Sir LAA goes Live.

IMG_9699bSo my husband is an avid reader of my blog. Which I find to be charming, and lovely and give me the giddies. What I didn’t expect, is that the man who has tried to keep his private life private would have a conversation last night about using his name on my blog.

I forget the exact words as my heart was really going pitter pat at this point. But it was “You know, you don’t have to call me Sir LAA on your blog…you can call me…”

Ray.

So. Here I am. Telling you, that I’m married to Ray. That’s him up there, submitting to my want to take portraits over our Christmas holiday this year. Isn’t he dreamy?

It’s funny, as I type this, I’m going through the same inability for his graduated students to call him by his first name that I think would normally be so easily overcome.

Ray. Ray. Raaaay.

Doodle bug.

Thanks for all the love you give me. For the support and laughs I gain through days of panic or issues or stress. Every day I wake up with you means one more day that I get rid of the rest of the world’s concerns, and get on to living a fun, love-filled life with you. Thank you for being a reader.

Love,

Lesley Ann

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Resolution Check: How I Did and What I’m Gonna Do

Yeah, so that would be number one, that I totally threw out the original goals. I got married, I changed my life, I everything. When all of that happened, and being hit with selling a home and a new name and a life completely different than the one I started the year with, then I felt it necessary to revisit what I said, and start over.

1. I will be completing a photo journal rather than a written journal this year. I did complete this and it’s being printed. It will be fun to look at what day-to-day life was like rather than “just” the special events that we went to and enjoyed. I already had a giggle when I was proofing it online.

2. I have two books – an autobiography and a recipe book as well as a photo book that I’m trying to finish. And I finished both of them as well as the cookbook with my grandmother’s pictures. I’m having to say DONE! on this one as well as feeling like I really went above and beyond where I thought I would.

3. Gym. Oh fail. I’ve put on weight. I cannot get rid of it. Stress and anxiety at work, at conceiving, at everything. Comfort food eater, right here. and hating that. I miss the success of an hour at the gym or after a good run. For the past weeks it’s been nothing but event after event and while I’ve had plenty of fun, it’s time to redirect so the stress buildup diminishes.

4. Disneyworld. Seattle. Barcelona. A beautiful cabin in North Texas at Christmas. Next year we’re considering Austin, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and London for Christmas. Oh yeah, and one of those kid things. Paris is still in the works, we’re talking like Italy and Paris will be in 2016, but let’s be honest, Italy deserves it’s own trip and I want to be in Paris on my 40th.

5. Louboutins have been purchased. And now they’ve been worn. Check out those puppies. I wore them to the Inaugural Gala of the NOMADS in February. So it was not only a great happy-birthday-to-me gift, but it felt good to get that one down on film! These guys are a hoot to hang with, and the black tie event was a first for Ray and I. Enjoyed thoroughly – even danced …in public. Don’t tell the other guys.  DONE!!

6. My blog. I know. I know. Admittedly it’s not been from lack of energy, but more from being scared to write and say what I feel. Paranoia slides in when folks shake your character and soul up. now I’m back. Treading lightly, but I need to write, it’s good for my guts. I’m getting stronger and more brave. It feels to go let out into the ether what I’m feeling and gather feedback and ideas. It feels good.

7. Make my own snow globe. Done. I’ve done it. I done that. Craft-free? Nah. I still have plenty to do. I’m doing our own custom tree topper. I still have to repair my custom school-colored support overalls. I need to finish the maxi dress I’m sewing and fix my swing dress from it’s horrible stain (let’s pray e-how is correct on how to spot treat a stain with bleach)…then I have made an apron for homecoming mum making next year. Plus I did some darning. Then I started our Christmas ornaments for the white tree I was challenged with next year. I also” needed” to paint a light-up puppy dog for Christmas. Plus for funsies, let’s add on a Mrs. Claus fascinator for the upcoming student Christmas party. I just can’t help but overload myself. Sigh. Hobby Lobby, I heart you.

