Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve

Corbin is sleeping in and I am savoring the quiet and enjoying a cup of coffee before the craziness sets in. When he gets up, we will be making Christmas cookies that we somehow haven't gotten around to cooking, running to the cleaners to pick up my comforter (spaghettios + kid with stomach flu + white down comforter = Mom silently cursing the world), packing up presents and clothes to go hang out at my parents all day. We will go to 10 p.m. mass at Corbin's school because his class gets to help present the lamb and the baby Jesus. We used to go to midnight mass each year, but since all of the kids have been born, we have gone to a 6 p.m. Christmas Eve mass at my parents' church. So it will be interesting to see how the kids hold up. Sometime, I need to help Santa wrap his presents. Although, as I told someone yesterday, with the way Corbin was acting, Santa might just flip us the bird and fly on by tonight. Corbin had been up late the night before and woken up too early so he was a major crab. I hope he sleeps in for a while this morning so that he is well rested for this evening. Darn, he just woke up. So much for that theory.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Funny Mikey

My nephew, Michael, is five and cracks me up. A couple of months ago, I was playing Scrabble with Carson (my niece) and Corbin, and Mike was laying on the couch, watching Transformers. It was the beginning of the movie, when the transformer blows up a military base, and we had the following conversation:

Mike: What the HELL just happened?
Me: What did you say?
Mike (suddenly shy): Um, I said 'what the hell'.
Me: You know, you really shouldn't say that word.
Mike: O.K.
Me: You should maybe say "what the heck" instead.
Mike: Oh, I'm not allowed to say that.

He is always hilarious to watch open presents. Last year, the first gift he opened on Christmas Eve was from my parents. They'd gotten each grandchild an outfit and a toy. He opened the outfit first and burst into tears, yelling "I got clothes!" He was so someone stuck an empty package of candy.

Birthdays can always be interesting too. When he was three, he chose the moment of opening gifts to start using the phrase, "What the...?!" He never completed the sentence, but said that as he unwrapped each present. Of course, it is hard to hold in laughter but all that does it make it worse. My sister still has no idea where he learned that. At his fifth birthday in August I got him some Star Wars action figures and a lite saber, and when he opened it, he exclaimed, "Oh no." Kind of like "Oh no you di'nt." You can't make this stuff up.

In other fun boy stuff, Corbin thinks it is hilarious to fart on me or right by me. We went through that a few years ago. I would probably be traumatized, except I grew up with a brother who would come over and fart directly on my head when we were younger (although he was too old to be doing that). What can you do but roll your eyes and tell him to knock it off. If he doesn't get a reaction, he moves on.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What's next?

2008 can officially go eff itself. My cousin, who is one of my best friends, just called to tell me that her husband has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

This would be a traumatic experience for anyone, but my cousin lost her mother to cancer five years ago. My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. She had a double mastectomy and chemo and was declared cancer free. Seven years after that, she found out that the cancer had returned in her spine. She went through treatment for four years. Bone cancer is not something that you can cure, but they would treat it to keep it from spreading to her organs. It eventually spread to her liver and brain, and she passed away in 2003. Most people do not live as long as she did with bone cancer. It was in virtually every bone in her body. Walking was painful. She couldn't bend over to pick something up off the floor. One day she was having blood drawn and the nurse turned her arm over and broke it. My point is that she truly suffered. When she couldn't teach anymore (incredibly, she taught up to five months before her death), my cousin quit her job to stay home and take care of her during the day. My point in sharing all this is just that this is really a sucker punch for her. She knows that this isn't the same as her mom's cancer, but it is still terrifying.

They will be getting a second opinion. Please pray that comes back negative. And pray for strength for their entire family. They have three boys aged 3.5 and younger. Please pray that Niki gets the help she needs from family and friends. She lives in Atlanta, and I obviously don't have the means to get down there. It kills me to be so far away and not be able to help her.

And seriously, two more weeks of 2008 is two weeks too long.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Giveaway

Tara, a friend from high school (and with whom I shared numerous gossip sessions during AP English), has posted a great holiday giveaway. Visit her blog and comment to be eligible for some sweet Avon prizes! An added bonus - Tara has an exceptionally adorable daughter who is lots of fun to read about!

The Family Tree

Last year my job consumed so much time that Christmas seemed like an afterthought. I know that sounds horrible, but I was working about 60 hours a week, dealing with Corbin having issues at school (with the Horrid Teacher), etc. so I was just not able to enjoy my favorite time of year like I usually do. While I WISH that I had a job to go to (seriously, I'm going stir crazy), I am trying to embrace the fun of Christmas this year, while I have PLENTY of time to enjoy it. :)

Thanksgiving weekend we decorated the tree. I usually don't do it quite so early, but I figured that a little extra cheer couldn't hurt.
We got out our five boxes of decorations, and it looked like Christmas threw up in my condo:

I put the lights on the tree...

