Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A merry weekend.

We had an amazing Christmas, full of family, friends, gifts, and stress. Ok, not really stress but if you know me then you know I tend to get a little...hyper about things. I'm a planner and I like to have everything "perfect".

Christmas Eve dinner was at our house, where we fed 15...
 Dustin made snapper, boiled shrimp and stone crab. I made turkey lasagna. It was all delicious.

The baby entertained us all, of course. We stared at her as though we were all watching the most wonderful Broadway act of all time. She was well behaved and happy.

We were surrounded by friends and family, which is what makes holidays amazing, of course.

And on Christmas morning, we opened...
and opened....
and opened some more...
(that's Ty, our best friends' baby)
...until we went to the next house, to open more...
It was such a fun day. 

For me, I tend to love these days more and more when I reflect on them. Yes, sure, they're wonderful in the moment, but when I sit back, let everything sink in, look at pictures and process, I realize how truly amazing my life is and how truly blessed I am to have this close-to-perfect life. I suppose that's what the holidays are all about: realizing how rich you are, with or without money.

So, at the end of the weekend, was the stress to make everything "perfect" that I put on myself worth it?
It was already "perfect" because of that little red head that couldn't wait to open another "preeesenth". I don't think anyone noticed how clean (or dirty, for that matter) my house was.

Here's to an amazing 2011. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Noel, Noel...so I took a bus.

If you're from Chicago, you'll understand that title.

Since I've lived in Florida, which is now 24 years, it has always been a challenge to get into the Christmas spirit because it's always 90 degrees on Christmas morning. The only thing that keeps my spirits hopeful every year are traditions that we have built upon since we've lived here.

One tradition that we started in 2008 was Christmas Photo Cards. Noticed I linked you to Shutterfly? Why? BECAUSE THEY'RE GIVING AWAY FREE PHOTO CARDS, Y'ALL!!! {And yes, I am shamelessly writing this post so I can get in on the deal}.

We started the photo card tradition because, well, we like the "look how freakin cute we are" effect. I'm not modest.

In 2008, we used this photo, simply because it was our favorite from our August '08 wedding:
Last year, we used a few photos that my very talented friend Kerri Gagne took when Lily was just 7 months old:

This year we had another friend, Jennifer, snap some shots of us at Historic Spanish Pointe. We're waiting for those to arrive so I can't share yet, plus I'm not ruining the surprise!

As far as style of cards for this year...Shutterfly has so many options, I have no idea which one I'll choose. I love THIS ONE, THIS ONE, and THIS ONE.

And looking around at their other products, if we were having a New Year's party, I love this invitation. So cute.

And THESE make fabulous gifts. I bought one for myself last year and I love it.

So, I'm excited to carry out our first Christmas tradition of the season and get these ordered! I hope everyone is getting into the Christmas spirit and gearing up for food, family, and friends. 

{If you want in on this 50 free Christmas Card deal, click here. It's awesome.}

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankful Weekend.

Regardless of having these feelings written in this post, I am having an amazing Thanksgiving weekend, filling it with family, friends, food, and a little shopping.

Something magical always comes out of the holidays and even though this Thanksgiving did not live up to my fantasy world expectations, I am still able to see the forest through the trees ( or is it trees through the forest? That always confuses me)...

I am thankful for toddler tantrums...because that means I have a healthy, normal child and was able to conceive.
I am thankful for arguments with my husband...because that means that I have a real relationship that takes work.
I am thankful for annoying family members...because that means I am surrounded by family, the most important thing in life.
I am thankful for gaining a pound or two...because that means I have plenty to eat.
I am thankful for missing Bear dog...because that means I had an amazing pet in my life that made quite an impact on me.
I am thankful for the frustrations of owning a brand new house...because that means we have an incredible roof over our heads.
I am thankful for frustrating day care searches....because that means that I have an amazing job to provide for my family.

Life is full of lessons, as cliche as that might sound, and being able to embrace these lessons is really an important part of everyone's journey. These past couple of months have been more difficult than most, in my reality, but some of the most amazing lessons are definitely emerging from them as well.

Now, I'm off to the store to get ready to watch Florida State kick ass against the Gators! I am SO thankful for college football.

