Category Archives: Life in General

What’s Crackin’, Friends?

Here I am, That Gabbiest of Abbys, back on the interwebs again, just in time for Christmas. (Santa tipped me off that you guys were begging for new blogs from me. So, here ya go, nine days early. You’re welcome.)

As in years past, any time I’ve taken a sabbatical from my blog, there’s been a good reason. And this time is no different. Since last we met, I went and quit my job, packed our stuff, and moved clear across town! Oh Happy Day!

It’s kind of a long story. The gist of it is this: toddlers require a lot of attention. And because I was working from home before, my attention was divided. And Mama didn’t like that. So after much debate, we decided it was time to make a change. And here we are, in our very own home, with a fenced in yard and a fireplace and a happy little neighborhood.

Seriously. If you look up “Happy” in the dictionary, this is what you’ll find:

Being a stay-at-home mom wasn’t something I thought would be in the cards for me. As a child, I always envisioned myself as a working mom, home in the afternoons dressed in my pantsuit with a smart briefcase, being welcomed by my children at the door. (In these MASH-inspired dreams, I drove Mazda Miata and lived in a 2-story Colonial and was married to Zach Morris.) (MASH the game, not MASH the television show.)

As it turns out, it fits me to a tee, this full-time Mommy thing. I love being wholly available to our son, with no work distractions. I love living with the freedom being at home offers, and all the moments I get to share with him. Is it challenging sometimes? Sure. But it’s 100% rewarding.

I also love house-living. This is my first time in an honest-to-goodness house since pre-college. I hadn’t realized how weary I was of apartment living until I had so much space, and a yard. The responsibility isn’t lost on me…there’s more housework and, since we have a yard, yard work that we’ve never dealt with before. But I’m taking leaves, dusting baseboards, and vacuuming 7 rooms like :

via GIPHY
There might even be whistling involved.

It’s a wonderful life for us in these past couple of months, and as we settle in to celebrate the holiday in our new home, I can’t help but be grateful for the journey that brought us here. A lot of that journey was shared on the pages of this blog, and I felt compelled to share with my readers (however few of you there are left) a little slice of our happiness. My Christmas wish for all of us this year is that we can find peace, happiness, and calm in 2017.

And if you’re a parent to a toddler, may I suiggest a play-yard to keep your holiday peaceful, happy, and calm? It’s working over here.

Merry All-The-Things to one and all!

Musings of a Tired Mom

We’ve been watching a lot of Sesame Street lately. (And when I say a lot, I mean enough that Brian and I are walking around singing songs about sharing, the alphabet, and the wheels on the bus on the regular.)

Now, if you’re not familiar with the Sesame Street family, this post isn’t going to mean anything to you. We thank you for stopping by, and wish you a very happy Tuesday.

But if you ARE familiar with the Sesame Street family, you’re totally going to get this post. Especially if you’re a stay-at-home-Mom with a pile of laundry up to your nose and an ever-overflowing trashcan.

I know Prairie Dawn is kind of a stick in the mud, but there are a lot of cool cats on the Street. You know, the kind of folks you might like to be friends with. Super Grover would be handy to have around as a pal since he’s generally adorable (even if he sucks at fixing stuff.) Elmo is a delight, once you get around the nasally voice and penchant for singing constantly. The Count is always helpful—especially if, like me, you stink at math.

But I’ve decided, of all the kids that live on Sesame Street, I’d like to be best friends with Abby Cadabby.

Abby and Abby

She has the coolest name on the planet. She’s pink and fluffy and adorable. And she has a penchant for making her own rules. But while those are all valid reasons to befriend a … puppet … that’s not the main reason why I’d woo her and make her my very own shiny BFF. (Just go with me here.)

I’d choose Abby Cadabby to be my best friend because she’s a magical fairy. And surely, in her large repertoire of spells, she MUST have a “clean the kitchen, vacuum the living room, wash all the laundry (and fold it too), write a grocery list, pick up all the stray Cheerios, steam clean all the bottles, and take out the trash, all while keeping the teething, clingy toddler happy” spell.

That’s not too complicated for a 4-year old imaginary puppet fairy, is it?

So move over, Elmo. Us Abby’s have to stick together.

This post is brought to you by the letter “P,” for Poorly Photoshopped Pictures.

A Celebration of the Stupid Crap We Did In The 80s

A dear friend of mine shared the funniest article about parenting with me the other day. If you’d like to read it, just click on the picture below:

stupid

This happy little dude is sitting in a 1970s car seat. Cute how that was considered safe, huh?

