Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Things I do for Love

In my last post I detailed the fun times shared at Jenn and Brad's wedding in Gettysburg.   While Mike enjoys my coworkers, he lacks the same bond shared between me and my colleagues.  So to entice Mike on our Gettysburg wedding adventure I agreed to a visit to the battlefields while we were there.

This give and take is necessary.
But when it's 100 degrees out, battlefields are not very cool.
(Honestly, I'm not sure I would ever find them "cool.")

But I did it for Mike and here's the photo-montage to prove it (or what kept me occupied while we drove around the grassy fields dotted with memorials).

There were cannons.

There were fences.

There was posing.

And really awesome fresh goods at a country store on the way home.

With a field of gorgeous flowers.

What have you agreed to do, or where have you gone, for love?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jenn and Brad's Gettysburg Wedding

Mike and I attended my colleague's wedding this past week, and as a good-wedding-blogger I took many pictures and mental notes.  (Mostly because Mike and I are really starting to think about details for our own, and because I very much enjoyed working with Jenn for the last 5 years!)

Jenn and Brad's ceremony beautifully captured their love for eachother and their own modern music choices personalized every moment.  Cornflower blue and silver accented the room, down to the sashes on the chairs.  The wedding and ceremony took place in the Historic Gettysburg Hotel, which stood as a bank for some time, too.  I mention this because their gift table happened to be in the old vault of the bank! Super cool touch.

To maximize good lighting and time spent with their photographer, we captured their sendoff before the reception, during the cocktail hour.  Mike demonstrates the bubbles used for this part of the celebration.

The bride wore a lovely column dress and carried a beautiful bouquet of peonies.  A braid  started on one side of her head wrapped around the nape of her neck and ended in a side-ponytail decorated with a flower.

Brad proposed to Jenn over a drink, specifically on a bottle of Yuengling.  (Afterall, they are from Pennslyvania and Yuengling is brewed there).  After white water rafting, he presented her with a bottle of beer, but instead of the traditional Yuengling label, Jenn's favorite picture of the couple asked of her "Will you marry me?"
Jenn used the same idea for her seating cards and favors.  Each guest found their name attached to a bottle of Yuengling (or rootbeer, if you're under 21) with the famed picture and the date of the wedding.  Additionally, Jenn and Brad tied on the guests names and table number with different color ribbons to signify your entree choice.

The bottles then graced our tables and became more decorations.  They complemented the tapper candle centerpiece nicely, surrounded by cornflower blue glass marble accents.

The cake looked and tasted amazing.  Each slice contained some chocolate and vanilla, and the light, fluffy icing was yummy too.  It reads "All you need is love."

The after party was probably my favorite part of the entire night because they brought in about 2 dozen pizzas and cases of water!!!
This much needed treat hit the spot after much dancing and celebrating.

A fun time was had by all -- Congrats Jenn and Brad!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Letter to Myself

Dear Younger, naive, impressionable Little Vicki,
As the youngest in the family you always seemed to get what you wanted, but were by no means spoiled.  By the same token, you were quiet and sincere - so hushed, in fact, that your parents put you in acting classes to help you feel comfortable in front of people. Something clicked because now you love attention and crave the chance to take the stage, and do so for 20+ students daily.

But more importantly, Slick (coordination wasn't your thing), when it came to weddings and Your Big Day, you had it figured out.  You wanted the big, poofy white dress and tiara.  You saw pink and blue accents everywhere.  You loved flowers and dancing.   In your mind, your prince charming would scoop you off your feet and carry you into your new home, after your honeymoon to Hawaii (because that's the farthest place away with pretty beaches that you knew).

Dear Teenage Vicki,
Oh hormonally imbalanced and drama queen, you set the stage for a more reserved wedding.  It was at this point in life you decided that lace and flowers sucked.  No filigree or flourish stood a chance at your wedding where you want to wear a sophisticated, column ivory gown.  Curse any PINK you came across, as it was your favorite four letter word to throw around.   Calm down, child -- you might think you know it all but just wait until you really hit the dating world.  Your demands challenged many men, scared many away and thank goodness for that.

