It’s official. I’ll be going back to work part time at the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce.  It’s a 15-20 hour work week where I make my own hours.  I’ll be the Executive Director/Secretary.  I’ll be doing secretarial type duties along with membership retention and recruitment, meeting planning, helping with the farmer’s market, marketing and other various tasks.  This is a perfect job for me right now. Making my own hours while going back to school, not to mention I’m more than qualified for these types of tasks.  Look out working world…I’m back!


One of my favorite message boards on had a thread on this topic and after reading a bunch of the mother’s posts I decided I wanted to list mine:

1. My son is the most precious thing in the world

2. He’s very photogenic, therefore I think everyone in the family needs at least one picture of every pose

3. Losing my temper makes me feel terrible about myself

4.  Even though I have a desire to have more kids, secretly I’m ok with having just one

5. It takes all I have to retain my composure when I’m around a whiny kid

6. I miss breastfeeding even though it’s been a little over a year since I’ve stopped

7. I am so thankful to my hubby for allowing me to stay-at-home

8. I love it that I get to cuddle with Cooper every morning when he gets out of his bed and into mine

9. I allow him to watch WAY more T.V. than he should

10. I now realize that things I used to do quickly can now take me 3-4 times longer with a kiddo

11. I make sure he eats healthy balanced meals but can’t seem to do it myself

12. I  judge other moms who give their kids soda

13. I hope that he is into baseball as much as his dad is

14. When he goes to stay with grandma overnight, I start to think about how much I’ll miss him at least two days before he even leaves

15. I have a food addiction and I hope I do not pass it onto him

16. I’m overweight and often wonder what he thinks/will think of that

17. I love to organize his clothes by color and size

18. If I do have more kids I really only want boys (but if I did have a girl I would be fine with it)

19. Love the fact that my son loves music, and not just what is current. He listens to the Beatles, Grateful Dead and anything else we listen to

20. I am trying not to spank unless its absolutely necessary, meaning if he is hurting someone else or doing something that will hurt himself.  I don’t want  him to be  slapped/spanked like I was.  My parents only did what they knew how to do.  Ev0lution.

21. He came into the world weighing 6lbs and1oz, only I can’t remember him being that little. At the time I didn’t think I would ever forget it

22. I really hope he learns to play guitar. I’ve always wanted to learn how, and I hope someday we will take lessons together

23. It makes me smile to see him get so excited over the smallest things, like building blocks or saying the ABC’s

24. He’s two years old now and I’ve yet to have to deal with vomit

25. I continue to buy him things even though he doesn’t need them!

I’m thrifty.  I cut coupons.  I price match.  I cook a lot.  All of these things mean big trips to the grocery store.  Although we have a strict budget for groceries and personal items I almost always go over budget.  I’ve been thinking for a long time now that grocery stores and places like *gasp* Wal-Mart need to offer some sort of online grocery shopping.  It would work like this:

#1 A customer would go online to shop for their items.
#2 In order to secure your order you would have to pay online via a credit or debit card.
#3 Customer would have a set time that they need to pick up their order by.
#4 Customer goes to the store to pick up the order that was placed online.
#5 Customer could then use coupons and get a credit back onto their card for the amount of money saved.

I realize you can currently do this at some electronic stores, etc. But, think about it.  If you could do this for groceries that would definitely decrease  impulse buying and would help people  stay within their  grocery store  budgets.  Thoughts?

If any big wig grocery store folks are reading this.  Please give this a trial run. My wallet begs you.

Last week we went on a mini vacation.  Jared & I dropped Cooper off at my parents then started our vacation by attending the Dark Star Orchestra concert at the Pageant in St. Louis.   Most of you reading this probably have never heard of DSO, but let me assure you they are great! The band recreates Grateful Dead concerts, song for song, live on stage.  The best part is, is that you never know which show you’re listening to until the end of the show.   For instance, at the end of this concert they said, “you’ve been listening to the sounds of the Grateful Dead live at Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA on May 18, 1977”.  Of course nothing is like listening to the real Dead but this is pretty darn close.  I love going to see DSO because there are people there from all walks of life. I saw a lady who was at least 80 years old, walking with a cane. She even had a little pin on her shirt that said, “I *heart* Jerry Garcia”.  You see old folks, teenagers, hippies, yuppies, bikers and all sorts of in betweens. Everyone has a good time and the Pageant is my most favorite local place to see a show (but for the record I do not like the $5.00 bottles of beer. It makes the night very expensive).

