Monday, November 28, 2005

Favorite Christmas Books

I don't feel like boring you with my day, so instead I will share some of my favorite Christmas reads (children's books). I've posted a few pictures below.

The Polar Express is a given, as is The Night Before Christmas, but I couldn't find a picture of my favorite Night Before Christmas version. I like the one that Jessi and I read when we were growing up. I think it had been my mother's when she was little. The pictures were classic. Thomas has a HUGE Night Before Christmas book that we read so many times when he was a baby that now every page is held together with tape. It is well-loved.

Night Tree is one of my all-time favorites. Instead of describing it I'll just suggest you read it for yourself. Unfortunately we don't own it, but it's a feel-good Christmas book, and it's another that Jessi and I used to like to read. In fact I bought it for Jessi once as a gift, and she read it to me on Christmas Eve every year after. We decided early that we would spend every Christmas Eve together, forever, no matter how old we grew or how we changed, and she would always read the stories to me. It was tradition, after all. Of course we now live too far apart for that to work out, but the memories are priceless, and I would never take back those promises, because now I like to think that we both reminisce about the same things every year at this time.

The Mitten and Trouble With Trolls are two Jan Brett classics. The Mitten is just fun. -A little girl drops a mitten, and while she's playing a whole bunch of animals all squeeze inside and stretch it out. I like the secondary story told by pictures in the border of Trouble With Trolls.

Obviously, I can't forget The Christmas Story. Thomas has the version shown. It is a hand-me-down, and we love it. There's something about those sweet little Holly Baby faces that is just perfect for babies and toddlers. Thomas still loves the book.

Last but certainly not least is the newest of the books listed. That's Bear Stays Up for Christmas. We like to read Bear Snores On and Bear Stays Up for Christmas together. There is something about the simple rhymes and jolly spirit of both books that is warming and enjoyable to read aloud.

I'm sure I've forgotten some, but I think anyone who enjoys children's books (I collected them before Thomas was around) should read each of these.

That's it for tonight! Sweet dreams!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Jammies Plus

And just like that Thanksgiving is over.

Thomas and I did brave a trip to the mall yesterday. *Gasp!* I have never shopped the day after Thanksgiving, for several reasons that I won't go into, but yesterday I wanted to make it to Old Navy for their sale, so I picked the mall I hoped would be least crowded and took a chance. You laugh, but it worked; we have three malls in our general area, and in addition to timing it right (not too early), I weighed the differences as follows:
1) The biggest mall is in Albany, but not only is that the farthest away, there is never a time when that mall is not insanely crowded. Plus, the ramp to the mall is infamous for car accidents, and while I realize you might think I get a thrill from car accidents since I do handle them every day, all day, and continue to talk about them at home, the cold hard truth is that I really don't want to be involved in one.
2) The second mall is really close and is great because it's never busy or crowded, but of course there is a reason for that; the mall lacks a lot of stores for which people specifically go to malls. One of those, unfortunately for me, is Old Navy.
3) The third mall is somewhere in between, size-wise, but it is usually very quiet, and while it doesn't have everything, it does have *you guessed it* Old Navy.
Hopefully you figured out that I picked Mall #3. #3 was definitely the busiest I have ever seen it, but it really was just like any other mall on the average day, and everyone was in a good mood, so I was happy.
We didn't buy gifts, but I did buy Thomas some winter boots and two pair of jammies. I even snuck in a pair of very cozy jammies for myself. Unfortunately when we came home and searched through our bag of goodies I realized that one pair of jammies was size 6-12 months. (It was busy, and I had to search for a 4T. I thought I had grabbed the right one... Apparently I didn't double check.) Now I know Thomas is small, but I didn't think that would quite do it, and I'd say they might look cute on me but, well, no. Needless to say, we took a second trip to Old Navy today to exchange them, and it was, once again, the quiet mall that I have always known it to be, so we were able to pick up a couple of additional clothing items that we needed. It was a very successful trip. (It helped that we followed up with lunch at the 99. Our bank account might regret it, but at least we enjoyed it.)