Oh but Little Vicki and Teenage Vicki, your thoughts and desires did help to mold my dream wedding for the present.  Blue is still a favored color and pink still doesn't stand a chance.  There's NO WAY a fluffy, frilly, gown will grace my body, but a column won't accent what I want.  Hawaii's fun and all, but we're onto to other countries now, and since I already own a place I probably won't be carried through the doorway...but a girl can dream, can't she?  If anything I have my younger self to thank for that.

Your Older Wiser Self

PS:  Don't waste your time with that one guy. There are better things ahead I promise!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

So you want to be invited...

Can I take a moment to complain, please?  Just a quick rant, I promise. 
I'm sure I will come off as rude, and so please forgive me in advance.
That aside, let's talk guest list.
More specifically, let's talk invitees.

Yes, there are certain people who need to be invited and certain people who require an invite.  People like your parents, your nuclear family, your close-yet-extended family members, are of course invited to your special day.  Then there are close friends you always knew would be there.  We can go a layer further to your boss (if you're close), your colleagues (again, pending details) and maybe even some outlying friends. 
And because weddings are expensive, you wish your budget allowed for more invites and of course wish all 600+ Facebook friends could miraculously receive invites.
But you can't invite everyone.
You just can't.

However, I've encountered a problem.  A few "friends"  don't understand that everyone's not guaranteed an invite.  Maybe it's because they are not privy to all the planning, budgeting, emailing with caterers (what do you mean $10K won't feed 300?) and so on.
But I cannot even begin to tell you about the people, who I hope are kidding, that say things flat out like, "So am I on the guest list?" or my personal favorite "I better be invited!"  and even so far to say "I can't wait to come to your wedding" (when you full well know they are not on the invite list).
I can try to see it as flattery, that they want to be a part of our day.

Because no, if you have to ask then you are probably not invited.
Because yes, I wish I could invite you but can't.
Because maybe we are just not that close.

Has anyone else run into this problem?
How do you handle it?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Bucket List

Today is the first day of my summer vacation, also known as June (well, some of it), July and August (again, part of it).  My friends give me a lot of grief about my summers off as a teacher.  But let me tell you this friends, it is WELL earned! (I'll save that rant for another time).

However, I'm up early on my first day off to attend a hiring fair.  As part of my school duties, I'm a member of the personnel committee and we have one more vacancy to fill before summer is through.

At any rate, these are my hopes and dreams for my summer:

My Summer Bucket List:
1.  sit by the pool at some point
2.  catch up on scrapbooking (at least one year's worth)
3.  do 20 sit-ups and 10 push-ups a day
4.  hire a wedding band
5.  hire a wedding photographer
6.  hire a wedding videographer
7.  send out paper Save the Dates to invitee list
9.  participate in my yoga studio's summer challenge (pratice 3x a week for July - Aug)
10.  Help my sister and her family with the arrival of #2
11.  play with playdoh
12.  meet up with friends for drinks
13.  take my dog to the "water park"
14.  stay in my PJ's for an entire day
15.  photograph the neighbor's baby (ya'll are on here now, we HAVE to make it happen :) )
16.  start and finish a book, any book
17.  go to my doctor(s) b/c taking care of yourself is healthy
18.  make brownies
19.  think about dieting (wedding dress slim down)
20.  RELAX.

What are your goals for the summer?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Matter of Time

First and foremost, TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!!

Yesterday we paid the deposite on the Carnegie Institution! (Squee! And Note: We found out we've been calling it the wrong thing, the Institute, when infact there's a 'tion to it! oops)

But now that we signed our contract for 5 hours, we wonder - is that enough time?!  Here's a rough estimate of how the evening will go (with pictures beforehand):

5p:  Guests begin to arrive ("event time starts")
5:30 - 5:45ish: ceremony
6:15 - ceremony ends, cocktail hour(ish) begins
7 - cocktail hour ends, guests move to seat
7:10 - announce couple (us!) and thank you speeches
7:30 - 8 seated dinner with first dance between courses
8 - 10 bestman/matron of honor speeches, dancing w/ cake cutting inbetween

(If we add an additional hour, how will that effect the cost of the band and caterer/bartender?)

Do we need an extra hour during the dancing time, logistically?
Ack! Help me, people with wedding knowledge!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Green Bride Review: Solay Wellness

I desire to live a more earth-conscious life.  I want to take better care of myself as well, by using more natural products, and products that are not harmful to the environment.  This review begins my "Green Bride" series where I will review products that are good for your body and helpful to our Earth.

