Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More Halloween Photos

From Chloe's pre-school Halloween parade...it was COLD!



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Getting Ready for Halloween


Chloe wore a very special Halloween shirt today. She's wearing a shirt given to her by her great-grandfather who passed away last May. He gave her the shirt as a gift when we visited him two years ago. The shirt was big and just now fits her. It's a nice reminder of her great-grandfather that her Daddy adored.
In other news, we are preparing for the Friday festivities. Chloe has a Halloween parade tomorrow at pre-school so I will have lots of photos. Also, Nana arrives tomorrow afternoon so we have lots to look forward to this week.
On the Ethiopian adoption front, I spent the majority of my day at my GP's and then at my endocrinologist. My endocrinologist is notorious for making you wait hours and hours to see him (even with an appointment) so I always take Chloe and we color and camp out. Today the staff offered to let me see the new doctor on staff so I could get out early. I took them up on the offer and Chloe and I were ushered into her office. Most of the staff know Chloe because I am a regular but we were new to this young doctor. Well, she got to meet Chloe in fine fashion and I am sure she will not forget her. We went to our exam room and waited and waited. Chloe kept asking when the doctor would arrive and I told her soon. When the doctor did arrive, Chloe immediately asked her, "When is my mom going to be done?" and "Can I see her get her blood drawn?" The doctor replied that I wouldn't have my blood drawn today since my GP already did the honors and that I would be out quickly. Chloe's response, "Good, I have the toots because I have to go poop."
We got out of the doctor's office in record time. Chloe is coming with me from here on out and will be using that line everytime.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Weekend












We had an action-packed weekend. Friday, I had a girls night out with my pal's from our playgroup. We ate at a local restaurant and for giggles we went to the local El*k's Club for drinks.

Saturday was go-go-go as we went to our Newcomer's Halloween party and then dashed off so I could speak at the fall StarPower! event on media literacy for tweens. Chloe got to wear her Halloween costume to the party---she's a monarch butterfly. We then dashed off to see the U.S. gymnasts perform. Chloe was so beat that she fell asleep half way through.

On Sunday evening, Matt and I has a date night as we went to dinner and then the Cold!Play concert. We managed to get floor seats on Saturday and it was a spur of the moment decision to go. We were glad we went and the band was fantastic. We also enjoyed giving the guy selling concert shirts a hard time because on the list of cities on the Viva*La*Vida* tour they had Dublin, Ireland listed as "Dublin U.K.". Last I checked Dublin is in the Republic of Ireland, not the United Kingdom.

It was also Chloe's BeBe's birthday (my mom) and our neice Gemma's birthday as well. We hope they both had a great birthday.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Life from the Garden State --Installment #2--PUMP IT UP!

A nice perk of living in New Jersey is full-service gas stations….Since 1949, the state of New Jersey has banned self-service gas stations. You pull up to the pump and an attendant pumps gas for you. You never leave your car or your child. The best part, New Jersey has some of the cheapest gas in the nation.

Just after we moved to NJ gas prices started climbing, Governor Corzine suggested that NJ repeal the full-service law and make gas stations self-service. He hoped this would lower the price of gasoline. Regardless, his office was bombarded with e-mails and telephone calls opposing the idea. Six days later, the Governor withdrew the proposal.
New Jersey, like the state of Oregon, requires full-service stations as a way of creating jobs, assisting the elderly and preventing accidents and pull-aways.

I filled up my car on Tuesday of this week. It requires premium, high-octane gasoline. I paid $2.94 a gallon for 93 octane. Best part was I got to stay in my car and chat with Chloe.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mother's Helper...

I was on a phone conversation with a fellow Board member of my League while I was waiting for the dryer to finish. Chloe was playing nearby with her stuffed animals.

I heard the familiar buzz of the dryer, saw Chloe stand up and walk away, but I finished my conversation before heading to the laundry room next door. When I left the office, I came across this site---



Oh, yea, Chloe had taken out the clothes and was folding them. How's that for a helper? Only problem was she took the clothes out of the washer and not the dryer, so these nicely folded clothes were still wet.

I praised Chloe for helping and then told her we had to take the dry clothes out and fold them and put these wet clothes into the dryer. She apparently caught the laundry bug (glad someone has it in this family) and wanted to do it all by herself. I supervised---of course.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pumpkin Picking

We went on a hayride and pumpkin picking at Chloe's pre-school today. It was so cold. I made Chloe strip off her hoodie and coat in order to snap this photo.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Doll Wishlist

We returned from playgroup yesterday at about 5:30 p.m. Chloe was wound up and chatty and I had to cook dinner. After flipping through the mail and discovering this catalog arrived, I came up with an idea to keep Chloe occupied while I made dinner. I gave Chloe the catalog along with a pen, told her to look through it and circle items she might like to ask Santa for Christmas. Chloe has this doll--- so I knew she would be happy to find accessories for her. She also has a B*itty Ba*by, so she was off in a flash through the catalog.