As you can see from the photo, we also decorated our tree tonight. Thomas kept hanging ornaments on the same three branches, all very close together, and I kept moving them to make room for the next, which was actually more amusing than anything else. Picture somewhat of a production line. ...No, it wasn't that bad, but it was funny. I suppose I should explain that I am sort-of design picky, if that makes sense (or if it doesn't, for that matter). What I mean by that is that I like to have everything set up a certain way. I just like my surroundings to be comfortable, and part of that, for me, is having some sort of balance. Yes, basically, I'm weird. In any case, what that meant for tonight was that I knew my silly need for balance was not important, and that Tommy should hang the ornaments wherever he wanted (or else what kind of parent would I be), so I let him hang them where he wanted and *ssshhhh* moved a few later... just a few, really! The funny thing is that Thomas saw me doing it a little while he was decorating, so during dinner he kept getting up to move ornaments, and all I could do was laugh and think, "Oh no! What have I done to my poor child?!" He was, as always, very cute. Brian tried to take some video, but as luck would have it, the battery needed charging. (That's another story.)

*Sigh* So much more to write, but I don't want to miss out on any more time with Brian (we are both hopeless computer addicts), so I'll just leave you with this dancing penguin. More soon!

(If he's not dancing refresh the page and he'll start again; he gets tired.)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Cooks, books, and snowflakes

I decided to take lots of pictures today. I figured, since we were making this Thanksgiving a quiet one, I might as well play. I planned to post a few here, but I couldn't decide which ones to post, so I'll just direct you to our photo album. The newer albums are dated, so just click on today's date, and you'll see what we did today. (There are some older November pictures in that album as well.) Here, I'll explain.

First, Thomas was wearing a hat because Brian left in the morning to pick up cinnamon buns for breakfast, and when Thomas saw the snow, he wanted to go too. We had him stay but let him wear the hat. You should have seen his face when he saw Brian return with the bag. Brian set it on the table, and Thomas went right to work, trying to get it out. As you'll see from the pictures where he is stuffing his face, Thomas liked them very much.

We watched the parade, or most of it, anyway. Since Brian does all the cooking I still get to be a kid on Thanksgiving, so I sat and watched. Thomas watched the Sesame Street floats and a few others, but he spent most of the time playing a computer game. We then read five books, some of them multiple times. He ate early and then joined us for dinner, with his roll and butter, the only part of dinner he would ever touch.

The snow stopped for a while and then returned with huge flakes. I took one more scenery pic through the window (pointless, I know), and a whole bunch of Thomas watching the flakes. Just for the record, he isn't normally allowed to lay on the top of the couch by the window, but today I made an exception, just long enough to take a few pictures. (Some of them are dark, I know, but you get the idea.)

Once the turkey was finished I managed to convince Brian to let me take his picture (I'm still not sure how; he didn't like the idea). The turkey was delicious, as was everything else. I even had some gravy and liked it! (I have NEVER liked gravy.)

Now we just have some finish-up cleaning left(our dishwasher is out of service), and I'm trying to decide whether or not to put up the Christmas tree. All in all, it was a very nice day at home with Brian and Thomas.

All right, one picture (since he did pose against his will and all) -

I hope you had a nice holiday. Thanks for reading!

Thanksgiving Snow

I took a picture (through our window, hence the poor quality) this morning, and I thought I would share. We have had some snow already this year, but this is the most snow yet. It still isn't much, but I am glad it came on Thanksgiving. It ads to the effect of the holiday. So here it is.

I also need to mention that I had to counter the picture in Brian's post. I told him I don't even want to load his page if it means I have to look at the picture of the ugly dog. (Don't get me wrong. I love dogs. I just feel bad for that one.) If you haven't seen it, just trust me. YOU DON'T WANT TO.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005


A few random thoughts today.

