On Having Hope

It wasn’t easy for me to put together this post about hope, my first for the Blog Hop. Because I have such a varied potential audience, including family, friends, colleagues, and possibly even students of mine, I have tried to keep things light on here. Let me tell you, that ain’t always easy.

There are so many different stories of hope that I can share. I can talk about a friend of mine who is enduring surgery today just a few weeks after her husband in the hopes of conceiving the baby of their dreams. They’ve been trying a long time, and it was great for her to say to me, “I actually feel HOPEFUL again!” She’s riding that wave, and I hope that she gets her heart’s desire, because she deserves every bit of happiness that comes her way.

Similarly, I can share a story of another friend, who after ages trying, was in the midst of the adoption process. She and her husband decided to give one last fertility treatment a go. It worked, and she’s expecting her baby this fall. They never gave up on being parents, and their dreams are in the process of coming true.

Or yet another friend who was laid off from his job shortly after buying a new house and the arrival of his second child. In the 11th hour, he landed a position that ended up paying significantly more than where he was before. He saves his rejection letters, so that he can one day show his sons how perseverance pays off.

I could go on and on like this, about people who move onward and are repaid by the universe. There are so many inspiring stories. But me? I’m not feeling too hopeful these days. Quite frankly, it’s been a difficult few years.

I got laid off from my job a bit over two years ago. I was fortunate enough to land a full time teaching position where I was adjuncting, and to have it renewed for a second year. That contract is coming to a close this fall, and I will return to part time work. Union rules dictate that two years are all I can do as a non-permanent employee. Due to the state budget crisis, there are no open positions, so here I am. Come fall, my pay will be 20% of what it was two years ago.

We planned for this, though. The Boy was finishing up his school administrator certification. We had our 6 month reserve of money in the bank. On paper, we did everything right. Then the economy hit. Teachers were (and still are) being laid off, and people were coming out of retirement because their retirement portfolios took a hit. Jobs were sparse. He got precious few interviews last year, due to the fact that he hadn’t held an administrative title as of yet, and none of the ones he did have panned out. Through some odd circumstances, he was no longer able to teach at the university on the side and a great opportunity that was a “sure thing” fell through at the last minute. Oh, and did I mention that he got a pay cut? Sorry, I meant furlough days, although they will never get that money back going forward.

We resigned ourselves to the fact that we were going to spend another year where we were. It was okay, because I had another year of full time work ahead of me. Now? More interviews, sure… nothing of which has panned out. A couple of really promising opportunities that looked like they really might happen fell apart, again under odd circumstances.

Why don’t I go back to work fulltime you ask? Well, for starters, there are no jobs in interactive media these days, unless I chose to commute into NYC, which is over 2 hours each way. I’ve applied for some teaching work at other universities with no luck. I’m in the process of trying to figure something out, but I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

So how does hope play into all of this? I wish I could say something inspiring that would put everything into perspective and make things feel right. But I don’t have it. Frankly, I’m out of gas. There is still one prospective job from an interview last week that we’re waiting to hear from. I just don’t expect much, because we haven’t gotten much. It’s so wrong, but when I’m feeling hopeful, it feels like the fall of disappointment is so much further and harder. We’re doing nothing wrong and there is nothing we can do to improve the situation, so it’s this hard, horrible, helpless feeling.

So, I’m struggling to regain my hope that good things happen to good people and that we’ve more than paid our dues. What will the future hold? I have no idea. But what I do know is that there is a little 15-month old girl here, the best thing that has happened to us – ever, who makes me push forward and keep trying. Because we owe it to her to be hopeful and to teach her that good things do happen.

Why I always need to have my camera

Indigo is a funny girl. She’s always up to something that makes me laugh. So often, she is doing something so cute that I want to capture it for posterity. These past few weeks have not disappointed.