After dinner was made and eaten, Chloe was eager to show me the items she so desired from the catalog. We sat down on the couch and flipped from page to page looking for her circles. I just had to share the items Chloe circled---

Do you see a theme here? I don't know if I should worry about the safety of Chloe's AG dolls or cancel our ski plans for this Christmas.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Books

Chloe and I have been making regular, weekly visits to the library. We both get to pick books we can read together---Chloe picks out 2 books and I pick out 2 books. At first, Chloe didn't like that we had to return the books. She would attempt to check out the same books we had just returned. Now, we come home, read the books and she wants to instantly take them back to the library to get more.

But, there are some books that we have to buy. One of Chloe's favorite books is Pinkalicious. She wants to read it about everyday. Apparently, Chloe and her friends have been having their own book circle, because today Chloe informed me that one of her friends told her that there is now a Purplicious book and she wants to read it. So, knowing how Chloe loves the first book, we set off to B&N to purchase the sequel.

Of course, its not easy just going into the book store and making it out with one book. As soon as we stepped inside the store, I saw this book on display---

After flipping through the pages, I just had to buy it for Chloe and myself. It's darling and has cute illustrations in it. Chloe had flipped through it and even though she is a pre-reader, she can decipher from the illustrations what is being made and what ingredients it requires. The recipes are great. It has some great snack and lunch ideas. I haven't been reminded of frozen chocolate bananas since I was a little kid. I can't wait to get cooking with Chloe using the book.

I wanted to get myself a book too. I have been meaning to read it for a while, but had other books in line in front of it. I decided to bump it up to the top of the reading list and purchased it.

Right after we bought Chloe's selection, she wanted to read it right away. I thought I may have to pull the car over and read her the book on the side of the road. She managed to make it the short distance home and as soon as we got inside the house, Chloe had taken the book from the bag, sat on the couch and demanded I read it to her. So I did. Its got a good message too, one that Chloe and I have been able to talk about every one of the 25 times I have already read it to her today.Gotta go, I am being summoned to read the book for the 26th time.


Life from the Garden State --Installment #1--GET IN LINE

We relocated to NJ over two years ago but I still get questions about "culture shock" and "what I dislike/like about NJ vs. Texas" on a consistent basis. I have lots of commentary to share---so I will do just that, every Friday until I run out. Enjoy my first installment....

When I was much younger, I made fun of northern accents. I couldn't stand them. Ok, I should probably interject and admit that I still make fun of them--the really obnoxious ones, but the longer I live here, the less I notice them.

I grew up in Texas at the start of the great migration to the Sunbelt states. Many northerners were moving south and a nativist attitude prevailed with "Native Texan" bumper stickers. This is when I began to joke that northern/Yankee accents made me go into convulsions. Fast forward twenty years and I now live in the north amongst the accents. I guess the joke is on me.

After finding out that I now live in NJ, many of my college and high school friends bring up the fact that I joked that I couldn’t stand a northern accent. Well, people change and it was just a joke. I can take it---about 98% of the time. I have been detuned. When you grow up in Texas or attend college in Arkansas, someone with a northern accent would stick out a little more. The tables are turned now that I am surrounded by northern accents, it’s now my Texas drawl that stands out.

I have found that I enjoy listening to and discovering the regional accents. I like to go into New York City and its burroughs and listen for the Queens and Brooklyn dialects. I laugh at the thought of a Joizey accent and I cringe a little when Chloe reminds me that she’s growing up Joizey when she pronounces the word cars as “caws” (and no, it’s not a speech impediment).

For the most part, I don’t notice the accents. I do notice idioms, grammar and colloquialisms. And there is one when used drives me nuts. I am puzzled by the use of “get on line” or “are you on line?”. I just don’t get its use. I don’t understand it because it makes no sense to me and I think if I don’t just blog about it, put it out there and be done with it, it could drive me nuts thinking about it. Weird? Maybe I am. But, I’ve just got to get to the bottom of this one.

It seems I enter a store, go to the checkout and someone uses it-- “Are you on line?” or I take Chloe to the park and another mom says to her child, “If you want to slide then get on line.” I am puzzled. I look for the line. Where is it? At check outs in stores, at the fast food restaurant, at the park, are there imaginary lines we are supposed to stand on as we wait our turn?

I know, I know, it’s really minor but it grates on my nerves when I hear it used. Maybe I need to lighten up--we are only talking about the use of prepositions but it seriously drives me bonkers and serves as a reminder that maybe I don’t notice the accents but I do notice the regional idioms---and that one is wrong!

