Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out with the Old in with the New

So long 2009

Hello 2010!

Here's to a great New Year!

Update on Toys 'R Us

Remember my letter to Toys 'R Us? Well, I had sent it to them. Not sure what I was expecting really, but here's what I've gotten so far. Two letters that tell me they are forwarding it to the correct department to handle the problem. Here's the first one:

Customer (Customer Service at - 12/27/2009 02:44 PM
Dear Ms. Barnes,

Thank you for contacting I understand your concern regarding
customer service and the Toys "R" Us return policy. Please accept my
apologies for any frustration this may have caused.

We appreciate your reaching out to us regarding your concerns relating
to customer service and the Toys "R" Us return policy at your local
Toys"R"Us store. I have taken the liberty of forwarding your email to
the appropriate team for their prompt handling, and you should expect a
response from a Guest Service Specialist within 3 to 5 business days.
Thank you again for contacting We value your business and look
forward to serving you in the future!


Kelly Ellerby
Guest Service Team

And then today I received this:

Response (Juan Funes) - 12/31/2009 11:40 AM
Dear Ms. Barnes,

Thank you for contacting the "R" Us Family.

I appreciate you sharing your feedback with us. I am sorry you are dissatisfied. Please be assured, your comments and suggestions are extremely important to us and I will immediately forward your issue to the appropriate department for review.

Thank you, once again, for contacting the "R" Us Family.


Juan Funes
Corporate Guest Relations

Hmmm, nothing like passing the buck. I wonder why they can't figure out what the correct department is. I figure this will be the last I hear from them. And just another reason why Toy 'R Us will not be receiving my business any longer. Who's with me?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Laid to Rest

Nanny was laid to rest today. It was a nice sunny, but cold winter day. We were all standing out there shivering. Joe's niece read two beautiful poems. Each of the grandchildren and some of the older great grandchildren got up and talked about Nanny. Nanny will forever be remembered for her talks and her cooking. What a wonderful lady well known and loved by many. Even the funeral director knew who she was. There wasn't a dry eye in the bunch though. Rest in Peace Nanny. Say hi to Celeste for us. Until we meet again in heaven we love you and miss you.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A CJ Moment

I am envisioning lots of fun conversations and moments with CJ. He's so creative and interested in how everything works.

We are packing up and getting ready to move on Saturday. I have boxes all over the living room. CJ climbed on top of one of the packed boxes and was laying across it. He had a lollypop in his hand and was coloring on Natalie's butt with it. I looked at him and said, "CJ what are you doing?" He got off the box and said, "I not!"

I said, "You're not what?". No reply just a big grin. So I told him to put the lollypop in the kitchen to which he promptly replied, "No!"

He's got this 2 year old thing down very well. No is definitely one of his favorite words.

Monday, December 28, 2009

R.I.P. Nanny

CROWTHER Jessie Flaws Crowther, age 103 of Bridgeport, died Monday, December 21, 2009 at the North-Bridge Health Care Center, Bridgeport. Mrs. Crowther was born in Aberdeen, Scotland and was an area resident most of her life. She was a retired employee for the Bridgeport Hospital. She was a former member of the Bridgeport Lawn Bowling Association. She was the widow of Jack Crowther. Survivors include five grandchildren, Jeanine Jansen, James, John and Joseph Barnes and Janice Barnes Murray. Several great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews. Friends may call on Monday, December 28, 2009 at the Larson Funeral Home, 2496 North Avenue, Bridgeport from 4 to 7 p.m. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dear Toys 'R Us,

I am a mother of three children. I am the PTA president at my children's elementary school. I used to frequent your establishment often. That is until my most recent experience with your return policy.

You see it's Christmas time. My children received a board game as a gift from my cousin. When we went to put it together we could not find some of the pieces. This made the game unable to be played and useless to my children. So I went to my local Toys 'R Us in hopes of exchanging it for the exact same game. I did not want something else. I did not want money. I did not want something for nothing. What I wanted was a game that my children could play with.

I was greeted with a very rude without a receipt we cannot exchange your item. I explained it was a gift and I was told I needed a gift receipt. I explained that the gift giver did not give me a gift receipt and all I wanted to do was get an item that works. After all, you can return the broken item to the manufacturer and get reimbursed. What would your company be out by doing this? Nothing!

So I left in a huff with my children in tow and have vowed to never set foot in one of your stores again. Not until something is done about your terrible return policy. And now Toys 'R Us, this is on the internet for all to see and know what your practice is. And I would also like to remind you of those three children that I alone have with birthdays and holidays to buy for. And all of their friends birthdays and holidays that I will no longer buy toys for at Toys 'R Us. And lets not forget I am the PTA president at my childrens school and every year I purchase two bikes for our top sellers in our spring fundraiser. I used to get them at your store, but now I will find a new place to buy these bikes because I wouldn't want anyone else to have a problem exchanging an item that was broken and did not work for one that did.

And just so you know I went down the road to Target. Where this item was not purchased. They had the same policy posted about requiring a receipt or gift receipt for all returns and exchanges. However, when I explained the situation to the employee at the courtesy desk she apologized to me for the toy not having all of its pieces and told me I could go get another one to exchange it with. So that's exactly what I did. No problem. My children ended up receiving the game after all. In spite of a return policy which requires a receipt when I did not have a receipt. So thank you Target for accepting the exchange when Toys 'R Us would not. I guess Target has gained a new customer while Toys 'R Us has lost one. Thanks for nothing Toys 'R Us!

mother of 3 small children

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Week In Review: December 20 - December 26, 2009

Here is this weeks Week In Review for December 20 - December 26, 2009

Sunday: Got up to lots of snow on the ground. Joe wasn't feeling well either. He did get ready for work and went to work. I called my parents to find out what time they were bringing the girls home. They said around 3. I gave CJ some lunch and put him down for a nap. While he slept I ended up dozing on the couch instead of doing the things I should have. Got up and made a mad rush to get dressed and clean up around the house a little. My parents brought the girls home on time. CJ got up from his nap. My parents stayed for a while. Even after Joe got home from work. They left and we had dinner. Got the kids ready for bed and sent them to bed. Joe and I just relaxed before going to bed ourselves.

