner before I went out.

Uncle Jerry was there, along with Gina and Tim, Roseanne, Tim's dad and dad's buddy, Holly and Gary, Danielle and Steve. Gina had me out on the floor dancing - a rarity, at best! (Believe me, that is better for EVERYONE)

We ended up barbecuing on Saturday. Mike barbecued rib steaks, pork steaks, brats, hamburgers, hotdogs and chicken - seeing as how Abby is only 2'4" and not really into beef or pork or chicken, I would say we completely overdid it. He totally takes after his dad.

We went to bed early last night. We were both exhausted. Today, we did laundry, grocery shopped, and ordered some shelving for our basement. I can't wait for that to come in - I have wanted to order it for a long time! I will feel so much better about the basement when we get everything organized! I don't know if we'll ever finish the basement, but to get it organized will make it feel bigger down there - and I want the pool table set up down there so bad!

Anyway, today was fairly mellow. Abby took about an hour-long bath, and then we all had cookies and milk before bed. I hope to get another video of Abby sometime this week - she's learning "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and it's really entertaining!

Also, I haven't yet taken her 15-month pictures yet, so look for those coming soon - hopefully by next weekend.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tomorrow night

Mike and I are going to 5 O'Clock Somewhere to see Malcome Blitz play. I always look forward to seeing them - and know we'll have a great time! The bar is close to home - so close we could walk home if needed.

After that, our weekend is open. That's still a strange feeling to me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What are you willing to go through to get rid of hives?

So...my allergist prescribed a medicine for my hives - called Doxepin. Supposedly, it is an older medicine. I read the side effects and this is what it lists:

Side effects that may occur while taking this medicine include dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, headache, nausea, weakness, diarrhea, excess sweating, heartburn, unpleasant taste, weight gain, or an increased appetite especially for sweets.

These are pretty standard side effects for most medicines these days, and didn't alarm me too much.

The next section reads:

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if you experience constipation blurred vision or other vision changes, eye pain, fast slow or irregular heartbeat, hair loss, shakiness, fainting, twitching of the face or tongue, mood swings, loss of balance, uncontrolled movements of arms and legs or stiffness, difficulty speaking and swallowing, unusual bleeding or bruising, sore throat or fever, skin rash and itching, swelling of hands, face, lips, eyes, throat or tongue, irritability, ringing in the ears, seizures, yellowing of the skin or eyes, hallucinations or chest pain.

Holy shit! I don't even know where to start...I mean, eye pain sounds horrible - like my eyes could pop out of my head because of this medicine. I don't think that's cool, man. Where it says "uncontrolled movements of arms and legs", I read: flailing appendages. Yellowing of the skin sounds as though my liver is going to fail. Also, if I have difficulty speaking and swallowing, you can bet I will be irritable! I am not sure what would be classified as unusual bleeding...and if I have a skin rash - well, that's what I am taking this medicine to get rid of. You know what I mean? This sounds horrible.

And it gets better!

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience severe nervousness or anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, difficulty sleeping, feelings of irritability or hostility, impulsive behavior or other unusual changes in behavior, severe restlessness, worsening feelings of depression, thoughts of hurting yourself, or any other mental or mood changes.

I think that any of the previously discussed eye pain, flailing appendages and difficulty swallowing - those would probably make me feelings of irritability and hostility! I might have a panic attack if I think my eyeballs are going to pop out, and believe that it could be pretty depressing to think my liver gave out on me, too.

Next,

An allergic reaction to this medicine is unlikely, but seek medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Now, seeing as how I am taking this to treat an allergic reaction, I think it would be a horrible twist of fate to have an allergic reaction to this medicine. But, what I would really like to know is what other effects do they think I will have that are too horrible to list here? Really. They have mentioned heart problems, liver problems, central nervous system problems, and difficulty breathing. What is worse than that? The diet aid Alli comes to mind...

And, when was the last time you tried to get ANY drug information out of a pharmacist? I have noticed that pharmacists are not at all the resources that they used to be. I assume that it is because they are too worried about getting sued to give advice, rather than that they are too stupid about their profession. During the past few years, any time I have asked a pharmacist questions about medicines, I get the most ridiculous answers. For example:

Heather says - "I am 6 months pregnant, and have a cold. Is there anything I can take to feel better?"
Pharmacist says - "Have you called your doctor? You really should check with your doctor."

Hello - you can't tell me what medicines are safe for a pregnant woman to take? What the hell?

