Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday Pictures (See! I am finally on the ball again!!)

Aren't you guys impressed, I am finally getting on the ball with Friday pictures again. It helps that I am stuck here at work with hardly anyone here while my kids are at home. Their school is closed until January 2nd, so my Mom and Stepdad are helping out as Ray is busy with work this week too. Who knew realtors would be busy this week...I think he has 3 settlements today (which would include 3 walk thrus and all the stresses that go along with those). And I am at work since my leave balance is dangerously low. It doesn't help that I work for a health system where even on holidays where my office is closed, I still get charged leave. Sucks.

Anyways, Pictures!

I realized I never posted the baptism pictures from October, the crazy month of birthdays and birthdays and vacations and baptisms and joining a church and Halloween. I have a good excuse though. I was taking part in the whole getting my kids baptized thing, so I asked my very, very good friend Wendy to come and take pictures. And she graciously did, it just took a while for me to get the CD of pictures from her. Not her fault or mine (hi Wendy!!), but do please tell her MINIVANS ARE COOL. Seriously, she is struggling with this one. Just get a DAMN Minivan. Don't you know how cool mine is? Especially since it is missing a side mirror, definitely adding character. Just what a minivan needs.

Anyways, the pics.

Ashley went first (I think, sad I can't remember back until October...). At our church, they used a shell and poured water from the shell on their heads. Then Ashley and Audrey were given their shells to keep.

Audrey went next, and did great. Edie's daughter Hayden was baptized at the same time. Here are all the girls...I love this picture...The whole happy family plus one pastor Tom...The whole happy family minus one pastor Tom....

Thursday, December 27, 2007


We have been opening gifts every day since Saturday. Late last night my Mom and Stepdad arrived, and we let Ashley (and heck, we opened ours too) open her gifts as she stayed up waiting for them. Audrey got to open hers this morning. And it's not over. We still have to celebrate with two other sets of friends at some point this weekend.

So what does Ashley say when she wakes up this morning (of which she woke up WAY TOO early for going to bed after 10:00pm, let the force be with my parents today...)?

She asks when does she get to open more gifts....Unfortutanately for her, her birthday isn't until July. But Audrey? Her birthday is next month...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I'm at work, and it SUCKS

Yes, I am at work today. Totally sucks. I am trying to salvage what little leave I get, so that means working this week. I am going to sneak out of here early as Mom and my Stepdad Ed are coming to celebrate Christmas this afternoon.

And yes, I scored a Wii for Ray for Christmas, and can I tell you how much fun that thing is??!! I got him the sports pack, and bowling and tennis are our favorite games. Seriously, my arm is sore this morning from playing tennis, and I accidentally somehow did the splits (don't ask) while playing last night as well, and my legs don't feel quite the same.

It also seems I am falling into Ray's Mom's tradition...she always, always loses a present she has purchased someone this year. This year, it was a present for Ashley. And what did I do? I totally forgot to give Ashley one of her "Santa" gifts. Oh well.

Santa did bring Ashley a Fashion Show play tent thing, complete with a runway with flashing lights (Target ROCKS). Ashley seems to think a fashion show involves some sort of singing and dancing. Her made up songs are hilarious, but what's more funny is Audrey trying to copy her sister. Pictures soon, I promise.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

When I was in high school, we convinced my Mom and Stepdad (it didn't take much convincing) to open presents early. I think one year we even opened them on the 22nd. I could not wait for Christmas to come and open gifts.

And now that I have kids? I wish Christmas and Christmas Day would last forever....

Merry Christmas! I hope Santa was good to all!

(I must go back to playing tennis on the Wii I got Ray, although I did hurt my back during the last game...)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Back at home...

We are back in NC...tired, a little sickly, and with a TON of stuff (thanks Grandparents and family!).

A few things we learned....

Audrey is not interested in opening presents at all. Ashley would be more than happy to open hers, Audrey's, and your Aunt Mildred's presents if you like. It doesn't matter whose presents she opens, she just wants to open presents.

