Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Guilt is the heaviest weight

So, yours truly is feeling some serious Mommy guilt this evening.  Why you ask?  Ava is in the stage where she is acting out, aggressively. Not all the time... only when I try to change her diaper or when I pick her up (because she'd rather be walking/ running).  Articles tell me that she's acting like this because she is frustrated that she can't "tell" me what she wants/ needs.  But she hits me hard. In the face.  Pulls my hair.  Smacks my chest.  I got so fed up today that I raised my voice (almost yelling), grabbed her hands and stared her right in the face, saying "STOP.  DO NOT HIT ME. THAT IS ENOUGH." Then I put her down, only to leave her crying in a little pile, while I walked away... leaving her confused and sad.

Ken came in, telling me not to yell because I'm only making things worse... which made me feel even more terrible.  He took over at that point (to put her down for the night) and here I am now, feeling like an awful Mom for not being more patient with her.  I just don't know what to do.  I tell her constantly, "Don't hit Mommy.  That hurts Mommy"... or "We don't hit, Ava".  But she just laughs because she thinks I'm being funny".  Ugh... I'm now looking at every article I can find on how to curb your child's aggression.  I suppose this is the first of many occassions that I will feel guilty as a parent.  Let the fun begin...

Visitors GALORE!!

This weekend we are going to be hosting all sorts of guests!! Ken's sister (Lisa) and husband (Tom) are coming in on Saturday for a short visit. That night we have a Christmas party in the city to attend... our friends, The Peases are having their annual holiday fiesta. Tom & Lisa are coming with us... but Ava is not. She is getting her second night away from us since the big move. I've found that that babysitters that work at the gym are just as happy to babysit while not "clocked in". Hence, my new plethora of babysitting options.

After Tom & Lisa leave on Sunday, we'll be getting even more visitors!!! My Sister, Niece & Mom are coming up on the train so we can do our tradition of going to the Walnut Room (at Macy's on State Street) to have lunch & cocktails around the humongous tree. I wasn't able to go last year but we've made a pact going forward, that just us girls will get together, every year, and go to experience the magic. Last year, Mom was so mesmerized that you would have thought someone slipped some ecstasy in her martini. She was literally floating on air from the experience. Not to mention, she was covered in fairy glitter... from head to toe.

I am excited for Dulaney & Ava to see the huge tree and get sprinkled with the magical fairy dust, by the pretty fairy princess. I'm sure I'll take a million pics. We plan on going on Monday because we're convinced it will be less crowded. The nice part is that they give you a beeper for when your table is ready... so you can shop while you wait. How great is that?!? Sounds like a recipe for some serious spending!

So Sunday will consist of us just hanging out, doing some shopping, cocktailing... the usual. I can't wait!! I love having my family come to visit. And even better, I love having room to put them... and not sending them off to a hotel for the night!

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's official. I'm a Landlady.

I'm a Landlady! Well... sort of.  We have hired a property manager (thank you Mary for the referral) that finds renters/ deals & handles all repairs/ acts as the middle-man between us (homeowners) and the new renters.  Well... drum roll PLEASE..... He's found a nice, clean, shiny, successful (and might I say HOT) couple (mid to late twenties) that are practicing medicine & law and are in love with our condo... and have signed a lease.  Amen Brother!!!   Let's roll!!!  

Our goal is to rent the condo for a few years.  We'll see what happens after a few and decide whether or not to sell or keep it as an investment property.  It's located in a PRIME location so I feel the value (once the silly economy rebounds) will skyrocket!  A girl can dream, right?  :)

Mmmm!!!!! Ha ha!!!

Outdoor Christmas Decorations 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Makin some moolah!

So I have been trying to think of ways we could earn some additional income, even with me staying at home with Ava. Ken isn't into the whole "pimp out your wife" idea.... so I'm trying to come up with some other ideas. I tried Arbonne years ago and that never took hold... my friends probably felt like I was stalking them to come to parties... and then even worse, guilting them into buying products just so I would stop harassing them. I don't like that feeling. I would much rather have an online shop... were people could come and look around... and if interested, make a purchase. NO PRESSURE INVOLVED.  Ideally, I'd like to have a few separate tabs on my blog with links to companies that I am a "demonstrator" for. The companies I'm thinking of so far are:
  1. Uppercase Living 
  2. Thirty one
  3. Pampered Chef
  4. Lia Sophia
  5. Avon
  6. Passion party demonstrator
If I did all of them, I'd have the whole spectrum covered (home decor, accessories, food, jewelry, makeup & sex toys).  Something to think about!!  

