Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lucky Enough... Welcome 2010!

If you are lucky enough to....

... have family and friends to surround you when you need them and when you don't...

... savor each moment...

... sip a good glass of wine...

... laugh until you cry...

... put your toes in the sand...

... spend little time worrying and lots of time enjoying ...

... count your blessings ...

... ring in a new year with new hopes, new beginnings, new challenges, and maybe even new wishes...

... then you are lucky enough.

The Best part?  We are lucky enough.

Happy  New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

60 Years Young

Today, my Dad turns 60.  He is one of the kindest, most compassionate, gentle people I know.  I am lucky to have him as my Dad.  And even luckier to be with him and our family to celebrate his 60th birthday.




Here's to many many more.  And we'll laugh all along the way.

The Best part?  Cake!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Paradise.











The Best part?  Island life.

Friday, December 25, 2009

So Very Merry

It was perfect.  Absolutely perfect.

The gifts.  The food.  The company.  We are luckier than we deserve to be. 

I can't explain the joy we felt watching Cannon play with all of his new things.  So he doesn't know that 'Santa' brought all of the goods but it doesn't matter.  It was wonderful.  Magical.  Perfect.

And to make a perfect holiday better, we'll have our toes in the sand in less than 24 hours.  Island life here we come. 

Hope everyone's was merry and bright.

Good things and blessings for you and  yours in the new year.

The Best part?  We are so blessed.  Merry merry!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

All is calm...

Here's hoping you're surrounded by family and friends.  Enjoying traditions, the spirit of the season, and only good things.

Blessings.

Merry merry!

The Best part?  Christmas is here! 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On the mend...

Our little guy is on the mend.  Doctor says it was probably a virus that's on it's way out. 

Cheers.

The Best part?  He'll be 100% for vacation!

7 days.

I don't freak out about much.  I would let Cannon lick a handrail or hang out with a sick kid.  I'm ok with it.  I know he can't live in a bubble.  None of us can.  He's going to get sick. 

Enter our first stomach virus.

We have had colds.  A green nose is like a once every three weeks thing at our house.  Coughs.  Bring 'em on.  We could see an ear infection coming days before it arrived (prior to tubes of course).  This time is different.

Cannon stopped eating a week ago.  A week.  7 days.  I can't go 7 hours without food.  He takes a bite or two of something and is finished.  Refuses almost everything. 

Despite lots of help from the experienced moms I know who have seen nearly every illness known to man, I can't just not worry about it.  Maybe with our next child I won't be as worried.  Probably not.

Saw the doctor on Friday.  Everything is fine.  As long as he's drinking and having wet diapers he's fine.  Call us if he's still not eating after a week.  We're going back today.  Somehow a nurse on the phone saying 'well... if there are no specific symptoms we can't really do anything' doesn't sit well.  We are seeing our regular doctor and if he says 'guys, don't worry about it.  It's a phase and he'll be back to normal soon', great.  I want him to look me in the eye and tell me that.  I also want Cannon weighed.  He has lost weight.  

My money's on acid reflux.  Fingers crossed it's something easy like that.

The Best part?  Tomorrow is Christmas EVE!!!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Whew... I feel better.

Just finished saying my piece to the 'sorority Grand Pubas' about being made to feel like a 20 year old college kid being brought before the Standards Committee.

Perhaps next time they'll keep things in perspective. 

My mom said it best.  I chose the people not the house.

I will still serve as Toast Mistress.  I will give a great speech.  I will share my experience and hope the young women leave inspired and excited to be a member.

I will not sing rush songs, do the handshake, recite the founders, or circle anyone's fat.

The Best part?  Getting to say my piece.  Oh and getting an apology.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Privatizing for a bit...

I didn't want to do this but feel like I need to, at least for a little bit.

I blog because I love to write and share funny stories, vent, provide anecdotes, and share a little about our lives.  I do not blog so that people can search me out and criticize what I write or discourage my first amendment rights.

You may recall from a post not long ago, I wrote about my sorority inviting me to serve as "Toast Mistress" for their newest chapter's initiation.  I wrote about how excited I was and how honored.  I still am excited and honored but now, I'm also pissed off.

