Sunday, July 31, 2011

The End That Starts A Beginning

So here it is.... post 31! I did it!! I'm impressed and proud that I was able to conquer this challenge.

The real challenge is going to be continuing from here. A schedule needs to be set. An effort needs to be made.

I have lots of ideas for upcoming posts and I've learned a lot about myself from previous posts. I learned a mom can blog without it becoming a mommy. I've learned I do have thoughts and opinions that people are interested in. I've learned this stuff is fun!

Thanks to Christine at Inspired to Create for encouraging and "inspiring" me!

Poppa Bear is 50

Last Saturday my dad turned 50. This weekend they hosted a 50th birthday party for him and his long time friend Donald. It was hosted at Duke's Tavern in Glen Burnie. There was lots of good food and great people. Kevin and I got caught up with people we haven't seen in a long time. For the party Dad got together with a family member and learned how to roast a pig. My my was it FANTASTIC.

We asked Kevin's mom if she could watch Connor for the afternoon/evening so we didn't have to chase him around the bar or worry about him falling into the creek out back. It was a little hot but a breeze off the water now and again helped cool things off a bit.

Here are some pics taken by friends (I was too busy socializing to remember to take pics... oops!). I must warn you... there are pics of the pig roasting... if you're not into seeing that kind of stuff... STOP NOW!

This Little Piggy Went To The Market.....

The Nauton 50th Shirt

Mmmmm.... Piggy is ready for eating!


Checking out dad's plate... in about 5 seconds
I'll save him from putting pineapple on his plate....

Cake cutting time

Man... we take some good pictures :)
I'm very fortunate for the family that I have. I have four wonderful parents who love their life and are wonderfully healthy. I'm so grateful I was able to celebrate this awesome occasion with my father and family. We've spent a lot of time with family this month and each time I'm thankful for them tenfold.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Public Restroom + Angry Birds = WTF?!

I work at a community college and have to share the restroom with college students. When I first started here it totally grossed me out. College students can be down right gross in the bathroom in regards to washing their hands (or lack there of) and cleaning up after themselves when needed. I was a college student and I don't recall being this gross. I will admit to skipping a few hand washings here or there but I made sure that stall was as clean as it was when I entered it. COMMON BATHROOM CURIOSITY. Anyway... that's not what this post is about. I just wanted to fill you in on my usual issues with these public restrooms.

After lunch today I had to use the ladies room. I enter and notice someone is in the end stall so I took the first stall (there are four stalls). I'm doing my business and I hear.... "Waaaaahhhhh CRASH!" Total Angry Birds sound. I continue to hear it until I'm done. I wash my hands and dry them. On my way out the door I hear one final "Waaaaaaaaaahhh CRASH".

One the way back to my office I start thinking about how smart phones and technology in general are with us ALL the time. We check emails on the toilet, we text message people while we're driving, we play games if we are waiting on something even if its just a minute or two. We've trained ourselves to be constantly connected at all times. We need to have our brain stimulated at all times.

I was excited to get my pager in high school. I was excited to get my first prepaid cell phone. I was excited to get my first contract cell phone. I was excited to get my first cell that texted. I was excited to get my first cell that connected to the web. I was EXTREMELY excited to get my first smart phone.

My first smart phone came at a great time for me. I was getting ready to have Connor and I knew my days of using my laptop were numbered. The smart phone kept me in touch with what was going on without having to turn on my computer or open my laptop. BONUS! BUT now I find myself tired of being connected ALL THE TIME.

When I got emails my phone used to make a noise that notified me. I have recently turned it off because I would be talking to someone, it would make the noise and the person would immediately stop talking expecting me to look at my phone and interrupt the conversation. Since when should an email interrupt good conversation. I turned off the noise notification two weeks ago. I LOVE IT. I only get a blinking light to notify me and icon on my status bar. I may turn those off as well.

Social Networking will never go away. We've all come to terms with it, businesses are now using it for marketing and advertising runs rapid through the internet. There's nothing wrong with it BUT I fast see our lives being forever "CONNECTED". I am however kind of overwhelmed at knowing what all my friends are seeing, feeling, and doing all at once. Maybe I'm getting old...

Gone are the days when I used to think man I wonder if Lindsey is home so I can go over and hang out. Now all I have to do is send an email, check Facebook/Twitter or send a text. I don't even have to have a physical conversation. Its kind of scary.

I guess after being SO connected I'm ready for a step back for a while. A break for being able to know everything at a moment's notice. Not giving up the cell phone BUT beginning to leave it in my purse when I get home from work.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fox Mulder vs Hank Moody

In my younger days (not THAT long ago) I had it bad for the show X-Files. If you ask ANY of my friends from growing up I had a huge crush on Fox Mulder aka David Duchovny. Sigh..... I had posters on my wall, books about him and the show, Fox Mulder quotes posted on my wall next to the posters of him. After a while it wasn't just the crush that made me like the show but the story itself. I was into the mystery, the passion and the characters. Its probably embarrassing the say but I own all the seasons on DVD and have seen every episode. I'm not sure about now but a couple years ago if a show was on I could tell you which one it was and how it would end within five minutes. I truly LOVED the show.

Fast foward 10 years later. My latest favorite show? Californication. I've gone from Fox Mulder to Hank Moody. Now I don't have posters or quotes posted all over my bedroom wall (I don't think Kevin would let me get away with that) BUT I really love the show. I'll be honest. What grabbed my interest was the fact that David Duchovny was playing an interesting character. Its almost like Hank Moody is the dark side of Fox Mulder's personality that we didn't get to see because it was on Fox network. Hank's character is easy to like because he seems to stumble into his situations. You find yourself saying, "Don't go there!! Don't sleep with her!! Don't drink that!!" Kind of the same way I used to say when I was watching X-Files, "Trust No One! Run faster! I Want To Believe!" BUT of course the topics are way more sexed up and mature.

