Sunday, December 23, 2007

NYC Trip

Okay, so I found the time to post (I wanted to post every day while we were there, but the hotel charged $16 a day for the internet connection - I don't think so!). I'm in between loads of laundry, the kids are in bed and Ryan's out with a friend. It's now or never....

Sunday: We flew to La Guardia Airport. It was Sydney's first plane ride. She was quite excited.


Monday: Ryan left for work and we ventured out into the city. We got lost. But I eventually figured out where we were and we found our way to Rockefeller Center. It was cold and Sydney was hungry, so my photo op didn't go so well:


A quick snack beneath the 30 Rock building had Sydney back to her jovial self:


She really enjoyed watching the skaters, too:


We visited the American Girl Store and oohed and aahed over all the dolls and their accessories. We had lunch with Ryan, went back to the hotel for some rest time and then met our friends, the Saksons (friends from home who happened to be visiting NYC at the same time), at their hotel, the swanky Waldorf Astoria. Sydney was quite impressed with the decorations there:


Ryan met us (me, Sydney and our friends) at Radio City Music Hall where we saw the famous Rockettes and their Christmas Spectacular. Dinner followed at a yummy, but less than hospitable Italian restaurant.

Tuesday: Sydney and I headed out in the right direction on Tuesday. We visited St. Patrick's Cathedral ("It's just a really big church, Mommy") and once she spotted the big Christmas tree, we had to head back inside Rockefeller Center for a snack. I had my only (semi) celebrity sighting when we saw NBC reporter Hoda Kotb enter the building as we were leaving. We headed to Bryant Park where Sydney finally saw enough snow to actually do some playing:


She also liked watching the ice skaters there (it's free to skate there, versus Rockefeller Center where it cost about $30 a person):


Sydney was thrilled to see some old friends (they were there promoting the release of their movie), and wanted a picture, but didn't want to sit next to Homer for the photo op:


We walked next door to the famous public library, but Sydney was only interested in two things: the big lion outside and the free bathrooms within:


I decided not to take a picture of the bathroom.

We took a quick trip through Grand Central Station and had lunch with Ryan. After all that walking, Sydney took a 2 hour nap that afternoon. Yippee!

That evening, our friends, Stacey and Shiran, picked us up and drove us out to Brooklyn eat yummy Israeli food with his mom and sister's family. Sydney had fun playing with their niece, Naomi. Naomi had fun playing with Sydney's camera!

Wednesday: We made our way toward Central Park and saw the Disney store on the way. She begged to have her picture taken with, who else, but Cinderella:


We found ourselves at Central Park's Zoo where we had fun watching the penguins and the bats. Their habitats were indoors and dark so the pictures didn't turn out so well, but the polar bears were outside napping in what was likely balmy weather for them:


We met Ryan and rode the subway ("It's a big train with lots of people!") to Union Square to meet my friend, Jill, for lunch:


Another subway ride and another two hour nap followed.

Thursday: We met our friends, the Saksons, and rode the subway downtown to Ground Zero. The girls didn't quite get why we were looking at a giant hole in the ground and I didn't quite know how to explain it, so we quickly walked toward the water. Sydney and her friend, Zoe, posed in front of the Statue of Liberty (on the left) and Ellis Island (on the right):


Ryan happened to be working downtown that day, so we met him for lunch, rode the subway back to our hotel and rested that afternoon.

On our way to dinner with the Saksons, we stopped in and drooled a bit in the M&M store. We ate at a diner with singing waitstaff and had milkshakes with dinner (a real treat for us). We then tagged along with our friends to the Top of the Rock, or the top of the 30 Rockefeller Center building. It was quite chilly, but we got a good view of Manhattan and the Empire State Building (or the "Vampire State Building" as Sydney likes to call it):


While there, we even got a rare picture of the three of us in front of the big Christmas tree:


A quick trip to the NBC store had Ryan laughing at the Dwight Schrute bobble head dolls. I wish I'd had the forethought to snag one for his stocking!

Friday: The Saksons left for home, so Sydney and I were on our own again. We headed out toward Central Park again, but got sidetracked by FAO Schwartz. She had a blast seeing the giant stuffed animals and walking on the giant keyboard:


We visited the Hershey Store ("Look - a giant Hershey Kiss!") and the big Toys 'R Us store. We rode the ferris wheel inside (too dark for good pictures, though) and met Ryan for lunch again.

Our friends, Stacey and Shiran, met us at the hotel that afternoon and took us another subway ride ("My feet hurt from all the walking - can we ride the subway?") toward Central Park. Sydney finally got to see Belvedere Castle (I'd been promising her all week that we'd see it):


The tour guide inside (who also plays Santa there on the weekends), made Sydney an "official princess of Belvedere Castle" and absolutely made her week:


She made us call her Princess Sydney the rest of the afternoon. We visited one of the many playgrounds within Central Park and then went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She enjoyed seeing the Egyptian mummies and temple (an entire temple inside the museum!) and I really enjoyed the medieval exhibit with the magnificent tapestries.

One last subway ride later, we all met Ryan and ate some yummy Lebanese food for dinner.

Saturday: We packed up, checked out and left our luggage in the hotel storage closet while we had one last walk around the city. All of us were pretty walked out and tired, so we went back to Bryant Park to buy some souvenirs at the market, ate some pizza, enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate at Starbuck's and rode in a fancy town car back to La Guardia for the long flight home.

I loved watching Sydney light up with excitement and wonder at all the things we saw. If you asked her, she'd tell you that her favorite parts were seeing the castle, riding the subway and going through the "silly revolving door" at the hotel:


We had a fabulous time and I hope that she remembers it for the rest of her life. I know I will.

We're Home!

We're back from NYC. We had a blast. And now we're tired.

I promise to post pics sometime after Christmas. Of course, after a week in NYC, I'm spending today doing laundry, hosting my family for Christmas Eve tomorrow, celebrating Christmas with two families on Tuesday and traveling to New Orleans for four days starting Wednesday, I don't know when exactly I'll have time to post, but I promise to do it.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2007


We told Sydney at dinner on Wednesday evening about our NYC plans for next week. She seemed mildly excited, but as the days have passed and she's told a couple of people about our trip, she's getting quite worked up.

Last night, she went to bed at her usual time, 7 pm. We expected her to play for a bit before falling asleep, but when she was still awake at 9:30, Ryan went in to check on her. She had "packed" two bags and pulled out her sleeping bag all in preparation for the trip. Her two bags included a couple of books, some toys and her bear's dress-up clothes. Ryan told her to go to sleep.

I checked on her at 10:30 as I was getting ready to go to bed and she was STILL awake. Wide awake. I stretched out next to her in her bed and she would not stop talking about the trip. She eventually fell asleep around 11:30.

I am SO glad we didn't tell her any earlier than we did. But I'm thrilled she's excited about the plane ride and the trip. And not only will I be taking tons of pictures while we're there, but she's packing her camera as well so you'll get to see NYC through the eyes of a 4 year old.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Can I Rest Now?

I am so tired. Exhausted, really.

All of our decorations are up. The Christmas shopping is done. All of the presents are wrapped and under the tree. The Christmas cards have been mailed out. All of our Christmas candy (hundreds of molded chocolates, chocolate covered cherries, peanut butter cups, fudge squares, four kinds of truffles) has been prepared and is taking up space in our fridge and freezer. All that's left to do is to bake cookies for Santa.

Can I rest now?

You'd think so, but nope.

We have friends coming in from out of town today and tomorrow and we will be entertaining them either tomorrow evening or Saturday so I get to clean the house. Yay.

I get to spend all day Saturday doing laundry and packing for our trip to NYC next week. Not only do I have to pack my stuff, but Sydney's and Liam's, too. Granted, Liam doesn't need all of the warm gear since he'll be out in the 'burbs with my folks, but that also means I've got to pack all of his food and type up an instruction sheet as well.

And did I mention that Sunday is our 7th wedding anniversary? At least I don't have to do anything for that since our trip to NYC is our present to each other.

And somewhere in there I have to find the time to stuff 60 amaretto truffles into teeny tiny plastic purses as party favors for my mom's friend. At least I get paid for this chore. My first paying gig - woo hoo!

Anyway, I'm tired. Between the Christmas hoopla, preparing for our trip ("Does everyone have long underwear and wool socks?") and oh, yeah, growing another person inside of me, I'm tired.

I think I'll go take a quick nap while Liam's down for his. Nighty, night.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Not a Fan

I am not a big fan of the US Post Office. Although both of my grandfathers and my mother worked as sorters and carriers, I just don't like the post office. Wanna know why? No? Well, too bad (sorry, I'm in the mood for a rant today). Here's my list, Letterman style:

10. Somedays we don't get any mail. No big deal. Sometimes there isn't any. But when we get mail TWICE the next day, then I know someone's falling down on the job.

