We got a creeper, folks!

I was just in my email earlier and noticed I had 10 messages in my Spam box. I tend to check it every couple of days just to make sure something didn't accidentally get sent to it and I noticed an interesting email at the bottom of it.

Curious I clicked inside to

(in case you can't read it, it says:
I am called Jenefer I saw your profile today and found you worthy to be mine as some one whom i can lay on his arms as long as love is concern, caring and teassing you all the night long, If you are interested in knowing more about and for me to send you some pictures of mine my contact thus:(......@yahoo.com)awaiting to hear from you. please contact through my email address because i don't have full access to this site.Loving you forver
Folks, we have a creeper here!

Have you gotten any strange emails?


Inside a Toddler's Brain


I saw this awhile back (like last fall) and didn't quite think it was true. Hubby came across it and posted it on his Facebook the other day, and now that Jay's older and officially a toddler... yep! Too true! LOL...

I think it needs a few modifications for Jay though:
  • In the Acceptable Medicine Center, flavored liquid tylenol needs to be added - the kid gets excited when he sees us coming near him with the oral syringe, like it's his saving grace!
  • Toothbrush can be taken out of the Hygiene Avoidance Ventricle - Jay LOVES getting his teeth brushed!
  • Cartoon Addiction Lobe needs some mention of trains in it as well (as in Thomas and his friends).
The rest of it... yep! Pretty spot on! 

Love the Muppet Appreciation Lobe - that's pretty spot on, as Elmoo's the only one he really seems to have prolonged interest in (other honorable Muppet mentions go to Grover, Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch).

And the Toy Recognition Cortex... waaaay too true! Kid has more fun with empty boxes and hubby's constantly pulling toys out of his work boots whenever he goes to put them on, not to mention Jay can spend a good bit of time playing with the shoelaces on daddy's sneakers! And recently he's discovered how to open up our trashcan in the kitchen (it has a lid, but there's a button near the front that you push to pop the lid open) and I keep having to rush over and stop him before his toys or burpie and binky get dropped in!

Those of you with regular toddler interaction, what's your thoughts?

Free refund, say what?

Last year I started reading The Millennium Trilogy by Steig Larsson. You know, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series.

Anyways, I read the 1st 2 and watched their Swedish film adaptions on Netflix, but have been waiting for book 3 - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - to come out on paperback as well, since I have the 1st 2 in paperbook and when it comes to my books, unless it's a long awaited continuation in a series and I have to have it the day it's released (ie: the last Harry Potter book or every Sookie Stackhouse book since #8 or the last 2 Hunger Games books) I prefer to keep them in the same format and size so they look nice on the bookshelves.

Last summer the kind clerk at Borders (before they announced they were going out of business) looked it up for me and said that it appeared to be coming out in March 2012. It was a long ways off, but I figured I could wait to read the conclusion to Lizabeth Salander since I had a few other long books to read in the meantime (*cough*gameofthrones*cough*). So last month I noticed on Amazon they had the paperbook I had been waiting for available for pre-order. Wanting to take advantage of their pre-order guarantee (if the price drops after you ordered it they'll give you the lowest price) I went ahead and ordered it.

And it arrived last Friday.

And I was disappointed.

Here's why:

Um, yeah... that's thinner, taller and overall larger than the previous 2... not nice!

Before starting the return process with Amazon, I decided to see if Walmart or somewhere in town had the actual version I wanted since according to online, it exists! When we made our weekly trip to stock up on groceries we're low on and whatever other random things we needed I picked up what I *thought* was the same size as the other 2 (hey, the other 2 in paperback were sitting right next to it on the shelf in the store!)

Only to get home and see...

It's still taller, but not *as* bad as the other one. I guess I can live with it. I checked Target while I was there the other day and apparently they changed the size of the paperbacks - as the other ones in Target were just as big as this 3rd one I picked up. Kinda strange... oh well.

So anyways, I go to start the return process on Amazon for the other one, I select that the item wasn't as described and left a comment that I thought I was ordering the same size as the other 2 but apparently not as I didn't realize multiple paperback sizes were being released on the same day.

I click "submit" and this screen pops up with a pop-up in the center saying the exact same thing!

How awesome is that?! No need to return - just keep it, on us! So that's cool and all - hubby says it's probably because I've been ordering a lot off Amazon the past few months - but, um... what am I going to do with a 2nd copy of this book, in a format size that I don't want?

I know my aunt's been waiting for me to get it so she can borrow it after me and finish the series also (she borrowed the 1st 2 books from friends)... maybe I'll just give it to her...? Guess I'll see!


