Saturday, October 29

Silent(ish) Saturday


This is what happens when you tell him "no more ice cream".

Friday, October 28

Snow Dance

My step-father was many things; professionally speaking he was a carpenter / contractor.  He build the most amazing additions, but his specialty was barns.

He was talented, wasn't he?
Now barn building isn't exactly something you do in New England in the dead of winter, so during this time he was also a plow contractor for the state.  He was a whole fleet of banana yellow plow trucks.  Every time it snowed say it was "snowing dollar signs".  I'm glad he enjoyed the snow.

Me, personally, not such a fan of the snow.  Snow is OK (and only OK) if I have a house full of food, a tank full of oil and NO place to go.  I don't like driving in the snow, in fact I avoid it at all costs.  But, I digress....

When step-dad was itching for a good snow storm to fill his coffers with (granted it took the state forever to pay), he would do a little jig.  A jig he called "the snow dance".  

Last night we had some snow, not much, but enough for the state to call out the sanders (he had one of those as well).  My mom and I decided he must be doing his snow dance in heaven, because it's really early for snow in these parts.

Well apparently, he didn't get the memo from my mom and I... we're not ready for snow.  And they are calling for 8 to 12 inches over night tomorrow.

Dear Ronnie.... please stop the snow dance.  It's far to early, and your grand-kids want to go trick or treating on Monday.  Love, your daughter.

Thursday, October 27

The Tale of a Jacket

Husband needed a new jacket.  He's needed one since last winter.  We ordered one off Overstock, and when it came in it was too small, so we returned it and then never got him a new one.  He's like me, not the type of buy himself things; even when the are needed.

Well the other day at lunch, I decided to surprise him and I went out and bought him a new jacket.  And I got a fantastic deal on it.  I was so excited and teased him about his surprise the whole afternoon.

When I got home he was so excited.  He loved the way it looked.  He tried it on, and it fit great.

Then he went to zip it... and it had no zipper.  Bummer!!!

At first I was going to get the zipper fixed since I got such a great deal. But the tailor wanted $43 to install a new zipper.  That was well more than what I paid for it (hey, I said I got a good deal).

So I went the next day to exchange it.  I had stopped in the jacket section to adjust my ponytail, and when I looked up I saw the same jacket.  It was the right size and everything.  Then I looked at the zipper, also missing.  Go figure.

After much debate I decided on a nice London Fog jacket.  It was twice the price of the last one, but still a very good deal.  Especially for the brand name.

I bring the new jacket home; and what do you know... it's too small.

Sigh.

Back to the store I go.  Third times the charm right?  I comb and comb and comb through the jackets and finally find the London Fog one, one size bigger.  Exchange completed, I head back to work, feeling victorious.

I get the jacket the home, and on my honey... and instead of the giddy and excited feeling I had when I bought the first jacket over a week ago, I feel a sense of relief.  I can finally stop shopping for a new jacket for my honey on my lunch break.  Mission complete.

Wednesday, October 26

Project Food Budget2.0 (Week 2/3)


Last week I jumped on the pig and joined Project Food Budget 2.0.  My budget was $100.
Let's see how I did: $86.74 at the grocery store; OK good start.  Then I heard that Peppreidge Farm was having an additional 10% off sale, and I needed to stock up anyhow, so that was another $29.77.  Near the end of the week I needed to run out and get the tomatoes I forgot for the tacos and milk.  That trip somehow came up to $ 20.55.  So for my first week I was over budget ($137.05 spent, so $37.50 over), but in my defense we will not need to buy bread, cookie or crackers for at least 6 weeks.

This week's menu consists of:

Monday – mac and cheese for the kids (Husband and I ate when he got back from a client's house).  
Tuesday – eggs, toast, sausage and fruit
Wednesday – chicken quesadillas and salad (Turkey's pick)
Thursday – chicken sandwiches, sweet potato fries, salad
Friday – Out to dinner for my Mom’s b-day (I think we're going for Mexican.)
Saturday – Eat at camp-out (It's a Halloween themed over night camping trip Husband and Turkey are going on, Monkey and I will be there for dinner the night before.  It's $24 for the 3 of us).  
Sunday – Crock-Pot Pork Chops, cauliflower ala Melissa, roasted potatoes

My budget this week is $150, as I need to stock up on some pantry staples and meats.