Heather says - "I have a 6 month old baby who hasn't had a bowel movement in 4 days. Is there any medicine I can give her? Suppositories that would be safe for her age and weight?
Pharmacist says - "You should check with your doctor about that. I can't really tell you what you can give her."

Heather says - "I have been taking benadryl for an allergic reaction. I have hives covering my body and with the doses that the box lists, they aren't going away at all. Can you tell me how much benadryl I can take?"
Pharmacist says - "You can take one to two tablets every four to six hours." (For those who don't know the benadryl box by heart, like I do, this is reading the box to me.)

Screw the pharmacists! And, it is no mystery why they don't prescribe this medicine anymore. I think I will live with benadryl and/or hives, thank you very much!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My trip to the ER

On Wednesday, just before I left work, I realized that I had a small patch of hives on each of my forearms. I came home, took some Benadryl, and went on about my night - having dinner with Mike and Abby, giving Abby a bath, etc. I took more benadryl at 8 p.m. and then went to bed. I woke at midnight, so I took another full dose of Benadryl. When I woke at 2 a.m., my hives had spread all over my body. I was nauseous and light-headed. I woke Mike, and asked him to put the Benadryl topical cream on my hives that I couldn't reach and he commented that we should go to the ER. I asked him to get online and find out what kind of hives wouldn't respond to Benadryl. He found information on anaphylactic shock - which I always thought was when your throat swelled shut and you couldn't breath. In fact, there are 6 different signs of it - including hives, nausea and dizziness or light-headedness.

Add to this that I had at one time been in my doctor's office with hives and blacked out because my blood pressure bottomed out (and the doctor called an ambulance to take me to the ER), and Mike felt that we should go. So we did.

I received steroids, more Benadryl and Pepcid AC - which is also a histimine-blocker. I didn't go to work on Thursday - I spent much of the day in a Benadryl-induced coma - except for the time we spent at the funeral home for Mikey's wake.

Friday I felt pretty good - good enough that I didn't take much Benadryl at all that day. But, that night, around 3:00, I woke with hives covering my body and it took 4 doses of benadryl over the next 12 hours to make me feel better at all. It was ugly.

The last time this happened to me, it lasted a month. I had to take Benadryl every night because if I didn't, I would wake with hives that night. I am tired of this already.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mikey

Last night, Mike Heavey, 23, died in a motor vehicle crash. He was the only person in the only car.

I laid awake after I got the phone call - with my arm around my husband - and cried. I cried for the family I know he left behind. I cried for his mom - who didn't know that the last time she saw him was the last time she would ever see him. I cried for my brother-in-law, Gary - who is Mike's older brother. Gary was 12 years older than Mikey, and always felt more paternal and responsible for him. I cried for my two nephews, Mason and Brandon, who are old enough to miss him, and too young to understand why. I cried for Mikayla - his 2-year old daughter who will not ever remember her father.

I have been obsessed today with how fragile life is. I think that most people, when they lose someone, will think about it for a few days, weeks or months. Most people will hug their friends or family before they leave the funeral home - with the image of life's delicate fragility fresh in their minds. But, after a week, two weeks, a lot of people get back to taking life for granted.

Four years ago, my father-in-law died in a motor vehicle crash. He left for work one morning, and never made it to his job. He was driving his motorcycle – which he had wanted for years and had only owned for a week – and he evidently braked hard enough to lose control of the bike, and his injuries were fatal. The accounts of this accident are fairly sketchy, because the ambulance arrived at and left the scene before the police arrived. When the ambulance took my father-in-law away, all of the witnesses got in their cars and left for work. Weeks after the accident, a witness contacted the family and explained that, from her point of view, it looked as though someone cut him off. Some person in front of him slammed on his brakes without regard for how his actions would affect other people, and because of that single, thoughtless action – my father-in-law died.

When Mikey died last night, his actions affected his siblings, nephews, daughter, mother, friends. How many times do people act without thinking about their effect on others? How many times have you been driving down the road, and for whatever selfish reason, you drive erratically - maybe you're late for work, on your way to a wedding, have a lot on your mind, are anxious to get out of town for vacation - without thinking about the danger you put others in?

This is something that I have been thinking about pretty consistently since Abby was born. I have had people cut me off, tailgate me, slam on their brakes in front of me, and drive 50-mph in sleet on the same highway I am on. Every time something like that happens, I yell out "what right do you have to endanger my life?" If Abby is in the car with me, I don't yell, normally, but I really do question when God gave them the right to endanger my baby's life? Or my baby's mommy's or daddy's life? I get really pissed off about it. I think that a lot of people don't drive considerately - and sadly, if something would happen to you or your loved ones, you don't get a second chance. If you're the driver who kills or maims someone, you don't get a second chance to do it right.

