Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Open House

Today was the open house for Hailey's new school (actually, it's a Mom's day out program, but a lot of parents use it as a preschool). And it couldn't have gone better!

I was a bit worried when we first arrived. Hailey got to the doorway, saw all of the kids and parents, took two steps back, and proclaimed "no, no, no!"

To my relief, once we got in the door and she saw how much cool stuff they had to play with, she loved it! They have an indoor water table with waterproof smocks for keeping clothes dry, a table set up with homemade play-doh and all sorts of cookie cutters and tools, and a coloring table with markers, crayons and colored pencils set out. And that's just the first room!

Across the hall in a separate room there are puzzles, books, and all sorts of other toys, including a car table (like a train table, except it has roads instead of train tracks painted on it.)

But this place isn't just about free-play. The kids learn to count to 20 in English and Spanish (Hailey can already count to 12 in English and 10 in Spanish), colors (she's got those mastered, too), the alphabet (she can get to "F" all on her own), and all sorts of other things. For me, the most important aspect of this program is it doesn't involve me. She will benefit from learning how to function when Mom's not around.

Hailey had a blast and made lots of friends today! Score!

Even I made a friend - a sweet gal named Mary. She's got a little girl who is about Hailey's age and a 9 month old baby boy. We chatted almost the whole time and made plans to get together for a playdate. Yay! I love new friends!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What a steal!

Many of you know that I am no longer babysitting for little Sergio. It was a decision that caused me a lot of stress, but ultimately it was the right decision for me and my family. I won't go any further than that since this post is about something completely different. The only reason I mention it is because losing part of my income has forced me to find other ways to stretch our money.

(However, I do hope to have time for more blogging since it's just Haily and me now!)

Anyway, my post today is about a stellar deal I got today. Here's how it came about:

Thanks to my friend Nata-Leigh, I am now getting into 'couponing' to save money. Nata-Leigh turned me on to a blog called Stretching a Buck. The wonderful woman who writes this blog does boat loads of research (and also links to other bloggers who do boat loads of research) to pass on fantastic deals via her blog. If you're into saving money and you have the time to clip and print coupons, this blog is for you. I highly recommend it!

And now for the deal...

I purchased these three items at Target today:

From left to right, here are their shelf prices: $0.97, $2.99 & $3.14.

My grand total at the register was $2.43! How did I do it? I came equipped with 4 coupons: Three were Target coupons which offered $1 off a Johnson & Johnson product. And one was a Johnson & Johnson manufacturer's coupon offering $2 off 2 items.

Many people don't know that Target lets you use one manufacturer's coupon and one Target coupon for the same item - it's called 'stacking'. (Awesome, huh? I didn't know this until about a week ago!)

I guess I could have gone crazy and stocked up on Johnson & Johnson products, but the idea here is to save money. So I'm trying to only buy what I need for the near future, no matter how good the deal.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Great Day for the Dads

As you know, Sunday was Father's Day. We had a great day! After Hailey's nap, we went to our town's annual festival and met up with my Dad & Cheryl, my sister, her hubby and their three kids. The kids rode the carnival rides, took pony rides and pet some pretty cute animals in the petting zoo.

But my favorite part of the day was giving RJ his Father's Day gift. One of his gifts was a hand painted plaque that Hailey made at the Painted Penguin.

I think she actually preferred to paint herself! And of course, the paint was not washable! Luckily I had planned for this and brought an old t-shirt for her to wear.

She had fun painting it! She did the whole thing by herself (and I painted the black lettering afterwards). Believe it or not she started out with six different colors. But she kept double dipping her brush, so the finished product was teal.

Daddy was very impressed!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Puppy Love

Hailey loves our dog Sparky. And luckily Sparky loves...okay not loves, but tolerates Hailey. Hailey loves to kiss Sparky. Oh, and snuggle her, which usually turns into something that looks like the sleeper hold. Seriously, I'm waiting for the day Sparky passes out from a snuggle.

