Why does it always seem . . .

that most things in my household are the EXCEPTION to the rules.
I was reading an article the other day about fertility. It stressed that 35 is not a magic number and a woman's fertility doesn't drop drastically, in reality it doesn't take a nosedive til age 38 --- hmmmm the year I got preggers with Cassidy and really falls off the charts at 40, HAHAHA when I got preggers with Jaxon!

The article got me thinking about other things my family seems to buck the trend on.

Boys are harder to potty-train than girls --- Well, Zac was trained at a little over 2 and never had an accident. We are finally starting to make progress with Cassidy at age 2 1/2 (after much stubbornness and "NOs") and a few accidents, but not too bad. We'll see where Jaxon falls on the spectrum in another year or so.

Formula fed babies are sicker than breastfed babies (DISCLAIMER!!!!! I am NOT suggesting that breastfeeding is not the best for your baby, it just never worked for me, I blame my boobs!) Zachary has been on antibiotics twice in his life -- age 4 for his first and only ear infection and at age 7 for a mild case of walking pneumonia where he actually threw a tantrum because he had to miss school for two days because he felt fine. Cassidy has had one sick appt in her 2 1/2 years and Jax has had 2 in his first year. I do believe (DISCLAIMER AGAIN!! this is my thoughts for my kids) that this has very little to do with how they were fed as babies and more to do with the heredity because Chuck and I are never sick either.

I know there are a couple more, but at the moment I hear that naptime is over, so I will stop here . . . . oh yeah --- I LOVE my in-laws! LOL

Oh and here is a scrapbook page I made earlier this week, I am becoming addicted to digital scrapping and having so much fun doing it. That is my mom, I look NOTHING like her! I was always jealous of her darker complexion and dark hair --- can you believe as a child I hated being BLONDE! :D

Where Did These Adorable Kids Come From ?

Holy Crap! I can't believe Jaxon turned a year old. It honestly feels like yesterday when I was thinking possibly maybe I might be pg, but in reality after all those years of NEVER actually being pregnant who was I kidding.

I was a bit panicked when the reality of having two under two set in. But now that we are a year into it I can honestly say it was not nearly as hard as I thought. Cassidy is still a pretty happy and easy going child. She rarely gets annoyed with Jaxon is even more mellow than her. They both take nice naps in the afternoon to help with my sanity and the fact that Chuck works from home Wed & Fri also helps. Zac has helped this summer, not often, because I hate to ask him to help with the kids too much, I don't want him to resent them.

Today's picture sessions went incredibly well. The gal taking the photos was just wonderful. Cassidy was being a bit defiant about the idea of having her photo taken so we started with Jax. Of course that smiley boy was easy pickings for the photographer. Then the photographer asked Cassidy if she wanted to take the pictures, of course, this worked like a charm and a couple wonderful pictures of Cassidy followed. The most difficult picture, as I'm sure you can imagine, was getting the three of them together. The boys were easy, but getting Cassidy situated close enough to Zac was the trickiest, she kept moving off a little by herself. But in the end we got a beautiful family picture that we will cherish for years. It captures their personalities -- Cassidy, our little diva; Jaxon, our little clown; and Zac, our smartass! and I say that with love.


Anyone who really knows me, knows I'm a hockey nut. I'm a fan of the game as well as a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I believe a fan follows their team through thick and thin and accepts when heir team struggles and still proudly wears their team's apparrel. Then there are fans (I'm related to one) who come out of the woodwork when the playoffs roll around and their team is making a run for the championship. They couldn't name the coach of the team or name players that were traded during the season, etc. but gladly jump on the coat tails of the team.

Also being a fan means accepting defeat graciously. Maybe having watched my child play sports for over 10 years make you realize that calls get screwed up, any team can beat any team on any given day -- that's why you play 9 innings, 3 periods, 4 quarters. It's not over til it's over. AND as important as skill is, luck has more to do with winning then some people would care to admit. A lucky bounce this way or that, a rebound in the right direction, etc. may make the difference in a game.

I have a handful of very close friends who like me are Penguins faithful, through thick and thin wear our Pens gear, display our team on our vehicles, even when earlier this season things looked grim and there was a coaching change. It's a long season and while I certainly didn't get to see as many games as I would have liked, I often followed the games online.

After all these years I've learned it's best to do my talking when the game is OVER and not before, and not to whine, which makes this victory so much sweeter. I know I have enjoyed my team as a gracious fan.

