Saturday, December 23, 2006

Holiday travel! Joy! Joy! Joy! NOT!

Early Thursday morning, Alex left Calgary. More than 36 hours later, he arrived at our house.

His trouble started when he arrived in Chicago and the spillover Denver mess had affected flights in Chicago, plus Chicago had rain and fog. His flight was delayed, delayed, then he was bumped so he had to spend the night sleeping in a chair in the Chicago airport.

Meanwhile, Rene was waiting at the Columbia, SC airport for about 6 hours. Alex had forgotten to bring our phone number. He finally got a hold of his neighbor who looked up our phone number (thank you internet!). So Rene returned home, after spending about 8 hours waiting at the Columbia airport (an hour away).

The next morning, Friday, Alex called that he would be flying to Washington D.C. and then to Greenboro, NC, which is over 4 hours away. So Alex, flew, got in an hour later than we expected. Of course Alex's suitcase was not in Greensboro. Luckily, I called the Columbia, SC airport baggage claim and it took them two minutes to find it. Rene and Alex stopped along the way to get the suitcase. Rene left at 8 am to pick up Alex and they returned 8 pm.

But Alex was not alone in his travel woes! Just after I had located the suitcase, Richard (Rene's oldest son) called to say that he and Liam (Rene's youngest son), had an adventure. They were supposed to fly direct from Calgary to London. For some strange reason someone at the airport told them they'd need to fly to Vancouver (uh, hello, wrong direction!) So they flew to Vancouver. You guessed it, when they got to Vancouver they had to fly back to Calgary to get to London! Doh! They arrived in London earlier today.

I was happy not to have to drive, fly and just be command central at home. The girls and I picked up my parents on Wednesday. Luckily they were only 20 minutes late. Dietrich, Leticia and Andrew are due in a few hours. Cross your fingers they arrive on time!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Happy Holidays!

We're all busy preparing for Christmas. Tomorrow is Erin's last day of school. Then the family starts to arrive. First my parents, then Alex, then Rene's dad & his wife, and Rene's brother Andrew. Full house! We did a lot of food shopping yesterday!

Erin had her Christmas play, "The ABCs of Christmas" last week. It was very sweet. She performed her "D is is Decoration" part very well. The first 15 minutes of the presentation was Erin's Spanish teacher leading the class in their Spanish. The class is an immersion class, so the teacher speaks no English to the children. It was quite impressive! The week before there was a Santa breakfast at the school. Erin went right to Santa, but Lauren wouldn't go, although she did yell out "Baby Alive!", which is what she wants from Santa. Baby Alive is the doll that eats and pees. Erin requested the same.

Rene and I went out to dinner for the first time alone in well over a year on Saturday. We finally got a babysitter who worked out great! The dinner was an early celebration of Rene's birthday. We booked her for January, as well, for our anniversary.

Our extended family got a nice Christmas present: My cousin Jennifer gave birth to her second daughter, Natalie Ava. The pictures of the baby are adorable, and big sister Lara seems to be adjusting. Congratulations!

Finally, here's a picture of the girls, in their Christmas finest!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Dec 1 and it's 74 degrees

Well at times it has been cool, but yesterday and today it's hot! Crazy living in the south.

We had a nice Thanksgiving, and only have some turkey soup left in the freezer. On Thanksgiving weekend we took a Petersburg boat tour on the Augusta Canal which was very nice.

Now the preparation for Christmas begins. Yikes!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Go, Erin, Go! And Stephen, too!

This morning Erin ran her one mile Fun Run at school. She had warned me that she might be near the end, but she did great! And Lauren had fun cheering her sister on.

Now one mile is quite commendable for a kindergardener, but we must also give a big congratulations to my cousin Stephen who completed the New York Marathon last week! Many family members were on hand to cheer Stephen on.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tip: Lizard in the house?

How do you know if there's a lizard in the house? Get a puppy!

Tip for moms: Too many stuffed animals?

Get a puppy. :)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

We had a happy halloween!

Our first Halloween in Georgia was a hit. We had fun trick or treating in the neighborhood. All the kids (and parents) went from house to house in a group. (When it was your own house, someone had to dash inside to hand out the candy). Since no other kids outside the neighborhood venture down our court, the kids got spoiled by the neighbors. I even convinced Lauren to put on her ballerina outfit at the last minute! Then we ventured over to our friends neighborhood because we didn't have quite enough sugar. :)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

We're very excited that today is Halloween! Erin is a princess and Lauren is still insisting that she wants to be Lauren for Halloween. Lauren does not want to get dressed up! On Friday we had the mom's club halloween party which was fun. I created and ran the pin the nose on the pumpkin area.

We visited friends Kara, Walt, Samantha and Sean this weekend and had a really nice time. The kids played nicely together and it was good to spend time with them. Their neighborhood had a Halloween festival which we attended and the next day we took a nice walk which resulted in Lauren napping most of the way home and sleeping 12 hours! She did not nap yesterday, but has slept 11 hours so far! Go Lauren!

Today we'll trick or treat with the neighborhood kids. We have learned that the thing to do is trick or treat here early and then go to another neighborhood, so we'll trick or treat with our friends Emily and Audrey afterwards.

A year ago the girls and I were in NY with my parents while our stuff moved from California to Georgia. That was a stressful week! But we made it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Freeze warning in Augusta!

Seems like it went from roasting to freezing in just days. As of last night, we have turned on the heat. shows that it is 34 degrees now and there is a freeze warning.

Today Erin is home for her last day of fall break. Yesterday we went to Target and got some warm clothes for the girls.

Last week Lauren and I had a tummy virus. She seemed to have a relapse yesterday. This only seems to occur when we meet Rene for lunch.

This weekend we go to visit Kara, Walt, Samantha and Sean in Woodstock, GA. Hooray!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Fall and random notes

Well we had a week or two without air conditioning, but now it's back on. Evenings are getting bit cooler though. Makes me feel like pumpkin bread and homemade soup! (both of which I've made this week.

Erin is now a Daisy girl scout. She has a meeting every other week. Last week, Erin attended the Magic Slippers Masquerade Ball for area girl scouts. Erin's troop got dressed up as princesses! Click here for pictures. Also pictures of Lauren at school on picture day (wouldn't let the professional photographer take her picture). Oh, and me with a king and queen at the Rennaissance festival!

Don't worry, Daisy Scouts don't sell cookies, so I won't hit anyone up! (Next year, however...) If you do have any of the pink boxtops for education on general mills cereal boxes, betty croker, ziplock bags, and many other brands, you could send them our way. :)

Rene was away last week in Raleigh, NC. We survived. He arrived home just in time to see Princess Erin return from her masquerade ball.

Lauren and I recently went to a mom's club sponsored field trip at the airport on Tuesday. It's a small airport, not the oh so grand Augusta airport, but it was great! We got to walk around the planes, meet the mechanics, talk to the medivac helicopter pilot and peek in his helicopter, and the kids got to sit in a small airplane. Lauren chose not to get in the plane.

For Halloween, Erin will be (surprise, surprise) a princess. Lauren prefers to be Lauren for Halloween.

Christmas plans are underway and we expect that there will be 10 of us here, and we're excited about that.

Daisy had to get shaved last week as her hair got too crazy. She looks like a completely different dog, a somewhat freakish one.

Yesterday, Daisy ran out into the front yard and pooped. Being the good dog caretaker that I am, I went out with some plastic bags to remove the offending items. Erin came out yelling, "Mommy, there's a phone call for you!" Erin's never answered the phone before, so I was surprised. I took the phone. It was my doctor's office, letting me know my thyroid check was AOK. I asked Erin what she said to the lady on the phone. She said, "I told her that Jeanne was outside picking up poop!" Oh well, I guess I gave the nurse a laugh.

Today is the start of Erin's fall break. We went to the library park this morning and then met Rene for lunch. I went to the rest room, and came back to discover that Lauren had gotten sick! So we all dashed home. Rene changed clothes quick and went back to work. We're just hanging out. Laure is in good spirits, so I think she's fine. Always something around here!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Working girl

My mom sent me this old newspaper clipping of herself from way back when she was a working "girl". (See how the caption refers to ladies as "girls"). Not sure of the date (need to check with mom), but I'm guessing approximately 50 years ago! Anyway, looking good, mom! (She's in the foreground, in the dark skirt, cardigan sweater with the oh so cute purse!)

Click on the photo to see a larger version (then hit your browser back button to return).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Friday, September 08, 2006

Special helper of the day

Erin was the special helper of the day. She came home with a large piece of paper that said the following:

Today is Wednesday, September 6, 2006.
Erin is our special helper today.
P.E. is Erin's favorite school activity. She likes pink. Her favorite number is one million. Erin likes the story, "Jack in the Beanstalk." Her favorite animals are flamingos.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A few updates...

It's been brought to my attention that it's been an entire month since I last posted here. Whoops! Time flies. Here's some quick updates:

Erin's doing well in school. After a few days, we found out they needed to add a new kindergarten class and Erin's name was chosen in a lottery to move to the class. I was upset, but Erin didn't bat an eye. It's been an exhausting month for her, but she's doing well. Erin has Spanish class 4 times a week. She's starting to read some words, and has completely memorized her phone number, area code and all! Yeah Erin!

