Friday, March 30, 2012

my life: high school

Currently doing a auto-bio series, hoping to reflect, learn, and grow...and for you to get to know this blogger better!  To catch up read "the kiddo years" and "the 'tween years" :)

In the beginning...

I entered high school as though I was entering Narnia through the wardrobe.  It was a whole new world.  I had no idea about things such as "switching classes" or "lockers" or "bells" -- I was from a tiny, country church school in the middle of a valley with a "crick" running through it.  I had only two other kids in my eighth grade class!
Here I am - first day of high school:
While the Lutheran high school my parents had chosen for me and my siblings to attend was still pretty small, it was located in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota, an hour away from my tiny hometown, and my freshman class had around 100 kids in it.   It may as well have been a thousand.  
Plus, all of a sudden there were all these boys around!  None of them seemed very interested in me, and I had absolutely no idea how to be "cool" and "attractive" around guys.  Therefore I acted super weird and really annoying...I think I thought I was flirting.  :)

To that end:  in one of my freshman classes the teacher wanted us all to write one positive descriptive word about every person in the class.  Then she compiled them and handed them out to us.  Mine read: 
Hmmmm...I'm not sure how "unaware" and "gets picked on a lot" are positives...but I can't really argue with them.  "Unaware" is a pretty apt term for how I acted my freshman and sophomore years...which was like a complete ditz.  I'm sure this was just my way of getting attention.  And I did get "picked on" a lot, by the boys I was trying to get attention from by acting "unaware."  Wow - I know - not exactly a brilliant plan!  Which brings us to...


Did I have any romance in high school?  Well, my dad needn't have worried too much.  In high school I had exactly one boyfriend when I was finally allowed to date at 16...and he dumped me like a bad habit after a few months of our long-distance relationship {we went to different schools.}  The break up devastated me...even though it was a mere case of puppy love.   I never dated one boy who went to my high school.  There weren't any I viewed as more than a friend.  Not sure that any viewed me as anything more than a friend.  In any case, I wasn't asked out a lot.

An Actress: To Be? No, Not to be.  

As a "frosh" I was clueless.  I joined the volleyball team only because my sister had been good at volleyball {she had just graduated the spring before} and so, as with most things, I thought I had to follow in her footsteps.  Not a good move.  Remember what I said about me and sports involving a ball and coordination?  I sucked at volleyball.  Bad.  

Then I tried out for the fall children's theater production.  Drama, I thought, will be my thing.  However, the director did not think so.  I tried out for the part of the "little girl" who was one of the main parts.  I thought I nailed the audition.  Some of the veteran, upperclassmen actors gave me a ton of positive feedback so I thought I really had the part in the bag.  But when I strode confidently up to the cast list posted in the cafeteria the next day, my heart sunk to my toes.

I was cast as "the bird."  Sure, I should have been happy just to get a part, as there weren't many to begin with, but I was devastated.  Eventually I licked my wounds and went on to have a very fun time being part of the production, hoping maybe next time the director would pick me for something with more substance.

"Next time," as a sophmore, I wasn't cast at all!   Not even a woodland animal.   Crushed, I decided it just wasn't in the cards for me as an actress.  But then, by some miracle, one of the females who had been cast had to drop out of the play.   A senior guy who had always rooted for me convinced the director to let me have her"the dwarf."  I somehow made the best of it...

However, I never tried out for any more plays at that school, deciding that either I was a horrific actress, or the director casted based on things other than talent.  Either way, I was done. My only other extra-curricular was managing the wrestling team my sophomore year, which was lots of fun, but not exactly a good fit for me, either.


