Friday, December 31, 2010

A Year in Pictures - 2010

A friend of mine over at Baby Bits did a pictorial review of 2010 and I loved the idea, so I "borrowed" it ;-)  Here is the past 12 months of A in pictures. It's funny to see how small he looked in January compared to now.


Lounging in his chair

bath time

hanging out with Mom

2nd Year Pro Pictures

Hanging out by the pool Memorial Day Weekend

Van Saun Park with Mommy and Grandma

4th of July

Playground "crashing" with Mommy

Any way to get comfortable, right?!

Pumpkin Picking with Mommy & Daddy


Annual Lights Picture

Monday, December 27, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Over a foot of snow fell at our house between yesterday & today.  Luckily I am on vacation this week so I didn’t have to worry about going to work.  I was able to relax with my little man and have ourselves a snow day.

Last year he wanted nothing to do with the snow (except watching it).  Boy, what a difference a year makes.  He was hesitant at first, but after a few minutes he was kicking and throwing the snow. It was so amazing to watch him play and truly experience the snow for the first time.

After our playtime and a nap, the two of us curled up on the sofa and watched Toy Story together.  A perfect snow day!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Thomas Christmas

Let me start by saying Christmas Eve dinner was a big success!!  It went very smoothly and we got a lot of compliments on the meal.  It was a lot of work, but worth it.  I love having all of our family together for the holidays.  Christmas day we spent at my mom’s house and I was so happy to just relax and be a guest for the day.

A was completely spoiled this year by our families and loved every minute of it!  Haha.  It's amazing to see him light up on Christmas, but this year was even better than last year.  He still doesn’t quite get the whole Santa thing, but regardless he was just in awe the whole day.  We left milk & cookies for Santa x-mas eve, but when A woke up Christmas morning he was more interested in playing with his other toys vs looking to see what Santa brought.  Once he started opening gifts he didn't want to stop.  Of course he wanted us to take out every toy he opened so he could play with it, so opening presents took quite a while.

As indicated from the title of this post it was very much a Thomas Christmas for him.  He got some clothes and other toys too, but almost everything he got was Thomas.  Trains, tracks, table & chairs, tub toys, personalized blanket, books, DVDs……  It started to get a little comical after a while opening Thomas after Thomas, but he was in heaven.  Today he played with his new train set for 2 hours all alone and without a peep out of him. Mommy now loves Thomas too!  LOL  Next gift (for his b-day) will be a wooden train table with drawers to keep all of his trains in.

Oh and my H and I didn’t make out too badly with gifts either :-)  It was truly one of the best Christmases we’ve ever had. Watching A’s excitement was better than any gift I could have received.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

X-Mas Eve, Here We Come!

I am gearing up this week to welcome approximately 2o people to my house for Christmas Eve dinner.  Between work and the prepping/cleaning I have to do it’s going to be a busy week up until Friday.  Christmas Eve is a huge event in our family, and also H’s favorite day of the year.  We do the traditional 7 Fishes Italian Feast and this year I’ve added 2 different dishes to make our total fishes 8, well sort of 9. 

1.  Shrimp
2.  Scungilli
3.  Calamari
4.  Crab
5.  Clams
6.  BaccalĂ 
7.  Eel
8.  Mussels
(9.  Salmon I’m making for my step dad who doesn’t eat the other fish)

The first year was a bit overwhelming, but each year I’ve found shortcuts to help me out and now have it down to a good routine.  Thursday I will prepare a lot of the cold stuff and chop herbs & garlic for the other dishes.  Friday morning I fry all the fish. Then I’ll prepare all of the other dishes in foil tins so they’re ready for the oven.  The only main item that will need to be cooked in-between courses is the pasta dish, which doesn’t take long.

