Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We Survived!

YEAAAAA! We survived the crazy week! We woke up at about 6:00 am Eastern time and had to drop Sam off at another show in Birmingham to help our other employees tear down booths and bring back a new lawnmower. This, I have to say, is a huge advantage to doing what we do. One of the factories that we represent at the shows is Poulan which makes lawn care products. We have to order samples of products for the shows and we usually sell them customers at the end of the show so that we don't have to pack it up and ship it back. So Sam, after a very long 2 summers of cutting the grass in our huge yard, decided to order one of Poulan's riding lawnmowers in to the show and pay (at or below cost) for it instead of selling it. I may actually volunteer to help with the yard work with this lawnmower . . .well, maybe not!!!!!

Thanks to Sam's mom for keeping them all week - I know she is probably still trying to recover! The catering at the house was FANTASTIC! We had a FANTASTIC show! Hopefully, this show is a sign that maybe we are coming out of this awful economic time!

The girls were so glad to see us and we were so glad to see them! It was a nice break (although we worked our tails off), but a very much needed one. I feel refreshed and ready to take on the months to come (terrible two's are on the way)!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Off We Go

Everyone, please wish my mother-in-law good luck as Sam and I leave first thing Monday morning for one of our bi-annual trade shows. I know, it sounds wonderful - a trip without kids to Orlando for 7 days, but let me assure, this is no pleasure business trip mixed with a little business! Obviously, we are having the leave the girls in the care of Sam's parents for the whole trip. The girls are thrilled to be able to spend the whole week with Nanny, but I'm a little sad and will miss them so much. It will be a well-needed break from them, but not really a "break". The one good thing that we discovered last year is that we (just like vacationer's to Disney) can rent whole houses in a neighborhood that is nothing but vacation rental homes. And most of these homes are better than the average person's residence - complete with a pool, hot tub, cinema room, billiards room, and about 6-8 rooms and almost as many baths. So that does make it a little better than having to stay in a hotel and go out to eat for every meal. We have hired a company this year (after learning last year how hard it is to try and cook for 30 something people after a long day at work) that will be bringing us fully catered dinners just as we arrive home. Last year, by the time we got home and started cooking, it was close to 10 before we ate and then we had to be up at the crack of dawn the next morning. It was exausting, but it is exhausting regardless of the cooking part. We (the women) are soooo excited that we can actually come home and kick our feet up instead of going straight the kitchen!

Just to give you a little insight to why these weeks are so hard and exhausting:
1) It's like going to market in the retail business, but we are in the hardware industry and WE are the ones setting up all the booths
2) We will be setting up booths in about 40 different locations (that is not the number of booths, just "locations". This means physical labor, putting together all sorts of things, "setting" the product so that it looks like a store (i.e. The Home Depot), labeling everything with prices, making it all look "pretty", cleaning it up, etc. We usually get to the convention center around 7:00 in the morning and work all day until around 4:30.
3) On Thursday, the show actually begins and we have to "man" all of the above booths and sell our product to store owners/buyers/etc. This is not physically hard, but it is just draining, especially after all the set-up. It's a lot of standing around chit-chatting with the numerous (hopefully) poeple to come by the booth. Talk about SORE FEET ! The shows last through Saturday from 7:00 am - 6:00 pm. Now you know why we don't want to have to cook!
4) As soon as the show is over on Saturday (and I mean to the second), we have to begin the tear down process! Every new person in this business is always amazed at how it takes days to set it up and only about 4 hours to tear it all down! It is mass chaos!!!! People throwing stuff, boxes flying, big fork lifts flying around moving huge crates around! You better be on your toes or you will get run over or hurt!
5) And this is only the beginning for our office because as soon as we get back the next week, we (or should I say Maria) begins placing all the orders that we received from the show.

That is about all that takes place during our show weeks and we are glad that these big shows only come 2 times a year! As much as it is hard work, we all work hard during the day and play hard at night! We have a great group of people that work with us and we enjoy (and appreciate) their help more than they can understand!

This post is more for those of you who have always wondered what we (and my parents) do for a living. This pretty much sums it up since these shows are what provide the income for our company for several months to come! Sorry if this bores you to death and is not about our precious girls, but oh well - now you know!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

And here are the pictures

I hope you enjoy these as much as we have. Like I said in my previous post, I got some really good ones of the girls and then there are some funny ones that are just sooo each of their personalities. We also got a family picture on the beach. There was no one there so I propped my camera on the big box that hold all the beach chairs and put one of our shovels in the sand so I could know where we would stand. Sam thought I was nutso and that it wouldn't work, but oh I proved him wrong. It's one of the best family pictures we've taken in a long time (hence the reason there have not been many family pics posted on the blog).

We have been crazy this week trying to get caught up from being gone last week (but totally worth it) and trying to get organized because Sam and I leave for a trade show (along with my parents and it's business related) on Monday for a whole week. Sam's mom is keeping the girls, so please say a prayer that she will have an easy time with them.

On the note of prayers, I have a few prayer requests that I've been meaning to post. So to all of you blogging prayer warriors, here are few to add to your list:

1) Sam's sister is struggling through the trials and tribulations of infertility. She has been going to a specialists for several months now and last month developed a softball-sized ovarian cysts which put a halt in the treatments until it resolved. She just found out this week that it has resolved and her that her folicle count is down in the normal range (she was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome) and she can begin the treatments this Friday.

