Thursday, December 16, 2010

Our newest debate.

Spoiler alert...if you are a small child or have the mindset of one stop reading now...

Ok I have the disclosure I need to tear into this new subject.

I don't want to have Austin believe in Santa...as it stands in our house Joe has officially labeled me the anti-Christ of Children's fun and told me if I won't change my mind that he is taking away my tree. :-( So in a true stubborn fashion I told him that if he won't change his mind I won't discuss it with our children and tell them to ask their Dad whenever they have questions about it.

Here we sit in a standoff of unacceptable options, because let's just face it I may not even take down my tree much less get rid of it totally and I'm around Austin all day so I won't be able to avoid the questions that ensue around Santa.

Obviously I did not believe in Santa growing up as a Jehovah's Witness and while I would never wish that library hell on another child I don't see the point in me learning all the lies just to tell them to Austin...yeppers, mark me down as the original party Popper because I don't want Santa, the Easter Bunny, tooth fairy or anything else.

But it goes so much deeper for me than just the lies that come from these fairy tails, I don't like the magic behind them teaching children that items just appear when asked for. What about the hard work, I don't believe in luck or fate in my life, everything I have has been the consequence of a choice that I have made. I did not fall into this life by accident. It pains me to teach someone else that hard work is not the single most important part of the equation to success. What about when times are tough and you don't have money to buy the nice gifts...do you explain that Santa hit a rough spell and can't "build" you a X-Box? That's number 900 on my list of reasons why I don't appreciate the idea of Santa, I have the opportunity all year of working hard so Austin can get everything her little heart desires but my name goes on the underwear and other sucker-rific gifts while "Santa" gets the Thank you note from her. Nope just can't swallow that one. And while I am being a complete downer I don't believe in letters to Santa or anything along that lines, gifts are chances for someone in your life to get you something that you ***Really*** want, as parents it is our job to listen to our children well enough to know what that is without a "list" and better yet be able to make educated decisions as to what they need and what is appropriate for our kids, not just what they want.

A friend recently stated how sad she was that her year old daughter would not sit on Santa's lap. This is a completely natural reaction and one quite frankly because I see the worst of the worst in this world, one that we should not take lightly or attempt to change in children. That fight or flight option will keep them out of harms way, so why when they are scared do we force them to do something for the sake of a picture? ***Sigh*** There will not be a picture of Austin on Santa's lap, that I can promise.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Baby in a bucket

video

One of the many advantages to owning your own shop is the industrial mop bucket that Austin gets to ride in. :-)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Our new kitty

You know what heals a broken heart that is let down by a missed snowboard season?!?!?!? A new kitty! :-)

So while everyone else went up on Sunday Tadd and I went kitty shopping. I am choosing to hide my adoption behind the facade of the kitty is for Austin, but everyone who knows me knows that I would have a 100 pets if I could keep them all.

Here's the big girl and her new little best friend. She calls her Mowser, not to be mistaken with Meow which is what she calls Pepper the other cat.


Here's Austin trying to lock baby kitty in the TV stand and losing.


Oh yes and Austin is becoming quite the proficient writer, here she is telling me about the birds on the card. I may just employ her to do our Christmas cards this year. :-)



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Our Christmas Tree...

Look at this bad dog...I took it while Joe was straightening some of the branches just to show how massive it is compared to someone standing next to it. It is going to take like a billion ornaments to cover it, but I am up for the challenge. :-)

What we've been up to....

So obviously Joe was in TIME magazine so he has received calls from people he hadn't heard from in a long time, but it's been super fun for him to hear from everyone.

The cats outta the bag....again! Either I need to get a new cat or a new bag, but one of them has got to go. ;-) I'm pregnant again. I have to admit quite selfishly I caught myself crying a lot when I first found out. I thought I could snowboard through the month of December like I did last time (this baby and Austin's due dates are off by 2 days so naturally I thought everything would be the same). Although I didn't take into account the fact that I had another doctor last time for the first 6 months and this time I have my midwife. Some how I also had this glimmer of hope that because my midwife is in crazy good shape she would understand some of the goals that I had for this year and grant me a pardon...not like she could, but still I was hopeful. But nope she looked at me like I lit up a crack pipe in her office when I suggested snowboarding, the IronMan, the marathon next year and so on...at this point I stopped asking her questions because I was crying. And yes the logical side of my brain gets the whole, it's only one year of your life and I want another baby REALLY bad so Austin can have a partner in crime but the not so logical part pouted pretty good for a couple of days. I was venting to Tadd the other day who is the only person that we hang out with that doesn't snowboard, so when the group of 17 of them headed up to the mountain on Sunday Tadd and I grabbed lunch...which is about the only thing I am good for right now...eating, and described myself as being on injured reserve. But I can't just tough it out through rehab and hope to be back on the team quicker than the doctors are anticipating. He laughed and said, no your not even injured...the problem is that you feel fine and can't do anything that you used to...that's suspension without pay, you can't even practice or shoot around. Needless to say it didn't make me feel much better but it was a pretty fair assessment.

I could see women athletes using surrogates, while I think it's pretty damn cool to feel the baby when it gets bigger...if I had never felt that I wouldn't know what I was missing. And someone like a professional athlete that needs to earn a paycheck and can't afford to be on the "bench" for 18 months would benefit from something like that.

For the first time in over a year I am watching the scale go up rather than down, I have already put on a couple of pounds which is ubber depressing thinking about the fact that I didn't gain a single pound for the first 5 months before and still managed to put on 40 pounds at the end. My midwife was trying to make me feel better and said to keep up with the gym routine but rather than my 10-12 miles a day how about 5 miles and this time try not to get "ginormous". Always nice to hear someone say that you were disgusting last time, even though I worked out every day until the end. Going to be an uphill battle to not put on that kind of weight this time. So here I sit on suspension and a diet but still gaining weight...blah.

