How We Got Here

February 23, 2010

Would you like to be caught up?  Because I really want to catch up.  Let’s just take a look back to capture a few dates of recent importance.

January 18th:

Spoke with my Aunt Donna who, quite bluntly told me that I hadn’t done enough planning to pull off a wedding by May 29th.  I hadn’t planned for the fact it was Memorial Day weekend, and there would most likely be no tents, chairs, tables, or dance floors available to rent.  Not to mention some of the unexpected costs I wasn’t planning for.  So, I agreed that she was right.  I had been WAY too relaxed on the Wedding Planning front, and spoke with the City Boy.

We decided to push the wedding back to September 4th.  Labor Day.  Still a 3-day weekend for the convenience of traveling guests, 3 extra months to save and plan, the weather would probably be more stable, and we could figure out more cost-saving ways to put on the show.

February 12th:

After three days of fretting and worrying and flip flopping on the verdict in my head, I went to Wal-Mart and purchased an EPT test kit.  Coming home from the store, I unloaded all the groceries and went to the business of “administering the test”.  And guess what new skill I’ve learned recently?  After years of practice, I finally figured out how to turn a pregnancy test positive!  Apparently, it’s not nearly as difficult as I thought!  Seriously – within SECONDS the infamous second line appeared, and made it very clear that it was staying right there.

I screamed.  I squawked.  I pulled up my pants and called my best friend, then my mom.  I tried reaching the Stud, but he was at work and away from the phone.  I paced.  I couldn’t believe it, and I was so excited!

So, here we are 11 days later.  We started the 6th week of gestation yesterday and have attended one doctor’s appointment.  This week has brought with it some crazy nausea that I wasn’t experiencing until now.  I’ve bought two pregnancy books for me, and one for the father-to-be.  I have turned into a slightly deranged version of myself, and am starting to doubt that I’ll ever be a functioning member of society again!  It seems I just want to moan, and sleep, and think of never eating again.

Oh, and on the wedding front?  We’ve pushed it back up to April 10th.  Which leaves us just 6 weeks to plan and get our butts to KY for our ceremony & reception.  We cut the budget by about 75% (no need for a big fancy wedding when there’s a baby to plan for.  Priorities, People!)  I dropped my dress off yesterday with the seamstress who is going to make a little alteration to make room for my (wowsa!) expanding chest so that I can make it down the aisle without busting anything.  Invitations are going out this week — we’re actually going to make this happen, and SOON! 

We are excited … to say the least.  Today is the City Boy’s 36th birthday and he says that our baby is the perfect present.  As he is out enjoying his birthday jog, I sit in this house … still in my pajama pants from yesterday feeling gassy and gross.  When he returns, I plan to cook him a meal of zucchini squash, spinach salad and broiled salmon … but I intend on eating NONE of it because I am nauseated by the thought.  Guess it’ll be peanut-butter toast for this mama.

What a month!!  What a year this will be.  I just keep thinking that by my birthday in December I’ll be a mother!  I’ll have a 2-month old!  We will have a baby with us at Christmas time!  We will not only file our taxes as Married from now on, but we’ll also have ourselves a little exemption!  Wow.  Just … wow.

So, I’m expecting to be more inspired to write in the coming months, which is good.  Our babe will need documentation of what his/her parents were like before we turned into Mommy and Daddy.



Matters of Perspective

January 26, 2010

Living with the City Boy has its wondrous moments.  His perspective is often very different than mine when it comes to the way of the world.  When we first met I fell in love with his optimism and ambition, because it so closely matched mine.  I loved his little quirks – he is a steel trap for dates and trivia about people’s lives.  He is fascinated with ages for some reason … if he hears someone’s birthday, he instantly figures how much older or younger he is than the person, he overlays this information with the ages of people in his life and gauges the person based upon their generation, and how closely they fit in relation to time with others he knows.  Right now, as I’m typing this I think this little quirk about him is adorable … however, when he’s sitting right beside me talking about this marvel of someone’s age it can be terribly annoying. 

I love how he connects with people.  I’ve said this before, but before I met him I thought I was a nice person … I would be pleasant to people, always smile and nod at passersby, etc.  But the City Boy puts my passive little niceties to shame!  He doesn’t stop at smiling and nodding at someone … he practically stops them in their tracks to ask how their day is going.  He befriends strangers right off the street!  He makes me feel like a troll!!  But, I love this about him.  I love that he isn’t intimidated by others.  I love that he is confident and caring enough to make someone’s day just by saying “hello”.

