One New Thing Every Day

From the day I turned 29, I tried to do one new thing a day... it took a few extra months, but I did it! Now I'll post new things randomly as I try them.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

#63 - DirecTV

(Note: again, I missed posting yesterday, so I am posting two new activities today.)
For a while now, we've been unsatisfied with our cable TV service. It's very expensive and the HD picture is terrible (plus it skips). We even bought a separate antenna trying to fix the picture, and that didn't help either. We watch a lot of TV, so this was all problematic. So while I was out this afternoon, the DirecTV guy met my hubby at the house and they installed two boxes for our main TVs. We are now the proud customers of DirecTV and so far I can't say enough good things. When I got home, my hubby was already watching an HD broadcast of the Cowboys football game - and the picture quality was amazing! Plus tonight's game was broadcast on the NFL network, which we didn't receive with our old cable package. This DirecTV is cheaper than the cable was, and we still get the digital music we enjoy (only now it's affiliated with XM satellite radio). A good deal all around, and I think as we play with it more, we'll definitely enjoy it.

#62 - Not wishing to be sick, but...

Our local hospital is awesome! This afternoon I took a tour of the new tower at our local hospital. The new tower is amazing and has some of the most state-of-the-art equipment and facilities anywhere. There aren't any patients in the new tower yet, but I know they'll be starting to move folks over soon. The most exciting thing that could potentially affect me personally was the prospect of remodeling the rooms in the maternity ward. I do hope we'll have another child someday and as good as my experience was last time, it sure would be nicer to have a private room for our family and a pull-out bed for my hubby that was semi-comfortable. Sharing a room last time was not impossible, but it sure was crowded for us all! It was exciting to see all the medical advances and I'm jazzed just thinking about it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

#61 - Getting ready for Christmas

This evening, the little guy (TLG) helped us unpack some of the Christmas decorations and spread them around the house. He was around for this activity last year, but was so little he couldn't really be any help. But tonight, he was actively pulling things out of boxes and checking them out. He was enamored with anything snowman-related (as seen in the photo, with the snowman headband on his head). He also really liked the snowglobe that plays "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and the carolers go around in a circle... but of everything, his absolute favorite is the brand-new Sesame Street carolers featuring Oscar, Cookie Monster and Elmo. They sing two songs and do a little dance. Thanks, Poppy, for making this a part of our newest Christmas decorations!

#60 - Planning pays off

Since I skipped a new thing yesterday, here's a bonus one from today:
Ever since my boss left my organization in the spring, I've been trying to "hold down the fort" as the new powers that be get acclimated. During this time, I've been especially involved with a K-12 program that's near and dear to my heart. Today we had a celebration event at the newest school to participate, and I did all the organizing (invitations, RSVPs, scripting everything, etc.) just like I always do. What made today's event different was that I did it all by myself, without anyone checking over my shoulder. This was very liberating for me, since the event turned out wonderfully and all three of the local TV stations sent news crews! I was so excited that it went so well, and I'm feeling particularly proud that everything went off without a hitch.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

#59 - I feel pretty

Dealing with an-almost-two-year-old who definitely acts like an already-two-year-old stressed me out this evening. So tonight I gave myself a mini-facial using a new facial scrub. I bought a tube of St. Ives Apricot Scrub that I've been saving for just such an occasion. The directions said to "Moisten face, apply with wet fingertips and massage into skin for about one minute. Rinse well and pat dry." Well, one minute is much longer than I usually wash my face, so I timed it to make sure I'd follow the directions properly. The scrub smelled good and once my face dried, it was smooth and soft and ready for a little lotion. *aaaah* I feel a little better now.

#58 - I love a parade

On Saturday, we took TLG to the Santa Parade in Sacramento. This was TLG's first parade experience, and our first time as a family to enjoy this tradition. A distant family member was marching in a high school band, so we went to cheer him on... but it was so much more than just a little parade! It was an hour long, and TLG really seemed to be enthralled with all the fire trucks, horses, marching bands, unicycles, police motorcycles, and everything else. His favorite was the Shriners on their little motorized mini-cars. At the beginning of the parade, he just sat in his stroller, watching passively. About halfway through, he sat forward and started saying "again!" Our whole family enjoyed this tradition and I hope we'll do it again next year.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

#57 - Thanksgiving, Part 2

As noted in the previous post, our little family stayed home today
to celebrate Thanksgiving in quarantine (since TLG is sick). This was the first holiday either of us adults have had without our larger families around. I found today to be a mixed bag: it was nice to have a day with no pressure to do anything - especially with a sick kiddo to worry about (he got up extremely early this morning and then slept a good portion of mid-day). I did get to do some of my favorite Thanksgiving things: watch the Macy's parade, take a nap, eat yummy food. But I missed the chaos of being with family and celebrating the holiday together, even if my hubby was adorable and got the living room furniture configured to accomodate Christmast decorations. Here's a photo we took with the timer on the camera and TLG had just taken a huge bite of mashed potatoes.

