Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Realizing the truth . . .

If you realize that something is true does it change your attitude? For instance, I've recently had the epiphany that being pregnant (1st trimester at least) turns me into a snarling three headed beotch.

Oops. Guess Jeremy was right.
I will never ever tell him that though. Ever.
It would give him too much smug satisfaction and he would gloat and then the super duper beotch would come out of hiding and go on a rampage.
Not pretty.
But really, I have been pretty touchy lately. I don't do well without sleep and for some reason I cannot sleep through the night since I've been pregnant. Add the normal exhaustion to the whole no sleep thing and really I'm lucky to still be married.
This past weekend I woke up sick as a dog on Sunday and after begging Jeremy three times (he does not wake easily) to get up and watch Emma he finally did. And on top of that he kept her entertained for a whole 2 hours so I could lay in bed and sleep/be miserable. God love him.
And then, two nights this week he has washed dishes for me with only minimal and very subtle hints from me. I repeat, God love him. That's right everyone, no dishwasher. When we bought our house with the brilliant idea of remodeling there was no dishwasher on site. This was supposed to be remedied immediately but 5 years down the road and still washing by hand. Yuck. Bet you know what's on my bday list for this year!
In short, with our 7 year anniversary coming up he has really picked a good time to remind me how wonderful he is. And, now that I know what a beotch I've been (and knowing is half the battle) maybe I can manage to turn my frown upside down and make it to year 8! Ha!
I'll post Christmas pics and recap soon. I really should actually do some work today but still feeling vacation-any from my time off . . . .

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's the most hectic time of year

I love Christmas time. The smells, the lights, the food . . . and this year due to baby #2 I'm loving the food a little more than usual. Next weigh in is not going to be pretty. Oh well. But, this year I'm having a little bit of trouble getting into my normal yule tide spirit.

Last week was a very rough week for the Johnson family. Emma was sick almost all week. The kind of sick that didn't let mommy get more than 3 hours of sleep a night. I was able to stay home with her for two days, then Jeremy kept her one, and my mom the other. So, I was going to work in zombie mode. And it was a crazy week at work. Apparently someone announced a new deadline on all projects and it was December 25th. Yuck.

But, the worst part of last week was the loss of our fur-baby Dakota, a 12 year old black lab. (And I feel terrible that I can't locate a picture of her on my computer. It's been a long time since we'd had a photo shoot.) Dakota went into the vet on Monday night and had to be put to sleep on Thursday. She has been with us since we started dating. I claim her because I loved her, but she was 100% Jeremy's dog. She played with me and Emma, but it was Jeremy who she followed tirelessly. She literally shadowed every step he took. I don't know if the lab breed are just loyal in general , but I like to think it was part of her personality too that made her such a terrific dog.

Jeremy was and still is heart broken. If you know us you know that dogs are more than just pets; they're family. He wanted her brought home so I went to pick her up and it took everything I had in me not to go ballistic on the people at the vets office. They carried her out to me in a trash bag! I wanted to just scream at them. I had hoped to get her home before Jeremy could see but as luck would have it he was waiting for me at the house. His dad offered to stay and help with the burial but Jeremy insisted on doing it alone. I don't think I have ever seen anything as heartbreaking as watching him pet her and talk to her one last time. It was freezing outside and I had taken Emma in out of the cold, but after about an hour I bundled her up and we went out there because I just couldn't stand him doing it alone.

So, I'm working up to my Christmas spirit this year. I know the reason for the season, and I rejoice in our Lord. But the other things I usually enjoy: baking, carols, etc. are just not as easy to come by. My goal this week is to find my Christmas cheer and make this a memorable holiday for Emma. Hopefully by doing that I can help pull Jeremy out of his funk as well.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dirty Little Secrets

Jeremy discovered one of my dirty little secrets last weekend. It's one that I've held near and dear to my heart because I obviously didn't reveal this little baby prior to the wedding, because, hello, no need to put the brakes on the show right?!

I know every word to "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice. Every. Single. Word. And I still love that song to this day and will belt it out at every opportunity. I'm not ashamed! In fact I still vividly remember my mom actually listening to this tape (remember those?!) after she had already bought it for me and throwing it away because it was too graphic. Mom-still pissed at you about that after all these years, FYI.
At any rate, it was completely by accident that I let this little secret out of the bag. Jeremy finds it extremely amusing to find "annoying" songs and sing them at the bright and early hour of 4:30am for his conductors so that the song gets stuck in their head all day. Some past favorites have included The Spice Girls and The Offspring. So, we're driving in the car and he's telling me about how he got Ice Ice Baby stuck in his conductors' head that day and how pissed he was. As he's telling me he starts singing the first verse or so. "Whoa! Hold it right there! You are totally screwing it up, those are not the right words!" And . . . secret is out. He sat there struggling between horror and amusement as I sang the entire song.

