Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve!

It's Christmas Eve! This entire year has flown by, it is so hard to believe that it will be 2006 in just a little over a week! I have to think long and hard about what I would like the new year to bring. What challenges I face, what goals I have. Next year at this time I would like to look back on 2006 and be able to say that I changed something in my life that I was unhappy with, I have a few ideas on what to start with, but I don't want to make any predictions. I will do my best to follow through on some things, and if I do, great.

I am getting ready to prepare for Christmas morning at my house. The kids are almost in bed, and Jeff is already asleep. Yep, already asleep. The 5 hour nap he had from noon to 5pm did not give him the energy to outlast the kids tonight.

I have many more Christmas pictures to post, but I must now go to get ready for Santa to come. I have cookies to put out, and a glass of milk, and even some reindeer food (if I can find where I put it!). I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays with their family and friends.

Have a Merry Christmas!! :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Conor's Birthday

My baby turned 3 on December 11th, and had to have a Scooby Doo cake. It was convenient, though, because I already had the cake pan from when Allie wanted Scooby Doo for one of her birthdays. It is really hard to believe that he is 3 already. The years are flying by.

Whenever anyone asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he would respond, "Cake!" That was his only request. But he did love all the cool stuff that he got, every time he opened a present, he would say "cool" or "yeah". He got some cool John Deere stuff - a barn, animals, and a tractor - some clothes, some trucks, a talking bear, and a big John Deere ride-on truck. He hasn't quite mastered driving it, but he will get the hang of it. It has a dump-trunk feature that Jeff is sure will come in handy during the summer - he can go around the yard and pick up dog-doo and transport it to the trash bin to dump. The age range on it is 3-8, so we figure it is a good investment for 5 years worth of dog duty! :)

See below for more pictures. Happy Birthday, Baby!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Time flies

Well, I have been a really bad blogger of late. With all of the holidays, Conor's birthday, and work getting more stressful, I haven't taken the time to write anything here. I have plenty of material, just not the time to write it!

A couple of amusing moments of late:

One morning while I was getting ready for work in the bathroom, Conor walked in with his face covered with what I thought was black permanent marker. I freaked out and immediately tried to wash it off. It came off rather easily and I attributed that to my quick response. It was on his forehead, cheeks, chin, nose, lips.... everywhere basically. So after I had him all cleaned up, I finished getting ready and went to get my purse to leave. It was then that I found my mascara open in my purse. It wasn't black marker, it was mascara. But he thought it was for your lips, so that is why he put it there, first. I wish I would have had the thought to take a picture of him before I wiped it off, but I was too intent on getting it off quickly! :)

Another morning, we went into the coffee shop where Conor always sits on the counter. I put my purse up next to him and was talking to the staff when all of a sudden Conor pulled a Tampon out of my purse and said, "Mommy, what's this?"

I simply grabbed it quickly and said, "Nothing, just something for Mommy," while stuffing it back down inside my purse and trying to divert his attention to something else. I do not know if anyone actually saw it, but Jeff (not my Jeff, the one who works there) was smiling. But I find that I am not as embarrassed about stuff like that now that I am older. :)

I will be posting some pictures from Conor's third birthday soon, I will find the time! I also have some pictures with Santa and some other stuff, too!

Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Socks - are they really a part of LAUNDRY??

OK, the reason I ask this question is because everyone in my family seems to think that socks are the things that you leave in a basket - apparently they will fold themselves (or I will do it!). We had almost 2 full laundry baskets of socks. I don't like doing them, either, but I also don't like digging through a basket full to find 2 matching socks to wear! So on Sunday, I sat down and mated all of them. I swear there were over 100. With 5 people in our house, it is not too hard to imagine!

And speaking of laundry and socks...

Sunday night, Jeff had to go to bed so that he could get up @ 12:30 am for work. He had not been able to finish all of his work clothes, so I told him I would take care of them. He also had bought a few gifts for a few of the women on his route, and he asked that I wrap them for him. No problem, although I did give him a hard time (and still do) about his "girlfriends" at his stops. I really don't mind, but it's funny to tease him about it.

Anyway, he went to bed. Conor, on the other hand would NOT go to bed. I finished Jeff's laundry, folded and hung up his clothes and SOCKS, and put it in his suitcase. Then I laid down with Conor to see if he would go to sleep with me there. No such luck. So, around midnight, I remembered that he needed his presents wrapped. I got up and wrapped them and also decorated them with candy canes. Then I went in to wake Jeff up because he hardly hears the alarm clock. He finally woke up a little before 1 am and asked me to make him some chocolate milk. So I did. After he had gotten up, he said, "I probably shouldn't say this, it will probably make you mad, but it is something that has been bothering me."

Me - "What now?" *Groan*

Jeff - "Wellllll, I really don't like the way you fold my socks."

Me - "Are you serious?? After all I have done for you today and tonight, you are going to COMPLAIN!?!?!"

Jeff - "I knew I shouldn't have said anything, but I just woke up...."

Me - "Well, I haven't been to bed yet, and I am tired, too. I finished your laundry, packed your stuff for you, wrapped the presents for your 'girlfriends', AND made you chocolate milk - and you are going to complain about the way I did your SOCKS?!?!?!" *Incredulous*

Me again - "You can do all your own laundry from now on!" Hmph!

I go to lay down in my bed and then in came Conor (yeah, not asleep yet!) and crawled into bed with me. He didn't want to go to sleep, he wanted to watch a movie. But I said absolutely not, it is way past bed-time and we are going to sleep. He was actually asleep within 2 minutes of getting into my bed.

Jeff was apologetic about his complaining, and said 'goodnight' and kissed me goodbye. Me - "I'm putting this in my blog, you know." *Smile*

Jeff - *Groan* "You won't tell it right.... You won't tell them that I was half asleep and I just don't want my new, favorite socks to get all stretched out and fall down."

lol - So, I have tried to put it in here fairly, but I probably did bias it a little toward my side (of course!). But I am not folding his socks anymore. If they are left in a laundry basket, I will just put individual socks in his drawer! :)

Trying another....

Well, the red all washed out of my hair, so I decided to try a dark brown, almost black. I did it on Saturday morning, before Jeff got home. It's fun to see how people react to it. It also is surprising because the people I think will notice, don't say anything. And the ones who I don't think will notice, notice. And it is VERY noticeable. Mostly it has been men who have noticed and commented.

Jeff was the first. No, not Allie (who was even here the day I did it AND she still hasn't said anything!) My mom was the next. I took Allie over there to spend the night and my mom noticed right away.

I went to my Grandma's for Sunday dinner and 2 of my uncles and my brother-in-law were the first to notice and say anything. They were convinced that it was a wig. They did not believe that it wasn't until the both pulled my hair for themselves.

My boss noticed (male). Our regional manager noticed (I only see him maybe once a month). I know others noticed, they just didn't say anything. Again, because they don't like it, I guess. Oh, well, I like it. Good thing, too. Because the red was a 8-10 shampoo wash out - this one is a 28 shampoo wash out. So it will be here a little longer.

As I don't really like pictures of myself - I took this strange one, just to let you see a sample. I am having fun experimenting with my hair. I don't know what color I will try next, but I will let you know! :)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thanksgiving Day

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Day!!

Due to Jeff's having to go to work Thursday night/Friday Morning (2am), I fixed a dinner here and invited my parents, his parents, and our siblings. Jeff's Mom had to work, and his sister, Naomi had other plans already (with her husband's family), but his Dad (Jim) was able to make it. Three of my parents made it. :) Yep, I said 3 - Mom, Step-dad Jack, and Dad. My step-mom was at home making a dinner for them there, so she was unable to make it. My sister, Molly, her husband (Jeff, also), and her kids (Austin 10, and Gage 3) also came. So we had quite a few.

Every year I buy canned Cranberry Sauce, and every year I forget to get it out!! I guess that is because I do not eat it and I forget about it. lol So, that is still in my pantry. But for dinner we had Turkey (of course), stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, sweet potatoe casserole, green beans, peas, macaroni and cheese (home made by Mom), and rolls (home made by Jim).

For dessert, we had Toffee Brownies (made by Molly), coconut cake (made by Mom), miniature pumpkin and pecan pies, mini cakes, and Pumpkin Cheesecake.

It was all very wonderful! Everyone got stuffed, and then we hung out and talked a bit. The football game was on in the back-ground, but not many were watching it.

Allie managed to get herself locked into our new shed while trying to find a ball. It has windows, and she was yelling out them, but apparently no one heard her. Austin eventually went looking for her and let her out. It wasn't too long, maybe 5 minutes or so. She could have acutally climbed out the window, but it didn't come to that.

I think everyone had fun, and enjoyed the meal. We will have to do it again next year, but maybe next year we will have more activities so that everyone won't run off so quickly!

After eveyone left, though, I was able to pack up some containers to take a sample of everything to Jeff's Mom, who was stuck at work until 10! She was happy to get to have a home cooked dinner on Thanksgiving, since she had to work. Next year she should be off and be able to join us here, too!

Jeff, Conor, and I all ate it again today. :)

Hope everyone had a good Turkey day!

Below are some pictures (I forgot to get my camera out until everyone was done eating and a few had left!)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Thanksgiving Day Pictures

From front to back - Gage, Molly, Conor, and Mom
(ignore the dog prints on my sliding glass door that show up so well!)

Poppy and the boys (Gage on the left, Conor on the right)

Friday, November 11, 2005

New Links

I have added some links on the side of some of my favorite blogs to read. If you have some time - take a look at them. The Daily Rant is a great and funny blog to read. She posts some of the most amazing pictures. Check out her archives, particularly September. Scroll to the bottom and go up - there are some beautiful pictures of Alaska. She is a traveling woman - riding across the country in an 18 wheeler, taking beautiful pictures and telling funny stories. She has been helping me figure stuff out about how to post some of the the links and the guest map thingy.

