Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Taking a break

I'm going to shut down the blog for a while (as if I hadn't already). To be honest, I haven't had a lot of inspiration for this the last few months and have also become extremely busy, both at work and in my personal life. I wish everyone well and will try to check in on others' blogs as I have time. I just don't have the ability right now to actually write my own.

Thanks to all who have listened to me ramble over the last year-plus!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Finally a break in the action

I've had a busy 4-6 weeks, to say the least, both personally and at work. Now, I finally have a break at work and thought I'd put together a quick post about Halloween.

Myles has big plans this year. He wanted it this way and I, of course, was happy to plan for him. Starting next weekend, we'll have tons of stuff going on:

*Sea World Spooktacular (first year trying this, as we just got passes through the end of the year)
*Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween (at Disney's Magic Kingdom)
*Trick-or-treating at Daddy's workplace (this was a blast last year)
*Trick-or-treating at daycare (again, a great time for him and I take this day off from work)

And of course, Halloween itself, which will include trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.

Billy and I are both dressing up this year - at Myles' request. I think I'm dressing as a witch and we're not sure about Billy. Myles has two costumes this year - his choice, a character named "Dementor," who is apparently on Harry Potter and looks very scary, and our "nice guy" costume, which he wanted no part of, a UPS guy.

For now, he's only wearing Dementor on Halloween and MAYBE at Billy's office. It's not appropriate for the daycare, Sea World or even Disney, IMO.

Regardless, we're planning to have a great time during this season and continue it on through Thanksgiving and Christmas. And to top it off, we start October with our first lows in the '60s. Aaah, comfort is finally on its way back to Florida!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Busy, busy

I was on a cruise from Aug. 29-Sept. 6 and am just starting to come up for air. Never knew how much it takes out of you to be gone for so long.

I'm way behind on my updates so here's a (very) quick overview.

1. Billy and I celebrated 10 years on 9.5 while on the cruise ship! We had a wonderful time and visited Cozumel, Costa Rica and Panama. You can see a link to our photos here. We did not take Myles and it is the LAST time we'll do a vacation w/o him. We missed him terribly and talked to him very little due to the sky-high costs of calling someone while on a ship.

2. Myles turned 3.5 years old on 9.13 and we celebrated w/ a trip to Sea World and a cute alligator cake that he picked out. I posted a couple of photos below.

I'll try to catch up w/ everyone this week. Hope you are all well!



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thinking ahead

Myles and I had a conversation this morning about Halloween. We are going to have a blast this year! You see, I have a son who is obsessed with villains. He will have a tough time deciding just what "meanine" he wants to be. He told me today he wants to be a ghost, but we'll see.

I do know I am taking him shopping for his costume for the first time this year. Letting him pick out his costume will be so much fun - and even better seeing him wear it! He talked the whole ride this morning about scaring everyone and saying "trick or treat." Heck, he's got me so excited, I may even dress up with him!

We are planning to take Myles back to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party this year, some Sunday in October. We had such a great time last year, it's a must-do for our family for the forseeable future. We will also have the trick-or-treating parade at the daycare to look forward to, along with, of course, Halloween itself.

I'm excited just thinking about it! Come on, October!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Myself Belts - hopefully a lifesaver


We were over at my friend Molly's house this weekend and started talking about school uniforms. She has 3 boys and her middle boy is in private school, where he is required to wear a specific uniform each day. She proceeded to tell me about these great belts she buys for him (since he's required to wear them at school) at a site called Myself Belts. She brought one outside so that I could see it and I just had to buy one for Myles!

Myles has never owned a belt and now that he is approaching 3 1/2 - and is wearing more little boy type clothes instead of toddler clothes, he needs them. Plus, he's a very tall boy and we often have issues with shorts and pants that are a little big in the waist but fine in the length. Just the other day, he came home from daycare with his pants safety pinned so they would stop falling down!

Myself Belts offers boys' and girls' belts that look like a regular belt with a clasp, but actually fasten with velcro, making them easy for small children to work with when they need to go to the potty. I received confirmation that his belt shipped today and I can't wait to try it out. I'll be sure to post how it works out!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Great quote

I had a rough night and rough morning with Myles. The timer is still working well but he is lashing out terribly and saying some awful things to us. He assures us he wants out of our house and wants to go live with his Mimi (my mom) in Ocala. He'll get that chance for nine days at the end of the month.

Anyway, I was extremely down today and feeling like a giant loser of a parent. I started looking for some inspiration online and found a great quote: "Be willing to let go of the good things so that you can spend enough time on the best things."

I need to take this to heart. Myles is that best thing. Time to start cutting.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Making progress with a 3 year-old

I have to say this: 3 has been a really tough age for Myles, Billy and me. Gone are the days of the sweet baby, and even the curious (but still sweet) 2 year-old. Three has been - at best - a challenge. Billy and I have often felt like we're drowning in our efforts to find the right approach to stop some of Myles' trying ways...and have been coming up empty time after time.

But now, we may be onto something. We bought a kitchen timer. I introduced him to "my friend Timer" and told him that Timer would be going off when it was time for him to do something. At dinner, he has 25 minutes to eat. If Timer goes off before he finishes, the dogs get what's left. At 9:00, Timer goes off again and it's time for bath. You get the picture.

Well of course, being a 3 year-old, the first night at dinner with Timer was a big test. He ignored our warnings and thought there would be no consequences. He played most of dinner, only taking a bite of applesauce here and there and completely ignoring the chicken on his plate. Well, Timer went off and I walked over to pick up the plate. He FREAKED out! No! No! No! I'll eat! You can't take my plate! No food for the dogs!

He put his arms around the plate so that I couldn't get to it. Billy and I were shocked. So we gave in. We put 5 minutes on Timer and said if the food wasn't gone when Timer went off again, he was done. He chowed down his food in record time.

The second night was much easier. We put Timer on the table, told him he had 25 minutes, and the food was gone before it went off. We gave him major kudos and told him over and over again that he had "won." He had "beat" Timer! (He's extremely competitive so one way to make him do anything you want is to make it a race.)

Timer is also working fairly well so far for bath and bed time. Could we be making some progress? With God's grace, we are. I don't know how much more I can take!

When again is he turning four???

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tadpole lesson

Billy brought home about 10 tadpoles Thursday night from our friends Scott and Dianne's house. They are now living in a glass in our kitchen, just waiting to sprout their legs.

Myles is in charge of feeding them their fish food twice per day and watching out for their legs to sprout. Dianne is also letting us use a neat educational book (good for 3-5 year olds) called "From Tadpole to Frog" to explain to Myles the process of how frogs come to be.

He seems fairly interested in them at this point, but not overly. He doesn't think to feed them himself (I have to remind him) and he usually spends about 60 seconds watching them eat before he's off to his play room to race his cars.

When they grow their legs, the plan is to put the glass outside so that they can hop away where and when they choose. What I won't be doing is this (see link). I'd have A LOT of explaining (and comforting) to do.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

August.....nooooooo (or yes?)

I hate August. It's because I live in Florida and August is always unbearable here. So when July hits and I start thinking about how close we're coming to August, I always start to cringe (although this July has been hot enough to compete w/ our typical August so how much worse could it get?).

It's also a likely time for a hurricane to hit and it seems to drag on w/ no holidays...just long, hot, miserable days.

This year, however, I have a reason to look forward to it. Billy and I have booked a Caribbean cruise that leaves August 29 and doesn't return until Sept. 6! Our 10-year anniversary falls on Sept. 5 and we decided we would really make it special. Since we never had a honeymoon, or even a real wedding, and since we beat the odds of making it this far when many people thought our marriage would fail, we are thinking we deserve the celebration.

