Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Can you even believe that Christmas is only a few days away? We spent the weekend doing the things we should have done earlier—cutting down the tree, decorating said tree and making the Christmas cutout cookies. I don’t know why these things all seem so magical in theory, but the reality is that nobody seems to get much enjoyment out of any of it. The kids fight over who gets to hang which ornament and who is decorating which cookie, with what icing and it goes on and on and on. Instead of telling them about all the special ornaments, I am mediating and yelling “Wait, don’t touch that one!” and cleaning up broken shards of glass (Thanks Liv). I am left frazzled, and though we end up with a decorated tree, and a tray of sugar cookies I’m also left with a huge mess to clean up in the form of icing smears and lopsided ornament clumps and…well, you get the picture.

I’m really struggling here. I want my kids to have great Christmas memories that aren’t just about waking up on Christmas morning to a mountain of presents under the tree. I want to have traditions that we all enjoy together and look forward to every year. I want things to be seamless and fun and stress free. Does that not exist? Can I force it to exist somehow?

I did that portable north pole thing for the kids last week and psyched them up for a big surprise. They watched their videos from Santa in turn, and I was sure their little minds were being blown. And then Lucy said “You know mom, when you said you had a surprise for us, I thought it would be better…like a present or something.” It doesn’t seem like I can win.

I am officially on Christmas burnout, and I haven’t even wrapped yet. I know it will all be worth it in the end. I will have smiling, grateful kids. But right now, it’s hard to see the light.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

christmas. CHRISTMAS!

Oh, I am starting to feel the pressure of The Christmas. I was so proud for having done a whole lot of our shopping early this year. I felt so on top of things. And, well now… not so much. My cards are addressed, but waiting for stamps which my husband has set out to buy on no fewer than 3 occasions but managed to return home without. Our Christmas tree lumberjack adventure was thwarted on Sunday due to rain, so we are a week behind there. The tree farm is only open until 5, so we can’t go on a school day, which means that we have to do it on Saturday. Because of the snow, we’ve been unable to do outside decorations. I’ve not baked a single cookie, AND The Children’s Place has a crappy selection of pajamas this year, so I have to go on a hunt for the perfect matching jammies for Christmas morning.

But wait, there’s more!

The kids have been obsessed with pillow pets this year, and my mother bought them for Christmas gifts. Initially, she bought Liv the Bumble Bee one, but after seeing the commercials, Liv decided that she needed a “Pink Pig Pillow Pet”. And nothing else. My sister-in-law found one on Black Friday and picked it up for my mom. My mom decided to give the bee to my niece so she would have something to open while the kids opened their gifts. Yesterday, I took Lucy to my mother’s with Liv because she was sick(ish) and while on the internet she told Liv that there were no more Pink Pig Pillow Pets. They were out of stock! (boy am I glad she can read) And then she made Liv pick out another one that she might want, which in this case is a panda bear. So now she is telling us “There’s no more pink pig pillow pets. Now I want a panda bear!!”. She might give my mother a heart attack.

And finally, the big gifts this year for the kids are Nintendo DSi’s. We initially purchased one for them to share, and then FIL said he would pay for a second one so they could each have one. So before the first one even came, the one that I pre-ordered thanks to a tip from Want Not, we ordered a second one. When we had the snow storm, we didn’t get mail or UPS or anything for 4 days, so I wasn’t overly concerned that the package hadn’t arrived. When I looked at the tracking a little bit closer though, I realized that USPS said it had been delivered the day before the snow storm. It seemed fishy, so I talked with Amazon. They asked me to give it another week because sometimes USPS says things are delivered when they are not. (we did speak to our mail carrier and she knew exactly what packages she’d delivered to us recently—that wasn’t one of them) So I did, only to find out when I checked back in to say still no DS, that the bundle we originally ordered was no longer available. And sorry, but we’ll give you a refund. I realize that Amazon can’t control that once it shipped it never arrived…I get that, and I appreciate the refund with no questions asked. But I was pissed that I had been told to wait and because of that, I missed out on what I wanted. I told them so, and they gave me a $10 credit off the new, more expensive DSi that I now had to order. Basically, that covered the shipping, because I wasn’t about to go super saver again. So, it will arrive tomorrow and Christmas will be saved. And even though it’s probably better that they will have identical units with identical games to avoid fighting, I still can’t help but to be miffed.

There has been some good though.

When we finally started getting mail last week, my package from Shelly came, which included coffee and gloves and foot warmers for me, and a ton of stocking stuffer things for the kids. It was a small box packed with a bazillion things. Totally made my day.

