The Highs and Lows of Imperfect

Meredith tagged me in the 7 links meme last week, but we were on our way out the door for a vacation and it had to wait. Thanks for the tag, Meredith! It’s been so long since a tag has come along, I thought it would be fun to play along.

What this is about:
To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

1) Blogger is nominated to take part
2) Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category.
– Your most beautiful post
– Your most popular post
– Your most controversial post
– Your most helpful post
– A post whose success surprised you
– A post you feel didn’t got the attention it deserved
– The post that you are most proud of

3) Blogger nominates up to 5 more bloggers to take part.
4) These bloggers publish their 7 links and nominate another 5 more bloggers
5) And so it goes on!
6) The site Trip Base be sharing the best posts from participating bloggers on their blog and everyday on Facebook and Twitter at #My7Links 

#1-Most Beautiful Post: {On Having It All}
I still continue to struggle with a balance between work and home life, but I personally still love going back and reading this post to remind myself how important it is to do what’s right for me and my family at all times.

#2-Most Popular Post: Absolutely, without a doubt, the DIY Nailhead trim headboard reveal. I get so many questions about this still, and it spurred lots of similar projects.

#3-Most Controversial Post: Thomas’s Arrival {Our Latest DIY Project}

I was definitely not expecting the controversy this created when I announced Thomas was born after not mentioning I was pregnant on the blog. There were so many reasons for not blogging about it – work {my company was acquired while I was pregnant and on maternity leave and it was best to not have any super personal information easily available via google for job security}, extended family issues {we wanted to keep this special time in our lives private due to some tough family dynamics at the time}, and my desire to not turn the blog into a pregnancy blog. Oh well – I’ll probably tell you guys next time B knocks me up, provided work and family are behaving. But no promises.

#4- Most Helpful Post: {The Envelope System: Creating a Budget}
Our envelope system of budgeting was nothing new, but I receive so many emails every day about getting started with a budget.

#5-Post Whose Success Surprised Me: {Making Memories (and a bit of a rant)}
I wasn’t expecting the huge support I got when I ranted about a rude dinner guest, but I loved it.

#6- Post That Didn’t Get The Attention It Deserved: I don’t know about deserved, but definitely a post that didn’t gain much popularity was the Rookie Thanksgiving challenge.

#7- Post That You’re Most Proud Of: {Craniosynostosis}
It was hard to write and hard to put the pictures online, but I’m proud that I was able to discuss Thomas’s Craniosynostosis diagnosis and surgery. My analytics show that a good amount of traffic coems here from a Google search for Cranio, and knowing first hand about the other sites that are out there that are a bit alarmist, I’m hopeful that this little post at least puts scared parents a little bit at ease.

I’d love to see the 7 Memes posts from:
Design A-Peele
A Peachtree City Life
Five Camels

I spent the first week of my life in the ICU…

…and other random facts you could live without knowing. Jennifer at This Girl Loves Pink tagged me. I love getting awards. Mostly because I wasn’t really that great at anything in elementary and middle school and I’ve have bad luck at raffles and drawings. Thanks Jennifer! So, I’m sharing 7 more random facts about myself. 8 if you count that fascinating tidbit in the title.

1. I love pizza. I could eat it for every meal, no problem. 2. I’m not into shoes. A few go to pairs of flats, flip flops and two pairs of heels. My blood sugar seriously drops when I walk into shoe stores. 3. My perfect date really is just dinner and a movie. 4. I love to learn… 5. …but, I don’t love museums unless I already know enough anecdotes about their material to feel like I’m a part of the history. 6. I really don’t like going out to bars and clubs with the rest of my peers – I’m much more content at home, a house party or a fun dinner with friends. 7. I absolutely hate gambling and the entire culture (ahem, Vegas) that surrounds it.
And that, my friends, is just a little honest snapshot of me. What’s one truth the blog world should know about you? Sound off.

Trait Ya

Mrs. Dirnberger over at A Day in the Hay tagged me with the Meme Award 09.  “To accept this award, the recipient must list 7 traits about themselves and then pass the award onto 7 other bloggers who deserve recognition for the personality they share through their blog.” Thanks, Mrs. D, you’re the best!

