Monday, December 27, 2010

The Day After Christmas - a Blizzard!

This was the beginning of our "day after Christmas" blizzard!  We got about a foot and a half of blowing snow.  The kids played in it for a little bit in the early afternoon yesterday then decided it was too cold!  Smart kids if you ask me!  SweeTart came in and crashed for a 2 hour nap on the couch.  Needless to say, she was up most of the night.  We haven't seen, the Hubs except for spurts of an hour or two when he is trying to catch a rest.  I received an email from him earlier this morning, he is TIRED.

I'm actually still missing SweeTart as she decided to sleep in today.  Nice, right?  Actually, yes it is!  I got to shower this morning!  (Thank goodness for small favors!)  Twink is prepping to have breakfast and DinoBoy can't decide what he wants for breakfast.  I can tell you that the two kidlets that are up have decided that they will be playing outside in the snow today!  I guess that means I will be cleaning up the messes in the living room, the kitchen, drying snow clothes and making hot chocolate.  :-)  Wanna play? 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

It was a very Merry Christmas at our house this year!   Oh wait - our cable is blinking in and out and the girls are now at each other's throats and DinoBoy has been MIA since we returned from our Christmas Dinner at my SIL's house. 

But - it started out wonderfully - although DinoBoy is a Santa Skeptic, he was fantastically excited for Christmas morning and went to bed well last night. Twink?  She decided to stay up all night because she kept hearing funny noises in the house and heard Santa's sleigh bells and hohoho-ing all night long.  Which made our job all the tougher.  SweeTart decided that she didn't buy the stuff that her brother and sister were trying to sell, telling her that Santa would leave her more gifts under the tree if she slept in her own bed - she still bunked with us.  

Luckily, after a long night, the older two didn't get out of bed until just before 7 a.m.  They were so excited after peeking downstairs - SweeTart got a bike! - that they felt the need to try to wake her up.  Not even telling her she got a bike was incentive enough.  They came back down and got her a Rapunzel doll and Maximus the horse (from Tangled) to entice her out of bed so the gift opening could begin. 

All were excited with their gifts.  DinoBoy's expression was priceless when he opened his "special edition" of Xbox360 - Halo (wars?)  All of his friends told him there was no way he was getting "that."  He cannot wait to start making phone calls tomorrow.  Twink is excited about her Dsi and less than excited about her iPod but - I think the excitement will come after she gets a few things downloaded onto it.  SweeTart can't figure out what she likes the best.  She is sitting next to me now, watching Curious George on Nick, looking a little dazed and confused, holding on to her new baby Ariel doll with all she's got.  My sister gave SweeTart  a Weeble Wobble treehouse ('member those??) and some Weeble people.  Its so cute and just like I remember but bigger. 

Hubs was more than generous to me - a beautiful sunburst diamond pendant - so much for "I didn't get you much" and lots of other great stuffs!  I wish we weren't expecting two feet of snow tomorrow into Monday so I could wear my cool, new Margaritaville flops!   I will be fishing out my snow boots from the drawers in the laundry room instead.    Also made plans to return the *great* gift that I got for him - he decided that it wasn't what he wanted - not "green" enough and it's going back.  After the snow, of course. 

My family came over for our traditional brunch at 11:30.  I made our now "traditional" Celebration Strata (was originally in one of those small supermarket checkout aisle cookbooks - for Easter but it is so dang yummy!)   I was happy that my uncle brought my Grandmother over.  She is usually house bound - very, very limited mobility but she put her happy face on and shared the love our house today.  Loads of kids, happiness, screaming and crying all at once. Everyone was gone by 2:15 so that we could head to SILs.   Had a great time there too - my girls had a great time playing with my nieces who are 12 and 15 and DinoBoy had fun playing with my nephew who is just a year older than him.  Before we left, we got surprising news that another of our nephews is expecting with his girlfriend and planning a wedding.  Heard it through the grapevine so we weren't as surprised to hear that as we were to hear that my SIL and her fiance are expecting (my expectant nephew's mother.)  They're due 2 months apart.   Drama, right?  Probably at first but I guess they're all used to the facts now and it's happiness abound!   So happy for them both - can't wait for the babies to arrive safe and sound in the 2nd quarter of 2011.  (PS - a boy and a girl!)  After we all regained consciousness at the dinner table, we shared lots of stories and laughter - it was a lot of fun - a great night and a very merry Christmas!

