Friday, January 30, 2009

What A Great Week!

This was what I considered to be our first full week in the new house, seeing as how we are mostly unpacked and could start to get back to our regular schedule. It was also a big week, with me giving my 6 week notice. A sense of calm is settling in about us, like the pieces of a puzzle slowly fitting into place.

James has been having a great time, and I tried hard to give him some extra attention seeing as how Ella has become a demanding little girl!

James spent a lot of time this week with these blocks that he received for Christmas from his Grandma and Grandpaw. Did you have these as a kid? I know my friend Stephanie over at Built to Last will appreciate seeing these.

I showed him how to build a race track on Tuesday, and we have had to re-build it every day since.

I think he enjoys this--especially when he yells "And Lightning McQueen comes across the finish line first!" I love the juxtaposition of new toys with old blocks.

We also had art time this week. I posted a few projects on my sidebar that we did--take a look. They are so much fun! I love his concentration here gluing.

He was very proud. "This is for Daddy." he told me.

Here is the dinosaur project. Tons of fun! We are going to the library today to find some dinosaur books so that I can show him a Stegosaurus.

And here is a picture based on the fruit bowl on our table!

Yesterday, first thing in the morning, James said, "Can I have a picnic?" So that's what we did for lunch!

And here's a little tidbit for you--Ella received two twin baby dolls for Christmas. James has "adopted" them and carries them around, burps them and feeds them.

Funny- he'll give them kisses but he won't kiss Ella because he says "She spits up on me!"

And I'll leave you with this photo--of James and I laying on the floor and taking pictures of ourselves at the same time--me with my Sony and he with his Playskool camera. PRICELESS!!!

Have a great weekend everybody!

XOXO Allison

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Turning the Page

I closed a chapter on my life yesterday, a chapter that had been 13 years in the making. A chapter that was filled with a passion for theatre, public speaking, graphic design, pr writing, web development, non-profit marketing and eldercare reform.

Yesterday I gave my notice, so that I could stay at home with my two children.

So, a new chapter begins--one I hope to be filled with laughter, game-playing, craft-making, woods-exploring, museum-going, storytelling, and music making.

I know I am fortunate to be able to make this choice.

I am so excited.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Yesterday I had one of those moments where you wish that the floor would just open up and swallow you.

Let me set the stage.

My plan yesterday was to go to the bank, got to the grocery store and then hit the library. Ahhh, what's that saying about best laid plans? Yup. That's me.

Anyhow--I load the kids in the car (which, if you have little ones, you know is a feat unto itself.) Add to that the fact that our new garage (although 900 square feet of men's den paradise) is not ATTACHED to the house, and throw in a little 10 degree winter weather, and I might as well been bundling the kids up for a trip to the North Pole.

We get on the road and head to the center of town. Now, I am in the country, a good ten minutes into the center of town, which is indeed a gorgeous, windy road past farms, stone walls, icy brooks and huge old homes. I so appreciate that, it is EXACTLY what I wanted, but sometimes you just need to run some errands and you want to do it quickly (as in, between feedings for your baby and before nap time for your toddler who will undoubtedly turn into a screaming maniac if you are not back in time.)

I get to the bank and deposit a ginormous check (our returned deposit from the old place) and I now have the satisfaction of seeing a nice big amount of cash in the bank as noted on my deposit slip. (I mention this because it is important for later in the saga.)

Next I go to the library, but seeing as how it doesn't open until 1pm, (WHAT???) I turn turn toward the grocery store.

This is a little, neighborhood grocery called Ted's. This is the first time I have been. We finish gathering everything I need for my minestrone and apple pie, plus some Donettes for James, and get in line to check out.

Our cashier is a sweet older Italian woman. She banters with James while checking me out, and hands him back his Donettes after scanning them when he starts to cry.

Time to pay. I pull out my debit card and swipe.


A tight smile appears on the lips of the cashier. I swipe again.


Now, I just made a deposit and know that with what was in there already, I CERTAINLY have the STINKING $39 I need to pay.

"Would you like to try one more time? Or do you have another card?"

I notice (because the place is very small) that pretty much everyone in the front of the store is aware that my card was just declined.

"Yes, try it again." I say. And then I actually add "I just made a big deposit, and I know I have like $5,000 in there . . ." and then I actually start WAVING MY DEPOSIT SLIP at the cashier.