So with that said, Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins, I am so very proud to be a fan.

When it rains it pours!!

It's been an eventful week.   Apparently we wanted to keep with the dreary weather with our dreary events.   I would like to see the sun for more than an hour or two, maybe today, before the next rain system comes through.  But on the bright side, the "unsettled" weather is supposed to be gone for Mother's day and next week looks brighter.

On Saturday we were rearended.  It was quite a big hit, the guy must have totally been not paying attention.  We were on our way to Zac's baseball game and it was a field we had never been too before, so we weren't driving all that fast as we were looking for a road (out in the boonies where the GPS didn't work).  We saw the road and Chuck stopped to turn left . . . lots of oncoming traffic.  We both looked behind because it was a quicker stop, but the car was about 2 blocks behind us, so neither of us continued to watch him and waited to make the left.   All of a sudden we heard screaching, in that split second I was looking around thinking who is that? never thinking it was the guy behind us.  And then BAM!!   Of course, as soon as it was done I was screaming, are the kids ok, are the kids ok?  Jaxon cried for about 20 seconds as I think he was startled out of a doze.  Zac proudly announced that it was the "THIRD" accident he's been in (none were all fault).  Zac was closest to impact as he was in the third row of the van, but he was fine and quickly crawled out.  The guy did try to get around us, but didn't quite make it, so our major damage is the back passenger side of the van and his front driver side was a mess.  He screwed up his axle and the car was not drivable.

The most important thing, of course, is that we are all fine.  Zac's neck was sore a bit the next day, but we haven't heard any complaints since.  And I've learned not to ask, if it bothers him he'll say something, if I say something it just reminds him to get some sympathy! ;)

We will be replacing two car seats and will need a rental for about a week (the adjuster figured we'd be out of the van for at least that long).  Since fitting two car seats and a teenager in the back of Chuck's car would not be a pretty sight, we will have to get a rental.  Which is all covered by insurance.

Then Sunday, Jaxon was especially cranky.  He still tried to smile and be happy, but he just would cry all of a sudden.  No fever, BUT an occasional tug on the ear.  So since he wasn't sleeping well either, I decided on a Monday morning pediatrician visit.  As all you moms know, calling the peds on a Monday morning is so much fun, NOT.  

So Monday morning rolls around and I'm greeted by a smiling infant AND a feverish, snotty toddler, who was on her way to losing her voice.  Normally, I wouldn't have taken Cassidy to the ped because she gets a cold like this every 6 months or so, but since I was already going I made an appt for both.  I was only on hold about ten minutes and had an appt for 9:40.  Chuck had emailed work to say he was going to work from home, so he could help me with the kids and get the van stuff squared away.  So we both went to the docs.  Cassidy was quickly confirmed as a cold and Jaxon was confirmed with a double ear infection and prescribed bubble gum medicine.

So a couple days later everyone is on the mend.  Cassidy did lose her voice, but it's back in full force and Jaxon slept through the night last night and is back to normal.  

Then yesterday when Zac came home from school he said his cell phone wasn't working (the screen would keep disappearing).  Well it's only a couple months old and still under warranty, so I told him to get his butt outside and help dad with cutting the grass and we would probably have time to run to the AT&T store before his 8 o'clock game.   So we head to the AT&T store, I stayed in the car with the munchkins for a while, until Jax was ready to get out.  Then I ventured in with both kids.  Luckily, things were moving quickly when I went in.  They replaced Zac's phone without much fuss and we headed back to the van . . . buckled everyone in . . . and then CLICK CLICK CLICK -- the battery was dead. UGH!!!    The lights and radio came on, so we knew it just needed a jump, but we didn't have cables.   Now this wasn't the end of the world because across the street was an auto store, but we only needed a jump.  Thankfully, our bestest friends were home and they only live about 5 minutes from where we were and Jim was there before we knew it giving us a jump.   This is the 3rd or 4th time we've needed a jump in the last couple years (mostly due to Zac leaving something on in the van after we vacate it!) so Chuck is going for a new battery later today.   We grabbed some Taco Bell and headed home and got Zac to his game on time -- HOWEVER, he was a whiney brat about it, because he likes to get there earlier than the coach asks so he can throw with one of his friends and proceeded to whine about it for the whole 2 minutes it takes to get to the field.  I was in no mood and told him to stuff it because our household no longer only revolves around him!!    I admit it did when he was the only one for 13 years, but gimme a break!

