“Sometimes There Are Just Things You Shouldn’t Say Out Loud”

You know how I tend to say inappropriate things on this blog?

Well, that’s because I treat this thing like a night out with friends drinking wine. I say this because many women are wise enough to keep some of their thoughts tucked away until it’s appropriate – like those times when you are in a room full of other woman who have their wine glasses filled to the brim. Only, I don’t need an unusually large glass of wine to share these thoughts. In fact, I’m usually sipping on a cup of coffee while writing these posts fully aware of the words that I am about to spout out.

I write this blog because I need an outlet, without it I feel like my brain is going to explode.  After I write a post I get that same release that you get after having a really awesome conversation with a friend…

If I put it all out there I feel so much better. And whether you acknowledge it or not, many times you have the same thoughts as I do. You’re just smart enough not to vocalize it.

For instance, one time I confessed to my dad that when I was a teenager I wished that I was best friends with Jay Z so that he could give me piggy back rides. In my teenaged mind piggy back rides was the ultimate form of showing outsiders just how much fun you were having. It would be a good time…

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My dad did not agree. He just looked at me like I was weirdo and wisely said, “Nina, sometimes there are just things you shouldn’t say out loud.”

Fair enough… message received.

Kind of.

Now if I feel the need to designate a celebrity to give me piggy back rides I just save it for my blog.

…okay, I see it now. It is kind of weird.

You know, that weight loss blog I write? Well, it’s kind of a weight loss blog. Maybe we should actually call it a weight loss struggle blog. Would that be more appropriate?

I’ve been struggling the past few months in a way that I haven’t struggled in a long time.

This summer I was blind sided by emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy. Then I got depressed about the baby they had to remove from my fallopian tube. Then before I was able to fully process anything I got a part time job that is actually a full time job. I had no idea how quickly the working process would take effect. I thought I would have time to prepare myself emotionally and physically for the transition from stay at home mom to working mom.

It didn’t really work out that way.

I had to stay home from our family vacation and was immediately thrown into one of the toughest jobs on the planet… teaching.

I’ve had a few growing pains, sacrifices were made in order to ensure I was doing a good job. Then mommy guilt kicked in full force so more sacrifices were made to ensure that I was able to still fit in quality time with my kids. The number one thing scratched off of the priority list was me. This has become evident by the lack of posting going on.

This blog is a direct reflection of how much time I get to myself.

Without this blog I haven’t had an outlet for the random thoughts that I have throughout the day. These little moments come together to create my perspective on life. Without them I feel a bit empty inside. So let’s just take a moment to enjoy a few of the little moments of my life as of late. Shall we?

1.) The time I walked into work and had my breath taken away by my view of the sun physically pulling the darkness of the night out of the earth. It was a chilly morning but those little wisps of dew floating in the air seemed to represent the promise of a beautiful day on the horizon.

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2.) This morning when I went to unlock the door to the computer lab at school. There was something about the way the key fit in the old school door knob that I was instantly reminded of The Never Ending Story. It made me think of the scene where the kid steals the key to the school attic where he hides for the remainder of the day eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and reading a really big book.

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I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to do that too!

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3.) There was also another morning where I glimpsed out my classroom window just in time to see the sun rise. Yeah, I would have preferred to experience this view from the seat of my cruiser bike while the cool wind rushed through my hair. But there is something to be said for how my classroom was included in my view because even if it is hard work, I do look forward to seeing my students every day. I just love the fact, that as a middle school teacher, I get to witness one of the most awkward moments of my student’s lives. There’s a simple beauty to being a part of their first coming of age. Not to mention the fact that they are hilarious, and make me laugh every single day.

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4.) There was also a particularly exhausting evening when Brent was at the fire station. Bridget was moody from a long day of school and Penelope was on the verge of a torrential melt down from playing too hard at the babysitter’s house. I made an executive decision that night to have a mid-week movie night. It was raining out, so as soon as we walked through the door we put on our warm cozy pajama pants and set to work on making broccoli cheddar soup from scratch together. We also made a batch of stove top popcorn and made the adventurous decision to combine the two. It was Master Chef quality ya’ll.

