Monday, August 27, 2007

Weekend Recap

Well, we had a nice weekend! Even though it was SO darn hot here! Actually, it was more the humidity than the heat, oh, forget it, it was freakin' hot!

Anyway, we went to Connecticut to spend a Saturday evening with Brock's college buddies. One of his friends is turning 50 in a few weeks and his family threw him a party.

It was an adult-only party - kids were going to be staying at the hotel with a few baby-sitters. This was unnerving to me on a few levels - first, an adult-only party? Hello, the last time I went to an adult-only party was like forever ago! How do you behave at an adult-only party? Does this mean I have to have intelligent conversations without yelling, "Leda, No!" or "Leda, don't touch that." every other sentence? I am not sure I know how to do that!

Second, you want me to leave my child at a strange hotel with strange people?? Are you kidding me? I freaked out about this for about three or four days before hand. That was until I found out that all the kids would be together (it's nice to know that Leda would be spending time with our friends kids - 9 and 11 years old - and that they could report to me anything bad!) Yep, I'm not all that trusting when it comes to my precious child.

It turned out I had nothing to worry about, on either front. We arrived in Stamford at the hotel around 1:30 or so in the afternoon (after a hellish ride on the 95 through the Bronx - it amazes me that people get ANYWHERE in a decent amount of time in the NYC area!) We had a little lunch in the hotel restaurant - we stayed in the Westin - I expected we would be paying a pretty penny for the night's stay at the Westin, but it appears that the Westin was under renovation, so the room rates were really cheap! It was nice.

Around 4 we headed down to the hotel bar and met up with all our friends - most of whom we hadn't seen since having become parents! It was nice to see everyone, even though I spent a good portion of the time trying to reassure Leda that Mommy and Daddy weren't leaving just yet (I didn't lie to her, I told her we weren't going any where YET!)

See, our child is WAY too smart. Marie (the 11 year old) and Claire (the 9 year old) were introducing themselves to Leda and talking about how they were going to have so much fun together that evening and Leda looked at me and started to cry, "Mommy too, right, Mommy and Daddy, too." She realized that we were going to be going out and she wasn't coming with us. By the time the babysitters arrived (all three of them were VERY nice ladies), the child was almost inconsolable. I ended up taking her and the two girls up to our room to start Finding Nemo on the TV to calm her down a little. The babysitters came up shortly with Brock and we were off. I stood outside the room and listened to my child scream for about 2 or 3 minutes before I realized if I didn't walk away, I wasn't going to the party.

We all headed over to Tom's parents (Tom was the birthday boy). It was a very humid day but we ended up hanging out in the backyard having cocktails and chatting with everyone. We got to see John and Eileen (John was Brock's Best Man at our wedding) and Kate and Evan and Justin and Deena and Ned and Kathy and Tom and Marion and Amy. And several others I got to meet for the first time (friends of Brock's when he was in College). And Peter and Sono also came, a little later (after dinner), but we got to see them and that was nice.

We had a nice time. Dinner was great and the "entertainment" was fun! Tom's apparently a jokester, likes to tell jokes and make puns and so his family wrote him Limericks for his birthday. They were all quite clever and funny.

I found that my other worry, how to act at an all adult party, wasn't anything to worry about. Turns out, I do remember how to socialize without a 2 year old hanging off of me. It was fun. I hope to do it again soon!

When we got back to the hotel around 10:30, Leda was asleep and the babysitters said she was a pleasure to sit for. The girls (Marie and Claire) announced the night "lots of fun." Brock headed back down to the hotel bar to have a night cap with everyone and I hit the sheets as I was tired (and started to get a headache from a little too much red wine!)

Sunday morning we were up at the crack of dawn (okay, 7:30) and I was really worried I was gonna be a little hungover, but I wasn't (phew! I was really worried there, considering I had had a bit to drink and I am not used to drinking a bit!) We checked out and headed back to Tom's parents for breakfast and one last goodbye to everyone before we see them in two weeks in New Hampshire for an all weekend "family" style party. There will be camping and cooking and playing and the kids are invited and even dogs, too!

