I'm thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving all! I know I've neglected the blog for a few days...I've been too busy to write a meaningful post, but as it's [near the end of] Thanksgiving, I wanted to dedicate a post to what I'm thankful for. People have been posting lists of 10 or 25 things that they're thankful for - I'll do 25. :)

1. I'm thankful for my husband. He's my best friend, my love, my everything. No relationship is perfect, and ours is no exception. It hasn't been easy, but I love him with everything I have. He makes me happy, and he's my forever.

2. I'm thankful for our beautiful little boy. Mommyhood has been the most rewarding thing that's ever happened to me, and I love that little boy more and more every single day. I'm so grateful he's in my life.

3. I'm thankful for my parents. They're an incredible support system and have been there for me through thick and thin. I couldn't have asked for a greater set of parents.

4. I'm thankful for my little sister. She's my best friend and the coolest person ever. She balances me out, makes me laugh and is the most fun person ever to hang out with. I'm so glad she's my sissy.

5. I'm thankful for my car. I don't care if it's a Ford Taurus. I've put a good 70K on it since I bought it in '06, and it's still going strong. It's a great car.

6. I'm thankful for my job. It's the best.job.ever.

7. I'm thankful for my friends. They keep me sane, keep me grounded and are always there.

8. I'm thankful for my bestie. She and I have been best friends since 5th grade. She's the coolest person I've ever met and is the most supportive friend I've ever had. We'll always be best friends - always.

9. I'm thankful for my mom's cooking. She is the best freaking cook on the planet. I wish I could cook like her.

10. I'm thankful for my alma mater. Never in a million years did I think that I would wind up at OSU, but I did - and enjoyed every single moment of it. I had the best college experience, love the town, and love that I'm still associated with it. I will ALWAYS bleed orange.

11. I'm thankful for books. They were my good friends throughout school, and we're becoming reacquainted. They've led me on some great adventures.

12. I'm thankful for my dogs. They're such great dogs, very loving, and they make life very interesting. They're so cute.

13. I'm thankful for my travels. I've been to a lot of different, cool places, and I'm grateful I had that opportunity. I'm looking forward to going more places in the future [next stop: colorado].

14. I'm thankful for sports. I wish I could explain why I love sports so much, but I just can't. It's become an important part of my life, a great conversation starter with my equally-loving-of-sports husband, and it's given me a new connection to my alma mater and surrounding sports teams. I love it.

15. I'm thankful for my extended family. I know I don't see them often, but I love them all very much. I hope to make trips to see them soon.

16. I'm thankful for my hair. I know I complain about it a lot [maybe not in my blog, but in real life, i definitely do], but it's so awesome to have naturally curly hair. I only have to work to straighten it - which I hardly do anyway, so it works in my favor.

17. I'm thankful for big purses. They've made toting things around very, very easy.

18. I'm thankful for cameras. They help me capture the most important memories I'll ever have. Now, if only I could find the charger for my camera...

19. I'm thankful for the Internet. It's made my life so much different, opened new doors to new worlds...it's amazing how something like that has made life so much different from previous generations.

20. I'm thankful for Oklahoma. I know a lot of people don't like this state, but I love this state and just about everything about it. I'm going to miss it when we leave, but I'll always come back - and it'll always be home.

21. I'm thankful for chocolate. Seriously. It's made life's crazy moments easier to handle.

22. I'm thankful for this country. Even though we're in a down time right now, I love being in America. It's the most awesome country in the world. God bless America.

23. I'm thankful for technology. It's made it possible to still talk to my dad and my husband, even though they're not here. Five years ago, that wouldn't be possible.

24. I'm thankful for my and my family's health. We've had some issues and scares in the past, but for the most part, my faimly is still happy and healthy. I pray that it continues.

25. I'm thankful for my life. I love my life and everything that I have, I've gone through...while life isn't always easy, I absolutely would not trade my life for anyone else's.

So, as we wrap up this year's Thanksgiving, I hope you think about what you're thankful for and take time out to thank those you're grateful to have in your life. I hope you al also enjoyed the food, family and football that come along with the holiday - I sure did [minus the football - we watched movies all day]. Tomorrow, we'll let the countdown to Christmas begin - but for the last 10 minutes of Thanskgiving 2010, send thanks.


Popchips. These, I must try.

So yesterday, my sister sent a retweet from Oprah's magazine about good gifts for food lovers. Most of that stuff, I knew I'd like but wasn't sure if she'd like. Then...I saw Popchips.

Popchips are non-baked, non-fried potato chips. They're pretty much popped - just like popcorn. I've been reading some of the reviews, and there's nothing but raves out there. I had never, ever heard about this product until yesterday, but now, I'm intrigued. So intrigued, in fact, that my sister's getting some for Christmas. Not sure if she reads my blog...don't think she does...but if you're reading sis, Merry Christmas!

I will probably order myself a box after the holidays, too. I'm a huge sea salt and vinegar fan - that's pretty much the only chip I'll go near nowadays. I'm always looking for something healthier than Pringles or Doritos [my usual go-to chips], and these seem like just the ticket. I wish they actually sold them in Oklahoma though...maybe when OKC gets its Whole Foods, I can get it there. I've been looking for a snack that won't make me feel like crap after eating a serving - and I may have found it.

