Friday, September 28, 2007

Jingle Bells-Already

I can't believe it is already October! That just means that Christmas and the need for fabulous christmas gift ideas are right around the corner. Lucky for me, I have my gifts to my in laws and to my parents all planned out! The kids have each sent me a picture of each of their kids. We are getting them made into a group photo and then having that photo put on canvas by Canvas On Demand, and then having it beautifully framed! What a treasure to have all of your grandchildren on a piece of art! I think they will LOVE it!

The Elk

Here is the promised picture! None of mine turned out-we were shooting into the sun-so I guess it would make sense that my crappy camera would fail at that moment. All of the pictures are way too washed out. Luckily, I was able to steal one from Rob's.

The cool thing about the Elk--they are always right there. Ok, well only two of the 20 were close today-but some days you can literally walk up and see 20 Elk standing by the fence.

I Want This Clock

I have been doing some shopping recently! Window shopping until now! We have hit upon a little bit extra in our savings account. Now mind you, we have a pretty good savings account-so I'm thinking a little "splurge" won't be that bad! I'm not talking like buying a new car or boat or anything--just a small (medium) piece of home decor.

I have always loved grandfather clocks, but they have always seemed just a little too old fashioned or too big--or the color didn't match my furniture--or heck, the style has rarely matched my furniture. Until I found this one. It's wood is a perfect match to the rest of my living room furniture, and the style is highly complimentary!

I have heard amazing things about Howard Miller clocks. Mainly about their quality and durability. I'm most impressed by the price. This beautiful--PERFECT clock is currently selling online for $2100! That is jaw dropping--less than we paid for our piano--and honestly--I will get more use out of the clock than the piano. I'm so excited--I can't wait to get it into my entry way--I think I will be playing with it for weeks to come!

California Law

I've decided that if I ever want to get in trouble with the law and get away with it, I just have to wait until I'm rich and famous, and then head to California to begin my crime spree! I mean really! Did you hear Phil Spector had a mis-trial? Mind you--just because you look like the creepiest man in the history of the world--it doesn't make you a murderer--but COME ON!!! First OJ--dead to rights guilty! Then Robert Blake--dead to rights guilty! And now Phil Spector--mistrial!

I do have to say--it isn't that the prosecution is failing in any way shape or form. I think ordinary people are so star struck that they can't get past the persona of the man in order to come to the correct verdict. Hence--I have to be famous--actually--according to my own logic--I guess I have to be a man! Darn it! Foiled again!

I found a Los Angeles Criminal Attorney Blog | California Criminal Defense Lawyers Forum that discusses all things "Law" in California. I found it very enlightening--from Paris and Lindsay--to Britney and Kiefer-the dynamics are just amazing. The blog is authored by none other than Dmitry Gorin, is a Professor at UCLA and Pepperdine Law School. You may recognize him, as he provides frequent commentary on Court TV--pretty cool!

I Wanna A Free Raleigh, NC Getaway

My husband has family all over the United States. That makes seeing this wonderful country of ours a little easier than most. We've had the opportunity to spend time in New England, Southern California, Arizona, Washington and Florida. We haven't made it to visit his Aunt in North Carolina, although I found out today that there is a great contest we can register for to win a Free Raleigh Getaway.
That is so exciting--whenever I think of the South I think of the history that comes along with it. The beautiful colonial architecture, the plantations, the hospitality; Everything you can picture when you watch old movies about the South. Mind you, it's definitely a modern city as well--it just happens to be Modern wrapped in History!

The contest prize is amazing! Hotel, tickets to museums and other cultural events like the Mysteries of the Lost Colony, a gift certificate for two for dinner. You name it-everything you need for an amazing Fall Getaway!

I think this sounds perfect! There is so much to see in this beautiful, historic city--I would want to spend more than one night--so maybe we'll use our hotel night (if we win) and then spend the rest of our getaway with his family! Sans kids-what could be more perfect??

Elections Again

I'm so amazed that there so much "campaigning" going on right now. We are still just over a year from the elections, and yet they are all that seem to be dominating the evening news. Both parties have now had debates, and several are scrambling to gloss over comments that their wives had made. I don't pay too much attention at this point-but I guess when it gets closer I'll have to start listening.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Finding Drug Help!!

Great news!! I often blog about my poor nephew, stuck in the California justice system. He is a good kid--made some stupid mistakes--had a hard life--whatever excuses I could offer--He did the crime, and he's doing his time! Well, he has been in drug treatment and has just been waiting for a bed to open up in a halfway house nearby. As soon as that happened he would be able to transfer out of the rehab facility. If it didn't happen by tomorrow--he would be sent back to jail! Amazingly enough--we got the call this morning that he's on his way to the halfway house!

California jails are no where I want anybody I know--so that is just great news. The treatment center he was in was amazing and has been working really hard with him. Hopefully this third time is a charm!

