Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Top 2 Tuesday "Favorite US Cities"

Favorite world-wide city I think would be an easier answer for me, to be honest - Barcelona, hands-down Barcelona!! Best trip I ever took! But trying to pick my favorite city in the US proves to be a harder choice...thing is while I love to travel, I also love to be home! I love the city I live in and I love to visit the city I grew up in. I have had some great trips in the US, though. Coast to coast I've had a great time in both NY & LA - closer to home I San Antonio & Austin (many trips there) - college towns are soooo much fun, though those "fun days" are in the past! Hee hee! 

So, to choose now I think I would have to say that I love Houston - it's home now even though I didn't grow up here. We have so much in Houston - arts, sports, NASA, little-bit-of-country & little-bit-of-city...I can't say I like the weather & the traffic, but if you're a Houstonian that's something you'll learn to live with!

For my 2nd choice I think I would have to pick a place I've never been, but WANT to visit instead...I have never been to Washington D.C. and I would really love to go! I would love to go when the Cherry Blossoms are blooming - I've seen pictures and it looks so beautiful. I would love to see our national monuments.

Before I got married I used to travel a lot - now that my kids are little we stay close to home, but I truly hope as they grow we'll continue to show them all the great places that are around us.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I have found a new vice!

Typically I do not like sweet coffee - typically I drink my coffee black - no sugar, no cream. I like dark roast, strong coffee, too. I do like an iced coffee from time to time, but I still don't get it sweetened, only with a little cream sometimes. Well, I found this at Starbucks yesterday and love it! LOVE IT! It is slightly sweetened, but it isn't too sweet really so I like it. One cool thing is I can just mix it in a water bottle and pour half over ice and save the rest for later if I want. Since it is lightly sweetened it has 100 calories per packet - which is 2 points for WW - another good reason to drink half and save the rest for later. It's an awesome 1 point refreshment and great source of caffeine for us addicts out there! I've bought water bottle mix-ins before, but this one beats all the others hands down!

So...my kids are good! They are really good!

Yesterday we went out to dinner - Michael, me & our babies - and throughout dinner I was telling Emma, "Inside voice, Sit still, use your fork" all the typical stuff you gotta tell an almost 4-year old (owww...really??). And all the while thinking who are my kids disturbing?? So, towards the end of our meal another couple gets up to leave and while walking by the husband leans over to me and tells me how delightful our children are - that they have been a joy to watch he and his wife thought!! WOW!!! I think that's one of the best compliments I could ever receive about my children! I've always said I didn't want my kids to be the ones that people run from - I never wanted anyone to say, "Oh great - here comes Emma & Aaron!" - guess we are doing something right, though after all.

No one gives you a guidebook to Parenthood - sure everyone has advice and will tell you what you should be doing - but in the end it's really about what works for you & your kids. At any baby shower I go to if they ask you to write advice on a card for the mommy-to-be I always write..."Ask for advice from those who have been there before you, Listen to everything they say and keep it in mind, but in the end remember it's your family and your child and you have to do what works best & feels right for you..."

So, I was on a Mommy-High all evening!!!

The rest of our weekend was great, too. We went out of town this weekend for my nephew's wedding & didn't get back into town until Sunday afternoon. When we got back we still had errands to run and went out for dinner (b/c cooking wasn't on the agenda) so all my pictures are still on my camera. Plus Emma walked around shooting so many pics with my little point & shoot camera (while I used my DSLR) that she ran the battery down - I have to make a folder just for her pics - it's neat to see things from her point of view!! LOL - and a few of them are pretty interesting! Hopefully I will have those all edited to share tomorrow!

***Oh, I forgot to mention***
Last week when I picked up Emma from school one day her teacher and I talked for a while - she told me that Emma was so good in her class. She said Emma got a "Sunshine Report" for good behavior and got to stand up in front of the class to receive it and everyone clapped for her. She also got to go into the treasure chest TWICE for being good and for being a good helper and got two prizes!!! She told me that Emma was a joy to have in her classroom and she played very well with all her friends. Her teacher also said that Emma was very good with her phonics already and was very impressed with how well she wrote her name all on her own!! Such a proud moment for this mommy!!!

I Heart Faces: Week 35 - Photojournalism

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Fives - Random Questions

Just Me and My Life

This weeks Friday Five is Random Questions! The Questions are...