First, on a very girly note (stop here and skip to the next paragraph if you don't care about shoes), when I put on my shoes this morning I was going to wear tall brown heely boots and instead decided to go with tweed shoes. My pants were long, and the cute tweed shoes with the small heel and tiny bow in the front were/are approximately one whole size too big, so I figured, since no one would see past the toe of my shoe anyway, I would leave my thick white socks on. -I had put them on when I thought I was going to wear them under boots that would have hid them anyway. (I am always cold at work. I typically don't take my coat off for at least one hour, often two. I keep my warmest long sweater on the back of my chair and use it daily. On days when I wear a skirt I drape the sweater over my lap to warm my legs. Brrr.) ANYHEW, one of my co-workers came over while I was sitting down and asked me where I buy my shoes. Of course I took that as a compliment, but, also of course, we both looked down and saw my bright white thick athletic socks. OH well. Obviously that was very important... or not! But I can be girly like that, and that was definitely the girly moment of the month.

Second, we just learned that there is a Domino's coming very close to us, which makes us very happy. We do have one pizza place that delivers to us and another close by that we can drive to for pickup, but Domino's is CHEAP, and when we want it we have to drive during rush hour to a busy area. By the time we get home with the pizza we've wasted a half hour getting it. Mmm pizza.

Third, winter has officially arrived. Aside from the bitter cold (it's so windy here too), and the fact that I had to wear my mittens today, I saw it at work. I handle auto claims for our area and for all of Vermont. Today it seemed every person I talked to had slid on snow or ice and hit a pole, some trees, or another car... I'm sure it's only the beginning, too. Ugh.

Fourth, I've been contemplating whether or not to go Christmas shopping on Black Friday. Of course there's the fact that I don't have any money with which to buy stuff, but I don't imagine that will change within the next few weeks, and in the meantime there are big sales. We'll see. My guess is that Thomas and I will stay home and lay low, but the shopping idea is tempting. Then again, while I don't tend to mind crowds when I'm on my own, they do make me nervous when Thomas is with me.

Fifth, you've probably noticed some recent effects added to my blog, like the music and page transitions. It has been a long time since I played with html, and now I want to look for more fun things to add. I think most of it ends up looking very tacky, but since this is a blog that's just for fun anyway, I figure it really doesn't matter. (Honestly, I don't think anyone reads it anyway, so if you are reading it... Woohoo! I have a reader!) I found one site with a little wizard that floats around the screen and does stuff like whip out a spell book, pull out some sort of trophy, and pop a little comic balloon. (I don't know what those things are called... they're kind of like thought bubbles but different.) Unfortunately I don't have any idea how I would add that to this site, and researching it would just take way too much effort and time, especially since nothing good seems to be free anymore. So for now it's obnoxiuos free midi background music and fade-in pages, and that will have to do until I can find something more interesting. (I'm up for suggestions, but be forewarned: I'm not particularly keen on mouse trails or bouncing images. Besides, I'm thinking bigger.)

Sixth, tomorrow is Thanksgiving (duh), and we're celebrating at home. It will be quiet. I don't think I've ever spent a Thanksgiving with just Brian and Tommy, though I think I did spend one at college with just Afshan, when it was just too much effort for me to fly home for a few days, only to fly back again, and it was especially far for Afshan, being that her family was half way around the world. That's okay though. We will still enjoy the day together. Brian will cook, and we'll both enjoy the meal. Thomas will do everything in his power to avoid every dish served, and we'll end up making him a grilled cheese sandwich, because that's what we do. I'm just hoping that we get the Macy's parade. For some reason I like to watch that every year. Who am I kidding? I know why... tradition, dancing, entertainment, the list goes on. Then, of course, there will be football. Oh no! Football!!! I have to make my picks! (If you have been reading you'll know that I was 7-0 in our fantasy leage when I lost to Randall. I have since lost two more games, and I am now 8-3. I've been watching my team systematically self-destruct. It's very depressing.)

Seventh, that's it for now. I really have to make my picks. I plan to take pictures tomorrow, mostly because I can. I will post again.

Nighty night.

Monday, November 21, 2005


There are a few things I always dream of doing with Brian and Thomas one day.

One is to spend at least one of Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years in New York City. We would watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade live, see the tree lighting in Rockefeller Center, and watch the ball drop in Times Square. We would be sure to watch the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, and we would shop, dine, and make a romantic time of it.

I would also love to travel to Ireland, Scotland, and Wales with Brian and Thomas. I'd like to travel all over Europe, but I figure it's best to start where my roots began. We would visit castles, pubs, and anything else interesting we could find. Of course we would take the camera with us and snap like crazy. Then I would compile a beautiful album full of memories and leave it out to view at any time. (Brian would be far more interested in Ireland than in New York City, I am sure.)

