Friday, November 30, 2007

Ode to FLOR Carpet Tiles

Ode to FLOR Carpet Tiles

FLOR Carpet tiles how I love thee! Let me count the ways...

1) Your were so easy to install, just two hours and your beauty covered our ugly linoleum floor.

2) You cleaned up so easily when, at the debut party in our newly remodeled basement family room, Jeff spilled his entire bottle of beer on you.

And now my love is complete.

3) Last night Lucas puked all over ten of your lovely tiles and this morning those tiles are clean and drying in the laundry room while ten perfect tiles have taken their place.

FLOR, will you marry me? (Abel's love is just as strong. I know he won't mind.)

Yours in devotion forever,
Smiling Mama

Thursday, November 29, 2007

An introduction to Christmas

This will be Lucas's third Christmas. In many ways, though, it feels like it is really his first.

On his actual first Christmas, Lucas was only 3 days old! We came home from the hospital on Christmas Eve. What a wonderful Christmas gift he was to us! On his second Christmas, Lucas was 1 year, 3 days old. We were at my in-laws that year and he loved the tree and decorations but of course didn't really understand any of it.

Over the past week we've introduced Lucas to Santa and baby Jesus. He is excited about both of them. Introduction to Santa came through watching The Polar Express. We watched it over the course of two days and Lucas just loved it. He was riveted. Introduction to baby Jesus came through an Advent gift from my parents (actually given a little early, though, at Thanksgiving) of the Little People Nativity. We talked about baby Jesus, His mama Mary and dada Joseph. We also gave baby Jesus kisses!

Last night after Lucas went to sleep, Abel and I put out all our decorations (except the tree which we will hopefully do this weekend). I love decorating. So many of my decorations have very sentimental meaning to me.

This morning when Lucas came downstairs he looked around and said "wow".

I am so excited about this season of Advent and the opportunity to share it with Lucas!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Works for Me! Library Books

Rocks in my Dryer was one of the first blogs I discovered when I started reading blogs and I love it! I'm so excited to participate in Shannon's Works for me Wednesday blogging extravaganza for the first time!

What works for me? Library books!

I've been working at my current job for just over 1.5 years and have only purchased 1 new book in that entire time! I work at a university and we're in a library consortium with many other local universities. I estimate that I read about 16 books each year, just over one each month. (And, since I've joined a second book club recently, this average is bound to increase!)

What do I do? I get all my books from the library!! (The one exception is the first book for my work book club, ironically, it was so new it wasn't available for checking out of any of the consortium libraries!)

If we assume I've read about 24 books in the last 1.5 years and that new books cost an average of $15 (these have mostly been books already in paperback) then I've saved approximately $360 since starting this job!

The Library Works for Me!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A hit and a miss

I've always assumed we'd potty train Lucas this summer when he's 2 1/2. But, over the last month or so he's been exhibiting many of the signs of being "ready". He knows when he has pooped. Sometimes he tells us in advance. He is very interested in the toilet and in us using it. So, a few weeks ago we decided we'd by a potty chair to let Lucas get used to it. Abel took on this errand and came home with three different choices!

For the first week or so, Lucas got a kick out of sitting on the little potty chairs in his clothes or with only a diaper. Then, two days ago, he asked to sit on the toilet! So, we pulled out the 3rd option Abel purchased which was a seat you put over the regular toilet seat to essentially make the hole smaller. We put Lucas up on it last night while getting him ready for bed. He loved it! Oh my goodness, he looked so funny sitting up there reading a book with his "snaked" legs dangling down.

After several minutes he even peed a little bit! I think it surprised all of us, especially him! Abel and I went crazy cheering for him and he was so proud of himself. He hopped down, we washed his hands and then he ran away. After flushing, I walked around the corner to find him in our bedroom, hiding in the corner at the head of MY side of the bed with a HUGE puddle at his feet.

And so it begins!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Our little entertainer

At one point on Thursday my mom turned to me and said, 'And they wonder why all 5 year olds think they are the center of the universe.'

Lucas had a great weekend. Basically from Wednesday afternoon through bedtime last night (Sunday) he had a captive audience to entertain and be entertained by. And boy did he love it! He reveled in it. He danced. He sang. He laughed. He tickled. He provoked being tickled. He ran. He hid. He seeked.