Phone Photo Fun Mondays - 02.27.12

It's Monday!

Bridesmaid dresses arrived! I noticed that the size I actually needed was online again though, so instead of taking it in majorly we just ordered the other one and are sending mine in the picture here back.

Watching The Wiggles - he's been actually sitting and watching TV lately, it's a bit odd - before it's always just been background noise with him occasionally tuning in when he recognizes certain characters or songs, but not anymore!

Toddling along with my parents and sister's dogs' Corona bottle squeak toy!

Thanks to Nina and Star on Sprout's Goodnight Show, Jay's learned about putting toys away... only he puts them all in his playpen! LOL... I guess it's a start though!

Hubby took this one and it's his current Twitter avatar - it cracks me up every time I look at it! LOL

"Mommy... I see you taking pictures again!"

He stopped playing with the toy for a second and was glued to Thomas and Friends on the TV. He LOVES that show!

Tiger perched herself up there tonight. Silly kitty!


Go the F- to Sleep... now in song!

Awhile back, I'm sure you heard there was a new audiobook available, read by Samuel L. Jackson titled "Go the F*** to Sleep!" It's in bedtime book rhyme and tells the tale of a parent frustrated and about to lose it as their child just won't go to bed, coming up with various excuses and stalling...

Not gonna lie, it's pretty funny!

And I did use a free audiobook coupon just to hear it on Audible.com when it first came out.

A friend of mine posted on my Facebook the other day this YouTube video - someone put the audiobook to song! And it's just as good! And free!

Warning - it's NSFW, so you might want to use headphones!



Jaydran Lately

Don't worry, that's a dog toy!
Jay's been quite amusing lately!

He keeps showing his intelligence and he's only 12 months old.

A few weeks ago, hubby was making bacon and eggs at the stove. Jay's seen me make scrambled eggs there for breakfast a handful of times. He got one of the kitchen chairs, pushed it over to the stove next to hubby and then proceeded to try and figure out how to climb up on the chair, like he wanted to help daddy cook!

Speaking of the chairs, he's CONSTANTLY rearranging my kitchen chairs, pulling, pushing and dragging them all around the kitchen! I just don't understand why, lol...

He's also surprised hubby twice now with his communication skills.

Last week, hubby was laying on the couch doing his thing while Jay played with his toys in the family room. Jay walks up to hubby and gives him a smack to get his attention. Hubby's like "Uh... what?" Jay looks at him and starts walking toward the hallway to the bedrooms. So hubby gets up and follows Jay to his bedroom and opens the door for him and turns on the light. Jay walks over to his dresser/changing table and just kinda looks up at hubby like "uh... you gonna change me, daddy?" Sure enough, hubby picks him up, checks his diaper and he's got a stinky one!

And then just the other day, again, hubby's laying on the couch, Jay is playing with his toys. Jay walks up to hubby and just kinda stares him down. Hubby's all "What? Do you want something?" Jay looks at him and then starts walking towards the hallway again. Hubby gets up to follow him, again following Jay to his room and opening the door and turning on the light for him. This time though Jay walks over to the nightstand, picks up "Goodnight Moon" and walks over to hubby, handing the book to him and then kinda looking at him like "uh, daddy... you gonna read that to me or what?" Hubby was a bit taken back, asking Jay if he wanted daddy to read to him and then I guess they sat down together, Jay sat and listened as daddy read the whole book to him! Unless it's "Skippyjon Jones Up & Down" or some other title you can make interactive I can't get him to sit still and listen to a whole story!

Speaking of Skippyjon Jones... the "Up & Down" book is apparently his favorite - he's always bringing it to me throughout the week to read it to him and then I have to read it several times in a row. He likes how I move the book around as I read "Up and down, back and forth, near and far..." etc.

Jay putting his toys away... in the Pack n Play, lol...
He also picked up the bulk of his toys in the family room... only to put them away in the Pack n Play, lol... but hey, I guess that's a start! It is pretty funny though that there's now a mound of toys in there and no room for him, lol... wonder how he plans on getting to them in the morning when he wants to play!

By the way, he LOVES Thomas the Train - Thomas has succeeded Super Why for favorite show (although he still enjoys Super Why), but you put Thomas on and he's glued to the TV for an entire 5-10 minute episode. And if it's one with the "Engine Rollcall" song at the beginning and end... he gets sooooo excited hearing the song! You can bet I got him a couple Thomas DVDs for times it's not on Sprout and I need to keep him occupied and not missing mommy so I can get ready or just get a break. He likes rolling his mini plush Thomas and Percy trains across my coffee table too!