1. Something you are OCD about...
I think my husband would agree that I am OCD about the way things get put up - to him as long as it's in a drawer or behind a closed door it's put up! Ha ha! He is a neat freak, but it's more "out of sight, out of mind" philosophy! Me, though - if something doesn't have a proper place I may let it sit out until I find or create one. When we buy groceries he won't even put up the dry goods b/c I want each thing on a certain shelf and I have containers that are only for certain things, too. If he puts a snack item on the wrong shelf I get irritated and have to let him know it's in the wrong spot!! This sounds like my pantry is neat and organized - actually it is organized, just not neat! There is too much stuff in there & it drive me bananas, but that's another project!

2. Your favorite quote...
One quote I've used a lot is "One man's ceiling is another man's floor, so I'll see you at the top" - I don't know where I first heard it, but when I was a single lady pre-kiddos I used that quote in things a lot. Today, though I wouldn't say it's my favorite quote anymore b/c my priorities have changed dramatically.  I think now my favorite quote is from one of my professors in grad school - I was pregnant with my first child while I was in her class and she told me whenever I faced something hard I would always be able to say, "I can do this, I can do anything, I gave birth!!" I like that quote - it's true!!

3. What is the farthest you have been from home...
Egypt - to visit family and friends. Since my father is Egyptian I still have a lot of family living in Egypt. 

4. Do you do a real or fake Christmas tree...
Our tree is fake - we did have a real tree one year, but I couldn't handle dealing with the mess the pine needles made and I said never again!!!

5. First blog you ever read...
I owe my blogging bug to my best friend Elaine. She had a blog back in 1999 and got me into it - my blog has morphed a lot, but it's always been called Daily Venting & Exclamations... I still like that title and have come full circle back to Blogger from using many other platforms including pMachine, DNN, WP - I still really like WP, but for several reasons decided to come back to blogger again.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Google Background

Isn't this a beautiful site to see when you log in!?!? :)

High & Low Thursday Edition

Morning everyone...it's Thursday - only one more day in the work week! I'm ready for this weekend. My nephew is getting married this weekend & after this weekend we have zero plans - my calendar is empty!!!! I'm so excited! We have had something going on every single weekend this summer and I am really looking forward to not having anything planned ahead (though next weekend is a long weekend & we did talk about going out of town - I'll be excited if we do that!)...

So, my High & Low for the week...

My HIGH would have to be that I'm wearing pants today that I couldn't fit into two weeks ago!! I mentioned before that I have joined WW & have been working out with Michael and it's paying off! I have recently been able to wear about 4 pair of nice dress pants that I could not even pull up when I came back to work after maternity leave...such an exciting feeling to walk into my closet, pick out my poor, forgotten about pants and pull them up without any effort! No wiggling into them - no walking in front of the mirror a million times asking if I could get away with wearing them - they fit with room to spare!! Definitely a high for me!

My LOW would be that I think my nursing days are coming to an end. I'm still nursing Aaron at home some, but during the day I'm no longer pumping to take to the baby sitter. Right now I'm only nursing him just before he goes to bed and if he wakes up in the middle of the night (which thankfully hasn't been happening as much), but at work when I go downstairs to pump nothing is happening. I'm happy that I made it six months, though. I only made it about half that long with Emma. I just really wanted to make it a full year this time at least and not have to worry with formula - just put him straight on cow's milk. So, it's a little sad for me this week coming to terms that my days are numbered. I still have enough milk frozen to last a while longer at the baby sitter's and am glad I can still nurse him at least once or twice a day in the evening or early morning, but it's still hard to admit that it's almost over. It was sad when I had to quit nursing Emma so early, too.

Not nursing also means my daily points allowed on WW goes down, too...maybe the up side will be that I'll drop the weight a litter faster than I have been. I wasn't one of those women that nursing just took the weight off...I think that's a myth!!!

So...what's your High & Low for the week? Take my button & post it on your site - then leave a comment with a link back to your post so we can all share in your Highs & Lows!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lesson I've Learned About Photography


When I'm taking pictures I just snap and snap and snap and snap - and rarely do I look & delete pictures as I go. Soooo...when I get back to my computer and pull up my pics in Lightroom I have tons and tons to edit!

I take so many pics that sometimes just the thought of sitting & editing would make me tired before I even started - two things have helped me overcome this!

1) Lightroom baby!!! I take all my pictures in RAW format so basically each one has to be edited or at least touched before I can share with everyone. When using Lightroom, though I can edit one picture and copy and paste the changes to as many pictures as I want. So, if I take a ton of pictures of the kids in the same setting then the same changes can apply to all! Edit one manually and just paste those changes right away to the tons of others! LOVE YOU LR!

