Saturday, January 14, 2012

Baby Shower Saturday

Me and Michelle

My friend Michelle had her baby shower today! Michelle is an Alpha Gam (many years after me), but we didn't meet through AGD. When Anne Kloack came to me with folders for possible student teachers in the fall of 2006 (for the winter 2007 semester), the one that she thought I'd REALLY like was Michelle's folder. She said that she thought I'd really get along with her and I could really make Michelle's student teaching semester amazing. 

When I saw the name, I knew that I knew it, but wasn't 100% how. Then I read her info and saw that she was the current President of Alpha Gamma Delta at EMU. BINGO! That's how I knew her! But... I didn't really know her at all. Had never met her before.

So I told Anne that I knew "of" Michelle and asked if it was a conflict of interest to have her in my classroom with me, and Anne said that she didn't think so, not if I didn't even know Michelle. So it was set and she started in January of 2007 as my last student teacher in MI.

Anyway, before student teaching with me, Michelle took a job in Georgia (where she is now) and already had a job lined up before coming into my room. I was worried that because she already had a job, she wouldn't give 100% effort to student teaching. I was wrong, and she and I had a GREAT semester together. I think she learned from me (hope so anyway) and I enjoyed seeing her blossom and thrive with my 5th graders.

When we found out that we were moving to GA, she was the first person I got in touch with and asked for info on the areas around Buckhead. I was excited when the call came for Steve while we were in Harris Teeter offering him the job, and that night, I messaged her and told her.

I'm so glad to be down here and to have her so close. She's about 45 minutes from me, and by no means "close" but it's nice to have her close enough that I can see her a few times a month!!

So anyway, her baby shower was today and it was great seeing her again and to see her mom. I got to see the nursery too... they're not sure if they're having a boy or girl, and are going to wait to be surprised on their baby's birthday. What a fun treat!

While we were chatting after she opened her gifts and everyone was just hanging out, she asked me if I would be willing to take pictures of her while she's in labor and delivering. I couldn't believe it. What an honor!!

I got a little emotional and told her that I was honored and that I'd never been in a delivery room before. She said, "Neither have I!" LOL

I'm very excited! Granted, she might change her mind and decide that she doesn't want to use me for this, and I'll understand. BUT... if she wants it, I'll be there to take her pictures while she's laboring and then finally bringing her baby into this world. What a privilege to get to be there for such an immensely important moment!!! 

I had to Google some photography of labor and delivery photo shoots because I had no idea what it'd even look like. After looking at some, it's just amazing. How awesome to have such a great, momentous occasion documented on film!! I just hope I don't screw anything up... there are no re-dos!!

While I was gone, Gus decided that he didn't want to nap and was a beast. Steve said it was a long, exhausting day. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. We're going to Outback for dinner and I can't wait! We were supposed to go tonight, but with Gus being a beast and me getting home at 6:00-- it was too late. We'll go early tomorrow so that we can get home and have some down-time before Gus goes to bed and Steve gets himself ready for work on Monday.

See you tomorrow... or the next day!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday's Top Ten: Favorite Things to do on the Weekend

January 12th, 2012: Favorite Things to do on the Weekend 
  1. Sleep in- Steve always lets me sleep in on the weekend and it's incredible. I love sleep!!
  2. Catch up on all our shows!
  3. Eat popcorn and watch a movie or two... or three
  4. Watch CBS Sunday Morning (on Sunday)
  5. Not have to change all the diapers  :-)  On the weekend I have help!!
  6. Go out to dinner (we don't do it often, but when we do, I love it)
  7. Spend time playing with Gus together- he loves having both of us there to play with him and laugh together
  8. Get my nails done (every other weekend) and have some "me time" for an hour!
  9. Spend ample time on my computer. I am able to do so much work (and play games too) while Steve and Gus hang out together!
  10. Run errands together. No one likes errands, but I like when I can do them with Steve!!

Terrific Thursday!

The World's Cutest Boy

Have you ever met someone and just "clicked" with them instantly? Immediate chemistry and it felt like you'd known them forever and yet it was your first time meeting? That happened today when I met Kelli and her daughter Scarlett for our morning playdate.

