Sunday, June 20, 2010

--Happy Father's Day Dada Ruggle--

Happy Father's Day to the best darn Daddio in town.

I don't know what I would do without your hugs...

Your smooches...
Or all of our crazy memories together. You make my heart feel super happy.

I love you Dada. Big, big, big.

~Your sweet little Snug Bug Ruggle

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Reading List Book 1 of 10- Pretty Dead Review

I finished Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block on 6/6/2010. I was looking forward to reading this book as Block has been one of my favorite authors for years. Her books Violet and Claire and The Hanged Man left me astounded and I immediately fell in love with her imagery. Her insight into the characters she creates always made me feel as I knew each one personally- I had seen into their deepest, darkest secrets. I was hoping Pretty Dead would have the same depth of character and vibrant imagery that I had first come to expect from Block's work.

As predicted, Pretty Dead was a very short read- a few hours at best. The story revolves around a beautiful girl named Charlotte who loses her twin brother and is so devastated by that loss that she chooses to become a vampire in an attempt to feel less. Although she now has immortality as well as beauty and wealth, she is never the same again and is always searching to fill the void left by her brother's death. Her decision to live forever plagues her as she feels no connection to the world around her... Until one day when she finally befriends a girl named Emily. Everything is fine and dandy until Emily dies too (ostensibly a suicide), leaving her alone once again. The story unfolds from there, and Amazon actually reveals more about it if you're curious but I won't blow it all (I feel like they give a lot away)... Suffice it to say that there are a few twists and turns.

The narrative of the story does read much like poetry, which is typical Block and one of the things I appreciate about her so much. The characters are generally well developed, although I didn't find them to be quite as "round" as I had hoped and found some of the characters in her other novels to be... But the biggest fault I found with this novel was that the plot itself sort of fell flat. It was somewhat predictable overall and to me, definitely not one of her best. That's not to say I didn't enjoy reading it; I still did, and I think I would still recommend it to those tweenage girls out there looking to read something fun and cool and beautiful sounding. But for intensity's sake, and for those adults who enjoy delving into young adult fiction like myself, there is something lacking here. If I had a friend who was interested in Block, I would definitely point them in the direction of- again- my two favorites by her... The Hanged Man and Violet and Claire. Each of those books gave me goosebumps when I read them and have such intense imagery that some of it has stuck with me over the years.

Maybe I'm just getting old and slowly outgrowing this genre, and if I went back and re-read either of those books, they wouldn't feel as meaningful now as they did when I read them ten years ago. It's possible. Maybe I'll have to test that theory one of these days. Next up... Book 2! Which will either be Thai cooking, or The Woods. Not sure yet!! :)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

An Open Letter to My (Not So) Baby Girl

Ever since your birthday on May 9th, you look so big to me. It's like overnight, my little squishy baby girl has vanished. Now, I know that's not the case, but prior to your third birthday, you still seemed to me like a toddler... You were still loving Dora, still needed help with your shoes, and didn't go to the potty all by yourself. You turned three, and overnight, it's like BAM! Here's this little girl that tells me stories and runs around and goes pee all alone and can put on her OWN shoes (all the while asking "are these the right feet, Momma?") and is actually BIGGER than some of the other kids, and shows them how to play and much prefers Chowder to Dora (oh thank GOD! I like Chowder, and those freakin' Dora songs were getting really old). She helps with the dog, she doesn't like brushing her teeth or hair (don't worry hon, we make you do it anyway... pure torture, I know), and she has LOTS and LOTS of opinions about everything and isn't afraid to express them. You are becoming a girl.

