About Me


Southern New Jersey

I am a Mom to 2 amazing and fun daughters and wife to a great guy and a wonderful father!

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Kayla, my oldest. She is 4 1/2 and is a sweet, loving and silly little girl. She took us 2 ½ years and 3 IVF’s to conceive. Kayla is allergic to dairy. We manage her allergy and work to balance her safety with giving her a normal childhood. Kayla loves to read books and play games - she amazes me every day.

Alysa, my youngest. She is 3 years old and is a silly little spitfire. She’s our monkey and loves to climb on everything. She was a “natural” baby, but it was only b/c of my wonderful doctors that we were able to stop an impending miscarriage. Alysa suffers from Acid Reflux Disease and sleep apnea. She may be little, but she has a big personality. She adores her big sister and is so much fun to be around. She keeps me laughing every day.

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Mothers Day 2009

Sunday, November 30, 2008
The Thermostat War
No, I do not mean between J and I. Alysa’s newest “thing” is that she wants her thermostat “at two fives.” And she means it.

Friday morning when she woke up early (considering how late she fell asleep the night before), her hands and feet were like icycles. She had turned her heat down before she fell asleep [we have electric baseboard heat so each room has it's own thermostat]. And yes it was set at “two fives” and it was indeed around 55 degrees in her room. The picture above was taken later in the day, the 3rd time she changed it, so it was still warm in the room at that time.

So Friday night, J taped her dial (it does not come off). When she saw it, she ran over to it and said, “Oh, I need take that off.” I stopped her and so far she’s left it on, but it’s only a matter of time…

posted at 4:43 PM  

Friday, November 28, 2008
Thanksgiving festivities
We had a great Thanksgiving day yesterday. With Kayla having a stomach virus last Sunday I was expecting to have to cancel the festivities. Thankfully none of us came down with it. Not surprising since Kayla’s is much more susceptible than most, but it was apparently running rampant through her school the past few weeks.

My parents were off to my Sister’s for the long weekend. J’s parents and his brother joined us for dinner as did our friends Jen, Jeff & Emma. The girls were thrilled to have Emma there and J and I were just has happy to have Jen and Jeff join us this year. Jeff made a dairy-free stuffing dish which was delicious. He is really the only person besides my Mom and Sister who I’ve trusted to cook for Kayla. This is a big deal for us, but he really works with me and never makes me feel neurotic for my questions, ingredient inquiries and reminders. He has a love of cooking and has a better understanding than most about ingredients.

So without further ado…our menu for this year’s festivities.

This is a recipe my Sis gave me years ago and it’s very delicious and tender. The recipe is for a 12 pound turkey, but I got a 21.8 pounder, so I adjusted the seasonings accordingly.

12 pound turkey
4C warm water (110 degrees)
3 T Chicken bouillon – I use Better than Bouillion
6 T Soy Garden soy butter substitute
Salt & Pepper
Poultry Seasoning
Garlic Powder

Preheat oven to 350. Rinse & wash turkey; take out the neck and innards. Place turkey in roasting pan. Rub the turkey inside and out with the spices. Combine the water and bouillon and pour over the top of the turkey. Sprinkle the paprika over the turkey. For tenderizing, make a large cover sheet out of 2 sheets of aluminum foil by placing 2 large ends together and rolling the edges together. Make sure the seam is sealed. Place loosely over the turkey making sure there is some space between the breast and the foil (however small). Seal the foil to the edges of the pan and without tearing the foil, push a small ditch around the inside of the pan walls. This seals the juices in; the turkey steams and bastes itself. Bake at 350 for 4-5 hours; for at least 45 minutes of so remove the foil and baste every 10 minutes; the turkey will brown nicely.

Whipped Sweet Potato Bake (from Kraft Foods)
3 Cans (15oz each) vac packed sweet potatoes drained
¼ C Soy Garden soy butter substitute, melted
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ginger
¼ tsp Ground Nutmeg
24 Jet puffed marshmallows or mini (as much to cover the sweat potato)

Beat the sweet potatoes, soy garden (or butter), cinnamon, salt & nutmeg with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended; spoon into lightly greased 1 ½ quart baking dish; top with marshmallows; bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are hot and marshmallows are lightly browned.

[With nuts not being a part of our gatherings for a while, this has become a favorite of mine. Especially since both my girls devour this. I was reminded tonight that I need to make this more often…]

Roasted Broccoli with Lemon
I found this at Allergy Moms.

I’m not a broccoli fan, but this looked easy and good for those who do. It got rave reviews, so I will be making it again!