Speaking of area codes, months ago they implemented 10-digit dialing in the Augusta area. Which means if I want to call my neighbor across the street, I need to dial the area code. Without the "1" in front. If you dial the one, you get some recording that you've dialed in error. Arrrgggh!

The carpool line at school sucks. I get there 30 minutes early and sit there with all the other moms (and a few dads) just so Erin doesn't have to wait in the heat for 20 minutes for me to get her. Half the time, Lauren sleeps, which is fine, because then I get to read. When it cools down, I can take Lauren to the school playground.

Lauren started her "children's morning out" class a few weeks ago. She likes it a lot! Same teachers as last year which helps. Last week Lauren fell off a chair in the family room and her head bumped on the hardwood floor. Ouch! Big old goose egg. Lauren did not go to school that morning.

Our friends Kara, Walt, Samantha and Sean visited us this past labor day weekend. They stayed over Saturday night. On Sunday, we went to Walt's parents' farm in South Carolina. We got to feed the horsies, go swimming, and Lauren chased the dogs (and vice versa).

Finally, we're famous! Erin, Lauren and I got our pictures in the local Augusta Parent magazine and I got quoted in the article. You can't see the picture, but if you go to this link and scroll down, you'll see the article:

That's all for now!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

First day of school

Erin started kindergarten on Friday. Our baby is growing up. We didn't find out until Tuesday who Erin's teacher is. Her teacher is Mrs. Swenson, and the assistant teacher (not sure about her official title) is Mrs. Partridge.

On Thursday night we went to the open house. Since we were in the second half of the alphabet, we had to go from 7 -8. First thing we learned about Stevens Creek is that they don't have enough parking! Lots of cars parked on the side of the road, so we did that too. We live less than a mile from the school and can walk on the bike path, but it was late and the forecast was rain, so we opted to drive. Erin met her teachers, who seem very nice. She found her desk and her locker where her bookbag and supplies were waiting for her. Then we went to the cafeteria to sign up for the Parent Teacher Organization (ie write a check), pick up a t-shirt, and write another check for Erin's cafeteria account. Then it was back home to get everyone to bed for the big day.

Erin woke up and immediately put her new school clothes and sneakers on. She was ready! We all piled in the car and navigated through the many school traffic helpers. We walked Erin to her classroom. She had painted a picture of a butterfly for Mrs. Swenson, which Mrs. Swenson loved. It was short and sweet. We kissed Erin goodbye and then off we went. As we walked down the hall, Rene was in front of me and said, "That wasn't so bad, was it?" When he turned around I had some tears in my eyes. I got through it, though.

Soon after that, Lauren and I joined a few other kindergarten moms and siblings for a first day of school brunch. It was very nice. I learned that I wasn't the only one to cry. I also learned that the rules for bus riders are that boys sit on one side, girls sit on the other. Girls get off the bus first.

Pickup was another story! I left the house at 3:14. It takes one minute to get there, and I was one of the last cars inside the school grounds. Lauren and I waited over a half hour in the carpool pickup line! It had to be 100 degrees. We finally got wilted Erin. In the future, when it cools down, I may walk to school and push Lauren in the burley trailer along the bike path. I had heard that even though we live close, we'd be first for pickup for the bus and last to drop off. I check and discovered because we live within 2 miles of the school, technically we're not eligible for the bus (which Erin would love to ride!)

Took a while to get details, but Erin liked her first day of school. She drew a picture for me, she liked lunch in the cafeteria (pizz), she reported with a laugh that all the kids couldn't stay still during nap time, she liked recess, and was evasive about it, but I finally got it out of her that a Spanish teacher visited them and she had a wand.

We celebrated the first day of school with Thai food. Great job, Erin!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Our condolences

Richard, Alex, and Liam's mother passed away last week. We're so sorry that they lost their mom. We know that Lisa was very proud of them, and loved them dearly. Our condolences, prayers, and love to them.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

They say owners start to look like their dogs...

but this is ridiculous! Rene has recently been diagnosed with hypothyroidism which may be causing high cholesterol. Now, a month later, our dog Jake has been diagnosed with the same thing!

I just hope Rene doesn't get fleas.

Mom's pizza tip

A mom at Erin's birthday party gave me this tip: If you have a little one who needs their pizza cut up, just use clean scissors! Cut up pizza, easy as can be!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Birthday extravaganza

The plan for Erin's birthday was to have the kids slip and slide in the front yard. The forecast was for rain, but it held off for most of the day. At 4:30, scheduled time for the party to start, the neighborhood kids were the first to arrive. The big inflatable kiddie pool was filled up, the slip n slide was in place, but the clouds were dark and I heard thunder. Fearing that the kids would be struck by lightning, I told everyon not to get in the pool. Just then the raindrops started to fall. So up to the playroom we went.

But 20 minutes later, the rain stopped and the sky wasn't quite so black, so everyone was in the kiddie pool and slippin and slidin on the slip n slide. Then lots of pizza and cake was consumed. A great party, after all!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Happy Birthday Erin!

My baby is 5 today! It really did go so quickly. Now Erin gets to experience life without training wheels. Literally. Her new purple Schwinn awaits!

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Our new summer breakfast staple seems to be smoothies (aka how mom can sneak a lot of fruit into her kids). We usually put strawberries, bananas, orange juice, sometimes blueberries, peaches and yogurt. Usually some of the fruit is frozen. If I have fruit that's getting ripe and I don't think we'll eat it, I'll cut it up and freeze if for future smoothie use.

Now if I could just figure out a way to sneak green veggies in there..

Monday, July 10, 2006

Vacation is over, sniff, sniff

We had a fun vacation. The first week we spent at Nana and PopPops. The girls got lots of attention. Got to visit a few old friends.

Here are some of the highlights of our trip to Long Beach Island:

Cousins! And lots of them!
Great dinners by cousin John!
Ice cream at the Melt Down, with a celebrity visitor, Spongebob Squarepants himself!
Seeing dolphins in the ocean.
Building sandcastles, digging holes.
Art projects with cousin Carolyn.
The kiddie pool at the beach.
Collecting shells.
Rene and I dining out on our own, no kids!
Everyone riding the big bike.
Aunt Joan's pancakes!
Jeanne got to read an entire book! Whoo hoo!
Jeanne and Erin got pedicures. Whoo hoo!
Lauren riding the baby bike seat behind daddy.
Evening at Fantasy Island. Lauren, Lara and Samantha go on their first rides by themselves. (Little cars, little boats).
Buckets o' margaritas.
The kiddies swimming in the bay while some of the others kayaked by.
Lucky Charms!

Here's pics: click here

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Visiting the folks

In NY this week with Nana and PopPop and the girls. Got to see some friends and just hang out. Nana is spoiling the girls and they are enjoying it. Looking forward to the beach. Now we just have to sing: rain, rain, go away!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Got a job!

As I was packing for our vacation, I got a phone call with the offer for a part time job as a technical writer / editor! It won't ever be more than 10 hours a week, and I can do it at home on my own time. Hooray for me!

Bloggerjeanne is going on vacation

Off to NY to spend time with the folks, and then the beach in NJ with family. Rene will join me and the girls for the week at the beach. Rene just sent this email to a friend, and I thought it was funny, so here is an edited version:

Summer is going alright here. It is expected to be warm the next 2 days, with highs in the mid 90's. High humidity, but not REALLY high. Jeanne had her birthday yesterday. Can you believe it that she is 29 already??? Seems like only yesterday that she was 19!

She leaves for New York tomorow with the girls. I join her next week; one whole week of bachelor-hood. Who-hoo!

I had a temper tantrum last week; the tree people cut down some trees for us, broke a water pipe (of course they wouldn't pay for the repairs), a bunch of sprinkler heads, etc. Then my tractor died (still isin the shop) and I was attacked by a swarm of killer mosquitoes while I was trying to deal with everything. Of course the painter's mother died (I thought she died a few months ago when they failed to show up for another job?), and his assistant broke his back, so my door never got painted. Still isn't. Might happen any day now. "Hard to say". Did I mention that we have a hard time finding and keeping healthy tradespeople? We do. We must be jinxed. I secretly envy renters.

Erin is enjoying living here more. She opened the door on Saturday and was greeted by a very calm looking turtle waiting for her. Yup, we have armadillos, snakes, turtles, gators, and weird looking lizards. Never had wildlife like this in Canada! She has been taking swimming lessons here. She actually got on an diving board! Of course, I should add that she promptly walked off muttering "no way".

We have a REALLY big vegetable garden here, which is very fortunate as the previous owners provided little food for the rabitts and leaf-footed bugs. What? Never heard of leaf-footed bugs? Me neither, but they adore tomatoes. They have these little group gatherings on tomatoes where they suck 'em dry one at a time. Apparently nature has equiped them really well for survival. They taste so bad that even lizards won't eat them.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday dear me,
Happy birthday to me!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I love letter K

This morning, Lauren said to me, "I love letter K".

