Saturday, December 31, 2011

Our 2011 in Pictures

Last year, the photo post was a quick-fix to a lost narrative.  This year, it was really difficult to choose just one photo per month... but here we are, with just hours left in 2011 - I present Kayla's year in pictures. 


None of my snow pics came out, but here she is all geared up for it!


Valentine's Day dinner... balloon and all. 


Celebrating Great Grandpa's 80th birthday with a tune.


Starting to get more hair now... enjoying a spring day on the deck. 


Pushing the swing at Pepere and Grammy Sue's house on Mother's Day.


Playing in the fountain at Pepere and Grammy Sue's house (photo credit: Paul Roy).


Kayla Turns 2!  Look at how big she is; she even moves into her big girl bed this month too. 


One of many walks over to the playground - Kayla's favorite place! 


September was our trip month... we went to the beach and Mount Gretna. 


My sweet little Pirate at Halloween. 


Our first family photos (photo credit: The Picture People). 


Looking lovely at Christmas.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas to All! (now with pics)

So here I am, back at work.  Sipping my first cup of coffee and reflecting on an amazing weekend.  We are so blessed, even if being blessed means we were up to our eyeballs in plastic and cardboard and more than a little glitter up through somewhere near 10 am yesterday. 

Friday night we had a small get together at our house.  Good food, good drink, great friends and family, and of course – top notch entertainment courtesy of Kayla and her “favorite song.”  The eggnog went faster than I had anticipated and the carefully chosen dishes seemed to be a hit all the way around, especially the cheese tray.  (Gotta love having an amazing place to buy gourmet cheese right here in our little town.) 

Saturday we were able to relax a little, and after Kayla’s nap we were off to my dad and  step-mom’s house for the annual cookie and fondue celebration.  Kayla was absolutely spoiled rotten by the entire family.  She loves opening gifts and tentatively asked me “is this for me?” each time one was placed in front of her.  Jammies, a Cookie Monster, puzzles, panda umbrella and a handmade fabric “paper doll” book were among the many gifts she received.  We whisked ourselves home to put her to bed and watch a little “Christmas Story” while we enjoyed some Irish coffee and exchanging gifts between Shaun and I.  I put my new tripod and camera remote to use to attempt a few long-exposure pictures of the tree.  Fun!  (Now if only I could find time to install my new Photoshop Elements software on the computer…)

Christmas morning was a flurry of wrapping paper and squeals of joy as Kayla opened each of her gifts from Santa – a school bus, some Thomas the Tank Engine track and trains, books, games and so on… then at Grandma and Pawpaw’s house.  Puzzles, clothes and a big new kitchen set for her to bring home once our tree comes down.  After enjoying a yummy breakfast together, my mom and sister came over to our house for more gifts and lunch.  Yet more puzzles, books and a Super Grover doll.  After nap time, we headed up to Aunt Dena and Uncle Jaime’s house for the most amazing Christmas dinner and time with Kayla’s cousins.  She had a blast running around with all 5 boys and was pretty well exhausted when we got home – though not too exhausted to play with her new baby doll before bed. 

Monday we had lunch with my dad and sister before Aunt Paula headed back to Philadelphia, then went out for a bit of shopping of our own.  Mostly necessities, but I did grab another set of Kayla’s favorite doggie PJ’s in the next size up, since the 24 month ones are pretty small already.    It’s so hard to believe another Christmas has come and gone already, but it was great fun for us this year.  Kayla had an absolute blast and didn’t seem to mind one bit that she didn’t get one of the things she’s been asking for from Santa for the last few weeks.  More on that to come though…

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A week at Sandals

So as I said in my last post, Shaun and I spent a week at the Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  We had a fabulous room with two awesome butlers (yes, butlers) all week long.  The view wasn't quite what I was hoping for, but it was still amazing.  The food was unbelievable, and if you ever get there, tell Verna I sent you for one of her totally amazing Bloody Marys.  I love the Caribbean and I really hope I don't have to wait another 5 years to get back! 

