Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day out with Thomas

This past weekend we spent the day with Thomas the tank engine. I think my mom and I were just as excited if not more than Mason. We drove up the night before and spent the night in a hotel in Lancaster. Had breakfast at Cracker Barrel then drove the few miles to Ronks, home of The Strausburg Railroad.

We arrived an hour and 45 min. early so we decided to check out the museum on site to kill time before our 11:45am ride time. In all honesty I think we all thought the museum was the highlight of the day. No offense Thomas. We got to see some pretty cool engines and even got to walk through and sit in a few. Fred talked to employee of the museum and we learned that trains had a "dead man's pedal." It controlled the emergency break and you had to have your foot on the pedal at all times. If you fell asleep and your foot came off, all breaks slammed on. Then you'd have to wait for everything to cycle through before you could start again. We also learned that before wooden ties, iron rails on stone sleepers were the only track construction. The Pullman Sleeper Car was pretty cool. In the 1920's, the Pullman Company was the largest hotel operator in the world. I find the whole idea of traveling by train so romantic. Not the love kind of romantic. Call it geeky, nostalgic, whatever. But I am fascinated by all things old and historic. Life in the early 1900's is always romanticized in movies, books and memories. I wonder if our kids will look back at the 21st century and feel the same way?

Heading across the street we look up and point excitedly. Mason look! Whose that puffing down the track? It's Thomas! Hello Thomas!

We probably hyped it up more than we should because it felt a bit like a let down. But still fun. The coach was beautiful but the windows only opened part way so it was hard to see out them. We moved at the pace of a quick crawl. The ride only consisted of us moving backwards, passed barns, cornfields and the Red Caboose Motel; stopping and then moving forward returning to the station. We were expecting a little bit more, like maybe a ride around something instead of back and forth. They did play Thomas music during the ride and Mason got to hand the ticket stubs to the conductor. It was short but sweet, and still fun. About all a three year old could handle I think.

We then had some lunch and did some shopping for Thomas merchandise. Mason is all set for his birthday and Christmas. All in all the Thomas, Hero of the Rails Tour was a success. After all we did get our picture taken with Thomas, and that is all that matters right? As I saw all the other little boys having major meltdowns all around us, I was so thankful to have the wonderful kids I do. Tired and ready to be home we packed up and headed out.

Wonder if we will be making the trip next year for Sophie. Girls can be into Thomas too. Only seems inevitable with all the train and car paraphernalia in the house that she'd take after her big brother.

Stay tuned for my post about our trip to the Outer Banks. A lot happened so there is a lot to write about. Also this is the busiest time for us. An event just about every weekend. Keep reading, I promise I'll be up to date soon.
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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Beach here we come

New bathing suit that was too expensive but makes me look hot. Check. Crunches every night so I don't feel so bad about my post baby body. Check. Ready for the beach with two kids under 3 years old. Ummm...check?

Ready or not here we go.

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

three months

I can't believe you are three months old already. How the time seems to fly. Not too much has changed since last month but here are a few thing about you now.

We are so thankful that you are well on your way to sleeping through the night. THANK YOU! Most nights you have seemed to get anywhere between 6-10 hours of sleep. After filling up your tummy with a whopping 40 ounces, you pass out. This usually occurs between 9 and 10pm. We then delicately change your diaper and put you in the sleep sack, being oh so careful not to wake you up. Sometimes we put on the airplane mobile, hand me down from your brother, but you have really gotten into it lately. Daddy is thrilled. Keep it up, you will fit in perfect with this family.

You are growing at increasing speed. Wearing anything from 3 to 12 months. Depending on the clothing brand, some run smaller/bigger than others. Curious, I decided to measure your weight myself. Not realizing you don't see the doctor again until 4 months. Can't wait that long to see if you have doubled your birth weight. You have. Using the rudimentary tool of weighing myself, then again while holding you, and subtracting the two. You weigh 14.5 pounds. That is about two pounds in one month. If you continue at this rate, I might have to research if weight watchers has a program for babies.