Before I go into that, let me start at 7am when Gus got up. I was SOOOOOO tired and didn't want to get up!! It was still dark outside, the sun had not come up yet and there we were having breakfast in the livingroom. I was worried that when 10am got here, he'd be too tired to have fun with his new friend. Fortunately, I was wrong!

Playing in his kitchen this morning

Driving around

Kelli and Scarlett arrived at 10 and the kids instantly hit it off! Gus was very excited to play with his new friend and was all about showing her his toys. We went to the basement and the kids had so much fun playing while Kelli and I talked. Gus shared his snack with Scarlett and played so well with her. It was a really nice visit!!

After they left, we had lunch...

I put Gus down for his nap and he slept from 1:00-5:15!!! Talk about a nice long nap! When he got up he was in the best mood and so happy! His diaper was hardly wet (such a great sign) too!

While Gus was sleeping, his Melissa & Doug stuff arrived. He got some dough and tools and then a string-a-bead set. He and I played with the beads and he did a great job stringing them! It's great for fine-motor control!! Then Steve and Gus played with the dough while I ordered pizza.

Yes my friends, we had Jets Pizza for dinner!! I couldn't believe that there are some here in Georgia! It's a Michigan company and while it was never my absolute favorite in Michigan, I did like it. It was like a little taste of home tonight!! 

After dinner we watched Modern Family from last night and the new Chelsea Handler show... it was okay. Not horrible. Modern Family was hilarious as always.

I'm off to bed. We don't have anything planned tomorrow and then I've got Michelle's baby shower on Saturday (I can't wait)!! Then next Tuesday, Gus and I are going to a place called Catch Air for a playdate with some moms... it should be fun!!

See ya tomorrow!

Funny How Things Work Out...

This afternoon, Steve got an email from a former co-worker that announced the name of the new Director of Sustainability at Burt's. Remember, this is the position that Steve had been interested in back in like June... maybe even sooner like April.

Anyway, when Steve had expressed interest, he was basically, without directly being told so, told that he wasn't what they were looking for to fill the position. So then Yola (former Director of Sustainability) left (she retired) and Steve was asked to fill her role while they interviewed candidates. It was ironic to me that he was competent enough to fill in for her, but not competent enough for the job. Hmmmm...

While he filled in for her, he was able to do speaking engagements that she would have normally done, and he got a good taste for the job. He decided that he really wanted it and decided to ask once again about the position. Again, he was basically told that they were looking for something different... someone to be hired from the outside, and not an internal person.

They asked him to help recruit and interview candidates... and he did so with a smile on his face. He realized through the interviews that he was far more qualified to do the job than any of them. It was through this process that I began seriously pushing him to look elsewhere for a job.

He'd come home very upset about how things went for the day and there was nothing I could do to help. He didn't see anything changing and he was quite unhappy. He finally started talking to some recruiters and Eryn came back into the picture with the possible opportunity at World 50. The rest is history.

So back to the beginning of this post... he found out that they named their new Director of Sustainability. This same person, had Steve stayed there, he'd be reporting to and working with. They hired someone internal (hmmmmm) and someone with pretty much ZERO sustainability background. 

I told Steve, I am SOOOOOO happy that he left when he did. I can't even begin to imagine how hurt and pissed off he'd be tonight if he was still there. He's in such a better place, so much happier working here, and appreciated and valued. All the things about him that I've always admired and respected, he's valued for here in Georgia.

It's definitely funny how things work out and I'm so glad that we trusted each other to walk down a new path... it's led us to greater things and we couldn't be happier!!

A Year of Gratitude #10

A Year of Gratitude #10: Staying at home with Gus

The year that Gus entered our lives was 2010. It was my tenth year of teaching and the absolute best year of my teaching career. 

Not only did I start 2010 by being selected as one of fifteen teachers from across the country to be a Scholastic Teacher Advisor, but I got to go to NYC for an all-expenses paid trip. It was by far one of the most incredible experiences of my life, and the most incredible thing I've ever had the chance to experience as a teacher.

