Sunday, July 29, 2007

Customer Service?

A few weeks ago, I posted a bit about the awesome customer service that I received at JC Penney's Portrait Studio. Today, I experienced "Customer Service at its Worst!" Comcast is my Internet Service Provider. It's been out for most of the last two days! Ugh! That sucked. I put in two calls and received good customer service each times. During a brief period of time where the server was up, I tried to use Comcast Rhapsody to download music. I was having trouble importing the track that I downloaded into Microsoft Movie Maker. Apparently the format was not supported by the program.

I called the number for technical support. There was a message stating that wait times could exceed 10 minutes. I saw that they had a "Live Chat," so I decided to hang up and try that. The first person that I got was "Kathy." She was NOT very helpful. She pretty much danced around my questions. Then, she disconnected. I tried again. I got a guy named James. He was a little more helpful...but not much. He, too, danced around my questions.

So, I decided I would try burning the track to a CD and then importing it back into my hard drive. I wasn't sure if it would work...but I was going to give it a shot. And, then another snag. I couldn't get it to burn. Having had two NOT so helpful chat sessions, I decided to call the number and deal with the wait time. I waited for 22 minutes. Finally someone answered my call. Apparently, I had forgotten to press one for English!!!!!! This guy was HORRIBLE! I could NOT understand him AT ALL. I ended up just hanging up the phone because I was tired of saying, "I'm sorry, could please repeat that?" Why is this guy even on the phone? Are you kidding me? Twenty-two minutes! And, you can't even help me because you can't speak English! I don't care how damn good you are with computers! If you can't speak English, you should not be working a Help Line!

This is so unlike me. I'm usually the one who gets annoyed when others rant like this. But, it just really pissed me off!

I finally resolved the issue....With another Live Chat with an awesome guy named Trevor. Of course, his name is probably really Sanjay. Who knows.

I'm off to bed. Apparently, I'm cranky and need some sleep.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Trip to Silver Lake Park

On Tuesday, we met our friends Becky, Ben and Anna at the park. They are here visiting from Paris. We've know them since Jecilyn was about six-months-old and Ben was about three-months-old. We met through the Dover Chapter of Mothers & More. We were very sad when they announced they were moving to Paris. Luckily, though, they come back pretty often. Here are the photos from the park!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fun Food Friday

Aren't they they cutest!?!?! I made these for Jecilyn today! I called it "Happy Feet Lunch." She loved them! While I was making them, she kept telling me she didn't want anything to eat. And, then when I showed them to her...she couldn't wait to eat them. They pictures are a little blurry because I was fighting her off...and trying to ward off little Allergy Boy too!

I wish I could take the credit for this great idea...but I can't. I found it in a magazine called Taste of Home: Kid Friendly Cooking & Crafts. There are a ton of cute recipes in this one! Check it out!

For the cute penguins, all you need is hard boiled eggs, mini carrots, black olives and toothpicks. And, I guess you need a knife too! It took about 2 minutes to assemble them!

Peel the egg. Slice a carrot lengthwise. Place flat side down. Stick 2 toothpicks lengthwise through the egg and attach to the carrots (feet). Slice olive in half lengthwise. Use them to make wings. Attach with a toothpick. For the head, simply push a carrot into the hole in the olive. Attach with a toothpick. (When I did it, I used the same toothpick for both the head and the feet!) That's it! All done!

I think it would be fun to grate cheese on top for snow! I think Jecilyn would have enjoyed making the snow. But, I didn't have any. I also thought about breaking up some white bread and making "iceburgs." Gold Fish crackers may have also been a nice touch.

This was a fun food that I'm sure to make again and again!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Musical Challenge...

Jeff sent me the above picture. There are 75 Band Names hidden in the picture. See how many you can get. Leave your answers as a comment. Don't cheat! I'll post the answers in a few days. Have a Great Day!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Breast is Best

I saw this sign the other day as I was driving up the highway. I'm not quite sure why it's there...but I think it's pretty cool. I am typing with one hand now as I hold a nursing Treavor with the other hand. In fact, most of my blogging is done in this very position. It's the only time that I ever really get a chance to sit down.

My mother was a big proponent of breastfeeding. She nursed both my brother and me at a time that it was not the popular choice. She spoke often about the nurse looking at her like she was nuts when she told them she wanted to breastfeed me. By the time Chris was born, it was a little more "acceptable" but not really. My mom attended La Leche Meetings. I would love to attend, but unfortunately, there are no meetings close to me. I do, however, see advice from them frequently online. Their website has loads of information. Here's the link: La Leche League.