I also have Poop and Boogies. This one is written about being a parent - the father's side of it. He is very funny, some of the things that go through his head are hilarious! The title of the blog is explained in his profile. :)

I have a few others that I like to read, and I will post them eventually, but I didn't want to overwhelm you! And - I don't want you to stop reading mine to catch up on all the great ones that I post for you! hee hee. :)


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Seeing Red

Well, I finally did it! I dyed my hair red. I think I mentioned in previous posts that I was thinking about it, but I didn't do it until this past weekend! Ceara and I went shopping at Target on Sunday to get some sheets for Conor's new bed, and I passed the hair coloring section and thought - hey, I need that! :) It is, however, only a temporary color. It is supposed to wash out in 8-10 shampoos. So most of you will not get to see me as a red-head!

I have tried to do this one previous time - years ago. That was when my hair was highlighted and was a lot lighter than it is now. When I did it before, the red mixed with the blonde and turned a very unflattering shade of orange. I went through some pretty intense hair treatments with the lady who does my hair - she had to strip my hair, re-color it my natural color, and then re-highlight it to get it back to where it had been before my mis-hap. Since I let all of my highlights grow out, and my hair is (or was before the red) a light brown, the red took pretty well.

Conor was the first to notice it on Monday morning. He smiled and said he liked it. Allie didn't notice until I told her - and then she said she couldn't tell that much. Then my boss (who as you recall in a previous post couldn't tell I got a major hair cut!) noticed as soon as he looked at me when I got to work. Surprising! :) No ex-lax brownies for him this time! (I didn't actually do that last time, just thought about it!)

Jeff had left for work at 1:30 am after I did it, so he did notice in the dark - but it was still alittle wet from my shower, so he didn't get to see the actual color until he came home Tuesday night. He did say he liked it though.

I think it is an obvious change, so I figure the people who haven't said anything are those people who were taught "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything!". I am thinking that they do not like it. But it wouldn't hurt my feelings if they told me that - it is only temporary. Next I might try a dark brown to see how I like that!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Mrs. Dad

Well, everyone has heard of Mr. Mom, right? Well, I have now been referred to as Mrs. Dad! We bought Conor a new bunk bed for his birthday (yeah, it is still a month away, but it was needed!) and have had it for quite a while now - sitting in boxes in the garage. We have been so busy with our weekend trips, birthdays, and being sick, that Jeff and I have not had the time to try to put it together. So we decided that Saturday was the day to do it. The bed came in 7 boxes - BIG boxes - that Jeff lugged into the living room to prepare. Jeff invited his dad - Jim - to come over and hang out with us while we did it. Then Jeff, Ceara, Conor and I began emptying his room.

I shampooed his carpet while Jeff, Jim, Ceara and Conor began opening boxes to look for instructions. They got 5 boxes opened and still nothing. Then it was Pizza time. Jim and the kids went to get pizza while Jeff and I opened and emptied the 2 remaining boxes. The directions were in the 6th box we opened.

We began taking the "bed" pieces into the bedroom to put them together. Then we broke for pizza. After eating, Jim was tired and decided to go home. I teased him that all it took was 2 hours at our crazy house for him to want to be alone again! :)

Then Jeff, Ceara, Conor and I began the construction. Jeff showed Conor how to use the screw-driver and help us. We got the 2 beds put together when Jeff got pretty tired - around 8:30. He decided to take a "nap" and wanted to get up at 10:30pm so that he could help us finish. I took the kids with me to go and get a coffee (yep, that late at night, there was a lot more work to do on the bed!). We went through the drive thru, though, because I had not bothered to shower that day and was looking mighty scraggly.

When we returned home, Conor went to bed with his Daddy, and Ceara and I set about finishing the bed. We put the "hutch" together, then the desk, then the shelves - all out in the living room because there wasn't any room left in the bedroom with the beds in there. Then we lugged all the pieces into the bedroom and set the desk, shelves and drawers in a position so that we could put the top bunk on. I wasn't sure we would be able to do it because the bed was heavy and I wasn't sure Ceara could lift it. But she did! We put it up on top, then had to lift the mattress up there. Then we put the lower bed into place and put the mattress and box-spring onto it. Then we had to put up all the tents, which Ceara did most of.

After getting all done, it was around 12:30. No, Jeff did not get up at 10:30. He hit snooze on the alarm clock. I had tried to wake him several times, but he would not get up, so I just let him sleep. I didn't mind, but I knew if I didn't try he would ask me why I hadn't tried to wake him up when I knew he didn't want to sleep all night. :)

Now for the clean up. Uggghh. There was Styrofoam all over the living room - between Conor and the dogs, it was pretty torn up. I went to get the vacuum cleaner and a screw fell out of the handle. So I got the screw driver and fixed the handle so that I could us it.

Ceara said, "You know, your kinda like that Mr. Mom, but the female version - Mr. Dad. Usually it is the man who puts everything together and fixes stuff."

Me: "Do you mean Mrs. Dad?"

Ceara: "Yeah, that's it!"

Now, a couple of years ago Ceara complained that yard work and other types of chores were a "boys job" and she didn't want to do it. So we have tried to break her from any type of "girls don't do that kind of work" thoughts. She has come a long way since then, because she certainly got into putting the bed together with me! Heavy lifting, moving and putting together - and she did not complain once. She volunteered to help, kept doing it when we (Jeff and I) took breaks and everything. So I responded with:

Me: "There isn't anything that girls/women can't do if you set your mind to do it and teach yourself (or learn from someone) how to do it. I lived alone for a while, and I do not have the most patience waiting on someone to do something for me when I want it done. So I taught myself to do a lot of things that are normally pegged "boys/men" jobs. Don't ever let someone tell you that you cannot do something because you are a girl."

I think I got my point across, and it made me feel good that she said it in an admirable way, so hopefully she will not limit herself to only learning "girl" things in life. :)

But now I guess I am Mrs. Dad. :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

By the way....

Well, just thought I would own up to the fact that I can't pick very straight boards. :( Turns out that only 3 of the 7 (2X4X8s) that I picked out were actually straight. I finally got the opportunity to ask Jack about it yesterday when he came to hang the doors on our shed. He said he figured that I forgot my glasses or something. lol

I told him that I spent a lot of time finding all those boards and that I was trying to hurry because there was someone waiting for me to get done so that they could get some off of the pile that I was inspecting. His response - "Too bad, that's their tough luck - they should have gotten there before you." Which I guess is correct, but when someone is waiting for me to finish with something so that they can access it, I tend to try to hurry.

Oh, well, our door is only a little off because of it. The other boards I haven't gotten a verdict on yet. We are almost ready to start filling it up (the shed)! I am excited. I have to lay the hard wood floor tiles that I got for it first though. :) Yeah, I am really putting that kind of floor in my shed. Why? Because I got a really good deal on it. All of the pieces do not match - I got the "last box" of a couple of boxes on the clearance rack at Sam's club. So, it will add re-enforcement to the floor, and it didn't cost as much as some other stuff that I could have used. :)

Monday, November 07, 2005

"Place Your Pin" on my map...

I finally figured out how to do it! I saw this "place your pin on my map" on another blog that I read reguarly and thought it would be cool to try to put one on my blog. But I had a hard time at first and just gave up. So I just figured it out! :) So if you would like, just click on it - it will give a map of the earth, and you can put a little "figure" (girl, boy, alien, and such) on the map where you are located with a little message.

I guess my blog address is being sent around to some more family members - Hi, Misty (in Oklahoma)! :) Thanks for your comment! - so I thought it would be cool to see who else reads it. There are a few in my family, some in Jeff's family, and a few friends, but it seems like my mom and Jeff's mom (Mimi and Barb) are the only ones who comment reguarly, so I'm not sure who else is reading it. This way, I can see... :)

Anyway, I have some new stuff to post soon, but I haven't gotten a chance to write it all down. Or I guess I should say "type it all down". Have a good evening!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Cleaning up.....

On Sunday, Conor didn't act like he felt very well, and he wouldn't eat anything. He didn't complain, but he did go to bed rather early. At 3am, he crawled into bed with me, crying. I felt his head and he was burning up. I got up and got him some medicine and a drink. He took both and went back to sleep. Jeff had left for work around 1:30. So it was just me and Conor in my bed. We we woke up, he still had a fever - and had added a cough and runny nose. Monday's are the busiest day of the week for me at work. Plus this was the end of the month Monday - meaning we only had that day left to bill everything we could to try to make our forecast. I had to go to work. But I couldn't take Conor to the sitter's because he would get the other kids sick. So, I took him to work with me. Just for a short time, I was able to take care of everything that I had to do there in just 2 hours. Then I got the documents that I would need to be able to work from home the rest of the day.

Conor spent most of the time coloring with my highlighters. He was VERY good. His fever was down, so he just had a cough and runny nose. So, I thought since it was trick or treat night, and I had given my candy to Allie to take to the football game (tailgate party), I thought I would just run to Sam's and get another bag of candy to make sure I had enough. I really didn't think it would hurt Conor to run in and out quickly. So off we went to Sam's. Conor rode in the cart, and we were only there for about 5 minutes when he asked me for a cough drop (I had just put one in my mouth). I thought, well, he probably won't like it, and he will spit it out. But - it might help just having it in his mouth for the couple of seconds it will take before he spits it out.

Not the best decision I have ever made. He liked it. So he started biting on it. Then he threw up - into my hands. It wasn't much since he had not eaten anything solid - just liquids. So I found the nearest trash can, got some tissue out of my purse, and cleaned my hands best I could. I then "pushed" the cart with my elbows over to the bathroom, got Conor out, and went in to wash my hands and his mouth. As soon as I had us all cleaned up, I got out of there. We went directly home where Conor spent most of the day in bed while I did work. He never did eat any solid food, but he did drink juice and water.

Tuesday: he still was not well. He still would not eat. I kept him home again and worked from here. It is a good thing I can access my work system from here, and that I have a great boss that will allow me to do it! I had checked Conor's throat on Monday, and although it looked red and a little swollen, it wasn't very bad. So when he wouldn't eat on Tuesday morning, I looked again. It was pretty swollen and had white stuff on it. Oh, no - strep throat. It had to be. That was the only thing I had ever seen that caused a white throat. Allie and I get that all the time, so it would be only a matter of time before we both had it too.

I called the doctor's office and made an appointment. They did the strep test and it came back negative. So the doctor said it was a virus and there wasn't anything they could do, that it would just have to run it's course. She also said he wasn't contagious anymore because he no longer had a fever. We went home and once again, he spent most of the time resting on the couch or in my bed. He ended up going to bed at around 8:00.

