A Boy and His Toys

Saturday, March 29, 2008 1 comment
Matt officially got his motorcycle endorsement on his license last Sunday. He apparently got motorcycle fever as well. NO, a scooter wasn't good enough. Today he bought a new toy.

So, now we have the whole menagerie of toys in the garage:

(The two bikes and the Porsche, in the garage, are Matt's toys. The scooter and the little quad bike are Chloe's toys. ;))

The Fashionista

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 No comments
For the last two weeks, living with Chloe has been like being on a episode of "Wh*t NOT t* Wear" but with a three-year old as host.

Episode 1:
Setting: Leaving the house to go to pre-school
Plot: Chloe tells Mom, "I don't like the outfit you are wearing. It's too bluey. I like you in pink. Take it off." After Mom tells her she's not removing the outfit, Chloe replies, "Well, I don't like your shoes either."

Episode 2:
Setting: Chloe's Mom & Dad's bedroom.
Plot: Daddy asks Chloe if he looks nice for work. Chloe's response, "NO! Your tie doesn't match". Daddy responds, "But it does", and sets off for work. Later that same day at dinner Chloe asks her mother, "Mom, do you think Dad had a good day today?" Her mother says, "I hope so," to which Chloe replies, "I don't think he did. His clothes didn't match."

Stay tuned for more episodes....


Sunday, March 23, 2008 No comments
Chloe and her Easter basket of goodies (most of which came from BeBe who had sent a massive box of Easter stuff weeks prior).

Chloe and I spent Easter together, without Matt. Unbelievably, Matt had a motorcycle course on Easter Sunday to complete his license. I thought for certain the class would be canceled because it was scheduled on a holiday, but it was a full class!

Chloe woke up early on Easter morning to discover her basket. Well, in truth, she already knew about the basket of goody's as she snuck downstairs Saturday night to discover me filling the basket.

Chloe and I went to church in the a.m. There were no children's services that day, so Chloe stayed in "big" church the entire time. She was really very good, except for the 501 questions I got during the service from her. Here's my top 5 favorite questions from Chloe at church on Sunday---
  1. Why does that man have a hole in his head? It was the choir director and he is balding from his crown out (sporting the "friar" look).
  2. Are you sleepy? Why are you closing your eyes? We were praying.
  3. Do you like this song? I don't. It was the Hallelujah Chorus.
  4. Why is Jesus fishing? She was pointing to a stained glass picture of Jesus depicting the "fisher of men".
  5. Can I go sit with Gianna? This comprised about 420 of the questions asked as she repeated it over and over. Gianna goes to pre-school with Chloe and our church---she's Chloe's best bud and her family sits in the pew behind us.

After church service, the children decorated bags and had a Easter egg hunt. Chloe and I then drove to see Matt at his motorcycle course.

Chloe, in her Easter dress, hunting eggs.

In the late afternoon, after Matt returned home, Chloe insisted we take her for a bike ride. Chloe and Matt walk to church on Sunday's and she loves to "wall walk" the wall on one of our neighbors yards. Today she decided to take the wall on her bike.
Chloe riding her bike on the wall---assisted by Daddy, of course.

A New Look & Title

Saturday, March 22, 2008 1 comment
Some things have changed on the blog, if you didn't notice. The new name of the blog is "A Family United". It was "All About Chloe". More evident, we got a new look, thanks to the fabulous Diana at Custom Blog Designs who did a great job and was so easy to work with.

I had had the idea to Photosh*p some photos of Chloe into the shapes of the states/countries of our origins (from left to right on the header: NJ, TX, China & England) for a while. The idea just sat there but I couldn't muster the creativity to actually design it all. I purused others adoption blogs and came across one that I thought was spectacular. It was designed by Diana and I knew that she was the one to redesign this blog. I contacted her, told her what I was thinking with the state/country photos and that I loved the other blog she designed. I sent her the state/country photos and bam, she turned this design out quickly!

Part of the redesign was to alter the name of the blog. Yes, our lives are still "All About Chloe" but we hope to add to our family, so we took the re-design opportunity to change the name as well. The url still remains the same.

Hope you like it---we do!

Visiting the Easter Bunny

Chloe had her photo with the Easter Bunny yesterday (notice the bunny ears on Chloe--again?)

