Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Signs of Improvement

I can't believe it's two days before Christmas 2009. I can't believe we have a healthy little girl with a loving personality, developing sense of humor and growing body. Its so amazing to hold her, look at her, watch her sleep or eat or play in the tub and feel that overwhelming storm of emotions. MC is our world and she makes it a better place.

You see last year was somewhat of a disaster. My father-in-law became ill in September and after a week in the hospital was forced to begin dialysis. He'd been home for almost a week when we got hit by Hurricane Ike. I never thought of Houston as a city in the path of a hurricane, but Ike made me a believer. I was nine months pregnant with MC, taking care of my father-in-law as much as he would allow and my husband, Pop and I were all sleeping in the den when Ike rolled through town taking out the power, most of the fences across Houston and a lot of roofs. We went two weeks with no power in the summertime heat and humidity that Houston is so well known for. Two weeks where I slept on the couch, my husband slept on an air mattress and Pop slept in his chair.

And then when the power returned and we thought we'd be able to return to some kind of normalcy, Pop had another heart attack and this time he was in the ICU. MC was due in a week and we were at the hospital almost around the clock, waiting, hoping, praying for Pop to improve. Unfortunately, God had other plans and Pop passed away on October 4, 2008. It was so difficult for us to lose him. JB lost his Dad and his best friend. I lost the best father-in-law anyone could ever have and my best friend in Houston.

Pop was there when I was tossing my cookies during the first tri-mester. He was there in the middle of the night when sleeping had become impossible. We'd sit outside and play with the dogs or in the den and talk about how the dogs weren't going to be too happy when the baby arrived and replaced them as the center of attention. Once a month Pop would give me money "for you and the baby" he'd say and then everyday he'd ask me when I was going shopping. When I'd return home from babies r us or Target, he'd pretend to be uninterested in the bags I was carrying. But when I'd stop and take everything out on the coffee table I could see a spark of interest in his eyes. Pop was excited about MC from the day we told him we were expecting. He was ready to spoil another grandchild and while he joked that he'd be spending more and more time in his room, JB and I know if Pop were here we'd probably catch him sleeping in a chair in the nursery so he could be close to MC.

MC was born exactly a week after we lost Pop. Her arrival hit me with a bombardment of emotions, anxiety-I'm not ready for this yet; joy-she's beautiful and healthy; sadness-we should be sharing this with my Mom and Pop, etc. I was so confused when they handed her to me and I felt afraid instead of elated. Now granted, between the epidural and the pain meds I felt more drunk than anything else, but I knew something was wrong. I should have been grinning from ear to ear about our beautiful, perfect baby girl but I was mostly frightened.

Around three weeks later when we were home from the hospital and adjusting to life as three rather than two, I crashed one evening. It was almost 6 in the evening ad I called JB to see when he'd be home, he was another hour away, and I felt myself beginning to panic, about what and why exactly I'm unsure. I needed to get out of the house so MC and I went next door to visit the neighbors and her extended family. When JB got home I was trying to explain the panic feeling I experienced but all I could do was cry and cry and cry, I cried for hours. I was so scared, what was happening to me?

JB called the doctor's office the next morning and made me an appointment. We went in and explained what happened and the doctor gave me a depression quiz. I couldn't even complete the quiz without help from JB, I was too indecisive.

Afterwards, the doctor scored the quiz and diagnosed me with Post part um depression. She wrote me a script for some "happy pills" aka Paxil and told me to see a psychiatrist immediately. Well let me tell you, in Houston, its easier to see the Bushes than it is to see a psychiatrist immediately, let alone in the near future.

Anyway, for the past year I've battled with PPD and I do mean battled with it. There are so many things I've learned and so many things I need to share because I know the shame that comes with fighting this illness. And I hope that I can write more about my experiences over the past year and that someone out there will be helped and know you aren't the only one that "went crazy" and was too afraid to tell anyone, ashamed of your thoughts and terrified that you would never be yourself again. It happened to me, but its been a year and I'm better. I'm not 100% recovered but the improvement is significant. And for the first time in over a year I'm not taking any happy pills.