Monday: Got up and got the kids ready for school. I brought the girls to school while Joe stayed home with CJ. I had to help out with the schools Mugs and Mittens where parents could come in to get a free brand new coat and boots for their child. So I helped set that up and came home. Joe was making himself something to eat and some lunch for CJ. We put CJ down for a nap and then went through what we had for the kids for Christmas. There were a few things that needed exchanging. So I left to do some of that. Went to Walmart and then Kohl's and came home. My friend was going to pick the girls up from school for me. Joe was dozing on the couch when I came home until his phone rang. It was his sister telling him their grandmother passed away. Joe got off the phone with her and made some phone calls. Then decided not to go to work. He called out and lost it. I called my friend and told her we'd pick up the girls and then we went to the school to get the girls. I talked to their teachers to let them know what was going on and then we headed down to Bridgeport so everyone could say their goodbyes. We then went over Joe's sisters house to try to figure out what to do next. We didn't get many answers. We hung out there though. It was good for the kids to play with their cousins. We left pretty late and had to stop for something to eat and then headed home. The kids got to bed late. So did Joe and I.

Tuesday: Got up and got the kids ready for school. Joe brought the girls in while I stayed home and cleaned up a little and put together a cookie tin for CJ's PAT (Parents As Teachers) teacher. We had CJ's PAT visit and then we brought Joe to work. Came home and CJ had lunch and I put him down for a nap. I did some stuff around the house and before I knew it it was time to get the girls from school. A friend of mine called asking me to pick her kids up from school. I said no problem. Then she called back and said never mind she couldn't do what she had to do because her keys were locked in her van. So I told her I'll go pick her up and bring her and the kids home. So I did that. CJ threw a fit in the gym. That was unlike him. We got all of the kids. I talked to the girl's teachers to find out how they were. They did fine. We brought my friend and her kids home and then we came home. I cleaned up the kitchen and started dinner. We ate and then we went to pick Joe up from work. Came home and put the kids to bed. Joe and I watched some TV and then I put together a cookie tray for tomorrow and the kids teacher's cookie tins and a couple other tins too. Had to make some more cookies too. Finally finished all of that very late and needed a shower. Showered and went to bed.

Wednesday: Got up early and brought Joe to work. Came back home and fed the kids breakfast. Then I finished the cookie tray and got everything loaded in the car. Got the kids in the car and brought them to school with all the treats. Went down to the FRC to talk to them. Went to the grocery store for a few things and then came home. I washed dishes and baked more cookies. Girls got out of school early so I went to pick them up. Fed everyone lunch and then put CJ down for a nap. Got CJ up from his nap and went to get the girls haircut. A friend picked Joe up from work. Came home and we brought the kids over our friend's house and Joe and I finished up our shopping. Picked the kids up and brought them home and got them ready for bed. Then Joe and I got ready for bed too and went to bed.

Thursday: Joe got up early and went to work. I ended up sleeping in and so did the kids. I made some more cookies. Fed the kids. Did some stuff around the house. Gave the kids lunch. Gave CJ a bath. Put CJ down for a nap. Wrapped presents. Sent the girls for their shower. Then I went and took a shower. Got everyone dressed, hair done, and ready to go. As soon as Joe got home from work we left to go to my Aunt's house for our Christmas celebration. Had a nice time there and then came home and put the kids to bed. Joe and I stayed up late wrapping presents and getting everything ready. Then we went to bed.

Friday: Woke up before the kids. Realized we forgot to wrap some gifts. Did that quick. Got the kids up. Opened Christmas presents. I made breakfast. The kids played. Put CJ down for a nap. When he got up we got everyone dressed and ready to go see Alvin and the Chipmunks. After that we went over to the new apartment to paint. That didn't end up going over too well. We didn't finish. Came home and fed the kids. Made the girls clean up their toys which they were upset about. I wasn't feeling well. Got CJ ready for bed and sent him to bed. Let the girls stay up to watch TV with us. Then sent them to bed. Joe and I stayed up a little while later before going to bed ourselves.

Saturday: Got up and did some stuff on the computer. Got my parents gifts wrapped. Got a bunch of stuff together. Took a shower. Got dressed and got the kids dressed. Went to exchange some stuff. That took longer than expected and we didn't get to exchange something. We had to go over my parents for dinner. Headed down there in all this crazy traffic. Got there within the time we said we'd be there. Had dinner and a Christmas celebration with them and then headed home. Sent the kids to bed. I went through CJ's toys and put all of the girls stuff by the door for them to put away in the morning. Went through a drawer in the bathroom and got everything ready to be packed up. Then went to bed.

Check out more Week In Review posts!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Dear Santa...

Can you read the letter to Santa? What the girls wrote to go with the cookies? No? How about now...

Yup, that's right they actually said, "Sorry if we misbehaved this year." I got a kick out of that. But anyways, I guess Santa thought they behaved because here's what he left behind...

And these were the gifts from us to the kids and from the kids to each other...

Here they are after they finally got up to check it out. Before they ripped into everything...

Merry Christmas from the Barnes Bunch!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jessie Flaws Crowther: August 20, 1906 - December 21, 2009

Nanny 1906-2009

Another soul went on to heaven yesterday. Joe's grandmother passed away on December 21st. She was an amazing 103 years young. A wonderful woman. I remember when Joe first brought me to meet her at her house on Central Ave in Bridgeport, CT. She was in her early 90's then. I remember thinking wow she's very active for her age. She took care of the house she had lived in for sixty plus years of her life. She got out every week to get her hair done. What a great woman. So sweet.

