Make It Or Break It: Gotta Love It

Poor Underdog Emily,
Rich Mean Girl Lauren,
Talented Payson, and
Determined Kaylie
Make It Or Break It is so over the top fake.  They probably hire various gymnastics insiders to consult with and then do the opposite.  No one has died and come back yet but it's drama is on par with any daytime TV soap opera.  It follows four teenage Elite gymnasts as they vie for an Olympic berth in the 2012 Olympics.   Their fictitious journey is filled with bizarre gymnastics politics and sub par level 10 skills.  The constant back stabbing, secret romances and affairs among athletes, coaches and parents is nothing like the real gymnastics world.  No elite gymnast would have time to work at a pizza place to help her flaky mom pay the bills at home.  And really, how much money could Emily be contributing anyways with a part time minimum wage job?  You can't be considered an Olympic contender with a only a full twisting yurchenko or handpring front pike as your vault or a double twist for your beam dismount.  You also would never have the president of the National Committee appoint herself as your club coach on the spot in a dramatic show of power in front of everyone.  Oh, and late night training sessions alone without coach supervision is probably no no at most Elite gyms across the nation.  I also doubt anyone's coach would ever ask them to do their floor ex dance in the parking lot on a huge tarp with paint bottles in hand to see what kind of pretty art results as a tool for improving dance.  I could go on and on.  That being said.  I LOVE this show. 

I am a gymnastics fan so if there is a TV show based on gymnastics no matter how loosely, or even if it's geared for people 15 years younger then me I'm going to watch it.  The story lines can be downright aggravating and roll your eyes dramatic but I still look forward to each and every episode.  If it were any other kind of show I would not even like it.  But this is Make It Or Break It and it's about gymnastics and therefore I love it.  They have already had Nastia Liukin and several past gymnastics greats guest star as themselves.  The season finale will feature legendary coach Bela Karolyi playing the role of The Rock team coach Sasha's dad. There are some glimmers of reality. Like Payson's dad working out of state while the rest of the family stays in Boulder for her training.  It also gives you a glimpse of the dedication and sacrifice that is required to be an Elite gymnast.  The tricks are watered down but the awesomeness that is gymnastics is still on full display. It's such a beautiful sport.

As a longtime lover of gymnastics I was super excited that there was going to be a show about my favorite and little publicized sport.  I didn't realize it was going to be this unrealistic but what can I expect?  Television and movies are notorious for distorting the truth and adding drama to increase ratings and entertainment value. The acting is good, it is well produced and I love checking out their cool leo's and warm ups so as long as it's on I plan to watch it in all of it's over dramatized glory.

The Hunt For Drapes

We put blinds or shutters on all but two windows in our house.  We left the downstairs sliding glass door and the kitchen windows open to add some texture and color to our decor with curtains.  It took us forever...well about 1 1/2 months to find curtains for the sliding door.  I didn't want a solid.  I wanted something bright and with a modern print but it turns out that is virtually impossible to find. has some really cute prints but none of them were quite right and unless I absolutely LOVED them for our house I couldn't justify spending that much.  We finally ended up with a neutral striped curtain we found at Bed Bath & Beyond two days after our wedding.  The greens, tans, and golds match the walls and our couches and will go with everything.  I also love the grommets.  Underneath we layered white sheer panels with gold circles.  I really like them but am now even more determined to add some color into the kitchen window treatment. 

There are a lot of really ugly kitchen tiers out there.  Garish plaids, funky fruits and tacky teapots is what I came across most often and unless I am decorating grandma's kitchen that is just not going to work for us.
Really?  Do people actually buy these?
It is becoming increasingly clear that the kitchen tiers I want do not exist.  I have scoured countless websites and catalogs only to find nothing.  The closest I came was    This place is awesome!  If you are interested in totally color coordinating your life look no further.  You can match your bible book cover, to your place mats, to your curtains, to your oven mitts and rugs.  They've got their share of really awful prints but I found a few striped ones that incorporated some of the colors we want-namely red.  Good thing I sent away for fabric swatch samples.  They were way darker and kinda drab in person unlike how they appeared online.  Back to the drawing board.

