Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top Ten Layouts of 2014

Well, I have to say- this wasn't a very difficult job.  2014 was NOT the year of scrapbooking that I had hoped it would be, I think I made under 20 layouts all year.  There was also a sprinkling of mini albums and cards, but I'm still way under what I usually make in a year.  So that's kind of a bummer   :( I did pretty well up until the middle of the year, but then I got busy with schoolwork and having fun at the beach, etc.  I don't regret any of the time I spent out of my craft room enjoying fun activities or anything, but I do hope to find more time for crafting this year.  Here's hoping!

Here are my 10 favorite layouts of the last year- I hope you enjoy!  If you'd like to see previous years you can find them by clicking the links: 2011, 2012, 2013

Have a great New Years everyone!!  See you in 2015 :)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Top Ten Photos of 2014

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  Ours was so much fun-  I'll share some pictures on a separate post :) I thought I'd share my top ten favorite pictures of Charlie from this year, just like I did in 2013.  He's such a cutie, I can't help but over share pictures of him- what can I say! Hard to believe he's 4 already, he's getting so big and losing his little toddler features.  He's just so grown up lately! I'll be sharing my annual top ten scrapbook layouts post in a few days too (not that there were many to choose from this year).  Anyways, here we go.  Most photos (the nice ones anyways) taken by my hubby- Robb Cyr Photography.

Charlie and his PICC line: March 2014

Charlie playing at the beach in Old Saybrook: June 2014

Ferris Wheel Ride at the Big E: September 2014

First Time doing PFTs: September 2014

4 year Portrait by Robb Cyr: August 2014

First day of Pre-K: September 2014

Halloween: October 2014

Grumpy Christmas Tree Shopping: December 2014

The Many Faces of Charlie: 2014

Fun Times in the Hospital: March 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

My Listening List- Comedians

Hi everyone! Are you all getting into the holiday spirit? I am SO excited that Christmas is almost here!!!  Another exciting thing is that it falls on a Thursday this year which means I get Monday through Friday off work without having to take any vacation days :)  Then I work Saturday and Sunday and get ANOTHER Monday through Friday off without using vacation days because of New Years.  Pretty sweet, although I just finished my last MBA class for the year, which was brutal BTW, so now I'm not sure what to do with all of the free time I'll have.  I'm hoping I'll be spending it organizing the rest of my messy house and scrapbooking :D

Anyways, I wanted to continue my little 'series' about audiobooks and my personal Listening List.  This post will be dedicated to audiobooks written and performed by comedians.  I love listening to funny audiobooks- it's like a 7 hour stand up special :)  I feel like I've read a lot of the comedian books out there, however if you have any more recommendations please please share!

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: by Jenny Lawson

If you don't know who the Bloggess is than you are most definitely reading the wrong blog.  To get a general idea of how the book is, you can start with this blog post.  She is hilarious and her book is listed first because it is also hilarious and my favorite thus far.  Downright amazing. I'd been reading her blog for a while but it was a treat to hear her stories in her own words.  There's a lot of vagina talk and F bombs so if you're squeamish it's probably not for you, but for everyone else- LISTEN and then die laughing and thank me later.

Kasher in the Rye: by Moshe Kasher

This was a great and unique book by stand up comedian Moshe Kasher.  He grew up in a home with deaf parents, got addicted to drugs and alcohol as a young teenager, and then turned his life around to be the amazing comic he is today! Great book with funny stories and an interesting perspective.  If you'd like to see more of Moshe you can check out his special on Netflix- very funny!

Food- A Love Story: by Jim Gaffigan

Jim Gaffigan (the hot pockets guy to those of you who don't already know him) has also written Dad is Fat, which is equally funny, however I didn't listen to it on audiobook so I'm not listing it.  This book is hilarious and Robb and I follow his hot dog recipe to a T every time Charlie wants one.  Robb had some trouble with it at first but I think he's got it down now.  Hot dogs can be tough.

