Ahhhh.....the annual family photo.



A week off....it was wonderful! I feel like I got a lot accomplished. I did a little shopping, I picked out our new entryway flooring (that my now handy husband did before Thanksgiving), I visited a college girlfriend, I hosted Thanksgiving, I went bowling, I was able to shampoo my stairs and I made a batch of Christmas cookies!

Here's the entryway - the white stuff is the before: Here;s the finished product - the picture is a little dark, but you get the idea.
Thanksgiving dinner:
It went well. We ended up with 12 people and tons of delicious food. Mike's parents, my dad and step-mom, the 4 of us, Bruce, Susan and Maison (our neighbors) and Bruce's dad. Our neighbors were on their way to Michigan Wednesday afternoon. They made it about 2 1/2 hours into their trip when the hit black ice and rolled their Trailblazer four times into oncoming traffic. Luckily there was some helpful travelers on the road with them. They think about 5 people helped the 3 of them get out as the car started on fire. Even more luckily, they all had their seat belts on and nobody ended up in the hospital! Lots of stiffness and bruises though. On Saturday we headed down to Steph's house where my mom and step-dad were for a fish fry and family Christmas pictures!
Hopefully you all had a great Thanksgiving and that your pants fit as tight as mine now!


The Saga Continues

We've been dealing with Brett's cold for about 2 months now. What started out as a 15 month well-child visit turned into a double ear infection which turned into a follow up visit that turned into one ear infection that turned into a continued ear infection as of this morning!! Ugh. Poor kid. We've got a third kind of medicine for a 10 day period. I really hope this one works. If not, we're off to an ENT for possible tubes. Oh and on top of it, he's got some bronchial thing going on so we're back to the neb like last year. Bummer. We're lucky that he's still in good spirits - other than the coughing, you'd never know he had anything wrong.
Oh - and day one of my five days off was wonderful (other than the doctor visit)!


We took Brett up to get his first haircut on Thursday evening. It was a challenging start, but we worked through it! Colton came over to Brett's chair after he got his hair cut, he looked at Brett then looked at me and said, "Mom, he looks so handsome!" Indeed he does.


Proud Parent

Disclaimer: This post will be filled with me bragging about my child......

Tonight was my first experience at Parent/Teacher conferences. Mike had already met Colton's teacher during orientation, however this was my first encounter. I really wasn't nervous. It was more of a surreal feeling....I couldn't believe that I was attending a meeting with my child's teacher.
So, we walk in and there was she was - the teacher who Colton thinks is pretty cool. She is just the cute, young stereo-typical kindergarten teacher. I could probably fit her in my pocket. She was just adorable. Okay, back to the bragging part. She raved about Colton (now keep in mind this is my perception and the adjectives may be a little exaggerated, but you get the picture). She said he is very mature and seems older than he really is.
They do these tests throughout the year to measure their growth. Come to find out, his reading skills are above average, she had to cut him off at 30 during counting as she had other kids to 'test.' He can look at a picture, sound it out and tell you what letter it starts with. She also said that he is very popular in class and all the kids really like him. Not that being popular is important, but it is better than being picked on right? She ended our meeting by saying, that we have nothing to worry about and that he is doing just great.
Mike and I walked out of the room with big smiles on our faces, high-fived each other and said, now, if we could only get him to listen to us!

On-line Shopping

I came across this site the other day when I was doing a little research on what to get people for Christmas. For those of you that shop on-line check it out. Who knows, this could be the oldest trick in the book and I'm now entering the 21st century.
Oh, and don't let the name throw you off....it's not X rated.



Picture Time

Every year around this time, I like to get a family photo taken. I know my kids pretty well and know that they can't survive a photo session where we do family, individual and then the two boys together. That's pushing it to say the least. Therefore, I brought Brett in to have his solo pictures done today. As they were showing me the shots, I saw it more clearly than I ever have. Brett needs a haircut. He has a baby comb-over look going on. There are some really long strands and then there are some short strands. It looks hilarious!! Colton and I were just giggling. So, before our family pictures on Saturday, hopefully I'll be posting some baby's first haircut pictures.


Dealing with Difficult People

I'm sneaking in an early post. Mike is gone hunting, Colton stayed at Uncle E's last night and Brett is down for a morning nap.

I was at an Employment Law seminar all day on Friday (by choice believe it or not). There is a law firm that puts this on every year and it's fabulous. Anyhow, they brought in a guest speaker, Dr. Michael Johnson, to talk about dealing with difficult people. He was absolutely hilarious. I could have listened to him for hours, but unfortunately, he only had forty-five minutes. This was focused more towards HR professionals, but like he said, the family holidays are coming up and this could be used in the same way. ;)

