The CHERISHED Life of Heather Leigh

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Flurry, part one

This year I was out of town for so much of the Christmas season (which begins the day after Thanksgiving, by the way). It kind of felt like the Christmas season wasn't really here because I was only participating in the season on the weekends. I missed out on at least two Advent by candle light teas that I usually attend, Christmas parties at the kids' schools, and other holiday events that I surely would have been invited to had I actually been in town.

So, when I returned from my business trip late late Thursday night, early early Friday morning (12/21), my life has been a nonstop flurry of Christmas activity. I had to catch up on all that time when I wasn't home to celebrate the season.

It started on Friday with some shopping downtown with Kev. We got ourselves cool new phones, called the Mogul by HTC, and eagerly retired our ancient relics. Boy, have we had fun playing with these new toys! We also bought Jordyn an updated cell phone for Christmas, the Rumor by LG (apparently LG stand for Life's Good, and truly it is) and she has been texting NONSTOP!

While we were waiting for our phones to be activated, we had an hour and a half to kill, so we walked around downtown. Now if I can digress for a minute...a year or so ago, when a tacky Wireless Toyz appeared on the corner of our quaint downtown and un-quainted it a bit, a few friends and I were not pleased. But, when it came time to buy our new phones, we went to the tacky Wireless Toyz store and during our hour of down time, we spent it in our oh so quaint downtown. We dined at Victoria's, we went across the street to the OWB for some vino and chocolates, we went to the Embroidery shop for some school spirit wear (more Christmas shopping). Long story short, I have a new found fondness for the tacky local Wireless Toyz. If it had us walking around downtown and patronizing the local shops, imagine how many other people on which it has had the same effect.

But back to the Christmas flurry...Friday late afternoon took Kev, Jordyn & I to Nee Nee's daycare Christmas party. The kids exchanged presents. The parents imbibed in some cocktails. And then the kids put on the cutest gosh darn concert that I have ever seen. Maybe it's because they only sang 3 songs. Maybe it's because of those Santa Hats. Maybe it's because they had made their own microphones out of wads of tin foil. Or maybe it was the wine. All I know that it was absolutely adorable. That, and, American Idol is SO in Liam's future. Either that or Backstreet Boys (Justin Timberlake style, not Lance Bass).

Friday evening took me to the Glenmoor Gals' annual ornament exchange. Mindy hosted this year and it was so much fun!! I forgot to wear pants (not really, but that's how the story has come to be known!) Renee was my driver (since she and I are no longer technically residents), which means I got really sauced. I think I told Mindy 700 times that "I loooooove me some Mindy!" (which I do, of course but she and Larry probably think I'm completely nuts!) The appetizers were delicious. I brought the super easy to make that everybody loves white chocolate popcorn (that I also refer to as CRACK), and it was were Patty's legendary bacon wrapped water chestnuts (click here for the recipe).

Saturday started at Big Boy with me, Kev, & the boys for breakfast. During which we got a call from Kev's mom that his cousin Shannon's husband (who is a pretty young guy - not even 30) had died in his sleep the previous morning. This made us oh so sad. My heart just broke for Shannon. We had just been to their wedding not even two years back and they had recently started talking about trying to get pregnant. As Kev and I were talking about this tragedy, Liam was asking us how you die in your sleep. I told him that sometimes a person's body just stops working. To which Liam replied, maybe his dream killed him. Now, if you recall the bedtime prayer I posted recently where Liam asked God not to bring him any dreams at all, this is a big fear of his. He hates having dreams. He doesn't want sweet dreams. He wants no dreams at all. So, by his 6 year old logic, dreams killed Shannon's husband in his sleep. I assured him this wasn't the case (we're still not certain what the cause was).

With this thought heavy on our hearts, we spent the day with more Christmas prep. Shopping, wrapping, readying the house for Christmas eve, and then dinner and a basketball game with Kev's brother Brian and his wife Tara. We went to Kruse & Muer on the Lake (it's actually across the busy street from the lake) but the food is always yummy, and then we were off to the Palace where we watched the Michigan State vs Texas basketball game. It was a lot of fun. When we got the Palace Kev said, watch us run into Ginny (insert last name here), a former co-worker of ours when we worked at Delphi. She's a huge MSU fan and alumnus. As we were leaving the game, who should we run into? GINNY! All decked out in her green and white MSU santa hat and all. Fun! Here are Tara and Brian making their debut on my blog (that they were oh so impressed that I have)

Sunday was more Christmas prep (and laundry), I had to get the house ready for Christmas Eve to be held at our house on Monday. Bailey spent the night and she and Jordyn were a huge help in this endeavor. Around 9pm, Kevin and I crashed our friend's Amy & Joel's family Christmas party. It's always fun to hang with them and their family...heck, they ARE family!

More Christmas Flurry fun to come...stay tuned

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Tomorrow, my baby girl turns TWELVE! She has long since surpassed me in height and shoe size, but she's still me little girl.

Tomorrow, she will receive a bouquet of flowers delivered to the Middle School (how cool is that?!) with the poem below attached (how NOT cool is it for your mom to write you a poem and send it to you at school?!). And who really cares that I opted for the cheaper carnations over the pricey roses?! I'm sure she'll be thrilled just the same. Right? (Beware, this is all cheese and corn, sappy and sweet)

A rainbow of carnations to celebrate the day
You came into my life and took my breath away.

Twelve special flowers, for you, my special girl.
You’re more lovely than these blooms, more precious than a pearl.

I love you more than life, in case you didn't know
I stand in awe and wonder, as I watch you learn and grow.

If I could give a reason for each stem in this bouquet
Just why it is I love you, this is what I'd say.

One: You are more beautiful than I ever dreamed you'd be.
Two: You're very honest, the truth shall set you free.

Three: You are hardworking to achieve the goals you've set.
Four: You are forgiving, you forgive AND you forget.

Five: You have such patience, when all is lost on me.
Six: You're quick to smile, a sight I love to see.

Seven: You are so kind, you wouldn't hurt a fly.
Eight: You're truly funny, sometimes it makes me cry.

Nine: You're mine! You're mine! A fact, of which, I'm proud.
Ten: You are authentic, living life out loud.

Eleven: Your generosity, you sure have plenty of.
Twelve: Your curiosity, I ask, "What's not to love?"

~ Jordyn ~
Happy 12th birthday!
I love you,

I can't believe it

Someone else won my jackpot. Two someone else's, actually.

My Mega Million pot had climbed to $163 million! All of those millions, with which I had earmarked to do so much good, have gone to some other (surely less deserving) souls.

Each time I played the game in the last 2 weeks, I increased the number of tickets that I purchased. The first couple of times, I just bought one (that's all it takes, right?). Then I bought two - 1 easy pick, 1 pick my own (my numbers have GOT to be better than the computer's, right?). Then, yesterday, I went all out -just a little crazy- and bought THREE - all easy picks.

And most of the tickets have been miserable losers. There should be a prize for the most tickets purchased with out hitting a single correct number. I'm a shoe-in to win that contest.

