365 Project – Day 365 – Christmas Part II, and 2012 Here We Come

2011 is officially coming to an end. I can’t even believe it. Seriously people, where did this year go? I guess I always thought grown ups were crazy when they talked about how fast time flew by. The adults always talked about it, but I was just a kid, and my only sense of time were the seemingly unending school years punctuated by long, hot summers. I guess I can officially classify myself as an adult now, because I find myself marveling at how quickly time is passing.

As I sit here, thinking back over 2011, I am thankful for the abundance of blessings in my life. I have a wonderful and supportive husband, a healthy and precocious daughter, a sweet hound dog, an amazing family, fabulous friends, a rewarding career, a beautiful new home, and much, much more. Sure, there have been plenty of roadblocks and hardships this year, but I am thankful for them too, because surviving has only made us stronger.

After the craziness of the holiday season and two nights of Cadence being fussy and congested, Steven and I agreed that a lazy day at home was just the ticket to ring in the new year. We spent the afternoon watching movies and playing with our daughter. Cadence has been having a blast with all of her new Christmas gifts, and here are a few more of her favorites that kept her busy today…

So many blocks, so little time.
A funny book about Walter the Farting Dog, and yeah, the little stuffed dog makes farting noises. Can you say awesome!?
Time to do a little cooking in our new kitchen.
Hmm...what do we have here?
Our little Iron Chef, whipping up something delicious.
Mmmm...
Cooking with Cadence.
Jingle the dog responds when you read the books. Steven is officially obsessed with this toy.
And another new favorite book from Cadence's godmother Tamatha.

Steven and I had a late lunch while Cadence was napping, so we didn’t partake in dinner of spaghetti and a side of blueberries (two of Cadence’s favorites). If you can judge a child’s enjoyment of a meal by the amount of it covering them at the end of it, I would say that this might have been one of Cadence’s favorite meals ever…

She darn near licked the tray clean before moving onto her fingers. As you can imagine, a bath was in order immediately following dinner.

Once dinner was over and Cadence was bathed, we played around a bit more before bedtime. While we may not have been partying quite as hard as the Times Square crowd to ring in the new year, we were certainly having our share of fun, Romano-style. And for those of you who know Steven and I, you know that Romano-style fun sometimes involves lampshades…

Cadence is catching on quick…

And now, as midnight is drawing near, Cadence is sleeping soundly in bed. Electra is snoring on the couch. Steven is playing his new Batman video game. And I am sipping a glass of wine and writing my last blog of 2011.

Life is good.

So out with the old and in with the new. We are excited to greet 2012 and see what it has in store for us, and I’m excited to start a new year of blogging tomorrow. I will sincerely try to be as good about keeping up with it as I have been this year, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

Happy New Year everyone! May 2012 be filled with countless blessings for you and yours.

365 Project – Day 364 – Cadence is a Rock Star

With a name like Cadence and two drum-playing, music-loving parents, you might think my daughter was destined to have music in her blood. Steven and I certainly weren’t surprised that she seemed drawn to music, even in her infancy, and that she started to dance before she even mastered walking.

Cadence’s singing started early too. Back in the early days when she did little more than eat, sleep, poop and repeat, Cadence spent hours serenading us with her sweet (and sometimes screeching) baby voice.

These days, our house is really only quiet for the hours that Cadence is sleeping. When she’s awake, she is a blur of motion and noise. Between the endless chattering, the insistence to watch “Waaaaaaaaalllllleeeee”, Rango, Up, or the “minions” (aka Despicable Me) at least a dozen times a day, and random impromptu concerts like this one, Casa de Romano is a pretty happening place.

Lucky for me, Cadence finally seems to have gotten over her camera shyness. If she keeps this up, we will have plenty of amazing blackmail footage to use against her when she is a surly teenager. 🙂

365 Project – Day 363 – If You’ve Never Been to Nebraska…

…it’s hard to even begin to describe what you’re missing.

In spite of the fact that Nebraska manages to pop up in just about every “Best Places” list that comes out, my home state is still one of the best kept secrets in the United States. Think I’m exaggerating? Take a look for yourself.

