Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I Survived My First Day

Well, my first day back to work came and went. It was largely uneventful. I was fine during drop off until #3's teacher, while holding her, held up her little hand and said "Bye bye, Mommy - have a great day!" The tears started and I did my best to get the heck out of there and to my car, where I had a moment. But it didn't last long, because I had to pull into my parking garage next door and go right to my office. Luckily I brought a box of tissues.

My day consisted of phone calls to get my system access back, which went surprisingly smooth, and trips to the back file room to use my breast pump a couple of times. My company used to have lactation rooms, but no longer. So I use a back file room with a door that locks. There is a table and chair in the back behind a row of file cabinets, so if anyone else came in, I'd be hidden and have some warning. It worked out well.

There was lots of work to do - there aren't many people in this week, and the work is rolling in. I'm glad I decided to go back this week - the numbers in #3's class are down, so she is getting lots of attention, and I am able to get acclimated without the usual daily incessant barrage of phone calls and emails from impatient clients that don't understand that thorough legal work TAKES TIME.

All in all, it went well. Whew!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back to the Real World: Maternity Leave Fades into a Memory

So I'm heading back to work TOMORROW, December 30. This is my last 24 hours of maternity leave. JV took #3 for her first day of "school" today. She is going to the absolutely wonderful day care run by my company, right next door to my building (JV works 2 blocks away). I am home with Diva and Daredevil today, and we all admit it's a little weird to be here in the house without #3. We will go pick her up after lunch, so her first day is not too long.

So I avoided the first drop off at day care, but I will be doing it tomorrow. It's hard to tell how I will react at drop off time. With my previous 2, I was perfectly fine until I got back to my car, then it was uncontrollable waterworks. I know it is silly. They both had perfectly wonderful caregivers, but I still cried anyway. I think no matter how wonderful your child's caregivers are, it's just damn hard to leave your little baby with strangers. I know she will be fine, it's just something I have to go through. This time, though, I have to walk next door to my office. I don't think many people will be in, so hopefully they won't notice the tear-streaked makeup lines on my face.

What I am looking forward to when I go back to work:
  • The work. It's challenging, and I like it
  • The sense of accomplishment that comes with the work
  • A paycheck. It's been a while and we certainly need the money
  • Social and professional interaction with adults
  • A little 'me' time (my office has a nice cafeteria and gym)
What I am not looking forward to:
  • The commute (A 13 mile drive takes me 45 minutes each way. The traffic is absolutely ridiculous)
  • Dressing up (my pre-pregnancy work clothes are either too big or too small, and I've been in denial about going back so I haven't bought anything new)
  • Sitting at a desk all day (I wish I could work from home from at least some of the time, but I can't - that is a sore topic among my peers and I and worth another post)
  • Day care costs - $208/week for #3, and $130/week total for after care for Diva and Daredevil - ouch
So, I will try to enjoy this time home today with Diva and Daredevil, though we are all counting the minutes til it's time to pick up #3. We miss her something awful!

Monday, December 22, 2008

For all my Girlfriends: Thank You!

If there's one thing I've learned, it's that I'd be hard pressed to get from one day to another without my Girlfriends, even if I don't see them or talk to them every day, just knowing they are there if I need them is a huge comfort. And when I say Girlfriends, that encompasses both friends and female relatives. I hope they know I am there for them as well. This moving video says it all. The speaker, Kelly Corrigan, has a book called "The Middle Place". Love you girls!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Stealing: The Sreaming Masses' Meme

Sunday Stealing: The Screaming Masses' Meme

Here's this week's meme. To get in on the fun, visit Judd over at Sunday Stealing.

1. What is a nickname a former (or present) lover gave you? My husband calls me "babe" sometimes.

2. How do you style your hair? If you just would say "cut" what style is it? Blow dry with a big round brush & finish with flat iron. Inverse chin length bob

3. What's your least favorite Christmas song? Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer or Elvis' Blue Christmas

4. How many colors are you wearing now? 3 Navy blue, grey, orange

5. Are you an introvert or extrovert? Either - depends on the situation

6. What was the last book you read? Parenting Inc: How we are sold on $800 strollers, Fetal Education, Baby Sign Languages, Sleeping Coaches, Toddler Couture, and Diaper Wipe Warmers and What It Means for our Children

7. What's one piece of fiction that changed your life? I read mostly non-fiction nowadays, but when I was younger I read all the Stephen King books. I loved them, but they made me afraid of the dark! Being in the basement at night by myself still creeps me out!

8. If you are attracted to someone who is already in a relationship (or married), what might do you do? Keep it to myself and move on

9. Is there anything that has made you unhappy recently? My son struggling at school. He's doing better now. I'm so proud of all his hard work.

10. What's your favorite dessert? Cheesecake or anything chocolate

11. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? Too long.

12. Name one website that you visit daily. Why do you read it? New York Times. I live in a small town, so it makes me feel a little bit more worldly and informed

13. What was your last job before either you are at home or at another job?? I work as a paralegal in the Legal department of a large corporation.

14. Do you like to clean? Not really, but I like the results and sense of accomplishment

15. What was the last song to get stuck in your head? "Jeremiah was a bullfrog, was a good friend of mine . . ."

16. What's the last movie you saw? Theater: High School Musical 3 DVD: Baby Mama TV: 28 days (where I heard the "Jeremiah was a bullfrog" song)

17. Pirates or Ninjas? Pirates. I love Captain Jack Sparrow.

18. What is your least favorite thing to do that you have to do everyday? Clean up the trail my kids leave everywhere.

19. Best time of your life? Tough one . . either my college years or now, while my kids are little . .

20. What are you most looking forward to in the coming year? Watching my kids grow . . .

Have a great week.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Works for me Wednesday: Cheap Extra or Replacement Car Keyless Remotes

This is my inaugural Works-For-Me Wednesday. Read more about it at RocksInMyDryer

Here's my tip:

My keyless remote for my 2002 Yukon XL died recently. Not battery-dead, really dead. In trying to replace the battery I broke the little piece that held the battery inside it, totally screwing it up. Totally not fixable.

I called my local GMC dealer to see about replacing it. The price for a new one was over $400, so I thought I was out of luck.

Now that I have 3 kids, one of which is carried around in a infant seat, a remote has become oh-so-important. So one day I checked E-bay. I found and bought one that matched my truck (same FCC ID) for $16.95 + 6.95 shipping. That's right, $23.90 total. A little less than $400!

I have to program it myself, but the instructions seem simple:

For most 02 GMC trucks:
  1. get in truck and close doors
  2. insert key in ignition
  3. press and hold unlock button on driver's door
  4. turn vehicle on and off (as far as you can without starting) twice
  5. release lock button on door. Door locks should unlock and lock to indicate programming mode
  6. hold lock and unlock buttons simultaneously on remote you want to use. Make sure it is the correct code for the vehicle year. Repeat #'s 5& 6 for additional remotes\.
  7. Then turn the ignition key on and off to end the programming mode.
Need an extra keyless remote for your car? Check Ebay or other auction/store sites. Make sure the FCC ID matches your current remote and that the seller gives you programming instructions.

