Friday, October 31, 2008

Date Week: His Choice- Gun Range

Yesterday was "his" choice for our date week. Nils choose the gun range. It was something we read about as being a good "date" thing to do and were really looking forward to it. When we got there I was completely clueless as to what gun to pick. I just knew it had to be something small without a lot of kickback (I have only fired a gun one other time in my life and that was to shoot clay pigeons with a shotgun which resulted in me with a bruised shoulder from the kickback). So thankfully Nils knew a little something and picked the 9mm which was small and didn't kickback much. So after we got equiped with out ear and ear protection and out paper target, we were off in our lane to try it out.

And I did really well surprisingly! I didn't like the loud sound of the guns going off, it made me jump every time. Even with ear protection, it was still really loud. And the gun powder made my eyes water. But it was fun! I was a little scared to be honest. Guns intimidate me. I couldn't tell if my shaking was out of fear and excitement or from cold. It was already a cool day and they had a bunch of fans on us to clear the air of the gun powder.

After the 9mm, Nils wanted to try something a little more masculine so we tried the .45 S&W 1911. That had quite a bit more kick and was much louder! I just fired off my round and let Nils finish the rest of the case.

It was a really fun date! Even though I was a little afraid, I would still go back! Nils was like an excited little boy, it's all he could talk about for the rest of the day.

After the gun range we went voting. Since there was about an hour and a half wait, we got out ticket numbers and went to lunch at Costco since they have really cheap hotdog meals which are really good. By the time we finished lunch and wandered the store a bit, we were getting close to the hour and a half time frame so we headed back to the election office to vote. We got these in time, there was only about 15 or so people ahead of our number so it was pretty quick getting in.

It was turning into an all American kinda day!Nil's target from his best shots- with the .45
My best shots were done with the 9 mm- not bad for a first timer!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Date Week: Her Choice- Painting Pottery

Yesterday was my choice of activity for Nils and my date week. I choose painting pottery. We arrived at Get Your Paint On and I instantly knew what I was wanting to paint- a large cookie jar for my dogs' treats. Nils knew he wanted to make a coffee cup and had several to choose from. He decided on the largest one since he drinks so much coffee.

After you decide on your piece, you go and wash your hands and pick out your colors of paint, brushes, stencils, sponges, stamps, and whether or not you want to do a technique like marbling. Then you take a damp sponge and wipe down your piece, I guess to remove any surface dust. Then the fun begins!

Nils choose to do a marbling inside his mug and sponge paint technique of light and bright aqua and light papaya on the outside since he claims he isn't a good painter. I took the more ambitious route and used speckled white inside the jar and then used masking tape to tape off stripes down my jar in which I alternated painting them light sky blue, light jade, taupe and a sandy beige color- the colors of our bedroom. After it dried I stenciled a pretty speckled orange starfish to go with the beachy theme of our room, and the beachy theme of Cayman's name. I used a darker orange to make a texture appearance on the starfish as well. Since my piece was obviously taking longer, Nils helped me by painting the lid of my jar the same light aqua that was in the stripes.

After we finished we simply left all the paints, brushes, and mess for the staff. That's so cool- you have the fun and they clean it up for you, LOL! We leave the pieces there to be glazed and fired and get to pick them up in about 5 to 7 days. It will be interesting to see what it will look like afterward since all the colors are so much more muted and lighter than after they have been fired. I was also given a frequent buyers card. Every time you make a purchase, they take your total and write it on the card. After ten purchases, they take the average from those ten purchases and basically give you that amount in store credit! This purchase came to $43.46 which was much less than I expected! I definitely plan on doing it again, it was so much fun! Nils said he had a good time too.

Later that night we went to my friend, Alicia's house to work on my mermaid Halloween costume that I will be wearing for a Halloween party on the 1st. I bought sparkly aqua material for my tail and this cool silver pleated material for the fins. Alicia had it all measured, pinned and fitted and was about to sew it on the sewing machine when we noted her new puppy, Bindi, under the craft table, happily chewing the power cord to her fairly new, very expensive sewing machine! EEK!