We had family Christmas with my mom’s side of the family last Saturday which is an off-shoot of the Polish Wagilia my Gramma had every Christmas Eve. We get together before Christmas now because the cousins are all grown and have their own families and new traditions, but it is so nice to still have Christmas with some of my very favorite people in the world. We spent the evening playing games, and eating pierogies, and an over-abundance of chocolate desserts and having a great time.

We took the kids to the mall for dinner and to see Santa on Sunday because of the rain, and we actually got an ok photo, PLUS the mall Santa people have partnered with Shutterfly, so with my package, I also got a $20 gift card to spend on anything I want over there. (I’m looking at you, desk calendar…)

Hub and I are finishing up our shopping on Friday morning, an annual tradition of getting the last minute things, plus the perfect wrapping paper to identify each of the kids’ Santa gifts. Then we have plans to drive to Syracuse this Friday, as soon as the big kids get off the bus, for Lights on the Lake, which is a huge Christmas light display around the lake there. This is really for Liv who screams “I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!!” every time she sees Christmas lights.

We’ve made plans for New Years Day to do Christmas with my BFF and her family.

And we’ve decided to have a sledding party for Bud’s 7th birthday (7!! OMFG, my baby will be 7 in like 3 weeks) because he wondered why he couldn’t have a big party in the park like the girls do every year. And really, why can’t he?

Everything will be fine, I know it. We just have to get through these next 10 days.

What about you, are you ready for Christmas?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Snowy Days

Oh Hai! Did I mention that it snowed here?? It did! A lot! We are, in fact, still digging out of it all. We had 36 or so inches fall over the course of about 2 days and, well, wow. The kids were basically chomping at the bit to get out and play in it, and Bud went out to help Hub start clearing a path before I even thought about going out with the girls. We couldn’t open our back door, so the boys pretty much dove off the front porch to get out. And then Hub had a good time throwing Bud in to the deep deep snow. Bud thought it was pretty funny too.

Although I was home with 3 kids, I had a project plan that I had to put together yesterday morning, and there was no getting around getting it done, so that is what I did while the boys worked. The girls were supposed to be entertained by Grandpa, but somehow kept escaping, and so my work was slow. But I did eventually finish, and was able to get the girls dressed and ready to go out. True to form, It took 30 minutes to get dressed for about 10 minutes of play. But as far as they were concerned, it was worth it. Liv wasn’t overly thrilled with the snow; she was afraid to walk on it, and I wasn’t about to carry her around, and accident waiting to happen, so after snapping a few pictures, we went inside.

This is my van:

Here is Bud on FIL’s car. Notice how his wrists are exposed? They were very red for a long time yesterday and I was nervous—but he is all better now.

Lucy will pose for the camera anywhere…that’s my girl!

Here is Liv before she decided that she hated the snow:

This is our yard all covered in snow. The kids enjoyed climbing in to their playhouse and pretending it was a snow fort.

And here is the front of the house. This is a very lot of snow.

And finally, here is me! I really wanted to show you my new purple coat, but not my bushy eyebrows that desperately need tending. But, you get what you get. See also: cheap Target hat. I need something cuter. And my good gloves were trapped in my van, and you can’t see it here, but I have Bud’s Spiderman gloves on. Good thing I have small hands!!

Oh, and afterwards, we all had hot cocoa, of course!

Last night, the National Guard was on our street pulling out stuck cars. It was really kind of neat to see, in the way of holy shit, this is kind of a natural disaster. The Thruway was closed for over 24 hours, with people trapped in their cars. It was kind of crazy, but this is the sort of thing that happens here from time to time. People tend to get their panties in a bunch about it, saying things like “our leaders should have better plans for dealing with snow”, etc etc. I think it is on us to have the plan. Like how about stay off the thruway when it is snowing at a rate of an inch per hour. Tractor trailers will jackknife, and you will be stuck. I guess it’s just easier to bitch though.

Today, schools were closed again, and I sent Bud and Lucy with Liv to the daycare who gladly takes school agers on snow days (cha ching!). I couldn’t deal with the stir-craziness again today, plus I had several meetings to attend, so it was better to have them gone. I threw together beef stew in the slow cooker, and cleaned up a bit and got lots of work done. Hub has spent more time snow-blowing our elderly neighbors out of their driveways than he has on ours, but I’m confident I’ll be able to drive again tomorrow.

