Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oh...How I Love to Travel

In case you hadn't heard Colorado is getting a HUGE snow storm that will last Wednesday and Thursday. My home town is expected to get between 12 and 24 inches of snow. Needless to say I was not sure if I would be able to leave for my meeting in Atlanta. When the flight still showed "on-time" this morning, I packed my bags and began the SLOW drive to the airport.

As I watched the time pass by as I drive ever slowly I wondered if I would make it. When I got on the road that takes you into the airport it showed that the garages were full, which meant I had to park outside in economy. Then it took FOREVER just to find a space. I think the economy lot was nearly full as well. As I got out of the car, I saw the shuttle that takes you up to the main building. I quickly grabbed my suitcase and ran through snow and wind to get to the shuttle before he left. As I was running and just before I got the bus, I thought "Did I lock the car?". Well since I couldn’t' got back, I am just hoping I did.

Once the shuttle dropped me off at the main building, I ran to the ticket counter to check in. Once I checked in I was informed by the Kiosk that my flight was delayed 40 minutes. So all the hurry for nothing! After waiting to board the plane we were told that there was a line for the deicing process and we would need to wait 20 to 30 minutes before we could even push away from the gate. We finally pushed away after a 30 minute wait, but then we waited at least another hour before we actually took off. I guess the best part was I kept falling asleep, probably because of the Dramamine I have to take to fly. So the time past quite quickly for me!

Because of all this delay I did not make it to Atlanta in time to set up my table for the meeting and now I must get up extra early to get over to the facility to set up. I hope that it won't take me long to set up.

I just love traveling, especially with weather. You never know what is going to happen and so you are just along for the ride. I hope when I fly home on Friday that the trip is less eventful.

As a side note, I got the book "The Shack" in the airport, because I forgot to bring my book in my haste to leave for the airport. I will write a review of this book when I finish.

If you are in Colorado I hope that you are safe and dry at home. For the rest of you I hope you had a GREAT Wednesday.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Halloween! (Early)

For Mindless Monday I wanted to share a photo of my little Frankenstein and Pioneer girl. They had a great time at 2 safe trick or treats this week. Hope you all have a safe week!

Friday, October 23, 2009

I'm not a baby anymore....

This morning I was helping my 6-year old daughter get dressed as we were in a hurry. She is a bit of a slow poke and so if we want it done quickly we have to help her. She has school pictures today, so we had chosen a green striped turtleneck sweater for her to wear. As I pulled the sweater over her head I said, "Where's Makayla?" and then when her face appeared I said "There she is." She quickly replied, "Mom, I have not a baby anymore. That is something you say to babies."

I was shocked and even though I realized she is 6-years old, I didn't expect that kind of response from her. To be honest I almost cried. She is growing up so fast. This morning I looked at some older pictures of her. What a cutie she is (not that I am biased). As I took a walk down memory lane I found pictures of her taking pony riding lessons 2 summers ago. She had a great time. I took lunch early so she and I could do it together. We got to brush, saddle, and ride the ponies. She was just going into Kindergarten then. How much she has changed. Not only in how she looks, but in the things she says. I catch myself laughing sometimes as she tries to use the "big words" and sometimes doesn't use them quite correctly.

I must admit I miss my baby. Even though my son is only 20 months only, he really isn't even a baby anymore. I guess I will have to take joy in cuddling other people's babies. This means getting over my fear of holding other people’s babies. I know you may think that sounds strange as I have had two babies myself, but I am afraid I will somehow hurt someone else's baby. It is kind of a paralyzing fear and prevents me from holding any children under the age of about 6 months. So in order for me to enjoy little ones again, I will have to "conquer" this fear.

My babies are growing up! Every stage in their life is a joy, but there are days I miss just being able to hold them in silence and enjoy the peace that surrounded us.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Casa Loma - Toronto, ON Canada

So I'm brining back Travelin' Thursday and this time I'd like to highlight a BEAUTIFUL castle located in the heart of Toronto, Casa Loma. This one of a kind castle was built at the beginning of the 1900's by a wealthy businessman. It has a wonderful story and because of the bad business dealings was never finished. Make sure to plan plenty of time to see the entire facility (at least 4 hours) and the audio tour is a MUST.

The property includes the castle itself, 5 acres of gardens, a stable, carriage house, green house, and potting room. The audio tour takes you through the entire residence, through tunnels and outside in the gardens. The story behind this home is fastinating a real riches to rags story of love, life and the whole darn mess. The castle was constructed over 3 years with nearly 300 workers. Be sure to stop by and view the 10-15 minute video presentation before beginning your tour. It provides background on the gentleman that build the home and the construction details.