Audrey has some nasty cough thing. Ashley and I had it first, but it seemed to come and go a lot quicker with us...I forsee a visit to whatever doctor I can find open tomorrow...oh, and I know you guys will be surprised, but it would not be a trip without Audrey throwing up. She coughed so much at one point, we just knew she was going to hurl. We kept it mostly contained on a paper plate. I think Ray and I would win the Olympic sport "Throw-Up Catching".

And with this cough thing came no sleep whatsoever. But as I am too tired to even complain about that, I won't bore you with the non-sleeping details.

But we are back, in our home, ready to celebrate Christmas...are you?

What to Expect Guide to a Healthy Home

I love Mom Central and the things they are reviewing and asking us very important "mommy bloggers" to review and try out.

Recently, I was sent the What to Expect Guide to a Healthy Home as well as a coupon for a package of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes.

I would not say I am a germaphobe, but I do work in a hospital (I am a finance person, but my office is actually in the hospital) and my kids go to daycare. I know how important it is to wash hands for me at work and for my kids at school. Their school is so psycho about hand washing, Ashley has three sinks in her classroom; one for handwashing after the bathroom, one for handwashing after playing, and one for after eating. She is required to wash her hands as soon as she arrives. I am required to wash my hands when I go into Audrey's room to pick her up.

So when I got this guide, I was excited to read about what I could do in my home. I hate being sick (who doesn't?) and more importantly, I hate it when my kids or even worse, my husband is sick.

Lucky for me, this guide includes keeping a healthy home not just in the flu months, but year round.

But I think this guide is really important as we are almost at Christmas and I am sure most of us are spending time with friends and family in our homes. There are some great tips in this guide such as the all important "no double dipping" rule (do you think it's okay to post that next to the bean dip?) and avoiding touching your nose, mouth or eyes as much as possible, especially if Uncle Frank just sneezed...

What to read more tips? Download the guide here...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Saturday...

So yesterday we attempted to get all the "grandkids" of Ray's Mom together for pictures...the result? Not so good...
We tried.

At least we got one sort of good picture of Ashley and Audrey...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Ornaments

Crazy busy schedule as we travel "home" to Virgina this weekend - Check
Presents wrapped - Check
Kids excited - Check
Successfully have a head cold which makes you feel like crap and then you take too much Airborne which makes your stomach feel like crap - Check, Check

I love the holidays.I love the holidays.I love the holidays.

Anyways, I receive my Secret Ornaments Swap, and I got not one, but THREE ornaments. That made my children, very, very happy. As each of them got to put an ornament on the tree and then I did as well. It was from Sara, and there were two sweater ornaments and a beautiful stained glass present.

The lovely card that came with them explained that she tried to find an "A" ornament as my name and the girls' names all start with "A". Well, only those of you closest to me and Ray know that Ray's first name actually starts with "A" as well...Allen. And no, we absolutely did not plan it that way. I swear. Ashley we just liked and Audrey is a family name. It just worked out that way. Funny, huh?

Anyways, we are leaving today for Virginia, and while we are hoping the traffic there doesn't swallow us whole, we are looking forward to a few days with the kids and family.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What do I have left to do?

This morning Ray and I met with Ashley's teacher for a parent-teacher conference. Back in September, they gave the kids in her Pre-K class a standardized test to check for kindergarten readiness and see what they could work on during this school year. Ashley scored well as she has been at this school and doing their curriculum since she was three.

Her teacher also showed us work she did in September and work she did just yesterday, and it is amazing how far her writing has come. She used to write an "S" backwards, and now she has it down.

We did share with the teacher some of the things Ashley tells us one certain boy in her class tells her. Like yesterday, this boy told her he was going to set her on fire and put her in jail. Nice.

Anyways, left on my to-do list for Christmas:
  1. Finish wrapping presents.
  2. Oops, finish buying presents (only about 4 more presents to buy...).
  3. Then finish wrapping presents.
  4. Bake cookies.
  5. Pack for our trip to VA on Thursday.
  6. Put together the Santa gifts.
  7. Grocery shop for Christmas Eve snacks and Christmas Day dinner.