4 C Broccoli Florets
1 T Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
¼ tsp Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
Lemon Wedges

Preheat the oven to 425. Toss the broccoli with oil, salt and pepper. Place on a large baking sheet (not air-insulated) and roast until the broccoli is tender and blackened on the bottom, aprox 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Grandma Winnie's Turkey Stuffing

1/4 pound Soy Garden soy butter substitute
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
9 cups soft bread cubes
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 (4.5 ounce) can sliced mushrooms
1 egg, beaten
1 cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease one 2 quart casserole dish.
In a saute pan, cook onion and celery in butter until soft.
In a mixing bowl, combine onion and celery, bread cubes, poultry seasonings, mushrooms, egg and stock. Mix well and add to casserole dish. Bake for 1 hour.

I also made some home made French Baguettes with my bread machine. Yum!

Chocolate Cream Pie
I used a dairy-free frozen pie crust and made the chocolate pudding from scratch

Chocolate Pudding

1/3 cup cocoa
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cornstarch (1/3 cup cornstarch if making a pie)
3 cups Silk Soymilk ( Plain, Vanilla or Chocolate)
3 Tbsp. margarine
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine the cocoa, sugar, salt and cornstarch, and mix well. Then add the Silk®, whipping constantly. Bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat, still whipping constantly, then lower the heat and cover. Let boil gently for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whip in the margarine and vanilla. Pour into a bowl or baked pie crust and chill.

Cheese-less Danish
2 pkgs. Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
2 - 8 oz. pkgs. Better than Cream Cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 egg yolk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pan. Lay out 1 pkg of the crescent rolls without separating them. Mix together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Spread cream cheese mixture on the crescent rolls. Lay 2nd pkg. of rolls on top, pressing edges and ridges until closed. Spread top with egg yolk. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes til brown. Watch carefully.

1 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla
Soy Milk to desired consistency (adding by tablespoon)

Mix ingredients together. Drizzle on top of pastry. Chill before cutting.

In addition to the yummy food, we had a fun day. I’m not a fan of making gravy, so I bought canned gravy. But Jeff, being the chef, jumped in and made it for us. Since home made is always best, this went over really well.

The kids had a blast together and we got some cute photo ops. And I got Alysa on video singing the Turkey Song Kayla learned at school last year.

Make an on-line slide show at www.OneTrueMedia.com

The lyrics:
Albuquerque Turkey
(Tune: “My Darlin’ Clementine”)

Albuquerque is a turkey
And he’s feathered and he’s fine.
And he wobbles and he bobbles
And he’s absolutely mine.

He’s the best pet you can get,
Better than a dog or cat.
He’s my Albuquerque turkey-turkey,
And I’m awfully proud of that.

He once told me, very frankly
He preferred to be my pet,
Not the main course at my dinner,
And I told him not to fret.

Albuquerque is a turkey,
And he’s happy in his bed.
‘Cause for our Thanksgiving dinner,
We’ll have pizza pie instead!

Watching J put up the inflatable decoration

Being goofy with J

A family picture

Kayla & Emma taking pictures of each other...

My pesonal favorite - the boys goofing around.

I hope everyone had a fun and family-filled day as well!

posted at 6:29 PM  

Thursday, November 27, 2008
Happy Thanksgiving
I have so much to be thankful for this year. My girls, my husband and my family. I am also thankful for my friends, 3 of whom are joining us this year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Jeff is in the Coastguard so therefore, do not live near family. We are very happy to be spending Thanksgiving this year with Jeff, Jen and Emma. They are wonderful friends and we are so glad to have found them.

Aside from those in my every day life, I would like to take this time to thank those who protect us and this country both on our grounds and abroad. Not only to those out fighting for this country, but also their families who sacrifice time with their loved ones. All you do is much appreciated and I thank you.

Please watch this video - HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

posted at 7:00 AM  

Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Pure Craziness
Yes, I know, I've been a slacker. I apologize. The trip to LA got me behind, but then I had my shopping trip to Lancaster. I had fun and got some good deals. But then I came home to Kayla with a stomach virus. I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop on that one with Thanksgiving tomorrow. So this has put me behind on both my blog and reading, add to that we are hosting Turkey Day dinner as we always do. I got the food shopping done last night and currently have baguette rolls in the bread machine. I also have to make a chocolate "cream" pie and a Cheese-less danish for tomorrow. Oh, I have to clean the house too. Being away two weekends in a row does not do wonders for the house. And, oh yeah - Alysa turns 3 next Wednesday and her party is the Saturday after her birthday. At least her party will be fairly small as far as parties go. Mostly family and a few friends - guess there is an upside to having a birthday this time of year. At least for now - she'll be perfectly happy this year with a smaller party. But she has been asking for her cousins to be here. Too bad Ohio is so far away...

So I apologize again and promise to catch up once tomorrow is over.

I hope everyone else isn't going too crazy with holiday preparations!!!

posted at 12:51 PM  

Friday, November 21, 2008
So far so good...
OMT went well yesterday. He is happy with Kayla's progress and wants us to keep an eye on her eating, etc. He now only wants to see her every 3 months. Mostly to help work through any kinks/minor injuries kids tend to inflict on themselves. This will help to ensure her reflux does not come back. He noticed her one leg and foot were a bit off on their alignment and he thinks it may be related to her fall on her face, so he treated that as well.

