Five on Friday - 12/13/2013

1. Okay, so I try not to boast about Emma too much, partly in fear that I’m worried I will jinx her success and more-so that I don’t want anyone to think that I’m trying to say Emma is better than another child (because I’m not by any means). Each kid excels in some area. My child just happens to speak very well. I hear it every day. She now speaks in sentences and very clearly. Even her Little Gym teacher (who I’ve never met) pointed out to me over the phone the words that she heard Emma say most recently. “I said for all of them to walk in a circle, and she just kept saying ‘walk, walk, walk.’ And then when we got out the bubbles she would say ‘bubbles, bubbles, bubbles go.’ She says it all crystal clear too!” I’m never sure what to say in response, so it’s usually something along the lines of “Yes, she amazes me with new words every day and most of the time I have no idea where she picks them up.” There are some things she doesn’t say as well… fish is shish, milk is meelk, please is peas, clock is… well, a dirty word (Gene cringes every time too). She learned how to say “touch” on Wednesday night, and “water” last night. I wonder what she’ll learn next.
17 months and looking like such a big girl.
2. I’ve been seeing tons of posts about people getting their hair “done” before the Christmas parties start, but I just can’t do it. I get my hair cut about twice a year. I don’t do color (anymore), and I don’t do treatments. I see all the pictures, and the before/after shots and it makes me want to get my hair done, but I can’t bring myself to keep up with it. I get a pedicure about four times, maybe five a year, and that to me is throwing away my money $30 at a time (but at least it keeps ingrown toenails at bay). To go get my hair “done” and spend $60, $70, $100 every other month, is even worse because the only benefit is me feeling prettier for a couple weeks until I’m used to it. I can’t do it. I also use one purse for at least one whole year, and in all of 2013 I bought two pairs of shoes (not even any flip-flops). I guess maybe I don’t care as much about my hair. I mean, it’s thick, it’s frizzy, it’s full of static right now, it’s not even cut correctly, but I wear it up most of the time and Emma seems to like it, so I guess it’s here to stay. It’s just hair, right?

3. I am so behind on my Christmas movies! Every year prior to this one my tv was permanently set to the Hallmark Channel for the month of December. Gene hated it. He complained all the time. But this year, it’s all about Emma (like usual). So, my Christmas movie watching has been in the gutter the entire month and I’m starting to have withdrawals. I do have my DVDs to watch too. There are a few select movies that I absolutely must watch each year, and one in particular on Christmas Eve. Can you guess which one? White Christmas, of course. Love it. Can’t you just hear them singing… “What is Christmas with no snow, No white Christmas with no snow, Snow.”

4. I remembered the other day that we’ll be taking Emma to Sesame Street Live next month. I am so glad she’s gotten into at least Elmo because my biggest fear is that she will be completely unruly while we are sitting in the middle of a row. I did splurge and get her 5th row seats too, so hopefully it’s close enough to keep her attention. Speaking of Elmo, we did get her the “just my size” hugging Elmo for Christmas. Can’t wait for her to see it.

5. I am starting to feel the “Present Pressure.” Meaning, the Christmas present pressure. I have one, two, three, four, five… at least five more gifts to buy and with the impending weather I’m feeling the crunch on time. Since I have to get out in the snow and ice tomorrow for my 5k packet pick-up anyway, I guess I will be hitting up the bank and the stores as well. You know, as long as it isn’t too terribly bad. Have you all finished your shopping? I am still waiting on my Christmas cards even. Here I thought I had a good list, and had my stuff together, and I am still behind! Oh well, I guess I work better under pressure.


Five on Friday - 12/06/13

1.      1.   Today was Day One of our Secret Santa gift exchange at work. Each day is a different item, and this week was something edible. To my surprise, I got chocolate donut holes! Why was I surprised? Because I wanted to stop by Tony’s Donuts for a couple chocolate cake donuts, but decided not to because of the slick side roads. I guess it was the earth’s way of telling me that I didn't need to buy them because they were already coming to me. J Less flattering note - They are 238 calories for 5 holes, and I’m sure I've had at least 12 throughout the day already.

Colorful Donuts!
Serial Killer Name

2.      2.   Emma has Roseola. So as I was dropping Emma off at my Mom and Dad’s house before work yesterday, I noticed her neck was red and blotchy.  I got her under some bright lights to inspect, and it literally spread before my eyes. I saw it moving and spreading like fire. I knew that we had just changed her from Dreft to Arm & Hammer laundry detergent, so I thought that was it and told my mom to give her a bath and go about their day (including the gym). I didn’t even get a mile down the road and I decided to call her docs office. They thought it might be strep rash, so my Mom took her in. Low and behold… Roseola. “Baby Measles.” My child has the measles. My Mom asked all the right questions, so luckily she fired the answers right back to me as I asked them.
Me: But she got the vaccination.
Mom: It doesn’t help the baby measles. They’re different.
Me: But she doesn’t have a fever or seem sick.
Mom: The doctor said she’s lucky, but it could still happen so you have to watch.
Me: Does it itch or hurt her?
Mom: No, but if it starts to itch you can give her half the lowest dose of Benadryl. The rash will last around five days.
Me: Can she eat and drink like normal?
Mom: Yes, but it causes increased thirst and decreased appetite.
Me: Is it contagious?
Mom: Yes, highly. He said the Little Gym was the right time frame. But adults can’t get it so we are okay.

..... I’m so glad that we think alike so I didn’t have to call to ask anything else. Side note – Emma’s also teething very badly right now (so her doc says), so that explains the super cranky baby. And she weighs 30 pounds now!
My Poor Blotchy Baby

3.     3.   I’m getting closer to completing my Christmas shopping. The hardest person on my list? As usual, Gene. My Dad is hard, but at least I can figure it out. Gene, I have no idea. He wants an Xbox One. I mean, he’s going to get one eventually, so I probably should just give in and buy it now. Ick. That’s a lot of money to spend on one person when we have so much going on this month. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll change my mind.

