Wednesday, June 29, 2011

You know you are a working mom when...

You have to work from home because your little one has a fever.

And of course...

You have to run a customer conference call from home.  Cell phone, head set, laptop -- and How to Train your Dragon playing in the background.

And during the call...

Your sick little guy crawls in your lap.  You let him because -- well -- he's your sick little guy.


The sick little guy starts admiring your customer's fancy spreadsheet full of numbers displaying on your laptop.

The little man announces as he points "Oooo! I love numbers. I can count to 20! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7...." 

Did I mention you can't figure out fast enough how to mute your cell phone?

And THEN...

Your customer on your conference call asks slyly, "Has someone joined our call?"

Momma hangs her head in shame. Fortunately, no one can see.

...It's a good thing I work at a family-friendly company.

Wordless Wednesday: Powdered Sugar!

Evidence the boy has his father's genes...

Sacredness in tears

It was time to say goodbye, and end the suffering of our beloved puppy, 11-year-old Annabelle.  We miss her dearly. I really don't have words for my grief yet, so I'll let others poetry and words express it for me.

The dogs who have shared our lives
By Linda Barnes

The dogs who've shared our lives.
In subtle ways they let us know
their spirit still survives.

Old habits still make us think
we hear a barking at the door.
Or step back when we drop
a tasty morsel on the floor.

Our feet still go around the place
the food dish used to be,
And, sometime, coming home at night,
we miss them terribly.

And although time may bring new friends
and a new food dish to fill,
That one place in our hearts
belongs to them... and always will.

Waiting for dinner in her crate.
If it should be 
by Anonymous

If it should be that I grow weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle cannot be won.

You will be sad, I understand.
Don't let your grief then stay your hand.
For this day, more than all the rest,
Your love for me must stand the test.

We've had so many happy years.
What is to come can hold no fears.
You'd not want me to suffer so;
The time has come -- please let me go.

Take me where my need they'll tend,
And please stay with me till the end.
Hold me firm and speak to me,
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time that you will see
The kindness that you did for me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I've been saved.

Please do not grieve -- it must be you
Who had this painful thing to do.
We've been so close, we two, these years;
Don't let your heart hold back its tears.

Untitled by Washington Irving

There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not the mark of weakness,
but of power.
They speak more eloquently
than 10,000 tongues.
They are the messengers
of overwhelming grief,
of deep contrition,
and of unspeakable love.

I told my daughter to make drawings to help express her feelings.  This was one of them.

Meditations on pet loss 
By Allen and Linda Anderson

I know that grief will have its day. I give myself permission to heal the wounds with remembrance of you.

I was honored to be present as you left your physical body. It takes courage to remember what it was like to be with you in your final moments. These painful memories of your death may become my greatest healing agent.

I imagine that at your death, your spirit leaped out of your body. I see you now--released and living happily without pain or suffering.

I rejoice in and accept that whatever memories float to the surface are worthy of my attention, no matter how trivial they may seem to be. The daily routines and rituals we shared will be exactly what I need to recall for restoring myself.

Another drawing by my daughter.  She is walking -- or being pulled -- by Annabelle (hence the "AHHH!").

My dear departed companion, you have reminded me that we are all connected by a golden thread of love that weaves invisibly through life’s fabric.

I will now gently think about your purpose in my life.

I need family members and caring friends talking and listening to me about your love and devotion to me and to them. I will get their testimonials in writing and record them in my heart.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

You know you work in IT when...

You get all freaked out opening your web browser, only to realize you've been testing work applications again... for multi-language capabilities... in Czech.  Fun times.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mommytography 365/168-174

168- Truckin'
We went to our town's festival.  The orange monster truck was a big hit.

 169:  Ignore the marker on my face.  I'm cute. 

My best friend's littlest looking adorable.  Marked up face and all.

170:  Down for the count.

The boy fakes a knock-out.

171:  Tucking in the babies.

My niece and best friend's oldest find blankies for the babies.

172:  The customer service stinks around here...

I think he was put on hold...

173:  Yard helpers

I get a little help cleaning up the yard.

174:  Momma's summer reading club

Last year we decided the Library's summer reading club was lame, so Momma created her own.  We are in year 2, and my daughter has already finished her first chapter book of the summer:  A Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  She loved it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Great Daddy Lodge


It was my son calling for me. Again.  I drag my butt outta bed.  Again.  I wander into his bedroom at 6:30 a.m.

"What do you need sweetie?" My son is very, very attached to his momma.

"Where's Shakey Doggy!!!"  I find the lovie, tucked under a pillow, and walk in a stupor back to my bed.  Just 20 minutes more sleep, please! I climb back into bed, and turn over to lay back down.


Something snaps... or crackles... or pops... in my lower back.

I can't move.  I'm stuck.  On my bed.  I scream for my hubby, who has fallen asleep downstairs.

September 2009.  I threw out my back by turning over into bed.  Prior to the bed attacking me, I had trouble with my lower back and hips -- starting with my pregnancies.  Ironically, I had just seen my chiropractor a week prior, but we had not made much progress. 

