Thursday, December 20, 2007

No Words Today

First, Happy Birthday to Josh. The big 26! Mara woke him up this morning with a, "Happy Birthday Dad! Old Man!" That was cute.

That's it for today. My grandma just passed away, and I'm not really feeling super bloggy tonight. So....I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully a little brighter.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Healing Nicely

So the computer is back and healing quite nicely. There was a rough patch there for a while, but Josh restored it...we're good to go.

I thought I'd take a quick minute to discuss something I find interesting. I have noticed that a lot of people call their children by odd, nonsensical names that have nothing to do with their actual name. I read a post recently about how one child got her "additional" name, and I thought I'd explain my child's. Although I normally refer to her as Mara here, we actually rarely call her that. Generally the only time we use her actual name is if she's in trouble or if we're referring to her in conversation to someone.

When she was a couple weeks old, I loved how her little legs were finally starting to get some chub. She had lost weight for 3 weeks, so it took her a little while to work her way back up to the nearly 9 pounder she was when she was born. I thought her new little chunky legs were so cute. In fact, they were chunky and cutesie. Chunky + Cutesie= Chuky (pronounced chew-key). Of course, there are many nicknames the girl has: "Chuky" "Chuks" "The Chukster" "Lovey" "The Snuggler". But she even refers to herself as Chuky. She'll look in the mirror and say, "There's Chuky. Right there." Or say that Nicole is Chuky's mommy. Of course, she knows her name is Mara, and she also refers to herself as Mara. But she's cooperated with us nicely by adapting to the many names we call her.

So does anyone else call their kids something different, nonsensical, or strange? Chuky's mommy wants to know.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Having major issues

I think my computer is about to explode. That, or I'm about to explode at my computer. One of the two. It won't let me attach anything to an email; it won't let me copy or paste anything, and it won't let me delete. So....I'm going to go to bed before I put this computer to bed for good. Sorry, but I'll be back tomorrow. Promise.

Monday, December 17, 2007

My Kid is Quick...

So Mara is a kid who knows everyone, and if she doesn't know you yet, she'll meet you.....and remember you! Mara is one of those people who only needs to learn a person's name once, and she remember you months later. (Months for a nearly two year old can seriously mean about 1/4 of her life, you know?) She knows all the kids in her class at school (day care)....and in the 2 classes across the hall and the one next door. That's like 40 kids.

Anyway, today she came running into our room with one of her books that had a picture of a Mini-Cooper in it. She pointed to it and here's what happened:

Mara: "Dad, look, a mini-cooper!"
Dad: "Yes, that's a mini-cooper."
Mara: "It's a Lloyd car!"
Dad: "A Lloyd car?"
Mara: "Yeah!!"

Of course it's a Lloyd car. Her cousin Lloyd (who she last saw in early October--and before that last Christmas) has a younger brother named Cooper. So, of course that makes sense. My kid is Quick!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

O, the Weather Outside is Frightful

Well, we don't have a fireplace in our home, but today would be a good day for one. We got so much snow yesterday and last night! In fact, we had so much snow, that they cancelled church yesterday morning for this afternoon! It's so great. While the snow started yesterday morning, I made a quick run to Meijer with Mara (I loathe that store, by the way, but that's another story) because I was in need of groceries and a couple of non-grocery items. I definitely was not going to 2 different stores with a nearly 2 year old in snow storm. So we were off to Meijer.

In the short hour that we were there, I was nearly hit by a tractor (Yes, they had an actual tractor doing their snow removal), got bonked on the head by a shovel, and walked out with three bruises up and down my shins from hitting the shovel we were buying that didn't fit below our cart very well. It was an adventure....a terrible adventure.

Today should be fun, though. We're planning on building a snow man. On another note, though, Big Don passed away on Thursday afternoon. His viewing is today, and the funeral is tomorrow. I'm not sure how that will go over today with all the snow. We'll see if we are even able to make it out of our neighborhood.

Friday, December 14, 2007

So Busy

So have you ever been so busy, you don't really know where you're supposed to begin because no matter where you begin, anything will seem like you're wasting time because there's so much to do? Okay, did that make any sense? Well, that's how I'm feeling right now. Remember that whole, "feeling all on top of things" stuff? Well, yeah, it's a good thing I got ahead early because, man, I'm feeling behind now.

This weekend will be so busy. I need to wrap gifts, get the last 2 gifts on the list of things to get, set up binders for the ward Christmas program at church (for next Sunday), put together the programs, teach Zumba, clean the house, etc..... I'm just feeling a bit overwhelmed right now.

