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The Sunday Somethings, 01jan12

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Something that makes me happy: I have a lot of great friends.

Something I’m thinking: It’s a new year! I don’t make resolutions, but I still can’t help but to reflect on things at the beginning of a new year.

Something I’m creating: I just finished making our photo calendars (a little late this year). I am working on narrowing down photos from the trip and writing up trip reports (and catching up on other photo posts).

Something happening around the house: Despite having almost 40 people in the house for games night, it surprisingly doesn’t look like a disaster zone this afternoon.

Something I’m reading: I finished The Titan’s Curse and started The Battle of the Labyrinth.

Something Gabe is reading: He’s been making some progress on Hyperion.

Something I’m watching: We’re thinking about having a movie day tomorrow since Gabe has a holiday (and I have more vacation days than he does). We’re not quite sure what we’re going to see, but we’re hoping to catch two movies.

Something I’m playing: Kids of Carcassonne, Go Away Monster, Hisss, and Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed with the kids. I played Chinatown, Tobago, and No Rules Pictionary last night. I watched kiddos a lot of the time. Gabe played King of Tokyo, Galaxy Trucker, Tobago, and No Rules Pictionary. We also played Lancaster.

Something tasty: I made my Grandma’s Chicken Divan tonight. Yummy!

Something about both kiddos: The kids are getting into playing games, which makes me very happy! They are both doing very well at following rules and taking turns in Go Away Monster. Maddie is grasping most of the games that we have tried, but Go Away Monster is the only one that Cullen has been able to play so far.

Something Maddie is doing (46 months old): Maddie finally has the attention span and desire to play board games. She has been doing well with Kids of Carcassonne (though doesn’t grasp all the strategy of it yet), Five Little Monkeys (which has no strategy, just spinning and moving and following the rules), and Hisss (mostly). I was most excited about Kids of Carcassonne which is a great introduction to Euro games and is a neat little kid adaptation of Carcassonne. Maddie’s favorite show is Jake and the Neverland Pirates at the moment. She still hasn’t been exposed to much variety in terms of different shows. She’s enjoying her LeapPad. We haven’t used any of our app credits yet. She hasn’t had much interest in taking photos or videos with it. I really thought that she would like that feature, but I think maybe she doesn’t quite get it yet. She has a train game that she likes. She also has been playing Smart Girls on the DS and Siege Hero and Monkey Lunchbox on the iPhone. I’m proud of her board gaming and video gaming foundations. We’re reading her the first books in the Magic Treehouse series.

Something Cullen is doing (23 months old): Cullen has started using his imagination. I’m not sure if he did it this week or just prior, but he has taken pieces of food and said, “a dog!” or “a boat!” I am impressed that he is able to play a game of Go Away Monster. It’s a very simple game, but it has the basics of taking turns which is an essential foundation for board gaming. He can easily pattern match the shapes. Players take turns drawing tiles out of the bag and either vanquishing monsters or putting furniture in their rooms (the pattern matching). We have tried a few other games, but he’s just not ready for any of them yet! He can play Monkey Lunchbox on the iPhone without help from us, including the puzzle minigames where he has to drag puzzle pieces to create pieces of fruit. It’s amazing to me how early kids can grasp the iPhone. Some of the minigames involve him just touching the screen at random, but it’s a start. He had a few cranky days this week. I discovered that he’s FINALLY cutting the eyeteeth. It seems like it has been a really long time since his last teeth came through. At least two of them have broken through the gums. All of them are coming soon. Cullen is sweet with his new dolls. Sometimes he just gets up into the big blue chair and rocks with them. He also likes to roll around on the floor and hug them.

Something I am struggling with: We have so many options for schools now, and I’m trying to sort through some of the mess since it won’t be that long before we’ll have to decide where Maddie goes to school. Crazy!

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I keep dreaming about a Disney cruise, one of the goals I have listed. I find myself searching itineraries every few days or so. It might just have to be our next cruise vacation. Disney is this year!

Something I’m looking forward to: It’s nice when we get to January and don’t have too many plans. I try to make a point of not scheduling much past the end of the year when it’s October/November/December. I am thinking we need another games night soon, though. While we had a great time with friends on NYE, neither of us played as many games as we had hoped!

Something captured: Cullen and his “ladies”

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 22may11

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Something that makes me happy: Visits from my parents. They were here this weekend for a quick visit. I think they enjoyed seeing the kids. The kids change so much from visit to visit, even if it has not been long since the last visit. We already have plans to see them again in a few weeks.

Something I’m thinking: I’m looking forward to spending some time with the kids on vacation coming up soon!

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping to make a lot of progress on work projects this week.

Something happening around the house: We got a new kids’ table for Maddie and Cullen from the work bulletin board. It’s adorable with 4 little chairs all painted in different colors with handpainted animals on each one.