So after dropping him off I run to my mom's to let her pooch out because they are on vacation and head home to make myself presentable because I'm working the concession stand.  Kiss everyone goodnight and am excited that I get to miss out of bedtime duties for the first time in . . . FOREVER?  no not really but feels like it.      I get to the field with Zac's hat, because Mr. Whiner who was complaining I didn't get him there earlier enough forgot his hat.  And as I'm watching them warmup I feel PLOP PLOP PLOP . . . not a light drizzle, but BIG drops.  Oh joy.  At least I'd be in the stand if it rains.   Suffice to say, at 7:55 it decides to POUR.  With all the rain we've had recently it didn't take long for our field to look like a big old mud puddle. 

After a 15 minute discussion with the umps (at least I was smart enough to grab an umbrella, since the parking lot is quite a distance) it was decided no game.  So we headed home (first had to pick up my mom's dog cause he spends the night with Zac) and headed home.  Everyone was asleep; Cassidy in her crib and Jaxon on Chuck's shoulder.  Of course, about 90 minutes later our little fusspot woke up crying and didn't put himself back to sleep, so 15 minutes on my shoulder sent him off to dreamland and HE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!!  So I'm taking that as a sign that things are going to be getting brighter.

And with that said, the sun has come out . . . even if it's just for the day.

Lil bit of this and that

So here are some pictures of the "coloring of the eggs".   Things went pretty well, Cassidy didn't want to share the colors (no surprise there) and she certainly didn't understand the concept of being gentle with the eggs, so there are several cracked color eggs in the box.   We will probably give it another go on Friday with another half dozen or so eggs.   Zac loves hard-boiled eggs, so there's no worry about getting sick of egg salad here.

On to other tidbits.  Zac was actually ASKING for a haircut.  I always promised myself that I would never whine about my kid getting a haircut.  As long as he washes it on a regular basis and runs a brush through it, I swore I'd never be one of those parents who makes their kids get a haircut.  So far I've been pretty good about it.  So now that baseball started and he put a baseball hat on and got these cute little flippys under the hat, he has been bugging for a short haircut.  Well if you can see above, it's not all that short, but he's happy with it, and that's fine with me.  He had a gentleman cut his hair this time and gave him an edgier cut, so for now, he's content.  Of course, I also noticed at dinner last night that he's sporting a hint of a mustache.  Since he's so fair skinned and has blonde hair it isn't extremely noticeable, but it's there.

And since several of my mommy friends have made "poop" posts over the last month or so I thought I'd have to share one.  I don't think I ever mentioned that Cassidy has been diagnosed with a type of chronic diarrhea.  Now it's not as bad as it sounds, it has to do with the fact that her movements are never solid, which always makes for a very messy cleanup.  Luckily, she only goes every other day (sometimes even a bit longer) but when she does go, break out the wipes!   So I am looking forward to when she gets a bit more interested potty training.  For now she'll sit on the potty with the diaper, she'll tell me right after she poops with a loud "I'm STINKY!"  

This morning while cleaning up her toxic waste, it was so delightful to hear Jaxon behind me, grunting and pushing . . . . . Jaxon is a dainty pooper LOL.  He prefers to leave me "little presents" several times a day.  

Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter Weekend.

Da Easter Bunny!

Here is the picture from the Easter Bunny visit.  If you notice Cassidy is not looking especially thrilled.   Luckily, once again her big brother came to her rescue and sat with her.  Notice the hand on her face.  This is her "if I put my hand here, you can't see me" gesture.  She does this at home when she doesn't want her diaper changed, or when someone comes over and she doesn't want to talk to them, this is her way to "hide".

Jaxon was oblivious to da bunny and even tho Zac isn't smiling, he offered to be in the picture of his own free will because he knows teenage girls eat up these pics with him and his little brother and sister.  He took a wallet picture and posted it on his facebook page. . . he is way "smoother" than his father ever was.

If you think babies are expensive . . .

She may look petrified, but she LOVES this slide . . . there's a little bump and she goes airborne and flies down this slide.

Daddy and Jax take a slower side slide than little miss daredevil.

