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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday

Linking to awesome working mom blogger @ Work, Wife, Mom, Life

Just another day in toy world...

Interviews are no fun when the interviewer forgets to give you a phone number and address so you are forced to send an email saying you are a little lost because the information on internet still shows old address. Sorry candidate. At least we only moved in the same complex.

Then interviewer is tired, with frazzled hair, a little sick and just asks wide open questions like - tell me about a typical day at your current job and why do you want to switch to toys? Then stares blankly at you while desperately trying to focus on what you are saying. Sorry candidate; I was paying attention. You really got my attention when you started talking about how you know alot about quality leather and I suddenly became aware of my shoes and very glad I had left the scuffed pair at home - wwwwhew!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts

Welcome to Random Tuesday, a fun blog hop brought to you by "The Un Mom", head over and check out her super cool graphics.

- Random Questions -

Is it acceptable to attend an interview in sweat pants? What if you are the interviewer and they are new black sweat pants and don't really look like sweat pants and the weather is 35 degrees outside and the heater at work sucks?

Is it acceptable to tell the orthodontist you are late because you didn't want to get out of bed?

Is writing this post really a productive use of time when late for ortho appointment? I guess I have to do something while eating pumpkin pancakes.

Stay warm people!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the new pink Barbie dog purse!!!

Santa's little helper?

Merry Christmas friends, here's a few fun photos of my kids I had to share. Hope you all have a wonderful day!!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A little break

I don't know what to follow the below post with. There are no words. So I'm taking a little break to enjoy the holidays with my family. I'll be back the first of the new year. Happy holidays friends and thanks for your kind comments.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I'm so sorry Jill, I failed you

I just heard the news that you died, a year ago, December 14th. I'm sorry I haven't bothered to call, until now. I didn't know. I wondered throughout the year why you hadn't called. Your last words to me in late 2009 were "hey, you know you can call me sometimes". I got busy, found out I was pregnant on December 2nd and then my entire world revolved around that pregnancy. I never once thought to call and let you know. I knew your boyfriend had gone to jail and you were depressed. I should have gone and gotten you, brought you home with me, given you an alternative. Instead you went back to that old boyfriend who did all the drugs and overdosed with him.

I was your only real friend and I treated you so carelessly. I'm so sorry.

We met in 1999 at Smoothie King, you were 16 years old, a high school drop out. We used to have so much fun together singing and laughing while we worked. You had alot of problems with your family. You ran to bad men who treated you carelessly. You made brave attempts to improve your life, moving in with your grandparents, working at a covenant, I wonder if anyone has told them? You came back to Fort Lauderdale a few years ago and I said to myself "yeah, my friend is back, I'll hang out with her". But I was grossed out by your boyfriend, always drunk, in his underwear. You understood but we could have at least met somewhere else, spent time together. I think we saw each other twice in that time. Once while I was pregnant, and once after Charlotte was born. I got so busy being a mother that I forgot to make time for friends, especially friends who genuinely needed me.

I knew you had a drug problem but every time you called you said you were doing better. Once, when you moved mid-west to be with your grandparents, I sent you a book called "Rachel's Holiday" a story of a girl who went to rehab. A half hearted attempt to meet your need.

When you were in the mid-west, I promised to take you on a weekend cruise if you got your GED, you did, I never followed through.

I had careless thoughts about you, like she's 27, when I was that age I was traveling to Asia, had a responsible job, was married, when is she going to get her life together?

I'm making you sound really bad here, drugs, bad men, disaster family but in light of all that you were so sweet and kind. You genuinely loved me, cared about me, would have done anything for me. I made half hearted attempts to help, offering to go get you when things were bad, you always said no don't worry about me. You weren't a moocher, you never asked for money or anything. You were a good decent person.

Maybe I couldn't have done anything to save you, but I could have been a better friend. Words cannot express my sorrow at knowing your gone.

post script:
After writing this I wondered, maybe her boyfriend had lied to me, maybe he was just mad at her and was getting revenge. Maybe she left town. Then I googled her name and her obituary came up, I found her mother's name and found her on Facebook. Her mom suspects foul play. Then I remembered more of my last conversation with Jill. She had gone back to the old boyfriends house and flushed away a very expensive drug. I was shocked that she would do that, worried for her safety but she laughed it off and said he needed to learn to stop using that stuff. Does it make me feel any better to learn more? Not really, but I'm really glad I connected with her mom briefly. I still can't believe she's gone - death is so final.

My Perfect Baby

Words cannot describe how grateful and ecstatic I am with my perfect baby boy. He is so relaxed and calm. In the morning he's patient while we tend to his sister first - or she throws a major fit (but I'm thinking of switching this because she's getting way too demanding and shouldn't expect to be first always). He happily eats and is then complaisant to sit in his bouncer while we buzz around getting breakfast, taking the dog out and getting ready for work. While observing our morning ritual he falls back into dreamland with a nap that takes anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. He is a dream baby.

