Friday, October 21, 2011

Why I won't step foot into the MC Library

May 10, 2010
Dear Mr. Head of Library,

I am writing to you regarding various complaints. I have been a patron of the Michigan City Library since I moved to Michigan City last year. I am an avid reader and have three children that also love to read. I love libraries, in general. I sometimes feel as a child in a candy store when I walk into a library and see books surrounding me and enveloping me in their brilliance. I love the design of the Michigan City Library and the selection of books, movies and audio books and the convenience of location. However, none of these things make up for the absolute horrific service you get at the Circulation Desk. I have been continually shocked and offended by the staff in the Circulation Desk. Before I give you specific examples I would like to say that the only gentleman that works up there and C are the only exceptions in my mind. I feel it’s almost as a Russian Roulette when I check out hoping that one of those two are working and I’ll get them in my turn in line. The two rudest employees are the older woman with the white curly hair and E.

I have had the occasional late fees, hold fees and I have paid for two books, one of which my dog ate and the other simply seemed like it disappeared. I pay my fees, though have been treated like I’m a criminal when I come in with a late fee of only 50 cents. I was honest when one of the library’s books was destroyed and the other lost and paid for the cost immediately. I have taken out audio books, movies and games and have had to advise the library multiple times of audio books or movies that didn’t work. I had to bring a Playaway back within 2 days as it didn’t get past track 3. One time, I had dropped an audio book off in the box outside as the library was not open and the last CD had skipped to the point that I still don’t know the end of the book. The next day I went to the library to tell them and was told rudely by the Circulation Desk that it’s back on the shelf and it was obvious nothing would be done about it.

The first incident I had with E had me quite perturbed but it would take a lot for someone like me to give up the library based on one employee’s rudeness. As I had said before I had a book that was damaged and when I came in to take care of it, the gentleman at the Circulation Desk was there and assisted me. I also had maybe 45 cents in late fees and 2 to 3 hold book fees. I wrote a check for the amount due and he wrote me out a detailed receipt with a breakdown of the costs I had paid. The next time I came into the library, E, waited on me. She scanned my card and told me I had $1.00 in hold fees. I told her I paid those hold fees the last time I was in. She denied that I did so. I told her I had a receipt, she threw her hand in my face and started yelling for a supervisor. I started digging in my purse as she makes this major commotion getting a supervisor and amazingly enough I still had the receipt. So I showed it to her and the supervisor. What does she do next? Mayhap an apology might be in order? NO! She goes back behind the 2nd division in the circulation desk area and starts yelling at the guy that helped me out because he didn’t remove them from my account! As I stand waiting to be checked out! Now, let me tell you I was absolutely mortified for the guy and in no way intended on getting him in trouble. E made me feel like I was some sort of criminal trying to get away with $1.00!!!! I still think what nerve she has to put me and that guy and everyone else in line through that! And maybe I should’ve just kept my mouth quiet and paid the $1.00, but I didn’t owe it and didn’t feel I should have to pay it.

The second incident just happened recently and has forced me into the sad decision that I do not want to return to the library. I am looking into joining another library in the Michigan City area in the hopes that the employees in an alternate library will not be so harsh. As I previously indicated I have rented a lot of movies from the library. I know from being a frequent customer of the audio books and movies the quick cursory glance the staff gives the disc before shuffling the next person into line. I have rented quite a few discs from the library that flat out don’t work in my dvd player, scratched or not. I have told the staff when a movie doesn’t play properly. More often than not the movies I have checked out from the library are scratched and skip at least one or two times when my children are watching them. I figure it’s a part of life and they are free movies so who am I to complain? Well now I am the one complaining as I rented Mulan and my children watched it a couple of times before I returned the movie. I came in to the library to pick up a book on hold and lucky me, I got E as my clerk. She got my book off hold and scanned my card and then told me to wait a minute. She brings out the Mulan disc and says you damaged this, we need $30. I told her I did not damage it and she immediately threw her hand in my face again and went to get a supervisor, yelling the entire way. Sir, I am not an intimidating woman. I do not yell or slam my first when trying to make a point. E is unaccountably rude and it’s absolutely shameful the way she has treated me, like I’m some sort of lying thief. When the supervisor came up I explained the situation that I did not scratch it and that it played fine in my house. I cried when I left the library, a first and a last, I can assure you. Sure, the dvd was quite scratched but most of the dvd’s I get from the library are scratched. I would take full responsibility for the dvd if I had indeed damaged it. You can look in my account and see that I have paid my fees and was honest in regards to the two books that I have paid for. My payment history can show the type of library patron I am, to this point.

I do not feel that I should be responsible for the cost of the Mulan dvd. I did not damage it, no matter what they say regarding the scratching. Most of the children dvd’s are scratched significantly so. If the library is going to throw my account into a collection for it that would affect my credit, then I will feel that my hand will be forced into paying for a dvd that I did not damage. I will seek patronage for myself and my family in an alternate library in Michigan City area and only hope that by writing this letter that E will be served some sort of punishment for being so rude to the patrons of Michigan City Library. I am saddened to write this letter with the intent of no longer being a patron. But I can no longer stand by and be treated so terribly in a place that has always been a safe haven to me.

If you would please let me know if I will be turned into collection if I should not pay for the DVD that I did not damage, I would be much obliged. Also I am including a check of $1.50 for any additional holds I had on my account. I know House Rules came in as that’s the book I was there to pick up and Runaway came in subsequently after that I had put on hold.


Carissa Adams

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Cheesecake Factory Experience

Dear The Cheesecake Factory,

We love you, we really do. We visit you far too often. My oldest daughter has proclaimed she will one day marry you. We enjoy your appetizers, small plates, sandwiches, pastas, specialties and chicken and of course every scrumptious bite of the cheesecake that makes you The Cheesecake Factory. A trip into the city with the family would not be complete without topping it off with a visit to one of our favorite Chicago places.

