Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween....

First off, anyone watch Dancing with the Stars out there besides me?? And if you do, who else is as pissed as I am that Sabrina got kicked off? Seriously, I am so not watching anymore...

Audrey is going to be a lady bug tonight, courtesy of my neighbor. And hopefully Ashley will be one of the costumes that my Mom bought her or I bought her tonight and won't decide to be something she has already. These are her two she has to chose from (or I will take all of her candy...)

And it is a really, really Happy Halloween for my boss at work. After 7 failed IVF cycles and no explanation for her infertility, my boss and her husband decided on adoption. They chose an agency that provided local babies to hopeful parents. After being on the wait list for only two months, they brought home Addison Grace yesterday....and she is beautiful. I got to hold her yesterday and to say she is a blessing is an understatement.

Have fun trick-or-treating or handing out candy tonight...

The Fall Y'all Bloggy Giveaway - Circle of Friends

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

You would think it was Christmas here with all the Giveaways...make sure you check out yesterday's post as well...

Shannon from Bloggy Giveaways is hosting a Blogging Giveaway Carnival. I was asked a few weeks ago to review products from Circle of Friends. These products are specially formulated for children's sensitive skin and are sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate free. With Audrey having eczema, we have to be extra careful with the products we use on her skin.

And these products are great. We have not had an flareups with her eczema since using the bubble bath and their special line for eczema, Little Docs body wash and cream. We also received the shampoo that has worked great on Ashley's thick hair and it smells great too.

And these would make great stocking stuffers.

And I am giving away the Abebi's Safari Detangler and the Susie Root Beer Round Up Shampoo.

So here is what you do:
- Head over to their site and look around. I really like the sudsy sponges.
- Leave a comment here letting me know you want to be entered.
- I will leave comments open until Sunday night, November 4th, at midnight, EST. I will draw a winner using and post the winner on Monday. I will ship anywhere.

Good luck and make sure you check Shannon's site for more giveaways!

Monday, October 29, 2007

BOB Giveaway!!

Most of my family, including my husband, will tell you I am a little bit psycho about TV and the amount of time my kids watch TV. Growing up, I didn't watch TV except for Saturday morning cartoons. I was either outside playing in the sandbox, torturing my brother, reading books, or playing in my room. My imagination was vivid. Luckily, Ashley has taken my imagination. She will play for HOURS with figurines and dollhouses and such. When we left Disney last Friday, I had spur of the moment bought her a little Minnie Mouse Polly Pocket thing. She literally played with that the ENTIRE drive home. Seriously.

So with TV, I don't want my kids to watch much of it. Ideally, I would like to regulate it to only an hour a day. They watch TV in the mornings prior to breakfast. I know Ray turns it off while they eat. On Saturday and Sundays, we are a little lax about it, but it doesn't stay on all morning.

When we get home from work and school, if Ray isn't home already, I let them watch one 30 minute show while I get dinner ready. And then it's not on again, not even for Ray and I to watch the news. Ashley hears everything, and I really don't want her watching stuff she isn't ready to hear. Ray and I can catch the news after they go to bed.

When I got an email asking to review BOB, I was estatic. I had read other reviews about the product and knew what it did.

How BOB works:
- Plug it into anything that has a screen (TV, computer).
- You can manage up to six "users" on it.
- You set limits, either daily or weekly or hourly, and when the limit is reached, BOB shuts the TV or computer off.

It's really that easy. Will I be using this device? Absolutely. Great product, and guess what? You can win one right here....just leave a comment (I will leave comments open until Friday, November 2) and you will be entered into a drawing to receive a BOB device for free. Good for U.S. residents only, and I will use to generate the winner. And if you mention this giveaway on your blog, that would be greatly appreciated!

And for those who don't win, BOB is offering $10 off and free shipping through 12/31/07. Just use FamilyStory as the code at checkout.

Parades, Baptisms, and leashes, oh my....

So we got back at 10:00pm on Friday night to our neighbor's adult only Halloween party. Which was fine for me as I could sleep through a rock concert, but Ray could not. And unfortunately, our bedroom is in the front of the house on the side of our neighbor's garage, and the party was in the garage. Eventually, Ray did get some sleep, and even though we had a weekend to recoup from vacation, our weekend was pretty crazy too.

Saturday Ashley had a birthday party and I had to find dresses for Ashley and Audrey as they were being baptized on Sunday. Nothing like waiting until the last minute.

And then Sunday we had the Baptism, and went out to lunch with our friends and their families to celebrate as their daughter was baptized as well.

Then our street had their annual Halloween parade. Of which after buying Ashley a Tinkerbell costume and a Minnie Mouse Pumpkin dress costume, she decided she wanted to be a soccer player. Which we already had as she played soccer this year.

So Sunday night, Ashley was in bed early. We were all wiped. And yes, I took pictures of all of it, and at some point will post some.

Onto a new discussion....kid leashes...
While in Disney, I saw many, many people with their kids on leashes. I also work with a guy who has five kids, the youngest being twins who are three, and he uses leashes for them. He says that they won't stay in a stroller, and one of them is a wanderer.

My personal take on them, and I don't want to make anyone mad who uses them, but I guess for me, that's what a stroller is for. If I am in an area where I am worried about losing my kids, I put them in the stroller. And if they must walk, I try and hold their hand. And I totally know this is easier said than done sometimes.

That being said, one thing we learned on vacation is that Audrey is FAST. She can run away from us in the blink of an eye, and it is scary. And that little stinker thinks it's funny.

So what do you think? Leashes okay or not?

Friday, October 26, 2007

The last days...

The Plan Yesterday: Magic Kingdom all day, dinner at Fort Wilderness for Mickey's Backyard BBQ.