Everyone called her Nanny. She lived a long life that wasn't always so good to her. Her husband died young leaving her with a child to raise on her own. And then her daughter died way too young. She lost a brother and a sister and then a granddaughter and great granddaughter before her.

She has an amazing story though. She was born in Scotland in 1906. She married an English man and had one child with him before he passed away when their daughter was just a baby. She took her daughter at a very young age from England over to the United States to give her a better life. When she came over she worked at Bridgeport Hospital for many years before finally retiring. She raised her daughter all on her own. Her daughter went on and had six children. Those six children went on to produce 24 great grandchildren for her and then there were even 3 great great grandchildren. So she has left a lot of people to remember her and carry her story on. And she has lots of souls to love her in heaven.

So Nanny, we know you are in good hands with your daughter Jean and granddaughter Joanne and great granddaughter Celeste. May they guide you and keep you safe. We love you and miss you.

Nanny with a 3 year old Natalie and a 4 month old Kaitlyn after Kaitlyn's baptism

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Week In Review: December 13 - December 19, 2009

Here is this weeks Week In Review for December 13 - December 19, 2009

Sunday: Got up and fed the kids. Didn't do too much else to start the day. Joe went to work. I hung around. Fed the kids some lunch. Put CJ down for a nap. Then I figured I had better do some baking. So I started on some of my cookies. Joe came home from work. We figured out something for dinner. Ate. I baked some more. Gave CJ a bath. Sent the girls for a shower. Put the kids to bed. Then I baked some more. Watched a little TV. Went and took a shower and then went to bed.

Monday: Got up early. Got the kids ready for school. Took them to school and waited around for someone to pick up their fundraiser. They did not show. Came back home. Got Joe and we went to the bank and then to do some shopping. We got some paint for our new apartment and a few other things. Went to Walmart and got a few Christmas gifts. The Job Lots to get some platters for my cookie trays. Then to the dollar store and got some stocking stuffers and finally to the grocery store to get a few things I ran out of for my baking. Then we had gotten a call from the FRC that there was some stuff for us there that we needed to pick up so we went to the school to get that. Came home and put everything away and put CJ down for a nap. Then I went back to the school to pick up the girls and hand out another fundraiser. I stood around chatting with some friends. Good thing too because the person for the fundraiser was about 20 minutes late. Gave him the fundraiser and then went home. Helped the kids with homework and started on my baking. Got dinner on the table and as we were eating Joe discovered that one of the gerbils was missing. We found it under all of the bedding dead :(. Figured out who's it was. It was Natalie's, but Kaitlyn took it harder. We cleaned out the cage and put Lucky back in. The girls said goodbye to their gerbil and wanted to go get a new one. So we went to the pet store and did that. We have two gerbils again, but they don't get along so they are in separate cages. The kids got ready for bed and went to bed. I did more baking. I finally finished for the night and went to bed.

Tuesday: Got up really early. Joe was in work early and he was storming around for some reason. Usually he's much more considerate. So since I couldn't sleep anymore I got up. Did some stuff on the computer. Got the kids ready for school. Put dishes away. Cleaned out the fridge. Walked the girls to school. Came back home. Washed the dishes. Gave CJ something to eat. Started on my baking again. Took a break because he was into everything. Best to wait till he's sleeping. Fed him lunch and put him down for a nap and then I worked on my cookies. Joe came home from work and I continued working. Then I went to pick the girls up from school. Waited around for someone to pick up a fundraiser and she was a no show. So rushed home expecting to have to go meet our new landlord to sign the lease. He pushed back the time so I did more baking. Got a cookie finished before we had to leave. Went to the apartment, but he forgot the lease. Ugh, so we went to the store so I could get more flour and then back home where I continued to bake. Joe cooked dinner. We sat down to eat and then I baked some more. I finally finished around 11:30 at night. Then I went to take a shower and went to bed.

Wednesday: Got up to start making a cookie tray. Cleaned up the kitchen and pulled everything out and went to work. Got the kids ready for school. Then we went to the school for the playgroup Christmas party. Had a good time at that and then we helped Kaitlyn's class make gingerbread houses. A fun day. After all of that we went to meet up with our new landlord again and signed the lease. Then we came home for lunch and to put CJ down for a nap. Then it was time to pick the girls up from school. So we went and got them and went to the new apartment to check around a little and measure some stuff. Then we went to Walmart to get a few things and finally home. The girls did their homework and then we went back out to get something to eat. Home to eat and then the kids got ready for bed and went to bed. I did laundry When that was done I went to bed.

Thursday: Got up a little late and the kids weren't up. Had to wake them up and get them ready for school. We brought them to school and came back to the house and packed up the car with some stuff we were moving over to the new apartment. Went over there with everything and tried out the new paint in the kitchen. I think it will work out okay. Then we came home and I called a bunch of the services to switch them over to the new address. Joe fed CJ and put him down for a nap. Had to get him up early to bring Joe to work though. Brought him in and then came back home and hung around. Made a few more phone calls and then went to pick Kaitlyn up at school. Natalie had to stay after for drama. So I came home with CJ and Kaitlyn and helped Kaitlyn with her homework. Then we went back to the school to pick Natalie up. Came home for her to do her homework and washed dishes and started dinner. Then we went to pick Joe up from work. Came back home and I finished making dinner and we ate. Got the kids ready for bed and sent them to bed. Did more laundry. Took a shower. Went to bed.