Something I’m reading: I finished The Lightning Thief as well as the second book in the series, Sea of Monsters. I had those two books already, and I plan to read the others as well. I decided not to buy them yet and read something from our shelves instead. I decided last night to restart Kushiel’s Justice. I had made it through about half of it a couple of years ago. It’s the 5th book in that series. Now, there are 9 in the series, so I have some catching up to do. I did read a couple of chapters in A Clash of Kings but decided I’d rather catch up on Kushiel first.

Something I’m watching: Gabe and I went out to see Thor on Friday night! We loved it. Sadly, this was the first time that we had been out together without the kids all year. We’re going to have to do it again several times this summer with Cars 2, Super 8 (maybe?), the final Harry Potter, X-Men: First Class (maybe?), Green Lantern (maybe?), Captain America (probably), and whatever else everyone else is talking about.

Something I’m playing: We played Telestrations and Kaleidos last night with my family.

Something tasty: We had breakfast at Brigs this morning. We haven’t been there in a long time! I had granola pancakes, and they were yummy!

Something Maddie is doing (39 months old): Maddie is now 39 months old, and I’ve been working on her letter. I hope to get it done this week. She continues to be more sophisticated with her vocabulary. I had a few moments this week where I was amazed again at the things that she says and conclusions that she draws on her own. Of course, who knows what she’s telling people now. Friday night, Kristin was babysitting and Maddie made sure to let her know that when Mommy and Daddy were sick the other day, “they didn’t read any stories that night.” True. She’s been doing a lot of art projects this week. We’ve been doing dot art and markers quite a bit. She’s still working on practicing her letters. Her people drawing skills continue to evolve. She draws stick figures now, and all of them have a ton of “crazy hair.”

Something Cullen is doing (16 months old): Cullen is 16 months old! I’m doing his letters every 3 months, so I still have 2 more months until his next one. Earlier this week, I asked Cullen, “are you a baby?” and then said, “noooo, you’re not a baby!” I asked him many times this week if he’s a baby, and now he will shake his head and sometimes also say “nooooooo” or a short “no!” It’s so cute. This morning, I heard him at the breakfast table babbling. During his babbling, he said, “baby. no no no no no” while shaking his head. It’s adorable. He loved playing at the park this morning with Nana and Papa. He wanted to climb all over the play structures and go down the slides. He also loved swinging! This is the first time that we’ve put him in the swings at the park. Most of the time, we’re running around the playground and climbing. This afternoon, he came down with a fever. Poor little guy. He had the stomach bug a week ago, though he thankfully had a much milder version of it than I did.

Something I am struggling with: I had a terrible stomach bug that started Monday morning. I didn’t feel better until Tuesday night, so the bug lasted more than 24 hours. No stomach bug should ever last more than 24 hours! I was really, really sick on Monday night. Gabe was worried he was going to have to take me to the hospital.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I finished my 2010 photobooks…finally! They ran a special deal this week for certain customers involving a coupon for 50% off 12×12 photobooks! This gave me the motivation to finish my 3rd volume for 2010 (yes, I had 3 books of more than 80 pages each for 2010). Only one coupon was allowed per account. Gabe and I each ordered one, and a friend ordered the other for us! With the free shipping deal, we were able to save almost $300 for the 3 photobooks. Of course, now that I’m finished with my 2010 photobooks, that just means I have more photobook projects to work on. It’s a never ending process. I think my next book might be Volume 1 of “letters to Maddie” (which will also serve as Maddie’s “baby” book).

Something I learned: I learned that Gabe and I have absolutely no issues plopping the kiddos in front of the TV as much as possible when we’re both feeling sick. Gabe didn’t get the stomach bug as badly as I did, but he didn’t feel well on Monday night either. We watched a lot of Mickey Mouse and Cars that evening. Maddie told Kristin later in the week that “Mommy and Daddy were sick, and we didn’t read any stories that night.”

Something I’m looking forward to: We have a follow up with Cullen’s ENT this week. I’m eager to find out more about his “mucus blob.” Book club is also this week, and we’re going to be discussing Sarah’s Key and American Gods. Our trip is coming soon where we will be going to the mountains with friends, visiting family in Cincinnati and Lexington, and going to our nephew’s high school graduation.

Something planned that I’m not looking forward to: I’m not looking forward to my dental appointment this week. He’s doing some adjustment to a filling (which doesn’t appear to be bothering me, but whatever). He’s also going to take some x-rays of a tooth that has been bothering me for years. I’m going to have to get a crown which I dread both psychologically and financially! Ugh! So, um, I’m not looking forward to that!

Something captured: The kids with my parents at the park this morning.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 08may11

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Something that makes me happy: Taking the kids to the park.