And then….. we finally come see you for a special occasion… not “just because” we have an obsession, not “just because” we found some reason to come to town so we could see you. We come to celebrate our babies’ 6th birthday and receive the absolute worst service we have ever received. Anywhere.

Now let’s just get one thing straight, the food was delicious. It always is; it never lets us down. And I would never imagine that it could.

But we are extremely let down.

When we come to town, when we come to The Cheesecake Factory, we expect great service, awesome food and spectacular cheesecake. We left tonight completely outraged on a special night.

We do not know if it’s because we were a family of 5 (only 2 adult menus and 3 children) in a booth that could perhaps house 8 people. We didn’t request it, it’s what we were led to, but the waiter clearly was not happy at this idea of a possible lesser tip. Even though it was a Thursday and not the high peak weekend time where I’m sure the wait staff makes the most mula.

Our waiter got the drink order wrong, never served one plate of food, nor filled our glasses. He did not ask us if we wanted cheesecake, nor was there any celebration of the twins’ birthday by singing (even though there were 2 other Happy Birthday sing-songs AND I had told the host that we wanted them sang to). We had to stop him at our table as he tried hurrying past if we needed anything. Finally, and most appallingly, before we even left the table he came to see how much I had written in as a tip. We always tip well, and even though he was the most horrid excuse for a waiter, I was extremely tempted to leave a crap tip for him. I didn’t, though I still question my decision of rewarding bad behavior.

Although, it would take MUCH more for us to write off The Cheesecake Factory, it has definitely left a blemish on an otherwise unbeatable record.

Still yours,


Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day Jitters

Ahhhh, first day for Fall semester…. It was lovely, nerv-y and fun. Being off campus last semester due to the surgery really had me looking forward to this semester on campus.

I'm taking Sociology of the Body, Communications 114 (Speech), Statistics 113 and Abnormal Psychology (online).

I'm officially giving myself 2 weeks to get in the hang of things with school and everything else I do on a daily basis.

Classes went well, other than finding out my arch-nemesis is in 2 out of my 4 classes. I really do not want to put up with listening to him yammer on for 2 hours 2 days a week, but I realized that I still had the power to tune him out, so rock on to me!

I'm really looking forward to delving into my Sociology of the Body class and the Abnormal Psychology.

Speech still has me nerv-y… I hate talking in front of people…. I can talk to a small group of people fine and I can talk passionately about a subject like bullying with no problem… but I dread regular public speaking.

We were given our first assignment in speech class today which is a coat of arms done by pictures on a poster board. My name being first alphabetically means I'm the lucky one that goes first. Aaarrgghhhh!!

Still though I'll be fighting those nerves, I'll be glad to get it over with and I really like this Coat of Arms speech.

Here are the questions, I have to pull images for and talk about:

  • What is something at which you excel? (I tried jotting notes of ideas, had a hard time with this one, came up with multi-tasking tentatively)
  • What is something yourself that you are working to improve? (stubbornness? The art of public speaking? ßhardy har)
  • What is one value, a deep commitment, from which you would never budge? (Family, acceptance and kindness came to mind)
  • What is the material possession most significant to you? (Gma Jo's journals all the way)
  • What is your greatest achievement of the past year? (ABC, of course)
  • What is your biggest setback of the past year? (Surgery is what I put tentatively, but that wasn't that big of a setback, I still was in college, I was back to work within 2 weeks… must think more on this one).
  • What would you do if you had one year to live and were guaranteed of success in whatever you attempted? (jotted that I would work solely as an advocate to end bullying… of course upon thinking it more, I would want to spend every moment with my family)
  • What three words would you most like to have said about you if you died today? (jotted advocate, mommy, loved and kind… okay that's 4 words and I'll probably tweak those)

I love this idea of introducing yourself as a coat of arms. Fabulous… though I'm sure I'll be sweating it day of and before…. Plan on working on the poster this weekend, have Blythe help me since John and Grace will be at their dad's.

I'll check back in with news of how the speech went… if I remember.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Duhduh...duhduh... (Jaws Theme)

So this upcoming Fall semester I am taking Communication 114. Or Speech class. And I’m dreading it. Occasionally, I will start thinking about it and wonder how I will do. You’d think, considering how much I love to talk, that it would be a cinch, but I abhor public speaking.

I get shaky and sweaty (two of my favorite things - *roll of eyes*) and I feel my voice shaking. It’s always been that way… with the exception of the last talk I gave at a Realtor meeting after I had given my notice when I worked at Chicago Title. That is the only time that I can remember feeling comfortable in front of a group of people. And I found it ironic, I found that comfort when I was leaving… or maybe it was because I was leaving that it made it easy for me.

So today as I was getting around, I start thinking…wondering…slightly stressing… about what speeches I will be forced to make in front of a class of 18 – 19 year olds.

And, what worries me the most is my penchant for going off on tangents.

Exhibit A: ABC Workshop May 7, 2011. Spent the night before planning out our activities, what I would say, where I would break, when Candice would speak, yadda yadda yadda. Then what did I do? I did not use any of my notes and just free-balled it. Yes I just wrote free-balled.

Anywho, that’s all fine and dandy for workshops because I’m speaking from my heart and about something I’m extremely passionate about and I’m surrounded by people who share that passion… and I don’t have a stopwatch timing me like I will in speech class.

I remember in speech class in 10th or 11th grade I had to do a newscast including weather, sports etc. I went so over the time I was told I could just stop. Talk about mortifying. I feel embarrassed even sharing that, but it perhaps explains my worry.

So back to earlier today as I’m straightening my fabulous blonde hair, I think, well what if I have to introduce myself? What would I say?

