Amy M.

July 01, 2008

My "preterm labor" baby story

baby girl

I will never forget all of the planning and charting and waiting and charting...did I mention charting?  Our first attempt at conceiving was unsuccessful.  It ended up in a lot of weeping, depression and a D&C.  Our second attempt was planned to a "T".  As a matter of fact, I can tell you who, what, where, when and how.  I suppose the most important thing here is the "who", right?

I tried not to be anxious.  I tried to wait for at least a day after my missed period to test.  My patience wore thin and I grabbed that test and gave it my best shot (literally).  I waited and watched and it didn't take long for those two little lines to appear.  I felt relieved and nervous.  After the ordeal I had just went through three months earlier, I wasn't sure I could handle the stress again.

Fast forward eight weeks and I began sobbing as soon as I saw that little flicker of a beating heart on the ultrasound monitor.  That little flicker wasn't the only indication of a life blooming inside of me, I was sick as a dog.  It wasn't easy keeping our news from the family but we wanted more time to let the thought of becoming parents sink in.

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June 19, 2008

Kicking and screaming with nowhere to go

temper

My husband and I were all ready to have a nice, quiet, productive evening.  As soon as that little hand hits the seven and the big hand hits the twelve, we know the battle is about to begin.  We try to play it smooth and cautious, giving out subtle "hints" that it's almost "that time".  My heart begins to race because I know there will be some form of debate and negotiating that must be done.  I prepare my mind for what the offering could be if she will go to bed "like a big girl".  What does that even mean?  I consider myself a big girl and I have a hard time going to bed at a certain time too.

But I digress.  The clock was ticking and time was running out.  On this particular night, I needed to come up with a fool proof master plan.  This, people, takes time AND energy.  Both of which are very limited in my world right now.

We turned off all forms of entertainment and distractions in the house and cuddled on the living room floor while her daddy grabbed a couple of books.  Thumb was in the mouth, blankie held tight in hand (I'm referring to her this time).  I successfully managed to slip on the jammies and after the last book,

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June 04, 2008

Parent vs. Toddler vs. Parent

pouty

Parenting a two and a half year old has proven to be quite the challenge.  To marathon runners I say, "I don't need to run a marathon.  I have a toddler".  We've entered the stage where the toddler has decided that she runs the show..or at least "thinks" she does.  I sit here, as she screams bloody murder through the monitor.  She's doing it again.  She does not want to nap.  She did not want to sleep last night.  We were awake for about four hours with her in the middle of the night.  She wouldn't tell us what was wrong.  She would only point her finger in our faces and say, "I NOT going to sleep ANYMORE!"  I can  only assume she may have had too much sugar and napped for too long yesterday.  The daily routine has been working just fine but all of the sudden, we are having major issues around bedtime and nap time.

This new change is making it very hard for me to concentrate, especially since I work from home.  I could turn off the monitor but that doesn't stop the echo of wails and banging fists on the crib rails, which we just  re-attached to the toddler bed at three a.m. this morning.  That was all we could think to do, after putting her back to bed a countless number of times of her getting up, screaming and following us back into our room.  I question what could be the matter.  Could she have had a nightmare?  A stomach ache?  Could she be thirsty?  I've made an attempt to soothe her by rubbing her back and her tummy. But that's not it.  She just doesn't want to sleep.  She wants to test us.  She wants to see how far she can push us.

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May 23, 2008

Biting off more than I can chew

apple

My days are planned out for me before I even wake up in the morning.  I have a list of to-do's in my mind that never seem to get done.  Let me re-phrase that.  I have "multiple" to-do lists in my mind.  It doesn't help much for me to write things down because I end up ignoring them anyway.  My brain isn't very happy with me and I'm physically worn out.  I'm biting off more than I can chew, in a sense.

I've always been a busy-body.  I don't remember a time when I've ever really been bored or not had something to do.  I always say that I have a lot of pent up creative energy and can never figure out what it truly is that I want to do.  So I do little things, a lot of little things, in the hopes that one of these little things will become my "niche".  For the longest time, I have been trying to figure out what my talent is.  I've gone on thinking that I really don't have a specific talent.  Not sure why I think that we all should have one but that's just the way I think.

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May 12, 2008

Chicago, don't take away our music!

stop the chicago promoters ordinance

This Wednesday, the Chicago City Council will vote to approve an ordinance that will completely damage  Chicago’s thriving music scene.  This is UNACCEPTABLE.

I have lived in the Chicago area for the past 11 years and do you know what brought me here?  The MUSIC and ARTS scene.  Had it not been for places like The Fireside Bowl (referencing Wikipedia, where my husband's old band is actually listed), The Empty Bottle, The Double Door, Schubas (where we take our toddler to see family-friendly matinée shows with bands like The Terrible Twos), Metro and so on.  Oddly enough, I posted about the music and venues I love right around this time last year.  Honestly, I probably would not have met my husband it weren't for our love of music and the venues mentioned above.  I have spent countless nights congregating at these establishments and never once have I felt like I was in any danger.  The staff at these venues obviously care very much about the people in attendance and take every precaution to ensure everyone's safety.  I know this first-hand.

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April 29, 2008

American Idol: The Top Five Sing Neil Diamond

idolHere we are, nearing the end of Idol Season 7.  I've been missing in action for a month and a half on my updates but will pick up right where I left off.

I'm only slightly surprised at two of the fallen idols  who didn't make it further into the competition.  Those two would be Michael Johns and Carly Smithson.  Although, I think that the guys who have made it this far do belong in the top five.  The girls, eh, not so much.  I would have been happy to see Carly make it further toward the end.  I liked Michael; I didn't think he was uber fantastic but he was definitely a consistent performer.  No worries.  We'll see him around again, I'm sure.  I'll never forget that chiseled face and adorable Aussie accent.

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April 17, 2008

Welcome to St. Marys, Mr. Clinton!

stmaryspa

I just heard the news that former President, Bill Clinton will be in my hometown of St. Marys, PA today (Thursday)!  This is EXCITING news for my itty bitty home city!  After speaking with more people about his visit, I  realize why the Clinton party may be heading into our pretty little city and the surrounding cities and towns, possibly because of a few remarks that Barack Obama made in San Francisco the other day?  Now, I've been in my own little world these days, what with starting a full-time job and whatnot, but I have searched around and found this post over at Politico.com that has captured, in full, Obama's remarks on small towns in PA and the Midwest.

Even though I have my opinion, I am not going to comment on Barack's remarks right at this moment because I need to educate Mr. Bill about St. Marys!

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March 23, 2008

SAHM turns CM

**First of all, Happy Easter!  To me, Easter is a time to celebrate the beginning of the Spring season.**

zutano

"CM" is my made up acronym for "career mom" because I'm not sure what to label myself from here on out. I've spent the last two and a half years tending to my toddler on a daily basis. Watching her grow, learning with her and just enjoying life in general.  I am obviously not giving that up but I am now hanging up my "track suit" in exchange for some new business suits and trying to pick up where I left off before I brought my beautiful daughter into the world.

Ultimately, I knew this day would come. One just cannot live in the Chicago suburbs on a single income alone, in a home that refuses to sell in this market. I tend to believe that things happen "for a reason".  I realize the first few weeks of this transition will be equally as hard for my toddler as it will be for me but she will soon get over it, go on about her day playing with new playmates and know that I will return to pick her up. I, on the other hand, will probably sit and stare at a photograph of her on my new desk, longing to just sit and hold her or take her to the zoo or to the park.  Is that the working mother's reality?  I will sure miss my freedom to come and go as I please and discover new things right along with her.

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March 15, 2008

If one were to wed in the Windy City

proposal

My sister-in-law just got engaged and is planning a Spring 2009 wedding.  I've been married going on 50 years now, just kidding, it will actually be six years for me this August.  That being said, I haven't been in the wedding market for quite some time now, so I'm a little rusty.  My, my, how time flies when you're  gaining weight and having babies.

Back in the day when my husband proposed to me, we (or I) had already decided that we would get married in my hometown in Pennsylvania.  That is where the majority of my HUGE family lives and it's always been important to me to get married in the same church I grew up in.  My sister-in-law will marry in the city, that is, provided there are any "openings" a year from now.  I don't know anything about planning a wedding in the city of Chicago.  The one thing I do know is how quickly churches and venues book up and how much more expensive it is to wed here as opposed to in a town where the population doesn't exceed 14,000.

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March 11, 2008

American Idol: The Top 12 Sing The Beatles

idolI'm going to go ahead and get my main American Idol spoiler over right now.  Either David Hernandez or Kristy Lee Cook is going home after tomorrow night.  I'll get to my reasons why in a bit.

Overall, tonight's show was pretty entertaining.  Everyone was getting a little crazy and what was up with Ryan Seacrest mosh pitting around the stage with Chikezie?  Soon he'll be wearing a mohawk.  Speaking of mohawk's, when will David Cook bring back his?  I'm all about that David Cook boy.

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March 09, 2008

You want to talk social?

social network confusion

I just clicked over from reading my favorite Techmama and wanted to comment on her latest entry, "Compete's Top Ten Social Networks" in which she inspired me to jot down my social networking thoughts.

I know I'm probably preaching to the choir here but just hear me out.  Let's say you have five friends.  Two of those friends have profiles on Facebook, two are on Myspace and one frequents hi5.  Are you going to activate accounts on all three networks just to leave comments for your five friends about the latest episode of American Idol?  Talk about social networking overload.  Unless the top social networking site guru's create something similar to the package like Trillian from Cerulean Studios where you can access all of your instant messaging accounts with one log in, then color me logged out (no pun intended).  I predict this won't happen any time soon, as there is too much of a rivalry going on between Tom Anderson and Mark Zuckerburg for whose site is more "pimp".  Ah...I kid, I kid.  I don't know if there is really a rivalry or not but in my opinion, I think the social networking band wagon has reached full capacity.

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March 07, 2008

American Idol: Who are the top 12?

american idolWow, has it been two weeks already?  Here I am, your slack-a-riffic American Idol reporter.  Actually, I haven't been slacking, I've been busy checking out a new Chicagoland water resort and whatnot.  It's the whatnot that has kept me the busiest.