#56 - Thanksgiving, Part 1

We were supposed to go out of town for Thanksgiving, but our plans changed at the last minute when TLG got sick. So last night, after TLG went to bed, my hubby and I did a little holiday cooking so we could still try to have festive food today. Here's a photo of me, making my Grandmama's recipe for pumpkin pie. I knew this recipe was a no-bake chiffon type, but had never tried to make it myself that I recall. It looked good when we put it in the refrigerator to chill overnight - though I'll admit we ate so many delicious foods today that we haven't even tried to eat the pie yet!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

#55 - Lunch with TLG

I wish I had a photo from today's new thing: my hubby and I attended the Thanksgiving feast at the day care with our little guy. They had a huge crowd of people, many of the kids had both parents in attendance. TLG was a little overwhelmed with the number of people there, and he was clingy during the whole time. The food was tasty (and there was plenty to go around). It was nice to see the other kids and interact with some of their parents, and I am constantly amazed with the activities our day care has provided for the parents and families.

Monday, November 19, 2007

#54 - Elf Yourself

Office Max has a great holiday-themed website at that I discovered today. You upload photos of yourself (and either 3 other people, or you can get random faces) and the little elfs dance around to some Christmas music. It was so cute, I e-mailed it to some family members when I was done. I'm starting to get into the holiday spirit - after moaning for weeks that this year has gone by too quickly.
(The photo has nothing to do with today's post, but I liked it anyways - it's TLG and I at the park recently.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

#53 - When did "Google" become a noun and a verb?

It's been a few years, at least, since Google became a noun and a verb. In my line of work, it helps to keep up with the best search engines available, and it occurred to me that it's been a while since I saw what was out there. So what did I do? I went to a search engine and typed in "search engine." Seemed obvious to me. There are a few I've never used, like AltaVista, WebCrawler and HotBot, plus one I'd never even heard of called DogPile. (Where do they come up with these names?) So I typed in my name and city in a few different search engines and compared the results. What do I think? For the most part, the information each brought up about me was an odd mix of new and old internet sites. Plus there are a bunch of other people in our great country with the same name! Interesting to know all these other options, though, and I'll be trying them out at work soon.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

#52 - Veggie delights

Today my little guy and I ate like vegetarians. I didn't actually plan it that way, but as I was thinking over everything we ate today, it just happened. I have a family member who is a vegetarian who would have enjoyed today's meals, I believe:
breakfast: cereal with milk for me, a cereal bar for TLG
lunch: vegetable soup and a cheese quesadilla for me, soup and peaches for TLG
dinner: burritos with vegetarian refried beans, plus mixed tropical fruit cup for TLG
In the meantime, we played in the park, did some great shopping at Lowe's and took a long nap. A very nice day, if I do say so myself.

Friday, November 16, 2007

#51 - The sweet smell of home

Our still-fairly-new house smelled pretty good when we moved in. This could be because my wonderful hubby and his dad spent all day shampooing the carpets throughout, or it could be that the former owners had done something nice to it. Since then, with the three of us and our two dogs, it has lost some of its scent appeal. In an effort to retain some of that special fragrance, I've been using a Bath & Body Wallflower plug-in with the cucumber melon scent for a while now. But it's getting to be closer to the holidays and it started me thinking about what smell reminds me of home at the holiday time. There are lots of choices that people say remind them of the holiday season: pine, cinnamon, apples, pumpkin pie, cranberry, and cookies. Often I like the cranberry scent myself, but when I was buying a holiday-themed Wallflower, I chose the Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin refill instead. I plugged it in as I started to type this, and it already smells good in our office. Mmmm pumpkin pie. I'm looking forward to the holidays with my family!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

