Friday, May 28, 2010

Suddenly Loving Hillary Clinton

I was an Obama supporter last year during the primaries. He is from Illinois and the majority of local stations supported him here. I heard a great deal about his progressive ideas and thought he seemed like a real breath of fresh air. Also, while I'm ashamed to admit this because it is so anti feminist, I was concerned that Hillary Clinton in office could equal a repeat of the prior Clinton administration that touted deregulation and played such a strong had in the current economic crisis. I don't think I ever gave her a chance. She seemed to me to be frigid and even elitist. Today I read this article on

Clinton: Rich Aren't Paying Fair Share

And I am suddenly a huge Hillary Clinton fan. This is just the type of thing that I wish our president would stand up and say. But, he can't he has to worry about re-election and a president that says very rich people should pay more taxes might as well pack his bags now. Lucky for Hillary, her position does not leave her vulnerable to be ousted by angry billionaires and their now human corporations.

As you probably know, the supreme court recently ruled that the Corporations are people which allows them to contribute to political campaigns. So basically, very rich people who steer corporations, can now influence political races using corporate dollars. I only wonder if campaign contributions will be considered taxable income or if that will now be able to go on the books as an operating expense. Anyway, I digress. I think it is appalling on all levels.

And now that I have written it all out, it is clear to me that if Clinton were president she probably would not have even been able to express what she did, despite it being a brilliant view point, because then she would be the one at risk of being railroaded out of town by the very wealthy come 2012. Ugh, it is all so discouraging. We need campaign finance reform right now. Is that at least something that we can all agree on? Probably not.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wow, things have gotten really crazy. I had my intern start on Monday and having her around is just what I needed to get my butt in gear. It is my job this summer to introduce my little prodigy to the business world and all that goes with it. Things like working with the Help Desk, memorizing eighteen hundred different logons and passwords, the art of under promising and over delivery. I must enthusiastically explain every mundane task I do, and stress to her the "importance"of all of it. Not only that, but I must set a good example for her. So, my days of whoa is me, I cannot bear an 8 hr day on limited sleep are over. I must step up for the good of the future generation.

So, I got in just before 8 on Tuesday and got started. I immediately taught her the most important business lesson anyone could get. The art of graceful delegation – ie the pass off. I had been tasked with going through six different skills advancement training sessions with her. We managed to get through four on Monday, but I have work to do, so I am not up for doing these last two.

Here's the plan:

1. Find someone who knows the topic, rarely seems busy, and talks way too much
2. Boost said persons ego by raving about how knowledgeable they are on said topic
3. Suggest that perhaps this person is best suited to introduce topic to new intern

Win, intern is now sitting with happy, ego boosted person for at least one and a half hours learning way more than she will ever need to know about topic at hand. And my morning is freed up to actually get some work done. After that, my peer and co- intern manager will be introducing himself and keeping her busy for a few more hours. Then this afternoon, she's back to sitting in my cubicle with that vacant look begging me to give her something to do. She spends the afternoon watching me work. It's going to be a long summer.

On the way home, Scott and I discuss the lack of t-shirts we have for the boys. On Sunday, I would guess they went through easily 3 a piece. I have a gift card to The Children's Place so we are going to take the troops to the mall and pick up some shirts. I pick up the boys, swing by the house to get Scott and Leah and we're off. We decided to take on the stores with two strollers. The Baby in a single and the boys in the double. Leah LOVES this trip, she is so alert and staring at everything. A girl that loves the mall, there's a novel concept. I think we're in trouble. The boys on the other hand are not amused. They are good for a while but about 40 minutes in they are whining and Joey is taking off his shoes. But we managed to pick up seven t-shirts. We decided to get all 24 month and let Ty swim in them a bit. It's easier that way.


Okay – I haven't been talking much about my diet, and part of that is because I veered off track a bit, but if you have been reading since the beginning, you know that my goal is two pounds a week. We started this diet on 4/26 and I had been doing great. Meeting and even exceeding my goals each week. Last week I was 2 lbs ahead of my goal weight, and decided to loosen up, well, today I am so disappointed, because I actually gained a pound last week so now I am 1 lb above my goal. So, I am back to being highly motivated. Unfortunately, the timing couldn't be worse heading into a holiday weekend, but I know that I can do it. I just need to remain focused.

Anyway, I knew last night that things weren't looking good on the scale so I made Scott and I grilled chicken salads. This will probably be a staple in our house for most of the summer, which is fine because I love them and so does Scott.

After dinner, Scott surprised me, we needed to go to Target for formula, and he kept saying he was taking Joey with him, I was in the nursery changing Leah and when I came out, he was gone, and so were Joey AND Tyler! The next closest thing to being alone in our house is being home with Leah. She is so sweet and easy to take care of. I fed her a bottle and she fell asleep. I put her in the bassinet. Then I proceeded to clean the kitchen top to bottom and fold and put away laundry. Then I picked up the toys, and started to vacuum, I was about halfway through, when I noticed her squirming. She was up, so, I stopped cleaning and picked her up. She and I do not get enough time together. It is really a shame. We hung out on the couch. She has mastered smiling and does it often. I love her so much.

Scott got home around 8:15 and told me that he went to the park. He is so adventurous. I sometimes wish I could be more like that. I would be so scared to take both boys to the park, worried that while one was headed down the slide the other would be headed for the street. I just get so nervous. He is such a good Dad. So, the boys got to play, I got to clean, and Leah and I got some one on one time. It was a great night all together.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hockey, Hoops and Hot Weather Fun

Well, we survived another weekend. Here's how it went down:

Friday, I was picking up the boys at Patty's, and she had some music on. Joey, ran in and started dancing, so I busted out some moves too and ended up with some crazy neck injury that had me laid up for the rest of the night. We had plans to eat with my parents, which was actually a godsend because I couldn't lift the kids, I could barely walk. I called my mom and she came over right away to help with the kids. My Dad came over after work. We just made a low key dinner, grilled chicken, camper potatoes and corn on the cob. The corn was delicious. It's finally starting to feel like summer! The boys were shooting hoops out on the patio, it was so cute.