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We spent the remainder of the night snuggling and watching Chicken Little. It was absolute perfection.

5.) That fun Saturday night last weekend spent with my long lost friend and the girls decorating for Halloween, dancing and eating junk food slumber party style.

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You see, without having the time to write my blog I also haven’t had the time to just sit back and reflect on all of the little things that make my life so great.

I have also noticed that a few bad habits have started to develop since I started working. They were just a few things I did out of desperation in order to simply make it through another crazy day… and then another… and then another.

Bad habits that I have adopted since I started working.

1. Stopping for a sugary coffee before work.

2. Taking my pants off as soon as I walk through the door in protest of doing anything else productive for the rest of the day.

3. Not cooking fresh home cooked meals but instead opting for processed quick fixes (junk food).

4. I’ve stopped reading for fun.

5. I’ve stopped writing for fun.

6. I’ve stopped riding my bike.

7. I’ve stopped listening to music on a daily basis (probably because I’m not running anymore).

8. I complain a lot more than I used to.

A few good habits that I have adopted since I started working…

1. I skip out on that nightly glass of wine and opting for vanilla sleepy time tea instead.

2. I wake up at 5 in the morning everyday and have accomplished at least two things before my kids wake up and the day starts.

3. … meh, I ran out. (Three just seemed like a good number for a list.)

After weeks of doing the same things in order to survive I quickly realized that life wasn’t going to slow down.  In the mean time, the little things that I did to make it through the day became habits. Bad habits.

Then last Sunday on my weekly trip to the Farmer’s Market/book store I came across this book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

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I can’t honestly say that I’ve had time to finish reading it yet. However, the little bit that I have read has already broadened my horizons with the use of  these little nuggets of wisdom…

“At one point we all consciously decided how much to eat and what to focus on when we got to the office, how often to have a drink or when to go for a jog. Then we stopped making a choice, and the behavior became automatic.”

“When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making.”

This reminded me of an inspirational poster I have hanging in my class room…

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It has really caused me to pay attention to all of the little decisions that I make throughout the day.

I’ve been thinking about how to create good habits, not only for myself but also for the kids that I deal with on a daily basis. I can help my kids create habits like cleaning up after themselves and eating healthy. I can help my students create better study habits. I can make my day run seamlessly while simultaneously taking care of all of the necessities of every day life.

All I have to do is consciously make myself eat healthy fresh food,  find the time to exercise, force myself to carve out time to write and reflect. Then… before I know it. It will just become a habit and it won’t feel like a chore anymore. It will just be something that I tend to do. And I’ll feel ten times more awesome.

That being said, here is a list of habits I have decided to consciously adopt this coming week. They aren’t big choices but they will eventually have a positive impact.

1. Drink lots of water.

2. Cook all of my meals and only drink coffee I brewed myself.

3. Take a few minutes to myself every day to focus on me (i.e. reading, writing or playing outside)

***What are some of you habits? If you could change any of them what would they be?***

Something’s Gotta Give

I have come to the unfortunate realization that life is kicking my ass…

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I’ve spent one too many mornings waking up worried about all of the things I need to accomplish for my students that I can’t sleep. I’ve gotten everything done but that doesn’t stop more work from coming in. It’s making me delirious… and tired. Very, very tired.

I haven’t had any time to myself, time with my husband or time with my kids and I’ve gotten to a point where I couldn’t handle it anymore. I hit a wall and it just so happened to be while my best friend Emily came for a visit.

I hadn’t seen her in two years and was beyond excited. However, this excitement didn’t keep me from falling asleep at the airport when I went to pick her up. Her flight was delayed so I sat down next to strangers to people watch. The next thing I knew I was jerking awake fully aware that people were people watching me. She made fun of me when she walked up to me and I didn’t even see her because I was staring into space.

I was so frustrated all weekend because I couldn’t muster up the energy to celebrate her being in town like I wanted to! I had faked having energy one too many days and I was all dried up.

So I did what any rational grown woman does when she’s frustrated. I cried.

And she did what any good friend would do. She told me to take a nap.

