Monday, February 20, 2012

Oh, my poor little neglected blog. Life is crazy right now.

A quick update:
School is crazy busy! Last portions of "upper" level accounting & tax classes. I left all 'easy' classes for my last semester, so this semester is pretty tough.
Started an internship at a local CPA firm, and I am killing it. I'm so proud of myself. Initiative and confidence have always been a struggle for me, but I'm going great. I'm proud of myself. My boss is impressed.
Lucas is awesome. He knows all of his letters now, and really enjoys "doing e-mails". He's quite funny these days.
I finally joined this century and got an iPhone. I love it, and of course am loving Instagram. I should start posting  photos here more regularly.
I had a girls night this past weekend, and it was pretty funny. I met up with John and his friends after, and hilarity ensued. (Heather, we have to Karaoke at the Turtle next time, much younger vibe, lots of dancing)

Well, speaking of... Heather from Just Another Story , she was nice enough to pass this along to me, so I will do the same:

Here are the rules...

Upon receiving this award, you are to:

1) Link back to the person who awarded you;
2) Answer all of the award questions;
3) Tell something about yourself that you haven't told anyone on your blog yet;
4) Award as many bloggers that you think are worthy of this award and make them aware of it.

Here are the questions:

What is your go-to makeup brand:
Ha, funny. Umm... I like MAC shadows but only get them as gifts b/c I'm cheap. I am obsessed with various lipstains lately, and have really enjoyed playing with them. My only everyday makeup is mascara, and I stick with the tried and true Maybelline Great Lash. 

What was your favorite fashion trend of 2011:
Baha, fashion is SO not my thing. I've been pairing a lot of long cardi's, with simple tanks, leggings or skinny jeans and either flats or boots depending on the weather. I've been a thrifting machine lately. 

What is your favorite dessert: 
I've been loving ice cream lately. I am a salty girl, more than sweet. I am currently obsessed with Archer Farms Peach Mango Salsa (not a dessert, I know...) 

What is your favorite color:
Mustard, Navy

What is your middle name:

The last song you listened to:
Don't Carry It All by the Decemberists (Thanks, Spotify!)

Dogs or cats?
Dogs, though I have both

Something I haven't told anyone of my blog yet:
I have nightmares of waking up and realizing I have turned back into the person I was 10 years ago. 

I'm going to nominate:

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I've been taking a break. I have no idea why. I love blogging, I like getting my thoughts out there. I like reading other people's blogs, but I just haven't been feeling it lately. The past few months have been rough around here. Lots of sad personal news to begin 2012. A few family friends have passed away in quite tragic ways. I'm having a hard time keeping a grip on reality through it all. It seems so unfair to have bad things happen to such good people.

I get the whole "God only gives us what we can handle" thing, and I'm sure that's comforting to some. Not so comforting to me. I know my family/friends are strong. I know they will get through it. I just feel bad that they have to. It sucks, plain and simple.

On a happier note, there have been many birthdays that we've celebrated in the past couple weeks,and will continue to celebrate a few more for the next couple weeks. That's always fun.

John & I both got tattooed last night, which was interesting. I haven't gotten tattooed since a month before my wedding, so it had been nearly 4 years. I was too nervous to commit to anything on my "naked" arm, so I decided to just do a tiny bit of filler work on my other arm. I had a space about the size of baseball just under my armpit to fill in, and a finger long gap on the backside of my arm which will eventually blend into my shoulder cap. So, I decided to attack the baseball sized area, figuring it was small enough that it would be quick & I could handle it. Getting tattooed sucks. I was painfully reminded last night. Luckily, it was only about an 1.5-2 hours of needle-to-arm action. I am looking forward to working on a less sensitive part again! Wrists, elbows & armpit regions are no fun. I did come away with a rose that looks like it's been there all along. It's perfect and I love it.

I am having a tough time getting into the swing of things this semester, and my internship hasn't even started yet. I need to get my butt in gear. I just need to power through tax season, and then everything will be much easier.

Oh, also, I am running for an elected town office. While that sounds all scary and super "adult", I'm only running to be a Town Meeting Member. I don't even know if I'll be able to get the 30 signatures on my petition to be put on the ballot. I want to become more involved in this community. I need my voice to be heard, and I am sad that 99% of our TM members are old enough to be my grandparents. Don't get me wrong, those people have earned their seats and their opinions are just as important as my own. However, I feel that young members of this community need to step forward and have their voices heard as well. We will eventually be"taking the reigns", and I'd like to be well prepared for that day. We'll see how it goes.

Lastly, we signed Lucas up for the town's public preschool lottery yesterday. John & I walked into a giant high school building with our little guy and signed him up for preschool. Where the hell has the time gone? I wanted to break down crying.  I just gave birth to this little guy. He just took his first steps and uttered his first words. He just started putting sentences together. Oh yeah and recognizing letters and numbers. And sounding out words. Ok, maybe he is ready for preschool, but I'm not.

