Saturday, January 31, 2009

Watch it

So I'm sitting here, lounging on the couch... I really should be trying to take a nap, if we plan on going out tonight. Bourne Identity is on, I'm sure I've watched it before but I'm not really watching it, it's just background noise. I've looked at all my usual sites, I left my external hard drive at work that has all my photos and digital scrapbooking stuff. I thought maybe Mike has any photos I could use... so I started looking through photos from his stint in DC, and I run into this....

Back off Carmen, he's married!

Seriously. I don't even think I have ANY photos with any celebrity. Is that sad considering I'm so close to LA? Oh wait! During my teeny bopper days, in an NSYNC concert, I had a pic taken with one of the Olsen twins. I honestly don't know which one it was, but that totally counts!

I think I should go on a mission to take a picture with this guy...

Then we'd be even.

Friday, January 30, 2009

(Rumormill) CONFIRMED: Denny's is giving out FREE Grand Slams on Tuesday, Feb 3rd

If you’re like me and you like all things free, and you happen to like Denny’s… this is for you.

There’s a rumor floating around the deal forums that I frequent that Denny’s is about to launch a huge marketing push on their Grand Slam breakfasts.

Part of this campaign will [allegedly] be to give FREE Grand Slam breakfasts – limited to one per person – from 6am – 2pm on Tuesday, February 3rd.

Denny’s has NOT officially announced this, and that’s why I said allegedly. But that’s because the announcement is supposed to come out on their Superbowl ad on Sunday.

Here’s an article on the Denny’s marketing push. It talks about the emphasis on the Grand Slam, and goes on to mention that “The version of the spot that will air on the Super Bowl will include a surprise ending that will contain a special message that is sure to surprise and delight millions of Americans”.

Now what’s more delightful than getting something for FREE?!?!

So….. for those who actually read this, I CANNOT confirm until after the ad airs (which is very likely), but I just thought I would give everyone a heads up. I know where I’m going on Tuesday morning before work =)

EDIT: Just confirmed it on the ad.

Under the weather

You know that bug that’s going around… ya, I got it. Stupid bug.

My ear feels like someone’s repeatedly stabbing it with a screwdriver, my head’s about the explode, I’m sneezing every 10 seconds and my nose is dripping like a faucet – I actually feel really bad for the trash guy having to empty my infested snot-filled tissue piles at the end of the day, my throat hurts every time I take a sip of my Chai tea latte, and I am cranky as hell because of all the above.

I do not want to be at work. I want to crawl up in bed and sleep the misery away.

But I guess I can’t complain too much. Thank God I still have work to go to.

A few of my colleagues finally spoke up in the last staff meeting about concerns with the recession and how it’s going to affect our company. Now I work for a construction and engineering management firm, and a good percentage of our business comes from infrastructure projects with the cities and the state. They tell you that we’re probably in one of the select industries that can be considered “recession-proof” (whatever that means) – especially with all the infrastructure projects President Obama is promising. Then we hear about one of our bridge projects getting frozen because of lack of funding…

OK, so I don’t build the damn bridge. But I work with the marketing department that gets them the contract to work on the bridge. So I like to convince myself that I’m somewhat indispensible and I really shouldn’t be worried.

But I do. Worry, that is. Who wouldn’t?

You hear about people losing their jobs all the time. I talked to a friend from college and she just got laid off (along with 15 other people, including her sister) from a consumer electronics company after working there for 5 years. I know people who work for the state of California who just found out today that starting next month, state employees will be forced to NOT work (and lose pay) for 2 days/month to try to redirect some money for the overgrowing deficit. But I digress…

So one of the supervisors come back with a pageant-world-peace answer. “[Our company] will be fine as long as everyone continues to focus on what we are supposed to do. We will all ride out this together as a team.”

Was that supposed to be reassuring?

I suppose they wouldn’t outright tell us if the company was in any kind of trouble anyway, but I guess I was expecting something a little more specific. Well, for what it’s worth, I really do like this job amiss the late nights sometimes. And I’ll just keep dreaming of my dream job with Disney for now.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

Birthday Recap: Part 2, Trip to Toys R Us

After Ethan’s party at the preschool, we decided to take him to Toys R Us so he can spend the birthday gift card that came from Grandma and Poppy, and pick out a present from Daddy (because mommy got her presents before Christmas – YAY me!). Why have separate presents, you ask? I really have no clue. I had no problem putting “From Mommy and Daddy” on those I bought while Christmas shopping but I guess Mike wanted to pick something for himself.