Friday: Got up early and got ready for the FRC breakfast and popping popcorn. Went to the school and got the kids settled at the breakfast. Got a little something for CJ to eat and went back to help Joe with popcorn. Got finished with that pretty early. Came home. Gave CJ a little something to eat. Got some ebay auctions ready to be shipped. Loaded them in the car. Brought Joe to work. Came back home and put CJ down for a nap. Then I relaxed for a little while. Did some more laundry. Got CJ up from his nap and went to pick the girls up from school. Came home and finally got my kitchen table cleaned off. Cleaned up the living room did a little more laundry. Checked to make sure the girls were packed for their weekend with Grandma and Grandpa. My dad came over to pick up the girls. I chatted with him for a few and then he left with the girls. CJ and I hung around the house for a little while. Then we left to pick Joe up from work. Got him and went to the post office at the grocery store to mail those packages. Then we headed to Borders to get a DVD we had put on hold for Natalie. Then we went to Chili's for some dinner. Then to Walmart to get a few more gifts. We haven't gotten a whole lot for CJ so we found a couple of things there for him. Then we came home and put CJ to bed very late. I stayed up playing around on the computer and then went to bed.

Saturday: Got to sleep in. Joe was up early for work. CJ slept late because he had gong to bed so late. That was nice. I got up before he did. Just enjoyed the peace and quiet. When he got up I fed him breakfast. Then I washed some dishes and made some frosting for one of my cookies. Frosted the cookies. Made plans with my friend to take CJ later in the afternoon so Joe and I could do some painting at the new apartment. Did some blogging. Got dressed. Got CJ dressed. Joe came home from work and we brought CJ over to our friend's house. Then we went to the new place to get some heat going in there. Then across the street to the store to get something to drink and some stuff for us to have for dinner. Then back to the new place to paint. When we had gotten the kitchen painted we went back to pick CJ up at our friend's house. Came home put CJ to bed and ate our dinner. Then we spent the night watching TV and the snow fall.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Are you Naughty or Nice

Do you wanna know if you made it on Santa's Naughty or Nice list this year? Then click here to find out. See how we did with our behavior this year. Always room for improvement I guess.

Me: Nice, but with a few naughty marks. Neatness needs improvement. Behavior has been good sometimes, not so good other times. Manners could still use some attention. Was very nice last Monday.
I don't know what it was I did last Monday, but I'm sure glad I did it. My neatness is very lacking this month I'm afraid.

Joe: Nice, with a few exceptions. Needs to be nice to everyone not just friends. Could try a little harder when things are tough. Good sense of humor. Made list last year. Needs to be good all December.
Ahhh, so Joe. Way nicer to friends than strangers. Better shape up Joe or you'll make it on the naughty list.

Natalie: Nice, but has naughty lapses. High marks in the good deeds department. Better than average manners. Hopefully, thoughtfulness will continue to be as good as last month. Neatness needs improvement!
Yes Natalie, no locking your sister in the closet this month.

Kaitlyn: Has been nice most of the year (not just near Christmas)! Makes others happy. Could share a little more, however. Politeness is sometimes very good. Can be great listener.
Not so sure about the listening. I guess maybe in school she's a great listener, or so they seem to think.

Christopher: Overall, niceness outweighs naughtiness. Was good a lot last month! Politeness often good, but has room for improvement. Could help around house more instead of watching so much TV. Expected to move even higher up "nice" list.
This didn't sound much like CJ. After all he doesn't watch much TV. How can he, he's 2? So I thought maybe Santa didn't realize that Christopher is CJ. So I tried with his nickname instead and here's what I got...

CJ: Has been nice most of the year (not just near Christmas)! Makes others happy. Could share a little more, however. Politeness is sometimes very good. Can be great listener.
Now that sounds more like him. He definitely could share more than he does. He is 2 after all. But he can be very polite. With the "peas" and "thanky" often.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Play and Learn Christmas Party

Today was our playgroup Christmas party. The main reason I've been pushing myself to get my baking done all week. Something I look forward to every year. Boy, I'm going to miss this when I no longer have children young enough for playgroup. This year Joe was off from work so he got to come with us so that was a huge treat. We had a good time and when it was all over we went to Kaitlyn's class to help put together gingerbread houses. And you know what they say, a picture speaks a thousand words so I'll let the pictures do the talking...

CJ at the playdough table

CJ on the slide

CJ going down the slide

Here comes Santa Claus looking a little thin this year

Santa all settled saying hi to the boys and girls

CJ was called up for a gift and he ran right up there. Not at all afraid

Coming back with his gift

Opening his gift

CJ look over here

No CJ, I can't see your face

A good picture of him with his new toy, a Santa Spud

Now it's time to go to Kaitlyn's class to help out with her gingerbread house...

CJ fits right in at school. He pulled a chair right up to Kaitlyn's desk and went to work on his coloring with her

Making friends already

Kaitlyn's gingerbread girl that she made while other kids were doing their gingerbread house

Such a fun filled day. And as always my cookies were a hit. It's always good to get no tears from CJ when he sees Santa. And we had lots of fun helping the kids put together Gingerbread houses. Too bad we can't return on Friday to help decorate them.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

RIP Nibbles

A sad night it was last night in the Barnes household. Natalie's gerbil Nibbles passed away. We had her and Kaitlyn's gerbil Lucky for a little over a year. A fun family pet it has been. Tears were shed. More so by Kaitlyn than Natalie. We told Natalie we could go get another one if she wanted. She wasn't sure at first. I told her to think about it. They wanted to know why it happened. I'm afraid there will be no Gerbil autopsy though. We don't know what happened to her. Maybe she got sick, maybe she was just old, maybe it was her time. We had a good run though. And Nibbles will be missed.

To help fill that void though Natalie did decide she wanted another one. So last night we went to the pet store to find one. She found this cute little brown one. Very friendly little guy. Just a baby really. So we asked the lady if we could put them in the same cage with our other one. She said it should be fine since Lucky always had a mate. So we brought the gerbil home and went to put her in the cage and Lucky was not happy. She went right after the new gerbil, who was not named at that time. The kids were devastated. Joe separated them and put the new one in a new cage. Let me tell you the new one was holding her own with Lucky though. Of course the last thing we needed was to loose another one. Natalie finally came up with a name for our new little friend though. Her name is Penny. So now we have Lucky and Penny.

