Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dirty 30: Moments with Lendy

I'm a little late on this, but it's all in the quality, not the quantity, right, Lendy?  ;-)


My friend Lendy celebrated her 30th birthday exactly one week ago.  She's jokingly referred to her birthday as the "Dirty 30" for months now, but I figure she'll forgive me for copyright infringement.  Unfortunately, Lendy and I live 900+ miles apart, so it wasn't exactly feasible for me to attend her party over the weekend.  This is my attempt at making it up to her.

30 Memorable Moments with Lendy
(in no particular order)

  • Adding a little (4-H) green to your wardrobe.  It looks good on you.
  • Our 1,000 mile road trip that was supposed to take two days...and instead took one.  
  • Panera dates - always a favorite.
  • ...on one of which I swore the "blind date" would be a total waste of time.  Four years and a husband later, I'm still eating my words.  
  • Being welcomed as a member of the family to your Carolina Thanksgiving.

  • Supporting the NC Children's Hospital and their annual Country for Kids Concert. 
  • It's worth saying again.  Dumplins.  And sausage gravy.  And sausage dip.  And brunswick stew.  And...the list goes on. 
  • Our Burn Party.  Burn, baby, burn!
  • Pillow talk.  Especially when the conversation turned to love.  When you know, you just know.
  • All the times I observed your faithful example as a selfless devoted wife.  You taught me great things about this vocation.

  • Lessons in becoming a proper daughter-in-law.  ;-)
  • Snail mail.  Sweet notes.  Genuine concern.  You are an excellent pen pal.
  • The stories I later heard about your escorting my parents to their hotel after our wedding...because they would have never made it there themselves. 
  • Touring your fancy new castle..and daydreaming about my very own "Swoon House."
  • And we can't forget Mikey...he deserves a major shout-out for putting up with us girls all those years.

There you have it - thirty great memories from our friendship.  Here's to lots of love and wishes for thirty times thirty more!

Happy Birthday, Lendy.

Love, Lauren

Monday, October 20, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 8)

I promise, I will get back to writing in something other than "Quick Takes" and other linkups.  Last week happened to be a particularly busy one, so I just want to capture it all in this format.  

Sunday.  After Mass, we loaded up and hit the road, driving East for a little over 4 hours.  We had plans to spend the night in *undisclosed location* before a meeting for Alex the following morning.  It was still fairly early when we arrived, so we drove around checking out the area and then indulged in some very-unhealthy dinner at an *unnamed* fast food restaurant that doesn't exist in our area.

Monday.  While Alex was at his meeting, I spent the morning doing some work from our hotel room before heading out to explore a little more.  I enjoyed a delicious lunch at another *unnamed* restaurant not available in our area (this time a little more healthy).  It was a cafe-type setting, so I also sipped on some sweet tea while doing a little light reading.  Mmm...I could get used to that.

I also squeezed in a little shopping at the local mall that afternoon, before setting up shop at the Barnes and Noble (which we also don't have in our area, BTW) while waiting for Alex to finish.  Meanwhile, a terrible set of storms including two tornadoes passed through northeast Louisiana, so we decided to bite the bullet and cough up cash for a hotel room that night because driving through tornadoes was enough to send me straight into another anxiety attack.  Not to mention I'd forgotten to take my Bromocriptine the night before, so I was a little off kilter already.

Tuesday.  We made it back home to assess the damage (none to our home, praise God) and figure out our plans for the rest of the day.  The estimated return for our power was Friday at the time, so we discussed what to do with the food in our refrigerator and freezer.  In an attempt to get some work in, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat (we had nothing edible/meal-worthy in the house) which turned into an adventure involving numerous stoplights that were out, restaurants that were closed or with lines a mile long, and registers only taking cash.  What should have taken 45 minutes (travel/eating) ended up taking two hours.  It was a mess.

Wednesday.  We loaded up an ice chest and cooler with all our frozen food and I hauled it to my office, which is 30 minutes away and with power.  I also packed a bag with two nights' clothes and items needed for a meeting in Baton Rouge the next day.  We prayed the power would return so Alex wouldn't be stuck home alone without power that night, but at least I could get a hot shower in the hotel.  In all of this, most of campus was also without power, so Alex bounced around trying to get work done without access to his office.  While I was on the road that afternoon, we did get word that our power had returned, so Alex didn't have to spend the night in the dark afterall.  However, my dinner at Panera that evening followed by my first trip to Whole Foods was much appreciated.

Thursday.  One of Alex's grad assistants used our laundry facilities because her power was still out.  Campus still wasn't back on the grid yet, so everyone continued to scramble with getting work done.  The meeting in Baton Rouge went longer than I expected...par for the course.  One of my travel buddies convinced me that a pitt stop at Dairy Queen (also not in northeast LA) was much needed, and she was right...Chocolate Xtreme mini-blizzard for the win!  That night, it was nice to get back home and reevaluate the situation and our plan for the next few days.  Poor Alex was still eating sandwiches...that needed to change sooner rather than later!

