Friday, December 21, 2007

Almost Done....

Well it’s here! My last day of work until January 2nd!!! I’m only working until 11:30 today and then I’m off for some more shopping! I was shopping with my mom until 11:30 last night, so I’m a little tired this morning :) She’s so behind…I swear, the lady has nothing else to do and yet she still has not done any shopping or decorated her house (one of the reasons Christmas will be at my house).

For the first time in my career though I actually wish I wasn’t taking vacation now…I have so much work to do! This has never happened to me before…in the past, my work has either been easy enough for me to do very quickly, or I just didn’t care whether it got done or not. But with my new position, it’s a whole new ballgame. I’ve never ever had this much stress with work before. It’s definitely good, but I need to find a better way to handle it because for the first time as well, it’s leaking over to my family, and I just can’t have that!

So I’m hoping some nice time off will be great for the kids and I (unfortunately with hubby’s business he won’t be off the whole week like we will :( ). We’ve started planning out our menus (prime rib, mashed potatoes and green beans for Christmas Eve and probably some type of brunch Christmas day) and I’m getting really excited! I can’t wait until my sisters get here!

Tonight we’re having dinner with our really good friends and exchanging gifts. They are also our neighbors, and because of the cold weather we don’t see them as much (when it’s warm, we spend every night together outside), so this will be a wonderful time!

I will try to post a bunch while I’m on vacation…I can’t stay away from you guys! But please know that in the coming months things are going to be so extremely busy for me (think no days off until May…no wonder I have so much vacation left in December :) ). I still try to read everyone for quick 5 minute breaks, but I might not be able to comment as much. I will try my best!

Have a great Friday everyone!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Disney Pictures - Set 5

Yeah!!! It’s almost Christmas!!!

Today is our cookie and gift exchange at work. Our admin informed us we weren’t allowed to bring in gift cards this year because “it’s more fun with actual gifts.” Whatever! So I actually had to find a gift that was around $25 – yes, I’m one of those gift card people when I’m shopping for someone I don’t know that well (or when I don’t know who I’m buying for). I also made my 4 dozen cookies (with lots left over) and arranged them neatly on my train for our exchange.

I guess it’s official, my family will be here for Christmas starting as early as this weekend, and we’ll have a big Christmas Eve dinner, and then we’ll get up and open presents on Christmas day. Then they will leave for a while and my in-laws will all come over for dinner. Then some or all of my family will come back over when they leave (my sister that’s in Michigan is off for the whole week, so she’ll be here visiting). As crazy and stressful as this is, I’m really, really excited!

So I have a ton of work to finish up today, cookie/gift exchange at 3:00, and then only working ½ day tomorrow. I’m just ready to be in full-fledged Christmas no-more-work mode!!!

Here are the last of the Disney pictures:

The kids with Santa:

My son wanted nothing to do with him and would NOT sit on his lap! But he would give him five!

My daughter by her favorite princess:

Hubby having fun with Photoshop :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Disney Pictures - Set 4

Hubby and I were able to get some more presents for the kids last night (they really, really don't need anything else, but it's just so hard to stop!). And I got one of my daughter's presents in the mail yesterday from Tori at radioactive girl. This lady is absolutely wonderful! She knew I wanted to get my daughter a camera for Christmas but I was having a hard time deciding which one to get, so she sent me one that her kids had used and liked (because they are getting another one for Christmas).

Again, the Christmas spirit has surrounded me and I'm so thankful for the wonderful people that I have met through this blog. Tori, you are fantastic!!!
I guess we've decided to have my family's Christmas at my house as well as Christmas with the in-law's (long story). So now I have to make sure I have enough food for two sets of people that will be there on the same day. We'll do Christmas with my family in the morning and during the day, and then hubby's family will come over for dinner. I'm honestly very, very happy about this!!! I love entertaining and my house looks so very nice all decorated right now (I will try to take pictures that capture the beauty of it).

So tonight I have to make some more cookies for my cookie exchange at work. I would also like to try to get some sleep :) I wonder if that will happen?

Here are some more Disney pictures (did you think I was done???):

Here are the kids with Pocahontas:
Here they are with Jiminy Cricket:

Here is my daughter at the Bippity Boppity Boutique. She got to pick her tierra color, nail color and make-up colors, which she loved!

Only one more day of Disney pictures, I promise!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Disney Pictures - Set 3

I know you are probably all sick of pictures, but I have more :)

Things are going pretty well in normal life right now…I’m sick, and my son’s sick and has/had pink eye (it’s clearing up nicely). Work is still really stressful, but I’m off starting Friday afternoon until January 2nd!

I’m still not done Christmas shopping yet, but I’ve got a lot of it done and my sister is coming over to babysit tonight so that hubby and I can go and do more without little ones around.

I baked a bunch of cookies this past weekend and hope to do some more over the next week!

Alright, on to some more pictures!

Mickey and Minnie - my son kissed Minnie's hand and Mickey was getting so mad :)

My daughter with June from Little Einsteins at Hollywood & Vine at MGM:

The kids with JoJo at the same restaurant:

The kids with Goliath:

We waited in line 1 hour to see the Cars characters. We were lucky though, the weather was absolutely gorgeous and it was a nice break! My kids LOVE the movie!

My son LOVES Toy Story, and he was Buzz Lightyear for Halloween, so seeing these two made his day! Between the Cars characters and the Toy Story ones, we were finally making up for all the princesses we had been seeing!