Still, Nibbles will be forever missed. We hope you RIP Nibbles. Know that Lucky, Natalie, Kaitlyn, CJ, Joe, and Monica all miss you too. Have fun with our pet fish Swimmy in animal heaven.

This is Lucky. Nibbles looked just like her except the markings on her back were a little different.

Our newest addition to the family, Penny. Welcome to the family Penny. You can't tell by this picture, but she's a feisty little gerbil.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Snow Day Fun

Last Wednesday we had our first snow day. We had some friends over for part of the morning. They wanted to go out and play in the snow, but the conditions weren't ideal. It was raining at that point and no one really had the proper snow attire. So in an attempt to keep them from asking me to go outside and play I got them to play a game. They chose Hullaballoo. It turned into a very fun game that they played for most of the morning. Here's just a little of what it looked like...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Santa Train and Parade

Yesterday was a fun filled day. We met Grandma and Grandpa at the train in Thomaston to take a trip with Santa. An hour and a half ride on the train seeing the sites and most importantly Santa. Then after that it was over our friend's house for dinner and then to go with them to Old Saybrook for a Christmas parade. An evening parade in the middle of December in CT is something I've never experienced before. So we all bundled up real good and headed out into the cold evening. It was interesting and the kids seemed to have a good time with their friends. I put together a little video slide show of the day's events. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Week In Review: December 6 - December 12, 2009

Here is this weeks Week In Review for December 6 - December 12, 2009

Sunday: Joe got up early and left for work. I stayed in bed. The kids got up a little while later. I tried to doze, but it wasn't working. So I got up and got them breakfast. Then I sent the girls to go through their toys to make our move a little easier. They fought about what to get rid of. I gave CJ lunch and tried to rush the girls along, but CJ ended up falling asleep in his high chair. I finally kicked them out of the room and put CJ down for his nap. Gave the girls lunch. I had lunch. Then I worked on going through the papers on my desk and getting rid of what we no longer need and filing what we do need. Joe came home from work. I put some stuff on Freecycle and started some laundry. Then Joe went and got the tree. I started some sauce for dinner and washed the dishes. Then I helped decorate the tree. Finished cooking dinner. Cleaned off the table. Did more laundry. Fed everyone. Gave CJ a bath. Sent the girls for a shower. Cleaned up the Christmas decorations. Vacuumed. Sent the kids to bed. Did another load of laundry. Then did some blogging and posted some pictures. Took a shower and went to bed.

Monday: Got up and got Joe off to work. Then got the girls ready for school. Walked them to school. Came back home and told CJ a million times not to touch the tree. Then get out of the toilet. Then get out of that cash box. Ahhhh, love the toddler stage. I couldn't wait for naptime. I fed him lunch and put him to bed and just had peace. Got him up from his nap and walked to pick up the girls. Walked back home and started homework help along with PTA stuff. And still CJ don't touch the tree. CJ get out of that. CJ don't climb the walls. Kaitlyn was being lazy with her homework again. Natalie wasn't listening to me. And I couldn't concentrate on my PTA Agenda. I couldn't wait for Joe to came home. As soon as he did the kids were all his. I finished what I needed to do. Washed some dishes. The left for my PTA meeting. And the one place where I wish I'd hear a little more fight or just any sort of input from other people I get none. Just a bunch of blank stares. Oh well, it was good to be out of the house. I got to see the pictures of the new school. Came home from my meeting. CJ was already in bed because he wasn't listening to Joe either. Well, at least it's not just me. I got my dinner. Sent the girls to bed. Joe and I sat and watched TV together. Then I took a shower and went to bed to start the CJ don't all over again tomorrow.

Tuesday: Got out of bed and got everyone ready. Had to warm up the car. I brought the girls to school while Joe stayed home with CJ. I had a meeting in the FRC this morning. So I went to that. After that I chatted with some people at the school. Gave some dates to the secretary in the office. Then came home. Joe and I chatted about our upcoming move and how we are going to make it a reality. Put CJ down for a nap. I did some laundry. Had some lunch. Watched some TV with Joe. Packed up some dishes. Did some more laundry. Packed up some more stuff in the kitchen. Went to pick the girls up from school. Talked to both of the girls teachers. Then came home. Joe went to work. I helped with homework. Then I washed the dishes and started dinner. Fed the kids. Cleaned up. Had the kids clean up the living room. Did more laundry. Got the kids ready for bed and put them to bed. Then I spent the evening board, but not wanting to do anymore packing. Joe finally came home from work. We watched some TV and then went to bed. Hoping that Wednesday was not going to be messed up with a delay or no school due to the predicted snow.

