Thursday, March 30, 2006

Helpin' out

I had to make some cakes last weekend for some birthday parties, so Conor wanted to help out of course! His helping includes pouring ingredients into the mixer, turning it on, then asking if he can eat it. As you can see by the pictures, he did get some batter - he got to lick the bowl and beater. :)

March 29th

85 years ago today, one of the most amazing people I've ever known was born. My Grandma. She is one of the kindest, strongest, honest, loving, helpful, and extraordinary people I know. I absolutely adore her. She is 85 and she still mows her own grass, does yard work, household chores, and cooks for her entire family every Sunday. By entire family I mean the 8 kids she had, their spouses, grand-children, great-grandchildren, friends, whoever wants to come to her house and eat. At last count, there were well over 50 of us - and although all 50+ do not show up every Sunday, there are some Sundays that we all do, and she always has enough for everyone. She will always have something to eat for anyone who comes over - and she will insist that you eat - even make up a plate for you if you don't get to it quick enough!

All the kids love going to grandma's because there are always toys, there is always something sweet to eat, and there is absolutely nothing in her house that she feels kids could possibly harm. I remember begging to stay there as a child, and my cousins did the same. There is no place on earth like Grandma's house.

She makes the best potato donuts, the best home made pizza, the best roast beef, the best chicken and noodles, the best apple pie, and numerous other things that I will never forget. She has always been a huge part of my life and has made a huge impact on me. I feel so very blessed to have her in my life.

Happy Birthday, Grandma! I love you so very much!

Monday, March 27, 2006

St. Patrick's Day Pics

Ceara didn't come to our house on this particular weekend, so I was unable to get her posing with the "hat" in the pictures. The hat was actually just a container that cookies came in - not really supposed to be for wearing - it was too small to fit anyone's head, even Conor's! But we though we could get a couple of fun pictures out of it anyway. :)

Allie would look a thousand times better without those bangs in her eyes (that drives me crazy!), but she still looks good posing with the hat.

Conor was too wiggly for it to stay on his head, so Jeff had to hold it up there. He was not thrilled that I took the picture with him holding it, but I loved the look on Conor's face. Besides, I couldn't get a good "still" picture with it on his head because he wouldn't hold still!

Allie didn't wear green on St. Patrick's Day - I think she was hoping to get pinched. But the rest of us did! :) I got to wear my Green Bay Packer's sweatshirt to work. If it would have been a little warmer, I would have worn my Favre jersey. It was a bit chilly and the sweatshirt appealed to me because of the warmth.

Hope everyone had a fun day pinching or getting pinched!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Shrinky Dinks

Does anyone remember Shrinky Dinks? It has been a long time.... Allie found a book that Molly had given her years ago that has different projects in it for kids. She actually cleaned her room last weekend and came across it. Inside of it, there are various activities and one of them is Shrinky Dinks. So she, Ceara, and Conor sat at the kitchen table and colored on the special plastic, then cut them out and baked them. They had a lot of fun doing it, and they did a very good job on them. Below this post is a picture of the whole collection they did. The colorful square was done by Conor; the tiger and cats eyes were done by Allie; and the dolphin was done by Ceara. The rest I am not sure who did, but they all are done well. The tiger was immediately claimed by Conor as "his" since he is currently obsessed with tigers, so Allie made 2 so she could have one too! :)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Disney World

Welp, I'm going to Disney World!! All expenses paid, too! The company where I work, for those of you who may not know, is in the IT Solutions business. That means we set-up and repair computers, printers, networks, servers, software, and whatever else our customers need us to do. We partner with several vendors to sell and service their equipment, depending on what our customers want. HP, IBM, Toshiba, Cisco, Microsoft, and several others. There are very strict guidelines that we have to follow in order to be allowed to service these units under warrant and get reimbursed for the labor. Every warranty unit we work on, that vendor does a survey of the end user to see if they were satisfied with the service we provided. The ratings go from 1-5, with 5 being the best. We get paid based on these ratings with a couple of the vendors - IBM/Lenovo and HP are 2 of them that I am very familiar with.

There are different pay ranges depending upon these surveys and a few other areas. The payment tiers are Premiere, Preferred, Basic, and below Basic. Every branch of our company is considered to be independent as far as the vendors are concerned. We do not get penalized for any of the mistakes made by other branches of our company, we are rated based only upon the customers that we service ourselves. All of the years I have worked there, we have been 95% of the time Premiere. There are a few time that we have fallen below to the Preferred level, but not usually because of surveys - mostly because of the other guidelines. Why? Because we really do care about our customers being satisfied at our branch of the company. :)

So, enough of that boring stuff!! But I wanted to explain a little as to why IBM/Lenovo is paying for 2 of us to go to Orlando, FL for a Conference. Because our branch was Premiere for the entire year of 2005, so we get to choose a Manager and a Technician to go to Florida. I got chosen as the "Manager" because my boss doesn't want to go, and the tech going with me is Robert - our depot manager. They were going to send me as the tech and Robert as the manager, but the tech that goes has to be IBM certified - so although I have my A+ and know a little bit about computers, I am not certified in anything and since the tech has to go into a "work-shop" of sorts with other techs, I would be way out of my league there. Robert is one of the best techs I have ever known (I've know a lot) and he will fit in well. I can hold my own with the managers!

I don't get to take any of my family. I do wish that I could take everyone, I want to take the kids to Disney World - I was wanting to when Conor is a little older anyway - BUT - I am looking forward to a peaceful, fun trip by myself. Of course Jeff is giving me all kinds of playful grief about going off on a trip with "some guy" while I leave him behind to take care of the kids and the house.... He acts like I just planned a trip for myself and Robert only - that there won't be a bunch of other people there for the same reason. He keeps telling everyone that "Katie's going off to Florida with some guy" and so on.... But I know he is just teasing me. :)

I have worked with, and been friends with Robert for 6 years. He is my go-to person for any type of technical assistance. He has fixed, or helped me fix, several of my computers and my families computers. He is also married and has 2 kids. :)

So, that is my news. We will be going in May and I will get more details about where we are staying and all of that later in March. But for now, what I know is:

Arrival will be on Sunday, with check-in @ 1PM or later. That evening Lenovo will host a welcome reception from 7-9pm @ the Disney Contemporary Resort.

Monday we will have a general session followed by training breakouts for managers and technicians.

Tuesday will start with a general session and afterwards everyone will have the opportunity to enjoy Disney's parks or golf at one of Disney's premier courses. A dinner on Tuesday night will conclude the conference activities. We will depart on Wednesday with check-out by 11am.

I'm excited!! :)

Grand-dad's Day

Jeff's dad, Jim, has decided that Monday nights are going to be Grand-dad's day. So last Monday (2/27/06) was the first one. He went to Ceara's mom's house and picked her and Kaitlyn up (Kaitlyn is Ceara's little sister, Debbie's daughter), and then came her to pick Allie and Conor up. He was already here when I got here - granted it was after 6 because once again, I had to work later. He had mentioned Grand-dad's day to me over the weekend, but I didn't know when it was supposed to start, so I was a little surprised - but very happy about it. An entire night to myself!! That is a rare thing. Jeff, of course, was gone to work - so it was very quiet and peaceful.

So off they went. I was able to do some over-due filing, clean some stuff, and then I played on the computer for a while. The time flew by, and before I even realized the time, they were back - with cookies!! :) Yummy chocolate chip cookies that they had made with Grand-dad's help. This is supposed to be an every Monday thing, and I can certainly get used to that! I hope they don't wear him out too quickly and make him not want to do it anymore!!