One of my absolute favorite pictures of the kids with Rafiki from the Lion King:

Monday, December 17, 2007

Disney Pictures - Set 2

Here are some more pictures!

The princess we had to wake my daughter up to can tell she's not quite awake!

Chip and Dale were by far the most entertaining characters in Disney World!

The main character:

My daughter at her princess tea party with her favorite princess!

My daughter, me and my mom at the tea party:

Another one of my daughter's favorites, Alice in Wonderland:

The castle decorated for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Disney Pictures - Set 1

These are the shirts we made the kids for the first day!

All of this is made of gingerbread!!!

She loved seeing the stepmother and the stepsisters! It was also neat that she just happened to be wearing a Cinderella clip in her hair which they just hated! These ladies were fantastic!

Dinner with the princesses:

Her Favorite Princess:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Disney Trip - Day 7

Going Home Day :(

So Friday morning we were supposed to get up, finish packing, head to Chef Mickey’s for breakfast and then hit the Magic Kingdom one last time. But I snoozed the alarm clock an extra ½ hour, and then as I was getting ready, I realized that we had already seen all the characters, and while I would have loved to have a great breakfast, we still had 7 counter service meals to use and we were out of table service meals, so we would be paying extra for it. And I wasn’t done packing, so we would have had to come back to the hotel before heading to Magic Kingdom, and that would eat so much of our time since we had to be back at the hotel by 4:00 to catch the Magical Express bus to take us to the airport. So we scrapped breakfast and just hurried to finish packing.

And went to Wal-Mart.

Yep, we ran out of room in our suitcases…and I had even brought an extra duffle bag! But we bought the kids a bunch of Christmas presents, and they took up a lot of room, so we went and bought another suitcase.

By the time we finished packing, and my parents finished packing, and we got over to the Magic Kingdom, it was 12:00, and I was kind of bummed because we had to leave by 3:00 in order to allow time for the busses and then getting our suitcases loaded into the bus. But we still had 3 hours, and we made the most of those 3 hours! We ate lunch and then took our daughter on Splash Mountain one last time (we got absolutely soaked! Thankfully it was 80 degrees outside and I had time to dry!) and then we took her on Big Thunder Mountain Railway (or whatever it’s called), which she loved! Then I took both of them on the teacups one last time! After that it was time to start heading towards the front. I had some shops I still wanted to go to and my dad took my daughter to get her a Splash Mountain t-shirt. I tried to grab some snacks as we will had 8 to use! Hubby and I hopped on a bus with our son at 3:30 because my dad still wasn’t there yet. We got all the suitcases loaded up at the hotel and thankfully my dad and daughter got to the hotel right as the bus was ready to leave! Quick good-byes to my mom (she has a sister in Tampa that she was driving back to see for a few more days) and we were off!

The kids were beat since they hadn’t had a nap, but they were so good! During the bus ride to the airport my son entertained everyone! Once we got to the airport we went to the Disney store and got a few more gifts and then just sat! Our plane was on time and we left at 9:15 Friday night. It was so sad!

On the plane the boys took naps while my daughter and I read and watched movies and just talked. We didn’t have anyone in our third seat, so we got to just lounge and relax! I actually got to read some of my book :)

When we got back home our wonderful friend and neighbor picked us up. It was so cold! It had snowed a lot while we were gone (kind of sad we missed the first snowfall) and I finally got in the Christmas spirit! Even though Disney was decorated so nicely, and they had Christmas music playing all the time, the weather was too much for me…it just didn’t feel like Christmas! I think it’s just what you’re used to…if I was in warm weather for a couple years I’m sure I’d have no problem feeling Christmas, but since I’m used to cold at this time of year, I guess that’s what my mind needs to know it’s Christmas!

We got home and we all crashed! The kids were happy to be back with their toys and they played for a little big while we unloaded the car. Then we all went up to bed and slept very soundly!

It was a fantastic trip and I can’t wait to do it again!!!

I will start posting some pictures hopefully tomorrow…we took over 400!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Disney Trip - Day 6

So Thursday morning we got up bright and early and headed over to the Animal Kingdom. Now, I’m not an animal person (translates “I really don’t like animals”) and my daughter is a lot like me (she told me “animals smell”), so we would have been happy skipping the park altogether. But my dad really wanted to go there, and my kids do love the Lion King, and that is a huge theme there, so off we went.

The first thing we did was the Festival of the Lion King. This was a live show with awesome effects and acrobatics…definitely one of the best things I saw at Disney! Then we got some breakfast and went on the Safari ride. Even though I don’t like animals much, this was really, really cool! We drove right by a Giraffe! I could have touched it! We also saw a ton of other animals, and I was amazed when the guide told us that you could fit the entire Magic Kingdom inside the safari area and still have 30 acres left over!

After that we went up to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. When we walked in we saw that Rafiki was there, along with Pocahontas and Jiminy Cricket! And there were no lines to see them! My son adores Rafiki, so he was in heaven! They also had the animal hospital up there which was really cool!

After this we went down and had some lunch and then headed back to the hotel. The kids needed to get a nap in before we headed to Downtown Disney.

Unfortunately, my daughter ended up only getting in a 30 minute nap before I had to wake her up…we were heading to the Bippity Boppity Boutique! When we got in there she was just in awe! My poor little girl with such a sensitive head was such a trooper! And her hair and make-up and nails looked gorgeous! She loved being pampered!

