Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Ten-Year Difference

This morning, I was sitting on the couch, rubbing Aiden's back to try to help him through a coughing fit & watching the news segments about New Year's Eve celebrations. Somehow, my mind wandered to New Year's Eve 1999, an evening when my mood was just horrible. I was a junior at Ohio State and had come home to spend the holiday with my family; we'd had the typical filet mignon & delicious spread prepared by my folks. Truth be told, I had a great time--until I headed up to bed before the ball dropped. Then I was alone with my thoughts, about how much I hated being single and had no clue about the direction of my life. I'm pretty sure I then rung in the new millenium by crying myself to sleep.
Flashforward ten years, and I can't believe the difference. I'm almost ashamed of how silly & naive I was back then. If only I could go back and tell myself to hang in there, that things were definitely going to improve; that in ten years, I'd be sitting on the couch in my own home, with a loving husband, a cute-as-a-button son, a good job, and plans to spend New Year's Eve 2009 at my bestest bud's house. (Oh, and that OSU was gonna win a National Championship the next year, so I should start saving IMMEDIATELY so I could head out to Tempe and witness it!)
It's scary that I'm at the point where I can think back on my life in ten-year increments. But I welcome retrospection, since it allows me to appreciate all that I've done to get where I am. Here's to looking forward to the next ten years, and all the mememories they will bring! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

One Lucky Christmas

My new blog design really reflects how I felt this year as we celebrated Christmas--LUCKY.

We were lucky enough to get to see all of our parents, brothers and sisters and nephews, both on my side and Mike's side. For me, nothing tops family. :)

We were lucky to have a portrait session with the Cotter clan from which the photos are JUST awesome.

We were lucky to spend the holidays without a sickness, despite the warning from Aiden's daycare that there was both pinkeye and--GASP!--head lice roaming about (needless to say I had him out of there within an hour of receiving that e-mail notification).

We were lucky that the weather cooperated (which truth be told is always my biggest stresser).

We were lucky that our little Aiden started to "get" Christmas; he loved opening gifts & eating cookies, but could do without sitting in Santa's lap.

We were lucky to see my Aunt Kitty for the third time in as many months! That's a record!

We were lucky that my sister Heidi likes to make iced cut-out cookies, because we ate enough of them to last us until next Christmas.

We were lucky that despite Aiden waking up at 5 AM on Christmas morning, the only person he woke up was Mommy.

We were lucky that Aunt Angie brought Miss Rachel over for a visit, and she & Aiden were finally interacting on the level we talked about since we were pregnant.

And finally, we're lucky that we have another new year to look forward to! See you in 2010!!!


So, whaddya think? Is my blog design AWESOME, or what? HUGE thanks go out to Krizzy Designs. I’ve been a reader of Krystyn’s blog for quite some time, and I have always wanted her to redesign my meager blog. With some extra Christmas cash for myself this year, that’s exactly what I’ve done, and I couldn’t be more THRILLED with how it turned out! And Krystyn couldn't be more fun to work with! So don’t just sit there—grab my button! 

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Moving past it

So the past week at work was a bit rough on me. Apparently, I can count on it being that way for awhile, too. However, in the spirit of the season, and especially since it's less than a week before the BIG holiday, I'm trying to put it all behind me and take things a bit more in stride. Focus on the positive. All that sugary stuff. To that end, let me tell you how absolutely THRILLED I am to be typing this on our brand new computer! We were definitely due--our laptop is nearly 6 years old--and Mike & I both agreed that we'd rather have a desktop. I'm loving the big screen, and so far Windows 7 isn't giving me any issues (kind of a breeze to use, actually). So there. I'm happy. :)
Another reason to be happy? My in-laws are in town! It's always fun to visit with Jeff & Sara, and now that Christopher's walking, it's hilarious to watch him & Aiden interact. Looking at the two, it's hard to believe there's 8 months between them; they're almost the exact same size! We're looking forward to family pictures tomorrow and then the gift exchange on Monday night. Then later this week, it will be up to Lexington to spend Christmas with my side of the family--and two more cousins for Aiden to play with! It's gonna be a great week! :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Checkin' Out the Tree

Sorry for the poor picture quality, but I wanted to make sure the tree lights could be seen, and hence no flash. We actually bought a new camera (a Canon Rebel T1i--SWEET!), but I've been having problems downloading the photos. Hopefully it's a computer problem (which is okay, because we bought a new computer, too, and are just waiting for it to get here) and not a camera problem.

