Thursday, December 20, 2012


Yes, I know we came back from Disney a while ago.  
But I finally have time to post about it.
Basically, we had a blast!
We stayed in the Animal Kingdom, and went to every park (except the water parks).
We ate TONS of great food, walked all over, and went on some great ride.
I have to say, the Tower of Terror was my favorite.
The kids preferred Star Tours.  The rode that one about 6 times.
Here are my Disney tips:
Meal Plan - I would do it again.  I am sure there are cheaper ways to eat, but this was just so convenient.  You do end up with A LOT of food. Dessert at every meal.  Even I was sick of dessert.
This time, however, I would schedule the sit down meal as an early lunch.  
We schedule almost all of our sit down meals for dinner, and it seemed to cut into the day when we knew we had to leave at a certain time to make it to our restaurant for our reservation.
So next time, I would have a light breakfast, and early sit-down lunch at 11, and then use the quick service meal for dinner whenever we felt like it.
Also, you have to look for more discrete quick-service places.  The big ones are all pretty much the same (hot dogs, hamburger, chicken nuggets, etc.)
But after some searching, we found a place that made waffle sandwiches, pretzel rolls, and much more interesting food.  So don't be lured into the larger places.
And most places have an option to replace dessert with fruit, so make sure you ask.
Table services places I would go to again:  Akershus in Epcot (not so much for the food, but for the fact that you can see every princess), Coral Reef in Epcot (great food), Whispering Canyon Cafe in Wilderness Resort (this was the biggest surprise for me.  I was more hesitant about this one, but we all had the best time.  Just make sure you ask for ketchup and a refill on your drink.)
Places to avoid: California Grill.  It wasn't bad, but it just wasn't worth it in my opinion.  The views were spectacular, but the food wasn't worth using 2 meal points.  So I would skip this next time.
Parks - The kids were less impressed with Animal Kingdom and Epcot.  We only spent one day at each of those.  But we spent 2 days each at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.  HS is where all the Star Wars stuff is, including Jedi Training, which I would recommend.  But you have to sign up for it as soon as the park opens.  
Rides - Again, Tower of Terror was a favorite among the adults (found in HS).  Mission to Mars in Epcot (the orange version) was pretty intense.  DO NOT go on this if you get motion sickness at all.  The kids enjoyed the green version of it.  Soarin' (at Epcot) was also fun, as was the Rock 'n Rollercoaster (HS), and the Toy Story ride (HS).  We needed to use the Fast Pass for Toy Story, and Tower of Terror.  We should have used it for Soarin', but they didn't have any left.  My son's favorite ride was Space Mountain, always a classic.
Special Events - Since it was the Holiday Season, we were able to do some special events.  This included Mickey's Christmas Party and the Candlelight Processional.  I would do both again.  Our Candlelight Christmas was narrated by Neil Patrick Harris.  The music was great, and it really reminded me that this was Christmas (with it being so warm in FL, I had forgotten all about it).  The fireworks after were also AMAZING.  Mickey's Christmas Party was a little less spectacular, since it was pretty much just being in the park after hours, but they did have a Christmas parade that was great.  I also loved seeing the castle covered in lights.  We tried to watch the fireworks at the party, but we selected the wrong area to watch, and so we only got to see a glimpse of them. 
Other tips - Definitely download the Disney app onto your phone.  That was so helpful in seeing the ride wait times, and finding out when and where all the characters would be.  A quick tip on the characters: the lines to see them were much longer than any ride we waited to see.  Be prepared.  Also, the photopass in convenient, but it costs $165 to purchase the CD (no matter how many pictures are on it).
We did end up buying it (so I could make a photo book for my parents) and the pictures are nice, but if it were just my family, I probably would not do it.  They picture people will also use your camera if you ask them.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dress Shopping