Like my mom, I am also a big proponent of breastfeeding. It's good that it's widely accepted where I live (as evidenced by the sign!). It's sad that despite all the research proving the benefits of breastfeeding, there are still people who think breastfeeding is "gross" or "disgusting" or, my favorite, "un-natural!" There is a lot of controversy about nursing in public. There was a woman who was kicked off the plane for nursing her baby. Now, that just made me mad! I am not one of those moms that plans outings around feedings. I am a "feed on demand kind of mom." When the child cries, I whip out a boob and stick it in. I figure people would rather see me nurse in public than listen to my kid scream. Thankfully, I haven't encountered any negativity.

Once I was eating breakfast in a restaurant with Mom Mom Ginny. I was nursing Treavor and she had to leave for an appointment. I stayed behind to finish. I was sitting there and looked across the restaurant. There was a woman sitting there staring at me. I looked down to see if I was, "exposed." I wasn' I just went about my business. As I was leaving, I walked passed the woman. She stopped me. I thought, "Uh we go!" She said, "I saw you nursing your little boy over there. I think that's great! Good for you!" I was dumbfounded. I just said thank you and walked away.

I chose to breastfeed mainly because I was sure my mom would disown me if I hadn't. Once I began what has been nearly a three year continuous stint, I realized that mom wasn't all about what's best for the baby. She was lazy. As am I. I breastfeed now because it's conveinent. I don't have the time or the organizational skills to prepare the bottles, to wash the bottles, or to remember to purchase the formula. I cannot even imagine getting up in the middle of the night, walking downstairs and fixing a bottle. It's so much easier to get up, pick up baby, lift up shirt, and go back to sleep. That's my humble opinion!!!!

Here's a great post I read on breastfeeding. Click here to read it. Have a great day!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sharing a little secret

I admit it. I'm a huge fan of America's Got Talent on NBC. I just think it's a great show. I got hooked last year when I saw Bianca Ryan's first performance. That little girl is just amazing. I had to watch the entire season just to see if she would win...And she did. Here is a clip of her first performance. I'm posting it because it absolutely blew me away...and the judges as well. As you watch it, keep in mind she was eleven years old!!!

Her winning performance was also amazing...You can link to that by clicking here. Just wow. That kid gives me goose bumps everytime I watch her perform.

This year I have a few favorites that have made it through to the semifinals. I think my favorite from this week is fourteen-year-old Julienne Irwin. Her first performance was great--but the one she gave this week...I don't know...there's just something about this kid!!! I hope to see her again in the finals. Here's her semifinal performance.

I liked several of the other acts too. Tune in to NBC and check it out!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Yesterday morning we were stopped at a red light. My neighbor was in the lane next to us. We rolled down our windows and said "Hi!" and chatted a bit. When the light turned green, we went in different directions. Jecilyn asked, "Mommy, who was that man? What's his name?" I answered that he was a neighbor and that his name is Jeff. We then had the following exchange:

Me: Do you know anyone else with the name Jeff?
Jecilyn: Yes. My friend is Jeff.
Me: Yes honey, you have a friend named Jeff. Do you know anyone else whose name is Jeff?
Jecilyn: My daddy's name is Jeff.
Me: Yes, your daddy's name is Jeff. And, what does your daddy look like?
Jecilyn: (slight pause...and then...) TREAVOR.
Me: (fumbling for a response and trying not to swerve off the road because I am laughing so hard...) Umph....Yyyyeeeppp.
Jecilyn: No. No. I mean, Treavor wooks wike my daddy.
Me: Uhhhh huh....You're right....he does....

I'm trying to find some photos of Jeff and Treavor that illustrate that Jecilyn is correct...they will be posted soon....

Monday, July 16, 2007

Better Late Than Never!

Here are some photos from Treavor's 1st Birthday Party. I decided to make it an "All American Backyard BBQ" with a patriotic theme. I thought this was appropriate because Daddy is deployed...and because Treavor was born so close to Independence Day. From the pictures, it looks as though a good time was had by all. I took video...but I'm still having problems with the computer, so, for's just stills!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

She might be a Redneck....