He then said something like, "Well I bet you listened to MC Hammer to. Loser." To which I promplty burst into a rendition of "You Can't Touch This". Come on! Who didn't listen to Vanilla Ice or MC Hammer! Really! I even owned a pair of parachute pants; if I could find the picture I would post it proudly. Take that!

Just goes to show I had excellent taste even as a child.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The craziness you missed

What Johnson insanity have you missed out on while I've been too swamped to blog? Well, let me fill you in . . .

1. I was almost arrested
2. First looong drive with a 2 yr old (!!)
3. Drive was totally worth it because we got to see my friend Jenn for her 29th b-day
4. Took Emma to her 1st Razorback game
5. Discovered that I WILL suffer from sickness during this pregnancy-yay
6. Saw New Moon (L.O.V.E.)
7. Totally skipped out on company Christmas party-we are such rebels I know
8. Railroad screwed our plans to visit my big brother and his family for Thanksgiving

I can understand that you might like a little more explanation on some of these so here we go:
I was almost arrested for driving around a Dick's Sporting Goods parking lot in Hot Springs. It was getting late and Jeremy wanted to run in and look for something so I stayed out in the car with Emma because she was getting cranky. To diminish said crankiness I was driving around the lot. As long as we were moving Emma was ok-to stop would have meant torture. As I'm driving I notice a Dick's employee in the parking lot kind of watching me funny. So I think to myself that I need to park b/c he's looking a little nervous. He goes into the store and pulls what appears to be a manager over to the front window and is gesturing outside. About this time Jeremy comes walking out the doors laughing, hops in the car and tells me I better drive off becuase the police are on their way. Apparently this dude was freaking out and telling the manager there was a suspicious car outside circling the parking lot and he thought they were going to come inside with guns and rob the place. Really? Really? I know I am not the first person in the world to circle a parking lot while waiting on someone inside. And furthermore, it was light enough he could see that there was only one lone woman in the car. And I'm going to bust in with guns blazing and rob the place. I repeat-really?

That weekend we drove to Fayetteville to see our friends Jennifer and David. All three of us went to UCA together and I really miss not being able to see them more often. The drive with Emma was going great until the batteries in her portable DVD player died. Once Mickey Mouse disappeared all hell broke loose. I wound up climbing in the backseat and pulling out the laptop and logged onto Playhouse Thank the Lord for verizon wireless internet; I'm considering writing one of those sappy thank you letters that could wind up reenacted on tv-watch for it.

Unfortunately we didn't account for traffic and the drive took us much longer than anticipated; we didn't get to Fayetteville until around 9:30pm. Following our arrival there was a mass exodus for the door. Jenn assures me our way-beyond-fashionably-late-entrance was not the cue for everyone else to leave. So, we wound up missing most of the party but got to spend lots of time with Jenn and Dave which was fantastic. (Thanks guys for letting us stay with you and pretty much take over your whole weekend! And the food was excellent Dave!)
Another high point of the weekend was when I totally kicked Jeremy's ass at baseball on the Wii. Aah, sweet victory. We're both extremely competitive if you didn't know so it was a fierce battle of games for a solid hour or two while Emma took a much needed nap. I need a Wii now.

Saturday we took Emma to her first Hogs game and she LOVED it! I was a little worried that she wouldn't take the confined quarters very well but she did great all the way throught the 3rd quarter. By that time is was around 9:30pm and she just wasn't having anymore. We had the brilliant idea that we would avoid the hellish drive from Friday by driving home that night while she slept. Great idea in theory. Two hours into the drive I discovered my pregnancy sickness. Great. Jeremy wanted to keep going but I convinced him it would be a BIG mistake to make me stay in the car any longer so we stopped at a hotel for the night and finished up the drive home on Sunday morning.

