Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post-Holiday Relief

Well, it's been quite a while since my last post...nearly 20 days. Shameful! So now it's time to blog about what I've been up to and give excuses for my delinquent posts.

Shortly after my last post, we got an offer on our house. We had it very quietly on the market in the hopes of selling it before it went down anymore in value. While we really liked the house, and I especially adored the family friendly floorplan, we knew we didn't want to be there for 15 years so we felt it was time to liquidate. We were fortunate enough to get an offer from buyers paying with cash, so that was an extra bonus of not needing to worry about precarious financing in this uncertain economy. The big catch was that they wanted to be in the house before Christmas. So let me reieterate the timeline we were faced with....they signed a contract on Tuesday, 12/9, the house closed on Friday 12/12, and we moved out on 12/19!!!! 10 days total to agree to sell the house and move holiday time!!! We were so lucky to find a beautiful rental home very close by in a great neighborhood of similar square footage and quality that was ready immediately. It was really crazy to pack and move and then host the holidays, but we are down to only about 2 boxes left to unpack and a few pictures to hang, so I think we've done pretty good, as tough as it was.

So, friends, please stop by and see our new crib or shoot me an email to get our new address.

Well, very shortly after settling into our new, albeit temporary, home it was time to celebrate the holidays and we were so happy to have my mom and step-father join us from their winter retreat in Arizona. The kids especially love to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa.

Bridget and I made Christmas cookies for Santa, starting the new family of leaving out cookies and milk. I asked Bridget if we should put out chocolate milk or hot cocoa, but she said we couldn't because it would get in his regular milk it was. Santa left a note in return thanking the girls for the goodies and asking them to continue to be good girls next year. Bridget was so excited to know that Santa came, she excitedly showed the empty plate to all of us.

Christmas morning started with the kids being very excited about their gifts from Santa, including guitars and computers (Leapfrog and V-tech) for the kids and stockings full of toothbrushes, notepads, hairclips and other practical goodies. Unlike some other 3-year-olds I've heard of who really only needed one gift, Bridget was quite content to continue opening gift after gift after gift after gift.... But I do think her favorite gift was the $5 DVD Stuart Little...we've watched it at least 10 times already (oh....have I depicted myself as someone who lets their children watch endless TV?). Courtney really liked her learning purse from Santa, which was surprising since I think it was a last minute choice of his. She actually only cared for Bridget's new Pez dispenser on Christmas morning, until she retreated to her Radio Flyer horsey (Bridet's gift from Santa her 2nd Christmas) for the rest of the morning.

The afternoon was full of feast preparations (thanks Mom!) and a visit from my step-brother and his family. Christmas with three 3-year-olds and a 1-year-old was fun if not a little crazy. It was great to see the girls growing and all of their new of which was the way the grabbed step stools to help themselves to the abundance of cookies, crackers, brownies, and whatever else we had on the counters. I think we all had a great time and it was a wonderful holiday.

In the two days since Christmas, I have overwhelmingly enjoyed the quiet and have even been able to watch the first half of the Jane Eyre mini-series and even Prince Caspian (The Chronicles of Narnia). I just got internet access on my laptop yesterday, so now I can even catch up on emails...and yes, this blog. So, stay posted, I will write more, that will be among many resolutions I plan to attempt to keep in the new year.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bead in the Nose Incident (aka What Every Parent should Know)

Well, it has been a couple weeks since the incident occurred, but I've been meaning to chronicle the ordeal and publish the solution in an effort to save parents of pre-schoolers and toddlers unneeded stress, anxiety, money, time, and ultimately a trip to the Emergency Room.

So I was at work and checked my voicemail only to discover a message from the daycare director that Bridget had lodged a rock up her nose. Knowing my daughter the way I do, I couldn't help but laugh and roll my eyes. I probably shouldn't have still ben chuckling when I called the director back though, having now painted myself as an unsympathetic mom. Well, I walked over to the daycare to see what I could do, and sure enough she had a very small pebble stuck about halfway up her right nostril. She would start squirming and screaming anytime we tried to get close to her nose. We got some tweezers, but just the sight of them completely freaked her out. I tried to get her to blow her nose, but she was too scared and refused.

Having exhausted every option we could think of, Bridget and I walked back to the hospital and into the Emergency Room. Luckily it was a pretty slow day in the ER and they got us in to see the doctor in less than an hour. So we got the obstruction out....but I was the one that did it.

Here's what I did.....