Last night I went to the grocery store, and spent $146.44, but $21.25 was on Christmas presents (doesn't everyone pick up the odd random Christmas present at the grocery store) and batteries.  which leaves me at $125.19.  

If you'd like to see how others are doing on this project you can check them out here:


Tuesday, October 25

Smells in the Night

First of all, I am trying to write this blog post without sounding like a crazy lady with ten cats.  For the record we only have two, and one is technically Turkey's and the other only comes in once every few days.  So if this post seems way out there, have no fear dear reader this is not a sign of things to come around here.

I guess it all started this weekend.  We spent the night at my mom's house; which despite her little changes here and there is a constant reminder of my step-dad.  Step-dad used make the most amazing berry pancakes, sometimes strawberry and blueberry, other times just blueberry.  Husband woke in the middle of the night, to the smell of blueberry pancakes.  When he told my mom about it the next morning, she said "ah ha, Ronnie was around last night."  My mom believes that my brother and step-father frequently visit her house, and part of me doesn't see why not.

This evening I went to the pharmacy and the grocery store.  When I walked into the pharmacy I was met by a  Christmas display of Lindt Chocolates (don't get me started on Christmas before Halloween, but I digress).  Lindt truffles where my Grammie's favorite.  These were the fall back gift on many an occasion, and she's make a sour face if a holiday passed and she didn't get any.

When I walked into the grocery store, there was a display of the super sized chocolate bars, I immediately thought of my step-dad.   That man loved his chocolate (and coffee, and ice cream).

So maybe I was predispositioned for what happened after that.  When I got to the soda isle, as I was walking by the Pepsi (Grammie's favorite), I could smell her perfume.  The further down the isle I got the stronger it smelled.  I kept looking around to see if someone was wearing it; but at that time of night the store was pretty empty.  I didn't smell it again outside that isle.

Then as I was driving home, I drove past a man on a motorcycle; and it made me double take, if I hadn't known better I would have sworn it was my step-dad.  But he would never ride his bike that late at night.  He was a sun up to sun down kind of guy, who didn't like being cold.

It makes me wonder, what happens after all is said and done.  I know all about heaven, and hell, and purgatory... but really is that it?  (I know, what a terrible Catholic am I?)  It makes me wonder about signs, and all those deja vu feelings.  And if I am really going to be superstitious; then Turkey and I must be in for a run of good luck because we both found 4-leaf clovers this weekend.  But then again, this week does bring about a 3rd dentist appointment for him in as many months.... the first two were both rescheduled because some one passed away right before them.

Oh well... just something to think about.

What a Difference a Year Makes.

Me, this time last year right as my baby belly popped.

Me and BOTH my boys last weekend.  

What a difference a year has made.  It's hard to believe that little lion was inside my belly this time last year.  And my little Star Wars General, has grown about 3 inches.

Monday, October 24

Staring Contest

The other night at dinner Turkey says to us, "You know how I don't like looking people in the eye?"

"Yes", I say knowing this is one of those Asperger's things.  "Why is that?"

"It makes me feel awkward."  Lately awkward or dweeb are his adjectives for just about everything, thanks for Wimpy Kid.

"Oh, OK. So what's up?"

"I've been practicing for staring contests.  I've been staring at my books.  I can almost see through them now.  I might be ready to have a staring contest."

OK.... let's just chalk that one up to strange things that 7 year old boys do.  

Friday, October 21

Silent(ish) Saturday

Monkey versus the deconstructed sweet potato taco.


Whipping It Up

The other day Turkey came home from school, and I offered him a snack.  First I offered some cinnamon sugar toast.  He declined.

The I offered a slice of apple pie, or a piece of fruit.  Both of which he declined.

So I offered him the giant cookie we bought him at the library bake sale.  Again, he declined.

Then he turns around and says "I'll just whip something up."  Intrigued and concerned I followed him into the kitchen to see what he was going to "whip up".  His first creation involved peanut butter, a peppermint candy, honey and the microwave.  I am sure you can imagine how this turned out and where it ended up.

Then his moment of genius struck, and he proclaimed he had a new plan.  At that time the baby started crying so I went to go tend to him.  When I came back into the kitchen he showed me his creation:

The giant cookie, whip cream and sprinkles.