Sorry for the word dump. Just wanted to get it all out there. Maybe I'll get back into the swing of things with this blog. Maybe I'll fall off the Earth again. Who knows.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Attempt at watercolor

Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT an artist. I don't claim to be one, or even really want to be one. What I do want to do is try new things. My husband got a set of watercolor pencils for Christmas, and I wanted to give them a shot. Here's how it went...

Line drawing

My first attempt at watercolors

What I copied... from this book

Now it may not look great, and I'm ok with that. I'm just proud that I finally found it within myself to try something out of my comfort zone... and then share the results with the world. I challenge anyone to do the same. It's not as easy as you may think.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Potty Training

I've been saying since I started back at school that I wanted to try to potty train Lucas during winter break. Well, winter break is upon us and it's time. A few other Moms have also expressed interest in potty training, and reached out to the masses via social media for advice. I decided this would be a good time to write down my potty training techniques.

Let me start by saying that every child is different, and no single method will be effective for every child. I'm aware of this, and I don't expect anyone to want to actually do what I suggest. I'm just putting it out there, because I've had good luck with it in the past. I'm not an expert, and do not claim to be.

I was a preschool teacher for 2 years, then a nanny, and now a mommy. I always have started by introducing the kids to the potty through observation. In the preschool we had a large open kids' bathroom, so kids could see their friends going potty and it sparked interest. When I was a nanny, I told the parents to have an "open door" policy with the bathroom for a month or two before trying to potty train. Kids need to see what they are supposed to do. In my house, we've always had an open door policy with Lucas. He's very aware of what happens in the bathroom. He even cheers us on. Open door policies, apparently, make some parents squeamish. I live by a "to each their own" philosophy. It works for me, it always has. I'm sticking with it. 

So after we had a decent "observation" period, I like to jump straight to a cold turkey method. I buy about 10 pairs of comfy easy-wash pants. I tend to go for cheap sweatpants. Then put that kid in undies, with lots of talk about how to keep them dry/clean, and then just go with it. As a preschool teacher we would make bathroom trips every 20 minutes if I had a potty training child in my class. As a nanny to twins, we started with potty trips every 6 minutes, and increased the time between trips by 1 minute every hour. I know that may seem excessive, but the twins were fully potty trained in under two weeks. The first two days are always the toughest. Expect to go through all those sweatpants for the first few days. Be ready for the onslaught of laundry. 

The most important part about potty training is your attitude. Stay positive. If you go into it dreading the amount of laundry, or stressing about accidents you'll drive yourself nuts. Not to mention, your kiddo will pick up on those bad vibes, and the whole experience will be less than pleasant. Have realistic expectations, and stay as level headed as possible. 

I'm on the fence with "rewarding" successful potty trips. At the daycare, we didn't really do much in the way of rewarding kids for using the potty. We certainly were encouraging and very congratulatory, but never gave a physical reward. The twins' mom, however, insisted that they get 1 M&M for every time they peed, and 2 M&M's for every B.M. This seemed good in the theory, except that there was no end to the rewards. When they moved, a full two years after potty training began, she was still giving rewards for potty success. 

I'm planning to start the process (again) with Lucas on the first of the year. He's very interested in the potty. He's even asked to wear underwear a few times in the past couple weeks. I have found potty training other people's children to be quite easy. I have a feeling that potty training my own child will be quite different, but I'm excited about the process. My little guy consistently surprises me with his ability to cope with change. I have the highest hopes for him!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I should be writing a paper about mortgage backed securities and financial collapse following subprime mortgage lending, but I just need to gush about my little guy for a minute.

Today we put together his "big boy bed". And by put together, I mean we took the crib out, and put a box-spring and mattress on a frame for him. Thanks to poor planning on my part, his headboard/footboard (from his convertible crib) don't fit in his tiny bedroom. You see, when we first found out we were pregnant, we designated the smaller of the two extra bedrooms as the "nursery", fully intending to move our little bundle into the larger room when the transition to bed happened. Well, the bigger room isn't ready for him. It get too cold in there, and we aren't in a position to really fix it up the right way right now. Not to mention, he really loves his bedroom. It's his and he knows it.

So, poor Lucas has a bed with no headboard and footboard. But guess what? He doesn't care! It looks just like Mommy & Daddy's - we have no headboard/footboard. It has his special Pottery Barn Kids Cat in the Hat bed set from Auntie Karla. He loves it.

We put it together about an hour before nap time today, and when nap-time rolled around I braced myself for a battle. I thought I'd have to put him back in his bed a million times. Nope. We read storied, tucked him in with the same routine we used for his crib, and walked out. He cried, like he always does, for a few minutes and then fell asleep. Never got out of bed. I had to wake him up after a 2 hour nap, to ensure he'd be tired for bedtime.