Later that night we sat down at my kitchen table with a glass of wine and tried to figure out a schedule so that I could manage to fit everything in my life that I needed to fit in. She was the perfect person to have around at a time like this. She thrives on planning things and meeting nearly impossible deadlines. In fact, she’s so good at it that she’s made a living out of it. She’s the cofounder of Austin’s first Television Fesitval, ATX so she knows all about handling stress. And posing for magazine spreads apparently…

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(While she was here she failed to mention that she was being featured in a magazine. She’s the one on the left.)

Anyway, getting back to the point, she told me that her trick is to plan her day in thirty minute increments. But first we had to make lists, because she loves lists. We did it together and made the following lists:

Priorities: Family time, Me time, Brent and me time, exercise, eating healthy, reading, writing

Must Do’s: Grade a million papers a day, plan lessons, laundry, clean house, grocery shopping, meetings, checking emails,

Here is a glimpse of the daily schedule that we came up with together:

5:00-wake up

5:15 to 5:45- Grade, plan, drink coffee

5:45 to 6:30- Get ready for the day/Get Penelope ready

6:45- Drop Penelope off

7:00 to 8:00- Grade papers, answer emails and plan lessons

8:00 to 10:00- Teach at school 1/pack everything up for other school

10:30 to 11:00- Go for a walk/go to meetings

11:00 to 12:00- Grade papers, answer emails and plan lessons

12:00 to 3:00- Teach at school 2

3:00 to 4:00- Meetings/after school help for kids

4:00 to 5:00- Grade papers, answer emails and plan lessons

5:00 to 7:30- Family time (Cook dinner, deal with tantrums, sing songs, do laundry, run errands, walk the dog, etc.)

7:30 to 8:00- Penelope time (bath, stories, songs)

8:00 to 9:00- Get stuff ready for next day, hang out with Bridget

9:00 to 10:00- Get ready for bed/read/actually have a conversation with my husband

10:00- Go to sleep

Now that I think about it… it actually makes me more exhausted typing it out. I don’t even know if this will work because I have a 2 year old wildcard who rarely does what is planned. For instance, as I sit here trying to type this blog post out at 8:45 at night she is screaming her head off in her room refusing to sleep.

Wait… now she’s howling like a wolf. Or is it a ghost? There’s just no telling with that kid.

I thought I could go grocery shopping today and get some meal planning taken care of but this about sums up how that went…

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We came home nearly empty handed and ended up eating Peanut butter toast for dinner instead.

I’ll look back at this and smile one day, right?

Everything is pretty exhausting but it’s not all bad. Here is a list of things that make up for the chaos…

1. The fact that my husband is a much better housewife than I am. When I get home the house is clean and he has some form of dinner planned out and ready to cook.

2. At night when I’m dog tired Bridget will just curl up in bed with me and read a book while I pass out after drinking a cup of sleepy time tea.

3. Penelope who constantly tells me she loves me and lets me know how much she likes that “sunshine song” I sing to her.

4. Friends who sit at my kitchen table and help me try to formulate some sort of survival plan.

5. Other friends who are willing to wake up before the crack of dawn so that I can go for a walk and talk while the sun rises.

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6. Students who thank me for holding them hostage during their lunch hour because they have assignments missing in my grade book. “Thanks for caring so much Mrs. Chapman.” Seriously, what 13 year old says that? Weirdos ;)

Okay I feel better now. Thanks for that.

I think we should skip the part where I weighed myself and weighed in at 199.6 pounds. Too late.

Somethings gotta give ya’ll and lets hope it’s not the seam in my pants. Yikes!

There’s a Dolphin in My Room!

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I feel like I’m getting my balance back ya’ll!

It’s been a long time coming. The past two weeks I’ve worked 12 hour days while battling the cold from hell. I also managed to share that cold with my entire family. This nasty cold seemed to result in some strange behavior at our house. During nap time Penelope ended up having a conversation with a dolphin in her room. She was super snotty and beyond tired so Brent was sure she would sleep well. This was until he heard her screaming in her room.

“Get. Out…. Get out NOW!!!”

Brent walked in to check on her and found her looking in the corner. Brent asked her who she was talking to and she said, “Dolphin.”