It's A Boy

Our niece had her baby. Just over a week ago. A little boy. She named him Dashawn Anthony. I haven't seen the baby, other than a quick snap shot of him--and what's sad, I'm not sure I'll ever get to see the baby. At least as a newborn. There have been so many problems with this family that we all just tend to keep our distance. What makes me the most sad is the change in this girl! She was doing great, good grades big plans for the future--then suddenly in her Jr. year of high school, she dropped out--then moved out--then moved back in--got pregnant--and then moved out with her family. She turned 18 last January and got about $25K from a trust that was set up after she was mauled by a dog. That money was going to put her through Message Therapy school--or at least pay for some of it. Now all of the money is gone--she's bought a car, new bedroom set and baby "stuff". Not quite the kick off into life we were hoping for! It's all just very sad--I miss the old days!

Sunday, September 23, 2007


My husband is a work a holic and I have to say--I hate it. I really do--we need him home--ok, I need him home to help out with four kids. But really--when you look at the number of hours he puts in compared to the salary he makes, he literally makes $8 an hour! And he's the top manager!! Now, part of it is his inability to delegate, but also--until they have a system in place where there is pay for performance, other team members will simply skate by and let everyone else do their job for them. They make the same amount of money whether they earn it or not--so who cares if they work their tails off.

Now something like performance based pay would be perfect. Not only would we be raking it in, but then everyone could see just who it was doing all of the work. That might just lead to a juicy little raise!!

Ahhhh, The Quiet

Tomorrow is Sunday. I'm supposed to be going to church--but really, am not feeling up to it in the slightest! Mind you, I should have been in bed hours ago to make it at such an early hour--but my kids just barely fell asleep-and I'm relishing in the quiet. If I go to bed now--when I wake up it will be noisy again!

This is the last weekend it's supposed to be warm--so we will be heading to my sisters in laws house so the kids can have one finally afternoon in the swimming pool. Then it will be closed up for the winter. It's kind of sad-it doesn't seem at all like it's been open all that long! But it's definitely getting cooler here-which is a welcome relief to me!

Vacations For Christmas

Speaking of seeing this great world around's getting close to Christmas time, and I need to start planning and saving for our summer vacation next year! I know, it seems too early for that, but you have to realize--their plane tickets and destination passes are all part of their Christmas presents! We've taken a ton of Orlando vacations over the past couple of years that I'm trying to decide whether we stick with 'Old Faithful' or try something new!! If you have any fun vacation ideas that can bring education into the experience-I would love to hear about it!

My New Baby

I have a new domain! Well, not really new--it's getting rather "aged" if you know what I mean!! I spent the day yesterday getting the theme just how I want it--and I have to say--I love it! My daughter's nickname is Katerbug Blue and that is the name of the domain. and I have to say--it is pink and girly--and all things that she is! I don't really want it to revolve strictly around us here at home--as that's what this blog has always been. I would like to keep it centered upon more of our 'adventures'. Things that we see and discover away from home as a family.

I had the whole thing up to date through this weekend, but then my pictures went haywire, so I've pulled all of the recent ones back into draft status until I can figure out what is going on with them! But the early summer adventure's are up and running!

I would like to spend more time seeing this great world around us--and living in Chicago--that makes the exploration that much more fun (and costly!!)! I can't wait to keep it going!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Life Coach Clay Nelson

I love getting gifts and packages in the mail. Really-there is nothing more that brightens my day then getting something fun. Today was no different. I opened the mailbox and found a cute little package. I couldn't wait to open it, but unfortunately with 4 kids wandering around--I rarely get to open my own package. It was still exciting though, and I was thrilled to find life coach Clay Nelson's new CD! I've been waiting for awhile to receive this little package, and was really happy to shoo the kids away for quiet time. I put it in the CD player on my computer, and threw my earphones on. The problem is--I'm not completely able to concentrate this way--because I sit here wanting to talk about it!!

I was reading the press release on his website. Did you know he has a radio show and a tele-seminar on top of these CD's? What a busy man. The radio show is something that I would be the most interested in--but seeing how I don't live in Santa Barbara, California--I was happy to find that the radio show is also available via the internet. So next Wednesday, I will be waiting right here with head phones in hand!!

Staples, We Have Staples

Today Brett fell down the last three stairs of our basement staircase. This little trip landed him a "trip" to the Emergency Room. He is fine--he has staples in his scalp. I could hardly look at the blood soaked towel (why is it that head wounds bleed so badly??) let alone watch the doctors as they bring out the MOTHER of all staplers and attempt to apply it to my baby's head. Waves of nauseousness rolled over me and I had to sit down with my back to everything going on--still holding Brett's hand but huffing and puffing with my head between my legs--it wasn't a pretty site! When I was younger I got stitches. I don't remember much about it-but it seems far easier than staples. I could be wrong!

