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Friday, December 30, 2011

5 Question Friday!

Thanks, as always to sweet Mama M over at My Little Life for the Link Up to #5QF! Last one of 2011 - YEAH! Check hers out this week too, she did a vlog for her answers.
 
Rules for 5QF: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then watch for the linky post to appear Friday morning and LINK UP!

Oh, and remember (pay close attention...this is the important one)...HAVE FUN!

Questions for Friday, December 9th: (Special thanks to @KatieB38, @amy_mcmommy, @gasfamily, @trooppetrie and @ByGollyMsHolly for their question suggestions! I would love to link you in a future 5QF, so come on over to my community or watch for my Thursday afternoon shout out for questions on Twitter and offer up your best question suggestions! Remember to @5crookedhalos me and use hashtag #5QF if you go the Twitter route!)

1. What's the oldest piece of clothing in your closet?
a jean skirt from Abercrombie Kids that I used to wear when I was about 18. I don't know why I keep it -I guess to remind me how small I used to be? (Even though it's a kid's size, it wasn't inappropriate looking on me at that age - I hope not at least.)
2. How many random blog readers have you met?
None, but I would LOVE to meet up with some!
3. Do you let your kids stay up till midnight on New Years Eve? (Or, if you don't have kiddos yet, did you get to stay up until midnight as a child?)
No kiddos yet - but my parents always let me stay up for NYE. I think I would probably let my kids do the same. I remember always having a sleepover of some sort.
4. What are the gas prices where you live?
I have to run premium in my car and when I got gas yesterday morning it was $3.10/gal in Knoxville, TN.
5. What is one resolution that you know you should do but are too afraid to try?
I very seriously considered putting one of my 2012 goals as running a half marathon. Then I thought about that and realized I don't think I've ever ran 13 miles. Of course, this would include lots of training, etc. but I decided that might not be obtainable for me - or maybe I'm just a wussy. I would really love to do it one day but 2012 might not be the right time.
 
Happy New Year ya'll!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

ATTN Harry Potter Fans


This is pretty funny, if you are familiar with the lingo and characters of the Harry Potter world. I giggled...a lot.

Wrap It Up Recap - Get it? Wrap? Christmas? Nevermind...

My posts have been filled with pictures lately so I wanted to actually throw some words down this morning. How are you? Have you missed me? I've missed writing and catching up on my blogs that I read daily.

Sadly Christmas is over... but I am very much looking forward to a new year! 2012 just looks like a nice round number year - except for that whole "the Mayan calendar says that world will end thing". Wasn't that the same deal with Y2K? I can't remember because I was in elementary school then, but I remember people freaking out about it. For what it's worth - I'm not really ready for the world to end. I need to get married and travel and have a baby before we talk about all that stuff. I personally feel like that might be bullshit, but I guess we will soon find out.

Speaking of getting married... guess how many engagements sprung up around me over the holiday break? THREE!! They are dropping like flies, and of course my little green eyed jealousy monster is feeling frisky over this news. Skye and I had a pretty serious discussion about making this move recently and I'm feeling much better about it. I know he loves me, really he's the best guy I could ask for. And he reminded me - funny how quickly I had forgotten - that for the years I was the one pumping the brakes on getting engaged. I just didn't want to be that "typical" girl who was engaged and married before I could even legally drink! I'm a few years past that point now though, so I think it's safe for us to explore moving forward in our relationship. (Maybe that's not typical where you live to get married before you're legal. Welcome to the South - where you can get married at 16 with parental consent. I've heard from my transplant friends from the North that it's far worse here than in other areas. Obviously, I'm just living in the wrong part of the nation right now.)

I hope you were good little boys & girls and Santa brought you everything your little hearts desired. Santa - aka Skye - is always too good to me and did not let me down with that trend this year. My big present from my Daddy was my iPhone4s - Love it! Me and Siri were fast friends and our love affair just grows with each passing day. I downloaded this Instagram app that I've heard SO much about from all my iPhone friends and again, was not disappointed. I have been playing with this phone non-stop since last Thursday. I feel like a kid again playing with my new shiny Christmas toy! I even got a sparkly new phone cover -


I've been praying for snow because I'm one of those Southern oddities that actually enjoys the cold weather. No such luck though it's been about 50-60 degrees here for a few weeks now. One of the reasons I like the cold weather is because I love snowboarding. You can't really snowboard when it's not even cold enough for the local ski resorts to blow snow - we may have to head north or west this year just to get some time on the slopes. We get a season pass every year to a local resort - Ober Gatlinburg - and it's not even open yet! Granted, it's a small little mountain with only about 6 runs, but it's 30 minutes away and easy access for weeknights. We love it there and it works for cheap and convenient. However, I think the weather gods have been confused by my snow dances because they've sent rain. Normally, this would suck; however today I was glad because I got to wear my new Coach rain boots! I feel so sassy in them and in my eyes, you can NEVER go wrong with Coach.

