Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The finished product...

Jim created this lil' video, documenting the completion of the nursery....ENJOY!!!

:-)


Not quite done....but I'm almost there.

Hey everyone...I'm posting from home today and I've got a MILLION things to do, so this is going to be brief! :-)

We had our first home visit yesterday with the folks from DCF. It went very well. The woman had a few suggestions for us as far as home safety was concerned, but nothing that we wouldn't have done on our own anyway. Stuff like keeping medicine and cleansers out of reach, putting up gates, etc...etc... Mostly common sense stuff. However, I'm sure there are families out there that need to be told that stuff.
All in all, it went very well and she was very nice.

I'm going to go now because I've got shopping, wrapping and laundry to do.

Before I go, I want to quickly acknowledge the fact that yesterday was the 24th anniversary of my mom's passing.
YIKES.
I can't believe how quickly time has flown. I'm glad that I had yesterday off though, so I was able to stop by the cemetery and pay a 'visit'. Even stranger are the number of friends and neighbors who are now in the cemetery along with my mom.
It was a sad visit, but I'm glad I went.
For those of you who are new to my blog, here's the post from last year's anniversary.
It's a nice little remembrance for my mom....which I'm sure she'd appreciate. :-)

Have a great day folks....and if I don't find myself back online before Friday - have a VERY merry Christmas. xoxo

Monday, December 21, 2009

S-N-O-W!!!!!


Good LORD did we get snow!!!!

I would guess that we received just under 2 feet of snow. It started snowing around 10pm on Saturday night and didn't stop until well after 2pm on Sunday.

Jim and I shoveled for two and a half hours.

Ouch.

Actually, as sore as I am, it kind of feels like I just had a really good workout at the gym.
Which I suppose is a good thing, since I have no intention of going this afternoon. :-)

Anyway - the weekend was quite fun and very productive.

Friday night we had a bunch of softball friends over, which turned out to be SO much fun. On Saturday, Jim and I did some more Christmas shopping and are SOOO close to being done. It's very exciting. Saturday night we went grocery shopping and then went to dinner at 'the Grille'. Getting the grocery shopping out of the way was SUCH a good idea since we were prety much snowed in until 1:30 or so on Sunday.
Once we were shoveled out, we went to Jim's sister's house to celebrate the birthday's of our nephew Danny (his birthday was on the 19th) and our niece Katie (her birthday was the 20th). We ate a ton of food and I had a few drinks. :-)
Between the shoveling, the food, and the beer - I was MORE than ready for bed, so Jim and I went to bed early last night.

Quick story: We live on a very main street, and as a result we end up with a HUGE mound of snow at the end of our driveway due to the fact that the plows are coming by over and over again. This snow tends to be VERY densely packed, extremely heavy, and as it was with yesterday's snowfall, it's usually about 'hip' high. As Jim and I were tackling the snow pile at the end of our driveway, a couple of guys drove by in a white pickup truck with the window rolled down, yelled out at us "Ha Ha!!!" and drove away laughing.

Now, I can take a joke as well as the next guy, but when I've been outside in the snow shoveling for two hours, I'm in NO mood for jokes. ESPECIALLY when it's coming from two idiots that are driving a landscaping company's pick up truck.

Yes, that's right....these idiots were driving along, laughing at us from their company truck. Seriously??? How stupid.

Needless to say, once all was said and done - Jim called the company to let them know that there were employees out there in a company truck laughing at people, and not exactly representing the company very well. Especially a company that offers sanding and plowing as one of their services in the winter.

I also posted the company info on my wall on facebook and encouraged all my local friends to avoid them. Their website is 'Under Construction', but I'll post it here just for laughs.
If you're in the Bridgewater, MA area or know anyone who is - tell them that Larry's Lawn Care are to be avoided. They employ idiots.

To quote one of my all-time favorite movies: "DON'T FUCK WITH ME FELLAS!!!! This ain't my first time at the rodeo."





Friday, December 18, 2009

I survived the office 'pot luck'....



Like so many other people I know, I am NOT a fan of the office 'pot luck'.

It's one thing to have a pot luck with people you know and love (see Tuesdays post) but it's QUITE another thing to take part in a pot luck with your co-workers - most of whom you have never laid eyes on before.

It's especially daunting when you work with a very 'diverse' group of people.

We have a separate web site for all the testers, and that is where people were asked to RSVP to the pot luck and also list what they were bringing.

Here are a few of my favorites (I'm copying them verbatim from the site)

I will bring in Chiken Appetizer and one desert (Gulab Jamun)
I will bring a Fatata
I will bring Tropicana Juices
I'll bring venison meatballs and finger rolls
Salad with mixed nuts
I will bring "Chana Masala"
Will bring Various Chinese All Time Favorite Dishes
Hi - I will bring in assorted Totino's Pizza Rolls
And then this last one was a group entry:

Kavitharoy - Samosa
Prashanth - Ice Cream
Muthu - Veg Biriyani
Raja - Mango Lassi (Mango flavored yogurt drink)
Suresh - Tamarind Rice
Bhaskar - Cut Fruits
Ravi – Sprite

As you can tell by the sampling above, there were a lot of International dishes to choose from.

Now, I'm certainly into trying new foods, but I'm not going to try something new and exciting made by a complete stranger. Sorry!

I played it safe and had some fried rice (brought in from a local Chinese restaurant) a couple of meatballs (made by someone I know) and half a chicken salad finger sandwich (again, made by someone I know) so I didn't go hungry. :-)

So, that was my exciting day in the office yesterday.

I only have to make it through today and Monday - then I'm on VACATION until January 5th.
I'm not going anywhere, so you'l still here from me - don't worry.

So. Very. Excited.

Jim and I are having some of the softball gang over tonight for a little holiday cocktail party and I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a small group (some of my teammates and a few other randoms) but it will be nice to see everyone.
None of our friends ever gets to see our house decorated for the holidays, so that will be a nice change.


Well that's all folks...I'm going to raid the office fridge and see if there's any leftover Fatata and Chana Masala (which, by the way, I totally thought was someones name when I first read it. Nice.)

Have a GREAT weekend and I'll be back on Monday.....xoxo


Here are some more pictures of the house. The outside shots are a bit blurry, but you get the idea. They were taken last year, but it pretty much looks the exact same this year, so I figured it was OK to post them. :-)
The inside shots are from this year though.....




This was my mother's nativity scene (yes, they're Hummels). It was given to me after she passed away and I've put it up every year since I moved out of my childhood home.










Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Here's your damn post!!! ;-)

My dear, dear friend Joanne was on my case today because I didn't update my blog - so now I'm updating it.

Are you HAPPY?!?!?

This is a picture of Joanne and I.



We've known each other since 5th grade. Not only were we in the same class, but we both played clarinet in the school band.

We had 'Mr. G' as a band teacher and we were very cool.

Now that I look back on it, I think I kind of had a crush on him.
He was a handsome man, with lots of dark hair (it was always 'done') and he always smelled really good.

Weird.

I haven't thought about him in a LONG time. I wonder what ever happened to him???


Anyway - Joanne and I were in the same 5th grade class and our teacher was Miss Irvine.
I don't remember much about her beyond the fact that she was very nice and she used to make us start each day with calisthenics.

That's right people - every morning we were required to do some stretches, and a few easy exercises to 'get the blood pumping'. Jumping jacks were always expected.

Aside from our morning exercises, and her very kind demeanor - she was a MAJOR flirt with our elementary school principal.

Seriously.

Whether she was flirting with him or she was being sexually harassed we'll never know, but it was normal for him to stop by the class for a visit, chat her up for a bit, and give her a pat on the ass as he left. Joanne and I both recall it vividly and we still laugh about it to this day.

I don't ever remember Miss Irvine being uncomfortable at all.
She would just blush a bit, giggle, and continue on with whatever we were doing.

CRAZY!!!!

That's my post for the day.

Were we witnesses to sexual harassment in the workplace?
Or just the actions of a couple of horny elementary school employees?