What actually happened:
We were up and at Magic Kingdom by 9:30am. And we stayed until about 4:00pm. We pretty much just did whatever and let Ashley pick what rides she wanted to go on. We did catch the 3:00pm parade as around 2:30 we were in a prime spot to park the stroller with a front row seat to see the parade. Audrey was napping, so the rest of us had ice cream and funnel cake while we waited. As soon as the parade started, Audrey woke up. We happened to stand next to a couple that lives in Celebration, FL, the Disney Town. They retired to Orlando and she works at Disney, and they love it. They actually moved from Richmond, VA, so Ray asked them if they missed the seasons, and they said that it actually snows every night in the town square in Celebration.

We headed back to the hotel to rest for a few minutes and get the tickets for the show. We attempted to get a very tired Ashley to rest, but instead we just ended up leaving early and driving to Celebration so that Ashley could catch a little nap.

Dinner was at Fort Wilderness which is a camping and RV park, as well as cabins to rent. It was wild. People had decorated their RVs and campsites for Halloween. It was pretty cool.

Mickey's Backyard BBQ was kind of stressful. You sit at picnic tables, and the characters come out and dance to country music with the kids. It was kind of chaos on the dance floor, and Audrey did not understand that Mickey wasn't going to give her attention. In fact, Mickey was kind of pissy. Minnie did take Audrey's hand at one point, but I tried to get Mickey to just wave to Audrey and he wouldn't. We left the show a little early as the music was really loud and after however many days we had done already, it was too much. Definitely not something to do at the end of your trip.

The Good:
Spending the day at Magic Kingdom, just taking our time.

The Bad:
The not so nice Mickey at dinner.

Today, the last day!!

The Plan:
Get up, check out, go to MGM to see Dan Zanes in concert, go to Downtown Disney, drive home.

What actually happened:
We kind all slept in as Audrey and Ashley were both up in the middle of the night. So it was a mad rush to get packed and at MGM by 9:00am so we could get tickets for the 10:00am show. Ray actually ended up dropping me and the kids off and then going back to finish packing. He met up with us right as the show was starting.

And Dan Zanes was AWESOME. Great show, I think I actually enjoyed it more than the kids. Ashley danced, Audrey got up with the kids to dance, but didn't actually dance, but she had fun. She did melt down at the end, so by the time we got to the car after the show, we decided to ditch Downtown Disney (that and Ray saw how much was charged to the room, hehe) and head home. We left Orlando about 11:15am, stopped at a Chick-fil-a for lunch, and just got done at a Ruby Tuesdays for dinner. It's about 7:00pm and we are going all the way home tonight. We are hoping to be there by 11:00pm....

Audrey has peed through every diaper we have put on her the last 5 times (yes, that means we need to go up in size, and she has had some pretty weird outfits on the past two days...). I have her in an overnight diaper right now, I dare her to pee through that one!

Happy Birthday to my good friend SJ...and of course the link thing isn't workng right now....but Happy Birthday!

I will catch up with everyone's blogs next week, I promise!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Day Number Whatever and Whatever Plus One

Every year we come, and every year we say we are going to do one day where we just go to the pool and hang out and relax. And then we don't do it. Remind us next year...

The Plan Yesterday: Ray's Birthday, Animal Kingdom in the morning, Japanese Steakhouse in EPCOT for Ray's birthday, Ashley and Ray to go to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

What Actually Happened: We got up and were at Animal Kingdom for the opening at 9:00am. Ray got his birthday pin to wear all day, and it was well worth it. We got free snacks (popcorn and ice cream from a stand) as well as free drinks that night for Ray at the Halloween party. But we only lasted at Animal Kingdom for 2 1/2 hours. The schedule and lack of sleep had caught up to Ashley. Ray and I did get to ride Expedition Everest, although I sat in the front and was scared and kept my eyes closed and didn't see the Yeti. Pretty pathetic, I know. We headed back to the room for lunch and naps. Ashley and Audrey are sleeping in the same room, and the only time we have had issues was this nap time. We actually got Ashley to sleep which was a miracle, and then we tried getting Audrey to nap. She finally got to sleep, and the about 45 minutes later, Ashley woke up crying and woke Audrey up. We got them both back to sleep and I ran down to the store in our hotel to get Ray a birthday cupcake, and by the time I got back Ashley was up and Audrey was up shortly after.

So off to EPCOT we went. We did the Living Seas and rode the Nemo ride and did Turtle Talk with Crush which was absolutely hilarious. We went into Innoventions and stood in line to see Mickey and Pluto. They had a special line set up for people who have the Disney credit card. And shocker, we have one. By then it was time to hike over to Japan for dinner. Dinner was great; we sat next to a family from Wisconsin who were really nice. They sang to Ray for his birthday and made him wear a hat, which he was totally thrilled about.

Right after dinner, we split up. Ray and Ashley headed over to the Magic Kingdom for a special event they have called Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. I headed back to the room with Audrey. Ray and Ashley got home at midnight, and Ray said Ashley did great. They met up with our friends again and saw the parade and such. Ray wasn't too thrilled with the whole thing because he said it was super crowded, but it has been the highlight of Ashley's week. Ever since her friend Hayden went, she has been begging us to go. I got Audrey to bed at about 8:00pm and watched a scary movie on TV like a dumbass.

The Good:
Ashley having fun at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

The Bad:
I have seen way too many ass cracks here....

Onto today....
The Plan: EPCOT in the morning, I don't even remember what else for the rest of the day....