Seeing as you are growing out of your clothes at an alarming rate, we are running out of them. Taking advantage of the current sales, I might have gone a little overboard. Of course I had to get the Little Sister outfit to match Mason's Big Brother shirt. Note to self: get picture of them in outfits while on vacation. And those capris...oh and those shorts would look adorable with this top...and yes, something that isn't pink. NOT a big fan of the color, it is disturbing to see an ocean of it in every store. Do they not think girls can where anything other than PINK? However, I have sucked it up because us Seaman woman look good in pink. Ugh. Mason really gets into it, taking after his Mommy I suppose. Constantly running through the aisles and racks of clothes picking out dresses, onesies and exclaiming with such delight, "this is a cute one. Look at this one Mommy." Or if I am holding up an ensemble, "yeah, yeah. That one is soooo cute." Oh how I LOVE IT! The other day he picked out a pink bear lovie, and stated that you HAD to have it. Begging me to bring it home. So it now sits next to the other one in your room. I figure he decided you needed two lovies, just like him.

It is such a joy to hear you react when I, or anyone, talks to you. The cute gurgles, sighs, and other random noises that emerge as you try to "talk" are a welcome relief to your normal ear piercing screams; that honestly could break glass or my ear drums. You are also smiling a lot more. To see your face light up when you see my face is definitely a proud momma moment. You recognize me. Mason is another person who manages to get some of the most precious, big smiles out of you. He has taken his role as Big Brother to heart. Always concerned when you cry. Quick to jump up and comfort you by singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or giving you a hug. Sometimes he is a little too affectionate and I have to remind him to be gentle. It is all out of Love though. My favorite is how excited he gets, when you smile or talk to him. "She's smiling. Mommy look, she's smiling." So proud.

It is amazing how much you resemble your brother at this age. So much, that Mason sees photos of himself as a baby and thinks it is you. I have to correct him, and honestly if I didn't know it as him I probably would have said those photos were of you too.

We continue to work on "tummy time", though I know you aren't getting enough attention to encourage development of these skills. I find it more difficult than I imagined, having two kids at home. Each one competing for my attention. Leaving me feeling as if I am failing as a parent. Unable to properly nourish my children's mind, body and soul. However, I am trying to give myself the benefit of the doubt. Knowing that there is an adjustment period and I'm not sure we have exited that phase just yet. Every day we get closer to a routine and life gets easier.

As nervous as I was about having a girl, you have seriously worked your way into my heart. I look forward to the coming months; when you will learn to sit up, crawl and eat solid food.

Sweet baby girl, know that you are so very much loved.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sorry, I can't sell this to you. What? Really?: Worst Company 2009

I had a recent unfortunate incident at Michaels. That would be Michaels Arts and Crafts store. More specifically the one in Leesburg, Virginia. I used to shop at this store a lot. Mostly when I lived in Leesburg now its either that one or the one is Sterling. Anyway, that is beside the point. The point is I WILL NEVER SHOP MICHAELS EVER AGAIN! (Unless I get some major ass kissing on their part). And the following is the reason why.

My family is getting ready to go to the beach this weekend. In preparation, I have been doing major laundry and lots of shopping for essentials and must haves for the trip. Not being big beach goers, the last time was on our honeymoon four years ago, we don't have some of the obvious. Most notably a sand pail and sand shovels. Why is this important? Because we have a toddler who has recently discovered the wonders of sand and would love to be able to make sand castles, dig in the sand and collect shells. CAN'T DO THAT IF YOU DON'T HAVE A PAIL AND SHOVELS. So this week I ventured on my journey to find them. Realizing that I probably waited to late to shop for summer items, seeing that Halloween and Christmas items are already out in stores, I had hopes I might find something on clearance. After failing at Target I thought, Michaels. They sometimes have things like this in those bins that are usually like $1-$5. So I hoped in the car and drove across the street on the chance they might have something left. And HALLELUJAH they did! I thought I'd just hit the jack pot and our trip was saved. I was the cool mom who found the shovels that seemed to be evading us. So in the cart they went. Little did I know, what was waiting for us at the register.

