Saturday, June 30, 2012

five years

Five years ago today, we said "I Do."

I a lot of stuff we didn't have a clue about.
I one another, come what may.

I an unknown future in the hands of a known God.

 We were twenty-four years old. Babies, really. Our lives up to that point had been filled mostly with happiness, love, contentment, and met expectations. We were excited to move on to the next stage, sure to be full of more of the same-- plus each other.

"FOR BETTER!!! (or for worse)" were probably the way we said those vows-- in our brains, anyway. Because who really expects the "for worse" to come? At least when you're young. "For worse" is certain to find you only decades in the future, when you are mature and stable, with a solid emergency fund and loads of life experience under your belts. That's  when you expect to triumph over the for worse. At least that's when I expected it.

But for us, the for worse came early. And we weren't old, and we didn't have a loaded emergency fund, and we suddenly felt our youth and our inexperience. And our for worse wasn't quick and quickly resolved, like a best-case-scenario-job-loss, or the death of a pet, or a car accident (although we experienced some of those things, too) was lingering torture. It is lingering torture. It has come to define our lives-- Matt and know, the ones who can't have kids...well I mean, we hope they will, somehow,'s better just not to bring it up is how I imagine people would describe us. Who would have thought this would be our lives? Not us. That's for sure.

But this is the life we said "I Do" a life of uncertainty and broken dreams and cautious hope for the future...a life even still wrapped in love and commitment and joy in one another. Because amidst the suckiness of the season we're stuck in, there's a certain joy that comes in knowing that we can do this. We can make it through the hard stuff. Whatever life throws at us, we will make it together. People who experience nothing but for better, who don't know the years (or even a few solid weeks) of excruciating heartache and pain...maybe they never learn how to band together and rally the troops when the going gets really, really bad. A life where everything goes according to plan (aka the first 25 years of our lives) is awesome-- until things start going awry, and you have no idea how to deal. But us? We can deal. We're dealing. Together.

And if we never, ever experience the "for better" that we so desperately desire...then I know that we will be okay. Maybe we have a completely skewed and Americanized view of what "for better" looks like. Maybe we want our "for better" to look like everyone else's...but maybe God's "better" for us is better than all of that.

Five years isn't a really long time, but it's long enough to be proud of. I'm proud that five years later, I still prefer time with my Mattie to anything else. I'm proud that we regularly turn down invitations to do things and be with other people, still preferring to spend our time with one another. I love that Matt can read my mind and my emotions like a book-- that he anticipates my emotional state and adapts quickly. That he's my protector and my champion and that he never laughs at my jokes, in hopes of keeping me grounded (he must have great self-control, because I'm freakin hilarious). He is the best husband I could have ever hoped for, and if five years ago I could have looked into a crystal ball and seen the future-- a future more deeply scarred with sadness and anger than I would have chosen, but a future marked by love and commitment and a grace to hold onto Hope-- I still would have said yes.

I do...take you to be my lawfully wedded have and to hold, to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, as long as we both shall live.

Therefore, what God has put together, let no man put asunder. (Matt. 19:6, emphasis mine)

During our wedding ceremony, our families and wedding party surrounded us and prayed for us. I love the pictures of that time because it is such a literal picture of what has been going on for the five years since that day. Matt and Erika, crying in the middle of a big mob of people who love and hope for us, while they cry out to God on our behalf for our good. We didn't know then how much we would come to rely on the prayers and hopes of others, but we know now and we are constantly thankful for it. I want to thank each and every one of you who have said even a breath of a prayer for us over these last years, who have clung to faith when we couldn't, who have cried with and for us when it's all we could do. Your support and love means the world to us. I can see you in the pictures above, making our little prayer circle wider and wider until we're busting out the walls of the Day Chapel. Thanks for letting us share our lives and trudging alongside us through too many days of for worse. Thanks for laughing at my jokes (since Matt won't) and loving me even when I'm being bitter and unfair, and for making me believe that even though life isn't going as planned, that it's still actually something rather beautiful.

Happy 5th anniversary to my beloved. Can't wait to experience a little bit of for better with you in Cancun very soon!!

*My previous anniversary posts/novels: One Year, Two Years, Three Years, Four Years. (Warning: they get progressively longer and sappier as the years go by. But at least there are different pictures on each one!) Yesterday I posted pretty wedding pictures and vendor details here.*

Friday, June 29, 2012

blue and yellow and love all over

 Tomorrow is our fifth anniversary, and don't fear-- I have my traditional long and serious and borderline sappy post (like these: One Year, Two Years, Three Years, Four Years) already written and scheduled to be posted, so don't think I'm changing my Anniversary Post ways or anything.

But as I was looking through my box o' wedding pictures (because I got married in the Dark Ages and didn't get a CD of all the digital pictures) (actually it was only in 2007 and I'm not sure why I didn't, but what I have is a huge box of 700 4x6s and I scan them as I feel like it), there were quite a few fun ones that I wanted to share, but sharing all of them PLUS writing a novel about marriage was just going to make tomorrow's post too long. Did you even know I would consider any blog post to be "too long"? I obviously have very liberal standards about such things.