What actually happened: Audrey woke up at 6:00am because she is a pain in the ass and won't sleep in on vacation, so I got up and got dressed and her and I headed back out to Magic Kingdom. Today was another early opening for families of preschoolers, and it was great. We rode the carousel with Chip and Dale and Goofy. We weren't even trying to sit near Goofy because Audrey could really care less, but Goofy came and sat right next to Audrey. Then we played in a playground themed after Winnie the Pooh, and Pooh and Tigger were both there and played with Audrey.

Ashley only slept in until 8:00am (why can't my kids sleep in??), so Ray and her met us at Magic Kingdom. We rode some rides, then headed over to EPCOT since we had lunch reservations at the Garden Grill. The Garden Grill is a character dining experience with Mickey, Pluto and Chip and Dale. The food was pretty good, and the kids got to decorate their own cupcakes for dessert.

Next we headed back to the room for naps, and I was off to the Grand Floridian spa for a massage. Ray booked me a massage for my birthday, and it was well worth it. I got there early and enjoyed the steam room, had my massage, and then Ray and the kids picked me up to head to Downtown Disney.

And this is where my kids became the spawn of Satan. Just kidding. Sort of.

They were just tired and wired and would not listen. Audrey has come alive this week, and now her favorite thing to say is "I do it." That and she chucked two golf balls in the Team Mickey store. Ashley was in her own little world singing and dancing, basically things she does to try and keep herself awake. We ate a great dinner at Wolfgang Puck's Express (Ray had macaroni and cheese since he is now 32 going on 4...but it really was good). We attempted to shop and didn't last long.

And now Audrey and Ashley are battling it out in their room to see who can outlast the other and who can be the loudest...I will let you know tomorrow who won.

The Good:
Magic Kingdom with Audrey this morning.

The Bad:
I think I actually might be sore tomorrow from my massage, is that a bad thing?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Day 4 of vacation - yes, I am late with this...

First off - HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAY!! Yes, our birthdays are really close together...

Day 4 of vacation (or what happened yesterday)
The Plan: MGM for breakfast, back in the room for naps, pool in the afternoon, dinner in the room, EPCOT for fireworks.

What actually happened:
We had breakfast reservations at Hollywood and Vine with The Little Einsteins and JoJo and Goliath from JoJo's Circus. We met up with friends who are here now with their four year old little boy. Breakfast was yummy, and Leo from Little Einsteins would not let Audrey go. He gave her the biggest, longest hug. Audrey loved it all.

After breakfast we headed out into the park. I convinced Ashley to do Tower of Terror with me, and she will tell you she liked it, but she will also tell you she won't ride it again.

Then we had a slight crisis. Ray and I did the swap on Rockin Rollercoaster. I rode first by myself, and I forgot I had my cell phone in my pocket. Well, when I got off the ride, it was not in my pocket anymore. And that roller coaster goes upside down in parts. To say Ray was mad was an understatement. Kind of like the camera I want, I bugged the shit out of him to get that phone. Ray and our friend Wendy went on it next, and Ray asked about my phone. Well, in perfect Disney style, they check all the cars after each ride, and the found my phone! Wahoo! Crisis averted.

A little while later, we actually ran into neighbors of friends of ours who live in Virginia. Crazy, small world.

We stayed at MGM through lunch, then headed back to the room so that Audrey could nap in her pack-n-play. And did she ever nap. She went down at 1:00pm and Ray woke her up a little before 5:00pm. While she napped, Ashley rested for awhile, and then her and I headed to the pool. The pool at our hotel is awesome, it has a sand bottom, but it's not real sand, kind of like crystals that look like sand, but don't stick to you. Plus, there are two water slides and a lazy river. Ray brought Audrey down when she was finally up, and we played for about an hour more. Then we headed back to the room to get changed and have dinner.

Our friends were at EPCOT, so we headed there to meet them. Another cool thing about our hotel is that is it within walking distance to EPCOT. We walked around with them for a little while, and then their son was getting tired and Wendy's knee was bothering her, so they gave us their fastpasses (passes that basically let you go to the front of the line) to Test Track. The time for the fastpasses were 8:30pm, which worked out great as Ray and I did the swap and got to ride with Ashley who loves that ride and then finished up just in time for the fireworks. By this time, the pool time and not napping had caught up to Ashley. She just sat in the stroller while Audrey enjoyed in the fireworks.

We got back to the room and Audrey was WIRED. she was up past 10:00pm. We are not letting her nap that long today!

The Good:
The characters giving Audrey lots of attention at breakfast.
Ashley having a blast at the pool and telling me all about school; it was nice to have some alone time with her.
It was 90 today, and yes that is good as I love the hot...
Getting my cell phone back.

The Bad:
Losing my cell phone, but hey, at least I got it back...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Day 3 of Vacation

The Plan:
Magic Kingdom all day, breakfast with Cinderella in Cinderella's castle, dinner in the room.

What actually happened:
Audrey was up at 6:45am and Ashley was up shortly after. We all got ready and left around 8:00am. It is Little Ones travel time right now in Disney World, and Magic Kingdom is open 1 hour early to guests with preschoolers. So we were in Magic Kingdom by 8:30am and got to ride Cinderella's Carousel with Goofy and Mary Poppins. Plus, a ton of other characters were just walking around and there were very little crowds. Unfortunately, we had breakfast reservations at 8:50, so we didn't get to hang out much.

Audrey was not a fan of the "face" characters - like Cinderella and Snow White. She did fine with Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy, but she wasn't too sure about the princesses. Breakfast was good, although Ray wasn't a fan of the food. Ashley enjoyed seeing all the Princesses.