Only the shadow knows....



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Party Time!!!


Last night we had a little, pot-luck, holiday celebration at the Kipp's house. It was so nice to see everyone and spread a little holiday cheer. Of course, I ate WAY too much so I'll be spending a little extra time at the gym this afternoon.

Yikes.

I don't have any pictures to share (because B hasn't posted them yet, so I can't steal them) but I'll put them up when they become 'available'. :-)

In the meantime, these will have to tide you over.

The 2009 Christmas Village!!!!




Scooter and the Christmas tree



Waiting for Santa...








Awwww....




Sleeeeeepy.....



Ready for the Christmas card photo shoot...



He is clearly done with us.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bit by bit, putting it together...

We are SO close to having the 'soon-to-be-nursery' done it's making me CRAZY!!

At this point we only have to throw one more coat of paint on a little area, take down all the painter's tape, get all the 'equipment' (drop cloths, brushes, etc.) out of there, clean up the floors, and then we can finally get a real idea of how it all came out.

Everyone that has stopped by to see it really likes what we've done - so I'm looking forward to sharing the photos with ya'll.

This weekend was a WHIRLWIND of activity. Shocking, I know.

Friday night Jim and I went to the Grille for dinner and then stayed for a few drinks with Jim's folks who arrived just as we were finishing up. We then headed home and made some adjustments to the tree so that we could finally get it into the house and let it 'fall'.

Note to self: In hindsight, using a chainsaw after a 'few' drinks at the Grille may not have been the smartest thing we've ever done, but whatever...it all worked out just fine. :-)

It was a huge relief to have it up and inside the house - as opposed to sitting outside on the screened in porch.

Saturday morning we got up early and began painting right away. By the time my friend Kerry (who was visiting from NH) got to our house we were almost finished. While Kerry and I were out running some errands, Jim finished up. Kerry and I finished what we had to do and then the three of us went out to lunch. After lunch, we came home and we all decorated the tree....it was nice to have Kerry there with us helping out. Not only was it fun - but it made things go a lot faster. We've got SO many ornaments that when Jim and I do it, it takes a LONG time. While we were working on the tree, Jim's mother stopped by to see the house so we stopped and visited for a bit with her. Once the tree was completely decorated, (YAHOO!!) Kerry helped us out further by taking our Christmas card photo. That was a HUGE help.
I'm not going to go into specifics as to what the card looks like at the moment, but I'll post it eventually. Kerry had to get back to NH, so she headed home once the 'photo shoot' was completed.
Jim and I then showered and got ready for a Christmas party we were going to in Boston with our friend Charles.

As it turned out, the party wasn't as fun as we'd hoped. It was hosted by a former co-worker of Jim's, and while it was great to see her, the crowd was a VERY odd mix of people and all the food they had there had been out since the party began (around 4-ish) so we wanted nothing to do with that. We stayed for a while, but then we ended up leaving and going out for Thai food, followed by a quick trip to Fritz, where we ran into a couple of my softball teammates and finished up the night there. FUN!!!

On Sunday we both got up early and while I whisked Scooter off to doggie day care for the day, Jim began getting things ready for the annual 'cookie baking day' with his sister and niece, Katie. By the time I got back home, things were in full swing - so I got the hell out of the way.
At 10, Jim and I headed to church. It was a very fun service. The youth group did a 'dramatic presentation' that was quite entertaining. In fact, it was a hell of a lot more entertaining than some of the shows that the local community theatres have been churning out these days.

Say what?!?!?

Anyway - it was fun and the 'kids' did a great job.

After church, Jim and I rushed home so that he could get back to baking. We had a quick lunch, Jim's parents arrived for a visit, and after about an hour or so, they left. Once they left, I went grocery shopping, ran to the store to pick up our Christmas cards (gotta love Walgreens and their SUPER FAST Christmas card making process), came home and then went to go pick up Scooter at daycare. As I pulled into the driveway, Jim's sister and niece were just leaving so I walked in the house to see Jim in full cleaning mode.
Once the kitchen/house was back to 'normal' - we both started getting to go to the TWO holiday parties that we had on the schedule for last night.

The two of us looked like we had been beaten up, but we were trying our best to stay awake and get ready. :-)

At this point, it was about 6pm, pouring out, yet it felt like it was about 11pm.
We managed to get to the first party (which was about 5 minutes down the road) but we never made it to the second one.
Sorry everyone!!!
We were at my friends house, sitting on the couch and trying our best to stay awake, so I think we made the right call. The second party was about 30-40 minutes away and most of the people that were there are people that we're going to be seeing tonight or at some other point within then next couple of weeks.
Hopefully it will all work out and we'll see everyone before (or close to) Christmas. :-)

I'm going to end this incredibly detailed diatribe and get to work. I hope you all had a great weekend and a fantastic week.

And no - I still haven't started Christmas shopping yet.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thank you for being a friend....



My apologies to Larry over at Patently Queer for getting to this SO late in the week, but I didn't want to just tack it onto another entry and so much has been going on this week, I hope he understands. :-)

Anyway - Larry gave me a 'Circle of Friends Award' on Tuesday and as a recipient of that award, I am to now list 5 things that I enjoy or like doing - and pass the award on to 5 others.




FUN!!!

All Things Broadway - this will not surprise anyone who's even peeked at my blog for more than a week or so. I love everything about the Great White Way!!! Whether it's seeing a show, visiting a Broadway chat room, or listening to cast recordings non-stop - it's certainly part of my day to day life and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Blogging - again, not a shock, I'm sure. I love writing my blog and try my best to write something each day (I generally take weekends off) but even more, I LOVE reading all the blogs I've grown attached to over the past year....and I get sad when people haven't written for a while.

New Hampshire - for some inexplicable reason, I have always loved New Hampshire. I ended up going to college there and loved every minute of it. It's always been a great place for me to 'get away from it all' and whenever I'm up there I always have a great time.

My Friends - I'm so fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing group of people that I call my friends. They're always there when I need them and they never fail to make me laugh. Whether it's friends from my childhood, college, the theatre world, and even my newest friends from 'town' I love spending time with them. Yes, my husband is included in this group...he's my best friend of all.

Softball - Not in a million years would I have ever thought that I'd enjoy playing a sport, but I absolutely do. I love my teammates and even with all the political crap that goes on 'behind the scenes' - getting out there during the summer and seeing all those people having a great time makes me very happy.

Now it's time to pass the Circle of Friends award on!!!! If I select your blog as an 'award winner' - you're supposed to do the same thing I just did. Of course, if you don't - I won't tell anyone. :-) I may end up presenting the award to people who have won it already, but whatever. It's my award to present, so suck it up.

Up and Up - this is the first blog I ever started reading. I found it via a theatre chat board and turned out that it was a home-grown Southie boy writing it. Who knew? It runs the gamut from hysterical to touching - but it's always entertaining.

Spo-Reflections - I have no idea how I found this blog, but I started reading it and found myself going back every day which is a clear indication that it's wicked cool. It's written by Dr. Spo...he's a shrink (he says it himself, so it's not a bad word) in Phoenix so clearly he has lots of great things to say. And as if that wasn't enough; he makes his own shirts AND he can quilt. Done.

Are You There, Blog? It's Me, Stephen - Again, I have no idea how I found this blog, but I saw the title and instantly fell in love. Stephen is a theatre savvy, singer, actor, and Cabaret STAR in Chicago and he is hilarious. He and I instantly bonded over our love for 'Strangers With Candy' and it's been going strong ever since. :-)

mennonno sapiens - In a strange twist, this is a blog I read that has more of a political slant to it. I know, right? Me and politics? Strange. Since I'm able to understand it and ENJOY it, clearly means that it's more than just political. It's SO well written, funny, and it certainly doesn't hurt that I agree with 90% of the stuff he's saying on there. He too, is a Boston fella and bears a VERY strong resemblance to Hugh Laurie (sorry, I had to say it) :-)

Brettcajun - It just wouldn't be right if I didn't include Brettcajun in this list. Other than Up and Up, he was the other blog that began it all and got me writing. In fact, most of the blogs I read today I found through his blog. Apparently he's got GREAT taste.....aside from the fact that he was elated when the Saints crushed the Patriots a couple of weeks ago. He's a true Southern Belle ;-) and anyone who makes music videos, starring them and their roosters is all right in my book.