Another idea I come back to occasionally is a weekend away in the mountains somewhere. Sometimes I just like to take things back to basics and get away from all the hustle and bustle.

I don't need or expect any of these things ever, but they are nice dreams to hold on to.

They're nice thoughts to take with me to bed too.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Quiet Day

Just a picture for today (plus the new background music, which, I might add, was not easy to find). I'm a bit tired to share my stories from today, but I will post again tomorrow. In the meantime I'll be looking forward to a short week followed by a nice Thanksgiving dinner at home and then some holiday decorating.

Thanks for checking in.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Age Three

Today we bought our turkey, stuffing, potatoes, celery, rolls.... You get the picture. As we were walking toward the grocery store and talking about Thanksgiving dinner, Tommy said in a somewhat distraught tone (of the "but Mommy and Daddy, you KNOW I don't eat turkey" sort), "but I can't eat turkey. I don't like turkey." It was one of those moments when Brian and I both had to smile because it was just so cute. He wasn't crying, but it was like he was tired of telling us that he doesn't like all the things we do. It's funny how simple things like that can actually become somewhat of a moment. I love those little things that Tommy says and does.

I had one of those "you know you're a parent when-" moments last week while I was sitting at a meeting with about 10 or 12 other people, including my new boss. My co-worker pulled a kitty sticker off my sweater and handed it to me with a whisper. Thankfully she is also the mother of a 3 1/2 year old, so she completely understood. I stuck the sticker to my paper, and then every time I looked at it I thought of Thomas.

I just can't imagine life without him. And that's a very good thing.


What is Sandsicaf, you ask? Well, I don't know, but it has something to do with sand and art, and it's captivating. (Click on "Sandsicaf" above to see what I mean.)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Movies, Portraits, and Big Brothers

Thomas was very excited tonight to watch a movie he hadn't seen at home in quite a while. I realized as soon as we started watching it that many of the silly things about which he talks and sings are from that movie. Apparently his daycare provider has the movie too. I don't think Thomas realized we had it in our collection.
I scheduled a sitting for his Christmas portrait tonight, and while I knew it was late, I didn't think I would have to call multiple studios in order to find an available slot before December. Next year I'm scheduling his portrait sitting in September. Okay, maybe that's pushing it. Then again, maybe not. If you don't have children you'll understand some day (probably the hard way, like we did, after waiting hours for our turn two years in a row, until Thomas was so tired of waiting around that the last thing he wanted to do was sit still for a picture - and that was with an appointment). Professional portraits can be very stressful. Thankfully we're pretty easy going. We tend to sit and watch other people get upset. Sadly people usually do. Maybe we should take a hint and start developing our own portraits. -There's something about having them done though. I guess I like the tradition, and I do like to have that one professional photo each year, even though I do have a tendency to scrutinize the photos as they're being taken. (I wish I could control the equipment.)
Speaking (or writing, as it may be), of photos, I took one tonight that reminds me of my big brother. I really don't know why, but it does. Here it is:

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Home Remembered

I'm currently enjoying a glass of white wine after a dinner of salad and Italian bread with tomato bruschetta, followed by a chocolate dessert. It all sounds so nice, doesn't it? Of course, the chocolate was really just some left-over M&M's from Halloween, and the salad and cheap bread with bruschetta were also my lunch (team meeting and salad day). I still enjoyed it.

While sitting here, I've been looking through images of art, cities, and far away castles. I ended up finding some images from the town where I grew up, and since I am admittedly proud of growing up in such a historical, picturesque little New Hampshire town, here are some of the photos I found.

I miss it.