The holiday drama in my family was kept to a very bare minimum this year...surprisingly! My mother actually acted normal, my step-brothers were calm and not wild animals, my (evil) step-mother was pleasant and easy to get along with, my dad is feeling better with each passing day, and Skye and I shared a few days off together. I'm not sure it could have been a better holiday. My neighbor who lives across the street - and is currently on his 2nd tour of duty in Afghanistan - is coming home this week! He's been gone for about 9 months and had a new born baby in September that he is yet to meet. As lucky as I am to have my family all together this Christmas, I still try to keep in mind those - like my neighbor's family- who are separated for the holidays.

I love the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, with all the get togethers and seeing old friends and family - but I am certainly ready for my schedule to get back to normalcy. Skye is on day shift this week so it almost feels normal again - except for a short work week, which is never a bad thing. We haven't done our family dinner with friends in about 3 weeks and we are on track for that again this week too. We have only had this family dinner tradition since about August when Skye was still in the academy, but I've genuinely missed it these last 3 weeks while the boys have been getting adjusted to their new rotating schedules. There's nothing like gathering with good friends over good food!

I'm all obsessed with my Twitter account again too. It's just easier for me than Facebook these days. Follow me! @nikkib918 and I will likely return the favor - it's fun! :)

As you can tell, I'm feeling quite sporadic this morning. So tell me, what do you think about the world ending in 2012?? And what are you New Years plans?? I don't have any solid plans yet, but I'm looking for an exciting idea! Snowboarding was the original plan, but with this weather I'm not sure I can make that happen.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Lucky Girl

Here is a pictorial glimpse at my spectacular Christmas weekend... Hope you had a spectacular one too!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mini Time Warp - Christmas Style!

I am a picture whore. I love taking pictures - even though I don't own a fabulous camera. I love to capture candid moments and staged moments. I get a kick out of looking through old pictures frequently. I found these old Christmas related pictures today on Facebook and thought I would share them. It's so funny to look back at yourself over the years! When I get home I might update this post to share a wider variety of ancient Christmas pictures, but for now this is it.

PS - I am finally using my new iPhone4s today and that's what I'm looking forward to most is taking pictures with it!!!
Christmas Party 2009


Christmas Day 2009


Christmas Day 2005

Christmas Gift 2010 - Sweet Tilly!

Christmas 2011

Skye's family - Christmas 2011
Merry Christmas you guys!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Today is my first day back at work since last Wednesday. The break was mostly lovely and much needed. Seeing Skye accomplish a major life goal with his graduation last Thursday made me swell with pride. I could not have been happier and more proud of him that day! I felt like I had gone through that academy with him for 6 months. Sure he did the everyday work, but I was right there studying every Sunday night and supporting him on the rough days and making some cherished new friends. It was a real win for us to have our families come together in support of this new chapter in our lives. I feel annoying, but I can't stop telling him how proud I am! Plus, whew that uniform thing is a little sexy :) We spent the first part of my days off celebrating his graduation and our anniversary. It was wonderful! The second part of my break was spent with Dad due to his surgery.

Coming back to work today, was met with mixed emotions for me. It's always hard to come back after a nice long break. We had our annual ham Christmas breakfast this morning and all of our Christmas bonuses were passed out. That's definitely a plus to coming back! However, my office was a wreck. Being the neat freak that I am, I despise a mountain of paperwork and a tidal wave of emails and voicemails. I can't stand that sinking drowning smothering feeling. It usually makes my first day back very irritating. By now, I'm mostly caught up. I can't complain too much though - tomorrow we will drudge through just one more work day and then off again for Friday & Monday. This time of the year is so marvelous because the sprinkling of holidays and time off. My schedule is even matching up with Skye's for a little time off together, for which I am most thankful this year. I've been toying with the idea of finding some freelance work so that I could have a more flexible and home based schedule. I think I've semi-permanently decided to put this on hold. Work is good for me. After I missed work for my accident last year for a month or so, it was so therapeutic to get back into the swing of things. I have some natural worries about my schedule syncing with Skye's but we will work through it. I am in a good place at work - and I work for a great company and with a supportive group of people. I can't pass that up for a "grass is greener" outlook right now. Sure, I will continue to complain sometimes and dream of hitting the lottery and not working, but for now I'm happy where I am in my career.

Dad is doing well - he finally got moved into a regular cardiac room late last night. They have removed several of his IVs, and he's able to eat some solid foods too. He's not puffy anymore and his color is almost back to normal. He even went for a walk today. I feel much better with him being out of the Critical Care Unit. I saw his scar yesterday and it's a doozey! I still can't wrap my head around the procedure and the fact that just 2 days ago we were terrified to begin this journey. Thank God for heart surgeons, doctors in general and fabulous nurses who truly care! They anticipate that he will still by home in time for Christmas. My Christmas wishes - so far - seem to be coming true!