Also, Happy 39th Anniversary to THE most amazing couple EVER...my parents! You are truly inspirational. We love you lots.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder.

I did not expect all of these same emotions that I have felt from losing a human to emerge from the loss of a dog. Actually, some of these feelings are worse than how I've felt when grieving a human in the past. I am shocked to say that out loud, or to even have that thought at all.

Some might speculate that perhaps I haven't ever lost a human that I was deeply connected with, in order to say something like that, but the truth is, I have. I have lost two grandparents that I was close with, one when I was 21 and one when I was 26, a high school friend who died in a tragic accidental shooting when I was 23, and a cousin when I was 15.

I had very close relationships with all of them, in one capacity or another, but I believe what is different with Bear is that he was literally by my side for 12 solid years. There is now a huge void in the house. An eerie still or calm, maybe. There is an obvious absence of a life. I'm honestly struggling being home without him. I even wondered if my feelings were abnormal. I read this article that validated my feelings a bit, but because I'm so intensely analytical I had to dig deeper and figure out why mourning Bear has been so difficult.

This past week has been a time of reflection for me and a time to really grasp the chapter in my life that just ended. Bear began my adult life with me. Bringing him home at age 22, I was merely in the infant stage of adulthood. I had just graduated college 8 months prior to Bear. It was truly a lifetime ago.

I won't rehash where Bear and I came from and what we endured together. I wrote this post a little over a year ago to discuss those feelings, but what I didn't truly realize when Bear was alive were all of the roles that he played in my life during his 12 years.

He provided me with safety, friendship, and constant companionship.

He was my eyes and ears of every house I ever lived in during my adult life. From the innocent street of south Venice, to the questionable studio in Nokomis, to the odd townhouse in Orlando, to our current gated community...he was my/our security system. He made me feel safe in nine different houses, adapting to each with ease, just as long as he had the safety of his family.

He was my most loyal friend. Ever.  I have discussed on a couple of occasions on this blog about how I have been disappointed by some of the girlfriends in my life. It's no secret that good friends are hard to come by. Bear, as every good dog does, listened to me without judgment. He let me cry on him. He gave me his paw when I needed it. He was always at my feet through thick and thin. His loyalty was unprecedented.

He went with the flow of every event of this family. Whether we were living in 300 square feet or 2000, he was just happy and content to be with me. When Lily was born, he dutifully took a step back in pecking order of the pack and willingly accepted it. He was a true companion.

As I write this, these roles of his sound so simple in text but they truly filled up so much of my life, and now they are empty. It's a profound loss.

I still feel his presence at times. I turn the corner to my office and expect to see him there. I "see" him out of me peripheral everyday. I go to call for him at night, after I put Lily to bed (which has proven to be the most difficult time of the day), to come and lay by me. I want to give him his signature beckon of "pssssttt, psssssttttt" every time I drop food on the ground so he can come and clean up after me. I want to say to Lily, "Let's go home and see Bear dog", every time we're out somewhere and about to head home, just like I always have. I will hear a noise in the house and assume it's his nails rubbing the tile.

I could go on and on. If you are an animal lover and have gone through this, I know you understand all of the above.

Lily is what has been my only saving grace this week. She is an amazing source of laughter and happiness, of course. I wrote this post on her reaction to this loss, or lack there of, but I truly thank God that she is here. These wounds would run so much deeper if she wasn't.


So, big Bear dog....it's much too simple to say that I miss you. You were an integral part of this family. You were a staple in my life for so long.... this will be quite an adjustment. I am just so thankful that you are pain free now. I know you are enjoying popcorn and frisbees every single day. I know your sight is restored along with your muscles in your spine, hips and shoulders. I know your teeth are shiny, white, and healthy. I know you're standing proud and noble, as always, with a beautiful, glistening coat.

Thank you for all that you represented to me, Bear. I will forever be grateful for what you provided for me. Rest well and know that we will never find another you.
Love, your Mama.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Heavy Heart.

This is all I can muster up for now, a copy and paste of a poem I found:

If it should be that I grow frail and weak,
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done,
For this, the last battle, can't be won.

You will be sad I understand,
But don't let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.