I really don’t mind the snow; I couldn’t imagine winter anywhere else or any other way. I have fond memories of growing up in the city, and walking with my father among snow piles taller than me. And really, as long as we are safe and warm, what is there to mind?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How to Diet Like a Man (in 11 easy steps)

Step 1: Lament for a few weeks that it is probably time to start watching what you eat, all the while gingerly rubbing your belly.
Step 2: See your doctor for something unrelated and bring up the subject of diet. Scoff at his suggestion that you see a nutritionist since you don’t like healthy food, and can’t see how having a donut and cup of coffee for breakfast 5 days a week is really all that bad for you—isn’t not eating anything at all just as bad??
Step 3: Decide to finally pay attention to what you eat anyway. Ask your wife for some tips---hey, she’s ALWAYS dieting.
Step 4: Laugh at suggestions of small frequent snacks and protein. A hardboiled egg? No. Oatmeal not loaded with brown sugar? No way. No, really. What are you supposed to eat? Almonds?
Step 5: Spend day 1 of your “diet” really paying attention to what you are eating. After breakfast, have a small handful of almonds. Eat an early lunch because you are SO! HUNGRY! By 2PM declare yourself too hungry to do anything; concentrate or work. Take a nap until 4PM when the kids get home. Decide that you can’t deal with STARVING and eat a bowl of cereal.
Step 6: Have a sensible dinner with your family and talk about how hard it was to get through your day of “dieting”. Declare yourself to still be starving after dinner. Make plans for bedtime snack. Pretend you don’t see the eye-rolls from your wife.
Step 7: Plot strategies for day 2 to stop yourself from being hungry to the point of nausea. Be determined to have a better day tomorrow.
Step 8: Begin Day 2! Apply techniques from day 1 but delay nap until 4PM. Call your wife repeatedly to ask for advice that you won’t take.
Step 9: Ask your wife to consult Google, because there surely has to be a better way. Don’t believe her when she tells you there isn’t and to suck it up and learn to be hungry; that it’s mostly in your head and that it gets better.
Step 10: As Day 2 ends, tell your wife that it’s too hard. Jokingly (but not really) ask her for permission to just give up and live life fat and happy; a heart attack waiting to happen. Watch and be amused as your wife’s head explodes.
Step 11: Begin day 3 on your own.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mom Rocks the Holidays from Rayovac!

Right now, you can enter to win $1000 from Rayovac just for telling them how you or your mom rocks the holidays. There are only a few days left to enter, so go! Quick! Go to Rayovac and enter today!!

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Cards!!

Can we be Christmas Card Buddies?? If you'd like to exchange cards this year, please send me an email with your address. I'll gladly send you one of my cards and would love to get one of yours in return!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Decidedly Not Glamorous

I’m not really sure what I thought happened to the food that fell beneath the burners of our gas stove. I’ve lost pasta and veggies and other things over time, and I never really gave it much thought until Saturday when I dropped an entire strained pot of noodles on the stove, and lost a good portion of it. I thought to myself that I should check it out, and lo and behold, the top of our stove pops right up! Who knew? Clearly, not me. And definitely not my husband. And the food doesn’t get incinerated or anything when it falls under there either. Some of it chars, some of it congeals, and some of it just sits there and dries out, laying in wait for me to…well never clean it because I never had. It was an adventure, Saturday afternoon, scrubbing the underburner of my stove, scooping and scrubbing unidentified food, and caked on gravy(?), and who knows what the hell else. And we’ve only had this stove for a little more than a year. Could you imagine what it would look like after 5 years? There are things that you don’t learn about prior to becoming a grown-up, and when you do learn them, damn if they don’t take you by surprise.

Like for example, the joy that comes in potty training your youngest. Sure, you still have to wipe her poopy bum, but at least the poop is confined to the toilet. And she pees on her own like a champ, placing her potty seat just right on the toilet and peeing and wiping and doing a great job. You marvel at what an experienced pee-er she is. And you forget that sometimes, she pees in to the cracks of the seat. And at least twice a week, after cleaning the seat itself, as you’re hanging it on the hook that is a bit taller than you are, you get splashed in the face with cold urine. And you think to yourself: glamour.

Or, when you’re an experienced grown-up like me, you find the small things endearing. You didn’t wash last night’s dinner dishes, and so your husband has thoughtfully soaked the silverware in the pot you used to cook macaroni and cheese. “Two birds”, you think, because the cheesy pot and the spoons are soaking, making your job that much easier tomorrow. Until as you are washing the dishes, you dump the thoughtfully soaked silverware, along with the macaroni and cheese that was never put away, now thick and waterlogged, right in to your clean dish water. Dumbassery is easily disguised as helpfulness.