Friday.  Saturday.  Somehow, I don't remember anything about Friday, but that's probably not a bad thing.  I worked Saturday morning, but eagerly looked forward to the rest of the day...My friend Dawn came into town; she, Alex, myself, and two of Alex's coworkers loaded up and rode out to Vicksburg, MS, for the evening.  The boys played at the casino, while Dawn and I visited the Coca-Cola museum (did you know there are three in the country, and I've been to all of them!), walked around downtown, happened into a super cute art gallery, and then shopped at the outlet malls. We picked up the boys around 7:30 and gathered together for a late dinner at a local restaurant.  Such a fun day!

Sunday.  If you're still reading, don't quit on me now.  After Mass, Dawn, Alex and I went to a cute little farm about 20 minutes away.  We jumped on a huge bouncy pillow, raced rubber ducks, rode pedal carts, enjoyed a hayride and train ride, navigated a corn maze, stomped pumpkins, swung on pipe swings, and the list goes on!  We had a blast!!  I think I'm going to be sore for a few days, though...ha!  And to finish off the day, we rode out to the famous sign that commemorates Tim McGraw's hometown.  Of course, there were many photo op's involved here!

Ya tired yet?  I am!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What I Wore Sunday (Vol. 1)

What I Wore Sunday is a link-up I've seen others share, but I don't actually follow the host yet (oops).  My real reason for linking up this week is because I want to show off my new maxi skirt.  In case you didn't know, I'm, really short...5 ft even to be exact.  And, I'm not petite in any other sense of the word.  In other words, trying to find a maxi skirt to fit a shorty like me is next to impossible...or so I thought.

Until I came across this gem at at Kohls about two weeks ago.  If you do know me, then you know 98% of my wardrobe originated at Kohls.  In fact, I finally got my first credit card (at the age of 27...), and it's for Kohls.  Surprise surprise.

Anyway, most of my clothing comes from the Juniors section there, but this maxi skirt came right out of the Women's section.  Nevermind the fact that I do have to roll it once for length (aren't they all made that way?), it hits my toes just right!  Speaking of toes...check out my Candy Chevron style Jamberry nail wraps.  Aren't they cute?

So there you have it, What I Wore Sunday!  (And yes, I did actually wear that to Mass on Sunday.  I'm not cheating, I promise!)


P.S.  Credit for hosting goes to the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 7)

My health.  Lab results are in and...drum roll prolactin levels are well within the normal rage!!!  As I understand it, normal levels are between 1-35 and at 4 weeks on Bromocriptine, my reading was 7.1!!  That's a 10th of where I was before starting the medicine!!!  Can I get a "Woop, woop!?"

...And the bittersweet part of that is having my first "normal" period in...gosh, a really long time!  Now I understand why women complain of aches and pains with their cycle, lol.  It's so strange to have "Aunt Flo" show up on exactly Day 30.  I don't think I've ever experienced that before! Here's to hoping things continue as they should and then maybe.........maybe (God willing) Baby B will be here sometime in 2015?!

Adoption.  Since writing about attending the adoption/foster care seminar, I spoke with a coworker who adopted a child about five years ago.  He and his wife went through a local adoption attorney and raved about that process.  He also made some good points about the difference in working with bio-families that are pursuing adoption voluntarily versus those whose children have been removed involuntarily.  It sounds like the attorney-route may be more suited to our interests, but we shall see.  Again, we're not ready to make any big decisions on this yet.

Friends.  It's been quiet here with Alex in Kentucky for the last 36 hours.  Times like this really make me miss having friends around.  It's kind of sad when we pause and think about how all we have is each other in this town (3.5 hour radius, really).  Sometimes we yearn for interaction with others...with people who just "get" us, and to have excuses for doing something fun every once in a while.  Wherever life takes us next, we are desperately praying for it to feel like home with a true sense of community and love for those around us.

Myself, Victoria, and Dawn - June 2014
In the works.  Life continues to evolve, and in the next few days we will be pursuing the possibility of a new opportunity for us.  I won't say much, but for the time being it involves a little bit of travel, and a great deal of gorging on some delicious food not available where we live.  Please continue to pray for peace and guidance as we look for God's prompting in our lives.

Minneapolis.  In about two weeks, I will be traveling to Minneapolis for a work conference.  With all the health issues I had over the last two months, I wasn't sure if I would be able to make the trip, but things have been better so it looks like everything's a 'go.' Other than having a layover at MSP, I haven't ever spent time in Minnesota, so I am excited for the trip.  Of course, being away from Alex for a week is never pleasant, but I'm counting on my far-away-friend Christy to make it well worth my time! ;-)  I can't wait to share photos when I return!

