"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

New Year's Eve and the Day That Follows

>> Thursday, December 29, 2005

My mother is trying to get herself nominated for "Grandmother of the Year" this weekend. She volunteered to watch not one, not two, but four little beasties while their parents (her children and their spouses) go out for the evening. Their ages? Four, three, two and one. Yep, she may need an entire bottle of wine after the last ones go to bed!

Doug and I, accompanied by by youngest brother and his wife, will be taking in a hockey game. Should be home by 11pm. Yep, we're animals. I looked in to a late movie but nothing starts after 10:25pm. WTF? It's New Year's Eve, people. Keep kids safe and all that PC stuff.

It's actually a good thing that there are no late movies, though. First off, I'm old. I have a hard time staying up past 11pm. And B, (don't you have it when people switch between numbers and letters when they list things? Yeah, me too) we are having our open house/New Year's Brunch the following day. Considering that it is a New Year's Brunch it only makes sense. Mimosas, Bloody Marys, breakfast-y foods that I am making myself, bagels that I am not... Should be a good time.

I just hope that the people who didn't bother to RSVP don't "surprise" us by showing up. I hate that. I request and RSVP for a reason, people. Just respond to the Evite, for crying out loud. It's not that friggin' difficult.

Ahem, soory about that little outburst. It's just one of my pet peeves. Especially since there are food and beverages to be purchased. If I don't have enough I'll feel bad (and my sister tells me that I can't tell people that they can't eat if they didn't RSVP) and if I have too much... Well, can you ever have too much champagne?

We bought new household furnishings this evening. Bar stools for the bar downstairs and a kitchen table and chairs because the deal was too good to pass up. Doug is constructing bar stools as I type. I would help but we read instructions differently. It's just best that I stay away.

Which is alright as I have laundry to fold. Or dishes to wash. Or some other "woman's work" that I'm sure needs to be completed.

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Very Random Thoughts

>> Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I am trying to get into a new "schedule" before the new year... My alarm - an actual alarm, not Brenna - goes off at 6am so I can try to get a few things done before the lovely one wakes for the day. I'm not really sure it's enough time, but it will have to do.

The screen on my cell phone is warping and my plan doesn't "replace" phones for 2 years. Which means I have at least 9 months to go. HA! I'm a tech junkie and have been jonesing for a new phone. I've held off because cell phones are Brenna's favorite toy. Which is probably what's wrong with mine. She used it as a chew toy a few times and the innards got a bit, well, soaked.

One of Doug's grandmothers went into the hospital the day after Christmas. We found out Tuesday but were led to believe it was just another of her "spells". Doug spoke with her yesterday and said that she sounded awful and had possibly had a mini stroke. He would have headed up after work but it was so foggy last night... We will probably trek up there this afternoon.

My youngest nephew, Ethan, had his 3-year Well Visit to the Dr. yesterday so his brother stayed here while Jen took him. It's so much easier for Jen that way. Ethan was not very happy about it, he wanted to "Stay and play in Jody's big house." When the Dr visit was over they came in and Jen watched all the kids while I took a shower. Almost like having a nanny.

Brenna and I are going to do a Mom & Tot class at a local gymnastics center beginning in January. It's basically like an "open gym" time and will get Brenna some interaction with other people on a weekly basis. I think she is getting a bit bored with me. sigh I can feel the apron strings stretching already.

Wow, I'm really rambling this morning. If you've made it this far, thank you. If you haven't, well, it doesn't matter what I say as you aren't here to read it. :)

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Christmas Is Over- For Another Year

>> Monday, December 26, 2005

We hope all our blogging friends had a very Merry Christmas. We were very busy for the two days leading up to Christmas and Christmas day itself.

Friday we spent the day visiting Doug's grandmothers. We had lunch with one and dinner with the other (plus the extended family). Brenna was very charming and well behaved. She had new shoes with a hard sole that made "clip clop" noises. She figured out just where she needed to be to "clip clop" and spent a lot of time doing just that!

Saturday we ventured from the center of Iowa to the southwestern corner for lunch with my grandmother, my father and siblings. The highlight of the event was that my stepmother didn't come. (She has endured yet another back surgery and is not feeling up to travel). We unfortunately had to leave early as I caught some sort of cold and hit a wall. I felt miserable. We got home, Doug cared for Brenna and I took a hot bath with vapor bath. Mmmmm..... Vapor bath.