Here’s my menu for this year:

First Course:
Shrimp Cocktail (with homemade cocktail sauce)
Scungilli & Calamari salad (cold)
Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Second Course:
Linguini with mussels in a red sauce

Third Course:
Fried BaccalĂ 
Fried Eel
Clam Casserole
Salmon (for my step dad)
Tossed Salad

Fourth Course:
Assorted Cookies & Chocolates (homemade)
Rum Cake
Roasted Chestnuts
Fresh Fennel
Coffee & Cordials

Friday, December 17, 2010

The 9 Minute Commute

My H recently started a new job.  His new commute is….are you ready for this…..9 minutes long!!  I am incredibly jealous (and secretly a little mad) that he has such a short commute.  Pfftt!! I better not hear him ever complain about his commute when I am doing 75-90 minutes each way every day. 

The good/bad part is that H now does drop off & pick up at daycare, which saves us $ because A’s not in there for as many hours, but at the same time I miss my drop off time with him :-(

Thursday, December 16, 2010

All I want for Christmas is….Lead Poisoning??

I read an article this morning about a recent ban that Belgium has put into effect to ban the puzzle mats that most of us have in our homes.  (Link to article is here) I’ve never had the need for one of these in our house but know plenty of friends who have them.  Their reasoning being that these mats contain a cancer causing chemical.  Jeez…between BPA, lead paint and medication recalls it’s becoming impossible to rely on any product.  I’m not saying we need to put our kids in a bubble, but come on….it’s getting out of hand. 

I think I’ll be looking a little more closely at the toy boxes A receives this Christmas.

However, if you are looking for a place that sells organic/chemical free plates, cups, toys, etc. check out The Soft LandingAll products are confirmed free of BPA, PVC, phthalates & melamine. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It Smells Like Christmas

As I sit here in my kitchen, I can smell Christmas all around me.  The pine from our Christmas tree, the freshly baked cookies, the turkey roasting in the oven…..and my son in the background singing Frosty the Snowman.  Aaaahhh it all smells amazing. 

This time of year while we are dealing with the shopping, traffic and headaches, sometimes we forget that the best deals of all are created right in our own house.

THIS is Christmas .

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Winter Wishes

As part of the Working Parents Network (WPN), which I help lead at my job, we host an event every year called “Winter Wishes”.  I’m proud of all the programs we do as part of the WPN, but this one in particular is special.  For this event we partner with the NY Cares Winter Wishes Program to fulfill holiday wish letters from disadvantaged kids in NYC.  It’s very sweet to read what these children write and it breaks my heart every year to see how many children are in need.  Last year we obtained 100 letters and they were in picked up by our employees in record time.  So this year we upped the number to 125 letters.  To our surprise all 125 letters were picked up in 34 minutes!!! 

On Monday we held a gift drop off party for those who participated – we even had Santa drop by!  All I can say is WOW!!  Everyone was so incredibly generous this year.  These 125 kids are going to have such a special holiday.  A few of the participants even attached letters from Santa back to their child that they had written.  I couldn’t believe how thoughtful everyone was.

Next year I think we can handle 200 letters and make even more kids’ dreams come true!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It works, It works, It works!

I can’t believe it, but it actually worked!!  I am officially in love with the GoodNite Lite.  I know, I know, I sound like a commercial for it, but I am truly in awe of how it worked and how easily A has adapted.  I highly recommend it for anyone who is having bedtime/wake up problems with their little ones. We’ve successfully moved A from a 5:15/5:30 wake up to a 6:00 wake up time and in another couple days I’ll start moving him towards 6:30.

Today was Day 6 and our morning ran exactly as if you read it out of the instruction booklet:  A woke up at 5:30 (with a leaky diaper).  We changed him, walked him back to bed and told him to stay in bed until “Moona” changed into a sun.  Then to our surprise, he stayed in bed until 6:00 (a half hour is a loooong time for a toddler).  At 6:00 on the button I heard him say over the monitor, “Mommy, Moona is yellow.  Time to get up.”   

My husband better eat his words when the told me I was crazy for spending $40 on a night light.  Hmmm, it worked didn’t it?!  Best $40 I ever spent.

I am so proud of my little man. 

If you’d like to get your own you can order it directly from the company’s website: The GoodNite Lite

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Griswold Family Christmas

This year we (well, really I) decided it would be nice to go as a family and cut down our Christmas tree.  So yesterday we went to Wilkens Farm in search of the perfect Christmas tree.