I have included several pictures below that I took while visiting the castle. I have been there twice and it was fabulous both times. A place the enitre family can enjoy. It does include an onsite cafe with adequate food and drink. If you are in or around Toronoto this is a MUST see.

Here is the link for the Casa Loma website.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why I Have the Greatest Husband in the World (and yes I am biased)

I have had a rough couple of days. I've been a bit depressed. When I get in this mind set I like to try and think of all the wonderful things I have. One of those wonderful things is my husband of nearly 12 years. So, today I'd like to provide a list about why I have the greatest husband in the world. So here goes a short list.

1. He cooks ALL meals!
2. He is a stay at home dad that has to balance working with his dad and taking care of our two kids.
3. He keeps the house running while I am traveling on business.
4. He puts up with my need for LOTS of animals.
5. He loves me even when I'm cranky.
6. He brings me flowers to try and cheer me up.
7. He does the laundry and although it is my job to fold it, even folds it sometimes when the kids only want mommy.
8. He keeps me balanced when I (occasionally and I'm not saying that I do) overreact.
9. He can always make me smile when I'm grumpy.
10. He is the best father to my kids.
11. He vacuums the house.

This is just a short list, and I'm biased, but I believe I have the best husband anyone could ever have! I'm sure you all have some "keepers" too, so I hope this post makes you think about all the wonderful things your special someone does for you. Have a great Wednesday.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Special Time

Over the past several days I have had the pleasure of spending special time with my husband and my daughter.

Today was a GREAT day! My daughter and I had time with just the two of us. We went to a local pottery painting shop and each picked a piece to paint. My daughter painted a little bunny and I painted my son a blue and brown checked piggy bank. I will post pictures when I get them back.

It was so nice for just the two of us to do something together. I think we need to do this more often as lately I think my daughter feels like her little brother is getting extra attention. In fact I have already scheduled our mother/daughter time for the month of November. We are going to see The Lord of the Dance. She is very excited about this as she and I take clogging lessons. We are planning a full evening including dressing up! While dressing up is not my thing, it is my daughter's thing and for her we will do it together.

Last Thursday, my husband and I went to the movies, for the first time since I can't remember. (Oh wait I do remember, we went to the opening of the last Harry Potter movie that came out.) We went to see Couples Retreat. That was a GREAT movie and I would recommend it to everyone. It was hilarious and a real “feel good” show. It was very true to life and that just made it even better. If you are married with kids you will find this show hilarious as the interaction with the children is classic.

Just as with my daughter, my husband and I have got to reinstate date night. Our goal will be to have date night once a month. I think that is very realistic and with our hectic daily lives this will be very helpful for our relationship. We bowl together on Friday night and my in-laws watch our kids, so it is a mini date night every Friday night.

I am a firm believer in date nights, especially for those of us with kids. Kids require much of our attention and sometimes our spouses get left out unintentionally. I hope everyone can take a little time with their special someone away from your children to just enjoy each other. Even if all you do is have the children watched while you take a walk together. It's not how much you spend on your time together, but the time together that counts!

I hope you all had a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why Can't I Find Time to Exercise

Like most moms I have been trying to lose 15 lbs for about well I guess 14 months now. I say that because my son is now 20 months old and it takes at least 6 months for me to get to a "normal" weight again. What it boils down to is I need to exercise. Not just to lose weight, but to be healthy for my kids. My biggest problem is finding the time.

It is amazing to me that exercise and taking care of me always seems to fall to the bottom of the list. I find time to reorganize my daughter's clothes moving summer clothes to the Tupperware containers and winter clothes onto hangers. I have time to watch my favorite program on TV. I have time to do all sorts of things, but no exercise.

I keep telling myself that the best and only time is EARLY in the morning. As an FYI, I am NOT (I repeat NOT) a morning person. But I only need to get up about 40 minutes early for a 30 minute workout. I have even TiVo'd a number of workout programs off of FIT TV. And yet, I have not even watched/done one of them.