...only to discover that half of them were burnt out. A trip to Wal-Mart yielded new lights and a couple of ornaments for Corbin, including this, which was only $2 (and is really glittery and cute in person):

We also had a picture done with Santa for free. The Super Wal-Mart on Telegraph was giving out free 5x7's, and the pictures were of the same quality that you would pay $15 for at the mall. I still can't convince Corbin to visit the Santa at the mall, so this is the first "Santa" picture we've had in a few years. Since I've explained that the mall Santas are not the real "Santa Claus" (they work for him), he thinks he is cool with writing the letter and making sure that he is extra good on the nights when I have to give my updates to Santa (what am I going to use for bribery in a few years?!). He was so excited about the picture that he wanted to put it on the tree:

We've always had a tradition in my family where my parents would give ornaments to us each year, and I have continued that with Corbin. Therefore, my tree is exploding with ornaments. But Corbin has a great time getting them out every year and hearing about where each ornament came from. When Corbin was little, I would get him the Hallmark baseball ornaments each year (Mark McGwire is pictured above).

A couple of Corbin's "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments follow. He was born in 2000, so the "millennium baby" stuff was fun.

Also, my "Baby's First Christmas" ornament:

I'm sure I will share more ornament shots throughout the next few days. Here is Corbin with the finished picture (although I swear that the tree looks bigger in person. Or my child is just that tall!).

Still alive...

I know...I've been missing. I haven't really felt the creative spark lately. But I'm still trucking.

My computer pooped out right after Thanksgiving. Two weeks later (yesterday) I finally found out that they have to replace my motherboard (I don't know what that is, but it sounds awesome) and my screen. Don't know what happened to cause the problems, aside from my bad luck with electronics in general. Seriously. The last digital camera I bought crapped out about 8 months after I bought it. The manufacturer replaced that for free. The thug who snatched my purse may be giving the replacement to his dear old granny for Christmas...or it may be sitting in some pawn shop, having been used to feed his addiction to blow. (I think the word blow is fun to use in reference to drugs, but I have to admit, I am not totally sure what drug I am referencing). But hopefully I will have my computer back next week.

I've started working out everyday again. I did ten miles on the exercise bike and 1.5 on the elliptical machine. I find working out is a better alternative to watching daytime TV and drinking a bottle of whiskey. (Note: I've never really drank an entire bottle of whiskey. Especially in the middle of the day. I just like to be dramatic.)

My parents were in a really bad car accident on Saturday night. They were driving to a meeting out in House Springs, and were driving down highway 30 and a 17-year-old girl pulled out right in front of them. We think their car is totaled, but, thankfully, everyone is okay. Just a little bruised. I picked up my parents from the accident site and took them to get a stiff drink. Everyone's nerves were a little shaken, but sitting across the table from them, I couldn't stop thinking about how grateful I was that they were not injured...or worse. Life can truly change in an instant.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Happy Thanksgiving

We started the day with Grandma's delicious cinnamon bread. I may make some loaves of this to give as gifts this year.

Then off to St. Roch to celebrate Corbin's First Communion. He was a proud man in his suit, and I was a proud mama.

We went to my parents' house for the day. Since my siblings were spending the day with their in-laws, my parents and I enjoyed an untraditional feast of crab legs...
...and, of course, Grandma's broccoli casserole.

I am very grateful for many things, including (but not limited to):
  • Corbin
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Health
  • Home
  • Safety
  • Faith
  • My country

I hope you were all able to spend time enjoying family and friends. We are all blessed with every second we are able to have with our loved ones.

Now, off to clean the carpets!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pity Party is Over

Sorry about my last post. I was feeling a little sorry for myself and over analyzing. I know that things could definitely be worse in life. I have a healthy, happy child, and that is the most important thing. And while I need to be making money, it has been fun to have a few days where I get to pick him up right after school and spend time with him.

Anyway, just wanted to say that I am done with the pity party and moving on. :) Tomorrow is Corbin's First Communion (I know, weird that they do it on Thanksgiving). He is excited, and we bought him his first suit. He looks so handsome. I had tears in my eyes when he tried it on. I will post some pictures after the big day!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Get in line...

