Friday, January 30, 2009

Dedicated...

I was driving this afternoon when I passed multiple cars with their windows cracked with a small cigarette bud hanging out. It's 12 degrees. You couldn't pay me to roll my window down, even just a crack. I don't even like going to the bank drive-thru window because I have to crack my window in order to talk to the teller. As I saw all these smokers with their windows cracked, and some had their windows down a good three inches, the thought crossed my mind. Man these smokers are dedicated...or addicted...hard to tell the difference sometimes...either way it's 12 degrees. Very cold. I can't wait for summer. Oh and the splash parks. I bought Hallie a swimsuit last year on clearance I can't wait to pull it out. Groundhog day is next week. I think 6 more weeks of winter. Last year it snowed in April. That was fun hiding the eggs in the snow...

You can see how my train of thought jumps quickly at times!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Technical support...

I hate when I have to call technical support. I will do everything in my power to not have to call technical support. First off...I never, ever have the correct number and after sitting on hold for way too long, I'm informed I'll have to call another number. So of course I write that number down in my handy dandy file- but for whatever reason, 6 months later when I have the same problem, I suddenly need a different number??!! How does that even work?

I just wish when calling these automated systems they used a better screening program. For example, the first question should always be "Do you have the ability to understand and work with someone with a thick accent" When answered no, I would be directed to someone who spoke and understood English. The next question: "Do you know how to turn off your computer without being walked through it step by step?" By answering this question yes, I would be put in touch with not only someone who spoke English- but that understands I have a basic knowledge of computers. This simple screening process would eliminate half of my frustrations!

I understand the person I'm speaking with is going off a series of steps, regardless if it is going to help the situation at all but man is it frustrating. For example:

My internet goes down the other day with an error message saying the IP address is already in use. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable. I set up the network, I can dabble in DNS servers and IP addresses. So you can imagine my frustration when I couldn't get it to work: last possible solution- call ATT. Where I run through a series of hoops just to talk to the person who can supposedly help me. Wrong again.

So I explain exactly what my problem was, the error message I had received and the steps I took to try and resolve it. She brushes me off and insists that I restart the modem (by explaining I need to push the button in the back!) She continues through multiple steps (all of which I had already performed) and takes more time explaining how I should complete a step, and me trying to explain multiple times I do have some understanding of computers. We could skip half the talking if she would just tell me what program I need to open. Instead she explains I need to click on the computer on my desktop, explaining this is my hard drive....really?! We wasted 4 minutes just getting to my system preferences, when I have a shortcut on my toolbar!!

She continues to hold my hand through the process, making sure I feel good about the steps we're taking to resolve the madness and so on. Step after step.

Forty minutes goes by. My mind feels numb. My children are screaming making it even harder to translate the thick accent. We finally complete the last step and it doesn't work, same error message. She has an ah-ah moment: Realizing my internet has worked the whole time if I plug my computer directly into the modem, its just not working through the wireless router. I'm livid. That was the very, very first thing I told her. Yet she insisted that we turn off everything, including the computer which meant closing down every program I had open. (I'm sure because her computer system told her to) I'm mad.

She tells me I need to call Apple because that is the brand of wireless router.

I breathe in and out and pick up the phone to dial.

But as I dialed, it was as if angels were singing. Wait, this technical support speaks English. Novel concept. I plead my case again, with more frustration than before. And within minutes I'm on my way to surfing the internet. Oh glorious day. And although my experience with Apple was indeed quicker and more productive than the first, my previous statement still stands. I hate technical support.

Whoever thought it was a good idea to place call centers in foreign countries or staff American call centers with foreigners, should be ashamed of themselves. Bad idea. Very bad idea.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Four Months Old...

They grow up so quickly...What the last month has entailed:

Survived his first New Years Eve bash

Also survived hours and hours of bowl games- just hanging out with dad

Fully grasped the concept of rolling over. He dislikes tummy time so much that he'll always roll to his back. He's very close to going the opposite way as well.

Loves the bumbo- he's just small enough and squirmy enough we now have to watch him closely in the chair because he tends to try to get out of it.

Found out the hard way, he really, really doesn't like Chinese food!

Discovered the Johnny jump up and has been entertained continuously because of it

Watched his first Baby Einstein DVD- kept his attention for a short while.

Takes his pacifier in and out of his mouth and then drops it as well

Sleeps without being swaddled- hooray!

