The Gang's All Here!

The Gang's All Here!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Foggy Bloggy

Merry Christmas!! Not to worry, judging by the title of this post you're going to assume that I've had one too many mimosas. I've been pretty good, although, mimosas are a great alternative to coffee :). We've had a delightful holiday here at the Hinman Atlanta casa. Santa was very good to us this year and the kids have had a blast with all of their presents. My parents (the Riley's) are in town and we've enjoyed having them here. I would venture to say that it's been almost perfect - other than the weather which has left much to be desired. It has been so incredibly foggy here (as in, we can't see our neighbors house across the street) and just sort of blah. Oh, not to worry, the real fun begins tonight. The forecasters are calling for severe thunderstorms with possible tornadoes. Nothing says Merry Christmas like a tornado! Ugh... hope those of you with a white Christmas are loving it!

Tomorrow we head to South Carolina to the Hinman Family Compound to celebrate Christmas, round two! While we do miss visiting Steve's family in Pennsylvania, the South Carolina house is a blast! You really can't beat the beach house :) The kids are looking forward to seeing their cousins. Speaking of cousins, we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next Riley cousin - stay tuned, it's going to be an exciting January!

I hope each and everyone of you have had a wonderful holiday. Our family has so much to be thankful for this Christmas. Wishing you all a restful and peaceful day, filled with joy and love!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dinosaurs and Angels

We had a great time on Friday evening. The event was held at a local museum and it was such a neat place. I kept feeling like I was in the movie National Treasure where they have the black tie benefit at the Smithsonian. We didn't get to see most of the museum and understandably so, I mean, no one wants a bunch of drunk people running around stealing dinosaur bones and fossils. I know you're curious, so here goes. I didn't wear the dress I ordered. It's a beautiful dress, but it looked like crap on me. I was beyond irritated and in a fit of rage and desperation, crammed myself into a dress I already had (in my defense, it fit okay) and just said the hell with it. It was fine, and really, after a drink or two, who really cares anyway? Alcohol always makes for such an interesting evening.

I know it's been on my mind since I heard the news on Friday and I'm sure you're feeling much the same. I've started this post at least five times only to find myself at a loss for words. I am still so utterly shocked and saddened by the events in Newtown, Connecticut. It's taken me until today to even figure out how to approach talking about it. But, the fact remains that we need to talk about it. I watched some of the nondenominational ceremony on Sunday evening (with a bottle of wine, it was my coping mechanism) and I was truly touched by President Obama's remarks. I still can't fathom how those families, friends etc must be feeling because I know I feel like I'm choking everytime I see a picture of one of those beautiful babies. My god, they were just babies. The staff at Sandy Hook was simply amazing and all involved are on my heart. As an educator, I'd hope that I would have been as brave and fast on my feet given the same circumstances.

I saw a post somewhere on Facebook over the weekend it's really made an impact on me. It went something like this: If you're not angry, you're not paying attention. Truer words have never been spoken. I know I'm furious. I guess it's human nature to try and rationalize what happened. There are multifaceted issues here, all important pieces to the puzzle that we will most likely never complete. I think the part that makes me the most angry is the role media has played and continues to play. I wish to god they would stop sensationalizing these acts of violence. Everyone is so damn anxious to be the first to get the story out, without regard to accurate information. Reporting and journalism as a whole have gone out the window since 9/11. Breaking news is no longer that, just speculation most of the time. I really, really wish the media would just let law enforcement do their job and stop trying to be "the hero". The constant questions, interviews with people 1/1000th related to a case are just overkill. The line has to be drawn. And please, oh please, just let these families grieve without a camera being shoved in their face.

As a nation, we have some really tough questions to ask in the coming days and weeks. Guns are obviously a topic near the top of the list, but I think more importantly is the subject of mental illness. No, we don't know exactly what was going on in the mind of the attacker, but honestly, I hope that he was very, very ill because I can't imagine doing this in cold blood. Mental illness has such a stigma in this country. We need to accept that we can't just shun people with mental illness out of society and lock them away somewhere. Ignorance feeds hate and we certainly don't need anymore of that. As a former special education teacher, I worked with students that had mental illnesses on a daily basis. It's not easy and often very frustrating, but at the end of the day, everyone deserves to be treated as a person. I hope this incident sparks a movement to better educate our country on how to deal with those that need our help the most.

You're on my heart, Newtown. America, I'm praying for you to get this one right. Twenty angels are counting on us all.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Good news, I found a dress!! I know most of you were anxiously awaiting that announcement, as your very lives depended on it. Kidding, kidding, hopefully you have many, many more important things to occupy your time :) Yes, Banana Republic came through for me, and for under $100, can't argue with that! Oh yes, but there is a catch... (isn't there ALWAYS a catch?!?!). I found said dress online, which means, two things: 1) Of course I haven't tried the damn thing on and 2) I had to use two day shipping (bleeding me dry here, people!). Isn't this what makes life exciting? No, actually, it's just dumb, but we're just going to pray really hard to the dress gods that this fits.

In other news, someone let me loose in DSW today. Who's crazy idea was that? Three pairs of (really fabulous) shoes later, I'm pretty much ready for Friday evening. And, in my defense, one of the pairs of shoes was for Steve, so no hating please. The heels I found to go with my dress are totally over the top, way too high and not comfortable at all. I LOVE them! I cannot wait to rock them on Friday night! I probably won't be able to walk for a week, but it's all in the name of fashion, right? I've still got to work on jewelery, but I'm hoping I have something that may work. I need to see the dress in person to confirm. Sometime this week in my spare time (hahaha) I have to get my nails done. They are a hot mess and that's being kind. Chemo did number on them and I am still paying for it...