Brock and I, followed by Kate and Evan, stopped by John and Eileen's place before we headed home. They are in Cold Springs, NY, which was a little out of our way home, but we wanted to stop by and say hello.

We got home around 4 and all of us, except the kid, were tired! Bedtime couldn't come quick enough!

It was a nice weekend. We had lots of fun and it was great getting to hang out with old friends. We are really looking forward to the weekend in New Hampshire in two weeks, with more people Brock knows from way back when and a party where Leda can hang out with lots of kids and have a great time. In the meantime, I have to go dig out the tent and air it out in case we decide to forgo a bed in the house and camp outside! That should be fun!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hollywood comes to Phoenixville

A few weeks ago, as my boss and I were driving out of town for work, we noticed that the main road into town was going to be shut down during business hours (9-5) late this week.

My boss, who, for the two days I spent riding in his car with him, spent most of the time lamenting about all the bridges in the US that could fall at any moment (didn't make me very comfortable), said it must be to fix the bridge that we had just crossed.

Turns out, it was better than that! M. Night Shyamalan, yes, The Sixth Sense, The Village, Unbreakable, Signs - that M. Night Shyamalan - was going to be filming scenes for his new movie at the 'G' Lodge, a local restaurant that is a fixture in this town (not yet as famous as the Val Rio - the diner from The Blob, but soon, might be!)

Brock and I have never eaten at the Lodge, although I have passed by it hundreds of thousands of times over the 15+ years I have lived in this town and we threaten to go eat there every once in awhile. M. Night Shyamalan is known for filming in his 'own backyard' as he grew up in Philly - in fact, an ex-boss of mine knows Shyamalan - her son went to school with him and occasionally hung out with him way back when. I bet I could figure out how I am six-degrees from Kevin Bacon with that connection!

Anyway, it's pretty exciting around here - there's reports and pictures in the paper - one of Mark Wahlberg from yesterday, who is starring in the film. It's been reported in the paper that John Leguizamo is also in town because he's in the film too - I'm more impressed by him than Wahlberg - something about Leguizamo (other than the fact his name sounds cool - I can't pronounce it, but it sounds cool!) that I really like - He was on ER for several episodes, but I think I remember him best from his role in Moulin Rouge and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. And Betty Buckley (you know, the step mom from Eight is Enough) is also in the movie and in town. Weird!

So tonight I decided I needed to go buy some books (whole other post - I just can't get my head back into Helen of Troy, so I needed to pick up some new books!) and I headed out to Barnes and Noble. I decided to take Rt 23 instead of the back way, just because it was late in the evening, no real traffic.

Well, I guess they were just wrapping up filming for the day because wow, all the cars parked up and down the road, all the people milling around, probably waiting to see if they could catch a glimpse of someone famous. All the STUFF - the contraptions that they have rigged up outside the Lodge - which for the movie has been renamed the Filbert! It was pretty weird - Hollywood in our neck of the woods.

Nope, I didn't see anyone famous, but it was getting dark and I was busy paying attention to the road and all the people hanging around. But it was neat! Maybe we will sneak by there tomorrow - they are supposed to film all day tomorrow.

Look for the 'G' Lodge dressed as the Filbert when M. Night Shyamalan's movie "The Happening" comes out next year. That's our town! Cool!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Book Recommendation

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

Not as good as The Kite Runner by the same author, but very good! Different, as this is more about women living in Afganistan and their relationships with one another and having to live in a world that is just incomprehesible to me. It was moving.

I highly recommend it, as I do The Kite Runner. I do think I liked The Kite Runner better, but this was a great book and I did like it a lot. Any book that can make me cry is always a really good book, in my opinion.

I also read The Quickie this past week, the latest by James Patterson, one of my favorite authors. It was good, but I didn't like it as much as I usually like Mr. Patterson's books. I did happen to read it in one evening - it was a quick read (ha, no pun intended!) Definitely a good beach book (even though I wasn't on the beach when I read it!)