Anyway. I guess this is just a post confessing my nerdy love for David Duchvony's characters. I even liked him in Beethoven and Don't Tell My Mom The Babysitters Dead. Like I said... NERD!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

No Dogs Allowed... Oh wait... I read that wrong? No Kids Allowed....

Word on the street is the new hip thing for businesses to do is ban children ( This includes but not limited to.... First Class section on airlines, restaurants, destination vacations and grocery stores! Wow!

My first reaction was shock. How could a business decide to just ban kids under 6?! Then the old tune from "Snoopy Come Home" popped in my head..."No Dogs Allowed", and I giggled to myself. These businesses are genius! NO I'm not comparing my child to a dog BUT when I'm out and about without my 18 month old I ENJOY the quiet and lack of stress that can come along with taking a toddler out to eat or pick up groceries.

Connor is a pretty well behaved and mild mannered toddler. Kevin and I consider ourselves fairly lucky. Why should we have to endure a child crying, spitting out food or screaming while we're out on a date night? We could stay home and get that kind of show!

Yes he's super cute... BUT yes... it's gross!

We actually haven't ate out much lately because Connor is getting to the point where he is curious about his surroundings and wants to get out of the highchair to investigate. He'll also scream if he doesn't want what is on his plate. I don't want to be dealing with it, so why would the people next to me want to deal with it?  I'm not saying kids shouldn't go out to eat BUT thought should be put behind where the parents are taking their kids.

My mom told me when she was a single mother and didn't have my sister and I on her weekends off, she would ask the host at the restaurant to sit her far away from small children. It was her break! I don't blame her! When she did take us out to eat, you bet she was reminding us about acceptable behavior!

The idea of grocery stores having "child free hours" really excites me! I leave Connor home when I go shopping on Saturday mornings because he's just not the cute little baby that used to roll with the shopping trips. Two weeks ago I was in the pasta aisle and there were three kids screaming. My time out of the house alone is precious whether I'm getting my brows waxed or picking up food for the week.

I'm sure there are two ends of the spectrum on these thoughts. My thought is I know my child can be annoying as well as your child. There is no denying it. Businesses are finally listening to the consumer and I'm excited!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Living With Purpose On Purpose

Since Connor was born there has been part of me that feels lost. Not sure what feels lost and because of that its been hard to pinpoint what I need to do to find it. I am here, but where do I go from here.

You have to put a big part of yourself on the back burner when you first become a mom. Connor's first six months of life I don't think "I" really existed. After he started sleeping through the night and became easier to leave with family or a sitter I started to find myself again. BUT it was only from time to time, "I" was still waiting behind the scenes.

At Connor's year birthday I could feel the balance between mommy and Amanda. He loved to play independently and slept through most nights. What more could a mom ask for!? Here I am six months later and I'm still feeling lost. I'm ready for myself to jump back into the ring of life but I just can't seem to find it.

At first I thought the lost feeling came from being unhappy in my employment situation. I had a nice job but didn't want to work for them anymore. I was ready for the "next thing" and wanted to move on. It took me a while to find the "next thing" but I finally did. I started my new job this March. The new job had me excited and I was feeling like a "new" me. I'm back to feeling lost now that the newness of the job has worn off.

I used to teach and practice Reiki on a regular basis. I used to bead on a regular basis. I used to meet up with girlfriends on a regular basis. I look at these options for finding myself and none of them seem appealing. While I love Reiki, beading and hanging out with girlfriends, I feel like I need to do some soul searching and find out want I need from within myself, not outside.

I'm tired of getting caught up in the negative, the drama, and the mundane every day. I'm ready to start living with purpose! I want my actions to mean something and to accomplish something.

I'm having a "Girls Night In" in August. My close girlfriends are coming over and we're going to make Vision Boards. Vision Boards are a collage of pictures put together to help you focus on what you are looking to accomplish (long story short).

I guess my problem is now that I'm not sure what I want my Vision Board to look like or work towards! I know when I start making it I'll be guided in the right direction. Its just hard to, "Let go and let God" these days. I've always been good at manifesting what is needed/wanted in life, I just feel like I've hit a brick wall because I don't know what I want or need.

My life is good, I just need to find myself in the midst of all the chaos.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Big Glass of Wine?

Occasionally my Facebook friends will see that my status is talking about enjoying myself a big glass of wine at the end of the evening. I'm not partial to just wine. I like an ice cold beer, Disaronno on the rocks, Jack and Ginger or a good Gin and Tonic. BUT most nights (not all nights) I have myself a glass of wine.

My glass of wine is well deserved (not that I think I DESERVE to drink) because my day is full of being an employee, then mom and wife and then housekeeper. Once work is done, toddler is in bed, and house is clean... its time for me. The glass of wine helps me relax and still my thoughts. With my thoughts being still, I can get out of my own way and see what is in front of me. A piece of Lindt Spicy Dark Chocolate really helps when I've had a REALLY challenging day.

Every mom deserves SOMETHING that helps them relax at the end of the day. Mine happens to be wine. Whats yours?


Excited About Dinner Again

I'm ready to be excited about dinner again. Dinner time has been really slacking the last two months. Kevin has been in classes the two sometimes three days out of the week and it leaves me doing the bare minimum for dinner because he isn't home for dinner.