So, tonight's American Idol results didn't come as a HUGE surprise to me.  Do I still have to tell you that I'm the spoiler?  I was on the phone with Jill, letting the cat out of the bag when she stopped me and I realized that we are on different time zones.  Woops, sorry girl!  Well, the cat's coming out of the bag right now...

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February 27, 2008

Transition from Nursery to Big Girl Room

RoomI've had an itch to do some redecorating, so I thought I'd make a few changes to my toddler's room.  When we initially decorated her room, we did it so that we wouldn't have to make "too" many changes as she got older.  We stuck with a butterflies and bugs theme, which is now sort of transforming into a princess theme.  If you would have told me that my little girl would have a princess room five years ago, I would have laughed in your face.  Not MY little girl.  Nope.  No way.  She was going to be a little retro/punk/non-girly...girl.  well let me just tell you, the minute we were told, "It's a girl!" on that ultrasound table, the smile on my face just stretched from ear-to-ear and thoughts of the color pink and flowers and butterflies just raced across my mind.  I even apologized to my husband saying, "I'm sorry but this is where all of your money is going to go."  He kept his gaze on the monitor as if trying to look for the slightest indication that the ultrasound tech might be mistaken.  Don't get me wrong, he adores that little girl like no one else could but he knew what he was in for.

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February 26, 2008

American Idol: The Top 10 Boys

Ai*Alright, ya'll know that I'm the spoiler if you've set your DVRs and Tivos to catch the show later on.  Do not read further to hear all about tonight's American Idol show.

Amy M. here, live blogging from my couch while watching American Idol.  Seriously though, to the producers of Amercan Idol, I could totally live blog for you FROM American Idol.  I'm available asap.  Call me.  We'll talk.

Without further ado, here is my play-by-play opinion on tonight's Top 10 Boy Contestants:

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February 22, 2008

American Idol: The First Four Voted Off

Warning: Spoiler ahead.  If you haven't watched tonight's show, I'm about to ruin it for you.

I wasn't planning to report on all things American Idol here at the Chicago Mom's Blog but I've invested enough time in Season 7 thus far that I feel like it's my rightful duty to spark up some conversation about the show.  I should really be writing about Lost, my all-time favorite t.v. show.  It's amazing and has me more and more lost (no pun intended).

Tonight on Idol, the first four contestants were eliminated and I can say that I was not surprised about the two guys who were voted off but was a little surprised at one of the girls who was sent home.

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February 21, 2008

Ameican Idol: Top 12 Women and They're So Stylish!

AaHey, weren't they the Top 12 "Women" last night?  At any rate, the girls have made their mark on tonight's show and the voting lines are open.  I wasn't extremely thrilled with any particular contestant's performance this evening.  I hope they all bring it in their upcoming performances.

Tonight, my favorites were:

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February 20, 2008

American Idol: Top 12 Boys and My Secret Crush is Revealed!

Ai_2Alright, I'm very proud of myself for getting through all of the crazy American Idol Season 7 auditions and Hollywood week.  Generally after the first couple of audition episodes they lose this Chicago Mom, but not this time.  I have taken an interest in the musical talent this year.  Tonight was Idol's "Top 12 Boy" performances.  My toddler now knows that "Tuesday night is mommy's t.v. night".

My favorites tonight were:

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February 19, 2008

Lots of blogs, so little time

AmyMy toddler and I were kicked down big time last week with major flu-like colds.  Seems like when that happens, I just completely lose all interest in being a human being.  I'd much rather just become a statue and not be bothered.  I just want to curl up on the couch with my tea and close my eyes.  But then there's my Google Reader.  It's always right there, staring at me saying, "Read me, Amy.  Come on, you know you HAVE to."  Notice I didn't type "want" to.  Because more or less, reading blogs has become a chore for me.  1, 4, 10, 48...the unread posts all start adding up and the more overwhelmed I get.  I feel like I'm being "unfair" (to God-knows who) if I only skim past the list of posts in my Reader.  I don't dare mark them as "read" if I haven't even skimmed them.  My mind might self-destruct if I do that.

Then there are the comments.  Oh, the comments.  How I love to leave them and read them.  I like to leave my "mark", if you will, on the post letting my friends and acquaintances know that I've been there.  I've read what you had to say.  You made me laugh.  You made me cry.  Here are my two cents.

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February 11, 2008

Am I being punished for my choice?

AmySuper Tuesday arrived and I was going to vote come hell or high water. Hell didn't come but the high water did. I swear, if we get any more precipitation around here, my house is going to float away.

The weather was so nasty last Tuesday and the bug seemed to sleep extra long. I actually had to wake her up to make sure I was able to get out and vote. Fortunately, our voting place is right down the street at our fire station (literally, I can walk there). I was afraid we may have to wait in a long line, so we left the house prepared. We had carrots and dip, milk, goldfish, cheese sticks and the DVD player. Oh yeah, I was ready. Well, we got there and happened to be second in line, so I didn't have to break out much of the toddler survival kit.

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January 30, 2008

Some think we're not that influential

AmyI just read THIS article in The New York Times about a contact from Target's PR telling the blogosphere, in a nutshell, to buzz off.  They simply do not feel that they owe explanations to bloggers or "nontraditional media outlets".  But I really think they were just missing the point of one parent consumer's valid concern.  The concern of our children and the way the media targets them in sometimes subtle, sometimes obviously  sexual ways.  I think they may end up walking away with their tail between their legs  on this one.

Amy Jussel, Founder and Executive Director of Shaping Youth, a forum about media and marketing's influence on kids, merely expressed her concern and displeasure, as a parent and consumer, to Target's PR regarding a 20'x20'  billboard in Times Square of a woman spread-eagle with mainly her crotch in the center of Target's red bull's eye logo.

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January 29, 2008

Thinking about thirty

I had a revelation the other day while in the shower.  I'm thirty.  This is not new news by any means, as I have been age thirty for three whole months now.  I've also never been one to fret about her age.  I remember when my sister-in-law turned twenty-five.  She said she felt that she had reached a milestone.  A milestone?  Like you should be carded at bars anymore?  Like new wrinkles and gray hairs?  I don't know, I've had gray hairs since I was at least twenty-three.  But thirty.  Say it with me, "thirty".  Thirty is different I've decided.  A lot has happened to me in thirty years.

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January 23, 2008

Major reassurance needed [or] Pass me a tissue

My bright, 26 month old toddler will spend her first "real" trial day of daycare this Thursday.  I previously visited this daycare when I attempted to go back to work last year.  It seems fine but truthfully, I don't know what I'm looking for.  I mean, it's a classroom environment and it's the cheapest I've found.  I'm having a hard time getting used to the fact that next time we visit the daycare, I will leave her there.  She will be afraid and confused and not know anyone.  She will wonder if I'm ever coming back.  She will feel alone.  My overwhelming sense of needing to protect her is making it extremely hard for me to be excited about starting a new job.

When we visited the daycare, I remember walking into the toddler classroom and all of these little people were sitting around tables, eating goldfish crackers and drinking from little Dixie cups.  They seemed lifeless.

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January 20, 2008

Hit by Cupid's Arrow

I've never really made too big of a deal about Valentine's Day.  Back in high school, you could purchase a carnation in three different colors; red meant "I love you", pink meant "I like you" and white meant "Friends".  I don't recall ever receiving a red carnation.  Once, a boy gave me a stuffed bunny and when you press it, the heart would beat.  He dumped me shortly thereafter.

Fast forward twelve years and I'm finally really looking forward to February 14th.  It's all because of my toddler and how much love I feel for her.  V-day is so cute for kids.  I'm looking forward to gathering a bunch of arts and craft supplies and making a day of assembling gifts for the grandparents and relatives.  I also happen to have a couple of non-cavity causing gift ideas for the kiddos.

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January 17, 2008

I am the worst mother ever

PoolOk, maybe that's an exaggeration but I really feel like a waste today.  I've done absolutely nothing.  My toddler has been watching television show after television show while I trudge around the house in my Graco slippers and a scowl on my face.  It could be the bitter cold Midwestern weather or it could be getting close to that time of the month.  Either way, I'm good for nothin' today.

So, why do I feel like I'm a horrible mother?  Just this one day out of the week, I want to crawl into a hole and hide.  Why am I putting so much pressure on myself, just making myself feel worse than I already do?

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January 16, 2008

Season Seven is Upon Us

Oh America, it's that time again.  Turn on Fox and turn down the volume, because season seven of American Idol should prove to be no less annoying enjoyable than the first six.  Although, these goof balls who come out to audition can still make my jaw drop and a chuckle or two come out.  Seriously though...SERIOUSLY.  I know that these networks need the ratings but come on people!  How could you go back to your day job after being humiliated on national television?  I realize for some of you, it's a big joke amongst your friends and family to make it on the show and act like a complete dork but for those of you who really cannot hold a tune?  What gives?  I also wonder if Simon will come up with some new, witty degrading comments for the auditions this season?

Ahhh, anyway.  I'll be watching Idol on a weekly basis.  Tonight, the first night, there were definitely some promising hopefuls.  I'll look forward to seeing and hearing them again in Hollywood.  I think I did a pretty good job last season of picking out the contestants who I thought would go far.  Let's see if I've still got the knack this season.  Should be an adventure!

January 04, 2008

I don't DO resolutions

I can't believe 2007 is over.  Sure, that's a statement I make most every year but this time, I really can't believe it.  To remember quite vividly everything that happened each month of this past year means that it really did fly by for me.

2007 didn't start off on a very good note and in a way, did not end on a very good note.  We lost loved ones at the beginning of the year, attempted to sell our house for a good part of the year and racked up way more credit card bills than I can stomach by the end of the year.  Still, I don't do new year's resolutions.

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December 29, 2007

Staring at white lines

We left the house around 7:15 pm.  Usually, I'm exhausted from a day of packing and cleaning and caring for our toddler but I was able to sneak in a two hour nap in the afternoon, so I could stay awake longer on the road.  Generally I'm asleep after about an hour into the trip.  I offered to drive because my husband just got off the road from his forty-five minute commute home from work.

