Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick? No thanks, I'll have the treat!

Happy Halloween! It's been a crazy day here...I'm still sick, but made it to work for most of the day, but was in meetings where I talked a lot all day, so I have no voice left. Then there was a mad rush through dinner to get out trick-or-treating. Sophie was fascinated by the whole thing, just looking at everyone who was dressed up and smiling at all the neighbors. We live in a great neighborhood for trick-or-treating...about 40 houses in 2 developments with very little traffic.

Sophie was a leopard cub. Here she is this morning before her school party. K tried to get a shot with her ears on, but she wanted nothing to do with them.

After dressing as Harry Potter last year, EJ decided to be Hermione (from Harry Potter) this year. All we needed to buy was a wig:

Sophie agreed to keep her ears on if she could sit on EJ's lap for a few minutes.

We took Sophie to a few houses and then K and EJ did the rest of the loop. While Sophie and I passed out candy, she was happy to keep the ears on, as long as she could be distracted with bags of pretzels in each hand.

She was so cute, right down to her little pumpkin shoes:

Hmmm....wonder what Mom's hiding in this box? Every time I open the lid, it cackles in a witch's voice...

Oh, look! Lindt chocolate bars!!! Yummy! But darn, they have nuts and I can't eat those yet!

Before we eat one, let's check out the nutritional label. Um, Mom, this doesn't look healthy...

Perhaps we should take them all out of this box so no one eats this unhealthy stuff...

Later, Hermione came back and dumped out her loot on the kitchen table.

I thought I might get a nibble, but she immediately went to work categorizing and counting the candy (63 pieces total - 5 M&Ms, 2 bags of popcorn, etc.). And ZERO chance of me stealing any.

But that's okay, I'll just work my way through the rest of the case of Lindt bars. Just don't tell that nice woman at my office who runs the Weight Watchers at Work program. I'll just bite my tongue through tomorrow's meeting.

Anyway, hope you're enjoying a sugar high right now...

And just in case you think I'm passing out Lindt bars because I won the lottery or something, I'll let you in on a little shopping secret...there are Lindt chocolate outlet stores, and in late August, they were selling these candy bars for 25 cents each! We average anywhere between 50-80 trick-or-treaters each year, so it only seemed logical to buy a whole case of them. That's right, 144 bars for $36. I'll have to see if they offer this promotion next year...!!!

Thanks to being sick the last few days, I haven't yet mustered up the stamina to write anything heavy about the Sox winning the World Series. I'm thrilled, but not in the same magical way as 2004...this win seemed more destined after the terrific season they had (even with the shaky last few weeks). I do hope they re-sign Mike Lowell, who in my mind was quite worthy of the MVP - not that I would have been upset had Pedroia won it either. Curt? Take him or leave him. He still seems like a valuable contribution, but maybe not $12 million valuable. Maybe for $8-10 million I'd keep him. I think Wakefield will be back...I mean, winning 17 games at his age is something to be proud of. Coco will most likely be traded now that we know Jacoby Ellsbury can cover the outfield sufficiently.

As for A-Rod and the possibility of him playing shortstop for the Sox (since I hope Lowell will be at third), I say NO THANKS! Not that I don't think he's a talented player who will break a lot of records and make it to the Hall of Fame, I just don't think he's a team player. I also just can't imagine him being warmly welcomed in Boston by the fans, or even by most of the players (remember the infamous shoving match with Varitek? or the ball-swatting incident with Arroyo?). Let's hope he finds greener pastures elsewhere...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sweep for the Sox?

It's the seventh inning of the 4th game, and Mike Lowell just hit a homerun in the top of the 7th to make it a 3-0 lead. Will they sweep the Rockies just as they swept the Cardinals three years ago? Only a few more innings to go!

My girls' weekend was fantastic, except that on Friday morning when I woke up I had the worst sinus headache and runny nose. After last weekend's sore throat went away, I thought the worst had passed, but I have a HORRIBLE cold now. Fun was had nonetheless. On Friday night, we sat around and gabbed for hours. Saturday was very rainy, but we drove down to Freeport anyway, had a great lunch of clam chowder and lobster stew and sandwiches, did some shopping, and then came back to settle in for the Sox game with a takeout pizza! What fun! This morning, we hiked around B's property. I came home a bit early to give K some relief from the girls so he could get the leaves up off the lawn. And EJ is sick - sore throat and slight fever. Hopefully, she'll feel better in the morning and won't have to miss school.

