Common Mom Rotating Header Image

January, 2012:

COGS

Sooooo, way back in January of 1995, I was in the middle of my 3rd year of college. I’d opted not to play softball for a 3rd season . . . I REALLY wanted to graduate and be finished in 4 years. I was majoring in Accounting. I have no clue what ever possessed me to do that! The first test of the semester was on Cost of Goods Sold. I spent many nights in my fleece pajama pants and slippers studying for this friggin’ test. I just didn’t get it. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I HATED that test. Great teacher, but hated the class and that test in particular. I hated it so much, in fact, that figuring out the COGS changed my life. I went home that day after the test, decided I did NOT want to be an accountant, and set out to find my new major.

It’s weird how when you decide to do something, everything seems to fall in place. In one week, I ran into so many random people that I just happened to need to talk to about what I needed to do next. I ran into an English professor (literally, ran into him while riding my bike on campus). We chatted – about writing and editing, which I was good at. He took me to his office and gave me the name and number of a girl in one of his classes – same age as me, but an English major. Turns out, it was a classmate of mine from high school! Later that day, I ran into another high school classmate I hadn’t seen in years. We started chatting, and he mentioned the same girl, totally out of the blue! Total sign! So I  called her. We chatted about her major – English with emphasis in Technical Writing. Sounded right up my alley!

I was so excited that the next day I made an appointment with my counselor and told him I was changing my major from Accounting to English/Technical Writing. He highly suggested I not do that because it would put back my graduation at least a year since I was already half way through my junior year. I didn’t care. That was how much I hated accounting at the moment. We looked at my transcript and it turned out I liked English so much that I had taken enough electives and was very close to being able to have that as a second major anyway! So he said OK. Then he asked what my minor would be. I said “Um, accounting since I’ve already completed all the requirements for that.” He said that wasn’t possible because accounting was not an approved minor for english majors. Um, WHAT?!

I said I thought that was stupid and convinced him that it was a great minor for an English major . . . who wanted to finish in 4 years and not stick around any longer than she had to. Turned out I had to convince the English professor that it was acceptable. After a few days of chatting and convincing and presenting arguments to the English dude, he agreed and sent his blessing to the head of the English department – who said no. So I went to Mr. Head of the English department and had to convince all over again. It worked.

Three weeks after COGS made me hate accounting, I was an English major with an Accounting minor. My accounting professor, my counselor, and my English professor thought I was crazy and wouldn’t get a job with that accounting minor. My English professor even said so . . . “You will have a hard time getting a writing job with an accounting minor. It has nothing to do with writing.”

Turns out, he was wrong. My first job out of college after Hubby and I moved to Colorado? Writing user guides for accounting software :-) A big fat I Told You So came out of my mouth!

After many years enjoying my job writing user guides and online help for accounting software, I am now self-employed, working with Hubby for our two businesses. And precisely 17 years after COGS made me hate accounting and change my life, guess what I got to do last week . . .

Taxes. For our company. Which sells books and posters. Which are inventory. Which means I had to reconcile the COGS. I may or may not have been wearing fleece pajama pants and slippers at the time.

Ringing In The New Year

This year, New Year’s Eve was quite different for us! Princess got invited to a birthday party sleepover, so we figured why not have Dude invite some buddies over for a little party of his own. He asked 4 of his buddies, they said yes, and the party was on! We decided that instead of just toasting our own midnight, we’d toast midnight in different time zones starting at 6:00 p.m. our time. Dude and I MAY have gone a little overboard at Party City getting party favors for each celebration 😉 We got our table all laid out ahead of time :-)

01-hats

 

The boys had fun hanging out while we waited for 6:00 p.m. to arrive. You can probably figure out that five 11-year old boys had no trouble entertaining themselves with 60 helium balloons :-)

02-party

 

Throughout the evening, Hubby and I entertained ourselves upstairs with margaritas and games! We played games and had fun until it was time to go downstairs each hour to toast with the boys. Our first toast at 6:00 p.m. was to help the island of Azores ring in the new year. Happy New Year Azores!!!

