Thursday, December 31, 2009

In 9 Minutes...

9 minutes left of this decade and year 2009. So here is to what is to come for you and myself...wonder where we will all be in just 10 year from now!! We will all be looking back on our last 10 years and wonder where it all went and what we did. I wanted to get a big posting done and reminisce where I came from. Maybe I will do that tomorrow. I got busy tonight watching a movie with Rob and my father-in-law...waiting for this new year to come in. :)

Happy new year my friends!!! I hope that you have a blessed year!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My favorite movies of the decade

So it is time again where we all reflect on what we have done over the past year and what we want to accomplish next year. This year is special though because we end yet another decade and start a new one. I will save my remembrances for tomorrow since tomorrow is New Year's Eve. Tonight I thought I would look back in the world of movies as most people can relate to movies. When someone hears a movie title that they have seen, it is as if they are taken back in time.
These will be my favorite movies for each year: granted when looking at a list of the top grossing movies from each will find more than one movie. I looked at each list and asked myself which movie I have watched over and over with out getting sick of.
  • 2000 - Gone in 60 Seconds - I remember watching this in the theatre, leaving the theatre on such a high and speeding all the way home. I was lucky that I didn't get a speeding ticket!
  • 2002 - Yet another year of big movies installments from Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. There were quite a few movies in 2002 that I liked and still like to this day. Here are a few of my favorites from 2002: The Bourne Identity, We Were Soldiers (the movie was awesome...the blind date that I was on was awful), Count of Monte Cristo, and Sweet Home Alabama. I could list a few more if I really wanted, too. 
  • 2004 - The Passion of the Christ (I try to watch this every year around Easter...kind of like some people watch The Ten Commandments), The Bourne Supremecy (I remember being so excited for this second installment of an amazing trilogy), The Notebook (now who doesn't like a Nicholas Sparks book put to movie?), Ladder 49, Miracle, In Good Company (this movie holds a special place in my heart. I saw this movie on Kaylee's first birthday to help distract me from the emotions of not being able to be with her on her birthday) and Shall We Dance?.
I hope with this list of movies, you can recall the memories from when you saw these movies, too. If you have not seen some of these...then place them on your Netflix list, rent them from Blockbuster, or see if they are uploaded on to watch. Happy viewing!

Monday, December 28, 2009


Wow...what a crazy past couple of days working at the theatre!! Traditionally this week is the busiest week of the year for all movie theatres nationwide. Why? Well it is traditionally the week that most people take off to spend time with their children while they are home from college and high school for Christmas/Winter break. Since everyone is home they tend to go to the movie theatre and see a few movies. The movie studios know this and try to bank on all they can from a busy holiday weekend! This year was no different.

Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, and Alvin & The Chimpmunks 2 were the top three movies in the box office nationwide this weekend. I will agree on this one since I worked Thursday through Sunday. I worked in the concession stand Thursday and Saturday while the other two days were in the box office. Saturday was the busiest day at the AMC theatre that I work at in Connecticut. We already knew it was going to be busy due to being the day after Christmas, but to add to the rained all day!! The theatre was projected to have about 8500 guests come through the door, but since it rained all day the ending total attendance for Saturday was over 11,000 people!! This total breaks the record for the history of the theatre!! The last time we broke the record was last summer for Batman: The Dark Knight midnight premier when the attendance was just over 9,000 people. All weekend though you kept hearing shouts from the box office, "May I have your attention please, the (enter show time) of (enter movie title) is sold out!" Props to Adam Del Re to shouting these announcements out on Sunday and having the entire theatre lobby go completely silent while he was talking. It was awesome. :)

Saturday evening, one of my managers sent out a Facebook note for the AMC employees to read. I thought I would share part of the note.
"today, i saw a crew that was dedicated and determined. nobody was willing to give up or give in, and while people just kept streaming through the doors and shows were selling out left and right, we kept it together. i wanted to give you all my personal thanks that on a day like today, we were steadfast and cohesive. we showed the guests what we were made of. we cleaned every last piece of popcorn, served hundreds and hundreds of guests, and really made the difference. the rest of the week will be busy, but if we all can keep it going like we did tonight, nothing can stand in our way. don't forget that. keep your eye on the prize and know that we are breaking records and we couldn't do it without you. - Ben Goodman"

Lastly, I have complained before about guests coming to the theatre and being upset because their movie is sold out. Here are some tips again for you to remember when going to the movies on a busy holiday or big movie premier weekend.
  • Buy tickets from to ensure you have tickets for the desired movie and arrive to the movie theatre about an hour before the movie starts. 
  • If you do not want to purchase tickets via the internet, go early in the morning to buy movie tickets for later in the day. 
  • Attend one of the first show times for the desired movie as those tend to be sometimes less busy than later in the day (especially on a friday). 
  • If you go to the movie theatre around the time your movie starts, have 2-3 back up movies that you would like to see, just in case your number one movie is sold out or close to be sold out. 
  • If you arrive at the movie theatre to find out that all three of your movies are sold out, DO NOT GET IN LINE to decide what to do. Your best bet is to try again on a less busy day. 
  • Do not get frustrated at the theatre employees because of how busy it is, as this just adds to their own stress from being so busy.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day - Merry Christmas!

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!" Such famous words we hear every year. This phrase means something different to every person. When most people hear this phrase they think of the poem "Twas the night before Christmas" and relate this to Christmas Eve. If one were to hear this phrase on Christmas evening this could mean that one does not have to hear Christmas music for 11 more months (which really is a good thing!), for others it meant they spend the day with their family and loved ones, and for some it means that they finished another lonely Christmas without their families due to for unknown reasons that we know.

As for me, Christmas reminds me of the old traditions that I grew up with. Christmas morning at my parent's house consisted of waking up around 8 or 9am, baking Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, turning on an Mannheim Steamroller Christmas album, and opening presents. Then in the afternoon we would have lunch with my extended family and then go to a movie at the theatre. My dad's birthday is Christmas day, so the afternoon was more of my dad's birthday. :) Happy Birthday dad!

Since I have been married, Christmas has been different than what I knew as a kid. Two years ago, I didn't have to work and so Rob and I spent the whole day together. Last year we spent the morning together before I went to work at the movie theatre, and this year we opened presents early and I went to work from 915a-4pm. After a busy busy day at work I came home to an almost fixed dinner. After dinner, our evening has consisted of watching The Hangover (one of my new favorite comedies), talking to my mom and on the phone, and now watching TAKEN while talking to my sister via instant messager. Pretty laid back evening that is for sure.

Since Rob's dad is here...last night the three went up to the movie theatre to see a few movies. I have finally seen The Blind Side which was so good. If you have not seen this movie, you need to go see it! Totally worth the money spent at the box office! With taking social work classes, I could view this movie in the eyes of a social worker and then also in the eyes of a birth-mother (due to how his birth-mother was not fit to be a mom and her kids were placed into the state system). As a social worker we are trained to help the ones in need, and find services for the hurting. The second movie we saw was Up in the Air which is George Clooney's new movie. Did I like it? Yup...I sure did. If you go see the movie, my advice is to not read what the critics have to say, don't read up on what the movie is about, go into the movie with a very open mind and formulate your own reaction to the movie. This is not your typical George Clooney movie. I would watch it again. I related the main plot of this movie back to McDonaldization. Part of McDonaldization is efficiency, and part of this movie to trying to make something more efficient. In reality though, there is the irrational part of one's rationality in all that is done. You see that within this movie.