It breaks my heart and makes me proud and shakes me to the core than I helped create this AWEsome (in the true sense of the word, not like the, "totally, cool man" way) person that I just know will keep blowing me away as the years go on. You are so beautiful, ridiculously smart, and a hilarious little joke-cracker. You are incredibly empathetic and sensitive at times... You can always tell when me or your Daddy is feeling down in the dumps and you never fail to find a way to make it better, whether it be with a hug or a compliment ("Daddy, you're a good guy"... "You're so BEAUTIFUL Mommy!") or just a snuggle and a big belly laugh. It's so odd to be in this position; I feel like I'm mourning the loss of my little baby, and YET, and yet... I want to freeze you in time today, because what you are today is more amazing than I could have ever hoped... And YET, again, I can't wait to see what you will become. I just know that as the years go by, you're going to keep surprising me and making me feel like the luckiest Momma around.

You love playing at the park, running around outside, watching movies, your doggie Deuce dingle (or as you call him, "Buddy"), your family, your cupcake blankie, and shopping (just like your mom...). You aren't afraid to approach any and everyone you meet, so you make friends pretty much wherever we go. You have an elephant's memory (something Cey-Cey used to always say to me when I was little!!) and can recall even the smallest details about things we did months ago. You pick up colloquialisms from us very easily and will pull them out at the most unexpected times for a good laugh ("Mommy, why do some dogs poop?" ... "All dogs poop, honey, just like people." ..."You're KIDDING me, Momma! You're just joking!" as you wave your hand in a dismissive manner)... We've been really careful what we say around you lately because you're SO verbal and smart that I know if we slip up, you'll be dropping an F-bomb at a really inconvenient time!

Lately, you've been going through a phase where it seems like every. little. thing. is a battle. You HAVE to argue about what you wear, how long we play outside, whether or not you go to daycare, when you go to bed, whether you shower or not, brushing your hair/ teeth, what we listen to in the car, etc. etc. You yell at the top of your lungs whenever I'm on the phone in the car (simply because you don't like that I'm not paying attention to YOU right then) and you screech when we sing a song you don't like. Everyone always talks about the "terrible twos" but you were a peach when you were two... I can tell our real challenge is going to be this year of three- now that you know what you want and you want it NOW and you are willing to fight for it. It's exhausting, and I feel like some days, all I say is "No!", "Not now..." "Stop that!" or "Come here Ilyana!" which makes me feel like the evil Mom of the year... But in truth, even on days when I heave a big sigh of relief at your bedtime, I'm still so proud that you are growing into an independent, crazy-haired smart little cookie. I wouldn't trade your strong will or fiery nature for anything- it's who you are and even when it's hard, I love you for it. I want you to know that every day, I wake up and thank my lucky stars that I have this healthy, gorgeous, loving little girl to call my own. When you were in my belly, I never could have imagined just how much you'd change our lives and make us grow, or just how much I could possibly love you. I thought I loved you then, before you were born... And I know I did, but it baffles me that the love I felt could just grow and grow and grow over these past three years. How is that possible? I don't know what I would do without you, my little princess, Bendy Ruggle, Lulu the ladybug, snug-bug-rugg, widgeon, noodle nose, pinchy-bum girl. Thanks for being in my life, and for making me so proud. I never could have hoped for more.

All the love in the world,

~~Your crazy Mumma~~

Friday, June 4, 2010

Summer Reading List

The title of this post is pretty self-explanatory... These are the books I *hope* to read this summer. I picked ten, to try and stretch myself, considering I rarely read anymore so I doubt I'll actually get through them all. However, I truly used to LOVE to read, so I want to make more time in my life for it. I've piled all ten of these picks at the end of my bed on an unused shelf (well... it was being used by junk, which I moved. ha.) I decided on three somewhat educational books, one cookbook, and six fiction. I know that seems largely skewed towards fun, but again... Haven't read much lately. Want to get it back in my life and for it to STAY there, so I am trying to make sure I'll enjoy it :) Some of these are ones I've started reading before and never finished, some are ones I got with the intention of reading and haven't started. I'll include a picture and a short blurb about why I chose each book. I'm also hoping to post thoughts about each book after I finish it, to hold myself accountable... We'll see how that goes ;) So... Here they are, in no particular order:


Go Green, Live Rich: 50 Simple Ways to Save the Earth (and Get Rich Trying) By David Bach

I got this book a while back because I was hoping the author could dispel the myth for me that being eco-friendly is too expensive. I'm interested to see what kind of ideas he puts forth and whether they are realistic and worth trying.


