Friday, December 11, 2009

Our 2nd Annual Christmas Tradition

Sometime in the fall of 2008, my husband (Steve) witnessed something that touched his heart and we've changed how we buy presents for each other since..

Steve was in our local Walgreens. It's when the economy started going south, we were both worried about our jobs, aware of those around us who were starting to be impacted, etc..

A little boy and his father were walking down the aisle together. The little boy was carrying a hot wheels car that his dad was about to purchase for him. He was so excited that we wasn't paying attention to where he was walking. Steve was touched by the fact something as simple as a hot wheels car could make a child soo happy.

Steve came home and declared, 'I'd like us to take the money that we'd use to buy gifts for each other and buy toys for Toys for Tots instead.' How could I saw no after the story he told me and admitting we don't really 'need' anything. I thought it was a great idea...

The day after Thanksgiving that year, I headed out at 5am to get toys at 50% off (and another 10% off for opening a store credit card), which meant twice as many kids would get toys. It was worth the bleary eyes and lack of sleep. I did get many odd looks when I was pushing around a large amount of toys in a shopping cart. When people ask, I would just tell them what they are for. You could see the judgment change to surprise in people's eyes.

This year, we decided to do the same thing and probably will for many years to come. It was Steve's turn to brave the crowds the day after Thanksgiving, what a different experience for him. We think it's going to be a great lesson for our girls to learn. We want to teach them to be thankful for what they have and to give to those who are less fortunate.

I just wish I could see the look on the children's faces who are going to get toys this year, when they otherwise might not have. Just thinking about it brings happy tears to my eyes.

Happy Holidays to everyone....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Best Part of my Day!

The day started off not so great, but it recovered very quickly and I am thankful for my life and the little happy moments I can share with my family...

I switched jobs at the company I've been at for nearly 4 years a few months ago. My new position affords me the ability to work from home more which means stealing moments with my 2 year old daughter here and there.

Today I picked Abby up from school. She goes 2 mornings a week and the school is a mere 2.5 blocks from our house. In an effort to tire her out before her nap I walked to the school and let her walk home like a big girl. My husband has been working with her on identifying a curb, the street, cars coming, waiting for the cars to pass, etc. His work is paying off. Abby got to the first curb on our venture home, stopped and reached up for my hand. She then looked at me and said 'cars coming'. I melted.. I picked her up and walked her across the street because it happens to be a somewhat busy street (for a 2 year old to cross) and explained to her it was a 'big street'. We got to the next curb, she grabbed my hand again and said 'little street, cars coming?'. She knew the difference and we walked across the street hand in hand.

I'm fairly certain I'm under market in terms of pay at my current company. These are the priceless little moments you can't put a monetary value on and ones I would not get to experience if I worked a lot of other places.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Progress and Set Backs

We continue to make progress on our to do list. Perhaps it was a bit too ambitious and we are paying the price for it?? I'm not sure, but the past couple of weeks have been a bit difficult.

Shower Door Guy: I could have killed him, not literally, but I'm still trying to find his business listing on Yelp so I can post a review. He shows up unannounced, ready to install our shower door in our new bathroom. I clearly say "we are not ready to have that done today, there are still some things that need to be done to our tile first". He tells me "I'm just going to drill the holes", stupidly I believe him. Then he walks in with the actual shower door and I saw "I thought we weren't installing this today". He replies with "I'm just going to see if it fits". Total BS, because he installed the door, left without saying anything, and I was beyond livid. I called Steve at work, not like he doesn't have enough going on trying to learn a new job, dealing with my to do lists and occasional outbursts when I get overwhelmed.

Steve, who is generally mild manned, even keeled and an overall nice guy (we're a nice balance) was furious, mostly because the shower door guy completely disrespected what I had said. In hind sight, I should have kicked him out or called our contractor, but who would have guessed that someone would be so unprofessional and blatant about their complete disregard of my request. Writing this gets me all heated up again about it.

Then, come to find out, tile guy told us to enhance and seal our tile in the wrong order, so I love the tile, but it's not the color I wanted. Oh well... And our new couches were delivered yesterday and the delivery guys could not figure out a way to get them in our house. The only way possible (lifting over the fence) was out of policy. The couches went back to the warehouse and we are trying to figure out next steps (refund, forfeiture of sizable deposit if they can't deliver them, etc..). Poor Steve took the old couches out to the garage with his brother, who got a flat tire from the curb that jumped out in front of him while parking in front of our house, and brought them back in with our neighbor later in the day. At least we were able to really clean the floors under the couches and the wall behind one of them. And, on Saturday morning, the 1966 MGB left the premises and is no longer ours :)... Good things are happening, and I need to make sure to take the time to acknowledge and appreciate them.

