Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Music and Thongs

I just returned from the Stagecoach festival and oh man what an experience!!!!  Last year my friend Wendy and I were on a mission to go this year and I'm so glad we did.  In fact I dare say I will go every year from this point on.  I've never done the festival thing so I wasn't completely sure what it was going to be like.  I just knew there were some artists that I wanted to see perform.

On Friday when we arrived we chilled out and got a feel for the place.  The people watching...EPIC.  Oh my lord did I see some funny funny stuff.  Need an example?  Here you go!

That is just a small small sample of the things that I saw over the weekend.  There were a lot of scantly clad men and women.  I couldn't quit laughing and snapping pictures.  If you want to see more, you can check out my Instagram where I was posting pictures CONSTANTLY.

I visited one of the smaller stages Friday night to check out Jeff Bridges and The Abiders.  I got right in the front and loved every minute.

I know a lot of people instantly go to The Big Lebowski, but I have been in love with Jeff Bridges since Starman!  It was so fun to see him perform, he is exactly as he seems on the screen and is still such a good looking man.

Saturday I spent more time exploring and was most excited to see a group that I recently discovered (thanks to Carey) called The Lone Bellow.  I'm a huge music fan, but find that I listen to more artists that aren't getting radio play than those that are.  They tend to write their own music, have more passionate music and aren't audio tuned to the max.  If you can perform for me live and still impress me then I think that says a lot about the music and talent this day and age.  The Lone Bellow did not disappoint AT ALL.  I was more in love with them after watching them live than I was on the album.  I could have left the concert at that point and been content with my whole experience.  If you have not heard of this group, please go watch this and then please go buy their album!  If you are going to Outside Lands in SF, please take me with you so I can see them again.

After watching them I got to attend the meet and greet and have them sign their CD.

I loved them even more after that.  Zach was soo sweet, and it was cute that he wrote "Be Giddy" when he signed the CD.  When I walked up and introduced myself I told him I was going to try not to be all giddy talking to them.  Brian then thanked me for singing along the whole time they were playing and I almost pee'd myself.  It really meant a lot to me, which is so silly, but I had so much fun and glad he knew I did.  Such a sweet group of people and I hope that they get far...I can't imagine that they won't.

Thankfully I did still had one more day on Sunday.  It was the hottest day, between 106-108 and people were SUPER mellow.  I think everyone was just trying not to die of heat stroke.  Zac Brown Band was the headliner and the end of the whole weekend and what a fantastic way to go out.  Another group that really knows how to put on a live show.

Such a wonderful three days and I absolutely can't wait to go back next year!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mommy time....

On Thursday I leave with my girlfriend Wendy for the Stagecoach Festival in Indio, CA.  I cannot even say how excited I am.  We said last year that we should go, and thankfully we did just that!  The shows start Friday and end on Sunday.

Yep, that is 4 days without Leyton.  Yeah, yeah, it's 4 days without Bill too but I've done that before.  Leyton, well he's my baby.  I haven't left him for more than 24 hours since he was born.  I know it's going to be wonderful to have some time to myself, to have some fun and to refresh.  That doesn't mean that inside I'm not sad about it.

Boy, I am just filling you with stories lately of me being sad and crying but I think because the crying part is kind of a strange territory for me I find it interesting what makes me cry.

This morning I was getting ready and told Leyton it was almost time to go and he ran away because he wanted to stay home.  He wasn't feeling great and just wanted to spend the day with Mommy.  I continued doing my things around the house getting ready to leave.  About 5-10 minutes went by and I realized I hadn't seen Leyton.  I started walking through the house looking for him, but I couldn't find him.  The panic set in.  I was frantic through the house looking all over for him and couldn't find him anywhere.  I went back through rooms and suddenly there he was, in the spare bedroom on the bed just sitting there.  I think he had been in the closet and finally got bored and came out.

The minute I saw him I started to cry.  I became completely overwhelmed.  He looked at me and said, "Why are you crying Mommy?"  I replied, "I couldn't find you and Mommy got really scared and sad."  He looked at me with a smile and said, "Mommy, I'm right here, you don't need to cry anymore."

