My Life of What Ifs

Friday, November 20, 2009

More words

I swear sometimes the voices really are talking to me!

Magnificent quotes keep popping up all around me and I can't help but share. This one is from the Real Simple thought of the day email that I receive and again it speaks to me about my year, remembering my dreams, and following my heart. Happy Friday.

“Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.”Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold in The Wonder Years


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Music Memory... Thursday?

OK, so Monday came and left. But I have had a crazy week! Board meetings! Hours in the flower shop! Single parenthood! Yeah, yeah, yeah, he comes home tomorrow night and I am really glad. The Swanngirlz have missed their personal Grizzly Adams!

So before I head off into another day of insanity here is another music memory from my JamsBio collection.

My First Concert

During the summer of 1986 I attended my first concert. It was Starship with The Outfield at the Jackson County Fair. My friends and I thought we had finally arrived. Dropped off at the fair to attend a concert with no parental units in sight.

Starship was in the midst of their 80's resurgence. They had dropped the Jefferson and had found renewed popularity with "We Built This City" and "Sara". We knew every song they played and our parents were thrilled to let us go see a group from their era. But we were much more excited about The Outfield. Play Deep was great and we all loved "Your Love". We couldn't have moved more as we stood on our metal folding chairs on the dirt track of the fairgrounds, and when it was all over all of our voices were muted by our ringing, now damaged, eardrums.

This song has maintained it's momentum through the years, largely in part to an everlasting interest in 80's music, so it's not uncommon to hear the song quite a bit on our local "Shuffle" station. Every time I hear it I have to tell whoever is with me "This was my first concert! Starship and The Outfield at the Jackson County Fair! Rahhhh" and I still have great photos of their bass player in his muscle t-shirt. Ahh, good times.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What if the past had stayed the past?

Have you ever had a year where you had constant trips down memory lane? I'm sure facebook is the main reason for this phenomena but I am still amazed by the number of people I have encountered in the last twelve months who I never, ever, thought I would see again.

If you have not experienced this I recommend getting a job as a reporter for your hometown newspaper. It's insane who you will run into.


Friday, November 13, 2009

November 13

I have been waiting a whole year to write this post, and yet, here I sit at 9 p.m. just getting started.

All year long I have had ideas of what I might write on this day. I have had dreams about what I might list as my accomplishments and what I still planned to do. But it's funny, I almost don't feel like any of that is really important.

One year ago on November 13, 2008 I walked out of my office, and away from my career in advertising and never looked back. Seriously. I haven't even been back to visit. The week before I left, the company I worked for laid off two hundred or so employees and I found out that if I hadn't given notice I was going to be outsourced anyway. Ironically, one year later the same week, that same company announced that they will close their doors at the end of January because their only client is partnering with other advertising agencies. (OK, you twisted my arm, the client is Chrysler.)

I have mentioned on many occasions that this time of year is significant for me. I have had several life altering events occur in the month of November. When I was 22 my Grandpa fell ill in November and died on December 1st. I have had other traumas during this time as well, some devastating for me, and others where my actions have devastated others. I ended a twelve year career in advertising in November.

This year, during my week of reflection and the one year anniversary of the biggest risk of my life, we put our 16 year old Lab C.J. to sleep and I saw my girls cry for a dog that has been around for their entire lives. I saw the exhaustion in my husbands face after taking C.J. to the vet and then burying him in our yard at 10 p.m. all the night before leaving for his annual hunting trip.

Cory left Thursday night and I have that empty feeling that I feel every year when he leaves for the Upper Peninsula. My Grandpa got sick when Cory was up north, our life together has been in shambles while Cory was up north, and honestly I had a strong fear that C.J. would finally "go" when Cory was up north.

So much has happened in November that I now associate with this trip that I have spent the first 24 hours feeling out of sorts. I go through the motions, I take care of my girls, but in the back of my head there is something nagging me, and it has no name, no face, no exact anything, it just hangs there. The trip. The dog. I used to work full time?

