Friday, January 26, 2007

A Little Snow Girl

A work of art. This is Kayla and Amanda's Little Snow Girl. She has a pine branch as a hair bow. We got enough snow on Wednesday the 24th so that she could be built. And it has been snowing a little bit each day since then.

Finalizing the plans on this year's family vacation. Not Daytona. Since Perry's remodeled, they also remodeled their fee chart. A little steep this year and the best flight costs found so far is $249.00 a person. So, we decided on a rental house in Avon, Outer Banks, NC. Great house. 5 bedrooms (2 per room/perfect!) 5 and 1/2 baths, plus two outdoor showers which Kayla and I love! We were first introduced to an outdoor shower when we rented a condo in Wildwoods, NJ. So cool to shower with the sun shining down on you. Loved it! This house has a private pool, hot tub, pool table, basketball hoop, media room (42 inch screen tv), 7 other tvs, dvd players and stereos and so many other goodies. The private pool and washer/dryer sold me. Silly, but I pack for 3 days and do laundry. This way here I have plenty of room to pack all the goodies I buy to take home. I love the idea of driving our car, we can pack the little things, like Kayla's sand toys and boogie board, a doll, etc.

I am so ready for the weekend. I will be washing down the walls in the bathroom and changing the curtains and then that room will be (early spring) clean(ed). Next month is the kitchen. So much klutschy stuff. Need to clean sweep a lot of it.

My hard drive is so bad the internet can not be hooked back up so the cable guy said. It's on the list of things to fix. Ho hum.

Well, back to work. Happy, happy Friday!!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Little Snow and a Mental List of What Needs Done

A little snow. A little snow each day. This is what it looked like this morning as I waited for the bus.

Hey, Happy Tuesday! Mom had her colonoscopy (sp?) yesterday and she is A-OK. Kayla had yesterday and today off from school. Monday was a clerical day and today is an Act 80. Still don't know what that means. I am still waiting to hear from my niece as to what week we are going to be vacationing in Florida. I want to prepay mine and the girls' room. I did this the last time we went to Daytona, so smart! What a relief at the end of the week to not receive an invoice. Next, I'll work on getting the plane tickets paid for in advance.

While I am here, I need to make a mental list (on paper) of what I need to do this year. Though I am hoping to be debt free this year, I can see money flying out of my checkbook left and right. The car is not sounding too good. The engine is making some, hmmm, well, it's a purring sound, but not a soft purring sound. Not good. Every year, and this is no lie, every year at tax refund time, we need to buy something major. I can't tell how many times I have replaced the washer and dryer. The dryer we have now, only about 2 or 3 years old, has not worked for the past four to five months. It will not heat. So everything is being line dried. I think I replaced the fridge about 2 years ago. And now the car. Well, the car does have over 120,000 miles on it. But it would be really cool if it would last ONE more year. (I say that every year though). Amanda needs new contact lenses. I need new glasses (it would be totally cool to be able to see again). Kayla needs a lift in her left shoe. I need a new hard drive for my computer. Kayla is in her own bedroom and since her Mom gave her a TV, she is loving it. The only problem, her bedroom decor, what little there is of it, is boring. We need to paint it, get new curtains, bedspreads, pillows and lamps. A pretty little girl's room. That is our major accomplishment the first half of this year.

I am still working on my room of the month. The bathroom. Kayla and I completely cleaned out the linen closet. Got rid of every stained and tattered towel, rag, sheet, curtains, etc. It is so neat and clean in there now. The medicine closet just needs the shelves wiped down. This weekend, we are going to wash the walls and floors and hang new curtains and that will take care of that.

And in a very tiny voice, I still have the Christmas tree up. Kayla and I keep talking about making valentines and redecorating it. But that has yet to happen. We still have not finished the angel puzzle. It is a HARD one.

I still have old family photos to scan. I need to work out some schemes and pick paper and embellies for Aunt Dee's album. I really need to make this soon as she wasn't feeling well over the weekend. I was going to save it for the March weekend crop in Ohio, but I don't know. I think Stacey and I have to start going to the Friday evening crops again.