Yesterday Jecilyn and I were driving in the car listening to Lee Greenwood. Jecilyn loves "God Bless the USA." Jeff used to sing it to her when she was a baby. She calls it "Daddy's Song" and does a pretty good job of singing it herself (video to come soon!). We listen to the CD a lot when we are driving. One of the songs on the CD starts with the Pledge of Allegiance. She can now recite it. The last song on the album is our National Anthem. We don't usually get to that one because she likes "The Kids One" (Pledge of Allegiance), "Daddy's Song" (God Bless the USA), and "The Toe Tapper" (This Land is Your Land) so much. Yesterday, however, we made it to song number 10. When she started singing, I was pretty impressed. And then she said..."Oh! Mommy! The race is getting ready to start!" Hmmm. I just wonder where she learned that. Surely not at my house where the only tv is either playing a DVD rated G, or tuned to NOGGIN. On the bright side, when the song was over, she didn't blurt out, "Gentlemen Start Your Engines!" And, hey, she knows the song. It's all good.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Not so Fun Food Friday!

Don't freakin argue with me when I am right! Those are the words of the day. It's not much of a Fun Food Friday! It's more like a F$#@ing Food Friday. Since Treavor was just a few months old, I became convinced that he was allergic to milk. Everyone said I was nuts. Ok, not "everyone" but most of the medical professionals. They said it was unlikely. When he was about 8 months, I got it in my head that he had a wheat allergy--or maybe celiac disease. His pediatrician diagnosed him with "Failure to Thrive" which I thought was ridiculous...but I'm just a mom. What do I know?!?! The pediatrician drew some blood and referred me to CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia). At CHOP, Treavor was tested for Celiac Disease and the tests, thankfully, were negative.

When Treavor went in for his 12 month appointment last week, I mentioned the ER trip. I expressed concern that it was a food allergy--and was pretty sure it was eggs. Or, possibly peanuts or potatoes. (I thought perhaps the potatoes were cooked in peanut oil!) The doctor FINALLY ordered allergy testing....and guess what. Mom was right. He is allergic to PEANUT OIL, EGGS, MILK, WHEAT and BANANAS. The only thing I had not suspected was the bananas.

So, here I sit...feeling horrible that I subjected the poor little guy to all of those allergens for all this time. No wonder he's not on the growth chart! Poor kid was eating bananas and yogurt just about every day!

I'm not quite sure where we go from here. Why!?! Because although the doctor has had the results from his tests since Wednesday, he hasn't called me yet to tell me them. I happened to find out another way. WTF? My kid is allergic to his entire diet...and you can't pick up the phone and tell me!?!!? Needless to say, I'm more than a little angry!

I spent a lot of time at Good News Natural Foods today. They are wonderful there. They have a ton of wheat free things--breads, brownies, pasta, etc. On a positive note, Fun Food Friday is going to return and be extra creative!!! I'm not sure where I'll find the time, or frankly, the energy, but I guess I'll figure it out!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Customer Service at its best!

I just wanted to share my recent experience with JC Penneys Portrait Studio. We've been using them since 2004 when Jecilyn was born. We love Miss Betsy! I'm a big fan of the "Smiles by Wire" service. For those of you that are not familiar with this, you can download and share your photos online. The cost is $4.99. Anyway, at our recent trip, Miss Betsy went a little crazy. She took something like 45 pictures of Treavor and Jecilyn. And, being Miss Betsy...there wasn't a bad one in the bunch. She broke it up into 2 sittings.

I ordered Smiles by Wire on both sittings, but apparently something happened and one of them did not go through. I saw Miss Betsy type my address in....but some how something went wrong. I called her today and told her that I only rec'd half of the pictures. She told me to call the 888 number on my sheet. When I did, I was on hold for a few minutes. My call was eventually answered by a lady named Joan. She explained that my 2nd sitting had not "posted." I asked if I could re-order the service. She told me that, unfortunately, they can't re-order the smiles by wire. She explained that I could still order prints, but that the service was no longer available. She was very apologetic. I told her that my husband was deployed and that we had gotten the pictures taken for him. I explained that JCPenneys is one of the few websites he can access to see pictures. I was pretty frustrated...but what can you do!?!?!

Joan apologized again...and said she would like to do something for me. I figured I'd get a free service next time or something...I would have been fine with that...but Joan went above and beyond. She emailed the pictures directly to me. That kind of customer service is so rare these days...I just had to pass it on!!!!!!

And, FYI, she also informed me that Smiles by Wire is free to military families. She also said that military families receive a free 8x10 and no sitting fees. Just show military ID!!!!

Here are the great photos that Miss Betsy took! She rocks! Of course, my cuties make it easy!!!!

Have a great day!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Best Wishes Jason & Erica!