You’ll be shocked to learn that I wasn’t a parent in the 80s. But let me tell you what I was, readers. I was a KID. And some of the awesome stuff highlighted in this very article were projects my brother and I made up in order to keep ourselves occupied on those long, school-less summer days.

For instance…my little brother had a Little Tykes Cozy Coupe:

stupid 2

Every kid in the neighborhood did. Am I right?

It didn’t take us long to figure out that not-so-difficult math equation between his car, my bike, and my trusty old jump rope.

stupid coaster

We didn’t have to be a geniuses to figure out that if we tethered the car to the bicycle with a few solid knots, that we’d just created the world’s most basic roller coaster.

Thankfully (for my parents’ peace of mind, and their insurance bills) we only had one small hill in our front yard. It wasn’t like we lived in the mountains or anything. However, that small little hill gave us just enough momentum to make us feel like we were REALLY flying. I can still vividly remember the anticipation of that moment—the count down, the squeals of delight from my brother behind me, the feel of the wind in my mullet. Every single time my front tire sloped down the first few inches of grassy hill, my heart would skip a beat. It was, in a word, awesome.

And totally worth the ten sweaty minutes it would take us to untie the car, push it and the bike back to the top of the hill, re-secure our roller coaster of awesomeness, and do it all over again.

But don’t worry, friends–I was a responsible 10-year old. My 4-year-old little brother was instructed to keep his feet up and over the dashboard. And on the days when we were REALLY feeling like dare devils, I always made him borrow the helmet from his My Pet Monster.

stupid 6

He never got a concussion. Not once.

A Letter To My Mopey Self

Dear Self,

Life has been tough lately. For whatever reason, you’re sitting around in your cookie pants, watching re-runs of Friends and wondering if things are ever going to get any easier. You’re not getting what you want in the time that you wanted it in, and you keep stumbling over road blocks or speed bumps, and that’s frustrating. I know it’s frustrating. I know that you sometimes sit in the shower, with the water cascading over your shoulders, your hair hanging in your face, and you cry your eyes out because no one can hear you over the sound of the spray. I know that sometimes, you sit in traffic and suddenly feel the overwhelming need to scream, and so you do, never sparing a thought for what the driver in the car next to you must be thinking. I know that sometimes, when the alarm clock sounds in the morning, that your first thought is “I don’t wanna.”

Well, friend, I think what you need is a little perspective. Sure, things are hard right now. It’s probably not going to get any easier in the next week, or month. You probably won’t have that thing you want more than anything else in the world by then. But here is what you DO have:

You have a husband that would move heaven and earth to make you happy. And he has done, on multiple occasions. And now here you are–you and that beautiful man you married almost 11 years ago–sitting on this same island of despair together, holding each other up when you both want to fall over. There are a lot of people in this life that would wish for a love like the one you have. So embrace it. Revel in it. Remember it in the darkest of times when you feel like your dreams will never come true.

You have a family that loves you, and supports you, no matter what. They are unshakable, unwavering, and unquestioning. They will give you advice–some that you’ll use, some that you won’t. They will make you laugh when you thought laughter was impossible. They will hold you up, and give you strength. They will love you, even if you don’t reach your dream. Enjoy every moment that you have with them–they are priceless.

You have friends who are with you in the trenches, the same mud on their faces that’s smeared on yours. They will amaze you in a million little ways, and even more huge ways. They will sit by your side in the blazing heat, selling lamps and rugs and hand-me-down clothing, just so you can add a few bucks to your savings account. They will rally around you when you get news, be it good, bad, or somewhere in the middle. They will send you little cards and messages of support, just so you know that, even though it’s been awhile, they’re still thinking of you every single day. They will shed tears for you, ones that you’ll never know about, and they will feel every divot in the road that you feel, sometimes tenfold (since you tend to remove yourself from heavy feelings as much as you can.) These people are more than just friends–they are your family. And you are SO beyond lucky to have them.

Last, but never least, you have a DREAM. A dream of becoming a parent when biology wouldn’t let you before. A dream of holding a little one, so dear, in your arms and kissing their tiny baby cheeks, and knowing that they are yours. Of little giggles, and sleepless nights, and future Mother’s Days filled with flowers and handmade cards and slightly-chewy pancakes served in bed. Never let go of that dream, self. It is pure, and shiny, and filled with so much joy that no matter how many times you fall on your face in pursuit of that dream, it will, without doubt, be totally worth it.

So I’m just going to leave this letter here. That way, you can find it when you need it. Let it serve as a reminder as to why you should never even dare to give up hope. How dare you give up hope, when you have so many people on your side, fighting the same fight, wishing the same wish, and hoping the same hope that you do?

So get up. Knock the dirt off, sister. Put on some real clothes.  And get back to your life. You’ve got work to do.

