Friday, March 30, 2007

Requiem Verdi - Catedral de Sevilla

My youngest sister Stephanie sang in this performance. She is living in Sevilla, Spain for the semester and she joined the community choir. The video quality isn't that great, but the music is just heavenly, so listen and enjoy.

Double Post Day!

Brian wakes up for work at 4:30 am and half the time I can't fall back asleep. That's why I usually post my blogs at 5 am.

Today I can't sleep because I am SO excited. We are taking Remmy in to the Animal Hospital for his yearly shots and exam (poor little guy). The reason I'm so excited is because Aimee LOVES animals. Her favorite exhibit at the Brookfield Zoo is the mock house in the Children's Zoo because they have a collection of house pets and they let the kids pet one each day. The Animal Hospital has several pets that they allow their employees to bring in and keep there during the day. Since my mother in law helps out part time, we always get the insider's tour and we get to see all the cute animals and the HUGE dog in the basement. This dog is so big it reminds me of the flying dog from the Never Ending Story, I think it's a bull mastif. I've been telling Aimee about it all week and I can't wait to see her face when she sees all the animals.

Bag Lady

That's what Aimee has become. All day long, she walks back and forth dilegently rearranging her collection of things, transfering them from a tote bag, to her shopping cart, and back into a different tote bag. We try to keep all of her toys in "stations" around the house. She has a toybox next to the window in the family room, an entire corner in the living room, a big toybox in her bedroom, and her shopping cart is never far away. Having these designated stations makes it easier to retreive important non-toy items she's collected throughout the day such as keys, cell phones, and remotes, tupperwear lids. Yesterday I accidently stumbled upon a secret hiding place where she keeps her real treasures. In her Disney Princess oven I found: 1 cell phone belonging to me, her brand new sandals that she carried around the house for 2 days, a baby doll, a blankie, a tiny little stuffed dog that She and Remmy fight over, a days old sippy cup of juice.

A few days ago, she decided to fill the new tote bag that Mrs Simpson gave her with the easter bunny themed Mr. Potato Head body parts that she received from Brian's cousin Mona. She walked around the house ALL DAY holding on to the bag as if it contained the presidential nuclear codes. Come naptime I had to wrestle the bag away from her because she's a wild sleeper and would have managed to put HERSELF in the bag in her sleep if I hadn't taken it away. She cried as if I had just taken away her first born.

The What to Expect The Toddler Years book says that it's normal behavior and that having collections of things is an ego boost and helps them feel more control over their world. I agree with the book and I'll enable her little addiction for now... at least until we start to run out of tote bags to stuff things in.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Favorite Thing...

Listening to Aimee talk and sing herself to sleep...and yell at her baby doll. "NO BABY! NO!".

Monday, March 26, 2007

Church People have a sense of humor too...

Brian's uncle Ray posted these cute pics of Aimee in her "I'm going to be a big sister" shirt. That's how we told the family about Baby #2. We made a shirt for Aimee and let everyone read it. The post includes some commentary from Brian's HILARIOUS Uncle Ray. His profile pic says a lot about him. He is Brian's Godfather and Brian takes after him more than Uncle Ray knows.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Today I had

1. a pickle craving
2. a crying spell
3. a desperate feeling of starvation

all before 11 am.

Thank GOD I married a patient and loving man.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Who the Hell is Minnie Mouse anyway?

I've come to realize that pretty soon, I'm going to have to start addressing "Keeping up with the Joneses" issues with Aimee. Living in a community where million dollar homes are literally visible from our backyard, I knew I'd have to deal with the subject sooner or later. I just didn't think I'd have to start thinking about it now. See, Aimee has a friend who is three yrs old. She is a gifted talker and the sweetest little thing EVER. The thing with her is that her family goes to Disney AT LEAST once a year and vacations about every 3 or 4 months. Brian and I have known this family for years and they have been very very kind to us. Since their daughter is exactly one year older than Aimee, Aimee has become the beneficiary of TONS of designer and boutique clothes that no longer fit her little friend and are perfectly in season.

This little girl comes over for play dates every few weeks. Having been to Disney a few months back, she still relives every moment of her Disney dream vacation, and shares it with everyone who is within earshot. "I had tea with Princess Cinderella! The REAL Cinderella! I got on the teacup ride. I didn't get sick. I wore my princess dress and everyone thought I was a real princess! Minnie Mouse is a girl. She lives in Disneyworld." and on and on and on.