It's not that bad. Only a few little things left to do. We leave on Thursday midday for Virginia and come home on Sunday to celebrate Christmas at our house. My kids think that Christmas lasts a few days as they always get to open presents on multiple days. This year, we will celebrate with my Dad and Stepmom's family on Saturday, then Ray's family on Sunday. My Mom and Stepdad will be here the day after Christmas to celebrate.

And prayers for my Mom and Stepdad, they are en route to Puerto Rico right now. My Stepdad is from there, and they found out his Mother passed away on Sunday. She was 93 years old and lived a good life.


As most of you know, I write for a Working Moms Blog. Another great Working Moms collaborative blog is Working Moms Against Guilt. And they are doing giveaways this week...go check them out!

No-Guilt Holiday Giveaway

And while you are clicking around, go check out Lookit! today for a review on something we all love, Chocolate...

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Weekend is Over

I keep using the same titles over and over again....hmmm...

Anyways, the weekend is over. It was fun with band concerts and parties and more parties.

It started Friday with my band concert. I think we played the best we have ever played and we had a sold out concert (really because we had a kids group singing with us, so their parents and stuff were there, but STILL). Now I have a few weeks off from band and we have our first ever party in January for all the members. Oh, and did I mention I am going to serve on the Board next year....just don't tell Ray.

Saturday morning the kids had a birthday party to go to (Ray took them for a little while and then we switched off) while I frantically tried to clean my house. Ray was going to be showing houses all afternoon (who looks for a home in DECEMBER?) and we were hosting a PJ exchange for a couple of neighbors on the street. The common demoninator all six families involved in the PJ exchange is that we all have daughters and we all have a daughter going to kindergarten next year. So there were 10 girls and 11 adults in my house.

Do you think they are ready for presents??

Audrey really had fun opening her PJs...
This is Jessica...she was the oldest there, and I tutor her on Wednesday nights. And that is the playroom in my house...luckily for me, everyone pitched in and it looked cleaner than usual by the time everyone left. (we have a keyboard with a microphone that everyone seemed to like playing with the most)

Here are a couple of shots of the girls in their pjs...Audrey's didn't stay in hers very long as she decided to eat a discarded tag off of someone's pjs, gag, and throw up everywhere. Fun times. That and we had Tootles the dog locked up in our bathroom and she decided to eat through the door frame. More fun times. I couldn't get a shot with everyone looking at the camera...I did the best I could. I think everyone had a great time. I know my kids were worn out after it.

Sunday was the Cantata at church with lots of music and such. Then that evening Edie and I took Hayden and Ashley to a Baby Jesus birthday party at church. It was more chaos as about 30 or so kids were there.

And now we are in the home stretch. I luckily got a ton of wrapping done yesterday while Audrey was napping and Ashley was playing at Edie's house with Hayden. Tonight I have my work party and then on Thursday we leave for Northern Virginia for the weekend. Tomorrow is parent teacher conference at Ashley's school, and at some point I need to make sure everything is done on my list. Oh, and I have to work. At least my classes are done until after the New Year.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Crawling by Elisha Cooper

I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of the book "Crawling" by Elisha Cooper from Mom Central.

I got the book in the mail on Monday, and I couldn't put the book down once I started reading it.

Elisha Cooper is an award winning children's author who decided to write about a father's first year of parenthood, his first year of parenthood. The book is funny, thought provoking, and just in general a good read. I was skeptical at first reading a book from the Father's point of view, but I think that's what made it more interesting.

The first paragraph dragged me into the book, and then I couldn't put it down...

"There's a head sticking out of my best friend....Anybody who says this moment is the most precious wonderful thing in the world is delusional."

Great book, great author, I would highly recommend this book to everyone, whether they have kids in college or just starting out.

Look for a giveaway on Lookit! next week, you just might win an autographed copy....

Friday, December 14, 2007

I don't have no stinking pictures...