And for the record, I was only joking about #6. I would NEVER have the guts to do that (think Andy Dick, in the movie Old School).  Um no.  I would not be able to keep a straight face if it killed me! 

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I must say, I am so proud of myself.  From start to finish, I did the ENTIRE meal ON MY OWN... with the help of my Mom stirring a pot or two.  And.... all attendees agreed, it was DEEEEEEE-LISH.  The turkey was so juicy.  Juice-topia-fest-extravaganza.  No joke.  A-MAZING.  I'm so proud of myself.  And Ken was proud too!!  I told him, "See babe... all I needed was this fancy kitchen and these beautiful KitchenAid double-ovens, and I can make meals like this anytime".... boy am I in trouble now?!  

I made homemade Mac n' Cheese (recipe was delicious and I'm happy to share... the rue made the difference in this one!!), srtuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, bird, rolls, etc.... and the turkey recipe/ gravy recipe I used was unreal.  I can honestly say I will NEVER use another recipe, now that I've found this one.  It is the BEST.  Bite it Martha... your recipe comes in at 12th place compared to this year!!  
Learning to drink from the bottle... her Momma knows how to do this very well. 

Dance Party!!!

Family  :)

Happy Baby

That bow is NOT too big, Ava.  It's perfect. 

Dance Party (part 2)

That's a fine lookin' bird!!! 


Fairy princess... 

Progress: Ava's playroom/ future nursery

No!!! I'm not pregnant... yet. :) However, the room we plan to use as a nursery when baby #2 DOES come along is now acting as Ava's playroom.

I picked up Mom & Jim from the train station yesterday... they came in for the holiday (yes, I'm cooking the bird this year!.... and yes, I do have multiple frozen pizzas on hand in the event that "Farquart" (the name we gave 
the Turkey) doesn't "turn out"). 

Anyway.... I have to say, Jim is SO handy!! He has done so much on my "honey do" list!! One of which was hanging up Ava's pink tent in her playroom! Ken's boss and wife bought it for her and we've been dying to get it up... just weren't sure how to hang it. Thank goodness for Jim!! Here are some pics of her playroom... before (the previous owner's design/ decor) and after:



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The big bird is thawing and this lady's blogging

The bird was purchased on Sunday... 17 lbs of love, ready to be stuffed and roasted to perfection! This year, I'm using Alton Brown's recipe. I found it in Food Network Magazine and it's received umpteen positive reviews... so I'm going to give it the ole' college try.

The last time we hosted Thanksgiving was 5 years ago. Ken & I were only dating at the time and it was the first time our parents were meeting one another. Little did I know (they were all in on it) that he was going to ask me to marry him that night. :)

This year, the same guests will be joining us as the year 2005 (but no foreseeable engagements will be made). We will be having an extra special guest at the table though... Miss Ava! She will get to eat the turkey and all the trimmings now that she has a few chompers. 

The parents will be staying with us (my Mom & Jim for a couple days, actually)... so we are SUPER excited to show off the house and all of the progress we've made.  And I'm sure they will love having their own rooms, too.

Lots to accomplish today!!  The grocery list is a mile long and I need to hit up Tar-jay for some other staples. I'm so excited that I couldn't sleep... hence me sitting here, blogging at 5:45 in the morning.  I need to go back to bed.  :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Poor Billy Ray

Watching the AMA's last night inspired me to download some new music to my iPod. I went searching for the song that Miley Cyrus did, called "Forgiveness & Love". I know... the idea of a 31 year old downloading her stuff made me feel a little schoolgirl-ish. I don't care... I loved the song so much last night!! 

Anyway... as I was glancing over the other song titles on the album I came across a song called "Every Rose Has It's Thorn". I'm sure you know that this was originally performed by the group Poison, led by Brett Michaels.  Brett just happens to be the same man that has been rumored to be having an affair with Miley's mother, Tish. The alleged affair is also being called the reason Billy Ray filed for divorce.

How much must it hurt for Billy Ray to hear her sing that song now?! Poor guy.

