Cheesecake Does Good Like a Medicine

The last thing I'd ever want to admit is that I could be disappointed about a Christmas day.
So, I won't.
But, i will say that we have a child on our hands who:
1. does not understand what a gift is.
2. after seeing a few gifts opened does not think to herself "huh, there are toys in there...man...this is good!"
3. would rather walk around in any part of the house as long as it is not the room where gifts are being opened.
4. would rather read a used book she got 4 months ago than play with anything mommy gave her for Christmas.
Cheer me up with some memorable reactions your kiddies had, ok?


What's Your Christmas Eve Tradition?

Tonight before bed we'll be reading The Night Before Christmas. Tim and i have been doing this since we got married. The copy of the book we have is the same one I grew up with. It is actually a pop-up book. I remember having it as a child...opening up the little window on the house when the guys peeks out to see Santa...spinning the wheel above the children's bed as they dream of sugar plums...pulling the tab that makes Santa disappear up the chimney.
The funny this is that I always have to search for the book on Christmas Eve. I can never remember where we left it the year previous! One year we read it in bed and actually left in under the bed until the next Christmas. It was easy to find that time...but this year i started looking for it early, and it is ready and waiting for tonight.
What is your Christmas Eve tradition?


Crazy Lights

I love Christmas lights...always have...and I totally plan on going nuts with them when we have a house. But, for now, here is all I can do:

There are red lights around our door...you'll just have to take my word for it.
Anyway, there are two places in our neighborhood that have become a tradition for us to visit at Christmas. The first is off of Saal. The decorating spans the yards of two corner houses and includes a collection of every Christmas blow-up made. (The also do a Halloween display, too.) The second is near the Sterling Heights library and is decorated from roof to lawn and also includes music. I don't think all the lights were turned on when we visited it this year, but I can't imagine that the power grid could handle it all being on a once. I counted over 20 spotlights alone. The picture doesn't show it, but when you pull up to the house at night, it looks like it is day time.
And, for the record, I don't plan on decorating our house with the same style of lights!


Taking TIme to Smell the Snowflakes

The past nonth has been so busy for me, although I can't really say why. Between my scuba class and all the events (and chores) that go along with Christmas, I don't think there has been a day that Lorelai and I haven't left the house at least once.
Until yesterday!
I had my heart set on enjoying the snow with her, and we did just that. Even last winter (when Lorelai was 6-8 months old) we made a point to take her out in her little sled. I don't think she gave a rip about the whole experience, but we were the proudest parents around. One of my favorite things about being a mommy is having the excuse to play in the snow again.

I think we may need a bigger sled next year!

A Thousand Words Thursday

as the song goes...
"...the prettiest sight you'll see is the holly that will be on your own front door..."
The kid is pretty cute too ;)
for more, click here


Santa Take 2

On Monday we decided to take Lorelai to see Santa. To save ourselves some time, we opted to take her to a close-by mall. I won't say where (*cough cough* it rhymes with "steak lied"). I don't want to get into the details, but basically we encountered the worst-behaved employee of 2009. I left in tears and marched my rear over to the mall management office as fast as my feet could carry me and filed a written complaint. If you know me, you know that I am pretty anti-confrontation, so, that should tell you that this was B-A-D.
We had gotten our Santa photos, but Tim and I were NOT happy. The encounter ruined our whole day. I guess most people would just let it go and move on, but I couldn't even bear to look at the pictures. There was no way I wanted those photos be be a part of our family collection (I have yet to upload them or even look at them).
I just couldn't move on until we had the Santa experience Lorelai deserved, so, on Tuesday we set out for Sommerset Mall (where we took Lorelai last year). The experience was everything we hoped for and more. Sommerset doesn't do santa like the other malls. For one, you don't wait in line. When you arrive, they tell you when the next available appointment is. This gives you time to finish your shopping while you wait (and man did I hit a monster deal at the Gap!). All the Santa employees are dressed up in Renaissance outfits to complement the huge castle set. You pay a small fee (which goes to charity) to take your own photos. When it is your turn to see santa, they announce each child's name (with the addition of "lord" for the boys and "princess" for the girls. Sommerset's Santa really must be THE real deal because man, is he jolly. The employees were fab in helping us get the closest thing to a smile we could get out of Lorelai.
Once you are done seeing Santa, they give the kids 3 silver coins. You can then spend the coins at various stores. For example, Pottery Barn Kids gave Lorelai some stickers and Mrs. Fields gave her some cookies.
I know some of you will think I'm silly for placing such importance on Lorelai's Santa visit, but, well, we all have our traditions. I can't really explain why it's so important to me. I will say that we left our second Santa visit feeling like a King, Queen, and Princess :)


A Thousand Words Thursday

As I snapped this pic, she said "cheese" for the 1st time.
For more, click here


My Big Scuba Weekend!