His sister was the exact opposite - we couldn't put her down without risk of screaming bloody murder. Maybe 5 minutes at best to grab a quick breakfast, she MIGHT last slightly longer while one scarfed down the food - she was a very time-consuming child to say the least. I wrote to no avail with requests for information as to when it's okay to let a screaming child stay in her crib when there is clearly nothing wrong and all I got was information stating that in their first year they need to learn that mommy and daddy are going to meet their needs and so they shouldn't be left alone to "cry it out" or it would lead to a lifetime of problems. So we walked her and walked her and showed her the world from arms perch. At night she took an ENTIRE HOUR to put to sleep. Rocking, walking, rocking, walking, we'd take turns.

Sam frequently falls asleep in his bouncer or playpen. Even when held he falls asleep very quickly and then only needs held for 15-20 minutes and never ever wakes up screaming the second he hits the crib. He is a dream baby.

Sam plays! He loves to play with toys in his playpen, crib, bouncer or hanging from his car seat. Charlotte didn't play with toys until almost 1.5! I was convinced all baby toys were a complete sham! She just didn't care about anything but being in our arms, up high and seeing the world. She's an adventurous, high spirited little girl and I wouldn't trade her for the world but even so I am so so so glad my son is chill.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday

Linking to Work, Wife,Mom...Life! for Working Mommy Wednesday. For this week the discussion is: Your life in pictures (share your work, your home, your Christmas, etc)!!

I develop toys in partnership with an office in Hong Kong and Vietnam so almost every evening I'm in front of the computer checking emails and chatting with co-workers on SKYPE.

Does this flannel make my arms look big? Oh well, it's strangely 35 degrees in South Florida, that's like it getting chilly at the equator. Anyway, here I sit and clarify all the little details that somehow get missed in daily communication. It seems like no matter how much effort I put into art packages, they will always find a question to ask. I chalk it up to different cultures thinking differently.

Some nights I sit here till midnight and then I go into work late the next day. Honestly I'd prefer to sleep at 10 but I get sucked into this web of communication and then while waiting for someone to reply I do things like write this post.

I like my home office, it's has a big mirror to make it seem brighter so I'm not facing a wall; I have Christmas decorations around me and photos the remainder of the year.

Almost done, and I think they are done with me because replies are down to "got it". So once I finish a piece of pie I'm going to bed (written Tuesday night, ending 11pm)!!

Have a nice Wednesday friends.

Random Tuesday Thoughts

Welcome to Random Tuesday, a fun blog hop brought to you by "The Un Mom", head over and check out her super cool graphics.

- Random thoughts about the weather and other stuff -

Well we finally got our first 35 degree night - you may all laugh heartily since I only have one other South Florida reader who will genuinely commiserate with my pain. But seriously I get more concerned about the poor iguana's falling from the trees because when it get's this cold they fall asleep and drop like flies. If it stays cold too long, they die but fortunately it's going up to 57 today so they should be okay.

I just looked up "drop like flies" and can't find the origin of this phrase. No wonder English is so hard to teach.
Random stuff my husband says, "Let's go atom smashing!", and "oh look my jelly went back to normal."

When our daughter was born, husband came home with a stack of little pink towels and proudly called them “hers”. She stopped needing them for reflux a long time ago and now they clean up her messes like purple crayon scribbled all over the big screen plasma TV.

Speaking of my precious daughter, here she is sleeping somewhere other than her bed, with a toy she stole from her brother's crib.

Oh yeah, we are going through the "mine, mine, mine" stage.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Worst shopping trip - EVER!

Dear Associate,

Congratulations on your first baby! Boss gave me permission to buy a few things at Target yesterday, I asked for a budget and was told to use my best judgement so you are getting a nice pile of gifts. I started out reasonably in the bath section, you are getting a lovely California baby bath bubble set that is supposed to sooth cranky babies. Not saying it will happen but if your new darling does get cranky, you will be desperate to try anything on the market that promises to sooth. At this point in the store, I wished I had something to try because my two darlings broke out into matching wails so I may have thrown in a few more things that are totally random. I did make sure to get diapers in the 10+ range because mine outgrew newborn diapers in two weeks.

Next we moved onto the toy section but due to the volume of screaming from the 2 year old I may have thrown in other random things that you will find confusing (a mesh bag that baby can suck food through??), don't worry, as a new parent it's important to try everything once. I finally let her out of the stroller but as I was browsing the pacifiers she disappeared in the shelving unit that holds all the strollers and we played a game of "catch the toddler while 4mo is strapped to your chest". Good times. She went back in the stroller.

We moved onto clothing where I quickly found some nice 3mo outfits to the tune of toddler noise reaching a level unheard of but I'm quite sure I got the right sizes and gender.

Due to the level of insubordination, you got many more gifts than I had planned but I'm sure you will enjoy them all.

Best of luck,


Saturday, December 11, 2010

HELP! My house smells like diapers & stinky dog!

We rarely have guests in our home, it's probably due to a number of factors but suffice to say I hit the panic button when someone new is to arrive.

The photographer who took Sam's photo in the hospital called recently to offer a free in home sitting and a free 5x7 portrait. Free? Why not? So she's coming today between 4:30 - 5:30 and I have all day to clean. Okay I'm kidding I'm not that OCD - I stayed up late last night getting most of the cleaning done. Now the only concerns remaining are stinky dog and cloth diapers rotting in spare bathroom.

What if she needs to use the bathroom? Better get those diapers cleaned this morning. But sadly just the simple walk from bathroom to washer has made my entire house smell like diapers. So the windows are open, all the fans are on, Fabreeze has been sprayed. This will work!

