Wednesday, March 31, 2010


i am not a big fan of changes. is anyone? but i mean, i hate them. despise. but, sometimes change is necessary and sometimes changes end up being great. that's what we're hoping for.

we're packing up and heading to oklahoma. not for a vacation, but to pseudo-reside for awhile. that's right! this is what's going on...

the race team that dustin and i both work for has effectively closed the doors for the 2010 race season. this is not an uncommon thing in motorsports right now, times are rough. what this means, is, that our race team is taking the year off from racing to rebuild after the series we had been racing in shut down. so, dustin has been working at another race shop about 45 minutes from our house on totally different race cars than we have ever worked with and it's just not working out. when you'd rather accidentally break you arm so you don't have to go to work you know it's time for a job change! i made that part up but you get the point...

i am one of three people still employed the race team. why, you ask? because i am the link to the sponsor who has to date contributed 800k to the program. so basically the pressure is on to continue to make our existing sponsors happy and raise a bucket-load more money so everyone can have their jobs back and we can go racing again in 2011. no biggie.

dustin is now working for another race team which is based out of florida but that doesn't matter because he is doing what's called 'fly-in' work. this means he only works at the race tracks so he's going to be traveling a lot. but the plus side to doing fly-in work, is, that in between races you're free to do whatever. time off! in racing, there is no 'time off' during the season. so that is good. another thing that has happened is that our landlord (working in racing like we do it's better for us to rent than take the risk of buying) is putting our house back on the market. this gave us the extra push we needed to vacate asap. reasons contributing to this decision were:
-moving to OK allows us to live virtually rent-free! woo-hoo!!
-moving to OK allows me to have help from family when dustin's out of town so much (it's really isolating when he's gone up here b/c we hardly know anyone).
- we can't wait until our landlord sells the house and have to move in the middle of the busiest part of the season.
- the change might be good.

we're going to put out stuff in storage here and my mom's boyfriend is letting us stay in his house that he doesn't use. this is in case something comes up back up here. theoretically, this gets us through the 2010 racing season and we'll just take things one month at a time.

even though i hate change, i'm really looking forward to living in the same place as my family. we've never been able to do that with afton. many of you who read this blog are in the same boat, and it is so incredibly hard to raise children without family support. so, despite my hatred of change, we're hoping the transition will be a smooth one.

well, i have 37 things on my 'to-do' list before we leave in 2 weeks so i better get off the computer now. see you soon, okies!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

WARNING: this is a long post!

well if you want blog posts, you're going to have to imagine pictures in your head based on careful descriptions and my flowing imagery. i broke the camera. i left it in my purse without the case and the screen is blown out. oh well. it was kind of old and the delay was really annoying but still, it was better than nothing. but for now, you'll just have to imagine what afton's hair looks like with applesauce rubbed into it like hair gel. it's pretty funny i must say.
it's beginning to resemble spring up here in chicago. we've had two nice days in a row of over 60 degrees and we're loving it. of course, it's supposed to snow again on sunday which is abhorrent. afton wants to be outside every minute now and throws monster tantrums whenever it's time to come in. he's definitely an outside boy.
terry, vicky and carlee all came to visit last weekend and we took the train downtown for the st. patty's day festivities. they dye the river green and have a parade and everyone dresses up in the strangest combination of green apparel and basically do what most people do on st. patty's day- drink green beer. we did not partake but walked around in the cold, misty weather and afton was all cozied up in his backpack carrier on dustin's back. it's a great piece of equipment with a rain/sun shield so he didn't get wet at all. he likes to be up high so he didn't complain as long as we kept feeding him garrett's famous popcorn like he was a baby bird.
dustin is about to leave on a trip for work again and afton and i are trying to decide what to do with ourselves. we don't really do so great being home alone for more than about 5 days at a time. we both get cranky if it's longer than that. :) we may go and visit some friends in michigan or in minnesota for a few days.
we want to go to oklahoma but i think we're going to wait until mid-april. this way we can go to the arts festival which is one of my favorite events! we went last year and we're trying to make it an annual thing!
yesterday was my birthday and i turned 31. i don't really think of myself as 31 yet, i was just getting comfortable with 30! my brother's birthday is today and we always used to have joint birthdays when we were little and i hated having to share them with him. now i wish we could celebrate together!
we also may be moving soon. the house that we've been renting here is going back on the market soon. who knows how long it will take to sell, probably not long though. work is changing for us and we're being forced to make some hard decisions. i hate making decisions and i hate moving! we've moved too much in the past few years and i know it comes with the territory working in motorsports but it gets old. everyone working in racing is feeling the same way. not a great industry to be in right now.
but anyways, we'll figure it out like always! hope everyone had a happy st. patty's day and drank some green beer and ate some corned beef and cabbage! we did!
some things afton's doing:
  • running
  • climbing
  • refusing to eat cut-up food
  • refusing to eat food with his fingers
  • refusing to use toddler utensils- insists on full-size forks and spoons!
  • refusing to eat foods that are taken out of their wrappers; i.e. MUST eat bananas in the peel, MUST eat fruit snacks in original packaging. (lots of refusing here, get the picture?)
  • reading to himself
  • talking on his cell phone very loudly (must have listened to me on the phone with customer service0
  • spelling his name (when prompted)
  • hiding things like milk-filled sippie cups, mommy's brush, mommy's toothbrush (after using), one shoe, measuring cups, and other important things.
  • using the word "no" as often as possible, usually in repetition.
  • putting his hand into his diaper when it needs to be changed - don't need pictures for that visual do we?
but he also does good things like:
  • blowing kisses
  • coloring on paper
  • carrying around his two blankets like linus and putting his head on your shoulder when he's tired
  • calling mommy and daddy when he wants something
  • putting his toys and cars away when asked
  • saying words like; milk, more, grandpa (paw paw), kitty, dog, baby (he loves babies and often gives kisses to pictures of himself as a baby), mommy, daddy, race car, tractor, book, hi, buh bye, socks, shoes (obsessed with shoes!), kiwi, apple, uh oh, banana, french fry, water, juice, these are all i can think of now!
  • using his language and pointing to communicate
Hopefully we'll have pictures of some of these things soon!!
much love,