Somewhere between being completely clueless on what to get him and trying to teach him some kind of self-control and decision-making skills, taking him to TRU (and giving the “you can get whatever you want” executive order) seemed like a great idea.

Lesson Learned #1: We probably should’ve put a little more thought into establishing a time limit.

If Ethan knew what the word “paradise” meant, I’m sure that would fit the description of his face in the 2 ½ hours that we spent in there. We must’ve combed every single aisle of the store, but not without having to touch every single button that makes a sound (or even remotely look like it’s supposed to make some kind of sound or movement).

Every ball, bounced.

Every power wheel, test-drove.

Every Elmo, tickled.

Lesson Learned #2: Give them some freedom to choose, but reserve the right to veto or to “suggest” alternatives.

It wasn’t until towards the end until we found the educational area, and it was almost perfect timing since we all just kind of plopped to the floor and started perusing through the flash cards and the books. By then, we were all pooped and ready to go…

We ended up walking out with a Spongebob/Diego/Dora sports combo play set, the Geotrax Fly Through Bridge set (to add on to his already growing collection), an art set and a few sets of flashcards.

Lesson Learned #3: Never go to Toys R Us hungry.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Birthday Recap: Part 1, Party at the Preschool

On Tuesday, January 20th, while the whole world watched history unfold as the new president was inaugurated and sworn into office... we were celebrating something much more important, Ethan's 3rd birthday!

Front page cover of the LA Times on January 20th, 2009

I couldn't get the day off from work, but I was able to leave early so I could attend Ethan's little shindig at school. And by shindig, I mean eating cake with his classmates during their afternoon snack and that was pretty much it. I would have done more, but that was all the school allowed us to do: either bring pizza for lunch or bring cake for snacktime.

Still, it was an exciting deal for us... I think partly because the past 2 times we had done it at his old daycare, we didn't really get much response from Ethan. Sure, he enjoyed the cupcake but knew little (or nothing) of the significance of it. Now, he understands that the cake is FOR HIM... and that everyone was singing 'Happy Birthday' TO HIM... and that he'll be getting LOTS of presents for turning 3.

Planning THIS "party" was pretty cut and dry. I designed and printed the invitations (they were handed directly to the parents when they picked up their kids that afternoon). And then all that was left to do was order the cake from Costco and assembled goody bags with animal crackers and some candy.

Note to self and a tip to those who have to serve preschoolers: If you must serve something sweet, serve cupcakes (with as little icing as possible) instead of a sheet cake. I wish they would have told me that it was ok to bring something healthier like fruits or yogurt.

The day, of course, didn't end there. There's the 2 hour trip to Toys R Us, dinner and playtime at John's and then the BIG party over the weekend.

I'll post more soon.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Date Nights

I have to admit. Date nights have come a lot easier nowadays that we have more accessible babysitters in hand. But even before, when we had to actually make several calls to find a high school kid that would watch Ethan for a few hours or drive up to Ohio to visit the inlaws, Mike and I always tried to make time for ourselves – even if it was just dinner and a movie.

I read this article from the NY Times several months ago about reinventing date nights that got me thinking then about whether we do enough "exciting" things over the mundane "we're in the same room" kind of spending time together. The article talks about finding a way to “inject novelty” into the relationship whenever possible – thinking outside the box, so to speak. I just recently looked it up again, and it just made me giggle about some of the things that Mike and I have done outside of the sirloin steak and a movie scenario.

My favorite “dates” (in no particular order – and of course, includes some from our pre-Ethan era):

· Calling in sick to work and crossing the border to Mexico.

· Almost dying in a mosh pit at the Warped tour.

· Spending the day driving around in a golf cart at Catalina Island.

· Renting a ridiculously priced beach house at Hermosa Beach for the weekend.

· Riding the world’s tallest and fastest roller coasters at Cedar Point.

· Sightseeing in New York City.

· Horsebackriding on the beach in Rosarito.

· Going skydiving for the first time, and then pursuing skydiving lessons to get our licenses together.

· Visiting the historic Gettysburg.

· Taking a moonlit gondola ride through the marina in Redondo Beach.

· Getting beach-side massages in Cancun.

· Touring the pits at our first NASCAR race.

· Stealing a government vehicle and sneaking out of a military base to go to a party.

· Eloping in Las Vegas, and then dancing to our "first dance" in a casino parking lot.

· Listening to a live jazz band in DC.

· Watching the sunrise on a hot air balloon and following it with wine tasting.