March Madness

It's March and that means it's NCAA basketball time. I don't play the brackets, but I do tune in to see The Hogs (my alma mater) play. I stayed up last night to watch the Razorbacks take on Indiana and was completely driven mad by C*BS flip-flopping between games. It was insane, I'd be watching the Razorbacks and switch on would come another game and then switch back to the Razorbacks to check in on the score and then switch on to another game! FOR THE LOVE....STOP!

I guess you could call me a fair-weather fan---I only watch college basketball during March Madness. It is one of the only times of the year I can tune in to see The Hogs play without purchasing it and it holds such fond memories-I was a junior in college in 1994, the year that the Razorbacks won the national title. As insane as it may sound to some---it ranks in my Top 10 of the most memorable days of my life. Before you say get a life....I say you didn't attend a university that won a national championship while you attended---the euphoria, the parties, the joy! What a hoot! What a memory.

Just for giggles--I searched and found this scrapbook page from my senior year. I couldn't find my junior year scrapbook (its lost in the catastrophe that is my basement). My senior year March Madness party was much more subdued---Arkansas battled for the national title but lost.

Getting Ready for Easter

Friday, March 21, 2008 1 comment
Thursday was the Easter Party at Chloe's pre-school. True to form, Chloe had a special outfit to wear. I think it is absolutely darling.
The Easter party outfit---the jeans are really cute and have appliqued bunnies in grass at the bottom.

At the party, Chloe was given some bunny ears as a gift. She instantly put them on and has been wearing them since. (She even went to bed with them tonight)
The bunny ears---Chloe had them on when she left the pre-school classroom and bunny hopped all the way from the classroom to the car.

Later in the day Chloe and I dyed Easter eggs. Chloe was really very good at this. I feared that I would have dye all over her and the house, but she was very careful. We made tie-dyed eggs with sparkles and used the wax pencil to color on eggs and then dip them in the regular egg dye.
Chloe did a great job with the eggs. I, however, was another story as I broke 3 eggs.

Chloe insisted that we make a "Arkansas" egg. I don't know why--she had NO prompting from me. Perhaps she has some money on Mommy's alma mater in a March Madness bracket?

This is a drawing of Mommy.

Chloe drew a picture of Daddy on this egg.

After we finished with the eggs, I was cleaning up and Chloe got into her Easter treats from school. She found a stamp and went wild with it. She had pink stamps all up her arms and on her face....


Monday, March 17, 2008 No comments

HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY!, originally uploaded by pookie2shoes.

Easter Party

Sunday, March 16, 2008 No comments
Saturday morning we went to an Easter party for our Newcomer's group. It was supposed to be outside, but was moved indoors at the last minute because the ground was soaked. Despite the indoor location, the kids still managed to have a good time wading through the 1000s of Easter eggs on the floor of the banquet hall.

After the hunt, the Easter Bunny made an appearance (and Chloe wasn't scared of him this year) and then the entertainment began. Matt and I had more fun making fun of the entertainer. She is apparently a big hit with some kids. We found her a bit odd.

Chloe looking for Easter eggs. Yes, those are her Easter overalls for this year---just gotta have them!

Chloe giving the Easter Bunny a high five.

Chloe(on the far right side of the photo) clearing out of the way from the entertainment.

Happy Birthday Matt!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008 1 comment

Matt's birthday is today, Saturday, March 15. We plan to go to dinner tonight sans Chloe for a date night.

Chloe picked out the cake and couldn't wait for Daddy to get home.

Welcome to the World

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 No comments

We would just like to post some "shout outs" to the newest member of our family,

Harrison Alastair, who was born Saturday, March 8. Harrison joins big sisters Bryn & Gemma. Chloe was all grins to hear that she had a new cousin.

We also just received the exciting news that my pal, Stacie, gave birth to her daughter, Zoe, this afternoon. Thanks to Zoe's Daddy Steve, for giving us the call to let us know that all was well with mom and baby.

We can't wait to see these new little ones in person when we travel back to Texas next month.

Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Monday, March 10, 2008 2 comments

Life has some funny twists and turns and can take you in directions you never imagined. I have to share my latest twist.

I am in Jun*ior Leag*ue. When I am not griping about it, I love it. I like to volunteer and give something back. I like to take charge and do good at the same time. It gives me purpose. This past year, I transferred my League membership from my TX League to the local League in NJ. My assignment in my new League was to serve on a committee that plans, organizes and implements an all-day workshop for pre-teen girls and their mothers. The focus of the day is to discuss issues facing pre-teen girls---cliques, cyber-bullying, low self-esteem, etc. Somehow in the course of all this planning I was asked to make a presentation at this workshop. I was asked to present on the media's definition of beauty and how it can effect self-esteem in young girls and women. I would be the only speaker of the day who was not on the "speaker circuit". Everyone else speaking at the workshop was an expert, a professional.