We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn't want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.

Take me to where to my needs they'll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end

And hold me firm and speak to me,
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree,
It is a kindness you do to me.

Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.

Don't grieve that it must be you,
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We've been so close,we two, these years,
Don't let your heart hold any tears.

Author Unknown 

 Love you forever, Bear. Thank you for your companionship and loyalty for the past 12 years.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Recent Happenings and Thoughts

  • I am shocked that I only managed to post twice in the month of October. I don't know where my writing mojo has gone.
  • I am so tired. Having a toddler, running a sales force and a household has been taking it's toll on me lately. I need to find a balance. Maybe that's where my writing mojo has gone?
  • Halloween was so much fun. Having a child makes every holiday exciting. Lily still didn't understand trick-or-treating, or Halloween in general, but it was fun to dress up and teach her all about it.
  • Read more about Lily happenings here...as soon as I get around to posting :)
  • I cannot believe the retail Christmas commercials that started November 1st. Too.Soon.
  • We met a lot of our neighbors on Halloween and I love this young community. It's almost like we moved out of Florida with all of these younger people around us.
  • Although I've been exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, walking or biking, I miss my yoga class desperately. It might be time to join the Y soon.
  • Our house doesn't look a whole lot different from when we moved in. I wish I was more creative with decorating.
  • I love fall but we REALLY need some fall weather here. 90 degrees isn't cutting it.
  • Adding to my car addiction, I replaced my Honda CRV with a Honda Pilot. I am in sweet baby love with it.

That's all for now.  I promise I will write about something a bit more riveting soon!

Friday, October 22, 2010


In my previous life, Friday never meant that much to me. In fact, it actually meant I would be working harder than during the week days.

That's the life of a restaurant worker.

My very first job was in a restaurant at the age of 12. (Yes, 12.) I wanted to work so desperately. I always saw how hard my parents worked, my dad with his own business and my mom as a waitress, and I wanted that too. I wanted my own money and wanted to see what it was like, so my parents allowed me to try it out at a young age, probably thinking I would come running home screaming, "NEVER AGAIN!!!!1".

Lucky for them, I did like it and I did enjoy making my own money.

It was at this little place called Italian Villa and the year was 1988. I was a dishwasher for $5 an hour, cash. (Yes, a dishwasher. And no, I didn't have a dish washing machine, I actually washed the dishes by hand.)

Since it was an Italian restaurant, you can only imagine the red sauce and cheese on these disgusting plates. Plate after plate, stacked on top of one another, glued together by dried cheese and sauce. Good lord, I can still remember how I smelled after standing in that kitchen for 6-7 hours. I would come home soaking wet and so exhausted. It was awful...but somehow liberating.

Strangely enough, this is where my love for the restaurant business began. I worked in restaurants from that point on until I was 28, (except for a 4 year period from '92-'96 when I worked for Target). There was just something about the energy of a restaurant that I loved. I thrived on the chaos of a busy night. I lived for that adrenaline. This might all sound ridiculous but this is all true. The restaurant business can get in your blood.

My longest running restaurant gig was with a small 'mom and pop' called Luna's, here in Venice. I started Luna's in January of 1999. At that time, I was a social worker during the day and because a supplemental income was absolutely necessary, I sought out a high energy place where I could bank some cash.

And so I did.

For seven years I worked my ass off there, (dropping my daytime job rather quickly),...and loved every single second of it. It was there where I met my husband and some great friends, which was just an added bonus. I truly loved my job. Here I was, a 20-something with a four year Bachelor's degree, waiting on tables, making a lot of money.

I always was so embarrassed to say I was "just a waitress" when people would ask what I did for a living, like it was something to be ashamed of, but when I think back on it now, I don't fully understand why I felt that way.
-had kick ass hours of 4pm-11pm
-made between $600-$1000 a week, depending on how many shifts I worked
-had a flexible schedule
-got to meet new people everyday
-didn't have to take my work home with me
-wasn't micro managed

It was a damn good job. Sure, I had the old couple that would share their slice of pizza, water with multiple lemons, who ran my ass of demanding more napkins, and complaining about the crust being tough, and yes, I had the foreigners who claimed that they don't understand what 15-18% gratuity actually is because, "they don't practice that in their country" :::bullshit:::...but I loved my job.