Is there time to wash the dog? Maybe I'll drop him off at Petsmart - oh wait husband took the coupons - nooooooooooooooooooo! They are always too busy for a drop off anyway. Maybe I'll wash him myself - that would be a first.

Then there's the porch - husband forgot to take the trash out so it's sitting on the porch with other boxes. Our porch is so ghetto.


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday

Linking to Work, Wife,Mom...Life! for Working Mommy Wednesday. For this week the discussion is:
Top Ten things about the Christmas season (that you love, don't love, etc.)

1. Baby's first Christmas! His first stocking, showing him the Christmas Tree. Putting him in cute Christmas outfits. He will be 5 months old right after Christmas. Such a cute age!

2. Photos, photos, photos! I love Christmas holiday photo shoots. Last year was easy, 15mo on the beach in a pretty dress, let her play and run, take candid shots. I knew this year would be different. If I went back to the beach she would play and ignore me and I would not be able to get her and Sam in the same photo. So we put them in a big round papsan chair on the lawn to get afternoon lighting, and we put them in the big red wagon. It worked! Our Christmas card is below.

3. Cookies! I love baking so this year I decided to make cookies as presents. I've made 14 dozen so far. Hope it's enough!

4. Flowers - I love buying a Poinsetta - got this years at Home Depot on black Friday for $1.00!!! I also found a crimson red Amarilis that bloomed for Thanksgiving and is blooming again for Christmas.

5. Operation Christmas Child - it's an organization that distributes shoe boxes full of presents to poor children around the world. This year we filled 3 boxes! It was so much fun to gather all the stuff - school supplies, hygene items, candy and toys!

1. Crowds

2. Fruit cake

3. Egg Nog

4. Long Lines!

5. The fact that Christmas is so full of consumerism.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts

Welcome to Random Tuesday, a fun blog hop brought to you by "The Un Mom", head over and check out her super cool graphics.

- Random thoughts about Christmas -

1. Is Christmas a Christian holiday? My Jewish co-worker thinks it is, but all my atheists and agnostic friends celebrate Christmas and they wouldn't be caught dead celebrating something Christian. So friends - what does Christmas mean to you?

2. For the past 3 days I've been making Christmas cookies - 14 dozen in total. I had the brilliant idea (if I may say so myself) to use up all the Halloween candy in Christmas cookies. I started with a double batch Chocolate Cookie recipe (minus the chips), cut up/unwrapped all the candies and made the following styles:
  • Kit Kat
  • Hersey's Milk Chocolate
  • 2 squares of a Godiva chocolate bar
  • M&M (not cut up)
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
Also made 2 dozen peanut butter and 5 dozen Mocha Sandwich Cookies. I'm giving them away as gifts.

3. Shutterfly was kind enough to send me 50 free Christmas cards for writing a post about them, now I need to find 50 friends! So last night as I was updating my list I had to make a few changes:
  • 1 death
  • 2 moves
  • 1 divorce - two new addresses
  • 1 friend needs a home
  • need to get addresses for 20 more friends
4. South Florida has gotten a cold spell, 40 degrees today. So timely for Christmas! I'm so excited to break out the sweaters today!!

5. Our tree is up, the lights died the next day. No decorations are on the tree - why did we buy so many breakable things before having kids? Why didn't we use that time to compile a nice collection of soft non-breakable pretty objects?

Enjoy Random Tuesday!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Christmas Card 2010

Merry Tree Christmas 5x7 folded card
Make a statement with custom Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Finally off the hampster wheel!

The week after Thanksgiving is always a busy time catching up from the small break. This one was compounded with my right hand girl announcing her two week resignation. Thus begins the race to post an ad, find a replacement, reorganize the department a bit and call in an old colleague who's willing to help for the interim.

Every day I worked long hours, came home at my daughter's bedtime almost every day and stayed up till midnight to do household chores - the more I get done the more I can spend time with the kids on the weekend!

Today I got home from work at 2pm - finally off the hamster wheel of work - my daughter grabs my hand and announces "let's dance". What a fun way to begin the weekend. No worries, just dance.

Sam - four months old

15.25 lbs.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday

Linking to Work, Wife,Mom...Life! for Working Mommy Wednesday. For this week the discussion is: Writer's choice - I choose interns

Interns can be both a blessing and a hassle. A good intern will bring fresh ideas and work independently, a bad intern will just sit around and look for excuses to leave early.

I've been working with interns for 10 years and they all come from the school I graduated from so I can quickly spot their strengths and weaknesses. Students must take an internship as a class, it's a requirement for graduation. I fill out paperwork every week on their performance and they are graded based on my comments.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of interviewing a GREAT intern and I can't wait for this person to come on board in January. Here are the qualities that make this person GREAT:
  • Persistence in calling - she left two messages before I managed to get back to her. I will return an email faster than a phone call but the latter is more warm and friendly.
  • Genuine excitement for the toy industry and not just babbling about how much fun it is to work with toys, serious focused excitement. She talked about her upcoming trip to New York and her intention to go trend shopping so we gave her several toy locations to scout out and asked her to take photos of any cool toys she might find. I'll be really impressed if she comes back with lots of photos.
  • She talked highly about her teachers which is a sign of respect.
  • A well crafted follow up email thanking me for the interview, conveying her excitement and even saying she had looked forward to our interview for some time. Very serious girl.
My worst intern was apparently bored out of her mind. Every week she would make up excuses to not come in; I think she made the doctor excuse 5 times in an 11 week internship (inititally I thought she might be deathly ill)! After this repeated delinquancy she didn't even show up - no call, no email. I sent an email asking what happened. She said her grandfather had died and she was out of the state for the entire week. Unfortunately for her I had another intern that I trusted very much who was in class WITH her several times that week - total lie. So I fired her. The only time I've fired an unpaid intern.

