Let's say I try and bite you. How much is it gonna hurt? I'm...

November 26, 2011

I survived Black Friday

I don't even know if I have re-cooperated enough to even talk about it, but I survived working black Friday in a video game retail store. This is apparently just the beginning for me. The beginning of a long and hard Holiday shopping season.

November 21, 2011


I just wanted to take a moment and reflect on what I am thankful for in my life. Number one, hands down, no question, I am most thankful for my son. Everyone says things like that and unless you are a parent you can't really understand, and even if you are a parent it still doesn't necessarily mean that you understand.

My son is my entire world. He is everything to me. I consider him in all things that I do. I can't bring myself to make a selfish decision. There is no way that I could put him aside for anything or anyone, ever. Period.

I would do anything to keep him safe, happy, and healthy. The love that we have for one another is pure and sweet and untainted by anything in this world. He might like to play with his cousins, or read with his Auntie, but when he wants safety, who does he come to? Mama; that's who. When he wants comfort - Mama. When he wants tender hugs and kisses - Mama. When he wants to feel loved - Mama. I'm so thankful that my son and I have a good strong bond, and I know we always will.

November 20, 2011

To Do List

Oh, Hi Internet.

Guess what I still haven't done? I still haven't been able to devote any time whatsoever to playing Skyrim, and I also have not fixed my broken netbook.

That's right. I have owned Elder Scrolls Skyrim since the release date, but I have not played it at all. I have seen it played. I watched someone play it for about an hour or so, but I haven't been able to even really create a character at all.

I also keep intending to take 20 minutes to repair my broken charging port on my netbook, but I haven't gotten around to doing that either.

On a brighter note, I did book Caleb's birthday party today. I'm excited about that. It's booked and the deposit is paid. I can check that off of my list. I also enrolled him in his swim classes again. He took swim classes for about a year and then we had to drop them until our finances were more stable. Thankfully, they are now and I was able to get him all set up starting next week.

So there are two things marked off of my ever growing to-do list. You know what may have helped? I bought a day planner... I hadn't actually even opened it before I did any of those things, but maybe it just motivated me to get the more time sensitive things taken care of today.

November 19, 2011

Documentaries for Movie Night

I posted a blog a few days back about how frequent our movie nights have been lately. We have been having a movie night about every other day or so. We usually start out with watching something for Caleb and after bed time, we watch another movie or two.

Over the last month or so, I have been hooked on documentaries. I have watched several of them this fall already. Most recently I watched Trekkies, which I thought was amazing. I'm looking forward to watching the sequel soon, but it isn't on instant view for Netflix so I have to order the disc. I'm hoping that I will get to watch Dark Days this week. I've seen this documentary already; I watched it in High School after reading a book on the same subject. It's about the homeless people in NYC who have moved into old abandoned subway tunnels and make homes there with running water and electricity.

A few weeks ago I watched Winnebago Man, but I have to warn you that there is a disturbing amount of profane language in that one. If you've seen the viral video then you know what I'm talking about. I watched a documentary about Pinball Machines called Special When Lit, which was incredible! I highly recommend it, especially if you want to perfect your pinball game. You will probably find that your problem is the same as mine... you don't have the proper pinball stance, which includes prancing like you have to pee, borderline sexual hip thrusts, and involuntary leg jerking. I can't wait to try my new pinball dance on a real machine.

I'm scrolling through my Netflix que right now and adding new docs to watch this week!

Holiday 2011 Wii Can't Play GameCube

Just as an FYI and if anyone was wondering, the new Wiis that are coming out for Holiday 2011 are not backwards comparable. I don't want to confuse anyone by calling it a "new" Wii. There isn't much in the way of it being "new" other than that the components have changed and now they don't play GameCube games and aren't able to use GameCube accessories anymore. So the system isn't a new item, rather a new model. And one of the things this model won't be able to do is maintain its backwards compatibility. I haven't seen the new system yet, but it is supposed to be slimmer than the original.

I assume that the reason for slimming down the Wii and removing the backwards compatibility is to cut the costs of manufacturing. Oh yeah, and good thing that the price is the same as the old one... at least for now. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a price slash coming up soon. Then again, I wouldn't be all too surprised if it just stayed the same.