9. Our mail carrier often forgets to close our mailbox and then our mail gets wet (it rains a lot here in the summer).

8. The first Christmas we lived in our house (and had an actual mailbox as opposed to one of 300 hundred drawers at our apartment complex), I left a little tin of chocolate treats for the mail carrier as a "thank you". I even wrote "Happy Holidays to our mail carrier" on it and it sat there for three days. I'm sure they have rules about accepting gifts, but why is it my parents' mail carrier always grabs her holiday gift AND writes my parents a thank you note for it?

7. We have a "Point of Service" barcode on our box that the carrier has to scan when our mail is delivered so that the USPS can keep track of how long the route takes. Sometimes, one carrier comes by and scans our box and our mail is delivered by another carrier several hours later. What is going on with that?

6. Our mail carrier only delivers mail. He/she won't pick up outgoing mail so I have to drop it in the community box at the post office. It's no big deal to do so, but what's up with that?

5. The post office closest to us is five blocks away from our house, yet we are "zoned" to one that is about five miles away. Anytime we have an issue, we have to go the one five miles away (and it only has three parking spots - seriously).

4. The post office closest to us no longer does passport services. It's not like I need a passport since we're no longer traveling to Europe next summer, but c'mon, the closest one that does passport services is near downtown. Yuck.

3. The post office closest to us does not have stamp machines that take credit cards - cash only. And of course, my cash is always too wrinkled and is never accepted by the machine.

2. The workers at the post office move slower than molasses. There are 20 people in can't move a little faster?

1. And the reason for today's rant: It took me 30 minutes to get two books of Christmas-themed stamps today because of items #2 and #3. The lady in front of me offered up her spot in line when Liam got fussy (and I can't blame him for being bored), but I didn't take it. She was holding a huge box and I wasn't about to make her carry it any longer than necessary.

Anyway, I'm not a fan, but what can I do? It's not like there are any competitors I can switch to. Hmmm....

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Our plan for this year's annual Christmas card photo was to use one of the shots we got from our visit with our all too familiar Santa. We need a new plan because this is the best photo we got:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Of all the shots we got, this is the only one with a (semi) genuine smile from Sydney. Of course, Santa had his eyes closed and Liam looks like he'd rather be somewhere else.

Christmas is two weeks away and we don't have a photo. It's officially time to panic.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Jig is Up

Sydney has figured out the whole Santa thing. Or at least part of it.

Every year, my father-in-law plays Santa at the community center in our parents' hometown (we don't have the same parents - we just grew up in the same town). He wears the Santa gear and is covered head to toe. He does the "Ho, ho, ho" routine and is quite convincing. The only issue is his very thick and distinguishable New Orleans accent.

We take Sydney every year to tell this all too familiar Santa what she wants and to take our annual picture with him. When I told her that we were going this Friday to see Santa, she said, "It's not Santa, it's Paw Paw." Uh-oh.

I just explained that sometimes Santa sends helpers to find out what all the kids want before Christmas Eve. She seemed satisfied with the answer, but I'm still worried.

So when do kids finally figure out the Santa thing? Don't I still have a couple of more years before some kid at school spills the beans?

Monday, December 3, 2007


No new van news to report. Sigh.

We test drove a couple of vans and while both drove well and had the features we wanted, we decided to make an offer on a certain foreign mini-van and not the American one. Unfortunately, we could not come to an agreement with the sales manager and wound up leaving empty handed. The poor salesman was really trying to make it work, but the sales manager just wouldn't budge. Let's just say that the nicest word I can use to describe that guy is "jerk."

It's a shame that we didn't fall in love with the American one because the sales manager gave us a really reasonable quote right off the bat (before we even test drove it). And did you know that owning your own business knocks $250 right off the price of this certain car maker's vehicles? Pretty nice. It had lots of extra bells and whistles that made it quite enticing (back-up camera, pedals that moved up and back for short people like me, automatic stow and go seating, etc). My biggest complaint was that the head rest hit me in a funny spot. I like to drive with my head back and with the headrest all the way down (since I'm short), I was quite uncomfortable. Like I said, what a shame.

Anyway, we're calling this a "semi-success" because we learned a lot from the jerk at the foreign car dealership. And I'm proud to say that I kept my cool despite the rudeness of that guy. I could feel my temper begin to rise, but I stayed calm and collected while dealing with him (Ryan and the salesman were off looking at something at the time). And, needless to say, we won't be returning to that dealership.

Due to holiday madness and our upcoming trip to NYC, car shopping will have to wait for a bit. We're going to do some more research (and maybe a couple of more test drives) and hopefully get back to it after Christmas. I will be very glad when it's all over!

Friday, November 30, 2007


I did it! I posted every day in November. It was fun, but I don't know that I'll be doing it again. It was just too much pressure to come up with something to say everyday.

And, as someone who has run out of things to say, I'll leave you with some cute things that Liam has done lately:

1. He pulls himself up to a standing position, holds on to my shoulder, and when I say, "Ready, set, go!", he lets go and stands by himself for a few seconds. He laughs hysterically and is obviously proud of himself. Then he either grabs onto my shoulder again or falls on to his well padded bottom. I still don't if he's going to be walking by Christmas.

2. He holds Sydney's pink, plastic (and fake) hair dryer up to his head and moves it around. Future hair stylist, maybe?

3. He's figured out how to make a clicking sound with his tongue. We've been having entire "clicking" conversations.

4. He points to various objects in the books we read to him. His favorite thing to point to is the sun. This is strange to me because Sydney always pointed at the moon when we were reading books.

5. He is finally drinking milk from his sippy cup. It is nowhere near the amount he should be drinking throughout the day, so he still gets two bottles a day so that he'll at least half of the milk he's supposed to get each day.

And that, my friends, is my final NaBloPoMo post. I'll be taking a break for a few days and post again when I think I have something noteworthy to say.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Random Updates

Since I've been posting everyday with random thoughts and situations, I thought I'd give some updates on said thoughts and situations.

1. Ryan secured plane tickets for both me and Sydney for NYC; thank heavens for credit card points that can be turned into airline miles! Sydney does not know we're going yet, but I think she knows that something is up since I keep buying her warm clothes and I promised to take her boot shopping soon.

2. The morning sickness if FINALLY letting up a bit. As predicted, it hit a peak (and it was bad), but has since begun to fade. Thank goodness, because I think my family is tired of grilled cheese sandwiches and as the only food that has sounded good to me for the last two months, I'm pretty tired of them, too.

3. The car shopping is set for Saturday. Ryan has been getting e-mail quotes and has negotiated a bit with a few dealers on-line. Meanwhile, I'm still trying to get over the "I can't believe I'm getting a mini-van" feeling.

4. I had car problems today and I didn't cry! This is a huge step for me, especially with the raging pregnancy hormones. After doing some volunteer work at church, I noticed that I had a flat tire. One of the church maintenance men changed it for me and found a nail in the flat one. Guess Ryan is taking a trip to the tire store tonight whether he wants to or not.

5. My left hamstring muscle and right bi-cep muscle are killing me thanks to the Wii. Who knew you had to warm-up before playing that thing?

6. The gymnastics Gap Moms are still annoying me. Granted, there has been less sashaying by the pink shirt Gap Mom, but their conversations (which I can't help but overhear half the time since the parent holding section is not that big), both annoy me and crack me up. Yesterday, pink shirt Gap Mom was upset because her cleaning lady, who apparently spends two full days a week at her house, had the gall to schedule her vacation for the two weeks leading up to and including Christmas. Pink shirt Gap Mom wanted to know just who was going to not only clean her house and do her laundry, but wrap her Christmas gifts and bake her Christmas cookies. Ummmm, hello? Get off your rear end and do it yourself, you lazy woman!

Anyway, that about wraps up my updates. If I think of any more, I'll post them tomorrow, the last day (!) of NaBloPoMo.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas gifts

I've read probably ten blog posts in the last week or two regarding gift giving at Christmas. While many people like to be surprised by what others give them for Christmas, others prefer to hand out lists of wants to avoid the inevitable tacky sweater or umpteenth lavender scented candle.

We do it both ways in our house. While Ryan and I don't get each other gifts, we do provide a (very short) list of wants to my family and they reciprocate. There's not a whole lot of surprise come Christmas morning, but we're happy with our presents and there are no fake smiles to be seen.

However, we do not provide a list to Ryan's family; they just don't work that way. We are always surprised by what they give us. There have been good surprises: barbecue pit, fuzzy bathrobe, princess tea set. And there have been fake smile surprises: water pik, fuzzy socks (they were really nice, but I just don't like socks), books with a religious theme (of a religion we don't belong to).

So how about you? Do you provide a list of wants or are you surprised by your gifts? What's the best surprise gift you've received? The worst?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

They Hate Me

I am convinced that my kids hate me. They are conspiring against me and they're only four and one. I can't imagine what it's going be like when there are three of them.