8. Oh yeah. I sold my house. And I got married. And we threw a small family reception this summer.. I think next year’s resolution is finding peace and learning how to relax. I fear these things are not in my make up. How can I find zen if I feel on pins when I sit still?

So what’s up for 2015 you ask?

2015 Resolutions

1) Lady being as an art form needs to happen. Somewhere last year I just gave up – stress too much, energy too little, and somewhere in betwixt house selling, house looking, house making, marriage, reception, trips, football season and all the rest, well. I forgot about me. Sometimes literally. I can shop like a fiend but I forgot to put together an outfit or how to do (or maintain) my hair and face. I feel like I aged last year, despite it being one of the happiest. I did gain 20 lbs since the wedding, and as you’ll read later, trying for kids would merit a fit mom-to-hopefully-be. I can’t swing dance anymore, it just doesn’t fit our schedule, but I can find a hobby, and some me time. I need to reestablish a set of girlfriends and make time for what’s important. A rejigging of my priorities is in order. Mostly because last year, my husband became a priority, and he should be. Our family-ness is important, and I respect our bond so much that sometimes having to remake things again is what needs done in order to give focus to him and us.

2) Continue to strengthen my relationship with my husband. It’s a sad place where this thought came from, but you know House of Cards? (If you don’t, do, because love love.). The Underwoods, who the show centers around, are quite the snarky, malicious, freakshow couple. That said, I envy their tradition of smoking together outside of their apartment window. I also love the romantic notion of the written word. My husband has been writing me cards for a few weeks now, and it makes my day. Last year on the last day of our honeymoon, I asked each of us to write a letter to the other for the next year. I plan on keeping that same pattern this year on that day. Hopefully 25 years from now, we’ll have a book of love letters to pass on to our kids about how amazingly strong we were through all of this rollercoaster called marriage. Given that we may need something to write about, my husband continues to press on for dancing lessons, and recently suggested pottery – I definitely wanted to have a shared interest that would be ours (not his nor mine in origin) and also opens us up for meeting new people and taking on new experiences. That said, we continue to want to be social with all of our friends and family, so we’re planning several dinners and parties that we keep telling folks we’re going to try and do. That said, we’re trying, not everything will succeed…I gotta remember that.

3) Our family. Parenthood. Yep, we’re doing that. Nope, I’m not going to post the details. But we’re trying. As you’ve seen from a few posts, there’s emotional ups and downs and sideways to this process. If anything, I’m grateful to have a place to vent and discuss and hopefully gather feedback and tips and tricks (hey, hey now.) to this whole thing called becoming a Mom. This has been a dream of mine for longer than I can remember. About five minutes after I wanted to be married, I wanted to be a parent. Give or take a second. Ever the basher of my own optimism, asking myself a lot if it will “ever” happen, and this road we take will be telling of my and our strength..

4) Let’s make this a sentimental journey shall we? I want to install some family traditions this year. I’ve taken advantage that it’s our first year and figured if I go whole hog on a good handful of family traditions, that a few good ones will stick around for the long haul. Up above you saw the idea of a honeymoon-anniversary letter. We are also collecting glass plates from a wonderful place we found in Seattle, who just “happened” to design them for the hotel we stayed in Vegas when we got married. Also, our first Christmas card went out this year, I’ve learned my lesson on small text, but think that an infographic type will be cool to watch grow with the years, what do you think? We talked about how to make sure we have two active days (all day hikes, bikes, something moving!) and two lazy lazy couch surfing days together each month. I don’t know how to quite plan that yet, but I think just putting a date on the calendar and enforcing it as a family rule will be needed. I want rest just as much as I want to move, and sometimes the mental destressing of both inaction and action is forgotten in our day to day errand and event filled weekends. I think actively making sure we do both will insure more balance rather than the feast or famine that sometimes leads to anger. And finally, I would like to impose a Sunday Dinner. Call me 1950s all you want, but I want my family at the table on a Sunday. Sure, friends and family can join, and sometimes not, but I want my Sunday dinner on my table.