Halloween Is Coming

It's the most wonderful time of the year!! I love when the holidays kick into gear--and I mean all of the Fall and Winter holidays--Halloween included. I've always loved Halloween! I don't like masks though--I think a kid costume is much cuter without a mask they can put on-I'm more of a "add a little make up to the face" rather than cover it with a mask.

My favorite costume is one that my sister created for her son Jake. He wanted to be Jak from the PS2 games Jak and Daxter--and he looked amazing! In case you can't tell--those things on the side of his head are Jak's ears--and they look just like them--what a great costume! What made it amazing--she made it all--well--organized it all. Sweatshirt and pants are the foundation--then she just layered on top of that. So creative!

There is an Online Halloween Costume Contest, and I would love to join! I do need to find a good costume for me this year. I've never really dressed up myself--just my kids--but it might be kind of fun to see if there is a great adult costume over at Star Costumes. I know my sister is going to dress up in a blow up Chef outfit since she's married to a Chef--unfortunately for me, there isn't a fun costume for a Hotel Manager! Sorry, dear!


Later today we are heading over to my sisters new house. She's nearly completely moved in--so this will just be a social visit. Those are the best kind anyway. I do have to wait until I pick the boys up from school--then we'll just head straight there. It's so unfair, her boys ride the bus--and the bus stop is the corner in front of her house--she just sits in the front door--and watches them get safely home after school. I'm a bit jealous of that one!

The Rookie Challenge

I have been interested in the stock market and other financial areas forever--honestly--what budget abiding person isn't at least slightly intrigued by the possible fortunes to be found. But I don't even understand where to begin. So imagine my excitement to learn that there is a "rookie challenge" going on right now, where I can 'virtually' begin creating my own portfolio. There are gains and losses and even transaction fees--you know, gotta keep it as real as possible! What's nice is even though the contest is open to anyone--if you do have some real experience in the financial markets--you have to disclose if your holdings in the game correspond to your real holdings. Plus, you are also required to hold your shares for at least 1 hour - this is another way of balancing the playing field for all of us. The Rookie with the highest gain over the week will be the winner.

What a great way to get your feet wet without having to risk the farm! Registration is free--you even get a free hat--but even better than that, is the $1000 weekly prize! So let's recap--free sign up, free participation, a virtual $100K to play with, valuable-real time financial lessons--and a possible $1000 at the end of each week! Is there anyone out there dumb enough not to head straight over to the rookie challenge to participate? Yeah, I didn't think so! See you there!

Homeschool Preschool

I have decided to take Preschool matters into my own hands for Katie! We will be "homeschooling" her. I know--it's only PreK and it isn't even a requirement-but I would like her to have the same advantages as the other kids when she enters Kindergarten in the fall. So we have gotten some workbooks, and we will have some fun playtime activities and even some field trips--it should work out pretty good--and I'm excited to spend the time with her everyday!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Birthday Gifts

We are entering into the fall season. With it comes 3 out of my 4 kids birthdays. Brett's is up first-he will be turning 3 and that is always a really fun age to shop for! This year, I am moving away from the "character" toys and of course, any toy made in China-I'm thinking a nice gift that gives him some "Daddy" time would be the most fun. Like RC helicopters!! I can just see both of their faces light up when Brett opens that one up! Luckily they are a lot easier to fly than the RC airplanes-and need far less room. With winter moving in on us-this will turn into a fun "Basement" experience!


Is there a household appliance that you want? I've never really thought about it-but we had dinner over at Rob's house and she has this on the counter veggie steamer. I LOVED it! I have a tupperware one that goes in the microwave, but hers is awesome. It will steam anything and it has a cute little timer for all of the different things--I'm green! I don't think it cost more than $40 at the local Meier--so I think I need to head over there and pick me up one as well. I hate not having all of the cool cooking gadgets that she has!

I Need A Break

After all of the stress of helping my sister move, babysitting all 8 kids (alone) and now having been sick for a month--I'm ready to start looking for a vacation home rental. Just for me!! I know, you say the word vacation and the word "family" invariably finds it's spot in front of that word--but not this time! I'm ready to just take a break, sit on my rental porch feet up, book positioned in front of me drinking in some ME time! I don't do well with heat--so I don't even mind if I head to an "Autumnal" spot stateside--I just want to do it alone!! Well, I could take the man-but the kids have got to stay at home.

2 Year Old Boys

We were able to have my sisters kids over for the evening the other night so that they could go to a wedding. My kids love having their closest cousins over but the volume level can get really high!