However, one fall back to living with the City Boy is his “paranoia”, or at least that’s what I think it is.  He calls it being aware of his surroundings, and he thinks I’m “too lax” about everything.  I’m too laid back – this I think is hilarious because my entire family would scream the opposite.  So, if the rest of the world thinks I’m uptight and he thinks I’m too laid back, what the hell does that make him?  Exactly! 

For example, one wonderful part of living in Orlando in the winter time is that often times we can leave the doors and windows open in the evenings.  The other day, I had the sliding glass door in the back of the house open.  City Boy walks into the room and asks if I’ve closed the screen, to which I responded “Yes.  The screen is closed – no bugs are coming inside.”  Do you know what his next statement was?  “Well, I just want to make sure we keep the back door closed.  You never know when a stray dog will come into the backyard and see the back door is open.  Next thing you know, we’ll have a house with a dangerous dog in it.”

Yes, America.  I’m not kidding.  I think it’s so cute, his City-fied self.  He makes me feel like some rough and worn cowgirl or something, even though I’m from the suburbs of Cincinnati … but I was raised in the best of both worlds … the city 15 miles away, and farms and creeks and barefooted summer days anytime I wanted them – unless it was snowing of course.

So, there is a running joke in our house that I’m the laid back outdoorsy type and he’s the paranoid city kid.  Ha, ha!  Well, I worked from home today and the fresh air coming in from the sliding glass was so nice that I decided to leave the door open while I went upstairs to take a shower.  Even though I left it open, the thought ran through my head several times that it was possible that someone could find themselves in my backyard while I was upstairs and let themselves in, but I didn’t let that thought of something with such a low probability of happening force me into shutting out the fresh air on such a nice day.  I laughed at myself that City boy was infiltrating my judgement.

I took my shower, and began to blow dry my hair, with the whispering thought in my head that someone could be inside my house right now and I wouldn’t hear them over the sound of the dryer.  Just then, I looked up at the mirror in front of me and with my peripheral vision I caught a glimpse of someone in the medicine cabinet and almost.had.a.heart.attack!  I didn’t recognize that little glimpse as someone who could be me.  I thought it was an intruder, IN MY BATHROOM, ready to knock me down.  My entire body experienced a split second of shock and fear.

Thank goodness it was just me, and not the boogie man.  But, that little experience did teach me something – it’s better to be laid back and be surprised by something tragic that happens, than be worried on a chronic basis about things that have a very low likelihood of occurring.  Am I right?  What do you think?

Is It Foul? Or Fowl?

November 25, 2009

Yes, I know … I was AWOL yesterday, but I had a great excuse … I wasn’t here.  I was in Jacksonville meeting with friends and associates, and didn’t roll into the homestead until 2 am this morning.  So, please take it easy on me.  I’ve had a long 36 hours.  Now, here is my long awaited Thanksgiving poem of 2009:

I’m thankful …

For the roof over my head,

For the blankets on my bed.


For the boy who wakes me up,

And puts coffee in my cup.


For the pup who pees on his own leg,

And for the fact he rarely begs.


For my family I neglected for 10 stupid years,

I’m so glad they’re in my life despite the many tears.


For my friends I have had since nursery school,

For still being tight although they realize I’m not cool.


For the weeds growing in my yard,

Which remind me when I’m not working hard.


For all the changes in my life I’ve made,

That never would the pain I trade.


For future blessings I know will be,

A source of joy or pain for me.


For knowing I’m loved both far & near,

And allowing me access to those so dear.


For this year’s feast which will not be,

Gross cranberry sauce & dry turkey!

And that is that.  For the rest of today I will be working away at the office, and follow that up with baking my Pumpkin Crumble Cake for the grandparents tomorrow.  The recipe will be posted this evening if you’d also like to make it.  You will NOT regret it!! 

Gobble Gobble!

2 Weeks Late

October 27, 2009

You know those days when you wake up in a fog bubble and can’t seem to pop it?  You stumble around all day, figuratively and physical; tripping on objects left on the floor, words you can’t quite assemble into a proper sentence; you try to smile, and maybe you are, but it still feels like you’re still frowning, not fooling anyone.  That has been my year, unfortunately.  Just mucking through every day … yuck!  Not a way I want to be living my life, that’s for sure!  Today is no exception … called in sick to work and here I sit.  Stuck.