And because Sparky is such a good sport and absolutely eats up the attention, she puts up with it. But even Sparky surprised me yesterday. She sat still while Hailey brushed her with a dolly brush!

First, Hailey brushed her head...

And then she moved on the brush her feet...

And just to prove there was no hard feelings about the all of the leg pulling, Sparky gave Hailey a little kiss...

Okay, so maybe it's not Puppy Love since Sparky is an old dog. But Old, crusty dog love wasn't as catchy of a title. Either way, it's so stinkin' cute!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bubbles galore!

This weekend was busy...but great! Hailey had her first sleepover! Her friend, Lubbock, from playgroup spent the night on Saturday while his parents went to a concert. Hailey was ecstatic to have her friend over and Lubbock was so good! I was uber-impressed that he cleaned up after himself by nicely placing his empty milk cup on the kitchen counter. These two have to hang out more often!

And for even more fun, our friends the Gonzalez's came over for a visit. Hailey absolutely loves their little guy, Eric. I'm convinced he will be her future boyfriend. Like way, way in the future.

And to top it all off, we found the PERFECT bubble machine. The quest started after Hailey's birthday. We got her the Fisher Price Bubble Mower. It was very cute, but unfortunately it didn't work. All it did was ooze sticky bubble solution. So we returned it.

Next we got the Little Tikes Bubble Bellies. Unbelievably, this one didn't work either! And this one didn't even ooze anything - it just ran and ran.
I was just about to give up on the automatic bubble blowing industry entirely when I saw a cool looking machine at Dominick's grocery store. It's called the Billion Bubbles Bubble Fountain. I couldn't even find it online, but it's kind of like this one except on mine the bubbles come out of four holes on the top.

We opened it up yesterday and to our surprise it works perfectly!
It blows thousands of bubbles a minute just like the package promised.
Even the dog liked it!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Party = Success!

Sorry I haven't been around much as of late. I blame it on my daughter's 2nd birthday party. It was last weekend, but I've needed some recovery time. Who would have thought planning a birthday party for a 2 year old could wear you out? Geesh! Maybe I'm just a lightweight.

Anyway, the party was GREAT! Hailey enjoyed herself and it seems everyone else did too.

We rented a jump house. It kept the kids busy the entire time! So worth the money.

Hailey got some really great gifts, too! Her least favorite present? The one Daddy & I got her - a pink Power Wheels ATV. She's scared to death of it! Hopefully that will pass and she'll get some use out of it this summer.

Monday, May 11, 2009

That was easy

The winner of my "new follower" contest: Vicky. She was the only person to start following this blog between my last post and yesterday, so that made it easy! Congrats!

Send me your address at and I'll send off your prize!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Olly Olly Oxen Free!

In my last post I talked about giveaways and mentioned I have nothing to give away to my readers. Well, I've decided to invest a little in my blog and buy something to give away.

This giveaway is for everyone who reads my blog, but does not follow it. Yet.

Here are the terms:
  1. You must not be currently following my blog. In other words, if you see your picture in the "My Entourage" area in the upper left section of this page, you're not eligible. So sorry to all 7 of you! If this giveaway is successful I'll do another one for my current followers. I promise!
  2. You have to start following my blog by 11:59 am on May 10th. It's easy! Just click "Follow Me in the upper left section of this page. If you have a Google, AIM, Blogger or Yahoo account then you're good to go! And if you don't have any of these, it's easy to sign up! And you'll rest easy knowing that Blogger never sends spam.
  3. I will use to pick a winner and I will post the winner on my blog on May 11th.

The giveaway is a surprise, but I will tell you that it's a gift card from a very popular, nation-wide store.

If you like this idea, thank Jules. She did this type of giveaway in April.

Good luck!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I am...

One of my favorite blog reads, Just Jules, is doing a super giveaway slash get to know other bloggers exercise. It's kind of like a mini-mission. I love missions!

Per Jules' instructions, I had to finish this statement: "I am...", write out my answer in black marker on white paper, take a picture of it, and post in on my blog. So here ya go!