Lincoln, Nebraska ranked #3 on the list of the 6 Best Cities for Starting Over in 2012 http://finance.yahoo.com/news/6-best-cities-for-starting-over-in-2012.html

Lincoln, Nebraska ranked #22 on a list of America’s 50 Best Cities http://images.businessweek.com/slideshows/20110920/america-s-50-best-cities/slides/30

Lincoln, Nebraska ranked one of the 10 Best Places to Retire and one of the 10 Best Places to Launch a Second Career by US News and World Report http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2011/10/17/the-10-best-places-to-retire-in-2012?PageNr=2

Lincoln, Nebraska ranked #3 on the list of 10 Best Cities for Babies by Parents Magazine http://www.parents.com/parenting/money/buy-a-house/the-10-best-cities-for-babies/?page=4

Lincoln, Nebraska, ranked #1 Healthiest City in 2008 by WebMD http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20081117/healthiest-us-city-lincoln-neb

Lincoln Nebraska is one of the Top 10 Cities to Buy a Home in 2011 http://abcnews.go.com/Business/ConsumerNews/real-estate-best-cities-buy-home-2011/story?id=12761929#.Tv1RhZg3R5h

Lincoln, Nebraska ranked #19 on the 2011 Best Cities to Live in For Families by Parenting.com http://www.parenting.com/article/2011-best-cities-to-live

According to a recent Gallup Poll, Lincoln ranked #2 on the 10 Happiest Cities in the US in 2011 http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-41142308/the-10-happiest-and-saddest-cities-in-the-us/

Lincoln, Nebraska ranked #4 on a list of 100 Best Places to Raise Kids http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/33385798/ns/today-parenting_and_family/t/best-places-raise-kids/#.Tv1TVZg3R5g

Lincoln, Nebraska ranked #3 on Allstate’s list of Safest Driving Cities in the US http://news.yahoo.com/lincoln-neb-named-third-safest-driving-city-united-200600540.html

And here is a list of a few other recent rankings… http://www.lnkup.org/resources/dyn/files/218955zd7526e5/_fn/Rankings.pdf

All those awards, and that’s just Lincoln. Travel outside the capital city limits and you’ll find the rest of the state to be just as inviting. In fact, in 2009, Nebraska was named the #1 Happiest State in the US. http://www.mainstreet.com/article/moneyinvesting/news/happiness-index-nebraska-nabs-top-spot

There’s just something about Nebraska.

Yes, I’m standing on a bit of a soapbox tonight and bragging up my home state. I’m sorry, but I can’t help it. On days like these, I’m just really proud of where I’m from.

See, it was a little thing that got me started today. Steven and I were up in the office this afternoon, getting some work done while Cadence was napping. I’m finally hitting the home stretch with the wedding photos I’ve been working on, and Steven was doing some work on his old computer.

Then, the doorbell rang. Steven headed downstairs to answer it.

I couldn’t really make out what anyone was saying, but there was a 5 or 10 minute conversation before Steven closed the door and came back upstairs carrying this little gift back and card…

A couple named Rob and Tammy stopped by to drop it off. They live just a couple doors down, and wanted to welcome us to the neighborhood.

At that point, I was kicking myself for not going downstairs to greet them, but when the doorbell rang, I’d assumed it was just the UPS or FedEx man dropping off a package or something. I’ll have to stroll down to introduce myself to Rob and Tammy, and to thank them for the sweet note and the bag full of goodies they delivered today.

We have officially lived in our new house for a month, and we have been greeted by and talked to three of our new neighbors.

I love that.

In a world that is becoming increasingly isolated, it is nice to move to a new place and immediately start connecting with other people in the community. That’s one of the things I love most about Nebraskans–we enjoy getting to know each other. We will strike up conversations with strangers in line at the grocery store. We will wave to people we don’t even know when we’re driving down the highway. We will invite someone in for a cup of coffee and think nothing of spending an hour or two lost in good conversation. While the rest of the world is always hurrying, hurrying, hurrying to get onto the next thing, we would rather take the time to enjoy the moment, and the good company.

So tonight, you’ll just have to indulge me as I dedicate this blog to the place that I believe should grace the top spot on every list of Best Places, because there is no place like Nebraska. And there are no better people than the ones that call Nebraska home.

365 Project – Day 362 – Christmas, Part I

Now that our furnace is fixed and pumping heat again and Steven’s 35th birthday celebration (which consisted of some household chores, playing his new Batman video game and a family dinner out at Misty’s Steakhouse in downtown Lincoln) is officially in the books, I wanted to share a few of the photos from the Romano Family Christmas 2011. Here are a few. I’ll share the rest tomorrow…