Sincerely,

Abby

rainbows

A Dream Within A Dream

Laughter and quiet conversation surrounds us. I straighten your blue-and-white gingham dress and pass you to my closest neighbor, all smiles, with my heart in my throat. Your tiny hands curl into fists, your yellow floral headband slightly askew, as kisses are planted on your adorably bald head.

Sunlight pours into the room from behind us, filling the room with more joy than we can handle. A box of tissues makes its way around the room, but these are happy tears we cry, little one. Tears we shed because you are finally here, and we waited so long, and we are so blessed.

My mother walks into the room, her eyes red, her cheeks pink, but with a big, beautiful smile on her face. My father’s bold chuckle rebounds from the kitchen, where I know he’s taken charge of refreshments for the rest of our guests. A small child, all blonde hair and blue eyes, puppy dog tails and muddy puddles, sits near my feet, running a matchbox car up and down my leg. The sounds of a camera shutter click from across the room, with only you in the frame, my little love. My heart.

My arms already itch to hold you again, though you’ve only been with someone else for less than a minute. I watch you like a hawk, studying your body language, your face, the shape of your delicious little thighs and pointed toes. A familiar thought, one I’ve had before: “She’ll be a dancer someday.”

I see your face turning red, your eyes squinting in preparation for one of your spine-tingling wails, before anyone else even realizes it’s coming. With that first cry, I start to reach for you. But your Daddy is there before I can even stand up. He cuddles you close, giving you his thumb to cling to, and he coos at you in a soft voice, calming your sobbing to only a slight whimper. The love on his face, in his eyes, for you leaves me feeling a little weak. I love him more fiercely in that moment than ever before.

When you begin to nuzzle at his chest, he looks up at me with a knowing smile. “I don’t think I have what she wants, Mama,” he says and proudly hands you over to me. I kiss your cheeks and breathe you in, and we wave bye bye to our loved ones as we make our way back to the privacy of the bedroom.

It’s darker in here, the shades pulled tight, but a lone sunbeam sneaks through, leaving a small pool of light on the patchwork quilt. I close the door behind me–but not so tight that a certain orange cat can’t push his way in. He settles at the foot of the bed, eyes on us, as I settle back against the pillows and lift my shirt. This is still brand new for us, little one, and Mama’s still learning.

You nuzzle and search, then latch on, and the pulling sensation still startles me. You close your eyes, shuttering the bright green from me, your long eyelashes brushing your rounded cheeks. The hand I’d been holding curls up in a fist, and you lay it against my skin, your body relaxing as you feed. I run my hand over your back in lazy circles, and we both drift for a moment. The muffled sounds of laughter come from the other room, and I am washed over with a love so deep, I could drown.

The brash sound of my alarm clock steals me away from you. My arms still ache from the weight of you as I turn it off and climb from my bed. You aren’t here, yet. But you will be. I believe that to the very center of my soul. My cheeks are dry today, little one, though I yearn for you so.

I only wish I’d dreamt your name.

 

pooh

The Downside of Dreaming

It’s fun to dream. Planning a future you can’t quite see yet, that’s still fuzzy around the edges; filling in the shadowy bits that aren’t quite in focus–everybody does it. Maybe you’re imagining what your next job might look like, or what a move to the city might feel like, or even where your next vacation might take you. Either way, we all spend time dreaming about, planning for, and being excited by that upcoming phase in life.

For us, the dreams have been pretty specific for several years. Baby, house, new careers. That’s been my mantra since probably somewhere around 2005.

Dreams 1

My husband and I have shared these dreams for years, though my version is colored in a little differently than his. (He sees wood cabinets and tile floors; I see white cabinets and hard wood floors.) But we still pull out that imaginary blue print from time to time, talk about our likes and dislikes, our wishlists and our deal breakers, and we continue to color in the dreams for our future together.

As time passes, and those dreams have yet to become a reality, dreaming takes on a different hue. There’s more blue there than before, and not because we’re selecting paint colors for Brian’s man cave. I find that, after an afternoon of house-shopping or adoption talk, my mood swings from delighted to deflated. It feels like we’ve been waiting on these things to happen forever–and in many ways, we have.

Being patient, especially when it comes to things you ache for, is really hard.

Sometimes, the “we don’t have a baby” or “we can’t afford a house just yet” blues can stick around for awhile for me. Despite knowing that I already have a pretty amazing life–husband, family, friends, cats, fun–it can still be hard to sit in ‘today’ when what I really want is to be sitting in a shiny, new ‘tomorrow.’

But sometimes, all it takes to jar me back to my awesome reality is a bit of wisdom from my husband.

