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.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Today I saw a tiny baby while we were at Tae Kwon Do, maybe 2 or 3 months old. Just alert enough to be smiling, still round and roly poly with the soft tufts of baby hair. Snuggly and just loving her mama.

I didn't only get a twinge today. I got a huge lump in my throat and my eyes filled with tears at the prospect of never having that again. My own gurgly, drooly snuggly baby.

Today I realized that I do, in fact, want another baby.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I ranted on Twitter last night about the amount of homework that Bud, my first grader has. I am all for reinforcing the concepts of what was learned in school that day and I am up for reinforcing good reading habits at home (he has been reading chapter books since he was 5). But when I open my 6yo’s backpack to find that he is to write his spelling words 3 times each, complete a math work sheet, do a family leadership activity, AND read 6 of the 12 books in his bag as well as pick his favorite 2 to RE-READ, I get a little bit antsy. He spent over an hour on homework last night, and I think it sucks.

Yet I try to project a positive message about it because I don’t want him to associate annoyance with homework because of me. He’ll learn it on his own soon enough. Let’s not forget that Hub or I do not get home until about 6PM. FIL usually takes Bud to TKD, (which is an activity his school promotes) and they are waiting for me when I get home. FIL is not really the “help the kids with the homework” kind of guy. There are some things they can do on their own, but typically, they need to wait for Hub or me to get started. (We also have a standing rule that they CAN NOT TOUCH THE GD PENCIL SHARPENER!! On account of there being pencil shavings all over the kitchen on numerous occasions) So yes. They wait.

Yesterday I got home much later than usual, and Lucy had done all of her homework. It was completely wrong. Bud had started on his spelling work while Hub was cooking dinner. After we ate he did math while I helped Lucy fix her work, and then he pulled out all of the books. This was about when Hub was leaving for work, and I about passed out on the floor. BUT he read the books on the couch while I got the girls ready for bed, and then I had him read his re-reads out loud to me. It was 9pm before he was in bed. 9. PM. (and we skipped the leadership activity because it was lame. And you don’t have to turn anything in on it.)

The message that the school sends is that the reading is important and the progression of his reading skills is important so we must do this every night. Comprehension is important as well, not just being able to read the words, so parents should discuss the concepts of the books with the child after the fact. I’m kind of at a loss here. Obviously, we are going to do it. And I don’t want to sound like the crazy lazy parent at open house next week and admonish all of the book reading, but I do think that I need to come up with a way of expressing that this is a bit too much. Open House is on Thursday and if he comes home with 12 books that night, when we are required to bring the children with us from 6-7:30, I am going to lose my damn mind.

I started hating homework as a kid when my second grade teacher made us write every number from 1-1000 on these skinny strips of paper that she had stapled together. 50 numbers on each side of each page. I’m not kidding when I say that was the turning point for me, where school work became a burden. It wasn’t fun, and obviously there was no freaking point in me writing the same GD numbers in different combinations over and over again. Second grade was 25 years ago and I still remember how helpless and bored and trapped I felt. I don’t want that for my kid.

So what is the balance here? Am I wrong? Do I say anything to the teacher? Or the principal? Do I just suck it up and have to go through it all again when Lucy hits 1st grade next year? While Bud will probably be sent home with an encyclopedia to read every night?

I really have no idea.