A new pattern popped up on Bed Bath & Beyond in my latest search that I thought might work.  But the more and more I look at them the less and less I am so sure that it's what I want.  There is definitely red but I don't want anymore stripes.  At only $19.99 for the valance and $19.99 for the tier pair the price is certainly right.

I like the bright colors but.....
I would really like the option of being naked in my kitchen if I want to but I can't do that without curtains.  Kitchen tiers require a lot less fabric then full drapes so we explored the custom option. Last Saturday I had JC Penny's over to see about custom tiers.  These are the top picks.  I'm really trying to envision the way they will look as curtains in our window.

A modern bright floral print

Nice bright red and a modern floral print

Has the variety of colors we want.  A pastel rainbow
I went for the design basics.  No fancy swags.  The price started out at around $400 for tiers and valance but I told her I needed to be in the $200's.  By cutting down on the fullness and using less fabric we can get a 14" Valance and a 24" tier pair for about $220 plus our hardware.  Never in a million years did I think I would feel the need to buy custom curtains.  That's just for rich people in their big fancy houses right?  Well, I'm not rich and my house isn't huge but I am trying to make it fancy so if what I want doesn't exist then I guess I gotta get someone to make 'em.

Tuesday Night Ball Game

Perfect View
We went to the ball game last night.  On a Tuesday night of all nights.  If Mj gets the tickets for free from work then we go and if it just so happens to be on a Tuesday at 7:00 pm then so be it.  This is our 3rd game this season.  We went in April to see his Braves and in June with my parents.  Aside from the fact that the trolley ride back to our cars took way longer then usual I enjoyed this one more then the others for the following reasons:
  1. I wasn't freezing my butt off.  It's really hard to focus on the sometimes anti climatic game of baseball when your nose feels like an ice block and the breeze feels like it's biting through your clothes.  I am always amazed when I see people wearing tanks and shorts and trying to look all cute while I am wearing gloves and a double layer of shirts. I get cold easy and being cold sucks. It's a form of torture for me and if I am being tortured I am likely to care more about how soon I can leave then what is actually going on in the game. 
  2. Our seats were awesome.  Our April seats were close but these were close, at the perfect height and right beside home plate.  We had a nice view of the entire stadium and the field.  The guys didn't look like tiny little figurines that I should just ignore and I felt so close to the action that I really wanted to become interested in what was going on and follow the game. I even learned a little bit more about some of the rules.
  3. The game was actually exciting!  Someone got out while trying to steal a base and the home team scored two home runs.  One of which I missed while in the restroom changing into a warmer top.  The chronically cold have to be prepared.  The score actually got up to five which means there were five times in the game that there was some real action going on which is not often the case with baseball where it can go on and on forever and finish 1 to 0 with not much in between.
You will never catch me watching baseball on TV.  It's just way too boring for me.   But I really enjoy the experience of going to a live game.  You get to watch people make a fool of themselves on the jumbo tron and at this game they even had a croquet demonstration before the game started.  You can actually order food right from your seats in this section but we chose to use our own legs instead to save us the 15% service charge.  The food is already expensive enough.  I didn't get my usual beer and a giant over sized hot dog this time.  I enjoyed my $8.00 turkey wrap while Mj ate his $6.00 hot dogs and we shared his his $4.00 water. 

Good thing the tickets were free.

A Look Back: Bride Getting Ready

[July 10, 2010] So, it's taken me quite awhile to finally get to pro pic posting. First it was because we didn't get the disc as quickly as we were supposed to and then it was because I was simply overwhelmed. Our photographers took over 1300 pics and I didn't know where to start! We had to find the time to go through them together to weed them out a bit. Then from there it was up to me to get them organized and sorted into something manageable so we could decide which ones to order. We get 10 5 X 7 and 4 8 X 10 prints. I had all of these sheets of papers full of numbers scribbled all over the place.  It was a mess.  I finally was able to translate that madness into organized folders on my flash drive. Jeez...who thought organizing pics would be so darn complicated?  Then, after all of that it took me a while to get to posting.

