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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Still not so much in the Christmas Spirit

I thought by now I would be all excited about seeing the kids on Christmas morning, drooling over everything that "he" brought. I'm not. I had hoped that wrapping the gifts and opening another tab in the Christmas countdown calendar would make me feel all Christmasy. It didn't.

I think it's a combination of things, really. I've been sick for a while and they can't see to pinpoint the cause. It's really wearing me out, whatever it is. I barely have enough energy for the most important things each day.

My parents are going through a divorce that is already ugly (well, it was ugly for years before they finally decided to put an end to the madness).

Doug's family is simply a mess and now they're taking it out on us. He had a nice chat with his mother on Sunday (his birthday) and she informed him that she was sick of him acting like he was too good for everyone because we decided not to drive down there for Christmas (however, they were invited here).

A good friend started chemo this month for Lymphoma, which really puts things into perspective.

We're having more behavioral problems with Charlie and we've run out of ideas for helping him. His anger is getting worse and I feel like we're part of the problem, but I can't figure out exactly what we're doing to cause it.

Work has been really crazy and, well, interesting. We'll just leave it at that.

And we're having this horrible potty battle with Elizabeth. It was her idea to start potty training, but now she doesn't want to do it, which would be fine with me, except that the diapers are now giving her the worst diaper rash I've ever seen. Think completely raw skin ALL over (not just the hiney part). Doug doesn't like to put her in underwear during the day because then he has to be vigilant about making her go to the bathroom, which he doesn't care for. So I get the pleasure of hearing her scream bloody murder when I try to bathe her and wash the "area".

So, it's not the most festive of holiday seasons. I'm trying, though, to muster up the excitement for the kids. It really is about the kids anyway.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Acting Debut

They practiced for weeks. He learned 3 different parts before the settled on who would play what. He wouldn't tell us anything during the weeks leading up to the big day. And then it was time.

As parents, grandparents, and siblings packed into the church's All-Purpose room, we awaited the highly anticipated performance. Charlie was among the first 2 kids to come out. He sat in a chair on stage in the cutest little costume. He was a "visitor". He took his job very seriously, with a huge smile, waving and giving us the thumbs up the entire time. It was finally time for his big part. He stood up and pointed to Bethlehem. Then sat back down.

Well, no wonder he has been bored the last few weeks in school. While everyone else had parts where they walked up on the stage and did stuff, Charlie had to sit on stage and do nothing. For Charlie, this is no small task. I'm not saying his part was any smaller than the rest, but they surely did not pick the best part for him. Apparently, he was supposed to be a shepherd, but the kid who originally was playing the visitor couldn't sit still. So they picked Charlie to do that part instead. Have they met my son? I was stunned when I saw him sitting like a little angel up on stage. Not getting up and running around. Not trying to talk to everyone. Not sticking his hands in his pants (he gets that from his father, by the way). Just sitting there, so sweet and innocent. Aside from the goofy faces he was making, he was actually following direction like a champ! He'll probably learn to regret that, however. Now I know he can sit still for 30 minutes.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

How to stay sane through the holidays

The holidays can be a wonderful time filled with family and friends, good food and gifts, memories and laughs. Sometimes, though, the holidays mean living through the freak show you are legally bound to call your family. So, if you fall into the latter category, here are some tips to stay sane through the madness.

1. Keep a well-stocked liquor cabinet. You will surely need this to unwind after a gruesome get together that includes pregnant swinger cousins, a weed smoking aunt, and a sister who doesn't think it's her responsibility to watch over her own children.

2. Have lots of chocolate on hand. This will mask the pain when your mom threatens to come and take your 2-year-old's furniture from her bedroom just to 'stick it' to your dad. Yea...that'll get him.

3. Have a code word with the one you love. This code word will come in handy when you just can't take another story from your husband's cousin about how hard it is to be a single parent and how she never thought she'd be divorced, even though you saw it coming a mile away, and you need to get outta there.

4. Be yourself and have fun. You're never going to please everybody. Someone will always feel that you wronged them in some way. You might as well have some fun while you're at it.

I hope these tips serve you as well as they have served me. Whether you love your family or simply put up with them, have a great holiday season. And remember, you can't spell 'families' without 'lies'.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A good indication that it's going to be a bad day

I just had a pretty lengthy blog post written when my Internet Explorer crashed. Apparently the "autosave" feature in blogger is not functioning properly because only 1 word was still there when I got IE back up and running. I may rewrite it later, but for now, I'm just stewing. Surely a great day lies ahead (said with dripping sarcasm).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ho Ho...Oh Whatever

I can't put my finger on the why, but I am so not in the holiday spirit this year. It's odd though, because this is the first year we've been invited to holiday parties outside of our families. We even hosted my company's holiday party this past weekend. I'm even trying to pull together a last minute cookie exchange with the neighbors. But my heart isn't really there.

For example, last year, I went way overboard with gifts for the kids. They're 5 and 2, so Christmas is a big deal for them. I was all into the buying and the wrapping and didn't care how much I was spending (that particular feeling went away by January when the kids had stopped playing with any toy brought by Santa). But I was happy to do it because it just felt so good.

This year, not so much. We scaled way back on the gifts, partly because Charlie needs to learn that he can't simply get everything he wants. This problem is somewhat our fault and somewhat the fault of all his grandparents, but we know we have to nip it in the bud. The other part of why we pared down the list is because it just doesn't sit well with me to spend hundreds of dollars (on a gift for ANYONE) in the name of a holiday. Doesn't anyone remember what Christmas is actually supposed to be about? In my little corner of the world, that answer is a resounding NO.

I don't want to teach my kids that we have to go into debt to satisfy the selfish wants of others for Christmas. Granted, I love seeing my kids' excited faces on Christmas morning as they tear away the wrappings to find the toy they've longed for all year. But in my kids' cases, these things will be things they've only craved for about 2 weeks, when I finally told Doug that we need to stop buying things because it's almost Christmas! It's not his fault; he loves to see Charlie's face when he receives a new CARS car or Star Wars figure. He gets SO excited. But I say, enough is enough.

So this year, I hope my Bah Humbugs aren't loud enough to sadden anyone else's Christmas celebrations. Maybe it's another symptom of the phantom illness. Who knows? In any event, this year, just call me Scrooge.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Is it just me?

Wednesday, I went to a new doctor. It was an initial visit that was supposed to take up to 2 hours, but I had no idea why so long. I was stunned to hear the reception staff (there were probably 6 of them at the front desk) discussing other patients, by name, completely in earshot. While I'm not a huge fan of HIPAA, nor do I care if my particular health information stays private (if you really want to know about it, you've got way too much time on your hands and will probably be very disappointed), I thought this was very odd given the laws. But I brushed it off. So I go back to the room with the nurse. She leaves the door hanging wide open while she asks me many questions about my history. Again, this really didn't bother me, I thought it was strange. Whatever.

