Monday, January 28, 2008

The Exam is Over!

I took my exam this evening to try and certify myself as a Professional in Human Resources. I've been studying with my co-workers, Kristen and Brandi, since last spring. It was probably the hardest exam I have ever taken. And definitely the longest effort I have ever put into studying for anything. It took me almost the full four hours to complete the exam. Despite no less than three panic periods during the exam when I was convinced I would fail and that I might as well just leave the testing center without finishing, I received a preliminary pass notification at the completion of the exam. I have to wait 2-3 weeks now for the official results. At that point, if I am still considered passing, I get to use initials after my name at work. And I will need to do a certain amount of education and activities in a year to keep my certification up.

I feel relieved to be done with the studying and the testing. The stress was removed from my shoulders for this project as soon as I was driving away from the testing center. The hours I have spent on studying can now be used to finish the wedding planning and to start knitting on a more regular basis again. Brandi, Kristen and I might actually take a real lunch break now and talk to each other about none HR things instead of studying during our lunch break.

I hope all of the effort was worth it.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hola, Mexico!!

We finally booked our honeymoon today with our travel agent! We are going to jet off at dawn from Boston on the Monday morning after the wedding and spend 7 nights in Mexico. We are going to the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo located on the beach of Playa de ParaĆ­so about a half hour from the Cancun airport. We are familiar with the Iberostar properties since we stayed in the Iberostar Quetzal in Playa del Carmen in Mexico several years ago. And we stayed in an Iberostar in Punta Cana two winters ago. And of course, we enjoyed the Playa del Carmen trip we took previously, especially the Mayan culture and our day trips seeing the ruins in Tulum and snorkeling. I think our honeymoon will be more about staying put at the resort and enjoying their unique swimming pools, our suite, and the restaurants at the resort. The Paraiso Linda has five pools that include a wave pool, a lazy river pool designed to encourage floating around on an innertube, and a lake style pool. They have a swim-up bar too so we can enjoy a frozen drink without even getting out of the water. Because we have been to this area of Mexico before, we won't have to try and read any travel books between now and the wedding. And we know we will love the area.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Stash Diving

Woohoo! One of my goals with my minor holiday at home today was to actually look through my yarn stash and try to find something that would be appropriate to start my Amanda Hat pattern with. I'm going knitting at Paula's house on Wednesday night and I cannot bare the thought of knitting another inch on my reversible cable scarf. I've been working on it since January 2007.

Well, I found a perfect yarn for the Amanda Hat as well as several other yarns I had forgotten about. I rediscovered a bag from the 2007 January Webbs trip with the Concord knitting group that I had been neglecting. In the bag, a green Araucania Nature Wool Chunky that will make a gorgeous Amanda hat. And I saw on ravelry that other people have used this yarn to make the Amanda hat as well, so it should be fine. An even better benefit, this green hat will most likely match the green reversible cable scarf. So realistically, I may have a green winter set for next winter, because I can't imagine finishing both the scarf and the hat before spring comes this year. I'm just a little busy right now.

Other stuff in the bag, blue worsted weight Araucania Nature Wool, light blue angora, a skein of green J. Knits Superwash Me sock yarn, and some navy blue merino wool. I must have been on a blue and green kick during that shopping spree. I didn't spend a cent today but it feels like I had a nice jaunt out to my local yarn store.

All Things Wedding...

My blog posts and knitting activities have taken a back seat to all things wedding lately. My ticker says the wedding is one month, two weeks and two days away. There is so much that has been done and yet so much left to do. The date is coming fast! It is hard to believe that when we were engaged back in July that picking a March date seemed so far away. I wasn't sure how I could wait that long, and now I am trying to figure out how to bring everything together in time without driving myself, Michael or the bridesmaids crazy.
We have the big things booked such as the DJ, caterer, reception hall, the florist, the photographer and a cake. Michael's wedding band has arrived.
Things left to do...
We have to pick a honeymoon destination. And we need to start thinking in more detail about our ceremony and reception to include vows, music, flow, and a schedule. I better get my dress fitted. We need to pick a place for Elleigh and Lucas to go while we are away on the honeymoon. It's time to work with the girls to put favors together, and ceremony programs, and struggle through who is a Mrs., Ms., or a Miss so it can be written on envelopes correctly. And I would never have thought I would have become an expert on the subtle shades of pink. Peachy pink and purple pink are not acceptable. But one fuchsia is not another bride's fuchsia, so I just walk around with swatches in my bag at all time. And our accent metal is silver, not gold.
I don't think I have turned into a Bridezilla yet. Michael will have to comment if I am not accurate on that point. I'm sure he has gotten a hairy eyeball look once or twice, but that's a long way off from a true Bridezilla moment.
What I want most of all is for Michael and I to have everything in place by the Thursday before the wedding so that we get to truly enjoy each other, our friends, our family and our wedding. And we both want everyone to have a great time and enjoy the evening as much as we will.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Happiness is Sharing a Sun Spot...