I thought well maybe I just can't get up. We always go to bed so late. However I proved that theory wrong on Monday. I had forgotten to buy a microphone of a WebEx we were giving at promptly at 8. So my task was to get up and ready, get to Wal-Mart, get back home, and get my daughter up, ready and on the bus. In order to accomplish this I had to be up by 4:30 am. And guess what, I was. I got up and did it all. So why can't I do this to work out. Apparently, work and sleep come before working out. I think I need to try and reorganize my priorities a bit. If I can get up really early just to get something for work, I can get up really early to exercise.

My mission, whether I chose to accept it or not, is to exercise 3 -4 days a week in the morning. I intend to start tomorrow. Wish me luck!

P.S. Thanks to my new followers for reading my blog!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Watching the Snow

For mindless Monday I wanted to share a picture I actually took last February, but I just love it and since it snowed over 6"inches here over the weekend I thought it appropriate. Here are my daughter and son watching the snow fall! I think this is just a precious picture! Hope you all had a GREAT Monday!

Thanks again to all my new followers! You all are WONDERFUL!

Friday, October 9, 2009

It's Confession Time - I'm NO Chef

First I'd like to say "HI" to all my new followers. Thank you so much for following my blog!!

So I must confess that I cannot cook. I often think to myself what kind of mom can't cook, and occasionally I feel bad about this. If it weren't for my husband I think my kids and I would have to live on cereal. So people say, oh you can cook, you just don't try. Well let me tell you a little story about my first beef stew.

My husband and I had been married maybe a month and I decided I would be the perfect wife and make a stew that would be ready when he got back from choir practice. So I pulled out the cookbook. (A good place to start, right?) It called for stew meat, which we had. So I pulled it from the freezer, and thawed it a bit in the micro and then floured it and placed the meat in the bottom of the stew pot to cook.

I then looked at the rest of the recipe, and I was missing a few things. I did not have any potatoes, but I did have a can of peas. So I would substitute peas for potatoes. Perfect! Next item: carrots. Again, no carrots, but I did have a can of corn. So another substitution corn for carrots. This is going rather well I thought. Finally it called for green beans, which I did have. Whew! No substitution needed. Moving on...beef bouillon, got it....Worcestershire, got it. Finally I came to something I had not heard of "3 cups of vegetable juice". I must admit I still don't know where you find that in the store and I most certainly didn't have any on hand. What to substitute? Well I had 3 canned veggies, each with juice in the can, so I'd just add in 1 cup of each veggie juice. Problem solved!

So I did just as I described and when Chad got home I had my "delicious" stew all ready to eat. God bless my husband for eating an entire bowl. I thought it was pretty good, but I'm sure that's because I made it. I distinctly remember saying we should save the leftovers for another time, and then Chad making up some reason as to why we would not finish it time and it didn't make sense to do that. That is the kind way of saying, "That is the most awful thing I have ever tasted."

Needless to say that was pretty much the first and last time I ever made any meal with the exception of cereal or eggs or something that can be prepared in the microwave for my husband or family.

In fact, about 2 years ago my daughter go VERY scared when I took out a pan and began to brown some meat. My husband was on his way home and he was going to make his chili when he got there, so he asked me to brown the meat for him. As I got out a pan and the meat, my daughter's eyes got REALLY big and she said "Mom do you know what you are doing?" When I reassured her that is was OK, she then proceeded to say "Have you talked to dad? Does he know what you are doing? Did he tell you what to do?" Nothing like giving me a boost in confidence. LOL.

So there you have it. I feel so much better now that I have confessed my inadequacies in the kitchen. Hope you all have a great weekend, and cook something good for me!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

To stay or not to stay...that is the quesiton

I know I said that I was done blogging about WDW, well I was wrong. I got to thinking that aside from the actual parks there are additional considerations to be made and that was the source of today's blog, whether or not to stay on the WDW property. I have actually done both. For our honeymoon we stayed on WDW resort and for this last family vacation we stayed off the resort.

Let's start with staying on the WDW property. This is a GREAT option with several benefits. First of all, you can get all of your transportation needs taken care of, which is the primary reason my husband and I chose to stay there. We were married at 19, so we were too young to rent a car. A WDW van picked us up from the airport, we rode the WDW busses to all the property locations during the week, and a WDW van took us back to the airport when it was time to leave. This is a very big perk, because you don't have to try and find parking at the park and at the end of the day you typically don't have to walk to far to the bus stop.