I can't say my career is where I thought it would be a year later, because I had no idea. I didn't know I would be freelancing for my hometown newspaper, or doing writing of any sort. I didn't know I would have a part time job in retail that I truly love. I didn't realize how many people would tell me (this week alone) that the all mighty dollar has nothing on happiness and spending quality time with family and feeling passionate about what you do each day. I had no idea how much lower my stress level would be, and I had no idea how much I would miss that dog.

Speaking of missing people, I miss many of my old co-workers. I miss some dear friends who I have not hung out with in so long. There are others I miss as well. Still.

Life has it's up and downs. It has it's right turns and wrongs. I truly believe I have no regrets, but I will always wonder what if. I made the right decision one year ago when I left my career for myself. I still don't have all the answers, and I feel like I have even less time, but I'm OK with all of that. It's all about the process. My process. And it's all about being happy because you deserve to be.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Music Memory Monday

I know, I know. Blog more than on Mondays! I am trying! Really, I am. I will have a few more posts coming up today and this week, including another giveaway, whoo hoo!

But in the meantime, enjoy this music memory from my JamsBio collection, and the 80's.

Growing up my best friend Jen and I were inseparable. We did all the things 13 year old girls do including spending endless hours talking about who we were going to marry. She had dibs on John Taylor from Duran Duran, and I (it pains me to even type this out) had dibs on Kirk Cameron.

In the summer of 1985 when I was 13 and she was 14 we decided to write the story of our lives. It would take place in Los Angeles where she was a model dating John and I was an actress dating Kirk. We wrote endless chapters and decided that we needed to record our story on tape complete with music. So we would each read our respective chapters while the other would operate another tape recorder with background music. I chose "Still in your Heart" for one pivotal scene, which looking back was odd because as a John Taylor lover, Jen would not allow anyone else to love his music, Duran Duran or Power Station. But I guess she decided to let one slide.

I still get flutters of excitement when I hear this song. It pops up on my iPod occasionally. We thought we were so cool writing this book and recording it. Part of us probably really thought it would happen.

The night you met it was a magic start...
I've always wondered what happened to that notebook with our dreams written down in it, what fun it would be to read it today.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What if words

I like words. I like lyrics and awesome quotes. When I read something that resonates with me I write it down, and as a result of that documentation I have notebooks of lyrics, and writers notebooks filled with quotes.

I like to share these profound writings with people and that is why I have a sidebar section called "What If Words". Sometimes if the words are lyrics to a song then I may link to the video, anything I can do to share why I find it meaningful.

Recently I was perusing a copy of Book Page, a newspaper of book reviews that you can find for free at your local library, or online. The October issue features an interview with Mitch Albom, Detroit sportswriter and author of inspirational novels Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and his newest release Have a Little Faith: A True Story, about his eight year journey drafting a eulogy for his childhood rabbi.

Have a Little Faith: A True Storywas eight years in the making, but Albom felt the timing for it's message is perfect. Albom said, "When times get tough and money disappears and people get fired and the things you assumed were going to be there forever are not there, you start to drift back to something you once had and you wonder why you let it go in the first place."

Wow. I have spent the last year wondering many things, including why I left writing and journalism all those years ago. How I fell into the rut of paying talent and many years of work that left me drained and uninspired. How it took the biggest leap of faith to drift back to it and expose myself to failure and criticism for my decisions.

" start to drift back to something you once had and you wonder why you let it go in the first place..."

Of course this "drifting" can also lead you to places you shouldn't go as well. Maybe that's the beauty of what if words- it's all up to interpretation. Kind of like a daily horoscope. What one may interpret as positive may spell disaster for another.

Anyway, short story long, I liked this quote from Mitch Albom. It "spoke" to me as words so often do, and that is why I write and why I feature other people's writing on my sidebar. Hopefully you can find words that inspire you everywhere you look as well.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Music Memory Monday (almost)

This post from JamsBio is especially significant for me because it was part of a contest associated with the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's Thriller album. I entered with a vivid memory of my twelfth birthday party and low and behold I won second place. That $250 prize helped me believe in writing as a career, or at the very least as a step above a hobby or a pipe dream. It was some validation for my work and one more step in my "process".