I am an extremely passionate and emotional person. The old adage about wearing one's heart on one's sleeve - that was written about me. I am far too emotional to be able to think about this all the time - I guess, getting back to normalcy at some point is a coping mechanism - at least it is for me. It’s scary to realize that you can close your eyes forever without any warning. I can't leave for work in the morning while I am mad at my husband - because I am afraid one of us won't come home that night. I can, and have, laid in bed and worried about that stuff. I am afraid that the friend I have been meaning to call will die before I make that call.

I know, everything I am typing is pretty cliché - and it is something that makes rounds in emails every day. I know that life is too short – and try very hard to enjoy it. My dad, who also died four years ago, was very good at this. He was happy to be alive, every day of his life. When he was driving to work, he was happy to be going to work. He enjoyed his job – and I believe he would’ve enjoyed whatever job he had, because that was the kind of person he was. He embraced life. I hope that Abby thinks that about me someday.

RIP, Mikey.

Monday, June 30, 2008

30 Days.

So today is day 30. I am a happier person overall - spending more time at home makes a world of difference for me. I feel that I get to spend SO MUCH MORE time with Mike and Abby - and I wish Rio were here, too - I always wanted to spend more time with him but never had the chance.

Thinking about the last month, I feel sort of bittersweet. I miss my friends at CCC. I miss my job at CCC. I miss the responsibility and being in charge (even if it was only a mirage).

I have spent the last four weeks playing with Abby outside, cleaning my house, cooking dinner, having dinner with Mike and Abby, visiting with family on the weekends, and being a better and more-involved mom.

At this time, I feel like Clarkson Eyecare is not a long-term solution for me - which is fine with me because I am planning to have another baby sometime next year. I am enjoying my summer - and see myself staying here until after the next baby is born. We'll see. Today was sort-of rough - I was bored and crabby at work...but isn't that the way most of America feels?

We went camping!

I haven't posted in a while - believe it or not, my new job keeps me pretty busy! That sounds strange, I know.

This past weekend, Mike and I went to the property that my mom's family owns - and used our pop-up camper for the first time. It was really fun! We played washers and horseshoes and ate really good food. There was a big storm on Friday night that kept Mike up almost all night - I, myself, had consumed enough beer to sleep through it. It rained on us on Saturday afternoon, but it was brief, and helped to keep it cool enough outside to be comfortable.

We packed up and came home on Sunday - we were home, showered and unpacked by noon. I didn't take many pictures - I was having too much fun to stop and document the weekend.

Abby stayed with Mike's mom for the weekend, which turned out to be a good thing, because there were LOTS of ticks and chiggers at the property. Mike and I were both really lucky with the ticks - neither of us had a single one - but the chiggers on the other hand, we both have some bites. I am glad that Abby doesn't have any of this.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Two weeks in

It's been really nice having time at home with Abby and Mike. We've had dinner together like a family almost every night. I've been able to give Abby her bath and put her to bed. I am really enjoying having more time with her.

I am getting more comfortable at my job. I really need a vacation, but that's a pipe dream for me right now. I have a list of things I want to do - mainly cleaning my house.

I haven't had a paycheck yet - and there is still a big part of this that seems surreal to me. I am looking forward to July 4th for a 3-day weekend. I think that will be really nice!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day to Mike

Mike's second Father's Day was spent mostly driving home from Arkansas. He did have two un-interrupted hours of nap-time with Abby, which was really nice. She fell asleep on his chest - which doesn't happen much anymore. We got home around 7 p.m. and Abby went to sleep pretty well. I thought we would drink a beer together, but we were both exhausted from the weekend. Mike and I drove to Little Rock to surprise his Grandpa for Father's Day - and it worked like a charm. Grandpa was very surprised to see us (not that it had anything to do with the fact that it was almost midnight when we got there Friday night). Before we left, I gave Mike his Father's Day present - a humidor, finally. I bought him 3 cigars to keep in there and he was VERY excited. I think he's a dork, but he's my dork!

Friday, June 6, 2008

The car situation, thanks Topher, Danny and Joe!

So, we've been looking for a car. For me. Two nights ago, we went to Boemler Chevrolet on Telegraph, and test-drove a Chevy Trailblazer and an Isuzu Trooper. We decided that we wanted both vehicles, and strategized about how to best handle it. I called my uncle Danny and my friend Topher. Mike called his Uncle Joe. We talked about it and this is what happened.

