Archive for the ‘background’ Category

2012 Survey Responses


Posted by Rebecca, October 23rd, 2012

I originally started this post last week, then I got hit with thrush again. Easton is fine, he doesn’t have it, but my god is it painful for me. I’m on nearly 2 weeks of being in pain this time around and it is draining. Needless to say, I’ve faceplanted into my laptop several times since my last post. I apologize that some of the early numbers in this post are not the most recent. End disclaimer.

I posted our first reader survey last week two weeks ago not expecting too much. I was just genuinely interested in knowing who I was typing to. While I check my stats maybe once a week or so and have an idea of how many people come here, I always assumed most of those “visits” were by chance.

You guys proved me wrong.

When I posted the survey, I told Mike that if I got at least 20 responses I would post the results. The total was over 220 250! Mike and I are in complete shock. We watched as we hit those 20 responses within minutes of posting and looked at each other with our mouths on the floor. I had no idea that many of you were actually reading enough to take a survey. Thank you. No wait, THANK YOU.

Now I guess I should start using spell check and proofreading, eh? I suddenly have stage fright…

Anyway, since we were so surprised at the overwhelming response, I figured that what I learned about you guys deserved it’s very own post. And, since most of you wanted to know more about us, I guess I’ll reveal that I’m a data analyst by day and this is the type of stuff I do for a living. You know, percentages, graphs, spreadsheets… the stuff you don’t come here for 🙂 So onto the numbers!

All but one, ONE of you, are female.

49% of you are in your 20s, like Mike and I. In a few months, Mike will join 34% of you that are in your 30s. I get to stay with 49% for another year…

75%, that’s 165 of you, are married.

Our 3 year anniversary was last week so I figured I’d throw in the wedding picture (courtesy of Zlatko Batistich). Plus posts with pictures are more fun.

None of  you spend your days at a bar. Instead 165 of you spend the biggest chunk of your days at work.

(image via CNN)

 77% of you live in a house.

No, not necessarily our house. We have enough mouths to feed around here 🙂

Speaking of that, 102 of you stated that you are responsible for dogs, 70 of you have cats and more than half of you are parents.

In a surprising twist, more than 20 of you wrote in that you are responsible for husbands who are like man-children. Many of you actually used that term, haha. Next time I may have to consider adding that option in…

Also, my apologies to the pregnant people out there for not including a unborn baby option. I feel your pain, remember this?

I know right? How could you not! I look at that now and I am amazed that my body supported that belly.. and that Easton was born over a week later.

We also had people who were responsible for a chinchilla, snake and a basil plant. Sometimes you don’t get to choose who you love…

As for the blog content questions, most of you are happy with whatever I want to post, whether it be DIY, design ideas & inspiration, Easton, personal things, the cats. Which made me feel all warm and fuzzy. Thanks guys 🙂

But, if anything ranked high it was more DIY posts, which of course we would love to do more of and share. At the bottom were cat posts. I usually don’t write much about the cats, so no hard feelings there. I didn’t tell them though, they would be heartbroken. Macky thinks he’s the star of this blog.

Occasionally I have strayed from the house related post, like when Easton was born, Darwin was diagnosed with cancer or Macky spent Christmas in the hospital. Those were three bigger-than-life events for us, so of course we’ll continue to share those life changing things with you. I think my goal here has always been to paint a well rounded picture of our daily lives, without abandoning why I started this blog. I think most people get that and do want to know more general things about us. It just sort of sets the scene. Which right now is that of a zoo.

Surprisingly (to me at least), most of you don’t follow me on any social media. I am on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram (lilhousecould) and sometimes I post things there as a “hey, I’m not dead I just haven’t had a chance to blog” type of thing. I now realize 90% of you haven’t seen those posts, whoops. But, for those of you requesting Easton pics, my Instagram account is also my personal account and it is full of Easton. Also surprising to me is that only 27% of you write a blog. I guess bloggers are more likely to comment, I know I never commented on blogs until I had my own 🙂

Oh and 10 of you follow me on foot. I am officially creeped out and will be looking over my shoulder for you. I would like to you know that I run fast. Okay, I’m lying, I haven’t ran in over a year.

Many of you left great open ended comments and questions, which I will have to address another time. Maybe a FAQs post is in order?