He's an active sleeper. I've found him in all sorts of positions within his crib including both legs out of his pajamas and even an arm completely extended out of the neck of his pajamas. It couldn't have been comfortable!

Loves something soft against his face to sleep

Experienced colder weather than most sane individuals: -35 going to church one day

His tongue is always out of his mouth

Still throws up- an awful lot, but doesn't get the distance he once had

Refuses to sleep a whole lot. He does decent at night only wakes up two times but daytime is a whole other ball game. Yesterday he slept from 10:20am to 11 am. That was it. The whole day. If it only happened once I wouldn't be concerned- however this is not an unusual occurrence. There's been many a days where there is a 15 minute cat nap and that's it. From 7:30am to 7:00pm. He just doesn't like to sleep- figures he's missing out on all the fun! Definitely something on the list to discuss with the pediatrician!!

And when he's not sleeping, his stomach is full, his diaper is changed, when he's not cold, not tired, or bored and when Hallie is not being abusive to him, he can be a happy/smiley baby. The trick is to find that 30 minute window every day!!We love this little guy!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Brilliant idea...

Steve's brilliant idea...keep Hallie locked in a closet until she's 18 so he doesn't have to worry about the boys chasing after her. I told him to let me know how that goes...

Best of friends...

It's official- I've lost Hallie's best friend status. It wasn't but a short four months ago she would sit on my lap and tell me how cool I was and how much she loved me, and how we were always going to be best friends. She informed me yesterday, that Hunter is her best friend. How quickly children forget who brought them into this world...needless to say it melts my heart to hear her talk to him and tell him stories about her other friends and she always asks what he wants to play with, and she kindly brings him every toy imaginable. Everything is fine and dandy...

until Hunter kicks her, pulls on her hair, spits (drools) on her monkey, or eats her candy. (yes, she has an obsession with blaming anything wrong on the poor little guy.) And in a matter of seconds she turns on him, even to the point of hitting him- or in her words "feeling his cheek" (with her fist of course). I can tell they're going to be the "best of siblings".

Something new...and a little crazy...


A new restaurant, Stir Crazy, opened a few months back and ever since it opened I've told Steve I wanted to try it out. Steve claims I don't care about food like he does (which is absolutely correct) so he ends up choosing the majority of the time which restaurant we frequent. I remember one time in particular I really wanted to go to Stir Crazy- but instead we went to Cheesecake Factory for the hundreth time. We had our babysitting group last night which meant we could go out with some friends. We let them choose the restaurant...Stir Crazy- I couldn't have picked a better place myself.

Stir Crazy is a fresh Asian grill and it was fabulous. I'm a sucker for good Asian food and this did not disappoint. We took the recommendations of our friends to try the "market bar" You get a bowl and go through a line of assorted fresh veggies and goodness (stacked as high as you can manage), choose your meat, your sauce or sauce mixture, and choose your noodle or rice. Very tasty. Wasn't anything too fancy- but tasty. Try it out if you have one close!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Rookie...

Whoever thought of DVR is a genius in my book. Schedule to record tv shows days in advance and watch at your convenience. I totally remember pulling out a box of VHS tapes in order to record some random show. I'd first have to put the tape in the VCR to see what was on the tape because heaven knows we never learned how to label anything. I'd see the world cup from four years prior and know that my dad would kill me if he found out I recorded over it. Sometimes I would take my chances and record over it- and yes I can recall at least one instance where I was caught. But it was such a hassle. Sometimes I didn't set the timer right so the show was never recorded and then I was bummed I missed out.

Enter DVR- (angels singing) and all the sudden life changed completely. No longer were we bound to the television (okay, I've never been bound to a television, but I'm sure plenty of people are). We weren't worried about missing our favorite show, or fighting with siblings/spouse as to who gets to watch their desired show. Just record it. Simple.

For the most part I watch televsion on my computer while working, so I leave the little black box in the caring hands of my spouse...he takes the responsibility seriously and does a wonderful job. However, we encountered a rookie mistake...

A girl from Steve's work is currently on the Bachelor so it has become our Monday evening routine to watch the show so Steve can be up to date as he goes to work the next day. We got home from Hallie's swim lessons, put the kids to bed and settled in front of the tv for some R&R. But the Bachelor isn't there. It didn't record. How can this be? I know, not the end of the world, it will be on the ABC website tomorrow, but we wanted it tonight. So we went to our next option...Scrubs. Consequently this too was skipped. My thoughts can't stop turning to that silly timer on our old VCR which never seemed to work right.

