Right Now: July 2017

I have totally fallen out of the habit of blogging. Life got really hectic with The Count’s first year in pharmacy school. I had many other priorities, many such that were not focusing on my passions, like writing. I am hoping to change that, regardless of any changes in my life, but alas, I’ve never been able to keep a promise to myself.

Very much looking forward to my newest venture, which is GRADUATE SCHOOL. It feels so strange to say that. Up until last semester I was still wrestling with what to do with my life and in a way I still am. I’ve always been passionate about children, education, and the community in general. However, as I’ve worked in public education the last few years, I discovered that as much as I value teaching, I know that it is not for me. In April I decided, for whatever crazy reason to apply to a Information Resource and Library Science program at the University of Arizona. I didn’t hear back for several months and then in July I decided to contact them to see where my application was. They were waiting for my second referral (which got stuck in email somewhere). Once I got that sorted out, I was told I would hear back in 4-6 weeks. Two days later, I got my official acceptance letter. I’m not sure The Count is totally thrilled as us both being in school is incredibly grueling on us as a family, however, I’m happy. Whatever it takes, I will finish this degree.

Dealing with insanely frustrating and painful headaches and migraines constantly since mid-April. I’ve had brain wave scans (which uncovered a seizure disorder only), MRIs, CT scans, and I’m on 4 or 5 different medications for migraines, not to mentions OTC meds for tension, positional or just plain ol’ headaches. There’s “nothing” to be found or wrong with my head. The only thing that I haven’t had tested are my blood vessels. Maybe there are more things. But that’s the next thing I will ask about.

Loving my plants and succulents. They had a hard summer. It was my first summer as a “plant mama.” Just as my first time as a real mama, though, obviously much, much different. My path to becoming a plant mama started because my apartment didn’t have enough light so all my house plants had to go outside on the patio. However, it is there where they all died. I discovered I was much better as a cacti and desert plant caretaker. My last outdoor houseplant died this past week… my spider plant. I do have two pothos plants and a peace lily inside still as those can basically live with almost no sunlight, but outdoors I have converted to all desert plants and I LOVE it.

Dreading going back to work, but at the same time excited about it. I’m not the stay at home mom type as I believe I have said before. I do miss my daily interactions with people and my friends at work. I’m sure At the same time, I think I could stay home and watch Netflix for the rest of my life. Hahahaha!

In my month off I have spent a lot of time binge watching Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu! Some of the shows I’ve watched are: Broadchurch, Jessica Jones (again), The Crown, Paranoid, every Louis C.K. special, The Handmaid’s Tale, Fargo, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some. Currently I am watching The Keepers and finishing up Twin Peaks. Next I want to watch Call the Midwife, Peaky Blinders, and finish Transparent and Catastrophe. TV is never-ending!!! Hey— we have to have some way to escape.

Can’t believe I have a kindergartner. I swear, I was just pregnant, doing nursery posts and then his monthly updates. Finn is incredible. He’s not interested in poop or farts like some other kids. He likes to talk about satellites in the sky and how our phones connect to them. He loves downloading apps from the App Store. Not playing them. He’s just obsessed with how the whole system works. He’s a special person. And he’s going to do really great things.

That’s it for things around our corner.

January Blues

So, here I am after a very long hiatus. In that time I’ve very much gotten in to home design and fashion. So, with my slow reintroduction to blogging I am sharing some of my favorite things that I am longing after this cold January (well, cold for us in Arizona with most days in the 50’s-60’s). I’ve very much fallen in love with stores like Madewell and Anthropologie, which is not good for my bank account, but I always, always buy things on sale which is where most of these are linked from and why some of these links may not even work anymore. For that, I do apologize.