However.... I have gained knowledge in the grilling department in the last two months. There were times where I wanted specific dinners grilled and Kevin wasn't home or too busy to grill for me... so I did it. I started off with hot dogs (can't really screw those up can you?) and then moved my way to marinated meats. So far everything has turned out quite delish!

Tonight is the beginning of Kevin being back home for dinners. We are both in the mindset that we want to get back into the dinner time routine. I'm excited to try out some new recipes and bring back some old ones. I'm also excited to get some adult conversation back into dinner time. While I love having dinner with Connor in the evening, there is just something about talking with an adult during dinner time that I miss!

This morning I tossed some chicken breast tenders in some BBQ sauce before leaving for work. I'm very excited to get them tossed on the grill tonight! I can taste them already! Be prepared for some dinner time blogs in the near future!

Catching Up!

I took the weekend off from blogging! Of course, now, I'm going to have some catching up to do over this last week.

I thought of catching up has me a little stressed because I feel like this month has flew by! If the month flew by what will this week do? I'm scared to blink!

I'm also thinking about what will come of this blog once the blog challenge is over? I'm not sure I can keep up with blogging every day. I'm getting ready to start several college courses over this next fall (actually started one last week). I know the classes are going to cut into the little free time I have in the evenings.

I'm thinking of blogging on specific days of the week... Monday, Wednesday, Friday... Tuesday, Thursday Sunday..... We'll see. I've got some wheels turning in my head.

This month has gone pretty smoothly with keeping up on the blog posts and I barely fell behind when we had out of town visitors. This week should be a breeze!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Keeping it Cool in this Hot Mess

Welp it's mid-summer... we're experiencing the the three H's of Maryland. Hazy, Hot and Humid. It gets dangerously hot and we go crazy.
Today was a heat index of 115 and tomorrow should be the same. Depressing right? Our AC's can barely keep up, some of signed up for BGE's Peak Rewards and you're AC is being cycled off to conserve energy, and some don't even have working AC's! Yes, it's hot! Yes, we're grouchy! Yes, there's nothing we can do about it!

I just wanted to share some pics to cool you off...
The Blizzardsarus from Jan 2010!
Yep... we're not getting into the shed anytime soon...
Kevin off to shovel AGAIN... I wasn't cleared for heaving lifting yet.
He's part Husky!
Yep.... we're not using that door!

So see... things could be much worse! It could be bitter cold! The power could be knocked out because of wind and heavy snow... you could be FREEZING in you're own home! My solution to this hot mess weather is drink some cold beer, keep up on eating snow balls and relax... at least your grass is dieing and it doesn't need to be cut! I would much rather drive around in the heat than icy roads!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Book Club!

To night was Book Club night. I was seriously slacking this month on getting the book read. Between me being stuck trying to finish a book that was longer than I planned after June's book and then my mom visiting I didn't get to start the book until this week.  We read "I Love You More" by Lisa Gardner.
This was my first crime solving type of book. I didn't think I was going to be able to get through it because crime solving just doesn't interest me. BUT I'm glad this was my first crime solving book because I throughly enjoyed it! It kept my attention and I was picture everything. I guess there was a part of me that thought I wouldn't be able to understand it or I would get lost with it. I learned something new about myself!

We were supposed to meet up at one of our houses to discuss the book, play the Wii and have some drinks. At the last minute we changed plans and met at The Grill in Glen Burnie. It was nice to be able to sit and chat it up with friends and not have to worry about Connor. I'm learning to appreciate these moments when I get them. I was having adult conversations with other adults! LOVE IT! These days the only adult conversation I get is at work or with Kevin. Most of the conversations with Kevin are about Connor so.... you get the point. Because I ate dinner with Connor before I left I wound up ordering dessert. Key Lime Pie! YUM!

Next month we're reading "Turning Angel" by Greg Iles. I was told its a long one. I'll have to keep up with it this month!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nook vs. Book

I got a Nook for Christmas this year and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I have found that I read more because it seems to be more convenient to carry the 3 different books I'm reading in an e-reader vs having all three books in my purse. I enjoy the crisp screen and the overall feel of reading from the Nook. I also like having a bunch of books at my reach whenever I want instead of going to the store or waiting for it to be delivered.

I know of people who say they would miss holding a book and the smell of the book and "the real thing". I love my Nook and its little zip up case. That being said I haven't found a reason to miss "the real thing"..... until today.

I'm a little behind in reading the book my book club is meeting to discuss on Thursday. I've been reading whenever possible to get caught up and have it finished by Thursday's meeting. Last night while I was reading before bed the little battery warning flashed that I should charge it. I ignored it and kept reading. Then went to bed without charging it.

This morning when I got to work I planned on charging my Nook to prepare it for my lunch time reading session BUT forgot. Sure enough halfway through lunch my Nook died completely and I was left to pull out one of my logic puzzles and try to solve one of those.

So yes... there is ONE THING that the book has over the e-reader.... A book will NEVER run out of batteries. But I still love my Nook ;)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Its Totally Tuesday

Its Tuesday. I'm finding myself back in reality. No more vacation. No more hanging out with mom. Back to work. Back to getting the house in order. Back to updating the budget and calendar. FUN. Monday was catch up and today is reality.

I was feeling kind of down this morning. I didn't want to wake up. I didn't want to take Connor to daycare. I sure as heck didn't feel like going to work. BUT I did wake up. I did take Connor to daycare. I did go to work.