We started out on our normal route out east on I-55 North and then took the brand new I-355 extension south to I-80.  It was smooth sailing.  I was driving, the toddler was quietly watching a movie in the backseat of the SUV and the husband was relaxing in the passenger seat.

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December 09, 2007

Move over, mama

When I call home during my break at work, she's resting her head on daddy's lap while he rubs her back.  When I get home from work, the dishes are done and she's helped him.  When I knock on her door in the morning, she asks if it's "daddy?" at the door.  Some days, I feel like all that I'm good for is putting her down for her nap and dropping her off at the sitter's house.

Truth of the matter is, my husband is good.  He's real good.  I've never once had to worry about him caring for our daughter.  Since I've started my part-time/full-time job, he has seamlessly assumed the roll of "mom".  They are buddies now, he tells ME now what she's done all day (or night, rather) and that SHE will read certain parts of that book or that's not the way THEY do it.  Our roles have changed and I suppose that's taking a little getting used to on my part.

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December 07, 2007

We are family, like it or not

I happen to be very fortunate and grew up in a loving home with a big family.  I'm the youngest of eight children, all boys and then me.  My brothers would come and go as I was growing up, moving in and out of state.  People always asked me how it was growing up with all of those boys around and truthfully, I don't remember.  I was so young when everyone was coming and going. We all got a little older and my brothers married and started having children.  I always thought things were perfect.  New families, new traditions.  But then, things started to fall apart and there were separations and broken familes.  It was hard for me to understand these situations because I knew that my parents would never split up.

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November 19, 2007

Dodge Loves Me Not?

Amy_mA short time ago, members of my beloved collective mom blogs were contacted by Matchstick about test driving a brand new 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan.  I jumped on the wagon fashionably late, as usual.  I became excited about the thought of testing the fancy new minivan.  I thought to myself, "Hey, I'm a cool online mom who drives (everywhere).  I'm a social and influential mom in the Chicago area (my  middle name is "social").  I can provide feedback (and lots of it) about my experience".  Anyone who knows me knows that if I like something, they can't shut me up about it.  Another reason I want to test out this vehicle is because my husband and I will be in the market for a new automobile in the near future.  What a great way to whet our appetite, to put a vehicle to test that we weren't really going to consider purchasing.  He said, "NO WAY will we EVER drive a minivan".  It took some coaxing on my part and the fact that we'd have this minivan at our disposal for a week, to convince him to give in to the thought.

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November 15, 2007

A very "techie" holiday

The holiday season is creeping up slowly upon us and I'm starting to get in the gift-giving mode.  What will the lucky recipients receive from us this year?  Buying for family has always been a stressful thing for me.  My husband takes the backseat on this one.  In fact, if it were up to him, no one would get anything or they would get something really cheesy, picked up the day before Christmas and wrapped in newspaper.  I, on the other hand, love to shoot for the most unique gifts, ones that say, "I took the time to pick this out just for YOU".  I'm kind of into those personalized gifts.

Putting all of this thought into the perfect gift gives me a headache though.  It's a challenge to top what I've purchased the year before.  The expectations have been set and I must follow through.  Let the gift-giving season begin!

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November 14, 2007

Lil' ol' me on national t.v.! - Update

UPDATE: Here is the link to the video of the show.

When I opened the email about a possible interview for a nationally broadcast television show, I thought, "That would be neat".  When I received the phone call that they were driving the 30 miles out to my house in the suburbs to film an interview, I thought, "Holy cow!  I need to clean!"  So, right away I jumped into the shower, then put the babe in the bath and made about a zillion phone calls.  The first being to my husband to tell him to high-tail it home from work and the second to my mom.  Who doesn't call their mom when they are going to be on national t.v.?

An hour later, the main floor of my tri-level townhome was sparkling clean while the other two floors left little to be desired.  Luckily, I needed to clean the house anyway for a couple of showings tomorrow because we're still on the market.  The doorbell rang and I was as ready as I could be to let in the cameraman.

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October 11, 2007

Where is the nearest fat farm?

PiggyThere is seriously something wrong with my stomach.  I am not surprised, however, with all of the stress that's been piling up lately.  My nerves go right to my stomach.  They always have.  All day, my stomach was distended.  I looked 5 months pregnant.  Nothing makes me feel more horrible than my gut sticking out.

I have a treadmill in my basement.  What is my problem?  I just find myself too exhausted to exercise *cough*cop out *cough*.  I've never been more afraid of how fat I feel and look than right now.  I do not have will power.  Food is an addiction for me, it's comfort.  Unfortunately when I'm stressed I don't turn away from food, it draws me near.  It's a lose-lose situation for me, no pun intended.  When am I really going to wake up and make a change with my diet?  I eat junk constantly.  I think about health, eating healthy and exercising.  But when it comes down to it, I find myself sitting on the couch or reaching for that next bag of tortilla chips to "fill the void".

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October 08, 2007

A Sweltering 30th Anniversary

1515916282_11cd2e264c_mFour and a half hours, an aching back and five blisters later, we had survived the Chicago Marathon.  Oh, we didn't run, we were just spectators.  This year's Chicago Marathon will surely be talked about for years to come.

The temperature had reached the 70 degree mark by 7:30 am and was rapidly increasing by the time we reached the three mile marker.  We were able to catch the elite runners as they swished past us in a blur.  We were there to support my sister-in-law, Emily (bib number 37131) and her fiance' Tim (bib number 36172), as well as the 35,865 other athletes who showed up to run this year's 30th anniversary race.

We cheered for all of the runners on the course, some by name and some by sponsor.  We love this event because of the inspiring and energized atmosphere that surrounds it.  However, this year was a little different.

Continue reading "A Sweltering 30th Anniversary " »

October 05, 2007

Raising the devil's daughter

ForkMy toddler is just O.O.C. these days.

I don't generally eat at fast food places like McDonalds, Wendys or Burger King but today I just needed a quick lunch so I could get her down for a nap.  Let me backtrack for a minute...the kid woke up on the wrong side of the crib this morning.  She's been a terror all morning.  NOTHING is making her happy.  My guess is that something is hurting her.  Whether it's her body or her teeth, it has to be something.  I know she's going through growing pains and we just can't understand that as adults.  Days like this, you almost HAVE to give them whatever they want to calm them down.  Although, I am keeping the sugary stuff away from her.

So, we get to Wendys and she's a MESS.  She's screaming and flailing.  I forgot to put shoes on her feet.  Yeah.  I did.  My thoughts kept moving toward what the restaurant patrons were thinking of us.  Here I am, in my jeans, cheesy pink Urlacher jersey and tiny hair up in a half pony tail on my head and then there's my kid, un-brushed hair,  shoeless and screaming.  I was the perfect resemblance of suburban white trash.

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October 03, 2007

What am I?

Amy_mLet's see, how shall I begin?  Let's just start here.  I know NOTHING about politics.  As a matter of fact, I never cared.  It seems overwhelming to me.  I feel like I've missed the wagon because when everyone else my age started getting involved, I turned away. Truth is, I'm afraid.  I'm afraid there is too much information that I need to catch up on.  I'm not sure I can handle that right now.  I do feel left behind though.  I can't hold an intelligent conversation with anyone regarding politics.  In all honesty, I feel dumb.  Don't feel sorry for me, tell me where to begin.

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September 20, 2007

Wrapped around her little finger

My beautiful wife Amy thought that I should take a little break from reviewing the next big band over at my own music blog Can You See the Sunset... and contribute something here.

So today was a beautiful, crisp day here in the Western 'burbs.  I was home early and decided it would be nice to take our O.O.C. (out of control) 23 month old daughter on a little jog.  She usually just talks up a storm and points out clouds, cars, bunnies, dogs, and says that the sun in in her eyes.  After about 10 minutes, I realized that she was being awfully quiet.  I stopped running and looked down at her only to find

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September 18, 2007

Cool it, Brit

Pigtails_2 All of this political talk is giving me a headache.  Could we stop focusing on that for a little while and talk about Britney Spears?  Good.  Have you heard the latest?  She's losing temporary custody of her two toddlers!  She FIRED her manager and has also been DROPPED by her lawyer.  Her former bodyguard has spoken out against her.  She fired him earlier this year when he didn't pick up her hat for her.  Spoiled brat!  The other news is that there may or may not have been a hit out on K-Fed's life!  Wow. Drama, drama.

Who are the victims here?  Two innocent little children who did not ask to be the offspring of these two f***k-ups.  Those poor kids, what a life they have to look forward to.  When I think of my 23 month old and how she lights up when her daddy walks into the room or how she adores me so much that she cries every time I leave the room (a story for another day), I can't help but curse those two jerks.  Obviously, they are not thinking of anyone but themselves, their jokes careers and this custody war.

Gosh, I remember the first time I saw sweet innocent little Brit' on t.v.

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September 13, 2007

In a funk [or] Prayer requests

Praying_handsLast Thursday, I came down with the flu or something.  It very well could have been my nerves.  I'm currently seeking full time employment after staying at home for two years and the stress of that is getting the best of me.  A lot of emotions have been flowing.  Guilt, anger, sadness of letting someone else care for my child.  I find myself asking, "Why didn't I do things differently?  Spend less money?  Why didn't we play our cards right?"  Whatever that means.  Our house is still on the market after almost three long, stressful months and anyone who has tried to sell a home with a toddler running around knows where I'm coming from.  Needless to say, the low dosage, anti-anxiety medicine that I've been on since Hailey's seizures last year doesn't seem to be doing the trick anymore.

I've taken "blogging breaks" from my personal blogs and really contemplated writing here this evening until I read something tonight that forced me to take a step back.  The documented illness and death of a blogger (or "person").

Continue reading "In a funk [or] Prayer requests " »

August 29, 2007

Bless her little heart

Miss_teen_usaDid any of you happen to catch the Miss Teen USA Pageant that aired on national television last Friday night?  I didn't but I think I've seen all that I needed to see thanks to a 48 second clip on YouTube.  I really don't know whether I should laugh or cry for this poor girl.  She is catching some major flack from around the world due to her  incoherent answer to the following question:

"Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?"

