Thursday, June 4, 2009

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Hey...I Packed It Up and Moved!!!!!!!

Well, Blogger has been great. It was the first place I ever tried a blog. Now I'm becoming an addict. So, I've moved the blog permanently to my own domain. Go check it out at!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

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Winter Sucks

Well, Chloe finished her first year of preschool. She was a true darling, and took a great picture with her teacher:
They had a little concert. I laughed. I cried. I was so proud. Here's a little sample. If you're interested in seeing the whole thing, I have it broken into four parts over on my Youtube account.

Every year when the weather starts to turn warmer I state one thing. "Winter Sucks." I don't say it so much during the winter. But once I get to enjoy the warmer weather, I realize that I enjoy it so much. I don't even mind the July 90 degree humid Pittsburgh weather. Someday, I'm going to have to move out of my little slice of Collier Township so I don't have to endure the winters that I hate. Someday. Either that or I need to hope this whole 'Global Warming' things speeds up a bit. Here's what Becca and Chloe did to kick off their Memorial Day weekend:

After that, we got to hang out with some friends and neighbors for an impromptu cook out. And you know, summer is great and all...but what am I going to do with the kids?!?!? I think they will absolutely kill each other if I don't give them something structured to do, at least for part of the summer. Lucky me, there's a summer rec program available. It's close, cheap, and lasts for four weeks. We're signing up today (and so are some of their friends). Problem solved. And guess what? I'll have some 'me' time!!!


**And just a little note. I'm planning on changing my blog over from Blogger to Wordpress. I have plans to do it this weekend, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will happen this weekend. So, if you're coming here to see what's going on with me and get some sort of blank page, don't worry. It will be all sparkly and new soon!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

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A New Toy

I love getting new toys. Really, I'm just like a little kid when it comes to gadgets. Did I want jewelry or flowers for Mother's Day? No. I wanted a little pocket video recorder. So, here's the one that I picked out for myself:

I really like it...although I haven't gotten a bunch of time to play with it. Chloe's last day of school is tomorrow, and they're having a little concert. I plan on recording the concert, and posting it here. Here are a couple of sample videos I did. These are NOT in high def, just in regular VGA mode. I'll play with the high def more later.

This thing is great! It uses 2 AA rechargable batteries (which came with actually came with four) and fits right in the palm of my hand. Great for throwing in my purse. It takes still pictures, too. I'm going to have fun playing with this...and I'll be able to share some more video of the kids with my folks. Right now we have a camcorder that records on those mini dvd's, and it's a pain in the arse to share them with my folks.

So, I got a new toy to play with, and today I'm going to get some new hair! Well, not NEW hair, but a new cut and color. If you live around Pittsburgh, I absolutely LOVE how Jess does my hair. Jess owns Hot Heads Hair Design, which is right next to Downey's House in Robinson Township. She's super sweet, a whiz with color, and she took a big risk opening a place of her own. she's great!

So maybe I'll post a pic of me and my new hair. I hope everybody has a great day! The weather is fantastic here. Maybe I'll slap some fake tan on myself soon, so I don't scare everybody when I wear shorts!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

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Another Blissful Week/Best Thing I Heard

Wow, this week has just cruised on by! We had a great Mother's Day at Kennywood!  The lines were almost non-existent, the weather was cool but nice, and we had a great time.  Here's my favorite picture of the girls from that day:

That's them on the kiddie coaster. But they had a great time on the Jackrabbit, too!

I thought I would share some of my Mother's Day love...and laughs.  First off, I got a very cute card from Chloe that she made in preschool.  Inside, it had a cute photo of her out in the garden.  Then, I got Becca's card.  She had been talking about it for three days.  It was a big surprise.  I totally cried when I read it.  Here are some of the pages:

So, that one is "My favorite time together is when we...lay together in my bed."  Cute.  Really, though, my legs aren't quite that skinny.  

Yup, Becca wants to give me an indoor pool.  Not quite sure where we would put that one...and I think it may be more for HER.

Yup, this one makes me cry.  How totally sweet.  Really, I look like ass in the morning.   But at least I have my daughters snowed.  And I'm not sure why I don't have any clothes on in this picture, but I don't sleep in the buff.  I'm always too cold for that.  Now the next one has a little story:

Now, at first look it seems innocent enough.  "My favorite thing about my mother is we both like to play."  I was reading the little book/card out loud.  When I got to this page, Becca exclaimed "Hey!  It's not supposed to say we both like to play!  It's suppposed to say we both want a slave!"

The laughter just roared out of my mouth.  I said "Becca, I never said I wanted a SLAVE.  I said I wanted a MAID!"  I explained how having people as slaves is a completely terrible idea.  She was fine with my explanation.  Then I wondered...did the teacher choose not to write the whole slave thing because she felt uncomfortable with that?  I mean, I may have done the same thing...don't get me wrong.  Then I thought 'play' and 'slave' could sound very much alike.  Especially in a noisy kindergarten classroom.  I was hoping that she heard 'play' instead of 'slave' because I really don't want the teacher to think that I was upset with the outcome of the Civil War.  Then I looked at the picture.  Looks to me like somebody is bringing me and Becca something to eat at a table.  Servants?  Cooks?  OK, that I can handle.  I have a bunch of money and I pay them well.  I'm fine with that.

But not slaves.

Hell, I can't even get my kids to clean up their toys.

So, that's my Mother's Day chuckle.  Sorry I waited a while to share it.  I had this crazy flu/cold all week.  Producing one pound of snot per hour takes a lot of energy out of ya.  But I'm almost back to normal (as normal as I can be, anyway).  

More later :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

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Squeeee!!! More Vampires!

I'm like a little kid right now! Yesterday I got my delivery from Amazon, which included the new Sookie Stackhouse book from Charlaine Harris, "Dead and Gone." I'm sure I'll devour it in one sitting, but I just need to block out the time for that one sitting!! Today WOULD be the perfect day to lock myself in my bedroom and read it, seeing that it IS Mother's Day. But, <>seeing that I'm a totally selfless mother < /sarcasm >, I've decided that the family should go to Kennywood today.

Truth be told, I LOVE Kennywood. I've held onto that love of roller coasters since I was five years old. My first big memory of coasters goes back to West View Park. I used to ride the kiddie coaster over and over and over again. Then the park closed. If it had stayed open just one more year, I would have been old enough to ride the big coaster. No worries, though. There were plenty of other places to ride coasters.

Now, Becca and Chloe aren't quite tall enough to ride all the 'big' rides, but they ARE tall enough for the Jackrabbit. They both love it, and have been talking about it all week. And Kennywood has the best food, too (Unlike Cedar Point, whose food absolutely sucks!). I'm gearing up for some Potato Patch fries, a corn dog, some funnel cake and our traditional exodus treat...cotton candy. (Wow. Fried, fried, fried and sugar). By the time we get back tonight, my feet will hurt, my patience will probably be fried (heh, heh...more fried), and I'll need a Tums or two. But that's how it always ends, and I still consider it a great day.

So, Sookie, Bill and Eric will have to wait. I'm sure they will be a read that lasts until 2:00 in the morning.

Oh, I did get another book with my Amazon order. It's a collection of short stories called "Bite," and Charlaine Harris has a Sookie story in it. I enjoyed the story (It's about her cousin Hadley's death), but I wouldn't suggest purchasing the book just for that story (like I did). It was only thirty or so pages, and I could have lived without it. Or tracked it down at a library.

So, Happy Mothers' Day, whatever you decide to do! And a big thank you to my Mom. Although I appreciated her before I had my own children, now I really 'get it.' And she did a hell of a job. And she kept her sanity. Amazing.

***OOH, one last thing. As I was gathering links to this post, I found that you can pre-order the NEXT Sookie Stackhouse book, due out October 6th. Looks like the name of it is "A Touch of Dead." Yeah, I'm gonna have to go do that. Once I get some extra 'me' cash!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

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Back From My Blog-Free Zone

Well, I took a couple of weeks off from blogging. No excuses, I just had too many other things to concentrate on. I've missed ya, though :)

One thing I did last week was have an ADULT evening out. I've re-connected with some friends from high school. This particular group of friends are people who were in the school musicals and stage crew (like me). Our two teachers who organized (and worked their asses off) the shows and crew left our old school, and are now both at the same school. They put the show 'Company' on, which is one that we did back in the eighties. So, we got together and went to see the show. It was GREAT seeing everybody. We all headed out to Downey's House after the show, and really got to catch up. We had so much fun, we've decided to do it again.