How did I get chosen? Hmmm, I still trying to figure that one out. It seems my past as a teacher of pre-teens was the main qualification. Oh, the group also cited that I was loud and direct, which I hoped was a compliment. Oh, and I had also done some research into the topic after one of our committee meetings...apparently I was the only one on the committee with a grasp of how to Go*ogle information and presto, I was an expert!

I spent countless hours researching information and putting together a presentation. I became a facilitator for the Dov*e Rea*l Beaut*y Campaign, read through countless papers published in psychology journals, talked with a graphic artist at a magazine, read books, published articles, various blogs and websites on the topic. I gathered so much information, it could probably take me two hours just to spout through all the statistical data I found. It took me three days just to whittle down all my information into what I thought was the most important and most-digestible information to give to 10, 11 and 12 year old girls. I then spent another 4 days putting the PowerPoi*nt presentation together. I spent one of those days learning how to properly compose a Pow*erPoi*nt presentation because I despise Po*werPo*int. I think it is a great program, but I hate it because it is COMPLETELY misused by people. How many of you have been READ to as someone clicks through slide after slide with about 400 bullet points on it, reading each and every one of those bullet points to you?AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! It is torture!! I mean, just type it up in an essay and let me read it on my own! Powe*rPo*int is presentation software, made to enhance a presentation....not a program to blast what should be an essay onto a wide screen and lull people to sleep with word after word "flying in" and making whooshing noises. But, I digress.... I wanted to make certain my presentation looked professional.

Fast-forward to this past Saturday--workshop day. I wasn't nervous about my presentation, I was more eager to be done with it and I wasn't just a speaker at the workshop, I was a committee member and I had jobs to do, so I was kept busy. I was speaking at mid-day in the main room in front of all the participants. The main room was used all day, keeping me from having a run-through. When it came time to give my presentation, I had 5 minutes to set up. (Do you see where this is going?)

Earlier in the day I had removed the first of three videos in my presentation in an effort to cut time from my presentation...I was trying to help regain time we lost during registration and had set us back some 20 minutes. I kept the original presentation in its entirety and saved the modified presentation separately. A decision I would soon regret.

Our workshop was held at a college, and we had the tech. supervisor of the college present to help set up the speakers. He was a nice man, but a little too overly-helpful. Because I had embedded video and my presentation was created using Po*werPoi*nt 2007, I had to run my presentation from my laptop. The ever-helpful technology man insisted that he connect my laptop and then insisted that I use his mouse to advance my screens (he insisted using my touch pad on my laptop was TOO difficult). Well, he couldn't get my laptop to recognize the presentation system in the room. He tried over and over again, eating up my 5 minutes of set-up time. I now had a room of 150 people, staring at the podium, where I was standing, frantically trying to get the stupid presentation I had spent 100s of hours preparing for set-up. Then it came to me...the age-old wisdom learned by a teacher shut in a room with 30 screaming kids and a DVD player that won't work....IF IT WON'T WORK, TURN OFF THE POWER THEN TURN IT BACK ON. YES! The magic cure-all. When the tech. guy went to get back up support, I turned off my computer and then turned it back on...voila! We had my desktop photo of Chloe in full-three screen display, just in time for tech. guy to reappear and inform me that it was now working (thanks, Captain Obvious). He then insisted on pulling up the Pow*erP*oint presentation himself. I told him the name of the presentation and two-clicks later I was ready to present. Light down...lets roll. Below is my recount of my presentation....

Hello...blah, blah, blah.(click to next slide)... Seeing isn't believing....blah, blah, blah...(Click to next slide)...what the? What's this video doing in this presentation? It's not supposed to be here!! Oh my goodness, he clicked on the original presentation, not the abbreviated presentation....great, just go with the flow, act like nothings wrong, just do the original, longer presentation...good the video is over, moving on (click to next slide)...WHAT!!! Why did this thing start over??? (click again) WHAT!!! Why is it on this video now!----Enter technology guy to inform me that the mouse he insisted I connect to my computer is not working (thanks again, captain obvious) he removes mouse, I click on correct slide while still presenting I might add!!!....blah, blah, blah (click to next slide which is another video) WHAT!! NOW THERE IS NO SOUND? Great technology dude accidentally unplugged the sound cord connected my laptop! Re-connect cord....blah, blah, blah..who is this dude in this ugly flannel, plaid shirt taking a photo? GO AWAY!!! Blah, Blah, Blah....thanks and remember no BODY is perfect.

