Friday, September 30, 2011

Chili Kind of Weather

Except not really.  It's 75 degrees out but I wanted it.  I made a huge triple batch because it freezes so nice.  On those cold, lazy winter days, I'll just have to pull it out of the freezer and dinner will be served soon after.  Yum!
Ooh it's so good!

I also made a small batch of corn bread muffins and some cheddar garlic biscuits to go with it.

I think that I'm ready for the fall weather to officially be here.  This little burst of Indian Summer was nice but I'm ready for the sweaters!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chicken Corn

So the other day, I was sitting around reading some blogs, when I came across this one.  Now I've been reading this blog for close to a year now.  Sometimes I'll be away for a month or so but then I always come back.  She comes up with the cutest crafts and decorating ideas that I often try to recreate with very mixed results.  But this one, totally cute and totally easy.  And on top of that, it cost me about $4 because I already had the yarn that I needed.  I just needed to buy the cones. 

Start with a cone, wrap with yellow, orange and white yarn and voila!  Super cute candy corns or as Mark's grandfather used to call it, chicken corn:)
This is where I think they will be for this year.  They look so cute from both the kitchen and the family room.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dance Class!

This week dance class started for me.  Well technically it started last week but I couldn't go, with Mark being out of town I couldn't go and leave Annabelle all alone.  Every year at the end, close to recital, I'm completely over dance class.  Sometimes there's a bit of favoritism or we're annoyed with the song, costume, dance itself.  Sometimes it's all three!  But then September comes back around and I get excited again.

This year, there are very few of us coming back.  It's so strange because I've been dancing with a pretty strong core of women over the past five or more years.  Besides me, there are only three other women from last years group.  Then there are four newbies.  Usually we enjoy some new faces, but all four of them have never danced a step in their lives.  I don't know how Deanne, the teacher, is going to make it work this year with such a discrepancy between high and low.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will all work out and that I won't be complaining about class three months from now!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


***This is my disclaimer.  I love my in-laws.  They are sweet, loving, giving, kind people.  I know they love me to death and would do anything for me, my husband and my daughter.  I know, from the bottom of my heart, that I am lucky to have the relationship that I have with them.  Most of my friends complain about their in-laws and I seriously don't have much to complain about.***

Except that I'm complaining now, but you know, every once in awhile it's OK.

My in-laws are going to Disney World at the end of October.  They hadn't been there since Mark and his brother were kids more than 20 years ago.  Obviously, it's very different now.  Since we had been twice in about a year in a half when they booked, they asked our opinions about it.  I walked them through the process of looking at different hotels (they are staying on property) and gave my opinion why a value resort is the best option for us.  They decided on a moderate, because at least they didn't look to kiddy, who wants a giant Mickey Mouse outside your room.  For the record, I do. 

I showed them and gave them my password so that she could look at the crowd calendar etc.  My MIL seemed confused by this so I sat down with her and showed her everything I know.  Now I'm not saying I'm an expert here.  I've gone twice, planning on my own, did tons of research on a ga-billion Disney sites and talked to my expert, Stephanie.  But I gave my MIL everything she needed to decide what she wanted but still ended up doing it for her.

Then it was time to start looking at dining.  You have to make reservations if you're going to Disney if you want to eat at a normal dinner hour or want something other than sandwiches or hamburgers.  My in-laws are picky eaters.  I went on  I spent almost 2 hours looking at dining menus, every single restaurant menu, even if I knew they would never in a million years try Boma or Yak and Yeti.  I printed out the menus of places they would like, told them our favorite restaurants, encouraged them to go to Sci-Fi and Ohana.  We love both of these mostly because of the ambiance and decor at Sci-Fi, though we haven't ever had a bad meal there and Ohana just for all of it.  The food is awesome, the decor is great, and the entertainment is so fun even if you're not participating.  They decided not to go to either place.  They originally booked both and within the last week, changed their reservations. 

I know it' stupid to be so bothered by this.  It just annoys me that every single thing that I spent so much time and effort on, they aren't doing it.  They chose different resorts, different restaurants and now she tells me that they think this whole vacation is a mistake.  They don't like rides, dad doesn't want to see fireworks or parades, they refuse to have a part of any character interaction and they won't bring their camera because what could they possibly need a picture of at Disney World. 

Plus on top of it, when she found out we'll be going next year with my mom and dad, she got kinda pissy with me.  I had offered to go on a vacation with them in the past.  It didn't have to be Disney.  Annabelle can go anywhere, but she declined saying she didn't want to do a family vacation with us.  My mom said that she wanted to go to Disney with her grand kids the minute she found out I was pregnant.