Sadly, we're not taking Myles with us. I struggled badly w/ this decision but Billy really wants this to be our (very) late honeymoon. Who knows...maybe I'll get pregnant again! :)

We've booked an ATV shore excursion in Cozumel, a white water rafting trip in Costa Rica and a sightseeing tour of the Panama Canal and Panama City in Panama. So here's to NO hurricanes in the Caribbean that week.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Getting creative

One of the reasons I've slowed down my blogging is that I have decided to take up scrapbooking. I'm sure those people who know me are laughing right now as I am not a creative person when it comes to that type of thing. I'm creative at work, like with new ideas for events, promotions, headlines, etc., but about as bland as can be with fashion, decorating and other similar areas.

What started this is that I was going through photos on the computer recently and realized just how many amazing things we've done with Myles. And although they are documented in iPhoto, if our hard drive blew up, all of the proof of those memories would be lost. I was actually shocked to see all we've done!

So now I'm trying to start organizing it all through scrapbooking. If anyone has ideas, please share! I'm completely lost!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm a new aunt!

My brother and his wife welcomed their first child last night, Riley James. He was a big boy (almost 9 lbs) and is completely healthy. This is the first niece/nephew on my side of the family and I am so excited to meet him. We plan to make the 2-hour drive Saturday.

I've not been blogging (or reading) as much lately due to pure busy-ness. I've been much busier at work for the past couple of weeks and we seem to have a lot going on at home as well, between kids' birthday parties (FOUR since mid-June) and spending time w/ friends.

I also haven't had as much inspiration in the topics area so that hasn't helped. I guess I'm in a bit of a funk, heavily questioning about my career path, still dealing w/ the miscarriage and the never-ending string of pregnant friends (as much as I hate it, I always wonder why me), struggling to properly parent an increasingly difficult 3 year-old and not feeling like I'm really doing anything (work or parenting) particularly well these days.

I guess we all go through these times. Let's just say I can't WAIT for this awful 3 year-old stage to be over!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vacations w/ kids are hard


I learned this lesson over the weekend. We took a last minute trip to Mt. Dora, FL for the long holiday weekend and joined two other couples. Four kids were there in all, each under the age of six.

While I had a fabulous time and definitely want to do it again, I learned how difficult it is to take a vacation with a child. We've never taken Myles anywhere other than Atlanta and to the Florida beaches, where I always have loads of family around to help keep him entertained.

A lot of the entertaining fell on me over the weekend and when Sunday night rolled around and I was facing another workweek, I felt tired and stressed. Totally not relaxed.

On a positive note, this helped make our decision for our 10-year anniversary trip this year. We're going alone. It will most likely be the last trip we take without Myles until he's old enough to tell us he's not going. But since it's such a special occasion, we're going to do it. Now we just have to decide where to go!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Product Review - pet shampoo


I wrote in an earlier blog that I would be reviewing a pet shampoo soon. Well, I finally had time to wash the dog and the hypoallergenic pet shampoo from ecostore USA was a hit!


I have a pug and she sheds a lot and stinks horribly. I've been trying different shampoos for a while and nothing really seems to get her clean. I feel like I have to use half a bottle sometimes to fully cover her plump body and even when I'm finished, she still doesn't seem much better off than she was before I washed her.


The biggest difference I noticed with this shampoo is that, similar to the baby wash, it lathered up a lot more and I was able to use less and really have her whole body covered in bubbles. It smelled pleasant enough, although very similar to other pet shampoos I've used. I'd actually love to find a pet shampoo with a stronger smell (like the baby wash), since my dogs always seem to smell so badly.


I will definitely continue using this product, as it was certainly a step above the others I've found. I can't promise your dog won't stink after his first run around your yard, but at least you'll feel he's really been cleaned. All in all, thumbs up!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Board games - a free, fun, healthy family activity

Last night Billy and I took Myles to see Mr. Richard at Chick Fil-A. He plays there one Tuesday evening per month for "Musical Suppertime" and since we hadn't been in a few months, we thought it was time. We met a few friends and Myles had lots of fun in the play area and listening to a few of his favorite Mr. Richard tunes.

But what happened afterward is what was really special. We bought Candyland (the board game) for Myles this past Christmas. We play it somewhat regularly, with me usually recommending it because I'll do anything but spend another minute playing with matchbox cars.

Last night, Myles wanted to play, so all three of us sat down at the coffee table. Myles really understands the game now and LOVES landing on one of the picture squares (unless it's licorice - where you lose a turn - or one of the cards that sends you back to the beginning of the board). We spent close to an hour and playing four games! We played him fair and square and he still ended up winning three of the four. Myles is a very sore loser (he throws a major screaming fit) so we're working with him on how to both win and lose gracefully.

When we put him to bed, he seemed so happy. So were we. I went to sleep knowing we had spent good, quality time with Myles, investing in him and helping him understand another one of life's lessons. So many nights, we just sit down and watch a movie...I think this is a much better alternative.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Funny video

This video was taken in the car yesterday on our way to see my dad for Father's Day. I thought it was funny.


video

Friday, June 19, 2009

Father's Day is coming

I hope everyone is looking forward to a wonderful Father's Day. I'm still trying to get my husband to tell me if I can see my own dad on Father's Day (he's 90 miles away and typically, Father's Day is reserved for whatever Billy wants to do). This is a rare quiet weekend for us w/ no plans w/ friends and no birthday parties. Hopefully we can spend some time outdoors and I pray it's not too unbearably hot.

Myles is truly a lucky boy to have such a wonderful daddy. Today, they shared Father's Day breakfast at the daycare and he sang Billy a song he learned in class. He also made him some cute keepsakes, which I know made Billy feel really special. I don't say it enough but Billy is really an amazing father and a man that I'm proud and excited to be spending my life with.

Happy Father's Day, Billy! I love you more each day we're together.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lunchtime dash!

I don't know about you, but I feel like I have a never-ending list of errands that need to be run. And the list only grew when I had Myles three years ago. Since my husband is "not the errand type," I keep a running to-do list.

As a working mom, what time is there to get these things done? Lunchtime!

First off, I'm not big on spending money on lunches out. I go out about 2-3 times per month to connect with friends I don't see much and I bring my lunch the other days. So since I'm always eating at my desk, I can get out to start checking off my to-do list.

Sometimes, it's a mad dash. Case in point: yesterday. I made a short list, which included picking up some supplies that my boss needed me to purchase for the employee gym. I started at Stein Mart, hoping to find my dad an outfit for Father's Day. No luck. So I raced to the mall, where I had pre-purchased some foundation and needed to pick it up during the "free gift" promotion. Since I was basically out of the tester foundation they'd given me to hold me over, I needed to do this ASAP. Check. Then I ran to Target to pick up the work supplies and while I was there, I figured I'd pick up a birthday gift for a little girl whose party Myles will attend next weekend, as well as a card for one of his old daycare teachers, whose last day is today. Check. Finally, I'd had a rare coffee craving all day and since I had a coupon for a free McCafe w/ no purchase required, I went to the McDonalds drive-through to pick one up. I did all of this in one hour, ten minutes!

What I didn't get to do was purchase a gift for a little boy whose party we have on the same day as the little girl's (it's a joint party and I hadn't heard back yet from the mom on what he wants), actually BUY a Father's Day gift for my dad, buy Billy's Father's Day gifts from me and Myles, and buy my Mother in-law's birthday gift (June 22). There simply wasn't enough time. But that's on my list for tomorrow!

This may sound insane to some people - spending your lunch hours this way - but for me, it works. It saves me from spending money on lunches and gives me more quality time with Myles and Billy, free of errands. What about other moms? When do you get your errands run?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Best baby wash EVER


I was contacted to do my first product review and boy, did I luck out! I reviewed the baby wash from ecostore, a New Zealand-based company that offers "genuinely clean and green products," ranging from baby care to bath and body to household cleaners.

I'd been using a popular brand of baby wash on Myles for quite a while and the first time I opened the ecostore Baby Body Wash, I knew it was radically different. First of all, it smells AMAZING! When I finish washing Myles, I want to sit and smell him for the rest of the night. I even sneak in a few sniffs after he falls asleep! It also leaves his skin very soft and seems to glide on easier and suds him up better than other products I've used.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that it includes "no nasty chemicals" - as ecostore's slogan states. And it's good for the planet.

