Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Santa baby, just slip a gift card under the tree, for me...

Disclaimer: I'm a hypocrite.*
*While I usually do my disclaimers at the end of a post, I have to start by saying I recognize how hypocritical the following is going to be. I can only attribute the need to type this to the new understanding on how weird and wrong I was. 
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photo credit: random google images search -
 specific site may or may not have a weird loop hole to
serious dirty pictures thus not siting here, sorry. 

Needed the picture not the crotch shots  & my own editing fun
I have a new suggestion for the holidays. Let's all bring a stack of cash to our respective holiday gatherings. Let's keep it classy, and stay away from singles.  In the spirit of the holidays which has clearly turned into exchanging cash, let's just keep it simple. What you give me I'll give you. Why not? Right? That's what Santa had in mind. The rumors of Santa's little helpers making toys is clearly just that: rumors. 

I don't know, call me old fashion, but isn't gift giving about giving someone something they wouldn't normally purchase on their own? A gift is something special? Maybe something they need? I looked it up, I'm right - something acquired without compensation. Isn't exchanging cash compensation?

The holidays are out of control.  As a gift giver for nieces, nephews, cousins, parents, partners, brothers, sisters, child and sometimes etc; it is becoming clear that we have lost our focus. When your own wallet is affected it hits home faster, I guess. 
I know I have asked for gift cards in the past, as suggestions, giving stores I frequent. The older I get the more I realize that was wrong and I apologize. Now that I am older and I have a TON of people requesting straight up cash and/or gift cards from me I realize how freaking ridiculous I was. I can only say that I was younger and didn't realize what a complete boob I was being. Also, I think I asked my parents for said gift cards - which feels less wrong to me.  I was trying to make things easier, as necessary since apparently no one understands or knows me. Apparently, I'm the world's most difficult person to shop for (I find this almost hilarious since anyone who REALLY knows me should know what I like).  

Maybe the reason I hate gift cards the most is because you can't sneak in deals.  The gift receiver knows just how much you spent. How is that fun? I like to hide my frugal prowess behind gifts that look more expensive than they are.  Maybe that's wrong? Gift giving shouldn't be about the skill to spend the least amount of money possible, right? Although I don't know - the Target woman seems to believe saving is the key to the happiest of holidays.


I do appreciate Christmas lists.  When asked, what do you need or any special requests - I get that you could give someone an idea of what you have your eye on; I'll take that.  I can also accept responsibility for being horrible at this.  Providing people with what I want or need is NOT a strength. I'm actually pretty horrible at it.   With out spending everyday with someone you may not know what they have their eye on. Hell, I spend every single day with the ball and chain and all he wants are socks. Seriously: socks. That's it.  After being stumped last year, I started a note with in my iPhone that was an ongoing list of thoughts for gift ideas - for him, for the kid, for me. Knowing that Thanksgiving would come and shortly after that the on slot of requests for "the" Christmas list.  Oh how I miss the days of checking out the Toys R Us catalog folding down the pages of all the things I absolutely 
needed Santa to bring me.  I thought my plan was fool proof; what a fool I was.  There were a few small things I wrote down this year as SOON as I hear him mutter, "that's cool."  Unfortunately, I gave those secrets away and I am left with nothing and literally almost NO clue on what to get. It's not fair. I am so freaking easy. He is the hardest person to buy for, but does he ask for gift cards? No, he does not.  Do I wish I could give him gift cards? Yes,  sometimes.  Though since my money is his and vice versa - that would be even more hilarious than the gift card fever going on in my neck of the woods. 

What happened to giving the person the chance to "get it right" and hopefully they give you a gift receipt.  Side note:  anyone who does not provide a gift receipt is re-gifting OR trying to make your life difficult, in my opinion.  Re-gifting? Seriously, good for you but you better be making a safe bet otherwise why even give anything? Seriously.  Making my life difficult? Why? What did I do to you? 