I can't say that I love letter K, but it is a useful letter.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Blah day

The neighbors are gone, no kids to come play.
The sun is not out, so no pool today.
The tree men are here and they cut down some lumber.
But they drove over a waterpipe,
So we're waiting on the plumber.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Rene versus the ivy

On this very hot weekend, for some reason Rene decided to tackly the ivy that had slowly been taking over the back yard. My verdict: Rene won! Although Rene might not think so as he is tired and achy today. :( On top of that his eye is still puffy from getting sunscreen in it. Erin and Lauren had the same thing happen. We're not using that sunscreen on our faces any more.

I know the battle of the ivy is not over yet, but for now, it looks like we have a winner.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Lauren as a punk rocker

Actually, it's just her post-nap "do". We love Lauren and her crazy hair.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Our luck continues

Our luck with deliveries, repairs, contractors continues. We had
ordered a bedroom set for Erin. I asked if I could get the bed
without the footboard. Salesperson says, let me check. She checks.
Yes I can get the bed without the footboard.

Bed gets delivered. Wrong bed frame. They tell me, "What you need is
a 99, m'am." I call and tell them I need a 99.

99 arrives next day. They install it. Legs don't come all the way to
the end so bed is all wobbly and unstable. They'll send a technician.

Technician arriives. He says they don't have the right bedframe and
advises I just go to some bed store and buy a metal bedframe and screw
it to the headboard.

Why do these guys always tell you that you need a 99 when a 99 is not
what you need?

(Note, I tried to post this last night but blogger was down).

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A posting a day!

It's been brought to my attention that my blog posting has been sparse lately. It's summer in the south! Everything moves more slowly in the south. Including me.

Here's some random updates:

Erin's swimming is progressing nicely. She can put her head in the water and swim a few feet to me. Her swim teacher called her "fearless" which was never a word we would have used to describe Erin. But peer pressure is working in our favor. Erin sees her friends swim and she really wants to swim too.

Erin got a new bed and bedroom furniture yesterday. She's quite excited to have a big bed. We moved the toddler bed to Lauren's room, but she prefers to sleep in her crib for now.

Rene did an excellent job of cleaning up the vegetable garden this weekend. It looks nice. But now we have some nasty bugs on our tomatoes. Looks like we may not be able to eat our tomatoes. :( Erin is eating the sweet peas off the vine, though. We've got enough mint to make mint juleps for the entire south!

Daisy has surpassed Erin in weight.

I'm now the treasurer and webmom for the mom's club. This after being the chairperson of the nominating committee. I could not persuade anyone else to be treasurer. :(

Thanks to Rene, we can now fit both cars in the two-car garage! Whoo hoo!

Looking forward to our trip to NY to visit Nana and PopPop and the beach in NJ with the family in a few weeks.

OK, enough, or I will have nothing to post in following days.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

It's coming...

The oppressive heat and humidity that we've heard about and dreaded is slowly making it's way here. We're just about the point that inside is a much better option than outside. (Except for going to the pool!)

When we were at the pool on Sunday, I met a woman who was from New York. She and her family moved here last summer. I told her we hadn't lived through a summer in Augusta.

She said, "I went to the grocery store at 10:00 at night in July. When I walked outside it was horrible, so hot and humid, I could hardly move! And people were walking around as if everything was normal! It was the strangest thing."

Strange, indeed.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Everybody in the pool!

We've had what we're told is an unseasonably rare spring in Augusta. But now the temperature is starting to creep up. Saturday we turned on the sprinklers for the kids (including neighborhood kids). Fun was had by all.

Sunday, we went to the pool we joined for the firs time. It was somewhat crowded, and we saw Erin's friends Sam and Emily and their families there, too. Last summer, Erin was a reluctant swimmer. This year, she seems much more adventurous. A few things are helping. The big pool has a section that ranges from 2-2 1/2 feet, so the water isn't over Erin's head. Also, peer pressure! Sam blows bubbles in the water, so does Erin. Sam tries swimming with the kickboard with her mom's help. Erin wants to try to. Emily puts her face in the water, so does Erin. So peer pressure is working well. She even got dunked once, but it didn't slow her down.

Lauren was very reluctant to go in the kiddy pool with daddy. Finally, though, she got in and had fun. Eventually she went in the big pool with mommy. Progress was made my all!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Why puppies shouldn't have pacifiers

As we were letting Daisy romp in the kitchen with us, she suddenly retreated to her crate in the laundry room. Rene said, "Isn't that cute? Daisy is resting in her crate." I knew that was not normal for Daisy, and soon Lauren kept requesting, "Blue Binky!" I went to Daisy, opened her mouth, and there was the the remnants of the blue binky. The main part (the part you suck on) had been bitten off. Lauren looked at it and said "Wash it!" So I carefully washed it in soap and hot water, dried it off, and handed it to Lauren. She looked at it, laughed, put it in her mouth, then cried.

Oh well, at least it varied Daisy's diet of puppy chow, pinecones, sticks and rocks.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Erin and Daisy graduate

Erin finished preschool last week. Although they didn't have a "graduation" ceremony, they did have a special singing performance for parents with snacks afterwards. Erin did great, she's been singing the songs for months. She even sang a song about colors in Spanish. They had lots of fun the last few weeks. The last week had pajama party day and a water fun day. We weren't going to do it, but Erin will attend day camp there with her preschool teacher. She'll go three days a week for the month of July.

Daisy graduated from puppy kindergarten tonight. She can sit, stay, and come (sometimes). Daisy is a bundle of energy and so big! Her paws are huge. Rene got on the scale with her and she ways almost 37 pounds. She almost weighs as much as Erin! But she is very sweet and a lot of fun.

Not to be forgotten, Lauren can sing her ABCs now. If Lauren sees a word in a book or on a sign, she says, "Look, mommy, ABC's!" Lauren knows some Spanish, too, from Dora, of course. If I pick her up she some times says "Arriba" and if I ask her if she needs help, she says "Ayudame".

Jake knows no Spanish, but a few weeks ago he polished off a few servings of turkey cheese enchiladas. That's our Jake.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

No spandex!

Rene's HR department sent around a notice that the dress code would now include a "no spandex" rule. Well that's going to limit his choice of a summer wardrobe!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Daddy did it

Last week of school for the girls. Yikes! Erin's class has been busy with a mom's tea (which we missed to due Erin's ear infection), crazy day, backwards day and pajama party day today. On Wednesday is the big singing performance. Erin has been belting out "Jesus Loves the Little Children" quite often. Of course, in her rendition, it goes something like, "Jesus Loves the Little ChildREM" and various other words are butchered.

Not to be outdone by her sister, Lauren has her own way of saying things. Here a guide to some of Lauren's favorite utterings:

lolla hop = lollipop
mope = milk
mo mope = more milk
Edin = Erin
bamas = pajamas
nur one = another one, as in "another one, binky", "another one blanky", etc
Gola Boots = Dora, Boots (as previously mentioned)
pee-low = pillow
pee-dow = playdough
Gam=Sam (Erins' friend)
no like = I don't like it
I like it! = I like it!

Lately, any time I try to get her to do something, her response is, "Daddy did it."

Do you want to take a bath? Daddy did it.
Can I brush your teeth? Daddy did it.
Let me change your diaper. Daddy did it.

Now it may be true that at one point in time Daddy has done all of these things, but usually she says this when it is quite clear Daddy has NOT done those things recently. As Erin said once, "Babies can be pretty tricky."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Gola Pilot

Gola Pilot. That would be "Dora Pirate" to you. On Wednesday we saw the Dora Pirate show in Augusta, or as Lauren says, Gola Pilot. All enjoyed.

We visited the dentist yesterday. It was Lauren's first visit to the dentist. She did not like it, so they didn't do too much. Erin is an old pro at the dentist, and she did great. I was surprised to learn that Erin's two bottom teeth are a little loose, so she may lose them by the summer! My baby losing her baby teeth already! I can't believe it.

Took Daisy to puppy kindergarten again last night. She's doing well with the sit and come commands. Lauren has just about successfully taught Daisy not to jump on her. Lauren is a pretty tough cookie!

Last weekend I attended the baby shower for Jenny, a mom in my mom's club play group. It was very nice. Erin drew Jenny a nice little picture of our family. Then on Tuesday, we brought a meal to Shelly, another play group mom who just had a baby girl. The baby was so teeny tiny and sweet. We went to get the girls feet measured for new shoes last week. Lauren's foot is a size 7 1/2. Yikes! Not so teeny tiny any more. She can also wear some size 4 stuff too in clothes.

Late last week I reconnected via email from a friend from high school. The internet is so cool! My friend is a successful published author, known as Holly Chamberlin. She gave me some updates on other high school chums, so that was neat. "Holly" pointed me towards her husband's cooking blog which is called The photos will leave you drooling! Going to add stephencooks to my cooking links. Yum!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Farewell, Chiron

Chiron no longer exists. :( Chiron is the biotech company that was Rene's previous employer for many years. I'm sure our Chiron friends are contemplating their fate, much as while I was at PeopleSoft during the Oracle takeover. Hang in there guys! May good career opportunities come your way.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Random updates and thoughts

It's been a while since I posted, so I'll try to update various happenings.