Today, I got an email from a member of said sorority's "Grand Council" commenting on my blog post.  Here's part of the email:

"I am writing to let you know that I have been contacted by our organization's Grand Council regarding your personal web page. It seems that in your most recent blog you used ritual-related acronyms and a short line from a ritual. You may not be aware, but as per sorority Policy and Position Statements this is not something our organization typically publishes and therefore, I have to ask you to kindly remove it from your web-site. I also noticed that there was a comment posted from a friend that seemed to be inappropriate and suggestive in its context with the sorority name. As a private member organization we have restrictions on how we use 21st century media tools.

My reaction, in order of emotion: Shock.  Anger.  Annoyance.  Laughter.  I am nearly 30 years old (can't believe I typed that).  I am a wife, a mother, a professional.  I resent being admonished that way and I resent that my friend who commented was admonished as well.

Here's the thing.  This is my blog.  I write what I want.  If you don't like it, you don't have to read it.  I exercise my first amendment right to freedom of speech and quite honestly, the small things I said in the previous post (which have been removed so as not to have Grand Council at my front door with torches and wearing masks) were laughably minor.  I did not reveal rituals, I didn't utter any phrases I shouldn't utter, I didn't talk about secret handshakes or knocks.  It's not like I gave away the sign you give if someone isn't wearing a pin to determine if they're a sister!  I would never! :)

So, back to the privatizing.  At first I was just angry but then I got a little creeped out.  How did they find the blog post?  How did they find the blog?  Maybe it's my naivete.  The only place I openly advertise the blog is on my facebook page.  You have to be my friend to see my facebook page.  Did someone turn me in???  It just creeps me out that there are people out there trolling the internet searching for anything of questionable content to report to the Grand Council or internet police.  So for now, we're invitation only.  Nothing personal.

So, as far as serving as Toast Mistress, I'm not sure anymore.  I wanted to, and I still want to give a great speech about my wonderful experience as a member of the sorority.  But, if they're looking for someone obsessed of sorority secrets and who bleeds wine and silver blue, I'm the wrong girl.

The Best part?  Now I'll know who reads the blog!  AND, it's temporary.  If they decide they don't want me to speak, I'll go back to public... if they still want me to speak then we'll wait until after the Grand Pubas have left town. :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

You know you're a redneck...

Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a lightup deer hanging from a basketball hoop with red lights coming out of it's mouth.  I nearly crashed my car when I drove by this guys house once and there was a REAL deer hanging there. 



'Tis the season.  Deer hunting season.

The Best part?  The sign.  Apparently the neighbors approve.

Friday, December 18, 2009

An honor...

So I'm completely honored and flattered that I've been asked to be the "Toast Mistress" for Pi Beta Phi's newest chapter's (Ohio Kappa, University of Cincinnati) initiation banquet.  Clearly the terms "local celebrity" are used loosely.  Regardless, I am so excited.  It's not a major committment, just some pictures and a speech.  The speech is what I'm excited about.  They want me to share my experience and get these new initiates and their parents excited about Pi Phi! 

Um, I can totally do that, I led the rush cheers, I mean really.

"I am a P!"

So, I have a few weeks to write a 7ish minute speech.  I write scripts everyday (ok fine, I write scripts on the days I work).  This should be cake.  Now where to start...

How do I put into words the friendships I made?  How do I describe what 'sisterhood' actually is?  How do I convince these girls that living in a house with 80 women is hilarious, entertaining, dramatic, and wonderful all at the same time? 
I guess I start at the beginning.

"10 years ago, almost to the day, 30 strangers became sisters and I met the women who now know me better than I know myself and love me anyway."

Guess that's a start!

The Best part?  Getting to put into words one of my most favorite life experiences.

Typical...

For the last two nights Cannon hasn't slept for longer than an hour at a time.  He's had fevers and fussiness and we've had exhaustion.  Yesterday I thought it was a reaction to the MMR vaccine he got last week.  The doctor told me this could happen.  I was ready for the fevers, the not sleeping, not so much.

You see, everyone says when we have another one we'll be in shock.  Cannon started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks.  Even before that he was up only every four hours and if I played my cards right that was only a 2am feeding and back to bed.  He's not a great napper but the fact that he sleeps solid from 7-7 makes up for it. 