My only gripe is the cost seems a little steep at $10 for a 6.8 fl oz bottle, more than three times what I pay for a traditional baby wash. But since the smell is just so amazing and Myles himself seems to enjoy being bathed with it, they've turned me into a believer - and a new customer.

Check out ecostore's USA site at www.ecostoreusa.com. And enjoy!

PS - I will also be reviewing ecostore's pet shampoo...I just haven't had time yet to wash the dog! Such is the life of the working mom!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Layout issues

FYI, I have obviously changed my layout. This is just a temporary solution though. When I logged on this morning, my page was covered with Photobucket ads and it was basically unreadable. I did some searching to see what the problem was and it was something with my blog designer's personal page. Since I don't have the time at work right now to go and find a new design that suits me and this content well, I'm going with a generic design until I do have the time. Hope everyone is having a happy Monday (or at least as happy as Mondays can get!).

Friday, June 12, 2009

Welcome to summer

I live in Florida. Therefore, I despise the summertime and live for winter. Our 70-degree days from December through February are far more appealing than the 95-plus-degree heat we feel from June through September. And if I had it my way, I'd be out of here in favor of the Pacific Northwest from about May 1 through November 1.

I digress though. There are some nice things about the summer despite the blazing heat that nearly melts your skin. Vacations are #1 and Myles was on one w/ my parents for the past week. He did Disney's Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Blizzard Beach (the closest we get to snow down here) and spent many other days in the resort pool. Below are some pictures from his fun week. All I can say is I'm glad he's home!
Myles at Animal Kingdom









Myles and a snowbaby at Blizzard Beach










Myles and my dad in the resort pool

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Where are all of the working mommies?

I was talking to my co-worker yesterday about the need for so many "sick/personal" days when you have a little one. My place of employment only offers five sick days, four personals and ten vacation days until you've been with the company for five years.

Since I've had Myles, I burn through the sick days before we're halfway through the year and I always need to use at least two personal days for sickness as well. Then I have the daycare, which is closed for many more holidays than my place of employment. At my job, we only get SIX holidays. The daycare is closed for those six holidays PLUS six and one half additional. Well, even if my husband and I split those days, I've now burned through all of my personal days, plus a vacation day.

The co-worker then mentioned that when her boys were younger, she and her other working mom friends would take turns watching the kids on the days when they were scheduled to work, but the daycare was closed. They rotated holidays. What a great idea, I thought!

Then it hit me...in my circle of friends, I am THE ONLY ONE who has a traditional, 9-5 job! Yes, I do have other working mom friends, but they all have the type of job where they work when they are able and are not required to be in the office for 40 long, specific hours, like me.

About half of my friends are SAHMs. But I do have a few who work. One friend sells promotional products and does much of her work at home. She gets a sitter when she needs to go to the office, or puts her sons in a mother's morning out program. Another works for her husband...from home. Yet another is a wedding planner who works for herself and makes her own hours. A fourth works mostly from home and goes into the office one day a week. And another is a speech and language pathologist, who also makes her own hours and does her own thing.

When I come to realizations like this, I immediately begin to feel isolated. Like nobody understands me. Like I'm alone in this fight to help provide for my family while still trying to be a great mom and wife. Then I start feeling like I'm losing, even if I'm not.

I appreciate that I've met a few 9-5ers through this blog. And really, I know I'm not the only mom out there who works 9-5. Sometimes it just feels that way.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Back to reality

I took the last 3 working days off for a much needed mini vacation. I spent a couple of nights w/ family on Florida's Gulf Coast, then met up w/ a friend for a short girls' weekend near Naples. I had a great time, complete w/ a massage, pedicure, shopping, lounge time at the pool, tasty fruity drinks and a soft, comfy bed all to myself.

But the entire time I was gone, I thought about Billy and Myles...and how great it would be to see them again on Sunday. And it was!

Of course, I wasn't thinking that about returning to work. While my job has many perks, I don't think anyone actually wants to go back after a long absence. I have three hours left in my first day back. I already can't wait for Friday.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Little black cloud growing bigger

There seems to be a growing black cloud at my place of employment lately. In March, a co-worker started having serious marital problems. Another co-worker's wife had to have an emergency C-section at just 35 weeks due to severe eclampsia. She and the baby spent weeks in the hospital. Then, that same co-worker had his car stolen right out of his driveway just a few days after the wife came home w/ the baby.

Next, I had the miscarriage and another co-worker's husband lost his job. Of course, plenty of people at my company are losing their jobs...and have been for over a year now. I am starting to get used to it.

Now, in the past week, 911 has been called twice and both people were taken to the hospital for somewhat serious issues. Then, today, the co-worker who has been having marital problems announced she is getting a divorce...and may not return to work.

Wow...it seems this little black cloud that has parked itself at work is only getting bigger. And all of this bad news is becoming increasingly difficult to hear.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mom 'do?

So my hair has suddenly developed a bit of curl and with that comes a little frizz. I have hated dealing with it so decided there was no better time to chop it off. The hair desperately needed to be tamed since I was having no luck making it look descent. Plus, with temperatures now reaching the 90 degree range, maybe a shorter 'do wouldn't be too bad.

Below is a picture of the new, chopped hair. It looks very much like a typical mom 'do to me. I'm getting used to it, but I miss my long locks (although I do NOT miss the hair I had just before the cut). It's the shortest it's ever been and seems like it will be a lot easier to manage, something every mom likes to hear!


Anyway, I just thought I'd share a photo. We went to the St. Pete Beach area for the weekend to spend time with family, who were visiting from out of state. On this picture, we were enjoying our annual tradition of cocktails at the Don CeSar with my uncle and his partner, Lee. The picture was taken around sunset on a day that was incomparably gorgeous. I think I need to stay at Don CeSar someday.



Friday, May 29, 2009

5 reasons I love my husband

So since I'm lacking inspiration to come up with my own ideas today, I'm stealing an idea from the Moms at Work blog at our local newspaper. Today, Lisa, one of the bloggers, wrote about five reasons her husband is a keeper. I loved the idea...so here is my list:

1. He is a very loving and involved dad. He is willing to sit on the floor and play with Myles' cars for as long as he wants, or just while I go out for a run or take a few minutes for myself. He also watches Myles every other Thursday night so that I can go out with my friends.

2. He never (and I mean never) gives up. If something needs to be fixed, or if he needs to find an answer to something, he will not sleep until the task is accomplished.

3. He works really hard and often sacrifices his own wants for our family. I know he isn't a natural nine-to-fiver, but he gets up day after day and works his butt off so that we can have financial security. Meanwhile, I'm sure he'd love to live on a beach in Costa Rica.

4. He fills in where I am lacking. I struggle with patience and perseverence. Billy is extremely good in these two areas and helps reel me in when he needs to.

5. He has been there for me through thick and thin. Let me tell you, Billy and I have been through a tremendous amount of pain together. We have suffered losses together and we have grieved together. And through it all, I've learned that I have a man who loves me more than I ever knew I was loved.

I wrote earlier this month about suffering a loss, something I couldn't talk about at that time. That loss, which happened on April 27, 2009, was the miscarriage of a 7-week baby. And as I laid in that hospital bed, in severe physical and emotional agony, Billy stood with me. He cried with me. He comforted me. And he, along with God, was the strength I needed to get through it. Really, what more could any woman want from her husband?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Long weekends can be tough


I think every working mom looks forward tremendously to long holiday weekends. I know I do, especially Memorial Day, when I haven't enjoyed a holiday since New Year's!

But this weekend has been a little tough, as things have fallen through and the weather has been bad, leaving us scrambling to keep a 3 year-old entertained. Saturday we had plans to meet my parents and sister at their resort near Disney for the day. It was my sister's birthday and we were going to celebrate. Well, Florida has had nonstop rain since Monday and by 10am Saturday morning, it was storming and there were no signs it was letting up. We ended up at the T-Rex restaurant at Downtown Disney and even had enough of a rain stoppage to walk around a bit.

