Saturday, February 28, 2009

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Wait - Let Me Tie My Apron Strings

In my entire life, there is not one single person who would think 'Suzie Homemaker' when they heard my name.

Not one.

And that's fine with me. I never wanted to be the kind of wife who has her apron, heels and red lipstick on with dinner on the table and a martini ready when her husband comes home. Nah. I'm way too independent.

Cleaning house when you're single, living with another adult, or married just isn't that bad. I mess it up, I clean it up. You mess it up, you clean it up. We'll split the stuff that needs done together (garbage, laundry, vacuuming etc.). However, since I've been at home with mini-me and mini-Tony, it's been a little bit more difficult. There are two little creatures, messing everything up at all moments of the day. They're quite good at it. I've really had to spend a lot of time here in the house. And I really like it to be clean. I don't require spotless and sparkling. But I would like to have, at minimum, the APPEARANCE of clean.

I have also realized, in my semi-old age, that they only way I am productive is if I have a to-do list. Honestly. I get completely distracted by small things even WITH a list. Without a list, I'd spend ALL day playing with the kids, watching Oprah and using StumbleUpon. I get a certain amount of satisfaction just crossing something off that list. It is very rare if one day's list gets finished in one day. But, at the end of the day, I try to start a list for the next day.

How do these two topics come together? Well, I've found a great cleaning to-do list. Actually, an old friend of mine found it, and emailed me the link. From what I can tell, this list was created by a mom who also home schools her children. It only costs $8, and she has each day on a page. She has your regular every day stuff, weekly stuff, and (this is what I always forget) the stuff that you only do every few months. I've only been using it for a week, and I've found that I tweak it a bit. I add my work and personal chores on there, too. My old to-do lists ALMOST NEVER including cleaning. I would do some, when I felt like it. Which meant that I hardly every did things like clean the top of the fridge and organize my closet. This list took all of the thinking out of cleaning. I mean, I think enough with all of my other endeavors. I don't have time to THINK about cleaning.

So, here's a link for the to-do list. It comes in a few different formats, and gives you an entire year. Yeah, I know that tomorrow starts March. But better late than never. Click here to view more details. She has it available with or without a Bible verse. Hey, whatever floats your boat. Personally, I'm not so much a bible girl. If you end up using this list, let me know! Or, if you have some other kind of great idea to keep your house in a semi-clean state, feel free to share that, too!

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

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Entertainment in My Mailbox

OK, this is a quickie, quickie post. Mostly because I've been a slacker today, and I still have a ton on my to-do list. But that's OK - we all need a day where we are barely productive every once in a while.

Anyway, thank you to Yankee Candle. It is a super big deal when we receive a Yankee Candle catalog in my house. Everybody (including me) fights over who gets to smell all of the candles first. Chloe just finished smelling all of the pages (even the ones that don't smell) about 3 times. BONUS: a $15 off a $45 purchase coupon on the front. BTW, my favorite scent in this one is Lilac Blossom. It just reminds me of growing up, because we had a huge lilac bush in our back yard. This is also one of my mom's favorite scents. Got me craving spring even more. Oh, and the Vanilla Lime! Mmmmmm...beachy.

So, if you're ordering some Yankee Candles for yourself, the online coupon code is CAT903F

Have a great night!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

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He Went With His Gut

Tony always seems to find weird or crazy happenings. Well, thank God he found one on Saturday.

He was on his way home from work on Saturday night/Sunday morning. It had snowed just a bit, and the roads were a little bit slick. As he was coming down McKee (a 2 lane road) towards Oakdale, he saw some tire tracks that went off the road. He kept on driving, but those tracks really just didn't look right to him. So, because he couldn't stop thinking about the tracks, he turned around to go and check everything out.

As he peered over the edge of a drop off, he saw a car in the creek. The headlights were still on, windshield smashed, and just basically a mess. He called 911, and headed down to a small bridge to take him to the other side of the creek. The man inside was moaning, so he just kept on talking to him until the paramedics came. Once they got there, he asked if they needed him for anything else. When they said that they didn't, he just headed home. As he got home, he heard the emergency siren. We found out later that the man had to be life flighted to the hospital.

So, send some good vibes for this man. From what I understand, he is holding on, and doing better than he was when he got there. But he's not in the clear quite yet. I am so proud of Tony for stopping. This poor man could have been down there for hours before somebody else found him (it was about 3:30 am).

Good reason to just go with your gut.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

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Best Thing I Heard

I have a little ritual with my girls at bedtime. I talk with them. I spend some time reading with Chloe, then she completely leads the conversation. After Chloe dozes off, I do the same thing with Becca. The other night, as Becca and I were having our little conversation, the subject of penises came up. The little voice in my head told me 'OK, watch what you say. Not too much. Answer her questions. Don't scar her for life.'

