Author: Addie Parker
•5:42 PM


Me: "I think for Emily's baby shower I'll put something baby-related in the lamp shade.
Husband: "Like a little fetus?"
Author: Addie Parker
•6:56 AM

I'm just so tired. I sit at work during the day and STRUGGLE to just function. Just focus. I try to pull motivation from the dark recesses of my mind. Why am I doing this? What am I here for? Why is client number A12345678 important? Am I going to be able to do the same process five more times in the next half hour without banging my head on my desk? 
My boss asked us today if we were feeling caught up. Caught up? Caught up is relative. We will NEVER be caught up. And when we tried to tell her how we were doing, she just didn't get it. She has no clue.
I break down, pull a dollar fifty out of my purse, and get a diet pepsi from the vending machine. Caffeine might help.  So would breakfast, but that didn't happen this morning. Ripping myself out of bed in the mornings has become increasingly difficult. I just want to stay where my covers are warm, my sheets are soft, and my dreams are like watching a funny movie. I don't want to get up only to go to a place where my opinion isn't valued, my years of experience no longer matter... where I'm just an expendable body filling a seat and processing 18 bajillion things at once.
But I do. I come. I sit. I work. I take years off of my life (I'm sure). And why?
Because I have a job. Because I am one of the lucky ones. I can count on a steady paycheck being deposited directly into my bank account every other Friday.  I have vacation days and sick days and personal days stored up for use when I need them.  I have health insurance. I get raises. Twice a year! Guaranteed!
I am one of the lucky ones. I spend the bulk of my week being abused by clients and unsupported by management. But I am one of the lucky ones. So many others just want a job. Any job at all. Anything to pay the bills. I've got that. So many others can't pay for medical bills. I don't have to worry about that.
So on days like today, I just have to take a few minutes and put my priorities in order. Count my blessings. Remember to be grateful.
I am thankful for my steady, secure job.
I am thankful for nights when I leave my job, have fantastic girl time with my amazing friends, and come home afterwards to find that my husband has power-cleaned the house for me.
I am thankful for scarves and sweaters and blankets and furnaces.
I am thankful (kind of) that I have weight to lose because it means I'm well-fed. 
I am thankful for the opportunity to help others- with a phone call, a connection, a donation, a listening ear.
I am thankful for Panera's macaroni and cheese. MMMMmmmmm.
I am thankful for the crazy, mathematically improbable, awesome miracle of pregnancy (in my close friends, not in me- it'll be a bigger announcement than that! geez, I can't even believe you thought that). : )
I am thankful for the snow plow and the salt truck drivers working tirelessly to make our roads safer.
Author: Addie Parker
•9:52 PM

I grew up on a lake in a small tourist town in northern Michigan. My lake was very small, and there were very few homes on it at the time. But even in our tiny community in the boonies, I remember the Keeping Up with the Joneses scenario playing out.

My parents bought our house for a relatively small amount of money. It was outdated and unloved.  Before we moved in, we had to clear trash and debris from the rooms. It was that bad. But, together as a family, we renovated and made improvements.  And when we made an improvement, so did our neighbors. We built a deck, they built a deck. We built stairs down to the lake, they built stairs down to the lake. We built a two-story play structure, they built a raft with a diving board. Maybe it was just coincidence. It could have been. But 12-year old me remembers the neighbors doing each project soon after we did ours.

Last night, I was finishing up putting up some trim around my front door, and I was thinking about how I feel a little bit like a little girl playing house. It was an odd feeling. Like maybe what I was doing was a little pointless.  Maybe all the time and effort and money I've spent improving my house since I moved in has just ended up making me look shallow, materialistic, and unapproachable.

But that's not what this is about. That's not what I'm about.

It isn't about show. Looking good to look successful or well-off. If you look closely and pay attention, you'll see that most everything is second-hand, cheap, repainted, handmade, or improvised. It isn't about show.

