Monday, October 24, 2016

Reasons To Love Monday

It's closing in on 4pm and I've just now starting thinking of reasons to love THIS Monday. The struggle is real some days, y'all. All too real.

Monday started rearing it's ugly head late yesterday afternoon when Little Kitty was sleeping in my lap and something upstairs startled him. His first move is always CLAWS OUT and then RUN. It's very hilariously cartoony except for times like yesterday when the first move means his claws slice into my skin, in this case my knee. We're talking DEEP plunging of razor sharp claw into my knee so much that it caused pain so extreme I threw up. And I'm a pro at dealing with pain. And I had some of my stronger pain meds in my system already because of my already elevated pain level from my adventures last week. It was horrific! Today it's all bruised and I'm just waiting for Cat Scratch Fever to set in because, you know, that's how it goes in my world. I say all of that to say Sunday night into Monday morning was just not fun so when I give you my RTL Monday, just know that I had to dig deep... all the way down to the bone with a sharp cat claw.

Numero Uno... (which means "number one" in Italian) The weather is gorgeous. Perfect. Delightful. Cooler. Fresh. Crisp but not cold. Cool enough to wear sweats the whole day long. Not so cold that you have to cover from head to toe. God created October in Georgia as a reward to those of us who suffered and sweated all through the Summer. And by Summer I mean March through October. My quick glance at my Weather Channel app reassures me that there are no more sweaty days ahead, at least not in the next two weeks. Color me happy!

Due... (which means two in Italian, in case that wasn't clear. It's pronounced doo-ay, two syllables, not "dooo" as in due date.) Italian lessons are progressing well. I slowed down the number of words I was learning each day to be able to spend more time on review and it's helped. I used to have to have my notebook opened to the chapter I was working on - so that I could take open book tests for my reviews and lately... the notebook stays closed and put away! Major progress! Could I converse with someone who is fluent in Italian? Mmmm... on a very basic level. I did watch a video last week that was partially in Italian and I understood every word which is a big improvement. However, the speakers in the video were native English speakers and Italian was a second language so to be fair, it was slow and easy to understand. But progress is being made and it's encouraging to know that this old dog can learn some new tricks. It also pushes me out of bed in the morning because it's the very first thing I do and I like to do it before the rest of the house is awake and my door to the rest of the house is open so that I can concentrate.

Tre... (do I have to explain that this means three in Italian or are you catching on?) We are having beef stew for dinner. It smells great. I think it's got a couple of hours to go still but it's going to be a nice feast when it's ready. It's been a weekly menu item here lately and it's just the best stew ever... tender and succulent and really, really good. I'm very much looking forward to a big bowl or two of it.

Quattro... I ordered a new sweatshirt that came today. The proceeds of the sale of these shirts is going to cancer research so it felt like a worthy investment PLUS... I needed another hoodie. I have two. I wear them almost daily during the winter since my living space is in the basement and stays pretty chilly. I love oversized hoodies so I bought this one really big and I can't wait to wear it with leggings and know that the price I paid for it went to a good cause, not just Old Navy stockholders. So, win-win!

Cinque... (pronounced cheeen-kway) There are only TWO MONTHS UNTIL CHRISTMAS! Our family celebrates and does our gift exchange on Christmas Eve morning so there are literally two months and I have bought exactly four gifts so far... one for each baby (including my nephew, Finn) and one for my niece Jamie. I have much, much shopping to do. I've been reluctant to spend money lately because I just bought a new laptop and spent a bunch of money on Austin's dental work and I feel like my bank account is depleting way more rapidly than I would like, definitely more rapidly than it's being replaced, and of course I still haven't finished my dental work (more on that some other day) but Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat and I'm going to have to put a penny in the Old Man's hat. Time to start shopping! I know what I want for the babies... oh, I've bought two gifts for each grandbaby so far, forgot about the things I got last week. Anyways... if you're on my list, give me a few hints so that I don't just buy what I think you should have and actually buy what you want. Or the other way, whichever.

Sei... (as in, "say, what?") Austin and I are planning to do a little fall photo shoot with Cosy this week when we have her. I've picked an adorable little outfit out for her to wear and Austin approves (my kids don't always approve my fashion choices) and I'm hoping there are still a lot of pumpkins out in front of St. Paul's Catholic Church. If not, we're going to have to find some Autumnal (still love that word) scenes around the county. I can't wait to get some adorable photos... hoping she's feeling cooperative that day! Austin has not yet found a new job but he's been diligently looking. He gets a filling on Wednesday and we have Cosy on Thursday and if he's still unemployed by Friday we'll get back out to follow up on some of the applications he's put in online.

Sette (two syllables, set-tay) Still loving/obsessed with the Disney Emoji game. Today I learned something new... on the "round results" screen, balloons fly up. You can pop the balloons for extra points! Also, I'm on level 27 which I think is pretty durn good! Cody and Marquee had made it to this level and then got their new iPhone 7's and had to start all over again which doesn't seem fair, does it?

AND... I'm going to consider seven reasons sufficient for this week for me! I'd love to hear your Reasons to Love Monday this week! You can leave a comment below or on Facebook, whichever you prefer. If you leave comments here, I promise I read them. There's no way to reply without making a new comment which... come to think of it, that's what I should do. So let me know a reason or two that you love Monday this week and I'll update again really soon! Love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Week In Pictures

I wasn't sure I had anything to blog about today but then I realized I had several photos I haven't yet shared with you so... yay, photo blog!

I mentioned buying things for Jamie's Beauty and the Beast Costume. Here's Jamie in the basic costume. (left)  Not loving the makeshift apron tied around her waist but it's a work in progress. I have a few bits and bobs to add to it to make it more historically accurate. I want to add lace to the sleeves to give it this look:

And I have to add some sort of pinafore / apron / shawl bit to dress it up a bit more. Like this one here:
Goodwill shopping is tricky. The white top is an X-Small, the white lacy crinoline looking skirt underneath is a small and the dress over it is a large. I guessed at what would fit Jamie and I guessed correctly. #skills

While we were at Goodwill my mom found this dress for Cosy:

Hope it will fit. It's a 12 month size but it looked like it will fit her. Either way, it was $3 so it's no big loss if it doesn't fit.

Oliver during Facetime:

My new Otter Box phone case is so sturdy that it's hard to snap photos while I'm chatting so I'm getting fewer good photos of him while chatting. Here's another that I snagged of him from his iCloud folder yesterday: 

The new bathroom colors:
I ordered a shower curtain but I can't get the image to save so that I can share. It's basically fish scales, like a mermaid tale and it's in the same colors as my bathroom walls. It is coming LITERALLY on a slow boat from China so it won't be here until December-ish but it was only $15 so... win.

Beautiful photos I took one morning last week.

Cosette fascinated with Nana's makeup brushes. She gets the glam gene from me.

And... can you stand another Snapchat filter from me? Rocky Horror... this is similar to what I looked like when I was working on the stage show only my own lips are better. I'm just sayin'.

And... that was my week! Looking forward to starting another brand new one... and I hope you are too! Love and hugs, y'all!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Basic Snapchat Instructions

Yesterday was Friday. My mom and I ran over and picked up Cosette around 9am because her mama needed a break and we always love a little extra Cosy time! I posted a half dozen videos of her singing and playing with her Anna and Elsa dolls on Snapchat and then saved them to Facebook (since they go away after 24 hours on Snapchat). Her sweet little singing voice just melts my heart!

We broke out the chalk markers and decorated the door to my porch. She did pretty good for awhile but then she wanted to see what green tastes like... oops! She's so funny... she knows she's not supposed to put anything in her mouth that isn't food and she pretty much understands what is and isn't food at this point. Still... the urge to taste things is so strong in a toddler that she will go to put it in her mouth and if her dad says, "Cosy..." she pulls it out of her mouth right away and gets this pitiful little guilty look.

We played with my makeup brushes... and had a carpet picnic... and then we all went to Goodwill to find Jamie a "villager" costume for Beauty and the Beast. Busy morning but lots of fun!

This morning I got up and finished taping off the rest of the bathroom that needed to be painted and got a good bit of it painted. My mom came in and finished it and it's all quite lovely. I'm doing a mermaid theme so I searched online for a shower curtain but I'm not finding anything that fits what I have in mind. It's either super juvenile, like The Little Mermaid from Disney or it's a topless very adult looking mermaid. I want something in between. And we still need to get the new light wired as I am having to use a lamp for lighting in the bathroom. But we're getting there. Just getting it painted feel like such a huge step.

I've done way too much this week and my body is reminding me that I've gone past my limitations. All of it fun, all of it worth the pain (except for the part where the freezer fell on my head... )... but I'm feeling it from my head to my toes tonight. I love the cold weather because it's so well suited to wrapping up in warm cozy things and just resting. I'm going to take advantage of that for the rest of the weekend!

I did want to mention that I am posting a lot of stuff on Snapchat. Some of it is just silly photos but some of it is narrative, sort of a video blog. I mentioned giving a little instruction on how to do Snapchat but I'm not sure I'm familiar enough to really do it justice. Here's what I can tell  you that will hopefully get you started: search for the app - it's free. Download it like you would any app that you add. Create an account for yourself. Choose "add friends" and you can search for my name - HGant5 (original, right?) and add me. From the main screen if you swipe to the left - to get to the screen on the right - under stories you will see "recent updates" and if I've done something in the last 24 hours, you will see it there. Just click on it and you can see my latest story.

The thing I'm enjoying most is using filters and it was the hardest for me to figure out. When you're in the main screen you will see whatever your camera is seeing. In the far upper right corner is a little rectangle with arrows around it and a smiley face in the middle. If you touch that, the perception of your camera will change from looking out to looking back at you. Once your face is visible, touch the screen in the middle of your face. A bunch of lines will come across your face and a series of circles will appear beside the big circle in the bottom center of the screen. You can swipe from left to right and move different filters into the main circle to change the filter on your face. There are some main ones that are always there (like the deer with Cosy at the the start of this blog entry) and special ones that are only there for a day or two. If you want to take a picture of yourself, briefly touch the big circle in the bottom center. If you want to take a video with the filter, hold your finger in the center. Videos are only up to ten seconds, which is why when you watch a story it switches so quickly.

Once you've taken a "snap" or a video you will have options in the upper right to add text, color and stickers to your picture or video. You can swipe to the right to add other filters that change the shading of the photo and add details like time and temperature. You can save it to your memories or add it to your story on the bottom left or... if you don't like it, just click the x in the upper left to delete it.

THERE are tons of other bells and whistles with the app that I am still figuring out but those are the basics of getting started, viewing stories and creating your own photos and videos with filters. I hope this helps! I'm such a newbie myself but I really do enjoy it and it's so easy to post there! If all else fails, just search for a youtube video on how to do it. That's my default learning process for everything these days. Let me know if you create an account so I can follow you!

Little Kitty is insisting on sitting where the laptop is so I'm going to close. Hope your weekend is going well! Love and hugs, y'all!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

I Hate Mornings

Today I...

Cried my eyes out at 7am thinking about what I had to do today.
Then THIS Buttercup sucked it up and got on my way.
I did my Italian lesson.
Caught up on as much news as I could stand without getting stabby.
Put on makeup.
Organized my makeup table.
Got dressed.
Other things that I'm sure I'm forgetting.
Took Austin to get his root canal.
Went to Lowe's to buy paint and paint supplies.
Went to Walmart to buy ibuprofen for Austin's mouth.
Went to Chickfila to buy lunch for all of us.
Came home and did some sitting.
Taped up the bathroom for painting.
Changed into my painting clothes.
Painted my bathroom with my mom. You can see the main color in my bun in the picture to the left. I will have two little accent walls that are purple (not painted yet) and my theme is Mermaids.
Changed out of my painting clothes.
Sent a lot of Snapchats. If you want to really know what's going on in my life, Snapchat is the way and it's very easy. I think tomorrow I'll do a tutorial if anyone is interested. My Snapchat name is HGant5. Add me!
Now I'm sitting in my nest in my cosy pj's catching up on YouTube.

This concludes the re-telling of my Thursday thus far.
Pop is picking up Taco Bell for dinner.
We are all about the fast food today - we had pizza for lunch yesterday.
It will be a surprise to no one when my cholesterol is high when I go for labs in two weeks.
I have a few Throwback Thursday photos to share. I apologize if these are duplicates of ones I've already shared in the past week. I have a really short memory.

The first is me holding Jamie on what I think was her first Thanksgiving - 2005. I got to see my Jamie girl yesterday. She is DEEP in rehearsals for Beauty and The Beast. They are at the point of rehearsing four or more hours a night AFTER school so she is one busy little spoon! I told her about "show friendships" and how you bond so deeply with the people you do shows with because you have such intense, long periods of time together. I have many, many folks I'm still in touch with that I did shows with 13 or 14 years ago. She is loving every minute of it and I am so happy that she loves what I love (theater).

SPEAKING of my girls... Sarabeth made the basketball team for her Middle School! So very proud of her and I am going to definitely go see her play!

The next picture is me and Purple Michael. This would have been around 2006, I think.  I miss him so much! It has been years and years since I've seen him. He lives in Chicago and when he comes to Atlanta he has so much family to see and they all live south of Atlanta and I, of course, live north of Atlanta. He's in my heart forever, though, and I'm so grateful for the times we shared together!

AND last... I love this picture so much! It is (L-R) my sister-in-law Angie, my cousin Melissa and me holding Jamie. This was at a family reunion in 2005, I believe in the spring but I'm not certain. We look like we're waiting for a bus or something. (I should note... my SIL Angie lost a ton of weight after this and has maintained that loss forever. I almost forgot that she ever had a little fluff on her way back when!)

And that's all for today folks! Happy Friday Eve! Love and hugs, y'all!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Zulily Haul and Job Hunting

This morning I did not want to wake up. I woke up at 4am and felt horrible. I went back to sleep at some point but I'm not sure when. Austin had to wake me up at 8 to take him job hunting. Boo hiss on waking up... but kudos for being eager to hit the pavement. Most places want you to apply online so... it was a lot of driving around getting websites but he did go in and apply and take the proficiency test in Walmart - and passed it - so that felt like progress. I did a little shopping while he took his test and we got a few other errands taken care of while we were out. He's had friends over again today enjoying the Fall sunshine and taking advantage of being on the lake which we don't do often enough here.

I bought a few things for the babies from zulily that came in the mail today. Zulily is... ok for some things. Brands I already am familiar with that I can be more sure about the quality and sizing that are greatly reduced on Zulily are great. Unknown brands can be hit or miss both with sizing and quality. It takes so long for things to get to you that sometimes it's not practical. These things were a good price and I ordered them back early in September we could wait so ... Zulily was a good choice. I like to help a little with clothing for Oliver to help his parents out... and of course, we try to keep a few outfits for each season here for Cosette for when she's with us. I don't buy a TON of baby clothes but probably 4 or 5 outfits per season for each baby. More than that would just be a waste because their parents' style is different from mine. I mean, I am A GRANDMOTHER, after all! My first choice for baby clothes is Carter's because the quality for the price is unbeatable. These clothes are NOT from Carter's but the quality and pricing is comparable. Here's the entire haul...

These are the things I got for Cosy:

four long sleeved onesies and two pair of yoga pants. Our usual practice is to keep her in whatever her mom dresses her in while we go out for breakfast or whatever errands we run with her. Once we get home we may change her into her Princess Anna costume or into the play clothes we have for her. OR, if it's really warm out we may just let her play in a onesie or just a diaper. She's not a messy kid and we could easily leave her in what her mom sends her in all day most of the time, we mostly just try to account for her comfort.  My living room tends to be cooler than anywhere else. When we play on the porch it can be really warm. She is most likely to get things wet because she likes to pour water from one container to another and that's the number one reason we change her clothes. I do sometimes want to dress her in certain things for photos but for the most part, we just have clothes in case she needs something to wear. We usually end up sending her home in something we've bought for her and it comes back the next time we get her. I especially try to send stuff to her mom's that I know she likes and will get use out of at her mom's house (like her Frozen slippers). (note: The clothes are hanging off the edge of the hearth so the legs of the pants are longer than they look.)

I had already bought six little shirts for Oliver so I picked him up some little jogging pants from Zulily. They are on the left in the photo below:

They aren't anything fancy. I think I paid less than ten dollars for the set of three pairs of pants but they're fine for play clothes for him.

I also bought these two outfits to take photos of the babies in... nobody likes the outfits but me and that's ok. I wanted them in something similar but not identical that wasn't seasonal so we can take their photos in them whenever we all end up in the same place. I just want to get a nice photo of the babies together and/or me with the babies for framing and maybe for Christmas cards if we manage a photo in time. We'll see whatever plays out. Either way, they were a good deal.

What do you think?

Both babies wear a 12 months or 18 months depending on how it's made. Cosy is longer and Oliver is thicker. She needs the larger size for the length and he needs it because he's more solid. They're really close to being the same size, though.

I also got a pair of cozy slippers for myself that are so incredibly soft and fuzzy inside! They were another really good bargain on Zulily.

While I was in Walmart today I picked up two "educational" toys for the babies from Leapfrog. Back in the Spring I bought them both a little school bus that sings the alphabet song and "the wheels on the bus". You can put a letter tile in the bus and it tells you the letter and the sound it makes. Cosette is addicted to hers and HAS to have it when she's in the car. She looks around frantically for it if we don't hand it to her right away. We keep the diaper bag (backpack) on the seat beside her and she will dig through it looking for the bus. Walmart had something else from Leapfrog that is also a learning toy but it is a stuffed animal that I think will work great for a "travel buddy" and maybe be a little easier to carry around than the bus. You can program it to say and spell the baby's name! I bought one for each baby for Christmas. I plan to get a little kitchen for Cosy for Christmas and a little grill for Oliver since he loves hanging out with his grandpa when he grills. I've bought them each a book and THAT IS ALL I'm buying for them for Christmas. They get SO MUCH STUFF from everybody and I give them stuff all year. I'm making myself stay on a budget for Christmas this year!

Every year my mom and I do stockings for the whole family for Christmas and while I was in Walmart today I found the PERFECT stockings for everyone and I'm so excited! It's something different from what we've done before but I think they will work perfectly. This means I need to know who is going to be here this year so I can get your stocking put together!

I also bought some fancy washi tape at Walmart that will work well with the little "Christmas jars" I've been making. I'll post a picture of the finished project one day in the future. Soon. They're really turning out cute.

Tomorrow Austin has his root canal in the morning and after that I have nothing on the schedule for the next few days. If Austin's up to job hunting on Friday we may do some of that but I've been busier than usual this week and I'm just worn out. My back and head feel better than they did yesterday (from the freezer lid that crashed down on me) but they're still tender. I just need to rest in a bad way. Once we get home tomorrow I just want some time in the nest to rest.

Hope your Wednesday is going well... hang in there folks, there's light at the end of the tunnel! Let me know how your week is going in the comments here or on Facebook. Thanks for stopping by, love and hugs, y'all!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

News Day Tuesday

Let me begin today's blog with a little story. In the shed right beside my porch there is a little freezer... one of those old fashioned chest type freezers with the lid that lifts up. It always reminds me of my Granddaddy Pennington's worm farm but that's not what this story is about. The freezer is wedged tightly in the corner of the shed... tight enough that if you lift the lid to a certain point it will stay held in place against the shelves... most of the time. Last night I was rearranging my inventory of Luigi's Mango Flavored Italian Ice and the unthinkable happened... the lid slipped out of place and whacked me on the head... just above the hairline. I immediately saw stars but the worst thing is my back... a sudden jolt is the absolute worst thing possible for my back. The force was so great that my HEEL hurts from being pushed into the ground, like someone was hammering me in. It hurt last night but today it. is. killlllling me! I have this dull headache and my head is so tender that I can't bear to brush my hair. My back is stuck in a certain position and if I try to force it into a different position the pain takes my breath away. It's frustrating and hilariously ironic, all at the same time. There's no limit to what my body has to endure, it seems. And honestly, Luigi's should have made me their spokesperson by now.... how I've SUFFERED! (must be read in the accent of a Jewish New York mother)

And yes, my granddaddy really did have a worm farm. He had big old refrigerators on their side full of soil and the worms would be all wiggly in there. People would come by and buy an old cottage cheese container full of worms for... I don't know how much, probably a quarter back then? I think we could put a dollar's worth of gas in the car then and actually get somewhere on it. You know what he fed them? Purina worm chow. It's a real thing. Google it if you don't believe me!

So the theme of today's blog is the same as pretty much every other blog... oh my aching back! And head. And neck. And heel... because the concrete slab put up a lot of resistance against my being driven into the ground. It's gotten worse as the day has progressed even though I've been trying to get up and walk around a bit and keep from getting stiff.

The subplot for today is Snapchat. For those who are uninitiated... Snapchat is an app that allows you to record photos or small snippets of video to be shared with your friends. The photos and videos stay there for 24 hours - or, you can save them for posterity as I have done by forwarding them and saving them here and on Facebook. My favorite part is that Snapchat has filters... ways to dress up your photos and videos so that, for instance, if you're looking like death with uncombed hair, you can transform yourself into a lovely hippie lady with a floral crown. Or Little Red Riding Scary Hood as pictured above. It even adds a touch of lipstick and mascara for you in some cases! I just started Snapchat on Saturday so I'm still figuring it out but if you want to add me I am hgant5. I have one story so far. My main thing was that I wanted to be able to use the filters with the babies but also some of the youtubers that I watch have snapchat as well and waiting for the next youtube video update is the same as waiting for the next blog entry... you just want to know the rest of the story already! Technology just keeps on changing and although I am waaaay behind, I try to keep up. If you try to navigate the Snapchat waters, I would recommend watching a tutorial on Youtube vs. trying to learn from Snapchat's instructions. Let me know if you're on Snapchat so I can add you! It's all about the non-intrusive means of communication for me, folks!

Austin had some friends over today and they spent the day out on the lake. The paddle boat hardly ever gets used so it was nice to hear splashes and laughter wafting up from the lake. There were a group of four of them and they picnic'ed and fished and rode around the lake and really had a good time. The sun was so bright and the sky so clear that I'm sure they're going to all be sunburned. Austin needed a carefree day like that. Tomorrow he'll be pounding the pavement and Thursday he has a root canal. #adultingishard Thanks to those of you who sent texts and messages and comments wishing Austin well in his new job search. I know I'm completely biased because he's my kid but he has had such a hard year and he deserves so much more out of life! Also... I'm about one frustration away from being in the news so we just need to ride the year out peacefully. Is that too much to ask???

Anyways... I thought I'd share a few photos taken from my vantage point of the bright sunshine and crisp clear lake and just a little fall color. It doesn't show up well on my phone. I didn't use any filters of adjust the colors on these photos but I did zoom in (obviously) on the one on the right.

In other news... Tasha and I have had this ongoing discussion about whether or not Cosette needs to go up to size four diapers. She's still a little bitty doll but she is getting a bit of thigh chub. Tasha has an unopened box of threes that she's going to return and I'm debating returning my unopened package of threes that I have. We don't go through a lot of diapers here and I'm afraid that if I open the package by the time we finish it the diapers will definitely be too small. Check out those chubby little thighs! (Note to ten year old Cosette - if you see this, don't be offended by Nana calling you chubby. Chubby babies are sweet and cuddly and precious and when we say you're chubby it means we love you!) (Had to throw that in because ten year old Jamie objected when she saw that I had blogged about her chubby little baby self - which was ADORABLE, both when she was chubby and when she objected to being called chubby!)

Let me see if I can find a chubby little Jamie picture to share... because it's a slow news day here anyways...

Hope that all the news you have to share is GOOD news and if not, just hang in there! It gets better!
Love and hugs, y'all!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Reasons To Love Monday

Guess who just took the weekend off from blogging? THIS GIRL! Did you miss me? 

I had a rough Saturday night but otherwise it was a very ok weekend and it's leading into a very decent Monday, I hope. 

Here are a few reasons I'm loving life this Monday:

1. I slept great last night. Saturday night I didn't sleep at all. Ok, barely. Maybe an hour or so altogether. Last night... truly decent zzz's were had. I think some of my meds were mixed up on Saturday and my body is such a delicate eco-system that I just screwed myself up. I'm much better now. 

2. Austin quit his job. I know... not supposed to be happy that my kid is unemployed. The thing is... it had become so difficult to drop him off at work knowing that he was going to be treated poorly by the manager of that store who... for whatever reason is known in our small town for treating employees like poo stuck to his shoe. Austin hung in there for a long time. He never once NOT EVER called in sick or missed a day of work - this is a kid who couldn't attend high school a week in a row without a day off. He worked hard, he was consistent, he went above and beyond what was asked of him and the customers loved him. Saturday Austin worked an earlier schedule than he has ever done before and he had a few questions about what had to be done. The manager was so nasty to him and said things like, "don't you know anything?" and "should I just give up on you?" because Austin asked him which supply closet (there are three) held the cleaners they needed to clean the bathrooms - it turned out they were OUT of cleaner, it wasn't Austin's fault that he couldn't find it. He just got transferred from the meat department to bagging and had never worked that schedule with that set of responsibilities. It breaks my heart because he tried SO HARD and this man - who really needs prayer because there is something seriously wrong with him- took some kind of sick pleasure in mocking him. When he would put Austin under pressure and Austin would struggle to respond - remember my son has autism and has worked hard to develop communication skills and he is VERY well spoken now after a lifetime of coaching but does struggle when he's in a high stress situation - and this manager would mock Austin's speech when he would respond to him. I can say some of these things now that he doesn't work there. They were short on hot dogs one holiday weekend. Austin had made the order but it was his first time doing it and he had no idea he had to increase the order. The store manager told Austin to drive to another location to pick up some more stock (they don't really do that... it comes in refrigerated trucks and you wouldn't really WANT someone transporting hot dogs in their car in the summer, would you?) Anyways, when Austin reminded him that he didn't drive the guy yelled, "THEN TAKE A TAXI"... On Saturday when the jerk asked Austin if he should just give up on him it's because one of the stalls didn't have toilet paper. Again... not something he has been doing. When he asked him that Austin said, "when did you ever have faith in me?" Because he hasn't. The manager asked him if he wanted to clock out and he did. They kept him on the schedule but Austin just couldn't go back and I don't blame him. I couldn't either. There's only so much you can take. The girl that they put in Austin's job in the meat department has to have other employees help to be able to unload the trucks. Austin would do it himself plus order the stock plus many other things in that department making things easier on the guys who actually do the meat cutting. He was a real team player, always being willing to chip in and help.  Now those guys have to help this girl do things, she can't help them and the manager thinks that's an improvement. In his mind, apparently, it's an improvement to take his higher paid employees and have them do what a stocker should do, rather than have the stocker be able to complete his job independently and then help out the higher paid employees. Anyways, it's a relief to be done with this guy. Pray that Austin finds a new job - a better job - very soon. I'm glad that the stress of that job is behind him. But change is hard and he feels a lot of pressure to find something fast - obviously - it's very hard for him to introduce himself into new situations so... this is just hard. Keep him in your prayers, please. We have to be very careful to be encouraging and supportive to him without making him feel overwhelmed by the situation. Once he becomes overwhelmed he has "analysis paralysis" and over thinks things to the extent that he can't do anything. Sorry, end of mini-rant in the middle of what I mean to be a positive blog. I just love Monday because my kid has removed that tyrant from his life. Happy Day!

3. Hopefully... since he has a little time off... we can spend some time with my favorite baby girl. We only had her a short time last week since Austin was feeling poorly with his bad tooth and since Cosy had the stomach bug and felt so miserable. (Update! We had a wonderful Cosy/Daddy Monday! Photos on Facebook!) 

4. The trees here are beautiful. It's not full on full color yet but that doesn't always happen. We have a heat wave coming this week but then on Saturday it's supposed to be 68 for a high. I'd love to skip those few days over 80 this week but I'm so happy to see those cooler days in the forecast! The view from my nest is slowly changing and I love it so much! 

5. There is a cat sleeping on my lap. I love my clingy Little Kitty - most of the time. He gets excited when I get the laptop out because he knows I'm going to be sitting still for a little while. He's sleeping so deep that he's snoring. This is going to sound gross but this cat is so bonded with me that he lets me pick his nose. He gets a little crusty on one side of his nose and I clean it out for him when he's in my lap. On the opposite end of the spectrum... Stubby is not cuddly. He has a nasty cold and I've had to practically sit on him to try to clean his nose so he could breathe. He thrashed around like he was in a fight for his life. In other cat news... I've started feeding the cats a higher protein food without the fillers in it. Most cat food is corn and stuff like that. I have found that if I feed them a higher protein food they eat a LOT less food. So even though the higher protein food is more expensive, they don't go through it as fast. #catladylifelessons 

6. I didn't blog about it ahead of time because it was a bit of a surprise (I found out after I had written the last blog post) but we got to see Oliver this past weekend! I took some pictures and posted them on Facebook but... I took about three times as many pictures as I was able to use. He moves SO fast that most of the pictures I got of him were blurry! He was such a little doll. He was running down the hill out back (holding his parents' hands) and thought it was the funniest thing! It won't be long before he's rolling down that hill all on his own. We have the perfect backyard for a little boy to run and play. We just have to have someone posted at the bottom of the hill to keep him out of the lake. He's just such a happy boy and I love spending time with him. 

7. I spent yesterday from midnight through around 5pm watching a Downton Abbey marathon. I didn't even look at the news and I almost always at least start the morning with some news. It was a great escape from reality. I had to relive the death of Matthew Crawley but I didn't cry this time - fifth time's a charm. I didn't even mind the constant PBS fundraising breaks!

8. Early voting starts in Georgia this week! I plan to vote today, if not, this week. The odds of me waking up on election day and feeling like going somewhere are pretty low. The place for early voting is easily accessible and I want to get it out of the way. My mind is made up so there's no need to wait. Austin wants to write in "anarchy" for his Presidential choice because he thinks that's our best option. He is not kidding. (Update! We voted! Cosy was really confused by the process but did her civic duty right along with me! Or at least watched...)

I should clarify because I think the tenses in this blog are going to be all kinds of crazy confusing. I started blogging this morning... Austin asked if I wanted to get Cosy so I abandoned the post half way through and have come back to it at the end of the day. Having trouble connecting my thought train and that's why! Anyways... 

9. This has been a perfectly wonderful day. Austin installed my new bathroom mirror which is huge and so much nice than the tiny little mirror I propped up against the wall four years ago when we moved in that I had never replaced! Now we've just got to get my new light fixture installed. None of my kids are beating down the door to help me out with it but Austin is going to give it a shot this week. Praying no one gets shocked or starts an electrical fire! He's installed another hard wired in light before and my kids have this natural born understanding of how things work that I promise you, they did not get from me! 

This has been a rough year in our family and even in our extended family. It's hard... there are a lot of us but we are spread out quite a bit and we don't always connect the dots like we should. I'm super guilty of that because pain and the other stresses we've had this year have given me a bit of tunnel vision. We - me - all of us - have only so much time and energy to spend and it is hard to check all of the boxes and make sure everyone's needs are being met. That's why these little blog posts are important for me, even if another person never ever saw them. I have to stop and count my blessings periodically and Monday, being the most hated day of the week seems like the best time to do it. We should always have a spirit of thanksgiving but it is hard. Life is hard. Living with pain, feeling isolated and limited in ability makes it harder. I thought that once I stopped working I wouldn't need to search for reasons to love Monday but honestly, I need this more now than I ever did. And because I know that there are some of you reading this who are really at the point of being overwhelmed by the struggles and challenges you're facing and maybe sometimes feel like giving up... just stop, count your blessings, look for things (reasons) to love whatever day it is and I promise, it will make things better!

Until we cross paths again, love and hugs to all of you! I'd love to hear your Reasons to Love Monday too!