November 18, 2011

Hooked on Ice Cream

Oh my goodness. I have been so hooked on ice cream lately and I just had to tell you all about it. I have been joyously eating french vanilla ice cream with raspberry topping almost every night. I was in the ice cream aisle at the grocery store and they has all kinds of toppings available. They had blueberry and strawberry, chocolate and butterscotch. No raspberry!!!? Then a brilliant thought hit me! Pie filling! I found the baking section and viola! There it was in a can without all of the confetti and streamers that were on the more popular flavors, but just as good. Raspberry pie filling / topping. And now I'm a very happy girl! :)

November 17, 2011

Netflix on Xbox Live Movie Night

Ever since I got Xbox Live, movie nights at my place are a lot easier. First of all, I don't have to guess what everyone wants to watch. Nothing ruins a movie night like bringing home a movie that everyone has already seen before, except for bringing home a movie that looks good and then very clearly isn't. Netflix on Xbox Live cures all that.

First I start by popping the popcorn. The smell of it brings the entire family out of their rooms and into the family room where the Xbox is set up. They are conditioned almost like Pavlov's Dogs by now. They smell the popcorn and they know movie night is about to go down. Once everyone is starting to gather into the adjoining kitchen, I flip on the TV and the Xbox and sign into my Xbox Live account. While we are all talking about our day, I load up the Netflix app.

Once we are in the app, we can search for new movies to watch, see what has been newly released, or even check out movies that we had bookmarked the night before. It is easy for us all to agree on something, and if it turns out that the movie is horrible, which has only happened once, then we can switch to something else. No having to drive back to red box and pay out more money to get a different movie. We get unlimited streaming from Netflix and we never have to worry about how many movies we start or finish. In fact, several times, our movie night has turned into a double or triple feature.

The only thing that I feel is lacking in the Netflix on Xbox Live department, is that Netflix doesn't always have the movie we want available for instant viewing. I'm sure there is some reasonable explanation for this, but I don't know what it is so I am simply frustrated. We have ordered a few discs here and there, but they don't always even get watched right away. Some nights we opt for instant viewing because it is so easy and we are used to it now.

So I'm super stoked on the Netflix app on Xbox Live. I hear there is supposed to be an update soon, but I don't know what it's going to include. I'm excited to see what it looks like though!

November 16, 2011

Playing in the Snow

I wish it didn't rain here so much in the PNW. If it were a little more dry in the winter, they would be much more enjoyable. I don't mind the cold, but the slimy wet rain is just gross.

The only time I don't mind precipitation in the winter time is when it comes down as snow. I love snow! I can't wait to take Caleb up to the mountain to go sledding and play in the snow. I'm not going to just sit around the valley and suffer through rain, hoping for snow. It doesn't make sense when all I have to do is drive an hour to get there.

So my plan is to pack some hot soup into a thermos, and do the same with some hot chocolate. I'm going to pack some sandwiches and crackers and juice and head up to Mt. Hood for an all day romp in a winter wonderland. We are going to play all day until we are starving and then we are going to play some more... until it's too dark to stay outside. Then on the way home we can stop at a cozy little diner or truck stop and get something to eat next to a fire.

I'm going to get those little disposable packaged hand warmers to be sure that my little teeny tiny stays warm. He has Gortex mittens and pants already, so all he needs is a coat. I;ll bring a few changes of clothes just in case he gets wet. Of course I am going to have to wait until it actually starts snowing up on the mountain, but until then I'm in full swing planning mode!

November 15, 2011

I Want My Own Place

Don't get me wrong. I love my parents. I do enjoy certain aspects of living with them. I love my sister and I would live with her as a roommate any time, but living here is starting to wear on me. I just want a little more privacy. I want a little more freedom. I want a little less conversation.

But I do understand that there are huge benefits from living here. I am saving a ton of money. I always have someone to help me with whatever I need. I don't have to wake up Caleb early in the morning to take him to my mom's when I go to work. When I am here, I can just let him sleep in and so can she until he wakes up. On Tuesdays I take him to the library for story time, and so does my sister. When I have to work, she still takes him, so he never misses out. We are surrounded by people we love and who love us.

