Saturday, February 28, 2009

Only in Washington

A few weeks ago, Abel and I went to our parish school's Casino Night fundraiser. As part of the festivities (and money raising) they held a silent and live auction as well. Abel was just itching to bid on something in the live auction and ended up winning us 2 tickets to the Washington Wizards v. Chicago Bulls game which was last night. Despite living in the DC-area for many, many years we'd only been to one other Wizards game--when Michael Jordon was playing for them. Neither of us are huge fans of basketball but he ended up winning the tickets for less then the face value of one ticket so we were happy to have a basketball date night.

As we approached the arena we noticed that the lines were coming out the door. That was strange, we'd never seen anything like that before. When we got in, we realized that the Secret Service was there checking every bag and putting each person through the magnetometer.

Was Obama there?

It would make sense. We all know he's a huge basketball fan and the Bulls are his home team.

When we got to our seats, I started scanning all the boxes for some sign that the President might be up there. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, though. Then, just a few minutes into the game, the crowd erupted! President Obama and about six other guys walked in and took seats on the floor! Wow! The crowd went wild. Can you imagine the players? Playing through those cheers: cheers that weren't for them but were for the biggest person they could ever hope to have in their stands? Wow!

Our auction-won tickets were pretty great--we were directly behind one of the baskets, about 22 rows off the floor. Obama sat in the corner on the opposite side so we had a very clear view of him for the entire game. Both Abel and I admitted that we watched Obama much more than the game! My stomach was just jumping the entire time. I just couldn't believe he was there. I just kept thinking that I hoped he was able to relax and enjoy himself for those 4 quarters of basketball. He's got so much pressure on him, I'm sure he needed it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Grace in Small Things, Week 4

My brother-in-law is arriving home from a 7 month deployment to Iraq (his second) today. TODAY! I am so over the moon happy for my sister that he is arriving home safe and sound. So, today's Grace in Small Things is really full of big things and it is in their honor.

1. The men and women who are serving our country.

2. Their brave, brave families who keep life running at home while they are away.

3. My little sister who is stronger than I could have ever imagined her to be.

4. Her two big dogs who have been faithful protectors, companions and shoulders to cry on during this deployment and last.

5. The possibility that the Marines might possibly see fit to move Sarah and Mike back East.

Favorite Things Friday: Cloth Luncheon Napkins

For today's edition of Favorite Things Friday, I bring you one of my newest and most favorite Etsy finds: cloth luncheon/cocktail napkins from The Guestroom Closet. Hopefully, you already know about Etsy, having discovered it on your own or through me when I highlighted it as a previous Favorite Things Friday post.

Over the past year or so I've been making conscious efforts to "go green" at home. I use green cleaning supplies, we get all our milk and eggs and much of our meat from a local farm, we have a rain barrel, etc. In the past few weeks, I've used up and stopped purchasing paper towels and napkins* for our home. It took Abel a few weeks to catch on--he added paper towels to the grocery list several weeks in a row. And, my mom told me that she would stop visiting if we stopped using tissues or toilet paper! (Definitely not in the plans!) But, seriously, it is so easy to make this change!

I already had an abundance of kitchen dish towels and so we simply use those rather than paper towels to dry or wipe our hands. I generally go through 1-2 dishtowels a day, depending on the amount of cooking I'm doing. For cleaning spills and wiping the counter, floor, etc, I have a big bag of rags--cut up old towels, t-shirts, etc--that I use. All these get thrown into the wash with our other laundry and I hardly notice an increase in items to wash.

As for napkins, I already had a ton of cloth napkins. I just had to start using them! I dedicated the silver drawer (previously used as a junk drawer) in our dining room buffet for the cloth napkins and we grab one whenever we need one. If a napkin doesn't get very dirty during a meal, it stays at that person's place for the next meal. The only thing I don't like is the size of my cloth napkins--they're huge!

All this is a lot of background for my ultimate point: I am so thrilled with my purchase of cocktail/luncheon cloth napkins at The Guestroom Closet. I recently ordered three sets--one for us and two as little hostess gifts for my Boston visit. I loved them from the moment they arrived! The fabric is beautiful, incredibly soft and they are the perfect size. And, now that we've used, washed and dried them several times, I can fully confirm the shop's claim that they wash and dry beautifully.

The shop currently has several lovely patterns; they are $12 for 4 napkins.

If you are in the DC-area, you can find items from The Guestroom Closet live and in person at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Silver Spring!

*Okay, okay, I do admit that I can't resist clearance priced paper cocktail napkins and do have a small supply for entertaining!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mommy's Helper

Can I help? Can I help? Mama, can I help?

That's the constant refrain from my just-turned 3 year old these days. He wants to help with everything. Which is great, don't get me wrong. But, it's also a challenge. Especially for someone like me who included "I try to do everything in the most efficient way possible" on my now-ubiquitous "25 Random Things About Me" Facebook note.