Once at work I had some motivation kick in (might have been coffee induced). I spent sometime thinking of how I could fit some me time back into my schedule. Lately my me time has fast disappeared and I'm finding myself over tired and over stressed. Over tired and over stressed means me becoming lazy and my super mom self looses its super title.

As of this week I'm going to start my "professional development" for work. This involves me taking 4 to 5 different classes through the community college where I work. I'm going to be taking classes on blogging, web 2.0, social network for an organization and a few other programming languages tossed in. Thankfully most of these classes are online and non credit. Two of them are a full semester and 4 credits each. I'm excited to be challenging my brain more and getting back into the educational grind.

I'm also hoping to get back into beading. My mom taught me another bracelet pattern and I'd love to sit down and make some more. Beading and toddlers just don't mix.... BUT now that my office is back to being my office and not a catch all room, I'm hope to get my craft table set back up.

Don't even get me started on my strong desire to spend an evening meditating. BUT AGAIN. Meditating and toddlers.... yeah right.

I'm working on my extra "catch up" blog right now. The sneak peek is how a mockingbird at work reminds me of the book, "Are You My Mother" every morning. Sound interesting? I hope so....

This is my random Totally Tuesday blog. How was your Tuesday?

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Art of Playing Nertz

What is Nertz you ask?

Before the game started....
Nertz is a fast moving card game that acts a lot like Solitare. You have a pile of 13 cards to the very left that you are trying to get rid of and four cards next to it that you can play on. Every one throws their Ace's out to the middle and you can play on anyone's Ace. First one that gets rid of their 13 cards is the winner. Everyone gets back their cards. What ever you have left in your 13 pile is doubled and you have to subtract your "middle" cards from them. Whatever is left over is your points. First one to 100 is the winner.

I LOVE this game. I learned how to play when I was a young chicken and actually learned how to shuffle due to playing the game. My mom and her friends would have game nights and allowed me to join in. It taught me to pay attention, be fast and show no mercy.

After the round ended....

You can play with just two players or as many players as you have. The more players the sloppier the end results gets. Sometimes if you have too many players you have to team up. That can get way confusing.

When my mom was visiting we played a lot of Nertz. My step dad and my husband don't like to play so my mom and I try to get as much Nertz action in as we can.

I'm not sure how it happened but I went from totally sucking at Nertz to winning.... A LOT.

This trip in for my mom was met with me beating her 95% of the time.... It was fun! Well for me....

While we were playing we discussed that playing Nertz does take skill and was kind of an art form. It gets complicated, heated and plain out messy!

Here is what we came up with:

1. You must be able to pay attention no matter who is talking or what they are talking about. Getting lost in conversation will leave you with a huge pile left over and make you go into the negative. DO NOT GET SUCKED INTO CONVERSATION!

2. Be able to hold a conversation that sucks people in but doesn't require much thought so you can play your cards while everyone else is distracted.

3. Get steps 1 and 2 down like the back of your hand.

4. Learn how to cuss. Don't be afraid to call your mom a %^$#* or call out ^%$@... this is Nertz. Its serious. It requires cussing. It scares your oppents and gives you a boost.

5. Move FAST. You are looking for that one card so you can lay down 4 cards.... don't be afraid to break fingers, hands or sprain your ankle to get that card on the table.

6. Don't be afraid to break other player's fingers, hands or faces.... you want to win don't you!

7. Pay attention, pay attention, pay attention. You need to know what suits are on the table and which ones are growing fast and which ones are growing slow. This helps you decided what you are looking for and how to plan you attack strategy.

8. Have fun! Remember its just a game. This keeps you from getting mad if you start loosing. Once you get mad you can't focus and loose.

Weekend in Pics

Saturday Eve: Connor and G-Bill getting ready to build a sand castle

"Here mommy... you need some sand"

Diva looking beautiful as usual

Connor inching his way further and further out to sea

The castle waiting on the moat.

Sunday morning at Downs Park

Fun on the slide

Wonderful Weekend

This weekend was the last couple of days that Diva and G-Bill would be visiting.

Saturday was mostly low key during the day. My mom and Bill went to do some shopping in Annapolis while I got caught up on laundry and cleaning. Kevin tried to replace the shocks on his Jeep but kept hitting a brick wall and it took him and his friend 4 hours to replace the shock behind the back passenger tire. Between the dog barking in the basement because he wanted to be nosy and see what was going on outside and Kevin banging and drilling away at a rusted bolt on his tire out front, its amazing Connor got a full nap!

When Connor woke up from his nap and Kevin cleaned up from his his "day of shock replacing hell" we all left for California Pizza Kitchen. My mom and Bill treated us to a yummy dinner. Connor was surprisingly well behaved and had minimum whining.

After dinner my mom, Bill and I took Connor down to the community beach. Him and G-Bill built a castle and G-Bill got a working moat going. Connor loved putting his toes in the water and kept trying to venture further out but thankfully he listened when we called him back to us.

G-Bill gave Connor quite the ride home in the stroller. He ran him up and down the street and in circles in the driveway. Needless to say both Connor and G-Bill slept well Saturday night. My mom and I got the last of any desire to play Nertz out of our system. After one round into our second game, we determined that we were done, no more Nertz was left in us.

Sunday Kevin had softball in the morning so my mom, Bill and myself took Connor to Downs Park. We tried to see the turtles again but they weren't coming out to play even though we had bread. After the turtles we had a picnic lunch and then ventured to the playground. My mom and I enjoyed sitting in the shade eating snowballs while Connor showed G-Bill all the fun the playground had to offer.