Once again, thank you all for coming here and for your incredibly kind words. I had this part planned out in my head when I was driving to work (seriously, why do I come up with the best sentences while driving?), but the important part is the thanks. Thank you for giving me someone to write to, thank you for challenging me to come up with bigger and better ideas and most importantly, thank you for letting me know it’s okay if I don’t.

The Day My Maternity Leave Ended


Posted by Rebecca, August 22nd, 2012

I started this blog three years ago. My thoughts were to have a place to document our house, have a creative outlet, help others… and something I’ve never shared with anyone, to make a career out of it.

Mike started SongMeanings when he was a teenager and has worked diligently on it for over 10 years. Once it became profitable, (many many years into it) we knew that when we had kids, Mike would quit his full-time gig and be a work-at-home parent. I wanted something like that for myself and I knew that the only way to get there was to not sit around and complain about it, but to bust my ass for it.

So I did something about it and started this little place on the internet three years ago. At the time, I had no clue there were other home blogs out there– I was seriously living in a hole. It was only after I started this that someone told me about Young House Love. It discouraged me at first, but Mike has been my biggest support system from day one. He told me that the beauty of the internet is that there isn’t just one site on a topic– there are many and many can be successful. So I kept chugging away and loved it more and more each minute.

The first day that I had 100 visitors I got a little misty eyed. I remember running up the stairs and telling Mike that people liked it– I could not believe that strangers were finding me. It was and continues to be incredibly rewarding to write this blog. The high I get off of coming up with a great idea, finishing a project or seeing one of my projects pop up on Pinterest is more than enough to keep me going. Which is good because as anyone who has a blog knows, it takes a long, long, long time to make any profit off of it. I knew this, as it took Mike probably a good 6 years of hard work and dedication to ever see a paycheck from SongMeanings.

Last summer, Mike and I decided to have a baby way sooner than we thought we would. The decision is another story for another post, but it also happened way sooner than we thought it would. Suddenly I was left with a semester of graduate school, pregnant and trying to keep up with this blog. I knew my dream of working on this full-time to be home with our future children was slipping away. Okay, it took a giant plummet.

I was, and still am, okay with that. My mentality has always been that I chose the career I have now and if I want something different, it’s up to me to change it. It’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears, I’ve been discouraged a lot, but my forever confidence boosting husband has assured me that writing this blog is good for me. It has become so much more to me than a website that I make (very) little money from.

With all of that out in the open, we obviously welcomed Easton in May. I was fortunate enough to have 12 weeks home with him, since I got the standard 6 weeks of disability and NJ is 1 of 3 states that offers an additional 6 weeks of paid maternity leave (don’t even get me started on US maternity leave…) Which means I went back on Wednesday of last week.

Walking out the door that first day was beyond painful. I cried through the morning rendition of “If you’re happy and you know it” (Easton still laughed, he had no sympathy for me), I cried as I handed him off to Mike for his morning nap (which used to be my extra 2 hours of sleep with him), I kissed him and stared at him about 20 times before I actually got out the door.

Then I got to work…and I felt okay. I know how lucky we are. I didn’t have to drop Easton off at daycare. He is home with the only person who loves him just as much as I do and I couldn’t ask for more. Mike sent me texts, pictures and videos all day. There wasn’t a minute of the day when I didn’t know what Easton was doing. The first day I went home a little early and I left at 2.

That night when I got Easton to sleep, my ribs hurt. Then my back hurt. I figured I was just completely drained from the day, but the next morning, I was still dragging myself around in pain. First I thought I must have pulled a muscle, then I thought I hurt myself carrying Easton in the Moby wrap the day before, then I thought I must be getting sick, but I had no other symptoms. Throughout the day, I was told I looked like a tired new mother, which couldn’t be further from the truth because Easton was sleeping 11 hour stretches at night. Then one of my coworkers brought up the idea of mastitis.

By the next morning, I couldn’t lift Easton out of his crib and I knew that was what it was. I didn’t pump much over those 12 weeks at home since I hated it and it was easier to feed Easton myself. The last several weeks, I made it a point to have Mike give him a bottle a day so that he’d be used to drinking from it. He did well and my only concern all along was him. I never thought of the effect that pumping would have on me. It was only my third day back to work and I had to take a very precious day off and lay in bed all day.

All of the progress I felt like I made that first day back went out the window. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to continue to breastfeed, which then would give me even less time with Easton. I never thought I’d be one of those people so incredibly attached to nursing my baby and the thought of losing it was depressing, on top of feeling like crap all weekend. Many tears were shed about whether I made the right decision returning. I was mad at myself for not working harder at this blog to get to where I wanted to be.