I'm slowly transforming my life into a more green way of living.  Solay Wellness Inc offered me a step in doing so, through their natural organic beauty care products.
Here's a little background on Solay products:
"Solay Wellness is a small woman owned company, located in Skokie, Illinois (just outside of Chicago).
 We offer wellness products such as, Salt Lamps, Organic Skin/Body Care, All Natural (really!) Cleaning Products, and much more.  All of our skin care, cleaning products, pet care products, etc.  are made by mothers locally and in our surrounding areas. None of our products are ever tested on animals."
Also, I was pleased to notice that many of their products are vegan friendly! 

Solay products feature Himalayan Salt, which  has many healing properties.  I found this information on Solay's blog:
"Himalayan Crystal Salt is constructed of photons or pure light energy. The primal energy held within the salt is released when you add water, and the ionized nature of the crystalline structure allows the stored minerals to be absorbed by the body’s cells. The geometrical nature of water and salt together known as “Sole” creates a distinct setting which regenerates, cleanses at a cellular level, and produces essential vitamins and proteins.

The high level of nutrients and minerals in the Himalayan Salts removes damaged, dead skin and helps heal and repair skin while the essential oils relieve itchiness and lock in moisture. The crystalline structure of the salt which has formed from great pressure over millions of years makes the salt organic and absorbable for the body."

 I received 7 different products(!) in sample sizes: Organic Body Butter, Organic Body Milk, Daily Detox Gentle Face Scrub, Detoxifying Mud Mask, Organic Face Lotion, Hydrating Night Creme, and Organic Under Eye Cream.

My overall experience with Solay products is great.  They are fragrance free, which is perfect for my sensitive and breakout prone skin.  I've used all products daily for a week and half.  Here's a brief blurb about use of each product (with links to purchase on their site):

Organic Body Butter:  thick, not overly oily, quickly absorbs, leaves the skin feeling super soft
Organic Body Milk: super hydrating, very light, lovely feeling and probably my favorite product
Daily Detox Gentle Face Scrub: very gentle, not scratchy, easy to wash off, left my face soft and somewhat-more-radiant skill showing
Detoxifying Mud Mask: very effective, you can feel it working, washes off best in the shower, left my skin super soft, great mask
Organic Face Lotion:  very light, absorbed quickly, no oily residue, may be reducing my rosy-undertones 
Hydrating Night Creme:  lush, definitely softens skin overnight, more likely to see results over time
Organic Under Eye Cream:  not waxy, light, reduces puffiness, my 2nd favorite product

Now you can try Solay products, too!
Just go to Solay Wellness Inc, click on the "Bath and Body" tab (after exploring their great site, of course) where you can purchase many great products.

Solay is offering my readers 10% off your next purchase: just enter the promo code "Himalayas" at the shopping cart page!

Disclaimer: I received no compensation, other than the samples of these products, for this review.  These opinions are 100% my own.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Green Dad

I honestly could honor my dad with a never-ending post.  So instead I'll choose one of my favorite characteristics of him to focus on, and the impact on me: his contributions to the environment.

My dad was "green" before eco-friendly was cool.  In fact, his life's work revolves around taking care of the environment through stormwater management.  Hey, someone's gotta take care of the water falling from the sky, and my dad is the man for that job.  He's a civil-environmental engineer.  My early life is decorated with memories of water treatment plants, retention and detention ponds, and previous pavement.

I remember one time, on our way home from church, we stopped by my dad's most recently finished product: a stormwater retention pond.  At around age 8, I recall going with him over the summer to check on it, but now that it was finished and raining we just HAD to stop by.  My dad got out of the car and literally jumped for joy.  The pond was collecting water;  he succeeded!  It was that passion about his career that I've always admired. 

Among many other successes, he established the Stormwater Academy at the University of Central Florida,  complete with a mascot, Drippy the water drop.  He wrote a lot of stuff on the topic and continues giving speeches, despite being retired.

Currently he heads up STE: Stormwater Treatment Environments, llc.  I'm pretty proud of the way he uses his knowledge for the betterment of the earth.  The company specializes in:
"Green stormwater management practices, such as greenroofs, pervious pavements, reuse, integrated water systems and other regional and low impact methods are used.  hey reduce pollutants released into the environment, manage stormwater resourcefully, and create additional revenue generating space for owners while lowering the cost of ownership."