He was quite taken with
watching The Wiggles
He also enjoys The Wiggles and I don't know if it's good or bad... but we've noticed him watching the commercials quite a bit! Like, he's glued to the TV during commercial breaks and aside from The Lorax previews, Dreamlite Pillow Pet and Chuck E. Cheese birthday party ads, they're all for like cleaning products, the Sleep Number Bed, home fragrances, or As Seen On TV ads, lol...

We also have frequent Tickle Monster moments, as Jay's become quite ticklish in several spots (most notably his feet, belly and sides - the kid is doomed when the Tickle Monster comes to play! lol...).

Poor little guy is having major teething pains the last few days though - hubby and I noticed at dinner the other night that he has FIVE teeth trying to break through! He already has 8 (the 4 middle on top and bottom) and now he's got 1 coming through on each side, top and bottom, with an extra on side on the top! It looks like tonight the bottom left finally broke through the skin, as I saw it while brushing his teeth tonight. He was in so much pain tonight though... I couldn't tell if it was constipation or teething pains, but poor baby... he just wanted to lie on the floor with binky and burpy and scream and cry... nothing we did to comfort him seemed to work. He also had some sharp pain this morning too while he was playing with his cars or magnets in the kitchen - he let out a scream and literally came running to me! I've never seen go that fast on his 2 feet! Poor baby... I gave him some Tylenol and we snuggled and he seemed to feel a little better.

And that's Jay as of lately.


Boob Tube Babble 02.24.12

I missed the last few weeks (just been too busy to get the posts up!), but I'm back! And linking up for Boob Tube Babble once again!

Boob Tube Babble

Once Upon a Time
Two weeks ago was the Beauty and the Beast episode... not sure how I feel about Rumple being the Beast, but it was an interesting take on it. And you can totally tell Disney owns ABC and has some input on the show, as they specifically used Belle and Gaston in this various of the story. And omg! The end, with Regina asking Mr. Gold who he *really* is... I knew it!! I knew he knew all along! I think with her... she didn't start realizing it until the episode where she took care of the Huntsman. Should be interesting to see what happens though now that they both know they know! Obviously Regina's going to great lengths to prevent the others from realizing, while it seems Mr. Gold/Rumple seems to be helping Emma and the others work things out for themselves...

And this week's episode - Whatever Happened to Fredrick? - it was pretty interesting. And with Kathryn leaving David and moving forward on her own... only to disappear at the Storybrooke city limits... wonder what happened to her, as she was going to Boston however no one from Storybrooke ever leaves! I do hope Mary-Margret gives David another chance though, as we know they're really Snow White and Prince Charming and met to be together. Sucks how the town turned on her though after it was revealed that her and David were having an affair while he was still with Kathryn!

"The Walking Dead" on a brown grunge background.The Walking Dead
Soooo glad this one's back! I do agree with people though, it's becoming more of a drama than a zombie show, what with the lack of zombies lately this season... looks like they redeem it next episode though with Rick and Shane battling some while at odds together! Looks like we might get to see Shane's true colors that Dale's been warning everyone about! I really hope he backstabs Andrea - girl needs a wake-up call! And for those of you that watch the Talking Dead show afterwards, yeah, I totally would of just left the guy on the spike, maybe putting him out of his misery as a courtesy as those zombies were coming and the dude's leg was impaled on a fence! Clearly the guys he was with weren't good as they were just shooting at everyone and then leaving the rest for dead!

OMG!!! This week's episode! From Krofsky's suicide attempt to the Quinn PSA on texting while driving... talk about squeezing A LOT into one episode! So many messages about anti-bullying, and then seizing the day... I really hope Quinn lives but I have a feeling this might be how they write her character out of the show, since half the cast are seniors this year and will probably just have cameos after this season. So sad! Not a huge fan of the Rachel and Finn getting married plotline... hopefully the news of Quinn postpones it. And Regionals... anyone think it was a bit early for Regionals this season? That's how I knew they would win - they need to have time to do episodes that have them planning for State, etc. It was nice to see Sebastian not being a jerk for once though... I really don't like that guy! And I liked how Blaine went over to the Warblers after the winner was announced - that was nice of him! Can't believe they're making us wait like a month and a half for the next episode though! Oh and I liked how they covered a Halestorm song there in Regionals - I'm liking the next single, which Halestorm released on iTunes right after the episode aired.

New Girlhttp://static-media.fox.com/img/Fox.com/2/28/newgirl_first_look_featurette_series_premiere_640x360_1079196.jpg
I missed part of this episode because of Jay, but it was pretty funny! Nick over-analyzing the cactus, Jess dealing with a bully student in her class, and Schmidt and CeCe... oh too funny! I do kind of like them together though... makes Schmidt seem a bit not so creepy!