Another step in that process is on it's way. I am 10 days from my one year anniversary and so much has changed. But when I wrote this music memory 18 months ago, I had no idea. I had no idea that Michael Jackson would be dead a little over a year later and I had no idea the growing I would do in that time. But I have grown, and it's been thrilling.

Patience, Perseverance & Birthday Cake

When Michael Jackson's album Thriller came out in 1983 it was a hit with everyone. The songs caught everyone’s attention and the videos were unlike anything anyone had ever seen. That fact was never more apparent than with the release of the video for the title song.

Life was different in 1983. The internet didn't exist and that meant you couldn't Google "Thriller" and watch the video on YouTube whenever you felt the need. As far as I knew the only way to catch it after the world premiere was to tune into MTV and watch. Endlessly. Or at least as long as your parents would allow.

In April of 1984 I celebrated my 12th birthday and was lucky enough to have a slumber party with about 6 of my closest friends. At that point the Thriller video had been out about 4 months and it was still as popular as ever. My friends and I all had posters of Michael Jackson in our rooms and some of our guy friends had even finagled the "jacket" from their parents, but the video, was the most attainable. That evening we made our beds on our living room floor, lined up our Cabbage Patch Kids, and turned on MTV. We waited and prayed that the video would come on. Eventually it did.

Being me, I had wanted to write a letter to MTV begging and pleading for them to play it that night. I'm not sure why I didn't, or maybe I did but it never found its way to the mail. But after hours of being pre-teen girls and making someone watch the TV at all times we were rewarded. I don't remember if it was part of a countdown or just random, but excitement spilled over that night at my house. As a group of 11 and 12 year olds, the Thriller video allowed us to do what we did best. Scream.

"It's so scary!"

"Did you see his eyes?!"

"The Zombies are dancing!!!"

"That laugh is so scary!!! AHHHHH!!!"

I have many memories associated with my 12th birthday party. We had a lip syncing contest (ala Puttin' on the Hits) and stayed up late. But Michael Jackson's Thriller and it's video will always remind me of that slumber party and that with patience and perseverance in the 80's, you would eventually see the video you wanted to see on MTV.

We have a winner!!!!!

The lucky winner of all you see here is...

First let me say that I had 25 comments on this post. That may not be a lot to some, but to me it was HUGE!!!! I hope all of you will continue to visit and tell your friends. There will be more opportunities like this one.

So, as you can see below I went to and asked for a number between 1 and 25.

And picked 23!!!!!!

Unfortunately my comments are not numbered. I will work on that for next time, however, it's not that hard to count to 23 so I did and below is the winning comment!!!!!

So Heidi, please email me your address etc. at swanngirlz at comcast dot net and I will notify Cheerios and MyBlogSpark so they can mail out your awesome prize pack!!!!!

Thanks so much everyone, this was a ton of fun!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Win This!

You can win a box of Cheerios, all five books featured in the Spoonful of Cheerios campaign, AND a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card.

You can win all that just by answering one of these questions...
  • What is your story time ritual with your children?
  • What is your favorite children’s book?
  • If you could be a character from a children’s book, who would it be?

... in the comments section here. You can comment/enter once a day until Sunday, November 1 at 11:59 p.m. So get crackin'!!!!!


Monday, October 26, 2009

My First Giveaway!! Cheerios offers a spoonful of stories

I have always loved to read. Yes, there were times when it became a chore because you were required to read things that were less then interesting (high school, college?) and that dampened my love a bit, but as I got older I learned to love reading again.

Now, I am trying to instill a love of reading in my girls. I want them to feel the power of a good story, and love a book so much you can't put it down. Ryann likes to read but she doesn't love it. I don't know if it's an attention span issue or what, but reading is not the first thing that comes to her mind when looking for things to do.

Jayden looks at books and then says "I can't read yet!" Well, that's partially true, she's in kindergarten and is learning words quickly but still wants to be a "non-reader". She does make up her own stories to go with the pictures which gives me hope that once she can read completely on her own she will be sucked in to the story and read with reckless abandon.

Cheerios also knows the value of reading and over the past eight years, they have given away more than 40 million children’s books by distributing them free inside cereal boxes and have donated $3.2 million to First Book, their non-profit partner, which provides books to children from low-income families.

