Sunday, December 28, 2008

Our Christmas List

Christmas is only 2/3 of the way finished for us because we'll be going to Steve's mom's house on New Year's Eve. We've had a wonderful holiday thus far, though. It kicked off more than a week ago when we hit the road the night before a huge snowstorm hit Milwaukee. Whew! Then Steve and I joined Vicki and Jeff in Vegas for a few days before flying back to Oklahoma for Christmas.

Here are some of the highlights of our adventures, in my traditional list style.

* Jack might not remember what Santa brought him for Christmas this year, but Santa did leave him a note. In it, he told Jack that he kissed his toes while he was sleeping. Now, Jack has been playing "pretend Santa" with Anna, and he always makes her kiss his toes when she's being Santa.
* Anna fell in love with my Grandma, and it was the cutest thing in the world. Today I even asked her to name all of her grandmas, and she only named Grandma Bingham. "I can't think of the rest," she said. (Sorry other Grandmas. Don't take it personal, though.)
* My dad fired up their hot tub while we were there, and the kids LOVED going out there...sometimes even three times a day!
* We had great weather in Oklahoma. Jack even said, "It can't be Christmas. Where's the snow?"
* While I spent lots of money in Vegas with shopping, Steve was more productive and actually made a little with his gambling. Wooohooo!
* The built-in DVD player in our new van totally rocks.
* My brother, Steve, won money in Vegas, too. I'm super proud of him. My other brother....well, let's just say he didn't win.
* Jack and Anna had a blast playing with their cousin, Lockin. The three of those kids are crazy.

That's the highlights for now. We had a really great trip overall.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Car Salesmen Make Me Cringe

We're in the market to update our van these days. We travel such long distance throughout the year that we try to watch our overall mileage, which is getting up there. And we just want some cool new features like a built-in DVD (no cords!), windows that roll down in the second row and a power back door.

We happen to have great timing because the economy is down, so dealerships are cutting pretty good deals. And my parents are going to buy our current van. We're driving down there in a couple of weeks, so then we could just drive it to them!

Anyway, back to the point of my whole post. Car salesmen nauseate me. Here are my top 5 car salesmen annoyances...

1. They make lame jokes, and then you laugh just to be kind. Ugh.
2. They don't take me serious. Apparently, I have to have a man with me to buy a car because they will actually ask me when I want to come back with my husband. (They don't even know I'm married. One guy said something like that over the phone!)
3. They make stuff up on the fly. ("This car had new tires put on recently. Oh year, they are good as new.")
4. They want to talk too much and show you everything. (Like the folding rear seat is something miraculous that will make you buy it on the spot.)
5. They really aren't that thorough and ignore your questions. (I will ask very simple questions via e-mail and they glaze over them and just try to get me in the door.)

So what is it about car salesmen? How can they all share this annoying traints? And why aren't there more women?

I found this one van I really like but really don't like the salesman. We'll see how my search goes. If I can get through the salesmen, then we should be driving in a much cooler van in a couple of weeks. After all, if you drive a van, shouldn't it be much cooler?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy, Merry Thanksgiving

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving in Minneapolis this weekend. Since I still don't have a camera, here are some of the highlights...

*We went to Macy's in downtown to go through this Christmas scene. Then we stood in line to see Santa. Jack got stage fright when he actually saw Santa and told him he'd send him a letter instead. (My company has breakfast with Santa next weekend, so we're going to craft the perfect letter this week to hand him personally. How convenient.)
*We went to our first movie as a family, along with Steve's dad and his family. We went to see Bolt, and it was super cute. Anna had a couple of moments, but she made it through. Yeah!
*Jack and Anna got lots of good play time in with Uncle Sam and Aunt Julia. We may not have a huge family, but this just means the kids get extra attention!
*We had Christmas with Steve's dad since we won't see them next month. Jack and Anna LOVED this. Jack got this United States game that Grandma Ginny played with him about 10 times. (What a great grandma!) And Anna got this baby doll and wooden cradle; she took care of it all weekend.
*I couldn't bear the thought of NOT shopping on Black Friday, so I went out to Target in the afternoon and got all my "Toys for Tots" presents taken care of.
*I got to sleep in three mornings in a row, though not because the kids slept late. I just have the most wonderful husband.
*Anna had about 7 pieces of bacon this morning for breakfast. (I figured I should throw that in there because I'm sure she would mention that as a highlight of the weekend.)
*Oh yeah, the actual Thanksgiving dinner! Steve's dad made a fabulous meal, and we'd pretty much cleaned it out by Sunday. Gotta love leftovers.

So yes, we had a great, Thanksgiving weekend. It's so much fun to see my kids growing up and being to play with each other and even unsupervised. We went to a movie, went out to dinner and stood in a looooong line to see Santa. These are all things that would have stressed us out 2 years ago. Now they are just fun. What a great family we have. I'm very thankful for that.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Message from Jack

Jack learned a new turkey song at school. I couldn't post a direct audio file, so I had to upload it into a movie. I just put his song behind this recent photo I took. (He has this tie set, and he wanted to wear it so bad one day!)

In case you don't understand his words, he's saying...

Gobble Gobble said the turkey
Soon it will be Thanksgiving Day.
The way they treat me,
They're going to eat me,
So I better run away.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

No More Babies



It's official. We no longer have babies in our house. Anna turned 3 on Friday. She's a big kid now...wearing underwear and everything.

We had a nice little party for her on Saturday. She got some great presents, including lots of horse-themed stuff and a cool set of princess shoes that she wears all the time. She loved everything, but her princess "bouncy ball" was among her favorite items. That little girl has mastered her bouncy technique with curls boppin' behind perfectly. For anyone looking for a good gift for a little kid, I would highly recommend the bouncy ball.

Here's a picture of her with her new horse, Sal, too. She can climb on him and sit on him. So cute. And her aunt Maggie sent her a cowgirl hat and outfit to complete her look when she rides Sal.

I took the day off on Friday, and we had a great girls' day. I can honestly say that I'm not sad to see my kids get bigger. Sure babies are cute and all, but I don't have that yearning to keep them young. I love watching them grow up and develop. Our weekends are quite pleasant, and the kids can even play unsupervised for short spurts (until someone cries out because the other hit, kicked or took something).

I feel very blessed to have such a great little family!

PS: These pictures are from my iphone. Word has it that I'm getting a new camera for Christmas, so hang in there!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mosaics, Birthdays and Funny Stories

I haven't had a good regular post in a while. Well, following my great run last week, I haven't worked out a single day since then. Ha! A big reason is that I've had this nasty sore throat all last week that was brutal in the mornings. And then now I have this weird earache. But all excuses aside, hopefully I'll get back in the swing of things soon. I've built up my endurance, so I don't want to just lose it.

Today I did a lot of mosaics to finish up some Christmas presents I'm working on. They turned out cool. Jack and Anna even helped me do one of the pieces. That's the beauty of mosaics. It doesn't really matter where you put the pieces, as long as you're not doing a pattern. So they had a blast with that.

Anna's birthday is quickly approaching. I took the day off on Friday to hang out with her, and I think I might be looking forward to it more than her! That girl has been counting down the days to her birthday for a long time, so everyone is excited that it's almost here. (Especially Jack because he knows that it's one more step closer to his!)