So today I'm going to show a few new-to-you pictures just for funsies, okay? Because everyone needs a little somethin' to help get them to the weekend.

First of all: Planning a wedding in 2007 meant THERE WAS NO PINTEREST. I know. Take a minute to try and absorb that. It means that I HAD TO COME UP WITH IDEAS ON MY OWN...or steal ideas from other weddings I'd been to. I didn't even read many blogs then to steal ideas from random people!! So it's a miracle this wedding happened at all, basically. And don't judge me for a lack of cutesy things like photo booths and mason jars and hand-written signs...these things did not exist in 2007 (to my knowledge). Okay. Disclaimer over.

And I think I'll share vendor information (if I can remember it) as I go today. Just for fun. I loved almost all of my vendors and if you are planning a Georgia wedding, you should definitely check them out!

First of all, my photographer was Jimmy Clemmons (Atlanta). If any of these pictures look whack, it's because my scanner is all wonky...his photographs are amazing.

 Before the ceremony, in the dressing room. My dress is by Casablanca and I purchased it at I Do I Do Bridal  (Athens).
 I also purchased my headband/tiara thingie at I Do I Do.

 MY FLOWERS. Oh, my flowers. I love them to the moon and back and I love them even more. My flowers were done by Always Always Flowers (Athens) and they were perfection to me. At this point in my life, I knew very little about flowers, and basically went to Desiree, the florist there, with some vague ideas about liking blue and yellow flowers, and nothing looking too fussy or formal, I definitely did NOT want an all-white bouquet, something more like wildflowers...can you do something like that? And she buzzed around the room for a few minutes and came back holding something like the picture above and said "were you thinking something like this?" and then I swooned and passed out and died of happiness on the spot. She read my mind.

 I'm hoping that Colleen will be so kind as to leave a comment naming the flowers in the arrangements/bouquets so that I will have a record of what it is, exactly, comprising my Dream Flower Team. Bonus points go to Matt and the record-keepers at Always Always for being able to re-create my bouquet on our anniversary for the past few years. SWOON!!

 We had cake. And it was amazing. I'm not even biased. It was some dang good cake. Kellie's Cakes (Bowman, GA) did it for us and she did a fantastic job. Not to mention she then DROVE A HUGE CAKE an hour to get it to us. I mean, look at that thing! Cake! Blue and yellow flowers! Perfection!

 We ate our cake in a civilized fashion because we are not barbarians. We are committed cake-eaters. I like how Matt looks so bored in this picture, like he is sick to death of feeding me cake all the time. And I look like I might bite his hand off if he doesn't feed faster. What can I say. Being a bride really works up your appetite!

I did not have a videographer for my wedding, and that is my one huge major regret of the day. BAD OVERSIGHT. I didn't even (to my knowledge, although feel free to come out of the woodwork if this is you!!) have any random person just record w/ a phone or camcorder. Therefore the details of the music and ceremony are left only in my memory. But here's a pretty decent rendition of the song I walked down the aisle to that I found on YouTube: the chorale section from Jupiter, by Gustav Holst (part of The Planets). It is hands-down one of my favorite orchestral pieces ever, and the only thing I wanted to walk down the aisle to.

Our wedding and reception were at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in the Day Chapel. It was simple and beautiful and perfect. 

 Our wedding party. The girls' dresses are from David's if you can't tell that by looking at them. :) You may see some familiar faces in the wedding party: front row, L-R- Catherine, Amy (now married to Tom, who is the dude all the way to the right in the back row, although they were not even friends or dating at this point!!), Laura, Sarah (my sister), Kristina, Elizabeth.

 A few more random pictures and we're done! You're almost there!

We changed into semi-casual clothes to leave in because we were driving straight to south Georgia to stay at a bed and breakfast for two nights before leaving for our honeymoon cruise on Monday.

And...that's a wrap for today! It's a good thing we plan on being married for 50 more years (at least) because that's how long it's going to take to share ALL of our pictures. 

Don't forget to come back tomorrow for two more new pictures and a whole lot of words about life and marriage and vows and love and other such things. I will you stand the wait until then??!

Happy Friday, and Happy almost-Anniversary to me!! :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

the great thing about injuries

Last night, I had the grace and fortune during Zumba class to roll my ankle pretty badly. As in, I visibly stumbled over (and I was in the front row, so everyone got to witness it and gasp) and it immediately hurt like crap (but I finished the song and class, because I'm stupid strong like that), but I knew it wasn't broken (because hello, I could sort of limp on it), so...self-diagnosed with a "roll." I know. Scientific of me. Anyways. As soon as I got home, I did the 20 minutes of ice-20 minutes of no ice routine for the rest of the night, and it's been slowly feeling better all day, despite being on my feet for the first half of the day at work. This is definitely not a serious injury, and I'm confident things will be back to normal by Saturday probably (although I anticipate having vicious pain aftershocks for at least another week, whenever I don't feel like doing something). So this is not a "woe is me, send me your pity" blog (just FYI)...but I tell you this to preface the following story.