We left the park with enough time to stop at Angels and pick up cucumber salad and german potato salad before nap time. Connor was all tuckered out when we got home and gladly went down for a nap. I grilled us up some yummy bourbon brown sugar chicken legs to go with the salads we bought and we had a very yummy bittersweet last dinner together. After dinner we packed up Diva and G-Bill and drove them to the airport.

It was strangely quiet in our house last night. Kind of sad and kind of relaxing all at the same time.

Pictures of this weekend will follow later.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Vacation Day #3

Friday was Vacation Day #3! I also think it was the best of all the vacation days!

After I dropped off Connor at daycare my mom and I packed it up and went to Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis and rented ourselves a sit-on-top double kayak. The weather was perfect. No humidity, a light breeze and the sunshine was comfortable.

We ventured around the creek to a part that we had not been to yet. We watched people trying out the new Board Paddling they have and all of the nature around us. In one part of the creek we were able to see a blue heron.
Blue Heron at Quiet Waters Park
When our hour was close to being up we had to paddle against the lovely breeze and current that we caught to the other side of the creek. What a workout... Both of us had thought about packing a change of clothes for the kayaking trip BUT neither of us did. My mom did fine BUT by the time I got out of the kayak I had a soaked rear end.

After we got back to the car my mom and I decided we should go to lunch at the Severn Inn ( It was BEAUTIFUL and the food was FABULOUS! My mom had one of the best tasting crab cakes I've ever sampled and I had fish tacos for the first time. It was alllllll tasty. They also served our iced teas in fancy mini pitchers for each of us. All too fancy for my soaked rear end....
After Lunch at the Severn Inn
After lunch we ventured back to Severna Park and did some more shopping at Dress Barn. This Dress Barn had a Petite section and my mom was able to find some shirts for herself AND one for me too! We also ventured to Famous Footwear and a few other stores.

The day wouldn't be complete without a brow wax so we stopped on our way home. Nothing like getting your brows done with you momma while on vacation!
After dinner my mom and I took Connor to Ft. Smallwood Park (yes...we got our fill in of the outdoors while we could) and Bill and Kevin went to hit some golf balls at the driving range. The park was A LOT of fun. Connor had a blast running up and down ramps and going down the slides. It took him a little bit to warm up to the slides but he was soon enough venturing up by himself and coming down the slide by himself. He had so much fun he didn't want to leave and for the first time threw a tantrum leaving the park.

Diva stealing kisses at the park
After the trip to the park and Bill and Kevin came home we had a game night. The four of us enjoyed some beer, wine and tequila and played Tick and Hearts.

Vacation Day #3 was pretty much the best day I've had in a looooooooooooooooooong time. Life is good!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vacation Day #2!

On Vacation Day #2 daycare was closed so my mom and I spent the day hanging out with Connor. In the morning we woke up, ate breakfast, and then headed to Down's Park. My mom always took me, my sister and one of our friends to Down's Park on the weekends when we were growing up. It was great for both of us to take him and let him play.

First we walked down to the water to check out the beach. It was high tide so there really wasn't a beach and the waves were really rough.

It was such a beautiful morning. There was little-to-no humidity and there was a light breeze keeping the sunshine cool. The questions of the day were, "Are we in Maryland....what month is it?"

The Beach

Next we ventured to the "Turtle Pond". When we got there we realized we didn't bring any bread to feed the turtles. We could see a few from a distance but it was just their heads. Connor enjoyed running around the deck. About 5 minutes after we were wishing for bread, a woman and her grandson showed up with bread!! Hooray for turtles!!

Next it was time for the playground! My mom and Connor played on the jungle gym and went down a slide or two. My mom even climbed through the tube for Connor. We made sure Connor got a turn on the swings and one more trip down the slide before heading home for lunch and a nap. It was a very successful morning at the park!

"Come on Diva... its time to go home... I'll show you the way"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vacation Day #1

Yesterday marked the first day of vacation while my mom is in town.

I woke up with Connor, got him dressed and dropped him off at daycare. When I got home I ate some breakfast and got ready for our day to begin.

My mom and I were meeting our friend Linda over the Bay Bridge to check out her new office space she set up to work with clients. After catching up we went to lunch at Kentmorr Marina. I had very yummy California Burger that had avacado on it. My mom, of course, had MD crab soup and then some crab salad.

After lunch we went to the outlets for some shopping. We were on a mission to find my mom some petite tops and a dressy pair of black sandal flats and anything that was on sale and fit me.

Our first stop was Dress Barn. I found two tops that fit perfectly and were on sale so I bought those. There wasn't a petite section for my mom so we continued on. Most stores we stopped in didn't have the shoes we were looking for or a petite section. Boo..... Finally we stopped into Talbots and they had a very nice selection of petites. My mom was able to pick up two shirts. We were also able to find the dress shoes she was looking for at Bass.

After shopping we made to the car before the sky opened up and poured. It rained its ass off. We could barely see the bridge in front of us when we were on the Bay Bridge! We just made it home in time to get ready for company.

Bill and Kevin ventured out to dinner and a movie and our family friend Linda (different Linda than earlier in the day) came over for dinner and card games. Once Connor was in bed Linda, my mom and myself started playing Nertz ( Lately I've had a horsehoe up my butt because I've been winning left and right since my mom came into town. And sure enough..... I won all but one game last night. It was a lot of fun talking and catching up over games.

I FINALLY crawled into bed last night a very tired momma. It was very worth it. Life is good.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dishwashing Fool!

Here are some pictures of Connor helping me wash dishes on Monday evening!