This past weekend we were rebels and skipped our company Christmas party and had a date night. New Moon! Ah, Twiligh series how I love you. This movie was ten times better than the first (yay new director) and with the exception of a few corny scenes fantastic. I will buy it on DVD The. Day. It. Comes. Out.
And finally, we were going to meet my brother and his family in Mississippi (mid-point for us all) and spend some belated Thanksgiving time together this Friday but work derailed that plan. (Derailed-get it? We work for the railroad? Ha! I crack myself up with my not-so-witty play on words!) So, hopefully we can reschedule for a weekend in December.
In preggers news- my ultrasound is next week so hopefully Jeremy will know one way or the other if he's going to need to figure out a way to squeeze two or three kids in the back of the Si. Ha! And I'm already having to do the rubber band trick on my pants. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Birthday Extravaganza

Whew! Birthday parties are a lot of work. And don't they just get worse as your child gets older? Yikes!

We celebrated Emma's 2nd birthday this past Sunday. I decided to throw her a cowgirl party because 1)I found the cutest pair of pink cowboy boots on ebay that she just HAD to have an excuse to wear and 2)so that decorating would be minimal aka some hay bales here, some hay bales there and done. I should have know that my obsessive compulsive self would not leave the party decorating at that! Sigh. I got the brilliant idea to turn our carport into a wild west town. Which I will fully admit is a completely awesome idea, just slightly ambitious considering I work all the stinkin time and also have a two year old that demands lots of attention.

Long story short- there was much stress because no matter how well I plan I'm always left scrambling at the last minute to get everything done- and Emma had a great time! So, she had fun and that's all that matters!

Some of the wild west town scenes: Horrifyingly one dimensional I know, but cut me some slack here!

A picture for the record book folks! Jeremy is NOT wearing a razorback t-shirt!! Is it the end of the world already?

Baby had to be opened "now Daddy please!"

Is this not the coolest tricycle ever? I've been riding my bike around our house and Emma has been asking for her own so I found this one on Amazon. What is really cool about it is that it is so wide and low to the ground that it is impossible to tip over! All of the other tricycles I could find had reviews written on them about how they were easy to tip over or the plastic tires didn't hold up very well. This one has real tires baby! It's made by Schwinn-I recommend that if you have a child you go and get one now! It comes in red for boys also.

I'm happy that Emma had a good time but I'm thinking maybe next year we'll have a destination party. Someplace where someone else has to worry about making sure everything is set up and cleaned up!

AND, just in case you are the one person in the world my super excited mother-in-law has not told yet- Emma will be a big sister this coming July! We'll know more after my doc visit on Monday but near as I can tell I'm about 8 weeks along right now. Twins and triplets run rampant in our family so I guess we'll also find out on Monday how many buns are in the oven!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Trickin n Treatin

I got a call from my dad early on Halloween morning asking what Emma was going to be for Halloween. A super cute witch of course! My dad: "What? Why are you dressing baby girl up as a witch? Meadow (his other granddaughter) is going to be a cheerleader! How could you?" He was so distraught imagining that I had dressed her up and painted her green with warts.

To those who doubted my costume choice- BAM!!

Have you ever seen a cuter witch in your entire life? I think not!
I was worried that she would have nothing to do with the hat and the entire costume would be questionable but she LOVED the hat. The gloves she threw off in like 2 seconds but the hat stayed. Yes!

We went over to Nanny and Papaw's house early because their neighborhood is swarmed with kids. Literally. We were afraid we would get stuck in the madness. Our goal was to meet up with Jeremy's cousin Meghan and her little boy Konnor and all go trick or treating together on Main Street but they stopped handing out candy at 6pm. What!? Are we giving candy to kids or super old people? Geez.
With that plan foiled we just went to some houses along MeMe and PopPop's street. Emma wasn't all that into the trick or treating thing until she figured out they were putting CANDY in her pumpkin. That caused super excitement. And she told every single person thank you. Ah, a child with manners. Props to our excellent parenting skills.
PopPop and Uncle Justin went to the Hogs game so Aunt B came over to see Emma in her costume and then got roped into going trick or treating too! Ha! Emma absolutely refused to go without B. And B had to hold her other hand while we walked and then when Emma decided she had done enough walking it was B who had to carry her. Mommy and Daddy weren't allowed. Poor Aunt B- you're such a trooper! We love you!!
Here's Emma's cousin Konnor. He was a boxer. Cute right?

Since Halloween Emma has adopted a new ritual. Every morning she asks for candy and I tell her no. Insert dramatics here. And finally in the afternoon after school I let her pick out one piece of candy from her pumpkin. Hopefully the candy will run out pretty soon! I want my sweet angel back in the morning, not little miss drama queen! Maybe I should get Daddy to help put away the candy, hmmm.