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wedding Day

The day we all have been waiting for...the day you dream about as a little girl...the day you've planned for years and years...! well, some of that is true, but i really didn't want all that pomp and pageantry on my wedding day. big surprise, yeah? one of the reasons we decided to have a destination wedding, other than the obvious fact that a wedding in chicago in the middle of winter is about as un-appealing as i can imagine, was that we wanted a more low-key affair. we're low key. well i am. well, maybe i'm not. but i want to be. ;) so on the day of the wedding, dustin and i gave strict instructions to our guests to NOT say things in cheesy voices such as, "it's the big day...are you nervous?!" or equally as gut-wrenching comments. thankfully they listened. we basically wanted to pretend that this day was really no different than any other, we were just getting all dressed up for it. dustin did throw a tantrum when my family wouldn't let him get ready in our room...and i honestly wouldn't have cared if he did...!

So i started out the day with a light breakfast because i was fearful that my high intake of sodium and alcohol (one word: margarita) was going to impede on my ability to fit into my wedding dress. i then proceeded to sit in the sauna for over an hour and was joined by the most of the girls. i think we had 10 people in about a 8 person sauna. it was fun.

then it was time for hair, makeup, and nails. this took 3.5 hours. i needed a lot of work. i brought all sorts of pictures of how i wanted my hair and in the end i hated it and we had to fix it as best as we could when we got back to the room.

"this doesn't look like the picture..."

my aunt jan, cousin emily, and pseudo mom gail all stayed with me throughout this torturous process. i mean, who wants to sit inside a spa for 3.5 hours when the beach is right outside??? the one thing typical of brides that i did do, was break down into tears for no apparent reason while i was getting my hair done...along with everyone else. it was ridiculous. crying about dogs and healthcare and just nonsense. it was the kind of crying where you're laughing too because you know you're being ridiculous. funny. after that we ordered champagne and it was all better.

"can you zip it?"

'it fits! yessssss!"

Then we hung out in the room for about an hour and dustin got ready with his cousin melissa and her husband allen. they were so cute. allen ironed his shirt for him.

i kept insisting that everyone be sure to stop by and harass him, as i don't think it's fair that the bride has all the attention on her. i was trying to deflect some of that.

my something old was my great grandmother elva's wedding ring, which i liked wearing so much i'm still wearing it now. my something new was my dress, my something borrowed was a pretty handkerchief that is aunt jan's that was grandma elva's that emily wrapped around my bouquet (i loved her a lot and she had a good hand in raising me and afton is even named after her - murphy- so she had a big presence there) and my something blue was my undies.