The program is part of Cheerios’ ongoing commitment to helping parents provide their children with a healthy, nutritional and educational foundation. Beginning this month, Cheerios is again bringing books to the breakfast table, by providing six million children’s books free inside Cheerios boxes. The books are for children ages 3 to 8 years old, and include a brand new book in the popular “Trucktown” series, available only inside Cheerios boxes. And for the first time, all five books have been specially printed in both English and Spanish.

Through MyBlogSpark™, Cheerios provided me with a free box of cheerios and a copy of each of the five books available, as well as the prize pack below to give away to one of my readers.
The prize pack includes a box of Cheerios, all five books featured in boxes of Cheerios- Junkyard Fort, Sleepyhead, Ballyhoo Bay, Tea for Ruby, and What's Under the Bed?- and a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

My girl loved all of the books, and Ryann thinks it's very cool that they are printed in Spanish too.

All you have to do to enter is comment on this post and answer one of the following questions.

What is your story time ritual with your children?
What is your favorite children’s book?
If you could be a character from a children’s book, who would it be?

You can enter until Sunday, November 1st at 11:59 p.m. and I will post the winner, selected at random, on Monday, November 2nd.

So, comment away and I wish you all luck! Thanks to Cheerios and MyBlogSpark™ for providing this awesome giveaway!
****edited to add**** feel free to comment (enter) once a day!

Music Memory Monday

Last week I received an email saying that JamsBio, the website where I used to write out music memories was going to shut down to focus solely on the magazine portion of the site, and therefore the memories people had posted would not be available for an indefinite amount of time.

Well, panic set in and I promptly saved all my memories and now plan to post a new one every Monday. They are in chronological order by year, and I hope you enjoy and possibly even- relate.

I Got My MTV

On Labor Day weekend 1981 my Mom and I had a new beginning. We moved out the house we shared with her boyfriend of two years and moved into a duplex a mile or so away.
My Mom was 19 when I was born, we grew up together and the boyfriend had infringed upon our relationship, so needless to say I was a happy girl.

Not too long after we moved in some salesmen were going door to door to get you to sign up for a cable box so that you could have this new channel called MTV. I had heard about it from all of my fourth grade friends and I knew I wanted it, and I was able to convince my Mom to sign up.

The salesman returned with a wood grain and black box that had about 13 or 14 buttons across the top. He promptly hooked it up and pushed what I believe was button 13 and there it was, the video for Quarterflash's "Harden My Heart". My introduction to the greatest thing to happen to music in my lifetime began with a lady in a black leotard running down a dark hallway. When she wasn't opening doors in the hallway she was wailing on a saxophone. That song and that video were permanently etched in my mind for all of eternity as my introduction to music television.

And here, my friends, is the gadget that gave me music videos 24 hours a day. This picture was taken at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. Yes, you are officially old when items from your youth are in a museum.

Friday, October 23, 2009


... the new My Life of What Ifs. Please take a few minutes to tell me what you think, and stay tuned for an awesome giveaway later today!

Thanks so much Courtney at Judith Shakes Designs. It's beautiful!!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I LOVE Post Secret. I have for many years and I still get excited when I realize that new secrets are up and ready for my perusal. Here are a couple of my latest favorites.

This one is so simple and yet it says so much. Three little words that could be good, could be bad, all depending on your frame of mind.

This one I can relate to a little too much. I have a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast & Film with a minor in Advertising and I work part time in a flower shop, which I love, and it makes me above and beyond happy.

Of course I am also using my Associates (and experience) in Journalism which also makes me above and beyond happy when I nail it, but it also makes me hate myself when I fall short.

Look for a re-design of this blog any day now and a really cool giveaway!!!! But you have to comment on the blog post to be eligible. Stay tuned!!!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Broken Clock is a Comfort

I'm starting to notice a pattern. It seems that while Fall may be my second favorite season it's also the time of year I am most likely to go into a dark place and start questioning everything. It may be why I quit my job almost a year ago, although I feel like I was fairly in control of that decision, but it's probably why I am starting to question myself again.