After we were done there we went outside and the kids saw Santa, and then we went and ate dinner. After dinner we walked around the stores a bit and then had to leave…the little sleep for my son was doing him in and he was making hubby miserable! So we headed back to the hotel and began packing up our stuff as we were checking out the next morning :(

Monday, December 10, 2007

Disney Trip - Day 5

So the plan was to sleep in today but unfortunately the kids didn’t get the message and they were up at 8:00. But we took our time getting ready and the kids actually watched a movie this morning. We ended up heading out for MGM around 12:00. We had lunch reservations at 1:20, so we decided to be safe and just drive over (the buses have been taking a while getting us to the parks).

Once we got there we had enough time to catch the High School Musical show. For those of you that have seen this, unfortunately for us, it was different. I was prepared for a parade, with great instructions on where to sit and how to be in front. But when I noticed that hubby and my daughter were the only ones in line with only 15 minutes left until it was supposed to start, I knew something was wrong. I went off in search of another autograph book for her (she had already filled one up), I wasn’t shocked to see a sign that the HSM 2 show had been moved. So we got down there as fast as we could (behind all the people that had already seen the sign) and watched a show, not a parade. I thought it sucked. It’s the only thing so far here that I really didn’t think was up to the Disney standard. They didn’t try to get people that looked like the HSM characters, in fact two boys had microphones and only one girl did, and my daughter actually said to me “I can’t figure out which one is supposed to be Sharpay and which one is Gabriella.” And their dancing was horrible! The girl that had the microphone and that was singing, hardly danced at all. But my daughter liked it so we stayed. After the show, which ended right at the Tower of Terror, I got our Fast Passes for it so we could go after lunch.

After that we ran over to our lunch reservation at Hollywood and Vine. This restaurant was really cool and it had really good food. The kids got to see JoJo and Goliath, and Leo and June from The Little Einsteins. Our server was also fantastic. We ended up being there for about 1 ½ hours and had to run to make it in time to do the Tower of Terror. My daughter kept telling us she really wanted to go on it, so we took her. She was more scared of the whole Twilight Zone theme and the ghosts and stuff than the ride! She actually did fantastic on it! She keeps telling me that her belly was gone! I was really, really proud of her.

After that we headed over to where the Cars characters were going to be. We got in line at 3:35 and they weren’t coming until 4:15, but there were already 15 people in front of us. We lucked out because the weather was gorgeous (high of 73 today) and we had a band play 80’s music for a portion of our wait. It really went by fast! When Lighting McQeen and Mater finally came out my son jumped up and down and shouted “Lighting, Lighting!” They loved touching them and I’m so glad that we got to see them.

After we saw them, we snuck in a little alley and got to see Woody and Buzz! My son’s whole trip was made…the Cars characters and now the Toy Story gang! And both the Woody and Buzz “characters” were fantastic with the kids!

That’s pretty much all we ended up doing in MGM…it’s definitely not geared for little kids, but we still had a lot of fun. We were going to do the Voyage of the Little Mermaid, but my daughter is terrified of Ursula, so we ended up not doing it. We headed back to the hotel around 6:30 and the kids took a nap before our 9:10 dinner reservation at O’hana at The Polynesian (hey, when you book a trip last minute you take what reservations you can get!).

The Polynesian was gorgeous and dinner was fantastic! We could see Cinderella’s castle lit up for the Christmas party and it looked so gorgeous while we ate! The food was so good and the atmosphere was wonderful.

After dinner we went to the gift shop and I got my scrapbook for the trip and was surprised to find out it was 50% off! I’m guessing it’s because it said “2007” on it. After shopping for a little bit we headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Disney Trip Day 4

OK, I guess I’m doing updates every two days now :)

Yesterday we headed over to Epcot and started the morning by getting our fast passes for Soarin. We went to The Circle of Life show - an environmental fable, because the kids love Lion King. After we saw that we stood in line for a while and saw Nemo and the fishies. After that we went on Soarin and took advantage of the parent swap. You have to be 40” to ride it (of course my daughter was ecstatic), so hubby took her and my dad on it while I waited with my son. When they were done, hubby and my daughter and I were able to get right back on while my dad waited with my son. Disney truly has thought of everything!

After that we headed to lunch. This was a last minute reservation as we were originally supposed to be in the Magic Kingdom on Tuesday and I had made reservations there. We ended up having a really nice lunch (we had catfish, roast beef, turkey, potatoes, green beans and carrots for us, and then chicken fingers, mac ‘n cheese and French fries for the kids, served family style) and got to see Mickey, Pluto and Chip and Dale. We actually saw each of them a couple times over the course of the meal. Pluto made us mad by stating he was a gator fan with his “arms” (Buckeyes don’t like gators), so that was a fun joke each time “he” came around. Chip and Dale truly were the best…the first time they really spent a lot of time with the kids. Then the next time Dale came around, he cut up carrots for the kids and fed them to them! After my daughter ate all of hers, he wrote out on a napkin “For eating all her carrots she deserves a cupcake.” My daughter was so excited and I didn’t mention that her dinner came with a cupcake anyway :)

After lunch the kids fell asleep in the stroller really quickly, which was so nice because it allowed us to walk around the Worlds in Epcot…something we never would have been able to do if they were awake. As we were rounding out the “trip around the world” we saw Snow White and Dopey and since this was the only princess my daughter had not yet seen, we woke her up so she could meet her and get her autograph and picture taken.