On a lighter note, I wonder if while Tish and Brett were rolling around in the sack- if he ever took that damn bandana off?  I highly doubt he did.  I'm convinced that there is a hairpiece attached to it and that he is in fact, bald.  Not that there is anything wrong with bald... I actually would prefer that over his peroxide-rats-nest.  

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Progress: Basement (Ken's Man Cave)

After A LOT of paint... and a few aesthetic changes (new sconces, custom rug, etc.) we have evolved our basement into the year 2010/ HGTV-ish style baby! When we first moved in, the room was dark & dismal... the wall color was bile...and quite frankly, as a whole, it was a wee bit "fugly". Here are the before and afters:



To Whom It May Concern:

There has been recent activity on my blog as of late... lots of comments regarding my posts... which is rare because I hardly EVER get comments. The past two posts have sparked a few Anonymous commenters to post their opinions on my posts.... telling me I'm rude... or that I need to get over myself.

By way of Merriam-Webster dictionary, here is the definition of
BLOG: "a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer"

Therefore, you should EXPECT to see my personal point-of-view about the topics of MY choice... especially since it is in fact, MY blog. I'm not asking for your input. And if you think I'm rude (because you clearly don't understand my use of sarcasm) then click elsewhere and go stalk someone else.

The aim of my writing is NOT to insult... rather to get people to chuckle or laugh a little. In fact, I find it a wee bit intriguing how people become completely outraged because I, for instance, think the Nate Berkus show is terrible... or that I poke fun at the shows my daughter watches.

Lastly, if you're going to throw your advice my way... at the very least, leave your name... instead of being "anonymous", cowardly hiding behind your computer screen. Own up.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Whatever happened to Ducktales?

All day long, I'm inundated with Sprout, Disney & Nick Jr.  I have it on (literally, all day) for AJ's entertainment.  She doesn't really watch it though (put down the phone and stop dialing DCFS)... mostly it's just on in the background while she plays around the house.  She likes to dance to the cheesy songs, too.  I don't know if you've ever watched any of these programs but I've formed some opinions over the last 14 months about some of these characters/ fools.   

The Wiggles:

Do these guys get action from chicks?! I mean seriously... I wonder if there are mom-groupies out there that secretly want to get with them.

At first I thought the one in blue (Anthony was kind of hot)... until I saw his dance moves.

I'm convinced Murray (the one in red) is a RAGING alcoholic and hits the bottle HARD as soon as they're done filming... slamming the door to his trailer, taking a swig off the ole' bottle... thinking, "FML... FML.... FML."

Handy Manny:

OK, I admit it... I find Handy Manny to be totally hot.  Yes.. he's a cartoon.  But there is something I find super attractive about this young, fit, handyman that can fix just about anything.  And he's so friendly.  His accent doesn't hurt matters, either. 

Ken knows about my feelings for Manny... but insists he's not jealous.


Cailou is transgender.  

No ifs ands or butt's about it. 

And he has a dog named Gilbert?!  WTF Cailou?!?! 

Imagination Movers:

Rich is hot.  I love when he plays his drums.  

The guy in the hat looks JUST like my friend, Scott Harms.  The resemblance is frightening.  

Yo Gabba Gabba:

Seriously?  How much acid did the writer of this program take back in the 70's?  I think it's safe to say he or she's still "trippin"... which could be the only viable explanation for this show... and the repetitive, weird songs that are played throughout.   

Special Agent Oso:

For a special agent, he's certainly a forgetful one... In each episode, he's given 3 instructions... and he can NEVER remember any of them.  Not sure which Agent School he went to, but I doubt he received high marks.  

Not to mention, he looks just like Paul Giamatti. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dear Nate-

Dear Nate Berkus-

I need your help. But first, I need to get something off my chest. Your show sucks. I mean... it lit-er-ally ba-lows! Sorry if that is a little too straight-forward.... but I cringe just watching your program. Just stick to designing... diss the camera.... and the constant asking of the audience, "Cool... right?!?!".  UGH.  Stab me in the neck. 

With that said... I could use a little help. My very curious 14 month old is overly excited about our Christmas tree. Do you have ANY suggestions to keep her away from pulling off all the ornaments (and ultimately throwing them on the ground, shattering into millions of glass pieces, creating multiple hazardous situations)?