Totally relieved that I finally found the beach shovels (three to be exact. One spade, one with holes, and one scoop) I placed them at the register. The lady rung them up and then all of a sudden she voids it all out turns to me and says, "I can't sell you these." Uh, whaa,whaa...What? She takes them away to the other side of the counter. I'm looking at her totally confused and just dumbfounded. "Excuse me. Why?" "They are under a certain dollar amount and we have a rule that anything under a certain dollar amount I can't sell to you." WHAT!? I'm thinking at this point that she is just full of shit and making no sense at all. Why would they not sell me something? The shovels were sitting in the freaking bins ready to be bought! She repeats the excuse. And I'm just like, this reason is so bogus. I could understand if the price was wrong and they needed to sell it at a different price. But to say that it's too cheap so I can't sell it to you. That's complete and utter BULL SHIT! Sorry for the foul language but I am PISSED OFF. I have been searching for these damn things and finally find it and she won't sell it to me. I tell her, "If it has to be like $1 a piece or something I'll pay that. I don't care. I WANT THESE SHOVELS." She refuses. "I'm sorry, I can't sell them to you." She then calls the manager, which I'm like THANK GOD someone who will make some sense. But then she flags down another associate and gives her the shovels and tells her to take all the other ones off the shelf before I even get to argue with the manager about selling them to me. She tells me the manager is going to tell me the same thing. She can't sell them to me, but I could try Toys R US. She is sure they would have it. At this point it's been like 20 minutes. The manager is nowhere to be seen, my kids are getting antsy, it's getting late, we've been out all morning. A few more minutes go by and I've had enough waiting. I leave the store. COMPLETELY IRATE.

At this point I've got the kids back in the car and I'm on my iPhone searching for Michaels corporate headquarters phone number. I'm logging a complaint and it ain't gonna be pretty. They would rather lose my business they sell me three beach shovels. HOW FUCKING RIDICULOUS IS THAT? So the rest of the day I am just fuming over this incident. Stupid Bitch. I keep saying over and over as each store I go to in desperation just looks at me like I'm retarded asking for beach stuff. Of course we don't have it, we have Halloween merchandise out now. But you could try..... Yeah, Yeah been there, done that. Hopeless. By the time I get home I am so frustrated, upset, confused and sad for Mason that I just want to cry.

Fred arrives home and I repeat the story to him. He then does what he does best and tracks down the complaint number and then dials it for me. I lodge my complaint. Even the lady at the complaint center has no idea what I'm saying. SEE. IT'S THAT STUPID. YOUR OWN COMPLAINT DEPARTMENT DOESN'T EVEN BELIEVE IT. She says she's filing my complaint with the district manager and he should be giving me a call. Of course I know deep down that he isn't going to call. Because that's just how these corporations are. They could care less about their consumers.

How do I explain to my son that he can't have the shovels because of some STUPID IDIOT lady at the evil corporation called Michaels? He was really disappointed and clearly didn't understand why we couldn't buy them. Though, he didn't have the tantrum I was expecting. He sulked about it, was sad and then carried on in the car about how stupid it was. "And the lady said we couldn't buy them. Why she do that? Stupid lady. Stupid store." That's right buddy. You got your momma's back.

I'm still baffled by the whole thing. Still irate. Still sad. Still fuming. STILL WANTING MY DAMN SHOVELS! So disappointed in the system. It failed. I honestly don't understand the issue. Just let me pay for the damn things and call it a day. Seriously. What was the harm? Now they've lost my business. Being a big scrapbooker (and hoarder of scrapbooking supplies) and crafter, that's a chunk of revenue you ain't gonna be getting anymore. I really should have stopped shopping there after the brilliant minds of the executives decided to close Recollections. A thriving, very active and popular scrapbooking store. Should have known they were stupid back then. Well won't make that mistake twice. Now we are heading to the beach in four days with no shovels for our beach pail.

Thanks Michaels. FOR NOTHING. My review of your company: YOU FAIL. MISERABLY. I know I don't have much clout because I'm not famous like Dooce (check out her blog for her Maytag experience) but I thought I'd try to use the power of Twitter, Facebook and my Blog to reach out to consumers and inform them of really crappy business practices of companies they might frequent. It's all I got and I need some sort of happy ending to this ridiculous story.
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