Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Time to flex my brain muscles.

This one's going to be a big one, folks. I promise I will try to not let it just be one huge run-on sentence. I've got a bunch of nonsense to say and I'll be damned if I'm letting the opportunity slip away from me in the INSANITY that is going to ensue very shortly.

No, not the normal insanity. Like QUADRUPLE that. And throw in some fire ants.

I considered going through and basically trying to fill you in on all the wonderful, amazing things I've done in the past 4-5 months in which we were not on speaking terms, but that would take forever and most of my readers are friends with me on facebook, which means that you pretty much already know. However, in case you have forgotten how adorable my kids are, here are a few pictures to start us off on the right foot:

Riley at the Baltimore Harbor. People say he looks just like me and I'll take that with thanks.
He's a photogenic lad.
Too cool for me.
I got this one via text message while at work and coffee came from my nose.
Love this picture.
Now let's move on.

The next couple of years are slotted to be very busy for me. Tomorrow I start school again and I am apparently trying to prove something to myself or to you or to random strangers that I may consider assaulting on the street by taking a full course load- well, slightly less now, but I'll get into my stupidity in a moment. This means I will be working 40 hours a week, commuting nearly 15 hours a week and according to the syllabus, spending anywhere from "12-18 hours a week" studying. PER CLASS. Ha! I am taking five classes this semester. So that means in order to be a successful distance learning student, I should quit my job, give up my kids, showers, food, evacuating my bowels, etc. etc.
But I imagine that's a conservative estimate. People have done this before and will do it again. I want this and I'm going to do it. If the first semester seems too huge a burden to bear, I'll just take less credits in the semesters that follow and delay my graduation date- hell, I've waited this long, what's another 6 months? I've already had to extend my plan another semester anyway to accommodate the idiocy that I've hinted at a few times. You ready for this?

I took math and English placement tests yesterday to determine which classes I should be in. Actually, let me elaborate and set the scene for you, here, so you can taste my frustration. I took these same placement tests the year after I graduated high school and nearly aced both of them. I then proceeded to NOT go to college. Those test results expired after five years. So I lugged myself the 45 minutes to the closest campus to take the tests again yesterday. I had straightened my hair and looked awesome, but the campus is under construction and I had to walk some god-awful long path around buildings in the rain to get to where I needed to go. I looked like a poodle with smudged mascara. After taking my English test, as I waited for them to set up my computer for the math portion, it occurred to me that I had parked in student parking without a permit. Alas, my computer was now ready and I sat down to take the math portion, quietly hoping my car would not be towed.

English scores- 98% Reading, 99% Writing- Honors English qualified. I don't really give myself too big a pat on the back as far as that's concerned. The amount of reading and writing I do means that I should be scoring that high or else I don't know myself at all.

Math? I don't know a percentage. What I do know is that out of 9 units, I only passed 0, 1, 2 and 3 and I am not qualified for the math course (yes, only one math course) required in my degree plan. At first, I was pissed. Mostly I was pissed because where I KNOW my definite weakness is graphing and that I likely got every last graphing-related question wrong, I thought I was kicking the ass of the rest of it. Apparently I was wrong, or the weight of the graphing questions was much higher than I thought it would be. In any case, I took my papers and gathered my things and walked the long path of shame through the rain and back to my car. My car was present and un-ticketed, so I was very fortunate there. I texted Russell with the admission that obviously I was not fit to even lick the boots of a normal person with basic arithmetic skills and decided to go to a nearby restaurant to treat myself to a greasy plate of cheese fries while I brooded.

Said restaurant had been shut down since the last time I had been in the area. I accidentally went out-of-turn through a 4-way stop in my frustration and pissed a bunch of people off. I ended up in some random parking lot behind a complex of doctor's offices, trying to figure out how to get back to the highway.