I spent most of the evening laid up on the couch while Scott, my mom, and dad cooked, cleaned and took care of the kids, it was actually kind of nice – excluding the horrifying pain. I took some magical pills and woke up all better.

Saturday morning we went to a local farmers market. The boys rode in the wagon and I carried Leah in a sling. We got some beautiful asparagus, squash and zucchini. I also bought some tomatoes and some swiss cheese.

My Buys!

After the farmers market, we went to this big used car sale that they were having in town. We are in the market for * gasp * a MINIVAN. Yep, you heard me right, it's time for us to bite the bullet and buy my very own family truck-ster. I never thought the day would come. We checked out the Honda Odyssey, Acura MDX, Buick Rendezvous, Chrystler Town and Country. Buying a new car used to be so exciting. But I left the used car sale thinking, eh, I don't really care which one we get, they're all minivans. Whatever.

After the car sale, we headed home, made lunch for the kids and got everyone down for naps. While the kids were sleeping, we cleaned the house, washed the dogs and got ready for what may be the best, most fun night I've had since Leah was born.

Okay, so Wednesday was our anniversary. Three years we've been married. Yes, you heard me right. Three years. I know what you must be thinking – and you can go ahead and turn off the mini calculator in your head, I'm happy to break it down for you:

So, my parents offered to babysit for us on Saturday night. And not just for a couple hours, all night, straight through to the morning. All three kids. I am beyond excited about this. So, while my parents came to the table with this generous offer, Scott's parents provided us with $100 gift card to Morton's Steakhouse. Now, if you have never been to a Morton's, or never heard of it, I should tell you that this is a big deal. It's basically THE steakhouse. And we had reservations at 6:30.

Holy crap, this was the best dinner. We both got the wedge salad with the house blue cheese, I had a single cut filet and crab cake, Scott had a Ribeye with bacon wrapped scallops, we split asparagus and sautéed mushrooms. For desert he ordered the hot chocolate fudge cake, I got the keylime pie and we split a bottle of Estancia Pinot Noir. It was heavenly.

After we were done at Morton's we went to the bar were we first met and a drink there. Then we went to our favorite local bar and played the Bowling arcade game for a while. We got home around midnight and slept straight through all the way until 8:30 the next morning.

Sunday, we went to pick up the kids and headed straight to Target. It was supposed to be close to 90 degrees and Scott was dead set on getting the kids a slip and slide. We ended up with a fun sprinkler hose attachment and a slip and slide. Neither of which were a huge hit. I guess they maybe aren't old enough yet. I did put on my swimsuit though and play outside with the little guys, we had a lot of fun.

At 2:00 Scott's uncle and cousin came over for the hawks game, we made Italian Beef sandwiches and watched as the Blackhawk's swept the San Jose sharks to proceed to the Final round of the Stanley Cup Play Offs. So exciting. Scott wants to start Joey in skating lessons this year. But I just checked and our local ice center doesn't offer lessons until age 3, so I guess I get one more year before my husband straps sharp blades on my baby's feet and throws him onto a slippery surface. Thank god.

After the game, we pack up again and head out for some ice cream. When we get home Scott decides that the cars need washing, so we all wash the cars. Joey has a blast helping.

Halfway through washing the second car, Tyler gets bored and starts making a game of running toward the street. This gets old fast, so I bring him in and put him to bed, feed Leah a bottle. Scott and Joey come in a little later, we put him down, then clean the house and head to bed ourselves. It was a long, fun-filled weekend.

I am still brewing over my versatile blogger award too, so more to come there!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Cost of Going Organic

First off, let me preface this by saying, I am not an organic shopper. I have never been. The only time I have bought organic is when it was on sale. What you are about to read came about because a few things occurred all at once and created the perfect storm of curiosity.

1.) A study was published linking ADHD with pesticides.
2.) This topic was discussed on The Bump
3.) A Whole Foods opened just seconds away from my work

And then I became very curious. Should I be buying organic? How much does it really cost to switch to a primarily organic diet? I concentrated on what I now know to be called "The Dirty Dozen" of produce, milk, beef and poultry. I was first made aware of this list of high pesticide content fruits and vegetables through the bump post I referred to above. I took it to Google to get the complete list. I found this great article

"Organic Food – Is it Worth the Extra Money" from MSNBC.

This article cited organic foods as costing as much as 100% more than non-organic. Which immediately turned me off, I could never afford to double my grocery bill.

But something about that figure didn't sit right with me. One hundred percent more? And people are buying this? I had to see it for myself. So, I decided that I needed to do some homework. I went undercover to find out the true cost of going organic. Okay, I didn't really go undercover, I just brought a notebook to the stores and wrote down the prices, I was totally obvious about it, and I got a few raised eyebrows and was even asked by a Dominick's employee if I was from Whole Foods. LOL – it was kind of fun.

Here's what I found:

Amazingly, going organic really isn't that much more expensive. Especially if you focus on the fruits and vegetables that are said to have the highest content of pesticides and buy meats in bulk.

Where they really seem to get you is the meat and milk, but if you opt for hormone free, rather than organic milk, and limit your steak intake it really is quite reasonable to go organic. And what could be the cost of not going organic? There are so many unknowns. So much speculation and fear, do pesticides and hormones cause ADHD? Early Menstruation? I don't know for sure. But for less than $6.50 per unit, I am not willing to continue taking the chance.

Woohoo! I'm a Winner!

I interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging to announce this breaking news – I won my first ever blogging award!

A special thanks to Harmskills over at Baby to Go for the blog love! I couldn't be more honored.

Apparently, these awards come with some strings attached – yes - there are rules:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award - CHECK
2. Share 7 things about yourself – Oh boy - CHECK
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic

Seven Things About Me

1. My favorite social activity is playing Texas Hold Em.

2. I have a complex about sandwiches meats and what type of bread they 'belong' with. Here you go:

Ham should always be on rye bread with Swiss cheese
Roast Beef should be served on a Kaiser roll with mayo and Muenster
Turkey is only to be eaten off of whole wheat bread with mayo, lettuce and tomato and American Cheese.
Tuna is best served on whole grain with no condiments, lettuce and tomato.