After that, we stayed in Magic Kingdom until about 5:00pm. We were all over the place, just going on rides and taking breaks as needed. The only thing I wanted to do that we didn't was the Haunted Mansion, but we are going back on Thursday. It was cool doing the switch off with Ashley on a few rides. Audrey isn't tall enough for some of them like Goofy's rollercoaster and Splash Mountain. For Goofy's rollercoaster, they let Ashley stay on the ride while Ray and I swapped out. And on Splash Mountain, they let us go through the fast pass line with her after switching out.

Audrey napped in the stroller for about an hour and when she woke up, it rained for about 10 minutes, but we were already under cover and took that time for an ice cream break. As soon as we got back to the hotel, it started raining again. We made dinner in the room and ate, but then the kids started getting wild, so we headed out for a walk. Unfortunately, it was still raining, so we went to the arcade and then back to the room for baths and bed. They were both in bed by 8:00pm...

The Good:
Riding on the carousel sitting with Goofy.
Ashley giggling whenever someone spoke to her.
The really cool Mickey Mouse we had pictures with in Mickey's Toon Town. He wouldn't even let us go without giving the girls and me a kiss.
Ashley on Splash Mountain - she absolutely loved it.

The Bad:
The rain...
I know this isn't really related, but I am typing on Ray's laptop, and I hate it. The stupid shift key is not in the right spot, and it is taking me longer to type than normal...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Day Two of Vacation

The Plan: Wake up, eat breakfast at hotel, drive to Blizzard Beach (water park at Disney), check into hotel, dinner at Chef Mickey's, go to Magic Kingdom if the kids are up for it...

What Actually Happened:
We woke up by 7:00am, got dressed, had the free breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express, and were out of there by 8:00am. And it was raining. But darnit, we were going to the water park.

We pulled into Blizzard Beach at exactly 10:30am. There were not very many cars in the parking lot, and the van said the temperature was only 72. But what the heck, it was Florida and we were all already in our bathing suits.

And we had a blast. Audrey loved it. We went on the family tube ride at least 4 times (I lost count) and she laughed her head off the entire ride each time and even though she was shivering when we would get off, she would say "again". We stayed there until 1:30pm and left as Audrey was tired and so was Ashley.

We headed to the hotel and checked in. Luckily, our room was ready, the first time in the four times we have been here at this hotel that the room is actually ready early. And since my Dad and Stepmom were supposed to go with us on this trip (they close on their house very, very soon!), we have a two room villa as we were not able to downgrade our room. But, it is really nice to have two rooms as the girls can go to sleep in their own room. Audrey took a nap, Ashley rested while watching TV and as I said in my earlier post, Ray ran to Target to get diapers, Audrey a toothbrush, and the girls a comb. Because we always forget the important stuff.

By 4:30, we were all ready to get out of the room and see more of Disney. We headed to the Contemporary Resort where Chef Mickey's is. We had time to kill before our reservation, so we rode the monorail around through the Magic Kingdom resorts and back to the Contemporary. After dinner, we headed over to Magic Kingdom, bought our annual passes, and headed into the park. It was about 6:45pm, and Ashley was fading fast. We managed to ride Cinderella's Carousel and saw Mickey's Philharmagic, and then we checked out Mickey's Toontown, but the lines were long for everything there. There are only two nights a week this time of year when Magic Kingdom is open late, and this was one of them, so it was more crowded than what we wanted. We left the park at this point, but the Spectromagic parade was starting. We actually got really lucky in that we made it all the way to the front of the park and got stopped while trying to cross in front of the parade path. So we got front row seats to see the beginning of the parade which both of the girls loved. There was a break in the parade, and we had to move on.

Ashley fell asleep in the little drive from the park to our hotel, so she went directly to bed. Audrey had a bath and was in bed at about 9:30pm, which is really late for her. Ray and I are enjoying football and baseball on TV...we are definitely going to crash soon.

The Good:
Seeing Stitch in our hotel lobby as we checked in.
Getting Mickey stickers leaving Blizzard Beach from the security guard who Audrey blew kisses to.
Our room being ready early.
The yummy desserts at Chef Mickey's including the oreo cookies with chocolate mousse on top.
Audrey's face when she saw Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.
Ashley getting excited to see Pluto (we have no idea why).

The Bad:
The cooler weather (although it didn't stop us from having fun).

The rest of day one...

We are in Disney! Wahoo!

So the rest of our travel day....

We stopped somewhere in GA for dinner at Cracker Barrel. We had a slight incident where I freaked out because I couldn't find Audrey's Crocs she wears all the time, but they were of course in the van. Ashley did end up taking a nap at 4:30 until we stopped to eat. We made it to the Holiday Inn in Yulee, FL at 8:00pm and had everyone in bed by 9:00pm. It was a little challenging getting everyone to go to sleep as Ashley kept trying to talk to Audrey and Audrey kept standing up in the portable crib and we were all in the same room.

We were up, ate our free breakfast, and out of the hotel before 8:00am...the rest of it I will post tonight! Right now we are in between "activities" as Audrey is napping, Ashley is watching TV, and Ray has gone to the Super Target.

Because we forgot to pack Audrey diapers. Seriously.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Live Blogging

The Good: The sugar cookies we made to make the trip "sweeter".

The Bad:
Ashley has blown through all the activities I had packed for her to keep her occupied in about 30 minutes.
It's only 3:45 and we are still in South Carolina.
Work has called me.
My butt is asleep.
Two trucks loaded with very smelly pigs.
Audrey napped for 45 minutes, Ashley hasn't napped at all.

Soon it's my turn to drive...

Friday Pictures (I don't have any...)- October 19th is MY day.....and well, my brother's too...

I was going to scan a photo of my twin brother and I, and well, packing got the most of me last night.

And then I was too excited to sleep...

But, Happy Birthday to my brother Mike! And well, Happy Birthday to me too!

