Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Princess Abby and Sheriff Ethan

The beautiful Abigail and tough Ethan (and the silly monkey Gracey who lives next door).

Reverse Trick-Or-Treat

Today, the kids wore their costumes to Daddy's work and passed out candy to the employees there. Reverse Trick-Or-Treating, if you will. In the engineering department, we saw about 20 men and 1 woman, typical for the field.

When we were done, Mark was talking about his coworker Andy who we had given some treats.

"Which one was he?" I asked.

"He was the one who was dressed like a nerd for Halloween."

After thinking for a minute, I started to laugh.

I hadn't noticed that anyone was dressed differently than anyone else. They were all dressed like nerds.

Happy Spook Day

There's nothing scarier than this guy... Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Most Magical Season... Autumn

Despite the fact that the trees are barren already (we've had a patch of snow and frost that prompted the trees to drop their leaves early this year), we are in Mark's favorite season, autumn. I have to admit, autumn has really grown on me over the years with him, and I really enjoy the colors and all of the activities that go along with the season. I would enjoy it better if it was 60 degrees all of the time instead of 45 as it has been, but I can still appreciate the beauty of it.

Today was an unseasonable 65 degrees! After dinner, Mark and I took the kids to the park to soak in some outdoor playtime before the weather gets really cold. Here are some fun pictures from our outing.

Ethan was so proud to climb up this tricky ladder. "I brave, Mom!" he kept telling me.

Abby was laughing so hard while we played a game of keep-away.

My annual laying-in-the-leaves shot.

Sometimes I think Abby is destined for a career as a model. Just look at that face!

Ethan is into sitting on fun things, like stumps. And he's also into giving his Mom a cheesy smile.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Cheating Post

Instead of actually writing something, I will let Mark write it for me, and simply link to it here. Hahaha!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

My Amazing Hubby

I have to take a minute to brag about Mark, 'cause I know he won't do it himself.

A few minutes ago, Mark made a presentation at a software conference. "Wow, really, Mark?" you may ask (because if you actually know Mark you would realize that public speaking is not one of his passions... not even anywhere near the top). But Mark has been really trying hard to be more outgoing in his professional life, and when he heard about the conference a few months ago, he asked the company hosting if he could speak on a topic he enjoys (a technical software topic that is completely over my head). They loved his topic, and asked him to present!

Mark had to prepare 40 minutes of presentation, to be followed by 20 minutes Q&A. Earlier this week, he presented it to his work group, and it was about an hour long, so he cut some out for today. True to Mark's personality, he created some one-of-a-kind drawings to illustrate his technical points (the drawings are humorous, of course). I love the picture he drew of himself - I'll try to steal a copy from him tonight to post it. He was told they were estimating more than 100 for his presentation. Wow.

I haven't heard from Mark yet, so I have no idea how the presentation went. What I do know is I am extremely proud of him for stepping so far out of his comfort zone (we're talking different galaxies here, people). He's always trying to improve himself, which is admirable. He's so amazing!

And you'd better step off, ladies. He's MY man. ;)

As promised, my husband the geek :)

Updated by Mark to add:

*whew* weeks of working on slides, doing research, and trying to convince myself that I wasn't crazy for trying this all came to today. This morning, when I arrived at the conference, I was really really nervous. I even had to skip out on the yummy muffins for breakfast, because I wasn't sure I would actually keep them down.

During the keynote, I calmed down a lot. The speaker was awesome! He completely made me excited to be part of this whole event. The keynote was followed by four other presentations (where I skipped from "track" to "track", learning about things that were interesting to me. Most of them were very good... one of them made me think "at least I won't be the worst speaker here... there's *no way* I can look that unprepared."

Finally, it was time for me to do my talk. I went to the room where my presentation was scheduled and booted up my laptop. While it booted, I chatted with the guy who was going to be introducing me and a few early-arrivers. They laughed when I started OpenOffice.org Impress instead of Microsoft PowerPoint (OOo Impress is an open source alternative to MS PowerPoint... my talk was about free and open source in embedded software)... Apparently I was the only speaker at the conference not using PowerPoint, and the organizers (including the guy who was about to introduce me) had made bets as to if I would be using OpenOffice.org based on my presentation subject. Apparently he won.