The demise of my acting career aside, the first two years of high school were fine.  Even fun!  I made some friends despite living so far away.     
But it was hard for me to get super close to anyone, for some reason.  Maybe because I felt like I spent half my life in the carpool lane, as it was an hour drive there and back...which also made it difficult to stay for games to socialize or go to other functions.  Maybe it was because I am fairly introverted and tend to not be very talkative in big groups of girls...and that is what I felt like I was always in.  I have always been best with one-on-one interactions.  Anyway, I had some sweet and lovely friends...but probably held most at an arm's length. 
Here I am with my friend Amanda, all gussied up in my prom dress.  Prom dress - yes.  Prom - no.  This was for our spring choir concert:
I never went to prom.  My sophomore year one of the wrestlers I was friends with asked me.  He was cute and I thought it might be fun to go as friends, so I said yes.  I was super excited, already had the *above* dress, and then the very next day - he dumped me.  Told me that the girl he actually "liked" (i.e. wanted to date) was newly single and he wanted to go with her.  "But don't worry," he said reassuringly, "I have a friend that will take you!"  Good God.  I'd never been more insulted in my life.  Being passed on to a friend.  I politely declined this "mercy date" and proceeded to decline all other offers from potential prom dates in the years to come.  I decided I wouldn't go unless I was seriously dating someone.  I never was, so I never went to prom.  Don't worry...I'm not traumatized from it. :)

Homework?  Not so much. 

In general, high school was stressful for me because of the long drives, the crowds in the lunchroom and hallways, and the lack of encouragement I received.  I had some really amazing teachers and pastors there...I just was very distracted/tired and did not put forth the effort I could have.  I was smart, and very capable of studying and getting A's.  My freshman year I was on the A Honor Roll.  Sophomore year I was B Honor Roll. However,  by Junior year I had mentally "checked out" of high school.  I did enough academically to get by.  Not proud of this fact - just being honest.

Me: The "Worker Bee" 

Instead of school, I shifted my focus solely on work.  My junior year I  got a part-time job with several of my friends from school at a party goods store.

I loved having a job!  I loved getting a paycheck.  I loved the managers - who let me and my friends joke around with them and have a good time, while still getting the job done.  One in particular took me under his wingencouraged me, and respected me.  While my teachers at school didn't seem to know I existed {probably because I didn't put in much effort and fell asleep in class a lot} my store manager gave me decent hours,  and plenty of new responsibilities that kept me interested in my job.    I worked with him for two years there...and he also helped me get a job later at DSW, where I worked for eight years, ending up as a store manager myself.   (But that's another story!)  

Here I am at work, during Halloween season, dressed in my go-to getup:  Inferna, Goddess of Flames:

I was a born worker!  Does that sound odd?  Not something most people brag about.  It wasn't that the job itself was that exciting - cashiering, creating balloon bouquets, fetching costumes, and stocking shelves.  What I loved was the everyday activity of going to work, being on time, doing my very best, and reaping the benefits -- raises, promotions,  new challenges/responsibilities, verbal praise, etc.  Plus, the money I earned gave me independence, another bonus for this very independent girl.  I could finally afford to buy clothes at the "cool" stores...not the boring ones in my tiny hometown "mall."   And since I had recently got my driver's license and had a car to drive to the various malls around the Twin Cities, most of my hard-earned cash went to gas and clothing! I was loving it all.

Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll?  Not quite.

All throughout high school I expressed my rebellious side not by drinking any alcohol or doing any drugs or having sex {I was a complete goody two shoes in all these regards} but by dying my hair horrific colors.  Okay, not like blue or green...I wasn't that rebellious.  However, blonde definitely was not a good look:
I took the absolute worst school pictures.

And here I was as a redhead:

I also did some ridiculous things that I thought were funny.  Mostly harmless.   For example, I'm pretty sure my Dad, the pastor of this church, would have frowned on my taking this picture on the church sign:

Church/Youth Group

I felt like I had a whole other life back in my hometown, away from school.   I was extremely active in my church youth group -- where I was the opposite of what I was at school -- loud, outgoing, talkative, involved and always wanting to have fun!
I actually loved being a pastor's kid {PK.}  My relationship with Jesus has always been strong, and my Dad's strong Christian example was a definite influence.
 Plus, I loved escaping to his office immediately after church!
In youth group I got to climb mountains, hike the Grand Canyon, canoe countless lakes, whitewater raft rivers, and do mission work all over the country...oh and Canada and Mexico.   My Dad took us {groups of up to 30 young people} year after year on adventures that would not have been possible without his planning and unending spirit of adventure.   So many kids, myself included, benefited from these journeys -- growing in their faith, their physical strength, and their love of the outdoors.

