Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Can you tell me how to get.....

to Sesame Street? ....... Or, more specifically, to Sesame Place?

We made our annual trip to Sesame Place this December with Mimi and our cousins for the Holiday Breakfast with the Characters. We had a wonderful time and it was so much fun having Declan join us for his first Sesame Place experience. All of the kids had a blast, but this year was Brynn's year (Sean and Heather's 2.5 year old)! She RAN from character to character to give them hugs. It was sooo adorable!

We did manage one picture with all 5 of them where McKenna wasn't crying. She was definitely NOT feeling Elmo up close and personal. It's Dylan, McKenna, Declan, Brynn, and Madison.

Declan's first Sesame Place trip visiting with Elmo and Aunt Ronnie.

Mimi and Aunt Ronnie with Declan.

Me and my girlies with our fave, Zoe the Ballerina.

Dylan and Madison gettin' silly with Telly.

Um, do you really think I care about these characters when Tater Tots are being served?? I mean, seriously!?!?

Maddie getting hugs from her bud, Ernie.
After our exciting morning at Sesame Place, we all went back to Mimi and Pop-Pop's house for to do some holiday cookie baking. Mimi had LOTS of recipes to choose from, but our favorite were making the chocolate covered pretzel sticks. So much fun!

Here's Brynn looking so C-U-T-E in her apron (pulled up to her armpits!)

Here are Mimi's helpful baking elves. Aren't they adorable?!

Thanks for a really fun day, Mimi. We love you.

Christmas Par-tay!!!

As we do every year, we made it to Mimi's work holiday party last Friday. We always have such a fantastic time celebrating at that party. Madison and McKenna had a great time singing songs with Miss Jody, seeing the magician/balloon artist, and of course, visiting Santa and Mrs. Claus. We also had fun spending the morning with our cousins Brynn and Declan. Dylan couldn't be with us because she is in first grade now, and needed to go to school!

Me and my girls at the party

Mimi with her grandchildren Brynn, Declan, McKenna, and Madison (Dylan wasn't with us today)

Yes, the magician/balloon artist is INSIDE that balloon. The kids thought that was amazing!

Madison got picked to help John with a card trick.

This isn't a good picture, but in return for helping with the card trick, John made Madison a HUGE balloon poodle. It was adorable and Madison loved it.

The kids seeing Santa and Mrs. Claus. McKenna was not feeling it!

Madison and Brynn telling Santa very carefully what is on their wish lists.

Hugs for Mrs. Claus!

It's Declan's first visit with Santa!

Um, Dad??? Is Santa trying to move in on your woman????

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's a Good Day here at You Ott 2 Know!

This lovely woman in the photo is my mother. She has been a wonderful mom, role model, and friend to me and I love her so, so much. Mom, hope you had a wonderful day today, and we can't wait to celebrate with you this weekend. Madison is sending you a birthday scream "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MIMI!!!"
And, in other exciting news, this is my 100th post! I'm so glad I've reached this great milestone with a topic as special as my Mom's Birthday!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Back in Business....

I know there's been a looooooooong silence around here. The blog is starting to look a little dusty. Between the mind-numbing migraines I've been getting, a girls trip to Vegas and then a Thanksgiving trip to Pittsburgh, there's just been no time to blog. But, not any more! I'm back and ready to blog.

Let me go organize my blog posts and I'll get something a little more interesting to read posted up here really soon!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Back Seat Driver!

I'm wondering if you can drive a car better than I can if you still play with Barbies, take naps, and use a sippy cup occasionally? I didn't think you could, but Maddie obviously feels differently. She was all up in my business today about my driving .... here are some of the best lines:
Madison is drawing in the backseat as we drive to dance class.