I try to answer yes as much as possible. The sooner this kid learns how to vacuum, clean windows, wash dishes and do laundry, the sooner I can put my feet up, watch soapsread blogs and eat bon bons all day. Ha ha!

But, seriously, I do want to involve him, to teach him how to do household chores (you are quite welcome, future spouse!). And, most importantly, I want to let him feel a sense of accomplishment at a job well done. So I do let him help me load the washer (which also helps teach colors), sort socks (matching game!), and sweep the floor, among others. I'm starting to figure out how to involve him in cooking and baking--I was never one for exact measurements anyway.

It's hard, though. Bringing a 3 year old boy into the equation generally results in a task done in the most inefficient way possible and quite frankly, he often leaves an even greater mess in his wake.

At least he's willing to help me clean it up!

Original post to DC Metro Moms. The ever-smiling Aimee Olivo also blogs at


Sue @ Laundry for Six said...
Oh yes. It takes a lot of patience to let a toddler help. But by the time they are old enough to *really* be a help, they will NOT want to do it!

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mommy's Helper

What do you get when you cross a mama who included this in her 25 Things About Me Facebook note: "Efficiency is very important to me. With each task, I try to do it the most efficient way possible." with a 3 year old who wants to help with everything?

Read more over at DC Metro Moms.

Getting ready

I gobbled up cookies yesterday and have ashes on my forehead today. In past years I've given things up--most notably and regularly soda and chocolate. The thing is that I give up chocolate then suddenly become enamored with twizzlers or peanut butter cookies. So that really isn't much of a sacrifice, is it? And, when I try to give up sweets entirely, it just doesn't work. I'm just not strong enough for that kind of sacrifice. So, this year, I'm doing extra and one of those extras is committing to regular exercise. After all, our bodies are our temples, right?

Whether or not you do anything for Lent, you probably have some sort of fun Easter or spring celebratory tradition. I highly recommend the addition of cascarones to your celebration. Seriously, they are the best thing about marrying into a Mexican family. Well, that and the gorgeous brown hair and eyes and lovely skin tone (read: darker than my pasty white) my son was blessed with. Okay, that and they are a ton of fun. (But, really, it's the cascarones!)

Anyway, NOW is the time to start saving your eggs. Each time you bake or make eggs or whatever, don't crack them: just poke a hole in the top and drain them out. (Don't kill yourself here, the hole can be pretty big, you'll cover it with tissue paper later.) Then, rinse those shells and store them in the egg carton. By Easter (or spring or whatever!) you should have a good quantity. Then, simply follow my instructions here and commence fun!

And, as long as we are preparing for Easter, I'm also going to put a big note on my calendar to start growing wheat grass on Saturday, April 4, per Design Mom's detailed instructions. I've been drooling over her lovely Easter Baskets for two years now and am determined to have grass filled baskets for us this year!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Old Friends

I had such a wonderful time in Boston this weekend. I feel so lucky to have such wonderful girlfriends--I've known Katie for 8 years and Jill for 14 years. Wow. 14 years. Incredible. You know those people you have enough history with, enough in common with, that you just "get" well enough to have a wonderful conversation with even if it has been a year since the last one. I am lucky that Katie and Jill are each that kind of friend for me. I am certain that these two women will be in my life forever and that is a wonderful thought.

Lucas. Oh my gosh. This kid seriously grew up a few years while I was away. How did that happen? I think the difference was particularly striking because last week I was home with a not-feeling-well-and-quite-whiny little boy. By Sunday evening he was back to his old self. At dinner, in between bites of grilled cheese, he looked directly at me and said, "And how was your day, Mama?"

Oh, hello there young man, nice to meet you. But, what, perchance, but what did you do with my toddler?

I left on Friday feeling that I was going to owe Abel big-time for allowing me to go on this jaunt. I know I had a free ticket with a very close deadline but he could have asked me not to go. Instead, he was totally fine and I literally didn't give any thought to how he and Lucas would do for the weekend. I left no lists or instructions or meals or anything at all. Because I didn't have to. Katie's husband asked who was watching Lucas this weekend and I replied, "His father is parenting him!" I know I am lucky to have in Abel a spouse who is a true partner in parenting.

But, I'm off the hook on owing him because he shipped Lucas off to my parents! My mom had gone a few weeks without seeing her grandson and Lucas was especially missing his grammy, too. So, Abel and my parents met half way on Saturday afternoon for the hand-off then again on Sunday afternoon for the pick-up. This gave Abel some nice time to himself, too, which I know he enjoyed.

So I'll leave you with Lucas's favorite (only) knock knock joke. A joke, mind you, that I shared with Jill's pediatrician husband. He laughed and said it was the "perfect" knock knock joke for a three year old. Which, of course, translated in my mommy mind to mean "in my professional opinion as a pediatrician who has seen thousands of children, your son is a genius"

Knock. Knock.
Who's there?
Lucas who?
Can I come into your house?