We had hoped to go to the resort on Sunday with two other families. Those plans fell through. Then we thought we'd go buy a Science Center membership Sunday, but we ended up just not feeling like it. So we watched TV, Billy ended up taking Myles roller skating (his first time) for a couple of hours while I took a nap, and we went to the PM church service. The day was mostly a bust.

This morning, we are finally getting out to the resort. And since Billy is adamant about seeing other people (other than my family) on the weekends, he convinced his brother to meet us out there with his family. We definitely don't see them enough so I'm glad it worked out. It should be a fun day, as long as the rain holds out.

But the weekend itself did not shape out how we originally planned it. And it has been stressful trying to make things happen at the last minute when everyone seems to already have plans. I'll have to do a better job for 4th of July!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

This had to have been one of my best Mother's Days ever! First of all, I am so blessed to have such an amazing and sweet child. It is a true honor to have been chosen as his mom and I only hope I can do a great job and help him reach his true potential. Secondly, I have a wonderful husband who I too often take for granted. He works very hard and is always there for me when I need him, through good times and bad.

With that said, we had a great Mother's Day. We spent it in Ocala with my parents, my brother and his wife and my sister. We spent some time swimming at my parents' house, then at my mom's request, we all went to see a show called Symphony Under the Stars. The show featured an outdoor orchestra playing medleys from several decades and across many genres. The music was nice and once the sun was mostly down, the weather was gorgeous. We all laid on a blanket and hung out as a family. A fireworks show concluded the event and Myles, of course, was in awe.

I am so blessed to be a mom. I should spend more time saying that. Happy Mother's Day to all of the wonderful moms reading this post. Hope yours was special too!

Friday, May 8, 2009

100th post

I guess I'm supposed to write 100 things about myself. Gosh...not even sure where to start. Or if anyone really cares. But I'll do it anyway...please leave a comment if you do get through these!

1. I am a born again Christian.
2. I will celebrate my 10-year wedding anniversary in September '09.
3. I did not have a "real" wedding...we just did it.
4. I really believe I'm married to my soul mate, although Billy and I are complete opposites.
5. I received a Bachelor's degree 10 years ago in Advertising/PR.
6. I currently work in internal communication.
7. I've never been at a job for more than 2 years and 2 months.
8. I tried being a SAHM and it wasn't for me.
9. My dream job was to be the PR director for an NHL hockey team.
10. I am a huge hockey fan, after growing up watching the sport with my dad.
11. I am the oldest of 3 children.
12. I fit perfectly into the "oldest child" stereotype.
13. I have one brother and one sister.
14. I am proud mom to Myles, my beautiful three year-old.
15. I've been pregnant 3 times.
16. I've finally made up my mind that I'd like one more child...hoping for 2010!
17. I have no preference whether I have a boy or a girl.
18. I think being a mom is the hardest job in the world (really).
19. I volunteer in my church every other week teaching 4 year-olds.
20. I don't get to church nearly enough to actually hear the sermon.
21. I never feel like there are enough hours in the day.
22. Most people think I'm organized, but I usually feel disorganized.
23. I wish I lived in a slightly bigger house (like, one extra bedroom).
24. My house always has work to be finished and it drives me crazy.
25. I took up running about a year and a half ago.
26. Running is the first real hobby I've had.
27. I ran my first 5k in April 2008 and my first 10k in March 2009.
28. My goal is to do another 10k in October '09 and actually get a descent time.
29. Some day, I'd love to run a half-marathon.
30. I always feel like I need to lose 5-10 pounds.
31. At 32, I'm in the best shape of my life (but I could still stand to lose five!).
32. I dress fairly conservatively.
33. If I had the money, I'd be much, much trendier in dress!
34. I am extremely frugal and keep a very detailed budget.
35. I was born in Texas and currently live in Florida.
36. I am not a fan of Florida, mostly because of the weather.
37. If I could live anywhere, it would be the Pacific NW.
38. One of my dreams is to have a home in the NW to live in during the summer and a home down south for the winter.
39. Another huge goal is to visit all 50 U.S. states.
40. Currently, I've been to 28 states and counting.
41. I am terrified of flying.
42. I have only been to one foreign country...Canada.
43. For our 10-year anniversary this year, I'd love to go to Peru. I need to get over the flying fear first though.
44. For a long time, I did not want kids.
45. I feel very disconnected at times with my childless friends.
46. I actually have very few friends.
47. I am blessed with a group of women in my neighborhood who have become like a second family to me.
48. I hate to read.
49. I love doing SuDoku puzzles.
50. I change my hair color about once per year. It's currently brown.
51. In high school, my nickname was Barbie (I looked very different).
52. I competed in beauty pageants in high school and early college.
53. I played the piano for over 10 years.
54. I've forgotten almost all I once knew in piano.
55. I don't watch much TV but am currently into The Tudors.
56. My favorite show is Mad Men, and I can't wait for Season 3!
57. I think I have a dry sense of humor.
58. I am a very good writer.
59. I am an average public speaker.
60. I am very insecure about my looks and body.
61. I am an extreme introvert.
62. Driving stresses me out.
63. One of my pet peeves is people not using turn signals when driving!!!
64. I have never been inside a limousine.
65. I have never eaten fish (nor will I ever!).
66. I used to have a serious jealousy problem but was relieved of it by God's grace.
67. I love going to the theatre.
68. I hate hearing live bands so never go to concerts.
69. I require at least 7.5 hours of sleep to be productive.
70. I am a proud political conservative.
71. I'm one of the few who will actually admit that I like Sarah Palin.
72. My career aspirations are much lower than they were 5 years ago.
73. My biggest goal is to be a fantastic wife and mother.
74. I love the spa but am too cheap to ever go. It's my Mother's Day request. :)
75. I do indulge in a 30-min. massage each month, given by massage therapists that come to my workplace for $1/minute.
76. I am beyond addicted to Diet Coke.
77. I am even more addicted to chocolate.
78. I could eat Mexican food every night of the week.
79. I currently have two pets.
80. These are the last pets I plan to have.
81. I'm thinking of training to compete in a triathlon before I'm 35.
82. My favorite music is from the 80s.
83. My favorite movies are Bridget Jones's Diary and The Devil Wears Prada.
84. My favorite holiday is Christmas.
85. My favorite season is winter.
86. My least favorite season is summer.
87. I do not enjoy the beach.
88. I love the mountains and the cool air.
89. My parents are both alive and I feel I have a very good relationship with them.
90. I wish we saw more of my in-laws.
91. I currently have 2 nephews and a niece and will have a nephew born in July and another niece or nephew in November.
92. I plan to sleep in on Mother's Day. It's what I look forward to the most!
93. I love burning candles throughout my house.
94. I have a hard time sitting still.
95. I very much admire my boss and will admit she's the #1 reason I am still at my current job.
96. I wish my company would offer a 4-day workweek of 10-hour days.
97. I'm very content with my life.
98. But I'm always striving to "tweak" things.
99. I've been through a lot in life but always come through it. It's only been by God's grace.
100. I greatly appreciate you if you have made it this far! :)

There you have it!

Mother's Day Tea

Today, I attended a wonderful Mother's Day Tea at Myles' day care. Take a look at the short video below. He is the boy in the gray shirt who is laughing hysterically, then jumping up and down (with the M on his shirt). It's moments like these that make being a mom so wonderful!



video

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Being a mom when you're sad

Last week, I lost someone who I loved. I am not ready to blog about it right now, as the wound is too fresh and too painful. But the whole experience took a part of me that I fear I'll never get back. It left me incredibly sad and hurting.