There are six 'types' of difficult people with characteristics that could cross types. I've listed them below with some of their characteristics and the best ways to deal with these types of people. Dr. Johnson said, "keep in mind, these types of people act on the facts of the moment, what they perceive is happening."
1. The Hostile Aggressive
  • Sherman Tanks - these are the bulldozers; they come at you strong and in full force. Do not take them on in front of a group - that's what they love. Be assertive, but polite. They are interrupters - be sure to call them on it when the do it. Don't argue with them about who is right. Never tell them that you understand why they are unhappy - instead tell them you respect that they are unhappy about the situation......
  • Snipers - these are the people that take pot shots at you behind your back. They feel in control when they are undercutting others. When they make their rude remarks, as them, "(insert name here), do you really mean what you said?" Chances are they will back pedal or say, can't you take a joke? Smoke them out - don't let social conversations stop you from dealing with the problem at hand.
  • Exploders - these people throw adult temper tantrums. They launch fearsome attacks filled with rage that appear out of control. They make you feel both threatened and bewildered at the abrupt and horrifying change in their behavior. Maintain eye contact with them. Attempt to isolate them from others. Give them time to 'run down' and regain their composure. Don't argue or fight back.

2. The Complainer - pretty self explanatory. They manage to find fault with everything and don't see themselves as whiners, but as powerless, prescriptive and perfect. They see themselves as warning others about things, situations or other people that need fixing. As them specific, information seeking questions and what their plan is to solve the problems.

3. The Clam - They are silent and unresponsive who won't or can't interact. Maintain positive eye contact. Don't fill in their silence with your conversation. Ask them a question, smile and wait for a response.

4. The Negativist - Again, pretty self explanatory.They are very infectious. They want everybody to be as miserable as they are. Don't let them bring you down. Keep your sense of humor, your confidence and your perspective. Don't take their behavior personally - it's not directed specifically at you.

5. Know-it-all Experts - They want you to recognize that he/she knows everything there is to know about anything worth knowing. They can be condescending and see the ideas of others are irrelevant. Don't confront them - twist things around and tell them that you appreciate their advice however, you would like their help with x approach.

6. The Indecisive Staller - They consider themselves very helpful. They don't want to cause conflict. Refuses to let go of anything until it's perfect - which means never. Be sure to listen attentively and help them surface their reasons for stalling.

So all in all, remember that:

1. Difficult people act on facts of the moment, what they perceive is happening.

2. They are driven by an abnormal need to control the behavior of others.

3. They feel righteous anger toward those who do not act as they 'should'. The 'should' being how they (the difficult person) thinks others should act.

4. They value confidence and problem solving.

Good luck.


It's a boy thing

My second child is a boy of few words. Very few words to be exact. However, he can make "car sounds" with the best of them. I wonder if that's a boy thing?


The Hair Picture

Ok, here it is. I like being in front of the camera just as much as I like cliff diving (see previous post about being afraid of heights). Colton snapped a couple of pictures of Brett and I tonight and this is what we ended up with.....

101 Things.....

I saw this on Jenny's site and thought it would be fun. If you don't want to know this much about me, go ahead and close your browser. I totally understand.

1. I was born in MN
2. I am a mom to two boys
3. I am addicted to diet soda
4. I don't drink coffee
5. My high school graduating class had a total of 37 students
6. I couldn't even tell you how many hundreds of people I graduated college with
7. I've been married for 5 years
8. I've walked 60 miles in 3 days to raise awareness to breast cancer
9. I love the summer
10. I have discovered some gray hair on my head
11. I am not allergic to anything
12. I love shoes
13. I may have tried every diet that has ever existed
14. I love the smell of my children after they have a bath
15. I prefer white wine over red
16. I can't stand mashed potatoes
17. I don't know what my natural hair color is
18. I went to the second edition of Woodstock in NY
19. I love all my boys - my husband and my kids
20. I work full time
21. I like to scrapbook
22. I don't care for politics
23. I didn't realize how hard it would be to come up with 101 things
24. I like to play my son's Mario Bros game boy game
25. I avoid having to play playdoh
26. I have the best intentions of going to church on a regular basis
27. I have one brother, 2 step brothers and 3 step sisters
28. I have been told that I'm easy-going
29. I wished I liked to clean more
30. I know how to drive a stick shift
31. I am afraid of heights
32. I would eat ice cream every day for all 3 meals if I could
33. I prefer white Christmas lights over any other color
34. At my house, Santa doesn't wrap his gifts, but he does assemble
35. 2007 will be my first time hosting Thanksgiving dinner
36. Maui is my favorite vacation spot
37. I am right handed
38. I love to watch Desperate Housewives
39. I love my Beezatch get togethers
40. I do not have any pets and am very okay with that
41. I've gotten a flu shot every year for the past 5 years
42. I don't take a daily vitamin
43. I like to be barefoot
44. I don't know how to do my hair
45. I don't really like to watch movies
46. I love to go out to eat
47. I really like Mexican food
48. I've toilet-papered houses before
49. I worked at the school store in high school
50. My first car was a Chevette
51. I have delivered two babies - one with drugs and one without. There are pros and cons to each way
52. I think Valentine's Day is overrated
53. I have a pet peeve of slow drives in cruising in the left hand lane
54. I don't like to grocery shop
55. I love the smell of fresh cut grass
56. I have a best friend who has the same name as me
57. I played basketball and volleyball in high school and was a football cheerleader
58. I can still remember some of the cheers
59. I like my job
60. I haven't gotten a speeding ticket since I was 18
61. I would like to live on a lake one day
62. I get annoyed with people that don't set down their blackberry
63. I like to dance with my kids
64. I think sleeping babies are one of life's most precious sight
65. I wish all people would be nice
66. I never received a minor consumption ticket
67. I'm a freak about making sure my checkbook balances
68. I'm a list maker
69. I love to plan parties
70. I got married in the fall
71. I do not have a green thumb
72. I dislike going to the dentist
73. I wish I had a fourth bedroom in my house
74. I have swam in Lake Superior
75. I have been to Mexico and Canada
76. I have been a patient in an ambulance
77. I was a waitress all through college - great gig!
78. I think Dog the Bounty Hunter is a freak
79. I wish I had more time to read
80. I love the sound of rain on the windows
81. I will be attending my 10 year class reunion in December
82. I love love love email
83. I wear a size 6 1/2 shoe
84. I can barely stand to be in a car for more than 2 hours
85. I listen to girl talk radio on the way home from work
86. I want to get my teeth whitened
87. I can remember a lot of what I did in Kindergarten
88. I am going to my first parent/teacher conferences next week
89. My kid thinks I am a good singer (I have to get his ears checked)
90. I have never been a nail biter
91. I wish I had better posture
92. I am addicted to the blog world
93. I have a husband who handles most of the dishes duties
94. My kid loves to dust and vacuum (hmmm it must skip a generation)
95. I love flannel sheets
96. I usually drive over the speed limit
97. I don't like conflict
98. I love taking pictures
99. I consider myself well organized
100. I love to go to happy hour with my work crew - too bad it rarely happens
101. I'm extremely happy that I'm done trying to think of things about myself!