The Office
I missed last week's episode so I think I'm a tad off as to the Florida plotline and how Todd Packer came to be there competing with Dwight. Not a fan of Kathy trying to have an affair with Jim but it was pretty funny how he got Dwight to intervene on several occasions! And I'm sooo confused about the Darryl plotline with the chick from the warehouse... I thought he was back together with his wife and then suddenly he's all crazy about the chick from the warehouse, trying to have a relationship with her... what happened to his wife??? I think I missed something somewhere...

Dear David's Bridal...

As I mentioned in my last post, my little sis is getting married in less than 5 weeks.

After having success in finding a wedding dress off the rack at our local David's Bridal, she picked out several bridesmaids dresses for me to come over that night and try one and pick out the one that looked and fit the best.

The sales lady that took over while I was there trying them on was absolutely NO HELP whatsoever.

I'm sure you may have seen my rant on Twitter last week... I swear, this place is the worst in town for wedding stuff as this is now my 2nd (out of 3) times I've had a bad experience with them. The 1st bad experience was when I was trying on gowns for my own wedding, roughly 4 years ago - I got a super pushy saleslady who kept pushing their heavily marketed dress on me that I knew wasn't "the one" and no matter how many times I told her I didn't think the dress was "it" she still kept insisting on this and that and then proceeded to deck me out in their overpriced accessories that I told her I wasn't buying there either! The woman refused to listen to what I was saying and we eventually left and bought a dress at a smaller, local boutique that I tried on earlier in the day and loved!

This time though... as I said, my sis picked out a few styles for bridesmaid dresses that she wouldn't mind us wearing and wanted me to go with my mom to start trying them on and ruling some out as she was finishing up picking out tuxes and would meet us shortly. Out of the 3 she had picked out, only 1 really seemed to work best (the 1st looked too old lady-ish, and the 3rd was just too tight in the thighs, even when I went up a size). So we go with the 2nd which looked pretty good and go to order them in the color she wanted and the size.

The initial girl that had been helping us up to this point was great and very sweet!

But when we went to order, this older lady took over... and my what a bitch she turned into!

She tells us that this particular dress is discontinued and she can't find it in my size in ANY store. So we ask her if she can tell us which dresses aren't discontinued so we're not wasting our time trying ones on and picking ones that end up being discontinued. She says she doesn't know what dresses are discontinued until she pulls them up on the computer. She points us to the poster with various styles on it and tells us that ones that aren't on sale most likely aren't discontinued and we'd have better luck, but then she goes on to say that the color my sis has chosen is a popular one and we might want to pick a different color. I remind her that I'm only a bridesmaid, not the bride, so that's not my decision to make. Then she starts going on about how 5 weeks is too soon, not enough time to ensure they'll be here with enough time for alterations, etc... um yeah, again, I'm not the bride, what does she expect me to do about it? Bitching to me about the wedding date being so soon isn't my fault!

Frankly, I got sick of her bitchy and condescending attitude she was taking with us.  It was very rude and unwarranted - we were being completely cooperative and understanding of the fact that yes, the color we need is a popular one and yes, we understand the wedding date is very soon. Why she was taking a bitchy and condescending tone with us is beyond me, and was very off-putting.

Jay was with us, as we had hoped to have him try on some baby tuxes that night, so I used his fussing as my excuse to go outside, motioning for my mom to follow me. I told her I really wasn't appreciating the attitude this woman was giving us for no apparent reason and how I would really rather not do business with her. I suggested we go out to the mall and look at formal dresses in the department store there and see if we can't find something that'll work. She agreed and went back in to let them know we would be leaving, apologizing if we were being an inconvenience to anyone.

We found one that might work out at the mall, but decided to look online that night and see if we couldn't find something. Out of sheer curiosity, I went on David's Bridal's website just to see what they had that was available (since the lady was no help with that) and lo and behold! There's the dress that she told us was discontinued! They had all the sizes in it, in the color we needed, except for my size, but my mom said I could easily go up a size and she could just take it in for me, as they had the next size available (something the woman in the store didn't even suggest we do or offer to check!).

We promptly ordered them and guess what! The dresses arrived 5 days later! And the lady claimed we would be cutting it too close to the wedding date... pfft!

My mom and sis are half tempted to go in with one of the dresses and show the lady that "hey look! We got the dresses! In the color and sizes you said we couldn't get them in! And they already arrived!"

I told them I totally would - rub it in her face that her bad attitude cost her a commission (as we would have been purchasing all 4 bridesmaid dresses at once).