Here is Lauren Caitlin Upton, Miss South Carolina's answer:

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August 28, 2007

KeyLime Cove: Chicagoland's Premier Water Resort

Keylime_1Who needs Florida when we've got our own tropical paradise right here in our own backyard?  Get ready, Chicagoans because KeyLime Cove Resort is coming and it's going to knock your Midwestern socks off!

I was cordially invited by Michael Rubin of Arment Dietrich to attend the hard hat tour of a magnificent new 38-acre resort called "KeyLime Cove Water Resort" located in Gurnee, Illinois.  The resort will open  it's doors to the public this coming February 29, 2008.

Continue reading "KeyLime Cove: Chicagoland's Premier Water Resort " »

August 22, 2007

Public Display of Affection

I met up with a fellow lady blogger friend of mine tonight for some blog talk at a local dining establishment that has free Wi-Fi.  We settled in the back room of the place on a couple of cozy modern chairs with our laptops.  There was a couple in the room besides us and me, oh my. Love sure was in the air!  There was kissing and hugging and caressing (not us, THEM, silly).  You would have thought it was an episode of The Bachelor or something!

Anyway, all of this kissy-kissy business got me thinking about the newness of love and friendship between a couple.  They were giggling and flirting.  It was annoying, yet refreshing.  I remember those days, however, I was a lot younger than this couple.  They were in their own little world and nothing, I mean nothing was going to tear them away from each other.  She twirled his gray hairs in her fingers and he gazed into her eyes.  At that moment, he didn't care about Hurricane Dean and she couldn't give two cents about hottie Brad Womack. Simple talk, genuine smiles and hearty laughs.  Not a care in the world except for getting into each others pants (sorry mom).  Not even my little hints of coughing as if to say, "Hey, stop having sex, I'm in the room!" could even tear them away from each other's lusty loving stares and flirting.

I may have to show my man a little more appreciation when I get home tonight, just like the old days.

World, aren't you glad you have gossipy women bloggers?  We're better than a soap opera, aren't we?

August 21, 2007

Nothing is safe anymore

NoI am an avid photo and video website user.  I haven't had a problem with random comments until just recently.  I took a picture with my camera phone of my feet while I was getting a root canal a few months ago and uploaded it to my photo site.  I did it to show off my "cute" new Converse slippers.  I received a comment from a random person so I decided to view his profile and found out that he thinks feet are "a turn on".  I threw up in my mouth a little.  I immediately blocked this guy.  I have had a couple more disturbing comments and have blocked these people faster than you could say "Panera Bread".  All of these comments have made me wary as to who is looking at my content.  You do realize that it is pretty easy to steal a photo whether you have a button clicked that says, "no downloading" or not, don't you?  Needless to say, I have all of my uploads marked for family and friends viewing only and have shut off all search possibilities on my photos.

Unfortunately, one Flickr member had quite an eye-opener recently.  Several of this person's photos were  stolen and uploaded onto a pedophiles site.  The Flickr member had fears that the photos were being stolen, so used a trusty site such as Technorati to search and see who might be using their photos.  Sure enough, there was the information that lead to the discovery of the stolen photos.  That being said, the Flickr member joined the "boy lover" site in order to dig to the bottom of the stolen photos issue.  What the member saw and read was appalling.  The member happened to see some familiar photos which belonged to another Flickr member and reported back.  The member took action against the perpetrator and his profile has since been deleted from Flickr and Photobucket (caleb_jones13).  Sadly, this will not stop him (nor any others) from finding photos elsewhere or creating a new username and committing the crime over and over.  The internet just makes that too easy.  I think we all know what needs to be done to stop him and other's like him.

This just sickens me.  The thought that someone may have my little girl's photo and is using it for their own disturbing pleasure.  I even hate to write that out.  Who and where are the real life super heroes that will rid our planet of these evil-doers?  One thing that bothered me most of all after scouring the discussion boards of THAT site was that there is a CHRISTIAN thread.  How they can relate this behavior to God is beyond me.  My hand was cupped over my mouth the entire time I was reading.  There were also posts about how to get jobs in schools and what kind of diapers they prefer on toddlers that they are attracted to.  I even read how one guy was hired to take pictures of kids playing in the schoolyard.  I had to stop and get away from their filth for a while before I could finish this post.

A good way to find out if your photos have been stolen is to visit Technorati and type in your entire photo site or blog address and hit search.  The results should show you who is using your content or photos.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of this heinous crime please visit these sites to file a report:

Internet Watch Foundation

WiredSafety

Corporate Sex Offenders

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

August 20, 2007

It's not entirely our fault

I generally try to bite my tongue about things like this but in this instance, I feel like saying something.  I recently read an article in Newsweek that sort of fired me up a little bit. 

We moms feed off of each other.  It is good for us to have parenting advice to share.  Seriously, could you imagine being a SAHM or WAHM this day in age and not have a support system like the Internet?  Of course we're going to use the web to voice our opinions and share our parenting woes and joys.  We WANT to be heard.  We all want our five minutes of fame.  Yes, with the good there always comes the bad and annoying but you'll have that.  I dare you to shut yourself off from the outside world aka, the Internet, for a week and see how you feel when the week is done.  I'll tell you, I couldn't do it.  I think about my mother, who raised EIGHT children without a support system like we have today.  All she had was her rotary telephone and her neighbors to bounce ideas off of.  There is such a huge community of parents and look at all of the fantastic products that have been invented because of us and our means of communicating.

I will say that I think the media plays a big part in the "mommy wars".  The media is always trying to stir  up some drama and who better to stir it up with, the moms!  Now we have all of the celebrities jumping on the wagon and we are able to "judge" them.  I do suggest we judge ourselves before we go and trash someone else's parenting skills.

We do need to educate ourselves, though, I agree.  We are the BEST consumers and researchers.  With all of the news about recalls, potentially unsafe products, vaccinating and going "green", it is our duty to yap about it and learn from each other.  Truth of the matter is, there IS more to obsess over today than ever before.  I've heard many stories of parents diagnosing their own children's illnesses by using message boards and hearing other's testimonials.  We're constantly proving our doctor's wrong.  You may be getting sick of all of the new books that are being written or new parenting blogs that are popping up all of the time but what if there was just one time where you read someone's post about a situation they had with their child and somewhere down the road, the same thing happens to you.  Will you roll your eyes then or will you be thankful that you happened to stumble upon their story?

In this age of blogginess and technology, what do you expect?  If we have an outlet for gossiping, we're going to use it.  Don't chastise us for that, embrace it because it's definitely not going away any time soon.

August 19, 2007

Because Cicadas weren't enough?

LotionYou'd have to have your head lodged inside a bottle of calamine lotion to not have heard about the latest pest to invade Chicago suburbs: Biting Mites.

According the Chicago Tribune these teeny tiny creepy crawlers are more closely related to spider than insects, are not toxic to humans, but cause a bite that looks like a tick bite. The bites look like small pimples with a dime to nickel size red area around it, and are supposedly extremely itchy -- but not dangerous unless you scratch them til they're infected. Yuck.

To keep these critters away you have a few choices. You can spray yourself and your kids with bug spray with Deet. You can also shower everyone within fifteen minutes of coming inside after time in the garden, park, woods or yard in the hopes of rinsing the mites off before they bite.

Or, my pest-control method of choice...you can stay in the house and blog!

Another appendage for the parenting books

For the past week, we parents have been inundated with emails, websites, blog posts, the news, etc. regarding the massive toy recall from Mattel.  Immediately upon hearing the news, I went to Mattel's website to check the recall list.  Nothing we have in our home matched the description of toys that were being recalled but at the same time, I felt I should be safe rather than sorry.  We threw out a set of little Dora the Explorer figurines.  I'd rather waste $5 dollars than have something bad happen to my baby.  The more I hear about the recalls, the more I am concerned about the other toys we have in the house.  Probably close to 90% of Hailey's toys are Mattel and made in China.  So what do we do?  Do we pack them all up and toss them?  How can we be 100% sure that her other toys that are made in Thailand or Ohio aren't dangerous?

Remember when you wanted to become a parent and hold and nurture that tiny little baby?  I do.  That's all I thought about.  The baby books don't tell you that you have to be aware of everything else, like toy recalls, what your child is consuming, the air they are breathing.  That all just comes with the territory and it is our responsibility as parents to educate ourselves on everything related to raising our children.  Not just what kind of potty training seat to use.

Here is my unsolicited advice for the next appendage to the "parenting books":

1. Know your facts.  If you're going to post about something, make SURE you get the facts straight.  Rumors spread like wild fire across the blogosphere and somewhere along the way, something is going to be misinterpreted.

2. Don't panic!  Panicking isn't good for you or your children and family.  It all goes back to doing your research.

3. Research is EASY.  Just do a Google search on "toy recalls" or "recalls" or on the specific subject matter you are concerned about.  Make sure you browse the list that is generated and be sure the information is from a trusted site.  Remember, you can't believe EVERYTHING you read on the Internet, so double-check.

Here is some information that I found from THIS news article:

How To Test For Lead Poisoning

Symptoms of lead poisoning range from headaches to a coma, and sometimes do not appear until weeks after exposure, NBC11'S Marianne Favro reported.

"Lead in some cases can cause developmental problems and in severe cases, can lead to coma and death," said pediatrician Dr. Peter Contini. "If the paint is cracking and they're putting it in the mouth and biting down, then the risk is higher and asking your doctor to do a simple lead screen is a good idea."

A home test kit is available at most hardware stories for about $6. A swab is used on the toy in question, and if it remains yellow, there is no lead.

Offending toys turn the swab pink.

Parents can also send toys to a Bay area lab for analysis for about $38.

iVillage has some lead exposure resources listed on their website that are worth checking out.

Here are some things that I've been reading about this week that I think you all should be aware of.  Remember, don't panic, just do your research.

Wal-Mart issues vinyl bib recall

Toys-R-Us vinyl bib recall

More on the vinyl bib recall

BPA (Bisphenol-A) and clear plastic baby bottle concern

More on BPA

As for me, I am going to calmly continue my research to make sure that anything we have in our house is safe enough to  be around the most precious thing in our lives.