Peanut gallery?  I tried to be a good little wife by doing laundry and picking up the house while Alex was gone this weekend.  One of his jobs around here is to wash dishes, and I do not envy the boy one bit.  However, I decided to suck it up and scrub the George Foreman plates in an effort to help him out and let's just say I was ready to chunk the whole machine before it was all said and done.  The problem is that I am a germaphobe and hate getting close to raw meat, especially chicken.  Using the GF is the only way Alex likes to cook chicken (especially now that our meat thermometer is broken), but the residue is disgustinggggggggggggg.  So........anyone have suggestions for an alternative?  I'm not above chunking the dadgum machine and buying something new if it will mean less residue and impossible scrubbing efforts.  Lay it on me, folks!

This is the version we have.

Blog.  As promised, my new About page is up and running.  Have you checked it out yet?  (Yeah, I caught a few type-o's, so those will have to be fixed during the major overhaul I'm hoping to do...eventually.)

Ok...Alex will be back in an hour and a half (early, this week!!!), so I've really got to get supper in the oven and finish cleaning up the house!

That's all for now!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

One Person's Trash: A Datevitation Coupon

Last fall, I came across Datevitation while reading a blog.  Seeing as how Fall is gift season in our house (three gifts for Alex between mid-November and the end of December), I thought I'd jump on the opportunity to snag something unique.  Plus, with the 1st Anniversary being "year of the paper," the coupon book really made sense.  More about what else I bought some other time.

This Datevitation coupon book seemed like the perfect way to give a whole bunch of gifts all at once, without breaking the bank.  Alex received five specially-designed coupons, redeemable anytime.  In fact, he even redeemed one of the coupons before receiving the book...oops.

A month ago, Alex finally decided to cash in on one of his coupons...a coupon I had been hoping he'd forget.  Yeahhhhhh...I created a coupon that I wasn't super excited about redeeming.  But, hey, all in the name of serving my husband, ay?

For one whole month, it was my responsibility to take out the trash.  Can we just say EW?!

How did it go?  Well, since there are just two of us in our house, we really don't have all that much trash...especially considering how much goes directly into our recycling bins.  Therein lies a problem; I could put off taking it out...over, and over again.  I think I only ended up pushing the can to the road twice the whole month, and only the second time because it was the end of the month and Alex insisted I finish off my commitment with a bang.  Of course, there had to be evidence:

Attractive?  Not so much.  Then again, can taking out the trash ever be attractive (unless, of course, HubbaHubbaHusband is the one doing it!)?

Whew, I'm glad that one is over!  I suppose it could be of those coupons says I'm not allowed to complain FOR A WHOLE DAY!!  Uh yeah...I'm out!


Note:  If you want to order your own Datevitation coupon book, the website is advertising 30% off and Free Shipping (not sure if those offers can be combined) for a limited time!  No, I will not receive any compensation or reward for your order.  Yes, I love Datevitation enough to recommend it even without any reward for myself!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Forgive me...

So...I have a little confession to make.  Alex and I haven't really shared this with anyone yet, so don't be offended if you feel like you should have had some insider knowledge before I posted it here.  Yesterday, we attended a seminar for prospective foster care/adoptive parents.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Welcome back.  No, we haven't "given up" on the prospect of conceiving biological children.  No, we have not received information or advice from a physician indicating an inability to conceive or bear biological children.  No my parents don't know about this (shhhhhh!).  And no...we are not actively pursuing foster parenting or adoption.

Why the seminar, then?  Everyone knows adoption can take years.  Heck, two of my three Jamberry recruits (who also happen to be friends..."recruits" sounds so sterile) are currently pursuing or planning to pursue adoption.  I also have several close friends who have experienced infant loss, and believe me, I am well aware that pregnancy and child-bearing is not something to take for granted.

Alex and I are not emotionally at a place where we feel called to pursue adoption immediately, but we figure it doesn't hurt to begin the process before we get to that point.  I fear we would become emotionally "desperate," for a child and then have to ache that much longer if we waited to do our research until we were already in those trenches.

Which brings me to the seminar.  We attended a 45-minute orientation for people who are interested in learning more about foster care and adoption.  It was really just a basic overview with information about parameters for families and steps in the process.

The next step would be to take part in a 21-hour training program (3-hours a week for 7 weeks), which includes the paperwork and home study portions of the certification process.  There is actually a training series starting this Saturday, but it is overbooked already, and like I said, we're not ready to go there yet.  The next series begins in January, so we are looking at that option.  Waiting a few months will give us time to discern this aspect of our lives, and also to see if my health situation irons itself out.

(Side note:  Typically, they start a new training series every month, but there are already over 100 applicants for the October series, so they decided to cut the November series in order to effectively manage the existing applications.  A good problem to have, yes!  ...In Louisiana, we are still desperately in need of foster families, but it just takes time to catch up with the paperwork.  It's also worth noting that we're not currently interested in fostering, but in Louisiana families are dually certified to both foster and adopt.)

...There you have it.  Shall I proceed with making my Act of Contrition?  ;-)


And if you're interested in following my friend Laura's adoption journey, you can check out her blog here.