I am...

Call me corny. I know I am!

Maybe some of you who know me well know that I'm not always this corny. But I can be depending on my mood. And right now I'm extremely happy, which brings out the corniness!

Why am I so happy? Not sure exactly. Maybe it's the weather turning nice. Or my daughter's approaching birthday. Don't ask why, just go with it!

In general what makes me happiest are these things:

  1. I have a healthy, beautiful daughter.
  2. I have a wonderful husband who works so hard to bring home the bacon for our family. He supports me in all I do and loves me unconditionally (despite some of my hair-brained schemes). I couldn't possibly ask for anything more.
  3. I get to be a stay at home mommy and spend oodles of time with my little princess.
So now I pass the torch to all of you. Here are the instructions in Jules' words:

1) Post your response in a photo on your blog. Please use white paper& black marker
2) Link to this post on my blog
3) Just let me know you have done so in a comment so I (and others) can come visit.

Read Jules' "I am" post.

Jules is doing this exercise in conjunction with a giveaway, but since I have nothing to give away, I'm not. Unless anyone wants a VCR. Or maybe an old desk lamp.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The "All Mine" project

This weekend I did something really cool. I built something!

RJ found a cool plan for an outdoor flower pot stand in one of his handyman magazines. He asked if I thought he should make it. "Sure," I said. Then he thought about it and suggested I make it instead since he's tied up in about three different projects right now. So I did!

We went to Menard's yesterday and bought the materials - a bunch of cedar 1 x 2's. Then today while Hailey was napping I made the cuts on the chop saw. See Exhibit A (me rockin' the safety glasses).

Exhibit A -->
(Bonus: I still have all 10 of my fingers! Woo hoo!)

Then after the cuts were made, I dry fit the project. (For all you woodworking rookies that means I laid the project out with no glue or nails to make sure all of the pieces fit.) Oh my goodness....I'm such a dork. See Exhibit B.

<--Exhibit B

The next step was to assemble the project. I glued the wood at all of the intersections and inserted two nails at each intersection. And the best part? I got to use RJ's nail gun! See Exhibit C.

Exhibit C -->
(Yes. It is as fun as it looks!)

And after about 3 hours of work, I'm happy to say the project is on my front porch. Flower pots coming soon.

I'll be the first to admit I'm not thrilled to work outside my comfort zone. In other words, I'll usually let RJ do the manly projects. My projects consist of re-organizing the cabinets or cleaning out the pantry.

But this project was fun! RJ was really good about standing back and letting me "do my thing" unless I asked for his help. (Which I did. Many times.)

If you're interested in making this too, email me for the plan. If I can do it so can you. Trust me!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Great day for a deal

I love garage sale season. And it's here! It's FINALLY here!

The Fam went garage saleing (is that a real word?) this morning in my dad's town - Sheridan, Illinois. They had their town-wide garage sale today. We found some good deals - toys and clothes for Hailey. Card stock for me. Nothing for RJ. But that's probably because he's the worst garage sale companion you could ever imagine.

After two sales, he was already tired of getting in and out of the car. And around sale number four, he was sick of looking at other people's junk. I'll admit we did see a lot of junk today. A dirty comforter (ew!), knick-knacks galore, and more technology-challenged printers than you could shake a stick at.

And if that wasn't enough, we subjected ourselves to a flea market held at a retirement community on the way home. It was a strange mixture of old equipment (walkers, rolling tables you would find in a hospital room, bed pans) and brand new in package items (sheets, toiletries) along with a bake sale.

Oh well, we got a good laugh. It was free entertainment. Plus we got a brand new set of 700 thread count sheets for 25 bucks! Woo-hoo!

All in all it was a fun day. We had good company - my dad & Cheryl (affectionately known to Hailey as "Gampai & Gamai"). And we had good weather - cooler in the shade, but no rain. Finally.

Hip-hip-hooray for garage sale season!

Friday, May 1, 2009


Hello readers!