Last Christmas, I was in a fog, a thick fog and I couldn't even find the motivation to get out with my husband and pick out our tree. I was a stranger to myself and to my friends and family. But its Christmas 2009 and while I'm not the same person I was two years ago before the PPD, I'm a stronger person. So I'll focus on my signs of improvement and enjoy this Christmas without the haze.

If anyone that reads this post or blog knows someone experiencing PPD or is experiencing PPD and needs someone to talk to, please feel free to contact me. And remember "It won't be like this for long."

Toys for Tots

Discovery Toys Steps It Up! to Make Sure Deserving Kids Celebrate with Toys this
Holiday Season!

Discovery Toys , longtime Sponsor and Partner of Toys for Tots, was in the midst of readying their annual toy donation last week when members of the Concord, California, Marine Reserve Unit arrived at our warehouse and related the toll that the economic crisis has taken on the local Toys for Tots area drive this holiday season. With many businesses shut down this year and many more not able to support the annual T4T drive as in years past…they needed over 20,000 toys in one week to meet their goal…it looked as though the Holidays were likely not to be so jolly!

Every year Discovery Toys makes a firm commitment to donate at least 2500 toys or $50,000 to Toys for Tots! This year the dock was loaded with over 3000 toys at the time of pick-up! Upon hearing this story, though, Discovery Toys leaders and staff made a very quick decision to do more…

This year we literally opened our warehouse to giving…and loaded palettes of toys, books, games, and more, to exceed the Toys for Tots need! Monday, December 14, 2009, over 27,000 products left our company warehouse with a retail value of $500,000 - ten times our customary donation!

At Discovery Toys, we believe in giving back to our communities and partnering with causes that bring education and joy to children everywhere. Thank you, Toys for Tots, for doing what you do to help us contribute our share!

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation has supplemented local toy collections around the country with more than 81.3 million toys valued at more than $487 million. While the Marines coordinate and manage the program, the Foundation’s success depends on the support of the local community, local business leaders and the generosity of the people who donate. That’s why Discovery Toys is part of this great tradition!

Support Toys for Tots in your community and help make a difference for an underprivileged child this holiday season.
Discovery Toys has joined the US Marine Corps to help support the Toys for Tots Foundation by collecting and donating toys for children in need.

For more information contact:
Discovery Toys
7364 Marathon Drive, Suite A
Livermore, CA 94550
or visit our website at

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, an IRS recognized 51© (3) tax exempt not for profit charity, is the authorized fund raising and
support organization for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. The mission of the Foundation,, is to provide a tangible sign of hope to economically disadvantaged children during Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bargain Hunter Overload

Does anyone else find that when you have money to spend, especially on yourself, and you go to the mall for clothing etc., you find nothing? But when you are flat broke and digging for your last dime at Starbucks, everywhere you go you see the perfect outfit, etc. This seems to be a recurring problem with me.

Of course right now with it being 8 days from Christmas, I feel like I'm suffering from bargain hunter overload. If I google that phrase will it take me to WebMD or a Dr. Oz website and show the symptoms of a real condition? LOL

With the way the economy has been there are so many sales, deep discounts, real bargains etc. that when I am somewhere and something is full priced I find myself thinking, I'll just go home and check Amazon's price or Google it and see if its lower somewhere else. Its almost out of hand...when I was out getting a bite to eat I found myself thinking, should I order that, I mean it is full price? As if I can just drive home, or use my phone, hit and order lunch for less.