  1. I have been watching these denim pouches for a couple months now but refused to pay full price for them. Then they went on sale, much to my shopping addicted beating little heart’s surprise and of course I bought the top one because it reminded me so much of Japanese sashiko stitching. <3 <3 <3
  2. These peplum tops were really big this past fall/winter. I bought a long-sleeved one from Old Navy and was not super impressed with the fit, but I think I am willing to give a short-sleeved one a shot and I love these ones from Roolee. I think the short-sleeves will look less like a potato sack.
  3. I have not yet pulled the trigger on any Madewell denim, but I love the look of it and the idea of owning quality denim. I’ve pretty much been wearing jeans from American Eagle since high school but that’s only out of habit. I like the look of these jeans and that the holes are not too much.
  4. I need a nice bookend for my shelves as my books are constantly falling off. I love the look of these.
  5. I was thinking the other day that I cannot believe that The Count and I do not own a globe! We need a small one to complete our bookshelves.
  6. Okay so I know I’ve dropped a few names throughout this post, but I’m really not a brand name girl. I do not particularly like Michael Kors or Coach or Tory Burch or any of the like, but for some odd reason, I do like Marc by Marc Jacobs. Hypocritical, I know. This wallet is cute, though the $100 price tag is not.
  7. And speaking of Michael Kors, when my sister-in-law and I were in San Diego over the New Year holiday, we saw puffy jackets everywhere and fell in love with them! This puffy jacket is one of the few that I could find that I liked, but do you know of any better ones?
  8. Don’t get me started on these shoes. I have put these in my cart so many times and stopped myself. I feel like these could be the one expensive thing I buy in my life and be so happy with and not feel guilty, but I just know that everyone else would give me so much shit. I love them. I’m in love with them.
  9. I’m totally on a dress kick. I’m ready for spring. And I loved this dress. Chambray is totally my thing. I wanted it so bad and I put it in my Anthro shopping cart one night before bed and told myself that I really don’t need it, but if it’s still there in the morning, I would buy it and if it’s gone, it’s not meant to be. Well, it was gone and let’s just say I was a little less easy going about it. I was sad and kicked myself for not buying it.

Anyways, there’s my January list… what’s on yours?

Settling In… Again

details

We’ve been in our own place for almost a year now. Our second place actually. It feels good, a bit lonely (more on that later), but, good. But we are settling in again.

I think the biggest thing about having our own place is having our autonomy back. We don’t have to answer every time we buy something new or eat out. Or if you are having a bad day and don’t feel like talking to somebody, you don’t have to talk to anybody in passing and have it turn into a big deal.

Of course, these are very minor things in the grand scheme. Living with my family was one of the biggest “godsends” we could have ever asked for. My parents were so giving when they could have used a hand themselves. They are the most thoughtful and selfless people on the planet. They were huge assets in making sure that the Count graduated with his undergrad degree and continue to be while I work on my own final year of my undergrad and he works on his first year of post-grad. We would both be nowhere without them. Let that be on the record. My mom is Finn’s third parent and he sees her as such. Even a mom. She could easily pick up, should, heaven forbid, something happen to me. She’s the person we turn to for everything— and I mean everything!

However, I do not miss the dysfunction of living there with my brother who has some severe mental illness and substance abuse issues. I am so glad that Finn has his own house where he isn’t exposed to that on a daily basis. A much safer environment. Something we’d all agree on. My brother is the smartest, kindest, and definitely sweetest person to Finn, but as it goes with mental illness and substance abuse, they do not mix. They were not easy to always shield Finn from when he was having an episode.

We’ve been enjoying putting our new place together and making it our own. Finally unboxing things that have been in my parents’ garage for over 2 years from our old house and finding places for them or *gasp* getting rid of them as we try to pair down more.

We have also discovered that we like living small. We’ve discussed on numerous occasions that our ~1200 square foot apartment is just about the perfect size for us. Neither one of us likes to clean and we definitely don’t like doing yard work! We can see ourselves buying a condo or townhouse with a minimal yard that is not too much bigger than what we have now. Or, living in an apartment longterm. I kind of like being able to call somebody else if something goes wrong. We’d like to spend our money on travel in the long run!!!

For the most part, we’re settled and happy and it feels good.

Right Now: March 2016

IMG_0974

I am watching Fuller House on Netflix and unashamedly loving it. I wouldn’t say I was the biggest Full House fan as a kid, but this reboot it exactly as I remember the original, and so for nostalgia’s sake, it’s hitting the spot. Corny as all hell, but just right.