Wednesday: What a long day. I was up way early. 5 a.m. to go to the bathroom and then couldn't go back to sleep. I tried. My mind was running though. With things I needed to get done. What would happen if the snow caused a delay. What if it was canceled? Finally I decided to just put myself out of my misery and get up and find out what the weather verdict was. The answer was no school. That actually was easier than a delay. Then I don't need the car and I don't have to drive Joe to work. So I went to turn the alarm off in the girls room. I have to go through CJ's room to get to their room. I was doing really well. Not waking anyone. On my way out the door I kicked something and woke CJ up. There was no getting him back to sleep either. I took him out and tried to lay on the couch with him, but Joe got up and I couldn't keep him with me much longer after that. Joe went to work. All three kids were home. I had four more coming over in a couple of hours. I washed dishes and cleaned up the kitchen. Cleaned up the living room. Cleaned up the bathroom. Did some laundry. Pulled out some clothes from the closet to sort through. Then my house was filled with children. I tried to get them to play board games. They wanted to go out in the snow. Problem with that is it was raining and not everyone had the proper snow gear. If I had let them out there then they would have been soaked with no change of clothes. So I had to keep explaining my reasons to a bunch of children who just wanted to go play in the snow. I did get them distracted playing a game though. I started going through some clothes. Then I gave CJ lunch and the rest of the kids a snack. I tried putting CJ down for a nap, but he was having nothing to do with that. My friend came and got her kids. I gave my kids lunch. Then got CJ out because he wasn't going to sleep. Tried putting him down again, but still he wasn't happy. I needed a break though. I was going non stop all day. He finally got quiet, but I don't know that he actually slept. He wasn't quiet for all that long. I went and did some laundry and started lugging up the clothes bins from the basement. I went through those. Joe got home from work. Someone came over to buy our vacuum. We had dinner. I went through more clothes. Got everything organized. Got all of the girls summer stuff and stuff that doesn't fit out of their drawers. Had to wash the stuff that came up from the basement because it smelled like the basement. I gave CJ a bath. Got everyone ready for bed. Put them to bed and washed more clothes. Then I washed dishes. Marinated a steak for dinner tomorrow night. More laundry. Took a shower. Finally went to bed.

Thursday: Got up and got the kids ready for school. Joe left for work and took the car. I was trying to find CJ's mittens to walk the girls to school, but couldn't find them. So I ended up asking my friend to pick the girls up so I didn't have to go out in the cold and slip on the ice. She did. I chatted with a friend online for a while. Then I went through CJ's drawers. Did some more laundry. Fed CJ lunch and put him down for a nap. I made a shopping list. Joe came home from work and we went grocery shopping. Spent way too much money, but I got most of my cookie stuff. Went to get the girls at school. Came home and put the groceries away. Did homework. Did more laundry. Washed dishes. Started dinner. Played with the kids. Put CJ's winter clothes in his drawers. Got the kids ready for bed and sent them to bed. Joe and I watched some TV and I put some stuff on ebay. Then I went to bed.

Friday: Got up early and got everyone ready to go. We were out early in the frigid cold temps. Went to the school to pop popcorn. The girls ate breakfast at school while we got started on the popcorn. When we were done with the popcorn I went to the office to talk to the principal about a few things. Then we left and went to the post office to find change of address cards. I couldn't find them. So we went to the grocery store because I had forgotten to get any sort of vegetables when I went grocery shopping. Grabbed a few other things and then came home. Joe gave CJ lunch and I counted popcorn money. Joe put CJ to bed and then I had something to eat. Took care of a few other things around the house. Typed up something for the next Box Tops competition. Then I went to pick the girls up from school. Had a meeting with Kaitlyn's teacher about her progress and looked at her report card with her. She did about as well as I was expecting. Came home and checked out Natalie's report card. Joe left for work. The kids and I just hung around the house. I cleaned the dishes and got dinner started. Fed the kids and then got CJ ready for bed. The girls stayed up late. I started baking some of my cookies. Joe came home from work. The kids went to bed. Finished up my cookies and then showered and went to bed.

Saturday: Got up and started working on some cookies. Had the girls help with those. Joe made breakfast. I finished up my snickerdoodles and was debating starting more. Decided there wasn't time. Ate breakfast. Got dressed. Washed dishes. Got the kids all dressed and left to go meet my parents at the train museum. Had to detour because of the road being closed. Got a little lost. Finally found where we were going. Got our train tickets and road the train with Santa. Had a much better time than we were anticipating. When that was over my parents gave the kids a couple of presents and we departed ways there. We went to Walmart to get a couple of things. Then went to get gas and came home. I baked some M&M cookies which gave me trouble. Washed dishes. Got the kids to dress warmly. Then left to go to a friends house for dinner. Ate over there and then went with our friends to a Christmas parade. Got to the parade and froze our butts off. Then went back to our friend's family's house. Had hot cocoa and donuts. Then we left and came home. Sent the kids right to bed. Joe and I had a snack. I tried to make popcorn, but totally forgot about it and burned it. Smoke all over the kitchen it was awful. Had to completely clean out my microwave. Then I made the popcorn correctly. My house stunk of burnt popcorn though. Ended up falling asleep on the couch completely exhausted before getting up to go to bed.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mixed Feelings

A very good friend of mine is pregnant. She is due April 26 which is 1 year and 4 days after I was due with Celeste. It hasn't bothered me much that she's pregnant. I've been okay with talking to her about things. I have been worried about her. I definitely don't want her to experience what I did a year ago. However, she is the first person since my loss who I have been very close to that's pregnant. Today she found out the sex of the baby. I found myself hoping for a boy for her even though I knew they both desperately wanted a girl. I just wasn't too sure how I'd handle an April baby girl that wasn't my own. Everyone else I've known who has had a baby so far has had a boy. She announced to me that it's a girl! So when my friend told me her exciting news I feel like I put on a fake smile and a fake congratulations. I'm sure I'll be fine once the baby is born. And like I said the last thing in the world I would want is for her to lose the baby. My gosh I think that would be even harder on me if she did lose the baby. I feel like a bad friend for giving her the fake smile and forced congrats. Totally my problem and something I need to deal with. I do hope I handle her arrival better though. You would think though a year has gone by I shouldn't be that effected by the birth of a baby. Then again, most pregnancies I'm not privy to every detail and good day and bad day. This is a friend who I see almost on a daily basis though and if I don't see her I talk to her. I hope she understands my reactions though and doesn't think I'm a bad friend.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thanks for Making a Wish Come True

I should have blogged about this Saturday, or even Sunday when it happened, but life got in the way. Remember my birthday wish? I asked you to help donate to bring Kellsey home. Well, she's home! She came home on Saturday. Perhaps the reason I didn't say anything is because I still can't believe it's true. Kellsey is here. It's been a year long process for the Garcia's, but now here they are a family of SEVEN...

Kellsey is adjusting very well to life in America and with a loving family. The kids adore her. She adores the kids. They are all so happy to have her here. Kellsey isn't used to the food and they have been having fun trying to figure out what to feed her. But she's eating better and better. But hey, if anyone knows any traditional Ukraine or Eastern Europe recipes that she might enjoy please feel free to share here so I can pass them along to Renee. Because she just wants her girls to eat already. This is all just so amazing though. So thank you to whoever was able to help bring Kellsey home!

Kennedy greeting her new baby sister

Kennedy and Kellsey

Kassidy and Kellsey

The Garcia Girls

Monday, December 7, 2009

2 Year Olds and Christmas Trees

I have come to the conclusion that 2 year olds and Christmas trees just don't mix. All morning long CJ has either been touching the ornaments on the tree and taking them off or turning the lights on and off. Joe showed him how to turn it on. It's easy. He doesn't have to mess with a plug or anything. Just a switch. He does it with his foot. But all morning long lights on lights off lights on lights off it's making me dizzy. I had the feeling this was going to be difficult. Much more so than with his sisters who if were told not to touch the tree they listened. It's just too much temptation for this little boy though. I refuse to have one of those trees where the ornaments are all up too high for the toddler to reach. I hate that. But every night I'm going to be replacing ornaments I guess. We did make sure to keep the ones that couldn't be broken off the bottom of the tree though and out of his reach. Thankfully the tree is only going to be up for about three weeks.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Trying for Normal

Seems like the holiday time gets so jumbled. And for our family last Christmas and this Christmas haven't been entirely what I would consider normal. A year ago today we said goodbye to a baby we never got to know. We mourned losing a daughter. The children mourned losing a sister. This year we are in the process of moving out. So packing up. Not entirely the best time to be pulling out Christmas decorations and cluttering the house up.

However, today in trying to make the day a little more upbeat so we weren't feeling so sad with the memory of a year ago today we put up our Christmas tree. Of course that was after the girls went through their toys and decided what to keep and what should go and after I had spent the day going through old papers and discarding things we no longer needed and filing those that we do need.

After Joe got home from work we brought the tree up and started decorating. I started a big pot of sauce and cooked up some sausage to go in with it and we went to town. I think we had a good time. And we didn't forget to light a candle for our angel Celeste Alia.

CJ all decorated for Christmas

Natalie helping fix the branches on the tree

Kaitlyn helping fix the branches on the tree

Natalie helping CJ put an ornament on the tree

Daddy helping CJ put an ornament on the tree

Yay CJ!

Kaitlyn putting an ornament on the tree

Natalie putting an ornament on the tree

Bellies full, all cleaned up, and sitting in front of the tree

The best part, looking at the tree from the inside after it's all decorated

CJ in the tree

Natalie in the tree

Kaitlyn in the tree

I'm feeling like we made some nice memories for what I worried was going to be a very sad day for all of us. Rest in Peace my Angel Celeste Alia!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Week In Review: November 29 - December 5, 2009

Here is this weeks Week In Review for November 29 - December 5, 2009

Sunday: Got up and got the kids breakfast. Joe went to work. The kids and I just hung around at home. Fed them lunch and put CJ down for a nap. A relaxing Sunday afternoon. CJ got up from his nap. Joe came home from work. The kids watched the Tinkerbell movie while I got dinner ready. We ate. The kids finished watching their movie and I gave CJ a bath. When the girls were done watching their movie they took a shower. Got everyone ready for bed and sent them to bed. Joe and I watched some TV and then we went to bed.

Monday: Got up early to bring Joe to work. Had to wake the girls up. Got them ready and we left. Came home and the girls and CJ had breakfast. Finished getting ready for school and brought them to school. I went in with them and got a fundraiser out of the closet for someone who was supposed to come pick up a fundraiser. They were a no show which was a huge waste of time. Came home for a few before having to go back out for my WIC appointment. After that I stopped at the bank and then home for lunch and CJ's nap. Put CJ down for his nap and then made some phone calls. CJ got up from his nap and we went to pick the girls up from school. Came home and they did their homework and we went to pick Joe up from work. Then we went to look at an apartment, but the person didn't show up. So we came home and had dinner. Searched for other apartments and called about a few and decided to go out and see if we could find one that we set up to look at the next day. Found it and then went to Job Lots to look at Christmas lights. Then we came home and got the kids ready for bed. The girls weren't going to sleep though because they didn't have their night light. So Joe was trying to fix that problem when the breaker popped. So he had to go fix that and then reset the clocks and finish changing the light bulb. Finally they went to sleep and Joe and I watched TV. Then I took a shower and we went to bed.

Tuesday: Got up and got the kids ready for school. Joe went to work. He took the car. So I bundled everyone up and we walked to school. Came back home and unfroze mine and CJ's frozen hands. Then he spent the morning driving me nuts by getting into everything. I washed some dishes and cleaned up the counters a little. Fed CJ lunch and put him down for a nap. Then I went through the cabinet under the sink to clean it out. Before I knew it it was time to go pick the girls up from school. Joe called and said he'd get them on his way home from work. So I changed CJ and got a call from someone about an apartment. Arranged to go look later in the afternoon. The kids came home from school and started on homework. They were both in combative moods though and were fighting my help. I finally got Joe to help Kaitlyn with hers while I helped Natalie and got her to understand and then it was time to go. We looked at the apartment, but not the one that's actually for rent. We weren't over the moon about it or anything. On Monday we should be able to get in to see the actual apartment though to see how well it's maintained. We left there with the application and drove around before having to go look at another apartment. That one was not what it was advertised to be at all. It was a good size, but really not a 3 bedroom like it said. So we left with not much intentions of getting that one and feeling defeated. Came home and cooked dinner. CJ wouldn't eat so after fighting with him over that he went to bed early for the night. The girls stayed up a little while longer before going to bed and then once they were in bed Joe and I watched some TV. I did a couple loads of laundry too. Then we went to bed.

