Saturday, December 20, 2014

And she's mine...

December 20, 1996.
2:28 pm

This is the exact moment my life achieved awesome status. After 17 hours of hard labor, Alison Haley made her debut, bright eyed and ready to take on the world. She was the most beautiful butterball I had ever seen. And she was mine. Well, technically she was Ben's too, but you know where I'm headed with this. She tipped the scales at a whopping ten pounds and made those other babies in the nursery look like wusses. And she was mine. I remember them handing her to me that first time. We stared at each other for a bit, sizing one another up. I'm sure she was thinking "who is this puffy faced, crazy haired creature?". At that same time, I was thinking "all that I've done wrong in my life and God still trusted me with this perfect person". It was then that I buried my face in her belly and cried like a baby. She was beautiful and perfect. And she was mine.

That baby turned into a toddler, full of wander and curiousity. She had to touch EVERYTHING. She loved to eat and always had a nook in her mouth, and a spare in her hand. She smiled all of the time. She had the cutest little dimple when she smiled. And she was mine.

That toddler turned into a percocious tiny adult. Always asking "why?". She loved to have her picture taken. Loved to wear hats. Loved to hold my hand. Loved to be with her trusty companion, Lexie. She loved life. And she was mine.

That tiny adult turned into grade schooler who took on anything that came her way. She gave 100% to whatever was thrown at her; homework, sports, debating teachers. She stood her ground and learned to love to protect the underdog. She became a nurturer. And she was mine.

Today, that wonderful creature has turned into the most amazing young woman. She amazes me everyday. Her love of knowledge, even though foreign to me, is awe inspiring. She is whip-smart and can carry on a conversation about anything. She still supports the underdog. She can't stand injustice. She has a wicked sense of humor. She's hysterical and makes me laugh more than anyone I've ever known. She's beautiful, inside and out. And she's mine.

December 20, 2014 
12:00 am

This is the exact moment that tiny baby, MY TINY BABY, became an adult. I can't believe that we are already at this point. It still feels like yesterday that they were handing her to me for the first time, and now, I'm about to hand her off to the world. (By the way, world, you better put your seat belt on!). She is amazing. She is kind. She is beautiful. She is funny. She is a lover of animals. She's headstrong. She's independent. She's fierce. And she is mine.

Happy birthday, my baby. You complete me.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thank you, Vickie, for finally telling our secrets...

FINALLY!! VS has finally printed a catalog for the every day woman and I could not be happier! It's always so depressing to see the swim suit catalogs arrive in the mail, but this season they have answered my prayers. While scanning the pages I realized that they have taken the plight of the average, hard working woman, and catered to us. It's about time. I was so happy to see this picture of a gal, who was clearly enjoying a great day at the beach, when suddenly her back locked up!

This happens to me all the time, so I immediately knew that painful pose. Look at the anguish on her face. I feel ya girl, I really do! I was just thinking "I wish I could tell her what kind of stretches to do to eleviate that back pain" when, lo and behold, the next page did it for me! 

These folks are on the ball. They knew just how to help her in her ailments, for that is the prefect stretch! They must have a trainer on the ready at these shoots!

While skimming further, I saw a picture that ALL of us have experienced while fighting the waves of the ocean... The dreaded 'Where the crap did my sunglasses go!?" As you can see, she is very concerned about this. I would like to know how many sunglasses are lying on the bottom of the ocean. I know I've donated a dozen or so myself. 

Now the last one does not only pertain to woman, but no one wants to see hairy armpits (**YA HEAR THAT MADONNA???**) so they used a woman for the example. It's the 'OH.EM.GEE. I FORGOT DEODORANT' pose that we all know! Now, honestly, I had no idea I could make taking a whif of my pit so sexy, but you better bet that I will be employing this technique this summer! 

I sincerely want to express my gratitude to Vickie for finally allowing us non-sized 2 gals to be represented in her inner circle. Who knew you were a friend to us all?  Why else would you have such crazy poses, if not to make us all feel included!? Kudos!

Just in case you missed Madonna's recent pic, here you go... You're welcome.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

First breakdown of 2014 is on the books...