03-azores

 

After ringing in the New Year with the Azorians, the boys headed upstairs to make their own pizzas and have some dinner before heading back down just in time help all the fishes in the Atlantic Ocean ring in the new year with blue sparkly party hats. Happy New Year Ocean!

04-ocean

 

8:00 arrived and the boys helped the folks in Greenland ring in the new year with green bowler hats – yes we know Greenland is covered in snow, but the green hats were super fun. Happy New Year Greenland!

05a-greenland

 

After some yummy popcorn to keep them going, the boys helped Bermuda ring in the new year in colorful sparkly hats at 9:00 p.m. Happy New Year Bermuda!

06-bermuda

 

10:00 p.m. arrived, and the boys helped New York ring in the new year with sparkly, and very fashionable, 2012 glasses. Happy New Year New York!

07-new-york

 

After snacking on a bowl full of chips, crackers, and fruit leather, the boys were ready to help MN ring in the new year in snow white hats at 11:00 p.m. Happy New Year Minnesota!

08-mn

 

After a night of celebrating with other countries and time zones, it was finally our turn! We turned on the TV and watched the countdown in Times Square. Just before midnight, Hubby and I grabbed our giant glasses of champagne . . .

10-dj-happy-new-year

 

. . . made sure the boys were wearing their Happy New Year Colorado hats . . .

09-colorado

 

. . . and filled the boys’ giant cups with yet another flavor of kid champagne.

10 . . . 9 . . . 8 . . . 7 . . . 6 . . . 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . Happy New Year!!!

10-happy-new-year

 

We hope you all had as much fun ringing in the new year as we did. Best wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy, prosperous 2012!

Work At Homies (WAH!) Christmas Party

My good friend, MS, and I were out with the girls one night in early December. They were all talking about their company Christmas parties and where they were and what they’d done and all that jazz. We both just looked at each other with a little frown because we work at home and don’t get company Christmas parties. The conversation went something like this . . .

MS: That’s one thing that kinda sucks about both me and my Hubby working at home – no company Christmas party.
Me: Ya. Us too. Hey – we should have a work at home Christmas party!
MS: We totally should!

And that was the end of it . . . until the next day when MS emailed me with an idea. We’d actually do it! Have a WAH Christmas party and rent a limo to take us and our families around to look at Christmas lights. LOVE IT! We scheduled for Friday, December 23rd and couldn’t WAIT for the evening to come! Another family with both adults working at home joined us, so there were 12 of us in all – 6 adults and 6 kiddos – fun fun fun!

We started at our house for appetizer dinner before heading to the local grocery store to meet up with the limo. He was going to pick us up at our house, but we got too much snow and he couldn’t make it up the hill. That was OK, though! We told the kiddos we were going to stop at the grocery store to get some snacks before heading out to look at lights. Then we walked over the limo and told them to ask the guy if maybe they could take a peek inside. Of course he said sure – so they all piled in. Then we said to ask him who he was driving. He said nobody. So they asked if maybe he could drive us around – and of course he said yes :-) So we all piled inside the Excursion Limo for our ride!

The guys took seats in the back . . . away from the kiddos . . . smart people 😉

limo02

 

Next were the Mommies in the middle.

limo01

 

And the kiddos took the front, nearest the glass window that separates them and the driver.

limo03

 

We had to load them all up with kid champagne so they could toast their good fortune of having parents that work at home :-) The driver said he was going to leave the window down to help with air circulation. I said he might regret that decision. About 5 minutes into the ride, the phone rang behind me in the car. It was the driver. All he said was “Ahhhhh. Now I see what you mean!” And he rolled the window up 😉

All the kiddos had a great time drinking more kid champagne than they could’ve imagined having in one evening! Dude isn’t a big kid champagne drinker, but I think the location and mood set the tone for him to down a few glasses.

limo04

 