We had a nice Easter. We took the kayak, the girls and the doggies to the lake. First Rene ventured out in the kayak and then Erin braved it and went with him. They disembarked at various spots and saw lots of frogs and found a cave. Erin enjoyed the adventure and especially enjoyed wearing her Barbie lifejacket. Lauren and I played with the doggies on the shore and then she entertained herself by picking grass and throwing it on me. We all enjoyed a picnic lunch.

The previous day we did a lot of errands and took a bike ride to the river. We also took Daisy to the new Petco and had her sit with us as we ate lunch outside a small cafe. Part of our doggy kindergarten homework was to bring her to three new places.

The windows are almost done. I thought they would be done on Friday, but on Friday the guys were called to an "unexpected service call" (aka death in family, major hangover, the usual afflictions that meet contractors we work with). We like the windows and they seem to be keeping the house cooler which is nice.

Found a snake in the back yard last week. Between the neighbor's help and my research, we determined it's not poisonous, probably just a garter snake. But still, creepy! Snake appeared to have a bulge in its tummy, so after doing a quick child and doggy check, I guessed a lizard or frog met its demise. We've also seen a rabbit in our backyard in the past week.

Erin had a field trip to Brown's Feed and Seed last week and I was a driver. Not the best of field trips, in my opinion. They had baby chicks that were red, purple, green, blue, orange for Easter. The kids got to hold the chicks and the baby ducks. Baby chicks and ducks poop. Gross! They got to see chickens and roosters, and that was that. It was a short field trip, so afterwards I got to go with Sam's mom, Sandy, and get a pedicure and go out to lunch, which was very nice.

Am I the only one who has noticed that Anthony, the blue Wiggle (of THE Wiggles) seems to have super white teeth these days? Sure enough I saw an old episode and his teeth aren't nearly so blinding. But these days, those teeth just pop out at you.

The azaleas are already starting to fade here. Spring comes so early! we are getting many surprise flowers popping up in our garden. Our roses just started to bloom. This week I will try to join a nearby pool so we will be ready to beat the heat soon!

Oh, speaking of the masters, Rene spent a few hours on the first official play day of the Masters. 2 hours. He saw the whole gang, except for Tiger Woods. He saw Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, etc. As Rene put it, there were "lots of rich people. The place oozed of money".

This week: Windows are finished! Playgroup at our house. Pick out paint for exterior trim. Stay cool.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Spring in Georgia: Erin and Chandler put on a show

Springtime in Georgia. The calm before the heat and humidity. Yesterday, she and Chandler decided to put on a show on our front patio for the neighborhood. Tomorrow a neighbor is hosting an Easter Egg Hunt. Here's a link to view photos of Lauren's birthday, Alex's visit, the house and the big show: click me

Rene left a message that he's on his way to the Masters this morning! Some neighbors had tickets to the practice rounds, so it's pretty cool that he's going to the real thing. Maybe he'll see Tiger Woods! I hope Rene develops an interest in golf before he gets there. I guess this is a perk of working for Club Car. Puppy photos below, keep scrolling!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Correction: Daisy is a labradoodle

In my haste to post info about Daisy, I wrote that she's a Goldendoodle. She is a Labradoodle, 1/2 lab, 1/2 poodle. One of her grandparents may be a golden, I need to check.

Anyhoo, she checked out fine at the vet and she's doing well. She's doing a very good job doing her business outside, so we can't complain. When they're outside together, Jake and Daisy seem to play well. We do have to teach her not to jump on the kids. Next week, Daisy and I go to puppy kindergarten, so hopefully I'll learn how to train Daisy.

We're doing well on our week off this masters week. The kids in the neighborhood are off, and yesterday evening it was fun to sit on our front patio and watch the kids and doggies run around.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Daisy, daisy

Daisy, daisy. Will post more on Daisy later, but we have our puppy, who we all agreed to call Daisy! As Lauren says, "Daisy cute!" And she is. Needs lots of attention, though! So I'll be busy. No school this week either. Daisy is a second generation golden doodle, which means her parents are golden doodles, and her grandparents are golden retrievers and poodles. She's black with wavy hair and is sweet. Jake is a little out of sorts, but seems to be OK with Daisy here. Daisy is currently residing in the laundry room and has her very own deluxe crate there. Will post pictures in a few days.

The ballet was wonderful and Erin did a great job (although she and the other cherubs did pause to pick up the snowflakes that fell on stage). She stayed awake till the curtain call, which was at 9. Hooray, Erin!

Our trip to Atlanta was good. We met Kara, Walt, Samantha and Sean for lunch and then we all headed to the aquarium. The aquarium is beatiful: the building, the exhibits, the beluga whales were awesome! BUT, it was way overcrowded. Granted we went on a Saturday afternoon, but there were really too many people there. Combine that with a napless Lauren, and it wasn't our best outing. But it was great to see Kara and family. Rene and Alex went to the Atlanta thrashers hockey game that night. They had excellent seats and had a great time. They got up early to go to the airport, and I never got to say goodbye to Alex. I think he had a fun week and we enjoyed seeing him and spending time with him.

Finally, received this interesting tidbit in the mail: On Wednesday this week, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06. It won't occur again until 3006.

This week is operation Daisy. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 31, 2006

I'm back

Well I'm back to posting. I hadn't been feeling well the past few days, which culminated in me spending yesterday morning in bed. I'll spare everyone the details.

Alex arrived on Saturday. Rene picked him up in Atlanta. Alex is so grown up! 18! Erin was very excited to have Alex here. She wanted to show him to her friends, bring him to school, and of course, have him push her on the swings. Alex has been a good sport with all of this. Lauren has not warmed up as much. I think she's a little jealous of Daddy spending time with someone else.

Alex and Rene tried out the kayak, and found out how hard it is to go upstream on the canal! We went to Columbia on Sunday and had lunch. The plan was I'd take the girls to Edventure and Rene and Alex would go to the history museum next door. Unfortunately, the history museum was closed that day. Also, the big lake fishing trip was cancelled due to rain. But we did make a trip to the lake and had a nice little walk along the shore. Beautiful! Rene and Alex also took in a movie.

On Wednesday, when the girls were in school, we checked out the brand new library that opened this week. We're so happy to have a wonderful library near us! Brand new huge facility, with 60 computers with flat screen moniters, a coffee shop/ cafe, a playground outside, and an outdoor ampitheater for concerts and performances. They did a great job! I think we'll resume our weekly library nights that we did in California. Oh, and we got to see our the artwork of our neighbor Frances displayed in the library as well.

Since I was not feeling well yesterday, Rene had to make Erin's lunch, take her to school, and watch Lauren. Luckily, Alex researched on his own that he could go to the YMCA using his card from Calgary. He played basketball there for 3 hours. Alex also has ridden Rene's bike to downtown Augusta following the trail between the Savannah River and the Augusta Canal. Rene got Alex a small digital camera, and Alex has taken lots of pictures of his trip here.

In Erin news, I attended a kindergarten meeting for parents. I got to tour the classrooms and the principal gave a talk. The school looks wonderful, but it is so big! There will likely be 7 kindergarten classes. Each class has 18-20 kids with 1 teacher and 1 para professional. I got to read some of the children's journals. They're journalling in kindergarten! Very cute, and impressive too. I'm glad the school is so close. I also know a few other kids who will be attending. I saw 3 other moms I know from Mom's club, one from dance class, and one from Erin's preschool. Also, Erin's big ballet performances are today! We had a short spacing rehearsal on Monday evening, and then a full dress rehearsal on Wednesday. I had to volunteer as a dressing room mom. Quite chaotic! Erin did fine. They had lots of toys and activities for the cherubs, fireflies and ponies. That kept Erin quite occupied. I was trying to put the costume on the littlest cherub, who decided she did not want to be a cherub. She wanted to be a pony. There was no way she was going to put her cherub costume on. Finally I called her mom. Her mom got the costume on, and left, and later, the littlest cherub was hiding under a table, costume off again. Finally we got Miss Kathleen, the teacher who would be performing with them to come and talk her into it. They did well, but boy those cherubs were tired! We got home at 8:15. Tonight we'll probably get home after 9. Erin has a performance today in the morning for area school kids. Then a public performance tonight. Daddy gets to go in the morning, and mommy gets to go tonight.

And tomorrow, the Georgia Aquarium and Alex and Rene see the Atlanta Thrashers hockey game. We'll meet my friends Kara, Walt and their children Samantha and Sean for lunch and then all go to the aquarium. Then early Sunday morning, we take Alex to the airport in Atlanta. It's been good to see him.

OK, off to start our busy day!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Lack of postings

Bloggerjeanne has been very busy and under the weather. Sorry for lack of postings!