While we were waiting in the exam room, the girls entertained themselves by performing OMT on each other. It was very cute so I had to capture it on camera. All I had was my phone, so the quality is not the best. But Dr. M loved them and had me e-mail them to him.

So here is your sneak peak into OMT...

*I'm still slowly working through my catch-up, so please be patient. Especially since I'm off to Lancaster tomorrow for an overnight shopping trip.*

posted at 2:35 PM  

Thursday, November 20, 2008
You know your child sees too many doctors when...
...you have this conversation before going to see the doctor.

Alysa - "Are we going to see Dr. W?" (their allergist)
Me - "No you are not going to see Dr. W.".
Alysa - "Are we going to see Dr. P?" (their gastroenterologist - although for her it comes out sound like Dr. C)
Me - "No, not Dr. P."
Alysa - "Are we going to see Dr. F?" (their pediatrician)
Me - "No, not Dr. F."
Alysa - "Then what doctor are we going to see?"
Kayla - "We're going to see Dr. M!" (for OMT)

*Fingers crossed please - it may be Kayla's last visit - she has been completely off Prevacid since October 26th!!!*

posted at 12:04 PM  

Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The happy California memories
Yes, there were happy ones, a lot actually. Now that I have gotten the negative, griping out of the way, I can focus on the positive. Becky’s wedding was beautiful!!! She was a gorgeous bride (not that there was any doubt) and Greg is a very lucky man. Her dress was absolutely amazing. Even among all the chaos, we made it the hotel with time enough to take a shower and refresh a little bit. After the ceremony, we headed back to the hotel for the cocktail hour and enjoyed cheese-cheese-and more-cheese. The ballroom was magnificent and above their table, they have their initials in lights. The food was amazingly delicious – we both had the filet mignon. We sat with some of Becky’s other out-of-state friends, a few of them from the east coast. They were all very nice and we enjoyed ourselves. I even got to spend a little time talking to Becky. She was so glad we were there, as was I. As miserable a trip out it was, I’m glad we made it for her big night. I only wish we had more time. We never got to have any cake because I just couldn’t stand up anymore after a while. I had gone 43 hours with only 1 hour of sleep. Thankfully the hotel bed was very comfortable. I slept like a rock!

On the way to LA on Friday, I talked to Kayla on the phone. She asked me if I was on the plane and when I her I was in California, she just giggled. The girls think it’s pretty funny that I’m all the way in California. It was so good to hear their laughter – it was much needed after the trip out we had.

With our detour along the scenic route, Jerome was happy to see the Pacific Ocean.

With all the chaos we encountered in the first 2 days of our trip, it was great to get back to San Jose not only to our luggage, but also to some relaxing and very warm weather. Ronnie & Paul took us to a football game at the university they both attended (it is also where they met). It was fun and we were able to meet some other friends of theirs.

Sunday was spent relaxing, chatting and playing with their son Miguel. He’s such a great kid with an adorable personality and sense of humor. We even got to out for ice cream. How nice was that??? Let’s just say Lactaid was my friend on this trip. I had to eat enough cheese and drink enough milk to last me a while and I definitely took advantage of it.

Jerome hit the jackpot when we went for ice cream. We were walking around a section of San Jose and he spotted a classic car show/meet-up. Of course we had to go take a look. He enjoyed showing Miguel the cars, especially the Barracuda that was there.

It was so wonderful to not only be able to be at Becky’s wedding, but to spend some time with Ronnie. She and I have been friends for about 6 years. Having met during our battles with infertility, it bonded us. She’s an amazing person and I’m so glad we have remained friends all this time. Miguel is 5 months to the day older than Kayla. I was sad that the girls couldn’t go with us to play with Miguel, but hopefully there will be another visit – either us to them or vice versa. She and Paul were amazing to us. They are such good friends and I don’t know what we would have done without them. They really helped us stay sane during the excruciating trip out. They waited up for me the night I arrived, packed us lunch and snacks for the tip to LA, loaned me a dress for the wedding and drove us to the airport at 5am on Monday. And…since Becky’s wedding gift was in my suitcase they offered to ship it for us which will save me the time and a few dollars from shipping it from New Jersey. We really enjoyed ourselves. I was thrilled to have some quality time to talk to Ronnie. Much nicer than e-mail.

The visit with Ronnie and Becky were too short, but it’s also good to be home. When I got in the car, both girls were ecstatic and Alysa said, “I am SO happy!!!” Aside from the girls, it was also nice to get home to one of the few things NJ is actually cheaper on – gas. We paid $2.59 for gas for the rental car and came home to $1.83. I also have some wonderfully cheap kids. I picked them each up a postcard of San Jose. That’s it and by their reaction, you’d think I got them each diamonds.