I am super excited to reveal my progress on Hailey's new room. As many of you know, RJ and I have spent a considerable amount of time over the last few months working on Hailey's "big girl" room. Her current room is staying as-is for a possible future baby Mitchell (this is by no means an announcement, just a plan for the future) and she'll be moving into the bigger room across the hall.

I chose a butterfly theme because I love butterflies. Hopefully Hailey will love them too, because I've never seem so many in a 13 x 14 room. And if not, maybe they will grow on her!

Anyway, on with the show........

The walls are painted a lilac-pink color and the butterflies are stenciled in a color called "vintage orange." I saw this color combination in a kids' decor book, but once the walls were painted and the orange stencil was about to go on, I got cold feet.

Much to RJ's dismay, I was about to ditch the orange and go with a dark pink color kind of like the one on the fan blades. But I decided to go with my first instinct and use the orange. I'm glad I did...I like the way it turned out. Plus there is a LOT of pink in the room already!

We bought everything used with the exception of the bedding, curtains and the fan. Most everything we found on Craigslist, including the metal butterfly bed, which is my favorite find.

The dresser was a mere $50! But it did need a lot of work. RJ sanded it down, repaired the base on one side and painted it. I added the knobs, which I found on eBay.

The bi-fold doors and new entry door went up last weekend. Now we need to buy and install a closet organizer and decorate!

Then all we need to add is the little girl! We're not quite ready to move her yet. I'm sure she'll be ready sometime soon after her second bithday.

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue the work!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Berry sweet hubby

Call me sappy, but I love my hubby. I mean, clearly I love him. I did marry the man. But today I have a crazy outpouring of love for him.

Why, you ask? He is so sweet! Yesterday for no special reason he brought me home a special treat from Edible Arrangements - six decadent chocolate covered strawberries.

Yes, I know there are only five in the picture, but I couldn't contain myself and had to have one as soon as I opened the box! I get that way around chocolate sometimes. Or all of the time. But whatever, that's not the point.

XOXO to my hubby.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring has sprung

I know it's spring-time and all, but "Rain, rain, go away"!

This time of year I find myself anxious about the impending warm weather and frustrated when Mother Nature doesn't cooperate! The Chicagoland area has been hit with precipitation off and on for the last week. Luckily the weekend wasn't a complete washout. The sun poked out for a couple of hours at a time and kept us pretty warm!

During one of those dry spells on Sunday, Hailey went on her first outing with Grandpa & Grandma (a.k.a. my Dad & Cheryl). There are so many Grandparents! It's even hard for us to keep track. Dad and Cheryl picked Hailey up and took her to the downtown park along the river to play and feed the ducks. I was worried about how she'd do on her first outing with them because she refused to nap that day, but they said she was very well-behaved. They even took her out to dinner after the park!

She came home about 8pm happy, but tired. Daddy to put her to bed right away and she was out like a light. Which is surprising because she had ice cream for dessert. I guess her sleepiness took priority over her sugar rush.

While Hailey was on her outing RJ got the new door to Hailey's "big girl" room hung and the bi-fold closet doors installed. I supervised. Clearly that is what I am best at when it comes to handywork.

The room is coming together now. All that is left is the closet organizer, which we have yet to buy, and some art for the walls. So far we have some cute fabric butterflies, which we are going to hang from the ceiling and walls. And Auntie Lisa is going to make some artwork using the butterfly stencil I used for the walls. So exciting!

If you have any ideas for butterfly-themed decor, email them my way. I'll be on the scout for the perfect pieces!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Stop following me!

For some reason half of the Chicagoland area has started following me around. Yes, I'm flattered because I am super-cool (clearly), but it's getting aggravating. I really don't like crowds very much and I hate traffic.

So, you want to know why I think half of the Chicagoland area is following me?

Event #1: Last week we went to the Helicopter Egg Drop and there were literally thousands of people there. The event was very cool. But the traffic? Not so much.