This is about creating a haven for myself, my husband, our family, and our friends. This is about coming home and getting cozy. This is about an island of peace and order in a sea of uncontrollable chaos.  This is about creating a place where stress melts away and love flourishes. This is about welcoming friends. This is about long chats on the couch with friends about infertility, about fears, about successes and triumphs. This is about the sigh of relief that comes when I walk in the door after a long day at work and know that I am home.

Every little seemingly pointless thing I do adds to the cozy, familiar, peaceful environment of my home.

The Nester recently said, "Home should be the safest, most comforting, inviting, beautiful, invigorating, welcoming place here on earth.  I feel like anything I do that enhances our experience at home is well worth the trouble.  Time making our home beautiful and orderly is time well spent."

I couldn't agree more.

In a season of my life where we're about to add to our family life in numbers, I'm so glad I've spent time preparing a cozy home in which our life is taking place.

Author: Addie Parker
•3:02 PM
Thanksgiving Closet Project, say what?!

It's January 14. Is the closet done? No. Is it going to get done any time soon? Apparently not. It would if I could ever find the time to go to Ikea. But it seems that won't be soon.

But, take heart (all ye who are worried and distressed), my closet can hold its own in the cute department, even if it's not finished.

I caulked all of the cracks between the support pieces and the wall. I painted the wall blue and the trim and ceiling white. I know it sounds crazy to paint the ceiling of a closet, but it really can make all the difference in the finished product.  I painted the top of the shelves brown, and the bottom of the shelves white. It's not something you really notice, but it keeps things from getting too dark in there. The edge of the shelves, however, were a problem.

Until I added ribbon.

Then I was happy.

After all the painting and the ribboning, I added accessories.
This closet has very little actual purpose right now, besides holding my make up. I know that in the coming months and years, it will fill up with baby goods. But for now, it can just be cute. A nice little start to my day.  Most of the boxes are empty. I just have one for hair stuff like headbands, barrettes, and the ever-elusive bobby pin or two. You know, hair stuff. I labeled it "hair." Works for me.

Then I tried to think of any other little things in my house that might need a good home but didn't need to be accessed very often. I came up with one other thing- A (very) small collection of baby items. Two little stuffed animals I've been saving for years and the sweater and hat my grandma knitted for me when I was a baby.  Those items needed a good place to sit around and wait for a new owner.  So in the box they went.

I found a little drawer organizer at Meijer that works for my make up. Still using my Precious Moments Sister coffee mug for brushes and mascara and such.

And that's pretty much it. I have grand plans to putty the hole in the closet door, then paint the whole door white and switch out the knob from brassy gold to brushed nickel. The supplies have been bought, but the time hasn't. Which is why this post is coming to you now. If I wait until I get the door done (and the new trash basket found and bought and the basket for the pillows on the bottom found and bought), then I will never write this post.

You get the idea, though. Pretty closets make me smile. And a smile is a great way to start the day.

I'm linking up to Kimba's DIY day at A Soft Place to Land.
Author: Addie Parker
•9:04 PM
You know how sometimes you have nothing to say on Facebook, and other times, you have so much to say you could burst?

Well, I'm the bursting one right now. But I don't want to write fifty billion facebook status updates because that's just annoying. So here they are, all in one random blog post that really means nothing. Enjoy.

What is the difference between bear mace and people mace?

I just got on the treadmill after, oh, a three and a half month hiatus.  My foot cried, my knee screamed (oddly enough), and my calves wondered what was up.  But my lungs were fine! I ran a mile straight up {for a "fluffy" girl like me, that's great}. I wasn't even tired. If it weren't for my foot and my knee, I could have gone a lot longer. Yay!

I got new glasses today. I've been wearing glasses since I was in third grade (contacts since age 16), but I always forget about the weird transition time when you get a new prescription. The floor always looks crooked, and you marvel at how clear things are. It's great loopy fun.