Christmas day dawned as usual. Brenna woke me and I fed her breakfast. We lolled around waiting for daddy to wake up. Well, not really. I sent Brenna into our room for a diaper change. After Brenna's diaper change Doug made his way to the living room and asked if we should go downstairs and open presents.

"Don't you want some coffee?"
"Not really."
"Are you sure you don't want any coffee? I asked again, motioning toward the kitchen.
"I have some Mt Dew downstairs."
I try one more time, with emphasis, "I really think you want some coffee."
Finally he gets it: this is sitting on the counter. Very lovely in chrome and black. Needless to say, he made some coffee.

Finally we venture downstairs. Brenna sees her unwrapped gift:

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She climbs right in. And wants nothing else. Here she is pushing away her gift from Santa:

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We get her to open it (kind of):

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SO CUTE!

And her "big gift":

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It clicks and clacks, plays music and lights up. She got a couple of dresses from grandparents, books and puzzles. But her favorite is still the sled.

I want to include this, for TKW who mourns her Texas home:

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Our gift from Doug's mom. His family is in Texas. We will never live near them. It's just not my idea of paradise. (Sorry TKW!)

Later on my sibs, their families and my mom joined us. Chaos abounded. Lots of food was eaten. Three and a half bottles of champagne were consumed (along with beer and wine). Gifts were opened and strewn about. All Brenna's cousins pulled her around the family room on her sled (as they should). Fun was had by all.

Until, of course, they had to leave and my nephew, Carter, who was playing with the noisy clicky-clacky toy uttered these words: "We don't have this many toys at home." Because he is, of course, horribly underprivileged. All he got this year was a battery-operated-ride-in Chevy Sliverado... And other assorted boy toys. Poor, poor child.

And now, as Christmas is through, I must begin planning for my New Year's Brunch. At least one case of champagne is on order... Anyone gonna be in the neighborhood?

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Merry Christmas

>> Thursday, December 22, 2005


We went to 'them all' (the mall to you adults out there) to see Santa and ride the train last night. Ethan fell asleep on the way, so he looks a little out of it. Ethan told Santa he wants "a BIG present" and Carter wants a white space shuttle. I am pretty sure Santa is not bringing a space shuttle, but there is a BIG present in their future.

At one store, my husband said the clerk said "Merry Christmas, er, I mean Happy Holidays". Jon said, "I would prefer Merry Christmas, and Merry Christmas to you, too."

So Merry Christmas to all you bloggers out there! Hope Santa brings you all what you asked for!

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I thought today was Wednesday...

>> Wednesday, December 21, 2005

but my morning began and I was sure that today had to be Monday.

I have been having a pretty severe acne problem since I quit nursing Brenna and my hormones went completely berserk. So I went in the local esthetics school for a deluxe- clean- out-the- zits facial. And was talked into trying microdermabrasion. Which really seemed to help. So, with the exception of when I was in Ireland and when we moved, I have been doing it every week.

Today I arranged for my sister to watch Brenna so I could go in. I arrive for my appointment early so I'm not really worried when my esthetician doesn't come out right away. But as they keep calling her I begin to get apprehensive.

Sure enough I am told that the student I am scheduled with is not there- and they aren't sure she'll show up. And, of course, she is the only one available for that treatment. Well, crap. No facial sandblasting today. The school did give me a free microderm session for my troubles. Hey, that's $65- I won't complain.

Since I would be back to get Brenna earlier than I planned I decided to wash the truck. Pull into the wash, two lines; one with one car, one with two. I pull into the line with one car. Wrong choice. Either this guy didn't know how to run the computer that inputs your wash selection or the car wash broke right then. All I know is that a red light began to flash and the attendant came out and waved us all to back up. And the people behind me got into the other line. In front of me- who had been waiting longest. Rude A-holes. Needless to say, my truck is still dirty.

I picked up Brenna & came home, afraid that anything else I tried to do would fail miserably. I spent the remainder of the day cleaning and organizing the house, amusing Brenna & not expecting too much.

Now I am prining photos from Ireland in preparation of beginning to scrapbook our trip. It's a project that may take weeks. So far my printer is working fine. So far...

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Christmas Ritual

>> Tuesday, December 20, 2005

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Yep, we trekked to the mall and saw Santa. He had a book so Brenna just hopped right up and listened to his story. I tell ya, the child doesn't know a stranger.

The photographer kept asking if I wanted Brenna looking at the camera. "No, I don't. I want her looking at Santa- that's who she's here to see. She looks at me all the time."