She brought the PS2 over so that the older boys would stay occupied and out of my hair, which was nice because it seemed to occupy my two oldest boys as well. The girls stayed up stairs and played dress up and I was left to CHASE two 2 year old boys. Mind you, they are quick, but the worst part was the fact that they would race each other to a toy and the one that got their first would grab the toy, turn around to face the loser of the foot race clutching the prize to his chest and then yell out his victorious threats! Then a tug of war would ensue with tears coming at the end. I would then throw out an idea for a different toy for the loser of the foot race. He would cheer up, jump up to start his run--and the foot race was on. This cycle continued for HOURS with each boy winning some and losing some. I do think I was more exhausted by the time they finally fell asleep than they were!

The 411

I have to admit it! I'm a C.W. fan. All of my favorite shows are on The CW, and my very favorite show ever, Gilmore Girls, just finished it's run on the CW. But this season, taking the Lorelai's place would be Gossip Girl on The CW! I've watched a ton of "teen" shows set in California, but this one is set in trendy New York. It premieres tonight and even though I plan to be watching every sumptuous moment of it, I do believe it will be Tivo'd as well. Got to keep up with my girl talk!

I love gossip! I love to hear it! Read it! Spread it! You name it, if it's catty and gossipy, I'm all over it! And now to have a show with people just like me (only younger, hipper, and far more beautiful) I can't wait! And even better, Kristen Bell is the "character" Gossip Girl, and spills all on her blog. Maybe that's what I'm so excited about. Someone else's life paralleling my own. How many shows out there involve blogging?? Yep, I'm a fan already!

I think we are going to get the old Gilmore gang together and start up the "Gossip Girl Viewing Party" every week-that really was so much fun. All of us girls getting together to watch and spill all of the juicy info from around town. I can't wait!

September 19th at 9 pm Eastern, 8 pm Central--on The CW...Don't miss it!


I just found out that Mr. O.J. Simpson is back in hot water. Funny, Pariah's are never far from the hot water. How dumb must you be to go into a hotel room with a yourself? Hello, isn't that what you are paying your entourage to do? If I was paying four guys to protect me, they would be the ones up in the room with the gun. They are far less recognizable later on than my "double-murder"-mug shot blaring face. But I guess he must have that immortal feeling after getting off scot-free on his double murder charge. Only 10 Felonies have been charged currently, but I hope they nail him to the wall!

I'm Sick

I have now been sick for 1 month. It's official. I know my sister gets sick a lot and for long periods of time, but this is my first endeavor and I'm not all too thrilled with it. I don't know how she does it with her four kids, house, job and husband. I can't even get out of bed, and am very close to making my husband stay home for the day. That way he can take care of the kids and I can sleep, sleep, sleep.

I do have a doctors appointment tomorrow. He will probably put me on heavier doses of antibiotics, so this really should be clearing up soon, but with the weather starting to turn cold, it may take just a bit more time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Drippy Faucets

We spent last weekend at a hotel. You know, just some couple time away from the cries for 4 little ones. They spent the night with their cousins in their new home--so we headed off for a little R&R! It was so nice! Everything we could possibly need right there at our fingertips, and room service was awesome! The one thing this hotel was missing? Water pressure!! Isn't that the worst, when you settle in for a wonderful, hot shower, and the shower faucets are old or have that mucky build up? I managed a long, hot shower--but only because the pressure was so poor that it took me three times as long to rinse the shampoo and conditioner from my hair! The first thing we did when we got home was to get the kids to bed--and then I headed straight for my fabulous, full power shower!!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Living Room Lights

Do you love lighting? I am a big fan, and actually very picky about lighting in my own house. Sadly, when we were house hunting I failed to look past the excitement of the moment to notice that there were no over head lights in the living room. The family living there were using lamps--and it never occurred to me--until we moved in! I rushed to the store to pick up anything that would bring light to my room. Now, after 2 years--I'm actually shopping for lighting that I actually like. Currently I'm shopping Murray Feiss! I'm amazed at the beautiful works of art that the lamps are--but also the amazing price. I think this will prove to be a match made in lighting heaven!!

Paying The Piper

Have you ever taken out a payday loan? I find it so funny how people who are so desperate when they need one that they will sign the papers without really realizing that they will indeed have to cover the check they just wrote! Then when it comes time to pay the piper all they do is complain about how high the fees are. Do they not remember the happy dance they did last week? Our neighbors have been dying for cash flow the past few weeks, and were truly relieved to find this opportunity to get the cash they needed and not have to pay immediately. However, today--when the payment came due--it was nothing but non-stop pessimistic blather! Be happy someone was there to save your butt last week--and try harder to budget a little better next time! SHEESH!!

Helping With The Move

We have spent the last week helping my sister get settled into her new house. Well, settled isn't exactly the word for it because she isn't completely in yet. But as much as we could help with is now done, and I think I need to head in for a headache treatment! Moving is nothing but non-stop stress, and it really is exhausting whether it's your own move or if you are just helping someone else. I would love to hit a botox treatment for my headaches, nothing else seems to work right now, but I've heard amazing success stories with that. I think I should look up the pricing!