Two weeks later she left a tea and cookie basket with her internship paperwork inside. A bribe? She wanted me to still fill out her paperwork so she could pass the class! Of course I didn't fill it out.

I've become very selective with internships; it's as serious as applying for a full time job. If the internship goes well, it can lead to part time work for the student while they are in school. If that goes well it leads to a full time job after graduation which works out brilliantly for me because I've had a full year to train them and they come on board well past the learning curve of a new hire.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Multitude Monday

76. I’m thankful for simple meals and a family that appreciates them
77. Clean house!
78. New deep freezer that was $31 off on black Friday! We’ve wanted one for so long!! I can’t wait to fill it 79. with home cooked meals and little bags of pumped milk for my son.
80. A new crock pot! Now I just need to find some good recipes
81. For lessons learned on Thanksgiving to really be thankful for sustaining food.
82. Silence after a long noisy day.
83. A new stocking for our newest member of the family.
84. Sugar plum candies!  Mmmmm good!
85. The anticipation of dinner with an old friend from college.

Random Tuesday Thoughts

Welcome to Random Tuesday, a fun blog hop brought to you by "The Un Mom", head over and check out her super cool graphics.

Interesting Fact of the Week: Liberace paid for plastic surgery so his boyfriend Scott Thorson could look more like himself.

I wear skirts almost every day because it's really hot down here. I'm wishing so badly for some cold weather that I was planning to wear new jeans today, but Sam threw up all over them - yuck. Back to wearing my boring wardrobe.

Sam turned 4 months old yesterday! He smiles every day and is a really sweet baby. Here is my latest favorite photo:

Charlotte's favorite word is puppy. She tells everyone about her puppy and has long conversations with the dog that no one understands and the dog just keeps hoping she's getting around to giving him treats so he acts like he's paying attention.

Charlotte's favorite game is to act like she's sleeping all over the place. Oh yeah and she's become obsessed with blankets.

That's all I got, have a great Tuesday ya'll!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

I got really hungry on Thanksgiving day.  Dinner ran extremely late due to a long, fun day that started with pumpkin pancakes and the beach; by 5pm I realized dinner wouldn't be done until 8 or 9.  I started to get really hungry, aggravated and possibly a little bit post pardom depressed considering I remember feeling "devastated" that we couldn't stuff the turkey because it was only a breast and didn't have a bottom so the stuffing would get soaked. 

When I say devastated, I mean really truly depressed which is ridiculous because it's just a turkey.  But depression doesn't have a rational side.

My son is 4 months old and it's been a complicated and busy time.  I went back to work 3 weeks after he was born and I've been super careful to not "catch" post pardom depression by taking really good care of myself.  I believe that if I pray, eat meals regularly, drink 48+ ounces of water a day, sleep 8 hours a day and fit in exercise that I will be exempt.  I broke all the rules on Thanksgiving day and almost ended up crying in my room, hiding from my family.  It took something outside of myself, husband getting upset about a random issue, that caused me to snap out of it and just focus on getting something to eat.  I realized my extreme stress was causing everyone to get upset.

I know the hunger I felt was nothing like the 925 million people who go hungry every day. I was just too busy to slow down and EAT.  I was too busy ALL WEEK staying up to mid-night every night to make FOOD to get enough sleep.  I was too busy to drink the free, clean water in my house.  I am so thankful for this lesson learned on Thanksgiving day to appreciate FOOD. 

Thank you Lord, for showing me this lesson in a very real and physical way.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sweet Silence

I am enjoying almost total silence (with the exception of typing fingers and air conditioner). After a long day of shopping with two year old babbling about puppy this and puppy that, four month old's noisy demands for cuddles, TV blaring Spongebob or the latest cool toy (really tired of Moxie Girls), meltdowns from both children, thankfully separately - I just prefer silence.

So what did we buy on Black Friday? I'm glad you asked:
  • Costco - diapers, we ran out this morning. Found a Crock Pot for $19.99; been meaning to get one for ages. We got there when they opened, found no lines, no crazy shoppers.
  • Home Depot - deep freezer and poinsettia. Only encountered one crazy person who forced me to flatten myself against a wall as he turned abruptly to run for the $1.00 Poinsettia's. That was my only brush with a crazy shopper. 
  • Kohl's - to buy the kids Christmas outfits; I even used a gift card from last year so it cost me nothing. No maniac shoppers.
I sit here bruised, tired and finally not hungry. I forgot a snack for myself and Charlotte and somehow believed a trip to Kohl's at 4:30 wouldn't take long so by the time we got home at seven we were both a bit manic.

