Friday, December 31, 2010

Show me the mommy!

Really this should be show me the auntie (pronounced auhn-tee!) because I spent some time showing Ned how to use my iPhone. I figured since he is incapacitated there was no time like the present to start playing with Apple products.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Trip: Part 2

On Christmas morning we left Springfield for our pilgrimage to Andover to see my side of the family. I had hoped to be on the road by 7 AM (yeah, right) but we left at 8:15. Because of that we missed the opening of stocking presents (just for the little kids) and somehow I forgot my camera. So all of the pictures below are courtesy of my dad's kick ass SLR camera.

A couple of items of note. Cameron entered her pickiest eating phase EVER on this trip. I think she subsisted entirely on crackers and milk. Every time my mom put a new food in front of Cameron I would warn her, "Cameron won't eat that." But she would push it and Cameron would have the biggest melt downs. Sigh. I'm very glad we are back home so at least we have our fall back foods and a modicum of nutrition.

We also missed a white Christmas in Charlotte. Who would have thought that Charlotte would have a white Christmas? Fortunately the Boston area got 18 inches of snow on the 26th. I took Cameron out on the deck because she really wanted to go outside. As soon as we were out she insisted I carry her (of course) and she kept saying, "it's hot, it's hot." What she meant was that it was cold. So DH and I had fun teaching her the difference between hot and cold. Now everything is cold but we're getting there!

Cameron came over to her grandparent's house in her pjs. She got to open her stocking presents while all the cousins played around her. So that really meant DH and I opened her presents and she played with the toys strewn about the room.
Cameron got these cool sunglasses and actually wore them for a minute before abandoning them for another toy.
Here Cameron opens really cool spill proof (yeah, we'll see about that!) paint from Melissa and Doug that her Grammy and Bumpa gave her. We ended up shipping all of the presents back to Charlotte and they should arrive today which means Christmas all over again!
Here is a shot of the entire family opening presents. What do you don't see is the mound of presents under the tree. Grammy and Bumpa were very generous with their grandkids.
I was hoping that the group mentality would kick in for mealtimes. Unfortunately Cameron insisted on eating practically nothing. But she did eat her Happy Meal when we got McD's during the blizzard.
We had a family photo session on Sunday. Need I say that it was chaotic? There were many meltdowns, nose picking and I don't think the photographer got a single shot of the entire family smiling at the camera. Fortunately he said he can do some face switching so we should get at least one good picture out of the bunch. The best part was my sister Kristin attempting to put Ned into time out during the session and bribing her kids with Altoids to behave. Classic.

All in all, a good trip up to see family and friends. But I think we will be sticking to our plan of an every other year trip during the holidays. It was fun but exhausting!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Trip: Part 1

I know I have been remiss in posting. I deliberately did not bring my personal computer with us on our Christmaspalooza because I was hoping to enjoy a little down time with my Kindle. Despite a cold, about 50 family members and juggling a toddler, down time was in fact achieved. Amazing, no?

We arrived at DH's parents' house in Springfield, MA on Wednesday, December 22nd. The flight with Cameron was fine except I used my entire bag of tricks which included $10 worth of iPhone apps for her. The problem with the toddler apps I've come across is that they are repetitive (numbers, letters, animals, etc.). So if anyone can point me to better apps for the 2+ age range, I would appreciate it. Funny aside...on Christmas Eve we had 6 people in the same room on different devices (iTouch, iPad, iPhone) all playing Angry Bird. I thought my mother-in-law was going to keel over by none of us interacting in the same room. The wave of the future? Perhaps. We did play Trivial Pursuit all together later that night so all was not lost.

Cameron got some cool clothes, books and of course toys on Christmas Eve. Her favorite was the Santa present from us: an Elmo doll. Just the basic plush, cuddly one. She has it in her crib as I type this. Below are photos from our visit with my in-laws. Tomorrow I'll post pictures from the rest of the trip to my family's house.

Cameron hangs out with her daddy the morning after we arrive.
Memere lets Cameron adorn herself with ornaments.
If she isn't careful, Cameron's face will freeze that way!
Cameron hangs out with her cousins. She was a little overwhelmed at first but quickly grew to love them. She was particularly enamored of Ryan (or Ry-Ry as she called him).
They walked around the house holding hands...too cute!
The cousins pose for their picture on the stairs.
Memere Gabby with two of her great-granddaughters.
Cameron poses for a picture with Ryan. Isn't her dress adorable? Unfortunately it was also long and a 2T so she took a couple of headers into door frames until we finally put her in pjs.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Early Christmas Present: Kindle Review

I have mentioned many times on this blog that I am a voracious reader. Primarily Fantasy novels (typically series) but also historical romances, some murder mysteries (JD Robb) and the occasional contemporary book. I buy many books in hard cover and have already filled our 14 foot bookshelf in the 2 years since we had it built. Needless to say, it is an expensive hobby but worth it for me because I often re-read books, especially if a new one in the series just came out. No, I haven’t tackled the 13 previous Robert Jordan books when the 14th one came out because even I have a breaking point! But I will probably read the whole series again when the last (supposedly) book comes out next year (supposedly). However, I digress.