I've had some interesting things happen to me in the Fall, things of great significance. Some were bad, some good, some in between. Some events that made me question so many things about myself and my life- my decisions and my dreams. All the questions come with the darkness. The early darkness of Fall.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be content. I wonder if anyone is truly content for any length of time. I recently had a discussion about motivation versus inclination. So I may be motivated but not so inclined to complete the tasks that are required to do my work. Or maybe I am inclined to do them, but not motivated?

This seems to be the time of year I go looking for things. Things both good and bad- ha ha. I can laugh about it now. It's also the time of year I miss things, and people. I reminisce in the early darkness of evening and I wonder, what if? I dissect lyrics, and scenes from films, and I replay significant events from my life over and over in my head. Seasons come and seasons go, it's that time of year, and that, nothing and no one, can change.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The beauty of my first born

This post is admittedly overdue. I had planned to write it two days after my last post- on her actual birthday. But yeah, you've been neglected. I spent September living the dream. I was a kinda-sorta stay-at-home-mom with kids in school all day. (Every day. Did I mention that?)

If you ever have the chance to live that dream I will warn you. It can be a shock to your over scheduled system. It's hard to prioritize, or it's hard to accomplish rather, umm...anything, if you seem to have endless time to accomplish tasks. So short story long, I didn't blog about my beautiful firstborn's 9th birthday.

Ryann Emily was born on September 29, 2000 at 9:49 p.m. Despite my mother's humorous attempt to get me to push her out faster by saying "you could have your baby at 9:29 on 9/29!" she arrived 20 minutes later weighing 8 lbs., 5 oz., and was 21 inches long. That night her name was Ryann Grace. The next day she was Ryann Nicole. And damn it come Sunday as I filled out endless paperwork, she was finally Ryann Emily. Ryann because I always liked the name Ryan for a girl. We added the extra N to match our last name, and it was Cory's idea. I was so excited he had an idea that I ran with it, much to my chagrin now. Emily was my great-grandmother's name, it's a name I love, and a name I may have used as a first name if only my husband hadn't had a dog or known a dog with that beautiful moniker.

So she was born following an induced labor that lasted ALL DAY!!!! (But obviously not every day!) and she had a cone head. But we loved her just the same. That love has grown, and grown, and now I look at her and can't believe she's mine. I can't believe I had a hand in creating this stunning, beautiful, lovely young lady. Yes, she has her moments, but so do I. She has beautiful blue eyes, and thick (often snarly) brown hair. She is girly beyond girly and yet can kick a soccer ball with those long, strong legs, like no one's business. She can be shy, she can be silly, she can be harsh and overly-sensitive. She values cuddling with Mom and Dad as much as sleeping over at a friends' house. She sometimes wishes her little sister wasn't her little sister, but then always hugs her good morning and good night.

She is nine now. One year shy of double digits, and just a little too close to being a teenager for her Dad and me. She is my shopping partner, my fellow music lover, and my future best friend, at least one of a couple :) I wish a child like her for anyone, and I only hope I can continue to guide her through life in a way that's healthy, and that helps her become a strong, independent, loving woman. Life is short, and she is one of my two proudest achievements. I hope I can help her be all that she can be.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Groovy Kind of Love

Twelve years and counting...

September 27, 1997


Thursday, September 24, 2009

What I "see" when I read my free subscription to Elle

At one point some time ago I received a free subscription to Elle magazine. I am not Elle material, nor am I am Vogue or Harper's Bazaar material, but free is free so I thumb through them when they arrive.

Well this month I decided to give it a fair shake and really "see" what I was thumbing through. I enjoyed an article about Jennifer Aniston and a blurb about Jon Hamm and then I tore out things that "spoke" to me. This is what I came away with...

The ring totally spoke to me. Maybe I do have a little Elle in me? It's stunning, and less than 3K. Pocket change right? OK, it's a want, not a need and a girl can dream.

These, on the other hand, scream for me! I love funky shoes and a girl can never have too many Chucks. Unfortunately for me, this particular pair of Converse All-Stars is only available at Macy's and they are fresh out. Ain't that a load of crap? If you spot a pair, let me know. I wear an 8.5 or a 9 :) I totally **heart** them.