Yesterday was a big day for weddings! I guess there were a lot of people who thought that getting married 07/07/07 would bring them good luck. My friend Jason married his sweetie yesterday. I attended the wedding...and it was a blast! Best wishes Jason and Erica!!!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Fun Food Friday

This is one I haven't actually tried. I've been wanting to do it for a while, but Jecilyn always throws a fit and ends up eating the banana before I have it done... My idea is to take Stonyfield Farm Whole Milk Plain Yogurt mixed with a little honey and Organic Peanut Butter. Then, cover a banana with that mixture and roll the entire thing in some crushed up cereal (all Natural of course!) I figure the cereal will stick to the banana kind of like one of those Cheeseballs you see at parties. Once that is done, you can get really creative. I was thinking I'd add some raisin or chocolate chip eyes and call it a snake. Or maybe, slice some grapes in half to make feet for a a caterpillar. Maybe some watermelon slices (triangles) to make dragonfly wings. Be creative! I'll be sure to photograph whatever I make...if I can ever get the damn banana out of her hands!!!!

Just another ordinary day...NOT!

Yesterday we got up and dressed and headed out to meet Aunt Nett for breakfast at our favorite restaurant--Sorentino's. We love that place! They have a HUGE variety. They are inexpensive. The food is ALWAYS delicious. Their fries are even good cold! The portions are huge. They are VERY kid friendly (On my last dinner visit, they brought out fries for the kids--as an appetizer. They loved it!). The staff is super pleasant. They've even been known to bring Eggplant Parmesan to the poor miserable pregnant girl in hopes of inducing labor! It's always a pleasurable experience.

Yesterday, Nett and I ordered our usual--a broccoli and cheddar omlette with hash browns and toast. I ordered scrambled eggs, hash browns and toast for Jecilyn and Treavor to share (at the huge cost of $1.99). I also ordered them a fruit cup. It was all just as yummy as always. I picked Treavor up out of the high chair, I noticed he was a little red around his mouth. Hmmm. No biggie. Must be something he drooled out. By the time we left the restaurant, his cheeks were a little red, he sneezed a bunch of times, and his eyes looked a little funny. I determined he must be having an allergic reaction to something, but didn't know what. I figured I'd give him some Benadryl. But, I didn't know how much to give. So, I called the doctor.

You would think that this would be something on which you could get an answer RIGHT away...but you would be wrong. I had to leave a message for the appointment scheduler to leave a message for the nurse to call me back. That's just nuts. So, I headed to Target to get the Benadryl...and speak to the pharmacist--who would give me an answer prior to the onset of anaphylactic shock. By the time we got to Target, Treavor's poor little eyes were swollen shut. I should mention that Target is right across the street from the restaurant!...We spoke to the pharmacist who took one look at him and said...."One half teaspoon now. If it doesn't get any better, give another in an hour and call the doctor. If it gets worse, go to the ER." About 5 minutes later, I got a call from the nurse. She didn't have a dosing chart in front of her. Duh! She didn't know how much I should give him. She put me on hold for a few minutes, and then came back and confirmed "one half teaspoon." She told me to take him to the ER for safety....So off we went.

Back to the ER for the 2nd (actually 3rd since Jecilyn also got her stitches taken out in the ER) time since Jeff left. As we were signing in there was a two year old little girl behind us who MIGHT have taken some Xanax. I asked if she could give me some of her stash!!!!

Amazingly, I was in and out of the ER in less than 45 minutes. I think it was closer to half an hour but I'm not sure. I was once again VERY IMPRESSED with the care that we received. Granted, we were stuck in a bed in the hall because all the others were full...and that's not really the best place to keep a three year old contained...but I can't complain. There were a lot of people interacting with Jecilyn and keeping her entertained. Even the maintenance man talked with her as he swept. Out of no where someone appeared and gave her a Sesame Street Book. On our way out, I told her to give it to the lady so the next little girl could read it. They let her keep it.

The doctor wrote Treavor a script for Zyrtec. He said it does the same thing as the Benadryl but wouldn't make him sleepy. I looked at the doctor and said, "Do you really think that sleepy is gonna bother me!?!?" He laughed and warned that sometimes Benadryl has the opposite effect on children. As he was writing the script, he paused and asked..."Would you like me to write one for some Valium for you?" Without missing a beat, I replied, "No, I think I'd prefer Xanax...and some Zoloft." The entire nurses station busted out laughing. I didn't think it was funny. And, I didn't get my script...Oh well.

Treavor is fine. The swelling all went down within a few minutes of taking the Benadryl. Now, we just have to figure out what caused it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Fourth of July!