Through it all, I tried to maintain my composure and continue being the mom Myles needed me to be. That proved to be very difficult. I was able to take a few days off work - and I sent Myles to day care each day so that I could handle my emotions. But even after having the days to myself, I struggled with keeping up my energy level at night and having the pep that is so needed when spending time with Myles.

Even today, over a week after the loss, I'm not myself. Yes, things have greatly improved...I've been back to work all week and trying to carry on my life. And I guess it's helped that we've been so busy with swim lessons and planning for summer vacation. But I'm not myself. I know it and Myles knows it.

How do you cope with your parenting duties when you are hurting emotionally? Do you just go day-by-day and figure it out, as I've been doing? It seems I'm just going through the motions, including being a parent. I'm at a loss and simply hoping that emotional healing will come soon.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Crazy days

We have a ridiculously busy month ahead! Myles started swimming lessons yesterday, which he'll go to every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday for the next four weeks. After just one day of it, I'm already exhausted. I have to leave my office at 5:00 sharp to pick him up. We then truck to another part of town that there is absolutely no easy way to get to (translation: 40 min. in the car). Once we arrive, I quickly get him into his swim trunks, he gets in the pool at 6:00 for his 15-min. lesson and we get back in the car for the 20-min. ride home. Last night, we didn't arrive home until nearly 7:00 and dinner was not even started!!

I need to come up with a plan for managing this. Tonight, we're picking up pizza. But I can't do that three times a week!! I'm thinking I'll cook extra on Sunday night so that we have leftovers for Monday. But that doesn't help with Thursdays. Plus, by 7:00, Myles is ready to eat NOW. And I still need to get in my run, which is almost daily now since it's too hot here to do more than 2 miles at a time.

I'm tired just thinking about it. I need a run...and maybe some wine!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Empty-headed lately

I haven't had too much to say this week when it comes to being a parent. This is probably because I don't think I've been a very good one the past several days. We have been tossed head first into the throes of the Terrible Threes and I am L-O-S-T. My sweet, curious, entertaining boy has turned quickly into a defiant, button-pushing, not so innocent person that I feel I hardly know. No matter what we ask him to do, the answer is no. Likewise, anytime we need him to get moving on something, we are ignored. And the only thing that he will respond to at all is either sternly saying "You're not listening" or calling him Lampie, who is the bad boy on Pinocchio that turns into a donkey. He hates being called Lampie.

I am exhausted! My child has moments where I stare in awe...and not in a good way. His temper tantrums are back, including hitting himself, screaming, slamming doors and doing whatever else he can to take out his frustration and/or get attention. When does he turn four???

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Working moms and taking time

I have been guilty in the past of taking zero time for myself, especially during motherhood. As working moms, we often have a lot of guilt about the amount of time we spend away from our kids. How could we ever take even more time away from what little we already have with our kids? I subscribed to that guilt for about 2 years of Myles' life. Now, on the other side, I feel much different about it.

First of all, let me be clear: spending time with Myles is my biggest priority. With that said, I want the time I spend with him to be good, quality time...during which everyone is happy, fulfilled and fully engaged. I have found great happiness and fulfillment in taking a few extra hours each week for me.

Working is NOT time for me. Face it, most of us working moms are doing it, at least in part because we have to. Some of us to get some enjoyment out of spending time with other adults and thinking about things other than kids, but it still doesn't suffice as being real time for us. And we don't set the hours either. I don't know a mom (even one who loves what she does) who wouldn't prefer to work less hours. It simply isn't an option for most of us.

I spend most of my "me" time either working out or with friends. I run about 3 times a week at a total of about 90 minutes. I go out with friends every other Thursday for another 3 hours. I have a monthly date weekend with my husband and Myles stays with my parents for a couple of nights. And I try to squeeze in errands and a little shopping during lunch breaks at work.

It really isn't a lot of time, but it gives me just enough to recharge and treat myself well. It has also done wonders for my marriage and helped me build a good support network, which anyone could use! When we are together, just me and Myles or as a threesome, we make it special.

Motherhood - especially when you are working - is a balancing act. Taking time for oneself, in my opinion, helps you balance everything else with a sharper mind and calmer spirit.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Movin' on up!

I had a note in my box yesterday that Myles is being "promoted" to the three year-old classroom! The big holdup was his potty training...they even moved two kids younger than him up in January! But now that we're over that hump and he is no longer having accidents (and going on his own without being asked), he's officially ready!

April 27 is the big day for him and I know it will be hard. Once we got past our issues in December (see old blog posts), things really looked up and Myles has become very close with his teachers. They told me yesterday they H-A-T-E to see him go. From what I gather, he does a good job of entertaining the young ones in the class (who have just turned 2) and they also say he comforts all of the kids when they are sad or hurt.

For me though, this is a good thing. Although the teachers have been great, I'm ready for Myles to be more challenged and I think being with older kids will be good for him. The curriculum in the twos class is written for twos. For several months now, Myles has shown signs of boredom. He will now learn new skills and once again be one of the youngest in the class, meaning he'll learn from his peers.

My big boy is really all grown up!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mean words

Myles has been obsessed lately with the word "stupid." He tried saying it at school a few weeks back and was told by a teacher that it is not a nice word and that he shouldn't ever say it to someone. Well, that was enough to pique his interest and he's been nonstop ever since. We wondered where he heard it and finally realized it was on the movie Pinocchio. Every time he hears it, his ears perk up and he immediately gets wide-eyed. "That man said stupid, mommy," he'll remark. "That's not nice...no, no!"

It's actually really hilarious. Of course, I have to keep a straight face when he scolds the character on TV because he is oh-so-serious when he does. But it is funny that he's become so obsessed.

He also tells me daily about a classmate, who apparently says the word stupid every day. "T. said stupid, mommy!" Of course, I have to ask him what Ms. Monique said. And it's the same every day..."No no, T. Don't you say stupid, T."

I never thought I'd be so amused and interested by such conversations. But I am. And I have them every single day. This is the life of the mom of a 3 year-old.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Five - 5 ways to have fun this weekend

It's the weekend again! But I don't know how it is that the weeks seem to get longer while the weekends seem to get shorter. Ugh. Here are five ways to have fun with your child over the weekend, some of which may make the weekend actually feel longer. And of course, as is the norm with me, most of these things are free or very low cost.

1. Go to a local park. This is a staple of our weekend. We love visiting new (and tested/approved) parks to help Myles get out his energy with some monkey bars, climbing walls, swings and slides. And the weather is good for it this time of year!

2. Go for a long walk. OK, so I'd have to throw some running in there. But if you're not a runner and you want some exercise, take your child out for a walk in the evening, before the sun sets but after the temperature has started to cool. If you're not a walker either, try a bike ride.

3. Get some ice cream. After this, you may want that walk. We love to take Myles to McDonalds, Brewsters or Cold Stone for a sweet treat, especially when he's been a good boy.

4. Pitch a tent in your back yard. Myles has a shark tent that we got him for Christmas, that is currently taking up about a quarter of his playroom. He LOVES being in the tent, yet we've never taken it outside, where it is supposed to be! Task #1 is getting Billy to mow the ridiculously long weeds that have taken over our back yard. Then we can pitch the tent and spend time looking at the stars.

5. Go swimming. We may hit the beach this weekend. I'm not totally bikini ready but it's supposed to be hot here until Monday (when it dips back into *gasp* the 70s) so maybe a beach day would be nice. If not the beach, we can always hit my parents' resort, which is about 45 min. away and boasts amazing pools and probably isn't too busy at this time of year. Don't forget to pack a picnic lunch.

What do you like to do with your kids to make the weekend memorable and fun?

Monday, March 30, 2009

The trouble with Mondays

Another Monday has come and my motivation is low. I often think of how nice it would be to have Mondays off. Of course, that would make Tuesday tougher, but I could handle it, knowing there were only four days to work. 

My entire family seems to have issues with Mondays. For Billy and me, no explanation is really needed. We're returning to work. But even Myles seems to feel it. On Monday mornings, I have to practically drag him out of bed. He always wants an extra five, or 15 minutes of sleep. He isn't dripping with excitement about returning to school.