Well kids, those are just 5 of my favorites....I urge you to visit any of the other blogs listed in my blog list. Chances are, you'll find SOMETHING you like.


Have a GREAT weekend!!!! xoxo








Thursday, December 10, 2009

Now I'm a Believer

Let me start off my saying that last night's session was VERY cool, totally worth the time and money; and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Let me also say that I, personally wasn’t ‘contacted’ by anyone - which is OK. Initially I was a bit disappointed because out of the 5 of us that went together I was the only one who didn’t have anyone ‘speak’ to them, so I felt a little bit excluded. However, in thinking about it now, I’d much rather have no information given to me than try and force information out of the medium so that I felt ‘included’. Besides, I’m sure that all the people I know on the ‘other side’ were probably spending the night at some bar or at a party, having a few cocktails. :-)

Anyway – it was really quite interesting. Jim was ‘contacted’ by his friend Brian who passed away while they were in college. The medium had a LOT to say about him and really described Brian’s personality perfectly. He had a lot to say to Jim and there were some VERY specific things that she brought up that related to Jim and Brian. I can’t really get into all the details here, because it just won’t come across ‘right’ in reading it, but a couple of specific examples were that Brian was commenting on the fact that Jim was in the process of painting (which he spent the entire day doing) and that in general that Jim has been ‘neglecting’ his creative side. She said that we had no framed pictures of Brian anywhere and that he wanted Jim to take one of the two pictures Jim has of him tucked away somewhere, enlarge it, and frame it.
One of the craziest things was that during the chat with Brian, out of the blue, the medium asked if we had a dog.
Jim answered yes and then she said “Well, Brian says the dog likes him – and always knows when he is there.”

Say what?

One of our friends then asked her if the odd things that have been happening at our house can be attributed to Brian, and his response was “I’m not doing everything!”

It was cool.

Some of the other people there had some really specific things mentioned about their family members and loved ones that have passed on (names, places, events).

When the medium was ‘talking’ to one of the women’s husband who had recently passed, she told the woman that her husband kept talking about flowers and kept saying that she should go out and buy them for herself because he wasn’t there to do it. Well, as it turns out – up until he died, the woman’s husband used to bring home flowers for her every Friday night on his way home from work. She also asked the same woman if she kept a picture of him on her nightstand (which she did) and if so, he liked it being there and it should be kept there.

Were there things that were mentioned that were totally generic and applicable to the average person?? Absolutely.
But there were SO many specific things mentioned as well, that it REALLY made you think twice.

One last thing….when Jim got up this morning, the water fountain in our Christmas Village was turned on. It definitely wasn’t on when I went to bed or when Jim got up to use the bathroom at 2am (I always make sure all the lights in the house are off before going upstairs). When he noticed it was on, he went to go shut it off and the switch was in the ‘OFF’ position. As soon as he looked at touched it, it went off.
I know from past experience that it’s a super sensitive switch, but even so, the timing of everything was quite spooky.

Have a great, great, day!!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'll take that, in a MEDIUM...

Jim and I are attending a 'session' tonight with a medium. Yes, that's right...a medium.
As in someone who regularly has contact with the spirit world.

Interesting.









Our friends have heard good things about her and saw that she had an event coming up, so they bought us tickets. It should be interesting because it's being held in a little antique store in the center of town and the event is limited to 15 people. Now, there's no guarantee that she'll have something to say to all of us, but since there are 5 of us in our group, I'm hoping that at least one of us gets some 'information'.

I've never been to a medium or anything similar before. The closest I've come to anything like that was getting my cards read at the Regina Russell Tea Room back in the city where I grew up - and that was fairly generic and not all that exciting. But the idea of a medium totally intrigues me.

Maybe she'll have a message from our 'house ghost'? Or maybe from a family member that has 'passed on'?

Either way, I'm a little nervous, but also very excited...


I'm pretty sure that several readers will really be into this, so please - if you have any advice or personal experiences with mediums, feel free to share.

I know that you're supposed to go in there with an open mind - so I've got that part covered, but I'll take any more advice that you may have to offer!!!


In other news, it's snowing like crazy here but it's supposed to turn to rain in a few hours. Surprisingly, my commute was totally fine this morning. Apparently the snow kept all the lunatic drivers in check. :-)


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Almost finished....


Well, the decorating is coming along nicely, but for some reason, this year it is a CHORE! Of course, I'm speaking for Jim, because he's the one who's been dealing with the brunt of it. :-)

He's been trying to get all the outside lights up and running, but has run into one problem after another. Just about every string of lights that we bought last year is now broken....BUT not completely broken - just random sections aren't lighting up. IRRITATING.

Jim has managed to make it all work and the outside is looking FANTASTIC.

I'm pretty sure the outside is all set, so we can now concentrate on getting the inside of the house completed. Hopefully we will be 100% finished by Wednesday night.

I came across a show on TV that was on last night called 'Find My Family'. It was all about adopted children that were in search of their birth parents and/or lost siblings. I'd seen the commercials for it, and it certainly caught my attention, so I decided to give it a chance.

Well, I thought it was pretty awful.

The main host of the show (Tim Green) is HORRIBLE. Apparently, he's a pretty well-rounded fella!! He's a former NFL football player, sports commentator, lawyer, author, and father of 5. He's certainly not bad looking but good lord, he made everything feel so manipulative and incredibly tacky (you WILL cry, whether you want to or not!!).

Everything came across as totally fake and he cried every chance he got. It was beyond irritating. I can't wait to bring it up in our next MAPP class to see what the others think of it -assuming they've watched.

It does bring up a few good points about how these adopted kids were raised though. All of them commented on how they grew up their entire lives knowing they were adopted, so that wasn't ever an issue. They all felt that 'void' (grief and loss!!!) as they got older though, and that's what brought them to the show, in search of their birth families. There was no mention of how the adoptive parents felt about any of it though, and I think that's a huge thing. Maybe that will be covered in a future episode - or maybe it was on a previous episode.

I'm also interested in seeing how they'd deal with coming across birth parents who have either passed away or STILL want nothing to do with their birth children when they realize they're being 'searched for'. I feel like that would be a more realistic situation, as opposed to the two stories they covered last night which had relatively happy endings.

I'll have to keep watching...as much as it pains me to do so. :-)

That's all for today, my peeps.....have a good day!!!

This is the host I was talking about.....good looking, yet annoying.






Monday, December 7, 2009

And the fun continues....

Happy Monday everyone!!

There are 18 shopping days left until Christmas, and I've bought one gift. YAY!!!

Yikes.

Actually, I'm not at all worried. I'm totally one of those people who will go out with a well-organized plan and get everything done in a day or two. No biggie. :-)

We had a VERY busy weekend, and unfortunately never made it to TWO different 'events' that we were hoping to attend. Darn it.

That being said, we had a fun weekend.

Friday night while Jim was getting his hair cut, I headed off to our church craft fair. It was exactly what I expected (lots of tables set up, filled with all sorts of crafts, baked goods, raffle items, etc.) and was full of all sorts of excited folks in the holiday spirit. It was quite nice. There wasn't anything there that I was particularly interested in buying, so I just bought a few raffle tickets and a cookie - and was on my way! I met up with Jim and Charles (Charles was cutting Jim's hair at his salon) and then we headed out to dinner, followed by 'Bear Night' at the local (and only) gay bar. that's right - from the church fair to 'Bear Night'!!

Dinner was very good, but when we arrived at the bar, we found out that it wasn't 'Bear Night' as scheduled but 'Tata Night'. Apparently there was a change that no one told us about!!

Ummm - really?!?!?

