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Stuttering Shell: July 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hoping and wishing and praying...

About that house.

We were at Adam's dad's house all weekend and we did a lot of talking about THAT house. THE house that is around the corner from his.

Part of me wants it, the other part of me could care less...but I think that deep down inside Adam really wants it. So, we'll see...

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Thursday, July 24, 2008


How do you know when someone is having a mid-life crisis? Do you just know or does their manic behavior give it away? Or, does nothing seem out of the ordinary -- like they're just flying under the radar? I don't know. What I do know is that someone I know is having one. At least I think so.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

An attempt at organization...

Notice I said attempt. However, for the price of the calendar, I think I'll be motivated not only to keep dates and things to do clearly written out in one central location, but I'll also clean off my fridge so I can show off my new calendar. =]

I ordered it today from Em Tanner Designs. She's the mastermind behind the cute shirts that Jon & Kate Gosselin's kiddos wear on Jon & Kate Plus Eight. I am super-excited because in a week or so I'll be the proud new owner of the "Kate calendar." I purchased it in the blue color and specified the "beach bum" font. I got the smallest size that Em Tanner carries and I think it's still going to be substantial enough for my needs. And, it's going to P-O-P on my black fridge. ;-)

Here is what it looks like (only this one is pink):

I think it's pretty snazzy myself...and I cannot wait to visit her website again to order plates and shirts for my two kiddos. Maybe I'll even get an "i heart adam" shirt for myself. =]


Sunday, July 20, 2008


...there is a slight -- and I mean VERY slight -- chance that we may be moving. Not out of state...just across town. Nothing's definite and nothing's been determined yet. It's just an idea that's being tossed around. Part of me wants it, but the other part of me doesn't want the change. Would the move be a good thing? Most definitely. But, on the other hand, if we don't end up moving, would I be disappointed? Nope. I'm perfectly happy where we are now.

So, we'll see...only time will tell, I guess...if it's God's will, then we'll move. If not, then He's decided that where we are is where we belong. It's out of my hands.

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So long summer vacation!

Tomorrow is the first day of school...yippee!!! Can you tell I'm excited? I love my kids dearly, but the first day of school is always quite exciting for me. This year it's a bit bittersweet because A is starting Kindergarten -- both kids are in elementary school now. *sniffle, sniffle*

I'll take a couple pics tomorrow and post them. Tonight we're getting bookbags and school supplies ready...keep your fingers crossed for a smooth, stress-free first day of school.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Until the cupboards are bare...

A few months ago there was an article in our local newspaper about how one of their staff members was going to cut back on her food shopping costs by eating everything she had in the pantry, fridge and freezer -- the point of this "experiment" was to cut back on food costs and actually use up the many items she already had. Like most of us out there, she, too, was going to the grocery store on a weekly basis and buying things that she either already had or just didn't need. The only trips to the grocery store during the "experiment" were to buy things like milk, eggs, bread, etc.

After spending $183 yesterday at Harris Teeter, I've decided that I think my family can also benefit from a similar "experiment." I told my husband last night that we could probably get by with a lot of what we had rather than spending so much every month on food.

Our biggest challenge is eating out during lunch, but we're trying to nip that in the bud by either eating frozen meals (which I had to buy during yesterday's trip the grocery store) or by taking leftovers.

As for dinners and other meals, we are fortunate that we have a thriving garden to rely upon for fresh veggies although I'm sure zucchini and yellow squash will start to get a bit boring (thank goodness for!). We also have a freezer in our laundry room that is stocked with chicken, beef and pork.

The bottom line is, I'm trying to cut back on some very unnecessary costs...we DO spend too much on groceries every month. I hope we can stick with this plan. I would much rather spend $10 a week on milk, bread and eggs rather than spending $100-$150 or more every week to two weeks.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Hello, my name is Michelle...

...and I'm a j.crew-a-holic.

I spent another $175 on their website last night. $175 that should still be in my bank account. $175 on clothing items I don't REALLY need, but REALLY want. I guess this means that for every item I bought last night I should remove TWO items from my closet. It's a good plan -- can I do it, though? I hope so.

I'm really trying to curb my spending (ha ha) and become more budget-conscious (ha ha ha). After all, they say money is the root of all evil..........................and they weren't lying.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Yesterday, I -- quite possibly -- met the dumbest person on the face of the earth.

DUMBEST. Dumb and dumber dumb. Dopey dumb. Really dumb. CRAZY dumb. Stupid dumb. Smile & nod dumb. Tweedle Dee........Tweedle DUMB.


The credit edit...

