Happy Birthday Willow Rae!!!

IMG_4603It feels like just yesterday that I was in the hospital being told (after 48 hours of labor) that I would be having an emergency C section.

Willow 9-2011Willow 4-20114 years ago today Willow Rae was born.

Willow 5-2014There is no way that I could ever tell her how much I love her. How much my heart aches, stretches and smiles watching her grow.

??????????Four years of laughter— her blonde head tipped back and her sunny spirit released with a gorgeous smile. Each year, each day, each moment she blooms more beautifully, drawing me in, teaching me more.

FamilyI will never forget this year. This year has been full of adventure. Adventures that neither of us could ever have imagined.

fallShe does not know what she has done for me yet but someday I will tell her about the day that she showed me how to live life, how she showed me how to enjoy the little things like leaves falling off the trees and the joy of going to get the mail everyday.

talkI hurt this year because I thought I failed her this year. I thought I failed to give her something that I wanted her to have but now I know I have given us both exactly what we needed.

planeI will never forget this past year. How through most of it she held my hand. She brought me hugs and kisses on days that I needed them the most.

IMG_2199It was such a special year because Willow is such a special girl. She is compassionate, spirited and independent. She is witty, silly, caring and kind. She is my sunny Willow and every dream I have had my entire life about the little girl I wanted someday just can’t compare to the greatness she turned out to be.

Willow 4-2014I want to thank Willow Rae for loving. laughing, and dancing everyday. Happy 4th Birthday Willow Rae! Mommy loves you!!!!

3lbs to 32lbs

Today is world Prematurity Day. This day being in November has a lot of meaning to me because Willow will officially be 4 on Saturday. Looking at her now you would never have guessed that she was 3lbs when she was born and 2 months premature.

IMG_4603It feels like just yesterday that we were driving to the hospital everyday to sit with Willow in the NICU. There was a lot of crying, a lot of worrying, and a lot of fear. Fear of the unknown, worrying that it was my fault that I did not do enough to prevent her being so premature, and constant crying roller coaster of the ups and downs of her health. With one moment her being on the right track and the next her going back for more testing.

The day Willow was born was one of the scariest days of my life because everything was so uncertain and I had no idea what was going to happen and some days I could only think of the worst. The NICU staff and my favorite nurse Jean made the experience as good as it could be but being released from the hospital and your child not coming home with you and going home without her was such a horrible feeling.

IMG_4605Through the NICU experience I was taught how to check her IVs, put the feeding tube in when she pulled it out, how to feed her through a feeding tube and how to check if she digested the food. Sometimes I was afraid to touch her. She was so fragile, the first time I held her was magical and terrifying at the same time.

IMG_4604Every parent that has experienced a child in the NICU goes through a completely different experience but each and every one of them is one of the most difficult things in the world. I stand by and applaud each an every parent that stands by their child through all of it.

IMG_4606If it weren’t for those fantastic doctors, nurses, staff and fellow parents of NICU babies I would not have my amazing 4 year old daughter or my fantastic (almost 31 year old) boyfriend. I can not thank J’s mom enough for raising such a fantastic man and sticking through the tough childhood he had with being so premature as well.

I can not speak for other parents experiences that they had with their kids in the NICU but I can say that I am so thankful for all of the support that has come from fellow parents, other NICU kids and babies and the staff that treats premature children.

WillowI can not thank all of them enough! I have a beautiful almost 4 year old daughter that you would never have guessed that she was just 3lbs 4 years ago!

No matter if your child was premature or if you know someone who was premature as a child; tell them today how much you appreciate them today. Life is way too short and there is way too much negativity in the world today. Try looking at today in the most positive light that you possibly can. Take a negative or not so great experience today and try to make it a positive one.

I have been wearing them all week and I will continue to wear them the rest of the month; I am wearing my Children’s Miracle Network bracelet and my Ovarian Cancer bracelet as well to remind me to not take the little things for granted. I have been so blessed in my life with support that I do not want to take it for granted now. Thank you to everyone that has stood behind me in Willow and I’s life. I can not thank you all enough for all you have done.