On Thanksgiving Day, I ordered myself some new pajamas from and two new shirts and for a great price, plus free shipping. I LOVE these flannel pants and have been living in them. When I went in to Aerie to exchange them because I'd ordered the wrong length, I accidentally left my Lucky 30% off coupons in the shipping package. I was on my way to Lucky to use my coupon for my brother's Christmas present when I realized I'd told the sales clerk she could throw out the empty package. So I rushed back down there to retrieve my coupons and all three of the girls behind the counter were flushed and laughing. They had found the coupons and already divided them among themselves. I was embarrassed and so were they. But I told them I only needed 1 and they could have the rest.

As I was walking back out of the store, I jokingly said but if you want to give me a discount on my next visit that would be great! The sales clerk immediately replied, the next time you come in I'll give you 20% off everything you buy! Of course, I didn't think I'd be back anytime soon. But those pants were so awesome that I stopped in this week to see if they were on sale and they'd been marked down to $11.95! I picked up three more pairs and as the clerk was adding up the damage, she asked, what did I tell you last time you were here? You said you'd hook me up with an awesome discount I answered...kind of shocked that she'd remembered without prompting and BAM! 20% off.

So I saved 30% at Lucky and got some cool pj's for myself and saved 20% on top of a great sale price!

Then there's the website that will be the death of me! They were selling the Leap Frog Tag Jr. for $14.99, the regular price is usually anywhere from $34.99 to $39.99. And while MC isn't quite ready for it, I ordered it because the price can't be beat!

We've been making out like bandits on some DVD purchases this month too. When Disney has a new release they've been offering $10 off of the Blu-Ray/DVD combo packs. So you can go to Wal-Mart, find the combo pack for $19.99, save $10 with your coupon and walk it with a Blu-Ray/DVD movie for $10. If you rented the movie you'd pay $3-4 so that's a real bargain. Current $10 offer can be found at and is good through December 22.

We saved a lot of money on gift wrap this year at Hallmark. I love Christmas wrapping paper, love it! And its a tradition, that my mom started, that every year my presents are always wrapped in Snoopy paper. So a quick glance under the tree and I can see what kind and how much loot I've scored. Thanks to Daisy I've been able to buy two rolls of wrapping paper for $1 by using the $5 Hallmark coupon

This year we were supposed to have a very small Christmas! A very small Christmas. But as I look at the tree in our den with presents piled underneath and around, I know that very few items put there by me were expensive. Almost everything I bought with the exception of a few shirts for the hubby, was on sale by at least 30%, sometimes much more. I think I've become addicted to saving money, but with only 1 income in a rotten economy, there are worse things to be addicted to.

I'll try to start posting some of the deals I find so I can share them with anyone out there reading! Please e-mail me with any great delas you find and I'll add them to my post. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Voice of Christmases Past

With the cooler/cold weather we're experiencing here in Houston I've been wearing one of my ski jackets to keep warm. It still has all of my lift tickets on it from our last ski trip in December of 2006.

That was a great trip. My boyfriend, now my husband, and I had been dating for a little over six months long distance. I was living in WI, he was in TX and we saw each otehr about every three to four weeks when I was in Dallas, San Antonio or Houston. Because of the distance we'd decided to take a trip for Christmas. I had to go to New Mexico on business the week after Christmas to close out a market but other than that I was off for two weeks. So we decided to make the trek out to New Mexico together and turn it into a ski vacation.

On Christmas day we were in Ruidoso, New Mexico riding the lifts up and plowing down the slopes as fast as we could go. During one of our breaks I called my best friend in SC to wish her and the kids a Merry Christmas. They had opened all of their gifts and were watching some TV while the kids played with their new toys. What did you get for Christmas I asked? "Just a few mixing bowls and kitchen utensils," she replied. Then she continued on about how when you're married and have kids life and the holidays are boring. All gifts become about what you need more than what you want...

Of course I sympathized and said well I'm sorry you're not having a more exciting Christmas. We're out here where its beautiful skiing, drinking warm cocktails, eating out and having a blast! JB had given me a new MP3 player and I'd given him some new clothes, we were both loving our time together and the holidays.