Brian

(Ok, so he might not have been so poetic about it, but that was the gist.)

I may not have a big house in the woods, with a little nook set aside for me to write the next great American novel. I might not have an agent, or a publisher, or a novel on the shelf at the bookstore bearing my name. I might not have an adorable, precocious toddler demanding every bit of my free time and attention and adoration.

But the word that’s missing?

Yet.

Those things will come, in time. And for now, I will revel in the things I do have, and try to keep the blue out of my blueprint of dreams.

Things I’m Loving Lately (Brought to You By The Letter “F”)

I was sitting here this morning, wracking my brain for a blog topic. And then it hit me.

When in doubt, write a list blog.

So, friends, I’m sharing with you a list of things that are making my life a little more exciting lately. And lo and behold, in a totally accidental way, every single thing on my list starts with the letter F. That doesn’t quite equal alliteration, but it’s really dang close. (High five, high school English teacher.) And so, without further ado…

Fthings I’m Floving Flately

Farscape

The hubs and I are really into this whole “binge-watching” television on Netflix. I mean, we were always sorta binge watchers, anyway, just not in an “All Day Sunday In Our Cookie Pants Fourteen Episodes” kind of way. Thank you, Netflix, for profoundly changing our weekends.

We’ve devoured tasty gems like “Breaking Bad,” “Chuck,” and “Sherlock,” all thanks to the wonders of steaming. And now, we’ve delved back into one of our favorites–the all-too-delightful Sci-Fi series, “Farscape.” It was one of those shows we bonded over back when binge watching meant having to rewind VHS tapes. Oh, those were the days. (PS: John Crichton, I still adore you.)

Fitbit

I got a FitBit for Brian’s birthday. (Technically, I think it was supposed to be my Valentine’s Day gift, but I bought it for myself back in January. I’m an overachiever like that.) It’s the Charge HR, and I’ve gotta tell ya, readers, I adore this little bit of technology. I’m not one of those folks that wears it all day, every day, and I certainly don’t sleep in it (although it can track your sleep and let you know how often you’re waking up.) But I DO wear it when I work out. It keeps track of my heart rate, tells me how many calories I’ve burned, and monitors how many steps I take. And when it spits out data like this:

werq

…it not only makes me squeal with delight over the “WERQ” I put in (see what I did there?) but it also makes me want to keep wearing it. Nothing says success like dancing off almost 600 calories in an hour.

Fitz

Are you guys getting sick of hearing about our kitten yet? No? Well that’s good. Because he’s a little fuzzball of energy and adorableness, and he puts a smile on my face every single day. He likes to take frequent breaks during meals to hop on your lap for a ‘thank you’ scratch, he enjoys playing with rolled up receipts more than anything else on the planet, he sleeps under the covers so he can keep an eye on the “blanket monster,” and he plays fetch.

Oh, and guys? He still “meeps.”

 

HOLY CRAPBALLS SO CUTE!!!!!!!

K stupid

I’ve been collecting stuff for awhile (mostly Doctor Who goodies) but this recent release from Funko made me go all squishy inside. (I also have some of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Funkos, but not the full set yet.)

Allow me to point out that Wash is holding—-*sob*—a tiny toy dinosaur. So. Much. Love.

(Also, bonus points for the flowers in the background–those were a Valentine’s Day gift from my Fabulous hubby. Cue chorus of “awwww” now.)

And finally….

To Protect And Serve

Ok, so this one is a bit of a stretch, because the only thing I watch on television on Friday nights is Blue Bloods. And Blue Bloods starts with a B not an F. But it’s my blog, so I can cheat if I want to. And I had to include it in this list for one reason and one reason only.

And no, it’s not (just) Donnie Wahlberg.

It’s because of Jamie Reagan and Edit (pronounced Eddie) Jenko.

Guys, I ship them so hard, I might as well be Fed Ex. It’s TOTES OBVI that they’re madly in love with each other. But here’s the thing–they’re partners, so they can’t express their feelings  because then they won’t be able to work together any more. Oh, the feels!

I’m tempted to start a letter-writing campaign to CBS titled “Why Jamie and Edit need to get together and start making little Reagan babies.” Wanna join me?

So that’s it, gang. Just a few little things that are keeping this gal happy right now. Is there an item in your life right now that’s making you grin from ear to ear? (Extra points if it starts with the letter “f.”)

Because I’m Happy

You’ve read my blog before, right? For the most part, it’s all sunshine and light (and occasional slap-stick humor.) I have a few mottoes that I live by, and one of my favorites is this:

happiness

It’s not always easy to be happy, I know. Believe me, I’ve had my fair share of days in the dump. But I make a decision every morning. And most days, I decide that I’m going to be HAPPY. Why? Because life is too short to be anything else!