ANYWAYS, here's Aiden with the tree. :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sorry for my Absence

It's been another busy month in the Cotter household! I've been working on some projects, watching some Buckeye victories (Big Ten champs again AND we're going to the Rose Bowl, baby!), and suffering through a nasty cold, plus we celebrated Thanksgiving and put up our Christmas decorations, too! Hopefully things will calm down a bit in December--yeah, RIGHT! We're pretty lucky because the Cotters are coming to visit the week before Christmas, and then both of my sisters & their families will be at my folks' house ON Christmas! I cannnot even begin to convey how excited I am that we'll get to see everyone, especially my 2-month-old nephew! I *heart* babies!
I promise to keep up with this better. For now, though, I leave you with one of our family photos from our Christmas cards. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Quick Shout-Out... my BUCKEYES for beating Penn State in Happy Valley yesterday afternoon! We had a beautiful day weather-wise here in Columbus yesterday, but the OSU win and losses by Iowa, M*ch*gan, and Notre Dame made it just gorgeous! Looking forward to beating the Hawkeyes next weekend! GO BUCKS!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

First Trick or Treat

We ventured out for Aiden's first trick-or-treat on Thursday night, and it was a huge success! We were lucky enough to have beautiful weather for late October--it was about 70 degrees with clear skies--so that sure helped. Aiden acted like he'd done it hundreds of times before. We didn't practice saying "trick-or-treat" with him until about an hour before the evening's festivities began, but he used his own version (something like "tee-tor-tee!") and it worked just fine! He was kind of shy at the first few houses, but then he would literally scurry up to the other porches and dig his hands into the candy bowls. We got a lot of comments about how cute he was, and then of course how polite he was, since he would say "tank you!" after choosing his goodies. All in all it was a great evening, but now Mike & I have an awful lot of candy to eat!!! :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Good Times :)

So yesterday we actually celebrated my birthday. The day began with Mike & I going to the OSU vs. Minnesota game. After last week's meltdown against Purdue, it was nice to see my Buckeyes get back on track for a 38-7 win (though if you watched the game, you know that we should have had at least 10 more points; the Gophers are lucky that the blowout wasn't worse). It was great to go to a game, but it was pretty cold! Luckily, our seats were covered, so we weren't affected by the showers that fell in the fourth quarter.
After a few hours at home to rest up, we headed out to the bowling alley for some more post-birthday fun. We had quite the crowd show up! I'm a big fan of Gahanna lanes--it's so laid back and comfortable. We bowled, we laughed, we wore mullet wigs, we drank beer and ate sketchy bowling alley pizza--we had a great time! I'm so thankful for everyone that game out to help me celebrate. Now, though, it's back to real life, and accepting that I'm older.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Three Decades Down...

Today is my birthday. My 30th birthday. I'm trying to be positive about it, but it does bother me on some levels. It's hard to let go of my 20s--I did SO MUCH in the past ten years! I graduated from THE Ohio State University, I moved to Indiana (and back) for my first full-time job, I met THE man of my dreams, married him, had a baby with him, and bought a house with him...I got a lot done. Hopefully the next 10 years also have a lot of positive milestones.
I'm including photos of my cubicle at work, decorated lovingly yesterday by Angie (despite her denials) and Ginger. I am lucky to have such silly, caring folks in my life! Today I'm kind of lying low with Aiden--it's really rainy & nasty outside, so I just threw together some potato soup in the crock pot for dinner. Tomorrow promises to be more exciting, as we'll off to celebrate my milestone by going to the OSU vs. Minnesota game, followed later in the evening by a bowling bash. Should be good times--stay tuned for pictures!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Week Down South