To be fair, one of my tickets from yesterday's drawing was, indeed, a winner. Do you know what 1 normal ball and 1 mega ball gets you? Gets me?

Drumroll please…


That's right,

Three big ones
Tres dolares
Three hundred pennies
30 dimes
12 quarters (that would keep my kids occupied for about 15 minutes at BW3's)

At least I covered the cost of my last wager.

I could re-invest my winnings in the next Mega Million drawing, but like I said before, who wants to play the game when the jack pot is a piddly little $12 million??

I'll try not to spend yesterday's winnings all in one place.

Monday, December 17, 2007

NYC with the fam, DAYS 3 & 4

Sunday we had a very welcomed lazy morning. After sleeping in for a bit, we went to a local IHOP here in NJ. The weather was very rainy and sleety so we were thankful that we didn't have any set NYC plans on the agenda.

After the yummy breakfast (man, those pancakes were good!) we went to see Alvin!!!! at the movie theater. Good movie, but it's certainly not Enchanted good or anything.

We returned to the hotel where Kevin took the boys for another swim while Jordyn and I cleaned up the hotel room (boatloads of crap spread everywhere in a very small space literally makes me hyperventilate and I just can't relax).

Towards the late afternoon, I rallied the troops to head back into the city, even though there was nothing on the agenda. We went to a cool restaurant for "linner" called the Brooklyn Diner (even though we were in Manhattan) where there wasn't an official kids' menu so the waitress suggested some things for the kids, one of which was this cheese pizza. Uh, yeah, like a 6 year old can eat this whole thing.

Then we walked to Rockefeller Center to see the tree all lit up at night time. Jordyn decided that she likes NYC better at night. NYC is truly something special at night, that's for sure.

We watched the skaters again and took some pictures in front of the famous tree. Here we are in front of the tree,

Then we walked to Saks Fifth Avenue where we enjoyed the snow people window displays and the ginormous snow flakes on the side of the building.

The kids wanted to hit the Nintendo store, which we did and it was pretty cool.

Back at the hotel for some more swimming. The kids really can't get enough of that. They even did some more swimming Monday morning.

Monday was a very low key, non-NYC day. We went to a mall here in NJ for lunch and we walked around a bit. Due to the winter weather here and in Michigan, Kev & the kids' flight is already on a 2 hour delay. We're chilling at the hotel until it's time to head to the airport. Jordyn was disappointed to learn that her school had a snow day today. She feels like she "missed" it.

Anyway, here's hoping that once I get Kev & the kids to the airport tonight that they don't have any more delays. It's hard enough dealing with airport delays on your own, let alone with 3 kids in tow.

We all have had a great time in the Big Apple. What a treat!

I'll miss Kev & the kids being here. Fortunately, I'll be coming home late Thursday night and then I'll be home through 1/7 (at least). Yay! As fun as NYC was, there's no place like home. :-)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

NYC with the fam, DAY 2

Phew! Everybody felt better today! The only one not feeling 100% this morning was me, thanks to the nearly ZERO sleep I got last night courtesy of Sir Snores-a-lot (a.k.a. Owen).
But, come on, we've got tickets to see the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes Christmas Spectacular this morning, AT Radio City Music Hall, so even a sleepless night won't keep me down!! Even though it IS a 9 AM show!! Here are some shots of my most favorite Christmas show ever! As you can see, I love the soldiers and the rag dolls. Spectacular really sums it up.

After the show, we went to Rockefeller center and had a snack as we watched the ice skaters on the rink outside, where Kevin spotted a marriage proposal in the works. What fun to witness this young couple get engaged while skating at Rockefeller Center!

We proceeded to the top of the Rockefeller Center, 69 stories high, where we saw a bird's eye view of the city. That's me and Jord with the empire state building and a shot I took of Central Park.

We headed back to Times Square, by foot (sev-er-al blocks), for lunch at a Mexican restaurant and another trip to Toys R Us. On our way, we passed some fun break dancing street performers. We also visited the M&M store, which was way over priced and over crowded. (yes, I do realize we're in NYC, I just think we were all getting tired and cranky.)

By this time it was after 3pm, and we were ready to head back to the hotel where Owen and I enjoyed a nap while Kev and the others went swimming. Afterwards the kids enjoyed getting room service for dinner. THIS is the stuff memories are made of.

As Liam put it in his good night prayer...

Dear God,
Thank you for Jingle Bells and the Rockettes. Thank you for moms and dads and brothers and sisters and friends and family and grandmas and grandpas and room service and for Jordyn helping me with the Tarzan games. Please make Owen not snore at all tonight and please make me have no dreams at all. Amen

Amen, Liam, Amen.

Friday, December 14, 2007

NYC with the fam, DAY 1

Today was day one with the family in NYC. This goes with out saying, but OH, what FUN!

I circled LaGuardia airport 77 times waiting for Kev and the kids to arrive. Their plane landed on time, but then they got stuck on the tarmac (typical).

We took off from the airport (sans GPS) to Times Square. Kev read the map and did a great job navigating for his first time in the Big Apple. It probably took us longer than what it needed to get there, but we didn't mind, we're on vacay in NYC, for Pete's sake, and Times Square is kind of hard to miss.

We went to lunch at Planet Hollywood, snagged a new hat from a street vendor for Jordyn, then hit the 5 story Toys R Us where we rode the indoor ferris wheel in Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine, we bought each kid a toy, and checked out the enormous Lego renditions of the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and Captain Jack Sparrow. After a quick trip to Starbuck's, Kev and the boys were ready to head back to the hotel (they had gotten up by 3 & 4 am, after all).

We went back to the hotel in NJ for a quick swim in the hotel pool before heading to a nearby mall for dinner at Legal Seafood and a quick birthday shopping trip at Macy's for Jordyn. By Kevin's standards, 35 minutes is not a "quick" shopping trip. Considering I bought her an entire outfit to wear on Saturday (dress, tights, AND shoes), plus another shirt, and a new coat, he's right... it wasn't quick, it was superquick.
Owen keeps asking when we're going home.
Back again at the hotel and Kev is throwing up while Liam has the runs, and we're in a hotel room with one toilet. Not a good situation. I'm staying away from both of them (as far away as one can when in a cramped hotel room).
Please pray that they are both recovered tomorrow...I've got $500 worth of Rockettes tickets that I am NOT going to waste. I mean, I knew Kev didn't want to go to the show, but come ON, puking to get out of it?
Of course I jest. I know his condition is genuine. And I feel horrible for him. Shoulda skipped the sushi.
I'm hoping to have a better report tomorrow....

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Half way to 70

Today I'm half way to 70…dear GOD, when did I get so old?

I still feel like I'm 27, and my dh (the lovely liar that he is) sent me an email today telling me I still look 25. That's about how old I was when he and I met, 2 kids and 25 pounds ago.