All this with about 7 weeks to go until this baby is born. Possible sooner if I keep up my stress level, she is going to want to escape my unhappy body and I don't blame her. I actually think things will calm down once she gets here, b/c whatever is still on the list will have to wait, priorities will change.

In all of my drama and ranting about it, don't get me wrong, I know there are a lot of people out there who have bigger issues than dealing with new furniture delivery glitches, a bathroom remodel that seems like it's never going to end and shower door guy. We are just coming off an 18 month period of Steve being out of work for 11+ months of it. To some degree, I understand what others may be going through. We feel confident enough in both our jobs, at least for now, to tackle some long awaited for projects before # 2 arrives. We certainly did not leave ourselves enough time...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Status Update....

We've been working hard, really hard over the past few weeks to get some things crossed off our list. The status update is below. Things are coming along nicely, whew!! But, I think I've been doing too much, couldn't shake a cold so it turned into a pretty massive sinus infection. Meds are kicking in and I am on the mend..

1.) Buy shed for back yard (ideas of building on ourselves have long been thrown out the window), tuff shed here we come! (check - purchased and installed)
1.5) get rid of the 65 (?) MGB in our garage, would be a nice project car for someone, any takers, real cheap? (seriously, anyone want this, REAL CHEAP!!)
2.) Clean out the garage, yes this project was started in January is still a very pathetic work in progress. Some items from the garage will go into the shed. (not yet started)
3.) Install new shelving in garage and put down carpeting. Move items from our third bedroom, otherwise known as the 'office', into the garage. (not yet started)
4.) Get half Jack and Jill bath converted to a full bath, closing up the bathroom door to the office. The office will become Abby's 'big girl room'. We need to settle on a layout, buy a vanity, pick out tile and fixtures, but most importantly, pick a contractor... (should be done late this week, early next week, yiipppeee. Fingers crossed, but everything has gone well, no surprises in our 60 year old house when they opened up some of the walls)
5.) Paint Abby's new room and purchase new big girl furniture for her from Pottery Barn Kids. All of her stuff is on sale right now, yippee... (almost check - furniture purchased, painting will be done tonight)
6.) Paint master bedroom since a closet door will be closed up (gulp, we are losing one of our closets) and we'll have some brand new drywall that needs painting. (check - done)
6.5.) Buy new TV for bedroom. Steve hates this idea, but it will provide me with much needed escapism and downtime. (check - I'm still not sure Steve likes this idea, but he purchased the TV)
7.) Purge, purge, purge all the stuff we don't need and haven't used for years. I've already started this, but it will take some time. Many trips to goodwill are in order for sure. (still working on this one, not sure I'll ever get to say 'check')
8.) Get Abby's old clothes down from garage rafters, wash, sort through and get ready for baby # 2. (waiting for all the furniture to be delivered before I can start moving clothes around)
9.) Have baby (thankfully this hasn't happened yet, 30.5 weeks today)
10.) Figure out where Abby is going to go to school full time starting in the Spring. (started working on this, have some appts setup, working on getting others set up as well)
11.) Pray I don't 'lose it' during all this chaos... (I've come close, but still managing day to day)

Some additions:
12.) get to the point where I don't have to visit the plumbing supply store anymore. Since I am one of the few and possibly only females that has been going there on a regular basis lately, they know me by name. (only 3 more things to come in, nothing that will stop our bathroom project).
13.) go on a business trip later this week. Thankfully it's only driving distance and just an overnight trip.
14.) make Abby's Fairy Halloween costume. perhaps I'll take it with me on my business trip, lock myself in my hotel room at night, order room service and get it finished.
15.) take a trip to a day spa to recover....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


We are making progress on the very long to-do list. Especially today...

All items for the new bathroom have been purchased with one exception. The 1/4 trim for the bathroom tiles. That is what happens when you hit the tile store at 7:30am with a 2 year old and you are trying to make sure she gets to pre-school on time and I start my work day on time as well. I'll be heading back later today to see what they have....

