Thursday, October 30, 2008

Don't Vote!

Actually, do vote. In fact, take advantage of early voting if it's still available in your state. B and I did just that today with little V in tow. The line for early voting was insane! We were lucky because one of the workers saw us with our son and let us vote in a quiet back office while V drew on Post-It notes. So, our two absentee votes are in. How about yours? November 4th is just around the corner!

Monday, October 27, 2008

There And Back Again...

I won't bore you with all of the details from my little Chicago vacay. Suffice it to say, I had a great time with my three girl friends, and the break from the mundane things in life was much needed. Below are a few highlights from the trip.

One view from our hotel


Another view of Chicago


Downtown Chicago at night from the top of the Sears Tower


"Holey Cow!" We had a great dinner at Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse and Bar.




Some of the buildings were lit up in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month


I loved our hotel's elevators. They made me think we'd stepped back in time.


I'm a sucker for amazing architecture, and Chicago has loads of it everywhere!






If you're a chocoholic like me, then you'd love this one street off the Magnificent Mile. There's a Hershey's store on one side of it...


And a Ghirardelli Ice Cream/Chocolate shop on the other.


We somehow managed to get a limo ride from our hotel to the ESPNZone Restaurant on Saturday night. It was awesome!




There were TVs tuned to ESPN everywhere in the restaurant, including above EVERY SINGLE stall in the restroom. I guess they didn't want you to miss the big game while you peed.


Packed up and ready to leave. The hotel lobby was just gorgeous.


As you can see, we had an amazing trip, and we're already planning one for next year, preferably when it's warmer. Las Vegas, anyone?
Best to you all,
Amanda

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Unmotivated and Unenergetic

My mommy friend Kristin wrote on her blog recently about how she sometimes feels so unmotivated to do anything, and yet, she has so much to do. I've felt that way off and on for the past few weeks. I'll have these spurts of inspiration and motivation and energy, and suddenly, my entire house is clean, or I've just cooked the most amazing meal for my family and friends, or I went out and did the most fun thing in the world with my husband and son. Some days, though, I wake up when I realize the sun's been out for a while, make sure my son and I have had breakfast, and then, waste half the day playing around on the Internet while my son watches the "Noggin" channel for hours on end. By the time he's ready for his afternoon nap (which sometimes doesn't happen until 3:00 or later), I've realized I've done not one damn productive thing except fed us both. It's those days when I feel so guilty for not being the super mom/wife/woman that I've always tried to be. Maybe it's just the idea of all the things I really should be accomplishing, but just don't feel like doing. I mean, really, who likes doing laundry or cleaning bathrooms or loading/unloading the dishwasher? Maybe it's the fact that winter's approaching, and our actual hours of sunlight are lessening each day. I think I'm always happier and more motivated when the sun is out, especially in the evenings when my husband's home early enough to enjoy it with us. Sometimes, I don't know what my problem is. I have days when I think about what it would be like to be someone else, like one of those celebrity moms who has nannies and maids and personal chefs and personal trainers all on speed dial and ready to do anything for them at a moment's notice. Don't get me wrong. I love my husband and my son. I love being able to be home with my son and being able to go out and do things with him and being able to take care of our little family. However, lately, my son's been going through a pushing/slapping/biting/kicking phase, and my husband's office hours have seemed to be extra long. I've been really wishing for a break. Oh, wait. I will be getting a break. This weekend, a couple of my best girl friends from college and I will be meeting up in Chicago for a little getaway. We have a huge suite waiting for us just south of the Magnificent Mile. We don't have any major plans, except for lots of shopping, sightseeing, and some fine wining and dining. I've been looking forward to this trip for a while now. Luckily, my husband is really okay with me being gone for a few days. In fact, the husband of one of my girl friends will be coming to our house for the weekend, and one of our other guy friends will be joining him and B for some male bonding. And, our son will be there right along with them. It'll be nice for B to have some special time with V. Plus, he'll get a chance to run the household without my help for a few days. I'll let you know how everything goes when I get back on Sunday. B has next Monday and Tuesday off, so not only will I get a break in Chicago, I'll also get a couple of days to catch up with him at home. Yes, I'm really looking forward to it, and I think I may be a little more motivated to get things done before my flight leaves in the afternoon on Friday!
Best to you all,
Amanda

Saturday, October 18, 2008

To Brighten Your Weekend...