Cross your fingers for sunshine on Sunday because it's birthday time! Our wild west theme is in full gear. I have all of the backgrounds painted (horrifyingly one dimensional but there's just not enough time to make them masterpieces), goody bags and other items are a go- I can't wait for her big day!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Over the hill

I knew it was all going to be downhill past my 21st birthday, but what I didn't know was how quickly I would race down that stupid hill! I found out this week that I HAVE to get braces and soon. No getting around it. I tried and failed. The position of one of my teeth means that should I get a cavity in it (very likely because it is wedged in by another tooth and there's no good way to floss, etc) there are not a lot of options for filling it. Guess what the dentist found on Monday? You got it- a cavity in that tooth. Great. So come January I get to have some of that tooth REMOVED in order to take care of the cavity and eventually that tooth will need to be pulled. So, unless I want to walk around toothless I'll need to get braces to pull my teeth back in line. Perfect. Since I refuse to resemble the stereotypical Arkansasan (toothless and cannot pronunciate) looks like I'll be getting braces next year at the ripe age of 28. Can you see me shudder?

And to top it all off, it looks like I probably cracked my hip in that spectacular mountain bike wreck a couple of months ago. I went back to the doctor because my hip is still bothering me some: a lingering hematoma, some swelling, and pain if a lot of pressure is placed on my hip. According to the doc I probably cracked it (when I got the initial exam after the wreck no one bothered to x-ray my hip) and now it was really too late to do anything about it. So I get to live with it and hope the swelling goes down and everything returns to normal.

Did I mention this is all Jeremy's fault?! The love of my life has a sick and twisted sense of humor because he thinks its hilarious that I have a broken hip at 27. I told him it wouldn't be funny when I started looking like this by 30! Ha! Whose laughing now?!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Adrenaline Junkie

It's official-Emma is a bonafide adrenaline junkie. Do you see the gray starting to show up in my hair?!

Saturday night we went to Malvern Elementary's Fall Festival with our sis-in-law Holly, nephew Holton, and MeMe. Holly and MeMe both work at the elementary and we thought it would be fun for Emma to go and play with Holton. One of the major attractions was this huge 18' inflatable slide, something very similar to this:
Emma kept wanting to run right to it and I was steering her away from it about 20 times a minute. Don't judge-She's not even two for crying out loud! She's still my little baby! Eventually I gave up and let her give it a try. You have to climb up this ladder thing in the back to even reach the top, so silly me I was thinking this would deter her. Not one bit! She climbed up that ladder like a little monkey on a mission (and there were 5th or 6th grade kids who couldn't even climb up this thing!). I stood behind to make sure she wouldn't fall and then I fully expected her to make it to the top and turn right back around once she looked at how far down it was to the bottom. Nope. She turned around once to smile at me and then off she went. Jeremy was waiting at the bottom to catch her and was laughing his butt off. As soon as she got off she wanted to run around and do it again so Jeremy took her that time so I could watch her come down. She was loving every minute of it and went about 7 times before the older kids started getting rough and I made her stop. Guess she's not such a little baby anymore. Boo!
Sunday the weather was so nice we spent almost all afternoon outside after church. Emma insisted on swinging for about 30 minutes and she wanted to go HIGH and FAST. If you let her slow down she would demand "MORE!".

I have a feeling we're going to have a lot of broken bones and bruises if this keeps up!

Friday, October 23, 2009

You want me to what?!

So, when I started at the railroad 5 years ago I tried pretty hard to blend in with all the testosterone because my estrogen stuck out like a sore thumb. "Don't apologize for using foul language in front of me. Chances are I've said worse." "No thanks, I can carry my own little 5 pound bag, you're such a peach." Not that I mind chivalry, in fact I love it. It's a dying art. Manners are great too. But five years ago I needed to be one of the guys. Sometimes I think that was a big mistake- hence the shovel in my office.

The other employees at my office are used to me now. They accept me as one of their own but are (shock!) ok with the fact that I also happen to be a girl. In fact I think it surprises them at times. You should see their faces if I wear a skirt; they always assume I'm on my way to a funeral.

So, why does a manager for the railroad have a shovel in her office you might ask? I had been working on a project to locate a new transload customer on our line and he needed to dig a hole and install a wind sock (safety procedure) as the commodity had some hazardous qualities. He asked ME if I would dig the hole for him. Seriously?! Now granted this guy looked like he had not done any manual labor IN HIS LIFE, but really! Just so you can get a mental picture- dude was wearing prada loafers, Polo collar shirt, and had a manicure. With clear polish. yeah. So I suppose compared to him in my sweet heels from target and TJ Maxx scored ensemble I looked more apt to perform manual labor. Boy did he get a surprise.

