Great Google-y news!

Back in August of last year, I wrote an entry about Google and the company’s awesome benefits. At the time, my husband had been idly day-dreaming about working for Google, and we both oooh’d and aaah’d over the company’s larger than life perks.

Seven months later, I’m ecstatic to report that his day-dream wasn’t as far off as we thought it might be. The company Jody works for was officially acquired by Google this week! πŸ™‚

The office is staying in the same location here in Colorado so we don’t have to worry about packing up and moving across the country (yay!).

While Jody won’t be getting quite the lengthy list of benefits and perks that Google’s California employees receive, he/we will still be making out very well. Some of the perks we’re excited about are better health, dental and vision insurance coverage for less money; free catered lunches to all employees Monday through Friday (no more worrying about packing leftovers!); more vacation time (nice!); tuition reimbursement (Jody wants to go back to school at some point); paid paternity leave (we plan to have at least one more child); a $500 take-out meal allowance after the birth of a new baby (woot!); low-cost massages for employees (Jody’s excited about that – wonder if they’d do it for spouses as well); and more. πŸ™‚

This looks like it will be a great change for both Jody’s company and for our family. We’re excited about what lies ahead. πŸ™‚

Fresh, yummy (organic) fruits and veggies

After hearing great things about Door to Door Organics, I finally took the plunge and signed up for the service a few days ago.

We got our first box of organic fruits and veggies today and everything looked (and so far has tasted) delicious. πŸ™‚

I decided to try out the “small” box (which is $30) on a bi-weekly basis (at first) to see how we like it. If we end up going through all of the food in one week, then I will probably change it to a weekly subscription.

Here is a pic of our loot. (We were missing 4 oranges, however, which will be delivered in our next box.)

Ava enjoyed going through all of it with me and I think it could be helpful to teach her colors and about various fruits and veggies since the menu varies with the growing seasons.

Trying an apple:

Inspecting the strawberries (which she ate w/ her breakfast):

One nice thing about Door to Door is that the produce comes locally from farmers within the surrounding states.

Another nice thing about it is that they allow you to make up to three substitutions on the menu per week. So if you don’t like butternut squash, you can substitute something else in it’s place.

It might be a little more expensive (than going to the grocery store and buying them yourself) since they are delivering it right to your door, but the convenience is, admittedly, very nice. I am assured of having a variety of fresh fruits and veggies at my door every other week (or every week) if I so choose. Plus once I factor in the time and gas spent to get me to the grocery store, I think it nearly evens out.

Other than the missing 4 oranges (which we will get eventually), so far so good. I’m really happy with it and I think it will be a great thing for us. πŸ™‚

A slew of baby disco pictures

We went to the “Baby Loves Disco” party this afternoon and had a good time. Ava wasn’t as enthused about dancing among the masses as we thought she would be (it was a little overwhelming), but she still enjoyed herself.

Her favorite activity (only barely beating out playing with balloons) was going up and down the couple sets of stairs between levels. At one point during her stair stepping escapades, she got out of Jody’s view. He chased after her, but got stuck behind some slow-moving toddlers and parents and she disappeared around a corner. Neither of us could find her for about three minutes. That might not seem like a long time, but that’s the first time she’s ever been “lost” like that and those three minutes felt like an eternity. What a scary feeling! I was glad she was wearing that bright green dress (which was my sister’s when she was little), because I was able to spot her without too much trouble on the dance floor. She was unharmed and had even managed to find a ball to play with in those three minutes. It took me a minute to recover from losing her – my eyes welled up with tears as I hugged her tightly afterwards. That was more than enough excitement for me.

We took several pictures (there are even some with me in them if you can believe it! I asked Jody to take the camera and have at it). I tried to do several without the flash and the ISO bumped way up, but, as dark as it was, there was no way I could get a fast enough shutter speed to avoid motion blur. So I had to settle for using my flash. My new outlook on using my flash is – better to preserve the memory and use the flash (and settle for the unnatural lighting, horrible shadows and dots in eyes, red eyes, etc.), than not to use the flash and have a picture that sucks.

Without further ado, here are more disco pictures than you could ever want. πŸ˜‰ (Click on them to see them larger.)

The dance party as seen from the balcony (the only pic I’m posting where I didn’t use the flash):

Dancing with daddy:

On the dancefloor, taking it all in:

Starting to get into it:

Looking out over the balcony:

Climbing on the chairs in the balcony:

Doing a little dancing:

Cheesing it up with mommy. (Jody says I look manic in this pic…nice.):

Watching all the dancers:

Being escorted down the stairs by daddy:

Oooh, a balloon:

Watching daddy get another balloon:

So pretty:

Oooh, and there it goes!:

There’s no time like the present

I’ve been a horrible blogger this week. Not because I haven’t wanted to blog, but I just haven’t had the time. I have a feeling my entries are going to be more sparse as I continue on with my photography business. So, it’s a good thing for me, but I do enjoy blogging and plan to continue it, perhaps just not every day. (And I’m sorry that I haven’t been commenting on my fave blogs lately either. Forgive me?)