It was an interesting experience to say the least. The weather was cold and windy which made for a cranky husband and an even crankier toddler.  We walked out to the area where they had the trees and quickly tried to pick the best one. I felt like we were the Griswolds!  We found a tree, had the guy cut it down and quickly hopped on the tractor to ride back to the main barn.   Back at the barn they had hot cider and doughnuts for us to eat while we waited for our tree to be tied up. 

Despite the cold, I thought it was a fun experience and would like to make it a family tradition.  If you ask my husband though, he’ll probably have a different answer. 

Making memories…that’s what it’s all about.



Sunday, December 5, 2010

Success! (Day 4)

Goodnite Lite - 4
A - 0

I didn't need to set the clock for 5:45 because big boy slept all the way through until 6:00!!!  A record for our house recently.  (short backstory I should have given earlier:  A used to be a fabulous sleeper since 10 weeks old, but hasn't slept so great since we switched him to the toddler bed in August). 

Maybe it was the goodnite lite, or maybe it was the fact he didn't have a nap yesterday....I don't care, we got sleep!

Going to try for 6:00 tomorrow and see what happens.  Fingers crossed!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

2010 Christmas Card

Joy Magic Story Christmas 5x7 folded card
Make a statement with custom Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

GoodNite Lite - Day 3

Goodnite Lite - 3
A - 0

Well, A definitely has the concept of moon=bed and sun=get up, now it will just be a matter of consistency.

I'm happy to report that there were no 4am wake ups.  Yay!  That's at least a step in the right direction.  A woke up around 5:30 so I had to go in and explain that he needs to stay in bed until he sees the sun. He resisted at first, but then I put on the starlight turtle he has and told him to count the stars....and he did!  My husband and I were laughing in our room listening to him on the monitor count to 10 over and over.  He must have drifed back to sleep because he got quiet and then around 5:50 I heard him exclaim "it's yellow!!  Time to get up". 

So the goodnite lite sticks around for another day.  Tomorrow I'm keeping with the 5:45 time one more time before we move on.

Friday, December 3, 2010

GoodNite Lite - Day 2

The score is now:
Goodnite Lite - 2
A - 0

Last night when it was time for bed, A walked into his room, saw the light and said, "hi Moon-a!  The moon is blue Daddy which means it's time for bed!".  Now getting him to sleep is another story, but at least he knew that the light meant it was time for bed.  With the exception of A getting up at 4 and 5am again (for comforting & a diaper leak) I would say this morning was another win.  Both my husband and I were able to get him back to sleep at 4 and 5 am and when he woke up at 5:40 (5 minutes after I set the light for) he immediately yelled out "it's orange Mommy!!!"  Ok, so the sun is more of a yellow color than orange, but he knew what he meant.  When I got into his room I tried to be as excited as I could (for 5:30 am) and reinforce that yes the sun was on and he could now get out of bed.

I'm setting the clock for 5:45 tomorrow…..and hoping there are no 4 am wake ups again.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

GoodNite Lite – Day 1

According to the book that came with this thing, the first day should be used for helping your child correspond his current waking up time with the sun.  So, I set the light to switch over to a sun at 5:30 am…..his current wake up time.  

Last night before bed, I introduced A to his new night light. At first he was a big apprehensive, but we gave the light a name (Moon-a, like Luna on Bear in the Big Blue House) and that seemed to help.  I set the timer, he helped me plug it in and he went to sleep….. 

….around 4:30 am he started.  For whatever reason, he woke up and wanted some comforting.  So I went in, rubbed his back for a minute and he went back to sleep.  Then at 5:00 am he did the same thing.  Replay:  go in, rub his back, go back to bed. All this time I’m thinking to myself, well at least he’s staying in his room and in his bed. 