I’ve been toying with getting a Kindle for a while. The biggest sticking point for me is that many of my fantasy books do not come out on the eReader until several months after the hard cover has been published. Why? I have no freaking idea. I mean, the publishing company already has it formatted in Word or some other application, right? So how hard can it be to just published as an eBook? I started hinting to my husband that maybe a Kindle would be a good idea for my birthday which is in April. We were supposed to be finished with our Christmas shopping for each other. See what I did there? Drop hints about a birthday present right around Christmas? Yes, I’m devious.

Because we are traveling for the holidays, DH and I decided to do a small gift exchange this weekend. He pushed for it and I caved. What did he get me for Christmas? A Kindle! I’m convinced DH insisted on gifts early just so that I wouldn’t pack tons of books for our trip and force us to pay even more for checked luggage. He got me the 3G version and I’ve spent the past two days playing with it, downloading free samples, searching for my favorite authors and purchasing one book. Yes, just one…for now.

Let me start my review by saying I love my Kindle already. But a lot of what I am going to write here will seem negative. I’d love to have you weigh in if you have an eReader.

The Kindle is super easy to use. I was able to download a sample from a book without even looking at the directions. But as an iPhone user, I kept sliding my finger along the screen to get to the different areas of the page. Yes, Apple has corrupted me and I now expect every device to be interactive with a touch screen. I’m sure that is a future enhancement to the Kindle but it does take longer to navigate without it. The keys for typing are also pretty small and they are low and round which makes it a bit more difficult to type. Amazon would have been better served to copy Blackberry’s keyboard format (yes, I have a Blackberry for work too).

The screen is very easy to read and you can adjust the type font and size quickly. I have kept mine on the factory settings. Why mess with a good thing? That might change if I start downloading periodicals or magazines. I do wish the screen had a backlight for situations where the lighting is less than optimal. But something has to be sacrificed for the amazing battery power. I read for 2 hours last night and didn’t even make a dent in the batter power indicator. Another big plus is how light and small it is. I can easily tuck it in my purse and pull it out to read at any moment. Pure bliss for me.

Here are the really big negatives for me. First of all, is there some reason that most of the books cost the same as their in-store counterparts? The book I purchased was $7.99, the exact same I would pay (without my B&N discount card) in a store. It doesn’t take an MBA grad to know that that is fishy. No shipping, no paper, no binding…where exactly are my savings from buying this eBook? Is it the publishers being greedy or Amazon? Yes, I know that hard covers are typically less ($13.99 vs. $24.99) but I expect to see that same savings for paperback editions too! I don’t begrudge a slightly higher margin for publishers but charging the same as in-store makes me feel ripped off. I’m going to spend a lot more time on Amazon’s site to find books that are more affordable. I’ll provide an update to this review if I am successful.

The second big negative is one I’ve mentioned above. Most of my favorite books are not available as eBooks. Raymond Feist, Mercedes Lackey, Anne Bishop, David Eddings, etc. Only their most recent books are available in the Kindle store. I am aware that makes the most financial sense for Amazon and publishers but many of these books aren’t available at all in stores. So why not just convert them into eBooks and start generating more revenue? This might force me to branch out and read more contemporary books. I’m not opposed to that but I wish the Kindle store would offer more of the books I like.

There are lots of other features on Kindle that I don’t see myself using any time soon: comments on passages or articles that get posted to Facebook, note taking, etc. But for more tech-savvy users, I’m sure they are wonderful features. I'm also not sure that I really needed a 3G Kindle. We have wireless at home and it's available in many other locations. But I'm sure I will appreciate the convenience when I really need it. So, what do the rest of you think about the Kindle or other eReaders? Do any of you have the same complaints I do about eBook costs?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Show me the mommy: weight loss update

This week, not only am I playing along with Laura's "Show Me The Mommy" December contest, I thought I would also provide a weight loss update. Here is my last update from October.

It's hard to believe that at the end of March I joined Weight Watchers with the hope that I would lose weight. Scratch that. It wasn't hope, it was an expectation and a willingness to do the program right so that I would be healthier, for me, for DH and for Cameron. It's been almost 9 months and as of my last weigh in, I am down just over 45 pounds. Yup, as my sister Allison would say I've lost an entire child. What would you say, second grader?

I'm toying with the idea of losing another 5 pounds because 50 seems like such a nice round number, don't you think? But technically I just have about 2 pounds to go to hit my personal goal and achieve lifetime member status. I still plan on attended the weekly meetings because they really keep me motivated and on track. Wish me luck going into the holidays! I hope to maintain and not gain but I'm not crazy enough to think that I'll lose weight while up in Massachusetts for the holidays. I'm already looking forward to crabbies (family appetizer) and homemade Christmas cookies and I refuse to not indulge myself.