So, my traits:

1.  Loyal.  To a fault sometimes.
2. Worry wort.  As the youngest sibling in my family (with a bedroom over the front porch) I would be unable to fall asleep at night until I heard my older siblings come in because I was so worried that something would happen to them on the way home from parties or dates.  Weird little sister trait, I know.
3.  Self-effacing.  I laugh at myself a lot – I don’t take myself too seriously.  To me, there’s no better way to move on than to laugh at your own shortcomings.  Mine are numerous.  But that’s another blog post.
4.  Proud – but not egotistical.  Maybe content is a better word.  But I’m proud of where Mr. B and I are in our lives, the choices we’ve made both together and individually, the way we’ve handled not-so-great situations and stood tall against challenges, and most of all that we continue to live our lives to the fullest and appreciate all that we have and each other.
5.  Dreamer.  While I’m so content with where we are now, I love to dream about where Mr. B and I will go.  And not necessarily materialistically (although you all know my dream kitchen well), but in terms of our relationship, our family, and our friendship.  
6.  Spicy.  Unfortunately, I’ve got a spicy side.  An intolerance for line cutters, people who brake too frequently on the interstate or who blow smoke on me while walking in front of me out of stadiums (I know, the horror!) and other general rudeness.  I think I do a good job of keep my fuming to myself or snide remarks under my breath, but Mr. B seems to think I’m loud and clear and that he’ll get beat up one day for something I say to a stranger who’s offended me.
7.  Thoughtful.  I show I care by making time to spend with the people I love and giving gifts – spending time with people and gifts are my love languages.  As a result, I often way overbook my free time because I don’t like saying no to the gift of time spent with my friends and family, and I spend way too much time finding perfect material gifts.
So, that’s me in a nutshell.  A laughing, loyal worrier who puts a lot of thought into gifts and has her fair share of spicy moments at things that really don’t matter.  Love it or leave it, just please don’t blow smoke in my direction on a crowded street corner.
I’d love to read about the traits that make up all of you – play along if you’d like!

Honest Scrap Award

My friend Jenna at Life-Uncluttered gave me the “Honest Scrap” award. Jenna and I met at my last job – she has the world’s cutest kids, is a money saving genius, and a great friend – so if you haven’t checked her blog out you should take a look.

So for the award, you have to tell 10 honest things about yourself, then pass the award along to other “honest scrap” type people. And we’re all about honesty, aren’t we?

1. I have entertaining anxiety – I get it from my mom – but I love to entertain. Both of us put on good parties (I think…) but we always worry. The two of us planning a wedding was fascinating.

2. I remember everything. Good, bad and ugly, if it happened, I can recall the date, time and details. It’s a blessing and a curse – especially when I’m trying to get over things.

3. I am an excellent judge of character. I can tell within just a few minutes if somebody is good people. Or “honest scrap” if we’re going to be theme-y here. People don’t usually listen to me when I tell them my gut instinct, but they usually realize a few months down the road that I was right.

4. My brother is 11 months older than me, and I used to tell people we were twins. Feel free to withdraw the “honest scrap” award right here. I was so desperate to be a twin thanks to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, that I just dropped “Irish” from our Irish Twins title.

5. When I lived on The Hill in Boulder, I altered my daily running route so that I would always run by the Jon Benet Ramsey house, thinking that I’d pick up on clues that the Boulder police had missed while botching the case.

6. I could eat Pizza every single day of my life without growing tired of it.

7. I love to stay at home. I love days with nothing to do but what I want. When I was laid off, everyone thought they needed to occupy my time, and I just wanted to enjoy some time to myself.

8. I am terrible at saying “no” for fear of hurting feelings.

9. My entire life I despised the color purple, but in the last year I’ve bought PLENTY of plum.

10. I adored my summers in Maine and would go back to camp in a heartbeat if I could take Mr. B with me.

And now for the exciting part. Giving the award away.

Claire at A Peachtree city Life
Tiffany at Chocolate and Sunshine Everyday
Leigh at Popcorn Ideas
And QueenBee at It’s Time to Bee Focused

In My Bag

Kim at NewlyWoodwards tagged me with a fun “Bag Tag”.

Here are the rules for the tag:
1. Post a picture of whatever bag you are carrying as of late. No, you cannot go up to your closet and pull out that cute little purse you used back before you had kids. I want to know what you carried today or the last time you left the house. No cheating!
2. I want to know how much it costs =). And this is not to judge. It is for entertainment purposes only. So, spill it. And, if there is a story to go along with how you obtained it, I’d love to hear it.
3. Tag some chicks. And link back to this post so people know why the heck you’re showing everyone your bag.
I’m a rule follower, so I’m not going to clean out the embarrasing bag clutter or run to my closet to pull out a designer bag. I’ve given you all fair warning that things around here are far from perfect. So here goes:

I’m currently carrying this plaid bag that my cousin gave me for my birthday – so I can’t tell you what it cost or even where it’s from.
And now for the embarrassing mess that’s in my bag:

1 – CamelBak Water Bottle: My Daily Lifesaver
2 – Pile of receipts and a paystub
3 – Orange wallet. Love.
4 – Necessary Hair Clip
5 – Uncontained health insurance card. This is how I lose things.
6 – Purse hook. My friend Emily gave this to me so that I’d stop dumping my bag over at bars and losing things (see number 5).
7 – Wedding Gift Cards
8 – Lip Gloss. Pineapple flavored. Yum.
9 – Arnicare gel. I’m sorry Pem – I had every intention of bringing this to you.
10 – Keys
11 – Blackberry – my little lover.