After we did that we headed over to the Magic Kingdom for another night of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. When we went Sunday night it was on comp tickets, so we still had the tickets that I had paid for. We debated back and forth trying to decide whether we should try to sell the tickets (it was sold out) or go in for a while. We knew that we were all exhausted (our first day without a nap for the adults!), so we knew we only had a couple hours in us (or so we thought :) ). We ended up going in again.

The first place we went was to get some hot chocolate and cookies (all free during the party). It was really good! Then we watched a little of the Christmas show and then headed back to get a place for the parade. I’m not a huge parade person, but this one was really neat…everyone was dressed up for Christmas and we got to see the princesses and Woody and Buzz!

After that we decided one ride and then we were out of there. Ha! We went on the Winnie the Pooh ride, and as we were leaving we heard that Minnie and Mickey and Princess Aurora and Prince whatever his name is were back in Toontown. We hadn’t seen Minnie yet (my son’s favorite) and I wasn’t sure how we were going to, so we headed back. Of course my daughter informed us right as we were at the front that she had to go potty, but she held out fine and we went in and got some great pictures and time with Mickey and Minnie. My son even kissed her hand!

After that we headed out of the park (time was now 11:00) and went straight to sleep (after waiting for a bus of course). We had already decided that we would sleep in the next day :)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Disney Trip - Days 2 and 3

OK, I’m a couple of days behind :)

Sunday was a very busy day for us…we got up and headed to the Magic Kingdom. We walked in as Mickey and Minnie were putting on a show in front of the castle with all of their friends. Seeing my daughter’s face when she saw the princesses for the first time was priceless! She was completely in awe! After the show we headed towards Splash Mountain and we saw Raffiki and Timone from Lion King, which is currently the kids’ favorite movie (they watched it on the plane down here). My son wouldn’t go near them but my daughter did! When we got to Space Mountain we were just going to get a fast pass but the wait time was 5 minutes, so this ended up being not only her first big “roller coaster” ride, but the first ride of the trip. When we went past the first cast member he looked at her and said “she’s tall enough” and she let out a scream! Throughout the ride she got a little nervous and kept telling us to tell her when the hill was coming. She did fantastic! We went down the hill (did I mention we were in the first row??) and she screamed like I did and we got soaked! Afterwards she said “I want to do it again!”

We then went and rode Peter Pan’s Flight and played in the Winnie The Pooh play area. After that we visited some characters and then went and had lunch. We went to this neat place that let us build our own burgers and they were great!

After lunch we headed back to the hotel for naps (for everyone!). When we woke up we headed over to Epcot for dinner with the Princesses at Akershus. My daughter was dressed up in her Sleeping Beauty dressed and it was great! She got autographs from Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Ariel and then autograph and picture with Belle. The dinner was good and my daughter had a blast!

After that we headed over to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. It was very festive over there and we watched a beautiful fireworks display. The castle had lights on it that made it look like millions of diamonds were on it and then lighting effects made it look purple. It was gorgeous! I promise that I will post pictures when our connection is better. Then we rode some rides and it snowed on Main Street! We didn’t end up getting back to our room until 12:30 AM!

Monday we had the Princess Tea Party. Again, my daughter got on her beautiful dress and we headed over to the Grand Floridian. The minute she walked into the hotel she was treated like Royalty. The nice ladies sent us back to the waiting area which just happens to be by a gigantic gingerbread house. Remember the carousel made of gingerbread? Apparently some other resorts make huge things out of gingerbread as well, and at this one it was a gigantic house (I think the top reached up to the second floor of the hotel).

Once it was time, they announced each princess by their name (all the little girls) and we headed in. Each girl was given a crown, and then at her seat was an Aurora doll for her to take home along with a charm bracelet (which has become my new addiction – getting her new charms). A lady named “Rose Petal” was the narrator and sang and told stories while we had tea (apple juice for the girls) and sandwiches. Then Sleeping Beauty came in for pictures and autographs and was absolutely wonderful with the girls.

After the tea we came back and took a nice long nap. It was such a lazy day! After our naps I took my daughter to a play area that was on a beach at our hotel. She played while I sat in a lounge chair and read. It was so very relaxing.

We didn’t have any reservations for dinner, so I called and checked a few places and we were able to get in to Boma at The Animal Kingdom Lodge at 9:40! So we headed over there and just walked around and loved it! I’m not an animal person, but it was so cool that animals were just roaming around! We saw zebra and some other animals I didn’t recognize. Then we saw around a huge fire in wooden rocking chairs. Dinner ended up being fantastic and we had a great time.

Phew! What a busy two days! But we’ve had a blast! Tomorrow we are heading to Epcot again…is it bad that I’m already looking forward to a nap???

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Disney Trip - Day 1

Phew! What a long day! It probably didn’t help that I didn’t get to bed until 1:00 AM this morning. I leisurely took my time running errands and playing with the kids yesterday, and I got a little behind in packing :) Hubby and I also decided to make the kids t-shirts to wear on our trip. My daughter’s has Sleeping Beauty on the front and my son’s has Mickey Mouse on the back. They both have “My First Disney Trip 2007” on them as well.

