This $h!+’s Getting REAL!

Two posts in ONE day? Dang! I told you I was busy……BUT I’m also really excited!

With just 26 days to go, and no real solid plan (we MIGHT be getting married on the ice at the SC Stingrays Game, or we might be doing it in the parking lot…we haven’t received confirmation on the whole “married on the ice” part yet) we bought our wedding rings today. In typical Tina and Bill tradition, we did our own thing. What do I mean? Well, I am not getting one, but two small bands, one for each side of my engagement ring. It’s not a traditional band, but I’m not a traditional girl. Mine is actually not too far fetched. What woman doesn’t want TWO wedding rings?

Bill on the other hand…..well, as you get to know us, you will understand better, but my redneck, er, fiance, picked out a Max-4 Camouflage wedding band. Yes, let that sink in. The man picked out a wedding band in camouflage. In case you just can’t picture this in your mind, here is a picture! In fact, I had to buy two bands, or his would have been MORE than mine! I went super simple and inexpensive, but still!

Once we picked his ring up (mine had to be ordered), we went and completed our baby registry. There is something so fun about taking a little gun and running around scanning things! Again, we tried to be practical, and we did a lot of research and shopping around (after my cousin told us the bedroom set we wanted for Talia was 1/3 the price at Target versus Babies R Us!) There are so many baby items out there which are suggested, and Babies R Us had SO many impractical “needs” on their suggested list, but we are trying to keep things simple and affordable. People at my job are throwing a small baby shower, which is so amazingly sweet because we didn’t think we were having one at all, but we don’t want to register for anything we don’t need or is a waste.

We did purchase the furniture ourselves today. We had figured we were about to shell out $2,000 at Babies R Us, and we argued that the furniture was still a good deal because it converts from a crib to a toddler bed, to a full size bed. We figured 2k wasn’t bad for something she could potentially have through adulthood….then Stephanie pointed out Target has the better prices….yeah, we paid just over $600 with tax and have the crib/toddler bed/day bed, dresser with the changing table on top, and the glider. Now we just need a mattress and a chair for daddy (would you believe Walmart, which I affectionately refer to as Dungmart because of their bad business practices has a damn camouflage recliner? It’s true…and it’s more than my glider with foot rest! Haha!)

With the registry at Target, we noticed there’s a countdown. It’s only 81 more days until Talia arrives (if she’s on daddy’s military time, and not mommy’s leisurely “I’ll get there when I’m ready” time). I wish it would hurry up. We need to get to the wedding, then fast forward to Talia.

In the meantime, I know Bill is worried about being a good daddy, and I just don’t know how to reassure him. He’s already doing everything right. You should see him buying things for her and being careful about our spending and planning so she has everything. You should also see him just stare at her ultrasound pictures. It’s so adorable. Even with the first picture, when all she looked like was a little jelly bean, he just kept staring at it. It’s actually precious! Hopefully he realizes how amazing he is! In the meantime, I’ll just keep telling him!


Well, Hello December

I don’t even know where to start!

Thanksgiving was awesome as I got to see my dads family AND my cousin Stephanie revealed some big news.

Actually my grandmother spilled the beans.

I was on the couch while grandma was at the other end talking to my cousin Shea. Technically, Shea is dating Stephanie, so he’s not blood related, but my family doesn’t care about that! Anyway, my grandmother asked Shea about the baby, and I overheard it….

“WHAT BABY, SHEA?” I wanted to know.

Shea hesitated. He can’t lie to me. It’s actually cute. He said he thought about telling me they got another dog (apparently it’s a family thing…not just Bill and I…..we ALL have rescues). As Shea stood there fidgeting, I took maters into my own hands and pushed passed him and my tiny grandmother (she’s MAYBE 80 pounds and 4’8″….she’s your quintessential¬†Italian grandmother). I marched into the kitchen (which is a HUGE NO-NO when Aunt Lani is cooking) and demanded to know from Stephanie “what baby is Shea hiding?”

Sure enough, Stephanie is 10 weeks pregnant, which is so exciting for both of us since the kids will be close in age!

Bill and my dad came back in the house and in typical Tina fashion, I yelled out before anyone could say anything “STEPHANIE AND SHEA HAVE TO TELL YOU GUYS SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I can’t keep a secret. I just can’t. I give Christmas presents in November because I get so excited. I’m THAT person in the family.

Thankfully, my family gets me and Stephanie told my dad and Bill, who are both also excited. Grandma is 92 and has no idea she spilled the beans! It’s actually rather funny.