Fake Speech (running through my mind):

“Hi there, my name is Cari Adams and I’m 33 or 34, or perhaps by now even 35. I’m a mom of twins + 1, a fiancé, a sophomore, a Realtor, an office manager and a co-founder of a non-profit organization called Anti-Bullying Coalition. I’m opinionated, bordering on obnoxious and am always rushing somewhere. I have 3 delightful doggies and 4 ornery kitties that all neurotically love my fiancé. I love to laugh, am obsessed with Facebook and squeal every time I see Usher. I adore Ellen DeGeneres and everything she stands for and one day we will meet and become BFF’s.”

How long would that take? How many extra sentences would I throw in there?

So probably when you first started reading this, you thought Isn’t it summer? Doesn’t she have 2 - 3 months before stressing about her fall classes? And yes, you are right. I’m thinking maybe I just have to have something to worry about…. And this is what was convenient today. I don't choose it, they just come to me :).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Missing You

I’m letting you know I’m emotional. So if you continue, you were warned.

Today, we lost our cat, Esme…. A beautiful little calico kitten we took in a year ago the week before we left for Disney World. Esme was an incredibly shy cat and we jokingly said we counted her as a ½ cat because we rarely saw her. She bonded with our black and white kitty, Diamond, who treated her like she was hers. They laid together, bathed each other, slept together. She was sister to our sassafrass kitten, Candys, and possibly the daughter of our fixed (but maybe too late) cat Cullen (aka Big Boy). She was a good girl and will be missed.

Waking up and peering out our large picture window in horror and sadness was not my ideal way to start a morning. My eyes filled with tears seeing the precious kitty on the road and I immediately woke up David with, “Esme is dead!”

I felt so guilty, because I think, "Did I hear her meowing outside my window last night?" I can't remember. Usually she does when she wants in, as does Candys, and I often get out of bed to let one or the other in. I can't remember, but that doesn't stop the guilt.

I was prone to tears for most of the morning, had a busy afternoon and early evening and on our way home, I felt the tears well up again.

It started out because of Esme, but morphed into tears for my father.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day and while I’m so thankful for my Dad, Steve, I also am saddened as I miss my Dad, Charlie.

I think of him often, nearly every day, and I wish I could turn back those hands of time and appreciated the time I had with him more.

As I was loading up posts for Father's Day on ABC, I scheduled to post the song "In Pictures" by Alabama, which is the song my Dad said made him think of me. I couldn't listen to it today when I scheduled it. I found the video on YouTube and immediately muted. I think of coming back from telling my brother our Dad was dead and putting the song in the CD player. Tears came pouring out and my mom turned it off, as it was just too emotional for me.

I think of the last time I spoke with him, when I rushed off the phone because I had 100's of things to do. It is one of my big regrets and there is nothing I can ever do to take it back.

Sometimes you don’t realize how much you’ll miss a person, until they are gone. Then there is nothing you can do.

I feel I need to carry this with me, the remembering to appreciate rather than rush, and as I type this I know I have that best intention and then within a day or two, I’ll be rushing along my way and not taking the time to stop, enjoy and appreciate.

New Daily Mantra: SEA—Stop.Enjoy.Appreciate.

I can only hope I will be better at SEA-ing.

RIP Charles D. Holmes and Esme.... You are missed!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gracie Doodle Brownie Sally

Friday the 13th was the Doodle's first commercial shoot! It was fabulous other than the waking up at 5:30 am to get there! Started the day off with the alarm not going off.... thankfully the doggies don't like me sleeping later than 5:30 if they have their way.

The trip to Chicago was relatively painless, though we did see a car flipped over on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago by Soldier Field and got lost trying to find the parking garage. Found the hospital just fine... but the parking garage was sneaky :).

Doodle LOVED the RV that we were in until it was time to shoot. The crew was super nice, she drew pictures of everyone, got her makeup and hair done and played on her Ipod.

This first picture is of her in the RV, in the Co-Captains chair. She was overjoyed!

Some of Doodle's Breakfast... Orange-chu glad to see me?

Doodle looking cute, with makeup and hair done...

Looking out the 5th story window of the hospital.....

Before filming Gracie decided she wanted to be called Sally. So cute. It was Ashley last week and Crystal before that. The crew was so cool in that they called her Sally the entire time.

Close to filming! One of the crew suggested I take a pic, it was definitely new for us! I was so nervous for her, but she was such a little professional!

Everyone complimented Sally on how well she did... One of the directors said to me, "Oh she must do this all the time?" and I said, "No, this is her first time." He was Wowed and said anytime they need a cute child, he'll request her! That would be so cool! I'm so proud of my Gracie Doodle Brownie Sally :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

ABC Blog Etc.

ABC has a new Blog! Yippee! Hooray! Fantasticness (patent pending)! Super excited by all the overwhelming support and blessings that have been coming along at a simply marvelous pace! Blog address for ABC:

Almost done with classes for the semester *breathe sigh of relief*. 4 Online classes has been rough. I'm glad I was early enough in my college career to be able to take 4 classes and remain full time to accommodate for butt surgery in January, however it's hard to stay on task. Take right now for example, I really should be doing my homework. In fact my history homework is right underneath my hands and this keyboard. It's like it's staring at me, taunting me to actually do my work. As I look to my right is my Criminology book and down on the floor to my right is my Psych. All going ignored. But I will get it done, as I always do. Nothing is due until the end of the week and I will get my history homework done by 5. It's only 5 pages of reading and then posting about the downfall of the housing market as we are on contemporary issues. That shouldn't be that hard for me to write about considering I worked in the title industry before, during and after that fall.

First listing was signed yesterday! Delightful walk-in on floor time. I'm giving myself a Woot Woot! for being here and on floor! I'm also here today as I type this blog, on floor time, hoping for that million dollar phone call :D.

And the Poor Doodle Bug has had a fever for 3 days. :( Woke up this morning and I thought she felt fine, took her temp and it was 101.2. Obviously shows what I know (not much). David stayed home with her as he wasn't feeling the best either. Hope no one else in the house gets it!