Cadence and Odin trying out the Gator that Santa left at Papa Duane and Grandma Jayne's house. Sure glad everyone is watching the road.
Woohoo! Look at them go!
This look is better known as the glassy-eyed Christmas daze. So many presents, so little time.
Watching Kung Fu Panda 2. Thanks Santa!
Sharing a bite of Aunt Lindy's yogurt parfait. Mmm...
Odin and his tractor.
Cheese!
Odin and Cadence
This year, Steven and I gave each other a new home for Christmas. Thanks for the ornament Pawpoo Shawn, Granny Wendy, Whitney and Collin!!!
Cadence's first official Christmas tree, courtesy of her Godmother Tammy, Scott, and Katie!
Opening presents is serious business when you wake up prematurely from a nap.
As you can see, Electra takes her job as supervisor very seriously.
Oooh, what's this?
Really? Enough with the camera already.
Now we're getting into it. Tear into it girl!
The unwrapping isn't done until every last scrap of paper and tape have been removed.
Making sure she reads the instruction manual. Like father, like daughter.
"Noooo Daddy! I want to hold him!"
If you can resist baby feet, you are not human.
Meticulous.
Of course, Steven can't wait for Cadence to finish before he starts cleaning up behind her, so Cadence gives her Daddy a break and starts handing him the paper instead of just throwing it on the floor. That's Daddy's girl!
Here you go, Daddy.
Checking out the new dishes for her kitchen.
I see tea parties in our future.
Yea for blocks!
Ooooh! Look at the fishies!
The Force is strong with this one.
Showing off her stacking skills.
Making faces so Momma will stop taking pictures already.
Kissing the fishies good night before we go to bed.

365 Project – Day 361 – 1 Year and 333 Days

After 1 year and 333 days, Steven and I got a chance to go out and see a movie together tonight.

Woohoo!

Our last movie date was Friday, January 29, 2010, when we headed to Casa Grande to see The Blind Side. Cadence was officially overdue, and my induction was scheduled on the 30th. We figured there was really no better way to spend our last night alone together. At that point, we had been going to movies together for nearly 12 years–sometimes alone, sometimes with a crowd of our friends.

I’d almost forgotten what it felt like to sit in a theater seat, eating popcorn and sipping a frozen Pepsi slush, completely immersed in the story playing out on the screen in front of me. We are both self-proclaimed movie addicts, and we have no problem admitting it.

For the last year and 333 days, Steven and I have been on-duty for every minute of every day with our daughter. Don’t get me wrong, we certainly don’t mind. That’s just part of the deal when you become parents. Even so, I think it is important for parents to find ways to connect with each other without their children, whether it be sharing a cup of coffee and some conversation before the kiddos get up in the morning, or snuggling on the couch to watch movies after the munchkins have already gone to bed. Too many couples lose sight of each other amidst the chaos of raising children, and that is something that I never want to do. As important as Cadence is to me, Steven is just as important in a thousand different ways, and it’s my job as a mother and a wife to let them both know that as often as I can.

So, tonight was a bit of an early birthday gift for Steven. We put Cadence to bed and then left my folks to babysit while we headed out to the late showing of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Great movie. Great company. Great night with my favorite guy in the world. A big thanks to Grandma and Papa for staying in with Miss Cadence. All in all, I would say it was a perfect night.

And just for your enjoyment, here’s one of my favorite photos of my hubby and I back in the dating years…

 

365 Project – Day 360 – Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

“Everything ends badly. Otherwise, it wouldn’t end.” – Tom Cruise, Cocktail

There are a thousand different reasons for a relationship to end, but the one I never really understood was infidelity. I mean, if you’ve gotten to the point where you are even considering someone else, then I imagine that your relationship is already over. So, what are you waiting for? Why cheat? Why not just put an end to one relationship before you go diving into another?

I don’t know. Call me crazy. Maybe, it’s because I was always the one being cheated on, and know how badly it hurts to be betrayed, that I could never bring myself to put another human being through that kind of pain. And luckily I finally fell in love with a man who felt the same way about it as I do. There is nobody else that either of us want. Even when Steven and I get on each other’s last nerve, we still know that we are a perfect match and wouldn’t risk doing anything stupid to mess up the great relationship we have.

Plus, I made sure to tell him, way back when we started dating, that I was done with unfaithful jerks and if he ever decided to cheat on me instead of just breaking up with me first, he could rest assured that I would throw all of his worldly belongings on the front lawn and light them on fire. And yes, that includes every disc in his X-Files collection, his drum set, and every last piece of Star Wars memorabelia.

What can I say? Karma (and an angry ex) can be a real bitch.

But if you’re not quite the setting fire type, you can always take a page from this ex-girlfriend’s playbook…

If you can’t destroy all of his worldly posessions, you can at least hit him where it hurts and give him one big nationally televised middle finger as a parting Christmas gift.

You go girl!

And to the big fat cheater, I sure hope that other girl was worth it. Dumbass.