Finally, here's my funny story of the week. We were in the drive-thru line at Walgreens, and there were some cars in front of us. We were just sitting there, hanging out. And Anna says, "Dammit cars!" Unfortunately, I have to take credit for that one. It doesn't make me proud, though.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I actually did it!

I really did it...I ran my 5k today. I've been working on it for a few weeks now, exercising and running outside weekly. Last weekend, I ran about 2.75 miles, and then today, I made it to the 3.1.

It was a cold and icky morning, though not as bad as it could have been. The kids went in the stroller on the walking portion with Steve and the grandparents. And my wonderful cross-country coach friend, Rachel, ran with me. She was such a good sport. She stayed with me the whole time, even though I know she could have gone faster. She even talked to me to keep my mind off the task at hand. What a great friend!

My time wasn't anything to brag about, but I finished the whole thing without stopping, which was my goal. I don't expect to be training for a full or half marathon anytime soon, so I might as well enjoy the moment while it lasts.

I celebrated my accomplishment by having a deep tissue massage.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Christmas Wishes

So it might be a little early for Christmas talk, but not in our house. Jack saw something with Santa on it, so he's already been talking about what he's going to ask Santa for.

Last month, he'd decided he wanted a Power Ranger brook and dustpan. (Don't ask me why. I have no idea.) But then now he's decided he wants a white Power Ranger, a gray Power Ranger and a Jack cup. Let me explain what Jack cup is. He had pictures taken at school, and they sent up a mock-up photo of his photo on a cup. Jack was amazed! Now he's sure that Santa will bring him a Jack cup. I'm sure Santa can definitely handle that. Good thing, too, since we'll in Oklahoma when Santa stops by.

Anna, on the other hand, just wants a princess dustpan and princess bucket. She's funny.

By the way, if you people haven't signed up for my giveaway on www.how-tostudio.com, you need to do it! If I'm doing the making, I'd rather do it for someone I know. Though I promise not to "fix" it. I truly draw names for the giveaways.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Costume Contest

I need some voting today. I'm going to enter Jack's Elvis costume (2 years ago; my mom made it) in a photo costume contest. Which of these photos do you like?

I was going to find an Elvis wig, but I figured there was no need to go overboard. The way the contest works is that if you make it through the first round, then it's up to the public's vote.

It really bugs me that some of the photos have random things in the background. D'oh! I should have picked up better before I took the pictures. Maybe Tina can photoshop it for me.



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How-To Guru

Our how-to site is squeaking along slowly. We're not getting a TON of visitors, and I'm still trying to figure out how to promote it. We recently started offering weekly giveaways with our how-tos as incentive for people to visit our site. That seems to be helping, but I don't yet know how to get the big traffic. I think I'd need a major blogger or media site of some sort to do a story on us, and I don't know how to make that happen.

By the way, enter to win a tie dye sweatshirt this week, just by making a comment.

I figure this is a good learning process no matter what. I started out by doing a super simple blog, and now I can add html to make it three columns, change the background, etc., etc.

By the way, if you have any shopping on Amazon to do, please do it through our blog. We get a portion of sales if you enter through our site. Yes, yes, this is cool. But we haven't made any money yet.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween Fun

I'd like to be posting a picture of Jack and Anna in their costumes right about now, but sadly, my camera is gone. Let me back up, though.

First things first...on Friday, I took off a 1/2 day to help out in Jack's classroom. They were having their party that day, and I helped clean out pumpkin goop and such. It was a lot of fun and not crazy at all. The kids were surprisingly well behaved. I NEVER would have paraded 21 kids around the school in and out of all the classrooms, but this teacher did and those kids stayed in line the whole time. Amazing!

Then today was our city's trick-or-treat day. The kids were SUPER excited to get going. And even though it was cold and windy, they barely noticed (until the light freezing rain started...then they noticed). I got some fabulous pictures, but my camera has mysteriously disappeared. Actually, it's not so mysterious. It was in the holder on the stroller, but we think it fell out when we folded down the stroller and loaded it in the van. Steve went right back to try and find it, but it wasn't there. I figure there's a 50/50 chance of whether some punk kid picked it up verses a family. And honestly, if you find a camera, how the heck are you supposed to find out who it belongs to?

Lesson learned: put your phone number on your camera. This is a basic lesson for taking it on vacation and such, but sadly, I never did it. Grrr.

Luckily, I had uploaded my pictures recently, so here's a lovely photo of the kids and Steve with our carved pumpkins.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Birthday to Ash!

Today is my good friend, Ashley's, birthday. Ash is pretty awesome and a super talented news producer and cake maker extraordinaire. She was always the "best dressed" girl of our group in high school. (That "best dressed" award for senior year totally should have gone to you Ash. I think the ballots were fixed.)

It's weird to think about how long I've known her. One of my only memories of kindergarten is being scared on the first day. Then my mom told me that Ashley would be in my class, and that immediately made me happy. (I also have memories of mean Mrs. Cooper, but I won't go into those.)

I was almost always on the same t-ball or softball team with Ash. (Go Dolls!) We didn't hang out much in junior high, but then good old speech class brought us back together. I have many, many, many great memories with Ashley in them. The best thing about Ash is that she appears to be more conservative on the outside, but she's got some great funk hidden underneath. (Though she probably wouldn't choose the word "funk" for herself. Hehe.)

I guess my favorite moment with Ash would have to be performing our dramatic duet, Wings, in high school. (Dramatic duet was just a category for a theatre competition where you had two people perform a 5 to 10 minute routine.) Ash and I didn't like any of the usual dramatic duets out there, so we wrote our own and got it published under a pseudonym by some semi-shady Web site online. I sure wish I could find it now. We did pretty good that year with Wings.

Above all, I feel very lucky that Ash and I are still in touch, even though we went to different colleges and now live in different states. Thanks for keeping in touch, Ash.

And to show how super talented Ash is, here's a picture of one of her cool cakes she makes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Headed to School

Jack's class is having their Halloween party tomorrow at school, and I volunteered to help. I'm taking off 1/2 a day of work to help parade the kids around the school in their costumes and carve pumpkins.

I think I'm more excited than Jack is. It's my first "help at school" day. We're supposed to bring the "healthy" treat for the party, so we put grapes it cute little ghosts bags.

Then Sunday is trick-or-treating in our neighborhood.

I'll try to remember to report on my morning with a bunch of 4-year-olds. Around 10 a.m., I might be thinking, "What have I got myself into?"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Darn that Gymboree

I wanted "puffer" vests for the kids to take their Christmas picture in. I found THE perfect ones on Gymboree, but to buy them, it would have been over $70! I know, insane. But then I was at the mall today and they were on sale. Plus, I just happened to have a 20% off Gymboree coupon in purse that I had pulled out of a magazine the day before. It was like destiny.

I blame Amber for getting me hooked on Gymboree. It's all her fault.

Take a look at Anna's vest in this link.
(Jack's is cute, too, but doesn't have the adorable fur.)

By the way, Steve tells me that you're supposed to wear these vests OVER your coat in the really cold weather. I think he's crazy. He tells me I don't know what I'm talking about and didn't grow up in cold weather. But seriously? These vests are for looks, right? Who puts them on over a coat?!?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gift Idea

Anna's birthday is a month away, but I'm a planner you know. I took the day off to spend with her, and I'm planning to take her to one of those dress up places that you see in the mall and such. We bought her this really cool horse that you can actually climb on from someone on craigslist, but I've been trying to think of one more gift kind of thing that she can open.