Wednesday: I went to work because Jeff was home that day. I still didn't want to send Conor to the sitter's if I didn't have to. In the morning before I left for work, he was up - running around with a lot of energy, acting like he felt better. Allie didn't feel good, though. She stayed home from school. Conor ate very little, but he did eat some. On my way home from work for lunch, I stopped and got a few groceries - just a few things we needed. Milk - 2%, 1%, and chocolate; juice - 4 different kinds; and ice cream - maybe it would help Conor's throat.

When I got home, I found that Jeff had left with Conor to get their hair cut. Then he went to the grocery. He called me on his way home to tell me he would be there shortly. He got a lot of groceries, not just liquids, but he did get: Milk - 2%, whole, and chocolate; juice; and ice cream. So we have so much milk, we will never drink it all before it expires. We are trying, but the milk doesn't go down well with stuffy noses. Oh, well. :) He got lots of other stuff too.

Thursday: Jeff went back to work, Allie went back to school, and Conor went back to the sitter's. He ate a banana and drank some juice before we left in the morning, so that was a good sign. Some solid food! :) At the sitter's, they had missed him all week, so all the kids came out to the door to greet him when we arrived. Then I went to work. Normal day - or so I think.

After work, I went to pick Conor up. They said he did pretty well, but ate very little, and he did seem a little more easily worn out. We got into the car to go home and my boss called me on my cell phone. He conferenced me in with some corporate people about an issue we have with them. Jeff tried to call when I was on the phone, but I couldn't answer. So when I listened to the message he left, it said he wanted to know how everyone was, and that he was getting in the shower and to call him later. Conor had one of his coughing fits right before we got home. When I went to get him out of the car, I found that he had puked - on himself, the car seat, and the floor of my car. So I got him out and took him inside, cleaned him off, got him dressed and went outside to clean up the rest.

I decided to call Jeff quickly before he went to sleep to let him know how everyone was doing. Poor Jeff. I was tired, had a lot of cleaning up to do, so I wasn't looking for a big long conversation. He was trying to tell me some stuff about his day and I got a little irritated and told him that I didn't have time to listen to all of that because I had to get the car seat apart, wash it, dry it, put it back together, and get it back into my car before the next morning. I immediately apologized because I knew it wasn't fair to him and he sounded a little upset that I was irritated. I got off the phone, cleaned everything up, and got done around 9pm. Conor went to bed not too long after that.

Friday: Semi-normal. Everyone up and off to school, sitter's and work. Pretty normal Friday, and I was very glad it was Friday! Today is Pup's (AKA Teddy - our dog) 1 year birthday. I went during my lunch and got him a "special treat" at the store - a "Chicken" dinner for dogs, and some special bones. When I got off from work, I was in a pretty good mood. I called home to see if Jeff had made it home yet because he had thought that he would beat me home. I got his voicemail, so I left a message.

I got home and when I walked into the kitchen, there was dirt all over the floor. Seems the little Pup (AKA Zeus - our new puppy) had gotten ahold of my flower pot and tipped it over - then spread the dirt throughout the kitchen. Allie couldn't find the dust pan, so she had swept the majority of it into a corner. But she had missed a lot, too. I put everything down, took my shoes off, and went to walk into my bed-room to put some stuff in there - and I stepped in pee. Zeus had peed on the carpet in the hallway leading to my room (still working on that house training thing). This is all making me not so "happy". I clean up the pee, take my socks off, wash my foot, and get another pair of socks on. Then I set about looking for the dust pan to clean up the dirt. No where to be found. So I started sweeping the dirt to one location anyway. Then I find my sandle on the kitchen floor, chewed a little, and laying in a puddle of pee. Grrrrr.

Allie! - OK, not her fault entirely, but she had been home and could have kept a closer eye on the little dog to let him out. So I told her to clean it up. I take my shoe to the sink and run some water and let it soak. I start sweeping some more and Jeff calls. Once again, poor Jeff. I do not yell at him, but I just asked when he would be home and if he was getting Ceara. So he immediately starts asking "Why? What's going on? Why do you want to know?" Because with Jeff, there has to be a reason for everything, you can't just be curious, or you can't just want to know - he has to know why. So I got irritated again. I explained why I wanted to know if Ceara would be coming - Conor was excited to give Pups his treats, but I wanted to wait for Ceara to be there, too, if she was coming tonight. Well, he didn't know for sure because he couldn't get ahold of Ceara or Debbie to find out what was going on. "OK, well we will wait anyway, just in case," I told him. Then he said "What's for dinner?"

"I don't know (I said this very irritably) - I just got home and have been having to clean up a bunch of stuff and I haven't even thought about it."

So once again, he gets upset because of my irritation. He said, "Why do you bother to call me if all you are going to do is get irritated with me when I call you back?"

I apologized once again and told him I would just talk to him when he got home. Once he got home, I hugged him and said that I was sorry again and explained what all had been going on when he called. I was still searching for the dust pan so that I could get the pile of dirt off the floor. I finally gave up my search and went to the garage and got a piece of cardboard to sweep it onto.

Jeff and Conor fixed dinner - cheesy scrambled eggs, sausage balls, crispy crowns, apples, apple sauce, and toast. Breakfast for dinner. I like that sometimes.

Later, while Allie and I were playing "Family Feud" on the computer, Jeff and Conor were on the bed helping with the answers. I went to change Conor's pull-up because he had an accident, and when he was laying down, he started coughing. I sat him up as quickly as I could, and he coughed so hard that he puked all over himself and my bed.

So I cleaned it all up the best I could off of him and the bed. Jeff took Conor off to the shower and I started the bed sheets in the laundry. I then had to leave to take Allie to my mom's. When I returned, Conor and Jeff were laying on the blow-up mattress on the floor in my room watching cartoons. Jeff fell asleep pretty quickly and Conor followed not long after. I was thinking of all the things I have had to do this week - clean up pee, puke, cars, beds, kids - and I am so glad that tomorrow is Saturday and I get to sleep in a little. And I get the bed to myself tonight because the boys are both sleeping on the air mattress. JOY! I won't get pushed off like I normally do! :)

Now I just have to get off here and go make the bed and I will be in sound asleep really soon! Have a good night!

How I spent my Sunday....

Sunday - October 30th: I wasn't feeling too well, but I was fighting it off. Sore throat, stuffy head. I gave up my ticket to the Bengals / Packers game on Sunday because I didn't want to get worse. That didn't work out very well. I still got worse. Cough, stuffy AND runny nose, sore throat, just all around yucky. But I didn't give up. I maybe should have rested, but that's not really my thing, so I cleaned up the garage, the back yard, the kitchen, the living room, just whatever I came across that needed done. Naomi had taken Ceara and Conor to church with her, so I didn't want to give up that "free" time to do nothing. I had to get something done. Allie had gone to the game in my place, so the house was kid free for a few hours. Jeff had homework to do, so that left me to find my own things to do.

I went to Lowe's to get the remaining materials for my shed. We needed some 2X4X8s, a few 2X4X10 (or it may have been 2X6X10, I forget), and 3 sheets of USB board.

I had my list that Jack had given me so I wouldn't forget anything or get the wrong stuff. I had been to Lowe's with Jack enough to know how to look at the boards to see if they were straight, but I had never done it by myself. I had to find 7 of the 8 ft boards and 3 of the 10 ft ones. It took me FOREVER. I wanted to make extra sure all of them were straight, so if there was even a slight chance I thought one of the boards were not straight, I put it back and went on to the next. Funny, I kept looking at all the people around me (read: men) thinking that they probably thought I knew what I was doing because I was looking at them the way they were supposed to be "checked". And I was rejecting them, making sure I had a look on my face of "dang, don't they have any straight ones here?". I was amusing myself without showing it.

I finally got all the boards (I still haven't asked Jack if they were all straight) and I went down the next isle to get the 7/16 boad. Well, it is a lot harder to move than it looks. I got the first board off of the stack, positioned it to slide it into the slot on the cart, lifted it up onto the cart and pushed to slide in on. Well, the cart didn't exactly just sit there and let me do that. So it started wheeling on down the isle, and I was following - trying to hold it with my foot while pushing the board onto it. That didn't work too well, either - it just stayed on the corner that I was holding with my foot and it then went sidesways. I finally was able to get that board onto the cart, and I turned to get the 2nd one. I had just started to slide it off the stack when one of the men who work there came running - "Ma'am... ma'am? You don't have to do that, we have a big stack at the loading door. Just tell the cashier how many you want, then pull your truck up, and I will help you load it." Sounds good to me!! :)

So I got it all put into the truck and I was on my way. I went to my Grandma's house and ate dinner and visited with my family for a little bit. I got home in time to turn on the game, watching it in spurts when I happened through the living room during my cleaning. I listened from the kitchen.

I like the Bengals. I root for them to win ever week. Except for when they play the Packers. I love the Packers. More specifically, I admire Brett Favre. He is an amazing guy. As good as he is, as much money as he makes, and as well known as he is - he is still such an amazingly down to earth guy. He doesn't trash talk like a lot of these other players who have a good couple of games and think they are IT. He plays the game, he loves the game, and he does it for the love of it - not for the money. His record says it all. He is one amazing person. So I was rooting for the Packers on this day. But they did not win. They are not having such a great season this year, they have only won 1 game and lost 6. I wish they would do better because I have a feeling that Brett is going to retire after this year, and I think he deserves to go out on a winning season. Like Elway did - go out with a Super Bowl win! That would be awesome!

I don't even know if that is still possible this year - even if they win every other game. So I hope he does come back for another year.

Well, I am very tired, so that is going to be it for now. :) I have more to tell you, but it will wait until another day. Good Night!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Customer service....

There are so many people who do not realize the value of customer service, or just being friendly. It does matter! Here is an example: I LOVE Coffee, and I LOVE coffee shops. I collect Coffee mugs. Not the little regular mugs that can be gotten anywhere, but the BIG ones - kinda like soup mugs. I have lots of them, different sizes, colors, shapes. So when I see or hear of a new coffee shop opening, I like to go and check it out. I will give 3 examples for this post.

