Monday, June 30, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

Ashley really wanted a two wheeler scooter, like a Razor. She isn't the most althetic child, and we were excited she was ready to do this (we took training wheels off her bike this weekend as well, but she is still not quite there yet). Friday night we went out and got ice cream and ran into Target and purchased her scooter.

And all she wanted to do on Saturday was ride the scooter (after the back-to-back birthday parties we attended). So she rode and rode and rode, and got better and better.

And then she left it at the end of the driveway.

And I ran over it with the van.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Pictures - Flying Kayak

I told you guys about a week ago how we went to a bluegrass festival in Saxapahaw, NC and Ashley got to ride in a kayak on a zip line? Here are the pics...only in Saxapahaw, NC can you do this...

She loved it. The little festival we went to was great - great music, kids stuff, farmers market. We had a picnic dinner, listened to music, and avoided the thunderstorms that surrounded the area. It was one of those things I love about summer and festivals and music and just hanging out with the family. And I hope Ashley remembers that kayak ride for a long time.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Schlage Locks

At least two or three times a week, there are packages on my doorstep. I do a lot of online shopping since I work full time and don't have the time to actually go to a store to shop. Plus, I get a ton of mail for this site and my review site to review.

But when I came home one day two weeks ago and found 20 boxes on my front porch from Schlage, I was pretty shocked. That meant that I had 40 locks to try out from Schlage as there were 2 locks in each box. Kind of crazy. I called the wonderful women at Mom Central who were already doing what they could to rectify the situation. Then not soon after, a helpful customer service representative called from Schlage and we arranged a pickup for 19 of the 20 boxes. It actually didn't end up being an inconvenience for me as I left the boxes on my front porch until they were picked up. No harm done.

And the lock? It has already come in handy. Lucky for us, we already had Schlage locks on our front door, and we easily ordered the right finish to match what we already had. I had geared up for my husband to do a ton of cussing to get the new lock installed, and it only took about 15 minutes and no curse words, and we had a new lock on our front door. Specifically, this lock:
Why has it come in handy? My parents were in town last weekend, and got to our house before we got home from work. We let them know the code and they were able to get in. My husband is in real estate, and we have some realtor signs in our garage. He had a coworker stop by our house to pick one up, and his coworker was able to get in using the code.

I am excited about the lock because I lose things. I would lose my head if it weren't attached to my body on some days. I also tend to forget things...and keys are a pretty frequent item I forget (that and my purse)(oh, and my cell phone, which really makes Ray mad).

My point is these locks kick butt. They are useful, stylish, and provide the right security. Want to buy them now? Go check out Popular Hardware...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Moving on...anniversary celebration

So Saturday morning, Ray and my stepdad played golf (they had a tee time at 6:30am). I had a haircut at 8:30am, Ashley had a cheerleading meeting at 9:00am, and we had a birthday party that both girls were invited to at 10:30am. To say we were running around was an understatement. My Mom entertained the girls at our town's farmer's market when I was getting my hair cut, and then we rushed (I didn't get to get my hair styled, no time) to the cheerleading meeting. And off from that to the birthday party which we made in time.

Everyone met up for lunch, and then back to our house to pack. Then Ray and I left the girls in good hands and were off. Ray had booked a hotel room in Chapel Hill which is only about 45 minutes from our house. We stayed at The Carolina Inn which is on UNC's campus. Beautiful hotel (and no, I did not take my camera which I kicked myself for later). Everyone that we talked to that had gone to UNC for college told us it would be fun and that Franklin street was the place to go. It was within walking distance to our hotel.

Unfortunately, Franklin street was dead. As in hardly anyone anywhere. There were bars to go to, and we did have dinner at Top of the Hill, which supposedly Michael Jordan owns (he went to UNC for those who don't know). But dinner was extremely expensive. We actually ended up at the bar at our hotel where at least the bartender was friendly. I asked him if he went to UNC, and he actually went to West Virginia (WVU) and hated UNC and Virginia Tech, which was fine. To each his own.

We were impressed we actually stayed up until 11:00pm, but promptly crashed. Sunday morning we hit the local Panera Bread and were back home by 9:15am. We missed the girls and knew my Mom and Stepdad wanted to get home.