That got me to thinking, "How am I going to deal with this when Aimee asks why we can't go to Disneyworld? Or why don't we shop at the mall for all of our clothes? Or Why aren't WE going to Wisconsin Dells every spring break with the rest of families in her class?" The answer? I'm going to lie. The little girl's mom already knows that as soon as Aimee starts to understand the wonders that her daughter speaks about, I'm going to tell Aimee that the little girl is crazy and that Disney World doesn't even exist. Why don't we shop at the Mall? Because the clothes at Target are WAY WAY cooler. Especially the $3 T-shirts and $5 Jeans. If she doesn't believe me, I'm going to tape every cool Target commercial and make her watch them until her little brain has been programmed to believe every single thing the people at Target want her to believe. Why don't we spend $1000 at the Dells every season? Because the only people that go to the Dells are the people that can't get into Phillips Park Aquatic Center, which by the way, is HALF PRICE after 4 pm. Why can't they get in? Because they are dirty.

Unless I can think of a more clever way to address the issue, I think that lying is definately the way to go. Keeping up with the Joneses was never a problem for me because I grew up in a modest neighborhood where hardly anyone wore mall clothes or vacationed. Besides, my mother managed to give us a very broad worldview. We traveled to Mexico, took a few fun beach vacations, and were raised to really appreciate fine things. I never felt pressure to live up to anyone else's standards. Hopefully my lies will work.

Luckily I still have a year or so to develop a Plan B.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Always check your bank statements people!

So Brian and I went to dinner the other night. The whole experience was pretty good. Then this morning, I decided to check our bank account online and found that we actually paid for someone else's meal as well as ours. After calling the restaurant and having the manager do some investigating, we come to find out that the waitress must have been running several cards at a time and she ran our card for 2 different tables. What did the people at the other table do when they received a receipt ready for a signature that had SOMEONE ELSE's name on it? Did they overlook that it wasn't their name on the receipt and just sign their own? No. Did they notice a different name and tell the waitress that they had someone else's receipt? No. They SIGNED BRIAN'S NAME ON THE RECEIPT. It really surprizes me that people do this sort of thing. I just don't understand it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Well...I enjoyed it while I had it.

My waist that is. I actually had one for a good 4 or 5 months. It's gone now, it disappeared to make room for a sibling for Aimee. For those of you that havn't heard through the grapevine, I am officially in my 2nd trimester of pregnancy. Needless to say, we will be taking a vacation in the next few months. Vegas? New Orleans? The Caribbean? What do you suggest?

Middle Man

A company I used to work for is featured on the Sun-times today. It's the very first story. Click here to read it. This is the company I worked for when I was in the throes of workaholism. I used to work ALL THE TIME. When I wasn't working, I was boring all of my friends with my stories about work. I only knew a tiny bit about this lawsuit when I was working there. It was mostly only talked about during happy hour by disatisfied executives who wished that THEY were the one's who had blown the whistle, followed by everyone talking about how the whistleblower was really incompetant and had just filed the lawsuit because he couldn't get a job after his firing. Every person I knew that had a position higher than supervisor (including me) was treated unbelievably unjustly at one point or another. Most people stayed because the unstable environment could mean that at any moment, someone could make a big jump on the ladder and get a nicer office.

The thing that makes me really sad about this whole deal is that I personally knew and worked with most of the people named in the emails that are displayed on the PDF. They were good people that took pride in their work. They sincerely cared about the customers and did everything in their power to make sure the customers had good care. Their downfall was to not have the guts remind their bosses that "cherry picking" members was against the medicaid contract. Maybe they figured that since they were just following orders, they wouldn't be publicly humiliated in the Chicago Sun-Times. Maybe they were afraid that doing the right thing would mean that they would lose their job. One thing I learned in dealing with corporate executives was that they never leave a paper trail when dealing with delicate matters. They let the middle man do that. I guess that's what separates the guys in the corner office from the guys in the cubicles.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


The theme of being a woman of good character has come up for me quite a lot lately. It started on Sunday, when I attended a meeting at church. There was a short talk about building community and the focus was about how what we say can either build up or destroy community and the individuals in it. Here were some of the points that I've really reflected on a lot this week (not in order).

  • When we complain to others--about other people, how decisions are made in a group, what a jerk someone is, whatever-- we take the focus off of praying, which is what we should be doing when something is going wrong. We vent, feel better, and forget about including God in the conversation.
  • When we complain instead of pray, we end up coming up with our own bright ideas, instead of opening ourselves up to what God may have for us to do...which he would have revealed if we weren't so bent on venting instead!
  • When we talk smack, it effects the morale of the community. People lose confidence in the leaders. We, without realizing it, start our own "factions". People take sides instead of humbly putting aside our own egos to come up with a solution for the greater good.
  • Complainers (smack-talkers) end up getting bad reputations. SO TRUE!