So we had to lock all three dogs- her corgi- Kiwi, the new mix breed puppy Bindi and my longhair dachshund puppy- Cayman, and put them all in Kiwi's cage so we could make an emergency run to Walmart to see if we could find a power cord that would fit and work with her machine. We ran through Walmart- already on a tight time frame since my mom was watching Shaylee- searching through the home improvement, craft and finally electronics departments. It was my idea to check out the boombox CD players and luckily we found one that had the same power cord as the sewing machine. So the boombox, a baby gate (to prevent any further problems with the new puppy) and two frozen pizzas for dinner were purchased. The whole ordeal took a good chunk of our time up and by 10:30 pm it was time for Nils and I and Cayman to head home as it was getting late and my mom had to work the next day. Alicia kept the materials as all that was left was adding the fins to the tail which she said she could work on later,without me. She's such a good friend!

So it was a really good day even with a few minor mishaps!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Family Update

Nils keeps himself busy in the evenings after he gets off work and Shaylee is off to bed with one of his new X-Box games. He currently has about three new games he alternates from, of which he can play online with other gamers all over the US. Its nice he is able to interact with others with his same interest, for I DO NOT have the patience for video games myself, LOL!

I like reading but was finding it harder and harder to find the time to actually do it and was checking out books on tape for a while until my work decided that we were no longer permitted to listen to music (or in my case, books on tape) any more. So its been forever since I have read (or heard) a good book. I did decide I really wanted to read "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Philippa Gregory after seeing the video on Video On Demand. And its soooo good! I found I can read uninterupted during my lunch hour and while I am sitting in the bathroom while Shaylee is taking her nightly bath. Then after she goes to bed I can read a bit while Nils hogs the TV with his X-Box, LOL. I am already almost half way through it and I just bought it last Wednesday!

Shaylee got her very first Build-A-Bear. Its the Brown Sugar Puppy and she has affectionately named him "Buddy", since all stuffed animals are referred to as "buddies". For those not familiar with Build-A-Bear, its a teddy bear store where you get to pick, stuff and dress your bear (or other animal, in our case, a puppy). You then get to print out a "birth certificate" (we declined on this since Shaylee is too little to really care about this part).

So Shaylee got to pick out which animal she wanted and choice what they call is the Brown Sugar Puppy. You then get to pick out a sound button which goes into the paw of the animal so when you press it, it talks. "Buddy" says things like "you're a cool friend", and "lets play ball!" in a spunky voice. Then with the assistance of one of the employees, the animal is given a little silk heart, kissed by the child and inserted inside the animal which the employee then stuffs with this big swirling tank of fluff. The employee then gives the child the animal for a "squeeze test" to make sure the stuffing is filled just right,before hand stitching the animal's back closed. The child then takes their new friend over to a pretend blow drying and styling table to "fluff them". At this point the child can pick from hundreds of little outfits to dress their new stuffed Build-A-Bear. We bought "Buddy" a pirate costume, just like Shaylee's. Then you name them and pint their own birthcertificate, pay and go! It was a long process, took about 45 minutes from start to finish and cost around $28 and was well worth it. Shaylee carries "Buddy" around everywhere!A naked Buddy- obviously you can't sleep in a pirate costume!
Here is the site if you wanna learn more:

Whole Family
Thanks to my wonderful in-laws (love you guys! ) we have an additional $25 towards our team goal for the Race for the Cure event in March. Thanks so much!!!

To use the last of our company vacation paid time off, Nils and I planned our time off together for 10/29 to 11/3 for what we call "Date Week". Like all married couples, work and raising a little girl tend to leave little time for "us". So we have planned a his choice/ her choice event, one per day, for today and tomorrow. Today is my choice so we are going to Get Your Paint On to paint pottery. You simply choose the piece you wish to paint and paint it to your hearts content! Pieces cost up to about $16. Tomorrow, being Nils' choice, is to go to the gun range and shoot some targets. I have always wanted to do this. It would be really funny if I turn out to be better than him (doubtful, LOL!)

Zoey got her final vaccinations and didn't bite anyone this time, LOL!