I’m putting some pictures below from our trip. Please remember that for the wedding, I had NO luggage, therefore NO make-up. So please be kind. ;)

The beautiful California mountains

This cracked me up. At the church someone used a Victoria’s Secret bag to carry items to the wedding.

Becky and me

Me & J

The fire that shut down Rte 5 in LA

Ronnie & me

Ronnie & Miguel

J & me enjoying our ice cream

J sharing his love of cars with Paul & Miguel

posted at 6:29 PM  

Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Running on Empty
Even though this won’t post until sometime when I get home, this is a running commentary of my thoughts on this interesting trip to California.

It has been an interesting trip to say the least. J and I are on different flights, this way, heaven forbid anything were to happen, one of us should come out unscathed, so-to-speak. He is flying United and I am flying Delta. Delta allows you one “free” (since the flight was not cheap, I find the term “free” comical) checked bag and United charges you for even one. So we decided to put all of our belongings in one suitcase. This way we can save some money. My original flight was scheduled to depart at 5:25pm. I was going to fly into Salt Lake City, Utah and from there head to San Jose. Before leaving the house, I check on the flights only to find both J and my flights were delayed and we would both miss our connecting flights due to the delay. I called on J’s flight first. United was very nice and helpful. They got him on a different flight going into Denver and then on to San Jose. I on the other hand, am flying Delta – and they are a whole different matter. First, the person I spoke to gave me the runaround and didn’t know what I was talking about. Pretty easy since when your flight leaves Salt Lake City at 9pm and you don’t arrive until 9:15, you’ve pretty much missed that flight. I finally got someone to help me and at this point we were in the car on the way to the airport. I explained my situation and she told me that the flight out of Utah was the last flight of the night and she could give me one the next day. I told her that wouldn’t work since we are leaving bright and early from San Jose to drive to LA for the wedding. She puts me on hold only to come back and tell me that there is nothing she can do and that I can fly to Utah and talk to them about it when arrive? Huh? She just told me they had no more flights, so she wanted me to leave home to knowingly be stranded in Utah! I then asked to talk to a supervisor which led to more hold time. She comes back on and says they can offer me a flight into Atlanta and then on to San Francisco. Um…I need to get to San Jose? She told me that the airports are 30 minutes apart. So I asked her if they will shuttle me to San Jose from San Fran? She said no and she was sure to tell me that it was only 30 miles from San Jose. OK – so am I supposed to hike it to San Jose, suitcase and all??? I again asked to speak to her supervisor. She got on the phone and I explained that I paid them to get me to San Jose, NOT San Francisco and that if that is my only option, I am fine flying into SF, but…they need to get me to San Jose, as they were paid to do. She checked and I finally caught a break. The reason for the delay was not the very light and already over-with rain we were having, but an equipment problem, so yes, they would shuttle me free-of-charge to San Jose. OK – crisis averted – I was on my way to California, or so I thought…

I get to the airport; my Mom drops me off and heads off to drop J off at United. I got to curb-side check in since I only had an hour until my flight left. The guy weighs my suitcase and tells me it is 7 pounds too heavy. Um…what am I supposed to do? Take something out he tells me. Um…and do what with it? Put it in my carry on he tells me. If I left it in my suitcase, they would charge me $90 to take the extra 7 pounds. Let’s take note that the 7 pounds is too much for the basement of the plane, but…the cabin is fine, so as long as we move it to the cabin from the cargo area, we are good to go. So I tried reaching J thinking he can take something onto his carry-on too, the call would not go through. So I asked if he could page him for me, he said NO, that I had to go inside and wait on the 5 mile line. I went inside and was able to get a somewhat nice security person to help get me to a scale so I could empty out some things. I had to shove J’s dress shoes, my hair dryer and curling iron, a pack of baby wipes (which one person told me b/c they are wet. could not be brought on board – but they were allowed thankfully), my shoes and J’s fleece jacket into my carry-on. I then was able to use the kiosk to check-in to a flight delayed for a 6:20 take-off.

So far this has been an excruciatingly stressful trip. No one here at Delta has been nice except one flight attendant so far. Please note that nice does not = helpful. As I’m walking down the aisle of the plane, they announce they have no more room for overhead storage so everything must be put under the seat. Um…I have my now overflowing (barely can shut) carry on and my “personal item” being my sanity laptop. The attendant was able to get my carry-on it under the seat in the last row (thankfully – you’ll see why later). I am in the 2nd to last row. So here I am in row 43 with a now estimated arrival time of 9:00 with a plane jam packed with people and I’m supposed to get on a 9:30 flight to San Fran. That is not looking too good right now since I won’t even get off this plane until after 9:30. I’m a bit stressed and am thinking I’ll be good and stranded in Georgia tonight.

This trip has sure reaffirmed our decision to drive to Disney. Flying has gone down hill and it leaves everything to be desired!!!

I’m thinking it’s not such a good idea to stare at the little computer screen that says what time we’re due to land. Currently it’s 9:02. The guy next to me has a 9:15 connecting flight – at least I won’t be stranded alone. *sigh*

Oh goody – I was just served peanuts. Thinking of you Janeen.