3. I live in my hometown less than a mile away from my old high school. I have a hard time picturing myself anywhere else.

4. I used to love beer before I had kids and now I don't drink it anymore. I don't like the taste.

5. Someday, I want to live on a lake and own a boat.

6. I have worked in finance for over 8 years, but am terrible with my own finances. Scott manages all our bills and accounts.

7. I have a big love for Kraft Mac n Cheese and would eat it every single day if it wouldn't turn me into a whale.

Okay – I am really new to the blog world, I only started less than a month ago, so fifteen blogs is a lot to ask of me. And I don't take handing out awards lightly, so I am going to have to give this some thought. I will be surfing the web all weekend (in between, cooking, cleaning, chasing kids, doing laundry…) looking for my nominees. Come back Monday to learn who will be getting this highly coveted Most Versatile Award from me!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Operation Stain the Deck and Party with the In-laws

On Friday, Scott decided that it was time we stained our deck. Scott built this deck about a year and a half ago. So, it was something that was long overdue. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that we getting this done, but he couldn't have picked a worse weekend for it. See, on Sunday, Scott has invited over the inlaws and promised them an Italian extravaganza including chicken parmesan and lasagna. Somewhere, Scott was taught that you must serve two main dishes at every dinner party. So, Saturday, I will be cooking, Scott will be staining, and I don't know who will be watching the kids, but I guess we'll work that out as we go. Scott and his cousin started working at around 2 o'clock on Friday afternoon and quit around 7:30 pm, then they started up again around 10 am on Saturday and worked all day, I mean right up until about 7 pm. This was a HUGE job, but they got it done.



We also had a visit from my mother in law, for my annual inspection and flower potting. And as always she did a gorgeous job, and as tempting as it was to post these pics and claim that I am a brilliant gardener, I will give credit where due. However, you can bet your ass that when my friends visit I will graciously thank them for their compliments when they fawn over how lovely my pots look. I'm evil like that.

So, while mother in law is planting, and Scott is staining, I am prepping for tomorrow nights feast. Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna and Chicken Parmesan. On the agenda for Saturday, coat and fry the chicken, and build the lasagna.

First I do the chicken this takes me about 40 minutes start to finish. The chicken is dipped in egg then the parmesan bread crumb mixture (2/3 parm to 1/3 bread crumbs), then fried and put in the baking dish. Tomorrow, I will put sauce and cheese on top and bake this up.

I move on to the lasagna. First, I blanch the noodles.. I layer them on foil and move on to the fresh herbs. I need parsley, basil, rosemary and thyme.

Mix this into the ricotta with some egg, sugar salt and pepper.

Sautee the mushrooms

Then layer. And voila Lasagna

This meal took me all together about 3-4 hours to prepare. I did the noodles and chicken during the day, the rest a I did after the kids went to bed.

Somewhere in between the cooking, I managed to clean the house for company and make a taco dinner for the boys who where outside working all day.

I was beat.

Sundays party was a huge success. The meal turned out great. It took me a couple days to recover, but I'm back!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Something Happens Around Two Months

Something happens around two months when you have a new baby. Suddenly, one day you look at your baby and your love for that child has changed, it has morphed into something different, something bigger. You see, when your child is born, you know you love them, but you don't yet know why. You know that that is your baby, and it is your job to love and take care of them. And so you do. But somewhere around two months, you stop loving your child just because she is yours, and start loving her because she is her.

Today, I looked at Leah and she smiled at me. I got tears in my eyes. She has the most beautiful smile. And, today I realized that I don't just love Leah because she is mine to love, I love her because of the way she stares at her Daddy. I love the way that she always sleeps with her head tilted up and to the left. The way that she loves to look at bright lights. I love the way she stretches out with fists clenched in the air and her back arched. I love the tiny quiver in her cry when she is hungry. I love her sweet hesitant smile. Something happens around two months, and I tell you it is the most amazing feeling in the world.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Seriously - How DO I do this?? 5/12

Yesterday was thoroughly exhausting – Here's the recap!

First off, I must gloat, Leah only woke up last once last night! This was the single best night of sleep I've had in FOREVER! Yeah! I woke up to a phone call from my Mom offering to take Leah for the morning. Yeah! Leah loves going to Grandma's. I get up, get ready, things go smoothly. Scott takes the boys, I take Leah – off we go! I get to my Mom's, she has made me a to go cup of Starbucks – she is so the best Mom ever. I head to work-

Today, I am taking a half day because Scott has a golf outing with his accountants. I get to my Mom's around 12:30, she is about to give Leah a quick dip in the tub. Have I mentioned yet that I have the best Mom ever. Well, I do. We get her changed and into her car seat and I head home. I haven't spent alone time with Leah forever and I am really excited about it. But Leah – eh not so much. She basically sleeps most of the afternoon. She has a doctor appointment at 4:00. She wakes up at 3:30, has a bottle and we head to the pediatrician. She is growing great! 75th percentile for both height and weight.

After the appointment, we pick up Joey and Tyler. This is when things start to get interesting. I am embarrassed to say that this may be the first time that I am going to be home alone with all three kids for an evening. I'm no fool, usually when I know that Scott won't be around, I make a point to get myself invited to my parents house for dinner. Have I mentioned today how great they are? Anyway, tonight, the parents are not available, so it's me against them.

Getting in the house – this topic deserves its own segment, because I am sure people wonder, how do you do this? Well, here you go – We live in a raised ranch, meaning that the garage is situated under the house and you must climb stairs to get to the front door. This is not an ideal situation for a Mom of three kids ages 2 and under. Here is the game plan, grab the baby in the infant carrier and Tyler run up the stairs, put Tyler in his crib with a toy or two, baby on the counter. Then back down the stairs, get Joey and the diaper bag, climb back up the stairs and we are in. And I am out of breath.