How about when you try to get ahead of the game and do some pre-thanksgiving cleaning? You scrub your bathroom sink and console with bleach, getting in all the cracks and crevices, cleaning the drain, the faucet, the unidentifiable grime that builds up behind the faucet, and spend about 30 good minutes doing it. At bedtime, your children will certainly leave toothpaste globs and hand grime and who knows what else all over the damn thing. And this is when you will realize that there is no such thing as pre-cleaning, and all cleaning, in order to be preserved, must be done within hours of the event. And even then, it’s a crap shoot.

Remember how when you moved in to your house at the age of 20, you thought painting the bathroom a pinky tan and installing glass shower doors was a fabulous idea? And how for the last 5 years you’ve been pining for new paint in the bathroom because the pinky tan was starting to remind you of Pepto? Your husband will get it in to his head to repaint right in the midst of pre-holiday cleaning. And what if he takes the glass doors off of the tub along with the track so we can give it a really good de-liming? This is how you will find yourself outside on a chilly fall afternoon, scrubbing shower doors that have been propped up on sawhorses. And you will wonder just what the hell you were thinking 12 years ago when going for the “no shower curtain” look. And the next day, the doors will still be outside in the rain, and you’ll wonder if your bathroom will be put together by the time guests arrive on Thanksgiving day.

This is not the romanticized grown-up life I dreamed of as a child. It’s almost comical how different it actually is. I’d say there should be a manual, or a textbook to study, but I know that my teenaged self would have never read it. Maybe it’s better just to be blindsided by the reality.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I am tired of people having no sense of/regard for other people. In the mall or at the store, nobody looks behind them before they abruptly stop and take up an aisle while examining an item. Nor do they apologize when you politely say excuse me. People cut in front of you in the drive thru line even though you have the right of way, and refuse to let you in to traffic on a busy thruway.

It makes me bonkers! Everything I do, I take in to account how it will affect other people. Are my kids running around like maniacs? Or talking loudly in a restaurant? Or banging on the church pew with their hymnal? Let me take care of it so that I don’t disturb you. Am I in your way at the grocery store? Here, let me move my cart around the corner. It seems like common sense.

This morning, I dropped Liv off at daycare and I was running late. I always like to have a few quick words with the teacher before I leave, you know, tell her how she slept, or if she’s eaten and when the last time she peed was. On my way in, another mother was at the front desk telling them about her son’s illness and why he had been out, and that she stopped in for his blankie etc.. She followed us to the classroom and as I bent down to take Liv’s coat off, she went in to the story with the teacher of how sick her son was. And then got out some DVDs she had made for the teacher. And then talked some more about her precious sick baby. And then inquired as to what Thanksgiving activities he would miss next week if he still happened to be sick, and this went on and on. Meanwhile, I stood there kissing and hugging the baby, getting her seated at her table and hoping to catch the teacher's eye or at least a break in the conversation. No luck. I loudly said goodbye to Liv and to her teacher, and left.

Now, the lady wasn’t wrong for coming in or for talking to the teacher. And maybe she too had to get to work and had some things to say. But I had to do those things too AND I had to drop my kid off. And I was probably wrong for being a bit huffy, but come on! And I think the teacher should have stepped away from the conversation for a second too.

Am I way off here? Was I not as wronged as I thought? I don’t know. It seems petty now. But I do think that everyone could pay better attention to the people around them and think not only of themselves for a change.

Or, maybe I just need to think about me and nobody else.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


My am I feeling stabby today. This is likely due in part to breaking my toe this morning. No, I haven’t seen a doctor. It is the exact toe I broke about 12 years ago though, the one that never really healed, and the one that I felt crumple and spread as I jammed it full force in to the new red chest we have sitting (not in its rightful place) in our living room while I was on my way to stranglescold Lucy for fighting with her sister over a GD flashlight while Hub was trying to get some sleep after a long string of overnights. I have it taped. I feel a bit better. No kindergarteners stomped on my foot while I volunteered in Lucy’s room today. (Side note: her teacher needs a RAISE)

So yeah, stabby. And I thought that in the interest of not being perceived as a nag by my husband/kids/co-workers, I’d make a list of things that are bugging the crap out of me but that I never say anything about in the interest of keeping peace or choosing battles. Here are my top annoyances as of late:

1. Dishes and laundry: If Hub washes the dishes or folds the laundry, I always put them away. If I wash the dishes or fold the laundry, I always put them away. (I have started singing “All I want for Christmas is a dish-wash-er”.)
2. Nobody in this entire house knows how to rinse out a cereal bowl, or close and put away a cereal box.
3. Similarly, nobody seems to know how to rinse a milk cup.
4. Liv will not go to bed unless it is after 10 and the other kids are sleeping. I can’t seem to change this, hard as I try. I am getting NO time to myself after the kids go to bed. And she STILL wakes up 2 times a night.
5. Our cat is so fat that he can’t clean his own ass, so he’s dragging it across my carpet.
6. I’m tired of bathing said cat.
7. And of the fact that since he’s “my cat” it is my job to clean up his ass streaks. Never mind that Hub is a CARPET CLEANER.
8. I have a good friend who pronounces “never mind” as “nether mind”
9. FIL is constantly sneaking Liv crackers and raisins and other things. I never know if she is full at meal time for real because of snacking, or if she’s faking it because she’s 2.
10. My mother chimes in her 2 cents on ever single family member’s every single Facebook update. Like she is this all knowing and all caring person. She is not. Either.

Well, now I feel better. I could go on and on here, but I don’t want to get all worked up. What little things are making you stabby?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Indulge Me

Please don't look at this and roll your eyes and think "Oh God, another photo post". Please just indulge me and ooh and ah over these photos because I can not post them on Facebook for my family to ooh and ahh over since I am giving them as gifts.

The following are a few of my favorites from our family photo session on Thursday. We have over 100 shots, so to narrow it down to just a few favorites was hard. But-- here they are. Ooh and Aaah away.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

5 Minutes for Mom-Christms Giveaway is HERE!!

Every year, I enjoy participating in the Christmas Giveaways 5 Minutes for Mom so generously host. I've never won, but this just might be my year!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weekend Recap

This weekend felt long, although it really wasn’t. We crammed a lot in though I guess. Saturday was the usual rigmarole, though I got to take Lucy to gymnastics alone, as in with no other children, and I spent the whole hour reading. I strategically placed myself away from the obnoxious Home School mom—mind you, she is not obnoxious because she home schools, but because she shoves how important home schooling is and how ENRICHED her son is down your throat. She’s also made statements like “I don’t claim to be psychic, but I am a Christian. Maybe it’s the Christian in me, but I just knew something was wrong there…” AND is very opinionated on whether or not children should be vaccinated (they shouldn’t). Anyway, I don’t mind her home schooling, or being a Christian, OR the fact that her kid is probably going to get Polio—but I do mind her shoving her overbearing views at me for a full hour.

Um, so …tangent. My point was that I got to sit and read for an hour because I didn’t have Liv or Niece with me, only being stopped to answer a question about my Kindle. It was awesome. From there though, Bud had a TKD tournament, and it was his first big competitive one. He was competing in 2 divisions, one at 12:30 and one at 1:30. They were behind though, and somehow we didn’t get home until after 4PM. He did a fabulous job though, taking 1st in weapons, and 3rd in form. He also got a 1st place trophy for sparring, but there was nobody in his sparring division to compete against, so he went against an adult—who I’m sure let him win. In any case, proud all around.

We had friends over Friday night and had a great time over wine, chili and Trivial Pursuit. The kids played well together, and it was just relaxing and nice. They left after 11, so the kids were up late, and with the time change, I hoped they would sleep in a bit, but figured it would never happen.

To my surprise though, it did. Hub and I were up at 7 and had a full hour of quiet in the house before anyone else was up. We read the paper and had coffee, and it was actually kind of weird. The kids were up at 8-ish and we had pancakes and bacon and filled the rest of our day with church, shopping and a birthday party. The party was decent; though I didn’t know anybody there, and the kids had fun—Bud bobbed for apples and for donuts off a string as well as emptied the piñata of every single tootsie pop (Lucy is too cool for such shenanigans). It was in the community room of an apartment complex, and a winding staircase led up to a game room where there was pool, ping pong, air hockey and some other games. Lucy enjoyed trying her hand at pool, while Liv enjoyed zig zagging between all the tables. She was running fast, having had pop, cake and ice cream after not touching her pizza, and was bordering on wild. In an instant, she was close lined by the ping pong table. She was knocked flat on her back. In the second it took me to get to her, she was up on her feet and jumping in to my arms. I’ve never felt her squeeze my neck so tight as she screamed and screamed and screamed. I thought she had hit the side of her face, but upon further inspection, I saw a huge welt and scratch going across her neck. I could have passed out right then and there, but held it together to bring her downstairs, where Hub declared me to be as white as a ghost. By then though, the baby was ready to start running again, clearly fine. I guess it looked worse than it was, but I can’t remember the last time I was so scared. I was making sure she could swallow and feeling around in there for swelling for the rest of the night. I still get all goose bumpy thinking about it.