It feels like my life has lost its purpose.  I need a job/daily activity that has some significance … that NEEDS my presence … that gives me some sort of excitement about waking up each day.  Because, seriously.  That is soooo lacking right now that most days I don’t even roll out of bed until after 8am and I don’t want to live like this.  I want to jump out of the sack at 5 am ready to start another day!! 

But I honestly feel like the only way that can be possible is if I have some meaningful responsibilities throughout that day.  ugh!  Oh well, it’ll work itself out I suppose.


So, the wedding was great two weeks ago!  And to prove it, I have posted the very few pictures that I took while there.  The ceremony went off without a hitch, our green dresses & gold shoes didn’t seem to clash at all which was a huge relief!  The food was great, the beer in the limo was cold, and my Dad cried during his speech (he was the best man).  Really got to me.  The weather could have been a little warmer, but all of us girls in our sleeveless dresses and bare legs pulled through and managed to get through the outdoor photo shoot before the wedding.  Also, something that I really like about how they set things up: (1) no bouquet toss or garter toss for the sake of time and (2) wedding cakes were dispersed on each table as a centerpiece so everyone could cut and serve their own piece.  Saved time and staff members so people could get cake out of the way and get down to the business of “gettin’ down”.


This wasn't taken with my camera. Please excuse the blurriness.

My new sister-in-law’s parents spent a fortune on the wedding.  So, as a result there were a host of long-lost relatives and old babysitters there that I hadn’t seen in probably a decade or more.  Everyone was so happy to see me (and vice versa) and they all wanted to meet the City Boy (of course they did!  He was the only Black person in attendance.)  It felt like 75% of the reception I was introducing him and going through the nicities and small talk that is customary, although I was itching to get out on the dance floor. 


My grandmother & her youngest, my Uncle Scott. He's quite the character!

At first, I was thinking “Well, it’s probably good we’re getting all of these introductions out of the way NOW versus at OUR wedding”.  But then, after a few drinks and a little common sense I realized that I wouldn’t be able to invite HALF of these people to our wedding!  So, while everyone was hugging and shaking our hands saying things like, “Congratlations!  We can’t wait to see you again at your wedding”, I was thinking “FAT Chance, Sister!”


The Bride & Groom, tearing up the dance floor

I don’t have the money to invite everyone we want to … not only that, but I want it to be a fairly intimate wedding.  No hooplah or hullabaloo, no formal “putting on of the airs”.  Just two people who love each other, making a commitment in front of people who love us and will hold us to that commitment when we feel like running the hell away from each other.  Because, believe me – I know that day will come.


Junior Best Man, Austin! My favorite little brother turned 11 the day after the wedding!

Anyway, it was truly a GREAT weekend, and I think my funk may have sunk lower since we got home because I’ve been feeling more “homesick” than usual.  Some days I feel like I’m just waiting for the go ahead from the City Boy to pack up and move North.  It’s the strangest thing EVER because I’ve lived away from home for 8 years and this is the first time I’ve ever experienced this.  Missing my family?  Psst.  News to me!  But it’s true.


My Family

To the happy couple: we love you and miss you and know that you will strive to make each other happy, laugh, and better.  Hopefully simultaneously!


Happily Ever After ...

City Love with the City Boy, Part 1

October 7, 2009

They say it’s important not to compare, but I don’t see how a person can possibly avoid it.  I tried, for awhile, but I continued to fail, so now I compare whenever the fancy strikes me.  After all, “comparing” is what made me realize what an amazing and different and unique person the City Boy is from every other person I’ve ever met.  I learned, and very quickly, not only how wrong I was for so long to think that the relationship I had resigned myself to was as good as it could get (what an idiot I was!) but also how wonderful people can be for each other.  Okay, I’m getting way ahead of myself here.