It’s currently 8:30, still in the air – scheduled to land at 9:04. I am arriving at Gate B12 and leaving out of Gate A12. I’m getting an increasingly sinking feeling that I won’t be making my connecting flight… I hope J enjoys Sunny California and the wedding.

I was able to get some work done on our Christmas Cards. I think they are actually done this time (it’s my 2nd version). Oh and the guy next to me ask if I design cards for a living. With the night I’m having, I’m taking it as a complement. Heaven knows I need the boost right now.

I have 10 minutes left on my computer, so I’m going to shut down and save some battery for the long night in the Atlanta airport. Boy do I wish they had internet access up here.

Last update – arrival time estimated at 8:46 pm. I see a tiny glimmer of hope…

Well, thankfully I made it on my plane to SF. I’m still not sure how…but I am 1 hour into my flight and am currently over Arkansas. The plan landed in Atlanta at 8:52, but we did not get to the gate until 9:20 or so. I called Delta from the ground to check on my connecting flight and of course the one flight I want to be late, is on time. I was also told that although my plane had not taken off yet…they already had me booked on a flight out at 9:45am in the morning. How’s that for boosting my confidence? I was told they couldn’t do any more until I was off the plane. On the plane they made an announcement on the plane that some people had very tight connecting flights, and asked for anyone who did not have connecting flights within 45 minutes or were staying put to please be courteous and let those of us against the clock off first. Anyone want any guesses as to how well that went? Let’s just say my faith in humanity was not restored at all. I got my bag and began to say “excuse me’s” and “my plane leaves in 5 minutes”. It got me about half-way up the aisle until someone was like, me too. Yet, he then said he checked and his was pulling away from the gate. OK buddy that means it’s too late for you. So b/c you’re ticked you’re going to make the rest of us who have a chance miss ours too? So a woman behind me tried speaking loudly asking those in front of us to let us by who were on the verge of missing our flight. Then another lady started mouthing off to her. I tried defending her and us, but these people are just unbelievable!!! We did get off and some people (although a small minority) stayed and let us by and I made sure to thank each and every one of them as I ran by them. And of course, my plane was parked in terminal B and my other flight (the same airline mind you) departed in terminal A. Hmmm…that makes sense. So I had to run as fast as I could lugging my laptop and carry-on. I made it to the gate at about 9:35 and saw the plane had an estimated departure time at 9:50. Um…Delta? You may want to update your computer systems. That information would have been much appreciated by me at about 9:10pm. I got on, but b/c again, of lack of carry-on room; I had to check my carry-on bag. Not my laptop but my other bag. Which by the way still has my camera in it b/c I was pretty fried by the time I got to the door of the plane, so I forgot it was in there and not with my laptop. I sure hope it’s still there when I get to SF. On that note, I hope my suit case made it onto this plane too. Without it J and I will be going to Becky’s wedding in sweats. Becky? I love you and hope you still want us there! I have fake rhinestones on my pants and shirt if that helps any. ;)

So now we’re due to land at 12:24am (California time), which is 3:24am my time. Have I mentioned I’m exhausted? I sure hope J’s flights are going smoother than mine. Oh and they’re serving peanuts again on this flight….

Stay tuned to hear if I actually get the shuttle I was promised. No one in Philly would do anything about it for me. I was told I had to wait until I got to San Francisco. I still have a chance to be stranded somewhere…

Man I wish I had internet access up here…

Well, I did get the shuttle, but it took a while. Apparently the drive from San Fran to San Jose is not their cup of tea. I got to Ronnie’s house at 2:30 am, which is 5:30 am my time. She and Paul (her hubby) were amazing. They waited up for me and she even made me lunch for today’s drive. J had fallen fast asleep way before I arrived. I however could not fall asleep. Why you ask? Because my suit case was still in Atlanta. It never made it on my connecting flight. I was told it would be re-routed to LA for us for today. Guess how that turned out? You got it. No go! This morning, I called and was rudely hung up on not once, but TWICE. And I know it wasn’t me, b/c #1, I am just so beaten down right now I can’t even get mad. And #2, I have witnesses to my amazing restraint and niceness. Finally, the 3rd time was the charm and I got someone willing to help me. Well, sort of considering she was just honest and said there was not way my suit case would make it on time. She said there were no direct flights and the earliest it would arrive in LA was 6pm, that’s at the airport that has nothing to do with being delivered to our hotel. So…I had it stay in San Jose and hopefully it will get to Ronnie’s house by sometime tomorrow. Ronnie is such a great friend that she loaned me a dress of hers and J got a Wal-Mart special on a pair of pants, a shirt and tie. We both packed spare clothes in our carry-ons, but I don’t think sweats are what Becky had in mind. So here I am finally in the hotel room – after much drama this morning. I’m looking at the king size pillow top bed and thinking how I’d so love to sleep instead of leave this room.