Event #2: Yesterday Rachel from our playgroup and I took the kids to the Brookfield Zoo. I have never seen it so packed! We waited in traffic to get into the zoo parking lot for at least a half hour. And once we were in, it was so hard to see anything because of the massive amounts of people. While on our way out of the zoo parking lot, there wasn't an open parking space to be found. People were parked in the grass and everywhere else that technically wasn't a parking spot.

Okay, so maybe I'm being a little paranoid about being followed. Maybe the warm weather that occurred on both of these days was the reason for the masses.

But whatever. No one better follow me tonight. It's date night with my hubby!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The plans begin!

In three more days Hailey will be 23 months. Thank God the counting in months thing is almost over! I can barely keep track without looking at a calendar. Soon she'll be 2 - that's easy to remember.

The invitations for her birthday party are done and ready to be mailed! I made all of the characters on the card with my trusty 'ol Cricut machine and assembled the cards myself. At first, I thought using my Cricut to make the invitations was going to be easy. But I was wrong! If anyone has ever used one of these, you know that it cuts out predetermined shapes in which you choose the size. Because of the intricate characters I chose, they required multiple layers of different colored cardstock.

If you've never used one of these, I probably lost you like three sentences ago.

Anywho. Because of all of the layers necessary, these cards are heavy! I'm thinking they are going to require at least 2, maybe 3 stamps to mail. But they are worth it - I love the way they came and so does Hailey!

I don't want to give away the card by posting a picture, but I will say it includes this guy (affectionately known around here as "Kikis")...

...and some of his friends! I know...real original right? But Hailey is really into Elmo (a.ka. "LaLa") right now, so I figured this is the year to do it. She probably won't be so into it next year. We'll probably move on to something just as Dora!

My friend Nata-Leigh is doing a "tie dye" theme for her son Lubbock's birthday (he turns 2 the day before Hailey). It's so unique! No wonder other Moms keep asking her to help them plan their kids' birthday parties.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Third Easter Egg Hunt

I took Hailey to her third Easter Egg Hunt of the season today. She's becoming a pro!

My friend Brandy and her son Evan (Evan and Hailey are in a playgroup together) invited us to go to an egg hunt put on by the church they attend.
This wasn't your average egg hunt! Instead of hiding the eggs, a helicopter flew over and dropped thousands of eggs into an empty field. And as soon as the helicopter finished spreading the eggs around, all of the kids rushed into the field and "found" the eggs.

I would have thought that thousands of eggs would have gone a long way, but I was wrong. People came out in droves for this event!

Unfortunately we weren't quick enough getting on the field. Evan and Hailey didn't find any actual whole eggs, but they did have fun picking up the halves of the eggs that broke open from the fall out of the helicopter. Later a nice volunteer lady walked around and gave eggs to the kids who didn't get any.

The biggest challenge of the day was getting in and out of the parking lot. Nata-Leigh was also supposed to come, but the traffic coming into the complex was so backed up she didn't make it in time. The helicopter was already dropping the eggs while she was still waiting to get in.
After the egg hunt, we waited about 50 minutes for all of the cars to exit before our turn came. It's days like today I'm thankful for our DVD player in the car. I don't think Hailey would have made it that long in the car at a standstill without an Elmo fix!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Suprise for Sister

I really did mean to post party details for my sister's surprise party earlier, but just haven't gotten around to it.

The past month I've been planning a surprise 40th party for my middle sister, Lori. Her husband was the ring leader and I'm grateful for that. I've never planned a surprise party before - it's hard keeping secrets!

Lori was under the assumption she was having a birthday party for her 6 year old, Ryan, that day, so we didn't totally ambush her with a houseful of people! And the best part of the surprise was that our oldest sister, Lisa, and a good family friend, Suzanne, traveled here for the celebration. (In the photo: Lisa, me, Lori & Suzanne) Lori seemed quite surprised! And the party was fun!
My Dad & Cheryl (his long-time main squeeze) unleashed their creative genius and compiled old pictures of Lori and our family into a posterboard collage. It was really cool....and I just realized I didn't get a picture of it! Dang it!