I was thinking of having someone on Etsy do a drawing of her (kind of like a caricature). She loves princesses and loves horses, so I was thinking it would be cute to have a picture of her riding a horse in some princess gear.

What does anyone think of this? I could see her totally coveting this picture because it's her. But maybe not. Thoughts?

My blog is a little light right now because of the How-To stuff. It's fun for now, but we'll see if I can keep it up.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

Tina and I had so much fun working together on Mrs. Studevant's auction (we raised about $1,500) that we wanted to find another way to work together. So even though we are both way too busy with general life, we thought of a way.

We started the Web site, www.how-tostudio.com. (Sorry Amber, this tagline got a ton of votes.) We're still figuring it out and how to promote it, but we want it to be a fun, blog-style site that tells how people on Etsy make their cool items. This all started because we've been talking about making our own Christmas gifts ideas, and we started getting some good ideas on Etsy. We thought others would like to see step-by-step projects, too, so that's how How-To Studio started.

Who knows how long the site will last, but isn't it cool for now?!?

Tina is the business girl of the operation...she has an Etsy store started for us where we are actually "selling" our writing and photo services. Such a savvy gal. Then I'm mostly handling the how-to stuff. We have about 4 how-to projects right now...all have been done by Etsy people just helping us out. I hope we actually get others who want to be featured. Otherwise, the site will definitely fizzle. Stay tuned!

Oh, and go make a comment on there, if you don't mind. Then it'll look like we're actually getting activity.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Apples, apples and more apples

We are definitely an apple-loving family. One of our favorite fall activities is going to local apple orchards and picking our own. I've already been once a few weeks ago with just me and the kids. (I love the Honey Crisp apples and they are VERY popular, so you have to go right away when they are ripe.)

Then this weekend we went again because Steve's favorite apple, Galas, were ready. We tried a different apple orchard this time, and it was GREAT! The other apple orchard we usually go to is a little gimmicky. It's nice and cute and all, but they have this kid "play area" that they conveniently charge for. And while I don't mind that so much, you have to pay with tickets. So you have to estimate your ticket needs and such...too much work.

But this new place is great. You actually drive into the orchard, right up to the trees you want to pick from and then get out from there. It's a great family-run place that is truly out in the country.

So between the apples and the Brewers making the playoffs, it's been a good weekend for us. Here are a couple of pictures from our adventures.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Running the Race

On Saturday, Jack and Anna got to do the "fun run." The fun run was total chaos with hundreds of kids around. But at least they held the races by age groups and by heats of 10. Jack and Anna were so excited to participate. Anna ran 25 yards and Jack 50. They both did great and no crying (like some of the little kids early on.) Anyway, there was no "winning," but let's just say that everyone else in Anna's group ate her dust! Jack's race was pretty close, though. Here are some photos. *NOTE: The first picture it's a little hard to see Jack, but he's on the far edge. As his Grandma put it, "That nasty little girl in the striped pants kept crowding him over." :)



Sunday, September 21, 2008

The "poor me" post

WARNING: There might be excessive whining in this post.

I am tired and sore. Today was our half marathon. I didn't think 13 miles would be a big deal, but it is. Well, let me explain. (And here's where the whining comes in.)

First, I have weird feet. I've always known this...it's genetic. I have really high arches and have had bunions ever since I was a kid. So right now as I'm sitting here, the most sore part of my body is the top of my foot, on top of my crazy arches. They are in so much pain.

The second thing is that I suddenly decided that I should run part of the half marathon today. Yeah, I guess it wasn't enough to walk 13 miles. I thought it would be fun to run part of it, too. I'd walk one mile and then run the next. I did this for about 4-5 miles total. But I got really sore as the run went on and just resorted to walking at the end.

But aside from being tired and sore, it was a really good experience. It was really cool to see the full marathon runners pass me toward the end. It's crazy to think they can run 26 miles in the time it takes me to walk 13. There were great volunteers and people cheering the whole way. It was fun to see the community come together for something like that. So it was really cool to be part of the experience. And by the way, my sister-in-law, Maggie, and mother-in-law, Vicki, both did the half marathon with me. They did great, too. Even Vicki with a gimp knee. (Sorry to phrase it that way Vic.)

I once thought I wanted to work my way up to run a half marathon. But I'm starting to think I'll stick to the 5K. I'll blame it on my funky feet. Ask Steve, they are freakish.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gymboree & Birthday Greetings for Tina

The two subjects have absolutely nothing to do with one another, but I have two things to write about tonight. So those are the breaks, kid.

First off, I went to Gymboree tonight. (For those who don't know, Gymboree is like a "cool" kids clothing store. It's not a snobby boutique, but it's definitely a step up from say Target. Though we do love Target, for the record.) Anyway, the kids needed a few more items to complete their fall and winter wardrobes. My friend, Amber, shops here all the time, and I always insisted I wouldn't be sucked in. Guess what? I totally got sucked in...$200 later and $100 worth of "Gymbucks," which you can use for later purchases, I finally left. I gotta say, though...the only way to shop that place is for sale items. I got some really, really good deals on the sale racks. (That's what we always tell ourselves, right?) My super smart friend, Amber, told me seasonal changes are the best time to shop them. She was right.

And by the way Heather, they have some GREAT boy pants in there that aren't just jeans. I was very happy with the selection and think that alone was worth my trip.

Now on to more important business. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TINA!!! She turns 28 tomorrow (Thursday). It's crazy to think my best friend live hundreds of miles away, but that's the case here. Tina and I had some "non-talking" years after high school, but I'm glad we reunited. This girl is a wonderful, giving person. She's the kind of person that would do anything to help you out. Plus, she's this great dresser, smart, crafty girl who is a great photographer. I hope you have a great birthday Tina. Here's a picture of us from the Mall of America. And you know I must especially like her because this is a great picture of her but a lame picture of me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

PTA

I've entered a new area of parenthood. Tonight I went to my first PTA meeting at Jack's new school.

I'm a big advocate of public schools. Coming from a family of educators, I know how hard these teachers and administrators work. So I was all excited to attend my first meeting.

After dropping Jack off in the gym to play, I went into the meeting and was shocked to see only a handful of people. The kids brought home notes in their folders and we even got a reminder phone call at home about the meeting. The "officers" of the group (mostly teachers) were there, and then there were probably 4 to 5 just "regular" parents there. The officers were ecstatic that there were so many parents there. Yes, people. There are more than 300 kids at that school, and the PTA was excited to have 5 parents. Yikes! That's sad, isn't it?

Steve tells me this sounded typical to him, but it seems crazy to me. I mean, it's only one meeting every couple of months. And they provide free child care! Seems like a simple commitment to me, but I don't know. I admit I'm a "joiner" type of person. (Unlike my friend Jamie who simply insists that she is not a joiner.)

Anyway, it was a good meeting. I'm already volunteering to cut Box Top lids or something like that. I don't know. I'm kind of crazy about wanting to help out with that stuff. Since I work full-time, I'm extra sensitive about still getting to do stuff with my kids' schools. So a lot of times, I end up being that overachiever mom. Oh well, it gives me something to do.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Countdown to Half Marathon

I don't know if I've mentioned this, but my mother-in-law talked some of us into walking a half marathon on Saturday. Now it's not like my friend, Amanda, who will actually be running this same half marathon. But still, walking for 13 miles is definitely a commitment.