It would have been nice to get some of those nice classic getting ready shots taken by our photographer.  The dress hanging beautifully in the window with the light filtering through and all that.  But, we wanted shots pre ceremony and I was afraid we would run out of time at the end.  In lieu of that I pieced together the shots I did manage to get from other cameras.  Not my mom's because her photos are still inside her camera and she hasn't gotten around to finding the cord that is necessary to get them OUT!  Incidentally, she has photos dating back to two Christmases ago still in her camera so chances are it wouldn't be any time soon.  Mj's aunt took a lot of pics though and he somehow got them out of her camera for me so between those and Facebook steals from friend's pics this is what I got.  These are not pro pics but I'm starting with these because the OCD person in me wants to do this in order. 
The before shot.  Pre make up magic.

Getting ready was a blur like everything else.  I didn't get to sip champagne, munch hor's deourves and chat with my bridesmaids.  I drank a glass of wine, knocked over half the other one by accident and shoved some street tacos down my throat that the hotel was kind enough to arrange for me since I starved myself all day.  I did not get to leisurely put on my dress, giggle in delight with my mother-ok maybe there was some giggling- or gaze serenely into the mirror.  It was make up, take down my pin curls, get into the dress, throw on the jewelry, get last minute touch ups and GO....FAST!

Last minute touch ups
I rushed through the entire process which I wasn't really aware of at the time but in retrospect it was kind of a bummer.  But, I got myself together with help from everyone else and in the end I was happy with the finished product.  The necklace and earrings were given to me by Mj's grandma.  I had the hair.  My stylist is also a friend so she was right there to take down my curls and style my hair.  The make up artist was fabulous.  My nails and toes were perfection and of course the dress-which was the very first one I tried on.  I have never felt so glamorous.  This must be what celebrities feel like every time they go out.  Must be nice!  I planned on enjoying every last minute in that white dress.  And I did!!!

Mom and I.  It's show time.
Did you think I was done talking about my wedding? Not just yet. Next wedding Post.....PRO PICS!!! 

Pro Pics in the Park

Grocery Shopping Is No Fun

I've been spoiled.  So far Mj and I have always done our major grocery shopping trip together.  We are miserably low on food since we haven't done a major trip in almost 3 months!  He's been out of town for work all week and will be again next weekend.  He'd be too tired tomorrow.  There isn't time to drag him along this time so I had to go solo.

Going to the commissary on base saves us money on sales tax and lower prices but it is does not necessarily save us on time since it's about 16 miles away.   Like going to Walmart on a Saturday you have to mentally prepare yourself for it.  The aisles are ridiculously crowded so you have to maneuver your way through that but they actually hire enough people to work there so they get you checked out pretty quick.  Because it's not so close we do our big grocery shopping trip there then run down the street to Ralph's or Sprout's for anything else we need in between.  Which has been quite a bit because we haven't done the greatest job of planning our shopping around specific recipes so when it comes time to cook we never have everything we need.  This time was different!  I went alone AND I was armed with a shopping list that includes grocery items for 4, count 'em FOUR recipes.

Grocery shopping is this exhausting process of transferring items from one place to another over and over again.  You put the items from the shelf into your cart and push it around as it gets heavier and heavier.  Then you load it onto the check out counter.  Then, the baggers put it all right back into your cart.  You get to take the stuff out of the cart for the second time and load it into the car.  Then, finally after all of that you get to stock your shelves at home.  Not fun and so much easier to do with two.  At least I don't have to lug them through a gate and up a flight of stairs from street parking anymore like when I lived in the condo.

My single gal fridge in 2006
What a difference 4 years makes.  This was the normal state of my fridge when I lived alone.  I didn't have too many visitors but when I did they always marveled at just how little I had in my fridge.  That turned to down right shock when they insisted that I must eat out all the time and found out that I did not.  Everything I needed was actually right there and in two small cabinets.  Needless to say my diet was pretty minimal.  There was no cooking and dinner was mostly canned soup or a deli sandwich.  Every single day.  Oh, and lots of pretzels.  And that was just normal for me.  Not only was it great for my waistline it was definitely easy on the budget.  I think I only spent about $45 per month max on groceries!

Our fully stocked fridge
Mj isn't exactly down for that.  Like most people he needs a little bit more variety and quantity so this is what our fridge looks like now and the pantry is full.  I spent about $160 but that will probably last us for close to 2 months aside from little things here and there.  When it comes time to cook we will actually have the ingredients to do it and there are plenty of healthy snacks to munch on.  Mj got lucky this time.  He got to skip the shopping trip AND I plan to have dinner on the table for him when he gets back home tomorrow.  I've spent this entire 3 day weekend alone.  No plans, no nothing.  Just me.  Relaxing, sleeping in and getting some errands done.  I'm definitely ready for some company tomorrow.