Back in Charleston the next day, Bill actually went with me to look at baby furniture on black Friday (this is HUGE for a combat vet with PTSD. In general, crowds are a BAD thing. Marines are trained to know where everyone is, what they are doing, and what they are about to do. Having so many people in an uncontrolled environment has to be complete chaos in their minds, and they tend to shy away from large groups.) It makes sense, but Bill wanted to look at baby furniture AND the recycle store for kids (think Goodwill for kids, but BETTER!) was having a 30% off the ENTIRE store sale. I’m so proud of Bill! He did great! We found a stroller for under $50.00, some clothes, and a sleeper, bouncer, thingy. I have no idea what it is, but she needed it!

Monday morning Bill woke me up at 0430 freaking out because at 0930 we were having an ultrasound and he couldn’t wait.

Both Bill and I were married before and he lost a son when his ex-wife was 7 months pregnant. She had preclampsia and did not know it (because she wasn’t going to the doctor like she should have been!) and so their son passed away. Bill was fighting in Iraq when it happened and had to fly home on emergency leave. They then returned him to Iraq (ugh) and when he returned to the states a few months later, his now-ex was sleeping with all of Camp Legeune. Bill is much more reserved about it than I am. I hate her for what she did to him. He didn’t deserve that in the least!

Anyway, I explained the situation to one of the midwives where we are having Talia (she also happens to be former military.) She decided to do another ultrasound for us since this is about the time in the pregnancy when Riley was lost, just to reassure Bill.

At 0730 Bill came in the bedroom and pounced on me to get up. Then he started texting me from throughout the house to get up so we could go see our baby girl. I watched him watch the ultrasound. You never saw a more proud daddy!

We went to breakfast after the ultrasound and got a call from his buddy Josh. I’ll make it short. Josh found out he was a baby daddy through a DNA test yesterday, and when he took a bunch of xanex and then came over and drank, he passed out on our couch. I called his parents so they knew he was safe. Turns out Josh is a recovering drug addict and we had NO idea. Some things did not add up, and we only knew him about a month, but I’m glad his parents came and got him and he is out of our lives now. Bill and I were all about helping him get set up with the VA and getting his benefits, only to find out he is not entitled to them because of a dishonerable discharge due to drug use. The whole thing came as a shock, and I’m really glad we found out now instead of later!


I did not finish National Novel Writing Month. I am disappointed in myself, but I’m also trying not to be too hard on myself since I am pregnant, work full time, go to school full time, and have 5 dogs and a redneck to take care of. As it got closer to the deadline, I opted to not crank out words for the sake of a word count, but rather take my time and produce somewhat quality work.

I also did not get my book proposal finished and to my former professor on time. I did get him his pie for Thanksgiving though (priorities). So I’ll be working on the proposal more this week.


It looks like December is going to be just as busy….oh, and Bill and I get married in 26 more days. Thank goodness it’s nothing big….but damn….this girl is BUSY!


I’m a Mess!

I won’t lie, I have TOO MUCH going on! So I feel behind.

In school I blatantly did not do an English paper (on King Lear of all stupid things) because, well, I didn’t read the book. I bought it today on the Kindle on my computer……it’s actually rather scary how easy it is to buy a book on Kindle….good thing I much prefer books I can hold and have only downloaded a handful in my life. Anyway, I didn’t even have to enter a credit card…..hopefully there’s money in whatever bank account that is linked to!

For National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, people are starting to validate their novels and “win” as of this week. I’m at 16,500 of 50,000 words…..sooooooo I guess I know what I’m doing over the weekend. I’m off for the holiday, so I better bring my laptop along.

Wednesday, Bill is going to drop off a pie to my former English professor. I had planned on sending along my book proposal for my non-fiction book,for him to look at. Guess what isn’t done yet? I guess Professor Macy just gets pie and no light reading for the holiday!

A lot of not getting things done has to do with being pregnant. The person who said “you get your energy back in the second trimester,” LIED! She is sucking the ever loving life out of me….but, she is less than three months from being here (that is if she comes on her due date. Hopefully she is on daddy’s schedule and not mine! I’m forever late! In fact, I was born three weeks late, and only because they took me by force.) I wish she was here already! I hate waiting!

Tomorrow is a day filled with work and then PIE BAKING. This year, I don’t have a million orders for the bakery, since we are really just putting that on hold until we move home. I do have several for my family, the neighbors next door, and Josh’s family. Josh is someone I work with and Bill’s best friend. I don’t know if it’s the military bond, or what they have, but they are seriously inseparable. Luckily, Josh is a chef and is coming over to help bake tomorrow, so I’m not trying to do it all myself. I hate asking for help, but he’s insisting.