Stressed out as all hell with all of the decisions we have to make about our future with the Count in pharmacy school beginning in June. I think there’s only one other person (than us) on the planet who gets it and that’s my mom. To everybody else, all of our stress and decisions probably seem trivial and like no-brainers, but to us and my mom, they’re really actually deep and life-changing decisions like nobody else could understand. Actually, even my boss told me today that she does not envy my position.

Not really feeling it with school this semester and haven’t put my all into it yet as I have the last three semesters. Maybe that’s because there hasn’t been a whole lot of writing. I am used to writing intensive courses and so far my semester has been a lot of boring discussion boards and easy writing assignments. However, I just turned in my first 8 page paper of the semester and I felt reinvigorated.

So excited as Spring Break is next week from work and school for me and Finn! I plan on getting things ready for his big 4th birthday party and possibly trying to fit in a few museums and parks here and there. And purging paperwork.

Just took another break from Facebook. Again. Getting real fired up about the election and seeing things come into my newsfeed has taken a toll on my mental health. Seriously. If you knew my family, you’d understand. We’re obsessive, passionate, and in my case, a little angry. I needed to step away and literally the ONLY way I can physically or mentally do that is by actually getting rid of it and removing most of the temptation. What sent me over the edge was an argument I had with somebody who said they actually spanked their child for potty accidents. It sent me into a rage. Anyone who knows me knows that children are my weakness (strength?).

Since Finn got sick back in February he started napping in our bed and we haven’t been able to break him of that since. We nap together in my bed everyday, which is nice but I’m afraid I will never get him to nap in his room again! What have we done?

We’re on a “break” from our workout/diet routine. I know, I know. Ever since we all got the flu in February, things got all fucked up. Hoping once were resettled we can get back to a routine. I did lose about 5-6 lbs.

I have very little forgiveness for people who say, “I hate politics”, “I don’t pay any attention to that stuff”, “I don’t know anything about politics”. Because there’s a point where you say that because you really hate it and the whole system, but you still know about it and make sure to stay informed and educated on what’s happening in your country. But if you are willfully ignorant and then complain about shit that you hear on sound bites on the news, well then, I have very little to say to you other than to literally, “fuck off.” If you are one of the dumb idiots keeping our country dumb by not being informed… I don’t even know what to say. Ugh, see?

Right now… I need a vacation.

I wrote this a few weeks ago and figured I better post it before March is over… why do I always do that?

2016: Getting Healthy with Power 90

Power90

So, once again, the Count and I have embarked on a life-changing exercise and diet routine that we are hoping is going to change our lives. We did P90X six years ago and were in the best shape of our lives, but over the last six years things have fluctuated so much (I’ve had a freakin’ baby for crying out loud!) and our health and bodies are in no way where we want them to be. Other things have had priority and unfortunately our health has been placed on the back burner for far too long.

I would say, as I know I’ve said it here before, that I am not a vain person and overall I do not complain about the way I look. I don’t hyper focus on my weight or beat myself up for being overweight. I think I’ve always just realized that there are always many more important things to focus my energies on. The Count, on the other hand is extremely hard on himself. Self-esteem and body issues have always been something that he has struggled with. However, when you suffer from depression, it’s a little hard to focus your energies on them and often times, eating what makes you feel good takes priority.

We have been talking for far too long about finally doing something about our health and reeling everything in. Neither one of us is extremely out of control as far as our actual weight numbers, but our health is indeed suffering. He has serious heart and thyroid issues and any extra weight does not help. I have PCOS which contributes to elevated blood sugar and cholesterol as well as many chronic musculoskeletal issues with my back, feet, arthritis, and migraines.

With it being a new year and the Count having several (!) pharmacy school interviews coming up, we decided to start Power 90, another Beachbody workout video system, but one right below P90X because we are in no way, shape, or form, able to attempt P90X right now as we did six years ago! We started on Sunday, so last night was our 5th night. We have not taken our “before” pics or done our measurements yet, but are hoping to do so tonight. I hope to periodically keep this blog updated with our progress. It’s fun to look back on our old P90X progress pics and updates, so I hope this will do the same for us.

I wrote this back on January 8th and forgot to post it! More updates coming soon!