In addition to transportation, WDW gives those staying on the property extra hours and benefits at all the parks. This can be nice, especially with little ones. You can hop on the bus back to the hotel for a while and then back to the park for some extra hours! Perfect for little guys who run out of steam. The parks also open earlier for guests staying on the property, so if you have an early bird you can go and enjoy the park before others can get in. This brings me to another perk for staying in the park, location, location, location. By being close to everything it does not take long to get back to your hotel and then back to the park. I find this especially useful with little ones. As I said they will probably need a break and they can get some good rest back at your hotel instead of a quick nap in a stroller. Since your hotel is so close and you don't have to drive and park and drive and park, this is a real time and life saver.

So what is the down side, I'd say cost. That was the sole reason we did not stay on the resort when we went on our family vacation last December. We could not make the math work out.

Let's look at staying off the WDW property. When we went last December we stayed at the Nickelodeon Hotel. The reason we chose this hotel was twofold. First, we got a GREAT deal on Travelocity and second my kids LOVE all things Nick, so it was a perfect fit. Although we had to rent a car to get around, this worked out great for us because it enabled us to see other Orlando attractions, in particularly NASA. One of our main objectives outside of WDW while we were in Orlando was to visit NASA and staying off the property with our own car enabled us to do that.

I would say another perk to staying off the WDW property would be to experience something other than Disney while you are there. Like I said my kids LOVE Nick, so we did a character breakfast with all their Nick favorites on our last day.

If I was to choose and money was not a factor, I would definitely stay on the WDW property. You just can't beat the added convenience or perks you get for staying there.

Below are a few links with some additional advice on this topic.

I hope you found this post helpful!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Preparing for the Holidays....Step One: Family Pictures

This past weekend we had the annual family picture taken. I am sure most of you moms are familiar with the event. You go clothes searching for three or four months to find the perfect set of clothes that all match and come in the appropriate sizes. Then you fret and worry about how to get everyone ready and how make sure the little ones have been napped and fed appropriately so they are happy at the time of the appointment.

For this year we decided on dark green, brown, and oatmeal for the colors. Then I decided it would be fun to put my daughter’s hair in sponge rollers so she had curly hair for the pics. Finally we had planned to have our pictures taken outside because in Colorado we have such beautiful fall colors. So the clothes and the hair worked out perfectly, but the weather did not cooperate. When I awoke Sunday morning is was cloudy and drizzly and the grayness stretched from north to south and east to west. PANIC!!! Where to take the pictures now? Luckily my mother-in-law's office has a nice waiting area with a fireplace, so we decided to go there.

Once inside and with adequate lighting we began to shoot pictures. The only problem now as my 20 month old son, even though he was appropriately napped and fed, he decided that he was NOT having his picture taken and he was "afraid" of the photographer. So we worked with him and in the end we got some good shots. And so I say "YEAH! The family pictures are done!!!".

I'm not exactly sure why I put myself through this every year? Is it just for those Christmas cards I send to everyone and their brother to show them my WONDERFUL family? Yes, I think that is it. LOL. I love sending out those cards!

So, on the long list of things to do to prepare for the holidays I have one check mark. Family pictures....CHECK!

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Little Pony

Today I had to post a picture of my "little" pony, because all I want to do today is go out to the barn and brush and groom her. Magic is small for a horse. She is only a little over 14 hands, but her "mareish" attitude makes up for her small size. Magic is a beautiful black and white paint. She is about 7 years old. All my life I have loved horses and having her is the fulfillment of one of the items on my bucket list.

Have a wonderful week! Enjoy the fall weather!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Where Did We Go So Wrong?

I am totally befuddled (not sure on that spelling). My 6-year old stole money from her Grandpa's truck last night so she could buy some books at the school library sale. I was totally mortified and wondered where I have gone so wrong in raising her. How could my child ever steal? Did we tell her that was the wrong thing to do? I think I have totally failed as a parent and she is only 6!

Only the "bad" kids steal right? Only the ones whose parents don't care a lick? But we do care and we do want her to be good. We try so hard to make sure she says Please and Thank you and is kind to others. We make sure she does her homework and read with her every night. So where did we go wrong? Why when she knew where the money was did she say, "Grandpa won't care. Just take some." She admitted she knew it was wrong and did it anyway. I suppose that is what is most upsetting is that she didn't care it was wrong. I am SO upset I just don't know what else to say.

To punish her we are not allowing her to watch TV for 1 week and for two of her recesses at school today she had to stay inside and think about what she did wrong. I sure hope this works. I am still so upset that she even thought about this in the first place. Is there anyone out there who has had a child do something like this? I need some reassurance that I'm not the worst mom in the world, or maybe some confirmation that I am.