Let me start out by stating the obvious: Hilton Head--actually, southern South Carolina in general--is a beautiful place, even in the darkening season of fall. We had a great time, despite a few drawbacks (chilly weather, a jerk living in the condo below us, Aiden's new-found love of temper tantrums, etc.). Here's the day-by-day scoop:
Saturday, 10/10: A LONG drive through Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and finally South Carolina. Aiden actually handled it okay, considering he had to sit in that car seat for 12 hours. We were stunned by how warm it actually was when we finally stopped; it had been in the 50s when we left Ohio, but we were greeted by a humid 87 degrees in HH!
Sunday, 10/11: After dropping Mimi & Grandpa off in Savannah to spend the week with Jeff, Sara, & Christopher, we headed back to the condo and enjoyed some time on the beach. Joel, Heidi, & Gary arrived later, so we walked out on the beach some more and then went to a great pizza place for dinner. Aiden was happy to have someone closer to his age around!
Monday, 10/12: After a morning swim in the pool (which Aiden LOVED), we took another stroll on the beach and then headed to Harbor Town to look at the lighthouses and the big yachts. It was HOT, but then a storm rolled through and cooled things off. We were sad to see the Vegas leave that evening.
Tuesday, 10/13: Aiden turned 19 months old today! The weather was supposed to be yucky, but it was actually a very pretty, mild day. We headed to the outlet mall in the morning, then had THE BEST BBQ EVER at Jim N Nick's Southern Kitchen (we liked it so much, we had it twice more during the week). We spent the rest of the day just relaxing.
Wednesday, 10/14: It rained. Hard. All day. But no big deal. We were lucky enough to head to Beaufort, SC to visit my Aunt Kitty. We got to see her beautiful house, and then we got a quick if soggy tour of the city's new waterfront. We also headed to Dockside for a delicious dinner of fresh seafood. It was so fun to visit with Aunt Kitty, and we hope to head back down soon!
Thursday, 10/15: We headed back to Savannah to help Christopher celebrate his 1st birthday. We ended up getting to GA early, though, so we headed over to Tybee Island to see the lighthouse, and then we VERY quickly visited Fort Pulaski. Then it was off for birthday fun at the Cotter's! What a fun birthday party :)
Friday, 10/16: With Mimi & Grandpa back with us for another rainy day, we headed up to Charleston, SC so that Mike & Grandpa could visit the Yorktown. Mimi, Aiden & I drove around the city, and we hope to go back someday since there was a lot of historical stuff to look at (though it would have been too hard to do with a stoller and the rain).
Saturday 10/17: The long drive back to a very cold Ohio. Aiden didn't do too bad this trip either, but I was in a rather foul mood after hearing my Buckeyes blew it against an inferior team.
So now we're back, and I've got a rather annoying milestone staring me in the face at the end of this week. Not going to think about that, though--I've got some seashells to clean and some sand to shake out of our suitcases.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I'm An Aunt AGAIN!!!

Check out the stats for my newest nephew, Finnian Miles. We are sooooooo excited for the Dill family, and we can't wait to meet this little punkin at Christmas!!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

An Earlier Introduction

Well, we didn't think that Aiden would meet his cousin Christopher for another two weeks when we head down south for vacation. But plans change; due to a death in the family, Aunt Sara & Uncle Jeff, along with Christopher, arrived in Columbus today. The two cousins, separated in age by a short 7 months and 2 days, seemed to accept each other right off the bat! For some reason, they were pretty interested in touching each other's faces. It's pretty neat to see how they each take on their fathers' characteristics in different ways; Aiden's blue eyes have much more gray in them than Christopher, and Christopher has a lighter shade of blond hair than Aiden. Jeff, Sara, and Christopher's unexpected visit will be a bit short, but we're looking forward to spending more them with them in just a couple weeks. Then we'll really be able to get some great photos of these two cuties together!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

So I can't be the only one who LOVES this show...