Last night Jordyn found a Glamour Shot of me when I was 25 (yes, a GLAMOUR SHOT). She told me how pretty I was in that picture and how she thought the picture was of me when I was in high school. She put it in her binder to show everyone at school today. God bless her. Everyone should have a Jordyn in their life. The other day, when I became totally excited that my Hip Hop Abs DVDs had been delivered (which I LOVE, by the way), she said to me, "Mom, you're NOT fat". I told her thank you, but that it wasn't a question of being fAt, it was a question of being fIt, which I'm not.

Anyway, I don't know why 35 is such a difficult birthday for me, but it is.

Maybe it's because I'm now closer to 40 than I am to 30. (I know, I know, 40 is the new 30 - blah blah blah.)

Maybe it's because while I feel like a 27 year old, the numbers on my driver's license prove that I'm not.

Maybe it's because I still can't cope with (and can't seem to change) this middle-aged body that I have. Two chins and a cottage cheese arse? Lovely. (The three birthday donuts I've eaten today hasn't helped that situation!)

At least I'm fortunate to not yet have any gray hair (knock on wood). I attribute this to either: having good genes in the aging department (my dad could easily pass for someone 12 - 15 years younger than what he is) or it's because I visit Di every 5-6 weeks to have my hair highlighted. It certainly isn't due to a lack of stress, since I have PLENTY of THAT.

Hopefully this will be the only year that I have difficulty accepting my true age. I can't imagine what it would be like to feel this way year after year from here on out.

Actually, what I hope is that I don't ever start to feel my actual age. I hope that I always feel like I'm 27, even when I'm 67, and when I'm 87, and 107. They say you're only as old as you feel, right?

So, I guess I AM 27. Forever 27.

As bummed as I am about getting older, today is still a day of celebration.

I want to celebrate my parents, who after trying for 5 years to have their own biological children, they wanted to be parents so badly that they decided (at the old old ages of 25 & 26) to adopt my sister and then my brother, and after 7 years of marriage I was conceived by them and born (I'm glad they continued trying!)

I want to celebrate my mother, who went into labor and then waited at the hospital (while in LABOR with her breech baby) for my dad to return to the hospital so he could sign the papers giving authorization for my mom to have a c-section which, by the way, left her with a scar down the middle of her stomach the likes of which would surely cause a lawsuit if that type of procedure was done today.

I want to celebrate my mother for never, EVER, complaining about that scar. (at least not to me!)

I want to celebrate being alive and able bodied.

Happy Birthday to me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

How Can This Be?!?

Are you as shocked as I am that I didn't win the Mega Millions lottery jackpot yesterday?!

When I bought my ticket on the way into the office in NJ on Tuesday, the cashier asked me - "Cash or Annuity?" Well, I know the difference between these two words, but her question caught me completely off guard. When you buy a Mega Millions ticket in Michigan, they don't ask you any questions except for maybe "Easy-pick or pick-your-own?" So, before really processing the baffling cash or annuity question, I responded with a highly intelligent, "I'm not sure what you mean by that." I guess when you BUY your ticket in NJ, they want to know up front how you want your pay out. In Michigan, you make this decision after you win. I picked cash, of course.

As with every time I purchase a Mega Millions lottery ticket (which is only occasionally since I don't see the point in playing when the jackpot is anything less than $100 million… I mean $7, or $12, or $38 million can hardly be considered MEGA millions, maybe MULTI millions, but the name of the game is not MULTI, it's MEGA). So, as I always do, I convinced myself that I was the winner. And now that the state of New Jersey already knew how I wanted my pay out, OF COURSE the numbers picked would be mine and mine alone.

I envisioned my reaction and how I would share the news with my husband (and family, friends, employer, and enemies). The jury is still out on how anonymous I would remain. I think that I would want to remain fairly anonymous, but when I am truly excited about something, like my Coach Sample Sale, it is VERY hard for me to keep it a secret.

Of course, I had already spent countless hours (mostly ones when I should have been in deep slumber) imagining how I would distribute my fortune … mortgages paid for ourselves, our parents, our 7 siblings, and a handful of friends... college tuitions paid for our 3 kids, our 15 + 1 on the way nieces and nephews, and a handful of friends' kids, and maybe even some sort of college fund for the underprivileged.

I started locating and decorating the various residences we would own - we'd keep the house we have now so our kids could maintain some sense of normalcy (of course we would finish the basement, decorate & landscape it professionally, install a hot tub, and have a full time staff of at least 5 to maintain it -
1. Housekeeper (who does laundry & windows)
2. Landscaper
3. Maintenance/Handy Man
4. Cook/Nutritionist
5. Driver

We would have to get a loft in downtown Detroit to use during the spring/summer/fall when we go to our beloved Tigers' games. Should we also buy a place in Tampa for the fall Sundays when we fly down there for the Buccaneers' games? Surely a mega millionaire could get season tickets to the Bucs, even if there is already a 3 year wait list. Or should we just stay at a posh hotel when we go to Tampa? Definitely a place in San Francisco, a vineyard in Napa, and the empty lots on either side of our house, plus another 4 or 5 new houses on our lake so that some of our friends and family could live even closer by than they already do.

I could see myself doing anonymous and abundant and completely selfless good deeds - funding the local community water splash park (Should I have it tiled with my name like Kid Rock did in Clarkston?), installing a pool at the nearby country club for the community to use, founding a Random Acts of Kindness organization at the Middle School, supporting the arts in every possible way, buying up all of downtown that's currently for sale and developing it into a very hip and affordable place for kids, teens, adults, and seniors to hang out and commune.
I envisioned myself as an old and very well dressed lady telling my very fortunate and adoring grandchildren the story about the day I won the Mega Millions jackpot.

And then, they read the numbers….27, 30, 25, 6, 45, 46

What? Those are NOT the right numbers. Not even ONE of them matches my ticket, my one winning ticket. And you asked me how I wanted my payout and everything…..

How can this be?

Oh well, Tuesday's jackpot was only worth $115 million, this coming Friday's jackpot is worth $137 million. The powers that be must realize how much more good I could do with an extra $22 million in my winning jackpot.

Off to the store to buy the winning ticket for Friday's drawing.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Brothers Forever. Friends for Life.

My boys are best friends and worst enemies...and driving me to the nut house.

Big brother loves to push little brother's buttons and make him scream, laughing all the while.

Little brother looks up to big brother and idolizes everything big brother does, only occasionally calling big brother a doofus.

I took the kids to lunch on Saturday (what? me? cook? don't think so). And big brother was just being an absolute pill to EVERYONE. He was combative with me, with Jordyn, with Jordyn's friend Kayla, and, of course, with his little brother.

While waiting for our food to arrive, big brother said to little brother, "You're not my best friend anymore." It was as if he had literally punched Owen in the gut. The tears (the real, big tears) that began to stream down little brother's face as he cried to me through his sobs "Liam said I'm not his best friend anymore!" were unbelievable. This statement caused little 3 year old brother some real pain.

I had already had it up to here with Liam, and didn't really want to get into yet another combat with him, so, rather than insist he apologize RIGHT NOW or Santa won't bring you any toys, I simply looked at Liam and said, "You.just.broke.(big pause)'s.heart. " That's it. That's all I said. And I looked away.