I've been doing pretty good with running and exercising and whatnot. Some weeks I do great, and then others I don't. But in this past week, I've really been working hard to get my exercising in. It's back to the Jillian DVDs. She's really good at strengthening me overall and improving my endurance. So I hope to stick with Jillian workouts this week. Wish me luck. I fear her more than the half marathon walking!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

One more thing...

By the way. The best part of the story (below) is that my wonderful husband didn't even question me. "Maybe Jack will want to be Spiderman for one Halloween event and then a Power Ranger for another," he said.

He's come to know me well over the years. :)

Yes, I have a problem

I've always been a girl who loves a bargain. I blame my mom; she's the best bargain hunter I know. She used to give us a budget for back-to-school clothes shopping. I learned really fast that my money would buy a lot more if I was a smart shopper.

I don't know what it is about finding a good deal...I think it's because it gives me an immediate feeling of satisfaction. But honestly, the best part of finding a good deal is the hunt! "Bargain" places are just so-so for me. It can be fun, but you're expected to find bargains there. The real pleasure for me is discovering bargains where you don't expect them. For instance, I was at Target today and just happened to find some great jewelry and good-smelling candles (not the stinky leftovers) that were all 75% off. I think it made my whole day.

But back to the title of the post...how I have a problem. I've been searching for craft items at Goodwill lately because I'm planning to make a lot of our Christmas presents this year. Earlier in the week when I was there, I just happened to come across a cute princess dress as well. Well that lucky find of the princess dress led to a horrible obsession of me hitting three more Goodwill stores today. (Jeez, it really was three; I'm kind of embarrassed.)

My sole purpose of going was to find other cool costumes. Not that we need them...my mom is making Anna a princess with wings costume (her request), and I bought Jack a Power Rangers costume off of eBay. But I still went, eager to stock our budding dress-up bin. With all my trips to Goodwill, I ended up with the following:

  • Spiderman costume (dress-up)
  • Dory fish costume from Nemo (I don't know why)
  • Cinderella dress-up dress (dress-up)
  • Fairy dress-up dress with wings (dress-up)
  • 2 pairs of wings (I know someone who needs wings for a butterfly costume, honestly!)
  • 2 Incredibles costumes (because they had 2 and now Jack and Anna can pretend together!)
  • Dalmation costume (won't even fit my kids, it was just so darn cute)
Looking at the list, I'm kind of shocked at my obsession. Of course, it's not like a spent a lot of money on these. But still, I admit it's kind of crazy.

I'll likely end up selling Dory and the dalmation on eBay. Unless anyone out there needs them. (Any takers? Here's your chance!) One thing is for sure, though. We're going to have the coolest dress-up bin around.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

First Day of School

I've been a neglectful blogger. Sorry about that.

Jack started "big kid" school yesterday. He goes for about 2 1/2 hours in the mornings. Our daycare buses him over and then goes and picks him up before lunch. I was excited that I got the chance to experience taking him in for his first day. I was there with all the other proud mothers, cameras and hands and nervous as can be.

Jack did really great until I came to pick him up and I informed him that I would then be taking him back to his old school. "No! You take me home!" he said. The next 1/2 hour went from bad to worse. He did NOT want to go back into his "old school." He cried and screamed and made a big scene. At some point, he even whacked his head on the door because he was trying to keep me from leaving. Looking back, I now realize that I never should have gone to pick him up myself. I should have just let the bus go and pick him up. Oh well, I'll know for next time.

Today, Steve took him into school, and Jack was very excited to tell me about riding the bus to and from school. I think it was the best part of his day. "I get to ride the bus every day, right Mommy?" he asked. I assured him he would, and this made him very happy.

Here are a couple of pictures of Jack on his first day. I had to take one from behind to show how big his backpack is. They insisted on the kids having full-size backpacks to hold library books and folders and such. (Watch out Am; that cute backpack will eventually need to be replaced!)

And just so I'm not leaving Anna out, here's a picture of her in a princess dress-up outfit we found at Goodwill. We were there looking for craft supplies, as I'm on this big kick to make our Christmas gifts this year. When we found this dress and then a leotard with a tutu attached, we just couldn't resist. She love, love, loves them.



Monday, August 18, 2008

Online charity auction

I'm giving a shameless plug to the online charity auction we are holding for my former teacher, who is near and dear to my family. She is facing Stage 4 cancer.

100% of the proceeds will go to benefit her family. There are some awesome jewelry, art prints and more available through this auction. Please take a moment to check it out through our Ebay store. We have over 100 items listed and only about 9 days to raise money. To learn more about our efforts, go to www.helpsolveforx.com.

Here's the link to the auction. You can navigate through the store easily by using the categories listed on the left.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Who Says Girls Can't Pee Standing Up?

Anna is potty training right now. It's going pretty good, considering. She's a very stubborn girl, and she frankly doesn't see the need to suddenly stop what she's doing and conform to someone's demands. But we're making some progress.

HOWEVER, I'm not sure what happened today can be classified as progress. We were at the zoo with a friend of mine. The kids were on the playground when I look up and see a little girl's white butt shinning across the way. Uh-huh. It was my little girl. Her pull-up was at her knees and she was waddling through the crowd. I ran to her and quickly got her decent and ask her WHAT she was doing.

"I'm going to go pee on a tree," she told me.

I was horrified at this response. "No you're not!" I told her firmly.

I offered to take her to the potty, but she just shook her head, and we moved on to the carousel. (We do actually see the animals at the zoo, but this was the end of the trip.) So we go on the carousel and then get ready to leave when my friend, Emily, asks, "Where's Anna?"

If you guessed that my little girl had gone to find a tree behind the carousel, then you'd be exactly right. She found a secluded little area that conveniently had a tree and she leaned her little belly forward and let it rip.

"Wow!" Emily said. "I don't think she got a single drop on herself."

Part of me was proud that she had good technique, but a bigger part of me was mortified. Come to find out, when my mom was here a couple of weeks ago with my nephew, she LET Anna pee on a tree like the two boys.

I made my mom talk to Anna and tell her that it's NOT okay for girls to pee on trees. When Anna got on the phone, she said, "I peed on a tree just like the boys Grandma!"

Oh the joys. :)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Fair Weekend

We had a lot going on this weekend. The State Fair was Saturday, and we had free admission tickets that Steve got.

We got there bright and early and made our way through all of the animal areas within an hour. Then we hit the kiddie rides and invested big bucks in the $20 wristbands that allowed the kids to have unlimited rides. (We figured we'd use it since riding the carousel would have been $8 for 2 kids by itself.)

It was worth it. The kids had a blast going from one kiddie ride to the next. Most of them required you to be 36 inches, so Anna just squeezed in. I never thought we'd have so much fun on the kiddie rides, but I'm starting to think it's better than going to Disney World (at least for rides, that is). When you go to a big theme park, there's usually only 3-4 little kids can do, and of course, they are all packed. But here, there were probably over 20 rides they could do, and there were no lines. Of course, you can do the math and our "free" State Fair tickets ended up costing us plenty with $10 on parking, $40 on wristbands and a little more on food. It was fun, though.

On another note, our friends are in from Singapore and we went to their little girl's b-day party at McDonalds. The kids had a blast...it was their first birthday party that wasn't family, and there were kids EVERYWHERE. Jack kept asking when HE got to have his birthday at Old McDonalds. He was disappointed to find out that Anna, Dad and me all have birthdays before him. Here are a couple of pictures from the fair...