In November of 2009 (of the 2009-2010 school year), I decided to participate in the History Channel's Take A Vet to School Day program. I invited my students to invite their loved ones to come into my classroom for Veteran's Day. It was amazing. We had seven men come to school and they shared their stories with my class. These were grandfathers and dads and they represented all branches of the military. There were tears shed as the men talked about their service, friends lost, and time away from their children. It was moving, touching, and life-changing. One of the parents (her dad was one of our guests) told me that she had never talked to her dad about his time in the Marine Corp. He was a Purple Heart recipient and had it with him to show the kids... she thanked me over and over for celebrating them, and for opening the door to communication with her dad about his time in the Marines. It was awesome.

As if things weren't good enough, I was named my school's Teacher of the Year. It was voted on by the entire staff, and I was named the TOY by an overwhelming majority. I was also named a Wake County Teacher of the Year Semi-Finalist. Out of the 200+ teachers in the county, I was one of the top 24. It was truly awesome.

So then Gus happened... and we had a week between being told that his birthmom wanted us to be his parents, to actually holding him in our arms. There wasn't time to think... it all just happened so quickly.

My school year (year-round schools) had me tracked out (vacation) when Gus was born. Then I missed six weeks for maternity leave... but I was still supposed to come back for the last three days of school. Because of issues that I won't go into, we weren't able to come back to NC until July 11th... which was well after my school year ended.

My principal wanted to know when I was returning. She asked for my letter of resignation so that she could fill my position for the 2010-2011 year. I was on the fence about what to do... do I leave teaching, the job that I love and was most passionate about, or stay at home?

I decided that since we were still in MI and the school year was already starting... I'd stay home for a year and see if I liked it, and if I didn't, I could always go back to work.

That was July of 2010... then I got to October and saw something in the paper about the new Primrose School opening just down the street from my house. This place was at the entrance to our development... so close! I decided to talk to Steve about it and he thought it sounded like a good idea to go check it out. If I could put Gus in their program, and I could teach, it'd be perfect. The best of both worlds.

Except it wasn't. When I went to the interview, I was more qualified than the director and she knew it. She wasn't used to someone with ten years of teaching experience, plus a MAEd in Administration and Supervision and another one in K-12 Curriculum and Instruction. I was WAY over-qualified. There were NO job perks. I'd have to wear a uniform to teach (no thanks), wouldn't get any vacation, would have to work evenings and occasional weekends, I'd get paid $12 an hour (with no benefits), and the thing that did me in... I wouldn't get to see Gus.

It was through that interviewing experience that I realized that I LOVED staying home with him. Any doubt that I had before the interview was GONE after. No way was I going to put him in someone else's care, so I could take care of someone else's kids. DUH.

I am so very very very thankful that I get to stay home with Gus. Not only do I have ZERO stress in my life... which is a gift, but I get to watch him learn, grow, develop, and I am the one to help mold him into the amazing little person that he is. I get to introduce him to new kids through playdates, I get to take him to the park, the zoo, the aquarium, our backyard to play, and I get to watch him have fun.

It's the best job I've ever had.

Sure, I miss teaching (some days), and part of me says, "I'll definitely go back to the classroom." But there is another part of me that doesn't know if I want to go back for a really long time. I used to say when Gus starts kindergarten, if there aren't any other kids, I'll go back to work when he starts school. I've changed my mind.

I don't want to go back to teaching until he's much older. I want to get involved in his classroom, volunteer at the school, go on field trips, and most importantly, be HOME when he gets here. 

I feel like my job as a parent doesn't end when he starts school. So, when will I go back to teaching? I think it'll be YEARS. The way the education system is going in this country is just so disappointing to me. I don't miss the drama, the stress, and the constant feeling that I wasn't doing enough, even though I was giving 1000000% of myself to my teaching, lesson planning, and the families of my kids. I won't do that again... not when I have my own family to serve.

So for now, I'll be thankful that I'm a SAHM and with Gus each and every day. It's never dull, or boring and each day is a new adventure. I hope my only "job" is MOM for a really long time.

And for that... I am most grateful.

The First Time Out

Gus's Time Out Chair

When I bought the time out chair in the picture above, everyone said, "You'll never have to use that..." but I'm smart. I knew that no child is perfect and even those that are perfect 99% of the time, will have that 1% of error. It's in the 1% that the learning happens for most kids (and parents).

