Thursday, April 30, 2009

Random #21

I need to lighten the mood around here, people. It is time to bring out the big guns - Random Thursday!
I was in the bathroom washing my hands when I heard a "clip clop" noise entering Peanut's bedroom from the kitchen (her bedroom is right off the bathroom). When I saw what she was doing I burst into laughter...and let her continue what she was doing so I could get the camera ready:

What are those, you ask? The caps to her bottles. She pulled everything off the shelf got a couple from the bottle shelf and was using them to crawl. I was amused and impressed at the same time. I mean, this could be her future:

I drew an arrow indicating what I was talking case you thought I was referring to the uber-creepy cheetah (while a very talented performer, that animal in the Broadway version of "The Lion King" gave me the bejeebees. I think it was the way he moved).

* * * * *

I could do a whole post of pictures from Peanut's birthday, but I'm sure you wouldn't be all that interested in them (since I'd probably blur out the faces of anyone that was not ShankRabbit, Peanut or myself). I do want to take a moment to talk about the AWESOMENESS of our friend who did the cake and cupcakes for the party. She went over and above expectations - both in taste (I shed a tear when I ate the last cupcake) and presentation. All we asked for were cupcakes and a small cake with a "spring" theme. Here's the magic she created:

Those big cupcakes are flower-shaped! With white chocolate butterflies (and the letter "A" - Peanut's real first initial)!

I spent a long time staring at this cake - before, during and after the party. The details are insane! The first (and only) thing Peanut was interested in eating off this cake were the tomatoes. Funny. It was almost as if she knew it was too pretty to eat...though being sick could have had something to do with it.

So, if the cake decorator superwoman is reading this right now - thank you thank you thank you!

* * * * *

When was the last time you smiled this big?

Swings = huge hit.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm not broken...

Well, not really.

Results: I either have endometriosis or hemmoragic cysts (ShankRabbit said, "so, your uterus has hemmorhoids?!" Uh, no...not quite).
Since my medical profile and symptoms don't line up perfectly with either, they can't say I have one for sure...but they are pretty confident it is one of these and there is no cause for alarm.


All is good.

And I'd like to send a big thank you for all your well wishes and prayers. It really meant a lot to me.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Not for me...

This post is for Kayleigh.

There are a plethora of blogs out there that chronicle the journey of premature babies. The parents (and other family members) of these fragile little ones fill these blogs with words of love, inspiration, courage, and faith. I've happened upon several of these, but no blog caught my attention like that of Kayleigh Anne Freeman.

Right now, my heart breaks for this family. Kayleigh, who has spent the 10 months of her life in the NICU, had surgery a short time ago and is not recovering well. Not too long ago they were happily talking about finally bringing their baby home. Now those conversations have been replaced with ones of how best to spend the remaining days of her life.

I don't know what to say...other than please send a prayer or two their way.

* * * * *

There is a song bouncing around in my head while I write this post. Maybe because, ultimately, I am confused as to why things are the way they are for Kayleigh right now.

So, instead of my usual "Dance Party" entry, I offer a song dedication to the Freemans:

"Downside Up" by Peter Gabriel

Sunday, April 26, 2009

MRI fun

The MRI was...well, uneventful. Spending over 30 minutes laying completely still is anything but an action-packed adventure. A couple of the ways I entertained myself:

1. Made up songs to the backbeat of the MRI's thuds and screeches.
2. Pretended I was on the set of a TV show. Unfortunately, no hot "I play a doctor on TV" types...just the Dr. Wilson lookalike technician.

The technician said that the contrast they injected was clear, so it wouldn't have any effects on me. Darn it all! I was hoping I could truthfully say "I pee rainbows."

Yes, I'm that lame.

Text color - I'm going all out. For real.