Bossypants: by Tina Fey

I loved this book- describing how Tina Fey transitioned from nerd to awesome SNL writer/anchor to mom to TV series writer to all of the other amazing things she does.  It was funny and relatable- highly recommend!

Yes Please: by Amy Poehler

I listened to this book as soon as it came out and thought it was really funny.  Particularly, the audio version is very cool.  She has lots of fun celebrity voices come to join her and the last chapter is read live.  Definitely one of the best audiobook performances I've heard so far!

God, No!: by Penn Jillette

I'm guessing most of my readers aren't atheists, but you'd still probably like this book.  It's dirty, rude, and funny in all of the best ways.  Penn is a clever and down to earth dude, and this book was a fun read.

Paddle Your Own Canoe: by Nick Offerman

Nick Offerman (aka Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation) is a favorite in my house.  I enjoyed his backstory and learning more about his life through this book, but it definitely had peaks and valleys.  Some of the instructional "learning" was geared more towards dudes (I don't need mustache growing tips, for instance) but it was still very enjoyable.

I've also read and thoroughly enjoyed Mindy Kaling's book, however it was in hardcopy so I'm not including it on my audiobook list.  I've also never tried David Sedaris- is he any good? More recommendations- GO!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

My Listening List- Learning Books

Hi there buddies! I thought today I'd share how I get through my long and boring daily commute.  If you haven't heard me bitch about my commute yet I have a one hour drive to work each way; and if you haven't heard me bitch about it yet than you must be new here so HI, I'm Cassie, nice to meet you.  Also since I work on weekends I usually have some sort of music, book, or podcast playing in the lab since it's way too quiet without some noise.  Typically I listen to anywhere between 10-14 hours of material just on the weekend, so I'm always looking for new recommendations.

Because I cross state lines I don't get great radio reception in my car a lot of the time without having to change stations a lot, so I don't bother listening to the radio.  This means I'm woefully ignorant on the new Katy Perry and Taylor Swift and, um, whoever other popular musicians are these days but that's fine with me.  I typically listen to a LOT of audiobooks and podcasts.  I have an Audible membership for $20/month that allows me any 2 audiobooks of my choosing, which I use quite often.

I thought I'd do a few posts on listening recommendations- starting with some of my favorite "learning books".  For every comedian or non fiction book I listen to I try and follow it up with a "learning book", one that might make me smarter or something like that. At least in theory, I have the memory of a gnat so not much of it sticks around in this big empty head of mine :)  Sometimes they bore me to tears, but other times they're really useful! I tend to gravitate towards either mony and banking or medical topics for the most part.  I'll just talk about the ones I liked here instead of the ones that I fell asleep during (I'm looking at you- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People).

Learning Books I Recommend

Medical School For Everyone: Grand Rounds Cases

This book was amazing!  It was so interesting and very fun to guess the diagnosis- I got quite a few correct, too :) I felt like I learned a LOT (like how to perform CPR, how EM doctors work, etc) and it was informal enough that I was able to follow along very easily.

The Millionaire Next Door

This was such an interesting read.  Sometimes it was easy to space out when they started listing out statistics, but for the most part I found this fascinating.  The differences between prodigous accumulaters of wealth and underaccumulators of wealth was really enlightening.

Smart Money, Smart Kids

I love almost anything by Dave Ramsey, I think his approach to money is really smart and I'm working my way through his baby steps :) I wish I had found him 15 years ago!!  This book is really helpful with how to get your kids managing money and how to help them learn about it.  It gives advice for ages 3 and up and what to do for each developmental stage.  Highly recommend for anyone with a child! Or any adult that is drowning in credit card debt, for that matter.