As I stated in my last post, I'm working my way towards becoming a PADI certified open water scuba diver. This past weekend was part 1 of my open water training. On Saturday, I was in the classroom from about 8:30 am to 11:15 am. After lunch we all met up at Oakland University's pool where we had to pass a variety of scuba skills.
Let it be known that I have never been the type to swim laps for fun. I had read in my PADI book (yes, I also had to read a 250 page book and watch a few hours of instructional DVDs before the class) that there would be a swim test before the pool training began. I looked at it with a bit of dread, but figured that since I had already paid (a lot) for the class, they couldn't possibly turn me away, right? I kinda figured it was something they'd skip over anyway.
We started off the pool training with our swim test. I had to swim 200 meters and then tread water for 10 minutes. Thank God above that I was somehow able to accomplish both (because I never had before!).
So, next we suited up in all the gear.

Let me tell ya, all that gear adds up to be HEAVY. Not quite sure how I'll manage to suit up on a rocking boat in Jamaica.
I knew many of the tasks we'd have to prove we could do, and I'll admit that some of them really intimidated me. For example, when you scuba dive, you wear a BCD (buoyancy control device). Basically it is a vest that you can inflate and deflate with the touch of a button (because it is hooked up to your air tank). One of the tasks we had to do involved going to the bottom of the pool, taking our regulator out of our mouth, and orally inflating the vest underwater. Imagine going to the bottom of a pool, removing your air source from your mouth, and blowing up a balloon. Dude, I was kind of afraid I'd somehow drown myself!
I am proud to say that I and my classmate successfully performed ALL the necessary tasks and that our instructor was really impressed with our performance. Yeah!
The scuba training really stretched me much more physically and mentally than I thought it would. I have gained SO much self-confidence and self-reliance that I didn't have before. Knowing that I can take care of myself in potentially risky conditions has been very liberating for me. I can't wait to continue my training. I successfully passed all my quizzes, my final and all my confined water dives this weekend. Next up, I'll need to make 4 open water dives with an instructor or dive master. I'm hoping to do 2 dives in Jamaica in February and do the other two dives in Michigan in the spring (need more training before I can do ice diving).

My instructor, helpers, and classmate were all fab!

A swim team was practicing while we were training...we just swam right under them!

My buddy kept reminding me that "thumbs up" does not translate to "good" in scuba hand signals...it means "ascend". Obviously I hadn't yet gotten the message in this pic.

This was the last task we had to accomplish. Our instructor turned off our air so that we would know what it feels like. He said he has never seen 2 girls last longer with shut off air. Ha!

Class is more fun underwater!


Up Next: Sucba Diving

Monday was my adventure as a Salvation Army bell ringer. I refuse to write a post about it without the pictures Tim took of me. Currently, my camera is in Mexico, so I will get to it later this week.
Anyway, next on my list of "always wanted to do that" is scuba diving. How I came to desire to accomplish this is a little complicated.
Three or four years ago, Tim and I went camping in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I had never been there before and fell in love with the place. If you have never been there before, let me tell you that it's gorgeous...way picturesque!
One of the things I really wanted to do while in the U.P. was to get lost in the woods and have to take a ride from a stranger who lived in a shack in the woods.
No...that wasn't it...although that did happen.
What I really had my heart set on doing was swimming in Lake Superior. For the record, They really should rename it Superior Ocean or Superior Sea, because when you first arrive at it's shore, it looks WAY angrier than your typical lake. Twenty foot waves can happen during storms and waves over 30 feet have been recorded. Add that with the fact that the temperature in the lake ranges from 32 degrees in the winter to 55 degrees in the summer, and you've got yourself an exciting experience.
So, one evening during out trip, Tim and I went swimming in Lake Superior. It was awesome. The water was icy and there were some pretty good waves. I didn't know if the lake wanted to spit me out or suck me in.
Once I was hooked on the awesomeness of Lake Superior, I next became hooked on the idea of all the shipwrecks it holds. The Great Lakes in general stay so cool that there are thousands of preserved shipwrecks beneath it's surface.
I began reading books about Great Lakes shipwrecks, but eventually, I got to the point where I wanted to see these things for myself. I mean, Imagine diving 25 to 60 feet below the surface of Lake Superior and coming face to face with a 525 foot steam ship on which 12 of its crew died. And, don't forget that the visibility in the Great Lakes isn't exactly the same as what it is in your bathtub.
The thought kinda scares the crap out of me, too.
So, the other week I was feeling kinda bored and I thought, "What am I waiting for?!? I should learn how to scuba dive!"
I looked up some of the local dive shops and signed up for the open water certification course. My classes are this Saturday and Sunday. I have to read a book, do some homework and watch 2 DVD before then (which is what I really should be doing now). If you want to see me look all awesome in my gear, come to Oakland University on Saturday or Sunday afternoon. I'll be learning scuba diving in the pool!