So, results expected Tuesday afternoon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Medical Mystery Tour

I'm a pretty open person. I will not hesitate to talk about my past, especially if I know the person(s) I am speaking with may benefit in some way from hearing my story. However, talking about medical stuff - especially when I (or any doctors, for that matter) don't have concrete answers - isn't something I do. I try to make it seem like everything is OK, when in reality my brain is going a million miles a minute. And because medical professionals can't give me the answers I'm looking for (without further testing - which does not guarantee an answer anyway), I'm stuck.

I hate that I'm writing this to the blogosphere right now. As silly as it sounds, I'm comfortable admitting imperfections in parenting and my craptastic ability to handle relationships with family/friends, but not with something I can't control - my health.

Now, before you get all worry-wart on me...whatever is going on doesn't seem to be serious at all. It's just a bunch of unanswered questions.

So, I am off to an MRI today. I was instructed to remove any piercings (I have 50...I'm hardcore like that) and wear comfortable clothing. I guess I'll put the Manolos aside for another day.
(sad attempt at humor...moving on)

Test results will be discussed Tuesday afternoon. Let's hope they have a better answer than "um...we're not really sure what that is..." as the radiologist told me after my ultrasound a couple weeks ago.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Recycling and Earth Day

It seems cheap to link someone else's post as "your" post for the day. Originally, it was going to be my post...but I handed it off to ShankRabbit. Why?

1. He was a little more, uh, emotional about this topic than me.
2. I knew he'd make it more enjoyable to read than I ever could.

So, if you want to know what happened with the garbage/recycling mix-up from yesterday, read ShankRabbit's post. You'll be glad you did.

* * * * *

I don't know why the Earth Dayists (or is it Earth Dayans?) don't use an earth worm as the focal point of their marketing campaign. Yes, it is called "Earth Day" and they use an image of the Earth, but that's too expected. Earth worms are the true heroes. Their bodies are the perfect recycling plant (no worries of layoffs in there!). Cartoon drawings of worms can be rather cute:


I bet that book is printed on recycled paper.

Did you know that earth worms are hermaphrodites (no awkward humping poses shown on the Discovery Channel that you'd have to explain to the kids)? They just slither past each they are sharing a worm hug. Aww.

So, during your Earth Day festivities, hug a tree, pick up a piece of trash, and salute the earth worm.

(No, I am not under the influence of some legal or illegal substance. This post was encouraged by a Call Me Cate challenge).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Shots, crafts and garbage guilt

I was thinking of what to title this post and I have to share with you my train of thought -

I could call it "Shots." Though, that could imply alcoholic shots. Too bad immunizations aren't as fun as those. The next time I'm at the doctor and have to get a shot, I should ask for a whiskey chaser.

Yes, I am truly an odd bird. No need to remind me.

* * * * *

Today is Peanut's 12 month 1 year* check-up. Shots are on the docket. Typically, she handles these pretty well, but with her recent sickness, who knows what the next couple days will bring. Let's hope a small dose of Tylenol beforehand helps out.

* * * * *

I have a new button on the left side of my blog for Craft Hope. What is it? "Craft Hope is a faith-based, love inspired project designed to share handmade crafts with those less fortunate. It is our hope to combine our love for crafting and desire to help others into a project to make a difference around the world."

Sometimes I feel like I don't have enough time to breathe, let alone craft...but this community really calls to me. Even if you think you are not "crafty," they provide easy-to-follow tutorials.

Don't worry, my five blogger friends waiting for crafts. You have not been forgotten and I already have your projects in the works.

* * * * *

At Peanut's party, we put out a blue plastic recycling bag for all of the soda cans and bottles. We failed to put a sign on it (and failed to provide an equally large garbage bag). Therefore, our recycling bag was used for garbage AND recycling. Hey, at least it matched our party decor.
Am I weird for feeling guilty about throwing all that away? Or how about peering out the window at the garbage man to see if he has a disapproving look or comment?


* - Shankrabbit and I decided once Peanut reached a year, we would say her age in years instead of months. We've come across so many people that will say their child is something like "29 months old." You're not telling someone how old your child is, you are giving them a math problem.