So now its three years later and I'm happily married and we have a 14 month old bundle of joy. Let's review, last Christmas I got a Dyson vacuum, mixing bowls, a trailer hitch cover and a DVD, pretty exciting huh? It was almost comical to see the look on our friend's faces when I told them my husband gave me a vacuum cleaner for Christmas. You could actually see the horror, the thoughts of impending doom on our relationship and the sympathy for me the recipient of an appliance! What they didn't know or realize is that I'd wanted that vacuum cleaner for forever and we'd discussed if it would be an acceptable Christmas present. But, looking from the outside in, I can understand the presumption that JB had made a terrible mistake.

This year I was talking about Christmas with a friend and what we were getting each other and she just nodded her head and said "That's the way it is when you're married and have kids." Wait, so is there an unwritten law or policy somewhere that states after you've said "I do" all presents must be practical rather than fun, perform some type of household duty or make a chore easier, or solely fall into the category of need rather than want?

My husband wanted to take another ski trip this year. He wanted to drive or fly to New Mexico or Colorado and spend a week on the slopes. Yes, it does sound like a lot of fun. But what would we do with our little one? How can we justify spending money n a vacation when he hasn't bought any new clothes for himself in two years? And we'd already splurged and purchased a new digital SLR as a family Christmas present so we could take better pictures of MC. Alright so maybe the writing is on the wall, we're married, have a kid and Christmas has become practical and boring.

Then there's MC and her Christmas. Again, as we go back two years, before we left for our ski trip we celebrated Christmas with JB's family. We were all sitting around my brother's house as our nieces unwrapped their Christmas presents. We watched as the youngest one ran around playing with her toy that she's brought with her completely oblivious as her mom opened all of her presents. And afterwards we watched as she played with the discarded paper and empty boxes showing zero interest in the new toys.

Later as we were driving home, JB and I laughed and said when we have a child we'll just get them wrapping paper and boxes for their first few Christmases and they'll have just as much fun as they would with new toys, if not more fun!

Now we're nine days from Christmas and the presents under the tree are overflowing. MC is getting a new chair that's her size, a wagon to ride around in, several new books, mega bloks, a push toy, some Disney movies, a stuffed animal and a few miscellaneous toys. And in the back of my head I hear ourselves saying, she'll just get paper and boxes, we'll she's getting lots of boxes and paper with all sorts of fun stuff inside. I have to kind of laugh as I'm hearing the voices of Christmases past and seeing all of the practical gifts we've purchased for each other and the toys for our little girl!

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Head is Spinning, Hair is Thinning

I feel as if someone trapped me in an hourglass and turned it over and the sand is almost covering me. Where has the time gone? Are we really 12 days away from Christmas?

I was shopping Saturday afternoon, attempting to finish up so I wouldn't have to return to the mall and do battle with the crazed shoppers that wait until the last minute. And while I was in Yankee Candle, buying a Mountain Pine candle so our house would smell like a Christmas tree, I saw their sign which said "13 days until Christmas." I know I read it but its like it didn't register with me. Didn't I just finish clearing the Thanksgiving leftovers out of our refrigerator?

No wonder the mall was slammed, parking was a disaster, the line at Barnes & Noble was almost 30 people deep and all of the cute wrapping paper was gone!

We've been so busy this month, doing what I'm not exactly sure, that my head is still spinning. When I called my old roommates in WI on Friday to let them know a package with presents for their little boy was on its way, my friend laughed and said she hadn't even started their Christmas shopping yet. Well, I hope she doesn't have much shopping to do, or can get it all done in one day.

By the end of the day Saturday I'd taken care of a present and stocking stuffers for my brother, my husband, our nieces and nephew, my best friend's children and our little girl. Now there is a daunting pile of gifts in our guest bedroom just waiting to be wrapped and placed under our tree. I love choosing gifts for friends and family, I love hitting the stores (before the crowds) and browsing all the cool stuff, I love buying Christmas wrapping paper but I absolutely dread wrapping those gifts. I'm gift wrapped challenged in every sense.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Weekend in Review

I guess I've decided every Monday I'll review the weekend. Maybe it will give me a chance to see where all of our time went so I can plan better for the next weekend.