As I looked at Ben last night at midnight and wished him a Happy New Year, we talked about all the milestones that would happen in 2014. He turns 40 in September, I hit it in November, and I said "Our baby will be 18 this year". It sounded so shocking that I had to repeat it. THAT'S when the waterworks started and I couldn't do anything to stop them. I'm not talking the tears that you get when you watch a Folgers commercial. I'm talking full on, size-of-quarters tears. He looked at me with that familiar stare (90% love/protectiveness, 5% is she having a breakdown, and 5% this chick is nuts) and said "Why are you crying?". I responded in between gasps "I have no idea". It's just the reality that my day to day life will be ever changed when she hits that magic number. That's the age they are when they go away. That's the age where they gain their freedom and you lose some of the stronghold you've held for all those years. That's the age where they are responsible for their own decisions and you are 'off the hook'. But mostly, I'm afraid, that it's the age where she will no longer need me like she does now. It's A LOT of realization to smack a mom in the face, especially 3 hours after her bedtime and two glasses of wine. I know that she will be an awesome 18 year old and I pray that she always remembers that I am ALWAYS here, at 18 or 81, for she will ALWAYS be my baby. I am so proud of her and I can't wait to see the kind of awesome woman she becomes, but I am not ready for her to be an adult. I guess I have time…she has only been 17 for 12 days :) I love you Ali. Please go easy on me this year. Understand that I may try to revert to a time when you were tiny and relive the great times we had when you were a wee one. If I need to hold you and rock you like a baby, please let me. If I ask to feed you at dinner, let me. And do me favor, fake a nightmare and ask to sleep with me in the middle of the night. You already think I'm nuts, so I might as well give you plenty to discuss with your shrink when you're older.

This picture taken 2 weeks ago

This picture was taken yesterday

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sand or city, home is where the heart is...

Tap.     Tap.

Is this thing on?


I can hear Mother Gulf saying "Welcome back, Tiff, we have missed you"

I'm back from paradise. We just spent a week among the powdery sand of Crescent Beach and I have a renewed sense of self and a peace that I haven't felt in a while. There is something about the sound and smell of the ocean that soothes my soul. I am never happier than when I am with my family, but being with them at the beach makes my heart sing. I loved getting up every morning and heading down to the water to hunt sea shells as a family. These are the memories that I will always treasure. To paraphrase the great philosopher, Dr. Suess, 'my heart grows two sizes' when I sit on the shore line and watch my three greatest, goggle-clad loves, dive for the booty. It's in those moments of complete simplicity that I realize that I am, indeed, the luckiest gal in the world.

Home is where the heart is, and at this particular time, home is diving for shells in the Gulf of Mexico.

While we were out and about, Ali found a shirt that she said was "SOOOOO me". Upon seeing it, I agreed and it was my first souviner from the trip.

This pretty much sums me up

 When I go to the ocean, my goal is always the same;
   1) OD on Vitamin D *tan fat looks WAY better than pale fat*
   and finally
   C) Find drift wood, sea glass, and a shark tooth
The first two are always easy to do. Option C, however, usually presents itself to be a challenge. However, on this trip to sandy heaven, the stars we aligned. We set sail (technically, we set gas pedal) to the black sands of Casperson Beach where we heard we would have a good chance of finding shark teeth. Well, when I heard this my ears perked like Hanks when we ask if he wants to get the paper. We readied our goggles and colanders (what else would rednecks use to sift through the bottom of the ocean?), and hit the hotter than Haities sand of Casperson. Two hours later, we left there with 17 SHARK TEETH, A PEA SIZE PIECE OF SEA GLASS AND SECOND DEGREE BURNS ON OUR LOWER DIGITS! #sharkteethwhisperers #blisterydermis #ouchbutsoooooworthit

Some of the teeth we found, plus the little piece if sea glass
Truth be told,  my trip was made at that point. We could have come home then,with only a mild tantrum on my part, but we had 5 more glorious days to use up! We strolled the lovely Siesta Key Village, where I saw this signage on the side of a building. I WILL make it a part of my kitchen somehow!!!!