So I am embarking on the incredible (read: humbling, self-deprecating, embarrassing) task of filing for unemployment. Super. Sorting through the information needed and forms reminds me of applying for Medicaid for the boy right before he was born. Because I was still in college (finishing up the last year +), I was covered under my parents insurance, but needed coverage for Corbin until I could get a job with insurance. Many people who know me do not know that I once had to take advantage of public healthcare. I come from an upper middle class family. I always thought of that as being something for poor people. But, I guess, I was poor at the time.

But you do what you have to do and move on. Or so I thought. While I have always told people faced with job loss or other hardships to go for the government help (that is, after all, what you pay taxes for), I wasn't prepared for what a hit filing for unemployment would be on my self worth. I know that I didn't lose my job to incompetency or anything related. I am facing a situation that many people are now - - so many that a message on the unemployment site says that they are extending their phone hours to accommodate the increased number of filings.
But still, I feel discouraged. I've done everything I am supposed to do...completed my education, got a good job, taken care of my child on my own. Hell, the kid even (at least for now) goes to a private school.
I know that with my experience I SHOULD be able to find something else. I hope that this feeling of worthlessness is fleeting. It's hard not to feel depressed. Someone said to me last week (as if stating a fact), "Your self-esteem is not tied with your job." I think the intent was to be assuring that things would be okay and this situation has nothing to do with me. But, while I know I am good at what I do and me being laid off shouldn't affect me, the idea of not being able to be independent really kills me.
I've always been an independent person. I got my first job as soon as I was able...not because I had to, but because I wanted to be able to buy things on my own and not have to ask for permission.
While I am not nearly as religious as I should be (spiritual, but not religious), when I am faced with tough situations, I turn to God and try to figure out the lesson that I should learn from this. I know it may sound simple, but I've always believed (and advised) that life is a journey, not a destination. We were never promised that life would be easy. We have all been given our crosses to bear.
I think that in my case, God is trying to make me learn that I cannot be independent all of the time. I need to learn to rely on others, and most importantly on Him. I've always been one who tries (or at least has good intentions on trying) to help anyone through a difficult situation. But I don't like being the one who needs help.
Corbin is getting ready to take his First Communion this week, and I was telling my mom that I really need to take him to church more regularly, but expressed that I just still have many issues with the Catholic church. She knows that my main issue is feeling welcome as an unwed mother. Now, I have never been made to feel unwelcome (except for a couple of issues with some teachers at his school), but as you may be able to tell, I have issues with my status in life. She hit it on the nail when she said, "...I know that you are sensitive about being a single parent. But you have to understand that most other people don't. They don't care..."
I guess I need to remember that...even as I file for unemployment.

Conversation in the car this morning

As I was taking Corbin to school this morning, listening to Christmas music, we had the following exchange:

Me: What's your favorite part about Christmas?

Corbin: That I get presents.

Me: My favorites parts are spending time together putting up the Christmas tree, appreciating those we love and being thankful that Jesus was born.

Corbin: Yeah, I mostly like the presents.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

So I've been up since about 3 a.m., unable to go back to sleep. This is very unusual for me as I typically have a talent for falling asleep within 2 minutes of my head hitting the pillow. And to convince myself to get out of bed in the morning, I usually promise that I can sleep later the next day, lay down for ten minutes before going to sleep or go to bed at 8:30 a.m. that night. None of these things ends up happening, but it helps me get out of bed.

So, instead of dwelling on the many fears that wake me up in the middle of the night, I decided I would list all of the positive aspects of being unemployed.
  • I don't freak out about getting up at 3 a.m. because I know that I can take a snooze later, if needed.
  • I get to pick up Corbin right after school and do things like play baseball or other games with him.
  • I have time to make a good dinner each night and bake banana muffins, like I did last night.
  • I get to catch up on Days of Our Lives. Ok, so I have yet to watch that, but I may start depending on how long this patch lasts.
  • I will have time to get certain rooms of my house organized like my closet and office.

Right now I am watching Roseanne reruns and debating on making a pot of coffee. It strikes me how short Johnny Galecki seems on this show. I still always get him confused with Balthazar Getty. But that's neither here nor there.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Need prayers

Well, the economy stinks and I have become a statistic. I was informed on Monday afternoon that mine and a couple of other positions with my company have been eliminated. I have all kinds of issues about this (which I am sure I will address), but want to ask for prayers that I will get through this. I support Corbin and I on my own, and while my parents could help out, I would like to avoid that. I have a lot of contacts in the industry and will hopefully find something soon.

Please pray for us. I hate that we are in this position.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bend it like Beckham

Corbin loves sports. Pretty much any sport. He plays baseball and soccer. He has mentioned wanting to play football, but I think I will put that off for a few years until he has a little more meat on him.