“Why are you yelling at dolphin?”

“He told me to listen… and I said, Get. Out… Get out NOW!!!” The last part was said in a shrill scream.

She seriously doesn’t like it when people tell her what to do. I’m pretty sure this frustration was meant to be aimed at Brent and I because we are constantly telling her she needs to listen. When she yells at us she gets put into time out, but when she yells at a weird dolphin in her room we laugh. It’s a win, win situation if you think about it. You get out all of your frustrations AND you get the attention you were seeking.

I should try this tactic in my classroom.

Having a mutant cold at the beginning of your first year of teaching could very well kill a person. One night during the week I felt so miserable that I couldn’t sleep. Finally at midnight I gave up trying and busted out the laptop. I planned and graded until 2:30 and was up at 5:30 the next morning.

Each evening when I got home from work I felt like I was going to collapse, but I missed the girls so much that I always looked forward to bedtime when I got to read stories and bath time when I got to play with bubbles. Except for one particularly rough night…

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That night someone pooped in the bathtub before she could get her hair washed and then while it was getting cleaned up proceeded to run around the house naked with a towel on her head screaming “I’m Batman! I fly to the moon!”

It was me…

Just kidding.

But it very well could have been if I just so happened to drink as much wine as I was tempted to drink that particular night. I was on day two of Brent being at work and was at my whits end. Poop in the tub was the thing that almost through me over the edge.

For the past two weeks I’ve been waiting for this darn cold to go away so that I could have the energy to do everything I needed to do during the evenings. I hardly cook anymore, I’m too tired and Penelope is too crazy when I get home. Last weekend I couldn’t take it anymore I was convinced that the only thing that could ease my aching throat was some old fashioned chicken noodle soup. Real soup. Not the canned kind.

I didn’t have a recipe but I had a garden full of goodies so I went outside, picked some carrots and herbs and set to work in the kitchen…

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Doesn’t the carrot on the left look like it’s saying, “No! Don’t eat me!”?

I sauteed some veggies, reduced some wine, poached some chicken and ended up making the best soup I’ve ever had. While I was out in my garden I was wading through mounds and mounds of rotting apples from my apple tree. I kept feeling bad for the apples that never got eaten. So I decided to pick a few…

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It was the first fall like day of the season, a perfect day to make apple crisp with the girls…

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Slowly as the week progressed things started to get better. I caught up with my “to do” list for work and I was finally beginning to feel like myself again. This meant more energy to frolic outside during the evenings with the girls. We went on bike rides and hung out in the garden some more. Penelope was super excited to see that the pumpkins in our pumpkin patch were ready to be plucked.

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She played with them for the rest of the evening because they were her “best friends”. She even invited them to come inside to watch a movie and eat some popcorn. They politely declined.

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But that didn’t stop her from cuddling with them until the sun went down.

This weekend I feel like I’m finally back to my self. I’ve been looking up healthy recipes, planning which days I plan on running and getting super excited about Fall. Balancing the whole work life thing is harder than I thought it would be but I’m pretty sure, with practice, things are going to be great!

Powering Down

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Have you ever been so tired your eye balls hurt?

When I feel that way it reminds me of when I was a kid when I would try to stay up past 9 to watch the Golden Girls. I wasn’t really particularly fond of the Golden Girls but I knew that once it came on it was officially past my bedtime. Therefore, if I found myself sitting in front of the TV while the Golden Girls was on then I knew I was getting away with something and felt compelled to partake in this act of rebellion by staying up and watching it.

I would try to revel in the moment but every time I would become so tired that my eyes would start to burn and water causing me to blink a million times. Eventually somewhere in the midst of a blink I would pass out.

This was exactly how I felt last week in the middle of a class… that I was teaching.

Only I didn’t fall asleep, instead I just kind of powered down in the middle of a sentence

“The books on my book shelf are not for shorrrr teeeeerm looooaan.”

I tried to play it off like it didn’t happen but then I heard a little voice say, “Uh… Mrs. Chapman? What was that?”