The first one I went to was a little on the uppity side. The decor was fabulous, if a little too ritzy, but it was really nice inside. The service? Ugh. No smile, no friendliness, nothing. Just "Can I help you?" and then the total, and then "They will call X number when your order is ready, it can be picked up over there (points down the counter)." OK. The ceiling is tiles, but not normal tiles - these are a copper tile with a design in them. It is really beautiful. They have a fire place and a leather couch in front of it, with a few chairs around too. And they have tables and chairs, some "high" and some regular. Overall? The interior was great, the coffee was great, and the service was blah. How many times have I been there? ONCE.

The second one I went to just opened down the street from where I work. I was on my way in one day and noticed it. I stopped to try it out. It is attached to another business, so it is just a little small piece of a building. No biggie. I go in and they have decent decorations. Most of it is, of course, coffee oriented. Coffee for sale, square shelves with coffee knick-knacks. Cute, quaint. I wasn't sure what I wanted so I was looking at the menu. The person taking my order was not helpful in any way, no suggestions. When I asked questions, just hum drum answers. Nothing special to stand out. The coffee was pretty good. Overall? The interior was OK, the coffee was good, and the service was, once again, blah. How many times have I been there? ONCE.

The third one I absolutely LOVE. My boss came back from a break one day with a frozen coffee. I asked him where he got it, and he told me. I had no idea that the place was there, but now I had to check it out. That very day, I stopped by after work. They close at 5PM on that particular weekday, but there was someone outside on the patio, cleaning up. He asked if I would like something. I told him I would come back another time, that I didn't realize they were closed. He assured me that it wasn't a problem, and convinced me to come in and he would get me whatever I wanted. He was one of the owners of this coffee shop, and when I wasn't sure what I wanted to try, he made suggestions. I went with one of his suggestions, and loved it. He talked to me for a few minutes, then I left. The decor? Fabulous. Paintings on the wall, painted by a local artist. Some for sale, some permanently attached. Pictures, too, that he had taken with a camera and framed. A couch and some chairs, separated by a coffee table with magazines on it. A few "regular" tables, with chairs to choose from also. The chairs have colorful cushions on them, some chairs square, some round. They also have Wi-Fi - wireless internet access for those people who want to bring their laptops in and hang out. Overall? The interior is WONDERFUL, the coffee is GREAT, and the service is TOP NOTCH. How many times have I been there? So many times I have lost count. I have gone almost EVERY weekday on my way to work since that day (May, 2005, I believe), and sometimes on the weekends, too.

I know most of the employees by name, as well as both owners, and they all know mine. Do you know how nice it is to walk into, or drive upto, a shop and have the person behind the counter say "Good morning , how are you doing today?" and they actually sound sincere? And "Do you want your usual, or do you want to try something else today?" Some days I just get coffee, sometimes I get a muffin or a brownie, or even a cookie. But anyway you look at it, their friendly service is what keeps me going back, day after day.

Neil and Jay are the owners. Neil is British and has an accent. He is the one who works in the mornings, so we see him the most. Jay works mostly evenings, sometimes comes in during the day, too, though. Jay is the one who was working on my first visit. And there is Jeff - who also works at a local theater. He is very friendly and has an excellent greeting when you go through the drive through. He sounds like he should be on the radio, or an anouncer of sorts. And there is Mary Jane - who works the night shift as a nurse and then comes into work at the coffee shop after her shift. Mary Jane is a wonderfully nice woman who simply adores Conor. She gave him glow sticks for Halloween so that he could "shine". When she is not there, Conor often asks me where she's at.

Most of the night shift people I do not know as well, I only know one of them by name - Shellie. She is a teacher at a local high school and just works at the coffee shop for fun. Only 1 night a week during school, and more in the summer. There is also a new guy working nights, but I have only met him a couple of times and I don't remember his name. He was still training and seemed a little nervous.

They know my family's names - Conor goes in with me every day and they adore him. He sits up on the counter and they talk to him, ask him questions, even give him some gifts. He loves going there.

They ask about Jeff, Allie and Ceara if it has been a while since they have seen any of them.

So how hard would have been for either of the other 2 places to just smile, or offer suggestions, or just be a little more friendly?? It would not have been that hard. And what would they have gotten out of it? A regular customer.

So - for those of you in the area - if you like coffee, give them a try. Cafe-a-go-go in Springboro, OH. Across from Hollywood Video. Tell them Katie and Conor sent you. :)

Appreciate your customers and they will appreciate you!

Sunday, October 30, 2005


We spent most of the afternoon Saturday carving pumpkins. Nothing like waiting until 2 days before Halloween to get that done, huh? We had bought the pattern book, got some carving tools, news papers to put down under them, and the pumpkins - of course. So we finally get to look through the pattern book to find what everyone wants to do. Conor - he chose the wolf. Allie chose one that said "wicked" with a spider over top. Ceara was not with us on Saturday afternoon (she had plans with her Granny) but she chose hers on Sunday when she was here.

So, we set about taking the tops off the pumpkins and cleaning them out. What a gooey, slimy mess! Conor wouldn't even try it until he saw that I did it, then he put his hand in there one time and that was it! So - Jeff, Allie, and I set about getting all the seeds and slime out of the pumpkins. Once that was accomplished, we taped the patterns to the outside - the best we could considering it was a round pumpkin and a square paper! Jeff tried to talk Conor out of the wolf, but he would have none of it - he wanted the wolf and that was it. Stubborn - hmmmm, I wonder where he gets that from? :)

Jeff started poking holes through the pattern, and did it for about, oh, I'll say 5 minutes. Then he said "Katie, do you want to do this?" - So I took over poking all the holes. Allie was doing hers, too. Jeff got one of the smaller pumpkins and began to clean it out. He and conor worked on carving that one, while Allie and I worked on ours. Jeff got the eyes carved with Conor and he needed a break. He didn't come back. Allie got the WIC and 1/2 of the K carved and she needed a nap. So that left me and Conor. He tried a little longer to work on the mouth of his, but didn't get too far. He also decided he was done. So I carved the wolf and finished Allie's.

Then I cleaned up most of the mess and got Conor to lay down with Jeff (who was taking a nap). I then woke up Allie and we went to the store. On our way to the store, on the highway, a Trans-AM in the fast lane. He was a little ahead of us - we were in the middle lane. All of a sudden, we see this big square thing flying through the air. It hits the SUV in front of us and shatters, raining chunks onto us and the road. Very strange experience. Allie screamed because it hit the windshield pretty hard, but it did not crack or anything. I couldn't figure out what it was, but I knew it came from the Trans-AM because that is where it flew up from. So I caught up with him and looked over - he was missing one of the glass T-Tops. Mystery solved. I had Allie write down his license plate number, just in case there was any damage to my car, and we got off the highway and went to the mall. There wasn't any damage, just a scare.

Well, I got off the subject a bit, but I wanted to include that tid-bit. On Sunday, Ceara chose her pattern - the Cat with a spider coming down it's forehead on a web. Since Jeff was doing homework and I had to go and get Allie, I told her to go ahead and told her to tape the pattern onto the pumpkin and punch the pattern onto the surface. That her dad or I would help with cutting the top off for her in a little bit. Once I returned with Allie, she had most of it done, but then had homework to do, so Allie finished the punching holes part. Then it sat there.

Ceara had to go home to her Mom's house, and with tomorrow being Trick-or-Treat night, I wanted to get it finished and outside with the others. So - I cleaned it out and carved it. Then I put them all on the porch and lit them up so I could take pictures. See below:

Oh, yeah - Jeff "designed" the first one all by himself! :) He said he is thinking about getting a patent on it and selling it.

Carving Pumpkins

Halloween cookies

Conor had a dress-up party at his baby sitter's house on Friday for which we made cookies. Conor had a lot of fun decorating the cookies with me. His favorite was the "big" spider cookie, which he immediately claimed as his! He put all the accessories onto the cookies, sometimes upside down, and sometimes correctly. He got the hang of it. :) They were a big hit and there were not any left over at the end of the day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Our New Pup

On our way home from Kentucky, we stopped to pick up our newest addition to our family - little pup. We felt that Teddy needed a play mate, so we rescued another puppy. His name is Zeus, but we mostly call him "little pup" because we call Teddy "pups". And now Teddy is also known as "Big Pups".

At first Teddy was a little uncertain of what to think of him. He growled and barked at little pup if he so much as looked at one of Teddy's toys, or bones, or anything! But he has gotten a little more used to him now and they play a lot. Zeus usually starts it, too! Very funny to watch them. We have had Zeus for a little over a week now, and we are all adjusting quite well. He is a cute little thing! I always make sure to give Teddy a little extra attention so that he doesn't think we are trying to replace him. He is really a good dog!

Gotta go to bed now, I'm very tired! G'Night!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

G'Day, Mate!

We recently took a trip down to Horse Cave, KY - originally to go to a production of "Jack and the Magic Beans". Since the play was on Sunday, we wanted to go down Saturday and see what else was in the area. Well thanks to a little research on-line, we found we were just down the road from Kentucky Down Under. if you would like to check out their site. They are a bit like a zoo, but not so big. They have all kinds of birds, some reptiles, dingos, kangaroos, and wallabies. They also have a cave you are able to take a tour through.

So we decided to leave early Saturday morning. It was about 3 1/2 hours to drive down there, and since it is only open until 4pm, we wanted to get there as early as we could. We got a later start than we originally planned, but since they are an hour behind us, we still got there at a decent time - around 10:30 their time.

The first thing we came to was the reptiles. They were all in glass enclosures, but they did have "shows" at various times throughout the day. We did not get to see a show because we were too busy doing all the other fun stuff. The cave tour started at noon, so that gave us time to check out a few of the other sites before we went into the caves.

We went into the tourist trap - I mean store - and looked around for a little while with the kids. Of course they wanted a bunch of stuff from in there. But while I didn't mind them getting a souvenir, I did not want to carry it around all day. So I told them to wait until we were on our way out.