And then she says to me---"This debit card is for Washington Mutual."

"Yes," I say, near tears.

"Your deposit slip is from New Alliance, the bank down the road."


What a dummy. I mean really. Am I that stupid/rushed/running on empty/overwhelmed/scatterbrained that I would swipe the card for the account that I used in Vegas that I no longer have?????

I sense everyone in the front of the store sigh collectively.

I reach back into my wallet for the new debit card and . . .



So, you know what happens next. They load up all my groceries and schlep them over to customer service. The bagging lady actually has to peel the Donettes out of James' hand as he is SCREAMING "MY DONUTS! MY DONUTS!"

The cashier asks me if I at least have enough cash to pay for the Donettes.

I don't.

I never have any cash on me. EVER.

Now Jame's shrieking has woken Ella up and she is beginning to cry.

I assure the cashier that I live a few miles away, that I must have left the card at home, and I would be back.

And the look on her face says?


Long story even longer?

I schlep my screaming kids all the way home. James is repeating "WANT MY DONUTS WANT MY DONUTS" non-stop until I want to drive a screwdriver into my ear to make myself deaf. I run into the house while they are in the car (Please don't call Dr. Phil) and tear apart the mess looking for it. I place a frantic call to Chris who is in the middle of an on-site consult and scream into the phone "Where is my card/it's not in my wallet/you must know where it is/YOU ALWAYS KNOW WHERE EVERYTHING IS!!"

And then I find it. In my coat pocket. Where I left it when I pumped gas the weekend before.

I go back to the store, trundle the kids back in and the look on the cashier's face is priceless. They get the groceries and she pulls out the Donettes for James, who sweetly says "Thank you." and takes the first calm breath he has taken in the 25 minutes it took me to drive home, FREAK OUT and drive back.

Needless to say, we did not make it back to the cute-as-a-button library.

We got home and it literally took me all day to recover.

Which leads me to a few conclusions.

1) I obviously have a fear of being that person in the store who's card gets declined and they have to shrink out in shame,

2) I will ALWAYS have at least enough cash on hand to buy the Donettes, or the matchbox car, or the coloring book, or whatever other silly thing I bribed my kid with to get him to behave in the store


3) if I have any readers who made it to the end of this post, then I know truly who my most loyal fans are.

Thanks for letting me vent--now I can take a breath!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Digging Out

Not from underneath all of the snow--from all of the boxes!

It has been one CRAZY week. Moving is a monumental endeavor. I am amazed at the stuff we accumulate. It reminds me of a scene from my all-time favorite movie, Labyrinth. At one point Jennifer Connelly's character meets an old lady who tries to distract her from her mission (long story, if you haven't seen it, just skip ahead.) The woman piles more and more things into Jennifer's arms, until she is just buried. There were points this week that made me feel like that.

It's funny--one minute you are just elated to be in such a beautiful place, and the next you are near tears when you see yet more boxes making their way into the house. I remember being a little girl and sent to my room to clean it--looking around the mess could just be so overwhelming that I would sit on the floor and cry.

So why do we have so much stuff? I know that there are boxes that if I never saw them again I would likely forget that I even had the things that were in them. Do I really need three carafes for my coffee pot? Why do I need to hang on to all of my old college textbooks? Am I insane when I think I might fit back into my size 10 jeans someday, and even if I do, will they still be in style?

In Vegas we had a home that was 2,500 square feet without a basement. Our new house is 1,900 with one. What is a basement for? Storage--of all of the stuff you think you need that you will never use or see again, UNTIL YOU MOVE, LOL.

So, that being said, we are beginning to come to the end of unpacking all of the stuff. I am starting to get organized, to see some order, to have a place for everything and everything in its place. Breathe in, breathe out.

I am excited for this week, because I am going to take the kids to the little local library, which is just as cute as a button (I know I sound like a little old grandmother writing that, but it is so true. I just might have to post a photo of it to prove it!) I am also making minestrone for dinner today, and a homemade pie for the new neighbors (whom I hear have a 13-year-old girl who babysits.) You never get a second chance to make a first impression, right?

I hope everyone has a great week--maybe by next week all of the boxes will be gone, order will be re-stored, and life can get back to normal. And my new rule? For every new thing that comes in to the house, two must go OUT!

