Sunday, March 29, 2009

Catching Up

The last few days have flown by in a haze of chaos, grief, and marvel at the irony of life.

Friday my maternal grandfather took a turn for the worse. He's suffered for years from Chronic Pulmonary Lung Disorder (CPLD), and for those of you not affected by the hazards of smoking, this is an awful thing to witness. Over the last few years he has slowly had a harder time trying to breath. He's been on oxygen for several years, suffered numerous bouts of pneumonia and now is on life support after ceasing to breath on his own. There is little to no hope of recovery and in my mind and heart I have told him goodbye.

Less than 24 hours after hearing this news I hosted a baby shower. It was bittersweet celebrating a new life while my grandfathers was coming to a close.

The baby shower was for Alex's previous teacher at his school. It's a Christian private school so when his engaged, but unwed teacher became pregnant she was let go. There was no warning for the students, parents or even the teacher herself. Alex loved her and it was quite an upset to deal with for him. His new teacher is also wonderful, don't get me wrong but we loved the teacher who's now gone. This baby shower was planned for a month and all the parents and kiddos from her class came together to show her how much she is missed. It was a wonderful afternoon and reminded me what a great teacher the school has lost. Alex had a blast having all his friends over, he shared his toys well and everyone enjoyed all the snacks. The adults all got a good laugh too when all the kids simulteanously started crying for different reasons. No worries though we brought out the cake and all was good!

My feelings on her dismissal are worthy of their own post so I'll just say that the Christian principles of acceptance, charity, and helping those in need should not be revoked at the very moment that someone needs them most.

This afternoon we stopped by the garden to see how things were going, make sure the timer was watering regularly and see if the recent hail storm caused any damage. Alex and I (Eric was not as verbally enthusiastic) were quite excited to see most of the plants were already sprouting. :)

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Camel Ate My Cranberries

Dromedary camel in outback Australia, near Sil...Image via Wikipedia

Yep you read that right, The Camel Ate Alex's Cranberries yesterday. Sentences like that make sleepless nights, long days at the office (well long days at the desk built into my kitchen :)), and the inevitable tantrums disappear. I love watching Alex grow and seeing his imagination at work. Just yesterday he warned my in-laws that their plants are food for camels, horses, and giraffes. And a few days before that we had a quick shoe shopping expedition turn into a hunt for dancing shoes*, and when we couldn't find those, running shoes.** I never know from one minute to another what's going to come out his mouth, and to be honest I encourage his imagination because I can't wait to hear what he comes up with next!

*His fave pick was a pair of black mary janes, boy did his daddy have a fit :).
**Not sure how preppy boating shoes are running shoes but for Alex if you can run in them, then they qualify for the name. He's nothing if not literal.
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Taking Your Work Home

Telecommuting is a growing benefit that many companies are using to hire great employees and keep those that would have once had to leave the office to move or stay home. This video is a great example of a company that is ahead of the game.

Even better, set me up with one of these babies! I love the idea but am not sure if my two year old wouldn't view this as a part of his outdoor playset. Check out the latest in the 10 second commute. Office Pods

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Time

Hubby is upstairs doing the laundry (yes I know He ROCKS!), Alex is supposed to be in bed but I just heard him running around, and where am I...downstairs catching up on American Idol from last week enjoying a brief half hour of me time. The older I get, the more I feel less like the person I think I am. Cryptic huh? There are so many pulls on my time now between being Mommy, Housekeeper, Working Girl, and Wife. This half hour is my time to enjoy some of the things that make me the person I remember in my head but rarely get to see.

Blogging is something that has really let me decompress and unwind, think through thoughts that would sometimes get lost in daily shuffle, and most of all connect with other people who are like-minded. The past year we have dealt with Eric going gluten free, the trials and tribulations of Alex's second year, typical growing pains in our marriage, worries as the economy continued to spiral down, and most stressful of all, we purchased a new home but were unable to sell our old one. We are now landlords to great tenants but the worry never really goes away. Through all of this I have been able to come here and let myself vent, and de-stress. However regardless of how stressful things get there is comfort in knowing others have been there and gone through similar circumstances before.