It was nice to get away, and we had never explored Chapel Hill, so that was nice. I would say we would only go back there if we went with other people. Otherwise, there are plenty of other places in NC we have not been to yet and would love to go visit.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

First up - Graduation

I really don't know where to start. I have typed this entry about a dozen times, trying to get it right, and I can't. So pictures will have to do. I am having a hard time moving onto kindergarten which starts on July 7th. I am having a hard time with how older she seems all of a sudden.

Her class

Getting her diploma

About to get her diploma taken away for beating the kid next to her with it

Her amazing teachers

A futile attempt at a family picture

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cool Site

My friend Debi and her good friends started a great website - Love is...New Additions To The Family. It's a great resource for any size family, but I love seeing how they all manage with larger families.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sums it up...

I promise details on the weekend, once I can get past some deadlines for schoolwork on Monday, and get out of the mountain of housework and laundry.

But for now, I will say this. Our anniversary was great, and Ashley's graduation was really cool. I held it together, until the owner of her school read this poem:

"Do remember way last Fall
When I was only just this tall?
Now look at me..I'm way up here!
My, I've grown a lot this year!
In fact the teachers think I'm really great...
That's why I get to graduate!
Love, Your Rising Kindergarnter"

Let the floodgates open...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ten Years is a Really, REALLY Long Time...

Thank you for being my best friend.

Thank you for my kids, although I am a little pissed they don't look like me.

Thank you for having hair (unlike your brother).

Thank you for being driven and goal oriented, otherwise who knows where we would be now if it was only up to me.

Thank you for being understanding and for knowing me so well.

Thank you for knowing when to walk away and let me cry, and when to come back and let me cry on you.

Thank you for doing the bills and finances every month. I know that is a stress you won't let me have.

Thank you for not getting mad about that $130 in face products I bought a week ago. And if this is the first time you have heard about it, thank you again for not getting mad.

Thank you for doing the dishes, as much as you hate it.

Thank you for the last 10 years together, and here's to 10 more...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Because I am honestly nuts.

I decided this year that I would have Ashley's birthday party at our house. Ashley never really had a place in mind to do her party, and I really enjoy planning this sort of thing. I have my research done, games and activities picked out, food planned, supplies ordered, cake pan ordered, invitations done.

I was thinking that this party would actually cost less than doing it somewhere like a jump place or even the dreaded Chuck E. Cheese, and I am very quickly realizing that it definitely will not be cheaper. I have my spreadsheet keeping track of my expenditures (the accountant in me), and I am already at almost $100 without even buying food and some decorations. I may still be able to keep it under $200 which I think is about what it would cost to do her party at some sort of party place.

One thing I definitely saved money on was doing the invitations myself. Plus, I got alot of enjoyment doing them, and Ashley really liked them. They just took me about two weeks because as I said in yesterday's post, I am starting projects and not finishing them. I finally finished them Sunday night, and here they are. I have obviously marked through our address, but here they are. I used glitter glue to outline the guitar shape, and up the guitar says "It's no secret, Ashley's having a rockin' birthday party". Yes, it's a Hannah Montana birthday party.

We invited 13, but I know at least three of them invitees cannot make it, so there will be 10 screaming girls in my house. God help me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Three Favorite Things

I get really antsy when change is coming, and I think Ashley starting kindergarten is making me that way. I can't really pinpoint what I am feeling at this point. Part of me is excited, and the other part is wondering where in the hell the last five years went.

With the unsteadiness comes my inability to finish anything I have started - I can't begin to list the projects I need to finish. I am slacking in my schoolwork, I can't keep up with my personal email, the dining room still has curtains to sew from weeks, maybe months ago at this point.

But unloading pictures off my camera, I came across this one, and at this point, all that matters are these three "things" in my life. No matter what change is coming, this is my family.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Belated Father's Day

Happy Belated Father's Day to my Dad, my Stepdad, and my Father-in-Law and to all the other Fathers out there. Nothing big or exciting here for Father's Day. This week is a pretty big week in our house with Ashley's graduation and our 10 year wedding anniversary, both on Friday.

Saturday I ran the Race for the Cure. More than 25,000 people participated in Raleigh for the event. It is sad to see all the pink papers on people's backs saying "in memory of". I thought about Terri's sister-in-law Rena who just passed away. Through all the sadness of those who were lost, there were those survivors who were celebrated at the event as well.

