Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Catching-up Some - Potty Training

OK - I was looking back over my older blog posts (yeah I've got a few minutes on my hands as I wait for 110M files to save) and I was realizing I hadn't kept up with a few topics.
POTTY Training for one.

Well - except for a few accidents here and there let me just say WE ARE DONE WITH POTTY TRAINING - YAY!

We started trying with ER again over the summer. Actually - HE started going on the potty at school - and WE would praise him when we saw it marked off on his day sheets.

The first week that he had "potty success" almost daily on his sheet - we tried for it over the weekend but he wasn't interested. After the second week of success at school - we tried over the weekend and he did GREAT! And, on Monday morning while getting dressed he asked to wear big boy underwear - so I packed a bag full of extra underwear and pants and off he went to school!

It took about a month more before he had the poopie under control - and many soiled undies - though he was sometimes more civilized and went in his overnight pull-up. But by the time of his third birthday party the accidents were very far and few between!

We're still doing pull-ups overnight, but after our vacation, when the pull-ups run out NO MORE DIAPERS FOR US!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Budget Season

One of the reasons my writing has been so sporadic over the past month is that it is budget season at work. AND to complicate matters we've been working with 4 financial systems.The General Ledger system (PeopleSoft) and three management reporting systems: Hyperion Essbase which we went live on in August and have been Parallelling since then; Khalix - which my group has been using for several years and are looking forward to moving off of; and Hyperion Enterprise which the folks in the Corporate Reporting department have been using for MANY years and are looking forward to moving off of.

Managing the data flowing between the systems, the what/where/when, has depended on me for 3 years now. One of my reasons for looking forward to the new system is that ALL of the reporting would come from it and my job of manipulating the data from system to system would become less involved.

Unfortunately complete adoption of the new system did not happen in time for the beginning of the budget season. This meant frantic creation of processes to move data from the new system ( which we were using for budget) to the old systems ( which corporate was still using).

It also meant that many nights I had to come home, feed the family, get the kids to bed and then log back on and do work until 10 or 11. AND it also meant that my Holiday (Halloween) and VACATION days were interrupted by work calls several times and that I had to work from 8pm to 2AM on the last vacation day - HALLOWEEN - due to a last-minute budget call due Nov 1.

Thankfully over the past week - things HAVE calmed down a bit...Corporate is now using the new system...and I'll be trying to play catch-up with blogging.....except that, well, I go on my first REAL vacation in 5 years in 4 days!


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Samhain 07

Since Halloween fell on Wednesday this year, and the boys are still little enough to be pretty cranky if you try to let them stay up late....especially if its a mostly adult thing they're staying up for....we celebrated Samhain on Sunday.

This year's group was back down to "the usual" friends/family- a gathering of 9 including the kids. Not the extended group we had experimented with last year. It had just gotten too crazy.

Samhain is one holiday I have maintained tradition with for about 10-12 years now. I use the same ritual every year - it's one that the friends I started celebrating with had adapted for use with their kids. It's short and to the point - and everyone gets to light at least one candle to represent the people/pets they want to remember. The celebration uses the symbols of the apple (death with the promise of rebirth - star inside when cut crosswise) and the pomegranate ( life who's shadow is death - seeds kept Persephone in Hades).

This ritual is also closely linked with dinner - so things usually go like this :
I'm busy preparing dinner and I ask my husband to print out the ritual - I know it's the one we always use, so I haven't even looked at it since last year. I run around picking the ancestor pictures from among the others around the house; try to find candles and other things we'll need for the altar...folks start arriving.
We get the ritual going around the dinner table and are calling directions when I remember that South and West are switched from the way we usually call the directions and think - "Oh well I'll fix it for next year".
I get choked up on reading about remembering family and frieds who have passed through the veil.
Someone inevitably has trouble lighting a candle - this year it was DH who commented that his ancestors probably wanted to tell him to pay them more attention!

This year we replaced the usual candle altar - I've used an old vanity mirror/tray and free-standing votive candles for a long time. It was great if you wanted to try and scry in the patterns of the candle wax - however it was a MESS to deal with. Several years it "leaked" the candle wax onto the tablecloth below it and last year the mirror cracked when I was trying to clean it up. It's still in my holiday bucket, but this year I purchased a candle chandelier which can hang or sit on the table - each candle is enclosed in glass. We sat it on the table during ritual and then hung it from the ceiling while we moved on to dinner.

We set the usual ancestor spot and gave them a little of everything we were having...Turkey, stuffing, pasta primavera, and cranberry apple pie. A bit more traditional than the Morroccan style Mabon celebration!

As usual it was good food, good friends and a celebration of the season. Right now, the boys don't participate much - even as far as listening to the stories of their grandparents & great-grandparents, but it is good practice for years when they will finally take an interest and ask questions about those who have gone before us and who played such an inportant role in making us who we are today.

Another thing to mention in relation to the holiday, serendipity etc...
We had recieved a forecast for the first frost - for Sunday or Monday night, so - appropriately - I went out Sunday with the ladies and we harvested the last of the tomatoes and peppers in the garden - two large baskets of green and lightly-colored tomatoes and a couple of bell peppers.

Blessed Be!


I know - usually these wonderful, magical, carved creations are made BEFORE Halloween and used to light-up Halloween night.

HOWEVER, have I said lately that things have been just a bit CRAZY here??????????

I did take vacation days Halloween week with the intention of picking them up early Monday or Tuesdayand doing this activity with them then....we had purchased one LARGE pumpkin and two smaller ones on Sunday ....then ER came home with another small one partially cut on Monday.

On Monday after I did the music class in the morning - I got involved doing some projects at home that require small curious boys not be present! and didn't finish up until too late to worry about pumpkins - and I had really thought Tuesday would be better anyway....
Then TUESDAY around lunch time I emailed DH and asked him where he had stashed the pumpkins...they were still in his van....oh, well so much for that....and of course we didn't have time ON Halloween....what's a mama to do????
Well, we just carved on Thursday. I left work on time (haha) which felt early, came home, laid out the newspapers and we carved.

DH had a warm, glowing, pumpkin-y greeting when he arrived home from work!

We don't get any trick-or-treaters where we are, so it really didn't matter that we were a day late...the audience was the same as it would have been a day or two earlier.


Ok - I know this is overdue - but I'm trying to catch up!!

So this year Mommy was A WITCH - ok - not much of a streatch I know....
And I was going to re-cycle costumes for the boys, but then...I went to the Disney store with my mom and found 50% off BUZZ and WOODY costumes and just couldn't pass them up - the boys looked AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This year I continued the tradition of bringing music to the daycare as part of the Halloween celebration...and the teachers were involved too!

At the begining of October - RC's teacher asked me to be involved in this year's Halloween party, so I put together a list of kids tunes with Halloween words and the teachers each picked their 2 favorites. The Wednesday before Halloween I took a day off and taught the kids the songs.
On Halloween week I had Mon-Wed off, and went in to the cent again on Monday to go over the songs and have extra time with the kids. As with the other times I've gone in, each kid had a chance to help me "play" the violin...they really love that!
On Wednesday when I got tot he school for the party they told me I would also be "leading" the children's parade - unfortunately I was NOT prepared for that - and had to figure something out on-the-fly - it was kind of rough at first, but I found a groove that worked and went with it.

We all had fun!

For trick-or-treating we met up with the boys cousins again this year, and went to the local development and let the kids walk around for an hour or so....

The big YUCK this year was that I had to get on a conference call during trick-or-treating and then had to work from 8-2am after...and yes, on my VACATION DAY.