-Ever since we moved back to Idaho, I’ve been looking for a job. I’ve had a few prospects, but nothing really seemed worth spending nearly all of my paycheck on daycare expenses. Stephen quickly found a great job (YAY!) so I’ve been at home with the boys all day. While we can afford for me to stay home, it’s not ideal. I need to get out of the house and we’d like to put more into savings each month, so I had to figure out what to do. Luckily, Stephen offered to transfer his Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to me (he won’t go to college, ever, so.) and just like that, we had a plan. Luckily, because of Stephen’s two deployments, he has plenty of active duty time saved up from the last eight years to make it worth me going back to school. I’ll essentially be “making” the same money I would working a full time job, and I’ll get to study with no debt! WIN.
-Because I’m staying at home, I’m trying to think of creative ways to save money. We seem to spend a fortune on groceries, so I started clipping coupons (I know). I ordered five Sunday subscriptions of our local paper and am planning on attending their monthly coupon class/exchange. I also subscribe to a few blogs, but I’m not a huge fan of printing coupons as I’ve had coupons rejected before. If you have any tips, I’d appreciate them!
-Dublin’s speech is delayed. I’ve mentioned this on twitter, especially over the summer when he was receiving speech therapy. He talks A LOT, but it’s not discernible English. He says “mah-jah-” for “please,” “mama” for “milk,” and “chocolate” is “c*ck.” It’s rather charming, actually. He says a few phrases, like “Oh my gosh!” and “I don’t know.” but he doesn’t use them appropriately (meaning, he doesn’t say “I don’t know” when he really, truly, doesn’t know). He has a large vocabulary, but he doesn’t put words together himself. It’s frustrating, because when he’s in distress, he’ll fling himself to the floor and throw a tantrum. I have no idea what to do to help him.
-Roman will be ONE! next month. I don’t know if we’re throwing him a party or even where. Where do you do a party for a baby in the winter? He is crawling, sitting, pulling up on his knees, but doesn’t have any inclination to walk or say anything other than “dada.”
-I’m thinking of doing a video blog. I know everyone calls it a vlog, but that words looks like something I’d fancy in an Ikea catalog. I’ve met a good handful of bloggers who likely remember what I sound like, but seeing as I grew up in Cali, Colorado, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Vermont, I know I say a few things that sound strange. Like, for example, I don’t pronounce the “k” in “breakfast.” Yeah. Don’t hate. A VIDEO BLOG will likely be my next post, then.
(This says “thing” but I’m going to make it “things” because I am crazy indecisive.)
1. Dior Dior Best in Show Mini Mascara Duo
I love DiorShow Blackout Mascara so, so much, but sometimes it’s a bit too dramatic for everyday wear. That’s where the original DiorShow comes in handy! These tubes are small, but I find they work perfectly, since mascara needs to be replaced every so often. This is far and away the best mascara I’ve ever had, you wouldn’t believe the difference it makes to your lashes! I bought it here.
2. Crystal Light On The Go Pure Fitness Strawberry Kiwi
First: NO ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS! Also, no artificial flavors or preservatives! Because of my kidney issues, I have to drink around 100 ounces of water every day and let me tell you – it gets OLD! But the Pure Fitness flavors really make it so easy. The flavors are all very refreshing and don’t have that strange after taste that a lot of aspartame-sweetened beverages tend to have. I buy it in bulk on Amazon because it’s not sold in our Vermont stores, at least not nearby.
3. MorningStar Farms Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burgers
Before I met Stephen, I had been a vegetarian for about eight years. I had tried a of MorningStar Farms products and really liked their chik patties. When I started Weight Watchers in January, I wanted something with protein for my breakfasts, so I didn’t load up on carbohydrates too much. I usually pair one of these patties with about a half cup of Egg Beaters, some salsa and a slice of Weight Watchers cheese – it’s SO filling and very, very yummy.
What are YOU loving?