I thought for sure bedtime was going to be dreadful, but no. It was exactly the same. I even got to sneak a peak of him alseep in his bed. You see, once Lucas is down, we don't EVER open the door. I swear he hears every creak it makes. But somehow the cat got in his room tonight, and was scratching to get out, so I had to open the door. And of course I had to sneak a peak... tiptoe over to see his precious little face. My baby is not a baby any more. He's a kid. A kid who sleeps in his own full size bed.

I pushed and pushed for this big milestone, and who's having the most trouble with it? Me. Of course.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Things I learned on date night...

Saturday night was my husband's 10 year high school reunion. I spent months worrying about it, and then on Monday night he decided he didn't want to go. I was both disappointed and relieved. But most of all, I was concerned about what the hell we were going to do. We'd already booked a babysitter, my younger cousin, who we plan to ask to be a regular sitter once a month so we can go out. Cancelling was not an option. It was the first time we asked her, and I didn't want to go changing things on her.

So we decided to "wing" it. This is not a concept that I'm comfortable with, but I decided to just stop being a whiny baby. Here's what I learned:

  • I love small intimate Italian restaurants, except when a friend is having a date 3 feet away from us. Then I feel like I'm spying. 
  • I dress too conservatively for dance clubs, apparently. 
  • Clubs I used to frequent have changed quite a bit.
  • Dubstep is not for me, but I really am glad I experienced it. 
  • Jersey Shore style clubs are not my style either, but holy moly are they entertaining.
  • Researching a night out is not always the best way.
  • My husband is, and always will be, my favorite dance partner. 
  • Hanging out with people that are 5 years younger than you really makes you feel your age.
  • I saw more vaginae last night than I ever have in my life.
  • Apparently the plural for of vagina is vaginae. (pronounce vuh-ji-NEE) You're welcome. 
  • I don't need a drink in hand, or to be drunk, to dance anymore. I'm over the insecurity hump. 
  • Driving home with a bunch of drunk friends in the minivan (we had a designated driver, always!) is often more fun then the actual outing.
Tonight is all about snuggling a little boy that missed me last night. I missed him too, but I really needed a good night out dancing the night away with his Daddy. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

I'm alive

I kind of fell out of my blogging habits this past week. I had a couple big tests, a sick toddler, 3 photo shoots, and a lot of planning to do. I'll give a quick synopsis of the going on around here.

This week, I had an accounting test. I am not doing as well in intermediate accounting as I did in the first two levels. My average is a very weak B right now, but I managed an 85% on my last test, and he's dropping the lowest test score, so I"m pretty confident that I can pull off a solid B. It will hurt my GPA, but I'm doing my best, so I need to just let it be.

We had a large family photo shoot on Sunday with John's side. It was stressful, but we got some cute photos out of the deal. One of the 3 photos of my Christmas card was taken that day. On Wednesday I had another photo shoot, this time a local Target, for my sister's two kids & Lucas to have some holiday shots done. We always give our very large family photos of the kids each holiday (which can get mighty expensive). I ended up with a great solo shot of Lucas that was totally unplanned, but I bought a bunch of copies. Then today John & I had a small shoot on our stairs, with Lucas, for our Christmas photo & for a large print to be hung in our living room. We got a few great shots. Over all, I'm very happy.

I went out last night with Heather, Kate & Nikki to go see the latest in the Twilight Saga. There were some parts that absolutely made me cringe, but overall the movie was ok. It was nice to get out, if nothing else. The wedding scenes were great. All the scenes with Charlie at the wedding had me all choked up, it reminded me of my Dad at my wedding.

Now to the fun stuff. For those that know me, you already know that I am a bargain shopper. I hate paying full price for anything, especially during the holiday season. Christmas card bargain shopping has always been a favorite sport of mine. I tend to split my order among 3-4 companies to get the best bargains. My goal is always to spend under $50 on all my Christmas cards, because postage always costs me around $45, and my overall budget is $100 on Christmas cards. This year, and last year, I have cheated. I don't buy traditional Christmas cards. I don't even buy the "cheap" flat photo cards that are ever so popular this time of year. I go even cheaper. I buy custom printed post cards. I design a template in Photoshop (which I'm not very good at), and upload it to the site and I'm all done.

Last year, I spent $33 on 100 post cards, 100 envelopes and a set of 140 return address labels, and then paid about $10 for shipping. I came in under budget. This year, I amazed myself. I got 100 postcards, 100 envelopes, 2 kinds of return address labels (140 of each design) and 140 custom gift tags for $21. Shipped. That's right. I spent less than half as much money and got more products.

I love buying products that are designed for a different function, and making them fit my needs. Like the gift tags, are actually return address labels that I rearranged, and re purposed. Sure, I spent a couple hours playing with Photoshop, and trying to make everything look OK for the Christmas cards, but I saved tons of money. If I had bought those flat photo cards, even on sale, for $.30 each, I would have spent $30 alone on the cards. Then there's the envelopes, the shipping, etc... It just gets too costly.

What are some ways you save?