On the other hand, though it's nothing like where I grew up, I do like it here too, just for completely different reasons. Really, it's all about the memories.
Here's one more photo I found from a nearby town. This was my church for much of my childhood. I was confirmed, and later married, there.
It's still beautiful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Digging Up Poetry

I've been considering adding a poetry page to the family site for some time, but that didn't really fit the whole family theme, plus I'm not sure just how comfortable I am sharing my poetry. On the other hand, I have tons of it, all spread about, and it would be nice to have a place to keep it all. Tonight I finally decided to start a poetry blog, mostly on the, "well, why not?" philosophy. (Deep, I know.) At this point, I figure, I'm writing it anyway, and if you know me, well, you know me, so it shouldn't hurt to post it (hopefully -I mean, I'm not super sensitive, but I'm also not inpenetrable). My plan is to start by posting old poems (one per day) and then to start sharing new ones. I have tons of poems, so the issue may be choosing which ones to share. Some of them are terrible, I know. It's okay to give me a hard time for those. I can take it. The rest, hopefully, are just average, and for that, at least they could be worse! -Point being, I know they aren't great, but that's not the point. Wait a minute. Didn't I just say that was the point? ...I just like writing poems, so here goes. Read at your own risk! (Find the link to your right.)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Goodnight, Sleep Tight.

I have a lack of intelligent things to say today. My mind is a bit worn out after a long and busy Monday. In fact it's currently buzzing with all the things I know I need to do before Christmas and New Years. Yes, Christmas. I'm trying to figure out how to afford all the gifts I want to buy, and that's a pretty hopeless cause, so my mind will surely continue grinding until January. Of course there are also family visits to plan, portraits to schedule, cards to send, and projects to complete (or, in most cases, start). I really do enjoy all of those things very much, but I am constantly going over all the things I have to do (right down to cleaning the floor), and I can always find something else that needs to be done. I sound like every other woman. Have I always been so boring? I wish I could stay home and write or paint or just create. Then again, so do many others. *sigh*
...Clearly, Thomas has different concerns. Ice cream is serious stuff, after all. Isn't he a site for sore eyes?
I love my Thomas.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

So... Poncho's wants to deliver Mexican 3 exits up, at no charge, right?

I've had a couple of Coronas tonight and am oddly craving Mexican food at 11:35 pm. If you know me you know I don't normally get hungry this late at night, particularly when I've been drinking beer (which I haven't done in a long time) and especially not for actual food. (I usually want chocolate.) I know I'm weird that way. Then again I've been craving Mexican food all day, although the steak Brian made tonight was delish. He made some sort of jalepeno butter mixture to scoop on top, and it hit the spot. Tomorrow he's making fish. What did I do to deserve a husband who cooks?

Tomorrow means football. I started out the fantasy season 7-0, and while I did win last week, my embarrassing loss to Randall two weeks earlier dropped me into second place, behind Scott. Tomorrow I have FIVE players on bye, including LaDainian Tomlinson. Yeah, I'm doomed. At least I didn't have trouble deciding who to play! Brian has no sympathy. He wants me to lose. It's a good thing he cooks.

That's it for tonight. I really spend way too much time on the computer.

(Sadly, I'm sure I'll post again tomorrow.)

Thomas in Shadows

If the shadows hadn't fallen directly in front of his face these pictures might have been great. I suppose that's what I get for trying to take candids. Next time maybe I'll think to move the objects that made the shadows in the first place.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Finally Friday

Brian's flight to Chicago was delayed, and he is now flying a different airline and arriving 2 hours later than originally expected. Meanwhile I've been sitting at the computer wasting time. I looked through some of the thousands of pictures we've taken since Thomas was born, and I found a few pictures from college in the mix, including this one, my favorite of all the paintings I had done for the playshop. It reminded me how much I miss art and creating. If there's one thing I don't get to do at my current job it's create. That job in college was awesome. I didn't necessarily use many of my own ideas, but I was able to take what I was given and make it bigger. I can't believe I was paid to do that. I wish I could do that for a living. I always dreamed of spending my days painting or writing or just plain creating anything I could get my hands on, even though I wasn't very good at much of it. I suppose I can at least hold on to the dream.

...TGIF. I find it hard not to talk about work here. It's just amazing what I hear from people, handling insurance claims day in and day out. It sounds boring, and parts of it are, but some times people amaze me. I'll just leave it at that.