So maybe I don't understand half of what he does, but I know this:  he believes in what he does, and he does it well, meanwhile improving the world for future generations.
I hope I can live in a green way, passionately, like he does.  The world needs more people to take care of it!

Happy Father's Day, Dad!
I love you!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A year from today...

A year from today I will be married!

There's still plenty left to do, and enough time to sort things out.
I'll leave you with this one thought, though:
Peacock Feathers.

Classy, elegant, and a bit vintage - they will accent bouquets and centerpieces.
Their jewel toned colors will complement my bridesmaids' dresses.

It will be awesome.

ClutchThat's peacock clutch, Etsy Store
Siri's Funicello Dress, in SignatureTeal & Chocolate
Peacock accented bridal bouquet, featured on Weddings Unique
Loren veil, by Wedding Aisle, Etsy Store
Peacock Invitation's wedding programs, Etsy Store

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Stress-Meter

There's a sure-fire way to tell how under-pressure I am.  But gimmie a sec to explain...

The end of the school year is drawing near, and although my fiancee makes fun of me because I'm stressed (among many things) about writing thank-you notes to 20 kids (honestly, writing thank you notes for a kick-butt present is a good stress), I am ON THE FENCE of sanity, currently.  There are report cards to stuff and ready, cum folders to sign and refile, bulletin boards to dismantle with every single staple to pluck out, desks to unclutter and clean, MY DESK to find again, laptop files to recover (my OS just failed), RoomMom presents to create and present, student gifts to create and distribute, class lists to assemble for the following fall, supply lists to assemble for next fall, AGH NEXT FALL?!

And let's not forget that due to snowdays DCPS canceled our last round of Parent-Teacher Conferences which roughly translates into: many parents want to meet with me before our last day of school to talk about progress and next year...all before Tuesday.  And I already have meeting scheduled for every day.

Not to mention the kids - I'm still responsible for teaching/entertaining/wrapping up the year for 20 students whom after 9 months together I've come to individually know and adore.
I will miss them all so much.
After a year of positive growth and learning, saying goodbye is so hard.
I cry every year.

So here's my Stress-Meter: My Wardrobe.
You can judge how stressed I am by the amount of clothes strung upon it, instead of carefully hung up, after long days' work. 

Current Stress Level:  Piled High, Heaping

What tell-tale signs show your stress levels?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I won! AND...

I won my first giveaway!  Sweet! (Literally!)

Jayme over at The Tater Twins hosted a yummy giveaway of cookies from TRBrown's Etsy Shop.  The winner (me!) receives their choice of 3 dozen super-cute, mini soft butter cookies.  I ordered these cookies, with pink strawberries instead of red.
Tammy, of TRBrown, agreed to send my cookies to TX because ... drumroll please.... I'm going to visit my sister because... more drumroll ... she's having a baby! Yay!

My sister, Marlo, is expecting Baby Girl #2, aka "Flashlight" as dubbed by my 3 year old niece, in mid-July!
And I, being the awesome sister I am, am going to Texas on Eleanor-duty.  Since my sister's due date is mid-July I will fly out early July and plan on staying for about 2 weeks (1 week prior and after her due date).  This way when my sister goes into labor, I will be there to take care of Eleanor wherever she may be: sleeping, eating, daycare, music class, swimming, etc, and my sis and bro-in-law can head to the hospital to welcome the new baby!

So hooray for winning the giveaway and hooray for my sister!
What are you excited about, or looking forward to?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

PRE-Save the Dates

Well yes, we could send out our 'normal' Save the Dates (which are yet to be determined).  But we really, really want to tell our closest relatives and friends-across-the-pond of our wedding date.  Plus, we are thrilled to have a dated penned on the calendar, and we figure our wedding party should know about it too.

Okay, okay...yes, of course, we could just tell people the date and such in an email.  But no, we found Paperless Post and our hearts were sent on "send." (corny)

We sent out a PRE-Save the Date to our nuclear family and wedding party, just for fun.  Believe it or not, this was the groom's idea!  Here are cropped screen shots of what we sent out, via Paperless Post.  It required purchasing "coins" for the dual sided invitations for a nominal price (the flipping of the Save the Date is animated).
It's hard to explain, but it's like Evite with sparkles and pomp-and-circumstance.  Very chic and classy!