But before everyone puts me on suicide watch, just understand that I am unlike so many people that think things but never say them and I am crazy excited about not only growing our family but completing it. I have always wanted two kids and if I have anymore I would like to adopt some of the thousands that are without homes as I type this. I love Austin to pieces and can't imagine my life without her, it's just this waiting around and feeling fine but not being able to do anything part that stinks.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Inside Colorado's Marijuana Industry

Inside Colorado's Marijuana Industry



Joe made it to TIME magazine, and while it's not the cover...it sure is a picture of him and his business. :-)

Happy Veteran's Day

Every time I am at a sporting event and they play the National Anthem I cry a little bit. Not just because the song is beautiful but because I am standing there (generally with a beer in my hand) enjoying watching professional athletes play their sport on a Sunday. The very same day, much like so many other days in other countries where people are not free and more specifically women are not free. I have never taken for granted that I was born on American soil in a country where it is possible to achieve the impossible. This very freedom of achievement has come from the blood of so many people that I will never meet. People like my brother-in-law or Grandfather that fought to ensure that I would have the freedom to say things like Kayne West is an idiot. For this and all of my freedoms, I thank the Veteran's. :-)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Oh for the love of....

Oh for the love of all that is alive, I am so freaking excited about Christmas. We (read I) are going to decorate the house this Christmas! This will be my first time ever decorating a home, well actually J and I had a tree when we were in high school but you get the point.

I take baby girl up and down the Christmas isles at the stores and tell her all about the pretty things we are going to get for the house. She likes to pet the soon-to-be ours stuff and ohhh's and ahhh's at it. I can't wait to see what she will think of the tree and the pretty lights.

Yep I have already hit the point where Joe is thoroughly annoyed by me bringing it up, which makes me mention it even more. It will be fantastic! :-)

Austin's Pony

Here's a cute video of Austin riding her "pony" around the living room.

video

Friday, November 5, 2010

Worth more dead than alive...

My Mom always cautioned me that I shouldn't be worth more dead than alive, but as fate would have it I have a daughter who would need a lot if I were not around. So I bit the bullet and took out life insurance on Joe and I. With Joe just enough to cover the business and hire someone to work it full time. But with me, what's the going rate of a mother, girlfriend, house keeper, cook and nanny. Well I decided just about a million bucks outta cover it. I didn't think it would feel any different, but I have to say it feels weird to be worth like negative $400,000 alive and a cool million dead.

On to other weird news...we live in Colorado and it has not snowed even one little time. In fact it's supposed to be 76 tomorrow! What on earth is going on?!?!?! The planet is melting.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mentoring...control freak & screaming!

So I took my already completely busy schedule and managed to break off a few hours a week to mentor a 9 year old girl that I met through the safe house. I can truly say that while I don't have the time, I also have to help out when I know a situation. We have fun every weekend, Austin comes with us most of the time since I don't really have a babysitter, so while every now and then we have to deal with Austin being 1 at least we get to hang out together. I call it making the best with what we have. :-) I bought season tickets to the girls basketball team that I helped coach last year so her and I can go watch those games and other than that we do what normal 9 year old's do.

I have come to except that I am some what of a control freak, I like things done certain ways, and while I am not so bad as to refuse help with something like dishes because I HAVE to have them done a certain way. I am pretty bad. Nothing has made this more apparent then Joe working so much. I read an article a while back about military wives. With Colorado Springs being a military town we have a lot of wives and families that are left alone during wartime. The article showcased the fact that when their husbands leave for war at first they have a hard time adjusting and then they get in a routine. So much so that when their husbands come back it's extremely hard to change that routine. I couldn't have said it better....Joe is gone during the day and I run the house, the shopping, anything to do with Austin and what not. If by chance Joe is around for an ENTIRE day I pretty much just spend it biting my tongue thinking to myself "well we don't do things that way when you're not here". Of course I have become a master of biting my tongue these days what with owning a stressful business and watching my once gleaming credit score hit new record lows from over extension, but on occasion I let it slip generally ending is a knock down drag out fight that I win...or I think I win, but still have to apologize for. Like I said I try and just bite my tongue so it's easier. Heaven forbid Joe and I spend the whole day together alone because the phrase "you outta" comes up at some point either me saying it about the business or him saying it about the home and the gloves come off. What's the old saying...single and lonely, married (or pretending to be married) and fighting - or was it bored. Either way. :-)

Austin screams in the car. Yep all the time. Apparently not when Joe takes her somewhere though. So maybe it's my car. Like the trip to Sturgis she screamed for 5 1/2 of the 7 hour trip and since she's still a baby and we can't just beat her, we just sat and stared at each other. I swear to you if Joe had said one "dumb" thing I would have stabbed him to death. I just sat waiting for something to happen to take some frustration out. I have no clue how parents of colicky babies do it. I normally don't let noise bother me, but something about being trapped in a car with ear piercing sounds make you turn into a crazy person. The other day we were driving in traffic and she let out a screech that was so loud that I swerved, for no reason mind you, she was silent and then she was a tea kettle. Of course when she still had a pacifier this was not an issue, she slept all the time in the car, when her wicked mother took away her pacifier because I got tired of trying to find it for her all hell broke loose. I have thought about giving it back to her, but at this point I am pretty sure we are in a battle of the wills and I am refusing to lose. Most of the time we just drive with the windows down so the screaming is muffled by the wind whipping through and destroying my hair. Ahhhh, motherhood has taken something I once loved like driving and turned it into something that drives me to debate on nailing my forehead to the dash. Perfect.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bad Mom

I have met women that when not being politically correct (i.e. talking to J) I would call "bad mom's". At the safe house I refuse to use that term because I always believe that in every instance problems can be solved through education. So the fact that a woman or a man cannot properly give their children what they need just comes down the fact that no one has taught them differently.

However with that said, I have to admit that I do about 10 things a day that I suppose I should be judged to beat hell about. Some could say bad mom, some say necessary, but either way I have always hid these things...until now. I think that by not only keeping them inside you poison yourself, but that until J can just admit that there aren't good men out there and go down to the sperm bank and just get things done so I will have someone to vent to that understands...I have to start using this type of forum to say things like -

My daughter is in her crib currently talking away about a ball and some other stuff. 10am is nap time whether she likes it or not. So for 1.5-2 hours she is stuck in her crib. I suppose at this point it isn't much more than just a cage that I use since she can't get out, I am not real sure what I will do when she can crawl over the edge or sleeps in a big girl bed. But for now it gives me a break to install SQL 2005 on a new server (which I am doing while writing this) or get on conference calls or what not. Going one step further into my bad mom retreat here I think even if I didn't work I would sanction some time like this just for a break. Oh yeah and she goes back to her "cage" for an hour in the afternoon too.