Maddie: "Mom, look at this picture I drew."
Me: "Madison, I can't look right now because I am driving. I'll look at it when we get to class."
Maddie: "Mom, you can look. I'll watch the road for you!"
We were pulling out of a busy parking lot. I had started to pull out because I saw that the oncoming car had it's turn signal on and was going to turn before the street we were on. Maddie apparently didn't feel the coast was as clear as I did. As we passed the car that was turning, she waved to the car and shouted "We're sorry, ma'am!"
Even though we were at dance class early, Maddie somehow had it in her mind that we were running late. I tried to tell her that we would get there in plenty of time today, and we would probably wind up sitting in the parking lot waiting for her teacher to arrive (which did happen). As we were driving to class, she decided that chanting "Go, Mommy, Go" over and over again would get us to dance class quicker!

I didn't think the back seat driving would happen quite this early! I feel like I need a drink after being in the car with her today!


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Baby Cousin

We went to my Mom's house this weekend and Madison got to hold her new baby cousin, Declan, for the first time. She was so excited to get to hold him like a big girl! Isn't he a cutie? Even if I do say so myself.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Now THAT'S the spirit!

This morning while Madison was at preschool and McKenna was napping, I was sitting here minding my own business and getting caught up on the backlog of blog posts that were unread in my Google Reader.

Today, there were 2 unread messages from one of my favorite blogs, Musings of a Housewife. Jo-Lynne put up a post yesterday titled "Why I'm Voting for McCain on Tuesday". I think this may be one of the best politically-themed posts I've read in a while.

People who know me well are probably scratching their heads right about now, thinking Shannon, that title says McCain! Don't worry, people, I am still voting for my beloved Obama. Even though Jo-Lynne and I may not agree on which candidate to vote for, we do agree fully that we each have the right to our own opinions. And, having opposing opinions does not make either of us a bad person.

This is my biggest issue with politics... the extreme divisiveness. It seems to me that sometimes people believe so passionately in their own cause that they are willing to disregard, threaten, or belittle people who may have other views. I am so thankful for Jo-Lynne confidently describing that which she believes in, while at the same time respecting that not everyone feels the same way.

Go check out her post. It's a great one.


Halloween Fun, Fun, Fun!

Halloween was lots of fun this year with two little girls to dress up! Last year, McKenna was only 12 days old on Halloween, and we didn't put a costume on her. She was a "new baby" for Halloween.

Earlier in the day, our playgroup put on a Halloween Parade and the kids had a blast! Our friends V and J had us over to their house and we paraded around their cul-de-sac, played great Halloween-themed games, sang Halloween songs, and of course, trick or treated in the big witches cauldron!
Later that afternoon, we waited for Daddy to come home with our pizza. We quickly ate our dinner in anticipation of the big night! We were ready to go trick or treating so quickly that we were actually a little too early to go out, so we had to wait patiently for 6pm to finally roll around! Then, it was time to go and Maddie was beside herself. She was constantly planning out our route and deciding which houses she would go to next. She was so polite and always wished everyone a Happy Halloween before she took any goodies and always said Thank You. She makes me so proud! All in all, it was a wonderful family night with my little Lady Bug and my Princess Belle.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Help Graco Help Others in Need

I wanted to share this information about an AWESOME charitable campaign that Graco is doing right now. Check out this information that I received from Graco and GO SIGN UP TODAY! You receive great Graco and partner offers and information, and more importantly, you can help someone in need receive a FREE CAR SEAT! Go sign up right now! What are you waiting for?
With Halloween here at the end of this week, the holiday season will soon be in full swing (the kids certainly know it’s coming!) which means travel for many, and unfortunately tough times for a few. As part of Graco’s new “Ready for the Road Ahead” campaign, we have created the Ready. Safe. Go! Car Seat Club.

The Car Seat Club gives its members access to car seat resources, special partner offers and e-mail updates and the best part about the club, (we think) is that for every 10 people that join the club 1 car seat will be donated to organizations helping families in need. The holiday season has always been a time to help others and just by joining, you’re able to help organizations distribute donated car seats to families who aren’t able to buy one for themselves.

So help Graco help others -- all while helping yourself!

