Monday, October 29, 2007

Aunt Mandy

So I decided to write right now while the house is still quiet, because in about an hour or so I might be slightly busy. This week I'm babysitting my niece & nephew, Evan & Maddy, while Cory & David (my sister and brother-in-law) are in Hawaii. David got chosen through his work to go on this trip, because he's been doing really well, so they are enjoying a beautiful place for one week while I'm being a great sister by babysitting the kiddos. :) I'm now realizing how well-deserved this vacation is for them.

I really can't figure out how single mothers, well, single parents, I should say, of multiple children survive. I think one child would be manageable, but two is an entirely different story. Thankfully, Mimi (my mom) came to visit yesterday and help out all day. Without her I might have lost my sanity within the first 24 hours. The kids are behaving really well, so it's not necessarily that or my impatience. In the first day, though, we already had to take Evan to PromptCare because he had a fever from an ear infection and an upper respiratory infection. By the time we got to their regular pharmacy, it was closed for the we journeyed to a different one to attempt filling his prescription there, which turned into my mom being in Wal-Mart for what seemed like hours while I entertained the kids in the car. And today, Evan and I dropped Maddy off at daycare, but I had to stay home w/ him due to him having a fever. Hopefully tomorrow he can go, so I can go back to work.

While doing this is quite challenging, I kind of enjoy the challenge. I like seeing if I can do it to know if I'll be prepared one day when I have kids of my own. And I've never learned to appreciate the peace and quiet at the end of the day quite like this before. There's nothing like the end of the day when two precioius faces are finally asleep and you get a few moments to yourself. I know that will be the biggest adjustment when I become a parent someday, because I'm used to spending my time however I want. I now realize the sacrifices that parents make...and only to a small extent, because I'm only doing this for one week!

It's bound to be an adventurous week...with a sick, but extremely happy 5-month-old, and a chatterbox, imaginative storyteller, 4-year-old who is going on 20. Actually, she told me the other night that she's 28 and she was going to go hang out with boys. (Cory and David, look out!) And if I can manage to change the darn crib sheet every day, it will be a miracle...that's the only thing I have managed to get upset about, because fitted sheets seem to be in a constant, waging war against me...along with Saran Wrap. I hate those 2 things.

Well, I hear a little boy waking up in his swing...Aunt Mandy to the rescue!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

karaoke superstar?

"2 posts in one day?" you ask? Yes.

Since I just got out of the car and came in my office to drop off my college fair things, I thought I'd also let you know something about me. Often I get asked what I do while I'm driving to and fro in the midst of college fair season and other road trips. While my dear friend Becka strongly encourages me to listen to NPR, I continue to choose music. It is, after all, one of my most favorite things. And in case you didn't know, I'm quite the singer when I'm in the car by myself. And you wouldn't know that unless you happened to place a hidden camera in my vehicle, because it's just not the same when people are in the car. I jam, folks. And while I'm quite the karaoke superstar in the car, I've yet to get up on a stage somewhere in public and do it.

And just for fun, here are some of my recent faves to jam to in the car:

  • that new song, Paralyzed, by Finger Eleven. There's just something about it that seems brilliant to me...I'm not sure what. It's not the lyrics, though, b/c I still can't figure out what it really means.
  • Miranda Lambert's songs Kerosene and Famous in a Small Town--that girl can sing her heart out.
  • anything by the Steve Miller Band or The Doobie Brothers...they take me back to the old days of listening to them on actual records...on a record player...with a needle...and they remind me of my dad.
  • Foreigner's Love Isn't Always On Time. (quite possibly the story of my life? j/k...) seriously...just recently I keep finding this on the radio and rocking out to it. but i keep turning the electric guitar parts into drums in the air and on my steering wheel instead.
  • Elton John...Tiny Dancer. Except you have to sing it the way Phoebe does on Friends..."Hold me closer, Tony Daaanzaaaa...." I heard it 3 times today in the car, and it never gets old.
  • Billy Joel...Piano Man. It's just classic. Reminds me of last call at a bar, or a swaying circle of friends at a wedding reception, and it makes me want to raise a glass and say "cheers" :)
  • sadly, I'll admit that I actually jammed to My Humps by the Blackeyed Peas tonight.
  • Dierks Bentley's song Free and Easy Down the Road I Go...just makes me slap my leg and singalong every time.

So these are just the ones I remember singing to today...what are your favorite jams in the car?

when is it due???

I will have you know that I'm wearing a "pregnant-looking" shirt today, despite the fact that the last time I wore a dress that did NOT in fact make me look pregnant, someone thought I was.

We'll see how today goes...


(if you have no idea what i'm talking about...scroll down to read my previous blog entitled "um...really?")

Friday, October 19, 2007


I'm feeling inspired by my friend Chantell's recent post about fall, so I decided to do it as well. Normally, I really dislike the coming of fall, because it means that cold weather and winter are quickly approaching. The seasons of cold weather feel like a dark, cold cave that it takes lightyears to find your way out of, and it always makes me feel a little claustrophobic. I love sunshine and warm weather and icy drinks on hot days, and it seems like it lasts for such a short time.

However, I'll admit that this weekend fall is growing on sort of feels like it's wrapping me up in a big cozy blanket to welcome me in. And while I'd like to run backwards into summer, I have no other choice but to make myself comfortable and try to enjoy this season. (I think this might not only apply to seasons of weather but also these changing seasons of life...)