Check out the other fantastic ideas at Rocks in my Dryer. Have a great week.

UPDATE: I got my remote in the mail, and followed the instructions above to program it. The programming took all of 30 seconds, and it works PERFECTLY! I am so happy with it I ordered another for my husband, whose had lost his.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Brie with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This is an easy and elegant appetizer for a holiday party. I've made this a few times and have gotten many compliments. Happy holiday partying!

  • 1/3 cup chopped basil
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 oz. julienned sundried tomatoes
  • 1 large brie wheel
Combine all ingredients (except brie) in a jar and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (the more time the better, but at least 1 hour)

Bake brie at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Pour jar mixture over brie once out of the oven. Serve with crackers or bread rounds. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Stealing: The Christmas Meme

Sunday Stealing: The Christmas Meme

Head on over to Sunday Stealing to see more meme participants or join the fun yourself.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper for Christmas. Any other time, though, gift bags!

2. Real tree or Artificial? Real. We make a Griswolds day of it . . riding on a tractor, trooping through a tree farm to find the perfect tree while sipping hot chocolate, ceremoniously cut it down, etc.

3. When do you put up the tree? It varies, but we try to do it as soon as possible after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? A weekend or two after New Years' Day

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Merlin game . .I'm such a geek. I know I'm dating myself here, so here's a pic.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My dad. My brother and I joke about how everything we buy him (except for car wash coupons and Outback gift certificates) winds up collecting dust in their basement, the "Land of Misfit Gifts"

8. Easiest person to buy for? My kids

9. Do you have a nativity scene? I have one that was my grandmothers', Diva has her own, a gift from my mom

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail, although email sounds fabulous to me

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Early in our marriage, my hubby attempted to buy me clothes. Since then he has been forbidden to do so. I don't care to dress like a stripper. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

12. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Turkey with all the trimmings

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? After Thanksgiving. I really can't get into it unless there's some pressure.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Not that I know of.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My grandmother's cherry nut cookies. I've tried to make them myself but they just never taste the same.

16. Lights on the tree? Yes - white and multi-colored

17. Favorite Christmas song? The Charlie Brown song, I can't remember the actual title.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home in the morning, go to my parents' for dinner, they live 5 minutes away.

19. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Both - we open gifts from JV's parents on Christmas Eve, and everything else on Christmas morning.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Free Shipping Day: December 18

Check out http://www.freeshippingday.com/. Many online merchants will be offering free shipping on December 18, with arrival guaranteed before Christmas. More merchants are being added to the list every day. Happy holiday shopping!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Buy $25 restaurant gift certificates for $3! (No, that's not a typo!)

If you go to www.restaurant.com, you can buy $25 gift certificates to local restaurants for $10. If you enter the offer code BELLS, the price reduces from $10 to $3. Seriously! $3 for a $25 gift certificate! There are some stipulations, such as minimum purchase amounts and days of the week they can be used, but what a deal!! Enjoy!

Update: I just bought a $25 gift certificate for a very nice restaurant in my area for $3. Be sure to read the terms and conditions ... in most cases you can only redeem 1 gift certificate per visit (i.e. you can't buy 3 gift certificates and try to use them all in one sitting to get a free meal, like I was thinking we could do). It's still a great deal though - the web site has restaurants in most cities! A great gift idea if the site has your friends and families' favorite restaurants.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Amy Poehler returns to SNL as Hillary!

Amy Poehler, who, had a baby, like a few weeks ago, is back on SNL and looking fabulous as Hillary Clinton in this funny skit. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Send a free card to the troops from Xerox!

This is very cool. If you go to this web site, www.LetsSayThanks.com, you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it send it to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq. I just did this and it was very easy. The designs are very cute, and you can pick one of many messages, or make your own.

You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services. How awesome would it be if we could get everyone we know to send one? It is FREE and only takes a few seconds.

Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to know we support them. Please take the time to send a card and pass the site on for others to do so. Thanks for supporting our military!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Check out my 2nd blog!

With all my spare time (not), I have created a new blog. Check it out at http://mrandmrswannabeskinny.blogspot.com/

JV and I want to lose weight. And instead of pledging any more money to Weight Watchers or buying any more diet books or exercise videos that will eventually collect dust, we started a blog where we will weigh in each week. We are thinking it will keep us accountable if we have to weigh in to the blogosphere each week.

I've got a head start on JV in that my weight is 20 lbs lighter than when I got pregnant last November. No real explanation for it other than I had kidney stones in the last month of my pregnancy and have been nursing #3 since she was born, therefore burning an extra 500 calories a day. But I have to wean her soon since I'm going back to work at the end of the month, so that calorie burning will stop. I know I am going to have to work really hard to keep that weight off and lose another 22 pounds, which is my goal.

So now I'm really going to have to watch my weight and start exercising more. No more root beer floats several nights a week, and no more chicken wings (my current obsession) whenever I go to a restaurant.

27 Days to go

I have 27 days left before my return to work from maternity leave. Where the heck did the past 4 months go? I had such lofty ideas on what I was going to do with my time off. Let's do a little progress check on my to do list:

  • Start selling our excess stuff on Ebay. Progress made: I bought a postal scale, creating more clutter. I did, however, make a couple hundred bucks selling some books and dvd's on half.com. It's a bit less labor intensive than Ebay.
  • Go to the gym every day. Progress made: none. I go there twice a week to take Diva and Daredevil to their dance/karate classes. I have been wary of adding #3 to our membership in order to use the babysitting because I think they are going to try and increase our rate. (Our club tries to gouge you for every little thing.) While the weather was nice, I was taking #3 for long walks outside every day, but now it's too cold for that. I've used my treadmill a couple of times, but not as much as I should.
  • Clean out cabinets/drawers/closets that are full of stuff. Progress made: minimal. I have cleaned out a few drawers, a couple of closets, and gave 5 shopping bags of clothes to Goodwill. A start, but there is much more to be done in this category.
  • Organize our basement. Progress made: none. Our basement is still a disaster area. And now I need to get the Christmas stuff out. I SO need the show Clean House to come visit and make over the basement.
So now it's down to the wire, and I go back to work in a few weeks. I am looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. I love being home with #3 all day and getting Diva and Daredevil off the bus every day, but I also miss my work, which I love, and the social aspects of going to the office. And of course there's the feelings of guilt about leaving #3 in day care, although where she will go is wonderful and right next door to my office. So I'm conflicted, to say the least. I hope the next few weeks don't fly by as fast as the last 16, but I'm sure with the holidays they will!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing

Just sitting here on vacation watching the cheesy movie "Sahara" on TNT . . . haven't done a meme before but it looks like fun, so here goes:

Sunday Stealing: The Favorite Meme

Fill in your favorite for each of the following:

1. Political show: Hannity and Colmes

2. Picnic food: Spaghetti salad

3. Mixed drink: Gin & tonic

4. U.S. President: Ronald Reagan

5. Kind of student to teach:
I'm not a teacher - but if I were I'd have to say a smart one who participated a lot

6. Hobby you do or wish you still did: I want to learn to play acoustic guitar. I have the guitar, just need to find time to take lessons

7. Sports commentator: I have no idea

8. Sport to watch on TV: Baseball & college basketball

9. Animal to have as a pet: Dog

10. Halloween costume you have worn: Gypsy

11. Kind of dessert: Cheesecake or Creme Brulee

12. Comic strip: Dilbert

13. Ice cream flavor: Mint Chocolate Chip

14. News source: NY Times

15. Vacation spot: Miami Beach

16. Wine: Pinot Grigio

17. Way to waste time instead of working: Celebrity gossip web sites

18. Reality show: Celebrity Rehab - train wreck TV at its best

19. Childrens movie: Toy Story

20. Celebrity you wish would retire: Can't think of one. Old people rock.

If you want to participate in the Sunday Stealing weekly memes, post this on your blog and visit Judd’s site to sign the Mr. Linky.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Heading South for Thanksgiving

We are leaving today after school to head down to South Carolina for Thanksgiving. In addition to having Thanksgiving dinner with JV's family, we are having #3's christening there next weekend.

While I am looking forward to some R&R and seeing JV's family (and my parents and brother, who are also making the trip) I am dreading the 12 hour drive. With the baby it should take us, well, just about FOREVER to get there.

While it will be a little warmer there than it is here up North, it won't exactly be beach weather. Oh well - I am still looking forward to the change of scenery. I'll try to post when I can.


Follow up: Whale of a Sale bargains

The Whale of a Sale was quite a spectacle. We wound up getting there around 7:30, there were about 100 people in line ahead of us. We were able to get in soon after 8, but it was much more crowded than last year, I think they said 2,800 people showed up. And I think there was much less quality merchandise than last year. People still went nuts though. Here are some techniques I witnessed:
  • Making your husband/shopping partner stand in one spot, while you trek all over the sale and bring back stuff to pile up next to him or her.
  • Just grab things to stuff into your bag, to pull out later and decide whether to buy
  • Drag around a HUGE lawn and leaf bag filled with stuff
  • Bring your own shopping cart (stolen from the grocery store???)
Here's a breakdown of my purchases:

Total spent: $20
  • Remote Control Robot toy - $6
  • 5 small white ceramic bowls (perfect for ice cream!) - $5
  • Mr. Coffee working coffee maker - $3
  • Girls' Glo by J.Lo pants - $2
  • 4 hardcover books - $4
Nothing too exciting, but I really wasn't looking for anything in particular. It was more of a participation event for me. I'll be there next year!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Whale of a Sale = Early Morning Insanity & Hilarity

Every year, the Junior League in my town has an event called "Whale of a Sale", proceeds of which benefit local charities. It's like a big yard sale. How it works is they usually get a large warehouse or empty store and fill it with donated items and open the sale to the public. People camp out all night in the freezing cold to get in first, and go nuts over all the cheap stuff.

It's a few steps above a yard sale because (1) it's huge, like a department store, and (2) many items are new. They procure many name brand new items donated from area retailers. A big draw is usually new wedding and bridesmaid dresses donated from area bridal shops. You will see women in bathing suits and leotards trying on dresses, most of which cost $25, right there next to the racks (there are no dressing rooms).

So, this year's sale is tomorrow. With these tough economic times, they are expecting their largest turnout ever - over 2,000 people. I went last year at 8 a.m., the start time, and waited in line behind about 100 people for about 45 minutes. They only let so many people in and after that, like a crowded bar, it's 1 in, 1 out, so people typically have to wait to get in.

I got some nice stuff last year. Clothes (new and used) from Ann Taylor and Talbot's, some books, and a couple of things for the kids, all for about $30. I don't go nuts and camp out, cut the line, or push and shove to get to the racks like some people do. I like to watch the insanity though - it's quite amusing to watch brides dive and fight for wedding dresses.

So this year I'm thinking of getting there around 6:45 so I can be up a little further in line when it opens. That's not too crazy, is it? I'll post back and let you know about my new found treasures!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fun Quiz: Are you a Marilyn or a Jackie? (Or other female icon)


Take the quiz at the link below to find out which "Mad Men" era female icon you are most like. My results are below, and I think they pretty much nailed me, suprisingly, since the quiz was only two questions.

After taking the quiz, come back and let me know who you are!


I am an Audrey.

Audrey -- "I am at peace"

Audreys are receptive, good-natured, and supportive. They seek union with others and the world around them.

How to Get Along with Me

  • If you want me to do something, how you ask is important. I especially don't like expectations or pressure
  • I like to listen and to be of service, but don't take advantage of this
  • Listen until I finish speaking, even though I meander a bit
  • Give me time to finish things and make decisions. It's OK to nudge me gently and nonjudgmentally
  • Ask me questions to help me get clear
  • Tell me when you like how I look. I'm not averse to flattery
  • Hug me, show physical affection. It opens me up to my feelings
  • I like a good discussion but not a confrontation
  • Let me know you like what I've done or said
  • Laugh with me and share in my enjoyment of life

What I Like About Being an Audrey
  • being nonjudgmental and accepting
  • caring for and being concerned about others
  • being able to relax and have a good time
  • knowing that most people enjoy my company; I'm easy to be around
  • my ability to see many different sides of an issue and to be a good mediator and facilitator
  • my heightened awareness of sensations, aesthetics, and the here and now
  • being able to go with the flow and feel one with the universe

What's Hard About Being an Audrey
  • being judged and misunderstood for being placid and/or indecisive
  • being critical of myself for lacking initiative and discipline
  • being too sensitive to criticism; taking every raised eyebrow and twitch of the mouth personally
  • being confused about what I really want
  • caring too much about what others will think of me
  • not being listened to or taken seriously

Audreys as Children Often

  • feel ignored and that their wants, opinions, and feelings are unimportant
  • tune out a lot, especially when others argue
  • are "good" children: deny anger or keep it to themselves

Audreys as Parents

  • are supportive, kind, and warm
  • are sometimes overly permissive or nondirective

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Picture of the Day


* Just to clarify, my kids did not draw this :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

20th High School Reunion, aka: "Who Are All These Middle-Aged People and How Is It That I Am One of Them?"

My 20th high school reunion was a BLAST. Above is the attempt to take a group photo. Yes, I am in this photo! If you read my previous post on the topic, you can probably pick me out by my outfit.