Today a lady was very very rude to me on the phone at work. She made me cry. That doesn't happen very often. And I deal with the issue she was calling about all the time. I'm not sure what made this different, but her rudeness was unnecessary.  I'm over it, though.

I have never been successful at gas station car washes. Today I was short on time, so I chose to fill up at a gas station that had a car wash. I paid the $5, got the little code, and drove around to the entrance of the car wash. I punched in the code and read the directions while waiting for the car in front of me to get done.  The big garage door opened, the lights blinked green, and I drove in. I stopped where the other car had been before me. And nothing happened. Actually, something did happen. The big stupid maching that goes back and forth around the car did nothing while something else made an annoying beep. I sat there for ten minutes thinking surely a gas station employee would come out and push a button or something. But no. It just kept beeping. Ugh. So I drove away. Yes, a waste of five dollars. But I did not want to be the dumb chick who walks inside because she can't figure out the darn automatic car wash.  Plus I needed to get home.  So my car is dirty, my wallet is lighter, and I feel stupid. Please tell me I'm not the only one.

You know how I put the three wise men and their camel in my lamp shade for Christmas? Well, the other night I cut out some hearts and stuck them in. It's cute.

My closet is done, and I have the post mostly written. Maybe someday you'll get to read it.

My blanket is done, and I have the post mostly written. Maybe someday you'll get to read it. : )

Yesterday I suggested to my husband that we should adopt a child from Haiti. I was kind of kidding but kind of not.

I was thinking of maybe not going to church on Sunday. My husband is going out of town for the weekend, and I have to work on Saturday. So Sunday could be my day to just be home and relax. But then I thought about how I would miss Pastor Tom's sermon.  And I'm going. I'm so glad he's our pastor now.

I stepped on a package of hot dog buns just now. Oops.

I put up two bookshelves in my dining room earlier this week. They are empty. But I will fill them. Don't you worry.

It's time for bed. Goodnight, y'all.
Author: Addie Parker
•8:42 PM

Hi people!

Did anyone notice something funny? Like maybe how there weren't any posts between last week's Thankful Thursday and this week's Thankful Thursday? : )

So, here's where I am.

I'm at the place where my husband is more important. I'm at the place where my family is more important. I'm at the place where my friends are more important.  I'm at the place where my church is more important. I'm at the place where my days are adrenaline-fueled whirlwinds of work, and my evenings are precious, precious hours. I barely got on my computer all week last week. 

And that's okay with me.

I'm enjoying living a very full and rich life, and it doesn't always include the blog. I'll still be posting, especially for Thankful Thursdays. But my priorities might just be in order for once, and it's a great feeling.

Who's grateful this week?! I am!!!!!

* I am thankful that my husband was validated in his job today by his boss offering him a raise.

* I am thankful for the woman who went out of her way to not waste my time. I applied for a job within my company, and she called to set up an interview, but she wanted to warn me first that the department is slated to be cut later this year.  So even though they do need someone for the position now, I would most likely be facing a layoff before 2011.  She didn't have to tell me this. And it's probably to her detriment that she did. I doubt that very many candidates still want to interview after hearing that news, so she's left with a position that can't be filled. I'm just so grateful that she was upfront about it. (I politely declined to interview)

* I am thankful for time spent with friends last night. They live within walking distance, we sit by them at church, but we barely ever SEE them. Last night was some really quality time, and it was just so sweet.

* I am thankful that the roads have been dry lately, making the drive to and from work less stressful. 

* I am thankful that an Ikea was built near enough to my home to make going there fairly easy. I heart the big, blue box.  And the curtains I got on Sunday.

* I am thankful that my parents and sisters are in relationships that make them happy. I like to see them all with their chosen partners making life work in their own special ways.