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Girl Who Knows What She Wants


Anna definitely knows what she wants. Today, she wanted to float on her raft in our little tiny pool. She sure had fun. This picture just cracked me up.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Girls' Weekend


I feel very lucky that I'm still able to keep in touch with three of my best friends from high school. To say that we were silly growing up would be a major understatement. For the most part, we were very "good kids," and our mischievous behavior consisted of taking weird pictures at Wal-Mart or driving through Taco Bell and ordering hamburgers. Oh yes, we actually thought we were funny.

Anyway, the four of us came together last weekend after 9 years of high school. We met at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, and we had a blast. (I've never shopped so much in my life.) It's funny to realize how much (and how little) we've changed. We still know each others little quirks, and unfortunately, we still think we are WAY funnier than we actually are. :)

Overall, I must say that I really enjoyed myself with the girls. We're all very different and have various views on politics, religion, etc. But on that same note, we've grown together, too.

We have the news producer who has her life completely organized and shines at everything she does.

We have the stay-at-home mom who is a lot smarter and talented than she'll give herself credit for (even if she lacks the motivation).

We have the dreamer who has yet to fully discover her passion in life, but we all know she'll find a way.

And then there's me. I analyze things too much and can be a little rough around the edges, but the best thing is that these girls take me for who I am. We all do. It's great to have a good group of girlfriends...even if they do live hundreds of miles away.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Stick it to the man

I just posted an article to my sorely-neglected personal blog about credit monitoring services, and how it's really not necessary to pay for those services, given your rights under FACTA. Just trying to save people $10-$50 per month, and maybe interfere with the ability of credit bureaus to profit from their shoddy data handling practices.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

4th of July Fun

Here's a quick late posting of the fun we had on the 4th. I was waiting to get some pictures from the weekend before I posted. Otherwise, it would have been too difficult to describe Jack's pimp hat.


All the kids loved the fireworks.


Anna recently discovered face painting, and she loves it.



And finally, here's Jack in his pimp hat at the parade. It's all furry and feathery. He had a little flag sticking out of it earlier in the day, but once they started throwing candy, he had to get down to business.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Evil Thought

I just had an evil thought. I find it quite hilarious, though I'm not sure everyone else will.

First of all, I should tell you that I'm totally against abstinence. I realize this might upset Amber's mom, so please Amber, do not show this to her. So anyway, I was looking at volunteer opportunities and I saw this one as a facilitator for the Abstinence Coalition. Then I had this thought...wouldn't it be hilarious if I went through the facilitator training and then went to my first class with a bunch of scared kids whose parents forced them there. Then I could start handing out condoms and bananas. Oh man...just the thought cracks me up again.

Oooo, I have an evil mind.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Things You Don't Brag About

Instead of posting how wonderful our weekend was at Steve's dad's house in Minneapolis (which it was), I will instead post on a few things you usually don't brag about. This will be fun. Here we go...

Anna helped pack her suitcase on Thursday night and when we opened it on Friday, we discovered that she threw in an ice cream sandwich. Thankfully, it only made a few spots on her nightgown.

Grandma Ginny took us to Dairy Queen Friday night, and I dropped Anna's popsicle on the ground. Ginny wanted to buy her a new one, but I swiftly wiped off the dirt and gave it to her. Steve had a good argument that she would probably drop it a few more times anyway.

Jack threw a fit at Dairy Queen, so I had to put him in the van to sit quietly. He was sooo mad at me and as I was buckling his seatbelt, he screamed, "damn! damn! damn!" It's like I didn't realize he was mad, so he had to curse the situation. And by the way, I have NO idea where he hears that stuff.

And finally, I can't let all the things be negative, so here's one positive thing thrown in there. On our drive over there, Jack said, "Mommy, when I grow up, could I marry you?" Awwww. What a sweetie!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Going Solo

I finally got to see Sex in the City this weekend. And it was a big step for me. For the first time in my life, I went to see a movie by myself! All my other Sex friends had already seen it. Steve's mom was going to go with me, but I couldn't wait anymore. With so many summer movies out, it might be out of theatres soon.

It was a great, great movie. Love a good girl movie, and this one was especially good because it was funny, too!

So score one for me...first movie going solo. And the best part is that I didn't have to share the popcorn bucket with anyone!

And here's a quick kid story. We love bell pepper slices at our house. But Jack doesn't know them as peppers. He calls them Js because if you cut a bell pepper in half and then cut the slices, you can get perfect little Js. He thinks it's awesome when we have Js.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Just a quick post to say that we had a very good Father's Day. Steve's family came down, and we all went to the Brewers game. And not only did we go to the game, but we thought it would be fun if we did some tailgating, too. We weren't sure how it would go with the four little ones. Though honestly, Ian and Jack aren't so little anymore at 6 and 4.

It went great. The big hit of the tailgating was this chair game that someone invented. They put two lawn chairs 15 to 20 feet apart and then put little chairs in front of that. They then threw the football to aim for the little chairs. It was a blast for Ian and Jack. Here's a picture from the event with Jack and Grandpa Jeff. (By the way...you see Anna in that Sponge Bob outfit? Yeah, she had a cute Brewers skirt and matching shirt on, but she got it soaked by something. So she had to wear these Sponge Bob pajamas for a short bit while her other stuff dried in the sun.)

Game was good (they won), and we even made it through the whole thing!

Thanks to the Dad of our house who is truly a hands-on father. You're a keeper, and we love you.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Oklahoma Top 10

We just returned from our Oklahoma trip. It was a blast. On the way down there, we narrowly missed a tornado (it hit about 30 minutes behind us). Then on the way back, we narrowly missed another one. And then today, we spend the late afternoon in the basement because of tornado warnings around here. All is well, though. Here's a "Top 10" from our trip...

10. Nails. My sweet mother took me to get a pedicure and manicure. I got French tips on my toes, and darn it if I didn’t chip one already because I was swimming at the hotel pool with Jack and Anna. The bottom of the pool will do it every time. I’m planning to hit the store tomorrow to get some white polish to tidy it up.

9. Sleeping. Thanks to my mom wearing out the kids every night, Steve and I got to sleep in every single day. Sure, it wasn’t like we slept until 10 (though Steve did make it until 9 one day). But I don’t think I got up before 7 a single time. Even when the kids got up early, my lovely mother was there with them, making breakfast or doing something else to entertain them.



8. Day in OKC. We went up to OKC because my mom got 2nd place in a “Made in Oklahoma” recipe contest. (Wooohooo Mom!) She was accepting her award, so the kids and I tagged along, went to the zoo (that's Jack and Anna below with cousin, Lockin) and Build-a-Bear. The highlight of this trip is that when we stopped to get lunch, I was handing a $20 to the drive through worker. He didn’t grab it in time and it went blowing away in the wind. I was cursing slightly, but that didn’t stop me from jumping out of the car and running after my money. The wind was blowing like crazy, and it blew the money into the road of a busy intersection. I kept my eye on it and kept running, though. Finally, it blew out of the road into some grass, and I grabbed it. It was quite a hike, though.



7. Dinner at Grandmas. It wouldn’t be a complete visit without Sunday dinner at my Grandma’s house. The kids had fun. I got to see my grandparents. My cousin, Josh, showed me pictures of his recent muddin’ adventure. And the food was SPECTACULAR. No wonder I gain weight when I go home. It’s so worth it!