I'll leave you with this new pic of Baby Sister Ella. We have been short on photos around here, but will be snapping away like crazy again soon!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We're in!

We are now in our new home -- a colonial with a wrap-around porch on 2.5 acres that backs up to a 100-acre state park. This is heaven for us. Although we are still unpacking and I literally got my internet connection up and running five minutes ago--I wanted to take a moment to show you the new place.

What is it about the new house that I love the most?

Is it the backyard where we will have campfire cookouts, go fishing in the stream, play Frisbee, go sledding, pitch a tent in the summer for James, or explore the state park?

Is it the porch where I envision my family rocking away and drinking ice tea on Summer Sunday afternoons? The porch on which I will hang baskets and baskets of flowers? The porch that I will decorate with Evergreen swags for Christmas?

Is it this enormous window in the kitchen through which I will watch woodsy sunrises and sunsets, deer grazing, Woodpeckers visiting my feeders, or the snow falling?

I can't tell you for sure what is my favorite part of this new place. All I know at this moment is that this is where my little family lives, and so for right now, the best thing about it is that it is HOME.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stay Tuned

Lots to write about but I still don't have an internet connection and posting from my BlackBerry is a challenge! Check back in a couple of days for the big update! Want a hint? It involves a new address!

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Big Day

Happy First Birthday Matthew!

On Sunday, my nephew Matthew Francis is turning 1.
In his honor, I am sharing a favorite birthday poem!

What Would You Be?

By Dr. Seuss

If you'd never been born, well then what would you be?
You might be a fish? Or a toad in a tree!
You might be a doorknob! Or three baked potatoes!
You might be a bag of hard green tomatoes!
Or worse than all that- why, you might be a WASN'T!
A WASN'T has no fun at all. No, he doesn't.
A WASN'T just isn't. He just isn't present.
But you- you ARE YOU! And now, isn't that pleasant?
Today you are you! That is truer than true!
There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
Shout loud, "I am lucky to be what I am!
Thank goodness I'm not just a clam or a ham!
Or a dusty old jar of sour gooseberry jam!
I am what I am! That's a great thing to be!
If I say so myself, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

An Ella Update

My beautiful little Ella-girl.

Can I just say, that when you have one, gorgeous, special baby that you love with every part of your being, it is hard to imagine how you could love a second one so much.

I was terrified when I was pregnant with Ella -- afraid that I wouldn't love her as much, as deeply. I have to smile now, thinking back about those worries.

I heard somewhere someone explain it as your heart just growing larger--so there is more room to love another child just as much as the first. That moment when I saw her for the first time I thought my heart would just break it was so filled with love.



I have been meaning to jot down a few things about Ella in a post. She is sleeping, and James is on the couch watching Little Bear (one episode of which, incidentally, I found out today is the exact amount of time it takes for me to fold one basket of baby laundry.)

I digress.

I took Ella for her 4 month appointment on Tuesday. She has grown! She now weighs 14 lbs 13 ozs. Everything looks great.

During the appointment, the Dr. asked me if she had rolled over from her back to her stomach yet. "Nope." I said. Then he left the room to take a call and she proceeded to make a liar out of me. "Oh yeah, Mom?" and just like that she flipped over, easy as pie. It was fantastic. She's going to be a pill, I can tell already.

So what else? She has started on rice cereal and will be beginning bananas this weekend (although she has already gotten a taste of bananas from her Grandmother.) That's what grandmas and aunties are good for, right? The sweet stuff?

She is too big for 3 month clothes and too little for 6 month. Why doesn't anyone make size 3 to 6 month clothes? Or, I guess if they do, I don't have any. Isn't that funny?

I do, however, have TONS of 6 month to a year clothes for her, thanks to my Mom, my grandmother, Gini, Kimmy and Denise (and a great last minute stop at the Carter's Outlet in Freeport a few days after Christmas.) This girl is SO LUCKY--decked out in Polo, Gap, Old Navy, Le Petit Bateau, JUICY for heaven's sake?? Puh-leeze. I'm going to look like a bag lady next to her!

Oh, and she also yells. A LOT. James was a very quiet, silent, introspective, gentle baby. Ella is loud. VERY LOUD. That high-pitched, nails-on-the-chalkboard kind of loud screeching that makes your blood curdle. Thankfully we only hear that scream if we are REALLY late with a bottle.