And if you are curious, we are 32 today. Kind of a whatever number. Not too exciting, getting further from 30, but not yet at 35.

And as I keep forgetting, Pam gave me this great award this week for “bloggers who are fun, cool, and of course Totally Fabulous!”

And you all are really fabulous, really you are. These people keep me sane with our daily email chats, and I am going to pass it on to:

SJ - My BFF from high school, need I say more
Edie - I couldn't make it through the day without hanging out with her and her beautiful daughter every day...
CPA Mom - give her some love, she's having a rough week
Happy Working Mom - I really, really need to meet this person!
Julie - Same goes for her, we really need to meet up!

And at Noon today, we will be heading for the great state of Florida. And I promise to bring you Live! Blogging! From Interstate I-95! As I pass out snacks, toys, and provide constant entertainment on what we hope will only be a 7 hour drive...

Check back later taters....

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I believe in wishes on shooting stars and lucky pennies. I believe in lucky numbers, horoscopes, and soul mates. I hold my breath when I drive by a cemetary.

I also believe in the magic of Disney. For those of you who go to Disney and just see it as an amusement park, you are missing a huge piece of the experience. For those of you who go and complain about the crowds, the prices, the heat, you are missing the point. What Walt Disney created was beyond rides and shows, crowds and prices. It's the whole experience. It's hidden Mickeys and a Year of a Million Dreams. It's being sprinkled with fairy dust; it's seeing the afternoon parade...

I cry when I walk into Magic Kingdom for the first time on vacation. Heck, I cry just watching a show on the Travel Channel about Disney. Call me a sap, I don't care.

My first trip to Disney World was in 1993 when my Dad and my Stepmom took my brother and I. I also went that year with the band in high school for Magic Music Days. I don't remember alot about those trips.

I do remember a ton from my honeymoon. Ray and I spent part of our week in Disney after getting married. Then we went back the next year for our first anniversary. Then we went back the next year for a week with two other couples. Then we went back in May of 2002 and purchased a timeshare with Disney. All of those trips I have great memories and pictures.

But all of those trips were adults only. And they were great, we saw shows, ate great food, partied at Pleasure Island.

What is amazing is taking kids and seeing the "world" through there eyes. Ashley loves Disney. No, Ashley loves Disney. She can't wait to go. And Audrey? I can't wait for her face the first time she sees Mickey Mouse. Or JoJo. Or a real, live Princess...

Because kids still believe in Magic....they think Tinkerbell really flies from the castle, they watch fireworks in amazement...

I am sure I will cry. Hell, I'm crying now.

Only one more day until we leave...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Winter Bazaar - Get Boo'd

Winter Bazaar hosted by Scribbit

I thought I would share something that supposedly is a new custom to Halloween and may not have hit your neighborhood yet.

Driving around any suburban neighborhood in my part of the world, you will see some sort of sign in everyone's front door or windows that normally says "Boo" or has a picture of a ghost on it. It means they have been "Boo'd".

Basically, you package up a bag of goodies and include a cute poem, a sign for their window, and instructions to pass this along to two other neighbors within 24 hours. Here is Hallmark's version of the Boo package and can download all you need right there.

This year we were actually Boo'd twice. Once on Friday night and I forgot in all the craziness to put up my sign and then again on Saturday night. Ashley loves it, although now she is enthralled in drawing pictures every night and wants to boo everyone. I have tried to tell her it doesn't work that way...

Make sure you visit Scribbit for more Halloween ideas...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

So My Weekend....

Last weekend was crazy. It started Thursday night. My parents came into town to celebrate mine and Ray's birthday's early as well as help us out watching the kids while we had some adult stuff to do.

Thursday night, my good friend, fellow band geek and Ray's coworker had a launch party for a magazine she is going to be writing for. It was at a wine bar in downtown Raleigh called Mosaic. Ray's other coworker who started the real estate team he works with was being featured in the magazine as well. It was nice to have adult conversations and hang out, even if it was only for an hour or two. We left kind of early as I felt bad for pretty much dropping my kids with my parents as soon as they got there.

Then Friday we all went to the State Fair here in Raleigh. Rides were rode, food was eaten (we had the best ice cream from a stand that supported NC State...yummy). We passed on all the fried oreos, fried snickers, and fried twinkies and stuck to the basics - corn dogs, popcorn, ice cream. Ashley was a little off that day as she kept telling us she was tired and wasn't too interested in riding rides. We went with our good friends and Ashley best friend Hayden, and when I finally convinced her to go on rides with Hayden, she had fun. I think their favorite was the slide.

Grandma and Audrey on Audrey's favorite, the Carousel.

Because I can handle it more than everyone else, I got stuck on the rides that go in circles really, really fast.

But then I made Ray go on the swings (that's Ashley and Hayden).

Ashley and Hayden on a little roller coaster (once again, how did I end up on the ride as well?).

I think their favorite was the last thing we went on, the slide. We used up the rest of our tickets letting them go down this.

Saturday Ray and I got tickets to go to the Virginia Tech/Duke game. What's nice about living in Raleigh and being Virginia Tech fans is that we get to see at least one game a year here in Raleigh; either UNC or Duke. Ray and I got there a little early and walked around campus. It was absolutely beautiful in its architecture, but sorry kids, you can't go to school there. WAY TOO expensive...

The Cathedral on campus.

Right before the game, the Duke band was out on the field (I of course had to see the band) and they had a moment of silence for the tragedy at Virginia Tech and then played the Tech Triumph, our fight song. It was amazing and great and brought tears to my eyes.

Tech fans travel well...we well outnumbered the Duke fans.

And speaking of the Duke was their homecoming and I guess some of them dressed up for the occasion....