We took nightly walks along the beautiful Gulf, where we saw this awesome sight.

But best of all, we did this stuff as a family. We made memories, and relaxed, and laughed... TOGETHER!

Home is where the heart is, and at this particular time, home is holding hands on the beach, reading her required reading for honors History (Ali, who would not let me get her picture while nerding it up), and playing soccer on the beach.

But, like everything, this too must come to an end, so on Friday night we started packing and 'getting our affairs' in order. (I know I make it sound like a death, but the end of vacation kinda is, is it not?) I got the postpartum version of 'the sunday blues' and moped around the condo, not even trying to hide my sadness. I would soon be back in the land of too many people and too many obligations.

We board the plane (an hour late, due to some sort of delay. SEE, even Florida is trying to tell me not to leave) and begin to taxi toward home. My sadness starts to dissipate as I realize that we are together and have provided the girls with memories that they will always have. This alone makes my heart smile and I am am ALMOST as at peace as I was lounging by the ocean. ALMOST.

Home is where the heart is, and at this particular moment, home is at 30,000 feet in American Airlines Flight 1818.

Sadly, there are no palm trees in or near Sears Tower (I will NEVER be Willis Tower!)

Turning into my driveway, I am filled with a happiness that I didn't feel in paradise. I am where I am supposed to be at this point in time. The Lord has put us here, in this house, in Illinois, for reasons we don't know, or question. We are together and about to be reunited with Hank and Z. Our family is once again complete. And, as a welcome home gift, He has set my hydrangea bushes on blooming overload for our return. 

Home is definitely where the heart is, and at this particular moment, it's in the Northwest 'burbs of Chicago, watching backdated DVR shows, surfing the internet for cars, making plans with friends that they haven't seen in a week, and peeing on the weeds that are in desperate need of pulling.

The girl in the blue gingham dress was so right. There really is no place like home. And I'm glad to be here.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I am a Christian and I love everyone (almost*)...

Yes, I repeat, I am a Christian.
Because of this, I love everyone, regardless of who they are holding hands with.
I have seen several people on the news and social media sights saying that a real Christian wouldn't/shouldn't support such an abomination. Correct me if I'm wrong,  but isn't the definition of 'Christian' "a follower of Christ"? If I were alive when Christ was walking on this earth, I would be following him to be with the sinners and the down trodden. Christ didn't gravitate to the perfect people (if so, he would have been very alone). He sought out the ones that needed him and he DIED FOR ALL OF US.

Listen, I know what the Bible says. I also know that it says to 'Love thy neighbor', not 'Love thy neighbor, unless he is gay'.

I was going to keep quiet about this but it's getting out of control. I am tired of being told I am wrong/a bad Christian because I choose to accept others for who they are, whom I believe, they were born to be.

I have three sisters; one by blood and two by name, but I love them equally and will stand up for them always. One of them is gay and it was evident at an early age. This is all the proof that I need to believe with my heart of hearts that she was born this way. Because of the intolerance of others, she wasn't true to herself and it cost her a lot (she also got the greatest gift, so for that we are thankful). I am so very proud of her and the woman that she is. It was not easy for her to admit to her friends and family (not because she was ashamed of who she was but because of all of the hatred out there). She is an amazing girl who has accomplished a lot of great things, but I have never been prouder of her than when she started living her truth.. Now she is happier than she has ever been.

As I was reading all of the post on Facebook I decided I wasn't going to be quiet any more. If I was out and about with any of my gay friends and someone spewed their negativity their way I would stand up for them then, so I feel I should do that now.

The irony of all this debating and opinion giving is that some of the biggest advocates of 'keeping the sanctity of marriage intact' include several divorcees and even some adulterers (I know a lot of people, and coming from a small town, a lot of peoples business). Do my gay friends judge you for that? No. Probably not. Because it's none of their business (They just want the same respect from you). Guess what? These are also an abomination to the sanctity of marriage.