1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
I gave birth prematurely and said goodbye to my husband for his deployment.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I’m pretty sure I wanted to lose weight and since I went and got knocked up, I didn’t keep that resolution. This year, I’m determined to FINALLY lose the weight and regain my confidence. DETERMINED.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A lot of lovely internet friends did, but the closest person was probably my cousin, Crystal. She had a very scary delivery and nearly died after her uterus came out with the baby, but she’s doing great now.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Stephen’s great-grandfather, but I’d never met him so no.
5. What countries did you visit?
None. I’m a loser!
6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you didn’t have in 2010?
A fitter body and more financial stability.
7. What dates from 2010 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
September 21st – When Steve “officially” deployed, November 7th – When Roman was born, and November 9th – When I said goodbye to Stephen, again.
8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
It’s a toss up between giving birth and dealing with Steve’s departure, especially since they both happened within 48 hours of one another. That was a really, really, hard week.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Finding and securing mature tenants.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had an e.coli infection in August that put me in the ER overnight, but other than that, nothing worse than a cold.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Our laptops. I bought them when I cashed out an old retirement account from a previous job and wanted Stephen to have one with him overseas. They’ve really been amazing for us.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Roman’s. His triumph in the NICU was incredible.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
14. Where did most your money go?
Rent, groceries and travel (from Idaho to Vermont). I also spent a ton on formula ($500 during one month) and postage costs ($170 for December alone).
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going to New Orleans to see Stephen on his four day pass. Go figure my water would break 5 hours before my flight was supposed to depart.
16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
I know everyone hates Nickelback for some inexplicable reason, but their song “Far Away” really reminds me of 2010 and will remind me of 2011, too.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a) both, same as last year b) same as last year c) richer
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Probably focus more on a number of things. Photography, my husband, freelance, etc.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Stress. The first three and last five months of 2010 were loaded with stress and part of me still worries that all that stress caused Roman’s premature birth.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
We opened presents the night before with my in-laws (Steve’s dad, stepmom, and brother) and went next door to my FIL’s parents’ house for supper.
21. Did you fall in love with 2010?
Yes. I fall more in love every year with my family.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
DEXTER! Or the Office!
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I wouldn’t say hate, but I have a STRONG DISLIKE for this person.
24. What was the best book you read?
Water for Elephants, although it was also the only book I read.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I started listening to more Dropkick Murphys, but it wasn’t a discovery, necessarily.
26. What did you want and get?
After a few weeks in the NICU, my baby home with me.
27. What did you want and not get?
More quality time with Dublin. With the move and Roman’s premature birth…I just don’t feel like I had enough one-on-one time with him.
28. What was your favorite film of 2010?
I didn’t really go to the movies, except to see the Twilight Saga: Eclipse…so I don’t think that counts.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 24 and I spent it in my best friend Sona’s apartment, while she was on base in Quantico, working. I didn’t get internet or cell signal there, so it was a really quiet day. That night, she took me to a Hibatchi restaurant with two of her funny friends, so that was awesome.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I could say “having Stephen stay with us” but that would be too easy an answer. Not having to worry about money would have made my year SO MUCH EASIER.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2010?
I spent most of 2010 pregnant, but I didn’t wear maternity clothing. Empire waist tops ruled my world.
32. What kept you sane?
Hearing my husband’s voice. And my sons, even though they made me INsane as well.
33. What political issue stirred you the most?
Gun legislation. I don’t bring politics onto my blog, however, so that’s all I will say about that.
34. Who did you miss?
Obviously, my husband. But I also missed all my friends in Idaho and my fellow Army wives.
35. Who was the best new person you met?
Jamie! I met her on Craigslist, as creepy as that sounds. And my friend, Sam, wife of Steve’s best friend in the Army.
36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
Missing someone gets easier every day because even though it’s one day further from the last time you saw each other, it’s one day closer to the next time you will.
37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“Don’t worry ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”
- “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley
The oh-so-lovely Sarah gave me an idea to get back in the swing of blogging, so instead of hearing about Roman’s birth story and Stephen’s deployment exclusively, you’ll get a few random tidbits.