Okay fine, history homework must be done!

Together we Can End Bullying, Visit ABC on Facebook:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Consistent Blogging

So here I sit…. At 7 am with 2 dogs and a cat resting on the top of the couch looking outside just daring anything to walk by so they can totally wig out over it, run across my legs and act like cookoo birds. I really don’t know what cookoo birds actually act like, but in my mind they act like my dogs when they are hyped up.

I have had a Word document on my Desktop for at least a month and a half with the title “Blog Progress.” Do you want to know how much Progress has been made? That’s right, None! But here I am to change that!

A few days ago a blogpost by Mommie Dearest Strikes Again was floating around on several Pages I like. It’s a Note to the Mean girls, and the Mommie’s writing style and flair for writing gave me the spurt I needed to actively ensure writing in my lonely neglected blog again! So I’m back, for now!

It’s been a busy time since I last wrote and I will now give you the short short version of the things that I can remember with half a cup of coffee in my system.

Gracie Doodle Dandy – Last November I mailed out a packet of pictures of my Doodle to BMG Models in Chicago. This was after Jessica and Scott took her to answer one of those radio ads and ultimately they wanted a lot of money and I’ve heard from several reputable services it’s a Scam, Scam, Scam! So I decided to call around Chicago and the local Modeling and Talent Agencies. I really liked BMG Models and what they had to say so I decided to send pictures of Gracie only to them. In January I got a call to meet in February! How exciting! The Doodle was thrilled! She is now signed with BMG and we are really looking forward to auditions! She has such an outgoing and friendly personality and loves to get her picture taken. I am going to attempt to add a picture mid-way through of her headshot(s).

Chloe – We added a dog to our family! That’s right we are up to 3! Chloe is a doll baby, who has a penchant for easily gliding over our 4 foot fence and then looking at us like “I don’t know how I got over here.” Then she races along the side of the house and comes up front instead of just hopping back over. She’s a fawn boxer and super duper sweet. She, Aspen and Jet all bonded relatively quickly though I’m pretty sure Aspen is still sad she’s not the only poor baby in the house anymore. Chloe likes to paw me halfway to death first thing in the morning (according to her). Morning for Chloe is 6. Morning for me would preferably be 7 but I’m getting used to the exhaustion. I even got to sleep in for the first time in I don’ t know how long on Saturday! It was 8:45 when I got up (after I stumbled and let the dogs out and back in at 6 am). Usually I can’t go back to sleep, as soon as my feet are on the ground I’m usually up!

Real Estate – Well I finally took my Real Estate Classes and subsequently State exam and Passed! Just wanting for my Real Estate license to be approved! Super excited to team up with David. We had batted around Team Names for awhile and finally found one that we are really excited about! Once it’s done I’ll share it.
Losing Weight – Such a struggle! I was doing so well with working out, water intake and limiting food portions. Lately, I’ve not been doing as great. My pop intake has increased as I’m so tired and think I need it. My food portions are all whacked out again and I’ve been eating too much candy. Plus I’ve been so busy I only went to the gym once last week. I need to make more of an effort. I realize this. I know it’s not going to go anywhere without a lot of hard work and determination, but it is definitely a struggle daily!

ABC – Words cannot even express the awe that I feel from the tremendous support that we’ve received for ABC: Anti-Bullying Coalition. I’m incredibly passionate about ending bullying in our schools and community and feel that Together we can!

ABC’s Facebook Page is:


We were also featured on the Front Page of The News Dispatch:

ABC will be at the Samaritan Skedaddle in Michigan City on April 30 and hosting our first workshop on May 7!

Must get kids up and around and officially start my day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday, Monday

Today is Monday. And it totally feels like one… Has since first thing this morning when a 50 lb cute dog stood over me pawing me with her gargantuan paws.

Of course that's the start of every day so that alone could not differentiate it from a regular day to a Monday.


Things that can:

Slamming my knee into the doorjamb at our front door while trying to close it

Running into something else (can't remember – short term memory loss) and slamming my other knee on that

Complete lack of motivation to do any homework

Missing RE Class today because John and Grace are sick

Worrying that John and Grace were sick (though this was alleviated after an hour at the doctor's office when given the good news that they just had colds)

Waking up 4-ish times in the night to go make sure they were okay. One in particular I leaped up from the bed and asked (probably really loudly) David if he was okay. I'm sure he appreciated that.

Held a screaming Grace while the doctor gave her a strep test.

Blythe requesting a creative sundae and then getting the wrong kind.


But of course, we can dwell on the bad… or we can focus on the good… I choose the good.


Good things about today:

Spent the whole day with John and Grace

Woke up next to the man I love

Took Blythe to school and picked her up

Made a delicious bacon, egg and cheese English muffin for breakfast

Did chores with my kids and had a clean house for a short period of time.

Made and consumed The Pioneer Woman's delicious Chicken Spaghetti.

Had Bubbles (ice cream)

Watched Morning Glory with my kids

Got work stuff done even though I wasn't able to work at the office

A beautiful sunset with pink, purple and peach streaks lighting up the sky

Spelled words for John and Grace to sound out phonetically while waiting for the doctor.


But the most heart melting moment was:

When Grace was getting her strep test done and Johnny became visibly upset and immediately came up to Grace and rubbed her back with his hand then we all group hugged.








Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mommy Anxiety

I was up until the wee hours of the night/morning last night finishing Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. It's really my fault, I should know better than to start a book by Nicholas Sparks and expect to be able to put it down. But that's not what I wanted to talk about. However, if you are looking for a book to read, may I recommend Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks? Or really, anything by him?

So the real purpose of this blog post is to share the tremendous level of anxiety I have. Maybe it's not normal, or maybe it is soooo normal that everyone reading this will be like "Well Duh!"