Within 15 minutes, (as I was ignoring Liam - well, not really ignoring, but rather, not playing into his woe is me, everybody's mean to me so I have a right to behave badly attitude), within 15 minutes, Liam sidled up next to Owen, put his arms around him and apologized. Sincerely. From the heart. They looked into each other's eyes and Liam said "Brothers Forever. Friends for Life."

As this exchange occurred, I pretended not to notice. Tears were welling up in my eyes. Jordyn asked me if I was going to cry. No No No. Well, almost. I was just so touched, and so proud of big brother for making up with little brother with out being FORCED.

Then, on Sunday, the boys were at it again in the playroom. God only knows why. I simply went into the playroom and sat each boy upon my lap. They each were thrusting fingers in each other's faces, practically up each other's nose, saying (OK, screaming), "He started it! HE started it! He STARTED it!"

I didn't even know what IT was. Nor did I care.

So, I calmly said to my boys. "I really don't care who started the fight. What I want to know is who's going to finish the fight?"

Liam shot his hand up in the air.

"OK, Liam, how are you going to finish it?" I asked, proud that he was so anxious to put an end to this nonsense.

"I'm going to throw him to the ground and scream in his face!" Yes, that really was his reply.

"Hmm, can you think of a different way to finish it?"

"I'll tackle him and punch him in the nose."

"OK, Liam, those are examples of how to perpetuate, or continue the fight. How about an idea on how to FINISH the fight?"

And then he hopped off my lap, put his arms around Owen's neck, apologized, and off they went.

Brothers Forever. Friends for Life.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I choose JOY!

After the week from HELL that I've had to deal with at work (and hopefully have just emerged from), it was so nice to stumble upon this quote on Ali Edwards' blog tonight to remind me of something I've always believed.

Earl Nightingale : Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.

I have always thought that we are each responsible for our own happiness. Not my parents, not my spouse, not my children...ME. I am responsible for my own happiness. It is a choice that I make. And when I allow another person's infuriating and unfounded actions to take away my happiness, I am surrendering control of my joy to this antagonist (interpretation - unbelievably annoying a$$hole) at work.

And since the stress-induced cold sores are completely out of my control, I have decided to regain control of my happiness.

I choose JOY!

I'm a big fat slob...

Back before there was the major motion picture Strangers With Candy, it was this little known series on Comedy Central that Kevin and I used to watch ALL the time (during the courtship phase of our relationship), and we would crack the heck up at the outrageous antics of Jerri Blank, the 46-year-old ex-con, ex-junkie, high-school freshman at Flatpoint High. In one of these twisted episodes, Jerri says over and over in her Jerri voice as she's rubbing her hands up and down her Jerri body in a freakish and disturbinf way, "I'm a big fat slob. I'm a big fat slob." But the WAY she said it, was more like, "I'm a big fat slooooooob." Hysterical. Maybe you had to be there.

Anyway, this particular line of hers has been popular for my husband and I to repeat on occasion... for instance after we've overindulged in a decadent meal (AND dessert) or when one or the other catches sight (accidentally, of course) of the other's bare flabby (and in the case of my husband - hairy) flesh. That's when we bust out this line. And it always causes the other person to crack up.

However, at the moment, I'm feeling down about my weight and the fact that I keep losing and gaining back the SAME 8 pounds. I'm just really frustrated. And for that, all I can say is "I'm a big fat sloooooob."

And I'm not laughing about it.

Mostly because while I know I'm not really a big fat slob, I still feel like a failure for not being able to reach and maintain my fitness goals. I was a Jane Fonda work out ADDICT in high school. The picture of fitness. What happened?!?

Then, I watch The Biggest Loser and my jaw drops in awe at these people who have lost 60, 90, 120 pounds! Surely if they can lose an entire person's worth of weight, I can manage to take off 10 pounds, keep it off, and then go for another 10, right?

So, why is it that when I'm down 8 pounds (like I was at the end of the summer and into the fall), and when I'm feeling great about the fact that my clothes are fitting me much better, and I can see more muscle definition, and my libido has increased, why, then, do I become complacent and stop exercising for 6 weeks, gaining back every ounce, rather than continue to work towards losing more weight to achieve my goals?!?


So, this week, now that I'm back to my previous starting point, my heaviest non-pregnancy weight, I've decided to get back on the fitness wagon by working out regularly again and trying to make the best food choices possible (I have a little problem with LOVING, and indulging in food & wine regularly, which doesn't help).

I'm going back to being a YBB Goddess. The Joyful Warrior, battling the winter weight bulge.

Although I really enjoy my Yoga Booty Ballet DVDs, I just ordered Shaun T's Hip Hop Abs. Hopefully this new work out program will help keep me motivated, and I can always switch it up with my beloved YBB DVDs once in a while.

The thing I like most about YBB, besides the dance-y ballet part of it, is the reflection and positivity yoga part of it. When I first started doing it, Jordyn asked me if I was joining a new religion. There's a lot of moodra-ing, and mantra-ing, and setting intentions - See your intention...BE your intention! Spread love, shine brightly, aspire upward to the heavens, love honor and cherish your unique self. Which is all very cool and refreshing and uplifting to practice this positive self talk. Namaste.

I've heard tons of great things about HHA from my fellow YBB goddesses on the YBB message boards. So, I'm going to try it. I hear that HHA, like YBB, is very dance-y (hence the Hip Hop). And until I can spend 8 hours in the dance studio with Maksim training for Dancing with the Stars, this new HHA DVD series will have to do.

Speaking of Dancing with the Stars, can I just say that I have the most ginormous crush on Julianne??? What a CUTIE! I want to be just like her when I grow up.

Anyhow, wish me luck. I want to be the BIGGEST loser!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Santa Breakfast & Jamming with the fam

Saturday was the annual Santa breakfast at the kids' school. Well, actually, now that Jordyn is in Middle School, I should say that it was the annual Santa breakfast at Liam's school.

In years past, I had volunteered in the kitchen pouring and flipping pancakes during the Santa Breakfast, but this year, I didn't volunteer for this event, and you know what? I didn't feel guilty about it at all! Shocking, I know! I usually have volunteer guilt because I like to volunteer, and feel like I should (where does that come from?). But do I really like to volunteer? Maybe I just like the IDEA of volunteering, because when it comes down to the volunteering, itself, it always seems like a chore and I have to coordinate everything with Kevin so he can "enjoy" the event with the kids while I'm volunteering.

So, since I wasn't volunteering and didn't need Kevin's assistance with the kids, and since he's with the kids all week with out me, and he had other things to do that day (like put the chains on the wheels of our tractor which turned out to be too small for the tires and since chains don't stretch he wasn't able to), I gave Kevin a get out of Forced Family Fun free card.