She fell off the chair yesterday because she was "horsing around" (see how I just channeled my mother there) and I just smirked at her. I think my reaction, because I had told her to get down 4000 times. surprised her to the point that she just looked down at her legs and wouldn't make eye contact like she was embarrassed. I just shook my head and told her well I bet that hurt huh? I remember growing up with a rather unsympathetic mom and even worse yet brothers who would inflict the pain...and hearing a lot of "hurts don't it". I am trying to be more sympathetic than that, but I am finally understanding why when I broke my arm jumping off the swing sets my Mom said something like "well that's what you get".

Oh yeah and my sweet little daughter started biting a while back, and I broke her of the habit by biting her back. You know just like I would have the dogs. Ahhh, perfect. Her and I trading bites back and forth like we were siblings.

Hourly

I am now an hourly employee...to which I have not been since I worked at Subway.

They moved everyone that is not a manager or above at Verizon to an hourly basis. Of course they got us on big conference calls to explain to us that not only would nothing change about our jobs but that they would be giving everyone a 2% pay raise for the move. Hmmmm, I am waiting for the other shoe to fall. I am a generally optimistic person but when a company gives out over 100,000 raises across the board I am leery of their plan. So perhaps I will loose something like my benefits because I am hourly or I will be loose vacation or be easier to layoff. Something will happen but until then I will continue to hold on to the only job on the face of the planet that over pays me AND allows me to raise my daughter and fully fund my significant other's company.

Politics

If you are a tea partier...tea bagger or whatever else you would like to be called stop reading here.


Holy smokes are we really electing people into office that would like to do with away with the mail system, department of education and foreign embassies?!?!?!?!

You're right those things are so overrated, military on foreign soil....stupid. I mean the whole UN should just be eliminated, we are after all surrounded by water thus making us an island right?

I can't get behind the whole every state for themselves idea, statistically there are already states that have a majority of their schools producing high school seniors that can't read but have passed. What would happen if they weren't held to at least some standard?

We had a tea-party guy running in Colorado...who would have won had the Republican dropped out...one of his major funding contributors was the Klan. Yes that is spelt with a "K" as in the Ku Klux Klan, you have got to be kidding me. Haven't we educated the masses past hating for skin color? But no apparently not and in fact they are not only still around but have enough support to back political figures. Sickening.

Oh yeah and something like 10-15 cities in Colorado are trying to ban dispensaries. Some are winning some are losing, but all of them are scary for us in our situation. While Colorado Springs didn't put to vote on a ban, if the other cities win you had better bet that in April there will be a ban on the ballot here.

Buckle in for these ones....

So I have decided that I have a few things that I would like to blog about, but I will put them under different titles since they have nothing to do with each other and would rather not post a 6 page rant-blog.

First the light stuff...

J and I joined a running club last night. And let me just tell you, the best running club ever. You run downtown with at least 600 other people in spandex and all finish up at the local Irish Pub for $2 drafts of AMAZING beer. Ummm, yes!

We were talking last night while sitting sweaty in running clothes at a bar about the fact that Colorado is the most awesome place ever to live because you can't help but find truly spectacular things to do every night of the week like run for discounted beer.

The running club is free and after you show up 10 times you get a free shirt....1 down 9 to go. :-)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween

So I figure I only have a few years where I can dress Austin up in exactly what I would like her to wear. And this year I managed to find matching outfits for us where the adult version was not a "naughty Minnie Mouse" (although they made that one too) so I could wear it to the Safe House party also. Here we are at Rob's house party, with one of Joe who didn't have time to put together a costume so Rob made him wear the flashing bunny ears. :-)







Friday, October 22, 2010

Two cute videos

video

Austin playing out in the yard, you notice Joe's old coat from when he was little. :-) The video was better quality but somehow came out grainy but I still thought it was cute.

video

One of Austin's favorite words right now is Papa, we have pictures hanging everywhere in our house and one has Murph in it so every time her and I walk past it she points him out and says "Papa". :-)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Stomach flu....blah!

Poor little Austin woke up Wednesday night sick and scared, Joe and I sat up with her all night taking turns holding her and being scared ourselves, and you can tell how scared we were because we were both just sat silent taking turns cleaning her up and laying with her. Fast forward to Friday night, Joe and I are sitting around watching TV talking about how it must have been a "baby thing" that got Austin sick because two days later we both still felt fine. Went to sleep and about midnight all hell broke loose. Joe had to close the shop on Saturday not only could he not stand to operate it but getting all of his patients sick didn't sound like such a great idea. We canceled our chili cook off on Sunday with the same reasoning, we both seem tired even this morning so entertaining 50 of our friends would have been hard not to mention if there were any germs remaining that could get everyone sick that would have been awful.

It pains me to say that it has been well over a decade since I was sick due to anything but alcohol and bad decisions. Apparently the haze of fruity vodka shots makes puking not quite so miserable, because I tell you what being sober and sick sucks bad. That was just stupid.

So now we have to go through and reschedule the chili cook off and hope that everyone still has the same enthusiasm as they did this weekend. And the Broncos even won, so it would have been a great day for a celebration. :-(

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Random...

I am sitting in my office with sweat literally running off me (already an enticing picture I know) thinking to myself what the hell is going on? I didn't used to buy into this whole global warming thing but sitting in near 90 degree weather in almost October has me turning into a believer. The average high in Colorado on this very day is 70...yet today's high will be 88. It'll be nice for volleyball tonight but right now in my non-air conditioned house it is down right stifling.

Not sure if everyone across the country is seeing these new Mormon commercials but I am telling you what they are one good push away from converting me (OK just joking on that one but close). All of the commercials start off with, Hi I'm adventurous, daring, life saving and successful...and I'm a Mormon. I'm not sure if the LDS church has lost all it's followers but one last TV commercial team but man oh man can they make something (that I normally wouldn't think would be) sound appealing.


I thought this was a good point. While watching a special on education in this country or better yet the lack there of, the director of the Harlem Schools stated the obvious in better words than I ever could. He said "We are the only super power left in the world, the only ones with the big bombs sanctioned by the UN yet we aren't even in the top 10 for education...not the top 20 either. We are in fact the 27th in the world...and this doesn't seem to scare the hell out of anyone else?!?!?" Too true, 70% of 8th graders can't read at a junior high level. Wow! I agree with Bill Cosby...we have failed our youth.