This picture makes me laugh; however, I think maybe I should be scared instead . . . my Princess having way too much fun in the back of a limo 😉

limo05

 

We got to see some awesome Christmas light displays. The driver took us around to see all the houses that won awards in the this year’s Gazette judging. Then we headed down to the Broadmoor area to see the awesome lights down there. About half way through our ride, there was a really loud buzzing sound. The driver stopped the car and came back and said “Here’s the deal . . .” – at that point Dude got this really worried look on his face, like he thought they were in trouble for being too loud! He was relieved when the driver said “. . . we’re losing the generator and the backup battery.” He told us he was going to get us to the Broadmoor where we’d meet another limo to finish our ride. Right when we got to a spot where we could stop, everything went completely dark and the limo died! The replacement limo showed up just in time. The kiddos got in and were AMAZED! The driver of our limo (who was the owner) said he called it the Party Bus – and we could see why! It was an Escalade Limo and very tricked out. There were TV screens and color changing lights and mirrors on the ceiling, floor, and sidewalls where the bars were.

The girls immediately took a place together on the back bench seat.

limo06

That thing above Princess’s head? A disco ball. Yup – an actual disco ball that was turned on when we got in; however, to avoid seizures, we turned it off 😉

We enjoyed the rest of our ride, and Dude made the most of his opportunity to surf the limo…

limo07

 

It’s not very often they get to be in moving vehicles without wearing seatbelts!

Princess had enough and passed out on the back seat. That girl can fall asleep anywhere!

limo08

 

12 years from the time this photo was taken, she will have just turned 21. If all goes as planned, me, QT, Princess, and some of her closest friends will be celebrating in Vegas. A glimpse into the future, perhaps?

All in all, we had a wonderful night. Good friends, yummy food, fun times in a limo, and wonderful Christmas lights to see all together. We’ll write it down as a successful first WAH Christmas party and see what we can come up with for next year!

QT Gave Them Snowshoes For Christmas

snowshoes

Sledding

We had a couple good days of snowfall over break, which was awesome! One of the days, I loaded up the kiddos, some neighborhood friends, the dog, and the sleds and took them sledding. 6 people, 5 sleds, and a 75-pound lab in a Highlander is quite a sight to see! I love this photo of all of them on the way up the hill.

01

 

Princess had a great time, as did Duma. I think this picture looks like Duma is going to be a sled dog!

02

 

When Princess took off down the hill, Duma was NOT going to be left behind!

03

 

Princess was VERY displeased with the white-wash she got on the way down in all the powder! I had to laugh because she had snow packed under her glasses!

04

 

She was smiling as she took a break on her way back up the hill, though :-)

05

 

Dude was all smiles after his first run down the hill.

06

 

It didn’t take the boys long to find the perfect place to build a jump! They had a blast flying over it and trying to stay on their sleds – or not.

07

08

09

10

11

12

 

All in all, a great day! After a couple hours of sledding, we finished with lunch at Subway before heading home so I could do some work and the kiddos could go play some more.

American Girl

For Princess’s 9th birthday this year, we decided to surprise her with a trip to a store she’s been wanting to go to for – like – EVER! I’ve been avoiding it because it’s expensive. She accepted that the answer would be “no” whenever she asked. She really never asked because she knew it was expensive. So, on her birthday, we drove to Denver. She got a ride on Hubby’s shoulders through the parking lot so she could cover her eyes . . .

01-dads-shoulders-2

 

When it was time, Dude told her to open her eyes. She was speechless when she saw that we were HERE!

001storesign

 

If you’ve never been to an American Girl doll store, you have to go just to see it. There are a bazillion dolls and “things” for them. You can go for the original dolls, which were created to “commemorate” America. There’s a Native American doll complete with tepee, Victorian dolls, cowgirl dolls, etc. Or you can go off the board for the newer dolls and get one that looks just like you. I thought we’d be in that store forever while Princess made her decision! To my surprise, it took about 5 minutes to pick out the doll that matched her closest . . . pale skin, should-length chestnut hair with layered bangs, blue eyes – mine and Hubby’s gift to her. Then it was off to find an outfit for “Rebecca” – Princess was convinced she wanted the Fancy Riding Outfit . . .