Well, I think I've run on enough here. I have to go check out the numerous blogs I love to read every day. Later!

Monday, January 22, 2007

It's Cold Here

It is. Though I know that other states have it much, much colder and so much snow. The weather channel says its 32 degrees here but it feels like 25. Heck, it feels like 25 here in our office. It gets cold in here! Outside is so gray. We have a dusting of snow but that's it. The weekend was . . . cold. Friday night, Kayla's friend Domenique stayed over. They played well and went to sleep without a fight and not too late either. Cammi was just leaving when I got there. What a cutie. Tera's official due date if February 2. So, we are still waiting. Kayla's Dad and Mom took her and Domenique to Chuck E. Cheese's Saturday morning. I got Ben around 1:30 p.m. as Jayme had to be at work at 2:00. When Kay got home, her other friend Kaileen came to play. It was so cold outside. But alas, hunger prevailed (it was too cold to grocery shop, but not too cold to go out for dinner; some rationale) so off to Eat n' Park we went. Love that salad bar! Jayme and Ben left about 10:15 p.m. And that was Saturday. Sunday was cold, but not as cold as Saturday. Kayla's Dad and Mom took her to see Happy Feet. The theater had no heat so they could watch it for free if they could stand the cold. Kayla loves the cold so it was perfect for her. That afternoon I finally went grocery shopping. Lots of fruit, veggies, chicken and fish. Amanda and I are really trying to eat well and teach Kayla good eating habits. I like that we all have breakfast together, our one meal that we actually sit at the table, at the same time. It's such a great start to the day.

Lot's of LTD stuff came over the weekend. Mostly Amanda's gardening stuff. Kayla's Floam and Snowbabies and some mugs for me. Love getting good mail!!

Well, I am on my way home. Happy Monday!

The photo is of Cammi eating Mac n Cheese. She loves having her photo taken and is a real ham! Which is great cause Kayla and Ben get tired of it and turn their backs on me.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New Year - New Classes

I just registered for classes over at The Anywhere Studio.
If you get a chance stop on over. The fees are nominal, which adds up to more classes and more fun for me! So, I've already downloaded the assignments and the ideas I have are just off the chart. I can not wait to get home and start scrapping!! And therein lies the problem. I have four more hours here at the office and when I get home Ben will be there and I only saw him for a mere few moments over the weekend so. . . I'll have to play with him (a hardship, ya know) and then American Idol will be on and then I will be nodding off terribly, and heck, it will just be another late night. Do you think a person can train their body to make it on 5-6 hours of sleep or less and still stay healthy?? I once read that Martha Stewart only gets four hours of sleep a night. I wonder if that's true and if so, what's her secret for staying energized.

It's cold here today. When Kayla and I left the house this morning it was 17 degrees. No accumulating snow yet and none in the forecast. Boo Hoo.

Well, anyway, I just wanted to check in. Happy Wednesday!

The adorable photo is my granddaughter Cammi. She is 4 1/2 years old. We are awaiting the arrival of her sister any day now.