(Translation for my non-mom readers: 3 year olds are very literal. I mean, why else would you be knocking if you didn't want to go in?)

Grace in Small Things, 3

1. Leaving for a 3-day trip without worrying for one second about how Abel will do solo-parenting Lucas. He's really an incredible dad.

2. The smoothest trip I've ever taken--from an entire row to myself on the flight there to catching the shuttle the moment I stepped out of the airport on the way home, it was all incredibly smooth and easy.

3. Comfortable conversation with old friends. Does life get any better?

4. My son turning into a 6 year old while I was gone. Seriously. I think he grew up a year for each day that I was away.

5. Boston Clam Chowder.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Favorite Things Friday: Baby Spoons

I've got babies on the mind and know tons of people who just had a baby or are just about to have a baby. So, for today's edition of Favorite Things Friday, I bring you one of my favorite baby gifts to give: baby spoons!

I have two options for you, both of which I have given to great acclaim.

The first is "Baby's First Spoon" from the lovely and talented Lisa Leonard of Lisa Leonard Designs and It's the Little Things blog. (The spoons can be found under "Something Extra".) As adorable as these spoons look on her website, I can tell you they are even more adorable in person. And, for only $20, these stainless steel spoons will be used and cherished for years to come. Lisa recently mentioned that she now has lowercase letters, too. I think an all-lowercase name would be so adorable!

Photo shamelessly stolen from

The second set of baby silverware comes from Reed & Barton, well known silversmiths. When Lucas was born, we received the infant feeding spoon monogrammed with his initials from a good friend of my mom. Then, for Lucas's baptism, my parents gave him the toddler-sized fork and spoon with the same monogram style.

A few months later, I wanted to give one of these gifts to another friend and could not believe how reasonably priced they are--$15 for the infant spoon, $25 for the toddler set or $40 for all three. (Monogramming additional, depending on your place of purchase.)

All three of these have held up to years of use and they are the perfect size to feed a little one and then for learning how to use silverware. I know that they will be a cherished keepsake for generations.

Photo from

When you are in need of an extra-special baby gift, I truly think you can't go wrong with any of these options. Lisa Leonard's spoons are more modern and fun, while the Reed & Barton have more of a classic look. I think these are especially perfect gifts to mail to a far-away friend after the baby is born, for a second child (or third...) whose mom didn't get a shower and whose life will be mostly comprised of hand-me-downs, or to celebrate a baptism or bris. Lisa's spoon or the toddler spoon & fork from Reed & Barton would even make a great 1st birthday present.

*******I've just learned from Lisa that today is "Free Earrings Friday" at her shop. You will receive a pair of her beautiful freshwater pearl earrings with each purchase. See her site for more details! Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Yesterday's post was pretty bleak. I was feeling bleak. But, today is a new day. Lucas slept last night. Actually he slept with us and so we could comfort him and get him back to sleep immediately whenever he woke up coughing. He woke up at 7am and somehow miraculously both he and I went back to sleep until 8:30. EIGHT THIRTY. Wow. I showered (an improvement over yesterday), we played, etc. And, he is currently napping (another huge improvement over yesterday). Also, the coughing is significantly decreased. All in all things are looking up.

I'm thinking of my packing and am going to try to pack as light as possible. One benefit of seeing two friends independent of each other is that I'm planning to re-wear just 2 outfits (!) and so need to figure out the perfect combinations. I'll definitely be including my inauguration-purchased long johns! The only thing holding me back from not checking a bag is my contact solution. But, at $15 each way, it will be significantly cheaper to just buy a new bottle in Boston. Crazy, right? I heard a rumor that the FAA is going to change that pesky 3ozs of liquid rule. Wouldn't that be great?

There's Lucas stirring.

Winner winner chicken dinner

Congratulations to Susan, aka 2KoP, lucky commenter #9 who won my BOCA goody bag! Susan was also my only commenter who took the time to enter the Balanced Living contest at (or at least she's the only one who came back to tell me she entered!).

I am certain each and every one of you deserves some extra balance in your life and I'm sorry I don't have enough of these for everyone. But, it's not too late to hop on over and enter the Boca Balanced Living Challenge.

Thanks to everyone for reading and entering!

P.S. Susan, couldn't help but notice on your blog that you're a Michigan fan. Hope you can still find balance when using the red--let's just call it Buckeye scarlet--yoga mat. Not that I'm trying to stir anything up or anything...!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sick day

Lucas had a terrible cough all weekend that we did our best to ignore. Not ignore in a call-child-welfare way but ignore in a surely-this-is-nothing-and-he'll-be-better-tomorrow way. We started up his nebulizer treatments and stayed close to home but Abel and I both stayed up late every night letting ourselves think that when we did go to bed we'd get to sleep through until morning. Each night we seemed to forget (or ignore, see above) the fact that Lucas was waking up every few hours and hacking up a lung. So, it was no surprise that indeed Lucas was not better this morning and Abel and I were exhausted. I got Lucas in for one of the first appointments at the pediatrician (which was surprisingly not insanely busy after a long weekend) and the diagnosis is pneumonia. Poor little buddy.