Oh man, I cried harder.  Ahh, the joys of motherhood.

Let's not forget that I cry at cheering crowds so lord only knows what is going to happen at Stagecoach.  I might be the first person that cries at a Toby Keith performance.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Raw

There's a restaurant by my office called The Green Boheme that I have been waiting to try out and lucky for me I have gone there TWICE now.  They are raw, organic, gluten free and soy free.  I know some people may be shaking their heads and imaging carrot sticks and lettuce leaves but oh my word are you incorrect.  This is what my plate of nachos looked like the first time I ate there.

Seriously, how delicious does that look?!  The colors, the presentation...they nailed it.  Oh, the taste, WONDERFUL.  I mean so so so good.  I had a moment that I thought I would be going raw from that point forward.  It tasted like the most excellent 7 layer kind of dip I had ever had.  There was so much I took half of it home and ate it for lunch as a burrito over the weekend.

I went back today and had the Wellness Burger.  Heaven on a plate is the only way I know how to describe the taste.  There's something else I noticed too, when you go online and look at their website the pictures of the food look beautiful.  Everything just looks delicious.  Think of the same thing with your fast food joints.  Even McDonalds makes their food look delicious in pictures.  Here's the difference, when you actually get that food at McD's it looks NOTHING like it's picture.  In fact most of the time if you actually really look at what you are eating it won't look that good.  When you get your food from The Green Boheme it looks EXACTLY like its picture if not more beautiful.  There is something to be said about that.

Even better, they have REVIVE KOMBUCHA ON TAP!!!  I mean seriously, I need one of these in my house.


Lucky for me this place is 10 minutes at the most from my office and I love going out to lunch.  It's a win win!

Friday, April 19, 2013

A little at a time....

Yesterday I went to the doctor and asked if I could have a print out of my weight since I started going.  My first visit was on April 21, 2011 and at that visit I weighed 260 lbs.  This is the heaviest I have ever been.  I was not this heavy when I was giving birth to my almost 10lb baby boy.  I could not call this baby weight because I walked out of delivery weighing less than I did BEFORE I got pregnant.

I looked at the chart and noticed that the weight has gone up and down a little but never back up to 260.  I got down to 240 and then yo yo'd a bit from 240 to 230 for a good year.

My current weight on a doctor's office scale is 227.8.

I've lost 32.2 lbs in almost exactly 2 years.  That's something to celebrate right?  It felt good to know that over a couple years I am weighing less and less.  On average, according to studies, people tend to gain 5-10lbs each year.  If I think of it that way I could easily be sitting here at 280lbs...inching towards that 300lb mark with each passing year.  Instead, I'm making it a mission to weigh a little less each year.  Does it have to be a ton, no.  If I lost another 32.2 lbs over the next two years I will be SUPER HAPPY with that.  That would mean I would be under 200lbs.  That would mean I was getting healthier with each passing year.

I've done Weight Watchers a lot during the course of my life.  I have watched myself and other balk at little weight losses.  "Oh man," I would think, "I only lost .5lbs this week."  Losing a percentage of a pound always seemed like a failure and I'm sure most people out there would agree that when this happens to them they get frustrated and feel like they didn't do something right.  AND YET, all of those people would probably cheer for my 32.2lb weight loss.  When you look at the big picture you will realize that is the equivalent of losing .3lbs a week.

It's time for us to STOP beating ourselves up and START celebrating every little bit of success that we have no matter how small it seems!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Yesterday I got lost in the circus, feeling like such a mess....

For most of my life I have dealt with bouts of depression.  Just days, and sometimes longer, in which I feel really down in the dumps.  I'm a pretty laid back person, don't let a lot get to me, let stuff roll of my shoulders and stay positive.  At times that feels impossible.

I would say this got a bit worse when I had Leyton.  I definitely suffered some postpartum depression and some of that lingered.  I feel like when I do get sad now I get more sad than before.  Another thing I've noticed is that when I do get sad now, I cry.  I cry over EVERYTHING.  I cry and sometimes can't stop crying.  This is hard for me because I have never been a crier.  There's a part of me that thinks it is good to cry and maybe is helping me out, but at the same time the overwhelming urge to cry can suck at times.  I'll end the post on a funny note with more on crying.

