Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wedding issues

I was so going to wait until September to blog again (haha), but decided I couldn't wait. Aren't you excited?!? :)

So I thought about telling you all about how stressful my life is right now, between waiting to hear from the Air Force on if they will release Eric early, or if Osceola will let him start a little late, if we should move, if we should stay where we're at, losing Tricare and getting regular health insurance, Eric taking a pay cut, how the Cape job (big $$) opened up on the DAY he got an offer from Osceola.... blah blah blah. But I don't think I really care to go into that... I'm tired of thinking and will just sit tight and wait for things to work themselves out.

Instead, I'm going to get your advice on a wedding I am being dragged to this Saturday. Yes, it's finally here. The girl I wrote this post to. Somehow I was invited to their wedding. It's beside the fact that Eric is in the wedding... I thought for sure the invitation would read "Mr. Eric Strodtman" and did NOT expect it to say "Mr. and Mrs. Strodtman". I literally almost died. Yes.

After much discussion (and letting the RSVP sit on my desk for a few months), I replied that we would be attending. I have literally been dreading it ever since. And now it's HERE! Thank goodness my mother in law is going too... I'll be sticking with her like glue.

So, I need to decide what to wear. I think the wedding is on the beach and the reception is at some boathouse. Oh my gosh I haven't even gotten them a gift. Should I? Should I avoid her or just be polite and say "congratulations" with a fake smile and run away?!?

WHAT SHOULD I DO?

I don't even know if I should drink very much because then I'll become one of two things: 1) Miss nicey-nice who suddenly loves everyone and is bff with the bride. Um, no. Or I could 2) Grow a pair and tell the bride just how I feel... which is probably wishful thinking because deep down I'm way too nice to do that to a bride on her wedding day. So, no.

I need a plan. I need to know what to say, what to wear, how to act.

I NEED to know these things so I can prepare myself! HELP!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Christmas in... August?

I love the holidays! It is almost September, which officially signifies to me that the holidays are just around the corner. I'm already planning Thanksgiving at our place (if we get a house), and what do to for Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, yesterday I saw some Christmas cards in a co-workers office and it inspired me to go online and find some that I like! I've sent out Christmas cards every year since Eric and I have been together. We usually take a picture too.

In 2008 Eric was in Iraq so I sent out this picture and card:






















In 2009 I bought kits at Hallmark and put the cards together myself - so I don't have pictures of the card - they were all different. But this is the picture we sent with them:


As you can see, I have a theme of "uniform" pictures. This year, 2010, I want to get a picture of us with Eric's NEW police uniform! :) It's either that or switch it up and take a "family" picture with us and our two puppies... which I think would be totally cute.

Anyway, here are the cards I'm considering. I only buy cards that say "Merry Christmas" so it limits my selection a little bit. I didn't see a WHOLE lot that I liked this time... so I may keep looking.

But for now I like these two the best:



Thoughts/opinions on the cards and which picture we should do would be appreciated :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I just have to say...

CONGRATULATIONS TO MY HUBBY!!


Osceola County Sheriff's Office is giving him a conditional offer and he should be signing it tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Obviously the above photo is a JOKE but when I posted on my Facebook status last night about Eric's job offer, my awesome Uncle Dave (who is Photoshop proficient, obviously) posted this pic. I love it. :)

So there are a lot of details to work out and he still needs to work out the kinks with the Air Force, but if all goes well, he will be hired as of September 13th (holy crap that is only two weeks away) and start work on the 20th or 27th!


My head is swimming with options on renting a house, or finding another apartment to rent, when to move, where to move to, and above all - how we will deal with the initial pay cut he will take. Isn't that crazy, you put your life on the line and be a police officer and make less? Oh well, we just need to give a few months and he will be able to take overtime, weekends, nights, holidays, etc. and make up the difference. Because unlike the military, if you work extra or on a holiday you actually get PAID more! Ha! What a concept.

Anyway, there are more details to figure out... but I just wanted to share the GOOD NEWS with my favorite blogging friends! I'm trying to set up a few house/apartment tours for this Saturday to see what our options are. I'm kind of dreading another apartment, but after searching online today it doesn't seem there are a lot of options for house rentals. Plus a lot of them don't allow dogs (deal breaker). PLUS you can get a huge, nice apartment for next to nothing. I am talking to a lady who has a house rental that may work out... we may go see it on Sunday. Lots of new stuff coming our way! :) :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy Tuesday + a recipe

I had a "weekend re-cap" post for yesterday but got so busy at work I couldn't post it. Plus it was sorta boring. We basically had a good weekend and I got some shopping in and cleaning done! I love relaxing, yet productive, weekends.

