Dec 17, 2014

An Great On Hold Recording

We've been busy getting ready for the holidays. That's why I have been so MIA. But I do have a funny story to tell you. Last week we were running errands over the course of 2 evenings. On the second night, while at Walgreen's to purchase our Christmas cards my credit card was declined. This has happened a few times due to the fraud protection program. The company flags the card and puts a hold on it when there is unusual activity on. 

While I finished making the purchase with another credit card, Cameron was out in the car waiting for me - and received a call from an unknown 800 number. It was the credit card company calling to check up on our activity and follow up on the suspected fraud. The problem was, Cameron didn't yet know the card had been declined and when he answered, there was no answer. The system is actually automated so he hung up before it recognized the call had been picked up. 

I mentioned to Cameron the card being declined as we drove to the girls daycare to pick them up. While in the middle of pick up, my phone rang. And the automated system got through to me. But I had issues with my phone and the system recognizing my selections while I tried to approve all the transactions. The good news is that there was no fraud. But using the automated system with my phone acting up made it difficult to clear the issue up. We were able to get it to recognize that we wanted to speak to an actual person but just sat on hold. 

Half way home, we hung up and dialed the number on the back of our card. We immediately got a hold of a representative who then said she would transfer us to an actual person in the fraud department. And we sat on hold, again, for quite a while. But this time we were fine with sitting on hold. The messages being played were hilarious! We actually commented on them when we did finally get through to the fraud specialist and cleared up the card hold. 

Here's just some of what we learned: 

The harmonica is the number one purchased instrument

The Beach Boys was originally named Carl & The Passions

It is important to end an interview for employment with the proper follow up questions such as when the company plans to have the position filled and to close with a firm handshake, just as you would start it. 

Something about work physics and being able to pass it along. 

It's important to purchase items made of recycled products

I know there was more, but this is all I can remember right now. As mentioned, we were on hold for a while. But we were cracking up so it was worth the wait!

Dec 5, 2014

Sydney's Big Girl Bed

I was able to grab a picture of the finish line just before I crossed it. Over 30,000 people participated in the 5 & 10Ks that morning and over $900,000 was raised for the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services

Apparently, we don't actually know how to relax. Thanksgiving was exactly spent lounging around the house in our sweatpants all day. Don't get me wrong, the girls never got out of their PJs, and Cameron and I spent the day in sweats, but we weren't exactly sitting around. 
Waiting for the race to start.

Of course, I started the day out with my run. I expected it to be cold, so I came prepared with gloves, ear muffs and a jacket over my long sleeved shirt. By the time I got to Sac State and parked, I decided I really didn't need the gloves. Before the race started, my jacket was off and tied around my waste. After the first mile the ear muffs were off. And by the 5th mile, I kinda wished I was wearing capris instead of pants! Not that I am complaining. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. I just wish the forecast had been a bit more accurate. 

Just after the finish line

And I finally got a mimosa, back at home

And while I passed on several opportunities along the run to grab a Mimosa being handed out by the people that live in the neighborhoods we were running through, I did pour myself one as soon as I got home. And I should have relaxed. Instead I got to work disassembling Sydney's crib. We'd decided that Thanksgiving was the day to set up Sydney's new big girl bed. 

Green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and marinated brussels sprouts. This was only about half of what we had food-wise. Missing is the mashed potatoes, gravy, two types of stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, dinner rolls and pumpkin pies! And yes, it was just the 4 of us.

We figured a long weekend would be best, in case she had a hard time adjusting to the change. What we didn't take into account was that we would need to stop the assembly of the bed midway through to attend to our Thanksgiving dinner. Which meant Sydney didn't have a bed to nap in afterward. We tried to put the girls down for a nap together in London's bed, but that failed miserably. 

We did get the bed put together, minus the drawers that go underneath it, in time for an early bed time. Sydney was so tired, she had no issues crawling into her new bed. She didn't even have an issue with me taking down her crib. Basically, she's never looked back and is loving her new big girl bed. I got the drawers built in under a 1/2 hour a few days later, so it's put together completely now. 

Dec 3, 2014

The Painted Cork

I'll admit I did get into the Christmas spirit a little early this year. Usually I am strict about honoring Turkey day, but about 10 days before Thanksgiving, I broke that rule, for about an hour or two, while my girlfriend, Lynde, and I had a girls night out. We went to one of my favorite places, The Painted Cork, where we enjoyed some wine and wine-appropriate snacks while we followed instructions to make a Christmas Cottage painting over the course of 4 hours. 