When we moved into the new house I made sure to keep the time out chair out where Gus could see it. He liked it. He liked to sit on it and move it around the house. He had never had to sit on it for its intended purpose... until last night.

I shouldn't be too upset... my darling son waited 20 months before having to go to his very first time out. 

The other night Gus had been jumping on the couch. Since he's figured out how to jump on his own (a bigger milestone than I had ever anticipated-- I never knew kids didn't naturally know how to jump), he's jumping all the time. He recently figured out that his crib, the couch, and our bed provide even more spring for his jumping fun... and as a result, he jumps everywhere he can.

So while he was jumping on the couch the other night, he fell off (we knew it was going to happen). When he fell, he landed on his neck/head and I freaked out. It made me realize that he could land wrong and do some serious, life-altering damage. If he fell and became paralyzed, or even died (I'm extreme I'm sure), I'd never be able to live with myself. So from that moment on, a no jumping on the furniture rule was created.

Last night, Gus didn't want to obey the new rule. He wanted to jump. He was told three times and removed from the couch. Finally, he was told that if he did it again, he'd be going to time out. He got on the couch... and with a sly little grin (totally testing us), he started to jump.

Steve swooped in and grabbed him and we marched him into the foyer where his chair was. We spent a good 5-10 minutes, just trying to get him to actually sit on the chair. He thought it was a game at first and was laughing, but neither of us talked to him, we just put him back on the chair. He eventually figured out that he was in trouble and not going to be able to just get up... so he stopped trying to get up and sat on the seat for a minute and cried his little heart out.

After a minute, I bent down and told him why he was on the chair and then he gave me a hug (still crying) and we went into the livingroom. He was still VERY upset and went to see daddy... and Steve told him that he loved him, hugged him, and explained that jumping on the couch isn't safe. After realizing that we weren't mad at him he stopped crying, but he totally stayed away from the couch.

Gus doesn't like to be in trouble (I don't know of too many kids that do) and he doesn't like seeing others in trouble. He's very empathetic. He's a tender-hearted little soul and just as sweet as can be. It was important for us to stay firm and make sure that he knows that there are rules for a reason... his safety.

He went on the couch this morning, but didn't try to jump, so maybe the time out worked as it was supposed to work.
The cutest timer on the planet

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Year of Gratitude #9

 A Year of Gratitude #9: My College Education

At the EMU Honors College Awards Ceremony

I should start by saying that when I graduated from EMU in December of 2000, it was MILES from where I had ever thought I'd end up.

When I was in high school I was a decent student. I made decent grades... always above a 3.0 but usually a 3.5 was average for me. I think when I graduated, I ended up with a 3.49 total- not spectacular by any means, but not awful either. I made a "good" (not great) effort and as a return, I had okay grades. I never studied in high school and never gave 100% effort to my schooling. High school was about socializing, having fun, and oh, there were those pesky classes happening at the same time. Most subjects came somewhat naturally for me, and I didn't have to put too much effort in to get by. I never really challenged myself, or felt especially challenged.

When I applied for college in the summer of my junior into senior year, I decided to apply to MSU (Michigan State), OSU (THE Ohio State University- with emphasis on the word THE), CMU (Central Michigan), EMU (Eastern Michigan), and Capital University (in Ohio). I was accepted into all of them and then was offered a soccer scholarship (partial tuition) at Aquinas College and Sienna Heights College (both in Michigan). I passed on the soccer scholarships because we couldn't afford the tuition even with the scholarship (both are private schools).

I decided to become a Spartan (MSU), though, if I'm being honest, my heart always wanted to be a Buckeye. I chose to stay closer to home because of the relationship that I was in at the time with my ex. Looking back, I let a lot of opportunities pass me by because of the relationship with him.

When I went to MSU... I was totally, and I mean COMPLETELY unprepared. My math scores were so low on the ACT that I was required to take a math placement test at orientation (many people have to take placement exams). I was able to "place out" of all the other placement tests, but had to do the math and as a result... (big surprise here) I didn't even place into the entry level math. I had to take Math 1825... which was the class BEFORE you can get into Math 101.