What are you thankful for this week?  Leave your comments or links in the comment section. I have very little time left before bed, and MckLinky isn't making the cut this week.
Author: Addie Parker
•8:13 AM

Praise the bridge that carried you over.
~George Colman

I have to just be honest and say I completely forgot about Thankful Thursday this week. It has been a not-so-good week, and thankfulness has been the last thing on my mind. But I know that it helps so much to just bring my mind and heart back to that place. To think of the smallest little things that I'm thankful for.

And then I couldn't think of any. I just wasn't in the mindset. So I asked my husband for help. Here were his suggestions...

* My supportive husband

* My ridiculous good looks

* Ummm, birdies.

* Paula Deen, y'all.

Then he got silent for a while. When I told him to keep going, he said, "Oh, sorry, I was cussing out the people at your job in my head." hahaha. Hmm, that's pretty much what's been keeping me from being thankful! 

I'm telling myself to banish those thoughts! Ugh. They are no good. And even if the thoughts are justified, they're not helpful.

Back to being thankful.

* I'm thankful for the sunrise that was happening as I was sitting in the passenger seat writing this post.

* I'm thankful that I have a laptop and a husband who drives most of the way to work so that I'm able to write this post before work today.

* I'm thankful for the few extra minutes I have this morning so that I can stop at Panera and post this post before going to the doctor and going to work today.

* I'm thankful for my flex-spending health care account and the ability to get new glasses without the cost coming out of my regular budget

* I am really thankful for my supportive husband. On Monday, I got home from my small group, and he had cleaned the house. He's also been making dinner every night.

* I am thankful plans to spend time with my family this weekend. I've been looking forward to it all week, and it has kept me going each day.

What are you thankful for?

{A little bit of business}
1. Please link to your specific blog post, not your main blog page.
2. Please keep things clean and family-friendly.
3. Please link back to this post so that others can easily find their way back.
4. Include pictures if you can! I love pictures. : )

Author: Addie Parker
•9:38 PM
So I was just blog-hopping today when I saw that the Nester had a giveaway for some purrrty signs from Danielson Design Studio.  I decided to go for the super-bonus-extra-special-with-sprinkles-on-top giveaway. So I played around for a couple of minutes and came up with two signs of my own... the second one is especially close to my heart. Oh yeah.


You can enter, too. You could just comment on the Nester's post, or you could post some signs of your own and enter the extra-super-special-icious giveaway like I did.

Psst... Come back on Thursday to count your blessings at the Thankful Thursday party!

Author: Addie Parker
•10:25 PM

This time
I'll be sailing.
No more bailing boats for me.
I'll be out here on the sea. Just my confidence and me.

And I'll be awful sometimes.
Weakened to my knees
But I'll learn to get by
on little victories.

This time
I'll have no fear
I'll be standing strong and tall
Turn my back toward them all
And I'll be awful sometimes.
Weakened to my knees
But I'll learn to get by
Yeah, I'll learn to get by
on little victories.

And if the world decides to catch up with me,
it's a little victory.

Matt Nathanson

Listen Here on Lala for a clear, non you-tube version.
Author: Addie Parker
•8:00 AM
I've been trying to get in bed by 9. Even earlier when possible. Waking up at 5 AM is hard to do when I don't get to bed early.

But tonight, after I finished my Lazy Creative post, I was clicking around other blogs and got on a roll. I found oodles of good stuff. So it's 9:46, and I'm still at it.  I want to share some of the goodies with you...

Saucy's Sprinkles writes about building a better blog through commenting. Good point, Ms.Saucy. Good point. I'm always wishing for more comments here, but I never think to leave comments on others' blogs.

SNOMG. Even the title makes me laugh. I live in the Great, Frozen North, so it's nothing new to me, but Lindsay's post about snow in the South is a crack-up. The pictures are especially funny.

I know, I know. I do it, too... I put very little effort into folding fitted sheets. I once watched the mother of my first boyfriend fold a fitted sheet into a perfect square. I remember feeling inadequate.  But Annie gives a great video tutorial on it, and her joke at the end made my day.