It’s a list of 30 prompts:
Your work space
The best part of your day
Something you refuse to do
Last book you read
Meaning behind your blog name
Talent you wish you had
A photo of you without makeup
Last item you purchased
Something that makes you sad
15 facts about you
Your favorite thing right now
Best Christmas present you ever got
Your favorite teacher
Something you’re thankful for
A photo from your childhood
Something you crave
Your worst hair moment
Last time you cried
Last time you had to apologize to someone
Something that scares you
Something that really bugs you
What you dislike most about your appearance
A trait you deplore in others
A photo taken 10 years ago
First book/movie/song that moved you
What turns you off
The story behind one of your scars
(The last one is blank, I’m considering making it a video blog.)
And believe it or not, I already have a bunch of posts for several of these topics in queue. If anyone else is game to do some or all of these prompts, let me know – I’d love to read them!
Remember how I made it seem like I was going to start blogging again, regularly, and then WEEKS went by without a word? Well, I mean it this time, I really do!
As part of a deployment gift for Steve, I bought him a new laptop (and an identical one for me) when I cashed out an old retirement account of mine. The laptops are awesome and so is our super fast internet that we finally purchased for ourselves (can you believe we’ve been stealing wifi for almost a year?). And with Steve’s training looming, I know I will be snuggling up with this baby for blog reading and posting. In between diaper changes and meal-preparing and all other things I routinely do for my toddler, of course.
As I was flying through my reader this morning, I thought, “hey, why not do a random-facts type post?” So here it is:
-I have never gone skiing or snowboarding in my life, despite having lived in Colorado for 15 years and Vermont for 5.
-My husband thinks I have the grossest hand joints ever. I’ll show you a video or photos soon of why.
-I always pluck my right eyebrow with my right hand and my left eyebrow with my left hand. But I use my right hand to apply mascara on both eyes.
-I can’t say the following words correctly: particularly, breakfast, caveat, haute, cacophony and nuclear.
-I use to sell lingerie (that I purchased wholesale) on ebay for a living. And I actually made money doing it!
-I have a very hard time leaving the past IN the past.
-When I was little, and would visit my dad’s Navy ship upon his return home, I always though that marrying a man in uniform would be SO romantic. But I also fantasized marrying a tall, dark Italian man with a thick accent.
-When I met Steve, I thought he would make an excellent, fun rebound…but nothing more.
-I had more cellulite when my thighs were skinnier.
-Dublin was almost named Dominic. But the doctor who delivered him was Irish (brogue and all – SWOOOON) and Dublin was born, looking like a bruiser.
-I have a thing for elephants. Not *that* kind of thing, but, like, if I collect ANYTHING, it’s definitely elephant stuff. My personal stationary is all about the elephants, I’ve bought most of the elephant home items on Target and if we ever have another boy baby, his theme will involve elephants (Dublin’s is/was monkeys).
-My all-time favorite band is Queen. I had a brief love affair with Mika for his Freddie Mercury-esque sound.
-This is the first time in my life that I’ve not had a dog and it makes me sad.
-My multivitamin is a gummie and I have a really hard time not taking more than two. YIKES.
Yes, that’s right. I’m still lacking in content, but I wanted to throw SOMETHING up here already. Besides, it’s a snow day (no work, YES!) and I need to at least attempt productivity.
1. So, snow. We have had snow EVERY SINGLE DAY of April. Yes, you heard me. We decided to look on the bright side and bring Dublin out, for his first experience in the snow:
3. We went out to a few bars with some of Steve’s Army buddies and their wives. Steve, when drunk, is like a dance machine, pulling everyone out onto the floor. If you’re lucky, he’ll even give you a lap dance (this is one of his MALE Army buddies) (also: when I’m drunk, I lose all coordination, as you can see in the way this photo was cropped):
4. A couple weeks ago, I took Dublin’s Easter photos. It was his first experience on grass (that should explain how long this winter has been) and he basically was the easiest baby EVER to photograph:
7. Steve is leaving again, which is fine, for a few more weeks, and then he’s gone most of May (missing Dublin’s first birthday – WAHHHHHH). It looks like we’ll be seeing less and less of him for the next four months before deployment. I’m strangely getting used to it. But I can’t pretend it doesn’t get lonely.