It's sad that I got myself to the point that I need to lose this much weight. But if you had asked me at the start of this journey if I would make it this far I don't think I would have been confident. So it's nice to be on the other end of things wrapping up my weight loss experience. I still have to work on adding/maintaining exercise. It's fallen by the wayside with my illnesses of the past 3 weeks and I don't see much exercise in the next week and a half while traveling. Hopefully the new year will re-motivate me. Or I can do what my friend, Natalie, does and have people give me encouragement via Facebook to get my butt to the gym.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Excuse me while I whine

I’m sick. Again. While it’s not the soul sucking experience that was strep throat from two weeks ago the constant sneezing and blowing of my nose has resulted in a distinctly Rudolph-like appearance. Just in time for the holidays, right? It is compounded by a cold snap that keeps me from feeling warm more than a few hours a day (when I’m snuggled in bed with the furnace of a dog next to me). I’m trying to figure out why exactly it is that I’ve been getting sick so often. I’m in the best health of my life and at age 33 I figure I’ve been exposed to a lot of germs up this point which should have strengthened my immune system. Apparently germs from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia differ from North Carolina ones.

Cameron has been sick frequently but she seems to shake it off and/or ignore it successfully. Is it because she is young and oblivious to how she should be feeling? Is the fact that I’m middle aged (really, is 33 middle aged? Kind of a scary thought) and feel the aches and pains so much more? I’m liberally dosing myself with drugs and still feeling miserable.

Interesting, DH has yet to catch any of these bugs. I have a couple of theories about how he has avoided illness so far this winter. He works at home so he avoids the work germs that I come into contact with regularly. DH avoids errand running like it’s the plague. Yes, he will go grocery shopping and to Home Depot. Most other errands fall to me which I don’t mind because it gets me and Cameron out of the house. I’m also more willing to let Cameron stick her fingers in my mouth and feed me food than DH is. Cameron’s latest obsession is to force feed me and DH her snacks and she won’t take no for an answer. The best is when she puts in her mouth first and then forces it into mine. Lovely picture, isn’t it? Finally, I have a theory, corroborated by my friend, the Internet, that men just generally get sick less than women. This study confirms that men get sick less but whine about it more. I think DH would disagree with the last part of that hypothesis. I am woman…hear me complain.

Would you agree that women get sick more often than men? How has your winter been faring when it comes to illness?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Static cling

What a week, my internet friends. I had my 2011 strategy planning sessions for two days, two work dinner events, a possible UTI for Cameron (negative fortunately), had Cameron sent home from daycare for a fever and I’m still recovering from my strep throat from last week which has meant a 9 PM bedtime and little time in the evenings for blogging. DH has been a champ, stepping up to handle the UTI doctor’s appointment and staying home with Cameron for most of the day yesterday. I ducked out of my planning session early to take the afternoon shift. Keep your fingers crossed for us that Cameron doesn’t get sick for the rest of the year. I’m more than out of sick time (we don’t really track it at BigFinance) and we have our big travel for the holidays. In the meantime, enjoy the effects of cold, dry weather and thin, fine hair.

Friday, December 3, 2010

What gets me through my week.... experiencing things like this.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Toddler development and ongoing challenges