Then I got the giggles and I bent over and laughed until tears welled up in my eyes while my students sat there perplexed, trying to determine whether it was safer to stay quiet and let me have my episode or to laugh along with me. Fortunately, they chose the latter which made things a little less awkward.

All day on Friday I kept blinking my eyes because they really wanted to stay shut for a nice long nap. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Why was I so tired?

Sure, I had to work late several of the nights and yes I had woken up early to prepare lessons but this level of tired was weird. I passed out around nine on Friday night with the allusion that by Saturday I would feel well rested and ready to enjoy my weekend. When Saturday came around I woke up with a long list of things I needed to get done in order to have a successful week ahead but by mid-morning I was ready to go back to bed again.

I kept thinking this exhaustion was just all in my head and I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t just snap out of it. Then I got my answer in the form of a sore throat… and then a runny nose… and then headache.  I had flashbacks of the week before of all of the students with hacking coughs and runny noses who had come up to my desk asking if they could “borrow” a tissue.

“You just go on ahead and keep it.”

Thinking back on it, it was inevitable.

So that’s basically what I’ve been doing lately… trying to pretend like I’m not sick while I simultaneously pretend like all aspects of my life are in perfect control. In the mean time I’ve been having dreams about tornados and falling off cliffs.

Of all of the things I wanted to accomplish this labor day weekend the only thing I managed to do was finally take my monthly pictures so that I can honestly show you where I am with the whole weight loss business. (Hint: there isn’t a lot of weight loss going on.) I felt like it was time to get back into my routine of doing monthly progress reports. The plan was to post it on Sunday but then I felt like crap and I also looked like crap so I decided to wait to post the pictures at the end of the month with my new pictures for comparison. (I wanted to give myself a chance at redemption.)

In fact, at this very moment I feel like crap and I’m desperately trying to figure out a way to end this post so that I can go to sleep. So that’s what I’m going to do now. I’m powering down once more… in the middle of a thought. Because that pretty much sums my life right now.

The end.

One Lucky Girl

Welp… it’s been a big week around these parts.

It was the first week of school. My first official week as a teacher and Bridget’s first week as a middle schooler.

Add to that list my birthday, Brent and my tenth wedding anniversary, two doctor’s visits and Penelope’s first “Back to School Night” for preschool. It was madness.

Monday had been the day we had been waiting for all summer. We woke up early and spent extra time fixing our hair while Brent and Penelope made breakfast. That morning Brent had made his signature “McDaddle Sandwiches” per Bridget’s request. (For those of you who don’t know, a McDaddle is like a McDonald’s sausage McMuffin only this one is made with turkey sausage and is prepared by a guy named Brent… aka Dad.) After breakfast we took our annual first day of school pictures.

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Sweet girl… nervous but excited.

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A failed attempt at a photo in the sunshine…

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Ahhh… much better. The last mommy snuggle of the morning.

I can’t believe how big my baby girl has gotten. She was all lovey dovey while we were home but as soon as we pulled into the parking lot she instantly morphed into that kid who couldn’t stand to be seen with her parents. As soon as we let her out of the car she fled from us as fast as she could without a second glance… far from any chance of being embarrassed. Later on when we passed each other in the hall I tried to play it cool and not make any sudden movements for fear of doing something wrong. Surprisingly she pulled away from her new friends, gave me a big hug and kiss and said, “Hi Mommy”.

It melted my heart.

Adjusting to my new working mom schedule has been crazy but luckily for me Brent was home for most of the week. Every time I got home from work the house was clean, the laundry was done and dinner was ready. Brent and I both agreed that he is a much better housewife than I am.

When Wednesday rolled around he got up early to get me coffee for my birthday. After school I came home to see that Penelope had picked out a bouquet of balloons and Bridget had bought me a shirt that coordinated with the shirt she picked out for herself for picture day.

“That way when we look in the year book we’ll match.”

Unfortunately, my boobs were too big  and couldn’t fit in it so I couldn’t wear it but I was still touched by the fact that she wanted us to match. (Hopefully once I shed a little more weight I’ll be able to surprise her by squeezing into it for the spring pictures.)