She is so smiley, and happy, and giggly. She is, in essence, SUCH A GIRL.

Oh, and I almost forgot. She ADORES her big brother. I swear she only has eyes for him. And to see the two of them together is simply fantastic. James comes with me into her room in the morning and sings her the Good Morning Song (I need to get that on video one of these days). He also puts his face right up close to hers and asks, "Baby Sister--what choo doing?"

I just love it all.

I think I really forgot how enchanting having a new baby in the house really is. Mind you, we are very lucky--just like with James, Ella has been sleeping pretty much through the night, from 7pm to 7am without a peep. She isn't fussy, or gassy, or colicky--so far. And as long as you have a bottle ready to go, she is, as far as I know, the happiest baby girl on the block.

So that's my long-overdue update. Sappy for me, I know, but that's the way I feel lately. I just have stars in my eyes for my baby girl.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I Have An Uneasy Feeling . . .

Like someone is WATCHING me.

I can't explain it, really.

After a long day of screwing around on
FaceBook, Blogger, Craigslist, Yahoo and Google
I finally had an opportunity to sit down on the couch.

The kids were in bed, the dogs were settled,
the cat was sleeping on my lap,
I was just about to get ready to watch
a DVR'd episode of Fringe when . . .



the hair on the back of my neck stood up . . .

I wonder why?

Crystal Clear

Some days I am just so amazed by the beauty of nature.

Today was undoubtedly one of those days.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Just Pics

Crazy busy, just a bunch of pics--we have so many to share and have just been having so much fun that there is no time to post.

Ella on New Year's Eve:

Brrrr!!!! A great way to start New Year's Day (I did ask for the cold weather, didn't I"):

Ella smiles all the time, even when we are freaking out about how much formula costs and how fast she goes through it (Although our pound a week of Starbucks addiction is just as bad):

James watching Wall-E with his entourage:

My baby girl dreaming of all things pink:

Isn't she gorgeous?

Can you see James in here?

Always, always taking pictures (like his Mommy!):

Ella helping me cook dinner (yes, she is quite close to the counter edge--nobody ever said I was gonna win the Mommy of the Year award.):

A few James-isms of late:
  • "Dude, are you kiddin' me?"
  • "Oh SHIT!" musta learned that from his Dad.
  • "Mommy, I miss it!" when I slept in late this morning and came down after he had been up with Daddy.
  • When he is done talking on the phone and passes it to me he says to the caller "OK, hold on tight!"
  • "Whaaaaaatz up, homey?" Thanks for that one, Chris.
More later! Ella goes for her late 4 month check up on Wednesday, so I'll be posting her stats after that. Hope everyone is doing great!



Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Toddler's-Eye View

Hi! My name is James. Mommy is letting me post the pictures I took with my new Fisher Price camera that my Auntie Amy gave me for Christmas. Mommy thought you would all enjoy seeing the world from my perspective, so here we go!

This is my Grandpa, Mommy's Dad. Auntie Amy is in the background. Can you see her?

I like to visit Grandpa because he takes me to see all of the animals on the farm. This is Mommy's horse, Sonny Boy. He is cranky and old and mean. But he likes me. I gave him an apple.

This is Flash. He is a new pretty horse that Grandpa helps take care of. He is nicer than Sonny Boy. I got to sit on his back!

This is a little bunny that I found in the barn Isn't he cute?

This is a picture of my feet that I took while riding in the car with Grandpa. I was obviously NOT in the car seat, and I got to sit in the front seat next to Grandpa.

Here is a picture I took of some of the geese and the chickens. That grey goose is Gaston. HE BITES.

This is Grandma and Grandpa's cat, Porky. He is cute. And fat.

This is Grandpa's wood stove. It is a close up picture, huh? Do you think Mommy would have freaked out if she saw me taking this picture?

This is Grandpa again. He is a TALL man. See?

This is a rug I like at Grandma's house.

This is a picture of Grandma and Grandpa's Christmas tree. Grandpa cuts one down every year off of the farm. It has bubble lights. They are SO NEAT!

This is Auntie Amy. I was taking a picture of her while she was taking a picture of me. It is such a fun game!

This is my Daddy. He was trying to give me a photography lesson. Hi Daddy!!!

Guess who this is? Me!

I hope you liked my pictures! I'll post more of the next batch I have been taking soon.

Love you all. HAPPY NEW YEAR!