As usual, last night when I was finally finished with my book I went to the kids' bedroom(s) to make sure they were okay. I stand there with my hand on their chest until I feel it rise and fall. Sometimes I accidentally wake them up, but if I don't do this I cannot go to sleep. Often I will do it and then hop into bed only to pull myself out of it a few minutes later to do it again. If I wake up at night with a start, I get out of bed and do it again. And then first thing in the morning I go in. I should also admit that last night I went in there 2 other times before bedtime. The first time they were awake, the second time they were not, the third time they were also fine.

So the book had some twists in it that kind of freaked me out. This happens extra easily (especially at night). I become uncomfortable in my house, rushing from darkened room to the safety of my bedroom after checking the locks on the doors. Perhaps I'm OCD but I really think its good ole-fashion anxiety.

As I lay down to sleep, my mind is running a million miles a minute. I start worrying about John and Grace while they are at their dad's and I suggest to myself that I text him in the morning to let me know when he's arrived (he has a play date scheduled tonight in Merrillville/Crown Point), then I go the extra step thinking well maybe he can text me and let me know when they get up in the morning. These thoughts are racing through my head and mentally I suggest ways to soothe my anxious nerves to alleviate the tightness in my chest. The fear/anxiety causes me the tightness to be there.

My fear/anxiety is not without cause. My mom had a son (who would obviously have been my brother) who died at the age of 3 from pneumonia. I cannot even fathom how she went on. Even though I wasn't even born until JJ had passed away, but I live with the fear of something happening to my kids. John currently has a cough and while it's not so much I feel a dr. is necessary it still worries me. I know my mom still checked to see if I was breathing until I was a teenager (and perhaps an adult too J). Then my Dad died in November of 2009. From pneumonia. This has exacerbated my anxiety. Shortly after he passed John got RSV and had to be on breathing treatments every 4 hours for weeks. It was an exhausting (and scary) time, but we got through it, but every night John slept next to me. I know I wouldn't have been able to sleep without him there. John gets a cough more often than the other girls and has been put on breathing treatments a couple times a year. Every time, I worry, but I worry anyway so it's just an elevation of my regular worry.

Now maybe at this point you think I'm crazy… and if you are a friend of mine, you may already know this J, but I really wanted to get these words out, so much so that even though I was exhausted at 12:30 AM I had to stop myself from getting up then to write this blog post. Sometimes the best thing for anxiety is talking it out and other times it's pills. I don't want to take pills for something I know I can control. And so what if I check my kids 3 – 4 times a night, my kids know that I love them and I know they love me (even if I'm crazy).

Monday, March 7, 2011

Kid Friendly Chores

My kids love doing chores. I love that they love doing chores. I have had conversations with other Momma's about what I have my kids do as chores and thought I would formulate a list as to what I have them do. It might be helpful for someone. Or no one.

I try and make a chore list with the kids doing 2 chores a day but I have a hard time always sticking to it. Usually I look around the house, assess what needs to be done and what they can do, and dole out the chores. One or two days a week they have no chores.

The following is a list of chores by room (the kids would get a combo of 2 of any of these):

Cleaning Their Room—(Every other day) Cleaning of the room entails picking everything up from the floor that's accumulated, taking laundry downstairs, making beds, and putting clean laundry up.

Bathroom—Clean mirror, sink and put up stuff that's not put up.

Living Room—Clean TV stand, vacuum couch, sweep the floor, line up shoes/boots by the door or just general pickup.

Kitchen—Help me put up dishes or load dishes or set the table for dinner. OH or cleaning cupboards with a magic eraser (John LOVES this one)

Laundry—Help David with Laundry, folding or carrying it upstairs


A common chore day would be the following:

Blythe: Help with Dishes, Clean TV Stand

Grace: Clean Bathroom, Set Table

John: Vacuum couch, Help David with Laundry

I recently implemented the allowance, which is $6 a week, sometimes. I suppose I should be more consistent with it but there are evenings when everything is done or evenings that are too busy to do chores.

It is a HUGE help and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone!! John often asks for even more chores to do! It teaches them responsibility and the importance of cleanliness, plus we do a lot of the chores together which is really nice.

Power to Cleaning House!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Biggest Loser

Why is it when I watch The Biggest Loser I eat bad things? Just finished 3 deliciously baked break n bake chocolate chip lovers cookies. Doing that basically made my workout today completely null and void. Boo to me. Boo to my love of all things chocolate. Sidenote: They were delicious!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I want to be on Ellen!

I think it's important to have goals. Goals can drive a person, make a person want to do better, be better and achieve something. My current goal is to be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I send everything to Ellen. Pictures, videos, letters, panties. Haha, just joking about the panties… or am I? No I really am. I love Ellen, but let's face it, that would just be weird.

    I am considering creating a Get Cari on Ellen page on Facebook… However I don't like that title. I just thought of that title but I do not love it. Shouldn't my brain come up with something brilliant? Something that will catch the interest of Ellen or Ellen's employees that will make them sit up and say, "YES! We have found Ellen's next guest." Bah! I'll just content myself with saying it's a work in progress. I WILL come up with something Brilliant and I WILL create a FB page in the hopes of catching the attention of the Ellen crew.

    Now let's be honest with each other here. WE all know I'm afraid of everything. Everything includes flying. I'm not afraid of Everything, but I definitely am afraid of a lot. Friends of mine have asked if there is anything that they are afraid of that I'm not afraid of. We haven't run across anything yet.

    I was off on a tangent there. Back to the point, fear of flying. So how will I get on Ellen if I'm afraid of flying? I am willing to take my Xanax like a good fearful girl and get on a plane with my children and clench the armrests the entire time to get to Ellen.

    But can any other goal measure up to the one of being on Ellen? Deep question right? I'm willing to chance it.