6. Riding 4-Wheelers. My dad took us out to “the farm” he has where the kids rode with my mom to the little creek nearby. Anna was scared at first to get on them, but she definitely warmed up. (If you want to see the picture of Anna, e-mail me. Here's Jack fishing at the creek.)



5. Pictures with Tina. Tina always takes great pictures, and this time was no exception. I’ll post some more of this another time, but here’s my favorite one of Jack and Anna. I love that you can see Anna’s bellybutton.



4. Arbuckle Wilderness. “Come feed the animals at Arbuckle Wilderness.” That’s the theme song of this drive-through animal park. It was a blast. I was in the front seat, so I was the one feeding most of the animals. A donkey nipped Anna in the hand, but it didn’t hurt her. It gave her a good story to tell. The best animals to feed were the giraffes. They were so amazing and gentle. There was this horrible slobbery one. You should have seen my car after we left that place. It was splattered with giraffe slobber.




3. Day at OU. Steve and I have nostalgic ties to OU. We went to the bookstore at the Union, just across the street from where Steve’s office used to be. Oh yeah, and we stopped at 4 different Sooner stores and loaded up on a TON of t-shirts, sweats, etc., etc. Such good buys!

2. Feeding Rocky. If you read my earlier post, you know that my mom was helping my brother take care of a baby raccoon. The kids ADORED him, and they especially looked forward to feeding him with his bottle. It was really one of the highlights of the trip.





1. Playing in the Pond. Finally, this is the top event of our trip. We spent all kinds of money riding trains, going to the zoo, going to Build-a-Bear, and everything else. But when it came down to it, the thing the kids liked the most was running around and swimming in the pond behind my parents’ house. It was the perfect pond, too because there was this shallow section that was pure mud along the bottom. So they were running around like crazy without having to worry about stepping on rocks or anything like that. You can’t compete with good ole times of playing in the mud.

Cinemark Sucks

I was bummed when I first found out that Sex in the City would be released the weekend we were leaving to Oklahoma. I really wanted to go on that first night. I love, love, love that series and couldn't wait to see the movie.

I didn't fret for long, though. I soon realized that my good friend Tina in Ada was also a Sex fan. We could go together! My plan seemed so perfect. Now I could go to the movie with a real, bona fide fan.

Tina and I had plans to go to the movie on Wednesday night. So we met at Starbucks beforehand and then sashayed over to the movie promptly at 7. We stand in line, wait our turn and then politely inform the lady that we need two tickets to the hottest show in town. She gives us this scared chuckle and replies, "Oh, I'm sorry. That movie is broken. We should get a new copy in a few days."

At which I reply...."Are you kidding me? Why don't you have a sign up? You should really warn people."

I was soooo mad. How hard would it be to put a nice little sign on the billboard out front that says it's temporarily out of order?!? Well, apparently it is too hard for the Cinemark staff. It looks like someone helped them out later that night, though. I have NO idea who would have printed out that sign and stuck it up there, but we couldn't resist taking a picture. Don't worry. It didn't last long. There was a church group there, and I'm pretty sure one of the chaperons ripped it down. It got some good laughs, though.


Monday, June 02, 2008

My Grandma's raccoon can beat up your Grandma's raccoon

I couldn't resist a quick post while we're in Oklahoma. After all, it's not every day that a kid can brag that their Grandma has a pet raccoon.

His name is Rocky. He's not really a pet, but my mom did know some people who started looking after four baby raccoons after their mom died. He's such a cute little thing right now and wouldn't hurt a thing, though I'm sure he'll get mean later on. They plan to let him go once he's a little older. The kids love, love, love him and check on him every few minutes. They even help Grandma feed him with his bottle.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Oklahoma, here we come...

Just a quick post tonight.

Today Jack said, "Mom, I was just kidding." And then when it was bedtime and was talking to him, he said, "What-Ever."

Really!?! Where do they learn this stuff.

Of course, one of my favorite things is that recently Anna said, "Jeepers, Creepers," which is a total Steve phrase.

Kids really do say the darndest things.

Can't wait for the Sex in the City movie. I've been watching all my old episodes in preparation.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Weekend

Memorial weekend was great. Sunday was rainy, but other than that, we had really nice weather. We were "Up North" at Steve's parents' cabin in northern Wisconsin. There was some boat riding, shopping and of course, fishing. I'm not a big fisherperson, as I don't like pinching the worms or taking the fish off the hook. But Steve is a great dad and he was up for the challenge. They didn't actually catch any fish, but Jack had a great time all the same.

Jack had so much fun Up North that he was sobbing when we left. "But Jack," I said. "Dixie missed you (his cat). Don't you want to see her?"

"Nooooo!" Jack said. "I didn't miss her! I want to stay at Grandma's house!"

It was a good weekend, though. I love short work weeks. I think all weekends should be three days! Now we have to quick do laundry and gear up for an Oklahoma trip coming up soon. Here are some pictures from fishing. The one of Anna cracks me up. She's holding the worm container, and it looks like she's saying, "ewwwww."




Sunday, May 18, 2008

Horsey Day

Yesterday we went to Robin's house, who I work with, to ride his pony. His wife, Kathy, is amazing with the kids. We were there with another co-worker of mine and his two girls. It was a lot of fun. Anna does have a problem staying still. I swear, I must have turned around 20 times to ask, "Where did Anna go?" She likes to be on the move at all times. At one point, she disappeared again. We looked out across the field and saw her standing in the middle of the other group of horses that we weren't riding. That girl has no fear. Thank goodness they are tame, well-behaved horses. Here are some pictures from our adventure...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Jillian kicked my butt!

I'm on this 30 day workout challenge that I put myself on. I just finished Day 20, only 10 more to go. I've been doing pretty good overall. Good cardio on the elliptical and whatnot.

But then last week I was starting to get bored, so I ordered the Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred DVD. For anyone who doesn't know who she is, she's one of the trainers on The Biggest Loser. She's awesome...very tough but nice at the same time.

Her 30-Day Shred has three levels, and it's only a 20-minute workout. I figured it would be no problem. Yeah right. 20 minutes means she squeezes everything out of you that she can because you're not doing a longer workout. It's almost like punishment.

I made it about 16 minutes before I quit. It was pretty hard. I thought I would be fine because I had been doing my cardio, but I totally crumbled. Jillian has this 3-2-1 method. Three minutes of strength, two minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs. She explains how this is the optimal was to actually lose.

Well, I believe it. It's also the torturous way to lose. In all honesty, it's kind of fun that it kicked my butt because now it gives me something to work toward. Now I just want to make it through a whole workout. It might be weeks before I move to the next level!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Good Mom Day

I had a great Mom Day. It started off by sleeping until almost 8, which is a big deal for me. Then I came out to the dining room where Jack was soooo excited to give me my present. I got a bright red fire truck from the kids. Jack picked it out last week with Steve. In fact, they came home from picking it up on Thursday, and Jack swore he wasn't going to tell me what they got me. "It's a secret!" Jack said. But about an hour later, he broke down and said, "Mommy. We got you a fire truck, but you can't see it because it's in Daddy's trunk."

Steve got me a season's pass to the Broadway Across America series that comes to town. I'm excited for that.