As far as dress code, which was "business casual", anything went. Black and white was very popular. There was a ride range of attire, from cocktail dresses and suits to khakis and jeans. I wound up being right in the middle with my ensemble.

Surprisingly, my stomach was in knots walking in to the cocktail hour - I was frantically thinking: What if I'm overdressed? What if no one remembers me? What if no one wants to talk to me? Such thinking was silly of course, but that shows how much high school memories stay with you.

The turnout was good. For a class of 280, about 100 classmates showed up (170 total, including guests). Some had traveled to the East Coast from as far as Texas and California. I thought that either people either looked exactly the same, or so different that I had to look at their name button to figure out who they were. The name buttons, by the way, had our senior pictures on them. Mine senior picture was hideous, and I considered flipping the bird (but didn't) to anyone who said I looked exactly the same. I don't look the same at all.

I was able to pace myself drinking beer (Corona Light!) so that I did not get rip-roaring drunk, (as I was afraid I might as I hadn't drank in about a year due to pregnancy & nursing) however, I did not practice restraint when it came to the food. I had seconds on the fabulous dinner buffet, sent JV back to our room loaded with desserts to save for later (which we devoured), and my dear high school BFF (who had flown in for the reunion from the Midwest), sent her husband out to Chili's for some late night grub. He brought back almost everything on the menu, which we also devoured at 2am.

This reunion was more fun than our 10th. It seemed this time the cliques were really just about gone. (Although, sadly, I noticed some did still exist). At the 10th, many people were still single, or just married, no kids yet, and just establishing careers. This time around, most had married (some divorced or remarried), most had kids, and have had twists and turns in their careers and families, so there was much more to talk about. Corresponding on Facebook really helped break the ice; because of it I already knew many facts about people, which allowed me to start conversations easily and keep them going. I kept remembering: when in doubt, ask people about themselves or their families. Most people love to talk about themselves.

The night seemed to fly by - there were so many people I saw from afar and just didn't get a chance to talk with. Hopefully we'll have a 25th - in the meantime, I'll try to do my best to keep up with my classmates I did chat with. So, Class of '88, until the 25th, see you on Facebook!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Beefy Tomato Mac-N-Cheese Casserole

This delicious casserole uses that American family staple, Kraft Mac-n-Cheese. I make this often. My kids love it. Serve with a tossed salad to redeem some nutritional value!

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pkg. Kraft macaroni and cheese
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce (I use canned Hunt's)
  • 4 ounces shredded Mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown ground beef and add salt and pepper to taste. Drain of excess fat. At the same time, prepare macaroni as package directs.

Add to browned beef: tomato sauce and cheese sauce mix from mac-n-cheese package. Simmer 3 minutes. Add Mozzarella cheese. Cook until cheese melts.

Place macaroni in large casserole and add 2 tablespoons butter. Mix. Add ground beef mixture to macaroni. Mix well. Place in oven uncovered for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We got a new car!

We got a new car yesterday! Here's a picture. For those new readers, I totaled my husband's car on October 25th, so we needed to get a new car asap. Our insurance company (State Farm) has been absolutely wonderful and came through with a payment yesterday that was much more than we expected to get for our 10 year old 4Runner.

So, we went and bought a 2008 Chevrolet Avalanche, after much looking in a very short time frame. For anyone looking to get a new car, there are GREAT deals out there. Everywhere we went, the poor salespeople were falling all over us trying to sell us a car. We got a deeply discounted price, and didn't even need to play hardball in negotiating. (Which we were ready to do since a car payment is not something we planned for at this time!)

JV has wanted a pickup truck for a long time. And since we need a car ASAP, we need to look at either what they have on the lot or what they can locate for us in a day or two. We started with the GMC Sierra pickup - way out of our price range. We then moved to the Chevy Silverado -just out of our price range. We then moved to the Chevy Avalanche, which was well within our price range with the incentives they were offering. It is more of a SUV/Pickup. We think it is perfect for our family. All 3 car seats/kids fit comfortably in the backseat, and it has 5 star front/side crash test ratings.

Of course it will be JV's car, but since he is going turkey hunting this weekend and his buddy will drive, I get to drive it all weekend! I'll try not to total it. :) One shocking thought did occur to us - since we have a habit of driving cars until they die, this could conceivably be Diva's first car as she will be 16 in 7.5 years (AAACK!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Tina Fey and John McCain

Another funny one . . I will miss these when the election is over. Happy Voting, fellow Americans!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Party On, Class of '88!

I will be getting my party on this Saturday night at my high school reunion (20th!). I can't believe it has been 20 years! I have been feeling particularly OLD lately as I think the dad on the new 90210 is hot, rather than any of the younger guys.

I am looking forward to seeing lots of friends at the reunion and most importantly having a fun night out with my husband. We are staying overnight at the hotel where the reunion is being held. (Neither of us wanted to be The Designated Driver!)

Since we are now back living in the same town where I went to high school, JV knows quite a few people from my class, so I won't have to worry about him not having fun because he doesn't know anyone. Even if he didn't, he is very outgoing and extroverted and will talk to anyone.

I have been connecting with people from high school, college, and beyond for the past six months or so on Facebook. I had previously thought Facebook was for college kids and single people looking to hook up, but I was wrong. Everyone's on Facebook. Apparently, some people are on Facebook ALL the time, I don't know how they get anything else done.

Anyhoo, there is a Facebook group devoted to my high school class. Quite a few people have joined, and people have been posting memories, pictures, and other stuff. There have even been a few pre-reunion happy hours already, organized through Facebook (I haven't been able to attend so far; seems I always have some kind of conflict.) It's a great way to connect with people, so when I see them at the reunion I will already know a little of what's going on with them.

On Friday night our high school is actually having its' Homecoming football game. I would love to go and bring the family, but it's Halloween. There's no way we are missing trick or treat!

I think I have my reunion ensemble set, and miraculously it did not involve any shopping! I decided I would go through all my clothes to try to find something before I bought anything new, since my closets seem to be stuffed with clothes. I found some nice black pants, a cute black sequiny top, white jacket, silver chandelier earrings, and silver shoes. I think it will work. The dress code is not formal, so thankfully I do not have to wear a dress. Since the dress code at work was relaxed, I no longer wear skirts or dresses!

I have to clean my house since one of my friends is flying in for the reunion from Kansas City, also my mom will be staying at my house with the kids. I am so hiring a cleaning person when I go back to work!

Bummer - Value City is closing

Another retailer bites the dust and files for bankruptcy. Value City says it will close all their remaining stores. I was just at Value City late last week, and they were having a "As If We Were Going Out of Business" sale, with 10%-30% off everything in the store. Guess now they can cross out the "As if We Were".