Next up... Christmas Eve-Eve soiree at our casa!

Monday, December 19, 2011

We're Back!

Photos are uploaded and I’m working on editing whenever I have time; yesterday was spent digging out from under the mountain of laundry and this week is dedicated to preparing for Christmas.  I hope to have another entry complete with photos ready to go soon… so be ready for the tale of our trip to Jamaica aka Paradise, aka the week I got hooked on the Bloody Mary, aka look out for the crazy Rastafarian mosquitos from Hell.  It was epic! 


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Starting to breathe again

Tonight after two quizzes, a discussion question and two assignments, I laid back on the floor and took a deep breath. 

I am a final exam away from completing a semester.  100 multiple choice questions.  Only 55 of which I need to get write to still get an A in the class. 

My Christmas cards are addressed and ready to send off tomorrow after I get my holiday stamps.  Just a few more days of rushing around and then I get to relax for a week.  I can not wait.

Is it Saturday yet?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Another Breakthrough

Aside from the holiday loveliness that happened in our house this weekend, Kayla decided to treat me by suddenly deciding that she wants to go to the potty at home.  Saturday she went twice, and Sunday she managed to keep her diaper dry until all but nap time!  She still needs to be reminded sometimes, but more and more she looks at me and says “I want to pee pee on the potty mommy!”


This morning she sat on the potty before we left for the day and as she sat there and tried, she looked up at me and said “are you going to be proud of me mommy?”  I had to hold back the tears.  As little as 3 or 4  days ago, she would ask “can I have a gummy bear?”  Knowing that my pride and acknowledgement is her primary motivator is a really awesome thing.


Even though she didn’t go for me this morning, she still got lots of hugs, kisses and “I’m proud of you’s.”    

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like...

It's finally starting to feel like the Holidays around here.  Yesterday we went up to Elizabeth Farms to pick out our Christmas tree.  Kayla helped decorate this year, putting her first ornament on the tree:

It was so much fun being able to have her help this year rather than decorating while she was napping and surprising her when she woke up.  After a busy morning and a yummy dinner, we settled in to watch Rudolph together.  Once Kayla was in bed, we completed our evening with hot chocolate and "It's a Wonderful Life."  I just love this time of year.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Turkey Day!

Before we get caught up in the flurry of family visits, turkey and stuffing, being surrounded by those who know us best and love us anyway... happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.  Wishing you the best and to be surrounded by those things that your are most thankful for.  I know I will be. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Poor sweetheart

Kayla came home from daycare today and the first thing I noticed was her eye...

(Incidentally, does anyone else find that the bathtub is the easiest place to photograph their toddler?  I feel like I have an inordinate number of bathtub pics, but it's about the only place where she's contained and will sit and look right at me for more than 3 seconds.)

The incident report said that she was accidentally scratched by one of her friends.  Honestly, I can't believe she didn't do it to herself... I'm still a little edgy about trimming her nails thanks to being reminded that I hurt her one time.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quickie Update

It's been a crazy whirlwind of a fall so far here in our house.  We started by decorating our porch:

Then we went to the pumpkin patch:

Then it snowed and we stayed in our jammies and snuggled.

Then we went trick-or-treating.

I've been so busy with work, school, home and family... looking forward to my semester ending (just 4 more weeks!) and getting a little bit of a break.  More on that later though.  For now, the laptop battery is about to kick so I'm going to call it a night.  Promise to be back soon this time!  I have recipes stored up for posting and I'm going to attempt a 30 day photo challenge while in between semesters, so hopefully all 3 of the blogs will get a little sprucing up next month!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Been Busy...

I've been meaning to blog about our trip to the pumpkin patch and the rest of our fall/Halloween plans, but haven't had the time.  I promise, I'll be back soon.  I just need to recover and catch up on all of my school work first...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Confession

I've been brooding this week.  A lot. 