 The front of our Paperless Post

 And the flip-side:

If you want to sign up, please use our account (so we can earn extra stamps!)

Pretty cool, eh?
What are you experiences with paper-less invites?

Monday, June 14, 2010

New Do!

I did a little Spring, er, Summer Cleaning around my blog.  I tidied things up a bit by creating a navigation bar right up there, below my header.  It looks so much cleaner this way, without my sidebars so cluttered.  I feel mighty proud of myself for figuring out the HTML on that one! (Really, thanks goes out to the good ol' internet for providing me the resources. I just followed directions, successfully.)

AND, Mike and I are working on our "Wedsite."   You heard read correctly, a WEDsite is a wedding website.  Some couples prefer to create a highly-interactive site with lots of Flash and animation.  We used The Knot.  It's free! Ours is up and sorta-running (not all the pages are complete, yet).  You can get there by clicking on the tab in my new, fancy-pants navigation bar!  

 The "About Us" page challenges us.  Neither Mike nor I can decide what to write.  A friend suggested we write it for each other.  Then came the discussion of the presentation, or tone/voice of the writing.  Mike wants to do something funny, I prefer direct (which he calls "serious").  So we posted pictures of ourselves and wait for inspiration. 

Please check out our Wedsite and let me know what you think!
(i heart comments)Suggestions welcome for the About Us page!

Here's a vintage Mike & Vicki pic, circa 2006, just for funsies!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Guest Blogging! And Baking!

Check it out, ya'll - I'm a GUEST BLOGGER over at Color*Me*Cupcake!  She features cupcakes mostly, but also other foods and "pretty lil' things."  I'd like to think I'm not only guest featured because of my cupcake recipe, but because I'm pretty.
I"ll just keep telling myself that as I sample a facial mask...

At any rate, I made Mike a batch of Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes for his birthday in April.  He loved them, but then again he'll eat anything I make.  He's good like that.
 I really love to bake, but can never seem to get it right.  The major problem lies in my attention to detail, or lack there-of.  I get distracted and put in baking soda instead of baking powder, or neglect to measure out and check to make sure we have enough sugar ahead of time.  Note: Splenda does not make an even substitute for sugar and excess baking soda does weird things.

It never stops me, though.  I keep on baking.  I dream of a Kitchen-Aide mixer and hope that the registry fairy will bring me one in about a years time.

Now, go on check out my guest post!!

So what are your biggest baking blunders?
What do you LOVE to bake?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Karing for Keegan

I love how the blogging world brings somewhat random strangers together.  You find a common interest or cause and just like that, you've got a whole new group of friends.  I am amazed by the support one can find, and today I'm looking for support for a sweet baby and his family (with an added bonus of GiveAways).

The Chupp Family  needs our help.  Their little boy, Keegan, has Medulloblastoma, a type of cancer very rare in babies.  Please read the story of Keegan, as told by Beth -his mother,  and how you can help (with incentives of many prizes and how to enter, listed at the end!)

Keegan Thomas Chupp was born September 23rd, 2009, six weeks premature. Immediately upon birth the doctor knew something was not right. His head measured off the charts and he had extra fingers and an extra toe. Within hours they were running blood test upon blood test. They found he had a stroke in utero and we already knew of the extra gallbladder pre-birth. Before leaving the NICU on October 6th, we had multiple CT’s, an MRI and an EEG. We were discharged with an appointment at Riley Hospital for Children almost immediately. 

On Friday October 9th we were scheduled to see a neurogeneticist named Laurence Walsh. Upon consulting with Dr. Walsh, we learned our baby had an overgrowth syndrome. They thought at the time it was Simpson-Golobi-Behmel. We left his office feeling very defeated but trudged through the first months of parenthood like any normal couple.
Keegan was monitored with CT’s, quarterly blood draws for AFP (Alpha Fetal Protein) levels which measure for different cancers and MRI’s . By January; at his 4 month appointment we thought we were in the clear. Our Pediatrician measured his head it was in the upper 40’s but not too worried at that point. We continued to get CT’s and blood draws for the AFP levels, his levels did finally come down to a normal range.