8. We finished LOST, Dexter, True Blood and The Office and are in desperate need of a new series to watch. Any recommendations?
I feel like all I do is whine this month, but honestly? I kind of thought that when 2010 and I sat down for a wee chat, we agreed that S/he would KICK ASS in the most awesome way, but apparently S/he interpreted that as to KICK MY ASS instead.
I forget that not all my readers are my twitter friends (psst…why not?), so I’ll do a quick run down of everything going on.
-My mother in law is unable to come and watch D while we go on that weekend Army retreat, so basically, we’re NOT going.
-I received a long-awaited cashiers check from my tenant for first and last month’s rent plus deposit. Because our primary bank is not anywhere near here, we paid overnight shipping, so the check would deposit asap and we’d be able to have money in our account after already spending it before. Well, overnight delivery took six days and my bank LOST my cashiers check before “finding it” and telling me they were withholding the funds for…..FORTY DAYS. Because that’s how long it takes to clear a cashiers check nowadays I guess.
-The following day, our property manager announced that due to the noise level (he didn’t say my baby, but we’ve received warnings about my baby’s middle-of-the-night cries and overall loud baby business), we were being evicted. And he said we had to be out in two days.
-Did I mention, I started weaning myself off my too-expensive Crazy meds this week? Perhaps I should I have thought that out better.
-After a series of phone calls with some important people, we were given until the end of the month. Which is fine, because we only selected this too-expensive place due to its proximity to the bus stop for Steve’s former job, meaning – we do not need to be paying this much anymore. So now we’re able to terminate our lease and find an apartment for half, or even a third of this price.
-My bank then DEBITED (TOOK OUT) the amount of the check (that has yet to be deposited) FROM our account, instead of CREDITING it to us. Meaning we were overdrawn THOUSANDS of dollars. And not a single teller could explain WHY.
The Plus Sides?
-We have now switched to USAA for our banking, since we already receive great service from them (hello, $28/month for car insurance? YES PLEASE!).
-I’ve lost five pounds in five days! YES.
-While I wanted to continue to my role as stay-at-home mom, it’s obvious that we’ll need two breadwinners to get back on our feet. This is good in that while I didn’t want to put D in day care, he will finally have some other social interaction outside of Steve and I – aka the only people he’s been around in two months.
-Like I said, we are able to get out of our crazy expensive lease and move into a similarly-sized, incredibly cheaper apartment. It probably won’t have a 24-hour fitness center or pool, but we’ll be saving money. Which is awesome when, you know, you don’t have an income.
-We also don’t have to live above our grumpy-ass neighbors anymore. They’ve banged on their ceiling (our floor) when I was up with my crying, teething boy at 3 AM (mind you, I was caring for our kid above their LIVING ROOM, not bedroom, so they were likely already awake). I also don’t have cigarette smoke coming from their balcony into my apartment anymore. BONUS!
For the first time since…ever, I utilized Google Reader’s “Mark All Read” option and I’m really sorry! I’ll get back on the reading and commenting wagon again, I just need to pack up my entire house, again, for the second time in 6 months.
1. I had a CAT scan done on Friday. For my body, though with my recent blog posts and tweets, you’d think it was my head that needed a scan, right? Anyway. I don’t know about you all, but I definitely THRIVE with guidance. So, Mr. CAT Scan Technician, perhaps you could have offered up some guidance while I laid there on that bed, going back and forth through that machine? Mentioning that I needed to have my arms above my head during the process would have been handy. (Oh, helllllo, Insurance Company! Hope you don’t mind those bonus scans in my bill! Wheeee!) Also, if you could have mentioend that towards the end, the machine goes BAM WHOOOOZE BING BANG BADDDDDDDDDUMMMMMM BANG BANG POOOOOF! Well, what I’m saying is: if you could have mentioned that tidbit about the machine sounding like it was about to explode into a billion tiny pieces all over the room, while I’m halfway through it, I would have been grateful, instead of losing my shit all over the place -hello panic attack! And screaming. The screaming could have been avoided, as the paranoid, near-death experience. Thanks!