Now for the ad girl in me. As much as I say I'm not an Elle girl, I'm also not a juicy girl. Juicy is not a word I need emblazoned across my ass. However, I really liked this print campaign they had in Elle. The guy in the tutu is nice but I was drawn to the line "You can always get what you want". Hmmm, let's rethink that ring up there...

Finally, I have coveted a Kate Spade bag for years. Yes, it does seem to go against everything I claim to be, but her brother-in-law in David Spade for God's sake, I think a Kate Spade hand bag is something I am destined to have. I have looked at them longingly on the web, and ahem... on ebay but I have never taken the plunge. I do, however, have a very nice Monica Lewinsky bag that I bought years ago. Just had to have it. Anyway, Elle, may not be my thing entirely, but I found some inspiration in odd places and possibly something to save for, something purple and sparkly...


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I would just like to care a little less


Monday, September 14, 2009

The Great American Taste Test ~ Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits

About a month ago I stumbled upon an opportunity that was too good to pass up. If I agreed to participate in an event called The Great American Taste Test I would receive a complimentary copy of Ron Douglas's new book America's Most Wanted Recipes: Delicious Recipes from Your Family's Favorite Restaurants.

You're probably saying, "Yeah, so?" But what you may not realize is that America's Most Wanted Recipescontains over 200 recipes from 57 of America's most popular restaurants including The Cheesecake Factory, KFC, Olive Garden, P.F. Chang's, Outback Steakhouse and Red Lobster. Yes, Red Lobster. Cheddar biscuits anyone? Yeah, I thought so.

While I hated to be predictable, we chose to taste test Douglas's copycat recipe for Red Lobster's cheddar biscuits. The Red Lobster closest to our house is about 25 miles away, and aside from the "teeny weeny shrimpies" you can get on your salad, the cheddar biscuits are our favorite, and if we could make them at home, well that would be bliss.

I was able to grab some Sunday while out covering a story for the newspaper, and when I got home my husband was in kitchen heaven. I may fancy myself a writer but he's the best cook in our house, and we all know it. He spent A LOT of time devouring this cookbook to decide which recipes we would try first, and while we knew we would taste test the biscuits, we also knew we would round out our meal with more from the book.

The recipe for cheddar biscuits is obscenely simple. Cory is a fan of baking mix, but much to his chagrin can never get the flavor to spread throughout the batch. Truth be told, that while he is a fantastic cook, his biscuits are usually a little ummm, hard, and not really of the melt-in-your-mouth variety. But by adding a little shredded cheese, milk and butter, wow! And I do mean wow!!! Even our picky five-year-old declared them wonderful and the only difference between the two versions was that the originals were a little more "melty" but the flavor was ALL there.

In addition to the Red Lobster biscuits we also made (but without the "real" versions on hand) Boston Market's meat loaf and Applebee's bacon-green onion mashed potatoes, both items we have enjoyed in the past at their respective restaurants.

The meat loaf was acceptable, and truth-be-told I am picky about my meat loaf, so I am not easy to please, but the bacon-green onion mashed potatoes were simply divine. I highly recommend them, and again very easy to make. Just ask my husband.

Unfortunately in our haste to get our eatin' on, I didn't take the time to really evaluate my pictures before consuming our, ummm, my husband's hard work. Therefore I didn't know they were all blurry. (Maybe I was shaking with anticipation?) But here is a glance of Cory's work. Again, those biscuits, tell me your mouth is not watering.

We have big plans for America's Most Wanted Recipes. Many recipes are marked to try in the very near future, including KFC's original recipe chicken, Hard Rock Cafe's pulled pork and Cracker Barrel's cherry-chocolate cobbler, to name a few. I promise to report on all of them, unless my fingers become too large to hit one key at a time, or I never wake from the food coma. But at least I'll have a smile on my face. Bon Appetit!!!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

What if we hadn't stopped with two?

What if we hadn't stopped with two children, that is. I will tell you what if, and please pardon my glee, because you see, if we hadn't stopped with two, everyday at 8:30 a.m. I wouldn't be FREE!!!!!