On March 29, 2010 we went for Keegan 6 month appointment and found his head was all the way up to 53 cm in circumference. Our Pediatrician became concerned and ordered a new set of blood work and CT’s. We were then also scheduled to see many specialists in the coming months.
On April 8th we went and had the CT that started our whole nightmare. I got a call only hours after the test; he had fluid on the brain, not exactly what we were expecting at all! We thought we would go in like EVERY other time and it come out fine. We were immediately scheduled to see Dr. Ackerman at Riley on the 14th. Upon her work up, she was not comfortable sending us home and scheduled a shunt to be placed for his Hydrocephalus the next day. The first shunt was placed successfully on April 15th, 2010 and we followed up with her a week later and she gave us the free and clear; see you in October she said!

On Tuesday the week after we got the “all clear” Keegan started vomiting when in the upright position. By Thursday, on the way home from our Ophthalmologist appointment he projectile vomited 5 or 6 times and then went unconscious. I called 911 because my sister and I were in route to my work. We were taken to the ER where the doctors and nurse told us that it was only viral and to give him some Pedialyte and start on the BRAT method the following day. When his symptoms didn’t get any better and he started to eat less and less we took him back to the ER. After a couple of CT’s and X-RAYS, we were told that he had a bowel obstruction.
We were Life Lined to Riley in the very early hours of my first Mother’s Day.

They knew by the previous scans, almost immediately, that we were NOT dealing with a bowel obstruction but something else.  By Tuesday my baby seemed to be slipping farther and farther away. He had a swallow study done Tuesday morning which he failed on three different levels; he then was not longer able to take food orally. There was an MRI with contrast scheduled for later that day, but as the day went on his breathing became VERY sporadic and he didn’t keep his eyes open for longer than 5 seconds. Around 7 when our nurses were changing shift I began to question what we were waiting for, both nurses who had been with us since we had moved up to their floor also noticed the decline and told me I could call cart, which simply means get a second opinion. By this time I was in tears he was getting worse and worse so I called it. 

The Pediatric Intensive Care team came up where they began to evaluate him.
Just as they were deciding to put him on oxygen our nurse’s phone rang, it was radiology and just by the look on her face I knew it wasn’t good. The PICU team began the process of moving him down to their floor when a doctor came in out of know where and told me the answer to the question I had been longing for. Our son had a very large mass in his head. My first question was if it was operable. This gentleman thought it was and called Dr. Ackerman who was on her way within minutes. 

After a 7 hour surgery that started in the late hours of May 11th and ended around 6 am on the 12th we were told they removed a 6 cm tumor from our 8 month olds brain that she believed to be malignant. The weeks following, we got our official diagnosis of Medulloblastoma and possible treatment options with radiations not being one of the “great” ones. After the tumor resection they took out the current shunt because they didn’t want to drain free roaming cancer cells into the abdomen. He then went into surgery to have a central line placed, a G-Tube placed at which point they scoped out his belly for ulcers because he had bloody stools, and they removed his extra digits. So here we are almost a month later starting VERY intense chemo. 

This type of tumor is rare in babies under 3 and even rarer in babies under 1. We have a great team of doctors and nurse and I know in my heart we are in the right place. We have 6 long months of chemo ahead and then he will have a stem cell transplant to boost his blood count and immune system back up to normal. So far so good, he seems to be handling like a champ!

Here are the details:
Many incredible companies and people have offered up some of their products or credits to their stores for this giveaway. To enter please consider a donation to Keegan Chupp’s family**. You can donate by clicking the Paypal Donate button below. Each $5 donated will count as an entry to win one of the awesome donated prizes.  If you donate $20 you will be entered four separate times.
My friend over at Raising Madison will be entering each donation into a spreadsheet and will draw on June 29th via All of the winners will be announced on June 30th.

**There is no fee or charge to participate in this giveaway. Participation is free. You are under no obligation to make a contribution and you may not be barred from participation if you choose not to make a contribution. Simply leave a comment at Raising Madison's Karing for Keegan post with your name and email address to be entered to win.