2. Also on Friday, immediately following the CAT scan, I had an ultrasound done. If you’re a woman and you’ve ever had one done, I’m talking about the INTERNAL ultrasound. Oh, YES. So my ultrasound tech is very brusque with me and kind of doesn’t give me clear directions (hello, perhaps there’s a relation to the CAT scan tech?) and tells me to get undressed, wrapping myself in a sheet. Which in all actuality is a giant paper towel that RIPS at the slightest movement on that stupid bed. Tech leaves while I undress and I am wondering why she needs me fully naked, when I know she’s only doing an internal. Anyway, I sit on that bed for fifteen minutes, completely naked, wrapped in the paper towel that is full of rips and she comes back in, only to bark, “PUT YOUR CLOTHES ON! I DON’T WANT TO SEE YOU NAKED!” Well same goes lady, but like I said – a little direction would have been nice! So I put my clothes on, only to find out she meant to go PANTLESS.
3. Continuing on with this technician, she has ME insert the stupid giant wand and then does some Star Wars Lightsaber action up in my business, barking still, “I just need to check out your ovaries!” “This doesn’t hurt that bad!” and “You need to lie still while I wriggle this around you.” Lady, I’m having this ultrasound done because I am IN PAIN, in THAT AREA. A little tact and more gentle maneuvering would be helpful, thanks! And I’m not exaggerating with the lightsaber action. She had TWO HANDS on the other end and was biting on her lower lip as she yanked the damned thing around.
4. What is SPAM? It looks like condensed cat food to me. I’ve never tried it in my life, though Steve swears by it. Does it need to be cooked? It looks…so…raw? I don’t know what the deal about SPAM is, but I NEED TO KNOW.
5. How do you mommies feed your babies when they get to that VERY WRIGGLY stage? I mean, I hold onto Dublin on the couch while I give him his bottle, but he is SO HEAVY and SO LONG and just a generally very big baby, he’s hard to hold and feed. Plus, he loves to use his feet as leverage to arch his back up and wriggle himself into a new position, covering the both of us in formula. Really, how am I supposed to feed him? Mommy fail!
6. I kind of feel like a failure of an adult asking the following question. What is the deal with Tylenol and Motrin? Is it, take one or the other? Or can you take both at the same time? I don’t understand! What is the difference between acetaminophen and ibuprofen? I know I could google this, but I’m asking you people instead.
7. Come after me with pitchforks all you’d like, but I can’t help it. There is something very skeezy about Mario Lopez.
1. I was blown away by the support I received on last week’s post. Thank you all, for your support, through the emails or comments you left me. It’s embarrassing to admit it got so bad, that I actually have reached 200 pounds, even. But it feels so wonderful to have such supportive readers. I’m feeling the urge to put a smiley face at the end of that last sentence, but I will RESIST. MUST RESIST!
2. Steve had Fri-Tuesday off from work as he transitions to the 12-hour shifts at work. This means he works four days from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. this month with four days off, then four days of the same, four days off, etc. His work, however, is a two hour bus drive away, so he will be leaving at 5 a.m. and not returning home until 9 p.m. Next month, the same thing except he’s doing the night 12-hour shift (7 p.m. – 7 a.m.). Basically, he’ll be a ghost. He works Halloween day, Thanksgiving night and Christmas day. Ick.
3. He still has not been assigned a unit for National Guard, so we’re going on 3 months of make-ups he’ll have to do. Plus the two-week jaunt he missed when we moved. To add to this, he’s applying for a Special Forces unit, another state away. I really won’t see him once he starts up Guards again, which kind of sucks because I’m pretty isolated at home during the day. That’s what the Internet is for, though, right?
4. Weight Watchers is going well. The thing about dieting for me is that I didn’t want to diet for the sake of losing weight over a stated period of time. I wanted to diet in a way that I could continue these habits for life, so I don’t end up back where I started. I don’t want to deprive myself of the things I like to eat. For example, I’m still having steak, pasta, etc, but I’m doing it in much smaller portions. I think this makes it easier for me, because then I don’t beat myself up over enjoying a cookie, as long as I stop at one.