Now you can stay up late reading blogs, too. You're welcome.
Author: Addie Parker
•9:02 PM
Poppies at Play is back after a little Christmas break, and today is the first Creative Cats Friday of the New Year. I've been looking forward to it... but not preparing for it.

I did plenty of creative things these past few weeks... I just haven't photographed them, yet.  And I'm not a great enough writer do this without pictures. So I browsed through my saved photos and came up with ....drumroll, please....

Get Up and Walk

My latest slap-some-paint-on-a-canvas creation.  And by latest, I mean I did this in October right before my foot surgery.

I love the part right near the beginning of Pride and Prejudice (Keira Knightley version) where Lizzy walks the three miles to Netherfield Park.  She feels compelled to go be with her sister, and she walks there, without asking permission, without an invitation. She just gets up and walks. And I think she might be just a little bit excited about who else she'll see there (even if she doesn't know it or wouldn't admit it). She's determined. She's head-strong. She's independent. I love it.

ALSO- just before I started the painting, I bought Bethany Dillon's new CD, Stop and Listen. I was immediately hooked on the first song, Get Up and Walk.  I listened to it over and over while painting.  You should download it on itunes. Because then you would know what I'm talking about. In fact, use that itunes gift card you got for Christmas and download the whole CD. It's fantastic.


It also occurred to me while I was painting that I was about to undergo a surgery that would prevent me from walking for six or seven weeks straight. So I felt it was utterly necessary to paint this picture.  I'm so glad I did. It's the only painting I've done that I actually really love.  It's a keeper.

So that wraps up the laziest creative post ever. I completed the painting three months ago, took the pictures weeks ago, and did nothing but sit on the couch and type this post. Funny since it was all about Get Up and Walk.

I'm also participating in Kimba's DIY Day at A Soft Place To Land.
Author: Addie Parker
•8:28 PM
So maybe Thankful THURSDAY wasn't the best idea. I should have done something like Thankful Sunday Afternoon or something. I always seem to be sooooo tired on Wednesday evenings when I sit down to write my Thankful Thursday posts. All I really want to do right now is curl up and watch Food Network Challenge: Disney Cakes.

I think I'll start writing my posts on Sunday and waiting til the next Thursday to post them. K? k.

But I'll still do it today. :) Just... maybe no linky. Just leave your links in the comments this week. K? k.

This week I'm thankful:

*for sweet, sweet moments spent with my nephews this weekend. Garrett, who is two years old, climbed up on my lap, threw his arms around my neck, and said, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!" about his Christmas presents.  And my sister, Britney, and I followed Austin into his room when we could see he was getting frustrated with the other kids. I saw a package of glow-in-the-dark stars sitting on his nightstand and suggested we put them up together. Britney applied the putty, I hoisted Austin on my shoulder, and Austin stuck the stars to the ceiling.  In less than ten minutes, we took his mood from down and dejected to happy and loved. And we did a little "decorating" in the meantime.  Those two moments were the best part of my week.

*for multiple opportunities that are coming up- on the job front on and the volunteering front. More on those if they pan out.

*for feeling a little bit like I belong. Every morning on my way to work (and on my way home, I suppose-ha), I drive down a road that goes past the back of my friend, Emily's house. Her kitchen light is always on, and somehow, it comforts me. Just knowing that she is there, that she's my friend, that she's not far away, that I am loved, that this town is my home. All of that in a split second view of her kitchen window. But it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

*for the discovery of Planter's NUTritious nut mixes. Yummy.

*that the Serena and Lily catalog came on the same day as the Crate & Barrel catalog. Mailbox Love!

*for the hilarity found within Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods. More on this book later. I think I'll write a post about it.

*for my husband for getting up to fetch the book for me. And for taking me out to sushi. And for putting up with my general high-maintenance-ness.

*for smiles that light up the room.

What are you thankful for???
Author: Addie Parker
•10:10 PM
So you know how I talked about making myself a new template?