Yesterday was the first GOOD Monday I can remember in a very long time. It was really awesome! Things just went well, someone brought oatmeal/peanut butter/M&M cookies into work so I had those for breakfast. MmMmmMMM. The CEO gave me a huge compliment and that made my day as well.

Eric had a panel interview at one of the departments last night, so after work I went to the gym and ran a few miles, then made baked potato soup for dinner. It was super good! It was a Weight Watchers recipe but I added a few things to make it a little tastier. :) Even Eric liked it... and that is always a good sign.



















Here it is if you want to try it. It's getting closer to my favorite season (Fall!) and I'll probably make this again once we finally get some cooler weather in Florida.

Baked Potato Soup

Ingredients
1 bulb(s) garlic clove(s), large, 1/4-inch-slice cut off top
3 pound(s) potato(es), rinsed, pierced with a fork (about 6 large baking potatoes)
6 slice(s) uncooked turkey bacon
4 cup(s) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 Tbsp thyme, fresh, chopped
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
6 Tbsp reduced-fat sour cream
6 Tbsp low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
6 Tbsp scallion(s), sliced

Directions
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Wrap entire garlic bulb tightly in foil; place garlic and potatoes in oven. (You do not need to put them on a pan; they can go right on an oven rack.) *I did this while I went running, and they were almost done when I got back*

Bake garlic until soft when squeezed, about 45 minutes; remove from oven and let cool. Continue baking potatoes until tender when pierced, about 15 minutes more; let potatoes stand until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, about 6 minutes. Place bacon on paper towels to drain off any fat; chop bacon.

Unwrap garlic and squeeze pulp from bulb with hands into a large saucepan. Peel potatoes and add to saucepan; mash with a potato masher until smooth. *I left a few chunks... better in my opinion* Gradually stir in broth, thyme, salt and pepper until blended; place saucepan over medium heat and cook until hot, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Spoon about 1 1/3 cups of soup into each of 6 soup bowls. Top each with 1 tablespoon of sour cream, 1 tablespoon of cheese, 1 rounded tablespoon of bacon and 1 tablespoon of scallions. Grind fresh pepper over top if desired.

**Additions: When I made this it sort of looked watery, so I added a few things. I heated up 1/2 a stick of butter, about 3/4 cup skim milk, flour (to thicken it, because it was kinda thin),  about a 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream and about 1/2 a cup of cheddar cheese and poured it in. Totally did the trick and it was SUPER good!**

Tonight I have class (gotta give an introductory speech) and pizza for dinner! Happy Tuesday!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Say it with me... TGIF!

So yesterday I went to physcial therapy and found out it was the wrong day. I was sooo like "grr" when I realized I could've slept another hour. I definitely could've used it!



So what did I do? I got to work at 7AM instead! It was nice having a super quiet hour, but I was determined to leave early, at like 4:15PM, to make up for it. Which I did. Plus I had class and like 2 more chapters of my book to read before then. My supervisor was in her office w/ the door closed talking to someone, so I didn't bother telling her.



So this morning, she comes in all melodramatic-ish, and was all like "good morning." I knew what was coming next. "So, Nancy (the receptionist) told me you left at 4 last night?!?"



"Yes I did, becuase I got here at 7." Nothing to explain there.

"Oh. ok." Still acting pissy. Like I'm supposed to work 10 hour days like she does, and enjoy it.

"You were in your office with the door closed so I didn't get to talk to you."


And that was that. I swear, it's Friday, I'm not going to let anyones sour attitude get to me today!! She came into my office later in a better mood, but serrrriously. That woman never stops working. She talked to her boss every day when she was on vacation in Hawaii. Not even joking. She works 7 days a week, probably 12 hours a day.



I'm sorry, I love my job, but I have an actual life.

TGIF!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Random updates

I can't believe how quickly this week is going by! Tomorrow is Friday already, yessss! We don't have any plans this weekend, but I'm sure it will involve spending time with friends and relaxing (as usual :).