I've had some interaction with my new (evil) step-mother since we've been forced together at the hospital. Not sure if I shared this, but she and I got into a knock-down drag out spat last week via text message. I sure did go ahead and delete her from my Facebook too - mature, I know. Monday was terribly awkward since we last spoke hate filled words to each other. I had tried to reach out to her and "make peace" the Thursday before the surgery by offering up a half-ass apology. She did not accept, thus the drama continued right into surgery day. My dad gets all tore up about my brother and I not accepting her into the family. Of course I am full of clever and seemingly logical comebacks in this department, but when it comes right now to it - it is not easy nor fun to have this level of discomfort with anyone you encounter frequently. She and I managed to have some civilized conversation last night, after which she sent me a text to say it was nice to talk again. Upon which, like the good little girl that I am, again apologized for my harsh text words last week and tried to squash the beef with her. I would just like to put it out there that this is NOT the first time we've been down Squash the Beef Lane together, but maybe it will be the last of our major arguments. I'm not saying that I will always think kind thoughts, but I am going to give my best effort to keep those thoughts to myself. If this has taught me anything, it's that I love my daddy. I already knew this fact, but being in this situation has made me more appreciative to have him around. I can't wait for him to walk me down the aisle and hold his grandbabies - when those times come. He's always been the absolute best dad so I will try to trust his judgement on what he wants. Wicked evil step-mother - be damned! Maybe we can drop the wicked and just settle on evil for the time being? Evil is bit of a harsh word, but we are still building this bridge so let's leave that open to change for now. Let me remind you that it's not easy to act like an adult when you feel like acting as if you were 13 again.

And on my final thought for today - I am mostly done with my Christmas shopping. I am definitely always a last minute shopper, but with dad being in the hospital this week it cramps my time to get those last minute shopping trips in. I'm a little disappointed in the Christmas lists that I received this year. Skye did not really leave me any room to surprise him. I usually like to throw in a surprise gift that is most unexpected. Those are so fun! Not this year though. Maybe something will come to me last minute?

I'm am fully still counting on my life getting back into a normal shape by next week. Christmas will be over, family drama will be on the way out the door, dad will be home and Skye will be on day shift. Sounds amazing if you ask me!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Survived Exhaustion With Non-Greasy Hair

The Good: I bought this dry shampoo over the weekend and I'm in love already. A girl like me gets oily hair by the end of each day. Not washing my hair every morning is not an option for me. I've heard rave reviews from my fellow grease heads about this dry shampoo business. They said it beat the old baby powder hair trick. (Which by the way, is effective for soaking up grease but also slightly taints the color of the hair to a grey-ish tint- not attractive for us under 30 year olds.) I am all for fighting the battle against greasy hair! Sometimes a girl needs to get up and go - without going through the hassles of fully getting ready. Like today - when I had to be at the hospital at 4am with my pops for his by-pass surgery. Who in the hell wants to get up and shower and fix your hair at 3:30am? Not me that's who. The dry shampoo really did the trick today. Left my hair with a strange texture, but didn't look to be a drop of grease. I was impressed!

The Bad: This is my 2nd night as a night shift widow, am I'm now referring to it. We had such a wonderful weekend together with his graduation and our anniversary. We even had a REAL date at a fancy Ruth's Chris restaurant - I must say it was impressive for a $125 meal. All day Sunday I found myself dreading that final hour together when I knew he would have to leave. I was worried about him, worried about myself, worried about the next day's surgery. I wanted to seem excited for him, but I did cry when he left. Last night was tough all around. My first night alone while Skye was working night shift AND I'm worrying about dad having surgery the next morning. I maybe got a total of 2 hours of sleep last night. Skye just left for his 2nd night on the job and tonight I'm feeling much more at ease with being alone. Could be that wild hair of exhaustion coming on though, not sure. He was thrilled with the excitement of his first night and was even able to get enough sleep after his shift. I'm so proud of him! And glad he liked his first night! I am beginning to think that a week sleeping alone might not be so bad. I can spread out in ways that I haven't thought about in years!

The Ugly: Dad had his chest cracked open today. As I hope you can gather via context clues that all went well. Or else I probably would have began this post on a more grim note. We arrived at the hospital bright and early - well it wasn't bright, but it sure as hell was early - this morning at 4am. They took him back at 4:30 to prep and do his blood tests. By 11:15am they informed us he was off by-pass and they were finishing up. We were able to visit with him for the first time by 12:30. It was a very long and hectic day - due to lack of sleep, anxiety and of course you can't forget our lovely family drama! It's definitely not easy to see your parent who is usually the one taking care of you, in a very vulnerable position and with tubes plugged in everywhere. It was definitely intense, emotional and at times overwhelming. But the most important thing is that Dad is doing great. The surgeon said that it couldn't have gone better, and he should be out of critical care by tomorrow at lunch. By the time I left his side this evening, he no longer had the breathing tube and was talking to me. He was very alert, but still in pain so they were going to keep him on the good drugs through tonight. Tomorrow after he moves onto a cardiac floor, they will start moving him around every time he eats. If all goes well, he should be home by Friday. Isn't modern medicine amazing? Thank you for all the prayers for my family- trust me when I say they are much appreciated. Dad has a 12 week road to recovery, but I hope it can only go uphill from here.