Well that is me for this posting. I hope that everyone had a wonderful day even if it was spent at your quiet home enjoying the peaceful day with watching movies and catching up on laundry.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Favorite Christmas Songs

As I posted a couple weeks ago, I said that I would post what my favorite Christmas Songs were. I am one who will not listen to Christmas music until it is at least a week into the first week of December. You may think, "Oh Amy...come on! You have to try and listen to as much of it as you can to get into the Christmas spirit!" I just get sick of hearing the same old stuff every year for two months. Or maybe it is due to the fact that when I lived at home, I would have to listen to my dad whistle "Jingle Bells" all year long, and so when Christmas songs finally come on I am tired of hearing it. One would think that my dad would learn a different tune to whistle, but still to this day he only does that song.  Ok...enough is my list in no particular order.

    • Handel - Messiah - this holds a special place in my heart. I personally could listen to this piece year round. When I was in high school I was in the choir and also orchestra. Three years I had the opportunity to play selections from this piece and one year I was able to sing it. Oh how I love to listen to the music and the lyrics. 
    • Bach - Christmas Oratorio - When I was at the community college...I had the oppertunity to sing this. So hard, but yet so amazing once sung correctly!
    • Bing Crosby - White Christmas - Oh come is not Christmas with out hearing this song or watching the movie at least once during the busy season. 
    • Chanticleer - Ave Maria
    • Andrea Bocelli - Angles We have Heard on High
    • Josh Groban - Oh Holy Night!
    • Amy Grant - Tennessee Christmas
    • Amy Grant - Breath of Heaven 
These are a few that I must listen to during the holiday season. I am sure if my dad read this list he would tell me, "You forgot Mannheim Steamroller! They are the best!"

This year on XM I found the Holiday Pops Channel which is Channel 77 for those of you who have XM Radio. Take a peak and listen to what is there. Think Boston Pops, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and Westminster Boys Choir; and you will have what is over on channel 77. :)

Boy...what a week!

What a week I had last week! School, work, Rob receiving crappy news from work, and family flying in on short notice.

As for School I am on my winter two week break. Yay! As a college student, I know that even though I am on break, I can not just enjoy my break. At the end of my two classes I was informed that there were papers and presentations due soon after we come back from break. I have a presentation due in my Human Behavior social work class the night I go back to class, which I think is January 4th. Then I have a paper due for that class on February 15th. Then in my Psychology Disorders class I have a paper and presentation due in early February. I think for my Psych class I will do a paper and presentation on Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), as I find that one interesting and there is a lot to talk about with this disorder. I could also do ADD/ADHD as I know first hand how that disorder functions. So we will see what I end up researching. Fall term grades were all posted last week (which was the highlight of my day for me.) All three classes: Sociology, Social Work: Processes I, and the weekend 1 credit class on HIV/AIDS I recieved all B's! I knew about my social work class but had to wait on the other two classes. I was excited to see that I got B's in the other two classes as they were just as difficult.

Work is starting to pick up due to kids coming home for winter break and parents starting to take time off from work to spend with their children. The big new movie this past weekend was, Avatar. I was scheduled to work in box office Friday morning (which I love). The only thing I hate is when people get pretty pushy and annoyed with you if not everything is set up when they are needing items. There are three individuals who ALWAYS come in to se a movie on Friday morning and gripe about me every single week. Since Avatar is in 3D, there is an additional $3 surcharge per ticket due to the 3D technology. These three individuals came up and said, "We do not need the glasses as we already have them from last time." I responded with, "Ok, well three movie tickets will still cost you $27." They then tried to argue with me that they already had the glasses and therefor they should not have to pay the extra money. I explained to them (in a rushed manner since I was the only one in box office) that reguardless of them having glasses from a past movie, they would still have to pay the additional money because it it not for the glasses but for the added expense of making the movie into a 3D film. They gave me yet another dirty look when I asked them for $27 again. They handed the money and said, "well give me the glasses then!" I slid the three glasses over to them and they apparently thought that I threw the glasses to them. When they left I saw one of the participants of the party go up to my supervisor to complain about me. Oh I was mad. I mean really, you come in here every week to find something wrong with me to complain about. My supervisor did not give anything to them as a "free - I'm sorry pass" as that is what I am sure they were looking for. I told my supervisor that the three guests who complained about me come in here every week and cause a problem. It is not my fault that they do not understand that they have to pay money to see a movie regardless if it is $6 or $9.

Next on the agenda for the crazy week is Rob's job. Rob was informed last Tuesday that due to budget cuts, he will have a teaching job at Iona until June. After June he would be unemployed, which really sucks if you ask me. We started the steps of what we need to do for the house and everything else. I am trying to stay positive and think that next year by this time I will be in a different house which will be in a different state! I am hoping for warmer winter weather, but we will just have to wait and see where we are taken. Rob is starting the applying process this week for different schools through out the country.

On top of all of this, my father-in-law flew up to my house last week to spend time with Rob and I. He will be here for three weeks. Yes, I did say three weeks. haha. It is nice to have someone here for the holidays, but three weeks?! haha. I think what was stressful at first with this was that my house is in shambles due to myself being so busy with the end of the term and everything else going on.

On the up note I took a day trip down to NYC with a few friends from work. We went and saw the Rockette's show at Radio City Music Hall, which was extremely cool!! I will have to blog about that soon. I am just trying to get caught up with everything else and stay afloat with the other things that go on with life.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Alas...Fall term is FINALLY over!

As a returning adult student, I had forgotten what it felt like to juggle more than two classes at a time. This fall term was a struggle with dealing with two trimester classes in addition to two semester classes. I love trimester classes as they end sooner than a semester class, and I seem to learn more in a trimester class. Must be the whole meeting once a week thing. I don't know. My two fall tri classes ended last month, but as of today I am officially done with fall term. woohoo! I took the final for my sociology class today and Saturday, I turned in my paper for the one credit weekend class that I signed up for. **note to self...DON'T EVER TAKE A ONE CREDIT CLASS EVER AGAIN!** that I got that out of my system I am ready to move on and focus on my winter trimester classes that have been in session for a month now. But first I will say that I will miss meeting twice a week for my intro to sociology class. I really enjoyed the professor who taught the class even when most people did not. He is an easy but yet difficult professor. He is one who likes to challenge his students, which is what a professor should do. I went to class fully prepared almost 90% of each class meeting. I know there were a few days that I just felt out of my element, one being a couple weeks ago when I was doped up on pain killers from having a tooth pulled two days before. I had forgotten the book that was being discussed in class, and so I felt unprepared. When turning in my final test today, I was able to get my McDonaldization paper back as well. I got an "A"!! Oh I am excited for this. I truely enjoyed reading the book and had a hard time trying to keep the paper at the 5 page maximum. I even cheated by making the font be one size smaller and made the margins a bit smaller, so that I could get a few more lines on each page. Normally it seems that a college student would do the oppisite, just to help add some legnth to the paper. After class I emailed my professor telling him how I will miss his class and that if he teaches any trimester classes in the future I will have to take another class from him. He replied with an amazing response. He said, "You were an absolute joy to have in class everyday. Thank you for engaging the material. I knew everyday that you were prepared, interested, and ready to attack the topic headfirst. As you probably know from your husband, that is the ideal and cannot ask for anything more." Now how awesome is that?!! He also mentioned that if I am on campus next term to feel free and stop by his office. 

I am just on top of the world right now. :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bathroom update

Since Rob has some more time on his hands, he has been taking up some projects around the house. This past weekend was a project for the Main/Guest Bathroom. He wanted to just change out some electrical outlets, light switches, add a new electrical outlet and lastly add some toe-lighting underneath our sink cabinet. Sounds easy right?! Ok...maybe not easy to a regular home owner but easy to someone who knows what they are doing.