This weekend was pretty much uneventful. As I say it was uneventful it seems so strange considering we had snow on Friday, Saturday was a crazy day in the world of football and on Sunday we went on the 2009 hunt for the perfect Christmas tree.

Friday evening by 5:30 PM almost all traces of the snow from earlier were gone. If it weren't for the pictures we took there wouldn't be much evidence of snow. We had dinner with our neighbors and then came home and camped out in front of the TV.

Saturday we were running around the house trying to clean while watching some of the college championship games. I was so totally surprised by the Alabama v. Florida game. It seems like the game should have been much closer. If anyone had asked me I would have said it will be a close game but Florida has a good chance of pulling an upset and I would have been wrong. The same thing with the Texas v. Nebraska game, I thought Texas would run away with that game in the first half instead of battling until the final second and winning with a field goal. By the end of the game, my husband, was standing up, holding on to the chair while holding his breath.

Saturday night we stayed up pretty late until 2 AM, but we were both shocked when we didn't wake up until 2 PM on Sunday. I guess we all needed some extra sleep and we're very fortunate MC agreed.

But that meant we got a lot start on getting things accomplished. We had several errands we needed to run, buy more diapers, pick-up a few groceries but most importantly finding the perfect Christmas tree and getting it decorated.

It was about 4 PM by the time we started our search for the perfect tree. Let me take a minute and explain my definition of the perfect tree: first and foremost the perfect tree is always a real tree, ALWAYS, then it must smell like a real Christmas tree and it should be full and tall with no problem areas that need to go against the wall to be hidden. In the past we've learned this is not the easiest task since we living in SE Texas. You can't just go out in the woods or drive to a tree farm, pick out your tree, cut it down and haul it home. And so we're used to driving around to several places looking at trees, smelling the needles, shaking the tree to see how many needles fall and then if we've found the right one, negotiating a better price.

This is a time consuming experience that requires a full stomach, patience and some perseverance. So we should have known that at 4 PM on a rainy, cold afternoon with a small child that tree shopping was going to be challenging to say the least. We started at Costco, moved on to a tree farm, then a local nursery and ended at a garden center.

We'd finally found the perfect tree. It was tall, full and gorgeous and we were wet and tired and ready to be done. My husband went and found someone to carry it through the giant tree maze we were in to the front where it could be trimmed and bailed. But when the gentleman put the tree down we noticed the entire bottom 1.5 feet of the tree was brown. Now we'd tested the branches and they bent like they were supposed to, we'd shaken the tree and very few needles had fallen so why was the bottom brown? Well back out to the maze to continue our search, this time with our flashlight. But after another 15 minutes of searching we were now in complete darkness and it was raining a little harder, so we called the search off.

Now we'll have to go back out today and start over again.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Snow Day in Texas

They predicted it and it came true. Today in Houston, TX, snow made a rare appearance. Some schools were cancelled or dismissed early but most were not. Preparations started on Thursday night, the news anchors talked of little other than the chance of snow on Friday.

I know some of you find it funny and maybe I would too but then I was born and raised in SC, where when I was a kid, if snow was a possibility in the forecast then schools were sometimes cancelled before the first flake arrived. The grocery stores were stripped of all their batteries, milk and bread by anyone that could get there early enough to find anything more than empty shelves. Now that I'm older and have survived a hurricane, I wonder why the bread and milk and not beer and chips? Because if I'm without power and stuck inside for more than 24 hours I want comfort food and something to distract me, i.e. beer.

Anyway, although today's snow came and went within a matter of hours it was a beautiful sight to observe as it fell and began to stick to cars, roofs, etc. So I'm going to share just a few photos from today.