My motto for today to combat greasy hair, new work schedules and a quadruple by-pass surgery: Tough times don't last, but tough people do. Oddly, that cliche little saying has actually made me feel better.

Next week Skye will be on day shift and Dad will be home! AND IT WILL BE CHRISTMAS!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

5 Question Friday!


Okay so I've had a bit of a crazy week and haven't quite made time to tell you about it!
I'll get to that later, but for now let's have fun with Five Question Friday! Thanks, as always, to Mama M over at My Little Life for sharing!

Rules for 5QF: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then watch for the linky post to appear Friday morning and LINK UP!

Oh, and remember (pay close attention...this is the important one)...HAVE FUN!

Questions for Friday, December 9th: (Special thanks to @bloggerlinds (and @kandiipie too!), @kenedram, Sharayha, @bellismom and little old me for their question suggestions! I would love to link you in a future 5QF, so come on over to my community or watch for my Thursday afternoon shout out for questions on Twitter and offer up your best question suggestions! Remember to @5crookedhalos me and use hashtag #5QF if you go the Twitter route!)

1. What's the best Christmas present you've ever received?
That's a tough one! I'm quite the lucky girl and I have received quite a few good ones! This sounds cheesy I know, but since Skye and I have a Christmas-time anniversary it would have to be him. Our 7 year anniversary was actually yesterday - 10 days before Christmas. He is usually the great contributor to my tangible presents so it would all have to start with him! awww love!

2. Worst/Funniest White Elephant gift ever received?
A blow up doll.... at one of Skye's old work Christmas parties. We all took pictures with it and had a blast with that thing. I believe that would qualify as both the funniest and worst.

3. Is your Christmas tree plain and simple (white lights and matching ornaments) or is it wild and crazy (colored lights with lots of ornaments collected over the years)?
It's mostly simple. Red and gold color theme. With a few precious special ornaments scattered within. I'm really into the traditional red and gold christmas look though.

4. "How" do you iron your clothes? The old fashioned iron/ironing board way, the shower, back in the dryer, etc.
Funny you should ask - we've been having a bit of an ironing dilemma around my house! I iron with an old fashion ironing board MAYBE once a year. Skye irons quite often, especially his uniforms these days. So we've had 2 irons for a while - one circa maybe 1986 and the other circa 1997 maybe? Both old as crap. So I was cleaning out the linen closet the other day, and I threw one of the irons away. Hell, I never use them and so why do we need TWO? Well as it would turn out, I threw away the "better" one. Oops! Looks like we'll be getting a brand new 2011 model iron from Santa this year! oh joy!

5. How much baking do you do for Christmas and what are your "must make" items? (I'm looking for recipes here, peeps...)
I mostly partake in eating at Christmas. Since we are still in that phase where we are kid-less in our lives we are the ones who do all the traveling to visit everyone. It's not really easy to bring food to all the places we have to visit. But oh I long for the day when I can begin my own Christmas cooking tradition and not travel all around.
 
Happy Weekend Everybody!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Let's Keep it Short & To the Point

I went to get a lovely massage on Saturday morning. It was ahh-mazing. I think every Saturday morning should start with a massage, or a facial or some type of spa treatment. I went home feeling soooo relaxed and sooo stress-free...

You knew there would be a dot-dot-dot

All of a sudden today the evil Ms. Stress has taken up residence in my body ....again and with a vengeance! My daddy has his follow up heart cath today to determine if he would need by-pass surgery. Indeed, he does need it. My precious 48 year old dad will be having a quadruple by-pass next Monday. They expect him to be fine and home by Christmas. They are going to crack open his chest on Monday and he'll be home for Christmas presents by Friday? I'm a little...or a lot...scared. He's my only dad. Even though we've been having our differences lately with his unexpected new relationship status, I can't deny that this makes me want to throw all the bullshit aside. It's so strange to be an adult child worrying about your aging (even though I don't think 48 is really aging) parents. I never thought I would have to deal with a health dilemma this early on in my parents' lives. They're youngsters for God's sake! Alas, here I am- with my dad having major heart surgery next week. Please think of him, pray for him, send good vibes his way - whatever it is you do. I would truly appreciate it.

And then, if that wasn't enough to knock a girl off her rocker, Skye had his final test of the policy academy today. Which means, that graduation is Thursday! I'm beyond thrilled for him, yet so nervous about this new venture in his/our lives. Growing up with a law enforcement family, I feel well prepared on what to expect from a rotating shift schedule. I almost feel like knowing what challenges that lie ahead make me more anxious about it. Of course he will start off on night shift in the "projects area of town" next Sunday. I have no doubts that he will thrive in this new environment and with this type of schedule. He is so excited, so I can't help but feel that energy too. I am so proud of him for this accomplishment, and for carrying on my family's tradition in law enforcement. We will work with this schedule until May because he will still be in training until then. After May, it's official baby and he will be out on his own. Again, think of him, pray for him, send him good vibes in this exciting adventure.

I just want two of the three most important men in my life to be safe, happy and healthy. Thinking deep thoughts like this are enough to stress a girl out! I feel another much needed massage coming on!