I like the way it turned out. It looks like Brenna is chattering away, telling Santa what she wants for Christmas. Perfect.

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Overheard

>> Monday, December 19, 2005

My oldest son was wearing long johns. At breakfast, he noticed something...."hey, Mommy, these pajamas have a pocket". Yeah, you know.

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Heimlich, anyone?

Ethan's birthday party was yesterday. After cake & ice cream, we were all sitting around visiting. Ethan asked if he could have a Life Saver, so I gave him one. A few minutes later, he started walking toward me with a really strange expression on his face. I could tell he wasn't breathing right and he was gagging.

I tried thumping him on the back a couple of times, but it didn't help. Then I flipped him around and gave 2 little Heimlich Maneuver thrusts. Out popped the Life Saver. The little squirt didn't even realize the extreme situation he had been in. The first thing he wanted was another Life Saver. The answer was "NO".

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The Homestretch

One week remains until Christmas. Our "festivities" actually begin on Friday evening at Doug's grandmother's house.

  • Gifts- check
  • Hotel room- check (We're not driving back after the last time)
  • Food for pot luck that I can make that morning & will travel well- unchecked
Then we will wake early Saturday to venture to the far southern part of Iowa to enjoy dinner (lunch to those non-farm folks reading this) at my grandmother's. I completed my Christmas ritual of sending flowers to her today. They should arrive tomorrow. I used ProFlowers so they should still be nice & fresh on Saturday.

After stuffing ourselves we will make our way home for a relaxing Christmas eve and a fun Christmas morning. Later that day my immediate family (sibs, mom, nephews) will converge on my house for dinner (which is actually dinner as we're townies), gifts and pandemonium.

I've got shopping lists to make, a few small gifts yet to buy, Santa to visit and a few more boxes to unpack. Luckily my family isn't too picky and my house doesn't have to be spotless.

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Happy 3rd Birthday, Ethan!

>> Friday, December 16, 2005


Three years ago, we had been at a family Christmas gathering all day (the 15th). I was a little over a week past my due date with the little guy. I had been having steady contractions all day long...short in duration and 1/2 hour apart. I was not too worried about anything happening. At that point, I though he or she was taking up permanent residence.

My in-laws were scheduled to fly back to Florida around noon the 16th. Around 10 PM, the contractions were getting sronger. We called my doctor who told me to take a bath, drink some water & relax. He thought the contractions were from dehydration. The bath was nice & all, but my contractions kept getting stronger and at times they were about 10 minutes apart. We reluctantly called the doctor again. He sighed heavily, asked which hospital I was going to, and said he'd meet us there.

I was dilated to 6 cm when I arrived at the hospital. Yippee! Everything progressed nicely with little discomfort (as my water had not yet broken). I was asked whether or not I wanted an epidural to numb the pain. I declined because I wasn't really too uncomfortable. Until the doctor broke my water at 9 cm. Boy, then I was in some pain. 45 minutes later, at 3:00 AM, Ethan James was born. My in-laws got to see him briefly before they had to fly home. He was their Christmas present that year!

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Spoofed!

The damn thieves on the internet are getting smarter. In the past they have sent emails that actually look generic, but today they got me.

I reveived an email from "PayPal" saying that they had processed my payment of $370 for an iPod. It looked real- it used my name. I hit the link to stop the transaction. I input my password (which contains symbols, numbers and letters) which was rejected.

Then I really panicked. I closed the page, pulled up the real PayPal, changed my password, forwarded the spoof & called to make sure I did it all quickly enough.

I was told that the iPod email is making the rounds. I tried to copy the one I got but it wouldn't copy. I do remember that the zip code listed for me was wrong and the shipping was from Houston, TX. And, not to offend anyone, the "seller" had a middle eastern sounding name.

So.... The moral of this story is: Use symbols, caps & lower letters AND numbers in your passwords. If you get an email reporting payment for something you didn't purchase DO NOT click any links. Load a new page and input the web address you use to access your account. Report the spoof immediately. And then let the rest of us know.

This concludes your public service announcement for today.

But, on a funny note, the account my PayPal is tied to has no money in it. I only keep enough in it for the small purchases I make. They wouldn't have gotten any money anyway. :) Thank God.

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Brenna the Artist

>> Thursday, December 15, 2005

First let me say "Yea!!" Our internet is finally up and running. Now if I could just get the boxes cleared out of the house & the Christmas decorations up in time for Christmas!