Thankfully our suitcase was delivered to Ronnie’s Friday night at around 7:30pm, while we were at the reception. Thankfully I enjoyed myself at the wedding, despite my extreme exhaustion and lack of supplies. I don’t wear make-up all the time, but for a wedding, I was pretty bummed to be make-up-less. Especially with the exhaustion accenting the dark circles under my eyes. I was a catch that night, let me tell you. ;)

The next morning, we ran into more of a hassle at the hotel. The hotel was a very pricy one at over $200 a night. I was able to get a discount on the room, but it was still $170 plus taxes, of course. I didn’t find out until we arrived that there was a fee for parking. They only offered valet and it was $40 per night. This is the first time I’ve encountered a fee for parking at a hotel you’re already paying for. But…at the reception there was a stamp to validate your parking sticker and save $20. Of course, they told us the next morning it did not apply to overnight guests, only those there just for the wedding. Um…I was there just for the wedding!!! They did not care. I tried to explain I was never notified of a parking fee and they really need to do that. The room, although clean, was certainly not worthy of a rate of $200. It was very small and very old with a TV from the 1800’s. They were obviously not budging. This was so aggravating for me – I mean what is the $20 to them??? So I told the manager that I was leaving a very disgruntled and unhappy guest. I told him the room was not what I would consider nice, especially at the rates they were charging. I explained that they must tell their guests ahead of time about the parking fee (I would have looked to stay elsewhere) and that charging for parking on top of the room rate is insane. I told him the bride would be told about this and that I would never be staying with them again on any future trips to LA. He didn’t care – just more proof that customer service is severely lacking nowadays. This parking fee thing is like going to a retail store to shop, going to check out and being told there is a fee for parking. I told J he should pitch it to his boss – he could make some extra profit. ;)

True to form to the first half of our trip. What would the drive back to San Jose be without a little adventure? For those that don’t know, California is having a major drought right now and when we arrived, there was already one fire out of control. Well, the night we spent in LA, another broke out, right in the mountains that we had to drive through. So the highway we needed was shut down Saturday morning and we had to detour. Thankfully, Paul had already given us both the direct and scenic route. So Jerome got to see the Pacific Ocean for the first time and we still made good time heading up to Ronnie’s house. It definitely is beautiful out in California. We saw cow farms (remember good cheese comes from Happy Cows and Happy Cows come from California) and orchard after orchard.

Now that I’ve gotten all my venting done, I will leave you and will post all the positives shortly. I thank those of you that actually read this novel.

posted at 1:15 PM  

Sunday, November 16, 2008
A long ago tag
I got tagged a loooong time ago by Michelle and forgot about it. So I figured now, while I'm in warm and sunny California, was a good time to post it.

Here are the rules:
Mention the blog that gave it to you and comment on their blog to let them know you've posted your award

Publish these rules
Share 6 values that are important to you and 6 things you do not support
Grant the prize to 6 people

6 Things I Value:

1. My family
2. Life
3. Freedom - [we just need more of it back]
4. Time to myself for reading/blogging/digi scrapping
5. Honesty
6. Love

6 Things I do not support:
1. Ignorance
2. Socialism
3. Kids clothing that looks like adult clothing (here-here Michelle)
4. Kids playing with/watching things that are not age-appropriate
5. Dishonesty
6. The Red Sox [Had to get you back for that one Michelle - :)]

I'll pass this on to anyone who wants to participate. Leave me a comment if you decide to do it.

posted at 8:00 AM  

Friday, November 14, 2008
Christmas Giveaways
Christmas Giveaway Sleigh 240x240

The wonderful ladies over at 5 Minutes for Mom are having some Christmas giveaways. Just another reason for me to LOVE Christmas! Head on over to check them out.

posted at 8:00 AM  

Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Almost out of here & Photo Contest
Tomorrow evening I head off to sunny California. A friend of mine is getting married in Los Angeles on Friday. I also have a friend who lives in San Jose, so we are cramming them both into a long weekend. My Mom will be staying at my house with the girls. This will be the first real trip J and I have taken without the girls. They've had sleep-overs at my Parents' house, but this is a real vacation. I'm going to miss them terribly, but I am very excited.

We fly into San Jose, then on Friday will take off in the rental car for Los Angeles. The wedding is Friday evening and Saturday morning, it's back to San Jose until Monday. We're cramming a lot into a few short days, but I couldn't go across the country without seeing both of them.

I met my friend Becky, who is the Bride, at the company I used to work for. She worked in the company's distribution center in LA and we became friend through work. I made it out to LA once on a business trip and she came out for our wedding and for another visit about 6 years ago. My friend Ronnie, is another on-line friend. We met while battling Infertility and have stayed close ever since. We've met once in person when her son was 6 months old and Kayla was a month old. I'm very excited to see her and her family again, I only wish the kids could be together.