5. Steve and I are SLOWLY turning our new place into a home. When we moved from Vermont, we decided to start fresh, whereby we got rid of everything we owned, except clothing, my computer, a tv and Dublin’s pack-n-play. It’s amazing, when you start over, all the little things you find you need. For example, spices. Spices are expensive when you have to rebuild your spice cabinet! And little utensils, like whisks. Or a can opener. Tubberware, ice cube trays, muffin pans, pillows, chairs, tables, lamps, towels…it adds up so quickly. We made a trip to Target to pick up a few things with a gift card and came across this rug. The 5′x8′ size had a tag of $24.99, even though all the other rugs in the same size were $99.99. I knew that it was too good to pass up, and it was exactly what I wanted (squares, with a lot of coordinating colors). When the cashier scanned it, however, it came up as $99.99, OF COURSE. I wasn’t up for spending that much money, so I almost passed on it, before the cashier sent someone for a price check. A few minutes later, someone garbled over the radio “the customers are correct, we marked it wrong, give it to them for the $24.99. We’re fixing the price tag now.” DUDES. You should have seen my face. What a steal!
6. Dublin FINALLY rolled over last week, which was a big deal in our house. The kid is in the 95th percentile for weight for his age, and he had a lot of trouble doing the mini-pushup (that’s a lot of weight to support for a little guy) so when he finally succeeded, a month late, it was a joyous occasion. And now, rolling over! I can hardly contain myself.
7. After a year of not reading due to time constraints, I now am reading a TON. I finished the four Twilight books in four days and have devoured another 5 novels by various authors since. I could use some suggestions. I’m open to pretty much anything. My favorite book (or books, I should say) is actually The Once and Future King. I finished The Time Traveler’s Wife a few months ago, and I like books of that genre too. So tell me, what should I be reading? It doesn’t need to be a recent release, as long as I can find it on Amazon or eBay! Thanks in advance, peeps!
The Blathering. Well, it was wonderful. But I was THISCLOSE to not attending.
You see, Thursday night as I was doing loads of laundry and sort of packing my bag, I lost my shit on Steve. “These people are BLOG FAMOUS, Stephen.” Or “What if no one likes me?!” I’ve always had a mild social anxiety and have never traveled alone to a place where I knew virtually no one, except through their Internet writing. I have been reading Emily for years, corresponding with Jennie (and reading her blog) for a long time. She even provided a lot of comfort via email and comments when I went through a very low point last year. And have commented on Dani’s shoes for forever in the Working Closet Flickr Group. But after reading all the pre-Blathering questionnaires everyone filled out and emailed, I was so, so excited to meet all these intriguing people and because of that, I was even more nervous. But my nerves were for naught, because each and every single woman was so friendly, funny and welcoming. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was one of the best weekends of my life.
(Allow me to preface this post by saying that it is likely the longest post I’ve ever written and I also whored out a ton of links, so I apologize if it gets monotonous.)
Recaps of some of the best things about last weekend (oh my God, there were so many):
I was at the ice machine in the hotel when I heard four female voices coming down the hallway. It turned out to be Maggie, Emily, Liz and Manda. They all sort of walked by me with polite smiles (didn’t recognize me) except Manda, who stared at me for a moment and exclaimed, “You’re Whitney!” That immediately relieved me. (Here is Manda’s photo of the four of them.)
Everything about Elizabeth. Her house, her delicious dinner, her dog (more on that later).
The wine tasting. It was so relaxed and we were all able to share a little bit of our lives and blogs. Thanks so much, Natalie!
(I don’t have any photos of this, but Elizabeth does.)
Liz and I laughing so hard over a immature joke involving Elizabeth’s VERY sweet dog, Annabelle. I was laughing so hard that I almost caught my hair on fire by all these candles, by slamming my head into the table. I do that when I laugh uncontrollably.
(And c’est Annabelle!)
(Sidenote: I’m very sorry that Liz and I were inappropriate over your very loving and adorable dog, Elizabeth!)
When Manda DIVEBOMBED on top of Emily and Amber in the hammock, resulting in the hammock’s demise.