Friday, March 24, 2006


Soon Rene will be rolling on the river in his new deluxe kayak! I'm told he should start out with the Augusta Canal before he tackles the Savannah River. Alex arrives tomorrow, so he'll be taking the inaugural launch. Hey, I wonder if I get to christen the boat? I'd better get a bottle of champagne and think of a good name for the boat. Chartreuse? Lullabelle? Hmmm, this on top of trying to think of a puppy name. ETA for when we'll get a puppy: 2 weeks. Yikes! Where's that champagne?

I registered Erin for kindergarten today, which was a painless process except that they'll be taking my baby away from me 8:30-3:30 starting August 4th! August 4th! What happened to summers off?

Next week will be busy. Alex is here, rehearsals and the big show, soccer practice, kindergarten meeting. And we'll be off to Atlanta to see the new Georgia aquarium. We'll return to the Augusta Masters madness. "Do not go to a restaurant during Masters week," I'm told. We'll batten down the hatches and hole up in the house, I guess!

Monday, March 20, 2006

The birthday update

First bit of information to report is that Lauren does not like to have "Happy Birthday" sung to her. She made that quite clear.

We celebrated her birthday on Saturday with some of the neighborhood kids with cake on the back deck and a little playing in the back yard. It was simple, but a nice celebration. Weeks before Lauren's birthday, Erin had chosen the perfect gift for Lauren. She decided Lauren would like the Dora suitcase she'd had for a few years. She found the wrapping paper (Christmas paper, actually), tape and scissors and wrapped it herself. She was very excited to give the gift to her little sister. It was very sweet.

Erin had been playing with the kids across the street a lot, but hadn't really spent much time with Alan down the street, age 6, or his brother Zach. On Saturday and Sunday they spent a lot of time playing together, which was nice. You can always tell which house the kids are at, as there are a pile of bicycles in front of the house.

We've been trying to reduce the amount of time Lauren spends with her "binky" (pacifier), and she did so well that on Saturday night she fell asleep without a binky! She did wake up at 3, and got one then, but that was quite an accomplishment. On Sunday, we did a good job of distracting her every time she asked for a binky. Finally, after her bath, when Rene was reading her books, she kept asking for her binky. Rene said, "I don't know where mommy put it." Lauren said quickly and clearly, "kitchen counter"! She was obviously motivated to expand her vocabulary. Again we successfully distracted her. When I was changing her diaper and getting ready to put her to bed, she said, "Wait! Where binky go?" I told her she could have her binky when she went in her crib. Which seemed to make her happy. That did not prevent her from having a very bad night of sleeping. Mommy and Daddy are tired today.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Happy birthday Lauren!

You're two years old today. Hooray!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The heat is on

We had mid 80's temperatures and humidity this weekend, so I'm getting a taste of what is to come here in Augusta. It was nice to be outside in the warm weather. We tackled the vegetable garden. Rene bought a cheap rototiller. What a great invention! To think, I was pulling weeds! The rototiller and weed cloth have become my new friends. We cleaned up 3 or 4 of the beds. Erin helped me plant tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, basil, dill, rosemary and cilantro. We still need to get watermelon, pumpkin and carrots. Most of the other beds will be covered in weed cloth and pine straw, but at least it will be neater than it is now.

Another outdoorsy thing Rene did was to assemble the white adirondack chairs I had purchased for the front and back patios. I even sat in one on the front patio and read a book for a while on Saturday.

Why it was so warm out on Saturday that the neighbors had the sprinklers on for the kids to run through!

Today is Lauren's last day as a one year old! She has gotten into the spirit of being a two year old by refusing to do many things, including taking baths, getting diaper changes, eating dinner. "NO" is her first response to most questions. We love her anyway. :)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Our angel

Actually, our cherub. Erin will be a cherub in the Ron Jones Dance Academy performance of The Roar of Love, based on The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Here is her photo in her costume. Note: Click on the photo to see a bigger version. You can then hit the back button on your browser to return to the blog.

Software career and forced rankings

As I spend time on this blog and using my computer, I think:

This is something you enjoy. Maybe you could make some money at this. Work with computers. Software. Perhaps train people to use software or work in some way to make the software better, more usable. Yes! That's it! I could work for a software company. And I'm good with people, so maybe I could be a manager. Help others to do their job well.

Uh, been, there, done that. For all the fun parts of the job (mostly the interacting with people part), corporate life can really suck the soul out of you. When my uncle was visiting, Rene and I talked to him about our careers working with software. We both agreed that in the older days (10-15 years ago), what made the job so much more interesting was the creativity involved. Perhaps it was a brave new world, perhaps it was the lack of software productivity tools available, but there was just a lot more creativity involved in those days. We worked longer hours, but there were problems that needed to be solved and we worked as teams to solve them. Then management philosophies took over. Implemented procedures, forced rankings, came up with plans to justify their existence. In some situations, a little control was probably necessary. In most areas that I saw, however, the creativity died. So it just became a job. And after a while it got boring.

The forced rankings were unproductive, motivation killers, and frankly just a management power play. You're a good manager, working with a good team. Maybe you had a low performer, so you steered them to another position, or they left, or you put them on a performance plan and they made it through or they didn't. Then annual review time rolls around. You must force rank your team, and someone has to be at the bottom. And, as part of a larger group, you have to rank your team with other folks who may or may not have comparable jobs.

If you've been doing your job as a manager, you took care of the issues as they occurred. If you've been doing your job as a manager, you've helped everyone to do a better job, contribute more. If you've been doing your job as a manager, you've made everyone feel good about contributing, even if that included working late or on some not so fun tasks. But with forced rankings, you've got to tell someone that they're at the bottom (even if it's not true). With forced rankings, maybe you "hold on" to a "problem child" until review time, so you can put them at the bottom, thereby keeping dead weight around. With forced rankings, good people, maybe not stellar people, leave. Good managers, who are great at managing teams, leave. People start to play the numbers game. I did x number of this, that, instead of coming up with creative solutions. If you're a good manager you let everyone know on a regular basis what they're doing well, what they need to improve on and if there's a problem you deal with it. You be honest, direct, and you do what's best for the person, team, and company. Not all managers did this, so I guess that's where forced rankings came in. Oh, and by the way, if you're a manager, talk to your employees once in a while. It helps you as a manager and it helps employees. And it's just common sense.

Today and tomorrow Erin is off from school for parent teacher conferences. Rene will be meeting with Erin's teacher this morning. Rene jokingly said this morning that we may have to force rank our children. (Which is what got me started on this topic). "I'm sorry, Erin. You write the number "9" backwards. We're going to have to let you go."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Soccer and self-imposed timeouts

Last night was Erin's first soccer practice. In the car on the way there, she asked me to remind her of the soccer rules I told her. No hands, only use your feet, and listen to the coach. As soon as we got there she grabbed one of the balls and started kicking it around the field. She was ready to go! There were six teams of 6 kids each practicing. On Friday evenings, the teams will play each other. Erin did really well. She needs to work on running backwards and sideways, and moving the ball through the cones.

The other thing that Erin did during soccer practice was to indicate how her parents were embarrassing her by giving us the hand (as in "talk to the hand") when I introduced myself to the coach or cheered her when she kicked the ball well. Four years old and already she's embarrassed by her parents.

Lauren has started giving herself "timeouts" whenever I reprimand her or even tell her to stop doing something. For example, she had been gently kicking me (not consciously), and I told her she needed to stop because it was hurting me. She said, "Sorry, sorry mommy." She climbed off the couch, put her head down, walked to the front room (office), climbed on that couch, and started to cry. She does this all the time now and sits there until I get her. Not even two years old, and she's got guilt!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Hilton Head photos

Lauren HH 2006
Originally uploaded by bloggerjeanne.
testing this out!

I guess you can click on the photo and then find the link to the slide show. There should be one picture each, for me, Rene, Erin and Lauren. Will see how I can improve upon this process. See posting below for details of trip.

Hilton Head Weekend

We did it! Got away for the weekend. Hilton Head was very nice, very upscale. We did the lower end accomodations but still had a great two days away. It was nice to go to the beach again! It's only about 2 1/2 hours away, so we'll likely be going back.

It was chilly but sunny, so no swimming this time, but we did spend a lot of time on the beach flying our princess kite, digging in the sand, chasing the seagulls and petting the many doggies on the beach. We stayed at the Holiday Inn which was right on the beach. It was cheap, they had a nice pool, and the best part was they had a little playground right off the beach. Lauren's favorite thing to do is to be pushed in a swing, so we spent some time there too. The Holiday Inn is within walking distance to restaurants, shops and the Piggly Wiggly. I bought some Piggly Wiggly water bottles to commemorate the visit.

We ate at the Salty Dog Cafe. The legend of the "salty dog" is that there was a dog name Jake who rescued his owner by pulling the owner in the water to shore. Since we have a dog named Jake we had to go! We also got our Salty Dog shirts and Rene got a baseball cap.

Our trip to HH was memorable too. We drove through Switzerland, which we thought was a little out of the way, but we made it there fine. We also drove through Allendale County which is home of the annual Cooterfest. We also stopped at a McDonalds along the way that had to be the slowest one around, and did not live up to the "fast food" label. By the way, McDonalds has good apple slices for future reference.

Our friends Barbie and Andy and boys Drew and Riley will be vacationing in HH in July, so we may visit them there for a few days then.