First word out of Joey's mouth "Bugs" This means he wants to watch A Bugs Life, which is cool with me cause I need to cook some dinner. But I don't want to use up all my easy distractions early, so I tell him that first we are going to play for while. He harrumphs, but agrees, heads to his toys. I head to the pantry – what do we have? Not much, but I find a box of Shake and Bake and grab some chicken breasts. Easy Peasy. I turn around and there's Joey demanding I pick him up. Okay, I get him up, he grabs the Shake and Bake out of my hands, I try to grab back. Not sure if you have ever played this game but it is rather trying. Joey twists his arm behind his back, I am holding him with my right hand and with my left I try to reach around him to get at the box. But he is flailing his arm about and it's just not gonna happen, so I put him down. A high-speed chase around the island ensues. After about three laps I have him trapped, I grab the box, he hits the floor and starts writhing around. This is ridiculous. I get the damn Shake and Bake and put it on the counter.

Joey looks up and say "Bugs"

OKAY! You win, Bugs it is. I go to the DVD player and start the movie. You may be wondering where my other two kids are during all this – Leah is still in the car seat, Tyler is eating cheerios at his table. Hmmm, who put those Cheerios there and better question when? Interesting.

Bugs is on, I am making dinner. Shake and Bake is the BEST easy dinner. Seriously, I was done prepping in like 5 minutes. Then they bake for 30 minutes and done. I got some peas out of the freezer . It's 5:30, dinner will be ready at 6, this is going great Time to relax.

Fifteen minutes goes by rather quietly, then as I suspected, Bugs has lost its allure and both the kids are at my feet, one grabbing each leg, whining to be picked up. Joey, not liking the competion here, pushes Tyler to the ground, Tyler bursts in to tears. Time Out Joey.

After time out, I decide I need a new distraction. So, I bring out the Wonder Colors. This is the best Crayola product ever invented, I'm quite certain. Anyway, I put Ty in his highchair and Joey at his table. They both have markers and paper and seem once again content. I head over to get Leah out of the car seat – yeah she's still there. I walk over to check the boys. Tyler seem a we bit confused about the coloring concept and has the marker cap off, marker in mouth. Ew. I hope these are non-toxic. I take the marker out of his mouth and show him how to color. Weird, because we've done this before, he knows how to do it. Joey asks for some juice. Okay – I put Leah down and go to mix him some juice. I come back and there is Ty, sucking on his marker again. Okay, I REALLY hope these are non-toxic. I give him one more chance. Two minutes later, back in his mouth. Ugh, coloring time for Ty is over. Dinner will be ready in 5 minutes, I don't want to take him out of his chair, so I give him some juice and a cheerios and start getting plates ready. As I'm doing this, Joey comes over with all his markers in hand and tells me he is "Done". I put the markers away.

Joey says "pee pee". Okay, let's go pee pee. I put Leah in her bouncer and I take him to the bathroom. I take off his pants and diaper and he sits on the potty. Joey has this thing where whenever he goes potty, I have to go potty too, so we are sitting on our respective pottys, and Joey is making a weird face. I don't think he's going potty, nope, he's not, it's my lucky night. Joey jumps off the potty and yell "Poo Poo!". Yay! Lucky me! I get to clean poop out of the potty. I'll spare you the details. I finally get Joey back in a diaper. We skip the pants. He wants to play with his toys in his room. So I take down a few toys and he is playing with Mr. Potato head. I go get dinner onto plates. I let the food cool and serve Ty, since he's already seated. Joey has discovered the Fisher Price Peekaboo Train and is LOVING playing with it. He won't get into his chair for dinner. Oh well, pick your battles Tara, pick your battles. Joey plays, Tyler eats, Leah is content in the bouncer, I am still alive.

Are you tired yet?

Joey eventually gets in his chair to eat, but won't eat until I take his shirt off. Um, OK. Ty is done, but I am kind of liking having him in his highchair, so I cut up some strawberries. This contains him for a while, but soon, the jig is up, Ty wants down – NOW. I clean him up and get him down. He immediately starts playing with the Peek a Boo Train this is going to be trouble. Leah starts to cry a little, it's time for her bottle. Joey's in his chair, Tyler is playing, Leah is eating, and this is going okay.

Joey doesn't eat much, tells me he's done, I put Leah in the bouncer, I let him down and wash his hands. He immediately goes after Tyler for the train. Time Out Joey. I take this opportunity to put Tyler's pajamas on. Okay, everyone, let's play. I bring Leah and her bouncer into the boys room and we all play with the toys. This lasts for about 15 minutes before the fighting and pushing starts and playtime ends. I am getting desperate for entertainment.

Leah needs a diaper change, so I grab her and bring her back to the nursery, the boys follow. While I am trying to change her, Tyler is hanging on my right leg, Joey is trying to climb the table and swat at Leah, I say no, both boys start crying and whining, I am LOSING it. I get Leah dressed again. It's 7:00 and I don't know how much longer I can do this, it's time to call in reinforcements. I try to call my Mom. Here's how the conversation goes:

Me: Hey Mom, are you still at Grandma's
Mom: Yes, do you need help? (she knows me so well)
Me: Weellll, I just thought, um, maybe, if you wanted to come over for a little…I mean you don't have to or anything, I'm fine, but, if you want to. (translation – pretty, pretty puh-leeeez come help me – I iz dying here)
Mom – Okay, let me clean up and see if I can't get out of here.

We head back into the living room, I put Leah in her car seat. I put on a Kids Songs CD and start dancing spastically to B-I-N-G-O. Joey finds this amusing, the neighbors I'm sure find it hilarious, Tyler is not impressed, but I keep on trying. I dance in vain to 3 straight kids songs, trying to get the boys to dance along, chase me, anything, just please don't hit each other. Joey seems like he might take the bait, but Tyler is still standing next to the DVD player saying "Mo, Mo". This means that Tyler wants to watch Finding Nemo. I really don't want to put in another movie. But, then again, is it that bad, really, I mean, they'll only watch for a half hour, it's almost bed time, I could really use a break, and dancing around like a chicken on crack isn't really doing the trick. So, Nemo it is. Both boys enter into their Nemo trance, I go check on Leah, she's asleep. I call my Mom:

Me: Hey Mom, everything is now under control, no need to come over. Thanks though.
Mom: Well, let me finish here and I'll call back and check on you.
Me: Okay, thanks.