Jared & I during intermission

Dark Star Orchestra

Hot Nuts!

The day after the show we picked up Cooper and headed south to Murphysboro, IL to visit a friend I’ve had since my high school days. He and his wife recently had a baby girl not only was I anxious to meet her, but for them to finally meet Cooper and to spend some time in Southern Illinois. Jared and I both attended SIUC and dream of someday moving back.   As we drove down the familiar streets we couldn’t help but reminisce all of the old places that we had partied at and of  the good times we had. We both agree that we should have never left. It’s just a great area.

Friday night we got to eat at our favorite pizza joint, Quatro’s Pizza, then our favorite little café, Hargbaugh’s Café for breakfast on Saturday.

Cooper enjoying Harbaugh's Café for the first time

Before we left town we couldn’t resist and just had to place another order for a pizza to bring home. It is that good.  While waiting on our Quatro’s Challenge, we drove around all of our old favorite spots and I was able to snap a few pictures:

And the truth shall set us free

Our college house

Our alma mater

We also stopped to get some new SIU swag.  Since  I’m having Cooper’s 2 year photograph taken next week  I thought what a perfect time for him to be sporting his Saluki pride!

After picking up the pizza we made the two hour drive up Rt. 127 all the way back to Hillsboro.  We sunk our teeth into more Quatro’s pizza and decided it was the best mini vacation we’d had in a long time!

After reading one of my favorite weight loss blogs, 344 pounds, I was inspired to post 50 random things about myself. In no particular order:

1. Wear pajamas or sweatpants all day long at least five days a week

2.  Am taking a CNA class next month. The first class to jump-start my new career

3.  Can now run over four miles without stopping

4. …and still hate it

5.  Love desserts

6.  Love to bake and cook said desserts

7.  Raised in the Center of the Universe – Philo, IL

8.  Worked in the kitchen of the local pub beginning at age 14 until the age of 22

9.  Stand  5 feet 3 inches tall

10.  Have a real addiction to the internet

11. ….and food

12.  Birthday is September 9

13.  Haven’t been sick in over seven years

14.  Been on my own since the age of 17

15.  Seen over 200 bands live

16. Wear a size 11 W shoe (sometimes 12 depends on the make)

17.  Can bong a beer in  seven seconds

18.  Graduated from SIUC in 2002 with a degree in Journalism

19. Never lost more than 15 lbs, but have been on a diet most of my life

20. Started working at age 12

21. Didn’t know how to save money until I married my husband

22. Favorite colors are orange and black

23. Which also happen to be the school colors of my new hometown

24.  Favorite place to buy clothes is Goodwill

25.  Flat footed

26. Sat in the same class as my now husband in college but didn’t know it/him

27.  Cook homemade meals at least four days a week

28. Put on a “bad ass” front but really am an emotional softy

29. Like to be in control of things

30. Hold grudges

31. Two of my favorite movies are Urban Cowboy and The Break-up

32. Have a desire to meet Willie Nelson

33. Colored my hair since I was 10

34. Have more boy friends than girlfriends

35. A “joiner” (i.e. committees, boards, volunteering opportunities, etc)

36. Have two siblings. One sister and one brother

37. Helped raise said siblings

38. Changed middle name from Laura-Ann to Cooper

39. Was in labor for nine hours before having an emergency c-section

40. Long to have a natural birth via “VBAC”

41. Watch the View everyday

42. Can’t stand Sarah Palin and will judge you if you can

43. Used to listen to Howard Stern religiously

44. Am a good judge of character

45. Loved McD’s large hazelnut coffees until I realized two weeks ago they contained 11g of fat. Now I’m sad I can’t have one.