Monday, April 20, 2009

My swingset story

I was a young'un - maybe 9 or 10. My brother (we'll call him "T") and I were playing in the backyard of my Aunt M's and Uncle J's house. They lived in a quiet little suburban neighborhood on a cul-de-sac. Compared to the north side of Chicago (where we lived), this area was beautiful and clean.

Aside from the odd apple-producing tree in the backyard, there was a metal swing set that, I believe, came with the house. It was basic - two swings (interchangeable with a pull-up bar), monkey bars, and a slide. That was how you rolled back in the day - no tree houses, ramps or rock-climbing walls like they have now.

One afternoon, T and I were running around when we heard a loud, deep dog bark. We knew immediately who's dog this was - the corner neighbor owned a Rottweiler that would bark and snap at us when we passed on our bikes heading to the park. But something wasn't right about this bark. It was too close.

That's when we saw the dog on the street. We panicked. We knew the dog was on its way to get us. T was closest to the house, so he immediately ran indoors. I was on the other side of the yard...and knew there was no way I'd make it inside before the dog entered the backyard. So, I hastily made my way to the top of the slide...hoping he didn't know how to climb up.

I remember a lot of screaming and crying atop the slide, with the dog barking and snarling at the base (he made it pretty far up the slide just by standing on his hind legs). I remember seeing my brother, horror-stricken and helpless, watching me from the door.

I don't remember what made the dog go away - was it the owner's call? Who knows. But I will always be grateful for that metal swing set.

I am sharing this story with you for two reasons:
1. I plan on sharing little bits and pieces about my memories of this house and my aunt and uncle (and their kids). This is a good place to start - get the bad memory out of the way.

2. There is a big spring contest over at Dad Blogs. You write a blog post and reference their giveaway and you can possibly win this:

A fully-loaded wooden swingset from Kid's Creations. Valued at $5,000!
And if that wasn't enough, they are throwing in a Canon PowerShot SD 1100.

Though this swingset won't protect Peanut from big, scary dogs (that wall would certainly do her in), it would still be a blast for us her to play on.

So, If you happen to check this giveaway out, please mention my name.

Weekend review

We are back and made it through Saturday. Fortunately, Mother Nature was smiling on us and we got a 70+ degree day with lots of sunshine. For a Midwest April, this is amazing (Sunday was 45 and rainy, if that says anything)!

For my reference, a few important notes for next year:

1. Don't do favors
2. If your child touches your face with cake hands, make sure husband checks your face before pictures are taken (after reviewing our photos, it looks like I have chocolate snot. Greeeeat...I'm sure several other people got the same shot).
3. Make sure the time of the party doesn't interfere with nap time...especially with a sick child. She wasn't miserable - but not her usual smiling self.

I am not amused.

This little bundle of teething sickness decided that the day of her first birthday (Sunday) was the perfect time to start walking and feeding herself with a spoon. However, the continuation of doing either of these is on her OWN amount of coaxing can get her to do it when you want her to (good thing we got the first steps on video).

* * * * *

Dance Party Time!
(Have no idea what I'm referring to? the bottom of this post)

Artist/Band: The Pointer Sisters
Song Title: Jump
Kid-friendly?: Yes

And here is a great scene of Hugh Grant dancing to this song (as the Prime Minister in the movie "Love Actually." If you haven't seen this movie. Go watch it right now. Seriously)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sickness. It's what's for breakfast.

Nothing is worse than having a sick family member in your household. This time Peanut is the victim - fever, sneezing, coughing...not fun. Let's hope whatever this is (we're thinking it's teething-related. Man, do I hope s0) clears up by her party on Saturday.

Though there is nothing funny about being sick...we did have a funny moment this morning. During breakfast, Peanut sneezed and cleared every last Rice Krispie off her high chair tray. Good thing she was pretty much done.

