The CHERISHED Life of Heather Leigh

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


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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!!!

THREE WEEKS?!? and a Serious Sinus Infection

Has it really been over three weeks since I last posted? Twenty-six days to be exact.


I don't have a broken computer (well, actually I do, but that has nothing to do with my blogging ability).

I haven't been on a deserted island.

I haven't had major surgery.

It's just been LIFE.

Between work (we won't even go there) and all the fun fall activities, I have just been going going going going and going. I actually showed the Energizer bunny a thing or two over the last few weeks.

And then...just when my bunny was going to go up north and party with some friends this past weekend, I ran out of juice in the form of a serious sinus infection.

I was so sick last week that on Tue, Wed AND Thur, my co-worker thought it would be nice and apparently appropriate to tell me how horrible I looked every day. Gee thanks. Horrible is exactly the look I was going for. Then on Thursday, when I was due to fly back home on a 7:52 pm flight, my project manager told me to head home early (would have been nice to have told me that at 10 am instead of 2:30 pm). The earliest I could get was a 6pm flight home, but earlier it still was.

OK, so if you've never flown on an airplane with a serious sinus infection, let me tell ya, you just haven't lived. When we were landing, the pressure in my eardrums was so intense, I was in tears. Now, I've given birth to 3 children, so I know what pain is, and this was excruciating. It feels like your eardrums are going to explode, and actually, you want them to because then the pressure would be relieved. So, of course I was in a middle seat and the people to the left and right of me must have thought I was a complete lunatic, because I was crying and rocking back and forth, and taking big swigs of my water, and opening my mouth real wide, and then opening it and shutting it real fast, and rubbing my glands<GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD! (I actually said that out loud.) It was torture. This was last Thursday, and I think my ears finally popped on Sunday.

I'm still not 100%, but after going to the doctor on Friday and getting an antibiotic and after getting LOTS of rest this weekend (no O'Keefe's Pub for me), I'm starting to feel better.

And, I'm going to get caught up on my blogging....I promise.