 

. . . and was totally bummed when they were out of stock! She really wanted the outfit, but also really wanted Rebecca to go home with an outfit other than the one she came with. So she looked around a while. To my surprise (and slight disappointment) she was not at all interested in the skier outfit . . .

 

. . . which I thought was totally cute!!! She ended up going for the Fancy Dress (no surprise!). Of course she needed fancy earrings to go with her dress, so we bought a pack of those; however, the lady at the counter failed to mention that Rebecca needed pierced ears to wear them! So, a week later we went back up to the store to get Rebecca’s ears pierced . . . um yes, there is a doll salon where you can get your doll’s ears pierced or get her hair styled. No – not joking!

Anyhoo – back to her special day! After picking out the earrings, she found some glasses for Rebecca.

03-store-glasses-for-rebecca

 

Princess was so excited to get Rebecca home and get her in her new clothes :-)

07-k-and-rebecca-3

Princess did end up getting an American Girl gift card for her birthday, so she went online and bought the fancy riding outfit. Hubby and I had decided to secretly order the also out of stock Chestnut Horse for her for a Christmas gift . . .

 

She was totally excited when she saw it and had to get Rebecca on her right away :-)

All in all it was a fun experience – and enlightening. It’s amazing all the stuff you can get for your American Girl! If you have braces you can get headgear:

Or you can get a cast and crutches, which also comes with a finger splint and ice pack . . .

The choices are endless! Baby grand pianos that actually play music. Flutes. Violins. Snorkeling gear. Snow shoes. Sports outfits. You name it, they have it.

We’ll try to avoid actually entering the store again any time soon – but I must admit, it was fun! And it was even more fun to see how excited Princess was about her surprise :-)

They’re All So Pretty!

One of the many many things I love about my Princess is how she sees everything as pretty and wants to make sure whenever she gives something to someone, it’s the perfect “one” for them.

Last week, Princess had written her last thank you for Christmas and birthday gifts to her BFF that lives a ways away so she doesn’t see her often. She came down to my office to get Rylie’s address so she could address the envelope. Then she took the roll of return address labels and had to find the perfect color for Rylie.

Then she took the book of stamps (does anyone call them a book anymore???) . . . and stared at them. I said “Oh just choose a stamp already!” She looked at me and said “But Mom, they’re all just so pretty! I need to pick the perfect one for Rylie!” These are the stamps she had to choose from . . .

stamps

She got to the point where she chose the red one and the blue one with squiggles on it. I told her she had to pick one. She said she couldn’t. So I let her put two stamps on the letter so it would be perfect for Rylie :-) She also wrote “BF” above “forever” on each of the stamps 😉 I’m sure the USPS loved that – but I don’t care . . . my Princess is so sweet and loving that I couldn’t tell her No.

Resolutions

Some people make them, some don’t.

Some people keep them, some don’t.

I made TWO this year.

The first one, Hubby shook his head in agreement when I told him. To be more efficient. I’ve found that since I’ve been working at home, I haven’t been as efficient as I usually am at work. I do the projects and tasks that Hubby assigns me for my actual job for our bigger business. And I keep up with our little business, shipping books and posters, keeping track of the accounting, and doing the taxes. I’ve been staying very involved with volunteer stuff like Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Little League (which is starting soon!).

But I’ve also taken a “work” break. I’ve been messing around a bit, you could say. I blame part of it on the holidays . . . lots of kid stuff, lots of shopping and all that jazz. When I’d usually make a list and find one evening to go run a bunch of errands . . . it’s turned into if I need something, I go get it. Probably just to get out of the house. But mostly because I Can! I’ve never had a job where I didn’t have to go to the office every day. And I’ve quite taken advantage of my “freedom” this season. It’s also been great being home over Christmas break with the kiddos. We’ve been able to go sledding and swimming and snowboarding and just hang out and play games or do whatever. I like that.