So this morning we were up bright and early at 7:00 and finished packing and got the kids ready. My son was whining and crying about everything…I dreaded making this journey with him in the mood he was in. Our wonderful neighbor and good friend volunteered to take us to the airport so we wouldn’t have to pay $7 to park everyday. Plus, this allowed us to not have to bring coats or worry about the fact that it was 24 degrees when we left with forecasts of sleet and snow for tonight :)

Thankfully, my son fell asleep in the car and got a tiny little power nap and was in a much better mood when he woke up! After we checked in and it hit me…I’ve gotten worse and worse about flying (I never thought twice about it, and now it makes me really, really nervous), so we headed to Max and Erma’s to get some food and a drink! $50 later (my freaking margarita was $9!!!) we got to the gate just in time for us to board (we flew Southwest and I had an “A” boarding pass). The kids were fantastic! My son did not like it when the plane was “tipping” but he sat and watched his movie as did my daughter pretty much the whole way. And we only had one bathroom trip the whole ride…and that was for my daughter! My son never had to go (one huge worry since we’re still trying to teach him that “hold it” means “don’t pee” and not physically hold your *&%$).

After we landed all we had to do was go get on a Disney bus since we were doing the Magical Express, which means that our luggage “magically” got from the airport to our room without us having to wait for them or drag them around!

My son ended up falling asleep on the bus ride over here and slept for over 2 hours! And that included picking up and putting in the stroller, and then taking him out again. After he woke up we headed over to The Beach Club to eat at The Cape May Café. The food was good and it was nice to sit and eat as a family!

There was a carousel that was made of gingerbread! The whole lobby smelled like there were a ton of spice candles burning, it was wonderful!

I think we’re heading to the Magic Kingdom tomorrow. We had wanted to wait so that the kids wouldn’t see it first (we’ve been told once they see it they compare all the other parks to that one) but the weather is supposed to cool down a lot (about 10 degrees) the rest of the week, so we thought we might enjoy it better if it was warmer out. Then tomorrow night it’s dinner with the Princesses at Akershus!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Packing Day!

So today I slept in until 9:00 AM. 9:00 AM!!! My daughter came in and tried to tell me she was awake at 6:00 and I told her there was no way and to climb into bed with me. Then my son came in around 7:30, and then we all slept until 9:00.

We got the best news ever today...I took my kids to the doctor this morning to follow up on my daughter's ear infection and to make sure that my son was still OK, and I asked the nurse to measure my daughter to see how tall she was and guess what??? She's exactly 40 inches!!! So of course once she puts shoes on she'll be a little over that. That means she can ride a ton more rides at Disney World!!!

Now it's time to pack up! I can't wait until 24 hours we'll be boarding our plane!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Moment of Thanks....

I would like to tell everyone about this awesomely fantastic blogger that I have met and gotten to know over the last couple months, but even better over the last week. I’m sure a bunch of you know who she is, but to me, she is very special. She is ChrisB from Ms Cellania, and she helped me with my Christmas shopping!

I’m sure you all remember my post about two weeks ago talking about how hard it was to find stuff for my son. She wrote a comment about getting a bunch of little Thomas stuff and we e-mailed back and forth about how there is hardly any little Thomas stuff around here, and any neat stuff I have to get off of e-bay. So you know what she does??? She ships me this stuff:

I have never seen such adorable stuff! The pajamas are good quality…not the junk I end up buying at Wal-Mart or Target, and those slipper socks are perfect for the cold mornings when we take him to the sitter’s! And I’ve never seen books like that…they are so neat and little enough for him to hold and read. And that water bottle will be his new favorite juice cup, I know it!

And you know what she wanted in return??? Nothing for her. Nope! She wants a donation made to a children’s charity. I wanted to do that and pay her for everything, but she said that the exchange rate is horrible and I would end up paying way too much, so all she wants is for me to donate to a children’s charity. This is what Christmas is all about…people like her, hearts like hers.

And I know so many of you out there are just like her, and that makes me feel so good knowing that there are still so many great people in this world that don’t think twice about going out of their way for someone. So thank you to all of you, and thank you so much ChrisB!!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Randomness Again :)

Random Wednesday (I say that like it’s a weekly occurrence or something)…

-One of the Christmas gifts I bought my daughter arrived and it appeared to have already been returned once (the tape on the box was already cut through) and her eyes didn’t work right. So I had to ship it back to them yesterday with a not very nice note telling them how frustrating and time consuming it is to send packages back.

-I’m really, really super tired right now…I didn’t get to bed until about 11:30 last night and I had to be up at 5:45 this morning…that is not enough sleep for me, but unfortunately, it’s the trend lately.

-Only 2 more days of work including today!!!

-We leave for Disney in 3 more days!!

-I have not packed a single thing

-I have not even made a list yet of what I need to pack – I plan on working on that today while I’m doing real work.

-My parents keep insisting that my dad is going to get bored down in Disney…how on earth would that happen? I can’t imagine being bored down there!

-Apparently, we never cashed an expense check of hubby’s from back in January, so they reissued him another check…that was a nice little surprise and will come in handy at Disney :)

-I’m sad to say that Christmas cards will not go out before we leave :( This is bad because we never sent out “we moved” cards, so I was going to use the Christmas cards to do this…and our mail is done being forwarded I believe, so I'm guessing we're not going to get very many Christmas cards.

-If anyone wants to exchange Christmas cards, e-mail me your address at dstickel at mihomes dot com, I’d be happy to send you one!

I think that’s all for now…time to get to work (or take a nap)!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Counting Down...

3 more days of work people….3 more days! And that’s including today!!! Friday will be a packing day and take my kids to the doctor day to make sure all ear infections are history!