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking about getting the cleaners to come more often. When the cleaners were once a month, we were thinking that about 3 weeks would be perfect. Now that they are coming every 3 weeks, I think that every other week would be perfect. I think there’s something to the fact that we’ve added two kiddos to the household since we started having cleaners.

Something happening around the house: We removed a tree this week. I’m sad about it, but it was dangerous structurally to our house, our neighbor’s house, our fence, and our satellite dish.

Something I’m reading: I finished House Rules and started on Honolulu by Alan Brennert. I enjoyed Moloka’i, so I have been looking forward to reading another one of his books. It has not disappointed so far! I will probably finish it in the next few days. I suppose I will need to read Sarah’s Key next for book club. I’ve been doing such a great job reading from the books we own and need to read. I think I’ll probably buy Sarah’s Key on the kindle so I can actually use it. I feel like once I get through the physical books we already have, I’ll probably buy new books on the kindle. I’m disappointed, though, that Sarah’s Key is not a lendable title. Boo.

Something I’m watching: I saw Water for Elephants with girlfriends who had also read the book. The novel is one of my favorites, and the movie was a very good screen adaptation!

Something I’m playing: We had games night yesterday, and since it is Mother’s Day weekend, Gabe let me play while he tended to the kids. I played Call My Bluff (twice), Stone Age, Appletters, Scattegories, and Trivial Pursuit 25th Anniversary Edition.

Something tasty: Chocolate chip banana muffins. I’ll post the recipe in a few days. They were YUMMY!

Something Maddie is doing (38 months old): We had Muffins for Mom in her classroom this week. The kids served their mothers first and then themselves. After we finished our muffins and strawberries, we had some time to explore the classroom. Maddie showed me her favorite work: making necklaces. She was stringing beads and said, “I’m making this for you, Mommy.” Awww. So sweet! She had already made a necklace for me with a laminated pendant with her photo as well as a ribbon and beads. It was great, and I wore both necklaces proudly all day at work and this weekend. This week, Maddie wrote her name for the first time! It surprised Gabe and me!! I was so proud of her.

Something Cullen is doing (15 months old): We’ve completely lost track of Cullen’s new words. I know he is saying new ones every day. Just today, he said “egg” and “stick” possibly for the first time. Cullen had a Mother’s Day event in his classroom and made me a box that matches one that Maddie made for me in the same classroom. Cullen painted it himself (perhaps with a little help), and it has an adorable photo of him on the top. This week, Cullen has been super sweet. One day, I asked him if he can give me some kisses and he leaned in with his wide open mouth to “kiss” my face. He did this numerous times this week. It’s so sweet, and he says something like “awwwww” at the same time. he’s also getting good at things like pointing at his belly when asked, “where’s your belly?” He had some very rough nights this week, including a few that may be his worst ever. He is continuing to recover from his surgery, but I’ll be glad when he’s completely healed. Cullen continues to be a big climber. Yesterday, Gabe turned away from Cullen for less than a minute. When he turned around, Cullen was sitting on top of a card table.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, but we have both kids signed up for swimming lessons this summer.

Something I learned: Shutterfly made an announcement this week that I’m very excited about! They have released their truly custom books. I can’t wait to try them out. It sounds like you can put images and text wherever you want them. They also have something called embellishments that are like stickers in traditional scrapbooking. I’m going to finish my 2010 books the old way (there’s no way to convert existing projects anyway).

Something I’m looking forward to: Carpet cleaning, a special day for Cullen (as I did with Maddie when she turned one), a big party at work (I hear there will be fireworks!), and our Wine & Design fundraising event.

Something random: I learned this week that Cullen was ranked number 413 for boys’ names in 2010. At least with Cullen’s name, we were not mislead by the popularity ranking.

Something captured: We went to the park this afternoon, and I tried to get a photo with the kids like I did last Mother’s Day. It’s like herding cats.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 01may11

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Something that makes me happy: Getting caught up on some photos (though I still have a long ways to go). I did manage to upload several albums to Shutterfly and blog a few picture posts this week. I feel like I accomplished something.

Something I’m thinking: I still need to write some thank you notes for Walk MS donations. I’m really behind on these this year.

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping that Cullen completely heals soon from his surgeries. I’ve been worried about him.

Something happening around the house: Catherine came to visit with her family so that she could take photos of Maddie and Cullen. I can’t wait to see how they turned out!

Something I’m reading: I finished Definitely Dead and started on Jodi Picoult’s House Rules. I’m trying to sneak in some non-book club reading before starting on our next selection.

Something I’m watching: We started watching the first episodes of The Killing with Gabe’s mom while she was visiting. We are planning to continue watching the series! We had a busy week with Gabe’s mom’s visit and Cullen’s surgeries, so we’re not caught up on several of our shows including Game of Thrones.

