Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankful for 5 days off!

My company sent us all an email memo to us all about four weeks ago announcing that we would all get Friday off after Thanksgiving. I have worked at this company almost 18 years and this the first time they have ever done this before.

Then the sales division set a goal for us to meet and we met it so we all got to leave on Wednesday for a half day. And if you made your private goal you had the whole day off!

Wow it's been nice. Our house has not been this clean and orderly in a long time. I even scrubbed the laundry floor on my hands and knees. Mike is vacuuming and 'smartening' up the house daily.

Today we put up the artificial tree and got it lit. It took a LONG time, I wanted lots of lights and even made a trip to Walmart for some more. One of the sets was a dud though so we just need one more set. No ornaments up yet but that's ok. Last year we didn't get the tree up til about 10 days before Christmas. This year we are going to enjoy the lights and decor the whole month.

Our street is almost all decorated. Our house and a couple others are dark. Thinking maybe we should hire someone to hang the lights. We have no ladder (it got stolen) and Mike is too old to be up there doing that anyway. There is a guy down the street that is just crazy about decorating (Ken from the Halloween House). He has quite a light show going in his yard and on his house and roof. And I know he isn't done. He will be adding stuff right up to Christmas week. He is great about it. Wonder if he might want to do another house while he is at it!

The Routine is becoming routine!

Because of T-ball Jamie missed 6 weeks of her Rythmic dance class and they are preparing for a production for next week. She only has had 2 classes and is catching on pretty quickly. I went ahead and paid for a private session yesterday with her teacher just so she could get the extra attention and work out the kinks. Then they let us borrow the ball for the week and we have practiced here at the house a couple of times.

She will be fine. She is so happy and so much better at this than at T-Ball!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"The Mountain" or is she ready to move on to a Bike!?

It may not look like it but we have a bit of a steep hill right by our house. Jamie calls it 'the mountain' and begs to ride her bike or scooter down it. As we typically get home from work at dark and need to get her fed there is very little outdoor play during the week.

So on the weekend we make sure to take trips down 'the mountain' often. She is getting a bit big for the big wheel.

So last night during some Black Friday shopping she tried out the 2 wheeler with training wheels and I was amazed that she took right to it. (Oh and it was late in the afternoon, and believe or not there weren't that many people at Walmart - hope that isn't a sign that the economy isn't getting better).
Anyway, is a 16" bicycle silly to buy for a almost five year old? I wonder how long it will be usuable til she needs to go to the next size? I don't want to get her something too large for her and this size seems to fit her perfectly. Any ideas out there?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tis the Season to be Baking (and eating)

Jamie loves helping me bake, well lets say...she loves cracking the eggs, helping to stir the batter and licking the beaters.

We just saw a commercial for Sugar Cookies, and you know they look so decorative, and I am sure they are fun to make (are they fun or just tedious?)

I just really REALLY love my Regular Toll house cookies, loads more then traditional Christmas cookies. Wonder if maybe I sprinkle some green and red sugar on them?

The other thing I really love as a traditional Holiday baked item is my Homemade Coffee Cake. It is made with sour cream for moistness and has a streusal stripe of cocoa, sugar and cinnamon running through it and on top. It's so yum.

But Mike doesn't like cake and Jamie doesn't like cinnamon. So I need to make it when I know there will be others around.

Think I could serve it for desert on Thanksgiving? I am really wanting me some Homemade Coffee Cake!

Gratitude List for my Job

In these challenging days I am very grateful for my job as stressful as it can be. Here are some reasons to be grateful for my job which I have had for almost 18 years:

1. I am so glad I have so much vacation time! After 10 years with my company they give you 3 weeks vacation added to the 7 personal days. I also get an extra day off for donating an hour per month to the United Way. Yes folks that adds up to 28 days of paid time off! (Not to mention the sales contests where you can win a half day or 2 hours off as a prize which I have been able to do a few times)

2. I am so happy that I don't work in the retail world. I worked as an assistant mgr in a Swimming Pool store for a while. UGH. working 6 days a week isn't for me; not to mention having customers angry about not getting their pools installed in time to enjoy the summer days, and the others angry that we didn't stock every part ever made for any pool pump ever made.

3. I love to sell advertising. It provides a ROI (Return on Investment) to my customers, so if it works they get paid and I got paid, and my company makes money. We all win. :-)

4. I have learned that I am a pretty good public speaker during the course of my job. My main accounts are real estate businesses, and I often have to talk my talk in front of 50 agents at a time at their weekly meetings.

5. There is some flexibility to being an outside sales rep. Yes some days I am still working at 8pm, but when Jamie's school has a presentation or a mommy's tea I can usually break away for an hour and be there for her.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Back to Dance Tomorrow

After six excrutiating weeks TBall is over. Jamie goes back to her little Rythmic Dance class tomorrow morning. Not to be confused with her Ballet Dance class on Thursdays.