Another interesting factoid for those who care, 2009 marks the lowest marriages recorded in 100 years. So this could either mean that with the failing economy people are choosing not to get married or given the factoid above...they simply can't read the census to mark it correctly.

Austin, J and I went to the humane society this weekend to walk around and look at the animals...it was free cat weekend and they were literally giving away kittens so I am dang lucky that there was such a long line or I would have at least one of those sitting here with me now. But the part about the trip that was so odd was that twice J and I were approached by separate ladies telling us that they had seen us at lunch before, one was from months ago. Each of them stated that Austin was just so memorable that they couldn't forget her face. Good to know that if she is ever kid snatched people in the mall will point her out and say that she actually belongs to me.

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's Friday

Whelp from my silence you should be able to tell that I'm angry again. I should come to expect that since we are running this type of business that I should just stay angry but it's hard and it wears on me.

The latest in our ongoing saga of drama. The zoning commission in Colorado Springs is trying to implement regulations that state that dispensaries can't be within 1000 feet of schools, churches, synagogues, mosques or day cares. Now I know from the initial reading that this might sound like a good idea and we won't even be affected if this does pass. So you may ask why I'm angry in the first place?

Here's a breakdown of some of what I see wrong with this regulation.

  • They are comparing us to other vice industries like alcohol and sexually based businesses. We are not a vice business anymore than the local pharmacy, it takes a doctor's recommendation to obtain our product so if you have issues with the validity of the recommendations that sounds more like an discussion for the medical review board than the zoning commission.
  • All facilities are locked door, once buzzed in you must show your paperwork in order to even see the medicine. This is not the case in a Wal-Greens pharmacy where the drugs are displayed in the open and freely allow anyone to walk in.
  • Churches are up in arms with facilities being the current 400 feet away stating that it distracts from their message, how so? Can't someone who is sick take medication and still attend church? One argument that I have heard is that this is a moral delimma that the churches are facing because this particular form of medicine is still considered federally illegal. Near as I can figure morality has nothing to do with the constitution or the federal laws or things like abortion would be illegal. But instead it is allowed by the laws that the churches are now throwing at us, I would think churches in general would be the first to eliminate the word association of "moral" and "federal law".
  • I do agree that signage should not include the product on it, but that's just because we don't want to look like we live in Amsterdam. Work on that zoning.

As far as I am concerned children in a daycare directly next door to one of these businesses would be safer, with the 24/7 surveillance and locked doors than they are of the McDonald's on the corner. Even though like I said this law wouldn't affect us, how long until one of their hair brained ideas does? If the 1000 foot rule replaces the current 400 foot rule it would close down 60 of the 170 open dispensaries. Keep in mind all of us have already paid our $10,000-$35,000 in state license fees and would not be able to reopen at a new location until the year moritorium passes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The latest sports drama

I have to admit when I first heard about the latest sports drama, I too made the assumptions that the media played into.

For those that haven't heard the NFL and specifically the NY Jets organization is in hot water for sexual harassment charges against a female reporter. Now when I first read the allegations it sounded more like the reporter was looking for attention and some press for her network affiliation. However, I watched an interview with her on The Today show and it completely changed my mind.

She never filed the complaint herself, and actually stated that she didn't even hear what was said about her in the locker room or on the field during practice. Her camera crew and another media group were present and caught on camera what was said and done towards her (blatant sexual references and all) and turned it all in as a complaint against the team. Now keep in mind she is BEAUTIFUL and wears what would be called provocative clothing, although she says she is not looking to appear provocative but rather feels pretty in what she wears. I don't recall there being a dress code on football teams so I can't say she is in any violation and from what I can tell if she knows a fair amount about sports (which I can assume she does because she has been doing this for 8 years, but she reports for a Spanish speaking TV station so I can't understand her reports) and she's easy on the eyes, which I am sure attracts people to watch her interviews I don't believe she has done anything wrong.

Obviously now she is under fire for dressing inappropriately for a reporter and bringing this upon herself, which is insane to me because if her TV Station is fine with it then we can sure as hell teach full grown adults to treat her with respect no mater what she's wearing.

Here's her outfit the day in question...her response was "Well everyone else was wearing jeans too...". Just something to keep in the back of your mind, she is married and has three children and quite apparently a successful modeling career.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Capable

I ran in the Race for a Cure on Sunday at Garden of the Gods. While I was lined up waiting to take off I found myself looking around at everyone standing next to me and it finally hit me...I am a runner now. I remember the first couple of races this year and how out of place I felt, I looked on at the other "athletes" and thought to myself...someday. Well here I am running 5K's before breakfast and then racing home to host a football party. It also got me to thinking about the experiences that I have had this summer not just the races (although there has been a lot of those) but also starting up a new business, building out software and websites. Designing business logos, cards and baseball jerseys and it got me to thinking....if I could be called one thing as a Mom, girlfriend, friend, engineer, business owner and a women what would that be? Standing in my new running shoes on Sunday it become apparent that above all else I would like to be considered "capable". Have you ever been around someone that is doing something and you have no doubt in your mind that they will complete, whether it be painting a tall ceiling or riding a motorcycle off a jump, there is a different feeling that you get as an on-looker when you believe the person in front of you is capable of completing their task. Whereas you have the opposite feeling when you truly don't think they'll make it and your stomach is swirling just wishing that they would get off the ladder.

So here's to my daughter looking at me one day and thinking to herself...my mom's got this. :-)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Underwear

So while underwear shopping the other day I noticed the tag. Mind you that the tag on underwear is so small that I am lucky I could make out the writing. But on this tiny insignificant tag I noticed the "L", you know for Lucky or perhaps Large but who's judging. And then next to the L was the number 7. Now I do consider myself a Large person, so it would indeed make sense that I would wear Large underwear but I have absolutely no preconceived notions that I am now or will ever be a size 7. In fact my "goal" size is an 8. Which would make my underwear "XL". What on God's green earth size of underwear did I used to wear 40-50 pounds ago. Maybe those enormous panties don't even get a tag with a number size ratio printed on them, more like size 16 equals BE for Big Enough, or TMF for Too Much Fabric or YKWSYA for You Know What Size You Are. To be honest I never looked at my old Mu Mu drawls to see and I have been cutting the tags out of my clothing for years, so no one knew that I wore these ginormous undergarments.

Monday, August 30, 2010

And the pictures....