Friday, December 9, 2011

5 Question Friday!





Brought to me and you by the fabulous Mama M over at http://fivecrookedhalos.blogspot.com/


Welcome to Five Question Friday!! You've come to the right place if you want a fun, easy, silly post or if you've suddenly discovered your muses are out, probably late night Christmas shopping.

Rules for 5QF: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then watch for the linky post to appear (that'll be the post with my answers!) Friday morning and LINK UP!

Oh, and remember (pay close attention...this is the important one)...HAVE FUN!

Questions for Friday, December 9th: (Special thanks to @BabyShmizz, @emenchho1, @ThisDaddysBlog, @KatieB38 and Sharayha for their question suggestions! I would love to link you in a future 5QF, so come on over to my community or watch for my Thursday afternoon shout out for questions on Twitter and offer up your best question suggestions! Remember to @5crookedhalos me and use hashtag #5QF if you go the Twitter route!)

1. What is your favorite Christmas cookie?
 I'm a big fan of the traditional Christmas cookies, the sugar cookies in Christmasy shapes like trees and snowmen, piled up with lots of gooey icing. Those are so yummy! I like to keep it simple. Also, not really a cookie per say - but the little Debbie Christmas tree cakes - DELICIOUS! I've devoured probably a whole forest of those little white Christmas tree cakes this year already.

2. What's your favorite holiday movie & why?
3 way tie - Elf, A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation.

Elf for Will Ferrell reasons - he's so damn funny! Don't act like you don't laugh at his cotton headed ninny muggins!

A Christmas Story - Ralphie never gets old! I watch it at least 5 times when they show it for 24 hours straight on Christmas Eve every year.

Christmas Vacation - when I am feeling overwhelmed with my own family's dysfunction, I can always count on Clark Griswold to make me feel better about myself. The grandma with a cat wrapped up in a present box - It's a classic.

3. Is there a gift that you bought for your kids that you wish you hadn't after they opened it?
Technically, no because I don't have kids. I do have dogs though. And I regret EVER introducing them to fluff from stuffed animals. Sometimes they equate stuffed animal fluff with my couch cushion fluff. I'm sure children would never do such horrid things :)

4. What is the messiest room in your house right at this moment?
Dining room by far. Our dining room in the mecca in our household. It serves as the entryway room from the garage when you walk into the house. It also very freely flows into the kitchen and living room areas. More specifically my dining room table is a natural disaster area. It's where we pile up all of our shit. I plop down my purse there, the mail, my ipod after a workout, Skye's laptop is housed there right now, along with all his pocket treasures.
5. What is the furthest you have driven for the holidays?
Pennsylvania. My dad's mom's family is from Pennsylvania. When my brother and I were very young we used to rotate holidays with them and drive up there every other year to visit. The first time I'd seen mega snow was on a PA trip. It was also the first time I'd had my accent challenged - I mean, who doesn't love a sweet southern accent? We've since let that trip go and now the furthest I travel is about an hour from my house. We are blessed (& cursed) to have all of our immediate family within an hour drive.
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Happy Holidays!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Trending #Awesome


Do you see a trend in this statement? Apparently so! I posted this picture of Neil Patrick Harris on my Facebook probably 2 months ago. I think every single person on my friends like "liked" it.
It's not that there is anything wrong with being single, or dating someone for years before getting married - like myself, or having kids. I aspire to get married and have kids in the next 5 years for sure. It just seems like right now there is an incredibly rapid influx of wedding and baby showers surrounding me. That makes me feel the pressure! One of my good friends told us about 2 weeks ago that she is pregnant with her second child. (It's Cayson's mama for those of you who have followed my blog and seen sweet Cayson on here.) TWO girls I know got engaged over the weekend! I'm drowning in a sea of princess cut diamonds (oh I wish!) and diapers over here!

I don't mean this hateful so I hope that no one takes offense to it. But usually what happens is, my unmarried non-parent friends are on my side about these things. Then, BAM! they up and get engaged and then they pressure me to do the same. What these folks don't get is that Skye and I have an equation right now that works for us. Next week will be our 7 year anniversary of dating (8 years of knowing each other). We aren't the perfect couple and we do fight. But I can honestly say that anyone who's been around us for any length of time knows the love we have for each other. We have seen some friends' marriages come and go already, we have some friends who are now single parents. Rushing to get married and grow up just isn't in the cards for us. People say "when you know, you know". I almost take offense to that -I know that I love him dearly, but I also know that he's not going anywhere anytime soon. I feel a little sorry for people who rush to get married and then spit out a baby within a year. They don't really take the time to get to know each other and just have that important couple time. Again, no offense is meant by this it's just the way I feel right now.

I'm truly happy for the people in my life who are making the big moves and getting what they want! I love being involved in my best friend's weddings and baby planning processes. I can't decide what's the right timing for them, just for myself.

I'm only 27...and down here in God's Country that's old hag status. But at least I'm an awesome old hag!