When I look back to when Zac joined the family, I really don't see how he added that big of an expense to our way of living.  Yes, I became a SAHM and lost my income, but our lifestyle changed immensely.   We would eat out 5 times a week, and that didn't include the 5 or 6 buck lunches we'd buy at the work cafeterias every day.  We bowled in a couple leagues, we went to movies regularly, we went out dancing/drinking at least once if not twice a week.   Now I never was into clothes or fashion, but I did need to maintain a work wardrobe, etc.   So most of those activities diminished. And even tho I formula fed (not my choice, but it is what it is . . . or was) and used disposables, I guess I didn't see it as a huge monthly expense.

Now, these with these two little peanuts I realize that babies are INEXPENSIVE!!  I can feed Jaxon for less than $3 a day and it costs about a $1 a day to diaper both kids.  Jax eats about $1.50 of formula a day and I'd guess about a $1.50 in yogurt, cereal and baby food.   Cassidy probably costs about $5 a day to feed.  Most of their toys are presents or I found at yard sales or Craigslist.  Not so easy to find an almost new iPod touch at a bargain basement price at a yard sale ;)

I don't get past NOON to feed Zac for $3 . . . every morning starts with a huge bowl of cereal and or a couple poptarts and a glass of milk . . . his school lunch is $2 and then there's the 10 a.m. break he gets from class and he goes to the store and gets a bag of Jalapeno kettle chips every day  . . . I however, do not fund his snack, that comes from his money he earns by doing various chores.   We are extremely lucky because he probably eats more like $5 in lunch, but my SIL is a cashier in the lunch line and no matter how much stuff my kid piles on his tray she charges him for the basic lunch.  I'm sure we'll have huge sticker shock next year and he'll have to reel in his eating habits next year when he will have lunch at his home school (he eats lunch at the Tech school this year).

He comes home from school and heads straight to the pantry for a snack.  Now, I remember why my parents always hid goodies, if you want to actually eat some of those chocolate covered pretzels you bought or hershey kisses or trail mix or cookies, you better hide them because they will vanish!  You will open the pantry 4 days later and find ONE item left in whatever container you look in, because, Zac will never eat the LAST goodie.  Dinner he eats as much as me or Chuck and of course there's that evening snack finished off with a HUGE glass of milk.  

I can find second hand clothes for 25 cents for the peanuts, consignment shops, yard sales, and handme downs outfit the peanuts 90% of the time.  One pair of jeans for Zac is easily $20 and sneaks are about $25, and I can be thankful that he doesn't care that his clothes doesn't come from Hollister (SERIOUSLY a joke, IMO) or Kmart.  I do get his jeans at Old Navy when they have a sale and Aerospastle has wonderful sales.  Even tho we don't buy expensive items for him, his wardrobe, which is considerably smaller, than the peanuts probably costs twice as much as their wardrobes put together.

Then there are the miscellaneous activities that pop up:  $25 for a field trip, plus money for lunch, $100 to sign up for baseball, $35-40 for baseball cleets, $12 for baseball socks, $10 to repair a catcher's glove because a new one would cost $90.  You try and convince him he doesn't need a new baseball bat (easily at least $100) and to use the one he has and use team bats, going to the movies with friends; hanging out at the hockey rink/baseball games (can I have money for a drink/snack?).

I won't go into how much hockey costs, because that is a very expensive sport that many do not participate in, so that wouldn't be fair to compare that to the peanuts . . . but all those extracurricular activities cost money, there are dues for girl scouts/boy scouts; there are fees for karate/dance/gymnastics . . . and some have quite the price tag.

So if you think babies are expensive . . . JUST WAIT!!   

An early trip to the "Zoo"

I have zoo in quotation marks because it's not really a zoo, I will never think of it as a zoo.  It was called a game preserve for the better part of my 41 years, so I have a hard time thinking of it as anything other than that.  It is very small, with a limited assortment of animals, that can be traversed leisurely in about 60-90 minutes.

When Zac was little we got a season pass every year and we would go at least once a week, it was wonderful, we knew all the animals names from talking to staff, we could identify which arctic wolf was which and knew their favorite hiding spots, we saw a llama being born, etc.

So now that we have two little munchkins I am glad to say we will be frequenting our little game preserve again.  This is wonderful because earlier this year there was a debate from the county that it would be cheaper to close it.  Which would have been a huge bummer.

I wish I was a more adventurous mom when it comes to driving, I'm a country bumpkin who prefers backroads to highways.  I wish I would happily hop on the turnpike and travel 90 minutes to get to "The First Zoo in the USA" in Philly, but truth be told I am a complete wimp in heavy traffic ESPECIALLY when carrying such precious cargo as my children.