Austin playing in my Mom's front yard. I think my favorite part about her walking now is that she can finally wear dresses and look like a cute little girl rather than just having it get in the way.

Austin sitting on the bench with another one of Morgan's close friends, Sarah.



Austin sampling the peas out of Mom and George's garden.



Austin helping Grandpa in the garden.



Austin helping with all the presents at the party, you can usually just see her bow bouncing and weaving in and out of the bags and boxes.



Austin being a goof ball at Dane's birthday dinner, he was blowing on her hair and she was losing her mind laughing and carrying on.



Our weekend

Our weekend flew by like they all do.

Saturday Joe worked and I ran around, literally and tried to get entirely too much done. I sent Austin with my Mom to a baby shower for Jessie Krupp. She was my sister's best friend before she passed away and it's amazing that the families have stayed so close. It's a bitter sweet experience to watch Morgan's friends graduate from college and have babies, something that she will never experience. She will remain 18 forever in our minds and will miss out on everything else. It's like they say about death the initial shock and searing pain will subside but the wound stays there, it just becomes more of a dull throbbing pain that is irritated on occasion by things like this. It turns out that Austin was an amazing party favor and very helpful at the shower, I have posted pictures to prove this. :-)

Sunday we had lunch with my brother Ryan, his wife (still hard to type that, wow has he grown up) and her son. Followed by a birthday dinner for Dane who turned 14, again wow has he grown up. Joe went to the Broncos game with his friend Jeremy, who happens to be a big Steelers fan so it was a perfect match.

I was reading a magazine the other day and came across an article about this company and thought it was such a great idea that I would pass it along. I know that a lot of us go to baby showers and what not and can't think of a cool and unique gift so this definitely takes that on. You can buy onsies, or t-shirts depending on the age of the child and they have things printed on them like (the one that I just ordered for Austin) "I will make a difference". So for every article of clothing purchased a book is donated through the organization Room to Read (one of my ABSOLUTE favorites) to a child in a third world country. What a great idea!

http://www.boodabrand.com/

Friday, August 27, 2010

The weekend...kind of.

So due to my HUGE project at work and Joe's amazing business neither of us have taken a weekend off in quite some time, but there is still something that makes me ecstatic about Fridays. I know in our current situation that Saturday and Sunday's are just the same as every other day but boy do I get excited.

I got to watch The Blindside this morning at the gym, what an amazing movie...love it. Makes me want to save the world one kid at a time, even more than I normally do.

I can't help but comment about the miners stuck in Chili, for those that don't obsess about the news like I do. 33 miners are stuck in a mine in Chili, they are alive and from what people can see thanks to a camera dropped down through an air vent this morning, in good spirits. The sad part about the story is that the new estimate for getting them out is by Christmas. WOW! Can we ship them a backhoe? Makes me thankful to be in a first world country where everyone with a shovel would dig my butt out of a mine if need be.

I get my haircut tomorrow. Haircuts are always AMAZING but since it has been almost 2 years since my last cut I am even more stoked. It's embarrassing to write that it has been that long but I have been super busy and it's super expensive. I have even tried to go to cheaper stylists in the past but am always disappointed. So I head back to Traci, she has been doing my hair for almost 12 years now...through computer school, numerous boyfriends, two home purchases and countless laughs.

Joe and I watched an interesting Penn & Teller last night, they do a show called Bull Shit! where they tear down common myths or theories and show why they aren't true or as they call it...Bull Shit. Last night it was about Stranger Danger and to sum it up how we are turning our children into little people that are scared of their own shadows. They interviewed a child psychologist that believes our common statement of "Stranger Danger" is making it so when children grow up they have a harder time having meaningful relationships or trusting people because they have been brought up to believe that you should be afraid of everyone. They broke down the statistics that show 150 children a year are captured by strangers whereas 95% of children that are molested or murdered are done so by someone they know. They went on to explain that we are killing off the natural explorer in kids and rather than embracing their curiosity we teach them that the world is scary and should be observed from a safe distance. Obviously I am a wuss and it will be immensely hard for me to just let Austin live her life but looking back on it perhaps I am such a wuss because my Mom was too. Just food for thought I guess.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

You can never...

Obviously I was raised with brothers so this statement is slightly off however I stand behind it 100%.





You can never have too much money, too beautiful of a women or too fast of a car.





I LOVE cars, they speak to me and this latest Lexus is a true piece of engineering. While my number one pick will always be the McLaren F1 LM, there are only 5 on the planet so it may take me a while to get one. ;-)





Just take a look at these bad dogs...


First of course the almighty F1 LM, named such to commensurate the 5 cars McLaren placed in the top 15 at the 1995 Le mans. A few key points about the number one car in the world...it can go 240 MPH and in order to purchase a McLaren you must fly to the factory and have it custom fit to you and your height/weight specifications...oh yeah and not to mention that every piece on the car is hand made. Not sure if you can tell from the picture...but the driver actually sits in the middle of the vehicle and the passengers sit on either side but in the "back seat". Just the way it should be, if I owned this car and someone even thought of touching one of my controls I'd dump them out on the freeway. It'll run you a cool million to start for a McLaren but it was always rumored that these LM's ran around 5 million. Who would I have to kill to drive off in this beast?!?!?!



But now the Lexus, doesn't it just stare at you...begging to driven. I have always said that a "true" sports car should NEVER have a stereo in it. If you're listening to music rather than the throaty sound of a V10 you don't deserve this vehicle...buy a hybrid and drink your latte.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Overslept

Ok so I overslept this morning and missed spinning, however I do have to say I am not having as bad of a day as golfer Jim Furyk. He overslept and was disqualified from the tournament this weekend. :-(

I am sure everyone reading this keeps up on their refrigerators better than I do. It is one of those things that since I hate throwing food away until it is absolutely necessary and because the fridge keeps the food cold so it doesn't smell I tend to let it get out of hand. I couldn't help but laugh to myself as I pulled food out like a cantaloupe that literally ran through my fingers (gross!) or the ice covered petrified meat in the back. So in a perfect non disgusting world the refrigerator is used to store the food that we would like to consume which is what is so amazing to me that I let it get out of hand. Perhaps I should save this habit for my new year's resolution next year! :-)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Swimsuits

