Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Why is the title of this post capitalized with three exclamation marks? Because that is how Elise says (nay, shouts) Kansas City. Every time. Pretty much shrieks it. And I know not why.

Alas, finally here are some pictures from our KANSAS CITY!!! trip. Only about a month after the fact...

First time on an airplane... in first class!

Celebrating her birthday in KANSAS CITY!!!

Mmmmm, cake

Elise sharing with Lee

Can't eat it fast enough!

Elise and her older man

HUGS! Madison, Elise and Lee

Elise and her new BFF, Madison

Feeding the goats at Deanna Rose, this very cool, free children's farm.

Elise LOVED feeding the goats!

Goat want some milk? Yeah? Okay!

Did I mention she really liked feeding the goats?

This pic totally cracks me up for some reason

Tractor ride!

I LOVE this picture, I don't know what it is, but there's something perfect about it

These are a few of my favourite things: CVS-ing

Did you know that I've saved over $1500 shopping at CVS so far this year? And most of the stuff I've "bought", I haven't paid a dime for. Nooooo, it's not called the 5 finger disount, it's CVS-ing!

If you're not cheap like me, you may have no idea what that term means. Basically, it's shopping at CVS using their Extracare Card to get Extracare Bucks (ECBs) which you in turn use to buy stuff at CVS for almost no money out of your pocket. Let me explain:

In their Sunday circular, CVS lists things that are on sale, some of which they offer you Extracare Bucks for buying. For example: a tube of Colgate toothpaste will be listed on sale for $2.50, and you get $2 in ECBs back, therefore making said toothpaste 50 cents (although you have to pay the whole $2.50 up front). But wait, there's more!

If you have a $1.00 manufacturer's coupon, CVS is basically paying YOU 50 cents to buy that toothpaste. Even better, by using your CVS card, you get coupons printed on your receipt that can be used alongside the manufacturer's coupon (this is called stacking coupons). So if I also had a CVS coupon for $1.00 off that same toothpaste, CVS is now "paying" me $1.50 to buy it.

Oh, but it gets better. If you sign up to receive emails from the CVS Extracare program, they email $4 off $20 coupons out every two weeks or so. So what I do, is look through the circular and see what items offer me the best return (that are free or close to free after the ECBs, or better than free if I'm using a CVS or manufacturer's coupon). I add up the items I wat to buy, making sure I can use my $4 off $20 coupon. If the total amount of ECBs I get back is pretty close to the amount I'll be spending, then I'm set to go shopping!

Since I have a pretty big stash of ECBs (I've been doing this for quite awhile), I use those to pay for the items... confused? Here's what I did last week:

These are all the items I bought on my last trip.

The Aveeno conditioner was $6.49. I had a $1 off coupon and got back $2 ECBs
The Aquafresh was $2.99. I had a $1 coupon, a $1 CVS coupon, and got back $2 ECBs
The razor was $9.99. I had a $4 coupon and got back $5 ECB
The toothbrush was $1. I had a $1 coupon and got back $1 ECB
The cream was $7.99. I had a $1 coupon and got back $7 in ECBs

My total came to $28.46. I also had a $5 off when you spend $25 store coupon (you should always give this coupon first, before all you manufacterer's coupons). After coupons, my total came to $15.46. I used my ECBs from my stash, and received $17 back in ECBs. So, they paid me to take all these items off of their hands. Pretty cool, eh?

Now, not every week is that good, and yes it takes time to go through the circular and match up your coupons, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy. There are also websites out there that will tell you what the best deals are and what coupons to use, but I prefer to do it myself.

I've actually had to curtail my CVS-ing because I now have a stash of about 50 toothbrushes, 20+ tubes of toothpaste, probably close to 50 razors and more that I've paid next to nothing for. I've actually started donating some of my stash to shelters and other organizations because I'm running out of room to store it all.

Whew, that was a long post, and if you've made it to the end, I commend you! Enjoy the spoils of your CVS-ing!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dear Idiots

This is a letter to all the unpleasant, feel-like-they-own-the-whole-trail morons who were biking or rollerblading at Campion Trails Saturday, September 26th, 2009.

Yesterday I witnessed just how terrible people can be to one another and added yet another reason to start saving for that deserted island I'm going to need to buy to get away from people like you.

