Monday, May 31, 2010

Recital Pictures

Paige's first dance recital is coming up this Saturday.  There's no way we could make the recital pictures they had planned for us. Especially since the date and time of the pictures is constantly changing and we still don't have a set time other than sometime Saturday.  That wasn't going to work for us, so we took Paige to get recital pictures taken somewhere else.  We used Portrait Innovations instead.  Here's my favorites from our session on Saturday.

If you haven't tried them yet, you should really check them out.  They have lots of backgrounds, encourage outfit changes, and are very reasonably priced.

Friday, May 28, 2010

How to make your business fail

We've been having some issues with the ballet school Paige attends.  Granted, I didn't do any research before starting, so bad Mommy.  But, well, the convenience factor won me over.  There is a teacher, I'll call her M, who started her own ballet studio.  She decided to increase business during the day, when most ballet studios are closed because parents are at work, she would go to local daycares and teach classes there.  I pay the same price as you would in the studio, but she comes to us.  Very convenient for Mommy and Daddy.  Paige begged to take ballet, and she really loves it.  I'm not so in love with the teacher.

I haven't had a lot of interaction with M as she teaches ballet to Paige at 2 on Friday afternoons.  I'm most definitely at work then.  I do understand that this is her first year with her own studio, but she's been working in other studios for years.  You would think she would know how they work.  Obviously not.  I was told in February that by the end of March I would have all the information for our recital, which would be at the end of May.  Wonderful.  I'm a planner in case you hadn't noticed.  March comes and goes.  Now we're into April.  I get asked by A, our daycare director, if I know of anywhere to have a ballet recital.  M hadn't bothered to book a place.  And, if you can imagine this, by mid April all the usual places were booked.  Of course they were!  There are tons of ballet studios and all of them hold recital at the end of May.  I suggested a few places, and A was off once again to try to book a place.  And no A does not work for M at all.  She was just being nice and helping out.

April ends, and we get into May.  Now I'm really getting nervous.  There are ballet pictures, costumes, everything.  Finally, I get a picture of the costume.  Completely adorable, and I love it.  It's pink and brown polka dots.  Wonderful.  Finally, just before Mothers Day we order them.  When is the recital you ask?  I'm glad you mentioned that.  It's now the first Friday in June.  Grandparents arrange work schedules and life is good.  Yesterday we get notified it's been changed to Saturday, pictures are now at 3 pm on Tuesday, and extra practice at the ballet studio on Wednesday.  Um, what was that?

Let's break that down.  We get an "Oops, sorry, I gave you the wrong date" on a new information sheet. Call grandparents to tell them of the changes.  OK, done.  Next on that list is pictures are Tuesday at 3 pm.  Well, since I work 8-5 I think we'll be missing those.  Done.  Extra practice Wednesday at 4.  Ronnie gets off work at 3, so he will be able to make it.  But where is the studio?  The address is given as "above such and such gymnastics studio".  Wonderful.  Would someone be so kind as to tell me where that is?  Please?    Finally we got costumes today, a week before recital.  I googled M's studio phone number.  Left a message as instructed, being rather sarcastic as I did.  You see, there was no greeting other than "leave a message".  I had no idea if I called a business, a personal cell phone, or Mir Space Station!

I did get a return call, so luckily it was the studio not Mir.  I asked a question about the headpiece that goes with the costume.  And then I asked where the studio is located.  I was once again referred to the name of the gymnastics studio.  I asked her to pretend I'm not from our city, that my husband is from New Orleans and I most recently lived in Miami before here.  I got an address after that.  Then when I mentioned the costume isn't like the picture we saw, it's in fact black with pearls, not pink and brown polka dots I was informed she ordered the wrong one.  When I mentioned I really liked the other costume, I got an "Oh well, I like this one better."

So, how to ruin a business in it's first year:

  1. Don't talk to parents.  Here's a hint, we write the check. Not the 4 year old.
  2. Have no communication skills.  
  3. Blame others.  Sorry that I refuse to believe it's my daycare directors fault about picture time.
  4. Be unorganized.  March should mean March, not May.
  5. Be rude to parents.  Refer to #1, I write the check.
I must say, her totally freaking out and having a hissy fit about Paige's hair cut made me not like her even more.  Sorry Paige's hair doesn't fit into your idea of what it should be.  Get over it.  I gave birth to her, I have more say than you do.  M has already been told Paige will not be attending her studio next year.  

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Geeky Alphabet

I haven't been Geeky enough lately.  A friend of mine posted this on Facebook this morning and I instantly fell in love with it!  Here's the Geek Alphabet.