* * * * *

Wish us luck for Saturday's party. Looking at the list of things that have to be done...we're gonna need it!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Duct Tape

Today's post was inspired by receiving an "honorable mention" prize at Suburban Scrawl - a blue, green and white duct tape wallet, handcrafted by Melisa's son.

Funny that I would win this when just this past weekend, ShankRabbit's silver duct tape wallet (from Uncommon Goods, as seen here in all its new glory) bit the dust.

August 2005 - April 2009

Well, I wanted to see what things people have made with duct tape. You can purchase fashionable purses, guitar straps...or make your own dress/suit and submit it to a contest called "Stuck at Prom," sponsored by Duck brand duct tape.
You and your date make your prom attire out of duct tape and you could win a $5,000 scholarship (wow...where was this when I was in high school?!). If you click on the link you will see past entries - some basic, some super-intricate.

I'm thoroughly impressed...though I wonder how you'd manage in an outfit that has no ventilation whatsoever. Maybe they brought a change of clothes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Because I can

Random photo time!

ShankRabbit and I have naturally (very) curly it is expected that our daughter will have the same. When dry, Peanut's fine baby hair is stick straight...but when it's wet, curl city! Look, I have proof:

* * * * *

Imagine our shock last spring when we saw flowers sprout up next to our house that we didn't have to plant. Gotta love those...uh...plants that come up every year (perennials? annuals? I never know which one). Our resident bunny does the garden upkeep (he lives under our deck...I've grown to like him. As long as he doesn't bring any floozy bunnies home and start babymakin', he is welcome to stay). We should probably check his credentials, though. He never takes care of the weeds, just the flowers. Hmm...

We really do have flowers this year. I'm sure it will be short lived if Mr. Bunny has anything to do with it.

* * * * *

Dance Party Time!
(Have no idea what I'm referring to? the bottom of this post)

Artist/Band: Gin Blossoms
Song Title: Hey Jealousy
Kid-friendly?: Yes (thematically, not really)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'm back

I finally dusted off my keyboard today. If you didn't read in ShankRabbit's blog, I was struck Sunday night with a sudden, random bout of a stomach flu and it knocked me out hardcore. Thank goodness ShankRabbit is who he is and was able to deal with the crying pathetic whimpering sicky me. I'm a sad case when I'm sick.

Fun story about Saturday night...

We stayed at the in-laws on Saturday so we wouldn't have to travel too far for church the next day. Lots of fun to be had with the family.
Peanut decided at 12am - after 4 hours of sleep - she was done. I don't know if she was too hot (changed her jammies), still hungry (tried another bottle), not liking her surroundings (not home), or whathaveyou, but she was awake. Bouncing in her bed, smiling...which turned into whining...then crying. It took 2 1/2 hours, lots of cuddling and back-breaking rocking (on a twin size rocking chair in this room) before she finally passed out. ShankRabbit was in the other twin size bed trying to make it work with his adult size frame. Heh - I wish I could convey in words how funny this was, but you'll just have to take my word for it.
(Sorry, hun...I'm not laughing at you. Ok, maybe I am. But you'd laugh as well if you saw it from my perspective)
I am about to settle in for the night when I feel a little pinch on my leg. I pull back the covers and find an Asian ladybug - beetle - whatever those dang things are that infest every household.* Upon further inspection, I find another under my pillow. Since my bed was the closest to the window, I got to enjoy the bedmates. Fan-freakin-tastic.

I was done.

I packed up my pillow (sans bug) and a spare blanket and kissed ShankRabbit goodnight before retreating to the downstairs couch. It's not remotely close to any windows, so the chances of being attacked were slim. I settled in and finally a bit of sleep.

Fortunately, Saturday night's crib rave had no ill effect on Peanut the next day - thank goodness. She was just as charming as always...and that combined with family time, coffee and fantastic pastries made my Easter morning way better than anticipated.