I started to feel the darkness roll in this weekend.  Just an overall feeling of being down and things really getting to me.  I don't really have a specific way that I deal with this, just try to trudge on.  Try to pay attention to the little things in life that make me smile and make me happy and not focus on the bad.

Then Monday happened.  I don't want to talk about this a ton, but it hit me hard.  Disasters are something that I take pretty well, they happen and will continue to happen.  It could be natural, it could be terrorism.  Maybe it's negative to think that, I just am not sure they are something we are ever going to be able to stop.  The problem was two fold.  I was already down in the dumps and I lived in Boston.  I watched the marathon from a rooftop at the finish line.  It still in some way feels like a home even though I only lived there a short time.

So, I've been just trying to avoid all the news attention.  I really hate all the conspiracy theories that go along with it and the fear that the news likes to lace into stories.  I also can't stand some of the stuff I see on Facebook.  A man posted a picture of the finish line and a building exploding and wrote "Who is that on the roof?"  On the roof you could make out the silhouette of a person walking.  Really?  What is the reason for that?  Have you ever been during the Boston Marathon?  If so, did you not see the HUNDREDS of people standing and watching the event from the roof.  That is the kind of thing I can't stand.  Just give sympathy to the families and the victims of that event, don't try to create your own conspiracy tornado.

Moving on, the explosion in Waco was just overwhelming.  I eventually couldn't take anymore and had to put headphones in and listen to music to drown out the noise.

This year has been rough, and not just for me.  I feel like many in my circle are just surrounded by death and tragedy and illness.  I'm hoping the light starts shining bright soon because to be honest, it is becoming exhausting.

On a funny note!  See, I told you I'd lighten it up.  As I said before I'm not a cry baby, however when I had Leyton I got a little more teary eyed.  The thing is, it doesn't happen with sappy movies, it doesn't happen with sad songs, it doesn't happen with Hallmark commercials.  Want to know what it does happen with?  The thing that makes me well up each and every time.

Cheering crowds.

Yep, how's that for awkward.  I remember going to a Foo Fighters concert and the minute the lights went out and the crowd started to roar I stood there in the darkness trying not to cry.  You name it, baseball games, live events, etc, etc.  I'll be in the one in the corner trying not to cry like a baby.


(Title of blog post is from Colors by Amos Lee)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I want to ride my bicycle.

One of Leyton's favorite activities right now is riding his bicycle.  I can't tell you how happy I am that I got a bike so I can ride around with him.  This weekend we had lots of opportunities to ride around.  We went to a birthday party on Saturday at a place called Safetyville here in Sacramento.  I will have to remember this place when Leyton is older.  It is essentially a little version of Sacramento and you can just bike around to your hearts content.

Since Leyton's Mommy isn't the sharpest tool in the shed I missed the part on the invitation that said to bring bikes.  So, we used what was available to us and I absolutely love this picture for some reason.

It took him a while to get use scooter type of bike but once he did he LOVED it.

On Sunday after I ride to the park I decided to take Leyton on an even longer ride and we headed out to Nugget.  The ride is just shy of a mile each way and my little man did SO GOOD!  At times he said, "This is tough Mommy."  Even though, he just kept going and going.  I was so proud of my little bike rider.

Right now Leyton has a Strider and man I am a huge advocate.  He is learning to balance to well and I don't forsee that we will need training wheels in the future.  He's been riding it since about 2.5 years old and happily added a bell to the bike yesterday.

I can't wait for a summer filled with bike rides with my boy.

Monday, April 15, 2013

I've got some bitching to do.

Figured it would be best to just get that out there so you know what you are about to embark on if you decide to read this post.  You see though, I have a story that I just can't help but share.  A story of a strained and rocky relationship.

The relationship is with...Sears.

Many many years ago I bought a refrigerator from Sears and to make a long story short the fridge was delivered three times and each time something was wrong with it.  On the third time I told them to just cancel the order.  It then took them almost two months to credit me.  TWO MONTHS.  I vowed to never shop there again.