Hobbling around for the day gave me many flashbacks to my life post-knee surgery, wherein I spent many months hobbling around with a totally legit knee-brace. And then, as luck would have it, on our way home from work we needed to grab a few things from Publix. Which naturally made me think of this:

Because seriously, it is almost worth being injured...just to have the great privilege of driving a motorized cart around the grocery store. IT IS SO FUN. Man. Proof that it is super fun? A few years after my surgery, my friend Dustin and I whipped out my old knee brace and did a brief Tour de Grocery Stores, taking turns wearing the brace, just to experience the variety of motorized carts.

Trust me, it was awesome.

And so this afternoon, despite the fact that I was perfectly capable of hobbling around the store with not too much pain...I still had a long mental (and out-loud with Matt) debate about grasping hold of the opportunity to use a motorized cart whilst shopping. Seize the moment!!! the fun-loving part of my brain was urging. People will look at you funny!, the self-conscious part of my brain reminded me.

I ended up opting to hobble instead of ride, and it was a good call since approximately one second after entering the store, I ran into someone I knew (Mollyanne's mother-in-law and nephews, actually). That could have been awkward, explaining my motorized I'm really glad I had chosen to walk.

But anyway. So basically this whole story has no point, except to say that if you can reasonably justify using the motorized cart, you should go for it (and take pictures, and blog about it). There aren't many high points to being sick and/or injured, so take what you can get. It has occurred to me that maybe after my upcoming surgery I will have reason to use the motorized carts again-- and that certainly seems like a silver lining if I've ever seen one.

And with that, I'm off to watch my spaghetti pie (new recipe courtesy of a mouth was watering as she described it/I prepared it; can't wait to see how it actually tastes!) bake in the oven and make similes about the food baking in the oven and how our bodies are going to be baking in the heat this weekend when the forecast looks like this:

 And don't forget-- our humidity hovers around 90% or something every day, making the "feels like" temperature closer to...I don't know, infinity. Yippee!!!! See you at the pool!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

the one that got away

This was almost going to be the best blog ever.

Last night we met Matt's family and some of their friends for dinner at a Chinese restaurant in town. As we pulled into the parking lot we could see that no one else's cars were there yet, so we knew we were the first to arrive-- but as luck would have it, just as we turned in, a Song came on the radio. A blast from the past. A little Bryan Adams (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, anyone? 

Immediately Matt turns the volume up. "OH!!! It has been SO LONG since I've heard this song!!!" And as he turns into a parking spot and puts the car in park, he goes all music-video emotional as he belts out the song at the top of his lungs. SERIOUSLY! My shy, quiet little husband!! Singing Bryan Adams like he's...I dunno, Bryan Adams.

Wanna know the best part? I was already looking at my phone, and in about two seconds flat I had the video camera capturing every eyes-closed, head bobbing, emotion-filled note of Matt's car serenade. He didn't even see me with the phone stuck in his face, so deep was his concentration (and so closed were his eyes). It wasn't until maybe 10 seconds of excellent footage had been locked away that he opened his eyes and realized I was capturing his Moment on camera.

"What??!?!! Is that thing recording??!!" as he frantically turned off the radio and made sad faces for the camera. I'm cackling in the background, RELISHING the thought of sharing this very moment with the whole world right here on this blog. I will RUIN you, Mattie!!!! Everyone thinks you're so soft-spoken and normal....and I will unleash the REAL Matt on them!!! (To be fair, this is only like the second time I've ever seen him sing with this sort of passion...the other time the song was God Bless the maybe this isn't really his 'true' self, but it's certainly an entertaining one!)

It was awesome, yall. But here's the really sad part. Somewhere in our fistfight frantic struggle for control of my phone, the video got erased. I don't even know how it happened, since it normally takes like 18 steps and a secret handshake to get ANYTHING to erase off that phone, so I can only blame it on a) Matt's supernatural powers, or b) I have the worst luck ever, so it's only natural it should extend to losing out on amazing entertainment opportunities such as this. Whatever is to is ALL of our loss (losses? weird phrasing...) because that was the most enjoyable 10 seconds of my entire year week.

And even though he's getting away with not having the Most Embarrassing Video Ever posted here today, I refuse to let him completely off the humiliation hook...therefore I will brighten your day with this photo of Matt from his solo "finding himself" backpacking trip across Europe from 2006:

Get 'em, cowboy.