Please don't mind the huge pile of dishes in the background that needed to be done! Our diswasher is the worst and most times the dishes come out dirtier than they went in (hence the huge pile)!!!

Getting the sponge wet

Washing the cup

Allllllllll Done! Give me the next dish!

I'm not going to count this as a post for the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Just sharing pics! Post 13 should come later today!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Maryland Favorite Foods

Since my mom is visiting us we're enjoying all sorts of MD foods that I usually don't think about because I'm here in the state all the time.

Saturday my mom asked us to stop and pick her up some MD crab soup on our way home from the wedding vow renewal. I giggled because its July, hot, humid and plain old gross feeling outside and my mom wants soup! BUT again.... there is nothing like MD crab soup!

Yesterday we were on a mission to find soft shell crabs. After visiting several seafood markets we were under the realization that the crabs were not sloughing and no one had any soft shell crabs to sell! Our hearts were set on soft shell crabs. What were we going to do for dinner? The only thing that would satisfy is soft shell crabs. We had been talking about it the night before and all day yesterday. I Googled seafood places in the area and called around. THANKFULLY Kent Island Crab had soft shell crabs! They were frozen not live.... but at least that was something!

My mom stopped by the local produce stand and picked up tomatoes and corn on the cob to go with the crabs. Earlier in the week we had been there buying the local peaches and boy have those been good!

Dinner turned out to be a success. We fried up the soft shell crabs, steamed the corn on the cob and cut up the fresh tomatoes. I also quenched my thirst with a Samuel Adams Summer Ale. Mmmmmm!! Nothing like a yummy locally grown dinner to satisfy hunger and cravings.

Picture really doesn't do justice to how wonderful it tasted!

For dessert my mom whipped up a yummy peach tart that was simply fabulous.

Hungry yet?

Momma's Helper

We have ourselves an extra set of hands to help with dishes!

I was trying to wash dishes after dinner last night and Connor just begged and begged to be picked up so he could see the water running. I picked him up and he played a little bit in the water. My arms were getting tired and I knew he would throw a fit if he I put him down so I grabbed the step stool. I also grabbed a new sponge and handed to him. Next I handed him one of the plastic cups that were in the sink. He watched me wash another cup that was in the sink and he went to town trying to wash the cup I had handed him.

He put the sponge under the water then into the cup. Over and over and over and over! He could barely reach over the counter into the sink but that little boy was on a mission. My mom and step dad had to pack him up and take him for a walk around the neighborhood so I could finish up the dishes! Once done I hid the sponges and step stool so he wouldn't be reminded when they got back from the walk.

When they got home he went into the kitchen once to see if I would follow. Thankfully it only took me saying, "No, we're done with the dishes," and he moved his interest elsewhere.

Pictures will follow soon!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Over Already?!

This weekend is over already?! I'm not ready for it to be over! Grant it I only have to work two days this week and I'm back on vacation but still... Saturday and Sunday blew by in a breeze.

We spent a lot of time with my family this weekend. Diva and G-Bill are officially in town visiting so we have a full house. Thankfully they are nice visitors and help out with keeping the house from becoming a disaster.

Saturday started off kind of rocky. Connor was in one hell of a foul mood. Even letting him watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse wasn't even doing the trick. Kevin was on call this weekend and was paged several times for work. He even had to run out to take care of some business in the midst of Connor's meltdown.

After lunch we told my mom good luck and left Connor with her so we could go to my Aunt and Uncle's wedding renewal ceremony and reception. It was nice to be surrounded by friends and family. My aunt was BEAUTIFUL in her dress and it was one heck of a party. Apparently all Connor needed was a nap because he was mostly back to his usually happy self once we got home.

Once Connor was in bed sound asleep my mom and I pulled out the cards. I challenged her in a game of Nerts. Even though I was worn out and exhausted I kicked her butt. THEN I challenged her and Kevin to a game of Tick and kick both of their butts. NEXT I challenged my mom in another game of Nerts. While she had one of the best hands of her life.... I still kicked her butt! I had one heck of a horseshoe!

Uncle Mark and Aunt Trish - Bride and Groom Again!

Enjoying some time away from a screaming toddler
Sunday we spent time with my mom's family. Since my mom and step dad were in town we decided it would be good to get most of us together for a cook out. I know I've been MIA and haven't seen much of my mom's side of the family since I got pregnant with Connor so it was really nice to catch up with family.

We BBQed in Middle River, MD at a marina where my Aunt's boyfriend houses his boat. It was hot in the sun but with the breeze blowing while we were in the shade made it a great day. There's nothing like a potluck filled with yummy family favorites and good eats. Connor was a little antsy at first because he wanted to explore this new territory but once he settled down he was quite the ham bone and enjoyed all the attention he received from family.

Kevin and Connor

Got our ducks in a row

Finally settled and reading

Me and my little man
I'm totally exhausted from one busy weekend and need some rest before Monday morning meets me bright and early.... BUT I'm gonna kick my mom's but in Nerts before I head in for bed.

Oh the Places You Will Go

Connor has put the book, "Oh the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss into rotation at bed time for the last month. I've grown up with this book and always knew about it but as an adult it has really spoke to me. It also spoke to Kevin as well. His first time ever reading the book was as an adult and he loved it so much he read it to Connor twice before bed.

We love that Dr. Seuss gives you credit for all that you will accomplish in life and how smart you are BUT that there are indeed snags in life that will jump up and get you. BUT you are smart enough to make it through the snags and you will succeed!

Here are some thoughts on different parts of the book.