In Turkey's book everything is better with sprinkles.  (And no he didn't finish it.  He has the croup this week and his appetite has been less than stellar from it add to that a loose front tooth; and you know...)

Thursday, October 20

Guilty, Guilty, Guilty

I am terrible when it comes to clothes for me, and I don't mean terrible as in Shopaholic guilty.  I just don't shop for clothes for myself.  When I buy clothes or shoes it's because some one died, some one is getting married, or I'm pregnant.  I have no problems buying clothes for my boys, although I admit I shop for bargains and have no problem visiting the consignment shop.   If I have an extra $30 I would rather go get my nails done with my mom than go clothes shopping.

My wardrobe is sad.  Very sad.  I am surprised no one has ever signed me up on "What Not to Wear".

And then this weekend, we found ourselves in JCP, and they were having a sale (plus $10 off a purchase of $25 or more), and I had some extra cash... so I decided it was time to shop for me.  Husband took Turkey to a movie, music, game store and Monkey and I looked around.

I probably should have went wild... OK, for me I suppose I did.  I got 2 pairs of PJs, a knit hooded sweater, three shirts and a pair of khakis.  As I was standing in line to pay, I felt so guilty; so Husband was texting me with support, confirming it was OK, reassuring me I was doing a good thing.

In the end I got a great deal!!!  An awesome deal, and this helped ease the guilt (some).  I spent $55.02.. but look at how much I saved.



I am happy with my purchases, and I feel GOOD wearing them.  I feel more like a grown-up, like I have my business together.  Hmmmm.... maybe a new pair of flat are in my future. Or maybe an accessory, beyond my  rings and diamond stud earrings.  The possibilities are endless, as long as I keep the guilt in check.

Tuesday, October 18

The smell of....

Palmolive, takes me back to Monkey's early days when he was admitted to the Children's Hospital for jaundice.(If you missed the blog post about this, you can find it here.)




Recently at work, someone brought in this dish soap for all to use.  It's the old school Palmolive as well, the dark green liquid in the tall slender bottle.  The big version of the little tiny bottle they gave me at the hospital.  My milk had just started coming in when he was admitted, and because his levels were so high I had to nurse him them pump, show the nurse how much I pumped and then bottle fed him the breastmilk.  This created a lot of dishes, if you will.  So the nurse brought me a little tiny bottle of Palmolive and a dish bin, and after each pumping session I had to go into our bathroom and wash the pump parts.  

And now, every time at work, when I wash my dishes I think back to those early days.  I can recall the fear, anxiety and worry Husband and I experienced.  I can see Monkey laying in the little isolete with the blue lights on and his special sunglasses.  I remember how much he fussed and cried in there, how all he wanted to do was be held and all we wanted to do was hold him.  I can see our little bathroom in the hospital, bad lighting and all.  I can see myself washing the dishes in the sink, worried that something bigger was wrong.  Every time I was alone, in the bathroom washing away, I would think about all of the other parents out there who were struggling with bigger problems with their kids, and my heart ached for them while at the same time marveling at the strength of friends of mine who had been through these struggles. 

It's funny, how a smell can bring you back like that.  Do you have any memories triggered like this?  Please share.  

Sunday, October 16

Jumping on the Pig aka Project: Food Budget 2.0



A few days ago I read Erica G's blog, Warm as Apple Pie, and she was working on Project: Food Budget 2.0; I was intrigued and wanted more info.  She pointed me to Emily Levenson who started this project... and now at Week 3 I am jumping on the pig.

I used to be BIG on menu planning , but then the baby came along and the wheels fell off.  We've tried a few times to get back to it, but one thing or another always seems to get in the way, so hopefully this is the kick in the pants I need.  As an added bonus when I menu plan everyone gets to pick at least one meal, so they have at least one of their favorites to look forward to.

When I was menu planning I was also shopping from a list, based on that menu.  Shopping to AND sticking to the list helps save money.  It really does.  Don't argue.  :-)

So this weeks menu.