  • ERGObaby – ERGOBaby Carrier ($105 value,  US & Canada)
  • CafePress – Custom Short- Sleeved T-Shirt, Tote-Bag & Mug Package ($60, US) If you’re looking for amazing personalized gifts, CafePress is your source for any interest or topic!
  • FinePrints – Birthday or Baby Shower Invitation – design only ($15, anywhere)
  • Gussy – $40 shop credit, excludes baby blankets  (anywhere)
  • Dear Lillie- Pink Vintage Crown Onesie in 18-24 months ($13.95, US & Canada)
  • Starbucks Gift Card from LawMomma – $15
Added 6/8

In the words of a friend, "Let's help Team Keegan kick cancer's butt!"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Review: GreenWash Ball, carried by GAIAM

When GAIAM offered to send me the GreenWashBall at first my "green-senses" perked up and my curiosity followed.  How can a product clean your clothes, be detergent free, and environmentally friendly?  What is so special about this little ball that replaces ordinary detergent and chemicals and still manages to launder your clothes, kill bacteria, and soften fabrics?!  On top of this, it last up to 1,000 washes or 3 years only for a mere $29.00!  I don't have to do the math for you here; that's a lot of mullah on messy, drippy, detergent saved!

I had to know about this miracle laundry helper.


It fits into your hand easily, is lightweight, and is virtually scent-free.  The beads inside it sound like a rainstick.  Reading up on the GreenWashBall I found that these tiny ceramic balls inside the GreenWashBall are exactly what do the trick: bumping into each other, creating friction, and thus raising the pH of your laundry water, softening clothes, cleaning fabrics, and killing bacteria and odors while it's spinning around in your machine!

I popped the GreenWash ball in the laundry with my colors load.  GreenWash Ball suggests you sort your laundry first, as usual, separating colors from whites (duh, men).  When my cycle finished I fished out the ball, still intact and looking the same.  My clothes, too, looked just like they did when I put them in - except cleaner!  Once out of the dryer, we did the sniff test.  Mike smelled his once-gross running shirt and said, "Huh, it smells clean - not like sweat at all!"  All the clothes smelled fresh and so clean, clean.
Plus, all allergic risks linked to detergent residues are gone with GreenWashBall, which is a good thing for me and my super sensitive skin issues! (Moms, think about how expensive baby-friendly AND/OR eco-friendly
 detergents can be!)

Random other factoids (taken from the GreenWashBall pamphlet)
-"Due to its efficiency, there is no need to add any bleaching or other additive to your detergent"
-"You can also place a GreenWashBall in the refrigerator to help maintain the freshness of fruit, vegetables, meat and fish."  (Seriously? This thing is AMAZING)
-"You can use the GreenWashBall on any laundry where you would regularly use laundry detergent."
-"Will work with any laundry machine"
-Needs one hour of sunlight a week per one wash. (Again, amazing, tricky, little ball!)

I definitely want to pop a few more of these on my registry, since GreenWashBalls suggests adding more than one for larger machines.

How to get your own:
Buy it now at!  You may know GAIAM as a yoga supply company, which they still are - only now they carry loads of Eco Home and Outdoor goods.  Sign up for their emails and receive great coupons like this:  Enter "FATHERSDAY" now through June 14, to receive $15 off $75, $20 off $100, and $25 off $125!

Disclaimer: These opinions are 100% my own.  I was not compensated in any way for writing this review.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Save The Dates, that is!
It's not just a card anymore; the options are seemingly limitless!

We all know the usual route, which consists of either the magnet or postcard, both classy and lovely.

{magnet source}

 {postcard source}

Or Scratch-Off Cards!

{scratch off source}

Or clickable pens, maybe?

{pens source}

BTW, I love that these example pens feature  my birthday!

How about tickets?

 {tickets source}

 {tickets source}


Why not coasters?

{coasters source}

Or even traditional cards, with nutritional value!

{cards source}

What Save The Dates have you received?
Which are your favs?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Teacher Fail

When I'm not busying planning my wedding, scouring the internet, and blogging, you can find me in my classroom.  I teach 2nd grade at a lovely elementary school.  I love this age group (7 & 8 yr-olds) and their honesty.  This year, the gods were with me and I am lucky to have 20 greats students.  Twenty precious, mold-able, young minds.
And I'm about to crush their spirits because of my teacher fail.

I feel horrible.