This is what our tree looked like before she discovered it:

And here it is now... babyproofed:

Got any ideas to make it beautiful, without its pants down/ lights off?  Thanks in advance.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tell 10 people

If you're like me, when you have a great experience... or a horrible one, you tell your friends/ family. The idea is to get the word out. If you have a bad meal... or a great hotel stay... you share with your friends and family, your experience. This can be good or bad for business.

Throughout our recent move to the suburbs we encountered a lot of hurdles and challenges. I'd like to "tell 10 people" about a positive experience.... and negative.

Testimonial for Mike Long of Long Realty:
We decided to move to the Chicago suburbs during the summer of 2010.   After long, long hours of searching on the Internet via Realtor.com, Trulia.com and many other sites, I decided to go to Google to find an agent that would be able to show us some of the houses we had pinned as our favorites.  The first name that Google came back with was Mike Long with Long Realty.  

So, without doing an ounce of research on Mike, we picked up the phone and called him.  We shared our information with him... let him know what we were looking for and he had agreed to meet us that following Saturday so we could go house hunting. 

He chauffeured us around the different towns, showing us the houses we wanted to see, as well as some others that he thought might interest us.  During that time he explained his knowledge of the communities, schools, etc.  Three weekends & 3 trips later, we were ready to make an offer on the house of our dreams.

Mike assisted and guided us through the bidding process, too... advising us where to start bidding... and then how much to counteroffer.  His negotiating tactics were great and we ended up saving thousands of dollars off of the original asking price!

Once the offer was accepted, Mike got to work, bringing in his business partners to assist in the close of this deal.  He put us in touch with his trusted Real Estate Attorney (Paul Garver) and also scheduled our inspection to be done by Dunwell Home InspectionsEverybody that Mike brought into this process was so professional and so helpful to explain things to us.  Mike was there throughout the entire inspection (around 4 hours), answering questions and even pointing out how to take care of our landscaping, while offering other sound advice on things like garbage pickup, where to get garbage stickers, etc (all things that a city dweller has no clue about when they move to the suburbs).  He also helped my husband find the right train station to get him to his downtown office, while also recommending back-road-routes to shave time off his commute. 

Looking back now, I thank GOD that we found him.  Mike was INCREDIBLE.  Talk about a guy that knows the area!  He is a consummate professional.  Throughout this process, he helped with everything... from finding the right community...and ultimately, the perfect home for our family.  He was there with us, every step of the way. This guy knows his stuff... and the city of Chicago/ surrounding suburbs.  I will use Mike for any future real estate transactions as well as recommend him to anyone looking for the “real deal”.  I consider him a very trusted advisor in the crazy world of real estate, and now I can also call him a friend.   

As for the negative experience we had, let me just say I HATE YOU WELLS FARGO.  If it weren't for your IDIOT UNDERWRITERS we could have moved in 30 days earlier, allowing us to enjoy a tiny bit more of the Fall season.  Each month when I see you take money from our account, I will snarl and scowl at you.  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

More progress

Items that were finished/ accomplished this weekend:
  1. Two bottles of vodka (keep in mind....Fri, Sat AND Sun... then it makes a little more sense.... well, a little... plus we had company)
  2. 12 pack of SF Red Bull
  3. 1 bottle of wine
  4. Highlights & haircut for me.... I'm so SPICY I can hardly stand it
  5. Basement 3/4 finished
  6. Ava's 1st molar is coming in (did I mention how much fun teething is?!)
Now that i look at it on screen... it looks like our "completed list" looks pretty lame. But we DID get a lot done. Pics will be coming soon!

Friday, November 12, 2010

November nonsense

Wait... What's that? Are you listening?! Are your speakers up? Well if they are, you're now listening to my new favorite song, called "Never Grow Up" about a Mother & her Daughter. As much as Taylor Swift's live singing brings back memories of nails on a chalkboard, she sure can write some sweet stuff! And I'm a total sucker for it.

Here are some recent pics of Miss Ava... Who is clearly growing up WAY TOO FAST.  

Rocking in the chair that YaYa painted 

Mmmmm Breakfast


She locked herself in there with Willy...

She loves these boys sooo much...

Helping Mom with Laundry (which consists of her pulling out all of the folded clothes and spreading them all over the room).

 Happy girl

 The hat totally cracks me up

Playing in the yard with her furry brothers 


 Mommy and her baby

The Gilbert Boys 

Ava with her teething ring and favorite pig, Kevin Bacon.

Little Target shopper