(The following photo is Emily and Manda holding up the piece that broke.)
Shopping downtown with a smaller group of the women. Watching Manda and Amber try on sequined hats and make funny faces.
Eating lunch with everyone and Shelby and Annie. Both of whom were so lovely and charming. I don’t have any photos of this because I FAIL. But I hope to spend MORE time with them next year!
Admiring everyone’s accessories. Seriously, everyone was accessorized beautifully, as evidenced in the following photos.
(Holly and my roomie, Melissa.)
(Emily and Amber.)
(Liz and Maggie – the latter was plagued with a billion emails prior to the weekend from me.)
(Kristie and A’Dell.)
Dinner at Zocalo. Or, I should say drinks, because we drank $109.00 worth of blackberry margaritas alone.
Drinks at Lounge on Twenty (if you click the link, you’ll see one of very comfortable white chairs I lounged in!) for a number of reasons:
One, it was unlike any place I’ve ever been in (But I’m from VERMONT and currently live in a Mormon-run town. So, that’s not saying much).
Two, CUCUMBER WATER. It was strange at first, I couldn’t figure out what the heck it was until Amy said something. At least I think it was Amy? Maybe it was Amber? Nonetheless, I have a HEALTHY addiction to cucumber, so I enjoyed this refreshing beverage very much. It also prevented me from spending another $20 on drinks.
Three, I sat next to some of the most hilarious girls ever! Amy and Liz were talking about something and started laughing so hard that I couldn’t help but laugh too, just watching them!
Four, more hilarity with Emily and Liz!
(There is video of this, too. I think Manda has it.)
And Five, Amy plucking her eyebrows. HILARIOUS.
Going to the gay bar, Faces. It was my first experience in a gay bar as well (hello Mormon Town!). It was a blast. Except for the part where I spent all my cash on dinner and drinks and they wouldn’t take credit cards to pay for the cover. Thank you again, Daniela (with the amazing shoes!). I owe you next year! I took a shot with Jennie and Elizabeth (also a first, as it was tequila and I normally shoot vodka). And then we danced. And danced and danced. Emily was singled out by one man there and he proceeded to swing her around the dance floor for two (or three?) songs. Emily has some moves!
And then we all went into the hip-hop room and danced some more!
(Yeah, so I clearly SUCK at framing photos well, but to see the dancing photos from that night, check out Daniela’s photo set. I could not stop laughing seeing some of those photos!)
(And! Jennie captured video of us dancing to MJ!)
Also, I was motorboated like a billion times at the gay bar by a couple of the bloggers from our group. I told a story at dinner, earlier, that night of how I went to a strip club with Stephen, his dad, my brother, cousins and various coworkers and friends for Stephen’s bachelor party and what went HORRIBLY wrong with my outfit and involved some motorboating. LONG SENTENCE FAIL. But, it was pretty spectacular. I won’t name names unless they want to be outed! (I’d hinted about this story on my 13 Things post. Daniela took photos of me telling the story.)
We danced so much that we were all SWEATY. And when I say sweaty, I mean SWEATY:
(Look at Liz all composed and lovely and OBNOXIOUS, SWEATY WHITNEY RUINING THE MOMENT)
(And then Emily, Liz and I with our mouths wide open for some reason, still sweaty)
I will say that I was very sad to go in the morning. And very sore from dancing.
Last weekend was nothing short of amazing. It sounds so cliche, but I can’t sum up them any better, each and every woman was so beautiful and I feel honored to have shared laughter, conversation and TIME with them all. It wasn’t enough time, of course, but there’s always next year. I found 15 new blogs to follow (get on that, Shelby!), met people who were even more amazing outside of their blogs and formed friendships with people I never would have met otherwise. And that was the single greatest thing about this weekend. Now, if I can just convince everyone to move their lives to dinky Idaho and live near me among the Mormons.
Of course, I still didn’t do this weekend justice, but if you want to read the posts that did, go here, here, here, here, here, here, here (um, SOB), here, here and here. (HOLY CARPAL TUNNEL, DID I FORGET ANYONE?)