  • We were visiting a friend, and there was someone else there with her two-year-old daughter. Indy followed her around for a while and proceeded to try and sit in her lap when she was sitting cross-legged on the floor. Imagine that poor little girl’s surprise. She kept trying to scoot over to give Indy room, but she kept readjusting her aim so that she can get her lap.
  • When the above didn’t work out, she decided the next best thing was to sit in that little girl’s mother’s lap. She just plopped herself in there with out thinking twice about it. Indy = not shy at all.
  • Indy loves books and spends a good portion of each day bringing us books to read to her. Sometimes, she’ll have one of us read a couple of pages, and then take the book to the other to read. Tag team story time!
  • Indigo also thinks the dogs are smarter than they are. She brought our big guy Logan a book, so that he could read it to her. He, of course, picked his head up from his nap and proceeded to look at her like she was nuts.
  • Last night during naked time before her bath, she was walking around her bedroom with her stuffed Pooh and a bunny. She kept setting them up next to each other in different parts of the room and I couldn’t figure out why. Finally, she got them to a place she was happy with and tried to sit in their laps. She was getting aggravated because they kept sliding away from her on the hardwood floor. Finally, she sat them in her boppy and plopped on top of them. Success!

As soon as I grab the camera, the moment is often broken. She gets distracted and often would rather have the camera than whatever else she was doing. Sometimes I can catch her quirky behavior, though.

Like the time the other week where she crammed herself into one of those Ikea drawer organizers and loaded it up with her toys on top of herself:

But she already kind of had a thing for cardboard boxes, so this didn’t come as a shock:

Or the time a few months ago when she learned about all the fun possibilities of her boppy:

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My kid’s a little quirky (just like her momma), and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

My first award!

I was lucky enough to win my first award from Torie over at Life with Rylie. She’s a total doll with a great blog and her daughter is adorable. Also check out her Etsy shop On Top Baby Bows. She’s got some super sweet stuff on there.

And now, the award:

The Sunshine Award! It’s so flattering to be told that my little blog brings sunshine into people’s lives.

Rules are as follows:
1.Thank the person who gave it to you!

2.Share 10 things about yourself

3.Pass the award along to 10 bloggers who you think deserve this award!

4.Contact the bloggers and let them know you’ve picked them for the award.

10 things about me:

1. I was way more at ease about being a mother than I expected I would be. I slid into it like it was an old shoe, and I have no idea why. I’m beyond grateful for this, though.

2. I’m a worrier. Like, bad. I prefer to think of it as my superpower.

3. My husband is the girly one in this relationship. He is obsessed with keeping his hair neat. His belt must always match his shoes, and he will never wear sweatpants to go get the mail. Me? I’m a tomboy to the core.

4. I was a badass softball pitcher when I was in high school. I won lots of awards, including league MVP. I was recruited to play college ball, and I blew out my knee during our first practice. I played through a lot of pain, and my knees have never been the same since.

5. I teach in the same department where I did my undergraduate work. Many of my old professors are now my colleagues. It’s kind of a trip, and I love it.

6. I was a mediocre student when I did said undergraduate work. I’m at a local state university, so I have a good understanding of the student population that’s there. More importantly… all the lame excuses they give me? I see right through them because I’ve used them all at one point or another. I never played the dead relative card; I always thought that was tempting fate.

7. I have a master’s degree in Interactive Communication. I studied the impact of social media on business and society. I graduated top of my class. It’s one of my proudest moments.

8. I’ve backpacked around Europe twice, and have driven across the US three times. I love me some traveling and can’t wait to hit the road with Indy in tow!

9. I often prefer the company of my dogs to that of other people, with the exception of The Boy and Indigo.

10. I have an affinity for trashy reality television. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone!

Here is my list of blogs that I think add a little sunshine to my day!

Running for Lillian

Life with Monster

Completely Eclipsed

My Life with One Eye Open

Resourceful Red

My Little Spot

Deep Thoughts of a Not So Deep Thinker

The Adventures of Ainsley Jane

Birthday Boy

Wishing the happiest birthday to my fantabulous husband, The Boy. Got to love a man who knows how to get his snuggle on. A boy snuggling a pug spooning a llama. That’s how we roll in this house.