4.     4.  My eyes are constantly dry anymore. So much so that my vision gets blurry and when I blink it’s sticky. I’m thinking I want punctual plugs again. I think they are around $100 for four plugs (two per eye). If you’re not familiar, they are tiny sticks that dissolve over time, that are inserted into your lower tear ducts. Most of the tears, or moisture, in your eyes drain through your tear ducts, so if you plug them up, the moisture will stay in place a bit better. I had them inserted when I had my lasik procedure in 2006. They feel weird going in, but once they are there, you have no idea if they are still there 20 minutes later or not.

5.       5.  Emma is turning into such a big girl. She will now sit at her own table, in her own chair to eat lunch. She will try to get herself dressed, even though she can’t quite do it yet. She now says sentences, even if they aren’t perfect. And if you try to help her, she throws a fit. She wants to do it all by herself. Miss independent. Ticks me off, haha. I want my baby back.
Emma Eating Lunch Like a Big Girl


Ramble... Ramble... Ramble...

Wow, a month since my last post. Where has the time gone?!?! Isn’t it funny how time can just fly by? For instance, the last four days were all a blur of Holiday festivities, and while each day felt like it was the longest day ever, it flew by and here it is Monday night of a full work week. Crazy.

While I don’t have much to talk about, I do want to throw a few things out there that have been on my mind.

First off, if you have seen me within the last few weeks you would have heard me rant about Black Friday (or Black Thursday, if you want to call it). I’m just going to throw this out there……. Do NOT judge people for shopping on a holiday and keeping the store associates from time with their families. If it means that much to them then they shouldn’t work retail. If it was Jenni-Mart (insert your name in the place of mine), would you do it differently knowing you’d lose hundreds of thousands of dollars to your competitors? Why do you think it was started in the first place? Oh, that’s right, because people flocked to the movies, or Walgreens, or K-Mart, etc. I know I did. I’m sure those nay-sayers never said a peep until Wal-Mart and Target jumped on the bandwagon. Also, to throw another thing out there…….. if you are frequently judged for your skin, gender, sexual preference, etc., you definitely don’t need to be judging anyone (or you need to stop complaining about people judging you).

Okay, now that I got that out there, I’ll continue on with less infuriating topics.

Emma is 16 months. And get this – I did NOT get a picture of her worth keeping on her 16 month birthday. Gene was with her that day and it’s like pulling teeth for him to even get a picture of her at all let alone a good one. Did I remember that night though? Heck no. Huh, now that I'm re-reading this I realize that she's well over 16 months and creeping up to 17 now. See? Another example of time flying!

Emma and I had an awesome time at Alyssa’s house for the “First Toddler Thanksgiving.” It was lots of baby playing and talking, and eating of course, but there were also arts and crafts as well. I’m thankful for Alyssa helping us get the cute footprint for the turkey craft. J Thanks Alyssa! And thanks for hosting too!

Maybe one day I’ll feel a little less awkward around women and might be able to let loose and have fun with them.

This month? “First Toddler Christmas” at our house. I’m a bit stressed about it since it’ll be a week of decorating and sanitizing (Emma is still recovering from a cold). Thank goodness for the industrial sized supply of Lysol and Lysol wipes Gene HAD to purchase because it was such a good deal. Lol. I will also have to put up the Christmas lights outside the day of the party since Gene didn’t allow me enough time to do it this weekend. I am hoping for good reactions since I go a bit all-out with decorations. Although since Emma gets into everything now it’s going to be hard to put it all out there. We’ll see.

                OH! I decided to host the family Christmas get-together this year too. Wow. Lots to do.

Also this month is Secret Santa at work (I would say who I got, but it’s a secret). First Friday is something edible, second is something hand-made, third is a $5 or under gift and fourth (Christmas Eve) is a $10 gift. I think I have all of them figured out except the $10 gift. So exciting!

Emma is still going to the Little Gym. This weekend I got to take her to the 8:15am Saturday class. It was so nice to get to do something with her that she loves (my parents take her on Thursday mornings usually). We also ran into a Mommy friend (Stacey Ostmann) and her daughter (Addison). We’ve only met them once before, but it was nice that we knew someone in class, even if we didn’t really get a chance to talk. I am thinking about signing her up for the winter/Spring semester too. Spring is so rainy and my Mom and Dad don’t seem to mind taking her, so it might be a way to help burn off some energy once a week. Plus, if I sign up by December 9th I can possibly win a free birthday party, or at least get 10% off in July when Emma’s birthday comes around.

I’ve gotten pretty much all of my Christmas shopping done. Well, I don’t have a single thing for Gene yet either, so I guess I have more than I thought to get. Oh well, I love shopping in the hectic month of December. J Within all of those crabby shoppers there are a few holiday spirits that will make you smile and remember why Christmas is so wonderful.

I’m trying to plan ahead for the rest of the month, including New Years Eve. I haven’t been out for New Years in a few years. Gene gets stupid drunk, and I constantly worry about getting home and such, so we’ve been staying home, but this year I think I might want to go out. Granted, I’m a worry wart so I’ll probably decide to stay in, but for the time being I’m going to think about our options.
I'm sure I'm missing quite a bit going on. Isn't that just how it works for Moms though? You go, go, go, and you barely remember a single thing that happened. I know it has even transferred over to my work life as well.
Okay, I'm calling it a night. Going to lay on the couch and watch the Santa Clause until I fall asleep. Good night everyone! I'll attempt to post more soon!

* Would have had pictures to go along with this post, but my internet keeps going in and out and my husband is too lazy to help me figure out what is wrong. No worries though, his phone switches from Wi-Fi to 3G without even a flinch. Good. For. Him. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


End of October Recap

Wow. All of a sudden my blogging friends have gotten a fire under their hineys to post every other day or more, which leaves me feeling like an underachiever.

I really don’t have much to talk about I guess. We’ve been doing the same old routine for what feels like forever now, and I guess there’s nothing all that exciting happening in between.

Let’s see…….