Right this very minute, our house is in full chaos mode. The bathroom contractors are here, starting on week 2, and the first inspection for plumbing and electrical is later today. The HVAC company is here, installing a new vent in the new bathroom and another one in our living room and the Tuff Shed guys are here installing a new shed in our back yard. Things are progressing, very quickly... We ran into some issues with getting a new title for the 66 MGB (again, any takers, great project car), Steve is heading to the DMV today to try to get it sorted out, wish him luck...

I'll be posting some pictures shortly of the work in progress on the bathroom and the finished shed :)... Ahh, the craziness of getting all these things started has been a bit overwhelming, but the end product will be worth it!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Full Steam Ahead...

I was awake from 3 - 4:30am this morning with so many things running through my head. I never thought my husband starting a new job last week (after 6 months of not working) would be more stressful than him being out of work. Maybe I am doing all this to myself, but we have a deadline, exact date unknown as it's the birth of a child, which according to my Dr. will be born in approx. 3 months.

I was trying to sort out all of the things that need to happen in my head at 3am. I really should of gotten up and written it down, instead of letting it swirl in my head with no order for 90 minutes...

We need to tackle the following in the next 3 months (sequentially in this order, at least for now):

1.) Buy shed for back yard (ideas of building on ourselves have long been thrown out the window), tuff shed here we come!
1.5) get rid of the 65 (?) MGB in our garage, would be a nice project car for someone, any takers, real cheap?
2.) Clean out the garage, yes this project was started in January is still a very pathetic work in progress. Some items from the garage will go into the shed.
3.) Install new shelving in garage and put down carpeting. Move items from our third bedroom, otherwise known as the 'office', into the garage.
4.) Get half Jack and Jill bath converted to a full bath, closing up the bathroom door to the office. The office will become Abby's 'big girl room'. We need to settle on a layout, buy a vanity, pick out tile and fixtures, but most importantly, pick a contractor...
5.) Paint Abby's new room and purchase new big girl furniture for her from Pottery Barn Kids. All of her stuff is on sale right now, yippee...
6.) Paint master bedroom since a closet door will be closed up (gulp, we are losing one of our closets) and we'll have some brand new drywall that needs painting.
6.5.) Buy new TV for bedroom. Steve hates this idea, but it will provide me with much needed escapism and downtime.
7.) Purge, purge, purge all the stuff we don't need and haven't used for years. I've already started this, but it will take some time. Many trips to goodwill are in order for sure.
8.) Get Abby's old clothes down from garage rafters, wash, sort through and get ready for baby # 2.
9.) Have baby
10.) Figure out where Abby is going to go to school full time starting in the Spring.
11.) Pray I don't 'lose it' during all this chaos...

And, I officially started my new job at work last week, finally transitioned out of my old one so no longer doing 2 jobs, whew! That should free up some much needed time.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Preschool Already?

I dropped Abby off at preschool today, for the first time. She’ll be 2 years old in a few days and we wanted to get her in an environment of increased socialization and with a wide variety of activities. I thought it would be easier than it was. I leave Abby with a nanny every day, so I thought this wouldn't be much different. I was wrong.

I had a hard time sleeping last night and kept dreaming of things I forgot to pack for Abby for her first day of school. Bleary-eyed, I took her to the school this morning; she was very clingy at first until she spotted the train toys (she loves trains right now). She slowly warmed up and then I was politely asked to leave. I was okay with this, I understand longs good-byes are not good for anyone.

An hour later at 10am, I called to check up on her and the director’s response was “Abby is doing great, there have been a few meltdowns, but not from Abby. They are starting circle time, so I would recommend if you come get her, 11am would be best.” I am counting the seconds until 11am when I can pick her up and see her again! Tick tock, tick tock…

Well, I picked her up. The little ‘Duckies’ class was going from the inside to the outside play area, and Abby was first in line behind the teacher with a huge smile on her face. She appeared to be very excited to be going outside to play. I must have surprised her because the moment she saw me, she started crying, then I started crying, we were both a mess. I couldn’t pull myself together enough to ask what she did that morning, I left her sippy cup there and forgot to pay the school. It will take a few weeks to get into the swing of packing her for school, remembering to collect all her things and check and see how her morning was. It was crazy today, but all in all a good experience for her. I’m hoping Thursday goes even better, especially since it’s her birthday…

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Never Ending Hope

We should all live our lives like Murphy the Golden Retriever. Murphy has hope all the time. He never remembers the disappointment or rejection he felt with previous experiences and always come to each subsequent experience with a heart (and sometimes stomach) full of hope.

Every time someone heads to the front door, he is hopeful he is going for a walk.