Last night I went grocery shopping because our fridge/freezer/pantry was nearly bare. It feels good to have healthy lunches again, and not have to eat out for lack of food! Eric didn't get home till almost 8PM last night so I had some time to myself to have a few glasses of wine and make dinner. It was very nice and relaxing.

Speaking of food, this morning one of our vendors brought in real New York bagels (like, actually from New York). I normally try to avoid bagels because of the many, many calories involved, but everyone insisted I try one. Apparently they are very different from bagels anywhere else (who knew?), and NY people call bagels at places like Panera "bread with a hole in the middle." Ha! Well I tried a plain one with some cream cheese, and it was very good! I don't suppose New York could make a Weight Watchers version....

My first class on Tuesday went well, although the experience was very different from my summer class. The campus is packed out, from the parking lot to the classroms. I guess I got spoiled in the summer with everything being nearly empty (aka easy to get in and out). It's sort of nice having so many people, because we have to listen to everyones speeches, and sometimes a whole class is just for that. Talk about easy! I have a feeling this will be an easy class for me. I'm glad I decided to take two mini-mesters (two 8-week classes, one after the other) this fall, because I'm still taking two fall classes, just one at a time. Works well with my schedule!

Did I tell you I'm going to sign up for something cuh-razy coming up in January? My friend Jen posted a link to this "Warrior Dash" and I looked at the website the other day. It's definitely something crazy that I've never done before. Jen is supposed to do it with me, and I'm trying to talk Eric and my sister into it too. Check it out here and let me know what you think! I'll be doing the race in Tampa in January. It's basically a 5K with a bunch of dirty, insane obstacles in between.

I mean just look at these people! You have to be crazy to do this!































































The race obstacles in Tampa include "alligator alley", "palmetto prison", "cargo climb", "muddy mayhem" and more! The fire obstacle at the very end scares me the most! Eek!

I'm determined to do it! I see it as an excuse to buy new shoes afterwards because my current ones will be ruined! It'll also be good motivaton to run more than 3 miles to get into better shape for the obstacles.

Oh! A little bit of good news on Eric's job... our neighbors got their "reference" letter in the mail yesterday from Osceola county (yay!) which means they are moving right along processing him. Keep your fingers crossed!

On that note... Happy Friday Eve! :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New reads

I have ordered some books recently, because they look interesting -- not because I have time to actually read. But I'm hoping to find the time on weekends, and especially on our upcoming camping trip at the end of September.

First, a friend posted about this book a while ago on Facebook. My obsession with psychology is the reason I bought it. I can't wait to read it. I think the author has other books as well... which I'm sure I'll be purchasing in the near future.























“A masterful work on nonverbal body language by an exceptional observer. Joe Navarro’s work has been field-tested in the crucible of law enforcement at the highest levels within the FBI. I cannot praise the book enough.”

--David Givens, Ph.D.

The second book I just pre-ordered today, but it doesn't come out until August 31st. I saw an article on MSN.com about celebrity assistants, and they had a few quotes from this book. I am an Executive Assistant and it just looked interesting to me.























What happens when nine-to-five turns into nine-to-eleven? How do you outmaneuver the office Underminer? Is it appropriate to have a cocktail at a company lunch? How do you get reservations for a restaurant with an unlisted phone number? What do you do when your boss throws a stapler at your head?
 On your first day at work, you learned how to answer the phone and turn on the computer. But four years of college hardly prepared you for the coffee-fetching, back-stabbing, and you-should-have-done-it-yesterdays of office life. Save the Assistants is here to help you not only survive your job, but ultimately get the career you want.

I'll be sure to let you guys know what I think! What books are you currently reading?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Catch-up

I haven't had much to say latley, and things have been so busy!

Having a 3-day weekend was uh-mazing. I got my hair done (saved money!), nails done, and did some shopping. Saturday we did a little surprise for my friend Tiffany's birthday. Hanging out with these girlies is always so much fun!


















(Me and Callie in back, Megan and Tiff (birthday girl!) up front)

The only news with Eric's job is that there is still no news! He is passing his tests with flying colors, and it seems all we're waiting on is an offer. The three main departments he's looking into right now are Kissimmee, Osceola and Orange county.

Here are the details... if you're interested. :)

Kissimmee is the smallest department, which isn't the greatest long-term, but they could probably hire him the soonest. They are talking about the end of September, which is perfect. Being a small department could limit him in moving up in the future, however.

