Sunday, November 27, 2011

Vegas Baby

Last week James had a week long work conference in Las Vegas.  And since he was already going to be there and we found out that Lady Antebellum was performing in our favorite venue, The Joint at the Hard Rock, on the last day of the conference, I decided to fly in Friday morning.  Little did we know that that maybe wasn't the best idea.  Because little did we know how exhausting James' days would be with all day meetings and how busy his nights would be with company dinners, after parties, concerts, and bull riding (yes, bull riding- James made the finals and had a shot at $200 but was already in his pjs in his hotel room by the time he knew.)  What is so great for James about his job is how much he loves his "team."  These guys (and two ladies) are seriously best friends.  He had such a blast with them in Vegas; it helped that two of them are recovering alcoholics and two are mormon- makes it easier when you are not the only one not drinking.
I am also so, so, so proud to report that James was awarded to amazing honors that week.  The first he received by his manager in front of just the ADR team, and that was 2011 ADR of the Year.  The second he received (or didn't receive- he actually was late and didn't get to accept his award) in front of the entire HP quota carrying enterprise sales team, and that was 2011 Inside Sales MVP of the Year!  I couldn't be prouder of James.  He has only been with the company, in fact in the tech world in general, for just shy of fourteen months and the success he has already had amazes me.  Actually it doesn't really amaze me.  It confirms things that I always have known about James.  I know that he can go and do whatever he sets his mind to and it really confirms our decision to take on the tech world and I have nothing but excitement for what the future holds for him and our little family.
Now the reason I said that me flying in maybe wasn't the best idea is because by the time Friday rolled around and I was ready to have a good ol' time in Vegas, my lovely husband was completely exhausted and wanted nothing more to do with the strip.  He did manage to maintain his energy and we had a great time at the concert.  I'm proud to report that this 32 week preggo lady was able to stand for the entire 3 1/2  hour show and we managed to maintain a very comfortable distance from any rowdy intoxicated fellow concert goers.  Baby boy enjoyed the music very much as I often felt him dancing away in my tummy throughout the night.
The next day we both slept in till eleven (crazy) and then after being up for only a few hours, James slept again for another several hours while I enjoyed some shopping time with Nana.  We laid low that night and enjoyed a yummy Panda Express dinner with Nana and Mike and some good conversation and then flew home in the morning to pick up a very cute little boy from his Mimi and Papa's house.  A little boy who had a blast playing with his girls, Tehya and Alyssa, but has told me many times since Vegas how much he missed me when I was in Las (pronounced Yas) Vegas!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Day to be Thankful For

Today Ben's preschool had a short Thanksgiving program and feast at his school. When I arrived he was seated with his class and when he spotted me he gave me a big wave and then attempted to make his way through the crowd of parents to me. His teachers quickly got him seated back with his class, but it sure made my day. Unfortunately he didn't sing along the song they had been practicing- even though he knows all the words- but he sat there with his class very well and made me proud all the same. After the songs his teacher read the children's responses to the question: what they are thankful for? Ben's response just cracks me up (see below). He rarely even watches that show funny kid.
My parents got to come and Ben was happy to have his Mimi and Papa there. He gave them the grand tour and we all sat down for some yummy Thanksgiving fixings (can't wait for the real thing now). For the last half hour or so of school he played around outside and for the first time ever didn't want to leave preschool.
Afterwards we went down to Blackhawk Plaza and fed the ducks. Funny how much kids love doing that isn't it. And when we got home and the grandparents were gone, Ben and I settled into my warm bed for a long winter's nap.
We topped our day off with a matinee showing of Puss & Boots at the theater down the street. I sure love my little companion. He keeps me great company, even when his Daddy is out of town for the week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Sister's Shower

When it came to planning my sister's shower, I knew that cutesy wasn't going to fly with her. Nothing totally girly and nothing cheesy- like she absolutely vetoed the playing of any "shower games." So I thought why not go a little modern and yellow. And then I decided that a brunch would be casual, flexible with people's schedules, and yummy (breakfast foods are my favorite). Once getting my mom (my co-host) and sister on board, I ran with the idea. First I was inspired to make favors out of baby food jars by my friend Kristina's blog as she turned some of her daughter's baby food jars into little turkey gratitude jars with her son. I simply sprayed the lids yellow, glittered them up, and filled them with assorted yellow candy. Very simple and inexpensive; especially since my son's preschool gave me the jars (they have boxes of them).
I wanted to keep everything white and yellow and went with a very clean table scape. I sewed the table runners up with some yellow fabric from Joannes and made the napkin rings from pom pom trim. We then used our own mixed and matched white plates, and kept things simple with plastic cups and yellow straws. I really would have rather used mason jars for the glasses, but things fell through with a friend I was supposed to borrow them from.
The show stopper was this beautiful yellow and white fondant cake that my mom's friend made. The inside was just as impressive- just imagine caramel, peanut butter, and chocolate in a cake! Very yummy.
The brunch buffet was equally impressive and large in quantities (due to my mom's major fear of not having enough food for everyone). Between the fresh whole fruit, yogurt, granola parfait, three types of egg casseroles, hot off the grill Belgium waffles, banana chocolate-chip muffins, custom made donuts, and croissants- I don't think anyone left hungry. Actually they didn't even leave empty-handed, as we insisted that people take home some of the many leftovers!
Lastly all of my sister's friends and family (my family too) were very generous and she left the party with most of what she needs for sweet little Ashlynn, who is arriving in just about a month. Can't believe it.
Doesn't my sister look great for 36 weeks pregnant? Let's just not play the comparison game to me and my only 31 weeks pregnant figure. : ) I would say based on that smile that Katie enjoyed her shower and it was all worth it. Love you sis! And by the way, isn't my mom beautiful. She always seems to get her skinniest when I'm pregnant. What's up with that!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Perfect Patient