    I'd really love my girls to be able to be on while The Bieber is there…. And Usher was there… because we all know I squeal like a little girl when I see Usher. But the girls would just flip out… especially Gracie who is determined to marry him. Who can really blame the Doodle? He is adorable.

    This is the point where I include the link to the Doodle (Gracie) talking about her boyfriend The Bieber.

    And then talking about his haircut:


    This post is brought to you mostly because:

    A: Getting me on Ellen (pretty sure I'm clear about my goals here)

    B: My desire to be a more consistent blogger

    C: Getting more views on Gracie talking about her boyfriend, because it's so cute.

    D: I have to go potty. That was obscure, but it feels right J

Monday, February 14, 2011

25 Things I love on Valentine's Day

1. My family including but not limited to my fiance, my kids, my parents, my siblings, my fiance's family, my extended family etc. etc. You get the idea.

2. My doggies cuz they are cute, funny, cuddly and pathetic all at the same time

3. My friends, other than Heidi, of course.... and the other ones that piss me off

4. Frosted Shredded Wheat, regular size or little bites...not the Big Bites kind, ew.

5. Coffee!

6. My house - especially when it's clean for approximately 5 minutes before it's destroyed.

7. My Honda Pilot. I love the leather seats, especially since Aspen had diarrhea in there and if they were cloth, well I would have had to sell my car.

8. The dual-heated King Size blanket that Debbie got us for Christmas.
8.a. The awesome pot rack my parents got us for Christmas!

9. The internet!

10. Chocolate Covered Strawberries

11. Caramel Apples on Steroids from the chocolate company that combined with Cold Stone in Valpo.... Rocky Mountain Chocolate I think it is.

12. Chipotle Mexican Grill Steak Tacos with fresh pico.

13. Going to college

14. Being a Mom

15. The Pioneer Woman and Kara Williams for suggesting her!

16. The Pioneer Woman's Marlboro Man... you will too if you read Black Heels and Tractor Wheels

17. Summertime

18. Say Yes to the Dress and What Not to Wear (the only 2 acceptable shows on TLC)

19. Facebook - the perfect reason to procrastinate

20. Bradley Cooper - because he's super fine!

21. The Mentalist and especially Simon Baker

22. JCPenney's Worthington Line

23. Music - all kinds except for the honkiest tonkiest country and heavy death metal

24. The beach!

25. Working out.... Yes I actually love to work out!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Creation of Words by Cari (Patent Pending):

Foff ~ Foff is really a smooshing of a word…. It comes in two parts F and Off. I created this term while talking to Heidi via FB chat. FB chat sucks, let's just put that out there, it's true, everyone knows it. We joke around a lot, Heidi and I. I am clearly superior in cleverness to her, but ya know she tries…. Bahahha, I crack myself up. Moving on to the creation of Foff. So many times would I say F Off to Miss Heidi via FB chat. Then one day I went with Foff. Foff is fantastic for a couple of reasons… first of all, most people will have no clue what Foff means, which means it's vague and clever, two of my favorite things. Secondly, you are swearing without swearing. Priceless! I'm sure there are more reasons, but I'm over it.


Moving on….


Slackability ~ Slackability is a word I created reflecting my weekly procrastinations to do my homework. I have the ability, but I push off which means I'm obviously a slacker. Mush together and voila!


Floser ~ This was an Epic Fail moment of Heidi, when I was attempting to create new words by putting an F in front of them. She tried out Floser which is obviously amazing. Great accidental example, new word!


LMTO ~ We know about the LMAO, ROTLMAO and many other variations. I decided my rear had enough working out… so I moved on to a problem area. My thighs. Laugh Your Thighs Off with a LMTO!


LMSO ~ LMTO worked out so well after a few weeks I turned my attention to my serious problem area aka my Stomach. It has stuck for a few weeks as it does not seem to be working yet. Will keep you updated.


Fantasticness ~ What's better than something being fantastic? The fantasticness of something, of course…. Silly!

Carisk ~ Ah, I love Candice's Auto Correct. With it, we learned that Heidi is auto corrected to Brisk. After that, it just kind of stuck. Then one night Heidi and I decided to create a Brangelina type name, without the excessive homewreckingness….. Carisk was formed and we never looked back!


Doucheology ~ My lovely fiancé created this word as the study of doucheism. I love him when he's brilliant… and even when he totally irritates me.


Douchetastic ~ A word doucheologists use to exclaim when something is totally tubular or fantastic. Use it, love it.

That's it for now, but I am always on a quest for new and better words. Comment to add your own word and I will continue to update this as new brilliant words come to me and my friends!

Funny Kid Moments

In my desire to blog more I am going to start Funny Kids Moments... a segment of the cleverness, funny-ness and brilliance of my children. Why have a blog if you can't go on and on about your kids, ya know?

Funny moments of this week 2/11/11:

#1: The setting: David walks in from work. I go and attack him with kisses while he continue to pulls away slightly. After I finally give up, Blythe says, "David, I totally feel your pain. She does that to me Every Night!"

#2: Last night we are on our way to Walmart to get Valentine's Day cards.... We had just left the dance where no one but Grace danced. Grace makes friends wherever she goes. She's fantastic. Moving on.... Our conversation goes likes this:

Me: Girls, you looked realllllly beautiful tonight. *Pause* John, you looked realllllllly handsome.

Blythe: Mom I don't want you to get all attitude-ish with me and No Offense, but All John did was put on a shirt and pants.

Me: Blythe, when you start a statement with No Offense, someone will always take offense.

#3: Took Johnny to All Star Cuts today for a haircut. Attempted to take him to Hair Cuttery, but after an irritating phone call with them, I decided they are now dead to me. John barely spoke as the lady cut his hair.. He's rather shy in most social settings which is why he's so adorable.... well one of the many reasons. The lady and I chatted a bit while she did his hair.