Something tasty: I haven’t made them yet, but I’m expecting cookies baked for teacher appreciation week to be tasty. I know a few special people who are expecting them tomorrow.

Something Maddie is doing (38 months old): She sure does like to whine and throw temper tantrums. It seems that she spent quite a bit of time in time out and having quiet time in her room (to calm down) this week. I’m sure that it is somehow related to her getting less attention after Grandma left and due to Cullen’s recovery. She had a great time bonding with Grandma! She had her first Bike Day at school. The timing wasn’t great as it was the day after Cullen’s surgeries, but it did allow all of us (including Cullen and Grandma) to attend. They rode their bikes twice for 30 minutes each time (though I think the second time was a bit shorter). This was the longest that Maddie has ever ridden her bike continuously. She did great!!! We were impressed by how well she did. She needed a little help with the hill, but otherwise she pedaled and pedaled and pedaled around the circle. We were so proud of her.

Something Cullen is doing (15 months old): Cullen had a big week. After his first Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday, he had another one on Monday at daycare. Since this was the day before his surgery, we were glad he was able to enjoy it. Grandma was here, so that’s another special event that she was able to see. Cullen gathered quite a few eggs, but he was more interested in opening them and seeing what was inside. Tuesday was the day of his surgeries. I plan to post more about that soon. Everything went well, according to the surgeons, but I’m concerned about his recovery. He has a bit of swelling, so I’m anxious for his post-op appointment on Tuesday. I stayed home with him and gave him lots of cuddles on Tuesday and Wednesday. Poor little guy. He continues to add new words to his vocabulary, though I have lost track of all the new ones. Two of his new words were “rock” and “flower.” I know he said others. He also has been saying (for a while) something that says (and means), “I want that.” He’s also been repeating things more often. I only count the words when he says them on his own in context.

Something I am struggling with: I just realized that I would miss the first session of my photography class that I’m itching to take this summer. I’d miss one more for book club, so I’m a little bummed about this. Fortunately, the class is 8 sessions, so I don’t think it will be awful if I miss a couple of them.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: We booked our flights for our cruise on a megaship later this year! I worked a little on our 2010 photobooks (Volume 3). I’m thinking about ordering Volumes 1 & 2 today as there’s a 30% off special plus a $10 off coupon. The shipping isn’t free, though, so I’m thinking that I might be able to find a better or equivalent deal later.

Something I learned: I learned a little about cholesteatomas. The ENT told me not to google it, but I couldn’t help it. Why would you tell a parent about the possibility of something like that if you didn’t want them to look it up or if you didn’t think it was a possible diagnosis?

Something I’m looking forward to: Mother’s Day events at both Maddie and Cullen’s classrooms, Cullen’s followup with the urologist, a book club outing to see Water for Elephants, games night, and Mother’s Day! Whew, it’s another busy week!

Something random: Yesterday, we ate at a bakery/cafe and Maddie had a chocolate cupcake. When I offered her some milk to “wash down that cupcake,” she proceeded to dump milk onto the remaining pieces of cupcake on her plate. It reminds me of the time where Gabe said, “Maddie, you crack me up” and Maddie responded, “Daddy, you don’t have cracks. You’re not broken.”

Something captured: I had lots of photos to choose from this week, but I decided to just go with my absolute favorite shot of the week.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 17apr11

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking about the crazy storms and tornadoes that came through our area yesterday. Many of our friends were directly affected with major damage to their houses. Others missed complete destruction by just a few houses. One of the tornadoes was pretty close to our house, but it missed our neighborhood, thankfully. We are glad that our friends remained safe. We were a little scared during the storm, and I hung out with the kids in our closet under the stairs for a little while. They thought it was great fun to play in the closet!

Something happening around the house: We had last minute plans to go to the town Easter Egg hunt and met one of Maddie’s buddies there. They came over for a play date and dinner afterwards. Good times!

Something I’m reading: I finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and started one of the Sookie Stackhouse books (Definitely Dead). The last time I’ve read any of that series was 2005, so it’s going to take me a little bit to get reacquainted. It’s pretty mindless reading, which is what I need right now. Plus, it’s on my list of books that I need to read from our bookshelves.

Something I’m watching: We’re getting ready to watch Amazing Race and Game of Thrones. I hope Game of Thrones is good!!! I’m glad that I’ve finished the first book, but it will probably be a while before I can get around to reading the rest of the series. I was making progress but then I needed to work on book club books.

Something tasty: Carnitas!!!

Something Maddie is doing (37 months old): She participated in another Easter egg hunt, as I mentioned. She’s doing pretty well with staying at the dinner table and has been keeping all 3 of her cards most nights. She’s enjoying the warmer weather and loves playing outside. She’s getting a little better at her balance bike. She likes coloring with chalk. She never stops talking!