2) My grandfather (my mom's dad) has been diagnosed with mouth cancer and is scheduled to come to Birmingham to have surgery on it in about 3 weeks. My grandmother has Parkinson's disease and he is the primary caregiver for her so we are all worried about him being "out of commission." P.S. Papa, I hope you don't mind me posting this!

3) My other grandfather (my dad's dad -same one that we just lost my grandmother) had to have a pacemaker put in on Monday and we just moved him into a Rehab facility for the next 2 weeks. Since he has no one at home to help him now and he has to have 24 hour help for the next 2 weeks and we have to be out of town all next week for work, this was our only option - as much as we didn't want to! He is ok with it all and realizes it is only for a short time!

Needless to say, my parents have been a little stressed these day!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Ahhh the Beach!

Well, in the midst of all the sickness, we (me and the girls - Sam was out of town) were supposed to be going to the beach for a few days to get away. We have not been anywhere since before Christmas and for us, that is VERY unusual! We are always on the go and traveling here and there! I was dead set on us going to the beach this week and enjoying a week away and, hopefully, a great week without anyone being sick! So, last Friday, I had so much to do at work and so much to do to get us ready to leave that I wasn't sure we would make it down here or not. My mom had planned on coming with us Saturday and staying until Wednesday, but she also had soooo much to do that she just said for us to go without her. We had a birthday party to go to Friday night and Mary Mac and Anna had a birthday party Saturday morning. When I told Mary Mac that it was going to be Sunday at the earliest before we could leave, she had the most disappointed look on her face . . .so what is a mother to do? Of course, as you all would do, I worked my tail off Friday and Saturday morning and we had attended parties, washed clothes, packed, and on the road by Saturday morning 11:30!!!! I couldn't believe it either, but, that' what mom's do! And I have to admit, today is the first time I've blogged since last Friday. Let's just say, it took a little while to catch up on over a week's worth of everyone's fun-filled lives and all the new additions to families! But, I'm back! So here's our week's story of events:

We took our time driving down and made several stops "to get our wiggles out." Anna is not the best traveler. . .Mary Mac has been a very good traveler (like her mom) from day 1! Mary Mac and I got so tickled at Anna "getting her wiggles out." She would shake her arms and make silly noises, but it worked! We do what works, don't we? Another little trick up my sleeve that works with Anna (not Mary Mac) is to always pack plenty of snacks. She ate the whole way down! But, then again, so did Mary Mac. I am convinced she is in a growth spurt. The child has eaten like a pig the past several weeks (aside from the week they were sick)! I feel like we can't fill her up! For the first time in her little life, she has a little pot-belly and she is sooo proud of it.
It has been a fabulous week with my girls!!!! We haven't really done anything special and it's been way too cold to really go to the beach until yesterday and today, but nonetheless, GREAT! It's been one of those weeks that I feel so blessed to have such special and sweet little girls and LOVE being a mom! It makes me realize that the good times we have with our babies far outweigh the bad times!
We have eaten out (a lot), played at every playground within a 10 mile radius, watched movies, and of course, shopped a little bit! A funny story about Mary Mac . . .I took them to The Fresh Market (my fave grocery store that I sooo wish we had at home) and we were getting stuff to cook for supper since Sam was coming that night for the weekend. We were trying to figure out what vegetable to cook when Mary Mac said,"Oh, Mom, let's get that corn that still in it's suit!" I just died out laughing, as did the older lady standing next to us. The lady looked at me and and said, "I think that's the cutest thing I've heard in a long time!" Well, me too! She was referring to the ears of corn that were still in the shuck or husk or whatever you want to call it. I've had so many people say to me that they were the most well-behaved children they had seen in a while. I don't know about you guys, but that is one of the best compliments that I can get! As hard as we try, I never feel like we are doing enough!
I took some really great pictures of the girls that I will post later (some of you may have already seen them on Facebook since I can send them from my phone). I can't believe how well the girls have gotten along this week. Don't get me wrong. . .we've had our drama and issues, but for the most part, Mary Mac thinks it's pretty cool that Anna wants to do EVERYTHING that she does. I'm sure this will get old very soon to Mary Mac, but it is so funny to watch them interact.
Anna has become our little comedian! Her latest thing to do is to walk around with her pants pulled down to her ankles and announcing to anyone in the general area that she tee-tee'd or poo-poo'd! Again, it's really funny now, but sure to get old soon! Also, her favorite thing to tell someone that she doesn't want messing with them is, "No Way!!!"

As much fun as we've had this week, I'm kind of ready to get back home to our normal schedule (AND SCHOOL). Mary Mac even told me today that she missed playing with her friends at school which is a welcome statement considering she had gotten to where she didn't want to go to school. As I'm typing, we're in the process of packing up all the toys. The wonderful thing about my parents having a place down here is that we are able to keep a baby bed, toys, sippy cups, food, bath stuff, beach stuff, etc. down here and it limits what we have to pack. So, as much as I'm ready to get home to our house, I am kind of sad and teary-eyed already at all the great memories that we've created this week and that how quick these days go by! I just pray that these are not only memories for me, Sam, and my parents, but also memories for our girls! Oh what fun!!!!!!