And...alas. Crissy over at Dear Crissy is doing a giveaway of my new discovery! Check out her site, as well as Popchips, if you get a chance. In the meantime, I'll anxiously await the arrival of this box and will try not to open it before Christmas. Won't make any promises though.

I entered to win some crazy-delicious Popchips from Crissy!


Shutterfly = love.

This morning, when checking in on The Nest [affectionately known as TN], my friend at Confessions of a Blonde Sports Fan...Knitting Optional had posted about a Shutterfly blogger promotion. I always love to rave about Shutterfly, so I wanted to share my experiences with them as well as the blogger promotion with you all.

I've been using Shutterfly for a good four or five years now; my mom discovered it one day [i'm sure it was while watching some show, like oprah or regis & kelly], and we've been using it ever since.  Shutterfly's responsible for our family calendars, numerous photos and, most recently, a photo book I made chronicling J's BMT graduation weekend. That book came out AWESOME, and I'm getting ready to make another book to send to my dad.

Shutterfly is fast, relatively inexpensive, and very easy to use.  The quality of the product is also great - and, there's an app for that. The fact that I can upload my iPhone photos directly to Shutterfly from my phone is one of the biggest reasons I love this site [and, the photo comes out looking awesome].  It's super simple to upload dozens of pictures and organize them into folders, too - and their share sites are awesome.  I can't think of a single negative aspect about Shutterfly, to be honest with you.

This year, we'll be using Shutterfly for our holiday cards and possibly for JJ's birthday invitations [which I need to get on, note to self].  My mom and I also started piecing together our 2011 calendars and hope to get those done BEFORE the new year starts, not AFTER like the past two years [oops].  I just hope that the awesomeness of Shutterfly remains for many, many years - and would kiss their feet if I could for making it so simple to store pictures as well as offering great photo products.

If you're interested in finding out more about the blogger promotion they have going on right now, you can check it out here.  In the meantime, if you've never used Shutterfly before, I highly recommend it.  If you have and love it, join me in thanking them for their awesome service.


Happy Veteran's Day!

This morning, I'm going to take time out to thank a special group of people: veterans.

I know everyone's definition of a veteran is different, but to me, a veteran is anyone who has served in the military. If you made the commitment to serve this country - and to fight [and possibly die] for this country if so needed - you're a veteran. And today, I thank you.

Thank you for making the commitment to protect the millions of people who live in this country, the flag and this nation. Thank you for risking your life to make sure that I can sleep at night. Thank you for deciding that this country and what it stands for is worth fighting for.

Thank you to those who have fought and died for this nation. From the Revolutionary War to the McAlester solider KIA on Monday, all of the lives that have been lost so that this country can prosper will never, ever be forgotten.

Thanks, Dad, for giving 24 years of your life to the Army. For your willingness to protect this country and fight for it. Even though this year made five years since you retired, you continue to help this country by serving as a civilian contractor to the Army. You make me proud every single day.

Thanks, J, for deciding that the Air Force is something you wanted to do. I know that you're proud to be in that uniform and are ready to go if needed. I worry about you every day, worry about what could happen if you get deployed - but more than that, I'm so, so proud of you. I'm proud to be your wife - the wife of an Airman.

Thanks to my little brothers, my friends, my cousin, and all the mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, girlfriends, boyfriends...everyone who's serving. I wish I could come up with more words to thank you, but I just can't. But please know that you have my undying gratitude, thanks and respect for what you do or have done for this country - and for me.

Happy Veterans Day.

My dad, sister and I at his retirement ceremony in May 2005 - 24 years Army!

My own special Airman at his BMT graduation in June 2010 - so proud of you babe!


Ah, the joys of PCSing.

So, H moved to Colorado last week. The lovely ladies over at the Military Nesties board have a link that answers a bunch of military-related FAQs, including a section on PCSing. It was super helpful, but the whole move thing went very quickly for H - he came home on the second week of October; the movers came less than two weeks later; and he moved a week after that. Most of that time, I wasn't around, so I couldn't really help him at all. I wish we'd done a better job of moving his stuff out there, getting it organized etc. - probably would've made moving day less stressful.

So he gets to CO, figures out it's better for him to live off base than on base [original intention was for him to live on], so I spent a good day or so looking at apartments online and giving him places to check out. Luckily, he found an apartment and was able to lease it the very same day, which was nice. He spent about a week in it without anything, but someone was generous enough to lend him some stuff so at least he had a place to sleep.

Then, the movers came today - and H didn't have a place for all the stuff. So, I spent another two hours looking for storage units. Ugh. This whole process has been a huge headache, and if H had been more organized, this would've gone off without a hitch. For next time:

1. Itemize everything BEFORE the move, and make sure we know what's coming and going.

2. Don't pack up everything. Even if we have to rent a freaking U-Haul, move some of it ourselves and leave the big stuff to the movers. This part bugged me the most - H pretty much sent everything on the truck, so he barely had clothes or shoes, he didn't have any blankets or sleeping bag or anything...ugh. Never again.