I went in, with my game face on. I asked for his best deal - and when he came back with an almost insulting amount, I said thank you for your time, and he offered me something more than 2K over my asking price. I said no thanks and left.

Within two hours, he called and met me more than half-way. We haven't signed the papers yet, but will head up there in the morning. I am happy with the deal we made, and thank our friends and family for their advice and support.

My new job

Hi. It's Friday. I have made it through one week. I feel like i have screwed up a lot. I don't yet know what I am doing. I miss my old job and my friends. I concentrate on telling people that I am from "Clarkson Eyecare" and not "Creve Coeur Camera". I focus on the phone number that I tell people to call me back at. I know I will screw up those things - but it happens. How many people have never switched jobs? Really.

I don't know if this is the job that is made for me. I think being manager at East was made for me - but I do feel like I have spent more time with Abby, and I am looking forward to the first weekend of the rest of my life. This week, I have had time to go see Brandon play ball, shop for a car, and even barbecue one evening. This is much more time than I had at CCC - I wouldn't ever have been able to accomplish all of that in one week there.

I don't really feel like someone else is driving my body - which is how I felt Monday and Tuesday. I feel more like a square peg in a round hole. I will give it another week, and hope it gets better. I figure that being at my own desk and working on my own offices will make a difference. I have always hated training - at every job I have ever had.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Car shopping

Mike and I have been looking for a car for me, and we found somthing interesting, at least. I really wanted to buy a car this time - but haven't found a car I like. I drove a few cars, and they weren't all bad, but they didn't excite me at all. I couldn't get excited about buying one. Last night, I drove a trailblazer. It was awesome - except for the whore-smell (which could still be a deal-breaker). Mike liked the Trooper - which wasn't that comfortable for me. I gave this a lot of thought, and am thinking about buying them both. I mean, Mike's truck isn't a family car - and that has bothered me ever since I was pregnant. I really wanted to get rid of the S10 before Abby was born and that didn't happen. The economy sucks right now, and SUV's aren't in high demand. I think we could possibly get a good deal, on these two cars, if we buy them at the same time. But, I still think about the car, and better fuel mileage. I don't know what to do, but am thinking about low-balling these two cars tomorrow to see what happens. I don't think I would regret buying the trailblazer - I have always enjoyed driving my blazer, and I loved my bronco. We'll see!

For anyone wanting an update on my job satisfaction - I will post that tomorrow, after I have completed one full week.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Luck of the Irish, or Bob...

Tonight, I went downstairs to my corner of the basement that is reserved for my pictures. I started looking for some frames to decorate my cubicle with, and saw in the very top box that there was an envelope (of pictures) that was WET. I began looking closer at it, and realized that the entire box of pictures and CD's were wet! I frantically opened each package and laid the pictures out to dry. Most of these pictures were the ones that the server ate when it crashed. This is adding insult to injury! Also, as ironic as this is - a lot of the wet pictures were pictures of my coworkers from CCC, or company events with CCC (CCC at the ballpark - my picture with Albert Pujols...etc.). How did this happen?

That's a great question. My bathtub is leaking. Not the pipe - it was dry. The subfloor is wet. I don't have the energy to go into this much right now, but for those who don't know - I am no stranger to this.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It was on fire when I lay down on it.

So, yesterday, I learned two insurances. Today, we were short two employees, and I had to jump in and just start doing it. I was so slow! I maybe got one done for every six that everyone else finished. I am sure that speed will help this job not seem boring. I haven't looked at my offices yet - I had to help with the other offices yesterday. Since we work two days in advance, I won't know how bad I screwed things up until Thursday. They said training should be about a week long. I can't wait for this week to be over already!

Monday, June 2, 2008

My first day at Clarkson

Today was wierd. I learned verify two different insurance types and enter them into our company's database. I spent most of the day doing nothing - which will get better, I know. I still feel very out of sorts, but plan to give myself some time to adjust. I did get to go to Brandon's baseball game tonight, which was really nice. We had dinner together as a family - something else I really missed during my time with CCC. All in all, I just feel strange. I don't know a better way to describe it. I will write more about that later.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

So...that was it...

I am home, after my last day with CCC. Work was slow. We didn't have any rowdy goings-on, except for the cop and the singing performance artist, but that's a story for a different day. My party was nice. My staff was there, and a few other important friends. I got a lot of encouragement, and some good advice. My plan is to move forward. That's all I can do. It's strange. I feel very empty and like I am no one's boss, which I am not...anymore.

I hope for the best for my employees.

I still feel responsible for them.