So yeah, there's my little David's Bridal rant.

I've only shopped at one other location, with my experience there being neither great nor bad, but our local store, here in Rockford... the customer service for me personally has been terrible 2 out of 3 times now. That's unacceptable.

If you do shop with this company, I recommend trying on in the store, getting your sizes and then ordering online. So much hassle-free ordering off their website!

I JUST looked on their site to get an image of the dress and... it's now available in my size and color! Um... if a dress is discontinued why are they getting more sizes in??? Discontinued my ass...

"Going to the chapel and we're...

...gonna get maaaaaaaaaarrrrried!"

Sorry for the brief hiatus from both here and on Twitter! Things have been a bit hectic this past week for my family.

Last Wednesday night my little sister got engaged. While it was a bit sooner than we had anticipated (last we all knew he was planning on doing it a week or so before he left for Basic in April, as he's going into the Navy), it wasn't really a shock - he had talked to my parents about it awhile ago and my mom knew he had purchased a ring, etc.

What was surprising is that the wedding was set for March 30th. Of this year!

Yes, 6 weeks.

And no, she's not pregnant (we've been assured that there will be no baby from them within the next 9 months!).

The J-man modeling his suit jacket
The reason being is that he's leaving for Basic on April 10th and I guess his mom was looking on some Navy
friends and family support site she's on (as 2 of her 3 sons are going in April) and learned that he could deployed as soon as 8 hours after graduation and that as far as getting a leave to come back for his wedding ceremony (they were originally planning on having it in November), there's been a lot of Navy brides who got screwed over and lost deposits as their beloved wasn't granted the expected leave or it had been revoked/canceled at the last minute. There was also the issue of them getting married military benefits and housing, as until they were married if she wanted to follow him to whatever base he was stationed everything involving her would be out of pocket until they were married and I guess getting married before he goes off just makes that whole process easier and less of a hassle.

So yeah.

Well... Thursday they went to book a chapel and reception hall... and they couldn't get the 30th.

So instead the wedding was bumped up a week, giving us 5 weeks to plan it!

So needless to say, it's been a bit crazy around here this past week!

They did get more done in 2 days than I know some have done in 2 months! They immediately got the chapel and reception hall book, secured a photographer, a DJ, my cake lady, got their wedding rings, tuxes picked out and bridesmaid dresses ordered, as well as invitations picked out.

This past weekend we got the guest list sorted out and invitations printed and put together. I got started on their programs as I'm designing that and I also planned the bachelorette party as well as secured a venue for her bridal shower that I'm throwing as I'm her Matron of Honor (which I also go into quite a fight with my aunt over, as she didn't even give me a chance to ask her if she wanted to help and when I did talk to her about it I specifically asked her to take charge of the food and instead she starts planning everything else when I asked her to wait... needless to say, I'm now planning the shower on my own as she decided to "bow out"). I also started putting together a "bridesmaid survival" kit with a bunch of random stuff to bring with the day of just in case someone needs or forgot something. I've gotten Jay's attire settled too as he's obviously the ring bearer. Today I mailed out the shower and bachelorette party invites as well.

Oh and our bridesmaid dresses already here (in which I'll be posting a David's Bridal rant in my next post!)

So yeah, as you can imagine - things have been a bit crazy around here!

As I mentioned, on top of Matron of Honor duties, I'm also doing quite a bit of design work for them too, including the programs, invitation inserts, eventually the place cards and they asked me to put together a photo slideshow for them to play at the reception as well.

I'm up for suggestions too as far as Bridal Shower games and favor ideas if you have any!

Fortunately I have 10 days off work as we're closing after Saturday for a nice, snazzy complete store remodel! I have to work Sunday and Monday as we're packing everything up that's out on the floor, then we come back 10 days later to unpack it all! But we get nice, new, shiny fixtures and hardware, new flooring, pre-assembled mannequins (one of the things I'm most excited about as I suck at building them the right heights!). So exciting!

Oh and let's not even talk about Valentine's Day... it was a pretty crappy one for me and yeah... I'd rather pretend the day never happened.