You can see grandma elva's ring and handkerchief here.

at one point my cousin colton came into the room to take the decorations down to the beach and he was like, 'there's people all lined up out there like the paparazzi!' and i nearly fainted until my aunt jan shooed him out and insisted that he was lying. he wasn't. i met my dad at our decided upon location and met the wedding coordinator and i felt like a celebrity.

it was embarrassing. when we were walking down to the beach people were clapping and cheering and yelling and i'm saying things to my dad under my breath like, 'i'm going to kill all those people...' and we were laughing and there's a great picture where he's saying something funny like that.

look at all those people behind us!

i was nervous. not like nervous to get married, just nervous to have the spotlight on me. i don't like that. and all these hundreds of people were lined up as spectators at our if my own family and friends staring at me wasn't enough! but it was great. i didn't see afton the whole day until i walked down the aisle so i waved at him and said hi to him when i walked by. he was with dustin's aunt sheri all day and he looked so handsome in his outfit. the minister was so cute with his accent and the ceremony was sweet. it was just 20 minutes or so and just perfect. everyone was quiet when the ceremony took place and very respectful.
after the ceremony on the beach we took pictures and then had a cocktail reception. at this point i was feeling relieved. whew. after cocktail time we had the reception dinner at a brazilian steakhouse at the resort and we cut the cake.

at this time afton began to get tired. my dad decided to take him up to bed (i think he was tired too) so they left and then we cut the cake and then that was pretty much it for dinner.

"the hand-off"

we went to one of the bars as a group and after awhile we started getting restless. once again, we made the decision to go into downtown playa del carmen to senor frogs. again. it was so much fun to walk through the town and everyone would just stop and clap and it was like we were famous. people wanted to have their pictures taken with us! it was funny! once again we had a great time and danced and danced and danced. then we piled into cabs and went back to the hotel.

there are really no words for this picture.

maybe not what most little girls dream of their wedding days to be...but for me it was just perfect. i wouldn't have changed a thing! thanks for everyone who made the trip with us, we love you! for those of you who didn't make it...i bet you're regretting it aren't you?!?!? ;)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mexico Part 2

on the second full day, a group of us decided to take a trip to the mayan ruins at tulum, which was just about an hour south of the hotel. myself, my dad, my aunt jan and cousin emily, our friends jack and gail and dan all decided to go.

it was incredible. the ruins were constructed over 800 years ago but were completely abandoned by the end of the 16th century when the Spaniards invaded. it was an old shipping port and you can still see today where is used to be. it's amazing to me that these buildings are so old! the beach at tulum was also amazing. it's one of the most talked about beaches in the western hemisphere and people go there just to see that!afton got to hang out with a different family member each day. this way he never got bored with anyone and also everybody got a chance to 'enjoy' him. afton was a little bit of a handful at times...:) here he is jumping on the bed with cousin allen!we also spent a lot of time at our beach at the hotel and also lounging by the pool. afton loved the water! i wasn't sure how he'd take to the ocean but he loved it!we had a 'rehearsal dinner' even though there wasn't anything to rehearse and i made dustin give a 'speech' which consisted of 10 words and i think nearly caused him a heart attack. but he did it. :)Next up: wedding day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Mexico Part 1

So most of you have seen the professional wedding photos because I put them on facebook but what you may or may not have seen was everything before that. So for all of you who couldn't be with us, I'm going to spend a couple of posts describing what went on before the wedding :)

dustin, afton and i had a challenging trip down to mexico, changing planes in Philadelphia which i take full responsibility for b/c i was trying to get the best deal on airfare and waited too long! we had to leave the house at 3:15am so afton was all confused. from phillie to cancun afton pretty much cried the whole way except for when he fell asleep on his neck pillow which you can see here. needless to say, both mom and dad were needing those beers that the shuttle drivers keep in coolers at the airport!

we arrived to meet all of our friends and family, most of who had arrived just before us. those who hadn't arrived later that evening or the next day. we sat on the beach until it got dark and then sat around in the bar where we could watch everyone arrive. it was fun to see everyone's excitement and and everyone got to know each other very quickly. i should have organized an official meet and greet with name tags or something but oh well.