The subject came up because she asked me how, when somebody is pregnant, they can tell whether it's a boy or a girl. So, I explained the whole ultrasound thing to her, and that the doctor can see whether or not the baby has a penis. I could see her searching in her brain, wheels turning, trying to remember what in the hell a penis is. So I said to her, "Remember when we changed baby Logun's diaper, and he had a penis?" Yes, she remembered. All was good. No scarring involved.

Then, she proceeded to tell me "It's way better to be a girl. Because when you're a girl, you can read a book when you go pee."

Good point, little girl. Good point.

Friday, February 20, 2009

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It's All About the Vibes, Man.

I'm not sure how many people know this about me, but I completely believe in the law of attraction. Many of you have probably either read, seen, or heard about 'The Secret.' Now I'm not saying that 'The Secret' holds all of life's answers. But it did open up an area for me to explore a little.

If you don't know much about the law of attraction, I'll give you the nutshell version (since I'm not writing a blog to teach this stuff). Basically, it says that whatever you put out there, you get back. You put out good vibes, you get good things back. It really gets a lot more complicated than that, like being grateful for what you have, and making room in your life to get the things that you want. I'll include some books at the end of this post that I like. Why am I telling you all of this stuff? Well, it's sort of the intro to a story I remembered the other day. And here it is:

Almost two years ago, we were planning a trip to the Outer Banks, NC. This is a place where we go every couple of years with the Downey family. We were excited about going, and really looking forward to spending some 'quality' family time together. There was one thing that Tony had always wanted to do on these trips. He always wanted to go deep sea fishing. He wanted that feeling of being strapped into a chair with that huge fishing rod, reeling in the 'big one.' A couple of months before the trip, we were chatting about this in our kitchen before he left for work. He said "I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I'm going deep sea fishing this year. I've decided."

I thought "Ummmm, OK. I don't know how we're going to pay for one big huge fishing trip." He had attempted to get a fishing trip together about 4 or 5 years prior. The trip that he booked didn't exactly live up to his expectations. There was a group of maybe 6 guys, and they went out on a boat, but there wasn't really any 'deep sea' involved. They went fishing. Pretty much, regular old fishing out in the ocean. When the first guy started reeling in a fish, he got ready for a big fight. As he pulled back on the rod and started reeling his catch in, the fish literally skipped across the top of the water.

Well, here's what happened a few days after that kitchen conversation. At this time, Tony worked at a hotel bar at the airport. He was chatting with his guests, and mentioned his upcoming trip to the Outer Banks. One of his semi-regular guests said that he was also going to be in the Outer Banks around the same time. He started to tell Tony about how they charter a million dollar boat every year to go deep sea fishing. Tony, seeing this as his golden opportunity, asked if they had room for an extra guy. He said that he'd definitely pay his way. Matt (his guest) said that yes, he might have room for an extra guy. But they would have to figure out if they were going to be there the same week (Note: Why do guys NEVER know when things are happening. Tony was only semi-sure of the dates we would be there, and same with Matt. Women have to deal with all of the details!).

The next day, Tony told me about what had happened. He was super pumped, and that day we got an email saying that yes, we would all be there the same week. We went on vacation, Tony caught a 65 pound Tuna, and he had one of the best days of his life. (OK, next to marrying me and having the kids--I hope.) The day of his trip, the rest of our extended family had gone out to dinner, and the girls and I waited at the cottage for Tony's return. He walked in the door with a gigantic smile and a radiant glow. He just looked so farkin' happy!

The point? Tony decided that the deep sea fishing was happening. He concentrated on it, and put it out there. And sure enough, it happened. I can say this for many things in our lives, incuding the opening of our restaurant. If you want to read up on any of this, check out the books below.

If you think I'm a crackpot, that's OK, too.

Sometimes I think I'm a crackpot.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

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Best Thing I Heard

This is a conversation that Chloe and I had in the car after preschool today:

"Mom, there's a statue of Hamilton (read: Abraham) Lincoln."
"Yeah? Did you learn about it today?"
"Yeah. And he's in a chair. He got a statue because he got dead. Really dead. It's by the White House."


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

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Sometimes, I Just Zone Out

There are a lot of things going on in my life right now that need my attention. Downey's House, my online ventures, and, last but not least, Frick and Frack (the kids). Sometimes, even if it's just for a minute, I need to zone out. It is very rare for me to just sit. Even to just sit and watch television. I'm always either working on the laptop while watching tv, or, when I'm with Tony, we're talking shop. Or kids.