I take over the remote to do some investigative work and come to find out...they were both skipped. SKIPPED. Hense, our rookie mistake...when recording multiple shows, you need to also check your priority list to make sure they are in the correct order, ours were not. Obviously. I can't even bear to say the show that was recorded instead because I find it to be such a stupid show I'm not sure it even deserves virtual space in the little black box. But like I said, I allow Steve control of that aspect of our lives. I just hope we can all learn a lesson from this and ensure that it not happen again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Hat...

My friend Leslie made this adorable hat for Hunter and I can't get enough of it. And with temperatures as low as we've been experiencing, (the high tomorrow is -2 and low of -13, add the windchill and we're looking at mid -20s to -40! Yowsers, that's cold!) we couldn't ask for a better gift! Thanks again!

A sunbeam...

Hallie waited for this day for a long time, she's been talking about it forever...
She is a sunbeam! We walked her to class for the first time on Sunday (last week they had all the kids stay in their old class because of the lack of teachers) and she thought she was the biggest girl. We walked her in, introduced her to her teacher and helped her find her chair. There she sat, arms fold, legs together, awaiting singing time. She loves singing time. She came home with this fancy dancy necklace which she refused to take off, and couldn't stop talking about all the big girls. Too funny- we were informed she did great and sang louder than most the kids, that's my girl!

And now that she's a sunbeam her knowledge within the gospel is growing rapidly. For example: This morning I awoke to her saying, "Mom...Mom...Mom." Finally I open my eyes and I see her standing very close to me. Without missing a beat she starts chatting. "And daddy is Joseph Smith, I'm Mary and Hunter is baby Jesus. And mom you can be the other wife."

I thought I heard her wrong so I asked her to repeat and she repeated it verbatim. I did hear her correctly. She then goes on a tangent about Joseph's leg really hurting, and that's daddy. I'm not sure what she learned in one day of Primary, but she managed to blend the Christmas story with Joseph Smith (which could be very easy for a child, both Joseph!) But then she brings up the "other wife". Hmm....I'm pretty sure she knows nothing about polygamy and just wanted to make sure I felt included in her roleplay....hmmm....Primary teachers are going to love her!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sharp shooter...

I set up the backdrop the other day for a family shoot (A lady's 75th birthday and her six children). Hallie asked to be my special helper so I asked her to make sure everyone in the picture was smiling. After the first three shots Hallie quickly pointed out that one guy (the counselor in our bishopric) was talking and not smiling! She totally called him out. It was great. She then wanted to do some shots by herself. She's in to making faces these days. She's a hoot!

Mad skills...

This little guy just likes to show off his mad skills lately- his latest endeavor: Rolling over.

Bored...

Our dinner conversations are really that good...

The bumbo...

Hunter has been holding his head up for awhile, so we purchased a bumbo seat so he could practice sitting up. We heard mixed reviews, some moms loved it, a few moms didn't. We are in the "loves" category. He hangs out and enjoys being able to see what's going on around him. So many people say how much Hallie looks like Steve. Maybe Hunter will have my looks, if he's lucky. Perhaps...

New Years Eve...


New Years Eve afternoon found us at the Milwaukee Wave indoor soccer game. It was a first for us, but quite enjoyable. I grew up playing soccer and I have two brothers that play indoor soccer. For all the years I played soccer it took me a while to figure out the rules of indoor. Not quite the same game I was used to playing, but very fun. It was fast, there was a lot more movement than normal soccer-very fun to watch. We went with Bob and Virginia's family which made it even more fun.
That night we went over to some friends home for a night of fondue- delicious. We let Hallie stay up to her little heart's content. We thought for sure she'd drop by 10 pm...no such luck. At midnight we put her down. She definitely knows how to bring in the New Year and she wasn't about to sleep through it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy Birthday to me...

We celebrated my 26th birthday a while back. Am I really that old? I have been married for 5 years, I have two kids- I like to think of myself as 26 years young!

Steve has mastered the birthday cake- a box of Cinnabon cinnamon rolls with some candles to top it off! He knows me far too well, I'm a sucker for a tasty cinnamon roll. Steve pulled out the birthday bucket, banner, and newly added birthday table runner and it was nice to walk into a decorated kitchen for a birthday, that I didn't have to hang up anything for.

We met for lunch at the mall and did a little shopping before Steve had to return to work. We ate pizza that night and Steve even let me pick the toppings- what a man. Of course I went fruity- who doesn't like a little canadian bacon and pineapple. I'm sure Steve would've preferred a manly pepperoni- but whose birthday was it? That's right...I was calling the shots!