And, he totally impressed me. This kid is awesome. He is thoroughly enjoyable (unless he's not!). He loves to smile and laugh. He loves to make others smile and laugh. At church on Sunday he was better than he has been (but still not great). I couldn't bring myself to shush him when he clapped and said "yay" after every song!

Back to reality today, though.

The last of the relatives departed this morning at 5am. I'm ready for some major attention withdrawal symptoms this week!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I, Elinor

I've just finished reading Pride and Prejudice for my book club. Oh how I loved it! This was the first time I've ever read Jane Austen! I just can't figure out how I made it through High School AP English and a strong liberal arts undergraduate program without reading Jane Austen! I guess, as one of my friends said, no program can really cover all the classics. And, I have read many, many classics. In fact, one of my favorite courses in college was "Women in Love: The Novel in Europe and the Americas". I'll never forget that course title because I think it must be one of the best titles out there. It was taught by three amazing professors. And we read wonderful novels. I think there were about 15 of us in the class. What wonderful discussion!

But, I digress. (And, could I have any more ! up there?)

Back to Jane Austen and how I love and adore her so. Oh to be Lizzy Bennett! *sigh*

Next I plan to read Sense and Sensibility. Not least of all because I took this quiz. And got this result:

You are Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though you are tremendously sensible and allow your head to rule, you have a deep, emotional side that few people often see.

Oh, how does Jane know me so well? I am Elinor Dashwood. I must find out more!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The streak continues

The winning streak, that is!

Back in the day I worked for a business of three. I shared a work-space with my colleague and our boss was far, far away (well, only a few yards and three staircases) in her home office. We all worked hard.


In our line of work there were very very busy times and very very slow times. My co-worker and I got along really well. So well in fact that he was in our wedding and both my husband and I played a part in his.

One of the things my friend and I had (and still have!) in common is that we love games, love to win and are competitive. We also love to listen to the radio at work. (These days I listen exculsively to NPR, I'm not sure about him.)

Z104. Good old Z104.

The now defunct station had A LOT of radio contests.

And we won.


I'd estimate that we phoned in to approximately 5 contests a day. That only took about 5 minutes out of our days because we knew if we got busy signals for a solid minute we'd already lost. Between us 4 lines were being dialed (two cell, two land).

And what did we win? Oh, let me give you a list

  • Countless movie tickets (both of us)
  • Countless CDs (both of us)
  • 4 tickets and a limo to/from a concert of your choice (me, Janet Jackson concert--this was several years ago!)
  • 1 month of Boot Camp for Women by Fitness Image Results (me, AWESOME!!)
  • $1,000 in cool hard cash (me!!!!)
  • A trip for two to LA, 3 nights, limos, dinner, concerts (me, AMAZING!!!!)

We had a deal that we'd split whatever we won. So for the cash, I gave him $300 (accounting for the extra taxes I'd have to pay as the official winner). And, for the trip to LA to which I took my boyfriend and future husband, Abel, we bought our friend a humidor and some nice cigars. Boot Camp was all mine--I won it after we weren't working together anymore.

And, now, I am pleased to report, the streak has started again!

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to win a wall quote at Bloggy Giveaways. I'm so excited about this and honestly have had a really hard time choosing which one to get. Any opinions??

I've also won the most beautiful-looking book at Gift of Green. She's mailing it to me and I simply can not wait to get it!

I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what else this streak will bring my way!

My job is done

Last Friday I was able to take Lucas to our local playgroup. It is so much fun to join up with other mamas and kids and let Lucas release a lot of energy. Unfortunately playgroup mostly meets on the days I work but last Friday it worked out for us to go and we had such a great time.

Mostly Lucas ran around like a crazy man and played with all the balls, ride-on cars, trucks, etc. He did *okay* with sharing. And any disputes were quickly broken up by me or other moms. Luckily distraction still works pretty well when there are so many toy options and open space.

Mostly I had a chance to watch Lucas have a blast and to chat with some of the neighborhood moms. I really enjoyed it!

At one point Lucas was hanging close to me and he started tapping my leg saying "mama baby fall". You see, one of the smaller kids just started to walk and of course spent a fair amount of time falling on his butt. It didn't seem to bother him, but it sure did bother Lucas! He was very concerned for his little buddy. As Lucas continued to point at Ben saying "baby fall, baby fall," I asked if he wanted to go over and give Ben a hug. "Uh ha." So off we went and Lucas gave Ben a hug.