Funny thing about our birthdays. We were born a little over two months apart, me being the older one. Of course luck (or stupidity) would have it that we planned our wedding day during that extremely short span of time that I’m “a year older.” That’s right, when you look on our marriage license, it has me listed as the older woman. Never, ever living that down. FML.

Anyways, Happy Birthday, my love!

Splashtastic!

It was extremely hot and humid in these parts this past weekend. We have central air conditioning, which makes sleeping much more tolerable, but we were itching to get out and about. It was the perfect opportunity to break out the kiddie pool.

Now, I have to say that the picture of the pool on the box is deceiving. It had three kids having a blast with lots of space. I had pictures in my mind of sitting in the pool with Indigo on a hot summer day. Okay, so maybe in my mind’s eye, I was actually floating in it with a cold cocktail, but I digress. Needless to say, they Photoshopped the crap out of that image and crushed my dreams.

Anyway, so I get this pool blown up and it’s tiny. Like, miniscule. To the point that I’m glad that I only have one child, because there was no way that two would fit into it. Luckily Indigo is skinny, so we were good to go. Daddy filled up the pool and we made our move.

The only problem is that the water was freezing. We have well water, so I guess that has something to do with it? I don’t really know. We knew that it was going to be a tough sell to get Indy into the pool. We put our feet in, splashed around with some toys, but she still wasn’t feeling it. It was at that point that we got our genius idea, who was running around the yard trying to escape The Boy and the garden hose.

We grabbed Bobo and plopped him in the middle of the pool. Upon seeing her bestest buddy ever wading in the water, Indigo made her way in. She had a blast! It was too cold for her to actually sit down in the water, so we put her lawn chair in the middle of the pool, which was a huge hit! She had a blast splashing around.

Sunday, we went to The Boy’s cousin’s house to celebrate the first communion of their daughter. Again, it was a hot and humid day, and they have a great pool. The Boy took Indy in to cool off. Wow, did this girl love that pool. She splashed, she squealed with joy, and all around had a blast. She was actually pushing away from The Boy in the same way she does when she wants to be put down. We definitely need to do this more often. Man, I wish we had a pool.

Next stop, the beach!

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to all the vetran, newb, and soon to be daddies, especially The Boy and Poppa!

Wordless Wednesday – Thursday Night Edition

Hullabaloo

This morning has been insane! Today is The Boy’s last day of school, and he was running late. Indy must have heard the rushing around, because she woke up right after he left… which is an hour and a half earlier than she usually wakes up. I admit that Indy is a great sleeper, but when she’s knocked off her schedule, it’s that much harder on us all.

Usually when this happens, I can grab her, change her diaper, and bring her up to bed with me and get her to go back to sleep for a little while. Not today! She was happy to be hanging out with me, oh… and the dogs were there… oh, and what’s this? And this? And this??? Finally, she fell back asleep around 10:00, which is the time of her first nap, which was perfect.

Alas, it was not meant to be. At around 10:45, the wretched beast, otherwise known as Bobo decided that he was done sleeping and had to pee. When this happens, he marches up and down the bed. Naturally, Indigo woke up and was wiiiiide awake seeing her favorite creature on earth up and about. I gave in and we all got up.

I took the dogs out to do their business. While I was changing Indy, of course Bobo decided that this was the perfect time to leave me a nice little package in the office. Great, Bobo, perfect. Have you ever heard the ones about pugs being stubborn and hard to housebreak? True, every word of it. I get everyone cleaned up, Indigo eats breakfast, and that fiasco is passed.

The phone rings. I don’t answer, because it’s a confirmation about a doctor’s appointment I have tomorrow. I listen to the message to make sure I have the time right, only to find out that it was for a different doctor in the practice. My old doctor, the one who no longer takes my health insurance. Why one doctor in a practice doesn’t take one insurance type while the rest do is totally beyond my grasp of reasoning. Needless to say, I had to call back and reschedule my appointment. Luckily there was one later in the day, but it puts a wrench in my plans for the day and lands smack in the middle of Indy’s nap time. Fantastic.