We're at my in-laws for the weekend. B's presenting at an OB/GYN conference near where they live, and V and I came along to play with cousins, aunt and uncle, and grandparents. While we're enjoying the crisp fall weather at a local festival, here's a little video my mother-in-law sent me to brighten your weekend:



I love it when wedding couples make up dance routines for their receptions. It's so much fun! Have a great weekend everyone!
Best to you all,
Amanda

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Where V And I Played Today

V and I met our play group at Brown County State Park for a picnic lunch, today. It's the same place where B and I spent part of our honeymoon over seven years ago. The pictures I took on the way back home through the park speak for themselves.




Best to you all,
Amanda

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What It's Like...

So, I've been the wife of an "official" practicing doctor for 2 1/2 months now. Here are a few things I've learned in the past six weeks or so:

1. E-mail can sometimes be the best way to communicate with each other, especially when it's about something important or something that needs to be remembered by one of us.
2. Sometimes, it's best to just go ahead and start eating dinner, even though he isn't home yet. Office hours are constant. Actual work hours are not, especially if patients and/or the doctor runs late.
3. The leaves on the front lawn really can be raked at 8:00 in the evening. The motion detecting light on the garage helps a lot.
4. Post call days are sometimes days to spend with the family and sometimes, just days to catch up on sleep.
5. It's even more important now to find interests we have in common, like certain television shows; video, board, and role-playing games; books; and recreational activities, like working out together. Though we've had more time together since residency, his hours of freedom are still precious and few.
6. Caffeine is really not my friend. I've survived a whole week without coffee and about four days without caffeinated soda. I still drink hot tea in the morning, but otherwise, the withdrawal symptoms have seemed to dissipate, and I'm feeling so much better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
7. As Wil Wheaton would say, there's no way I can say the following without sounding like a jerk, but I'm just going to say it anyway. I'm really happy we don't have to worry about money anymore, or at least, for the time being. Who knows what the future may hold with the flux of today's economy?
8. We have the ability now to be philanthropists, and I really like that feeling. The charity dinner for WonderLab was only the beginning.
9. Family is the most important thing in life right now, especially with our son growing up and living closer to grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. It's been nice to be able to talk to and visit with my parents and in-laws more often.
10. If call at the hospital happens to get busy, there's always the option to eat dinner with him there. Especially on nights when the cafeteria has a "create-your-own-pasta" station. Yum!!!

That's it for now. I'm sure I'll learn more as the months and years go by, but so far, I think this is a pretty comprehensive list.
Best to you all,
Amanda

Spreading the Meme

Just saw this Internet meme on a friend's Live Journal, so I thought I'd spread it around, too:

BOOK MEME:
* Grab the nearest book.
* Open the book to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post the text of the sentence in your journal/blog along with these instructions.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

"Then he turned and left the stage as the audience cheered." from The Giver by Lois Lowry.
Not only is this my favorite Young Adult novel, it just happened to be the closest to me because I've been reading it for an upcoming book club.