Anyway, I’m tired (*yawn*) and wouldn’t mind sleeping in, but I’m awake so I figured I might as well get on here for a little update before the lil miss wakes up.

Maybe I’ll just go start another entry since I have a specific topic I’d like to write about.

Disco baby :)


We’ve decided to join some friends on Saturday for Baby Loves Disco – “an afternoon dance party featuring real music spun and mixed by real djs blending classic disco tunes From the 70s, & 80s guaranteed to get those little booties moving and grooving.”

I admit that this seems a little out there (i.e. too gimmicky) to be something of interest to me. In fact, when I first heard about it, I had no intentions of going. But then our AP group decided to make an event out of it, and, the more I learned, the more fun it sounded.

I think Ava is going to love it. She loves music, kids and dancing so it should be a hit. πŸ™‚ I just wonder how to dress her for a disco party. πŸ˜‰ LOL

Here’s a bit more about it:
“The fun spills out from all corners of the club: bubble machines, baskets of instruments, a chill-out room (with tents, books and puzzles), diaper changing stations, a full spread of healthy snacks (provided by Whole Foods) and dancing, LOTS of dancing. But at itÒ€ℒs core, Baby loves disco is a community event that brings kids together with kids and parents together with parents.”

I’ll be sure to take some groovy pictures of my dancing queen for sharing. πŸ™‚

Recent Ava pics and lil updates

I took these last night and today. There’s nothing technically great about them (other than they are of my sweetie, of course), just some cute snapshots. πŸ™‚

Ava, playing with her “babies” (and hamming it up) last night. (The Mandy and Jenny dolls were mine and my sister’s when we were kids.) These pics were taken right before she decided all of her dolls needed to be naked (“nake-nee”).:



Today’s weather was so awesome, we spent a good part of our day outside. First playing in the backyard, then we went for a walk around the park, then I decided to clean out my front flower beds and rake up dead grass. What a busy day! Ava, of course, was a great helper. πŸ™‚

Here she is, helping mommy with yardwork. – (I had been sweeping off the walkway, but she decided the grass needed sweeping as well.):

My future’s so bright…:

I’ve got a delicious recipe and pics to share this weekend – Mexican polenta casserole. πŸ™‚

Hope everyone has a nice weekend.
I’ve decided I’m taking a break from cooking tonight πŸ˜‰ and we’re ordering Indian takeout (palak paneer and naan – mmmmmmm). And, since we happen to have “The Guru” from Netflix, we’ll watch that which will make it an Indian-themed night. hehe.
The weather looks to be wonderful Saturday and Sunday so we’re going to a park (to scout it out for future photoshoots) tomorrow and I’ve got a newborn photoshoot on Sunday. Plus I’m excited that I’ve booked one other photoshoot for March so far, three for April, and another possibly for May. To quote Almost Famous, “it’s all happening.” πŸ™‚

Oh, and good news about my mother-in-law. She only had 20% blockage so there’s no need for any surgeries. They will have to do further testing though to find out why she’s having the pains. Hopefully, like someone (I think here) suggested, with some lifestyle changes she will be able to do much better. Thanks for your good thoughts for both her and my dad.

Peace.

P.S. I have no idea if he reads my blog or not (we don’t really talk anymore and haven’t for years), but happy birthday to my younger brother today! He turns 29.

Organics on the rise

I just caught part of a show called “American Consumer” on PBS. On today’s show they discussed something that’s been particularly important to me lately – organic foods.

In the U.S., organic foods are regulated by the government, which is reassuring because you know that if you buy something labeled organic, it truly will be organic. Here’s a little bit about the labeling process per USDA Organic Standards Fact Sheet.
Products labeled:

1. 100% Organic must be just thatÒ€”100% organic ingredients.
2. Organic with the USDA Seal must contain 95% organic ingredients by weight.
3. Made with Organic Ingredients must contain 70% organic ingredients by weight.
4. Products with less than 70% organic ingredients may list specific organically produced ingredients on the side panel of the package, but may not make any organic claims on the front of the package.

The show mentioned that the demand for organic foods is majorly on the rise which is encouraging to me because organic farming is so much better for the environment and organic animals are treated much better. Plus it shows that consumers are interested in improving their health by buying foods without heavy pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics or other chemicals.

They mentioned on the show that arsenic is fed to conventional chickens. It seemed so preposterous to me that I thought I misheard it. So I looked it up and found an article called “Chicken: arsenic and antiobiotics” on the Consumer Reports site. It may not be as scary as it initially sounds, but still – I wouldn’t want my child to eat chicken that had consumed arsenic in any form, though I know she must have when we were still eating meat (and not buying organic at the time). And how many years did I eat chicken (after I stopped being a vegetarian but swore off beef) that was tainted in this way? Eep.

The expert from Consumer Reports that they interviewed said the most important things to buy organic (to get the most bang for your buck so to speak) are produce first; dairy, eggs, and meat second; and then processed foods third.