This helped to drain out the rest of my nervousness. As people trickled in, I continued to just chat. People wanted to know all about my experiences at SGS. As I chatted about it, a sudden realization hit me: I was now looking at a room of fifty-ish people and they were interested in what I was saying.

The rest came easy.

The organizer gave me a little intro, which consisted of a recap of what we had just been talking about instead of what he had prepared (including the fact that he had won the bet). Then it was my turn.

Time flies.

After practicing my presentation in front of some coworkers earlier in the week, I had realized that I had about twice as much material as I needed. Instead of hacking half of it out (my first reaction), I had instead pushed the most important stuff into the front, and then added a slide that listed the other topics. So halfway through my presentation, I came to that slide and I said, "I only have twenty minutes more to talk, and I have experience in these areas. What are you most interested in hearing about?"

I am so glad that I chose to do it this way. It immediately turned the rest of the presentation into a customized interactive presentation. People asked lots of questions, we skipped from topic to topic, getting as detailed as anyone cared to discuss. As the organizer gave me the five minute sign, I realized that I was actually disappointed that it was almost over. I was having fun.

Then it's done. People clap and I pack up my laptop and throw it in my bag. As I stand back up, I am surprised to see about fifteen people around me. I just start to chat. One after another, they ask questions, tell me related stories, request my email. As I'm chatting with the last in line, I realize that I'm already late for the next presentation that I had planned to see. We exchange emails, and I'm off.

How cool is that?

Monday, October 23, 2006


Saturday night, Abby had her first sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's house (Mark's parents). It was her special time away, and she loved packing her "packpack" with all of the important things she would need.

Grandma and Grandma took her to the mall to play, and Chuck E. Cheese's. They made brownies at home and played. Abby slept well, although she woke up once in the middle of the night disoriented about where she was and needed to be directed back to bed.

Ethan had his own time with Mom and Dad, decorating the house for Halloween and going to a local playland. He cried a lot when they left (such big tears!), but he had his own fun with us and appreciated the one-on-one.

It's hard to believe our little girl is big enough to have overnights with Grandma and Grandpa! What a little lady! :)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Spirited Daughter - Part 1

I have said before that I believe Abby is a spirited (previously called strong-willed) child. I have felt alone amongst my other mom friends who aren't parenting spirited children, and who simply can't relate to the struggles I have. I have been wondering if I am creating some of the difficulties I have with Abby, and if I can help make our relationship better. My number one goal as Abby's mom is to help her realize how special and wonderful she is, despite her behavior.

I am reading a book called "Raising Your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. I am 80 pages in, and have already found it very insightful.

So far, this book has helped me to identify that my spunky oldest child falls into the category of "spirited." "Spirited" is a temperament, like "cautious" or "easy-going." Spirited is a positive term that encompasses a fairly consistent variety of traits, most of which Abby exhibits. Our temperament is widely believed to be inherent at birth, and is so much a fiber of who we are that changing temperament is like moving a mountain.

I will be blogging about my findings from this book and how they relate to parenting my beautiful Abigail. I'm excited to share with you what makes Abby tick! My hope is that those of us who are close to her can better understand why Abby behaves as she does, and can appreciate her spirited nature.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Heart Melter

Me: Ethan... do you have your hands in your pockets?
Ethan: Yes, Mom. Just like Daddy does it.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Happy Birthday, My Blog

Today is the 1st birthday of another good friend of mine, this blog.

It's hard to believe I've been writing online for a year. Time has flown, that's for certain. And so I would like to provide you with a list of the posts I consider "The Best of Team Meat." I hope you enjoy them as much as I've enjoyed writing them. Thanks for reading!

My First Post
My Kids
The Struggles of Motherhood
My Black Cloud of Spring 2006
About Me
My Sense of Humor

Happy Birthday, My Friend

My best friend Jennifer turned 35 today - happy, happy day!