But still, I'd like my own bathroom. And I stand by that statement.

November 14, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte

If you want to know what I want to drink, it's a soy pumpkin spice latte. I am so hooked on these right now it's driving me nuts. I will drink them from anywhere. Starbucks, Nordstrom Cafe, Seattle's Best, Dutch Brothers, you name it, I'll have it!

Normally, I don't think Starbucks has the best coffee, but recently I stopped by a Starby's for one of my new favorite drinks and they made it SO GOOD. It was definitely the best soy pumpkin spice latte that I have ever had. I drink a lot more coffee when the pumpkin spice lattes come back into season.

November 13, 2011

My Computer is Broken

I've posted blogs like this one before. One time was after I got a terrible virus. Another time Caleb knocked it on the floor and jarred the hard drive. This time it's something a little easier to fix. I just have a problem with my charging port. A wire came loose from it and it needs to be soldered back into place. I think I might fix it tonight. I have been living without it for a while now. I have been writing blogs on my moms computer for over a week.

Why is it that I have decided that I can't live without it? I want to download new ringtones onto my iPhone 4 and I want to check for updates. I hate how you can't access, back up, or update your phone from a different computer without erasing everything on it.

So tonight I think I will break out the old soldering iron and see if I can figure this out. Hopefully I don't break it... oh and hopefully there isn't anything else wrong with it.

November 12, 2011

Still Haunted by Halloween Candy

Halloween was almost 2 weeks ago and I am still being plagued with Halloween candy! My kid's candy haul was so massive this year that he hasn't even made a dent in it. That, and the fact that I am trying to be responsible mother and not let him go hog wild with the candy means that it is going to be around for a long, long time.

If Caleb has one piece of candy every night after dinner, then he has enough candy to last him a million years. The biggest problem is that I eat a piece of candy every day as well. So I am going to blow up like a balloon, but at least we will only have candy for the next half a million years.

November 11, 2011


Today is my favorite Video Game Day! Elder Scrolls Skyrim has just been released. I'm working the midnight launch selling this epic game to the most epic of nerds. I don't have to work after 1am tonight and so I am going to be playing Skyrim when I get home and then everyday for probably the next 6 months before I even think about giving it a rest!

I'm so excited about this game! Over 400 hours of game play and endless possibilities for how the game can be played and what you character can be! EEP! That's my happy noise! I'm going to by playing mine on the Xbox 360. Sometimes I lie awake at night and think about how awesome it is to have a machine that is capable of running such an amazing game. Yup, I'm that kind of nerd.

Such a nerd am I that I am also totally stoked for the Collector's Edition of the strategy guide. Written by Mr. David S.J. Hodgson and published by Prima Games, this guide has 656 pages, over half a million words, hard cover, and ribbon book marks. I'll be getting mine autographed by the author. Because, yes, I really AM that kind of nerd.

November 10, 2011

A Very Merry Retail

Well, Christmas time is here, and like a fool I went and got back into retail. And not just any retail, video game retail. Yup, that is something I would do. Working in retail during the holidays makes it so hard to enjoy the time of year.

I'm not trying to complain, but there are some hardships that come with working in retail over Christmas time. The first thing is that it is insanely busy. The business grows, but that space doesn't. Somehow I have to figure out how to put an entire year's worth of profit into one teeny tiny back room. And an entire Christmas season's worth of merchandise onto one over-crowded sales floor.

Secondly, people are cranky. They are tired. They are stressed. They are stretching their dollars, and dealing with ungrateful relatives, and freezing cold weather. They have to shop, and host parties, and entertain out of town guests, and cook holiday meals. I understand all of that, but it doesn't mean that they all have to act like total jerks. See what I'm saying?

It's such a busy time of year that sometimes weeks will go by where I only have one day off. Or sometimes I think about work even on my time off. I often have those dreaded work dreams. I dream about being at work, I work a whole shift in my sleep and I don't even get paid for it. Man, I really don't like that. It's hard to juggle family life with work during the holidays. Especially since I love doing Holiday time activities with my little son.