Saturday night we went to a bluegrass concert in a town called Saxapahaw. The music was great as always, but something I never thought I would see...Ashley rode a kayak attached to a zip line. And yes, I do have pictures, when I get some breathing room I will post them.

So Sunday was just church and hanging out. Audrey had a playdate with a friend at her school, and we had dinner at a friend's house and then enjoyed their neighborhood pool. Audrey didn't nap on Sunday, so she crashed pretty hard when we got home.

The only other noteworthy thing worth mentioning from this weekend was a water main break in the water treatment plant that supplies our town. Sunday morning our phone rang at 7:00am, and it was the town letting us know that we were only to use our water for drinking and cooking until further notice. So far, we still have water and we are expected to be back to normal by today or tomorrow. Luckily our gym is not in our town and they have showers there.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A few good links to check out..

There are some days I literally feel like I have seen the entire internet, even though I know that is not even remotely possible. I love hearing about new websites to check out...when I do, I will pass them along here.

One cool website is It is redesigned and now allows users to search for vehicles based on reliability and safety ratings from the NHTSA and J.D. Power, customer and expert reviews from and others.

One site that is interesting for those who want to pay less for electric (would be really, really nice to pay less for gas, but I digress). The Campaign for Fair Electric Rates is committed to raising awareness of the price discrepancy between regulated and deregulated states.

And one last site I am sure does not need For all of us living in the corporate world or who just want to laugh at all of us living in a corporate world at work.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Worn Out (but still Friday Pictures - Water Slide Style)

This week has been long, and it's 10:34pm and I am trying to get pictures posted for this post, and I am dead tired. I started a new job, Tuesday met a friend for dinner, Wednesday night had Bunco, tonight I had band practice and all kinds of stuff I needed to do when I got home. This after I got up at 5:30am to go to Greenville, NC for training. I got to drive through the smoke that engulfed our area today from the forest fires in the eastern part of the state. The girls didn't get to go outside at school today because of the air quality.

So I am only posting a few...I only had a few to go through anyway. Ray's Mom bought the girls one of those inflatable water slides when we were in Virginia a few weekends ago. It's small enough so that Audrey can climb up it by herself, and the kids love it. These are actually only picutres of Ashley on it. At the time, Audrey was napping.

And we have moved it from our driveway (not really safe if Audrey were to fall off) to our backyard, which of course had a snake in it last weekend. The snake was chased away, some green sort of snake, and snake away was put around our backyard. I am hoping that's all it needs.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Work Related

I guess I never really clarified why I changed jobs, or the history of me changing jobs. I am not one to change jobs alot. My last job in Virginia before moving here I was at for 7 years, and would probably still be there if we were still living in Virginia. I worked in the healthcare industry, and when we decided to move to North Carolina, I obviously interviewed in the industry I was most comfortable in. I pretty much went from one health system to another - they both even used the same accounting software. There weren't many differences in the two jobs.

Except the job got boring...I mean really boring. And political. And people started getting fired. And I didn't want to deal with it anymore. Parking was an issue, changes were coming that I didn't feel like waiting around for. I wasn't happy at all, and it was not fun to go to a job everyday that I was not happy at.

So off I went, found a head hunter, and gave my specific instructions of what I wanted as far as location and work/life balance. And I got what I wanted, and so far so good. I am finally out of health care, but with that comes a ton of stuff I need to learn, which is good.

I think I deal fairly well with change. My attitude at this point is I am 32 years old, if I can't handle it by now, then what the hell am I doing. This is much better than when I was little...I used to literally worry so much about the first day of school, I would throw up. Now, I wasn't even all that nervous on my first day. I just hope I didn't pass that worry down to the girls.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I went into Ashley's room last night to check on her and this is what I got:

"Ashley, you are still awake."
"I am because my mind is awake but I am asleep and my mind won't tell me what I dreamed about and then my mind will tell me and I had a dream about something my mind won't let me tell you and those shadows are kind of scary and I don't like the dark and I sprayed happy spray and it didn't help and my mind might be asleepnowandonthatepisodeofHannahMontanaMileywassleepwalking....."

And then I kicked myself for going in and checking on her.

Have I ever told you Ashley likes to talk?

And yes, the new job? Fabulous.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Tootley Bugs

I often forget to mention we have a dog. She wasn't a puppy when we got her, so she really doesn't make that much work for us. Unless you count the time she ate the plate of cookies or when the week Ray was in Atlanta she peed on his pillow. And yes, I did toss that in the trash.