Monday: Eat at my Mom's House!!  (bonus)
Tuesday: Tacos (Turkey's choice)
Wednesday: Meatless Pasta (Husband's choice)
Thursday: Tuna Sandwiches (Turkey's choice) with Oven Fries
Friday: Crockpot Chicken, Winter Squash, Orzo (My pick)
Saturday: Out of Town (Pumpkin Feast... from our bucket list)
Sunday: Pancakes, Eggs, Sausage, Fruit Salad (My pick)

Lots and lots of salad (as always), and fruit, and milk.  Husband is having grinders for lunch this week.  I'll be taking soup and sandwiches for lunch.  Turkey is buying lunch 4 out of 5 days this week at school.

My budget $100 (not including Saturday eating out, Pumpkin Fest is on it's own budget).

Let's see how it goes.

Saturday, October 15

International Babywearing Week

It's International Babywearing Week!!!

And I thought I would post some pics of us babywearing, similar to my blog post of World Breastfeeding Week.














Silent(ish) Saturday

Monkey realizes he can eat with his hands.




But he still enjoys his spoon.





Friday, October 14

Senior Design Project

A long time ago, in a far away galaxy I was a senior in college, majoring in engineering.  And as such I had to work on a "senior design project".  This is pretty standard fair to engineering majors.  Basically it's a semester long project that you work with your team on to develop various designs in your engineering concentration.  I recall working on my project with Stevie L and another guy, I want to say his name was Gary.  We had to find a plot of land, and design a building for that plot.  I worked on the septic system, drainage and the parking lot design; as the summer before I had a job doing just that for a survey company.  In the months we slaved away on this project, I don't think we ever called a professional and picked their brain; unless you count our academic adviser... and getting answers from him was like water from a stone.

Now a days, it seems like it's the normal for college students to call on professionals for assistance.

I can always tell when a new semester of college is starting because the calls at work start; Student X from University of Wherever is calling to discuss their senior design project.  The calls all begin the same, the student can barely get their name out of their mouth without tripping over their words, and it's always followed by "I found your company on the internet."  So I suppose the internet is to blame for this whole phenomena.  They want to talk details on a project that is not fully defined and they want me to do complex math calculations for them; and to provide to them details as to why or why not their hair brained idea will work.

Here's the thing I am a SALES engineer.  Emphasis on sales.  The more I sell, the more my quarterly bonus is (any my new transmission is thankful for that).  Talking to college students and being coerced by them to do THEIR homework does not help ME sell anything.  (Yes, sometimes it is all about me.)  They are not going to buy, they do not have real money.  I have real customers to talk to, real customers to design products for, real customers to create proposals for.  Real customers who trust me, and don't want to "see my math" on design criteria.

I asked my  boss how to deal with these calls, and he mentioned (under his breath) something about poor reception and dropping calls.  I will admit I tried this (not my finest moment); but the president students call back.  Good thing I have a colleague who is slicker with these kids than me.

I just pray that when these students enter the work force they encounter dealing with students just like this.  Oh, and they get a better grasp linguistic skills.

Thursday, October 13

What Goes Bang in the Night?

I'm having car troubles.  I'd like to say it started on Saturday, but in retrospect maybe that "bad gas" I thought I had got earlier in the week wasn't really bad gas.

Saturday afternoon we were going apple picking.  Me, Husband and the boys, including Husband's 16 year old step-son from his first marriage (talk about an age range in the boys).  On our way, we stopped to get drinks at McD's and while in the drive-through line my car stalled, but it started right up again.  I blamed it on the "bad gas" and Husband suggested filling up before we headed out further into the country.  Once I filled the car (a 2003 PT Cruiser with a super cool paint job) up she ran fine all afternoon.  We probably put a hundred or so miles on her.

After dinner Husband was going to drive his step-son home, but I offered to drive as he has a hard time seeing at night.  We dressed Monkey and Turkey in their PJs, under the impression we would be home by 8:30 and they could go straight to bed.

We started out on the interstate, for the first seven or so miles the car was fine.  Then all of a sudden she started surging and speeding up.  That was scary.

Then when I stepped on the gas she didn't want to speed up, and she started making strange sounds.  I made the decision to get off the highway as soon as I could.  I glided through the toll place and then the car stalled again.  Turkey kept asking me to put on jazz music (as it calms him), but our station was playing "world beat" instead.

We got the car started and pulled into a truck stop.

