Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Favorite

I actually thought of something to write about this week!

I give you this week's Friday Favorite, my favorite college band: The Nadas.

I was introduced to the Nadas my freshman year of college. My short-lived college boyfriend was the younger brother of one of the lead singers. He took me to a show and I was hooked.

The Nadas are a large part of my college soundtrack. I would go to as many shows as possible. I would listen to them while studying, while getting ready, while driving home, pretty much whenever I could.

I met the hub at a Nadas show my senior year of college. He was in town visiting a friend and they went to the show because the hub's friend was fraternity brothers with some of the guys in the band. I went because it was the Nadas. So, really, if it weren't for the Nadas, we might not have ever met. Thanks, guys.

The group has an ecclectic sound. It's kind of rock meets alternative meets folk meets a touch of country meets really awesome. They are a huge part of our state capital's art/music scene and are great ambassadors for the state. Plus their live shows rock. They're just a fun group of guys to listen to.

I even managed to get my oldest sister hooked on them, and now she goes to more shows than I do. I hope I can get to a show again, soon. There's nothing like a packed bar singing along with every song.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Facelift

I'm working on giving my blog a facelift, but it is some slow going, y'all.

I like to think I'm smarter than the average bear when it comes to web design (thank God for Dreamweaver!) but this is making me think too hard.

And I'm a purist - I like to come up with my own graphics, etc...

I have all these great programs at work (aforementioned Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc...) but, again, pesky things like real work get in the way. Hmph.

In the mean time, I leave you with an oldie, but goodie of the kiddo with his great grandmas (the hub's grandma's) from two years ago. Those grandmas, such a bad influence!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A few minutes

While the kiddo is playing with the hub and the kidlet is entertained by the mirror while doing tummy time.

I am extremely grateful that I have such an understanding and generous employer who lets me take half days all week so I can stay home with my sick kiddo.

She was feeling much better by the end of the week, though, don't you think?
She'll be 4 months in a week and she's finally starting to show us her personality. I won't lie, I was somewhat concerned for a bit when she wasn't smiling much (I know my sister will laugh at me for that), but now we're privvy to the wide open, gummy-mouthed smiles and high-pitched squeals of joy.

So, because I was only at work for half days all last week and actually had to do, well, real work, I wasn't able to do some of the things I'd wanted for my blog. Like update it. Or do a Friday Favorite (though, honestly, I didn't really know what I would post about on Friday, anyway). Or work on some new design elements and make it all purty-like.

I thought back and figured out that I haven't had a full week at work since maybe the second week of December, if even then. I've either had days off for holidays, sick kids, closed daycare or a combination of those. I'm hoping to make it all week next week.

Because even though I do have a very generous and understanding employer, I also feel extremely guilty for having to take so much time off, especially after I had just taken two months for maternity leave.

So how I make up for it, in my mind, is to not take all my vacation time for the year. I figured it out - I have roughly 20 days off for vacation/personal time. Sick days aren't counted unless they become excessive. This year I have plans to take off approximately 6 days here and there throughout the year for vacation, with another 2-3 potential days for the times when daycare has an inservice or I need to clean the house before a big birthday party. That means I'll only have probably used up half my vacation time by the end of the year. We don't accrue vacation days, if you don't use it, you lose it. So I'll lose it, but that's okay. It'll all even out in the end.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nobody leaves this place without singin the blues

The kidlet has RSV (8 cases in her room at daycare alone) so I've been home with her in the mornings all this week. The hub and I trade shifts - I take the morning shift at home and he goes to work and then I go in to work in the afternoon and he comes home. Thankfully, we have very understanding and generous employers who allow us this convenience.

I should be folding laundry or cleaning or doing something productive around the house, but instead I'm checking blogs and listening to Adventures in Babysitting on the TV (hence my blog title).

I'm stealing this meme from my sister. I think it's always interesting to read these. You find out some pretty interesting stuff you might not know otherwise. I would like to say my sister might be surprised at some of my answers, but then again, she also knows me well enough to probably not be surprised at anything.