Season's Ramblings

Some of the week's highlights:

I finally got a good deal on some sweat suits at Old Navy for Lorelai. This one cost me $16, but we got a second one for $6!!!

Tim's birthday on Tuesday. If you haven't had a poured chocolate cake from Christine's (just north of Hall Rd. and Hayes) then you really have never had chocolate cake. Stop in there for a poured chocolate cupcake!!!

Lorelai loved her cake even more than usual considering the plates.

New slippers for the elmo lover!

Thanksgiving day. Am quite sorry Thanksgiving day was just one week before I must make my debut in a wet suit. Ugh.

My new nephew Braydon! He loves to be chill and smiley.

Tree decorating on Friday.

This picture is deceiving. Lorelai really had no interest in decorating the tree. Instead, she kept bringing books for us to read. Eventually she grabbed 3 ornaments and half-heartedly shoved them in between some of the branches. Two minutes later she walked right into the tree and they fell off anyway.

Our "just right" tree for this year. (Though I am still a bit sad about not having a big tree).
Special thanks to Old Navy for having 1/2 off jeans on Friday that actually fit, Target for having red led lights on sale that make our front door look Christmas-y, for the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special being on TWICE, and Best Buy for having "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" in stock.
And, of course, my family for making Thanksgiving so fun :)


Happy Birthday, Tim!

Tonight, Tim, Lorelai, and I will be having our own little exclusive birthday bash for the birthday boy!
This past year has been a great one for Tim. He has been successful in everything he has set his hands to: sailing, work, and fatherhood. I can't wait to watch him start another year of life.
Love you, Tim.


Nina's Fun Friday

What would you like to do on your birthday this year?
My next birthday will be in '09, and hopefully we will be in Jamaica like we are planning. I would love to start the day scuba diving, lay on the beach for awhile, come back to the hotel and clean up, enjoy a glass of wine while the sun sets, have a romantic dinner at an outdoor restaurant, then take a stroll by the beach or (better yet) through a marina.


Which Craft (website)?

Ok. Dumb title.
Anyway, I discovered recently that Lorelai is starting to enjoy coloring. I want to hear from all you crafty mommies:
What is your favorite website for little kiddie crafts and coloring pages?

I Do Love Me Some (fill in the blank)!

For years I have enjoyed watching the morning talk shows on Halloween. I would start off with Regis and Kelly, then Martha, then (a little bit of) The View. They always do it up big with costumes, contests, and such. Regis and Kelly go through quite a few costume changes and they are usually very good quality! They usually dress up as some of the most famous pairs of the year. For example, a few years ago they were Angelina and Brad, and Britney and K-fed, etc. I don't really remember much of what they did this year because the show in general was crappy.
One thing about the show I remembered was a spoof they did on all the famous TV chefs. Kelly dressed up like Paula Deen and Regis was that mean chef from some reality show (Hell's Kitchen?)with a mouth as filthy as the floors in most Coney Islands.
Anyway, like I said the show wasn't very funny this year, but this particular skit eventually got me. It was the kind of thing that was so stupid that eventually you had to laugh.
If you don't know who Paula Deen is, she's a big-hearted old southern lady with a talent for creating artery-clogging comfort food. I'm not sure that she makes anything without butter.
So, back to the skit...Kelly is dressed up like Paula Deen and keeps saying "I do love me some BUTTER!" She continues on to prepare butter on a stick and a sandwich that was made of 2 doughnuts with a stick of butter in the middle.
Ever since I saw that skit, I often say to myself "Oh, I do love me some (whatever)." For the record, butter probably would be one of those things. Today, it is cake. I think I earned it, too.
I do love me some cake!
Now, you finish the sentence: "I do love me some...."

Paging Dr. Elmo

Here's how we started out the week without Tim:

This is where we're at now:

Tim left Sunday at noon. Sunday lasted a looong time. Monday was long. Tuesday was long. Wednesday wasn't too long because we hit up the mall for a big sale then came home to get the house ready for some company. Then, today, it all fell apart!
Poor Lorelai woke up with a cold. The only other time Lorelai has had a cold it lasted one day. That was pretty easy. But, I've never seen her nose run the way it is running today. After a short nap she woke up miserable and didn't want anything to do with me. The only thing that got her spirits up and made her want to eat was the Elmo DVD I rented from the library the other day.
Now the DVD is over and we are reaching the end of the extras on it too. Not sure what to do...