Just now, as I was standing waiting for the oven to beep, I was looking out the window and it happened. The complete and total zone out. Children were chirping in the background ("Mom, where's the little backpack? Chloe is using all the chapstick. Can you put a show on for us?"). I'm not quite sure exactly WHAT I was thinking about. Life. Bills. Whatnot. But there, for that brief fleeting moment, I wasn't here. I was floating in my private world of my own thoughts.

Cue the oven

Dinner's ready. Feet back on the ground.

Right now I can't really imagine life NOT being this crazy. Someday, when the kids are grown, I'm sure life will become more routine again. Until then, I'll take my zone outs when I need them. They're better than Prozac.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

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Suze Orman Can Kiss My Arse

A few weeks ago I saw Suze Orman on Oprah. Of course, I was watching the repeat from earlier in the day. Usually it's on at 4:00 - right when we get home from the bus stop. I was watching it at 2:00 am. Why wasn't I sleeping? I can't really remember, but I digress...

Good ol' Suze was dishing her regular financial advice. Before I saw this segment on Oprah, she already annoyed me. I'm not quite sure what it is about her, but I just get that feeling that I want to either a) punch her right in the face or 2) embarrass the crap out of her. On this particular Oprah show, she was talking about dealing with the crappy economy. Saving your cash. Watch your spending. Blah, blah, blah. I was just about to doze off when she said (and I'm paraphrasing here) "You know what I'd like everybody to do. For one month, don't go out to eat at restaurants."

Bitch, please.

If I had been in the audience I would have stood up and said those exact words. Does she realize what she just said? Thousands of small business owners' jaws just dropped open. Waiters, waitresses, bartenders and cooks everywhere probably had much more vulgar things to say than me. (Have you ever hung out in a kitchen?) Just who in the hell does she think she is? There are plenty of people around who work in restaurants. As stated in this blog post I read recently the food service industry is the third largest employer.

I wonder if Suze stopped going to restaurants.

I'll bet you somebody, somewhere wouldn't be very nice to her food.

Just sayin'

So, stuff it Suze. Didn't you used to work in a restaurant? All these people losing their jobs? Wanna know where they're going to look for a job? A restaurant.

I need to stop now.


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The Best Thing I Heard

If you follow me on twitter, or if you're my friend on facebook, you've already heard this one. I think I'm going to start tagging things like this as 'Best Thing I Heard.' I forgot to post it yesterday.

As we were in the car going to the museum on Sunday, here's what Chloe had to say:

"Mom, some dinosaurs eat trees. Other dinosaurs eat ham."

Damn, she's cute!

Monday, February 9, 2009

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You've Come a Long Way, Baby

We went to the museum yesterday. A good time was had by all. Becca was a little afraid of the dinosaur bones and the animals on the second floor. And they really do have some clean glass, because as Becca was taking a closer look at the stuffed gorilla, she bonked her nose right on the glass. She's fine, and it was actually quite funny.

I think that Tony had a good time, also. He can't remember ever visiting the museum. The more I thought about it, I couldn't really remember ever taking him with me. We've gone with my brother's family, and on a preschool field trip, but Tony never seemed to make it with us. The two of us really grew up SO differently. I grew up in the city, and my parents grew up in the city. Places like the museum, the zoo, Phipps Conservatory were all regular yearly stops for us. It was normal. Now, it's not like Tony grew up in the sticks. He grew up in Carnegie. (For all you non-Pittsburgh readers, a suburb RIGHT next to the city limits). Me? Small family, one brother. Dad was a cop, Mom worked at a bank. Him? Huge family. Six sisters, one brother. His father drove a shuttle bus at the airport, and his mother worked as a telephone operator for a while. Although every family goes through their different issues, Tony's family really went through a lot. They didn't really have much money growing up, and just weren't exposed to the 'learning adventures' that I got to experience. I mean, Tony is only 36 and he remembers having a coal furnace. I've heard stories about plastic shoes and his brother sewing a Levi's tag on the back of his jeans so they would look like Levis.

Tony has been a great father, and I think he enjoys going on these little adventures more than the kids. He's been a great provider, and he's not been afraid to follow his dreams. I love being his supporter and his motivator. And I love being along for the ride. I'm so proud of everything he's accomplished.

OK, I'm done being all mushy-gushy. Consider this my early Valentine's Day post about my love.

Have a great day!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

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Are you there, Spring? It's me - Heather.

The snow in my yard has melted. I no longer have a 5 inch thick slab of ice to drive over to get into my driveway. The furnace is not on for 59 minutes out of every hour. But I don't want to get too excited. This IS Pittsburgh and the date is only showing February 8. But I'm definitely enjoying the warm-ish temps. I looked at the 14 day temperature trend, and it sort of looks like going down the hill on the Jackrabbit at Kennywood. So I will enjoy it while it lasts. And possibly even wash all of the salt off the car. Possibly.