Needless to say yours truly did NOT dig any holes and superfly was outside digging in his shiny prada shoes. Ha! Wish I had taken a picture . . .

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I'm still alive, don't worry. I've just been super busy and haven't been able to blog dutifully. I've got a lot to catch up on so here we go. . . .

First, I'm back from Omaha safe and sound. This should be my last business trip for the year, knock on wood. I have supreme guilt every time I leave Emma so it's nice to be home and cuddle with my little monkey.

Jeremy turned the big 3-0 on Sept 26th. I felt kind of bad because I didn't plan him a big blow-out bash, we just went to eat at Fisherman's Wharf in Hot Springs (best seafood ever. period.) and on Saturday night we had the normal family dinner at his mom's house. When I apologized to him for not making a bigger production out of his birthday he laughed in my face and said "why? It's just another day!" That eased my guilt considerably. Here's Emma feeding the ducks that like to congregate on the water right off the outdoor dining area at Fisherman's Wharf.

She thought this was fantastic and it took a lot of patience on our part to keep her seated long enough to eat any of her meal. (I really need to start counting all of the pictures I have with Jeremy in a razorback shirt. Perhaps it's time to make him buy other clothing.)

The next morning we got up at 6:30, Emma's preferred time to start the day, and made Daddy some sugar cookies. His fave. I got her this awesome pink apron at Williams and Sonoma. Love. She was a little ticked off at first that she had to wear it, but she got over it quick enough. (The first picture shows her wearing her mad face.)

Decorations for Emma's b-day party are coming along slowly but surely. I still have a lot to do and only a little time left to do it. I'll post some pics of the finished product, but for right now just pray for me that I can recreate a Wild West town in my yard. And that it doesn't rain.

Over the weekend we went to Garner Family Homestead Farm for our annual trip to the Pumpkin Patch. PopPop was at the Razorback game so it was just the three of us and MeMe. Last year Emma really didn't care about the outing but this year she had a blast. She was so excited about getting her "punkin" that she could hardly stand it. And the weather was kind of crisp so it was perfect fall and pumpkin weather.

I've decided that I desperately need new clothes for fall. I've reverted to Jeremy's favorites-a razorback t-shirt. Aargh! Jennifer-guess what we're going to do next month when I come to Fayetteville (hopefully!)?!

And finally, I'm trying to become more involved with our chruch so I joined a Beth Moore bible study class and to my surprise I'm really enjoying it. I didn't know what to expect but we're almost half way through the course and I'm really learning a lot. I was really involved with a youth group when I was in high school, but didn't really learn alot. It was more of a little learning here, a lot of fun activities and trips there. We may do another bible study in the spring that I may sign up for. I have a lot of things in my life to be thankful for, so its probably time I really start showing it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Complete Randomness

I'm not a number cruncher. Hate budgets. Hate sticking to a budget. Unfortunately I have yet to discover a money tree so, budgets it is. Same goes with work-I hate budget season-and it is fully upon me. I sat all day yesterday staring at numbers and trying to come up with a traffic and revenue forecast for 2010 that would not have my VP tying me to the tracks ala Wile E. Coyote style and waiting for one of our trains to run me down. Sigh. The economy is in the dumper kiddos and all the number crunching in the world is not going to make my revenue projections look any prettier. I'm dreading my meeting at 1:30 today. (If you don't hear from me again you know I'm sitting tied up on the tracks somewhere just hoping the train crews can stop in time . . .)

I truly cannot tell you where September went. How is it almost October? I don't even have my fall decorations up yet! Aargh! Pure craziness. Jeremy's birthday is this Saturday (the big 3-0 ya'll!) and we still haven't made plans! He already has his present because he ordered it himself. Can you tell we're well past the surprise stage in our marriage? So I can check that "to-do" off my list. But beyond that I've got nothing. Looking back I probably should have offered to throw him a big b-day bash, but it's a little late for that now. Honestly, he probably wouldn't have cared anyway. Turning 30 is no big deal to him. Me-totally dreading it. I'm going to be one of those women that claims I'm 29 to the point of being ridiculous. Emma will be having her own children and I will still slap the person who dares say I'm past my twenties! Ha!

All of my awsome bike injuries have cleared up with the exception of my hip, still wonky and painful. But, I refuse to go back to the doctor. So what if its still swollen and has weird knotty bruises under the skin? I'm fine . . . I'd rather be wonky and in pain than go back to the doc. Severe white coat syndrome for 1 please. And just to prove that I'm completely and totally insane I'm about to buy my own mountain bike so I can try it again! I'm not about to let a silly ol' mountain get the best of me! (Add extremely competitive to my list of attributes) Don't worry-my life insurance is up to date.