Wordless Wednesday: Cold Enough to Start Wearing Hats


Sunday, October 26, 2008


The dance studio where Maddie takes her ballet class held it's first annual Halloween-themed performance this weekend called "Thriller". Considering it was their first time hosting this event, there were certainly some kinks that needed to be worked out regarding the preparations for this event (which was only 8 weeks into the dancing "semester"!), especially for the preschool-aged kids. Several times over the last few weeks, I wondered if it was appropriate for me to even have Madison perform this weekend and considered pulling her out of the show. My biggest fear was that this would be too much, too soon for Madison and I didn't want to traumatize her and then she wouldn't want to do her main recital at the end of the year. But, I finally realized that I was having issues, not her. She's been nothing but excited since the moment she found out about this event. So we practiced and were all excited about today!

And, tonight, I got confirmation that I made the right decision to continue with it. I realized that she LOVES ballet and LOVES performing. She didn't have one moment of fear or anxiety. She is having a great time with ballet, and that is really all I can ask for. Here is the video from her class' performance. It's grainy because I had to tape it stealthily from my digital camera, because no video taping was allowed. I won't even comment on that..ugh!
Her class dressed as kittens and danced to the Stray Cat Strut! This video makes me smile. Those little girls did a great job! You can see a line of 3 girls in the forefront. Madison is in the middle. She's the one who's back is to the camera most of the time :-) She kept turning around to see her teacher. BTW, to the left of Maddie is our playgroup friend Nicole and to the right of her is our playgroup friend Eliza. Lilly was in the back row and I didn't catch her on film.

Thanks to Mimi and Pop-Pop for coming to see the show and for the celebratory dinner at Red Robin afterwards!

P.S. Make sure you put the music on my playlist below on pause so that you can hear the audio on this video clip.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Not what I expected, but more than pleasantly surprised!

On Tuesday I'm headed to NYC to hang out with Martha Stewart. OK, so maybe I am going to see a taping of her show, but that's considered hanging out, right? A girl can dream.

I am going with 9 other Chester County Moms bloggers and friends. I am so thankful to Sarah for scoring these tickets for us. It's going to be a fantastic day full of laughter. I am sure we'll have alot to blog about upon our return.

There weren't alot of details given about the topic for next Tuesday's show. And, truthfully, does it really matter what the show is about? I mean, we're going to have a day in NYC, see Martha Stewart, and spend adult time with girlfriends... the show's topic is somewhat inconsequential because all of her show topics are good ones.

Then, I checked her website yesterday to see if they had posted any info about next week's lineup and saw the news...."Halloween Crafts with LL Cool J". Oooohhhhh... how the Ladies Love Cool James! This is awesome on many levels.

First, did you ever think you'd see a day when LL Cool J was sitting in Martha Stewart's craft room and helping her with a Jack-O-Lantern? Good stuff. Second, my inner college self has already played and replayed in my head the lyrics to Around the Way Girl and Mamma Said Knock You Out! So many of his songs were fixtures on the party playlists back in the day! I am really looking forward to hearing about his new album... think we might get a copy of the CD? And, third, well, you've SEEN LL Cool J, right? He's the ultimate in eye candy!

Can't wait to "meet" you, LL. I'll be the inappropriately overzealous mid-aged mommy blogger in the audience whose 9 friends are holding her down because she's so star struck!

Check your local listings and look for us in the audience!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Back in Business....

After nearly two weeks of being without my power cord for my laptop, my husband saved me today and bought me a new one! I have never been so happy to see that little blue power light come on in all my life. Our desktop is so slow that it is almost unbearable to use, so it's been a long 2 weeks. So, thanks for the save, sweetie. You made my day.

Now I can get back to blogging more regularly!


Halloween Candy Recalled!

I put this information on the Chester County Moms blog, but wanted to share it here as well.

There is a warning put out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.... Sherwood brand "Pirate's Gold Milk Chocolate Coins" are being recalled due to the fact that they contain Melamine, the chemical that has caused several infant deaths in China, and sickened thousands more. These candies are sold at Costco, as well as many bulk and dollar stores! PLEASE make sure to check your childrens' Halloween candy and DO NOT LET THEM EAT THE PIRATE COINS (the ones wrapped in the shiny gold/silver foil) and please let other parents know about this!