Instead of bears, we got boobs. Talk about a disappointment. (no offense to my female readers, of course.)

As it turns out, we had a really good time anyway. Charles knew a few guys there so he introduced them to us and we all hung out together, so it ended up being fun.

Saturday morning we got up, showered and immediately headed up to NH to meet with my friends Kerry and Guy. We met at their house and then were joined by our friends Leah and John. From NH we then drove (actually, John drove) to Deerfield, MA to go shopping at the Yankee Candle flagship store. We've been going for a number of years now, and we ALWAYS have so much fun. Jim and I don't usually buy a ton of candles - every year we buy one 'Medium Jar, Christmas Wreath scent' and then a few votives and some tarts. We tend to buy lots of ornaments and some fun and festive holiday/winter decorations for around the house. This year we behaved and didn't spend a ton of money. We all had coupons for 30% off our entire purchase which was HUGE. Jim and I saved about $65!!! We have lunch at the restaurant there every year (part of the tradition) as well - if you're ever there and are hungry, I HIGHLY suggest the clam chowder. We all get a bowl of it...that's right...a bowl...don't judge...and it's amazing. So good.
This year while we were shopping, it was snowing like crazy, so by the time we packed up and left there was an inch or two of snow on the ground. It was very pretty - but it made the ride home a bit longer than we'd planned.

This is what the car looked like when we left:







(Jim and I haven't loaded our pictures onto the computer yet, so I don't have ours, but Kerry sent me that one.)

We got to Kerry and Guy's house and as we do every year, we showed Kerry's mom and dad all the fun and fantastic things we got. It's one of my favorite parts because Kerry's mom gets SO excited about everything, and we get to see what each of us bought. Things get a little hectic at the store, so you don't always catch what the other couples are doing...so it's nice to 're-cap' the shopping trip at the end of the day.

Here are a couple of things we got....one is a votive holder (gingerbread people) and the other is a tea light holder (snowmen)

Both are CUTE!!!











After all that, Jim and I hit the road for our trek from NH to MA.

We ended up getting home at about 11:30 and went RIGHT to bed. For those of you who are concerned about Scooter, we had our nieces and nephews come over during the day to feed him and play with him while we were gone. :-)

Sunday morning we got up, Jim made a YUMMY breakfast and then we did this:













It was N-I-C-E. Not only was it nice to sit and relax in the hot tub, but it was great to sit in there and look around at the pretty, snow-covered back yard.

That is when having a hot tub is the best. And no - you don't freeze. Yes, it's chilly getting into it, but by the time you get out, you're all warmed up and it's not bad at all getting dried off and into your robe. Fun.

After the hot tub, we each showered and went off to church. We've decided that we're going to 'officially' join the church, so we talked to the Pastor after the service. We're going to set up a meeting with her within the next week or so, just to talk to her for a bit and get to know her a little better. It's kind of exciting. They seem like a really fun group of people and I've really enjoyed going to the services there. Don't worry, I'm not going to go all religious on y'all - it's still the same old me writing this - but now it's a 'church goin' me. :-)

After church we went grocery shopping, had some lunch and then began the Christmas decorating process. Jim was outside stringing lights on the house (white icicle lights on the gutters), while I began unpacking the village. Jim needed to head out to the store and buy more lights since we had several strings of lights 'die' on us at the end of last year. While he was at the store, I continued unpacking.

After several hours and another trip to the store, Jim had all the lights done around the gutters and it looked GREAT. At that point, I'd unpacked all the village so we decided to 'call it a night'.

In the middle of all the unpacking and light hanging, we took advantage of having our brother-in-law's pick up truck and went to buy our tree. We usually go to Home Depot because they always have great trees - BUT when we got there, they said they were closing early because it was the employee Christmas party that night. Have you ever heard of anything so STUPID??? In the time that Jim and I were there, trying to figure out what the hell was going on, we saw at least four or five people turned away from the store. Needless to say, we ended up going to Lowe's (their major competition) getting an AMAZING tree and spending a lot less.

In case you were wondering, I do plan on sending an email to the Home Depot Corporate Headquarters letting them know all about the great deal I got at Lowe's and all the business they lost last night. I don't know whether or not they really care - but I'm telling them!!

Once everything is up and decorated, I'll post pictures of the house, the village, etc..etc... don't you worry!

Have a GREAT day everyone!!!

P.S. - Jim just sent me this picture and I kind of like it, so here it is. :-)






Friday, December 4, 2009

Movin' Right Along....

Jim and I got a call yesterday from the Department of Children and Families. They want to set up a time for them to come out and see the house, and begin the 'home screening' process!!!!

Yikes.
This is really happening. :-)

I know, I know.....it's still a long way off, but considering the fact that about a month ago were hadn't heard a THING, it's very exciting. We've got three out of 8 MAPP classes behind us, they're planning a visit to our house, and Noreen (nhrn) mentioned that she'll be contacting us soon to set up a time for us to go and get fingerprinted. Apparently all foster/adoptive parents need to be fingerprinted and checked out nationwide - how very C.S.I. !!!!!!





(Sorry....I got a little carried away with the George Eads 'Google Image' search)

That was our exciting event for yesterday!!

Other than that, last night we cleaned the house, put away all the fall decorations, and dragged down the BAZILLION Christmas decorations that we have.
We put some stuff up, but it was getting late (well, late for us) and we decided to sleep rather than continue decorating.

Tomorrow we take our annual trip with my college friends to the Yankee Candle 'flagship store' out in Deerfield, MA.
It's been a yearly event for SEVERAL years now and I can't even wait!!!!






Have a great weekend, and I'll 'talk' to you soon......xoxo






Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tiger, Tiger, Tiger....

Oh Tiger....what have you gotten yourself into now?!?!?




I can't wait for this whole thing to blow over. It seems like everyday there's a new lady coming out from somewhere claiming to have had some sort of 'contact' with Mr. Woods. It's reached the point where you really have no idea who's telling the truth and who's trying to get their 4 minutes of 'fame' on Entertainment Tonight.
Why can't these famous people just stay single until they're REALLY ready to settle down?!?!

Whatever...I can't wait for it to just go away.

In other news, this guy got in trouble for his constant jogging (shirtless) through the streets of Portsmouth, NH.




EASY, FELLAS!!!!

He's not interested in any of you!!!! ;-)

Here's a bit of the story, but you can read the entire thing here.

"Police say O’Brien, a 48-year-old who lives in Eliot, Maine, but regularly crossed the border to run here, has obstructed traffic several times by running in the road and has sworn at officers who ordered him to stop. As a result, they charged him with multiple counts of disorderly conduct. O’Brien, who says he runs 8 miles a day in sun, rain, or snow, denies ever causing a traffic problem. He says that he never went looking for trouble but that Portsmouth police have harassed him."

Have a GREAT day everyone....tomorrow is F-R-I-D-A-Y!!!!

PS - YAHOO for Meredith Baxter (Birney) for coming out the other day.

You go, Mrs. Keaton!!!!











Wednesday, December 2, 2009

MAPP #3

Yes folks, it's time once again for my weekly MAPP class re-cap.
Grab your coffee and settle in.

Last night's class began with a re-cap of our previous class, which as you may recall, dealt with the grief/loss that the kids will experience when coming into an adoptive home. Since we're part of the pilot program, our class leaders realized that in following the new format, some things weren't covered as thoroughly as they were in the 'old' format. As a result, Noreen and Krystal (not their real names) wanted to talk a bit more about grief/loss. That discussion tied in nicely to one of this week's major topics, which was trauma and the traumatic events that the kids in the system may have faced before coming into a foster/adoptive home.

We broke up into groups of three people (a total of four groups) and were each assigned a scenario. Each group read the scenario and then had to describe the 'traumatic events' of the scenario, who was affected by the trauma, what the response to the trauma might be, and how the 'caregivers' in the scenario should deal with the traumatized children.
Our scenario dealt with a father who got drunk on Christmas, verbally and physically abused his wife in front of the children, and as a result, one of the children called the police. The father was then arrested, the mom was taken to the hospital, and the children were sent to stay with the father's parents. According to Noreen, this is a very typical scenario and something that happens way too often. Not only the abuse itself, but the fact that all the children (there were three siblings in this case) witnessed everything. Yikes.