I think I've mentioned Steve's creativity and preparation for such occasions, but if I haven't- he's the man. He starts thinking well in advance. Does more preparation than needed so he can have the perfect gift, or create the perfect moment. Not many men can pull this off. So it should come as no surprise that Steve went above and beyond for my birthday. He, with the help of our amazing friends the Tysons, (Thank you Leslie- and Jared thanks for supervising the project.) created a DVD of my life. I was shocked. I'm the one who always creates the videos, worries about the music, puts it all together and revels in excitement as the recipient watches it for the first time.

So for once the tables had been turned. I was the teary eyed girl watching as my life unfolded before me. And although I've seen every picture a hundred times, and listened to the music continuously for years, it can't replace the feeling when put together seamlessly in a video. It was so cool and so fun to watch. I couldn't help but watch 26 years of life and think, "Man, it's been a good life." I have an amazing family, and wonderful friends who have shared so many moments of my life.

I had to chuckle with Steve as I saw so many pictures that gave the appearance that I was an outdoorsy girl- those that know me, know this is a far cry from reality. But I have the pictures of atv rides, skiing, rappeling in Zion, cabins in the mountains, hiking...the list could go on. So maybe I am a little on the outdoorsy side!? My dad would be so proud...and at the same time probably strongly disagree!!

What I loved about watching the video, was the fact that in the split second of seeing a picture, the memory comes flooding back. Every detail, names, conversations. It's fascinating how our mind works in that regard. Memories which could be considered forgotten are stored somewhere deep in our minds and can be pulled out at various points in our life without missing a detail. Yet it's hard to remember things like phone numbers, or addresses!

It was a great day, Steve made sure of that, and I'm grateful for his very thoughtful gift. I will cherish it forever.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Rough Day...

We've had a rough day...Hunter is sick and Hallie was hard. Lack of sleep combined with her strong willed personality is not a good combination. We had the starburst incident this morning which was more funny than not, but that was just the beginning of a chain of events causing meltdown after magnificent meltdown. Even going to swim lessons we had a meltdown and she loves swim lessons. So by the time we got home this evening at 7:30, it felt as though it was hours passed her bedtime. So we battled the strong will and fought to get her to bed, kicking and screaming the whole time. By this point I was exhausted. Frustrated. Angry. And was done for the day. I watched the bachelor and folded laundry, and then distributed the laundry to the appropriate rooms. When I went to our room to put clothes away, I found a single red starburst on both Steve's nightstand as well as my own. (Hallie has to have a treat/money sitting on her dresser when she takes a nap and goes to bed.) Immediately the day wasn't so bad. The meltdowns weren't a big deal. I just smiled. What I loved was the fact that in the midst of her exhausting day she managed to leave a treat for me. Granted, it was one of the treats she denied taking earlier- but she still left one for me. Which makes today not so bad.

The culprit...

I was feeding Hunter this morning when Hallie brought up a starburst and asked if she could have it. Starburst for breakfast just didn't seem appropriate, so Hallie turned around deflated and headed back downstairs with her friend. A short while later I walk downstairs to find this:
Yes, Hallie obviously found my starburst stash in my desk and of course devoured them with her friend. I call Hallie over to the empty pile of candy wrappers (14 fun-size packs) and asked her if she ate the candy. She politely denied any knowelge of the incident, and without missing a beat says, "I think it was probably Hunter." Really? How do they pick up on lying at such a young age?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New favorite...

On Christmas Eve I was looking for a "Holiday Punch" to serve our guests that was relatively easy. So I search allrecipes.com and there was one that popped up several times with just minor alterations. So I thought it was easy enough...I loved it. I loved it so much I asked someone to make it for a baby shower I hosted...and I liked it just as much the second time. So I thought I'd share:

Gingerale
Sprite
Pineapple Juice
Pineapple Sherbet

That's it. There wasn't an exact science to the proportions- just mix until it tastes good and the sherbet adds a nice froth. (I think I did somewhat equal portions of the two sodas and then added the pineapple juice to taste!) Enjoy!

I also tasted an excellent cider over the holidays- recipe to come.

Forgotten Pictures...



I was going through my hard drive and found some pictures I'd forgotten about that I really liked! I keep telling myself I'm going to get organized on all my pictures, but I have yet to take a step in that direction!
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