I will give it a rest, but that's basically how the day progressed. By evening, I think my give-a-shit had thankfully broken and I felt a bit better. I know I'm not stupid. I'd done well on the test before. The problem is that I am now 30 years old and the last time I did most of those things was...... probably the last time I took the math placement test, in 2001. So maybe I need to brush up a little more? Big deal. At least it lightened my load for this semester a little bit! I will try to retake the test before next semester and see if I can't do a little better. If not, then I will have someone smarter than me pose as me and take the test in my place.

Other things coming up! I will try to write about each of these as they happen, but in case I am too CRAZY busy:

1) My 7th wedding anniversary to my husband (May 21st)
2) My one-year anniversary of being independently mobile (May 23rd)
3) Visiting two very very special babies (early June) and simultaneously doing a solo halfway-across-the-country road trip!
4) Meeting some ladies I've been friends with for years but have never gotten to meet before (June)
5) My 11th anniversary of having started dating my husband (July)

Also dentist appointments, a couple weeks of camp for Riley, a 5K in which I'll be chased by zombies- you know, the usual.

I hope all you mothers had a spectacular mother's day!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

One year older and wiser, too.

Today is my husband's 32nd birthday. He and I started dating 11 years ago, when he was 21 years old with Justin Timberlake curls and a bartending job and was busy contributing to the delinquency of minors because of his endless generosity (read: inability to say "no"). I won't go into the whole "this is how we met and fell in looooooooooooooove" thing because that should be talked about on anniversaries, not birthdays. Nor will I give you a detailed profile of who he is and what he smells like and why I hate his socks, because he is not a fan of people knowing a bunch about his life. He's a riddle cloaked in a mystery cloaked in tattered jeans and a thermal shirt, but ALAS- I have said too much already.

So now we'll recap.

Holidays happened since the last time I posted about anything even remotely entertaining. This is going to be the thread in which I talk about them. Those holidays were as follows:

-My thirtieth birthday (which ranks right after Christmas as far as birthday importance is concerned). What basically happened that day is I turned thirty and facebook slapped me about the face and shoulders with happy messages and people dumped hole-punches all over my cube at work. I have a picture, but I have since found out that we're not allowed to take pictures, here, so I will not post it out of FEAR.

-Valentines Day. I got the idea for Riley's valentines off of Pinterest and they were a huge hit. Here is a picture that may or may not be sideways because I am too lame to worry about it:

Also shown, one of my cutting boards. You now know a stupid amount about me.
-Mardi Gras. We did not celebrate this, I just wanted to let you know it happened in case you missed it.

-Daylight savings time. Which isn't a holiday, but don't you freaking hate it? We've honestly considered moving to some place in Arizona (I forget where) that doesn't acknowledge daylight savings time. That is how much it sucks. I am JUST now getting used to it.

-St. Patricks Day. I made green pancakes, put food coloring in the toilet, and made mint chocolate chip cookies.

That shit was good.
-Spring officially began. Which if you live in Virginia like I do, basically means you suffer through weeks and weeks in which the days alternate between 50 degrees and 80 degrees. Sometimes all in the same day.

-Easter! My kids were as spoiled as always. We didn't really do anything special besides hide eggs (THE EASTER BUNNY I MEAN) and spoil the kids. I thought about dropping some cadbury mini-eggs in the toilet and claiming the Easter Bunny pooped, but I assumed they'd have just sunk into out-of-sightness.

This is why Jesus came back.

This is only moments before she figured out this was good for bludgeoning.

I subsequentially forgot to put the eggs in the refrigerator and had to throw them all out.

-Apparently April 25th was administrative professionals day. I don't recall having gotten a card, so I will accept belated guilt gifts.

-Cinco de Mayo. I drank margaritas and made burritos and forced myself to eat chips and guacamole long after my appetite had been sated, just to fully appreciate the holiday that no one truly understands.

So, that brings us up to date. This coming Sunday will be mother's day and I am going to bring my mom some stuffed mushrooms.

My next post will update you on the NOT holidays. Which basically means I will overwhelm your computer with pictures! YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!

Monday, May 7, 2012

I'm like that really bad relative that never calls.

I'm also, for real, that really bad relative that never calls. You should be grateful you're not related to me.