As Ryan can attest, I am not a morning person. Plain and simple. While I prefer nine hours of sleep, I can live with eight hours in order to function the next day. And now that I've been taking my morning sickness cocktail, half of which is a sleeping pill, I REALLY need eight hours so that I'm not staggering around in a stupor for several hours in the morning.

Well, my son decided to wake up at 5:30 this morning. Ryan gave him his bottle and we expected him to fall back asleep as usual. Nope. The boy was up for the day. And not only was he awake, he was jumping up and down in his crib. Did I mention that his crib is still one foot from our bed? And it has squeaky springs?

So Ryan got up to get ready for work and Sydney decided that 6:15 would be her wake up time this morning. And since today is one of Ryan's "early days" at work (get there early, leave kinda early), I had to get up. Grogginess and crankiness ensued for a good two hours. Frankly, Sydney is lucky that she got to go to school.

I seriously think the two of them have some kind of secret kid language and they spent the better portion of yesterday evening planning this. And tonight I'm going to keep them in separate rooms all evening so that they can't plan something even worse, like replacing my stash of chocolate with carob or something equally nasty.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas in New York

Ryan's job is sending him to NYC in December rather than (or in addition to) January. If he gets the flights that he's requested (and he usually does), then he's going to book the plane tickets for me and Sydney tomorrow. So Sydney will get to see NYC at Christmastime. I can't wait to see her face light up!

Plus, some friends of ours who have a daughter a little bit younger than Sydney will be in NYC at the same time. We're hoping to get tickets to go see the Rockettes Christmas show with them. Sydney is going to be so excited.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Car Talk

This weekend we're set to go car (or should I say mini-van/3rd row SUV) shopping. The last time I did this, I was fresh out of college and took my dad with me so that he could do the negotiating. The last time Ryan did this, he was fresh out of college and bought his truck from a former client who just happened to be a manager at a car dealership.

So, basically, I have no idea of how to negotiate for a car. I really wish that Saturn had a vehicle that we were happier with (and prices that were a tad more reasonable) because I really like the idea of not haggling. Confrontation is not easy for me and I just know that I will fold early and then be angry later for not fighting harder.

Thoughts? How do you stay strong when facing a fast-talking salesman who, by the way, doesn't really care that a huge car note will force us to eat nothing but macaroni and cheese and beans and rice for the next few years?

As payment for your advice, I leave you with this website. Simply type in the name of a store that you like and it will give you a list of online coupon codes. I used it today for The Children's Place and got a load of warm clothes for Sydney for under $40 (tax and shipping included).

Saturday, November 24, 2007


We are so weak. The Wii has been set up and played. It's awesome.

In all fairness, though, it is cold and rainy, our satellite has been out and Sydney can only write so many letters to Santa (and Santa can only afford so much).

And Ryan and I don't get each other Christmas gifts anyway. So an early "Merry Christmas" to us.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Wii, Wii, Wii, All the Way Home

We got a Wii!

Ryan got up at 3:30 am to head to Best Buy for the 5 am opening. We drove by there last night on our way home from our two Thanksgiving meals and there were already 50 or so people camped out in front of the store. When he got there this morning, the line was so long he was standing in the grass along the street. And, as it turns out, they didn't have any Wii's anyway.

So he drove over to Circuit City and they didn't have any, either. Neither did Target. The last hope was Game Stop where Ryan was the 6th person in line for their 7 am opening. They had 35 Wii's!

We are now the proud owners of a Wii. Now if we can just control ourselves long enough to not play with it until Christmas!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful Day Four

I am thankful for:

1. my bed and the beautiful and warm quilt my mom made to go on it
2. my grandmother's cornbread dressing - yum
3. new recipes that turn out great
4. elastic-waist pants
5. toys that don't play music/make noise
6. cooler weather that actually makes it feel like autumn
7. chocolate
8. cocoa with marshmallows
9. the guy at Best Buy who calls me whenever a shipment of Wii's is delivered
10. a husband who is willing to get up at 4 am to go to Best Buy on Black Friday to get a Wii since I can never seem to get there before all of them are sold
11. children who sleep through the night
12. shortcuts around the freeways that are always under construction
13. movies that crack me up (like "Dodgeball")
14. sippy cups with straws
15. the morning sickness "cocktail" (half a sleeping pill and 50 mg of B6 right before bed)
16. credit card points that can be turned into plane tickets
17. a nice, cold glass of white wine (a distant memory, but I can still be thankful, right?)
18. Caller ID
19. the nice neighbor who took in the sick neighborhood stray cat
20. all of my blogging friends

How about you?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thankful Day Three

I am thankful for two things in today's post: food and health.

Although the morning sickness is preventing me from enjoying food these days, I am still thankful that we have it. We live in a very urban area and we have our share of homeless people hanging out on nearby street corners. Every time I see a homeless person holding up a sign asking for help because they are hungry, I say a little prayer for them and thank God that I have plenty to eat. And tonight, as I was putting away our dinner's leftovers, I had a hard time fitting it all in the refrigerator due to the abundance of Thanksgiving goodies. How many people in this world would LOVE to have this problem?

I am also thankful for not only my health, but that of my family and friends. Neither of our children has battled anything worse than a cold/ear infection and other than my OB visits, Ryan and I rarely have the need to see a doctor. Our families and friends have had some minor medical scares, but nothing catastrophic or life threatening and for that, I am truly thankful.

It's amazing how thankful I am for the most basic needs. Who needs a ton of material things when you've got the love of a fantastic family, food and your health?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thankful Day Two

I am thankful for my children, all three of them. Three - wow! It still feels strange to think I have (or will in a few months) three kids!

Some days they make me want to tear my hair out. But most days, they make me laugh until I cry. They are the last thing on my mind before I fall asleep at night and the first thing on my mind when I wake up in the morning. They are the true lights of our lives and I could never imagine loving anyone as much as I love those little people who look just like me and Ryan.

Sydney is our girly-girl princess. She would wear pink everyday of the week if she could and insists on wearing a dress to school if it's a rainy day because she "won't play outside and get it dirty." She loves reading and making up stories. Granted, most of them involve a prince and a wedding, but she is quite creative. She is our eager-to-please firstborn and loves her baby brother like nobody's business.

Liam is our little man. He likes to holler to get his point across and amazes us everyday with his new skills. He loves to jump and climb and I just know that one day his little daredevil ways are going to give me a heart attack, but his sweet smiles more than make up for his mischievousness. He gives hugs and kisses without discrimination and adores his big sister more than life itself.

Our newest blessing, while a surprise, is no less loved than the other two. We can't wait to meet this little person in May and add him/her to our family. Ryan and I are going to be two of the most tired people on the planet, but we'll two of the happiest people on the planet, too.

I thank God every day for my kids.

So why are you thankful for your kids (or nieces and nephews)?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thankful Day One

Seeing as it's Thanksgiving week and I've been pretty negative lately due to morning sickness, I've decided that this week's posts will be dedicated to the things I'm thankful for. Today's topic: my husband.

I am so thankful for my husband. We've known each other since the fourth grade, have been together for 11 years and married for almost seven of those years. He knows me better than anyone and I am convinced that there is no other man on this planet who would put up with me for as long as he has.

He is very patient and does not have a temper and let's just say that we are polar opposites when it comes to those two personality traits. We rarely argue and although he claims that is because he can't win arguments with me and doesn't even try anymore, I think it's because we just don't have a lot to argue about. We share similar interests, we finish each other's sentences and we have about a million private jokes. It's kind of scary, actually.

He is a wonderful father. Both Sydney and Liam light up when he gets home from work. He gives them their baths every evening and plays with them until they go to bed. He is Sydney's hero (as he should be) and will be an excellent example for Liam as he (Liam) grows into a man and has a family of his own.

As much as I complain about him (and to him), I am very thankful he's my husband. He truly is my lobster (private joke).

Sunday, November 18, 2007


It's been a bad day. I'm hitting the peak of morning sickness; at least I hope it's the peak, because I seriously can't imagine it getting any worse.

Any mention of food makes me nauseous. Sitting up makes me nauseous. Brushing my teeth makes me nauseous. And that's not good because after all the sickness, my teeth need to be brushed. Often.

Thank goodness Ryan is taking this week off of work. Poor Liam and Sydney need someone capable of preparing their food.

I just hope it begins to fade by Thursday. If I can't eat all of the historically yummy Thanksgiving food I'm going to be one sad lady.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Oh No!

One of the places that I wanted to take Sydney to when we go to NYC in January (fingers crossed) is Serendipity 3. Ryan and I went there a couple of years ago with our friends, Stacey and Shiran, when we spent our 5th anniversary in Manhattan. It's a pretty famous place with awesome frozen hot chocolate and I know that she would love to go there.