I don't understand it, but I do realize that you twits feel entitled to pathways where cars do not tread. But you do not own them. They are not yours. They are open to EVERYBODY, especially when we are walking in a CHARITY EVENT.

I'm guessing that all the tents that were set-up, or the giant balloon-arch, or the vast hordes of people wearing all sorts of matching shirts, or even the BIG SIGN THAT SAID JDRF WALK FOR A CURE, were not enough of a clue for you dimwits, but yesterday at Campion Trails in Irving was the annual Diabetes walk.

You know, I am so sorry that all those people got up early on a Saturday, took the time to raise money and awareness for this horrible disease, and spilled out onto your pathways in support of the people they love who have to live with, or take care of someone who lives with diabetes every day. How very inconvenient for you.

But for you to huff at us, and mutter things under your breath as you pushed your way through us, was a new low... even for people that are known for being so openly hostile towards those that dare to get in your way, or violate your "sacred rules of the pathway".

And to that cantankerous, old biddy on the bike who practically ran a mother who was pushing her kids in a stroller off of the pathway, then had the balls to yell at her; I have something very special to say to you. Except I'm not going to, because my Mom reads this blog and I am too much of a lady to say those things out loud.

I will say to all the pinheads on two and eight wheels; get a freaking life and chill out a little. You now have your precious trail back for the next 364 days. But we will be back, and next year I won't be above sticking my arm out to clothesline the first discourteous jerkoff-on-wheels who rolls by.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Team Elise 2009 Walk for a Cure

Pics are up on my other blog from our diabetes walk. Click here to check them out and thanks to everyone who supported us!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Get ready to jump...

I'm not much of a TV watcher... we haven't had cable for 7 or 8 years now (excluding a short stint during the Stanley Cup playoffs this past season).

And I don't miss it either, although it's abundantly clear that I have no clue what is going on in pop culture. I don't know (or care) who Kim Kardashian is. I assume Project Runway is about fashion, but it could just as well be about the airline industry. And the only reason I know Don Draper is from Mad Men is because my husband is seriously addicted to that show, and steals over to our neighbour's house on Sunday nights to bum cable off of them.

I do have two shows that are must see for me; Amazing Race (a new season of Philimination coming up on Sunday!), and Lost. And if I happen to be around when 30 Rock or the Office is on, I'll watch, but I don't go out of my way to make sure I catch them.

But the first TV show I can remember loving (besides The Muppet Show with all their cool musical guests), was 21 Jump Street. Officer Tom Hanson was my first crush... sigh.

And did you know that they have the entire first season of 21 Jump Street on How did I not know this? I can now watch Tom Hanson at his most babiest of faces, whenever I want? Ohmygosh, I just peed my pants a little.

I'm a little afraid to watch it because I think it will sort of like watching old videos of yourself where you discover you're not quite as cool as you thought you were.

Now I need to search and see what else is on Hulu... perhaps the first few seasons of Degrassi Junior High? I see hours and hours of wasted time in my future...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away in the key of A minor

I love my brain. It keeps me entertained through the wee hours of the morning better than any infomercial for the Magic Bullet ever could. What I mean by that is that I have the coolest dreams of anyone I know.

Now don't worry, I am not going to bore you with the excruciating details of my dreams. We have a rule in our house about dreams (which Fred always breaks); no trying to describe them. Because listening to someone recount their dream to you is like hearing someone drone on about their evening of drunkenness; it never makes any sense and is way more interesting to the one telling the tale than the one having to hear it.

But this was seriously cool... my dream last night was Star Wars, the Musical. I am completely serious. There was a Storm Trooper dance number and even a mournful solo by Darth Vader that truly exposed his tragic inner conflict. That's right, my dreams all have their own original musical score. Eat your heart out Andrew Lloyd Webber.

For some reason I was the director of this spectacle, which is weird. I know I'm bossy, but I abhor being in charge of very large groups of people. I think I should have been Chewbacca... we totally have the same vocal range.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

KC Irish Fest and the Hothouse Flowers

So I'm a little (or maybe a lot) late in posting these pics, but it's not like I haven't had anything going on... Here are a few of my favourite pics from Elise's first Irish festival and meeting the Hothouse Flowers.