The kids love her. I mean really, truly love her. Ashley begs us to let Tootles sleep with her, but Tootles is sort of attached to sleeping in our big bed where she burrows under the covers and keeps me feet warm. We have affectionately started calling her Tootley-Bugs.

And thanks goodness Tootles is a good dog, because the way Audrey is with her sometimes is a little rough. Audrey pretty much gives her hugs that choke her, and tends to hit her instead of petting her.

Tootles has made a home on the back cushion of our chair. It's the only thing I don't like, that darn dog is ruining the cushion.
See the choke-hold Audrey has on her?

But still, Tootles was a great addition to our family. Even if she does pee on Ray's pillow.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Gift Ideas for Dads

I have received a few emails over the past few weeks about some great gift ideas for Dads for Father's Day. I would like to share a few here...and please check out Lookit!...I Spy for more. We will be updating continually today with more ideas. I know I am definitely a person that doesn't think up good gift ideas on my own.

Best Buy has two great products right now for Dads (and Grads...).

The first is Best Buy’s Microsoft® Zune 30GB Bundle. It retails for $199.99-214.99 and includes:
- Action Jacket armband for convenience when exercising
- Storage up to 7,500 songs at one time for a long-lived, traveling library
- Exceptional FM radio signal for additional entertainment options
- Up to 14-hours of battery life (for music playing only)
- Integrated wireless allows sharing of songs and photos
They come in either black or red models and are available now at Best Buy stores.

The other product is Best Buy’s Insignia MP3 Fitness Bundle that retails for $99.99. This bundle includes:
- Insignia 2GB MP3 player can store up to 500 songs to keep you in the zone
- $10 Best Buy Digital Music Store download card to complete your perfect workout playlist
- Init armband ensures the lightweight Insignia MP3 player is securely fastened
- Water bottle used as packaging is also included as an added bonus
This is also available at Best Buy. Good luck with the gift giving!

Friday Pictures - Memorial Day Weekend (Yes, I realize these are late)

I finally downloaded and weeded through all the pictures from our mini trip to Virginia.

First up, Grandma Mocha (Ray's Mom) and cousin Aiden, who as you can tell, can pull his own weight. Or in other words, doesn't miss a meal. He turned one in February.
And he weighs more than Audrey...
We attempted a family picture...
And had dinner with old friends and played "Battle of the Sexes" where unfortunately the girls lost.
The men worked hard on figuring out what to ask us.
And the kids crashed on the couch watching Scooby-Doo.
And we had dinner with new friends, where the girls rocked it like Hannah Montana.
And when I say rocked it, they did.
Oh, and I love their dog...I just can't remember his (or her) name.
Emily was so cute...
When these girls are on American Idol in like 20 years, you can say you saw them here first.
Love Abby's smile! Emily was just too quick for me to photo....
And Ashley just liked all the cool stuff Abby had.
Our last stop was Kings Dominion, an amusement park in Virginia. My twin brother met us since Ray was on his way to Atlanta at that point and I knew there was no way I could do it alone. Plus, the girls love "Crazy" Uncle Mike. This was the first ride of the day.
Audrey was beyond excited.
Somewhere there is a picture of my brother and I on this very same ride when we were little.

Uncle Mike and Ashley (the last car) on the Avalanche ride.

At least I knew who this character was...I didn't know some of the ones we encountered that day. Hey, don't judge, I am just a Disney person (although we own enough Backyardigans videos).

And I promise never to mention Memorial Day again. Pinky swear...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Are all almost five year olds this hard?

I think Ashley is definitely going through some sort of transition, and it's hard. The past couple of nights have not been fun. She hasn't been listening to us, and the only way to punish her is to take something away. Last night we had the inflatable water slide out, and she kept doing things she shouldn't and would not listen to us when we told her to stop. We ended up making her get out and get her clothes on. Which in turn made her cry for about 30 minutes straight which breaks my heart.

I think it's a lot of things adding up - the weather is warmer (as in a heat index of 100 today) and her class is spending more time outside. She isn't napping like she was at school, so she is getting to the end of the day and is extremely tired. She has even told us how tired she is. I also think she is ready to move on from Pre-K and onto kindergarten which happens in a month. She graduates from Pre-K on June 20th, and starts kindergarten on July 7th.

