Friday, May 31, 2013

Embarrassing Christopher - Just A Hug

Please forgive me for the excessive mushy-ness of this post, but I needed to get this off my chest and a few tears on a Friday never hurt anyone.

While little brother is deployed, I've made list upon list of things I would love to do with him when he comes home.  Some are big things - like skydiving.  Some are little things - like a hug.  

When I think about all of the things that Chris and I have been, done, seen, experienced through the last 24 years together, that hug ranks high on my list.  When I was 6, or 16, I never would have said that.  But today, those hugs mark several defining moments in my life.  When I think about the 4 moments below, they are earmarked defined by that hug.  I don't remember "his hug" before our wedding - maybe it was then that I really learned to treasure those moments with him.  Or maybe it just took us both growing up and realizing how short life is to truly appreciate that need to Hold On to one another. 

Defining Hugs - Courtesy of Little Brother:
  1. Our wedding day - moments following the ceremony, when we all did our "omg we did it" happy dance, I grabbed that kid and hugged his slightly teary face. And he hugged me right back - us both having such big smiles, so thankful for each other in that moment. 
  2. Post Basic/Airborne - My dad was working second shift, so Mom and I went to the Philadelphia Airport to pick up Chris when he came home from Airborne for a few weeks of block leave.  Mom and Dad had seen him graduate from Basic, but it had been more than 4 months since I had seen his face.  He left just two days after Hug 1, and to see him in his camo glory come through those doors, oh my heart. There were tears all around (this seems to be a theme), and it felt so good to have him squeeze the breath out of me.
  3. The night we lost my mom.  There was nothing that could make me feel so safe, and so vulnerable.  I'll write this story here someday, but for now - I'll just say that this is one of those moments.
  4. Goodbye before Afghanistan - We had the greatest family trip to Ft Drum before Chris deployed to Afghanistan.  It was an action packed 3 days with Dad, Kev, Tommie, and I and I would not trade it for the world.  As we stood in front of Chris's barracks and got ready to load the cars, Dad took Chris and I both into his arms.  I can't even write this without crying, and truly cannot wait to have both Dad and Chris in my arms again - which can't come soon enough.
Post Hug-One
 There are certain aspects of growing up that I hate (hello bills), and some aspects of growing up that I love.  Learning to appreciate that little brother of mine, and knowing how important it is to remember moments like these - this part I love. 

Boy Wonder - I'll sign this blog post the same way I sign every card, every Facebook message, and every Skype session.  Be Safe, Head Down, Go with Purpose.  

Love Always, Big Sister 

Friday, May 17, 2013

In a Friday Funk (House - Part One)

Wouldn't you think I'd have learned my lesson about getting my hopes up at this point?  Nope, guilty again of getting my hopes up and heart set on a house, only to have those hopes dashed.  Womp, here is Part 1 of our crazy house story, because I am hoping against all hope (yep, here I go again) that there will be a happy Part 2 to share someday soon. 

September 2009 - Hubs & I get married, leave our slightly ghetto apartment, and move in with a friend in a great townhouse. Living situation is amazing - Hubs is working & going to school, there is no outside maintenance, and I am in charge of cooking, cleaning, etc while still having another person to split the bills with. 

Summer 2011 - We think we are maybe, finally, ready to buy a house.  We've got basic areas nailed down, know what area we're focusing on - Downingtown and have saved more money than we thought we would!  It fits the bill of having a cute downtown area, is home to Victory Brewing, and less than 45 minutes from both sets of parents, while still being less than 30 mins to work! *timebomb* Mom gets sick, house buying is cancelled - there is no way we can shop for a house, move, heck do anything but focus on my Mom. 

November 2012 - Not loving the whole roommate situation so much anymore, really not loving the 70 minute drive to and from my dad's house several days a week.  Decide we'll make it through Thanksgiving and then hit house hunting with all we've got. 

December 1, 2012 - Come home early from a visit with friends because our dream house, in the dream neighborhood, perfect school district, and 35 mins from Dad is on the market - as a short sale - and even in our price range.  Okay, we'll figure out the short sale business, understand the basics about the time frame and the waiting process.  Time to prep an offer - even though this dream house has god awful carpet, a blue bathtub, shell shaped sink (say that 3 times fast), and some UGLY light fixtures. 

December 5, 2012 - Offer is owner accepted, happy dance! Except this is only the beginning.  From 12/5/12 to 4/1/13 (that would be 4 months) we responded to and wrote 219 emails, and bent over backwards to adhere to a 24 hour response time for everything the short sale bank requested.  