First task...remove the three switches that operate the two lights and the moisture fan to replace with updated switches. He three switches and condensed them all to one wall switch that has three different buttons. (pretty cool I think) Then he added a push button timer for the moisture fan, and then added a new outlet for me to use. Rob forgot to take the BEFORE pictures, and so I apologize. Here is what it looks like now. 

The next project was to add new wall lighting. I really wanted one fixture above the mirror, but I was unable to do that due to the fact of having two side lights on the walls already. Rob and I found some new and updated lighting. Here is a picture of those.

Then Rob added a brand new electrical outlet to the left of the LEFT wall sconce. This outlet is an outlet/LED nightlight combination. We put one in our kitchen and had to have one in the bathroom. This gives me yet another outlet to use for various things. Here is what that looks like --->
Then Rob put in some toe lighting. This is a project that should have only taken about 10 minutes. Well the previous homeowner of the house did lots of updating to the house in the ten years he and his family lived here. Let's just say that this homeowner didn't really do things correctly. This ten minute project turned into about nine hours. Rob had quite a difficult time due to finding concrete backer board, plaster, chicken wire, and drywall all in the wall. Rob had some pretty colorful words while doing this last project. After a long hard day he finally finished and it looks pretty cool. 
If you like this toe kick lighting...Rob used a three foot strand of rope light. You can get the rope lighting at Lowe's, Home Depot, or find it on ebay. Rob said that when we update and enlarge our upstairs existing bathroom, he wants to do the same effect, but with blue lighting rather than green. I said that i like the effect, but would like to see the upstairs toe kick be in white.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I Carry your heart with me...

Tonight I was catching up with one of my Sunday evening tv shows that was still on the dvr. At the end of the episode there was a wedding scene and Kitty (one of the character's in my show) was reading a poem for her brother. The poem was by E.E. Cummings and it just really spoke to me. I am sure other birthmothers will be able to relate to the poem I am about to share with you. The poem is popular with weddings, but I think any birthparent feels the same way for their child or children that are placed into foster or adoptive families. If I would have know about this poem before now, I would have this read at the reflection time after the signing of the relinquishment papers of Kaylee.

i carry your heart with me
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Junior Social Work Placement Interview....

Today, I went for my Junior Social Work Field placement interview. My placement coordinator emailed me last Thursday about an agency located in Stamford, CT that worked with the special needs population. The placement sounded very interesting and so she encouraged me to call and set up a meeting with the supervisor. My interview was at ARI of Connecticut with a man named Carey. This agency helps the special needs population learn how to be independent with in their own community. They do job placements, training classes as well. The interview went pretty well. By talking to Carey, I learned what my duties would be as an intern at ARI. My biggest fear of an internship would be spending 8 hours a week filing papers, making coffee, and anything else that is not related to my field of a social worker. Carey explained that I will have many different things to do for my internship. 50% of my time I will be working with another supervisor down in the production department (a department where their clients work in a mail room by folding papers and placing them in envelopes and getting them ready for the mail), I will then also act as an observer in a field work area where some of the more skilled special needs clients are doing landscaping or cleaning jobs out in the community and bascially observing how this process works, another item I will be doing is taking on my own client case to work with, and lastly do some readings and training on the special needs population. I will also do some observing in the classrooms to see how their training classes are ran for the special needs clientele. I am excited for all of this, but freaked out at the same time. I now this is normal only because it is different and to think that I will have my own client is probably the most scary thing I can think of right now. I just do not feel prepared enough, but I guess I will learn fist hand. I will start in early January, though, where as most of my other classmates for junior placement will not start until Feb or early March. The reason why I will be starting early is because with working with the special needs population, it is hard for them to understand why a worker is coming in and then leaving so quickly. Which is to be expected. My field placement will consist of 4 hours two days a week, so basically 8 hours a week until the month of May. I only have to put in 100 hours for my junior placement, but where I will be starting earlier, I will probably have a little bit more than that.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Songs I have been listening to...

Since I got XM Radio last year for my birthday I have fallen in love with listening to the radio. I just love being able to listen to the radio and see the artist/or group and the song name. This is how I have been able to keep up with what songs are the ones that I like. Before I had XM, I would have to "Google" part of the lyrics to see what I came up with. Lately there are a few songs that I tend to turn up the radio, sing along, and then replay the song (another advantage of having XM).
Here is a list of the songs that I get excited about right now...
Train - "Hey Soul Sister"
This song is a bit quirky yes...but yet catchy once you listen to it a few times.
 Theory of a Deadman - "Wait For Me"
As a birthmother, I can relate to parts of this song...but I almost feel as this song is for anyone who is overseas and is talking to the loved ones back home here in the states.
Kelly Clarkson - "Already Gone"
I am typically not a big Kelly fan...but some of her songs really touch one's soul. I guess this song makes me think about how good I have it now with my marriage and where I could be if any of my past relationships would have ever worked.
and lastly...just a fun song to listen to when it is cold up here in Connecticut...
Zach Brown Band - "Toes"
This is just a fun song to listen to during the winter months to help you feel warm when it is freezing outside. It kind of has the Jimmy Buffett feel to it.

I know I should be writing about the different Christmas songs...but these just really stand out to me right now. Maybe later this month I will talk about my favorite Christmas songs.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday Traditions

Every person has their own traditions that go along with each holiday that comes about through out the year. This time of year makes me think about what traditions I grew up with and which new ones I am creating with my own family.

Growing up some of the holiday traditions consisted of going to a holiday concert as a family, driving around looking at Christmas lights in different neighborhoods, going out to pick a real Christmas tree, and watching National Lamppon's Christmas Vacation. As a present, my mom would give my siblings and myself a new Christmas ornament each year to hang on the tree. I know looking back, that was always the highlight of the year to see which new ornament I would recieve and where I was going to hang it on the tree. Some of my friends from high school gave christmas ornaments as  gifts as well. Now that I am an adult, I look forward to hanging the old ornaments on the tree every year. I need to get to my mom's house to get my childhood ornaments that are still packed away in a box.

Now that I am married and live 3000 miles away from my parents, I have had to start some new traditions. Rob and I have started to decorate the house for the winter and Christmas season about a week or so before Thanksgiving. We both love the Christmas season and tend to buy several items on clearance after the season has passed and the stores want the holiday items off their shelves. It is always fun pulling the items out every year and seeing the house be transformed. We have four Christmas trees this year. Yes, I did say four.  Two on the main floor, one on the top floor, and one down in the basement where we spend most of our time. Our main Christmas tree on the main floor is themed with Purple, Green, and Silver ornaments. We have a miniature tree that sits on the vanity in our guest bedroom. I found mini musical instrument ornaments for that tree. The big tree upstairs on the top floor is the traditional decorated tree with all of the ornaments that I have been given over the past years. Finally the small three-foot tree in the basement is decorated with red and green bells. 

As a birth-mother, I started the tradition of giving Kaylee a Christmas ornament every year as well. I started it back when she was just a newborn and celebrating her first Christmas at 11 months old. What I also do is buy an identical ornament for my own tree. That way I can look back over the years and feel that she was somehow in my house for the holiday season as well.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Schumaker Holiday Letter 2009

Quite a few of my friends and family will be receiving their holiday cards from me very shortly. Inside the card is the annual letter that is becoming more common in most holiday cards. I thought I would post the letter here for people to see as well. That way, if you do not receive a holiday card from will know what Rob and I have been up to this past year. I hope that everyone who reads this has a safe and happy holiday season!

Holiday Season 2009

Happy Holidays! It looks like I missed my personal deadline to get the cards and newsletter out before Thanksgiving this year. Rob and I have been pretty busy, so finding time to sit down and type something out has been sparse. Rob and I hope that you all had a wonderful year. Here is what Rob and I were up to this past year.