Phone Photo Fun Mondays - 02.20.12

A couple days late, but I'll explain why in my next post! =D

Laying on the floor, with a book, looking up at the TV, lol...
And back to "reading" his book
Jay's Valentine's Day shirt
Trying to get a picture of him in his Valentine's Day shirt was a challenge now that he walks/toddles around EVERYWHERE!
Jay's Valentine's Day loot:
Mini Reese's Cups, Snuggle Puppy book and animal crackers in a Valentine's Day box from my parents, We Go Together book, "Hug Me" bear and mini box of chocolates from mommy and daddy.
My husband's Valentine's Day loot:
Bobba Fett plush with candy from Jay, thermal coffee mug with $25 Starbucks gift card plus a mini box of chocolates from me.
Jay modeling his suit jacket that he'll be wearing in my sis's wedding. Smallest I could find without buying an entire suit was a size 2T, which is a tad big on him, but we'll make it work!
Jay with his Aunt B, holding the doggie's Corona bottle squeak toy - he likes playing with that one and we always find it hilarious, lol...
Carrying around the doggie Corona bottle squeak toy again.


I'm Elmo and I Know It!

So this one is a few weeks old, but it's still quite funny and I keep getting it stuck in my head!

Apparently a fan made a Sesame Street parody of LMFAO's "I'm Sexy and I Know It" and turned it into "I'm Elmo and I Know It." Sesame Street Workshop picked up on it and approves and well, it's a hit, and hilarious too I might add!



Taking a moment to reflect...

Not only is today Valentine's Day, but it also marks the 4 year "anniversary" of the tragic shooting at my Alma Mater, Northern Illinois University.

I had just graduated 2 months prior, however I still lived just off campus, had friends and employees still attending there and worked a job where I interacted with the NIU community on a daily basis.

I've mentioned it every year since (feel free to click on February 14 of every year in the archives down the left side of the blog to see past posts), and this year is no different.

To me it's a day of remembrance.

Remembering how the campus and community came together in the wake of the tragedy. Remembering how the building - the very lecture hall I and many others had several gen-ed classes in - was tainted due to the horrific shooting that occurred in it. Wondering why our state is one of the last to allow concealed carry as several of the ROTC students I knew at the time all said that if concealed carry were allowed any ROTC student in the lecture hall could have stopped the killer before he fatally harmed anyone in the time it took for security to arrive. Why our campus? Why our school? Why? He wasn't even a current student there! As far as we know, he didn't even know any of the victims he killed or shot!

Forward together, forward Huskies.

They did recently reopen Cole Hall at the start of this semester, after giving it a $6M facelift and renovating the inside. Like many who were around during the time of the shooting though, I'll admit, I do have mixed feelings about it.


Valentine's Day Swap!

I participated in the Valentine's Day Swap hosted by the lovely ladies Tara, Celia and Meg!

I've been a bit hesitant regarding swaps lately, as I seem to have a 1 in 3 chance of having a crummy partner, but I was blessed this time to be paired up with the wonderful Silvergirl - Brett!

Looking over her blog, she is an older gal, reminding me much of my mother-in-law (which unlike some, I got lucky and happen to have a pretty cool mother-in-law!), as she strives to find affordable fashion and style for women over 45! She also owns Silver Needle Designs which personalizes and monograms a variety of items!

Here's my goodies she sent me (which arrived SUPER early too!):

There's a cute pocket journal/notepad (love the colors!), a Valentine's Day mix CD, some Valentine's Day themed travel tissue (which comes in handy!), some Liplicious vanilla lipgloss (yum!), a personalized RayJ keychain that she made for me via her Silver Needle Designs company, her lovely note, and CHOCOLATE!!!

Not gonna lie, I started munching on the chocolate as soon as I opened it, lol... it was gone before Valentine's Day arrived! (Oops!).

Thank you Brett for being such a great swap partner! I hope you enjoyed your goodies I sent!

Getting my blog "out there"

So many link-ups today!

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/s720x720/308961_10100252625149279_30800316_46816978_1387496932_n.jpgFor those of you that are jumping over from Neely's blog discovery link-up, WELCOME to Point Me to the Sky Above! (and by the way, you rock if you know where I got the title of my blog from =) )

I'm RAY J, as they know me in Blogland. 
I can also be found on Twitter - @RAYJ829.

I've kept a diary of sorts off and on growing up, blogging online for almost a decade - I first started out on Diaryland, switching soon after to Livejournal during the heyday of my college years to using the blog function the now deceased Myspace to eventually making my current home here just over 2 years ago. While I do enjoy seeing my number of followers increase and getting comments is nice and assures me that people are reading what I write, I really just blog to get out my thoughts and opinions and to document things in my life (especially milestones with Jay!) as well as hope that someone may stumble upon my writings and benefit from what I've gone through in regards to certain things.

Speaking of Jay, Jaydran is my recently turned 1 year old baby toddler boy. He was born on February 4th, 2011.