Here’s how it all started …

Before work each morning, a girlfriend/employee of mine and I were meeting at the gym downtown to work out.  We strived to get going around 6am.  Usually, you would find us in the free weight area upstairs, her chatting on and on incessantly about something personal and emotional (that’s how she rolls.  The woman has NO filter for what is appropriate for disclosure.  It’s amazing!)  and I would sit there listening, waiting for a split-second chance to squeeze two words in edge-wise, while working on dumbbell curls or tricep dips.  It was our routine.  Working out that early gave us time to focus on what we were doing without the distraction of the rush hour crowds.  It was quieter in the mornings, people were friendlier and machines and weights were usually free for the taking.  It was the only time in my life where something was worth getting out of bed at 5AM.  I needed this.

One mid-February morning, as Genia and I sat in our usual exercise area chatting about her life’s drama, a man ascended from the stairwell right behind us.  He got my attention because a) he resembled Cuba Gooding, Jr., and b) he was entirely too energetic for 6:15 in the morning.  “Good morning, Ladies”, he said as he walked by us.  A flash of smile, mp3 player buzzing in his ears.  “Having a good workout?”

We smiled back at him, said “Good morning”, and went about our conversation.

The routine seemed to repeat itself for the next two weeks.

Occasionally, after work Genia and I would throw some running clothes on and run through downtown from our office, back to the gym for another quick workout.  Just something to keep us busy in the evenings, and gave us a nice opportunity to un-wind after work before returning to our personal lives at home.  I must say, I absolutely loved this time of my life … not everything, but just these moments of running in the cool spring air, over the Main Street bridge, around the Jacksonville Landing, cutting across a parking lot, around the Bank of America building, and to the gym.  All the while, telling stories and laughing.  Laughing so hard.  I was sooo happy to be both out of the house AND not at work.  I think it was the first time I realized that it didn’t HAVE to be one or the other.  You actually could have something ELSE to do in life.  Earth shattering concept, right?

Anyway, I recall running into “Cuba” (as we had begun calling him) at the gym on some of these nights.  Surprisingly, he was just as happy-go-lucky and personable in the evenings as he was in the early mornings.  Our conversations were always held short, small talk pleasantries.

Then came the fateful day in late-March.  Genia discovered Spinning class, and this is where things get interesting.  Apparently, the gym was about to start offering Spinning classes at 6:30AM on Wednesdays and Fridays.  Having been in a Spinning class a few times in my life, I already knew that I absolutely hated it!  I wanted no part of it, and told Genia as much.

“Well, what are you going to do while I’m in class?” she asked.

“Oh, don’t worry about me”, I retorted.  “I will just do some running while you’re in class.  I think it’d be great to run around downtown twice a week.”

But then The Obvious hit me upside the head – I’m a woman, in a crime-ridden city, running alone, in the dark.  Not smart, Dumbass! Actually, it wasn’t really The Obvious that hit me upside the head – it was Genia.  Instantly, I wanted to protest her argument, but I knew she was right.  “What about Cuba?” I asked.  Sure!  It made perfect sense.  He was definitely in great shape and looked like he could go a few laps, he was a very friendly guy, seemed trustworthy, and of course I was interested in knowing more about him (aside from the fact that he looked great in sleeveless shirts, was seemingly nice to EVERYONE he came in contact with, and had a smile that could melt stone).  I decided to ask Cuba to be my running partner the next morning at the gym.

Only … I wouldn’t be seeing him at the gym the next morning.  He seemed to have vanished, and I had no way of getting a hold of him.  I didn’t even know his name.

What is to come of Em’s predicament?  Will she be forced to participate in grueling Spin class?  Or would she run alone and end up lost and mugged in the early morning hours?  What would happen if she asked some “other” fellow at the gym to run with her?  Would it be a good match, or would she end up bruised and battered in an alley somewhere?  Will she EVER get a word in edge-wise with Genia?  All this and more on the next installment of “City Love with the City Boy”

It’s Not Ideal, but I Have to Say “It’s OK”

September 17, 2009

When I hear words like “recession” or “falling economy” or “tough times” I think of sacrifices.  People who have taken up a second or third job to continue paying their bills.  People who have had to re-route their entire career objective in order to overcome the hurdles currently obstructing their way.  Buying generic peanut butter instead of JIF (we all know that generic peanut butter just plain sucks.  I don’t know why, but it does), adjusting our thermostats to bear just a little MORE discomfort during our waking hours at home, cutting back on impulse buys, holding on a little tighter to our cash as it’s deposited into the offering plate each Sunday (I’m speaking hypothetically on this one.  I don’t attend a church, so therefore am not tithing … maybe I shouldn’t have admitted that?)