We spent most of January at home. Rob received a Sports Data Mining Book proposal with a deadline of November 2009. He is writing the book with his academic advisor from Arizona. I kept busy with work and school. We had quite a bit of snow in the month of January and counted down the days until Spring!

In February, I finished a difficult Winter Trimester at school. I could not wait to be done with Economics and a Developmental Psychology course. I am happy to say that I did pass both classes and excited that I do not have to take any more classes from the economics department at school.

March brought the Spring Trimester for me, which consisted of Math and 20th Century World History. Rob was invited to a conference in China during the month of June.

April was an interesting month for me at work. AMC decided that all of the administrative assistant’s theatre wide would be no more. I had the choice of either stepping down back to the basic Film Crew level or have no job. I opted in keeping a job at the movie theatre due to not wanting to change companies. Rob and I hosted a neighborhood party to help get the baseball season back in motion.

In May, Rob and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. We spent a quiet day at the house and just went to dinner. We planned to do a big celebration in June when we went to China.

June was the month of travel, travel, travel. The first weekend of June, I took a trip out to Oregon to help celebrate my grandparent’s 50 years of marriage. The following weekend, I turned 29 years old and Rob surprised me with a last minute birthday trip down to Eastern Tennessee. I had not yet been to TN and was very excited. We spent the weekend in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area of TN. A day spent at Dollywood was the favorite for me. Rob had fun showing me the sites and places that he had been to several times, which included a hike up to Clingman’s Dome. At the end of the trip, I concluded that I loved the Smokey Mountain area and could possibly live there. The end of June brought a ten-day trip to China. Rob was invited to present a paper at the China Summer Workshop of Information Management (CSWIM) Conference, which was held in Guangzhou, China. Guangzhou is southern China not too far from Hong Kong. We spent three days in Guangzhou for the conference and then flew up to Beijing exploring the city for the remainder of our trip. Since it was so hot, we did only a few things, but did experience the Forbidden City. We had hoped to get up to the Great Wall of China, but just ran out of time. Rob and I both agreed that we would like to go back to Beijing, and would go in early spring or fall when it is not so hot.

The first part of July, we spent re-cooperating from our China Trip. It took us about twelve days to get our sleeping pattern fully back to normal. This consisted of going to bed around 4pm, waking up around 1am and heading over to Denny’s for lunch since nothing was open. Near the end of July, Rob's sister, Carol, visited from Tucson for 9 days. I met Carol down in NYC the first couple of days of her trip. I showed her around the city by going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the first day and the second day was spent shopping at the world’s largest Macy’s down at Herald Square. During her visit, Rob took her up to Yankee Candle Village up in Massachusetts.

August brought an Ohio trip for Rob to help clean out his parent’s attic. August also brought one last trip for Paul and Sharon up to our house for the summer. Since Rob enjoyed the Yankee Candle Village so much, we took his parents up as well. The end of August school started again for both Rob and I. I am now a junior at Iona with just a year and a half left before I receive a bachelor’s in Social Work.

In September, Rob and I went up to The Big Exposition, which is located in Springfield, Massachusetts. One who does not live in the New England states may ask what the Big E is. Think of one large state fair for all of the New England states. Each New England state owns a state house and hosts local food vendors and exhibits. The fair lasts three weeks and thousands of people go every year. This year was the first year for us, and we will definitely be going back next year.

October brought a trip to San Antonio & Houston, Texas. We spent a weekend in San Antonio with my sister’s family and my parents. My nephew turned two this year and this was the first big birthday party for him with family and friends. While in San Antonio we went to the Riverwalk and also spent the morning over at the Alamo. Sadly enough, I was not able to find the basement of the Alamo. Part two of our trip was in Houston for the IIMA Conference. Rob and fellow Iona colleagues presented at this conference. As part of the conference, we spent about three hours over at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. That had to be one of the coolest things. Since there was a moon mission going on at the time, we were unable to view mission control. That would have been awesome to see, but we did have the opportunity to view the Saturn V Rocket. Halloween, Rob and I went to Ohio to celebrate an early Thanksgiving with his parents.

November is low key here at the Schumaker household. I am busy with working at the movie theatre, due to some of the larger holiday films out in theatres. Between work and school I do not have a lot going on. Rob’s book deadline is the end of this month. I know he is looking forward to being done with that for a month before it is handed back to him for any revisions that are needed. My Aunt Lori and two cousins stopped by for a visit this month. It was a great visit and I look forward to spending more time with her and the boys.

December will end the year with more work and school. Most colleges close for the month of December, but since I am on a trimester schedule, I will have class in December. Winter Trimester consists of another psychology course and then a required social work human behavior course. In December, I will also learn where my internship for the spring will be. Social Work majors spend fifty hours in two separate internships junior year in the spring.

I hope you have enjoyed catching up with the Schumaker family and that you have a very Happy New Year. Before you know it, we will be sitting down next year typing out the year events again. Estimated 2010 trips for us will consist of Oregon for my 30th birthday in June, Rob may possibly have a conference in Stockholm, Sweden also during the month of June. Mid October, we will be heading off to Amsterdam, Netherlands for the annual IIMA Conference.

Peace, Love, & Happiness,
Amy & Rob Schumaker


Naturally...I have had bad teeth ever since I was real little. I am prone to many cavities and it has never been a fun trip to the dentist twice a year. When I was in my early 20s I didn't have dental insurance due to the companies I worked for didn't offer it. Therefore, since going to the dentist is expensive I never really went. In the last couple of years, I have been more diligent in going to the dentist and just paying out of pocket. Yes, it is still expensive...but I figure if I try to take care of my teeth now, I will have some when I am in my elderly years (God willing). I have been though putting off getting some cavities taken care of due to time, scheduling, and any other excuse I could think of. Well this weekend, one of the cavities really started to hurt. I called my dentist on Monday to see what I should do. The hygienist said that it sounded like the tooth that needed to be pulled, so I should call the oral surgeon. *sigh* I called over to my oral surgeon and was able to get an appointment for yesterday morning around 8am. I was excited to finally get this tooth taken care of. I do not enjoy getting teeth pulled...and my dentist would have tried to fill the cavity...but it was on a far back molar which had no tooth under it and so it was longer than any of the other top teeth on the left side. By 830am I was walking out of the oral surgeon's office with one less tooth in my mouth and a prescription for hydrocodone. I had wanted to go to my sociology class yesterday, but since I was going to be doped up on meds I decided against driving.

I really hope that I do not have any more teeth issues until after the new year. That way any expenses I have can be put towards the medical reimbursment plan that Rob and I have through his work. Next year, I need to get my wisdom teeth taken out as they are causing problems and a few of them are compacted. yippee! lol

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Papers coming out my ears!

I am feeling overwhelmed right now. I am sure I am not the only student currently feeling this way. Last week was the final week of Fall Trimester which would make this week the first week of the Winter Trimester. No biggie right? Well did I fail to mention that I am taking two semester classes as well? This is alot for me compared to normal. I had a term 9-10 paged paper due last week for my Social Work class, then this past week I had another 5 pg maxed paper due in my Sociology class. This last weekend I headed back down to campus for a weekend class on AIDS/HIV Awareness and yes there is yet another paper due for that class! I am about to have a Macaulay Culkin moment from his Home Alone series where he claps his cheeks and yells, "AAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!"