Anyway, here are my gal pals, enjoying the morning sun on the dock. I've been friends with these ladies for more than a decade now, and I really appreciate their friendship and support over the years. Thanks, B, for inviting us all up to Camp Foggy Bottom!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Go Sox

Game 1 was a good one. A good one in that I didn't feel my blood pressure rise and my fingernails are all still intact. Of course, you can do that when it's 13-1 in the fifth inning. I'll even admit that I went to bed and didn't even watch the end of the game. I had been up since 5 AM and knew that I would be up late tonight.

No blogging for the next few days...I'm heading out tomorrow after work for my annual girls' weekend with my friends. We'll be at my friend B's house (also known as Camp Foggy Bottom) on the water in Maine. Perhaps we'll get in a little shopping in Freeport!

A few more updates:
  • Sophie's drop offs at daycare have gone so much better this week. She doesn't cry at all when we hand her over to the teacher on duty in the morning. Yeah!!! Makes the morning easier for us. I showed up a little early one day this week to take her to a dr's appointment, and she was having the best time crawling through a little tent with tunnels, etc. And today when I got there, she was flipping through the pages in a book, looking at all the pictures.
  • We had some family portraits taken last weekend for the holidays. The proofs came in by email today. I should be picking them up in another week or so. Sophie did so much better this time and was actually smiling in most of the photos. We also did a few of the girls together and of each girl individually that came out really cute. Here is my favorite one:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sox Fever

Well, the Red Sox pulled out a win in the 7th game of the ALCS and are now headed for the World Series. Last night's game was a nailbiter. There's something about only a one run lead with Dice-K pitching that would make anyone nervous. Even when the score was 5-2, I didn't feel any better. I don't really feel secure until the lead is about 5 or 6 runs.

All I know is that I now have two nights to sleep before the game on Wednesday. I hate these 8:30 start times. I haven't been to bed before midnight in a week and I'm getting too old for that! I'm exhausted.

But my favorite part is Papelbon's Irish jig. Here's the one after they beat the Angels, and here's the follow-up from last night's win. Who knows what he'll come up with if they win the Series.

Friday, October 19, 2007

There's no place like home... feels so good to be home, except I'm sick. I seem to have picked up a sore throat and cold somewhere along the way, but it felt good to sleep in my own bed last night. As much fun as it is to not have to cook or clean up and to go out with your friends a few nights, that's about my limit - a few nights. I'm lucky that my job doesn't require much travel, and I like it that way right now.

A few more notes about my trip. Eight of us did go on the evening Segway tour of the monuments on Wednesday evening, followed by a delicious dinner at DC Coast. Again, worth it just to ride the machine, but we did get a slightly different tour. It was a little tougher to ride at night, I found, as you have to really pay attention for obstacles in your path. And we all had to wear little red blinking lights on us so that no cars would hit us! But we all had a really good time. Next year's conference is in San Francisco, and we already found out that there are Segway tours there! We also took over the Daily Grille on Tuesday evening for the Sox game and had a great time despite the loss.

While I was in DC, I stayed at the historic Mayflower Hotel. The ballroom we were in for meetings was the site of Calvin Coolidge's inaugural ball in 1925, and there has been an inauguration ball there for every president since. However, Coolidge never attended his ball, as his 16-year old son had died of blood poisoning just before his inauguration and he was still mourning his loss. Harry Truman lived at the Mayflower for the first 90 days of his presidency. FDR wrote his inauguration speech there. J. Edgar Hoover at lunch there nearly every day he was in town. And did you know that the building has more gold than any other building in the country except for the Library of Congress?

And for those who have asked about the Bush impersonator, his name is Steve Bridges. If you go to his website, and click on the Performance Videos, there is a classic segment of him with the real President Bush doing a routine at the White House correspondent's dinner. He also has an exclusive contract with Leno to do the Tonight Show. Interesting, he also does Clinton and Schwarzeneggar routines. He uses academy award-winning makeup artist from Driving Miss Daisy. Watch some of the videos...they're very funny!

Now that I'm home, guess what Miss Sophie can do now? She can push her little walker toy on her own! Check it out!

And tonight before dinner, she snacked on some mini shredded wheats. What a mess those things make...they're not kidding about the "shredded" part!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Another day in D.C.