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Target Rant

I have to admit I've been on a bargain hunting binge lately. If I see something that's a really good deal and it would be a good Christmas present for MC then I'm all over it. Lately, some of the best deals I've found have been on children's DVDs.

On Sunday Target had an ad that showed Night at the Museum 2 on Blu-Ray-DVD-Digital the 3 disc copy for $15.99. After the sale this copy will be sold for $39.99 so this is a real bargain. We don't have a blu-ray player but when I can buy the Blu-Ray DVD pack for the same price as the DVD then it just makes more sense. I'm sure we'll eventually join the pack, cave to the industry's pressure and buy a Blu-Ray.

Anyway, so here's what happened last night: A friend and I make what I said would be a quick trip to Target. We walk straight to the movie section and I look everywhere for the Blu-Ray copy of the movie. There were plenty of copies of the DVD but none of the Blu-Ray and this has happened on several occasions at this Target and its starting to frustrate me. I find a salesperson after looking around for one and she walks over and checks the same shelf and says "We're out." And there in the spot where it should be is a price of $24.99 "as advertised." As advertised where?

We walk back up to the front of the store and check the current ad. "Am I wrong?" I ask my friend, and when I am wrong, she's usually the first to point it out. But she agrees the ad says its $15.99. So I still want to take advantage of this good deal and she's in no hurry to get home, we head to another Target.

We find the Blu-Ray copy and walk it over to a price checker, because they're sign also says $24.99, and it won't scan. An employee approaches us and points to the $24.99 sign and says with some sarcasm, "It's $24.99."

"No, the ad says its $15.99." I say.
"Well you must be mistaken, do you have the ad?" she asks.
No I wasn't carrying the ad with me, shouldn't the store keep plenty of copies of the ad around to reference, why is that my job? So I ask to speak to a manager. She calls a manager on her walkie-talkie, says she's on her way and walks off. While I'm waiting I see her talking to the manager and she's trying to hide the fact that she's talking to her. I guess she's talking about my inability to read the price tag or ad correctly.

I explain to the manager the problem and she walks over to the electronics counter and pulls out the ad. We look at it together and she says well it says Blu-Ray low price...what low price? And I ask her well if you were looking at the ad what would you think, she just shakes her head. I don't know sign language so I'm not sure what the head shaking meant. "Well I feel like this ad is very misleading even deceptive. Are you going to sell it to me for $15.99?" I ask.

"No ma'am. The ad says Blu-Ray and this copy has three discs, DVD-Blu-Ray and digital. (Now I'm even more frustrated with the situation."

"Well, I explain, you only have the three disc copy so that's how its packaged and it should be $15.99."

By this time its very apparent that I'm not getting anywhere and she's adamant that I'm wrong. So I ask for the number to corporate so I can file a complaint about the misleading ad that I'm sure has also caused confusion for other people and she directs me to guest relations. (Guest relations? I didn't realize Target was a part of Disney)

On the way out we stop at guest relations and I ask for the number. While the girl searches for the number a store manager stops to assist her and asks if there's anything she can do to help. So I explain the situation to her. Now she pulls out a big binder with the Target ad and all of their competitors. She checks the ad and says well the picture in the ad isn't showing a Blu-Ray because if it was it would have Blu-Ray on the packaging as the real ones do. Alright, whatever. But she checks the Wal-Mart ad and offers to match their ad if that will make things right. (No it doesn't make things right. I've driven to two stores, had to deal with multiple employees that treated me like I'm incompetent and will still be paying almost $5 more than what I expected to pay.) I say sure I'll buy it for $19.96.

As we're walking to the car I continue to vent to my friend about how ridiculous I find the situation. I drive her home and drop her off. When I get home I hop on the Internet and Google coupons for Night at the Museum 2. I starts clicking on the sites and find at least three forums where people bought the Blu-Ray copy at Target for $15.99. One of the people that commented said it was also listed online for $15.99.