After the game, we went back home and took my parents out to dinner at an italian restaurant in downtown called 518 West. Then after stuffing ourselves there, we ventured to the Cupcake Shoppe and had more treats. Needless to say, I went to the gym last night.

Sunday was more craziness. We are joining a local methodist church, and our last new member class was that morning. Ray and the girls are being baptized on October 28th and I will be reaffirmed. After that, I attended a baby shower for a neighbor and then after that? Edie and I went to see this show....

It's the So You Think You Can Dance Tour!

We had great seats...

And it was GREAT! I loved it! I am totally in love with Neil and Pasha....if only I could really dance.

So that was my weekend...only 4 days (or 3? do you count today?) until my birthday and vacation....

Monday, October 15, 2007

Can I start over?

Yes, I did not post pictures on Friday. I was at home, and the internet was not cooperating. I have issues posting pictures into blogger with Ray's computer which runs Vista...anyone else with that problem?

Bad blogger, I know.

But I'm back! And guess what?

We filed our 2006 taxes last night. Nothing like waiting until the last minute (again) to file them before the extension deadline of TODAY. I have to give Ray kudos, he stayed up late multiple nights getting them done.

And nope, I am not doing Fun Monday today. I needed a break.

And this weekend that started on Thursday night? I need a break from that as well. And to top it off, I had an assignment due yesterday in the class I am in. I completed it earlier last week (and like a total dumbass, I didn't turn it in early) and was going to turn it in yesterday, on the due date. I had it on my flash drive, but then I couldn't find my flash drive all day yesterday. I started to sweat it, but then I was resolved to the fact that I left it at work and I would just turn in my work one day late, no big deal.

I get to work this morning, and it's not here. I started to cry and stress out. I called Ray at home and ask him to look for it on the counter, on the floor, in the toilet. Anywhere. He literally called back 30 seconds later.

It was plugged into the back of my laptop. Where I left it Friday when I was trying to upload pictures.

See? I told you it was a long weekend....I will update you on the weekend tomorrow, with pictures....

Off to turn in my assignment late...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Audrey P-audrey, Pudding and Pie. Kissed a boy and made him cry...

Ashley and I sing that song to Audrey all the time. I think she is going to get a complex about kissing boys if we don't stop soon.

Audrey, Audrey, Audrey. It seems in the past few weeks, she has grown up so much. She's funny and moody, all at the same time (kind of just like her Momma). And when she is in a bad mood, watch out.

She talks nonstop. The other night I took off her clothes and went to get her bath ready. In those few minutes, she decided to pee on a playmat hopscotch thing we have in the playroom (that lucky for us is very water proof and easy to clean). She came running up to me, "wet, wet Mommy, wet". And sure enough, she was wet and the playmat was wet.

She is getting really picky at bedtime. We read two books, and we often go through a couple of choices for her before she finally agrees on what she wants read to her. And then the same thing with the song choice. No is a shake of the head and a repeated "no" until you give her another choice.

She has been sleeping great. Only about once a week she wakes up. She did that Monday night, she was crying and the minute I opened her door, the crying miraculously stopped and she said, "Cup. Water." Which she drank and went right back in her crib.

Wednesday morning she pooped while Ray was getting the girls ready for school. She went up to Ray and told him, "poop." Then she proceeded to tell him, "my butt stinks". I guess we kind of need to watch our language around this one!

I guess the biggest development news is that we got rid of the highchair. She is now in a booster seat at the kitchen table. As I wanted to sob and cry about getting rid of the highchair that was hers and Ashley's, I know it's okay. I know it's okay they are growing up and coming into their own. It's just so damn hard to watch....

Curves Food

I was recently sent the new Curves cereal and bars to try and review. Curves is also sponsoring a contest, Real Change, Real Women:

"What made you decide to finally take the weight off, and keep it off? if you have a personal story to tell, enter the contest and inspire countless women to reach their weight management goals and along the way... you could win great prizes! The Real Change, Real Women contest is not about how much weight you lost, it's about how your commitment to weight management makes you feel. What unexpected things can you do now? What surprising changes have happened in your life?

Share your story for a chance to win $5,000, a year-long membership to your local Curves®, Curves™ Cereal and Granola Bars for a whole year... and the chance to appear on the Curves™ Cereal box!"

And yes, I entered....

The food: The cereal is great. Very tasty, crunchy, sweet. I am not a big cereal person, but this would honestly be great for breakfast or an evening snack. With only 100 calories per serving and 2 grams of fiber, it's a great way to start your day.

The bars were not my favorite, and I eat alot of bars as they are easy to grab for a quick breakfast. They were great in that they are only 1 point on Weight Watchers, but as for taste, I would definitely go for a Fiber One bar over these (although Fiber One bars are higher in points). I had the Chocolate Peanut and there really wasn't a good chocolate flavor.

Breast Cancer at Pinks and Blues

The women over at Pinks and Blues are giving away a Pink Ribbon diaper bag...they want 500 women to pledge to self-examine, make an appointment for your annual physical/mammogram or let them know that you have gotten your exam in the past year. Their goal is to have 500 women self-examine, make an appointment or recently done so.

As this is Breast Cancer Awareness month, please do this. If not for you, for your spouse, your children, your parents. Just go visit my friend Kelly whose Mom just had surgery for breast cancer. It's never too late to start self-examinations...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Winter Bazaar

Last night was Ashley's last soccer game of the season. And yes, she did get a trophy. Personally, I think that's great at her age. Ray thinks it's a crock, but that's okay because I am going to make him coach in the spring. She actually did really well despite telling us all weekend that she didn't like soccer because of all the running.