So the doctor comes in. In this particular office, there are 3 doctors. Two are American and one is some kind of foreign with a heavy accent. The odds must have been against me because I get the very difficult to understand foreign doctor. It was a struggle the entire time to figure out what he was asking me. And he had to perform a slew of tests that involved him asking me to do different things. He had to repeat himself many times. This was very frustrating, but not as frustrating as what came next.

The doctor was in the middle of asking me a question when his cell phone rings. He answered the phone and left the room for 10 minutes!!! When he came back, he didn't say, "Boo" about it! I was so angry! Then he tells me to get undressed and put the robe on, blah blah blah. He said he'd be back in a minute. He went into the room next door and proceeds to make a phone call. He came back 20 minutes later!! Does he honestly think it takes me that long to get undressed? I doubt it; I guess he's into multitasking. Anyone who knows me well knows I can appreciate that and, in fact, encourage that. But when I'm scared, frustrated, freezing cold, and in the middle of my initial visit with a new doctor, I would think he'd be a little more respectful of my time.

The girl who took my blood must have been new. It took at least a half hour to get my blood drawn. Dang. It's never taken that long. And I'm still hurting from it.

Overall, a pretty disappointing experience. What is it with some doctors today? Is it just me? Am I the only one who expects a little more from these insanely paid doctors? I think not!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Funeral

Yesterday was my grandma's funeral. I am not big on funerals; partly because I don't like to show my emotions to anyone, really, and partly because I don't really like the whole funeral process. Of course I went, though, because I was supposed to. And because my dad had already volunteered me to read at the mass.

The only word I can use to describe the day is "comical". I know that this is not a word most would think of when describing a funeral, but, believe me, it's the most appropriate word. Yes, I am sad to see grandma go, but she was 93 and we all knew it was coming. While that does not make it any less sad, I think most had been grieving for the few weeks prior. So there were a few tears, but it was not an overwhelmingly sad day. And we all knew that grandma would want us to be happy because she was finally back with grandpa, and heck, that's all she has ever wanted for the last 9 years. So she's definitely happier now.

Back to the comical day. So first, my uncle's girlfriend announces that I really should go and rummage through grandma's basement because there is some really nice jewelry there. She then proceeds to show me the bracelets she "stole" (her word, not mine). Um....the woman is not even in the ground yet and she's already taking her jewelry? This is comical to me because it's just her. That's just what she does and doesn't see anything wrong with it.

Then, Kathie shows up. We all knew she would, as appearances are her top priority. So she is going down the line, hugging my uncle and cousins. She proceeds to pass right over me and hug each of my brothers. My older brother noticed as well and gives me this look like, "what just happened here?" She looks over a minute later and says, "Amy! I didn't recognize you; you look so good!" Ahh..nice to have you back, mom. I'd almost forgotten how complimentary you could be. Comical.

Another aspect I found quite comical is how we all sort of found out who our true friends are yesterday. You can always tell who they are in a situation like that. Because they come to support you. My dad mentioned a couple who did not come and he seemed a bit surprised. This couple had been best friends with my parents since high school. They knew my grandma well and didn't even bother to call or show up. Nice friends, huh?

Otherwise, the funeral served as a nice family reunion. Even though most live in the area, we still never see them, for one reason or another. I'm sure the old excuse of "I'm so busy" comes into play a lot, but it shouldn't. I think grandma would want us to make time to see our family. So this becomes one of my goals for 2009 - to visit with family members more often.

Thanks grandma for bringing these things into perspective. You've helped me more than you will ever know.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Remembering Grandma

My grandmother died yesterday morning. She was 93...it was expected. I'm actually surprised she held on this long. Unfortunately, my last memory of her was not great.

I went to see her at the hospital with my dad. She didn't look good at all. She was sitting in a chair next to the hospital bed with a tray full of uneaten food in front of her. She had completely stopped eating and it was obvious. We knew her memory was not good and that she had a habit of asking the same questions over and over again. We humored her anyway. But when she started talking about the wedding, that's when the discomfort set in for me and I knew she was getting worse.

It was a rainy Saturday evening. She asked about how the weather had been. Dad said it had been nice earlier. She said how nice it would be for the wedding. Both my dad and me were a little unsure of what she was talking about, but we kept on. Then she began asking about how we were getting to the wedding and where we were staying. She even went on to say that she didn't have anything to wear to the wedding and she couldn't believe she even came for the wedding. She also pointed out how excited she was to see my kids at the wedding. At this point, I knew she had lost it.

What wedding was she talking about, you ask? Well, we're not really sure. We do know that she wasn't talking about any recent wedding, that's for sure. My dad's guess was that she was probably remembering some other wedding that we all had to travel for. My cousin was married like 6 years ago and we all had to travel. Maybe that's what she was remembering.

She was a different woman back then. It's hard to believe that 6 years can age a person that much. But, I guess at that age, 6 years is like a lifetime. No one could believe that she was as old as she was. She got around great; no walker, sound mind, no health problems. Not your normal 80-something senior citizen. I remember always thinking how I wanted to be like that when I was old and gray.

But the woman I saw 2 weeks ago was not the lively woman still making tons of Christmas cookies each year, humming while she baked and cleaned. She's the one who first showed me the Golden Girls. Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE the Golden Girls. I still remember sitting in "grandpa's" chair, eating Snyder's cheese pretzels, while grandma sat on the couch. We watched the Golden Girls together every time I stayed overnight there. Grandpa couldn't hang that long like the girls. So we stayed up "late" and did our girl thing. I thought it was so neat that she actually wanted to stay up with me to watch TV. That's something Kathie never would have done....even if I had begged her (but I knew better than to do that).

No, the woman I saw 2 weeks ago was frail and had trouble swallowing water. It was very hard for me to see her like that and I almost wish I hadn't. I wish I could hang on to only those happy memories. But now, I have that 1 not so great memory barging in whenever I think happy grandma thoughts. I'm sure it made her feel better to see me before she took her final nap, though, so that makes it all worth it.

I miss you grandma. I hope you find true happiness where you are now. You will always be my Golden Girl.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What a weekend

My Saturday morning began like many other Saturday mornings. Charlie woke us up at 7am telling us how incredibly hungry he is. (We have tried, on numerous occasions, to tell him that if he would simply eat dinner, he would not be so hungry in the morning. He does not like to listen to us, so he very rarely eats dinner.) So far, normal Saturday. I always fall for that alarm he sounds because, well, I'm a mom. The kid wants to eat. It's my responsibility to feed him. So I get up and get him some breakfast. Doug finally rolls out of bed like an hour and half later. I was extremely jealous (I know, I know...love is not supposed to be jealous, but come on! He gets to sleep in until 8:30? That is so not fair!), but I just let it go. So around 9, we decide to go wake up sleepy head (i.e. Elizabeth). She normally does sleep later than the rest of us, but that day, it was much later.