PS. As I was writing this blog, I pulled up the song on YouTube and had it playing. Matt hears the song and his face lights up, only to quickly turn into a glare when he sees me giggling: "Why are you making fun of our song??"  OUR SONG??!?!?! Apparently, after nearly 5 years of marriage, we've decided to have a "song," and it's THIS??! This topic obviously needs to be re-visited at a later date.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

coming soon to a bookstore near you!

If you've been around here long, you probably already know that one of the best things to come of my 4+ years of blogging is my friendship with Amanda. That girl is my long lost twin/triplet (MY twin, but I am HER triplet, since she already has an actual twin) and about half of my days, I wouldn't make it through without her constantly by my side via our 24/7 text, email, and G-chat-a-thons. I'm serious. LOVE her. 

I HATE that the thing that brought us together (and continues to be the crappiest and most salient feature of our lives) is infertility. But I am so thankful that at least SOMETHING good has come out of infertility.

Anyways. This wasn't actually supposed to be an Ode to Amanda. It was going to be about something we're planning. Something HUGE!!!!

Our completely-inevitable-since-we're-both-such-wildly-popular-bloggers book debut!!!!!! I know, try to hold on to your hats. And not pee your pants. Did you even see this coming??!

I bet you can't guess what it's going to be about, either. Think about it-- what are we experts on? What special knowledge about life do we possess that more people need to be aware of? Okay okay, I'll just tell you. Or rather, I'll let our prospective book-titles do the talking:

-How Not to Piss Off an Infertile Woman: A How-To Guide for Supporting your Conception-Challenged Friends and Family Members

That's sort of our academic working title. That's for the edition that like...counselors...and professors...will probably be reading. But for our wide public release, we're considering a few slightly catchier titles:

-If You Tell Me to Relax One More Time, My Fist Will Relax into Your Face
 -Fifty Shades of Miserable
-Positive Pregnancy Tests Don't Exist (and Other Truths Your OBGYN Isn't Telling You)

and my personal hands-down favorite:

-If You Aren't Offering Chocolate or a Margarita, Shut the Hell Up

I'm going to have to be honest: I came up with NONE of those titles. That was all Amanda. She banged those out in like 4 seconds flat. See why I need her as my business partner and co-author?

So what, exactly, are you contributing to this partnership, Erika? you're probably wondering. Well, I'll tell you. Or actually, I'll show you.

Every book needs an author(s) photo, right? Well here's ours, masterfully edited  

Yup. That would be us, and that filter is called "Hope." I know it's so 2008, but I'm hazarding a guess you might recognize it from Obama's campaign posters. Last summer, after Amanda and I took this photo, I doctored it up with the Hope filter because a) it was hilarious, and b) it reminds us to never stop hoping.

So even though we're going to be rich and famous authors, spending our free time now at our vacation homes in Hawaii where we'll be sipping beverages by the ocean, talking in person instead of texting, and our literary empire will be built on infertility: we will never give up on hope. Or chocolate. Or the liberal use of sarcasm and humor. But mostly hope.

PS. Be sure to vote for your favorite title and/or secure your copy of the book by prepaying now! This thing is NOT going to be free on your Kindle, so don't even think you're gonna get your grubby hands on it like that...

Monday, June 25, 2012

life, unedited

 I like to think that I present a pretty balanced view of my life on this here blog: I don't sugarcoat it and skip the bad parts and pretend like it's all sunshine and rainbows, but I also try not to overly dramatize the negatives. Life is what it is, it's good and it's bad, and I want to tell it like it is.

But the pictures I show? Well, I certainly edit those. Not actually edit them (in Photoshop or something)... I pretty much have no clue how to do that, beyond cropping or something. Plus it takes too much time. But as far as being choosy about what pictures I show. Naturally, I prefer to share the ones where I look cute, am posing at an optimally flattering angle, and generally do not look like a troll. So sue me. I'm vain like that.

But that means if you passed me on the street in real life, there's a good chance you wouldn't recognize me. Ha. Because in my unedited life, I'm usually sweaty (due to the weather or the fact that I chase down kids for a living), my make-up is usually a distant memory, and my hair is always in a braid or ponytail (and frequently didn't even get brushed before being placed in said braid/pony). Oh, and my clothes are most definitely probably not cute.

On Friday afternoon, Matt and I took a very normal, not-blog-worthy trip to the local dog park. We love our dog park, except for the fact that 90% of the time there are not actually any other dogs there. So we throw a ball for Lola, she runs around like a maniac, and we frantically swat at mosquitoes and gnats (?? what is this, south Georgia?? Go back beneath the Gnat Line where you belong!!) until we can bear it no longer and we go home. Sometimes, since Matt's generally the ball-thrower and I'm left with nothing to do, I have to get pretty crafty to entertain myself while dog park-ing. This is what happened on Friday. Now I did ask Matt to take the following picture of me and Lola. I just felt like a little mommy-daughter picture was called for. But I did not request the subsequent series of pictures, wherein he captured Erika Trying to Entertain Herself. When I saw these pictures on my phone, I had to laugh at what a huge dork I am. And immediately thought too bad I can't show these on my blog. I didn't even put on makeup or brush my hair that whole day!!