Geeky Alphabet on Geeks Are Sexy.

Now, I'll admit I fall into many of those categories.  What letters fit me you ask?

A- this was my birthday present
D- David Tenant is still my favorite
E- I use them all the time :)
G- I'm a Gadget kinda girl
H- I like taking things apart, and putting them back together!
i- As I type this on my MacBook, text on my iPhone, and listen to my iPod
K- Gotta use one
L- I was her one year for Halloween, cinnamon bun hair and all
N- Hoping to see the next launch in person
O- I do like to use it
R- I could do this all day every day and be happy
S- I do like that class
T- Also good for crafts
U- Things are always changing
V- It makes things work
W- I sue it frequently
Y- I feel it's my duty to raise the next generation of Geek.

Wow, 17 out of 26, not too shabby.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wreck This Journal

Have you discovered this book yet?  No?  Check it out here.  I picked it up the other day when I needed a stress reliever at work.  Now it happily sits on my desk waiting for me to wreck it.  I must say, it goes against everything I believe in with a book.  I don't even turn down the corners of the pages, much less break the spine.  But, the book does instruct me to break the spine so I tried.  I didn't do a very good job, but I can keep trying.  Here's what my book looks like to start.

All nice and clean and pretty.

That's my actual book, propped up on my desk at work. When I need a little break, I just open to a page and do what it says.  So far I've numbered the pages, written out a few negative thoughts, and tried to break the spine.  There are suggested materials you can use in the book.

And there's a few instructions.

I won't carry the book everywhere with me. It sits on my desk patiently waiting for me.  There are a few things I can't do with the book at work.  Things like take it in the shower and sleep with it.  After I do everything I can at work, I'll bring it home to finish it out.  Expect to see some updates on here as I destroy the book.  I have to admit, it's a lot of fun!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

More Free Summer Fun

I'm one of those parents who likes to keep their kid occupied and active during the summer.  I also don't want to pay for a lot of activities if i don't have to.  What can I say?  I'm frugal.  That just sounds so much better then cheap, don't you think?  But realistically, there's lots of things out there to do that cost little to no money.  Don't get me wrong, we do some things that require payments, like ballet and possibly gymnastics.

I've already told you about the free summer bowling. Our area is close enough we can go to the beach, another great free activity.  We don't have a pool, but several friends live in apartments and have offered unlimited access to their community pools.  And one of my favorite places for free summer fun: the library.

Every library system is different, of course.  Google your local library system and start checking it out.  Ours offers Kids Crafts Saturdays.  The brilliant thing is that it rotates each week.  One branch has it this week, then a different branch next week.  We can do different crafts at different branches every week.  In two weeks they'll kick off their summer reading program.  The kick off is always great.  There's crafts, games, and lots of free stuff.  Area restaurants and businesses get involved.  Last year we got coupons for free miniature golf, free AAA baseball tickets, free kids meal at Applebee's, and lots of other things.  During the course of the reading program there will be other activities as well.  Then, at the end of the summer the grand finale will be a blast.  They'll open up one of the museums for free entry and have stations set up for kids to do things all over the museum.  Aside from all of that, you'll still get the regular great benefit of the library: you'll get new books to read all summer long. What could be better?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Creative Parenting

We've been having some issues at daycare.  Very unladylike issues.  Paige has been pulling her dress up and showing her panties.  We've tried and tried to make her stop.  And she does for a little while, depending on the punishment, but it never seems to last. We've tried talking to her, time outs, spankings, and grounding her for the night.  All of these have had varying degrees of success.  She'll stop for a time, then start back up again.  After the last time she did it I told her if she did it again I wouldn't let her wear dresses to daycare again.  That seemed to work for about a month.

Today when I dropped her off I was told she kept doing it so much yesterday they made her change into shorts.  Yes, I noticed she wasn't in a dress when I got home yesterday, I'm not that unobservant.  But she and Ronnie had been bike riding, and they always change out of a dress to ride bikes, so I didn't think anything of it.  No, she was being bad and showing her panties.  She also bit Cameron and threw rocks at windows.  The biting was an easy solution.  I told her next time she bites Cameron I will let Cameron bite her back.  Teachers may not be able to let it happen, but Mommy can.  Paige doesn't want Cameron to bite her because it hurts.  Hopefully that will stop her from biting.  Mac Mac, her teacher, got her to stop throwing rocks by letting her know if she throws rocks again she'll lose some playground privileges.  The dress thing was a bit more difficult.  I did follow through on my promise of no more dresses to daycare.  But I also told her I would talk to Daddy and we would decide on her punishment together.