Friday, December 2, 2011

5 Question Friday!

Segment borrowed from My Little Life - Thanks!
Questions for Friday, December 2nd (speaking of December, who stole my November?!): (Special thanks to Sandy, Sharayha, @emilywickham, @trooppetrie and Lorilynne for their question suggestions! I would love to link you in a future 5QF, so come on over to my community or watch for my Thursday afternoon shout out for questions on Twitter and offer up your best question suggestions! Remember to @5crookedhalos me and use hashtag #5QF if you go the Twitter route!)

1. What is your favorite Christmas decoration in your house?
My favorite Christmas decorations by far are my outside icicle lights on the house! I LOVE those because it really makes me feel like Christmas time to see people light up their houses. It just puts a smile on my face to come home and see them on! That might be a little Griswold-ish, but that's how I roll.

2. Do you finish your Christmas shopping early or are you a last minute type?
I very much a last minute shopper. For example, right now I have zero Christmas presents. But in the last week, I will get all my shopping done!

3. When do you turn on your heat?
I'm a wait until it's 30 degrees at night to turn your heat on kind of person. Just about 2 weeks ago we turned our heat on. Until then we were sweatshirting it up!

4. Do you ever wish your blog was private?
My blog is fairly new, so right now it suits me just fine being public.

5. Do you put your deodorant on before of after you put on your shirt?
Definitely before. Hands down. Otherwise, you get those yucky deo marks.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thursday Things to Love

1. My Gym! For a reformed chubster, I chuckle at myself for thinking that I love my gym, but it's so true. It's less than a mile from my house, it's one of those 24 hour access deals, AND it's no contract and $15 a month. You can't beat it with a stick! Plus, they offer boot camps - which I love. I did one in the summer and it's 4 weeks, 3x a week for an hour of pure hell. At the end of that month though I felt so good about my fitness level. They are starting another one soon that I want to be a part of after my holiday food massacre. I have a renewed sense of confidence thanks to this gym! So Holla to Workout Anytime!

2. The colder weather here in East TN! I woke up this morning to a nice frost on the ground. I enjoy the cooler weather, unlike a lot of my fellow Tennesseans. Skye and I are into snowboarding and we have about 5 semi-good ski resorts within less than 3 hours from where we live. We also try to go to one big place every year - like out West to Colorado or California to snowboard on the big time mountains. We are going for the first time this Sunday in North Carolina and I am so excited! Funny how I never thought I would be into something like this, but oh the things we do for boys and end up enjoying!

3. Season of Goodwill - I went today at lunch and dropped off 7 HUGE leaf trash bags full of clothes at Goodwill. You thought I meant the Christmas spirit with that, didn't you? Nope, the actual cleaning out your closet Goodwill season. Thankfully none of that stuff fit us anymore so it was a good reason to donate.

4. One of my very best friends in the world got some good news back on a biopsy test result today!! Her mom died of breast cancer when she was 6 years old, and she's around that age her mama was. They found a lump, biopsied it and everything came back fine. Thank you Lord!

Tweet Tweet

Do you Twitter or Tweet or whatever the hell it's called? I joined the Twitter world about 2 years ago and I was into for a while and then the inspiration left me. I was more into Facebook. My Facebook is now a mess and a little difficult to keep up with so I'm diggin' on Twitter again - Follow me! @nikkib918 and I'll reciprocate.
Tweet Tweeeet!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Education Schmeducation

I am of the mindset that a college degree - the degree itself - is overrated. I have my Bachelors of Science in Marketing, and it was adequately over priced. Still paying for that precious little gem! I love the college experience - moving away into the dorm, the new friends, the parties- basically the social aspect. I fully see all those benefits in the lives of college aged students. And don't get me wrong, I fully believe in going to college. My point is that nowadays, a bachelors degree is basically a must have, similar to a high school diploma. Unless you work in a highly specialized field, like nuclear engineering, it doesn't matter what field of study you choose. Employers just want you to prove that you were dedicated enough to give it the old college try and make it through another 4 years of school. It just seems that to jump through all those hoops just to have a piece of a paper is a little silly.

I work at a public utility company in the marketing and business development field. Some of my colleagues who work in our customer service department have the following types of degrees: economics, social work, and elementary education. Yet here they are working at a utility company instead of working in their field of study. I actually started my college career as a political science major. Which leads me to another benefit I see with the whole college experience, taking classes to help you understand what you actually want to do with your life. I graduated high school at the age of 17 - didn't turn 18 until a month into my first semester in college. I was not one of those special people who grew up "just knowing" what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I've always had an interest in law - hence the political science major was born. Long story short, I ended up in the advertising field with a marketing major. It has worked out well for me so I can't complain too much.