I have finished all my summer books at this point. Except for Margaret George's Helen of Troy, a book I had begun to read a in July but put aside to finish up the Harry Potter books. I just forgot to pick it back up before I read the two I mention above. It's a good book so far. Historical fiction is a favorite genre of mine and this one is kinda interesting as the first quarter or so of the book has Helen's mother, Leda, appearing a lot. It's kinda fun reading a book when the character you named your daughter after appears occasionally! So, I will attempt to finish Helen of Troy before the summer ends and then I need to start looking around and seeing what is out there that I haven't read yet!

Oh, and of course, about three billion Dora the Explorer and her Cousin Diego books have been read this summer - over and over and over again!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Good Riddance to Last Week

Last week sucked. I spent two days traveling back and forth to North NJ (about a 2-2 and half drive - both ways!), Brock was diagnosed with a fracture to the back of his 9th rib and last night we spent what I hope will be the only time in the ER with Leda.

Let me start there - Leda's fine. She was being a typical 2 year old last night after dinner, not listening to a word I said and Brock went to go get her off the steps (that I had told her to get off of) and he put her in a time-out. Which she screamed and cried about - we assumed because she wasn't happy not being allowed to do what she wanted to do (which I think was to play on the steps, which she has been told over and over again not to do - and has had countless time-outs about!)

Well, when the two minutes of time-out was over, she was told to come give me an apology and as she was walking over to me, I realized that she was holding her right arm. And, she was really not happy - in pain even.

It turns out, how we aren't exactly sure, that her Nurse-maid's arm got pulled out of joint again. Brock is pretty sure he didn't yank at her or anything like that and I know he wouldn't have done anything like that on purpose. But since it has happened before, it is more likely for it to happen again a lot easier.

Well, due to the fact that our neighbor, Dr. ER, was on his way to work, we had no other recourse than to take her to the ER to have the elbow put back into place. Luckily it was a short trip (unbelievable, but there was really no one at the ER last night) - we were in and out in about an hour.

Leda's fine. We just have to be very careful with her arm. The trauma to me and her father is probably a lot worse!

That was just the end to a horrible week. Last Sunday we had my Aunt and Uncle and cousins over for dinner and Brock was "testing" the zip line that we have strung up between our property and our neighbor's property.

Okay, let me explain - several years ago, our neighbor's kids got a zip line for Christmas (or something like that) and we strung it up between our house (a tree on our side) and their house (the playground) so that it would "zip" over the creek that separates our two properties. For years, Brock has taken his turn on the zip line telling me that it's to "test" the line so that the kids don't get hurt.

Well, again, on Sunday, he was "testing" the line before letting little Tommy ride on it and well, it broke - luckily AFTER he had crossed the creek and he had only to fall a foot or two. But he fell on his back. By the time I got out there, he was sitting on the ground a little dazed, but seemingly okay. I thought that we probably should go to the ER to have it checked out, but he said no.

By Wednesday he was in enough pain he finally went to the doctor, who did an x-ray and on Friday we found out that he had fractured the 9th rib in the back. So he's pretty hurting! The reason he didn't go with Leda and I to Pocono Raceway on Saturday - he didn't want to spend 2 hours bouncing around in a car!

So, we are really glad that last week is over. Hopefully this week will be a lot better! With the nasty chilly rain we have had the past two days, it's not looking too good!

Some more pictures of Leda at the track!
Leda buckles up!

Leda and GrandDad

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Went to see the Race Cars

It's been a busy and crazy week.

We all planned to spend the day at the Pocono Raceway to watch the SCCA races and see some friends we hadn't seen in a really long time (like, B.L. - Before Leda) and introduce Leda to racing.

Due to an incident which I will give details about later, Brock decided that a ride in the car for an hour and a half up a mountain and then back again wasn't in the cards for him, so I crazily decided to take the kid on my own.