But, I also need to get back on the wagon and start working more and being more efficient with my time. Especially if I get this contract from my previous previous employer. It’s probably 50-50 right now. If I get it, I’ll be way busy until June. If I don’t, I’m OK with that and will be able to catch up on a lot of stuff around here.

So far – I’m doing awesome :-) January 1 I was way efficient at sleeping in until 9:00 then getting the kiddos ready to go for our overnight at the hotel before snowboarding with some friends on January 2. On January 2 we were extremely efficient, using every bit of our awesome nice fun day to have a blast with some great friends on the slopes. On January 3, I was way efficient, getting all of the tax year end stuff finished and ready to go as best I could without Hubby’s direction . . . got the kiddos to swim team and scouts and all that jazz, and even did 6 loads of laundry. January 4 – no work yet, but I’ve helped Dude and Princess spend their gift cards online before they head back to school on the 5th.

For days 1-4, I’ll call that one a success :-)

Now for resolution number two. To be more of a spectator during Jason’s baseball season. Hubby actually laughed out loud at me when those words came out of my mouth. I want to be involved and still keep score for the team, but I don’t want to coach and I really want to try to stay quieter during the games. I’m an encouraging cheerer, but being a former catcher on competitive teams, I like to talk . . . all. the. time. So I’m REALLY going to make an effort to sit quietly and cheer only when called for :-) We’ll see how that goes . . . registration starts Monday.

How about you? Any resolutions?

Swim Team

Princess had her first swim team practice last night. Swim team at the Y starts on the first Tuesday of each month. They practice twice a week from 5:40-6:30 p.m. and have a meet with the other YMCAs in town on the 3rd Saturday.

She LOVED it! Her new friend, Nayvee, from volleyball is on the swim team, too, so they had fun together. Basically, they get in the pool and swim – the entire time. The coach says “swim 50 meters back stroke” and they go down and back. Then she gives each of them suggestions on improving their stroke, and they do it again. Then she says “swim 50 meters freestyle” and they do. Lather, rinse, repeat. She did 6 total laps!!! Awesome exercise :-)

Princess is the slowest one by quite a bit, but also the only one who hasn’t been on the team for at least 6 months. She got better each lap with the tips the coach gave her, and with practice, she’ll do just fine. But the best part was that she really liked it, and I like that she’s getting awesome comfy in the water while getting a great workout, too. And, I get to sit in the lobby and watch her through the glass, while reading my Nook – or I can go run the track outside when it’s nice. Win win for everyone.

I’ll try to get some photos of Princess at her first swim meet in her cute orange team swim cap.

Happy swimming!

Heartbreakers

Yup – that’s what Princess’s volleyball team voted for a team name. The one boy on the team, Jeremy, was all for it! Although his first choice would’ve been The Fantasticals :-) I volunteered to coach her team again this past fall. When we signed up, I had the dates wrong! I thought it started and ended one week earlier than it did. I also thought the games would be done by noon each day, like past seasons. Turns out, the games were later than usual, and with the one week difference in schedule, we had quite a few scheduling conflicts. We worked through most of them, sometimes in very creative ways, so we only missed two games. i was lucky to have two parents willing to help out a lot!

It was a lot different coaching 3rd and 4th graders this year than the 1st and 2nd graders last year! We had a blast, and I even got a few of the girls serving overhand by the end of the season. Princess improved a lot over last season, which was fun to see. If you check out this team photo, middle row, you’ll see that Princess wasn’t even the smallest one on the team this year!

keira_v_ball

 

I guess this is her year for trying new things since she begged me to sign her up for the swim team after volleyball was over. She took some swimming lessons the past few months and did AWESOME! So now she’s all excited to try swim team, which I’m all for. Stay tuned for more on how 9 year olds actually do a swim team!