Kayla was very excited to see me when she got home from the Manheim Farm Show Tuesday night.  She had news.  Not only did she actually smile for school picture day, she went potty for the first time at school that day.  Awesomesauce, right?

My initial reaction was joy.  I hugged and kissed and told her how proud I am of her.  And as I was squeezing her for the 37th time, it hit me like a ton of bricks. 

I missed it

My kid used the potty for the first time, and I wasn't there.  Someone else got to tell her what a great job she did before I could.  I wasn't even there to find out when she got picked up from school.  Grandma knew before I did. 

Working mom's guilt is such a bitch.  And a fickle one at that.  In my head I know that I'm just not cut out to be a SAHM.  I'm ready to go back to work and have interactions with grown ups again after just a week at home with her.  But in my heart of hearts, I wish that I could be one. 

I shouldn't be too sad.  She's 27 months old today, has been in daycare for 25 of those months and this is the first milestone I've missed.  I was with her when she crawled for the first time.  I was right behind her when she took her first solo steps.  I discovered her first tooth.  I was there when she said her first word. 

So why does this bother me so much?  There's no shortage of firsts to come - but now I have to wonder how many more of those will work keep me from witnessing?  Seems kind of unfair.  But then again, life isn't fair, is it? 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Where do they learn to break your heart so early?

The other night Kayla and I were going through her bath time routine.  When I finished putting lotion and a fresh diaper on her, I decided to stop procrastinating and grabbed the nail clippers.  I asked her to sit down and be still so I could trim her finger and toe nails. 
“Don’t snap me and hurt me again mommy,” she said to me. 
Shocked and worried I said “who hurt you sweetheart?”
“You did.  You snapped my finger and I needed a Band Aid because there was blood and it hurt.”
My child doesn’t remember the dozens of harmless nail trimmings we’ve had, but she remembers the one where I trimmed one nail a little too close and drew the tiniest bit of blood.  Of course, she doesn’t remember the one when she was a tiny infant and I did the same… but I do.  At least now I know what she means when she refers to having her fingers “snapped.”
Last night we were hanging out while Shaun went running and as she bounced on the couch, she turned and looked at me and declared “I need a present.”  When I asked her what she was talking about, she said “it’s my birthday, I need a present!”  Obviously it’s totally useless to remind a two year old that her birthday was nearly 3 months ago and even if it was her birthday, she certainly didn’t need a present.  So I got a roll of Smarties out of the cabinet and told her that it was a special treat, even though it wasn’t her birthday.  The resulting face grab and kisses were totally worth the “I can’t believe I’m giving her more junk food” guilt. 
The ups and downs still never cease to amaze me.  She can have my blood pressure sky-high one second and have me on the floor in a fit of giggles the next.  This morning I was rushing to get her eating breakfast so I could run back upstairs to dry my hair and as I spun into the pantry to grab her a plate, I hear her say “hey, are you ok in there?”

This kid cracks me up.  She knows just how to push my buttons already.  I’m in for a long ride.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gretna Weekend

Last weekend we had a great time with great friends.  Mount Gretna is a hard place to describe; it's almost like something out of a story - where quaint cottages with names like "As You Wish" and "Serendipity" are haphazardly nestled close together under a canopy of trees. 

After enjoying lunch at the Hideaway, we tucked in on the super huge porch of our rented cottage and listened to music while watching the rain.  Even though she barely  napped, Kayla was an absolute delight, making fast friends. 

We ate way too much and certainly drank our share, but it was a wonderful time.  I'd go back to sitting on that porch and listening to the rain in a heartbeat given the opportunity.  Hoping we get to do that soon!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Is weekend yet?

My hair dryer shit the bed finally gave up the ghost this morning.  I guess I can’t complain – I’ve had that thing since at least college, if not high school, which makes it approximately… ancient.  So I’m sitting at my desk, hair in a ponytail still foggy from lack of caffeine.  It’s foggy outside too – hoping that grey skies and rain don’t ruin our weekend. 