By no means am I suggesting that I should be wearing a swimsuit, or that my body is "bathing suit" ready, but since we swim at the gym...I do have to put on one of those luxurious spandex get ups once a week. I do venture to say though that J and I have the two least flattering swimsuits I have ever seen on anyone, period. They are both tank-kinies, and J's has lost all of it's will to live, it is no longer stretchy or formfitting. So we tease that it's her negligee, I know we're teasing but it's not that far off. And while mine (due to the weight loss) doesn't hurt anymore to wear, does give me a front wedgie and muffin top...although the leg part is getting loose enough to require me to pull it down so as to not offend the other pool goers (other than J of course who is offending everyone with her lingerie). We truly look like dumb and dumber every Tuesday morning, ahhhh I can't wait until we have earned new suits. :-)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Random

Unfortunately it has come to be nothing of a big deal if not expected to get divorced. It seems as though I hear about a new divorce every week and my response has become so calloused to it. I have long since fed into the mantra that it is better to split from an unhappy relationship then it is to stay and make the entire family miserable and prove to be poor role models for your children, showing them that you should be miserable if you're married. I say all of this now with huge weighing doubts. The old saying of "stay together for the kids" used to infuriate me, because kids don't want to live in a house where there is constant fighting or no love. In recent months my thoughts are changing though. In a society where it feels as though a couple is setup to fail and divorce comes so naturally I am seeing more and more children with tremendous emotional scars due to divorce. I can't help but feel as though we have come to accept relationships and their short lifespans, whereas the same old things are true about kids not dealing with it well and friends and family feeling uncomfortable and helpless. I guess it just amazes me that the general acceptance behind something like this has changed without any of the ramifications. It's not like it got any easier for anyone involved but it is shrugged off as though it did.

I have started trying to pant my nails and keep them painted, I have been a nail bitter since I was little and have been quiting since Austin was born. But of course because I have had my fingers in my mouth for decades the nails are brittle and peal easily, every time that I mention that I can't get them to grow out to a reasonable length, J asks me "well are you keeping nail polish on them?". Heck no, I just like to complain and then accidentally rip them off with my mouth when they split. :-) Although I never seem to have the 9 hours it takes to fully dry this stupid stuff so my nail polish always has dings in it.

We are dog sitting for our next door neighbor, we have her for 10 days or so and I have to say that even though she is a great dog and doesn't add any work to my day I am always a little more anxious when taking care of something for someone, if one of my dummies do something I will just take care of it, but what if this little dog gets hurt and I let my neighbor down.

I have had a server down for three weeks now, which essentially means that my email has been a barrage of butt chewing for the same time. The technician and I worked on it all weekend and my favorite quote that he said was "well hell it's already been down for three weeks, what's another couple of days gonna do?". Obviously this guy is not getting his rear torn up like I am over the whole deal.

I am sitting at my desk listening to Austin, who is failing at taking her afternoon nap...watching as apparently the X-Men land in my neighborhood fully equipped with Storm's amazing cloud cover. Seriously though within the last three minutes the entire sky has turn black, the wind is whipping and the dogs are hiding under my legs. Hopefully though it will rain a lot on my grass, Joe "made" (I put that in quotes because truly I just gave in and decided to use my battle strength for something more pertinent at a later date) me turn the sprinklers to water every other day so now my sod farm is not quite as lush.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What breaks my heart...and what heals it.

I am going to apologise already for the long post...

I do an activity in kids group surrounding this story -


One day a young man was standing in the middle of the town proclaiming
that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley. A large crowd
gathered and they all admired his heart for it was perfect. There was
not a mark or a flaw in it. Yes, they all agreed it truly was the most
beautiful heart they had ever seen. The young man was very proud and
boasted more loudly about his beautiful heart.

Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and said "Why
your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine." The crowd and the young
man looked at the old man's heart. It was beating strongly, but full of
scars, it had places where pieces had been removed and other pieces put
in, but they didn't fit quite right and there were several jagged edges.
In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces were
missing.

The people stared - how can he say his heart is more beautiful, they
thought? The young man looked at the old man's heart and saw its state
and laughed. "You must be joking," he said. "Compare your heart with
mine, mine is perfect and yours is a mess of scars and tears."

"Yes," said the old man, "Yours is perfect looking but I would never
trade with you. You see, every scar represents a person to whom I have
given my love - I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them, and
often they give me a piece of their heart which fits into the empty
place in my heart, but because the pieces aren't exact, I have some
rough edges, which I cherish, because they remind me of the love we
shared. Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart away, and the other
person hasn't returned a piece of his heart to me. These are the empty
gouges -- giving love is taking a chance.

Although these gouges are painful, they stay open, reminding me of the
love I have for these people too, and I hope someday they may return and
fill the space I have waiting. So now do you see what true beauty is?"

The young man stood silently with tears running down his cheeks. He
walked up to the old man, reached into his perfect young and beautiful
heart, and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the old man with
trembling hands. The old man took his offering, placed it in his heart
and then took a piece from his old scarred heart and placed it in the
wound in the young man's heart. It fit, but not perfectly, as there were
some jagged edges. The young man looked at his heart, not perfect
anymore but more beautiful than ever, since love from the old man's
heart flowed into his. They embraced and walked away side by side.

I have the kids each make a heart out of play-doh and then we go around the group taking a piece of our hearts and giving it to one another either giving a compliment to the person or saying thank you for something they have done. It is one of the hardest groups I do not to cry. Hearing things like "thank you for taking the hits so I didn't have to" are always going to break my heart.

Last night's kids group broke my heart even more than usual. Obviously I am sworn to confidentiality but let me just say this, one angry teenage boy was given up on and shipped off, pedophiles have a their own section in hell and I always wondered what I would do when I came face to face with someone that I knew at the Safe House. I can tell you now from experience that it took my breath away. I cried the whole way home and again this morning while filling out my progress reports for the kiddos.

Thanks to my amazing daughter though, my heart began to heal when I got home. Her newest trick is to grab your arm while you are trying to change her diaper, pull it in real close to her face, snuggle it for a second and then kiss it. Literally it warms my heart to think about it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sturgis

Whelp with every passing day we are getting just a bit older. I love getting older, I think I am a better person now than I was when I was 20 and anticipate being a better person when I am 40 so bring on the birthdays. But I do have to admit trips like this weekend make me laugh.