But you know what? Why can't I show them? They're just silly pictures. But maybe they're more real than the stuff I usually prefer to share. Who knows. So here's me completing my first personal blog challenge: showing pictures of myself with no hair and makeup, looking like a total dork. Aren't YOU lucky today??


I was totally convinced I could do a handstand on that tree trunk. I tried for like 10 minutes. I failed. :( :( :(

When I'm not smiling my big happy smile (see: every picture I've ever posted on this blog. Ha.), I am actually quite intimidating, right??! This is the look that lets Matt know I am displeased with him...although I don't recall what, exactly, I was being displeased about at that moment.

Well, that was certainly freeing. Now you should go put bad pictures of yourself on your own blog so that I'll know I'm not the only person who goes out in public looking like this in real life. 

Also, you should pray that today the refrigerator-fixer man can finish fixing our fridge because I MISS HAVING ACCESS TO COLD FOOD. Thanks in advance.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

it is well

I made an impromptu craft Friday: another Pinterest-inspired sign/wall hanging/painting/whatever you wanna call it.

Depending on your level of familiarity with old hymns, you may or may not recognize the words on my sign as the title (and 'thesis,' if you will) of one of my top 5 favorite hymns (don't make me make that list. It would kill me. It would have at least 20 in it.). For some reason, although I haven't heard the song in years, the lyrics have been stuck in my head for days. I think it's because it's a truth that I need to remember and call to mind frequently. So I wrote it out-- loud and proud-- to hang on the wall, so I'll always be reminded.

My life isn't going the way I had planned.
It is well with my soul. 
I want to be a mommy.
  It is well with my soul. 
It isn't fair that I have to have surgery.
  It is well with my soul. 
Sixteen year old kids get knocked up without even trying.
  It is well with my soul. 
 It is so, so, so hard to hold on to hope for this long.
  It is well with my soul. 
There's too much suffering in this world. That doesn't seem right.
  It is well with my soul. 
There are orphans desperate for families. There are families desperate for children. Why must it be so complicated to put two and two together?
  It is well with my soul. 
Life is really hard and I just don't think I'm strong enough.
  It is well with my soul. 

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate
and hath shed his own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!  

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
even so, it is well with my soul.  
 (Words: Spafford, 1873; Music: Bliss, 1876)

Friday, June 22, 2012


Today I'm linking up with Saige Wisdom for a special edition of her Obsessions weekly link-up! I've been wanting to join in on this party for a few weeks now, but then she added a little incentive, you might say, for this I could procrastinate no longer! So here we go with a few things I'm obsessing over lately.

1) Happy flowers
 (Impressed with my collage skillz?? You should be.)

Life's not always happy, yall. But at least your flowers can be. Or mine can be, as the case (overuse the word 'be' much?). Lately I'm obsessed with my happy-colored zinnias, my rose of sharon(s) in full purple bloom, and all the other random little bursts of color around the yard. To me, flowers = happiness. Which is why I keep planting more.

2) Nail Polish


Source: via Alison on Pinterest

This year I'm a little wacko for nail polish (for both the fingers and the toes, of course). I am embracing all sorts of trendiness because of my new mindset: nail polish is the cheapest and easiest trend to get in on. Seriously. I can't afford to indulge in every (or many) clothing trends or home furnishing trends (sure, a chevron-printed couch would look fantastic for this season! let me just rush out and buy one, Pinterest...). But nail polish? Even when it's expensive, it's still cheap. And if the trend (neon? glitter?) is totally gone next year, then fantastic. I only spent a couple bucks anyway. But at least for this year, PART of me looks like I know what's up. Plus, I've found that strangers just looove to compliment nail polish (and I do too! To other strangers!)'s a nice, non-weird way to make a connection with random people. Therefore, I now have to budget for nail polish every time I go to Target. Awesome.

3) Sonic Island Breeze Slush

Sonic unveiled some new seasonal slushes recently and I was slightly ecstatic to drink the Island Breeze slush (in strawberry). Although I've only had it once...I'm pretty sure the fact that I've been thinking about it and craving it ever since qualifies me as obsessed. It's a mixture of pina colada and strawberries and it is everything my pool-going, summer-loving self requires in a beverage (except rum). That is why you will have to forgive the picture above, as I was semi-makeup-less, freshly sunscreened, and en route to the pool when I took this hideous picture. Bottom line: rush out (during Happy Hour, of course) and get one soon!