Right Now: December 2015

cookies

Recovering from Christmas. I just cleaned up the last of the FOUR bags of wrapping paper and will be hauling those down to the recycling bin tonight. The two days of Christmas spent at our house (due to Finn’s surgery) were joyous and full! <3

Totally geeking out to Star Wars lately. I am by no means a huge Star Wars fan… but we saw the new one last night and LOVED it. I can’t wait to see it again. We watched Episodes 4, 5, & 6 (again) over the weekend and now we are starting episodes 1, 2, & 3. I have so many theories spilling over in my mind!

Anxious for the new rug that my parents got us for Christmas to arrive. It will be so nice to have some new bright colors in the living room that will go more with our new family lifestyle (toys!) than when it was just Dan and I and we had more neutrals, browns, and the animal print thing going on.

Thinking about getting back to eating healthy again. I lost 9.8lbs. last August/September just by counting my calories, but then school got crazy and grading started and eating healthy was the last thing on my mind— but now it is again.

Still helping my little guy recuperate from his big surgery on Christmas Eve where he had his tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy (more on that later). I am SO glad we had it that day so that he and I can both be home while he fully recovers from such a traumatic and painful ordeal.

Thinking again about how much I truly think that I would cut people out of my life if I found out that they were supporters of Donald Trump. It doesn’t matter what relation they were to me, I think if you like and support a guy that espouses hate on the level that he does, you do not belong in my life in any way, shape, or form.

Really enjoying my time off of work, school, and grading, even if it is spent solely at home watching my little guy suffer for most of the day. I know I have said in the past that being a “stay-at-home-mom” is not my gig, but I’m really enjoying it right now. Today I felt so domestic cleaning the kitchen, vacuuming, doing laundry, organizing things in our closet I’ve been wanting to go through for months… but I know it would get old fast, so I’ll just enjoy it while I am. Maybe it’s just the novelty of not having anything else to do for a change?

Still beaming after my first semester at ASU where I took on five classes and got all A’s. But not just all A’s, Three A’s and 2 A+’s! It feels amazing and incredibly validating. I did this while working a 29 hour a week part-time job, another part-time job that was probably equal or more than 30 hours a week, taking five classes, AND still being a mom and not sacrificing TOO much of my time with Finn, although of course some time was sacrificed. As much as I am proud of this accomplishment, I will NOT be doing it again. Next semester I am just taking four classes. ;)

Sad that we missed our annual holiday light visit to the Mormon Temple this year. We’re not Mormon (obviously), but it’s something that the Count and I have done together for most of the nearly 13 years that we’ve been together and we’ve taken Finn twice to in his short four years. But, there just wasn’t time for it with the Count’s work schedule and my grading at night. We’ll see if we make it to Zoo Lights!

Excited but trying not to make a big deal out of it or hold out too much hope, but the Count applied to three pharmacy schools and so far has an interview at one in February. Crossing every body part I have for him (and us!)…

Had a wonderful holiday, even in spite of Finn having major surgery and hope that YOU did, too!

Dear Mom

Grandma

Dear Mom,

This seems like an appropriate time of year to let you know how much I appreciate you. You have done so much for The Count, Finn, and I; I really can’t quantify it or put it into words. You made it possible for us to be parents— and good parents at that! If I could just put a little bow on top of Finn’s head as a way of saying thanks, that would do it, because truthfully, everything he is started with you. There wasn’t a day during pregnancy, to one of those many sleepless first nights and well beyond that you weren’t there for us and didn’t fill us with the best, most careful and most sound advice. All of that help added up and made us the parents we are, and Finn the amazing person that he is. Not to mention the days and months that you have given up to care for Finn; the literal blood, sweat, and tears that you have given to us and to him on an almost daily basis (hello heart attack?). It never goes unnoticed. I see Finn in you and that makes me happier than you will ever know. When you are gone, you will be leaving behind this person that is just as much, if not more, of a reflection of you than all four of your children as Finn has never had to share you with any siblings or daycare children. He has always had you. I am sure after raising four children you never intended on becoming a parent to somebody else again, but in the best of ways, you have to Finn. And when The Count handed you that stole of gratitude when he graduated, he meant it. We both meant it. His degree would not have been possible without you. And it set off a chain of events for our family’s future. You are such an integral part of our lives. His degree meant that I will be able to finally get mine (a dream I know you have had for me, my entire life) and hopefully that means that the chances of Finn getting one, too, will be much greater. So, I know that I don’t say it, and I definitely don’t show it (I need to work on that) and I’m sure you feel pretty taken for granted most of the time, but I appreciate you and I love you.

