Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Happy Birthday!

To me, that is! Today is my 27th birthday—woot woot!

Last year, I hardly uttered a word about my birthday and it ended up being a little letdown. I did visit Sharon & family the weekend before and had a spontaneous birthday evening dinner with a few friends, as well as doing some Michael Jackson dancing at Stacy’s —but it’s a day about me and this year, I’ve been hamming it up! What can I say; I’ve learned from the best—ahem, Stacy!

Unfortunately, with my birthday being smack during the workweek, the celebrating has been sporadic but very fun this year. The celebrating began on Saturday, when I went out for coffee (okay, okay, chai in my case!) with my friend Bobi. She moved back to town at the end of last summer and we enjoy getting together to catch up a couple Saturdays a month. Yumm!

On Sunday, my friend Lindsey and I had lunch, dessert, and a couple hours of good old girl chat at BJ’s Brewhouse. The only thing I had that was brewed was sweet tea and it was better than any beer in my opinion. I have never had a beer I enjoyed, so there! I got a chicken parm type meal and a pizookie for dessert. I’d never had a pizookie before but Lindsey talked it up. Oh man…hot cookie, melting ice cream… Smile 
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(Ignore that the sun makes it look like I lost part of my head!)

I’m also heading to the chocolate cafĂ© with Stacy on Monday (writing this Sunday because I won’t have time on my actual birthday!) so I’ll let you know how that goes. I’m pretty sure it will be yummy too… I’ll celebrate with my family next weekend. I haven’t seen them since Christmas so I’m excited!

If you’d like to revisit some of my past birthday posts from the blog…

A random recap of birthdays… here

For the year Sharon and I got our eyebrows waxed, she helped me highlight my hair, I looked like I had a tall Mohawk, we went to the piano bar and saw my crush, I went bowling with my familia…click here

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bowling With Preschoolers: An Adventure!


(I had to use this pic because some of the kids had intense concentration!)

We had an the adventure the other day. My boss had surgery and needed to spend a day just relaxing and sleeping at their house, so I had the kids out and about. Laney was in school all day, but the two boys had to be kept busy.

Last summer, I took the kids bowling- and the older two did really well. Tobin was just over a year old at the time and could have cared less.

Cut to 8 or 9 months later- I wanted to find something that would keep Derek happy and busy—as well as to keep his little mind off his recuperating dad. I mentioned bowling to him, and he sounded interested. I spent an afternoon calling about 15 (no lie!) bowling alleys around town to check out open bowling prices. As it ended up, we landed at a bowling alley I went to every weekend last year while I was on a bowling league.

Now, I knew that Tobin likely wouldn’t last too terribly long, so I planned for one bowling game. I also brought along a huge pad of white paper and crayons. Tobin picked out a few trucks/cars and board books to bring along as well. As a backup, I brought in the stroller in case I needed to rein him in for some of my turns (which I did, although just a time or two). At 22 months old, he did REALLY well. I was proud of him!

Now…our adventure! Some of our friends were meeting us at the bowling alley but we arrived first. We walked in and I grabbed shoes for Derek. I asked the woman at the desk about shoes for Tobin. She looked around, and not seeing him wandering around (he was strapped in the stroller) looked confused. I motioned to him and she peered over the counter,

“OH! HE’s bowling?!?!”

“Well…we’ll try it! I think he’ll have fun. I brought some coloring paper for him in case he doesn’t do well,” I replied.

“Oookkkkayyy. We don’t usually have kids as young as him do it…”

Sigh. He’s almost two, lady. Let’s let him try, okay??!

--

A minute later, I explained to her that we’d have two lanes going—one for the adults and Tobin, and the other for Derek and his friends- as I mentioned to desk lady, “the older kids”—making sure to motion to Derek as I said that.

About five minutes later, we were situated with shoes and our balls. Our friends Bess, Lana, Oli and Leo walked in. At the desk, the woman peered at them and asked, “Are you with HER???” motioning to me at the other end of the alley.

“Umm…yes…?” Bess replied.

“Oh. Because when she said older kids, I thought she meant TEENAGERS!”

Ahhahaa.