Emma had a Halloween play date at her friend Dez’s house on the 19th. She had so much fun! I really love those play dates! To be honest though, I find myself feeling awkward at times. I always wonder if I shouldn’t sit somewhere, or if I should take my shoes off, or if I’m allowed to touch/hug/help another kid. I just really like my Mom friends and I don’t want to ruin the relationship. Emma, on the other hand, didn’t care about anything other than seeing what she could get into and what she could eat! Liz is definitely a great hostess and had everything so amazing. The food was themed, the pumpkin decorating area was even decorated, the toys were plenty, and there was even a spot for family portraits! I’m planning on having a play date at my house in December for Christmas, and I definitely have a lot to live up to!


Gene and I had our “date” night this past Saturday (10/26/13). We got dressed up for Halloween and went to an Italian bar and restaurant for their Halloween party. It was fun. Would I have liked to have gotten more sleep? Yes. I can honestly say that I don’t care to go out “partying” anymore. Why? Well, I have this desire to not be hungover, and a need for extra sleep, and a daughter to make it home safely for, so it puts a damper on my previous alcohol consuming abilities. I can’t remember who said it, but someone mentioned to me recently that I “used to be able to drink them under the table.” Yes, yes I could. But, I was younger and it didn’t make me feel like death the next day. *I had the equivalent of 9 [small] mixed drinks Saturday night, and let me tell you that I felt crappy the ENTIRE Sunday after.

On that crappy-feeling Sunday (10/27/13), Gene, Emma and I met Alyssa, Matt and Autumn at the Pumpkins Galore pumpkin patch in Wright City. Emma just loves it there. Her favorite thing? The swimming pool of soy beans. Gene’s [extended] family owns the farm so it was a pleasant treat to get a free horse-drawn carriage ride, a free large pumpkin, some free gourds and a free homemade rootbeer. I just wish the Groetekes would have been there for that part (they had to leave a little before us because AR’s bedtime is a little earlier than Emma’s so they had to get in some dinner).  Autumn rode on the kids’ train ride, but I didn’t feel like Emma would handle it well so she didn’t get a chance at that this year. Maybe next year. It was such a nice day out too!

The Cardinals lost the World Series this year. Hey, at least we made it. I have mixed feeling about the entire thing, but in the end I feel that it breaks down into two options. Either they had their hearts set on making it there and then once they made it they were satisfied and didn’t have it in them to win, or it was all fixed because of the bombings. Yeeeeaaaaaah, Boston’s strong so their baseball team won. Ugh. Either way I was very disappointed in their overall offense AND defense. If they would have played wholeheartedly I would have been happy for Boston. But instead, I’m just disgusted in our team for the moment. I’ll get over it, obviously, because we still have the best team ever. But, I’m going to pout and be bitter for a while.

This weekend is probably going to be the last Sunday selling at the flea market this year. It’s going to be cold, but hopefully we get a good turnout because it stinks to have to box stuff up that you don’t want to keep. I guess we will donate a bunch to Goodwill, but all of my old PartyLite stuff needs to go and I’d like to get a somewhat decent amount for it. I mean, it’s great quality stuff! Oh, I should mention that because of our date night, we skipped this past Sunday selling. It stinks because it was so nice out too; I bet they were packed.

Emma has been talking up a storm. It’s so nice to be able to communicate with her a lot more than we used to. She can now say yes, no, why, clock, straw, spoon, one two three, thank you, weeee, icky, ow, all done, okie, and so much more. She will even have a conversation with you. And now she will call for us by name. The only weird thing, is that she won’t talk around other people. It makes me feel like people think I’m fibbing about her talking, but she really does! Or I’ll tell her to say hi or bye to someone and she won’t. Or I’ll ask her to tell someone thank you but she won’t. It’s frustrating that it’s still on her own terms.

Oh! Emma started going to The Little Gym. She did a trial class a long time ago with Autumn (her bestie) and Alyssa had pointed out a Living Social deal for 4 classes so I jumped on it for the winter months. So her grandma and grandpa are taking her on Thursday mornings and they have so much fun! My Mom said that she interacted well, and listened to the teacher, and that she was able to do almost everything they asked her to! My Dad got a few pictures and video and sent them to me so I didn't feel like I was missing it. And today she got to wear her costume (5 wears out of that $12 costume, not bad)!

I might see if they want to start taking her to a library class on Mondays too. That way it’s Monday and Thursday events. Although, they have been taking her to the Mills Mall early on Friday mornings to play there, since there aren’t many people there during the day. She walks around until she can’t walk any more, and then my parents know it’s time to head on out. She’s always so tuckered out that night. Haha.

Now that Halloween is over I almost feel like things are slowing down. I have no idea why. I don’t have any plans this Saturday with Emma, or Sunday really either. I need to find some fun stuff to do while it’s still not 10 degrees and snowy.

I’m definitely getting in the Christmas mood! Holiday cups at Starbucks, lights on display in the stores, toy catalogs coming in the mail, and songs in my heart! I’m getting so anxious!!! Thanksgiving what?

Well, that’s about it for now. Sorry I don’t have anything more exciting to blog about. Maybe later.



Miss Emma is 15 Months Old

It feels like forever since my last blog post. I guess because it HAS been forever since my last legitimate one. Man, I really need to somehow make the time to squeeze in the things that I enjoy.

Miss Emma is now 15 months old. It feels like so much longer. Haha. It makes me giggle just to type that sentence out. 15 months isn’t long at all, but in “baby time” it is more like 3 years. Each day feels like three. No, not because time drags on, by any means! It’s because each day with a toddler is like three on the body. Exhaustion. Sleep-deprivation. EXHAUSTION!

By the time I get home from work – which has been much more demanding and strenuous lately – I start my second job which is being a Mommy. While I absolutely love it, I notice the toll it takes on me by the time I put Emma to bed. In fact, I sit down just to take a breather and maybe watch a bit of tv, and before I know it I’m waking up at 11pm to an empty living room (Gene sneaks into the man cave in the basement) and a list of chores that will go undone because all I’m going to do is slug my way to the bed.

I still wake up numerous times throughout the night to go check on Emma. She likes to kick off her blanket when she’s hot, but either she doesn’t know how to cover herself back up, or she doesn’t wake up to do it and freezes through the night. You may think she’s just not cold enough to need it, but when I go in and touch her little arms and feet she’s ice cold! So I guess my brain automatically wakes me up to go check on her. Lately though I’m too tired and I elbow Gene to go do it – poor Gene.