The only disappointing part to the trip was that the beach trip did nothing to relieve my allergies which kicked in full force last week. May have to visit a doctor and get some prescription medication as the Clariton doesn't seem to be helping.

Looks like the weather will be warm here this week. Soccer starts tomorrow, hooray! Erin's team is named Blitz, and the team color is, appropriately, California Blue. Go Blitz!

Friday, March 03, 2006

We're going to Hilton Head

Since the forecast was NO RAIN this weekend, we decided to take advantage of it and check out Hilton Head. We're looking forward to walking on the beach and just seeing the sights in Hilton Head. In order to leave Jake at the kennel (aka "doggy camp"), I had to drop him by yesterday for a "temperment test" (aka "school entrance test") to see how he interacted with the other dogs as they have a general play area for them. I'm happy to say Jake passed with flying colors!

The past two days here were quite warm, in the 70's! I fear the time between cold and hot and steamy will be short, so we'll enjoy it while we can. Yesterday at dance class I got all the details for the upcoming Roar of Love show (based on the Narnia story The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe. There are practices, dress rehearsals, performances for area schools and for the general public. All this for Erin's few minutes on stage. Oh well, the price of fame. The show will be at Augusta's Bell Auditorium, which is where we saw Barney, so you know it can't be too shabby!

Next week soccer starts for Erin, so March will be a busy month for us. And of course we have Lauren's 2nd birthday in less than two weeks! After meeting just about every window salesman in Augusta, we finally ordered some windows, so they should be coming in a month too.

I'll post a Hilton Head report when we return.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Another rainy night in Georgia...

It seems to rain every weekend here in Augusta. :( Today, we were ready for the rain and again travelled to Columbia to visit Edventure, the children's museum. Lauren was a little fussy this time, but we had fun. We had a nice lunch out and travelled home in the rain. Tomorrow there may be sun!

On Thursday night I went out with some of the moms from my Mom's club playgroup and we had a nice dinner out at a Japanese restaurant. Excellent sushi! We laughed a lot and it was really great to get out, especially after the always crazy dance class rush. This Thursday was extra crazy as it was costume fitting and photo time for the annual Roar of Love show. Erin looked very cute as she posed for her photo, so I'm hoping the pictures capture that. Will post here when I get them.

The big news in Rene's world is that he bought a kayak! He doesn't have it yet, but should have it by the time Alex visits at the end of March. He got a shiny red two-seater. Look for photos of Rene floating down the Savannah River or Augusta Canal soon.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Oracle must be hurting for consultants...

Got a form letter the other day asking me if, as a former employee, I'd consider returning to the consulting organization? After recovering from my laughter and tossing it in the trash, I thought, didn't they just lay off lots of folks? Couldn't they have tried to reallocate some of them? Surely some of them were better outfitted to be consultants than I am.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Masters week is coming...

... and I'm getting scared. I hear you should get out of town Masters* week. We'll be here, and school is closed that week. Rene will be taking off the week before as Alex will be here. I hear traffic is crazy that week, plus many of Erin's friends will be gone for the week.

A lot of the local businesses are advertising things like, "Masters week is coming! Time to get your carpet cleaned." A lot of folks rent out there houses for Masters Week. You could get up to 10,000 for a week depending on how many people can sleep at a house and other amenenities. So, we're considering it for next year.

And if we do rent out our house, I'm told the girls rooms should each have a queen bed to make it a better rental and to keep their rooms fairly neutral. Good thing I got the stick on wallie thingies that you can peel off to decorate their rooms and we didn't paint them pink or purple! Renting for the masters also explains why one of our walk in closets has a lock, as well as our pantry.

Hmmm, lots to think of for the coming year. In the meantime, will try to think of ways to keep busy for Masters week.

* For the uninformed Masters refers to the Masters Golf Tournament held each year at the very private Augusta National Golf Club.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

New pet update

Alas, a few hours after putting our new dead mosquito to bed, I found the bowl on the floor along with some tissues. So Josh, we never got to name the mosquito.

Another rainy weekend in Augusta. Sigh.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Our new pet

Erin has decided that she wants to make a dead mosquito her pet. She showed me her new pet as he rested on a tissue in a bowl. She seemed pretty excited about it, so I said what the heck. After all, I don't think he'll shed (and if he does, it won't make nearly the mess that Jake does). The feeding bill should be zero. Erin just made a little bed for her new pet, who does not yet have a name. I predict some tears when someone with a stuffy nose mistakenly grabs the kleenex. Oddly enough, Erin and I had discovered a live lizard in the house a little while ago, and I coaxed him outside.

But seriously, folks, we are considering getting a new pet. We're thinking about getting a goldendoodle puppy. A goldendoodle is a cross between a poodle and a golden retriever: personality of the golden retriever without the shedding. Our friends Barbie and Andy have a goldendoodle and our cousins Tracy, Jimmy, Jaime & Thomas have two golden doodles and they all report good things. To quote Tracy, "There wasn't a man in my family who wanted to say "goldendoodle". They were adamently opposed, but now, they're thrilled."

If you want to see what a goldendoodle looks like, click here.

Cool lunches

Found this great website where the mom posts her vegan lunchboxes for her son. While, I'm not a vegan, I am inspired by her healthy, fun, creative lunches!

Check it out:

Monday, February 13, 2006

Weekend update

Friday morning I took Erin to the health department to get her records updated so I could register her for kindergarten in March. Erin had to get three shots. She was very brave! However, she does not want any more shots. Ever.

Erin and Lauren call each other "honey" while they are playing. While Erin was at the health center, she had to go into a room with a nurse to get her vision and hearing checked. Lauren and I waited outside. Lauren kept saying, "Where honey go?" Lauren also says, "What happened?" a lot. If Erin is crying, Lauren will say, "What happened, honey?"

Late Friday afternoon the girls and I went across the street to see Leigh Anne and her kids. While Lauren and I were inside talking to Leigh Ann, Erin played outside with the kids. When I stepped back outside, I heard Erin crying. She must have climbed over the fence to another yard, and was stuck and couldn't get out. The kids were trying to get her to climb back over but she couldn't do it. Finally when we got there and Leigh Ann instructed the older boys to help Erin out, they said, "Oh, come over to the gate." All you had to do was open the gate and walk back in. They must have told her that a mean dog lived at that house. Through her tears Erin told everyone that mean dogs lived next to us in California too. Which is true.

After Erin calmed down, Leigh Ann, Lauren and I went next door to visit Frances. When we came out, Jake was running to me with his leash attached and Erin was standing with Chandler, crying. I guess Erin and Chandler had gone into our house, put Jake's leash on and were going to take him for a walk. What they forgot was that Jake had his pet fence collar on and he got zapped as they walked him. Jake did not want to go on walks with Rene after that! Poor Jake.

It was another rainy Saturday in Augusta. We all went to see the new Curious George movie. It was Lauren's first time in a movie theater, and will be her only visit to the movie theater for a while. Mommy & Lauren had to leave half way through the movie since Lauren was more interested in climbing around the chairs and looking at all the people around us. I liked the first half of the movie! :)

Sunday was sunny, but cold (well, cold for Augusta!) I took Erin and Chandler (girl across the street) ice skating. Chandler (who's 8, I think) did great. Erin started out with spaghetti legs, but she kept trying. She did better by the end. By then she had "al dente" spaghetti legs. We came home and watched a little Olympic speed skating on TV.

This afternoon is the mom's club Valentine's party. I see sugar in our future!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Evening at the art gallery

On Thursday evening I attended an event at the Broad Strokes Gallery. My neighbor, Frances Wells sent us the invitation as some of her work was being shown there. I was very impressed with Frances' work!

Rene had gone to the gallery earlier in the evening and I went with our neighbor Leigh Ann after I returned from taking the girls to dance class. (Actually, it's just Erin who had dance class, and Lauren and I wait in the chaotic waiting room. Lauren insists on wearing a ballet outfit and of course her ballet slippers which barely leave her feet these days.)

Here's a link to info about Frances and some of her work.

Rene and I decided to buy one of Frances' paintings. She emailed me a photo of a painting that is similar, but not exactly the one we got. Here it is:

Friday, February 10, 2006

Safety net for former PeopleSoft employees

I just read the comment from the last post. I had gotten some emails about people I knew who were let go. It's very sad. I got this email yesterday, if it's of help to anyone.

The Safety Net is a fund endowed by PeopleSoft founder
and CEO Dave Duffield and his wife Cheryl to give
financial assistance to former PeopleSoft employees
who were laid off because of the Oracle acquisition in
December of 2004. If you are a former PeoplePerson
and have been laid off, you may qualify for a gift of
up to $10,000. To find out the grant criteria and
application info, go to their website:

Also, remember to join the PeopleSoft Alumni Network at as well as the PeopleSoft_People at Yahoo Groups for job leads and update your information at linkedin:

Good luck to all.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Thinking of Oracle today...