Being out with friends and teachers from high school gave me the chance to have a visit with my old self. Which was kinda nice. I would think that the older I got, the more I would know who I am. To a certain extent, I do. I know how I will react to certain situations, I know my beliefs, and I know that my family is the most important thing in my life. But I've found that I've lost a bit of me...and I think it's because I'm so busy taking care of everybody else. You know, the kids need things like food, clothing, baths, activities. My third child (the restaurant) needs all kinds of stuff...a new payroll company, bills paid, ads, blah blah blah. I'm so busy getting stuff for everybody else, Heather sort of comes in last place.

So, on this Mothers' Day Eve, I've decided that I'm going to do something more for myself. I'm going to spend more time with my friends. I'm going to learn something new. I'm going to teach my kids to do some more things on their own (like falling asleep!!!). So, Happy Mothers' Day to all the moms out there.

Take some time for yourself. Although 'Mom' is the most important job we all have, it is not the sole definition of who we are.

Monday, April 27, 2009

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Summer Teaser

Well, it was a fantastic weekend for weather here in Pittsburgh! It started on Friday, and it looks like it's going to last through today. The kids really enjoyed it. But here's how it went down:

Friday after school, Becca started. "Can you put up the pool?!?!" (I've promised that we'll put up the easy-set pool that has been sitting in the garage for two years this summer). I told her that I can't put that pool up until their birthdays (end of May).
Then she wanted a smaller pool. Well, it was 4:00 on a Friday. I wasn't ready to tackle any kind of pool. So we compromised on the sprinkler. They were happy. Saturday, I caved. I put up one of those hard shell plastic pools for them. We later found that there must be a hole in it. But they had a great afternoon, bouncing between my yard and my friend's yard. Carefree, almost summer.

Sunday we had a couple of events to head to. There was a christening for our friend's twins down the street, then a communion party for other neighbors at our restaurant. We headed down to the christening. Now, our friends there put in an in ground pool last year. They got it late in the summer, and the kids were in it once. I didn't think that the pool would be open yet for the season. But we got there, and the pool was open. (On a side note, I'm totally jealous of their pool and the set up. It looks like something out of a magazine. They should rent it out for parties.) So, I ran back to the house, got their suits, and they swam for a couple of hours.'s April in Pittsburgh.

It was a great time, and the first time that, as a parent, I didn't have to get in the pool. They were fine just swimming on their own. Nice.

The communion party was held on Downey's House's deck. Because it's not normally this warm in APRIL, we had to sort of scramble to get the deck semi-ready. The chairs still don't match. We don't have any coolers out there yet. We need to do some landscaping. But it went well, all things considered.

So, it looks like our little visit to summer ends tomorrow. Which is OK with me. But I'm glad that summer IS right around the corner!

But if you talk to me in August, I might have something to complain about :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

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Coming Out of Hiding

Well, my entire life was consumed.

Consumed by, of all things, eight wonderful novels. As I've mentioned, I've been reading the Sookie Stackhouse Novels. Well, for the past week, it's about ALL I've been doing. If you're looking for a good bunch of books, these are a great read!

I have to say, I am totally in awe of people who can write stories like this. The author, Charlaine Harris, has other books, too. And I'm sure I will eventually get around to reading them. I can't imagine being able to sit down and weave the stores, characters, settings, and everything else. And this woman is either an extremely talented, creative and dedicated writer OR she's something supernatural. I am amazed at how she has explored the supernatural, and made up the rules as she went along. Kudos to her!!!

If you don't know, I'm not really casual about anything. When I start reading something and enjoy it, I jump right in, both feet first. I was walking to the bus stop while reading. I stayed up until 2:00 am many nights so I could finish the book I was on. When something gets my brain going, it takes me over. Needless to say, other areas of my life have suffered. The house is a mess, the kids are ready to kill each other, and I haven't blogged (sorry) or tended to any of my other online ventures. As I finished book number eight last night, I had a whole mix of emotions. I was sad I was finished reading about Sookie. I was amazed that I got through these eight books while still feeding, clothing and tending to the kids and the restaurant. I was glad that I was going to go back to 'normal' life. Then it happened.

I went to the Charlaine Harris' website. Yeah, there's another one coming out next month. I pre-ordered Dead and Gone today. No big deal. What's one more book, right? Um, WRONG! If you look under the bibliography on her website, you'll see that there are quite a few books with short stories about Sookie (these stories sort of fill in the gaps). Yeah. Now I have to read those, too. I ordered one from Amazon. There is the great possibility that I will read the collection of short stories, find another author that is fantastic, and discover another five thousand books I want to read.

Oh well. The kids know how to get cereal for themselves.

If you remember, the whole reason I started reading this series was that it's the inspiration for True Blood on HBO. I really enjoyed the first season of the series, and from what I understand, the second season is supposed to start this June. However, the series and the books are completely different. Well, not completely. Many of the characters are the same. But things happen differently. I'm not going to give out any spoilers here, but let's just say I'm curious about what direction Alan Ball is going for the second season. I'll probably enjoy the series. I may quite possibly enjoy it even more, because I'll be so into the differences.

Anyway, for now, it's back to my little spot here in Collier Township, PA and out of Bon Temps, Louisiana. And I'll write more.


My plan is to go on over to my friend Barb's site, Barb's Bookshelf, and post something on the forums over there. Many of the members there use CafePress, Zazzle,, and other POD's (that's Print-On-Demand for those who don't know). They're uber awesome, and make up a large portion of who I like to call my 'online friends.'

And they're frickin' funny!

OK, I'm gonna catch up on some of that housework. The girls are at the neighbor's house, running through a sprinkler. Yup, it's April and it's 86 degrees right now. But I'm not complaining.

Have a gerat weekend!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

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First Taste of Business

Well, it was a fantastically beautiful day yesterday in Pittsburgh. Dare I say, the weather was perfect. I was in a pretty good mood, I didn't have to make my normal Saturday run to the restaurant, and the house was pretty clean. So, I finally gave in to the request that Chloe has been making since January.

The Lemonade Stand.

Chloe has been asking me at least once a week since JANUARY if she could have a lemonade stand outside. When I explained that people don't really want to buy lemonade when it is snowing outside, she offered up the idea of a hot chocolate stand. Well, although that would have worked a bit better, I held her off. There was a weekly lemonade stand inside my kitchen. She would get her small folding chair, and set up the cups and kool-aid on one of the stools for our island. She had three very regular, Tony and Becca.

They had some very grand hopes for the outside lemonade stand. As I cleaned up, I had them draw some pictures for the lemonade stand. We ran a couple of errands, and then came home to make the lemonade (instant, of course!). The plan was to set up their 'Cafe' tent:

We figured that we would cover up 'Espresso' with 'Lemonade.' Easy enough. I head out to the driveway and start setting up the cafe. The frame went up just fine. After a couple of tries (and Becca holding down part of the tent), I got the cover on. Then, it was just like one huge box kite. Since I didn't necessarily want the children flying through the sky through our plan, I nixed the cafe. After taking it down and putting it away, we set up our small plastic table and chairs from Ikea. That worked just fine. They had the ice, the lemonade and the cups. They even put out their gumball machine. Price? Two coins. Yeah, any coins. Although Becca is now realizing that different coins are worth different amounts, Chloe hasn't quite reached that level. So, I asked Becca to just 'go with it.' She also thought that she was going to make $1,000.

They sat there for about five minutes with me being the only customer. I told them that nobody knew they were there...they needed to let everybody know that they were having a lemonade stand. They did great! First, Becca walked down to the stop sign (just past our neighbor's house) and stood on the corner holding up a sign that said 'Lemonade' and had our address on it. Then, she used her loud mouth skills. Every car, every person that she saw definitely knew about the lemonade stand.

They got some customers, and then Chloe headed out for her turn at the marketing. It was very cute. The whole ordeal only lasted about an hour and a half, but they had fun. And they realized that just because you open shop, that doesn't mean you will have a ton of business. I told them what I do for the restaurant, and part of it is making sure people know what's going on, and where we are. Now, they sort of get it.