And what are the morals to my story?
1. Bugs don't make good bedmates
2. Babies, no matter what they do, will always win with their cuteness. Every time.
3. Forget dogs - coffee is man's woman's best friend

* - Harmonia axyridis, the Asian lady beetle.
I contemplated posting a picture, but this blog is the only place I have left where I don't have to deal with them. So, click the link for photos and information.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fatherhood Friday: Remembering the Good Times

Visit Dad-Blogs to get more information on Fatherhood Friday. Great group of people - dads and moms alike!

I'm up way too late. I just spent a good deal of time power-cleaning our house for the arrival of my fosterdad tomorrow morning.

Normally, I just do the quick pick up before a guest arrives...but he has never seen our house nor met Peanut. This is a big deal.

And I just realized we are out of coffee. CRAP.

Anyway, to the point of the post. In honor of his visit, I would like for you to take a moment and think of the person (or people) that acted as a father figure in your life (hopefully you can find a good example and I'm not drudging up bad memories). Maybe it's a family friend, uncle, coach, adoptive parent, or foster parent.

Now...tell me what your favorite memory is with that person.

I will post my favorite memory on Monday.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My head is going to explode...

Last night, I was laying lying horizontally positioned on our kitchen floor. Peanut was playing peek-a-boo with my bellybutton and smacking me in excitement every time it 'surprised' her. ShankRabbit, in the middle of making dinner, looks over and says, "why do you look so sad?" I answer, "I'm not sad...just...too much." So, to prevent my head from exploding (and hoping that I can once again create full sentences when talking), let's explore the list:

1. My (physical) health - had to add that clarification, because we all know my mental state is slightly skewed most of the time. Not much to tell other than everything is probably fine, but the doctors don't know. A lot of fuzzy answers...and as Call Me Cate mentioned, "better to have fuzzy answers than fuzzy meat. Just saying." I couldn't agree more.

2. My fosterdad is visiting me Friday morning. This is the first time he'll see our house and meet Peanut (skipping over lots of details about why this is just happening in the interest of space and time). After The Great Furniture Move of 2009 on Tuesday, I have some major cleaning to do. Crap.

3. We are more than likely going to sell one of our cars and become a one vehicle family. I am a little excited about this (saving money - what a concept!, driving ShankRabbit to work, etc.), but I have an unnatural attachment to SR's car. Seriously. I cried the other night just thinking about it (If you're thinking, "who cries over a car?!" Just remember my warning about the month of April).

4. My checking account is anorexic.

5. I agreed to write an article about myself for our church's newsletter. They spotlight a volunteer in every issue. I just got a "friendly reminder" email yesterday saying it's due today.
The stream of words that came out of my mouth after reading that were not church appropriate.
Let me save you all the trouble and scold myself -
"geez oh Pete, Isabella, what were you thinking?! You hate writing, especially about yourself, and you agreed to write an article? Are you high?!"


I'm sure I have more of these swimming around in my head, but right now I'm plagued with writing something more interesting than "Jennifer is" on this newsletter article.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Random #20

I've decided not to give my Random posts a name other than "Random #[insert current number here]"...because when the fancy strikes me, it's never on the day I schedule. I am assigning the arbitrary number of 20, because I don't want to go back and count what actual random day we are on. So, # 20 here we go:

* * * * *
I think I should start with a confession. I've had two beers. An amount that typically has no effect on me, but tonight (as I am writing this on Tuesday night. Don't worry, I'm not a morning boozer) I feel like I've consumed a whole bottle of wine...and a few shots. Let the par-tay begin!

* * * * *
This past winter, we had to move around our living room furniture to accommodate our Christmas tree. This meant the TV stand (with receiver, record player, CD player, and Wii) collected dust in a corner of our tiny bedroom...until now. Today I moved it back to the living room - but that meant I had to move the big couch, the little couch, and the ridiculously heavy coffee table (I think it was originally intended for a Wookie frat house). And since Peanut's birthday party is a mere 11 days away, I figured the crap collecting desk dining room table could go to the basement now. Though, I'm saving that big project for when ShankRabbit can help. Peanut doesn't know how to dial 911 just yet.