With the holidays coming up, I have begun my yearly search for the perfect dress for Ciara.
Every year, she gets a new Christmas dress.
Most years, they are pretty fancy: velvet, taffeta, etc.
My absolute favorite dress was a more casual dress.
It was the snowflake dress from Hanna Andersson.
Of course, they don't make it anymore.
(If anyone from Hanna Andersson is reading this, BRING BACK THE SNOWFLAKE DRESS!)
It was a great dress for the holidays.
Since they don't carry it anymore, I am stuck with searching for something new.
During my search, I found myself on
Every dress that I liked was for girls that are 5 years or younger.
Is it just me, or is it impossible to find cute and APPROPRIATE clothes for the 8-11 year old girl?
For some reason, 8 seems to be when clothing makers start to make clothes that just seem a little too mature (or just plain trashy).
My 8 year old is still a little girl, and I will continue to dress her that way.
She still loves for everything to match.
She also still loves dresses.
If anyone can suggest a place to get a cute, casual (and yet still unique) dress, let me know!
I may see if eBay has any of the old snowflake dresses.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Gifted, and The Money Mouth

Yes, we survived Sandy.
We were very lucky and never lost power, had no trees blow down, and we stayed dry and safe.
My heart goes out to those that were not so lucky.
In other news:
Caden's teacher spoke with me about having him tested for the "gifted" program at school.
I have to say, I am hesitant.
I was in one of those programs, and I honestly don't think it did me any good.
(Nor do I think I qualify for the "Gifted" label.)
I am all for challenging him, keeping him progressing in every way.
But I guess I just shy away from the label.  
Couldn't we just call it something else?
We will just have to wait and see how it goes.
(This is not something that I have talked with the kids about, I figure the less they know, the better.)
And my poor Ciara . . . . 
We saw an orthodontist yesterday.
I knew her teeth were messed up, but I didn't realize how much.
Apparently, to correct her under bite and narrow upper jaw, she gets braces, a palate-expander, and some wonderful headgear that she will have to wear ALL DAY  LONG.
Here is an example of the headgear:
For 2-3 months, she will have to wear this all day long (only to be taken off to eat). 
Then it will be for 12 hours a day, and then only for night. 
I have to say, I was shocked.  
I didn't think ANYONE had to wear headgear anymore.
I know she is nervous about it as well.
We are getting another opinion before we proceed, but I guess it is better to do it now, and get it over with.
I kind of like her crooked little smile.
I will be sad to see it go.

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Mascara Findings

Many of you have been asking about my mascara experiment, so I thought I would share what I have figured out so far.
Here are the contenders:
Cover Girl Lash Blast Fusion
Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies
L'Oreal Double Extend
Maybelline Illegal Length
And the last, which I cannot find an image of, is Borghese Mascara which I picked up at Costco.
I guess I should let you all know what I look for in a mascara before I tell you which ones I prefer.
My Mascara Commandments:
Thou shalt wash off easily.  
(I don't do waterproof.  I want all my make up to come off when I wash my face at night.)
Thou shalt not undo the curling that I have done with my eyelash curler.  
(I have noticed that many mascaras make my lashes go completely straight after I have just spent time making them nice and curly with my curler.)
Thou shalt not clump and give me tarantula eyes.
(You know, when your lashes are so thick and clumped together that they resemble the legs of a tarantula.)
Thou shalt not give me raccoon eyes.
(Pretty self-explanatory)

I will start with the worst:
L'Oreal Double Extend
My biggest complaint with this is that is was clumpy.  And it completely straightened my lashes.  I threw this one away after 3 tries.
Maybelline Volum' Express
Nothing special here.  It did wash off easily, but didn't do much for my lashes, except make them straight.  I haven't thrown this away yet, but I probably will soon.  I also did not enjoy the shape of the brush.
Cover Girl Lash Blast Fusion
I really enjoy the brush on this mascara.  It seemed to actually get all of my lashes coated.  The mascara didn't clump, but I don't feel like it made my lashes stand out in any way.
Maybelline Illegal Length
I do like the lengthening capabilities of this mascara.  It was not clumpy, and did not make my lashes completely straight.  I do NOT like the brush on this one.  It is an awkward shape.
I had actually been combining the Illegal Length with the Lash Blast and I did like that combo, but that defeats the purpose of the drugstore mascara.  
If I have to purchase 2 of them, I may as well purchase just one of a better brand for about the same price.
That is when I found the Borghese at Costco (2 tubes for around $12).
I have only tried it once, and so far it is my favorite.
I will have to use it a few more times before I can give a definitive result.
But so far, that is the winner.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Baking to the Oldies