Since Cayman is now 6 months old, I can finally register him with the AKC's PAL/ILP which is for purebred dogs that are not able to be registered with the AKC either due to their not having registered parents, loss paperwork, etc. Anyhow, in order for him to compete in obedience trials including Rally-O (more on this topic on his own blog: ). Part of the registration requires that he have a registered name. You know, those long fancy names they give show dogs? Well, on his blog as well as a dachshund forum that I am a member of, I created a poll asking readers what they thought his registered name should be since I had a few ideas but unable to decide on one. I think I have in mind which I am going to use but I decided to let the polls run till November 1st...just for fun really. That and I have to have specific photos of Cayman taken and a $35 registration fee before I can send it off anyhow!

Sterling...well, not much to report about her. She spends more and more time on our lanai and outside in the backyard. I rarely see much of her now a days. I think she is enjoying the cooler weather so she isn't wanting to be in the house with us that much anymore. She even spent the coldest night so far, last night, outside. Crazy cat.

Shaylee's First Pumpkin Carving

Wow, it finally feels like autumn here in Florida. Yesterday was our first chilly day! A whooping 68 degree high and a 48 degree low- can you believe that?! Which means last night was the perfect night to get into the autumn spirit and carve that pumpkin that has been sitting on our dining room table for over a week! Nils had to work so Shaylee, my mom and I scrapped out the pumpkin, separated the seeds, and made roasted pumpkin seeds while he was gone. Shaylee thought it was hilarious when every time she reached in to pull out another glob of pumpkin guts, we exclaimed "ewww!" Nils and I carved the pumpkin into a cute spider design after she went to bed and showed it off to her this morning. She got a big smile on her face so I think we did pretty good!

Not bad, huh? My camera has a night vision feature which turned out to be perfect to get these shots of the finished product. Boo!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kindermusik Class

Yesterday Shaylee had another Kindermusik class and was much more sociable this time around. She didn't know all the songs (Mommy has been slacking with playing her CD so she could practice) but she hummed the majority of them. She really seems to enjoy the class and is working on her listening skills. I just wish she was as good at "Cleanup Time" at home as she is in class, LOL!

Storytime- that's her teacher, Ms Marne in the jean capris and brown shirt.

Playing with handheld bells
Ribbon dancing around the room

Shaylee's Halloween Costume

Arr! She be the cutest pirate there be ever, arr!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Trunk Or Treat @ Lamb of God Lutheran Church

Last night, one of the local Lutheran churches had a "Trunk of Treat" for the younger children. Basically the church members and volunteers would back up their vehicles in a circle. The trucks of their cars and SUV s were all decorated with Halloween decorations and lights and the younger children, most ages 2 to about 8 or so, would go trick or treating from car trunk to car truck- all dressed up in their costumes. It was great practice for Shaylee, since this is the first year she is going to actually be trick or treating. She loved it! There was little games taking place like ring toss and some game where you picked a little duck from a pool and got a prize if you knew the number on the bottom of it. Inside the church's preschool, there was arts and crafts where kids got to decorate white paper bags with stick on Halloween themed shape foam pieces and stickers. It was so nice to have something so close to home for the little kids. And the volunteers were thinking ahead as most of the candy they were offering was appropriate for smaller kids and toddlers- like M&Ms, Reese's Peanut Butter cups, and mini chocolate bars-not all, but Shaylee's bag of "Shaylee Appropriate Candy" held just about the same amount as the bag that I deemed "For the Grownups Only" which consist of lollipops (they make me so nervous), hard candies, gumballs, and really chewy things like Now and Laters. I was surprised to see that some were even offering small cheap novelty toys and healthy alternatives like bags of pretzels instead of the usual candy. Shaylee got a orange and black toy that looked like a pair of hands that when you shake it, it makes noise, and a black parrot shaped whistle. After our little Trunk or Treating, we took her to McDonald's for dinner and let her burn off her little sugar rush on their playground, which of course she loved as well.
That kid goes crazy for playgrounds! It was a nice evening and gave her some really good practice for the big night of real trick or treating. Only 8 more days to go!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blog Makeover- Kinda

Sorry it's been so long. But there is some exciting news- The Laufer Family Blog is getting a makeover! Well kinda of... I am actually trying to make it where everyone in the family gets an update so you can keep up with what's going on in everyone's life. Each family member, including the pets, will get an update. So here's to a fresh start where the whole family is included and hopefully it will encourage me to jump on here more!