Recently, someone asked me about my blog and after I did a small but no-less-awkward chair dance celebrating the fact that someone missed my blog I pleasantly explained that I basically either have it or I don't. I can't fake cute, I'm afraid. Well, I don't have to fake cute. I am always cute, it's just a matter of who finds me to be that way. Sometimes I am only cute to the devil and that's been pretty much my thing for a while. So I am sorry I neglected you, but rest assured my free time was spent doing amazing things.  Will I tell you what those things were? Sure.

1) I started writing a novel. Those who have known me for forever and then some probably rolled your eyes there and said "Yes, happy Tuesday", but this time I wrote a good bit. Like a hundred and a half of actual USEABLE material. That doesn't count the endless pages I threw out. And I am not done, oh no.

2) I turned thirty.

3) I moved offices.

4) I joined a Zombie Book Club.


6) I lost someone that was close to me.

7) I begin planning a solo road trip halfway across the country.

8) Other crap. Seriously, this list could go on forever. Laundry was done, Aquariums were visited, swingsets were purchased- okay, just one- and you missed it all. I am sure you're very upset about this, but I promise I will try to make it up to you. Starting.................................... tomorrow. This post has gone too far into miscellaneousness to be made into anything good at this point. So instead, let it merely serve as a reminder as to why you should never, ever ask me to blog.

Oh, here's a picture of my kid peeking out from behind her daddy.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I hear she still grants forgiveness although I willingly forgot her.

So my blog contacted me last night- PIP, because that's it's name- and this concerned me for a couple different reasons. The first reason was that being contacted by my blog probably doesn't reflect well on my mental health, but the second reason and more important one was that MY BLOG WAS RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING IT SAID. What it said is that our relationship has grown stale and that we either need to take it to the next level or evaluate whether or not we really want to be together at all. It was a hard conversation to have, and I'm still not sure what I've decided, so let's move on to other things.

Christmas happened while I was gone. I'll summarize our personal experience by saying that Riley tried to stop after every. single. thing. he opened and wanted to play with it for forty minutes so we had to keep rushing him along to finish opening the five million things he had, and Zee blew off her presents completely in favor of discovering OLD toys laying around the room and sticking them in her mouth.

But what I really wanted to say about Christmas is that I've thought about it, and it's basically the equivalent of a weekend in Vegas. I've never personally been, but I've seen "The Hangover" and CSI so I know all about it. You know a trip to Vegas is coming up; you're amp'd. This is going to be the BEST TRIP EVER. You plan it and think about it and then the day finally comes and you go and spend a TON OF MONEY and GET SO DRUNK and then suddenly the trip's over and you're broke and hungover and have to return to your boring life and know that it will be a long time before you can go back to Vegas, so now you have nothing to look forward to. You try to get drunk on other weekends and make fun of your own around the house, but somehow macaroni rainbows with the kids and cleaning the change from under the couch cushions doesn't compare. That is the reason that I kinda hate Christmas. I have at least fifty pictures I took from Christmas morning but I'm not letting you see any cause I haven't pulled them off my camera yet.

The true meaning of Christmas.
In other news, I had to withdraw from school after receiving perfect grades in my first unit (which made me happy at first, and then just sad) because I found out that ye' good ol' state of Virginia doesn't recognize degrees from that school as being "valid". Ouch. On the plus side, I am waiting to finalize other arrangements that WILL be valid (and 10 times more taxing on my free time, which I guess is a bummer, but it's not like anyone but me suffers from that) so I am getting back on the bull.

In other, other news, I drove in snow. Those who know me on facebook and not on facebook, so everyone at this point, knows this already, but if you know my history with driving than you know this is a big deal for me. There are seasoned drivers that don't drive in snow, and I've only been driving since May. I not only drove in FALLING snow one day, I drove in FALLEN snow the next day. Now, did I at one point or another think "today is the day I am going to die"? Yes. But I think that almost every day (I wish I were joking). There's this one yellow and black striped sign on the road that I pass in the morning, and it's slightly warped probably from having been run into by a car or rabid animal. For some reason, when my headlights shine on it it glows RED like it's soaked with blood, and without fail my response is to think "This is where I am going to die". For the record, I haven't died yet, but if I do? It will probably be because I am too busy staring at that sign to make the sharp turn that it accompanies.