Every time I would arrive in East Lansing, I'd get this really WEIRD feeling in my gut. Almost like butterflies mixed with doom and dread. I can't describe the feeling, other than to say it was alarming to me and I always felt it. No matter when I was arriving on campus, I felt the same feeling. 

After my first semester... I was a lost mess. I went from being okay in high school to being lost as a Freshman. I decided to volunteer as an elementary tutor at a local school and should have taken the time to get MY OWN tutor. I never studied and was confused when I saw my suite-mates studying.

Add to this the craziness of living away from my family for the first time EVER, having a TERRIBLE pot-smoking, slutty roommate (she was my teacher's daughter on top of it so I couldn't bitch and complain because I was afraid he'd find out), and it was just a bad time for me. I ended up getting placed on academic probation because of my 1.98 GPA for the fall semester. Stupid me had stopped going to my math class (I was failing) but never dropped it, so it brought down my entire GPA.

When I went to see the academic probation person, she said that I was just barely on probation and to just study more and focus on getting things turned around. Sounded easy enough. So my roommate moved out, a friend from down the hall moved in and it was so much better.

I took the semester off from math (it was too much) and met my new battle... history class (which I liked) with my lab (break out session) led by a GA (graduate assistant) and there were like 15 of us in this lab. If I didn't do the readings that the professor assigned during the lecture (of 200+ students)... my butt was always in trouble in the lab. 

I found out that I wasn't the best writer coming out of high school. All the smoke blown up my butt by high school teachers did me no good when I took my first writing class at MSU. I'd never seen so many red marks on a paper and been asked to see the professor during her office hours. When I went, she told me that I needed to challenge myself and that I could be more... but the effort I was giving was unacceptable. For the first time in my life, I was knocked down a few pegs in the writing department and told (basically) that I sucked.

I can vividly remember walking to class and coming to terms that I'd never graduate from MSU with a high GPA. I was okay with that... I was okay with graduating with a 2.0... as long as I graduated and my diploma said MSU on it, that's all that mattered to me.

During the winter semester it was COLD... and snowed and snowed and I had to walk across "the tundra" to get to class (I've learned that what used to be a very large field known as "the tundra" has become tennis courts and is no longer there). I made foolish choices (too many times to count) to stay in and watch television or movies instead of going to class. Again... I didn't study and instead of focusing on classes like I was supposed to, I decided to join a sorority.


My saving grace is that I only pledged it and didn't actually get to the membership phase... good 'ole MSU saw to it that I was not eligible for active membership... so I was a "hold over" to be initiated and activated in the fall of 1995 (which never happened).

When the end of my Freshman year arrived... I had been told to change my major from elementary education to something else... anything else, because you can only apply for the college of education your Sophomore or Junior year. Since my GPA was toast, I was going to have to apply my Junior year instead... so I had to officially change my major. At the time, I was okay with giving up my dream of teaching, and just went with an undeclared status.

In May of 1995, my grades came (I was at home since the semester had ended in April) with the news that I was not invited back for my Sophomore year. Out of 26 attempted credits, I had earned 13. I finished the winter semester with a 0.8 GPA (yes... that's correct) and my overall GPA was a 1.3.

I was more than embarrassed. I was humiliated and felt like a failure. My dad called me stupid for the first time in my life, and left a wound that to this day hasn't healed completely. I had to figure out what I needed to do to get back to MSU. So... I applied (like an idiot) to the "second choice" schools on my list. I applied to transfer to EMU, CMU, and even (gasp) U of M Dearborn. 


I was ashamed that I couldn't get into any of these four-year schools with anything less than a 2.0. With my 1.3... I was screwed. So I sucked up my pride and went to Schoolcraft Community College and applied and they accepted me. They even accepted my 13 lousy MSU, BIG-TEN credits.

Then something miraculous happened. I met with a GC and he asked me what my goals were. I told him that I wanted to get my grades up and transfer back to MSU. He told me about the MACRO agreement (basically, participating schools in the state will take transfer credits from CC to major schools). He said that I could pick just about any school in the state and transfer my S'Craft credits over... GREAT!!!