They are preparing for thier winter recital which is being held in 2 wks so Jamie will be quite behind. I hope she can learn it tomorrow and I will help her practice over the next two weeks.

The photos above are from last year in that class. In fact the 'Jamie Jump' photo was from her first ever dance class.

She's a natural I'm tellin ya!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Who is that woman!?

Browsing through the photos I came upon this picture and thought who the heck is that woman with Mike?!?!

And for a quick second got alarmed when I saw they were in bed together with Jamie!

Who is it?

Hannah Montana, (Jamie's doll that is)!

Bounce House Birthday

Jamie has been friends with Ander since the week we brought her home. They came over and Ander and her just connected (when Jamie was four months old!). Ander is the red headed cutie birthday boy in these photos.

Ander's parents did it up right. Simple but so much fun for the kids and actually relaxing and pleasant for the parents too. No loud jangly music with huge rodents, just a bounce house, a train table set up with legos and pizza, salad, veggies and of course Ice cream and cake. (Yum to Bear Claw Ice cream in place of chocolate!)
Note the peel off decals on the garage door and the Yoshi theme - so cute!
I actually got some great shots of the kids in the bounce house as I was able to lay half in and half out and take some shots. (they frown at that at the kiddie carnivals LOL). Oh and notice the Birdseye shot of Ander opening the gifts. The kids always surround the birthday child while opening presents.
Today was another party for the close of the fall Tball season. I forgot the camera so there will be no pictures from it. We shared a meal and had a little ceremony where the kids all got trophies. Jamie's trophy had the boy instead of the girl on it. They were maybe going to get it switched out for us but that was before Jamie used her trophy as a mallet on the concrete chipping the bottom of it. I dont think she even noticed it was a boy on it though.

And now coming up on Wednesday there is yet another party for a boy from Jamie's class.
And don't forget the play date with her BFF on Tuesday.
She has quite the busy social calendar!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Last TBall game (ever?)

Last game ever and I chose to skip it. She chose this game to concentrate and really attempt to play instead of daydream. She batted a double and did well in the outfield.

As you can see from above normally she shines only when the snack comes out. (a bit like her mommy in that regard) . Also notice Mike in the Orange and white striped shirt as the third base coach.

Oh well though I am sorry I missed it, I stayed home to prepare for going to a good friends little boys fifth birthday which was great. Great weather, great bounce house and great conversation.

After the party we came home to nap and after nap I baked cookies for tomorrow's big TBall end of the season party.

Jamie loves her a party. Every day if possible. She can't wait.

News and Notes

This week was like every week, running from one thing to the next. I keep books in my car and a game on my phone for down time, but there isn't any down time!! Here are a couple of things I pondered on this week:

AC doesnt work well when it isn't blazing hot- My car was puking out some lukewarm air this week when the outside temp hit about 78. (After starting the morning in the forties with the heat on) As my warranty is about to end I took it to the dealership but they say it's fine. Hmmmm....

The 'I have read and agree button' - you know the one we all just check and proceed when installing Adobe Flash updates. What if they slip in something there that is really objectionable, like "I agree to pay Adobe $100/month to use this formerly Free ware" or "I agree to send my first born to Adobeville when they reach the age of 14" (eerily reminiscent of Rumplestilstiskin) Who knows what we are signing away!

Why do they let murderers change their name? - I watched an episode of 20/20 last night about this guy Peter Zimmer who killed his parents and brother when he was 14 up north in Indiana or Wisconsin. He then only served four years in Juvie for the crime, inherited $177,000 from their estate, and then moved down here to Florida and changed his name. He is now in jail for stalking his girlfriend. She didn't have a clue he was a murderer while with him, she found out since he started stalking her after she broke up with him. (for cheating on her). Oh and he was adopted, and is blaming the murders on feeling abandoned.

Did you hear about the Facebook case where the worker got fired for posting on FB about her boss wasn't being fair? They are saying FB is a legal forum to use for public discourse about the workplace and that the employers can't fire you. Hmmm, wonder about blogs?

Work slows down this time of year, but our new management team doesn't want any part of it. I need to play the game...

On that same note, it is easier to play the game with lots of vacation time coming up. That is really a great thing about my job. Four weeks plus of vacation/PTO time each year. Yup that's 28 days of it. That and the awesome medical plan keeps me from looking elsewhere (and of course the fact that I love my job and what I do). One of my fellow bloggers was without Medical insurance and now that she finally got some medical it doesn't cover anything that was preexisting for at least 6 months. That really stinks. I am so grateful for a good health insurance plan!