* * * * *
I made a kick-butt pork roast today.
*looks to see what part of the pig a pork roast comes from...after 5 minutes of searching, realizes it said "shoulder" on the packaging. Saddened I cannot make intended butt / rump joke*
And because I like you, here is the recipe (I would love to give credit where credit is due, but I can't remember where it came from):

Plagiarism Pork Roast
1 pork roast (4-5 pounds)
1 garlic clove, halved lengthwise
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard (I used what I had on hand: Jack Daniels horseradish mustard)
*optional* about a 1/4 tsp of Sriracha...because we put it on practically everything in our house.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rub roast with garlic and discard the clove halves when done. Sprinkle salt and pepper over roast. Put on rack and bake for 2 hours (this is where I got creative with a metal wok rack and a Pyrex baking dish. Worked great!). Mix rest of ingredients together and cover the roast with it. Bake for an additional 30-45 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 155 degrees. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Supposedly serves 6 (bahahaha...more like 3-4).

For feeling like I'm buzzin' I did an AMAZING job at recalling all the details of this recipe with no visual assistance.
I better re-read this tomorrow and make sure I didn't just give you a recipe for a shepherd's pie truffle. Or feet.

* * * * *
I use the oven a lot. You'd think with all the baking and cooking I do, I'd remember to preheat the darn thing - especially when the first direction is always "preheat the oven to..."
I forget every time.

* * * * *
ShankRabbit is at his desk, playing a computer game. I stretch and without missing a beat he says, "SOOOO BIG!"
Can you tell we have a kid?

* * * * *
Leave a comment on Code Monkey Daddy's blog to enter the "Song About You" contest. No purchase necessary.

* * * * *
Dance Party Time!
(Have no idea what I'm referring to? the bottom of this post)

Artist/Band: New Radicals
Song Title: You Get What You Give
Kid-friendly?: Sorta...there is one swear at the end of the song

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Want a song written about YOU?

ShankRabbit, a.k.a. The Code Monkey Daddy, has a contest going on right now on his blog. Your comments are entries for a chance to win a song about YOU. He'll write it, record it, and send it along in a nifty MP3 format for your listening pleasure.

This part is specifically for Call Me Cate - finally, a contest where you don't have to reveal your name or address! WOO HOO!

No need to mention my name over there - since I'm married to the fella, I can't win the contest. I just thought this was too cool not to share with my readers.

So, go to his site, read the rules and get commenting. Good luck!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hotel Tips

I spent a good deal of my employment life as a slave worker in the hospitality industry. Most of this experience was spent behind the front desk, though I did have a stint in the executive offices (ah, the Monday-Friday 8-6 life. A rarity in the hotel business). Anyway, I feel this list is important to share.

Here are 10 tips for anyone planning to stay in a hotel:

1. Call ahead (maybe a couple days before or the night before) to confirm your reservation. That way if there is any problem or the hotel can't find the reservation, it can be resolved at that time - not when you are at the desk (and there are a bazillion other people in line waiting to get their rooms).

2. If a guest service agent (A.K.A. GSA) asks for your last name, please don't spout off your reservation number, unless the person specifically asks for it. You have no idea how frustrating it is to have this conversation:

"Last name please..."
"I have confirmation number 1234567"
"...right, but what is your last name?"
"I just gave you the confirmation number"

If they wanted the number, they would have just asked.

3. Your confirmation number is tied to your reservation. If there is a discrepancy with your rate, room type, etc. giving them the confirmation number again is not going to fix anything.

4.1. ROOM TYPES ARE NOT GUARANTEED!! I cannot stress that enough...especially if you book online. Yes, the screen said "king bed non-smoking," but in actuality you are REQUESTING a specific room type, not guaranteeing it. They should do their best at check in to get your room type you requested...but if they don't have it, please don't get mad. Getting mad won't get you anywhere (see point number 6).