I see today in the news that Oracle is planning to layoff 1000 people after their Siebel takeover. It was about a year ago that as a former PeopleSoft employee newly working for Oracle that I was contemplating whether I would be let go. After a few months of sitting around doing nothing and thinking "How long can they pay me for doing nothing?" I was not let go and started to work on an Oracle product.

I'm sure there are some nervous folks today in the halls of the Pleasanton offices. Thinking of you and hope you make it through!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Good news, bad news

The good news is thanks to cousin Carolyn, we have a CD of the Unicorn Song ('green alligators and long necked geese...") to play in the car to break the routine of the Wiggles. So I don't always have Wiggles songs going through my head.

The bad news is that I can't get the Unicorn Song out of my head!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Barney Live!

Yes, I know you're jealous. We got to see Barney live on stage on Saturday. Erin really enjoyed it. Lauren thought it was OK, but she was tired and fighting a cold. Rene tolerated it. It wasn't bad. Lauren's favorite part was the bubble machine on the ceiling that cranked out bubbles before the show and during intermission. Erin liked to sing along with the songs. We had barely gotten Lauren strapped in her car seat and she was asleep.

Today is superbowl Sunday, so Rene will get to control the tv later today. That's a football game, right? :)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Hooray for me!

Down a total of 11.2 pounds. Yeehah!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Shower and other updates

Well we finally have a functioning shower. The shower dudes came on Monday, and today we took our first shower in the mast bath. Whoo hoo. Kind of a let down after all that waiting, but I'm glad it's over. Now we have to get the hole in the ceiling repaired.

My Uncle John came to visit on Sunday on his way from New Jersey to Florida. Unfortunately, it was raining, but we took him to Rhineharts "Beyond Casual" Oyster Bar for some crayfish and other delicacies. He stayed over Sunday night and continued on his way on Monday morning. He left us a message that he arrived safely in Naples, Florida. Have fun, Uncle John!

Lauren is talking more and more each week. "Don't like it." "Don't want it." "Where Erin go?" And most recently, "N dat, Mommy?" Translation: "What's that, Mommy?" She calls Erin "honey" a lot, probably because that's what Erin calls Lauren when they are playing. She also says "O right" (all right) and "OK" a lot. "O right, mommy. OK, mommy."

One day Lauren was crying in the car and Erin said, "Now, Lauren, calm down. Take a deep breath." Hmm, I wonder where she got that from?

Yesterday we had our Mom's club over to our house for the weekly playgroup. Including my kids and a newborn, there were 11 kids. We survived. I had prepared Erin quite a bit on how to behave with guests in the house. She did great. Lauren wasn't so happy about people touching her stuff.

Now that the bathroom is done, we're trying to get someone to help us trim the bushes and clear some of the leaves from the back yard. I think this will be another long search. One guy came (from company that does some of the neighbors' yards) and he never gave me an estimate, despite repeated calls. Blah!

Saturday looks like rain, so despite Rene's protests, we may go see Barney Live onstage. Double whoo hoo!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Rant 1: Need to register Erin for kindergarten soon. Georgia requires proof of immunization, etc from doctor. Erin is not due for a checkup until she's 5. Georgia won't accept California doctor's records. So, try to get her into pediatrition. Person at pediatrician's office keeps saying she's not due for a checkup, insurance won't cover. Then I say, "How do I get this paperwork filled out so I can register her for kindergarten?" "Well, we'd need to see her." "OK, can I bring her in?" "Well, no she's not due for a checkup until July." And so it goes... I offer to pay cash, not even deal with insurance. This really throws her. So now I'm hold with insurance company. Then I call back pediatrician. On hold for 35 minutes! They reluctantly make me an appointment. Then I go to mom's club playgroup and find out I can take Erin to health dept any Friday. So I can gladly cancel pediatrician appointment.

Rant 2: I ordered two barstools for our kitchen island. Wrong one came in. Now I have to return this big old box! Yuck. Ordered shelves from Pottery Barn kids for girls room. Realized I had ordered 2 sets of 2, so now I have 4 shelves instead of 2. Ordered books from Amazon and inadvertantly had them sent to our old California address. Not having luck with ordering online!

Rant 3: Last week get a message from shower pan/shower door install guy. "Give me a call." So I give him a call & leave my cell phone number. No return call. Next day, I get a human. I tell her I'm returning shower guy's call. She says he'll call me within hour. No return call. Third day, I get same human. I explain that shower guy wanted me to call HIM, so I'm not sure why I can't get him to talk to me. On hold for 10 minutes then he gets on phone. Wants to know what side of the shower door the handle should be on. Uh, couldn't he have left that in the message and then I could have left the info on his answering machine.

Good news from yesterday: Erin got into soccer for spring! She had been on waiting list. Hooray!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Famous (and not so famous) people I have met

Famous (and not so famous) people I have met (saw in person, not counting at a performance), in no particular order:

Ang Lee Ang Lee has been in the news a lot this week because he won Best Director at the Golden Globes for Brokeback Mountain. He's also directed Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, Sense and Sensibility, The Ice Storm, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. When I owned my apartment in White Plains, NY in the mid 90's, I lived next door to Ang Lee and his family. When my manager at PeopleSoft at the time heard this, she said, "I have a whole new vision of where you live. It must be a gated community, very fancy." It was in fact a pretty modest 2 bedroom apartment he shared with his wife and (at the time) two small sons. The sons' bedroom wall was on the other side of my bedroom wall. I didn't realize who he was until I was moving out, and a neighbor told my mother who was waiting at my apartment for the moving company appraiser to come. They seemed pleasant. I think he lived there for a while after moving to a house in White Plains.

Kelly Coffield
I grew up with Kelly, and she was a good friend of mine in elementary school. Kelly's fame grew when she was in the cast of In Living Color. For a while she was the only white actress on the show. She's also had parts in Field of Dreams, Jerry McGuire, as well as episodes of Seinfeld, Once and Again and Law and Order. The last time I saw her was after her performance in a play in New York years ago. I try to keep an eye out for when she'll be in something.

Barack Obama He is the Illinois state senator who gained a lot of press at last year's Democratic convention for the speech he gave. At my first job out of college, I worked at Business International (now owned by The Economist as The Economist Intelligence Unit). I think I transcribed some interviews he had taped. I remember him as quiet, a very nice person.

Kurt Vonnegut
At that same job where I worked with Barack Obama, the office was first located at 1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, not far from the UN in New York. Also in the building, sharing our bank of elevators, was Dell Publishing. Once in a while, I'd share an elevator with Kurt Vonnegut.

Kathleen Turner
While I was still working at Business International (or was it the Economist Intelligence Unit by then), a friend and coworker was trying to find a place to live in Manhattan. Her friend had given her a tip about someone who was subletting an apartment. She had to go to the owner's apartment to get the keys and then go see the sublet, so she asked me to come with her. The owner lived in UN towers in quite a swanky apartment. He told us the rent, said it was a steal, but he wasn't sure his business partner would approve such a low price. Even though the rent was too high for my friend, we went to look at the sublet anyway. I remember it being a dark dingy basement type place. Certainly not worth what they were asking and kind of creepy. So we went back to the owners apartment. He was entertaining some friends. He told us to go to the restaurant he owned, they'd be there soon, and he'd buy us a drink. So we went to the restaurant, and he came with his posse of friends: a female professional tennis player, some Democratic party political advisor and others I can't remember. The owner of the apartment & restaurant kept talking about his partner "Jay" and Kathleen, saying they might stop by. He invited us all to dinner on him. While we were at the table, a homeless man was outside the window of the restaurant with a shopping cart full of bright yellow stuffed large ducks he was selling. Our host sent a waiter outside with some cash and asked him to buy ducks for all the ladies at the table. Soon after, in walked "Jay" and his wife, Kathleen Turner. They came over and chatted with our host. He introduced us each to Kathleen. She shook my hand and said in that sultry voice of hers, "I love your duck." Kathleen and table went & took a table by themselves. I finished dinner & caught a train home. Never saw any of those folks again, except my friend, who could never afford to rent an apartment in Manhattan.

Bill Gates Years ago when Bill Gates was famous for Microsoft, but certainly not one of the richest men around (but pretty darn rich), I met him at a Microsoft SQL Server conference. I'm trying to think when it was, it had to be in the early 1990's. I was in San Francisco for the first time (and had no idea I'd eventually move to the bay area). During one of the evenings there was a Microsoft hosted cocktail party, which Bill Gates attended. My manager at the time, also named Bill (who was there as well as my colleague Danny) must have encountered Bill Gates another time. He went up to talk to him and introduced us. These were Bill Gates' single days and there were a lot of Microsoft women hovering around him. "Do you need another drink, Bill?" "Can I get you something to eat, Bill?" It was pretty funny. I was wearing a dress that had a handkerchief in the upper pocket. Bill and Danny kept urging me to drop my hanky in front of Bill Gates to attract his attention. I declined.

Ethel Kennedy
When I was moving from NY to California, I had to work the in the PeopleSoft Waltham office (outside Boston) the week before the move, so I flew from Boston to San Francisco. I had lots of frequent flier miles in those days, so I thought I'd try to upgrade to first class. Ahead of me in the line trying to do the same thing was Ethel Kennedy. Neither of us got into first class. Later, she stood behind me waiting for the airplaine potty. Just like regular folk.