And Fridays...oh, Fridays. They were BUSY. I lived for my Friday night shifts. An easy $200, at least. When the rest of my friends were saying "TGIF" because they had their weekend off, I was saying "TGIF" because I was about to make some good money and still sleep in on Saturday.

As my body slowly started to show signs of hating me because of the long hours on my feet (and inevitably, my knees), I gave in and looked for a "real" job.

So here I am, a little over 5 years into my career, no more weekends, making a much more comfortable salary, benefits, etc.... and would you believe that I miss my old definition of TGIF?

Call me crazy but the restaurant business found it's way into my soul. I will probably always miss it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My love/hate relationship...

...with technology.

Remember how...
"Video killed the radio star"?
The Nintendo killed the Atari?
The cell phone killed the beeper?
The CD killed the cassette tape and then the ipod killed CDs?
The blog killed the written journal?

This post is dedicated to my love/hate relationship with technology and where it's bringing us as a society. I know this is beating a dead horse and this conversation has taken place many, many times at dinner tables around the country but it has really started to resonate with me lately.

Technology is killing our personal relationships.

Emailing, texting, IMing, Tweeting, Facebook-ing, and chat forums are all vehicles that we're using to cultivate and maintain relationships. This is fantastic in it's own right. Haven't heard from a friend in 10 years? Look them up on Facebook, stalk their pictures, pretend to care that it's their birthday...it's fabulous! God knows that I LOVE me some internet time and even built some amazing friendships in chat forums with a group of girls that I call my FIFs.

I am just as guilty as the next person of using all of these vehicles to keep in touch. I even recognize the irony of this post being that I am typing it for the entire interwebs to see instead of handwriting it in my journal...oh wait, I don't even HAVE a journal anymore!
Point being, I do love technology. It's amazing...

However, I read an article today that the average cell phone user receives 347 text messages per month and only 204 phone calls. This made me sad for some reason. Why not just pick up the phone? I understand that it is much easier to text something to your husband or wife, such as, "I'm baking chicken tonight for dinner, is that ok?" (taken from a recent outgoing text to Dustin), or most things work related can be handled via email to cut back on the small talk... but what about emotionally charged issues that are being taken care of via texting and emailing?

That's where (some of) my issue is. It isn't right.

My feeling is that so many people are hiding behind keyboards these days. It is so much easier to type a Dear John letter or vent out a huge work gripe to your boss over an instantaneous email than to pick up the phone and say, "Let's talk", or better yet, "Let's meet for lunch so we can talk". Keyboards give you balls of steel, is what it comes down to.

The problem is that too much is lost in translation. What you're typing is the way that it is sounding in your head but the way it is being read can be totally different due to perception. I have been guilty of responding to emotionally charged emails myself, so I am being a bit of a hypocrite here, but it has backfired on me every.single.time. Maybe it's just that I don't know how to communicate effectively over a keyboard but it upsets me that I even have to try.

I miss the days when we all had to deal with conflict face to face or on the phone. You could hear the emotions. You could interject thoughts. You could respond to accusations with a voice instead of PUTTING THE CAPS ON FOR EMPHASIS.

Then there are obviously other issues with technology that are much more substantial concerns, such as all of the online bullying, sex-ting before the age of 16, cyber stalking, and sexual predators but I suppose none of those are hitting that close to home with me yet. I plan on just keeping Lily trapped in a bubble so they NEVER hit close to home.
I digress.

In summary, and for your ironic pleasure:
It just makes more sense.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fantastic article....
I posted this on Facebook, too. 
I had a "friend" (she was more of an acquaintance. You may remember this post about her) break up with me a little over a year ago because I wasn't making time for her when Lily was a newborn. I can only hope that she will read this and it will give her just an ounce of understanding. 
As I discuss in my other blog, being a mom is a full time job. It's the BEST job, but it does require 100% attention to detail. This article was just too well written not to share.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Reality Sucks.