Anyway, you get the drift.

I’m not going to list of the injustices and sacrifices we’ve made over the past year, but I will tell you that due to the current economic climate, the City Boy has just started a new job which will have him at work from 3pm to midnight 5 days a week (including Saturday).  I’m a pretty independent chick, so I’m not overly concerned about being lonely or scared in the house by myself at night.  I just worry about not getting to hang out with my best friend.  And I’ll worry about him driving after midnight on the highway.  I’m certainly not going to beg him to quit or give him a hard time about it.  We need the money, and it’s only temporary, and I know we can survive a tough schedule for crying out loud.  I’m just sad now for the “future me” who will be spending countless nights alone with the dogs watching reruns of Law & Order.

However, there is an upside to this!  I told myself months ago that I was on a “working-out/dieting/caring-about-fitness-period” freeze until the CB started a decent job.  With all the stress of weddings & moving & finances, I wasn’t going to let myself stress about how many calories I had burned that day as well.  Besides, we couldn’t really afford to EAT right, so why bother on the other stuff?  All or nothing … that’s my philosophy.  Anyway, due to him starting this job on Monday, I’ve been actually thinking and planning and getting back into the old frame of mind, and I must say.  I like it.

I joined a networking group called Fit & Social Orlando.  They have meet-ups all over Orlando throughout the week … different things like Pilates, or Yoga, or Running or boot camps.  They are participating in all the local 5K runs (there are a ba-zillion in the area throughout the year) and bike rides, etc.  I think this will be good for me while the City Boy is working.  It will allow me to get back into moving my ass, and who knows?  It may even help me meet a friend or two?!  So, the first event I’m participating in is a 5K on the 26th.  CB is going to run it with me, although I’m sure he will kick my ass.  On Monday, I ran about 1.5 miles, and the same yesterday.  Today I’m going to the gym at our neighborhood recreation center to take care of some leg workouts.  I’ll run with the puppy in the evenings (she NEEDS it) and hit the gym 4 days per week.  I can’t wait to see some muscle again.  I want my body back from last year!!

In addition to keeping fit, not having the City Boy home in the evenings means I have no excuse not to get Lexi in tip top shape, training wise.  All I need is some peace & quiet and her attention.  So, I think that after a run each night she will be more receptive to learning how we want her to behave.  Any tips or advise will be much appreciated by the way.

I plan to use some of this time to plan our wedding and do more writing.  And there should be no reason why my house isn’t clean everyday.  Actually, this little lifestyle sounds really great.  And all of this would all be so wonderful … but there’ll still be a gaping hole in daily life without the City Boy to flash me that smile when I’m frustrated, or put the moves on me when I least expect it.  No more coming home in the evenings to a bubble bath already ran and candles twinkling in the bathroom to the musical stylings of the Cranberries or Mariah Carey or Luther Vandross. 

I am now the single parent … with shared custody of two spoiled rotten “kids”.  Thank God for text messaging!!

So, the sacrificing will continue as long as the news continues to report 500K new unemployment claims each week.  The City Boy will work whatever hours he is asked to, our thermostat will continue to be knocked down just a little more and a little more, and I don’t see name brand peanut butter being a staple in the house for a long time to come.  But the important things we will not sacrifice … our health, our happiness, our love for each other … and my new bottles of Tousle Me Softly hair products.  That’s where I draw the line.

… With What God Gave You

September 16, 2009

Let’s talk about wedding stuff, shall we?  As you know, we spent our Labor Day weekend in Kentucky earlier this month.  It was an obligatory trip in order to attend my future sister-in-law’s bachelorette party and bridal shower.  Plus, we wanted to see the new baby and we wanted to get our Engagement Photos shot.  So, we crammed in a bunch of visiting and the above mentioned tasks into 2 days.  It was a blast!

I really don’t know much about photographers.  I know that I truly appreciate good quality photography, but have tried to create it myself and fail miserably every time.  Also, when we first got engaged and I started frugally completing our wedding budget, I was so naïve about the costs of photographers.  I thought we could secure a good package for $400.  I know!  Talk about embarrassing.  When I mentioned this, I thought my sister was going to slap me clear across the face.  “Of all the things in your wedding, you HAVE to spend money on your pictures!”  Then my mom chimed in, “When it’s all said & done, all you’ll have is those pictures.  Nothing else about the day will matter.  Spend the money!”