So here I sit in silence, I might add sitting in the dark as well (with the exception of computer screen and hurricane lamp). It seems to be keeping Sam asleep longer and I can't put him to bed yet since he needs to eat once more.

Sitting in the dark in silence may become my perfect evening. Oh wait, let's add some triple chocolate pumpkin pie and green tea. Be right back.....

Ahhh, much better. Good night all.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

This post is for my husband who actually took the time to look up past Thanksgiving posts to see how we had celebrated and only found 2009 even though this blog has been around since 2006.

It means alot to me that he took the time to look and it's one of the main reasons I write our stories because we forget so easily. So dear husband, here's a short recap of our past four Thanksgivings:

2006 - we were in Texas and I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for your entire family

2007 - I had just found out I was pregnant with Charlotte and I completely lost my appetite. I don't remember anything.

2008 - Charlotte was 5mo old and we didn't eat until after 8pm.

2009 - posted here, Charlotte's 17mo photo

2010 Thanksgiving
Our day started at 9am - astonishing with two small children who are usually up at 7am. We don't know what miracle caused them or us to sleep so late but we do know the two year old is responsible for turning down the volume on the baby monitor which thus insured we didn't hear anything.

While my husband prepared pumpkin pancakes Charlotte covered her face in Vaseline which required a quick bath and reheating of the pancakes.

Breakfast was at 11am, or I should say brunch since it was so late in the morning. Afterward we packed up the kids and headed to the beach.
Her freshly cleaned hair curled beautifully in the wind.

And here is our handsome four month old son.

Unfortunately we had to leave early because Sam got sand in his eyes and took it badly. Poor baby. I don't remember this happening with Charlotte but I'm sure it did.

We got home by 1:30, got Charlotte to bed for her nap immediately and then two hours disappeared with various chores and Sam didn't want to be put down. Dinner was started at 3:30 or 4 and the turkey went in at 5:18. I suddenly realized we had skipped lunch and that it would take 3-4 hours for the turkey to be done which meant eating at 8 0r 9. Fortunately I had planned ahead to make Fettuccine Alfredo.

The dish went badly, Parmesan refused to melt into the heavy cream and stayed the consistency of gravel. I've made this dish over 100 times, how could if fail me now? I finally settled for rice and spicy shrimp as a snack/early dinner.

When we finally got the food served at 9pm, it was definitely worth waiting for:
  • Turkey with Gravy
  • Cornbread Sausage Stuffing
  • Pineapple, Orange Cranberry sauce
  • Corn
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Rolls
Simple but very delicious and for dessert, Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday

Linking to Work, Wife,Mom...Life! for Working Mommy Wednesday. For this week the discussion is: What are you thankful for?

Today I am most thankful for Water. The following quotes taken from http://water.org/
  • Nearly one billion lack access to safe water.
  • In remote areas of Africa women travel miles each day to collect water for their families. It's dangerous and debilitating.
  • Haiti cholera outbreak highlights clean water crisis, more than 1,000 have died
I’m thankful I was able to use water for the following things this week:

  • I drank 48oz of water per day
  • I used water to take a shower every day
  • I used water to make tea and coffee
  • I used water to give my children bathes
  • I used water to flush the toilet several times a day
  • My husband used water to cook a very delicious steam pot
  • I used water to boost
  • I gave my daughter water to drink
  • I used water to brush my teeth
  • I used water countless times to wash my hands after using the toilet, changing a diaper, cooking dinner, etc.
  • I washed produce
  • I washed dishes
  • I gave water to my pets
  • My fish swim in clean water
  • I watered plants
  • I've cleaned counters and floors
How did my family and I get blessed with so much available clean water? Why don’t I thank God every day for this gift? I really want to be more thankful for such an amazing and life sustaining gift.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts

Welcome to Random Tuesday, a fun blog hop brought to you by "The Un Mom", head over and check out her super cool graphics.

1. Publix had a buy one get one free special on celery. I only needed 3 stems but I can't pass up anything free. Now I need suggestions on what to do with all this celery. Help!
  • pls note I only like it completely dissolved in a soup or stew where I can't taste because it's stringy and gross but somehow always called for in stuff.
  • oh yeah and I'll use it in stuffing later this week but that still leaves an entire stalk!
  • And does anyone know how long celery will last in the fridge? If it gets limp is it still okay to eat?
2. Disney has changed the name of it's next princess movie from "Rapunzel" to "Twisted" to appeal to a broader audience. Anyone really fooled into thinking this is more than a Disney Princess raise your hand. Oh yeah and they have decided to stop making Princess movies. Booooo I finally had a daughter!

3. Random things I've said to my daughter this past week:
  • Things I find myself saying:
  • HEY! No throw rocks at the puppy!
  • Let the puppy pee in peace!
  • No no! Don't pull the puppy's tail!!
  • Stop pulling the puppy's ears!!!!!
  • Don't throw rocks on the picnic bench
  • Stop poking my belly button!
4. My hair is falling out. I've heard this happens after a pregnancy. It's very annoying; all the drains are clogged.

5. For Monday dinner I had crackers, 1/2 an avocado, one slice of apple that tasted like dish liquid so I didn't finish the rest and a pumpkin muffin. That's what I get for staying at work late. Really looking forward to having Thursday & Friday off!!