As a side note, I just started book 7 of 8 from the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I'm loving this series more and more! It is cutting into my snooze time a little, but it's worth it! I'll report on the entire series as soon as I'm done :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

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Attitude Changes Everything

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days. I went through a little bit of re-discovery. Tuesday I was happy to get back to normal, but the next day I did absolutely NOTHING. (Although I managed to beat my high score on Scramble over at facebook.) I had a big ol' case of the 'blahs.' There was no particular reason I had these feelings. There's the possibility that it was the crappy Pittsburgh weather. But I woke up on Thursday morning, and my attitude changed.

The sun was shining, and I had a new peace. As I was drinking a cup of coffee that morning in my kid-less house (they were at school), my brain started thinking what my life would be like if I had all the money I ever needed. I imagined my bank account just overflowing with cash. You want to know what I figured out? My life really wouldn't be much different.

Sure, I would buy more stuff, and possibly go more places. But my daily life would be pretty much the same. I would still be getting up in the morning. I would still be getting the kids to school. There would still be toys to clean up, laundry to do, birthday gifts to buy and dinner to make. I would still live in this house, drive my car and drink the same coffee. Yes, if I had a crapload of cash, we may not own the restaurant anymore, but I'm not so sure about that. I mean, it's like our child right now. Most likely, I would still have that hour or so in the morning to catch up on restaurant work. Yeah, I could hire somebody to do the grunt work. So I might get a couple more hours to myself each day. But what would I do with that time? I'm sure for a month or so, I would just enjoy the fact that I HAD some time. But I would start some project and get involved in something.

And I'd be back to the same place.

So, I've reached another plateau of happiness. Acceptance is good. I'm really not a worrier. So, if we're low on cash one month, I actually handle it pretty well.

That's not to say that I wouldn't take some cash if it came along.

Mama doesn't NEED a new pair of shoes, but I sure wouldn't mind a few. And hardwood floors. Ooooh, and a maid to do the scrubbing. (Yeah, I don't scrub all that much. So again, money wouldn't really change my life, but it might make my house more clean!). I think my kids have felt this new calmness. They've been great the past couple of days. We've had fun, and we haven't really done anything special.

Yup, it's all about the attitude :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

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Ahhhh....Back To My Controlled Craziness

I feel like this is my first day back to my so-called normal life. It feels good. We got through spring break. The Easter Bunny came. The taxes are done (and getting mailed today). Today is a day of sweeping, mopping and catching up on laundry.

I don't know why the holiday threw me for such a loop. We had three solid days of coloring Easter eggs. The weather wasn't awful, but it wasn't nice enough for the kids to play outside all day, either. Everything just took a little bit longer with two kids around. Becca headed back to school today (with tears, of course).

I did federal, state and local tax returns for three different people. This is the first year I dealt with TONS of business write offs, K-1's and what not. Because of that, I had a couple extra glasses of wine at Easter dinner. I felt it a little the next day.

So, here I am, back to normal. Back to homework tonight. Getting Downey's House ready for summer and (hopefully) the surge in business with the deck getting ready to open. Quite honestly, I don't really have a topic for today's post. Just wanted to share the fact that I'm feeling pretty peaceful. Even though my normal life consists of running around, I've gotten used to a certain level of craziness. Which makes me think...

What will I do when the kids have flown the nest? Yes, my house will be a little more clean. I'll enjoy a little more reading. But I already have the feeling that I'll be a little bored.

Well, and much more rested.

So, for the next few days (or weeks...or until a child pushes me over the edge) I'm going to enjoy the hell out of them. I enjoy their ages. I enjoy their humor. And then there's the cuddles and the kisses.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

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Should I Save My Sanity or Save My Money?

Well, today is day 2 of spring vacation for Becca. I'll tell you, it couldn't have come at a worse time. Or maybe the timing of my vacation was wrong. Either way, let me tell you what's been going on.

We all had a great time in Florida, and it was a week of family togetherness. We got home late on a Tuesday night, and Becca had school the next morning. I think she was still asleep as I got her on the bus that morning. When she got to school, she found that her regular teacher was out, and she had a substitute. When she got home that day, she cried that she didn't want to go back to school. I knew she'd have a bit of an adjustment getting back into the groove, and figured she had a little bit of extra troubles because she expected to see her regular teacher. Thursday came, and there were more tears when she got to school. There weren't any in the car that day, but lots of complaining. Friday, she stepped on the bus with big ol' tears of drama. Monday and Tuesday, same thing. Tears. Lots of them.

She's tried saying she has a stomach ache. She misses me. She misses her blanket. I gave her an old necklace of mine, and told her to hold it when she missed me. Helped a little. But now we have this week of vacation, and I think it's going to start again on Tuesday. Ugh. So, that's my update on Becca. I'm sure all will be fine, but it will be another week of complaining and fake stomach aches.

As for the title of my post, I want to talk about Aldi. I think I've mentioned the store here before. I love that store! And no, this isn't a sponsored post and I'm not getting anything to post about this store. Yesterday, I took the girls and did a grocery trip. I got an entire cart full of groceries and it cost 85 dollars. The cart was pretty full, and I even spent $10 on those
vaccuum space bag thingies
and three bucks on some fresh flowers. I've never had a problem with any of their groceries (Well, scratch that. I did have a problem with some hand soap - the pump didn't work. But that could happen anywhere). Even though they don't have a bunch of name brands, their cereal, snacks, frozen items and produce suit me just fine. I feel darn proud of myself when I come out of that store. Saving money makes me happy. But the kids have to shop with me when I'm there.

I have to say, they were VERY well behaved yesterday. I think they may have reached the point where I don't have to yell at them the entire time, and they stay close to the cart. Chloe has her job of putting things into the cart, and Becca helped me decide what to buy. Just six months ago, though, it would have been a different story. They would be grabbing things to put into the cart, begging for toys and candy, and getting in the way of the other shoppers.

And that's the strength of the Eagle's Nest. If you're not local, I'll let you know that Giant Eagle is one of Pittsburgh's large grocery chains. My store (and many others) has a child care center called the Eagle's Nest. It is a room for the kids set up with video games, toys, crayons and tv's. One wall is all windows, so you can peek in, and they always seem to have enough adults for the number of children. Putting the kids in the Eagle's Nest is almost like having a 'Calgon, take me away!' moment. Drop them off, grab a cart, order a Starbuck's and leisurely stroll through the store. I can read prices. Look at ingredients. Take recipe cards. Be picky about my fruit/meat/veggies. It's actually relaxing. Until I get to the check out.

I literally pay twice as much when I'm at Giant Eagle. Really. Now, there are some things that I will only get at Giant Eagle. Steaks, fresh seafood, bakery goods. If I need any of those things, I stop in quickly and head right back out. But sometimes, just sometimes, it's nice to have an hour to myself to do my shopping.

I've been very, very good about getting my groceries at Aldi. Because Chloe is at preschool two mornings a week, I can sometimes even sneak it in while I'm all alone. Giant Eagle knows what they're doing with that thing! I think I'll save that for the summer. When they're both here. All the time. For three months.

I'd better start saving my cash!

Space Bag Combo - Set of 6 (1 XL, 2 Large, 3 Medium)

Monday, April 6, 2009

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Hey - POD'ers...Add Your Blog

This is for all of my Print-On-Demand friends. I created an aggregator for any blogs that have to do with the Print On Demand business at blog aggregators by Just another way to get all of our blogs in one place, and hopefully up our traffic count. So, here's the address of what I created: It's easy peasy to add your blog. Just click that link and on the right you'll see an option to add your blog (of course, you'll need to start an account). Once there are a few members, I'll add a widget on this blog that shows posts from members. There's also a badge you can put on your blog, too!

If you have other blogs, it was super easy to set this aggregator up. Let me know if you start one realted to a different topic, and I'll post it here!

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Weekend Re-Cap

We had a fun weekend. Well, on the surface, anyway. It's hard to balance all the balls I have up in the air. Restaurant, kids, t-shirts, affiliate marketing, making the house look like it's not a pig sty. This weekend, we did a lot of stuff with the kids.