Every time someone opens the freezer, he is hopeful someone will give him ice to eat.

Every time Abby has a snack in the living room, he is hopeful she will drop some and he’ll be able to ‘bat clean-up’ when she’s done.

Every time someone grates cheese, he is hopeful some will jump off the counter and land on the floor for him to enjoy.

Every time we take him to the back yard, he is hopeful someone will throw the ball for him for hours and hours.

Every time he walks up to someone new on the street, he is hopeful they will pet him.

Every time he sees a US Postal mail truck, he is hopeful it’s our mailman Victor.

We should all lives our lives like Murphy, greeting each experience as if it was our first and opening our hearts to be full of hope. Murphy never stops believing he is going to get what he wants.

Have a great day!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Back to the land of the living – at least for a short time…

I’ve been absent, very absent. Work was busy, but there were also a few other things going on as well. Steve has not found a job and my self-inflicted stress is mounting. I can only imagine how he feels. Watching him deal with the California Employment office is nothing less than extremely painful. I do feel bad for all those out there who don’t know that calling everyday and being persistent will pay off. It’s a small pay off, but it will happen.

We also have some news. Abby is getting a little sister around Christmas time. Up until recently I have had zero energy, spent some time on ‘reduced activity’ and can finally brush my teeth without getting sick. The pile of fabric sits in the garage, lonely, but still neatly folded. All of the projects I was going to get to will have to wait. Right now, spending time with Abby and sleeping are my two biggest desires and priorities. In hindsight, we really should have started trying to have children sooner; I’m just too old for this… But… I’m going to be blessed with two daughters (lots of fun shopping in my future for sure), I have a flexible job that lets me spend time where/when I need to and a husband who has picked up the slack around the house while I nap regularly and sleep in every morning. Who could ask for more?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Special Moments with Abby

I work, a lot. But I always carve out time in my day for Abby. People at work know that I am out of pocket from 5pm - 7:30pm in the evenings and that it's rare I make it in the office before 8:30am. For the work I can't get to during the day, I make up for it in the evenings after Abby goes to bed. This arrangement works pretty well.

Every morning, we have a routine. Routine is king in our house. It makes the days much easier and more predictable, so when something comes along out of the ordinary, we can easily handle it. There are two very special parts of my morning routine. Ones I savor and look forward to every day.

The first special part of my day is make-up time. After showering, I come out to the living room with my makeup bag. Abby sees it, excitedly rushes over to the couch, climbs up and sits right in the middle. I sit down next to her. She opens the makeup case for me and starts pulling everything out. She is such a great little helper! We now have sound effects for putting on lip liner and blush, it's really very cute. When we are all done (I'm the only one who actually puts makeup on), she helps me put everything back in the bag and zips it up.

The second special part of my day is toast time. I eat toast in the mornings, not necessarily because I like it, but because it creates another special block of time with Abby. I make toast and go sit in our oversized chair in our living room. Abby again runs over, climbs up and sits next to me. During either Curious George (her choice) or the Today Show (my choice) we share our toast. She looks at me a few times during our toast time, holds out her piece of bread and says 'toast'. When she's done with a piece and wants more, she looks at me and says 'more'.

These are two of my most favorite times of the day. Special times she shares only with me and she gets so excited about them. Who knew toast and makeup could be so special.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Abby and Alice in the Box...

Don't you just love it when you buy kids a nice toy and all they want to do is play in the box? Our neighbors bought a gift for their kids and when Abby went over for a visit, she and Alice had a great time playing in the box. They had one fantastic tea party in that box.

Gearing Up......

I'm gearing up for our fiscal year end at work. I work with my peers, consolidate revenue and expenses for our EVP on a daily basis (including weekends). This all starts a week from Friday and lasts about 3 weeks. I'm gearing up for the long days and the fire-drills and the phone calls and chasing down information. I'm already tired, so I think I need a couple days of just sleeping to store up for the upcoming craziness (I'm taking this Thursday and Friday off).

After the craziness is over, I'm going to tackle a very large stack of freshly washed fabric. I want to make things. My creative outlet for my very numbers intensive job. I want to make another dress of for Abby (she loves dresses, but is so active she trips over them frequently), a couple tops for her, I want to make some aprons after being inspired by my blog/facebook/high school friend April, and I want to make some baby items for a family members August birth of their first child. The fabric stack will wait until mid June and then I am going to town on it...

Monday, May 4, 2009

What does flossing your teeth get you? Another visit to the dentist...