Elise playing in the fountains at the festival

Our little artist at work. They had the coolest Kid Zone at the festival... lots of stuff to do for the wee ones

You want me to wear what???

Ready for the show to start

Liam and Keiran



Fiachna and Eamon de Bara (I think) during Si Do Mhaimeo I

Hanging with the Flowers (Dave, Liam and Fiachna)

Awww, Elise, me and Liam. Liam's fisrt solo album "Rian" was the inspiration for Elise's middle name

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy Day You

Although the title of this post may look like I've been hitting the sauce, it's actually how Elise says "Happy Birthday". Or rather, sings "Happy Birthday to You". Which she's been doing over and over since she turned two a few weeks ago.

My poor, sweet child must be so confused over this birthday stuff. First we haul her off to another city and tell her it's her birthday. Then we come home and tell her we're going to have a big party on the weekend to celebrate her party. Except we don't, and I can actually blame it on the rain (blame it on the sun...). And the fact that Fred and I were running temperatures over 102.
So then we start telling her we're going have the party the following weekend, and she's been singing "Happy Day You" ever since.

So we actually pulled it off, and I've got to say... it was a lot of fun. Ulcer notwithstanding, I'm glad we decided to throw a big celebration. Especially with what we've been through over the past year. It was sort of like saying, "suck it diabetes!"

The best part was seeing all the people that came out to help us celebrate Elise's life. We were so touched and so blessed by everybody just being there and having fun. What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon/evening, surrounded by wonderful friends. Thank you for being a part of our little girl's life!

If you are so inclined, you can check out pictures on my other blog.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A post where I complain... a lot

If I were the superstitious type, I'd be wondering if my daughter was ever meant to have a birthday party.

Take for example, last year's "party"; interrupted about 30 minutes into it by Elise's doc telling us to take her to the hospital, she's just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Pretty sucktacular.

So this year, as we were away for the actual day of birth, we decided to throw Elise a party for the weekend after we got home. It was all planned; people invited, food bought, decorations thought of... blah, blah, blah.

Then on Wednesday, I got sick. Not just sick, but dear-Lord-of-all-things-good-and-right-everything's-going-dark-no-wait-I-see-some-light-and-I'm-heading-towards-it-sick. But it's okay, I still have my main man Fred to help get things together for the party.

Then on Thursday, Fred starts heading towards the light. The guy who has been sick a total of 3 times in 11 years, who has managed to dodge all sorts of crud that I have incubated including about three rounds of strep throat, Mr. I-doan-need-no-stinkin'-Advil. He's got it too.

At this point, we start contemplating that the party needs to be cancelled, or at the very least, moved to the next weekend. Mother Nature decides to get in on the act, and it's predicted that there's an 80% chance of rain on Saturday. In Texas. In September. My friends, that just doesn't happen here unless it's biblical times and God has just had a little heart-to-heart with a guy named Noah.

And just in case we get any ideas about going forward with the party, Elise then gets sick on Saturday morning, and it rains here like it has never rained before. Talk about twisting the knife.

Do I sounds bitter? Probably... probably. Chalk it up to frustration, I guess. I do have one rather funny tale from when I went to the doctor to see if my crud had a name (and hopefully not one that sounded like Swine Flu).

Fred made the appointment for me, and when the receptionist asked why I needed to be seen, he replied, "she's sick". Straight and to the point, that's my Fred.

So somehow I slipped past all the superb screening, and was sitting in the room waiting to be seen, sans mask. The doc walks in, notes my temperature on the chart (101.6), and asked me if I had been coughing. When I said yes you would have thought I told him I was there to pluck his eyeballs out with my thumbnails.

He jumped up, tore open the door and yelled, "nobody told meeeeeeeeeee", as he ran down the hall. I sat there, feeling very much like a leper.

He returned, from what I am presuming was a Lysol-shower, about 10 minutes later wearing a mask and with one for me. It turns out that I didn't have the flu, just one of the second-rate, run-of-the-mill viruses that doesn't get any press. Poor, un-named virus.

Have we always been so crazy when it comes to germs, or its it just lately that people are going off the deep end? I remember when I was younger, you got the flu, you threw up a little, and drank some ginger ale. At some point, you manage pass it onto your friends and family who threw up and drank ginger ale. Nobody went to the doctor, let alone the press.

Now, I must admit, I'm not so relaxed when it comes to sick people being around Elise, but unfortunately, diabetes makes things a little trickier. But shouldn't we relatively healthy people be a little less freaked out?

Okay, I think I'm done grumbling for now. Keeping my fingers crossed for Saturday. Time for Elise to have a birthday party, even if it is one year and three weeks overdue.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My new love/hate relationship

I think I could be in trouble. Nordstrom Rack just opened a store about 5 minutes from my house, and although I am not a clothes horse by any means... wait. Why is a person obsessed with clothes called a horse anyway? Why not a clothes pig? Or clothes sheep? Is it because out of all the animals on the farm, the horse wears the most stuff? They get shoes, a bridle, I've seen blankets underneath the saddle. Is that it?

Did you know that the term clothes horse also refers to a type of drying rack? Oh information super highway, is there anything you don't know?

Sorry, I'm back. My brain saw a rabbit and had to give chase. Heh, clothes rabbit.

Okay, for real this time. What was I saying? Ah, yes Nordstrom Rack. You wouldn't know it to look at me (because let's face it these days my usual style is what's-on-the-floor-and-doesn't smell), but I do enjoy wearing cute clothes. If I had to give my "preferred style" a name, it would be bohemian-athletic-hippie. Boleppie... it has a nice ring to it.

Walking into that store is like walking into my dream closet. You know, if I had enough time on my hands to dream of such things.

But, I don't tend to spend a lot of money on clothes because I am cheap. And Nordstom Rack ain't exactly the 75% off rack at Target.

Can you feel the war that is raging within my wallet?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Two years ago, at this very moment...

Dear Elise,

I am going to start out this letter with the very cliche, "wasn't I just giving birth to you yesterday?" Yes, yes, I know it has been said a thousand times over, but there is no better description for how time has just rocketed by in the last two years.

And what a crazy two years it has been; full of so many ups and downs that I'm feeling nauseous. But I think I can chalk that up to the cast quantity of chocolate I have just ingested. But enough, this post is supposed to be about YOU.

Sweet Elise Rian, I don't think I have the adequate vocabulary to describe the amount of love I have for you. Nor can I put into words how you amaze and astound me everyday. All that you have been through in your life and you still face every day with a smile.

God knew exactly what He was doing when He entrusted me with your life. I say that not because I think I'm doing such a bang-up job as your mother, but because I have learned so many lessons from you.

I have learned that yes, life can suck, but then you keep on living it as best as you can. Every day is a new day, full of promise. I shouldn't fear what the future brings, I should look forward to it with eager anticipation.

I've learned the art of patience. Having a toddler with no concept of time, and a mind of her own will do that to you. I've also found out the old adage, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" can be fun, especially when it entails hiding in the clothes racks at Target.

You taught me that music is to be enjoyed while spinning and jumping around and dancing with stuffed animals. And songs should be sung at the top of our lungs while driving in the car; complete with wild hand gestures. Who cares if the people in the next car are staring. They're just jealous that they're not having as much fun as we are.

I've learned to stop and enjoy the world around me. That you can sit and check out that strange-looking bug on the driveway for 20 minutes, because there is always another story time happening somewhere.

I always knew that I married a wonderful man, but I now know that I married an amazing father too. Seriously Elise, you are so blessed to have Poppa as your Poppa. One day, you'll get it. Judging by your reaction when he comes home from work, I think that you're already starting to.

You have taught me that I am a lot tougher than I thought I was. You have given me a lot of confidence in areas I never thought I'd be any good at. I'm still a work in progress, but I think we make a phenominal team.

I've learned that painting is always better when done naked (well naked plus a diaper). This rule only applies to you, not me.

I'm so proud of you, little girl, and so glad to call you my daughter. Happy Birthday.

Your Momma

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I told you not to have that third beer, baby

Poor baby, she just didn't know her limit.

I was working on the computer the other day; paying bills and such (but not blogging, of course not), while Elise was playing in the office behind me. I didn't pay too much attention when she ran out of the room briefly, but the picture above is what greeted me when I turned around to see what she had been up to.

Her baby looking like she was blowing chunks into Elise's (unchristened) potty.

I think we can all relate to how baby must be feeling.