Bachelor #2 and I had never met.  A friend had told me a little bit about him.  She also told him a little bit about me and gave him my phone number.  The next day he sent me a text asking if I would like to get together sometime.  I said yes, and we decided to get drinks that weekend.

This date was already showing more promise than #1.  He was older, which I decided meant more mature.  I also knew he had friends with kids, which I hoped meant he was more accustomed to the lifestyle I live.

So naturally, I freaked out.

I decided he wouldn’t like me and think I was not cute.  So I needed a new shirt to wear.  I even had a friend come over so I could try on about 6 different outfits and have her critique them.

The night of the date, he sent me a text to meet him at stuffed olive for drinks.  I love stuffed olive.  It is a quieter bar which meant we could actually talk…instead of passing a boot of beer around a table.  And they have fabulous martinis.  FABULOUS.  He walked in the bar about a second after I did and we were able to find a tabel quickly.  My first drink was a salted caramel brulee martini…yum yum yum.

We easily talked about what brought us to live in Cedar Falls, our jobs and our families.  He brought up how much he works and how he rarely has time to go out…except for his monthly vacations (last month Paris, this month Cabo).  He questioned how people have time to work a job and raise kids.  Yup, throw the red flag.

Our conversation was great, he is sweet and mature.  But I don’t think he has time for a relationship.  He has a demanding job that he is passionate about.

After a few more martinis, we left the bar and walked in to a snow globe, it was beautiful outside!  We hugged goodbye.  He sent me a text within a few minutes that said, “I had a good time with you tonight :), have a good rest of the night”

I thanked him again for the drinks and told him to have a good weekend.

I haven’t heard from him since.  I figured I wouldn’t, but he is definitely someone I could see myself being friends with.  It also helped me realize that I did not need to settle for someone who’s maturity level isn’t quite on par with mine.

Last week, I posted about some dates.  I am sure you are all just dying to hear about them…or not…but either way I will go into more detail.

Bachelor numero uno.  #1 and I has talked via text for about a week before we decided to meet for drinks.  We also became “friends” on Facebook, so naturally I am sure we both Facebook stalked each other.  He was cute, but according to Facebook, I was concerned he might be into different things than me.  Meaning, most of his pictures were of drinking games and most of his friends were young little blonde things.  I decided to ignore those signs.  Afterall, he is a 30-year-old single guy and I have no problem with someone partying…and I hadn’t been on a date since April.

We met for drinks in downtown Waterloo.  I have been to that area once and enjoyed it, I just typically go out in Cedar Falls since that is where I live.  When I arrived (on time), he was ordering his second drink.  We stayed there for a few drinks and then went to a German bar down the street.  Suddenly his friends arrived and asked us (or forced…) to do the boot.  Das boot. Das boot is never a good choice if one hopes to remain sober.  It is a large boot filled with beer that gets passed from person to person (also, not very sanitary).  I don’t like beer, so I did what any girl would do on a first date with a guy and six of his friends.  I faked it.  My date, not so much.

Suddenly I look over at #1 and realize he is taking my picture.  So I do what any girl on a first date would do.  I duck.  Then he asked to get a picture with me to remember our first date.

It was close to 1am at this point, which is way past this girl’s bedtime.  I tried tracking him down to let him know I was leaving.  That’s when I discovered he was a smoker.  Ew.

He walked me to my car and then said, “I have already had a OWI, can I get a ride home?”

Hmm.  Alright.  So I drive #1 home, kiss him goodbye, and drive myself home.  I know, I know, what was with the kiss?  Well, throughout the date I pretended to ignore the signs and hoped his charming personality would win me over.

The next day I told some friends it was a fun date, he was really nice, but definitely a little immature for me.  We hung out one other time last week, and I once again had the same conclusion.  After that I received a text (I will quote this with his spelling):

#1:Proly not the best time to bring it up…but I was thinkin about us…n I dnt think im what ur lookin for in a realationship…

SingleMama: I kind of figured I wasn’t your type.  I just figured I would give it a shot.

#1: Dnt get me wrong! ur very Attractive, smart and the convo was good!  The Important stuff I look for!  It sounds like ur looking for a family man…I dnt think Im ready for that jus yet

SingleMama:Ha, yeah, having a kid kind of makes that a given.

#1: Hope we can still be friends ? :)

Yes, I applaud him for not just leaving me hanging, and clearly we were both thinking the same thing.  I think what bothered me is that I am not looking to make someone a “family man”.  I don’t care if I am dating someone who goes out to the bars.  I just prefer staying in over that, and would be better suited for someone who is not still in party mode.  I don’t want to make someone feel like I am pushing them into a fatherhood role…especailly after one date.