46. Prefers HLN over Fox News

47.  Have followed the Caylee Anthony case from day one

48. Only female in my karate class in third grade and was self conscious about it

49. Am committed to volunteering at the local animal shelter every fourth Saturday of every month

50. Recycle 75% of our trash

I did it.  I successfully ran three miles without stopping.   I’ll start from the beginning.  My bff, Carich has taken up the hobby of running. She’s ran races and really enjoys it.  I, myself have never ran.   I even walked the mile  in P.E. when I was probably in the best shape of my life  so I couldn’t understand what was/is so great about this form of exercise.   Carich raves about it and since I was going to the gym anyways I decided to give it a try.  I HATED it.  I was running and could barely make it one entire lap.  I was out of breath, my legs hurting and my chest burning. One time at the end of summer I ran three entire laps (3/4 of a mile) and was ecstatic but was never able to do it again.

Last Sunday while on the treadmill I was power walking as usual but was starting to get shin splints. I decided to up my speed a bit and do a light jog…and before I knew it I had ran a mile and a half.    There it was, the breakthrough I’d been waiting for and it hadn’t ever dawned on me that I could possibly be running too fast.  So…when it came time for me to do my treadmill routine again I thought to myself that I would run two miles.   Two miles came and just like Forrest Gump I kept on running.  With the help of Rage Against The Machine I was able to run three miles without stopping to walk.  I did it!  I could have kept going, but I didn’t want to run so much that I would never do it again.

There were only about six people in the gym when I was there last night and during my stretches at the end of my workout I came this <—-> close to shouting out “I just ran three miles without stopping.”  I was so proud of myself and finally caught a glimpse of what Carich had been talking about.

I hope to continue my new found exercise.  I’m a part of a four man team who is competing in a local weight loss competition.  I have a good feeling about this. My momentum is high and I hope it continues.  2010 is going to be my year!

From that day on, if I was ever going somewhere, I was running!
– Forrest Gump

It’s been two months since I’ve last blogged – WOW! I can’t say that I’ve had too much to say – and the thing is I’ve wanted to blog but I don’t think many people read this. Maybe it’s because I don’t update it enough.  Sorry folks. I am going to make a real effort (I’m serious this time!) to keep this blog updated for your entertainment purposes.

Since I had so much fun blogging about my Top 10 in 2008 which you can read here, I’ve decided to do it again this year.   So, in no real particular order here it goes, my most memorable moments of 2009:

1. Cooper’s Firsts

My baby boy turned one on March 11.  This first year flew by literally in the blink of my eye.  He got his first tooth, took his first steps, said his first words and I was fortunate enough to be able to witness them all! Jared and I have made many sacrifices in order for me to stay at home with him full-time and it has been quite a challenge, but being able to see all of these firsts has been worth it.

2.  The BIG move

“Well I was born in a small town
And I can breathe in a small town
Gonna die in a small town
Ah, that’s prob’ly where they’ll bury me..” – “The Coug”

It was Memorial Day weekend and the hottest one I can remember. Temps were in the high 80’s and maybe even in the low 90’s.  Jared and I rented a U-haul truck, packed up our things and made the Hillsboro move all by ourselves.  Since we hadn’t found a  house by moving time, we moved in with his parents.  Although it was challenging for everyone living under one roof, we didn’t have to think twice about it and we are forever grateful to his parents for welcoming us with open arms.

3.  Eagle Hurst Ranch

In July our closest friends, the Sweets along with their families and the rest of our family packed our things and headed to Steeleville, MO for an entire week of vacation at Eagle Hurst Ranch. I’d never heard of this place, but Jared’s family has a history here.   His mom vacationed at Eagle Hurst as a child and continued the tradition with Jared and his sibs when they were kids.  It had been quite a few years since they were last here, but it was like they had never left.  This place is summer camp for families.  You sleep in a cabin and all of your meals are cooked for you.  Games, tubing trips, square dancing, marshmallow toasting and swimming are just a few of the things you can do at this ranch.  It truly is a vacation. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do and you get to drink and lounge in your pajamas all day.


One of the highlights of this trip was Farkle.  Farkle is an old dice game and is pretty simple to play. For those of you who need a quick tutorial you can watch this video starring Fanny Farkle.  It became a necessity to play Farkle every free moment and everyone began using the word farkle as  much as possible.  Farke you!, I just got farked and I’m farked are just a few of the phrases that were coined, but because of all this Farkle madness, I am currently farked out.