My good friend from college, Jessica, was in town today, and I got to hang out with her. Then after she left, we went bowling as a family. Now that was entertaining. And I was kind of impressed with how good Jack and Anna did. They didn't so much roll the ball, but they did a great job of chunking it down the lane.

So a great Mom Day for me. I feel very blessed to have such a wonderful family. Steve is a great dad, and the kids make me smile about 50 times a day. Every day, I look forward to Anna waking up and coming into the room with her blanket over her head. (She thinks this make her invisible, and she loves to sneak up on us.) Also, Jack always gives me kisses before I leave to go to work. Many mornings, he even gives me 4 kisses, which he slowly counts one at a time.

Finally, I may be a working mom (which can be hard at times), but then again, I have something to look forward to every single day. When 4 o'clock rolls around, I'm always eager to leave work because I get warm, running hugs and excited grins. And you can't beat that. I love being a mom.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Lag in Postings

I blame Amber for my lag in postings. She's my favorite blogger that I read regularly, and when she has fewer posts, it directly affects mine. I only have a few loyal followers, though, so I guess it's okay.

Tonight we had a little incident with Jack. Anna and I were playing out in the toy room before Steve was home. Then I heard the door shut in the back bedrooms, but I didn't think much of it. (Okay, I really should have, but I didn't.) I thought Jack was just in his bedroom. Pretty soon, a door opens and the smell of nail polish comes wafting through the house. That's when my heart sank. (As a side note, I painted Anna's finger and toenails this morning. She loves, loves, loves her fingers painted. It brings such joy to her little life.)

Well, Jack doesn't get his fingers painted, and this makes him mad, mad, mad. We've tried to nicely explain that boys don't really get their fingers painted, and he's not buying it. He thinks that it's all okay as long as boys use blue polish.

So by now, I'm sure you've figured out that Jack was painting his fingernails behind closed doors. He was in the bathroom, and the ENTIRE tips of all his fingers were covered in polish. And, the bathroom floor also had a fair amount of mango polish on it as well. Jack knew he was in trouble because right away he kept saying, "I'm sorry Mommy. I'm sorry Mommy."

It took a fair amount of scrubbing to get the polish off him and the floor. Here are a couple of photos of my painted kids. Anna is proudly displaying her nails, but she closed her eyes right when I took the photo. And then Jack couldn't help but display his nails where the polish used to be.

Some days are such adventures...


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Hair, Butterflies and More

So my hair experience (from a week ago) was great. It was this very cool, urban salon, but they weren't all stuck up and fancy. They put in very mild blonde and brown highlights. I can tell a difference; they just give more dimension to my hair. But if you didn't know I had them done, you wouldn't really notice so much. I don't think they have my review up, but when they do, I'll pass it along.

In other adventures, we went to the Milwaukee Public Museum on Sunday to see the butterflies at the butterfly house. The kids LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the experience. However, we did have a small problem. Jack loved the butterflies so much that he had that "love-ya-wanna-squeeze-ya" problem. Actually, squeeze isn't quite the right word. If the butterflies wouldn't crawl on his hand by their own free will rather quickly, then Jack would just pick them up by their wings. It was an ongoing battle, trying to teach him about being gentle.

Finally, I tell Jack we're going to have to leave because he's not being very nice. This makes him very upset. "But I love the butterflies, Mommy! They are my friends. I want them to go home with me."

To avoid being known as the butterfly-killing family, we went ahead and left. Though I did catch Jack just in time as he was "gently" placing a butterfly in his pocket. Whew! Rough times.

Steve comes home tonight from being in Vegas. We're pretty excited. Then in a month, we'll be driving to Oklahoma. We're looking forward to a fun May and then a trip to Grandma's. Fun times ahead!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Too Good to Be True

I recently came across a listing that a friend of mine pointed me out to about a company looking for "spa reviewers." I quickly scanned the listing. They mentioned they would prefer writers with some kind of beauty background, and then they invited you to send in your resume and writing samples.

I figured it was worth a shot, so I sent everything off. A few days later, I heard from this person from www.prettycity.com. They chose me as one of their reviewers! I'm pretty ecstatic. Here's the way it works: They send out e-mails to their reviewers in the area, and the first person to respond gets the "job." You go to the spa or salon, all services and gratuities are taken care of on the spot and then you get paid $75 once you turn in the review. Ha! I'm actually going to get paid for going to the spa!

My first assignment is tomorrow. I'm going to this really chic salon where I will be having a cut and color. Yikes! (This is the same girl who has only had color one other time in her life.) I'm excited, though. I talked to the person who assigns, and she said the spa/salon ratio is pretty even. She also said I could just respond to the ones I'm interested in. So, I am so excited. If anyone has any tips or ideas for how to do my hair, bring it on.

!!!!!!!!!!

(See my excited exclamation marks!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Life with Rex

Jack has decided to be a dog most of the time he's at home. He thought it would be nice to have a doggie name, too, so we named him Rex. In fact, if he's in his dog mood, don't you dare call him Jack. That makes him mad, and he'll only answer to Rex.

Rex even fetches, too. Throw him the ball, and then he'll go and get it and bring it back.

Anna didn't want to feel left out, so sometimes she'll pretend to be a dog, too. Her dog name is Cindy.

Isn't imagination great?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Inventors Galore

I'm back from my weekend in Chicago with my mom and aunt. As a reminder, we were there for the Everyday Edisons' casting call for inventors. My aunt was the one with an actual invention, and then my mom and I came up with ideas so we could join her.

None of our ideas were picked, but that's okay. The real fun of the event was seeing all the other crazy inventor people there. I was so entertained by the whole thing that I even started making a list on my iPhone of bad invention ideas. I'll admit that my idea wasn't groundbreaking. (My idea was a "Nanny Pack" where you put together fun games, toys, etc. all in one bag to entertain kids.) But some of the people at the casting call were just crazy. Here are some of my favorite unusual ideas of the day.

*One person had the idea of having this mystery ball. When you turn it over, it gives you inspirational messages like "You can do it," "Success is in your future soon," and stuff like that. (Anyone thinking Magic 8 ball here?)
*The same person wanted to present a second idea about how you can make Ramen noodles in a cup. Hmmmm.
*One woman wanted to put HARD, PLASTIC organizers in the bottom of a purse, so you can transfer them from purse to purse. Okay, this sounds good in theory, but who has hard, plastic organizers in the bottom of a purse?!? Weird.
*One guy created an elastic strap that goes OVER a baby's head to hold its bottle. This way, he said, the parent doesn't have to get up to give the baby its bottle back if it drops it. (There are so many things wrong with this one. I just don't know where to begin.)

So, yes. There were some crazy inventor people. But we sure had a lot of fun. And after we got done standing around in lines for most of the day, we still had time to go to Navy Pier. And after that, we went to a sketch comedy show at Second City. (That's where a lot of comedians and Saturday Night Live people have come out of.)

Good weekend overall. Here's a picture of us riding the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Little cutie

As you can tell, Anna loves her dress, shoes, purse and umbrella. Jack is a big fan of the umbrella, too. I can tell this umbrella is going to break pretty soon. Luckily, we know a certain grandma who will be going to San Francisco next month. If she makes her way to Chinatown, maybe she could pick up a few of these $1.99 umbrellas. :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

San Francisco!

Steve and I are back from our long weekend in San Francisco. We had a blast. Sadly, my camera was dead so I only got pictures with my iphone. But never fear, we were there with our friends Troy and Danielle.