I thought I was set and then he dropped the bomb on me that changed my future. He told me that I COULD go back to MSU... and yes, they'd accept me (provided that my GPA was acceptable). BUT... when I went back, I'd return with my 1.3 GPA and that's what I'd have to start with. All the classes that I had failed (and there were so many), I'd have to retake to get a higher grade. He said I'd be taking huge steps forward at S'Craft, only to take twice as many backward if I went back to MSU.

I had to come to the realization that being at MSU wasn't in my future. He suggested that I take a college success class and said it'd help me get back on track. While I can't say for sure, that class and the book "Becoming a Master Student" changed my future.

I walked into that class on my first day and saw Alison Stoner (now Nameika) sitting there. What the heck was she doing there??? She had been at CMU and had come home and was at S'Craft like me. She and I became really good friends while at S'Craft together... my grades SKYROCKETED and I started getting 4.0s each semester. I was HOT TO TROT!!!

I was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. For the first time in a REALLY long time, I was proud of myself and so were my parents. I had really taken my studies seriously, went to the library and actually studied, and I just kicked butt. As a result, when it was time to head back to school for the fall of 1996... I had applied again to CMU, EMU, and U of M Dearborn. All three accepted me. 

Since Alison and I had become close, she was heading back to CMU and was going to be living with our other friends that were also there (during the year at S'Craft, Alison and I went to CMU many times for the weekend to hang with the other girls and we all went on Spring Break together too in Panama City Beach, FL). I had to make a decision... do I go to EMU or CMU?

I decided that I'd go to the school that accepted me into their honors college. I was asked to apply to be in the CMU Honors College, but automatically a member of the EMU Honors Program. I was set! I decided to become an Eastern Eagle.

While in college I joined Phi Sigma Pi, Coed National Honors Fraternity and made some of the greatest friends that I've ever known. I'm friends with so many STILL that I met in PSP. I became the chapter president for two years and earned our chapter its first national awards.

I also joined Alpha Gamma Delta while at EMU and decided to give Greek life another shot. This time was so much different from my immature days at MSU. I didn't let myself get swallowed by the organizations that I joined and I maintained that I was there for schooling and learning, not for partying and socializing.

As a result, I graduated with honors from EMU, was in Order of Omega Greek Honor Society, Golden Key, and Phi Delta Kappa Education Honor Society. I had completely turned my life around and walked out the door with a GPA that was a 3.6-- a far cry from the 1.3 at MSU at the end of my Freshman year.

So what does this have to do with my gratitude??? I'm thankful for the opportunity that I was given to go and make the mistakes that I made, and to be able to fall flat on my face. I'm thankful that when I fell and felt like I couldn't sink any lower, I had family and friends that were there to pick me up, and not make me pay for my mistakes for the rest of my life. Yes, they judged me for it... heck, you might be judging me now that you've read this. 

I'm just thankful that not only was I able to fail and learn from my mistakes and turn my life around, but I was given the opportunity in the first place. My parents payed for all of my schooling. Even when I failed, my parents paid. When I was at MSU and not doing what I should have been doing, my parents would come and visit and they'd take me out to eat, they bought me food, and they gave me spending money. They allowed me to have the most incredible time and while I failed, the memories from my college years are simply amazing.

From spring break trips (several paid for by mom), clothes, shoes, and other stuff (paid for by mom and dad), trips to the PSP Convention, Grand Chapter, and other events... all paid for by mom and dad. My apartments at EMU... paid for by mom and dad. My books and supplies... mom and dad. My tuition... mom and dad. And when I walked across the stage at the EMU Convocation Center on December 17, 2000... I didn't owe EMU or the government a dime. It was all paid for.

I graduated on a Saturday and had my graduation party on Sunday. I got a call on Sunday from the principal at the school that I had just finished my semester of student teaching at... and he asked me if I wanted a long-term sub position. I gleefully accepted and he told me that I started on Monday.
Graduation Day at EMU (With PSP Friends)

Had I not had the education provided by my parents, I wouldn't have been able to become the teacher that I am. 
Me and Grandma Ghrist at my graduation party

Who knows where my life would have ended up had I decided to return to MSU in 1996. I'm just thankful that my parents saw the potential that I had and believed in me and supported me as I picked myself back up and started at S'Craft. 