One of the points that came out of this discussion (something I never considered) was that often times, children in the system are very much aware of their trauma anniversaries and tend to 'act out' at these times. For example, using the scenario above - assuming these children were placed in a foster or adoptive home - there is a possibility that these kids would become anxious and/or concerned as Christmas approached. Because to them, Christmas is automatically associated with violence. On a similar level, Noreen brought up an excellent point about alcohol consumption in front of certain kids.
Currently, I would think absolutely NOTHING about sitting around on a Saturday night watching TV and drinking a few beers. However, for a child raised in a home where dad downed a 30-pack and proceeded to beat him and his siblings senseless, my 'casual drinking' could have that child sitting in terror, waiting for the violence to begin. Again - something I never even thought about.

Since Jim and I are hoping to adopt an infant, this may not even be an issue for us, but I'm adding it to the list of stuff that I would never have thought of before taking these classes. :-)

The second half of the class focused on how to handle being placed with a child who had been sexually abused. Again, this is hopefully something that Jim and I won't have to deal with, but it was certainly a very interesting/educational topic of discussion.
The discussion thankfully didn't focus on specific cases, but instead, focused on how to set up 'The Healthy Home', as well as how to 'nurture' and show a child you care, without relying on any kind of physical contact with them. Noreen brought up a great example of how when she was first starting out as a social worker, it was her natural instinct when meeting a child for the first time, to approach the child and give them a hug. Well, it didn't take her long to realize that not all children were receptive to that.
That's just a high level example of something that a lot of people may not even think of.

As far as 'The Healthy Home' exercise, we all had to come up with either three 'rules' of the home that focused on making everyone feel safe and secure; or come up with an activity that encouraged family nurturing, without focusing on physical contact. We had to write our three rules/activities on Post-It notes and place them in the 'room' that the rule/activity would apply to. (There was a floor plan of a house drawn on a flip chart for us to use.)

There were some really great suggestions made, but I have to say that both Noreen and Krystal (ntrn) were fans of both mine and Jim's suggestions....without knowing that we wrote them. For example, I suggested a 'Family Walk' as one of the nurturing, yet non-intrusive behaviors and that was apparently the first time in their experience that anyone has chosen an activity outside of the home. They were also a big fan of Jim's suggestion of saying prayers/reflecting on the day before bedtime with the kids.
Hopefully, our suggestions got us some 'extra points' :-)

Side note: Can I just say that some of the stuff that people say out loud in class really surprises me.?!?!? Clearly they want you to be honest, but typically in a public situation, surrounded by people you don't know all that well, you would think that folks would be a little bit reserved in how they voice their opinions on certain subjects. For example, last night when Noreen started the discussion about sexual abuse, one of the men in the class blurted out - "I think they should all be shot! No question."
Ummmm....really.
Even if you do feel that way - which I'm sure lots of people do - would you really just throw that out there for everyone to hear?? Especially in front of the people who are going to be deciding if you're fit to be a parent or not? I don't know...maybe it's just me.

Well my peeps....this had gone on long enough.
I'm going to grab some coffee and get to work!

Have a GREAT day. :-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mr. Perfect



Jim went to the dentist last night for the first time in 15 years....yes, that's right

- FIFTEEN YEARS.

Well, I knew something was up when Jim walked through the door after only being there for 1/2 hour (the first appointment was scheduled for an hour).

I asked how everything went, and Jim informed me that the dentist said:

1. He has beautiful teeth
2. He wished everyone had teeth as nice as Jim's
3. Jim is the only patient that he's ever seen who didn't have to be told to floss more

All that after not seeing a dentist in 15 years!!!


He's going back on Wednesday to meet with the hygienist and have his teeth cleaned (not that he'll need it) He'll probably come home wearing a 'Mr. Perfect Teeth 2009' sash and wearing a crown.


Meanwhile, he has ME to thank for all the praise, since I made the appointment for him. Of course, now that we go to the same dentist, I'm sure I'll never hear the end of it every time I set foot in there. :-)

MAPP class #3 tonight....stay tuned for an update tomorrow.....








Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Wrap-Up

Welcome back everyone!!!

I hope you all had a better commute than I did today....yikes, what a mess!

Anyway....Jim and I had a CRAZY week/weekend, but even though it was crazy; it was great.
Let's see....here's what happened since we last 'spoke':

Wednesday: Jim and I both left work a 'tad' early, and headed to my sister's house for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner. My uncle, aunt and two of my cousins were in town from Chicago visiting, so we all got together. Dinner was GREAT, as was playing catch-up with my relatives who I haven't seen in a very long time.

Thursday: We both got up early and while Jim made cornbread, biscuits, and rolls to bring to his parent's house I took Scooter for a long walk. I set the DVR to record the Thanksgiving Day parades (on both channels) so that I wouldn't miss any of the parade....and all the Broadway performances. YAHOO!! After a delicious dinner, we spent time time hanging out with the family and then went back home for a bit. Later that night, Jim and I went over to Charles' house to visit and have a few drinks. Charles and the twins took off for Dallas on Friday morning to visit Charles' family, so we wanted visit them before they left.

Friday: Jim and I got up early and spent the ENTIRE day working on the soon-to-be nursery. We sanded down all the walls, had some lunch, and then went back to work priming every surface in the room. It took us a really long time, but once it was done, we were very happy. Friday night I picked up my friend Neil (who was visiting from out of town) and we went to our friend Amy's house for the evening. It was so much fun seeing them both and catching up on all the latest news. Amy's three kids were still awake when we arrived, which was nice. I hadn't seen them in so long....I can't believe how big they're getting!!!! Makes me feel o-l-d.

Saturday: Jim and I had a fairly relaxing morning. We woke up, had some breakfast, spent a little time in the hot tub (YAY!!!), showered and then headed over to his brother's house to carpool into the city. We all (Jim's entire family) went in to see matinee performance of the Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker!!! I've never seen a ballet before (I know, right?!?!?) and wasn't sure how I'd feel about it. I ended up having a really good time. We had excellent seats and the show was great. I'm amazed at the talent these people have, not to mention the bodies on those dancers. Holy crap....those dancers are amazingly muscular and believe me, they are showing it all off. There is no hiding anything in those tights....yikes. After the ballet, we walked over to Newbury Street for a late lunch (which was quite yummy) and then headed back home. The trees along Newbury Street are already decorated for Christmas, so it was a very pretty walk back to the car. Once we got home, Jim and I fed Scooter, took him out, and then headed off to Lowe's. We decided to go in a different direction with the soon-to-be-nursery's theme. I'm very excited about it but I'm not going to tell you what we've decided. You'll just have to wait until it's done. HA!!!
We bought all the stuff we needed to paint the room and then headed home. At this point we were both VERY tired (from working on the room the day before, as well as all the walking we did around Boston) so we just sat on the couch, watched TV, and went to bed early.

Sunday: We got up, showered, went to church :-), went grocery shopping, had lunch and then went back to work on the room. We painted all the walls and then painted all the various parts of the radiator. We have baseboard heating in the room, so we had to disassemble the whole thing in order to paint it all....but it looks great so far. We're going to have to go back and do a second coat on everything (annoying), but I'm SOOOO excited that the walls turned out to be 'paintable'. I'm still having nightmares at the thought of having to put up wallpaper!!!

We have a lot going on this week, so I'm hoping that we can get a lot done on the room in the short amount of time we have. I'll definitely keep you posted and I'm sure there will be pictures posted (of the room, as well as my bearded face) very, very soon.

I hope you all had a GREAT holiday and the return to the 'real world' isn't too traumatic for any of you. :-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

MAPP #2

Last night was our second MAPP class! This time we had what I believe will be our full class.
There was a total of 12 people (six couples) there. The woman who was there alone last week was joined by her husband, and there was a new couple that joined us.
The new additions seem very nice, but again - none of them seem like the type of people I'm going to be running out to have coffee with any time soon.