I really enjoy baking.
I think the reason I enjoy baking is because I LOVE eating the things I bake.
(and almost everything I bake has some form of chocolate in it).
This is not what I made yesterday, but it was the only picture of some of my baked goods that I have here on my computer.
I have noticed that I have some rituals while baking, one of them being music.
(Just as a side note, the kids are usually not in the house while I am baking)
My Pandora station, while baking, is always set to Will Smith Radio.
For some reason, old school rap really gets me in the baking mood.
Yesterday, I heard "Summertime", "Gangsta's Paradise", "Can I Get A . . . ", some Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and LL Cool J.  
Does anyone else feel that baking and early 90's rap go hand in hand?
It's just me?

Children Are Not Stamps

I have blogged about this before, but it has been brought to my attention again, so I felt the need to address it again.

Yes, I am a Mormon.
And, yes, I have only 2 children.
I can hear all the gasps of surprise:
 (What?  Only 2?  You  must not be a very good Mormon if you only have 2 kids.)
Or perhaps you feel bad for me, think that I may have had infertility issues.
No, the 2 kids were by choice.
(However, since we have not tried for a third, I have no idea if we could even have another.  Perhaps there are infertility issues and I just don't know about them.)
Do I not like children?
I actually love them, ESPECIALLY babies.  
Adore them. 
Can't get enough of them.
So why just 2?
This has been a decision that my husband and I made together.
(With a lot of prayer involved)
In the church that I belong to, it is very easy to feel inadequate with my small family.
Sitting in church on Sunday surrounded by families with 5 or 6 young kids (and more), reading blogs that are full of pictures of smiling, usually blonde, families with 6, 7, 8 kids.
It usually doesn't bother me, basically because I know that these families did not choose to have all those kids just to make me feel inadequate.  
I assume they (the husband and wife) talked and prayed about it like my husband and I did.
But when I hear people say that it is our job (as wives) to have as many kids as possible, I get kind of upset.
NO, that is NOT my job.
I am not a baby machine.
And my uterus is not a clown car.
My job is to raise the babies that come into my home in righteousness.
Any idiot can make a baby (and let's face it, a LOT of idiots do), but it takes a lot more to RAISE that baby.
The title of this post comes from this talk.  
"Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps."
I do find children cute (especially my own), and it has been hard to realize that cuteness is not a good enough reason (for me, at least) to have more.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

And Another Month

I can't believe another month or two has just flown by!
School has finally started, and we are off to a great start.
Ciara is in love with her teacher, which is a big change from last year.
Caden is also in love with his teacher.
Work is still busy, busy, busy, which is a good thing.  I keep having to remind Rocky that being busy is a good thing when you own your own business.
We are all just plodding along as usual!
I did purchase a season pass to the Baltimore Aquarium recently.
(But wait, I can hear you all saying.  You don't live in Baltimore.  You don't even live in Maryland.)
True, we do live about 2.5 hours away.
But it is an easy day trip with the kids, they have a blast at the aquarium, and there are some pretty great restaurants on the harbor.  Fun for us all!
My parents were just here for a visit, and they gave they kids their (early) Christmas present:
Yes, we are all going to Disney World in November.  
I think I am just as excited as the kids (maybe even more so).
We are staying in the Animal Kingdom, and have a whole week to see as much as we possibly can.
And next week I am finally going on my annual Mom's Gone Wild trip!
I am pretty sure I will LOTS to write about after that.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Promised Pictures

I can't believe summer is going by so fast! 
I promised pictures last time, so I will deliver!
An update of what we have been doing:  working and swimming.
That is pretty much it.
The kids come to work with me, and then we leave around lunch time and head to the pool.
We have planned a trip to SLC in 9 days so that will be exciting.
We are also trying to squeeze in one more trip to the beach before school starts.
On this trip, we are hoping to meet up with some wonderful friends that we haven't seen in WAY TOO LONG.
Here are the promised pics:
 Ciara's Baptism