1. Started your own blog - obviously!
2. Slept under the stars - one of the benefits of growing up in the country.
3. Played in a band - hs and college. Did "guest vocals" in a sorority sister's band a few times, too.
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower - again, one of the benefits of growing up in the country.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland - When I was 6-7. I'd like to take the family to Disney World when the kiddos get older.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo - quite a few times in hs
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. - does graphic design count?
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables. - Some day we'll have a real garden, but for now plants in pots will have to do.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight. - The fun of having two older sisters.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you're not sick. - Heh. I used to do this all the time in college. Not so much anymore.
24. Built a snow fort. - Isn't that what snow days were for?
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping. - It was college, what can I say?
27. Run a marathon-
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset. - All the time. Sunsets more often than sunrises, though.
31. Hit a home run. - I was a decent hitter in middle school softball. Even had a Grand Slam once!
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person. - Twice, though I was too young to remember the first time.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community. - A few times.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to truly be satisfied.
38. Seen the leaning tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David.
41. Sung karaoke. - Quite a few times. There's usually much alcohol involved, too.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt. - We had some great family vacations when we were growing up.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance - I was hit by a car my junior year of high school.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing. - The hub has, a couple times.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud. - I have a great story about getting the car stuck in the mud when I was in middle school (and obviously too young to drive) I'll have to share sometime.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie. - They filmed a baseball movie here a few years ago. I was an extra in the stands.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served in a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason. - Love the hub.
64. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma. - in hs and college.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. Bounced a check. - More often than I'd like to admit, though it doesn't happen anymore. Thank you automatic overdraft!
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy - My poor, tattered Snoopy is safe at my house now.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial. - Again, another great family vacation.
71. Eaten caviar. - I worked at a very upscale restaurant in London and had some there. Not impressed.
72. Pieced a quilt. - A few. We're crafty people in my family.
73. Stood in Times Square. - The last time the hub and I went to NYC, our hotel was in TS.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job. - Twice. At least they were just part-time jobs in college. One, they wanted someone who was actually in that field (interior decorating) and the other I was always a little late to work (restaurant in London.) It taught me to have more responsibility at least.
76. Seen the changing of the guards in London
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle. - There was a guy in one of my Psych classes in college who would occasionally give me a ride back from our lab.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person. - Yet another great family vacation.
80. Published a book.
81. Been to the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car. - Two, actually.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the paper. - Quite a few times. That's what happens when you grow up in a small town. Everything's news.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House - Like my sister said, we were there but didn't take the time for a tour.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had Chicken pox. - It wasn't that bad. At least I don't have the pictures to prove it, like my sister does!
89. Saved someones life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous. - Hello Dave Matthews!
92. Joined a book club. - It's loosely organized, but it's there.
93. Lost a loved one. - I think everyone has.
94. Had a baby. - Two, actually.
95. Seen the Alamo in person. - Church youth trip in high school.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit. - The guy figured out he was suing the wrong people, so the charges ended up being dropped.
98. Owned a cell phone. - It's my only phone, anymore.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day. - Sometimes two.

Okay, I suppose I really should do something productive, like get cleaned up and ready for work, while the kidlet is sleeping happily in her swing.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Favorite

I used to be somewhat up on movies. In college I had the largest video tape (yes, video tape) collection in my sorority house and girls would often come to borrow movies from me.

However, movies have taken a way back seat on the bus since having kids. Well, normal adult movies, anyway. Aside from the movies I watched while I was parked on the couch while on maternity leave, I couldn't even tell you the last non-kids movie I watched.

Oh wait, I guess we did watch the third Pirates of the Caribbean while at my ILs over Christmas.

Okay, so I couldn't even tell you the last movie I actually saw in the movie theatre. It's been a long time.

But I have one movie that I can watch over and over and over again and never get sick of it.

I give you this week's Friday Favorite: The Princess Bride
I can't even tell you how much I love this movie. I saw it, by myself, in my hometown movie theatre when I was 8. When it came out on video our dad made a copy for us which I probably watched at least once a week, if not more. I watched it while laboring with both my kids. I could probably recite it from beginning to end.

It's just the perfect movie! It has romance, comedy, action; is family friendly but has a lot of humor that adults can appreciate, too. (I will admit the scene where Wesley talks about Buttercup breasts made me giggle until I was about 17. Or maybe 27.) It's chock full of great quotes and references. Plus, how can you not love Columbo as the gruff grandpa and Kevin Arnold as the sick kid.

Hmm... maybe if the hub can dig it out of the basement (we took down all our DVDs and put them in boxes once the kiddo decided he liked pulling them down and rearranging them -- all over the living room -- more than watching them) we'll watch it this weekend.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Mom Chop

I'm rather fickle when it comes to my hair. I'm continually in a cycle of Grow It Out/Cut It Off.