Have I mentioned yet that I have THE BEST MOM EVER

Oh, and have I mentioned that I love these fish:

Scott gets home about 15 minutes later. It's 7:30 - Joey is running around in just his diaper, Tyler is sitting in his chair with a bottle of milk and me and Leah are laying on the couch, both clearly spent.

Scott gets Joey into his PJ's. Cleans the kitchen and gets Joey to bed. Tyler refuses to sleep he is crying, inconsolable. Leah is crying. I go to Walgreens to get some Infant Tylenol because we are out and I think Ty might be teething and Leah had shots today. But by the time I get back, everyone seems cool so, I don't even bring it out.

It's 9:00, I put Tyler to bed. And I hit the sack myself. Today was a hard day.

Don't mess with these two - you won't win.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Economic Lunacy of the Gulf Oil Spill

A little known fact about me – I am a politics junkie. Yep, in my limited alone time each day (this would be my ride to and from work) I dial into my favorite political talk radio and get my fill of the days current events and news stories. Currently, I am over the top enraged by the situation in the Gulf, specifically the economic aspects.

There are two facets to the cost of this oil spill – One is the clean up, the other is damages. Damages include the economic impact to things such as the seafood and tourism industries, shoreline properties etc.

First, the clean up, there doesn't seem to be any confusion around who is responsible here. All parties are in agreement, including BP, that they are on the hook.

According to this CNN article BP says they have invested 350 million in their efforts to clean up the spill. This sounds like a lot, but to put it in perspective, this is 9 days of profit for them.

Last year BP made 14 Billion Profit according to this press release

Here is the math:

So, let's not feel too bad for BP.

The really bad news here is that we have left them in charge of the clean up at all. We are at their mercy regarding getting it done – which obviously they are not doing. As they sit around figuring out how to stuff tires and golf balls down these pipes, oil is spilling into the gulf at a rate of about 200,000 gallons per day. Why are we allowing this? We have THE best navy in the world. If this were in their hands, we would be way better off economically and environmentally. BP DOES NOT CARE how much oil they are spilling out to the ocean. Barack Obama should give them 2 more days to find a solution and if they can not do it, we can. Then we can send them a bill. We are the ones losing here. And this is why:

Economical Damages – There is a cap on economical damages that is set at 75 MILLION dollars.

And no matter what they say, BP is not going to pay one cent above that. Why would they?

For every day that they do not find a solution, economic damages are mounting. This great Washington Post article offers some perspective on the exact size of the economic impact.

The economic implications of the disaster are potentially mammoth -- but highly uncertain. The annual commercial seafood harvest in the gulf is $661 million, recreational fishing contributes $757 million and nearly 8,000 jobs, and tourism related to wildlife adds $517 million, according to the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies

Who will end up paying for that – not the corporations, us, the taxpayers. And, do you want to know what the REAL kicker is – Not ONE of these three companies are incorporated in the US. That's right, BP – as you know is a British company and their profits all head back to the UK. Halliburton is incorporated in Dubai, and Transocean is incorporated in Switzerland. NONE of these three companies is contributing to US tax income.

And yet both Transocean and Halliburton found their starts right here.

From the Halliburton website:
Halliburton's fascinating and proud history reveals a continuous focus on innovation and expansion that began with the company's founder, Erle P. Halliburton. After borrowing a wagon, a team of mules and a pump, he built a wooden mixing box and started an oil well cementing business in Duncan, Oklahoma.

From the Transocean website:
Danciger Oil & Refining Company, founded in 1919 in Louisiana, USA, purchases its first drilling rig.

Of course why would these companies incorporate here in the US, when they can incorporate in other countries, pay minimal taxes but still get the full benefit of doing business in our great country with zero tariff or tax penalties. Then, while they are here, why not just destroy our environment, kill our shoreline industry, have no disaster back up plan. Then when it all falls apart blame each other.

OK – Rant Over

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Organized Chaos

Today Leah woke up at 4:50 am, thus I woke up at 4:50 am. I tried just about everything to get her back to sleep, but it wasn't happening so around 5:30 I gave up, made a cup of coffee and turned on Morning Joe. At 6:15, I hit the shower and Scott got up to wash bottles and pack Leah's bag for the day. After I was done getting ready I got Ty dressed, Scott is getting Joey dressed. Joey wanders out in to the living room wearing too short Illini sweatpants (orange and blue for those who don't know) A too small striped rugby and a green and grey zip up sweatshirt. What the what?? Scott is not color blind, in fact I'd say he dresses himself pretty well, so how does he find this acceptable? But, I need to pick my battles and I will save this one for another time. Like, on the way to work.

I call Scott to let him know that dressing Joey like reflects poorly on us as parents, I don't want people to think that we can't get our shit together. He responds that we don't have our shit together, so why would we need to worry about portraying that we do. Hmmm….very interesting. I actually think that under the circumstances, we do pretty well. Yeah, our kids don't get baths every day, our bedroom is a bit of a mess, but the general living areas of our house are clean, the yard is maintained, the laundry is pretty much done. I wouldn't characterize our household as a terribly unorganized one. Chaotic – yes, Unorganized – I don't think so. I guess it is what you might call organized chaos.

Anyway, I got to work before 8 am. It's a miracle. I would have been here even earlier, but in my barely awake state I somehow missed my exit. I had some meetings, got assigned some new mind numbing work to do. I swear if things don't pick up soon here, I might keel over of boredom. It's really bad.

I leave at 4:00. Tonight is our first night of one on one time and Scott is going to take Joey over to his uncle's house to watch the hockey game. But, the hockey game doesn't start until 8:30 which is Joey's bed time. I have already expressed my concerns about this, but my complaint has fallen on deaf ears, and really why should I care, it's his night. I have a hair appointment and am leaving Tyler and Leah with my parents from 6 til about 8, so I actually have the night off. This makes me very happy. I love my kids, but I also love my alone time.