Unfortunately, I saw this article. I'm sure Serendipity 3 will be open again by the time we get there, but do I really want to take her there?


Friday, November 16, 2007

More Proof I'm a Geek

Thank you to everyone who reminded me that I, not the pediatrician, am Liam's mother and that I know best. I guess I just needed to hear it from some outside sources (and Ryan is out of town, yet again) so "thank you".


Neither of us feeling so great today, so I'll leave you with this site. Type in your ZIP code and find out all kinds of demographic information. If you're a total geek/nerd like me, you'll find it fascinating.


And now I'm off to take a nap and pray that the nausea will leave me alone long enough to make it through the Thanksgiving Pow Wow at Sydney's school this afternoon.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pediatrician's Advice

At what point do you stop listening to the pediatrician's advice and go with your gut?

With Sydney, we pretty much did everything the pediatrician told us to. We started her on solids at 4 months, had her off the bottle by 15 months, had her speech evaluated at 16 months since she wasn't talking, etc. With Liam, however, I just don't think I want to follow all of her guidelines.

She wants him to be off bottles and the pacifier by 15 months. He's down to two bottles a day (early morning and before bed), but that is the only liquid he gets during the day. He refuses to drink his milk (and it's milk, not formula) from his sippy cup. He'll drink water or very watered down juice, but not milk. He will only drink that from a bottle. So what am I supposed to do about that? Let him get dehydrated just so I can follow a recommendation?

As for the pacifier, the boy is attached to it. He uses it to help him fall asleep both at naps and at bedtime. He falls asleep by himself, no rocking or back-patting needed. He just needs that pacifier. And once he's asleep, it falls out and he actually spends most of his sleeping time without it. So will it really mess up his teeth if he continues to use it past 15 months?

So what do you do? Do you follow your pediatrician's advice or go with your gut? And what do you think I should do? You'd think I would have the hang of this whole parenting thing the second time around, but apparently not!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Baby Info

Thanks for all of the congratulations, everyone! We are very excited and still a bit overwhelmed by it all, but we'll manage. I was especially glad to hear that Jess experienced similar emotions when she found out she was expecting Baby #2 (also due in May 2008). Whew! I'm not alone!

Anyway, the point of this post is to answer all of the inevitable questions you probably have. Here goes:

1. When am I due? Officially, May 29th, but it will be earlier due to a repeat c-section.
2. How am I feeling? Bleh. "Morning sickness" is a total misnomer, because for me, it lasts all day. Yuck. Fortunately, the exhaustion that comes along with the first trimester seems to be fading so that's a good thing.
3. How does this pregnancy compare to the other two? So far, pretty much the same. I was sick with both Sydney and Liam and if history repeats itself, the ickiness should subside in the next week or so.
4. When is the BIG ultrasound? Early January, but we're not finding out the gender of the baby this time around. We didn't find out with Sydney and it was hard, but a lot of fun.
5. Will we be having more kids? NO. Since this is a repeat c-section, it will be very easy for the doc to do a little tube tying after the baby is born. I love babies, but they're expensive and frankly, the idea of going through the extreme nausea stage again is quite frightening.
6. Are the kids excited? Sydney is very excited; she is convinced that she's going to get a baby sister this time around. Liam? Well, he's pretty much clueless.
7. Do we want a boy or a girl? Honestly, we don't care. A boy would be nice so that Liam could have a playmate close in age, but a girl would be great, too.
8. Do we have any names yet? Nope. We've been throwing a few around, but nothing has really hit us as THE NAME. We'll be keeping the name a surprise, too, but feel free to submit suggestions.

I can't think of any more possible questions, but if you have any more, feel free to leave them in the comments. After all, thanks to NaBloPoMo, I have to post every day this month and I'm running out of ideas!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Shock and Awe

Want to know the real reason why we're thinking of moving, looking at minivans and canceling our trip to Europe next summer?

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That's right....we're having another baby!

We've known for a while, we were waiting for the magic 12 week point to start telling people (well, people we're not related to).

About a million emotions have been running through us the last couple of months. Here are just a few:

1. Surprise - After suffering with fertility issues with Liam, we honestly did not think this could happen without some kind of medical intervention. The doctor said that Liam apparently "cleared out the cobwebs" so to speak. We'd talked about about having a third child at some point (like in 2-3 years), but next May was nowhere on our radar.
2. Fear - How am I going to handle three children, two of whom are only 18 months apart? The diapers, the tantrums, the crying.....
3. Guilt -
Part A - I feel like we've cheated Liam out of his babyhood. Sydney had us all to herself for 3.5 years and now, not only will Liam never get us to himself, he has to share his baby years with another baby.
Part B - We have several friends (both in real life and online) who are currently struggling with fertility issues. My heart aches for them, having been through issues of our own. I remember how much I disliked hearing about people who had such an easy time having a baby and I'm afraid of what our friends might be feeling about our situation.
4. Happiness - A baby is always a blessing even if the timing is not what we expected. I can't wait to smell those newborn smells and kiss tiny little newborn feet.

So, there's our news. I'm sure news of a minivan and a new house will follow in the next few months. Wish us luck!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Legalized Torture

Who chooses to be phlebotomist? Seriously. Why would you choose legalized torture for your profession?

Today was Liam's 12 month checkup. He's reached all of the required milestones and his height puts him between the 25th and 50th percentiles, but the poor little guy still doesn't weigh 20 pounds. I guess he'll be facing backward in the car for another month or two. Sigh.

He got four shots and although I was wary about the MMR and all of the recent media coverage possibly linking it to autism, I went ahead and consented to it. I think I've read two dozen articles on the topic and none of them directly link the two. Sometimes I think the media just likes to blow things out of proportion.

As for the phlebotomist, poor Liam was sent for a blood draw to check for lead levels and anemia (this was after the four shots). The lady tied the rubber band thingy on his arm and tried for a good three or four minutes to find his vein. Then she stuck him and fished around for a while to find it. His arm was turning purple, he was screaming his head off and I was close to tears myself. She sent in another tech to try his other arm. The second lady managed to find his vein within 30 seconds and didn't have to fish around to get the needle in. Two vials of blood and neon orange bandages later, it was all done and poor Liam clung to me as if his life depended on it. Thank goodness the lab requires a second phlebotomist to draw the blood if the first can't find a vein. We'd still be there if it weren't for their lab protocol.

Anyway, it's all over. He's taking a much needed nap and I'm still trying to recover from all of the drama. Maybe a bowl of ice cream will help.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I'm Not a Cool Parent...Surprise, Surprise

This whole NaBloPoMo thing is getting pretty tough. So, I'm going to cheat and do another Blogthing.

I feel pretty good about this one....I know these little quizzes are cheesy, but this one made me feel a little better about my skills as a parent.

You Will Not Be a Cool Parent

And that's pretty okay. While your kids may not think of you as a friend, they will respect you.
You know that kids need discipline and structure, and you're not afraid to give it to them.
Just be careful that your strictness doesn't lead to rebellion.
It's good to have standards and rules, but you don't need to have an iron fist when enforcing them.

What kind of parent are you?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Cake Pictures!

Liam's party was a success. All of the food was yummy, the kids had fun playing and Liam had a good time. He was a little overwhelmed when everyone was singing "Happy Birthday" to him and got a little upset when he would open a gift (usually a toy) and then had it taken away just so he could open another one. I can't blame him on that one.

So here are the cake pictures from our sweet boy's first birthday party:

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The choo-choo cupcake cake before we dug into it.

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Liam putting the whole cupcake in his mouth (cousin Jacob is quite interested, as you can see).

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All gone....we think he enjoyed it so much he wanted another one.

It was a great party, but now we're all tired. Both kiddos are in their respective beds asleep and now I'm off to bed, too....night, all.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Birthday Boy

One year ago at this exact moment (1 pm), Liam was born. He entered the world screaming his little head off. He was a tiny thing, only 5 pounds, 11 ounces and became one of the brightest lights in our lives. He is a sweet boy and I'm not biased because everyone who meets or takes care of him says so, too. His smiles light up rooms. His laughter can make the grumpiest mommy smile. He crawls up to me and gives me hugs for no reason whatsoever.

So, "Happy Birthday", my sweet boy. We've loved watching you grow and can't wait to see what you'll surprise us with next.

The past year in pictorial review......

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Liam at two minutes old.

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One of my favorites....Liam in my stocking.

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Smiling....his favorite thing.

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But he can be serious, too.

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We call this the "Hugh Hefner" look. And he's quite the little lover boy....always hanging on the girls at playgroup.

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Here he is at one year old. Still bald, but all smiles.

Love you, buddy! Happy Birthday!

Tomorrow: first birthday cake pictures.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Traveling with Kids

A big thank you to Tien for all of the fabulous ideas of things to do with Sydney while we're in NYC! And thank you to Sherri for scouting out the place for us (and for posting a comment!). I'm going to have quite a list built up and the new challenge will be to fit it all (or at least a lot of it) in.