Good luck, Sally, Michelle, Topher and Jason! Happy time-without-me Allen! You guys are awesome!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Goodbye, CCC! I will miss you!

Today is my last day at CCC. I kind of thought that it would never really get here. I felt like I would be stuck in the limbo of turmoil forever. I thought that my entire life would pass while I was working out my notice. It's wierd that I gave my notice before EXPO...that seems like so long ago.

My store did really good this month - we made both goals. We tried to get the store cleaned up - and it looks better than it did all month. My staff doesn't know who's taking my place - I hope that they're happy when they find out who it is.

My boss and my employees have already started planning my return. It's nice to think about. It's also nice to know that they'll take me back. I did find out yesterday that my boss has decided that I am not allowed to fill-in for them periodically. He told Allen that it defeats the purpose of my leaving CCC, and he's right. I am sad - I was looking forward to staying - even if only occasionally. Maybe he'd change his mind in time.

So, tonight is my going away party. I hope to have a good turnout. I really enjoy socializing with all of my coworkers - they're all really fun people. I am going to miss them!

Time to get ready for work. Sigh.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

So, we thought we would be able to spend the weekend shopping for a car for me, but realized that we were stupid for thinking that the dealerships would even be open. Silly me. I thought that with it being the holiday weekend, there would be places to shop. Maybe if I needed furniture there would've been sales...

So, better luck for Thursday. Hopefully we'll find something that we both like.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

One day closer

Now, each day that goes by is just one less day I have to make the most of my time with CCC. I NEVER dreamed it would be so hard to leave this place. I always thought that I would feel satisfied to quit - but I am filled with regrets. I told Pete I would paint the wall outside the stock room - and I didn't get that done. This was also a great opportunity for me to learn more about photography, and I didn't take advantage of all of my resources. I should've used my discount to upgrade my equipment.

I am excited about camping and making plans with friends and family. I don't have any idea what weekends I already have plans for - I haven't paid attention to the dates of any events, figuring that I don't have to because I will already be off work.

I am still sad about leaving.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Leaving CCC, I think...

So, I still have 12 hours left to make up my mind. Yesterday, I was sure I was staying at CCC. Today, I am really leaning toward the Clarkson job. I really didn't want to go to work today. I wanted to stay home with Mike and Abby. I realized today that even if I work out the perfect schedule, it will still be "flexible". When other people take vacations, I will still have to adapt. Inventory and Expos will still change my schedules. Christmas will still be 6-day work-weeks. I want more time with Abby, and this job just won't do it for me.

As of right now, my plan is to tell Pete that I am leaving CCC.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Abby's Doctor Visit

Abby went to the doctor for her one-year vaccinations, about 6 weeks late. She weighed in at 24.5 lbs, and was 30.5 inches tall. She is in the 97th percentil for height and weight...I wish I knew what percentile her feet were in! They are huge! We are getting ready to buy her more shoes because her big big feet don't fit in anything we have.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Decisions.

I have done a lot of soul searching, and in the end - I still feel obligated to take the clarkson job. There is no joy in this for me. I was all psyched up to tell Pete I was staying at CCC, and then I talked to my sister. She told me that if I don't show up, it's going to reflect poorly on her (which I already knew), and that she was going to be mad at me. My mom also made some comment about Holly's reputation, while giving me a look that could kill, and I realized that I didn't feel like I had a good way out of this. I expected both of them to stand behind me and tell me to do what I needed to do, but I didn't get that from either of them.

I am going to tell Pete on Monday that I can't be happy at CCC if I don't explore the option of spending more time with Abby, and I pray that I am making the right decision. Someone I really respect told me that I am in a bad position, and that there is probably not a right or wrong answer. That is how I feel. I can only hope that two months later, I am happy with my decision. Right now, it feels wrong.

A few more things on my mind

I hope that writing this down will help me figure out what to do.

Benefits of staying with CCC: I enjoy my job. I love my coworkers. I have control over my schedule. Dave is gone. I get to borrow equipment. I have vacation time. I really enjoy working for my boss. I am appreciated and valued. I make decent money.

Benefits of working for Clarkson: Better hours. Working with Holly. Carpooling with Holly. More time with Abby.

I still don't know if I have real reason to stay with CCC or if I am experiencing normal anxiety and fear about changing jobs. I mean, I have been given a safety net and I should probably do it.

Working the same 5 days per week that Mike works will mean that Abby is at Lisa's 5 days per week instead of 4. I think its backwards that for me to spend more time with Abigail, she has to spend more time at the sitter. This bothers me.