2) LET. THEM. GO!! Yeah - I was the one who thought every. single. picture. that I snapped of my children had to be saved. It was as if I thought by deleting a picture of them I was losing a part of their childhood - like giving away their coming home outfit from the hospital or something. Yeah - I'm a little sentimental like that!! Well, I had to make myself get over the fear of deleting their pictures and instead of editing and keeping all two dozen pictures of the same pose I just look at all my pics, select the 2-5 of my favorite ones from a group, edit & save those and move on to the next set!!

These two tips made life so much easier and made me not fear taking tons of pictures b/c I knew I wouldn't spend days editing them after all was said and done! Makes it much easier when printing pics or choosing a picture for a digital scrapbook, too b/c my choices are narrowed down some for me as opposed to going back and forth over pictures that are basically the same shot!

So - are you a mommy photographer? What are your tips for better photography experiences??

Wordless Wednesday

Is there anything more beautiful????

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Out for Subway for dinner tonight

Come Explore New Blogs with Me in a Blog Hop

Cool Tool - Watching my baby girl on the web!

Okay - so this is going to get me in trouble!!! Since moving to her new school, Emma is now viewable to me all day via webcam! I have to make myself not check in on her every minute - Ha ha! She always looks like she is having a great time, though. In this picture they must have been singing a song or something b/c they were marching around in a circle and doing all kinds of hand movements together.

The area just inside and to the right and left of the door is a blind spot and there must be a station she plays at in one of those areas b/c whenever they are in groups playing at different stations sometimes I lose her for about ten minutes at a time. Yesterday I kept checking and was like - what the heck!?! Where's my baby?? Ha ha! The little boy in the green/black striped shirt is her friend Carlton - I thought they would be one another's shadow in class, but when they go play in centers they are usually in different ones. I don't know if the teacher tells them which center to go to or if they just choose different ones or what.

So, yesterday was her first day like I said & they sent homework! She has a page to do every day and we did two last night. She wanted to do the rest, but I had to tell her to save them so we would have something to do tonight. My little overachiever!! :) I also have some homework b/c I need to find a family picture for her - I think I'll use this one from Easter. We only have a couple with all four of us. The other one we're all in the pool - I could use that one - what do you think? You can't really see our faces as well in that one, though. I'm always the one taking pictures so I'm never in any of them. I need to get my friend to take some new family shots of us this fall.

Top 2 Tuesday "Biggest Indulgences"

I think my biggest indulgence is Photos - I love to take pictures, print pictures, frame pictures, do fun things in PS with pictures, buy camera gear and software, research new things about photography...and well, you get the point! (Hey - the topic is indulgences!!)

I think my second indulgences is pampering - I don't get to do it very often so this will include massages (even if I only get to sneak in a 15 minute chair massage on Massage Thursdays at work), a mani/pedi or going to get my hair did!! I try to get my hair cut at least once a quarter (hey, I'm an accountant so my time tables are based on quarters mostly) and I so love my hairdresser! She does an amazing job and I trust her so much that sometimes I just sit down and say, "Do what you will with me!!" Ha ha! (The shampoo is my favorite part!) 

Monday, August 23, 2010

6 Months Already!?!?

Today was exciting not only for Emma, but also for Aaron - he turned 6 months old today! I cannot believe it's already been 6 months! My Grannie told me last night that in only 6 more short months he'll be a year old!! Nooooo!! Time is just flying by too fast!

Here are a few picks of my HAPPY baby boy this morning!! He is always like this when he wakes up - do you think I'll be lucky enough for him to be like this in his teenage years!?!?

 I love this picture of him - I love these eyes - they melt my heart!

Emma's First Day of "School"

No, she isn't really in school-school yet, but today was Emma's first day not going to the baby sitter & going to a day care - she'll be in their pre-school program next year, though. She was so, so excited - she jumped out of the car this morning & was running to the door!! Then when we got into the classroom she took off - looking around at everything & taking it all in! I had to ask her to come back & tell me bye!! Her friend Carlton is in her class, but he wasn't there when we dropped her off. I was afraid she would cry b/c she didn't know anyone, but it didn't phase her at all. She was talking to everyone! We saw a couple other friends, too - they are in a class in front & behind her, though but they'll see one another in passing I'm sure.

Now I on the other hand...I bawled my little eyes out when I got to the parking lot. I still had Aaron with me (he is going to stay with the babysitter a while longer) and he must have thought Mommy lost it!! LOL! I told Michael & my mother if I'm this bad now I can't imaging what it'll be like when she goes to Kindergarten!

Here are a few pics of my big girl!!

My mother bought her some new school clothes, too so she had to model those yesterday & her new backpack we bought her & Mother made her a pillow for her nap time with her name on it!

See? It says Ëmma"!