#50 - Boo hoo

Today's story is insignificant in the grand scheme of life, more of an observation than a new thing, but here goes: This evening I spent a bunch of time playing with the little guy (TLG), just the two of us. At one point, I was lying on the couch with my eyes closed, pretending to sleep and "snore" (which TLG thinks is hilarious). He was sneaking up on me, as always, so I could open my eyes and say "boo!" We play this game a lot. But tonight, during the course of the game, TLG took the big blanket I was lying under. I pretended to start to cry, and he got very concerned, brought the blanket back, and insisted that I take it. I've never cried in front of TLG before, so I had no idea what he would do, and I assumed he would just ignore me and keep doing his own thing. But TLG melted my heart with that one... he knew I was sad and wanted to help. I know my child is a sensitive type, but I had no idea! He must have inherited that from his daddy. (OK, I'm a softie, so maybe I helped with that gene a little as well.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

#49 - La la la

Tonight I sang (until I almost lost my voice) at an assisted living facility with a group of ladies. (That's me on the far left in this artistic photo.) My band rehearses at a place like this every week, so the new part about this is the singing... I don't remember the last time I sang in performance as an adult. (Sure, I sang at concerts at the University, but I was a student, and that was a totally different type of thing.) We sang mostly old standards like "Do-Re-Mi" and "God Bless America" and projected the words on the wall so people could sing along if they chose. I don't think I'll be doing this again any time soon (and it's a good thing, since I'm really not that great a singer) but it was fun to do something new in performance.

Monday, November 12, 2007

#48 - Ladies who Lunch

Today, the little guy (TLG) and I went out to lunch with an old friend and her one-year-old daughter. We were planning to try a new restaurant named Sup (prounounced "soup") but they were closed for Veterans' Day, so we ended up at my favorite Chinese place instead. TLG has lots of experience with Chinese food (yum!) so I wasn't worried about the food. Most of the time, taking TLG out to eat is a study of multi-tasking at its finest... make him comfortable, get him a snack, order something for everybody, keep him occupied, help him eat. Not to mention trying to keep up on the conversation! And just about always, I have another family member around to help. But today it was just me and him, and we did great. TLG is shy around people he doesn't know, plus we played really hard at home this morning (so he was quiet and hungry, a great time to go out to eat). My friend is always fun to be with, and we had a good time catching up, comparing notes on parenting, and just being out and about.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

#47 - Food, glorious food

Every weekend, we make a long shopping list and get everything we need for the week. Well, it's the time of year when people start having food drives, and our day care is no exception. In the past, of course we've participated in similar drives, but only with what we've had in the pantry already. During today's shopping trip, the little guy (TLG) and I chose a bunch of extra food to donate to the holiday food drive. I wanted to avoid giving just Thanksgiving-related food... I mean, yes, the holiday is important, but people only have one special meal that day and many, many other regular meals leading up to (and after) that. So we chose peanut butter, oatmeal, spaghetti sauce, noodles, potatoes au gratin mixes, and some cans of veggies instead of stuff like cans of cranberry and sweet potatoes. We are very blessed with not having to worry about food, and it feels good to help this time of year. Now, if everyone would remember that people who need food don't JUST worry at holiday time! This is a year-round problem in every community.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

#46 - Cooking with TLG

Tonight the little guy (TLG) helped us make lasagna for dinner. This was our first time having him help with anything cooking-related and it was fun for all of us! My wonderful hubby and TLG got the cheese mixture ready while I worked with the noodles and the sauce. It all turned out delicious and even TLG ate all the lasagna on his plate. My hubby learned at the daddy training the other day that kids of that age like to help with everything, so I think we'll both be more patient and let TLG help with stuff like this more often.

#45 - Stop! Go!

Last night during our nightly run-around-the-kitchen marathon with the little guy (TLG), we were treated to a new game: run-run-run-then-stop and freeze for a few seconds before run-run-run and do it all over again. This small change in our ritual with TLG gave me the giggles and made it a tiny bit easier to catch up with him once in a while. It was almost as cute as TLG singing the Sha-Boom Sha-Boom La-La-La part of the song from the movie Clue. (Don't know what I'm talking about? Rent Clue - it's hysterical.)