Our children continue to be beautiful!

And we continue to try to be humble about it.

Elleigh and Lucas were sharing a sun spot on the couch Sunday morning and having some quiet time together.

Lucas has been in an intense teething mode. He hasn't been doing any destructive chewing, but he has been losing teeth and trying to cut new ones. Sometimes we rub his gums for him until he starts to drool. Other times he gnaws his bone aggressively. We've managed to find one baby tooth that fell out. He has a loose baby eye tooth that should be coming out soon. And it looks like he might be developing a little bit of an under bite. It may just be because his new teeth haven't yet lined up.

And Sunday is all about snuggling up with Daddy on the couch too. Here are all of my babies sharing a sun spot: Little Baby, Pretty Baby, and my Big Baby. Michael is not too impressed with his new pet name, but it fits the theme and I'm sticking with it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Night Out with Asian Flavor

Have I mentioned that I have been studying for a Professional Human Resources certification exam? The test is next Monday and I have been studying in some sort of manner since early last summer. So I felt guilty that I would be going out with friends on Saturday evening when I could have been studying more, or wedding planning. But it turned out to be exactly what I needed- a good stress breaker.

It was Ed's birthday dinner night out and he wanted to go to Moritomo Japanese Restaurant in Concord, one of my favorite places to eat. I like their sushi bar, a delicious ginger dressing for their green salad, and they make a tasty hot mustard sauce that you can actually eat without burning your sinuses out. Nancy, Dale, Jacinda, Jeff, Alison, Glenn, Michael, Ed, Sam and I all sat around the teppanyaki table where the chef grilled up our orders and prepared dishes on the teppanyaki right before our eyes. The show included tossing food around and at us, making wisecracks, juggling sharp objects, cracking eggs with dramatic flare, and making a flaming volcano out of an onion.

After dinner, we moved to Szechuan Garden in Penacook where they have a dance floor and a Karaoke bar. I had never seen Karaoke done before. There were some people that got up to sing that I can say that they had a lot of guts and/or false confidence. There were also some real stars, most of whom seemed like they might be regulars living their own "American Idol" life at night in the bar at Szechuan Garden. It was fun to dance a little and let loose too.

I took several photos, but I didn't bring my own camera, so I was borrowing Alison and Glenn's camera off the table. Hopefully, Al or Glenn will send me some photos so I can enhance this blog post at some time in the near future.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Elleigh's Ready for Valentine's Day

Santa brought Elleigh and Lucas some new collars for Christmas. He left them on the tree like additional decorations. One of the collars that Elleigh got is loaded with pink hearts and Elleigh asked to have it put on today since Valentine's Day is just around the corner. She wants a pedicure too with her OPI Pawlish in Poodle Pink.

Basket Class

I went to basket class on Saturday and made this continuous weave basket. It's about 6 inches wide and about 5 inches tall. It still needs to be stained. I believe I will be keeping it for myself and not gifting this basket.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Nancy and Jacinda were both in the same class!

After class, the three of us ended up on an impromptu wedding shopping trip. We had a quick lunch at Taipei & Tokyo in Bedford, and then we were off to Grenon Trading Company. We searched through the vases, plant pots, decorations, ribbons, silk & artificial flowers, candles and more. I found potential vases for the wedding tables, as well as some candles for the table tops, and plenty of satin and gross grain ribbon in matching wedding colors.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Approaching 1000

Updated January 13th

Denise has received her bottle of White Chocolate Philosophy shampoo, bubble bath and shower gel. What's nicer than bathing yourself in chocolate? Mmmm....