For the last two nights I was up at 10, 2, 4-5, 6, and 7.  He was inconsalable.  Miserable.  Hot.  Just terrible.  It took his fever two hours to break this morning.  He's not eating well.  I thought for sure it was an ear infection, why else wouldn't he lay down?  Even though I know better... since he has tubes an ear infection would have drainage.  No drainage. 

So, this morning I called the doctor and took him in.  Ears, fine (in fact she said they were 'crystal clear').  Throat, fine.  Stomach, fine.  Temperature, fine.  Everything, fine.  It's a freak virus that could stick around a while longer.

We got back from the doctor at 11.  He was asleep at 11:05.  He got up at 1, ate some Gogurt, and is asleep, again.  Perhaps I should be playing catch up too...

Isn't that always the way it happens?  As soon as the doctor says everything is fine, everything IS fine.  Crazy.

The Best part?  He's sleeping.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Good Things

Too much sad news lately.  Thought I'd share some things I'm looking forward to.  Good things.

Date night/ Christmas Shopping Night/ Dinner with Dan and only Dan/ Friends Holiday Party

Christmas Eve with our family

Christmas morning

A week at the beach with my family in a quiet little drinking village with a fishing problem.

Toes in the sand.

Having Cannon spend a week with my parents and brother.  We've never been together that long.

My dad's 60th birthday.

Welcoming a new year in warm weather and no pressure to have fabulous new years plans.

Snow on Saturday.

Christmas PJ's.

Mimosas and Cinnamon pullapart.

The Best part?  All of the above.  What are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

10 days before Christmas...

You see just about everything working in local television news.  I have covered it all.  The bizarre.  The odd.  The disgusting.  The disturbing.  The sad.  The tragic.  The laughable.  I've covered antique tractor shows and Jimmy Buffett concerts.  I've covered dozens of murders, fires, and arrests. 

Sadly, I've covered more than a dozen deaths of servicemen and women. 

I covered the latest one today.

I'm hardened.  The stories about child abuse or untimely death don't bother me.  I'm hardened.  You have to be.  If I let the things I see, learn about, hear of, and report on affect me, I'd go insane.  You have to laugh.  You have to separate yourself.  You have to.  There is no other way to cope with it. 

When we learn a member of the armed services from our area has died the procedure is the same.  Look for family, call the high school, figure out when knew her, find out who loved him.  It's a cut and dry process.  

Ten days before Christmas a Cincinnati police officer and a Sergeant in the Air Force Reserves was killed in Afghanistan.  He's got three kids.  11 years old, 7 years old, 2 years old.  Ten days before Christmas.  Today, his friends and family told me about him.  Shared stories of determination and courage.  They wanted him remembered as more than a number.  So do I. 

When I finished my interviews I looked up to find his parents, siblings, and friends all listening intently.  Hanging on every word spoken about their son/ brother/ husband.  The hero.  I cried with them (to clarify, I shed a few tears... I didn't need a tissue or anything).  I have never cried while working on a story.  Never.  I thanked them for their sacrifice and as compassionately as I know how I told them I'm sorry.  I meant it.

I don't know what brought the tears on (nope, not pregnant).  But I'm ok with it.  I'm human.  Maybe I'm not as hardened as I thought.

I hope I did him justice tonight.  RIP. 

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Peekaboo!



This is what happens when you play peekaboo during dinner.  More specifically, during spaghetti dinner.

Love him.

The Best part?  12 days until Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Results

Normally, I wouldn't admit this.  Recently my favorite, designer, amazing jeans, ripped.  Not at a seam, but right in the middle of the leg.  I bent down to pick up Cannon and heard it.  The noise you hear in a commercial or a sitcom when the fat guy bends over to do something.  Like nails on a chalkboard.

I contacted the company (Paige Denim) and am happy to report they took the jeans back and mailed me a new pair!  Had they been from Old Navy or Gap or Target I wouldn't have been as concerned but seeing as buying another pair would probably require a small loan, I'm glad I complained.  I'm also glad they had the sense to replace the jeans.  I'm also glad they didn't rip because they're too small.

The new pair are a slightly different shade but are still fabulous and fit wonderfully.