I tag everyone who wants to play along.

Academy (and Blog) Awards

The Oscar Nominations are out and I haven’t seen a single movie listed in any of the categories this year. What do they mean that Sex and the City and Four Christmases aren’t Best Picture contenders? The Academy and I have never seen eye to eye.

My biggest issue with the nominations? Brad Pitt for Best Actor in that anti-aging/button movie that came out the same day as Marley and Me. Doesn’t the Academy know that he had a good thing with darling and sweet Jennifer Aniston and that he threw that all away for a questionably good looking tramp with Billy Bob Thornton’s name tattooed to her arm? Clearly we’re not judging the categories based on the same criteria.

Note: The worst picture I could find of Brad Pitt because I just don’t like him can be found
here. No hard feelings, Brangelina lovers, okay? It’s possible the movie is very good and that Angelina is actually a lovely person, I just don’t like them and won’t pay to see their movies.

Enough tirade, I have been given two blog awards:

The fabulous Leah over at marital-bless honored me with the Smile award last week. Thanks, Leah!

The qualifications are:
A. Display a cheerful attitude
B. Love one another
C. Make mistakes
D. Learn from others
E. Be a positive contributor to the blog world
G. Love kids

And the rules:
1. Must link it back to the creator
2. Post the rules
3. Choose 5 people to give it to
4. Recipients must fit the characteristics above
5. Create a post to share this
6. You must thank the winner

And Laurel at Ducks in a Row (go check out the awesome giveaway she’s running in honor of her 100th post) shared this award and description with me:
These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

Thanks Laurel and Leah – yours are two of my favorite daily reads!

Fa La La La La

I’ve been tagged twice, how exciting! The first tag is from the darling Prius-driving, Christmas-decor-loving and all around wonderful Kim over at NewlyWoodwards – she invented a Christmas themed tag, and I couldn’t be more excited to be one of the first recipients. Thanks so much Kim! The rules are to share your Christmas traditions, and then pass the tag along.

So, here are our traditions old and new:

1) Sending out Christmas cards to friends and family.

2) Christmas light tours – B and I hop in the car and explore the neighborhoods looking for the best lights.

3) St. Nick’s Day – In my Irish Catholic family growing up, St. Nick’s Day was a huge deal. And when we have kids, there will be shoes laid out by the chimney before they go to bed every year on December 5th. But, we decided to start our own St. Nick’s tradition, too. B and I use December 6th to decorate our tree and exchange ornaments that represent our year together.

4) My mom’s Christmas Cookies

5) Stockings. Traditional, right? Wrong. I have a very sad youngest child story for you all. My siblings had stockings that my mom made for them with their names embroidered on them. Guess who never got a stocking? Baby Emily. Sad, no?

6) Spending Christmas Eve with B’s family (New).

7) Spending Christmas morning together as our own family (New).

8) Spending the afternoon and evening on Christmas day with my family (New).

9) The Christmas book. My mom kept this exact book (from her favorite illustrator) the last few years we were at home, and she gave us all our own 5 year memory book last year.

10) The Resolution Run – I started running this race with my family on New Year’s Eve while I was in High School and it’s become a tradition – we all run a 5K before heading out to party all night long.

I tag All Things G&D, Kari, Karen, Meredith, Sarah of Simply Living and WEHolmans

I’ll get to the next tag tomorrow!

Kreativ? You must have the wrong girl.

Kari over at Better Together, gave me a Kreativ Blogger blog award and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m not sure I’d go so far as creative (or Kreativ), but, I’m going to take it. Hell, I might just have to put it on my resume. I love Kari’s blog – you should zip on over there and check out her cute Christmas cards if you need some inspiration – this girl is on top of things. Thanks so much, Kari!

So, part of the honor of winning this award is to name 6 things I’m thankful for, then to pass the award on to 6 of my favorite blogs.