And for the record, I hate surprises and never want a surprise party thrown for me! Got it?!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Reflections on growing

I can't believe how fast a child grows. While I was expecting with Hailey, many people told me to enjoy my baby because they grow so fast.

And then when she was born total strangers stopped me in the grocery store or out on walks and cooed over her. (Of course they did! She was the most adorable baby to ever grace this Earth. But I may be just a little biased!) Again, almost everyone told me to enjoy this time because she will grow so fast. Truth be told, I was sick of hearing it. Hailey was up every 2 or 3 hours nurse and I was sleep deprived. I was excited for the "sleep through the night" milestone and thought it couldn't possibly come soon enough.

But now I see what all the fuss surrounding growing up is all about. I practically only blinked and my little girl is about to turn two.

So now I get to the point I'm trying to make: Hailey had two very important "big girl" milestones recently: her first ponytail and pretty painted toenails!

About a week ago I got a pedicure and had my toenails painted a bright coral color. Well they caught Hailey's attention right away. I asked her if she wanted pretty feet like my Mommy and she promptly nodded and did her sweet little "Yeah!" and the same time.

So I got out the nail polish and painted her cute little piggies. And the reaction? Hailey was thrilled. But Daddy...not so much.
Mommy: "Hailey, go show Daddy your toes."

(Hailey runs over to Daddy and holds up one foot while pointing at her toes.)

Daddy: (looks at me) "What possessed you to do that?"

Mommy: "Ummmmm. I asked her if she wanted me to and she said yes."

Daddy: (disapproving look) "Okay then."

Oh well. He's just going to have to get used to all of this girly stuff.

And today I put Hailey's hair in her first ponytail! It's a super short ponytail and it needs a barrette on top to keep all of her hair in, but it's still really cute! Daddy won't object to this!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Hi all! I'll be honest. I've deliberated greatly on whether or not to continue blogging. The last month has been so busy around here - two different kids' resale events, my mother-in-law in town, a Stampin' Up party, Hailey's Easter pics, preparing Hailey's "big girl" room, a pedicure (a luxury, yes! But so necessary!), playdates, etc, etc, etc.....

Anytime I get a free moment to myself the last thing on my mind is writing. So I decided to just ride out my blog slump and see how I felt when things around here slowed down.

Now that my last jam-packed weekend (for a while) is over, I'm finding I have a little more free time. But with the return of our tax money on the horizon, we have several projects lined up. And you know how I feel about that!

But before I delve into our "to-do" list, I owe all of you a status update on our last project....our closet makeover. I was dreading the idea of it, but it wasn't so bad. It only took RJ one weekend and I absolutely love the result!

I couldn't figure out how to "stitch" the photos together, so you'll have to use your imagination! The top picture is the far left of the closet and the bottom picture is the far right.

The closet used to be just one shelf/clothes bar all of the way around. Now we have two tier hanging, a shoe organizer, built-in hampers, and a ton of room for folded clothes.

The only problem now it too much empty space! I'll use any excuse to shop!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day Wrap

Hello friends! Happy belated Valentine's Day!

I was going to post this yesterday, but didn't have the time because RJ & I started a new project. (sigh)

More to come about that....stay tuned! But now back to Valentine's Day!

RJ & I are not big romantic V-Day people. We don't like to make a big fuss of it or fight the crowds to go out for dinner. So we decided no gifts, and we'd take Hailey out for an early dinner in her cute little V-Day outfit.

We were getting ready to leave the house first thing in the morning to go shopping for our project when Hailey hands me two pretty red boxes from Fanny May. Obviously RJ put her up to it so I wouldn't make a big fuss about accepting his presents. And I admit she was just too darn cute because she was super excited about giving them to me. It was a box of assorted truffles and my favorite popcorn...Chicago Mix (caramel popcorn & chocolate covered popcorn). Yum!