I am exhausted. Leda is exhausted. We had a great time seeing some friends and hanging out with GrandDad Teal and Fay. We watched one race (okay, so we spent most of it - or, let me re-phase, I spent most of it chasing Leda in the grandstands) and had some lunch and got a teddy bear (which, for some reason, had to be given a time-out in the middle of the paddock) and we headed home after about 4 or 5 hours. Mommy even had to grab a cup of coffee for the ride home - I NEVER drink coffee after Noon!

We had a great time. Leda got to sit in some cars and she really seemed to like it. When the race group came down for the start of the race, I almost expected her to startle a little - She isn't afraid of loud noises, but this was one she hadn't experienced before - my child didn't even flinch - nope, she laughed and screamed and watched the cars fly by! Yep, it's gotta be in the genes!

I figure that this must have been what I was like at the track when I was a kid. I expect we shouldn't have too much trouble with her going to races in the next couple of years. At least she liked the race cars!

Anyway, more about our crazy week later. Just wanted to pop in and say hello. Oh, and yes, that is my thumb below - taken with my cell phone camera, and I didn't realize my thumb was in the way!

Leda at Pocono Raceway

Sunday, August 12, 2007

We had a Big&Rich time!

Yesterday was a busy day. Early in the day, we all headed over to my cousin Tommy's son's 4th birthday! Michael had a bouncy Castle with slide and a water slide for his birthday. Leda only went down the water slide once - she was a little shocked by the cold pool of water at the bottom! She liked the bouncy castle better! Oh, and the cake!

A surprise for us, my Uncle Tommy and Aunt Tish were in town from Florida, so we got to spend a little time talking with them. Since they don't have anything better to do this evening, they are coming over for dinner!

We came home and all took naps and then around 5 we left Leda with Caitlyn (the babysitter) and headed to Bethlehem, PA, to see Big&Rich at Musikfest.

Three years ago, when we were down the beach that July, we had CMT on and I saw Big&Rich's Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy video. I liked the music a lot, so I bought the CD. That was it, I loved them! Leda listened to that CD a lot when I was pregnant! I've always wanted to go see them in concert, and I finally found out when they were coming to town and we figured, let's go!

I've never been to Bethlehem - didn't know anything about Musikfest, but turns out, it's a pretty darn big deal! They shut down Main street for like a week and have music everywhere all over town. RiverPlace is the big concert place, seating about 6,500 and they had Joe Walsh, Meatloaf, Patti LaBelle, The Moody Blues, and other's playing as headliners this week. I would have loved to see Meatloaf, but that was a Monday, so we decided against it.

Anyway, it was like a fair ALL over the city. Food booths, beer and wine booths, booths where you can buy fun stuff, all over the place. And music, everywhere. It was a little overwhelming as I wasn't quite expecting the crowds of people! Next year we will be better prepared!

We walked around (mostly looking for the concert area - we had no idea where we were!) and had a drink and some food and then we found the RiverPlace and found our seats and at 8:30, the concert started with Cowboy Troy who, I have to say, is making me like rap music all over again (I used to love it way back when, before it got weird and nasty!). He was pretty awesome. Then, the boys hit the stage!

What a great concert. Big&Rich really know how to rock it out! I like these guys because the do country rock really well and they do what they call "music without prejudice" - basically, doesn't matter who you are, what color you are, what religion you are, etc., we all love music and we all should be able to enjoy it regardless!

After the first few songs, they introduced themselves and then did something I don't think I have ever seen happen at a concert - they had the audience introduce themselves to one another. Basically, turn to your left and turn to you right and introduce yourself to someone you don't know. It was pretty darn cool!

They were pretty awesome! I will SO be going to see them again when they come back to town. They came back out for one encore and did my favorite song, Rollin' - pretty darn cool! This song has a rap done by Cowboy Troy at the end, so he came out and sang with them. And, half way through the song, they broke out into a few verses of Fat-Bottom Girls, which was pretty great!