As I drove to work I called Ronnie to talk about it.  I had told her she couldn't wear dresses to daycare, but that still left lots of other places to wear one.  There was still weekends, church with Aunt Wii, Grammy's house, lots of places.  Ronnie took it one step further.  She can't wear dresses for a month. Ronnie brought home a couple of small boxes from work and Paige packed up her dresses and skirts.  She understands why she can't wear them.  We stacked the boxes up on a dresser in her bedroom with the date on them of when she can wear them again.  I was going to take a picture to post here, but at the last minute Paige had a temper tantrum and got sent to bed in a hurry.  I didn't have a chance to snap a picture.

I'm hoping this punishment will be effective.  Paige loves to wear dresses and not being able to wear them for a month will be pretty harsh on her.  That may sound like overkill to some of you.  But we're hoping that by taking them away, by the time she gets them back she'll have broken the habit.  Or, she'll be so happy to have dresses again that she won't want to lose the privilege for another month.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kids Bowl Free

Nope, not a trick.  Click here to find a bowling alley in your area.  Of course there are restrictions.  My local alley only offers it on weekdays before 8 PM.  Each child can bowl 2 free games each day.  Also, there is an option for parents to sign up for their own bowling.  For $24.95 parents can sign up for 2 games each day as well.  I definitely encourage everyone to sign up, at least for the free kids bowling.  Nothing like cheap summer fun!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Self Rescuing Princess

Like most 4 year old girls Paige likes playing Princess.  She likes the Disney Princesses, has lots of princess dress up clothes, and says she wants to be a princess when she grows up.  That's great.  I know she'll go through many likes and dislikes as she grows up.  Ronnie and I may not like the whole princess thing, but we are most definitely letting her be her own person and express herself.  All of that is great.  We want her to have fun and at this stage, that includes princesses.

Of course, Mommy is a rather independent person.  That's how I was raised.  I want Paige to be independent as well.  Most of the princess stories don't really have self sufficient heroines; they're waiting around for a prince to come save them.  We have plenty of those stories around here.  I was wanting more books that showed the princess as the heroine, not the damsal in distress.  As I was browsing one of my favorite websites, Think Geek, I found this shirt.  Ah yes, they have it in both Mommy & Paige sizes.  I love the write up on this shirt.  Think Geek does a great job on all of their descriptions.

As I read, I knew all of the women or movies they mentioned: Star Wars, Buffy, Wonder Woman.  But who was this Elizabeth?  I hadn't read the book they mentioned The Paper Bag Princess.  I did a quick search and found the basis for this story.  I knew we had to have it.  This princess takes charge, kicks a dragons butt, and tells the prince off in the end.  Paige may not understand the whole meaning behind the story yet, but she does understand most of it.  The first time we read it she was sad they didn't get married in the end.  Then I pointed out that the prince wasn't very nice to her, and she agreed Elizabeth needs to marry someone nice.  We've now read the book 4 times in the very first day.  She keeps asking me to read it to her again and again.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Girls Weekend

Paige and I are having a girls weekend.  During tax season Ronnie picked up the majority of the housework.  He also did a lot of the parenting while I was working late and gave up his weekends and time with friends to care for Paige.  Now that tax season is over, I'm back to more reasonable hours. I worked 45 hours last week instead of the 50-60 a week before April 15th.

Ronnie made plans to go to a Sci Fi convention this weekend.  Let's be honest, I would LOVE to go to a good Sci Fi convention.  But this one?  Not so much.  It's a small one in town and is designed more for gamers than Sci Fi addicts.  Now, if it were ComiCon in Vegas I would sooooo be the first one packed.  Ronnie packed his bags this morning and went off for the weekend.  He's staying with a friend at the hotel.  That way he can come and go and be out as last as he wants having fun and gaming with friends.

While he's out Paige and I are having some good Mommy Daughter time.  So far today we've been to the pet store, a great free place she loves, and the grocery store.  Depending on when the rain gets here we'll spend our afternoon at either the park or the mall.  She asked to go to the mall so she can get a Starbucks.  I'm thinking this afternoon will involve painting toenails and having some girly time.  Tomorrow she's going to church with Aunt Wii while I do some housework and curl up on the couch with a good book.  From the sounds I hear coming from the monitor, my little girl is up and ready to continue our afternoon of fun.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Clothes shopping

Clothes shopping is not my favorite activity.  For a while there I hated shopping because I didn't like the way I looked.  Thanks to my weight loss program, I'm liking myself more and more these days.  I've lost a total of 34 pounds and gone from a size 16 to an 8 or 10 depending on the cut.  And those 16's were getting pretty tight.  A couple of weekends ago I tried on my one and only pair of shorts.  They fell off, which is a good thing since it meant I've lost a lot of weight.  But a bad thing because it meant I had to go shopping.