As we were leaving John says he wants her to cut his hair again and I response Of course. After we got in the car, Grace says: "Mom, she should be your best friend." (She being the hair stylist) I laugh and tell her I already have best friends. Grace: "Like Heidi?" Me: I say "Yes and Candice." *Pause* Grace: "Well you can have more than one best friend, she should be your best friend too." Precious!

February Fun

Watching Parks and Recreation right now... Good show...

Want to be better at blogging, I always have the best intentions but eventually and realtively quickly I lose sight of my grandious plans of consistently blogging. I just spent some time on Pioneer Woman's website drooling over her husband (no, I'm not proud) and her seemingly effortless blogging. But mostly her husband, Run Don't Walk and go to her website, click Confessions then Marlboro Man. You won't be sorry.

I've been reading her book this week Black Heels and Tractor Wheels, it's soooo good... I'm almost done with it. I've been taking it slow mainly because of my slackability when it comes to the other stuff I've not done this week.... like the last minute Bio 222 test I took and got a freakin C on. I can't believe it, I'm still in shock, a C. First C in college. Of course then I immediately figure out if I get an A on all the rest of the quizzes and the quizzes account for only 20% of the grade I will still get an A in the class, but still I'm horrified. I feel some of the questions were somewhat tricky and I don't know which ones I got wron but there's 25 questions total which mean I got 8 wrong. 8. I know you are shocked, I am too. And it was open book. Just to continue to rub it in of my loserness in this moment. Even David was shocked.

Moving on (or trying to)..... I am ahead in Criminology, only due to an oversight on the syllabus... and I took my Criminology test and got a 96 (though I believe 3 of the answers were correct--yes I emailed the professor). Took my first History test and am waiting for it to be graded. Buzzer.

This week we went to a Book Fair at the kids' school and then a Safe Harbor Valentine's Day Dance. Blythe's recycleable alien is completed and fantastic. So proud of her and her creativity. Grace got her hair fixed and it's only 6 days til her modeling appointment in Chicago. John got his hair cut today, finally!

Been working out this week on the treadmill. Still need to eat healthier. And be better at portion control. And drink more water. Goal: Lose 9 lbs by April so I can try on wedding dresses.

Family Vacation this year: Arkansas... .Yep that's right!

It for now, hopefully it won't be months before another post.... oh other than my creation of new words which I'm going to post today... or tomorrow... or maybe Sunday!


Doodle's New 'Do

David and I

Blythe's Recycleable Alien.... Be jealous!

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Pilonidal Journey

November 2009 – January 2011


January 16, 2011


    I am currently lying on the couch on this Sunday watching Ellen. Two days ago I had a Pilonidal Excision which is outpatient but has a long recovery (4 – 8 weeks).

    I wanted to write about my journey with pilonidals because even though it is slightly embarrassing, I have noticed when I have posted about it on FB I have heard from friends who have struggled with it or know someone who has. So let's start at the beginning.

    In late November 2009 I was working at Chicago Title and driving about an hour and a half one way to work. One day I started feeling some pain in my tailbone area and later on I noticed a small lump at the very top edge of my butt crack. It quickly inflamed and became incredibly painful. I went to my regular doctor, who was unsure as to what it was, but determined it was an infection underneath the skin and gave me some antibiotics. At my check up appointment a few days later it was still there but it had shrunk due to the antibiotics. What was strange about it the doctor said was it had a large lump up top by the very top of my buttcrack but there was a tract that traveled downward. She recommended a specialist and I went to see him later that day. A coworker using web md was able to find about the Pilonidal cysts. The specialist confirmed this is what it was but felt the antibiotics were working. It eventually diminished.

    Fast forward to April 2010, when it came back. I went to my doctor who gave me a prescription for antibiotics. It took care of it last time so I thought that would take care of it. Unfortunately it didn't. I had a recheck appointment but it had increased so much that I could not wait. I went back to the doctor and he checked it and immediately left the room. He popped his head in after a few minutes and asked if I had ate, which yes I had had a piece of cinnamon and sugar toast. He sent me directly to the hospital to meet with Dr. Moore, a surgeon who would be lancing and draining this cyst. It was leaking and so incredibly painful! Dr. Moore was amazing! I could only have a local anesthetic because I had ate, and because the infection was so bad the local was not able to dull everything. I was awake and it hurt! Dr. Moore stopped and put more local in, but it was still painful! It took about a week to recover and after I was better I became a washing Nazi back there.

    A website that helped me out with a lot of information is Everywhere I looked talked about how it was mostly men who got this and the explanation that it used to be referred to "Jeep disease" as men in the army would get it supposedly from riding around in the Jeeps over rough terrain during war. The website addresses many questions I had and has some forums (not working yesterday, not sure what's going on) that allowed me to read other people's questions and see that a lot of women do struggle with this! I decided to write this blog because I've been so embarrassed of where the cysts come up and so I've been sometimes facetious of what it is and what's been happening. But then I got emails from a couple people who said they knew someone who had these or they themselves have had them and so that has made me want to write about my experience. It is nothing to be ashamed of and it's not my fault that I have these cysts.

    So everything was dandy, then over Thanksgiving weekend I started feeling a tingling in my tailbone. Saturday to be exact and I thought "Uh-oh" and wondered if the hours I spent on my behind in my car on Black Friday was the reason. By Monday, the cyst was full blown. Not quite the size of when I had surgery in April, but with only 2 days of growing it was large. My doctor was out of town so I did a walk-in at my doctor's office. They immediately called Dr. Moore's office. Dr. Moore was in the office, but his colleague Dr. Cornwall would meet me at the hospital. When I got to the hospital I met with Dr. Cornwall who gave me the options of doing it in the ER with a local or going with Conscious Sedation. After explaining my first surgery, Dr. Cornwall felt it was best we went the Conscious Sedation route.