I know I’ve been bad at blogging lately filling the void with a lot of picture posts and not much content. But now that I’m back on my feet post-strep throat fiasco I thought it was time for a sharing of our current Cameron challenges. At 20 months old we are still struggling with hitting and biting. She is very good about not hitting and biting other kids. Mommy? Not so much. If DH or I deny her anything it’s a wide open mouth going for the chomp on an arm or a leg. Heck, sometimes even a boob! We’ve tried 1-2-3 with timeouts, yelling, ignoring, you name it, we’ve tried it. Except hitting or biting back of course. I’m just going to keep hoping this is a phase. It is a phase right? Just a long one?
Cameron and we are still addicted to the pacifier and I have no plans to remove it anytime soon. DH and I were both finger suckers. And I find that when Cameron doesn’t have her pacifier she sticks her hands in her mouth. We are trying to limit pacifier time to right before bed and only in the car and in the crib. Unfortunately that fell completely by the wayside during Thanksgiving (4 days of whining was enough to give plenty of lollypops and pacifiers) and my illness/DH’s travel. I feel some guilt for still having the reliance on the pacifier but I figure how many college students bring a pacifier with them to campus? Right? The problem is that Cameron now says “paci” and asks for it constantly. She’ll usually put a “please” after it which totally melts my heart. DH and I are trying to stand firm on limiting the paci time so please send us good thoughts.
Cameron still sleeps great for the most part. Usually she only cries when she has had a nightmare or is sick. Our biggest challenge in the sleep area has been keeping her warm enough. We bought a big fleece blanket to put in her crib and have done away with the sleep sacks. Cameron isn’t a big climber (watch me jinx us) so I’m not too worried about her climbing out of her crib. We have her in fleece footsie PJs and she won’t keep the blanket over her. Her feet are a little cold in the morning so perhaps I need to bite the bullet and order new fleece sleep sacks? Would it be a safety issue to use our little space heater?
Our biggest challenge by far has been eating. Cameron will usually eat whatever daycare serves but with us? No way, no how. We seriously serve the same meal every night for her. Fish sticks or chicken nuggets, some kind of potato (usually tots), green beans (occasionally carrots) and fruit. Sometimes she is gracious and will eat Annie O’s but only the plain O’s, nothing else. I think part of the problem is that she eats before us. But I don’t see that changing any time soon as she goes to bed by 7 PM. When I was sick I gave her pasta and had some with her but she wanted nothing to do with it. Should I just go ahead and serve her something and attempt to not worry when she eats nothing? Will she wake up hungry in the middle of the night? Or start waking up at 5:30 AM instead of 6:30? What is a parent to do??? Yes, I have food issues so nothing stresses me out more than not having Cameron eat.
DH and I guesstimate that Cameron knows as many as 100 words. It’s a very rough guesstimate. She says words back to us very clearly and now says Mommy and Daddy instead of Mama and Dada. Our problem is when Cameron initiates a conversation with us. 75% of the time we have no idea what she is saying. At this age they just don’t enunciate very clearly so most of the words sound the same. I’ve been trying the old, “Show me what you want” trick but Cameron usually just looks at me like I’m an idiot and just repeats herself. We’ll get there, I know, and when we do I’ll be lamenting the fact that I ever complained about not understanding her.
Finally TV watching and toilet training are non-existent at this point. What I wouldn’t give for Cameron to be interested in some TV for even five minutes at a time!! She has zero interest in it which makes it hard to get her dinner ready or small chores completed. Every time I try to duck into the kitchen there she is tugging on my pant leg whining, “Up, up”. Sometimes Mommy needs 5 minutes of alone time! That used to be bathroom time but we are attempted to indoctrinate Cameron into the wonders of toilets so she visits the bathroom with me. Not that it’s resulted in success. This weekend she said, “diaper” and DH checked it but it was fine. Two minutes later she said “diaper” again and there was poop! We were all excited at this signal and started running her to the potty whenever she said diaper. Biggest waste of time ever. If there was even one pee success I’d keep going but the taking off the diaper, trying to get her to sit still and then getting her dressed again is taking too much time and effort. So potty training won’t really get started until well after she turns two.
Parent’s of other toddlers, what else are you struggling with at this age?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Remember when sick days were fun?

I used to love sick days when I was a kid. As a triplet, it would oftentimes be the only 1:1 time I had with my mom. Plus, when we were in high school my mom would give us the occasional mental heath day. As mostly straight A students with multiple extra curricular activities it was needed and appreciated. Aside from mono in college I also never really felt like I was hit by a truck when I got sick.

Now that I'm an adult with a child sick days aren't nearly as much fun. No more mental health days because I have to hoard my sick days in case Cameron gets sick or if she gets me sick. After a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends I took Cameron to the Discovery Place KIDS in Huntersville. Two hours after we arrived back home I started feeling sick. I was miserable all day Sunday and knew that it would only get worse. First I was annoyed because I got the damn flu shot so why was I sick? I knew it wasn't a cold. Around 5 PM I let my work team know that I would be out all day.

I went to bed at 8 PM and got up at 10 AM after very restless sleep (DH ended up sleeping in the guest room) and headed to the Minute Clinic. I love that place. There was no wait and after I listed my symptoms the doctor took a peak at my throat. "Yep, looks like strep throat," he told me. A 5 minute test confirmed the diagnosis and I was on my way to pick up antibiotics and go back to bed.

My biggest concern these days is that Cameron not get sick. Especially because DH is traveling right now and both of us sick at home with no back up is not my idea of a good time. Fortunately she seems to have avoided it so far although I'm wondering where I picked it up then.

The things that suck about being sick as an adult include having to worry about catching up on work. I'm fortunate that my team can cover for me but I still had to do about 2 hours worth of work. Which I did in a complete fog. So I hope there are no major mistakes! I have also found that the older I get the more sick I get. A cold that lasts Cameron a day or two knocks me out for a week.

The only silver lining? Well our dog, Charlie, would tell you that it's the fact he gets to sleep all day in bed with me. Lucky dog.

I hope this post made sense as my fog continues to grow. What do you dislike the most about being sick? Does your job have enough flexibility to allow for multiple sick days? I plan on being out tomorrow too with a meeting here or there.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Is this her veterinarian stage?

Cameron's language development is phenomenal. I can't count the number of words she knows (granted, only DH and I recognize a lot of them) but she is picking up one or two a day. Just today she learned the word "match" when I put her hair in a ponytail like mine. She also wanted to match me by wearing her sweatshirt and sneakers. Too cute!

A few pictures from warmer days in October. Here Cameron feeds carrots to the goats.

As you can see, she loved it. She fed both goats and then moved on to the rabbits. I am pretty sure we weren't supposed to be feeding the animals but at least it was just carrots.
Cameron has also been obsessed with wagons lately. I'm on the fence about getting one because I just don't think we'd use it that much. She pulled her pumpkin a good 100 feet before I took back over.