Saturday we went to breakfast with the Easter Bunny and an egg hunt. The girls had a great time. They had pancakes (their favorite), got to see their two cousins, and completely made out at the egg hunt. They each found three tickets, which entitled them to prizes. Chloe got a big and two small prizes, and Becca got 2 mediums and a small. The prizes were stuffed animals. My kids LOVE stuffed animals. There is a strange addiction there that I have yet to break. They were also very nice to their cousins. When I suggested that they each give one stuffed animal to their cousins (because they didn't get any tickets) they didn't even flinch. I was a proud mama. They were truly happy to make their cousins happy.

Then it happened.

We left the egg hunt and headed to the restaurant. We sat in a ton of traffic because of the inbound Parkway West closure this weekend. Becca started. "I'm jealous because Chloe got a bigger bunny than me!" Blah, blah, blah. Seems that every time we do something fun, the crabbies come out right after. We made it home, she complained some more, and eventually ended up on time out (I think it was for hitting her sister).

So, we wake up on Sunday and it's our day to go to the circus. The girls were excited. We all get ready and head down to the arena. They had fun watching Tony squirm as he saw the clowns outside mingling with the crowd. As we walked in and started going up the ramp to our seats, there was a vendor selling light up toys. Tony and I gave each other the "should we get these" look, and we bought one for each kid. The vendor says "twenty four." Twenty four? Dollars!?! I clutched my heart as Tony dished out the cash. We went in, found our seats, and walked around on the floor for a bit. They were offering elephant rides, pony rides and a big bouncy-slide thing. I entertained the thought of buying them tickets. I walked over to the ticket table and found it was SEVEN DOLLARS A TICKET! Pony ride for seven bucks? I don't think so. Big bouncy slide (the same one they have at many local festivals for $1 per ride)? No. I may have parted with fourteen bucks for the elephant ride, but the line was enormous. We bought a 'family pack' of tickets, which included a drink and hot dog for each person. We went and got our food (and those tickets were worth it, BTW), stopped by the cotton candy booth, plunked down 8 bucks for cotton candy, and headed to our seats.

The girls enjoyed the show. It seemed to drag a bit, but I'm glad we went. We bought more food. Pretzel, pop corn, peanuts and fries. As I emptied my wallet of cash, I was at least happy that we were all together, having fun. The girls were most excited about seeing Spider Man. He came out during the second half of the circus and did a little acrobatic ditty. They were happy, so I was, too. Spider Man made a second appearance with the clowns, but he was sort of like Elvis. Trim, muscular and svelte the first time you saw him. notsomuch the second time :)

Of course, as soon as we got in the car, Becca was complaining that she didn't get to go on the bouncy slide. Ugh. I about freaked out. I told her that I may not EVER take her to do anything fun ever again, because she just complains when it's over.

Yeah...that's my stellar mom moment of the weekend.

Tony could tell that I was just over this behavior. When we got home, he took the girls up the street for THREE HOURS!!! I had three hours to myself, and I was totally awake. I cleaned. Yeah, not the most exciting or relaxing thing to do, but it made me feel better, and I enjoyed it. I think Tony feels bad that it's going to be just me and the chicks for Easter vacation...and it looks like it's going to be too cold for them to play outside.

So, I had a full 'mommy' weekend. The restaurant was slower than usual because of the traffic situation. I have a clean-ish house (there was no scrubbing involved). I worked a little bit on my new affiliate site. It still has a long way to go, but I'll get there. And I had a request for a t-shirt design. I set up a store a while back, with all intentions of putting a bunch of designs in it. But then we, you know, bought a restaurant. So, I haven't worked on it much, but I have done a few special requests. Here's the one I did this weekend:

Peace, Love & Baseball Organic Toddler T-Shirt

I still haven't gotten it up on Zazzle, but maybe I'll do that now. OK...I think I've babbled enough for now. Next post? I think I'll touch on the fact that Becca is crying every morning because she doesn't want to go to school. Yeah. Fun.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

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I Want a Grown Up House

I've told you how I actually DO like my house. Now that the kids are (sort of) growing up, my mind has started to drift towards my fantasy of living in a clean, nicely decorated home. At this EXACT moment in time, I'd settle for clean. But I do have visions. Visions of beautiful hardwood floors. Of coordinating drapery and pillows. Someday (yes, someday...I keep telling myself) the girls will be old enough to appreciate the fact that this is MY house. And I would like to keep things finger print, marker, crayon and kool-aid stain free.

So, sometimes when I need to escape, I look at the nice things I would like. I found this website that's full of fabric shades, valances and curtains. After fantasizing a bit on this website, my heart yearned to be in a grown up place!!! I really do spend a lot of my time at home. And how cool is that site? Pick the fabric, make it perfect. I'm gonna have to start making some more money in order to afford my fantasy. But that's OK, I'll work on that. Right now all the curtains I have in my house are from Target. And they're not looking too swift. What is it with kids and curtains? They wipe their hands on them, twirl around in them. They've even tried to use them like Tarzan to swing on.

Maybe I've figured something out here. ::insert lightbulb:: If I get ALL valances, the kids couldn't destroy them. Well, I guess it's not that they COULDN'T, but it would be much more difficult. So, maybe I can start on my fantasy. Just gotta make some more cash. I got this far. I turned dreams of having a family, moving into a bit house in a nice neighborhood and owning a restaurant into reality.

I think I can handle curtains.

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One Ticket to My Past, Please

First, let me say that I'm sorry for not posting over the past week or so. I truly got on vacation mode. Good thing I was actually on vacation. I relaxed. Really relaxed. I swam. Tony and I actually went OUT and had appetizers and drinks. I also plowed through three books while on vacation (more on those later - The Sookie Stackhouse novels - love 'em). And you know what else I did? I posted some old pics on Facebook.

Now that was fun. Because I was at my folks' house, there was a treasure chest of old photos. I tried not to be TOO embarrassing. Well, not to anybody else, anyway. I really don't mind embarrassing myself. At all. Anyway, here are some of the pics that I posted, for your viewing pleasure.

I actually posted the entire class picture, but I didn't want to step on any toes here on the blog. But, do you see that? Would you like to compare Look at Chloe:

Now, there's a 3 year age difference here, and I was limited to whatever pics I have on my laptop ('cuz I'm comfy on the couch, here), but there really is a crazy resemblance. I mean, she does have my genes and I shouldn't be surprised. So, here is what she may look like in 17 years:

My entire family thought I looked like Joanna Kearns in this picture. I guess I sort of do.

So, where have I been going with this? Well, since being on Facebook and catching up with lots of old friends (from grade school and high school), I've been reflecting a bit. To be quite honest with you, there are large chunks of grade school and high school that I don't remember. I mean, I remember the big things that happened, and if somebody tells a story I may remember some of the smaller things. But I don't remember the details. And I'm fine with that. I've never been one to dwell on the past. Ever. If I'm looking at old photos, my brain might dance there for a while, but I've never been a 'Coulda, shoulda, woulda' kind of girl. My focus is always on the future. (So much so that I sometimes forget to enjoy the present). And I like it that way.

There were a bunch of us commenting on a photo from high school, and the conversation turned towards what we would have done different in high school. I'll be the first to admit...high school wasn't all peaches and cream. And my first instinct is that I would have not worried about boyfriends and spent more time with friends. But then I realized that if I didn't go through EXACTLY what I went through when I was younger, I wouldn't be the person I am today. If I didn't date the people I dated, befriend the people I befriended, go to the parties I went to, have ALL of the relationships I've had...I may be different right now. And I like me. Yes, there are some things I would like to improve. But all in all, I'm good company for myself.

And hopefully I'm good company for you! So, it's now 2:30 am. I've had four hours of sleep already, and I think I'll head up for 3 or 4 more.

That whole 'improve' thing. Definitely want to improve my sleeping schedule!!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

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Life and Fog

Last week we had an extremely foggy day in Pittsburgh. Or, as Chloe likes to say...'poggy.' Anyway, on that particular morning I dropped Becca off at Kindergarten, and Chloe off to preschool. As I drove to the restaurant to do some work, I thought about how going through life is a lot like driving in the fog.

Let me explain.

I know my way to the restaurant like the back of my hand. It really didn't matter that it was foggy at all. My brain knew all the right turns to make. I didn't have to look for any signs or landmarks. I knew they were there before I even saw them. I think that's what it's like going through a comfortable stretch in your life. You just go on auto pilot. You know where you are. You go there every day. It is your every day.