I'm An Auntie

Two new aunties!  Me and lil' sis

Isn't he just the cutest?  I am in love already! 7lbs 9 oz
Apparently there is nothing predictable about child birth.  Even when you schedule it to be induced.  My sister got to the hospital around 8:30am as she was told.  She didn't get her first round of inducing drugs until sometime after 10:00am and by 11:30pm that night was not dilated at all!  No contractions.  No nothin'.  We were all expecting this thing to get going but it was going very slowly and she was only going to be allowed liquids until after she has the baby.  She was uncomfortable, exhausted, starving and beyond ready to get this boy OUT!!

We left the hospital around 11:30pm when it was clear that nothing was going to happen any time soon.  So we thought.  We went home to get some sleep and about two hours after we went to bed we get a call from her husband that they are doing a C section.  Like NOW!  She had finally dilated to about 1" and was having some contractions after we left.  DJ was showing some signs of distress so without further delay they sent her into surgery.  We tiredly got dressed again and headed back to the hospital to wait.  We got some snacks from the vending machine to keep us occupied then proceeded to fall asleep in our chairs.  They took him out at 2:45 am.  They checked him out and one by one we got to see him.  And he is just precious.  He looks just like his daddy.  My sister is just fine and DJ is healthy and adorable.  It's just amazing.  I'm so happy for them.

We finally got to see our sister around 4:30am.  She was groggy and still high on pain killers.  We went home to get some rest around 6:00 am finally.  Then, went back to the hospital around 3:30pm so we could see him again and finally hold him.  So far he doesn't cry at all and right now he would rather sleep then eat.  I changed his diaper.  The last diaper I changed was probably about 20 years ago when my Lil sis was still a baby.  I left the hospital to go back home around 7:45pm.  I slept a little but my body did not appreciate going to bed at 6 in the morning when the sun is coming up so I was exhausted by the time I climbed into bed.  I took yesterday off but had to be at work at 7:00 am this morning. Thank goodness I am off tomorrow.

My sister gets to go home on Friday.  She slept here and there but she says she really needs about 8 hours of sleep to recover.  I don't think she's going to get it.  She is breast feeding so she has months and months of sleep deprivation ahead of her.  I'm sure it's so worth it to her when she looks at that sweet little face.  It's so great that she will be close enough to benefit from the support of her family.  We can't breast feed but there are plenty of other things we can do to help.

Limbo Champ

The Thrill of Victory
We went to Mj's company picnic today.  It was a Hawaiian Luau theme.  I did my exercise video in the morning and hadn't eaten a thing all day so by 1:30 pm I was starving and there was plenty of good food to be had once we got there.  The sun finally pushed through the gloomy skies and warmed me up as we were sitting there relaxing and eating.

I am kinda shy.  I am never going to be the first one up to volunteer to participate in a contest if at all.  It didn't look like we were going to win any of the raffle ticket prizes so we had to take matters into our own hand.  Mj couldn't get me to go so he walked up there and got in the limbo line himself.   I paused for a few seconds and then went on up there too.  As that bar got lower and lower I couldn't quite figure out how I was supposed to get my body under there.  Not too many adults participated and when it got down to 4 they said whoever makes it under is the winner.  The first guy made it under but fell at the end.  Mj went right before me and did pretty good until he collapsed at the end. When it was my turn I took my time and arched back as far as I could and inched forward until all but my head had made it underneath.  I was sort of suspended in this backwards position taking my time so I wouldn't fall.  I turned my head to the side and made it.  The last person made it under but fell also so I won-and not some janky prize either.  It was a $50 gift card to Walmart.  Who can't use that? Guess my old gymnastics flexibility, what little I have left that is, came in handy.