Mom Mom Ginny gave me this really cool picture. It's called the Human Liberty Bell. It was done in 1918. The bell is consists of 2500 Officers and Men at Camp Dix, New Jersey. The photographer Arthur Mole did several such photos. You can read about them by clicking here.

Have a safe and Happy Fourth of July!

Monday, July 2, 2007


I made a trip to the Blood Bank of Delmarva today to donate blood. I've donated countless times. The first time I ever donated, I was scared shitless. In fact, I signed up for a blood drive in college under false pretenses. I had gained my freshman fifteen, and I used the blood drive as a weight loss motivator. I figured since I was so scared, I'd be sure to loose those 15 pounds--which would have made me ineligible to donate. Apparently, the junk food, the booze and the "ice your own cupcakes" were far too important. On the day of the blood drive, I met the weight requirement....and I donated. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Since then, I've donated over 10 gallons of blood.

About six years ago, I began donating platelets. This procedure is a bit more complicated and time consuming than donating whole blood, but it can benefit more patients. During the procedure, your blood is removed from one arm, fed through a machine that removed the platelets, and put back into your other arm. I don't know if I'm correct in this analogy, but I often liken it to dialysis. In dialysis, the bad stuff is removed from your blood. Here, it's the "good stuff" that is removed.

I found the following information on a Red Cross Website. Here's the link. The information on that page has been pasted below too--for those who do not want to follow the link...just because I think it's important information.

In an apheresis (ay-fur-ee-sis) donation, from the Greek "to take away," donors give only select blood components — platelets, plasma, red cells, infection-fighting white cells called granulocytes, or a combination of these, depending on the donors' blood type and the needs of the community. Apheresis is most commonly used to collect platelets and plasma.

Patient Benefits
A single apheresis donation of platelets can provide as many platelets as 5 whole blood donations. In addition, a platelet transfusion from a single donor greatly reduces the chances of an immune system reaction to the transfusion. Bone marrow transplant, cancer and leukemia patients whose immune systems are already compromised, benefit particularly from single donor platelet transfusions.

Apheresis donors' donations go through additional typing called Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) typing to ensure that the match between donor and recipient is as close as possible. Donors are then matched with specific patients in hospitals. Apheresis donors may receive emergency requests to donate for a patient to whom they are matched. Many apheresis donors find the knowledge that they are helping a specific individual in need particularly rewarding.

People who donate just platelets can donate every 3 days for a maximum of 24 times a year.

Who Can Be an Apheresis Donor?
The same good health requirements that govern whole blood donors apply to apheresis donors. You must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health.

The Apheresis Donation Process: Safe and Easy
Similar to a whole blood donation, an aphersis donation consists of four steps: registration, health history and mini-physical, donation, and refreshments. From registration to refreshments, the process lasts 1½ -2½ hours. During the actual donation, you will sit in a comfortable recliner, and a carefully monitored machine will draw blood from one arm through sterile tubing into a cell separator centrifuge. The blood stays inside the self-contained sterile tubing and never comes in contact with the machine. After the blood component(s) have been collected, the rest of the blood is returned to the donor through the same arm or the other arm. It's a safe process — the collection sets and needles are sterile, used once for each donor and then discarded. Donors usually relax, read, or enjoy a movie during the donation.

Giving blood--and platelets--is a great way to help the community! A whole blood donation takes about an hour. That includes the interview and time in the "canteen" where they feed you! A pheresis donation takes about 2 hours. At The Blood Bank of Delmarva, there are TVs available and a library of movies to watch. Plus, all of the phlebotomists are wonderful and seem to really enjoy their jobs. They don't even mind wiping snot off your nose after you've sneezed! How gross!

Should you decide to try pheresis, be forewarned. Dress warmly. Something in the anticoagulant they give you can make you really cold!!!!!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

It's My Party...

I'm SO behind with all my pictures and such! I just can't seem to find enough hours in the day. And, I'm having some computer issues so that doesn't help either. My poor machine seems to have nearly run out of memory. Yikes!

Anyway, Treavor's birthday party was yesterday. It was lots of fun! As soon as I fix my memory problem (and the computer's too!), I'll post some pictures of that. AND....I also have video coverage. A first for me! I borrowed a camcorder from the base to capture the even for Jeff. Hopefully, I'll be able to figure out how to incorporate it into something fun!

The above is a picture of Treavor with his first birthday cake. We had some friends over on Friday to celebrate his "actual birthday." Despite this picture, he did enjoy the cake....and the bath afterward! More to come soon!