So, I determined that the going rate in Cincinnati was about $3,000 – $3,500.  Gulp.

My brother went to school with a girl who is a photographer, and an amazing one at that!  Check her out here.  She actually just relocated to Phoenix, but will travel anywhere.  I started talking to her about shooting our wedding, but she was in the middle of the move so I told her to just catch back up with me when she can.  After all, I thought we had plenty of time to discuss the details.  Little did I know that as soon as I would tell her “we’ll get to it when we get to it”, I found an amazing deal!  God bless Craigslist!

Leroux Visual.  It’s a husband & wife team.  I did a little perusing around their sight, their gallery, checked out what Google had to say about them.  All signs pointed to “go!” but their pricing was SO reasonable.  Almost TOO reasonable, if you know what I mean.  But, I had confidence based on what I had seen of their work, so we went in for the best packages for both photography AND videography, and you know what?  It’s STILL cheaper than the going rate of $3,500 for photography!  I know!  I’m so glad I found them. And, because they are handling both aspects of the “capture”, they can incorporate our photos into the video footage and disk extras.

Our photo package included an Engagement Session.  So, we scheduled it for our Labor Day trip. 

I received the CD of photos in the mail yesterday.  Very anxiously, I opened the envelope and saw a cute graphic with one of our pictures on the label.  I held my breath as I inserted the CD into my laptop.  The first photo?  UGLY!  The second photo? More UGLY!  By the third photo I was starting to wonder if it’s possible to BECOME a person with Down Syndrome through the aging process because, if you ask me, that is exactly how I looked.  I had never felt so ugly in my entire life!  This wasn’t an issue of bad photography.  In fact, I truly liked the way the pictures looked … it was just that ugly chick in them that I despised!  The City Boy was at work, so I sent him a text: “U r marrying a very ugly chick u know.  I’m looking at our engagement pics.  U r hot (of course) but I’m hideous!”  He responded with, “Whatever.  You’re gorgeous!”  Then, I called my sister sobbing into the phone, “I’m getting uglier and uglier!!  My eyes are drooping off the side of my face!  I look like I have Down Syndrome!”  She laughed at me, but then suggested maybe we get more pictures taken.  She obviously didn’t understand. 

“You don’t understand”, I said.  “The problem is not the lighting, the photography, the colors!  It’s the subject!  No matter who takes my picture, they still will be working with an UGLY subject!” More crying.  Honestly, I don’t know what came over me.  I’m not usually very emotional … especially over things like this.  But, damn it.  I was very upset last night.  She suggested that I email a few of the pictures to her to review, and I agreed.  By the end of our conversation, I was already approaching the second loop of pictures.

0909 - Engagement Pics - 5

Maybe it was the wonders of being calmed down by a sister from 910 miles away, or maybe my vision was blurred by all the tears, but when I saw the pictures for the second time, they really weren’t that bad.  Sure, there were a few that made me want to stab myself in the crooked face, but I just quickly moved past those to the ones that weren’t so bad. 

EDITED TO ADD: In the event that someone may have stumbled upon my site in effort to research references for LeRoux Visual, please don’t let my whining about my pictures let you think for one second that I’m not pleased with the work that was done.  I think he did an amazing job with the lighting (which was a challenge due to all the direct sunlight), colors, poses, etc.  He was very good to work with – he and his wife, and I’m looking forward to the wedding & reception shots as well!  So far, I highly recommend them!

0909 - Engagement Pics - 1

So, I’ve come to accept these pictures as what they are.  Moments of happiness caught in time for us to remember forever.  It’s not a beauty contest, it’s the looks of anticipation of our wedding, marriage and life together.  It’s these pictures that mark our spot in time as we are planning, and dreaming, and talking about what we want to happen in the coming years.  Where we want to travel.  What our children’s names will be.  Where will we move?  What sort of businesses will we run?  How will we balance fitness with family.  Will we spend Christmas in Kentucky & Thanksgiving in Chicago?  Some of these, we have the answers to.  Others we’ll figure out together along the way, but can’t you see how excited we are?  Can you FEEL it?!?

0909 - Engagement Pics - 3