Osceola is ready to hire him in a month, but that is two weeks before he is out of the Air Force. He's going to appeal to try and get out early, because Osceola is his first choice I think. It's medium sized, not so busy (aka dangerous) and pays just a tiny bit more than the others. If he can't get out for the September date, he will have to wait until October - which wouldn't be so bad, but they are only hiring 2 people then, as opposed to 10 in September. Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...

Orange is MY first choice, because I want to move closer to Orlando, but they are the largest department with the most applicants so they probably can't hire him until DECEMBER. They are also the most "dangerous" because of the highly populated/tourist area. If he waited for them to hire him, he would definitely have to get a job in the short-term between October and December, which isn't ideal.

And then of course there is the job at Cape Caneveral, which still hasn't been posted yet... so he hasn't been able to apply yet. Sigh.

We found some houses online to rent in West Melbourne (where we'd move if he got hired at Osceola) and there were some ok ones for really decent prices. I'm really, really, really going to do whatever I can to get into a house and not an apartment. I'm just so ready to get into something bigger with a fenced in yard for the puppies. It would be awesome!

Keep your fingers crossed for us... puh-lease and thank you! :) Oh, and classes start again tonight... fun fun. Public speaking this time!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Magic hair color

So tonight I got my hair cut, about 2 inches. I wanted to get it colored too (I always get my roots colored blonde because they get dark), but if I do both it is like $90... so Eric wasn't too excited about that. I didn't want to wait to get color in two weeks, so I decided to ask my stylist what I should buy at Sally's. She was more than happy to help me out, I bought the stuff for $10, did it myself tonight, and it ended up turning out GREAT!

I was nervous because every time I've done it in the past my hair turns orange.

But it worked this time!






















I'm so happy that I can now save about $60 every time I need my hair done!

Amazing little magic bottles! :)






















Well I took off work tomorrow so I have a fun day planned! I'll probably go for a run in the morning, get my nails done with Callie, and do some shopping. I want to go to our new Hobby Lobby because I got a 40% off coupon in the mail. If I'm really ambitious I may even do my grocery shopping... but we'll see.

Happy 3-day weekend to me! :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

vacation: planned

After posting yesterday and feeling so depressed about the next few months, I talked to Eric and he totally cheered me up! He said if we go somewhere for a long weekend that is cheap, it would be fine. Then he suggested camping because we already have most of the gear and it's SUPER cheap!

Soooo... we booked 3 nights at a campsite on the BEACH a little bit north of us. It's called Gamble Rogers Memorial State Park. I've never been camping on a beach before, but it's gonna be great because the campsites are so close to the water! The sites are $28/night which was a little more expensive than some other sites, but still cheaper than a hotel!




























We have a giant tent that we bought last year, sleeping bags, an air mattress, and a few other things. We are going to buy a little awning/cover (because there are no trees) and borrow his family's gas burner to make food.  I had so much fun making the food when we went camping with Eric's family last November... getting creative on the stove/grill is so awesome! We already have a big cooler to store everything in, too.

This is a map of the site. It's really small with only 30 sites, and when we looked online, everything was booked except for 3 spaces for almost the rest of the year! We were lucky to get ours, because even as we were on the website looking two of the remaining sites were reserved! Craziness.



And we can bring our puppies!

















I'm super excited about our little getaway! It may not be anything great or wonderful, but it's the idea of getting away for just a few days that keeps me sane. I'm gonna turn off all phones, and maybe bring the laptop so we can watch a movie if we want. But that's it!


















I can't wait! September 23-25 it is! :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

stuck in the middle.

Have you ever felt like everything you're doing is "blah"? Like you can't get out of the "boring" rut? Like everything is the same, people are whiny, and you're just so tired of it all? Nothing seems to excite you; similarly, nothing bothers you.

It's a strange, hanging-in-the-middle feeling nothingness.

















I feel sorry for you if you've ever felt like that, because I am now. It sucks.

I really do think it's the month of August. There are no holidays, it's near the end of summer and close to the beginning of fall - but neither one especially. Summer vacations are over. The weather is unbearably hot and humid... you long for a new season just so you can decorate your house and wear new clothes. Yet, the days go by in a haze of sameness.