AGAIN at 5:30 he wakes up and this time wants his diaper changed.  Since this is the time I set for the “sun” to come on I went in and showed him that the light had changed from a moon to a sun.  He immediately stopped crying, looked and said “Huh, look at the sun Mommy!”  Then while I changed his diaper I talked to him more about the sun meaning it’s time to get up and not getting out of bed until he sees it.  His reply was “so, blue means bed and yellow means up?”  I was like YES!!  Maybe he’s actually getting this after one day.

I'm considering today a win in my book.  We’ll see what happens tomorrow and the next day.  I already set the clock to go off at 5:35 tomorrow…..

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It’s Heeeere!

Yesterday I received what I hope is going to be the best purchase ever.  My “GoodNite Lite” arrived….and with it, high hopes of it helping our early rising son.

What is the GoodNite Lite you ask?  Basically it is a night light that you put in your kids room. It has a built in clock so you program the night light for the moon to come on at bed time and stay on until you want the sun to come on in the morning. The purpose is that when your kid wakes up, they know if it is night or morning. And if they are waking up way to early, (like mine) you can try to change their internal clock by making the sun comes on 10 minutes later each day and eventually get them waking up at a normal time.

All of us Moms (and Dads) need our precious sleep.  But for working moms it’s much harder if your little one is getting up early….since we can’t nap in the afternoon.  Not only is it disruptive that A gets up at the crack of dawn, but it is disturbing his sleep cycle and not allowing him to get the full rest he needs. 

Tonight will be the first night we give this sucker a shot, so wish us luck!  More to come tomorrow on results…..

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Really, an award?

Before I get into this post I wanted to share my excitement that I received my first blog award!!!!  Yaaay!  I’d like to thank the academy…, I mean Karen at Diapers, Dishes, Lessons & Homework for honoring me with the Stylish Blogger Award!

Apparently this award comes with some rules:

(1)               Thank the person who awarded you
(2)               Share 7 things about yourself
(3)               Pay it forward to new blogs you’ve discovered

Here are 7 things about me:

1.  I’m an excel-a-holic. I have spreadsheets for everything!
2.  I love to cook.  Every other year for Christmas Eve we host a huge family dinner for 20 people
3.  I’ve visited over 113 cities in 16 countries
4.  I can make 3 different sounds at the same time
5.  I can be crafty, especially with party planning
6.  When I was a kid I wanted to be a marine biologist, but ended up an accountant….go figure
7.  I have a huge pet peeve of people who eat loudly (slurp, etc). It is disgusting & drives me insane.

The next part is kind of tough since I’m brand new to the blogging world and can’t give back to who gave it to here goes.  These are some cool blogs I’ve come across in the last month.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Turkey Week!

The week started off with me still not feeling so great, but happy that I had the week off from work.  M-W I ran errands, did some shopping and tried to clean up the house a bit.  Thursday (thanksgiving) we went over to my in-laws to eat.  A refused to try turkey or the fixings and instead ate some good ‘ole chicken nuggets. He had a great time playing with his cousins.

We’re not black Friday shoppers, but this year we decided to check out some stuff online.  It’s always better to shop in your pj’s right?  We found a great deal on a new tv for our bedroom and decided it would be our (early) birthday gifts to each other.  Black Friday is also my decorating day.  I actually started a little the day before, but on Friday I completely decorated the house, with the exception of our tree which we have to go get this weekend.  A was in complete awe when he woke up from his nap and entered “Santa Land”, as he calls it.  It warmed my heart to watch his smiling face take in all of the decorations and lights.

Saturday I went on a cooking frenzy!  I made hot dog nuggets and apple pear cinnamon sauce for A as well as a London broil and butternut squash for myself and H.  I’ve started a little tradition of taking pictures of A holding Christmas lights in the dark.  Saturday  night I took our 2010 pictures and I’m surprised A cooperated.  The below 2 pictures represent the two sides of him….the sweet angelic boy and the crazy toddler monster.  LOL

Sunday I went to visit my mom with A and had a nice time playing at the park and having lunch. Then later in the day I ordered all of the photo gifts I made for people as well as our Christmas card.  I cannot believe the deal I got!  I spent $80 but saved $220!!!  Insane. 