But now I couldn't move.  My hubby took me right away to urgent care, but really I needed rest, anti-inflammatory drugs, and long term chiropractic care.  My recovery took months.  I still have permanent nerve damage in my lower right leg -- my knee to my toes is numb, like it is asleep.

But this story is not really about my back or my recovery.  It's about a daddy who manned-up when the cards were down.  You see, my back went out on a Wednesday.  That weekend we had a family trip planned to Great Wolf Lodge.  Yes, the indoor water park resort.  The kids had been talking about it for weeks.

After the initial shock of throwing out back had passed (and I was drugged up on lots of medication), we considered what to do about the planned vacation.  I talked about going anyway, and just staying in the hotel room most of the time.  My husband looked at me -- a pathetic blob unable to walk more than a few steps to the bathroom -- and shook his head.  No way.  I was on bed rest.  No traveling.  No indoor water park.  I thought about how to break it to the kids that the trip was canceled.

Daddy said no problem.  He'll just take them by himself, and I can stay back and rest. 

One man.  Two kids.  One giant indoor water park.

I'm not sure I would have taken that challenge.  But he manned up.  And the kids had a blast.  They loved the daddy-only vacation. 

Happy kids.
Not only did daddy and the kids have an awesome time, but they made it a tradition:  an annual daddy-only trip to Great Wolf Lodge.  Their third trip is coming up this August.

This was prompted by Working Mom Wednesday to talk about a special dad memory (or something like that).

Monday, June 20, 2011

Living in Ikea Land

When I mention my actual hometown to another mom (rather than just saying "I'm from metro Detroit") there's about a 50/50 chance they'll say "Ooooooo... that's where the Ikea is.  You are sooooo lucky!"

Yep.  I'm soooo lucky that I have to avoid my town's main highway exit at all costs. 

So, I broke down over the weekend, and drove the whopping 5 miles to the Swedish mecca of consumerism.  I went to Ikea.  Since it opened in my hometown about 5 years ago, I've only gone a handful of times -- the last time was a couple of years ago.  Suburban chic Ikeans are gasping everywhere.

Now... I have an strong appreciation of the Ikea brand and the effort that goes into creating their products -- well designed, simple products at a very inexpensive price.  The Ikea Corporation should be admired for their innovation and marketing skills. 


I can't stand going to Ikea.

Not only is it crowded, but it is crowded with those people.  Cult Ikeans.

...I drove in, and I parked next to a SMART car from Ohio and a BMW from Ontario.  Ahem.

I enter the store, and have to weave around all the people who have stopped.  Just stopped.  In the lobby -- there is no products here, but they are already being Ikea-fied by the greeters.  As the Ikea sheep are directed up the escalator to the second floor -- the "showcase" floor -- I walk right past to the hidden doors that lead directly to the first floor where the merchandise really is.  Bahhhh....

I dodge the sheep left and right as they "ooh" and "ahh." I use my advanced rat-in-maze training to navigate the most a-mazingly planned store ever (pun intended).

As I make my way through the labyrinth, I hear Ikeans exclaim ...
  • I love all this organizing stuff!
  • Look at this hamper!  It has handles!  That will make it so much easier for me to bring home my *adult son's* laundry!
  • Husband with zombie look:  "What about this lamp?"  Wife:  "Do you like it?"  Husband:  "No, but...."
  • Mmmm.  Meatballs.

Fortunately, I left the store in a little over an hour, and with only a few more items than I planned.  Unfortunately, I got home, and my daughter asked with bright eyes and glee, "Do they have that desk lamp in PINK???"  (Of course they do... it's IKEA.).  I might be breaking my habits and visit Ikea twice in the same year. Ugh.

The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Have fun and play with your kids. This daddy rocks almost as much as my kids' daddy (did you catch that randomly tossed compliment hubby?).

Friday, June 17, 2011

Flashback Friday: Happy Birthday, dad!

My dad has made it to the big 6-5.... defying many doctors' predictions, and many other odds against him.

We chalk it up his longevity to two key factors:
  1. Stubbornness
  2. Belief in the mantra "He who dies with the most toys wins."
Back when he was only 12 years old, his stubbornness got him a story in the local newspaper.  After getting a tent for this birthday, his proceeded to camp in the tent in his backyard for the entire summer.

As for the toys, my dad collects toy trains.  And he never has enough...just ask my mom.  She is surrounded by trains.  My daddy thinks he's a train. Did you notice his name is Thomas?

My dad holding my younger brother.  Nice perm!
My dad, AKA Poppa, holding his first grandchild, my daughter.

My parents, AKA Poppa and Granny, at my brother's wedding.  Still lookin' good!

Happy birthday dad!

Mommytography 365/161-167

161: Giraffe puzzle

My son works on a puzzle.
162: A little twinkle in her eye

Happy to see our puppy feeling better.

163: Shakey Doggy artwork

Chalk artwork of the famous lovie.

164: Bath boats

Fun at bath time.
165: One little monkey jumpin' on the bed

Bad momma allows jumping on the bed.
166: A boy and his toys

Sleeping with his stash.  This picture was taken with the camera sitting on the dresser, and an 8 second exposure.
167:  Struttin' his stuff

Monday, June 13, 2011

These geeks say goodbye to 20th century media

Well, we've done it.  We finally cut the umbilical cord. We've been discussing it for several months, but hubby decided it was time. 