Cameron loves animals. No fear, regardless of whether it has feathers, fur or scales. We have been reinforcing that love with an increase in her vocabulary. When we were in Hilton Head, I picked up a box of picture cards. I took this video of DH "quizzing" Cameron on the cards. It is in two parts because like most kids, as soon as I said something and she realized we were filming her she decided not to do it any more. Cameron either knows the correct word, sound or gesture associated with the 16 animals in the deck. Check out her hand gestures for the word crab. Adorable!

I don't want to brag but I'm pretty impressed with Cameron's language development. Now on to sentences! When can I expect that to start?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Capitalizing on my super power

I have a super power. It's nothing special but occasionally I am able to leverage it in my favor, like I did on Tuesday night. DH and I were watching a backlog of Parenthood (a great show by the way and in danger of being canceled so add it to your TV list). Two characters met each other for the first time, one established and one new character. The new character was fairly hostile to the established one (trying not to give away plot points here!). I immediately piped up from my spot on the couch to tell DH, "Those two are totally getting together." He said, "No way. Why would you assume that? It's not going to happen."

True, I was half a glass of wine into the show but I held my ground. "OK, let's make a bet. Whoever is right has to plan a date night. Schedule the date, get the babysitter, pick the restaurant. Everything." DH, "I'm in." I should note that typically I plan our date nights (which are infrequent) so it was no skin off my back either way.

We finished the first episode which was rudely interrupted halfway through by 30 minutes of tornado warnings (thanks ABC!). Halfway through the second episode the established character kissed the new character. I chuckled evilly and said, "I won!" Insert your own bwah ha ha ha ha here. DH argued that the new character didn't reciprocate so we still had to wait and see. Fortunately, 15 minutes later the new character confessed his feelings. Vindicated!

So what exactly is my super power? Predicting plots. I developed this super power for several reasons:
  • I watched soap operas when I was younger (yes, Helen, I still check in on All My Children occasionally).
  • I was a Creative Writing major in college. I had to write and read fiction every single day.
  • I'm a voracious reader.
  • I watch a lot of TV.
  • Most TV writers are predictable and recycle plots constantly. Why do you think I respect shows like Veronica Mars so much?
  • There are actually on about a dozen real plots. OK, I may be making that up but I swear I heard somewhere that there are only a set number of possible plots (star crossed lovers, revenge, etc.) I tried to Google it and failed.
It's rare that I get to put my plot predicting skills into action. Mostly because I don't want to ruin it for other people (although DH is tolerant when I pause the TV and tell him my prediction...see above). But also because let's be honest, it's kind of a lame super power. With that said, I did manage to turn it to my advantage the other night so I count it a win.

So what is your super power?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Show me the mommy!

I was complaining to my husband the other night that despite all my weight loss, I didn't feel like I looked a lot skinnier (he of course assured me that I did and of course that I always looked beautiful regardless - aw!). So I decided to play along with "Show me the mommy" today and dug up a picture from last year's trip to Hilton Head and the one from this year. Holy smokes! I'm glad I did it because I can totally see the difference.

To date (since April) I've lost more than 40 pounds. I'm thisclose to reaching my goal and lifetime member status at Weight Watchers. I still have a ways to go to stay motivated with exercise but I'm glad to have lost the weight I have and know that's it's made me a heck of a lot healthier.

Hilton Head, October 2009
Hilton Head, October 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wrangling a toddler in Hilton Head

It's appropriate that we went to a farm and saw some tame animals while in Hilton Head visiting my parents. Because we have a wild animal on our hands lately! Cameron has entered the stubborn, whining, 5 AM wake up phase. And DH and I were sharing a room with her. At 5 AM on Friday I could hear Cameron saying, "All done, all done" for about 10 minutes. We ignored her and she did fall back asleep but this has been a pattern for the past 4 mornings. Not exactly something I was anticipating for a mini vacation in Hilton Head!

Growing up around a dog it's nice that Cameron has no fear of animals. She did get a little scared of the big horse. That was my fault as I showed her how to hold out her hand for the horse to sniff and it lipped at her hand looking for food. It didn't hurt her or anything but definitely scared her. I made her go back and pet the horse...the whole, "get back on the horse after you fall off" mentality.

We didn't realize that we could bring food with us to the petting zoo. A nice dad gave Cameron some carrots and she had no problem feeding the goats.
There was a tame deer wandering in the corridors that was a big hit with all the kids.
We attempted to recreate our family photo shoot from last year but a walking, talking toddler created a far different experience. We still got a few good shots in but there were a lot of deleted photos too.