The doctor gave us a prescription for an antibiotic and ordered 4 rounds of the albuterol and 2 of the pulmicort daily, through the nebulizer, through the weekend.

So now I have a kid totally hopped up on steroids who is feeling like crap. We're stuck in the house and, oh by the way, I'm feeling a bit achy and coughy myself.

I. Can. Not. Get. Sick. I've got a solo trip to Boston planned for this weekend to visit two dear friends. I know! So exciting!

You see, when I was going through my neatly filed jumble of paperwork to find all our tax documents, I discovered that I had a free round trip flight from a terribly delayed or cancelled (I can barely remember!) flight for work last February. I had completely forgotten about it!

Here was the catch, I had to use it--not book a flight but actually fly--by February 24. I tried to book a flight to visit my sister in San Diego for this past weekend, but this airline considers San Diego a "seasonal destination" and doesn't go there until May. Isn't that strange? What east coaster doesn't want to go to sunny San Diego in the winter? No wonder these airlines are having so much trouble. Anyway. My second choice was a quick jaunt up to Boston to visit my oldest college friend, Jill, and my dear friend Katie.

I'm so excited to hang out with these girls, not to mention a solo weekend trip. In an effort to stave off any illness that may be coming my way, I decided to forgo a shower or reading the paper or blogging while Lucas napped, but to crawl into my own bed and take a short afternoon snooze as well.

Unfortunately, Lucas must have sensed something was up and wandered into my room. He crawled into bed and proceeded to spend the next hour going crazy. Climbing on me, coughing into my face, singing me songs, asking for hugs, laying on my head. You get the picture. I finally gave up and now am on-line for the duration of two GeoTrax episodes downing a diet coke and multivitamin and fake clementine (I feel I was duped at the grocery store because these little things are too sour and have too-thin skin to be clementines but whatever they are, they have got to have Vitamin C, right?).

I. Can. Not. Get. Sick.

Oh, and I hope Lucas is feeling better tomorrow, too!

Monday, February 16, 2009

BOCA Giveaway!

The relaxation from my chair massage has definitely worn off, but my pedicure still looks fabulous from last week's Spa Night hosted by BOCA, which I was lucky enough to attend. And, as promised, I have a goody bag for you, dear readers! As if drinks and food and spa treatments weren't enough, BOCA gave each blogger two goody bags as we left. One to keep and one to giveaway. Woo hoo!

The contents include: an adorable Envirosax reusable tote, a yoga mat in its own carrying case, a classical stress relief CD, a Franklin Covey "Kaleidoscope" planner, BOCA recipe cards and a coupon good for a free package of BOCA meatless product.

Fabulous, right?

Simply leave a comment (any comment!) on this post by noon (eastern) on Wednesday, February 18 to be entered into the drawing to win. Becuase I love you all equally, I'll let do the dirty work of actually selecting a winner.

But, wait! That's not all!

BOCA is holding a Balanced Living Challenge--a chance to win $5,000 to fulfill your own healthy living goals. All you have to do is post a short entry--only up to 250 words--on how you want to change your life and how BOCA (and their $5K) can help you achieve balance. The deadline for this contest is Friday, February 27. Don't forget to include your e-mail address on the comment form so I can notify you if you win!

You know me and my love of lists. So here's your balanced living to do list.

1) Leave a comment below for a chance to win my contest for the BOCA goody bag.

2) Go here to tell BOCA how their $5K will help you achieve balance in your life.

3) Come back and leave me another comment to let me know that you've entered BOCA's balanced living contest and you'll earn a second entry into my giveaway! (Hey, I know your chances of actually winning the $5K are pretty slim, so the least I can do is give you an extra shot at my balanced living goody bag!)


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Grace in Small Things, Week 2

1. Several days of warm weather in February.

2. Watching Lucas befriend a very shy boy at the park, introduce himself and share his truck and shovel. Feeling my heart grow to 10x its size.

3. A good stick. I've had my blood drawn about a million times in the past 9 months and Thursday's stick hurt very badly. So, I'm extra-appreciative of the other nurse who does such an amazing job you barely feel it.*

4. Putting a big fat stack of Valentines in the mail on Tuesday. (A very happy Valentine's Day to you, my dear readers!)

5. Spa night!

*Since I mentioned the blood draw, I certainly have to include the update that my platelet count is level with the past few months: just below the normal range. This might just be my new normal. Also, green light on the baby making! But my hematologist wants to be my first phone call when I get a positive result. (I assume I'll be telling Abel in person.) Mom, I promise you'll be #2. :) Don't expect anything too soon, though, because March will just have to be a practice month. Trying to avoid another Christmas baby thankyouverymuch.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Favorite Things Friday: Iomoi e-stationary

For today's edition of Favorite Things Friday, I bring you's *free* e-stationary.