We went along the map and visited the birds. There were a bunch of them, in cages, on a pathway of sorts, in the trees. There were some very strange looking ones that gave off strange sounds. Some sounded like laughter. Some looked like and were named like frogs. Most had signs on the cages that said "Do not feed your fingers to the birds" - I guess that was their way of saying don't put your fingers in the cage because they will bite them off! There was one that was really pretty, that we were apparently allowed to pet because there wasn't a warning sign. It was a big, white, pretty bird that had yellow color under it's wings and in it's head feathers. It hung out near the cage allowing us to pet it's back feathers. It did not try even once to bite us, it seemed to enjoy the attention. At the end of the pathway we could see a HUGE cage - the kind you walk into - filled with beautiful colored birds. There were all kinds of people in there already, and some waiting to get in. The girls got really excited, but it was almost time for the cave tour, so we told them we would do it after the cave.

We walked back to the cave entrance and sat. It was a stone housing with steps that lead down to a door. We sat outside on the rocks and waited for the tour guide. When he arrived, he first took us into this small building across from the door. That was where they had a big hole down into the cave. He said years ago, when the cave was first used for tourists, they used to have the tourists climb down a rope ladder into the cave. Apparently that did not entice many to go, so they dug out another entrance - thus the stone covered door! I certainly would not have climbed down a rope ladder to see a cave! :)

Once inside, we were lead to various spots throughout the cave where we would stop and get a little history lesson, or a cave facts lesson. There were some very steep steps going up and down, as well as some holes in a few places, so I was a nervous WRECK. Imagining Conor slipping and falling into one, or just falling down the steps. Because Mr. Independent did not want to hold any hands. He has no fear! Jeff noticed that I was having a hard time enjoying any of the cave and he took over with Conor. That did help a little, but then being the control freak that I am, I still stayed close to them. And it still made me very nervous. As beautiful as it was in the cave, and as much as I have always loved exploring caves, I couldn't wait until it was over. I will not be doing that again until he is at least 6 or 7 and can listen a little.

We finally exited the cave and were off to see the birds. There are 2 doors to get into the bird cage - they cannot be opened at the same time because the birds may fly off. Once you enter the first door, you are given a small white paper cup with some sort of bird juice in it. When they handed Conor his, he immediately took a drink before I could stop him. He spit it out and said he didn't like it and handed it to me. I took his and mine and we went inside. All of those birds know what is in those little cups, and they immediately fly onto your head, shoulder, wrist, or where ever they can find a place to perch. They will knock other birds off to get to the little cup. Once Conor figured this out, he wanted his cup back. We all got to have birds flock around us and feed, until the next group came in with their cups, then they flew off for the new people. I was able to take some really good pictures of the birds with the kids. One of my favorite is of Allie and Ceara laughing because the birds are landing on them.

After the bird cage, we went to the "walk-a-bout" where you are able to go into an area and walk around with the kangaroos. There was an emu, kangaroos, and wallabies in this area. We got a guided tour through the area, with the guide telling tales about the animals. Each female had a Joey in her pouch, so we were warned not to try to touch their bellies. And to touch a Kangaroo on the head meant that you were challenging it to a fight. So we were warned not to do that, either. They had several different kinds there, the "red" ones were very soft, petting their backs was like touching a soft stuffed animal. We each got to pet them, but we had to go up one by one as not to scare them. There was only one red male and a bunch of females, and the male was very "arrogant" looking. You will see what I mean by the picture I posted below.

The gray ones felt like petting a cat. There were also some white ones, but we were unable to go near them. At the end of the tour there was a 13 month old red Joey sleeping near the fence that we were able to also pet. Conor was getting very tired by this time and was not interested in petting him.

After exiting the kangaroos, we went to the "Outback Cafe" and ate a bit of food. After sitting and re-charging a bit, we decided we should head on out. We walked back towards the entrance and gave the girls some money to go into the shop and get something. Some of the walk was up-hill and Conor was dragging. He even told me "Mommy, I am wore out!" It was cute.

The girls decided to buy and share a bag of sand to "mine" in the mining troft. They also got some fudge to share. Conor got a whistle, some magnetic rocks, a boomerang, and a cork gun. Although he is not aware of the last 2 because I got them for him and haven't shown him yet. :) I also got an extra whistle because they were only $1 and I figured his might not last long...

We then went outside where the girls "mined" their gems and Conor even got to do some mining, too! Jeff and I sat in the grass on the hill and watched for a while. They found several "gems" in their sand. After that we all left.

We went back to our "castle" (as Conor thought it was) and got checked in and everyone into the room. Conor was exhausted and laid down on his own and said he wanted to go to sleep. There was an indoor pool, so the girls wanted to go swimming for a little bit, and Jeff and I just wanted to relax for a while. Jeff ended up asleep with Conor on one bed and I watched TV from the other bed. The girls came back within about 20 minutes (I guess it wasn't as fun as they thought) and we watched a movie. So I wasn't able to get a nap in, but I survived.

The rest I may or may not write another blog about, but since this one is so long already, I will leave it at that. See below for some of the pictures I took while we were at Kentucky Down Under. I am really glad we all got to go there, it was really fun. Everyone had a good time and it was a beautiful day.

Kentucky Down Under Pictures

This is the red kangaroo that is very soft

Conor feeding his bird the remaining liquid that he did not drink! :)

This was the stone covering over the steps and door to the cave. The building behind is the shop.

This is one of my favorite pictures! The looks on their faces are priceless!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Linux Festival

As many of you know, Jeff and I drove to Columbus for the Linux Festival at the Convention Center on October 1st. We started out a little later than we had planned, 6:30am rather than the 4 or 5am that Jeff had wanted to. I had stayed up rather late, trying to get a lot of things done that I hadn't gotten finished through the week. So, I think I got about 3 hours of sleep before we left. I had intended to sleep in the car, but that didn't happen.

Anyway, we arrived at the hotel @ around 8:30am. Jeff went inside to see if we could check in early, and not only did they allow us to check in early, but they also upgraded us to a suite for free! Because they had over-booked and didn't have a regular room available. So we were able to un-pack and then eat breakfast in the lobby. After that, we walked over to the Convention center. The hotel was connected to it, so it was all in-doors.

It was a lot smaller than we had thought it would be. We registered and walked around to the different booths, getting some free software, pens, a pocket protector (how classic is that??), and various other knick-knacks. Jeff wanted to buy a Linux T-Shirt, but they did not have any on sale. Instead, they were raffling them off at the end of the day - at 6pm. So we bought several raffle tickets in hopes of winning one.

At that point, there weren't any seminars that Jeff was real interested in, the ones he wanted to see started at 11 or so. So I had seen some signs for a coffee shop inside of the convention center and we went off in search of it. We finally found it, but it was closed on the weekends! There was a guy at the information center who pointed us in the direction of "Cup of Joe" - which was down the street a couple of blocks.

We finally found it and were able to get a couple of cups of coffee, which helped to wake me up! We took our time and then walked back to the convention center in time for one of the seminars that Jeff wanted to attend. We had our lap-top with us (we got one so that Jeff could keep up with his school work while on the road for work) and set it up on the table in the seminar room.
We had to be very careful not to let people see the screen when we turned it on.... Because we have Windows XP, and anyone who is familiar with Linux knows that most Linux users HATE Microsoft. Jeff is interested in both because of his schooling, and he has been playing with Linux on our second computer at home. But XP is what came on the laptop, and neither one of us are familiar enough with Linux to want to load it onto the computers that we work with all the time.

To me, the seminar might as well have been in Greek. I know next to nothing about Linux, just the little bit that I tried unsuccessfully to help Jeff with when he had a problem. So, I just listened. We cut out a little early because it was time for the lunch break and we didn't want to be in the "rush" to get to the food court. We were so tired, that when we walked through the food court, we decided to just go to our room and order a pizza, or something else. Once we got back to the room, I called the front desk to get the names of places that deliver. They gave me 2 - Pizza Hut and Papa John's. So I called Pizza Hut first and was told that they do not deliver to our hotel. Then I tried Papa John's. They had a 2 hour delivery time. So forget that!

Jeff tried to go back to the food court to bring something back to the room, but when he got there, the lines were 30 or more deep, so he came back up to the room. We were both tired, so we decided to take a nap and then deal with the hunger... We both fell asleep - him on the couch in the "living room" of the suite, and I went and got into the bed. I watched TV for a little bit before falling asleep. I woke up, after only an hour or so, and woke Jeff up to see what time he wanted to go back to the festival. He said not for another hour, so I went back to watching TV. Jeff woke up a little bit later and consulted his schedule. Turns out that he had missed one of the seminars that he had wanted to go to.

We left the laptop behind this time, so we wouldn't have to lug it around. It was useless anyway, because there wasn't any type of wireless connection and we didn't have Linux on it, so why take it for the afternoon classes? So we went and ate, and then went to the lecture for "Digital and Criminal forensics" - the ONE lecture that he did NOT want to miss because that is what his major is in college. We got there a bit early and sat at the back of the room. It was the ending of the previous lecture. At the end, a speaker came up and said, "I'm sorry to inform you that the "Digital and Criminal Forensics" lecture has been cancelled. We will instead be hearing from "?" about Gnome (one of the Linux operating systems). Jeff was SO upset! The only class he REALLY wanted to go to and it got cancelled.

So we ended up going for a walk and seeing the city a bit, planning on being back to the Convention Center for the raffle drawing. We got back there at approximately 5:15ish and went to the food court to hang out for a little bit. At 5:45, we started walking to the area of the raffle drawing. It was at that time that Jeff realized that he had left all of his raffle tickets in the laptop case. So he decided to hurry back to the room and get the tickets.

I went on to the seminar room, standing just outside because they were still finishing up the last few minutes of the last lecture. I keep peering around the corner, looking for Jeff to join me. All of a sudden my phone rings. I look at my caller ID and it says "Jeff's Cell", so I answer and he says, "I'm locked in the stairwell!"

"Are you serious?" I thought he was just playing around at first.

"Yes, there were a bunch of old people coming in off a bus, and there was a long line at the elevator. So I decided to take the stairs. When I got up to our floor, I tried using my key-card to open the door, and it won't work!" He sounds so aggravated, that I do believe he is telling the truth.

"Well, why are you calling me? You have the hotel's number on your phone, call them and tell them to come and get you."

"Oh, yeah, I guess I could do that."