So when I stumbled across a little internet challenge called “100 Happy Days,” I knew, even before I clicked onto their sunshine-y website, that it was going to be my cup of tea. The gist of it is this: Can you be happy for 100 days in a row? And if so, can you prove it? I took 100 pictures, 100 days in a row, of things that make me happy. Those photos were shared on my Instagram (and subsequently on Facebook and Twitter, for all my friends and followers to see.)

As the 100 days went on, I had several people ask me if it was challenging to find something to be happy about every single day. Truth? Not at all. Even on days where I was cranky or sad or irritable, I still managed to laugh and smile and be happy during those days, too. Snapping a picture to document those moments turned out to be fun, but also life-affirming. Whatever I’m doing, I’m doing it right. So…go me. I rock.

Here are a few of my most favorite happy moments in the last 100 days…

Day 8: Edge of the World

1

Because a day at the beach is ALWAYS a happy day.

Day 18: Geordi LaForge, Crochet Style

How adorable is he?? I also have a Minion that I adore. You can shop for your own nerdy little Dude at their Facebook shop: https://www.facebook.com/Rekindled.Spindle.

How adorable is he?? I also have a Minion that I adore. You can shop for your own nerdy little Dude at their Facebook shop: Rekindled Spindle.

Day 36: Songs That Remind Me Of Old Friends

You've experienced it before. A song comes on the radio and you're instantly transported back to high school, dancing around with your BFF. Love that feeling.

You’ve experienced it before. A song comes on the radio and you’re instantly transported back to high school, dancing around with your BFF. Love that feeling. It’s an instantaneous grin-maker, for sure.

Day 40: Besties Beach Day

Is anyone seeing a theme? It is summertime, after all. And a day at the beach with a FRIEND is an even HAPPIER day!

Is anyone seeing a theme? It is summertime, after all. And a day at the beach with a FRIEND is an even HAPPIER day! (Pictured with me is BFF and Weight Loss Buddy, Melissa.)

Day 43: My King

Because he makes me laugh. So much. I'm the happiest girl in the world when I'm with him.

Because he makes me laugh. So much. I’m the happiest girl in the world when I’m with him. (You try and look at this photo without laughing. Go on.)

Day 46: My Adoption Fund Minions

This series of photos was taken at one of our yard sales, to benefit our adoption fund. Every single one has been hot, miserable, and exhausting. But having my friends and family around has also made them FUN and HAPPY! (From L to R: Minion Name tags I drew for each team member; Head Minion and BFF, Tina; the lovely Kat; Expert Crocheter and General Happiness Expert, Jaime; Gru, aka Brian, and Office Manager Minion Rick aka my Daddy.)

This series of photos was taken at one of our yard sales, to benefit our adoption fund. Every single one has been hot, miserable, and exhausting. But having my friends and family around has also made them FUN and HAPPY! (From L to R: Minion name tags I drew for each team member; Head Minion and BFF, Tina; Cat Wrangler Minion Kat; Expert Crocheter and General Happiness Expert, Jaime; Gru, aka Brian, and Office Manager Minion Rick aka my Daddy.)

Day 47: Date Day Dress

Sometimes all it takes to put a smile on a girl's face is for her husband to say "You look really pretty," and to offer to take her picture in her new dress.

Sometimes all it takes to put a smile on a girl’s face is for her husband to say “You look really pretty,” and to offer to take her picture in her new dress.

Day 76: WERQ Week, Day TWO

WERQ makes an appearance several times in my 100 days countdown, but this picture was my favorite. Why? Because WERQ makes me feel strong, sexy, and, you guessed it, HAPPY!

WERQ makes an appearance several times in my 100 days countdown, but this picture was my favorite. Why? Because WERQ makes me feel strong, sexy, and, you guessed it, HAPPY!

Day 86: Happy International Cat Day!

 You KNOW celebrating my furbabies makes me happy!

You KNOW celebrating my furbabies makes me happy! From L to R: Dizzy, Pip, Harry and Scooter.

Day 95: Baby Brother’s Birthday

Family makes me happy. Birthdays make me happy. Even celebrating birthdays of people who stabbed me once makes me happy. :)

Family makes me happy. Birthdays make me happy. Even celebrating birthdays of people who stabbed me once makes me happy. (In case you missed it, that’s my little brother, Adam, aka: the Great Pencil Wielder of 1989.)

Wanna take up the challenge? Just visit 100 Happy Days, read all about it, and commit to making your life a happier place to be. I’ll be cheering you on! I had so much fun doing this challenge that I might just start over!