I’m trying to think of everything I’ll need to take…so far it looks like the weather is going to be in the low 80’s and high 70’s…YIPPPEEE! And the plane ride will be nice because I don’t have to pack any diapers!!! Now hopefully I can hold him off from having to go to the bathroom until the seatbelt signs are turned off :)

I’ll be doing some live blogging as well (I know you’re all super-duper excited about that). So hopefully each day there will be a nice little recap, maybe with some pictures, about how the trip is going.

Our Disney agent is coming over tonight to go over some last minute things (like how to get the best seats for the HSM2 Pep Rally, etc.) and I can’t wait! I will want to watch a special about Disney World that I DVRd (what’s the proper way for saying DVR is the past tense?) a while ago.

OK, now I guess it’s back to work…now that I am a manager, I have to make sure that I leave my team with enough work to do over the next week…I never realized how hard that is!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Recap

Wow, what a fantastically long holiday break! It was so much fun and of course it went by way too quickly!

Wednesday was shopping day for my mom and the kids and I. We started out at Hobby Lobby which was a mistake, because we were in there for about 2 hours! I got some neat Christmas decorations and some wrapping paper and things like that. Then we went to lunch and to one of the grocery stores. The kids loved this place because it had little shopping carts that they could push around! Then we went home and the kids went down for a nap and when they got up, we went to the other grocery store. This one was also good because they have the carts that have TVs in them…my daughter watched Bob the Builder the whole time and never said a word! The other nice thing about this day was how warm it was…we wore short-sleeves the whole day! This is in contrast to the fact that it was about 35 degrees the next day!

Wednesday night we took my daughter to see Enchanted. It was such a dumb movie, but she seemed to like it (except it was kind of scary in parts) and they did a fairly decent job of trying to entertain the adults. There were actually quite a few couples in the theater which surprised me.

On Thanksgiving we got up and put the parade on and started cooking! I didn’t sit down until around 4:00 when we ate! But I had so much fun! My sisters and mom and I were there in the kitchen the whole day working and talking…it’s been a long time since we’ve had that much fun together. After dinner we just laid around. We checked out the ads to see what stores we wanted to hit the next day and then went to bed.

Friday my sisters and I headed out around 8:30 and went to a couple places. I didn’t buy a single gift…but I did buy myself stuff :) It was a very nice girl day (we had my daughter with us). We actually ended at Hobby Lobby again and my daughter fell asleep in the cart. The day ended with dancing at home, pizza and a cheesy Hallmark movie.

Saturday my sister had to head back to Michigan, which sucked, but at least she’ll be back at Christmas!! We headed down to hubby’s parents’ house for Thanksgiving with them. There was a home football game and we went to the second half. This proves how much I love hubby because it was freaking cold and I hate football and cold weather! After the game we all went to dinner and had a nice time.

Yesterday we just laid around all day. Hubby and I cleaned out some closets in preparation for bringing out the Christmas stuff. It was really nice and it was a great end to a fantastic weekend! It was super hard getting up to come in to work today!

Here are some pictures from the weekend:
My sister and my daughter making the famous Thanksgiving noodles

My daughter and hubby putting together the gingerbread house
My son and daughter hugging at the end of one of their dances

And you know what I’m thinking about now??? Only 5 more days until we leave for Disney!!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's Turkey Day It's Turkey Day!

Let the Thanksgiving celebrations begin! When we were little we used to sing "It's turkey day it's turkey day" over and over again.

At work today we are having our Thanksgiving luncheon. We get a turkey from the Honeybaked store and then each of us brought something else in (I brought cheesy corn pudding – I’ve never made it before…we’ll have to see how it tastes :) ). And today is my last day at work until Monday!!! Yipppeeee!

Tomorrow my mom and I will head to the grocery store and buy everything we need. We’ll also start cooking some of the stuff that needs cooked. I’m really looking forward to sleeping in a little and just relaxing!

On Thursday we’ll wake up and have homemade sticky buns (they are the best!) and watch the Macy’s parade. I’m sure hubby will bring home the projector so we’ll get to watch the big Macy’s parade on the wall! Then my mom and sisters and I will start cooking and just start enjoying the day. Hubby will be frying the turkey so I don’t have to worry about that part!

Friday we’ll head to the stores…but I’m not sure how early :) I need to look around and see what the deals will be to see if it’s worth it.

So what are all of you doing? Any special work parties? Any special Thanksgiving traditions?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Not A Good Start To The Weekend!

I came home from work Friday and my daughter was sitting on the couch crying because her ear hurt. She’s had a cold for about 2 weeks now, and it made sense that she would probably have an ear infection. And we’ve been lucky…the only other ear infection she’s had was when she was 2 months old.

So we loaded the kids up (with some snacks because we hadn’t eaten dinner yet) and headed over to Urgent Care. We waited in the waiting room for a while and I felt so helpless as my daughter was in so much pain.

While we were waiting, a little boy ran up to my son and his mom walked over and picked him up and informed us that her son might have pink eye. So why the heck did you let him come anywhere near my son??? And she was letting him play with all the toys, so my poor son couldn’t play with them…and he didn’t understand why, which made me even sadder.

They finally call us back and we have a terrific nurse. She does well with both the kids, not just my daughter. Then the doctor comes in and she was even better! She gave my daughter some Motrin with a big syringe and then showed my daughter how she could play with it in the bathtub…she let her squirt the walls with some water! Then my son wanted one so she ran out and got him the same things so that he could play in the bathtub too!