Free takes on many meanings here. Yes, my tax dollars are at work when my children enter their school everyday, but I'm not cutting a check for weekly daycare, after-school care, or any other kind of care.

I also don't have to take them anywhere, because they ride the bus!!! At the same time!!! To the same place!!! Every day!!! And the icing on the cake? They come back!!! At four!!! Every day!!! And I don't have to go pick them up!!! And I don't feel guilty that they're gone because legally they have to be there!!! Every day!!! At least the weekdays!!!

OK, I will try to control myself now...

Of course I miss them, I spent the last two weeks being a non-blogger and absorbing every moment with them. And, yes I simply can't believe that Jayden is old enough to be in kindergarten. (All day!!! Every day!!! Did I mention that?) But you see I had been an out-of-the-house working mom for eight years before I became whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-me for the last year. This last year confirmed for me what I had suspected all along. I was not meant to be a stay-at-home mom. I don't have the patience. I'm too selfish with my time. I enjoy my girls so much more when I can be away for them a small amount of time each day. Or seven hours. Every day.

It helps that they are both so excited to go to school every day. On the first day I didn't even get a hug and a kiss before Jayden jumped on the bus. Ryann thinks fourth grade is going to be her best year yet, in fact, she wants to be in fourth grade forever. (All day, every day) All of this makes my level of giddy that much greater. I am blessed with two beautiful girls, that are happy, healthy, and excited to learn. I had a wonderful summer with them, filled with the simple things, and I loved every second.

Now I put them on the bus each day with their backpacks, folders, water bottles, nutritious snacks, lunches, homework, appropriate attire and I know they are all ready for their day.

After I wave, non-stop for a minute or two, switching hands for fear of carpal tunnel, and the long yellow bus disappears around the corner I begin MY day. A day I am so blessed to have. I write, I do laundry, I have breakfast with a friend. I feel wonderful. Life is good. Oh and ten months ago today I left my job at an advertising agency. A job I went to all day, every day, without exclamation points. Yeah, life is really good.

All day. Every day.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

It's 3:15 a.m. Do you know where I am?

Wow. I have been sitting here since about eight p.m. I have left this chair periodically to go to the loo (I've always wanted to say that), kiss my girls goodnight, make myself a chai, etc., all so I could pull an all-nighter. Ok, not an all-nighter, but probably a "I'm gonna survive my Thursday on about three hours of sleep - er".

You see, I have a lot going on right now. Instead of working full time an hour away at a job I didn't want anymore, I now work about five jobs and have a to-do list eight miles long. But I'm happier. Yep, that's right, happier.

In the morning I will rise at seven (or half past and that's still less than four hours away, in case you're counting) and I will do one phone interview for one article I am writing. Then I will write and submit said article. I will then make another call to interview someone else for the second article I am writing. I have a doctors appointment (medication follow-up anyone?) at 10:30 and I have to work at the the flower shop at one. Oh yeah I have to write and submit that second article before I go to "work".

So I stayed up late and did some work for DetroitMommies, the Examiner, here, prepped my news articles, and now I will definitely be cruising through the Starbucks drive thru sometime in the a.m. But it's all good. Because yes, you guessed it, I am happier. Even on three hours of sleep.

Monday, August 31, 2009

OMG!! I just LOVE this guy

At the suggestion of author Jen Lancaster who tweets as @altgeldshrugged I found Justin who tweets as @shitmydadsays.

It's freakin' hilarious, you have to check it out!!!!


Sunday, August 30, 2009

We hosted a Wizards of Waverly Place premiere party!

Friday night we hosted a Wizards of Waverly Place Movie / Island Magic House Party.

Courtesy of (which if you haven't checked it out yet you should) I applied and was picked to receive a box of goodies from HouseParty and the Disney Channel. We invited about 18 kids plus our two to watch the movie, listen to the soundtrack, win a wand in a scavenger hunt and sleepover! We had great treats and the kids, ranging in age from one year to fifteen all had a great time.