PS - our local NBC affiliate in Philadelphia is forecasting a local "pocket" around my area of 18-24" of snow.  For real?  During Christmas vacation?  No snow day???  Come on!  I'm going to have to reschedule 5 - yes - FIVE dentist appointments that I have scheduled for Monday afternoon that are already seriously overdue?  What are the chances of my getting all five in a row (or simultaneously) again ... before Easter break?? 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

eBay is so not my forte'!

Over the past few weeks, I've been listing (and even selling some) items on eBay:  Heely shoes in both girl and boy varieties that were "too big" when they were received as gifts, then too small when we decided to let the kidlets have them, an unused brand new, (they sold but weren't paid for does any one want me to overnight them to you for under your tree?), a new, unused toddler bed (that SweeTart refuses to sleep in!), a Pottery Barn Speed Boat Bed that DinoBoy outgrew (sold it right from under him) and most significantly:  the Dune Buggy! 

I've had people not pay for items, not realize that "pick up only in NJ" means that I will not ship it to Michigan, and most significantly:  a dude sent me money through PayPal for the Dune Buggy then hopped in his truck, not really knowing where he was going, to pick this Buggy up... from Wisconsin.  HELLO?  I don't care how good a deal it was or how nice the dune buggy really is ... driving from Wisconsin, blindly, then calling us from Harrisburg wanting to know if he can pick it up that night?  Um, no. 

The dude used "buy it now" to purchase the dune buggy, paypaled the $ over then I heard the distinct sound of crickets chirping when I emailed him after receiving the payment - it kind of went like this:  "dude, i received your payment for the dune buggy.  i need to make sure that you know this is a pick up only item in new jersey.  it appears you're located in Wisconsin - so i just wanted to touch base with you.  please let me know how you wish to proceed.  signed: i have your cash"  I sent this email to the Paypal email address I had for him at 6:36 a.m.  A little early in Wisconsin, I know.  At lunchtime, I still heard nothing until I get a message from my mom that dude called my house to find out my address and to see if he could pick it up before Christmas or after.  He left his number and asked that I call him back.  No problem.  I called back about an hour after he called my house. Left a nice message.  Again.  Crickets.  Four hours go by, I call the number again ... left another message "dude, just wanted to make sure you got my previous message."  Crickets.  I left work, went home, called from there - answering machine.  Again.  I didn't leave a message.  Took Twink to an eye doctor appointment.  Called dude from cell phone in the waiting room, left another message.  Hit "refresh" on my phone.  Received an email, through eBay from the dude.  Wanting to know where his item is.  For real?  It's in freaking NJ dude.  That's where it is.  

I called him immediately.  Guess what?  CRICKETS.  Answering Machine.  Left another message that went like this "are you checking your messages?  i received your email through eBay wanting to know where the item is and it is in NJ.  please call me to discuss."  I no sooner hung up that my phone refreshed, leaving me another message from this dude, again, via eBay.  This one said:  "call me at xxxxxxxxx if you do not, i will report you to eBay."  WTF?  Sorry, my hubs is trying to get me to limit my cursing but in this instance, it just slips out!!  I immediately do two things:  I respond to his email through eBay and I call said number (which is the same number I've been calling all day!!)   Guess what the response that I get is?  Yup, CRICKETS.  The dude does not answer the phone nor does he respond to my email.

We leave the doctor's office, and take DinoBoy to meet Hubs at wrestling practice.  I am fuming.  We are trying to look at the pretty Christmas lights on the way to the school.  SweeTart falls asleep and misses all of the light action.  Twink tries to keep things light when she knows I am steaming because of this "dude."  When we arrive at the school for practice, Hubs is not yet there.  I try to call the dude again.  No answer.  Left another message.  Who is this joker threatening to report me to eBay yet he doesn't respond to one email or phone message that I've left??!!!  When Hubs arrives, I tell him the saga.  He tries calling the dude and leaves a rather unpleasant message telling him that we're going to send back the money that he sent us and cancel this transaction because this is getting a bit CRAZY.  After Hubs and DinoBoy go to practice, the girls and I went home to ... call eBay to figure out how we can get rid of this psycho.  eBay can't do anything .. yet.  After 45 minutes and 2 supervisors, the best I can get out of them was to contact the dude one more time, through eBay's email and give him an entire 24 hours to respond.  If he doesn't respond or responds unfavorably, send a request. 