And now, without further ado, my baby in a box:

What's the return policy?
Hope you all had a happy holiday and don't see blood soaked signs indicating your demise!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Are you there, blog?

It's me, Margaret Amber.

So, some things! This was an exciting week. Zoey turned one. Here are some pictures.

Showing off her outfit. She's stylin'. Also, it was very warm in my house. I know it's December.

She really loved her balloons.

This is an awful picture, but I love it because it shows how enthusiastically she was swinging the balloon.

Zoey's favorite present was a sing-a-ma-jig. She can't get enough of that thing.
I made strawberry cupcakes ('cause they's pink) with vanilla frosting and sprinkles.
She tasted and...
She approved! Note this one was taken after she unceremoniously tossed the cupcake on the floor.
So yeah. That. I may have cried several times throughout the day. My womb hurts and it's terrorizing my brain.

In other news, I started school yesterday. Since it's online and geared towards people that don't have a crapton of time, it's only two courses per semester. Each week is called a "Unit" and includes a seminar, a required assignment, and discussion board interaction. I am happy to say that I am the biggest teacher's pet ever. I am already 90% done with Unit 1 in both courses (I have a seminar scheduled for Monday, and the last question of one assignment requires me to 'look back at the week', so I'm holding out a little longer, but other than that? Done) and have wrenched compliments out of both of my teachers for being thorough (ie, submitting a 560ish word response to a request for 250 words) and interacting wonderfully with my peers. One teacher commented that I definitely seem "eager". Ha! I told Russell yesterday that if this wasn't the internet, I would probably be beaten up after class and have my lunch money stolen.

Why couldn't I have been like this in high school? Obviously I've done a lot of maturing since then (have I?).  I am anxious to get out of this rut. If that means I have to tear this online college shit apart with my teeth, so be it.

Also, if you find it in you to send a special holiday wish out to the cosmos for me, could you do so? Just wish that I don't die before we find the funds to get work done to my car. I need brakes and tires and have for some time, but you know how the months tend to just speed by, and suddenly SURPRISE! It's December and snow's in the forecast and you're driving with a couple bald tires and brake pads that should've been replaced last spring. Maybe I should worry about my car before I worry about my kids' Christmas presents, but that's not going to happen. I am almost 100% sure that Riley would rather have the tool bench he keeps asking for than a mom with all of her limbs. I mean, really. Who needs all those limbs?

Finally- NEXT MONTH I TURN 30. Don't tell anyone I told you. I was thinking I was going to be really upset about it, but guess what? I started driving this year, and I'm back in school working towards a degree, and employed, and my son is being considered for the "gifted" program at school, and in a few weeks I will have been a "non-smoker" for two years. Life is good. Maybe I'm not a millionaire in the monetary sense, but I'll be damned if I'm going to spend another birthday feeling all "woe-is-me" about not being where I thought I was at this point in my life. Pat on the back, me. You're not as stupid as you thought you were.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Baby Zee

Today, my baby girl turns 1. This post is about her.

My pregnancy with Zoey was a roller coaster. We were so happy to have conceived and I was so sure it was the girl we wanted, but morning sickness, sciatica, and gestational diabetes made it a rather uncomfortable and long pregnancy. She was also an incredibly strong and active baby. My mom commented at one point that she'd initially just thought I was a "wimp", but eventually saw that I was right- she never. stopped. moving. To say I was ready for her birth is an understatement.