Armed with coupons and determined to try on clothes without cringing, I hit Penney's.   I found shorts.   I found three pair of shorts.  Yep, three pairs.  And in much smaller sizes too.  That made it even better.  And the fact that I had coupons and they were on sale was even better.

Having successfully tried on shorts the other day, I got very brave tonight.  It was time to try on bathing suits.  I dug to the back of the bottom dresser drawer to find suits I haven't worn in a couple of years.  The suits from 2 years ago fit pretty well.  The biggest surprise, the best surprise, was the suit I had four years ago fits even better now than it did then!  While I may not be the cutest, thinnest, sexiest person on the beach this summer, I'll be very comfortable in my suit out there for the first time in years!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons

I loved Saturday morning cartoons as a kid.  There was nothing better than getting up, getting a bowl of cereal and claiming the bean bag chair for hours to watch them.  It was great.  I watched Smurfs, Looney Tunes, School House Rocks, all the good ones.  Yesterday morning I watched cartoons with Paige.  And I realized, once again, Saturday morning cartoons are just crappy.  I think part of it is e no longer have to wait for Saturday to watch cartoons.  Our cable network has at least 5 channels dedicated to cartoons.  Plus Disney Channel which has lots of cartoons.

I'm not opposed to new cartoons.  Really, I'm not.  There are some out there that I really like.  Like Phineas and Ferb, and The Fairly Odd Parents.  Luckily, Paige likes both of those.  In fact, we invited Phineas and Ferb to her birthday party in January.  They declined, of course, via Facebook, where Daddy is friends with the creator.  It's just that most of the stuff on the networks on Saturday morning is just yucky.  Badly written, badly drawn, badly voiced.  We're sticking with the stuff on Nick and Disney mostly, with some Cartoon Network thrown in.  

Of course, we do want Paige to know the good stuff too.  We have several season packages of Smurfs and Fraggle Rock.  We have all of School House Rocks.  She seems to enjoy them.  Good thing too.  There's a Smurf movie coming out next year that Mommy wants to see.  It's much better if I can take her with me to see it.  I'll get less funny looks that way.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mommy's Day Weekend

In this house Mommy deserves more than just 1 day, so Mommy gets the full weekend.  Of course, since I'm Mommy, I'm probably a bit biased in my opinion.  Luckily, Daddy agrees with me.  I get a weekend full of pampering.  You may ask what that includes?

I started last night.  A spur of the moment Girls Night In.  A friend, K, and I decided at the last minute to go out and have some appetizers and a drink or two.  Her kids were to be with their Dad last night.  The kids changed their mind and our night went from out to in.  No problems, the oldest went to a friends for the night, and the younger played by herself and watched TV.  We spent the majority of the evening sitting on her front porch with Coke, beer, and an appetizer sampler from Applebee's talking.  Probably one of the best Girls Night In I've had in a long time.

Today I got up with Paige so Ronnie could sleep in a bit.  She and I laid on the couch watching Saturday morning cartoons.  The serious lack of good Saturday morning cartoons is a whole other post.  We had cereal for breakfast and just lounged.  This afternoon is taken up with watching Sherlock Holmes and making Paige pick up her toys and shoes in the living room.

Tomorrow my Mom is coming over.  A day of relaxing is in order.  Maybe even a trip to Redbox for a movie for us tomorrow.  Ronnie is cooking for us, of course, barbecue chicken, mashed potatoes, and grilled asparagus with key lime pie for dessert.   My Mothers Day gift has been ordered, or at least I think it has.  I'll have to check with K to double check.  I want to see Carrie Underwood in concert.  Ronnie does not like country music.  I'll be going to the concert with K and her step mom.  Tickets went on sale this morning.  K's step mom was going to get the tickets for us, and we'll pay her back.  Tickets aren't over priced as they are for a lot of concerts.  And since I only have to buy 1 ticket for myself, and not one for each of us, it's definitely more affordable.  My usual gift, renewing our membership to the local science museum, is more expensive and now unnecessary.  They've announced their next 2 showings, which will take us to the end of the year, and neither interest me.  No point in paying for a membership I won't use.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Star Wars Day!

I just about missed it.  That would have made me very sad.  I didn't realize what the date was until I got home and read a blog post.  Today is May Fourth.  Say it out loud if you need to.  It's May the Fourth.  Yep, you got it.  May the Force be with you.