I'm just confused by my in-laws I guess.  Sometimes their mood swings from one thing to another can make me dizzy.  They don't want to go on vacation with us but are mad that we have plans to go with my parents.  It just drives me crazy sometimes.  I love them but I really just needed to get it off of my chest.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bragging About My Sweet Girl

A couple of weeks ago, Mark and I got to meet Annabelle's teacher.  She explained how she disciplined but stated that she liked to "catch" kids being good.  She would point them out when they are doing what they should, without being asked.  It was an especially helpful reminder if there is another student not doing so.  Something along the lines of, "Hey everyone did you notice how Annabelle got right to work at her desk?  Great job Annabelle!"  Hopefully then the other students would catch on, want to be praised and there's no hurt feelings.

So last week, I noticed when Annabelle got off of the bus, that she had a big sticker on her shirt.  It said Caught Doing Good.  When I asked her about it she gave me her proud, shy smile and explained that Mrs. Tripi had told her she was doing a great job all day.  I was so proud and happy for her and I told her so.  Last year we had to have a few talks with her about not socializing too much but working hard as well.  But this year she seems very focused on learning.  She can't wait to read and does "read" to us from her books that she's memorized whenever she can.  Don't get me wrong, I still hear about all that's going on during free play and lunch and all the friend stuff, but she's excited to be learning big kid stuff.

But all of that, as awesome as it was, wasn't the best part.  After I told her how proud I was, she peeled her sticker off her chest and put it on me.  Then she said, "I just caught you being a super mom.  Good Job!"  I still get a big smile on face thinking about it.  There are so many days when I struggle with what I'm doing.  Second guessing if I'm doing enough for Annabelle, being good enough.  That one little stupid sticker made both of our days that much better.  I love that I'm doing something right.  She's sweet girl and I hope that I'm helping her along the way become an even better person than she already is.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Today is the first official day of Autumn.  Even though the weather isn't super Fall-ish yet and the leaves are only beginning to change, I'm happy to be putting up some of our Fall/Halloween decorations.  I'm moving slowly on it.  I mean I wouldn't want to rush it too much, I'll be dreading the cold soon.  I'm just not there yet.

My little Autumn motif by the front door.  Unfortunately I keep thinking that there is a man standing out front every time I glance out and see the scarecrow.  It creeps me out a little bit:)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Deck!

So the deck has been finished for about a week and a half and this girl is all smiles now!  I'm so in love with our color combo.  We played on the decking website to decide on colors for decking, trim, rails, balusters, etc but it's still nerve wracking when you spend all this money and only have a vague idea about what it will look like.  We decided not to put the furniture and table and such up there because it's going to be Fall.  There is not going to be many chances left to eat a meal outside or really enjoy the deck.  Next Spring I'm sure there will be some pictures of us up there with it really finished.  Without further ado, here is the deck.

There's still some scrap decking up there.  Mark's going to be building Nigel a cat perch so that he can hang with us outside.

The wrap around box step.  Mark is so proud of it.  It must be harder to build than a regular step.

The pretty, pretty railings in black.

Just a close up on the color combo.  Teak inner decking, walnut trim, fascia and railings, black balusters and posts.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I know I've been MIA lately but life happens, ya know?  Mark's out of town AGAIN.  Ugh, it stinks having to do everything on my own so much.  We had my in-laws over for dinner and the Bills game, on Sunday and I have painted the family room over the past couple of days.  I don't want to brag (OK I do) but it's so darn pretty.  I'm so in love with the color and the room now.  I'll be posting pictures once everything is back in place.  I'm hoping to invite my parents and sister over this week end for the Bills game and dinner.  Plus I have GNI this Saturday and my nephews homecoming game, soccer, as well as Annabelle's dance class.  I didn't get to my dance class with Mark being out of town.  I still need to find some time to get to the gym and haircut appointments for both me and Annabelle.  I'm tired just thinking about it all!  But I thought I'd leave you with one of my new favorite pictures of Annabelle.  Her smile, the pose, it's so her.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good:
Tuesday was a good day!  Mark stayed home from work with me, it didn't take much convincing. :)  We went out to lunch and napped and then he finished the deck!!!!!  WOO HOO!!!!  I'll post pictures later, it's still pretty messy.  It feels so good to be able to say that it's done and it does look nice!  I can't wait to eat some meals out there, though it won't happen until next year, it' starting to get cold here again.