I am thankful for so many things in my life.  My family, friends, health, my job……  But what I am most thankful for this year is the ability to remember the good stuff even when life is hard, the continuous opportunity to see the magic in the moment and all the people who support, encourage and inspire me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Sick Day

Sick day???  What is that??  One of the downfalls of my position is that it’s very hard to take a sick day and go completely off the grid for a day….especially close to year-end.  Last Thursday night I started to not feel well and by Friday morning I was in full blown sickness including a lost voice.  But apparently the work must go on, so I worked the entire day from my couch, with the exception of the 2 hr break to go to the dr’s and get medicine.  It’s a terrible cycle to be sick and then not be able to take the proper time off to get well, so it all just continues.  Sigh….  

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The End is Near…

…of teething that is.  Last night my son complained that his cheek hurt.  I immediately though maybe his 2nd year molars were finally here.  I tell my husband to look in his mouth and the reply I get is “I see some swelling but no tooth”.  Well of course I don’t believe him so I look for myself and to my surprise I see that BOTH of his bottom 2nd molars are half way in!  Wohooo!!  This means only 2 more to go and we’re done with teething (until the next baby of course!)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Great Holiday Picture Meltdown

We went this morning to have A’s Christmas pictures taken.  You had though I asked him to sit in a pit of snakes the way he reacted.  He refused to sit or even stand and I had to end up playing a game with him to get a semi-half decent picture. Needless to say it wasn’t the most enjoyable photo experience of the past 2 ½ years…..  Oh and Santa, well that was another meltdown in itself.  We didn’t even attempt a picture there….I hightailed it out of Santa’s Workshop real fast.

But I'm glad it's over so that now I can use the couple good pictures we got along with some other ones I've taken to make and order our Christmas cards.  For the first time last year I got our cards through Shutterfly and just loved them.  They have so many designs to choose from and creating them is super easy.

My favorite cards Shutterfly offers is the folded cards.  I’m leaning towards the “Red Snowflakes“ Christmas card for this year, but already I'm finding it hard to choose a design because I love them all.  I also make a photo calendar for each coming year so it's time to get started on creating a new one for 2011. They have some pretty cool photo gifts (like the photo ornaments) that I’m thinking will be great gifts for the grandparents this year.

If you want to get your own 50 free cards go here <---

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Working Mother Media Worklife Congress

The other week I attended a 2 day conference in NYC with two of my coworers for the Working Mother Media WorkLife Congress.  I was selected to attend due to my roles at work as a leader of our “Working Parents Network”.  It is an organization of employees who are driven to improve the work/life balance of all employees at my company through policy changes & programs.  I’ve been a part of this network for a few years now and it’s something I am very proud to be involved in. 

The conference itself was quite eye opening (and a little depressing) to see what other companies are offering for working mothers (and dads too) that my own company does not.  It showcased the “Top 100 Best Companies to Work for as a Working Mom” and held workshops about what they are doing to make the work/life balance a little easier. 

At the Gala dinner they even announced women from each of the top 100 Best Companies that were named “Working Mother of the Year”.  As I sat there and watched the awards I thought to myself, how cool would it be to win that award someday?!

One of the goals of our Working Parents Network is to get my company onto this list of Top 100 Best Companies.  We were the first Advertising Agency to ever attend this conference (we were a sponsor too) and the President of Working Mother Media personally came up to our table and expressed how excited she was to see us there. 

I am more motivated than ever to convince management that we need to implement a flexible working arrangement and better maternity leave policy.  Maybe if we offered more flexibility we wouldn’t see so many people quitting……. My colleagues and I have already started drafting up a business plan for a flexible working policy that we plan to take to Management in a month or so.

I think I’m going to need some luck for this one!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Missing You

It’s hard to believe it’s been 9 years since we lost my husband’s best friend.

Although you weren’t there for our wedding or to share in our joy when our son was born I’d like to think that you have been with us through it all. It saddens us to think that we won’t be sharing BBQ’s at each other’s houses or watch our children play together, but it makes us feel a little bit better to know that you are up there watching over us.

Not a day goes by that we don’t miss you xoxo

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