Currently, I'm in my Grow It Out phase. But I'm quickly starting to rethink that now that I have a 3.5-month-old who tends to grab a hunk in her chubby little fist and hold on to it for dear life.

It doesn't even matter if I have it pulled up into a ponytail. She'll find the one piece that has inevitably fallen out and hold on fast to it. She often has strands of my hair woven between her fingers after I pry the death grip. It doesn't help that I've hit the massive post partum shedding phase and wonder how I have any hair left at all.

So there are days when I'm sorely tempted to call my hairdresser and just say CUT IT OFF PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD (that would usually be when she has a firm hold and is yanking my head around. The kidlet, she strong. We're contemplating baby weight lifting. Or maybe not. But she is insanely strong. And the grip, the grip! Yikes!)

I posted my hairstory here. While I don't know if I would ever go as short as I did in college (holy cow that was a complete PITA to grow out!) there is a small part of me that is begging for a haircut, for the sake of my scalp.

But right now the larger part is saying "it took forever to grow it out this long, just keep going!"

It's a battle royale! Well, not really, but it is a little mental tug-of-war. The only down side to getting it cut is that I actually have to think about styles and actually fixing it in the morings. It's so nice to be able to just pull it back if I need to get ready quickly in the morning.

But for now, I guess I'll just suffer through it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gotta love toddler logic

It started snowing last night around supper time.

We had a good amount of snow for Christmas (I love white Christmases, it just doesn't feel the same without it), but a lot of it had melted during a brief warm spell right afterward. So we were left with yucky, dirty, refrozen slush and patches of icky, crusty snow on our now [mostly visible] brown lawn.

We woke up this morning to at least 4" and still falling.

See:

This is the intersection right outside our house. (Pardon the extremely dirty windows!)

The hub cleaning off our neighbor's driveway. We have a lovely arrangement: he mows her lawn/shovels snow and in return we get chocolate chip cookies and free babysitting. And both she and the hub think they're the one getting the better end of the deal.

The kiddo, upon seeing all the snow, declared: "It's snowing! And Santa will be here soon!" So, in the kiddo's mind snow=Santa.

Hoo boy. How do we go about explaining that one? We live in the Midwest, there's at least two more solid months of winter weather left.

In other news, it's actually been a somewhat productive day, despite having to get up and give the kidlet her bottle at 5 am (and her taking for.ev.er. to drink it) and then being awakened by the kiddo around 7 am. Thankfully, the hub took kiddo duty and let me sleep a bit longer. Currently, both kids are napping, I've washed the dishes, put away the two baskets of laundry that have been sitting in our living room for four days and started a load of the kidlet's laundry. I need to figure out our meal plan for the week and write up a shopping list so I can go to the grocery store in a bit. We're completely out of milk and dangerously low on bread.

But there's always time for playing around on the internet!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Favorites

I'm going to try something new. In an attempt to keep my blogging more consistent, I'm going to try and make Friday's post about something that's a Favorite of mine.

This week's favorite: Tarte Lash Hugger Natural Mascara


I originally ordered this from sephora.com in late November when they had their awesome Friends and Family coupon special. I needed new mascara and, continuing in my efforts to use more natural and eco-friendly products, I wanted something that was paraben- and phathalate-free.

I found it in this mascara.

[quick sidenote: I love Sephora. I think my version of heaven is a combination of Sephora, Pottery Barn and Cadbury chocolate. I'll be fat in heaven, but at least I'll be beautiful while I lounge on my stylish furniture.]

I will admit, it took almost a month before I was completely happy with how it looked. I think it just took time for me to get used to the applicator and the formula. I had been using Benefit's BadGal lash and, while I liked it okay, I just wasn't feeling the love that I've heard some people have for it.

Now, I absolutely LOVE my mascara. It goes on easily, with minimal clumps (and if any of you have found a way to apply mascara with absolutely NO CLUMPS, clue me in. I can't ever seem to make it happen, even with so-called clump-free mascaras) and looks faaabulous. I found out it looks better if I do 2-3 coats with waiting 5-10 seconds between coats. It even gets the stumpy little lashes on the inside corners that I could never get with other mascaras. And it doesn't irritate my eyes, which is nice because I wear my contacts about 98.37 percent of the time.