And you know what, they're right, which means I was right. So after about twenty minutes of figuring out how to print the pop up window with the description and price, I have proof. Now I have to go back up to Target, show them my proof and get a price adjustment. There was a time when I wouldn't go to this much effort for such a small amount of money but not only is the economy bad but its the principal. How many people read the ad the same way I did but then paid $24.99?

When I saw that I was correct I felt both furious and vindicated. For the principal of the matter I'd like to drive back to the Target that's not close to my house and show all three people I spoke with the "proof" that I was right. Its not so much about being right as it is that the advertising was misleading and the store should have agreed and given me the price on that alone but on top of that they were also wrong and probably have and are overcharging a lot of people.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Winter Storm Warning in Texas

The last few days have been cooler and I'm loving it. When I'm home I'm lounging in my flannel or fleece PJ's, wearing my soft thermal shirts and enjoying a fire in the fireplace. If I venture out to run errands then I wear my jeans and boots which is almost a constant regardless of the weather, but I also wear my cozy, fleece North Face jacket.

While living in WI I acquired a lot of winter gear in order to stay warm and survive the frigid winters that seemed to last all year. I now own two scarves, leather gloves for driving and heavy gloves for scraping snow covered windshields, cashmere sweaters for the office, winter boots with traction, ski jackets and two North Face jackets. And for the past three winters that I've lived in Texas I've never worn the scarves, or the gloves, worn my cashmere sweaters only twice and have never worn any of my turtlenecks or long johns.

So this week when all of the local news stations began talking about the frigid weather we're expecting for Friday and part of Saturday, well I've been cautiously excited. Let it snow, let it snow and let it stick, let it stick. No, I don't miss the WI winters and that's not what I'm saying here, but I would love a nice week of winter. Just one week with snow, ice and frigid temperatures and I'd prefer to enjoy it the week of Christmas. I don't want much, do I?

Sure I do. I mean I was in total disbelief tonight when the weather forecasters and they are called forecasters for a reason, said there is the potential and he emphasized potential, for Houston to get 3-5 inches of snow. Then he went on to say if we experience "thunder snow", I'm not making that term up, we could be in for a lot more. I have no idea what thunder snow is. I've heard of lake effect snow and even experienced it while living in WI, but thunder snow? You know what, it doesn't matter to me what you call it as long as we get it.

I'm trying to be optimistic but at the same time not get my hopes up. Tomorrow you can find me sitting by the window and waiting for the snow or the ice or whatever might fall. I know not to hope for a white Christmas but I hope for a white Friday.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Stephanie Shirley Photography Freebie

If you live in Houston and you enjoy free stuff then let me tell you about the promotion Stephanie Shirley Photography is offering right now. When you join Stephanie Shirley Photography's Facebook page and bring 20 more fans with you win a free session with all your images on a free CD.

This is an awesome deal and she's a fantastic photographer. So check out her blog and then become a fan on FB, follow her on Twitter and tell your friends.

You can find her on FB here:!

Photos are some of the best memories a family has forever. Thanks for a fun contest Stephanie

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Mommy-Files Hickory Farms Give-Away

Alright so, my name is Kris and I love free stuff. I didn't realize it was a problem or obsession until this moment as I'm writing my first blog about a give-away to win a free Family Gathering Gift Basket. It has

(2) 12 oz Beef Summer Sausages
(1) 12 oz. Ham Summer Sausage
(1) 10 oz. Original Cheese Ball
(1) 7 oz. Pennsylvania Dutch Edam
(2) 6.5 oz Apple Pie Cheddars
(1) 10 oz. Sweet Hot Mustard
(1) 5 oz. Box Flatbread Crackers
Customer Hickory Farms Cheese Slicer

Shannon over at The Mommy-Files was given a Family Gathering Gift Basket from Hickory Farms to review and they have generously donated one for her to give-away. (I feel like one of the ladies at her friends weddings jostling for the bridal bouquet, LOL)