We went in and were having trouble getting her to get out of bed. She was limp and wasn't moving a whole lot. We managed to get her dressed, but she definitely wasn't herself. We called the doctor's office and they said to take her in (thank goodness for the after hours pediatric center). Doug took her in and I stayed with Charlie. He said at the dr. she turned blue in the face and they were about to take her to Hershey Med. Instead, they called Hershey and said it was her blood sugar. Her blood sugar was at 30. For those who are like me and didn't know the significance of that number, when it gets as low as 60, an ER trip is warranted. So hers was very low. After eating some food and drinking some milk, they got it back up to 130. Much better. Talk about scary!

They diagnosed her with ketotonic hypoglycemia. Apparently this is something small children can get where their blood sugar drops super low after not eating for a while. So now we have to monitor her blood sugar weekly to make sure it's within normal range. We haven't gotten full instructions yet, but I assume this will mean she will have to have more scheduled eating habits. The good news is that they grow out of it. I'm so glad this will not be something she has to deal with as a teenager or an adult. It doesn't sound like it's too big of a deal, thank goodness.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

MIR Sure Deodorant

Click here for a printable MIR form for Sure with Natural Extracts or Sure MAX Clinical Power deodorant.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Free Sample of Benefiber

Enjoy a free sample of Benefiber compliments of Walmart! Enjoy!

Ride the Potty Train

So we're unsuccessfully trying to potty train our 2 year old. This was so not my idea. After the pain and suffering that ensued while training my son, I wanted to wait until after she turned 3. But she had other plans.

She thinks it's fun to tell us she has to go, make us drop what we're doing to get her to the potty on time, just to have already gone in her pull-up. She also thinks it's fun to tell us she wants to wear "big girl underpants", but then go in them anyway (about which she really does not care). The bribery of M&Ms every time she goes #1 and a trip to Dairy Queen for a whole day of staying dry have lost their luster.

She will also only go on the potty if I can take her. This causes a few problems because Doug is our resident Stay At Home Dad. So for 40+ hours per week, she absolutely refuses to use the potty. The weekends are when she decides to cooperate because I'm there.

I am so ready to be done with potty training. I've even gone so far as to make up songs to make it fun for her. One of my favorites is "Ride the Potty Train" sung to the tune of "Come On Ride That Train". She now thinks that there is an actual train involved somehow.

And to get her to go #2 in the potty (which hasn't happened yet), I made up a song I call "There's a Party in the Potty", sung to the tune of Yo Gabba Gabba's "There's a Party in my Tummy". Thinking about it now, this could also be interchangeable with "There's a Poopy in the Potty". Same idea. Hasn't worked yet.

Am I doing something wrong? I decided this time to heed the warnings in all the books and articles, and let her decide when she's ready. She expressed to me she wanted to do this. This was her idea to begin going down this road. Granted, she was under 2 and probably didn't realize what she was really in for, but it's been like 9 months now and we have had almost no progression. We've even taken a couple weeks off. If she wanted to go, we let her, but otherwise, we were not pushing the issue. This has not helped.

A friend of mine (who does not yet have kids) took a class with a professor who wrote a book on how to potty train in 1 day. It involves feeding them salty snacks to make them drink a bunch and basically hanging out in the bathroom all day (I have not read it, but this is how it was described to me). I have to say, this is my second attempt at potty training and I really have my doubts about this method or any method that touts training is possible in 1 day. My son took a full year to train. My daughter is on month 9 with no end in sight. I'm just plain tired of this.

Has anyone tried this potty training in a day thing? Can someone tell me what I'm doing wrong here? Anyone? Beuller? Beuller?

Win Wall-E!

5 Minutes for Mom is giving away 3-Disc standard definition DVD Version of WALL•E, which includes the “DisneyFile” Digital Copy. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Win an Epson Artisan 800 Printer

Win an Epson Artisan 800 Printer over at 5 Minutes for Mom! This printer looks awesome!

Sudz & Bubbles Giveaway!

5 Minutes for Mom is giving away a $50 gift certificate to Sudz and Bubbles! They have the cutest glycerin soaps for kids. Check it out!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Free Sample of Bear Naked Fruit & Nut Granola

Thanks to Free Snatcher, I found out about this free sample of Bear Naked Fruit & Nut Granola. Enjoy!

Win Through the Storm by Lynne Spears

Over at Reading with Monie, they are giving away the book Through the Storm by Lynne Spears. There are a bunch of ways to get extra entries, too! Good luck!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

To Hell in a Hand Basket

I'm losing my mind. Literally. My mind is slowly, but oh so surely, going to Hell in a hand basket. My poor husband must be going crazy. People must think I'm a total idiot. I seem like your stereotypical blond bimbo (without the big boobs...I still have trouble finding mine). But, really, I'm not. I used to be so on top of things. I could remember anything. But now...

I've had to fast for a few things in the past couple of weeks. The first time, I showed up and realized that I had forgotten to fast! How does one do that? So I had to go the next day and I put post it notes all around the house (on the toaster, on the OJ) to remind myself not to eat. How sad is that?

This morning, I was going for yet another test, and I'm so proud of myself because I'm right on time. 8am on a Saturday was not ideal for me, but I did it. As I sat in the parking lot, I wondered why there were no other cars there. Could it be that I beat the staff? Wow...I am good. I called Doug to tell him how weird it was and he looked the place up in the phone book (yes, we actually still use the phone book). When he started telling me that there were 3 locations, it dawned on me. I was at the wrong location. When I called the correct location to tell them I would be late, she tried not to laugh at me. But I just had to laugh at myself.

The other day, I forgot to put detergent into a load of laundry. I didn't realize it until the next day as I was standing at the bus stop in a pair of pants that was in that load. Um...that's kind of gross. I have, on one occasion or another, forgotten to wash my body in the shower. I washed my hair and face, but turned the shower off before washing the rest of myself. I didn't realize it until I was all dressed. Thank goodness that happened on a Saturday when I didn't have anything really going on.

Doug has to repeat things to me numerous times throughout the day because I forget that he has told me already. If I put something important away, I have to tell him where I put it because, undoubtedly, I will forget where I put it the next day.

What will be next, I wonder? I don't know, but I really hope it's nothing very big. I've already screwed up a couple things at work because of my brain malfunctions. I'm sure they won't put up with that very long.

I figured this would happen someday, but at 30? Am I the only one who has to send herself emails throughout the day reminding her of things she needs to do at home? Is that even normal? Well, what is normal, anyway?

I'll let you know when I remember.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Free Sample of Glad Storage Bags

Here's a free sample of Glad Storage Bags, compliments of WalMart.