Tomorrow my plan is to wake up and brew a fresh pot of coffee to start off a relaxing day at home. Weekends in the fall are nice. In the summer they're fun but busy, and when it starts to get cold they just feel cozy. Coffee in the morning, a glass of wine at night, and football Sundays. *Sigh.* Sometimes it just feels good to be home.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

In a Daze

Brian has been in Bloomington all week for work, and I figured I would probably spend way too much time on the computer while he was gone. Instead I've fallen asleep early every single night. I know I've been waking up early, but there's no need to fall asleep as early as Thomas does. Oh well. Tomorrow I'll go back to staying up late and waking up slightly later.

In not spending as much time on the computer as expected, I have yet to update our family site. I have instead spent some time playing around with froogle since I started the blog. It's another place to set up a wish list, and since I love shopping but have no money, I pathetically enjoy making wish lists. If you've seen my target wish list you already understand. I started adding stuff to that list two or three years ago. Now, of course, that I've discovered froogle (which allows you to choose items from various retailers), I've gone a little more crazy. I have a sleeper couch and chair on my list, for example. See it here. It's more of an "in my dreams" list, really. The way I figured, since I had gone that far, why not add a bunch of my favorite Renoir paintings, even if they are hundreds of dollars a piece? Hey, a girl can dream.

On a completely different note, Matt shared an entertaining link today. I'm pretty sure I would run the risk of getting fired if I loaded it up at work, but it's pretty funny. You'll only appreciate it if you've seen Office Space, but it really is perfect for those trapped in their prison-like cubicle walls. Here's the link to the Office Space Game.

I also have a really entertaining video clip to share, but you'll just have to wait until I get around to E-mailing it out. I won't spoil it by saying anything else.

Things to ponder this week - Ugueth Urbina (aka "Ugie") getting arrested on attempted murder charges, Theo Epstein and the whole Red Sox chaos, quarterback reactions across the NFL to the possibility of working with T.O. -or not, and this.

If that's not enough to interest you, too bad. And thanks for reading. No, really!

...More soon.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Imaginary Bowling Pins

Who needs pins when you're bowling in your living room? Thomas asked me for his old yellow ball today, and after kicking it a few times I mentioned that the ball reminded me of the bowling balls we used when we went bowling two weeks ago. From that point on he was bowling down imaginary pins, and every time he threw the ball he crouched down all the way to the ground, jumped up and told me that he knocked one, two, or all of the pins down, and then ran as fast as he could to get the ball and start all over again. I took lots of pictures. You can see more here.

I'll post more later...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Saturday after Halloween

Ah, my first real post. I have yet to update our website to link my blog, but I hope to do that tonight.

SO... I'm still working on getting this just the way I like it. I mean, Latte Lounge isn't really the best name for a blog owned by someone who generally doesn't drink latte's. Then again I do have a coffee at my desk, but coffee lounge just isn't the same. I'll work on the title. I'm up for suggestions.

Being that this is in follow up to my geocities journal, I'll direct you there first. If you've read my journal and/or viewed my site you'll have a better introduction to my blog. On that note, I'll continue...

As you can see, Thomas ended up being a pirate for Halloween after all. He had almost settled on the idea, and then when it was time to get into his costume he wanted to be a ghost again. I hadn't actually made the ghost costume, so I cleverly suggested that he be a ghost pirate (in a really enthousiastic tone, of course), and he agreed! I don't know how much longer I can get away with that type of trickery. I was amazed that it actually worked!

Thomas had fun trick-or-treating and is still enjoying the candy.
We never carved our pumpkins, but they'll last longer this way anyway...

Unfortunately I was finally defeated in fantasy football last week. I had been undefeated for 7 games when Randall's team destroyed my own. It's time to step it back up. My biggest conflict this weekend is that, as a Patriots fan, I have the Indianapolis defense. I could play the Philadelphia defense, but Indianapolis is just better. As a matter of principal, I might switch for one week, but I just can't decide...

Lots more to say, but I'll save that for my next post. Thanks for reading.


Ok, so welcome to my blog. I started one on our family site, but this is a whole lot easier, so I'm migrating. Besides, Brian has a blog now too, and he has officially given me permission to share the link.

I have tons to say and to share, but since I'm just starting my blog I have lots of playing to do. Watch for another post this weekend (probably tonight). -Ha! Like anyone will read this before then anyway!