Husband and I looked at the car, the best we could, and Turkey freaked out.  He couldn't be anywhere near the car.  So step-son hugged him tight in the parking lot.  Once Husband determined the car was not drive-able I headed into the truck stop with the boys.  I had promised Turkey some desert while we were out anyhow.  Husband called my uncle to come rescue us, and his brother to come get his step-son to bring him home.  Turkey and I ordered triple-chocolate cake, some Oreo pie and large milks.  While we waited for our food he insisted he pray for the car.  So we sat in the dinner with him reciting the Our Father over and over again.

Once my uncle got there we unloaded our car, and waited for the tow truck.  After what seemed like forever, the tow truck arrived and we bidded ado to our car.

We were so thankful my uncle was there to rescue us, I know he would never leave us (or any of his family) stranded, but it was late (after 11 by the time we got home) and we live a good distance from him.

On Tuesday they finally had a chance to look at my car, and the verdict was "transmission".  One of the most feared words when dealing with car repairs.  Figures, I just put four new tires on the car the week before.

So that's what goes bang in the middle of the night, my car's transmission.

Tuesday, October 11

Getting Rid of the Pain

Turkey has always had an awkward gait, so much so that we call his running "the shuffle".

A few years ago, how many I couldn't say exactly, maybe since he could really talk; he's complained about his legs hurting.  We chalked it up to growing pains.  He often complained of "growing pains", while out on hikes, walking the mall, bowling, the list goes on.

Thankfully, he isn't the athletic type. He's more the "kid sitting in the middle of the soccer field picking flowers" type; which he did do during the one season of soccer her played.

Then a few months ago, while getting a new pair of sneakers, the women assisting us in the store remarked how flat his feet were.

It was like a light bulb going off in my head.  I was angry at myself, embarrassed; and felt guilty.  How could I have missed this?  How did it take so long for me to notice?  The correlation could not be any clearer, his flat feet was causing some leg pain for him.  Major.  MAJOR.  Mom Guilt Moment.  Ugh.

I called his doctor, and she referee us to Shriner's Children's Hospital (SCH).

Today we went to SCH.  They were amazing (aside from them loosing our chart and taking an hour to initially see us, but with my luck lately that is on-par).

Everyone was so friendly and helpful, and speedy (maybe waiting that hour helped, they felt so bad).

Turkey had his first x-ray today; and I got the pleasure of explaining (granted not the right explanation) of telling him why they couldn't x-ray his boy parts.  I told him "we don't need a picture boy parts).  OK, maybe pleasure wasn't the right word.

He joked about them seeing food in his legs, as we often tease him that he must have a hollow leg since he eats so much some days.

They checked his range of motion, and had him run and jump and all this fun stuff.  Not to mention the awesome volunteers in the waiting room who played games with him, including Left-Right-Center; which was so much we bought it today as well.

In the end we left with a knee x-ray to be further reviewed and gotten back to us on; as well as a pair of blue tie-dye orthodics for his shoes.  We go back in 3 months to see how they are working.

After a test drive walking the mall today, I think they are going to work out great.

It is SO nice to see my boy walking around and not complaining.  Again, kicking myself for not seeing it sooner... ugh.  Some days I would think he just complained a lot; other days I would think he just needed to exercise more; and even some days I just thought he was being lazy (for this I feel most guilty over).

But we are on the road, the road to pain free walking for the boy.  

Monday, October 10

3:32 AM

It started with a knock on the bedroom door, followed by "Mommy, I has a nightmare.  Can I sleep with you guys."

I strain to listen in the darkness, the baby is crying down the hall.  I look at the baby monitor on the floor by my bed, off the charger, battery dead.  Good thing Turkey had a nightmare, otherwise I would never had heard Monkey.

"Sure thing buddy, climb in the middle by Papa.  I'll be back after I take care of brother."

Forgetting my glasses I stumble down the hall, and pick up the crying baby.  His face is warm and wet with tears.  He quiets as I pull him close.  We sit together on the rocking chair in the corner of the room.  I watch the lights flickering outside, wondering what time it is as he nurses.  Shortly, he finishes and drifts off to sleep in my arms.  I walk peacefully back to my bedroom where Husband and Big Brother are waiting for me, both half asleep.

I pull Turkey close, he tells me he can't sleep from his nightmares.  So I rub his forehead and tell him to think happy thoughts until he falls asleep.

I look over, it's 3:32 AM.  And as I fall asleep I wonder who many other times this scene is playing out around the world.

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