Calling All People Who Love To Spread Christmas Cheer!

My church is feeling the pinch of the tough economic times we are experiencing. I'd really like to be able to bless the congregation with some new christmas decorations.
This time of year is the ONLY time of year that some people set foot in a church. I'd really love to see our church ready and waiting with some festive decorations.
Ideally, I'd love to be able to at least bless them with some new tree decorations and lights. I'd also like to be able to get my hands on some lights and a timer for decorating the outside of the church.
The church does currently have a tree...but it could really stand to be replaced. If you have a used but in very good condition tree or know where I can get my hands on a new one for a fab price, I'd love to hear.
If you'd like to help, let me know!
Just to be safe, I haven't listed the name of my church here...if you want more info you can comment about that, and i can fill you in through email.


I Think I Busted the Cool--o-meter

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to do something I've been dreaming to do for awhile now- learn how to fire a gun.
Since I had Lorelai, I've come to realize that the time to live is NOW...No more saying "I've always wanted to..." instead, I've been doing my best to accomplish the things that I've always wanted to do.
So, on Sunday, we made a trip out to the firing range at Great Lakes Crossing (bet you didn't know they have one of those at the mall!) for this momentous event. We had some time to wait before it was our turn, so we walked around Bass Pro Shop. I spent most of the time wringing my hands together hoping that I wouldn't chicken out. Once it was time for our turn, I elected to go first. I was so geeked up for this, but upon entering the room where you shoot, I had some reservations. First of all, I'm not used to being around gunfire (go figure!) so every time the other people in the room fired their guns, I jumped about a mile. "How the heck will I hold the gun steady like this?" I wondered. I acclimated my ears while my friend demonstrated the gun I'd start out with- a 9 mm.
Once it was my turn to go, I got myself all set up with the proper grip and stance...but I was so worried that the kick back would cause me to drop the gun! I finally just psyched myself up and fired...and the kick back wasn't anywhere near what I thought it would be.
After I went through my first full magazine (see, I learned some terms, too) my friend asked me what I thought. My eyes went wide. "Yeah, I like this!"
Next, I moved on to a .45. Bigger gun and a little more kick back, but nothing I couldn't handle.
Next was Tim's turn. I looked on while he put me to shame. Does the guy have to be an expert at everything??? Seriously, he hit the bulls eye five times. Well, good for him ;)
I didn't hit the bulls eye at all, but I got closer than I thought I would. That was a big enough accomplishment for me!
I have to say that I am hooked! I will admit that I am still quite uneasy about the power that a weapon holds, but, with much respect, caution, and safety, I think that this could be a fun hobby.
I also have to indulge the kid in me and admit that it was exciting to get a taste of being Agent Scully.



It's been too long...patience pays off. Tim has said some VERY entertaining things recently...but the problem is I forget them before I can post them...and if I ask Tim, "hey what was that word you mispronounced the other day?" he will not tell me, because he knows I want to post it. Arg!
Here's one from last week:
Tim: So, I was telling my friend that Lorelai is going to be a poodle for Halloween.
Becca: *blank stare that says 'you must be kidding'*
Tim: Uh...she is going to be a poodle, right?
Becca: No. I am making her a poodle skirt. I told you this many times.
Tim: What the heck is a poodle skirt?

Nina's Fun Friday

favorite color?
favorite candy/ice cream?
-truffles/ cookie dough ice cream
favorite store?
-target and sephora
favorite song?
-no way i could pick one!
favorite restaurant?
-pf chang's
favorite movie?
-ok...it's not technically a movie, but i'm obsessed with renting x files episodes from net flix.


Nothin' Like A Deal

While Lorelai took her nap this afternoon, I spent about an hour online searching for deals on toys.
Look what we found in the GARBAGE during our walk this afternoon:


Thanks, Kate

I was watching Jon and Kate tonight, and Kate perfectly put into words how I was feeling on Halloween. Lorelai was NOT listening to me when I was trying to take her picture and she ended up skinning her knee.
In the episode, one of the boys wasn't listening and ran off from the group...he then promptly fell and hit his head...hard!
Kate: "Sometimes God has built-in punishments."
This one is sure to become a staple in my parenting quotes list.