OK back to the point, let's say the person doesn't get it right and they provide you with a gift that won't work for you. Perhaps the size isn't quite right or you already have that brooch or game?  Then, with the receipt you can quietly make your gift card dreams come true by way of returning. How fun is it really to open up envelopes with gift cards and nothing else?

The bitch of this whole tirade is (well there are a few things): 
  1. My mother is going to automatically assume I am talking about her.  It's not you - it's the idea and spirit behind Christmas that I am finding particularly annoying. This is a pattern I have noticed Christmas wide, not on any particular side or person. Also, you didn't ask for gift cards, you asked for black socks. Seriously? Who asks for socks for Christmas? OH yeah, my husband - perpetuating the issue here. 
  2. If anyone got me a gift card, I am pretty sure they haven't even gotten this far as they are on the way back to the store. That is not the point. I like gift cards. I think they are effective and important. I love receiving them. I think they are a smart gift idea when you are stumped. What I do not like is how they are taking over the holidays and people are solely requesting gift cards. That's my issue. Give me my damn gift card. 
  3. If I got a list of stores you like (not you, Mom, I'm talking to any gift requester) and sizes, as requested - perhaps I would end up going with a gift card inside a small thing from that store. It would be my choice and I would feel more in control of the gift.  (Maybe this clearly is my own issue then? Nah.) Instead of just asking for cash? 
Does no one see how ridiculous the holidays are becoming? Also, besides gift cards, what should I get the ball & chain. Seriously. It's gift cards all day long with out some kind of direction. 

*Final disclaimer, I am hesitant to hit "publish post" because I am always misunderstood.  Also, I want the gift cards I know that have already been purchased for me. I will leave you (now I am talking to you Mom) with this: grain of salt. Take what I say with a grain of salt. 99.9% of what I say is mostly meant for the laugh of it all.  Sarcasm may be the language of the devil, but it makes me giggle and (jokingly) complaining is the name of my game. If you can't handle it (now I'm talking to anyone who takes the post personally, not just you, Mom) with out meaning to sound like a total and complete Grinch: I would suggest loosing this URL. I need to be me here and I need you to understand me and not take it all so seriously. That's what I want for Christmas - that and gift cards. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

You've Got Mail

I have talked about my obsession of mail. I mean for real? How could I not with the kind of muse that I have at my shutter bug trigger happy finger? This year there is an oh so hott deal where ALL I have to do is tell you about WHY Shutterfly, in particular rocks the house. Need one reason?
I chose Shutterfly because I was totally into the PeaceJoyCandyCanes wording.  Can you stand it? The process was super easy and frankly reasonable prices, which doesn't hurt. Last year I may or may not have ordered a few many, due to all of the excitement.  I tend to do that, I prefer to err on the side of caution. I always order more, for real? Check her out! Wouldn't you want to be sure you had enough to go around? Sure, I'll be wallpapering our next family room with old and unused holiday cards, thank you cards and birthday party invitations - but at these prices? Why not?

In addition to cards there are some fantastic options for gifts. A personal favorite? Calendars. It's too bad I tend to give calendars as gifts and never get myself one. The result? Everyone else remembers birthdays and anniversaries - except this girl, right here. On a related note? When you enter promo code: MYCALENDAR at check out - you get up to 50% off your order and a free calendar. Holler. PS this offer ends the 28th (that's today, FYI). Ah creeps - so here I am realizing if I'm doing that this year I have to get on this. The only issue with making these happen each year is the ability to get my hands on some pictures to make it happen (I'm looking at you family, reading this, never sending me pictures). Note to self: start stalking your family early for photos to use otherwise you'll end up like me - on a tangent realizing that you are out of time.

Full disclosure, Shutterfly is offering 50 hott holiday cards, free and clear for letting you know about my positive experience. You can do it too, no problemo. Check it out.  This year, while I had the photos done early, here I sit with so many options I can't handle it. I may very well get a few different designs since I am unable to make a decision. When in doubt? Overbuy. 