How often do you want to send a sweet birthday message or congratulatory note but you don't want to sent a cheesy e-card that plays cheesy music and you don't want to send a plain old boring e-mail? For those special notes--and even just when you want to make an everyday message a little more special--iomoi has the perfect solution.

If you are familiar with iomoi, or if you click here to check them out, you'll soon see that they have absolutely gorgeous stationary and other lovely gifts. For $15 dollars you can purchase a 1-year membership to their e-stationary line which gives you access to a full range of gorgeous options. But, you can send individual messages, using a more limited range of designs, for free by selecting the "send a free sample" option.

I think the 1-year membership to the full e-stationary line makes a great little engagement gift for a newly engaged friend. In fact, I purchased it for a friend's engagement a few years ago. How fun would it be to send your wedding-planning correspondence on these lovely templates?

If you haven't mailed any Valentine messages yet, there are several lovely Valentine templates under the free sample option. Get online first thing tomorrow morning and send some e-love!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Just back from the spa

Oh, hello there. Don't mind me with my night time post. You see, I'm all relaxed and indulged and jazzed up. Just back. Back from the spa, that is.

Oh yes, my friends, the spa.

Thanks to my faithful stalking reading of the lovely (and I can say that from meeting her in person!) Linda of All & Sundry and the fact that I almost jumped through the screen to comment when she said she'd be in DC for a Spa Night hosted by BOCA and leave a comment if you want to join her. Ohmygodpickmepickmepickme. Sooooooo tonight was the night. And, seriously, it could not have come at a better time.

The babysitter got here at 4pm and Lucas said, "bye bye Mama" before turning his back on me to devote his full attention to entertaining his new lady-friend. I was out the door before he could turn back around. Drove across town, circled the block, pulled into the parking garage and walked into the lovely Nusta Spa at exactly 5:01. (Hey, I was not going to miss more than 1 minute of a free spa night!).

Open bar, yummy food (including Boca sliders, natch), wonderful mini spa treatments and fantabulous women bloggers: Does it get any better? In between sips of white wine and a delicious nonalcoholic punch and bites of yummy, yummy food and a mini-pedi (condensed from their normal 1 hour to 30 mins) and a chair massage and yoga breathing/stretches, I chatted with blogger friends new and old. It was so fun to see fellow DC Metro Mom bloggers Jessica of APISS and Stacy of the Fabulous Miss S and to meet bloggers who I read faithfully: the aforementioned Linda and Beth of So The Fish Said. There was also a group of 20-something bloggers there. Oh to be young again. Or maybe not.

Anyhoo, BOCA threw us a darn great par-tay. And, since I'm a mom blogger and not a 20-something blogger, I have got to get to bed now. But, more exciting details to come soon, including (drum roll please) a GIVEAWAY!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Right now, it is my greatest desire to get pregnant, quit my job and become a full-time stay at home mom. My grand plan is to get pregnant in April (I'll skip March, thankyouverymuch, no more Christmas babies if I can help it!), quit my job in May or June, enjoy the summer at home with Lucas and then enroll him in the morning program at the wonderful nursery school (that's conveniently located at the other end of our block!) in September.

The thing is, I just don't know if I can do it. Be a stay at home mom, that is.

I quit my previous--and big responsibility and fairly stressful--job on the last day of my maternity leave (thus confirming the worst stereotypes of reasons not to hire women/moms, right?) and started this created-for-me, 20 hour, 2.5 days a week, little-to-no stress job when Lucas was about 4 months old.

So, so many times I've expressed my opinion that I have the best of both worlds in my current situation: I get lots of quality time home with Lucas and also get to dress up and go to work. I get to be mom and professional with a good balance of each. And, truly, I'm so grateful.


I have a million reasons for wanting to quit my job. First, I am incredibly frustrated with it, for reasons I can't list here. Second, Abel's work situation has increased dramatically in stress and hours over the past 8 or so months and he is leaving earlier and getting home later. Thus, while he can still help with the morning routine, I'm flying solo most nights--scrambling to leave work early enough to get to daycare pickup, throwing together dinner, and getting Lucas to bed. With maybe a bit of playtime (or more likely TV time) stuck in there. Third, I really want Lucas to move from daycare into this nursery school and its current times (even if we choose the full-day option) aren't well-suited to working (outside the home) parents. Fourth, I can't imagine continuing this balancing act with two kids, especially an infant. Should I go on?

On the days when I am home with Lucas, especially when I've been home with him for several days in a row, the doubt creeps in. I sincerely am not sure that I have it in me to be a full time stay at home mom. Because, let me tell you, on those crazy mornings, it sure is nice to drop him off with Abigail (who he loves and who loves him so so so so much) and his friends at her house. After a few days at home in full-time "mom mode" work is downright EASY. And all that mom stuff. Well, it is exhausting. I don't need to tell you that.