5) Crafts are back in full force this year. Sir LAA will attest to seeing many painted and stitched and glued craziness over the holiday break. Yep, and I know, I wanted to list things now so that I stick to a boundary and tell myself, and my Hobby Lobby shopping demon, “No”. So this year, I’d like to try to finish the two wreaths that I have for the silent auction. I’d also like to learn arm knitting, as I think this will be similar to looming and twice as fun during marching band season. As mentioned earlier, I’m working on that infographic for our Christmas card and need to gather my creativity. Also, my fabulous partner in crime and I will be making tree skirt skirts and ugly sweaters for Christmas. I also want to attempt a version of a nice Christmas sweater…if that makes sense? Also, at Renaissance Festival last year, the mister and I took quite kindly to steampunk fashion. I’m sorry readers, for I have sinned, I pinterested it. And then I shopped it. and dear lordy lord, there are so many good things to make. So for now, I’ll just say “Steampunk Stuff” and leave it at that. I know, I’m already out of hand. Then, if we’re really lucky, maybe Baby crafts: booties, onesies, pennants, you know…that. But for now, we’ll just pray for something soon.

6) Volunteerism. I still want to help others. I feel like what I did last year didn’t help in a lot of cases. In fact, I feel like a burden that I even stepped in sometimes. I need to learn how to not interrupt I suppose. So one, not interrupt. But two, learn how to give where I’m wanted. So this year, I’d like to start picking up a canned good or boxed toy here and there and make sure that I spread the giving through the year. I’m also working on a few things for Sir LAA that I hope are helpful, and as I help him out using my talents, I hope it pays off in a few great events that make his vision come alive. Outside of that, perhaps it’s time…to start…

7) Saying no. Yep. It’s become necessary. Saying no to shopping after I have a completely full closet – which I’m cleaning this weekend and trying to take a lot of gratefulness away from the idea that I own more than I should and can do just fine without all that even have now. I cannot find a perfect life or solution to a stressful situation on a rack or website and need to stop it. Also, I need to start saying “no” to the places that I’m not valued. That means several things to me. I can only press so much, so if I’ve pressed a few times and I’m not getting response in kind. I’m more enthusiastic, and need to let it fall off my list. Additionally, I need to start to be aware when folks are using me vs when I’m joining an enthusiastic and open group. I need to cut the places where drama do not serve me, where rough feelings and negative emotions start to hurt my own self esteem and hurt who I am. I refuse to stay where I am not wanted, but I’m also going to be aware where my skills aren’t needed because drama takes the place of true kindness and generosity of spirit. Finally, I need to prioritize and decide what is important, truly and utterly important, and what is a “nice to do”, and make sure that when I decide to spend my time somewhere, that I spend it wisely.

8) Scribbling is still my passion. I still love writing. I’ve continued the blog, despite it being spotty, it wasn’t from not wanting to write. Work really took over the fourth quarter and things had to go. That said, I still want to blog, and perhaps even take it a step farther. I’m planning on designing and executing a digital magazine. More details are left to be hashed out, but the more I think about it and the more ideas I get, the more exciting it feels. Watch this space, I hope I can follow through. It sounds so daunting right now. Other writing projects include a poetry book of about 100 poems and sketches that I do a la my idol Shel Silverstein. Finally, a kid-friendly series of Learn-Your-Shapes, Numbers and Colors books will be in my future. I’m rather excited to have the husband work a Saturday or two in order for me to set up these projects and knock out some fun things and see where they may take me. Self publishing is on the rise, perhaps 2016 will hold that endeavor to be judged and put my writing skills to the test. Here’s to being brave.

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 37 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Jonesin’ For: The Free Edition

Last night just crashed into the stressful holiday drama moment of the year.  Everything just seems to be rough edged at the moment, and as you know, the more streams of that, the more sensitive one can get at every turn.

I’m going to try and turn this into a positive and write a Dear Santa list of items that are completely free to give throughout the year. I’m not saying I’ve been without any of these this year, I’m just sharing a few gifts that cost nothing, and despite requiring time or emotion, may just make someone’s day brighter.

  1. Hugs: I cannot get enough of these.
  2. Thank Yous – yep, these still count. Perhaps sometimes they just require stopping and making time for one rather than in the passing by in the hall way sort. Make those around you realize that you are grateful for their acts of kindness that they didn’t have to do.
  3. Public affirmation of someone’s talents – in front of their boss, in front of their mother, in front of their foes or just on someone’s facebook wall. Some folks may not like to be on the refrigerator of life, but some folks need that validation.
  4. A jar of notes. I read an article where one guy took 365 post its and wrote his significant other loving memories, quotes and thoughts for an entire year.
  5. One long letter. With lots of words. Putting yourself out there, even if it’s a little more lovey dovey than you normally are, because it’s Christmas, and that’s what you do. (Go review that scene with the cue cards and Kiera Knightly in Love Actually)
  6. Sorry. I know. This is odd. But Sorry is a gift for someone like me. I need closure to things sometimes. Sometimes an unforced, well worded, sincere sorry is the biggest difference.
  7. A date. Make your partner feel special. Just plan ANYTHING without him having to know. Just make sure it happens.
  8. Ask them how you can help in the right here and now. Lending a hand is free, and means the world.
  9. Pay it forward. Maybe there’s no reason to be nice than to just be nice. Never hurts to stock up on nice points, I’m a true believer that in time, those points that you pay in, pay off.
  10. Holding someone’s hand when they need it.
  11. Make their lunch. Anything in the pantry. It’s the gesture not the gourmet.
  12. Lay out their clothes for a day, you really want to see them in this suit, or that romper. Just wanting to see them is brought to a whole new level.
  13. Sometimes the most mundane things, we don’t know. Make sure folks know they are needed. Sometimes harsher words of life get in the way, and positive affirmations while they seem simple and perhaps even trivial, are wonderful to hear.

 

Merry Christmas. Enjoy yours. May everything be merry and bright for the new year.

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You Worry Your Whole Life…

About getting pregnant.

and trust me, I’m sure it would happen if you didn’t use protection when I was in my 20s and my then-husband didn’t have a job and good lord we couldn’t afford a baby.

But now, I’m in month 2 of all this mess, and I’m scared that it’ll never happen. I know. Impatient much? Yes. But then here you are with your ovulation kits and your charting of all the bodily fluids and temps and good lord. In my head, it’ll never happen naturally and now I’m wondering (given the myriad of WebMD articles that I’ve read) if I have the body make up to ever get pregnant at all.

and I’m worried and stressed and he’s pressured and frustrated and this sucks. This most beautiful natural what-we’re-supposed-to-do-as-humans activity sucks. I hate seeing stupid Pinterest boards of pregnant friends, I hate going to baby showers, seeing pregnant women and finally, and I can’t make this sort of neurotic stuff up, crying when you’re at a high school Christmas concert and hear “Round yon virgin, mother and child, Holy infant, tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace”.

I swear this isn’t fun. This isn’t blissful. This sucks. I’m 35. He’s 40. What if we’re too old. What if my body’s signs mean i’m literally quoting here “hostile”. What the heck? Why can’t I just shut up and relax and let him handle it? or better said, Him handle it.

I don’t want to make stupid plans because what if it never happens. So I have these crazy Pinterest photo boards of kid photos that I don’t want to delete if something happens, but worse yet, want to delete to remind me that nothing is happening now. Let alone the crafting ideas that I see and want to do.  How selfish is all of this whining out into the silence?

I’m just saying, Jesus, Lord, Santa and the Tooth Fairy – I want to be a Mom. I have for a little over 15 years now. I’m so tired of waiting. I’m so tired. Please bless us. Just one healthy one would be plenty. It’d be the world.

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The Start of Christmas Season

Okay, it’s Black Friday. I can now put away the turkey decor and break out the list of Christmas season related must do’s!