At Christmastime, Caleb and I like to do all kinds of things. We go look at Christmas lights in the neighborhoods, we go to the Zoo lights, we go to the mountains to play in the snow. This year I really had hoped to take him on a special holiday vacation, but I'm sure that won't happen. Not only are my funds all tapped out for Christmas, I just don't have the time with all the work that needs to be done. I just try to stay positive and think about all of the fun we are going to have one day when I am done with this retail gig!

November 9, 2011

Video Games for Kids Under Five

Lots of times I am asked by parents about what games they can get for their children under 5. I have a little soon-to-be 4 year old at home and we do play games together on several different consoles. What parents sometimes fail to understand is that video games are NOT meant to be babysitters. Often times I suggest a game and follow up my recommendation with, "as long as you're there helping him/her control the character and solve puzzles, your kids will have tons of fun and really enjoy this game." Sadly, the response is usually, "Oh, no. I'm looking for something I can just give him and walk away so I can keep him out of my hair."

Well, sorry. I don't have a recommendation for any parent who wants to keep their kid away from them. I am going to give a list of some games that I suggest for children, but keep a few things in mind.

  • Child may need help controlling the character
  • It may take several sessions before your child can play the game with little assistance
  • Video games aren't babysitters. Pay attention to your kids! Use game time as a bonding time to teach patience, creative thinking, and problem solving.
  • Not every game is for every kid
  • Your child may not be able to beat a level or complete an objective in the game, but that doesn't mean they aren't having fun. Let your kid drive around the racetrack backwards, who really cares if Wario wins?

So here are some games in no particular order:

.Viva Pinata. Caleb loves this game. It has adjustable controls so you can choose between advanced and basic controls. The concept of the game is that you plant a garden and little living animals in the likeness of pinatas will come and live in it and you take care of them. For older kids (and adults) there are objectives you can complete, but the game really has no end. You can decide how to decorate your garden, and what to plant and build. The options are endless. Sometimes Caleb digs up his entire garden and makes the whole thing a lake. No worries, because it's just a game. All you have to do is sell everything and start over.

.Lego Games. There are a variety of Lego Games including, Lego Indiana Jones, several Lego Star Wars, Lego Batman, and Lego Harry Potter. They are similar in that you play as little Lego men and all of the terrain, bad guys, animals and items resemble Lego pieces. You don't die in the game, you just break into Lego pieces and then reappear assembled again. There are unlimited chances to solve puzzles and pass levels. Some of the puzzles can be challenging, even for me, but the games are a lot of fun. It's fun for kids because they never have to restart a level because they never run out of chances to try something. There isn't any real violence, just mostly cartoon mischief and cartoon violence. There are guns in some of the games, and some fighting, but you only ever break into Lego pieces or break your foe into Lego pieces.

.Super Hero Squad. Caleb is playing this game on the Wii. The controls are easy to use, and the game is fun. Simple objectives and only cartoon violence with super hero powers. Sometimes he spends a good amount of time shooting lasers into a wall, but as long as he is having a good time I am fine with it. The game is cute and I enjoy watching him play it. You play as one of several Marvel Super Heroes as... children? I'm not sure, but they look like little babies so that's what I call them. The game is 2 player co-op (2 player cooperative) meaning 2 people can play at the same time on the same team and help each other out. You can also play alone and choose a character for the computer to play as your teammate. Since Caleb can't read he needs the objectives explained to him, although he doesn't care much for completing them. He mostly likes to watch the characters run around and use their super powers.

.Kinect Games. There are several games on the XBox 360 Kinect that kids will enjoy. Kinectimals is a game where you get to have little pets on the screens like baby bears and tigers. You can feed them and pet them and care for them. The greatest thing about the Kinect is that there is no controller. The Microsoft slogan for this accessory is "You are the controller". Kids simply stand in front of the connect camera and move their arms to pet their baby tiger! Microsoft is working with Sesame Street to create fantastic educational games for kids. The most recent uses the Kinect and is called, Once Upon a Monster. I haven't played this yet, but I have heard that it is amazingly fun and easy for little ones.