I'm hoping that life can return back to a normal pace in October. Maybe then we can settle down and enjoy the fall, and hopefully cooler weather. Only one more business trip for this year, Omaha, Nebraska here I come!, and then I can retire my luggage and repress my hatred of making small talk on airplanes until 2010!

Friday, September 11, 2009

A What Not to Wear Friday

I love love love What Not to Wear. (Clinton totally reminds me of a guy I went to high school with.) So, since I love the show you would think that I would try really hard not to get caught in a what not to wear moment, right? Well, you have all heard me bemoan the clothing pitfalls of working for the railroad. It's very hard to find an outfit that will function for a meeting with high-profile customers and also blend in at a construction site. An outfit like that just. doesn't. exist. period. So, guess what our roadmaster, who has a wicked sense of humor, decides to pull out the other day? This little beauty:

I know, I know. The cropped pants with work boots is horrid enough but then you add in the slime lime safety vest and it's a TOTAL DISASTER!! But, in my defense I was not planning on going out to this construction site that day; I had a few low key customer calls to make and was dressed semi-casual to blend in. It just so happened I was needed onsite for something. Just my luck.

I'm good natured and can take a lot of ribbing, which is a good thing considering our MOW crews love to pick on me. There was total and complete silence when I came into view and the guys got a load of my ensemble. It was actually hilarious because several were in the middle of driving spikes with very large sledge hammers and just stopped mid-swing. Then, came the laughter. For a full 20 minutes I let them get it out of their system, laughed graciously at the cat calls and insistence that cropped pants be made part of their new uniform. I was not aware though that our roadmaster memorialized my little fashion faux pas. I can see this coming back to haunt me for a looooong time.

In happier news though I got to do something that I have always wanted to do-drive the hi-rail truck! Woo hoo! Even if you don't know what I'm talking about you have probably seen one around-it's a vehicle (typically a truck or suv) that has equipment that will allow them to ride on the rails also. It's a weird sensation driving a vehicle on the rail becuase you don't touch the steering wheel, which is a natural inclination anytime you're in a vehicle. One more thing I can check off my to-do list!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Black & Blue . . and Purple and Green Oh My!

This morning I counted no less than 22 bruises on my body. And as much as I normally love the color blue I am not so thrilled with it right now. My horrible misadventures started innocently enough last week . . .
I had a work trip of a lifetime to a little town called Festus, about 50 miles south of St. Louis. Festus is home to one of the best kept secrets in the world, a Union Pacific owned retreat named Selma Farms, and one of the most beautiful and relaxing places I've ever been. This 2500 acre facility is located on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi river and is fully staffed 365 days a year. The UP uses this retreat to wine and dine their special customers. It is very exclusive to get an invitation and we are one of the first shortline railroads to get invited. Oh la la! This place was amazing, the "hotel" was an antebellum mansion designed to look like a castle, there was a pool house (and pool), a conference center, a clubhouse, stables, an 18 hole golf course, and a couple of ponds. Not too shabby. I don't want to bore everyone with the history (if you want more info just let me know-it's really neat). Our hosts did an excellent job of mixing business with pleasure and I got to do several firsts while there. Selma Castle:

This is me skeet-shooting. Big first-both shooting at moving targets and shooting a 12 gauge shotgun. (This would lead to bruise number 1 on my right shoulder. 12 gauges pack quite a punch!) But, I've got to tell you, there is something totally bad-ass and sexy about shooting a shotgun.

The next day following our meeting I opted to go horseback riding with a couple others. This would lead to bruise number 2 on my leg and bruise numbers 3-6 on my bottom. I was lucky enough to get the frisky horse who pounded the hell out of my haven't-ridden-a-horse-in-10-years butt. Just about the time we got used to each other the ride was over. We also went to a St. Louis Cardinals game that night at Busch Stadium. Absolutely wonderful venue. This is me and our other marketing guy, Rob. See the arch in the background? The game was a ton of fun, especially considering we got to use the UP's skybox. The folks at UP definitely know how to entertain! And did I mention that every room in Selma Farms was stocked with this? Every. room.