Today was the first full day of the conference, and I heard a lot of interesting speakers and had the chance to talk with quite a few customers. After the last session ended at 5, a few of us decided we needed to get out of the hotel to get some fresh air. We took a cab to the Lincoln Memorial and hiked it back to the hotel, seeing lots of great things along the way. Then, it was off to our company-sponsored dinner party, where the guest speaker was none other than President Bush himself, and I got to have my picture taken with him! Here I am with the Commander in Chief, along with my friends E and T:

Now for the other photos of the day. Just as I was taking this pic, EJ called and she wanted to know if I could see Lincoln inside, but I couldn't, so she told me I needed to go take a pic so she could see him.

So, here he is, EJ:

Next, we walked along the Vietnam Memorial:

And the next stop was at the World War 2 monument:

Finally, on the way back to the hotel, we went past the White House again, and EJ had requested a "bigger closer" picture of it. I tried to explain that you can't get any closer on this side of it, but my zoom got a pretty good shot. The Dalai Lama was visiting with President Bush today at the White House and tomorrow he is receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor at the Capitol Rotunda.

Before closing for the night (now morning), I must come clean that the first photo is not of the real Mr. Bush. This guy was a pretty good impersonator who was our entertainment (not the featured speaker) for our dinner party. As soon as I saw him walk in, I had to run to my room to the get the camera so we could get a pic with him...I thought EJ would enjoy it! You can tell all your friends that Mommy met the President!!!

P.S. I've been talking up the Segway tour so much that a few more people are interested in doing an evening tour tomorrow when the monuments are all lit up. I dunno...I might have to do it again. It was just so much fun!!!!

Ugh. The Sox lost...again.

How depressing have the last three games been? Awful. Bad. Can't even discuss them. The fifth inning tonight was too much to watch. Tolerable at 3-0, but then to let it get to 7-0. The back-to-back-to-back homers in the top of the 6th helped lift spirits a little, but then there was nothing worth talking about after that, other than perhaps they should have brought in Lester one inning sooner.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Zippin' around DC

This week, I'm at my company's user conference in DC. My friend, E, and I arrived a few hours early and did the Capital Segway tour of the city. This was SO much fun that I would do the exact same tour again tomorrow if I had the chance. The tour lasted two hours, but you also get a few minutes practice in the store and about 15-20 minutes of free time in a park across the street before the tour starts to get comfy. I had been on a Segway for just a few minutes maybe 5-6 years ago, and it did take me about 15-20 minutes before I felt confident at higher speeds or quick stops, but before you know it, I was zipping around like a pro. E rode a more rugged cross-country model, which was very cool too. Here we are in front of the White House:

And here are some more photos, promised to EJ, who I wish could be here to tour around this week. Someday soon we'll come to visit so you can see everything! Here's a view from the steps of the Capitol looking down the mall to the Washington Monument:

Here I am on the walkway leading up to the steps of the Capitol:

EJ, this is the National Archives building where the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are stored:

Playdate for Sophie

Look who came to visit this weekend...the fabulous R, who came home from China on the same trip as Sophie! We were so excited to see R and her wonderful family, who we hung out with a lot in China. And R's big sister F and EJ were happy to have a little reunion after not seeing each other for more than four months!

And speaking of reunion, we're having one with a lot of folks from our travel group in early November, when we're getting together for dim sum. I can't wait to see them all and see how much the kids have grown!!! I really feel like we're all a big family after making this wonderful journey together.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Red Sox win the first game of the ALCS

Woo hoo! I know I haven't blogged about the Sox since their short-lived (thankfully!) downward spiral at the end of the season. But yes, they held off the Yankees to win the division and the Yanks had to settle for the wild card. The Yankees were stopped by the Indians last week in four games, and honestly, Cleveland played so well that I was starting to root for the least you know what you're getting into with them!

So here we are in the ALCS against the Indians, and with last night's 10-3 win, they are only three games away from the World Series. Here are some shots from the game, compliments of Boston Globe:

Manny made a few awesome plays in left field last night. Just when you think the guy is lazy out there and could hustle a bit more, he comes up with something like this...
and then laughs when he walks to first base. He looked like he was having way too much fun last night.
Ortiz and Pedroia (hopefully Rookie of the Year) celebrate:
After the game:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A new hobby

I've recently discovered the world of digital scrapbooking. I began scrapbooking about 2.5 years ago, when EJ started kindergarten. I thought I would do a scrapbook for each year of her life, starting with kindergarten. I did so good the first two years (two albums, plus one of our trip to Disney). I'm a little behind on EJ's last scrapbook, and I haven't even started one for Sophie or for our trip to China.