We Have A Winner!

My 1000th visitor was my fellow knitting buddy, Denise. She's recently retired, so she gets to read my blog every day now. I am going to bring her one of my favorite things (not to be confused with one of Martha's Favorite Things) to our next Sunday knitting event. I don't want to spoil Denise's surprise, so you will all just have to wait until I give it to her to find out what 1000th visitor door prize is.

Updated Post January 7th

It's hard to believe, but by week's end, the magic 1000th viewer will most likely log in and check out my latest blog entry. I am at 973 when I started this blog edit. Please keep sending me comments and letting me know which number you are.

Post from January 2nd

You may have noticed that recently I moved my website counter closer to the top of my side bar. It logs all of the visitors to the site and I am very pleased that I am approaching 1000 visitors. At the time I started this blog entry, the counter was at 910. I can't believe that almost 1000 have come to see my blog. And more importantly, some people think I am interesting enough that they come back time and time again. The website counter will count my regular readers each day they come, but that's still a lot of views. I am very curious to know who will be my 1000th visitor, so please, take a look at the website counter in the sidebar to the right and comment on what number visitor you are.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Lucas' Graduation

Our 8.8 pound baby graduated from Puppy One Obedience class this morning. He's been working towards his graduation for 6 weeks now at Finlayson's Pet Care Center in Concord. He has accomplished sit, down, and come- all on a selective basis. Puppy One is mostly about socialization. Lucas particularly liked his classmate Bubba the English Bulldog puppy. Even though Bubba was over thirty pounds, Lucas enjoyed dominating him during play time. Elleigh is in charge at home, so maybe he was working through some issues at class. Lucas would have nap time on the ride home. All of the graduates got their photos taken in little mortar boards. I guess we better start saving for college.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Wedding Whirlwind

This week has been very productive in the wedding planning arena. I've ordered some decorations for the reception hall. Michael and I worked on our guest list. I've shopped for flameless votives and tea lights. I took information from my fellow knitter, Denise, on her wedding photographer and now I have a very promising lead for our wedding.

And then today was a complete wedding whirlwind. I started off the morning with Tony, my hair artist, and he and I made a plan for my hair for the next two months. I then went to the travel agent and picked up the latest 2008 versions of potential honeymoon locations. We still don't have a destination picked out, but we know we want that to be a warm and relaxing location where ever it is.

I swung back to the house to pick up Michael, and then we were off to the Lake Opechee Inn to meet with Ann, the wedding coordinator. We have the time of our wedding now, picked the entrees we will offer, talked hors d’ oeuvres, beverages, ceremony set up, schedule for our wedding weekend, rehearsal, shades of pink for linens, etc.

After meeting with Ann, we had an early dinner at Fratello's in Laconia, which is located right across the road from Lake Opechee Inn. We tried to make it to MW Tux in Concord, but they were closed before we got there. And then we went to Target to add some items to our wedding registry. And then Michael browsed wedding bands again at Jared's. It was a busy day, but we got a lot accomplished for the wedding.

Amanda Hat Contest

Gina is running another knitting contest and this time is using her Amanda Hat pattern. I have been adoring this hat since I saw the finished project at Grandview, and on the actual inspiration model. If you are interested in learning more about the Amanda Hat contest, click on the photo of Amanda wearing her namesake hat over in the sidebar to the right. It will link you right to Gina's instruction page for the contest.

For Christmas 2006, I made a similar hat for my friend Kimi in Vermont, and I don't think she knows how hard it was for me to put that hat in the box and mail it off to her. I really wanted to keep it myself. And I am not a big fan of knitting the same pattern twice, so that's why I never made myself my own. So, here's an opportunity to make myself an Amanda hat.

All things are wedding right now (2 months and a few days to go) and I have been finding that not much knitting is getting done unless it is at Sunday knitting group. I really should try to do more knitting since it is relaxing for me. If I could find a project I could knit on and read for my PHR exam at the same time, that would be perfect! Knitting is so much cheaper than therapy.