I hang up my phone and start laughing. Only Jeff could get himself locked into a stairwell. I still find it amusing as I think about it now. He finally makes his way back down to me, and proceeds to tell me all about the entire incident. How the old people gathered in the elevator and wouldn't let him in. They told him - there's no room in here, you have to wait! Then he took the stairwell up to the 3rd floor and hit the elevator button again. And the same group was there when the elevator stopped. They said it again - there's no room, you have to wait! So he decided to go all the way up to our floor at that point, and give up on the elevator. We were on the 6th floor, and when he got there, his key no longer worked. The lady who came to "save" him also had to let him into our room because his card didn't work for anything.

He made it back in plenty of time for the raffle. It took FOREVER! They had a lot of stuff to raffle off - lots of books, software, t-shirts, hardware, ect. They didn't come anywhere close to our numbers. It took around an hour to go through it all. Jeff was very disappointed that he didn't get a T-shirt.

We went back up to our room (after stopping at the front desk and getting a new key for Jeff), and got ready for the "reception" with the Linux people. We were early getting up there. They had snacks - chex mix, popcorn, stuff like that. And some refreshments. They had a DJ set up playing some "music" (not really music with words, but rather just instrumental, computerized music).

They decided to start a "trivia contest" about computer stuff. Jeff and I were both lost - me more-so than him. So we decided to leave. We walked down the street and found an "Irish Pub" to eat at. They had out-door seating, so we sat outside. We were also going to go and see a movie, but as I continued to sit there, I decided that I would rather go back to the hotel. I was worn out and didn't think I could stay awake through a movie. My feet were killing me from my new shoes, and I just wanted to go to bed. So we skipped the movie and went back.

Jeff actually fell asleep before I did. Then he got up in the morning pretty early and went and ate the "free breakfast" by himself. He came back and woke me up to get ready to leave (too late for the breakfast, by the way). So we packed up and headed home.

So, Jeff is a little bit more geeky now.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Ceara's Birthday

Friday was Ceara's 11th birthday. For her birthday, she invited 2 friends to spend the night, and Allie had one of her friends over, too. We had Ceara, Allie, Maggie, Taylor and Ashley. Jeff planned most of the party, and decided on a "Price is Right" theme because he bought the DVD game for everyone to play. Thus the cake she is pictured with.

Anyway, Friday night, we had a game of Trivia for various prizes. Jeff bought a variet of gifts from the store such as a book, fuzzy socks, stickers, pencils, and such. He listed all the prizes on paper, cut them out, and put the paper under 3 cups on a table. To win the prize, they had to answer a trivia question, then they had to pick 1, 2, or 3 and they win the prize under the cup. In addition to real prizes, he put in several "gag" gifts. Like "a pair of smelly socks" - which he took directly off his feel when someone won. And "a wad of toilet paper" - not used of course. Also, a "chew stick" of the dogs. It was very funny when the girls won one of these "prizes". After all the prizes were won, they all played "The Price is Right" on the DVD game while I went off to finish the cake and cupcakes. Everyone was tired, so the game didn't last long. The girls fell off to sleep, one by one.

Allie was the first to sleep, then Ashley and Maggie. Jeff and Conor had long ago went to bed, then I finally finished with the cakes and joined them - at about 2am. Ceara and Taylor were still up playing "I spy".

The next morning, Jeff and I got up around 7 or 7:30 to fix breakfast, and the girls were already awake. All but Allie, that is. We had bacon, sausage, waffles, muffins (blueberry and strawberry), eggs, hash rounds (Crispy Crowns) and strawberries. Needless to say, there was a ton of food to be eaten.

Later that day, at around 1PM, we had Ceara's Nana and Grand-Dad over for presents, lunch, cake and ice cream. Nana brought with her a bunch of balloons, which Conor immediately claimed as his own! :) The kids spent most of the rest of the day outside playing. They finally went home around 5:30, at which point Ceara wanted to go shopping to spend her birthday money.

We took her to Walmart so that she could buy herself the new Nintendo DX. We then took Allie and Ceara to my mom's to spend the night.

After a LONG day, Jeff, Conor and I came home and went to bed. Ceara had a good birthday and she got to get what she had been wanting for a while. So everyone was happy! :)

And now they are Conor's....

I'm surprised that Conor and his motorcycle didn't take off flying through the air. Kinda like "Danny Deckchair". By the way, that movie was not nearly as cheesy as I thought it would be. I rather liked it, and was quite surprised by it.

Ceara with her Baloons!

These are the balloons that Nana brought! Lots of em!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Conor and his little girl friend

Being the little gentleman that he is, he let her drive.

Monster Trucks

My little cousin is a HUGE monster truck fan. His favorite is Grave Digger - driven by Dennis Anderson. He is a member of his fan club, and he WON a party at his home with Grave Digger, Dennis Anderson, and 50 of his family and friends. We went to the party last Friday night, and the above picture is of Allie, Conor, Austin and Gage sitting on the wheels of this huge truck. The one below is a close up of Allie and Conor.

I must say, I have never really paid much attention to Monster trucks in the past. But it was very exciting to be there and see it in person. Dennis Anderson is a very nice, very funny guy. He was very good with all of the little kids that were there and he was very personable to talk to. There were tons of things for the kids to do, and everyone got a Hotwheels series miniature Grave Digger - signed in person by Dennis. There was food, music, games, pinatas, and lots of other things to do.

Conor had a blast! He spent a lot of time in the mini-grave digger, hanging out with a little girl that was there, too. He also took several turns at the pinatas. I have lots of pictures, but will only put a few on here.

It was a "once in a lifetime" experience, and I have it all on film - digital and video! :)

Things that make you smile....

Yesterday, while Conor and I were at Lowe's getting some material for our shed, he decided he wanted to ride in a cart that was just sitting in the isle. So I put him in the biggest part of the cart, thinking that was what he wanted. But he wanted to sit in the "seat" at the front of the cart. So he proceeded to start climbing up there. I was trying to help him, but a group of people walked by and I needed to move the cart a little so they could pass. When I did, Conor lost his balace and swayed a bit. I had my hand out to steady him, but boy did he get mad! He said, "Mommy you tried to make me fall!" and it was just so funny the way he said it, with an irritated look on his face.

"I did not!" I said, laughing. The people passing thought it was funny, too. So he sat down and we went on getting what we needed. We got into the car and were on our way home.

Lately, when we are in the car, he wants me to "go faster". Whenever he says that, I always respond, "I can't honey, the policeman will get me."

"Why?" He inquires.

"Because it is against the law to go really fast on some roads, someone could get hurt. Or we could have an accident." Yeah, I actually try to explain this to him. I know he doesn't know what I am talking about, but I try anyway.

"But there isn't anyone around, so go."

We go back and forth, with my trying to explain to a 2 year old that I cannot go flying down the road because it is against the law. If there is someone in front of me, he will go as far as to yell at them "Move out of the way, car, my mommy needs to go faster" and stuff such as that.

Well, on our way home, we were on a divided highway (St Rt 122 by Cracker Barrell) and a state trooper had someone pulled over on the other side of the road. I pointed this out to Conor so that he could see that someone got into trouble by the police.

"See, Conor, that policeman got that guy because he was going too fast!"

Conor looks over at the police man and says, "He can't get us, we are too far away! Ha Ha!"

I burst out laughing! Where does he come up with these things that he says? I have no idea. Very smart, my little guy, because we were in fact too far down the road on the other side for that cop to come after us.

I cannot believe some of the things he says lately. He certainly makes me laugh a lot!

Monday, September 19, 2005

He's all better!

Well, Conor is doing much better now. He woke up on Saturday morning and didn't have a temperature. What a huge relief! Allie had a Soccer game on Saturday, but I did not take Conor with me because it was quite chilly that morning and I didn't want to risk him getting sick again. So he went with his Daddy to get "do-dos" (donuts) and visit Grand Dad while we went to the game.

Allie's team was defeated, 3-1, but they did try very hard. Allie played goalie most of the time, a little over 1/2 of the game, and she stopped a LOT of the goals that were attempted. She plays goalie very well. After the game I took her and Ashley (one of her best friends) to the coffee shop I frequent. Neil (one of the owners) has never met Allie, and he knows Conor quite well, so he wanted me to bring Allie in to meet him. They do serve Fruit Smoothies, so Allie did not have to get coffee. :) As Neil is from England, he has an accent that is wonderful to listen to, and Allie and Ashley enjoyed meeting him.

Later that day, Jeff decides that we should go up to Young's Dairy in Yellow Springs so that we can play "Utter's and Putter's" (miniature golf), pet the animals, and get some ice cream. The kids enjoyed it, and Conor loved feeding the goats! We also saw dairy cows, calves, and sheep. We played miniature golf, with Conor hitting his ball, then picking it up and putting it right next to the hole and putting it in. Needless to say, he won. Hee hee. He didn't like the last hole, where you put the ball in but you do not get it back! He was not done playing after all! But then we went for the ice cream, so he was OK after that. He got the blue "cotton candy" flavored ice cream, and got it all over his face and hands! After that, he was tired and ready to go home. We visited the goats one last time, washed our hands, and went home. Conor fell asleep in the car on the way home, and stayed asleep until Sunday morning.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

"It's a nice day"....

Those are the words that Conor says to me every morning. And it continues until the sun goes down. "It's a nice day, Mommy!" With big smiles. One day this week, on our way to the coffee shop, the sun was big and orange. Conor saw it in the sky and said "Look, Mommy, there's a balloon!" At first I didn't know what he was talking about, I thought I just couldn't see it. (I was driving after all and couldn't see which direction he was pointing! :)) But then it was right in front of us, out the windshield, and he pointed again and said "Balloon, Mommy!"

I laughed and said, "That's the sun, it sure is orange right now!" To which he disagreed. It was NOT the sun, it was a balloon! :) I let it go. It did look like a balloon. So I just agreed that it was pretty.

Another thing he does, is when he refers to yesterday he says "last day". It's always "last day we went to Grandma's house" or he also says "last day was nice, too!". These are things that he has been saying for a while now. One new thing he does is say "I'm happy, mommy!" He has been saying that for about a week now.

But last night he wasn't feeling so well. I asked him if he felt bad and he said yes. Then I guess he thought about it a little bit and he all of a sudden said "I'm not bad, Mommy."

"Of course you're not bad, sweetie, I just meant that you didn't feel good."