It was a good full weekend. I’m looking forward to this 4-day weekend though, where aside from a family picture on Thursday, and dr. and dentist appointments Friday we are free as birds. Hub has been pricing things for my office though, and I’m sure I will get sucked in to some basement remodel. Small price to pay for the future though. Please remind me of that phrase when I am up to my eyeballs in drywall and pulling my hair out in a few weeks. Please.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


A while ago I declared my intentions to begin working from home full time. As I transitioned in to having 2 school aged children with homework and activities as well as the most demanding 2-year-old on the planet, it became harder and harder for me to be away from them from 7:30 am until 6:30 pm. Sure, they were with Hub or FIL or even my mother most of the time, but that wasn’t good enough for me. I missed my kids. I was tired of eating dinner and managing showers before bedtime in the course of an hour. Again, I just missed my kids.

So I, and my 2 colleagues started pushing hard for working from home. We all had our own reasons, but we all really wanted it. We were told over and over again that it wasn’t going to happen. And then, yesterday, our exec asked us if we were really serious about wanting it. And then there was talk of purchasing office furniture and phones and printers for our home offices. And suddenly, it felt like all my dreams came true.

By December, I will be working from home full time. I will see my kids on and off the bus every morning. I will be able to go to Tae Kwon Do with Bud, or sign Liv up for a Mommy and Me Gymnastics class that I can actually get to. I can get dinner started on my lunch break and we can eat at a reasonable hour. I don’t have to commute in the snow. I don’t have to get up at 4:45 to go to the gym anymore. The possibilities are endless.

I do have to make once per week appearances in the office to “stay connected.” I do have to come in for video conference meetings on occasion. I can totally do that. I feel like everything is falling in to place here. I am so, so excited. I have gained 2+ hours back in to my day.

I just….well I don’t even know. I’m overwhelmed with being happy right now.

Can you even believe it? I dared to dream, and I got what I want.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Well, the air has finally changed, you can feel the crispness of it now. Most of the leaves have been blown from the trees and everything suddenly seems so grey and bare. It is pitch black when I wake in the morning, and next week, when we change the clocks, it will be the same way when I’m driving home from work. In spite of just finishing all of our favorite fall activities, and all the holiday cheer that will spew forth in the coming months, this time of year, when there is so much darkness always leaves me cold, dark and anxious. I hate driving to and from work in the dark. I hate where my mind goes in the darkness. I hate that I’m already feeling the pre-darkness dread.

I wish there was a way to get on top of it, but there never is. I wish I could just shut my brain off, but I can’t. I try to drown things out with songs on the radio, but something always triggers it and my mind wanders.

Isn’t it weird how much we rely on the sunlight?

The last week or so, I’ve been making soups and dinners to put in the freezer. I’ve been cleaning up my downstairs area so I can focus on eBay-ing. I’m trying to get ready; to have additional focus—I don’t really care about TV anymore and there’s only so much to do on the computer at night. This issue could be remedied if I were able to work at home. The car, alone in the dark, is the problem. I should push harder for that.

The holiday toy books came this weekend. The kids are ridiculously excited for Christmas. And there will be Thanksgiving, and cutting our Christmas tree, and cookies and so much joy. And the days will start getting longer before we know it. The new year will come, and the light will come back.

I just need to get through the darkness first.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Do You Shutterfly??

No really, do you? Shutterfly is hands down my favorite website for photo storage and printing, not to mention all the other great products they offer. I’ve been housing my photos there for at least 5 years now, and I can say for certain that I’ve never had a bad experience. I’ve ordered prints, cards, calendars and photo books, and am always amazed at the quality products I receive. Shutterfly really has it right.

This is the time of year when I start looking at Christmas card designs to get an idea of what card I plan on sending in December. I really like the idea of a photo of the 3 kids together, along with individual shots of each one. Maybe something along the lines of this one? Or something like this would work really well for us too. That is one of the great things about Shutterfly’s cards—they have something for everybody, whether your family is large or small, made up of many children (like mine), or pets, or, I don’t know, snakes….you will find what you’re looking for. You can browse all of Shutterfly’s holiday cards right here.

Something I hadn’t considered in the past was Holiday invitations. We used Shutterfly this summer to send out invitations for Lucy and Liv’s big birthday bash, but it never occurred to me to send out a cute reminder for a holiday party. They’re all just so adorable that I can’t even choose my favorite. The snowman? The cookie swap? I just don’t know!! You should look at them all here though and decide for yourself. So! CUTE!