While Value City does have some junk, they had some great deals too - I especially liked their shoe and toy departments. They also had an expansive big and tall mens' department, which is a rarity in our area. I will miss hunting through the racks for bargains there, and wonder which store will be the next victim of these tough times.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Yup, I smashed a car into a tree today. While driving the kids on rain-soaked and leaf strewn back roads to visit some family, coming out of a S-curve I lost control of JV's car, swerved off the road, and wound up lodged between 2 trees. No one was hurt. Diva and Daredevil were shaken up, but #3 didn't even wake up. The kids recovered fairly quickly from the scare and now think they have a good story to tell their friends at school on Monday.

So no injuries, but our Old Faithful, a '99 Toyota 4Runner, may likely never recover. It is MESSED UP. Lots of front body damage, tire gone, and front axle bent from the tow truck pulling it out. This has been JV's car since I got the full size SUV in '04, which he is using this weekend at a trade show. He has been planting the seeds about getting a new car, but we were going to try to wait at least another year. So much for that plan.

Luckily my parents were home and came to pick us up, since JV was at work a couple of hours away. To add to the fun, the state trooper handed my license back to me and said, "Ma'am, did you realize your license expired on 8/9/08?" Oops - I had no idea. #3 was born on 8/12, so I have been a little distracted. He was very nice though, and gave me a warning on that. So luckily I did not receive any tickets.

So, now we wait to see what will happen with the 4Runner and whether we have to get a new car. I need to pick up a rental car, get the 4Runner towed from the lot to the body shop, and go to the DMV to get my license renewed. I think the repairs will likely exceed the 4Runner's value, but we'll see. Darn thing was paid off, so if we get a new car, now we'll have a down payment car payment, which is something we didn't plan on while I'm on unpaid maternity leave. Ugh.

I'm trying not to think about that right now and be thankful my babies are OK - it could have been SO much worse.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sleeping through the Night: Cautiously Optimistic

Woo-hoo! Last night was the THIRD NIGHT IN A ROW that #3 slept straight from 11p.m. to 6:30 or 7 a.m.

She has usually woken up around 2 or 3 a.m. for a feeding, and I had adjusted to that. As long as I got at least one 3-4 hour block of sleep and at least one other 2 hour block, I could function. I am cautiously optimistic that we have turned a corner. I don't know what to do with myself, I feel so rested.

She is 10 weeks old now, and with my previous 2 I don't remember them sleeping through the night (and by sleeping through the night, I mean 5 or 6 straight hours) until 3-4 months old. With Daredevil, I remember going back to work at 4 months and still having to get up at night.

So, hopefully this will continue, especially since I will be leaving all 3 overnight with my mom for the first time on November 1 so JV and I can attend my high school reunion (20th, yikes!). My mom is a little nervous about watching all 3 overnight. Diva and Daredevil are delights when they are alone, but a perfect storm of bickering and physicality together.

This will be our first night out since the baby (and first time I will consume adult beverages in pretty much a year) so we are very much looking forward to it. I have no idea what to wear, though. The dress code is "business casual". Of course I know what that means for work, but for a social event? I have no clue. My guess is that it will include black pants and heels, but I'll have to shop for a top. I haven't really bought anything new (that's non-maternity) in the past year, so it's time to go shopping!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Delicious Pumpkin Mousse - a lower calorie alternative to Halloween candy

This is a yummy recipe I got a long time ago at a Weight Watchers meeting (1 point per cup!). It is very easy and good. Whip up some and keep it in the fridge to dig into when you are tempted to eat Halloween candy. You can also experiment with different flavors of pudding. (I have yet to try that. I'm a follow-the-recipe type of girl.)

Pumpkin Mousse
  • 1 15 oz.can solid pumpkin (not the pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 box sugar free, fat free vanilla pudding
  • 1 box sugar free, fat free butterscotch pudding
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • pumpkin pie spice, to taste
Combine ingredients in a mixer (I used my hand mixer), pour into bowl or other storage container and refrigerate. When serving, add Cool Whip (or Cool Whip Free if counting points) if desired. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another funny one

I didn't realize Sarah Palin also made a cameo in the Weekend Update portion of SNL. It's funny! Is that Sarah Palin's husband? If not, it looks just like him.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Doing D.C.

We spent the past weekend in Washington, D.C. JV won the weekend trip as recognition from his company. While families were welcome, the events planned were just for employees/spouses.

I originally wasn't going to go as I hadn't gotten a babysitter, but I decided to go at the last minute after considering my options: (1) stay at home all weekend alone with the kids, or (2) hang out in the D.C. Ritz Carlton (for free) with the kids, and have JV join us when he could. Wouldn't anyone choose option #2?

Diva and Daredevil had a blast, but I think #3 is glad to be back in her own crib after her first overnight trip. I had fun too - although I missed dinner at The Palm on Saturday night, I enjoyed ordering room service (I wasn't about to take a 6 year old, 8 year old, and 9 week old to a restaurant by myself) and took a most relaxing soak in the fabulous tub in our room after the kids fell asleep. I told JV I want to remodel our master bath to look exactly the same as the one in our room. The Ritz Carlton D.C. rocks.

Saturday we walked the National Mall and went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. We had been there before, but we went again as that was what Diva and Daredevil wanted to do. Daredevil wanted to see dinosaurs, and Diva (of course) wanted to see the Hope Diamond.

Here's Diva riding the Metro, which is how we got around the city. Miss Independent wanted to sit in her own row. The Metro is very pleasant, clean, and cheap - the best way, I think, to get around in D.C.

Sunday we visited the Arlington National Cemetery. I had been there before also, but JV and the kids had never seen it. We watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. If you've never seen it, it's worth seeing. It's pretty awe-inspiring. Their precision is amazing, they make it look so effortless. It's also very solemn.

A bit of background: The Tomb contains the remains of unknown American Soldiers from World Wars I and II, the Korean Conflict and (until 1998) the Vietnam War (the Vietnam soldier's remains were exhumed and identified in 1998, and re-buried elsewhere. That portion of the tomb remains vacant). The Tomb is guarded 24 hours per day, 365 days per year by specially trained members of the 3rd United States Infantry (known as the "Old Guard"). In the fall and winter, the guard changes every hour (in the spring and summer, every half hour). All spectators must remain silent the entire time they view the tomb, and must stand for the changing of the guard ceremony.

The Old Guard, one of the oldest and most respected Infantry Regiments in the United States Army, has the awesome responsibility of both guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns and escorting deceased Army servicemembers to their final rest in the "Gardens of Stone," as Arlington is sometimes called. The Old Guard is also the Army's official ceremonial unit and escort to the president, and it would provide security for Washington, D.C., in event of national emergency or civil disturbance.

Proud to bring you some American history today!

In Case You Missed It . .

Very funny . . .

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Cajun-Seasoned Turkey Cutlets

I love perusing cookbooks and finding something interesting to try. Unfortunately, I am usually missing ingredients from any recipe I choose, no matter how much planning and spending I do at each week's grocery run.