I've been working the past few days getting schedules, and directions and lists together for my Mom. I'm just about done and now have to put all my clothes in the suit case. I can't believe this trip is here. I'll have my laptop with me, but I'm not sure I'll be able to or even have time to get on-line. And of course Kayla picks now to get sick. Sounds like a bad cold brewing. Right now she has a 100.8 fever. Will make me leaving harder on both of us.

It's going to be in the upper 70's this weekend out there, so I have to dig out my shorts. It will be a nice little break from the wet chill we have going on here right now.

5 Minutes for Mom is having another photo contest. This one is all about food. The photo has to involve food and the prize is a $500 grocery gift card. I know I could sure use that. The first photo that came to mind was taken a year and a half ago. It was the first time we took the girls strawberry picking. Alysa was covered in strawberries when we got home and she loved every minute of it.

posted at 5:20 PM  

Monday, November 10, 2008
The other side of Alysa
Alysa is a happy, smiley, silly girl. She is very loving and affectionate. Everyone at Kayla's school comments that she is always smiling. But there is another side to my upbeat, adorable, almost-3 year old. She is feisty and she has a temper, boy-oh-boy does she have a temper!

The other day, I had to put her in time out. She went on and on kicking and crying and yelling. Like any good mother, I caught the tail end of it on video. This did not make her any happier... She was pretty ticked about the camera.

Make photo slide shows at www.OneTrueMedia.com

I've included a translation for you as well...

Cue fake crying...
"No, I don't want to smile."
"I don't want to smile."
"I don't want to smile."
"I don't want to!"
"So let me out!"
"I don't want you to take me a picture."
"So let me out."

She's so photogenic when she's mad!

posted at 12:12 PM  

Thursday, November 06, 2008
Christmas time is here...
This morning on the way to taking Kayla school, she chose to listen to Christmas music instead of their CD's. They're all about Christmas now - they've already watched the Peanuts Christmas.

The next thing I know, I get this from Alysa...
It’s Christmas time Mommy.
But we don’t have a Christmas tree yet.
We need to get a Christmas tree.
We need to get a BIG Christmas tree!
We need the biggest heaviest tree there is.
You can’t carry the tree Mommy.
Only Daddy’s can carry the tree.
Only Daddy’s can carry the tree, because Daddy is big and you’re little.

No I did not get a word in here – that’s Alysa. When she starts talking NO ONE can stop her!

But I love that they love Christmas. I'm so ready!

posted at 10:51 AM  

Wednesday, November 05, 2008
I’m not surprised…
…but I’m scared…

But on a positive note – I paid $2.15 for gas this morning. Only $35 for 16 gallons!!!

posted at 7:51 AM  

Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Blocking it out
I did it, I voted this morning on my way to work. Now I am going to block out the election coverage and pretend I live in my own little world where neither McCain nor Obama will win. Ha! It is surprising to me that people are coming out in droves to vote this year. An election where I had to force myself to vote. With neither main-stream candidate a viable option for me, I could not muster any enthusiasm for today’s election. As I had to wait on line OUTSIDE, I was thinking. Seriously? What is making so many more people than “normal” vote? Don’t get me wrong, it is good people are getting out to vote (well, maybe not all of them – I want those who are informed to be first in line), but what about this election is making people who usually ignore elections want to get out and vote so eagerly?

This is the first election that I have not only, not voted Republican, but the first one where I have voted for a third party candidate. A change for me, but I really need to stay true to my values. Isn’t that what elections are supposed to be about, our individual values and freedoms? Individual freedoms – you know the whole concept this country was founded upon – something forgotten by so many.

Now I will spend the rest of the day listening to Christmas music and turning the volume down during the incessant political commercials. Yes, it is a bit early for Christmas music, but…with a local station already on the Christmas bandwagon and me needing an escape from the day’s unfolding election, I a more than happy to fast-forward to Christmas! Anyone want to join me?

posted at 9:48 AM  

Sunday, November 02, 2008
Making Daddy proud
Lately, I've been hearing about the secret playground that Daddy takes them to. No I had no clue where this playground was and I was perfectly happy to take them to the little one by our house. But the girls are playground hoppers - they love to switch it up. And lucky for us we have quite a few small playgrounds around us which means no craziness in keeping track of them with only one of us with them.

So last Wednesday, when I picked Kayla up from school, she asked to go to the secret playground. I told her I did not know where it was. On our way to pick Alysa up at the babysitter's, we passed by a road and Kayla yelled out - "That's it Mommy. That's where the secret playground is. That is the road Daddy takes!"