Free Sample of Always Infinity

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Free Sample of Stayfree/Carefree

Click here for your free sample of Stayfree & Carefree from WalMart.

Freebies and Samples

Found these on CouponGeek!

Free holiday ornament from Holidays at Home.

Free sample of Orville Redenbacher Lime & Salt Popcorn from WalMart.

Free sample of Huggies Diapers from WalMart.

Barnes & Noble Deal

Thanks to CouponGeek for this great deal!

10% off at Barnes & Noble good through 11/16/08 with this printable.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The American Voting Experience At It's Best

I had the most comical voting experience this morning. We get to the polling place, a Catholic church rectory, at 7am, kids in tow, and are waiting in line, which is wrapped out the door. OK, I expected there to be a line at opening with the "before work" crowd.

So we finally get inside and find out why the line has been moving so slowly. They have a table set up to the left where they have the books. So we're just standing in line and every so often they come to get more "M-Zs". Only a few people can fit in the M-Z line, so the rest have to stay in the A-L line until there is room. So, in addition to the 2 books, they have these 2 old ladies writing down every name in separate books. I don't know if this is normal, but it seemed like overkill to me.

Then they handed me a white plastic card to take with me to yet a third line, where we were to wait to go to one of the 5 voting stations, which were not covered at all. I know I've never voted before, but shouldn't there be some privacy? Anyway, so we were waiting in the third line, but then this lady starts "making another snake". She kept yelling at people because they were getting in the wrong snake. How on earth was anyone to know which "snake" to get into? What the heck was this lady talking about?

So then it's finally my turn. I hand another worker my white plastic card, but I have to wait for another worker to take me to a voting station. It was painfully obvious that this old woman's first and only computerized experience was this polling system. She tried to explain it to me, but in the end, I had to figure it out myself.

To top this comedy off, they had everyone leaving out of the same small doorway we came in, which was where there was still an incoming line! There was another door on the other side of the room that would have been simply perfect as an exit, but they said that was where the priests' offices were and we weren't allowed in that area of the rectory. For 1 day every 4 years, they couldn't accommodate? Ridiculous!

Now, I've never voted before, so maybe this is the norm. But judging from the reactions of the other voters, I'd say probably not.

It only comes once every 4 years. This particular polling place is always the polling place for our area. They've had plenty of practice and time to prepare. And this is what they came up with?

Green Giant Just For One!

I bought these as part of a gas promotion at my grocery store a few weeks ago. I wasn't sure if I'd like them, but they were cheap enough and were going to earn me cents off gas, so I went for it (with a coupon and a sale, of course).

The idea behind the Green Giant Just For One! is that it is a single serving of veggies, so you don't have to make a whole bag of veggies that might not get eaten. That sounds good, right?

Holy cow, these things are so good! I had the broccoli & cheese flavor (and I see from the website that there is only 1 other flavor, which is corn in butter sauce). Each serving is in it's own plastic bowl, so you don't have to dirty any dishes. Only 2 minutes in the microwave and you have a yummy snack or side dish for yourself. My only complaint is that they are way too small, and maybe that is their point, portion control. But my thought is that it is a vegetable, so a bigger serving might not be a bad thing. I like to eat these for dinner, as a meal, but I have to eat 2 or more in order to feel satisfied. I understand this is not the point, but they are so good that I simply want to make them an entire meal! Maybe I should buy the bigger bags and add some chicken to make a yummy dinner.

Bottom line: Love this product, but need to find a way to make it a full meal.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Don't Forget to Vote!

I've never voted before, so I feel strange reminding others to vote. But I think this is an important election. If you can vote, you should. Regardless of who you vote for, get out there and exercise your right as an American!

OK, I'm off my soap box now...


I can't believe it.

My husband planned a surprise 30th birthday party for me. This is a huge deal for my husband. Not that I don't think he can do things like this, but we generally don't do things like this. (For instance, I received 2 birthday cards from him. One was all lovey dovey and the other one had 2 pigs sleeping in bed, under which he wrote, "Here's to the most boring couple in the world". LOL. ) Also, because he is horrible at keeping secrets. He just can't wait to tell people (i.e. me) things. Every Christmas, I know what I'm getting weeks before Christmas actually arrives. He just gets so excited when he knows he's done good.

This was also an unbelievable feat because both of the kid have known for weeks. A 5-year-old and a 2-year-old kept a secret for 3 weeks. It's totally possible that they slipped and said something that, to a normal person, would be a clue. However, my brain fuzziness prevents me from picking up on things like that right away.

I've never had a surprise party before. And I've always secretly wanted one. I think it's because I've never really been surprised by anything before. My life revolves around planning things, so it's normally really difficult to get one by me. But this was amazing! He had someone to get me out of the house all morning and there were actually people there. This surprises me because I don't have any real girlfriends, I have a very small family and they live pretty far from us, and while Doug's family is bigger and all live only about 30 minutes away, they act as though we live on another planet and it's so hard for them to "make it up". But there they all were! It was mostly Doug's family and friends, who I've come to be friends with as well. And my dad and brothers made it, which was really nice too. And the kids were occupied because there were other kids there, which was great!

I did, unknowingly, throw him a curve ball a couple weeks ago. Apparently he'd had this party planned for quite some time, but it was supposed to start at 4pm. So when I called him a few weeks ago to tell him not to make any plans on Nov. 1, he must have panicked. Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwod from "Who's Line Is It Anyway" were going to be in town but only for that one night. I bought him tickets as an early birthday gift for him. The show was to start at 8pm, so he had to call everyone and change the time! So we both planned surprises for each other on the same day. Too funny!

Then, after the show, we met up with our friends for drinks. We got home late and then were invited to our neighbor's house, who had a party as well. So we got to know our neighbors a bit and finally made it in around 2am (the kids were staying at grandma & grandpa's overnight). We had to get up sort of early because we had to go to the grocery store, pick up the kids, and take them to a birthday party. Holy cow...we did more this weekend than we've done in our entire 7 years of marriage! We were totally exhausted by last night, but were glad we did everything.

I guess it's back to our old, boring life again. I am hoping all the fun we had this weekend will remind us to get out and do more things.

What fun things did you do this weekend?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness

While we were in Disney this month, someone bestowed upon us a Random Act of Kindness. We were in Animal Kingdom and sitting on a bench trying to figure out what to do next. It was a pretty secluded bench in the games area of Dinoland. A young couple walked over to us and handed Charlie a small stuffed dinosaur. They had won it at one of the games and must have felt that Charlie would be much more happy with it than they would. Well, I believe they were right. That dinosaur is almost his favorite stuffed animal. The whole rest of the week we were there, that dinosaur had to be with him at all times. Even still, the dinosaur shows up everywhere he is around the house. And don't even think about losing it at bed time!