I want to use the camper this summer. I want to go to the chili party this fall. I can do those things with the Clarkson job.

I already know that Christmas at CCC is rough. The Christmas season while I was pregnant, I was home a lot. I had time to fill out Christmas cards and take my picture with Mike to mail out in cards. If I have the right assistant, Christmas doesn't have to suck as bad. Really. I mean, with Keith, I worked the opening shifts while I was pregnant, and he closed. I don't even know if I shared them at all. I was already 5 months pregnant at the time, and I took advantage of the early outs.

And then there is the idea of getting pregnant again. I want to get pregnant right after Michele's wedding. I will have another baby next year and wonder if my long-term career options won't be hurt by the appearance of the Clarkson job if it's less than one year long. I want to stay home, but know that I might not have that opportunity. If I need another job - a Monday through Friday job after the second baby is born, then I might have better luck with a resume that shows me at CCC for 5 years rather than Clarkson for 1.

I am sure I will write more later. I don't want to spend my day off in front of my computer. :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

My thoughts on CCC and Clarkson EyeCare

So, I got my new job and gave my notice of resignation at my old job. I am now filled with mixed feelings and anxiety - which I am sure is normal. I have a lot of positive things to say about my job at CCC, and feel a lot like I am saying goodbye to a good friend. I know that sounds wierd. I tell myself that it's time for a change, and that the entire reason that I have even been looking for a new job is to spend more time with Abby - but I do enjoy my current job, and am scared to give that up. I am sure that this has a lot to do with leaving the last job I enjoyed (at Qualex) for a job I was completely miserable at (which was CMS). I am scared that Clarkson is going to be boring.

I feel like I am at the top of the cliff at the offsets (for anyone who's never been there - here's a brief description) - having climbed the nearly vertical muddy wall to get to the top and looking down at the water beneath me. I look down and realize that jumping into the water is really the fastest and safest way to get back to my inner tube - because climbing down the vertical wall would surely be treacherous - but also that I am afraid of the water and I never should've climbed this stupid hill and agreed to jump off just to make my dad proud of me.

I write all of that to explain that I know I need to leave CCC and give the job at Clarkson a shot. I know that I will never be satisfied where I am if I don't experience the time I could be spending with Abby. I am terrified to quit - because I love what I do and the people I work with - but I don't see any other way to be happy in the long run.

As my time dwindles down - I am filled with anxiety. I wonder who is going to run my store? What will happen to the customers that I have tried so hard to build relationships with? What about the employees that I have tried to coach into the salespeople that I know we need? And I also worry about the Edwardsville store and how that will affect my store. In addition, I wonder how I will like my new boss? I am completely comfortable with Pete - and I enjoy working for him. What if I don't feel the same way about Kris?

I also think about the other benefits I am giving up - like working in an environment that doesn't feel like work because I get to print my pictures, borrow equipment, play with new cameras, teach people how to take better pictures and build relationships with people. I am getting paid to play with cameras and make friends. And I am giving this up...

But then I look at Abby and think about taking her camping. I want to take her to play outside. Last week, we spent an hour in our driveway where she pushed her baby stroller around and climbed in and out of her own stroller. She had such a good time, and I wondered how it would feel to be able to do that all the time?

I am tired of scheduling my social life around sales and inventory and other people's vacations. I can finally have a normal schedule and get to just take for granted that I can go to a graduation party, even if it is on a Saturday. I tell myself that I will feel very liberated - but I have been retail for so long, that I don't even know if I can imagine how that will feel. I might not even know if I like it until I do if for a month or two. I am not looking forward to working 5 days in a row - and I already know that Friday is the busiest day at Clarkson...that seems so backwards.

I will probably type more later. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fun Bathtime pictures of Abigail!

Abby's trip to McDonald's!



I'm ready to go, Mama!



She loves her Daddy!



She was having fun in the playplace!



This was Abby at McDonald's!

Update

So, it's been awhile since I posted anything - life has been so busy lately! Here is a brief update on our goings-on:

1. My assistant manager quit - which makes me very happy! My new assistant manager is smart, funny, and knows how to run my store in my absence! I feel very liberated knowing that he is taking care of things while I am gone.

2. Abby had her first haircut tonight! I cut it myself, and it turned out a little shorter than I meant to cut it, but am glad that it's not in her face anymore! I don't have any pictures of the actual haircut, but will get some pictures Friday of her new look!

3. We also attended Mike's cousin's wedding this weekend - and it was a lot of fun! Kelly was a beautiful bride, and the ceremony was flawless! It was really nice to see everyone, and Abby's dress looked darling on her!