So after I picked up Alysa, I backtracked and took that road. From that road, she told me where to turn and took me directly to this secret playground. I will admit, I was quite impressed with her ability to give me directions. Is it normal to get driving directions from a 4 year old? :)

Unfortunately, we were unable to stay and play there, because there is a reason it is a secret playground. It is in a development, but it set way back from the street with a somewhat "narrow" opening through trees. Then there is large tennis court in a clearing and then quite aways behind the tennis court is the playground. The playground is pretty secluded. As I was walking them back to the playground, I saw there was a man just sitting on the playground with no one else with him. It made me very uncomfortable. What is a grown man doing on the playground (that is close by to a school) by himself? With it being so secluded, it gave me a bad vibe and I decided it would not be on the safe side to take the kids back there by myself. Kayla was quite devestated, but luckily calmed down enought enjoy the little playgound (aka LP) for a bit.

J was very impressed with his Big Girl!

posted at 1:24 PM  

Saturday, November 01, 2008
Halloween Adventures
Well, Halloween didn't exactly go the way I envisioned. To say it was an interesting and eventful Halloween is an understatement. Kayla ended up with a non-food-related ER visit. The day started out great with the very successful Halloween party and parade at Kayla’s school. The girls then relaxed in the early afternoon while we waited for my girlfriend Filva, her husband Chris and their sons, Logan & Nick to get here. Shortly after they arrived, Kayla was excited and spinning around in the playroom when she fell and landed on her face and her one top tooth went through her bottom lip. The whole thing was kind of a blur. I knew right away she cut her lip and I swooped her up and ran into the kitchen to get a paper towel. It was then I saw it went all the way through (*shudder*). I just looked at Filva and said, I have to go to the ER – she was like Yeah! It then occurred to me, hey, I have another child. They offered to watch Alysa and then I was trying to figure out how to drive her there and keep pressure on her mouth. Filva offered to go with me if I was OK with Chris watching Alysa. I was immediately like OK and I grabbed towels, my wallet and her epi pens and ran out the door with Filva. Now, on a good day, I can’t get Alysa’s car seat out of the van (those tether straps are mommy-proof), so I knew it wouldn’t happen then. Filva offered to drive and I sat on the floor of the van and held the towel to Kayla’s mouth and tried to keep her calm. It wasn’t until later that I realized I’d left Alysa with a man, that to her, was a stranger (it was the first time we had met each other’s kids). I’m sure Alysa won’t be nominating me for Mother of the Year anytime soon. Thankfully the ER was pretty empty and we got right back (after registration, etc). The doctor checked her teeth (they are fine) and her wound. She told us that she did not need stitches, which totally surprised me. They don’t stitch inside the mouth because there is an increased chance of infection and she said the kids just chew the stitches out before the numbness wears off (NICE!). The outside of her lip was actually smaller and very clean. So they just cleaned her lip really well, gave her some Neosporin on the outside with a pretty band aid and she was good to go (well as good as she could be considering). Kayla was a trooper and never flinched when they cleaned her lip. Of course, Filva had found her a cartoon to watch on TV, so the doctor could barely even get her to acknowledge her let alone answer her questions. Sometimes it's good to have a couch potato-wannabe.

Last night, she tried to eat some eggs for dinner, but it hurt too bad. She tried yogurt, but that hurt and finally she fought through the pain to have an ice pop. She had fun trick-or-treating although it hurt her to smile. After trick-or-treating, she would not take my “we’ll save your candy for when your lip is better” speech. She had waited for candy for weeks and she was not about to let a gaping hole in her lip get in her way. I stuck to no skittles and starburst, but the Dots were soft enough that if she ate teeny tiny bites, she was OK. And she also was able to take some scrapings/teeny bites of chocolate. She also had ice cream before bed. Did I mention we did not brush her teeth after all that candy? She slept OK and even sucked her thumb (see how addicted she is?). Today, she ate some soggy cereal and some zucchini bread and pumpkin bread muffins and eggs for lunch. So she’s definitely doing better, but I’ll keep her to soft foods in small bites. They put her on an antibiotic for 5 days to make sure it does not get infected. Not thrilling to me, but at least it’s only a 5 day course of it. She's also enjoying some extra tv and computer time. I don't have the heart to limit her much today.

Are you wondering how Alysa did with Chris? After we left, she said she wanted to go with Kayla. He told her she couldn’t and she said, “OK, let’s play a game.” That was it. She talked nonstop to him and played with him and Logan & Nick. J, of course made it back home in record time (hopefully without getting a ticket on the way).

At least Filva and I still got to go out to dinner last night after the kids were in bed. I sure needed to get away after the day we had! We had a really nice visit with them and I was glad they stuck around until almost noon today, so we had more time together!

Photos from Trick-or-Treating

I got this sign from Allergy Free Halloween and had some extra Boom Choco Bars on hand.

*No one asked for them, but we were out for quite a while and we don't get that many treaters on the cul de sac. But I'm glad I had them just in case. And they certainly won't go to waste in this house!

The girls

The 4 Kids

*Logan, Kayla, Alysa & Nick

The more full her pumpkin got, the more she kept droping her candy...

I hope everyone had a fun, safe and less ventful Halloween!

posted at 3:12 PM  


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