I get to my Mom's at about 5:30, my appointment is at 6:15. Have I mentioned yet how tired I am. I am exhausted. We haven't had a good night sleep in so long and it's catching up with me. Anyway, I forgot the gift card that I am using to pay for my hair appointment and I also forgot pajamas for Tyler. So I head home, I feed the dogs, put on some make up. I always like wearing make up to hair appointments. I don't know why but I do. Then I get ready to head out. I grab a book to read while my hair processes. I get to the salon – are you kidding me, I forgot the stupid gift card, AGAIN. I turn around, get home, grab the gift card and make it back to the salon right on time.

My highlights come out AWESOME! I love them. I'll add a pic as soon as I get one.

8:30 – I am at my parents house to pick up the kids, Tyler is running around in his diaper, and guess what, I forgot the pajamas, AGAIN. Ugh, get him dressed in his clothes, Leah needs a bottle so I do that, then we all head home. Ty goes straight to bed. Leah and I hang out for a bit, she falls asleep around 10:00. I'm beat, so I go to bed too. Scott gets home with Joey about an hour later. Blackhawks win! Another day done.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day

All I asked for this year for Mother's Day was one solid night sleep with no interruptions. But, Leah had other plans all together. She was very congested on Saturday night and as a result, she was fussy and restless. Scott stayed on the couch with her, and was a sport. He did not wake me at all despite her crying which, I laid in bed listening to. I tried really hard to ignore it and take advantage of my one night, but by 3 am, I couldn't take it anymore. I felt guilty that Scott was not sleeping and sad that Leah was so uncomfortable. I needed to put on my Mommy hat and give a hand. I guess I'll sleep some other night. I got the saline drops and ball syringe and went to work. Then I told Scott to go to bed, I stayed up, fed Leah a bottle and then I rocked her to sleep. We all slept for a couple hours, and then the day began.

First order of business, breakfast with my parents. And wow, this was GOOD! My mom made an egg casserole dish with cheese, mushroom, scallions, and ham. It was fabulous. There was bacon, fresh fruit, hash browns and coffee cake from the Lovin' Oven Bakery courtesy of my Grandma. We feasted and it was fabulous.

I bought my Mom this adorable flower planter. I can't wait for it to bloom.

After breakfast we played out on the swing set. It's actually a nice day. We had thought it was going to be cold.

From there, we headed to Scott's sister's house for some qt with the in-laws. They were making a beef tenderloin with grilled mushrooms and onions. Also delicious. We spent about 3 hours over there. It was a nice visit, uneventful.

And, from there, we head back to my parents house where they are finishing up the extended family dinner for my Grandma. We are just coming for desert – Hot Fudge Sundaes from Culvers.

I don't have pictures from today. After I had Scott take this picture in the morning of my me, my mom, my grandma and little Leah – I decided that the camera may need to go missing until I can lose some of this weight.

Note to self – today's meal plan is not doing you any favors!

The Good, the Bad, and the Fatty - A Diet Update

My diet had been going GREAT. I was down about 6 lbs in two weeks. Then I got cocky. I was overly confident, and I decided to splurge – and then splurge again – and then again. This morning, I paid the price. I got on the scale and I was back at my starting weight. Boo. I am so depressed. But, I am going to keep on trucking, today is a new day and I will be back on track.

In the meantime, I wanted to share some of my cooking successes and failures from the last week. This has become one of my favorite things about my diet. I am trying new things in the kitchen, and am loving sharing my culinary masterpieces with the world! Or my mom, who I suspect is the only person reading this.

Let's start with The Good!

Grilled Vegetables, Portabella Mushroom with Whole Wheat Pasta

Scott picked out the vegetables. He got:

Red Pepper
Yellow Squash
Orange Pepper
Red Pepper

He chopped them up and put a light coat of olive oil on them. The threw them on the grill

I made whole wheat pasta, coated it with some olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Then we added some chopped black olives. I had a leftover grilled chicken breast in the fridge, so I chopped that up and threw it in there too.

The final meal:

Wha La! I can't believe this is diet friendly. It was delicious.

Next – The Bad

Okay, I had the best intentions here. I went to the store and picked up some catfish. Then I saw this crumb coating stuff and quickly skimmed the back, there was baking instructions so I figured, this will be good and healthy. But, I was had, the baking instructions called for an entire stick of butter!! So, I decided to just fry the catfish, it would be faster – three minutes a side according to the box. So I throw some oil in a pan coat the catfish with what basically turned out to be overpriced bread crumbs and threw it in the pan.

Well, I guess I needed to be schooled in frying fish, because apparently it is very important to let that oil get good and hot before adding the fish, because I sat there for a good twenty minute. And that fish was not becoming flaky, not at all. It was however becoming quite rubbery.

Scott came in from mowing the lawn and informed me of the importance of using hot oil, we trashed the two filets that were in the pan, took a third that I had bought extra and fried it up using the hot oil.. Three minutes a side, imagine that.

We ended up splitting the one filet. And while it was cooked properly, the bread crumb crusting was bland and the catfish had zero flavor.

Now, I took a photo, and was all…hmmm this looks good, maybe I'll post it and just let everyone think I am a domestic goddess, but no, this was a major flop. In every way.

I should add that - this salad was delicious. I have discovered a low fat blue cheese crumble that is so yummy. I've been making salads almost nightly.

And finally – The Fatty

As a part of my weekend splurge fest, we made Sausage and Peppers. This is a household favorite of ours. Now, I tried to make this meal diet friendly, really I did. I went to the store and had Jennie O Turkey Italian Sausage in my cart. But I just couldn't do it, sausage is not meant to be made from turkeys, it's just not. Plus, I thought that this might send Scott over the edge. He's been so supportive of my healthy eating kick. I mean the guy ate a turkey burger last week. So, I went back to the meat section and grabbed the Johnsonville's. I looked at the label.

22 grams of fat, 270 Calories

Jenny O Turkey Sausage:
10 grams of fat, 160 Calories

That's a BIG difference.

Then, I see the store brand Italians, I grab a package and check out the label, WOW, only 180 calories and 11 grams of fat! Amazing, these must be made from special lower fat pigs. DEAL! I take em to the register and am feeling pretty good about myself.