Move on to the next day (yesterday.)  I still hadn't heard from the dude by lunchtime.  I didn't push the matter as I really just wanted to cancel the transaction, refund his money and move on.  But, the stars were not aligned exactly as I had hoped.  In the afternoon, he again called the house - told my Mom that his phone had died yesterday (no apologies or anything) and indicated he was in Harrisburg, PA and wanted to know if he could pick the dune buggy up that evening.  What?  He went from "contact me or else" to "i'm driving halfway across the country and want to come to visit you?"  Hubs called him back this time and told him that he could pick up the dune buggy from his shop instead of at our house.  Who knows what kind of weirdo this guy is, right?  Why give him access to us at home.  He tells him the address and tells him he can pick it up at 9:00 a.m.  The guy calls back and wants to pick it up earlier - so he tells him it can be picked up at 7 a.m.: take it or leave it.  This is all before 5:00 when Twink needs to be at practice.

Fastfoward to 7:45 p.m. - the phone rings and it is the dude!!!!  WTF - oh no - I cursed again.  When I answered the phone he tells me that he is a little lost but close by.  He proceeds to tell me that he is in a strip mall with a pizza place and is going to spend the night there.  WTF?  (that makes three for this post!)  About 8 miles down the road is a rinky dink motel that the dude can stay at.  What is the name of the pizza joint again?  I have never  heard of it.  I pass the phone to Hubs who wants no part of it!  Ha!  He has no idea where the pizza joint is either and we try to look it up on the internet.  Can't find it anywhere close by (or far away for that matter either!)  Hubs gives him the address of his shop again and determines that he has gone too far south and is probably by Rowan University .. and tells him he'll see him in the morning.

Bright and early this morning, the dude shows up at Hubs' shop.  without a trailer.  He assumed he would be able to throw the dune buggy in the back of his truck and continue on his merry way back to Wisconsin.  Unfortunately, the dune buggy is at least as wide of his truck and much longer than the length of the bed as well.  Now he has to figure out how to rent a trailer.  Luckily for him, there is a Uhaul that has trailer rentals down the street from the shop.  They have to wait 2 hours for the store to open!  He must have gone to the local diner or something - I can't imagine Hubs trying to run his business get his guys out and babysit this dude too!

My story ends with the dude renting a box trailer, having to take the wheels and rear fenders off of the buggy to get it into the trailer.  He didn't want to take the front fenders off - so one of those cracked shoving it into the trailer - (you already bought it buddy!)  And, he's very happy with the deal he got and is well on his way back to Wisconsin as we speak. 

The moral of the story?  If you sell on eBay, do not have your home phone number in your account information .. use your cell phone number.  Once you have a transaction started with someone they can request your information and eBay will automatically send them your name, email address and phone number.  If you have your home phone number on file, the weirdos in the world can do a reverse look up and find you online - they might be able to find you anyway but this just facilitates the process.  Also, if you are expecting to be paid, only sell to users that have a Paypal account and that have had positive feedback.  In my case, dude had a Paypal account but just joined eBay on Sunday!  Zero feedback! 

I have definitely made the suggested changes to my account.  I so do not need any extra drama in my life these days!  But it does make a good story!!  :-)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Our Celia's Journey Winner is ...

True Random Number Generator

Min: 1

Max: 21
Result: 6

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Abitosunshine said .... following on Twitter @abitosunshine!  I'm emailing you now - please respond asap so that we can get the book out to you asap!
Thank you to all who entered! 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Celia's Journey: A Review and Book Giveaway

I have just finished reading a fabulous book, Celia's Journey, the debut novel for author Heather Muzik.   I am fascinated by the book.  It was done in an alternating person narration so we get to hear from several different main characters, and their take on all of the trials and tribulations they all experienced during the timeframe of their story.  It is set in "regular" America - never giving a location - it could be set in my backyard.   This family's story could be my story, your story or the story of the new family on the block.  It reaches out and grabs you from the first chapter and doesn't let you go until Celia's Journey is over .... or is it just beginning?  The only spoiler I will give is that you will need tissues while reading this book!
About Celia's Journey  .....
 ... How long does it take to upend and then transform a family?  To lose yourself and those you most cherish, then redefine yourself - your purpose - your unit? 
 ... In our case it was a journey of 39 weeks.  A journey that began before we even knew it had begun.  It started with a tiny spark of life and grew through death, grief, guilt, despair, frustration, fear, hope, healing and intense love; until we learned to laugh and rejoice and trust that life was worth living again ...