I hate going to the dentist, but I love my dentist. She and her staff understand me, I don't have to explain my behavior in the chair and they make getting any work done relatively easy. I travel 25 miles to my dentist, though I bet there are plenty of competent ones closer to home/work. My theory is, why fix what isn't broken.

I went to my dentist a couple hours ago. This morning I did a really good brushing followed by a really good flossing (which I don't do as often as I should). My really good flossing resulted in part of a filling coming out. I didn't think I was flossing that thoroughly.

So I have to go back to the dentist, ugh. Thankfully I know I'll be well taken care of. The big decision I've been given is to redo the filling or get a crown. A crown, really? I'm not looking forward to either, yikes!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Buried in Spreasheets and PowerPoints...

I really do wish at times my job was a bit more glamorous than spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. I am in a branch of finance called Financial Planning and Analysis. I am not an accountant, I don't know tax laws outside of what pertains to me personally and I don't count beans.

I forecast, I budget, I track actuals, I have to understand and explain the actuals, and the budgets and the forecasts to the higher ups, I chase down information from my peers and I make sure all the numbers in the reports my team and I produce all tick and tie. It's a moderately important job, but I certainly don't save lives.

When I get together with friends, my day to day activities at work don't typically come up in conversation. I have a pretty impressive group of friends and they all have interesting stories: partner at a law firm practicing employment law, tell me she's not busy these days, a vet who does overnight emergency work in a very interesting part of the bay area, an HR professional who works for a VERY large retail company, etc, etc... They all have great stories, I do not. I get yelled at occasionally, I receive last minute requests all the time and have many late nights at the whim of executives. But, I actually enjoy what I do, most days. You'll just never hear me really talk about it.

I've not posted much here lately, because it's the time of year for me as tax season is for tax accountants. We are working on next year's fiscal budget and it's grueling. I promise to have more posts in May.

I was hoping to have a post in mid May about our wonderful vacation to San Diego. Per the pediatrician's orders, we may not be going due to it's proximity to Mexico. It's my understanding (and I've known to be wrong before), that the 2 meds they use to treat swine flu cannot be given to children Abby's age. I'm not sure I want to expose her to something like that because I want to lay by the pool in a very nice beach setting. Tahoe perhaps? We're still trying to figure out where we'll go or if we will have a stay-cation full of day trips to fun places...

Monday, April 13, 2009

I Did It!

The past 3 days were a little crazy, but I had soo much fun...

Budget Presentation - check
Easter Egg Hunt at our House - check
Abby's Easter Dress - check
Easter Dinner - check
Easter Shoes for Abby - check (purchased not made)
Cupcakes - check (made brownies too)
Toyed with the idea of making homemade peeps, ran out of time. Will tackle it for 4th of July with appropriate shapes (i.e stars)

See pictures below of the weekend...

Next up - Taxes

Hope everyone had a nice Easter!

Front view of Abby's dress

Back view of Abby's dress

GodMommy Liz reading to Abby

Easter Egg Hunt at our House

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wish me Luck!

It's going to be a crazy 72 hours. I have an Easter dress to sew (for Abby), creating the first draft of a budget presentation that an EVP will take to our CEO, Easter dinner to prep for and I have yet to make a list and not sure who's coming, an Easter egg hunt to set up for tomorrow afternoon, need to purchase Easter shoes for Abby, make cupcakes and keep my sanity in the process. I will post a recap after the 72 hours are over, if I survive it...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Economic Downturn Hits Home

As of 12 noon today, my husband is unemployed. He worked for Interwoven, which was acquired by Autonomy recently and his job was redundant so he's now my house husband for as long as it takes him to find a new job.

He had 2 interviews in the past couple of weeks, so we are keeping our fingers crossed something comes of one of the opportunities. Until he gets a job, he will be tackling the honey-do list on a daily basis. There is already a list on the kitchen counter started for him. I'm quite excited about this (trying to be positive about his new status) because we can get a lot of un-finished projects finished, hopefully.

And.. The timing couldn't be more perfect for him, March Madness starts this week... Enjoy the games hubby!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Dog Who Ate Corn

Spring is around the corner and I am trying to decide which flowers and vegetables I’ll be planting. I plant a small vegetable garden in our back yard every year. I neglect it, eat very little of what I plant, but I love the act of planting, the challenge of remembering to water it and seeing things grow. I usually plant heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant and corn. After last summer, I will never plant corn again….