Our last day there we did some golfing on the UP's private golf course. I've decided to take up golfing; I've avoided it in the past because I thought it would be boring. I'm starting to rethink that and may give it a shot if I can convince Jeremy. And we did do some work at this work retreat-promise! Needless to say, I wanted to get home to Emma and Jeremy but I was loathe to leave my new found paradise! Best work trip EVER! I took tons of pictures but can't post them all her so I'll put them on facebook if you're interested.

Now, if you're keeping count of bruises I'm up to six so far. I got the remaining 16+ yesterday in a bike wreck that would make any Youtuber proud. Jeremy has been after me for a long time to go mountain biking with him, so I finally gave in yesterday and got my mom to watch Emma. We went with two other guys from work, and one of them let me use his wife's bike since I didn't have my own. I was doing pretty good, holding my own, and actually enjoying myself until "the incident." Keep in mind I was not familiar with this bike and hadn't actually ridden a bike probably since I was 16, but there I was racing down an incline at about 25 mph when my front wheel simultaneously catches a hole followed by a tree root. Next thing you know I'm flying over the handlebars, then the bike flies over me and I go headfirst into some nasty rocks. I completely trashed the helmet I was wearing, tore up my shoulder and hip pretty bad, and accumulated bruises 7-22+. It was not pretty. Jeremy and the others were ahead and didn't see what happened but as luck would have it I did this in front of around 15 other people. Super. I have to admit though that I'm glad they were there. I was stunned for a while from the blow to my head and couldn't get up for the longest time without feeling dizzy or nauseous. 3 of the guys ran over to help me while someone tried to track Jeremy and the others down. Needless to say that ended my biking for the day. Here are some shots of my helmet, shoulder, and hip (the angles are a little funny b/c I was taking the pics with my camera using my right hand). The majority of my injuries are on the left side.
Yucky right?

I will try mountain biking again, but I'm going to get some practice in before hitting the trail again! And yes, today I'm so sore it's unbelievable. My pride is badly bruised too because I can't even claim that I was doing some awesome jump or stunt when I wiped out- just going down a hill. Ugh! Perhaps golf would be a better bet for my new hobby . . .

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

So, I'm sitting in a parking lot in Bryant waiting for a storm to pass so I can see to finish driving to North Little Rock. What better way to spend my time than blogging, right? Wouldn't want to actually do any work . . . And yes, I have trouble driving in the rain. I'm blind as a bat and even my glasses are not all that helpful when it's raining. So, it's just safer for me and everyone else on the road if I pull over and wait out the bad storms.
We bought Jeremy a new car last week- a Civic Si. He desperately needed a new vehicle but we have been putting it off. The plan was to get him a Harley motorcycle but then his truck started having serious problems and since a Harley as your main source of transportation when you have a child is a no go, he opted for a little sporty car. This is the first Honda we've owned but I was really pleased with the car. Of course we had to get the souped up sporty 6 speed version, but I've got to admit it's a blast to drive. There are times when I really miss driving a stick shift. AND, it fits within the small budget we were trying to stick to. Knowing that we don't want Emma to be an only child we're already trying to budget for the additional $400 per month on daycare a new baby will require-that scenario did not work with an expensive car payment. And Heaven forbid if we have twins, which is pretty common in my family. Very common actually.

Over the weekend we took Emma to The Wonder Place in Little Rock. She had so much fun and still didn't want to leave after about 2 hours. Jeremy and I had to get out of there though, we were about to throw down on some hellion children. It is supremely annoying to me when parents take their kids places and then don't watch them. All these larger kids were pushing Emma around and just being hooligans in general. I even got a stern lecture from one the employees because someone else's child kept turning off a machine and since I was the only adult around she assumed he was mine. I set her straight right quick. We'll definitely take her back again though. It was great being able to take her someplace where she could run and play but was air conditioned. With her asthma we really have to watch how hot she gets because it tends to trigger attacks.

Playing at the three level water table.

Making a mess at the sand table.

Going down the slide in the tree house.Cutting up playdoh in the art room.

I'm also thinking about buying a bike and a seat that I can attach to the back for Emma. Perhaps the only way I can fit in exercise is to take her with me . . .

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Adventures of Railroad Girl

Railroad Girl is a mild-mannered-by-day marketing and management gal, but don't let her mega watt smile and demure attitude fool you. Beneath the lull-you-into-a-false-sense-of-security exterior is a savvy businesswoman and vicious smart ass just dying to escape.

Enter her arch nemesis Jerk-Off Man. This chauvinistic customer is well known for using his hulking appearance and wrath-of-God voice for scaring lesser individuals into doing his bidding. Our bad guy has met his match!