Almost done with the room reveals!  The living room reveal also has some Christmas decorations in it, so it isn’t quite how it looks full-time.  Here is the view from standing in the kitchen:

I mentioned in a previous post how much I would love to get a sectional couch.  Clearly, I did.  I was putting off doing things like the gallery wall, because I wasn’t happy with my couches.  So I sold them on craigslist and got the sectional!  And, I love it.  It is amazing how much more comfy and how much roomier sectionals are.

The space between the wall and the couch has been taken over as a play area, but it is still hidden from the main area, so I am okay with that.

And one of my favorite parts, the gallery wall:

You might notice that one of the pictures in the bottom row looks like a couple…yeah, I haven’t replaced that from Kohl’s yet.  But the model picture is really cute, so it might be staying for a while :).

HJ loves playing with the tree…

Here is a close-up of the chair I got for my birthday.

 

I never realized how bare this wall looks until I took a picture of it.  Anyone have any ideas on how to spice it up a bit?

And finally, here is the living room looking back into the kitchen:

And the dog eating a bone.

I love how comfy-cozy the living room feels.  Especially with Christmas decorations.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

For some reason in the last few weeks, many people in my life have decided to play matchmaker.  When it rains it pours!  Last Saturday night, I went on a date with a nice guy, tomorrow night I am heading out on a date with bachelor #2, and a friend wants me to go on a date with #3…but I am waiting to see what happens with the first 2…I can’t juggle too many men at once.

All these dates are not typical.  Besides this sudden influx, I went on 2 dates all year.  The main thing I have learned in the last two weeks?  I am not the person I once was.  It is obvious I have been burned before.  I lack trust.  I use to trust people until given a reason not to.  Now I won’t trust anyone until given a reason to.  I have no self-confidence.  My first thought was that they wouldn’t be attracted to me.  They won’t think I am good enough for them.  I am worried they are going to look at me and wonder why their friend set us up in the first place.  Why would they choose me over an attractive, skinny female?  Do they really want to date someone with a kid?

I don’t know why I feel this way.  I understand it sounds like a pity party, but I need to not feel like this.  I understand going into a date thinking I am not good enough is not going to make a date start off well.  I am nervous, which will make me not act like myself.  How can someone like me when I can’t like myself?

Back in my wild hay-day, I applied to a local magazine to be a part of their first ever “Singles Crew”.  The “crew” was a group of 4 (two guys, two girsl) who went around to bars in Des Moines and wrote follow-up articles on our nights out (and got paid).  I recently came across some of the articles and had to laugh.  Here is the one I wrote about a Singles Bar Crawl we participated in…

This past weekend the Singles Crew ventured out to do the Clive Jaycees Singles Bar Crawl.  We arrived at Drink around 7pm to check in.  Upon check in we were given Conversation Started Cards.  We were supposed to hand these out to guys as a sort of ice breaker.  Shaunna had my favorite one, it said “tag you’re it”.  The only one handed to me throughout the evening said “I like football” with a note on the back that stated “I have been STD free since 6/28/1996”.  Note: STD’s are never a good ice breaker.

We basically went driving around Clive/West Des Moines and made stops at the local bars like Paddy’s, Down Under, Bogies, The Garage and Caberet. The group did a great job of making sure we all knew what was going on and I had an awesome time getting to know everyone on my bus.  And by getting to know everyone, I mean girls.  While I did have a lot of fun, there were definitely many more girls then guys.  Although the guys there did have some pretty good pick up lines.

Here are my top favorites…

The ones that did not work:

“Your eyes sparkle”

Are you sure?  It’s dark in the bar and you can hardly stand on your own two feet.  Perhaps what you see is the red glare from my eyes, since you are blowing your cigarette smoke right in my face.

“You look like you could use a hug”

Apparently saying “no thanks” to this meant “no I do not want a hug, but please grab my ass”.  If I would have known those were my only options, I would have opted for the hug.  I am also fairly certain that classifies as assault.

“I don’t mean to offend you, but you seem intelligent”

That’s too bad; I was going for the drunken bimbo look tonight.

The ones that did work:

“Hi, how are you?”

Wow, normal…works for me.  See guys, you do not need a crazy pick up line to get a girls attention.

“Would you like a drink?”

Of course.  Especially after I just got assaulted.  Also, when offered a drink, I most definitely will talk to you while consuming that drink…giving you plenty of time to charm me with your wits and come up with something better than “your eyes sparkle”.

“Come here often?”

This line is so cheesy I knew the guy could not be serious and was just looking for an icebreaker.  It worked.