Guess what?  Like the stupid person that I am, a couple years ago I started giving Sears a second chance.  I haven't purchased much there, a couple tools for Bill, a little stroller and some socks.  I've kept it very minimal.  Over three weeks ago the Ball company released some limited edition blue canning jars and I knew I had to have some.  I searched around online and most places were sold out, but Sears had them in stock.  I ordered three boxes of them.

The very next day a friend was looking for them and I found a little hardware store online that still had some and when I looked at the price with shipping I realized it was HALF what I was paying for them at Sears.  So, I emailed Sears to see if I could cancel the order.  I got an email back telling me that actually, the order was already cancelled because the item was out of stock and that I should get a system email soon letting me know my credit was on the way.

Guess who never got a system email?  Guess who never even got ONE email this whole time unless I prompted the conversation?  ME ME ME!  If I hadn't reached out to Sears I would still be sitting around wondering where my order was.

Now, Sears deals with other merchants (kind of similar to what Amazon does.)  Though my order was placed with Sears and it was Sears who billed me, it was actually Cooking.com that was supposed to fill the order.  They were the ones that replied to my original email saying the item was out of stock.  So I emailed them again telling them I hadn't received a system email and hadn't received a credit.  They said they couldn't help and I needed to talk to Sears.

I called Sears, and guess what they told me?  Yep, they couldn't help and I would need to talk to the merchant.  Let's get this straight, the order was PLACED with Sears, the money was given to and taken from Sears, but when it came to getting my money back it was of course not their problem.  I went back to Cooking.com again and hit a dead end because they didn't have my money or know method of payment since they had nothing to do with it.

I called Sears again, FURIOUS.  I can't say I was the nicest person on the phone with them but I was not going to let them give me the run around again.  Still, by the time I ended that conversation I was told that the research department would be looking into it and would get back to me within 24-48 hours.  I got an email 48 hours later that the research department would need another 5-7 days.  Remember, I have no product, I have no emails about the product from them without my initiation and yet they would need up to a week to "investigate."

Let me tell you what it took to get my money back.  Thankfully I paid with Paypal and filed a claim with them.  Within a week they took care of it and got me my refund.  Who is to thank for that, Paypal.  Should I have had to file a claim to get money back from a company like Sears?  HELL NO.

I'm 100% certain I will NEVER shop at Sears again and will encourage EVERYONE I know to do the same.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Weekend Recap

This weekend was full, in fact...every weekend in April is going to be full!

Saturday morning I went to Weight Watchers.  I'm not really doing the program to be honest.  I'm not counting points or logging anything.  I'm just going for the meetings.  I like the information I get and it does hold me accountable.  I know that I do ultimately not want to care about the number on the scale but I have decided that until that number is 200lbs I am going to pay attention to it.  Only once a week though, that is all I will allow myself.  Once I get under 200lbs then I will just check my weight once a month.  The scales were in my favor and I have lost 9.2lbs in the last two weeks.  It's felt very natural the past couple weeks, but last night a sugar craving kicked in that got so bad I starting drooling over a commercial of Jeff Foxworthy eating a pie.  You know you have a problem with sugar when THAT looks delicious.

Sunday when Leyton woke up I told him that we were going to have an adventure.  I honestly had no idea what we were going to do, I just knew I wanted to be outside.  It was early so we headed to Fairytale Town and the Zoo.  They open at 9am which is SUCH A BLESSING!  Really, I'm not sure how we are still in a time of things not opening until 10-11am.  Fairytale Town is great because he gets to run around and burn off a ton of energy.  I think he walked the crooked mile at least 5 times.  I went with him twice but with the banged up foot I let him go by himself a couple times after that.  I will say though that I have a panic attack while he's in there because there is a point where I don't see him for quite a while and I'm certain that he's lost in there.

Once we were done there we walked across the street to the zoo.  It was a good zoo day too because all the animals were OUT!  Most of the time they are hiding away, but they too were enjoying the sunshine.  Leyton's favorite part...the fish.  Guess we better head to an aquarium again!  His second favorite was the reptile house.  He kept talking about how it was beautiful in there, yikes.  He also overheard a conversation from a guy who had a boa that would always escape.  This turned into a fun story at home when Leyton got home and told his Dad, "you can't let the snakes out or they will be in the washing machine and bite you."