Now, let me tell you a little story. About 16 months ago Doug & I were at IKEA buying necessary items in anticipation to Miss Brenna's arrival. Closet storage... Dresser... Shelving... An easel...

Yep, not one to pass up a good deal Doug bought this easel ($20) which has a big roll of paper, a white board and a chalkboard. Brenna is finally "big enough" to use it- if she has something to stand on.

Only one big, fat crayon at a time, though. And only under close supervision.

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I bought the bunny slippers last week at Old Navy. Couldn't resist them. :) And don't get me started on how adorable she looks in her waffle weave PJs. Honestly, she can make me insane... But then she just looks at me with those HUGE eyes and grins. Momma's a softie.

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Generations Photo

>> Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I asked my husband to take a picture of me with Carter and Ethan, my mother and my grandparents at our family Christmas gathering last weekend. I think this one turned out really well. I used my photo software to change it to an antique color scheme.

I feel very fortunate to be able to enjoy time with my grandparents and my children. My Grandpa tells some of the funniest stories. When he gets on a roll you never know what you might hear. And Grandma keeps up with technology and current events. She e-mails to keep in touch and plays on the internet. They are just so fun to be around!

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The Christmas Card

Following is the photo I took of Brenna for Christmas cards this year. It didn't turn out quite as planned...

Right before we left for Ireland I bought the gorgeous beaded slippers you see gracing her feet. I couldn't resist them. So I scoured eBay until I found the perfect dress to match: pink velvet with a floaty tulle skirt and ribbon flowers at the waist. Excellent! I persuaded the seller to end her auction early and sell me the dress directly. I paid more than she probably would have gotten through auction- but much less than buying a new dress.

So, a few days after we moved I decided I should get on the ball if I wanted to use a picture on my cards.

I got her dressed and set her in the chair.
She kicked off her shoes.
I put the shoes back on.
She kicked them off and ran.
Repeat steps three and four. Multiple times. (I'm a slow learner)
Finally I gave her my cell phone- and there you have it: The Christmas Photo.

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I call it: Hello? Merry Christmas!

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I Miss...

>> Sunday, December 11, 2005

I miss my own internet. Not that I dislike Panera but you MUST get some goodies whilst you are here (today it's the hot chicken & bacon panini) and that is eating into my allowance and not doing good things for my waistline. (Internet ETA is Wednesday. I'm just not sure I will survive until then!)

I miss blog surfing. I haven't visited anyone in so long! I promise that I haven't forgotten any of you. My list of favorites mocks me everytime I check in. Come Wednesday- watch out!! I've got so much pent up commenting....

I miss my friends in Minnesota. We had Christmas traditions that included presents, alcohol and lots of food.

I miss Brenna cuddling before bed. Now we sit down, read a book, begin to cuddle... Then she stretches her arms toward her bed, I lay her down and that's it.

And speaking of Brenna: Warning!!! Poop story ahead

Brenna has been having up to three poopy diapers a day; not diarrhea but not solid. I was performing the third change the other day when, after I cleaned her but before I put on the new diaper, she rolled away and started streaking around her bedroom. No big deal; she'd done that dozens of times. What she hadn't done before was.....

Wait for it...


Are you ready?


Squat in the corner and poop on the floor!

She was so proud of herself. As I would have been had there been a toilet underneath her!

And that's your geek update for today. I'll check back soon!

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Short Note

>> Wednesday, December 07, 2005

We still have no internet at the house so I am coming to you from Panera. Brenna is across from me alternately eating an apple cream cheese pastry and dipping her fork in my cocoa.

The house is coming together. It is quite a bit larger than the old house and I am having trouble figuring out where everything should go. All new houses take a little getting used to, but I really like it; it has a very open, airy feeling to it. I am very reluctant to clutter it too much. I forsee a large garage sale in the spring. :)

I had hoped to get some errands done this afternoon but Brenna is fussier than normal- way too much going on in her life- so I think I shall sign off and take her home for a nap. WalMart is open 24 hours- I can go tonight...

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It's Happening

>> Thursday, December 01, 2005

Well, all has been sorted out and we close in an hour and a half. I just finished the walk through. I do really like this house; Brenna ran around the rooms, giggling, climbing stairs, enjoying all the space.

Tomorrow the moving guys come. I'm not sure when we will have the wireless network set up so I'm not sure when I will be back. It may be a few days. I'm sure I'll have lots of news... And a picture of the new coat for TKW. We're visiting the Amana Colonies this weekend for Prelude to Christmas.

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