Something new I noticed at Shutterfly was the Desk Calendars….and really I noticed them before I got the email asking me to give them a looksee and review. I’ve made the regular wall hanging calendars for my parents and FIL, but one of these desk calendars would be perfect for me at work. It’s functional, and yet another way for me to display 7 million obnoxious photos of my kids on my desk. WIN WIN! (for me)

So. Shutterfly. Do it. You will be pleased.

What Health Kick?

Was there a health kick going on over here? Oh, there WAS! We’ve been on a down swing for the last week or so here, with my birthday and our trip, but there is still a general health kick in effect. If not a kick, per se, an awareness of what I put in my mouth at least. And like I said, let’s just say the last 2 weeks because of work cake and lunches and gifts of Hershey’s Bliss chocolate, I have turned a blind eye to said awareness, but at least I know what I have to do.

And HOO BOY am I acutely aware of the imbalance that is cause by stuffing my pie-hole with apple cider doughnuts frosted with cream cheese. If you even saw my skin these days, you’d cringe. And if that is not reason enough to get back on the wagon, I don’t know what is, because I am a damn greasy mess.

Here is a bit of a State of The Union if you will:

Total lbs lost: 6 or 7 depending on the day
Total lbs to go: Around 50 for pre-pregnancy (as in pre- Bud) weight,
Status of pants: Size 22’s are a bit loose but we are not at all comfortable in a size 20
Gym routine: eh….blah….needs work.
Current Focus: much less dairy, much more water, figure out how to kick it up at the gym

So, I don’t know. The hard thing about all of this is that I want to see the results right away. Tout de suite. NOW. It is discouraging to go through the motions and feel like you’re really making strides and to not see the scale move or see defined muscles. And the rational part of me know that it’s a frickin journey, but the irrational part is saying SCREW the journey and let’s pop some pills and drink some Slim Fast. I know. I KNOW.



Anyway—I’d been putting off having a family photo done because I hate the way that I look. I hate that I have multiple chins and that my face is full. And yesterday I decided to stop putting it off. I look like what I look like. And I will probably loathe the photo. But what if I drop dead next month, and the last one we have is prior to Liv being born. And also, what message am I sending to my kids, not wanting to be in a picture? I wouldn’t ever tell them that it’s because I’m fat, but they’re not dumb. They’d pick up on the implication eventually.

So, yes. Family photo. 2 weeks from today. Think I can drop 50 by then? (ha) (sort of)

Finally, I’d like to ask a question. How do you make the most of your workout time? I go to the gym in the mornings before work, and depending on the day I have between 30 minutes to an hour to spend there. I mostly do cardio, sometimes do weights, but I don’t feel like I’m getting the maximum impact. What do you do to keep it fresh and keep the momentum?

Monday, October 25, 2010


Hub and I had never let the kids sleep over anywhere until about a year ago. It wasn’t necessarily that it made us nervous, we just generally thought there was no point to it. My mother finally wore us down though, and like I said, around a year ago, Bud and Lucy (not Liv, my BABAY) spent the night with them. There have been sleepovers since, now with Liv included, and Hub and I usually drop them off in the evening, have dinner and see a movie, sleep in and pick them up the next afternoon. It is a nice break and we are glad to have my parents who are willing to take them.

When we took our mini-vacation with the kids this summer, Hub and I started tossing around the idea of taking a little trip ourselves in the fall. No place super far or anything over the top, but a little vacation just the two of us. My mother was on board with the idea, and we started planning. This past weekend was our weekend away, and let me just tell you, it was amazing.

I dropped the kids off on Friday night, and Hub and I were up early on Saturday morning to get on the road. We didn’t rush though, went to the local cider mill for doughnuts and coffee, and then hopped on the thruway headed toward the Finger Lakes region of our state, specifically, the wine trail. Hub is not a wine drinker, so really, it was all me doing the tasting. We went to 4 or 5 wineries and took a cellar tour at one of the bigger ones. We had an early dinner, checked in to the hotel, went out to see a movie, and well, you get the picture…we just did whatever we wanted to do.

Sunday morning, we stopped at a state park that allowed you to hike up through a glen. It was a series of 800 steps to get to the top, and we made it only 200 steps because, well, I was a bit dehydrated. But what we did see was gorgeous, and we are looking forward to going back someday. We then went to a distillery where Hub was able to taste some vodka and whiskey, we found a super cute place for lunch, and then we headed home.