The point wasn't to ignore problems, but to not uselessly complain. That problems need to be discussed in a spirit of wanting to fix them according to God's way and not our own.

This study really made me reflect on myself. Not that I have any huge problems with anyone, but sometimes I just love to fall into the temptation to just have a good talk smack-a-thon.

Later that week. I was driving in the car listening to Christian Radio (which I admit I hardly ever do) and there was a lady talking about how women spend so much time presenting an image to the world. The image is projected in how we decorate our homes, dress, act in public, ect. and how that image can be torn down in seconds by saying something harsh or unkind. The speaker talked about how we can focus so much on impressing the outside world, but we neglect to care about what our own families think of us.

Ever since I had my first apartment, I decided that no matter where I lived, I was the only person that would create the atmosphere I would live in. If I walked into my place and it felt like a crappy place to be, it was my fault. I've always focused on having a comfortable and loving home, where guests could feel at rest and my family and I would find refuge. This radio person's talk reminded me of that commitment that I made to myself. She also gave some good suggestions for how to be a woman of Godly character.

  • Don't engage in any unkind talk about others, if someone is saying unkind things about someone else, think of a positive thing about that person and share it (You have to mean it too!).
  • Focus on building up the members of your family instead of tearing them down. Don't EVER say anything negative about your family members in public, but also remember that what you say and do in private matters most.
  • Meaningfully compliment often. Be genuine. Fakers are obvious and unlikeable.

I want to be a Godly woman, so I'm going to learn to shut up sometimes. Stop complaining, and start to see God's image in people, even the ones I sometimes like to talk smack about!

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Today, Aimee ate 3 REAL MEALS for the first time in weeks! For the past 3 or 4 weeks, her meals have consisted of a huge bowl of oatmeal for breakfast; fruit, apple sauce, and crackers for lunch; and yogurt for dinner. She has REFUSED to eat anything else...unless it was chicken nuggets coated in ketchup or macaroni and cheese. I have spent weeks preparing up to 3 meals a night for her hoping that something would appeal to her, but she seems to have had something against chewing. Yesterday I decided to that she was going to eat whatever I gave her and if she didn't eat, then she didn't eat. I gave in by dinner time when she was eating the sour cream as if it were yogurt. I gave her a big bowl of yogurt with strawberries.

Today, I almost had a stroke from happiness when she had her oatmeal for breakfast, 3/4 of a Wendy's cheeseburger for lunch (first red meat she's eaten in over a month), and chicken, broccoli, and rice for dinner! Yippee!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Postsecret for this week.
*I don't know what is wrong with blogger today, but it won't let me make paragraphs, so just try to imagine where the new paragraph is supposed to begin.

The truth is that sometimes I miss putting on my black suit, sitting in traffic and listening to the radio morning shows. I get sick of eating my own cooking 3 times a day / 7 days a week, putting on the same jeans and comfortable sweater for days at a time, wearing makeup just for the sake of not feeling like a schlep. There are some days when I feel pushed beyond my limits. I go into survival mode and pretend that I'm not mentally standing at window to see if Brian's car has turned the corner yet, to come home and save me from the 30 lbs of rebellion that has fought me through every meal time and diaper change. There are times that I day dream about those days when I sat in important meetings with important people and did work that was important for the community. I miss the 3 hour meetings, the projects that kept me in the office until 8 pm, the expensive lunches that were paid for with the corporate expense account, the rush of adrenaline I had every time I sounded off to the CEO...and made him LISTEN. I miss looking out the window and seeing the Chicago River, walking to the train, and drinking expensive coffee every day.
I don't know of any woman who has had a fulfilling career life that wouldn't miss being that person - and sometimes I do miss being that person, I miss that life. I don't think that having these feelings makes me less of a mother. The truth is that staying home with Aimee HAS been the best time of my life. I have never been happier.
I am thankful for these feelings of restlessness. They tell me that it's time to put some extra energy into the things I've always loved and put on hold. Does it mean I'm going back to work? Hell No! The consulting project I accepted a few months ago was great for affirming my decision to stay home, if nothing else. I think it means that it's time for me to get involved again in church or the community, or maybe that it's time for me to go back to school, or maybe both. I sincerely want to be the best mother I can be for Aimee. In order to be that, I need to feel that I'm putting my potential to good use. I am a capable woman. I am capable of doing something good for the community, and I don't need a nice black suit and a huge expense account to do it.