Ultimate Blog Party 2009
There are some wonderful groups out there who help connect people with amazing blogs. 5 Minutes for Mom brings a smile to my face with their Ultimate Blog Party (how can I resist a party, even a virtual one :)). Click on the picture and see if you find something new and fun, and don't forget to sign up for some of their awesome prizes at the same time!
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Saturday, March 21, 2009

My Crazy Life

OK so maybe others lives are like mine but something tells me that most of you didn't have a crazy two year old sitting on your shoulders this morning stroking your face with his feet. Every time I screamed about the total gross factor in having anyone's feet that close to my face he laughed like a tiny narcissist and kept on. I finally booted him to the floor, let him veg on Handy Manny while I finished my yummy first cup of coffee and finished my latest Jen Lancaster book. Now I'm printing my gardening plan (thank you for FABULOUS pre-made plans) and it's off to the community gardening center to plant this year's organic veggie garden.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Keep your voice down, or don't get mad when I laugh at what you say

The technical age is taking over the world. With people talking, texting, and emailing all the day long, sometimes it's important to cut the cord and get away from it all. I try to do that every few weeks getting together with a good friend for coffee. We both bring our computers and spend a few hours working and chatting. Yesterday we tried a new coffee shop here in Austin called Summermoon Wood Fired Coffee (wow what an amazingly yummy drink I had :)). It was definitely outside of my suburban bubble, being on the south side of downtown. The area was charming, the coffee shop great if you don't count the 10 degree temperature swing that happened every 5 minutes as the AC kicked on and off.

About half way through our working coffee a group of ladies came in and took over the table immediatly behind me. Over the next half hour I was distracted from my work when I heard bits of their conversation that went something like this.
"Well, yes she was convicted of murdering her husband, but she only got probation"

My head snapped up and saw my friend looking at me with the same "did you hear that" expression. But it's none of my business so back to work.

"Yeah the poor thing handled having to wear shackles pretty well"

Hmmm this conversation might be more interesting than the training I'm updating...

"Oh I felt so sorry for her when she had to quit her job to go to jail"

Ok seriously? At this point I'm cracking up and wishing I had made a trip to the bathroom before two cups of coffee and my chatty neighbors.

No one glared at me (or I didn't notice while I was busy cracking up), but this reminded me of other funny situations where strangers overhear and interject on semi-private conversations. In high school I got a call from a friend who had recently been to the post office. She was having a conversation while waiting in line (a 45 minute endeavor on a good day) and a little old man behind her tapped her on the shoulder. She asked the person on the phone to hold on and turned to the old man who was a foot shorter than her. He smiled and told her "I wanted you to know that I can hear your conversation so you don't say anything too personal." Amused, she smiled, told him Thank You and went back to her conversation. Tap, tap, tap. Not nearly as amused the second time she turned back to the old man. "I'm not sure you understood me. I can hear everything your discussing." My friend said "Okay, thank you" and again tried to finish her conversation. Tap, tap, tap. At this point my friend is no longer amused, pretty impatient and starting to see red. She turned to the old man and said "The sooner you let me finish this conversation, the sooner you won't have to listen anymore. OK?" The old man smiled, pointed at the open counter spot and said "Your turn." Since then I make it a point to check the post office line for little old men before answering my cell phone in line.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Another site I frequent prompted all of us today to post about Children with Disabilities. March is Disabilities Awareness Month and it's a great time to reflect on both an important issue and a parenting challenge that is down the road for us.