Lots of love!!

Black… Thursday?

I wanted to start by saying that I have worked in retail most of my career life. There are parts about it that I love and there are parts that I wish would die. I do not plan to work in retail the rest of my life I have some different plans for my future but regardless there are A LOT of people that have made retail a very successful career for themselves.

This blog post is for not only all my fellow retail workers and service industry worker but also for the people that never work weekends or holidays and expect all of us retail/service industry folk to be there when you are off work to come and shop at all of those retail stores.

I took this quote from one of my past managers whom I look up to and I use it every year because to me it becomes more true each year:

“If you go shopping please remember this: the people working at these retail establishments had much less time with their families than you, they likely make less money than you, and whatever issue you have was probably out of their control. Please remember to treat retail employees and service industry employees with respect.”

blackA lot of places are opening on Thanksgiving and I feel lucky this year that my place of work is closing for a little bit and then re-opening on black Friday but regardless I will not be able to have “normal” Thanksgiving dinner with my family… and my family will be at my home for Thanksgiving this year. Thank goodness I have a very supportive boyfriend and family and we will make it work out to the best of our ability but it still is not fun and for many retail people they are not as lucky as me because some will not be able to see their family at all.

There is so much joy during the holidays but with that there is so much stress and people usually come into the stores and show the “bad” to the ones that they don’t know like us retail workers and leave all the joy that they have for the holidays for the people that they love.

99% of the time the thing you are yelling at us about at the store- there is NOTHING that we can do for you. A lot of the things people get upset about is out of our control. I will bend over backwards for someone that does not start off the conversation with F***, B****, etc. I work on the phones but also in front of customers at my job and I have heard it all! You are not going to surprise me with the names that you come up with and frankly the more names you call me or inappropriate language you decide to use in the conversation the less and less that I am going to help you.

You telling me that I am going to loose your business because I am not going to give you something for free or you are upset with me because you bought something 3 years ago and now it does not work and you did not buy a protection plan and now our service center wants to charge you to do a diagnostic on that item and I am telling you that it is a valid charge that I can not refund to you. Get over it.

Views of Early Black Friday Shopping at a Best Buy StoreDo we stand behind you for the life of your product? YES we do but with that you need to work with us and protect that item with a protection plan or pay the service fee. We are a business. We can not give you everything for free. If we did that we would not be in business.

All in all I want everyone to take from this- Treat everyone the way you want to be treated or better yet…. if you would not say whatever you think you are going to say when you are upset to your mother than keep it to yourself.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving and I hope that everyone is able to see a little bit of their family this holiday season.

Hi my name is Betty.

All in all I want to be a better ME.

A lot of women may not feel the same but this is what I want:

I want to be my own version of “Betty Crocker”

I want to be the mom that all of my kids friends want to come to our house after school and stay over for dinner and sleep overs. I want to be the mom that always has something up her sleeve wither it be throwing paint filled egg shells at paper in the park or spontaneously having movie night outside in the backyard.

I want to be the mom that my daughter looks up to, I want to be organized, creative and the planner yet can still go with the flow kind of mom.

I want to still have a career but be able to spend a lot of my time with the family.

I want to be the mom that cooks a home cooked meal 99% of the time and the whole family sits down at the dinner table and eats together.

I want to be the person in the family that is the destination house for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

I want to be able to have a group of girlfriends that want to come over and have a relaxing night at my house, drink some wine and maybe pretend we are gathering for “book club”.

It is so funny when people think or say that I am a spontaneous person because I am quite the opposite. I want to learn to be more spontaneous and go with the flow. It has become a lot easier within the relationship that I am with J but still with that I am constantly planning and thinking about what is next. Sometimes it is so bad that I have dreams at night and plan in my sleep; not just for the next day but for the next month, next year, etc.

I strive for perfection and sometimes in my eyes I fall short but in the other hand J thinks those same things are the most amazing things. When I feel like I have failed J looks at it as a success but he is not in my crazy head seeing all the plans I had for it in the first place which all in all is probably a good thing.