Cameron loved the splash park area at the hotel. If you stand on the jet for a minute and then step away they would shot really far into the sky.
Besides feeding the animals, another first for Cameron was to get her own frozen drink from the bar pool. A virgin drink, of course, but never to early to start training her up! Right, Mom?
Cameron's shoe obsession continues unchecked. Here she tries on Grampy's shoes.
We didn't spend a lot of time at the beach because Cameron seems to really dislike sand. Especially wet sand.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Researching cold weather activities

Every weekend it is the same story. What can we do with Cameron to keep her occupied and wear her out? I've been looking into a few options around Charlotte and stumbled across a place a few miles from our house called Monkey Joe's. It's $5.99 for Cameron, free for me and DH. There are toddler friendly sections. Here are some videos and photos from our trip there on Saturday.

One of the reasons I'm spending time researching cold weather activities is because it is hard to find places that are kid proofed, not too expensive and easy to get to. So for all of my Charlotte readers, if you have any other suggestions for activities/locations, please comment!

It took Cameron a while to figure out how to walk on the bouncy floor but she didn't seem to mind falling down all the time. A good thing because as a toddler, she falls constantly.

Cameron loves the slide!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Fun: Photo Post

My sister told me that I had to hurry up and create a new blog post. Apparently she's sick of seeing the one about my doctor! Her wish is my command....

Cameron has finally moved out of 12 month clothing into 18 month. The pants vary in fit but I've had fun shopping for some new clothes. Her hair is also getting really long. I can now put it back in a pony tail although it often has to be redone throughout the day. That baby fine hair is hard to corral!

Like all toddlers, Cameron has a hard time sitting still. So I haven't gotten many good photos in a while. I try to get her to look at me and she insists on moving toward me. Now I have to be sneaky in how I take photos!

Cameron "helps" me to empty the dishwasher. I give her the task of putting away the Tupperware and she actually knows how to stack them and that the lids go on the top shelf and the containers on the bottom. DH is so proud! A cute new outfit picked out by DH. Yes, I had to help by selecting the coordinating pants but he did a great job finding this shirt at a consignment store.
A side view of a decent ponytail. I have no idea how my mom handled doing all 3 of our hair on a daily basis when we were kids! I think I need to learn how to do more interesting things with Cameron's hair. Perhaps when it's a little longer...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Liking my new-ish doctor

Today I had my annual physical. This is the second time I've been to this doctor. The first time I went was over a year ago and I was pretty miserable about my weight. True, I had Cameron less than 6 months before but I was still breastfeeding and feeling poorly that the weight wasn't coming off. Unlike all those famous people we read about that have no problem. I'm looking at you, Giselle!

This time I prepared myself for a better experience and got one. Sometimes it is really all in your mind but it helps that I've been proactive, not just with my weight, but also coming prepared with a lot of questions.

The last visit I couldn't wait to get out of there so I didn't really notice the good things about the office and my doctor. This time I did. I was called back to the room a few minutes before my appointment. I met with the nurse first and reviewed my recent history plus gave her the list of questions I had for the doctor. She took my stats and then told me that the doctor would be in soon. And guess what, he was! I'm as shocked as you are.

I figure that the office allows for 30 minute per patient. Because I had bunch of questions, plus my fun yearly girl exam, mine took more like 45 minutes. But my doctor never seemed concerned about the time or rushed me. It's kind of weird that he's my age (I'll probably find it weirder as I get older and the doctors are YOUNGER than me) but he was pleasant and I actually felt like I could talk to him more honestly than I even did with by OB.

I'm sure that it helps he gave me major kudos for my weight loss and gave actionable advice for my questions (nothing serious, don't worry!). It was probably one of my better doctor experiences in the past 10 years. So, what do you like/don't like about your primary care physician? Do you find if you don't like someone you try a new doctor or do you just stick with it for convenience? How do you normally find a new primary care physician? I found my doctor through a recommendation of a woman in my mom's group and I'm so glad she told me about him!

Final PSAs: Make sure you go with a list of questions. I jotted them down over the course of a few weeks which really helped. Also, it's flu shot season so even though DH refuses to get one, please get one for you and your kids!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Fun: What's on my Season Pass

Fall TV officially commenced this week. DH and I spent time pouring through the special double issue of Entertainment Weekly and picked out the shows we wanted to watch individually or as a couple. Let me state for the record that DH thinks he is going to watch far too many shows with me this year. The Yankees are guaranteed a spot in the MLB post season. Which means he is tied up 6 nights a week watching baseball. So I have a feeling many of the "us" shows will become Stacey shows. Any takers on that bet?

House - DH stopped watching this show for a while but got sucked back in last season. I'm looking forward to seeing some growth from the grumpy doctor this season given his new relationship with Cuddy. At least one can hope, right? Plus Amber Tamblyn is joining and I have loved her since Joan of Arcadia.

The Mentalist - I'm kind of bleh on this show. The main character comes of as smarmy a lot of the time. Although very, very pretty to look at. DH calls him the "smiler." Because it is a CBS show, I can't watch it on Hulu which is why it is on my Season Pass. For now. This is a Stacey only show.

How I Met Your Mother - I will always watch this show but this season the writers better put their money where their mouths are and start progressing the storyline. 'kay? DH likes this show too.

Fringe - My X-Files type show that DH likes too. A win/win. We had about 10 episodes saved this summer and blew through them pretty quickly. I'm looking forward to more alternate universe story lines.