I was overjoyed to find this recipe, which calls for turkey breast cutlets, margarine or butter, and some spices (miraculously, all of which I have), and doesn't take much time at all.

Don't let the word "Cajun" scare you - it is not that spicy - just enough to make it good. (I did use the optional ground red pepper) This is healthy too - just 6.5 grams of fat per serving. My kids loved these - and they are very picky and do not like spicy food.

Cajun-Seasoned Turkey Cutlets

4 servings
  • 1lb turkey breast cutlets
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
  • 4 teaspoons non-diet tub-style margarine or butter, melted
Line a 15x10 baking sheet with foil. Coat the foil with no-stick spray and set aside. Preheat the oven to bake at 425 degrees.

Place each turkey cutlet between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Working from the center to the edges, lightly pound with the flat side of a meat mallet or the back of a large, heavy spoon to 1/8" thickness. Remove the turkey from the plastic and lay the slices, in a single layer, on the prepared baking sheet.

In a custard cup (I have no idea what that is - I just used a small plastic bowl), stir together the chili powder, paprika, thyme, garlic salt, celery salt, black pepper and red pepper (if using).

Lightly brush the turkey with 2 teaspoons of the margarine or butter.

Sprinkle with half of the chili mixture. Turn the turkey slices over. Brush with the remaining 2 teaspoons margarine or butter and sprinkle with the remaining chili mixture.

Bake for 9 or 10 minutes, or until the turkey is tender and cooked through. Serve with a salad or other side dish (we had Parmesan couscous - a favorite in our house). Enjoy!

Per serving: 154 calories, 6.5 g. total fat (38% of calories), 3.1 g. saturated fat, 52 mg cholesterol, 229mg sodium.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rideabout: Quarryville, PA

If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there. – Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

This quote was the theme of our afternoon on Sunday. Every once in a while when we feel cabin fever, we pile in the car to go on a "rideabout" - with no specific destination in mind. We strike out on in a direction we are not entirely familiar with and see where we end up. While we have lived in this area for quite a while, there are still many unexplored areas, and we love finding new places. The main draw in our rideabouts is the journey itself - seeing new towns and areas, and leaving a mental trail of bread crumbs so we know how to get back home.

We drove about 35 miles away from our town and wound up in Amish country in Pennsylvania. We enjoyed seeing the rural life - lots of farms, horses and buggies and cute little towns. We wound up driving through Quarryville around dinnertime, so we decided to stop and eat. After driving around town scoping out the restaurants, we chose the Quarryville Family Restaurant right in the heart of town.

The Quarryville Family Restaurant lived up to what everything a family restaurant should be: casual, cheap, huge menu, friendly service and delicious. Diva ordered a kids' portion of turkey and mashed potatoes with gravy, and it was a huge plate. I figured she'd be taking home leftovers, but she ate the whole thing, to our astonishment. JV got chicken cordon bleu, and I had broiled shrimp and scallops with mash potatoes and some fresh cole slaw. All delicious. Daredevil ate his standard hot dog and french fries. #3 was an angel and slept the whole time, so it was a delightful dining experience. Our family gives the Quarryville Family Restaurant a double thumbs up - I think we will travel back to Quarryville just to eat there again.

After dinner, it was time to feed #3 before traveling back home, so we headed to Son's ice cream stand down the street. JV, Diva and Daredevil enjoyed some ice cream while #3 had her dinner. (I did not partake in ice cream as I thought I was going to explode from dinner!) By then it was getting dark so we headed home.

It was a dark ride home though, as the Amish farms that dotted our ride there were completely dark. Many Amish do not use electricity. Diva and Daredevil could not believe this. Daredevil asked "How do they watch TV?" and was incredulous when we told them that well, they don't. Diva asked what they do after the sun goes down. We figured the answer to that is that they either use candles or simply go to bed for the night. She was astounded by this.

Then JV and I got to chatting about how much TV our kids watch: way too much. We have discussed limiting our cable to basic (we have expanded basic now), getting rid of cable altogether, or keeping it and limiting the kids TV time. I'd be fine with getting rid of cable. It would be one less bill to pay, and I can watch my favorite shows and see news online, so no big deal. When we started tossing these ideas around, the kids were HORRIFIED.

For now, we decided that the TVs will remain off starting Sunday night through Thursday nights - school nights- during the school year. I unplugged the TV in the kids' playroom. We decided the kids should be doing homework, reading, playing board games, or playing outside after school. And if the kids complain they are bored, they then get to dust and vacuum.

It was no big deal last night, as Diva had dance and we were busy with dinner/homework and taking her to dance. It will be similar tonight as Daredevil has karate. We'll see how it goes the rest of the week!

All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our rideabout and discovering Quarryville, and the kids learned a bit about Amish culture. Good times!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cool Stuff: Obli Organics

An associate at my company has started her own very cool all organic clothing line with her sister for babies, children and pets. Obli Organics (Obli stands for "On Borrowed Land, Inc.") has very hip and cool environmentally friendly clothing.

A dear friend gave #3 this adorable Obli onesie - it is SO soft. She looks very hip and green, doesn't she?

While the stuff isn't cheap, it's very cute and would make a great (and environmentally conscious) gift idea. I can attest to the high quality. I'm always looking for baby gifts that are off the beaten path - this stuff is perfect!

Also, as a driver of a full size SUV, I do try to find other ways to be green to make up for my massive greenhouse gas emissions. Check out Obli Organics here & happy shopping:


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Wing Dip

Each Wednesday, I'll try to post a recipe that's easy, fast, and yummy (and occasionally healthy!). I do enjoy cooking when I have the time, but typically I'm scrambling to put meals on the table for picky eaters (including my "meatatarian" husband) after a long day of work and a stressful commute, while simultaneously overseeing homework time, so I understand the value of a a good recipe. I will road test each recipe prior to posting to ensure they are indeed quick, easy, and yummy.

The following recipe comes from Cara at Working Moms Against Guilt (link below right). I saw this on their site about a year ago, saved it for future use. I broke it out this past weekend for Daredevil's 6th birthday party, and while it was a bit spicy for my kids, it got a thumbs up from parents and family and I wound copying the recipe for several of them. I could not stop eating it. While it is not exactly healthy, it is very quick and easy and would be perfect to enjoy while watching football!

Cara's Favorite Chicken Wing Dip
This dip tastes just like chicken wings! No dealing with bones or messy fingers.
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup hot pepper sauce, such as Frank's Red Hot
  • 1 cup Ranch-style salad dressing
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (out of the can is fine)
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)

In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese and hot pepper sauce until well blended.

Mix in the Ranch dressing, chicken and Cheddar cheese. Spread into a 9x13 inch baking dish (I used an oval casserole dish, this worked fine too.)

Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. If oil collects on the top, dab it off using a paper towel. Serve with tortilla chips.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Paid Leave ends today

#3 is 8 weeks old today, which also marks the end of my 8 weeks of maternity leave pay. I am not returning to work until January 2009. While I realize I am fortunate to be able to take some additional unpaid time off, this was definitely the fastest 8 weeks of my life.

It has gone by in a flash. My life has been a whirlwind of round the clock feedings (I'm nursing, so it's all me), bus stop runs, chauffering to karate, dance, sleepovers, birthday parties, etc. #3 and I are finally starting to set into a routine, so I'm starting to enjoy my time more.

She's starting to give me at least one 3-4 hour block of sleep at night, so I'm less of a bleary eyed zombie than I was a few weeks ago. I've also resolved my kidney stone issues via a procedure called lithotripsy, so I don't live in fear of a stone attack anymore.

So all is well, but I can't believe it's October already. Soon it will be January 2 and I will be back to work. I'm so busy right now I have no idea how that will work, but I remember feeling that way with 2 kids, and even with one. So I guess I'll figure it out!

In Case You Missed It

Here's another one, in case you didn't stay up late to watch SNL. Too funny!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Overwhelmed in a different way

#3 is here! She arrived on August 12, and we are all head over heels in love with her. I couldn't have ordered an easier delivery, and I'm feeling quite good a week later, compared to my previous births. Diva and Daredevil adore their new sister, JV is taken with her too, and I spend a lot of time just staring at her. I am getting very little sleep, she likes to eat about every 2 hours, and no one else can assist in this area for now, so I am pretty darn tired.

So now I am a temporary stay at home mom (do we call this TSAHM?) I plan to return to work in January 2009. It was nuts trying to finish up at work prior to delivery. I work on a lot of long term projects and deals, so it was a lot of transitioning. It was actually bittersweet - a few of them I've worked on for a year or more, some are reaching the closing stages, and I won't be there to see them through.

I am enjoying being at home and focusing on family. Diva and Daredevil start school on Monday, so we are gearing up for that. There will be several firsts on Monday - Daredevil starts kindergarten, and both will ride the bus for the first time (Diva has always done before/after care right at the school, so we've driven her.) But with me on leave, they will be bus riders for the first half of the year.

JV has already been on the horn with the school district's transportation office about getting the bus stop moved - it is right on a curve in our neighborhood where there are a lot of trees close to the road, so it's a bit of an blind turn that many people take too fast. The district's suggestion was to move it completely out of our neighborhood, where the kids would have to cross a busy road with lots of truck (the 18 wheel variety) traffic. Ridiculous. We just want the stop to be a few houses down within our neighborhood (closer or farther from our house, we don't care, we're happy to walk). We know a few neighbors feel the same way, so far we haven't enlisted their help, but we may soon need to.

I vow to be better about updating this blog and making it snazzier looking now that #3 is here and school is starting. I plan to add all kinds of interesting stuff, come back and visit soon!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Feeling Better!

I am feeling better, thank goodness. One of the stones is gone and the other is staying put for now, which is not causing any pain. So I went back to work. It was nice to focus on something else for a change. Unless anything changes, I'm going to continue working as long as I can. The longer I can get paid, the better, since I'm taking some unpaid time after my paid leave.

Today I went to Babies R Us to pick up some essentials after we unpacked most of our 5 to 8 year old baby stuff over the weekend. I'm trying not to get much, but there were some things I just have to replace or get new. I was shocked at how much prices of the baby basics have gone up since I last had a baby (almost 6 years ago). Yikes, this is one instance where I'm glad I was a pack rat and saved as much as I possibly could.

We are still woefully unprepared for this baby. The past few nights I have been waking up in a panic at 3 a.m. over all we have to do. (And general panic at the thought that in a few short days or weeks we will have a baby in the house again!)

While I am certainly grateful not to be in pain anymore, going back to work is tough because now I'm just too tired to accomplish anything in the evenings after work, picking up the kids, dinner, cleanup, etc. My past few evenings have consisted of, after the forementioned activities, watching whatever crappy reality TV show is on and passing out the same time as the kids. #3's room is slowly starting to take shape, although the crib is still in pieces. Hopefully I'll be closer to my due date (Aug 19th) than I had previously thought!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pain on a scale of 1 to 10? That would be 20.

How to ruin a week at the shore for an entire family . . . Wake up with kidney stones on the third day there. Yup, kidney stones. At 36 weeks pregnant. After two stints in the hospital at the beach, we cut our week short and we are back home and I am heavily medicated. Thankfully, the baby is oblivious to my agony and is doing just fine. I sure didn't see this one coming. I have been good throughout pregnancy about staying hydrated and not drinking more than 1 caffeinated drink a day, but apparently I have been dehydrated. I've got stones in both kidneys, and I just have to wait until they come out. Went to both my OB and a urologist today, and for the next week we are going to wait and see what happens, then we'll talk about inducing, since I can only take pain medication for a short period of time. In the meantime, I am done working and am to rest, rest, rest. It's tough to do anything with the amount of discomfort I'm in, so it's maddening to look around the house and see so much to do. I was also counting on a few more weeks of working, since I am planning on adding unpaid time to my maternity leave. JV has been wonderful, taking full charge of the kids and house and driving me to my appointments, although he's very busy at work. My brother, sister in law, and my mother have also cut their vacations short to help us. At this point I need to stop worrying about the dog hair dust balls on the floor and the crib that is not put together yet and focus on both my health and what I'm grateful for - and there are so many things. Hopefully this kidney thing will resolve itself on its own, and soon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

"Picture This" - I sure didn't

Last night, Diva and I sat and watched the movie “Picture This”, starring Ashley Tisdale, on the ABC Family Channel. Diva is a huge fan of Ms. Tisdale, a Disney channel actress and singer best known for her role as Sharpay Evans in the High School Musical juggernaut.

Here’s the description of the movie per the ABC Family Channel web site:
"Ashley Tisdale stars as high school senior Mandy Gilbert who's not too hot within the high-stakes world of teen society. But her social status is about to dramatically improve when she lands a date to the biggest party of the year with Drew Patterson (Robbie Amell), the school's hottest guy. Only problem … she's grounded! With the help of her friends and her new, must-have video phone, she'll have to outsmart her overprotective dad and Drew's ex-girlfriend, in a crazy, adventure-filled day that proves that popularity can come and go, but good friends will always be in the picture.”

Cute, right? I thought this would be a nice, wholesome and innocent family movie to watch with my 8 year old. I was disappointed. While it told a cute overall story and it was clearly a vehicle to promote Ms. Tisdale’s acting and singing talents, it had some references that I thought were not only inappropriate, but completely unnecessary for advancing the plot. Here’s a short list:

  • Several phrases describing sex with no commitment – “Hit and quit”, “hump and dump” and a couple more. Diva asked what these phrases meant. I just told her it meant a boy took you out and then never called you again. Lame and inaccurate, I know, but when put on the spot I didn't know what else to say.
  • Slightly mocking references to Alcoholics Anonymous (as in, “Where’s your Mom? At an AA meeting, and then she’s going out for drinks afterwards”) I suppose this was meant to be funny?
  • Discussing loss of virginity by using the term “deflower". As if that wasn't bad enough, they talked about doing it in the shower! Diva also asked what this meant. I gave a lame, inaccurate, G-rated answer to this too.