We made plans to go to The Cheescake Factory for an early dinner but made an exit when we discovered the traffic was standstill in the direction that we needed to go. So, instead we headed back toward our house and ate at the nearby Texas Roadhouse where I chugged down two margaritas. The atmosphere was perfect because it reminded me of home. I’ve been really homesick lately and it just seemed to hit the spot.

After our dinner we were too full to order dessert but as soon as we got home Brent insisted I get ready to go for a bike ride. If you’ve been reading this blog long enough you know that I love my bike rides. But I was so full I wasn’t sure if it was such a good idea. Brent was very persistent about it so I changed into some stretchy pants and obliged. Bridget offered to stay home with Penelope so that we could go alone. I missed both of my girls from working so much lately and almost insisted that they just come along with us but changed my mind when I saw them snuggling together in the living room watching The Little Mermaid.

Brent and I took off on our bikes giggling like two sixth graders in love and headed toward my favorite bike trail

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As we were riding along Brent kept complaining about how his bike felt weird. He said that he thought something was wrong with the chain. I was starting to get bummed out because I was really enjoying myself and didn’t want to have to turn around. At one point on the trail he had to stop to tend to his bike. I was riding ahead of him and he called me over so that he could compare our bikes. He wanted to see if the chain on his bike looked like mine. I got off of my bike and walked it over to him. Instead of turning it around on the narrow bike trail I just backed it up which proved to be trickier than I thought it would be. Once I managed to finagle my way over I looked up to see him down on one knee with a jewelry box in his hand. Inside was a ring to replace the one I had lost at the beginning of the summer and he looked up at me and asked me if I would stay married to him.

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It was the sweetest thing ever!

You see, Brent hasn’t always been so romantic. In fact, my first proposal was awful. We were in a long distance relationship and on one of his visits out to see me we had bought the ring together. When he left to go back to Colorado he took the ring with him and I had pleaded with him… “Do something special with it.” The next time I went to visit him we were at his parents house where we had just stuffed ourselves on chicken enchiladas. We talked about the ring we had bought and he decided to show it to them. After they all looked at it he turned to me and nonchalantly  said, “You want this?”

 “No.”

He repeated, “Do you want this?”

I shook my head pleading with my eyes… do something special. “No.”

Then he gave me his puppy dog look and I realized that he was serious. “Do you want it?”

“Sure.”

His mom said, “Is that it? Are you engaged? YAY!!!”

Then he tried to make out with me in front of his parents, and promptly went downstairs with his little brother to play video games.

He has never heard the end of it… until now.

Ten years later I got the proposal I had always hoped for and what made it even better was that Bridget was in on it.  She even helped him pick out the ring which has little hearts on the sides hidden within the intricate design. The only problem is that it doesn’t fit on my fat finger. This would have embarrassed me beyond belief ten years ago but after being together for ten years it didn’t even matter, nothing a quick trip to the jeweler couldn’t fix. (Plus, I found it rather endearing that my family doesn’t seem to register the full capacity of my girth… #vikinggirlproblems.)

Later on during the bike ride Bridget couldn’t stand the suspense any longer and texted Brent to see how it went.

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As soon as we got home we were greeted by the girls. Bridget made sure that I knew that she helped pick out the ring and Penelope made sure that I knew that she had picked out the Balloons. “I pick out balloooons… HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”

In fact, every day this week when she passes my wilting balloons she repeats the same phrase and then dramatically runs to me for a big hug and a slobbery kiss. I think it’s adorable, therefore, I refuse to throw away the deflated balloons dangling from the banister of our stairs.

Thursday was our actual anniversary. Brent and I had agreed earlier on that we would actually celebrate it this coming Sunday since we had to attend Penelope’s preschool open house that day. I cried later that night because I felt bad about it.  Here he had done this grand gesture and I didn’t even buy him a card.

Brent was sitting in the basement playing video games when I went downstairs to try and get his attention.  I wanted to let him know how much I loved him and how grateful I was for him and how sorry I was for not doing something super special for him. He wanted to let me know that I was in his way and that if I really loved him then I should simply move so that his fake baseball player could get a homerun.

Some things never change I guess…

To be honest I don’t think I would want it to because I am one lucky girl ;)

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