Sorry. I am a total slacker. I have tons of excuses though. I promise a regular helping of pictures on Fridays in the new year. It's just this week was another crazy one. Wednesday we went to a play with Edie and Dave. Last night was band practice. Mix in there a potluck at work in which I made this cake (although mine didn't quite look the same...)
and we mailed out all of our Christmas cards. So it was a bunch of nights up until midnight, none of which I bothered to download pictures off of my camera.

And tonight is my Christmas concert with the community band I play in. I am really looking forward to just getting it over with already. I feel like I have been playing Christmas music for MONTHS.

But I do have a story to tell.

Last night was Parents Night Out at the girls' school. We could leave them there until 8:00pm. We didn't sign them up because I have band practice on Thursdays from 7:00-8:30pm, so it would really not do us any good. Plus Audrey probably would have been pissed if we had left her there that long.

So I go to pick up Ashley yesterday and she immediately runs up to me asking me where her PJs were (they were going to change into PJs, have pizza and watch a movie). I told her she wasn't staying, and you would have thought I told her I was going to cut off her arm. She immediately melted down. Her really good teacher offfered to ask the owner if Ashley could be added to the list, and off she went to ask while I tried to calm Ashley down. And of course she was allowed to stay, and she could not have been happier. I didn't realize that 95% of her class was staying (none of Audrey's class stayed) and that the kids had been talking about it

So Ashley stayed and off Audrey I went.

When Ray went to pick her up a little before 8:00pm, she still didn't want to leave. Ray had to drag her out of there kicking and screaming. I guess she really does love school (or more importantly, pizza, cookies, and a movie).

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Doctors are good...

So my doctors appointment this morning? Totally rocked. Seriously. I wish I had done this the first week my back was hurting.

For the past two months, I have had pain getting up and out of chairs, putting Audrey in her crib, and sometimes even just walking around. But I will say this, I have a high threshold of pain. Yes, my back hurt, but it was honestly more annoying than painful. It was annoying to me that it hurt when I stood up. It was annoying that I had to walk slow sometimes because of my back pain.

After talking to the doctor and him evaluating me this morning, he told me I must be in much more pain than I was letting on. He says he has tons of people come in with the same problem as me and they are obviously hurting. Like I said, I was just basically annoyed at the pain.

And now I would say my back pain is about 60% gone. He wants to see me two more times next week, and I should be at least 80% better. Awesome.

I guess you want to know what exactly is wrong...some muscle that goes from my spine to my pelvic bone is strained (from years of playing catcher in softball, pregnancies, and a week of lifting the girls in and out of a stroller when we were in Disney) and affecting my back and other muscles. He had me lay on my back at one point and lift up my right leg. He wanted me to push back on him while he tried to push my leg to the table. I could have done that all day. My left leg? He almost immediately was able to push it to the table. I had no idea that the muscle in my back was affecting me that much.

Oh, and my hips are totally crooked, but I don't know one Mom out there who doesn't have crooked hips. I carry Audrey (and Ashley before her) exclusively on my right side. I just CANNOT carry her on my left (I am breeding true Republicans) so that's affecting my hips as well.

So, anyways, I am very happy I went this morning. And I am sure Ray will be happy to stop hearing me complain about my back. He just won't be happy if this isn't covered by insurance...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I'm Here...

Bet you guys were wondering where I was, or more importantly, why I wasn't commenting on your blog (only if you are a blogger one). My employer decided to firewall I can go and read your blogs, but I can't comment.

But as you can tell, I figured a way around it. And I am going to figure out how to send posts through email (thanks to Edie for letting me know this was possible) just in case the way around it won't work for long.