That's all I got! Have a great Tuesday ya'll!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Multitude Monday

See Ann's blog here, I can't seem to get her link to work for the header.

66.  I'm thankful that I have books to read to my daughter.  Tonight I read 4 books to her.  They are all from my mom, who is a 1st grade teacher of 40+ years.

67.  I'm thankful that my husband and kids walk me to my car almost every day.  And it's such a nice walk going around the corner, past the pond, past the neighbor's home who puts silly things in his garden like a gorilla and a spider attached to a long string that he pulls from the porch to scare the kids.  And when I turn around I see this:

68.  I have to go back a little in time for this one - when I went back to work 3 weeks after having Sam, I'm really thankful my husband was so helpful throughout the nights.  I know it was hard on him considering he was home with the kids all day but he made sure I got 8 hours of sleep every night.  I couldn't have done it without him.

69.  avocado on crackers (a new favorite snack)

70.  Comfortable sandals

71.  That my job gives me two days off for Thanksgiving

72.  That my mom taught me how to cook

73.  Pumpkins!  They make fall so enjoyable with their bright orange color and wonderful taste.

74.  That my children are healthy.

75.   That I learned how to type in high school!  Never realized how useful it would be!!

What have I read?

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read an excerpt. Tag other book nerds. …
1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams (the whole 5-book trilogy!)
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell 8
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery (own it)
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas (own it)
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

I've read 18 books on this list so I beat BBC's record!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shutterfly Product Review

As soon as my daughter was born I started taking hundreds of photos. I needed a good website to host the photos plush provide a print service and Shutterfly is the site I landed on.
Shutterfly has played host to our most memorable family moments. Our first product was the calendar. Charlotte was 6 months old and we made a photo calendar for my mom that had our favorite photos for her to enjoy over the following year.
Once you create an account with Shutterfly they send awesome discounts and usually twice a year they offer a free photo book. I love making these! They even have this fantastic tool which automatically populates the the book with photos and when you are dealing with over 100 photos this is really helpful. They must have some secret for doing this because more often than not, their arrangement only needs minor tweaking.
Last year I took Charlotte to the beach to take Christmas photos which I then put into Shutterfly's Christmas templates. I am so pleased with the results. They have awesome Christmas templates that made our little girl look even better. I also did a giant print college of various beach photos for her grandparents and it was a major hit.
My husband and I have a tradition of adding one new ornament to the tree every year. I think this year we are going to order one of Shutterfly's photo ornaments. They are made of pewter and hopefully less breakable than most ornaments. With a two year old we can't be too careful!
I am so excited about taking photos for our 2010 Christmas card. This year I have two children and we are taking both to the beach the day after Thanksgiving! The photo card is going to be spectacular!
Disclosure: Shutterfly has given me 50 Christmas cards free of charge so that I could write this review. As always, my opinions are my own.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Are weekends for children or getting chores/work done?

I ponder this question every weekend and I never know what is the correct answer.  I work Monday - Thursday from 10am - 7 or 8pm getting home just in time to put daughter to bed, 3 month old son stays up till 10 so at least he gets cuddle time.  Work has ramped up so I've struggled to leave by 6 to spend quality time with them.  Friday's I work half a day and the trade child care shift with husband as he goes off to work.

Yesterday was a particularly hard day.  There were problems at work from a co-worker being sick and not answering a critical email so as her boss everyone was calling me.  Anyone with a 2 year old and infant knows being on the phone is a nightmare.  They all want your attention and you are trying to keep them calm while solving massive problems on the phone in a clear and focused manner.  I spent 20 minutes that seemed like an eternity rocking Sam furiously back and forth in the rocker while talking to boss and Director of Ops about a production issue.  Several hours later our Hong Kong office called me three times about the same issue.  Finally sick co-ed called - all together 7 calls!  In that time I managed to get Charlotte ready for bed but Sam was being difficult so I couldn't put him down long enough to get her in bed with a proper goodnight.  She stayed up till 9 listening to me on the phone and watching me juggle Sam up an down.

This morning Sam slept all morning, from 9-12!  Unprecedented!!  So I used that time to get all the bills done that were due and I hadn't been able to do from working late all week.  I spent all morning shushing her while she squealed to get my attention.  She made elaborate attempts to get my attention doing everything she is not supposed to do.  I got more and more aggravated. 

Finally I noticed the dog hadn't even been walked, I had been so focused on doing the bills, so I rounded up the kids and dog to walk at 1pm.  It was hot, we only went half way and returned.  Charlotte's nap is at 2pm and I could tell she was tired from how slow she walked.  When we returned she asked for gummies but didn't like the ones I offered.  I asked if she wanted her Chocolate shake and she screamed no chocky shake!  So I warmed some milk and she continued screaming face down on the floor while I held Sam and gritted my teeth.  I put him down and begged him to be calm for a bit so I could get her to bed for the nap.  Grabbed her off the floor, went to her room and initiated nap sequence (lights off, fan on, door shut) while she ran behind the crib and screamed in utter agony.

I suddenly realized I had been pushing her away the previous evening and all morning so while she wailed I prayed to God to bring peace to our home.  She continued for about 5 minutes and finally came to me for the warm milk and I was able to rock her to sleep.