For me, Mondays are also awkward, as I struggle to get back into the work routine. I don't really become productive most weeks until Tuesday. Many of my co-workers are in the lobby outside my office chatting it up about vacations right now. Not a very productive day for them either.

The bottom line is Monday represents the farthest distance from the start of the weekend. It's like being on Mile 1 of a 5-mile run. It sucks, but you endure it, knowing you will eventually get to five. I'm counting the hours this week.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Off the beaten path

We took a step back to the quieter side of life this weekend (at least for a couple of hours) and visited a pick-your-own strawberry farm. I'd heard from a co-worker that it was a neat thing to do and with strawberry season winding down, this felt like a good weekend to try it!

We were fortunate that they were having a Family Fun Day, which included a free bounce house and free cotton candy in addition to their everyday favorites - a hay ride, zip line and playground. We spent some time choosing just the right berries, then went into the country store and got some homemade strawberry shortcake (to die for) and a strawberry milkshake.

Myles spent lots of time bouncing, swinging, sliding and LOVED the zip line, which he surprisingly needed NO assistance on! We also took the hay ride, which went around the farm, including to the back of the farm, where they grow Christmas trees for the fall/early winter. Ahh, that seems so far off!

After the fun farm day and TWO great birthday parties this weekend, we are pooped. But the weekends don't get much better!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Terrible threes?

I can't believe it's been over a week since I posted...not sure where that time went! So we've entered what many moms have told me are the terrible threes. I must admit I've been a little nervous about this stage. The twos were so stinking easy...I figured all these people couldn't be wrong. They certainly weren't wrong about the dreaded 18 month stage!

Well, I think I'm starting to see what they mean! He's been three for two weeks and like a light switch, he is Mr. Sensitive. If I'm mad at him, he becomes hysterical and runs to daddy, whining and crying all the way, "Mommy yelled at me!" This is the reaction I get even when I do not raise my voice, but am simply stern with him. And by the way, I only raise my voice when he's screaming so loudly that it's the only way I'm heard.

He is also now wanting to do EVERYTHING by himself. This is good and bad. Yes, I want my child to be independent and capable. But sometimes he really can't do something without help. At that point, he throws himself on the floor screaming. When I then try to help him and teach him how to do whatever it is he thought he could do, he throws an even bigger fit. Not being one who will tolerate a tantrum, I then look him in the eye and sternly say, "Myles!" And he then cries to daddy that I've yelled at him and the cycle starts all over again!

Yes, I'm in for it. I can feel it. Time to take a deep breath, brush up on my patience skills and add another night to my workout routine!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The weekend...Disney, a 10k and more!

I had a 3-day weekend from work to celebrate my big boy's third birthday. Myles turned 3 on Friday the 13th and we took advantage of the free admission on your birthday promotion at Walt Disney World. What fun we had!

Myles has been to Disney about 4-5 times. This time, he showed his first interest in meeting the characters. He met Mickey, Minnie, Ariel, Peter Pan and Captain Hook. He saw about a dozen others in the parade and the show they have at the Castle.

Of course, we rode as many rides as we could (including Big Thunder Mountain, which he is FINALLY talk enough to ride), but the lines were long and the temperature was hot at around 85 degrees. We ended the 10-hour day at the park by spending time in Ariel's Grotto, where kids run around in a soft play area with water shooting out of the ground. It was a perfect ending to a perfect birthday for Myles.

When he fell asleep on the ride home, I wished him one last happy birthday and cried at how much deeper my love grows for him with each passing birthday.

Also this weekend, I completed my first official 10k Saturday morning. The long day at Disney and my lingering sickness did not help me turn in a stellar time, but I finished in 69 min. 6 sec., which is certainly acceptable considering the limitations I was dealing with. I did have to do some walking...approximately a half mile, but I'm proud I finished and can't wait to score a better time (like under 65 min.) next time around! Here's a link to a photo of me coming up to the finish line at 6.2 miles.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

No more diapers!

After my sad sounding post yesterday, Myles informed me this morning he is NOT wearing a diaper to school. So I sent him off to daycare wearing his big boy underwear (with 2 spares) for the very first time. I expect accidents for at least a week but regardless...my baby is officially a BIG BOY! I'm going to need some extra snuggling with him tonight; who knows, I may wake up to find a teenager in the morning!

Joking aside, I'm so proud of my big boy. He's growing up so fast and amazes me daily with his wit and his insight. I have no idea how I created such an amazing person but I couldn't be more proud to be his mommy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My baby is turning 3

This Friday, Myles will be a big 3 year-old! I can't believe it! It doesn't seem so long ago that I was anxiously wondering just what day he'd make his debut. I really have vivid memories of holding my sweet baby as he finished a bottle and drifted off to sleep. I remember the excitement that came with feeding him his first solids. I remember helping him as he learned to walk, talk and think for himself.

Now, there is no holding him and rocking him to sleep. There is no feeding him since he can feed himself...and insists on it. The only "baby" really left are the diapers and we've bought our last package. The daycare expects he'll be fully potty trained for daytime by the end of the month.

What happened to my baby? I ask him this often and he always laughs and gives me one of his many funny faces. At least I still hear "I love you, mommy." I'm sure that will go the way of rocking, feeding and diapers before I know it.

Here's a photo of my big boy from Saturday's birthday party. Below that are pictures from #2 and #1. Somehow, it makes me want to cry.


#3










#2











#1


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Good reading

Every day, one of my first stops is to the Moms At Work blog, which is written by some editorial staff members at The Orlando Sentinel. I am acquainted with a few of the bloggers and the content is always varied, honest and sometimes funny. Since I find it such a good read, I thought I'd share it with the other working moms who read this blog. Check it out!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Gatorland...good, but mobbed


Billy and I took Myles to Gatorland Saturday, a place we've talked about going for a year but never got around to until we heard about their Florida Resident special that included $9.99 tickets. Since Myles is still technically under 3 (meaning he's free) and tickets are usually over $20 each, we decided it was now or never.

We hyped up the trip to Myles the entire week, leaving his teachers telling me all about how excited he was as he talked about it day after day. And then...at 10:45 a.m. Saturday, we arrived.

"Sorry folks, we're out of parking," we were told by the less than friendly parking attendant. "You'll have to park across the street in the pizza shop's lot."

WHAT?!? Full? We're talking about Gatorland here!

Then we saw the line literally wrapped around the building. And the cops directing traffic. "Sorry Myles, they are closed," I lied. I am NOT one for crowds and there was no way I was battling all of these people...for Gatorland none the less. But when Myles started whining and almost broke into all-out tears, we caved. After all, he'd been looking forward to this for a week and if we didn't go that day, we knew we'd probably never go. This was his day.

In the end, I'm glad we went. The park was actually a lot nicer than I expected. It blew away the pathetic Dinosaur World. It even beat out the Central Florida Zoo. We saw hundreds of gators, including four rare albinos. We visited the petting area and looked at the snakes. We watched the Gator Jumparoo show (craning our necks around the people in front of us) and the Gator Wrestling show. We had a nice day.
My only issue was, of course, the crowds. Gatorland is not built for that many people. Every show was standing room only, you had to wait in line to take pictures with the gator (see above), and the train (which we bought the wristband for) featured long 45-minute waits all day. We never rode it. Even food was hard to come by and we ended up having to walk across the street to a local Cuban place around 1:15 for nourishment.

I definitely recommend going but it isn't worth more than the $9.99 price. Maybe when their attendance drops (which I assume it did March 1), they'll offer the special again. If they do, just be sure to go during the week! And you may want to pack a lunch.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Top priority

I read an article today in which several psychologists were asked what they believe to be the single most important parenting role. Two of the psychologists basically answered with just "being" with your child.

Of course, other important roles were mentioned (or implied) by everyone...providing boundaries, showing unconditional love, and knowing what makes your individual child tick. But just "being there" is something that really stood out to me.