Something Cullen is doing (14 months old): I took Cullen to get his ears checked this week, just to be sure. Of course, nothing was wrong with his ears. I am guessing he’s working on more teeth. I think he must be the world’s worst teether. Each tooth takes like a month to come in, and he has many cranky moments along the way. He was putting his hands in his mouth a lot this week and had quite a bit of drool. He also had a huge appetite this week. He must be going through a growth spurt! He added a few more words to his list this week. He said “shoe,” “pasta,” “back” (as in, “Daddy/Mommy needs to come back!” after we leave the room.), and “diaper.” He’s also saying, “thank you” spontaneously sometimes. He’s been bringing me books, and then he says, “book!” and climbs into my lap to hear a story. It’s adorable. He seems to prefer the books with real pages instead of board books, but I prefer to read him the board books. It’s much better than worrying about him ripping the pages! He seems particularly interested in Corduroy and Brown Bear, Brown Bear. He still likes the Boats book and That’s Not My Train… (to which he says, “choo choo”). I’ve also been reading one of Maddie’s favorites to him, Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs!.

Something I am struggling with: Something is stuck in my foot or something. It hurts to walk.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I took a vacation day on Monday to work on photobooks. While the kids were in school, I completed over 30 pages! I ended up finishing Volume 2 this week and started on Volume 3. I would have made more progress on Volume 3, but we were without internet for about 24 hours. I am working on my thank you notes for our MS donations. I’m way behind on those!

Something I learned: Gabe was looking at our place mats this morning (which are all colorful and somewhat educational). He had the map of the world, and he asked, “since when do we have a Southern Ocean?” Apparently, since 2000. Hmm, that happened even before the whole “Pluto isn’t a planet anymore” thing. (Fwiw, we have a solar system place mat that does not list Pluto as a planet – these place mats are educational and up-to-date with the latest teachings).

Something I’m looking forward to: Dinner and a movie with a friend, another Easter egg hunt for Maddie, a visit from Gabe’s mom, and a visit from THE EASTER BUNNY – WOO!

Something random: Why is it that I have so much trouble with this category? I am constantly saying random things.

Something captured: Cullen and Maddie picking flowers and enjoying the spring weather.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 03apr11

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

Something that makes me happy: Playing games with friends!

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking about when our next games night will be…

Something happening around the house: We had about 40 people at our house yesterday for games “night!” I am pretty sure that’s a record attendance for us! Wow! Gabe didn’t expect for Kentucky to be in the Final Four, so he lost some gaming time while he was watching the game by himself in the bedroom (it was too stressful to watch with people!).

Something I’m reading: I decided not to read A Clash of Kings at the moment and started The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I didn’t give myself much time to read this week as I was focusing on my photobooks. I finished my first volume for 2010. I am pretty sure I will need 2 more volumes. I maxed out the first 12×12 volume at 101 pages.

Something I’m watching: Baseball’s opening day was this week, so too much baseball was on our TV. Gabe’s sad that he got the internet baseball package instead of getting the better DirecTV package.

Something I’m playing: I actually got to play some games yesterday. Yay! I played Expedition, Klunker, two games of Mosaix, Taboo, Wordigo, and half a game of Set. I feel like I’m forgetting something else that I played… I haven’t played Set in a few years, so I was a little rusty. I downloaded the iPhone app this morning, so maybe I can get some practice before my next match.

Something tasty: I’m hoping that the beef stew that we have cooking in the crockpot will be tasty. It smells good!

Something Maddie is doing (37 months old): Earlier today, Cullen and Maddie were eating by themselves at the table. Cullen got to the point in the meal where he starts throwing food on the floor. Maddie gently and firmly said to him, “Cullen, that is not OK. Don’t throw food on the floor. Look me in the eye, Cullen. It is not OK to do that. You need to do the right thing.” Ha! I guess she is actually listening sometimes. I think she’s still having a rough time with her transition at preschool. This week we had a bit of a breakthrough with dinner. She is so wiggly, and we have to tell her over and over to sit still and to stay in her seat. Early this week, she was driving me crazy with all the times I had to tell her to get back into her chair. She has started picking up Cullen’s straw cup when he throws it (and he’ll do that over and over). It’s sweet the first few times, but then Maddie doesn’t focus on her dinner. So, I gave her a couple of playing cards and told her that every time she gets up from the chair, she has to give me a card. She can watch Mickey Mouse before bedtime only if she has a card left at the end of the meal. When she asks to be excused from the table, she has to scrape her plate into the trash (she was getting mad when we threw her food away after she said she was done). It worked like a charm!! She now gets 3 cards at the beginning of dinner, and if she has one card left at the end, she gets to watch Mickey Mouse before bed. If she has all 3 cards (and she eats a good dinner), then she gets a special treat like a couple of jelly beans or mini marshmallows. The last two times we have done this, she had all 3 cards left at the end of the meal. This is a huge breakthrough for us! I hope it lasts.