WE ALL ARE SINNERS. I had sex before I was married, as I'm sure the majority of you reading this  did. That is a sin and  God sees every sin the same. A sin is a sin is a sin. It may be a sin that I feel this way about the topic, but I choose to believe that we all are Gods children. I love my brothers and sisters, regardless of who they love. I believe it's my Christian duty to accept Gods children the way they are. I will let Him be the final judge, but while I am alive I am going to teach my kids that they are to treat others the way they want to be treated and to accept people the way they truly are; to let others go about their lives and not stick their nose into matters that aren't directly harming them. I find it hard to believe that the Lord would abandon me for loving all of his creatures.

My sister was born gay. She did not choose it. We, however, do get the luxury of making a choice. We choose to accept others for whomever they truly are, or not. And I choose the former... Unless you harm my kids. Then all bets are off.

I am not going to debate the topic or defend my stance on this. This is who I am. I did not write this to offend anyone. If you disagree, that's fine. I will not judge you because you believe otherwise.  I guess what I am trying to say is...


* I do not love terrorist, child molesters, child and animal abusers, or any of the Kardashian's

Sunday, March 24, 2013

I'm the reason they put senseless warnings on products...

Have you ever looked into the sink as you're brushing your teeth and see a piece of your tongue? No? No one? Well guess what. I have. Today.

I had an unfortunate run-in with my Waterpik. I'm guessing I had it turned up to high. I got distracted and instead of hitting my gum line the spray sliced through the tip of my tongue. I felt it automatically and spit, only to see lots of blood and a bit o' tongue. Uh, gross?

Please tell me that I'm not the only one who has ever been savagely attacked by their oral hygiene products. Certainly, this is an everyday occurrence across these here 'Merika's,right?

So, I have learned the following this morning:
1) Waterpik's set on the highest power will, in fact, cut the tip of your tongue off.

B) Mouth wounds bleed. A lot.

C) Gargling with Scope directly after will burn like a mother.


4) This will most likely not be the dumbest thing I do today.

Consider yourselves warned, my little nuggets.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Pap Smears and Politics make awful bed fellows...

I had my first glimpse of where our health care reform is heading this morning as I was sitting having my annual gab-fest with my gynecologist. In the midst of our giddy laughter over husbands and kids she asked me how long it had been since my last irregular pap-smear (c'mon ladies, you know you talk about this with your girlfriends too). I told her that I believed it was when H.W. was in office and I still had cheek bones and shoulder blades (ahhh, the 'good ol' days). She said "Well, today is your lucky day! There are new guidelines and if you have had clear paps within ten years you no longer need an annual exam." I believed I snorted and looked at her like she had three speculums aimed at me and said something to the effect of "Who's bright idea was that? Some pencil pusher in a cubicle with no medical degree and no vagina"? She cracked up, composed herself, and professionally went on to tell me that my insurance would pay for it this year but starting next year they were going to start denying annual exams. She was gracious enough to not laugh when she said, "I will gladly do it if you want". To this I exclaimed quite passionately, "Absolutely we are doing it! Because, (1) I am not comfortable going 3 years with no exam when I know how quickly things can change in the body, and (B) I painted my toe nails AND shaved my legs for this, and it WILL NOT be in vain!

Now, correct me if I'm wrong. Was there not just a HUGE debacle over ladies demanding and getting free contraception? Contraception, if I remember correctly, is mainly used for 'FUN' extra-curricular activities. Why do I have to pay for you to 'get your freak on'? Ridiculous, but I digress... Pap smears are the opposite of fun, yet we are going to be penalized for being pro-active and taking care of ourselves. You can CHOOSE to not have sex or use alternate forms of protection. You can not, however, choose NOT to get cervical cancer. I wish it were that easy! Then I wouldn't have had to shave my legs today!

So, if I am hearing and understanding her correctly (and I am, because I asked her several times), I can get FREE birth control, via tax payers, but I WILL HAVE TO PAY OUT OF POCKET (twice, I might add, since I am already paying IN ABUNDANCE for health insurance *and taxes for your free BC pills*) to make sure I am going to be around another year to raise my kids ( who, unfortunately, will have to go through this same crap). Fabulous. 

Women, and parents of future women (like Moi), BE OUTRAGED! This is going to be detrimental to women's health. Much more so than having to pay for your own birth control!