But what if you want to go some place else? I am at a point in my life where I think I know where I want to go. I believe I know what I want. If I were driving in the fog, but wasn't driving my normal route, it would be a bit more challenging. I would have to look for signs and landmarks where I needed to turn. In life, sometimes I pass these signs up, and have to go around the long way. I don't have a map, but rather a general idea of where I'm going.

Maybe I need a map.

How about you? Do you know where you want to be? Are you in your same comfortable routine drive, but want to go someplace else? First off, you need to figure out where you're going. If you are driving around in the map...and no idea where your final destination will just be driving around.

To be more specific, I know that I would like to make a living online. I have already started doing this (and will be creating a new blog soon about how I make money online), but I'm not making a living. I also want to push Downey's House a bit further. I'm a little more unsure of exactly what I want here. Will it be an additional location? Will it be another restaurant all together? Not sure. But that's after the online stuff.

I know that I want to spend time with my children. And I'm doing a pretty good job at that. I know that some day I want to have enough money to enjoy life a bit more. Travel some. Spend time with my husband.

So, what's the point? I guess it's this: I've made some goals and I'm working towards reaching them. But as I speak with friends and family, most are not quite sure where they're going. Pick some goals, dammit.

Wow, that was a lot of back and forth babbling. Well, I'm on vacation, and being on vacation means that I get to think about life and where I'm going. Don't worry. I'll be back to 'work' soon. And I'll stop being'thinky.'

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Excuse me....

Just a quick note to say that I traveled with two small children yesterday. They were very well behaved, but it was a CONSTANT stream of questions. I had to have a glass of wine on the plane just to deal. So, I'm thinking of you...but I don't really have time to post right now. I'll try tonight. We're headed to Sanibel Island today to search for some shells.

BTW, the wine made it better. More later!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

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Thought Soup

I usually don't post a lot of 'techie' stuff on this blog. I'm considering starting another blog for this type of thing. But I DID want to at least mention it.

Let me back up, first. I started blogging as a way to get the word out about the t-shirts and gifts that I design for CafePress and Zazzle. That was almost two years ago. I really didn't know too much about blogging and such, so I jumped in with a free blogger account. I've been pretty happy with it.

But, once I opened the restaurant, I got a blog started over there. And I used Wordpress. I love it! It's on my own domain, and it's much easier to tweak things. I have since used Wordpress to set up an affiliate site or two. And I'm getting better at it! I've learned so to install wordpress, playing with themes, and so on. I recently did two things with Wordpress, and they've made me very happy.

First, I actually PURCHASED a theme. I purchased the Flexx theme from iThemes. I love it! It's very easy to change the layout, colors and pics. Easy peasy. I also found a plug in for automatic updating. I loved it so much, I actually donated to the author (which is something I can't afford to do as much as I would like). Here's the link to the plug in.

Now, am I going to break up with blogger? Nah, I don't think so. It's worked for me so far, and I guess I'm sort of attached. I have, however, re-directed links to my own site. So, you can also find this stuff at

Just a little mention of regular life: The new menu starts at Downey's House on Tuesday, so I've been busy! I'm printing them up today. It's been a crazy couple of weeks trying to get the menu together, programming it into our POS system, and making sure we have all our i's and t's dotted and crossed. On top of it all, the girls and I are headed down to Florida on Wednesday. Packing? Haven't even really thought about it yet.

I also (finally) finished reading Dead Until Dark. I really, really enjoyed it...even though it took me much longer than it should have to read it. I bought the next 2 books to read while we're in Florida. Hopefully I get enough 'me' time when we're there. If you watched True Blood, the book and the show are pretty similar. But I was surprised that there wasn't any mention of Tara (the bartender). I'm not going to spoil anything for anybody, so I'll just say that there WERE differences in the book versus the series. But I think that both are very good.

OK, the girls are complaining that everything is 'Booooorrrrriiiiinnnnnnnggggg!' How about an exciting trip to Staples, girls? (OH, that makes me thing of a quick side note: I have always loved the smell of office supply stores. I'm strange. I love the smell of toner and paper. It makes me happy. We walked into Staples yesterday and Becca, with a smile on her face, said 'Mom, smells GOOD in here! Poor thing.)

Wow...this post really did go just about everywhere. Like I've mentioned before, sometimes I just can't focus :) Have a great day!

Friday, March 20, 2009

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Just wanted to let everybody know that I'm tweaking with the look of my blog.

In between laundry, cleaning, restaurant cr@p and drinking coffee.

It's not getting done all at once, but about 10 minutes at a time.

Bear with me :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

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Vinyl Sausage

We have this slide bouncer thing. It was a gift. And a darn good gift, at that. Today it was beautiful outside. So, I asked Chloe if she wanted to play on the 'bouncy slide.' Well, of course she did. This thing is actually pretty easy to put up. Roll it out, plug in the air compressor, tap a few stakes into the ground, and you're good to go.

She had a blast bouncing around on this all afternoon. When Becca got home from school, they were invited to a neighbor's house to play for a couple of hours in their back yard. Fine. 'Me' time is good. The homework got done, and off they went. I had the house to myself.

I also had to put that thing away.

By myself.

Thank God there wasn't some stray parent with a video camera taping their child outside. I had to look absolutely ridiculous. I started very calm and focused. I made sure the air was out. I start folding this thing up. Unfortunately, the size of the folded 'bouncy slide' was about twice as big as the bag I'm supposed to put it in. I unfolded. I folded again. I straddled this damn thing, shoving it into this bag. I was laying on the grass, holding the thing on top of me.

I was a mess.

But I got it in that damn bag.

Heather - 1
Bouncy Slide - 0

Take that, Little Tikes.

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Rats and Birthday Cake

I have very mixed feelings about Chuckie Cheese.

Strictly as an entrepreneur and business woman, I think it's great. There's always money in entertaining kids. Especially when it's mixed with giving parents a little break.

As a mom? That's where my mixed feelings come in. I don't really mind going to Chuckie Cheese during the week. In the afternoon. When other parents are at their regular jobs, and it's nice and slow. It's not a bad place when the weather is crappy and you have a bit of cabin fever. When it's slow. Every game is only 1 token. That's cool. And there are things that the kids can actually do on their own. Cool.

We had a bad experience with germs at Chuckie Cheese. A couple of years ago, everybody we know (including us) got sick after going to Chuckie Cheese. EVERYBODY. I blame it on the tube/slide. We all got a horrible stomach flu. Becca was 3. Chloe? 18 months. Becca got it first, and it plowed through the family. It was utterly and completely terrible. Becca was in the slide the day before she got sick. It was a Saturday. I have since found out that they clean that slide on Saturday nights (Well, at least at our Chuckie Cheese). We go early in the week now.

We also bring a VERY LARGE bottle of hand sanitizer. I am constantly putting it on their hands. When we get there (so we don't spread any germs we might already have). Before we eat. After we eat. When we're done playing. Again in the car. We haven't gotten sick since that one time. But I am VERY afraid to go there in the winter - the middle of sick season.

What motivated me to write this post? Well, let me tell ya. We went to a birthday party on Sunday at 'The Cheese.' It was at noon. The place was completely insane. We had to wait in line to even get in. It was the longest two hours of my life. There were screaming children everywhere. When we gathered for the 'birthday' part, we were jammed into a corner. We ate some cardboard pizza. The kids didn't want to sit. They wanted to play some more. It was loud. Very loud. It was a birthday party for a neighbor kid (who is very sweet, and a cutie!). But being in the middle of 8 different birthday parties all happening at the same time was just too much for me.

Sorry, kids. You're not having your party there.

I got home, popped two Advil and considered having an adult beverage. Some days, this motherhood gig just doesn't pay enough.

I was rejuvenated later in the evening, when Tony took the girls outside to play. Did I relax and give myself some 'me' time? Nah. I popped the MP3 player on, cleaned up the house and put away laundry (singing at the top of my lungs). All better. That's all I need. Just a half an hour of escape every day or two.

Monday, March 16, 2009

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Signs of a Broken Heart

First, let me say that I had a great weekend! The weather is starting to cooperate, we had great business at Downey's House, and I made it through a party at Chuckie Cheese yesterday. I'll complain more about Chuckie Cheese soon. But for now, I have this for you:

I'll bet you thought that title meant I was going to talk about love.