I did find some good sites for traveling with children when researching our not-to-be trip to Europe that was planned for next summer. If you're planning on traveling with kids in the near future, you've got to visit Travel for Kids. It gives lots of great ideas for just about any place in the world you could possibly visit. And as a former teacher, I love that it gives you suggestions for books to buy/check out from the library to acquaint your child(ren) with your vacation spot. It was this site that helped us decide to go to Scotland and even though we're not going next summer, we WILL go at some point.

Anyway, anybody planning any trips or vacations? I love to hear about other people's vacations. (I'm one of those weird people who genuinely likes looking at other people's vacation pictures and hearing travel stories)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

NYC Ideas

Wow! So everyone thinks that not only should I go to NYC with Ryan on his next trip, but we should take Sydney as well. I really do think she'd enjoy it, even if she and I are within inches of strangling each other by the end of the week.

Hopefully we'll be able to pull it off financially. After all, we've been saving our credit card points so that we could cash them in for plane tickets for our long-awaited trip to Europe next summer. Unfortunately, for many reasons, that trip will not be happening so we might as well use them for this trip. And the hotel will be free since Ryan's work will be picking up the tab on that one. So, really, food and entertainment will be our only expenses.

So now I need a list of things she and I can do together. I previously mentioned that she'd most likely enjoy skating at Rockefeller Center, going to FAO Schwartz and the American Girl Doll store and seeing the animals at the Central Park Zoo. She'd also love seeing the castle in Central Park.

Any other ideas for a 4 1/2 year old girl?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

To Go or Not to Go

Ryan's job has him traveling to NYC for a week at a time every couple of months or so. He's been twice now and although I know he is working pretty much non-stop the entire time he's there, I can't help but get a little jealous. I've been to NYC several times and I love it there. I love the hustle and bustle of the streets. I love the tranquility of Central Park. I love trying out the various foods offered by the street vendors. I love the endless possibilities for entertainment.

He'll probably be going back in January and I'm trying to decide whether I should join him or not. If I go, then Sydney will have to miss a week of school so that she and Liam can stay with my parents out in the 'burbs. Of course, we could always take her with us. After all, she's in pre-school and it's not like missing a week will go on any kind of attendance record. Plus, she's never been on a plane before and I think she'd love NYC: ice skating in Rockefeller Center, FAO Schwartz, the American Girl Doll store, Central Park Zoo and let's not forget, we may even see snow if we go in January. She's only seen snow once and I doubt she remembers it.

What do you think? Should I go along? Should we take Sydney, too?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Horrible Mom

I'm a horrible mom. Just horrible. Poor Liam is getting the short end of the stick when it comes to birthday party planning.

His first birthday is Friday (can you believe he's already one?!?) and we're just now pulling all the party plans together. And sadly, we're only putting about a third of the effort we put into Sydney's first birthday into Liam's big day.

For Sydney's first b-day, we held a crawfish boil and invited about 30 people to join us in the celebration. Ryan labored over the crawfish (several hours of prep and cook time) and I made the side dishes, made a homemade birthday cake and hung decorations everywhere. We had everything planned down to the last detail a good three weeks before the event. Everything went off without a hitch, except that the cake I made melted in the humidity and looked absolutely horrible, hence my vow to never make another birthday cake as long as I lived.

For Liam's first b-day, we're having barbecue (since crawfish are out of season) and inviting about 20 people to join us. Ryan is going to be buying the already prepared barbecue from a local restaurant and I'm going to make the sides. I ordered Liam's cupcake-cake today and while I have balloons to hang for decoration, I have no "goody bags" prepared for our tiny guests. And I'm not going to prepare goody bags, either, because if their parents are like me, they don't want a bag full of trinkety crap to bring home from yet another party.

I feel so bad that we're not putting in as much effort into Liam's party. I wonder if it's truly "second child syndrome" or if we've just gotten lazy over the past few years.

Probably a little bit of both.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I'm a Brownie!

I'm totally copping out of the challenge today, but I'm tired and have nothing profound to say (like I have anything profound to say, right?), so I'll leave you with the following:

You Are a Brownie

Decadent and intense, you aren't for the weakhearted.
Those who can deal with your strong flavor find out how sweet you really are.

What kind of dessert are you?

Saturday, November 3, 2007


OK, I'm back to my happy self. Ryan got home late last night and for the first time in a week, I finally slept well. Amazing how a good night's sleep (and a warm body sleeping next to you) can improve your mood!

And, my best friend from high school got married this evening. The ceremony was lovely and she looked absolutely amazing in her wedding dress. Sydney came with us to the ceremony and oohed and aahed over the dresses and flowers. She is such a little girl. I can already see her planning her own wedding in her head.

The reception was lots of fun, too. Liam joined us for some yummy food (the boy is a bottomless pit, I tell you) and delicious cake. At least the groom's cake was yummy. It was chocolate so of course that's the one I had to try. Sydney seemed to enjoy the bride's cake so I'm assuming it was just as scrumptious.

So congrats to my friend, Amanda. All your planning paid off. Your day turned out beautifully, just as you deserved. We wish you all the happiness in the world. (Not that you'll actually read this post any time soon since you're off on your honeymoon) :) But still, congrats!

Friday, November 2, 2007


I think sadness has been the dominant emotion in my life the last few days. It doesn't help that Ryan is in NYC and I am lonely with very few adults to to talk to. I guess I never realized how much I needed the couple of hours in between Ryan getting home from work and the kids going to bed. It's my decompression time. We eat dinner together and discuss our days and then he gives the kids their baths while I clean up the dinner dishes. I've been doing it all alone with only a 30 minute conversation with Ryan each evening after the kids go to bed. I can't wait for him to come home tonight.

Another source of sadness is this little girl. Baby Grace has been the lead story every evening on the local news; I really should know better than to watch the news before I go to bed. I can't stand hearing about children getting hurt.

My last source of sadness is something Sydney said to me yesterday. She's gotten the hang of what it means to have her feelings hurt and how to hurt other people's feelings. When Ryan called on Tuesday, she refused to talk to him even when I told her it was hurting his feelings. And yesterday, after two timeouts (for arguing) and an open-ended moratorium on desserts since she has not been eating her lunch at school, she told me, "You're not invited to my birthday party. Only Daddy can come."

Oomph. I got hit with the four year old's equivalent to, "I hate you." I'm sure it's just the tip of the iceberg and it is making me totally dread her teenage years. I'm sensing that we've a got a rocky 14 years ahead of us. Yikes.

Anyway, Liam and I hosted playgroup today and I got in a good two hours of adult interaction (oh, and he got to interact with some other babies, too) so I'm feeling a bit better. Can you imagine how ecstatic I'm going to be when Ryan gets home late this evening?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

NaBloPoMo, Men Who Cook, and Liam

Today is the first day of NaBloPoMo and I decided to give it a whirl this year. In case you haven't heard, NaBloPoMo stands for National Blog Posting Month, which means I will (attempt to) post every day in November. I can't promise that every post will be interesting, but I'm going to give it a shot.

Today is also National Men Make Dinner Day. Too bad Ryan is in NYC this week, otherwise I could totally get into this. I'd make Liam do it, but considering his idea of a meal is whatever he can pick up off the rug, I think I'll pass.

Speaking of Liam, he now has two teeth. Two, tiny teeth. And a ton of drool. I can't wait for those other 14 to come in. I see lots of baby acetaminophen and teething tablets in our future.

We think he's also said his first word. Of course it wasn't "mama" and it wasn't even "dada." His first word was "up." He says "up" for everything: when he wants to be picked up, when he wants more food, when he wants the toy Sydney is playing with, etc. I was a little sad that his first word wasn't "mama", but at least it wasn't "dada." Sorry, Ryan, but Sydney said "dada" before "mama" and it's MY turn this time around.

Anyway, I'm hoping to get into the groove of this NaBloPoMo thing as the month goes on....stay tuned!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Obligatory Halloween Pics

Here are some photos of the kiddos in their Halloween costumes. Although I managed to get some really cute ones of Liam, Sydney didn't stand still long enough for me to get more than one of her. I'll give it another try on Wednesday before trick or treating. For now, enjoy!

Liam dressed as a cow (my mom made his costume).

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Sydney chose to be (surprise, surprise) a princess. At least she chose to be a classy renaissance princess.....

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Six Things About Me Meme

Mommy Daisy tagged me for a meme. I'm supposed to list 6 facts/habits about myself. Hmmmm.......

1. I am short. Really short. I have to stand on the bottom shelf at the grocery store if I want to reach something on the top shelf. Speaking of grocery stores.....