I know that the presidential election is the talk of the town...but I haven't heard many rumblings about the proposals that we Michigan residents also voted on.
One proposal was about medical mary jane...Proposal 2 was about stem cell research.
Both were approved.
Regardless of what you believe to be right or wrong concerning each of these issues, there were some SERIOUS issues with the content/wording in each of these proposals.
I am not in anyway stating my concern out of a lack of sympathy for sick people in need of relief or a cure.
I am quite sad for Michigan residents.
At least the veterans of Michigan will be getting an extra 1.2 million, thanks to that proposal passing. God bless them!

I Go Girl

Since we bought our condo new, it came with many builder's grade items, a.k.a. "crap". One of the first things we decided we would upgrade was the lighting in the kitchen. We have lived here for 5 years...guess what we JUST did this weekend!
I really like doing home improvent projects myself...great sense of accomplishment, money savings, and usually better results. I looked on as Tim installed the pendant light over the sink...but when it came time to install the new track light at the VERY HIGHEST point in our condo (about 14 feet), I decided I wanted a piece of the action.
Don't ask me why, but we only invested in a 6 foot ladder...you'd think with 14 foot ceilings we would have gotten something bigger. So, when it came time to work on the track lighting, we had a bit of a predicament. We solved this problem by propping the ladder up on the 4 dining room chairs. We also inserted planks of wood under the ladder legs to steady it...it still wasn't steady enough, so we also inserted 2 of lorelai's sesame street books under the legs. OSHA would have been proud, huh?
Once our ladder was "properly" rigged, I stepped up on it with the intent of doing a good chunk of the work.
I made it half way up and new there was NO way I could go up any further. It's one thing to stand on a shaking ladder, but to stand up on a shaking ladder on the step that says "this is not a step" AND have to use both your hands to work on something over your head (without hanging on) is a completely different thing.
Ugh! Defeat!
Here is Tim being his typical hero self:

And, just to toot Tim's horn even more, there was actually a point when he stood on the very top of that ladder. Why he never had a stint in the circus is beyond me.
Once we got the new lights installed, we spent 10 minutes going back and forth about how each of the 4 lights on the track should be aimed. I have to admit, it is great to finally have some light cast on our dining room table! Our lighting situation was so shoddy that guests actually started making comments, such as, "I have some lamps in my basement...would you like them?" So, I was geeked to finally have a nice bright fixture!
Tim's respone?
"I had a feeling these lights would be too bright...we need to install a dimmer switch."
Is there any kind of test you can take to see if you are part vampire?
Anyway, regardless of my inability to agree with Tim, I was on board with the dimmer switch idea because I will not say no to ANY kind of home upgrade we can possibly do. We picked up the dimmer switch that evening at Lowe's. It looks quite a bit like this one:

While Tim was out of town last night, the bag from Lowe's with the dimmer switch in it caught my eye. "Hmm...I bet I could install that!"
For the record, I have never attempted any electrical work solo and have minimal training. I figured I'd take a look at the directions to see how in depth the installation would be...and when I saw that they were pretty much on the skill level of a chimpanzee, I dove right in. After Lorelai went to bed, I cut power to the kitchen and got to work. I will admit that for the first 10 minutes, I was really nervous that I'd get electrocuted...but in the end I just told myself that even if I did get zapped, it would happen so fast that I wouldn't even have time to react.
I'm still not sure why that was comforting.
Anyway, we now have a brand new dimmer switch that works perfectly!
I also have a bit more girl power.



Notice Lorelai's skinned knee...she sustained the injury while resisting to have her photo taken. I don't want to sound mean...so, you can just read my mind to see how I feel about that.
Notice also that the pirate in this picture demanded that eyeliner be part of his get up. Wow.

Hmm...let's see...this little girl is wearing a letter sweater and poodle skirt...looks to me like a 50's costume...yet, I still had a guy say "Oh! It's a sorority girl!"

We had lots of fun trick or treating...as always. I'm a huge fan of Halloween and I look forward to the day we have our own house...so that I can go so over the top decorating that the neighbors think I'm nuts.


Tim, Lorelai, and I went voting together this morning. I really looked forward to this as a family event. My parents always instilled in me the importance of voting by discussing whom they were voting for and by taking me to the polls if they could.
We had to wait an hour in line, but, luckily, Lorelai was pretty well behaved. I can honestly say I would have stood in line all day just to color in that little circle for each of the people I hope to see win. I proudly colored in each of my choices on the front of the ballot and then the back...and then I turned that ballot over and colored in my choice for president with extra ink just because I am SO in love with my choice.
Last time I voted for president, I think I went to bed with an upset stomach...I was so worried about what the outcome of the election would be and I felt VERY strongly that my choice was THE proper choice.
There are about 5 hours left until the first polls close in the US, and already I'm sipping on a double strong cup of tension tamer tea. It could also be said that the big mac I had for lunch was comfort food.
Just doing my civic duty.