 More Gettysburg
 Gettysburg continued.
 Everyone hanging out with Abe.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Busy Month of May

Where does the time go?
 I can't believe it is almost June, AND that school is almost done.
I am, however, quite pleased that Ciara is almost done with this class.
We have had many visitors this month, and a few big activities.
I don't have my camera here at work, so I can't post any pictures right now.
But for a quick recap:
Field Trip to Little Buffalo State Park (Ciara)
Cancelled field trips for Caden
Ciara's Baptism
Lot's of family visiting
State College (for ice cream, of course)
Work, work, and more work.
As soon as I get the pictures up, I will write in more detail.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Just Shut Up Already!

I am speaking to myself.
I noticed that my last few posts have been very complain-y.
Yes, I have had a hard time adjusting to my new work life.
But I do know that I have a pretty good situation.
My "boss" is pretty lenient about my days off.
 I am still able to volunteer in my kids classrooms.
I am still able to go on field trips with them.
I am still able to drop them off at school, and pick them up everyday.
I know how lucky I am to not need child care services.
When the kids are sick, I have the option of either staying home, or I have been known to drag them into the office with me.
I do have quite a perfect situation for a stay-at-home/working mom.
I shouldn't complain.
Apparently I don't handle change very well.
Wait, back up a minute.
I am pretty good at moving.
That doesn't seem to bother me, but altering my day to day routine just shuts my world down.
The good news is that I am starting to adjust, and I am not as tense as I once was.
So hopefully no more complaining posts from me!
(Well, at least not for now!)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I don't believe in multi-tasking.
Well, I guess I should say that I am unable to multi-task.
I literally cannot do it.
The reason many think I am good at cleaning my house is because I was.
That was all I had to be good at.
 I was good at that one thing.
Now that I am working, I find that work is now my "one thing" and everything else is left behind.
I really want to clean, but after being in the office all day, and knowing I have more work to do at home, I just don't want to have to spend my whole time with the kids vacuuming/dusting/mopping/etc.
I am seriously considering hiring a cleaning person.
I never thought I would, basically because I was worried that they wouldn't do as good of a job as me.
But now, I just don't care. 
I just want it done.
Perhaps I could hire someone to cook for me too.
And drive the kids around . . . .
And perhaps do my work for me . . . .
And go to the gym for me . . . .
Could I just hire someone to be me?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I have lost my voice.
(I also feel like crap, but that is beside the point.)
I still made it in to work today.
Dang, I am such a trooper!
I am actually enjoying working with Rocky.
I was concerned that working together might be hard.
But I really enjoy seeing him more.
There has been some adjusting.
We had to set up some rules, like he can't tell me at home what to do at work the next day.
He did this a few times, and I never remembered.  As far as I am concerned, when I am home, I am off the clock.
But the perks are that we get to have lunch together if we want, and I can just run back to his office for his kiss if I so desire.
And now I am learning to navigate my way through Quickbooks.
Very excited to get this up and running, since all of our invoicing will be stored in there.
In other news . . . 
Family is coming to visit tomorrow!
My aunt, uncle, mom and nephew are all coming in to visit.
The kids have been counting the days, and can't wait to see everyone (and neither can I).

Monday, April 23, 2012


Well, we purchased the business.
And life hasn't been the same since.
Since I have been going into work almost everyday, I feel like I have lost control over my life.
My house is a disaster, I am falling behind on my laundry schedule, my dinners have been less than fantastic, I could go on and on.
I am still working on finding the balance.
So if I don't post as much as I used to (and let's face it, I was slacking on it before we owned a business), then blame it on my work.
Or better yet, blame it on my boss!
I like to blame most things on him.
Otherwise, I am proud to announce the birth of Baer Wolfe Architects.
Yes, the  name is awful. 
 It seems too strange of a coincidence that the previous owner also has an animal for his last name.  