There are not enough hours in a day; like today I had the whole day off… and I have not gotten out of the sweats that I was wearing this morning. I did get a few loads of laundry done, the dishes done, made a healthy lunch for Willow and I, and did some paperwork that needed to be done. But then you go into my crazy planning head and see that in my head I have failed; I had a lot more on my list that I had planned to do today and I know I can still get a few more of those things accomplished this evening but it is already 5 o clock and I am not going to have enough time or energy to complete all of it.

IMG_4503I try not to be too hard on myself and think about the positives; I got to have a bunch of snuggle time and color time with Willow and we got to spend some enjoyable time outside. The photo is her pretending to swim on the porch (with dolphins).

I spent some time writing this blog which to me is always an enjoyable thing and this evening I plan to spend some time as a family and hang out and eat dinner together.

Don’t get me wrong I am a very happy person and I am happy of the life that I have right now but there is always something that I am looking to change or improve in some way.

So who wants to start a “book club” with me and come and sit, chat and drink wine?

Well I should probably think about what I am making for dinner this evening… Have a fantastic Tuesday and Happy Veterans day to all who have served!

New chapter

I am so ready to be in this new chapter in life and I can not wait for these road blocks to stop or move out of the way so that I can move on with my life and continue to grow my little family here in Arizona. I am looking forward to be “single” with the most amazing boyfriend.

I have gotten so many looks and whispering behind my back about how “horrible” of a person I am for being “married” and in a relationship with another man but you have to realize that the man that I am “married” to; him and I have not been together or in the same household for over 2 years now and the relationship that I am in now has been going on for a little over a year.

The boyfriend and I have become so close over these last 12 months I can’t even explain it. We have gone through so much and all of it has brought us closer and closer.

There is so much that I want for my future and the future of my family that we have so much excitement heading our way.

This move to Arizona has been a great start to the new chapter for us and we are loving it more and more everyday.

IMG_4497Today seeing all of the photos that are posted in WI on facebook with the snow makes me even more happy about our move here; as I am sitting outside on my porch drinking my coffee and writing this blog in 84 degree weather!

datenightJ and I were even talking about the possibility of putting a tv outside because he loved the date night I set up for our anniversary night with dinner and a movie outside.

The one thing that sucks about moving is the people that I moved away from. I really do miss a lot of my friends and I feel like I have not done that great of a job connecting with them and I want to try and figure out a way to still stay connected. So if there is anyone that feels the same way hopefully when can figure out a weekly or biweekly call, video chat or something to stay connected. I know that I need to do a better job at that with not only my friends but my family as well and I want to make an effort to make that happen.

I have not written in a while and wanted to let all of you know that the challenges are going alright. The running is the one that I am lacking in mostly but I am doing a lot more walking and I am keeping up with the wall sits and planks and water as well. The photos I have posted daily on facebook so I am keeping up with that but it helps that I have a friend that is doing it as well; helps me keep it up! I ran out of food from my crazy day of cooking so I was planning on doing some planning today.

Well off to go and do some adult stuff… paperwork, laundry, dishes, etc….. great plans for my day off… but it has to be done!

Tiger stripes

An article that I read had talked about what it is to be 50. They had a fifty year old beautiful women in the article talking about how she was dating someone and had truly felt like he was “the one”. She sat back and thought about it and had realized that their relationship was wonderful but had never had the sexual aspect to it. She had the conversation with him about why the haven’t brought their relationship to the “next level” and he basically told her that she was too wrinkled and he did not want to sleep with her because of that.

My jaw dropped after reading that. I was so flippin’ disgusted!

It immediately made me say What do you think you look like naked? An Abercrombie and Fitch model?!?! Probably not!

Stretch MarksI am proud of my “Tiger stripes” ,to me they say that I am a proud mother.

Do I want to loose a couple of pounds still, yes of course I do. Regardless I will never be with, friends with or hang around someone who can not accept me for me! Exactly how I am at this very moment. With or without the few extra pounds.

It makes me sick that the magazines photoshop so much and do not portray REAL women and men.