He's had a bit of a rough start in life - 3 weeks after he was born he was diagnosed with Failure to Thrive and spent a week on the pediatric unit of our preferred local hospital hooked up to a feeding tube as he wasn't eating enough to grow. We learned later that they noticed a knot in his umbilical cord after he was delivered which we believe played a part in this problem, as at 28 weeks gestation he was measuring big, yet somewhere between weeks 30 and 35 his growth had significantly decreased and they had me deliver him via induction at 37 weeks, 5 days as they were concerned he had stopped growing. We think his stomach never reached its full size, therefore he was used to eating very little - just enough to survive - and never knew the feeling of being full. The week on the feeding tube stretched his stomach out though, and now, almost a year later, you would never know he had any eating problems as the kid eats like a champ! I can't even sneak a cracker without the kid toddling over, wanting some too! Did I mention the kiddo LOVES Goldfish crackers as well as applesauce? We buy both in bulk, lol...

At 35 weeks gestation they also discovered he had an enlarged left kidney, which continued to be enlarged post-birth. He was diagnosed with hydronephrosis - which I guess is pretty common among baby babies - and after some further testing it was discovered that his blockage is actually a UVJ obstruction, meaning his ureter tube is pinched shut at the bladder and not up at the kidney (which is more common). We were planning on him having to have surgery to unblock it around his 2nd birthday, however at his check-up last week, the fluid in his kidney has significantly decreased, meaning that it appears the blockage might have opened up on its own! His pediatric urology specialist in Milwaukee would like to monitor it a few more times, making sure this isn't just a fluke, before doing further testing to confirm the blockage has opened up on its own (which is very rare!).

Anyways, other than that, Jay's quite an active little guy, making messes of toys all over the house and tormenting our kitty. He's a typical little boy in the sense that he likes Elmo, Thomas the Train and Super Why - a boy superhero that teaches reading. He also likes playing with toy cars that zoom across the floor. He has a Super Mario Bros themed room and had an Elmo and Sesame Street Friends themed 1st birthday party. He was also the cutest little Ewok you've ever seen for his 1st Halloween!

I mentioned Jay likes to "play" with our kitty - Tiger is our almost 3 and a half year old domestic bronze Egyptian Mau that hubby gave me for our 1st Christmas as a married couple. In college, my long-term roommate had gotten a kitty shortly after we moved in our apartment, so for the previous 3 years I was used to having a furball around. When hubby and I got our own place around the time we got married, it was a bit lonely at night, with him working 3rd shift, so he gave in and surprised me with a kitty of my own! Tiger's mellowed out a lot, especially since we got her fixed last summer. She likes tormenting Jay as much as he likes tormenting her though - we have a gate blocking off the open stairs to our basement, she likes to hid on the steps and "encourage" Jay to throw toys at her, jumping out of the way. Jay thinks it's hilarious! She also likes to make him chase her, only to eventually jump over the gate and down the stairs or up somewhere high where he can't get to her!

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/5772_676902769569_30800316_38834512_311971_n.jpgRounding out our family is hubby. As I mentioned last week in the Our Love Story link-up, hubby and I have known each other since 8th grade, going back to December 1997. He usually sat behind me in our small 2nd hour Sunday School class (I was 1 of 2 girls that regularly showed up), and he stopped me afterwards one morning, handing me a folded up piece of paper before quickly running off. I wouldn't have known his name had it not been signed at the end of the love poem he had written me! We eventually became friends over the years, him becoming one of my close friends in college (and one of the few from high school who bothered to keep in touch with me during those years) and eventually 9 years after that 1st introduction the timing was finally right and I gave the guy a chance. Yes, I made him wait 9 years to date me - oops! We got engaged shortly after our 1 year anniversary and got married 8 months later on September 13, 2008. We've had our ups and downs (more so than some couples do, or so it seems), but we try to put the past screw ups and mistakes behind us, focusing on the future instead. It is hard though and marriage takes communicate, that's for sure! Hubby's a hard worker, doing his best to provide for us as he currently works 2 jobs - part-time as a supervisor for UPS (although he's in training to go full-time in the near future) and then full-time as Inventory and Purchasing Manager for a growing, local authorized Verizon Wireless retailer (and yes, we're an Android family - since paying off my $2000 fruity paperweight, the only i-Products that still work in our home are old iPods - feel free to read why I'll never waste money on another i-Laptop again). He is also an aspiring author sticking to the sci-fi and fantasy genres, hoping to have his first major novel published in the near future.