Monday, March 26, 2012

Six Days

The countdown is on.
Only 6 more days until . . . . 
We become small business owners.
That sentence scares me.
It is a huge leap (of faith, finance, etc.), but something that Rocky has always aspired to do.
He always said he wanted to run his own architecture firm, and he is about to do that.
I guess since we still have 6 days to go, anything could change within that time frame.
But provided that everything goes as planned . . .
The other thing that has me nervous (besides the financial risk, and the fact that we have employees to worry about) is that I will be working now as well.
I haven't worked (outside the home) in 8 years.
I am terrified when I think of helping run this business.
What will I do with the kids during the summer while I have to be at the office?
What if I totally mess it all up and we lose it all?
I could play the "what if" game all day long.
These are the things that go through my head ALL DAY LONG.
I have spent many hours (days, weeks, months) in prayer.
That is really the only reason I haven't completely freaked out yet.
Only 6 more days (and then the rest of my life).

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Who knew a new mattress could make such a difference?
In anticipation of family visiting in May, and with my father-in-law's previous injuries, we decided to get a new mattress.  
Our old one will be put in the office/guest room to replace the air mattress that guests previously used.
I had no idea how expensive mattresses had become!
I know that you can still get cheap ones, but we wanted a good, comfy one that would last for a very long time.
After doing a lot of research online, reading reviews, checking prices, we actually went to a mattress store to try out the mattresses.
We fill in love with the most expensive one in the store (of course).
Were you all aware that purchasing a mattress is like purchasing a car?
The longer we sat there in indecision, the lower the price became.
We finally left the store with the warning that this deal that they made for us would expire that night.
We both felt that we needed to keep looking, so we just didn't call back.
The next day, the store called us and discounted the price another 25%.
Well, we decided to get it at that point.
And how wonderful it has been!
Rocky has stopped snoring.
I had no idea that a mattress could do that, but apparently it has.
I am actually dreaming again at night, and am not awakened by Rocky's snores, or even by his movement.
(and no, we did not get a memory foam mattress.  we tried them, but found them just too hard)
Plus, it gave me an excuse to get new bedding as well!
So happy with our new bed.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Beverly Hills, 90210

I can't believe it has been almost a month since my last post.
Where does the time go?
(I feel like I say this a lot)
Let's see. . . .what is new?
Well, I am now the 2nd counselor in Relief Society.
(For those wondering, Relief Society is the woman's organization of my church, and 2nd counselor is like being a VP)
I am still teaching the teenage Sunday school, so that means that on this coming Sunday, I get to teach the teenagers, and then immediately following, teach the adult women.
I am TERRIFIED of teaching the adults.  
I have only taught kids before.
Not full-grown, opinionated, knowledgeable women.
Plus, I am in charge of the entertainment of all these women (plus more) at an activity in 2 weeks.
Talk about pressure!
And since this is my first time doing anything like this, I really feel the need to impress.
In order to combat this pressure, I have found that the Soap Network airs old 90210 episodes during the day.
Many of my day recently have been spent watching the high school years of Brenda, Brandon, Dylan, Kelly, Donna, David, Steve and Andrea.
It makes me think of being in middle school.
(talk about pressure)
If I can get through middle school (in Oklahoma, no less) then a little responsibility as an adult shouldn't stress me out, should it?
(I am currently watching an episode now, where Steve makes a half court shot for $10,000.  Talk about drama!)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We Heart NYC

 Santa's big present to the kids this year was a trip to NYC to shop.  
Since Ciara's entire letter to Santa consisted of the entire American Girl catalog, he decided that this was the best way to handle that.
So Grandma Jill met us there, and spent the day shopping in the freezing wind and snow.
 Caden with Jack Sparrow at the Lego Store.

 Ciara had her heart set on going to the Statue of Liberty.  Unfortunately, it is closed right now for refurbishing, and the weather was so horrible that we didn't want to onto the island at all.  Luckily, Lego Store had the next best thing!

  Caden at his favorite store: Nintendo World.

Ciara in the American Girl store, on our way up to our appointment with the personal shopper.

 Ciara, making a promise to Maria, the best personal shopper!

 With new doll, McKenna.

With her new baby, April.

