Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Movin on up...

♫ to the east side... to a deluxe apartment in the sky. ♫

I loved the Jeffersons.

But now it's my turn. I have officially moved to my new site... www.jessiwithani.com. I hope you all come visit me at my new place ;~)

Peace out Blogger!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


So I wanted to start blogging about our vacation. I am excited to relive the week and to record it for our history... but alas, blogger sucks. Apparently I have hit my quota on pictures that I can upload... you know, without paying them $$. Totally bogus...

Luckily Adam bought me a domain a few months ago... I just haven't had the chance to sit down and learn something new. Seems like there is no time like the present. So, in the next few days I will be changing my URL... and really hoping that my small contingent follows me!

Stay tuned for my new URL... coming soon!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Thank goodness that's over.

Getting ready to set off... happier times.

Initially we were in very good spirits...

but of course that included coffee...

and vanilla milk.

Soon we were attempting distraction...

after distraction...

after distraction...

when finally this happened.

24 minutes later... awake and crying.


After yet another stop, we attempted distractions such as...


and puzzles...

until we finally arrived! Never has getting out of the car felt so wonderful!

Within the first 4 seconds of Chase putting his feet in the ocean I decided the trip, as whiny and cranky as it had been, was totally worth it.

He walked right up and cautiously put his feet in...

which soon gave way to jumping...

repeatedly with bigger and bigger splashes...

until the allure of the sand became too much...

and he felt the need to throw himself down and roll around in it.

Oh yeah... that's a mess.

He was enthralled with seashells and he insisted needed to be thrown into the ocean... each and every time he found a new one.

He sure was a mess by the time we walked back up to the hotel but he deserved it...
9.5 hours in a carseat is a lot to ask of a 2.5 year old.

And Adam and I have an entire week to dread the ride home ;~)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

So caving... not really my thing.

Last week we were lucky enough to get a tour of the Crystal Grottoes Caverns... were I learned that being that far underground... kinda freaked me out ;~)

All in all, still a really fun trip (thanks Laura!!!)

I will not confirm or deny that this email (received mere seconds before I left the driveway)...
caused me to run back in the house and grab socks and tennis shoes for both Chase and I.

The evidence speaks for itself.

Could not be more of a City Slicker.

Standing in a tractor... life doesn't get much better for Chase.

In complete amazement. I thought Chase would be a little more freaked out (turns out I did that enough for the both of us)... in reality he was perfectly fine walking around and taking in all the sights.

Me and my first born son ;~)

Chase was here.

I just had to include this picture because he is so stinking cute. I seriously cannot believe how much I love him.

After all this time we are still attempting the line up shot... not bad!

After the caverns we headed to a playground (quite possibly the best playground around) for some fun and lunch.

As it turns out the kids really only had the fun in mind. Especially my son... could not get him to sit and take one bite of food.

Teaching him to go up and down the jungle gym...
and this is right before (we're talking seconds people) he fell back with a hard thump on his tush.

Mother of the Year is just around the corner folks.

First time on a see saw... with his best girl Sadie.

And then they ran over and got on the 'airplane' where Chase informed Sadie that they were "flying to Frostburg".

My kid dreams big, people... watch out!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Day at the park

This is always a familiar sight...
Chase is a big fan of the big blue swing.

And if a 7 month pregnant woman has to stop at the grocery store... on the way to the park... to meet up with friends... and the bakery is pumping out yummy baked goodness smells...

well, this becomes a familiar sight.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sewing, crafting and a good sense of humor

I've been breaking out the sewing machine more and more these days... especially since I moved everything together and within easy reach.

In typical Jessica fashion I have about 10 projects going on at any one time. Seriously, if I got paid for stretching myself thin, I could retire tomorrow.

Here are a few projects that actually managed to get finished...