It's not a waterproof formula, so you will have the occasional smudge (and nowhere does it say it's smudge-free) but they're easily removed with a damp q-tip.

I'm slowly working on finding more natural/organic/eco-friendly products for the rest of the family's toiletries. I've found a good place to do research is Skin Deep's cosmetic database. It can be a bit preachy in places, but it's got loads of information and rates the products on a scale, so you can see how what you're currently using stacks up.

Now, let's see if I can keep up with my Friday Favorites next week!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Meet my new boyfriend


Well, I don't know if it's technically a "boy" but this little beauty has taken a firm hold in my life. It was the hub's big gift to me this Christmas - a 2nd generation iPod Touch.

His name is Sweetums, after the big, hairy Muppets character. (The first iPod I got was green, so I named it Kermit. The hub named the iPod Nano I gave him last year Fozzie. Now we have Sweetums. I don't know what's next - maybe Gonzo? Wait, that might have been the name of the hub's first shuffle. I don't remember. Combined, we've had five various versions of iPods.)

And I luuuuurve him.

He's so sleek. So compact. So Totally Rad! He's with me 24/7.

He's even helping me with my New Year's Resolution: "Get Fit" (which is actually titled "Lose All This Darn Baby Weight and Get Fit in the Process" in my head, but "Get Fit" flows a bit better. And it's much shorter.)

There's all these fun applications (henceforth to be called "apps") you can download from iTunes. They have anything from games to budget calculators to translators to To Do lits - almost anything you can think of, there's an app for. A good lot of them are free. Some of the free ones are definitely Free - they're kind of duds, but many of the free ones I've tried have been pretty good.

And so far, I think my favorite free [non-game] app is LoseIt.

When I've done weight loss goals before, I've always had to count calories. That's what works for me. I used to write everything down in a little notebook and I had a calorie counting book I rubber-banded to it, so I had everything together. But this is WAY better than my chintzy little notebook.

You put in your goals and the program automatically figures out what your per-day calorie goal should be based on your starting weight, your goal weight and how many pounds per week (up to 2, which IMO is a healthy level) you want to lose.

Then you start inputting what you eat (it has tons of foods already pre-entered) and it caclulates the calories, and selected nutrients, for you! Easy peasy! If it doesn't have a specific food, you can always enter it in yourself. It tracks your weight loss and even has exercise figured in!

I would love Sweetums just for that app, but he's so much more! He's an iPod, so of course he plays music. He holds photos (I just synced some cute shots of the kiddos to it last night, so I can show them to EVERYONE now). He's an address book. A calculator. A clock. You can even connect to the internet if there's WiFi available.

The hub accused me of loving the iPod more than him. Of course not. There are certain *ahem* things that only the hub can do (like change a diaper. I don't know what you people think I'm talking about!). But Sweetums comes in a close second.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hello 30s!

Today is my birthday.

I'm 30.

I'm sure some of you are laughing at me, saying "but you're just a mere baby!" but turning 30 seems strange.

30. It makes me sound so much more responsible than I feel.

I will miss my 20s. My 20s and I had some very good times. Maybe too good, at some times. We did some memorable things:
  • lived in London, England, for a summer
  • met my husband
  • took a major road trip with my BFF from college to a bowl game
  • graduated college and moved out on my own
  • got married
  • got a dog
  • traveled (NYC twice, Seattle/Portland, Shreveport, London, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and various other small cities and towns along the way)
  • had a son
  • had a daughter
Unlike my teens , I rather liked my 20s (and seriously, does *anyone* like their teens, except in ridiculously cheesy teen movies?). It was fun. It was [mostly] spent free and unfettered. Until I was 27 and had the kiddo, we were free to do almost whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. It's doubtful we'll have that kind of freedom again until one of us qualifies for AARP, if even then. Sure, there were definitely some not-so-memorable (or memorable in a bad way) times, but on the whole, it was a good decade.

But, now, I'm 30! And I have no clue what this decade has in store. I'm sure it'll be great - watching the kids grow and change, and maybe even add a third to the mix at some point. We'll hopefully finalize once and for all where we'll live for probably the rest of our lives. Maybe I'll even figure out what I'm going to be when I grow up.

After some coaxing from the hub (and pausing Thomas the Tank Engine playing on the TiVo), the kiddo finally wished me a "Happy Birthday!" followed by a big hug :) If my 30s are filled with more moments like that, I don't mind getting older.