What is your holiday card plan?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankful

I'm thankful for so much, I almost don't recognize the optimistic me.  It's quiet moments like this I am thankful for.  Mornings like this one, sipping delicious homemade ice coffee, watching whatever my heart desires and quiet all around. The ball & chain goes spinning.  If you ask me, exercising, being hot, blaring loud music on a bicycle sounds like torture that should be illegal- but he loves it? Who am I to say not to go? Plus it means he and the kid get some time post hell to go swimming. Me? I get to sit, quietly, on mornings like this.  Thankful, indeed. 

I am most thankful for the kid, who wouldn't be?  I am thankful for her constant... "Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama." And her follow up, "I love you."  I am thankful for all things offspring, including my partner in crime in raising her - the ball & chain.  My grandmother asked me on Thanksgiving, "How she get to be so good?" (heavy accent implied).  I answered, wholeheartedly, it's a team effort.  I know how blessed we are to have that kind of team work.  I don't know how people do it with out that kind of teamwork. Truly. 

This year, I'm thankful for the upcoming holidays. They are usually filled with stress, travel and mayhem.  I've said it before - time and again: we are staying home for the holidays.  Finally the threats rumors are true.  We are (mostly) staying home for the holidays. I can't wait to stay in PJs all day, open presents with out a crazy fever that stresses me down to the core, and not worry about the next stop in our trip.  For the first time, in forever, we are doing what WE want to do and not what everyone wants us to do.  That's a real Christmas wish come true.  It's baby steps, but I'll take it.

We spent Thanksgiving with Poppa & Cami.  Super fun and while travel was required we were gone and back in two days, with a full weekend ahead of us (see thankful for quiet time above).  Christmas Eve AND Christmas will be spent at home (you all are welcome to stop by).  I'll be the one in PJs for the better part of the day, enjoying every moment.  MyUncleChris & Nana Lu will be in attendance (don't forget to pack your PJs).  Santa & I spoke last night, by way of Black Friday sales, L is going to have one seriously wonderful Christmas.  On the 26th we'll make our way to Poppa & Grammy and the whole crew of cousins, aunts and uncles on the ball & chain side with a quick return home. I'll work that week, with the exception of one day in between Christmas & New Years where Poppa & Cami will come for an extended Christmas celebration at our house.  Notice a pattern? Lots of 'at our house.' 

Christmas. Miracle.

I'm thankful for our family traditions to come and the family that we will be.  I'm thankful for everything that we have and everyone we know; for everyone apart of our life.  We have an amazing family and group of friends. To quote another friend, I'm thankful for friends that will be family forever.

Monday, November 22, 2010

World Beast

Last Night

Daddy: "L, what do you think you want Santa to bring you?"
L: "I dunno. Barbie. And Princesses...."
Daddy: "What about world peace?" (side note: I too was confused as to why he would promote her to wish for something that Santa can't deliver on just yet?)
L: "Yes, I want Beauty & the Beast."

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Dad: "What are you going to get Daddy?"
L: "Um, princesses, Belle, Sleeping Beauty..."

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Tonight

Set the scene: L dropped something in the car. 
Daddy: "Where did it go?"
L: "Under there."
Daddy: "Under where?"
L: "Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!"

Literally hours later - you can hear her laughing about it, still!
"Under where?" Get it? Underwear. 
And so potty humor begins. 

A little while longer? She flipped from just screaming (and laughing) "UNDERWEAR" to singing "It's underwear tiiiime!" Alla Jersey Shore & It's T-Shirt Tiiiiime!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Have Kid, Will Dine

I feel like everyone in and around the Cambridge, MA area needs to know about Full Moon Restaurant. Sure, they don't carry my DOC (in this case, I didn't expect them to carry benadryl, more so my DRINK of choice, Bud Light), but I tell you it didn't make a difference. We met some friends with their kids at this place a few months back and I've been meaning to share the wealth. Despite receiving a text from my friend trying to prep me for the 'disaster' she thought would ensue since there was no BL on tap or in bottles (all microbrewery beers) I couldn't care less. And in an interesting twist of faith, post our Europe trip I've actually grown to like non-watered down beer. Yes, it's true. Despite my unwavering love for the BL, I do recognize that part of the reason it is so 'light' is that there is likely more water than anything else in the damn bottle. I won't apologize for my love of BL, but I will say I am starting to see the err of my way. 