That's my recollection anyway. The first few minutes were torture as I tried to keep the presentation going with glitch, after glitch, after glitch and then some man literally underneath my podium taking photos of my nostrils. I wanted to stamp my feet after my presentation because I knew I could do better than that!!!! I felt like I let everyone down, especially myself after all the time I put into that presentation. If I could only have a do over. I told myself that I should just be relieved it is over and that now I can relax. And so I did.

Well, today I come back from the gym and I have a message. It seems even with the technical difficulties, the workshop evaluations from the attendees reveal that my presentation was one of the most popular! Apparently several commented on how they loved my message and my photosh*op before and afters of celebrities. I then get a message from a mom whose daughter attended the workshop to tell me that her daughter had some friends over on Sunday and she overheard her telling them that they should look more closely at advertising and then proceeded to tell them about my presentation. I felt so much better...even with the technical difficulties the message got across.

But, here's the twist. I was just contacted by the workshop chairwoman. She has been contacted by another speaker at the event (one of the professionals who flew in to speak at the event) and she wants to negotiate with the League to use my presentation. They have been also contacted to bring my presentation into some of the area schools.

Needless to say, I am feeling a lot better about my performance on Saturday and can't wait to see what unfolds next.

Weekend Photos of Chloe

Monday, March 03, 2008 No comments

DSC_0008, originally uploaded by pookie2shoes.

I thought I would share some random photos taken of Chloe over the weekend. Enjoy! View them all on one page or in a slideshow.

Make mine a Double Tall Cappuccino, Extra Dry

Sunday, March 02, 2008 No comments
Out with the old...

As a wedding present to ourselves, Matt and I bought a very nice coffee/espresso maker. It lasted nearly nine years, which is really good considering we never de-scaled the thing (ultimately causing it's death). So, after it's death we bought a mid-priced coffee maker, nothing spectacular. It lasted 6 months before it clapped out. We then purchased the coffee maker above. It survived about 6 months too, until it decided it only wanted to make a half pot of coffee instead of a full pot. Somehow it would evaporate 5 cups of water, most of which condensed in the control window. It would also not brew the same tasting coffee everyday. It was a crapshoot as to what we would get. All that combined forced us to retire this coffee maker and seek out another, more reliable model. We didn't want anything fancy, just a dependable model that would make a good cup and would last longer than 6 months. I guess that's easier said than done.

We decided to skip over the mega-stores where you can get your bath items and your kitchen gadgets and go to the experts, the coffee geeks, the ones who drink espressos all day and talk about what their favorite bean is to roast. Unfortunately, the top choice in the area is closed on weekends...having convenient store hours apparently interferes with their coffee roasting parties. So, we sought out another reputable store, one that solely dealt in making and preparing gourmet foods. A store we knew would have knowledgeable staff, test what it sells and stand behind what it sells and have it's fair share of coffee geeks on staff.

We entered the store to find a large crowd in the coffee maker section. All were huddled around the espresso machine they were demonstrating. Many to get a free espresso/cappuccino and others just to check it out and monopolize the sales staff with talk of roasting beans. We stood there, checking out the coffee makers and getting annoyed that we couldn't get a sales person because they were discussing coffee while sipping a latte. Finally, the crowd dissipated after getting their caffeine fix and we were the only ones left standing...the people who were actually there to buy something, not just get a free drink.

It started out innocently, just asking about the basic coffee makers and which one the salesman thought was the most dependable and made the best coffee. But, I guess with the swarms of people no longer blocking the view of the espresso machine on demonstration, it was too sharp not to catch our eye. Next thing you know, Matt's drinking an espresso and I have a latte and we are standing in the check out line waiting to purchase our very own automatic espresso/cappuccino maker.

But, the way I figure...it cost twice as much as the one we bought 9 years ago. That means it should last twice as long...RIGHT??? If this machine dies, we could be devastated and not because of the cost---I am in love with the machine and have been sporting a caffeine buzz since we fired it up.
In with the new! Cappuccino anyone?