On another note, I'm reading a really good book right now. It's called A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Housseini, the author of Kite Runner, which I actually haven't read yet. Maybe that should be my next. Anyway, it's really good, so of course I have to finish that this weekend, too. It's really good, and is about the lives of 2 Afghan women over the course of the last 45 years. It draws on actual political movements, the differences in their lives and childhoods. It's actually really informative; although it is fiction.

Well, I should probably go do something productive now, since I've been complaining and all....

Thursday, December 13, 2007

She fell on my head

So I just fell asleep trying to put Mara to bed when suddenly, out of nowhere, she rolled off the bed and literally fell on my head. 'Nuff said.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Good morning, Nicole!

So this morning, I woke up to an odd buzzing feeling. My hands went numb. It was strange. Oh, it was my phone. What was that thing doing on my lap, in my hands? Why was it buzzing? What time is it? It's.....Oh, it's 7:50......IT'S 7:50???!!!!??? In case you didn't know, I have to be at work at 8:00. I woke up this morning to my phone ringing, and my mom calling me. Thankfully, she called when she did. I got to work by 8:30....not bad.

Last night was Horrible. Yes, I capitalized the "H" on purpose. Mara was awful. She literally screamed off and on until 2:30 this morning. She decided she didn't want to sleep in her bed....Too bad for her, we had already decided that she was going to. Thus, we were butting heads until she finally fell asleep at 2:30. Thus, I overslept this morning, and thus... I'm off to bed. Good night!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pictures and Fun Stuff

I know that I haven't posted pictures in a while, so I decided that tonight would be a good night for a few pictures and fewer words. Our good friend Jennifer came over a couple of weeks ago, and Mara and I went out with her while Josh studied for a bit. We helped translate for her while she met with the parents of one of her kindergarten students. Since she had her camera, when we came back, she took a couple pictures of the family.

I look like I was trying to smile in the middle of swallowing here or something.

This next one pretty much sums up Mara's attitude most of the time. She's always very active and in charge...and for the most part happy and cute!

I love this one.

Mara put her coat on as Jennifer was headed out the door.

On another note, Josh just finished final #1 for this semester. He thinks it went okay, so we have 2 left. He already had a presentation last week, so we're hoping the rest of the week goes by quickly. I can't wait for Christmas---and for finals to be over! In addition, Mara is beginning to recognize that her birthday is coming up. She sang Happy Birthday to herself the other day, along with an additional round for Daddy, since his is next week. We're excited!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Oh Dear!

So I just barely made it. (For this one, we're especially thanking our computer for somehow being set to the wrong time.) I just fell asleep on the couch, and so, although I'd love to stay and chat, I can barely hold my neck up because of the way I was sleeping and can hardly see through my swollen eyes......So I'm headed to bed. We'll be back tomorrow.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Calling all "Blog-stalkers"

Yes, you know who you are....The one who wakes up in the morning, gets ready for the day (or maybe not), heads out to the computer-or goes to the work computer, and takes a little 'cyber-stroll' to all the favorite spots. You live to see what your "friends" are up to....people you've actually never met but feel like you've known forever. Yes, I'm talking to you. But don't worry, if I were reading this post instead of writing it, I'd be talking to me too. I'm completely with you. I feel the pull of this addiction, too, it's okay. Let's band together.

I was at church today when a 'sister in stalking' outed herself to me. What? You stalk MY blog? Someone actually cares to hear what I have to say? Wow! I was stunned to say the least. I'm the one who adores other people's blogs, who loves to hear about other people's woes and toddler terrors. But wow! I told her my blog confidence just went up a notch. I also told her that since she's been outed now, though, that she needs to comment. A girl needs a little support in the month-long effort.

So what do you all think? Do you guys stalk too? Is it more normal than I thought it was? So don't be afraid. Leave a comment, or keep on stalking, but I do know you're there. :)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Daddy does a great job

Just a little tribute to the dad today. He's fab. I was finishing up getting ready today, and he was finishing with Mara. Mara and I were going to go out shopping this afternoon to leave the dad alone at home to get some studying done. I can't until finals are over. It will be nice to spend a little bit of time with the family with less stress!

Anyway, he was sitting down, holding Mara, and he was doing her hair. Not only does he know how to do her hair, he's pretty observant of special little details. For example, he uses the spray bottle to be sure all her hair goes back into the ponytail, and he is extra precise in her part. She even sits better when he does than when I do it. He's just a great dad, and we're so happy to have him!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Thanks Jessica!

I just want to recognize the complete awesomeness that is my visiting teaching companion. (Visiting Teaching is a program at church where the women go out in partnerships to visit a handful of other women each month. It's a great support system for one another.) Jessica is great, and I'm so glad that I've been able to get to know her better. She's such a great example to me of a positive, happy, supportive friend. Thanks for being the great gal you are! Have a good weekend!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A little weepy right now

I'm wondering if I should even type this post right now, but I think part of the reason that I'm doing this 'post every day' thing is to really be better at journaling and getting out my real 'right now' thoughts. My concern is, I don't want people reading too much into this post. I'm not writing to get all mushy and receive sympathy. It's just what's on my mind. So here goes...