*** Instructions***
The doctor instructed me to lay Bridget on the bed on her back. I plugged the clear nostril with my hand and then blew into her mouth (like CPR). Just one puff and the pink bead popped right out (along with a fair amount of snot that coated my face...gross).

Yes, it was not a rock or pebble at all, but a pink bead that she had found outside. She liked it so much, she didn't want anyone else to get she put it where no one could get it. Good thinking, Bridget! After the ordeal, Bridget and I went to the cafeteria to lunch on chicken nuggets and chocolate milk, then we walked back to the daycare in time for naps.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Direction

My goodness, I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted anything. I am shamed by my friend Alison's blog...first for the glorious food, second for the fact that she posts entries daily. I need to get with the program! Well, I think I'll be better now that I have resigned from my job.

Yes, you heard me right. After 10 years....that's since I was 22 (in case you needed help with the math...oops, I've divulged my age)....I have decided to move on. It's definitely bittersweet. My decision is mainly based on the fact that there is no opportunity for internal advancement. The final straw was that my current title and pay are incorrect, a fact with which all of my management has agreed for 3+ years...yet they refuse to correct the injustice.

But I did say this decision was bitterSWEET. There is much to be happy and positive about. There is better opportunity for growth and potential outside of the hospital. And I have decided to pursue avenues in real estate...namely appraising. Yes, I'm aware the economy is, um, well, shaky to put it nicely, and yes, real estate has been the first victim of this catastrophic collapse. However, I've weighed the risks and benefits and feel confident that this will be the beginning of a fabulous chapter in my life, hopefully taking me to great places.

I hope you'll be happy for me. I am!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Halloween

I hope everyone enjoyed a safe and happy Halloween. It is so fun to experience this holiday with children. Our girls have definitely changed our perception and priorities on this holiday (well, everyday really). We started our day with a Trick or Treat Parade through the financial offices at the hospital. Courtney's costume was a hit and she even loved wearing it. I couldn't believe how full Bridget's treat bag was after just going through those offices. She nearly had to drag it back to the daycare.
Later in the evening we handed out candy and then took the kids through the neighborhood. Our block is pretty quiet, but everyone was so nice and it was really nice to meet some people wehadn't before. Even though we took the girls in the red wagon, I still had to carry Courtney quite a bit and after just one block, we were done.
All in all, I gained 10 pounds, but a good time was had by all!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Get out the Vote - whatever your views :)

The upcoming election is full of issues that will shape our future. It's a crucial time in our country filled with war, economic woes, global warming, and energy dependencies. One thing is for sure, whoever moves into the White House will be better than George W. Bush (and yes, I think even Sarah Palin is better than Bush). As with any election, there is no perfect candidate, but Obama currently has a significant lead and stands for the change this nation needs. There are serious problems with the economy....mass foreclosures, increasing unemployment, and a volatile, sinking stock market that is affecting the entire world. I hope that Americans will vote for change, for unity, for prosperity, and for peace.

Another major issue facing California, and inevitably the rest of the nation is Proposition 8. This proposition would ammend the state constitution and ban same-sex marriages. This issue is frustrating to see play out since it so it is so emotional for the supporters of the proposition. It seems to me to based on hate and disgust for homosexuals. Underneath the lie that it will force children to be taught about gay marriage, is the truth that because supporters disagree with homosexuality, they don't want homosexuals to have equal rights....that would be like saying being gay is OK. The outcome of this race won't affect me too much...maybe not at all, but I don't like the true motives of the supporters and urge everyone to think about people's rights and not about whether or not being gay is "right". I have so many kind and intelligent friends and family members who support this proposition, but I think if they could really understand that it is about equality and how they have nothing to fear, they would not want to take a fundamental right away from anyone.

"Yes on 8" says, "the best situation for a child is to be raised by a married mother and father." And while that sounds like a sound principle, it isn't alway practical. In an ideal world, a lot of things that AREN'T, would BE. In an ideal world, no child would suffer from a disability. No child would suffer from disease. No child would be teased. No child would lose a loved one. Parents would not get divorced. There would be no learning disabilities. There would be no mental illness. In an ideal every child would be beautiful. No child would be overweight. No child would be poor. There would always be enough for everyone. Everyone would be accepted for who they are.

My point is that there are differences between us all. If we restricted rights and mandated specific lifestyles in order to create and ideal world, well, that sounds a little fascist, doesn't it? Is it right to stamp out diversity? Is it right to restrict love?