4.2. Please know the difference between the words guarantee and request.

5. Having all of your documents out and ready is recommended. This includes any or all of the following (depending on where you go): Photo ID (drivers license, passport...), credit card (or other form of payment), and confirmation number (in the off-chance they can't find the reservation).

6. This is true for almost any hotel you go to...if you have a problem and want it resolved, getting mad will not work. Majority of the time you will get the absolute minimum that person can give you. If you are nice, they are more likely to give you free stuff not only for the inconvenience, but just because (side note: don't go to far...hitting on the GSA could backfire).

7. So maybe you are a frequent traveler...that's great! They appreciate your patronage, but don't throw it back in their face. Some properties offer more for their club members than others - if you end up at a property that gives you bubkis, don't scoff at it...just accept it and move on. Otherwise, you seem like a spoiled little brat and will probably incite a slew of evil hexes thrown at you when you're not around.

8. Walk in reservations are risky. While you can sometimes get a lower rate if you don't book a reservation in advance, you run the risk of not finding a room at all. There are several times a year that the whole city of Chicago (including properties at Midway and O'Hare) will sell much so that they have to relocate guests to the suburbs. If you still don't want to book a reservation, check availability over the phone yourself the trouble of walking to every property looking for rooms.

9. Relocations...while they aren't pleasant for the guest or the GSA, they happen. Hotels are just like airlines in this respect - they overbook on rooms. So, if you have to be relocated, stay calm...they'll take care of you. More than likely the GSAs have been yelled at all day and it doesn't help your cause if you do the same (I have a built-in emotional "off" button as a direct result of these situations). The hotel should pay for your room at another hotel and transportation costs. So look at it this get a free room - score! If you have a reservation, but think (or know) the hotel is sold out, ask if they are taking any volunteer relocations...this way you can get in on the free room deal as well.

10. Last but certainly not least - the employees are there for you, the guest. If you have a request, problem, recommendation, compliment, what have you...share it. You'd be surprised what they do for people each day just because you asked: complimentary ice cream from room service for a kid's birthday, complimentary upgrade for a newlywed couple...the concierge desk can even plan your whole weekend if you'd like (just remember to tip them and the doorman/bellman if used).

After re-reading this list, I realized I have some interesting stories from my time behind the desk. I think I'll revisit some of them for your reading enjoyment in the future.

* * * * *
Dance Party Time!
(Have no idea what I'm referring to? the bottom of this post)

Artist/Band: Katrina and the Waves
Song Title: Walking on Sunshine (how can you NOT dance to this song?!)
Kid-friendly?: Yep

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fatherhood Friday: Dads are the Best!

Visit Dad-Blogs to get more information on Fatherhood Friday. Great group of people - dads and moms alike!

I decided to take this Fatherhood Friday and focus on dads (wow! What an innovative concept, Isabella!).
Back story: I felt bad last night because I inadvertently made ShankRabbit feel "not good enough" in relation to parenting Peanut. It was certainly not my intent...and I want all the fathers, not just ShankRabbit, to know how important your role is in your child's life.

I don't want to bore you with my never-ending emotional babble (seriously, falling asleep at the keyboard is never recommended), so I'll just inundate you with photos...sound good? Here we go -

Why Dads Are The Best

No one can do nap time quite like a dad

And even when he's not sleeping, he's still great to fall asleep on

He doesn't just feed the child...he bonds, he connects

And he can multitask like a mo fo (dishes AND baby wearing)!

He is passionate about his interests and eager to share all he knows

even making sure the child has a "well-rounded" experience (e.g. cheesy cover band at State Fair)

He knows how to have fun (photo shoot, FTW!)

No matter the time or place, he'll get right in and play

even coordinate costumes on Halloween...'cause he's just that cool

Simply put...there is no one like you.