No I do not expect my boyfriend to have the abs that have the V to his lower area but do I think he is so sexy? YES I DO!

It is so unrealistic all of this stuff media throws in the face of people and our kids now a days. I just hope that I can teach Willow to ignore some of it and know that she is truly beautiful just the way she is.

I am extremely obsessed with the song by Meghan Trainor All about that bass.

If you have not heard it yet I recommend looking it up on youtube and listen to the lyrics. It is catchy and it is very true.

Well that is the end of my rant… now to Today’s Challenges:

***********

drink 1 liter of water

Do you love your job? Some days yes and some days not so much. There are definitely things I would change about it sometimes but overall it is good for where I am at in life right now.

1 min walk 10 sec sprint (x5)

Say to yourself she is only 3 years old. She is still a child. Then treat her that way. (I only agree with this partially. I talk to Willow in adult language and I believe that is why she speaks so well today.)

I am thankful for (a time of day) I would say I am most thankful for my mornings. Relaxing and drinking my green smoothie or coffee with the boyfriend before Willow has woke up for the day and watching the Today’s show and getting some relaxation before we start the day.

Photo was “comfy” which I took this morning

(rest) plank

50 sec wall sit

***********

So I felt ridiculously lucky today, I turned in my redbox rental (that I got for free with the code) and then the walgreens cashier gave me a code on a card for another free rental :) Oh and then to make things better I got another free rental code in my email later that day. How amazing is that! I have gotten 6 free redbox rentals in the past 2 weeks!!! The card does not expire till 11-30 so I have some time to use that one. I hope their customer service for redbox is as good as my luck for getting free codes because the one I used tonight and got Divergent started skipping and would not continue to play in the middle of the movie…. lets home they will give me another disc for free… I will keep you posted!

Well I am off to get Willow to bed. Have a fantastic evening!!

Stuff Willow says

I decided that I was going to blog about some of the funny and ridiculous things Willow has said recently. The first one is while I am taking a shower in “my” bathroom (we have two bathrooms in our house, one is inside J and I’s bedroom and the other one is across the hall from Willow’s room)

***

MOOOOOM DON’T WORRY I WON’T FLUSH

Why can’t you go potty in your bathroom?

WELL BECAUSE I LOVE YOU

 ***

CHRISTMAS! MOM THERE IS CHRISTMAS STUFF HANGING UP THERE! IS IT CHRISTMAS TIME?

No not yet baby girl

WELL WHY DO THEY HAVE CHRISTMAS STUFF UP THEN?

I do not know Willow, I do not know.

***

I AM SUCH A BEAUTIFUL BELL RINGER! THE MOST BEAUTIFULIST OF ALL!

 ***

THERE IS A W ON IT, SO THAT MEANS IT IS MINE!

***

Where does daddy live?

IN THE CROSS.

 ***

MOM IT IS GOING TO SNOW TOMORROW!

Not here baby girl but maybe somewhere else.

IN THE CROSS?

Maybe in La Crosse.

***

Today started off rough with Willow being sick but later on things went better.

I thought that I was being “smart” and I decided to order shoes on payless shoes website to pick up in store thinking it was like any other place and you order them and pick them up later that day… I was wrong! It was ship to store so they won’t be there for almost a week… so that happened and kinda pissed me off. Then when I tried to call the customer service line to cancel the order they told me it was already at UPS and I had to wait and then I could return it when I picked it up… that is even more annoying.

On a happy note I got yet another free redbox movie rental!! Oh and you can too!!! Text MOVIENIGHT to 727272 and you will get a code. So convenient and free!

 I found out JCPs holiday hours today and it made me sick. I am still waiting for the announcement at work for what our hours are and then what I will have to work… I am not looking forward to that either due to the fact that the rumor is we will be open most of the day… on Thanksgiving.

I ask of you from the bottom of my heart… Do not go shopping on Thanksgiving! Do it for all of the retail workers that have been torn away from their family by the corporations to work on a day that they should be spending with their families.

Here is a photo I took last night of a sweet moment of Willow and J cuddling outside on the patio. Melts my heart.