The Bad:
A boy was out riding his bike Tuesday night and ran our mailbox over.  Knocked it right off the post.  We were in the family room, at the back of the house, when we heard a metallic crash and someone moaning in pain.  Mark ran outside and there's this 16 year old kid laying in the driveway clutching our mailbox.  I think he thought Mark was going to yell at him because he started apologizing immediately.  After we made sure he was OK Mark did a quick bungee cord fix on the mailbox.  We looked at mailboxes the next day.  Why are they so expensive?  $70 is crazy especially since the plow drivers around here are less than careful most of the time.

The Ugly:
Also on Tuesday, I got stung by a bee!  It hurt like a mother.  I haven't been stung since I was a kid and I seriously thought I was being stabbed with a big, fat stick.  I guess that's what I get for rolling around in the grass with Annabelle.  Maybe that will teach her not to cheat while playing Musical Chairs next time.  Mommy gets hurt otherwise.  It's been two days but it' still a huge bump and warm to the touch.  Plus it kept me awake most of the night, itching.  It just make drive me crazy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

Who is the fairest of them all.

Sometime last week, Thursday or Friday maybe, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal stating that the Buffalo Bills are the prettiest team in the NFL.  Now I would like everyone to think that I'm so smart that I read the WSJ but I actually heard about it on the news.  Now when I heard the story on the news, I thought it was a joke.  Were there really people out there rating football players "cuteness" factor?  I mean someone with a real job, not girl fans sitting on the sidelines.  But it was all real!  I can't believe that people get paid to do this stuff for real. 

Can you imagine having your boss come up to you and say, "Here is a list of football players.  Run them through facial symmetry software and then tell me which team is the prettiest."  Wouldn't you laugh in their face?  I know I would!

So with an over 99% perfect facial symmetry rating, the Bills are the nicest looking boys out there, as opposed top the Kansas City Chiefs with only 94% symmetry.  Can you just picture the guys strutting around the locker room, preening in front of the mirror before interviews?  Most of the guys just laughed it off when they were asked about it, claiming only their wives thought they were cute.  At least they are humble.  But to make things even better, the Bills played the Chiefs this past Sunday and the Bills won!  41-7!  Pretty beat ugly.  Maybe now that we are so pretty, our confidence will go up, we'll play better and we'll win the Super Bowl this year!

Oh, wishful thinking?  Yeah if we could go 8-8 most Bills fans would be happy.  These are the guys that were rated on the team and determined to be oh so good looking. 

Owner: Ralph Wilson

Head Coach: Chan Gailey

Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick

Wide Receiver: Steve Johnson

Center: Eric Wood

Tight End: Scott Chandler

Running Back: Fred Jackson

Nose guard or d-tackle: Kyle Williams

Defensive end or linebacker: Shawne Merriman

Cornerback: Terrence Mcgee

Safety: Jairus Byrd

Kicker: Rian Lindell

So hopefully these guys will make us a better team on the field, not just off it.  Don't get a big head from this guys!

Monday, September 12, 2011

I Remember...

but I don't want to talk about it.  Not anymore.  Suffice it to say, I remember that whole awful day, every single minute of it.  I can also remember the day after, the week after.  The fear that I felt.  How I just wanted all of my loved ones to be right there next to me so that I could see them at all times. 

I remember going to NYC almost 2 months later and seeing the towers, still smoking.  Feeling like maybe taking pictures was sacrilegious, but doing it any ways. 

I remember and it still hurts.  Not like it did 10 years ago or even as bad as it did one year after.  Trying not to cry in front of Kindergartners and failing miserably. 

I pray for the families who lost their loved ones on 9/11.  I pray for peace and love and forgiveness.  God Bless the U.S.A.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Good Night Kiss

One of my new favorite things is that last kiss that I give to Annabelle before I tuck myself in.  For years, I couldn't go into her room after she had fallen asleep.  She would immediately wake up and want to nurse as a baby and then have me read her a story or rub her back or sing one last song once she was older.  Mark could go into her room every night and give her that one last kiss.  Check on her if she wasn't feeling well so we'd have a gauge on when we'd be up again. 

I never could.  It was like she new my tread, knew when I was stepping over the thresh hold of her room.  She would always wake up.  It was something that I was jealous of.  Mark could do it, my friends would talk about that last kiss or tucking in errant covers, but I couldn't do it.  Until now.

The last few months, I've been able to go to her room and give her one last kiss on her sweet, little rosebud lips.  Stroke her forehead, hold her hand.  I tuck her Pooh Bears firmly under her arm and as she rolls over, she often murmurs, mama.  She still knows I'm there. 