We went to "Sturgis" this weekend and I have to put that in quotes because we didn't even make it to the town of Sturgis much less the party scene but rather stayed in Rapid City with our friends. No concerts, no dancing on bars, hell we didn't even bring our bikes...but we had a blast and were able to meet our friends Derek and Rachel's newest addition to their family Little Lola. Instantly Austin and her became BFF's. It was cute to watch them give kisses and snuggle with each other, or the way their little faces would light up after a nap when they realized that their friend was still there. The trip up made me extremely sympathetic of parents that have colicky babies, Austin cried/screamed for 5 of the 7 hour trip. If I had a nail gun I would have nailed my forehead to the dashboard. The way home we decided to take a new approach and feed the little monster the ENTIRE way...that kept her happy and quiet. :-)





I know it looks like Austin is biting but I swear she is kissing.






And I can't believe how much Austin looks like Charles/Joe in this picture.






It's fun to watch how different both Joe and Derek's lives are now. Here's an old picture of Derek, Rachel and Joe when he went down to Phoenix to visit them on his bike.


And here's a picture of the two Dad's letting their daughters kiss each other. Too cute!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This and that...

In our training J came across an article detailing that we should take one day off of training after a race for every mile completed. While that means that I would have to take a month and a half off instead I decided that three days would be sufficient. I tried to go in yesterday but my legs cramped just getting ready. So this morning I hit the gym, apparently unaware of how sore my legs still were because now when I exert my muscles doing something like walking up the stairs it makes me sick to my stomach. It makes sense, the experts always say after a massage to drink plenty of water because the lactic acid released in your muscles will sour your stomach. Well I'm here to tell ya, if I make it through the entire day without vomiting I'll be doing well.

Remember the movies "The Truman Show" and "Ed TV"? I feel like a faithful watcher of those shows everyday. Joe's shop has security cameras in it and from any Internet connection I can log in and watch what's going on. For anyone that sends someone off to work you should understand this...sometimes either I miss Joe or I am thinking to myself "Hmmm, I wonder if he's busy right now?" I have the very rare privilege of being able to log in to the cameras and see what's going on, baby girl waves at Daddy and I get to feel safe knowing that he made it to work and everything is going well. I catch myself watching him walk around and working with patients, it's a weird feeling being able to watch someone that doesn't know they are being watched.

My favorite basketball poster of all time is hanging behind me in my office. It's the one with Michael Jordan on it that says..."I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." I failed this weekend and without knowing it succeeded on so many levels. I have been approached already by several friends that would like to start training and compete in the Iron Man next year with me. To inspire someone else to greatness warms my heart.

I am warning you now...that if you have ever wanted to judge me, here's your chance. Hell I am judging myself just for thinking this way much less being this way. So please by all means judge away. I have not lived on a budget in over 10 years, in fact I haven't balanced my checkbook in just as long. There has been no need, I got a great job when I was 19 and have been on a steady roll ever since. But now that we have a small business with large loans, I have had to...gasp...look at what food costs in the grocery store, or put off buying my weekly movies. I am attempting to take it in strife and realize there is a lesson to be learned here but I can assure you that it has been a challenge. It makes me feel better to know that Joe is just absolutely kicking ass and I am sure that the business will be successful because of him. However at least once a day I laugh to myself and say "besides being in debt beyond my wildest dreams, I am happy". And if I thought meal planning was hard before, meal planning on budget is just retarded.

Monday, August 9, 2010

And the pictures...

Here we are waiting on the swim start.


I look so tired without eye makeup on.



Looking out over the swim start. Those buoys that see way out there mark the course.



The bike transition area.




Dinner after the race with the family, I literally felt like I was starving to death.




Me still smiling after bike portion, albeit a goofy smile.




My pit crew waiting for my biking portion.



Mounting my bike to ride off into the sun for next half a day or so.




Walking my bike out.




The bike transition all empty.




Me walking out of the water waving for my family.



My cousin Jenny-Poo or Jennifer as I am sure she would want to be called with Austin at dinner.




The IronMan

I competed in the first ever IronMan 70.3 in Boulder this weekend. It consists of a 1.2 mile swim, followed by 56 miles on a bike and a 13.1 mile run.

So let's take you through the event as I saw it.

We had to register the day before and get my race numbers so we headed up to Boulder (about an hour and half a way) around lunch. Got all checked in and headed to hotel followed by lunch and then dinner, I have to say it's been so long since the three of us just hung out it may have been one of my favorite times of the weekend.

The next morning the alarm went off at 4am and we made the trip to Boulder reservoir, got my bike all checked in (Joe ended up renting me a bad ass bike), got body marked (wrote on with a permanent marker to note my age and race number) and changed into my wet suit. Joe, Austin and I hung out on the beach for the next hour and a half waiting on the swim to start. The professionals went first and they are FAST, holy smokes. They finished the swim in 23 minutes! The oldest of the groups went next and were given plenty of time before the rest of the groups started which were sent into the water in 5 minute increments. The oldest racer was a 74 year old woman (who I saw running at the end which means she kicked my ass!). My turn came up, I was in one of the largest groups. There were 1800 racers and 600 of them women with the age group 30-34 having the largest numbers. I can't really explain what it was like to stand with my daughter on the beach waiting my turn, watching all the other moms dance and play with their kids, just an awe inspiring moment for mom's everywhere. As I choked back tears of my reality getting ready to come to fruition I walked to the water. It was cold and I was glad to be wearing a wetsuit. It was a water start, so everyone entered the water to about the 8 foot depth mark and tread water waiting on the horn to sound. I somehow got pushed to the front of the pack so when that horn sounded I was swim trampled by 100 of my closest competitors. I got back my senses and started swimming the never ending course. I swear every time I would look up I wasn't any further along. It took me 1 hour and 20 minutes to swim the length and I was dead last, but not dead. :-) I kissed my family and limped off to the bicycle area, got all changed and headed out on the 56 mile trip, my legs were already dead from swimming so I was sure this part would be a challenge. Did I mention I had never been on a road bike, or swam in open water...while I did plenty of training it was all indoors.