I'm grateful for the luxury to fail and be able to succeed.

Monday, January 09, 2012

You Live and You Learn

Gus saying "Choo Choo"

I have to say I'm so thankful for Facebook and for the friends that I have on there that are so supportive. I posted about our dinner battle tonight and had so many great friends comment with support and they shared their suggestions and their own struggles. It made me feel so much better, and as a result, I know where I went wrong and what could have been done to avoid the drama that enfolded as a result.

As my title states, you live and you learn.

We had a pretty good day. Gus got up REALLY early but had his pants on still (YAHOO!!!). It's the little things that make me happy.

We came downstairs and had breakfast and then Gus and I watched Mickey. While he watched, I cleaned up the kitchen a bit and then headed out to the mailbox to put the application for a SSN for Gus in the mail. 
The house from the mailbox
The tree in our front yard

I decided to take a picture of the tree because the sky was looking neat and I was feeling like it. ;-)
Riding his horse and watching Mickey Mouse

Gus went down for a nap relatively early (10:30) because he was getting sloppy and so very tired. He slept from 10:30-1:30!

When Gus woke up, we had lunch and then after lunch we went downstairs and played from 1:30-4:00.
Playing with his number & abacus toy

Roller Coaster Fun

Little People Playground

Fun in the tunnel!

Giving Purry Como some love... <3

Ught oh... he took his pants off... we know what that means!!!

I took a quiz on the Parents magazine website about potty readiness. Based on my answers, it said that Gus is ready to start potty training. I read an article that said between 18-24 months, most kids show signs of readiness. These are the things that Gus is doing that make me think he might be ready:
  1. He does NOT like having a wet/dirty diaper on AT ALL!!!
  2. He lets me know that he's wet/dirty by giving me the sign
  3. He can take his pants off (and does after he's relieved himself)
  4. He will follow me to the potty and sits on his potty while I use mine (same with Steve)
  5. He goes several hours in the afternoon with a dry diaper
  6. He usually (75% of the time) wakes from a nap and is dry
So all these things together lead me to think he might be ready. My only point of not being 100% sure is that he doesn't tell me that he has to go BEFORE... it's always after. I guess I could set the clock and put him on the potty every so many minutes... but I don't know.

I've got some big boy underwear coming this next week from JC Penny... we'll see. I just wish I knew where to start with it. Everyone has been telling me that their kids didn't start potty training until they were three or three and a half... and he's not even 20 months yet (Wednesday). I don't want to start anything too early. Then again, I read things that people wrote that said their kids were showing all the signs when they were under two, and the parent ignored the signs and it took FOREVER for the kid to be trained... one was almost five before he was potty trained.

So I don't know... we'll see once the undies arrive. I've got the time to devote to it, and it's not like we go places each day... so we'll give it a go and see and if it doesn't work out, we'll try again later.

Gus took another nap this afternoon at 4:15 and slept until about 5:30. It was a a brief nap, but it was awesome. When he got up... he was CRANKY and hungry. We ended up having our first battle over dinner... and looking back, I should have just let him have cheese, some yogurt, some fruit... but instead I made him sit there and he cried because he wanted cheese and did NOT want what we were having.

I know for next time. many friends on FB suggested an evening snack... I like the idea! Maybe we'll try that this week. Steve took Gus up for his bath while I cleaned the livingroom and picked up the kitchen... I brought him up some cheese and he was so happy to have cheese!!!  :-)

Tomorrow our cleaning lady comes and I'm eager to see how long it takes her crew to get the house clean. We've been doing an AMAZING job of keeping it clean and clutter-free. I'm proud of us!!

See you tomorrow!!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

A Year of Gratitude #8

A Year of Gratitude #8: My Car

Chuck Dio

I absolutely LOVE my car. I wanted the Ford Edge the minute I saw it advertised in Car & Driver in 2006. It was coming to the North American Auto Show in Detroit and I thought it was fabulous the minute I saw it. At the time, I was driving Cleveland (my Ford Escape) and there wasn't any hope of a new car.