We have punished her in the evenings and sent her to her room. When Ray or I have tried to talk to her on some occasions, she tells us to go away because she is mad at us. Having your four year old tell you this? I was not prepared. I am glad she can express her feelings, but still. Makes me cry.

I can only imagine what the teenage years are going to be like.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

My Tattoos...

Yes, I have two of them. No, I was not drunk when I got them.

My first one I got in college. My friend Jaki was getting a tattoo (of Mickey Mouse no less) and I wanted one as well. I wanted something small and somewhere not visible when wearing normal clothes as I wasn't quite sure how my parents would take it. I ended up getting a gecko lizard on my stomach, close to my right hip. And why no picture of that tattoo? I have a lovely stretch mark going right through the darn thing.

I am not a creative person when it comes to stuff...I can definitely follow directions and make curtains and find creative ideas for birthday parties and such, but coming up with ideas on my own doesn't normally happen. I guess with the tattoos I have I feel like they are a creative representation of myself on me.

The second tattoo I got almost a year ago. My friend Julie and I went to Virginia Tech for the weekend. I completely trusted the place I had my first one done, so we stopped by there again when we were there. I wanted something on my shoulder, something small to represent the music side in me. I ended up with a treble clef.

Every once in a while, I will hear someone say something derogatory about tattoos, like "look at those, how disgusting" or "who would be stupid enough to do that". I think it's all about expression. I wouldn't ever go and get a tattoo on my face, but I am not going to be critical of those who do. To each his own.

And yes, Ashley has asked me why my tattoos don't come off like hers. I went into detail how a needle was used to put ink into my skin. I am pretty sure that killed all ideas of her getting one in the near future.

Go check out Sunshine's site for more tattoo stories...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

She Totally Has My Number

So my little punk Audrey...last Friday we had an event at the girls' school. I saw one of Audrey's teachers and told her about my failed attempt to potty train her. She said no big deal, they would continue to work with her, and to try again in a month or so.

When I picked her up from school yesterday? She had stayed dry all day in her pull-ups and went on the potty. She completely has my number.

Two year olds are smarter than we think...

Monday, June 02, 2008

Check out Sunshine's site...

Click the picture below for a cool contest...and see other bloggers who have been inked (including will see a picture of one of my tattoos...)

American Standard AccuClean for Allergy and Asthma Sufferers

Allergy season for our house starts about February and runs until November. We have not had Audrey tested yet, but something makes her miserable for most of the months of the year. Ray has allergies as well, and seems to be the worst in the fall. Audrey is on Zyrtec daily, and will be evaluated at her three year appointment on what to do since it would have been two years that she would have been on Zyrtec. Ray switches pretty much to what is on sale or what we have a coupon for between Claritin and Zyrtec or other store brands. And this sucks for a family that likes to be outside as much as we do. We are outside playing most evenings as soon as it is warm enough, and we almost always eat dinner on the deck.

I know a few of you out there have allergy sufferers as well, so I would like to pass along information about the AccuClean™ Whole Home Air Filtration System. With this system, your house can be rid of 99.98% of allergens in the air. It also removes over 99% of the common flu from the filtered air in your home. The system works with a reusable filter that can be vacuumed or washed and is 8 times more effective than the best HEPA room appliance. Check out the website for more information as well as dealers in your area.

Potty Training Still Sucks

Anyone else totally sucked into the College Softball World Series like myself? Pathetic, I know, but I love it. Of course, I loved it that Virginia Tech was in it for a fleeting moment, but I am still watching. Ray of course hates it and groans everytime he sees it on tv. I have to remind him that I sit through enough of Mad Money and that screaming guy that he owes me.

I am back at work, my last week at my current job before starting my new job next week. Clearing stuff out, passing stuff on. Good times. Of course, I will be a nervous wreck on Sunday night before starting my new job.

Last week was good, I enjoyed all the time with the girls, but I think everyone was ready to get back into a routine. Oh, and Audrey is not potty trained. She didn't use the potty once on Thursday or Friday morning, so I abandoned the idea of training her for now. I figure I will try again in a month.

It was nice last week too to take a break from my computer. I only got on to check email and blog briefly, but not being on it for 8 hours a day and then a hour or two at night was nice. I feel refreshed and renewed. Just in time for summer.