"You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go."

I love this because we do have brains in our head and feet in our shoes. Most people have street smarts, common sense or book smarts. If we're lucky we get two of the three. Once we're on our own we are the ones who make the decisions and decided what we want to do. Unfortunately, a lot of times we make our decisions based on what other people want.

"You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch."

We go through life flying high and moving ahead fast. Then BAM! Something or someone throws a wrench in the whole plan. We get stuck, hung up and most times everyone that was moving just as fast as you has left you behind because they're on their mission to keep moving. As my mother always told me, "Man plans and God laughs".

"You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?"

Its tough when we've been left behind. Everyone has moved forward and left you in the dust. You're stuck trying to figure out your next move. Questions and more questions are circling through our heads. The "what ifs" start to eat away and make us unable to make clear decisions about what is going on in our present.

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.

The scariest word around, "ALONE". Many of us do not like being alone. We can't go to the movies, dinner, a play, the park, or to bed alone. When you're alone you are left with your thoughts. Your thoughts are about what you want and who your truth is. Some of us have a hard time seeing the truth and its so scary we keep others around us so we don't have to deal with those emotions.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

Some how everything turns out ok. No matter how alone, lost or scared we get... we make it. Life does turn out ok, and yes, life is good. There really is no way for anyone to not succeed in life. Its our own opinions in life that decide if we've succeeded. Think positive, be love, smile and you will succeed.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Week 1 Complete!!

Week 1 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge has been completed! Honestly it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. I think mid week I didn't know what to blog about but after fudging around on Cityville for a half hour I was able to come up with a plan.

They say it takes about 7 days to create a new habit. So far I think I'm doing well and look forward to blogging now. I've learned to get over being nervous about putting my thoughts out there. I enjoy reading others blogs and getting different points of views that I hadn't even thought about.

I love the craft blogs, spiritual blogs, marriage blogs, family blogs... I love them all! I'm so grateful I decided to bite the bullet and do this challenge. I hear, read, or see something and think, "Wow, I should blog about that". That's just what I'm going to do. Here's to week two!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Holy Hatred Batman!

The talk of the week is the Casey Anthony trail. Of course. The whole country was gathering around together in hopes to see justice served for little Calyee Anthony. We all wanted something for this little girl who had to suffer.

America was dumbfounded when the verdict was read. She wasn't found guilty in child abuse or murdering her child. While she stood there smiling and crying, we got angry. VERY angry. I do share in the anger but feel that Karma has strange ways of working itself out. I took off my anger goggles this morning and I began to understand where the jury was coming from. There was doubt. The justice system didn't fail little Calyee the Prosecution did.

All of my online outlets are filled with hatred towards Casey, her family, the defense, and the jury. I see people joking about driving to FL to take her out, people saying she's going to get it, and posts filled with nothing but hateful names. It sickens me to see so much hatred. The only thing positive I've seen come of this is a petition to create Caylee's Law ( and those posts are being buried by the hate filled posts. Lets take all the time and energy we're taking to hate and put it towards something more productive or worth while. We'll be moving mountains!

Its easy to become blind and filled with rage when we are angry. Its easy to pull nasty names out of our back pockets. Its easy to join in on the bashing. Its easy to get sucked into the hating. I'm guilty of it. We're all guilty of it. I know we're angry, pissed off and upset.  Lets turn off the hate and turn up the love for our own children and other people who deserve it. Focus our anger productively and fight to prevent future cases like these. Just know that Casey and her family will have to deal with whatever happened in her own time. Sometimes taking the high road is much harder than taking the low road. Get your hiking boots out and start the up hill climb society.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Diva and G-Bill

Who is Diva and G-Bill? Well Diva and G-Bill are my mom and step dad. When I found out I was pregnant with Connor my parents as well as Kevin's parents decided on what name they would take on as a grandparent. My mother decided she was way too young (and of course she was right...) to be called Mom mom or Grandma or anything in the grandparent neighborhood. Soooo we settled on Diva Dawn. We've shortened it to Diva so far. My step dad Bill decided he was going to be Grandpa Bill. However, after wrapping all their Christmas presents this year and writing out Grandpa Bill over and over my little hand got tired so I shortened it to G-Bill. Much more up to speed with Diva!

ANYWAY. Diva and G-Bill are coming for a visit! Diva flies in tomorrow afternoon and G-Bill flies in Saturday afternoon. We are all super excited. Connor doesn't know why he should be excited but I tell him to be anyway! We haven't seen them since the end of January and its been way to long.

Of course this visit means I had to convert my office-turned-catch all room back into a spare bedroom. Sigh.... The last two evenings have been full of prepping. I've emptied the room of all the stuff that got "caught" there and took it to consignment today. I sadly folded up my craft table (my failed attempt at trying to get my inspiration back for crafts). I also vacuumed, dusted, and inflated the guest bed.  Connor had quite the time running around on the bed.

One Little Monkey Jumping On The Bed!

Is This Bed For Me?!!

All Fall Down!
Whew! But lets not stop there... I moved onto the living room. Thankfully we did a deep clean in the living room this weekend so all that needed to be done was toy organization. Then the dreaded kitchen. The fridge was emptied, the dishes have been caught up, the counters wiped down and (yes mom....) the microwave has been scrubbed.

So now I'm here. Blogging for the night. My hands are dried out from doing the dishes and I'm super tired. I can't wait to spend the next week with them!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I'm Happy, I'm Relaxed

This last month or so has been overall stressful when I stop to think about it. Actually, I try not to think about it. I guess I'm not realizing it as its happening but looking at it now I've been on an emotional roller coaster. Between salary cuts at work, a cat whom I dearly love peeing all over my house and making me decided to keep her or not, and several other crazy unforeseen issues I can say my poor stomach has been flip flopping.