Onto more important stuff...I took part in Much More Than a Mom's Christmas swap and I received my package the other day. It was full of some pretty cool stuff, to include perfume, calendar, and some really soft socks. Seriously, they are the softest socks I have ever felt. Thanks YoudaMom!
Audrey went to bed easy last night, but still woke up once. And demanded milk, and then peed through her diaper. A ton of you suggested we have the girls sleep together which was something Ray actually said he would love for them to do, but neither of the girls' bedrooms are big enough to have them share a room. I know a lot of you have kids who share rooms, and it works great. And maybe it's because I grew up with a twin brother where there was no way in hell I would want to share a room with him that I just don't get the whole room sharing thing. I like my personal space. And I think Ashley likes her personal space too. Anyways, we may try converting Audrey's crib this weekend. If it were a perfect world and we had the perfect house in which we they could have a bigger room so that they could have some of their personal space in that room, I would be all over the girls sharing a room. It just won't happen in this house (and I am NOT MOVING for at least 10 years or until Edie moves, in which case we will follow them) (that last part was especially for Ray who would probably move every six months if I let him, being the good realtor he is and all).

Onto other more maybe sleep related stuff.

I think I mentioned it before, but I hurt my back on our vacation in Disney somehow. I think it might have been lifting Audrey in and out of the stroller a thousand times, carrying Ashley on my shoulders, or just walking a few miles a day. Ever since that vacation, I have had some sort of pain in my lower back. It really sucks when I go to put Audrey in her crib as it hurts too bad to even lay her down in it. I pretty much have to drop her in her crib (maybe that's why she isn't sleeping).

I hurts worse in the morning after sleeping, and off and on all day long. And today, I was sitting at my desk and got up to go somewhere and it was so painful I saw stars. Seriously. And I can handle pain. So tomorrow I am off to see a chiropractor/physical therapist to try and figure out what's wrong. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I know I am not alone...

I need some sleep. I am thinking that maybe in January I will get some.

Or maybe when Audrey decides to sleep a little more.

It has been a rough two weeks with Audrey. Her bedtime routine is getting longer and longer and she cries when we put her in the crib. Sometimes she cries for like 30 seconds after getting her in her crib, other nights, we end up going back in.

And she has been getting up in the middle of the night as well. Last night she was up at 12:45am and then again at 4:45am. About once a week she has been running a slight fever and really not sleeping. We assume it's her teeth; she constantly has her fingers in her mouth and when I went in at 4:45am this morning, she was pointing to her mouth and crying.

I know it could be worse, I really do. It just sucks that there seems to be nothing we can do for her. We do the teething tablets, I gave her Ibuprofen last night (I may try Tylenol tonight, but normally Tylenol comes right back up...), nothing seems to get her through the night. There are still lumps in the back of her gums where her molars are coming in.

As far as the bedtime routine thing goes, we may convert her crib to a toddler bed sooner than later. That's the only idea we have to make the bedtime routine go smoother. Maybe if she is the one climbing into bed, she will like it a little more.

Starbucks sounds really good right about now....

Monday, December 10, 2007


I realize Friday came and went without any pictures. I was a shopping demon on Friday, going to 14 different stores, buying a new kitchen table, getting a pedicure, getting groceries, AND still picking up the kids early from school. I rocked it on Friday.

And the rest of the weekend was a blur too. There were concerts....
(that's me on the right...)

and parties (this is the outfit I bought to wear Saturday night, except I wore the straps that came with it...sorry, no actual pictures of me).

Oh, and great weather which is going to continue through this week. And no, I have no problem getting in the Christmas spirit in 70 degree weather. This weather makes me happier.

So here are the pictures I was going to post on Friday...enjoy!

The first few are from the day the Hokies won the ACC....Go Hokies! The following picture is the wreath I made that we pull off a tag each day and do what it says. Ashley really loves this, and I am really glad I did it this year.I still love my new camera...
The only time you will see snow in Raleigh hopefully this year. This is at at house that has a ton of decorations as well as a snow machine. Audrey drawing...why she is wearing her coat, I have no idea.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Busy, busy and more busy

I have had this title before.

I was at work this morning before the sun came up. Or as it was coming up. Anyways, when there is an accounting "emergency", time to put the hard hats on and come into work early. Good old corporate America.

Tonight, I have a band concert at a church. Tomorrow night I am playing at my town's Tree Lighting ceremony with a woodwind quartet. Saturday morning at 7:30am, I am getting my hair cut. Speaking of which, what do you think about this style?