Can you believe it's almost the middle of December? I've definitely hit my "oh my gawd I still have so many people to shop for" moment. I really don't mind shopping, but wow, it's so much work! I'm also stressed because I waited until last week to order my Christmas cards and who the hell knows when they'll get here. They might have to be New Years cards! Oh well, it's the thought that counts, right? Christmas cards from friends and family have started arriving in our mailbox and I just love them! It's so much fun to see everyone's kids, pets and holiday wishes. Speaking of pets, mine decided to eat part of a poinsetta the other night. Awesome. Awesome to clean up as well. Maybe he's eating poinsettas because Simon is eating his dog food. Yup, there's a whole lots of awesomeness going on at our house. Why, WHY do kids like dog food (the dry kind, I felt like I should mention that) so much? It has to taste awful, I think it smells like something died. Trust me, I try to keep Simon away from the dog bowl, but he keeps sneaking in there. There's nothing better than a baby with dog food breath, ewwwww!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The (Not) Little Black Dress

Ah, Christmas, the season of perpetual hope, or something like that. I about had my fill of "holiday cheer" yesterday at the mall. Oh, not to worry, I certainly wasn't doing any Christmas shopping, I was shopping for myself. Fa la  la la la and all that. No, I'm not completely self centered, but I have been on a desperate mission to find a black-tie worthy cocktail dress. Steve's company Christmas party is black tie this year and of course, I have nothing to wear. "Wear one of the 500 dresses you already own, you'll look great!" he replies (as spoken like a true man who would rather face walking thru fire than deal with an irritated, already frustrated that I'm not a size 2 wife). While I acknowledge that this is a reasonable suggestion, the problem is that all of my formal wear is pre-baby. No matter how hard I try, this body ain't fitting into any cocktail dress I have. CRAP!

So, Simon and I battled the mall. It's my favorite Atlanta area mall, but she certainly did let me down yesterday. I will also note that I'd been to at least 5 other stores before hitting the mall (last week). Simon loves to zoom around in the stroller and he's pretty tolerant most of time. Except for yesterday, of course. I left the mall empty-handed and pissy. In case you're wondering, there's not a shortage of dresses, the problem is (mostly) me. I will not take blame for hem lines that barely cover your ass. Seriously, I'm not trying to show up to Steve's Christmas party looking like a $2 hooker. Gah! Part of the problem is that I have to be somewhat picky. Normally I would relish the opportunity to wear strapless but I can't do that right now. I'm between surgeries and can't pull of that look. I can't wear spaghetti straps for the same reason. I can normally rely on the halter style but I can't rock that look either in my current condition. So what the hell is a girl to do???? It should be noted that there were some gorgeous dresses that started at $400 that I immedaitely gravitated towards. I shouldn't even be allowed to go in those stores...

As you might imagine, I handled this little situation perfectly. Or, I didn't. This is probably where you become extra proud to know me. Simon was fussing loudly (god forbid the stroller not be in a constant state of motion). I pleaded with him (loudly and multiple times) that "Mommy needs a dress TODAY and you're just going to have to deal". I'm sure the mother of the year judges will revoke my title for that comment. Simon thought it would be fun to ignore me and fuss louder and louder until I HAD to leave. So, I handled like any "normal" person and threw a bitchfit. Yup, a royal bitchfit. Although, if you were walking by you may not have assumed anything was amiss other than me driving the stroller like a terrorist and my child screaming. I made eye contact with one woman and I just kept pushing the stroller (slightly aggressive), daring her to get in my way. She moved. I was so freaking irritated with my life at that moment. Simon was happy as soon as we got outside and I felt better too. Maybe it's the loudly blaring holiday music that makes shopping in the mall a bit manic.

So, I have no dress to wear. The event is next Friday night. Time is ticking away. I'm sending a request up to the dress gods to help me out here. Keep your fingers crossed for me, this could get ugly :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

So This is Christmas...

Apparently we should have decorated a palm tree instead of a Chistmas tree this year! Not that I'm complaining, 75 and sunny is definitely my kind of weather. It's just odd, being that it's December and all. The weather gods are probably having a good chuckle right now before they pound us all with two feet of snow in January. A huge deal certainly up north, but down here? The city of Atlanta owns one (1) snow plow. So yeah, talk about paralyzing a city...

I am happy to say that I am finished decorating the house for Christmas (huge feat, yay!). Although what I have come to realize with two toddlers and one insane chocolate lab running around, is that I am required to redecorate the Christmas tree at least 5 times a day. It's exhausting. Why didn't anyone warn me about how much work it is to have TWO children under the age of three walking??? Really, someone could have filled me in...I kid, I kid, mostly. But, seriously, Christmas is not supposed to be this much work! I know, my life is so hard :) Steve did talk me into getting a live tree this year and I have to say that I'm really happy he did. It smells DIVINE! Other than having to run the vaccuum 40 times a day, it's beautiful. And really, I shouldn't complain, I'd have to run the vaccuum anyway since Simon's current favorite game is "stick your hand in the plant and wing dirt everywhere"...such a boy.

The other fun part of this Christmas has definitely been our Elf on the Shelf. He appeared last year, but Stella really could have cared less. In case you're wondering, our elf's name is Watson. He doesn't do any silly tricks (come on people, you expect me to be creative at 11pm after chasing these hooligans around all day???) but he does move around. Stella has had a great time searching for him in the mornings.

I am happy to report that I am fully recovered from my sinus infection and bronchitis. Gah, what a freaking pain in the butt that was. Not much to update on the cancer front, I'm sort of in a lull, for lack of a better word. I have just a few Herceptin treatments left and then I'm not sure what's in store for me next. The good news is that the big milestones are done and it should just be routine screenings after this. Fingers crossed!!