That's my conclusion: reality sucks. :::as I sit here with a pile of used tissues in front of me, dying from the nasty cold that Lily and I got on the airplane home:::

Every single time we get back from Costa Rica we try to concoct a way to move there. Dustin and I share grandiose ideas with one another about selling our properties here, putting our belongings in storage, going over there, rent for a year and see if we like it... and so on. Our original ten year plan of running a bed and breakfast or a cafe over there just seems too far away.

But then... we think too much, life gets back to normal and we push the thoughts out of our heads for another year. Yes, it's probably true that the fantasy of what living in Costa Rica would be like is much better than what the reality would be...but you never know. We don't want to live with the regret of not taking the chance either. Ahhhh, choices.

As far as our trip...it was AMAZING. One of our best, without a doubt. Lily did well (which I'll post about on Promoted to Motherhood), everyone got along well, the food was great, the weather was good, the scenery was incredible. The surf for the guys could have been a little better but hey, they were better than Florida waves.

We swam...
We ate, even home cooked meals by my husband, my dad and Kendra...
We hung out with great friends and family...
We went to the beach...
We went ATVing through the mountains of Jaco...
We hiked....
And we relaxed...

It was such an incredible way to spend a vacation, surrounded with family and friends.

People ask us all of the time, "Don't you guys want to go anywhere else?"...

and we always say, "Why would we?".

See you in 2011. Pura Vida!

Monday, August 30, 2010

In 36 hours....

We'll be here...
Drinking these...
Looking at these (well, I'll be looking at them while Dustin is ON them)...
With them...
and her, on her very first trip out of the country...

(and many others to help with her).
Eating here every night (Jungle Surf Cafe. Yum)...
 And waking up to these guys...

We can't wait to add to our memory box!

And, for shits and giggles, as if you haven't seen enough pictures...

2006. Our first morning at Pura Vida Hotel in Alajuela. Already smitten.
Arenal volcano, where Dustin proposed, 2007.

On THE most gorgeous, fun, adventurous honeymoon ever- Osa Peninsula, Bosque Del Cabo 2008...
Relaxing and celebrating one year of marriage, 2009...

We're so fortunate to have been able to visit this amazing place for 5 years in a row. It's so special to us and we are so, so excited to share, yet again, with family and friends this amazing country that we've deemed our own.

Pura Vida!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


  • I can't believe its been 3 weeks since my last post. I must be busy...or lazy.
  • 4 days until we leave for Costa Rica. I am so.freakin.excited. 18 of us, all watching Queen Lily. Hoping for a happy traveling baby.
  • I've barely done any decorating in out new house because I am feeling overwhelmed with it. 
  • I can't believe I am going to be 34 in less than a month. No one ever told me I would get this old.
  • Bear hasn't been doing so great and I'm a little worried about leaving him. I know my aunt will take great care of him but I just hope he doesn't get too stressed when we leave.
  • I am already almost 100% packed for said vacation. 4 days early. I'm ridiculous.
  • I love the sound of thunderstorms at night.
  • I am relatively boring lately.
  • I need to take more pictures of Lily. I have very few from the past 3 months.
  • I wonder if we'll come home from Costa Rica planning our move there, like we did last year. ::sigh:: One of these days.

Monday, August 9, 2010


It's been 2 amazing years since we said our vows. I can't believe how time flies. 
What a magical time we had in Costa Rica with our family and friends. 

And our our first anniversary, we celebrated with our 3 month old in St. Augustine...

And on our second, we worked. We have to pay for this gorgeous house we just moved in to...
...but we still had time to take a picture!
We did have a date night Saturday, thanks to my mom. We celebrated by going to Carabba's, then out for a quick drink, then to a friend's house. Yawning by 9:30, we were sacked out by 11pm. We're that fun, old married couple.

Thanks, babe for an amazing 2 years. Here's to at least 60 more.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Moving on...

I have never really had emotional ties to any house that I have lived in. Our new house will be my 10th home in 12 years. Being that we have lived here for over 6 years should tell you how much of a gypsy I can be. I've never had a problem just up and moving (as long as its near my family). Come to think of it, I treat my cars this way and I used to do this with my jobs as well. Possibly some sort of fear of commitment? Boredom? Who knows. Lucky for Dustin, I'm loyal to my relationships.