The bike part was exhausting like you would imagine and not just because it's biking but because in my case I was on that god forsaken thing for 4 and half hours. I foolishly didn't bring a water bottle thinking that they would have some at the transition area so I had to wait until the 10 mile mark to get a water and a banana which may have been the best food that has ever touched my lips. Cyclists would pass me and say things like "great job Crystal!" (my name was printed on my number bib on my back). It was amazing ot me that while everyone was competing it was a competion with yourself not others, so everyone was so positive and enthuasistic. I made it to the 40 mile mark and stopped for another snack and was approached by a race official that let me know I was the last in the group and he was going to follow me to make sure that I finished. There was a sense of safety in hearing his big diesel engine behind me, I knew if anything happened he was there. I pedaled my bike another 10 miles at which time I heard him stop behind me, I stopped and he let me know we were out of time and he would have to take me in the rest of the way. 6 miles short and heartbroken I got in the truck, of course I immediately had to start talking to keep me from crying so I now know his life story, if you ever need a sign made in Boulder Colorado Dean is your man. :-) He apologized a hundred times for not being able to let me finish but with the roads being blocked and all there was only a certain amount of time they could let me have.

In hindsight I would have worn a watch, perhaps if I had known in time that I was running out of time I could have pushed it harder slowed down less for drinks and what not, but that's hindsight and doesn't help much now. I have always lived my life with the mantra that it is better to try and fail then to not try at all. I believe this is a saying best said by someone like me that very rarely fails because I can assure you that this failure hurts. 6 miles separated me from my goal. Of course I would have had to run next and with the shape that my legs were in running at a 10 minute mile pace for 13 miles would have probably been impossible, but I would have LOVED the chance to try.

Today I am nursing a very swollen, bruised butt (I went to click into my pedals slipped off backwards and landed on the tire) and a crushed ego. Oh yeah and a third degree sunburn, I thought there would be sunscreen at the bike exchange but I was mistaken so my white shoulders spent that 4 and half hours just cooking.

In honor of Kimberly's last list and to keep me from being depressed here are the things that I am most proud of from this weekend.

1.) I was scared of the swim and being in open water and walked in anyways, Joe said that my face looked so unsure and nervous, which I was.
2.) I swam for over an hour and was able to walk out and kiss my perfect daughter.
3.) I had to complete two laps of 28 miles a piece and didn't quit after one lap even though I was SOOO tired.
4.) I rode a bike in traffic and wasn't even that intimidated, probably because I was in so much pain but I'll take it.
5.) I was the only one in my age group that raised their hand when asked if it was their first triathlon.
6.) I never cried, even though I wanted to.
7.) I kept a smile on my face the whole time.
8.) I didn't wreck on my bike, one of the guys that I saw at the end had wrecked and was missing a good quarter of his skin.
9.) I had my family there to support me because let's face it at this point J and Nate are family too.
10.) Last but not least I set a goal 7 months ago and went through with it and even though I didn't get the desired outcome, I didn't quit.

Friday, July 30, 2010

As fate would have it...

As fate would have it I have been extremely busy at work, of course now that Allegra is here and we have so many other things that we would rather be doing. So yesterday when I took the afternoon off to go to the mall with us girls it cost me working until close to midnight last night. Just made spinning that much harder this morning, but oh well. :-)

Here's Allegra and Austin on Austin's first ever amusement park ride at the county fair (I made Allegra squish her legs into it so Austin could ride)

And here's a Blue Jean Cake that Allegra and I made last night! :-)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Our Weekend

We had Happy Hour at our place on Friday night, which has become such an easier venue than some of the bars. We ALWAYS used to do happy hour but when baby girl got here it just got increasingly harder to go so we started having them at our house. Joe's cousin Allegra is here visiting for the next two weeks, so I picked her up on Saturday at the airport. We went to a wake boarding competition that night here in town. And then on Sunday we went up to the Renaissance Festival, a town here in Colorado does an amazing Ren Fair and it is always super cool to go up to. Little Austin even got to ride her first pony. :-)

You'll notice our little daredevil with the death grip on her Daddy. She eventually eased up some.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Of course now I can't help but celebrate.

What a fantastic idea Kimberly, it is so easy to lose sight of what you are proud of and happy with at the moment but I am sure making a list of my accomplishments will help this be an amazing Friday!


  1. I laugh more than I cry. Inevitably I get asked at the safe house, generally from a mom who is debating on whether or not she made the right decision for her children..."How do I know I'm OK?". And I tell them every time, you need to get to a place where you laugh more than you cry. Anyone who has ever been in a truly awful place knows this isn't the case and anyone who has an amazing life knows that you still cry, you can't control everything. But if you can make sure that at the end of the day you laugh more than you cry...you have made it, you have reached the top of the mountain.
  2. I found someone to have a child with that is a truly amazing dad. While I consider it a bonus that I love him to pieces I can assure you that it is more important to me that Austin loves him so much. My Dad was never involved with my life and when he was it wasn't in a healthy way and after working with so many girls and taking so many self esteem training classes I have learned beyond a shadow of a doubt that a father's love and support directly affect a girl's self esteem.
  3. I'm a good big sister, I watched Intervention last night and it showcased a family of three boys with the oldest having a severe drug addiction. The other two brothers were torn to pieces that their brother was not only killing himself but they didn't have someone to take care of them. I am glad that I never let my siblings down like this.
  4. I am one of the only senior engineers at Verizon that is female. I would like to say the only one, because I have not come across another one, but because they employ 250,000 people I don't want to assume. And I did all of this without a college degree.
  5. I am the only volunteer that has her own group at the safe house, I write my own curriculum and am solely responsible to run the class.
  6. I can get down any mountain on a snowboard...period...and generally with a smile on my face. :-)
  7. I can ride a motorcycle and drive a stick shift.
  8. I invested more than most people make in a year on a small start up business and while it's frightening, I was able to do it.
  9. I am near half way done in my weight loss goals and feel amazing.
  10. Last but not least, I am a great friend. I don't lie, cheat or steal and always try and put my friends feelings before my own.

After posting this, I thought to myself that at least one person would probably ask why I didn't include that I proud of Austin or my realtionship with her. So I thought I would at least explain why I didn't. First, it's still hard for me to call myself a mom much less a good mom I just have such great respect for that title. Secondly, right now our relationship is the same as that of a babysitters I make sure she stays safe and well fed. The true tests will come years down the road when she needs to believe in herself...have I given her the tools to stand up for who she is, will she refuse to give into peer pressure. Will she help others and be kind even when it's not the trendy thing to do. When I can watch her help someone that cannot repay her or speak for someone without a voice I will call myself a good mom but until then I will do everything to make sure that I raise someone that will represent her name well.