4) Reading
I know I've already shown this picture before. So sue me. I don't have a lot of pictures of myself reading, strangely...
 Be it poolside, on the front porch rocker, or in bed-- I am devouring books lately. The last few weeks I've probably read 4 books a week-- and don't forget, I work full time! That's kind of impressive, right?? I'm impressed. What I'm reading? Not impressive. But mindless and entertaining, yes. And that's all I'm looking for right now. My mom brought me a giant box stuffed with Janet Evanovitch's entire writing career and I alternate between those and whatever I can find for free to read on my Kindle. I keep my Kindle in my PURSE these days so that I can snitch a few minutes of reading in anytime I have a minute free. I find that filling every spare moment of your life with reading of some sort (blogs, books, whatever) means that your brain is left with less time to think about depressing things (like your life), so I'm just going with it.

5) Awesome Kindle covers

Since I'm using my Kindle so much and toting it around 24/7, I've decided it's high time to get a case for it. It's getting scratches, poor thing. :( But browsing the selection at Target and Amazon left my highly unfulfilled and yawning. Therefore I sought better options elsewhere, leading me to this:

Source: via Erika on Pinterest

Seriously, how fabulous is that case? You should see the inside of it. More adorable fabrics (HAPPY FLOWERS!!) and cuteness than my heart can bear, really. I don't have many (any?) things in my life made out of fun, bright patterns (oh! I do! My camera strap, also from Etsy) and I need to get some. That's why I *need* this Kindle cover. Protecting my Kindle AND being cute, all in one package.

And guess what? I just might GET that case. Because today's Obsessions link-up is actually an Etsy Giveaway, too!
 One lucky girl person (seriously, I hear TONS of guys are blogging about their fave Etsy finds...) is going to win their Etsy obsession-- and I hope it's me!! If you'd like a chance to win yours, I suppose you could link up as well...but fair warning-- if you link up because of me and then you WIN and I don't...we're gonna have words. OK? So tread carefully.

Speaking of seems that Lola is having a minor obsession with me taking her outside at the moment. So I'm gonna get on that, and also throw some clothes on in case the refrigerator fixer-man decides to show up today. Grrrr. I could probably quickly write up an Alternate Obsessions List: Things I Wish I Didn't Have to be Obsessing About-  1) the broken fridge and ruined food within; 2) surgery and how it's going to waste a bunch of our money intended for our adoption... Wow, actually that's kind of a short list today. Not too shabby, really. Who has time to focus on the negative when there are nails to be painted, slushies to be drinking, books to be reading, and a no-work Friday to be enjoying? Not me!! Later dude! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

things that broke yesterday


That is all I have to say about yesterday.

To be honest, it really wasn't a bad day. It's just that a lot of random things broke. Enough that you just kinda have to cock your head to one side, squint your eyes, and say: What's with today, today? (best line ever from Empire Records)

Our day got started off bright and early, as per usual on a work day. At approximately 5:57 am, I was preparing our smoothie and went to pour the milk into the blender. Instead of pouring in, the milk CHUNKED in in giant, globby, yogurt-esque blobs. I immediately threw up in my mouth glared at the side of the milk carton, which boldly proclaimed it was best sold by June 24th. Double-checking with the calendar, I confirmed that it was indeed several days short of the 24th, which therefore meant my milk should be 100% non-chunky and that Publix was about to receive the Wrath of Erika. It was around then that I noticed that the carton in my hand didn't even feel cold. Barely cool, even. I went back, opened the fridge, and discovered that alas-- nothing felt cold. And it smelled a little funny. 

 Broken Thing #1: The Fridge

 There's just not a lot you can do about this situation at 6am, when time is of the essence and you MUST be on the road to work in less than half an hour. I dropped the half-full milk carton into the outside trashcan, turned the fridge temp to "coldest," and Matt and I halfheartedly tried to figure out what could be wrong with our barely-three-year-old fridge (note: the freezer was working fine, thank God). 

After a day of internet- and coworker-research, we decided to pull the fridge out and vacuum all of the vents really well. They were super dusty/dog hair-y, so maybe that was the problem? We're giving it 24 hours, as per the not-so-helpful instruction manual, to see if things improve or if we need to call someone out. And I don't even want to think about all the food I'll have to be replacing. Might. Freak. Out. Cooking dinner was like a special Iron Chef challenge: Cook an entire meal, using NOTHING FROM THE REFRIGERATOR!! Mwah ha ha ha haaaaa!!

Whilst cooking dinner (broiled cobia my dad caught deep sea fishing; fresh corn on the cob; sliced tomatoes; garlic bread), I discovered that my trusty oven mitt ...broke...?? Don't know what you'd call it, but when I pulled the hot pan out of the oven, wearing the mitt, I touched the pan with my fingertips, leading me to conclude that whatever that black heat-proof stuff ain't workin' no more.

Broken Thing #2: This Oven Mitt

Whatever, you mean old punk oven mitt. Luckily my fingers didn't really get burned, so I'm not too torn up about this one...except I'm not really fired up to spend my hard-earned money replacing something this boring. Oh well.

After the drama of the day, Matt and I retired to the living room for some mindless couch-sitting. About five minutes in, we are not thrilled to hear a loud crash come from the kitchen. Apparently the (ugly, boring) plastic cover thingy on our fluorescent light fixture decided it just couldn't BE up there any longer and plunged to his death.