I received this email over the weekend. It talks about how a woman might feel if she were having a heart attack. I'm 38. There are people my age who have had heart attacks. So, I tucked this information into the filing cabinet in my brain. I hope you do, too. Here's the email:


I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is the best
description I've ever read..

Women and heart attacks (Myocardial infarction). Did you know that women
rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing heart
attack .. you know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat,
grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor that we see in the movies. Here
is the story of one woman's experience with a heart attack

'I had a heart attack at about 10 :3 0 PM with NO prior exertion, NO prior
emotional trauma that one would suspect might have brought it on. I was
sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap,
reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking, 'A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with
my feet propped up.

A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you've been
in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you've swallowed a golf ball
going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn't have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial sensation---the only trouble was that I hadn't taken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.
After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing
motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight, it was probably my
aorta spasms), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my
sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering
This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws. 'AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling ab out what was happening -- we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven't we? I said aloud to myself and the cat, Dear God, I
think I'm having a heart attack!

I lowered the foot rest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself, If this is a heart
attack, I shouldn't be walking into the next room where the phone is or
anywhere else ... but, on the other hand, if I don't, nobody will know that
I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in a

I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics ... I told her I thought I was having a heart
attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn't feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts.. She said
she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was
near to me, and if so, to un-bolt the door and then lie down on the floor
where they could see me when they came in.

I unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost
consciousness, as I don't remember the medics coming in, their examination,
lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the
call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we
arrived and saw that the radiologist was already there in his surgical blues
and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was
bending over me asking questions (probably something like 'Have you taken
any medications?') but I couldn't make my mind interpret what he was saying,
or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the
Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon
up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2
side by side stints to hold open my right coronary artery.

I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at
least 20-30 minutes before calling the paramedics, but actually it took
perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St. Jude
are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go to
the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped
somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stints..

Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want
all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned first

1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your body, not the
usual men's symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and
jaws got into the act). It is said that many more women than men die of
their first (and last) MI because they didn't know they were having one and
commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn
preparation and go to bed, hoping they'll feel better in the morning when
they wake up ... which doesn't happen. My female friends, your symptoms might not
be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is
unpleasantly happening that you've not felt before. It is better to have a
'false alarm' visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be!

2. Note that I said 'Call the Paramedics .' And if you can take an
aspirin. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER - you are a hazard to others on the

Do NOT have your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking anxiously at what's happening with you instead of the road.

Do NOT call your doctor -- he doesn't know where you live and if it's at
night you won't reach him anyway, and if it's daytime, his assistants (or
answering ser vice) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn't carry
the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do,
principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr will be notified later.

3. Don't assume it couldn't be a heart attack because you have a normal
cholesterol count.. Research has discovered that a cholesterol elevated
reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it's unbelievably high and/or
accompanied by high blood pressure). MIs are usually caused by long-term
stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormonesinto your system to sludge things up in there.

Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep.

Let's be careful and be aware. The more we know the better chance we could

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10 people,
you can be sure that we'll save at least one life.

**Please be a true friend and send this article to all your friends (male &
female) you care about!**

And just as I was typing this, Chloe woke up, came downstairs and started playing a game. I guess she learned a new word. As she was playing she said "Dammit! I almost got the blue one." Yeah, I've gotta go and deal with that.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

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Happy Steak and BJ Day

Yup, that's what today is. Steak and BJ day. You can learn more about it at their website To sum it up, it's the male version of Valentine's Day.

Here in Pittsburgh, it also happens to be Parade Day. This is the day, in the past (and I'm stressing IN THE PAST, because it's different now), that I would find my husband the most inebriated. He's Irish. Plain and simple. They would start with beer and donuts at 8:00, head to the parade, then take the bus back into Carnegie. Carnegie was a mecca for Parade Day Partiers. Lots of bars, one of them being an Irish Pub. And we lived in Carnegie. It was the perfect storm.

Me? I've never been to the parade. I'm not much for a) being out in the cold - and it's usually cold on parade day and b) large crowds of drunken people. I just don't have the patience.

So, Steak and BJ day combined with Parade Day? That's drinking, hanging out with buddies, steak and a blow job. That's the perfect day for most guys I know. Now my guy? He won't be going to the parade this year. He'll be working at Downey's House, keeping the fun going. He will get to hang out with his buddies a bit, but he won't be drinking. As for the steak and BJ? He might eat a steak at the restaurant.

But he doesn't get home until 4:00 in the morning. That's when I'm sleeping.

Sorry, babe.

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UGH, Pittsburgh Weather, Why Do You Torture Me?

It's March in Pittsburgh. March in Pittsburgh is very bi-polar. You have your good days. Last Saturday, it was warm (70 degrees), sunny and just a little breezy. Perfect. This morning it was 26 degrees. Now, it is supposed to go up to 50 degrees today. But, like my father who lives in Florida says, "50 is a 'down to' number. Not an 'up to' number." As you probably know by now, I'm really not a snow girl. I honestly believe that I was born in the wrong place. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE Pittsburgh. The people, the buildings, the architecture, the spirit. But the weather? It sucks. I got to thinking about where I would move to (dreaming, really...I don't think we'd move until we're old and gray). One of the options my brain came up with was Arizona. Hurricaines? No. Earthquakes? No. Tornadoes? No. Blizzards? No. The only thing that my folks say about Florida is that it's sometimes like soup walking out the door - super humid. Not so in Arizona, my friend. I think Arizona is my new fantasy place. So, just to push the fantasy a little further (and aid in my Law of Attraction visualization-thingie), I found this website: SFP and did some poking around. This is the house I'd like to have. And that is the house that I will visualize when I dream of moving some place with perfect weather. But this is more around what I could afford. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But if I'm dreaming, I'm dreaming big!

So, if you see me IRL (in real life, that is) and I'm staring off into the distance with a glazed look in my eyes, I'm probably thinking about myself in the warm weather, enjoying my new home.

Just leave me alone to enjoy it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

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Show Me The Money

You know, the past year has been crazy for us...especially financially.

It all worked out OK in our heads. Tony will quit his job, we'll still have one more paycheck on its way. We'll turn the restaurant around in 2 weeks (which we did!), open up and get right back into making money. We tapped ourselves out in order to get the money to purchase the restaurant. A second mortgage, emptying out the 401K, plus another small loan got us our money to purchase Downey's House.

There were a few things that we didn't really factor in. Like new signs. And deposits for the utility companies. And, oh yeah. The first food order. Most of these things ended up on our personal credit cards. Some of that stuff is still on there. Plus, we really had to live off credit cards for about a month. But hey, you've got to take a risk to get where you want to go sometimes.

Well, I've decided that I need to get that credit card stuff in order. I have amounts on four different cards, just sort of floating around. So, I went to this site I heard about, and you can get instant approval credit cards right online. It's nice to see all of the different deals, right there on one site. Me, I'm a fan of zero percent interest. I don't need a lot of bells and whistles like cash back or airline miles. I'm gonna get all of this in order - and paid off (hopefully) quickly. The restaurant has been doing well, and Tony is happier than a fat kid in the Twinkie factory.

So, now that it's been almost 1 year, I'm feeling settled. Not so crazy and scattered. And I'm takin' care of business.