I digress.

Here I sit, the night before the last night in this house and I'm feeling nostalgic and a bit emotional. Only two more nights of memories here. It's bittersweet.

It has been six years and two months living here and as I type that it seems impossible because it has gone by so, so fast. Yet, June of 2004 seems like a lifetime ago. This house has seen us through so much and to say that I will miss it would be much too simplistic.

This house...
  • Took me in during a mini nervous breakdown.
  • Taught me how to remodel. Taught Dustin how to remodel. Both with the help of my dad.
  • Saw me through a lawsuit and an overall shitty 2004.
  • Saw Dustin through his college days.
  • Saw me through Luna's, substitute teaching, Passion For Paws Pet Sitting, Herizon MRI, Citrus, Breg, and now Citrus again.
  • Grew a 3rd bedroom, a covered patio, a shed and a paver deck.
  • Had no lawn for several years in the backyard.
  • Harbored Bear in the backyard for many, many hours while he soaked in the fresh air.
  • Saw many, many holidays.
  • Kept many arguments inside these walls.
  • Vibrated laughter on too many occasions to count.
  • Sheltered quite a few guests.
  • Shared the street number of my grandma Mary's house when she was alive. Thank you gram for helping me with this place.
  • Saw many, many plants and cultivated my husband's love for foliage.
  • Had a hole cut in it for a beautiful reef tank.
  • Saw Dustin and I through dating, engagement, and our first 2 years of marriage.
  • Held many dinner parties.
  • Held many parties, period. 
  • Held one colossal baby shower.
  • Saw more paint in each of the rooms than any house I've ever seen.
  • Sheltered many boxer dogs while they were in foster care.
  • Kept me comfortable...well...tried to keep me comfortable...during 9 months of misery, er, pregnancy.
Most importantly....this house is Lily's first home. We brought her here and she filled this house with love, laughter, joy, tears, happiness, frustration, sleeplessness, cooing, giggling, talking, crawling, walking, wonderment and so much more. She made this house our home and safe haven.

So, my little Venice East house. You will be missed. Please provide as many memories for our tenants. and any other future inhabitants, as you did for us. You were good to us and so comfortable. Thank you for seeing us through such an amazing time in our lives.

Tuesday, we begin to build new memories at our new house, which is so exciting. This house will bring tea parties, first days of school, growing tall, growing more teeth, growing more curls, losing teeth, more holidays, new neighbors, a beautiful community (with a pool!), and so much more.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


In a follow up post to my "Grown Up" post a couple of weeks ago, lets talk about things that affirm that we are, in fact, aging.

Last night I went to the Vans Warped Tour to see my favorite band, Face to Face, who has just gotten back together after a 7 year hiatus. Yes, I am a punk rock girl at heart. Surprise, surprise.

For those of you that are not familiar with the Warped Tour, its a compilation of "punk rock" bands in an all day festival. I quote "punk rock" because that was the foundation of the festival when it began in 1995. Now, it's more like a pop music middle school concert, with a few old school punk bands thrown in the mix.

I last attended a Warped Tour in the summer 1996 with a bunch of my friends. I was 19. I fit right in.  It was 900 degrees outside, but back then it really didn't seem to matter to me. There was a line up of about 10-15 bands, such as Face to Face, Blink 182, Pennywise, Down By Law, Mighty Might Bostones, and several other bands that I was in sweet baby love with in 1996. I remember spending most of the day there and thinking nothing of it. It was fun and that's about all I remember.

Last night, I did not fit in. I am 33. The median age was approximately 17. Dustin and his friends even seemed to be the old guys there at 25-26.

I walked in alone because Dustin had been there most of the day. I only went to see Face to Face and could not fathom the thought of spending an entire eight hours out in the heat. I would die.

The first thing I noticed, before I even walked into the gates, was that it clearly isn't necessary for today's youth to be prepared for the rainy weather. All the girls there were walking around in bikini tops and boy shorts or teeny tiny cut off jean shorts. No matter their body type, that's what they were wearing. Oddly enough, the boys were dressed in a similar fashion, in tight jeans or shorts with no shirt or a tank top. I believe the kids call it "emo" these days.