Lastly, I will leave you with this link to make you smile. I love ice hockey, and this video Bill found literally brought tears to my eyes! I have decided Bill loves hockey just for the violence….just kidding, but not really. Saturday night we went with some friends to the SC Stingrays game. After our team literally knocked out two teeth of a guy on the other team, the game came to another stop in the third period, when two yahoos beat on the glass so hard, it broke. Those two yahoo happened to be Bill and Josh. Chris helped, but not like those two. The glass did not actually shatter, but the metal bar holding the two glass plates together “popped” forward and was no longer securing the glass, so two of the panels were not secure. When they grabbed the president of the club to come look at it, I thought for sure we were all going home early. Actually, the ref gave them the thumbs up and told them “nice job,” which only encouraged them. My friend Michelle was sitting with her other half, Bryan, in a different part of the area….I at one point sent a text saying “I hope y’all can see whats going on from where you’re sitting, but yes, that is Bill and Josh who did that.” How many people get to say their other half stopped an ECHL game for three minutes one period for breaking the arena? As of right now, they are still rather proud of themselves. I’m sure it’s going to be one of those stories we hear forever…

I’m up at 0415 tomorrow, so time to sort through the pile of dogs on the bed, and see if I can find some room for myself!

Ciao for now!


Operation Cookie Takeover

imageSo this is what a box of 250+ cookies about to be shipped to Afghanistan looks like! I know you really can’t see what 250 cookies looks like, but it’s A LOT of cookies….and we figured if we were shipping them over to the troops, we better do it right and send the BIG cookies…with small, round, colorful, won’t-melt-in-your-hand (or hopefully during shipping), chocolate pieces included!

We received an email earlier in the week asking us to jump in and bake since someone who had committed to doing them had to back out. Since Bill and I met after his 4 big deployments in the USMC, I never got to do this for him and his company, so whenever someone asks the bakery to do anything related to the military, I answer “HELL YES” as quickly as I can. It doesn’t make Thanksgiving any easier for those who are deployed, but it might help for a minute….or as long as the sugar rush lasts.

I almost cried when I packed the box and placed the paper inside explaining why the troops were getting the cookies. Attached to the information sheet is small slip of paper (it’s on the back, so you can’t see it in the picture) with the name of someone who means a lot to me.

Rewind about 30 years (I’m 33 now) and in a small horse town in Connecticut, I learned my first words, took my first steps, and started making mudd pies under the willow tree. Fast forward to 2012 and a coward with a gun opened fire in a small school in that town, called Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. While I did not attend that particular school, (I lived on the other side of Newtown). I had personal connections to three people inside. Two of them are no longer with us. One, a first grader who is the cousin of one of my BFF’s, witnessed the shooting in his classroom.

Each year, in honor of the 26 people innocently killed, Bill and I participate in 26 Acts of Kindness with We Are Newtown. We take the 26 names and attach them to 26 random things we do between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you jump on Facebook, you can like the We Are Newtown page and get a complete list of names so you can participate. I will also post the names here as soon as I figure out how.

This year I was able to take two things really important to me…our military, and my hometown, and honor them both. Yes, it’s just a box of cookies, but maybe it will inspire others. What if we all did 26 random acts of kindness each year? How amazing would that be?

I must sign off now because my eyes are tearing up and because I am SERIOUSLY behind on NaNoWriMo. People are starting to validate their novels and be deemed “winners.” I’m still introducing characters……but cookies wait for no one!

Ciao for now!


It’s a Boy’s World

Okay, okay, so the saying is “it’s a man’s world” but today has been all about the BOYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let me explain!

Earlier today, my sister gave birth to baby number three….a boy….named Ryan. So far, I have all nephews! Then, within minutes of finding out the baby was here, another friend announced she was FINALLY going to Honduras to bring home her adopted son who she and her hubby have been trying to bring home for FOUR years!!! Hopefully they will be back by Christmas (can you imagine a better Christmas present???)

Last but not least, I received an email from Operation Cookie Takeover. A group of cookie fanatics got together and started shipping cookies to troops who are deployed around holiday time. There was someone who pledged 250 cookies to go to Afghanistan, but had to back out at the last minute. The coordinator remembered we own a small bakery and BOOM! We became the fill in cookier! (Yes, that is a word!) Bill and I have until Friday to bake and ship all 250 cookies and get them to Afghanistan to the troops stationed there for Thanksgiving. (Also, I realize our military is comprised of men AND women, but the title of this post still stands!)