Moving on to the real reason for my post…

I took Emma in for her 15 month “well” check-up on the 14th. It was Columbus Day so I was shocked that they were even seeing patients that day. Moving on. She weighed 29.1 pounds, and is 33 inches long. Both at 98%. Her head was 97% but I can’t remember that measurement right now. The doctor was so elated at her stature and composure. He kept using the term “advanced” over and over again. Ugh. While this is actually a great thing, it’s sad too. I’m losing my baby even quicker. Next month she’ll be 10 years old!

She says tons and tons of words. I lost count around 35. On a good day you can have a complete conversation with her. It’s insane. Her doc was over the top about this. She’d talk back to him for the most part too so he was getting a kick out of it. You can tell he really likes kids. I love that about him.

He talked to me about “screen time.” Anything with a screen needs to be limited to 30 minutes a day. Total. Not 30 for each. OY VAY! I did not tell him that the tv is on 24 hours around Emma. Literally. Even when she’s asleep the tv can be heard from her room because we sleep with it on. I have my ups and downs about his request because I feel like that’s how she has learned so many words. She can say Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Oh Toodle, hot dog and more just from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She knows the names to all of the shows she “watches” and the order they come on – Thomas, Caillou, Anne [of Green Gables], Peep [and the Big Wide World], Pocoyo, [Berenstain] Bears. She squeals with delight when it’s time for NanaLan’ too. She dances to the songs, knows the names of the characters, and watches with delight. She loves it! That show taught her the words frog and bird. Okay, so it was really us teaching her all the words from the shows, but it’s because we interact with her while they are on. Most of the time they are just on for background noise, and each of them are educational. Okay, she does know Spongebob and may even sing part of the song. So sue me. I only see laziness come from watching tv, so as long as I keep her up and moving I might just leave things the way they are.

She got four shots this time around. At her 12 month visit she got 3 I think and she didn’t flinch or cry. This time, instead of lying down, she sat on my lap and watched them do it! At first I thought that was why she started screaming, but then I heard that the flu shot burns very bad and that was her second shot of the four so I bet that was it. Then the next two were the icing on the cake so-to-speak. Poor baby. She only cried for about 30 seconds, but it was a heart-breaking cry. I made sure to feed her well before her appointment (my Mom says that a good meal gets the “juices” flowing) and I held off her nap a couple hours so she could nap after her shots and meltdown of sorts. I thought for sure a good nap would do wonders but she was restless for the whole nap, and after an hour and 45 minutes of off-and-on sleep she woke up cranky and it didn’t go away the rest of the night. I’m not sure if it was resentment from her shots or just a crappy feeling, but it was a bad night. Even while asleep that night she’d wake to cry for 5 seconds (long enough to wake us) and back to sleep. I’m glad that’s over.

*One more note about the shots. The MMR shot is the one that I was most afraid of. That’s the horror story shot that some say causes autism so I was dreading this shot day. However, it turns out she had had that one at her 12 month appointment! I have no idea how I got them mixed up, but I’m so relieved that I didn’t have to panic for days or weeks looking for “signs.” Yeeeeees, I know. Studies have shown that it doesn’t really cause autism. But, it was still in the back of my mind. I just can’t help but worry.

We talked about food, but only for a second. He said previously not to give Emma oatmeal because of her size (carb issue?) but we introduced rolled oats around 13 months and never looked back. So I wanted to double-check with him that it was okay and he said it was. He did say no popcorn, hard candy, hard nuts, suckers, or round foods that weren’t cut up for her (like grapes or hot dogs). We were already NOT doing those things. Yay!

The appointment was very quick because I didn’t have too many questions this time, but I did ask about her “girly part” as I was calling it. Lol. I don’t have much experience with what is okay-looking for a toddler’s “girly part” so I wanted to make sure I understood.  He said everything was just fine with hers, but he told me what to look out for if anything should seem concerning. And then he lectured me about how I need to be calling body parts by their proper name. Ugh. Anyone who knows me knows I do not use “dirty” words. Lol. I don’t know how to describe it, but I am very reserved and cringe at P words, V words, T words – the technical and slang ones. I think my parents always had the “don’t talk about it” mindset so that’s just how I work. So, I’m not sure how I’m going to get myself to use the proper terms.  I understand why he thinks I should (the world is a bleak place and every person needs to be able to firmly and accurately stand up for themselves and state what they do and do not want), but it’s just so hard for me. We’ll see.

At home we’ve been practicing putting away her toys, books and shoes since those are the only ones with a set place to take them and it’s working out pretty well right now. She still needs more practice, but I think it’s most likely because Gene and I are not consistent with it. We also try to read a lot. She loves books. All books. Her PawPaw reads to her every day she’s with him. Sometimes the same book multiple times! He is great with changing up the story to make it something different too.

We’ve been coloring a lot at home also. She has those color wonder markers and she’s obsessed. We have to keep them out of her sight otherwise that’s all she wants to do and for at least an hour. We need to buy more of those for her for Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I’m already penny-pinching because I’m worried that I won’t have enough to get her everything I want. I almost feel like someone out there has been spying and has jacked up the price of everything I want to get her! I mean, why is a plastic kid-size house for outdoors so expensive?!?!? It’s plastic! So, beware that we won’t be doing much, and I’ll be super frugal because I want to spend my money on Miss Emma. You’ve been fairly warned.

Well, that’s all I have time for right now. Emma has a Halloween play-date at Dez’s house tomorrow that I am looking forward to we are looking forward to. ;-) Then Maybe Boo at the Zoo. Or maybe Momma will go to Bingo. Haha. Then Flea Market Sunday morning, pedicure Sunday afternoon, and pumpkin patch later afternoon. Lots going on this weekend.

If I don’t talk to you beforehand, HAVE A HAPPY HALLOWEEN!