Ben had a dentist appointment last Friday and was so amazing he made me beam with pride. He has always enjoyed doctors since he was little and had been very excited for his dentist appointment for the last month. He kept asking me what his dentist's name was and I would tell him Dr. Yogabi. So when we arrived and were seated in the waiting room, he kept saying over and over very loudly, "where's Yogabi?" I kept correcting him and saying Dr. Yogabi, but to no avail. I thought that things would go south once he got in the chair and the poking and prodding with the shiny tools began but Ben was a champ. He let Dr. Yogabi scrape his little teeth clean. He did have a slight aversion to the bright light so the dentist handed him the cool shades (see below). Ben tried them on but wasn't much of a fan.
His big objection came when the polisher made it's appearance. I think it was the noise that scared him the most. He did finally agree to let him just try and I think Dr. Yogabi managed to polish a few of his top front teeth before Ben asked him to stop. There were no meltdowns and he simply just asked him to please stop. It was pretty funny. Ben was also quite the conversationalist and told Dr. Yogabi all about his little brother named Jackson and how his Daddy picked out the name, and when asked what his Daddy's name was he replied "just Daddy," with a little shrug of his shoulders. Dr. Yogabi complemented Ben's shoes and he told him he picked them out, which he did. I just sat in the chair next to them simply listening to the little conversation my big boy was carrying on with his dentist, smiling all along.
And the best news of all was that Ben's teeth look great and that mom (me) is doing a
great job! Yah for me. It's not always easy to floss and brush a 3-year-old's teeth,
so I was relieved with the good report.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Passed Out Passenger

I don't think I will ever grow tired of peeking over my shoulder in the car and seeing this!
It just can't get any cuter than this!

Valley Parent Preschool (VPPS)

Ben started preschool early September at Valley Parent Preschool here in Danville. It is a parent co-op preschool, which means that every child's parent who attends participates in the classroom and on various boards. My responsibilities there include working in the classroom two days a month (the same number of days per week my child attends school), serving on a committee and committing 30 hours of my time throughout the school year in this role (I am on the ever-so-fun social committee), and volunteering five hours per school year to the maintenance of the school. Not only are co-ops a great way to keep crazy preschool costs down but it also is a great way to really be an active participant in your child's early education. I am grateful that I am in the position that I am available to work in Ben's classroom in a co-op
function. At first I was weary if me working in the classroom was the best thing for Ben (his behavior when I was at school was less than desirable at first). But the last two times I worked he could barely care less that I was there. Which meant that I got to observe him in his environment as he normally is on those days I simply drop him off.
Another thing I enjoy about the preschool is that it is a play-based preschool. Which means that a large majority of the time spent there is dedicated to free-choice play. Play that is specifically designed to help the children learn, explore, and discover using all of their senses. The kids are free to choice which activities they want to participate in or not participate in. A portion of the time is also spent in small groups doing dedicated lessons and activities as organized by teachers.
Since starting I have seen Ben grow in various ways. While he hasn't completely branched out socially with the other kids yet, he does talk some of his teacher's ears off (mostly teacher Vicki). He also surprisingly really enjoys doing the art projects there and has become more creative at home, requesting that we do "crafty" things at home. He is constantly wanting to cut things now with his little safety scissors. A magazine and his scissors have provided hours of entertainment for him. I can also see that he takes such pride in his art as he usually can't wait to show me what he made. His imagination has also vastly grown since starting. He now has some wonderful imaginary friends (i.e. Sally, Mater, and Lightening McQueen), enjoys role playing (band practice, going to meetings), and has discovered the joy in building forts, which he often refers to as his house or his gym. I am proud of my little preschooler and can't wait to see how preschool will continue to enrich his life and expand his little mind.