Cross posted at LadyBug Picnic

August 16, 2007

This is getting really old

Pleaseremoveyourshoes_2 Our town home has been on the market for just over 60 days now.  We've had somewhere between 8 to 10 showings since we first listed.  Our Realtor has provided us with ZERO feedback from those showings.  I've talked to several other home owners around my area and they seem to be getting a little more information from their Realtor than we have.  What exactly does a Realtor do, anyway?  I know they list your property on the MLS and on their company's website.  But isn't there something else?  Do they just sit back and reap the rewards when your house finally does sell?  We are updated every Monday as to which properties sold in the past week or which new properties are listed.  He also throws in there a little "Yay for me!" before he ends his emails too.  That's right, kick us while we're down.  I didn't give myself enough time to get educated on selling by owner but  next time around, I will be doing all of the work so I don't have anyone to bitch and complain about except myself.

Then there are the showings.  I welcome them any time of day or night.  Really, I do.  We just need this place to SELL.  My only pet peeves are when they say they're going to be here between a specific time frame and end up showing up 45 minutes later than planned.  Also, virtually every single time we've had a showing, it's been raining.  That just puts a damper on everything.  It isn't a picnic showing a house with a toddler either.  There is the clinging to my legs when I'm trying to clean and the getting back out the toys after I've put them all away.  Then there is my husband and myself.  We just seem to accumulate junk everywhere.

I'm just getting tired of this routine.  I want to have some magical solution to getting into the heads of buyers.  BUY OUR TOWN HOME!  Ignore what "they" are saying about this being a bad real estate market.  Get out there and shop some homes.  Lets stop this depressing trend and show "them" who is boss!

August 12, 2007

Who said the suburbs aren't fun?

Promenadebolingbrook1 The husband, child and I went to this brand new shopping district today called The Promenade Bolingbrook located in Bolingbrook off of I-355 (right near Ikea).  It is nothing short of AMAZING.  No longer will we be sitting inside on these hot, hot summer days.  The Promenade Bolingbrook is an outdoor shopping area that is laid out like a little town.  It has streets running through it and a TON of shops like Janie and Jack and J.Jill.  It has some restaurants new to the area like Gordon Biersch Brewery (who provided us with exceptional service) and Teds Montana Grill.  The best part of this place for summer, however, is the children's play area.  It has fountains spouting up from the ground and the surface is nice and cushy, so there is no fear of your child getting really hurt if they fall.  The area is somewhat enclosed and loaded with benches.  Finally!  Somewhere different for parents AND kids.  Then, if all of that wasn't enough, I come to find that there is an INCREDIBLE family area!  It's inside and air conditioned.  There are couches and tables and toys for the kids, very large changing stations and even PRIVATE NURSING AREAS!  That's right, your own little room with a swanky recliner and a door.  Seriously, did a woman design this place?  But honestly, I couldn't have been more excited to be here.    I'm slapping myself silly that I haven't visited The Promenade before today.  The center just recently opened at the end of April and hasn't even had their grand opening yet.

The Promenade also has a stage for concerts and special events planned each month.  I'll be taking Hailey this week to meet Eric Carle, author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Clifford, the big red dog, for story time.

Check out their website and have fun rolling your cursor over "Kara" on the main page.  You can make her eyes roll.  Yeah, the Chicago heat is definitely getting to me.

August 07, 2007

Perfect parents we are not...

Amy_m_2...Effective parents?  We're working on that.

Scene start:

We're at the dinner table and toddler starts to whine, cry and have a fit.  She does want her bowl of food.  She doesn't want her bowl of food.  I put something else in front of her and she starts flailing her arms and knocking that food around everywhere.  Snot is pouring, tears are falling.  I yell, "that's ONE!" from the kitchen.  She starts crying harder.  O.k. Wait. Now must wait the specific amount of time before yelling, "that's TWO".  Have. to wait. the EXACT amount of time or punishment will not be effective.  But wait.  Should I go straight to "THREE, that's a time out"?  Decisions, decisions.  Before I can blink, my husband bellows, "THAT'S TWO!"  No!  No!  Not enough time!  What are you THINKING!?  You've just completely thrown off the perfect parenting solution for a fit-throwing toddler!  UGH!  Back to square one.

End scene.

Sound like anything that you've been through before?  Why do we spend all of this time reading these books on parenting solutions or effective parenting?  I need a notebook in front of me just to remember all of the tricks and tips from the many different authors and doctor's trying to mold you into the parent who can do no (or very little) wrong.  Fact is, there IS no perfect parent or perfect child.  Children aren't wired to behave in the same manner as some of these books say you can expect.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not opposed to reading these self-help parenting books but I try to take them with a grain of salt.  I believe your parenting style will come naturally to you and your child will respond TO YOU, not to what the books say.  The problem now is, how to get both parents on the same parenting page.  As much as we discuss our reactions to our little angel or little devil, most likely one parent is going to have different thoughts on the situation than the other.  I've come to realize that parenting is the truest test to one's relationship.  Hands down.

What are some of your parenting-gone-wrong situations?

July 25, 2007

Illinois non-smokers will rejoice

Nosmoking On Monday, July 23rd, Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich signed a law passing a statewide smoking ban.  All public places will be smoke-free come New Year's Day.  What will this do to businesses like bars, restaurants and casinos in Illinois?  How will this affect you?

July 24, 2007

Jumping on the Bloggy Giveaway Wagon

Dogdays_2 I don't know what's going on lately but there has been this blogging giveaway movement and it's getting bigger and bigger and I couldn't be MORE HAPPY about jumping right on the wagon.

Shannon from Rocks in My Dryer is a GENIUS.  This week, she is hosting the "Dog Days of Summer Bloggy Giveaways".  It's pure giveaway MADNESS over there!  There are 330+ giveaways listed with more and more being added as I type!

I view this as sort of a "pay-it-forward" type of movement.  It feels so good to give things away, whether they be new or used items.  I should know, I have giveaways constantly running at mine and my friend's review blog.  This is also a great way to shamelessly plug your home-based business, by offering up a giveaway.  You'll gain more readers and shoppers if you join in.  A great way for you to get your name out there!

So, don't just sit there reading my post - get over to Rocks in My Dryer and give something away!

July 21, 2007

Get your free Wi-fi and PORN here!

Wifi To the man imbecile slouched in a chair at the Panera Bread in the Fox Valley Mall on his laptop with the screen facing the windows:

YOU IGNORANT, PERVERTED MAN.  You should be ASHAMED of yourself!  You sit there, looking at PORN, oblivious to all of the women and children having lunch around you.  Did you ever stop and think about all of the passersby?  Wait.  Let ME answer that, OBVIOUSLY YOU DIDN'T.  We can look right in and see what you're looking at.  I had to do a double-take as we were passing by to realize what actually caught my eye as I was leaving the mall.  There it was, a woman exploiting what God gave her, in full color taking up the size of your laptop screen.  SHAME ON YOU.  You give women a bad name.  And you, you sick person.  Is this what gets you off?  Sitting in a public place, aroused in the middle of the afternoon?  How utterly disgusting.  Shame on me also, for not calling your ass out.  Unfortunately, it took a minute or two for everything to sink in...what I just saw.  I also didn't want to expose my toddler to the disgust gleaming out at you.  I've never considered myself to be a prude but I'll be damned if I'm going to back down on my feelings of how wrong I think pornography is.

The age of Wi-fi.  "Everyone's doing it".  I wonder if places like Panera Bread and Starbucks realize what kind of content their customers are viewing using their free Wi-fi Hotspots.  Do they have any clue about the filth that people can find using a service they are providing?  Hey parents, what about those parental controls you have set up at home?   Don't you know that your teenage kids are probably going out for some free internet usage and possibly free porn?  Makes those controls somewhat worthless I suppose.

I am appalled.  I spent the entire drive home trying to figure out how to cleanse my brain.  It will take hours upon hours of watching Sesame Street and Blues Clues to get that vivid image out of my head.  It's going to take a little longer than that for me to forgive myself for NOT tapping on the glass and making a scene about that scumbag sitting in Panera Bread with his headphones on and the sick images he was lusting over.

Now I'm fired up.

In closing, Mr. porn-obsessed pig:  I will be WATCHING for you whenever I'm at that mall again.  You can  be damn sure that if I see your sorry-ass again, I will NOT hesitate to come up to you and open a big fat can of whoop-ass all over you.

July 20, 2007

Childcare woes

Amy_babysitter_post_2In the past 20 months, we haven't had any problems finding a babysitter for Hailey.  It's been wonderful having our family at our beck and call.  We've never had to "hire" a babysitter.  Occasionally, a friend of mine would even watch her if I had any last minute appointments.

BlogHer is just around the corner and now that we're starting to finalize plans for the long weekend, I have to make sure I have all of my ducks in a row or at least a babysitter for my child.  I'm well aware that the fine folks at BlogHer have provided a place for our children while we are out being crazy party animals learning our way around the blogosphere.  You can learn more about their childcare options HERE.  I suppose there is always Sittercity, too.  I, however, was hoping to leave my toddler with someone whom she is familiar. 

Maybe it's just me being paranoid or not wanting to put anyone through the stress of a crying, screaming child for 10+ hours for four days, but I would just have peace of mind knowing the person who was watching her.  We thought we had it all figured out (my husband and I).  His mother has the summer's off, so SHE can stay with Hailey Thursday through Friday when my husband gets home from work.  Piece of cake.  Done deal.  But wait!  She has a school function that weekend!  That really throws a wrench into the plan.  Then, my husband receives tickets to the Warped Tour through his music blog, which is being held in Chicago on Saturday.  Double wrench.  This leaves us with zero childcare for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  I'm going to this conference come hell or high water, people. 

So, my sister-in-law who is graciously letting me crash at her Lincoln Square pad for the weekend has offered to babysit her only favorite niece on Thursday while I help fill swag bags and attend our beloved collective mom's blog dinner outing.  Then, it's BACK to the burbs for me on Thursday night to drop of the little tike.  I'll be heading back into the city bright and early Friday morning in time for Day One of the conference.  Hubby has offered to take the day off of work on Friday to stay home with Hailey.  Yes!  Two down, one to go.  We will be soliciting some more family members for their childcare services on Saturday so I can be at Day Two of the conference and hubby can attend the Warped Tour.