Danielle got great photos, so I'll share them when she gets back. She's still in Napa, enjoying some great wine.

I saw Chinatown where I got Anna this great classic dress with matching shoes, a purse and a "pretty" umbrella. (She LOVES it and even insisted on taking everything to bed with her.) Then we saw Fisherman's Wharf where the seals hang out and you can see Alcatrez. Yesterday, we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge and into Muir Woods just outside of San Francisco. It was so peaceful in the woods. I loved it!

So all in all, it's been a great trip. Now I'm gearing up for next weekend. My mom and aunt are flying in, and we're all going to "audition" for this invention show on PBS. The auditions are down in Chicago. Did I mention this to anyone?

Yep, my aunt has a truly great invention. And my mom and I just threw together a couple of ideas so we can all stand in line together. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Crazy, Nutty, Expensive Weekend

My crazy weekend started on Saturday. I had this children's writing luncheon to go to. I'm not a big fan of these luncheons to begin with, but that's another story. But I had already paid for the luncheon and I was going to hear this young editor from a big publishing house, so away I went.

Everything was going fine...I had my cute spring blazer on and I was driving Steve's car with a GPS. And then I get pulled over. The dumb cop in this fancy little neighborhood pulled me over for going 30 in a 15. (For the record, do you know how HARD it is to go 15 mph, especially in a sporty, manual sedan? It's hard!)

I was really annoyed because he first called me "sir," but didn't apologize for it. Then while he's writing me a ticket, he stops a bunch of male bike riders for breaking some other dumb law. But does he ticket them? No! At this point, I'm pretty sure that the cop hates all women. And not only that, but I'm crying. Actually, crying would be an understatement. I'm actually blubbering. The cop takes about 30 minutes to finish my ticket because of all this delay. And by this time, I'm past "fashionable late" for the luncheon. And, I can't stop crying. So even if I were to go late, I would have caused quite a scene. (I'm one of those ugly criers. My whole face gets red and blotchy.) So I went to the mall, got the kids some shoes and then went home. Lame, lame.

To be honest, the ticket wasn't that bad. It was under $100 and "no points," which is good. I was silly for getting so worked up, but whatever.

On a better note...the whole family we went to the Brewers game today (Sunday). It was really busy and packed, but we lucked out and got the end seats on a back row. Score! They kids made it until the 7th inning. Not bad at all. Our goal was to see the Sausages race (Brewers tradition), and we made it. Here are some of my favorite moments of the day...

*Anna was eating peanuts when I realized she wasn't actually swallowing them. Somewhere in the 5th inning, she opened her mouth and spit out a huge mouthful of peanuts into my hand. Gross!
*The Brewers mascot is Bernie, and he stands up on this big platform, waiting to slide down a giant slide when they hit a homerun. Jack was watching him like a hawk, and he kept waving to him and shouting, "Hi Ernie! Are you going to slide?"
*We went up and played in the kids area for a while, and Jack was helping Anna get up on the places that were too high for her. He waited patiently for her, and if someone tried to push her around, Jack would go back there to fight for her to get through. It was sure cute.
*When we came back from playing, Jack was mad at Steve for eating all the peanuts. He promptly demanded they get more.

That's about it for out weekend. Next weekend, Steve and I will be in San Francisco, and Steve's mom is kindly coming down to watch the kids. I can't wait to go!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Sore Loser

I'm going to admit it. I don't like to lose. And not only that, but I hate to lose at Scrabble.

Steve and I have been playing Scrabble for years. No wait. Let me rephrase that. Steve has been beating me at Scrabble for years. It's very frustrating. No matter how hard I try, I never win. And like I said, I don't like losing. In fact, I'm such a bad loser that Steve often swears that he'll never play me again...ever.

Now some of you might wonder, "What's the problem? Why can't you win? Aren't you a writer and editor? Don't you work with words every day?"

Well, yes. Yes I do. But my crazy wordsmith of a husband was an English major. And apparently English majors conquer Journalism majors.

So this weekend, I convinced Steve to play Scrabble with me once again. It's probably been 2 or 3 years since we've played. That's how bad of a loser I am. I pout (and sometimes yell), so Steve doesn't like to play. And he certainly isn't going to let me win. So we're playing and everything is going fine until I play a word that really isn't a word. I tend to do this. I convince myself that a word is really a word, and I "take a chance." It usually doesn't pay off, which means Steve challenges me and then I lose my turn. This is when I turn into Evil Stacy. Losing your turn in Scrabble is the worst thing EVER! It's very hard to come back from. Needless to say, I lost. In fact, I lost twice this weekend. The second time, he didn't even challenge my fake work of "redot." You know, like to dot your i's. So then you would need to redot them. (By the way, I looked it up Steve and it's not a word!)

Sadly, I was a sore loser, and Steve says he's never going to play me again. I feel bad for turning into Evil Stacy. (Sorry sweetie!) I hope that one day I can beat him at Scrabble. But I think I'm going to have to figure out how to get him to play me again first. Until then, I'm going to study up on my Q, Z, X and J words.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Little Bit of Princess in Everyone

Anna has never been a girly girl. Of course, she is only 2, so I don't want to stereotype her just yet. But she's always been my little independent, outspoken little baby and girl.

I never wanted to push the frilly stuff on her just because she was a girl. But it just goes to show that kids will develop however they want. Jack, for example, was never a truck boy. But he sure loves music and making up stories. Isn't it funny how they develop personalities early on?

Anyway, Anna just recently started demonstrating some major princess behavior. I think it started when we watched the move, Enchanted. This is the Amy Adams movie where she goes from being a cartoon princess to a real-life one in New York City. I know it sounds silly, but it's actually pretty good. Well, Jack and Anna love this movie. Anna especially gets a little twinkle in her eye when she watched princess Giselle. She even does the dance motions when Giselle breaks out in song.

Then the princess behavior continued when Steve got her some pajamas that are in the gown/dress style. Anna recently decided that she didn't want her feet covered at night anymore, and Steve is eager to please his little girl. I think Anna would wear these dress pajamas all day if we let her. So we'll see how this princess thing develops. She still doesn't want me doing much with her hair to make it pretty. And she's certainly not timid. But it's fun to see kids grow up and develop.

I'm still trying to get a good video of her doing the motions and dancing. Stay tuned...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter with Snow

I think I jinxed the weather with my recent lovely Spring posting. This Easter weekend, we were greeted with roughly 2 feet of snow. So instead of a lovely, sunny Easter egg hunt on Saturday, we went to an Easter egg hand out at a local school. We actually thought they were still going to "hide" the eggs in some way, and were quite disappointed to find out they were just handing out plastic bags instead.

But we didn't let it get us down! We had a blast coloring eggs. Then I got woken up at 7 this morning because the kids were SOOOO excited. The Easter Bunny hid eggs in our basement, and they couldn't wait to find them.

This afternoon, we went outside and made snowpeople. Of course, if I were talented, they would have been snow bunnies. But I'm not. However, we did use celery for the arms, plastic Easter eggs for eyes, carrots for the ears and an Oreo cookie for one of the noses.

Last year during Easter, it was snowing and cold. This year, we were covered in snow. I swear, one of these years it's going to be nice. Otherwise, I told Steve we'll just have to go to Oklahoma for Easter one year.