Then we moved to North Carolina and the auto industry tanked and Ford was the only one not to go bankrupt. They had INCREDIBLE deals on financing... $0 down and 0% for certain models. The time was right and Steve and I took a drive to Wake Forest, NC to visit Crossroads Ford of Wake Forest.

Steve had a handy-dandy program in his computer that he used to finagle the most amazing price... and then he locked in a deal for them to take Cleveland off my hands. It was really remarkable to watch Steve work his magic. 

I can remember asking him as we drove the hour there, "Do you think we'll come home with a new car?" He was most certain that we would not be driving home in anything other than Cleveland. Boy was he wrong! 

I stood in the parking lot shoving things from Cleveland into a garbage bag while Steve signed papers on Chuck Dio. Next thing I knew, I was driving my new car home. It was amazing.

There are many things that I love about Chuck Dio. One is the vista roof... it's awesome to have it open all the way and have so much sunlight come into the car. Gus likes it too.

I also like Sync... it's fun to talk to my car and tell it what to do and have her do it. It's not so fun when she messes up, or when she chimes in (out of nowhere) and tries to run a vehicle report.

I'm thankful that I get to drive my dream car. I'm thankful that I have a car. I know there are people out there who would love to just have A car... ANY car, and here I am fortunate enough to drive the one that I love the most. 

I am very lucky and I am grateful.

Productive Sunday

Gus while shopping at Wal-Mart this morning

Today was pretty productive for us. We woke up and headed to Wal-Mart to get our grocery shopping done and we were home by 10:15. Gus got up at 6:30 this morning (I was still asleep) and by 10:30 he was exhausted and more than ready for his nap.

Steve put Gus down for his nap and then he fixed the toilet, got the dryer fixed, took out the trash, and did a bunch of other stuff while Gus slept for three and a half hours. :-)

While Steve worked on that stuff, I created a blog specifically for adoption. We're starting to think about adopting again and I wanted to get our website updated, but it's going to take a REALLY long time... and honestly, no one looks at our website. If they want to see pictures, they either read my blog or the family share or Facebook. I'm almost thinking of not updating the website at all anymore (it's a lot of work).

Here's a link to our new adoption blog: Here We Go Again.... Please look at it and offer suggestions... I want it to be just for adoption and nothing else. As we embark on the process again, I hope to share our journey on that blog. My goal is to have the last post on that blog be a picture of us holding our baby and completing our family.

Anyway, any feedback on it would be great!!

We're not 100% ready to adopt again though. We need to sell the house in NC and then pay off some loans and then save some and then we can start thinking about it. I have been gathering information for us and the one agency that I liked, I don't think I like as much anymore. They ONLY do adoptions in FL, LA, and MS. We'd have to travel to one of those three states to adopt and while we're close being here in GA, it's still the hassle of adopting out of state. At least with adopting in MI we have family and friends. That wouldn't be the case in FL, LA, or MS.

We'll see. We have plenty of time to figure it all out.

After Gus got up from his nap, we had lunch. Steve made us cheddar broccoli soup for lunch that was out of this world delicious! Then he hung up shelves and pictures for me. :-) He got a large chunk accomplished from his "Honey Do List" that I made for him.

We finished our night by watching the Broncos/Steelers game. I loathe the Steelers... always have. I was hoping that the Broncos would win, but even if they didn't, I was eager to see that either the Steelers or the Patriots would lose next week (the winner from tonight plays the Patriots) and since they're the two teams that I loathe the most... at least one of them would be knocked out. Thankfully, the Broncos won during overtime... and it was the first play in overtime and the guy ran the ball all the way for a touchdown and ended the game just like that. I LOVED it!!! :-)  Now all we need is for the Broncos to beat the Patriots next week and I'll seriously be excited!!

This week we have our cleaning lady coming to clean on Tuesday (I'm eager to see how clean it gets with her four-person crew) and then we have a playdate here on Thursday with one of my Alpha Gam sisters that lives here (I've never met her... we met on Facebook)! I'm excited to meet her!!

See you later!!!