3. Don't change the move date at the last minute. Due to unforseen circumstances, the move date was changed. Never doing that again, either - so unfair to the movers, and they almost charged us because of it.

I know this was our first move, but it could've gone so much better than it did. Instead, I'm spending the day nursing a headache that's been building up for a solid week. I hope that now that H has all his stuff and will get cable/Internet soon, this move will officially be over. And I vow to be way more organized when JJ and I make the move [whenever that'll be].

And now, I'm going to eat some chocolate to help ease my nerves. Woosah...

WMW: Sincerely, Your Co-Workers

Ah yes.  Time for another WMW.  I'll do a blog update after this, but this topic is fun.

Today's prompts were to either 1.) write a letter about you from the perspective of your boss or co-workers, or 2.) write about what your working lunch entails.  Since my lunch is pretty boring [either run home to clean house, Wal-Mart to grocery shop or sit at my desk and catch up on sports], I thought I'd do a letter from my co-workers.
Dear E,

It's been a pleasure having you in our department since your move less than a year ago.  I know one of us is brand new, but we both appreciate the hard work and dedication you put into your job.

We love that you are so knowledgeable about this university and that we can turn to you to answer a wide range of questions.  Your previous experience as a recruiter has helped us answer questions for our students without having to dig around for the answer.  We also see how your students appreciate you and turn to you for advice, which is admirable.

We also really, really appreciate all your random baking days [such as the cupcakes AND brownies you brought to work yesterday] and our random conversations about life, books and Harry Potter.  You help make this environment fun, especially on the slow days when nothing's really going on.

Thanks for bringing a new perspective, set of skills and awesome goodies to this office.  Looking forward to working with you well into the future!

Your co-workers
Now, granted, I would say the same things about them - my co-workers are awesome, and they're so fun to work with every single day.  They help break up the monotony of the job and make the slow days fly.  Just wanted to throw that out there. :)

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Halfway through another week!

[side note: did you know there are only 45 days until christmas? oh boy!]


WMW: Honest Confessions About Motherhood

After a week or two of not participating, I'm back on the train. I love WMW. :)

The alternate title to this post is "Confessions of a Tired, Working, Frazzled Mama"...or, as the real title says, honest confessions about motherhood.  So, let's be honest for a moment, shall we?

-- When I became a mom, it was a huge surprise.  I was not prepared to be a mom, didn't know the first thing about babies...and I am pleasantly surprised that my child, who is almost 2, is still in one piece.  He's taught me SO much more than any book on parenting could ever teach me.

-- My mom helps a lot [since i'm pretty much a single mom while j is away], and she takes JJ for weekends. While I like my space and can get things done, I miss him from the second I leave to the second I pick him up.

-- I have way more respect for moms now than I ever did.  I thought motherhood was easy...psht.

-- Now that I'm a mom, people who aren't parents who say ignorant things about parenting [such as, "Oh, I don't see how you can't get your child in the bath tub; baths are fun!" or "Your kid doesn't eat veggies? It isn't that hard to fee them veggies - just shove it in their mouths and call it a day" or "I don't know why you say parenting is hard - it's just a baby!"] make me mad.  And get the side eye from me.

-- Being a working mom is the most fulfilling thing I have EVER done in my life - but it's also the hardest.  And the funny thing is, I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.  I want to do it again, soon.

-- I never fully realized the value of a life until I starting caring for one of my own.  I can't tell you how many sleepless nights I've had worrying about JJ.

-- I'm another one of those moms who tries to keep her cool, but it doesn't always work.  Sometimes, I let JJ play with things for longer than normal [like the pots and pans, or the laundry doors] just so I can take a few seconds to regroup.  Some days, I let him watch SportsCenter because it's the only thing that will calm him down.  That's just the way it is.  I'm not the perfect parent, but I try my best to make my little boy happy.

-- A lot of things that shouldn't be funny that JJ does...winds up being funny.  Which makes it hard to discipline him when I'm giggling on the outside and cracking up on the inside.  Being a parent may be a tough job, but it's also full of those hilarious moments that you look back on and smile.

-- I didn't breastfeed. After four weeks of frustration and dropping weight, I quit and just strictly formula fed.  I felt a little guilty about it, but the health of my child was at risk, so I stopped.  He's just as happy and healthy as the other kids [minus battles with ear infections], so everything is fine.

I think that's all I've got for now - feel free to add your own, mommies out there. :)


Vote. Do it. Now.

Today, ladies and gents, is November 2nd - Election Day.  While some people may not think it's a big deal to vote today, it IS a big deal.  This year is a midterm election year, which probably spells big change for the Senate...I won't voice my opinion one way or the other, but it'll be a big change.  This is your time to make your voices heard, to exercise your Constitutional right.

Here in Oklahoma, we're voting for governor, lieutenant governor, on SQ 744 [and 754], among other things.  For the first time in our state's history, we'll have a female governor - which is very, very exciting.  I really hope that my fellow Oklahomans take the time today to go out and vote - we have a lot riding on this election, and every voice is important.

So today...no matter where you live...go vote.  Do it.  Now.