The Agony of defeat
Speaking of gymnastics, it's coming on tonight.  USA Nationals!!  Rebecca Bross is poised to take the title this year and Alicia Sacramone begins her comeback.  It's my favorite sport in the whole wide world and gets way less TV time then it deserves.  It is the premier sport of the Olympic games and obviously way more impressive then football but is only televised about 3X per year max so when it's on I get really excited.  I get two wonderful hours of it tonight.  When I'm watching gymnastics I have eyes and ears for nothing else.  The laptop stays shut and I don't want to miss a single minute. You can expect to be totally ignored when I'm watching it.  Don't bother me, I'm watching gymnastics.  Come to think of it, I'm actually way worse then Mj is when my sport is on.  I can justify it though for a couple times a year unlike Baseball and Football which is on practically year round.  If he ignored me every time a game was on...well let's just say there would be trouble but I can totally get away with it.  Right?

She's Having A Baby Alright

We got some awesome news last week. My sister will not be going to Vegas after all. She will be staying right here in So Cal! The military screwed up and when her hubby went to check in he was told, "You aren't going to Vegas." All of their things had already been shipped out there and now they have to get those back as soon as they figure out where they're going to live. Yes, it kind of threw them for a loop but I am really glad she is going to be so close.

Me and my big sis

Her baby shower was Sunday at my mom's house and it turned out really nice. We spent most of the time outside and basked in the perfect 72 degree weather. She got tons of gifts and hung out with some friends she hasn't seen in a while. My mom invited her friends from work and a few of my friends came. When I got home Mj asked me why I didn't bring him any food and I told him the truth. "We ate it ALL." And we enjoyed every bit.  I can't believe that this tiny little person who can't talk, walk or even sit up needs so many things!!! She's been wanting this for a long time and is so happy and I am happy for her.  And of course my mom is thrilled that one of us is finally going to give her a grandchild.

I think babies are cute and precious and all that good stuff but I am not really a "baby person." They give me a maternal pang when I see them and hold them but for the most part it usually ends right there. I've never wanted to baby sit or had an instinctive desire to be a mother for that matter.  I'm not sure if I'll ever have one of my own, but in about a week I will have a nephew which is totally new to me. I've not had too many babies in my life since my little sis stopped being a baby a long time ago so it will be interesting to see how how that's going to feel.

Next Tuesday is the big day and I'm so glad it's not me giving birth. I'm sort of using my sister as a "test case."   What a difficult pregnancy it's been for her from trying to get pregnant in the first place, to fibroid complications to gestational diabetes.  She is more then READY to get this kid out.  After getting the inside scoop from someone who shares my genes and interacting with a baby so closely related to me, if I find that this whole baby business seems to be way too much then it could really help me make up my mind.   It might make me want to have a baby less then I do right now OR there is that slim possibility that it could have the opposite effect.   In which case I'd then have to convince my husband and that would be even harder then convincing me. 

Stay Home and Bake Cookies

We were supposed to go to K and A's house for dinner on Saturday night but they cancelled. I love this couple. We were over at their house for dinner just last Sunday and I had a really good time but my first thought was, "Yeah, a free day AND night!!" It seems that as of late those have been hard to come by for us. Every Sat and Sun has been filled with social activities and that can get tiresome for a homebody such as myself. It leaves me no free time to relax let alone any time to clean house or take care of business. When they decided they would just go out to dinner instead of doing dinner in Mj had barely finished telling me and I was already saying, "I'm not going." We are probably going to over there next weekend, I have a baby shower on Sunday and I had already made up my mind that this would be a day of no plans and that was that. Mj could have gone without me but I'm glad he didn't.
Chocolate Chip

I got to spend Saturday cleaning and doing laundry. Super exciting I know-but totally necessary. I had a chance to get my car washed and a pedicure. There was no place to rush off to so when we were good and ready we baked chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies. The funny thing is it was actually my idea to make cookies. Me who refused to cook and bake as a child and into adulthood. I want to bring cookies to our jobs to thank our co workers for the wedding gifts they got us.  We have an awesome-extremely heavy- Kitchen Aid mixer which makes the mixing process a breeze. Fancy Mj likes to pour all of his ingredients into those little clear pyrex bowls like they do on the food network. He has a reason for it that I don't quite get. All it does it create more dishes if you asked me so I don't see the point. I'm not a huge fan of dishes but I hate a messy kitchen worse so I assumed my usual role and did dishes as we went along so I wouldn't have to deal with them later. We ended up with 4 dozen chocolate chip and 3 1/2 dozen peanut butter. They are so delicious when they first come out of the oven. I've never much enjoyed being in the kitchen though it's changing a little bit as I've been making an effort lately to be a good wifey and get in there and cook. Surprisingly, baking cookies turned out to be a great way for us to spend a Saturday evening together.