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Inked

Yesterday I got to almost finish something I have wanted for a long time.  When I started getting tattoos I knew I wanted a sleeve, but didn't think I had the balls to do it.  Then I got married and got the last name Ball and I mean, you have to have balls then right?  Nah, it really didn't have anything to do with that.

It had everything to do with finding this:

When I saw this artwork by Yellena James my jaw hit the floor and I knew that was what I would get put on my arm.  I can't even begin to describe how it speaks to me.  The colors, the organic shapes, the almost organized chaos just felt like it described me.  It was unconventionally beautiful.  Something you could just keep staring it and notice something different each time.

I started the tattoo in April of 2012, but only got an outline of sorts done.

It needed a lot of work, but my tattoo artist moved away and I felt lost.  I thought it would be easy for me to travel to Seattle to have him finish the work, but as time went on I knew that was never going to happen.  Then the mission started to find another artist.  I talked to people, I went into a couple shops and nothing just fit.  Then I went into Relentless Tattoo to talk to Liz.  First off, I loved the chill atmosphere.  It felt like a quiet, laid back shop which I loved. I also was extremely intrigued to have a woman tattoo me.  Through the years I have dealt with A LOT of arrogant men while getting a tattoo.  I loved my last artist because he was not arrogant and felt I was going to have a hard time finding that again.  Liz gave off no arrogance at all, she was cool, she was friendly and she seemed happy to help me out with the project.

Oh, she did not disappoint!  It was by far the best tattoo experience I have had.  I enjoyed talking to her and just hanging out.  She also did an amazing job picking up where my previous artist left off and creating something herself.  Using the artwork as inspiration and putting her own tastes and ideas into it.  I'm absolutely in love with this tattoo and want to stare at it all day.  The detail is fantastic and just like the artwork the longer you look at it the more you notice little things.  I hope it would make Yellena proud.

My plan is to wrap it on the under side of the arm as well so it is a complete sleeve but I'll give the outside some time to heal before I go back.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Weekend Recap

This weekend was GREAT!  This was our first Easter where we really didn't have to be anywhere at a certain time or plan much of anything. Could just get up and do what we wanted and enjoy the day.  The weather was beautiful most of the time which was a huge bonus.

On Saturday we woke up early and met some friends for breakfast and then headed to Bertha Henschel park for an Easter egg hunt.  Leyton had a blast finding eggs and then trying to eat every single piece of candy that he found.

Oh, can we stop for a second to talk about candy because I have a pet peeve.  Leyton is almost two and we has been the recipient of some birthday goody bags and filled Easter eggs.  I, as his Mom, have also had to make birthday goody bags and fill eggs for other kids.  Can I ask what the deal is with the gobstopper?  I mean at what age does a jawbreaker become a good candy option?  Is there an age?  For a moment, let's say that age is 8....can we just agree though that if there are children who are under the age of 8 that might be present then the gobstopper should maybe not be the first candy you pick?  Seriously, I'm over the damn gobstopper.

Let's move on.  The Easter Bunny was present at the egg hunt and I figured Leyton was going to stay a million miles away from him.  He's not a huge fan of characters but isn't deathly frightened either.  I'd call him cautiously curious.  While we were there he wanted to know where the Easter bunny was, say him, said he didn't want to see him and then twenty minutes later decided to climb on the park bench with him.  It was soo funny.  He ended up going back later for another round and sat much closer.

Saturday night there was an amazing thunder and lightning storm at our house and I can't believe he slept through it.  That thunder was so loud it was rattling the windows and setting all the car alarms off.  Because of rain our Easter basket was in the house and we didn't do an egg hunt at home until after nap on Sunday.

We woke up and colored eggs and I have to say, I love the muted tone the eggs had since I was using brown eggs.  It was just the three of us for Easter dinner but I made a feast for 10 of course.  The food was all beautiful and while I made some mashed potatoes and ham for the hub...everything else was super super healthy!

I'm looking forward to my leftovers today, that salad in the bottom left was sooo yummy!

Hope you and yours had a Happy Easter weekend!