Whoops. Poor lady…we had two adults, four kids who were four years old, and one one year old. I think we gave her a couple new gray hairs!

Needless to say, bowling was an adventure. The kids did really, really well. They cheered for each other (and us). Tobin had a blast pushing the ball after I placed it on the floor for him- no, he couldn’t carry it. It was a six pounder and the tyke would have smashed his poor toes. He clapped every time his ball made it down the lane and with much excitement.

The coloring paper came in handy, too. After about seven frames, the kiddos who were waiting for their turns took to coloring squirrels, houses, rainbows and other pictures.

All in all, bowling was a smashing success. Just don’t ask the counter lady.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Serenity

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I had a particularly crazy day at work earlier this week. As soon as I walked in, it was clear this wasn’t going to a normal, easy-flow day. Derek was protesting his return to school after a four day skiing trip with Laney and his dad. Their dad was off work due to upcoming surgery. Derek showed up at the breakfast table not only with his stubbornness but a possible broken nose (lovely & bruised) from a fall on his trip. Tobin seemed to have turned on the two-year-old tantrum faucet overnight and since he doesn’t talk, his grunts filled the house.

The day progressed—Derek went to school despite his plans otherwise. Tobin and I went to our normal storytime at the library and had a fantastic time (ahem, cue 2 year old tantrums again…)

After lunchtime, Tobin and I played for a while and headed upstairs to read books. While I put him down for a nap, Derek fell asleep on a chair in the living room while relaxing with his dad. I sighed with relief and went to grab my lunch.

Cue disaster.

Immediately, as soon as I sat down, the dog began to ferociously bark, workers outside looked scared of said dog, the basement door was pounded off its hinges, two phones rang, Derek woke up and began to protest again (this time about his doctor appointment to check on his nose), the workers asked that the van be moved from the driveway, two large trucks full of drywall bound for the basement were blocking the road…

It was a crazy day.

So, after work, I headed to the park. There is just enough sunlight in the evenings now that I can squeeze in a quick round of walking at the local park. As a bonus, the park has a small lake (large pond?) and the sun was peacefully setting. It was peaceful and serene- the sunset and clouds perfectly mirrored in the water, not a breeze in the air. It was a perfect, quiet end to my absolutely crazy day, and for that I was thankful.

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Remember to take pleasure in the simple things!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

First Grade

The oldest of the three children that I nanny for is in 1st grade. Laney is an artistic, caring little girl whose reading has really been taking off- but some of the papers she has been bringing home are cracking me up lately.

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“I like your shirt”
”Thanks”
= instant friends

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“HEY”
= not friends
Smile

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bloom & Nella

My blog has had more hits in the past 24 hours than it has in a usual year. It's unreal what a yummy Pinterest picture can do. Thanks, Marshmallow Brownie Cupcakes!

There is a blog I read regularly about a little girl named Nella and her family. Nella was born with Down Syndrome-- a condition her parents were unaware of until her birth. They are an amazing family, full of fun and certainly in tune with my 2012 "Embrace Life" resolution. Nella's mom has written a book that will be coming out later this year, and I certainly look forward to reading it. Children (people!) with Down Syndrome are absolutely amazing and I'm proud to have worked with a few. 


Friday, February 17, 2012

Marshmallow Brownie Cupcakes!

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The little boy I nanny for wanted s’mores, but the family had no chocolate bars. His mom came up with this simple idea, which I made yesterday.

It’s so very, very simple- but YUMMY!

What you need
- Brownie mix (prepare as usual)
- Large Marshmallows 
- Silicone cupcake holders (or cooking spray) I made the mistake of using paper holders and they were incredibly hard to get off!!

Directions
- Mix up the brownies and plop a little to cover the bottom of the cupcake holders
- Toss a marshmallow in the middle
- Smush down a little and pour brownie mix over it
- Bake 25ish minutes @ 325*

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ENJOY!

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sloth Autotuned

I'm a fan of Ellen DeGeneres, so I catch a lot of clips online. I don't really know who Kristen Bell is, but she was on Ellen a couple week ago. I do enjoy seeing her boyfriend, Dax Shepard, on the show Parenthood, so I clicked on the link. The first video is funny, the second one is even more hysterical. 