The Motrin kicked in and we were able to go get some dinner. Saturday she got bad again, but after we gave her some more Motrin she was fine. The sucky part is that the antibiotic tastes horrible, so she dreads having to take that every day.

At least this should be over before we leave for Disney!!!

Friday, November 16, 2007


I’m having a really hard time with the “Santa” thing right now. I have bought my daughter a ton of stuff for Christmas and have a ton more ideas in my head on what I can still get her, but I’ve got hardly anything for my son. And I’m having an even harder time thinking of things for him. He’s really into 2 things: The Cars movie and all its related memorabilia, and Thomas. So hubby and I have decided we will get him a train table, and a couple Cars…but then we’re stuck. I told my family to get him more trains and tracks, so I think he’s going to get a ton of that stuff.

I want the number of presents to be even, or at least semi-close. The lucky thing for me is that he doesn’t comprehend price or anything, so the other night when I gave my daughter her new Baby Alive doll (out of guilt because I actually told her she could give her a bath and now she doesn’t work anymore), we knew we had to give my son something…so we gave him a Cars car. So my daughter gets a $50 item and my son gets the $3 item. And he had no idea…that car was the best thing in the world.

So I have to figure out more things to get him. I think I’m going to search ebay for maybe some discontinued Thomas stuff. He’s 2, and I don’t even know how he’ll be at Christmas…I know last year we were still opening his presents 4 days after Christmas! But I want to be prepared just in case he wants to open as many as Sissy does.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


1.) We have decided to fly to Disney! Yipeeee! No more 16 hour drive! Although I was kind of looking forward to it (time to actually read a book), the airfare went down and we’d only save about $190 if we drove, and that just doesn’t justify an extra 12 hours of travel time.

2.) I get to have dinner with some girls from my moms’ group tonight…at this place. I really want some friend ice cream. Now.

3.) When hubby drops the kids off in the morning, they stay asleep and he’s in and out of the sitter’s house. When I take them, my daughter figures it out and walks into my bathroom at 6:00 in the morning and wants to get dressed and ready for the day (normally the sitter does all this as they are supposed to be asleep! Then they fall asleep in the car, but when I take them in they wake up. I know I’m gentle…I just can’t figure it out! Luckily today though there were no crying fits and they laid on the couch and went back to sleep fairly easily.

4.) I have a gift certificate at a local spa that I have to use by the middle of December. I was looking at my dates and couldn’t figure out when I was going to use it, and then I realized I’m taking my daughter over to a friend’s on Saturday (after we get our hair done together) and I made an appointment for a massage while she’s there! I’m so excited! 2 massages within a month of each other!

5.) Only 2 more days with my boss…her last day is tomorrow. To say I’m freaking out a little is an understatement, but I have no choice and right now I just want to move forward with everything!

6.) I’m seriously counting down the minutes until next week when I only have to work 3 days…I haven’t had a day off in a while and it’s really wearing on me!

That’s all I got…I hope all of your weeks are going faster than mine is!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Gift For Jill.....

I have a guest writer for today...Doug, the husband of Jill of Who Could Ask For Anything More. She is turning the big 40 today and he had the fantastic idea that he could post something on every blog she reads so that when she came to visit us, she would see how much she is loved and how special she is! OK everyone, all at once: "Awwwwww"


Birthday’s can be difficult. Milestone birthday’s can be devastating. To some more so than others, but to most people…they really seem to matter, to an extent, anyway. (How’s that for covering both sides of the fence?)

That is most people, except my wife Jill @ Who Could Ask for Anything More. Today is her 40th birthday and my co-conspirators I call BFOJ’s (Blogging Friends of Jill’s) have allowed me the distinct honor of being a guest columnist.

My hope is that wherever my wife goes within her circle of BFOJ’s today, she will see this message and know how much she means to me, not to mention how much the BFOJ’s think of her for letting a grizzled hack like me hijack their fantastic and very personal blogs.

Rather than do the traditional acronym exercise (J = Jazzy!) or the “40 Things I Love About My Wife” entry, I thought I would share the four most wonderful things about Jill -- the things that make me love her more every day.

She loves my older kids – Not everyone who marries into a new family will connect with the entire crew, but Jill never missed a beat. With my older kids, she accepted them and loved them – at first simply because they were my kids – and now because of who they are. She treats them with kindness, respect, gives them guidance on chores and other responsibilities, but is very respectful of their mom and never tries to “mother” them. She educated herself about Bay’s food allergies and is very cognizant of his limitations when planning and preparing meals. Rarely a day goes by that she doesn’t make a special version of our family meal just for him. Many times Jill has invited Kendra to come along to the salon to get their nails done. At 11 years of age, Kendra has always gravitating to older girls and more mature activities and this is a special way for them to spend time together.

She loves my parents - I can’t say I was ever really “close” to my folks in the sense that I sought them out for advice about life. So I wasn’t sure how that dynamic would play into my relationship with Jill. She has such a kind heart for that generation and quickly threw her arms around my folks and loved them unconditionally. Since we first met, my Mom has passed away and my Dad has endured a mountain of health issues. Through it all, Jill has been a steady, loving partner. In fact, on the occasions when my Dad visits, we have to make some alterations to the house to accommodate him, his wheelchair, his walker and his personal needs. Jill not only goes with the flow of the décor disruption, but lovingly plans meals that my soon-to-be 82-year-old father doesn’t get as often as he would like. It’s amazing how a simple plate of fried eggs and bacon can light up a proud man. My favorite time of our visits is in the evenings. Jill typically beats me home from work and when Dad is in town, they have usually already cracked open a new bottle of wine. Dad isn’t afraid to ask for service and Jill takes great pleasure in keeping his glass full. It is a precious time.