Anyway, we had a pretty warm day for early March and headed off to the game preserve.  We were anxious to see the new animal exhibit!  PENGUINS, we now have penguins, JACKASS penguins to be exact.  And they did not disappoint.  Unlike many of the animals, they didn't hide in their cave, hang back from the visitors.  No sirree, these little guys were happy to swim and stand as close as the fence would allow.

Over the years of visiting the zoo, we have learned that the camels enjoy eating seed pods from the trees.  Since half the pods land outside their enclosure we always are happy to treat them to the ones they can't get on their own.

When I was a toddler, my parents and grandparents have pictures of me feeding the animals in the petting zoo.  Of course, in the day when parents weren't neurotic about a llama slobbering on their child or suing the zoo  a deer nipping.  So there are wonderful pictures of me feeding deer, llamas, sheep and goats. When Zac was little it had dwindled a couple llamas and goats.
And now, sadly, they just have goats.  One of my most cherished pics of Zac is him sitting next to a baby llama and hugging his neck. 
Stupid people ruin it for everyone, if you are worried your poor little angel 
might get nipped or nudged or whatever, stay out!!

Cassidy and the Jackass Penguins!

This pic is too sweet for words.

Thank you, Jackie

The rules of the award state that I must list seven things I love, and then to pass the award on to seven bloggers I love to read. Here we go!

7 things I love - aside from the obvious or previously mentioned...(my husband, kids, family...)

1.  Well if I can't include family the first thing that pops to mind is BON JOVI, and along with him music in general.  I have always loved music.  I remember calling the radio station when I was about 10 and requesting Bad Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce.  I always loved the radio and making mixed tapes.  When I was 10 my cousin gave me my first cassette that wasn't a tape off the radio.  It was Heart's Little Queen, I wore that tape out . . . in case you aren't aware that was the Heart album with Barracuda.  I played that song over and over again, so much so apparently that my dad learned it, and a friend at work whose wife made ceramics made him a fish and a mermaid, each with a tag -- one read "Barracuda" and the other red "Bare-cutie".    This began my love affair with rock and roll, and eventually, in the early 80s, my love affair with Bon Jovi.  My room was plastered with posters and I played their songs over and over.  I am thrilled that even almost 30 years later they are still rocking their fans.  Zac has been to a concert and enjoys some of their songs.  ME, I love EVERYTHING except songs from This Left Feels So Right . . . their acoustical attempt to rearrange their classic songs, I just couldn't get the concept.  But everything else, I could listen to over and over again.  Jon just turned 47 on March 3, and damn if he don't make 47 look absolutely gorgeous!

2.  My iPod . . . This little gadget is so frikkin amazing, it has made me fall in love with music even more.  I have a classic 20G ipod, it is just about full of my favorite tunes.   I just made a playlist for Cassidy, so when she wants to dance, I just push a button.  Zac has the iPod touch and that is even more amazing!!!   Even Zac says, "what kind of gadgets will Cassidy and Jaxon have when they become teenagers".  

3.  My Computer/Internet -- I honestly think these things have helped keep me sane these last 15 plus years as a SAHM, it's probably been an important part of keeping my marriage pretty much bump-free.  It allows me to connect to adults and talk about kids.  For a long time (before the peanuts came along) I was a huge trivia player in chat rooms.  I would play and host games, I started by asking trivia questions, but as I became more and more comfortable I would play my music and it was basically "name that tune & artist" . . . of course, everyone knew my games would have at least ONE Bon Jovi song if not more.  I have made many friends online, those who don't frequent the internet will never understand.  I even traveled to North Carolina for Snotfest ---- a beloved interned friend with the nickname Snotrokit, opened his home one weekend a year for anyone who was willing to make the trek.  It has been going on for a few years now.  We went in 2006 before I knew I was preggers and I haven't been able to get back since because of babies or pregnancy.  I hope to get back in a couple years.

4.  Sports -- Watching them.  I also think this is a huge contributing factor to my happy marriage.  I am perfectly happy to spend a Sunday watching football, hockey, or baseball (neither of us are basketball fans).  I think when it comes to baseball I am a bit more obsessed than Chuck. Chuck runs a fantasy league and I take pride in being the only gal in it, I've won it a couple years and have always cashed in some winnings.   I have a few rules for my fantasy teams -- NO YANKEES (booo hiss) and only cute guys . . . which isn't hard.  My favorite players are catchers, probably has to do with Chuck being a catcher.  I do miss him playing, he does get bugged to join an over 40 or over 45 league occasionally, but his knees are fragile and it's probably only a matter of time til he needs surgery so he's always leary . . . I would never tell him he couldn't.  His baseball years were some of the best years of our lives and we made so many friends and had lots of great times.