In our latest adventure we find our heroine, Railroad Girl, battling her arch nemesis Jerk-Off Man for control of the magical Demurrage Bill. (aka JOM is disputing legitimate charges, demurrage, owed just because he doesn't want to pay and is being an ASS)

"RG, I refuse to pay these charges. I had track space available and you should read my mind to know that I wanted those railcars placed on my open track. Even though I've told you in the past not to put them there without my express instructions."

"Tell ya what, JOM, I'll be a nice girl and cut your bill in half. Even though I am right and you are wrong. AND, you know it."

"That's not going to work for me. You're being such a bitch. I want it my way! I know it's my responsibility to tell you where to put cars but I dropped the ball and don't want to pay for it."

"Too bad. And since you decided to refuse my generous offer you can now pay the bill in full. AND, I'm going to start enforcing switching charges (which you were not getting charged in the past), AND if you choose not to pay this bill I'll embargo your traffic. No more railcars for you! How you gonna explain that to your customers fool?!"

And so, at the end of the day our heroine has bested the bad guy and justice has prevailed. Until next time . . .

Sorry, rough morning at work and I needed to both vent and get a good laugh. Hope you enjoyed.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

You know you're getting old when . . .

a day at Play by Play leaves you bruised and battered. Warning-The following pictures are fuzzy because they're from my camera phone.

Saturday morning Jeremy and I braved the harsh thunderstorms to take Emma and our 4 year old nephew Holton to Play by Play. This place is absolute nirvana for kids. There are old school arcade games (whack-a-mole anyone?) and a giant 3 story maze of tunnels, tubes, ropes, and slides. I love going to Play by Play because it wears kids OUT with minimal effort on my part! Unfortunately for me this was not one of those days where I could kick back and watch.

Holton was running through the maze like a lab rat on crack (absolutely hilarious) and Emma desperately wanted to keep up with "my Ho-Too" (Emma speak for Holton) but the maze is still a little advanced for her. So being the good mommy that I am I went in with her to help her through. That thing was not created with adults in mind! Holton was zipping through the tunnels and scaling the rope ladders in record time. I was crawling through tubes (luckily not getting stuck) and helping Emma along as well. Not the easiest thing in the world and I have the bruises and plastic burn marks to prove it. Jeremy and I traded off occasionally, he would keep pace with Emma and I would try to keep up with Holton and then we would switch. Mainly because the person trying to keep pace with Holton would be huffing and puffing after about 20 minutes! After a while though Emma got tired of the maze and spent a long time playing with the arcade games. She didn't care if they were working or not which was great.

After Play by Play we took the kids to lunch and scoped out a new sporting goods store in Hot Springs, Dick's Sporting Goods. I'd never heard of it and I wasn't all that impressed. I like Academy Sports much better. But while we were there the cutest thing happened. Holton is at the very mature age of 4 and insists on being treated like a big boy. So very rarely do you get blantant displays of affection like hand holding, hugs, and especially not kisses, but I was lucky on Saturday. While we were at Dick's (really? who thought of this name?) Holton was looking at big boy bikes, aka no training wheels, and he grabbed by hand and gave me the most precious smile and said "Stephanie, when I get bigger can we come and get me this bike? It's really nice." Can you see SUCKER stamped across my forehead? Guess I'm gonna owe him a bike in a year or so! The second time he grabbed my hand and gave me the look was when we were at Chick-fil-a and he wanted to play in the play room. I was a good aunt, I made him eat his lunch first, but then of course he got to play some more. He's a very smart little boy. I'm proud of his mad manipulative skills.

After our big outing to Hot Springs we stopped by Trendy to see my sis-in-law Brittany and so I could shop her fabulous Anniversary Sale. Shameless plug I know. Brittany opened up an accessories store in Malvern a little over a year ago and I have benefit tremendously from this. Check out my sweet new handbag-just in time for fall! Don't you just LOVE it? Jeremy, being your typical man, just couldn't understand why I would need another purse. "I've had the same wallet for 10 years." Whose fault is that? I informed him in my most can't-argue-with-this-logic-voice that since having his child I can no longer shop for clothes like I used to. The only foolproof items I can purchase that will always look good on me are handbags, shoes, and jewelry. So just zip it already! Ha!

Speaking of Emma and digressing into left over baby weight, I started my Jillian Michaels workouts again after about a two month hiatus due to pure craziness at work and home. So on top of the bruises from Play by Play I'm also creaking around like an old woman. Hopefully I'll get accustomed to the workouts again soon because it is pure agony to sit down in my chair!