Now, off to the YMCA to try to get in some cardio with my daily exercise. I've been exercising with our new Wii Fit the last couple of days. I'll admit that I was skeptical about whether or not I could get an actual workout from playing with a video game. Let's just say that I'm no longer a skeptic, and I have the sore muscles to prove it. The yoga and strength training programs are just awesome, and the balance games are fun and challenging enough to keep me coming back for more. The best part is the game feeds my need for instant gratification by telling me how well I'm balanced during each yoga pose, strength exercise, and balance game as well as giving me positive reinforcement throughout the workout. Whoever came up with the entire concept of Wii Fit at Nintendo deserves a raise! There is an aerobics portion to the game, but I haven't tried it yet, partly because I'm trying to get my cardio workouts at the YMCA where we have a paid membership. It was tough to do the last time we went. We put V in the Y's great child care while B and I worked out, only to be paged by them ten minutes later because he was inconsolable. I guess I'm just going to have to try it ten or twenty minutes at a time until he gets used to the fact that the ladies in the child care are very nice people and will take care of him just as well as B and I. We'll see how it goes this morning.
Best to you all,
Amanda

Friday, October 10, 2008

Autumn's Arrival...

Wednesday morning, I took V to a local apple orchard/cider mill for what I thought would be a fun time of picking apples and sampling cider. We had learned about the orchard from one of the moms in my play group. Her son's preschool class was going to be touring the cider mill that morning, and she gave me a time when they might be there. I had the usual issues of getting V and I out of bed, showered, and breakfasted before we could leave for our little trip, so we didn't actually make it in time to meet the other preschoolers. However, we did have a lovely drive on a wooded Indiana back road to the orchard. I could see the arrival of autumn everywhere with the beautiful colors on the trees and hay bales sitting out among harvested fields. When we finally made it to the orchard, the preschool class was on their tour. A gentleman in the store (one of the owners, I'm assuming) was filling up bins with bags of freshly picked apples. There were also pumpkins lining the porch of the store and filling up a large bin inside it. Besides the pumpkins and apples, the store also had jugs of fresh apple cider from the mill, vegetables and honey from the farm, bags of popcorn and peanut brittle, and pottery and other things made by local craftsmen. V loved all the "punkins" on the porch, and proceeded to sit on a few. When we were inside, I let him pick a smaller pumpkin to take home. He wanted to carry it out on his own and had some difficulty, but after getting into the car, he sat with it in his lap the entire way home. I asked the gentleman running the store about picking our own apples, and he told me that since they're switching to an organic operation, they're only going to be using the apples for cider and won't have them available for "market use". I was a little disappointed by this because last year in Ohio, V and I went to a U-pick apple orchard where V had a lovely time finding apples to pick and eat right there in the field. I didn't buy any apples from the apple orchard on Wednesday morning, but I will definitely go back to buy some and some of their apple cider. The trip to and from the orchard is totally worth it. At least, during the fall it is! My play group has planned a trip to a local farm for hayrides and pumpkin picking. We have other plans that evening, but I definitely want to take V there some time before October is over. It's just a great way to enjoy fall and spend time with each other during the season.


Speaking of the season, I had spent some time the last couple of week's trying to figure out what V's going to be for Halloween. While at a store yesterday looking at costumes, I called my husband at home (who was post call and watching our son during his nap) and asked him his thoughts about what I was finding. I told him that I really didn't feel like spending a ton of money on a costume that V will probably only wear once, and most of the costumes at the store were really too big for him or were things I really didn't want him to wear. Then, Hubby had the idea of making a specific costume from things I could find at the store. I was thrilled with the concept, and immediately found a few things I needed from that store and some of the rest at a local craft store. The rest will either come from around the house or will also be bought, depending on what I find. All told, it may end up costing around the same amount as one of the costumes at the store, but I think it'll be much cuter! I won't give any hints here. You'll just have to wait until Halloween!
Happy Autumn, everyone!
Best,
Amanda