Ever the supportive husband, Mike told me numerous times in the past week that he would go back to working a 9-5 job in addition to working on SongMeanings at night. But that is not the answer for us. The arrangement we have now works best for ALL of us and not just me. It’s not about me– it’s about Mike’s happiness and Easton’s happiness as well.

I had to start the return to work process again on Monday. This second time around was worse than the first. On top of the usual stresses, I had to make sure I was taking care of myself and pumping often.

It’s hard to keep my health in mind when my days have been non-stop. I try to get up before Easton does (around 5) to get myself completely ready so that I have time to play with him before he gets sleepy again. Once he starts rubbing his eyes, I pass him to Mike for their morning nap together and I leave. This works out well because Mike usually works until 2am and he’s able to catch an extra hour or two of sleep. I try to get out the door by 7, to get to work by 7:30. My job has an 8.5 hour workday to account for lunches. I skip lunch away from my desk and instead pump 3-4 times a day. One of my coworkers came by yesterday and told me how nice it must be to come to work and have a break. Yeah, some break!

I leave by 4 since Easton goes to bed at 7. I get so excited driving home and he has been so excited to see me. Really, I had no clue a 3 month old would react with giggles, flying arms and tight hugs. When bedtime rolls around, if he’s not in bed by 7 he gets pissed. We didn’t set the 7pm bedtime, he did. If I don’t leave by 4, like if I get in later than 7:30 in the morning, I miss precious afternoon time with him.

Which happened yesterday since I ended up having to pump at home in the morning. I got home around 5 and Easton was crashing by 6:30. I gave him a bath and rocked him to sleep. Once I put him in his crib and looked down on him, I cried my eyes out. There was just not enough time with him.

So I walked down the stairs and Mike saw me crying… again. He once again offered to go back to working an additional 9-5, but I told him to stop being ridiculous. I told him just need time to be sad, and I don’t know how much time. Maybe a day, maybe a week, maybe 18 years.

I got up and repeated the process yesterday, despite the fact that Easton has started waking up in the middle of his 11 hour stretch of sleep (bad timing, buddy). It was a little smoother and I got home early enough for loads of play time and cuddles.

As I left work, I ran into my boss’s, boss’s, boss. Yeah, someone quite a few levels above me. She asked me how it was being back and I said it was good, but I missed Easton. She told me that one of the VPs of the company said that when her son was born, she would go out to the parking lot to cry.

Ever since then I feel better. Often times, people think of a mother returning to work as a black and white issue– either you can or you can’t, you want to or you don’t want to, it feels right or it feels wrong. In reality, the issue is one giant grayscale full of emotions and even the most successful of women are not immune. Just because it doesn’t feel right doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. Just because some days you can, doesn’t mean that some days you can’t.

Maybe someday I’ll be able to make some tweaks, build my own business and work from home alongside Mike. Until then, it’s okay to feel sad and cry every now and then– I think it would be strange if I didn’t.

I know this wasn’t very house related, but I hope that sharing my experiences helps someone else out there. We’re hoping to get back on the project wagon once things calm down a bit. Until then, you can follow daily Easton pictures over at Macky & Co (which Mike finally caught up with!) and follow me on Instagram @lilhousecould. Thanks for reading 🙂

The Easton Story


Posted by Rebecca, June 4th, 2012

I know this isn’t really home related, but I figured I’m always interested in the so-called birth story, so maybe you’d be too. And if you’re not, you can just scroll through the cute baby pictures, k?

I woke up on Monday the 21st at 5am with what I was certain was a contraction. Up until this point (one day shy of 41 weeks), I hadn’t felt any contractions. I had a feeling this was the beginning of labor, but I had no clue how long it would take (I REALLY had no clue how long it would take, but more about that later), so I didn’t tell anyone. In fact, that morning I sat down to write the post about our painted bookcase, because I knew it might be a while before I could write a post. At that point, I was only having about 2 contractions an hour.

Mike and I relaxed for the day and I tried to stock up on sleep as everyone says to, but it is nearly impossible to sleep when you’re being hit with contractions. As soon as I would doze off for a half hour, I would wake up with a contraction. This went on all day long. We headed to the mall to walk around for a few hours to keep things moving. Then finally around 11pm, the contractions started getting closer and closer. Just in time for bed, excellent.