5.  My house -- although it has gotten quite a bit "smaller" since we moved in as a family of three, thinking we'd never have a child in the third bedroom . . . dubbed the "yellow room" for the first several years we lived here.  Of course, now that's Cassidy's room now.  I wouldn't be surprised if this girls favorite color is yellow, it is the first color she can consistently identify correctly.  Of course when we found out about Jaxon it presented us with a dilemma . . . we gave Zac the option of the yellow room (the smaller of the kid's room) or moving into the basement .  . . of course as most teenagers would choose, he picked the basement.  It's his cave, he does usually come up in the evenings to watch tv with us.  I also love my house because I am so close to my parents.  Zac disappears to my parents often.  We spend several nights a week in the warmer months sitting in their backyard (or my Aunt & Uncle's who live next door to my parents).  My parents are so in love with these two little surprises it's ridiculous.  I enjoy watching Zac go to the same schools I did, he's now in a newly built high school, but I'm so proud he plays Ice Hockey for my high school.

6.  Sleep . . . this one really needs little explanation.  Sleep is elusive for me many nights, I guess I have insomnia, I have never taken anything to help me sleep because of my dislike for most things medicinal.  There are many nights I am looking at the clock 2 hrs later.  So yes, I do like to sleep in when I get the chance.

7.  Photos/scrapbooks . . . My house is filled with photographs, walls and shelves are cluttered with tons of frames.  I also love to scrapbook.  I have 8 scrapbooks for Zac and am working on books for the munchkins.  Digital cameras make it so easy to take so many pictures and spend time picking the best ones to frame or tell the story of a day. 

OK, I didn't nominate anyone for this award, because everyone's blog that I frequent has already got this reward.  If I missed you, I'm sorry.


Why do the "holier than thous" insist that their God and their way is the only way.  I have been told that I'm going to hell and quite honestly I'm fine with it, because if the God these people speak about is so nitpicky; my quirky, rebellious self doesn't belong behind the pearly gates.

For example, in conversation at a sporting event I was told I'm going to hell because I don't go to church every week.  Now, I know the intended message behind this "threat" is to make me go to church every week.  But if I truly believe that God is sitting up there with a scorecard and anyone that doesn't attend church regularly is going to hell, I don't want to go to heaven . . . . there won't be ANYONE I want to spend eternity with there.

My God doesn't care if I talk to him in a specific building at a specific time on a specific day.  He's just as happy to listen to me while I lie in bed at night.  There are lots of people who find something inside the walls of a church, I'm not one of them.

So as the saying goes, It's not God I have a problem with, it's his FAN CLUB!  

In Desperate Times

Desperate times call for desperate measures.   Jaxon drools more than my first two combined.  He goes through about 3 or 4 bibs a day, I mean they are drenched.  AND on top of that if the soaked bib is accessible to are bratty dog, she will steal it and head to her crate to chew a nice hole in it.  So one morning when I opened the bib drawer it was bare . . . except for some pink and purple bibs, so yes, Jax is doning his first pink wardrobe item.   


This is what I've been doing the last few weeks.  I'm redoing all of Cassidy's scrapbook pages from last year and all of Jax's.  I've barely made a dent.  It took me a while to play with Photoshop Elements and figure out layers and all the other fun stuff.

I know many people prefer the paper scrapbook, and you know what, I did it for about 12 years and I enjoyed it immensely.  Now trying to keep up with three kids and all my pictures are digital so it works out much better.   I can find so much more elements (decorations) for my pages online than I could in a store.  I can add the look of dimension without my books getting thicker.  Plus it is SOOOOOO much cheaper.  I can get a page printed out for about a dollar.  There are many tutorials and freebies available.  I'm hooked.  Now all I have to do is catch up!!

Above are a couple of the layouts I made in the last couple days and yes, I LOVE Photoshop!

I'd like to thank the academy

I have been given an award by MaryBeth over at Because I Said So. I recommend checking out her blog, she has a way with words.