4. I still haven't posted any pictures of Abby's birthday, but promise I will get to it soon.

I think that's the majority of our goings-on, and I am really hoping to get some pictures uploaded soon. The hang-up is that I want to do a slideshow instead of a string of static pictures, and I haven't had even 10 minutes at my computer to try and figure it out.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Here and there

So, we're three weeks away from Abigail's party, and I am very frustrated by the whole thing. I want to have something big for her, and because I chose not to do the whole park thing (mainly because I don't trust the weather), I had to cut people off of my list. I want to invite those people to my house afterward, but now am afraid that I am going to look like it's an afterthought. I feel shitty about the whole thing, and have been in a bad mood about it all day.

In addition, I needed to get Abby's picture taken today so that I could use it as her 11-month picture in that frame that I have - and I didn't get it done. We spent most of the day switching her carseat - I have wanted to do that for almost a month - and I am glad that we have that done. But, now I need to figure out if her Easter picture, next weekend, is going to be her 11-month picture or if it is going to be her 12-month picture. I originally was going to have it be her 11-month, but since she was born on Easter last year, I thought that her Easter picture being her 1-year picture might be really special. If that's the case, I am going to have to try to get her picture taken on Wednesday, and even then, the 11-month and 12-month pictures will only be 5 days apart.

Last weekend, we had cousins from Arkansas visit us. It was really nice to spend some time with Chris, Steph and Shelby. We had a great time. We ate some really good food, slept late in the mornings, lazed around my house all day, played games, and caught up. I am hoping that we'll be able to make that a tradition, and visit with them a few times a year. It would mean a lot to Mike and me both if Abby and Shelby could be close growing up.

This week, my store is getting a facelift. I have to meet the contractors at my store Extra-Early in the morning, and it's going to make for a few long days. I won't see Abby at all tomorrow or Tuesday. I get off work early on Wednesday, and it will be hectic because I am hoping to take Abby's picture. I am closing on Thursday and off on Friday. Hopefully, Abby and I will be able to go shopping on Friday for her birthday stuff. I need to buy some decorations and non-perishable food items.

So, for the party, I am thinking about a Abby Cadabby theme (it's a character on Sesame Street, for those who don't know). I know it's corny, but why not? That or some non-character specific butterflies and flowers theme. Also, I am figuring on sandwiches and chips for the menu. I am going to ask my mom to make taco salad, and Holly to put somethng together in a crock pot for the after-the-party-party.

So, I am pretty scatter-brained right now. I have so much going on and feel like I am pulled in different directions. I am looking forward to some downtime...when will that be?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Abby's birthday party, update

So, we're officially only a month away from Abby's party. I have addressed most of the invitations and am going to mail those out today. I was going to take Abby shopping for decorations this Friday, but have decided to clean my house instead. I am working next Friday, too, so I will probably have a lot to do on the following Friday. I am slightly nervous about getting all of this accomplished in the time frame that I have.

I am going to order a cake from McArthur's, I think. Of course, the big party is for the extended family, but we'll do something here on her actual birthday, too.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

End of February

So, Abby is almost 11 months old - her birthday party is in 5 weeks and I haven't had any time to plan it. I haven't made a guest list or figured out any food for it. I am very tempted to cancel the whole thing - since she won't really know the difference anyway. I don't know that I feel like going through the hassle for something that will end up as a group of pictures in an album and nothing more.

I am ready for spring to get here. I am tired of the cold and wet weather. I want to spend time outside. I want to take Abby outside and let her explore - I think that will be fun to watch. I love the expression on her face when she notices something for the first time and tries to understand it. I haven't snapped a picture of that expression, but I think that will be my next picture goal with her. I would love to always have that to look back on.

My job is going pretty well, I guess. I am unsure of what to do at this point. I mean, I am so tired of looking for something else. I am burned out on sending out resumes and returning phone calls and emails and going for job interviews and waiting for call-backs - the process is exhausting. I am tired of not being sure what I am going to be doing next month or two months from now. I have employees or coworkers call me and request days off, or ask me to help at their stores and I don't know if I can commit to that or not. I am also sick of spending my days off in some pretty office somewhere selling myself to someone and not spending that time with Abby. There was a day last week that Abby and I didn't leave the house - it was wonderful!