.Sesame Street. Sesame street has released some games on the Wii. Elmo stars in one that teaches letters and sounds while Cookie Monster features the numbers learning. Caleb has an alright time with these games. In my experience the controls are hard to manage, so a child will probably need an adult with them the entire time to make sure that they are able to answer questions correctly by moving the controller in the appropriate way. This is definitely not a game to plop them in front of, (and I don't feel that's right for any game) but it does help learn letters and numbers and kids get a kick out of seeing their favorite Sesame Street characters on the screen. Another nice thing about this game is that the characters speak all of the instructions, that way small children are able to play even if they can't read.

So there you have it! I hope that helps you with your Christmas shopping this year. Which leads me to my next post.... hmmm.....

November 8, 2011

October is So Last Month

October seemed like it flew by. Not only was I busy with work all month, but my parents were traveling in Asia for almost the entire month. They left the first week in October and returned the last week, right before Halloween. Their trip started with Taiwan, where my dad did a little business for the company where he works. Then they went to Vietnam.

Vietnam was definitely their favorite spot. My dad grew up there and my mom was very anxious to learn about the culture and see the place where my dad spent his childhood. She loved it so much that they are planning to retire there. They had talked about it before, but now she is ready to set the plan in motion.

While they were in Vietnam, they signed up for a Thailand tour group. In Thailand, they spent a few days going to gardens and they even got their pictures taken with tigers and elephants. My favorite picture is of my mom feeding a bottle to a baby tiger.

My dad got his picture taken with a very sleepy mama tiger. At least, I assume she's the mom, but she is definitely very sleepy!

I'm so happy for my mom. She has been wanting to travel for so long, but she's always been stuck at home with the kids. I know she feels like her time has finally come.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is a wonderful day! Not just because Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 launched at Midnight! It's also a blessed day because it's my mother's birthday. Happy Birthday mom. Sorry you got eclipsed by the biggest video game release of all time, but you're still number one to me!

November 7, 2011

Doggie Dreamin'

Okay, so like I said in my previous post, I can't stop wanting to adopt a dog. I took Caleb to the pumpkin patch and there were all of these families with their dogs on the hay ride and in the pumpkin patch. It just seemed like their families were so complete. Maybe that is what I feel like I am really missing is a complete family...

I just think about all of the places I would like to take my dog. I'd like to take her up to the mountains to play in the snow, and into the woods for a nice Autumn hike. A foggy late morning stroll, or a romp in the hay-filled field behind my parents house. When I took Caleb trick-or-treating there were so many families out with their dogs dressed up in funny little costumes.

It makes it a little harder since my brother got a puppy right when I was starting to break down and actually look for a dog. I know that a dog is a bad idea for me right now. I am still living with my parents and not only do they have a dog, but my sister who lives here also has a dog. The house would be full of dogs, full of hair, loud, and on top of all of that my dog would learn bad manners from my parents' dog and learn to do nothing from my sister's dog. I'm also working full time and I just don't have time to give a dog all of the attention and exercise that they really deserve.

So I am stuck somewhere between loneliness and logic. Right now, logic is definitely winning, but there is still a little empty spot in my life where a dog belongs, I think.

November 6, 2011

Impulse Puppy

I want a puppy. I don't have time for a puppy, I don't have the funds for a puppy, I don't have the patience for a puppy, and yet, I want a puppy.

I don't even really have to have a puppy, a dog would do. Someone who is already house trained, altered, and dewormed. A dog that is done being so hyper and just wants to be a dog. That would be nice....

But, I digress... I don't really think its a good idea.

Got TV at Home

Got TV at Home

Thanks for the article from Glenda Hanson

I got direct tv NFL Sunday Ticket for my husband a few months ago and wouldn’t you know it, I haven’t seen him get up from his chair in about 6 weekends. There’s always a dozen games on and when one ends, another starts – can you believe some of these games don’t even start until after 10:00pm East Coast time? I don’t know what I have to do to entice him to help me with chores and errands but getting all the football channels has made me feel sort of like a single woman. I think I’m going to try next weekend to just leave the kids at home and go out shopping – let’s see if he even notices! At least I can get some free if not involuntary babysitting for it! Anyway, I love my husband to death and he works really hard during the week but I never expected his entire weekend to be taken up by TV. He used to be a world-class athlete, for goodness sakes…where did that drive go!?


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