I'll bet that couple has long forgotten this act of kindness, but my 5-year-old has not. Neither have I. My thoughts constantly revert back to that day, and I'm glad they do, because that is when I decide I must bestow a Random Act of Kindness myself. Some recent RAOKs I have done include leaving coupons on store shelves, sending coupons to random people, and opening a door for a woman with a walker while I was passing by. I know there are others, but these stand out in my mind.

What Random Acts of Kindness have you done lately?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers

I picked up the Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers on a whim (combining a coupon with a sale, of course) and paid $1. I normally don't buy frozen foods, but I figured it would be good to try and review. Thank goodness I did not pay full price (but, then again, I don't pay full price for ANYTHING anymore LOL)! I'm a little disappointed that I paid anything for it at all, really.

I had the Grilled Basil Chicken flavor. As I was looking at the directions, my first thought was, "this looks complicated". The 'Heat' instructions were simple enough, just put it in the microwave for 5 minutes. That I can handle. But then there were separate 'Serve' instructions. You have to take the "basket" of noodles, chicken, and veggies out and dump the contents into the bowl of sauce, then stir it around. While executing the dump, I dropped part of the basket's contents onto the table. Had I been at home, I would have scooped it up and put it back in. Since I was at work, I passed on that. So I lost some right from the get go.

So I sit down to eat it, thinking how yummy it was going to be because it smelled heavenly. But when I took my first bite, there was almost no flavor at all! I thought, "OK, it was just the first bite, maybe I need to stir it some more or something. Give it a chance." Nope. By the time I was halfway done with it, I still had tasted no yumminess whatsoever. I could only down half of it before I threw it in the garbage. Very disappointing!

Bottom line: While the concept of a quick, healthy, steamed lunch is a great one, I tend to lean towards those that will offer some taste as well. They could have saved themselves some money by omitting the sauce altogether and it wouldn't have changed the taste at all. Try Stouffer's macaroni and cheese (in the red box). Not nearly as healthy, but a much higher yum factor!

Monday, October 27, 2008

More Giveaways!!

Over at Frugal Finds From Your Frugal Friends, they are giving away a $5 Old Navy gift card. Also, score at $10 Barnes & Noble gift card. Wisconsin Mommy is giving away a $25 BP gift card. Who couldn't use free gas??

Enter more giveaways at Bloggy Giveaways.

Good Luck!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Macy's 150th Birthday Celebration

Macy's is celebrating 150 years! Go to Macy's to print a 20% savings pass to use in stores until 10/26. They are also giving away FREE items! And today when we went, the were giving away free $15 gift cards to use today only. My husband and I both got 1, so we got $30 worth of merchandise for free! We ended up getting 2 blanket sleepers and a pair of pants for Elizabeth. Very cool!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ways to Save Money

Since we're all trying to figure out how exactly we're going to make it in this horrible economy, I figured it might be a good time to write about some ways to save money. I hope you find these helpful!

  1. The very first thing I did when I decided I needed to slash some bills was join www.hotcouponworld.com. This is a free website that joins together money savers around the world to share money saving ideas. You can trade coupons, learn about sales, free samples, compare prices of different stores, etc.
  2. Rite Aid has a fabulous rebate program called Single Check Rebates. Each month, Rite Aid begins a new Single Check Rebate program. They include dozens of products that you can purchase and receive money back. Many of these items are free after the rebate. You enter each receipt into their website and can request 1 check per month. You get your check in a couple of weeks. To learn more about this program, go to https://riteaid.rebateplus.com
  3. At the grocery store, purchase everything combining sales and coupons. This maximizes my savings. I have been able to get my grocery bill down to $300 per month for a family of 4 (with 1 still in pull ups!).
  4. If your grocery store offers gas deals, make sure you take them! I take advantage of every gas deal I possibly can at Giant. When they have groups of products that will earn $0.20/gal for purchasing so many, I try to get that many of the cheapest item and use that many coupons. The last time I filled up my minivan, I only paid $0.91/gal ($13 total)!
  5. Use insulated curtains for all of our windows to keep the heat out in the summer and the cold out in the winter.
  6. Take your screens out of the windows in the winter. The metal in the screens will absorb the heat from the sun preventing it from coming in through the windows. Removing the screens maximizes the amount of heat that enters the home through the windows.
  7. Stockpile non-perishable items when you find a good deal. If something like shampoo goes on sale for $1 and you have a few $1/1 coupons, buy as many as you can! These will last forever and you don’t have to worry about running out. You can do this with all health and beauty products, cleaning products, canned goods, etc.
  8. Run all of your errands at one time. Travel to the farthest store first and then work your way back home. This saves on gas.
  9. Take advantage of the Flexible Spending Account offered through your employer. This allows money (you choose the amount) to be taken out of your paycheck before taxes and put into an account to be used for medical expenses (dr. appts., prescriptions, OTC medications) and/or daycare.
  10. Fill your freezer. The fuller your freezer, the more efficiently it will run.
  11. Shop for new insurance quotes (auto & homeowners) each year to ensure you are getting the best deal. Sometimes you may already be getting the best deal you can but sometimes you may not.
  12. Check to see if you can pay your mortgage bi-monthly instead of monthly. Pay half of the mortgage 2 times per month. You are still paying the same amount each month, but you’re saving yourself tons in interest and will pay off your home years earlier. (A similar effect will occur by paying 1 extra full payment per year).
  13. Call your credit card companies to see if they will lower your interest rates. They most often will. If they don’t, transfer your balance to a credit card that is offering 0%. Just be careful with this one. You must be diligent about watching that promotion end date! You’ll want to pay it off or transfer the balance again before that date.
  14. Use a water heater blanket.
  15. Create a budget and stick to it. Use cash for the grocery store and spending money. This way, you are more likely to stay within the budgets for those areas.
  16. Use a gas credit card that offers cash back and only use it for gas purchases. Depending on how much gas you purchase, this can be a significant savings.
    Just be sure to pay it off each month so you are not paying interest!
  17. If you have PPL electric, check out their website http://www.pplelectric.com/. They offer an analysis tool to show where you can save on electric in your home.
  18. Pay your bills online! I pay all of our bills online through my bank. It is free and I haven’t bought checks or stamps in a long time. I still have to write the occasional check, but this definitely cuts costs.
  19. Check the clearance aisles of your favorite stores. I know at Giant, Rite Aid, CVS, and Walmart you can use coupons on clearance items. This means cheap or even free items!!!
  20. I have a price book where I keep regular prices of the things I buy on a regular basis of the 3 stores I shop (Giant, BJs, and Walmart). BJ’s takes manufacturer coupons and their own coupons. Many times, BJ’s is the cheapest place to get certain items. But one of the other stores may have a sale that makes it cheaper there. I reference the price book to determine the cheapest place to purchase an item at any given time.
  21. Print coupons online. Sites like www.smartsource.com & www.redplum.com offer printable manufacturer coupons each month. I know Giant, Target, and Walmart take internet printed coupons.
  22. I joined My Points (www.mypoints.com) a few years ago. I earn points by clicking on emails they send me or purchasing things at my favorite online retailers through their website. You can then cash in your points for gift cards to many different restaurants and retailers. I normally use my points to purchase a restaurant gift card to use for a date night with my husband.
  23. Use The Caregivers Marketplace (www.caregiversmarketplace.com) to get rebates on my purchases of Pull Ups. This site offers rebates on brands caregivers use like Pull Ups, Huggies, Good Nites, Nature Made, Poise, Citrucel, Cottonelle, Gold Bond, Icy Hot, and Cortizone 10, to name a few. You don’t have to be a caregiver to receive the rebates, just purchase the items, print the form and fill it out, and send in the form with the original receipt(s). They will send the rebate a few weeks later.
  24. Sign up for free samples. I find out about different free sample offers through Hot Coupon World and sign up for any I am interested in. A lot of times you will also receive high value coupons with your free samples. These samples are great for traveling or even stocking stuffers.
  25. Sign up for Pssst (pssst.generalmills.com.) This is a program offered by General Mills to try their products for free. Then you fill out a survey about what you tried. I just signed up and received a Macaroni Grill boxed meal. When I opened the box, tons of $1.25/1 coupons fell out too.
  26. Also sign up for BzzAgent (www.bzzagent.com). This is a similar program, but in addition to a survey, they want you to tell people about the product and then report back about what you told them and their response.
  27. Sign up for e-newsletters from the manufacturers of the products you buy. They will often send coupons in those newsletters that you can print and use.
  28. Sign up for e-newsletters from the stores you shop. There are often coupons in those newsletters as well. I know that Giant always has a coupon in their monthly e-newsletter. This month, I received $2 off $5 produce purchase. And you can print and use these as many times as you want before the expiration date.
  29. Take the bus to work (if this is an option). I only spend $45/month on the bus pass and I save tons in gas money. While I only live about 5-10 miles from where I work, sitting in all that traffic really drained my gas tank. Now I am not only saving money, I am also helping the environment (and I can sneak in some alone time with a magazine).