The poor little munchkin was flagging at around noon, so I put her down for her nap. She was falling asleep in her socks, but still spent a good amount of time in there chattering away. It got quiet, so I went in to check on her to find this:

My day got instantly better seeing that sweet girl sacked out with her butt in air.

A Letter to The Boy on our Anniversary

Dear Boy of Mine,

Four years ago today, I became Mrs. Boy. We had a great wedding at a beautiful location, and our reception was truly a party to remember. Remember how much work we did to make this day special and more than anything, ours?

Chrissy and Dave's Wedding 6-10-06 021

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We followed it up with a great trip, visiting friends in Norway and backpacking around the rest of Europe. Sure, we slept in bunk beds occasionally, but I wouldn’t have wanted the experience to have been any other way. Well, maybe we could have done without the angry mob and flag burning in Switzerland, but I digress.

Our Room
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I even got to check out the Belgian healthcare system, when I had to go to the ER after a tumble down the stairs.

In the Emergency Room

From there, it was back to reality. We bought a house, finished grad school (both of us), adopted a puppy, suffered layoffs, and made career changes. Hell, we even reproduced.

We’ve had a lot of good times, bad times, and just plain silly times. It wasn’t always easy, but every bit of effort has been worth it. I’m fortunate to have found “the male version of myself,” someone who gets me. There are few others who do.

Boy, you are an amazing person, and a great father to our daughter. I’m a better person for having you in my life. You’ve taught me more about myself than you’ll ever know. Happy anniversary, sweetie. I look forward to sharing many many more with you.

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Love,
Girl

Living in the Ewok Village

I wanted to give everyone a little context to where many of these happenings from the Sasstastic crew take place. We’re lucky enough to live on two acres in the middle of the woods, a place that’s been dubbed the Ewok Village. You’ll see where that name comes from in a minute.

We actually found this house, while we were on a super cool honeymoon adventure backpacking through Europe. We were in Worthing, England at my former employer’s UK office, spending the last week of our trip being able to expense our stay. I was in the office taking care of some things, and The Boy was with me, because he was bored in the hotel room. He found the house online and we kind of dismissed it.

A few weeks later, when we were full swing into our house hunting, we did a drive-by of the house. The first word out of my mouth was, “nope.” You see, the driveway is super steep and I didn’t want any part of it… until we got to the top and I saw how great it was. It’s like its own little universe up here. I was instantly in love, as was The Boy.

But when we finally got to check it out with our realtor, and we were fully hooked on the place, we found out that it was under contract. We were disappointed, but moved on. Serendipitously, that deal fell through (the sellers kind of sucked), and we were able to swoop in and put a deposit down the day it went back on the market. The sellers made it hell for us, but we finally made it to closing. That was almost 4 years ago.

What’s so great about it, you ask? You see, we’re situated on a hill that makes it look like we’re up in the treetops.

Yard, 2009 - Before

You can really see what I’m talking about in the winter.

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We’ve been able to enjoy so much about our surroundings. We’ve got a great porch in the back of our house, with a great view into the trees. This is the site of many, many parties and even more nights around the fire pit with friends.

Yard, 2009 - Before

Yard, 2009 - Before

There’s even a porch out front, but we don’t use that one very much. We’re planning to take down that big, scary tree, put up a fence, and replace the bricks with grass, so that Indigo has a great place to play within view of the house.

Yard, 2009 - Before

The crazy thing is how secluded we are. I met my next-door neighbor for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Granted, he works overnights, and is usually sleeping when we’re up and about, but it’s still kind of crazy.

We joke that we’re at the center of the universe. Everything, I mean everything is a half hour away. Our family and most of our friends? Half hour. Major shopping areas? A half hour in each direction. My commute to work? Half hour. Food delivery? Yeah, right. It was an adjustment at first, but now we have an excuse to get out and about. Plus, we have two great state parks really close by. Oh, and the best ice cream ever!

Our house is old and requires a decent amount of upkeep, but we feel really lucky that it came our way. We don’t live in a neighborhood, and may eventually want to move because of that. But for now, we’re happy hanging out up in the treetops.

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