Alex is still at that wonderfully innocent age where he doesn't notice any differences. All the kids in his class are his "brothers and sisters". He doesn't see cosmetic differences, ethnic differences or anything else. However as much as I would like to believe that day will never come I know there will come a time when the differences between himself and his peers raise questions for him. When that time comes I hope we can sit Alex down and not only tell him about all the differences that make everyone so special, but more importantly teach him the grace he'll need to truly accept others his whole life. Children are blessings but they come with responsibilities. I accept that my toddler has meltdowns, I understand that he has to have everything his way, I embrace his chaotic, temperamental personality, but I refuse to raise a self-obsessed boy who has too little regard for others. Yep I abosultely to implement! :)

This month take a few moments and visit CVS and their site CVS Caremark All Kids Can to learn about the programs and work they are doing to help make this a better world for children with disabilities.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Sites to Check Out

I love anything new. Especially things that are designed to make my life easier and/or more organized. Forget the fact that these things typically end up taking me a while to figure out, cause my schedule to be thrown out the door and de-rail my previously organized day. All that aside I really enjoy finding these tools and tricks to making life easier.

A few really neat websites have crossed my desk lately and I wanted to share them. First is Lazy Moms. This site is true to my heart and focuses on tips and tricks to get the daily grind of chores, cooking, cleaning, etc out of the way so you can have more time for the stuff you enjoy. I popped over to check out today's Ten Minute Tip and it was all about taking time to pamper yourself. Who doesn't want a reason to take a bubble bath and relax because the shortcuts they suggest give you the time to do it!

Another cool find this week was Good Food Near You. This site has a search feature to locate fast food and family style restaurants near you and it automatically suggests the best food choice at each one. I was fairly impressed, reading along, and then had to laugh at loud that the food suggestion for Mr. Gatti's in my zip code suggested that my best choice was to stick to mushrooms. Followed closely by tomatoes, celery and cucumbers. Obviously it requires some reading between the lines but overall the site and the application for blackberry seem to be quite useful. If nothing else it will make it easy to get a healthy choice (darn in :)) if my car happens to lead me into a fast food restaurant.

Check these out and let me know what you think! Leave a comment with any other sites that make your life easier or more organized!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday already?

So yesterday things were so slow while I was working at the home and garden show that I boasted about there being many more posts to come. Hopefully no one sat around hitting refresh in vain! :) Things got so slow I got up and wandered the show visiting with other vendors. My faves at this show are the Vita Mix guy who showed me neat new things to try with my Vita mix and the wierd ionic foot spa people. More to come on these later!

Today is moving a bit faster, but boy am I ready to go home and have a weekend. Too bad I have to wait through another week to do that!

I've been pretty worried about Alex lately. He's a smart kid (what parent doesn't say this :)), and seems to be picking up on a lot of the chaos going on at his school, my work schedule and dealing with the after-effects of a fairly traumatic surgery. We've been in and out of doctor's offices for a while and I keep asking myself if I'm over-reacting and creating problems where there shouldn't be any, but my poor little guy just seems different. As soon as I can pinpoint exactly what changed I'll feel better but right now everything is so nebulous that half the time I think I'm imagining things.

Ok off to get some work done and see what I can manage for lunch...then it's off to the airport and jetting home to Austin! YEAH.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Long, Long, Long Day

So I'm back at the Home and Garden show (only a little late due to an unfortunate arguement with my GPS system. It's almost noon and I managed to order lunch and make it through the first two hours. Now just 8 more to go. Good thing I've got a super friendly booth neighbor who likes to chat, has similar tastes in books and is about as bored as I am. Guess I'll soon get started on some work if the traffic slows down anymore. Guess anyone reading today should be prepared for multiple updates! :)

Friday, March 13, 2009


Be careful what you wish for! During the last few weeks when Alex was cranky and I was beyond exhausted I was wishing for some good uninterrupted sleep! Major sleep! College style, sleep til noon sleep. And what did God send me? Three days and two nights in Fort Worth, in a lovely hotel, a large bed all to myself for maximum uninterrupted sleep pleasure...and He paid my way with a business trip to work the Fort Worth Home and Garden Show.