I really miss Abby. I resent that she's spent the majority of her baby-time without me, and it's starting to look like her toddler-time won't be much different. People say that mothers can tell the difference between the baby's cries, and I never could. I was never around her enough to pick it up. When Abby cried, I asked Mike what to do with her. I feel like a failure. I know it's dramatic - but it's true. I mean, she's starting to try to talk, and this is another example of what I should be able to understand, and I can't. When you see or talk to a toddler and you can't understand what they're saying, you can look at their parent and they will usually interpret. The parent knows that some unintelligible gibberish really means cat. I am afraid that this period will be no different than the cries.

I probably need some time off. I haven't had any personal time or vacation time since I returned to work last June. Keeping in mind that I put in a lot of extra hours in November and December, I am probably due for some time off. Maybe I would feel better about my job if I was able to take a break from it. But then I think...I have two weeks to last me for another year, and what if Abby gets sick and I really need it. Oh well. It's nice to dream.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

2 more teeth

Abby has two more teeth coming in. She looks so different from even just 2 months ago! Pretty soon, she's going to have a mouthful of teeth and look like a girl instead of a baby...

She is just growing so fast!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Frustration

So, it's been 8 months since I went back to work, and I don't like it. I feel that I am missing out on so much with Abby, and this is time I can't get back. I thought that I would find some sort of 30-hour part-time work week job, making $10.00 per hour and be able to have more time with Abby. I have been looking for a few months now, and I am not having any breaks. I have had a few interviews, but even when I have had an interview, I haven't gotten any call-backs. I don't know what my problem is - I used to be very good at interviewing. I am tired of job-hunting. I have been doing it for about 5 years, pretty much non-stop. I am not happy with where I am. I thought that going to college was supposed to be the way to get a good job, but my degree seems worthless (and that's what I tell the alumni association every time they call me). I am so desperate for something else, that I am considering going back to school, but that's going to rob me of even more time with Abigail. I am ready to start trying to get pregnant again, but the thought of working one more Christmas at my current job makes me ill. In the grand scheme of my life, I want to have my second baby now - but in the day-to-day, I know that I would be miserable. How do I figure out what is right for me?

I keep giving myself goals, like, I want to be out of my current job by Jan. 27th - and that didn't happen. I then decided that I wanted to be out by Feb. 17th - and that's today. I have failed with that goal, too. This is really starting to take it's toll on me, and I find it hard to be positive. I really think that even if someone called me tomorrow for an interview, it would be hard for me to do well in the interview because I feel like it's pointless anyway - they're not going to call me back...

Of course, a lot of this could be PMS right now. Maybe I am not as angry as I feel right now. Maybe it's amplified by my hormones. I certainly hope that's the case, because then I could hope to feel better in a few days. We'll see.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day/10 month pictures



Isn't she sweet? Or mean...sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.



I like this one - she looks very innocent.



"For all you do...this Bud's for you!" That is all I can think of when I see this picture.



Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Abby's first birthday party

I am having a hard time coming up with plans for Abby's first birthday party. I would like it to be a big event, big enough for my extended family. A park would be ideal, but with it being in early April, the weather is unreliable for any outdoor activities. I have been thinking about some indoor venue - a bowling alley, perhaps...but feel so torn about it. I am in need of some ideas...

I would like to start getting the details ironed out so that I can send out invitations. Right now, all I know is that I would like to have it on April 5th. I can start putting together a guest list, and possibly pick up some decorations - but a lot of that will be determined by where I have the party.

*sigh*

Friday, February 8, 2008

Abby's First Steps!

Abby took her first steps today!!! We were at my mom's house, and Gary was walking her around the kitchen and living room. Mike picked her up and played with her for a minute, and she decided to go back to Gary. Mike got her really close to him and then let her go. She took three quick steps before she fell on her bottom! I am so proud of her!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Our trip to Arkansas...

This past weekend, Mike, Abby and I went to see family in Arkansas. These are some pictures of our weekend.



This picture is of Grandma, Aunt Susie, Cousin Chris with new baby Shelby, and Mike and Abby.


Look at that pouty face!


Sleeping baby Shelby! She's so cute! I wanted to take her home with me.



Chris and Shelby, Mike and Abby



Debbie with baby Shelby



Aunt Susie with Abby



The two new grandmas and the mixed up babies



Cousin Kelly was ruining Abby's world with that barrette!



Grandma with Shelby



Grandma and Abby having Cheerios.



Abby reading a book with cousin Kelly.



Abby loves her new Christmas present.



Cousin Stephanie with Rupert, Grandpa and Abby.



I love cousin Kelly!



Abby with her Great Grandpa



Grandma and Shelby are napping...shhhhh...



Hi Shelby Lynn!



Awww...Abby and Daddy