April 4, 2013 - Holy crap, we've got everything signed.  That giant PDF is the acknowledgement to our agreement of sale! Time to schedule (quickly) our inspections and chose a closing date that works for the 8 people that need to be there.  Inspections are scheduled within 8 days, we are comfortable with what we find, and are all in. Closing date set for (today) May 17, 2013 - the perfect house will be ours. 

dream backyard - fenced for the future puppy!
May 15, 2013 (7:30pm) - Our realtor calls, closing needs to be delayed because of "issues out of our control".  That's my polite way of saying - damn this bank, the sellers agent, and life. And now, we wait.  We wait to see if the sellers can hold-up their end of the deal, if the bank really wants to sell this house - or if they're going to sit on it until it falls into foreclosure. And we wait, with our house full of boxes - only 6 work outfits, 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of pajamas in the mix.  Our dishes are packed, there is virtually no food in the house, and bathrooms are cleaner than they've been in months.  

I'll leave this the same way I called out to the Facebook world for help.  If you're the prayer type, could you please pray that this works out?  A house of our own, somewhere to make new (happy) family memories, is what my heart needs right now. 

P.S. - if you tell me that my Mom is looking out for me and that everything will work how it is supposed to, I might smack you.  Regardless if that is the truth, this Saturday (5/25) is her birthday and I had this crazy plan to plant a tree in her honor at our new house.  Cue, tears.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I just hit 'mark as read'

 I always catch-up with bloglovin' after a few crazy days and some minor OMG moments when my unread count reaches 800. But today and yesterday, I found myself hitting 'mark as read' because it hurt too much to read your posts. So many old you had lovely Mothers Day brunches and lunches and gifts from your kids. My Mother's Day breakfast was with Daddy and Hubs, and a little lonely. I bought Mommy a pretty orange flower and planted it at her grave. I told her how much I loved her still, smiled as hubs reminded me that even in death, moms grave is overlooking her own mother's - the one she always kept an eye on. Many friends called on Sunday, and similarly to how I wasn't ready to read your posts, I wasn't ready for their condolences either. This will hopefully be the hardest Mother's Day, but I can say I'm proud of myself for surviving and visiting some oh so lovely and special ladies. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I Fell Off the Bandwagon...

All of my great goals and intentions to stick with the Blog Everyday in May Challenge were derailed by life.  I am behind in pretty much every aspect of my life at the moment - would you like to see what aspects those are? No - well tough shit, my blog, my lists.

1. Packing - We close on our new home in 8 days.  Approximately 10% of the basement is packed.  Booze is not safely ready to travel, Christmas decorations are stored precariously, and I have no idea what may be stored behind a dresser that hasn't moved since we got here. The only clothing I have packed is the t-shirts I'm making into a t-shirt quilt. Oh crap, I need to figure out how to pack craft supplies. And the kitchen - I haven't even begun - as in, I don't even have paper to wrap the breakables in. 

2. Dad - I have not actually seen my dad in two weeks.  I feel awful, but #1 needs to come first right now, and I know he understands.  I just don't have two hours every night to spend on the road driving home.  I call almost everyday, and he sounds good.  I'm comforting myself that we'll see him Saturday and Sunday this weekend, and are having a sleepover that will likely involve old timey movies. 

3. Friends - Yeah... I text them. That's about all I've got.  Oh, and I did go see one friend on Tuesday night, but I unceremoniously made her buy Chinese food b/c I had been working on #1 and it was 8pm and I hadn't eaten. Other than that, it's been too long. But #1 and #2 seem to come before friends.  This damn house better be worth it. 

4. Work - oh for the love, I'm not even going to bore you with this.  It's a mess, it is stressful, and I am seriously behind in just about everything on my list.  I needed to take Tuesday off for my sanity, but am afraid it will be Friday before I am caught back up. 

Anyway - today (the day you're reading this at least) is Thursday.  I am going to leave work before 6pm (please interweb people, hold me to this), finish the chair I am recovering, and catch-up on the blog world.  Because I obviously need to blog myself (I'm only 4 days behind on the challenge) and my Bloglovin currently has 854 unread posts.  Now, because I can't end a post without any entertainment or you people won't come back - check this out:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Blog Every Day #4

Prompt number four from Jenni was to write about our favorite quote. It took only a few minutes to chose this one since it has always been my favorite!

Framed on my desk at work and also in my collage in our bedroom is:

'Surround yourself with the dreamers, the doers, the believers, and the thinkers but most of all surround yourself with those that see the greatness within you even when you don't see it yourself." -- Edmund Lee

This is the quote that I can always relate to my personal and professional life, for inspiration and motivation. A reminder to see the best in myself is always helpful and keeps me headed in the right direction! The notion that there is always someone or someones that will be 'your person' can be just the necessary pick-up on a particularly bad day. Having some trouble uploading it, but I have a printable PDF that I made last year to share. Look for that on Sunday :).

I can't wait to see what everyone else's favorite quotes are! I'm excited to add some more influential ones to my collection!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Every Day in May - 3 (uncomfortable)

Prompt of the Day - Things that make you uncomfortable.  

Well, seeing as how I don't have a whole month to write this post, I'm going to do my best to keep this list to 5 items.  Five seems fair, right? I felt like ten would make me seem crazy. Eh, maybe I should just embrace the crazy. 

