Thursday, April 30, 2009

A few links to share

The Real Story Behind 'The Soloist'.
NPR Fresh Air interview with the Journalist from the move 'The Soloist'. Quite Interesting.

The Alzheimer's Project
HBO will air a 4-part series on Alzheimer's Disease. Wish I had HBO to watch it. Very prominent disease in my family.

Free Bowling for Kids
Check this site for your state/city and see if offered in your area. If so, kids can bowl 2 games a day just by signing up. Also, a great family discount available. Unfortunately, not available anywhere near me.

Vista Print
I am always asked by clients, friends, family where to get low cost printing online. I use VistaPrint and it is perfect for personal use or small businesses. Once you order one time they are already offering you discounts and freebies. The link above has several free offers. I got it in my email the other day and thought I would share. One nice feature is they have a lot of designs for you to pick from if you are a do-it-yourself or on a very tight budget. I rarely use these for real business stuff myself because I can design it. But for fun things or for personal use I will often choose one of their designs. BUT! Keep in mind you can also upload your own designs as well!

We are always looking for new coupons so here are ways to get more:

Pillsbury Cooking for 2
Sign up for free newsletter and receive recipes and savings coupons.

Sign up for free newsletter and receive recipes and savings coupons.

Box Tops for Education
Sign up for Box Tops Newsletter and help earn cash for your selected school and print valuable coupons.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

One worth logging . . .

I sent an email today to My Girl's teacher about whether they were going to have show-n-tell this friday and if I should send something. I had to post her response because it made me laugh out loud!

"Yes we will do show and tell Friday. Last week was too crazy with earth and science day. Please send something…[My Girl] will get something out of the garbage to talk about if you don’t!! She doesn’t miss an opportunity for a spotlight!"



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

When my life was very different for 16 months

Lately I have been thinking about a short period in my life when I was a true stay at home mom and housewife. It was for a very short 16 months. April 2004-August 29th, 2005. I think many of my readers will recognize the significance of that last date.

When we moved to New Orleans, I quit my career as a Web Usability Consultant at US Steel in Pittsburgh. We decided hubby made enough money for me to stay home full time with our 14 month old daughter.

At the time I thought it was harder than being a working parent. Was I ever wrong. I'll tell you what is harder. Being an "at home" working parent and stay at home mom at the same time. That is what I do now.

So needless to say (and I am not complaining here) I am endlessly busy. I have little to no time for myself. I am always either taking care of my kids or working at my computer. I barely have time to clean. Luckily, my hubby picks up the slack there for me in his little spare time. He cooks, does dishes and laundry. And if I ask nicely, cleans the bathrooms too.

Over Easter weekend my parents were generous enough to take us to Orange Beach, Alabama for a very much needed mini-vacation. I took the laptop but much to my pleasure there was no WiFi where we stayed. It was my excuse to say F-it! I didn't think about work. I didn't do any work. I didn't even read a magazine - although I took at least 10 with me.

It was that weekend that I started to have this reoccuring thought of those 16 months where I was carefree and living the good life. Money wasn't an issue for us. Hubby was always working. I just hung out with My Girl. We were on the go daily. Parks, zoo, aquarium, children's museums, play dates, mom's club events, shopping, exploring, visiting friends. And when hubby traveled - which was often- we had no schedule what-so-ever.

We ate dinner when we wanted and where we wanted. We sometimes ate it early and spent the hours between 4 and 9pm out running around. Maybe we'd get Wendy's and eat out of the back of my truck at the lakefront and then swing afterward. Go to Wal-mart and just spend hours looking around at everything and hanging out in every aisle of the toy section. There was no bedtime and no wake up time. We would stay up till 11pm watching TV. Sleep till 10am.

We were spontaneous. A friend would call in the AM (not too early everyone knew!) and say, "Want to drive to Waveland today with the kids and do the beach?" We would drop everything and be out the door in 30 minutes! I remember spending long days away from home. We would hit the children's museum in Gulfport, swim at the beach after and get Dairy Queen for the drive home. Arriving home around 5/6pm sunburnt and exhausted!

We often stopped by a friends house to visit for a few minutes only to stay until bedtime because said friend opened a bottle of wine and the kids were having too much fun. Sometimes we even had dinner there.

The girl and I had no schedule. No one to answer too. No deadlines. No dinnertime. No bedtimes. No alarm clocks. Nothing. We were just two girls hanging out in our new home in the south. We were enjoying the mild weather all year. I remember the many times in February I would put the girl in the jogging stroller and roller blade the trace and lakefront . Sometimes in the morning. Sometimes in the afternoon. Sometimes around dinner time. Today, I would have to make plans and schedule in an hour to rollerblade.

I felt good then. Happy. Content. Alive. It was a very bright time in my life.

The one vision that I keep remembering the most is when I was hanging out with a bunch of mom's club friends at the trailhead water spouts. We had been there all day. You could tell whose hubbies traveled as we were always the last to leave as we didn't have any reason to rush home for dinner. It was so nice out we lingered extra long. I mentioned feeling like having a chocolate shake. Another mom made a suggestion of a new pizza place that had just opened and had great shakes. On the spot we all agreed to just take the kids to dinner there. And our day long event turned into dinner out with a bunch of tired kids and we loved it!

I got to know other HOOT moms (Husbands Out Of Town) and we tried to eat out together once a week. Often Mexican. Kids always wanted Mexican. It was a fun time.

Things have changed a lot in my life since August 29th, 2005. Not all bad. Just different. Katrina threw us for a loop and turned our world upside down for almost a year. Hubby lost his job the day before our 2nd child was born in July 2006 and then started a business 4 months later. And now I have to work to make ends meet. And that is fine. I am not opposed to working at all. It is just that my easy life has turned into a very busy, very scheduled, very routine, very chaotic, very stressful life.

But I got a taste of the carefree life. And I got precious time with My Girl. Today, I see my hubby daily and we are much more of a family - a family of four, not just two. So the good life had a lot of ups and was fun, but now, we are more of a family. And that is more important than anything.

Monday, April 6, 2009