The class last night focused mainly with how the kids in the system deal with grief/loss and how important 'attachments' are to these kids. When I say 'these kids' or 'kids in the system' I don't mean it in a derogatory way at all....it's just how they always refer to them in the class, so it's just out of habit. :-)

The stages of grief/loss for these kids is very similar to the stages of grief/loss that we all (I assume) learned about at one point in our lives, many of which we've experienced ourselves.
The stages that we reviewed last night were: Shock/Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression/Despair, Acceptance/Understanding.
The biggest difference between the way the kids in the system deal with their grief/loss and the way an adult handles it, is that children are less likely to go through the stages in order. One day they may be running around playing with their friends, acting as if nothing is wrong, and then later that night they could be 'acting out' and throwing stuff around their room. Then the very next morning they wake up sad and depressed, only to come home from school completely fine...etc...etc. You never know how each child is going to handle their particular situation, so you have to be ready for anything.
There were a couple of very interesting things that we discussed last night that I hadn't really thought of before.
Because of the fact that Jim and I have been thinking about getting an infant, my thought has always been that the child would be so young, that he/she wouldn't necessarily have to deal with the loss of a parent. If they never 'met' either parent, Jim and I would be the only parents they knew - no problem, right? What I didn't think of (and it seems SOOOO obvious now) is the fact that as the child gets older, they're going to eventually learn about their 'past' and that's when they'll have to deal with their loss/grief. Noreen (not her real name) brought up the fact that the kids in the system often experience these feelings of loss at significant points in their lives and it's something that comes up time and time again. They may spend years doing just fine, yet when they reach adolescence they begin to realize that void, and will have to face those feelings of grief/loss. Then they'll be fine for a while and it will all come back again when they go off to college, when they get married, have children of their own, etc.
Another big thing that came up last night was the fact that when helping our child deal with their grief/ loss, it's going to force us to deal with our own personal losses. Yikes. This point REALLY hit home with me and made me a little nervous. I can totally picture myself trying to help my child work through their feelings of grief/loss and then I end up a total wreck thinking about the loss of my mother. Noreen said that each time we experience some sort of loss in our lives, it brings all of our past experiences with grief/loss back to the surface. SOOOO True.

Who knows? Maybe that'll be a great bonding moment for our family someday? We can all sit together on the couch in a puddle of tears, and then Jim can enter with a plate of warm homemade cookies to make us all feel better!!!




The other major topic that we covered last night was the concept of 'attachments'. Noreen stressed how important it is for these children to not only be able to form attachments but that we, as the adoptive parents, allow those attachments to be maintained.

The best example she gave is that of a child coming into our home who had been previously placed with foster parents (or a foster family) and had a strong attachment to them. In order for that child to have a successful transition into our home and to have a good relationship with us, we should do our best to maintain contact with that child's foster parents and/or foster family. Now, we're not expected to have them over for dinner all the time, or have our child spend a lot of time with them, but it would be best for the child if they were allowed to maintain that relationship in some form, for however long they 'needed' to.

I won't go on and on, but it was a great class; chock-full of information that I'm sure will come in handy down the line.

There was one case last night that Noreen told us about, which scared the be-jeezus out of me.
A pre-adoptive family was placed with a baby right out of the hospital (the birth mom was a 16 year old). After a YEAR AND A HALF with the pre-adoptive family, they had to give the child back to the mother. In the course of that year and a half, the birth mother had given birth to a second child. After three weeks of having a newborn and a 18 month old child with her in the 'teen mother program' she was in, the now 17 year old girl realized (much to her credit) that she couldn't handle it. She contacted DCF and they ended up returning the child to the original pre-adoptive family.

Now, from the VERY beginning, the pre-adoptive family knew that this was a high-risk case, they knew that after a while the birth mother was doing well, and the visits with the birth mother were becoming more and more frequent so they knew what was going on. However, that CERTAINLY didn't make it any easier for them to give back the child after such a long time. In fact, Noreen said that when she called the pre-adoptive mom and told her the news, she said that she needed a day to think about it. After a day she called back and said that they would of course take the child back. It was just such a shock to them to be faced with getting the child back that they needed to 'process' the whole thing. The good news is that the child is now happily reunited with his adoptive family and is regularly visiting with his birth mom and sibling.

I'm not sure how Jim and I would deal with a situation like that. The important thing to remember is that no two cases are the same and you really have to be prepared for anything.

Now that I've taken up half the day writing this, I'm going to get some coffee and get to work.

I hope you all have a GREAT Thanksgiving....and enjoy the day!!!

I hope none of you face anything that looks like this.....
Yikes.






Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Moth Attack!!!!


Take cover, we're under attack!!!!

Seriously?

I got home from the gym last night and could not believe the amount of moths flying around my yard. On 'warmer' winter nights, I'm used to seeing a moths flying around the lights outside our house, or flying at the car as I'm driving down the street, but this week it has been OUT OF CONTROL. I'm not even exaggerating when I say there were hundreds of moths swarming in our backyard last night. They were all over the leaves, all over our back porch, all over the windows of our house, and the tree in our back yard was COVERED in them.

I learned this morning that the female winter moths (that's what they're called, by the way) can't fly. In order to 'meet their mates' they tend to hang out at the base of trees or shrubs. That would explain the large amount of horny male moths hanging on the tree. they were patiently waiting their turn.

It's pretty much no different than the sidewalk outside the Boston Eagle on Tremont Street at 2:05 on any given Saturday night.

Anyway...there are a lot of them, and they are really good at getting into our house. Thankfully, once they're in the house they tend to land and are quite easy to snatch up and toss into the trash. Scooter LOVES the challenge, and many a moth has ended up meeting its end via dog attack. Oh well...it keeps him busy. :-)

Since we got the DVR, Jim and I have filled our 'nothing is on' time, with shows that we've recorded whilst we were out and about. Last night's 'post House' treat was watching the AMAs. Since we really have no interest in anything more that the performances it was so nice to be able to fast forward through the non-interesting parts of the show.
I'm not going to critique all the performances (because we didn't watch them all) but I did enjoy Janet Jackson, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, The Black-Eyed Peas (Fergie can SING!!!), J-Lo (including her 'fall', which really wasn't that big of a deal, and her HUNKY back-up dancers - YOWZA) and of COURSE we got all teary eyes at Whitney's return. Even if her range spans a whopping 6 1/2 notes at this point, it was nice to see her back on stage. I'm sure she'll be back to her old self in no time....and I can't wait.

Daughtry looked good, but his performance bored me. We didn't watch Lady Gaga's entire performance because Jim is not a fan, and to be honest, I'm a little bit afraid of her. We did watch Adam Lambert's big moment....

Oh....Adam, Adam, Adam....
Now, many of you might recall that during American Idol I wasn't a big fan of Adam's. I was more than willing to admit that he was definitely talented, but his 'style' of singing just wasn't my thing. In spite of that fact, each week I enjoyed watching him perform and it was clear that he was above and beyond the rest of the Idol contestants.
However, what he did on that stage Sunday night was just bad. Please - I couldn't care less how many crotches he grabbed, how many people grabbed his crotch, who's throat he SHOVED his tongue down, blah, blah, blah.... But if you're going to pull all that crap (that has been done many times before and a hell of a lot better) the LEAST you could do is sound good.

Had he done all of that stuff and still managed to sound at least halfway decent, I would have been a lot more forgiving, but that was just awful to listen to. From a musical perspective, it was sloppy, off pitch and just plain ugly. He's all in a tirade about people discriminating against him, and sure - if they're whining and complaining about the 'sexual stuff' they really should just settle down - but if they're complaining because he sounded like hell - I'm all for it.