Sam also fell asleep, thus my ability to write this post.

I'm very thankful that God stepped in and brought about this peace but for the other matter of time management I still need help.  I just can't seem to balance everything on my plate these days.  I'm so exhausted.

I do know when she wakes up I'm done with all chores and distractions for the rest of the day.  My little girl needs my full attention and some day will not want or need it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Writer’s Workshop: 10 reasons to love or hate coffee

My first job out of high school was at Bucks County Coffee in our local grocery store. It was Hagerstown first coffee shop with arabica beans. Prior to this experience coffee meant something instant in a can and I didn't drink it. This little shop opened a life long love for coffee. I learned about fresh roasted beans served within one month of roasting (throw or given away when over a month old) and the wonderful world of espresso drinks.

I went to college the following year in Pittsburgh and worked at coffee shops for three years. Here are a few reasons why I love and also hate coffee:

10 Reasons I LOVE coffee:
  1. I love the taste so regardless of the time of day I am happy to get coffee!
  2. There is so much variety! Every country in the world seems to have a different version.
  3. Cuban coffee is great in Miami; Coladas & Kolaches, full of sugar and strong espresso, delicious!!
  4. Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, wonderful tasty chicory coffee! I went there in 1999 and fell in love with the beautiful outdoor cafe with this amazing coffee and beignets. It's even sold at Whole Foods so I can still enjoy it today.
  5. Bucks County Coffee - still has the best coffee in the world due to their dedication of providing only fresh roasted beans.
  6. Venti lattes on a cold New York morning - I still remember my trip in December back in 2004 when it was so frigid cold the only thing that could keep me warm was a giant steaming hot latte from Starbucks.
  7. Ice cold lattes on a hot summer day!
  8. Lattes at Cheesecake Factory come in a glass mug with a swizzle sugar stick, elegant and tasty!
  9. Tanzanian Peaberry - my favorite regular coffee from Bucks. A Peaberry is a freak of nature in that it's a single pod bean where beans are typically double sided.
  10. Finally, it wakes me up!

10 things I HATE about coffee
  1. Expensive restaurants make the WORST coffee! Why they want to end the meal on a bittersweet moment is beyond me!!!
  2. Coffee flavored ice-cream. Bleach!
  3. Starbucks decaf lattes, gross!
  4. Starbucks regular coffee, over roasted to the point of being burnt!
  5. Diner coffee sucks.
  6. Flavored coffee, puke! No offense to anyone who loves this, particularly my parents! When I worked at Bucks I was allowed to take it home and got them both addicted for life to this stuff! Glad it worked for them though!
  7. McDonalds frappucinos - because they are a cruel joke by only containing a minor amount of coffee.
  8. I hate the fact that it's addictive. The fact that when you don't drink it and get headaches sucks.
  9. I hate the fact that it's not locally grown in the continental United States therefore it has to be shipped causing it to be less environmentally friendly.
  10. I hate the fact that coffee is really nothing more than water and beans and it cost so much! $4 - 5 bucks of coffee is insane! That's why I mostly make mine at home.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday

Linking to Work, Wife,Mom...Life! for Working Mommy Wednesday. For this week the discussion is: #1. Top Ten "non-negotiables" in life. (e.g., cussing in front of your kids, cheating, stealing from work, etc.)

Well this seems like a prompt asking for top ten laws of the household or morals so here goes a list that is not necessarily in order of importance:

1. Divorce - not negotiable, we believe in marriage until death do we part.

2. No witches, no sorcery, no Ouija boards.
3. No swearing, and no taking the name of the Lord in vain.

4. Preparation for natural disasters has become an important part of our lives considering we live in a hurricane zone. Even though we haven't had a serious one for 5 years, 2005 had enough craziness to make a lifelong commitment to being prepared.

5. Commitment to recycling and living a sustainable life meaning cloth diapers, as little packaging as possible meaning we don't put our produce in plastic bags, we try to take our own bags for groceries and some day we hope to own a green home! That would be awesome.

6. Don't buy any more furniture. We either find it, restore it or make the furniture so that it's solid wood, high quality and to the design we want. I don't include couches in the category because I have no idea how to make the upholstery portion.

7. Charity - we are committed to giving more of our time and monitary support to Compassion and 4-Kids of South Florida.

8. Food - we are committed to not throwing away food. I've had a bad habit over the years of buying too much food, not eating it in time and throwing away old bananas, ground meat that has gone solid gray, etc. I find myself embarrassed to throw away food when so many people in the world are hungry.

9. No more buying new cars! We've bought 2 new cars so far and driven both long past the factory warranty but the price paid for "new" is too much. Buying used 2-3 years old is just fine with us.

10. Church is non-negotiable. We are committed to not being lukewarm.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts: It's my birthday!

Welcome to Random Tuesday, a fun blog hop brought to you by "The Un Mom", head over and check out her super cool graphics.

Today is my birthday! Queue kazoo noise.

I'm 35

So what?

Going to Cracker Barrel for breakfast.

Double Yeah!

Then going to work.

Boooooo!!!! And not Halloween scary ghost boo, sad depressed going to work Boooo.

