100 Things

In no particular order:
1. I'm the oldest child in my family.

2. I have three brothers and three sisters.

3. Yes, my parents are crazy have seven children.

4. No, I'm not sure what they were thinking either.

5. Why yes, it was fun/crazy/good/bad/annoying/hilarious/frustrating/wonderful to grow up in such a large family!

6. My sister Libby is number two. That's her in the blue dress. She's married to Neil, that tall guy in the blue shirt. So far she has produced a niece and a nephew for me, earning her the favorite sister award. The littler guy in the picture is her son.

7. Next in line is Julie. She's the one in the wedding dress. She married Huw, that guy next to her, in case you couldn't tell. He's Welsh and has a cool accent. They're making a new niece or nephew just for me! Or I think that's why. Okay, maybe they wanted a baby too. The sprout is due in October. Update: Baby, baby, baby!! Georgia Emily was born on Halloween. She's ridiculously cute, of course. I got to see her at Christmas time. I'm pretty sure she misses me.

8. Dan is my oldest brother. He's nine years younger than me. That's him, kneeling, in the blue shirt. My sisters and I used to dress him up as a girl when he was a baby and my mom used to say it would make him funny (and she didn't mean humorous) but he produced the first grandchild so I guess it didn't work. He makes submarines. No, really.  He has so far provided me with two adorable nephews one of which is standing next to Uncle Seany in the picture.

9. Zach's the handsome man in uniform. He moved to California when he got out of the army and now he lives ten minutes away from me (updated: more like an hour and a half now, soon to be several more hours). He has an awesome fiance wife!!!! (she was my friend first, he stole her), is in college, and went to Iraq. He's my hero. I used to change his diapers. And dress him up as a girl when he was a baby.

10. Sean is the redhead. He's my youngest brother. I used to change his diapers too. Also the dressing up. Occasionally we'd roll him up in blankets and then yank them quickly away so he went spinning like a top across the rug. He loved it, really.

11. Katie is second from the right. She's the baby of the family. She's a lot like me (except cooler) so we are the bookends of the family.

12. My parents are the old people on the far left. I keep their lives from getting boring by doing things like pasting pro-Obama stickers to their extremely conservative, right-wing car bumpers. They love me for it, they just don't know how to show it.

13. I was born on my grandmother's birthday. She had five sons and three grandsons. She had wished for a granddaughter.

14. I was born in Rhode Island.

15. We moved to Venezuela when I was almost 6.

16. Three years later we moved back to our old house in Rhode Island.

17. I moved to California in 2005.

18. I've never had a child but I've probably changed more diapers than you have. No, really.

19. I love candy, pastry, pie, cookies, creme brulee, jell-o, cheesecake, chocolate, fudge, and other sweet things with an unholy passion.

20. I'm in love with a wonderful man and his two beautiful children.

21. I like to read books. More than almost anything.

22. My grandmother (see #13) died suddenly in April, 2010. I never got to say goodbye or tell her about Todd (see #20) but in a strangely wonderful twist of fate I went to the east coast for her funeral at the exact time Todd was leaving North Carolina and this resulted in the Great Road Trip of '10, also known as the longest first date ever. Another strange/wonderful fact is that Todd's daughter shares a birthday with my grandmother and I.

23. My fiance is a goofball.

24. I'm gonna marry that man just as soon as we decide whether eloping and disappointing our families is worth avoiding the hassle of planning a wedding. (Update: DONE!!)

25. I've lived in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, California, and Venezuela.

26. I grew up in a pentecostal church.

27. I still love God in spite of this.

28. I consider myself a Christian but I don't know what to think about the church.

29. I'm not sure the modern church is what Jesus had in mind. In fact I'm pretty sure it's not.

30. I love being an unofficial stepmom.

31. I've been taking care of kids my whole life so having an instant family wasn't as much of an adjustment as you might think.

32. I am a supertaster. It's totally a real thing.

33. I am also a super procrastinator.

34. I started saying "totally" a lot after I moved to California. I find it hilarious. No one else does.

35. I am a voracious reader. I'll read anything that's well-written enough to hold my attention. I love fiction and non-fiction equally.

36. I like to sew but I suck at operating machines. Some day I'd love to learn how to really use a sewing machine.

37. I love taking pictures, but see #36. Someday I want to buy an SLR and learn how to use it properly.

38. I love crafting.

39. I worked at Paper Source for a while and it was the funnest job ever. Except for some parts, but mostly super fun.

40. I like people. All kinds. I collect diverse friends and nothing makes me happier than introducing them to each other when they would never have crossed paths otherwise.

41. I love to write. My dream is to make a living at it.

42. I've met some incredibly awesome people on the internetz. It never ceases to awake my sense of wonder that I can have such a connection with so many people who I've never even seen.

43. I'm shrimpy. At barely 5 feet tall and around 100lbs I am the same size as the average 12 year old. Daphne and I should be able to share a wardrobe before too long.

44. I have a whole passel of amazing kids that I've nannied for. Some of them are in high school (Update: *gulp* college) now. That means I'm old.