We spoke to the kids briefly on Saturday, and that was it. We spent the entire weekend focused only on each other, which hasn’t happened in about 7 years. It’s not as if our relationship was in any fragile sort of status prior to the trip, but I do feel like this sort of thing was just what our relationship needed. To spend time with my husband when neither of us was focused on being a parent, or who had to get which kid and when, or what we were having for dinner; where I didn’t have a kid hanging off of me, or fighting for my attention. Without the distraction of the daily minutiae, we were able to focus on each other, and be reminded of the reasons that we are together. It’s not because of the kids, or the house or the bills, but it’s because we genuinely like, love and respect each other.

I can’t wait to do it again.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Well, I turned 32 on Thursday which was reasonably uneventful. The bakery donuts I requested for breakfast (because screw the diet on your birthday), Red Lobster for lunch, putzing around with Hub and Liv looking for a new couch, finding my Kindle hidden in the donut box. Just an average nice relaxing day. The kids also got me this mug which may be my favorite mug of all time:

I am a mug connoisseur, you know. I love mugs.

Aaaaanyway, how old is Liv? 2? So it was just about 2 years ago that we finished our kitchen remodel, with the exception of a floor, backsplash and trim. Saturday, after telling Hub that I really liked the flooring I saw in the Valu ad, we decided to check it out in person. Before I knew it, we were pulling everything out of the kitchen and installing a new floor. And I was scrubbing down the fronts of all my cupboards and stove so they wouldn’t look dingy next to the new super fancy floor. And then I figured why not also scrub the fridge, and the top of the stove and the walls….and well damn, it turned in to a weekend project.

But look:

Ok, I missed a spot on my kick plate. Whatever.

I never dreamed I could be so in love with a floor. Of course, we still need to subfloor and tile the hall part of the kitchen, but the main area….well it is just gorgeous. It almost makes me want to become a clean freak….or at the very least, buy a steam mop.

I even managed to read an entire book in between. Long live the Kindle. It was hard not to drag it to bed with me like the kids do their favorite toys. The only downfall of the weekend was Liv throwing her slipper down the open kitchen vent. Seriously. Hub has to open the duct up to get it out before we turn the heat on, and all Liv cares about is “where’s my nother one slipper?” She knows where it is though. She put it there. I caught the second one just in time.

This girl. She tries me. But on the same token, she makes me laugh right out loud (unintentionally) so often. She is something else for sure.

But yeah. Good weekend. Good weekend indeed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Autumn Through the Years

Every October since 2005, I've taken my kids' photo at the same spot in Letchworth State Park. I really enjoy going back year after year and seeing how the kids have grown. I hope it will be a tradition we continue for years to come.

Can you believe how they've grown? I can't.




2008 (aka the year the kids dropped Liv)

2009 (the year where nobody sat still)


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Autumn Weekends

I’m going to try and go easy on the photos here. Really, I am. But we had such a great weekend it will be hard not to share them all. But I will persevere! I’ll only share a few. But I will gladly send you to my Facebook page if you want to see more. You wanted to be my Facebook friend anyway, right?

Anyway, we usually spread our Fall activities out over a couple of weekends, but when warmish weather presented itself this weekend, amidst the 40 and 50 degree temperatures we’ve had recently, we decided to get the big ones out of the way—especially considering that Hub and I are spending one of the weekends away. You get kind of good at predicting how cold October will be around here judging by the first few weeks. Sometimes it is in the 80’s and sometimes it’s in the 40’s. This year has been much of the latter, so it was pretty lucky that this weekend was mostly 60 and 70 degree weather. Hub worked most of the day on Saturday, and the kids and I spent most of the day at my mom’s house visiting with out of town family.

Sunday though, we took our annual trip out to our favorite farm where we rode the train out in to the orchard, and picked about 2 pecks of apples (whatever that means). We packed a picnic and did appley things, and finished it off with ice cream; though to my disappointment, they were out of my favorite pumpkin ice cream. It was the perfect day for apple picking though. Breezy but warm, borderline HOT. We had a grand time.

And Monday, we kept Liv home from daycare since the kids were off of school, and we headed out to Letchworth State Park, one of my all time favorite places and the spot where I have taken a keepsake photo of my kids for the last 5 years. (I’m planning my Autumn through the Years post for tomorrow, so you’ll see those photos then.) It was a bit grey and did end up raining while we were walking through the craft fair, but it was sunny and great when I was taking my photos, so I couldn’t have been happier. The photo of my girls and me was taken by my friend J who we ran in to, which was weird considering how specific my photo spot is, and how absolutely huge the park is. But there she was, and she took the picture shown here, as well as a photo of our whole family (but I haven’t seen that one yet).

I love my family all the time, but weekends like this, full of family fun and tradition, really make me remember what I’m in it for as a parent. These kids, man. They just…well, cliché as it sounds, they make me whole.