While Ashley and Ray were at soccer, Audrey and I went to Target as it was hotter than Hades outside and all the other times we have taken Audrey to soccer she has been a nightmare. At Target, I bought the ingredients for fudge from Hungry Girl. It boasts only 1 Weight Watchers point per serving and so I give to you for today....

Winter Bazaar hosted by Scribbit

Halloween Diet Fudge (if there is such a thing)

2 cups canned pure pumpkin
1 box Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies Mix (the 18.3-oz. Family Size box)
(note: it also calls for some pretend peanut butter to go on top, I left that out)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine pumpkin with the brownie mix in a large bowl; stir until smooth (do not add anything else). Spray a small baking pan (8" X 8" work best - no larger!) with nonstick cooking spray and pour in the mixture. Cook for approximately 35 minutes. The batter will remain very thick and fudgy, and it should look undercooked. Remove from oven. Cover with aluminum foil and let cool in fridge for a couple of hours. Cut into 36 squares and serve.

And how is this related to Halloween? It has pumpkin in it and I drew these very scary, very realistic skeletons on it. Very scary. Too scared to eat it.

As for taste, it's pretty good. It's not as dense as the "real" fudge, but it has a great chocolate flavor with only a hint of pumpkin. It will definitely satisfy my chocolate craving at this time of the month...

The Good Food Fight

Many of us are trying to be healthy, lose weight, stay active. This site will help! It's The Good Food Fight, and it is slightly addicting in the beginning...(you actually get to get into a food fight). But then it lands you on Eat Better America, a great site with recipes and tips that we all can use.

Go on, go get in a food fight....

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Softball or Baseball, I still love the game

The other day I was in the attic pulling stuff down to put in a garage sale and I came across my softball bag. In my former life, I played a ton of softball. When Ray and I first got married, I started playing coed slow pitch softball with a girl I worked with at my first job out of college. I had played fast pitch softball all throughout my youth; slow pitch was fun too.

Ray started traveling with his job, and I started playing more softball. In the heart of it, I was playing four nights a week, double headers all those nights. If there is one thing about me, it's that I am obsessive crazy passionate about certain things - my family, my friends, Virginia Tech, Disney, and back then, softball.

I played coed and on an all women's team. I also ended up coaching the women's team for a while. I hit a home run in a coed game once; I turned a couple of double plays, made amazing stops at first base from crazy throws from softball crazy guys; I was nailed in the head with a wayward throw while running to first base. I played in 100 degree weather and 30 degree weather. I played in tournaments that lasted all day and played against some really mean people. I played on a team that didn't win a game all season, and played on a team that won all of its games. I coached the all star team for our women's division. I had a $300 bat that made all the difference in my hitting.

Once I got pregnant, I stopped playing. I tried to play again after having Ashley, and it just wasn't the same. I was afraid of the ball, I just wasn't the same. There are some days I miss it; I miss the smell of my glove and the feel of a good solid hit coming off of my bat. I miss getting dirty, I miss being silly in the dugout while waiting to bat.

It's like this every year at Major League Baseball playoff time...I watch the games and know what it's like to really love the game like these guys do. Okay, so maybe not really that much, but you get my drift. And then I beg Ray to promise to play catch with me sometime soon.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Fun Monday - Photo

This Fun Monday is from Pamela at The Dust Will Wait....

I want to see what you see on any given morning this week; from somewhere very near where you live. Front porch, back porch, down the street, around the corner. Just makes sure it's your neighborhood. Post a photo that will send me to the travel agent to book a weekend at your local Bed & Breakfast.

This weekend Ray's brother and wife and their two kids were in town. We had corn mazes to visit and pumpkins to paint. In between there, we played in our backyard. And yes, I am cheating, this isn't a view in the morning, but close enough. This is Ray, Audrey, and Faith (Ashley and Audrey's cousin).

And fall? Not sure where that is. Upper 80s this weekend, 92 today, record high of 94 supposedly tomorrow. I honestly love the heat, but I also love the fall colors. The high heat and the drought in Raleigh aren't helping things.
But we love being outside...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

As most, if not, all of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Go here for information...

What most of you don't know is how much I love football. Yes, I am partial to the Virginia Tech Hokies, but the last year Ray and I lived in Virginia, we also had season tickets to the Washington Redskins. So yes, I love football. And no, I have not converted to a Charlotte Panthers fan...sorry.

Anyways, my point in all this is that players in the NFL will be using special-edition pink Gatorade towels during all 14 games. These towels will be autographed by NFL players and put up for bid on Proceeds from the charity auction will go to breast cancer organizations.

From the site:
"The NFL has designated the weekend of October 7-8 as NFL Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend. Fans can get involved by purchasing items on and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to two national breast cancer organizations, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer."

Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday Pictures

Last week, the kids had a cultural parade at school. Some kids dressed up in clothing to represent their heritage, and well, since Ray and I are pretty much a mixing bowl of the entire world, the kids went as they were.

This was right before Audrey saw me and made a beeline for me...and that's her friend Jack. He just saw his Daddy...

Yes, Ashley is wearing a Disney Princess cowboy hat. She insisted. She is showing her West Virginia roots right here...

It is still hot here in NC. After 30 minutes outside, Audrey looks a little flushed. Oh, and what toddler doesn't love cheese poofs.

On another total separate event, I was attempting to get a good picture of the two of them. This is the result. (and you would see more of this event if blogger would let me upload any more pictures, but it's not)

I know these Friday Pictures are no way the quality of hers or hers or hers, but I have asked very, very nicely for a new camera for my birthday that is only 2 weeks away. And I mean really nicely. But I may have asked too nicely too many times as I am not allowed to ask for said camera anymore. In fact, I pretty much can't even say words that start with the letter c...