Eclipse By Stephenie Meyer

I started reading the Twilight series long before it became such a thing. About a year before all the hubbub about the books began, I was browsing in Borders with a gift card I had received and came across them. I thought they looked interesting and picked up the first two. It was right after I bought and started reading Eclipse that they blew up and turned into the teenybopper fad of the year, and for *some* reason, I lost all interest in the middle of the third book. Since I did thoroughly enjoy the first books, I think it's only right that I give them one more chance and try to finish them up.


Breaking Dawn By Stephenie Meyer

Have to finish up the series! ;)



I love Thai food. I want to eat more of it. I want to learn to cook it. The end.


The Welsh Girl By Peter Ho Davies

Another book I found when browsing after getting a gift card for a present... I've always been intrigued by wartime stories, and this one is also a love story... It seems like it will be right up my alley.


Bulbs in the Basement, Geraniums on the Windowsill: How to Grow & Overwinter 165 Tender Plants By Alice and Brian McGowan

I've had this for a while and I'm always lamenting about my horrible plant abilities. I figure maybe I should try to educate myself and do something about it?


The Woods By Harlan Coben

Just a fun crime drama book :D


Pretty Dead By Francesca Lia Block    Finished on 6/6/2010!!

She's long been one of my favorite authors, and I don't care who knows it or judges because her books are short and are aimed at a younger crowd. Her words are always beautiful poetry and I love the way she sees the world. This is one of her new ones, that I hadn't read, and I know I'll devour it in one sitting... It's a quick read (195 very small pages) but I'm looking forward to it. Other amazing books by her? Violet and Claire and The Hanged Man, just for starters.


Getting Things Done By David Allen

A National Bestseller that I've seen mentioned in a few different places, I snatched this up when Trent over at The Simple Dollar recommended it and started doing his series about it. I've been reading The Simple Dollar for a while now and respect Trent's opinion. He said it's the one book that has improved his life the most. I figure we could all use less stress and more productivity in our lives, so I'm going to give this method a shot.

And finally, number (10) 

Relentless By Dean Koontz  Finished on 7/5/2010!!

Another of my favorite authors; another brand new book we bought and never read.

After I finish up with these books, I hope to try and pass some of them along on PaperbackSwap :) I signed up on there and have yet to use my account, but I am thinking if I do get back into reading, this could be a great way to keep those costs down when there are new books I want to read. Wish me luck... Reading, here I come (again)!!!

Ten Years

Ten years today. We've been through a lot and I won't lie, sometimes, it's been a struggle... But I don't think anything worth fighting for is easy. I hope you know that I still love you with every inch of my soul, and I wouldn't want to live my life with anybody else. We have an amazing little family, and I am so proud of what we've overcome to create it. Thanks for sticking it out with me.

So many people have told me before that they don't know how we've done it; we were so young when we started, have been through so much, and had so many chances to walk away... I always smile and think to myself that I don't know how we wouldn't have. I can't imagine walking away and being able to stay away. I'm drawn to you and love you with the kind of passion that makes me want to fight for it. For us. For everything we want to become, and for our dreams- yours, mine, ours. Our little girl's. It still sets my heart a-flutter when you compliment me, and I still think you're a sexy beasat ;) Love changes over time... Things have settled down, for sure, and it's hard when you realize that the initial flame you had has somewhat died down... But it's settled into something that's really irreplaceable. Into something that I can fall back on when I feel like I'm losing it, into something that I can rely on, something that I know is more solid than any two-week flame of lust. Thanks for being my rock, and a better Dada Ruggle than I could have imagined. Here's hoping for ten more...


Your wife. 