Ech. Looks like the events of this past weekend have lead me down a familiar road; in the wake of yelling my throat raw, I seem to have caught a cold. A sick day for me is as good a time as any to fess up about my latest guilty pleasure. So here we go--anyone else out there just love NCIS?
I must admit, it took me a long time to appreciate this show. Unlike other obsessions of mine, I only watched NCIS when nothing else was on. When Mike & I would wind down after Aiden went to bed this summer, we usually weren't all that impressed with what was on TV, and somehow we'd always manage to end up watching one of USA's many marathons. Before I knew it, I NEEDED to watch every episode to catch up, which was an absolute goldmine for anyone just starting out on a new show; I had SIX YEARS to catch up on! If you're not a regular viewer of the show, I'm not going to go into the details of the "mythology" or character histories here--an easy Google search should do the trick for you.
While I truly enjoy all of the characters on the show, my favorite is Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, played expertly by Michael Weatherly. He's a clown, he's a playboy, he's all-business--he's Tony. And truth be told, one of my favorite details is that his character is an OSU alumni! They've hinted that he played both football & basketball for the university, and there was even an episode where he wore his letterman's jacket for nearly the entire time. The Buckeye in me is so proud every time it's mentioned. I am nothing if not a geek. :)
Besides drooling over my favorite character, why do I like the show? Let's see: the writing, the humor, the cast chemistry, the acting, the Gibbs slaps, the "look"--virtually everything. It's ENTERTAINING, which for me personally is all I want when I sit down to watch a program. Those of you out there who are already fans (and I know there are a TON--it's become a top-ten fixture in the past year) know about the tension between Tony & Ziva, and while I'm not looking for them to hook up (in other words, I'm not exactly a "Tiva" loyalist), I really hope they keep up their highly-charged flirtation. I also love that this show is willing to dispose of characters without mercy (so long as they leave Agent DiNozzo alone) and dredge up story lines years after they had supposedly lapsed. For me, it's a fresh, fun hour of television, and I am beyond excited for the new season to begin this coming Tuesday!
Heading back to the couch now for a nap. I wonder which episodes I still have DVR'd...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What a Game...Except for the End

You'll have to forgive me if when you read this post, it feels as though I'm yelling at you. I think I did some serious damage to my hearing last night, but it was so, so worth it. For a glorious majority of last night's OSU-USC game, I was a part of the largest crowd in Ohio Stadium history (and that's saying something, folks), cheering relentlessly for my Buckeyes as they nearly pulled off a stunning victory in a game in which the "experts" had chosen them to get killed. Angie & I agreed that even scoring our first touchdown was a moral victory--it gave us more points than we had scored in all of last year's game! Ladies & gentleman, let me assure you of one thing: the fans showed up last night. I still get goosebumps thinking about screaming at the top of my lungs, then looking around to see all my fellow Bucknuts doing the same during every USC offensive play. The defense did me proud, and while the offense could have done better, they were hampered by some questionable play-calling. The most frustrating thing was that as soon as USC began their last possession, I knew exactly what was going to happen, and I even kept repeating to myself "Not like this..." Ultimately, though, I guess the reason I'm not as bothered by this loss as I have been with more recent big games is because it was a GAME, not blowout. Those boys played their hearts out, and I for one will give them the credit they deserve. On to next week, then--GO BUCKS!!! BEAT TOLEDO!!!
While I'm trying to nurse both my throat and ears back to health, I've got to get Aiden ready for his first day at his new daycare tomorrow. It seems that my little munchkin has reached another milestone, too--he's 18 months old today!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Heart Aflutter...

...and not because I'm in love! Ohio State began their season yesterday by scaring the crap out of their fans in nearly allowing Navy to tie the game in the waning moments! I'm not used to being THAT nervous in the opening game of the year! I guess I can't complain too loudly, though; after not winning a dime in last year's Buckeye pool at work, I won the first two quarters yesterday and pocketed a quick $63. That should help as Angie & I head to the 'Shoe next week to watch our beloved Buckeyes take on--gulp--USC. I'm hoping my flawless track record of only attending games that OSU wins is still in tact after the skirmish.
Aiden, however, decided to skip all of the scary moments, opting instead to go out the BEAUTIFUL sandbox that his "Gampa" so lovingly made for him. While I would have been proud, had he sat at my side to watch the game with me, I guess I could understand why he'd want to enjoy the beautiful weather outside instead. I just LOVE this time of year. I can already see the leaves starting to change!
We have SOOOOOO much going on in the next few weeks--months, really. Aiden starts his new daycare next week, then I have a March of Dimes event as well as a wedding to attend next weekend while Mike has his District Coast Guard Auxillary conference to go to. After that, I'm having a Lia Sophia party, then school starts (ACK! Haven't said that in YEARS!), and before you know it, we'll be leaving for our Hilton Head vacation. And somewhere in all that mess, my sister and brother-in-law will bless us with a new niece or nephew! So if you don't see me on here, you know why, but with this much going on, I'll try to keep everyone updated :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Still here...