It is the Honest Scrap award, sorry, but I can't help but wondering if it should be Honest Crap award? The recipient of this award to list 10 honest things about themselves -- make it interesting, even if you have to dig deep. Pay attention because at the end of my 10 things, I'll be awarding the "Honest Scrap" award to seven lucky friends.

Here we go:

1) It was made abundantly clear that we frequent McDs too much for two reasons 1) Cassidy was in her car seat, talking to her window . . . or should I say "placing an order" to her window, she was saying "chicken nuggets and french fries". Also when we see the golden arches she starts saying in a deep voice "CHICKEN NUGGETS".

2) I have always disliked my name "Danielle". When I was growing up it was a very odd name. I still have never met anyone that is older than me with my name. I spent many years in grade school correcting teachers on the first day of school that it wasn't "DANIEL". But I do love Dani, probably because I am and always have been a tomboy. Teachers used to confuse me and a boy in school, his name was Blaine. I always kept my hair short and despised girly clothes.

3) Even tho I love our darling little pup Corki, in hindsight, she was a BAD decision made in grief. When we found out her mom died after delivery her litter and the breeder offered us a pup, we should have thought about it longer. Training a pup and raising a toddler does not mix, plus after agreeing to take a pup we found out another little surprise was on the way. It is 100% my (and Chuck's) fault that she is a chewer, we never trained her properly.

4) I drink WAY WAY WAY too much Diet Coke. And for whatever reason, I prefer it from the fountain, so usually at least once a day one of us is making a "soda" run. Of course, while I will drink gallons of soda in a week; I have a cow if any passes Cassidy's lips. As a friend mentioned last week, if we mom's followed the "toddler diet" we be much fitter. Because we never let them eat the junk we do.

5) I don't wear jewelry. I don't even wear my engagement/wedding rings. I have holes in my ears which only get filled on the rare occasion. The only thing I wear regularly is a necklace. I have a necklace my father made for me when I was about 10, he made silver jewelry and it's my name "DANI" that hangs vertically. Amazing I never lost it. I did give it to my first boyfriend and after we broke up, I had to steal it back, so I learned to never give it to anyone ever again.

6) My favorite parts of the day include getting the peanuts dressed, for whatever reason, I totally enjoy picking out their clothes for their day. Of course, at that point, they are clean, stain-free, dry because they haven't drooled or spit up yet.

7) I am addicted to finding bargains on kids items. Yard sales, craigslist, e-bay, consignment sales and I LOVE LOVE LOVE and appreciate hand-me downs. I'm looking forward to spring and the start of yard saling season.

8) I get cabin fever, easily. After 15 years of being a SAHM, I have realized I need to get out of the house a couple times a week to stay sane and so the rest of the family can stand to be in the same room with me. Whether it's a trip to CVS, visiting family, or one of Zac's sporting events, it does the trick.

9) My kitchen theme is CHICKENS! LOL The wallpaper is . . . . wait for it . . . chicken wire! I don't have much wall in my kitchen so it's mainly the soffet above the cabinets and one wall. I have an open kitchen/dining room. I have a cast iron rooster bell, a chicken swag on the soffet and one above my stove. I have a chicken recipe box, bookends, statues and other knickknacks on my counter. It's been about 5 years now and I still like it, so that's a good thing.

10) I am an insomniac. It takes me on a good night, at least 20 minutes to fall asleep. I have always been like this. My way to deal with it is that I will lie in bed, eyes closed and "daydream". For years those dreams would be that I was pregnant or we had another child. Well, since that dream finally came true, I now think about what my dream house would be . . . or that Jon Bon Jovi moves in next door.

I hope you learned a little about me.

So now I pass this on to Seven Friends:

Loki at Random Insanity and Drunken Ramblings
Angela at "Thatch" the Journey Now in Progress
Kirsten at The Burkes
Jenn at Lacey
Keeling at Confessions of a Mommy Blogger
Emily at Cosmic Et Al
Kelly at A Goddess Rising

I hope I didn't hit anyone up that has already received this award, I tried to check.


I watched the inauguration the other day as Cassidy dumped every mega block, peek a boo block, and every toy in Jaxon's bin on the floor.  It gave me a feeling of hope.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think everything is going to be magically "fixed"; I am not expecting a miracle.   But one thing I have learned  from my Mommy friends who live outside of the U.S.: the world already has a more positive perception of the U.S.   One comment sticks in my head "the rest of us look to America to lead the way."