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Good guesses yesterday on what Ashley likes to dip her french fries in. No one guessed it right though (and no, not even Ray, but to his defense he wasn't at dinner the night this started).

She likes to dip her fries in strawberry jelly. Seriously. And when I say dip, I really mean drown. She loves jelly. Every Tuesday I bring her a jelly sandwich to have in the car on the way home from school since she has soccer. She can just do without the peanut butter (which she still actually hasn't had, she has had soy nut butter, Ray is allergic to peanuts and I am afraid to give her peanut butter).

And no, sleep isn't any better in our house. Audrey is cutting her two year molars a few months early, and it isn't fun. It took both Ray and I to calm her down at 1:00 in the morning. And speaking of teeth, I am not sure I have told everyone about Ray's latest and greatest.

Ray has no enamel on his teeth, and they are slowly going away. He has had issues with his teeth his whole life. Most of his molars are crowned and trips to the dentist for him mean a lot of pain.

In order to correct his teeth, he needs some serious work. To the tune of $20,000. Yes, I said $20,000. The amount of my getting a master's degree or the amount of a decent new car. Insurance might cover a couple hundred dollars. But Ray is getting to the point he needs this done or I will be spoon feeding him creamed corn and mashed potatoes.

I am hoping the girls' have inherited my teeth genes...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

National Delurking Day

The Great Mofo Delurk 2007
Yes, today is National Delurking Day. And yes, that means come out of the shadows (that means you especially Ray...) and leave a comment. I honestly don't know much about my site meter or how to read it, but I will tell you this...if you leave a comment and you have a blog, I will check it out and most likely be hooked on another blog to read.

And I will make it easy on you guys...

End this sentence:

"Ashley likes to dip her french fries in _____________."

Go on, delurk.

Winter Bazaar by Scribbit

Winter Bazaar hosted by Scribbit

To help Scribbit get through the really long months of winter in Alaska, she has dreamed up a Winter Bazaar. This month's theme is Halloween, and lucky for you guys, I have bunko tonight and am bringing a Halloween inspired treat.

Last month when I did my bi-monthly meal prep at My Girlfriend's Kitchen, they had these amazing Pumpkin Bars to sample. They were to die for. I could have seriously eaten the entire pan.

Ever since then, I have been scouring the internet for the recipe. I found this recipe and made this last night in preparation for tonight's bunko. This would be a great treat to have for the kiddos after they come in from trick-or-treating. Or just for the Moms to eat while they wait for the kids to come back. Whichever. This isn't exactly like what I had, but this is pretty damn close.

Pumpkin Crunch Dessert (courtesy of Cookie Madness)

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin (plain pumpkin, not pumpkin filling)
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 (18.25 oz) box yellow cake mix
6 ounces melted butter (3/4 cup) (regular salted)
1 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9×13 metal pan or glass dish with cooking spray. If using a glass dish, preheat to 325 degrees F.

Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, salt and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Pour into pan. Sprinkle cake mix evenly over the top. Pour butter over the cake mix, then sprinkle pecans all over the top.

Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely then cut into squares and serve with a scoop of ice cream.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Campaign Trail, Random Fevers, and Lack of Sleep (what else is new?)

Last night Ray got invited to a fundraiser for John Edwards. And no, that does not mean we support him as a candidate. And no, we did not actually give any money. But Ray loves politics and national issues and can debate stem cell research and educating the world all in one breath. I just don't pay attention enough to give an educated opinion about certain stuff. Anyways, it was at someone's house in a pretty nice neighborhood in Raleigh. And Ray said there were some things that he said that he didn't agree with, but it was just exciting to be there with someone who is trying to be President of the United States. And yes, he had a terrific haircut.

And no, I don't want to get in a political debate. I am one of those debaters that is passionate about what I believe (aka I am very opinionated), so I am no fun to debate with.

When I picked Audrey up from daycare, they said she had a great day. But by the time I got her home, she had a fever. Not too bad, but enough where she didn't want me to put her down. It really isn't fun trying to make dinner while holding a 19 month old. Anyways, we ate dinner and left Ashley with her best friend to play and ran to the drugstore to get Audrey some medicine because somehow we didn't have any. By the time I got back from the store, the fever had subsided and she was acting fine. I am thinking it's her teeth as she is cutting those really pesky two year molars.

And lack of sleep? When Ashley is overly tired, she does not sleep well. She cries and whines in her sleep and wakes up, and I went in her room at least three times last night and I am pretty sure Ray did the same. Like Ray said this morning, it feels like we took 10 little naps instead of one good night sleep.

Mondays just suck. Thank God it's Tuesday.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Fun Monday and Cat Piss (Boy, that's one hell of a title...)

Today's Fun Monday is by Robin...and she wants to see your favorite pair of shoes.

One guess for my favorite?

Give up? Or hate guessing games as much as I do?

I love flip flops...seriously. I would wear them everywhere if I could. They are comfy, easy to slip on and off. And my favorite flip flops?

My VT ones...(which look like these only much, much dirtier).

Now, onto cat piss...
So Saturday night, unknown to us, we shut a cat in our garage overnight. Which wouldn't have been that big a deal except we have gotten into the habit of not shutting the back doors to the van once we get the kids out (why, I have no idea).

So Ray gets up Saturday morning to a cat crying in our garage. He lets the cat out, checks out the garage and the van, and figures the cat did just hung out in our van all night and didn't pee as he didn't smell anything.

Later that morning we head to church (you see where this is going...). Ray gets Audrey out of her seat and asks me why her butt is wet. Yup, the cat totally pissed in her carseat. Do you know what a pain in the neck it is to take apart a carseat to clean it?