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You: The Peeping Tom Seeing My Morning

I don't really know if my family and friends know what happens during a typical Heather morning. I can't imagine that they do know. So, just in case anybody cares (and to make myself feel a little better), here's how my morning went. Today was an easy one, because we didn't have to leave the house at all. Well, just a quick run to the bus stop. So, here it goes:

  • 4:30 am - Wake up to see 3 year old in front of my face, asking for milk. Realize that I'm in Becca's bed, and fell asleep around 9:15.
  • 5:00 am - Think that it's a good idea to wake up and get some stuff done. And I actually wake up.
  • 5:00-5:45 - Spend some quality time with the husband, who has not gone to bed yet. He also thinks that it is currently still THURSDAY. I continue to correct him, telling him that it's FRIDAY.
  • 5:45-6:00 - Watch 15 minutes of the news. Wish I looked as good as Sonni Abatta.
  • 6:00-6:25 - Watch 'The Office.' Laugh. It was a good one.
  • 6:25-7:00 - Make large pot of coffee. Check e-mail. Log in the numbers from the restaurant last night. Prepare deposit. Figure out the change order. Update our POS system for Friday specials.
  • 7:00-7:05 - Drink more coffee. Smoke another cigarette
  • 7:05-7:06 - Start vacuuming a plethora of nerds candy from the family room. Realize that it's 7:06, and decide I need to shower
  • 7:06 - 7:35 - Wake Becca. Iron her outfit. Wake her again. Brush teeth, shower, greet crazy-haired Chloe, help Becca into her tights and dress. Come downstairs. Finish vacuuming aforementioned nerds.
  • 7:36 - Yell upstairs for everybody to hurry - we have 19 minutes
  • 7:36-7:55 - Pack a lunch, make a waffle, drink more coffee, have a smoke, find missing glove for Becca, brush Becca's hair, grab almost-forgotten library book for Becca. Pack one pretty-looking sweetheart and one bed-head, pajama-clad, slipper-wearing sweetheart into car for 1 block ride to bus stop (it was cold!)
  • 8:05-8:10 - Turn show on for Chloe, sit down to write blog post for Downey's House
  • 8:10-8:11 - Get Chloe a banana
  • 8:11-8:30 - Finish blog post, check some forums and twitter. See that CafePress is down. Complain about it on twitter
  • 8:30-8:31 - Put another television show on for Chloe
  • 8:31-8:45 - Hang out with Chloe, tickling her until she begs me to stop
  • 8:45-9:05 - Finish up with checking sales and stats online. Look up code numbers for the liquor I'm about to order
  • 9:05-9:06 - Get Chloe some strawberries
  • 9:06-9:15 - Order the liquor, enter amount into Quickbooks
  • 9:15-9:45 - Help Chloe make Kool-Aid for her 'Lemonade Stand.' A lemonade stand where there are two customers: Me and a small stuffed bear. Play lemonade stand.
  • 9:45-9:55 - Start dusting and cleaning the glass in the family room. Decide I'm not in the mood to really do much more cleaning right now.
  • 9:55-10:05 - Spend 10 minutes searching for a copy of our new menu that Tony wrote revisions on. Finally give up, and hope I remember the revisions.
  • 10:05-10:10 - Take phone call from the restaurant
  • 10:10-10:11 - Start menu revisions
  • 10:11-10:12 - Cut up an apple for Chloe
  • 10:12-10:20 - Work on the revisions some more
  • 10:20-10:22 - Help Chloe in the potty
  • 10:22-10:30 - Finish with the revisions. Hope I got them all.
  • 10:30-10:33 - Re-wash the laundry I left in the washing machine overnight. Freshen up clothes in dryer
  • 10:33-11:00 - Print up a copy of the fixed menu. Remember that I also need employment apps printed up. Do that. Deal with my desktop and what my security scan found.
  • 11:00-11:20 - Fold the laundry with Chloe. Yes, it takes that long.
  • 11:20-11:23 - Sit down to sign our corporate tax returns
  • 11:23-11:24 - Get Chloe some carrots
  • 11:24-11:30 - Decide to boil some eggs. Smoke a cigarette
  • 11:30-11:45 - Fart around on the internet. Still annoyed that CafePress is farked up.
  • 11:45-11:50 - Sew up the back of Chloe's Build-A-Bear
  • 11:50-12:00 - Get the eggs from the stove. Decide to write this post.
  • 12:00-12:03 - Make toast for Chloe
  • 12:03-12:10 - Continue with post
  • 12:10-12:11 - Get a hard boiled egg for Chloe
  • 12:11-12:16 - Continue with post
  • 12:16-12:17 - Make witty remark on Twitter. Well, I thought it was witty
  • 12:17-12:20 - More blog post
  • 12:20-12:22 - Get Chloe some Kool-Aid
  • 12:22-12:30 (now) more blog post.
So, there's my morning so far. The thrilling life of a work-at-home-business-owner-mom. You know, throughout this time line, there's the conversations I have with Chloe. Well, they're not really conversations. It's more like a question and answer period. That lasts, um, all day. These kinds of mornings are actually my favorite. I get some business stuff accomplished, get some housework (sort of) accomplished, I get to be social with my online friends, and I get to hang out with my Chloe.

Now, I'm gonna go and make myself some egg salad. I did sneak a granola bar in sometime around 8:00. But I'm hungry!

Want to follow me on twitter? I'm at

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

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One Child? You Have No Idea!

I had a conversation with my nephew this weekend. Mind you, my nephew is 30 years old. He is married with a two year old son. He and his wife are wondering when to have that second one. Personally, I enjoyed having mine so close together. But hey, I'm just saying what worked for me.

Then we started talking about how different it is having TWO kids. I can only imagine how difficult it is to have MORE than two, but I'm gonna stick with what I know. I'm hoping that I didn't scare them. I didn't mean to be negative at all!!! I was simply stating how MY life changed. But anyway, I told them that the transition going from 1 child to 2 children was much more difficult than going from zero kids to 1 kid. And my friends tend to agree, so I felt comfortable saying this.

When you're having your first child, the only time you're sacrificing is your own. When child number two rolls around, the juggling begins. My girls are exactly 2 years apart. Two year olds don't really understand the whole 'taking care of the baby' thing. Not for more than five minutes, anyway.

There's the emotional part of trying to be even with each child. When they get older there's the fighting.

Yup, lots of fighting.

My girls DO get along. But there's always the fighting, too. I'm constantly breaking up arguments. Reasoning with one or the other. Or trying, anyway. I don't think you're really knee deep in parenting unless you're breaking up fights.

Don't get me wrong, there are other challenges with just one child. Challenges that I don't really want, either. When you have only one child, YOU are the playmate. When I tell my kids to go play a game, they go play a game. I only need to give them some guidance. I don't have to be an actual player. Sometimes I do play games with them, but at least there's an option. Plus, I play by the rules, and that must not be cool with 3 and 5 year olds. They make up their own rules.

So, I say yes to nephew. Have that other child. I say have it soon. Because even though the work increases exponentially, so does the good stuff like kisses, hugs, and cuddles.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

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My Difference? My Personalities All Know Each Other.

United States of Tara on Showtime

As you might know, I'm not a huge tv girl. There are a few shows that I will record on the DVR and watch when I get time. But Tony and I do have a Sunday night ritual. It's been going on for years. Back when Sex And The City was on HBO, we started watching shows together on Sunday nights. Sex And The City was obviously my find, but I think Tony actually enjoyed watching it. Or maybe it was Oz. We've been through The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and Deadwood. Sometimes we watch Entourage, too. But most times that's when we sit at the kitchen table and chat.

But anyway, back to the original reason for this post. I really like the newest show I've found...The United States of Tara. This is the first Showtime series we've really gotten into. We've only had Showtime for a year or so. And honestly, I was about to cut back on the cable. And, cue Murphy's Law. That's exactly when I found this show. Nothing against Showtime, but we just don't watch that much television.

This show just cracks me up. But it's serious, too. In a nutshell, it's about a woman who has multiple personalities. She has decided to go off her medication and just take one day at a time. She (and her husband) want to figure out WHY these personalities are coming out. It has John Corbett as the husband, and I just like him. Ever since Northern Exposure. Now if you haven't watched the show, don't read the next paragraph.

SPOILER: When Tony and I saw the writing on the mural a few weeks ago, I nailed it. "There's another personality." I said matter-of-factly. I can't wait to find out more about the peeing red poncho gremlin! ::END SPOILER:

I think that we all have multiple personalities. I have mommy-me, wife-me, bar owner-me, I'm just meeting you, so I'm going to be really fake-me, and on and on. But I realize that I have these personalities. And I can pick and choose them as I wish. So, I'm looking forward to our Sunday night tv time tonight! If you haven't seen the show, watch it! Grab it on On Demand, go to a friend's house with Showtime...whatever. And I think that True Blood is coming back on HBO some time late summer. I've started reading the first book that this series is based on. Maybe I can read the next one before the series starts up again!

Anything's better than Spongebob, Baby Looney Tunes and Scooby Doo. Although, I have to admit...Phineas and Ferb is pretty funny.

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My Love/Hate Relationship with Fitty

Well, I finally got back into my exercise routine on the Wii. When I turned it on and saw Fitty, he not-so-politely reminded me. "Did you know it's been 10 days since you last checked in?" Um, yeah. I know. Bite me.