Monday, October 6, 2008

An Artsy Weekend and Tumbling Tots

Our new city has an annual international arts and music festival called the Lotus Festival, and it occurred over this past weekend. B was on-call all weekend and had a lot going on at the hospital, though he was able to come home for a little bit on Saturday. I decided to take the kiddo to a free event during the festival called Lotus in the Park, since we didn't have any other plans. It was located near downtown, and there were several tents set up in the park with different things happening all at once and art set out everywhere. There was an arts pavilion for the kids, where V and I made a fish kite together. We grabbed some amazing cookies at a tent ran by the people of Bloomingfoods, our local co-op market and one of the sponsors of the festival. Then, we stood outside a third tent and listened to some awesome West African drum music, while some of the performers led a huge audience in some traditional dancing. V spent the whole time in his stroller, and we couldn't really see the people dancing because of the crowd around the tent, but that didn't matter at all. The music was just fantastic, and I couldn't help moving to the beat! After a while, I took V on a walking tour of downtown, where other festival events were being set up for the evening. Down one of the side streets, there was a great arts village set up with sculptures and costumes made by the local university's arts department. I can't quite describe what we saw, but I took pictures, so you can see what a great time we had.

V working on his fish kite


West African drums and dancing


One of the many masks around the park


The sculptures in the arts village






Another great mask in the arts village


V's finished fish kite


I really had fun at the festival, and I hope to maybe go to some of the evening concerts next year because I think V would really enjoy all of the cool music from around the world. While walking around downtown, we heard a band warming up for their later performance. I didn't know their nationality, but I really enjoyed what I heard.

Today, V and I met up with our play group at the local gymnastics school for an open gym for toddlers. It was great fun, and V really enjoyed playing on the mats, on the gym equipment, in the foam pit, and especially on the trampoline! There's a rule where only one child can be on the trampoline at a time, and amazingly, V did an excellent job waiting for his turn to go. He can't really jump yet, though I thought I saw a brief bounce at one point. He mostly spent his time running back and forth on the trampoline, which looked like a lot of fun. Another rule is that parents aren't allowed on the equipment, which is too bad. I really would have loved to jump into the huge foam pit with V or jump around on the trampoline! There were so many learning opportunities there, and V had a hard time leaving the place once the open gym was over. I'm pretty sure we're going to go back again, soon.

V in the foam pit


V on the trampoline


V stacking cones


V sliding down a mat into the foam pit


And, even though it doesn't have anything to do with either the Lotus Festival or Tumble Tots, I just have to share the following picture. I think it speaks for itself. Happy Monday, everyone!



Best,
Amanda

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Red Riding Hood Jacket GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Red Riding Hood Jacket GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Okay, had to link to this awesome blog again! Every time I go there, I think of my little niece in these beautiful hand made outfits. Maybe I'll win one someday!

5 Friends Uncensored

***BIG LANGUAGE WARNING--POSSIBLY NOT SAFE FOR WORK***
My mommy friend Kristin passed the following link on to the rest of us on Twitter. I thought it was pretty appropriate for the current situation in America, so I thought I'd do my duty and pass it on to you all:



I went downtown yesterday to turn in my voter registration application, since we recently moved and I needed to change my information. The deadline to register in Indiana is October 6. If you haven't registered yet, check your own state's deadline because it may be even sooner! And remember, if there's only one thing you can do for your country, especially this year, it's vote. Please exercise that right in November!
End of soapbox.
Best,
Amanda

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More New Words (That I Forgot About)

After writing the last post, I keep hearing and remembering new words from V. Here are a few that I forgot to add:
"teet" = "teeth", which he's really into brushing right now
"Okay!" = "Okay!"
"Why?" = "Why?" I thought we would be safe from hearing this word for a long time. Apparently not. And, it gets asked ALL THE TIME. I'm starting to have difficulty coming up with reasons and explanations.
"Yeah" = "Yeah", usually his answer to my question "Are you okay?", which I seem to be asking a lot lately.
"No" = "No"
"Wuhh, Too, Free...." = "One, Two, Three..." He counted to "ten" this evening when we ready a book about counting, though some of his numbers were still hard to make out.
"Hey!" = "Hey!"
"Top ih!" = "Stop it!" I think I've been saying this a lot lately, too.
"dock" = "sock"
"choo" = "shoe"
"choo choo" = "train"
"han" = "hand"
I'm sure there are probably more, but they're not coming to me at the moment. I'll add them as I think of them, later.
Best to you all,
Amanda