· Night snowboarding in below freezing temperature.

· Cave tubing in Belize.

Notice a lot of my favorites include most of our travels. They come far and few inbetween, but we do try to have at list one big trip every year. Of course, we won't pass any opportunity to check out a local restaurant we both haven't been to, or just catching the new release at the drive-in. Every once in a while, Mike convinces me to do something a little more active like play tennis -- but I tend to favor the eating over the exercising. :) I'm kidding... sort of....

I'll take what I can get! Even if it's just cuddling to watch a DVR episode of House. :)

Our latest conquer: Going to Disneyland just to eat at the infamous Blue Bayou restaurant.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Someone's getting another year older.....

Ethan's 3rd birthday is in a week, and I'm in full-swing party planning mode. At first I thought I'd make it small and simple. Just family. Maybe pay Chuck E Cheese a visit. It is after all, for him. Then I started looking into having it elsewhere -- where all it requires is making a deposit -- and inviting a few more people to celebrate with us. But when it came down to it... I wanted to pick the theme, and the color scheme, and make the invitation and have a jumper and decorate cupcakes and shop for party favors and streamers.

Crazy, I know.

This comes in the middle of a super busy week at work. But it's his first birthday in California... and we didn't do anything special last year when he turned 2.

So here's the invitation that's supposed to go out tomorrow, if I can get my act together. I actually had a pretty emotional time making it.... I just kept thinking about how fast the time has gone by and how much he's grown right in front of my eyes.

Look at my Ethan... all grown up.

We didn't have a party for him last year. But these were the photos I took on his birthday.

I had such a blast shooting this and making the invite.

Only a mother can turn a joyous and momentous occasion to a sad event. As an adult, it's easy to forget how much of a big deal turning 3 is. He's not a toddler anymore. He's a preschooler now. He came home last week reciting the days of the week. He's started to write his letters and numbers. He now colors inside the lines and problem solves seems like years away from only a few months ago. He understands how a polite word will go a long way towards getting what he wants, and knows that apologizing promptly when he does something wrong shortens his time in the corner. He knows Lola is more likely to give in when mommy and daddy tells him no.

And while I continue to reflect on my less than stellar parenting techniques, I am amazed at how he's turned out -- especially since we didn't get instructions when he came along -- and I can't wait to see what else is in store for us.

For now, my goal is give him the best birthday party ever!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Snow Day

Like typical Californians (or in case of Mike, a west coast transplant), we see snow as attractions. We'd drive about an hour up to the mountains to play until our fingers go numb and we satisfy our hunger for a gnarly ski/snowboard run, and then drive back down to where we don't have to ever worry about shoveling or de-icing the windshields. =)

So last weekend, Sissy, Jojo, Mike, Ethan and I all piled into Sissy's midsize like sardines and ventured up to Snow Summit for a fun day at the snow. We initially wanted to go tubing... but realized they charged $20/2 hours so we decided to pass (cheapskates that we are) and spent the afternoon throwing (or eating) snowballs instead.


You guys can run but you can't hide!!!!

We all got hit pretty good....

I got Jojo pretty hard...

And this is me getting hit from 3 different directions...

But I think Sissy got it the most....

I LOVE this shot!

It was a great day in the snow!

But we're glad to be back to 70 degree "snow-less" weather! :)

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy 2009 from Vegas!

Walk down memory lane with me. New Year #1 - We were still in Bosnia. Mike coerced one of my then interpreters to go off post and sneak in some alcohol. We almost caught the deck on fire after we tried to make s'mores at 1am. New Year #2 - Rosarito, Mexico. Got cheap hotel rooms and welcomed the new year in Papa's & Beer, but not before Mike got in a fight with an a$$hole marine who couldn't resist from molesting my butt. New Year#3 - We (Mike, Ethan and I) literally counted down to midnight, in a plane, taxiing before take off, on our trip back to West Virginia because someone couldn't read the difference between 12am and 12pm while making the reservation. New Year #4 - Vegas baby!

Party started in the hotel room...

Can you believe we paid $45 for that sucker???? We all felt so bloated halfway through those gigantic margarita bottles...
This is Sissy feeling tipsy after having tequila shots in the hotel room... LOL

Views of the strip just before midnight... It was PURE MADNESS

Taken at 230 am in the 24 hour Korean Barbeque [first open restaurant we could find after walking 100 blocks on our way back to the hotel]. Notice everyone is on their cell phones texting everyone Happy New Year.


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