I've always believed in the importance of being there for Myles. With that said, I think if you're going to "be there," you have to be in the right mindset. This is a huge reason I returned to work. Being there 24/7 was mentally and physically demanding enough that I wasn't the person I really wanted to be with him much of the time.

So I wondered...is it better to spend 80 hours per week with him, 25 of which are probably great, 30 of which are so-so and 25 of which are difficult due to my attitude, exhaustion or feeling like I'm neglecting my own needs? Or is it better to spend 40 hours with him, over a much more spread out time period, with 30 of those hours great, 5 so-so, and another 5 not so good? It's obvious what we decided was best for our family.

I really don't look back. Aside from having some of the typical working mom guilt that society often places on us, I know this is best for Myles, me and Billy. I am so excited to spend time with Myles most nights. We plan really fun things every weekend. We make the most of our time together.

But I digress...I've already talked about this in previous blogs. The topic at hand is "being there." How exactly is one to "be there"?

For me...tonight, at least, I made sure to spend plenty of time focusing on nothing but him. Listening to him. Really hanging on some of his words. Making him feel important.

We didn't do anything overly special. We spent a little time coloring, we read a couple of books, we took a bath together and recited some favorite lines from songs.

But it was really nice. We connected through laughter, eye contact, and being the center of each other's world...just for those precious moments. I hope I was successful in "being there" for Myles tonight.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Photo tag

Mel at The Bubble tagged me to play this fun game...so here goes!

***Rules***
1. Go to your Picture Folder on your computer or wherever you store your pictures.
2. Go to the 6th Folder and then pick the 6th Picture.
3. Post it on your blog and tell the story that goes with the picture.
4. Tag 5 other glorious peoples to do the same thing and leave a comment on their blog telling them about it.

Well, I only have 5 picture folders on this computer so I'm choosing the 6th photo in the 5th and last folder.









This is a photo of my family...taken New Year's Day at Gaylord Palms' ICE exhibit. Obviously, we are sitting on a giant ice Santa's "lap." This was a really fun time...Myles LOVED the exhibit and went down the kiddie ice slide about 10 times before we all thought our hands were going to fall off from the cold. (It is 9 degrees inside ICE; very cold for Floridians!)

I don't think I have 6 people to tag, as I see that Jennifer has already done this tag. Here are a few though:

Pam at PTO Mom
Debby at L&J Updates
Katy at Another Mommie Blog
Jaime at Toodlepoop
Renay at Working Moms Make It Work

Thanks Mel...this was fun! (and I'm glad I got a descent picture and not something embarrassing!)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is it...or isn't it?

Myles has been going through this phase of saying the direct opposite of what he means. We'll be driving along and he'll blurt out, "That's not a BMW." Directly in front of us sits a BMW and he's staring at it.

A VW will pull up next to us. He'll turn to it and nonchalantly say, "That's not a Volkswagen."

It's driving me nuts! First, I would respond by saying, "Yes it is, Myles. You know what that car is."

Now, I've resorted to saying something crazy in response. So when he says, "That's not a big truck," I will respond with, "No, it's a jet!" He waits a few seconds, then responds with, "That's not a jet! It's a big truck!" Well...why didn't you just say so?

He doesn't just do it with cars either. I'll ask him if he had fun at Chick Fil-A (where we were for Musical Suppertime last night). He'll respond with a great big "No." My answer: "OK, we won't go back then." And of course, he freaks out saying he wants to go back...soon! When I confront him about saying just 10 seconds ago that he didn't have fun, he corrects himself and says "I had fun, mommy."

What he heck is going on? Can anyone relate or provide advice?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Myles's first wedding

My brother wed his longtime girlfriend on Valentine's Day. It was Myles's first wedding and fortunately, it was a casual one! The wedding took place at my parents' house in Ocala and only family and a few of the couple's very close friends were in attendance. There was no real agenda for the wedding, other than them saying their "I do" vows.

Myles was his usual, entertaining self. The highlight of his day was definitely eating a piece of wedding cake. I'm thrilled to have a new sister and thankful that we were able to share in this special day. Below are a couple of photos from the day.

Myles...doing what he does...leading up to the wedding









My family and the new bride and groom

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thinking about the day of love

My husband and I have never been big on Valentine's Day. Being a very frugal twosome, we've always viewed it as a reason to unnecessarily spend money and wait way too long for a dinner out that we could have enjoyed even more a day before with no crowds.

We also don't believe people should need a certain day of the year just to show each other they're still in love. Rather, it should be spontaneous...like a nice text message, a box of chocolates in June, or just an unexpected embrace accompanied by an I love you. We've always tried to integrate little things like that into our 10-year marriage and we feel it's helped us make it to where we are.

Now, with that said, Valentine's Day takes on a whole new meaning for me when it comes to Myles. While I love to spontaneously surprise Myles with candy, a new Matchbox car, or a night out for ice cream, I do want to recognize him on Valentine's Day. After all, the daycare has already been promoting the day and has already sent home a list of kids in the class, just in case we want to give out valentines. It sounds fun enough...I'll let him pick out the cards for his friends and we'll spend time together putting a chocolate heart in each envelope.

But back to mommy and son. The question is...how should I celebrate with my special little love? My first thought is to simply buy him a chocolate heart and wish him a happy valentine's day. But I wonder if anyone has any better, more creative ideas. Do you treat your kid(s) on Valentine's Day? If so, what do you do for them?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekend overview...the good, the bad.

Monday has once again arrived and I'm taking an early lunch break to do some blogging. I often wish I could only work 4 days each week...but for now, I need to be glad I have a job! I could sure use it though after a pretty busy weekend.

We were on the go Saturday! We started with an outdoor photo shoot, which I won the bidding for at the daycare's Christmas silent auction. The photographer was great...his assistant was awesome! She too is a mom of a little boy and knew exactly how to get Myles to act his best. We were out of there in about 25 minutes with NO meltdowns or incidents! Myles was fabulous!

From there, we took advantage of free tickets I'd acquired to the Orlando Science Center through the local ArtsFest, which is happening through Feb. 15. We were given complete access to the place, including IMAX tickets. We spent 4 hours at OSC, including seeing an IMAX about sea monsters. I was ready to drop of exaustion, but it was worth every minute.

We all took a LONG nap (until 6:15!!!) and spent the evening watching Peter Pan, playing with cars and just being a family. With the late nap, Myles was up until almost 11:30 p.m. Ouch!

Sunday morning began with church, where I volunteer every other week teaching 4-year olds. Myles loves his class, The Butterflies and today was very special. You see, I teach the same lesson to my class that he hears in his class. I, therefore, know what to talk to him about to stimulate his memory of the lesson. On our ride home, I asked Myles if he learned about Saul. "Yes," he replied. "Saul was mean...he was mean to Jesus!" I was so proud...the lessons are starting to sink in.

We did our weekly grocery shopping and Myles was amazing. I let him pick out a new car in Super Wal Mart. He wanted a Chrysler 300 with huge rims...hmmmm. Not exactly me or daddy's favorite, but he is his own boy!

We then went to a fun church picnic that they have each year for the volunteers. It was at our favorite park (the site of next month's birthday party) and included about 2 hours of all out play time! The day was perfect...about 75 degrees after a week of very cold temps.

To end the weekend, Mommy decided to go out for the week's "long run." Well, if you are guessing right now that I finally ran 6.2 miles (a 10k...and my goal for 2009), you would be RIGHT! I ran it in one hour, 7 minutes and am paying dearly today with two legs that feel like jello. Ah, the price we pay to stay in shape. I wondered afterward if I was out of my mind.

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

We can do anything!

I am on a new kick these days. After seeing myself accomplish things recently that I never thought possible, I'm starting to believe I (and all humans) really can do anything we put our minds to.