Children these days are lucky to have a "traditional" family...that's an increasing minority, for a number of reasons (homosexuality being the least of these). And having one mother and one father isn't always the best. There are a whole mess of "traditional" families screwing up kids. Which brings me to the point that it's not the sexual orientation or number of men versus the number of women in a family that determine the happiness and wellness of a is the values of love and kindness and acceptance that are imparted on the child.

And keeping homosexuals from marrying won't rid the world of homosexuals. It won't keep them from having loving relationships (as well as dysfunctional ones like the rest of us). It won't keep them from having families. It just keeps them from saying they are "married". What's the point in that? What is the real harm? What are people REALLY scared of?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wow, we've had a busy couple of weeks, and that has kept me from tending to my blogging. Our latest adventure took us to the Camarillo area for my step-sister's wedding. We rented a house in Oxnard with my sister and her family. That entailed a few fun trips to the beach and lots of cousin-fun. The wedding was gorgeous, and although it rained that day, it cleared up for the ceremony allowing us a beautiful outdoor experience. Amy was an absolutely gorgeous bride and I think she had a wonderful day. Bridget and her cousins were adorable and well-behaved flower girls. Look for the slideshow!

On the way down I was able to stop and see my dearest friend, Alison, and her lovely family. It had been just over 3 years (since Bridget's baby shower) since I had seen them all. I was so glad to see their home and have some time to catch up with them.

Hopefully things will slow down and I'll get some downtime at home. The weather has started to turn cold and it's time to organize the girls' closets and get them ready for the cold. Bridget threw a fit this morning in her jeans because she couldn't "see her knees". What are you going to do.
I hope everyone is well.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Birthday Busy-ness

The last couple weeks have been fairly hectic with a number of birthdays.... the first of which was my darling daughter Courtney who turned 1. I can't believe it, my baby's growing up. (See her month-by-month pictorial.) She still doesn't have any teeth, but she toddling around and "talking" all the time. Since the girls' birthday are only a couple weeks apart though, we held off on celebrating Courtney's birthday so that we could host a combined party.

Next I turned the big 3-3...oh yeah. Thanks to all my wonderful friends and family that sent gifts, emails, cards. I didn't have a party, instead went to my friend Julie's birthday bash and had a great time. It was nice to meet some new people! David got me a new Blu-Ray player, but we haven't even had a chance to see the difference.

So yesterday we had the birthday party for the girls. Bridget's 3rd and Courtney's 1st. We hosted a nice 2-for-1 Mickey Mouse themed party, but of course it was still stressful for high-strung me. Everything went well though with all the kids enjoying the Dora bounce house, the pinata, cupcake cake, and even decorating balloons with stickers. I think the kids had a great time, but boy, it's amazing how exhausting it is hosting just 8 kids!

Now it's time to get ready for our trip to Southern California for my step-sister's wedding. My sister is coming all the way from Texas and I am so excited to see her and her family. It's been almost a year since we've seen them... since we flew to Houston last Thanksgiving.

Busy times...but good times to spend with family and friends!

Monday, September 8, 2008

First Wine Tasting Trip

David and I just returned from a weekend trip to the Central Coast where we went wine tasting for the first time. On our way over to Shell Beach, we drove through the Edna Valley region just south of San Luis Obispo and were surprised at the number of wineries there. We stopped at Telosa and Edna Valley, but were eager to get to the pool and beach and start relaxing so we kept the tasting to a minimum. We were so disappointed to drive over the coastal range and see how cloudy and overcast it was. So much for margaritas by the pool!
Since the bad weather persisted through Sunday, we ventured back to the wine region to enjoy some 84 degree sunshine and beautiful countryside. We visited Baileyana, Saucelito Canyon, Kynsi, and Claiborne and Churchill. These were all small informal wineries and we enjoyed learning a little more about the industry. Even Dave (who really doesn't like wine that much) got into the tasting experience. I think we'll add wine tasting to our trips...whenever we are vacationing sans kiddos!
And special thanks to mom who watched the girls, giving us some much-needed R & R! But poor mom....she had her hands full with Courtney who was throwing up the first night we were gone. I feel bad but am so grateful to have had some relaxation before mom heads back to Arizona for the winter.
Well, now it's back to the real world... Getting up 1-2 times in the night with Courtney. Up and off to work for a full day at the office. Come home to manage dinner, baths, and referee. Then a quick workout, off to bed and it starts all over!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy Labor Day