Speaking of my fellow bloggers, two of my favorite blogs shut down this week. One was for personal reasons -Someone in the real world found her blog and made it uncomfortable to keep writing from the heart. The other blog shut down for pretty much the same reason, but with hearbreaking results. Tudu is a fellow foster adoptive mom who has adopted 7 kids, 5 of whom were part of a sibling group. She was in the process of adopting 3 more kids who were recently placed in her home and someone from the agency discovered her blog. Because she blogs about the kids lives it was deemed 'dangerous to the kids', so she shut the blog down. They still moved the 3 newer foster kids that they were hoping to adopt this week. That is so devastating for Tudu and her bloggy friends. Let me know if you were a Tudu fan, I am getting address that letters can be sent in her support, that she is hoping to use in court to get her kids back. Tudu has been on my sidebar forever - 'Finishing off my Family".

NoBloPoMo - I am doing my own version of this this month which is at least three posts each weekend. Yeah, I know it's weak. I just can't post every day. (NaBloPoMo means National blog Posting Month and most post every day when participating).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Movies under the *COLD* stars last night

Jamie is napping, it's been a nice restful day with her being under the weather. I have spent most of the day on the couch with her except to change the laundry or do a bit of putzing in my new kitchen.

Last night we went to Movie Night at our friends church. Having a bit of a cold snap we had to bundle up under blankets, gloves and scarves etc to be comfortable. I am sure my Michigan born friends and family would laugh to think 50 degrees is frigid to me; but that's the truth.

They showed A Christmas Veggie Tales movie and then Dora. During the Veggie Tales movie the kids were kind of quiet, subdued and almost seemed bored. During the Dora movie there was constant motion and dancing and craziness. I think it's all the "Vamonoses"

Jamie started with wanting a Corn Dog (which she didnt eat much of) some kettle corn (sweet pop corn) and some lemonade. I got a cup of hot chocolate which I ended up sharing (giving to her) it with Jamie. She loved it. She went back for more of the hot chocolate, more lemonade and a lollipop.

Then this morning she threw it all up in bed. I wondered if all the food is what maybe she how she got sick, but she got sick about noon again so maybe this is some sort of stomach flu.

I just know she won't be wanting hot chocolate again for a good long time.

T Ball Hatred

Why does she hate TBall? Well here is my theory. The league was supposed to be set up as an instructional mini league for 4 & 5 yr olds. Well they didn't have enough registrations for all of the age groups so they combined the 4, 5, 6 & 7 yr olds all on the same team. So that means the four year olds are out in the outfield while the older more experienced players are manning the bases and inner circle. Let me just say Jamie isn't 'outstanding in her field' in this endeavor. Not only is there rarely any action in the outfield, the games are an hour and 20 minutes long.

So she is bored. And we all know it. She constantly wants to leave the field (to go to the bathroom, get a drink etc) and pretty much hates going to the games.

I have been advised that it's important for her to 'follow through' and not quit. So despite the fact that she is missing her Saturday morning dance class as all the games are at 9am we are fulfilling the committment to her team. I say we as the parents are very much involved. Mike is a coach (3rd base mostly) and as a parent we also have to man the concession stand and bring snack, (and sell donuts but that is a whole other post).

Do you think quitting something that a child absolutely hates is a bad thing?
I am seriously considering letting her miss the last game which is next Saturday and putting her back in Dance class so she can get the practice in to participate in the upcoming Christmas time pageant.

Am I being a weak willed parent?

Sick day at home = abc family channel movies

I was awakened by Jamie's plaintive wail about 5am. She had thrown up all over her bed and her 'lovey' Waddie.
I cleaned her up and off to bed with mommy. So much for the 9am Tball game. Not that either one of us were looking forward to it.
We are having a cold snap here and it was in the mid thirties at 9am. But that isn't the only issue, Jamie simply doesn't care for Tball. More on the Tball hatred in the next post.
I don't know about you, but I am pretty much over the Disney channel lately and Noggin and Sprout are equally as annoying (in different ways), so surfing the channels I came upon abc family and we have been watching movies together all day.

'Hope Floats' was the first one and it really didn't keep Jamie's attention that well despite a young daughter character. 'My Girl' was next and that movie was very sweet, about a 11 yr old in circa 1972 (MY era!) dealing with a parent about to be remarried and life in general with Jamie Lee Curtis and Dan
Akroyd; and now we are watching Drew Barrymore (one of my all time faves!) in 'Ever After' which is a Cinderella story - Jamies' favorite princess.
Poor Jamie hasn't eaten a thing and has thrown up as recently as an hour ago. But we are making the most of her sickness and really enjoying this down time with abc family.

Oh good she just said she would eat some toast! Maybe that and some applesause will help.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween house

This family moved in our neighborhood a couple years ago and they have really injected some life into it. Ken does it up every year with incredible decorations and sound efffects for both Halloween and Christmas. (Last Christsmas he did a Christmas train with a trailer decked out with decor and lights and took us on a ride around the neighborhood)
He inspires us all to do more to the outside of our homes and there is more of the good old fashioned stand outside and chat with your neighbors since he came to town.

Thanks Ken! We really enjoyed your Halloween House, all month long!