We purchased five tickets ahead of time, so in his place, I brought Jordyn's friend with us. Jordyn said, "Mom, I don't HAVE to sit on Santa's lap, do I?" Well of course not, just go over and talk to him and I'll take your picture. Oh, such embarrassment for a sixth grader!
Then it was Liam & Owen's turn to talk to Santa. What a treat! Santa, Open your eyes!! Of course Owen wants a big huge train box and a big huge car box. Whenever you ask him what he wants for Christmas, this is his response, with out fail. Liam on the other hand, busted out a new request than what we had heard and discussed earlier in the season. He wants a remote control motorcycle. Ack!

After visiting Santa, we ate a nice rubber pancake breakfast. Then Liam made crafts in Santa's workshop. Jordyn was never interested in making the crafts when she was little, but Liam really enjoyed it. Not surprising, though, since he also likes to stamp cards & candles and scrapbook with me. Here he is making an adorable reindeer craft. He knew what to do without me even explaining it to him!

Owen kept begging to go back and see Santa, so Jordyn tried to take him to do that while I was at the craft workshop with Liam. But, by that time, the line for Santa had gotten too long. When Jordyn & Owen returned to Santa's workshop, Liam was at the craft station where Jordyn's 1st grade teacher was volunteering. Now, when Jordyn was in 1st grade, it was this teacher's first class on his own outside of college. So, I thought it would be fun for him to see Jordyn and to take a picture with her (a member of the first graduating class that he will ever have taught, who are now 6th graders) and I was amazed at what I saw... Jordyn is like, girlfriend height next to him! Here she is next to her former 1st grade teacher, and she comes to his shoulder....and he's a TALL man! It was bizarre. He said he felt really old seeing her... uh, excuse me, but I'm the old one - I gave birth to this child who is now in 6th grade! How do you think that makes ME feel?
After the Santa breakfast, we saw another Santa at Meijer. Again with the remote control motorcycle...when DID Liam come up with this gift idea??? Up until Saturday, he had asked for a DS Lite, an electric guitar, a Star Wars I Lego DS game, and Rock Em Sock Em Robots (not the DS game version, he already has that, but the real game version). These were his 4 requests. And Santa only brings each kid 4 presents.
Later that night, Liam played with Kevin's electric guitar at home and remembered that his very own electric guitar was numero uno on his Christmas list. In a very concerned and worried manner he asked me "Mom, is that the last time we'll see Santa?" Knowing the reason why he was asking, I replied, "Why do you ask?" "Because I forgot to ask him for my very own electric guitar." I told Liam that we may see Santa again before Christmas, but even if we don't, we can write him a letter and tell him to forget about the remote control motorcycle, and to get an electric guitar instead. YES!
So, Kevin has an electric guitar that used to belong to one of his buddies. He's had it for a while now, but Kevin doesn't mess around with it very often. That, however, was before my dad delivered the baby grand piano to our house last week (another story altogether). So, Friday night, I started banging out some Christmas tunes on the piano, which prompted Kev to break out his electric guitar, and we had a full fledged jam session. Liam assisted Kev on the guitar, Owen sang and danced and kept asking "Where's my dance floor? Where's my dance floor?" It was hysterical! We sounded horrible! But we had so much fun.
The guitar is no longer buried in the basement collecting dust. It is now easily accessible alongside the newly delivered, needing to be tuned, baby grand piano in what I now refer to as our music room. I can't wait to get the kids started on some lessons!

Oh the things O says

Owen is at a stage at 3 1/2 years old where just about everything he says, and how he says it, just crack me up.

For example, the VERY first thing he said to me Friday morning was -

"Ma, you want iPhone for kissmas?"

He's not incredibly easy to understand, so when he says something out of the blue and off the wall like this, especially when I think he should say something more like "Hi Mommy! I missed you" seeing that this was the first I had seen him in a week, I usually reply with "What?" just so he'll say what I thought it was that he said again and I can validate the hilarity of it.

"Ma, you want iPhone for kissmas? And a purse? Just two things. You get two things."

Apparently, the night before, at dinner, Kevin and Jordyn were discussing some ideas on what to get me for my birthday and for Christmas, not even thinking Owen was paying attention to the conversation, and these were the things he zeroed in on (although, the iPhone was discussed, the purse was not, so he came up with the purse on his own).

A half hour later, Owen wanted me to replace some batteries in his toy train, but the battery box was all the way downstairs in the pantry, up on a shelf, where it always is, and so I made some comment about not having any batteries. To which Owen replied, "The batteries are in the pantry, on the shelf, I could climb, climb, climb, and get them, I saw them in the pantry with my blue eyes."

You saw the batteries with your blue eyes? I mean, he does have blue eyes, but what made him think he needed to be so specific? Of course, I didn't want him climbing the shelves of the pantry, and his comment cracked me up so much that I just had to get up off my rear to retrieve the batteries for him all the way downstairs.

The rest of the day with Owen, I must have thought "That is so funny, I have to remember what he just said," a thousand times, but of course the rest of his remarks have now gotten away from me. I may not have the best memory, but I do know that this kid cracks me up, A LOT.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The holidays are here!

Thanksgiving is the official kick off of my holiday season. I love this time of year when the holidays arrive.

And what a wonderful and long Thanksgiving weekend we had.

We kicked it off by heading over to GR bright and early Wednesday morning (the kids were going stir crazy with excitement, and the 3 hours between 7 am and 10 am were torture for them, Is it time to go yet? Is it time to go yet? Is it time to go YEEEET?)

We made it to GR by lunchtime (and without offing any of our annoying yet ohsoadorable offspring). We met Kevin's brother Don and Don's adorable daughter Hannah at Yesterdog for lunch. YUMMY! Honestly, you have not had a hotdog until you've had a Yesterdog. Even if you don't like hotdogs, you'll like Yesterdogs. My favorite is the Ultradog, but I should have ordered 3 instead of 2. MMMmmm....

Then we went to the jeweler where Kev bought my wedding ring to have some links removed from Kevin's early birthday present (a very nice watch that he would have NEVER bought for himself). While we were there, I asked if they could re-engrave my wedding ring with the year of our wedding. You see, when I failed to lose the Owen baby weight a few years ago, we took my ring to this jeweler's to have my ring made bigger (not one of my shining moments) and in doing so, they removed the year on the engraving so that it made it look as if Kev and I had been married forever. As I handed over the ring, I noticed the crusty nail polish on the side of it. Oh, and could you clean the ring up a bit, too? As I was leaving the store ring-less, I asked if they had a loaner ring I could use until my ring was done. Ha Ha Ha, like they had never heard that before. When we picked my ring up on Saturday it was oh so shiny and new looking. I'll ignore the fact that the engraving of the year is now a different script than the script of the month and date.
Wednesday night led us to our annual Thanksgiving eve get together with Kevin's highschool friends, Joe and Tricia (who just gave birth to their third baby 2 weeks prior and looked AMAZING), Matt and his lovely wife Paige, and Jason. We went to Bonefish Grill (where I had never been before). I highly recommend the Bang Bang shrimp - if you like a little kick, and the mussels (I'm not normally a mussels fan, but the sauce on these tasty treats was DELICIOUS!)
Following dinner, we met up with Kev's sister Amy and brother-in-law Rob for some bowling where neither Kev nor I broke 100. Shameful. I blame the lanes.