I took his temperature and the reading was 103.5. I was shocked. I thought for sure it must me wrong. But I knew he had a temperature, so I gave him some Tylenol, covered him up, and let him watch cartoons. About 30 minutes later, I took his temp again. 104. I thought surely there must be something wrong with this thermometer! So I went and got a different one, and took his temperature with another one. It was a digital one and was climbing - when it reached 103, Conor was impatient with it, so I had to remove it. But it told me that the other one was not that off. So I called his doctor. It was almost 10 pm, so of course I got the answering service. But the doctor on call called me back within about 10 minutes. She said to keep fluids in him, cold ones, and alternate Tylenol and Motrin every 3 hours. Also to keep a cold rag on his forehead, and if his temperature reached 104.5 to take him to the emergency room immediately. She also said with temperatures that high, it most likely is a virus causing it. Viruses cannot live in high temperature, so that is what your body does to kill the virus. He also might start having seizures, she tells me. And although she said it would be scary, it would be normal with his temperature that high. Scary isn't a strong enough word for it.

I have never experienced anyone having a temp that high, I don't think. Allie's had gotten up to 102.something when she was little, and the Dr told me that I had to get it down - to put her in a cool bath and all that. She screamed and cried when I did that (the bath). But the Dr I talked to last night didn't seem too fazed by the number. She said it would not hurt him unless it reached 105. She did also tell me to put him in a "tepid" bath to cool him down if the other stuff didn't work. But the other stuff brought it down to 102, so I just kept that up. I didn't want to do the bath thing.

So needless to say, I didn't go to work today. Conor still got up this morning and said "It's a nice day, Mommy!" although he still didn't feel well. We read books, watched cartoons, talked, played with blocks, and mostly spent the day relaxing.

All day, I alternated Tylenol and Motrin, and his temperature stayed around 99. So I thought I would see if I quit giving him the medicine if it would stay down. So I tested it. About 4 - 5 hours after a dose, I checked his temperature and it was up to 101.8. So I gave him the medicine. I checked again near the next dose, and it was 101.1. And the last time was around 10 or so tonight and it was at 102.2. So, it does not seem to be going away in the 24 hours that I thought it would!

Hopefully tomorrow will be better for him. I am keeping him home again tomorrow, I do not want to send him to the sitters when he isn't feeling well. So he will have the weekend to recover and get back up to 100%. I am certain that tomorrow will be a "nice day" and I will hear about it as soon as it is light outside. :)

Good night!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Rough day

Wow, today was a long one. For starters, Allie missed the bus. Not through any fault of her own, the bus driver for some reason has been early a couple of times this year, and today was one of them. The bus is supposed to arrive at the stop at 7:03 am according to the "schedule". Well, we discovered that that was not the correct time around the second or third day. So Allie started leaving for the bus stop @ 6:45 am (it is only maybe a 2-3 minute walk), and she said that most days she had to wait for the bus. This morning, she left at 6:45 and came back at 6:55 because the kids were all gone and she had already missed it. So I had to try to rush to get myself and Conor ready, but I already knew she wasn't going to make it on time. School starts @ 7:20 and the traffic around the school is HORRIBLE. Stop and go, everyone trying to drop their kid off. So She got there around 7:30. When I arrived at work, I called the bus garage to register a complaint. If you have a bus stop in a subdivision where kids have to walk to the bus stop, don't be more than 5 minutes early. I mean come on!

So anyway, not the best way to start my morning. But not too bad. But the real fun began with someone at work not doing their job properly. This person works in our Corporate office, and not only made a smart remark directed at our "branch" (aka Jean and myself), but repeatedly made the same mistake with one call. I will not go into deep details, no one would know what I was talking about. :) So I went and talked to my boss about the situation and he told me to email her and copy him on it, and explain the situation to her. So I did.

Well, her response was to copy her boss, my boss, and my boss's boss and write a big long email about the mistakes that the "Dayton branch" made with this call. Every single thing she wrote in the email could be proven wrong by our internal system. She does not know the system well enough to know this, but oh how I wanted to tell her. As soon as that email was received, and read, my boss yells "Kate - don't respond to that!" He does know me very well. I had already started my response. And it would have made her look like the incompetent jerk that she was (and still is). But NO. Can't do that. Can't stir the corporate pot, so to speak. Just let it go, I was told, don't let it get to me. It's just a job, I shouldn't get so upset about it. So I walked out the door and walked around the building to "cool off". I had the facts on my side, and I had proof of her mistakes (not ours), but I wasn't allowed to defend what she said. Grrrrrr! I do care about my job, I care about doing a good job. But that is not something that matters in a corporate world. And I do understand where my boss is coming from. He is a lot like me - not the type to keep his mouth shut (so to speak) and he has been given the "Corporate" line so many times that it burns him out, too. "We don't know what is "best" for the company." To be quite honest, as many times as the people running this company have been switched around, the do not know what is "best" for the company. They do not even know how our system works. Or how to look up a call in our internal system.

It just burns me up that companies would rather do things the wrong way than to learn how, or teach their employees how to do something correctly. Corporate would never admit that they were wrong. So what would be the outcome? I would just look bad for "exchanging emails" in a negative light. Blabbity blah. So my boss sends her a "nice" email wanting her to send us written documentation on how this should have been handled so that there aren't any mistakes in the future. Oh, how that goes through me.

So I vented to one of my co-workers via email. My go-to guy for when something is bothering me... :) And his response will forever be one of the best "pick me up" emails that I have ever received. It made me feel tons better. But my day didn't get better.

I left earlier than usual for lunch because I wanted to get my dog some chew stuff and get home to let him in the house. I had left him out that morning because he has become quite the little chewer and I was tired of cleaning up messes when I came home. His latest project is the door frame at the front door. He also, during the night, got a plastic cup from out of his food bag and tore it to bit in the living room. Didn't bother with the FOOD that was in the bag. No... just the cup. So I figured it would not hurt him to be outside for 1/2 day, in the morning when it wasn't very hot. I put his water and food out for him.

So I went to the tractor supply store to see what kind of chewies they might have. I got several! I also asked if there was something to deter pets from chewing on things. I was directed to a spray that is used for horses to quit chewing. It is not harmful at all to any animal, just a really bitter taste to make them stop. So I got that, too.

I backed into my driveway and when I looked into my mirror, I saw my neighbor standing at the edge of my back yard, seemingly talking to my dog. Groan! What had he done now? Was he barking all day, what? So I went through the house and out the back door and of course, the dog had wrapped himself around my hammock in the back yard. That dog can get stuck on a 3 inch bush coming out of the ground. And that is no exaggeration, he does it all the time. So my neighbor proceeded to tell me that the dog had been able to reach her tree in her yard and had dug all the mulch from under it and messed up the grass around it. And yes, I could see that he had! I apologized profusely and she said it was OK, but she would appreciate it if we would shorten his leash so he couldn't do it any more. Done.

I will have to bake her something and send it over to apologize again. Had I not been on my lunch break (and wearing a skirt), I would have tried to fix it for her then! So I took him back in the house, put 4 different kinds of chewies out for him (bone, rawhide, chicken flavored something, and something else) that I had just bought. Then I sprayed all the door frames and base boards that were accessible by him. I made sure there wasn't ANYTHING available for him to chew on, and closed all the doors, then I headed back to work.

The afternoon was not as bad, but I was just worn out and drained, so it was a struggle to be there. I did my work and got out of there. 5:00, OUT THE DOOR. Picked up Conor, went home, sat out back on my hammock for a bit with Conor. The tree was already fixed, and it wasn't as bad as I thought. The grass wasn't messed up, it just looked that way with all the mulch in it. Either she or her husband had fixed it. Now I definitely need to do something to make up for it. The rest of the evening is uneventful. We eat, play, dance.... (OK it was just Conor dancing to the theme song from the season premier of one of my favorite shows - Gilmore Girls), then everyone is ready for bed. I am writing this and yawning at this time. But I thought since I hadn't written in here for a while, I would put a bit of an update on here.

Well it is off to bed for me! I have actually been going to bed quite early since school started. And, um, yeah, 11 is early compared to before. :)

Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow! For everyone! Good night!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Cool Dude....

Conor has a little "motor cycle" that he absolutely loves. He rides it around the house, outside, everywhere. We were goofin' off the other night and I put Jeff's do-rag (or whatever you call it!) on his head. He looked so cute! I was taking pictures of him and he just had to have me take one of "just the motor cycle, Mommy!" So, of course, I had to. :) Here are a couple of the pictures. You can see his tonsils in one picture! And his "blankie" is never too far away! :)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Sittin' on the dock of the bay...

My Aunt and Uncle that had the pig roast had a Birthday Party for their son (my cousin, of course) last night. It gave me the opportunity to get a picutre of their new dock. They decided to put a big pond behing their house with a dock. It looks REALLY good. I guess it will eventually fill up, but for now it is a big mud hole. But it still looks good!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Pig Roast

My Aunt and Uncle's 16th annual Pig Roast was held on 8/13/05. We arrived late, around 6pm, and hung out at my sister's new camper. We also took our dog, Teddy, with us, because we did not want to leave him home alone for what we thought would be several hours. The Pig Roast usually begins around 4PM, at least that is what the invitations say. We usually go earlier - around 1 or 2 PM, but this day was particuarly hot and humid, and I did not really feel like chasing after Conor the entire day. After we arrived, the rain came. It was a welcome relief! Jeff, Ceara, Conor, and I took Teddy for a walk back to the barns behind the house. It was half-way there that the rain came. I certainly didn't mind it! Although, I had spent a little time straigtening my hair out, and the rain was undoing that!

I know, I know, who fixes their hair for a pig roast?? Not usually me, but you see, I had gotten another hair cut the day before. And I got several layers cut, as well as BANGS. I have not had bangs for well over 10 years, I believe, and when Glenda suggested them, my response was "sure, why not? I need a change." I had no idea that my hair would spring up in curls like I had just gotten a perm. I know my hair has a natural wave to it, but I didn't think it could be THIS curly! And my bangs? If they were straight, I could deal with them. But the curly, unmanagable mess that they are? Not used to them yet. So I straightened all my hair before the pig roast. And the rain just made it curl right back up!