And, I can't help but thinking that it is pretty stupid to consider quitting a job in this economy. To be honest, though, we're in the best financial position of our lives, mostly because we've worked really, really hard to pay off all our credit debt (and believe me, it was SUBSTANTIAL). We've been saving most of my salary every month (it's not much, really) and so as long as Abel has a job, I know we can do it. There will be cut-backs, of course. But, it is possible.

So, we'll see. We'll see what happens. We'll see if my grand plan falls nicely into place. We'll see how I do as a SAHM. I don't think I'll be one for the next 18 years. But maybe 18 months would be nice.

Casino Night

One highlight of this past weekend was the Casino Night fundraiser at our parish's school. I'd heard about this event last year and was determined to go this year. You see, I do so love to gamble. And, if I do say so myself, am not too shabby at games of skill/chance. With our $20 ticket, we got $50 in casino money, a drink ticket and some yummy apps and desserts. I really wanted to play poker--Texas Hold 'Em--but that table was full all night. I hovered over the blackjack tables but those people weren't budging either. Finally, I went over to the money wheel and put a $5 chip down on the 20 slot. I hit! And won $100!! I played a few more but didn't want to waste my chips on that so went back to hovering over the blackjack players.

The real craziness of the night came about 8:30pm when the power went out! Of course we were in the church basement so it was pitch black. It only took about 30 seconds for the cell phones to pop out at the gambling tables so that play could continue! Too funny! And, of course, candles were aplenty. So, within about 10 minutes church candles illuminated every table. Since we're only about 4 blocks from church, I figured our power was out at home, too. Poor babysitter! My neighbor and I quickly walked back home to light candles and secure flashlights for our sitters before heading straight back to the party.

When I got back I continued hovering at blackjack and FINALLY a chair opened up. I sat down and did pretty darn well. At one point I was up to above $200. Someone asked what you did with your chips at the end of the night and I quipped: "You put them into the collection basket tomorrow!" I'm not naturally a very funny person so love coming up with lines like that that garner laughs. In reality, the people with the most chips at the end of the night got their pick of various donated prizes. The guy next to me was holding at least 5 $100 chips so I figured I was out of the running for a prize. As the night drew to a close, I started betting wildly--at least $25 on each hand. Of course, I started losing quickly. I ended up with about $30 and gave those to the guy next to me to help him get a better prize.

What a fun night!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Valentine's Day Preparations

Valentine's Day is fast approaching! It's a holiday I've always loved, even more so since my first Valentine's Day with Abel (which I blogged about last year). I'm still brainstorming my idea for this year's handmade card for him. Last year's ended up pretty cute. I traced my hand and Lucas's hand and cut them out. Then, I glued their "wrists" to the back of a flat note card so that they came around the front where I intertwined the fingers to "close" the note. There was a message from Lucas and me on the inside. I certainly don't strive for perfection with these cards--the cheesier and more homemade looking, the better!

Tomorrow Lucas and I will be "writing" out some Valentine notes to send to our far-away family members. Before Christmas I ordered 10 of these caricature note cards from VistaPrint. (A site I learned about from A Parent in Silver Spring: they offer all these great products for free, you just pay shipping!) Since I already had enough Christmas cards, I turned them into Valentine's Day cards!

If you are planning on sending out electronic Valentine messages, you can make your own personalized candy hearts (like mine above) here.

Abel noticed me cherry picking my favorite candy heart colors last night. I eat the white, yellow and green first. I'm neutral on orange but really dislike the pink and purple. How about you?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Grace in Small Things, Week 1

I've been really enjoying Susan at Friday Playdate's Grace in Small Things posts, an idea she got from Schmutzie. (Follow that?) The challenge is to write down 5 things each day that have graced your life. I really like this idea because I believe it is so easy to not notice the many, many small graces that we encounter each day. So, I'm jumping in. Except, I'm a month late. And, I don't think I an commit to posting each day so I'll commit to posting a list each week.

Here's my first list.

1. A warm day in February. It was 50 degrees on Sunday, the first day of February and I was outside for a good chunk of the day to enjoy it.

2. Abel getting home from work early on Tuesday. (I wonder if 6pm would be considered early, on time or late in other parts of the country!)

3. Wednesday's light dusting of snow and Lucas stomping around in his boots thoroughly enjoying it while I brushed off the car before dropping him off at daycare and heading to work.

4. No bake cookies. Whipping up a batch of my ultimate comfort food. (Actually half a batch because I was almost out of sugar and knew I'd eat 90% of them myself!)

5. Sisters. My wonderful sister and being able to offer just a small bit of comfort to my friend Katie on the anniversary of her sister's death.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Favorite Things Friday: Royal Doulton Provence Noir Dishes

My dishes are one of my favorite things! I adore them so much, I can't believe it has taken until my 14th Favorite Things Friday to write about my Royal Doulton Provence Noir dishes.