You can verify the validity of this information at Snopes.com.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot

As some of you may know, I recently have lost some weight. 26 pounds to be exact! I worked the Weight Watchers program very devoutly over the spring and summer and ultimately reached my goal. What is the problem, then, you ask? Well, the problem is twofold.

First, I only made it to my Weight Watchers goal by the end of August, not my own personal goal. My personal goal was to lose another 10 to 15 pounds more after I hit my WW Goal.

Second, not only have I not been maintaining at my WW goal weight, I have gained a few pounds back! And, as sure as I am sitting here writing this post, I am NOT going to let myself get back to where I was and I don't like this upward progression on the scale that I am seeing each week!

So, after the little hiatus that I let myself take over the last 8 weeks, I am getting back on track and I am going to get Hot for the Holidays! I saw this challenge at Genesis Moments and Sarah's post inspired me to get in in on this great support system!

My goal is to lose a total of 17 pounds. I think that losing 10- 12 pounds by the holidays is reasonable, and if I lose more, even better. Here is how I am going to do it:

1. Go back to the Weight Watchers program fully. This means counting my points faithfully and accurately each day and staying within my target allowance. This program works for me. I've seen great results with it and I just need to get serious about it.

2. Go back to Weight Watchers for weigh-ins and meetings. I will set a goal to do this twice a month at a minimum and if I can get to more that will be even better!

3. Get my sorry self back to the gym. I haven't been there in months and I am wasting LOTS of money each month there. So, let me put the money and the membership to good use and get this remaining weight off!

Do you want to be Hot for the Holidays? Go to It's Almost Naptime and put a link to your blog under her Hot for the Holidays post and join the challenge. Then, leave a comment here for me so that I know you are playing along too! I'd love to have more people to support and be supported by. I will keep you posted on my progress.

I'm already feelin' hot, hot, hot!


Friends Know Best?

I always thought that the sage pearl of wisdom that has been passed down through the generations went a little something like this... "Mother Knows Best". This apparently is NOT the case according to my 3 and a half year old.

After picking her up from preschool yesterday, we had this conversation about her friend from class named B:

Maddie: "Mom, B says that I am not 3 and a half."

Me: "Madison, you are 3 and a half. In fact, you are almost going to be 4."

Maddie: "But, Mom, B says that I am not."

Me: "Honey, you most certainly are. It has been over 9 months since your 3rd birthday. That makes you more than 3 and a half."

Maddie: "No, Mom, I'm NNOOOOTTTT. B says I'm not.

Here's where I want to tell her 1) that B doesn't know what the h*ll she is talking about, 2) that I would certainly like to think that as the person that birthed her into this world I might remember just a little bit better than B when she came into it, 3) that I am right and B is wrong, and 4) to stop arguing with me about it! But I realize the inappropriateness (and futility)of these fleeting thoughts and keep my mouth shut.

Me: "OK, Madison, you aren't 3 and a half then, I guess."

Maddie: "Um, I KNOW that already, Mom. B told me that today." Sigh.

Do you hear that noise? That's the sound of my head banging against the steering wheel as we had this conversation. I am so glad that B is keeping track of my daughter's age for us, since I apparently am unable to do so :-)


Friday, October 17, 2008

'Atta Boy, Dan!

Ok, so I need to do some serious bragging here, because not only is this fantastic young man my cousin, he is my Godson! In this Philadelphia Inquirer article from yesterday, Dan has been ranked #6 out of the top #15 Southeastern PA High School Offensive Linemen. Pretty cool, huh? Dan plays as #65 for the Neshaminy Redskins and is a senior there, and he is also one of the 2008 Team Captains! We have some serious football fever in our family!

Even cooler.... he is one of the nicest (and most hilarious) guys you'll ever meet and he is so great with my girls and my brother's girls who are totally enamored with him!

Dan, we are super proud of you! Go Skins!


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