I've been trying to make it to the gym on my lunch breaks. When I do make it, I feel a little spring in my step.On my way back from the gym this afternoon it was hot and humid. The big H's of MD...sigh. I was sweating in the gym, cooled down, got dressed and then stepped outside into the steamy MD July weather and walked across campus to get to my building. Not sure what caused this old video to pop into my mind but it made me giggle.


I saw this video many many years ago. It certainly puts a smile on my face. Next time universe throws something on our plate I'll be saying, "I'm happy, I'm Relaxed!" Maybe I should print out a picture of "They Crazy Yoga Guy" and put him on my fridge as an every day reminder!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Deep Cleaning

Today while everyone was cooking out and eating fabulous BBQ food Kevin and I did some deep cleaning inside the house.

Backstory: For the last month we've been having issues with our cat Joy using our carpet as her litter box instead of the litter box. We resolved her issues and she's back to using the box (we hope). The problem is I just feel like our living room is gross even though I've cleaned all the spots. Also, our couch is micro-fiber. While I LOVED it when we bought it... the fabric is a magnet to cat hair (see previous post) and any spill or stain shows very clearly.

So.... we got a wild hair to put to use our expensive steam cleaner that we HAD to buy a couple years ago. Let me tell you. This cleaner did WONDERS for the couch! Our couches look so fresh and happy again! Most of the stains came out too! The carpet was a piece of crap when we moved in and its the only carpet we haven't replaced but it even looks a little happier and my nose isn't feeling offended from Joy's issues.

I should also mention we got the carpet and half the couch done while Connor was napping. It took team work but we did it. We finished the rest of the couch after Connor went to bed. Its always nice when a simple project stays simple and gets accomplished.

This evening I tossed brown sugar bourbon chicken tenders on the grill, cooked up some rice and veggies and had us a fabulous dinner. My grilling skills and ideas are growing day by day (guess I'll have to blog about that tomorrow).

Before bed I'll probably wander out to our deck and check out the neighborhood fireworks around us. This time of year is my favorite. We live on the water and our neighborhood is crazy redneck. We get fireworks and cannons going off every weekend out of the summer once Fourth of July hits.

Hope every one had a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Toy Box Swap Day!

Yesterday was toy box swap day. This is where I take some of the toys Connor has been playing with over and over for the previous couple of weeks and replace them with toys from his toy box that he hasn't seen in a month. The following days after toy box swap is quite heavenly because he's so engrossed in all the "new" toys that he's not under my feet wondering what I'm up too.

Since he is learning and growing so rapidly he is learning something new with the toys that I pull out. Last toy swap it was the "pull, twist, push" pop up toy. He got this as a birthday present for his 1st birthday. All he could figure out was pushing the middle button. He would whine and say, "Mommy, mommy, mommy" until I opened the rest. At 15 months he was still doing the same thing. BUT a couple weeks ago it finally clicked. We put our hands on top of his and showed him how to twist, pull and push over the other buttons. He had it down in no time. Of course he still liked to fake from time to time and have me help him.

This toy swap he's finding it easier to use the shape sorter toys. I still have to show him where the piece goes but he's finding it easier to turn the pieces and get them to fit into the hole.

Its amazing how fast a toddler's brain grows. He's picking up more and more words and is using the short phase, "There/Here you go". I guess he picked it up from me because I'm always saying that when he asks me for something. I know everyone says their brains are like sponges but its just so fascinating to see it in action.

He's also even more frustrated with toys he can't figure out or don't work they way he thinks they should. It'll have to be a learning experience for him though. Eventually he'll get that the Little People won't fit on the Mega Blocks toys and vice versa. BUT until then, its me trying to explain in the simplest terms its nothing to get frustrated over. Sigh....

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Romance Booster?

Thursday, Kevin and I attended our friend's wedding. It was BEAUTIFUL! The weather was perfect and everyone looked their best. I love it when I can go to a wedding and just be a guest. There is just something about going to a wedding that makes you feel all warm and romantical (yes... I made that word up). I don't know if its hearing 1 Corinthians 3:14 or hearing two people vow to love each other the rest of their lives or their first walk back down the aisle as husband and wife BUT it just gets me in the heart. Sigh... I'm such a sap.

We clean up nice!

The wedding was in Easton, MD and we didn't want to get stuck in bridge traffic due to the 4th of July so we left early. We didn't hit any traffic and arrived about 3 hours early. Oops! We found out later that it worked out for the best because some of the guests didn't get there until real late due to a broken down car right before the bridge. Whew!

We spent our time wandering around the grounds of The Oak Waterfront Inn and enjoyed the views around us. Soon afterward we had to cool down by sitting in the Trailblazer running the AC. We didn't want to look a hot mess before the party even started!

Once the wedding got underway everything just kept running smoothly. During the cocktail hour Kevin and I found ourselves reminiscing about our wedding and we loved having all our friends and family around us that day. Even when the crazy unforeseen stuff happened we were surrounded by love.

Me During Cocktail Hour

For me, I'll love your wedding if the food is fabulous and the music is pumping. You don't have to spend a million bucks on your menu either. Simple food that tastes great works just fine for me! The food at this wedding was AMAZING and the music had me dancing my rear off.

Overall it was a great night. We were able to get out without Connor and enjoy our adult selves. Life was and is good!