We started the day at the 911 Memorial.  The museum is still not finished, but the fountains and the grounds are open.  It was so cold, and the kids didn't really enjoy it, but I was glad we saw it.  I would like to go back when the weather is better, and when the museum opens up.
Then we headed up-town to FAO Schwartz, where the kids began their shopping.
Then it was onto the Lego store, Nintendo World and American Girl Store.
If any of you are planning on visiting an American Girl Store, I highly recommend personal shopping.
The store is so big and overwhelming.
Our personal shopper, Maria, had Ciara tell her what she wanted, and brought it to us.
We didn't have to wander the huge store; we got to sit on some comfy couches and relax.
Maria was also great about helping Ciara figure out what she really wanted.
She made sure she didn't want the doll just for the clothes, had her look at their hair and faces, and also made sure it was something she "really, really, really" wanted.  (it had to be 3 really's, not just 2)
She also taught her how to properly take care of her doll's hair.
We had a great experience, and can't wait to go back to NYC soon!


I just went through all the pictures on my camera, and realized I haven't posted any pictures since the end of school last year.  So here is a quick catch-up:
 Here are Ciara, Tate, and Miss Winder on the last day of school.  Ciara was sobbing so hard when I picked her up that day.

 We visited the Philadelphia Zoo with the Scotts.  It was so hot, but we had a blast!

 Ready to ride in the Christensen's annual 4th of July Parade.

 We made a few trips to Lake Tobias, this fun place with animals, convertible bus rides, and shirt-eating goats.

 First day of school!

 Ciara in her fall soccer game.


At the Christkindl market in Mifflinburg.  It was FREEZING!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Life of Crime

I know many of you have wanted to know more about my facebook post regarding Ciara and the forged signature.
Here is the whole story:
In her class, if you forget (or just don't do) a homework assignment, your name is written on the board.
For my perfectionist daughter, this is probably the worst punishment.
Not only has she made a mistake, but EVERYONE knows about it.
I think what happened is that she forgot to bring home her reading assignment one day, and instead of just doing it the next day, she chose to write her dad's signature on the paper so her name would not be written on the board.
I also think it has to do with the fact that she does not have a great teacher this year.
The teacher shows no interest in the kids, and doesn't seem to relate to them at all.
I have been very disappointed.
Because of this, Ciara doesn't see the need to try.
We have talked about it, but trying to explain to your 7 year old that you have to learn no matter who teaches can get tricky.
She is also having trouble with the kids in her class.
Some girls that she thought were her friends at the beginning of the year have become less nice.
Ciara gets very upset when people don't like her.
I blame this on the fact that my daughter has been raised to believe that everyone adores her.
(Because, let's face it, who doesn't?)
But with a teacher who doesn't care, and classmates that are not very nice, 2nd grade is becoming rather difficult for her.
Hence, her life of crime choice.
When I was informed that she forged a signature, my mind immediately flashed forward 10-15 years, and I was terrified that this was a pattern that was going to keep repeating.
I mean, if you are already forging signatures at age 7, what will you be doing at age 17??
I have tried to take a step back, and realize that this is not a pattern, just a one-time incident.
We just need a better teacher, and class.
I did beg her first grade teacher to just follow Ciara through all the grades.
We love her.
But since that probably won't happen, we will just have to figure out how to deal with difficult people.
Still, age 7 just seems too young to have to learn this.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Our Holiday

I was able to overcome my Grinch-y feeling before Christmas, and we had a wonderful time.
Santa's big gift to the kids this year was a trip to NYC with a stop at the American Girl store, Nintendo World, Lego Store, and FAO Schwartz.  
He did what he could, and wrote them a letter and filled their stockings.
But I think the kids were initially confused.
They came down expecting piles of presents, and instead saw a letter.
After they read it, they were more excited, but it was rather amusing at first to see the confusion on their faces.
For Christmas dinner, we met some friends for Chinese food, which was so fun!
I definitely would do that again, no worrying about cooking, or clean up.
New Year's Eve we went to a friends house as well.
Food, fun, a quick piano concert, and a rubix cube rounded out our evening.
And now we are already past the first week of January.
Time goes by way too quickly.
I hope we have a medically quieter year, no more cancer, tree crushings, or ear infections (or fractured fingers).