Funny side story, the hospital I was delivering at, University Medical Center at Princeton, was opening a much anticipated new hospital on the 22nd at 7am. At 4am, my contractions were about 5 minutes apart. I was told that if I went into labor before 7am, I would go to the old hospital, after I would go to the new one. Mike and I were laughing at our funny luck that in the middle of the night, we had no clue what hospital we would go to. We didn’t even tour the new hospital because, well, I assumed I would be in the old one.

So I went all night with contractions between 5-7 minutes apart. I was told to go to the hospital around 4 minutes apart or when I could no longer take the pain. So I waited and waited. Then 7am passed and we knew we’d be delivering in the new hospital. Then I waited. Then I had a regular appointment at 10am that I never thought I would make it to. Now we were at 29 hours since that first contraction and one night without sleep. I trucked into my scheduled appointment and told them I thought I was in labor.

They hooked me up to the fetal monitor as scheduled, since I was 41 weeks and they wanted to make sure everything was okay with the baby. The monitor showed my contractions were still about 7 minutes apart. Then when the midwife checked me, her reaction shocked me. I was 5 cm dilated.

Holy crap.

We took a childbirth class with one of the midwives in our practice and my goal was well, to go to the hospital as late as possible. I did not want to hang out there and I knew I’d be uncomfortable. So the midwife was seriously impressed by my accomplishment and told me to go back home and wait as long as I could. She said that they would admit me to the hospital now, but if I didn’t want any unnecessary medical interventions, I should continue to labor at home for as long as I could. She told me I’d be having a baby that night and if I went home for a little longer, I could get to the hospital at 8 cm and have a quick and easy delivery. Of course, that was my goal all along.

Mike and I grabbed breakfast and still told no one. I knew at about 30 hours into this already, it could be much longer (very very smart of me to assume this….) Then I went back home.

For SEVEN hours.

Problem was, my contractions still weren’t very close. I didn’t know what to do because I was drained. I hadn’t slept, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat and I knew I had a long road ahead of me. We tried to walk around the neighborhood and my legs felt like they weighed 100 lbs, so around 5:30, I called the midwife and she told me to head to the hospital. So we gathered our things, kissed the cats goodbye and headed out. Oh, and we finally told our families we were going to the hospital.

I get to the brand spanking new hospital that has only been open for a few hours and I’m immediately swarmed with people. It was actually a little overwhelming. I thought when you were in labor, no one really took you seriously. I was in a room within 2 minutes of arriving. I guess calling ahead and being at 5 cm 7 hours before helped…

So we’re there, we’re going to have a baby, I’ve been in labor for like 36 somewhat hours, and the moment of truth comes. The midwife checks me and I’m at…. 5 cm. All day long nothing had happened. It was really, really upsetting. At this point, the midwife (who happened to be the one who taught our childbirth class), told me she wanted to break my water. I looked at her like she had 5 heads for a minute because this went against everything she herself taught me. I guess she caught on to my confusion and she continued on, telling me that it had already been a very long time and that I had a very long way to go and I was already tired. She went on to tell me that sometimes these things happen and it’s nothing I did wrong or anything, that sometimes you just have to give up control. I think if anyone else, even another one of the midwives told me this, I would have fought it, but I trusted her opinion. So my water was broken probably within 20 minutes of getting to the hospital.

Then things calmed down a bit. The team of nurses left my room, I was able to get out of bed and walk around a bit. Mike and I walked the hallways and I stocked up on some juice. I really had no appetite, but the midwife gave me some graham crackers and told me I had to eat if I planned on pushing this baby out. So I drank mass amounts of juice and walked and walked. I have no idea how much time passed at this point (there was wisely no clock in the room). When the midwife came to check me again, I was at…. 6 cm.

I was seriously having the slowest labor ever. She then told me that she thought I needed pitocin, another no no from childbirth class. I knew it would make my contractions stronger and harder and I was trying to wait on the epidural for as long as I could. I wanted to be able to walk and move to have gravity on my side and keep the baby working it’s way out. She said she didn’t think I needed a lot of pitocin, so I should try it and then see if I wanted the epidural. So that’s what I did.

I also remembered from my childbirth class that even when you ask for an epidural, it usually takes a while for the anesthesiologist to come administer it. So as I was tired and frustrated and the contractions started to kick in, I asked for the epidural. I knew I could continue to take the pain, but I figured I’d already had so many interventions that I might as well be pain free.