After bowling, I was just not ready to return to Kev's parents at midnight. That is just WAY too early to turn in on the biggest bar night of the year. So, I huffed and puffed until Kevin grudgingly stopped at a bar where I gladly karaoked as he sulked. Pearl Jam's Last Kiss and Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison.

My inlaws are the best Thanksgiving hosts ever. My mother-in-law insisted that they would prepare everything, and unlike my dear friend Kendrea who likes to cook and wants to help her mother-in-law with the feast, I am perfectly fine with not lifting a finger. The only finger lifting I did was to flip through all of the sale ads and plot my black Friday shopping strategy. Trust me, this takes hours. Some people watch football, I strategize my shopping.

My mother-in-law and father-in-law prepared the meal for more than 2 dozen people. We had that many people this year despite the fact that two of Kevin's brothers and their families were not with us (they were each celebrating the holiday with their wife's families). Below are 6 of the 12 grandkids, thoroughly enjoying their time together at Grandma and Grandpa's.
After dinner, I took Jordyn and Liam to see Enchanted along with Amy, Rob, Mitchell, Aidan, and Rob's mom. We had planned on going to see Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium , but Amy's family had already seen it. So, we settled on Enchanted. Going to see a movie on Thanksgiving has become a tradition. Last year it was Happy Feet. HATED it. So I was nervous that Enchanted would turn out to be a disappointment like Happy Feet was. OMG times ten, can I just say how much we all LOVE LOVE LOVED Enchanted?? It was such a fun, innocent, funny, wholesome, great great great movie. Another recommendation.

Well, black Friday, like every year, started at 3am. Jordyn and I were at Meijer by 3:30am and shopped there and at a number of other stores, including some online shopping, until 11 am. We got some GREAT deals. I tried to get Kev to come with us, but when the alarm went off, he was having NO part of it. This was Jordyn's second year playing Santa's helper with me on black Friday and she thoroughly enjoys this tradition. I am so blessed to have such a lovely daughter.

After lunch with Kev and the boys, Jordyn and I took a nap before my sister and my niece Bailey picked up Jordyn and me to go to Muskegon to see the Moscow Ballet's Nutcracker at the Fruenthal Center. On the way there, the car in front of us on the highway hit a deer sending guts flying and tufts of fur into our windshield. We pulled over to ensure everyone was OK (they were), gave the shaken-up driver our number in case she needed us as a witness for insurance purposes (her Jeep Cherokee's front bumper was completely ripped off), and then continued on our way to the theatre, saying a prayer of thanks that we were not part of the accident.

We had a nice enough dinner and then I fought to stay awake during the show. That's what power shopping since the crack of dawn and Christmas theater production watching all in one day will do to ya! The holidays have hardly arrived and I've already worn myself out!! Love it!

We rose to a wonderful breakfast a la donandcarol before loading the car, er packing the car, OK STUFFING the car with kids, clothes, & presents and heading home. When we arrived home, we were surprised to discover that the east side of the state got much more snow (to the kids' delight) than the west side of the state and they rushed right out to play in it.

I was anxious to get home because I always like to decorate the house for Christmas during the Thanksgiving weekend, and this year was no exception. However, this year's decorating process, itself, was exceptional because everyone, including Owen, was able to pitch in. I LOVE CHRISTMAS! And I love our tree. Every ornament has a story.

Don't tell me this long weekend is almost over and I have to head back to NJ Monday morning!! No! No! No! Getting up at 3am to go shopping on black Friday is fun, getting up at 3am on Monday morning to catch a 6am flight is NOT, and on Sundays I already start dreading the alarm clock waiting for me the next day. But, I put that in the back of my mind as I enjoyed my final day at home. We continued to decorate the house, inside and out. Then I took the kids (minus Liam) to my parents' house for lunch (and to get out of the house while Kev watched and screamed at the Bucs game). It was nice to hang with my parents since they had just returned from a 2 week vacation in Florida. That evening, Kev cooked a great dinner and we polished off a couple bottles of wine.

Mmm, home and the holidays. Nothing better than that.

Happy Birthday Hon

Not that Kevin reads my blog regularly, or ever, actually, I'm still gonna give him a Happy Birthday shout out on this his 35th birthday (geesh he's OLD!)


Although I'm not home to celebrate with him, my heart is with him, my thoughts are with him, and my best birthday wishes are with him.

I love this man

More than he knows

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Puke, PowWow, Presentation, and Picture of me

Working from home this week definitely has had its ups and downs.

Down - We woke up yesterday to Owen puking. Not really stomach flu puking, more like sinus drainage that he isn't coughing up so it's gagging him type of puking. He proceeded to puke all day. Fortunately, Kevin was working from home, too, so Kev got to deal with most of the pukey-ness, take him to the doctor and get some medicine (O is feeling MUCH better today thank goodness)

Up - Flexible hours. When I work from home, I can pretty much do my work at any hour of the day. So, if one of my kids has something going on at school, I can attend the event, and get my work done while they're sleeping. Like yesterday's Thanksgiving PowWow at Liam's school. The first graders sang Thanksgiving songs and recited Thanksgiving poems, then we had a harvest feast. Here is Indian Liam...

Up - Yesterday was also career day in Jordyn's 6th grade language arts class. I went in and spoke for 40 minutes. I gave a presentation and explained to them that aside from embarrassing Jordyn, my job was that of a project manager and I told them what being a project manager was all about, what I originally wanted to be when I grew up, what I went to college for, how I came to be a project manager, etc. We even did an exercise where we were going to manage a project (the PB&J sandwich making project) and the class had to help me come up with questions to define scope, schedule, & budget...the triple constraint. We also came up with some risks and some potential change orders. It sounds boring, but the kids grasped the concepts more than what I thought they would and really got into it. They had some really good ideas that demonstrated they understood . On the way home, I asked Jordyn if she understood better now what I do. And she said emphatically, "Oh yes!" So I asked her what it was that I did, what was it called, this thing I do for my career. And she said, "Uuuuuhhh, I don't remember". OK, the presentation ended 15 minutes ago, I could see where she would forget. Obviously, I made an enormous impression on her.

Up - Today, as I was typing this blog entry, Owen came running up to me with something in his hand and said, "Mom, look, I found a picture of you!! A picture of mommy!!" He handed me this little card, that you find inside of magazines, and on the card was subscription information to Maxim, with a scantily clad, very hot, very sexy model wearing nothing more than a string bikini bottom, lying on her stomach, looking back over her shoulder, with blond hair cascading down her back. Nice, honey, go show that to Daddy and tell him who it is! Oh, to have the same perception of yourself that your 3 year old son has of you! Oh, to have this kind of hard body again, like I had before kids!! Maybe, this is more of a Down than an Up!! Anyway, Here I am...