So now Lucas has demonstrated both good manners and a strong sense of compassion. I think my job as a Mama is done!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

More to life than lists?

Yesterday I just needed to vent. That Suburban Bliss post just really hit a nerve with me. But I don't want to give the impression that Abel isn't the most amazing husband and Dada ever. He is. In fact, just yesterday morning when Lucas woke up at 5:30am (darn you Fall Back for screwing with my kid's ideal sleep schedule!) and I couldn't work my magic to get him back to sleep, Abel got up and let me go back to bed until 7am. And, it was even "my day" to wake up with Lucas. So anyway, he doesn't plan ahead or appreciate my lists, but he does have other redeeming qualities.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Don't Worry Be Happy

I can really relate to this post from Melissa at Suburban Bliss:

The anxiety and fear I felt for that last hour was tinged with the worst kind of aggravation. I resented him and John for not thinking through the event. For not thinking to put a map in their bag, for not putting a couple dollars on them, for not doing what I would have done had I known they would be so unprepared.

I felt angry that I take ribbing for being 'anally retentive' and a 'worrier', when my worrying is what keeps my husband from spending an hour in hell roaming New York City alone after surviving 26.2 miles.

In our family I'm the planner. I'm the worrier. I'm the printer of directions. I'm the thinker of timelines. The maker of lists. I line up the babysitters. I think ahead about the fact that we'll even NEED a babysitter.

Abel: not so much.

He doesn't work out timelines and is almost always late. He doesn't make lists and often forgets things. He doesn't print directions. Okay I'll concede that he rarely gets lost. But still.

Then my lists get made fun or. Or simply ignored. Or they start a fight.

I get anxious and worry and am told that I'm worrying for nothing. That I should just chill out. That everything will be fine.

And yeah, it probably would be fine. But things sure do move alot more smoothly because of my planning. And that deserves some respect.

Welcome Home

Sending out a huge Welcome Home to my brother-in-law who flies 53s for the Marines. He returned home to Southern California from Iraq yesterday evening. We are all so happy to have him back on American soil safe and sound.

Welcome home, Mike! We love you!

Aimee, Abel and Lucas

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Please and Thank You

Every morning Lucas begs to go downstairs into our basement family room. Usually his ulterior motive is to watch some morning cartoons or Sesame Street. Usually I deny his requests at least until I've gotten myself some breakfast, too. But this morning he got his way immediately.

After two pleading "downstairs" he walked up to me and said "peeeesss". How could I say no? Down we went.

I was pretty excited about this development--I think it is the first time he's used the word please in an appropriate way and without prompting. He's been saying "tanks" for months and that always seems to impress strangers. 90% of the time he says it on his own without any prompting.

Of the many many things we might be doing wrong with this kid, at least he's got manners!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween--it takes all kinds

Observations from Halloween 2007:

1) Lucas is definitely still too young to get it. We visited a few houses of our neighbors. More to say hello than get candy. He enjoyed seeing some of the "big kids" come to our house dressed up. He HATED putting his woof-woof costume over his head. Maybe next year.

2) There is a new (or new to me at least) phenomenon. I'm wondering if it is common. There seemed to be quite a few parents in their cars (anecdotally these mostly seemed to be SUVs) slowly driving up the road as their kids walked door to door. Hmmm... Why were they doing this? Were the parents just being lazy? Would they hit a few houses then jump back in the car and look for another row of houses with their lights on? I don't really understand it. From what I can tell, most people in our neighborhood give out candy. Thus, by walking several blocks you can score a pretty good haul of candy. There shouldn't really be a need to drive. Strange.

3) I have a newfound sense of pride (and a little embarrassment for!) my dad. One year when we were pretty young my sister got sick on Halloween. She was devastated. So Dad (he's the one who always took us trick-or-treating) agreed to collect candy for her. I don't know why Mom and Dad didn't just make my brother and me share 1/3 of our candy. We clearly didn't offer but they could have forced it. Anyway, my dad sucked it up and collected candy for his sick daughter. I'm sure he got plenty of looks. But he did it to make Sarah happy. Contrast this with the 50+ year old man who came trick-or-treating at our house last night. At first I thought it was just a little ahead of his young son. But then the son asked for candy, too. I said, "doesn't he have your bag? I already put candy in!" The man answered, "Oh no, this is for me." Guess he wasn't embarrassed a bit. I'm glad I gave him the cheez-its instead of the chocolate.