Best Intentions

Okay, okay....I forgot to take a picture of my new hair color. I have a perfect explanation as to why. Picture it - all 4 of us are down in the family room playing football. Next thing I see; Brett crawling over to his blanket, grabbing it and heading for the stairs as if he was trying to tell us he'd had enough and now it's time for bed. So, I bring him up and come back downstairs. The remaining family members snuggled up on the couch to catch a little SpongeBob. Well, Mike and I fell asleep - woke up when my brother called around 7:30 - talked to him for a bit and then fell back asleep. Woke up when Colton was ready for bed at 8:00. Mike brought him up - we both fell back to sleep and woke up when the 10:00 news came on. Yikes. Nothing like a 2 1/2 hour nap before bed. Oops.


The Verdict

I had my hair appointment last night. Oh, I just love getting my hair done. I've been going to Ashley now for almost a year. I've never been one to find a stylist and stick with them...I usually go wherever they can get me in on my schedule. Anyhow, Ashley is great. She's young, doesn't talk too much and does a GREAT scalp massage while she's washing your hair.
I chatted with her about my poll on my blog and asked what her recommendation was. Oh, by the way, she knows all about my lack of skill when it comes to hairstyles, colors, cuts, etc. and she still takes my appointments....gotta love that. Maybe it's just the amount of money I pay her. Oh well. Whatever. Back to last night. She informed me that I still have a lot of blond in my ends and that "we should just do a partial highlight pulling through the darker color and a little of the red that we have underneath your top layers." Wow. OK, you're the expert - sounds good to me. I think it looks darker than it did before I walked into the salon, but there's more red in it which is kind of fun. I wasn't going to get my hair cut as I'm trying to grow it out, but she said that we really needed to get rid of about 1 1/2 inches to freshen it up. She also put in rounded layers so that when I leave my hair down (opposed to the only other style I know - the ponytail) it will lay nicer. Oh, she's good.
I'll have to post a picture soon.


That time again

It's that time of year again. While my hubby is playing his role as hunter and gathering sitting hours upon hours in a tree stand waiting for that trophy buck, I get an itch to do some home improvement projects. Last year I painted the entire family room. For those of you that have seen this room, it's no small feat. To boot, I had a 4 year old and a 4 month old that required some attention as well. This year I decided I shouldn't be so ambitious.

I opted for updating our hardware in the kitchen and painting the downstairs bathroom. I'm a little embarrassed that I waited over 5 years to change the hardware.....all I have to say is that there must have been some sort of discount on these 1980's gold brushed things when the previous owners built. They are EVERYWHERE in my house - the kitchen, the hallway, the upstairs bathroom and the laundry room. Ugh. I chose to just update the kitchen and the hallway to start with. That alone was 29 knobs! See the update:

I tried to take before and after pictures of the bathroom, but they didn't really turn out. ....guess you'll just have to stop over to see for yourself.


Good News For Me.....

I never talk about work on this blog, but this is innocent enough.......
We got "official" word from our President that managers and exempt staff that don't provide patient care need to take the week of Thanksgiving and the week of Christmas off (or some variation to be off for 5 days in a pay-period)! Sweeeeeeeet!
Oh, I can't stop thinking of all the things I can get accomplished over Thanksgiving.....cleaning my house, organizing the kids bedrooms, Christmas shopping. Oh, and I don't feel guilty about sending my kids to daycare while I stay home. Just think of what a happy mom they'll come home to!