I was dressed conservatively in my cargo shorts, tennis shoes and v-neck gray t-shirt. I had my rain poncho. I obviously belonged at the Dave Matthews or John Mayer concert. Sore.Thumb. I'm telling you, I felt like I was 70, no exaggeration.

"Hmph", I said to myself, "this is not how I remember Warped Tour at all".  Oh yeah. That's because it was FOURTEEN YEARS AGO!

Again, I've always felt sort of timeless.  I've always done a pretty good job in melding into groups of friends that were younger than me. This feeling I had last night was the polar opposite of timeless. I am aging and I felt it... for the first time.

As I watched Face to Face, I looked around and observed the crowd. Sadly, they didn't have much of a following like they used to. This was my 6th or 7th time seeing them live and they packed the house at all their previous shows. Last night, it appeared that few knew who they were, as evident by the young girl standing in front of us before the show began who said, "So, what's Face to Face like?".

Oh my Gawd, did she really just say that?? I suddenly felt like my parents explaining The Beatles or Led Zepplin to me. Ok, so Face to Face isn't quite on that type of level of fame...but still. HOW can you be at a punk rock show and not know who Face to Face is? This girl was probably in elementary school when I went to Face to Face's last show in 2000. Ugh.

Those that did know of them, were the "older" crowd of 25-35. We knew every word to every song. It was this bizarre camaraderie of holding-onto-our-youth, type of feeling. Still being and acting young even though we are quickly approaching middle age.

I had to wonder to myself if the Face to Face band members felt it too. They are all in their early 40's with families of their own. They had to have noticed the lack in the crowd. They asked, "How many of you have seen us here in St. Pete at Jannus Landing back in the day?", :::Cheers from the crowd::::, "Alright! We've got some old timers here!".
Then, again they asked, "So, who comes on after us?". A kid up in the front row yells, "ANDREW W.K.!!!",(which was clearly the only reason he was standing in that spot, to wait for the next show). The lead singer responds, "Great! The party starts after Face to Face!". :::Sigh:::: Just not the same.

BUT! Oh.my.God. did they sound amazing. Although it was only 35 minutes of music, it was so, so worth it. Feeling old, and all.

Notice at the end of the video how Dustin got in trouble for filming. Opps. Pretty funny though.

After their show, the drummer and the bassist came out to mingle with their (few) fans. I grabbed one of their set lists and had them sign it, told them how great it was to have them back.

I'm excited for them to do a headlining tour this fall for their new album. When I go to that show, I expect to be in good company with other old timers.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lazy walker.

Promised video of Lily's first steps at 13 months old (July 2nd, to be exact)...

That was pretty much the most walking she has done in the past month! Until yesterday, when she did this out of the clear blue (yes, she is wearing the same outfit in both videos)....

As you can see, she is also just now learning how to get to a standing position without assistance. She is a lazy baby! We will even ask her, "walk to mama", and she will shake her head no. Typical Nichols :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

T minus 5 days!

5 days until we close on our new house!

We had our "walk through" today and the house is absolutely gorgeous. I am almost in a bit of denial that we are doing this or maybe it just doesn't feel possible? We are so fortunate that we are able to do this and I could not be more excited.
I know I haven't posted pictures or videos in so long. We have just been so busy and it's hard to find a balance in life right now. I will catch up soon though. I have some cute videos of Lily acting crazy on the 4th of July and even her first steps! Pictures of the new house coming soon too. Oh, and I gave up on my Project 365. It was just too much pressure. :) The new job took my away from my picture taking!

Lily is 14 months old today. She is such a character these days and difficult to keep up with at times! She isn't quite walking yet but we know it's out of pure stubbornness since we have seen her take several steps. She just doesn't want to walk.
We survived her first illness, which you can read all about here if you don't already follow my other blog. She's a trooper and is back to herself now.
We cannot wait to take her to Costa Rica in 48 days!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

All grown up.

It's no secret that I married someone 8 years my junior. ::insert any and every cradle robbing/cougar/Mrs. Robinson joke here:::
Psychologically, I am aware that this "says something" about me, and probably about Dustin too. I know this. I was a social work major. I took a lot of psychology classes. I'll leave that to the professionals though.