OK, so working from home so far this week has had only one down and many, many, many ups. More than I've shared.
I LOVE working from home.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


For a chance to win a Kodak Easyshare 5300 printer, Check out the BlondeMomBlog Giveaway and enter her contest by this Saturday! Good Luck!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Children of Eden

This weekend, I attended the Lakeland Players' production of Children of Eden with Jordyn. As we were waiting for the show to begin, Jordyn asked me WHO Eden was. Uhhh, Eden is a GARDEN, not a GIRL. Note to self, take Jordyn to church more often.

The show featured my niece Bailey, who had a beautiful solo dance number as the dove that was set free from the ark and later returns with an olive branch (among other roles in the play). My nephew Aaron played an alligator. And my nephew Jacob pulled the ropes for the curtain.

They all did an outstanding job and the amateur production of this local community theatre group was very professional-like, very high quality. Especially the dove...


On Saturday Kevin and I went to the MSU vs. Penn State football game in East Lansing. This is us at the game...

If it looks like we weren't actually AT the game, that's because we weren't. We had tickets but decided that it would be more fun (and much warmer and drier) to stay at the tailgate! His brother's friend Drew had made quite a production of this, the last Spartans home game of the year.

By the way, I am not pregnant, despite what the above picture may look like. I was LAYERED.

Anyhoo, Drew had four 10x10 tents set up, with protective "walls" around them to keep out the elements, 3 propane gas heaters, a satellite dish and a TV (on which we watched Michigan lose to Ohio State at noon, and then proceeded to watch the Spartans defeat the Nittany Lions at 3:30), a grill, a stove, and a crock pot.

That's not to mention the steak, bacon wrapped shrimp, meatballs, Cajun chicken, brats, and other various side dishes that were there. I contributed white chocolate popcorn which was a hit and is super easy to make (gotta love that!). And God Bless Amy and Brian for bringing a cooler FULL of Jell-O shots and Pudding Shots (umm, can I just say that the Pudding Shots were absolutely DELICIOUS?!?). In addition to these shots, the Crown Royal was f-l-o-w-i-n-g. Below is Kevin partaking in his last shot of the night (I had to cut him off). Notice the shot in one hand, and the beer in the other!

Kev missed the whole 2nd quarter of the game because he was talking to a couple of college girls who had stopped by to crash our tailgate and come in out of the cold. I found this extremely humorous. Had I been standing next to him talking, his attention would have been on the TV. However, enter two 20-something cuties (OK one of them was kind of cute-she wanted to be a dentist and the other was not very cute-she wanted to be a game show host) and his attention is focused completely on them, sharing sage advice such as "Have a career".

Anyway, at one point the college girls tried to get everyone in the tent to do a shot of whiskey. When I refused, the kind-of-cute one told me I was lame and had low alcohol tolerance. MmmHmm OK. Either that, or we have three kids at home and one of us has to drive an hour-and-a-half to pick them up, preferably sober. And it certainly isn't going to be Mr. Case of beer and a thousand shots. This reasoning sank in with the game show host and she gave me a high five. The dentist on the other hand still thought I had low alcohol tolerance. At any rate, I'm sure this evening will be good material for them to reminisce upon when they are old like us.

I'm already looking forward to attending a game or two next season. Who knows, maybe we'll actually GO to the stadium next time!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Early Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is Kevin's absolute favorite holiday. Why?

A. There are no religious obligations
B. There are no requirements to purchase presents
C. It's close to his birthday and his mom always makes him a cake
D. It is expected that he will eat, watch football, and nap (in no particular order and each activity will occur more than once)

So, when we first started dating seriously, he made it very clear to me that E-V-E-R-Y Thanksgiving would be spent with his family at his parents' house. OK by me, that just means I get to call the shots on every other day of the year!

Since his parents live two hours away, this means that we celebrate Thanksgiving with my family either before or after the holiday.

This actually works out for my side of the family pretty well. My siblings aren't required to rush around from house to house overstuffing themselves on this relaxing holiday. And this has enabled my parents to take the opportunity to trek down to their digs in Florida and spend the holiday with my mom's sisters. Everyone is happy.

So this year, we celebrated Thanksgiving EARLY EARLY EARLY at our house. It was wonderful.

Kev made a juicy ham, my mom made THE best mashed potatoes, my sister made a tasty salad, my niece (who's 12!) made the pumpkin pies, I made bacon wrapped water chestnut's which were an enormous hit and there were several requests to make them again at Christmas (thanks for the recipe Patty!), and my brother's baby's momma made some yummy brownies (and apparently a fruit salad that was supposed to be in the shape of a turkey that my brother wrecked because he cut the watermelon the wrong way so she trashed it rather than bring a less than perfect creation to the feast...Jer wasn't supposed to tell us that story, but if you'll remember from an earlier post, my brother is a bit of a rule breaker). And, of course, my dad asked the blessing.

I am blessed in so many ways, but most abundantly by my truly genuine, loving, caring, and forgiving family.

Happy Early Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Punishing Parents...Preposterous!

There have been a lot of local stories lately about kids getting into trouble - bomb threats at the middle and high schools, a middle school kid with a bb gun at school, etc.

And it seems as if a youngster may have started the recent devastating California wildfires. So sad.

This has stirred up conversation (particularly on the part of the editor of our local weekly newspaper in his ohsoinsightful column, MY WAY) about how parents should be punished for the misdeeds of their children. And that bad kids are the product of bad parents who don't pay enough attention to their kids.

I couldn't disagree with this line of thinking more.

How does punishing a parent for their child's actions instill a sense of accountability in the child? This simply perpetuates the culture of kids not taking responsibility for, and not being held accountable for their own actions. Punishing a parent is hardly a consequence for the child.

Are there bad parents out there? Of course. Do all of them have bad kids? Absolutely not.
Are there good parents out there? Of course. Do all of them have good kids? Absolutely not.

Let me give you an example...

My parents raised three children in the same loving, caring, attentive, values-instilling manner.

In our youth, my older sister, Shawn, was a star athlete, was respectful and kind to everyone (except her little sister), followed all the rules, and was an honor roll student. She was a "good" kid.

My older brother, Jeremy, on the other hand, challenged authority, barely scraped by in school (although he's a very smart guy), violated more than one law on more than one occasion, and was "asked to leave" the private school he had attended in the 9th grade. He was a "bad" kid. Oh wait, sorry mom, let me rephrase that, he was a kid that did some bad things.

Anyway, one day, another parent asked my mother, "How do you raise a daughter as wonderful as Shawn?" To which my mom replied, "I really don't know, because if I took credit for Shawn's actions, then I would also have to take the blame for Jeremy's actions. And I've raised them both the same."

I'm so glad there were no crazy people around back then trying to throw my mom in jail for the misdeeds of my brother (or for my misdeeds, heaven forbid...but then again, I was perfect).

Our Halloween

Next to Christmas, Halloween is my FAVORITE holiday. Since Halloween fell on a Wednesday this year, I knew I would be out of town for this most hallowed eve. (I was very distraught about that, but what are ya gonna do?)