I had been camping, canoeing, hiking and cross-country skiing since my mom would let my dad wrench me out of her arms -- at 3-years-old.   I grew up listening to John Denver.   But it was in my teen years that it became not just something that I had to do, but something I needed to feel healthy and happy. I just love being outside.  Period.  I knew if I ever got married someday, the mister would have to like camping.
We did everything outdoors -- cooked, slept, went to the bathroom, and bathed in ice-cold mountain lakes.  Or, at least those of us who were brave/crazy enough:

A Runner is Born

It was the summer before Senior Year that I discovered one of my main passions in life - running!  All throughout high school I had continued to walk around the perimeter of our farm whenever I had a few hours to spare, so I stayed in decent shape, and it definitely helped me to have time to ponder life during those long walks.  However, that summer I decided to take it to the next level:  I started to run.  It started as brief sprints during my walks.  Then I would alternate running a lap, then walking a lap.  Then I would run four times around {about a mile} as fast as I could  then stop and do 1000 crunches, then run another mile, and another, until I was averaging 3-4 miles each day.
I wasn't fast, but I was consistent.
And I loved it.
I felt so awesome running and doing crunches,
feeling fit and looking toned -
I was hooked.
{still am!}
I could always be counted on to act goofy in a photo!

Ending on a Positive Note

Besides working hard at the party goods store, and running/working out, another way I survived Senior Year was by switching schools for a semester solely so I could actually be in a theatrical production. I craved the stage.  At this even smaller school I was able to land the role of "Nurse Kelly" in that school's production of Harvey - a sizable role I was very suited for.   I enjoyed the entire experience thoroughly!
Here I am greeting theater-goers after the play:
Then, after one semester, I headed back to my original school, which I was very happy to do.  It was nice to graduate with kids that I knew.  The year went by fast and I did the normal things "Seniors" get senior photos taken {I hated mine}:
Finally, I shook the principal's hand and got my diploma:
High school being finally done,  I was off to college!    I would be moving off the farm to the actual big city of St. Paul - in the thick of it! -to live in a dorm room and experience college life!  I was a little scared, but mostly excited.  I don't think I knew quite what I was in for...

The next chapter?  The College Years {Part One} 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

wine wednesday: middle sister 'rebel red'....& tuna farfalle with mushrooms

I guess you could call me a "middle sister."  I am a sister.  I am in the middle - of an older sister and brother, and a little brother.  So I thought it was fitting for me to try a Middle Sister wine.  Any excuse to try a new wine, right?  :)

After checking out 'the girls' on their adorable website I had to choose this fine lady - "Rebel Red":
I wasn't disappointed.  It actually reminded me a lot of the Cupcake Red Velvet that I recommended recently here - very fruity but yet has substance, delicious particularly when it first hits your tongue, with a strong taste of raspberries.  Yum!  Especially as summer is just around the corner.  This tart but smooth red lives up to it's quirky, rebellious name.

And you can't have wine without good food, right?  Well, you can...but you might get drunk that way.  So I paired miss 'Rebel' with a yummy pasta - tuna farfalle with mushrooms.  Oh, and anchovies.  I'd never cooked with anchovies before, so I was a little skittish at first.   However, they get sauteed, chopped up very finely, and end up adding a lot to the flavor.
Hubby gave this one his 'seal of approval.'
For the full recipe, click {here} - so good!
So here's to all you 'middles' out there -- with the responsible 'oldests' to live up to, and the adorable, spoiled 'babies' who unintentionally stole your thunder.   Raise your glass, ladies {or gents!}  :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

mama&baby weekend: girl food and chick flick reviews!

It was our first solo weekend together...just me and this guy...
...well, and this guy, too:
Believe me, I missed my Hubby greatly!  However, there were two perks to a weekend alone {well, after baby went to sleep}:

1. I ate whatever I wanted!!!  I love cooking, and especially love cooking for Hubby; however, sometimes it's nice to choose foods completely based on my own whims.  When I was single and living on my own I lived on: pizza, rice, cereal, and store-bought pastas.  My tastes were simple {carbs!!!}, my budget was small.   Now I know how to cook...but still crave some of my old indulgences.   Let's just say that one of my meals may or may not have consisted of a whole box of Raisinettes and tater tots dipped in barbecue sauce.