Monday, January 15, 2007

ADAPTATION


ADAPTATION. That was the theme word for Saturday's Kid's Kingdom overnight at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquariums. What a fabulous experience!! If your zoo sponsors overnights or you live in or around Pittsburgh - GO!!! And even though the rain continued (and has for days), Kayla and I had a fabulous time. Kay did this in October with her Mom, only they experienced "Animal Trackers" and stayed in the Education Center. Our accommodations were set up in Kid's Kingdom which houses the bat cave, lizards, snakes, meerkats and the meerkat tunnel and tree slide. We arrived and checked in at 6:15 p.m., then hiked to the Kingdom and unloaded our bedding and whatnot. Let me say here that what made this a great experience was organization. One activity flowed to the next so there was no standing around wondering what to do. So, after unloading our gear and getting our name tags, the group (40) was divided into two and each group went on a tour. Ours began outside at the Sea Lions tank. We got a behind the scenes view. The Sea Lions were all inside and fighting over one space. They are so LOUD!!! After the Sea Lions we walked up to where the Kangaroos are housed. We broke up in two groups of ten as the entry to the Kangaroos' pen is small and narrow and we had to stand with our backs along the wall. Then the handler brought out three Kangaroos. They are scary when they straighten up and practically look you in the eye. But they were patient as the children each petted them. Back to Kids Kingdom for an indoor tour where we learned about various Snakes and Naked Mole Rats, went through the Bat Cave (which didn't smell too bad), and then onto to the Bearded Dragon and more Snakes. When the second group returned, we all sat in a circle and the handler brought out a naked mole rat to look at but not touch as their front teeth are huge and they can bite through your fingernail; a dead bat; the bearded dragon; and a snake. Oh, and then three bags of frozen snake food: ratsicles; micesicles and chicksicles. Disgusting! Afterwards, the children washed their hands, watched as the handler fed a snake dinner and then it was up to the second landing where we dined on pizza, chips and cookies. The next activity was a scavenger hunt partly indoor/outdoor. And it was still misting but the weather was not too cold. There were five groups, each had their own color, map and flashlight and the hunt led to buckets of letters and new clues. Ten clues - A D A P T A T I O N. What fun! And what a way to wear the parents out!! When we found all our clues the children spelled out their words and told a few examples of how animals adapt and then we laid out our sleeping areas. Kayla and I took a spot beside the huge waterfall. Back upstairs, the craft was set out - a cute, thin, backpack that the children colored with fabric markers. This took us up to almost 11:00 (lights out). We put on our jammies and brushed our teeth and when we came out of the ladies room, the lights were out. These people do not fool around. Gotta love that! And before I forget, our coordinator was Elisha. Kay and I had no trouble falling to sleep. Next morning, we went right up to breakfast, rice krispies for Kayla, oatmeal for me. Next we brushed our teeth, combed our hair and dressed for the day. After cleaning up our area and re-packing, Elisha showed the children two more zoo residents - a skunk named Flower and a Hissing Cockroach. At 8:30 a.m., the party was over. Now, you have the option to stay at the Zoo or load your belongings in your car and come back in at 9:00 when the Zoo opened. Kayla looked at me with that sad face and assumed we would be going home, but HEY, this is GRAM and she is more fun than your parents!!! So, we packed up the car, got our umbrellas and toured the zoo in the rain. We pretty much had it to ourselves and it was great!! All the animals were just waking so they were pretty playful, especially the new tiger cubs which we got to see up close and personal. The monkeys were entertaining, and we saw the baby elephant nurse. It was the first time we saw the polar bear exhibit (its brand new) and the theme is wharf. It will be pretty awesome once its completely finished. And I guess that's about it. I promised Kayla an ice cream and I couldn't wait to get a Starbucks, so that was our next stop and then home. What a fabulous weekend. I would do it again in a heartbeat!
The photo is of Kayla and her colorful dragon (won at Dave & Buster's).
It is self-evaluation time at the office (ugh!). I always agonize over this and lo and behold, this was my career horoscope for today: The art of self-praise is a lost one. It's not conceited to acknowledge what a great job you've done. If anything, it's better motivation than relying on other people to notice your efforts. Your opinion of you counts most.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thinking of Taking a Long Weekend

Thinking about it. It is so hard for me to call off of work no matter how sick how am. But Kayla is coming down with a real nasty cough and we have that overnight at the Zoo Saturday night. Though if Kay doesn't sound better, we will not be attending. I will not risk others getting ill. So, maybe if we doctor her up tomorrow and all day Saturday . . . maybe.

Good day at work. I am getting out of here in a few.

Jerry has a gift for Amanda and she is telling B tonight that she would prefer him to call when he wants to see K. Yes, just one of our family's ongoing, real life soaps. Jayme is another plot - he is with Laura but he and Amber are rekindling their little spark (thank goodness, Ben needs both his parents). Joey and Tera are a-okay and are awaiting Daisy's any day arrival. And I just walk around repeating: "No More Drama". This is why I don't watch soaps. I live them.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Huge Project

These are just two of the many fabulous photos that I will be scrapping for my Great Aunt Dee's memory book.