Some Super Duper Giveaways!

I would like to let you know about a coupon bag giveaway at Dani Saves Money! Click the link to enter the drawing and win one of the beautiful coupon bags! Also, Polly at Perfectly Provident is giving away assorted makeup! You have until Sunday, October 26 to enter both. Good luck!

October Rite Aid Stash

It was a good month at Rite Aid!!! And since I had $40 in gift cards ($10 from the P&G rebate last month and $30 from a prescription transfer), they literally paid me over $40 to get the products!!! Everything I bought this month was Free After Rebate, plus I had a few coupons, plus some manufacturer rebates, plus the Pull Ups will be rebated ($1/package) from Caregivers Marketplace, plus I had the $40 in gift cards. Whew! And we'll never feel sick in this house again!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Crazy at Kmart

Saturday was Charlie's birthday. He turned 5 and is thrilled about it. We decided not to have a party since we just returned home from Disney. We figured that was enough craziness for one month. So instead, we took him to Kmart. Under normal circumstances, this would be a lame gift. However, on this particular day, the store was having a CARS event. We'd never been to one of these events, but we read that there was a chance to be able to buy a few CARS cars that were not out in stores yet. That made Charlie ecstatic. He talked about it for a month. We didn't know what to expect, but were hoping, for Charlie's sake, that it wasn't some impossible feat.

Not knowing what to expect, we showed up an hour early for the event. Doug, being the smartie that he is, went straight to Customer Service. I'm not sure I would have thought about that right away, but luckily he did. We had to get tickets, 1 per person, which my husband, in another smart move, got 1 for each of us, so 4 tickets in all. Not sure I would have thought about that either. Then they sent us to the Toys Department. So straight to Toys we went. We figured we would be among the first people there. There were these 2 grown men standing there, tickets in hand. No biggie; I figured there would be collectors. But these guys were hardcore. You could tell they didn't like that there were kids there as competition. For the entire hour long wait, they were talking about CARS and Hot Wheels like they were gold. One was worse than the other, who at least one had a kid with him. But they were both salivating once the staff brought out the boxes.

The rules were then explained. They would call a ticket and whoever won got to go up and look through the cases for 5 minutes and could pick any 5 CARS they wanted. Then they would cal another ticket, etc. I heard that they would only be calling 6 tickets and then it would be a free for all. The collectors were almost on top of the tables. They called the first number and this woman won who did have a kid with her, but the kid didn't even go up to the table. She had this list of numbers and was looking for the numbers. She didn't even know their names. This made the collectors really mad! Then another kid won, which made me happy. Then no one claimed the 3rd ticket number. So we were the 4th ticket called and Charlie's face made it so worth while! He was so excited!! He picked out the CARS he wanted. There were others up there that he didn't have, but I convinced him to give his remaining tickets to another kid. It wouldn't be right for us to go up more than once if another kid didn't get to go up at all. And that kid got to go up next! I felt really good that we helped another kid get some of them too. We left after that because the kids were getting antsy. I really wanted to stick around to see those collectors get nothing.

What an interesting "event". Apparently they have these events for Hot Wheels all the time, so the collectors knew what to expect. It was funny because they were actually mad that they had to let kids go first. It probably really chokes their chains that these kids are going to take the CARS home, open the packages, and probably beat them up from playing with them so much. That makes me laugh. We've already seen a bunch of these on EBay selling for much more than we paid. That is just so sad.

That was our experience at a CARS event. It made Charlie's year to be able to get some new CARS that are not even out in stores yet. It made my day to see the collectors get so bent!

Friday, October 17, 2008

My turn to be sick

So as I sat at work on Wednesday, I began feeling sick. My muscles started aching and I was a little lightheaded. I went home that night and the symptoms got worse. I couldn't clean up from dinner at all and I didn't even have it in me to get the kids to clean up (which, believe me, is a tough job). I almost let them go to bed without baths, but I really didn't want to do that. They had been playing in dirt that day and when Elizabeth doesn't get a bath daily, she tends to smell bad. So I enlisted Charlie's help. I gave them a bath together, but he cleaned himself, got himself dry, dressed himself, and brushed and flossed his teeth himself. So I only had to worry about Elizabeth. They let me slide on the story, too, so I only had to read a page or 2. Once I got them to bed, I went straight to mine.

When the alarm went off at 5:30am on Thursday, I automatically knew I wasn't going to make it to work. When I stood up, the whole room was spinning and my head was pounding. I emailed the office to let them know I wouldn't be in (nice thing about my office is they rely heavily on email, so a simple email is all they need) and went right back to bed. I slept until about 10 and then got up and took something for my headache. I'm not kidding when I say it was literally the worst headache I've ever had. I felt like I had a really bad hangover, but that couldn't be, could it? Definitely not. I went back to bed for most of the day. I did come down among the living for a little bit. I knew if I didn't get out of bed for a bit, I wouldn't be able to sleep that night.