A friend of ours has filed for bankruptcy. The big 'B' word. The scarlet letter that shows on your credit report and lets everyone know that you are a hot mess when it comes to credit worthiness. It's not for everyone, but what really amazed me was how honest he was about his problems and also how clueless he is about his problems at the very same time. His whole situation made me put mine (well, our) credit issues (a.k.a. debt) into perspective. I'm not one to air out my dirty laundry and post daily about our progress towards financial freedom (a.k.a. a debt-free lifestyle) nor do I discuss ever about how wonderful the last couple of years have been in our debt management program with the bank. Never. I can't be like Karyn from savekaren [dot] com who was painfully upfront and personal about her financial issues -- lucky for her, the internet allowed her to pay off her debts with the help of strangers and also helped her become a lil' bit famous. But, what I can be is even more focused on our goal. I can keep working harder and be thankful that, while at one point things got a bit hairy for us, we did not have to succumb to the big 'B' to make things right.


I'm being punished.

Along with everyone else who went to dinner last night. Well, almost everyone.

We went out to celebrate my FIL's birthday and we had dinner reservations at a very lovely restaurant near the water here in Virginia Beach. We had looked over the menu earlier in the afternoon (gotta love the Internet!). We knew what we wanted...even right down to our drinks.

Dinner came and went. The wine was a-flowin' and the warm, crusty bread was heavenly. (It's actually the only thing I don't regret eating last night.) The ice cream cake topped off the night.

This morning, I'm (un)happy to report that there were seven, yes, SEVEN of us (and there were only 12 of us at dinner) who all shared the same tummy woes. It wasn't the wine. It wasn't the other drinks. Nothing was done in excess (not in my eyes at least). Obviously, something did not set right or someone has the wretched tummy bug. No one can pin-point it -- we all ate different appetizers and entress. I guess for now we will all just have to deal with it. Unfortunately. But, this, too, shall pass. (Yes, the pun IS intended.)



For those of you who are hooked on Harry Potter like I am, you will know the name Aragog. You know, the big spider that lives in the cave deep in the Forbidden Forest. He was once a pet of Hagrid's and it was all of Aragog's descendents who started in on the castle once the Chamber of Secrets was opened. Yeah, that's the one -- the big, fuzzy spider that tried to eat Ron and Harry when they happened upon his cave. Yep.


Well, I've never seen a spider that big before (and they do come in all shapes and sizes in my house) but I have seen many teeny spiders -- kind of like all of the other spiders that live with Aragog in the cave. Many, many teeny spiders. And, when spiders have babies they don't just have one, two or ten...they have hundreds.

And, for now, they must have taken up residence somewhere in my master bathroom because our shower looked just like the cave from the Harry Potter movie. Well, not really, but you get the point. Little baby spiders everywhere. Where were they coming from? I have a hunch (pssst...perhaps it's the lack of baseboards in my bathroom since every project Adam does is always "half finished"). Adam doesn't think so. I blame it all on him. It was his project that was left unfinished, so it just has to be his fault for the recent influx of arachnids. It just HAS to be.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's all in my head --

I've noticed lately that I seem to have all of these wonderful blogs and thoughts running through my head. It's like I mentally store everything that I want to say -- and then forget to say it all. For some reason, it's like really bad hand-eye coordination -- I have really bad mind-finger coordination. I can't get all that's in my head into my blog.

I'm not a journal writer so getting things onto paper is out of the question. And, usually, by the time I sit down at the computer to type up my thoughts, well, I've forgotten what I wanted to blog about in the first place.

So, it's my goal to become better at putting my thoughts into words. The more I get into this little blog of mine, the better off my mind will be -- at least I hope so!


technology stinks, sometimes...

So, while on vacation I figured out how to blog on my cell least I thought I did. I had two really good blogs typed up -- OK, maybe they weren't so good -- and they were sucked into the Twilight Zone of Lost Blogs because, for some reason, my phone would not cooperate with me. Go figure, huh?


Friday, July 4, 2008

the green mountain state

so we are in vermont right now...our final destination is andover, new hampshire. it is so different here than it is back home. it is so quaint. not much hustle and bustle. and it is so much prettier...greener...quieter. of course, it is all still not good enough to satisfy my mother. go figure.


cell blog

I've arrived. I am hip. I can blog on my cell phone. Too bad I'm not so good at texting.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


So, I wake up this morning ready to take on the hustle & bustle that is New York City only to find out that we aren't going anymore as originally planned. My mother isn't feeling well. My father says it's nerves. I think it's whatever she ate yesterday...or did not eat...considering she didn't eat much at all.