Oh boy, it's so nice to get a 3 day weekend. Will someone please tell my kids that it's a holiday and they need to sleep in! They both got up at 6:30 this morning :( Boy are the days of sleeping in gone!
Dave and I are so excited to have football season start. We're looking forward to the FSU -vs- Rutgers game on Monday....Go Fresno! Anybody that wants to come over for barbecue...come on over! It's nice to have some college ball to watch on the weekends....Dave was really getting tired of the constant HGTV weekends...really.
We're also looking foward to some cooling temperatures. Dave has been taking care of Bridget on Thursdays, so cooler weather means more trips to the zoo and parks. It's going to be in the 90's next week (woo-hoo) so that means lots more outdoor time. Tonight, we took the kids outside to play and Bridget rode her tricycle and Courtney mastered walking on different textures (concrete to grass and vice versa).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bridget in Trouble

Today was so frustrating to pick the girls up for daycare and have a note in Bridget's folder explaining that Bridget hit her friend with a block - for the 3rd time in the last couple months. This time she did it for "no apparent reason" and told her friend, "Don't tell" and "You're not my friend anymore!" What a stinker. Lucky for us her friend's parents are understanding that we're working on the issue and don't think she is a horrible bully. Her friend has forgiven her and even still wants to marry her. Looks like a pretty volatile relationship...maybe they are headed towards marriage! Boy did she know she was in trouble though. She wouldn't look at me or talk to me the whole way home and went (crying) straight to time-out all by herself. Of course she has promised not to hit anymore (and I hope she doesn't), but if she does, we'll be getting even tougher on her.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Lake Tahoe Vacation

We just got back from our big weekend at our timeshare at Lake Tahoe, and what a wonderful time we had. Bridget was especially looking forward to the trip, telling all we were going to Taco and that she was going to eat it all up (followed by a crazy dance and chomping noises). When we finally arrived though, she said, "That not Taco, that the ocean!"

We went up with another family and had so much fun at the beach and the pools and just hanging around. The Hyatt is set up so nice with full food/bar service at the beach and pools, and has every amenity you could need. We especially enjoyed the kiddie pool which was only 1 1/2 feet deep, so the kids could splash around all they wanted. Hyatt even has a camp for the kids in case you want to sneak away to the casino for a bit. This time we took our trusty babysitter who helped out so much and even allowed all us adults a chance to go out to a nice dinner.

We really had a wonderful time. The only downside.... we weren't there long enough to do everything, but next time we're going to stay for much longer.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Courtney is walking

Our latest development is that baby Courtney is now starting to walk. At 10 1/2 months, she's determined to walk and despite falling on her face time and again, she just gets back up and tries again. She is so mellow and happy and only cries when tired or hungry. She loves her big sister, Bridget, who cracks her up in the car nearly everyday. What a pair those two are!

Bridget wanted "to go to Mommy's office and meet Mommy's friends", so I brought her into the hospital to have lunch on Tuesday. She was on her best behavior, shook hands, remembered everyone's names, ate all her lunch, and then insisted on going back to daycare for her nap. She was just perfect!

Courtney had an additional photo shoot with Jamie (of I See Beauty Photography) and she did so good. I know we got some wonderful images of her in an antique pram. I'm so excited to get these gorgeous photos in the house...Jamie has such a gift. I'm hoping to get a great black & white set of prints for a big wall collage. I am so excited! (Stay posted for a little peak!)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pictures from the Beach

Last weekend the whole family had a wonderful holiday at Avila Beach. We stayed at the Avila Lighthouse Suites which is right on the beach and it worked out great. We were right across the street from a nice park an were right at the beach as well. We were able to walk everywhere and had a lot of fun.

Of course, with Bridget being 2 1/2, it's always a challenge everywhere we go, but she loved the beach and had so much fun. Courtney was perfect as did I get so lucky to have such an easy-gong baby? Well, here are a couple pictures....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My last!

So here I am, a webmaster for 10 years and not much web presence! Add in my passion for writing, and it's really about time that I started a blog. Now, I am a busy mom, wife, and professional trying balance a full-time job with late-night feedings and staying active and maintaining some sort of social life, so it's not so crazy that I've dragged my feet on this blog-thing.

But here I am now...yay! We'll see how long this lasts. I don't know who will read this or what I'll even write, but I'm going to give it my best effort. I did start too late today's bedtime already (not a good start).