I'd say I'm more turquoise...

I'm not "green." I don't use reusable grocery bags, I use paper towels like a fiend, and plastic sandwich bags are a hot commodity in our household.

Now, before the environmentalists out there beat me over the head with a tree branch, I'm not a complete dolt when it comes to the environment. We recycle, I use the "light" setting on the dishwasher and clothes washer, and I save the various containers from Peanut's baby food for reuse...but that's about as far as it goes. However, there is another big step toward the "green" arena that I'm contemplating. Something that could be groundbreaking in this household.

Cloth diapers.

I was a first-hand witness to the prefold cloth diaper days of my cousin P.J. (who is turning 18 soon...geez oh Pete!). They were ugly, cumbersome, and created an unnecessary amount of work. Knowing all this, I didn't even consider the cloth diaper option...even after seeing the "new and improved" options.

Here we are, a couple weeks away from Peanut's 1st birthday, and I'm seriously considering cloth diapers. A list of the reasons why this popped into my head all the sudden:

1. Buying disposable diapers takes a nice size chunk of cash every month
2. Now that I'm at home during the day, I have more time for washing the diapers consistently (and spending 11.5 months on the front lines of baby mess, rinsing the cloth ones out in the toilet doesn't gross me out in the slightest)
3. For a few months now, Peanut has been using the potty on occasion (don't get me wrong, I'm not potty-training her. I just know when she's gonna go and take her to the toilet. Much better than cleaning up a stinky crap diaper, in my opinion). Usually the diaper we remove is barely soiled...and I feel like I'm just throwing money away when I trash it.
4. Gone are the days of ugly white, plastic covered cloth diapers. They come with easy closures, fun colors, and uber-soft fabrics.
5. They can be saved and used for the next munchkin.
6. If I have any issues whatsoever, there is an insane amount of information online to help me out.

So, there you go. I'm thinking we'll start with 3 or 4 and see how that goes. I've talked with ShankRabbit and I think he's gotten past the "what the...?" stage and is on to "well, if that's what you want..."

We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hello, April 1st

I don't like practical jokes, ergo, I don't like April Fool's Day. So, I will welcome the day as April 1st, not April Fools. Capiche?

Now that that's out of the way...

The month of April has always been an emotional one for me, on both sides of the spectrum - everything from anniversaries of people passing to the birth of my daughter. This emotional Sit 'N Spin leaves my mind reeling by month's end (and, just like the toy, a little queasy). So, if I get introspective or moody or goofy as all get-out, you now know why.

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Have you ever had one of those moments where you think, "man, it would be perfect if they had [fill in invention]." Well, that is what Pandora is for me. I always thought that idea of something suggesting music you might like based on your current favorites was just a pipe dream...and here it is, in all its glory.

My "chill" list includes names like Joshua Radin (duh), Iron & Wine, Matt Nathanson, and Ray LaMontagne. I liked the music it shuffled and rarely had to skip over a song or give it a thumbs down.

I recently added a few more names to the mix, but I'm not sure if I like it or not. It has taken my "chill" station and thrown it for a loop. Not that the recommended music is's just different. I don't know how I feel about different.

I just wrote 9 sentences about Pandora and the musical drama I've created in my head. These things don't need to be said outloud (or written for that matter)...but I don't want you to think I skimped out on a post (again), so I'll leave it for your non-enjoyment.

Hey! They're not looking...RUN AWAY!

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Dance Party Time!
(Have no idea what I'm referring to? the bottom of this post)

Artist/Band: The Tokens
(this is who recorded the most common version we all know. Interesting back story to this song, if you want to read it)
Song Title: The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Kid-friendly?: Yep

*reason for this choice - Peanut Butter and Smelly's Dad made a post a while back about the happy hippo video and his daughter dancing to the song. While it was playing on my laptop, Peanut started dancing along - the same exact way. So, this Dance Party song is for Peanut.