These pictures are from this morning!
 She was dancing with excitement! HA HA!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Favorite Fridays "Books - Chick Lit Genre"

Favorite Fridays

I posted before about the fact that I like to read and various books I like...so I have plenty to choose from for today's Favorite Fridays - Chick Lit, girly books - a genre I love! I think I'll discuss favorite authors as well as books, since there are way too many individual books to choose from! 

Right now my iBooks is filling up with Janet Evanovich - I've just recently been turned on to her and am currently going through her numbers books (the alphabet books have also been recommended to me, but I haven't started those yet - can't remember that author's name either - will have to look that one up). I am on my 5th book now! Her books are an awesome mix of funny, scary, sexy, playful, who-done-it books. I can't wait to see what kind of escapades Stephanie gets herself into!

I love fantasy novels (yeah, I know these next two authors don't really write girly books) - I love books about worlds very much unlike ours! Narnia is an amazing world full of fantasy so I have to say I love C. S. Lewis.  I haven't read the entire Narnia series, though, but I plan to. That's the same reason I love J. K. Rowling b/c of the awesome adventures in the wizard world that she took Harry through - and both these authors have such an amazing imagination to come up with some of the craziest characters!! In the beginning it's hard to keep up with what kind of creature many of these characters are!! LOL!

And yes, I know they are tween books (but still very girly) -  I loved Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Saga. I love the monsters being the good guys in these books!! And yes, I will admit that I loved the way-to-old-for-teenage passion the characters had, too!! I ready through each of these books in just a few days! I also loved all the powers that all the characters had - whether they were vampire or wolf - the powers of either reading minds, telling the future, protection, the ability to alter moods - whatever they were it was interesting to read. Just before Eclipse came out The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner was put on the bookshelves - it was basically the Eclipse novel from another character's perspective. I loved that - I would love to read something from Meyer about the history and story of the Volturi as well - I think that would be something that a lot of people would enjoy - though it wouldn't have as much of that teen appeal anymore! LOL - I could live with that, though!

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs was an amazing read! I think I made it through this book in only a few days, too. That's my problem - when I find a great book I read through it so fast and then I get disappointed b/c it's over!! I loved the relationship of all the women in this book - they were all so very, very different from one another, but were all linked knitted so closely together. It showed how they each overcame their initial impression of one another and came together to really support and help the other when they each needed it.

And I think I could probably list quite a few more, but I'll just add one more!! The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold. This book was hard to read being a mommy, but it was still a very good book. They made a movie out of this one, too but I have yet to see it. I think I should though b/c the murder that happens in the beginning of the book is very graphic in my mind and I've heard that it's really skipped over in the movie - which maybe would replace the scene I created myself. The book was a great image, though of the love this little girl had for her family and how she looked after them from beyond.

I have always wanted to join a book club, but who has the time to go to book club meetings!?!? I have looked online to find good sites for book clubs & book reviews, but I guess I haven't searched enough b/c I haven't found one yet that I've wanted to join. If you have any suggestions I'm very open to checking them out! 

And one final note - if you're looking for a good book to sit in your room & cry over - read Same Kind of Different as Me. It's a true story and it will really give you a new perspective on things!

Photo Friday "The Street"

This is Barcelona - I went there with Kenny & Elaine & CJ a few years ago. It was the best trip & I cannot wait to go back.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

High & Low Thursday Edition

Thursday is a great day for Highs & Lows b/c there is enough of the week behind you to really know the good & bad of the week plus Fridays are just bombarded with weekly memes already! LOL!!

Right off I know this week's High is that baby Justin was born yesterday!! My niece, Hailey, delivered at 5am yesterday morning - he was 8lbs and about a week and a half early. I think Hailey was starting to have a few complications so they decided it was safest to deliver Justin a little early. They are both doing great now, though. I can't wait to see him. Sunday we had a Sprinkle (not quite a shower since this is her 3rd baby) and now that he has arrived he'll be the guest of honor Sunday!!

It's hard to think of my Low for this week (that means it's been a good week)...but I guess I would have to say it is I didn't get to drive up to see my Grannie on her b'day. We had plans that day already and weren't able to make it, but I called her and Emma & I sang Happy Birthday to her on the phone!! She liked that! I really hope after August is over we'll be able to spend some time up there with her!

Take my button - play along - and be sure to leave a comment so we can read your Highs & Lows!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Frozen Goodness

Our neighbor brought over some frozen treats a couple weeks ago...she had frozen grapes & berries. They were so yummy!!! We buy grapes all the time. I mean ALL the time...but sometimes they get put in the bottom of the crisper and by the time we get to the last few grapes they are kinda icky - the skin is wrinkly and well, I don't need to get into details - just ick!