When I first started buying organic, fruits and veggies were my main priority (though I don’t buy all of them organic – just can’t afford it). Now that I’ve been doing it for a little bit, we’re trying to budget for organic dairy (cheese) and eggs as well. And our soy milk/tofu/tempeh are all organic as well.

I really think that the investment in organic foods (which, according to the program generally cost 50% more than conventional foods) at this point will only be beneficial to our health down the road. It sucks that there is such a big difference in cost for something that is better for you, but perhaps as the demand for organics grows and more farmers pick up this method, the price will go down. That’s my wishful thinking anyway. πŸ˜‰ Maybe if the demand is high enough and people stop buying conventional foods, all farmers/producers will convert to organics. How awesome would that be? πŸ™‚

For more consumer information about The National Organic Program, click here.

Let the healing begin

The things I’ve been wanting to write about lately are that there have been a few positive changes in our (mine and Jody’s) families recently.

First off, my dad has stopped drinking and has sought out help to work on his recovery from alcoholism. Alcoholism is something he’s been struggling with for a long time and I’m so proud of him for taking what had to be a huge step for him. I hope and pray that it continues to go well. I love him and would love to see him improve his quality of life in this way. One day at a time.

And, secondly, Jody’s mom has stopped smoking. Unfortunately, this good news has some not so good news to go with it. It seems that she’s recently developed angina. After seeing a cardiologist this week, he’s decided to do an arterialgram tomorrow to check for blockage and assess what needs to be done to correct it at that point (angioplasty, bypass surgery, etc.).
If you could please keep her in your thoughts (or prayers) tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, we would appreciate it. And Sharon, if you are reading this, please know that we will be thinking of you and hoping everything goes just perfectly.

Thank you all.

Life is good

My husband installed some shelves for me in our office this weekend so I can get my photography stuff organized, my little girl is currently napping peacefully, I have a pot of yummy vegetarian chili simmering on the stove, and the temperature here in CO reached 70 degrees today. Life is good. πŸ™‚

I’ve got some things to write about in the near future but I’m waiting until I have some more time and more information before I do it.

In the meantime, I have to say we had a nice weekend around here. I got my shelves put up that I wanted (and didn’t even have to beg for them). Jody, Ava and I went to a park on Sunday for a mock photoshoot so I could get in some more practice with my new lens. My photos weren’t spectacular, but I am happy with some of them, and, as always seems to happen when I go out for a shoot, I learned a lot. πŸ™‚
Here are a few (cuz I always gotta share):


We had friends over for dinner and played a bit of Balderdash last night. It was a lot of fun. I’d never played Balderdash before, though I’ve heard a lot about it. I wish we would’ve had more time to play, since it seems like we were just really getting into it when they had to leave (it was nearly 11 p.m.), so we’ll have to try it again another time.

Tomorrow Ava and I are going to a welcoming party for a friend’s new baby boy. πŸ™‚ I’m excited to meet the little guy. On Sunday I’ll be doing a newborn photoshoot of him and their family and I’m really looking forward to that.

I’m slowly but surely getting my stuff together for this photography business. Jody keeps encouraging me to delve in and really get going on it, but I know my comfort level with my technical skills better than he does and I’m not to that point just yet. I hope to be able to get serious about it this spring and summer, but I’m realizing I’m going to need some outside help with Ava – perhaps a mommy’s helper to spend some time playing with her while I work during the week.

That’s about all for now. Time to go enjoy some of that chili. πŸ™‚

Just too busy

I’ve been home for two days, but just haven’t had a chance to do much blogging.

Yesterday was spent doing tons of laundry, cleaning up the house and getting caught up on various things. And last night was a ladies’ night out for my AP group. A group of seven of us all got dinner at a local restaurant. The food was delicious, but they made a mistake on my order (Mediterranean wrap with sundried tomatoes, hummus, olives, spinach) and put chicken in it! And, what’s even worse is I ate a few bites before I realized it. πŸ™ Ugh. I thought something tasted off on it, but I couldn’t put my finger on it until I actually saw some of the chicken poking out of the wrap and was like WTF is that??! I felt like such a tool for eating it and not realizing it was chicken. Duh. I told the waitress about it since they charged me for adding chicken to it (and I didn’t feel I should have to pay for something I didn’t want) and she apologized profusely. Guess I need to inspect my food more closely when dining out.

The other thing that’s been occupying my time is playing with my NEW 50mm LENS!! πŸ™‚ I’m so thrilled to have it and have been enjoying playing with it the past two days. I got some cute shots of Ava today. Here’s the only one I’ve proofed so far.

The lens cost a pretty penny, but I’m paying for it using money I’ve made from my CafePress store. (Hooray for a little extra income.) It will be soooo useful to me in my portrait photography and is well worth the investment.

The lil girlie is napping now so I should go get some other stuff done. I have a new recipe to post – a casserole I made for Jody and Ava last night using carrots, Quorn “meat”balls, veggie crumbles, tomato sauce, cream, cheese and bread crumbs – that was delicious. (I had leftovers today.) I didn’t write it all down though so I’ll have to go from memory.