What an honor that she asked me to make it for her. The added bonus is that relatives have sent in their photos and I will have all of them on cd's to create a heritage book for my own family. My mind is swirling with ideas, and I've been on-line ordering vintage, vintage, vintage!

We got a very light dusting of snow (1"
was predicted, but our weather predictors have been wrong every day!). It was 25 degrees as I came to work, but with no wind, it wasn't too bad.

Daisy is to make her appearance any day now, so the doctors are predicting. Can't wait! I do love my little grandkiddies. Kayla is home from school today with a slight fever and cough.

And I am here at work. Working, can you tell????

Ali's latest AEzine is out. Such great inspiration!! Well, I am off to read the many other blogs I check in with every day.

Happy Wednesday!!

Friday, January 5, 2007

No Title, Just a Blog Entry


As you can see, sometimes I have a hard time coming up with a title. It's Friday, hooray! Let's get this work day done. I want to start on my house-cleaning/purging list. So much to do this weekend. It is a very rainy day here, not too cold though, it was 55 when I came to work. I am working on my "to be read" list. I take the long bus route most mornings and try to read as much as I can (before I fall asleep which happens when we hit Oakland). I read books to Kayla at bedtime and then I am off to sleep myself. So bus reading is about it. The girls and I went to Barnes and Noble last night where Kayla got a puzzle book, I picked up Innocence by Kathleen Tessaro and Amanda got her monthly fill of classical reading (Archie comics).

The photo is a fabulous 1000 piece puzzle Kayla got for Christmas. It took us about four days to complete. The theme was television shows. Currently, we are working on a very pretty angel puzzle, but it is way hard!!! It's taking a while.

Hey, have a grand weekend!!!!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

F R E E D O M

Freedom. I just finished reading Ali Edwards' aezine life artist newsletter for January. Loved it! My word for 2007 is freedom. For so many reasons. The first being "financial" freedom. After January 31, after the real estate taxes are paid, I will have financial freedom. No credit card debt, no huge utility balances, no school tuitions, nada!

Freedom from relationships or rather a relationship. Not that I don't love this person, I just need a break. Freedom from emotional baggage - that's it. That includes my grown children who think they can keep moving in and out, disrupting the household, taking advantage, running up bills, and pocketing their own money, while I pay for everything, the whole kit and caboodle. Not this year! Grow up! At your age, I had three children, a spouse, a house to run. Responsibilities. That should be my childrens' word for this year - responsibility.

On a household level - freedom from clutter. Oh, yes! This will be the year of purging. I have closets of stuff that hasn't seen daylight for years. Well, it's all going. The VA will be visiting my house every week!

Freedom, freedom, freedom, to be me, to say what I want, do what I want, be what I want, to measure up to the standards I set for myself, not by what others think. Oh, yes!!!!

I feel good. I know there will be a lot of ups and downs, but I feel real good about this coming year.

What's your word?

Happy Thursday!

The photo is of Kayla at my parents' home. In the background is the Allegheny River and beyond that the island where our summer cottage is.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

A Few Christmas Pics



Here are some photos of the grandchildren opening their presents.

Ben was so funny. He wanted to open everything wrapped in Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse paper whether it was his gift or not. After he would get a present opened he would raise both arms like "touchdown" and yell. Hilarious!!

Next is Cammi. She loved all of her toys. She was quickly able to pick out what box would be clothes and what would be toys. She is our clotheshorse. Put's together her own combinations (such a gypsy, yet oh so fashionable). She uses a blue terry cloth belt (from a robe) as a scarf around her neck. Worked perfectly with her outfit. Cammi is such fun to buy clothes for.

And then there is Kayla. Loves all toys, especially dolls. What a collection of dolls she has and this Christmas was no disappointment. She received the American Doll Emily this year and the Lil' Mommy Triplets, doll furniture and lots of other stuff.