Digital scrapbooking looked like a fun thing to try. I literally created this page in about three minutes. It's so easy that EJ has also had fun doing it, meaning that I can turn her scrapbooks over for her to start (and then I can "edit" as needed!).

I'm heading to DC on business for a few days next week. I've loaded some software up on my laptop so that I can play around a little more while I'm there.

Hello? Hello?!?!?!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Adorable Autumn

Here are Sophie's birthday portraits. I had selected a fall background, but since she's so tiny, you can't really see the full scene, so that didn't work too well. But overall, I'm very pleased with the results--out of 20 shots, these were the only two where she was really smiling.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Cute Sophie things...

She's done some really cute, funny, and heart-warming things today:
  • She held her own bottle the whole way through her night-time feeding.
  • She drank COLD milk from a new sippy cup at dinner. It was only an ounce or two, but that's okay. She loved the garlic bread too.
  • After she drank some of her cold milk, she let out a cute little burp, upon which she smiled and starting patting her own belly. Guess she thought she would burp herself! When we're burping her, she'll sometimes pat our backs in return.
  • If you sit her socks and/or shoes in front of her, she picks them up and lays them on her feet. She knows where they belong!
  • She likes to grab the brush on her dresser and brush her own hair.
  • Tonight, when she was drinking her bedtime bottle, K came in her room to ask me something. When he turned around to walk out and close the door, she said "bye bye". Her caregiver at school told me that she said it today. She can also wave and blow kisses.
  • She loves our bed for some reason. When we lay her on it to undress her before bath time, she goes wild - rolling, giggling, flopping hysterically and laughing all the way. Sometimes, she gets on her back and if you say "wiggle wiggle", she does this funny little belly dance thing. Adorable!
  • She said "mama" several times tonight, and I think she said it to me!!!! :) The first was after her bath. And as we were rocking before bedtime, she reached her little hand up and patted my cheek and said it again. Sigh. I'm in love!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Wacky schedules...

Wow. We forgot how much work all the logistics of two working parents could be--packing lunches, arranging drop off and pickup schedules for two, shuttling to after school activities, and oh yeah...all that other silly stuff that needs to be done daily. You know. Laundry. Meals. Cleanup. Baths. Silly us! And did I mention that 7 AM conference call I'm on every Wednesday morning for a project in Japan? I'm exhausted!

This afternoon, I picked up Sophie first. She didn't cry when she saw me (although K and EJ reported that she did cry at dropoff this morning!). She even let out a little smile, which is, "Mama, you're here!"...much better than the tears that were shed when I picked her up on previous days, which were more like "You're back and don't ever leave me here again!" She is doing really well for them--eating well, taking her bottles (all milk at this point!), and participating in art projects. Her first project came home today - a cute little rainbow with little squares of colored construction paper randomly glued all over like ice cream sprinkles.

Then, we went to get EJ at her after-school care, which happens to be the same place she went to preschool, kindergarten, and day camp the last few summers. All the teachers were excited to see Sophie, but Sophie was much more excited to see her sissy! We raced home, got EJ ready for piano lessons, gave Sophie her next bottle, kicked EJ out to the driveway when K pulled in for her ride to piano, and started dinner. After dinner, the cleanup and prep for the next day begins. Whew!

While K was picking up EJ at piano, Sophie was playing in family room while I was prepping dinner. She was awfully quiet in there, so when I had a break in my cooking, I popped my head in to see what she was doing, and this is what I found. I was laughing so hard that I had to run for the camera:

She had snagged the box of tissues from the coffee table and plucked out about 30 tissues before I figured out that lack of sound means she's up to something. Little stinker. And she sat there and smiled at me and then pulled another 3 or 4 out before I could stop the madness.

Speaking of madness, EJ wanted to get out some of the fall and Halloween decorations after dinner. Yep, it's almost time for another one of those holidays when you get a ton of candy. The problem? Her Easter basket is still sitting on the little table in the dining room...with unopened candy in it! So, in a few weeks, we'll have a few more pounds to deal with, and then Christmas candy, and then Valentine candy, and then Easter candy...and so on.