But my school work is done, we have plans for good times with good friends, Kayla will be with her grandparents Saturday into Sunday…


And right now my husband is out purchasing a new hair dryer for me.  Heaven help us all. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Still waiting on that MOTY award

And from the looks of it, the wait will be long. 

The lovely mark on her forehead?  Obtained out walking with mommy and daddy earlier this week.  I was singing a song to get her to hurry up a little because it was getting dark; I had a hold of her hand, but she tripped and I couldn't grab hard enough fast enough so down she went.  Do you know what it sounds like when a little one's head hits the sidewalk?  I do.  It's awful. 

Thankfully she seems no worse for wear, as evidenced above.  I am still bothered by it, but she clearly is not.  Unless a side effect of a head injury is suddenly asking "why?" to everything.  Today when I picked her up from school, I put her in the car and our conversation went something like this:

Me:  Did you have a good day today?

Her:  Uh-huh!

Me:  Good!  Let's go home and watch Gabba...

Her:  YAY!

Me:  Then after nap time we're going to go to the grocery store.

Her:  Why?

Me:  Because we need food.

Her:  Why?

Me:  Because we have to eat, silly!

Her:  Why?

Me:  Because you get grumpy when you're hungry.

Her:  Why?

Me:  Because I get grumpy when I'm hungry too.

Her:  Why? 

Me:  Oh look, we're home!

Her:  Why? 

I know every kid goes through this.  Somehow though, I wasn't expecting it until she was a bit older.  I guess I can just hope that we're getting it over and done with early... and also hope that this little phase doesn't rear its ugly head again later on. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

I haven't forgotten

I wanted to write something yesterday, but the words wouldn’t come.  It felt trite.  Ten years is such an arbitrary line in time – why would this particular anniversary be more poignant than the previous 9?  But it was.  Maybe because of the media frenzy; everyone and their brother had something about 9/11 on TV.  Maybe because for the first time in 10 years, I actually sat and watched the video rather than changing channels. 

I remember 9/11/2001 pretty clearly.  It was a beautiful fall day.  I remember sitting in my friend Matt’s dorm room with he and his roommate; watching the coverage, holding hands and feeling a spectrum of emotions.  Anger.  Fear.  Sadness.  Confusion.  It’s amazing how an event like that can cause such a seismic shift to a 19 year old.  I remember the agonizing 2-3 days afterwards, waiting anxiously for word from my friend Ashley who was attending NYU at that time.  I remember standing outside of my dorm with friends and none of us being able to talk about anything else for days. 

I hope that someday I will be able to share my memories of that day with Kayla, and I can help her understand how it changed our world.  It’s a hard thing for me to reconcile sometimes… I just hope I’m able when the time comes. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We love the beach!

Seriously who couldn't get used to this view?

Yeah, that was taken from the balcony of the condo we rented in OC.  Nice, huh?

We arrived and dropped Shaun off at our OC Branch to do some work during some rain showers.  Thankfully they let up as I put gas in the Jeep so Kayla and I could kill some time on the beach.  She happily skipped along, sand toys in hand, oblivious to the crap weather we were having. 

As the clouds started to clear off, we had dinner and went down to the boardwalk for some shopping and treats.  Kayla loves Thrasher's... she wasn't too keen on the "no ketchup" policy though - vinegar isn't her favorite. 

Wednesday morning we woke up to hazy skies that quickly cleared and gave us a beautiful day on the beach!  Grandma and Pawpaw came down to spend some time with us.  We played in the surf, but the waves were too rough for any real swimming.  After a morning on the beach, we had lunch, nap and then went to dinner at Harpoon Hanna's.  We hit the boardwalk again and took Kayla to see the kites at the Kite Loft - a huge hit for sure! 