As I've been preparing for the Christmas season and "feeling all on top of things" and doing a fabulous job at getting ready for the big day, there's a lot going on in our family(ies) right now. All I have to say is that Cancer and Alzheimer's absolutely suck. Separate, together, whatever. They suck. And it's worse when they affect people you know. People you love. People who have been instrumental in your life.

In my family, I'm the oldest grandchild--by a handful of years. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents when I was young. My grandma used to take me to do crafts in the summer. She'd shop with me for hours- literally an entire day if I wanted- during my vacations. We'd go out to breakfast on weekends and then go to the farmer's market to pick out something special to prepare for dinner. We'd pick berries and go on walks. She'd always let me count the money when we went to the bank for a withdrawal, and even though she'd only chew half, she'd always give me a whole piece of gum if I wanted it. I remember that every time I'd go over, she'd wax her kitchen floors because I really liked the way the linolium had sparklies in it, and the very clean floors would shine even more. We'd have little lunch parties under the dining room table and tell secrets. When I graduated from high school, she seemed fine. She wrote in my senior book, and I read it the other day. It was a sweet message from the grandma I always knew. But my freshman year in college, things started to change. She seemed different, moody, distant. She's progressed quickly, all the while, my grandpa taking care of her at home. He's so brave, such an example of what dedication in a marriage is. They have such an admirable relationship. In fact, we named our daughter after him--her middle name. This year, we're hoping to have Christmas with grandma. (ah, see, I'm crying now.)

In addition, one of Josh's grandpa's--we call him "Big Don"-- has cancer. He was one of the first from Josh's family who I really felt comfortable with. I'd go over for Family Home Evening--a night we set aside in our church once a week for family time and a lesson--while Josh was still on his mission. Although Big Don and I are polar opposites politically, we had fun with each other. I got to know him as well, as I visited with Josh's mom and sister. Big Don absolutely adores Mara, and she has fun with him too. Having never had grandkids of his "own", Mara was the first baby grandchild he's experienced. He loves her as his own, and she does too! Big Don had cancer a few years ago and went into remission, but he's sick again. This time, he's just waiting. Our time with him seems to be limited, as well.

For us this year, Thanksgiving was a time we were especially thankful to be able to see Big Don and Grandma. Christmas/Mara's b-day will be difficult. Although I have a testimony- a knowledge- that we are put on this earth for a purpose and a short time and that we will live again, I have always had issues with death. Maybe it's because I have been lucky enough to not have had to deal with it in life. Until this summer, I still had all my grandparents. (The one that passed away this summer was 104 years old.)

And so, it's with a heavy heart that I am trying to come to terms with it. I'm trying to find a way to have my emotions follow what I know to be true and be comforted by it-- that in the next life, we will all be able to be together again. Families can be eternal. That knowledge truly does help me as I deal with this; however, it doesn't change the fact that cancer and Alzheimer's really do suck, and it doesn't keep me from crying about it. And so far, it hasn't really helped me work out any of my 'issues' with death.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Step Off!!!

So I am going to make a confession. My child has developed a love for a particular movie. I kind of expected something like this to happen eventually. When I was little, I had an obsession first for The King and I. It lasted a while. I remember my mom telling me that I loved to watch it over and over.Soon after that craze, I fell in love with Mary Poppins. I love Julie Andrews to this day, and I used watch that religiously also.

But my daughter? She's a little different than mom. She still loves the music....but maybe not so much the music-als. She's a great fan of School of Rock. It's her favorite movie of all time. She demands to watch it everyday....sometimes twice, and I wouldn't be suprised that if Josh really had to study, she'd catch some pieces of it three times in a day. YIKES!

Even right now, she's screaming, "School of Rock!" and looking at this picture. Of course, what should I expect from the girl who had a love for rock since nearly birth. Her first car ride with me--alone--she started wailing. I had no idea what to do while driving, so I turned on the radio, put on some soothing music. That will help. Nope. She was only comforted when I finally turned to....Van Halen. She quieted down right away. So why would I be shocked to know that this is her favorite movie? Who wouldn't be entertained by this guy?

She has so many lines memorized, it's amazing. In fact, I just quizzed her on some math. Here's our conversation:

Mom- Three minus four is.....

Little- negative one!

Mom- And six times a Billion is.....

Little- Six Billion

Mom- And fifty-four is forty-five more than what?

Little- Nine!