FullSizeRender

My Challenge Photos from yesterday and today (Something New and Breakfast)

IMG_4412IMG_4416

What I ate for dinner last night:

IMG_4402

Mmmm. It is ok to be jealous =)

***********

Todays Challenges:

drink 1 liter of water

What was the best conversation you had today? I would have to say with the lady at Target when I was looking at Children books with Willow and within that conversation I decided that all of Willow’s Christmas gift this year will be educational and lots of books.

15 min walk

Kiss your child while they are asleep

I am thankful for (a teacher) I would have to say the teacher that I am most thankful for is Ms. Meldahl. She believed in me from day one and treated me like an adult not a stupid kid. She gave me responsibility and trusted me. She was one of the most influential teachers that I have ever had and I do not know what I would have done with out having her in high school.

Today’s photo was breakfast (that I already took and is above)

35 sec plank

40 sec wall sit

NO EXCUSES! NO QUITTING NOVEMBER!

***********

Have a fantastic Tuesday evening, I am off to heat up dinner!

Love, ME

I survived!

I worked from 9:45am to 11pm. Yesterday was a looong day.

Not only was I scheduled open to close but corporate decided that we were going to have an early release for Call of Duty yesterday (at 10:01pm) so we closed and then reopened our doors to preform the release. Thank goodness for our amazing GM for letting me leave at 11 because we had NO ONE in the building to be helped at that point and I am due to be back to work at 9:45am again this morning.

It was off and on busy yesterday which helped the transition of being back at work but had some interesting “rough” patches that tends to happen a lot in retail usually during the “holidays” and when we have “new” employees working in the building that think they know a lot more than they really know.

So because my ridiculous long retail filled day I was unable to get my run in =( but I was able to do my wall sits, plank, photo (although my selfie involved Willow) and I drank my liter of water (and A LOT of coffee).

I decided to drink my liter of water during my lunch break… The whole thing in less than an hour. I had not touched it all day and brought it to the back with me to eat my lunch and decided it was as good of time as ever and if I did not do that I probably would not have touched it. I figured out that was not the best idea when I came back from lunch and had the sudden urge to pee immediately and I had to run to the bathroom after I had just returned from lunch.

I was glad to have a small break in work to go and tuck Willow into bed and read her a bedtime story (at which point we took the selfie).

My fantastic breakfast this morning:

IMG_4400

***********

Today’s Challenges:

drink 1 liter of water

What occupied your mind today? Well I would have to say what will occupy my time… SLEEP (since I did not get much of it last night) and J and Willow. With not seeing them all day yesterday and not much this morning I have spent maybe an hour with them between this morning and yesterday I am craving family time.

2 min walk 2 min run (x2)

-also since I did not do my run I will be preforming my run yesterday today as well

Hug your child 3 times today (This is way too easy because I do this more than 3 times a day)

I am thankful for (a family member) I would have to say I am most thankful for my grandpa Al. He has been there for me through thick and thin and has listened to my crazy thoughts and dreams from the time I could learn to talk. He taught me how to text and bought me my first cell phone, he helped fuel my dream of photography as a kid and would stop on the side of the road let me climb on top of the vehicle and take photos. He truly cares and always listens to every word and gives me some of the best advice I could ever have. I told him once that he should go into politics and still to this day I believe that. He cares, he listens and he is one of the smartest people I know. He is also one of the most generous people I know and has bent over backwards to help me during my time of need and has done the same thing for so many people. I appreciate him so much and I would give him the world if I could.

30 sec plank

30 sec wall sit

the photo of the day is “something new”

***********

My photos so far from the challenge:

IMG_4381 IMG_4399I am definitely ready to have a shorter day at work today and be able to eat dinner at home. Although I did bring one of my fresh meals to work yesterday to eat at lunch I still would like to sit at the dinner table at home and eat dinner as a family.

Well I am going to go and attempt to wake myself up and get ready for the day. Hope everyone has a fantastic Monday!!!

Here we go!