We canceled cable.


We eliminated our home phone.

There were several reasons for these decisions.

Financial savings was a big factor -- spending that much on TV when we both work full-time is just silly.  And we just DVR'd everything we wanted to watch anyway.  And the kids?  Sure, they have shows they like.  But it was getting ridiculous the amount of money Comcast wanted just so that my kids could watch Phineas and Ferb or iCarly.

Second factor -- Comcast.  IMHO, Comcast has the worst customer service ever for a major company. (If you don't believe me, just Google "I Hate Comcast" -- and you'll see how much customers are yelling, ranting, and begging for better customer service!) But, instead of improving customer service they just kept jacking up their prices every year.  Grrrr...

So... we should just go with another cable company, right?  NOT.  When my new awesomely cool neighborhood was built a little over ten years ago, Comcast got a monopoly contract with the subdivision.  Sounds unfair, illegal, even unAmerican?  Well, it is.  The State of Michigan even eventually agreed that it was an unfair and illegal practice.  But, now that Comcast is established with almost every household in the neighborhood, no other cable company wants to spend the money to lay the cables.  GAH!

We have been plotting ways to get rid of Comcast for several years now, but the dollars never added up.  Finally, this year they did.  The only catch is that we still are getting our Internet service through Comcast, but that is significantly less money going to a company I despise than before.

So, is this household of geeks just going without TV? Giggle...say that to my hubby and he might start to twitch. 

No, we are not getting rid of the TV.  Instead, we have re-subscribed to Netflix (we had canceled our account because we rarely had time to watch movies), and have subscribed to Hulu Plus.  These two additions are under $20 a month.  Much less than the $80+ we were spending to have cable!  Between Netflix streaming TV shows and Hulu Plus shows, we are now able to watch about 95% of the shows we watched when we had cable.  And -- we can stream whenever we want.  Including all those kids shows.  Plus, we've hooked up the retro-cool bunny ears so we still have all the "regular" channels -- in beautiful HD.  Best of both worlds, huh?

We are now as cool as the Jetsons.

Plus, my geeky hubby is planning to wire our big screen TV to the computer so that we can view the shows that are only available over the Internet.  He is devising his wiring layout as we speak.  Wiring is always a fun adventure with a room full of geeks (don't worry -- we'll invite more geeks if it requires drilling through walls or floors).

Oh!  But I haven't talked about the phone yet. A few years back, we moved from a traditional "land line" to an IP (Internet) phone.  We used Vonage and have been very happy with their service, with the exception of some interesting voicemail-to-text transcriptions.  Vonage was much cheaper than a land line, with one monthly fee that covered everything (all calls, call waiting, etc, etc.).  However, with both of us working full time and having cell phones, the home phone is just... well... redundant.  (I don't like talking on the home phone much anyway.) We only had two reasons to keep it:  1) a single contact number that everyone already has, and 2) our house security alarm system used that connection for communicating with the security management company.  (Random aside:  If you have your house broken into once, just once, and the costs of a security system seem negligible compared to your peace of mind.)  As for the first concern -- geek hubby had a two prong attack:
  • Sign up for Google Voice, which allows you to pick a new phone number, and route it to multiple other numbers.  Hubby signed us up, and both cell phones now get called from a single number. Booyah!
  • Only give this new number to "the chosen few."  Despite being on the National No-Call List, our now-defunct home phone got so many telemarketers it made my teeth grind.  I answered NO 800 or 877 numbers on the phone.  We now have a "clean slate."  We can stay under the radar, at least for a while!

Drew knows what its like to answer the phone, and realize it's another telemarketer.
 As for the security alarm, we spoke to them, and it turns out that they do not need a phone line to communicate with our system.  They can do it through the Internet now!  So, we are going need to switch over some equipment, but then we'll be free of all that 20th century media. long as you don't count the TV and the bunny ears. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Flashback Friday: Girl Scout Bridging

I was a Girl Scout all the way from Brownies through Seniors (high school).  I loved Girl Scouts and took advantage of everything they had to offer.  Here's a picture of me at a bridging ceremony when I was in Brownies. (There was no Daisies when I was little.)

I'm the blond with glasses on the left.
I was so excited when my daughter not only showed interest in Girl Scouts, but is very enthusiastic about it.  Here is her recent Bridging ceremony from Daisies to Brownies.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mommytography 365/154-160

154: Purple camels

From my daughter's recent trip to the zoo that I chaperoned.
155:  Pillow Pet Love.

Yay!  I picked the right gift!
156:  Sprinkler park
running through the sprinkler circles...
157:  Pampering the puppy

Our puppy gets some doggy ice cream.  We are in pamper mode with our ailing pup.
158:  Go Blue!

Big boy had a sports theme day at school, so daddy wore a shirt to match.  We are both U of Michigan alums (we met there).
159:  Popcorn and couch tents

Always a good time.
160:  Our yard sale find

My daughter loves air hockey, and was so excited when a neighbor was selling her table.  We got it for a good deal.  It was quite a challenge to get it in the basement, though!


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