In addition to all of this, Winter Trimester is starting up which has two classes for me. One is another social work class and the other is a psychology class dealing with child learning disabilities. Just trying to get fully registered for Winter Trimester was a small adventure. Originally when I went to advisement Dr. Nadel and I had picked out an Eng. Lit class which is a hybrid class (which meets only a few times in class through out the term where the other part is done online) and would meet on Monday evenings. The social work class was on wednesday evenings. Great!! Easy as apple pie. When I tried to register for the social work class, I was unable to due to not taking all of the pre-reqs. I went and got permission from Dr. Nadel and come to find out the class had been moved to the same evening as the English Lit. class. Therefore, I had to drop the English class to get into the social work class and pick up another class to be considered full time for the trimester student. I chose an online psychology class, only for it to be canceled due to the professor not wanting to teach the class as an independent study. So I finally landed with the psychology class dealing with children learning disabilities. Both classes sound pretty interesting. I missed the first class for my psych class since I had to work the midnight showing of Twilight: New Moon at the theatre. Personally I would have rather been in class rather than driving home to change into a uniform and go to work. My social work class will be really interesting. The class is on Human Behavior & the Social Enviorment: Life Course. There are only two other students in the class. So pretty small but it should still be fun. I will get to more details on the class in a later post.

With all of these papers coming out of my ears, I realized that I had not typed out the annual holiday letter for the Christmas cards. I normally am the first one to get the cards out in the mail. Well, it looks like this year I will be a little bit slower on that. Hopefully by this coming week I will have the cards ready to be sent out in the mail. I typed up the letter last night and Rob made some revisions today. All I need to do now is get some paper to print it out on and get it in the cards!!

So much to do, so little time...but yet I will figure it out and make it work.

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's Been A While...

It has been awhile since I posted here last. I guess life has gotten busy and I just can't find the time to sit down and blog. These next two weeks will be probably two of the busier weeks for me, though. The Fall Trimester is coming to a close and so the paper deadlines are drawing near. I fortunately have only one paper due, but that is still alot when the paper is quite a bit of the grade in the class. The paper is for my Social Work: Processes I class and I had to choose a field of practice in which social workers work in. I chose adoption agencies only because that is my passion. The first part of the paper is to do a lit review on what is going on in the field of practice. For example: explaining what the field of practice is, which population is being served, what types of services are offered, what are the roles of the social worker in this field, and so on. The second part of the paper is to describe the interview that we had to do with someone who is in this field of practice that we chose. Since I am friends with my own adoption placement social worker, I emailed her to see if I could interview her. She aggreed and so I gleefully sent along my questions. Finally the paper asks what I have learned about this field and if my interests have increased for this field. All of this is due by the 12th of November. big deal. I have been good and actually started the paper way before it is due. I am giving myself a personal deadline for the 7th of November only so that the paper can sit for a day or two and then be worked over again if needed. When one person writes a paper it is normally done linear. I on the other hand jump out of this norm and work on the segments that are the easiest first. With this being said, I have completed the introduction and the interview portion of the paper done. What I will struggle with is the list review only because it is hard for me to put the words down on paper. I find myself trying to answer the questions but sounding as if I am a freshman in HS, which is not what I need to do. So for awhile I may just get some words on the paper and see how it looks. I am sure this is what authors do when they write a book. I do know that my professor has said that the majority of the paper will probably focus on the interview, so that makes me feel a little bit better. I just need to do the hard stuff and try not to over think it.

Other than seems to be going pretty well, I think. Rob and I went to Texas a couple weeks ago, so that he could attend a conference in Houston. The weekend before the conference, we drove over to San Antonio to visit my sister's family. My parents were visiting my sister as well. It was great to see everyone. While in San Antonio we visited the Alamo and also walked along the Riverwalk. While walking along the Riverwalk we found a really great little mexican food cafe. Rob and I were in heaven while the rest of my family thought it was ok, as they are not really into mexican food. Houston was hot and muggy...but that is normal for that area of Texas. On the last full day in Houston, we went out to Johnson Space Center (NASA) for a couple of hours. I found it interesting but yet I wished that there was more for civilians to see while at the center. :) That evening we went to Lakewood Christian Church which is where Joel Olsteen preaches. He was not there that night, but it was still cool to go to his church. How cool be able to spread the gospel to 66,000 people at one time under one roof. Well it is more than that due to the church services being podcasted, televised, and so forth...but you know what I mean. So overall it was a good trip.

This weekend, Rob and I are headed out to Ohio to spend it with my inlaws. We are going to celebrate Thanksgiving early due to my inlaws spending the winter months out in Arizona with my sister-in-law. I am jealous that they will be in warm weather while I will be burried in snow this winter, I am sure.

Well I should get back to writing that paper that I took a break from so that I could write this blog. :) 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Step Afrika!

Since I am down on campus all day on Tuesdays, I thought I would try and check out some of the performing arts that are being offered on campus from time to time. Tonight there was a performance called Step Afrika!

The group is the first professional company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping. Stepping is a form of percussive dance in which the participant's entire body is used as an instrument to produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word, and hand claps. This performance that I saw was just incredible. I said over on my Facebook page that the group draws your attention from the moment they step out on stage until the leave wanting you to have them come back out and step for another hour. I was just amazed in how this all looked on stage together. Some of you may say, "why would you want to go to something like that?" My response to you is, "why not?!" I am sure some would be bored...but for those like myself who embrace the art in dancing (probably because I can't dance to save my life) just were in awe.

As a social work student, my professors here at Iona challenge us students to get outside of the box and learn about other cultures. As I watched this performance tonight, I asked myself..."How can this relate to my Social Work learning?" I would respond with that I am learning another culture's type of dance. By learning another culture's dance I can help clients by getting themselves involved with something like stepping to branch out and put negative emotions into something positive. Now I don't know if that would be the correct answer but I personally need to embrace what is different and enjoy it. 

Friday, October 2, 2009

October = Pumpkins and Fall!

October already? Really? As I am excited for it to be October I am sad as well, because of how fast this past year has gone. I do like this time of year though. I never thought that I would like Fall, but with living up in the New England area, I find myself anticipating the changing of the leaves on the trees. Growing up in Oregon I saw trees change colors, but I never saw full mountain sides in full firey reds, yellows, and oranges. My house has been in full fall decor for the past several weeks, and I know soon Rob and I will be packing up the fall items and putting up the three christmas trees and all of the winter decorations through out the house.

The weather is getting much cooler outside. I am having to pull out my long sleeved shirts and sweaters to wear. I wish that I worked at a job where I could wear my sweaters and cute long sleeved shirts. I know that though in just a few years, I will have that luxury. So for now, I wear my cute stuff on the days that I am at school for the day or on my days off from work when I am out and about. :)

So what brings to the month of October? Rob and I are headed to Texas next weekend! I am very excited about this. We leave next Friday and then will return the following Thursday. Rob has a conference in Houston and so we are headed down a couple days earlier to spend the weekend with my sister's family and my parents. I am excited to see all of them. It will be my first time to San Antonio and also Houston. As part of the conference during the week, we will be going to Johnson Space Center. I think that will be very cool to visit.