Okay, well I wasn't completely unhealthy!  Friday night I made this pear and arugula pizza, a recipe I posted about {here} -- was just as delicious this time around.  I basically ate one of these myself:
 This is the wine I drank this weekend {not all at once, don't worry!}
I won't give it a resounding plug  -- it was nothing to rave over.  But I will share a fantastic red on Wednesday, I promise!
#2.   Chick flicks!!!  I rented two.  Friday night I chose one that I had really high expectations of: My Week with Marilyn.  All the Oscar buzz had me thinking this would be a fantastic film.
But while Michelle Williams does an amazing portrayal of "Miss Monroe" - the overall film wasn't that great, in my opinion.  I was mistakenly expecting to admire Marilyn and come away from the film with warm, fuzzy feelings about her.  Not even close, in fact, I realized how little I knew about her life and personality.  That is all I will say.   Oh, and Kenneth Branagh was a standout, of course, as Laurence Olivier.

The other chick flick I rented was What's Your Number? a comedy starring Anna Faris.
My expectations were low, even though I adore Anna Faris.  I pretty much want her to be my best friend.  Anyway, the movie ended up being hilarious.  I highly recommend renting for a light-hearted watch  - would be great for a girls night in!

Overall, the weekend had it's lovely moments {Kentucky winning!!!} and it's not-so-lovely {Baby Cormac decided to regress back to waking up during the night and became extremely clingy to me without his Dada around.}  I love all the snuggles and kisses I got from him...but there was also a lot of screaming and crying, particularly surrounding bedtime.

Any other mamas have these issues when daddy's not around???
Also, I'd love to hear other opinions on the two movies...
Happy {almost} Monday!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

sweet somethings from : the backyard in spring!

It is finally spring! 
Actually, feels like summer.
Gardening is fast becoming my favorite time with Baby Mac.
Each day, in the late afternoon, we don our
gardening hats...

...and check out what's blooming:
 Hmmm...what has Cormac been eating?
Then I lug the hose to the backyard and we water the flower beds,
clean off and make sure the fountain is full, 
and just enjoy the sunshine and spring air.
If it's really hot {like yesterday} 
I use the "mister" on the hose
and cool us both off!

 His first pair of shoes.  Already filthy!
But that's okay...I'd be more concerned if they weren't. 
Boys are supposed to get dirty, right? 

Here's to spring days and dirty shoes!

Monday, March 19, 2012

{eight months} : 'without you, baby....'

Without you, baby...

...I'd sleep better at night...but then I wouldn't get to wake up to your smiling, drooling face in the morning, standing and peering over the crib rail.

...I'd be making some fabulous spending cash each week...but my "job" would not be as fulfilling as it is now.   So funny how I always prayed God would lead me to my "perfect career" and it turns out staying home with you is the perfect fit for me.

...the three inches under my belly button wouldn't be such a struggle...but then I wouldn't get to have you pounce on that belly and crawl all the way up to my face for a drooly kiss!

...things like poop, boogers, and vomit would still be gross...but now somehow, impossibly, you make them tolerable, and even cute.  

...I would have more time to spend with your Dada every night when he gets home from work...but now I appreciate seeing him more than I ever did before!  "Reinforcements are here!"  :)

...I would work out more....hmmmm...or less?  You keep me moving constantly and I love our daily runs together!  

In any case, sweet Baby, I'd rather be with you than without you!  
Happy Eight Months!!!!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

What's new with Baby this month?  
*He's got a tooth!  One solitary tooth.  It is the most adorable tooth EVER.  And the sharpest!

*He went quickly from crawling, to climbing, to cruising, to standing with one hand on something.   Plus, he has effectively mastered "falling" - always on his butt!

*His kissing skills are improving.  When I ask for a kiss, he looks shyly off to the side and then leans in with a very open, drooly mouth and plants one right on my lips. With tongue. Needs some work...but at least he hasn't bit me yet.