I had to Goo*gle the usage and low and behold, there are others who have noticed the usage of “on line” vs. “in line”. I am not alone and it makes me feel a little better in my obsessive dislike that one of the others is a linguistics professor at Har*vard University. In an article about the linguistics professor's study of regional dialects, the Har*vard Gazette writes:

New York City is another place where unique speech patterns frequently occur. Some, like stoop (the steps leading up to the front door) are holdovers from when New York was the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. Others like "I stood on line" rather than the far more common "I stood in line" are of mysterious origin.

I also found a more humorous discussion here (read “A Few Fries Short of a Happy Meal”).

At least I know I am not alone (and in the majority on the usage of “in line”). Maybe 30 years from now, when the Texas twang has faded, the only give-away that I am not a native will be my usage of “in line”---seriously, no one else around here uses it---they're all "on line". The only time I am on-line is when I am using the internet.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Planning for the Holidays


Chloe and I were discussing Thanksgiving today while we were flipping through the pages of this magazine. I asked her what she wanted for Thanksgiving (meaning food). Her response: a big centerpiece of flowers and a tablecloth with fall flowers. Could she be more my child?


Later in the evening, when we were preparing for bed, Chloe and I were discussing the holidays again and the topic of Christmas came up. Chloe informed me that she knew what she wanted from Santa. She wants mahjong and a violin. That one came out of left-field.


***UPDATE: Of course, like any child she has added to the Christmas list and would now like a guinea pig and a drum set too.***

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The First Step is Admitting You Have a Problem


My blogging has been sporadic. I have photos and stories to share, I just have other things taking priority. I might have overextended myself and now I am paying the price.
I am in a constant state of "catch up" one that I don't really enjoy. Add all this up and one of my secret or not so secret issues (depends on who you ask) is threatening to take over my basement.
Yes, I am admitting that I have a problem...laundry. Right now it is piled high, about a month's worth, all clean and washed, waiting to be folded and taken upstairs back to the closets and drawers it was removed from.

Oh, I wish my pile were as small as in the photo. I was too ashamed to photograph our pile. Right now it is piled in three washbaskets, spilling over into the playroom. It sits, calling me to come and fold clothes, sort it and put it away. UGH!

See I hate folding and putting away laundry. I don't mind washing it, that's easy, the machine does all the work. I've always had an issue with laundry. In college, I would let my laundry pile get so large that my roommate would wash and fold my clothes for me because she couldn't take it anymore. I always had clean underwear (in case your wondering) I would always buy more. When I graduated college, I had over 150 pair.
I tried to get on a routine doing a load of laundry every morning and folding it and putting it away, and I stuck to it for a while. It was manageable. But, alas with the lazy days of summer I fell off the wagon and I am having a really hard time climbing back on. My laundry room is in my basement, down very narrow, steep stairs. I hate carrying the laundry pile up and down those stairs.
Now, all the other activities are beckoning for my time and I would much rather do those. So tonight, as I sit and watch the debates, I will have a laundry folding party for one. I will restore my husband's sock drawer so that he does not have to sift through the clean laundry for matching dress socks.
Yes, order and calm will be restored to my basement. All by Thursday, I promise.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Swimmy





If I haven't said it before, then please allow me to say how proud we are of Chloe.
She loves swimming and she really puts her all into it. At four, she has set goals to improve her swimming and she really has improved it. She can now swim the length of the pool and she is learning the backstroke and how to dive in properly.
I took the camera to swim lessons so I could chronicle how well she is doing.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Generosity


Our downtown has a sidewalk sale every fall. There are lots of bargains to be had and it brings out the shoppers in droves.


This past Sunday, the sermon at church was on generosity. The minister didn't preach on giving money, giving time but on generosity of spirit. For most, I think when we hear the word generous, we think of giving money, lots of it. I looked up the work in the dictionary and was surprised at the definition--


GENEROUS

–adjective
1.liberal in giving or sharing; unselfish: a generous patron of the arts; a generous gift.
2.free from meanness or smallness of mind or character; magnanimous.
3.large; abundant; ample: a generous portion of pie.
4.rich or strong in flavor: a generous wine.
5.fertile; prolific: generous soil.


I had listened to the sermon. I had thought about it at the time and then I went out and took on the week. I didn't really take it to heart until today.


This morning I volunteered to hand out information and stickers for a program my Junio*r Leagu*e sponsors called S*A*F*E* at the Sidewalk Sale in my community. The S*A*F*E* program is a program of my Junio*r Leagu*e in conjunction with the sheriff's department and it is an effort to place identifying information (name, age, allergies, etc.) on children's car seats in the event that there is a car accident and the adult(s) in the car cannot speak. Children don't have ID, many can't share pertinent information to a medical team about themselves or who the next of kin is to call. This program aims to solve the problem by placing stickers on the underside of car seats with the information on the child(ren) in the car in case this ever occurs.