This serves no real purpose other than a place for Chase to store 'emails' (commonly known as pieces of paper) and as a decoration for the wall in the play room. I got the idea from a combo of the Today Show and In Sung. I purposefully didn't use the sewing machine on this project... I wanted a bold handcrafted look to it so I did it all with embroidery thread and a sewing needle.


finally curtains for Chase's room! No more horrible gray flannel blanket hung up with safety pins! I am probably most proud about this project. There are 2 panels that match in height (which would have been glaringly obvious if they didn't!) and there is a dark brown fabric on the window side of the curtain to help block sunlight. Also, the top is courtesy of Kari! She gave me the idea on how to make it ruffle (instead of tabs like I originally planned) and I like the look 10x's better! Thanks Kari!

Speaking of Kari... she also gave me the idea for pillowcases...
We bought a couple at Ikea and then with my leftover fabric, I made a couple pillowcases. They overlap in the back and cover the pillow just like a sham would!

And I managed to get 2 pillow cases with the leftover fabric. Plus I made an actual pillow (filled with stuffing but obviously closed all around) with the polka dot and straight brown fabric... to this day, one of Chase's favorite pillows. It often travels from his room to our bed with him in the morning.

The purple bag is an old tank top that I wasn't wearing anymore. Today show gave me the idea and with a little fusible interface to secure the stitching, it's now a fun bag that Chase enjoys filling and carrying around the house.

Then in an effort to give lil bean some of his own clothes, I made a few onesies for him.
Used some leftover black iron letters for the "GIT" and the "FLIRT" and then I just filled the "eek n raining" with black puff paint.

And then I had way too much fun with puff paint and blank onesies...

Seriously, I'm 32... puff paint should not be this entertaining.

And then last but not least... just to prove that you have to have a sense of humor...
decoration for our playroom now includes a collage of tow truck pictures. Of course the top right picture is our most recent tow truck adventure. Busted engine due to massive oil leak in the Ford Focus. On the left is also Adam with a different Ford Focus on our way home from Niagara Falls... where we spent the night with total strangers (and their 3 kids) somewhere in North Cambria PA. And the bottom right one... that's Kelly and Jaime with Jaime's old Cavalier about 45 minutes outside of Panama City Beach FL... we were on our way to Spring Break when the car decided to blink every light it had until it eventually just stopped running right in front of one lone trailer who's occupant was not thrilled to be helping 3 20 year old spring breakers.

Life is all about the stories right?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chase goes shopping

Apparently being a great grandson has some perks... like Great Grandpa leaving you your very own money to spend however you want!

Chase was so excited to go to the store and pick out whatever he wanted (well let's be honest... there are some things I wouldn't have allowed him to buy ;~)

So off to Toys R Us we went!

Quite predictably Chase was a kid in a candy store the minute we walked in... running from one display to another. After a quick chat about calming down, I was able to steer him toward the sections I thought he would like the best. We went up and down the aisles and I would show him different things that he might like... to which he wanted to buy it all. We talked about how much money we had and how we had to pick things that were that amount or under. In between the wrangling and attention getting, it was actually quite enjoyable.

Finally he made his selections and we went to pay.

Chase with his spoils! Thanks Great Grandpa Paul!!!!

Sidenote: lately Chase has been all about the Little People. We have the nativity and the farm and he play acts with those people and animals more than any other toy in his room. So I did steer him in that general direction. Plus the fact that it's a firehouse... well it was a definite winner! As for the horse... I wasn't so sure about that one. He saw it and picked it out and held onto it for quite a while. At one point he asked me to hold it... and after a minute I put it back on the rack. As soon as he was done looking at whatever he was looking at, he asked for the horse and got upset when he realized I put it back. I figured it was a good buy after that ;~) Bonus after we got home, I realized if you push on one ear it neighs and if you push on the other it gallops... way cooler than I thought!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Dear Mom

It's your birthday... 59th to be exact. Lord, you would have killed me if I told anyone that while you were alive. I have fond memories of your birthday cakes always reading "Happy 27 + Birthday".