Every year at this school I order fertilized duck eggs, place them in the incubator, and wait 28 days for our babies to hatch.  During the incubation period we learn a lot about life cycles, eggs in general, and tons of info about ducks.  Each year this activity intrinsically rewards me: it fills me with joy to see tiny baby ducks use all their might to come into this world,  my students adore these little ones and show such tenderness, I am reminded of how sweet the world can be, I see life bloom and grow before my eyes and in my students.
But not this year.

I ordered a new incubator, hoping for better results and an easier process. 
This new contraption fooled me, confused me.  The thermometer consistently read too high, but adjusting the factory settings to lower the temperature seemed futile.  I left the top of the incubator ajar to adjust the temperature myself.  I added water to maintain humidity and candled the eggs.  The light showed the ducks were growing! I thought maybe, just maybe, four or five ducklings will make it!

On Wednesday I removed the automatic egg turner, as scheduled three days before hatch.  The delicate eggs felt heavier in my hand, a positive sign.  I reached deep into my soul and hoped to hear a little peep in a few days time.  Before I replaced the lid, I noticed something devastating: blood stain inside one egg.  Death.  I took a deep breath and recalled, just like I teach the children, the circle of life does not always complete a full rotation.  I left the egg incase I was mistaken.

On Friday, I packed up the incubator to take it home.  The eggs' hatch date was Saturday, but every year they hatch 2 days early.  Such ominous feelings consumed me during this entire process that I decided the responsibility fell on me to take the eggs to my house, not allow a family to watch them and call when if the ducks arrived.

Saturday morning I woke up at 6am, thinking I heard peeps.  I laid in bed and listened, trying to decipher if the sound came from outside my window or in the bathroom where I kept the incubator safe from our pets.  In getting up every step felt like a decision: do I check for ducklings and find nothing or maybe something, or turn back and try to sleep and hope they hatch?  I pushed the handle of the bathroom door open.
Nothing.  The eggs looked the same, except more eggs show blood stains.
Cursing myself for doing whatever it was I did wrong, I tried to go back to sleep.
I woke up 3 more times to find nothing, before giving into the day.

I write this at 8:30pm on Saturday, knowing exactly what I don't want to write.
Changing between verb tenses but honestly too upset to care.
Monday will be a tough day in the classroom explaining to twenty-eager students who monitored every day of the hatch countdown, so excited to name the ducklings, who know random facts about Mallards for no good reason, that there will be no ducklings this year.

Not only do I face their reactions, but my own.  I took 14 eggs away from their mother, to be their own mother.  I challenged G-d to do it myself, and it serves me right.
I need to leave nature to nature.
This will be the last year I attempt to hatch ducklings.  While the rewards are great, the burden of death is too much.
I'm sorry kids, but this year we won't have ducklings.
Massive Teacher Fail.

Friday, June 4, 2010


We got some important info yesterday, so I created my first VLOG to share it with you!
(er, please excuse the way I look after working a long day with children)

So here it is, my first VLOG:

Vlog #1! from Vicki Wxxxxxxxxx on Vimeo.

So what do you think?
What should I tackle first?!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I. Have. Nothing. To. Write. About (that's wedding related)

Here's why:
1) We are still waiting to hear back from the rabbi as to whether or not he can officate our wedding on the date we chose
2) We already spoke to three caterers, one already gave us a (decent) proposal, the other two are in the works
3) I have a theme in mind, but was told by a co-worker that it was "overrated" and so I'm not divulging anymore until I have backup proof at how awesomely I can will pull it off
4) I am in "talks" with several sponsorship opportunities (translation: reviews and giveaways coming up, just getting my ducks in a row)
5) My wedding dress is hanging in our living room IN OUR LIVING ROOM, because the seamstress told me I was too early and we could come back in October

So, uh, yeah.  Time for me to find a new project with the wedding in mind.
It's waayyy to early to think about flowers... or is it?
::ideas brewing, wheels turning::

What to do?
I'm "wedding bored"
Gimmie things to think about, please :)

Here's one of my favorite photos since I have nothing more to write.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Picking a date

When it comes to picking a date, there are many factors to take into consideration.
Weather is a big concern to ladies when they say their "I do's."
We don't want frizzy or flat hair, and while it's a nice cliche that rain on your wedding day is good luck, we all know that was invented to make brides feel better. has a FABULOUS link to help.

You're welcome.

(PS: Still waiting to hear from our Rabbi as to whether or not he can officiate on June 19, 2011)
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