Sooo...I thought this was a fantastic idea for all the grapes we buy!! So, Sunday when we went to the grocery store I bought a big bag of grapes, brought them home & washed them, pulled them all off the vines & put them into a gallon size freezer bag. Now, for a treat I just grab us a bowl, put in a handful of the grapes (you can run them under the water once to knock off the frost...if you want) and we're ready to snack! Emma loves them and my grapes don't go bad!!! And on WW a cup of the frozen grapes is only 1 point! I only bought the red grapes this time, but next time I'll mix the red & green. I'd like to do this with berries, too. Emma loves blueberries.

We did have a few strawberries in the fridge so this time I threw those in, too. I preferred the grapes, but Michael liked the strawberries better & so did Aaron!!! Yes - we let him try one. Michael was holding Aaron while munching on the strawberry & asked if he could lick the strawberry (Michael asked - not Aaron).

Since Aaron is teething I figured the frozen strawberry would feel great on his gums, not to mention taste yummy, too. And since it was frozen he couldn't break off a piece - Michael just had to hold tight to it and when it really started to thaw we had to take it away from him b/c I didn't want a piece to break off in his mouth. This is the first fruit he has tried...well, with the exception of prunes - boy has problems going to the bathroom!! He loved it, though & cried when we took it away. I guess I need to get him a teething pacifier now to mash fruit in for him - I had one for Emma, but she didn't care for it too much. Maybe Aaron will!

Here are a few pics of his first strawberry experience!!
That first bite was a little shocking - tart & frozen - resulting in this funny face!!
 But he soon go into it...
And then we couldn't get him to let go of it!!

Wordless Wednesday

She didn't want to take it off!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cool Tool for Tuesday

For those of you who have a pet you must get one of these!!!!
Our little Sable, while adorable is starting to shed...a lot!! I love having her in the house, but I hate fighting the dog hair. We swiffer, sweep & vacuum daily it feels like and I can't get it all! And with Aaron being a lot more mobile these days he is scooting on the floor and teething so his little fingers are usually wet from chewing on them - I CANNOT have that dog hair all over the place like that.

So, I asked my neighbor what they use for their two labs and she told me about the FURminator! I've bought brushes before for my pets with shedding issues, but none have worked like this little baby!! And Sable actually seemed to enjoy the attention and the grooming. I got so much hair off of her last night, it was hard to believe! And after her coat looked so nice & shiny!! She didn't get a bath last night, but it said to use it after each bath so from now one this is going to be part of our daily routine & added to her bath routine!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Birthday Blowout

This was a busy weekend for birthdays...
13th - my BIL John
14th - Isabel & Katelynn
15th - my Grannie & Madeline

There were three b'day parties this weekend, but we only made it to two. Saturday was Isabel & Katelynn's b'day party - sorry we had to miss Isabel's party, but it's hard to make everything. Then on Sunday was Madeline's b'day party. My mother was visiting my Grannie this weekend for her birthday and they had a cake & celebrated her birthday Sunday afternoon, but we weren't able to make it. Emma told me the other day, though that she misses her Grannie, so hopefully we'll go up there soon to visit. Last year we had a big party for Grannie's 95th birthday!!

After this weekend Emma is so dark, too - both parties we went to rented water slides so she spent two days out in the sun! She had a blast, though. Katelynn's party was so cute - Jamie did a fantastic job with the party - she had a very neat candy station. Excellent idea for party favors! And the decorations were awesome. And Sunday at Madeline's party Karen had a yummy watermelon fruit bowl! I love the elements of Summer parties - the water fun & the fresh fruit - but b/c Emma's birthday is in December we have to go with different things.

The kids had a blast in the water this weekend...Aaron even had his own little pool to chill in while all the big kids played on the water slide!
Emma, of course, had a blast on the water slide!

Given the cake, cupcakes & candy Emma had at the birthday parties this weekend PLUS the freebit cupcake she got when we went to the store, I think it's safe to say that my little dear had enough sugar for the rest of the summer!! We have to brush double time to make sure all the little sugar bugs are gone!! LOL

This is Joseph - he is about two weeks younger than Aaron & I just thought they were so cute together I had to share this picture!

And of course this little darling face is just so irresistible, I had to share it with you! He was so good all weekend long - we were on the go all weekend and it didn't seem to bother him a bit. He did let us know he was tired and ready to get out of the car a couple of times, but I have to say I can't blame him for that!! Next Monday he is going to be 6 months old already - it is so hard to believe!! Time is just flying by!