I digress:  h
ere's why I love this place and you should too. First - and not in order of importance - they have fanfreakingtastic food. Second, and maybe this is more important this food? It's served at reasonable prices  A kid menu and everything is around 6 bucks. At 6 bucks I expect the golden arches. OH heck no. Delicious food for adults and little humans. Third(s)? The portions? OH heck yeah they sure are fine. Fourth, the atmosphere is totally casual - but the food itself is more 'bistro' like. Holla. This satisfies my need preference to wear jeans and the ball & chain's preference need for fancy pants food. 

Finally and truly the most important thing is to be able to dine with out the order and rush methods that are sometimes needed when children are involved. You know about this if you are a parent or some unsuspecting fool who was babysitting and took the kid to a restaurant. I'll set the scene. The server comes to get the drink orders - you already know your full order and have specific instructions on what needs to come out when and depending on the kid's mood by the time their meal comes out you might also ask for your check once your appetizer arrives.
"WRAP IT UP! We are moments away from crazy town being unleashed on all of our unsuspected dining neighbors."  Side note: I don't suggest actually saying something like this unless you think the server is going to get it. When they don't - they may accidentally fear for their life. 
This place is MORE than kid friendly. It is a restaurant that has crayons at the front and tables to color on. But what's that? There is more?

There are BUCKETS of toys for the kids to grab at the front and play with. Every child loves a bucket of new toys they've never seen. It's a proven fact. But what's that? There is more? 


A freaking play area. 


Oh how I don't understand how more restaurants don't have a play area? Freaking. Genius. There were only a few seats, I wouldn't want to sit at (because I have a younger child) - but most of the seats you could see into the play area and enjoy you brunch, lunch or dinner in peace and quiet (foreign concept for most parents) while your kid played. It was awesome and I just wanted to share anyone in Massachusetts or driving through you should give it a try. Consider yourself enlightened and you're welcome - enjoyment during a night out is yours again. It's true! Also true? This post is not sponsored. I was going to put all this in a yelp comment but I didn't think it would translate. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's a Kitchen, not a Buffet

The bottom line on our parenting philosophy usually comes down to "whatever it takes." That said, there are SOME things we are pretty inflexible with, no matter what it would take.

Before proceeding, if you are going to be judgey, stop here. You may suffer in silence but I don't really want to hear how this is the wrong way to do it - unless you are prepared for me to come back to YOU on all the things that I feel you are doing wrong.  That said, I try not to think one way is the wrong way or the right way.  The disclaimer on that is I think we know the best way for our family. I'm somewhat wish I was open to suggestions, if you are. 

A wise friend of mine usually says, "it's a kitchen, not a restaurant" but I think I'm going with buffet.  We don't have a lot of rules in our house, but when it comes to eating and dinner we are trying to hold true to one.  You eat what we are eating or you are not eating. Some (all grandparents that are currently connected to the kid) may think this makes me us cold hearted snakes, but I assure you I am not the only true believer in this wonderful cause.  Is it fail proof? Hells to the no, what is?

Currently Halloween candy is making dinner dreams come true. Instead of the threat of starvation, the fact that with out eating most everything there is no treat after dinner. It perhaps could be the end of the road, as the Halloween loot is running thin, but we'll work it out (AKA stock fridge with ice pops).  It's not that we want to dictators, sometimes she gets a choice for dinner.  When we are eating something that wouldn't be cruel and unusual punishment (see chili or salad night after night) she has no choice. She has some choices any day. She can (usually) have any vegetable and any fruit to nosh on.  We are lucky, she likes the good stuff.  Where we run into issues is she could probably live on bread and butter or pasta and ... you guessed it butter.  Would it be the end of the world to make pasta every night? No. It's just not happening. What happens when there is more than one? I am no short order cook, hell I don't even cook.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Summer Sipper

While I'm not a wine drinker OR a white wine drinker, hofer gruner veltliner wine is the bee's knees. I discovered it, on my way out to pick up some white wine for a Bunko game. It was my first night "out" in my neighborhood (ever) and first night playing Bunko.  Little did I know I would become an old hat at Bunko and spend one night a month getting drunkO at Bunko and loving it. 