It's a pretty good program, and a logical one. Who wouldn't want this on their child's car seat? Who wouldn't want their child allergies known if you were injured in a car accident and unable to speak and your child was injured and had to have medical attention?


This program has had wide success in our county. And this morning, I was out at the sidewalk sale, handing out the car seat identifier stickers and information to passerbys with children. All was going well...until.


A young mother and friend were pushing their strollers with their young infants all bundled up. The mom's were drinking their Starb*cks and chatting. As they came near, I approached, attempted to had them the stickers and explain the program when one of the ladies swatted it out of my hand and said---"NO!". My response was of course shock. I then said, "I am not trying to sell you anything, I am trying to tell you about a program to keep children safe in the event of a car accident...". That's as far as I got when she put her hand up, rolled her eyes at me, look at her friend and said "Whatever!" and kept on rolling by.


If it weren't for the fellow League member with me and another lady who was walking behind the two young moms, I don't think I would have been able to comprehend what happened. They were both shocked too at how rude and dismissive she was.


I know in this day and age that we are bombarded with sales calls and the people at the mall who jump out at you and want to show you how dead sea salts will polish your skin or that your child should model. But, I wasn't one of those people, and I wasn't selling anything other than a little peace of mind that if you are in a car accident and you are gravely injured and cannot speak that the police can assist your child better and/or contact someone of your choosing to take care of your children.


It reminded me of the sermon on Sunday. Generosity of spirit. Maybe I shouldn't be so dismissive of others. Maybe I should take a few seconds out to listen to someone that I otherwise wouldn't normally give the time of day.



Wednesday, October 01, 2008

What a Crock


I love my crockpot. You see, I neglect to use it most of the time because it sits in the basement. Thanks to the return of the school year and an agreement Matt and I have, I rediscovered the crockpot and my adoration for it.

Just today I was talking with a friend who was telling me that her husband has been getting testy lately because her daughter has ballet class until 6:15 p.m. and she hasn't been cooking dinner because it cuts right into mealtime. I espoused my love for the crockpot by telling her if she had one, she could have dinner done and ready when she came back from ballet and all would be happy.

A few weeks ago, Matt and I agreed that we would "eat in" for a month straight. At the end of the month, we would pay ourselves $250 to use as we see fit, for a night out, etc. I took this as a challenge and out came the crockpot. I did this because I knew that a)if I didn't have a plan for dinner then we would most likely have dinner out and b) half the time I don't cook dinner is because I let it go with other busy-ness during the day that I am too tired to think about cooking something. So, enter the crockpot and the rekindling of my relationship with it. I missed it so.

I have also been using Pe*Pod to shop online for groceries. I am loving it. I take my recipe book to the computer, type in ingredients, purchase the amount on-line, reserve a delivery time and voila grocery shopping is done. I can't tell you how pleased this makes me considering that I loathe the grocery stores in our area and usually after leaving one I am in a apoplectic fit over poor customer service, poor quality or that they are out of a necessity (its usually all three). You would think living in such close proximity to the largest city in the nation would mean you would have fantastic stores with a plethora of selection. NO. Our standard grocery stores are more like a rinky-dink grocery store in some hole in the wall town---and I don't live in a hole in the wall town. And the better/specialty food stores are so cramped for space because there is none and if there is then its very expensive that shopping in one sends me into a rage, especially because they are always crowded and because they are so small, they are constantly restocking the shelves further crowding the store making it impossible to pass by. But alas, Pe*Pod has made my grocery buying experience so much better and even though they charge a delivery fee, our grocery bill has reduced because I am no longer going up and down the aisle of the grocery store throwing items in the basket that I don't really need and it has reduced my blood pressure. Its the greatest thing since sliced bread.

So, for a couple of weeks now, I have been grocery shopping happy and crockpot mad! I have been using the crockpot 3-4 times a week for dinner meals. When I am making breakfast in the morning I gather all the dinner ingredients and begin working on putting dinner in the crockpot. It simmers all day making the house smell nice and dinner is ready by 5:30 p.m. I feel like June Freaking Cleaver. If I keep this up I think I may be forced to buy a floral apron and wear my Momma's pearls everyday.

To add to my crockpot delight, I discovered this blog. This mom decided to use her crockpot every single day in 2008 and I discovered she has a recipe for Shepherd's Pie in the crockpot. Oh, yea! So, dust off your crockpot and get cookin'.


 
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