I was about 10 minutes in (did some yoga and strength), and the telephone rang. Needless to say, I got a little distracted and didn't quite finish. But I don't feel completely bad. I've found that there are some really cheap Nintendo Wii games out there. I bought one with some family games...and I can't remember the name of it off hand. But it has lawn darts, bocci ball, basketball and some other games. It was only about twenty bucks, and the games are easy enough for the little ones to play around with.


Which is fantastic. I think it was the best twenty bucks I've spent in a while. I can't believe that I'm going to say type this, but I'm really glad we bought the system (and the board). I get double alone time. Well, sort of. I'm sort of alone when I'm using the Wii Fit. And when the kids are playing (again, unsupervised), I get some more time. I'll just have to be nice to my spending cash and pace myself on picking up some new games.

As as for Fitty? I'll see you tomorrow, ya bastard.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

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What a Difference a Day and 30 Degrees make!

Wow. If you read my last post, you know that the kids and I were having a rough and crabby day. One day and some warmer weather later, we were three happy chicks. After school, we ran to our corner convenience store, got some treats, and went to the neighbor's to play outside. (Well, I didn't play...but I did drink some caffeine). Fighting? None. Happiness and togetherness? Lots. Bedtime went smoothly, no crying and whining.

Same thing today. The girls got to play outside at a family birthday party. They really do need to burn off some energy (and cabin fever). Aside from a huge knee scrape (and a big hole in some tights), there were no major incidents today. All is good again in Downey-ville.

We did have a little funny tonight with Chloe. As I was making some scrambled eggs for Becca (and talking on the phone at the same time), Chloe walked up behind me. I was at the stove, and the carton of eggs were behind me at our island. Chloe loves eggs. Hard boiled eggs. You see where this is going, right? As my back is to her, Chloe grabs an her hand. I hear screaming, and turn around to see egg goo on the floor and one very confused three year old. It was a mix of terror and confusion. This is exactly what I saw above her head:

I felt bad (a little) laughing out loud. But I just couldn't help it. So, now my two little angels are sleeping quietly. And I have this quiet house to myself. I just enjoy the peace so much. So much that I stay up much later than I should. Especially today, when we lose an hour of sleep. So, short post just to let everybody know that we're back to our happy selves. Maybe I'll post something more meaningful and/or entertaining next time!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

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Not a Typical Day (Hopefully)

Let me tell you about yesterday. There's lots to tell. This is becoming a typical day, but I'm hoping that warmer weather will make it better.

I'll start at the beginning. Thursday. We all wake up and get ready. Chloe doesn't want to go to preschool. That happens about half the time. I bribe her with a promise to stop at Starbucks and get her some vanilla milk. Fine. OK - we all have everything (although I didn't eat breakfast - normal). I get Becca to school, get to the Starbucks drive thru, and get 2 vanilla milks (I promised Becca that she could have one when she got home) and a big honkin' iced caramel macchiato (sp?) for myself . Yum. Chloe was just sort of blah. But the sun was shining, it was getting warmer, and all was good. As I take Chloe to school, I see that her eyes are watering and she's sniffling a bit. No fever, though. I warn her teacher and tell her to call if she gets any worse.

So, off to the bar. Payroll day. I do my office work there, get payroll done, and have no major happenings at the restaurant. I have just enough time to get the birthday presents for this weekend and next weekend, plus stop at the dollar store for some gift wrap and bags (BTW - this is the best place for gift bags). All is good. Sun still shining. I pick Chloe up from school, and she has a fever. But she's a trooper. She's not a whiner. She informs me when she feels bad, takes her medicine, and that's about it.

***Let me interject a little ditty about how we've been feeling lately. We're all a little bit on edge. I think we ALL have a big case of cabin fever. There haven't been many chances to play outside for the kids. I'm completely DONE with winter. I need it to be 70 degrees. And sunny. Now. This has been going on for about a week, and we (meaning me and the girls) are driving each other crazy. Little things will set Becca off. Chloe just wants to watch television. I feel like a drill sergeant - except for the fact that my 'troops' aren't doing a very good job of obeying orders. Plus, I haven't exercised all week...and I've fallen back into my bad sleeping habit, which consists of me falling asleep with the kids and then waking up at 1:00 in the morning. Then I don't make it back to bed until about 3:00. OK, interjection over**********

At this point of the day, I'm in a fine mood. I clean up the house a bit, eat a little lunch and get ready for my debut at Kindergarten. Today is the first day I am helping Becca's teacher with their computer class. Off I go, driving in the sunshine. When I get to class, Becca is happy to see me, and the other children were very curious - but nice. I chat a bit with her teacher and we head off to the computer lab. Each child has their own computer. Becca's teacher shows them what to do on a projection screen (they're typing a sentence that they wrote earlier, using Word. They'll also add a piece of clip art, but the adults will do that). It was a great experience! It was a bit crazy...18 5 and 6 year olds, each at their own computer, and each needing some help. I couldn't imagine Becca's teacher controlling that class on her own. I could never, ever teach kindergarten. But it was good, and I get to do it for 2 more weeks. I sneak Becca out of school about 15 minutes early, and we head home.

Then it starts.

It happens every day after school. Becca comes home, says hello, and then the evil is released. My theory is that she holds in all of this bad behavior while she's at school. And she's not a bad kid. But 8 hours of holding in ANY bad behavior can be tough. So she lets it all out. I usually give her at least a half an hour to just 'de-stress.' But during that half an hour she fights with her sister, whines about stuff, and is just crabby. Earlier that morning we had devised a plan for the evening. I told them that if Becca did her homework right after school, we would have an early dinner and bath, and then play a new game I bought for the Wii. After 20 minutes of bickering with Becca to start her homework, I had to turn into 'Mean Mom.' First, I threatened no Wii. Didn't matter. I yelled. She cried. I hugged her and explained that she wouldn't want to go to school the next day without her homework done. She cried some more. Ugh. We finally get the homework done - but it took twice as long. While Becca was doing her homework, Chloe fell asleep on the couch. It was quiet...on to dinner.

We had all agreed upon spaghetti (shock!! We agreed!). I cook, Becca chats with me. I'm dishing the spaghetti into bowls, and I ask Becca whether or not she wants sauce. She's just recently started eating pasta with sauce, but still sometimes likes just butter. She wants to taste a little, so I slide my bowl of spaghetti with sauce over to her. I get her a small fork full, and she tastes it. And then proceeds to spit it back in the bowl. And then spit some more. More like drool. Lots of drool. Right into my bowl. I take a nutty. 'Why would you do that!?!? What makes you think that it's OK to spit a bunch of spit into my dinner?!?!?' She cries. I throw my dinner in the trash.

She chooses butter.

I eat the left overs.

I'm just crabby at this point. But, I tell them to just give me five minutes to get happy. Bath time goes much more smoothly. We start playing with the Wii, and everybody's happy. They're doing well. They're actually enjoying playing lawn darts, and getting pretty good. Then it happens. Chloe gets a little too close to the table (of course, I kept telling them to stay in one place-away from the table) and smacks her hand off the table. Tears. I console. In the middle of all this, Becca keeps on playing. She accidentally hits the power button on the remote. Well, not really accidentally. She just feels the need to press all of the buttons. After I told her which buttons to press. I announce that we're done with the Wii for the night. Becca cries. Chloe is still crying. Well, while you're already crying and miserable - we may as well have you take your medicine. Because that makes you whiney and miserable, too. (Becca has started taking Zantac - in the liquid form. I'll admit, it's gross)

FINALLY, it's time for bed. We all love each other again. We cuddle. I smell their sweet hair. Chloe does a good job of letting me out of the room before she falls asleep, so I go and cuddle with Becca as Chloe drifts off. We talk about how much we really do love each other. And that's OK if we get mad with each other sometimes. We talk about our upcoming trip to Florida. We'll swim. It will be warm. Becca drifts off to sleep....and I do, too.

At 12:30 I wake up, decide to watch The Office and 30 Rock from the DVR, clean up a bit, and head back to bed.

What a day.

I wonder what life will be like when I have two teenagers. Then I decide it's best not to think about that now. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I'm wondering if I'LL be the one who needs medication when we get to that bridge.