Now....I don't want to get all the Adam fans all riled up and crazy. I understand there was a HUGE amount of pressure on him, as it was his big debut and I'm sure he was probably a nervous wreck. HOWEVER, the next time he's in front of a bazillion people performing live, I hope he cuts back on trying to keep up his image, and focuses a little more on what he's singing because I'll DEFINITELY be watching.

On a totally different note (ba-dum-bum!) Jim and I have our second MAPP class tonight!!

Stay tuned for a RIVETING update tomorrow.

xoxo


Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Week.....


As I expected, it is quieter than a tomb at work this morning. Granted, I come in a lot earlier than most people, (6:30 am) but when I arrive at to work, there are usually at least 4 or 5 of my co-workers here already, running around like loons.

Apparently they're all on vacation this week. I know that one person is in Florida, another person is heading off to Mexico, and my 'teammate' (the woman who moved here with me from the Boston office) is visiting her family in Michigan for the week. That means I'm in for a VERY quiet week. Won't that be nice??

Unfortunately, Jim and I didn't come away with any cash from the Hungry Persons Dinner (I know, don't get me started on that name...) but we did get a nice consolation prize....a GIANT Tootsie Roll!!! Remember that from Bozo the Clown??? I was SO jealous of those kids who got a giant Tootsie Roll as the consolation prize...



ANYWAY.....we got a very nice basket (NICE BASKET!) filled with all sorts of goodies; a bottle of wine, two wine glasses, a bunch of yummy cookies, a few different types of holiday napkins and some other cute 'holiday themed' stuff. Since we weren't destined to win the cash, I was happy to have received the gift basket as opposed to a scratch ticket. Lots of other 'non-winners' received scratch tickets as their consolation prizes and as far as I know, not one of them won anything significant. All in all, it was a fun event and nice to catch up with Jim's family and some fellow 'townies'.

Saturday morning Jim and I got up, had some breakfast (COFFEE!!!) and painted the ceiling in the soon-to-be-nursery. Soon after we were finished, Jim's dad came over and showed us how to 'fix' the walls. Essentially, all we had to do was to slather this 'joint compound' stuff all over the walls in an attempt to make them smooth. It was kind of like spreading frosting on a cake....but a lot more difficult. Once I got used to it, it was easier, but it is NOT easy work. Of course, I tend to be rather 'particular' about projects like that and I had to realize that it wasn't going to be perfect. Once I accepted that fact, it was a lot easier to get through and between the 'repaired' walls and the newly painted ceiling, the room came out looking REALLY great. There is a strong possibility that we're going to be able to paint the walls after all....which would be AWESOME. The next step is for us to sand down the walls and then throw on a coat of primer so that we can see if painting is an options. Jim's dad is coming over tonight to bring us some special 'sanding device' that he has which will make that job a lot easier. I would really love to avoid wallpapering, but if painting turns out to be impossible, we'll have to wall paper.

We shall see!

Once we were done working on the room, we went out to the wallpaper/paint store to try and get some ideas. As it stands, I think we're going to try go with a light yellow for the walls (don't worry - it won't be too bright) and then we're going to do the trim in brighter colors (blue and red). We're planning on installing shelves all around the room, so that may be where the colors are used if the brightly colored trim turns out to be 'too much'. There's a closed up (and painted over) fireplace and mantel in the room that we have to take into consideration as well. That might be a fun place to paint a mural or something creative like that.

Just a thought...

Saturday night we had our friend Charles over for dinner and then we watched a (terrible) movie. The movie was called 'The Houseboy' - no it was not an 'adult film', although it was pretty close - and it was bad. I'm not even going to go into WHY it was bad, just take my word for it. You'd be better off going out for a long walk that sitting through this movie.

In spite of the bad movie, we had a nice night....Jim made a delicious new recipe (whole wheat linguine with green beans, ricotta, and lemon - thanks Giada!) which may or may not show up some day on 'Jim's Whims' - only time will tell....




On Sunday morning, we got up and went to church...yes we did!!! We went to the congregational church (the one where Charles and Jerry's twins were baptized) and it was a great service. As it turned out, Sunday happened to be the day they were celebrating the 10th anniversary of their pastor, so after the service, there was a not-so-brief 'ceremony' celebrating that fact. It was very nice service and great tribute to her...but it went on just a bit too long for my liking.

After all was said and done, the congregation gathered in the church hall for a luncheon, but Jim and I took off and headed home. We spent most of the day getting stuff done around the house, relaxing, and catching up on our recorded shows (the new DVR is working out JUST fine, thank you very much!).
Jim's brother and his family showed up for a quick visit - which was nice - after they left, Jim and I had dinner and planted ourselves on the couch for the rest of the evening.

Hooray for Sunday nights!!!! :-)

Now I'm here at work (all alone) and getting excited for the week ahead!!!!

Have a VERY happy Monday! xoxo
PS - the beard is coming along nicely....I just passed the "I want to rip my face off, it's so itchy" phase....yahoo!!!






Friday, November 20, 2009

Who's Hungry???

Tonight Jim and I are attending a fundraising event for the town Lion's Club called "The Hungry Man Dinner".


Don't worry - it has nothing to do with these:







Actually - and I'm not joking - in more recent years, it's often been referred to as "The Hungry Person Dinner".

Oh my...I feel a politically correct headache coming on......yikes.

Anyway...the basic gist of the event is that they only sell a certain amount of tickets at $100 a couple. For that price, you get a fancy-pants dinner for two and are entered into a drawing for the chance to win one of three cash prizes ($2,500 - $500 and $250). Each couple has a number on their ticket and as the night goes on, numbers are drawn out of a hat (or something similar). If your number is drawn, you get eliminated. Whatever numbers are left at the end are the big winners. I'm not exactly sure how they determine final the three winners, but I'd be THRILLED if Jim and I won any of the prizes.

Let's hope that our number makes it to the end!!!! :-)

Whatever happens, I'm sure it'll be a fun time and the money all goes to a great cause. The event is being held at the local 'social club' and I must admit - I LOVE attending these 'townie' events. All of Jim's family will be there, as will all of his parent's friends - who are a lot of fun to be around. It certainly doesn't hurt that you can buy your entire table a round of drinks for what it would cost you to buy two drinks in any Boston bar.

Tomorrow morning, Jim's dad is coming over to help us (teach us) how to 'fix' the walls in the soon-to-be nursery. Since they're in such rough shape, we're going to have to put wallpaper up in there. I know....I know. Our only other option would be to knock down the walls and put up new drywall - and that certainly ain't gonna happen. We'd love to paint the room, but since the walls are SO old, we're just going to throw some Spackle-type wall repair stuff on them and throw up some wallpaper.

I'm not 100% sure what we're going to put up, but we're probably going to look for a solid color. We've talked about it at length, and since Jim is a H-U-G-E Curious George fan I think we're going to go with that as the theme for the room. It would certainly be very cute, and it's not gender specific....just in case. Once the 'wall fixing' has been completed, the plan is to go out on the hunt for wallpaper. I think we're going to look for a solid color....possibly yellow - a la the Curious George books...but maybe not quite as bright. We shall see!





Have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On the MAPP

Last night was our first MAPP class...and we survived.

I'll try to keep this brief, but let's be honest...chances are it won't be.
:-)

The Group

We have two women running our class, Noreen and Krystal (not their real names). Noreen told us that in the class she just finished teaching, there were 11 couples taking part, and in the class before that one there were 10 couples.
As of right now, our class is made up of 5 couples and one single woman.
There is the possibility that there will be one more couple joining us next week, but that seems to be up in the air. Last night there were only 9 people in the class because we were missing one husband, the single woman, and one of the couples. According to the rules of the group - none of those people who were missing last night are allowed to miss any more classes. If they do, they're OUT!
Jim and I were the only gay couple there, and we're pretty sure that we're the youngest couple in the class. It seems like a very nice group of people. I'm not sure that we'll make any life long friends out of the class, but you never know, do you???