Things I am Thankful For:
1. Mr. B – We’ve been through a lot together, and our first couple months of marriage have been a mix of every kind of emotion: joy, heartbreak, anger, fear. I’m so thankful for his patience and unwavering support as I’ve encountered more than my fair share of obstacles in the last 4 months. He’s my absolute best friend.
2. My family – I know that I get the ability to laugh at my life and make the best of situations from somewhere, and it’s gotta be my family who keeps me humble, smiling and thankful for all that I do have.
3. A roof over our heads. Sure, it’s caused a few thousand dollars worth of damage to our walls and hardwoods in the last few months, but I know that we’re so lucky to be in the situation we’re in where we can be homeowners.
4. Casco. He drives me nuts sometimes, gets into trouble and only listens to B, but he keeps my feet warm in the morning after B’s left for work, he runs to greet me at the door when I get home, and his cute face always cheers me up.
5. My life in general. I was at my parents house this weekend and my mom and I were out for a walk talking about my now jobless future. We ran into a family I grew up babysitting for – they had three children, and my sister and I started babysitting for them when the middle child was a week old. In August, their two youngest children were killed in an unfathomable freak accident. I’ve struggled daily with the deaths of these two kids that I watched grow-up, but nothing in comparison to what they will be dealing with forever. I’ve realized how very little so many things that seem so big actually matter.
6. Health and happiness – Sure, I sprain my ankle once a quarter and cry over a cavity, but we’re very lucky to be as healthy as we are.

Time to pass it on:

1. D at All Things G&D. I think it’s safe to say that I have an unhealthy obsession for D. She claims it’s mutual, but she might just be trying to be nice. I love her blog, live for her posts and go through withdrawals when she ditches her blog for teenage vampires.
2. Katie at Bower Power. What can I say, this girl was one of my first blog friends. Katie, D and my next honoree were the only people who commented on my blog for at least the first month. She’s hysterical, beautiful, crafty and likes to rub in that she lives by an IKEA. It’s a love-hate – just kidding – all love – relationship.
3. Freckles Chick. FC rocks my world. She has the best style, and luckily for me, she recently spent SEVERAL HOURS pulling together idea boards to help me conquer my office dilemma. Love her.
4. Kim at NewlyWoodwards. I think Kim found me, and then I found her, but however it worked out, I’m so glad because I love her daily posts. And I realllllly love her stained front stoop.
5. Kristi at Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherrys. Her blog is so fun, and I especially love her Friday food posts. Check it out.
6. Laurel at Ducks in a Row. Laurel has the most beautiful family I’ve ever seen, is an expert sewer and the new owner of a Crate and Barrel coffee table that I am so jealous of.

Living Life on the Wild Side

I stole this from Mrs. McB and thought it’d be fun. Rules: Bold the things you’ve done. I can honestly say that I don’t have a desire to do a lot of things that aren’t bolded.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game World Series ’07 baby. The Red Sox swept my poor Rockies but it was exhilarating.
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb In Ireland. Very cute and pastoral.
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country I think so…not sure.
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe: We will before we have kids.
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theatre
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight What the hell is D&D?!?!
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on a television news program as an “expert”
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over Sort of. Picked up and moved to Maine on a whim.
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a TV game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for 30 hours in a 48 hour period
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. States
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care Well, I was there when we moved both of my Grandmas, but didn’t make the decision.
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life Does keeping B alive on his 21st birthday count?

7 Minutes in Heaven

Or 7 Useless facts about Emily. Your choice. But Freckles Chick tagged me – and since last time a similar tag came along I shared superficial and pointless facts – I thought I’d get a little deeper this time around.

1. I have stubby fingers. They are puffy and short. They’re awkward and I loathe them. (Ok, one superficial fact).

2. I was kicked out of college. At the 3 1/2 year mark, my adviser told me I couldn’t take any more credits because I’d completed my major. I had 1 month’s notice of graduation, and had to find a job 6 months before I expected to. It was a blessing in disguise, but I was miserable graduating before all of my friends.

3. I met Mr. B at an alcohol awareness class. And it sounds like a much better story than it is. We were representatives from our Fraternity and Sorority houses to take information back to our houses.

4. I secretly – or not so secretly – dream of Mr. B getting transferred. I love our house and Colorado, but would love to live somewhere else at least for a little while.

5. I’m the youngest child in my family and have always longed for little siblings – I couldn’t wait to be old enough to babysit, love holding babies, and am eager (but happy to wait) to hold my own.

6. I work in the internet industry. I’m actually my company’s blogger.

7. The “Wedding Incident” – I’ve been upset about it for three months but after finally watching the Sex and the City movie, I’ve decided it’s my problem if I choose to hold onto the anger. So I’m working on letting go.

And now it’s time to Tag. Play along if you’d like: WEHolmans, Mrs. Five Camels, Mrs. McB, Ducks in a Row and anyone else who hasn’t already done this and would like to.