2. I am completely OCD about my grocery shopping. On Mondays, I sit down and make our weekly menu on one side of blank computer paper. I use the other side for my grocery list that is based on the menu. The needed grocery items are listed in the order that I will find them in the store (if I follow my usual path). If I have coupons, I write a little "C" next to the items on the list so that I don't forget that I have them. And I only allow myself one "splurge" or item that was not initially on the list. Helps us save a little money. :)

3. When I was teaching, my classroom was very organized. I always knew where everything was and I only lost one paper in my five years of teaching. My house, on the other hand.......I'm lucky if I can find anything.

4. When I was younger, I wanted to be a nurse. I still think about it sometimes, but the thought of all that science and math makes me nervous. But it would help me fit in with my sisters-in-law a little better since I'm the only one of the five daughters-in-law who is not in the medical profession.

5. I know they're bad for the environment, but I love Lysol/Clorox wipes, Pledge cloths and my Swiffer disposable mop pads. There's something satisfying about cleaning up a mess/dusting/mopping and then throwing away the mess rather than cleaning off the icky sponge/dustcloth/mop and using it again. Besides, I recycle so that makes up for it, right?

6. I don't like yard work. Neither does Ryan. Our yard certainly looks like it. Unfortunately.

So there's a little about me.....consider yourself tagged (if you want to be)!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We're Back!

The termite tenting is over. Hallelujah!

We packed half of our house, invaded my parents' house for three days, moved back home and spent the weekend unpacking, cleaning and sanitizing. Both the dishwasher and washing machine have had quite the workout and we now have a completely reorganized kitchen, bathroom and toy room. So I guess you could say the reorganization of our house is the silver lining in all of this. Oh, and all the dead bugs. There's something both gratifying and disgusting about finding a dozen dead roaches in your house.

So what did Liam and I do at my parents' house while Ryan and Sydney were at work and school, you ask? We played in the backyard (makes the idea of moving to the 'burbs and having a back yard more enticing), stared at and chased the cat (the cat is still faster than him) and played with a whole new set of toys. My mom watched him quite a bit while I sewed this for some friends who are having a baby in December:

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This is this front.

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This is the "frilly" side.

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This is a close-up of the frilly side.

We're looking forward to getting our lives back to normal and gearing up for Halloween. Now that it finally feels like fall, I can't wait to pull out my pumpkin recipes and get started on some yummy treats. Of course, we still have three-quarters of Ryan's birthday cheesecake to eat, so I'm guessing that all my hard work to lose weight will be wasted, but it's worth it, right?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Clean and Purge

To prepare our house for the termite tenting it will go through later this week, I spent my weekend cleaning and purging. We have to remove all food (minus canned goods), alcohol, medicines, toiletries, baby mattresses, plastic toys and anything Liam might put in his mouth. So basically, half our house needs to be packed up and stored elsewhere for the three days that our house will be doused in toxic gas.

While packing all these things, I decided to clean and purge at the same time. I am embarrassed to admit what all got thrown away because it was old, sticky or expired:

-2 full bottles of antacids that expired in 2004 (I bought them when pregnant with Sydney just in case I got heartburn - I never did)
-Infant cough & cold drops that were recalled last week
-4 half-used tubes of travel sized toothpaste (it's not like I can combine them)
-2 boxes of gelatin that expired in 2006 (I fixed a third box that would never "set", so I'm assuming that it does actually expire)
-Coffemate cream that expired in May (can you tell we only fix coffee when my in-laws are in town?)
-2 packages of yeast that expired in 1998 (yes, 1998)
-5 packages of protein shake powder (no clue why we had that)
-2 lime flavored popsicles that none of us would eat
-3 frost bitten hot dog buns
-an opened can of frozen orange juice that had 1/3 of the contents missing (no clue why)

I could go on and on (and bore you to death), but needless to say, our cabinets, drawers and pantry were in serious need of some organizing.

I challenge you to peek in your medicine cabinet, pantry and fridge.....what can you throw away?

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I've been fighting both a nasty case of hives (head to toe, on and off for about a month now) and a bladder infection. So, yeah, I've been a little under the weather as of late. But some antibiotics, Benadryl and an increase in the frequency of my allergy shots should take care of it all in a week or so.

So, I'll leave you with two Sydney-related princess tidbits to hold you over until I'm back to my normal self:

First, after one of her standard four year old whiny fits, I called her a drama queen. She retorted with, "I'm not a drama queen, I'm a drama princess." So that's now her new nickname.

Second, upon Erica's recommendation, I checked out "Princess Smartypants" from the library. We both loved it. It has now been added to the Christmas non-princessy princess book collection. Thank you, Erica!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Woo Hoo!

My "skinny" jeans are now baggy. And I now weigh what I did when I graduated from high school.

Thank you, Drs. Oz and Roizen!

Too bad all those clothes from the 1990's that are still hanging in my closet are completely out of style!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Happy Fall!

I'm having a difficult time getting in the "fall mood" this year (maybe because it's still 90 degrees), so I'll let my kids be the subject of this post:

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Happy Fall, Y'all!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

My Apologies to Gloria Steinem

Sydney: "When Liam grows up into a daddy, he's going to ride the bus to work, too."

Me: "You can ride the bus to work, too, when you grow up."

Sydney: "No....when I grow up into a mommy, I'm going to stay home like you."

Ryan: "You don't have to stay home like Mommy, you can do anything you want to do and be anything you want to be."

Me: (Nodding head vigorously) "You can be a doctor or a teacher...."

Sydney: "I just want to be a mommy and stay home. Just like Mommy does."

I don't know if I should be flattered or depressed. On the one hand, it makes me happy that she wants to be like me (validation of a parent's life choices by a child goes a long way), but I don't want her to think she HAS to stay home with her kids. Hmmmm........

Sunday, September 30, 2007

To Move or Not to Move......

Paranoid gave me quite a bit to think about when it comes to the "build-on vs. move" debate. I'm going to try to answer her very valid questions.

1. How much do you love your house and/or its neighborhood?

We love, love, love our neighborhood. We're two miles from downtown which means a super-short commute for Ryan (20 minutes or so by bus). We have a lot of great friends nearby and the neighborhood mom's group is fabulous. It's a very quirky, diverse, artsy and historic neighborhood that favors local, privately owned businesses which makes me believe that my chocolate business could not only thrive here, but make a nice little profit in a year or so. Crime has been an issue of late due to the whole "tear down the tiny bungalows and put up gigantic houses" phenomenon, but other than my bicycle getting stolen, we really haven't had any problems.

Our house is tiny, but comfortable. It's a two bedroom, one bath and while it was perfect for the two of us or even when we added Sydney to the mix, it's just getting a tad crowded with four people. We've built a lot of memories in our tiny house and that's probably what has kept us from letting go of it before now. Plus, it has character. It's 80 years old and does not look like any other house in the neighborhood. The "cookie-cutter" housing found in other areas is definitely not a problem here.

2. Which will cost more, moving or renovating?

Ahhh.....cost. Short term, renovating will cost us more. We will need to add a second story since we have no room to build out so that's some major $$$$$. Plus, our old house is bound to have some major modern code violations that will have to be upgraded. However, in the long run, adding on will add a lot of value to the house. The appreciation on houses in our neighborhood has been crazy and despite the slowing of the housing market nationally, there really seems to be no slowing here.

However, if we move, we will have to do some MAJOR renovations before we can put it on the market. Our kitchen needs a heavy-duty overhaul not to mention about a million tiny little things to make it marketable. And I mean a million little exaggeration there.

3. If you're working on starting a business, do you really want to be dealing with contractors and living with construction, too?

The business will be in limbo no matter what we decide to do, unfortunately. If we have the major renovations done, we will have to move into an apartment for several months. There's just no living in a house without a roof. So it would be tough to keep the business going through not one, but two moves. However, I fear that if we move to the 'burbs (more on that in question #4's response), the business just will not prosper. After some research, chocolate businesses seem to be located in more urban areas. But, who knows, with some elbow grease perhaps I could make it work outside the Beltway.

4. Can you get exactly what you want in a home by renovating your existing place? How 'bout if you move?

If we move, it will most likely have to be to a suburb; the skyrocketing housing costs in our neighborhood and any neighborhood within 10 miles of downtown are just too much for our one income family. I have to admit that the suburbs (in particular, a suburb I like to call "The Land of Fruit") would be nice because we could have a yard large enough for a swing set and we wouldn't have to worry so much about the schools. We could even afford a house with four bedrooms (a guest room would be nice) or even a pool. However, Ryan's commute would be considerably longer and he would not get to see the kids for more than an hour each day if we moved to The Land of Fruit.

If we renovate our current house, our yard will not get any bigger (unless George finally agrees to sell us his property) and we've still got to sift through all of the bureaucratic paperwork to ensure our kids go to the good public schools. Depending on what the engineer and architect say, we could possibly add a master suite or even two more bedrooms and bath to our current house. So I guess it comes down to yard, schools and commute. Oh, and a garage. It sure would be nice to have a garage for our cars; that would be another plus for The Land of Fruit.