Anyone else having childcare woes for the upcoming conference weekend?

July 18, 2007

Sidewalks, tents and sales, Oh my!

Sidewalk_3 My girl Hailey and I were taking a morning stroll in our favorite neck of the woods, downtown Naperville the other morning.  As we ventured into the heart of the town, I saw tables being set out and merchandise  being placed upon them.  "What is this I see?" I said to myself (and whoever else was listening).  It's a SIDEWALK SALE!  Today of all days!  I had no idea.  This is how much I pay attention to the world around me.  I was overcome with GLEE.  That's right, I said it.  GLEE.  We passed not one but MANY stores participating in the annual three day sidewalk sale.  We browsed through many sale items; antiques, jewelry, children's items, clothing, etc.  I just LOVE sidewalk and tent sales.  There's a little "extra" percentage off and it's all outside.  None of this pushing the awkward stroller in and out of stores crap.  After we made our rounds, we stopped for some ice cream at Naperville's own Cookie Dough Creations.

Not knowing about this event has made me realize that I need to start checking out more of the local guides and websites so I'm aware of these local happenings.  This is what is so nice about living in the Chicagoland area.  We have websites with event calendars posted so you will always know what's going on and where.  I'm going to make the Naperville website one of the first sites I visit from now on so I leave the house with ALL of my credit cards next time I hit the summer sidewalk sales.

July 15, 2007

How in tune are you?

Thermometer Just over two and a half years ago, my husband and I made the decision to start trying to conceive, or "TTC" as the web world deems it, our first child.  We felt like it was the "right" time in our lives to do so.  I joined communities on the web like TryingToConceive dot com and BabyCenter dot com.  Not to mention any other website that had message boards full of other hopeful women (and men) TTC.  I recall reading sad stories, happy stories and anxious stories.

Well, we finally "got pregnant" and I was just thrilled!  Right away, I created my username and passwords on said sites and got the ball rolling writing messages on message boards exclaiming my excitement about our success.  I signed up for newsletters of weekly updates on the progress of my growing baby.  Then, it happened.  The miscarriage.  Dammit.  I was shattered, although it was fairly early and I ended up having a blighted ovum.  Still, after my D&C to terminate the pregnancy, the hospital asked me what I'd like them to do with the "remains".  I opted for the D&C instead of miscarrying naturally to avoid getting an infection.  So, back to the drawing board.

I discovered through one of the websites that I frequented a book called, "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" and so I did.  I woke up every day at the same time and took my basal body temperature and meticulously charted.  It was only then that I realized how amazing the woman's body really is.  This book was practically my bible.  It helped me learn so much about myself that I have always taken for granted.  After two months of charting, I knew my "cycle" inside and out.  After month three, Hailey was conceived.  I knew the exact day of her conception.  I swore after she was born that I would continue to chart to "not" get pregnant (for a while) instead of taking the pill again.  Well, that proved to be a little more than difficult with a brand new baby.  Still, I recommend this book to everyone.  I especially think that this is a great book to have on hand for those of you with teenage daughters.  If only you could just hand them this book and say, "You want to know about the birds and the bees?  Here you go.  Read up, sister."  I think it would really teach young girls to appreciate and be aware of their bodies in ways that we mothers can't explain unless we have Phds.

So, I'm curious.  How many of you use or have used charting as a way to conceive or to NOT conceive?

July 13, 2007

Never ceasing to amaze

To all of you non-parents out there, doesn't it irritate the heck out of you when you see or hear parents totally doting over their little ones?  Talking about how smart, handsome, pretty, cute and adorable they are?  How about when they are snuggling in front of you?  Gag!  Right?  Well, hi there.  That would be me.  Your snuggling, bragging, doting, kissing, hugging, petting, overly proud mama of one.  Quick!  Off with her head!  I know that's what you're thinking.

Seriously though.  I was NOT this person before I became a mother.  As a matter of fact, I was so not a "kid" person AT ALL before Hailey came along.  I disliked babysitting as a teenager.  It totally cramped my social life, dude.  It was boring and I didn't want to get down on the floor and "play".  I even recall when I was about 10 or 11 telling my neighbor friend who was just 7 at the time that I couldn't play because I didn't have an "imagination".  That didn't go over very well with her.  I also made my niece cry one time because she wanted to play with me and I told her no.  I just didn't want to be bothered with kids.

But I digress.  I am with my 20 month old 24/7.  We wake up, have breakfast together, run errands together, PLAY together and say goodnight together.  The only time I am not with her is when I'm working my four hour shifts at Starbucks a couple of nights per week.  You could say that we are attached at the hip.  Each day, I look at her and I am able to witness how amazing she is.  I've come to LOVE children, not just my own.  I want to HOLD babies and PLAY with children.  I was sort of like Scrooge before but instead of loathing Christmas, I loathed children.  OK, that's a pretty strong comparison but you know what I mean.  To see the amount of information they soak in, in such a short amount of time is mind boggling to me.  Just today, Hailey was playing and singing.  I couldn't quite make out the tune but then I was able to put two and two together.  She was singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.  She couldn't get the words out just right but I could see the wheels spinning in that over-sized head of hers.  The growth and changes in a child never ceases to amaze me and I'm kind of bummed that I didn't embrace that until just recently because it goes so quickly.  It's easy for me to see why I am one of those "all about my kid" kind of parents now.  There is a lot to be all about.

July 06, 2007

May the best man win!

Caveman This year marks the 12th annual "Wife Carrying Championship" in Sonkajärvi, Finland.  The competition takes place July 6th through the 8th.  Basically, the man must endure 253.5 meters (less than a quarter mile) of obstacles, on a track made from sand, gravel and grass, with his wife on his back.  He who crosses the finish line first, shall win his wife's weight in beer.   Should he drop her, there is a 15 second penalty.  A 15 second penalty?  Try a very pissed off wife with a goose egg on the top of her head.

The registration cost is only 50 Euros ($68 US bucks).  It's a little late to enter this year but there's always next year!  What a GREAT Father's Day gift this would be to your husband, right?

Ladies, have your men read more HERE about how to become a master in wife carrying.  You can also read more about the Wife Carrying Competition HERE.

June 29, 2007

Gearing up for Ribfest

Ribfest_main_stage_2

It sure is that time of year again...carnivals, craft and art fairs, sidewalk sales and ah yes, Naperville's Ribfest.  In Ribfest's 20 yr. history, this event is said to draw over 250,000 people from the surrounding Chicagoland area.  It has also been voted as “The Best Fest in the Midwest” for the last 9 years.  My guess it that it draws WAY more than that.  Have you ever been around the Naperville area during this festival?  It's PACKED.  Just last year as a matter of fact, people were turned away who tried to get in to see REO Speedwagon.  People such as myself.  We didn't have advanced tickets, however, I heard that even people with tickets were being turned away.  It was a little sketchy in my opinion.  We were singing, "I can't fight this angry feeling" all the way home.  Is Ribfest getting too big for it's britches?

This year's main stage musical acts include: George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Los Lonely Boys, Heart, The Psychedelic Furs and Randy Travis.  You will find many other musical acts, family entertainment and carnival rides too.  THE FOOD!  We can't forget the FOOD.  There will be approximately 40 food vendors.  Can you say, "mini Taste of Chicago?"

The festival runs from June 30th through July 4th.  It costs $10 to get in (kids 11 and under are free).  If you purchase "advance" tickets, they'll run you about $8.  Advance tickets can be purchased at a handful of western 'burb Jewel stores.

Naperville_fireworks_2

Then, last but most certainly not least...MY favorite part of Ribfest...the fireworks!  We have never missed this event in the 10 years that I've lived in this area.  We cruise on over to Knoch Park and set out our travel chairs on the side of the road and enjoy the most spectacular fireworks event that I have ever witnessed (aside from the downtown Chicago fireworks).  This year's fireworks display will be held on the evening of July 4th at 9:30 pm.  The fireworks display is also simulcast with music and broadcasted at FM 95.9, The River.  We're looking forward to bringing our little Hailey to her very first 4th of July festivities!

I suggest you come on out to the western burbs to see what the fuss is all about.  Opt for public transportation though...parking is a "you know what".

Continue reading "Gearing up for Ribfest" »

June 12, 2007

De-clutter...my brain

DeclutterAfter living in our suburban home of almost five years, we have made the decision to sell.  Not sure where we will end up just yet but this is a start.  Over the years, Eric and I have de-cluttered here and there.  When he first met me, I was a tchotchke fanatic.  A porcelain doll here, a ceramic cat there.  He basically turned me into a minimalist.

We've been mulling over the idea of selling our home for a year or so now.  So in preparation, little by little, I have been trying to de-clutter.  I make several trips to Goodwill per month and post ads on Chicago's Craigslist and Naperville's Yard Sales website, as well as on Ebay.  I have become a GREAT Ebayer!  Still, I feel like I have only made a dent in our collection of stuff.  My husband is sort of a pack rat.  Not the worst by any means but at the same time, I find little scraps of paper all over the house with random thoughts on them.  I hate to throw them away because he is a musician and may need these for that "hit" song he's writing.  I, on the other hand, have managed to store most of my previous life's collection into one storage bin.  I know right where everything is if I ever want to sit and go through it in search of something from my past.

All of this de-cluttering has made me feel so much better.  I have been referred to Fly Lady by a couple of friends and have yet to really go and check her out.  I believe I am on the right track to de-cluttering my mind with getting rid of a bunch of things.  The question now is, do we put these "things" into storage or get rid of them completely?  Right now, I guess I'm living by the phrase "out of sight, out of mind".

May 31, 2007

I Love Me Some Portillo's

Portillos_hot_dogIt's a muggy, 84 degree day out here in the suburbs.  We spent the majority of the day gathering up items for our first ever garage sale.  From what it seems, suburbanites flock to these things.  I'm hoping to clean house with this one. 