Not much else going on. School is going well. I have about a month left for my Social Work class. Hard to believe that I am almost done with one of the classes this term. This week we were assigned to our "Triad" groups in class. In these "Triad" groups we are learning how to be the social worker and learn different aspects of an interview process and helping process with a client. This week we learned the "Open Ended Questions" method. To begin though each person in the group had to think of a current problem that they feel comfortable sharing about with their group to help their "social worker" help the "client". Each time we are the "client" in the scenario each week, we will use this problem as our base. Since there are 13 students in my class there is an extra person for one of the "triad" groups. This extra person is part of my group but will act as the floater for a group if they are missing one of their "triad" members that week. This is all going to be very interesting. I am happy for who is in my "triad" group and I do not have to worry about having that rude girl who cut me off couple weeks ago be in my group. yay! Sociology is going well, despite my professor being ill the past couple of class meetings. We are behind on the class work, but he is still expecting us to be caught up in the readings or ahead, so when the time comes to talk about the readings all students have it completed. Our first paper was due on Thursday. Just moments before my class started I over heard my professor talking to a student from the previous class about the paper that was currently due. By listening to what was suppose to be in the paper by my professor, I realized that I forgot to put the last required part in the paper!! The last part was my own opinion about the article which we had to write on! I feel like a complete idiot!! You know how you keep reading something that you have written and in your head you say, "Something is missing. I don't know what it is...but there is something missing!" Well I did that all weekend and kept drawing a blank. Well the blank wall completely filled my head. Grumble!!! So here I turned in a paper that is only 2/3rds done. I hope that I can manage a decent grade as the papers are weighted pretty good. I just was so embarrassed. I didn't say anything to my professor as he was being bogged down by other student's excuses of why their paper was not being turned in. So it is now just a wait and see. I still feel dumb and I am sure I will feel dumb until my next paper is due. I know for sure the next paper will have the opinion included!!

That is all I have for now. Until next time...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Is it that hard?

One part to my social work class is on an online database called Blackboard. For those of you who do not know what Blackboard is, it is simply an online classroom forum. Once a week I have to post my answers to a question that is provided by my professor. Then once a week I must respond to three other student's postings. From now on, I almost hope that no one responds to my own postings. There is no word limit or minimum for the responses. I find myself annoyed reading my fellow classmates responses to my postings or to someone's posting. I find myself reading responses like, "I really like your post because you used the word care. As social workers we must care for our client's problems." I know it is only one part of the class, but come on!! I had a discussion on Facebook with some friends about this and one of my friends who uses Blackboard for her seventh & eighth graders admitted that her students have more fulfilling responses to another student's posting. I just feel as if I am back in grade school when reading the replies to the posts.

This past Thursday for class, I had to sit through a Library Orientation. I think that I would have rathered plucked my eye-lashes out than sit through this, as I already know how search in a library database to find books or journal articles. I did learn though in the orientation where else I could look for journal articles on the databases. There were a few databases that I had never thought about using. So that was useful to use. After the librarian finished talking she went around the room to see if students needed help. A girl sitting behind me was completely clueless, as if it was her first time using the databases. I do not think I could ever go into IT and actually have to help people like the girl who sat behind me. I would probably find myself slamming my head against the wall as I was telling someone how to do something.

I did learn that it is highly recommended for Social Work students to gain membership with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and that students get a discounted price for the membership. I talked to Rob about on the way home from school Thursday evening, and he said, "Do it! Sign up..this will give you an advantage when you are looking for a job!" He also encouraged me to go to any of the NASW conferences to help myself network with other people who may be hiring with in the next couple of years. So I think that I will go ahead and sign up. He said that when he was a PhD student he had signed up with a couple different organizations as the membership dues were so cheap for students. I doubt any of my other classmates will sign up, but why not get involved and do some networking and some help while I am still learning about the whole field of Social Work.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

School - 1 week many weeks until December?

Week one of classes did not kill me, but I know if I get behind on ANY of my readings for my two classes, I will be dead before the end of the term.

Sociology is going to be very interesting to me. I guess I am one who likes to learn about other human groups. :) It is an introductory class, and so I will just get a basic overview of what Sociology is. This class requires three books, which are all read through out the term. I will have two papers, a midterm, and a final for this class. My first paper is due towards the end of September. I have the choose one article from the assigned book to write about. I will use the article to analyze the topic along with using another required textbook. I think I will write about the Amish and how they fit in today's society. I find the Amish culture very interesting. Most of you probably do not know this, but I actually have Amish heritage from Holmes County, Ohio. Scary thing is, that is where Rob grew up. So wierd, I know. The second paper will be similar to the first but I will be told to use a different assigned book.

Social Work is going to be a very time consuming class. There are two books required along with a CD-Rom and PDF files from the Blackboard school site. For those of you who don't know what Blackboard is an online Forum based teaching tool that alot of Colleges and Universities use to bring in an Hybrid part of the class. My professor is having the students read a chapter in one desired book or pdf file, then the students will discuss it on blackboard each week. We then have to respond to two or three of our classmates postings. Along with all of this there are 4 quizzes, 1 large term paper, and then a Report Analasis fromk our practice in class group work. Each week we will break off into an assigned group of three and work on a certain emotion. One person will be the client, the other will be the social worker, and the third person is the observer who will give pointers for the social worker on what needs to be said or not said. This class teaches us the first basic model in working with clients in a social worker setting. The term paper for this class will be on a social work profession of our choice. I think that I will choose the social worker position in an Adoption Agency. I am hoping that my professor gives more detail soon on what she wants in this term paper. I have heard horror stories about this class from my social work classmates who are now seniors. I miss having those classmates in class with me, this year!!

So that is it for the first week of class. :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Summer coming to an end

Well, tomorrow marks the end of summer for me. School starts back up, which I am happy for. I am ready for a regular schedule again. I do know that once I am back into the swing of things, I will be looking forward to another break. Never fails! Fall term brings me Sociology and Processes I Class which is one of my Social Work core classes.

Remember the first day of class and your teacher asked, "What did you do over the summer?" I was thinking about that today. "What did I do this summer?" I would be the kid this year who would stand up and say, "In the month of June I spent a long weekend in Oregon visiting family and friends, along with celebrating my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary. The following weekend in June I spent a quick weekend in Eastern Tennessee for my 29th birthday, and then two weeks later I spent 8 days in China." Hard to believe that I did all of that in just one month!! What an adventure, for sure.

July brought us new windows and door for our house, along with my sister-in-law visiting from Tucson, AZ. While she was here, I met her down in New York City for her first two days and showed her around the city. I helped her ride the train back up to our house.

Just a week ago, Rob's parents were up here for a week. It was nice to see them, but I was glad when I was able to have my house back to myself.

We celebrated Rob's 35th birthday last week, by spending the day up at Yankee Candle Village up in South Deerfield, MA. This is where Yankee Candle all started. Rob and I have a hard time getting out of there under $100. It is just to easy to get caught up into the "Oohh...I like that scent!"

Rob and I saw many movies over the summer, as well. I think Rob saw more than me, only because there were days that he came up to the movie theater on the days that I working to sit and see movies. One of the best summer movies this year has to be "The Hangover". I think that I could watch that movie over and over and not be sick of it. The movie just makes you laugh and laugh.

I am curious to see what the rest of the year has to bring Rob and I. Before I know it, I will be working on Christmas Cards and trying to get them out the day after Thanksgiving.

I hope you all had a great summer, as well!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Home Alone

Rob has been left for Ohio last Friday to get some cleaning done at his parent's attic. This was the first time I would be at this house alone for a long period of time. I was a bit nervous at first only because our house is a large house for one person to be alone in. I get the creeps pretty easily...and so trying to sleep alone with just two dogs who expect me to protect them is not comforting. haha. gotta love dogs!!

Anyways...I have found that I have needed these days alone. It has been a nice break. I had to work Friday and Saturday evenings, but then I have had Sunday through today off. I have been lazy and have not done much. Sunday consisted of sleeping late (yes too late to go to church), calling my mom and a few other people on the phone, watching the movie 27 Dresses, having a friend stop by for an hour or so, then deciding on what to watch. I opted to find shows or movies that Rob absolutely hates watching, so that I could get those fixes before he came back. I was not really in the mood for another movie...but could not find anything on the television. I had picked up last summer at a yard sale the first two seasons of WILL & GRACE. I have not been able to watch it, because Rob can not stand the show...and I don't like watching stuff when he sits and ridicules everything about what I am watching. I must say that I had forgotten how funny this television series was. I sat and giggled through each 27 minute episode. Before I knew it, I was placing the 4th and final dvd of season 1 into my dvd player. I didn't mind though because it was better than watching real tv.