Broken Thing #3: This Ugly Light Cover Thing
I mean...I don't even know what to say about this one. REALLY!??!?! That stupid light fixture is so ugly, I hate to spend even $3 replacing the casing for it (and I bet it won't be that cheap at all)...but it's not exactly a great time for us to be upgrading to fancier and more expensive light fixtures. BAH. This one is really gonna tick me off. 

Really, we couldn't deal with this last Broken Thing, so we just laid it on the oven, begged the kitchen to not break itself any more, and left the room. To paraphrase another exceptional movie/book quote: I can't think about it today; it will only upset me. I'll think about it tomorrow...after all, tomorrow is another day.

Another day that better not have anything breaking in it. Or else.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Yesterday my class took a little field trip to a local park. Inside the park there is a small zoo, containing an assortment of animals that are mostly native to the area. I believe most of the animals were injured/abandoned/unable to survive in the wild, so they are here at the zoo to be cared for...and to entertain the people of Athens for free. I used to live walking distance from this park and visited the animals several times a week. I liked to think that the animals actually "knew" me, since I visited them so frequently...which was probably not true, but whatever. It made me feel happy.

ANYWAY. So yesterday we took the kids there, and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, you would have thought we were at the World's Most Amazing Zoo, or at least Zoo Atlanta or some other "real" zoo, and not a tiny neighborhood zoo-park that counts vultures, possums, owls, and deer among its most celebrated exhibits. Seriously. Deer. Like we don't see 283928 of them dead on the side of the road every single day. Whatever. Luckily, my kids don't get out much, so they are totally wowed and amazed by any and all wildlife (true quote, from a child sitting on the sidewalk: "LOOK!!! ANIMALS!!" as they excitedly pointed at an ANT CRAWLING BY).

There are actually a few cool animals, though, and as a teacher you spend the whole day praying that those animals will actually be out and playing (as opposed to hiding in their shelters and wasting your whole field trip). The (teeny tiny) alligators did okay, the bobcats hid away and were a huge letdown, but the BEARS...oh man, did those bears deliver today. They were actually RIGHT UNDERNEATH the little viewing platform, on one of their man-made play structures, PLAYING AND WRESTLING with each other!! It was awesome. Normally they are sleeping. Or hidden. Or being completely lame in some other way. Today they were amazing and I wanted to throw them a treat as payment for their amazing performance. My kids basically lost their minds, but as a testament to the amazingness of the scene, they managed to be REALLY QUIET for about 2 minutes at first. We told them the bears would leave if they were loud. And I have never heard 20 kids be so quiet. But then they started talking and the bears didn't leave, so they called me on my bluff and quit those shenanigans.

I managed to get two videos of the bears. The first video has way better "bear playing," but the kids were still being really quiet (except for one kid who whistles the SAME NOTE ALL DAY LONG, which is not extremely annoying at all) and so it's just kind of boring. So I'm not showing you (unless you beg). But the second video, while rather boring footage of the bears, at least captures the (voices) personality of my kids (and me). I've watched it like 30 times and it cracks me up every time.

It's only 38 seconds long, so I think you should watch it. And then appreciate the fact that when I cut the video off, it was because my 20 darling children were all screaming "BEAR!!! BEAR!!! BEAR!! Hey, BEAR!!!!" at the tops of their lungs, and someone had to get that scene under control.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

my favorite things: sunscreen ed.

Yesterday evening we finally got a Very Important Package in the mail. One I've been expecting and eagerly awaiting for entire week (patience is not my virtue). Are you ready for it??

 Wait, can you tell what it is?? You can probably see where it's from:

Here it is!! The BEST SUNSCREEN IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am only slightly ridiculously excited about this. In case you couldn't tell.

For some reason, all the stores that I shop at do not carry this delightful and unparalleled brand, and I've been making valiant efforts over the last few summers to fill the void in my heart beach bag with something else, but to no avail. All other sunscreen products fall far short, in terms of texture, consistency (same thing as texture? maybe), price, and SMELL SMELL SMELL. Ocean Potion smells like heaven, it smells like happiness, it smells like the glittery farts of unicorns frolicking under rainbows in Hawaii. The smell of Ocean Potion is probably the sole reason I ever converted to being a sunscreen-wearer in the first place. And I was about to un-convert, until I discovered that I could buy it cheaply and hassle-free from  Bless you, 

Anyway. What with the vacay coming up (which I will apparently be filling you in on in real time, by a landslide) and all, I knew I was going to have to get serious about getting some sunscreen. I have HAAAATED the bottle I'm currently using and that caused me to go all stalker-like on the Ocean Potion online. I discovered a cult gathering of fellow Ocean Potion enthusiasts, which made me feel like less of a freak (God bless the internet for giving me that feeling about one thing or another on a weekly basis...) and now, only a little over a week later, I am having a big happy reunion with my Favorite Smell in the World.