All this along with Ice Hockey season (I feel like the Stingrays are home A LOT this month), a full time college course load, National Novel Writing Month (guess who is REALLY behind at only 14,000 words instead of the 30,000 I should have today to finish on time), and a full time job, I’m really exhausted!

I’m still hoping to get my former college professor a copy of my non-fiction book proposal by Thanksgiving (just a little over a week away!) and take plenty of naps. The person who said you get your energy back in the second trimester of pregnancy was a total liar! This baby girl is sucking all my energy out of me!!

With all this said, I should probably start working on my history paper due at midnight, or my English paper for Monday on King Lear, or my Psychology exam tomorrow…..oh where to start?


Love a Vet

November is always a crazy month with the start of the holidays, school being in session, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and of course, ICE HOCKEY SEASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So of course it’s the best time to also start a blog. Too bad I’ve neglected it the last week and a half (though I’m doing okay on Twitter if you would just log onto that and follow me at @tinarussokinney).

Today I’m finally off from work (playing waitress so we can put money away for the baby) and it is November 11th….VETERANS DAY.

Why is this so important? Well for me, it’s a day to honor my great grandfather (whose dog tag I still wear around my neck) who fought in WWII; my grandpa who fought in Korea, and of course, Bill….he is a vet of OIF/OEF (Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom). I don’t understand why we just can’t call it like it is….a war. My (almost) husband fought in a war, but let’s be all PC about it now and call it an “operation.” Whatever. I digress.

My life is also blessed with a multitude of brothers and sisters I now have because of Bill. You hear people talk about their military “family” a lot, but until you’re actually blessed to be a part of it, you really can’t describe the feeling of knowing there are hundreds of thousands of people out there who would do anything for you (include give their life) because you are first and foremost, an AMERICAN, and because you are military affiliated.

Yesterday we celebrated the 239th US Marine Corps birthday by going out with another Marine (from Vietnam era) and his wife. I met them while working at the cafe I work at. I have the USMC Eagle, Globe, and Anchor proudly displayed on the back of my server book. He saw the sticker and asked if I served. I laughed. Nope. I did not serve. I recognize I have a problem with authority and would NEVER make it through boot camp, but I am in love with a Marine who did 8 years, 4 tours in the Middle East, hit 7 IED’s, rated for a Purple Heart, and who sadly is no longer physically fit enough to serve.

Before dinner, Bill and I hit up Mr. K’s Books (a used book store near us) and got him a book as a USMC Birthday present. Bill, in turn, picked out a few books for Talia (our baby!!!) He can’t wait to read to her! There is something so incredibly sexy about a man who not only reads, but is excited about teaching his daughter to read!

Right now Bill is in class (thank you GI Bill for footing the bill on that) and so I headed out to Barnes & Noble…one of my favorite places, so I could do a little work on my novel, my non fiction book proposal, and of course, this blog.

My goal is to get the non-fiction book proposal to my English Professor (along with a PIE) before Thanksgiving so he can look it over before I send it off. This only gives me a little over a week! I also have a 10 page history paper due on December 5th. Thankfully, I have a kick @$$ history professor, and he’s open to us choosing what our paper is on. The paper will actually end up being the sample chapter from the book proposal. It’s a total win-win! In English we are reading Chaucer, which, if you’ve never had the pleasure, absolutely hell!!!! It makes up for the fun of doing my history project!

So with that, I better get to writing…. If you see a Vet today, THANK THEM!


Here we are

So here we are….

I’ve been here before. I wrote a blog once mentioned in the New York Times. Then I put it away when life turned on a dime and I had to stop writing for awhile. In an effort to move on from the past, I closed down the blog, and now here we are, several years later. I have a lot to say, and it’s one of those stories you wouldn’t believe unless you knew me, so here I am…letting you inside, so you can know me….and ride the crazy train with me.

Here is the short version of the story:

I’m a writer, a pastry chef, a mother to 5 dogs, 2 cats, an iguana, and a…ahem…snake. My almost husband knocked me up in mid 2014 and we are expecting our first baby in early 2015. My husband and I have somewhere around 40 tattoos between us, and we are both addicted to books (I know, I know, tattooed people reading…imagine that!) All our pets are rescues, and they all have their quirks…which makes for a never-dull moment in our house. I should also mention, the (almost) hubby, well he’s a bit of a (STUNNINGLY HANDSOME) redneck.

By the end of 2014, I will:

  • Finish a novel
  • Get married
  • Sell my first non-fiction book (here’s to hoping)
  • Prepare for our first baby
  • Resist bringing home another animal in need of a home!
  • Complete a full semester of school while working full time

Follow me, please. It’s more fun with you along!