I digress.  The toddler was getting bored and I was hungry.  Nothing in the cupboards or refrigerator seemed to appeal to me so I decided it was time for our daily trip to Target.  Apples, bananas, tortilla chips...I threw it all in the cart.  Still, nothing sounded good.  Disappointed, we got into the car and started to drive away when all of the sudden, the heavens parted and the light shone down.  PORTILLO'S.  Yes!  PORTILLO'S!  Perfect.  Exactly what I want!  I want one of their juicy, jumbo hot dogs with all the fixins; onions, relish, tomatoes....mmmmmmm.  I start salivating.  We pull up in the drive-thru, which unbelievably is not packed.  Portillo's drive-thru is ALWAYS packed, no matter what time of day it is.  People know where to get the best beef in town around here.

The first Portillo's hot dog stand was known as "The Dog House" and it opened in 1963 on North Avenue in Villa Park.  Dick Portillo, born and raised in Chicago, is the owner and operator of Portillo's Hot Dogs, Key Wester Fish & Pasta House, Barnelli's Pasta Bowl and Luigi's House.  I've tried all of his "concepts" and give them all an A++.  The man knows his food.  Luckily, I live just down the road from all of these fine restaurants.

So, I get up to the drive-thru window and I order myself the mouth-watering hot dog that I've been craving.  I also get some regular sized fries (the BEST fries) and are you ready for this?  A piece of CHOCOLATE CAKE.  No, no, wait.  A piece of THE chocolate cake.  It's so chocolaty and moist and rich and...and...whoa.  Calm down, Amy.  Well, if any of you have ever eaten at Portillo's and HAD this cake, you know exactly what I'm getting at here.  Portillo's also ships and caters too!  We actually had Portillo's catered for Hailey's first birthday party.

I am fully satisfied.  I know whenever I can't seem to find anything to please my taste buds around the house, I can cruise up the road and get me some Portillo's.

May 29, 2007

Learning Lessons

Since I've become a parent, I've spent time around more children and other parents than ever before in my life.  That is why I say that I've joined "the club".  I watch other parents and children at playgroups or restaurants and absorb what I see.  When I see other children bullying or being bullied, as a parent, it breaks my heart.  I've never been one to deal well with bullies.  I recall being a teenager and watching some younger kid being bullied by a group of boys.  I immediately walked up to the boys and broke up the fight.  I argued that they should not pick on this other boy, that it was immature and pointless.  I could feel my blood boiling.  I couldn't understand why they didn't see it my way.

I have a goal on how I want to raise my child(ren).  One very important thing to me is that they are generous individuals.  I want to teach them the generosity of sharing at a very young age.  I want them to respect their elders and the other children around them.  I want to teach them to reach out to those who are in need.  My hopes and dreams are that they will stand up for what they believe in.  I want them to understand that picking on others is not acceptable.  I want them to be gentle yet strong.  Most of all, I want them to be good people.  If only everyone could see it my way...we'd live in a better, safer world.

Did I mention that I'm running for Miss. America?

Cross Posted at LadyBug Picnic

May 27, 2007

How I Love Being a Girl

LipstickHighlights, massages, mani's, pedi's.  Purses, shoes (always at the top of my list), jewelry, make-up and dresses.  Oh, how I LOVE being a girl!

I recently traveled back to my hometown in Pennsylvania and spent some time with my 14 year old niece.  She's at a stage right now where she likes to wear what I call, "frumpy" clothes and doesn't style her hair or paint her nails or carry around fabulous bags.  If only she knew what I know about being girlie.  I too, went through the baggy clothes, frumpy stage.  Only until I reached my 20's did I start acting and looking girlie.  Why did I wait so long?  It's so wonderful to be able to pamper yourself!  If there is one thing that can bring me out of a funk, it's being pampered.  When I say these things to my niece, she just crinkles her nose and gives me that, "you're weird" look.  I think she was terrified when she attended my brother's fiance's bachelorette party and all sorts of lingerie were being displayed.  The poor girl was probably scarred for life.  I will admit, fourteen is a bit young for things like edible underwear.  Don't worry, she was glued to her hand-held video game anyway.

All that I know is when I'm sitting in that salon chair or wearing that adorable summer dress, I feel happy and alive.  I do believe this girliness is rubbing off on my toddler.  She always wants to wear her hot pink boa and I've noticed her "wearing" a toy basket up on her arm like a purse.  She's always grabbing shoes out of her shoe bin (yes, my toddler has a shoe bin and it's almost full) and wanting me to put them on her.  She's also starting to flutter around and dance all of the time.  She is fully embracing her inner-girliness and I couldn't be more proud of her.  Like mother, like daughter so they say.

May 24, 2007

Living in the Now

Img_5504 I can honestly say that I have never really lived in the now.  I've lived in the then.  I've lived in the future (really, I have).  Just not in the present.  For as long as I can remember, I would always think of what I would do when I was older.  When we were kids, my childhood best friend and I promised each other we  would move away and live in a pink and purple polka-dotted house with identical cars.  That seemed fully possible to us.  Then, in my teenage years, I knew I wanted to move away to a big city.  When I finally met my soul mate, I knew we would get married and have a child several years after.  I had my life planned, basically.  Now that I have the husband, the kid and the dog (in a 25 lb. cat's body), I still continue to look ahead instead of basking in all that is right in the world at this moment.

Today as Hailey and I were taking a walk, in the midst of stressing thinking about our finances and what I should make for supper, I took a moment to just look down at her holding my hand.  I thought about how she's not thinking about anything more than this walk, right here, right now.  I wish things were that simple for adults.  Maybe it is for some but I'm definitely not one of them.  For the rest of the walk, I made sure to only look down at my feet and hers.  That's all I wanted to think about.

I'm going to start living in the now, now.

May 23, 2007

Le Brassiere

Definition: "A woman's undergarment for supporting breasts".

Pre-baby, I really didn't have many problems finding a bra that fit me.  Now that my girls are a little "meatier", if you will, I don't really agree with Dictionary.com's definition of a bra "supporting" breasts.  Their underwire is either puncturing my skin, straps slipping off of my shoulders or thou cups are overflowing.  I need a new support system.

So, I went to Victoria's Secret's online "Fitting Room" to get ready to unlock my sexy potential.  There I found the "7 Must Have Bras".  Without further ado...

The full coverage bra, also known as the every day essential.  You mean I can just lay around in sweats all day in this one?  Great!
The push-up bra, for whenever you want a "boost".  I don't have to drink five cups of coffee in the morning?  Excellent!
The Demi bra.  Just a little more revealing but still a great every day bra.  I think I'll wear a v-neck under my sweats today.
The wireless bra, for comfort.  More laying around?  Super!
The t-shirt bra, also known as the "disappearing" bra.  Now you see me, now you don't!
The convertible bra, the strapless with straps.  You mean my bra won't end up around my ankles?
The racerback bra, when you're not in the mood for peek-a-boo.  Not now, honey, mommy is resting.

I've never been one for spending buku bucks on bras.  I suppose I just pinpointed my problem, or have I?  Do you really have to spend a zillion dollars on a Victoria Secret's bra to get great support and comfort?  I have purchased at least seven bras in the past year and a half and none of them have provided me with the "support" I so need.  It has become a frustrating subject.

I guess I'll just have to break-down and purchase one of these babies to see what all of the fuss is about.

I say si-kay-duh, You say si-kah-da

Bug The Cicadas are coming!  The Cicadas are coming!  It's an invasion!

Actually, this is all pretty fascinating to me.

The Cicadas have been underground for about 17 years and this week, they are emerging from their graves in the North East.  These little sweethearts do not sting or bite but they have extremely loud mating calls.  The title of this horror flick is    Brood XIII and it's happening all across northern Illinois and parts of Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana.

So, I'm going to be on the look-out for loud, crunchy bugs this week.  Not sure how many we'll see in our neighborhood, as we don't have many big trees.  Those folks who live closer to the city in the more "wooded" burbs, well, time to break out the ear plugs.

Oh, they are very high in protein too, so capture a few and throw them into your dog's bowl for a healthy snack (gross).

May 19, 2007

Lines of Communication

51107_047_2 We poured a margarita for me and opened a bottle of beer for him.  Then we went out onto the balcony to enjoy the calm, 65 degree evening.  We got to talking about music, about where the last ten years have gone and about life in general.  It felt good.  It felt right.  It felt very, very needed.

The last couple of years for my husband and I have been a whirlwind.  We've spent more time away from each other and less time communicating.  When I found out I was pregnant early 2005, my husband decided it was high time that he got back to school to further his education.  This took him away from home three to four nights per week.  I went into pre-term labor, which was unexpected and last year just slipped right through our fingers.  He finally graduated this past February and then I started a part-time job which takes me away from home two to three nights per week and some weekends.  It seems like the time we DO spend with each other, we're both sitting on the couch with our laptops on our laps and our eyes glued to the screen.  He and I are both avid bloggers.  We're both fairly passionate about it too.  It's a great outlet for the both of us but it definitely takes away from our time "communicating" with each other.

I'm still trying to remember the time that we didn't own a single computer.  We barely had any furniture and we didn't go out much.  We would just sit and talk to each other.  We'd actually spend quality time with each other, planning our future.  It's not that I don't think we have a lot to talk to each other about now but I guess we just communicate in other ways.  Maybe it's that we're just so comfortable with each other, we don't feel like we always need to "speak" to communicate.  However, that is the one thing that I took away from our wedding day, when the priest said that you must keep the lines of communication open.  Does sitting across from each other on the couch count as communication?  Does taking our toddler for a wagon ride count?

I don't know but last night felt good.  We talked, a lot.  We made time for each other to express our insecurities and where we're both at in life.  It was sort of like a "Hey, are we still on the same page here?  Yeah?  Cool.  Want another beer?"

I guess what it all comes down to is that I don't think we necessarily need to "talk" to each other all of the time to communicate.  I'm content with the fact that he's right there beside me on the couch, doing something that he loves and then going to bed with me at night.  Those little glances and smiles are enough for me to know that things are good.  Things are real good.