    Dr. Cornwall explained to David and I that I would have to have the more extensive surgery soon, an Excision, as I would most likely continue to get reoccurring cysts. I'd had 3 within a year, 2 of which required surgery. I initially asked Dr. Cornwall if it could wait til May when I was done with school for Spring semester and he agreed. Later on David and I started talking about the recovery process (4 – 8 weeks for an excision), the kids school being let out, being laid up in the summer and the busy-ness of the real estate market in the Spring/Summer time. Also would I make it 7 months without another cyst and another surgery?

    The recovery for the second surgery was much easier on me (I thank the Conscious Sedation) other than the pulling of the gauze out of the wound the day after surgery. David did it after the first surgery and it was absolutely torture, I dreaded it and it was as bad as I remembered. I had David take a picture at one point to see how much was left. I've attached the picture below. Yes it is a picture of my butt. I'm over it, so anyone reading this should be too J.

We decided to work out a schedule of all online classes for Spring semester so that I could have the Excision sooner. At my recheck appointment we talked about the excision, the recovery time (4 – 8 weeks total healing time) and the high chance of infection during the healing process of the closed wound option. If the wound gets infected during the healing time, it will have to be laid open and allowed to heal as an open wound. This is something I wish to avoid. Obviously.

So I'm a worrier. Most people that know me would already know this. I check on my kids throughout the night to make sure they are breathing…one of my greatest fears is dying and them not knowing me or remembering me throughout their life. One of my top 3 greatest fears is General Anesthesia. The date of the surgery (January 14) was ever present in my mind and the fear that I would not wake up from GA held on tight and would not let go. Two nights before the surgery I was crying from fear. It's silly. I know this, you know this, but it is a fear. The night before the surgery I wrote each of my kids' letters. Yes Yes I know. I'm a freak. So what?

Lucky for me and my fear, the anesthesiologist recommended an epidural and sedation instead of General Anesthesia! Thank you Anesthesiologist lady! Love her! I wish I would've known this all along, then I would have focused my worry on something else!

The surgery went fine and I have a check up appointment on January 24 with the surgeon. It took me forever to feel my feet and then it took me even longer to pee. I tried for a good 2 hours. Really. I was so upset because I just wanted to go home and I could not pee! You have to pee before you go home because you can easily get Urinary Retention from surgeries (I googled this while trying to coax myself into peeing). I finally went and got to go home!

The surgeon left a long-acting local in the wound so I haven't been in tremendous pain from that yet, more achy from lying around and from the epidural. Today (Monday, January 17, 2011) I took off the white tape and diaper-ish thing I've been wearing since the surgery. Tomorrow I shower (I can't freakin' wait!)! I took pictures with my diaper thing on, please see below (if you want) and then had Blythe take pictures when the tape/diaper stuff came off. I can't see where the stitches end.

I will hopefully be vigilant enough that I will continue to discuss my healing journey on this blog. That's my hope. I also have high hopes this will take care of the damn things. They are very hard to get rid of (per my surgeon) and I had only one tract and it was removed but I still have a 20% chance of reoccurrence. I know you are jealous. Hah!


Pictures of Pilonidal Cyst

Surgery 2 - Gauze left in wound. This HURT!

Excision Picture:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Year, Resolutions and a Look Back on 2010

My dear friend, Heidi, posted a note on Facebook last night and the idea of it was purely brilliance! I am here and now making a Resolution (#1 in this post but perhaps not in importance in my life) to do this every year from here on out! That's how brilliant I think it is!

2010 Moments I don't want to forget:

~Got engaged! (Woot - Woot!)

~Went to Disney World (first time Evah for me and the kids)

~Enjoyed the kids' amazement at their first view of the ocean in Savannah, Georgia

~Took a 9 day trip with stops in Charleston, WV; Savannah, GA; Disney World; St. Augustine, FL and Nasvhille, TN

~Bought a house!

~Bought a 4 wheel 8 passenger SUV that I Love Love Love!

~Started College at the young age of 32

~Rocked out 2 semesters & 1 class in the summer with all A's

~Over college spring break went to Grizzly Bear Resort in Utica, IL and our family hiked through the remaning snow and ice in Starved Rock

~Spent time with family (but never enough)

~David placed #5 out of 170 of all applicants for the Fire Dept. and he is eligible to be hired over the next 2 years!

~Met more of David's family at Shanna's wedding ~ LOVE THEM!

~Made some ridiculously awesome friends (when I say made, I mean forced) and kept the ones that I already had (mostly)

~Had a fantabulous Birthday Bash for the kiddos, then followed it up with 2 parties: Halloween Boo-tastical Costume Party and our Holiday Food Fest

~Took 3rd place at the Unofficial Biggest Loser contest

~Lost 10 lbs (15 more to go)

~Had 2 surgeries (Dislike!)

~Found a hatred for Black Ops that I never knew I had

~David's Favorite Moment: He got a motorcycle

~Fell in Love... with Blakey (Candice's baby, but soon to be mine)

~Had amazing family pictures done at the beach (a dream of mine) - Thanks Wendy!

~Went and saw Justin Bieber (can't believe I had to look through pics on FB to remember this)

~Got a Shedd Aquarium Annual Pass and have gone a few times with the kids who love it!

~Went to Bad Axe and visited GG & Pops (and had doughballs in Caro - YUM)

~Visited Tony & Wendy Plus the Boys in Iowa (my back was out but the kids had a fantastic time)

~Saw Huey Lewis & the News at the Elkhart County Fair

~Spent a lot of time at the beach

~Got a Nook! (now incredibly envious of the new NookColor)

2010 was filled with great memories and if I'm forgetting some, it's only due to my seriously bad memory.... Moments are created every day and I am looking forward to what awesomeness 2011 holds!

New Years' Resolutions

1. Lose 15 more lbs and keep it off

2. Spend quality time with my family and appreciate them every day

3. Force 3 additional friends (clock starts ticking now) to be my friend

4. Make Every Day Count!