I know I just said I think a college degree is overrated, but I meant that in the sense that you are just required to have one now. I might be contradicting myself here but I'm actually one of those weirdos who loves going to school - which is the entire reason I am writing this post. I am seriously contemplating going back to school to get my masters degree. I have even toyed with the idea of going to law school to get my J.D. Wouldn't that be just totally bat shit crazy of me at 27?? I would be the oldest person in the class! I can't help but think I would just love to finally fulfill that dream though. I've done all the research and figured out step-by-step everything that I would need to do to get started, but I just can't seem to make the first move. Am I scared? Hell, I don't know, but for whatever reason I've been thinking about this for about 2 years now and not made any moves. I still am paying on student loans from undergrad, which also factors into my decision. Let's face it - getting an education (especially in law or graduate school) isn't cheap! And I work full time! In order to efficiently complete law school in a reasonable amount of time before I turn 50, I would have to quit my job to go to school full time days and I guess find a job working nights? Okay so maybe I haven't thought that far ahead yet. I can't leave a job where I'm the breadwinner to pick up a job at Target for a couple of years. Can I? Can I leave my job where I have free health insurance? Keep in mind, that I'm not married so I can't just pick up on Skye's insurance because we don't have the same last name - lame! A career is law is also very much a full time commitment. Here I am at 27 hoping to get married soon...and start a family within the next 5 years for sure. Should I set aside that current dream to fulfill my childhood career dream? Classic female dilemma - do you strive for a well rounded family life or career life?? So many unanswered questions!!

What are you thoughts on higher education? Should I take the plunge and go to law school?

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Countdowns are ON!

I have a couple of countdowns going on right now that I want to share with you! December is always a busy time of the year with holiday parties and events, plus you have to squeeze in shopping and family Christmas time. Our anniversary is December 15th so that usually gets breezed over because it's so close to Christmas - note to self don't make your wedding day this close to Christmas when we finally decide to make it official!

3 WEEKS Until Skye's Graduation from the Police Academy!! We've been going at this stressful academy since July so I am relieved (as I'm sure he is too) to see the end in sight!

13 work days until I get 2 days off - to celebrate Skye's Graduation!

13 work days until mine and Skye's 7 year anniversary! Same day as his Graduation. May he be showered with gifts and love that week! Love his little heart for putting up with me for so long..maybe after the 7 year itch comes getting hitched???

THEN, only 4 days in the following work week because that's the week of Christmas!

We actually attended a sweet little wedding over the weekend. I love weddings! There's so much joy that occurs on a wedding day, it's so contagious. I guess I should say, I love receptions. I've only been to a few actual wedding ceremonies that I enjoyed, the receptions are the fun part. The bride put together the absolute cutest little table gifts too. It was a country style wedding, held in a barn type setting. You've seen the kind where the bridesmaids wear cowboy boots. Complete with Natty Light beer and cornhole! It felt very casual and comfortable. Usually the overdone country theme is not my style, but I really enjoyed and fell in love with this one. So fittingly enough, the table gifts were little horse shoes with a tag attached. I loved that idea of offering good luck with the horse shoes to all your guests. Here's a pic -


I wanted to show you my cute new dress and new sparkly gold eyeshadow that I showcased that evening, but of course I didn't get any full length dress pics and this picture makes me look super pale. Here's a small glimpse of my cute dress and new eyeshadow- I swear it looked better in person!

The bride and groom are both a quiet and reserved pair, so I was pleasantly surprised when their reception was a blast! And I continued the Thanksgiving weekend tradition of stuffing my face as I had 3 pieces of wedding cake! THREE! I'll be visiting my friend, Mr. Gym tonight to work that situation out.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday! Mine actually was ideal this year. This might be Skye's last Thanksgiving off for a while so I'm glad we decided to do it our way this year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tilly's Christmas PJs

Check this cute girl out! She cuddled with her mama last night in her cute little Christmas PJ onesie from Target. LOVE 'em! She's one of the loves of my life!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Family + Holiday = Drama

Oh, the holidays! Typically Skye and I are rushed to visit all of our loving family members over the holidays. We usually go to my dad's for an early lunch, then my mom's, then to visit with his dad's side of the family, then his mom's maternal side of the family and lastly end up at his mom's paternal side of the family. (Not to mention the fact that I do not usually get to see my grandparents because there just isn't enough time in a day. Hiding this sentence in a parenthesis counts as me "not mentioning" this.) We make our way from Clinton, to North Knox, to Farragut and usually end up in Friendsville - and for those of you outside my little area that's at least an hour drive time one way.

This year a blessing was bestowed upon us in the form of a new work schedule for Skye! He is actually getting the day off on Thanksgiving, but will have to go back to work on Friday. He is also under the stress of writing a 20 page research paper before he graduates the academy on December 15th. So needless to say, we cannot be running all around town when he needs to be focused on his paper, and we cannot be staying at his papaw's house until 10pm (with an hour drive home) when he has to get up early for work. I, for one, was thrilled that we did not have to play the holiday hustle and bustle this year. I despise that with a passion! We will probably make ONE stop within my family on Thursday to eat some Thanksgiving food, and then meet up at ONE stop with his family on Sunday. I am perfectly content with this plan, and very much looking forward to relaxing and enjoying my time off work!