I've been telling my husband for weeks that I want... I need...  a vacation. Anything. A four-day weekend at the beach, staying in a hotel. A week in the Smokey Mountains in a cozy cabin, and we can take our dogs. Taking a road trip somewhere we've never been. Being spontaneous and not even knowing where we're going... just take a few days off, start driving, and decide when we see it. (I want to do this so badly, but this is not terribly exciting to the husband. He is far to practical, literal, logical, and any other "al" adjective you can think of. This is so. not. happening.)

"Just something," I told him. "I need something to look forward to."

A change in the scenery, a break in the monotony.

Yet, as much as I'm sure he wants a vacation too, there really isn't one in sight for us. The unknown situation of his job (looking worse as time closes in on the deadline) makes our financial situation unknown. He can't take a vacation right after he starts a new job, but he can't go on vacation if he doesn't have a job either.

I am, in every way possible, stuck in the middle.

Regardless, as much as I hate this time, it is definitely the calm before the storm. The remaining months of 2010 are sure to be the craziest yet. There is the potential for almost anything to happen, and it all depends on Eric's job.

We could potentially get a new house, move into yet another apartment, or we may stay where we're at.
Eric could work here in Melbourne, or we may move to Orlando, Osceola, or Kissimmee where he could work as a police officer. Or, the best option yet (in my opinion) he could work at the Cape not as a cop. We could get pregnant this year, or have to wait until next year.

I have decided to just stop thinking about all the possible combinations of problems/solutions that could possibly, maybe, maybe-not happen. They are driving me insane. I've got to stop trying to solve it all, and just let it happen the way it's going to happen anyway.

In the mean time, I'm still sticking to my guns that I need a vacation.
















Don't you agree?

Friday, August 6, 2010

The craziest week ... pretty much ever

I know I say it every Friday, but I really mean it when I say "TGIF!" This has been a completely insane week at work for me. I haven't made dinner once, missed a couple lunches, and have been completely exhausted at the end of each day. I'm on a committee planning a huge conference our organization is hosting next February. It's this huge, national thing with all these important people in child welfare coming. I've been helping our CEO contact the keynote speakers, scheduling them, putting a timeline together, and putting the mailing list together. It may not sound like much, but on top of everything else ... it's insane.

The committee met yesterday from 9AM-12PM, and then I had another meeting from 1:30-3PM. Then I had another meeting from 3:30-4PM. I was a walking zombie by the end of the day. I picked up food on the way home because I hadn't eaten lunch and was exhausted. Then I remembered I had scheduled a meeting with a college advisor at 6:30! Ugh. I went and got signed up for classes, watched some tv, and hit the hay.

Today I have physical therapy and will hopefully get caught up on stuff at the office. Tonight I plan on making meatball subs because hubby requested *MY* cooking last night... hahah ... I guess he misses it. ;) I'm going to have a few drinks with him tonight, and fade into la-la land. Can't wait.

We have no plans this weekend, except for helping our neighbor move for a few hours Saturday night.

What are your weekend plans? :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A new perspective.

I must say, I'm rather proud of myself. I just finished my first college class, and I got a 94% average which equals an A. I think I'm off to a good start.

When I graduated high school, I hated school and couldn't wait to get out. That's why it took me until I was 25 years old to get into college. Looking back, though, I see the benefits of waiting, because I appreciate it more. Sure, I was nervous to go back to school after so long, but finishing this first class has boosted my confidence a million times. And finishing so well.... that was something I didn't expect, but have to say I'm totally excited about.

I used to be afraid of the unknown... but now, I think this picture sums up how I feel about the future:


















My life is an open book. I can do this school thing. Heck, I can get my Ph.D if I want to. That's the beauty of it. It is all up to me, and my future is wide open.

I love my life. I love going to school.

Hugs,
Steph

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Puppy beach time

This past weekend in Tampa we had a great time with my family. The best part was taking Layla to the dog beach at Ft. DeSoto! She loved the water, and was exhausted afterwords. Success!

















































































































I'm ready for another weekend... who's with me?!?

P.S. Eric got a call from OCSO saying he passed the interview... so now it's onto the next step! I'm can't wait until we have something solid to look forward to!

P.S.S. Eric took this picture a few days ago... he was so cute when he got back from PT and saw me dressed for work (on jeans day!). He was like "You look so pretty, I want a picture of you and my pup." Haha! This is the result... and it is now the background of his phone.