But maybe the work carrot cake and Mexican lunch will make up for it. Yeah!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Sunday's message was about Eschatology - study of the end times.  Calvary Chapel is a pre-tribulationist church.
  • Pretribulationists believe that all Christians then alive will be taken bodily up to Heaven (called the Rapture) before the Tribulation begins. Those who become Christians after the rapture will live through (or perish during) the Tribulation. After the Tribulation, Christ will return.
Throughout this message our pastor explained the tribulations in detail that could terrify a non-believer into signing up for this thing we call Christianity.  We listened (my husband and I) in the comfort of knowing we are already Christians so we won't be here for the tribulations then the pastor got to the part about being lukewarm.  He spoke about the 7th church being lukewarm and having to go through the tribulations. 

Revelation 3:16 (Whole Chapter)
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

We got chills - what sins might we be doing that would make us lukewarm?  What things are we not doing that we should be doing?  Who have we witnessed to lately?  Who have we ministered to?  Who have we given charity to?  What Rated R movies to we watch for entertainment while the people in the movies do sins that God abhors? 

Who have I criticized and mocked by which doing would keep me lukewarm?

It's a wake up call to break free from the chains of monotony and be on fire for Christ.

Today my list of gratitude grows:
61.  I'm thankful for a pastor who preaches truth, even when it's scary.
62.  For the first view of my baby's boys legs waving in the air as I approach his crib in the morning.
62.  For the sound of my daughter's voice through the baby monitor in the morning.
63.  For my husband who tries so hard to have dinner made when I come home from work.
64.  For plentiful food in my pantries.
65.  For never knowing hunger.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saturday - walk the dog

Walking the dog is a morning requirement so after husband goes to work I pull out the stroller intending to put Sam in but Charlotte climbs in. Okay no problem, I go get the sling for Sam but forget how to wear it. No idea where I put the chart that shows how to wear it so I take off with Sam on my hip, dog leash attached to stroller and pushing with one hand.

Half way around the pond, just as my arm is about to break off, Charlotte jumps out of the stroller with intentions to push it. So I put Sam in the stroller and she takes off with him while I'm picking up dog poo.

She doesn't get far as the stroller immediately gets stuck in the grass, good thing she's not strong enough to push him down the hill into the pond!

Soon she gets bored and makes me push the stroller AND hold the dogs leash.

Then she messes up her perfect ponytail (seriously the best I've done in a long time!) by wrapping a blanket around herself.

Finally Sam starts to cry so I take him out of the stroller, Charlotte climbs in and we finish the walk. It takes about a half hour to walk around the pond with two kids and a dog; I do it in 5 minutes alone.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Five Question Friday

1. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you?

The two weeks of pain following birth is the worst I’ve experienced. Drugs are important and must stay on a timed schedule. I’d set my iPhone every 4 hours to remember to take the meds on time! Otherwise utter agony set in.

I’ve had two relatively easy, short births so I can’t say that part was painful. Doing yoga definitely helped me stay focused.

2. How much sleep do you get at night?

8 hours are absolutely necessary

3. How long did you believe in Santa Claus? How did you find out that he does not exist?

Never did. My parents church stayed focused on Jesus and his birth. All presents were from family. My brothers and I only found out about Santa when we were much older.

4. What was the last movie you saw in a theater?

“Life as we know it” with my BFF Gina two weeks ago.

5. What do you wear to bed?

Target striped pajamas

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Writer's Workshop - Something I wish I hadn’t put off till the last minute

Two weeks ago I lost my retainer; I’ve only had braces off for 3 months but I figured my teeth couldn’t move very fast, it took 9 months for them to get straight.
The Thursday morning I lost it I woke up groggy to feed Sam, wanted some water, hate the taste in my mouth after wearing the retainer all night, put it on my bed stand and promptly forgot about it. Later that night I couldn’t find it anywhere. The usual suspect, our two year old, had not been seen holding it at all. Usually when she finds a new object she will stare at it reverently and run up to us to discuss the new found “toy”. She will carry it for hours and put it in and out of other objects; perhaps even trying to put it in her mouth as she’s seen me do. Husband (stay at home dad) saw none of these activities or he would have promptly confiscated it.
I’ve been busy. My friend came into town for a weekend two weeks ago; I’ve yet to write about it to cement it into history. In fact I’m still editing the photos because my face was much too red in the sun. I need to send friend a CD of our weekend photos but not till I’m done editing. Then there’s work; the job I go to every day and develop toys. Suddenly it’s ramped up so I’m staying later and later and later. I come home bleary eyed thinking I’ll look for retainer the next day. Two weekends have zoomed by without finding retainer.
This past weekend I went into panic mode when I suddenly realized my teeth had moved. I tried calling the Orthodontist on Saturday thinking I would actually take two kids in there just to get a new retainer – they were closed.
Monday they said the soonest they could see me is Tuesday so I finally went in and timidly told the Orthodontist I thought my teeth had moved. He looked quietly into my mouth with a flashlight and grimly told me that yes they had moved. A new retainer with wires and springs would be required and I need to wear it all day, every day, for 2-3 months!!!
I had been wearing my simple clear retainer only at nights and now I’m doomed into wearing it every day! What a disappointment. If I had only called sooner, it would have cost less to replace and been less trauma on my teeth. This sucks.