We have a portable gate that keeps Murphy from going to the bathroom all over the back lawn. Now that we have a little one, we try to minimize her chances of stepping in Murphy’s ‘leftovers’ as I’ll refer to them here.

One day last summer we left that gate open, at a time when the corn was only a few weeks from being ready. Murphy had gone outside and it was a little too quiet for a little too long. With our dog and our daughter, when it’s too quiet for too long, there is nothing but trouble transpiring.

I found Murphy munching away at all the corn husks, corncobs, corn silks and corn stalks. He was not about to leave anything behind. He even went after the zucchini as well. I brought him back inside and thought nothing of what he ate and was bummed there would be no corn from the garden that year.

Later that evening I was IM’ing with my friend Liz (who happens to be a vet, and a very good one too) and mentioned that Murphy had eaten the corn from our garden. It was a funny story and she would appreciate it. This is when the cute dog eating the corn story turns. Ignorance is actually sometimes really bliss. She immediately went into ‘vet’ mode and told us to watch him, corncobs are not digestible and it could cause an obstruction (and this is very bad). Watch him for lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite, etc…

Well, 24 hours later the vomiting started. My husband was between jobs and was thankfully at home that day. He called me to tell me Murphy was getting sick and he took him in to our official vet. Murphy had x-rays, we contemplated surgery, and we consulted with our official vet and our unofficial vet (and savior, Liz). It was near closing time for our official vet and after several discussions we took Murphy to a local ER vet clinic. If he needed surgery, at least someone would be with him the entire night. The ER Dr. decided to induce vomiting to see if Murphy could rid himself of all that very fresh and very tasty corn he had consumed the day before. It seemed to have worked, but they kept him overnight to monitor his progress and would call us with an update or the need to do surgery.

I don’t know how he did it, but Murphy escaped surgery, again. The dog has nine lives and has used 2, maybe 3 of them already. He has no idea what happened and the $4.00 I spent on the corn plants in the back yard ended up costing us $2000+ and worth every penny since Murphy didn't need surgery.

There will be no corn in the garden this year. I'll have to find something more easily digestible to replace it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Coffee Murphy - Dogs by Bri

Murphy is our first born. I didn't give birth to him, but he's our first 'child'. He's a wonderful Golden Retriever that we love dearly. He's cuddly, he's very mellow and always has been, he loves butter/cheese/ice cream/lettuce and tolerates our 18 month old jumping on him. He will let you pet him for hours and hours and has convinced many people to do just that. He's mischievous and also a thief at times (steals items out of the changing table baskets in Abby's room, will steal my husbands socks, my flip flops and the occasional children's toy all to get attention). We personally think he is the best dog in the world!

My good friend Liz had a coffee painting done for us of Murphy and I love it. Brian Vegter of 'Dogs by Bri' did the painting and it's framed and proudly displayed in our home. The coffee paintings are very reasonably priced and he does such a great job.

This is the photo the painting was done from (that's Liz's dog Kiely next to Murphy). This is one of my favorite pictures, almost an impossible shot to get two dogs to sit still and look directly at the camera.

These are the 2 versions of Murphy that Brian painted. The first with just coffee and the second with coffee and ink. The just coffee one is the one we have. Doesn't it look like him! Someone else purchased the coffee and ink painting, Murphy is famous now...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oh, the garage...

Work has steadied for now and I want to start some projects at home. In order to execute on some of my ideas I need to get the house organized. I need to purge, to organize, to shred, to donate and to take to the dump/recycling center.

I started with the garage, the place where all things go to be forgotten. It was 9:00 pm on a Friday night; I had reached my limit and started cleaning. It’s a 2-car garage and we couldn’t walk from the front to the back. I didn’t like opening the garage door that faces the street because it was embarrassing. Over the course of the next couple weeks and after four trips to Goodwill, one trip to the dump (another planned soon) and many hours organizing all the bins of stuff, it’s now in pretty good shape. It’s still a work in progress but we can almost park a car in it, a Smart Car.

I’ve also cleaned out Abby’s closet, the guest room closet, my closet, the finished building in our back yard and my car. Next on the list are the hall closets, finishing with the garage, and starting on the kitchen. I need to have a sense of order before I can embark on a new streak of creativity. I really should have taken before and after pictures.

So far, I have learned more than how to optimize space in a small house, I have learned that I don’t need to keep everything I have ever purchased or been given. I have learned that while being wife, mom, dog owner, friend and employee that I can no longer tackle projects in one day. I have learned that I have to be patient, I have to be okay with work in progress and I have to be persistent (it’s so easy to start a project and not finish it). I have learned that this is not failure, it’s not laziness, it’s reality.