The Introvert Advantage

I'm definitely an introvert, and this book was pretty enlightening.  Introvert doesn't mean shy, rude, or the bevy of other things people call us- it's just a different approach to socialization.  I found that very reassuring :)

Gulp, Packing for Mars and Bonk- by Mary Roach

I really love any book by Mary Roach.  She's also written Stiff: The Curious Life of the Human Cadaver which is a great book too, however I've never listened to the audio version so I didn't list it above.  Mary Roach is a journalist and she thoroughly covers the science in a very approachable way.  She's also VERY funny, making the books informative and hilarious. Gulp is all about human digestion (with a section on fecal transplants! ha!), Packing for Mars is about space travel and Bonk is about sex and sex research.  Both very interesting topics covered thoroughly by a very funny journalist.

In the Queue: 

The Great Courses: Money and Banking
The Great Courses: The Art of Negotiating the Best Deal
The Great Courses: How the Stock Market Works
One Doctor by Brendan Reilly

I'd love it if you shared your recommendations too!


Friday, December 12, 2014

2014 Christmas Card

This year we decided to repeat the success of last year and take Christmas card photos while we were shopping for our Christmas tree (to see last year click HERE).  Charlie was NOT in the mood for photo's and we had to bribe, chastize, and use every trick in our arsenal to get any decent photos. It was quite exhausting.  Robb also decided to wear his GoPro (that he uses for weddings) on his shoulder the entire time so now we have a 1 hour long video of us trying to get Charlie to smile. And also of me being super picky about which tree we get.  Delightful. Anyways, we were able to get a couple good ones- here's what we chose for our Christmas card this year (from Minted again, they really are as awesome as everyone says they are)

And here's what most of the other ones looked like--

I really wanted to have this photo on the back of the card with the caption "Or not. That's just fine. If you're going to have a bad attitude about it we'll leave and not get a tree at all" but Robb vetoed it. Even though it would have been awesome.  This picture pretty much sums up how picture taking went that day lol.  4 year old attitude is just lovely isn't it?

Here are some of the other contenders for the Christmas card photo

He's only giggling above because I tried reverse psychology and told him "You'd better not smile! Don't you dare smile!" and, being the little rebel he is, it worked like a charm. PS- yes that is silver nail polish.  He always wants "in" when he sees me painting my nails and since I don't have a little girl to do that stuff with I oblige him.  Sue me.

We also got a couple cute pictures of us with Charlie.  One day maybe we'll even have a nice picture of all 3 of us together! Wouldn't that be something?  I think the last picture of all 3 of us was Easter haha

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Conversations with Charlie

Hi friends! I love how now that Charlie is 4 I can finally have actual conversations with him.  It's so cute trying to decipher what he means and then learning about what he did that day.  Some conversations are more "Hey, I mean it, stop jumping on the couch this second or you'll go in timeout", but for the most part they are pretty fun!  I like this age a lot so far, Charlie really gets what we're saying but is still young enough to be curious about everything.  We always have a lot of talks in the car- going to Target or coming home from preschool; probably because there's not as many distractions as there are at home.  Admittedly most of these conversations are just my way of finding new and creative ways to annoy him.  It's pretty easy and definitely very fun haha, I'm sure I'll get mine when he's older so I gotta take advantage now :) Anyways, in tribute to Charlie and I's glowing conversational skills I thought I'd share some of my favorites.

Mom: *singing along to Let It Go in the car at the top of my lungs, poorly*
Charlie: Mom stop it!
Mom: Charlie.  Frozen is awesome. You need to get into this, buddy.
Charlie: No, I don't like Frozen.
Mom: How can you not like Frozen? There's a snow monster and a funny snowman!  All the kids like Frozen.
Charlie: Olaf is funny.
Mom: See? Frozen is awesome
Charlie: No, I don't like Frozen. I like Paw Patrol.
Mom: Well you know what? We're listening to Frozen and that's that. I like it and every other kid in the world likes Frozen so you really need to get into it anyways, that way I can have the experience of being sick and tired of watching it like everyone else.
Charlie: Just put on Weird Al, no more Frozen. Let It Go, Mom.
(OK I ad libbed that last part but I'm pretty sure that's what he was thinking)