Your last year in your 50's. I wonder what you would be doing. I guess that depends on if you were healthy or not. Let's say healthy... we spent too much time with the 'not'. You would probably have still be working as a docent at a museum. I think you really liked that when you were able to do it. Maybe you would be a massage therapist... I know I would be a willing practice dummy. You would definitely be swing dancing with dad, of that I am positive. Maybe you would have taken a fashion course... or an art course... or studied to be a therapist. You had so many interests... just no real way to complete any of them because you always ended up sick. Cancer sucks that way. Doesn't just kill you, it robs you of life.

I digress.

I think you would like so many things that are going on in my life now.

You always wished for 'hard times' for Adam and I... to build a stronger foundation and life for us. I hardly think this is what you had in mind... actually I am pretty sure you meant financially but regardless we've had both. Adam is doing very well... happy and working hard at his own firm. I think we all could have seen that coming ;~) He's still sober and going strong at almost 14 years. You would be so proud, I know I am. He's still as patient and kind as always... and he puts up with my crazy. Something I am eternally grateful for ;~)

Chase is amazing. Man would you ever be proud. He is as smart as a whip! He questions everything and needs an explanation for everything else. If ever I need him to do something he doesn't want to do, generally explaining why and my reasoning will work and he will do it. I am learning to keep my cool (slow process) with him and talk him through frustrations and fits... and it works so much better. I am also learning to pick my battles with him... which is a battle for me ;~) I think I am becoming a better mom each day. Oh and the talking.... dear Lord the talking. You always said you "hope I would be 'blessed' with a child who talked as much as I did"... yeah, well you got that wish like ten times over. He is a constant chatterbox... which most of the time is great and we have this real friendship going. But other times... when I just want quiet.... well now I know why you and I used to have 'talking breaks'. Makes total sense now.

And now Lil Bean... another boy! Can you believe it? Who would have thought we would have boys! Luckily Sandy is well versed in all things boy... although I am dreading the day that Chase decides he is no longer terrified of bugs and instead wants to show me each and every single one. Up close and personal... I am shivering just thinking about it. Lil Bean is moving strong in there... seriously he doesn't sit still very often. I think I am in for it when he comes to meet us. I wonder what I was like when you were pregnant... was I more still like Chase or did I move a lot like Lil Bean.

Oh, you might be happy to know that Sandy and I are in the midst of a "North and South: the miniseries" marathon. I have memories of you watching that show (and me thinking it was completely lame)... which would fit with your taste in TV. Well that and the fact that every woman was watching because of Orry and George ;~)

I am learning a lot as time goes on. Now that the nesting instinct has hit me, Adam and I are going through every item we own. That being said, I am selling a lot of your books to a local used bookstore. Whatever they don't take will be donated. I hemmed and hawed over this for a long time... and these books have been with us for several moves (much to the chagrin of the people helping us move). But this time... through this sweep through of our stuff I decided that even if there were sentimental attachment... even if there were stories behind the books and reasons you kept them, I would never know. No one is here to tell me why you kept certain books and if I don't have that... well then I just own a lot of paper. So I kept what had significance to me and everything else is going. Not that it's all your stuff... I am giving away a crapton of books that I have collected over the years. Stupid wasteful buying of books. Did you know they have big buildings with all sorts of books that they just loan you... with nothing more than the promise of bringing them back??? Revolutionary. Oh and to that end... I actually remember to return books now! No more having to face librarians and explain why I couldn't return a book (or 8) on time and then having to beg that they reduce my library late charges. Good times.

I also just went through and threw out bottles of perfume that were yours or that you gave me. Is that insane or what? I had this revelation that just because I throw out a few items, doesn't mean I am erasing all that we had or were. I don't need to hold onto every. single. thing just because you touched it. We are still we... no matter if I have 80,000 items or none.

I reached out to David, Marie and the girls. Crazy right? I think you would be proud since you are the one that taught me about forgiveness. I'm extremely happy I did too. I am in contact with David on a fairly regular basis and do enjoy that piece of history he provides me. Sadly I am not as in touch with Marie and the girls as I thought we would be... but I guess that isn't a bad thing either. I did have to tell her you died... 4 years almost to the day. That was awkward. I think she took it ok but like I said, contact has been pretty sparse since then.