The movie was really good, and I'm sure the girls will watch it several more times, and the sound track is fantastic. You can check out some pictures below. We received 10 Wizards of Waverly Place bags, 10 forbidden spells notebooks, 10 posters, 10 flower leis to go with the island theme, the soundtrack, some great Sara Lee coupons and the magic wand. It really was a great experience.

I have signed up for a few more "HouseParty" parties and I can't wait to see if we are picked, but what a great way to entertain and get free stuff! I love free!!!!


Saturday, August 29, 2009

The simple days of summer are winding down

The simple days of summer are coming to a close. As of this morning there are only 10 days left until school begins and the daily grind of lunches, homework, soccer practice, gymnastics and clothing choices take over the world.

Earlier this week I spent an afternoon out and about with my girls and two of my honorary nieces.

We stopped first to feed my addiction at Starbucks and Ryann was overwhelmed by how lucky our day was so far. You see, the nice man at the drive thru window had two extra strawberries-and-cream frappuccinos that he gave us- foooor freeeeeeee! (Have you seen the movie Bedtime Stories? Go rent it. Now.) How grand!

Then it was over to McD's to feed their addiction to child friendly fast food. Where much to my chagrin nothing was free, far from it in fact.

We then drove to downtown Brighton and ate our lunch under a shade tree by the mill pond. As you can see the four girlies doing in the pictures to the left. Yes, that is Ryann with her frappuccino that she got foooorrrrr frreeeeee!!!!

As luck would have it, and because I rock, my trunk was stocked with stale bread to feed all the ducks, geese and swans that hang out at the Mill Pond. The girls loved it and were followed around by their flying friends long after they ran out of carbs to share.

We ended our adventure with the girls playing on the large playscape and by visiting the candy store for lolli pops.

There are still a few things I hope to do with my girls before the next 10 days are over. I promised them a trip to the water playground at the metropark, and we have yet to make it to the roller rink so they can use their summer passes. Even so, this has been one of my best summers ever. I've had the opportunity to relax and have fun with my kids, and that is worth more than any amount of money.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Up for Renewal: A book that answers "what if?"

Anything can change a life that's ready to be changed.

The greatest thing about covering Chick Literature over at the Examiner is the books that are brought to my attention that I would have never found otherwise.

Sure, I know about Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Weiner, Meg Cabot and Emily Giffin to name a few of my faves, but I've learned of so many more like Julie Buxbaum, Binh Ming Nguyen, and now with a memoir spin on Chick Lit I have found Cathy Alter.

I just finished Alter's Up for Renewal: What Magazines Taught Me About Love, Sex, and Starting Over. If there was a book written about what-ifs, then this is it.

The premise is a simple what if. "What if I give my life over to the advice of women's magazines for one year?" Well, Alter did it and with all the craziness of my last year the book could have easily been written by me, or at the very least for me, since I don't have the ability to write anything longer than a blog post or a board meeting brief.

It's a great book and I recommend it highly. So to hear more about it click on over to the Examiner and read my review of Up for Renewal: What magazines taught me about love, sex, and starting over.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Nights and Days of Drummond Island

The night sky at Drummond Island is unlike anything I've ever seen. Even when it's cloudy you can still see the moon and a few stars. It's crystal, untouched by smog and highway pollution.

The day sky can be as blue as anything, and even when it's raining there's just something about being there that's still lovely.

Our story seems unique. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. We started coming to Drummond with our friends in 2002. Our daughter was 22 months old and quite unaware of what fun she would have there in the coming years. Her sister joined us in 2004, both in life and for our Drummond trip. She was almost six months old her first trip and blissfully cooperative sleeping in her car seat while two-tracking through the woods.

We can't really pinpoint why it took us so long to start visiting Drummond with our friends. We had been invited for years, but for one reason or another never made the trip until we had our kids. But maybe that was the point- to wait until we had kids to give them an annual summer vacation unlike anything we had growing up. To show them that life isn't all iCarly and Spongebob and constantly planned entertainment.

It's about lovely friends who are like family. It's about being outside and breathing in the air. It's about adventure and stepping a little outside your comfort zone. But mainly it's about love. A love for what you have, who you are, and what you are growing up to be.