But, I'd been had. Serving Size - 2 ounces. WTF! 2 ounces. That's not even half a sausage! I can't believe I fell for the oldest trick in the nutritional information book. Oh, well. I tried.

We fry up the onions and green peppers in a frying pan with some olive oil, and boil the sausages for about 20 minutes. Then throw it all together in a baking dish with pizza sauce (not marinara – this is an important distinguishment according to Scott) and some giardiniera. Bake for 2 hours.

I did cut a few calories by going without the bun, but then I added a few back on by having a couple slices of buttered French bread.

I should also add to my account of the fatty the TWO pizzas we order over the weekend. Yes, Friday night dinner was Pizza. And Sunday late night – more pizza. Ugh, no wonder I gained 6 lbs over the weekend!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Surviving is Not Enough

Having 3 kid under 2 absolutely requires a sense of humor, and I say things at times that may be seen as a joke, but in reality, I am quite serious. For instance, when people ask how I do it, I often say that my only goal each day is to make sure that everyone survives. People laugh, and I say oh, I'm kidding, but really, that has been pretty much my main objective. I have given up on dreams of pureeing organic baby food, hell, I've given up on my kids to wear matching clothes to daycare. And I'm okay with sacrificing the illusions I had once upon a time of all the ideal things I would do as a mom.

However, somewhere you have to draw the line of how much you can sacrifice. Last night my mom said something that made me think. She told me that she is losing sleep at night worrying about my kids. Now, don't take that the wrong way, she assured me that this is no reflection on my parenting or an inadequacy on my part. Just that having to divide my time three ways is challenging, and are they all getting everything they need? Believe me, I have asked myself this very question a thousand times. I have finally realized that the answer is an unequivocal no. No, they are not. It is not enough to ensure survival. I must find time to nurture them each individually. So, now what do I do?

Rest assured, I do have a plan. And as anyone who knows me well would assume the plan involves an Excel spreadsheet. Introducing my new one on one time calendar:

So, basically, here is my idea, on the nights were Scott has 1:1 time scheduled with one of the kids, I will have the other two and vice versa. I will try to plan things for us to do, like go to the park, or Barnes and Noble or even just a trip to Target. Anything, just do it alone with that child, even if it's just an hour. And

I realize that Leah is not on here, she gets one on one time during feedings, and after the boys are in bed. Also, if one of the boys is gone on 1:1 time it is a lot easier to give both of the remaining kids extra attention, so she will be fine. Don't worry, my little princess will get plenty of lovin.

So, sleep tight tonight Mom, the kids are going to be fine – I am going to make sure of that.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bathroom Update - We are tiling!

Scott has been working away on the bathroom – I even helped some too! Over the weekend, he took out the old toilet and tore out the old tile.

Then Sunday morning we went to HOBO to get cement backer board and pick out the tile. Sunday – Scott installed the backer board.

Okay, so here's my plan, feel free to give your feedback –

See the arch on this wall:

I want to do a decorative accent tile along the arch. I bought this tile for along the arch on the wall

Then I am going to paint the bathroom in two tones of the same color, or two different colors, haven't decided yet.

Then we got this floor tile:

Scott is almost done laying the floor tile.

Our HVAC guy (yeah, were the type of people who have "a guy" for everything) is coming by to put in the heat vent over the weekend. Then we'll be ready for paint!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Some mornings are just hard. Like the ones after you've been off for 3 days. This morning was stressful, and as much as I love having three kids, two dogs, a cat, a house and a husband, sometimes it just all feels like too much. And on days when it all feels like too much, it is hard to keep perspective. Take a deep breath and realize that it's just one morning, it's just 30 minutes, it's just another day.

This morning, I was trying to get to work before 8, I used to always be there by 8, but lately, since I returned to work, it's only happened a handful of times. And today would be no different.

Looking back, I shouldn't have laid into Scott for not helping me more, I should not have spent the entire ride to work fuming over 30 minutes. I should have taken a deep breath, accepted that I would have to stay a little later, and asked Scott to pick up the kids. Instead, I fought with my husband and stressed myself out over what? Thirty minutes. Not worth it. Next time, I will keep perspective and try to roll with the punches.

Balancing work and home is tricky enough with out letting the little things blow up.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Leah Update - Thumbs Up!

We met today with the hand surgeon and the surgery is a go. We will be scheduling it for mid-late September after vacation. Here's what we learned.

Leah's type of thumb duplication represents 36% of all thumb polydactyl. This particular doctor operates on average between 10-12 a year. The procedure will take about an hour and done on out patient. After the surgery, she will be in a cast to her elbow for two weeks at which point they will check the wound and change to the appropriate dressing. She will have minor scarring, but full functionality of her left thumb. The only remaining issue will be that the left thumb will always be smaller than the right. This will be noticeable if the thumbs are compared side by side, but the one hand will look completely normal independently.

Currently, the exterior thumb is putting pressure on the interior, and causing a nail deformity. So, for the next several months she will need to wear a wedge to separate the thumbs and correct the nail.

I went back and forth a little about whether or not to post a picture of this, somehow it felt wrong, but the more I thought about, I am sure that if I were reading this I'd be curious, and that is okay. After all, it's just a thumb.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A little sad

Tonight Scott noticed that Leah is having spasms. Actually, we had both noticed this before, but didn't really think much of it. Wrote it off as normal baby stuff. But, tonight was different. They lasted longer and seemed, I don't know, just different. If I didn't know everything that I know, I probably wouldn't think much of this, but I'm scared and concerned. I think I will start looking for a neurologist tomorrow. Just in case.

Tomorrow we see the plastic surgeon for her hand. I am really anxious to find out what he thinks about it, if it can be fixed and when.

A Day in the Life 5/1

Wow, weekend days are l - o - n - g, I'll have to spare you a novel, and try to just hit the high points.

We got up at about 7:30 to Joey in his crib babbling "Da-da" Joey says Dada with the accent on the second "da". So "da-DA". Just one of the 18 million adorable things that make him my little man. First order of business, go pick up Tyler. We pack up Joey and Leah and head to my parents house. On the way we uncover that Joey has a bad cough. Upon arrival we learn that Tyler also has a bad cough. I start thinking that today is going to be a bad day. We visit for a few minutes, then head home. Scott has some things he wants to get done on the bathroom, so he heads back there to work, I start making Joey some breakfast. Fried Eggs, Toast and pineapple.