Needless to say, my family is bummed out. So, now I'm stuck in a hotel room in White Plains, NY with a bossy 7 year old, a rambuncious 5 year old and a husband who really wanted to see the Big Apple. Thank goodness there is coffee downstairs, an indoor pool and a shopping mall at my disposal. Hopefully, Adam will take the kids swimming so I can steal a few moments to the j.crew store. :-)


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Trip report coming soon...

I'll post a review of our family vacation and pictures when I get home!! :-)


I've been bumrushed!

That simple statement just about sums up my experience in Philadelphia, PA. We spent an extra day in Philly in order to take the kids to a few sights including Independence Hall. We got a semi-early start to our day and proceeded to the visitor's center to get our tickets for the (free) tour. We head over to Independence Hall about 15 minutes before our tour begins in order to wait. As we were waiting in line, we were pleasantly surprised to see that our tour group also included about 40 people -- Chinese visitors from Canada (as we learned while on the tour).

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not prejudiced. I'm bi-racial -- half Chinese and half Caucasian. What bothered me, however, was the fact that there were just so many of them...and they all had to be first. They were also rude...just pushing through the crowd, walking through pictures, etc. I also found it quite amusing at how interested they were in American history. I don't know, maybe it was just the heat and the fact that none of us had eaten breakfast that put me in a bad mood to start off my day. I just don't know. At any rate, the tour went off without a hitch and our half-hour in Independence Hall was very informative and the kids enjoyed themselves which surprised me.

After the tour, we decide to head to Reading Terminal Market for lunch. It was a little bit of a walk (just a few blocks) and by this time both kids were getting grouchy and neither wanted to walk. No biggie. Adam and dad just put them on their backs. We get to the market and find that it's not too crowded yet...after all, we are in downtown Philly during the work week just days before Independence Day. We walk around a bit -- buy some fruit, buy a macaroon and a couple drinks and then check out the different vendors so we get a feel of what we would like to eat. Everyone gets something except for me. I have my heart set on a cheesesteak. I leave the table with a $20 in my hand...I turn the corner and what do I see?? A line. A line at the cheesesteak counter. A line full of Chinese people. I'm not waiting in the line. No way. I'm too damn hungry and too impatient.

I kind of feel like a traitor for being so irritated about a group of people. It's not that they ruined my was just that they were everywhere I wanted to be. Everywhere.


Hello, my name is...


But, you can call me Shell. Yes, Shell. Not Shelly. Never once in my life have I ever been referred to as Shelly {no offense to any Shelly's out there!}.

I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister & a friend.

My husband and I have known each other since we were 13. We've been married since 2002. Together, we have two children, Malia & Aidan. We live in Southeastern Virginia and we frequent the beaches of coastal North Carolina any time we can.

We are proudly owned by three cats - Betsy, Keef & Ziggy - and a Boston Terrier named Frisco. We used to have 15 hermit crabs, but somehow I managed to kill them all.

As for me - because you'll hear more about the hubs & the kidlets throughout my blog {besides, this is about ME and not about THEM} - I'm in my 30s. It's kind of nice, actually. A new decade means a new start, right? I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from Mary Washington College {although it's now called the University of Mary Washington}. For those who don't know, the school is named after George Washington's mother. I never finished my Masters degree, but I suppose a Masters in Elementary Education will always be on the back burner considering I have no desire to teach anymore. But, who knows...maybe I will go back and finish it after all since I am no longer working full-time outside of the home. never say never!  I am returning to grad school in the fall of 2010.  I'm excited & nervous as hell about going back to school, but I believe that this is the path I'm supposed to be on.  I work part-time for a government contractor, but I honestly don't see myself in that line of work forever.  Sometimes, I beat myself up about not following my career path right from the start, but I also think that I am living proof that it's never too late to reevaluate your life, go back to school & accomplish your goals.

I started blogging in 2007 as a way to vent. It's been a fun outlet for me. I've met some great friends, learned about new things & pissed people off in the process. At first, I kept it secret from my husband, but he thinks it's great and I get pretty darn tickled when I hear him tell people about my little slice of the Internet.

What else do you need to know? Just ask. I email:

shell {at} stutteringshell {dot} com

Oh, and WHY Stuttering Shell? I don't know. It's not a stab at stuttering, stutterers or anything like that at me. I'm not that much of a cold-hearted person. In all honesty, the word stuttering was the first 's' word that popped into my head to go along with Shell. Besides, have you ever seen a real live scallop?? It sorta "stutters" when it pops open & closed {again, trust me on this one}.