Something Cullen is doing (14 months old): Cullen is practically running now. We are amused by how he just decided last Sunday that walking was the thing to do, and now he barely crawls at all. It’s so cute to see him toddling around! He added some more words this week. Some of his new words this week were water, more, star, hat, box, and bubbles. I’ve also forgotten to mention that he points and says, “that” often. This morning, he pointed to Annabelle and said, “Annaboo” which was about the cutest thing ever. He said it multiple times throughout the day. It was adorable. He’s been crankier than usual off and on this past week. It may be due to the cold he has had or teething (his top two teeth are through the gums) or another ear infection. He had a few rough nights this week, too. He’s loving on stuffed animals and the dolls more. He will also pass them to us and say, “awwww,” urging us to hug the doll or stuffed animal and say, “awwwwwww.” This evening, I was blowing raspberries on his chubby baby cheeks, and he was giggling and loving it. He kept turning his cheek to me so that I could do it again. Then he gave me a series of wet, slobbery kisses all over my face. Extreme cuteness is sometimes messy.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: The Walk MS event is this week. I contacted another local company this week in the hopes that they do fundraising events. I haven’t heard back from them yet. More on that later, if it pans out… We are still quite a ways away from our $8,000 goal. I hope that we will get some last minute donations this week.

Something I learned: I learned a couple new games.

Something I’m looking forward to: Walk MS!

Something captured: Maddie made a necklace at school and put it on Cullen after school.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

An example of excellent customer service

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

I wrote this back in December, for the most part, but forgot to post it… Since writing this post, I had yet another positive customer service experience with Shutterfly.

I have been a Shutterfly user for many years now. I think it’s been more than a decade. I’m a big fan of their products, especially photobooks and cards. In the beginning, I would get prints for myself to scrapbook and for family and friends. Very early in my relationship with Shutterfly, I goofed and didn’t realize that I had to set the proper crop for my photos that weren’t in the same ratio as my prints. I called, upset that parts of my photos were cropped undesirably. This was totally my fault, and yet they credited my account with free prints to compensate. That was a pretty good first impression to make on a new customer.

Since then, I have printed thousands of prints, made more than a dozen books, and hundreds of cards. I’ve tried some of their other products as well. Once, I had a magnet that was not printed straight and they sent me a new one right away.

This Last year, they treated me right once again. I ordered my Christmas cards extremely early this last year. I had the photos ready (from Catherine Keene), and they were having an early sale. I picked out the perfect card and added my perfect photos. A few days later, that orange package appeared on my front step, and I was so excited! I looked at the photos, and I was immediately disappointed. The colors weren’t how I remembered them. Gabe’s hair appeared blue to me. I thought right away, this must be my fault. I vaguely remembered an option that you could pick (hidden in the “edit photo” tab) that turned off the color boosting option. I had forgotten about it and feared that it was all my fault for not turning off that option.

I called customer service, and I wasn’t sure what they would be able to do for me. They offered to reprint one card and send it to me to see if turning off that option would help. When it arrived, it didn’t seem much different. I sent it to Catherine, and she didn’t see much difference either. We both thought that it was a little better, but it still wasn’t quite right.

I called customer service again, and I asked if they would allow for me to redo the card with new images. Catherine was willing to make some color adjustments to the photos, and then I could upload the corrected ones in the hopes that it would be better. This time, customer service credited my account with the number of cards that I had originally ordered. I would have to pay shipping (though I’m positive I could have gotten that comped as well – I felt that this solution was more than fair), but the cards would be free. I had enough cards so that I could order one initially (which I had shipped directly to Catherine. I figured she could put her seal of approval on them. After all, she’s the one who took the images!). Catherine was happy with this version, and I ordered the rest.

As a result, I went from feeling not-so-happy about my perfect cards to feeling like they were perfect again!

Shortly after writing this post, I had another great experience. Due to a misunderstanding on a promotional offer and a shopping cart error, I chatted with one of their online reps. I didn’t realize that the free shipping offer wasn’t for all shipments on the order but just for the most expensive shipping. It was written in the fine print, I just hadn’t read it. She credited my shopping cart with the free shipping for both addresses! I didn’t ask for or expect this, so it was a very nice touch. So, once again, Shutterfly has gone above and beyond to ensure that my experiences are positive. Kudos to them!

The Sunday Somethings, 02jan11

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Something that makes me happy: Getting some of my photos organized. I’m slowly catching up with sorting the photos and uploading them to Shutterfly. The next step will be to blog a few things here and there (hopefully) and to create our photobooks. I also need to work on Cullen’s photo-a-day book.