Completely off topic. Actually, I'm really not sure what the topic is.

Anyway, ever since we started dating 7 years ago, I was always was so quick to defend our relationship by saying, "He's SO mature for his age and I'm immature for mine". Albeit defensive at the time, it was, and still is, absolutely a true statement. Dustin is a bit of an old soul, and I, well, I've always been a bit immature. Not in the "giggle at the word penis" kind, but the...I don't know..."free spirit" and "I still watch MTV" kind?. Not sure that's even an accurate description but if you know me, you know what I mean.

It recently came to my attention that I am kind of a grown up now and I'm trying to figure out how to play this role. This thought occurred to me as I was reading through the 600 sheets of paper that go along with the purchase of our new house. I said to myself, "Holy shit. I am totally pretending to be a grown up. I have no idea what any of this shit means", which lead into the other thoughts of what makes me a "grown up".
-Am 33 years old.
-Am married with a child of my own.
-Will soon own TWO pieces of property.
-Will be a landlord in a little over a month.
-Have a fancy title of "Vice President of Operations" of my company (which basically means, "hand everything to Vanessa and she will take care of it").
-Will soon be up to my eyeballs in debt due to most of the above mentioned. (Isn't that the American way?)

Some will state the obvious and say that none of the above makes me a "grown up", per se,  or possibly throw a cliche at me, such as, "You're only as old as you feel"(or something along those lines), but the truth is that I never have completely accepted that I am an adult.

This delay in realization of adulthood might be because my parents have always done so much for me and always made/make me feel "taken care of", in the emotional sense. Or maybe it's truly just a state of mind. Again, I will leave the psychological stuff to the professionals.

 It's just crazy to sit back and look at my life as a grown up and realize that I have this list of responsibilities. Yes, I've had responsibilities for years but with all of these big decisions I've/we've made these past few years it just feels...different.

It's just such an odd feeling when you actually feel yourself making a transition in life. I suppose I'm actually putting so much thought to it since it makes me realize how my parents prepared me and educated me on how to make decisions in life. There is so much work that goes into molding your child into someone who is prepared for life as an adult.

This all makes me wonder how this feeling will blend into the way I raise Lily (since everything now somehow makes me think of Lily). I wonder if I will try to be the "cool" parent who "hangs out" with their kid, yet still try to instill some responsibility in her? Will I let her get away with murder, like I do now? Will she feel the same way as I do when she is 33?

Regardless, I just hope she isn't in a hurry to grow up. Although beautiful at times, it's well overrated. 

Friday, June 25, 2010


I started a new blog.
I changed the name of this blog.
I changed the template.
I changed my picture.

I needed change. I decided to split my blog into two. I wanted to go in a different direction but didn't want to take this blog with so I just started a new one.

The new one is all about being a mom and I'm using it more of a journal. It's going to be very honest and real; things I never read about motherhood.

I'm keeping this one for what it's always been: a little bit of everything (so I'm not promising that I won't continue to talk a lot about Lily here :). I will still continue my letters to Lily here, pictures, etc. I really just needed to start a journal and not just a "here's what's going on with me" thing.

Follow me if you'd like on the new one but just know it won't be what everyone wants to hear all of the time.


Speaking of changes, we are closing on our new house on July 21st! We're so, so excited. It's new, it's shiny, it's bigger, and it will be ours in 26 days!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

How incredibly lucky Lily is to have such an amazing father. I know she already knows it too...
And I know just how incredibly lucky I am to have him in my life. To watch Dustin and Lily together is as if I'm watching the best movie in the world, one that I could watch over and over again. They never stop making me smile. Thank you babe, for being on this crazy ride called Parenthood with me. I couldn't do it with anyone else.

And then there is my dad. My amazing, smart, talented, generous, sacrificing dad...

Lily will drop anything and everyone for my dad, just like I always did for him. For those of you who do not know my dad, he just has this...aura. This caring aura that is so rare and so genuine.
He has taught me so much and been such a mentor. He is my hero.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. Thank you for being there every step of the way. We're beyond lucky to share our life with you.

Happy Father's Day to all of our family and friends!