Thursday was another beautfiul day in Ocean City, but the morning was a little subdued as we started to get news of the flooding that was happening here at home.  Thankfully our house was dry, but many people we know are dealing with water in their basements - some a little, and some a lot.  We kept a close eye on everything that was going on, although there wasn't much we could do from such a distance.  A lot of bridges were flooded and roads closed, so even trying to come home sounded more dangerous than just staying put. 

So we stayed.  And enjoyed another beautiful, sunny day.  Kayla got to have dinner at Grotto Pizza with Grandma and Pawpaw.  Shaun and I got a date night at Liquid Assets.  It was wonderful.  We got back in time to take a walk down to Dumser's for ice cream and for Kayla to show us the spoils of her night out with her grandparents.  A little boogie board, a school bus toy and best of all - a treasured balloon from the restaurant. 

Friday was pretty overcast, so we took the opportunity to explore one of the parks across the highway from our condo.  Playgrounds are almost always a big hit... and the adults enjoyed the walk too. 

After Grandma and Pawpaw headed home, we relaxed and napped, then had a quick dinner in and took one last trip down to the boardwalk.  Tonight?  A yummy soft pretzel, a new sweatshirt and a cool Angry Bird toy won by daddy.  We walked around the rides, and it brought back a lot of memories from when I vacationed in OC as a kid - a lot has changed, but a lot of things are the same.  It's so much fun to share this stuff with Kayla now. 

All in all we had a great vacation; I'm already looking forward to going back! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

We're Back!

And the basement is dry!  I'm in the midst of 37 loads of laundry and catching up on my school work, but when I get around to editing, there will be a photo-laden post for your enjoyment.

There's nothing quite like the beach for bringing out the kid in us all.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A break in the clouds?

We certainly hope so... especially me.  Looking like potential for crap weather in OCMD this week.  If anyone has any perfect weather bids they want to surrender for Wednesday and/or Thursday, I'd be eternally grateful. 

Though I suppose a crap day at the beach is better than a good day at work, right? 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Can you prepare a statement of retained earnings for a corporation?

I can. 


Now that I have that out of my system... I just finished up my last assignment for the week.  And man does it feel good.  I'm currently rocking a 115% in my medical terminology class, which is shaping up to have more work but I feel like I'm managing that well because it's interesting.  Accounting spent 3 days kicking my ass before I finally decided I wasn't afraid and I could manage it - so I did. 

I'm starting to think that I really can do this.  Even when increasing my course load next semester.  I can do this. 


One more week of work and class, then we're off to the beach.  Class will likely have to follow, but it will mostly be sun and fun for a few days.  I look forward to ocean sunrises and quiet and reconnecting with my little family and my cameras.  The next few weeks are going to be fun.  It's been a lovely summer, but I'm looking forward to the fall. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Officially Official

I have a student ID and some books.  Virtual Campus orientation is tonight, and classes start in a week. 


Holy crap, I’m a college student again. 


Friday, August 5, 2011

Ohhh back to school

This week I took a leap that I wasn't completely certain I was capable of.  I registered for two online classes.

Don't get me wrong, I still think I'm the poster child for what not to do... Like people point and whisper, saying "that's the girl who just registered at the local community college to get an associates degree.  Oh, don't be fooled by her looks, she's almost 30." 

[Side note: that comment about my looks isn't just my vanity talking.  A few years ago I was working part time at a grocery store to help pay for our wedding.  Maybe it was the fact that no one I worked with was over 18, but no one believed me when I said I was recommending a wine from experience, and yes, I was really old enough to drink.]

I'm not proud that it's taken me so long.  I'm not happy that it took 5 years in a dead end job to finally get me off my duff (in my defense, it only became a true dead end this time last year).  I wish I could follow my heart and what I think my true career path should be, but we just aren't there right now.  I'm also not celebrating - I'll do that when I'm done.  Hopefully that will be next December.