Something I’m thinking: I’m trying not to think about the fact that I have to go back to work tomorrow. It’s been a nice, long break. Of course, it’s also been quite hectic at times! We’ve had a wonderful break.

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping the weather doesn’t interfere with the kids’ birthday plans this year. We are going to have birthday parties for both kids plus a special day for Cullen and Mommy (possibly Cullen, Mommy, and Daddy) and a possible trip to the American Girl Store for Maddie.

Something happening around the house: We’re trying to get the house in order after the Christmas explosion (we got a few new storage shelves), house guests, and our New Year’s Eve party. Today, we really need to take down the tree.

Something I’m reading: I read a few more pages of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I need to set aside some time so that I can finish it before the book club meeting at the end of the month.

Something I’m watching: Um, I don’t think that I have watched much of anything since my last somethings post. Maddie hasn’t even been watching much.

Something I’m playing: On New Year’s Eve, I was able to play Parade, Poison, Telestrations, Traumfabrik, Word on the Street, Trivial Pursuit: Bet You Know It, and Bananagrams. I think that we will limit the Bet You Know It teams to two people. It seemed too easy with 4 on each team! It did make for a pretty quick game, though.

Something tasty: I made a particularly tasty batch of Chex Mix for New Year’s Eve! YUM. We also had pizza with vegan cheese, and it wasn’t bad! I should write up a separate post about that…

Something Maddie is doing (34 months old): It is clear to us that she needs to take a nap by the time dinnertime rolls around, but she refuses to take one at home most days. She has only completely resisted her nap at school twice (one of those times, she was described to be in “rare form”). After a week and a half with only one or two short naps, I’m pretty happy to be returning to our normal schedule again. Suddenly, Maddie seems very independent to me. We put her in a “big, big girl bed” a few days ago. Santa brought her bed rails, so we put the bed frame and box springs in her room. We also added the side table and the lamp that matches her decor. Her room looks awesome – I love it! We finally allow her to go up and down the stairs without any supervision, though she still has to have permission to go up or down them.

Something Cullen is doing (49 weeks old): He has been standing up in the middle of the room or letting go of the furniture to stand unassisted quite often! He will stand for almost a minute or so. He hasn’t tried to take any steps yet, but I’m guessing it won’t be long before he tries to walk. Lately, he has been eating like a horse. I am going to be surprised if he doesn’t have some significant weight gain. Of course, this afternoon, he had some vomiting…so that could mean a set back if it keeps up. We are hoping that it was an isolated incident and not a full blown nasty bug. Cullen’s favorite toy continues to be whatever Maddie is playing with. She does not like that one bit. When Maddie is not available to bother, he does like playing with the farm quite a bit. He likes his new tool bench, too.

Something I am struggling with: The thought of going back to work tomorrow. I do have mixed feelings as in many ways it is easier than chasing around two little kiddos!

Something I’m doing towards my goals: My cake decorating class starts in a little over a week. Yay!

Something I learned: Oh, I meant to say this the other day. I learned that if you discover a price drop on Amazon within a certain amount of time of placing an order (7 days??), they will honor that price. I wish I knew that when something I ordered dropped 50% a day or two afterward.

Something I’m looking forward to: Surprisingly, a week with no plans (aside from the return to work). Yay!

Something captured: Our new toy storage in the foyer. It’s so cute!

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 29aug10

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Sunday, Monday…what’s the difference, really?

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking about making some muffins for breakfast with Maddie. Obviously, I started writing this before breakfast on Sunday. We did indeed make muffins.

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping to be able to attend That Board Gaming Thing after missing it the last couple of years. I suppose we need to decide this week.

Something happening around the house: Ants! It feels like they may finally be under control. I hate dealing with ants!!!!

Something I’m reading: I didn’t read anything this week, but I do plan to start on Mockingjay very soon! I did start on this last night, but I only read about a chapter or so before passing out from exhaustion.

Something I’m watching: We watched some more Supernatural. I’m not sure we watched anything else. Shows are going to start pretty soon, and I don’t know how we’re going to keep up with them this year.

Something I’m playing: I’m mostly playing Carcassonne on the iPhone. Fun!

Something Maddie is doing (30 months old): This weekend, she didn’t nap on Saturday or Sunday. Saturday was mostly our fault, but Sunday we stuck to the schedule and still had no nap. She continues to answer every question with, “Um, I don’t know…” regardless of whether she knows or not. I know she gets that from both of her parents. She had a great time with her Kentucky grandparents and Aunt Heidi. She and Grandpa are “buddies” and talk in British accents about potstickers and a “spot of tea.” This amused us all. I also love how she declares that she’s “playing a game” when tossing a ball or doing some other repetitive action. She’s getting the concept. It won’t be long before I can teach her some “real” games!!!