James Taylor When I lived in Manhattan soon after graduating from college, I lived on the upper west side. One day, walking along Amsterdam Avenue with my roommates, we saw James Taylor walking along with his two young children. We tried to nonchalantly walk in front of them so we could get a peek, then stop in a store, then walk behind them, etc. I think these days this would be called "stalking".

Mary Tyler Moore Again, while living in Manhattan, with the same roommates, one evening we were walking up Columbus Avenue. As we were about to turn the corner onto our street, we noticed that Mary Tyler Moore was sitting an an outdoor cafe and at her feet was a beautiful golden retriever. Of course, we had to go pet the dog.

John Malkovich Same neighborhood, same roommates. Was in an ice cream shop on Columbus Avenue and John Malkovich was behind us on line.

Chuck Scarborough and others
If you're not from the NY area, you wouldn't know Chuck, but he's long been the anchor for the local WNBC news. My first job (besides babysitting) was at a Baskin Robbins. One day Chuck walked in and I made him a strawberry cone. Another day we served girl who played "Dee" on the show What's Happening? (C'mon, you know the show. With Dee and her brother Raj and they're friend Rerun who was always saying "Hey, Hey, Hey".) Oh and there was the gal I worked with at Dollar Savings Bank in the Bronx as a bank teller in the summers during college. Her name was Tracy Parnell and she had been in the movie Fame. And Rene would like me to mention that we had lunch next to the Charlie Daniels Band (sans Charlie) when we first arrived in Augusta. Oh, and I walked past David Crosby of CSN fame in San Francisco once. My cousin reminds me that we saw Ray from Everybody Loves Raymond at the ice cream store in Long Beach Island one summer (although I'm not sure if I was actually with them at at the store or back at the house). A year later, I did see the mom, Doris Roberts, from Everybody Loves Raymond, at the airport in NY.

What does this tell you? Not a lot, but it gives you a sense of where I lived and worked over the years.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Ch, ch, changes

Lauren has decided she doesn't like wet diapers. Which has resulted in her saying every 5-10 minutes, "Change! Change me mommy! Please!" So now she's on the potty. And has been for about 20 minutes. We did this earlier today and it took about 20 minutes, but she did it eventually. The masses rejoiced! And there she goes, now!

She's a little young to be potty training, and I don't think she'll get it right away, but hopefully she'll learn there's an alternative to requesting your diaper be changed every 5 minuts.

Yeah Lauren!

Not that Georgia Aquarium

Yesterday we went to Magnolia Springs State Park and the aquarium there. No, not that aquarium. Not the new Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta that is huge and cool. The aquarium we went to had at most 20 windows of displays. There wasn't even anyone working there.

Then we walked to the park, which was very nice. We saw lots of signs advising us not to feed the alligators. We saw lots and lots of turtles. Finally, Rene and Erin took a walk and indeed saw a big alligator. Erin did not want to observe him for long! It was a nice park.

Oh, by the way, diet update. Have lost a total of 7.8 pounds. Of course, after the park we went to Pizza Hut and previously I had some of Erin & Rene's banana bread. I try to let myself have one day where I don't focus too much on watching what I eat. Seems to be working.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Rainy weekend

Rene returned from Jacksonville yesterday. Hooray! We were all happy to see him. He was tired, as were the girls after school. So there was a whole lotta napping going on. Then the girls got to play outside with the kids across the street. Good thing, today (Saturday) and tomorrow will be rainy.

Todays challenge: get out of the house and find some indoor rainy day activity.

I found out that Lauren can go one more day to school, so starting in February she will go Wednesday and Friday mornings. I think this will be good for her as it's hard to adjust to only one day a week. She seems to enjoy it there. Plus, I'll have another morning to myself to get things done.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Yesterday we went to the EdVenture children's museum in Columbia, SC. Now we have two fun reasons to visit Columbia: the Riverbanks Zoo and EdVenture.

First, we ventured downtown. Most of downtown seemed closed for Sunday, but then we made our way to the Vista area, where we found many restaurants. It was really a nice area. We ate at the Liberty tap room. Erin drew a picture of the Statue of Liberty, after copying it from the children's menu. She's becoming quite the artist. She can copy pictures and does a good job. It's 6 am this morning, Erin and Lauren are painting at the kitchen table. We like to paint.

After our lunch, we headed to the Edventure children's museum. This is a great place! There was lots to do, including the "world's largest kid". You could walk inside his brain, ride down a slide in his body. You could also pretend to be a dentist, doctor, grocer, cook, firefighter with real clothes & a real fire truck to climb on. Lauren's favorite was the art room and the music room where you could jump on a musical hopscotch board. We coudn't get her off. Erin enjoyed getting her face painted like a butterfly. We'll definitely be visiting Edventure again.

Today is Monday, MLK day. And sadly, Rene left this morning for Jacksonville, Florida. He returns Friday. He's staying at the World Golf Village, whoo hoo! Too bad he has no interest in golf.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Friday, wonderful Friday

Today is Friday. Why are Fridays good? Let me count the ways:

* It's a movie night! Whoo hoo. What will it be? Barbie Fairytopia? Sleeping Beauty?

* It's a school day for Lauren! That means mom's morning to herself! Hooray! Haircut today.

* It's a late day at school for Erin. Some Fridays, the kids can stay late (until 3:00) for $5. (Can you say, bargain?) Erin has never wanted to do this before, but she requested to do it today. Which means she must be more comfortable with school. Actually, we've been meeting her friend Sam (Samantha, not that mean Samuel in her class who is also a Sam) for playdates and I think they really enjoy playing together. Which means I'll be back and forth to Aldersgate a few times: drop off both girls, pick up Lauren at 1:00, pick up Erin at 3:00, but that's OK.

* Rene is taking day off! He had to use up two days leftover from last year, so this will be one. Rene will be travelling to Florida next week for work, so it will be nice to have him home today. And what will Rene be doing with his day off? While he'll be preparing for ....

THE BEAST! Since we have a new grill, Rene bought a new cookbook on grillin', so he's preparing a Beast (that would be a Feast to the rest of you.) We'll have chicken, homemade ice cream, and maybe some grilled veggies. The only problem is that it looks like it might rain for our Beast. Might have to use the grill in the garage. Note that I keep saying "grill", not "barbecue". In the south, you do not barbecue food, you grill it. Barbecue is a noun referring to a type of food that is prepared on a grill and I assume prepared with some special barbecue sauce.

IN OTHER NEWS: We'll be having some visitors in coming months. Uncle John will stop by on his way to Florida at the end of January. And Rene's son Alexander will visit us for his spring break in March. Hooray! We're trying to see if Rene's dad & brother can come at that time as well.

Finally, I was thinking about what do to for a semi blank wall in the kitchen. I found some web sites that will give you quotes to stick on the wall in any size, font, color. One is Wallwords, and the other is Wonderful Graffiti. Was perusing the quotes and while there are many inspirational ones, nothing grabbed me. I thought about putting up "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme", but that seemed boring. Then I found this quote. I think it appropriately reflects our sense of humor, but not sure if people would think we were strange. Thoughts, anyone?

Very stupid to kill the servants. Now we don't even know where to find the marmalade.

-Agatha Christie

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Here are some recent pictures. I would have posted more, but I experienced technical difficulty. Here's the link:

Also, since I had posted Erin's Christmas photo, for equal time purposes, here's Lauren in her beloved Dora hat. Our love for Dora is immense!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Happy anniversary, baby! Happy 2006!

First of all, today is Rene and my anniversary. It took me a long time to find the love of my life, but it was worth the wait! We've had a lot of joy the past five years. I love you, Rene!

Second, lost 5.2 pounds this week on WW! This is pretty typical for me on the first week of a diet. From then on, it's usually slow going. Of course, I went off the diet a bit today...

We drove to Athens, GA, today. It's a pretty cool little town. Lots of neat restaurants and stores. Athens is home of the University of Georgia and the Georgia Bulldogs (Go Dawgs!), which would explain the many bulldog statues around town. (Will update this post with pictures in a day or two). Athens is also the home of the musical groups REM and the B52's. We had lunch, walked around, and had a nice day. We stopped briefly at the Callaway Plantation in Washington, GA and walked around. We returned home and spent sometime playing outside. We spend a lot of time "cooking" in our play kitchen. Then we got take out Thai food for dinner. Yum!

On Wednesday, Erin returned to preschool in the mornings, and Lauren went on Friday. After school on Friday, we met Erin's friend Sam from school and her mom, Sandy at a nearby park. We're back into our routine. Next week it's our turn to bring the "letter of the week" snack on Friday. Our letter is "N". Nutterbutters? Nilla wafers? Nectarines? Decisions, decisions.

PS that song "happy anniversary baby" has been in my mind all day. Who sings it? Ah, what would I do without Google? The Little River Band. Thank you, Google. Thank you too for your stock price. Those of you who scoffed at my purchase (you know who you are, Rene), are now now thankful for my 401k balance.