...but not much new to talk about. Summer is pressing on (it is HOT this weekend), and Aiden is developing faster by the second--I can't believe he's 17 months old already! But I do think I'm finally coming to terms with the fact that he's not a baby anymore--he's a full-blown toddler. He has completely mastered walking, tripping far less than even a week ago, and he's even made attempts to jump, which are just HILARIOUS (I tried to get a video, but the camera battery died). His vocabulary expands everyday; he's looking at my inquisitively when he doesn't know the name of an object, so I've been doing a lot of explaining. He's also become quite affectionate, which just makes my heart happy; I melt when he walks up to me, smiles, says "Mommy!" and gives me a big hug. Just. Awesome.
We're kind of in a holding pattern right now in the Cotter house--there's a lot of waiting. Waiting for my Buckeyes to take the field, waiting for the new fall season of my show to start (more on that in a later post), waiting for Aiden to start going to his new daycare, and waiting for our October vacation to Hilton Head. Lots of stuff coming up--guess I'd better enjoy this downtime while I have it. :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Shamrocks in August

Yesterday, Mike & I had a much-needed date. I didn't see him much last weekend since I was at my folks' and he had to stay and work, and then with the normal work-week woes, I just felt as though we needed some time to reconnect. Luckily for us, the Dublin Irish Festival was this weekend! I had never been but I had wanted to for a long time. We had a great time! It was PACKED, despite the cloudy skies, but Mike & I really enjoyed walking around drinking beer and browsing all the celtic-themed booths. And although we saw PLENTY of merchandise that we might have purchased for ourselves (I was eying a neat shamrock plaque for the kitchen while Mike had his eyes on a soccer jersey), we giggled because the two things we did end up buying were for Aiden! I think he's look great in this fleece & T-shirt next spring.We left a bit early than anticipated due to some threatening skies, but it was time well-spent with each other. We already have plans to head back next year, hopefully bringing our little leprechaun with us.
In other news, I'm about to become a student again, something I SWORE I would never do once I received my bachelor's degree. But things change, and I think I would be a much more well-rounded employee with a MBA. Of course, the tuition reimbursement program where I work is a plus as well. I've already been accepted into a program; now if I can just figure out if I'm going to start in September or January, I'll be on my way.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Good Times, Stupid Rain, Bad Cold

I should have known that my first vacation since April would mean that I would wake up with a cold. Go figure. I also should have guessed that Aiden would be extremely Mommy-centric when both sets of aunts and uncles from out of state were visiting, meaning that he pretty much wouldn't let anyone hold him BUT me. So you can imagine the slight damper this put on the past few days, with my congestion and Aiden's neediness. You know what, though? It was all worth it, 'cause I got to see my family :)
On Thursday morning, the Vegas & Dills came down to Columbus so that we could all get our portraits taken together. See the slideshow below for the highlights; as you can see, things started to get a bit silly by the end, culminating in a pose where we asked for the ugliest background they had, and then we all just started grabbing random props. A true masterpiece to be sure.

On Saturday, we had our combination baby shower / cookout for Megan & Denver. As is Megan's luck with weather, it rained (just as it did for her graduation party and wedding). No worries there, though; everyone who attended said they had a great time. Megan got lots of nice things for Baby Dill, who is due to arrive in just nine short weeks now! So excited to see if we're getting a new niece or nephew, though I'm leaning towards nephew after seeing Megan. After opening the gifts, we devoured the beautiful cake that Angie made. As the party wound down, so did the rain, and the sun came out. Not even kidding.
On Sunday, we celebrated Gary's fifth birthday at the same park we've gone to for his past three birthdays. We started out the festivities with a bit of a scare as the car carrying Joel, Gary, Lexi, and Grandma E was rear-ended while trying to turn into the parking lot (you can imagine our nervousness as we pulled up to the scene, especially given our history with car accidents). Luckily everyone was okay, so we went on with the party. We only had a tiny sprinkle of rain, but there was a constant wind (not a breeze, a wind), but at least this was the first year I can remember where it wasn't unbearably hot. Everyone again had a great time--see the photos below for the proof :)