Knowing that I would be gone, I had to plan well in advance for all of our Halloween activities. Costumes were bought a good 5 weeks in advance. Halloween treat bags and cards for friends, family, and classmates were assembled three weeks ahead of time. One weekend we picked pumpkins, the weekend before Halloween we carved them, then came the subdivision Halloween parade…in our new subdivision.

We have thoroughly enjoyed the annual costume parade that the subdivision we moved from always had, so we decided to attend (OK, partially organize) a Halloween parade in our new subdivision.

This new parade was fine, but different and new, and well different. We had a “guess how many candy corns are in the glass pumpkin jar” contest. There was a costume contest where a secret judge picked their favorite funny, scary, and overall best costumes. And an Oakland County sheriff came and talked to the kids about trick-or-treat safety. The kids even got to sit in the back of the police cruiser (not a place I ever want to see my kids again).

It certainly wasn’t exactly the same as the parade we were used to and had grown to love over the past 7 years. For example, we walked on the sidewalk instead of the street. There weren’t many spectators, and there were no donuts and cider at the end of the parade. Jordyn was very disappointed that there were no kids her age that participated. And it was cold, not to mention we were under dressed and the kids kept begging to leave (not to be blamed on the new subdivision).

But it’s always fun to see the kids’ costumes in the daylight (even if I only knew a handful of the kids that were there as opposed to knowing almost all of them like in years past). It sounds as if I’m complaining, and I guess I am a little, it’ll take time to get used to this new subdivision’s dynamics and traditions.

And since our section of the subdivision is still so new, we figured that 1. we wouldn’t get many trick-or-treaters and 2. the kids would have more fun in a more developed, established, and familiar neighborhood. So, Kev took the boys trick-or-treating in the old subdivision. With me out of town, it was so nice for Kev to have someplace familiar to take the boys and he was able to walk around with a beverage in hand with our dear friends Amy & Joel and their boys. I wasn’t there, but reading Mindy’s blog about that night in my old sub, made me feel like I was.

Here’s hoping I’ll be home next year ON Halloween (where we’ll probably trick-or-treat in the old subdivision again!)

MMMmmm Treats

Occasionally, when I leave the office (which is in a very industrial area and used to be one of Coach's manufacturing plants back in the day), I smell this very potent scent of, well, I don't know what it is that's generating the scent, but it smells like a treat my mom used to make for us when we were kids that we absolutely loved. The treat? Mini marshmallow topped peanut butter toast baked in the oven.

After several times of experiencing this aroma, I decided that the next time I went home, I would make this same treat for my kids. So, when I got home, I went to Meijer to purchase the requisite mini marshmallows for this childhood treat and I happened to see the caramel apple kits and I remembered making those with my mom as a kid, too! When was the last time I've made caramel apples with my kids? Never! Perfect opportunity. So, I bought the caramel apple kits, some sweet apples, and home we went.

The kids were very excited in anticipation of both treats, which we made in the same day one Sunday evening. Kevin had left town on a business trip and these two treats, actually, became our dinner for the night (when Kev's gone, we're at a loss when it comes to meal times!)

OK, so I kind of burned the marshmallows a little bit because I forgot the toast was in the oven, but my favorite childhood treat was still as yummy as I remembered, even if the kids didn't love it as much as I once had.

But, the caramel apples were a big hit.
MMMmmm good! Dinner of champions.

Fall Family Fun - At the Pumpkin Patch

In mid October, we went to Big Red Orchards with the family to pick pumpkins. The day was GORGEOUS and although we dropped a whole lot more dough than we expected to, it was a wonderful time.

There were slides and rides and animals and a haunted house (that we didn't go in) and cider and donuts and hayrides and fresh apples off the trees in the orchard and pumpkins in the patch.

OK, the pumpkin patch had been pretty well picked over and the pickin's were slim, but everyone found a pumpkin (except Kev, Mister "I don't need a pumpkin") and the kids didn't mind that the selection was limited. The kids told us THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU several times that day. They really enjoyed and appreciated our day of fall family fun.

(And I got to sport my new Coach cashmere sample sale sweater!) Good times!

What’d ya bring me?

I’m gone every week. But I’m not one of those parents who has to buy something for their kids every time I go out of town (that would get expensive!) I certainly don’t indulge in guilt trip purchases.

But when I get home, sometimes I do like to give the kids a little something to let them know that I’ve been thinking about them while I was gone. Some things I buy at the airport gift shop, like the mints I bought for Jordyn that came in the I “heart” NY tin. I had to follow it up the next week with these adorable taxi cab cookies I bought for the boys.

But, I don’t always BUY them something. My kids are happy when I bring them the fortune cookies that came with my Chinese take-out dinner when I worked late at the office. Or the free chocolates that come when I order room service wrapped in mini gold pyramid boxes. One particular favorite of mine, and I don’t know why, are the little rubber duckies that the hotel puts on the ledge of the bath tub. Sometimes they are plain duckies, but recently I’ve had a witch duckie, a cheerleader duckie, and now, 2 referee duckies (I can’t wait to bring home the second referee duckie, this will solve a lot of bath tub turmoil between Liam and Owen).

I don’t always have something to give the kids when I get home. And, fortunately they aren’t “What’d ya bring me? What’d ya bring me?” kind of kids. That could mean one of two things….either the trinkets I bring them are not exciting enough for them to be waiting with baited breath for the next gift to arrive. Or, it means that, when I get home, what my kids are most happy about, is not what I bring them but getting to spend time with me.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Many of you already know this story, but for those that don't, let me share. (Share, brag, gloat, whatever you want to call it).

The project I'm working on (which has torn me away from my family Mon-Fri EVERY week and basically has me stressed to the max on a daily basis) is for our client, Coach.

Yes, Coach, as in leatherware, handbags, accessories.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, Coach had a SAMPLE SALE for its employees and contractors (that would be me). I didn't really know what to expect. I just knew that I would be assigned a time slot in which to go to the cafeteria to shop, they only accepted checks, and that there would be a quota (limit).

No one knew until the day of the sale what the quota or the prices would be. A few weeks before the purse sample sale there was a sweater sample sale in which you were only allowed one sweater per person. I bought a cashmere sweater that retailed for $298 for $49. So, that was a pretty good deal.
But I was totally unprepared for THIS sample sale. This purse party of all purse parties (and you all know how much I L-L-L-LOVE purse parties!) Orgasmic was the word that came to mind.

The quota (limit) was 1 travel bag, 1 large handbag, 3 medium bags, 2 small bags, and 5 accessories. And the prices?!? Holy Cannoli! The prices for these REAL DEAL purses were so much better than even the knock-off purse party prices. We're talking $10 for a small bag, $20 for a medium, $30 for a large. I KNOW! I was in HANDBAG HEAVEN. Just look at my haul.

Here's a closer look...

So far, this has been the only perk of this project. And it has made all of the heartache WELL worth it! (OK - maybe not all of the heartache, but some of it) :-)

Spring Sample Sale, here I come!!!