Love,
Jill

Right Now: November 2015

IMG_0004

Tired but trying to endure the rest of my first semester at ASU. I have less than one month week left, but I know there’s a lot to do in that one month week in all four of my classes! The Count tells me that each semester is like a race in a big marathon, I just have to make it to each finish line to catch my breath until I hit the big one.

In the mood to bake all the things but no time to do it! I am pinning shit constantly that I want to eat and bake and sad as my days and weekends come and go where no baking or eating happens.

Feeling creative – I’m determined that this year I am going to finish my “Christmas” cards and send them around Thanksgiving as a Thanksgiving/Fall card. I know I complain about not having a lot of time (which I don’t), but I really want to make time for this. ***As this was written a few weeks ago, felt I needed to update that I ordered my Christmas cards this weekend. Didn’t quite get them out by Thanksgiving, but hey— I’m just glad I am going to be sending them out for the first time in years!

Excited about my new job. I just got a job at the school district I worked at last school year as a Title I clerk. This is my second fourth week and so far so good. It seems easy enough and I especially like that I basically have my own office and will have little contact with kids. Not to sound bad, but they were a lot of work! I want something relatively stress-free with everything else that I have on my plate.

Enjoying the in between weather stage of our weather. It was really cold two days last week where the temps varied between 40 and 60 degrees. Then this weekend it shot up to 75 degrees – making for a perfect day at the zoo! ***This was started a few weeks ago and we’re back to nearly freezing temps again!

Really loving our new apartment. It’s so perfect for us! Trust me when you were used to fitting all your stuff in 2 bedrooms for almost 2 years, a whole apartment feels so luxurious! It’s the perfect amount of space and maintenance for us and we love it.

So thankful that my mom can watch Finn while we’re at work still. I am happy that I got all those months with him, but grateful that she can resume. I don’t ever want to take that for granted. She’s gonna be gone the week of Thanksgiving and we have to *find somebody* and just the thought of leaving him with a stranger has my stomach in knots since we’ve literally never had to do so!

Also thankful to my mom and brother who came over and in one night helped us finally unpack/pack all of the boxes that were lining the walls of various rooms of our apartment and now it finally feels like we are “moved” in and the place looks clean and tidy for the first time! Granted, we mostly moved our boxes of junk that “need to be sorted through” to our closet, so they didn’t just go away, but it still feels super great! Now it feels like we can actually think about decorating…

Getting used to not having all my friends as such as regular part of my life anymore, but Finn hasn’t gotten used to it. He asks about his friends on a daily basis and that especially stings!

Christmas shopping is on a roll! So far we’re done with Finn, myself, my mother-in-law, and pretty much, The Count. Now to worry about everybody else!

I started this post at the beginning of the month and I figured I better get it out before the end of the month so that this picture of pumpkins is relative for one last day. ;)

A New Job!

new job

As I said, I had to “go back to work”. I put that in quotes because a lot of people forget or don’t realize that I already have a job as a teaching assistant or grader for NAU. It’s a very time consuming, mentally and emotionally draining job that does not pay very well in dividends but will on my resume later on tenfold.

That being said, I had to find a way to make us being on our own work. In addition to being out “on our own”, we had just been hit with The Count’s student loan payment and were both in total shock. I was starting to talk to some of my old contacts at my old job at OfficeMax about working there a couple days a week and then as I was driving to pick Finn up from preschool someone from the district that I worked at last school year called me to see if I could come in and interview for a really great job. Tomorrow. I said yes. The interview went great and they called me an hour later to tell me they wanted me to start as soon as possible. Four days later I had my first day.