  • Use of the word “a**” twice to describe the posterior. Really, what’s wrong with saying “butt”?

  • Implied underage drinking at a high school party (I don’t think high school kids would likely drink fruit punch out of martini glasses, and everyone else holding opaque plastic cups at the party – are we really to believe there’s Coca-Cola in them?)

I must say these were minor or implied references, and since weren’t really central to the messages in the overall story, we kept watching, although in retrospect I probably should have turned it off. This movie was clearly geared toward a teen audience, not my rising third grader.

It didn’t help that peppered throughout the movie were promos for a new ABC Family series, “The Secret Life of an American Teenager”, which, from the ads, deals with a teenager hiding a pregnancy from her parents.

Of course, Diva and I have already discussed teen pregnancy as a result of Jamie Lynn Spears’ brilliant decision to get knocked up at 16, so she is familiar with the concept of teen pregnancy and how it’s just not the ideal situation for mother or baby. However, she does not yet know the specifics on how one actually gets pregnant. I’m sure that question will come soon enough, given that I myself will be giving birth in a month or so. :)

Anyhoo, the promos did indicate the new series comes with a warning: “Parental Discretion Advised”. I will use that discretion and will not permit her to watch it. I don’t know if “Picture This” had a similar warning, if it did, I didn’t see it. Granted, I did not research this movie much (at all!) but I figured it was FAMILY friendy, since it was the ABC Family Channel.

I wouldn’t have minded this so much if I was watching with a teenager, but with an 8 year old, I’m starting to stress a bit about her being exposed to so much at such a young age. I certainly don’t want her emulating such teenagers before her time. I wished I had been given some indication about this movie’s target audience.

So, as I learned last night, you still have to research and censor your kids’ TV choices, even when it’s the ABC FAMILY CHANNEL!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Take the kids to see WALL-E

We saw WALL-E yesterday and it got a thumbs up from all. What a great movie - animation is top notch, and it told a sweet love story, amazingly, with very little dialogue, with some messages in thrown in there for adults. This is one we'll buy on video and watch again and again. Daredevil thinks it was the best movie ever made, and Diva loved it too. I only looked at my watch once, and already an hour had gone by. It seemed like 10 minutes! While I enjoyed Kung Fu Panda, I think WALL-E is better. Go see it!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy 4th of July Weekend

Hope everyone is having a relaxing weekend. We certainly are. The weather here on the East Coast is cloudy, with some rain here and there, and that suits me just fine. At almost 33 weeks pregnant I am enjoying staying indoors, baking brownies, vegging on the couch and watching the Beach Patrol: Honolulu marathon on TruTV. Daredevil has been watching the JAWS marathon on AMC and is loving it. Of course we had that talk that it's just a movie and the shark is fake, since I don't want him terrified of going in the ocean, as I was as a kid after first seeing JAWS.

Since it's not nice out I feel no obligation to park my beached whale self by the pool in one of my maternity bathing suits. JV took the kids out for fireworks last night. It was raining but they had fun all the same. I enjoyed the quiet time in the house and went to bed early. We saw fireworks last week after a baseball game, so I didn't feel like I was missing anything, although I think JV thinks I am unpatriotic by skipping them on the 4th. Today we might go see Wall-E at the movies to get out of the house. Other than that, we have no plans to do anything for the rest of the weekend, which is a beautiful thing!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Balancing Parenting Between Partners

I think the word "balance" assumes equality. Whether it's work/life, or shared parenting, the word "balance" for me assumes that both get an equal share of time and effort.

For me, this never happens. The pendulum swings back and forth. JV is a very involved and hands on parent, but he also works much more than I do, often involving nights and weekends.

I came across this New York Times article about "shared parenting", where couples really do try to share things equally. I found it very interesting and thought provoking. I'm all for shared parenting, but I think it's almost impossible (notice I say "almost"). Take a look at this article when you get a chance and let me know your thoughts:


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there. I probably don't tell him enough, but JV is an amazing father and husband and I feel so fortunate to have him in my life. I am also grateful to my own Dad, who taught me, among many other things, to have a strong work ethic and to never quit when the going gets tough. Thanks, Dad. To all the Dads out there - take some time to chill out and relax today - you deserve it!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Winding up vacation

Today is our last day down South. We've had a very sunny (and HOT - 95 degrees!) week, and we've had a great time together as a family. The sun and heat has been exhausting, but it's been nice to sleep in and eat out. We've been pretty active, bike riding and doing a lot of walking, but a few times I had to bow out, citing 30-weeks-pregnant exhaustion and backaches. JV, Diva, and Daredevil went on a lengthy (8 mile!) bike ride this morning. I graciously declined, stayed behind and did laundry and a bit of packing. Tomorrow morning we will leave early for the long drive back home. We hope to arrive home around dinner time tomorrow night, JV did not want to be traveling on Father's Day, and I can't really blame him. All this focus on family this week, as well as the passing of my 30th week, really made reality set in that I'm about to have a baby in 8 or so weeks. I'm so not ready!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Getting ready for vacation - a heck of a lot of work

Tomorrow morning we are heading south for a week to visit relatives who live on a beautiful island in the southeast. While I'm looking forward to a week off, I'm not looking forward to the 10-12 hour drive it will take to get there. I'm also not looking forward to parading my 7 months pregnant body at the beach, pool, restaurants, generally anywhere in public. Ugh.

I've taken today off work to get ready for the trip -but it's now almost 1 p.m. and I haven't done a darn thing. Well, nothing in a packing sense. I've been running around all morning. Diva finished school yesterday, so she is home with me for the day. I made the offer to Daredevil that he could stay home too, but he opted to go to his preschool since they were having "Circus Day" today. And I had an OB appt at 8am. Had to take them both with me, always fun to have to pee in a cup in front of your 5 and 8 year old. They thought it was hilarious.

All went well there, then we dropped Daredevil off at his school, got Diva's hair cut, went shopping for summer footwear (always essential before the season's first trip to the beach) came home and ate lunch. Now I guess I have no choice but to start packing and doing the 1,000,000 other things I need to do (stop papers, clean out fridge, clean up house, put away laundry, replace foglight on car, etc.) Pathetic that I have to burn a vacation day to get READY to go on vacation! Wish me luck that I'll survive the marathon drive and maybe be able to relax a little bit. :)

Monday, June 2, 2008

My first post!

Well, here I am. I finally set up a blog, something I've been wanting to do for a long time. As soon as I figure out what my first REAL post will be, I'll be back!