I thoroughly enjoyed Celia's Journey and am happy to let you know that there are three copies of this book to be given away. One via my blog and two via Facebook through the Celia's Journey page.
Let's get to the nitty gritty on my giveaway. The only thing you need to do to enter is be my follower (public follower) via Google Friend Connect and leave a comment letting me know.  Extra entries (not necessary to win, simply increase your odds of winning) are also being offered as follows (remember to leave your email address in your comment or be able to be contacted via GFC so that I don't have to "find" you):
  • Follow CeliasJourney on Twitter and leave me a comment letting me know (one entry)
  • Tweet about this giveaway and leave me a comment letting me know with your Twitter name (tweet once daily for one extra entry daily)
  • Facebook about this giveaway (one entry per day)
  • Friend Celia's Journey on facebook then leave me a comment letting me know (one entry) (let her know I sent you!)
  • Blog about this entry (three entries per blog post) (leave three comments with the link to your post)
My contest will close at 11:59 p.m. EST Sunday, 12/19/10.  The winner will be picked via and notified on Monday, 12/20/10.  The winner will have 48 hours to email me their particulars (real name, address, etc.)  If no answer from the original winner, I will move on to pick another winner - my object is to get this book to you for your own little "holiday" gift.  :-)  And, if you're not my winner, maybe you will be lucky enough to win a copy right from Heather Muzik on Facebook (details are below)  Otherwise, this wonderful book is available currently at Barnes & Noble, (click on the "other sellers" to get a signed, less expensive copy) and a Kindle edition of the book is currently in the works and will be appearing soon!

There are two copies of the book that are going to be given away by the author herself.  The contest will be open through the weekend as well.  Like "Celia's Journey" on facebook and refer your friends to "like" the page as well.  Once you "like" the page and are able to write on the wall, post a comment telling Heather who referred you there.  Have your friends do the same.  The person who has the most referrals on the page will win their very own copy of Celia's Journey.  The winner of the 2nd book is a little trickier - that person will be the first person who confirmed that the winner sent them to Friends of Celia's page.  Get it? If not, leave me a comment and I'll explain it further. 
You can learn more about Heather Muzik at her website,

I think it is leaning ...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

a book review and giveaway next week!

Stay tuned ... I am currently awaiting my very own, signed copy of:

After I receive it, I will be reading an actual, real, paper based book - not Kindle Edition (which is in the works but not available yet!)  Then I will post a review and host a giveaway for your very own, first edition, signed copy of Celia's Journey by Heather Muzik.  This is very exciting stuff!  I cannot wait to get it! 

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Inevitable ...

One of our favorite movies to watch together is The Polar Express.  I love the animation, Tom Hanks and the story line in general ... the magic of Christmas lies in your heart....

In the middle of all of our Christmas madness and just returning from an exhausting trip to Walt Disney World with three kids ages 9, 8 and 2 and my mom, I realized how quickly I lose sight of the magic and the spirit of Christmas.  Not to worry, I'm back in the spirit, having ditched my "bah humbug" attitude when I pulled up to my beautifully decorated home.  It was secretly decorated (on the outside) while I was at work!  The lights are beautiful! They are not only adorning the roof of the house this year, like they have in years past, but on trees and ornamental shrubs/trees, our three dormers and there are even wreaths on each of the windows in the dormers and on our front door.  It is spectacular!  I have a lot of work to do on the inside this weekend, but I'm sure I'll never get the inside as beautiful as the outside! 

The title of my blog post today is: The Inevitable.  DinoBoy and I have had talks about Santa over the years.  To me, it's all the same.  Santa is in our hearts.  He is now 9 ~ and in the 4th grade ~ I knew it was coming but I still haven't admitted it.  He has been in class with boys of the Jewish faith who do not celebrate Christmas, so we've had the "Santa talk" before - if you don't believe, you don't receive.  Hence, his Jewish friend receives no gifts on Christmas.  DinoBoy just told me that there is a boy on his bus, I'll call him ... Bruce ... who is a "non-believer."  I guess he needed to tell me that because we're watching the Polar Express.  I told him again - Christmas is in your heart and if you don't believe, you don't receive. 

We also celebrate Jesus' birth and the spiritual side of Christmas.  All three kidlets have their own nativity sets which come out around now - although SweeTart has been playing with hers throughout the year.  They are respectful about their gifts, as much as any kid can be, I guess and donate to those who have less. 

Do your children celebrate the Magic of Christmas with Santa? 

Guess this post is all over the place ... it's all good ... it's my blog, right?