Whew!!! If you've read this far then you've got a lot of patience!

And I'm sure you've got opinions. Please share them.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I Take it Back

About six months ago, I wrote about how "The Money Pit" was the funniest movie ever. It still is a funny movie, but laughing off our own "money pit" issues has gone by the wayside. Our home's little quirks and oddities are just getting on my nerves now.

We've been contemplating either moving or building onto our little bungalow but before we do either, there are several major "fix-it" jobs that have to be done. Here's what needs to be done (soon):

1. Trim the trees.
2. "Tent" for termites (a very long, drawn out process in itself).
3. Clear out all the junk past contractors/owners have left under the house.
4. Have the house leveled.
5. Have the beams underneath the house mapped out.

So far we've managed to accomplish the first one. It took a month of dealing with tree people (getting quotes, dealing with a "no-show", etc) just to get three trees trimmed. I can't imagine how long it's going to take to get the other ones taken care of. And the termite tenting needs to be done SOON because we're now seeing evidence of the little buggers. And I rather not have our house fall down. Or maybe I would like it to fall down because then we don't have to deal with the "list".

Sometimes I hate being a grown up. I don't know how my parents made it look so easy when I was little.

Any thoughts on the move or add-on issue? This will surely be the subject of many future posts so feel free to think about it for a while.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Quest

By now you are well aware that my daughter is obsessed with all things princess. She likes to dress like them, read books about them and watch movies about them. I have no problem with this other than the fact that the only princesses that seem to be out there are the stupid Disney princesses. It seems like every one of them goes something like this: beautiful girl loves her daddy, daddy marries a horrible woman after the death of his perfect wife (usually in childbirth), stepmother treats beautiful girl horribly, prince rescues and marries beautiful girl (usually a kiss is involved). There are variations on the theme, but in general, all of the stories end in a happily ever after of marriage.

I've been attempting to expose her to stronger, more independent princesses/fairies. So far she loves the"Alice the Fairy" book she got for her birthday last year. I've also started buying some princess books for her Christmas gifts.

"Cinderedna" is about Cinderella and her sister, Cinderedna. Instead of relying on a fairy godmother to fix things for her, Cinderedna takes matters into her own hands and fixes her life by herself. She also attends the ball, but in more practical loafers instead of glass slippers. It's pretty cute.

"The Paperbag Princess" is about a princess named Elizabeth who rescues the prince instead of the other way around. She fights a dragon and her clothes become burned and tattered so she changes into a paperbag before rescuing the clueless prince. When the prince tells Elizabeth that he'd be happy to marry her once she takes a bath and puts on some proper clothes, she tells him to go jump off a bridge and lives happily ever after in her own way. It is awesome.

So I'm open to recommendations for more "strong princess" books. Is there a book you remember from your childhood that you think she (and I) might like?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sincerely Yours

Dear Afternoon Gymnastics Moms,

Why can't you be more like the moms from our morning session of gymnastics? All of us wore comfortable clothes, little makeup and got along really well. We looked forward to chatting with each other each Wednesday morning while watching our children acquire gymnastics skills. Our kids became friends and invited each other to their birthday parties. I really looked forward to Wednesday mornings.

But now, I dread bringing my daughter to her gymnastics lessons. You GapMoms really are a collective piece of work. Not only are you the snottiest women in the entire city, but when grouped together, you remind me of the cheerleader clique from high school. I enjoyed high school, but you know, I was happy when it was over. Silly me thought that the high school mentality would subside, but apparently not.

To the Yellow Polo GapMom: I saw you giving me the once over as we entered the gym and I don't appreciate it. No, I wasn't wearing the nicest clothes or makeup, but you know what, I was in my workout outfit and unlike you, I actually go to the gym to workout. I sweat when I exercise and I'm not going to wear a $50 workout outfit just to impress the likes of you.

To the Frilly Pink Shirt GapMom: Do you have nothing better to do than to sashay back and forth in front of the parent seating area waving your hot pink phone around? Just who are you trying to impress with your tight, size 2 jeans? It can't be the gymnastics coach because he is gay. You can't be trying to get the attention of the "sideline coach dad" who sits in the parent area. He's too busy yelling, "Stick and pose!! Stick and pose!!!" at his four year old daughter to notice you. Are you just too busy chatting it up on your phone with the annoying ring to notice that they have no interest in you or your tight pants?

To the Tight Green Shirt GapMom: Would it kill you to eat something? You give new meaning to adult anorexia; I could literally see the outline of your bones through your shirt. Oh, and could you have been any less original in naming your girls? They are going to grow up having four girls in every grade school class with their names.

To the Catalog Outfit GapMom: I give you credit, your outfit looked fabulous, like something straight out of the J. Crew or L.L. Bean catalog. But would it have killed you to stick around and watch your four year old daughter during her lesson? She spent the entire time looking around for you and you weren't there. I hope those errands were important.

Yes, I sound bitter, but I get tired of all the GapMom snottiness. I'm sure it's everywhere, not just in my city, but it sure is annoying. Get over yourselves. Contrary to what you think, I'm not jealous of you nor do I want to join your little group. I have friends who don't care how I dress or that I don't spend an hour every morning making myself look "casual, yet trendy." Just know that while you glance my direction, whisper to each other and giggle and judge me, I'm doing it right back.

The Average, non-GapMom

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Business Lesson #1

I am officially a business owner now. I got my state sales tax permit in the mail on Monday and am now allowed to sell my chocolates. Of course, this means I also get to collect (and pay back to the state) sales tax on everything I sell. I'm not so thrilled with that part, but I've been assured that it's much easier than it sounds. Plus, it can be paid online which is the best part of the whole thing.

Unfortunately, I made a mistake when filling out my application for my license and I am now trying to fix it. The state needed a phone number and since I do not have a separate cell phone for the business yet (no website, no cards, no need for cell number just yet), I put down our home number. BIG MISTAKE.

Every vendor in Texas is now calling and trying to sell me something for the business. Most of the calls are from vendors who want me to buy a credit card machine from them, but I've also had calls regarding bank accounts and security systems. I am hoping that the number of calls will die down soon because all the ringing is driving me crazy. And it disturbs Liam's naps which makes me even crazier.

Because our home number is now listed as a business number, the "Do Not Call Registry" does not apply. So now I'm trying to figure out how to change the number on my license to my cell phone because I can just turn that one off. Who knew this would be such a hassle?!?

So let this be a lesson to any of you considering starting your own business. Do not, under any circumstances, list your home number as your business number.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

How many times have you seen people standing on the side of the road with a broken down car? Countless times, I'm sure. If you're like me, you feel sorry for them, but continue on your way while hoping for the best.

When I was younger (and childless), I stopped a couple of times to see if I could help. But now that I usually have small children in my car, I am quite wary of stopping and asking if they need help. Sad, but it is what it is.

Friday, I was one of those people. My car was making a funny noise and I had it checked out by the body shop who fixed it after our wreck, thinking that perhaps they missed something. It was diagnosed with having an ailing power steering pump (not caused by the accident) and was told I could wait a few days before having it fixed. I then drove to the tire store to have a flat fixed and was told that I needed four new tires, but the next available appointment was in an hour and a half. So I decided to kill some time at Target (where else?) and on the way there, my car died.

It died, people. The radio cut in and out, the transmission failed and then it just stopped. It stopped in a sunny spot while I was mid-turn on to a busy street. And I had Liam in the car. Poor Liam with the same cough, cold, congestion and pink eye that his sister gave him earlier that week.

So of course I panicked. Ryan left work immediately to help me out, but I knew it would take him at least 45 minutes to get to me since he rides the bus to work. I called our roadside assistance program and they told me it could be up to an hour before the tow truck could reach me. So what did I do? I got hysterical and told the woman that not only was my car sticking out into traffic, but the car was in the sun and I had an infant in the car. And of course I was crying because that's what I do in a crisis situation.....I cry.

Several people stopped and asked if I needed help while I was standing outside the car waving the traffic around my stalled car. I bravely smiled through the tears and politely repeated, "Thank you, but the tow truck is on it's way." Most said "OK" and drove on.

However, one lady said, "I don't believe you", and pulled up behind me and turned her hazards on since mine weren't working. She handed me a tissue and played with Liam (who thankfully was drinking cold water from his sippy cup) while I talked to the roadside assistance crew.

Two gentleman stopped in front of my stalled car and offered to push it out of the intersection. They pushed it into the shade and then insisted that I wait with Liam in the air-conditioned hospital 50 yards away while waiting for the tow truck. The lady who played with Liam waited with my car until she saw the tow truck arrive about 15 minutes later. All of them left before I could say "thank you" one last time.

So what did I learn from this? I learned 1)I'm useless in a crisis since all I do is cry and 2)there really are good Samaritans out there. I don't know if they helped me because I had a baby or because I was upset, but either way, I'm grateful.