Then 11:00am is our town's Christmas parade. And since it is supposed to be 70 that day, I think we will go. Then at 1:00pm, we are watching some of our neighbor's kids, and then at 6:30pm is Ray's Christmas party at a restaurant in downtown Raleigh. I get to get dressed up! Whooppeee!

Sunday is church and at 6:00pm our favorite Bluegrass band Kickin Grass is playing at my town's cultural center in a concert for families.

Oh, and I didn't mention my Friday daytime activities.

I am off on Friday, and I am going to try and get the rest of the Christmas shopping done. I have on my list 9 stores to go to...9. Think I will make it?

Check out my review site today for a chance to win a CD from these guys...don't they look cool?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Giving Thanks this Holiday Season

I am always appreciative for friends and family, but this time of year makes me extra sappy. And I love being sappy. Plus, I have a lot of family and some really good friends to be appreciative of, as well as being thankful for some blogging help I have gotten recently.

Edie - For going with me to see movies like August Rush. We went last night, and it was a great movie for a music/band geek like me. Plus, I really like to cry at movies (I realize I am a freak), so even more of a bonus. As I have said many times, this move to North Carolina was made a ton easier having great neighbors and friends like Edie and her family. Which, on a side note, Ashley loves her daughter Hayden. Last night, I made breakfast for dinner, and Ashley kept insisting that she call Hayden and tell her what we were having for dinner. It was pretty cute.

Jennifer at Jippy Jabber - She is one of the first people I started reading when I started this whole blogging mess, and I still catch up on her blog at least once a week, even if I am a slacker and don't comment. Last week, she sent my girls a wonderful package full of Disney stuff. One thing was a huge pack of Princess crayons, and both girls play with them all the time. I can't thank her enough...she has so much on her plate, yet she took time out to send a package out.

Revka at RS Designs - I failed to mention like I should have last week that I found a fellow North Carolinian to do the blog design on mine and SJ's review blog. Not only was she affordable, she was fast and very easy to work with. If you are even remotely thinking of redesigning your blog...see her.

So who are you most thankful for (outside of your immediate family)?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Conversations with Ashley

Ashley is driving me nuts lately (I mean that in the nicest way, really I do). She keeps repeating herself to us when she asks us something. Like this:

"Mom, can I have some apple juice?"
"Sure, sweetie, give me a sec, I will get it for you."
"Mom, can I really have some apple juice?"
"I said yes Ashley..."
"Mom, apple juice please!"
"Seriously, Ashley, I AM GETTING IT."

Drives me insane.

She has also been telling us lately that she wishes she were me or Ray. We ask her why, and she doesn't really answer, but I am thinking it has something to do with the fact we get a bigger piece of cake....

And in the car this past weekend, she told me she wanted to be a Mommy when she grew up. I held back from telling her she still had to go to college when she informed me she would have a baby.

"A girl baby or a boy baby?"
"I am going to have a girl."
"What will you name her?"

It always comes back to cake....

Go here and check out what's new at Lookit....

Monday, December 03, 2007

There is always a need to learn....

Lessons Learned already this Holiday Season:
  1. Don't take the kids shopping with you. Period.
  2. Don't think you are doing pretty well on that list you have until you realize how far you still have to go.
  3. Do pat yourself on the back for the gift you found for Ray. I would tell you what it is, but, well, he reads here. Sometimes.
  4. Do try and keep the gifts between the girls equal. I did say try...
  5. Stop trying to pretend you are Martha Stewart with making gift tags. They look kind of dumb.
  7. Give up on the "I'm not going to shop on the internet and pay crazy shipping fees". Spend a good amount of time on today (and yes, I realize they offer free shipping on select things...).
  8. Go to bed before 11:00pm at some point. That didn't work so well for you last week as Audrey decided sleeping wasn't necessary.
  9. Throw out the Christmas candy.
  10. Realize that no matter how much you love wrapping gifts, you will never be good at it. Just stick to gift bags.