Now for the elephant in the room. It will be interesting to see what happens with the classic 1966 MGB that has been sitting idle in the garage for 5 years. It either needs to be made fully usable (engine finished, painting done, windshield and top installed, bumpers put on, etc) or find a new home. I just looked online and found what it could like if it gets finished. Don’t tell my husband, but I think I want to keep it now…

Friday, February 20, 2009

'Ni Ni '

Just a quick post for today... Yesterday, Abby's nap wasn't a long as normal because a noise woke her up.

After I got home from work, we went on your daily walk with Murphy. When we got home and I was taking her out of the jogging stroller, she looked up at me and quietly said 'ni ni' (aka: night night). She asked to go to bed. I was so proud of her for recognizing she was tired and that she wanted to go to bed, it was her choice.

The many times we didn't stay out late with family and friends, the many times we stayed home on the weekends to make sure she got her sleep have paid off. She's on a pretty stable schedule and we try very hard not to deviate from it. Some people understand, other's don't, but I feel because of the sleep she gets she's a very happy, energetic toddler and when she gets sick, it passes quickly.

Our sleep book of choice is Dr. Weissbluth's "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child".

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

BPA Free and Beyond

When Abby was about 6 months old, we started hearing about BPA and it's potential dangers. I thought the media and parents were overacting, but began to wonder if BPA was actually harmful. I spent an entire weekend doing research and decided that for our family we were going to be BPA free. This meant the 15+ bottles we had were to be thrown away/recycled and we had to purchase new ones. We were using Dr. Brown's and they had to come out with their non-glass BPA free bottles (and when they did come out they were hard to find). We bought a few glass Dr. Brown's to use in the interim. We threw away (or recycled where possible) sippy cups, plastic food containers, baby serving bowls, spoons and everything else we could find that contained BPA. This BPA cleanup prompted me to start looking at household cleaners, shampoos, cosmetics, laundry detergents and anything else that I could do to rid our house of possible dangers. Some people think I've gone overboard, but whatever I can do to keep our little one safe and healthy, I will do.

When our house is clean, it no longer 'smells' clean as fragrance in products can be potentially harmful and most of our cleaning supplies are now fragrance free.

Some of my favorite BPA free baby product brands and more people/environmentally friendly cleaning products include the following (not all products made by a certain manufacturer are BPA free, do your own research to confirm):
Gerber (dishes, sippy cups, utensils)
Sassy (teething toys, bath toys, utensils)
Seventh Generation (cleaning products, diapers and baby wipes)
Method (dishwashing liquid - go naked)
Avalon Organics Baby (shampoo and body wash)
Boon (suction bowls, utensils)
Earth's Best (food and diapers)

Next up on our list to purge is PVC (found in some vinyl products).

This was almost our Christmas card picture

I was moving our pictures from our old home computer (256 MB RAM) to our new one which operates a lightening speed in comparison when I came across this... This would have been our Christmas card picture if it wasn't for the snotty nose, the bruise on her cheek and the shiner on her left eye (click on the picture to see it larger and to also see all the little details I speak of).

I love this picture in a way I think only a mother can.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The economy is making me really nervous...

I live in the Silicon Valley and have not always been impacted like the rest of the country during a down economy. There are a large numbers of jobs here and maybe I've just been lucky in the past. This time is different.

I am hearing from friends that they are being impacted and we could very well be impacted in the next few months as well. The company my husband works for was acquired last week. We don't know if he is going to have a job or not in a couple months. We have put a sudden halt to discretionary spending until we know more. We are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

I went to Target earlier this week and it was different. There were not many people shopping and usually it's fairly crowded at 8pm. Some shelves were empty and some had very low stock. There were a lot more items marked clearance than I had ever seen before. Two prominent chocolate factories in the Bay Area are closing, Babystlye closed it stores and website without warning, Mervyn's has already closed it's doors, and company after company announce layoffs in the thousands. Who and what is next?

News reports on the state of our economy is bleak: Unemployment rates continue to rise, 4.78 million are out of work, new home sales are down even further. I also keep hearing stories about suicides and shootings resulting from the stress and anxiety of job loss and financial turmoil.

How much more can we take as a country? Will the stimulus package help or make matters worse? Who has the magic crystal ball that will give all of us a little peace of mind?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I am trying to be less negative...