The Music and Venues We Love

Fireside_bowl_5The love of music is what brought my husband and I together.  While booking shows in my Pennsylvania hometown in my teens, I discovered his band from Chicago and booked them to play.  Long story short, we ended up having a long distance relationship for a while and then moved to the Chicago suburbs together.  Eric introduced me to a lot of great bands and several awesome venues in the city.  One venue that we frequented most often was an old, run-down bowling alley called The Fireside Bowl located on Fullerton.  The Fireside was a place for us to hang out and watch up and coming bands.  It was cheap and small and we loved it.  I can recall some very brisk evenings where we would have to stand outside waiting in line.  The Fireside closed down a while ago and the bowling alley has since been completely remodeled and people can bowl there once again.  Eric and I haven't been back since they stopped having shows.

Metro Schubas_7 Another favorite venue of ours is the Metro on Clark.  Just about a block or so north of Wrigley Field, this place has become top on my list for shows because it is smoke-free.  You can actually see the bands clearly now instead of watching them through a hazy cloud of smoke.  Some local acts that we've seen there include, The Smoking Popes, Alkaline Trio, Allister and Braid to name a few.  Other venues that we like a lot include The Empty Bottle on Western and Schubas Tavern on Southport.  I think we actually see more shows now that we're parents than we did before.  I suppose that could have something to do with the fact that the grandparents really, really like Hailey.  We're actually taking our little one and a half year old to her "first" show (outside of the womb) at the beginning of June.  We're taking her to see The Terrible Twos from Lawrence, KS.  This band plays "Indie rock kid's music".  They are playing a matinee show on a Sunday afternoon at Schubas.  We think it's great that there are bands like this around.  The sound is not far off from what we like to listen to, yet the lyrics are geared more toward youngsters.  There are plenty of other bands out there like The Terrible Twos.  I'd much rather throw on the "You Are My Flower" album by Elizabeth Mitchell rather than "I Love to Sing With Barney" by the annoying purple dinosaur.

There is definitely another world of music out there when you have kids.  We're hoping that the music we love will someday appeal to our child(ren).  Maybe if we take her to enough shows while she's little, it will spark the interest.  Thank goodness we have so many cool places to check out our favorite bands in our little land by the lake.

May 18, 2007

Just another uneventful suburban day

I was sitting on the couch just after putting Hailey down for her nap when my doorbell rings.  It's the FedEx guy delivering a package.  He gives me a pen and asks me to sign inside of the little box. 

While I'm signing, my front door slams shut.  They don't call this the windy city for nothing.  UH-OH, it's LOCKED.  "That's ok", I think to myself.  "The door inside of the garage should be unlocked".  Usually I keep it unlocked during the day because we're in and out so much. 

In my bare feet, I run around to the back of the house.  I remembered that the garage door is only halfway down because it doesn't go down when the sun hits the sensor.  "Shit."  I think to myself.  I generally LOCK the door inside of the garage when the door doesn't go down the entire way.  It's locked, just as I had suspected.  "Shit. shit."  I think to myself because the extra key to the door is INSIDE of the house because I let Hailey PLAY with it.  She likes keys these days.  I start to go into panic mode.  Thank GOD she was in her crib!

I run back around to the front of the house to check that door one more time before I seriously freak out.  The door is really locked.  "Oh. my. God."  I say to myself OUT LOUD.  "What am I going to do?"  My cell phone is inside and I do not know any of my neighbors or if they're home.  I run back around to the garage and find a hammer.  I start pounding away at the door knob.  At the same time, the head of the hammer is slipping off.  Only THEN did I realize that I must have DEAD BOLTED the door.  There isn't any way I'm getting in THAT door.

At that point, I'm thinking I'm going to have to bust the front door knob too or actually start knocking on the neighbor's doors.  Luckily, it's trash day.  I run over to the trash guy because they just happened to be collecting our garbage as I'm frantically running around my building.  Trash guy lets me use his cell phone and I'm not sure why because I'm sure I looked like a maniac running toward him in my bare feet and holding a hammer.  I try to call Eric.  No answer.  I don't know his work phone number because IT'S STORED IN MY CELL PHONE THAT IS INSIDE OF MY LOCKED HOUSE. 

Just then, a white truck pulls up and two men get out (might as well have been two knights on white horses).  "Maybe THEY can help me." I think to myself.  I run off with trash guy's cell phone in my bare feet with my broken hammer.  I'm out of breath at this point and trying to explain what happened.  I'm sure I heard one of them call me "crazy lady", which wasn't far off really.  I run back to trash guy and throw his phone at him and as I'm running back to white truck guys, I thank him...for NOTHING.

White truck guys were already up on my front stoop and I thrust my broken hammer at one of them.  "Just do it!" I shouted.  "I don't care!"  They're both looking at me like they're not sure if they should run or just knock me out with the hammer. 

"WAIT!" Says one of them.  "Do you have a balcony?"  YES!  YES!  the BALCONY!  You are the SMARTEST MAN ALIVE Mr. white truck guy!  Earlier that morning, I had unlocked the balcony door so Hailey could run in and out.  He says, "I have a ladder on my truck."  THERE IS A GOD 

I'm laughing hysterically at this point and feeling really embarrassed and dumb but I'm pretty sure I have fallen in love with him now.  Mr. white truck guy goes to get his ladder while the other one is telling me a story about getting locked out of his house and his birds and rats and snakes and dogs and llamas and whatnot are all loose and he thinks they are going to eat each other.  I don't know...it was something like that.  I pretty much tuned him out.

Mr. white truck guy comes back with his ladder and crazy animal white truck guy goes up the ladder first to make sure it's sturdy for me and then I climb up and VOILA!  I'm back in my house.  Hailey remained unfazed by all of the shouting and hammering.

May 17, 2007

Google "vomit" and you'll find me.

Amy_google_pictI don't necessarily want to be remembered as the girl who threw up at Google but that is exactly what happened.

I was invited to the Chicago Google office for the "Mother's Know Tech" event that was held a few weeks ago.  I, along with three other fellow Chicago Mom's Blog contributors (Stephanie, Sara & MJ) were invited to attend this event to represent "tech savvy" mom's.  What they and the 100+ advertisers and marketers don't know is what I went through in the middle of the presentation.

Now, I generally vomit in the privacy of my own home.  It just works out that way.  However, there has been the occasional blips in the system; once at a movie theater, once in my mother-in-law's backyard and once in the bathroom of a college apartment but that was a lifetime ago.

I digress.  I'm at the Google Chicago office with all of these fabulous people.  I can't believe I'm here!  Little old me, I think to myself.  We take our places in the front row of the audience, which consists of the advertisers and marketers.  Things are moving along swimmingly when all of the sudden, uh oh, that "feeling".  The "sensation".  I start sweating.  My thoughts are racing.  I'm fanning myself with my notebook.  Panic mode, then planning mode.  How will I make my departure?  It has to be quick and swift and fool-proof.  It has to be...NOW.  I turn toward MJ and say, "I'll be back."  I jump out of my chair and glide past the speaker and out of the room.  The first person I see, I say, "bathroom" through my hand that is now cupped over my mouth.  Dear God, pleeeease don't let this happen at Google.  Not here, not at GOOGLE!  After two gags, I find myself in front of the women's restroom.  Like it or not, it was coming.  Into the stall...I made it!  Praise the Lord, I...I...almost made it.  Oh no.  Oh God.  It's on my pants!  The vomit is on my pants!  I'm standing there, hunched over thinking that I will have to stay in this stall for the rest of the day until I can quietly sneak out to never be heard from again.  The tears are welling up in my eyes.  This is unbelievable.  I have looked forward to this day for over a month and my stupid body decides to go and ruin it for me.  What have I done to deserve this cruel treatment?

Ok, I suck it up.  I have to.  My purse and belongings are back in that room.  I must recruit help.  Someone enters the restroom.  "Excuse me?" I say in a small voice.  "Yes?" comes the answer.  "I need help.  I just got sick here in your lovely Google restroom and I need some help."  "Ok?" says the voice from the outside.  "Can I get a big shirt or something?" I say.  "I'll be right back, let me see what I can find for you."  Says the angelic voice from beyond.  My guardian angel will save me!  I think to myself.  The woman with the voice re-enters the restroom along with another person.  "Are you alright in there?" Says the second voice.  "Yes, I'm ok.  I need you to get my belongings from that room." I say.  "I also need you to get Jennifer."  She needs to know what's going on, what big mess I've made of myself.  I can not sit up on a pedestal in front of all of these people reeking of vomit.  I throw on my XL Google t-shirt and Jennifer enters the restroom.  "I'm sorry, Jennifer, I need to go home."  "I've made a complete mess of myself."  Jennifer is so sweet and helpful, she offers to take me to her home to get a change of clothes, if I felt well enough to stay, that is. 

After a number of minutes of feeling embarrassed and helpless and sick, I try to make a rational decision.  I have been invited to this event, something that I've been looking forward to.  Something that I feel could make a difference for women and mom's everywhere.  I really don't want to leave.  Jennifer also suggests that we are right near Michigan Ave., the magnificent mile.  An idea sparks in my head.  Gap.  I could go to Gap.  Jennifer prints up a map for me and tells me I have just enough time if I want to go there, get a change of clothes and come back.  I could still make it!

I slither out of the restroom, into the elevator and through the lobby.  I hop into the first cab that I see and minutes later, there I am, in front of Gap.  I run inside and find a pair of brown Capris closest to the ones that I was currently wearing.  I give the Gap employee the Reader's Digest version of what just happened to me and they agree to let me change into my new pants in the store.  I race out of the store and hop into the next available cab, back over to the Google office.  "I can do this." I think to myself.  "I am doing this."  Back through the lobby, into the elevator and back into the Google office. 

Jennifer meets me at the door.  "We can make it back inside and no one will ever know." She says.  She is my partner in crime.  We are a team now.  We tip toe into the back of the room just in time for the end of the presentation.  People start moving around and the chairs are placed up in front of the audience for the mom's to make their debuts and I walk right up there.  Unnoticed.  Unsuspected.  I have done it.  Now, I'm just praying that I don't get sick up in front of these people.  That would have completely blown my cover.  The mom panel discussion went off without a hitch and I was even able to stay afterward for a meet and greet and then have a quick dinner with MJ.  I ended up being sick for the rest of the week.