Slightly uncomfortable - PDA.  I have no problem with a kiss goodbye or hello.  I have no problem with holding hands, or even the occasional shoulder rub.  However, the 12 year olds approaching third base at the mall - I would really like to remove you from each other before you get arrested. 

Very uncomfortable - PDA with someone other than your significant other.  This is the only one where I will actually act on the situation (as much as the 12 year olds make me uncomfortable, I'm not getting in the middle of that sh*t). If you are in a relationship, seriously dating, married, living together, etc - you had damn well better not be in a compromising situation with another person.  If you don't have the balls to tell your significant other that you "want out", then go park your hiney at home until you can grow some. If I don't know you well enough to get in the middle, I will probably just excuse myself from the situation in an attempt to get the hell outta there. 

Outrageously uncomfortable - Money.  I would prefer not to know how much money you make, how much your monthly car payment is, or to be honest - how much you tip at the bar.  This is one of those private items that is better for you, your significant other, and your accountant to figure out.  

I can't wait to see what makes other people uncomfortable.  I seriously considered writing Wal-Mart underwear for this list, but thought that might be overly personal.  I also considered writing about people that are getting married but a terrible couple together, but also decided that might be inappropriate. Oh hell, my whole life is inappropriate. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Every Day in May - 2

Welcome to Day Two of the Every Day in May Link-Up! Today's prompt is "educate us on something you know alot about or are good at".  I'm feeling a little "braggy" writing about myself - did anyone else feel this way or am I just really awful at singing my own praises? 

I decided the thing I am best at is showing my affection and caring for others. I think this aspect of my life falls into three main categories - Deployment, Celebration, and Birthdays/Anniversaries.  

The one that requires the least amount of financial and time commitment is Birthdays/Anniversaries.  Following in my mom's footsteps, I keep my planner organized with the birthdays, anniversaries, etc of important friends and family members.  The first year I did this, it took a bit of organization (and a little Facebook stalking) - but now, a quite note when a new baby is born, or a friend gets married is all it takes.  I will admit that Dollar Store cards and the remainder of my collection of Christmas stamps are what I usually use.  But really, I try to focus on the fact that "it is the thought that counts". 

Celebrations are my second favorite way to show recognition to our friends and family! A well packaged bridal shower, wedding, or baby gift can go a long way.  Because of my work schedule, and family commitments, I miss more of these type of events than I would like to admit.  I do my best to stick to a fair budget for each shower, and a quality basket, ribbon, and well presented gift can create quite an impression.  I want the bride, or mother to be, to know that while I am so sorry to not be there in person, that I put all of my effort into purchasing, wrapping, and delivering/shipping the perfect gift for them. 

The last thing I pride myself on, is packing a quality deployment care package! I've got more than two years of experience with this one and have learned SO MUCH during that time.  Thanks to the wonders of the Dollar Tree, there is a "theme" for every month throughout the year! Even a twenty something man can embrace a March St. Patrick's Day box when it is full of silly green glasses, chocolate "gold coins", and Lucky Charms! Sometimes the little things are the most important in these boxes (like the celebration one above), moreso even than the expensive requests.  In Chris's case, these little items are tshirts, books, or food 
that Kevin and I will pick-up while we are on vacation, at Shady Maple, wherever.

Last Year's Easter Box - Peeps & Tastykakes on their way to Korea!  
My bff for all of the above packages - is my love of all things that the USPS can ship via a flat rate box and an International Customs Form. No top secret information here, but showing my love and continued support of friends and family is what I hope will be something I can always be remembered for.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Every Day in May - 1

I'm jumping into this one just one day late.  Thanks to Jenni at Story of My Life for hosting what is already an incredibly popular link-up!  The prompt is "the story of your life in 250 words or less" . 

I will admit that I was hoping for something very easy to start and this prompt was quite a bit challenging. 

An unremarkable lifestyle was the basis for the first 18 years of my life.  I had an amazing mother, she was creative, fun, and loving.  My overly technical dad could make any dinner conversation require an encyclopedia and is the reason I love the chemistry in baking and learned to pole-vault thanks to physics.  I grew up with a bratty little brother who ate my Barbie shoes, colored on my NKOTB posters, and let me use him as a speed bump for our Jeep.

My college years were bookended by an awkward Freshman year and a drunk-ass Senior year.  There were some years there in the middle (two to be exact), where I met two of my best friends, somehow convinced a coach I was good enough for collegiate athletics, and kept my head above water enough to graduate with honors.  Maybe I should also admit that I graduated from IUP – also known to my father as I Usually Party.

(I about fell over typing this next sentence) I graduated from college SIX years ago, and somehow found a job for a small but amazing company where no less than four members of our Accounting Staff act like my mother on a daily/weekly basis.  My personal life has both flourished and crashed, with my marriage to Rockstar hubs, pride in my brother’s service to our country, and the loss of my mom.  Purchasing our new home, with the closing date just two weeks away is our newest adventure!