I had an awesome time - Brock did to, even though it's not exactly his cup of tea! However, he does get to listen to it a lot when we travel! ;-) I can't wait to see them again! And, I absolutely recommend Big&Rich! What a rockin' good time! Awesome!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ikea doesn't want Leda in a Big Girl Bed

I know that there are people out there that think we are crazy thinking of moving Leda to a big girl bed when she seems perfectly happy to stay in a crib. Well, apparently Ikea also believes this!

We got the new catalog last week and I quickly looked up the Kura bed that I linked to a few posts ago (I can only link to the post, not the picture of the bed because it is gone from the website now!). They have a new color - dark blue. I'm excited, so I figure I will call the store and find out if they have it in yet.

The store doesn't have it in stock and has no idea when they will receive it.

So, we figured, what the heck, let's order the bed via the phone sales number and go to the store to pick up the mattress and the canopy, since we know they have them.

Nope, the phone sales lady tells me that the bed is an item that is not available via the web or phone sales, must go to the store to get it. I tell her my store doesn't have it and hasn't a clue when it's coming in.

She transfers me to someone who is supposed to tell me when the store might have it. She tells me that the other store in the area (twice as far away as the one we usually go to) has some in stock. Turns out, it's the old version with light blue sides.

I don't like the light blue as much as I like the dark blue (now that they are supposed to have dark blue) so I ask her if they have any dark blue. Nope, they don't. I ask when the dark blue will be delivered to either store in the area and she says no clue!

I find it very hard to accept that the new catalog comes out with a product in it that I CAN'T SEEM TO GET ANYWHERE!!!!

Why bother putting it in the catalog?

Apparently it is a popular bed. So, we are going to wait another month to see if the store gets the darn thing in. One more month of crib for Leda.

I hope Ikea is happy.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Need more vacation!

I looked so forward to that vacation in early July when we went to Portland. For months, I looked forward to it! Then, I got sick during that vacation. I enjoyed 1 and a half days of that vacation.

So, I took an extra day for a long weekend in the Thousand Islands last week. We were originally going to go up Thursday night after work and come home Sunday. We went up Wednesday night after work instead. I could have used more - like a whole week!

In any case, we did go to the Thousand Islands, and other than it being REALLY hot the first two days, we had a BEAUTIFUL weekend.

Brock and Leda and I took off immediately after I finished work on Wed, but got stuck in traffic trying to get out of town! We ended up arriving at the house around 10:30 or so - not too bad with only two stops on the way up. Leda did not go to sleep at all the whole ride. We hooked up the portable DVD for her to watch and boy did she. We finally told her no more DVD about 9 or so, but she still didn't go to sleep!

We did get down and to sleep by 11:30 and were up at the crack of dawn. Well, 6:30am, which I guess isn't exactly the crack of dawn, but hey, on the first day of vacation when you aren't sick, it's pretty darn early!

We had a big day ahead. We needed to get some shopping done so we could make dinner for Grandpa and Nana and the Lilly's who were all coming to the Islands that afternoon. We were going to celebrate Brock's birthday with steaks and pasta with pesto (fresh from my garden, of course) and some angel food cake. Which means we needed to get some shopping done so I could get started on the cake!

Seagull

Grandpa and Nana arrived with the Lilly's not too far behind and we had a great dinner Thursday night. Leda had so much fun she just would NOT go to sleep. We set up a bed on the floor for her - one of those toddler beds with foam sides - in our bedroom off the living area. This was with the hope that when we got her home she wouldn't fight us when we put her to bed, as we had to fight with her for the two weeks after the Portland trip!

We figured she'd pass out being that it was about 9:30 when we tried to get her to go to sleep. She instead found it fun to get out of bed and open the door and peek out. When she got tired of that, she would get pretty quiet and we would go in to find her in the bathroom attached to the bedroom, getting into all kinds of stuff! It was an interesting evening! I finally went to bed around 11 so that Leda would go to sleep and she did.

Up at the crack of dawn again on Friday - okay, 7:30 isn't exactly the crack of dawn, but on the second day of vacation when your cell phone rings and it's your client, it's pretty darn early! Luckily, nothing serious, but as I was to be in Baltimore on Monday for business, it was an important call.