I do know that one of the couples has at least three children at home already...they have a 20 year old, an 18 year old, and a 6 year old. Whether they're their biological children or if they're step-children of some sort, I have no idea. One of the other couples has an 8 year old daughter and I think that the remaining 2 couples are childless. Well, put it this way - if they have children, they didn't mention them at all.

The Class

They began the class by having everyone introduce themselves and say where they were from and what they did for work. Most of the participants live locally, but there are a two couples who are traveling an hour and a half to get there. They're both from Cape Cod and our class location is the closest option for them. Yikes.
Once the introductions were finished, the class 'leaders' gave a high-level overview of what we can expect from the class, and quickly went through what we'll have to turn in when all is said and done. One of the biggest things is a 'profile' that each couple (or individual) has to complete before the end of the 8 weeks (or in our case - 11 weeks, due to the big break we have in December).
It's a very detailed 40-something page profile that is filled with all sorts of questions that we'll have to answer - some questions will be answered as individuals, some as a couple. It is a HUGE part in helping the social worker with our home study. Our friends who have been through the classes told us all about this, so thankfully we weren't taken by surprise. We haven't seen the profile yet, but it's being emailed to us today or tomorrow. THAT should be fun. The good news is that because of the 'December break' we'll have plenty of time to work on it during the non-class weeks. :-)

Last night we spent a lot of time focusing on the idea of 'permanency' for the children. We talked a lot about each of the people (foster parents, adoptive parents, social workers, birth parents/kin, etc...etc...) that are involved in the children's lives and what role each of them plays in working towards achieving the ultimate goal of permanency for the child. As you can imagine, in such a small group (again, last night there were only 9 of us) there is no hiding!!! Thankfully, both Jim and I have no problems talking in front of other people (shocking, I know). In fact, it seemed that most of the people there were OK with it. One or two of the people seemed rather quiet, but I'm sure they'll come around and start talking eventually.

About halfway through the class we took a break and then when we returned, we watched a video - yes, a video....not a DVD....a video - that, in spite of the horrific wardrobe and hair styles (clearly this was filmed in the late 80s, early 90s) had a very nice message.
It told several stories about people bringing new children into their homes, how they dealt with the initial arrival, how they handled discipline, how they dealt with 'acting out', etc...etc...
One of the more interesting points the video covered was the concept of creating a 'life book' for your child. Essentially, it's a scrap book that contains photos, memorabilia, etc. from the beginning of their life up to and continuing on through the time that they're placed with you. According to Noreen and Krystal, they've found that the birth parents are more than happy to contribute to their child's life book. They've seen birth parents pass on ultrasound photos, the baby's first hospital pictures, as well as other items that will have meaning to the children as they get older. All of the things that make up the life book will help them to better understand where they came from, and what their life was life before they became part of your family. Once the video was over, we had a brief discussion about the video and then class was over.

It was a little overwhelming because they threw SO much information at us, but I'm sure we'll be fine. I should have mentioned this earlier, but they did tell us that part of the reason for us being in a smaller group is that DCF is re-designing and re-configuring some of the MAPP training, and we're going to be piloting parts of the new curriculum. It's always interesting to be part of a newly developing process, so I'm sure that there will be some bumps in the road due to the changes. Even the leaders aren't sure how it's all going to play out, but at least we'll all be figuring it out together!!!

If anyone is still reading this - THANK YOU!!!
I hope it wasn't too tedious to sit through.....but the good thing is, you'll probably only have to suffer through one of these posts once a week.
:-)

xoxo

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mid-November.....ALREADY??

Seriously....we're already halfway through November? UNACCEPTABLE!!!!

My how time flies.

Jim and I had a very busy weekend....but it was quite fun.
Friday night I ended up going to the show solo (that would be 'Reckless' @ SpeakEasy) because Jim got home from work and wasn't necessarily 'feeling it' - so I knew it would be much better to go alone, rather than force him to join me. You know how that is, right?? Right.
Anyway....the show was SOOOOO good. I had no idea what to expect and I was more than pleasantly surprised. I'm not going to go into detail about the story itself, but I will say that I enjoyed it VERY much. I laughed a LOT and cried as well. Granted, I cry at TV commercials, but there were some truly great moments in the play that had me welling up.
Visually, it was beautiful, fun, and festive and it was clear that the director (Scott Edmiston) was responsible for the show working so well. After seeing the show, I want to get a copy of the script so that I can appreciate his direction even more. I know that there is a lot of stuff that he put in there (transitions, etc...) that aren't included in the script - and all those things are what made the show work so well. If you're in the area, I highly suggest making the trip into Boston to see it.
Go here for the specifics. :-)

On Saturday I pretty much lounged around the house (the weather was gross and rainy) until I had to go to my softball meeting that evening. It was great to see my teammates and catch up with them. We were getting together in order to discuss the upcoming year and to introduce the new players that we're adding to our roster (we're definitely adding 4 new players, possibly 5) since we lost a few players at the end of this season. After the meeting we all grabbed some dinner and then we headed over to Fritz (Yay Fritz!!) for a few drinks. Jim and our friend Charles met us there as well so that was fun.

Sunday morning we slept in and while Jim drained, cleaned out, and re-filled the hot tub, I did some picking up around the house and once he was all set, we showered and headed out to go grocery shopping. We got home from shopping and then stopped be his mom's house to visit for a bit. We then went home, had some dinner and then tried to stay awake on the couch for the rest of the night. We were both SOOOO tired - but we managed to stay awake until 10pm, when we finally decided to hit the hay.

Tonight we're having Jim's parents over for dinner. Since Jim is making his sauce, meatballs and sausages - and it feeds about 20 people - we decided to have them over. I'm sure it'll be fun.
:-)

Have a great day.....10 more days until Thanksgiving!!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

So, here we are again....

Yet another Friday the 13th!!!






I drove Jim's car to work today and I LOVED it!!! What a great car. I felt so 'fancy' driving down the highway in it.
After work I'm taking it to get an inspection sticker, which is why I have it today. Jim won't get out of work early enough and since I'm closer to home, I can scoot out of here a little early and get it taken care of.

Last night was VERY fun, as I knew it would be. We got to spend a little time with Melissa's ridiculously cute daughter before she was off to sleep. Her name is Ava, and she's turning FOUR on the 17th.....in NOVEMBER!!!!! (a direct quote from her)

Dinner was great, as was the time spent catching up with Melissa. She's currently pregnant and is due on mine and Scooter's birthday....February 11th! We'll see how that all works out...you know how babies are, they rarely show up on time. :-)

After a very yummy dinner, Jim and I carried in Melissa's new kitchen set (since she's pregnant, and her husband is nursing a sore elbow). While we carried int eh kitchen set, we were carrying out the crib, bit by bit. It was a very efficient, and quite a fair exchange. She was able to get the new kitchen set into her house, and we were able to get the crib into our house!

Once we got home and everything was out of the car, Scooter gave the crib a quick inspection to be sure it was 'OK', and then he pretty much ignored it. Since the nursery isn't quite ready (and by not quite ready I mean, not even remotely close to being ready) the crib is in four pieces sitting in our front closet. This morning I emailed the manufacturer, in hopes that they can send us the 'users manual' for the crib. I looked online and I can't seem to find any info. out there regarding this specific model, so hopefully they can send us something. If they can't, it's no big deal. It seems fairly simple to figure out, but I'm more curious than anything. I'm definitely one of those people who reads manuals from cover to cover in order to be sure I don't miss anything.
Unlike Jim, who has very little interest in manuals of any form.

I didn't take any pictures, because it's not put together yet, but once we have it assembled, there will be pictures. It's a beautiful crib though, and I can't wait to see it when it's all set up.

Tonight Jim and I are attending opening night of the Craig Lucas play 'Reckless' at SpeakEasy Stage Company in Boston. I have a few friends in the show, and I know NOTHING about the play - so I'm very excited to see it. I'm a big fan of Scott Edmiston's (he's the director) work, so I'm sure it'll be a great show. Be sure to check back on Monday morning for my 'review'.
This is their poster....which I really like.



Have a great weekend and be safe!!!

xoxo