Our recent family photo for our 2011 Christmas card.
Some things about me...
  • I'm a full-time mommy (if you didn't already pick-up on that).
  • I'm from the Northern Illinois area, not too far from Chicago though, and have lived in this area most of my life.
  • I went to good ol' Northern Illinois University and have a bachelor's degree in Art (with an emphasis on Graphic Design). A lot of my art is showcased here.
  • Despite a graphic design background (specifically with print layout, design, and graphics) the economy kinda sucks and my job doing that is kinda defunct at the moment, so I work part-time several days a week for a great national children's clothing retail chain at our mall - as you can imagine, with a constantly growing little guy, my discount comes in handy!
  • I am a Christian, and while I'm nowhere near perfect, I do try my best to set a good example and outwardly reflect Christ in me.
  • Hubby and I are both big Dallas Cowboys fans since we were both kids, despite never living down south. We did take a trek down to Dallas in fall of 2010 though and witnessed in person the Monday Night division rival game against the New York Giants at awesome Cowboys Stadium!
  • I have 2 tattoos.
  • I take part in various swaps around Blogland here, despite getting stuck with the occasional crummy partner.
  • I've regularly been linking up with Savannah and friends for the Monday Phone Photo Fun posts and Neely and Ashley for Boob Tube Babble.
  • I regularly watch Once Upon a Time, The Walking Dead, Glee, New Girl, Community, The Office, Game of Thrones, True Blood, Conan, and a lot of TBS. Sometimes we watch Spike or Comedy Central. We also have PBSkids or Sprout (the 24hr PBSkids channel) on during the day as well.
  • While I do enjoy a GOOD chick flick here and there, I prefer comedies or awesome action movies (Jason Statham = yummy!)
  • As far as music goes, I'm definitely more into rock, metal and industrial, but I also enjoy electronica and techno/dance. Some pop stuff isn't too bad either. I used to go to a lot of rock shows in my high school and college days - Static-X and Powerman5000 are 2 bands I've seen live the most. My 25th birthday was spent in Chicago seeing Nine Inch Nails' last show ever in Chicago - it was pretty epic!
  • I also enjoy reading - usually sticking to the fantasy genre but I do branch out. Right now I'm on book 2 of The Hunger Games trilogy, squeezing it in before the movie comes out. I'm also working on the Game of Thrones books and waiting on Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest to come out in trade paperback format at the end of the month so I can finish that series. I also enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse books as well as the Harry Potter books. I'm sucker for the Chicken Soup for the... Soul books too!
  • And I'm a bit of a gamer. I grew up playing Nintendo and Atari since the age of 4, owning a Sega Genesis, a Playstation, a PS2, a Wii and a PS3. I also got sucked into World of Warcraft during it's early days and continued to play for most of 5 years. I quit playing shortly after Jay was born though, as I didn't login enough to make the $16/month worth it. I have recently started playing Fable: The Lost Chapters though for PC, having briefly tried the original Xbox version back in college and enjoying it. I'd love to play the new Star Wars MMO, however until I can commit to playing a game regularly, I think I'll stick to non-MMOs for now as I can't afford to be paying for something I rarely have time to play.
  • Oh and in case you couldn't tell, I have a bad habit of rambling - oops!

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Phone Photo Fun Mondays - 02.13.12

Another week, another time for...
This week we tested out Jay's new Crayola Window Crayons. I had fun... Jay enjoyed playing with the crayons!
So I opened our box, which I bought last November intending on giving them as present for Jay's birthday, and there's no green, but 2 reds! Yay for Twitter though, I tweeted this photo and Crayola's Customer Affairs rep tweeted me their contact info to get in touch with them regarding my missing window crayon. So I did and they're sending me a $6 coupon good for any Crayola product so I can get a new box - hopefully one with a green marker in it!
My friend was getting a tattoo done at the studio a block from our house so she said she'd stop over when she was done. Her sister has a little girl about a month younger than Jay and wanted to bring her over for a playdate as well, as I guess, like Jay, she doesn't have a lot of interaction with babies/toddlers her age. It was a pretty fun time - she seemed a bit nervous but curious about Jay, keeping her distance most of the time, while he was all "let's play!" It's also amusing how babies have to touch each other's faces and pat each other's heads, lol...
"Look ma! She's my size!"
She's all reserved, he's all "let's go!"
I saw this at Walmart in the dairy section - really?? French onion dip with "Heluva" on it? Guess that's one dip we won't be buying for family gatherings, lol...
It's a little hard to see in the photo, but those are glass replica carbine air rifles full of tequila! We saw these at Sam's Club and thought it was hilarious! Too bad they're almost $50 each though!
Jay really enjoys playing with shoes, particularly ones with laces he can carry all over the house (he hid my sister in law's shoes earlier in the week, then when she found them he proceeded to run off with them to throw them down the stairs, lol...).
Hubby gave Jay crazy hair while taking a bath.