Yesterday he scored 4 goals in his soccer game. He was a proud man. (But I will note that the other team wasn't all that great.) I am considering getting him into some extracurricular activities other than sports, like piano lessons or art lessons.

Anyway, happy Monday. Make sure you get out tomorrow and VOTE!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Flashback Friday

Nothing melts the heart like a good heavy metal ballad...

It's been a while since I have seen this one, but it looks like Bret Michaels is in bed with Slash from Guns N Roses. Just sayin'.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2008


Because I am too impatient to figure out how to add text to the post below, I just decided to start a new post. A few weeks ago, a family friend introduced me to Animoto, a site that allows you to upload pictures, upload or choose from music and uses those to create short videos. Creating a 30-second video is free; "full-length" videos are $3 a piece or $30 for a year's subscription. I played around with it a bit this morning and made the video below from some pictures from Florida. It is VERY easy and kind of fun to do.

Florida 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Things that make me feel old...

So I am turning 29 next month. I know that is not old, but am having small panic attacks about how quickly the days, months and years go.

But here are the most recent things that make me feel old:
  • Over the weekend, when showing my ID to purchase a bottle of wine, the young(er) lady looked at me and said, "You look good for THAT age." Uh, backhanded compliment.
  • Corbin and I were talking about JFK yesterday (he read a book about him at school and has a facination with him). He was asking how long ago he was assassinated, and I proudly remembered 1963. He asked how old I was when it happened and I said that I hadn't been born yet. Then he wanted to know when I was born, and when I responded 1979, he got a big grin and said, "Whooaaa...that's a long time ago." Now I know it sounds like that since everyone he knows was born after 2000, but still...
  • A few months ago I referenced the movie Footloose at work, and the two younger girls in the department (about 23 yrs old) were all, "Oh, I haven't seen that one." Come on, TBS. You're letting me down. Then I said that Kevin Bacon starred in it, and heard, "Which one is he again?" Then I fainted.

Anyone else have similar experiences?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Alligators and tarantulas and anacondas...oh my!

Ok, I know that title was kind of lame, but whatevs.

Corbin had is big birthday party on Saturday. We had 15 kids and a whole bunch of chaos...and fun too! We had Serengeti Steve from The Reptile Experience do a presentation during the party. Despite my issues with snakes and spiders, it was AWESOME! The kids got to pet and hold everything from an alligator (my fave) to a hissing cockroach to a lizard and little snake to an anaconda. The anaconda was super cool because there are only, like, 15 docile anacondas in the world. (You will have to excuse my lack of appropriate names for the animals, as I was basically the paparazzi of the party, trying to get pictures of all of the kids.)

Corbin had a really good time with his friends. He goes to school with some really nice kids. I really like the community.

Here are a couple of highlights:

Also, I have to give props to my fellow St. Louisans for turning out in droves to rally around our (hopefully) next president. Two more weeks! I don't know what I will do with all of my time once I am not obsessing over the election.

Anyhoo, hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, October 17, 2008


Last night, Corbin made his First Reconciliation. During the service, he played Jesus in a story about forgiveness. He seemed kind of nervous before going into the confessional, but really enjoyed the entire process. He told me afterward that he thought it was going to be boring, but it wasn't. On Thanksgiving, he will make his First Communion. (I don't know why they do it on Thanksgiving, but it is a tradition at his school).

There's a man with a clear conscience. :)

For reconciliation, each child makes a banner. Corbin is proud of his.

Tomorrow is Corbin's birthday party, so tonight I will be working on last minute details for that. Sounds like we will have a good turnout, with lots of kids from his school, family and friends. He is very excited.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

When life closes a door, it *shatters* a window

Ok, not feeling so creative with post titles today. But I had to share the story of one of the weirdest things that has happened to me. Last Monday, I left work, picked Corbin up for school and started on the commute home. All was fine and normal. As we were getting onto highway 44 from Jameson, I heard this "pop" and looked into my rearview mirror, and this was what I saw:
Yep, my entire back window was shattered. Thankfully, very little glass actually fell out, so Corbin was fine. I looked behind me and all around trying to figure out if I got hit or if someone threw something, and there was nothing or no one I could see. I was halfway down the entry ramp, so I continued on the highway, had Corbin climb in front and get buckled and drove to the next exit. By the time we got our car to the shop to get fixed, this is what my window looked like:

So weird, and definitely what I wanted to spend $230 fixing.