When I woke up this morning, I felt much better. Still a little lingering dizziness, but nothing to call off work for. Besides, it's Friday. Jeans day. Not a day to be off if you don't really need it.

It was really nice to be able to be sick. That's not to say I enjoy being sick, but I do get sick from time to time. What was nice about it was that I actually got to take care of myself by staying in bed this time. I did hear some things from downstairs I didn't particularly like, but I wasn't budging this time.

Here's to being sick and actually getting to be sick!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A good night

I had a great night last night. I got more accomplished in 1 night than I have in the last month it seems. First, I took the kids out front to pull some weeds. They think this is the coolest thing. Charlie actually helps with the weeding, while Elizabeth "pulls" tanbark and puts that into the trash bag. She thinks she's helping, so it doesn't bother me. Charlie thinks it's cool to wear a gardening glove, which is way too big for him by the way. We were smiling and singing and it was really fun. So not only were we getting a household chore done, we were spending quality time together. No one was fighting and the kids really felt important.

Then, we came in and I had to vacuum the house. It really needed it. Normally, when I vacuum, the kids feel that it's open season for fighting because I can't hear them real well. But last night was different. Maybe it was the fresh air they just got or the feeling of importance, but they actually were getting ready for their baths by themselves while I was vacuuming. It was the cutest thing! Charlie was helping Elizabeth get her pajamas picked out and then he helped her use the potty! The fact that they were getting along made the night go very smoothly. And I got some things done to boot.

After I got them to bed, I was able to prepare food for my lunches this week, write instructions for Elizabeth's doctor appt. today for Doug, made little lunches for the kids to eat in the car today since they will be running errands with Doug over lunch, and did a few other things. I don't know where I found the energy to do all of this, but I'm glad I did. I feel better knowing I was able to get some things done.

So, what did you accomplish today?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Job Description: MOM

When I was pregnant with my 5-year-old, I had wonderful dreams of toting the baby around to stores, showing him off to anyone who would look, and singing him to sleep. For a while, that is how it was. No one warned me, however, that there would come a time when that dream would no longer be my reality.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. I finally took some vacation from work. Aaahh...wonderful vacation. So, I have been off work since the 2nd of October. We were away from the 3rd to the 9th and I tacked on a few extra vacation days at the end to just relax. Since we've been home from our trip, I have not stopped. Not even for a second. All 3 of the children (OK, 2 kids and 1 childlike husband) have been sick. The 2-year-old had a fever for 2 days and was miserable. Then my husband starts throwing up for 2 days straight. Then my 5-year-old catches that. He's a great sick person, never complains. But he's the "silent attacker". He woke us up in the middle of the night telling us that he was going to use the bathroom. OK, he never does that, so I knew something was up right there, but I stayed in bed anyway. Then he comes in to tell me that he wanted to sleep with us. Why, you may ask? Well, so did I and the answer was because he threw up in his bed. And ATTACK! So now I'm worried the rest of the night that he's going to throw up on me or in my bed, which will, in turn, cause me to start hurling. And I keep thinking about how I now have to strip his bed in the morning, on top of the mile long list of other things I have to do on my last day of "vacation". No sleep for me. So what else is new?

So today, my husband still cannot muster enough strength to do anything, really. It is day number 4 of this "illness" and he can still do nothing but sit on the couch watching TV. I can honestly say that in the last year I have literally taken 1 day off work for actually being sick, and I was in bed only a few of those hours. The remaining time I spent tending to the kids and the house because somehow me just being home is some sort of signal to him that he can do nothing. But I digress. I did 5 loads of laundry and put it all away, ran a bunch of errands, made lunch and dinner, played with the kids outside, emptied all the garbage cans (which were disgustingly full), vacuumed, talked to our insurance guy for a half hour, pulled together a week's worth of snacks for preschool this week, and straightened out our daughters Dr. appt. for which my darling husband wrote the wrong time in the calendar. Whew! So much for a vacation day!

Unfortunately, this type of chaos occurs any day I have off work. If I stayed home with the kids, these things would be done throughout the week, but since I can't be here, I have to do them when I am. I guess my job away from home is my second job, really. My first job is here, at night and on the weekends (and sick and vacation days, too). Not exactly what I dreamt about as a new mom all those years ago!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Vacations are supposed to be fun, aren't they?

So we're finally back from our vacation. I want to preface this recount by saying that I love my family and had a great time with them. That being said, here are the highlights:

We had to stay at a hotel in Baltimore on Thursday night because we had to be at the airport at 5am on Friday. We picked this particular hotel on the recommendation of my mother-in-law and because we could park both cars for free all week (worked into the price of the rooms, I'm sure). So the hotel was definitely not the best hotel (probably the worst I've ever stayed at, but you can't go by me because I very rarely travel). I didn't get a wink of sleep the whole night because I was convinced there were bedbugs. I kept feeling biting sensations all over my body, but no one else did, so I guess I was just being my psychotic self. They did take us to the airport and pick us up, so that was nice.

When we go to check our bags, they informed us that our smallest bag was over sized by 1.5" and we had to pay $39 for that. Umm...it's our smallest bag...what? I was a little PO'd because our travel agent should have gone over the size/weight requirements with us (isn't this one of the reasons we would go through a travel agent in the first place?) OK, so we paid the damn $39 and were bound and determined to have a good trip. My exact words, which I don't think have ever come out of my mouth, were, "it's only money". The kids did GREAT on the plane. I was nervous that one or the other would scream the whole way there, the way I did when I was little, but they were totally fine. I think I was more freaked out than they were.

So we get there and we use the Disney Dining Plan to buy a counter service lunch. When we looked at the receipt, the remaining counter service lunches seemed to be short a few. So Doug went to the front desk to ask. Come to find out that our 2-year-old isn't included on the meal plan, so we have to pay outright for all of her meals. I was doubly PO'd that our travel agent failed to relay this information to us as well. But I was tired and just figured we'd deal with it. Until we went to our first table service meal. We didn't order her a dinner, instead, she shared off of the rest of our plates. But they included her as part of the party of 6 (there would be only 5 not including her) that is required to pay the 18% gratuity that is automatically added to the bill! Excuse me? So she doesn't exist in the eyes of Disney when it comes to the meal plan and we don't order her a meal at all, so no extra work for the server, but she magically appears when it's time to add that automatic 18% gratuity?? How wrong!! They justified this by saying that we didn't pay for her to get into the parks, so we're saving there. I don't think so! If she doesn't exist on the meal plan and doesn't exist in the parks, then she shouldn't exist for gratuity's sake! Most nights, I wouldn't have minded. But 1 night in particular, we had a horrible waitress and we never would have paid an 18% gratuity to her. But we were forced to.