(Kristen gets a sloth)


Autotuned hysteria

Ahh, I'm sorry but it makes me laugh. At least she has a good attitude about it :-)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Winter is Mean to Me

Okay.

So remember a few weeks ago  last week when I said this winter was pretty much awesome and light? It still holds true for the most part, the kids were out drawing with chalk on Monday and Tuesday.

However, I haven’t seen my family since Christmas and it’s not for lack of trying. A couple of weeks ago, it was planned that my “baby’ sister (she’s almost 12 but she’s my baby!) was going to come and spend the weekend with me. We were going to go mini-golfing, see a movie, visit some of my favorite food places…and Friday afternoon, before I left work, an ice storm started and didn’t let up until mid-Saturday (or later, I don’t remember). Instead of hanging out with my little sis, I spent the weekend reading, organizing, and being bored until it was time for Levate on Sunday evening.

This past Thursday was my sister Lily’s 17th birthday. Tonight we planned for a party- a small one, but pizza, ice cream, going to the movies…well last night, snow/blowing/freezing cold weather moved in and the highway between my house and my parents was slick and not too safe, according to the state weather website. This morning, the drive is even worse…so, I’m not going. It’s quite possible the party will be cancelled anyway…but I am SO, SO bummed.

Winter, I hate you today.
GO AWAY.
I want summer!!!!!!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Funny Friday

Things that made me laugh in the last week…

1) Not sure if this would make me laugh or cry if it happened to me…

Photo from here

2)

Photo from here

3)

Photo from here

4)
We’ve watched this two weeks in a row after young adult group


5)

photo from here

Monday, February 06, 2012

In The News: My Thoughts

There have been a couple of news stories lately that have caught my eye. I do enjoy reading the local news here and in that of my parents’ hometown, although not every day.

This story on the possibility of banning smoking while children are in the car is one I would have skipped reading until a few days ago. I was at a stoplight on the way home from work one day this week when I looked over. Right next to me was a woman smoking. Her window was cracked maybe ¼ of an inch. I could see smoke tendrils unraveling through the car. Just the thought of being in that car with her made me gag, as I have had friends who smoke in their cars and I find myself almost gagging while in their cars (even if they aren’t smoking at the time!). Sitting in the backseat of the car I saw was a little girl, maybe two years old. I immediately felt badly for her—after all, as the article says, she has no say in it, and yet she is clearly breathing in smoke. As I continued my drive I thought (in my non-nicotine-addicted mind), “there is a park RIGHT HERE, less than half a mile from the intersection. Couldn’t she at least stop there, step outside of her car to smoke??”


Photo from here

The second story that made me wince was this one dealing with people who jaywalk repeatedly. When I drive to work, it is still pitch dark. Almost every morning, there are multiple people walking across random spots in the road. There ARE crosswalks, they are not using them. On multiple occasions I have come close to hitting people because they are walking right in front of traffic. It’s like they do not look before they cross the road! It’s so dangerous.

Do you follow the news? Do some news stories scare you like they do me? Sometimes I wonder about this world…

Saturday, February 04, 2012

A Year Ago: Icy

A year ago, the weather pictures I posted on Facebook were these ones according to Timehop (which by the way is a cool program, go check it out). Clearly it was icy and cold- snow was on the ground.

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Today we have rain—lots and lots of it. I am LOVING this winter weather. I mean, I’d prefer 70s/80s  Winking smile but if it’s a choice between rainy and 50s or freezing cold/snow/ice…I will take what we have. This is the first winter that we’ve spent an immense of time outside—biking, taking walks to the park—it’s absolutely crazy. Yesterday after school the older two kids played outside for a good hour and a half while the baby and I cleaned. It was over 50*!

At the beginning of January the kids and I took a trip to the park and the sun was going down. I took this picture. The pond wasn’t even frozen all the way through, and the fact we were at the park in January in and of itself was unreal.

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We also found dandelions popping up around the neighborhood. It’s a strange winter, my friends.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Hanging with the Metal Workers

 

We went to the zoo yesterday with some friends. It was a gorgeous, sunny day so we wanted to take advantage of it! However, the kids were all more interested in the men doing repair work than they were in the monkeys…

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