The epidural sucked, as expected, and made me throw up immediately. This was one reason why I was trying to avoid it because a) I don’t do well with medicines and b) I hate being sick and not having control of my body. It was really worse than the pain in the beginning with all of the wires and monitors I had to be on (plus not being allowed to drink water), but once it kicked in, it was nice to relax. The midwife turned off the lights in our room and told me to sleep for a few hours. Mike and I started to watch Crazy Stupid Love and it was something like 2 or 3 am at this point.

Just as I started to doze off, I was hit with a ridiculous amount of pressure, pain and uncontrollable shaking. I then started throwing up again. I didn’t know what it was, but I called the nurse. After a few minutes, she called the anesthesiologist back and he gave me some sort of a booster pain medicine. Then my body relaxed once again and I tried to sleep. Around 6am (49 hours after that first contraction) I was at 10cm, but the baby was still sitting pretty high so the midwife told me to wait it out until I felt I was ready to push.

I was just getting the urge to push when I was hit with the uncontrollable pain, shaking and vomiting again. This time I called the nurse immediately and she called the anesthesiologist, who gave me 2 more of those booster pain meds. He was shocked that the first round didn’t work because he said that it should have made me pretty numb. My left leg was completely dead and my right side was feeling contractions. The 2 boosters didn’t work at all and I continued to shake and throw up for what felt like forever. I was pretty scared at this point because the shaking and pain were overriding that urge to push I was feeling. I knew I couldn’t push feeling like that, since I couldn’t even stop throwing up long enough to focus. I also thought that if it came down to me needing a c-section, they would probably have to knock me out since I had feeling on my right side. I really had no clue how they were going to get my baby out.

Then the anesthesiologist told me they’d have to re-do my epidural, at hours past 10cm. So they restarted the process and I couldn’t even stop throwing up long enough for them to do it. I just had to stay as still as possible.

Finally the second epidural worked. Around 9ish, the urge to push came back. At this point I was excited and determined to get this baby out. He was still sitting very high, so the midwife didn’t want me pushing just yet because she said I’d end up pushing for a very long time. But I wanted to push, I was begging to push. So she told me that I could do just a few practice pushes to see if I could get the baby down on my own. She said she’d give me 15 minutes and with each contraction, to just push a little, but not too hard. She left the room and I pushed whenever I felt like I had to. When she came back, the baby had dropped. I wasn’t messing around.

It was now time to officially start pushing and I pushed and pushed. The first hour went so fast that I had no clue it had been an hour until I overheard someone say it. With every push, I seriously thought the baby was coming out. My nicely blow dried hair turned into a sopping wet mop of sweat and I couldn’t stop chugging water. Mike kept putting a cold towel on my head because it felt like it was a million degrees in the delivery room.

Once the little monster started coming out, we learned that he was posterior, or face up. It took a little extra effort to get him out, but after about 2 hours of pushing and 56 total hours of labor, Easton Max was born at 12:05pm on May 23rd.

When he came out, he didn’t cry. He was quickly rushed away and Mike didn’t get to cut his cord. He was born 17 hours after my water was broken and had apparently swallowed some stuff in that time. The midwife assured me that he was fine and was just a little startled. Within a few minutes, he was crying and regaining his color.

I heard some nurses say that he was big, but since I hadn’t had an ultrasound since 20 weeks, I had no clue how big he was. Turns out he was 8 1/2 lbs!

As soon as he was born, Mike and I could not believe how cute he was. Even as he looked at us while the nurses worked at him on the warmer, he had the cutest little expressions.

It’s been 10 12 days since Easton was born (this took a few days to finish). While we’re tired and we’ve had our moments (mostly over breastfeeding issues, not Easton issues), we are seriously in love with the little guy. My recovery was rough for a few days since I was so sore and swollen that I couldn’t get up and down the stairs, but after about a week I started to feel much better. Pushing out an 8 & 1/2 pound baby made me feel like I pulled every single muscle in my body, including my arms and neck. But he was totally worth it and I still can’t believe that this little face came from me.

The cats love Easton too and we are so impressed by their responses.

They don’t even flinch when he cries and the three of them still follow us around the house and want to be near ALL of us. It’s like they think Easton has always been a part of our family, which is a huge relief.