Wednesday: Got up and brought Joe to work. Came home and got the kids ready for school. I dropped the girls off at school and then went to run a quick errand and back to school for playgroup. Had a nice time at playgroup and then came home. CJ had lunch and then took a nap. I laid down for a little while too. Then it was time to go get the girls from school. Got CJ and we left. Picked up the girls and then went to get Joe from work. We did some shopping and then came home for the girls to start homework. Then we had to leave to look at another apartment. We loved this one. We filled out the application right then and there. We are hoping to get it. He's supposed to make a decision by the weekend. It is in much better condition than where we are now. And it's bigger. The bedrooms are much larger. There's lots of storage. Including storage in the basement which is locked storage so you don't have to worry about anyone taking your stuff. So we left there and came home discussing what we would like to do with that place if we get it and made dinner. Ate and played with the kids. They went to bed and Joe and I watched TV. Then we went to bed.

Thursday: Got up and got the kids ready for school. Joe went to work and I walked to school. Very shocked at the 60 degree weather in December. Got the girls to school and walked back home. Cleaned up the kitchen. Played with CJ. Fed him lunch. Put him down for a nap. Got a phone call from the owner of the apartment we had looked at yesterday. He was interested in moving forward with us. Very exciting. I got CJ up from his nap and went to pick the girls up from school. Walked back home and worked on homework. Joe got home from work and we talked about moving. I cooked dinner and we ate. Then I gave CJ a bath to get all the cheese out of his hair. Got him ready for bed. Sent the girls to get their pj's on. They watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and then went to bed. Joe and I watch Four Christmases together. I went and took a shower and then we went to bed.

Friday: Got up and got the kids ready for school. Out the door early to go pop popcorn. I went to talk to the principal about our moving and letting the kids stay at the school. We popped the popcorn and our friend's took CJ back to their house while I went down to the FRC to talk to someone. Then we went back to our friend's house so we could go out to lunch together. We had a nice lunch and said our goodbyes. Then Joe and I went to get gas, to the dollar store, and then to get some soda. Then home. I counted the popcorn money. Got change together for the Craft Night that night. Went to pick the girls up from school while Joe stayed home with a napping CJ. Then we came home and hung around until it was time to go to the Holiday Craft Night. Had a nice turn out. A good time. Cleaned up and Joe and I went to get something for us to eat. Came home and put CJ to bed. The girls stayed up working on the activity sheets from the craft night. Then they went to bed. Joe and I stayed up watching TV a little while longer and then went to bed.

Saturday: Got up early while Joe was getting ready to go to work. CJ got up and shortly after the girls too. Joe left for work. I hung around most of the morning. Fed the kids breakfast, but didn't really do too much. I washed dishes and bagged up all of the bottles and cans. Put CJ down for a nap. Joe came home from work. We had lunch. Got CJ up from his nap. Got him dressed and the girls dressed and I got dressed. Then we went and met the landlord of our new apartment and gave him a deposit and checked around to see if we needed anything else fixed. We can move in as soon as we get him the rest of the money. Then we went across the street to Once Upon a Child to do some shopping. I found Christmas outfits for all of the kids and a few other things they were in need of. Met some friends there. They didn't have as much luck as me. Then we went up to the Christmas Tree Shop. Got some ornaments there and Advent calendars for the kids. Then we went to Hometown Buffet with our friends for dinner and came home. Driving through the first real snow of the season. It was a bit scary. Got home and safe and cozy. Got the kids ready for bed. Sent them to bed and then Joe and I just hung around on the computer and watching TV. I took a shower and got ready for bed. Kept thinking about what I was doing One Year Ago Today.

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A Year Ago Today...

It has been a year since I was induced. I think I've come a long way in a year. There has been a lot going on lately, but Celeste has still been front and center on my mind. A very good friend of mine is pregnant and due just a year and four days after I was due with Celeste. I've been worried about her. Everything seems to be fine.

I'm still trying to figure out what exactly it is we are called to do. Another good friend of mine had announced her plans to adopt a child from the Middle East shortly after we lost Celeste. She is bringing her daughter home today! Finally reunited. I'm over the moon happy for her. I have been feeling this tug to adopt since she told us. Joe and I have looked into it off and on. I want to make sure it's just the right time and that we are doing it for all of the right reasons. Not because we are still mourning the daughter we lost. I'm sure if that's what we are supposed to do it will happen when it's right.

We will never forget our Angel Celeste Alia no matter what path we end up traveling though.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Holiday Craft Night

Every year in December our PTA does a Holiday Craft night. We get together and decorate little wooden ornaments with glitter and sequins. Our tree is covered with these ornaments. At four for a dollar who can pass up all of those ornaments? The past two years we have had problems with the weather and have had hardly anyone attend. So we weren't exactly prepared when all of the people came walking in that door. We checked our supply of ornaments and were sure that the 200 or so we had would be plenty. We quickly were running low though. We did manage to give everyone what they wanted, but the late arrivals had to be turned away. Still, it was a nice night of crafting, popcorn, juice, and candy canes. And right after Christmas I will stock back up on those ornaments for next year. I figure 500 or so should be good.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

You're running out of time

Frank is about to take Kellsey out of the baby home forever. They should get her passport tomorrow and do her medical clearance and visa by Monday and then hopefully be on their way home on Tuesday. They haven't quite reached their goal of a fully funded adoption. Yes, they will take her home no matter what. But really wouldn't it be awesome if they didn't have to worry about money? Especially this time of year. With Christmas right around the corner. Please, if you can help, chip in on the side bar to bring Kellsey home!