Something Cullen is doing (32 weeks old): Another week went by, and I didn’t finish up the photos for his letter. At this rate, I’ll have to post the 7 month and 8 month letters at the same time. Cullen had pears for the first time, and I made him a new batch of carrots that weren’t singed. Tonight, he tried organic cereal “puffs” for the first time. It turns out that he has that pincer grasp down pat. Who knew? He picked one right up and put it straight into his mouth. He’s not quite sure what to think of them so far. I don’t blame him. The ones we got aren’t as tasty as the Gerber kind, but I like the smaller ingredients list and the organic content.

Something I am struggling with: I’ve been quite exhausted this weekend (hence posting a day late).

Something I learned: I learned that Shutterfly has some new layouts in their photobooks since the last book I created.

Something I’m looking forward to: I’m definitely NOT looking forward to my dental appointment this week.

Something captured: Cullen and Maddie playing a duet.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 11jul10

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Something that makes me happy: Planning (and going on) vacations makes me happy!

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking about getting some of those new designer diapers from Pampers. I saw them in Target the other day, and I was tempted!

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping to take better photos of Cullen than I have been taking lately. I’ve been lazy and many days the only photo I have taken has been on the iPhone. The iPhone’s photos aren’t as good as the small camera (and definitely not as good as the SLR, obviously).

Something happening around the house: We had our friend Shannon watch the kids on Friday so that we could go to a dinner and a movie. It was strange being out of the house together without the kids. This was the first time since Cullen was born that we managed to do it. The next time will probably be for the Jack Johnson concert next month.

Something I’m reading: I started reading Little Earthquakes, the revised book club book for July. I don’t know if I will be able to finish it in time or not. I have plenty of time, theoretically. I just haven’t made much time for reading lately.

Something I’m watching: I was sad that Babies left the theaters before I could see it. Darn! Guess I will have to netflix it. I did manage to see Eclipse and Toy Story 3 in the theater. Wow, I can’t believe I saw two movies in one week! We also watched the first few episodes of Supernatural which is a bit creepy so far.

Something I’m playing: Gabe and I have been playing a lot of Words with Friends and iAssociate on our iPhones!

Something tasty: We had dinner at Lucky 32 Friday night for the first time in a while.

Something Maddie is doing (28 months old): She was doing great with potty training, but we had a couple of setbacks this weekend. Yesterday, she had a tiny accident while playing with a buddy. She wet herself a little and stopped herself and did the rest of the potty. But then after bath, she peed on the floor before getting her clothes on and announced happily that she had done so. Nice. She did the same thing again this morning, so I’m not sure what’s going on with her. We aren’t making a big deal of it and tell her that “peepee belongs in the potty.” Maybe she’s just trying to get attention. She had no other accidents this week, not even at night. I can’t believe how few nighttime accidents that we have had so far (only a couple in that first week). In other Maddie news, she continues to love singing songs. She loves her baby brother. She is very much into doing everything herself from climbing into her high chair or car seat to pouring her own drinks to dressing herself. She refuses to let us dress her and has to do it ALL by herself. She’s pretty good at it, but she’s not always the fastest dresser. Parenting a toddler takes a lot of patience!

Something Cullen is doing (24 weeks old): He started sleeping on his belly this week. I think that he’s more comfortable. He hasn’t miraculously slept through the night or anything, but I think we’ve been able to get him to sleep a little longer in the bassinet sometimes. Maybe. He still spends most of the night in the bed (NOT on his belly). Cullen gets compliments on his smile and his blue eyes everywhere he goes. He has a great smile. He’s so pleasant to be around (most of the time!). He loves his jumperoo. He seemed to be rolling over with more purpose this week. It seemed like he was rolling to reach things and for movement. He is good at spinning around on his belly when he’s playing on the floor. He explores everything by putting it in his mouth. He drools excessively. He’s wearing 9 month sized clothing (and has been for a little while). He’s getting close to being able to sit on his own.

Something I am struggling with: Keeping up with photos. Now that the first half of the year has passed, I had hoped to start on “volume 1″ of our photobook for 2010. I still need to organize quite a few photos from the first half of the year (including getting them on the website…I am still in April for those).

Something I learned: I learned that the front camera on my iPhone does not have as good resolution as the regular camera. Oh well, it’s still useful!

Something I’m looking forward to: Gabe’s mom is visiting soon, and we’re going to go to the beach for a couple days.

Something captured: My kiddos. They were both amused to see themselves on the iPhone while I took this photo with the front facing camera. Maddie had been singing “Where is Thumbkin” to Cullen, hence the sock puppets.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey