Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shopping Trip Update

My shopping trip last night was a success!! And I'm down another pant size....Yippee!!

We mostly shopped the clearance racks and managed to come up with some great finds. I ended up with 3 pairs of dress slacks for work, 6 tops, 2 belts and 2 pairs of shoes for $200. I couldn't believe it. My dress slacks alone were regularly priced at $50 each, so right there tells you I bargain shopped like it was my J-O-B!

The only items I didn't pick up that I still need are a couple pairs of jeans and a fall/winter coat. I guess we are going to have to plan shopping trip #2.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Girls Shopping Trip

I'm going shopping this evening with one of my girlfriends and I couldn't be more excited. I'm not sure if being able to hang with my BFF is making me giddy or the fact that we are GOING SHOPPING......

I used to be a shopaholic, but then I gained a ton of weight and shopping with low self-esteem just isn't as much fun. Well, now that I am down 25 lbs and could use some additions to my wardrobe, I'm all jacked up. I just hope I can contain myself......

Here is what I'm hoping to find:

1. Some great new shoes for work.......Aren't these Dijon colored shoes from Chadwicks to die for?

2. I also need some new dress slacks for work. I'm thinking something along the lines of these creme colored ones from Chadwicks. I love the waistline. (notice the shoes....)

3. New fall tops that will be used for work and also for casual wear. The ruffles on this shirt from Victoria's Secret make me drool.

4. And lastly, I need a new fall/winter coat. One that can be worn with my dress slacks for work but also one that can be slapped on over jeans for a casual night out. This coat from Macy's is all that and a bag of chips

So here's to great time with my girl and hoping I don't break the bank

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Going through a rough patch......

I'm going through a rough patch in life. I struggle every day to find something positive...anything to make the day a little bit brighter. And lately, I'm struggling even trying to do that. There is a black cloud that is lingering over me and I need it to go away.

My tolerance is stretching thinner and thinner and I'm afraid that I'm going to make some HUGE changes in my life that may shock the hell out of everyone! Most people are going to think I'm crazy....but I've spent so much of the past few months thinking about this and I feel like I am prepared to forge ahead with my decision. After all, it is MY life.

There will be surprise....and there will be disappointment....but, I don't know what else to do. I'm struggling......BAD!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Parenting...Not as easy as it looks

My fiance has a 14 year old son and let me be the first one to tell you...parenting is not easy. And step-parenting is extremely difficult. And step-parenting a teenager....even harder!

Teenagers are rarely without something to argue over, worry about, or be annoyed with. Talking back to their parents becomes second nature and questioning authority seems effortless for them. Now don't get me wrong, I know that teenagers go through changes that are both understandable and expected. However, when these behaviors are no longer what we, as parents, consider "normal" the family goes into crisis mode.

In this uncertain and dangerous world, it is the parents' job to protect their child until they acquire the common sense of adulthood. And when you, as the parent, feel you have failed in this area, you experience a myriad of emotions - frustration, fear, disappointment, anger and hopelessness. And let me make it very clear that none of these emotions are good for making informed, well-reasoned and thought out decisions.

Parenting is definitely a full time job without any benefits at times. We try so hard as parents to teach our children between right and wrong and it hurts when they make poor decisions for themselves when they should know better. It is hard as a parent to know that teens are going to make some bad decisions, but it is the adults job to stop them any way they can when that bad decision can change the course of their childs life.

I'm doing the best I can...given the crisis we've been faced with, but I'm wondering if any of you have any advice on parenting with both head and heart, responding with wisdom and love when children need it most.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

H1N1 Hits West Michigan

I heard some disturbing news this morning........we have 49 schools in our district that are closed due to illness (swine flu). I'm really starting to get a little scared.

This has got to be the largest disease outbreak that I have ever experienced. My fiance's son has been sick for almost a week now and to be honest, I'm terrified to keep him this weekend. The way I see it, he's already exposed his mom's household to whatever he has, so maybe he should just stay with her until he is healthy and we will make up our weekend with him some other time. Why should my fiance and I be exposed?? Not to mention that I get so nervous that my fiance will get sick. He only has 1/3 of his lung capacity as a result of the accident, so if he gets this swine flu then it could be very critical. He will be on a ventilator, I'm sure!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention upgraded Michigan to widespread H1N1 influenza, the most pervasive level possible. And the worst part is that they are calling Southwest Michigan (where I live) the epicenter. How lucky am I?

And you wanna know the thing that is ticking me off the most? Since the students are not going to class due to cancellation, they are hanging out all around town. The malls, skateboarding parks, the arcade....the local news is basically "begging" parents to keep their children at home, whether they are sick or not! This is serious people....Social gatherings should be the last place anyone should want to be right now. Parents, I'm begging you "Please keep your children at home".

And here's another question for you....Is just closing the schools down for the few days left this week going to be enough? I've heard this swine flu usually last for about 2+ weeks. Most people feel ill for about a week but then they can pass along the virus for another 7-10 days after that.

I think I might be scared enough that I might try to get the H1N1 vaccination. I originally didn't want it, due to the fact that it's so new and I don't know if there has been enough testing done yet. But, this morning I read getting the flu is far more risky than getting the vaccine. That might be the push I if I can only convince my fiance.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dodge Caliber....I will always love you!

I've been looking for a bigger car for about 6 months now, but most of the ones I like (Dodge Journey, Ford Edge, Chevy Traverse) are all out of my price range. I currently drive a 2007 Dodge Caliber and although I love the car, a little bit more room would be ideal. Something a little "heavier" to drive in these Michigan winters.

I refinanced my 2007 Dodge Caliber a couple months ago and found out that I am going to lose almost $5000 if I try to do a trade-in on it. The value of this particular car is so far below average for other cars the same year and size. It's been upsetting, but in the same breath, I love my Caliber so I wasn't too heart broken.

Well, I think for once the God's have answered my prayers because we received mail on Saturday informing us that there was a "bank sale" in my town with hundreds of vehicles that were bank-owned and they were ready to wheel and deal to get the cars off their hands. Along with the advertisement was a key that you could try to unlock a new 2010 Chevy Cobalt. The sale ended on Saturday at 6pm so about 5:30 we decided to head over and see if we held the winning key to the Cobalt. I mean a free car is a free car, no? Well, as you all figured...I did not win the new car, but instead I picked up this beauty.....

It's a 2007 Chrysler Pacifica with almost 10,000 less miles than my Caliber had. It is the exact size of vehicle I had been searching for and the color fit my taste just right. After some wheeling and dealing....I got this vehicle for the same monthly payment that I was paying for my Caliber and they even gave me almost full trade in on it so I didn't have to carry over a large amount to a new loan! Can you believe it....I NEVER have good luck, but I guess sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time. The sale had ended and the bank was pretty much desperate to get one more car off the lot. I had them eating right out of my hand....I almost wish I would have played a little more hardball with them...hehehe

And for those of you who know me personally, you know I tend to get very attached to material objects, so I'm sure it doesn't surprise anyone that I spent a majority of Saturday evening crying over my Caliber that I missed so much. I was so emotional that my fiance was convinced that the only way to get me to stop crying would be to call the dealership first thing in the morning to see if we could get my Caliber back.

By this morning I was a little better.....until I saw my exact Caliber drive by me on my lunch hour! Again...the tears flowed. Do any of you have trouble letting go of things??? I guess maybe my problem is that I don't like "change". It makes me uncomfortable.

Let's just hope that this Pacifica grows on me as much as the Caliber did and I'll be able to put this all behind me. One day I hope to look back at my "Caliber withdrawal breakdown" and laugh about it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Calligraphy Alternative

If you are in any way part of the wedding world, you know it's all about calligraphy, calligraphy, calligraphy! And if you know anything about calligraphy you know it can be very expensive. And quite frankly, it does not fit into my budget.

Since our return address is something we'll be writing over and over again during the course of the wedding (invitations, thank you notes, RSVP cards) I thought this purchase from Lettergirl was totally worth it.

It's a self-inking stamp that seemed like the perfect alternative to the all-mighty calligraphy. They even have return address labels that I may end up purchasing.

What are you waiting for....go check out Lettergirl.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Anthony

Today is my baby brothers 23rd birthday.

Happy Birthday Anthony....a wonderful brother and a good friend!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm Struggling......

I feel like every day is a struggle. I struggle to get out of bed, I struggle to find something to wear, I struggle all day at work.......but most of all, I'm struggling at home. I don't feel like I have the time (or energy) to get anything accomplished. By the time I get home from work I struggle to get dinner made, only to eat it and then have get ready for bed. And that doesn't even include the days when I have errands to run after work or simply want to take a minute to visit with family.

I'm struggling........Where are the days when I would get out of work, get home in time to make dinner, get the lawn mowed, water the flowers, and take a walk....all before the sun went down!

I'm struggling........I'm not ready for the change in season. My days are becoming shorter and shorter. I can barely get home with enough daylight to accomplish anything.

I'm struggling........I need life to slow down. I need to take some time out to accomplish everything that's sitting on my "to do" list. I need to take time to relax, to enjoy the moment.

I'm struggling........

Monday, October 12, 2009

Holiday Inn Dayton, OH

So we took off on Friday to head down to Dayton, OH for my cousin's wedding. I was beyond excited. This was going to be the first trip that my fiance and I had made together. He doesn't travel much after the accident but he was excited as well. We booked a nice handicap accessible suite including a sitting room with couch, bedroom with king size bed and kitchen with a fridge, microwave and wet bar. We were going to have it made.........that was until we got there and the front desk told us that we did not have a reservation for the handicap suite but instead they had reserved a "regular" room for us. We had just traveled over 6 hours and she was about to mess with the wrong person! Regardless of the fact that I reserved the room by calling the actual hotel and speaking with them about our "special" needs and not using the general 800 number for reservations.....and I had a printed copy of my confirmation stating the exact details of the room I reserved, but she insisted that there was NOT a handicap accessible suite in their hotel. After a few minutes of me trying to rip this ladies face off she finally admitted that there WAS a handicap suite but it had been double booked and the other party was already checked in. She then proceeded to tell me that they didn't have anymore wheelchair accessible rooms available in the hotel.....If you know me at all, you know that at this exact minute I lost it......I was NOT going to go back to the car to tell my fiance that we had just traveled this far and had no place to lay our head. Traveling is not easy for him and I was not about to make the journey even worse! Needless to say, after a few select words from myself, the front desk was able to miraculously find us an available handicap room for the weekend. It obviously wasn't the suite we had intended on, but it was good enough! There was a king size bed, but most importantly there was a wheelchair accessible bathroom.

And this was just the start to our lovely only goes downhill from there!!!

FYI ~ Holiday Inn - Dayton (North) is NOT ever going to get a recommendation from me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Halloween Fever

Edit: Picture added

This is the first holiday since we've been in our new house. Well, not technically, but does anyone really decorate for 4th of July or Labor Day??? Didn't think so!

Halloween is the first holiday that we are decorating our house. It is so much fun. I had a few halloween decorations from my apartment days and we picked up some pumpkins (large for outdoors and small for indoors) the other day. I love decorating for Halloween because there is so much Black Cat stuff to choose from. One can never have too many black cats around the house.....

Walker & Tucker
My future MIL went to an antique auction and bought me the cutest black cat decoration. It stands about 2 ft tall and is made entirely out of metal. It even has a head that moves (well, bobbles back and forth) and a tail that moves. (see pic below)

And my mom just sent me the cutest link on how to decorate your pumpkins to look like black cats. How cool would these look sitting on my front steps?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dear Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,
Sorry to disturb you, but we Michiganders have something we would like to say. First of all, thank you for allowing us to keep our electric bills lower this summer. No need to run the A/C when it's only in the 60's. I mean, who needs sunshine to brighten their day? Secondly, thank you for the abundant amount of rain you have blessed us with over the past few months. It sure was nice of you to turn my backyard into a mud pit. But, I don't mind. I didn't really plan on spending much time outdoors this summer anyway. And lastly, thank you for giving us a 4 month break from the snow before blessing our presence with it once again. Not only do you normally bless us with snow for Thanksgiving and Christmas but it looks like you will be blessing us before Halloween. How very kind of you.

Mother Nature, thank you for going out of your way to make sure we Michiganders had plenty of nice weather this past year! Now if only you would be kind enough to give us wind chills of -30 again this winter. It was such a pleasure being stuck inside the house for 4 months straight.

Amy Jo

PS ~ If it seems like you don't have many friends left in Michigan, don't take it personally!

Friday, October 2, 2009


The first week of October signifies much more than the unofficial start to fall for those of us who live in Michigan.

Call it a battle of the intrastate powerhouses—the Paul Bunyan contest, the rivalry that tears apart family members, (hopefully only for an afternoon), or as students like to refer to it as, the “Big Brother—Little Brother” showdown.

That’s right—it’s Michigan versus Michigan State week. The rivalry between the two teams and their fans is intense, to say the least.

Who will you be cheering for?

Will it be the All-mighty Wolverines?

Or will it be the less than impressive Spartans?

In case you haven't figured it out yet......I am rooting for the Maize and Blue! Go Michigan!

Game Time: Saturday, 12:00 noon (Big Ten Network)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Welcome Fall

So this brisk 32 degree weather kicked my butt into gear this morning! I am so glad I brought my plants into the garage last night since we had a pretty good frost when I woke up this morning. I even had to break down and turn on the heat so my poor fiance wouldn't freeze to death at home while I was gone.

Try to stay warm and have a great day!