One of the best things I have done as of late was to name you Nonna. Chase has a special name for Sandy and I thought if you were here, you would want one too. So I thought Nonna would be the right fit. Chase knows that Nonna lives in heaven with Jesus... and he also knows that Nonna gave me the china cabinet, the dining room table and the secretary. It makes me really happy to hear him call you that.

I wish you were here... especially today. I found the perfect gift for your birthday! It's a big chunky necklace with bold colors... it would have looked awesome on you.

I wish I could tell you how sorry I was for certain things. We should have done the mother/daughter spa weekend getaway. I don't know why I didn't take you more seriously and book the plane tickets when you brought it up. I am sorry that I didn't really truly believe you when you said you wouldn't be around to meet your grandchildren. I thought you were just overreacting to this bout of sickness and that of course you would meet them... you just had to hold on a little longer. I'm sorry I didn't help more in the final months. I was right there and should have spent more time with you but I didn't. I am so sorry for that.

It's hard to believe that almost 6 years has gone by. It's this weird phenomenon of you moving into my history... not just my recent past.

I miss you a lot and while I hope I have many more years here on earth, I look forward to seeing you once again.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

We lost our Focus

This actually happened on the Thursday before Great Grandpa Paul's visit but I didn't want to spoil that fun post with this insanity ;~)

Thursday afternoon Adam called me saying I needed to come pick him up immediately... he was in the middle of the road with a dead car.


I grabbed the boy and off we went. By the time we arrived a kind stranger had helped Adam push the car into a parking lot and Adam had secured their permission to leave it temporarily. After some calling tow trucks and grabbing a pizza, we came back to watch the joy that is your car being put on a tow truck.

Seriously, I have experienced this too many times. Right Jaime and Adam?

Adam made a comment about getting it fixed quickly and for around $500... I only prayed that was the case but in my heart I knew differently.

Sure enough, Friday afternoon, while we are sitting with Great Grandpa Paul, Adam breaks the news he got from the mechanic.

Far... far... far more than our original hope. The car sprung a massive oil leak and the engine had locked up. Turns out those red lights mean something. Basically it would be pure insanity to fix a Ford Focus for that price.

Talk about timing.

I just remember telling myself not to freak out. I kept telling myself (sometimes audibly and sometimes in my head) that in a year this would just be a blip in our life. We will have pushed past it and would probably be stronger for it... so don't flip out now.

And I did a pretty good job (if I do say so myself ;~) I've come a long way baby.

So that's where we are.

Unfortunately it's tied to a lien for Adam's business so the decision of what to do isn't ours alone... something that makes me so very sad. We refuse to add another car payment to our already razor thin (especially now) budget. We have lots of 'if this, than that' situations but lucky for us, we have lots of cars in this family and we still have 2 to drive at all times. We have time to work it all out and decide on our best option.

In a weird sort of way, this will be good for us. Adam joked that we "lost our Focus, both literally and figuratively"... and he is absolutely right. We tend to go through these peaks and valleys when it comes to financial freedom. Sometimes we are so tight and on our game when it comes to finances... paying down and not spending.

And then we generally slip. A purchase here... an unnecessary expense here... and soon we are stopping at Starbucks far too often and spending money that we shouldn't for stuff that we didn't really need. It's a cycle with us.

Please know that I am not chastising anyone for the money they spend, Starbucks or otherwise. I am only talking about our slippery slope.

So lately we've been on that slope... and by on it I mean careening down it full steam ahead.

So really, losing the Focus will be good for us. We've been forced to make decisions and revamp our budget. We are looking at the bigger broader picture and how we can achieve more of our goals instead of just coasting through.

We have some monumental challenges but I think with little more figurative focus (and a lot less literal Focus), we'll meet them. Life is all about the ups and downs and how you handle them right?

breathe Jessica, breathe.