Thank you Jack Black for helping me pretend my child is a math genius at 23 months. And thanks for the hours of entertainment you provide for her. Because, let's be honest, her favorite movie could be much worse, and at least there's a good message.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

off to bed

So I'm exhausted, and I'm off to bed. I had a killer day at work, and I have to be there early tomorrow. But, hey, I posted. See you tomorrow, blogland.

Sweet dreams,

Monday, December 3, 2007

Love myself some Zumba

So since I began teaching Zumba, I'll tell ya that I've seen quite a variety of people trying to get fit, meet friends, and have fun! If you haven't checked it out yet, it's absolutely fabulous. As a teacher, I have to honestly admit that nothing makes me happier in class than to see people smile and really enjoy themselves. But on top of that, to later see them come back -- almost religiously-- because of their passion for the's like a mini-rush right there for me. Which apparently isn't even comparable to some people's gym experiences.

While teaching is actually something that is super fun for me, a great work out, and an extra source of income, I have found a couple pet peaves from my participants. At work, I like to refer to her as, "Crazy Zumba Lady." While I do love all my participants, I have to say that my evenings are much better when CZL does not show up.

Let's paint a little picture here....I walk up to my room, and she's already there, waiting outside the door with bright red lipstick on and gossiping up a storm with anyone within a 10 foot radius. During the 7 minutes that I generally have to wait before my class begins, I probably hear 2 comments about other teachers at the gym, 1 compliment toward the other Zumba teacher (no biggie, I really don't care that much), and about 3 minutes worth of explanation to another participant about how CZL herself used to teach aerobics and really wants to get into it again. By the time the class is ready to start, I'm thinking about how I should have brought trashbags to cover the mirror over the spot where I generally see her. (Yikes, I'm sounding really mean now) To top everything off, throughout the ENTIRE class, I see her purposely changing moves ahead of time to make it look like I'm following HER. Blah!

Well the other day, she actually kept me after class for 25 minutes trying to explain to me that she'd be a fabulous teacher, grabbing my arm and talking about 3 inches away from my face in the process. "Go for it!" I don't need convincing! Let me go home and feed my kid....and shower! Thus, she received the permanent title of Crazy Zumba Lady, and the workplace hears updates every week. If only they could have the image I do because, oh yes, her wardrobe just tops it all off. Picture this....

Sunday, December 2, 2007


A new blog idol of mine (mooshinindy) blogged every single day last month, and to top it off, she's decided to do it again this month. I think I'm going to try to follow in her footsteps and blog every day in December. I know, big YIKES! With the holidays, etc, I know I'll be super busy, but I think I can get a little something up here every day. With all of our SIX (yes, that's 6 at a minimum) Christmas celebrations, I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to blog, right? Gotta thank both our divorced families for that one! We're lucky with more people to love; that and Mara has somewhere upwards of 15 people she can call Grandma or Grandpa (or the equivalent in another language)! So here we go.....(eeek!) Wish me luck.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Feeling all on top of everything (at least at the moment)

I know it's been a while since I've posted, but I've been so busy trying to get caught up. Now I'm happy to say that I'm feeling like I'm actually a little above water right now. I still have the stresses of being insanely busy at work, struggling to get the church choir ready for our Christmas program (without a lot of time to practice), with a nearly 2 year old, but aside from that, I'm feeling pretty good about where I am right now.

For example, I must admit that I have had MAD SKILLS at getting my Christmas presents done early this year. I mean, I only have a few more things to get, and I'll have my lists complete. But I know what I'm getting everyone. I even bought stocking stuffers today! I know what you're saying. "Nicole, are you kidding me? I mean, it's just December 1!" All I can say is that, well, I amaze even myself right now. This is seriously a first for me.

I was at Target today, taking another quick swing by the dollar bin, and I decided to even get some Christmas cookie decorations and cookie cutters. I'm also planning on making chocolate covered Oreos. I'm killing myself right now with all these crazy plans of a perfect Christmas/birthday for Mara. But for once, I'm not really feeling all that overwhelmed. As I decorated the tree today with Mara, we listened to Christmas music and just had fun together. I'm so glad that- at least for now- the holidays are going smoothly and are so much fun!
On another note, here's a little shout-out to my lovely husband. Lovey, here is some of my Christmas list...I know I haven't been that organized this year in what I want, so here's a little help....

1) A deep, heavy skillet. Silly, I know, but you wouldn't believe all the stuff I want to cook that calls for this that I don't have.
2) Photoshop (Always a little dream for me to be a great photographer)

3) The Grey's Anatomy Season 3 Soundtrack

4) A new pair of black shoes (these are an example by my most favoritest shoe designer--Kenneth Cole Reactions)....size 9 please. By the way, these are called "Hil-laree". How fitting that I would pick these...5) a nice surprise
Gotta run....have to stay on top of things. What are your Christmas lists? Happy holidays!