This Little Shopper Went to Market

Have you ever been to a flea market? I have. Tons. In fact, I’ve sold at them probably more than twenty times. I love it! I love shopping there more than selling though. ;-)

There’s something so thrilling about searching for something you’re in dire need of, and then finding it for only a fraction of the cost of if you bought it from the store! No, it’s not always used – sometimes you can find new items too. Last weekend I sold at the flea market in Wentzville and the lady selling next to us on the left had nothing but new household items. She had everything from toothpaste, to laundry soap, candles, and pantyhose. The guy selling on the right of us had brand new sunglasses (over-priced if you ask me because I know how much he got them for at the wholesale house).

Now what do I sell? I get rid of anything I don’t need. I sold a toilet paper roll holder for a dollar and some kitchen canisters for three. I sold some of Gene’s video games, and this speaker thing he had (no clue what it even was). I’ll sell anything! The hardest thing about selling at the flea market is trying not to go walk around and spend the money you’ve made!

When I sell I’m not out to make a ton of money so I price cheap (I take after my Mom), but you’ll see people out there trying to get rich in a day. Gene and my Dad are even like that; if they had their way they’d get what they paid for the item every time! Granted nobody would buy it so that’s a moot point. Anyway, like I was saying, people trying to get rich make up about 85% of a flea market. They over-price all of their items hoping to get the people that won’t bargain down (like my Mom). Don’t be shy. Seriously. They price their items for those bargainers, so never, EVER pay what they have on there. Unless you’re dead set on it and can’t live without it.

Here’s a tip, and this one is especially good for furniture or bulky items: If you’ve found something that you like and the person won’t come down on it, walk away. Chances are, you’ll surprise yourself and find the same item down the strip for less. If not, go back right before you are leaving and ask again. It happens all the time so don’t think you’re doing something weird. It’s just one last shot for the person to make a buck; if they pass, it’s their loss. Again, don’t use this tip if you’re going to die without it because it does backfire. My Dad always has the motto “Somebody will pay for it.” Well, not always, and how long are they willing to sit on it before it sells? The worst thing for a person selling is to have to pack up and take back home a ton of crap, especially heavy items.

If you decide to try out selling there, here are some good pointers:

1.       Get there extra early – the prime spots get taken quick (some people will get in line there at 3am)!

2.       Presentation is key – don’t expect to even make your “rent” if you just lay your stuff out on blankets… tables, like items together, larger items in back. *Yes, it will cost you to rent their space. I wouldn’t pay more than $25 per spot, per day.

3.       Price everything – it’s just like a store… if you come across something and you don’t know the price, how often do you go ask someone?

4.       Be willing to negotiate – Hey, that’s half the fun!

5.       I definitely suggest going to shop a flea market before you sell there because you need to get familiar with the location and the customers. Each flea market is not the same. It also wouldn’t hurt to talk to some of the vendors to see if they have any suggestions.

Well, if selling isn’t your thing I highly recommend going to paruse the bargains. This is the prime time of year because it’ll probably be over by the end of October and sellers don’t want to have to hold onto all of their wares until next spring. So bring your pocketbook and be prepared to walk A LOT! Have kiddos? Bring the wagon! No pets though as they aren’t allowed most places, even those outdoor ones.

Suggested Flea Markets:

-          CWE Flea (1st and 3rdSaturdays)

Have fun with it! And make sure to give yourself plenty of time.

Happy bargain-hunting!


New Season, Old Feelings, Current Happenings

I love the fact that in Missouri we really get to experience the change in seasons. Where other than the MidWest can you see Spring’s blooming flowers sometimes covered in snow, and Summer’s blazing heat change to a mild 70 degrees overnight, and Autumn colors starting to show during the remnants of the summer temps, or a WHITE CHRISTMAS worthy of movies? Well, Maybe in other countries, but Missouri is a prime location in the U.S.! How funny I say this when most times I’d rather live a million other places than in St. Louis.

Along with fall I change too. Each season I reminisce about last year’s holdings at this same time. Or the year before. Or ten years before.  I get flooded with so many emotions when the weather changes. It’s wonderful and heart wrenching at the same time.

I daydream about what I want to do with and without Emma this time of year, and how I’d like to decorate my house, and foods that correlate with this time of year. Of course, I get smacked down because I can’t really do a lot of the things I’d like to with Emma (Oktoberfest, bonfires, football games, tailgating, etc.), and I can’t really decorate my house because I’m still trying to make having a nosey child and 1,000 moving toys work into the household as it is! So I think about food (shocker!) and things to do with Emma.

Gene and I recently took Emma to the “Brink” family reunion. It was actually the Kaibel family reunion, I think. Some family owns the MikusFamily Farm (Pumpkin Patch called PUMPKINS GALORE) in Wright City so it was held there and I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it was! If you’re looking for an awesome place to take the kiddos, try there first! We spent four hours there! Emma skipped a nap, and was still going strong! She met two goats, a donkey, some chickens, a bunny, some turtles and a cat. She swung on a swing, played in feed corn, see-sawed, rode a kid tractor, played in dirt and rocks, and so much more! They open this coming weekend to the public and they’ll have snacks, a bounce house, hay rides, pumpkin picking, pumpkin cannon-shooting, and lots more. I plan on taking Emma back if I can make the time!

A lot of Mommy friends took their kids to pick apples. While I decided long ago that Emma wouldn’t be too into this, and I don’t need that many apples, I think I’ve changed my mind and have decided to go ahead and take Emma. We’ll see if I ever get the time to do this or not, but I’m going to try to squeeze it in. Plus, I’m sure Gene would love some more apple crisp!

While we are skipping Oktoberfest this year because of some work issues on Gene’s end, we can now fit in Taste of St. Louis. Yum! Just what I need, more food. I WAS on a diet, you know. Haha. Well, we’ll probably hit that up on Saturday night once Gene gets home from work and hopefully it’s not too busy down there. Have you been? It’s ah-mazing! Pricey, but oh so good. FYI – it’s not very kid friendly because they do not have diaper changing stations. They do have very large handicap port-a-potties so bring a changing pad.