While summer will always remain my love, and this short-lived crush I'm having on fall surely won't last long, I'm enjoying a few of its characteristics:

-the colors of the leaves and how they remind me of puzzles
-the smells of bonfires in the distance at night
-the warmth of my big, cozy, comfy hooded sweatshirts
-the taste of all things apple, cinnamon, or pumpkin--apple cider, my mom's pumpkin bars, pumpkin spice lattes/frappuccinos, caramel apples, apple pie...
-my Gold Canyon candles from mom that smell like I'm at home...particularly Autumn Walk, because it reminds me of a man's cologne, but of course those that smell like apple, cinnamon, and pumpkin to remind me of baking
-the feeling that it's ok to lay around and do nothing all day on a saturday in the fall
-the urge that I feel to do some baking
-just the feeling of being in my apartment with the lights off, candles burning, and either reading, watching a movie or TV, or laying in a warm bath and relaxing

So I'm pretty sure I'm going to do all of these things this weekend. It's truly a fall weekend. After a long and difficult week of grieving my grandma, yet celebrating her life, and after being gone so much for work lately, I'm looking forward to enjoying a fall weekend. And I plan to bake a pie simply in honor of my Grandma Shirlye...with the candles burning...with a hoodie on...after taking some pictures of the pretty trees.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


so tonight at my grandma's visitation, my grandma & grandpa's neighbor lady was hugging my sister and me and then put her hand on my stomach and said "when is it due?"

uh. yeah.

i said..."i'm not pregnant."

i've gotta stop wearing those babydoll dresses & shirts that make skinny people look pregnant.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Grandma Shirlye

Shirlye A. Keen 1934-2007

Shirlye A. Keen, 73, of Streator, died Sunday afternoon, Oct. 14, at Heritage Manor Nursing Home in Streator. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Central Church of Christ with the Rev. Mark Upchurch officiating. Burial will be in Phillips Cemetery in Streator. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Solon, Baker & Telford Funeral Home in Streator and one hour prior to services Thursday at the church.

Mrs. Keen was born May 17, 1934, in Grundy County, to Newt and Agnes (Garvin) Mathison. She married Robert L. Keen on Aug. 19, 1963, in Streator. She attended Dwight High School. She was a selector for Owens-Illinois Glass Company for many years and was a cook at Woodland School. She was a member of Central Church of Christ, where she was involved with funeral luncheons and vacation Bible school.

She is survived by her husband; a daughter, Leann Liptak of Streator; a son, Robert L. (Tina) Jr. of Streator; a stepdaughter, Irene Cripe of Streator; four grandchildren, Shelby and Taylee Keen, Cory Kreitzer and Mandy Liptak; two stepgrandchildren, Rick Cripe and Jennifer (Jim) Pottala; two great-grandchildren; two stepgreat-grandchildren; and two sisters, Ramona Oelschlager of Streator and Mardell Carter of Dwight.

She was preceded in death by one sister, Audrey Farero; one brother, Wendell Mathison; and one son-in-law, Richard Liptak.

Pallbearers will be Dave Vickers, David Kreitzer, Keith Girard, Rick Cripe, Glenn Miller and Jerry Martin.

Memorials may be directed to Central Church of Christ.
And if I may add any other words about my grandma, they would be this:

She was the sweetest lady anyone might have ever known. She probably couldn't have hurt a fly. One of the most selfless, compassionate, generous, giving hearts, my grandma always put other people before herself--even if it was just by worrying about them! We will remember plenty of funny things she said--before AND during Alzheimer's. I surely will carry on her delicious pie-making and baking skills, but I'm sure mine will not compare. She endured so many struggles in her life but overcame, and I know that she clung to Jesus all the while. I'm thankful that she and my mom used to WALK to church as my mom grew up, and my mom continued in her faith...which leads to where I am today. I know that heaven threw a party on Sunday, because they just welcomed home a lady whose heart has been there for years. Praise God!

Monday, October 08, 2007


i'm pretty busy. you might hear me complain, but i'm really not complaining on the inside. i'd much rather be busy than bored. and i'm much too lazy to capitalize any letters right now, so please excuse me while i give into the pressure of using entirely lowercase letters.

at the moment i'm laying on my very large king sized bed at the hilton indian lakes resort in the suburbs of chicago. (don't worry lincoln...i got it for an extremely low price on priceline...) it feels good to just lay here. i had campus visit day all day at lincoln and a college fair tonight. this week i'll be residing here at the hilton due to college fairs every single night until i head home late thursday night. and then friday i'm driving to the "city of progress"--heath, ohio--for my friends' wedding.
and now, because i'm absolutely too tired to think about anything else, and because i like to share my favorite things with people, this is a bit of what i'm watching and listening to lately:


Brothers & Sisters on ABC...Sunday nights @ 10/9c. I have no idea why I didn't watch this all last season, but I'm catching myself up by renting Season 1. Last week after I watched this season's premiere episode, I woke up the next morning actually worried about the Walker family. You know you're too into a TV show when you're worried about a fictional family.

The Office. Come on folks, if you're not watching this, you're missing out. And if you don't think it's funny, then you haven't watched long enough...OR you have a strange sense of humor. Thankfully every week is filled with new quotable lines. Otherwise, I'd worry that it would become the next Napoleon Dynamite of overused that it's not really that funny anymore.

The Hills on MTV. I can't figure out why I just love to watch the lives of real people in southern California, but I do. I just like Lauren. I think we'd be friends.

Tori & Dean: Inn Love on Oxygen. I'm about 3 weeks behind on this show, but I am hoping for a marathon sometime soon. Tori Spelling & her husband Dean are pretty hilarious. They're actually really charming and funny people to watch! If you haven't seen it, check it out. As if we all need another show to be addicted to... that i'm really tired from posting those, i'm going to bed. tomorrow if i'm bored between things i'll make my list of music faves these days. i'm sure you can't wait!

(and i realized that by the end of this post i did actually use capital letters...sometimes i just can't escape good grammar even when i try.)