Sarah and Leda decorate the driveway!

Grandpa Reads Dora

Friday we just had a great day! There was riding on the jetski, swimming, hanging out, reading of books and just plain fun. Leda loved playing with her cousins, Sarah and Scott. Friday night we celebrated Scott's birthday (which happened to be the day before, but we had to celebrate Brock's on that day - oh, don't ask, it's too complicated!) and had chocolate cake - which Leda loved!

Sunset

Again, getting to bed was a bit of an issue. Every time we would put her down in the bed and close the door, she was up and in the bathroom. So, when I finally got fed up (about 20 minutes), I left the door open where I could see her and she could see me, and I sat there and watched that she didn't get up again. She was asleep in 20 minutes!

Saturday was another beautiful day - the best of them all - the heat went away, it was just a delightful day. Again, mostly jetskiing, swimming, reading, hanging out. Our friends, Dan and Deb, came over from Kingston, ON, to visit with us - we were bad Americans, forgot to take our passports with us, so our Canadian friends had to come to the US! But we made up for it by taking them go-carting and inviting them to spend dinner with the Yates-Lillys and celebrate Bobby's birthday (it was actually Bobby's birthday. He was the only one who got to celebrate it on his day!).

Leda went go-carting with her Daddy. She really loved it! I think she especially liked racing Grandpa! Afterwards, we spent some time in the arcade, and I think my child will spend a lot of time in arcades when she grows up - she loved it! She liked playing the games and winning the tickets and we got lots of nice junk to show for it! ;-)

Go-carting

Leda and Daddy Go-Carting

Saturday night when we put Leda to bed, we left the door open as we had the night before. This didn't deter her from being a little pain in the you-know-where! It's amazing this child didn't sleep past 8am until Sunday morning! (and then, just until 8:30 - little pain the butt!)

Sunday morning we packed up and got ready to head home. We spent some time hanging out, but around 1pm we were on our way home again.

Grandpa, Nana and the GrandKids!

It was a wonderful weekend. We had a great time! Wish we could have stayed longer. We may have to schedule a full week in the Islands next year! It's absolutely a wonderful place to be!

And, as always, more pictures can be found here!

To all it may concern...

I have finished all of the Harry Potter series. Feel free to spoil the ending for me at any time!

Actually, book 6 is probably my second favorite of the series (#1 favorite being book 3). Book 7 was good, but I really didn't want it to end. I read it fast and furious (as much as I could) until the last quarter of the book, then I slowed down a lot - I realized I just didn't want the book to end, because then it would be over.

I'm not sure if I liked the ending. I think it's mostly because it is final - there will be no more Potter. I was a bit disappointed and, frankly, shocked, at one of the events in Book 7. I have to say, I think I had the exact same reaction to this event as I did when Sirius was killed. And, that is about all I will say about that. Not that I am going all Forest Gump on you all, just don't want to spoil the book for anyone who hasn't finished it yet. (and yes, I realize, I am probably the last person in the world who hadn't read the darn thing yet!)

I have to say that I am looking forward to the 6th and 7th movies - they should be pretty darn awesome if they are done correctly! Of course, it would probably be a good thing to see the 4th and 5th movies before hand!

So, that's it. Done the Harry Potter series. No more warnings about spoilage!

And, may I say, if you haven't read them, try them out - they are really quite good fun reads!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Back from Hiding in the Islands

The Thousand Islands, that is!

Spent an extended weekend in the islands visiting with Grandpa and Nana and the Lilly clan in from Denver.

Much time spent reading, swimming, jetskiing, go-carting, celebrating birthdays (Brock's, Scott's and Bobby's) and enjoying family and friends (our Canadian friends, Dan and Deb, came over to visit us for an evening).

Lots of pictures, very little time. I am off to Baltimore area for work for the next couple of days, so, depending on connectivity to internet, update may have to wait until later in the week!

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