Moral of the story, simple is better.  Also word of advice, when saying something like “Can I get your number, I would really like to hang out sometime” do not follow it up with “but I have to head over here because that drunk girl has been hanging on me”.  Honest? Sure.  Classy?  Not quite.

As the night began to wind down, a girl in the bathroom stopped me to ask questions about Tyler.  However, I did not have too much time to try and talk Tyler up for her because she proceeded to spill my drink all over my pants.  While searching for Shaunna (probably to discuss my spilled drink), I came across her talking to a boy who had seemed to keep her fairly occupied the entire evening.  Rod also seemed to be chatting it up with a few ladies.  As for me, a girl named Kristin offered to share her Carmello…

Hi Single Mama Life Readers!  Thanks so much for letting me guest post here, K.  I am a fellow single mom and have my own blog which you can find at the following address: http://littlestronger.blogspot.com/.

Being a parent is definitely not easy.  Sleepless nights.  Teething babies.  Temper tantrums.  The Terrible Twos.  It definitely isn’t for the faint of heart.  Add to the mix doing it virtually alone, save the help of generous and loving relatives, and you’ve got a recipe for exhaustion, stress, and a wine habit that borders on addiction (just kidding on that last part.  Sort of).  Last night was a perfect example of this.  My two-year old, P, was adamently refusing to go to sleep.  He normally goes down each night like clockwork around 8pm.  However, last night, loaded down with not one but two chocolate chip cookies, which were his reward for pooping on the pottie (yay!) he was working on a massive sugar high.  It was 9:30pm and he still would not settle down.  He was a crying, sobbing mess, screaming at me in his room.  First he wanted milk.  Since he’d already had too many fluids I refused his request.  Then he began asking for juice.  And next, water.  I finally relented and gave him a small amount in his sippy cup.  This quieted him for a moment and I thought I was in the clear.  I was just settling down to check my Facebook account when I heard him sobbing again.  He was requesting toast, because was hungry.  He’d eaten enough dinner to satisfy a small army so I knew that this was simply one more attempt to delay his bedtime even further.  Five times he got out of bed.  And five times I promptly put him back in while he shouted vehemently “no, mommy, NO!”  I couldn’t understand how he was still awake, especially after all of his efforts to ward off going to sleep.  I, myself, was thoroughly exhausted by that point.  Finally, finally he settled down and slumber eventually overcame him.  I couldn’t help but think though how that was an instance where being a single parent can test even the most patient person.

For me, the daily routine isn’t really all that bad.  I usually wake before P.  I workout, shower and get myself ready.  And, if I am really lucky, I can even have a cup of coffee before he wakes up for the day.  Then we are out the door and he’s off to daycare.  Evenings, since my mother usually picks him up, we end up having dinner at my parents house before heading home for the night, and I put P down for bed.  And, with the exception of times like last night, he goes down easily.  Ironically this is the exact time when I find it most difficult to be a single parent.  It’s after the hustle and bustle of the day is over.  The house is quiet.  Sometimes a little too quiet.  8:00pm is a little early for me to turn in, so I generally catch up on laundry, browse Facebook, or sift through the shows in my DVR list.  And I try not to let my thoughts get to me.  Thoughts of loneliness.  Thoughts of longing for the family that I never got to experience, but almost had.  One with a mom and dad for P.  I find if I stay busy, really busy, these thoughts don’t bother me.  But sometimes, try as I might to quell them, they still get to me.

The silver lining to being a single parent is the realization that, if I were still with my ex-husband, life would be much, much more difficult.  I would be taking care of not one child, but two.  There would be more housework, more laundry, more cleaning, and without a doubt, more whining and crying to deal with.  I have no doubt that the brunt of the parental responsibilities would fall on my shoulders.  All poopy diapers would have been mine to change (the ex-husband had made this abundantly clear when I was just six weeks pregnant).  Even though I work full-time I fully believe there would have been an expectation to have a gourmet, three-course dinner on the table each night.  I am confident the amount of difficulties we went through and experienced in our troubled marriage would have more than doubled with the added stress of introducing a child into the equation.  Everyday I am grateful that P will never, ever have to be subjected to the fighting or animosity that existed in our relationship.  So, while sometimes I do admit, I fantasize about what it would have been like to have been a traditional family, I quickly realize that it is just that; a fantasy.

Yes, I know, I have a pinterest problem.  I admit it.  How else am I supposed to fake being creative?  Lately, I have been a pinning machine.  Maybe it’s because of all the super amazing Christmas things on there, maybe because I like to think I can some day accomplish all those things, or maybe (and most likely) because it is a great way to kill some time (right, because I have NOTHING to do all day…wait…).