My intention is not to be the winner of making the most Amanda Hats, but just to start one hat project. I have a few yarn store gift certificates from my birthday and the holiday that I can cash in and get myself some lovely yarn. Maybe something that would be very luxurious to the touch. The deadline for the contest is Amanda's birthday on February 21st. If nothing else, this would be a portable project to take with me on a plane to the honeymoon destination. That location is yet to be determined.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Karen & Shaelyn recently attended a cookie kick off event for Brownie Girl Scout Troop 10012 and they made it into the Concord Insider. They will be beginning to sell Girl Scout Cookies on January 4th. The girls of Shaelyn's troop are trying to earn enough money for a sleep over at the Museum of Science this spring. How fun would that be!? I have to figure out how to be an honorary chaperon for that night of fun.

I'm completely pimping these cookies because Shaelyn is going to be the best Junior Bridesmaid ever, and who doesn't love Girl Scout cookies? They are $3.50 per box for all of your favorites: Lemon Chalet Cremes, Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos (Mmmmm!), Samoas (Mmmmmm!), All Abouts, Sugar Free Chocolate Chips, Tagalongs (Mmmmmm!), and the famous Girl Scout Thin Mints. I am participating in the "Gift of Caring" program where I buy the boxes of cookies and then they will get sent to the Council for the Cookie Project, which includes sending cookies to soldiers. So, since I am trying to remain able to fit into my wedding dress, it is best that the cookies never get delivered to my house.

If you are interested in helping Shaelyn's troop out, or the Gift of Caring program, send me an e-mail and I will get you in touch with Karen. I've already gotten Michael to commit to 6 boxes for the Gift of Caring project.

It just makes me want to break into song-

I've got something in my pocket, and it belongs across my face. I keep it very close to me in the most important place...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Love Actually

One of my all-time favorite movies is Love Actually, and despite it being on the chick flicky side, Michael likes it too. In fact, he bought the DVD for himself while out birthday shopping for me. It is a great movie to watch around the holidays since it has a holiday theme twining through it. This movie is from 2003 and it has a lot of great actors in it: Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, Alan Rickman, Billy Bob Thornton, among others. And there is great music in it too. You have to see Hugh Grant dancing to "Jump." It's a cute and touching film. There are many stories simultaneously going on that eventually get tied in together. Maybe it's the British humor in it, but it still makes me laugh no matter how many times I see it.

Happy New Year!!

Unaccompanied Minor Puppies

No puppies were harmed, or even slightly compromised, in the making of this photo.

Upon returning home from a New Year's Eve party last night, Michael and I found that the doggies had a little party of their own. They had gotten out the little martini glasses and apparently liquored themselves up. We have no idea how they got the stool over to the counter and climbed their way up to the liquor in the cupboard over the stove. We got this photo of Lucas shielding his eyes from the bright light since he has a puppy hangover. Elleigh is just sleeping off her buzz. Bad, bad puppies! Since they laid around quietly all New Year's day recovering, they had plenty of time to make their goals and resolutions for 2008.

Elleigh's Goals & Resolutions for 2008

Elleigh wants to get back to the gym in 2008- the agility gym. She says she misses the workouts and making friends. And now that Lucas is here, Elleigh thinks one night out a week with just her and Mommy would be a nice idea. We're going to look into that after the wedding.

Elleigh is going to work again this year on being less gaseous. She tried a new food last year that really helped, but she still has some room for improvement.

She'd like to expand her wardrobe.

Elleigh is going to lay off the liquor too.

Lucas' Goals & Resolutions for 2008

Lucas is going to work on sharing toys better with his sister, per Elleigh's request.

Once the awful, cold snow is gone, Lucas wants to learn to walk on a leash politely.

And Lucas wants to take some classes to expand his mind and knowledge base. He's thinking Puppy Obedience 2 and Canine Good Behavior, maybe even taking his own introduction to Agility.

Lucas hopes to be 100% potty trained early in 2008.

And he promises to stop eating stuff off the floor. Lucas is a fluff connoisseur and seems to find bits of stuff on the floor to smack his lips on and chew daily. Maybe hourly, until Mommy or Daddy stick their fingers in his mouth and pull out wet balls of stuff.