4.  My High School Reunion

UHS class of 1995

1-9-9-5 we’re the class of 95 gooooooooooooo rockets! It doesn’t seem like it’s been 14 years since I’ve graduated high school.  Typically you are supposed to have a 15 year reunion, but since our classes are so small I thought what better idea than to have a joint reunion with the class ahead of us.  My classmates agreed and in August we joined forces with the class of 1994 at what better place than the Philo Tavern.  It was great to see all of my old friends from both classes.  I spent the night reminiscing those high school days and saying “remember when…” I had the best time and I wish high school reunions could happen more often, but it also made me realize how much I enjoy where I am at currently in my own life and that I would not trade places with anyone.

5.  Farm Aid

Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, Neil Young, Wilco, Gretchen Wilson, John “The Coug” Mellencamp and various other artists once again came together to put on this concert to help raise awareness of factory farming and the imp0rtance of organic food.  It was an all day festival held at Riverport (I know, I know it’s now called Verizon Wireless something or other but come on, it will always be Riverport) just outside of St. Louis.  The beers were $9.50 and the organically grown food (which was delicious!) was $10 but the memories that were made by all are priceless. We claimed our spot on the lawn, played Farkle in between sets and sat back to have one of the best times I’ve ever had at a festival.

6. Homeward Bound
“Home where my thought’s escaping,
Home where my music’s playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me…” – Paul Simon

Ahhhh, finally our own place right here in Hillsboro.  We looked at a variety of houses in town and they fit in one of two categories:  a dump or way out of our price range.  My sister-in-law, Brandi had been trying to get us to look at her friend’s house whom was considering selling.  The house was a bit on the smaller side, but needed NO repairs or updating.  I repeat NO repairs OR updating.  We weren’t exactly excited about the neighborhood it was in therefore, we refused to even take a look.  But, after looking at a bunch of dumps (houses that is! HA!) we agreed. As soon as we step foot in the house we were sold. I immediately started picturing where I would put our furniture and how I would decorate this and that.  It just felt like home.  We took a look, made an offer and three months later moved into our new home.

7.  Hot Nuts!

I had a blast this past summer in my new hometown with my new friends and family.  What’s great about this place is that even though it’s pretty small (Pop. 6,000 or so) there are lots of bars here, two of which are open till 3:00 am and a winery in the next town over.   Every weekend tends to be the same.   You see the exact same people at the exact same places.  It is in no way ever exciting and don’t ask me why I like to go back, but I do.   One night I was out with some friends and we noticed a little nut warmer on the bar (pictured above).  Now, keep in mind I’ve been to this bar hundreds of times and have never noticed this thing.  For some reason one of the people in my party actually ordered some for a snack then left them on the bar.  My friend, Dan and I thought it would be a great ice breaker and conversation starter if we went up to random people whom we didn’t even know and ask them if they wanted some “hot nuts”.   For some odd reason we couldn’t get enough of this. We asked people for hours and laughed until we cried.  Now  every time  Dan I see each other we simply refer to each other as “Hot Nuts!”

Hot Nuts!

8.  Back to School
This past summer I made the decision to go back to school to fulfill my dream of becoming a RN/midwife. I will begin that long journey in March when I will take my first class to become a CNA. I’ve got years of classes ahead but it is a journey that I am extremely excited about. You can read more about this here.

9.  I joined the Gym

I grew up in a household where diet and exercise weren’t important.  Mix that with a sugar addiction and a lifelong struggle with weight and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.  I joined the gym seven months ago and have been going religiously. Granted, I haven’t lost one single pound, but I am beginning to accomplish my goal of getting healthy.  I hope this time next year weight loss is on my top 10 list.

10.  Guiding Light Comes to an End

Bye-bye to my TV family

As most of you reading this know, I was a dedicated fan of the longest-running daytime soap opera, Guiding Light.  I watched the show for over 20 years and was sad to see it go.  I was even quoted in Springfield’s newspaper, the State Journal-Register for a piece that was written about the show going off air (I’m such a nerd sometimes!).  I will always remember how the show ended (it was left up in the air) and the fact that it indeed did come to an end in 2009.

There you have it.  My top 10 in 2009.  I am truly fortunate to live the life that I do.  I cannot wait to see what is in store for me in 2010.  What’s on your top 10?