Her patience – Full disclosure: patience is not my strong suit. In fact, it is probably my greatest weakness and barrier to volumes of peace and happiness. That said, I find myself much more patient in the last four years in so many areas of my life (hmm…coincidence?). If you look up the word PATIENCE in the dictionary, you see a picture of Jill. Despite the chaotic nature of our house, I have rarely seen her react with desperation. In fact, I just see her continuing to raise the bar. As my patience has improved, she get even MORE patience. Her thoughtfulness and patience with Adam is uncanny…not that all mothers’ don’t have that nurturing gene…but even after a solid 10 minutes of whining about something that I find unintelligible…Jill merely says (for the umpteenth time)…”Adam, use words to tell Mom what you want.” She is amazing.

She makes our house a home – Imagine buying your first home together…and it’s already 27 years old. Granted it was in good structural shape, but the majority of the décor was stuck in the 70’s. Over the past two years, Jill has developed a beautiful vision of how our house should look…how it should become a home. We started with dark wood throughout and some of the most exciting beige paint you could imagine. We’ve progressed to vibrant colors, amazing window treatments and bright open spaces. The original kitchen was hideous, but is now a show place. The powder room was engulfed in mind-altering striped wallpaper but now looks like a museum exhibit. She goes bits and pieces forward as time and budget allows and every step of the way she is filling the gaps of her master plan. We’ve both said that this home is the first, last and only one we will ever buy and we joke that our next stop is either the Retirement Home or the Funeral Home. We want a home in which we can build family traditions and memories and one that the kids will want to bring THEIR kids to. We want to grow old right here. Together.

A Great Saturday!

Saturday I went to an all-day scrap to benefit March of Dimes. My friends and I had such a great time! We left my house around 7:45 in the morning and made the hour drive north to where it was located. When we got there, we saw a nice room with a bunch of tables. I guess she was 10 tables short, but we actually thought the space was just fine. Then we ate some breakfast (all food was included in the cost) and started scrapping.

There were some different vendors there (including Creative Memories and the lady let me start a “tab” which was very dangerous!). So we would scrap, take a break and look at the different items for sale, and then go back to scrapping. There were page layout contests and door prize raffles every couple of hours. I won a box of cinnamon muffin mix from Tastefully Simple!

We had such a fun day and it seemed to fly by. I got 10 pages done which is absolutely unheard of for me…I usually take a long time (hence why I’m only up to when my daughter was 1 ½). We finally left around 7:15 and headed to dinner at a fantastic Dutch restaurant (think fried chicken, mashed potatoes and noodles!). Then we drove home and then I played with the kids for a while.

The best part about the weekend is that they told us about a 48 hour crop going on in January! We will be heading to the Longaberger Hotel Friday, January 25th and won’t come home until Sunday evening! We are so very, very excited!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fun Monday - Mother May I

This week's Fun Monday is hosted by Hootin' Anni's and the assignment is to:

"- 30 GIANT STEPS - IN ANY direction. You may have to make a few turns and pivots so you won't run into any walls or such...don't want any injuries today! WARNING: Avoid any obstacles in the way- if there's a it & continue, if there is a wall...pivot AROUND it. You may end up outdoors! Or perhaps if a small apartment....down the hallway....who knows?!! :::thinking::: "Oh gawd, if there's a pool at the end of your thirty steps, I sure as H E double L hope you can swim!!!!"After the 30 giant steps, Stop!TAKE A PHOTO AND/OR NOTE WHAT YOU'RE SEEING!!Then, take 15 baby steps back.After the 15 baby steps, Stop!TAKE A PHOTO AND/OR NOTE WHAT YOU'RE SEEINGLOOK in any direction -to your right, left, up [more than likely, not down ---that'd be your feet!!]. What you see is what we get!!Stop!It's all about your first glance after the giant/baby steps!!! [You will have two photos/stories for us- the 30 giant steps then, the 15 baby steps going back]Don't forget---ask "Mother may I"!!"

OK, I had a very busy weekend and kept meaning to do this but I forgot. And then this morning I was going to try to do it, but let’s face it…if you push the “snooze” button until the last possible second, leaving you only 40 minutes to shower, get dressed, put on make-up and do your hair before you have to leave, there’s no time for picture taking.
But then I remembered that I already have so pictures that would be pretty close to what I would see 30 steps away from my computer!!! Aren’t I lucky?

So here are my photos...they may not be as specific as looking at a particular thing, but at least you can see my house :)

Yes, these two kids are almost always in my bed, so even if I had done this assignment correctly, I probably still would have seen them here (minus the pacifier of course!) :) Above the adorable little munchkins, through the railing, is our "owner's retreat." This is the computer room and my scrapbooking room. It's pretty unorganized right now and a lot of times it's pretty messy, but it's nice to be able to leave my scrapbooking stuff out all the time!

30 steps away from the computer will lead you just outside our bedroom and looking out you can see our great room and eating area and a small little portion of our kitchen.
So there you have it! Phew, I felt like a high schooler that forgot to do my homework...good thing I was able to refresh all my skills and get by without having to tell the teacher I didn't have it!
Now go to Hootin' Anni's and see all the other participants!