We headed to my sister-in-law's house yesterday (I have 8 SIL's!) for a small party for our 16 yr old nephew. It's nice to have a big family - and the girls really enjoyed seeing their aunts and cousins. Life is definitely getting easier with these two girls. They play together nicely and are very independend. I actually got some nice adult conversation in last night - which is a rare thing for me! Even though I'm feeling the beginnings of a cold (sore throat and a general blech feeling), I still met with Fitty last night. At 11:15 p.m. no less. It was either clean up the tornado of toys or deal with Fitty. It was a pretty easy choice. Wii Fit age yesterday? 31 - I'll take that. I DO have some sore calves, thighs and upper arms. But sore in a good way. I only wince when I try to walk up the stairs.

Tony and I are taking the girls to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History today. Chloe learned about dinosaurs in preschool last week, and Becca has been asking quite a lot of questions about mummies. And this is the first Sunday in a while without any football (except for that week between playoffs and the Super Bowl - and we went to Ikea and dinner that day). I was surprised how expensive it is, though! $15 for an adult and $11 for a child (although I think they are running a promo right now for half off kids through February 27th). I'll fill you in on how everything goes. Speaking of the girls, I handed them a huge Oriental Trading catalog yesterday. They have spent at least an hour just looking at everything. Thanks for the catalog!

Well, NOW I must go deal with the toy tornado. And laundry. I'm determined to come home later today to a clean(-ish) house. Have a great day!!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

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No need to repeat myself

Hey...I just posted about the Pittsburgh Twestival over at Downey's House Blog. I'm not going to repeat myself here, so why don't you go and read it, mkay?

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Free Shipping at CafePress this Weekend

Hey...if you need a gift and you're on the computer this weekend, I just got a free shipping code. It's only good for this weekend. Here are the details: Free shipping on $50 or more, use code FEMVAL1 . Ends February 8th at 11:59 PST (That's 2:59 AM on Monday the 9th for us East Coasters). Here are some of my Valentine's Day designs you might be interested in:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

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Bring it on, Fitty

Yes, Fitty. That's what I call my Wii Fit. I think I picked up that name from PittGirl. Anyway, I've logged 14 days (well, really it's 13. I did the body test one day and was too full of PMS to actually work out). I've lost five(-ish) pounds. My goal is twenty. I can't believe that I am 20 pounds heavier than I want to be. How did that happen? OK, 2 kids had something to do with it. But there has to be more. Before Fitty, I never exercised. Ever. Yeah, I'd take the kids for a walk, but have you tried walking with a 3 year old and a 5 year old. You don't exactly go fast enough to get your heart pumping. Before I got pregnant, I was a bartender. And I ran. A lot. I lifted kegs, I was on my feet for ten hour stretches. I think that job kept me on the thinner side.

Seeing that I don't want to go back to bartending, I guess Fitty is it. I actually love the Wii Fit. But it mocks me. It gets some arbitrary age that is my 'Wii Fit' age. It started at 41 (Well, actually it was 51, but that's because I'm stupid). It has varied from a low of 26 to a high of 40 over the past 2 weeks. Really, that number shouldn't even bother me at all. What I should be worried about is the weight. But dammit, I want that age to be low. Yesterday I ran (with Fitty). Not just the short fun run, but a longer one. I really need to quit smoking.

So, here I am. It's Thursday morning. Both the kids are at school, and I have two wonderful hours to myself. And I'm going to hand over an hour to Fitty. Fitty, I see you more than I see my husband.

One last note...I am also trying to convince myself that Splenda tastes just like sugar (it doesn't) and that Lowfat Half and Half is really good (it's not). Damn you, metabolism!!!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

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Are you Busy on Valentine's Day?

Well, I'm going to have a typical Valentine's Day - with the kids. After all these years, I've gotten used to not being with Tony on Valentine's Day. One of us was always working. That's OK. For years and years we had Mondays off together. We could go anywhere, and we would never have to wait. And aside from going to Downey's House on Valentine's Day (we have The F.O.G. playing at 9:30), here's a great thing to do. I went to grade school and high school with Joe, and Timmy's story hit me like a ton of bricks when I read about him a few months back. Go to the website below, and if you can, go and support Timmy's Fund on Valentine's Day.

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Wow, an Entire Week!

Really? Has it been an entire week since I posted? Amazing. Time flies when this is the true math equation in your life:

time it takes to do stuff is less than or equal to the time you have

Anyway, we had a great time before the Super Bowl. The kids went sled riding at our neighbor's house. I ate entirely too much, and even had an adult beverage. The game itself was difficult to watch at times. The kids actually fell asleep sometime during the second half, even though Tony was yelling obscenities at the tv. Oh well, the outcome was good, and that made me happy. Here are some pics from that day:

Quickie post for now, but I have more to come. Maybe even today!!!