Things didn't stop being hard after she joined us, however. Diagnosed with reflux, Zoey had trouble with keeping her liquid meals down and couldn't sleep flat on her back. In fact, she didn't seem to be able to sleep more than 20-30 minutes anywhere but in contact with one of us. Endless nights were spent downstairs on the couch. The intro to 'Dexter' still vividly brings back memories of being awake at 2, 3, 4 am with a fussing baby, watching episode after episode while the rest of the family slept. The couch became my home base through day and night, and I ended up with a pinched nerve in my back as a result. Zoey was determined to make whatever impression she could. My maternity leave was a blur, and I cried often, and constantly asked her "Why? Why, Zoey?" Returning to work, however, was even harder. I missed her with an absolute ferocity. She was no longer attached to me. It was like losing a limb.

Since then, she's grown exponentially in every manner. She never does anything half way. She attacks life with all of the passion and enthusiasm she's shown since she was able to bruise my insides. If she is not touching, tasting, smelling and speaking to every single thing she comes across, she is not happy.

She is a force of nature. She never stops moving, but she's always had the time to stop in the midst of her whirlwind attacks on life to give hugs. She doesn't do "gradual". One day, she took a few steps. The next day, she bolted across the room like a squirrel. One day, she pulled herself up on the bottom stair, the next day she climbed to the top.

I've often wanted to implore her to sloooooow down. She is quite probably my last baby. I know it would be pointless, though. She has a complete grasp of how quickly she's aging, and she cannot rest until she's accomplished every single thing she aspires to- which appears to be everything.

I can't help but be saddened by her first birthday. She's growing up, and she proves every day that she's going to be a fiercely independent child. I am also proud, though. There were times during her first year where she's intimidated me, and where I've honestly doubted my ability to mother this child.

But I think I'm going to be okay. If anything, I just need to learn from Zoey, who would be more than happy to teach me to just roll with the punches and charge full steam ahead towards whatever the future may hold.
I can't wait to see what the future holds for her. I love you, Zoey Jane. Happy first birthday. Keep on being you, the rest of the world be damned. Just like you've always been.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hello, again, friend of a friend.

Let's not waste time on reintroductions. Suffice it to say if I'd forced myself to write, it would have been even worse than when I actually WANT to, so you should consider yourself fortunate that I instead decided to neglect you.
I'll get straight to the point. I know you're busy. I see the way you're looking at me expectantly, wondering if I will be offering you a gem or a pile of dung. It's probably a little of both.

I am shamed, this holiday season. Shamed because I committed a great parenting foul. I made a list of all the things I wanted to buy people for Christmas. I labeled it, in my anal retentive manner, with their names, and labeled the entire paper with the words "Christmas List" (hopefully not "Christmas Shopping List"? I dunno, I don't have it with me). I tucked it away safely. Then I untucked it to look at it again and proceeded to lay it carelessly on the table at my house. Fortunately, I did use a complex code of highlighter colors to indicate things that had been ordered already, and did not provide a key with which to break the code, because I apparently forgot that my son is capable of reading.

I was informed this morning over the phone by my mother that Riley had apparently thought it was hilarious that I was considering buying him pajamas, and showed her where I'd written it on the list. The Christmas Shopping List. The clearly labeled list, detailing in my obsessive manner, every single friggin' gift I intended to spend money on this holiday season.

In one foul swoop, he has taken my control of this situation away from me. He holds this valuable knowledge over my head. In my mind, he is the Godfather. He sits pompously behind a heavy table with his fat fingertips pressed against each other and his head cocked just slightly downward enough to shadow his eyes. I approach him, meek and prostrate; his careless mother. He knows he holds the power of Christmas in his hands. It is in his power to destroy my careful planning, and I have unintentionally granted him this power. Now I must appeal to him to keep this secret (perhaps by hiding a severed horse head in his sheets), or try to outwit him.

My success in the coming battle will hinge upon whether or not I labeled it a "shopping" list. If I didn't, perhaps the claim that the list was for Santa (followed by a casual suggestion that he add anything he sees missing before I send it off) will work.

If I did? If I did label it a shopping list?

Then perhaps my son will stop believing in Santa Claus at five. At which point, my only solace will be in teaching him to use his new found knowledge as a weapon against other children.
I found this by googling "Parent fail". It makes me feel a little better.