It was a great Christmas!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Happy Blog Anniversary/January Goals

Happy Anniversary to my blog! I've kept this blog for one year. Yeah, me!! Welcome to a New Year! So here are January's goals:

1. Do not procrastinate when receiving CJ's. Complete and mail them within seven days of receipt. Peggy's and Susan's sent to Share.
2. Complete the Christmas mini book started in November. Carry-over.
3. Read 1 book. Read When Venus Fell by Deborah Smith.
4. Pay the school taxes by the 31st of January. Done
5. Exercise at least 4 times a week. [ X] Wk 1: Jan 1-6; [ ] Wk 2: Jan 7-13; [ ] Wk 3: Jan 14-20; [ ] Wk 4: Jan 21-27; [ ] Wk 5: Jan 28-Feb 3 Sad, I know.
6. Lose 2 lbs. Did lose 4 lbs according to WW!
7. Complete the Christmas journal (Shimelle's class). Carry-over.
8. Make a difference. Somewhere, somehow, I will.
9. Blog at least once a week. This is great therapy and I love to write (I may not be saying anything) but it feels good to get thoughts and lists down on paper. Accomplished.
10. Organize the Christmas decorations. I do not take all the decorations down in one day. I take the whole month of January with the tree being last. It's lit every night and its so pretty. Got the tree down at the end of the month, but still have not put all ornaments away nor organized them.
11. Keep a journal. Journal thoughts, wish-lists, ideas. Started a cute little fat book with sketches, quotes and things I like.
12. Continue to become clutter free. Okay, this will be a long term goal, but this month I am going to start with the bathroom, especially the linen closet. Love this idea found at OH:
The steps to be done for each room are as follows:
A. Look at each area on Thursday nights
B. decide what can be done with the room to improve it's usage and function
C. identify any organizational items to be bought e.g. baskets, etc.
D. identify tasks that will help organize and utilize the room to it's proper function
E. identify any decorative items that are needed for the room
F. Make list of purchases
G. Make to-do list
H. On the weekend buy items required and make changes to the room.
I. On Tuesday of the following week finish check-in for the week.

ROOM FOR JANUARY: BATHROOM Check, check, check and check! Kayla helped me with this room. She was fabulous! She earned $10.00 and I have a clean bathroom I am pleased with!
[ ] dust/wash walls
[ ] Clean floor
[ ] Clean toilet
[ ] Clean sink
[ ] Clean bathtub
[ ] Wash mirrors
[ ] Clean shelf above mirror
[ ] vacuum runner
[ ] launder drapes
[ ] declutter, organize, and clean sink cabinet
[ ] declutter and organize linen closet
[ ] declutter, organize, and clean medicine cabinet
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Paper scrapping goals for 2007: 50 layouts; mini-books: Florida; Pirate Ship; Farm; and last year's trip to Ligonier. I have done nothing so far this year except to add more goals.

New Year Goals

Like last year, I will not be making resolutions. Instead I will make monthly goals. Goals were so more doable. No disappointments. Whatever did not get done in one month was carried over to the next and eventually that goal was met. So, once again I will make my list of goals.

New Year's Eve was quiet. Amanda, Kayla and I joined Mom, Cathy, Michael and Janet at Melissa and Brian's home for good eats, fun games. We also began finalizing our vacation plans. Seems there will be 9 or 10 of us this year. Amanda met a new beau, Jerry, and he may be joining us. I like Jerry. He is mature, rents his own place, has two jobs and likes Amanda just the way she is. So important! He also likes and includes Kayla and that is just as important. Plus, Amanda is HAPPY!!!

So back to the Eve. We left Melissa's around 10:00 p.m. I wanted to be home safe for the New Year. Amanda left to go have a drink with Jerry and Kayla and I played card games and count down to the New Year. Went outside with our blow horns and whistles and . . . we were the only persons celebrating in our immediate vicinity. It was so dark and quiet. So we blew our whistles a few more times and as we locked up, Kayla shook her head and said "well, that was depressing". Ha! Ha! She is so funny!

Well, I have some work to do. And I need to get my goal list for January together.

Happy Tuesday!