PS: We need to get more pictures of us together. Notice the one I used? It's from Easter 08... lol! ;)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ilyana Turns Three at Chuck E Cheese's!

Better late than never!

I had been warned about doing the whole birthday at Chuck E's thing by others in the past... About how they rush you off your table, and it costs an arm and a leg, and the kids get overwhelmed, yadda yadda yadda. The thing is, growing up, my Mom used to take my brother and I to Chuck E Cheese almost every Friday, so for me, it's a place of happy memories, of fun and games and food and laughter. Sure, it's loud, and obnoxious, and LOUD, and I know that by the end of the visit, we'll all feel like zombies... But that's all part and partial to the experience, right?! Right. So we figured that while Ilyana is at the age that she truly enjoys the experience, and gets SUPERTHRILLED over it, and actually BELIEVES that Chuck E is a for-real, life-size giant mouse who only wants to party and get down and celebrate with you, we'd take advantage of that bit of innocence and let her have her Chuck E party. So we did. And overall, it didn't disappoint. 

There was dancing (this was in front of a screen that projects you onto some TV's above your head for everyone in the place to watch you)

And eating...

Owen, Dru and Jack enjoying some pizza!

Mitch, Bobby and Lizzie having lunch!

There were lots of rides, games and a jungle gym:

The boys (Bobby, Jack, Mitch, Owen) all lined up playing skee-ball together! Love this pic!

Jack and Dru in the crazy jungle gym tube cage thing! Jack doesn't look happy or anything, does he?! lol!

And okay, one ride in particular that was VERY popular with the birthday girl. I'm pretty sure everyone at the party took her on this Merry-Go-Round at LEAST once ;)

FYI: the "Mare-Go-Round" as Illy calls it, is a great spot for candid shots :D

And of course, we had cake! The recipe came out pretty good, which I was nervous about since it was my first time making it... But she loved it, and I got compliments from others too. Gotta love Allrecipes! It's my go-to and it never disappoints with new yumalicious-ness. ;)

 Birthday girl and her cake!! 

Birthday girl, Mama Rugg (me), purty party cake... and annoying balloon string which ruined a perfectly awesome picture! GRR!!

Me and Will singing **HAPPY BIRTHDAY** to our little princess, barely believing she's already THREE!!

There were presents galore...

And Zhu-Zhus up the wazoo! We have a whole Zhu Zhu empire now. Great marketing on those things, the way they sell kids on this glorified cat toy and then have you buy all the parts separately. lol. I knew we'd be getting into those fadd-ish multi-part toys eventually, but who knew it would come so fast?! It seems like it's only been overnight since she was just my little widgeon... *sigh* And yes, I do call her my widgeon. I make no apologies. ;)

Ilyana was bowled over in anticipation waiting to see the Chuckster himself... He came out, and they hugged, and it was incredible to see the awe in her eyes and the happiness thinking that he cared about her lil' ol' birthday! 

Waiting in anticipation with her puffy *birthday girl* token hat on... Here he comes! I can see him Mommy!!

Oh, Chuck! Where have you been all my life?!

Now do you see why we had to do the party here this year? Her face says it all. Pure elation.

But the one thing that we had most of at the party this year, as with any birthday with our incredible family, was... 


Lots of it.

Owen and the Illmaster.

Nana, enjoying watching the kids play and have fun! :)

The guys! L to R: Will, Mitch, Bobby, and Matt. Another good pic!

While it wouldn't be my first choice for a party in the future, for all the reasons I was originally warned about (the bill does add up, and they definitely don't give you enough table time), I'm so glad we gave her the chance to enjoy the Chuck E birthday experience this year. She really had a blast, and everyone else seemed to have fun, too. For me, that's what it was all about... My heart and soul was turning three... Three?! THREE!!!  And I wanted her to truly enjoy every minute of it. I know she did. My only regret is not getting more pictures, but then again, when ISN'T that a regret of mine?! ;) 

Happy Birthday Widgeon. You light up my life.
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