Today we are going to my nieces First Communion celebration. That means that we all have to be bathed, and looking presentable at a restaurant at 1:30pm. The restaurant is 40 minutes away, but Scott insists that we need to leave the house at 12:30. At 10:45 we start getting ready. We don't have any clothes prepared, so I throw a pair of dress pants for me and one for Scott into dryer on Steamcare to freshen them up and get the wrinkles out. I jump in the shower, but before I do I take a look at my closet to find a shirt. I see a dress that I recall wearing last year after Tyler was born. Hmmm. Maybe that would look nice. As I'm showering, Scott walks in the bathroom, recall there is no door due to our renovations. I ask him, do you think I should wear that dress? It's laid out on the bed. He responds, and this is good:

Do you think you are ready for a dress?

WTF? Basically, what he is thinking is:

Ain't no way yo fat ass is gonna look good in any damn dress.

Okay, I get it, pants it is. I get dressed, Scott is bathing the kids, he's done with Leah, I get her dressed, He's done with Tyler, I take him, get him dressed, Joey's done, Scott takes him and gets him dressed, I go to dry my hair. Scott has already packed the diaper bag, except the bottles, they are all dirty, I take to the sink to wash bottles. I'ts only 11:30, we're in good shape, an hour til go time. Scott sits down to play Wii, I start folding laundry, doing dishes, general housework, the kids are all content.

12:00 – Scott still hasn't showered, I'm getting a little annoyed by the whole video game playing and start getting a bit crabby. 12:10, still no shower, 12:15, I guess nows the time to get ready. He heads back to the bathroom, I start putting shoes and socks on the kids, getting Leah buckled in. Scott comes out dressed, we are ready to go, pack the car. 12:35 we are on our way.

We make it about 1 mile, Scott forgot to trim his fingernails, which apparently is a big deal, so we stop at Walgreens for clippers. I'm annoyed but, since I know we left way early, no big deal. I run in.

We get to the restaurant at 1:20, we are among the first to arrive. Scott settles in a table with Joey and Tyler. I go to get Leah a bottle. Crap! No bottles, I totally forgot to put a bottle in the bag. Off to the nearest Walgreens for a bottle. I take Leah, Scott stays at the restaurant with the boys.

$12.00 later, tragedy averted.

The event goes well. Leah sleeps most of the time, Ty is happy in his high chair eating cucumbers or coloring. And I am walking around with Joey.

I am beyond shocked at how good they are considering they are both missing their naps.

We get home at 4:30, no hope for naps, but the boys did sleep in the car, so that should do. We go outside to play. Our neighbors are out too, I head over to say hi and we decide to do an impromptu bbq for the Hawks game at our house. They agree to get the food if we agree to cook it at our house. Done. Suzanne heads to the store and we get ready to have company. Scott and I like to hang out outside whenever possible, so we move a TVout to the deck.

The neighbors show up right in time for the drop. Dinner is burgers and chicken on the grill, grilled vegetables and some noodle mayo based salad that I can't go any where near. I opt for chicken, no bun and vegetables.

The kids can't wait, so I whip up some mac n cheese and veggies for them.

We watch the game, Hawks lose. At 10:30 the neighbors go home and we head to bed. Fun night!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Day in the Life 4/30

Goal 1:– Wake Up on Time – Check. Goal 2: Get to Work on Time – Well, one for two isn't bad, right? I got up a 6:10, let the dogs out, made my coffee, hit the shower. It's jeans day so I didn't need to stress about squeezing into my pre baby work pants. And since there is simply no hope of squeezing into ANY pre-baby jeans, I throw on some super comfy maternity jeans. Today's gonna be a good day.

Everyone is ready to go at 6:55. Today Leah is going to my Mom and Dad's house, so I'll drop her off. Scott is taking the boys. I get to my mom's just after 7. It's a beautiful morning and it would be a shame if I didn’t take a second to enjoy it, right? So, we fix Leah a bottle, I fix myself a coffee and my Mom, Leah and I head out to the deck and relax for a while. Thirty minutes later, I decide against my greater will, that I really must head to the office. So, off I go.

8:15 – I roll into the office. Today I am going to make that list and get some things done. And I do! I finish writing a couple documents that I started earlier this week and create and action plan for next week. I'm feeling pretty good! Right before I leave I get this photo in an email from Scott. Subject Line:

I am just soooo darn cute in my dress

I smile the whole ride home


Tonight Scott is going golfing and then out for the night with some friends. I am taking the kids over to my parent's house.

I leave work at 3:30 – I am so unmotivated it is ridiculous. I stop at home to pack the kids pjs and throw a load of laundry in. Then off to Patty's house to pick up the boys, Scott dropped Leah off at my parents before golf. We get to my parents house around 5:15. It's time to play! It's really windy out but the weather is nice. Humid though, a storm is on its way in. The boys play in the yard, Leah is content in the bouncy chair, I am content with a glass of wine. Life is good.

With respect for my diet, my parents are making grilled halibut with salads and "fresh" take and bake rolls. Delicious.

After dinner, the boys go WILD. Seriously, I do not know what got into them, but Joey is tackling Tyler at every turn and toys are flying everywhere. I am sweating trying to keep up with them. The plan was a sleepover, but plans changed. I am exhausted and want to go home. I pack up Joey and the baby and off we go. Tyler stays at Grandma and Grandpas. He could use some time to himself, to recover. We get home, I get Joey to bed, give Leah a bottle, and head to bed. Scott gets home an hour later with a sausage and pepperoni pizza from Kaisers – I love him, I hate him. I'm too tired to care about my diet. I have two pieces and head back to bed. Leah wakes up an hour later, I wake up feed her a bottle and go back to bed. Leah wakes up three hours later, I wake up feed her and go back to bed. She wakes up an hour later. I give Scott a swift elbow to the ribs, roll over and go back to bed.