Some other highlights included my mother-in-law deciding that flip flops were the way to go for footwear when walking 5-10 miles a day. She proceeded to blow out her knee on day #2 and had to be wheeled around in a wheelchair the rest of the week. This made most rides great because we got to get in the front of the line, but the buses on the other hand, took forever. Oh well, not the end of the world.

We arrived home on Thursday night and quickly got the kids to bed. The next day, we go out to lunch because we have very little in the way of food at the house. So Doug eats a salad and then gets food poisoning. He was throwing up all night Friday night and it was coming out the other end all day Saturday. By today, he was feeling a little better, but not 100%. Elizabeth spiked a fever on Thursday during travel that lasted until Saturday. Charlie spiked one today.

And I decided to see an endocrinologist to get my dosage increased since my other doctor (who was not an endocrinologist) had left the practice. The endocrinologist told me that she doesn't think I even have any thyroid problems. She said my thyroid is normal size and she can't imagine why my other doctor said the things she said. Of course she can't explain why I feel the way I feel. Now what do I do? I'm pretty much back at square one. I'll probably get fired from my job because I can't concentrate or remember anything and have to call off because I'm too tired to get out of bed.

Anyway, I did have a nice time on vacation. I know, though, that our next vacation will be very relaxing instead of chaotic. I'm thinking beach chair, book, sounds of the ocean, glass of wine in hand. Aaahhh...

Monday, September 29, 2008


So I'm getting nervous about our trip. I know people travel every day, but we don't. Doug and I haven't flown in 7 years (since our honeymoon) and we haven't even been on vacation in 3 years. I was nervous when I was just Doug and I, but it gets more complicated when we have 2 little kids.

For example, we're almost all packed, but what if we forget something important? I get that we're going to Florida and not some other planet where they won't be able to sell us anything we need, but to have to pay for something we forgot just doesn't fly with me. There's a lot of pressure for me to remember everything for everyone (and if you think this responsibility doesn't all fall onto the mother, you're sorely mistaken). Don't get me wrong, Doug is very good with this kind of stuff, but he's already sick of me talking about planning and packing, so he's probably not going to be the best help.

Then there's my in-laws. I'm beginning to wonder why we thought it was a good idea to have them come along. I have done a lot of planning to make sure the kids get to see what they want to see without having to stand in line all day (therefore, missing some things). However, my in-laws are so not about planning things. They'd rather just play it by ear, which is fine for them, but I have a bad feeling it's going to cause some tension. While I realize they can go do their own thing, they're also going to want to see the kids enjoying the rides. And this will put the kids in the middle as well because they're going to want to hang out with them.

Finally, and here's my big worry, I worry that something will happen...to the kids. Like getting lost or getting hurt. Heck, Doug and I lost each other in Target yesterday!!! We've discussed with Charlie what to do if he ever finds himself lost, but will he remember? Who knows! I feel a little better that we have 4 adults to 2 kids, but the possibility still exists for something to go wrong. I know it's unlikely, but it's still in the back of my mind.

While it seems I'm over-worrying, I really am very excited. I think we all need a vacation right now and I'm going to make sure we have a great time!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Are we there yet?

We are Disney bound next week (in exactly 10 days, to be precise, but who's counting)! And I can honestly say, after a grueling summer at work, that I am SO looking forward to leaving my work (both work work and housework) behind for a week. And what's even more exciting is that I will be turning 30 while we're there!!! And then when we get home, our son will turn 5. So lots of happiness going on around here in the next month. I think we're all ready for a huge dose of overloaded happiness as only Disney can do.

We will be going with my in-laws, which I'm hoping turns out to be more helpful than burdensome. With them, it could really go either way, but I think they'll be good. I know there will be a few rifts, though, because I'm a planner and the in-laws like to fly by the seat of their pants. When Doug and I went for our honeymoon in 2001, we didn't have any real plans in place. No dining reservations, nothing. It was nice, but my thought was, with kids, a little planning is needed. There are many things they want to ride and I'm sure they don't want to stand in line all day only to be able to actually get on 3 rides. But I've decided that if they don't like it, we can always split up. No harm no foul.

That's all for today. I have begun the "final countdown" (thanks Charlie for reminding me by singing this song every day)!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Losing Your Temperature

Last night, my 4-year-old told me that we needed to have a talk. He was very concerned about his 2-year-old sister wasting electricity. She just learned that if she stands on a step stool, she's tall enough to turn the light on and off. She prefers to turn them on and this drives my son nuts because he doesn't like waste. So we discussed that.

I then apologized for losing my temper earlier. He said, "That's OK, mommy. I lose my temperature a lot! Maybe we should talk about that next." He proceeded to educate me on what I should do the next time I lose my temperature and why the rules for losing your temperature are different for him.

This conversation was a real eye-opener for me. I'm glad we talked because now I will probably think of him, very seriously, sitting on the step stool in his jammies telling me how not to lose my temperature.

I hope this story made you smile :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Flying the friendly skies

Recently, a friend of mine flew from Philadelphia to Orlando. She had an interesting encounter while on the flight. Her boyfriend had the window seat, she had the middle, and a very large woman was sitting in the aisle seat right next to her. The woman was so large, she took up her own seat and half of my friend's seat. This forced my friend to sit halfway on her boyfriend's seat, making the 2 of them very uncomfortable. Not to mention all arm rests had to be kept up to accommodate this situation. At one point, my friend tried to put her seat back, which involves a button on the side of the armrest. She literally had to reach behind the woman's back/shoulder to get to this button and the woman had the audacity to flash her a dirty look. SHE was annoyed? Did she not see the inconvenience she was causing to the other people in her row?

My friend and her boyfriend decided to suffer through it and not to say anything to her or the flight attendants as it was a full flight and there was, most likely, nothing that could be done. My friend, being the nice person she is, also figured it would probably hurt the woman's feelings and would do more harm than good. When she returned home from her trip, she decided a letter to the airline was in order. After all, she had paid for a full seat, not the half seat she ended up getting. She did not ask for a refund of any kind (although she may be hoping for one), but merely felt the need to voice her opinions to the airline. The airline has not yet responded.

Hearing this story made me think. Should a person who takes up more than 1 seat have to pay for more than 1 seat? I think so. Should a person who only gets half a seat be required to pay for a whole seat? I think not. I will be flying in a few weeks and if this were to happen to me, I would be livid, especially since we will be travelling with small children. The way I see it, it's not about discrimination, but about what's fair. It's not fair that my friend and her boyfriend, who paid the same amount of money for their seats as this woman did, had to endure an uncomfortable 2 hour flight, while this woman was totally comfortable taking up a seat and a half. Disgraceful.