Yes, I’m going to be insanely busy. On top of my already five classes (well, four left now), my grading for two classes which is crazy intensive and time consuming- taking about 20-25 hours a week, I’m now working 29 hours at a new job outside of the home Monday through Friday. This is not even to mention my son who requires and deserves most of my time. Do I know how I’m going to do it? Not exactly. But when it’s a sink or swim situation, I guess you just do what you have to do. You figure it out. Luckily my own school semester ends in one month from today so if I just lean on The Count and my mom a whole lot for the next month, I’ll get through it. Then all the big grading deadlines are after that and before December 24th and the school district gets out before then! So— I just have some big hurdles to jump through, but I know I can do it. Next semester I won’t be so crazy on myself and will only take 4 classes (which that in itself is something I never thought I’d say).

As far as the job, it seems great. A lot of responsibility for the entire school but also a lot of freedom. I have my own (huge) office which I share only with my boss. It’s basically a whole classroom converted to an office with 2 desks. I like feeling needed and a valued commodity to the whole school. I’ve only been there 3 days and I already have a good feeling. I hope it lasts.

My body and my mind still haven’t gotten used to working. I’m tired everyday when I get home and I would much rather be home with Finn. Partially out of laziness because if I don’t have to work, I’d rather not, and of course mostly because I miss him and think about him nonstop. I made sure to negotiate when I was hired that I still wanted to take him to preschool two days a week, so I come in later on those days.

I’m intimidated, but excited for this whole new adventure and I must press on!

A New Lease On Life

apartment

We recently hit a huge milestone and moved out after living with my parents for 21 months. It was a day of sadness, joy, and triumph. Sadness because we were leaving the home where most of Finn’s memories were made— the only home that he has truly ever known. So many good things happened in that home, obviously. We all had countless good memories and I will forever be grateful for every single one of them and for the love that filled that house and surrounded Finn on a daily basis. We will certainly miss having my parents right there for support, but luckily they are right across the street. We made sure not to move far for Finn and our sake!

It was a day of joy because we could finally be a family of three again. Not that we did not love being a family of six (for the most part!) at my parents’ home. It was so nice to have his grandparents in the same house to always be there for not only him, but us as well. However, there is just something about being on our own as a family. I think it will definitely change our family dynamics and we will all have to relearn things— especially Finn as the only family he has ever known has had a mom, a dad, a grandma, a grandpa, and an uncle. Thinking about that makes me realize how different an experience this was for Finn, but also how great it made him as a person. He was very lucky and now we will learn to become a family of three together again!

And triumph because we are finally able to live on our own. Sort of. I had to get another job, but that’s besides the point. We’re on our own and it feels great! The Count graduated, he’s working full-time now, and we’re both on our way to better futures! It will also be nice to have more control over our lives and what Finn is exposed to. I know I have mentioned that my brother had some pretty extreme mental illnesses, so when he was in an active state with those, it made everybody’s life pretty difficult, including Finn’s. Knowing that we now had control over what he was exposed to on a daily basis was a huge weight lifted off of our shoulders.

So, with all that said, we had hoped that those closest to us would realize the weight and impact of this milestone and be happier for us than they have been. We had hoped that our closest friends would have been by by now to see our new home and wish us well and share in our happiness, but that is not the case. I guess life goes on for everybody else. Not one friend has been by.

A part of me wonders if it is because we are living in an apartment and not a big fancy home. Is our home any less than anybody else’s? It’s not a half a million dollar dream home, but it’s our home and more importantly, it’s Finn’s home. He was so excited to share it with his friends. His disappointment has worn off but I don’t think mine has for him.

Sometimes you have to celebrate your own triumphs and milestones in your own way. When you downplay their importance, I guess you can’t expect others to do any different. I didn’t make a big fuss on social media at the time because I didn’t think that a lot of people cared and apparently I may have been right.

However, my parents have been hugely supportive. They were right there with us the whole time and even though they set us up with an entire refrigerator, freezer, and pantry full of food when we moved in PLUS some, the next weekend they still came over and brought us rugs to place throughout our house, when they are the last people we would ever expect to do anything else for us as they’ve already given us everything. It’s like, we didn’t even have to tell them how we felt, they just knew and were happy for us and most of all, for Finn.