We have one last Cardinals game to go to as a family. The 29th is the very last “regular” season game and we have tickets. Don’t get me wrong, I love going as a family because it’s something important to Gene and I, but we can’t really watch a game with Emma because she does not sit still for long, and we can’t all eat at the same time because she is on our laps, and then she will get cranky and/or hot and we will have to leave early. I have given up watching games at home too because one of us has to keep her entertained and I can’t half-watch. I just can’t. So I keep updated on Twitter a bit and I keep up with wins/losses, but I couldn’t tell you who’s on first (oh stop, haha) or who they even played last (okay, that’s not true, we played the Brewers… and lost last night!). So I’m anxious to get this last game over with so that next year we can start fresh with Emma being a little older and hopefully a little more into the game.

What also comes with the weather changes? The outdoor to-do list of course. So, before winter I need to weed and feed the grass again, pull the flowers from the flower bed, and paint the outside of the house. While I’d love to pay someone to paint the outside of the house (I know a good handy-man if you need any work done btw – he's a little eccentric, but an awesome person and very reliable) I just can’t do it. I hate painting the house. Yuck. I also need to put away any items that the frigid winter weather will harm. Boy, when will I ever get all that in?

Ever since the first “chilly” day, I’ve wanted to make chili. Haha, see how that works? The only reason I haven’t yet in simply because I know Emma can’t really eat chili. She can eat the meat, and some beans and crackers, but I wouldn’t feel like she would be eating a well-balanced meal. So, I need to sit down a figure out what I could do to get her veggies in as well. Carrots in the chili maybe?

I made apple crisp a couple weeks ago. It was so yummy. I used directions off the back of a bag of oatmeal cookie mix by Betty Crocker and three giant Honeycrisp apples. Speaking of Honeycrisps, did you see how much they are?!? Wow. Thank goodness Emma kept me occupied and Gene paid because I would have told them to keep those stinkin’ apples and we would have eaten oatmeal cookies instead of the yummy dessert. There truly is no better apple though.

I baked pumpkin bread last night and the house filled up with the wonderful smell of fall (pumpkin spices really, but to me, that’s fall). I kept taking in deep breaths just to savor it! The bread was okay, it turned out more like a spice cake really, but I still ate almost half of it between last night and today. Haha.

What are some other good fall foods? I’ve already eaten my fair share of Happy Apples. Haha.

I’m totally looking forward to what the rest of September, October and November have to bring! And then, best of all, we’ll be on to the most wonderful time of the year!

Do you have any exciting stories or plans for this time of year? I’d love to add some new memories to my list!


THIRTY on Thursday

So it has been so long since I’ve done a real post, and I feel like I’m not keeping everyone up-to-date on all things Brink. While 30 lines are nowhere near enough to cover everything going on in the Brink Family, it’s something. Maybe I’ll do another next week too. Anyway, here we go:

1    1.                  So I had my surgery follow-up appointment today and they supposedly removed all abnormal (pre-cancerous) cells from my cervix. Dysplasia is beck to zero, and I go back in January to have it all checked out again. Because it’s from stress, I’m worried that it will automatically come back, so here’s hoping I’m wrong.

2.                   They weighed me today. Ouch. That’s it. It’s official. I’m going to TRY to lose weight now.

3.                   I have memories of hugging my Doc after the surgery, but I’m not 100% sure since I was heavily sedated.

4.                   I won an award for Managed Care excellence at work. There are two people who can win this award, and it alternates every year. So needless to say, it does not make me feel appreciated.

5.                   I’m not sure why some people at work find the need to suck up to me… I’m nobody really. But yet, it happens… it happened just two days ago. Big time.

6.                   I found out a co-worker is an Avon rep. on Tuesday and I ordered 4 things already! I’m super excited for them to come in!

7.                   Christmas is right around the corner, and yet my Dad won’t quit buying things for Emma.

8.                   I’m working at PYC again. I’m not sure if it is temporary or not. I can’t remember because it all went down when I had surgery so I’m not sure if I said yes or no for long-term.

9.                   I still haven’t found a church. I had some prospects, but the geek in me checked out reviews and got scared away. How do you know that the church isn’t all cult-like?

10.               Speaking of church, I was leaning towards Baptist churches, but I keep hearing more and more about Westboro, so now I think I’m scared of those too. I want a homey, friendly, non-biased, cake-making, events-having, family-friendly church. I also do not want to join one, and then have to switch in a month. That’s why I’m so picky. Honestly, I’ve prayed about it so much I’m kind of frustrated that one hasn’t landed in my lap yet. But, He works in mysterious ways, right? Cayla, if you’re reading this, tell your Dad to go back to TT so I can end my ridiculously long search.

11.               I’m still questioning moving to a part-time job or staying at home with Emma. I’ve been actively praying and searching for an answer, and there might be something on the horizon. I’m not going to jinx it by saying anything yet.

12.               I need to reduce my stress. I know that much. But, I have no idea how. Anyone have any thoughts?

13.               I cannot wait for Christmas. I say that every year, but this year I don’t want to side-step the other holidays in the home stretch either. So, maybe I should say:

14.               I can’t wait for Halloween! I think Emma might be a strawberry this year. Haha. I’m waiting until it gets closer to decide for sure though because you know me, indecisive and all, I’ll change my mind before then probably.

15.               I can’t wait for Thanksgiving either. I always have fancy table-setting thoughts swimming around in my head, but alas I do not have a fancy house, or fancy parents, or fancy friends really. I wish we fit into that category, but I think only my dreams do.

16.               Oktoberfest is right around the corner. While I’m looking forward to it, the Mom in me keeps vetoing my drunkard plans. Ugh.

17.               Oh! We have a family reunion to go to on the 21st. We will probably only know one person there (literally) but we are going anyway. It’s at a pumpkin patch! It should be fun, but I have to bring TWO sides and I have no idea what to take. Hmmmmmm.

18.               We have three Cardinals games to go to this month. Gene is taking this Friday, Holli and I are going the 23rd, and then the Brink Fam is going on the 29th.