Gossip Girl - What can I say, I love watching rich people and their "problems". I hate the Dan-has-a-baby storyline but other than that, it's all about the fashion, booze and sex. Love it. Need I mention that DH derides this show constantly?

Bones - Another show I started watching because of a Buffy alum. I think it's hysterical how much goo and gore gets worked into the episodes. And the "will they/won't they" storyline isn't annoying at all.

Private Practice - I'm totally only loyal to this show because of Addison. And I love looking at Taye Diggs. Here's hoping the story lines get better.

Grey's Anatomy - I'm impressed that DH has stuck with this show. I thought for sure that the soapiness would have turned him off long ago. Grey's still manages to choke me up on a regular basis. So it will stay on my Season Pass for a long time.

Modern Family - You all watch this so enough said.

The Good Wife - Finally a good vehicle for Mr. Big and Julianne Marguilles. Great supporting cast (including Logan from Gilmore Girls) and a great feminist vibe. DH does not watch this one.

Glee - Dare I admit it? This show is getting a little old for me. I actually fast forwarded through most of the songs from this week's episode. I'll keep it on the list and hope that the Brittney Spears episode brings me back around. I'm sure your not surprised to hear that it's a Stacey only show.

Cougar Town - Totally underrated and actually had a good guest appearance by Jennifer Aniston. Check it out. Seriously, despite the terrible name it's a good show and it's nice to see a Friends alumnus getting a regular paycheck.

Parenthood - I thought that Maura Tierney would be excellent as Sarah but I also love Lorelai. I mean Lauren Graham. Easy mistake, right? You can tell that a lot of it is ad libbed and sometimes the shouting and talking over each other can be painful. But DH and I both like it.

Castle - I had a void in my Monday nights so I filled it with this light fluff. Another Joss Whedon alum stars and I love him. If anyone watches this, can you confirm if the female lead is pregnant or not? There were some suspiciously roomy shirts and shoulders up camera work.

Blue Bloods - DH is making me DVR this. I doubt I will watch it but I'll save at least 5 episodes for him before they get deleted forever. If you are excited about this show, please tell me why to like it. I might give it a shot.

Undercovers - I have a sneaking suspicion that this show will be an early cancellation. Not a lot of buzz despite a massive ad campaign. Poor J.J. - at least he has the DVD release of Lost to console himself. DH claims he will watch this show with me but I don't buy it.

The Whole Truth - Only because it has Maury Tierney and Rob Morrow. Yes, DH and I were one of the few who watched Numbers. Get over it. This will be a "bottom of the pile" show unless the first episode is really good.

The Event - Please, please, please be my new Lost. Another show DH thinks he will watch but considering he made fun of Lost (are they found yet?) and never watched Flash Forward I think I'll be watching it solo.

Detroit 1-8-7 - This is all DH. I will not watch it. Never liked Sopranos. Don't like the main actor. Zero interest.

No Ordinary Family - Please, please, please don't suck like Heros.

Terriers - Another DH cop show. Bleh.

Hawaii Five-O - A last minute add after the rave reviews I read online. There is the Battlestar Galatica connection as well as Lost.

Shows I watch on Hulu because of conflicts: Chuck, 30 Rock, Community

OK, written out, that is a heck of a lot of shows. However, we don't watch movies so TV is basically my main entertainment. So please don't just the quantity too harshly, OK? Also, I have a feeling quite a few will be cancelled soon or drop off my Season Pass because of suckiness.

What do you like this season? What are your recurring favorites? Am I an insane American TV watcher? Inquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Daddy/Daughter time

I am watching the last episode of Gilmore Girls while blogging at 3:30 PM. How, you may ask, is that possible? Because DH took Cameron to Freedom Park so that I could have a little down time. Can I just say how much I love daddy/daughter time? It will definitely become a regular occurrence in this house!

Cameron has her 18 month well appointment tomorrow so I'll update her stats as soon as I can. I predict a perfectly average munchkin which is great. In the meantime, I'm off to enjoy the peace and quiet and secretly miss not being at the park with my husband and daughter.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Setting personal goals

First, my apologies for the crazy header. I'm having troubling resizing images down in Adobe Photoshop so if anyone wants to email me with advice, I would appreciate it. It's supposed to be picture of me with Cameron but as you can see, I didn't make the cut. Second, this is my 400 post! It’s crazy to think how my life has changed since I started with my first post on September 23, 2008. I’ve lived through home renovation projects, job changes and the biggest impact of all, my wonderful daughter, Cameron. But this post won’t be about looking back, it’s focused on evaluating where I would like to be personally. Professionally is a whole other post.