At his first pediatrician’s appointment, Easton surpassed his birth weight in less than a week. This was a huge relief to this breastfeeding mom and we got the go ahead to let him go 4 hours between feedings at night. It’s been pretty nice to sleep 3 hours at a time at night, so I finally feel like I’m getting back into my groove with feeling better and getting some sleep. Hopefully this means I can squeeze in some nursery posts during the week, though it may take me all day to write just one 🙂

Welcome to the world, my little baby E.

Two Years


Posted by Rebecca, October 10th, 2011

Today is our two year wedding anniversary! We didn’t do much to celebrate this year (okay we didn’t do anything), but it doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten what today is. Mike and I just aren’t always big gift givers when it comes to holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. That doesn’t mean that we don’t always exchange gifts, occasionally we do. We tend to exchange more when we want to, even if it’s not a special occasion. I guess we just do a little less of what is expected and try to stay true to what we’re doing at the moment. Same thing with making special plans. You see, we just bought a new TV and a new sectional, so we figured that was more than enough gift to one another in the material sense. We made a trip to Baltimore two weekends ago and we’ve been out of the house a lot recently, so our gift was to stay home and hang out with our new TV and couch 🙂 Isn’t that what it’s all about? It’s not about what you’re expected to do, or what other people think, it’s about what makes the two of you happy. And that is the exact approach we took with our wedding and honeymoon.

Last year I covered some overall style pictures of the wedding, so rather than bore you with more of the same, I figured I’d dish out some of my personal favorite wedding/honeymoon pictures. So without further adieu, I’ll let the pictures display the happy 🙂

If I could give engaged people any advice it would be what I just said… stay true to yourselves. Don’t forget why you’re getting married, though I know it’s easy to get up in details. They are just details and in the grand scheme of things, they are insignificant. In fact that holds true for life in general. What is important is that your wedding is a reflection of you and that it will not be perfect, because nothing is perfect. Your florist will ignore your wishes, forget your cake topper, the ground will be wet and the temperature will drop 30 degrees overnight. But it doesn’t matter, because you can’t tell that from our pictures or our memories.  And our memories are full of damn, can we do that again?

Also, advice number two, don’t skimp on the honeymoon. Take your time with it, go somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. I think if I had to, I would have had a more simple wedding to keep my Hawaiian honeymoon. In fact, we sort of did this when we decided to buy the house. We cut back on a lot of wedding expenses because we weren’t willing to give up Hawaii. Those two weeks were the best of our lives and I wouldn’t give them up for the ceremony programs or videographer that we cut out of the budget. I mean, you never forget hiking around this…

Or this view…

Or how small we felt when we walked under this…

Happy Anniversary to my favorite person, my best friend, the love of my life, the best teammate ever and my biggest fan. I love you.

ps- Sorry I didn’t get you a card, but can we go back to Hawaii now?

All wedding photos courtesy of Zlatko Batistich, whose homepage is currently hosting our fist pumping picture front and center 🙂

What You Know Bout That


Posted by Michael, September 28th, 2011

These last few days, Rebecca has been talking about doing a frequently asked questions post.  She planned to do this tonight.  I just went to the family room and she’s sound asleep; completely exhausted from homework and class.  So here goes… just my version… and not necessarily about our house, our projects, etc.

Stamped concrete?  Wood plank stamp?  How much and where do I get the stamp?

All said and done, I believe it ran us just about $10-$11 per square foot to do the concrete patio with the wood stamp.  We had toyed with the idea of doing a wood deck, but in the end, we decided to go concrete patio.  We had found pictures online of a patio that we swore was a wood deck.  And sure enough, it was just stamped concrete with a dark stain.  It absolutely blew our minds.  And so, we knew we’d make the best decision going with the wood plank stamp.

We used a local concrete contractor who was absolutely fantastic.  As for where you can buy the stamp?  I’m not 100% sure, but it looks like you can order it from these guys.

How is Darwin?

Darwin, Diggy, D, Pickles… whatever his name is today, is doing absolutely fantastic.  His cancer is in remission and he’s back to normal.  Actually, he’s better than normal.  Diggy is doing things we either forgot about or are completely new.  He has an abundance of energy, he’s wrestling with Macky and chasing after Mowie.  It’s absolutely amazing how well he is doing and we are so incredibly grateful.

Lately, D has been loving the new couch and cuddling into me as we watch Jersey Shore television.  The little guy actually has his Halloween costume all picked out and ready to go!