  1. Wear Slippers. and pants. and sweaters. clip_image001
  2. Make cocktails that look like a Sugar Plum Fairy met a Bartenderclip_image003
  3. Make foodie gifts in jars for friendsclip_image005
  4. Make a hot cocoa bar show up at one of my holiday shin digsclip_image007
  5. Ice skating, nuff said. clip_image008
  6. Take this photo with one of the dogs. or rabbit.clip_image009
  7. Crock pot cooking, saves time for ice skatingBeef Stew
  8. Holiday card creation, my first ever!clip_image011
  9. Going to the Galleria to see this tree. Ten years now.clip_image012
  10. Making any potluck salad with winter colors and ingredients.clip_image013
  11. A cookie baking and swap party! clip_image015 
  12. Uggs. To everything. Black tie?clip_image017
  13. Ugly sweater parties. Hot cocoa bar anyone?clip_image018
  14. Starbucks Peppermint Mocha – in my hand.clip_image019
  15. Rudolph the Bun. YES. I’ve already got pipecleaners..clip_image020
  16. Christmas crafting – this banner is high on my list!clip_image021
  17. Decorating a tree by a theme, I love this ombre. I do gold!clip_image023
  18. Candles in Christmas tree scents, cause I’m allergic to the real stuff.image
  19. Cutting out snowflakes with kids for fun!image
  20. Cubicle decorations in a freezing cold office.image
  21. Fireside anything. Cheese eating even.image
  22. Judging christmas lights. It’s a sport in my family. image
  23. Knitting becomes even more chic! image
  24. Anything and Everything S’moresimage
  25. Earmuffs are so awesome.image

Happy Christmas. Happy Christmas. Happy Christmas! I cannot wait!

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This Year I’m Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving

Sir LAA – I could type an entire blog on my thankfulness to you alone. Thank you for committing. For sticking it out. For not walking off. For convincing me most days I deserve this. For running down this path with me at breakneck speed and enjoying the adventurous journey. There is no way I can ever pay you in kind. We’ll just keep on running.

Roger the BFF – because I know he listens more than he talks. I know he cares more than he has hairs. I know deep down there he knows there’s an amazing woman out there, and an amazing life to be had and he deserves all of it.

To my parents, who listen near daily to my concerns and questions about life, liberty and my pursuit of happiness. Thank you for guiding me and letting me your peanut and chicken.

My lil sister and her husband – thanks for always being there to say that it’s all crazy, and that it’s all gonna be okay. Sometimes, as you know, we don’t need the problem fixed, we just need the ear. You do a good job.

JR – for the advice. So much of it that I will be living up to higher standards than I ever thought I’d allow other people have in my regard. Thanks for making my worth more than I thought it was, you lift me up, so I can BREATHE.

The Tralala Family – You know who you are. My goodness gracious the gifts you bring to my, our, life. I would have never considered at all during this crazy chaos called my married life that I would meet some of the warmest, most wonderful second family that I ever could have. I’m moving in, I’m bringing the dogs, the maid, my music selections and my mess with me. MOVE OVER!

The Band Family – I promised 300 kids to be a family. I promised because my husband promised. My goodness the up, down and sideways this year. We are finally hitting a good pace, and oh my, the wonderful things to come of it. We are so proud to be representing you, so blessed to watch you grow and so amazed at your endless bounty of skills and talents. Thank you for teaching us back.

For LeeleeLulu and her mother – who are rising stars in my book! Thank you for laughter and talks and PSLs and garland envy and crafting and loving BOGO sweaters more than I can, because it means I’m not the only one. You two are awesome.

Penny and Ralph and Alice – to the unconditional love and boundless energy that I get when I walk in the door. The 12 lost bratwursts and the mess you leave are all completely and utterly worth it.

K&R o’ Nomads – who gives when it’s not his calling or requirement, who’s heart is full of gold and good intention. THank you for showing me that good people do exist for strangers.

And finally, for God, who I know has a bigger plan than I can plan, and knows I have more strength than I think I do and sees more things than I can see. Thank you for keeping me here and whole and in line.

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