It is sometimes hard for me to be positive. Being negative is a character trait I learned early and I am trying really hard these days to reverse it. It’s not easy, but I know the payoff will be enormous, not only for myself but for everyone around me. I practiced last night and the rewards were plenty.

Abby went to sleep at her usual 7:00 pm. A schedule and routine work great for her. We start with walking the dog, a few more minutes of playtime, a bath, some milk, teeth brushing and then down at 7:00pm. She had a cough before she went to sleep and I was hoping she wouldn’t wake up. I know as soon as I have those thoughts, I am tempting fate.

During the week, I don’t get to spend as much time with her as I’d like. I work full time and my job is pretty demanding. I enjoy what I do almost as much as I enjoy being a mom. Most days I feel the balance is there, but some days I’m really torn with spending more time with her. There are also days where it is really hard to leave her in the morning because we are having so much fun. She’s a pistol; she’s social, energetic, demanding, compassionate, emotional, sensitive and funny.

I went to bed at 10:00 pm and as soon I as got under the covers, Abby started stirring. She usually makes some noise around this time and easily goes back to sleep. Not last night. She started coughing yesterday, a very rough, scratchy cough and that’s what woke her up. She is also getting her first molars in, poor thing.

I let her cry for about 5 minutes hoping she would fall back asleep, no luck. I went in, armed with water and Tylenol. I picked her up, took her over to the chair and gave her some water and Tylenol and rocked her. Her head was heavy on my shoulder, her arms wrapped around me (as much as her little arms could), she was very relaxed and trusting. We rocked for just 10 minutes, that’s all it took. It was peaceful, she fell asleep on my shoulder, her breathing was heavy, and she was twitching. Instead of my typical response of being annoyed I wasn’t going to get as much sleep as I had hoped for, I was thankful for those 10 minutes, the best 10 minutes I had all day!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Letter to Abigail (1/20/09)

Dear Abigail,

You watched history in the making on TV today, though I’m pretty sure you didn’t know what was happening. I turned the TV on so you would be exposed to the first day the very first African American President in the history of the United States of America took office.

Your Dad and I have historically sat on the right side of the political spectrum. We have been moderate conservatives and have typically voted Republican. This year we supported Barrack Obama and we are glad we did.

I was driving into to work today, listening to the ceremony. I was overcome with emotion and my eyes welled with tears. I was listening to the description of Obama walking the path to take his oath. To think of the pride and love his family must have had for him in that moment and the hope he brings to so many people was overwhelming.

I am very hopeful that Barrack Obama can change the direction of America. That he can bring together people from every background and make this a better place to live, especially for those that have recently lost their houses and their jobs

Barrack Obama is a symbol of the progression of our country. America had dark days during slavery and Barrack Obama is a symbol that we are headed in the right direction. I hope that your future heads in the same positive direction and that by the time you enter college and the work force, opportunities for women are the same as those for men. That you receive equal pay for equal work and that you find true joy in what you do. That you judge people on their character and their actions and not based on race, gender or religion. That you have compassion for people who need it and you help those less fortunate in any way you can.

This is a very important day in our history and you are 16 ½ months old. Your Mom is hopeful for change and loves you with all her heart.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Welcome to Soddie's Place

Welcome to Soddie's Place. I am toward the end of my vacation from work, Abby is napping, Murphy is behaving and Steve is at work. I have been perusing new and old friend's pages on facebook and decided I wanted to occasionally post a few thoughts and pictures for others to enjoy, disparage, or simply view.

I was tagged 'Soddie' in college. It is a shortened version of my maiden name. College was a very transitional time in my life. Soddie reminds me of where I came from and where I am headed, anything is possible.

I have a 16 month old daughter (Abigail), a 4 1/2 year old golden retriever (Murphy) and I am married to a wonderful man (Steve). We sometimes barely make it through the day and others seem to go by too fast and are so much fun it makes me sad when they are over.

I look back on 2008 and wonder how we made it. 2 working parents with demanding jobs, a very mischievous dog and a baby at the beginning of the year that has grown into a very fast moving toddler (she is also mischievous). We no longer set our alarm clock and haven't for about 16 months. Our little blond haired blue eyed alarm clock wakes us every morning, sometimes at 5:30am and sometimes at 7:30am, we prefer the latter.

I'll write more in the coming days, but wanted to get this blog kicked off. Happy New Year to everyone, I hope 2009 brings you all the happiness and memories you desire!