After our project shopping we decided to do lunch at Chili's instead of dinner since we were already out and it would be less crowded. And then we worked on our project the rest of the day and then watched X-Men after Hailey went to bed, which I fell asleep to on the couch.

See...told you we weren't romantic V-Day people!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Crafty Kid

I love doing little projects with Hailey, especially holiday-themed. I'm no Martha, but the projects usually come out pretty cute.

In preparation for Valentine's Day this year, Hailey made three projects:

Project #1: a cute 'lil Valentine mailbox. We made these at playdate last Wednesday. Thanks to Nata-Leigh for supplying the kids with the mailboxes and stickers to decorate them with. They turned out so cute!

Project #2: a heart shaped cake (ok, I made the cake & she decorated it with the sprinkles).

Project #3: an art project with pink, purple and red markers, paints and crayons. When she was done coloring, I cut it into a little heart shape!

And what's the secret to all of this being possible in a white shirt, you ask? Color Wonder, my friend! Crayola makes a line of art supply products that only work on their special paper, which are appropriately name Color Wonder.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dear Warm Weather...please don't go

The weather in Chicagoland has been so beautiful lately. In fact, being outdoors has kept me so busy that some of my blog followers have written me to tell me they've missed me! And one wanted to know if I survived my 30th birthday!

Since it's raining today I'm inside...but we did have a playdate at Nata-Leigh's house this morning.

But besides today, the last several days have been great. On Saturday RJ & I took Hailey to the zoo. We were so excited to use our brand new Brookfield Zoo membership, but it happened to be a "free admission day"! Oh least we got to use the free parking part of our membership!

Here is one photo from the day. You can check out my Facebook photos entitled "zoo pics".

And yesterday Amanda & I took the kids to the Arboretum. It was another fabulous day! The kids had a blast and were strategically all tuckered out by nap time.

So to the warm weather I plead....please don't go! While these last several days have been wonderful, they have been nothing but a tease. I don't think I can handle any more days of below freezing temps!

Friday, January 30, 2009

T minus 1

It's finally here. This is my last day of being 29. I feel like I should do something crazy to send my twenties out with a bang. Maybe I'll eat carbs for lunch. I'm feeling pretty reckless, so really anything could happen!

Thanks for hanging in there with me while I obsess over my soon-to-be-absent twenties. Don't worry. It'll all be over soon.

Hopefully I won't be too decrepit to type tomorrow.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Shoe fetish

The love of shoes must be ingrained in a female's DNA. Hailey is only 20 months old and she already LOVES shoes. She likes to try on my shoes (or even RJ's) and then parade around the house proudly like she's in a fashion show. Seriously, can she get any cuter?

Here she is showing off in RJ's work boots.

And now she's in RJ's sandals! (And, no. I don't dress her in tan & white every day. This is just a strange coincidence.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tag - you're it!

I found a great blog called Just Jules. Actually, she found me. She commented on my last blog post. I am always interested in the way strangers find my blog, so I view their profile and read their blog. It's a great way to find new reads.

Anyway, one of Jules' recent posts: Tag. Open your photos folder and post your 4th picture in your 4th folder. Explain the picture - no editing or cropping!

Here is what I came up with:

This is a picture of my daughter's completed nursery. It was taken a few months before she was born.

My husband did most of the work - he painted the room, constructed and installed the chair rail, and made those shelves you see in the picture there. My mom made the curtains. And I....ummm.....okay, so I supervised. But I carried the baby...isn't that enough?!?!

Anyway, this picture brings back fond memories. I remember sitting in the glider and rubbing my belly while anxiously awaiting the birth of my beautiful baby girl.

For anyone who wants to participate, consider yourself tagged! I can't wait to see your picture!

Friday, January 23, 2009

T minus 8

Hello friends. The first anniversary of my 29th birthday is creeping up on me. Yes, that's right...I'm turning 30 soon.

To be exact, it's T minus 8 days 'till I turn 30. Wow....the big THREE-OH. I know some of you older and wiser folks will say that is young. I guess it's all relative.