 Peanut Butter.  We can do two trays at a time no prob with our convection oven.

After cookies I finally got around to watching The Runaways with Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning.  It was so good.  Those actresses are amazing!  Mj was already knocked out before the movie even ended.  You see, he didn't come home Friday night.  And we've only been married for less then a month!  No,  he's not in trouble.  He was out all night with a bunch of guys who just came back from overseas.  Accordingly, he drank too much to drive, crashed up there over night then made the 1 1/2 hour drive back home at about 8:00am Saturday morning.

I REALLY needed Saturday to relax , do errands and get some stuff done around the house.  Time to just BE.  Mj was able to get his homework done and finally clean up his mess of not yet put away clean laundry and still unpacked clothes from two weeks ago.  He likes to go, go, go but not me.  I need my time to chill out and take care of business.  He really needs it too even if he is too much of a busy body to realize it. 

Home Sweet Home

 When you buy a house that moment where you get to really celebrate and take a deep breath kinda gets lost in the shuffle.  People would ask, "Aren't you excited?" and I really didn't know what to say. I was but I wasn't. Yes, we were going through the process but there are so many variables, unanswered questions and hoops to jump through along the way that it felt like the deal could fall through at any moment.  You have little mini celebrations at each step only to have to hold your breath again as you wait for the next piece of the puzzle to fall into place.

We started out house hunting and bidding on existing properties which is a battle in itself especially in our county. I have heard horror stories of people bidding and getting rejected on house after house so at least we didn't have to deal with that.  You have to get pre approved (sometimes my multiple lenders depending on where your search takes you), find the house, sign the contract, obtain and lock the loan, sign closing docs, get the keys and finally after months of hoping and waiting and wondering you get to move in.  Our house was still being built so all of this uncertainty stretched out for 5 months which was not only stressful but makes me wonder how I ever closed on my condo in 30 days.  There was so much hoopla this time around and those loan officers are relentless.  By the time you move in you know you made it but are so overwhelmed and consumed by the moving process that you still don't really get a chance to celebrate.  There is still too much to think about.  Too much to do, buy and organize.  We were worn out.  Then next thing you know you're in, and that celebratory moment somehow got skipped over.  We still have champagne sitting in our refrigerator given to us by the builder on the day we moved in.  We steamrolled full speed ahead right into our wedding-adding another bottle of champagne to our stash-so it's not until now that I'm really getting to reflect on everything that went down. 

I have not lived in an actual house-or a place without communal laundry rooms for that matter-since I moved out of my parents house over a decade ago.  Gosh I feel so old being able to use the word DECADE that way!  I went from college housing for 2 1/2 years (excluding summers) then back to mom's house for about 2 years. After graduation I got my first apartment with the Ex in 1998.  Then, we moved down to the city and lived in 3 different small and sometimes not so great city apartments over the next 7 years.  After the divorce I bought my first place. A brand new tiny condo where I stayed put for the next 5 years fully expecting that I would stay there forever.  On a single income and with ridiculous housing prices where else was I gonna go?  I finally had a space of my own where no one could raise my rent or decide to convert to a condo forcing me to move but with very little in the way of amenities and it's small size it didn't take long for me to outgrow it on my own.  Then when Mj moved in and well..... let's just say the place got even smaller. 

We have been in our new house for about 2 1/2 months now-since May 21st.  Getting back to the 'burbs" and owning a detached home is something I always wanted but I didn't believe it was possible for me. The house hunting and home buying process was a roller coaster ride from hell at times.  Thank goodness Mj keeps a cool head 'cause I was freakin' out half the time.  The idea of being responsible for a juicy mortgage especially on top of my condo is scary but I don't think we bit off more then we could chew.  Every bit of anxiety along the way has been worth it. Even in this sketchy housing market this was something that we needed to do. I craved space and a functional home where I could feel at peace.  Where I could do my laundry without going outside and not have to search for parking when I get home from work! And I finally got it. 

Still wondering when we will get around to that champagne.  Guess it's never too late to celebrate.