Yesterday I finished Season 1 and started with the 2nd season. Let me just say that I am 3 hours away from finishing the second season. I am hoping to have it watched before Rob gets home. haha. I am just sucked in. I have to remember how the second season ends. I remember watching the shows when they first premiered...but didn't watch the show all of the time due to another show conflict or something else. Some of the episodes are brand new to me. What I love about the show is that it is just so down to earth.

I recieved some emails last night from NaeDean (Kaylee's adoptive mom). One email was an update on how their summer has been. They tend to camp quite a bit and stay busy, which I love about them. She said that Kaylee did a week of Vacation Bible School at their church and is going to be starting swimming lessons here shortly. Then in September she will start playing Soccer. I will have a little soccer girl. Love it!!! I had sent her a box last week full of items that I have picked up through out my summer travels to Tennessee and China. Kaylee loved everything that I had sent. The other two emails that I got last night were pictures of Kaylee. I was so excited!! It was just something that I needed. She is getting so big and her hair is super cute!! She and I have about the same haircut. I love it.

As much as I have loved having my time alone, I am looking forward to Rob coming back home. It is quiet in the house (which I love), but yet I need some noise or someone to physically talk to. I have the dogs, but one can only talk to a dog for so long before going crazy.

Signing out for now...sorry if this was random and all over the place. It is just how my mind is working right now.

Monday, July 27, 2009

AI Update - Insemination Day!!!!

our day started at dr. levi's office at 7am. rob gave his sample there at the doctor's office. he came out and said, "i sure hope to hell i do not have to sit in that sample giving room any other time!" he said it was pretty nasty. poor guy. he would have produced the sample at the house but the office on friday didn't send me home with a cup! lol they called me back around 815am and the procedure was done a few minutes later. the numbers for today that they were looking for was a low ball of 5million before they wash the sperm. well rob started with like 3million (which normally people do not even think about doing AI with that.) after the wash rob had about 1.7 million good sperm...and even with that the sperm didn't look stellar either. but we went ahead and did the procedure only because like people say, "it only takes one spermy to make things work!" we were thinking of doing 2 days of insemination...but because of such low numbers rob gave today...we figured it would just be a joke.

after the appointment they gave me two more apts where i go back next week to check my projesterone and then the following week (two weeks from today) i will go in for a pregnancy test. eeek!!! so that is the update.

today we spent the day out at the Woodbury Commons Outlet Mall out in NY. So Rob and I had some shopping therapy. It was nice.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

AI Update - July 24th

I went to the doctor levi's office yesterday. the nurse checked my follicles and saw that there are TWO that are the correct size that they are looking for. She had me do some blood work as well. she told me that if the blood work came back good, then she said she would call me and give me further instructions. I told her that she may have to leave a message on the cell phone only because i was going down to NYC for the day and may not hear my phone. She was able to get a hold of me and told me that everything came back good. So today I am taking the HGH shot at 815pm tonight. (goodness i am hoping that it was evening that she said otherwise this is going to throw everything off). Rob and I then arrive to the doctor's office on Monday morning at 730am for rob to give his "sample". The actual AI process will happen at 815am!! I will then go back on tuesday for one more insemination procedure. then will be the waiting period to see if any of the sperm did what we wanted them to do.

Rob also had an appointment with his urologist yesterday as well. He had to give a sample just so that dr. honig could see what rob's numbers were. the news coming from dr. honig were not very good...but we are still going to think positive. Rob's count was 11 million, 20% motility (# of sperm actually moving), Morphology is basically pinheads. we are keeping our chins up with everything.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Days and Nights mixed up

So it has now been a week since Rob and I arrived home from China. I knew coming home my sleep would be messed up and that it may take a few days to get switched back. Well 7 days later, Rob and I are still messed up. If I go to bed around 11pm or midnight, I am wide awake by 4am. I have tried laying in bed hoping to go back to sleep, but that almost never works. So I have had many early mornings. Tuesday I went down to school with Rob, as he had to deal with some Freshman Orientation at Iona College. When he and I got home, I was feeling tired and thought I would go upstairs and take a nap. Normally I will only sleep for a couple hours. Well, the next thing I knew it was 10pm and I was waking up to put my pajamas on to go back to sleep. Rob had decided to go ahead and get up for the "day". I opted to stay in bed and dozed on and off until about 4am. Oh lucky 4am again. I then took a nap around 1pm. Big mistake to take that nap. I ended up sleeping until 5pm. So then by midnight when i should have been tired, I was once again wide awake. Rob was awake as well, and we ended up going to "breakfast" I guess you could call it.

When we got back we broke out the scrapbooking items. Decided it was time to work on the wedding scrapbook since it has already been two years. Monday I spent time picking out the pictures and sending them to to have them printed. We got everything out and said, "We are going to need a lot more pages!" So as of right now nothing has been done with the scrapbook. We have things sorted, but that is about it. I am hoping this weekend we will be able to get some of it done.

I am hoping that my sleeping pattern will get switched back...but my work schedule does not help with that at all. I am scheduled all really late hours all week. So maybe soon I will be a day-bird again rather than the night-owl.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

China - Days 6 & 7

Day 6 -
Tuesday was our first full day in Beijing. Rob and I woke up early and got ready for the day. Harry had told us that he would meet us at our hotel around 9am to go to the Forbidden City. So we left the hotel shortly after getting ready and went to find some breakfast. Since it was early...the only thing that we could find open outside of the hotel for breakfast was a McDonald's. Rob was happy that he got this for breakfast...where as I really wanted to have something substantial like pancakes or something. But only place that sells American pancakes for breakfast would have been the hotel restaurant. Rob didn't want to pay $30 (US dollar) for one plate of pancakes. I on the other hand thought it would be worth it...only to be able to enjoy some comfort food. lol I like Asian food...but I am just getting sick of it. After breakfast we went back to the hotel and waited for Harry. Harry called to say that his Taxi was stuck in traffic and that he should be there soon. He finally arrived around 10am. We then left and walked down to the Forbidden City. All the tour guides in the hotel said that it was only a 15 minute walk. Well it must have been a fast walker because it was a much longer walk than just 15 minutes. Oh well. The Forbidden City was really cool. After awhile though, I kept thinking, "Oh look another old building that was either a Hall or a Palace." Harry tried to explain some of the items to us...but he did not know too much as he had not been there in a very long time. It was a very very hot day yesterday. Probably around 95-97 F. degrees. Not a good day to be walking around old buildings...and 90% of everything was outside. Harry did tell us that when the Emperors did live in the Forbidden City they stayed with in the "city walls" the entire time. The only time they would leave the Forbidden City was when they would live at the Summer Palace during the summer time. After the "must see" items within the City Harry asked us what we wanted to do. I voted on heading back to the hotel. I was extremely hot and felt like I was going to die. lol well maybe not die...but I was really in no shape to be walking around anymore. Harry thought it would be cool to show us the new Beijing Subway system. It was built for the Summer Olympic Games last year...and so it is all very new. I found it as if I was in Manhattan riding the subway...but the only difference was that the place was clean and it didn't smell. Plus we only rode the subway for one stop, so it was not too much for me to notice.