I would have posted this yesterday but we had some wonderful guests from out-of-town. Thanks Grammy and Paw-Paw, it was great to have you here!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

#44 - The Daddy Manual

I've read in some humor books about how there should be a manual for becoming a parent. Of course there are plenty of books on parenting theories, but none of them are perfect. And if you want to find opposing views on parenting opinions, you certainly can. Today's new thing wasn't actually something that happened to me directly, but to my wonderful hubby. He attended a daddy training session at our day care. Not really knowing what he was getting into, I anxiously awaited his arrival at home afterwards. Fortunately, my guy took it all in stride, and was eager to share some of his new knowledge. The instructor spent some time discussing discipline problems (like timeouts, which don't work until after a child is 3 or 4), and shyness (apparently, this is genetic!). It sounded like the small group of dads in attendance had some good stuff to talk about... and my hubby even said I was right on target re-directing when the little guy cries. Next time they hold a mommy training class, I hope I get to go!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

#43 - In the airport

I flew to and from Las Vegas for work today, and since I had lots of down time in the airports, I got a lot of reading done. I read an issue of Self magazine, which I'd never seen before. With a name like "Self" and the captions on the cover, I had certain expectations about the types of articles I would find inside. And I'm happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised with some of the content! This issue had lots of stories surrounding cancer (particularly breast cancer, since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month)... some of them were personal stories from cancer survivors who are younger than me. This made me feel very lucky to be healthy - and sparked some conversations with friends and family about what causes cancer? Why can't we find a cure? How can us healthy people avoid getting cancer in the future? Thank you, Self magazine, for a lively debate and an hour's worth of good reading.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

#42 - Taking Charge

When I was in college, I needed some serious tutoring in economics (both micro and macro). I've paid the bills for a long time, but when it comes to managing our finances, I generally let my wonderful hubby take charge. Well, not today! On my lunch break, I met with the banker and took charge of our finances. OK, we had agreed previously what I'd be doing exactly, but it still felt great to be taking charge and getting things done. Take that, economics 101 professor! Ha!

Monday, November 5, 2007

#41 - Photos for the masses

A family member who's been keeping up with my blog gave me today's suggestion: enter a photo contest. You can probably tell that we're a little nutty with a camera around our house, and that's nothing compared to the photo albums we have. So today I e-mailed a photo in to a contest on, where I hope it will be successful. My family member's suggestion was actually to enter a "crazy photo contest" with the photo and caption from my "Bruised ego" blog entry, but I was not able to find a contest where the caption would make a difference (and I have to think that photo on its own, with no explanation, doesn't make much sense). I'll certainly let you know if I hear anything...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

#40 - Watching firsts from up close

Our little guy (TLG) had lots of firsts today which I got to watch up close. We bought him his first pair of sunglasses (which was the highlight of his day, I think). Then we went to the park, where he rode on the big-boy swings for the first time - and they were so low to the ground, when he wanted off, he just hopped off. Amazing. And this evening, he told us he had to go potty, so I swept him off to the bathroom and (lo and behold) he really did! It was a great day to see a lot of development in TLG and I'm so proud of him.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

#39 - It's the great pumpkin!

My pumpkin bread is famous in our family. Not because I make it well, or even make it often. Tonight is only the second time I've ever made it. But as my mom likes to remember, last time I made it in the middle of the night using three different recipes and running out of ingredients half-way through. So when I found a can of pumpkin hiding in the pantry tonight, I decided it was time to try again. My wonderful hubby helped me, and I'm proud to say that this time, we used one recipe and all the correct ingredients to make some yummy pumpkin bread. I love anything pumpkin this time of year - from Starbucks' pumpkin latte to pie at Thanksgiving. The bread is still cooking now, but it's starting to smell delicious. UPDATE: As seen in the photo, the pumpkin bread is edible... but not at all as good as I remember. Wonder what we did last time?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

#38 - Customs

If you've been reading my posts for the past few days, you know how excited I've been to get involved as an official volunteer for Books for After posting a bunch of books as available last weekend, yesterday I heard directly from a soldier in the middle east asking for some of the books. Last night, I packed up two packages of books, candy, and little games - and today I took them to the post office where I had to fill out customs forms and do all the "official" stuff to get boxes sent oversees. I learned some valuable advice for next time regarding the flat-rate priority mail boxes they have (boxes are free and the shipping is $8.95, which is cheaper than the smaller boxes I sent today). I also brought home a bunch of boxes and forms for next time. So if you live near me and you have any spare (used or new) books, CDs, DVDs or games, don't throw them away! I'll take them off your hands for my new venture. It felt good to know someone else will really use the stuff I'm sending. Yay!