I've worked lots of these on and off over the last 5 years but never have they moved so slow, been so boring. COME ON! I feel like I've logged hours and yet I still have hours to go. The irony is that I'll probably have so much spare energy that tonight I won't be able to sleep!

PS. Check out the neat giveaway over at Only Sometimes Clever, my favorite Gluten Free resource.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Begone Germs, Go Haunt Another Household!

Good Grief!

I know this is the worst cold and flu season* in years. I know I should have gotten the whole family flu shots.** I know that the first year of school/daycare is a sickly year while kiddos "build" their immune system.***

My husband is blaming our new house, my son is just made he can't go back to school, and I'm going bonkers trying to keep both of them from driving me nutso! A cold I could deal with , the flu I did deal with but in the last few months Alex has had a chronic sinus infection, a CT Sinus Scan for that infection, Sinus surgery and his adenoids removed and then this week an unknown viral bug that sent his temp up to 103 scary degrees. Meanwhile during that same time Eric has caught the flu, a cold and currently has either a stomach virus or food poisoning. I'm pretty healthy and have gotten away with some wicked laryngitis, a massive sinus infection, and possibly the flu. As I said GOOD GRIEF!

Tomorrow Alex can finally go back to school and while Eric is sleeping this off upstairs I'm airing out the house. My luck and Murphy's Law**** says that this will blow out the current germs and out luck bring in some new ones.

*According to our pediatrician :)
**Not only do I hate shots, but the few times I have caved to pressure and gotten the flu shot were the only times I got the flu. I'll take my chances thank you!
***Don't get me started on my soapbox about this. For the record I am from the school of thought that kids have an immune system (we're born with one!) and frequent exposure to kids who don't belong at school due to sickness but are there anyways due to our screwed up work system that doesn't take kindly to parents being parents when their kids are sick tears that immune system down rapidly.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

What a Week

A historic EMI-ScannerImage via Wikipedia

So it's been a CRAZY few weeks. The flu, Alex's surgery, general chaos at work and possibly worst of all, dealing with Dell Customer Service :(.

So about a month ago we found out that Alex had incredibly blocked sinuses that 2 months of antibiotics had done nothing for. A Sinus CT Scan later we were meeting with a pediatric ENT. He spent the first 10 minutes telling me how we would probably need a stronger course of antibiotics and possibly some nose spray and in most cases that clears everything up. I gave him a quick rundown on everything we had tried and he left the room to review the CT scans. A few minutes later he was back asking me to come check them out. Turns out every sinus cavity he has is blocked up and we're now looking at sinus surgery. A few more scan views shows he also has adeniods 3 times the normal size and they need to come out too. I went into denial mode and didn't even think about having to put my little baby in surgery until the week before.

I didn't have much time to dwell on it anyways since our entire family had come down with the flu. Eric canceled his travel and we all camped on the couch and bonded to WAY to many Diego and Dora episodes. Fast forward a miserable week and we were only left witha week to prepare Alex. We visited the surgery center, talked about how much better he would feel, did everything we could to make it less scary. And then all my hard work was worthless when they gave him versed. It helps keep them calm when they take the kiddos back to surgery but no one warned us that he would be hysterical coming out of surgery. It was a horrible experience but we kept telling ourselves that in the end it was for the best since it would make Alex healthier.

So two weeks later he's been sick the whole time, and now after a marathon week at the dr's office (we've been to six different doctors offices in 5 days between the two of us) we're due in tomorrow for another flu test. BAH

My experience with Dell is worthy of a whole other post, and a pictures and video post is coming soon staring lots of Alex, so stay tuned. You can stay updated by "subscribing" to the site, or click the link when we send out update notifications by email!

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Telecommuting Tuesdays

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase

Boy is the world buzzing right now with a fascinating new way to save your company some money! The articles, posts and emails I've gotten lately touting telecommuting would make you think someone came up with this genius idea yesterday!