Mom: *in very bad but hilarious beefy Jersey shore type accent* Eh Chah-lie! Whatcha doin' back there?
Charlie: Mom, I don't like that.
Mom: Chah-lie! Whatchou talkin' bout? I'm just hangin' out up here
Charlie: Stop it Mom. Talk normal.
Mom: Tawk normal? I'm tawkin' normal! Whatchou tryin' to say to me there buddy? You wanna fight about it?
Mom: "Eh, bro- what's yer problem? Let's go pump some iron"

Mom: Come sit next to me and give me a hug dude!
Charlie: Mom, you're my best friend
Mom: Oh. My. God. That's so sweet! You're my best friend too! *hug*
Charlie: Are you happy? Can I go back to playing now?

Mom: How was preschool, Charlie? Did you play with your friends?
Charlie: It was good. I played with Dominic but Haley hurt my feelings.
Mom: What? You and Haley are friends, what happened?
Charlie: She was angry and hurt my feelings
Mom: Oh no! What was she angry about?
Charlie: Her doghouse broke
Mom: Oh, how did her doghouse break?
Charlie: I broke it

Mom: Okay buddy, you can take off your physiotherapy vest now
Charlie: OK
Mom: juuuuuuust unbuckle the straps there, dude
Charlie: OK
Mom: You're not unbuckling the straps, just take them off. Take off the vest. Just unbuckle the straps.
Charlie: *blank stare*
Mom: *robot voice* disengage from physiotherapy vest
Mom: I repeat, disengage, disengage from vest.  Activate disengagement
Charlie: Mom. Stop. *unbuckles first buckle*
Mom: First buckle disengaged. Commence disengagement of second buckle
Charlie: Mom! Talk. Normal. *unbuckles second buckle*
Mom: Second buckle disengaged. Warning: disengagement incomplete. Continue disengaging vest
Charlie: Be quiet! *unbuckles third buckle"
Mom: Vest successfully disengaged! Commence authorized activities.
Charlie: Mom, go back in the kitchen.

And of course my favorite- our very deep and thoughtful texts we send each other during the day while I'm at work. 

car car car police car, fire truck, house, building building indeed, Charlie.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Tree Shopping

Good morning! Last week on December 1st Robb, Charlie, and myself all went to pick out and cut down a Christmas tree. We weren't wasting any time this year getting in the holiday spirit- I was eager to get it up as soon as tradition allowed :)

We went to Maple Creek Farms in Preston, CT again this year since last year was so much fun.  Charlie was really excited to pick out a tree- he wanted all of them! I think we picked a pretty darn good one, even if it is a tad short (Robb thinks it's just right, of course.  He would have a miniature fake tree if I left him to his own devices).  Robb also took some photos for our Christmas card this year (more on that later!)

Of course decorating the tree and hanging ornaments is half of the fun!

Here's the finished product

Since it was December 1st our elf, Frederick, came and brought Charlie a very special Star Wars lego advent calendar.  Kid is getting spoiled, sheesh.  He loves it though :)

Frederick has been up to all kinds of mischief this year.  Charlie has found him taking a marshmallow bubble bath (which I was very jealous about), playing Candyland with his figurines, racing trucks on the floor, swinging on a candy cane zip line, and doing Charlie's breathing treatments.  However the most naughty elf shenanigan had to have been when he put all of Charlie's underwear all over our tree.  What a little stinker!

We also got into the Christmas spirit by making a gingerbread house! We do this every year and they're usually pretty ugly but this year it actually came out looking pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.  He also made a very special Christmas tree art project with his nanny.  Adorable!

We've been having so much fun! We're off to see the big man himself today and hopefully bake some cookies and Chex Mix this week :) My December Daily is still going, too - I just placed a photo order for the first week, so I'm looking forward to getting all the pictures into the album ASAP.  I've been pretty good about remembering to take and edit pictures in a timely manner.  I've also been enjoying being able to quickly add words to my photos right on my phone (see gingerbread house picture above)- I think that'll look nice in the finished album.  Hopefully I can keep it up :)