Cheers.

The Best part?  Nothing like a really good pair of jeans.  The search for them is well worth it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ignorance Must Be Bliss

You'll need some background for this read.

My good friend is still grieving from her loss.  She has good days and bad as I imagine she will for a long time to come.  She is surrounded by the love of family and friends.  They will survive this loss.  She's communicating with me as she can, sometimes we joke, sometimes it's a somber message, yesterday her email blew my mind.

She got an email from a former colleague of ours.  Among the lines in the email were these:

"I'm sure you have heard a ton of things right now to get you thru this insane retarded thing."

"As young as you are you will be ok and have a family someday."

And finally...

"I just wanted to say if you wanted to anytime I can come over and you can hold my baby and spend time with him.  He's really sweet."

Ignorance must be bliss.

I try to strive for balance in my life.  I try to be kind to people and I work hard to be a good friend.  I'm far from perfect, would consider myself a judger, and some days am pretty sure I'm headed straight to hell.  I try to make up for it.  Today will not be one of those days.

I am so disgusted by the email above I can barely see straight.  For a woman with two healthy children to talk down to my friend that way makes me physically angry.  "You'll have a family someday" could not be more condescending.  To call the loss of human life "retarded" is simply awful, awful, awful.  I am truly disgusted by the level of stupidity, naivete, and sheer ignorance that seep from the words in that email.  

Finally, to offer your own healthy child for her to 'hold'... she might as well have slapped her in the face and said "I take my own kids for granted.  Want to play with them?  They'll take the place of your dead son.".  It would have been equally as insensitive.  

To top it all off, the email came from someone who professes to be close to God.  Who relies on the Bible for guidance.  This time, one of those steered her wrong.  She was trying to be kind.  That's even more mind boggling.

Ignorance must be absolute, sheer, utter, bliss.

The Best part?  My friend is healing.
   

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I'll be 'that' mom... judge away.

It's report card day.

I used to love getting report cards at school.  I was that kid.  I cried the first time I got a 'B'.  Fortunately by sophomore year in high school I got over that and became a solid "B+" student.  Never really had any desire to get straight A's and that would have been a struggle come Managerial Accounting sophomore year in college (not that I was getting A's before managerial).  Needless to say, I will not be joining the ranks of KPMG, Ernst & Young, or PriceWaterhouseCoopers anytime soon.

I got Cannon's 15 month report card when I dropped him at school this morning.  They don't grade in A's and B's rather A's, S's, and N's.  Always, Sometimes, and Never.  He didn't get any 'N's' and seems to be right on track (not that I have anything to compare it to and with what we're paying for 'tuition' they're not going to tell me he's 'slow'). 

I thought what his teachers wrote about him was really sweet and wanted to share/ brag.

Cannon is a sweet and helpful little boy.  He alwasy wants to help his teachers clean up toys and help his friends during play.  H'es the class greeter, always saying 'hi' and 'bye' to our visitors.  He's bright, fun-loving, and always on the move.  It has been fun watching him grow and learn new words and signs.  We will continue to strengthen his communications skills, as well as help him with his cognitive developmetn and self-help skills.  We can't wait to see what he does next!

The Best part?  Thanks for letting me be 'that' Mom :) What will I do when he gets a real report card???

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Merry Merry


Getting the mail has to be one of my favorite things to do during the holidays.  I look forward to the pictures, the cards, and the letters.  Oh the letters.  I mean who doesn't love a letter written by your great aunts dog?  Look forward to it every year.
I love the pictures.  I love to see people's happiness and share in their joy of the season.
I also love the annual picture taking, card selecting, and mailing.  I have to say that this year more than one friend has told me that we are in the 'first 5' Christmas cards to arrive and that my friends, is a victory.




The Best part?  Making the 'first 5'. :)

A Pickle in a Fraser Fir




I've always said that if we ever have a house big enough we'll have at least two Christmas trees.  A family tree and a fancy tree.  The Martha Stewart in me wants to have a themed fancy tree trimmed with only ribbons and pefectly spaced color coordinated balls.  It would be trimmed to the 9's and look fabulous in the front window. 