(True Story: I only recently threw away my last (empty) bottle of OP. It ran out probably 2 years ago, but I have held on to the bottle ever since because it still smells like it and it makes me feel happy and relaxed to smell it. Hoarder much?)

Anyway. Just wanted to share in case any of you were finding yourselves similarly disillusioned by the sunscreen options currently available to you. Also-- probably won my future business (this was my first time shopping there) because their site made it SO DANG EASY to tell what products you could purchase with your medical flex spending account card. I had no idea that most sunscreens qualified! But on their site, everything that qualifies has a little logo next to that means we paid for this whole box of sunscreen (with free shipping) with our "free money". This would have been handy at the end of last year when we were frantically trying to figure out how to spend the leftover money in the, just a tidbit in case you find yourself in that position sometime.

Alright. Gotta go do really important things now. Like sniff sunscreen. Or work. Or something. Byyyeeeeeee!!!

Disclaimer: I have not been asked or compensated by either Ocean Potion or to talk all nice about them. But if either company would like to pay me (or mail me more products), I would certainly be open to that. Ha.

Monday, June 18, 2012

do YOU tell?

So here's my current dilemma. One of them, anyway. I never limit myself to only one personal dilemma at a time. Oh, and I'm expecting you to give me advice, so...get those typing fingers ready.

Do you blog about when you're out of town/on vacation?

Because you ALL know (you better, or you're not my friend anymore) I'm going on a sweet vacation this summer. But I haven' t said when, specifically...because I'm all why advertise the days when my house will be unoccupied? Ya know, to the stalkers and robbers who I'm sure are frequent readers of my blog. Even though **NOTE TO ALL POTENTIAL ROBBERS** my house will not be unoccupied-- we have a house sitter and a big scary dog and a cat that likes to poop right next to anyone that will give him a pat. And I'm pretty sure my house sitter is an ex-SEAL. With a gun. So you'd be a dumbass to come try and rob me. But even still-- I feel like people (other bloggers) tend to not say when they're going to be away until after the fact. And I'm cool with that.


The thing is-- hello, when I'm on vacation, I WANT TO BE RUBBING IT IN YOUR FACE THE WHOLE TIME. I want to be Tweeting pictures. I want to be blowing up the Instagram feed. I want to be social-media-documenting (is there any other kind?) every photogenic moment of my days. OK I'm exaggerating-- I actually hope not to be glued to my phone the whole time (can you even use your 4G in Mexico, actually?) (also, I don't want to ruin my phone with sand) (also I'm thinking about spending some time actually talking to Matt. Maybe.)...but a tasteful photo, Tweet, or blog blurb detailing my views, food, beverages, and general giddiness each day? I really want that. But that sorta negates the whole "not saying I'm out of town" rule, right?

So...what would/do you do? Keep it on the DL? Blab it for all the world (and robbers) to see? More importantly-- what do you think I should do? Share away!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

like coffee, only better

 As I promised yesterday, today I will make your life complete (or at least significantly better) by sharing my oft-requested recipe for Coffee Punch. I can claim no credit for inventing the recipe; it was passed on to me from my mom's best friend, Miss Diane, and I can only assume she received the recipe from God Himself. Because I'm 95% sure this is what they drink in heaven.

First, our Cast of Characters:
Why yes, I do shop at Publix-- why do you ask??

You will need to gather:
-1 qt. of brewed coffee (cold. I made mine the day before and refrigerated.)
-1 qt. whole milk
-1 pt. half & half
-1 bottle chocolate syrup (24 oz)
-1 tub whipped cream (9 oz)
-1/2 gal. vanilla ice cream, softened
-a VERY LARGE bowl

NOTE: I used "lite" whipped cream, which is how I can pass off this dish as healthy. BOOM. Just like that.

First, mix together all of the liquids (first 4 ingredients). Stir 'em up. This basically gives you a beautiful chocolate milk-looking concoction. You know, you could probably stop here and drink up, but...why stop when there are so many delicious things you could still add??

Then you will want to glop in the whipped cream and ice cream.

And uh...that's it. You're pretty much done. Let it sit for a minute (if you can wait) so that the ice cream can get a little melty, and then ladle it into your cup (or tip up the bowl and chugalug-- I won't judge you) and die of happiness.

But Kristin is fancy, and as such suggested that we sprinkle a little cocoa powder on top. I couldn't argue with that.

Set it on your counter and wait for your friends to walk in and gasp WHAT IS THAT??? as they frantically fumble for cups and fight for a spot in line to get some. And then moan happy little moans as they drink it. Then you can pat yourself on the back and bask in the feeling that comes from making people happy. And pour yourself another glass. Or seven.

Final Note: This makes A LOT!!! In the picture above, I used only half of the ingredients because that's all that would fit in the bowl. So unless you're mixing yours in a kiddie pool (not a bad idea), you might want to do the same!