Aren't they beautiful?

When I was in high school, my aunt bequeathed two place settings of a truly lovely antique china pattern to me. Over the years, I've collected these from antique stores and dream someday of having a complete set. When we got married, I couldn't exactly register for them because they can only be found at antique stores, ebay and Replacements, Ltd. Instead, Abel and I decided to register for fancier everyday dishes. Abel had a definite opinion about our dishes (much to my dismay!) and these were a set we could both agree on. I couldn't be happier with the choice! These are especially perfect because they are sturdy enough for every day and yet dressy enough that I can set a really beautiful table with them.

The only problem is that I only have 8 sets (and due to my clumsy nature only 7 dinner plates). Normally, of course, that is a fine quantity. But, when I entertain it just doesn't cut it. I'd love several additional place settings, but would settle for even just a few more dinner plates. Perhaps I'll buy myself some for our anniversary in May!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Why I can never be a letter carrier and other things that tire you out

So Sunday afternoon I delivered about 100 fliers for an upcoming town forum. We divide the town into 19 routes and flier the whole town for this annual event. I was going strong for the first half hour. But, holy batman, my town is chock full of hills and many, many steps leading to front doors. The total route was only about 4 full blocks (the entire way around each block) but it took almost 2 hours of very steady walking/climbing. By the end I was exhausted. And came to the conclusion that I could never be a letter carrier. (Or, if I were, I'd be dead for the first few weeks but then would probably get into amazing shape.) Seriously, as of yesterday, I was still limping around. Luckily, Abel suggested I grab my ipod on the way out the door so I got to listen to two great episodes of This American Life, one of my most favorite things.

Yesterday Lucas and I went to Pump It Up's open gym, upon the advice of Jessica at A Parent in Silver Spring. It was really fun! Lucas went crazy and took a solid 2.5 hour nap when we got home. I'd pay $7 for a 2.5 hour nap any day! I did get rather annoyed at one of the moms there. She had one child who was, I'd guess, 12-14 months old. Definitely a little too young for most of the equipment. But, she was in the jumper, etc. going crazy. Yes, the adults can certainly have fun and enjoy, too. But, come on. Don't let your personal entertainment/exercise get in the way of my kid's fun and safety.

Overall, I think that the Tuesday open gymnastics at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complexr (which I really need to write a full review on) is a better experience. But, their time slot is 11:30am-12:30pm and Lucas is always extremely tired/cranky by the time we get home. This open play at Pump it Up, in contrast, is 10am-11:30am which means we're home and eating by noon and that makes a world of difference for Lucas.


Monday, February 2, 2009

25 Things About Me

Jumping on the bandwagon...

1. I am a very lucky person. Items I’ve won include (but are not limited to): an all-expense paid trip for two to LA, including concert, limos, and fancy meals; $1,000 cash; a month of Boot Camp for Women; countless movie tickets; 4 tickets to a concert of my choice plus limo ride to/from; a year-long membership to SitterCity; and many more miscellaneous things I can’t even remember. Because of this, I often assume I will win contests and am disappointed when I don’t.

2. I write with my left hand but do almost everything else right-handed.

3. I’ve met President Clinton twice; and, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton each once. I will be looking for opportunities to meet President Obama during the next eight (yes, eight!) years.

4. It gives me a great thrill to have typed the words “President Obama” above.

5. Almost every boss I’ve ever had has hired me again or has tried to hire me again.

6. I am quickly becoming addicted to social media: Facebook, blogs and Twitter.

7. I met my husband because we lived together in a group house. My friends get a kick out of the fact that I “lived with” him before we were married.

8. The first time I flew, I was 13 and flew alone from Dulles to Frankfurt, Germany. I saved up every penny of my $600 plane ticket by babysitting my butt off for two years. I was in Europe for 3 weeks visiting my then-best friend.

9. I studied Tae Kwon Do for 7 years and was one belt away from becoming a Black Belt before I quit. I hope to get back to it one day. I broke boards with my hands and feet. It was an amazing feeling.

10. I can not read lips. Don't even try. I can not understand you.

11. I have officially become a Buckeye’s fan since meeting and marrying Abel. I even root for them against Penn State now. (Sorry, Dad.)

12. Writing this list is much harder than anticipated.

13. My lucky number is “2” (see above). Maybe it will work for you, too.

14. I am not very good at arithmetic and, to practice and challenge myself, try to add up the numbers on license plates as quickly as possible.

15. Despite this daily practice, I often still use my fingers to add.

16. I’ve only ever lived in two states: Pennsylvania and Maryland. (DC is not a state.)

17. Efficiency is very important to me. With each task, I try to do it the most efficient way possible. In my line of work (fundraising) you stuff a lot of letters. I believe I do this in the most efficient way possible and get annoyed when my co-workers do not listen to my advice to improve their own technique. I wonder if I will ever be at a stage in my life when I no longer have to stuff letters. (Most likely not.)