Anyway, when I went to this wine shop, down the street from where I live and where I was going I asked for a suggestion. Being a BL girl, I didn't want to get some crap, but also didn't want to break the bank. 

The guy there pointed me to the direction of this delish bottle of wine. Here's all the reasons I love it:

1. The taste. I googled this wine and found the perfect description

Pale champagne color, lots of frizzante, with wild tongue-stinging acidity that has a mouth-tickling Pop Rocks effect. Loads of pear and minerality and hints of citrus. There's ample honey and caramel on the finish. 

To be fair, I'm not 100% what all that means but I love the pop rocks comparison... I might say:

Pale champagne color, delish. Doesn't have that ca ca after taste of desserty wines or water taste of most white wines. Not to many strong tastes all together - except the taste of declious. Also, it is bubbly a bit but not burpy bubbles. 

2. The bottle. It's large and in charge.

3. The top is twist off, bud light style. I like that. 

4. Way affordable. It's like $14 for the big boy, but it's not cheap tasting. 


*No one asked me to write this review, though if anyone wanted to send me bottles of wine, beer or liqueur to review- I wouldn't be against that. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Simple Love, Simply Love


It's strange. I have 300 pictures of Halloween this year.  Most have are bright, awesome colors, shots that chronicle everything: frowns, smiles, laughing, running, readjusting dresses and I hear a wedge pick or two. There are props (a first) for god sake. I put it to music I loved them all so much I couldn't bare to part with any.

I keep coming back to this picture. In the darkness you can see how she is looking at her Daddy knowing just how lucky she is. We are.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's Red on the Washer Machine And My Bunny was Just Shot by an IQ Quiz

I love me some Facebook. I love me some twitter.  They satisfy two different 'zones' for me. Facebook is where most of my friends (and family) are. I suffer through some things in the name of that friendship loyalty.

I don't hide people for telling me color their bra is or where they leave their purse. 
I don't (always) hide your Farmville efforts or who shot who in the mafia (ok I do hide the games - but only that info, I keep you around for the long haul).  I watch the relationship status go back and forth and your up to the minute description of every meal you ate, nap you took or location you are checking into.  I even put up with the unnecessary shirtlessnesses and muscle shots - because damn it. It's your page and you have the right to share what you want. 

Now for all that- I ask one thing of you. Vote for my dang kid and I will ATTEMPT not to make this pimping for votes thing a habit. Here's the reason why you should help a sister out. 


  1. The art? It's hotness. For real, check their work out. 
  2. The team at Modern Bird Studios, spot on.  Husband & wife team that are fraking hilarious. 
  3. Mama wants a piece of art. 
  4. For god sake. Check out the 'official' name of the contest? They speak my language. 




Here's what you do:
  1. Check out their Facebook page and give them a LIKE won't you? Facebook | Modern Bird Studios.
  2. Check out the holiday photo contest and like on this sweet little cherub.
  3. That's it. 

All of the photos are great, I have to say. There are even a FEW that are close contenders to the cuteness that this little girl is giving (OK I'll be honest, I'm scared of a few).  Either way you do have to check out Modern Bird Studios

To be fair and honest I may or may not have used up all my annoying mommy coins in trying to get the kid voted for the Gap Kid Casting Call (my bad) and at times update my Facebook status unnecessarily but hey. No body is perfect. Boom. I've said it. 


What's the wager? How many people on Facebook and Twitter will I 'loose' by pimping out my kid? Ah the causalities of war. 