*His hair is getting so long that I have to tuck it behind his ears!!!  And it kind of looks like he has a Donald Trump combover...but I'll take what I can get!!!

*He got his first taste of discipline.  I had to give him a very light "finger flick" for climbing up on the edge of the {closed} toilet and trying to eat it.  Ew. After the "flick" and the "No - icky" from me he stuck out his lower lip and looked like he was about to burst into tears.  I snuggled him and explained why it was not okay for him to climb up on the toilet.  Then he was all smiles again.  I know that he can't understand all my words yet...but I guess I just want to get into the habit of disciplining calmly and with an explanation.  (And he does understand "no.")  It is the most adorable pouty face that he makes, though.  He did it again when I had to explain to him not to try to take a dog's bone away...

*Still weighs around 20 pounds.  Feels like more when I'm pushing him uphill in the jogging stroller.

Here are the latest pics. It's not good.  May have to seek professional help soon!  Decided I have to abandon trying to lay him down on the blanket.  There is no keeping this boy still.

But look at all that hair!!!!!
"When are you going to stop making me lay on this blanket?!?!"

*  *  *  *  *  *

  Ahhhg!  The hair - the hair is my favorite part right now.
(I obsessively smooth it and 
 brush it off his forehead constantly. 
I'm sure he loves that.)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

so...yesterday was st. patty's day!?

Yesterday was St. Patty's Day.  I guess.  I didn't actually realize it until Hubby, Baby and I were out on a walk and I started seeing swarms of people wearing green, carrying Solo cups in their hands and making a mass dash for the bar area near our home.

Then I thought - Hey, I remember that!  Back in my twenties {as if it were forever ago} when I would book it to Abercrombie & Fitch {okay, early twenties, I'm not that pathetic!} and find the cutest, tightest green t-shirt I could find so I could look adorable with my friends at the bars drinking green beer.

Or the year I flew to see Hubby {then boyfriend} when he was living in TN and we just partied at his place and made our own green beers:
Ah memories.  Alcohol-infused memories.  ;)  

Anyway, I am pretty sure those days are gone.  Now, if I remember it is St. Patrick's Day, my joy will come from dressing my kiddos up in their green garb:

 "Wait a second Mama...aren't we German???"

Don't worry, my Son, the good thing about being German is that you don't have to wait around for any particular holiday to get wild and drink lots of beer!  :D

How did you celebrate St. Patty's Day?
Am I the only one who almost forgot???

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

wine wednesday: cupcake red velvet

Every Monday evening I cook dinner and open a bottle of wine.
{usually red...on rare occasion a chardonnay.}
Then each night of the week I have a glass with dinner, 
keeping it fresh by using an airtight topper and keeping it at the correct temperature.
Sometimes Hubby will have a glass with me, or at least have a taste of mine.
I love this, because I always like other opinions on wine.
Sometimes we agree...sometimes we disagree.

On this one, we both agreed:

I didn't tell him the name before he tasted it, as "Cupcake" sounds a little girlie and I didn't want any type of "manly bias."   Immediately he said how good it was.  Even when I told him the name, he wasn't scared off.

I'd seen this label many times in the checkout lanes of our local party liquor store, boasting it's cheap price {I paid 8.99} and had always bypassed it, afraid it would be too cheap and girly with no substance.
Plus, I might be the only person in the world who doesn't like red velvet the name was a bit of a turnoff as well.

Then I saw on Tori Spelling's reality show Home Sweet Hollywood {don't knock - I loooove her!} that she was selling it in her vintage furniture store, and I knew I had to try.  I trust all things Tori when it comes to entertaining.

Red Velvet does not disappoint.  The first taste of each sip is the best.  You get this amazing blast of rich fruitiness.   Then it finishes very evenly.

We both enjoyed it so much that we ordered it recently when out to dinner for Hubby's birthday.  Paying $30 for the bottle at the restaurant after paying $8.99 at the liquor store was a hard one for me to swallow, but Hubby is worth it.  :D

fyi- It goes lovely with sushi!

Cute label, delicious flavor, excellent price = get a bottle!