Oh, well, it was kinda worth the cooling off. We stayed back in the barn for a little bit, allowing Conor to sit on a big tractor. Then when it appeared to lighten a bit, we walked back to the camper. Needless to say, we were soaked. I certainly didn't mind, but Ceara and Conor were cold. So Ceara got her pajama's out and put them on, and Conor had to wear some too, as you can see by the picture above. After it quit raining and everyone was dried off a bit, we went wandering about. The band was playing, so we went over to the big tent next to the stage. Conor LOVES to dance. So off he went to the dance floor to cut a rug... (second picure).

We didn't end up staying very long. Conor hadn't been feeling well, allergies or something like them, and he didn't want to stay late. So around 9:45pm, we headed home - Jeff, Ceara, Conor, Teddy, and me. You may be asking, where's Allie? Well she is just way too cool to hang out with her mom at such an event, and we rarely saw her the entire night. She stayed to spend the night and since she didn't lower herself to acutally spend any time near us, I didn't get the opportunity to get any pictures of her. The teenage years have almost begun.... God help me. :)

Friday, August 05, 2005

Pretty Flowers

Conor and I went shopping the other night while Allie was at soccer practice and we saw this pretty bouque of flowers and had to get them. They are, of course, dyed, but they were so colorful and pretty that we had to get them. I wanted to preserve the image, so I took a few pictures. They are still looking very good on my dining room table. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Here is a recent picture of Teddy, in a playfull "pounce" pose. He is now 9 months old and is getting big. He is a pretty good dog, other than the chewing of everything in site! He has a fondness for shoes, so if you happen to leave them out, he will chew on them. I try to keep all the doors to bed rooms closed, so that we can keep our shoes unharmed, but that doesn't always work because we usually take our shoes off at the door. He hasn't done any major damage, thus far. I buy him all kinds of bones, ropes, chew toys, everything I can think of, but it does not distract him from shoes, or the kids toys if they are laying around. I guess he will eventually grow out of it. I hope so anyway! :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Stress Relief

Wow, today is only Tuesday and already it has been a long week! Starting with Monday, I was looking for some paperwork needed that I could not find. I came home for lunch and went through every file in our filing cabinet, every "bucket" in the garage (plastic storage bins), closets, drawers with no luck. It could not be found. But in doing so, I noticed that there were several duplicate files in the filing cabinet. Files that I had made and Jeff had made, also, but they were in different drawers. And all kinds of junk mail or various forms of paperwork in "Junk Drawers" where it had been put to "quick clean" the kitchen counters. Wow that all needs organized! Back to work, sweaty after being in the garage moving bins around, with no paperwork, to the normal busy work Monday. After work, I needed to get Allie and take her to get some soccer cleats and shin guards because soccer practice starts on Tuesday. So off to Mom's to pick her up and drop Conor off, so that I don't have to deal with a 2 year old in the mall. We get everything needed and go back to get Conor, but he doesn't want to go. He wants to stay and play with Mimi and ride on the 4 wheeler. Mom just recently got the 4 wheeler and Conor loves to ride on it! We do finally get home somewhere around 8pm, not much time left in the night, but I am worn out anyway, so that is fine. Allie, Conor, and I play blocks in the living room. Allie and I build them up and Conor knocks them down. Time for bed, tomorrow is a new day!

Well, tomorrow isn't a better day! I get up this morning and go to take a shower - no hot water. Ugghhhh! OK, so I get ready and have to go and wake Conor up to get him ready. My normal morning guy does not want to get up today. He gives a bit of a hard time, but eventually gets up and ready. I get to work and I am feeling a little grimy, but not too bad, I did shower yesterday after all! But I am a little sluggish and have a lot on my mind that I need to get done. We have a "warranty guy" coming to the house today @ 1PM to see what all needs fixed for our 1 year warranty on our house. I need to do a little work at the house - some straightening up - so I plan to leave work around noon or a little after, but then if the warranty guy takes a while, that would mean a LONG lunch. So with all the filing issues, I ask if I can just take 1/2 day vacation. My boss approves, so I hurry to get as much done as I can and head home.

As I am pulling up to my house, there is a truck parked in front of it. It is only 12:20 - it can't be the warranty guy! But it is. Then he tells me that a visitor across the street at my neighbor's house just backed into his truck, so he has to wait on the police and would be in shortly. I am sorry for his bad luck, but glad that I had a little time to straighten up. I go into the house and Allie is finishing up the pots and pans that were in the sink. Thank God for Allie. She has been such a big help to me lately. She had done a lot of the straightening, with only a little left to do. So she directs me when I walk in that I should straighten the couch covers while she finishes something else. :) It made me smile that she was telling me what to do - a little role reversal. We get it done and the warranty guy is only here for about 20 minutes. He checks the hot water heater and finds the pilot light is out, so he tells me that he will send someone over today to get that re-lit so I can take a shower. JOY!

He leaves and I set about gathering all the various papers throughout the house. I get my shredder and the trash can set up and I go to work. I check in on my work email throughout the afternoon, just in case of an emergency. Then at 4:35 I tell Allie to get ready, that we would be leaving soon to go and get Conor then go to her practice that starts @ 5:30. At 4:45 I found the papers that I had been looking for! Filed with Jeff's taxes and school stuff - but not in the filing cabinet, setting out on the entertainment center. Great! But I need to send them to the person needing them and it would take forever to scan them! So I tell Allie, let's go - right now! I can run to work and fax them, then pick Conor up, then go to the park for practice. We shouldn't be too late, and a few minutes wouldn't hurt anyway.

So out the door we go. When we are going down the road Allie says "Mom, I have to use the bathroom." Well - you can either hold it until we get to work (about 10 minutes) or I can drop you off at Molly's (my sister) and then pick you up after I get Conor. She chose Molly's. So I tried to call on my way there to make sure it was OK with them, but by the time the phone was given to my brother-in-law, we were pulling in the drive. I quickly explained to him and left to go do what I needed to do. I get to work at 5:04 and there is no one there! Guess they all ran out of the door at 5. :) I go in, fax the paperwork, reset the alarm, lock the door, and go to get Conor. When I pull up to the sitter's house, it is 5:26 - only 4 minutes til practice. I run to the door, get Conor, get his shoes, tell the sitter why I am in a hurry, and out the door we go. 5:28. We go back to my sister's to get Allie, and as we were leaving, there is a blind spot in her road - kinda a hill - and as I went over the hill, an SUV was headed right for us. They were driving in the middle of the road, about to hit us head on! As soon as I saw it, I made a fearful noise (sucking in my breath) that made Allie look and do the same. I swerved a little to the right, but there wasn't anywhere to go, but they also swerved quickly enough and missed us. Barely. My heart was pounding! I had not been speeding, I already knew we were going to be late but was not in a rush at that point. But they certainly were speeding, as well as being in the middle of the road. We were certainly being watched over at that moment, and I am very thankful for that.

So Allie gets to soccer, I go with my mom to look at a couch for sale, and then pick Allie back up. We finally make it home around 7:30 and we are all starving. I make a quick dinner of grilled cheese and tater-tots, then we all relax in the living room for a bit. Conor wants to play blocks, so I tell him to bring them to the living room. Instead he comes out with a big ball.

Here is where the "Stress Relief" comes in. :) Bet you were wondering about that, huh?

He and Allie start playing, and we were all "passing it" back and forth. Then I come to my senses and say we shouldn't be doing that in the house... So Allie and Conor start a pillow fight with the couch pillows (they are small square pillows, for those of you who don't know). Allie throws one at Conor, he runs into his room so she misses, and he comes out and says "Missed Me!" hee hee. Then he throws it back at her. It comes nowhere close to getting her because he is too far away when he throws it, but he thinks it is funny anyway. She moves quickly and gets it, he runs to his room again, so when she throws it, it hits the door frame - not Conor - and he does it all again. It escalates to Allie moving to right outside his door and throwing them into his room. Although she hits him with the pillows (not hard), he still giggles and says "Missed Me!" So she laughs and says "I did NOT!". While this is all fun, and everyone is having fun, the best is yet to come.

We all go outside, Jeff and Allie sitting on the chairs on the front porch, me sitting on the step, and Conor running around. Allie brought her soccer ball out, so she and Conor are passing it back and forth down the sidewalk, Allie trying to get Conor to catch it. And he does - quite a few times. And he keeps moving further away from her. So when he throws it back, it doesn't quite reach her. So I start teasing her and saying "Sissy can't catch the ball!" and "She missed again!" hee hee. So Conor thought that was funny and he started saying it, too whenever she missed. Allie was a good sport, and acted indignant, but was laughing, too. Then Conor was standing about 3 feet from Allie and he threw the ball towards Jeff and said "Oh, Sissy missed AGAIN!" This sent me and Allie into rolling laughter, tears were forming in my eyes!

I suggested to Allie that she go out in the yard and pass the ball with him with their feet, or run around, something to wear Conor's energy out. Allie then suggested to Conor that they "race" across the yard. So they began running back and forth, and in circles, around the yard. Conor beat Allie (he would stop and turn around, or change the path, in the middle of the yard). She, of course was letting him win, but was still getting wore out. So she laid down in the grass, to catch her breath. Conor went over and bent his face down to hers and said "Wanna race, sissy?" She said she needed to rest, so he found another distraction. The water hose was laying nearby and he wanted to play with the water. I told him to go and turn it on. When he came back, he immediately sprayed Allie (she was still on the ground) - who squealed with laughter. He ran up to her on the ground and was spraying her head from 2 inches away. I told him not to get so close, but Allie was a very good sport, and did not get upset, she said she didn't mind.

Jeff and I were still sitting on the porch, laughing, when he turned on us! He started spraying us and Jeff immediately jumped up and ran into the house. I followed, but had to first grab the phone so it didn't get ruined, so I got a little more wet than he did. Then I was the one who had to go back out and get sprayed while walking up to Conor (trying unsuccessfully to shield the water with my hand) and getting the hose from him and turning the water off! Boy was he not happy about that. He got over it when we all went inside, because he followed. We dried off, got dry clothes on, then settled down to watch Ice Age. Conor fell asleep shortly after, and I came in here to write my blog. I feel more relaxed now, after having laughed so hard for so long.

So my kids were my comic relief tonight. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Time for bed now, I am yawning a lot! Good Night!