We don't do the Griswold family tradition -- "it's not going in our yard Russ, it's going in our living room".  We traditionally buy our trees at Lowes.  Exciting, I know.  A 6-7 foot fraser fir with the perfect shape and sturdy branches to hold memories. 

Every year our tree's story evolves a bit.  We started a tradition I borrowed from my parents of buying eachother a new ornament each year.  Then we began to exchange with friends.  It's cheaper than buying presents for people who probably don't need anything and a fun way to celebrate the holiday. So, without further adieu, the tale of The Best part's 2009 Christmas tree.  Drumroll please...

There are things we cherish...



          Those we savor...

















Ornaments that belonged to family members who've passed...





Who doesn't have Marilyn and Elivs in their tree?



Places of the past...




Adorable little girls, if I don't say so myself.



All you need.





Memories of vet bills...





Pictures of our first 'baby'...




Characters a generation old, now being enjoyed by a new generation.



A bit of spirit.




And some attitude.



Reminders of how lucky we are....




Celebrations of a first Christmas.


No truer words ever spoken. "I love you nto only for who you are but for who I am when I am with you."



Wishes tucked inside from the past and for the future.


And... a pickle.


The Best part about our tree is that it's filled with us.  Memories from our past, hopes for our future, values we hold dear, and some laughs.  This year I'm adding picture ornaments and maybe someday our 'fancy' tree will hold images from our past.  This tree is more beautiful than anything Martha or any decorator would put together because it's ours, it's us, it's The Best part.

Friday, December 4, 2009

This is rare...

We are headed to the beach for the week after Christmas and could not be more excited.  However, I did not plan (not like me) to have to buy Cannon beachwear in December.  Fortunately he's still a little guy and most of his swim/ summer stuff will fit just fine.  Shoes, not so much.  So, I searched for sandals in stores and no dice.  Wonder why... it is winter int he midwest.  Online I found lots on amazon.com but some of the prices were OUTRAGEOUS.  Who in the hell pays 80 dollars for a pair of kids sandals?  You can't be serious.

So, I eliminated buying any that are flip flop like, even if they did have straps on the back because I didn't know how he'd do with something between his toes.  I won't buy Crocs because I see way too many kids fall all the time in them.  I didn't want anything opened toed cause I just have mental images of him tripping on the pavement as soon as we get there and vacation is ruined. 

So... I'll stop rambling.  I found Rileyroos!  I fell in love.  This is a rare product endorsement from The Best part.  They are precious.  Every pair on the website is adorable.  I got him these and he's been running around in them all day:





So now I will be on a constant hunt for Rileyroo sales! 

The Best part?  They sure weren't 80 bucks.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It takes 2 -- UPDATE

Probably a good idea to crush up the flakes as much as possible that way the cookies 'gel' a little bit more.

Just a tip.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It Takes 2

I will credit my mom for this super easy recipe.  Here's what you need:

Frosted Flakes
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk

That's it.  Mix them together and spoon onto parchment paper.  Bake at 350 until the edges turn brownish. 

It's not the best cookie I've ever had... but it's the easiest and they taste pretty good too!

Cannon had grapes and Gogurt for dinner tonight.  Cheers.

The Best part?  No one has to know how easy the cookies are to make!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Are Hotdogs a Food Group?

Cannon, unlike his mother, is not a big eater.  So I feel like when he does eat, I need to be providing him especially nutritious meals including all the food groups. 

Are hotdogs a food group?

Not only is he not a big eater but of late he won't try new things, rather he prefers to throw them on the floor (a post to come later asking for advice on getting your dog to lose weight).  So, we know he'll eat hotdogs, we know he'll eat cheese, we know he'll eat bananas, chicken fingers, yogurt, and an occassional perogie.  He does love fruit, including tomatoes.  Veggies not so much.  He'll eat mac and cheese and occassionally a PB&J or grilled cheese.  The problem is on nights when I'm not working and we eat together, I end up making him something else.  

I don't want to be a short order cook.  I have to stop this right now.

Help!

Is the best option just not to give him a choice?  Make him eat what we're eating?  He is only 15 months so he doesn't quite get that concept.  So, consider this a call to action.  Ideas, recipes, anything to get this guy eating!

The Best part?  Hotdogs are easy.