So here's a "shout-out" to Betty, Lance and Lance's friend who helped me. They'll never read this, but I'd like to think they know how thankful I am for what they did. I hope that karma pays them back tenfold for their kindness.

In honor of Betty, Lance and Lance's friend, I want to hear about your "Good Samaritan" moments. Have you ever stopped and helped a stranger? Have you been the recipient of help from a stranger? I want to hear about it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Winner

After two days of polling and 37 votes (via blog and e-mail), the winner is:

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It was the winner by far with 62% of the vote. Ironically, it was my least favorite of the four choices I posted on the poll. But after all of your comments, it grew on me and I have decided that it is "The One."

The brown and white logo came in second with 18% of the vote. I really liked this one because the color and shape reminded me of a chocolate bar.

The green one came in third with 11% of the vote. It was initially my favorite, but I think I really liked it because it is green (my favorite color) and has tulips on it (my favorite flowers). After reading your comments, however, I realized that as a logo it probably wasn't the best choice.

The other blue one came in last with 9% of the vote. I wasn't as fond of this one as the green one, but Ryan and I initially thought that since they were so similar, they (and other variations on the rectangle/tulip theme) could be used interchangeably on the website.

A big "thank you" to everyone who voted. And thank you for stating your reasons why you chose the one you did. The positive comments made about the winner were a huge factor in my decision.

So now the real work can begin. I may just have to keep asking you guys for your opinions since you did such a great job this time.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Vote, Vote, Vote!!!

Okay - we've narrowed it down to the following four logos. Now I need your help getting it down to one. Please vote for your favorite logo. Feel free to tell me why you voted for the one you did in the comments. Thanks so much!

******Edited to say: Apparently, you can't vote on the poll unless you've registered with LiveJournal. I apologize; I did not know this when I set up the poll. So, if you'll just leave your vote in the comments section, I'd really appreciate it!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Eyes Glued Shut

No, the title is not an homage to Stanley Kubrick, director of the similarly named film. It is the state of being in which my poor daughter currently finds herself.

Poor Sydney has pink eye (aka "goopy eye") in both eyes. And she has ear infections in both ears. And she has a cough. And let's not forget the congestion. I think we'll be setting a world record for the number of prescription drugs purchased for a four year old later this afternoon. Seriously. I'll be looking for it in the Guinness Book later this year.

So, in honor of my poor baby, I thought I'd post two of the amusing conversations we had this weekend.


Sydney: "Mommy! My shoe has the number nine in it."

Me: "Yes, I know. You wear a size nine shoe."

Sydney: "But I can't wear a size nine. I'm only four. I should wear a size four shoe."

Me: "Your shoe size isn't the same number as your age, sweetheart. I wear a size four shoe, but do you remember how old I am?

Sydney: "You're 40."

I think I almost fainted.


After seeing a commercial for Disney World.......

Sydney: "Mommy! Can we go there on vacation?"

Me: "It's very expensive. It costs a lot of money.'

Sydney: "Daddy has money."

Me: "It costs a LOT of money. Like $10,000. Do you have $10,000?"

Sydney: "I know who has $10,000 - Gram and Grandad! Let's ask Gram and Grandad for $10,000!"

Ummmm.....let's not.


And in chocolate graphic designer friend has given me 11 logos to choose from. I'm going to narrow it down to three or four and ask you guys to vote for your favorite. Be on the lookout for them later this week!

Friday, September 7, 2007


Today's post is full of random topics, none of which seemed to warrant its own post.......

Liam had his 9 month checkup on Wednesday even though he will be 10 months old on Sunday. Here are the latest stats:

Height: 27 inches (10th percentile)
Weight: 18 lbs, 12 oz (10th percentile)
Head Circumference: 25th percentile
Shots: 1

He's still small for his age, but remains steady in his growth. He's reached all of his nine month milestones (crawling, pulling up, eating finger foods, babbling) and the pediatrician was impressed when I told her that he regularly uses a sippy cup at mealtime. Apparently that's not something they look for until the kids hit 12 months. She also wasn't concerned about the fact that he has no teeth. I have a feeling that he'll be getting them all at once rather than a couple at a time.

He has turned into a little boy overnight. He is into absolutely everything and laughs whenever Sydney gets annoyed with him. His current favorite activity is lifting up the rug, tearing off bits of the rug padding and putting those bits in his mouth. Anyone know how to babyproof a rug pad?

Liam also loves cats. Here he is at my parents' house the week we house-sat for them:

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Which brings me to my next random topic.

A black and white kitty seems to have adopted us. She's been hanging around our house for a year or so and in the past she has let me pet her and even went as far as trying to get into the house behind me. According to our neighbor, she was recently attacked by a dog (he was nice enough to take her to the vet for treatment) and consequently, she is a lot shier than she used to be. Another neighbor who lives across the street has been feeding her in front of our house (since she lives here) in hopes of catching her and making the cat her pet.

Should we just adopt her? How does one adopt a stray? Should we just start feeding her? How does one catch a skittish cat so that she can be taken to the vet for shots and spaying? And how do I explain this to the neighbor who wants this cat for herself? Clearly, the cat likes living in our yard, but I don't want to hurt the neighbor's feelings. Thoughts?

And random thing number three: Jerk of the Week. I think I might make this is a sporadic post topic rather than a weekly one, but I just have to award it this week to the person who stole the copper coil out of the air conditioning unit at Sydney's school. Who steals from a pre-school and renders the air conditioning system useless in September in Houston?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

One of Those Days

Did you ever have one of those days where so much goes wrong so early in the day you just want to crawl back into bed and hide under the covers? I'd like nothing more than to do just that.

6:15 am: After a night of my lovely insomnia I awoke on the couch (after a couple of fitful hours of sleep) to Ryan turning on the living room light and plopping Liam on the floor. Suffice it to say, I am not a morning person so this was not a pleasant start to my day. Ryan left for work leaving me to half-doze while Liam played with his toys.

6:20 am: Sydney decided to get up giving me an early start to my morning activities. I left the two of them alone so that I could go fix breakfast only to hear Liam wail thanks to his new found separation anxiety phase. I picked him up and set him on the dining room floor, hurried to hang up his favorite little jumper toy from Sydney's doorway and in my haste, accidentally knocked down the picture hanging above the door frame. With a broken frame and shattered glass all over the floor, Liam lunged toward the noisy, sparkly mess.

6:25 am: Liam got plopped back down in the baby-gated living room so that I could clean up the glass and he began to wail once again. So amidst the crying (and complaints from Sydney that she didn't have her breakfast yet), I ran to the kitchen to get a broom and dustpan. And what did I find, you ask? It was a kitchen full of smoke and flames leaping out of the toaster. I unplugged it and grabbed a glass of water to quench the flames when I remembered that despite being unplugged, water + electrical appliance probably still equaled a big no no. By then the fire had settled down to a flicker so I opened the smoke filled toaster oven and blew out the flame just in time to see the words, "In case of food flare-up, do not open toaster oven door" written on the appliance. Oh well.

6:30 am: So then I handed Sydney her breakfast, gave Liam his pacifier, turned on the Disney Channel and proceeded to clean up the glass. I cut my finger on one of the shards.

6:40 am: I examined the remains of my breakfast in the toaster oven and decided it didn't look too bad. I sat down to eat my very crispy English Muffin with peanut butter.

6:45 am: Liam started up with the separation anxiety fussing again and Sydney yelled that she couldn't hear her show so I scooped him up to sit on my lap while I ate breakfast and checked my e-mail.

6:50 am: I finished my peanut butter muffins and noticed that my pajama pants leg was warm. I looked down to see "poop juice" (if you're a parent, you know what I'm talking about) on the pants I had just washed yesterday. Sigh.

Skip to 9:40 am: Having gotten us all dressed and fed and Sydney to school, I took Liam to the pedi for his 9 month check-up. The receptionist asked me why we were there and when I told her someone called a month ago and rescheduled his check-up for today due to the pedi's August vacation, she told me that whoever that was didn't write down our name in the new time slot and we in fact, *did not* have an appointment set for today. I explained that Liam was now 4 days away from being 10 months and luckily they fit us in....two hours after we were supposed to see the doctor.

So now I'm home and trying to avoid everything that could possibly cause harm to me or anybody else. I will be so glad when this day is over.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Tortured Younger Brother

When we had our ultrasound and found out that we were having a boy, our friend Matt and my brother-in-law, Mike, both reassured me that they had a great time growing up with an older sister. I wonder, however, if their older sisters ever subjected them to rides in their doll strollers like this:

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Or made them dress up like a princess like this:

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Apparently, putting a hat on made dress-up more fun, though:

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I love seeing how much fun our kids have playing together. And I'm sure there will be plenty of more opportunities to take pictures that will one day embarrass them.