For the love of Pete. Social Media, don't fail me now. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

I Believe in Magic

I have a magic ice tea elf in my house.  I drink ice tea, sometimes I drink all of it.  I'm thirsty. I could make some more, my hands are not broken. The truth of the matter is whenever I make ice tea it just isn't the same. It punishes us all.

Here is how it works.  I leave an empty pitcher on the counter, walk away.  POOF.  Ice tea is made and in the fridge moments later.

It's reason 3,589,436 I love my husband and I am lucky to have him. It's also just another reason to post Halloween pictures which, if you haven't noticed, I'm obsessed with.
 

Friday, November 5, 2010

What will you be for Halloween tomorrow?

The kid asked me the other night what we will be for Halloween tomorrow. This year was a great year for this family. It all came together and Tink had a plan, she skipped houses that weren't bright with welcoming candy giving light or that seemed to have a line. She knew it was a matter of getting in and out, all the while putting on her charm to hustle the fool behind the candy bowl into providing two treats instead of one.  She is no fool.  She also knew to skip any houses that seemed to have "lines" or crowds. Such a different from years past.  


Of course her first Halloween, it was just about making sure she was adorable, CHECK.  In year two, still no candy but dressing up fun. Last year though, her first year trick or treating, is my favorite memory.  I realize though, I didn't mention it last year. 


The following are the top 5 reasons I loved Halloween last year, and it will still remain my favorite, despite how kick fairy wings, this year was. 


1.  Seriously. Adorable. Child. A gnome? Can you stand it? 



2. We dressed up as a family. 




3. Some of the costume was homemade to boot. Sure those felt hats don't look like much, but I remain fingerprint-less due to some severe causalities in the war between me and the hot glue gun. Even Nana Lu got one! I only remember her being a serial 'punk rocker' utilizing a random rainbow colored wig I wore for a dance recital. That wig came out every Halloween, for I'm sure 10 consecutive years. OH if only I had a picture of that. 



4.  Speaking of Nana Lu, it was a pretty great night to have my mom here.  She babysat for us the night before, I think but stuck around to be able to take her first grandchild trick or treating for the first time. There aren't a lot of firsts of firsts going around, so it was pretty cool, if I do say so myself.



5. The experience of trick or treating with a two year old. 


Trick or treating went a little like this:


L walks down the street, we walk up to the door. We ring the bell or knock on the door. Door opens, person remarks at the (obvious) cuteness of the girl. Usually mistaking her as an elf, despite the CLEAR gnome qualities.  Girl remains quiet, sometimes smiles. All adults (3:1) prompt her to say "Trick or Treat." Girl ignores. Adult smiles, provides candy. We say "thank you" and walk away. Anywhere between 3 and 5 seconds on our trip back to the sidewalk, to hit the next house, we get the loudest and clearest outburst from the girl:

TRICK OR TREAT!!!!!



With out fail, walking away from the house it would kick in to say it and with out fail, she wouldn't say it when faced with the candy bowl in her face. It made me laugh each time. She makes me laugh. My first born jumping into her first trick or treating experience, figuring out that you may not get it right - but dressed up with a smile that won't quit - you'll get some goodies. That will forever be one of my favorite Halloweens.


THIS POST IS PROUDLY LINKED UP WITH THE SITS GIRLS HALLOWEEN EVENT.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

She speaks the truth


Don't believe her? You should check out the video. It kind of proves it. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

When you have 300 pictures to share...



You make a video. Halloween 2010. Goes off with out a hitch.

I think the photos say it all.  You might even be able to see the fun we had despite major on lookers and confused folks as we ran around an open field.

How much does our family kick fairy dust? 


THIS POST IS PROUDLY LINKED UP WITH THE SITS GIRLS HALLOWEEN EVENT.
(c) 2007 all rights reserved. aka don't be a D and swipe any content, photos, etc - sucka. Should you be tempted, let me know so I can be flattered and then give me something write about.