Once we got back to the hotel room we just hung out and relaxed. I really had no desire to go back outside until it started to cool off. Harry told us a couple of other places that we may like to go to. He wrote the places down in Mandarin so that the taxi drivers would know where to go. Around 5:30pm or so Rob and I headed out to dinner. Harry recommended us to go eat at Peking Duck. So we went and found the place he was talking about. First off...there is no restaurant called Peking Duck. Peking Duck is only a special dish that you can order. The food though was very good. Rob and I ordered a half of a duck to share as Harry said that would be plenty for the two of us. The duck came with chinese pancakes, onions, and some type of Molasses BBQ sauce. When the duck was ready to be served...someone would bring the whole duck out on a tray and carve the duck right by your table. You were first given the duck skin to eat. You would take the duck skin and dip it into sugar to eat it. I did try it...but it tasted very weird. I do not think I would eat that again. Once the duck was carved the meat was served to the table. The server showed us how we were suppose to eat it. You took a chinese pancake, opened it up, took the duck and dipped it into the Molasses BBQ stuff, add an onion, then wrap up everything with the pancake and eat it as if it was a burrito. I preferred mine though with just the duck meat and the pancake. Skip the other steps...just plain and simple. After dinner we walked through another large mall. I do not know how many floors this one was...but it was huge. it is about 2 blocks long...and i have no idea how wide. after that we headed back to the hotel.

Day 7 -
Today was our last full day in Beijing. We slept a little bit later today. I woke up once again just craving american pancakes...and once again...i did not get them. We ended up at Starbucks and I had to pretend that my croissant was a big fluffy pancake. **didn't work out too well, btw** after breakfast we walked through the big APM mall and found a little shopping market that had all types of food. We were able to get some snack items for the day. we both said that we would come back to this store before it closed so that we could pick up items to take on the plane tomorrow. We then went and exchanged the last of our US money into Chinese RMB. We walked through an open air market and also part of what would have been the "old time beijing" where you can get the weird types of food, like scorpions on a stick or starfish or who knows what else. I have pictures of it in my picture folder labeled CHINA PART 3. We then went back down to the little gift type shop and picked up a few more things before heading back into the mall to find some lunch. I had told Rob that I wanted all American type of food today. I know that is probably bad for me to say...but I guess I am ready to be back home. We ended up eating at Pizza Hut over in the mall. I like to eat at some of the American places when I am traveling internationally so that I can see if there are different items being offered as well as the items that i am use to seeing in the states. Well Pizza Hut had tons of different things to get. You could get seafood on your pizza (i know that is not weird for most east coasters...but for a Pizza is wierd). You could get lots of different deep fried shrimp and some more Asian types of dishes. I know that in Germany at Pizza a dessert can get these little fried dough things that come with chocolate dipping sauce. I wish that dessert item would come to the states for PH!! After lunch we went and rested back at the hotel.

In the evening we took another crazy taxi ride over to a place to see a Peking Opera. Peking Opera is an old tradition in chinese history. the theatre that we went to has been around for 200 years and was a key place for Dr. Sun Yat-Sen for political items in the 1910s. The opera was very cool. I could not understand any of the words...but i could understand the actors. It was awesome and I am glad that I was able to see it.

Now we are back at the hotel and my dear husband is snoring away in bed. I should head that way as well...since we have to leave for the airport around 9am. Our plane leaves around 1pm and we get back into JFK around 2pm. So to us...since we have adjusted to China will feel like 2am. I have a feeling that we will sleep very good tomorrow night. at least i hope we will!!

All in all it has been a good trip. It was definitely an experience that I will be able to tell my children. I would definitely come back to China only if I knew that I was coming back to a world city like Beijing. The next time we come back to BJ...I hope that we will be able to spend a week just here. I would also not recommend coming in the summer. The hotel book said the best time to come would be early spring or fall. So that is what we will do next time. :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

China - Day 8

Yesterday was day eight which was the conclusion of our trip to China. We woke up thinking, "we are going back home to the US today!" While I took a shower and got ready for the day, Rob was able to get all the bags up on the bed and sorted which clothes were clean and dirty. He then started placing all of the items that we had purchased with in the different bags. That way the clothes would go on top to help protect anything from getting broke. About 8am we went downstairs to check out and got into a taxi and headed to the airport. One last crazy nerve-wrecking taxi ride. We were able to see Beijing at "rush-hour". Definitely not something that i would want to see on an everyday basis. Once on the motorway we got into a traffic jam. I noticed that the Chinese think that the Emergency Lane is a good and valid lane to use where there is a backup. So crazy!!! We made it to the airport all in one piece. I was happy to be getting out of the taxi though. I think it will be awhile before I ever get back into any type of taxi!!

Once at the airport and all checked in, we headed towards security. In Europe and Asia people do not have to take off their shoes while going through security. Once through security...we headed over to find food...for an early lunch. We ended up eating at another Pizza Hut only because it was that or some type of chinese place. After lunch we headed clear down to our gate. It must have been on the opposite side from where lunch was. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 1:05 and so you would think that we would be boarding around noon since it was an international flight. well noon came and went and no boarding information announced. Rob and I went ahead and got in line for the shuttle bus as the plane was not there at the gate. finally around 1240pm they started the boarding process. In China, they do not board by rows or zones like the US. Instead everyone lines up in one large line and then pushes each other to get onto the shuttle bus to head out to the plane. after cramming close to 100 people onto this shuttle bus we headed out to the airplane. We got off the bus and then were ordered by officials to get back onto the bus. Rob and I looked at each other and said, "now what is going on?" I kept seeing a ticket agent talk to the flight crew along with a couple other people, plus talk on a cell phone. After probably 10 minutes I looked at Rob and said, "this is taking too long...i have a feeling they are going to take us back to the gate." sure enough i was correct. I noticed that there some technicians working on one area of the wing. Once back at the gate, rob went and got a couple of seats for us as there were not too many available. We were not told why we were back at the gate but the new departure time was 2:30pm. so about 2:15 or so people once again started to line up. rob and i sat tight as there were no shuttle buses arriving yet. 2:30 came and went as well with no shuttle buses. finally around 245 the buses started to appear. we didn't jump up too soon as the line was not moving very fast. why give up comfertable seats if the ticket agents were going to change their minds again. finally we decided that the line was moving fast enough that we probably should get in line. once again on the bus and we were hoping that things were fixed and that we would be leaving. we ended up leaving around 4:30pm. rob did the calculations in his head...and said that we would be arriving at JFK around 5:30pm. For those of you who know JFK...trying to leave the airport at this time is foolish as it is smack dab in the middle if Manhattan/Long Island Rush hour. So we planned to take our time getting off the plane and through customs.

The flight seemed as if it was never going to end. taking off...the cabin had a pretty good vibration which did go away after a couple of minutes. this didn't make me feel any better. i already have some flight anxiety....and this just added to it. i made myself eat both meals that were served on the flight and did sleep for awhile. our flight was 13 hours long. we flew over the north pole. i took a few pictures. hard to see though as we sat on the wing. Getting through Customs was pretty much a breeze. there was a little bit of a wait...but it maybe took us a total of 30 minutes to get through which includes getting our bags. We decided that it was still too early to leave the airport due to traffic and so we found dinner at the terminal food court. not that i really wanted mcdonald's...but it was either that or a place that thought they could make chinese food. so we picked the lesser of the two evils. haha. when we left we did hit some traffic...but not as much as if we would have left at 530 or so. we made it home at about 6pm.

it was nice to be home. all i wanted to do was just sit and do absolutely nothing. i called my mom and sister-in-law once i was home to tell them that i was home and did not die on the airplane even though i thought i was going to die at times. When people ask me if i had fun...i tell them that it was an experience that I will never forget!!
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