Today is the day… the day I go back to work! (What my view is this morning- complete with a green smoothie for breakfast and a drawing from the Willow monster)

IMG_4394It feels like it has been forever since I have stepped foot in those doors but today I will be spending the entire day (open to close) in that building. Don’t get me wrong I am excited to get my routine back but I am not especially looking forward working an open to close shift right off the bat.

Here is a photo of what I had for dinner (Salmon, asparagus, broccoli, and sweet potatoes) All home made by me.. the other day and then heated up for dinner.

IMG_4389Yesterdays challenges went really well! I completed all of them and I added in a little photo challenge as well. Just something small I found on pinterest. Yesterdays photo was a pumpkin and today is a selfie (that I have yet to take).

***********

Today’s challenges are…

drink 1 liter of water (I did actually complete this yesterday… we will see if I can do the same today…)

Share some good advice- I would say my best advice would be follow your heart. I know that sounds extremely cheesy but I would not be where I am today if I did not follow that advice.

4 min walk 1 min run (x4)

Go the whole day without yelling (I need to stick with this so I don’t strain my voice more than I need to)

I am thankful for my physical health- really I am! I am so glad to have my voice back and although my back has been acting up a little bit I was able to go for a 20ish minute run/walk yesterday so I am pretty proud of myself for getting up and doing that!

30 sec plank

20 sec wall sit

***********

IMG_4392 IMG_4391On another note yesterday we went to J’s moms house to pick her up before venturing to Cave Creek and next to the big trash at her apartment there was a end table thing and a chair (it super great condition) so I grabbed them, cleaned them up and now we have some new additions to our furniture in our house! Someones trash is another persons treasure!!! Oh and here are a few photos I took on our drive to Cave Creek:

IMG_4382 IMG_4385I also downloaded a new app that I thought would be kinda fun. I did buy it and it was $1.99 I think but I had like $3 left on an old itunes card so to me it was free. I am not so much into zombies but I thought it would be fun to have sort of a challenge while I went on runs. I have not had too much time to play around with it but I did use it last night on my run and it was kinda interesting.

FullSizeRenderWell I should get going so I am not late for my first day back! Hope everyone has a fantastic Sunday!!

No Excuse November

IMG_4370IMG_4368IMG_4375IMG_4374I am not going to make any excuses to be a better me in November. With that I am going to be drinking a lot more “green” smoothies which tends to be a lot easier with Willow loving them!

I spent a lot of time cooking yesterday for a reason- I want to know what I am eating and putting into my body. I want to know each and every ingredient that is in there and be more aware of what I should limit and what I should add more. I am also going to be more aware of how much water I am drinking. I am really bad at that… I personally hate the taste of water. I even purchased a water filter and I still can not stand water but I know that it is good for me and a lot of time when I get headaches not having enough water is usually the cause of them especially  since we moved to Arizona.

I am going to get back into running today; although I am going to take it slow on account of my back not feeling the best lately I am still going to take 30 minutes out of each of my evenings and go for a nice run.

I have a few mini challenges up my sleeve that I am going to partake on for November so hopefully I will pull through and complete a few of them for myself.

***********

Todays challenges:

drink 1 liter of water

4 min walk 1 min run (x3)

20 sec plank

10 sec wall sit

What decision are you glad you made? I am glad that I took the leap of faith with J and I’s relationship and decided to switch jobs and then move to Arizona with him.

What is one thing that we can do together as a family this month? Thanksgiving! We will be hosting thanksgiving at our house this year which I am incredibly excited about!!!

I am thankful for my amazing friends and family that support me in all that I do. I am thankful that I have some friends that no matter how long we don’t talk we can pick up right where we left off at any point. I am thankful that they are there for me during times at need and I hope they know that I will be there for them as well.

***********

Did you know that it is officially NO SHAVE NOVEMBER?

J is going to participate in No Shave November which I am really proud of him for doing every year, it is a great cause I am glad that he participates in it each year although it is going to take some time to get use to kissing a non shaved face =)

Well I am going to go and spend the rest of my last day off before I head back to work with my family.

Have a fantastic start to November!