18. I started working at my sister’s university during her sophomore year. Every time I walked across campus, I would look for her. I continued to do this after she graduated. It was really fun to work there while she was a student.

19. I checked the website of that university every day for months looking for a job opening that was a good fit for me because I wanted to get an MBA there for free. It was one of the smartest financial moves I’ve ever made.

20. I truly believe I saw a ghost one night during my freshman year in college when a group of us were prowling the halls of our 110 year old building in the middle of the night. (Hey, it was a women’s college; what else were we going to do?)

21. I love public speaking. Love it! In fact, I would like to have the opportunity to do it more often.

22. I am very competitive. I try to hide this fact. I’m afraid I don’t hide it very well.

23. I’m addicted to Diet Coke and am trying to cut back.

24. I was in labor with Lucas for 9 hours before I mentioned it to anyone, including Abel. When I told him that it was time to go to the hospital he first showered, packed his bag (which was supposed to have been packed already) and took out the trash. He’s lucky I didn’t kill him.

25. For approximately 3 days in May 2008, I thought I had cancer (the doctors did, too). I believe it may have been a miracle that the biopsy of my lymph node came back completely clear.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Mommy Triage

I'm over at DC Metro Moms today writing about laundry. Well, a little more than laundry. Laundry being deep. Both literally and metaphorically deep. Read it here.

Mommy Triage

The situation in my laundry room reached a critical state several days ago. By this morning I had to literally walk across a floor covered by least one foot of laundry to reach the washer.

It was time to triage.

Sheets, blankets and towels: low priority. Everything of my son's, though possibly the most dirty items in the room, could also wait. After all, thanks to an abundance of hand-me-downs and generous grandparents, he has more clothes than my husband and me combined. You know where I'm going here: underwear. Underwear had to be at the top of the list. Unless, that is, if we wanted to go commando tomorrow.


Merriam-Webster defines triage as:

1 a: the sorting of and allocation of treatment to patients and especially battle and disaster victims according to a system of priorities designed to maximize the number of survivors b: the sorting of patients (as in an emergency room) according to the urgency of their need for care
2: the assigning of priority order to projects on the basis of where funds and other resources can be best used, are most needed, or are most likely to achieve success.


While I know there are times that we feel like we are dealing with battles and disasters, I think the second definition is most applicable here. I mean, isn't that what moms--and some dads, too--do every moment of every day?

Two kids are crying. Which one needs you the most or is most likely to be comforted quickly allowing you to move on to the next? The bills are due but you don't have enough money to pay everything now. Which can be pushed back a week or two? Clean the house or get on the (dirty) floor and play with your child? Which will have the best long-term reward?

There are never enough resources--time, money, energy, even hands--to accomplish everything we need to do each hour, day or week. I think that often, without even realizing it, most moms are mentally performing triage on daily life. I know I am.

Original post to DC Metro Moms. When Aimee Olivo isn't ignoring doing laundry. She blogs at


Stimey said...
This is a great post. That is exactly what we do every day!

amy said...
Hi-I was hoping you could spread the word about this great opportunity. Freelance writing about shopping in the DC area. Thanks

Do you love Shopping?, DC Edition is looking for local Shoppers to contribute to our online edition as local Examiners. If you love Shopping and are passionate about writing we would love to have you as a writer. We are looking for writers to focus on 20 different diverse shopping and retail topics
You can provide useful information while promoting yourself or your business. If you have a desire to provide your local community with useful information about a subject you love, then the team at would like to speak with you! is rapidly becoming the online destination for local information, news and events in 60 major markets across the country. Examiners are local people with useful knowledge to share. This is not a full-time job, you decide how much you want to write and what you want to write about. One of the best parts about being an Examiner is where and how you work. You can work from your home office, an internet café or just about anywhere else with an internet connection.
If you are interested please email and I’ll give you the information you need to apply.

Diana Funk said in reply to amy ...
This is really inappropriate. What about a comment for Aimee's funny post?

Ames T. Philips said in reply to amy ...

Please stop shilling your "opportunity" like this. This is not the appropriate venue for that.


FishyGirl said...
Absolutely. Every second of every day. You know what? I can't NOT do it. My laundry MUST be sorted or I can't do it. Whereas my husband, when he does laundry, just kinda throws in whatever's on top, so we end up with a clean blanket and a bunch of dish towels, but no underwear. Great post.

Mom on the Run said...
Laundry pile...I mean laundry floor. That's it I'll leave all laundry on the floor and then call it the floor. We'll use what clothes we have left. Kind of like in Henry the VIIIth's time where everyone would throw bones and trash on the floor and then servants would put a lyaer of straw on top.

Jessica McFadden said...
I can completely relate. You just described my laundry...and my life!

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!