19.               Can the weather please change already? I always get like this. I want it to cool down and the leaves to change colors. Then I want snow and Christmas. Then as soon as Christmas is over – like, the next day – I want it to be Spring. It’s a cruel cycle of seasons.

20.               I cannot get enough of the song Blurred Lines. And while I have mixed feelings about playing it around Emma, she can’t get enough of it either. She will instantly dance and throw her arms around when it comes on. At least it’s the radio version… right?

21.               Emma has been working hard on mastering the sppon and fork. She’s a long way from perfect, but she can feed herself! Slowly.

22.               I feel like I’m in a rut. That’s another reason I think I need a change in my daytime schedule. I come home and play with Emma for about 3 hours and then I go to bed once she does, and I wake up and do it all over again. My weekends are consumed with family events. While I love my Emma more than anything, I need to have guilt-free time to hang out with friends. Why do I say guilt-free? I feel guilty when I go out without Gene because I know he wants time out too (which he gets but clearly doesn’t feel guilty about), and I feel guilty when my parents watch Emma one Saturday night a month because they watch her four days out of the week. I know they love her and don’t care (supposedly) but I do, and it’s the principle of the whole thing.

23.               I can’t seem to find an early morning yoga class. I need like a Tuesday class around 6:30am. Anyone know of any?

24.               I’m officially penny-pinching to save up for Christmas and such. I spend money way too freely. It’s funny how regardless of how much you make, it’s always only just enough because your lifestyle seems to change with your salary. I need to get out of that mindset.

25.               Emma’s vocabulary is getting extensive! She shocks me every day! She has even learned to say “I did that.” Lol. She has also started to say “Bo-Bo.” I have no idea what that is though! None of us do. Imaginary friend?

26.               I got word from the doctor today that in a couple months or so we can start trying to have another baby if we want. I’m starting to second guess having one for now. I mean, Emma is hard work sometimes. She’s at the point of throwing tantrums and screaming when she doesn’t get her way. With no resolve. It’s bad. I cry. I don’t know that I could handle that AND a newborn. I think because of everything that went on with my body I’ve lost that window for now.

27.               I’ve signed up for another 5K in December, and this time we are going to run it. My friend Alyssa is actually a blogger for the run we are participating in and the run is called the Hot Chocolate 5K and 15K. They are running a few giveaways and such so if you’re remotely interested, check out her blog for lots of fun stuff! She is also posting her training for the run, so if you’re interested in training yourself, or if you just like to watch someone’s journey, check it out!

28.               My friend Liz is having a Halloween Playdate on October 19th. I’m not sure if I will put Emma in her costume or not because there will be fun stuff like painting going on, so I think I might just have her wear a cute little Halloween outfit. Oh! Liz is pregnant with Baby #2 right now! She also has a blog and can I say she’s an awesome blogger?!?! If you’re a new Mommy or you’re expecting, check out her “favorites” posts. (To toot her horn, she’s also VP at a fancy company in downtown STL)

29.               I find myself very tired lately. I’m not sure if it’s the season change, or from my body healing after everything it has gone through the last couple months, or maybe it’s just that I need to change up my vitamin intake.

30.               I think I need to get glasses. I really need a lasik enhancement, but the lasik pros think that the PRK may not work as well as I’d hope with such a low Rx. So, I’m guessing that my best option is to wear glasses until it gets bad enough to enhance. I’m not too thrilled at that thought. 

     Well, there you go. 30 things that are rolling around in my brain. J
     Thanks for checking in! Look for another post like this in the near future, because there are so many things I didn’t get to put out there!
     Ciao for now!


A Bit of Religion (God, Church, Christmas)

READ FIRST: These are all of MY thoughts, views and opinions. Please do not leave negative comments regarding my post because it is MY views and opinion, and I’m already taking a leap to get something like this into words. I know it’s a touchy subject, but again, it’s just MY thoughts. Thanks!

There is so much going on in the world. Egypt crumbling, Syria with God-only-knows (chemical stuff way too advanced for me), Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning), and let’s not forget the daily shootings in the STL. But, aside from all of that, Christmas is less than four months away! Yay!

If you don’t know me, let me fill you in: I LOVE Christmas. Love, love, love, love it! The songs, the movies, the decorations, and the TRUE meaning… Christ.

I am not an overly religious person. I’d like to be. I am not Catholic, but I thought long and hard at one point about giving up everything to become a nun. No joke. However, I don’t go to church, I don’t watch religious shows/channels, I don’t even talk about religion. Why? It makes me uncomfortable.

I want to explain that last sentence. You see, growing up, Church wasn’t a big deal. My Mom was Lutheran but hadn’t gone to church since childhood (I think). My Dad drank the weekends away (when I was super little) and one day saw the devil and decided that he would change his ways and he started toting me off to a Baptist church. I liked it; Sunday school, adult services, the whole nine yards. My Mom didn't go, but she seemed okay with that. My Dad even read the family Bible to me at home. But, for some reason we quit going. I don’t know why.

In middle school I befriended a girl names Cayla. Her Dad was a pastor at a non-denominational church. I started going faithfully; Wednesday night, Saturday night (sometimes), and Sunday morning and night. I graduated from the STARS program there. I went to church camp. I loved it, but I still never felt comfortable. Well, three years later, I met a boy and it didn’t seem like he was big on it all, so I quit going there too.

I met Gene my senior year of high school and we became serious and eventually got married. His family is Catholic and there was a lot of negativity about him marrying a non-Catholic girl. Shocked the heck out of me! We talked about finding a church of our own to go to, but we could never decide what type and Gene never seemed too interested so I dropped the subject. Then when I got pregnant, we talked about it again. I looked online for churches in our area, but it’s too hard to decide online. Forgive me if I explain this wrong, but here is what I’m looking for: an equally mixed diversity of race and gender, minimal singing, 1 hour or less sermons with a possibility of attending a more lengthy one once Emma is a bit older, and a family-type environment. Almost impossible, right?