There are many parts of parenting that are hard.  Things that people talk about but is inconceivable to a non-parent to understand.  Heck, it's even hard for me to understand the parenting woes that my friends and family go through because their kid isn't mine.  But it's those small things, the kisses and hugs, the routine of our lives, that make the rough days better and make me so happy to have my little girl.  I hope I'll be able to sneak into her for one last kiss for a very long time.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Strange Dream

I have been having the strangest dream lately.  I've had had it three or four times over the last few months.  It never changes and I always wake up excited to look out the window.

The whole dream is about a boy that grew up down the street from me.  Billy is friends with my sister and her husband, I was friends with his older sister, and his younger sister is engaged to one of Mark's co-workers.  Somehow, we have ended up twisted together, even though I can't even recall ever saying a word to him.  In the dream, Billy has decided that he wants a new job (I don't know what he does now).  He decides that the perfect job for him is running a petting zoo, complete with exotic animals.  Zebras and bisons, plus goats and small horses, a camel.  The normal petting zoo fare.  And the perfect place to keep his animals, obviously my front yard!  I wake up from the dream every time excited to get Annabelle out of bed.  She loves the bisons at the Buffalo Zoo and corrects people, that call them buffaloes.  After I'm awake, there is that moment when I realize it was a dream and I'm disappointed.  Disappointed that there are no animals, nothing exciting to show Annabelle.  Plus, I really like to pet anything that comes near me especially if it seems even mildly exotic like a bison.

Does anyone else have weird dreams like this or is it just me?  Well maybe I don't really want the answer to that. :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Her First Day!

Our first day was a success!  She got up, ate her breakfast, got dressed, teeth and hair brushed all in just 40 minutes.  She even got 5 minutes to watch TV.  She told me a couple of times that she was excited and nervous but smiled away as we took pictures out front.  The bus was running about 10 minutes behind schedule, but we expected that.  Our wonderful neighbors, Margaret and Katie, even came out to see Annabelle off on her first day.  She never turned around as she got on the bus but as it pulled away we saw her smiling face looking out the window.  I knew she would be OK after that. 

I won't lie, I started to cry.  Nothing dramatic but obviouly enough that a woman who was out walking her dog got emotional.  She told me that I had brought her back to her kids first days of Kindergarten and she missed their being such little, big kids.  Now that their big, big kids.  Then Mark took me to IHOP for breakfast where I ate too many pancakes and I thought I'd burst.  Grocery shopping and a stop at Tim Horton's for a hot apple cider and then a small nap before Annabelle got home.  I made her favorite dinner, ricotta ravioli with salad and hot italian bread with butter.  It was a perfect day.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mommy Angst

Tomorrow, Annabelle will be a Kindergartener!  I am so excited for her.  We've dropped off her supplies and met her teacher, gotten her bus pass and talked about her excitement endlessly.  I was doing so good... but the last few days I've been so sad.  Ready to break into tears at any mention of her getting on that big, old bus. 

I mentioned this to a few of my friends and they looked at me like I was a mental case.  That didn't make me feel any better, I can assure you.  They didn't seem to think it was a big deal, worth my tears.  I know that I am a big baby, can cry at the drop of a hat, but it is a big deal to me!

I know that when I watch her get on the bus tomorrow morning at 7:55 am, I will be remembering her as a baby, all of her big, first milestones.  Smiling, walking, talking, even the not so nice ones, scrapes and temper tantrums and talking back (we are doing that all the time now).  I am so proud of her and how she's grown into such a sweet little girl.  I know that I had a hand in that, but much of it is just her nature.

So I know with all assurance that I will sob like a baby tomorrow morning but I will hold on until the bus pulls away.  I will not care that all of my neighbors will probably see me.  They all have kids older, grown.  I know that they will understand my ache of letting her go.  I miss her babiness but I love her big-girl-ness.

And then Mark is taking my out for breakfast so that I can gorge my feelings with pancakes.  It's the best way to make you feel better:)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Fair!

Every year, for 10 days in August, we have the Erie County Fair.  There are tons of animals, everything from bunnies and ducks to cows and horses, lots of 4-H projects.  Plus there is a midway with rides and games, acrobat and magician shows and the food.  Oh, it is so bad for you but soooo good!  We go every single year and this year was no exception.  We stayed for a whopping 12 hours which I think is a record for us.  The one thing that I have wanted Annabelle to be able to do was to have an elephant or camel ride and she was finally old enough!

She was pretty nervous getting on at first.  That camel was pretty bumpy so she really had to hold on.  She decided to name the camel Princess.  Though the guy who put her onto the camel told me his name was Roosevelt.  When I asked if it was Teddy or FDR he seemed confused.  Oh well, I guess you don't need to know the presidents when you take care of camels for a living.  I think Annabelle enjoyed it even if the ride was only one circle around the track.  But at least she can cross that one off of her bucket list:)