45. I love gardening. I long for the day I have a yard and can mess around in the dirt again.

46. I'm extremely right-brained. Todd loves technology, but when he talks to be about it my eyes glaze over and I just nod and smile. Note: That is actually happening right now!!! Don't tell him.

47. I thought I knew how to cook until I started having to cook dinner every night (like, for people besides myself). Making [somewhat] healthy meals for four people (that most of those people will like or at least not turn their noses up at) is, um, challenging.

48. "Wait, Todd doesn't cook? What did he and the kids do before you met?" Well, he does cook, sort of, occasionally; he just prefers fast food. Someone had to rescue those kids from Taco Bell and pizza overload [note: we still indulge in both of these on an occasional basis and- let me tell you- it's kinda nice having a man who doesn't mind getting pizza twice in a row when I'm volunteering at the school all week or realize at the last minute that I have nothing to make for dinner.]

49. While I'm on my high horse I'd like to point out that one of our first fights was about letting the kids drink caffeinated soda (my mom is a health foodie- growing up, soda was the devil) every night on the road trip. I think I won, but don't tell Todd I said so or he'll start smuggling them Mountain Dew behind my back.

50. I am as stubborn as a mule stuck in cement when I think I'm right about something.

51. I usually think I'm right about everything.

52. Stubbornness has gotten me through some tough times when I don't think anything else would have.

53. Todd usually thinks he's right about everything too. He's also stubborn. This keeps our relationship "fresh" by making us want to kill each other on a regular basis.

54. Stubbornness is also probably the reason our relationship survived spending three weeks in a car with two kids immediately upon meeting.

55. See also: not spending more than a few minutes apart after the first day we met until we got back to California.

56. Plus: Not spending more than a few hours apart even after we got to California. And moving in together immediately, with co-parenting added a few weeks later when the kids got back from their summer visit with their mother.

57. Todd makes me laugh more than anyone ever has. That's one of the things I love most about him.

58. I like animals but I'm not really keen on owning them. This frequently makes me feel like a bad person, but I chalk it up to too many years taking care of small people with  no bladder control (see #18). Humans are about all I can handle right now.

59. I love art.

60. And crafts. And arts & crafts.

61. I have an embarrassingly large collection of craft supplies.

62. I love thrift stores and yard sales and flea markets.

63. For some reason that I don't fully understand I'm really into dressing up right now. I don't really own any shorts. I prefer skirts or dresses in the summer.

64. I have no business sense or desire to acquire any so all of my crafting business endeavors trail off into nothing.

65. I'm super right brained except for the wordy part of my left brain.

66. I love Grape Nuts. Everyone else in my family makes fun of me because "Grape Nuts taste like dirt."

67. I love trees with a deep and abiding love.

68. I collect sparkly things. Like a magpie.

69. I struggle with clinical depression and anxiety. It sucks but I'm lucky to live in an age of advanced medical care so I take magic happy pills that make everything perfect help.

70. It took me a long time to get over my stoic New England resistance to taking antidepressants and acknowledge that I have a medical condition that needs to be treated. And that there's no shame in that.

71. I never had any problem with other people taking antidepressants. Just myself. I'm weird like that.

72. I either expect too much from myself or not enough. Middle ground just isn't my thing, unfortunately.

73. I feel closer than ever to God since distancing myself from the church.

74. I was raised on a steady diet of guilt (not so much at home, but at church). I still have an incredibly hard time escaping its grasp.

75. I am a giant nerd. I love Dr. Who and I get why the cake is a lie even though I don't play video games. What can I say- I grew up watching Star Trek and then moved to Silicon Valley.

76. When I was a kid whenever the smoke alarm went off my parents would yell, "Phaser on overload!!!" and we'd all run around screaming in mock terror. It wasn't until I was nearly an adult that I realized that this was not "cool."

77. I've never really been very good at that whole "cool" thing. Clueless? Yes. Cool? Notsomuch.

78. On the Meyers Briggs scale I'm a XNFP.

79. "X" means I fall perfectly in the middle of extrovert and introvert.

80. I love people and get energized being around them.

81. I also love being alone and go a little crazy if I'm deprived of Jess Time for too long.

82. I know way more than I want to about the Stanislaus County Judicial process in the area of Family Law.

83. I love babies.

84. I kind of want one.

85. I spent my 20's taking care of other people's babies & kids and I loved it but...

86. Now that I have two delightful stepkids who are in school and more than capable of wiping their own bottoms and feeding themselves do I really want to reset that clock?

87. At 38?

88. I made well over 100 flowers out of various materials for my wedding, using mostly coffee filters but also paper, fabric and ribbon.

89. Apparently I'm not interesting enough to think of 11 more things.

90. Oh wait- I had a pet snake once.

91. Also, briefly, a pet mouse that I trapped in my living room.

92. I accidentally let it go on my parents' doorstep though.

93. They were thrilled.

94. I hate the prefix "step" but there's not much to be done about it really.

95. I have a thread collection.

96. I wasn't trying, it just sort of happened.

97. I was taught growing up that women are supposed to be submissive to men.

98. It didn't really take.

99. I am weird.

100.  I like it.