I can do many, many things, but I guess making a blog template is beyond me. I have this very clear picture in my head of what I want- I want it to feel like HOME. And I was going to take word and make it come alive. With a background that looked like a living room... with art on the walls as my header. With a chair and a lamp- can't you just see it? : ) No? Oh.

Well, I tried to make it happen, but I'm just not knowledgeable enough about html code. I couldn't make the picture fit, no matter what I did. So I gave up. For now. And I went back to the Googles and searched for "blogger templates" again.

I came up with some contenders, none of which felt like home. None of which felt like me. But then I saw one that looked like it had the potential to be at least good enough for now, with a little bit of tweaking. Tweaking I can do. So I did.

And even though this new layout is not what I had originally wanted, I'm thinking it'll do. And I'm pretty excited about being able to change the header picture so easily (without using the super-annoying blogger header picture changer thingy-ma-bob).

So yay for a new layout. Maybe someday I'll pay a professional to do it. Just not today.

Coming soon: How I extended the life of my blankie for hopefully another 26 years.
Author: Addie Parker
•7:31 PM

It's 2010! It's 2010! It's 2010!

Are you excited? I am!  There is so much to look forward to this year!!!! I've never been more excited to head into a new year. Things are happening, there are plans, much is in store!

I'll try to list them in chronological order as much as possible.... Here goes-

Starting now (well starting a little while ago, but whatever)- I think I'm finally in the right frame of mind to be losing weight. I know that's very New Year's Resolution-ey, but it really has nothing to do with that. It has more to do with the other plans and goals I have for 2010 and how they'll be SO MUCH better if I'm not so... fluffy.  I'm excited to have more energy, feel better, and look great!

February- Utah Trip!  My in-laws have invited us to go with them to their time-share in Park City this February. I don't ski (flashbacks of that horrible, horrible day when I was 13 years old and went down a ski-hill on my bum. The people above me in the lift laughed at me). So yeah, I don't ski, but I DO get massages. Yessss. And I do read by the fire. And I do soak in hot tubs. And I do shop.  So it's all good.

March- We'll be free of credit card debt! Wahoo! We made an infinite number of mistakes early on, but we're almost all done with that business! 

April- my friend Emily is due to have her baby boy! She is my first close friend to have a child, and I'm beyond excited.

Spring-ish- I'll be planting a vegetable garden this year!  Finally!  I'm looking forward to, oh, tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes- and I don't know what else. Ha. I haven't thought that far ahead, yet.

May- Marks five years of marriage! Holy cow. Time flies.

May- We're taking an anniversary mini-vacation.  A hiking trip. Not exactly sure where to, but it will be mountainous. Appalachian-ous.  Somewhere. I don't know why I haven't used any exclamation points in this one. It's the one I'm most excited about.  Hiking is my friend.

All Year- Speaking of hiking, since I had foot surgery in October, I'll be all healed up and ready to cover miles and miles of trails. Hiking is my most-favorite-ist thing to do. : )

Summer to fall-ish- Some people aren't comfortable telling this to the world, but I don't really care if y'all know (I'm excited about it!)... my husband and I will be starting to try for a baby!

July/August- I'm going on a hiking trip with my mom to the Porcupine Mountains in the U.P. (northern Michigan). This will be a different experience for me since I usually hike solo or with just one other person. This trip will be with a whole group of people. I'm kind of nervous but super excited.

As soon as I get a free moment- I'll be taking on a little kitchen renovation! Or Cosmetic Upgrade, really. My pink counter-tops are going DOWN!

2010 is going to be full of spectacular things.  I can't wait to get started!!!

Happy New Year to you! What are you plans? What does the start of this brand new decade have in store for you?

P.S. Are you of the twenty-ten sort? Or the two-thousand-ten sort? I like twenty-ten. I hope it catches on. I'm sick of saying two-thousand. Such a mouthful. ha ha ha