Anyway, this is one of my favorite blogs to read because Shannon is down to earth and sincere and I feel like I'm reading something a friend wrote not someone that wants to win a popularity contest or become rich and famous

Kodak Photo Fantastic House Party

So this Saturday evening I'm having friends over to check out the new Kodak Gallery website. This is probably one of my most frequently visited sites now that I have a child and definitely a site where over 50% of my online shopping is done. Since most of my family is out of state I can order photos, gifts etc. and have them shipped directly to their home which is so easy and convenient.

I'd learned about the House Party website while reading a friend's blog. They'd had a few parties for various companies and said it was a fun experience. When I received and e-mail from Kodak encouraging me to apply to be a host, I thought sure this should be fun.

As a host I received a $75 credit to use towards a photo book, a mug and a holiday card. These were fun to design and make. The photo book I created is a baby album full of pictures from McKenzie's first year. It took me forever to finish this project but not because the Kodak Gallery is difficult to use but because I love almost every photo we've taken of her. This is the second time I've made a photo book with Kodak, the first was a wedding album I created and gave to my husband as a Christmas gift last year. Kodak recently made changes to their website making it easier to use, faster to upload photos and provides the use with more options than ever.

Both albums are keepsakes that our family will be able to enjoy forever. And as someone that isn't very organized at home I don't have to fiddle with putting picture in the album, writing captions, labeling everything etc. Its as easy as uploading, placing the pictures into a layout I choose and placing an order. I also love the fact that if I need more of an item my project is saved at Kodak and I can easily order more copies.

My family is hoping to take more and more pictures and improve our photography skills. For Christmas we're going to upgrade from a point and shoot camera to a SLR. This will mean more photos, which means more prints for the family and more photo books for me.

Kodak has provided me with some sample holiday cards to share with the party guests as well as 40% off coupons for my guests and their friends and family.

So far my experience with House Party and Kodak has been a positive one and I look forward to hosting more parties. Check back for pictures from this weekend's party.

Funny Moments Worth Laughing About

Are you one of those moms that starts a diary or journal for your child and promises to write everything in it, the good moments, the bad, the funny and sad? I am and guess what I haven't touched that journal in months. Bad mommy, everyone say it together now, "bad mommy". Okay not really, I know this happens to most of us we start a project with good intentions and then life gets in the way.

Well if I had written in the journal as I promised and intended I would have shared this story with MC. When she was about two months old, her daddy, and that's the story I'm going with and sticking to...her daddy changed her while I was napping soundly and forgot to put a diaper back on her.

Now we were both out of it most of the time from sleep deprivation and my post part um anxiety I was like a walking zombie on autopilot. I'd gone o lie down in the guest bedroom where its extremely quiet if you run something for white noise. I'd probably been asleep two hours when I heard MC crying. I came into the den to see what was going on and found her in her swing rocking back and forth. Normally, she would be quietly enjoying the ride or asleep but she was not happy. I look around the den, kitchen and master bedroom and can't find JB.

So I pick up MC and immediately know that she's soaked. The swing is soaked,her onesie is soaked and now I'm getting wet too. I opened the front door and hollered, "HONEY!!!!" and there he was running to find out why I was screaming like a banshee. We stand next to each other with MC on the changing table and start pointing fingers, you changed her last, no you did I was taking a nap. JB" "Well I know if I'd changed her she would have a diaper on."

Well whoever has changed her last (her dad of course) had forgotten to replace the old diaper with a new one. After the initial finger pointing we both started laughing and couldn't stop. We'd been so anxious about being new parents since we'd come home from the hospital. For the most part whenever it was possible we did everything together, her baths, tucking her in, dressing her etc., except when I was napping or he was at work. So careful, so out of it that our little girl was commando in her onesie and neither of us could remember who changed her last.