Example #1: running. Two years ago, I remember feeling frustrated about my post baby body. It had been nearly a year since I gave birth and I felt completely out of shape and unattractive. I tried running. I quit. My husband pushed me, telling me I COULD run a mile and I told him to butt out. After all, I knew my body better than he did, right? The weight stayed on. I remained out of shape.

I tried it again and finally got to a mile...in about 13 minutes. He encouraged me but was less than impressed, saying I could do a 10-minute mile if I put my mind to it. I was furious and again told him to leave me alone and let me do my own personal best. Again, I quit. It was too hard. I convinced myself I really never could run a mile...that one was a fluke.

Fast forward two years. As you know if you've read this blog much, I can run a mile. But guess what? I have run four 5Ks, with a best time of 31:18 (9:59 mile!). And guess what else? I am running my first TEN-K next month. That's 6.2 MILES! And today, I am 100% convinced I can and will do it. After all, I'm pushing FIVE miles on my own (4.65 last night) and still have over a month to add the last 1.2.

Running is the first thing I've done completely on my own and on my own terms. No one in my family has ever been a runner. And while I truly never felt I'd ever, ever run a mile, I now have my sights set on a half marathon in 2010!

What's more...while I'm not as thin as I was pre-baby, I have more muscle than I've EVER had, I went from hating my butt and legs to thinking they are pretty sexy and strong, and I'm truly in the BEST shape of my life.

Example #2...graphic design. Anyone who has worked with me professionally knows I love talking about how I'm NOT a designer. "I can write, but I'm not a designer," has come out of my mouth at least 1,000 times over my 10-year career. I've even refused to apply for jobs that sounded perfect for me...except that they wanted someone with basic knowledge of Photoshop. "Nope, not for me!"

Well, after a co-worker was laid off about a year ago, I was thrust into the role of HAVING to learn basic InDesign and Photoshop to take over a few of her responsibilities. I was more than reluctant and equally annoyed. But who am I to say no when I really need the job? I had no choice.

Today, I am still a novice at InDesign and Photoshop. But guess what? I use both programs on a regular basis with no supervision. I spent a couple of hours today producing some new artwork for our Cafe display. It's not gorgeous, but it gets the job done. And I can speak somewhat intelligently when making requests of real graphic artists. One year ago, I would have told you I'm not a designer. Today, I'll tell you I'm a designer in progress! :)

How does this fit into parenting? Well, I'm guilty of saying I'm not a good mom. "I'm not the mom Myles needs." "I may be ruining him." My poor husband hears me say things like this a lot. And I know it gets old for him.

Today, I'm looking at what I have accomplished this year (on my own) and realizing I can be a good mom! Heck, maybe I already am one! After all, I would give my life for my child and every decision I make is one I feel would benefit him in the end. Yes...I take time for myself. I run 10 miles per week without Myles. I have a girls' night every other Thursday. I go out on a monthly date with my husband. We're planning a vacation sans Myles for our 10-year anniversary this year. But those things bring me happiness. And doesn't a happy mom make for a happier child?

Am I always patient? Gosh, no! But my pastor once told a story of an interview with Billy Graham, who was asked how he could be so patient. His answer? "I have no more patience than anyone else. I just use mine!" I'll never forget that...and I think of it often when I'm ready to lose my cool.

We can all be GREAT parents, even if we think we lack some serious skills (patience for me!). We can do anything we truly set our minds to. Take it from someone who could never run a mile!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A cute get to know you game

My Blog friend Debby had this new game on her site to help blog buddies get to know each other a little better. Here's the way it's played...If you want to play, leave a comment on this post letting me know, and I’ll assign you a letter.

You write about ten things you love that begin with your assigned letter, and post it at your place. When people comment on your list, you give them a letter, and the chain continues on and on...

Debbie assigned me the letter:"F"

1) Family - from my amazing husband to my fun loving, adorable son, to my parents, siblings and extended family. After losing 3 family members in the past 2 years and seeing my dad battle cancer (he is in remission right now), this one has become much more important to me.

2) Friends - I am blessed to have long-time friends (Susan, Michelle, Julie, Marjie, etc.) and newer friends (Cherrah, Vicki, Katy, etc.). While I don't see some of them as often as I'd like - and some are in different states now - I'm blessed to know each and every one of them.

3) Food - I adore food...especially Mexican and chocolate! Enough said.

4) Fitness - I love to run. If you know me at all, you know this! I'm addicted to it. And after reading #3, I BETTER love it! I'll run my first 10k on March 14...just 2 miles to get to 6.2!

5) Frugality - I am cheap. Again, you know this about me if you know me at all. I watch EVERY SINGLE PENNY we spend. And sadly, I often fail to reward myself for something, just in case I need that money for something else someday.

6) Freedom - I hope our country always remains the land of the free.

7) my Father in heaven and his son, Jesus Christ. I am a proud daughter of Christ and am ever grateful for his sacrifice and patience with me as I learn and grow.

8) Fantasizing about seeing new places. If only I could get over my fear of flying...

9) Fantastic hockey games...these days, they are fewer and fewer. :(

10) Free things to do. Check out ArtsFest in Orlando from Feb. 6-15. This is a perfect example of the many things you can enjoy without breaking the bank.

That was harder than I thought once I got past #5. Thanks Debbie for a great letter!

Again, if you want to play, post a comment and I'll send you a letter.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Again, again!

I've been hearing these words from Myles since Saturday night, as we left Old Town in Kissimmee shortly before 10pm. Of every place we've been, Old Town is more perfect for Myles than any other. It combines his two favorite things: old cars and rides!

Honestly, I can't believe it took us almost 3 years to make it to this place. I remember it being like a ghost town back in the day...a place nobody really went. But somebody knew what they were doing because that place was wall to wall people and nonstop action. A total of 190 classic cars (older than 1974) were on display (as they are every Saturday night) for all to see. At 8:30, they lined up for their Saturday night cruise down Main Street. Myles could not get enough! Music from the 50s and 60s was blaring (mostly played by a live band) and people were dancing. Myles even danced in the street with a handful of ladies.

Once the parade ended, we walked to the back of the attraction and rode some of the rides. There were probably 10-12 rides, many of which were for kids. My personal favorite was the Tilt-A-Whirl, which we all rode together. Myles loved the kiddie coaster and rode it THREE times. When our tickets were gone, we told him the night was over and we needed to get home. After all, it was 9:45. He screamed, kicked, protested, you name it. When we got into the car, all I heard was "Again, again, again! I wanna go to Old Town again!"

"We will, sweetie. I promise."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Back from my blogging holiday

Okay, I admit it's been over 3 weeks since I have posted on this blog. Truth is, I've stayed very busy, between returning to work on Jan. 5 with lots to do, celebrating my birthday on the 9th, badly bruising my tailbone on the 12th, continuing to train for my next 5k and upcoming 10k (although taking a week off after the tailbone incident), and carting Myles around to various places and events. It's all been fun. Well, except for the tailbone injury.

Today, I am making an attempt to get back into the swing of blogging by talking about making weeknights fun. This is so much tougher than weekends, after working a full day and needing to cook dinner, give baths, etc. Time is very limited.

For us, we try to devote two of the five weeknights to something fun for Myles. At minimum, we take one night per week. Last night was one of those nights, as we went to see Mr. Richard's monthly free show at a local Chick Fil-A. We hadn't been in about two months to this event and Myles was so thrilled to be there! He spent lots of time dancing, gave two song requests, and spent about a half hour in the indoor playground. It only cost the three of us $15 for the night and we were well fed and smiling from a lighthearted, fun night.

Another weeknight option is local library storytimes. Our local library just stopped offering their nighttime storytime, but I know many libraries still do. It's free and relaxing. Sometimes, we just go and get ice cream at night. Sometimes, we brave Chuck E Cheese, which is always more pleasant on a weeknight than a weekend. When daylight savings begins, we visit local parks at dusk.

There are lots of options and many are very low cost. For my family, it's good to reconnect on Myles' level more than just on the weekends. Even if it means a little later bedtime than normal.