In other news, it is officially my favorite part of the year. We hit went to Rombach's in Chesterfield to get ready for Halloween. Rombach's is seriously one of my favorite places in St. Louis. I guess I remember going there when I was little, and I've taken Corbin each year since he was born (ok, well not the first year, he was 11 days old). But as we were walking around, I was thinking of all of the cute pictures that I have of him as a toddler climbing on the huge pumpkins. With those images swimming through my head, I decided we should stop to get a picture, and I didn't recognize the kid in the view finder...

I swear, I am not always this sappy, but I just feel like all of a sudden, Corbin is so big! And I am freaking out about how fast time is passing. Anyway, we had a terrific day and really just spent time enjoying each other's company. I will leave you with a few more shots.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I read all four Twilight books in a week and a half, and am still obsessed. I may even reread the series. For now, I must confess that I have watched the trailer for the movie everyday this week.

(For some reason the embedding code from YouTube isn't working - any ideas?)

I will definitely have to see the movie. In the meantime, I just need to figure out how to go about finding my Edward Cullen. :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

These are the days...

This weekend, my baby turns 8. Yes, this baby:

I look back at those chubby legs, the stubby fingers, and the gentle amusement from simple things like swinging, and wish I could have captured it with more than just a picture; with something lifelike that I could revisit over and over.

Don't get me wrong. I love each new stage that I've seen as a parent. Okay, the eye rolling and back talk are not so fun, but nothing compares to witnessing your child learn to talk, listening to them read their first book to you and watching them make new friends. Each new year is exciting...but bittersweet. With each passing year, there is more independence...more necessary freedom...they begin to build their own lives slowly. I know, he's hate, not 18 - don't be overdramatic. But it truly seems like each year goes by more quickly than the last, and it can be scary. In just a few short years, my child has grown so quickly.


I just love this guy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Death to purse snatchers

So over the weekend, I went to my friend Karyn's bachelorette party. We had a good time. We started out at Jive and Wail, then went to McGurk's, MP O'Reillys (SO GHETTO) and then ended up on the landing. We were staying at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Downtown St. Louis. Me and two other ladies were dropped off about 20 feet from our hotel at the end of the night (about 3 a.m. - too late for mama to be out). As we were walking in, a guy came up behind me and knocked my purse out of my hand. I put my left arm out to block him from picking it up, and as he bent over in front of me, I grabbed onto his shoulders and back to yank him away from my purse. After a little struggle, he threatened to shoot me if I didn't stop fighting, so he got away with my purse. But for the record, I don't think he had a gun, I just think he knew that this white chick was about to pummel his strung out ass. So he got my purse, along with my digital camera, ID, debit card and lip gloss (the nerve, the NERVE). The St. Louis City police officers were wonderful in responding quickly and being patient with a girl who was freaked out, severely pissed off and had had a few cocktails (although not enough to not be sobered up by the whole experience). So needless to say, I'm a little freaked out, a LOT pissed off, but grateful that nothing more serious happened. I can replace anything he took, but can't replace me being there for my boy. I am glad that I got an amateur thief. But I hope he rots in hell.

On a lighter note, I think that I am finally breaking down and getting Corbin (and me) a dog. We are researching breeds that are good condo dwellers, not known for yapping and won't piss all over the place. Some options we've come up with:


Puggles (Pug/Beagle Mix)


King Charles Spaniels

Any suggestions?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back from the Beach!

Actually, we got back late Saturday night. But with (attempting) to get caught up on housework, getting back to work and gearing up for a trip to Indianapolis for a family reunion, I haven't had time to post.

Florida was great fun. We ate, drank, swam, sunbathed, talked, relaxed, took walks, slept, read, played with children, etc. I am always sad to see vacation end, but now I am back and ready to get organized before Corbin starts school.

I will share (or intend to share) some more pics and stories from Florida, but I will give you the summary.

We ate at The Back Porch, a favorite of my dad and me. It is an open air restaurant right on the beach with wonderful seafood.

Here is a picture of Corbin and I there:

There were TONS of jellyfish in the water. I didn't get stung - a good thing considering I am iffy on going in any water filled with living creatures. On the first day, my sister caught a jellyfish for the kids to look at. But I think that created bad karma, because my poor nephew was stung twice (after the second time, as he was crying, he yelled, "Take me to the hospital!"). I believe my BIL was stung once. Below is our jellyfish, which I named Al. I think we kept him out of the water to long, because Al met his maker that afternoon in a sand bucket. Probably not a good way to go when you are a jellyfish.

My dad and I took a walk through a beautiful state park (or at least part of it).

Here are a few others, just for fun. Will be back in town on Sunday. Have a great weekend!