It was one of the longer classes I have participated in and we actually stayed an extra 1/2 hour to finish up our paintings as it was one that allowed for a lot of improvisations and creativity. While I wasn't too thrilled with my final version that night, the next morning I was much more satisfied with it. And we only listened to Christmas music for the first half of the class, then the instructor took executive action to change the music we listened to - I got the distinct impression she's not a fan of Christmas music. 

I adhered to my no-Christmas music before Thanksgiving the rest of the way - all the way until Black Friday. 

And as promised, we did head out on Black Friday to get a Christmas tree, which is almost decorated. Still working on the rest of the house as well. We did stop in at Walmart for some random cleaning items, after noon on Black Friday. It was quiet by then and we still scored on some good deals. We purchased small-room electric space heaters with thermostats for the girls' rooms for only $39 each!

That night I headed back out for another session at the Painted Cork with Lynde again. This time our girlfriends Christina, Alyssa, Torie and Amy joined up as well as a few other friends of Torie's. This time we painted a Santa silhouette against a big, full moon. I loved how this one turned out! I placed it on the wall next to our TV so I can look at it all season long for long periods of time - we have Christmas movies going almost non-stop right now when we are home. 

I especially liked my clouds

We also scouted out the painted we will be on the look out to do next year - we're thinking this will be becoming a nice little Christmas tradition for us ladies all while we get to add our creations to our decorations each year. 

Nov 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you are celebrating with your friends and family and eating a ton of yummy food.

I'm starting the day off revving up my metabolism by participating in The Run to Feed the Hungry. It's the largest Thanksgiving day run in the country and benefits the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services. I'll be running in the 10K as the 5K is just too crowded. Even the 10K is a bit crowded the first couple of miles. I enjoy starting my Thanksgiving off like this. This will be my 3rd year participating. And it's gearing up to be a cold one!

After that, Cameron, the girls and I are staying home. I'm sure football will be on and at some point we'll watch the Macy's Day parade that I plan to record. And we're making a full spread for dinner, even though it's just the 4 of us. It definitely will be a little strange not to be with any family and friends and we will miss them, but we decided we really needed a year where we weren't running from one thing to the next for at least one holiday.

We started the countdown to Thanksgiving Day Dinner on Monday night. After picking up my packet for the Run, the girls and I made cornbread for each of their class feasts. Luckily both girls had theirs on Tuesday. And I signed up for cornbread knowing that they could help me out in making it. They each got to make their own, versus sharing the process and taking turns. Sydney did let me crack the eggs. She's not a fan of that task. 

Tuesday night was pie crust making, cranberry sauce and more cornbread. 

And last night I made the pumpkin pie and mashed sweet potatoes, while prepping the Brussels spouts, green bean casserole and stuffing. All that's left for today is the bird, mashed potatoes and gravy, creamed spinach and the whipped cream for the pie. We'll be living off of leftovers for days, especially Turkey, since we got a 20 lb bird. But I love me some cranberry sauce turkey sandwiches and we'll likely make Turkey and dumplings and then adding to whatever is left of that to make some Turkey pot pies. We've gotten very good at using every last bit of Turkey to our benefit. We may even make Turkey broth.

Now it's time to get ready for Christmas! But the only place you will see me on Black Friday is somewhere to get a Christmas tree and then The Painted Cork that evening to enjoy good friends, wine and food while painting a Christmas scene.

Nov 25, 2014

Stick a Fork in it, Sydney's stocking is DONE!

This coming Christmas will be Sydney's 3rd, but her first with her official stocking. I've been working on it since she was a month old. And I was afraid I might not finish it in time for this year's Christmas, which had been my goal. London's 3rd Christmas was also her first Christmas with an official stocking, another Cross-stitch labor of love, that I will have to show in comparison to this one soon (I just need to dig it out of storage, which will happen this weekend!)

I actually completed all the stitching back on the 13th (and celebrated with champagne!) but wasn't able to get to JoAnn's until this weekend to get the backing fabric. It took about an hour to put it all together once the fabric was washed, dried and ironed. 

And guess what?! I'm not done with my cross-stitch stockings. While we are done with kids, Cameron and I picked out designs for our own stockings. I'll be starting his in 2015. Hopefully I get around to mine in 2017! But now it's time to focus on Christmas crafts, cards and gifts. Plus, I have a new toy to play with. Cameron got me a Silhouette Cameo for Christmas - but gave it to me early so I could use it this holiday season!

It's going to come in handy in helping me accomplish my craft goal of 2015 - completing London's Baby book!