The resort was beautiful. we had amazing views of the ocean and the courtyard from our room. i would definitely go back there in a heartbeat. everyone was so friendly and the resort was unbelievable.
afton woke us up at 6am the next morning but no matter, we we so anxious to hit the beach we didn't mind. we ate breakfast everyday at an amazing buffet with more food than you could imagine. lunch was at an open-air restaurant by the beach everyday and dinner was at either the buffet or one of 5 specialty restaurants. there was a bar at the beach and it had swim up chairs in the pool area. the first couple of days we were so excited that we took the offers of pina coladas at 8am but later in the trip we realized this was not the best option. but every first time guest gets tipsy by lunchtime at this resort. it's just how it can't resist!be sure to drink lots of water when you're in the heat!!!a group snorkeling adventure was planned for thursday and a group of 18 of us went. it was supposed to be 19 but doug backed out at the last minute b/c the ocean was really rough that day. he gets motion sickness and he wouldn't have made it to the boat before puking. good decision doug. i refer to this part of the vacation as 'extreme snorkeling.'
now, we don't have pictures to prove it b/c if we had our cameras they wouldn't still be working. we had to wade out in the ocean up to what normally would have been our waists, but with the rough seas, was over our heads. i lost my sunglasses immediately. along with my cousin emily, we were decked by a giant wave and immediately burst into a fit of hysterical laughter that last 15 minutes. the mexican guides had to lift us by our life jackets onto the boat that was lifting at least 5 feet into the air with each wave and thus, launching each of us onto the boat while climbing up the ladder. it was great. this was my favorite part of the excursion. watching the 'older' ones come onto the boat looking like drowned rats was good too. once we started going toward the reef in the boat, i decided to put on my goggles b/c this was the only way i could see and/or breathe. the waves were pelting us so hard on the boat that we held on for dear life and dustin's mom screamed like we were on a roller coaster. also great fun. when we got to the reef, it was a lot more work than i remembered. we had to paddle so hard to fight the waves and it was not ideal to see a lot of fish. we did see some but it wasn't the best snorkeling i've ever seen. lots of our group only made it for about 5 minutes before asking to get back in the boat due to 'goggle' or other issues. it was rough. :) getting back onto the boat was another chore and vicki (dustin's mom) decided to take off her fins in the water and was nearly swept away. it was funny, i assure you. we all made it safely back onto the boat and were pretty worn out after that excursion.
after that we just lounged on the beach. afton spent the whole day with my dad and they had a great time.the younger group went to senor frogs that night as we danced like it was our job. good times were had by all.
next up: the mayan ruins in tulum...

Monday, February 1, 2010


well, i still haven't managed to find the cord to the camera so this is going to be a picture free post. also, this post will not have correct capitalization due to the fact that my hand cramps when i try to use the left-side shift key. apparently it's all the rage now in toddler circles to remove said keys from their mommy's keyboards. i am now missing 5 keys, three of which are insignificant but the "p" key and the "shift" key are taking some getting used to.
we're going to mexico for our wedding in just under two days. we're very excited. i am starting to get stressed out, however, at the travel part of this trip. the amount of stuff that we are taking should be illegal. i've been packing for two days already to make sure we don't forget anything. it's ridiculous. dustin went to florida for almost two weeks for work and so afton and i were home alone for 11 days. this is not recommended. he also managed to catch a bug from daycare and had a 104 fever for a day or so! scary! but momma and child made it thorough without dustin (barely) and now we've got less than 48 hours before we depart for mexico!
i'm really excited that so many of our family and friends are coming. there are 30 people attending! i'm sorta bummed that none of my close friends could make it, but they all have babies and jobs and lives so i understand. it still makes me kinda sad though i must admit. but that's okay! our families are amazing and i'm so thankful for all of them. my dad is excited i think and he and slade and i haven't been on a vacation together in probably like 15 years! it will be so nice to have everyone under one roof!
oh, and travelling with so much stuff and a toddler has taken lots of planning. a taxi is picking us 3:15 in the morning on wednesday! we're taking the car seat of course, my dress, two suitcases, and a box with the decorations. afton is riding in his backpack carrier on dustin's back. let's hope he doesn't blow it out b/c i can't carry him more than 5 minutes in the thing and no stroller! we're bringing a portable dvd player and lots of books. i'm scared b/c as afton gets older, he gets more rambunctious and defiant. these two things do not bode well on 3 1/2 hour flights...does anyone know about baby benadryl?? ;) kidding, of course.
say a prayer for us and i'll have pictures soon! xxxx love you all!