Sounds pretty drama free this year, right? Well hell you know that's way too easy for me!! I found out today that my dad got married this afternoon to his gold digging fiance. I knew this was coming...for one because they got engaged last February so I begrudgingly assumed that marriage would follow...and for two because she let the cat out of the bag last week while my dad was in the hospital with his heart attack. I know this sounds horrible, but I'm going to go ahead and admit to you that my brother, dad and I got into a HUGE massive blow up fight over this "secret marriage" bullshit just last Monday while Dad was still in the hospital. I told my Dad that I would try to be happy for him....so that's what I am going to try and do. That is, after I vent all my frustration out here of course.

Let me break this down for you -
This all started back in October of last year. My dad had been acting fishy for a couple of months so we maybe suspected that he had a girlfriend. I was excited for him because I have never wanted him to be alone once my brother finally moved out. I had visions of a youthful, but appropriate cute lady friend for my dad who would take me shopping and be a good match for our family. WRONG! My dad asked my brother and I to go to dinner one night to meet a friend of his...aka his girlfriend. Again, I'm looking forward to this meeting. I walk into the restaurant we are meeting at and see my dad, see my brother, and see this GIRL sitting by my dad. My dad is 48 and this chick looked to be in her early 30's. I was immediately taken aback and a little disgusted. I just didn't think my dad would turn into THAT creepy old guy. Despite my first reactions to their obvious age difference, I thought that maybe this girl would be very mature for her age and a nice fit for my dad. WRONG AGAIN! She's an immature, emotional, recently divorced secretary with two young kids. The more I learn about her, the more turned off I am about this relationship.

Some time goes by, and I do not have much interaction with this girlfriend. Then all of a sudden I'm out of town in February and I find out VIA FACEBOOK that they have become engaged. Talk about flipping the fuck out...I called my dad and tore him a new one. I was furious and embarrassed and confused and still disgusted.

Let me refresh your memory by saying that my parents divorced when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade. Since then, my mom remarried when I was in about 6th grade but my dad has never so much as introduced us to a girlfriend. Then out of the blue, comes the girlfriend from Hell. She says inappropriate things, cries over any cross eyed look my brother or I send her way, tells my dad that we are brats, and has 2 kids that I have no intentions of getting to know.

So again, a couple months go by giving me time to adjust to this new engagement situation. I spend more time with this girl only to find out that she's actually 29...three years older than me. DIS-GUST-ING! I just cannot find a good reason to keep giving her chances when all I really want to do is hate her. Sure there are times when I can have a fun conversation with her or share a laugh, but mostly I find myself questioning her motives and my dad's sanity. Can we say mid-life crisis????

So today, my dad texts me to "let me know first", since I have often found out their business on Facebook before I've been told, that they went to the courthouse and got married. Gag. But I promised him last week that I would try to play nice. So I text him back with a simple - congrats. There are no words to describe my true feelings. Instead of being an emotional wreck, like his new wife, I'm void of emotion for this situation.

On a better note, I am definitely feeling a good raging work out coming on tonight! Nothing says Happy Holidays like the forceful interference of a new family member!

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm all VOL

Who doesn't love a good football game? The Vols had a good one this weekend! We managed to beat Vandy in OT. And we managed to have a little (or a lot) fun!





The boys' last football game before they graduate...from now until eternity they will probably be working traffic for the games. SAD FACE!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday Things to Love

1. Dad is feeling pretty much like his old self again. It's amazing how the man just had a stint put in his heart less than a week ago, and today he's out running errands. C-R-A-Z-Y! He's my very favorite guy and I'm beyond thankful for his (so far) speedy recovery. I feel like I can exhale deeply....until December 6th when he goes back for a check up.

2. TODAY IS MY FRIDAY AT WORK! I'm off tomorrow to go see the Twilight - Breaking Dawn Part 1 and do a little shopping with one of my good friends. I'm excited! I can tell it's my Friday, and that I desperately need it to be my Friday, because I left the house this morning with my shirt on backwards and my watch upside down. On the drive to work I kept wandering why my shirt felt tight in the boobs and my watch didn't fasten right. Things that make you go hmmm....


3. We are less than ONE MONTH away from Skye's official graduation date from the police academy (28 days to be exact). Hallelujah!! From December until April our world will be a whirlwind of changing shifts and training officers, but after April we will be able to start getting used to his new schedule and begin to adjust accordingly. Plus, I'm so majorly proud of him for doing this! These 6 months have flown by!

4. Jodi Picoult - Love, love, love her books! I have read 2 of her books in the past 2 weeks. It's funny how sometimes I can't find the time to do jack shit, but get my nose stuck in a book and I can't put the damn thing down! Last week I was hooked on The Tenth Circle, and this week I'm addicted to Perfect Match. Her writing is so intriguing and there are always so many twists and turns to keep you guessing. Fair warning though, her books are always centered around high controversial public topics. For example, The Tenth Circle was focused around the rape the of a teenage girl, and Perfect Match is about child molestation. Those sound like disgusting topics, but the story is usually told from multiple points of view and cause you to question your own beliefs and put yourself in the character's position. If you are looking for a new read, I would highly suggest you start on her!

5. This Luke Bryan song...love it!