Anyway, here are the items I am adding to my 2012 DIY Pinterest Style List.

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/13690/start=30/list/beachbrights-s-ideas

 Shoe boxes covered in fabric….cute, easy and no sewing involved.  My type of project.  Plus, I am fairly certain this means I get to go shoe shopping, right?

Clear ornaments filled with something to remember a vacation by.  The only vacation we went on was to Kansas City this past year, and I did not see any sand.  But maybe cutting strips of the zoo map would work.  Make a new one for all of our trips, CUUUTE!
One of my favorites:

http://www.meetthedubiens.com/2011/08/lego-and-car-table.html

 
Simple (which is key to me) and HJ would love it.
Also, I have a number of friends getting new houses this year, so this would be a great house warming gift:
Do you see my trend of simple-ness?  There is a list of a few of my “wish-list” DIY items.  Can’t wait to get started!  Anyone else have fun pinterest items they are working on?

Every now and then you might hear me complain about the size of the town I live in.  It’s not huge.  Sometimes I struggle to find things to keep our little family occupied.  And then there are times where I realize how wonderful this little place is.  While wandering through a shop last week, I overheard a couple telling the store owner how they had just moved here from North Carolina.  They said how beautiful the town was and that it reminded them of Stars Hallow on Gilmore Girls.

HJ and I met some friends downtown last week to celebrate “jingle Mingle”.  Jingle Mingle is where all the shops on Main Street are open late for the holidays.  They had treats and goodies to share, and the window displays were spectacular.  Kids were running up and down the streets.  Various spots had groups of people caroling.  We walked past Frosty the Snowman and even Buddy the Elf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a trolley ride, pulled by the most beautiful horses. HJ even got to pet the horses and help feed them candy canes (I got licked…by a horse).

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas lights lined the streets…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the kids eagerly waited for a visit with Santa and his elves…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Santa waits for the kids in a little cottage.  The cottage even has a slide you can go down when you leave!  And in case Santa isn’t there when you visit (or if you are terrified of him like HJ…), you can send him a letter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The night was tapped off with a cupcake from Scratch, and a sleepy little boy who dozed off in the back seat while we drove by the live Nativity scene.

Can you guess what song is in my head today??

Before I get into stenciling madness, I want to announce the KROME PHOTO BOOK WINNER!

Here ya go:

Enter a lower limit:1  
Enter an upper limit:11  
 
Random Number:5  

Congrats Staci!  I will send you an email with all of the information.

Now to the stenciling…

The front entry way of my house has a very small wall that needed a little something.  Coat hooks mainly, but I wanted it to be “pretty”.  So I picked out this stencil on etsy.  I also picked up some paint in the same color as my living room wall, but instead of getting it in flat, I had it made in high-gloss.  For the coat hooks, I was inspired by pinterest:

http://www.myuncommonsliceofsuburbia.com/2010/11/tuesdays-treasures-you-ask.html

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Luckily, I watched the “how-to” video that Cutting Edge Stencil recommended, it was a bit harder than I thought.  Tedious is the best word to describe it.  When it was complete, a few people recommended doing a larger wall with the pattern and I instantly said “Oh hell no”.  Even thought it wasn’t exactly a party to do, I love the results:
 I like that the difference in paint is subtle (almost shadow like, like I said it is the same color as the wall paint, just in high-gloss instead of flat).  Like I said, the stenciling was not difficult, just time-consuming. 
Little did I know, the difficult part would be the frames.  I figured all I would do was take off the back, the glass would fall out, and viola!  But no, the glass was glued to the flippin’ frame.  I attempted to scrape the glue away, and then decided on the “quick” method.  I put the frame in a bag and hammered the heck out of the glass, shattering it away.  Then, I realized there was not a good way to hang the frames on the wall.  I ended up drilling holes through the frames and then painting the screws to match.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Then, I centered the hooks in the frames
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 I figured this project would consume one of HJ’s nap times, but it took up about 3 (dang).  But I still love it and would definitely recommend stenciling a wall to “pretty” it up a bit.
Oh, and I also jazzed it up a bit for Christmas…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Has anyone else tackled a stenciling project?  Did you sing “Everyday I’m Stenciling” while doing it (highly recommended) or is that just me?
 
Side note: Elf on the Shelf has taken over our house.  Or, as he has been named, Mr. Bo-Jingle-Jangles.  Anyone else doing that this Christmas?
Side note part 2: When I hit spell check, I found out stenciling is not a word, my apologies.  It is used around 10 times in this post and I can not think of the proper verb form of present tense stencil, so I am sticking with stenciling.