Business Week ran a nifty story that I enjoyed enough to forward to some co-workers (maybe I can subvert the entire office into working from home. Then I'll be the resident expert! WOOHOO.) Shortly after that crossed my desk I got some very interesting statistics about telecommuting.

The guys over at Undress for Success reported
In response to high gas prices, almost one in four employers are planning to offer a telecommuting option for their employees within the next six months (8/08) and 42% already have. (Mercer’s 2008 Gas Price Impact SnapShot™ Survey)

I'm definitely seeing an increase in those telecommuting. My mother in law now works from home, my husband's field offers a lot of home based telecommuting opportunities, and a few of my co-workers are quietly edging their way out the office door. Although some employers still have a fear of Facebook stalking, slacker employees, most will find that losing the commute allows those of us logging in from home to accomplish far more from the couch than we ever did in the cube. And thanks to instant messaging services like Skype I can stay in touch with colleagues without the commute.

While I'm rambling about Skype let me just say that my husband travels for work and boy do I LOVE Skype for the weeks when he is gone. Our toddler can get a chance to see him, and even though he's hundreds of miles away, the video option (FREE, the whole darn service is FREE) means that he's always here for evening prayers.

Whether you already telecommute or are just trying to figure out how to get a little more flexibility in your day embrace the free services that are everywhere on the web for those of us logging in from home. Some of my absolute faves are:

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Working from home = easy access to the fridge

Cover of "Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissi...Cover via Amazon

It's been a crazy few weeks, with the flu taking out our entire house for a week, then playing catchup for a week then back out for Alex's surgery. Not exactly the best lifestyle for sticking with a good eating and workout routine. The snacks in the fridge have been calling my name and believe me that's not a good thing.

I read Jen Lancaster's Such a Pretty Fat book this week and thank goodness for her snarky comments that would roll around in my head when I was faced with that monumental decision...To open the fridge or to not open the fridge! :)

To all those fighting the good fight every day, have a piece of extra sugar free gum on me!

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Victory is Mine...It's a Great Morning Victory is Mine!

Any West Wing fans out there?
I've been trying for weeks to manage some decent, edible gluten free baking. My husband is one of those strange people who have endless willpower to give stuff up if he needs to (drives me batty!) and I feel bad when he eats the same thing day in and day out for breakfast. This is the third round of biscuits that I have tried and boy do I have to give a shout out to eat at joe's.

They were great biscuits, made up quick and the whole family gobbled them down. I was virtuous and only had one along with my protein shake the voodoo doctors are recommending.

I'm not sure I've mentioned my Voodoo doctors here. I have been struggling to lose weight ever since I was put on steroids a few years ago. Nothing seems to work and I have tried everything from Weight Watchers to South Beach. Atkins didn't go over well since I don't really like cheese that much, and Low GI foods work until the sweet cravings hit. My well respected nutritionists advice was to eat less and less until I was trying to figure out how to manage a workout routine on 1400 calories a day. Fast forward a few months and a friend recommends that I get my base metabolic rate tested to see how many calories I'm burning on an average day. Turns out that magic number is 1730 calories so eating anything less than that and I should be able to lay in bed all day and lose weight...and that's so not happening! I got my metabolism tested at an alternative pharmacy and the lady who tested it for me is a naturopath who for a measly $20 per visit can work with people to develop natural remedies to their problems (and that's right up my ally!).

I came home from a 2 hour consultation, several tests and some great recommendations to tell dear old hubby all about it. I could see the smirk before I even got to the cool test where I put my hand on a silver shaped disc and it analyzed my skin to see what I was nutritionally deficient in. Throw in there that they want me to drink special oxygenated water and I realized I had some convincing to do. It was about that point that he began calling them my Voodoo doctors and like all bad nick names it stuck like Elmer's glue.

On a randomly related note, if you like to read and like funny, witty, somewhat snarky books I'm currently laughing my tail off at Jen Lancaster's Such a Pretty Fat. :)
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