What do you and Rebecca do for a living?

I work for a large financial firm where I kinda-sorta administer the content of an internal search engine of sorts.  I would go into what I do for them, but honestly, you’d just sit there confused and be all like, ok so what do you do again?

As for Rebecca, she works for a [not sure if I’m allowed to tell you] company where she does a boatload of statistical analysis.   She comes home at night and tells me all about her day — from what she did in Excel and SAS to how she did such and such analysis.  And I’m all like, ok so what do you do again?

Don’t you also have a music website?

I do!  My partner (What up!) and I run/manage/develop the music community, SongMeanings, where we encourage discussion around lyrics.   It’s been a bit of a side-job for what feels like forever, but has been demanding more and more of my attention each and every day.  We recently licensed over 1 million lyrics from the various record labels, and we pull in about 30-40 million page views per month.

This one time at band camp I filled out one of those ‘Make a donation, write your name on this card’ things and I wrote ‘SONGMEANINGS.NET’ on it.  The employees were all, OMG YOU RUN SONGMEANINGS!  And I was all like, yeah I do — CAN I GET THIS ICE CREAM FOR FREE?

(Rebecca’s comment: We didn’t get the ice cream for free, but Mike felt like Beiber for the night because a bunch of teenage girls knew who he was….)

Did you guys ever paint that newly constructed wall in your master bedroom?

Nope.  We just LOVE looking at drywall as we drift off to sleep each night.  End sarcasm.

3 cats?  Are you crazy cat people?

Yup!  And proud!  Here’s a little ditty about Jack Macky and Diane Sunny.  We found Macky one random day in a driveway, he was less than a half pound, nearly dead and covered in all sorts of bugs.  We immediately brought him to the vet where she said “EW!” and told us he probably won’t make it.  5 years later and Macky is 20 pounds (what Vet, what!).  Sunny came home with us about two weeks later; he was one of Macky’s litter-mates.  He was bright orange, incredibly fluffy and the name Sunny was all too perfect.

One day at Rebecca’s parents house, a cat randomly started crying non-stop at their door.  She was thin, declawed (not cool previous owners, not cool) and was losing her fur from a flea allergy.  We nursed her back to health and then took her in after no one came looking for her.  Oh, we named her Mowie because all she was doing was meow-ing the entire time.

Our life was perfect with these 3 cats for several months.  Then Sunny very randomly contracted feline panleukopenia.  We immediately brought him to an emergency hospital and we fought the virus for two weeks.  After several surgeries, blood transfusions and Sunny telling us he had enough, we made the decision to send him to kitty heaven.   Our little family was devastated.

Several months went by while we mourned Sunny.  Macky would cry non-stop every night looking for his brother.  Mowie wanted (and still wants) nothing to do with him.  Needless to say, Macky was keeping us up every night.

One day, I stumbled upon a cute little orange guy on Petfinder and I fell in love — but we weren’t ready or we thought we weren’t ready.   Then we discovered he had CH, a neurological condition that affected some of his motor skills (he has a very mild, barely noticeable case though).  After doing some research, we found out that CH is caused by the mother having panleukopenia — better known as the virus that Sunny passed away from.  We took this as a bit of a sign and adopted Darwin (see photo as Coke box above)

Here is a picture of Sunny in all his fluffy orangeness.  Before getting sick, Sunny was 19lbs.  He was the original big guy in our family and we credit him with keeping an eye out for Darwin through his cancer.

You don’t eat meat?  I don’t understand how anyone can not eat meat! LOUD NOISES!

We’ve been pretty much meat-free for several years now.  However, whenever I’m with Brian (SongMeanings’ partner) I end up eating meat like the time we were in Philadelphia and had cheesesteaks and also the time in San Francisco when I ate, well, something that was meat.  He’s that friend you have from high school where whenever you’re with them, you turn into your high school self.  (Oh come on, you know that How I Met Your Mother episode.)  But in my case, I eat meat.  But Rebecca hasn’t strayed.

I don’t consider myself a vegetarian.  I just do my best to not eat meat.  And you know what?  I actually enjoy it.  Sure I miss the comfort foods we grew up with, but otherwise, it has made me try new meals and dishes. I actually wrote a series of posts for a while with vegetarian recipes, you can read them here.

Well folks, that is it for me for tonight.  I know Rebecca has several other questions she wants to answer so stay tuned… whenever she wakes up!

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