Back to the issue. I don’t feel comfortable talking religion or worshiping God with anyone I know. Omg, sounds shady, right? Here’s my thing…Religion is so diverse. People take it to heart in different ways. People view what is “okay” to be different things. People worship in different ways. People sometimes shun others if they don’t meet their religious standards. People even mix religion and politics! Oy. Two things that should never be mixed because there are billions of people in the world and yes, there are Christians, and Catholics, and Jesuits (are they the same as Catholics?), and Methodists, and even atheists in both democratic and republican parties (forgive me if I didn’t mention your religion or political preference, they were just examples).

Anyway, I can’t talk about my faith because it pushes my buttons when people say that I’m wrong about MY faith. MY beliefs. MY views. When did people become so one-sided? When did who I vote for become stomping grounds for deciding my level of faith? When did it become okay for people to say “Oh, you’re Democrat? You must be an Athiest.”? I feel like gay men and women deserve to be treated like anyone else at church; how many others will say the same? I don’t want someone to tell me that I’m wrong. I’m not wrong. It is how I feel; what I believe. God judges. Not you. Not me. He loves us all.

Whoa. That got away from me.

Moving forward, I don’t feel comfortable praying or worshiping around my husband. Lol. It sounds funny to admit that. The church I went to on my own, without my parents, was a Christian church. They spoke in tongues, and they raised their hands and jumped around to sing. Hey, if that’s your way to praise, that’s great! But, I once heard my husband poke fun at the thought of that. He is judgmental in his own innocent way (he doesn’t realize it at all). But, that comment is burned into my brain, so I will never feel comfortable going back to those roots with him. I also noticed that he doesn’t like to talk about religion at all (I even asked him once if he still had faith because I wasn’t sure). So, when I pray, I pray silently. When I’m alone, I pray aloud, but when I’m home, it’s all in my head. I assume that God and Jesus can hear my thoughts… I hope I’m right otherwise they will be wondering why I prayed so little. In case you were wondering just now, I pray only about once or twice a day, but I talk to Jesus A LOT. For those of you that know me, would you have guessed that?

About loving Christmas… I can’t get enough of it! I constantly count down the months, weeks, days until Black Friday because that’s when it begins! No, it’s not about the gift… it’s about the whole picture. God. Jesus. Mary and Joseph. I love the religious aspect of it all. I’m not sure that Gene even realizes that fact. I think I keep a lot of it to myself because my Dad takes it too far. I guess I don’t want Gene thinking that I’m exactly the same (but I’m close). Why does my Dad take it too far? Three reasons:

One. Some of you already know this, but since I was in Kindergarten or so, I knew there was no Santa. Why? Because my Dad felt like he was lying to me. I’m pretty sure I told a bunch of kids and he got called to the school. I get it, I totally get it. Then, he decided later on down the road, that it’s sacrilegious to have anything with Santa on it in the house. I get that too, in a way. “Rearrange the letters in Santa and it spells Satan.” Well, for a long time, I forced Gene to abide by the same rules. No Santa, at all. It makes sense in a way, right? Well, now that Emma is here I’m faced with a dilemma. How will she make it through her childhood without telling all the other kids that Santa isn’t real? How will she have the same joys of sitting on Santa’s lap like the rest of her friends? I have some thoughts in my mind about how to handle the explanation of the true meaning of Christmas AND allow Santa, but in order to do so I’ll have to have the support of my parents because she spends the majority of her time with them.  That’ll be hard.

Two. My Dad has my Mom make or buy a cake (that she shouldn’t eat because of her gluten intolerance) so that we can light a candle and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. Then after the song we must all eat a piece so that it will bless us for the next year. While I love the touching thought, and loved it even more at a younger age, I now feel that he takes it a bit too far. Lecturing us as to why we should partake and the repercussions if we do not. Again, I love the thought and gesture behind it, but to me it’s pointless. Maybe pointless isn’t the right word. Silly fits better because nothing for Jesus is pointless. But, it’s silly to me. It’s not really His birthday (did you know that?). He wants us to love Him and sing His praises, not sing Happy Birthday to Him. A cake, even if it is for Jesus, is not a blessing in my eyes. What is a blessing is having the opportunity to teach Emma about Him and let her grow to love Him in her own way. I’m trying to pick my battles though. But, the whole family-singing-thing so early in the morning is not in my comfort zone. Whatever. It makes my Dad happy, so I will continue to go along with the uncomfortable Christmas morning ritual.

Three. We all know the reason for the season right? “Jesus is the reason for the season!” Well, my Dad gives us a guilt trip for buying presents. I am almost 30 years old and I get told about ten times each year not to buy any gifts because it takes away from the true meaning. No. It doesn’t. Not for me. We are celebrating the season. We are having a celebration circled completely around the reason (Jesus). He wants us to give to one another. To love one another. Isn’t that what Christmas does? It almost forces us to love each other; to say Merry Christmas and God Bless. All of the hatred and anger in the world seems to calm a bit with Christmas. It’s magical. And it’s only magical because it is all for Him (whether you see that or not).

Now that I’ve told you all of that, please don’t think of my Dad or my family differently. Like I said at the beginning of the post, everyone views religion in a different light. He loves his Lord and Savior, he just does it in a different way than I do. The hardest part for him I think, is letting me go to worship and and follow in my own way and with my family. I was just simply trying to explain how and why I feel uncomfortable with religion in public and family settings.

With all of that being said, I now still face the battle of finding a suitable church for all of our needs. I want to find a church family to be a part of. I want Emma to go to Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, and eventually maybe even Church Camp. I want her to ask questions about Jesus and why we are here. About Noah and the dove. About the woman who turned into a pile of salt. And I want to share my favorite scriptures with her. The Bible can answer so many questions, and I’d love to be able to explain it all to her. But, I want to learn more myself. I feel like I’ve forgotten so much.

I just struggle with the thought of Gene and I going to church together. If a church has lots of music, will I have the nerve to raise my hands? Will he? Will he care that I can’t carry a tune? He’s my husband, so I shouldn’t care, but I do. I want the entire experience to me comfortable for both me and him. Is that too much to ask?

I could talk for days about this topic. But for now, I’ll stop here. Please send good thoughts and prayers our way for finding a Church that suits us, and I’ll continue to do the same. J

Do you have any suggestions for us?