So - as if my writing wasn't sporadic enough, it may be even more so starting later this month.  Classes begin 8/22 and finish up 12/16.  It should be an interesting few weeks.  Wish me luck. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

So as I'm sure you've gathered from the last entry, Kayla now has a toddler bed.  It was hard for me to make the leap since most things I've read said that kids aren't developmentally ready for a bed until closer to 3.  I figured though it was better to risk the psychological damage now than when she fell trying to climb out of her crib at an inopportune time. 

Night 1 in the bed was a disaster.  It took her forever to fall asleep, and once she did, she wasn't asleep very long.  I spent most of the night on the floor next to her.  I don't know how much time she spent awake, but it was enogh that she was falling asleep at the lunch table at daycare the next day.  Night two, be it from having had some time to adjust or just sheer exhaustion, Kayla slept much better.  I had to go replace the nuk once, but she slept through.  Each night since has been better. 

Friday and Saturday night Kayla slept in another unfamiliar place - she spent her first two nights at Pepere and Grammy Sue's house while Shaun and I were in Philadelphia with friends.  Besides a small part of Saturday night, it sounded like she did really well.  I'm hoping that it went well enough that she might be invited back over there again in September... Right Dad and Sue? 

So we survived the crib to bed transition, nights in a new place and bar hopping around Philly in triple digit heat.  Not too shabby for one week, huh?  Now it's back to that potty training thing.  Maybe...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

For the first time EVER

Kayla told me "I want to go to bed now!"

Look how proud she is to be in her big girl bed...

Another Milestone

This time for me, not for Kayla.  I am proud to announce that today I am wearing a pair of work pants that I haven’t fit into since I was about 12 weeks pregnant (see this old blog entry).  So what if it took me 2 years?  I’m starting to be happy that I didn’t get rid of all my old clothes… and that the salad eating/gym going is paying off. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Time to consider a bed?

Today I picked Kayla up from daycare at noon and we went up to the farmer's market to pick up our produce for the next week.  Per usual, it took longer than planned and we arrived home after nap time would normally have begun.  Kayla was in full out meltdown mode and did NOT want to be put in her crib.  But I put her in and sat outside the door until she seemed calm.  I went out and brought our groceries inside and then sat down to check emails and such.  A little while later I heard her crying "my nuk!  My nuk!" so I went up to assess the situation.  Guess where that nuk was?

In the hallway. 

And a little hand was poking out under the door, trying to grab it. 

Little bugger can climb out of her crib.  At least she didn't get hurt... but I guess it's time we start thinking about how to get her in a bed since that mattress doesn't go any lower. 


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Powder Room Remodel - the Big Reveal

I was going to wait until the room is 100% complete (we're still waiting on some of the accessories) before doing this post, but I'm afraid once I get back to work next week that I won't have the time or energy to do post... SO - here we are, the finished powder room. 

For reference, here's the before:

The during:

And the afters:

Almost everything was purchased at one of the local "big box" stores, except for the toilet and vanity/mirror which were purchased online (not that I endorse going that route for bathroom fixtures). 

The floor is 2X2 slate tiles, which were mesh mounted in 12X12 pieces.  In hindsight, we think they were intended to be wall tile, but we like the look.  The walls are "Saffron Strands" from the Behr Premium Plus line.  The roman shade is a deep blue, bought online from JC Penney. 

We spent a lot of time, money and effort in such a small room, but we made a lot of what I would call "rookie mistakes" along the way.  Lots of trips out for little things, lots of scratching our heads over why this particular sink comes with 1 1/4" plumbing when the standard seems to be 1 1/2.  Or why this toilet is secured with screws into plastic brackets that are bolted to the floor rather than closet bolts in the flange like most others... weirdness (see above statement about not endorsing purchasing bathroom fixtures online). 

All in all though, we are pleased with the result.  We went from boring builder standard to a more modern style, in just a few weeknights/weekend days, with a toddler in the house, and minimal fighting.  We're not jumping to start another project just yet, but we do have a few ideas brewing...