I’ve been trying to make some life changes over the past 6 months. At the end of March I re-joined Weight Watchers. I was fairly successful the first go around when I planned on getting pregnant. My doctor and I agreed that I should lose some weight before getting pregnant. In 4 months I managed to drop 20 pounds, left the WW program and got pregnant. As I mentioned before, I gave myself a year to lose the baby weight. The first 15 pounds came off pretty easily (thanks, breastfeeding!) but that remaining 15 pounds clung. And to be frank, it clung because I didn’t make healthy choices. I can blame it on sleep deprivation but Cameron was sleeping through the night by six months old. I can blame it on the craziness of juggling parenting and work but that’s just an excuse. I found that I needed the structure of a weight loss program. So back to WW I went.

To date, I have lost 31 pounds. Not too shabby. More importantly I have regained the clothes size I was prior to business school. Free lunches coupled with crazy hours and too much drinking meant that I wasn’t exactly healthy in business school so the weight climb started then. The problem is that it is too easy for me to slip back into bad habits. Swing by McDonald’s on the weekend for lunch? Why not? Take Cameron to Dairy Queen for a treat? Sure. Have more drinks than I probably should on the weekend? Of course. The challenge is that even after 5 months in Weight Watchers I know that I still have more weight to lose and I still think of it as a diet rather than a lifestyle choice.

Over the past two weeks I have lost nothing. In fact I went up a little bit one week. One week I can consider a fluke. But two? No, something else needs to be done to get me over the hump and start focusing on my health long term. The first thing I’m trying to do is track my points religiously. I’ll admit it: for the past month I’ve really been mentally tracking my points rather than on the iPhone. It’s easy to fudge things when I’m not recording my food intake. I’ve been starting off really well each day and somehow lose my motivation in the evenings and of course, on the weekends.

The second thing I’m trying to do is incorporate exercise into my regular routine. As many of you know, I loathe exercise. Intellectually I understand that it will give me more energy, will improve my overall heath and help with weight loss. But I hate doing it. A few weeks ago I was ready to leave the JCC and try to just walk in the evenings. With the cooler weather and a daughter who is in bed at 6:30 PM (jealous?) it’s doable. I was getting bored with my swimming routine and usually only made it to the gym once a week. But on Sunday I took Cameron to the gym daycare and hit the actual gym vs. the pool. I enjoyed my own personal TV screen and it was a much faster process because I came right from home in my workout clothes and didn’t have to shower and change right after.

Last night I surprised myself (and DH) by going back. I haven't worked out during the week once since I joined. I am a little concerned because I didn’t feel like I got a lot of “down time” last evening and I don't want that to affect my motivation. I am an early to bed type of person (usually no later than 9:30 PM) so between dinner, working out, a little TV with DH and bed it just wasn’t a relaxing evening. With that written, I’m still really glad I went and want to be able to incorporate it into my routine more regularly. I’d love to be able to go during the work day but that’s not feasible. Instead I have to rely on DH to make and clean up dinner so I can hit the gym. I usually put Cameron down for bed and DH cooks and I clean up. Of course this means he has an hour of uninterrupted time to watch his beloved Yankees so I’m sure DH won’t complain too much about shouldering the cooking/cleaning during the week.

So my goals for the next three months? Lose another 10-15 pounds. Exercise regularly. Drink more water (I'm trying those Chrystal Light individual packages since water is boring for me).Try new foods. And KEEP TRACK OF POINTS!! Any advice or empathy from my readers? If the gym routine goes well should I look into a personal training for a few sessions?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A trip to Dan Nicholas Park

DH and I were motivated on Saturday morning and decided to take a little road trip an hour north of Charlotte to the Dan Nicholas Park. I'm normally leery of taking more than 30 minutes to get somewhere for an outing with Cameron. Mostly because I'm a control freak and need to make sure that she naps at the same time every day. Also because I'm lazy. But I did a Google search on petting zoos in the Charlotte region and this was the best one.

Once we figured out where to go (the signage at the park was very poor) we had an absolute blast. Cameron LOVED the animal barn and spent almost an hour there. A rain shower arrived at the perfect time for us to pack up and head back to Charlotte. I had lots of snacks with the hope that Cameron would stay awake for most of the hour drive back. She loved the snacks but literally fell asleep mid-bite about 10 minutes into the drive.

A fun trip results in lots of cute, photos, right? Right. So enjoy!

The sheep fascinated Cameron, especially when they started "talking" and she could say "baaaaaa" back to them.

A nice stranger offered to take our picture in these cutouts.
The carousal moved pretty quickly and Cameron seemed to enjoy riding her first "horse."
This squirrel somehow managed to get into the turkey's cage to steal some food.

A successful trip and an exhausted toddler.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A lovely Labor Day weekend

It was especially lovely because I got to sleep in twice this weekend. Thanks, DH! We had a great time with Cameron and our visiting friends. We taught them how to play Pitch, which is the best card game ever according to DH. If you grew up in Springfield, MA then there is a good chance you know how to play it.

DH and I love to play cards. Or really pretty much any game. Pitch is the perfect game to play with two couples. It is designed for 4 people. If you are interested in learning how to play, we have a spare guestroom and plenty of alcohol on hand. So feel free to come visit us in Charlotte! Another incentive is the cuteness of Cameron. Below are some photos from a visit to a playground.