What is so strange for me about leaving my twenties is I still feel young. And I'm not sure why. I've accomplished everything I thought I would by the this time in my life. I'm married, I have a child, I earned by Bachelor's Degree (better late than never, right?) and I own a home.

All things considered I am okay with saying adios to my twenties. Anyway, it's not like I have a choice, right?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Countdown to Inauguration

The countdown is coming to a close. Barack Obama will be President in just under 25 hours. I am so proud to have taken part in American history by supporting and voting for Obama. And even if you didn't vote for him, just being an American on the day when the first black President is inaugurated is a big deal.

There is no doubt that tomorrow will be a powerful and emotional day for the people of the United States. By electing Obama as the first black President, we've proved we are a nation of one people. We promote equality for all. We care about electing the best candidate for the job, no matter the color of his skin.

Today, more than ever, I am proud to be an American.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fungus? No thanks, I'll pass.

I'm not knocking anyone who likes mushrooms. I just don't like them. And I will admit it's not the taste of them that turns my nose up. Because, believe it or not, someone who I will not mention slipped me mushrooms that were hidden in ravioli once. And I actually liked it! That is until I knew what I was eating. It went something like this:

Cook: "Do you like the ravioli?"

Jen: "Yes, I do. It's really good. Is it stuffed with meat?"

Cook: "No, they are mushroom stuffed! Good, huh?"

Jen: "Ummm....yeah. They are good. Can I have some more salad, please?"

I should mention that almost everyone who knows me knows I hate mushrooms. A friend will even attest to the fact that I had a pizza re-made because some of the mushrooms on the other half slid over and invaded my cheese-only half.

The thing that turns me off about mushrooms is (1) the smell when they are being cooked. My dad used to cook them at home and the stench filled the whole house for hours. And (2) the idea of where mushrooms come from. They are a fungus! I find just thinking about fungus while I'm eating ruins my appetite. I can only image what eating fungus would do to it!

You may ask "why the sudden mushroom bashing? What did mushrooms do to you lately?"

Last night while sitting around with RJ he tossed a little flyer in my lap and said "This is what I'm getting you for your birthday". I was all excited, thinking he was giving me a little sneak preview of my gift!


It was a kit to grow gourmet mushrooms at home from a company called Fungi Perfecti. And who wouldn't want to grow fungus on a log in their back yard to have anytime they craved it? Yuck!

What do you all think? Would you mushrooms lovers ever eat this fungus growing on a log in their back yard?

Friday, January 9, 2009 explanation

Hi friends.

Some of you have kids...some of you don't. A good friend recently sent me this great article that appeared in the Washington Post. It answers the age old question: what does a stay at home mom do all day?

Click here to read it. Whether you're a stay at home mom or not, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Back to reality

This week has been hard for me to get going. I had a lot of vacation time from watching Sergio and from Digital Hive (almost 2 weeks off). In truth, I became quite lazy. I watched my shows during Hailey's naps instead of working or blogging. And now I have a new obsession....Facebook. Ugh! I think I need an intervention. Can you hear the cry for help?

Just kidding. Sort of.

On another note, we got a new car which is pretty exciting! Our lease with GM for our Equinox was scheduled to end in April. Since GM is dying to sell cars, they were willing to let us out early and give us a super-fabulous deal on a new car - we decided to go for it. I've promised some people on Facebook that I would post a picture, so here it is.

It's a 2009 Chevy Traverse. It's brand new this year, but it's a lot like a GMC Acadia or a Chrysler Pacifica. It's got a third row and tons of room for us to grow into. You can't tell from the picture, but the color is called "dark cherry". It looks like the color of a cola-cherry soda.

Besides getting a good deal on the car itself, the Chevy dealer threw in leather heated seats and remote start to seal the deal. Those were two of our sticking points for our new car and they didn't have any cars on the lot that included these features.

Yay! Driving is fun again! At least for a little bit....