While we've had many wonderful blessings over the last eight years, it's not easy to forget the jobs that Chuck has lost due to outsourcing outside of the U.S.  and the sense of uncertainty that comes from that. Then there was my typing job, which basically dwindled to next to nothing, and they only wanted me to do weekend work, so it was no longer worth it.  Guess who's doing that typing now?  Yup, someone over in India.  It is actually cheaper for them to send it there to get typed, come back here to be edited, and send it back to be finalized.   Now, I certainly wasn't making mega bucks from this typing job . . . the basic rate was 40 cents per 1000 keystrokes, with an average page being about 2,500 keystrokes -- so $1.20 a page.  It was an interesting job, and most weeks paid for our groceries.

The job Chuck currently holds is the first job he lost, ironic.  But he's now a contractor, working for an outsourcing company.  Ninety percent of the support staff that he works with are in India. It is the way of the IT world.   It always seems like you are waiting for that other shoe to drop.  

All in all we have rode out those waves and are better for.  We've realized that a dip in salary is worth it, because Chuck gets to work from home twice a week.  He is gets to see so much more of the peanuts this time around, and realizes why some days I get NOTHING done.   He is a valued resource at his job, and that's great, he was given a great raise this year . . .  but in the end, if the hammer falls, often times it doesn't matter if you are the best employee in the world, the decisions are not made by anyone who even knows your name.

So yeah, I'm a sappy optimist who is looking forward some positive changes ahead, no matter how small.  If nothing else, I know we will get a small increase in income at least once this year if not twice . . . when Jax comes off formula that will give us another $60 or so a month, AND if we get our stubborn little girl to use the potty that will be an increase of about $40 a month. LOL Hey,  it's something to look forward to, right!

I'm so Proud

I forgot to post this picture with the Christmas shots. This is Zac getting his Wii. As you can see he was very happy. Of course, as goes our life, it worked for two weeks and died. Thankfully, Best Buy refunded our money, but they were out of stock. Also the Wii ate a game and we were unale to retrieve it, so we did lose out on that. I am happy to report tho, that Zac was only without a Wii for a few days, when Walmart got them in stock. He called every store within a 20 mile radius, every day when he got home from school to see if anyone had them.

Here is my Junior Varsity hockey player. I need to find some pictures of him when he first started playing and scan them in. He's grown so much, he's taller than me now and his feet are HUGE!

And last, but not least, Zac brought home a certificate from his technical school today as he was selected as student of the month. Both the tech school and his home school make mention of this, so he was excited. I truly hope he can stay on this engineering course, he'll be able to earn quite a few college credits and even attend college a couple days a week as a high school senior. I have given him an incentive, I put it in his head that if he does stay on this course he would have to have a vehicle to be able to drive to the college, because school does not provide transportation back and forth between college and high school. Hey, whatever works, right!

Odds & Ends

Well our big guy started cereal.  I was going to wait a while longer because he didn't show much interest, but all of a sudden when he saw us eating he would get fussy and start drooling.  Now, he's a big puddle of drool most of the time, I swear!  I am seriously trying to figure out which is worse . . . a baby that spits up, or one that drools the entire time he is vertical.   The drooly baby certainly goes through more bibs than my spitter-uppers ever did, AND he needs one on all the time, not just when eating, so it covers up his cute outfits.

As you can see by the "GRABBINESS" he already wants to feed himself.  So we start each meal with two spoons, one for him and one for us.  And he does does pretty darn good too.  He's far less messy than Cassidy!  LOL
So far we have only done oatmeal (more nutritional value than rice cereal in my opinion, and mine's the only one that counts!)
I did buy some squash this week, but I'm holding off, I'm not looking forward to even stinkier diapers.

Here we are, this was Christmas night at my parents' house

Here is Jax and his new giraffe, apparently, it's quite yummy.  It's so soft and opens up into a pillow.  I want one!

Here is Cassidy, tasting some of her cupcake.  Her new kitchen was the BEST Christmas present.  She loves it and plays with it every day, she loves to bring everybody something to eat.

Cassidy, Jaxon, and Grandma (my mom)  She's not really grumpy, but it was the only picture where both kids were looking at the camera.  Doesn't it always work that way, you get the kids looking like you want, but whatever adult is in the picture didn't cooperate!  Go figure.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  May 2009 bring you lots of love and laughter!!

And yes I know I have to update my header, the holidays are over, maybe one day when Jax decides that he needs more than a 15 minute nap I'll get to it.