Nils is still steadily losing weight following the Weight Watcher program. We both have been cheating quite a bit with the recording our points, but he is making wise decisions on what he eats and drinks. Crystal Light and Nils are good friends- other than when we go out, I don't think he drinks soda anymore. He is still working hard at Comcast, working towards that supervisor position that he wants so badly. Apparently others are taking notice so we are crossing our fingers than when he is qualified to apply, that he will have no problem getting the position.

Just four more weeks of maintence in the Weight Watchers program before I am considered lifetime and can finally stop paying for the membership. All I have to do is maintain my current weight and/or not gain anymore than 2 pounds above that and then I can finally be a lifetime member. Then I can send in my membership book to my insurance company and be reimbursed up to a year's worth of membership fees. I am a bit concerned though, since my employer announced that AvMed, my insurance company, will no longer be an option through Comcast. I have to find out the details of when exactly AvMed is dropped. Hopefully it will not be within the next four weeks because I will be highly disappointed if I lose this opportunity to get almost $500 back!!!
The end of this week marks my three year dedication to Comcast. Can you believe I will have been here for 3 years already?! I can't! Its the longest job I have ever held, not that I am not a good worker but I tend to get bored easily and want to move on, have some kind of change. I guess thats just another sign that I am growing up still.

What a chatter-box Shaylee is! I truly think she could possibly be gifted- her vocabulary and language skills seem so much more advanced than any other two year old I have seen, and I don't just say that because she's my daughter. Everyone who comes into contact with her agrees. This past weekend we enrolled her in a Kindermusik class which is a parent/child interactive music class. They sing songs, read stories, dance, play instruments, and have a blast. Nils and I took her to a preview class on Saturday and after the first 20 minutes finally warmed up and participated. She can be so shy and reserved at first but once she warms out, LOL! Each class is 45 minutes long and are every Saturday morning for a 15 week semester that normally begin in September and again in January. Since we enrolled late, our tuition was prorated and the instructor, Ms. Marne, was gracious enough to let us make payments since she understands how horrible the economy is for so many people right now. The class reminds me very much of Gymboree classes which also have a music program. A plus to Kindermusik is each semester, the family gets a Home Activity pack. This semester is called "Milk and Cookies". The activity pack included a two disc CD with the songs, poems, and sounds that they experience and sing in class; two story books; a stir xylophone, and a Home Activity book with the lyrics to the songs and other activities that tie it all together. The idea is to continue to share the musical experiences daily at home as well as in class. I am excited to see how Shaylee grows with all this!
Here is the link if you would like to read more on this awesome program:

Shaylee's new obsession is ketchup. She ate so much of it the day this was taken that she got sick.
Whole Family
We as a family are raising money towards the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure walk in March. Even Shaylee and my mom will be participating (well, Shaylee will be in a stroller but she will have her own Race for the Cure shirt and everything). I have been busy typing a quite professional sponsor letter that I will be handing out and mailing to various local businesses to see if they would like to offer a donation. The best part is our team name- "Saving Second Base"- get it? LOL! Hopefully we will reach our team goal which I have made $2000. I made it high since I am suggesting that the businesses offer $150 each which can help a needing individual recieve a life changing mammogram since early detection is the best chance for survival. So far we have $1.00 from one of the girls in my department. We have a long way to go. Sigh.

Zoey recently got her hair cut and looks like a poodle and not a sheepdog anymore! It was really starting to annoy me, having to pick pine needles, leaves, and poo out of her fur every other day and I was too embarrassed by her unkempt appearance to take her anywhere which wasn't very fair to her when Cayman gets to go so many places. She is pretty well behaved just about everywhere we go so now that she looks good, she'll get to go out with us more too. I have become more of a responsible dog owner and got her updated on her rabies and kennel cough vaccinations when I got her groomed also. Our local Petco has a vet come the last Saturday of the month to do low cost vaccinations, and they also have a groomer in Petco so I got both done last month. This Saturday Zoey will be going back to get the remaining required vaccinations (for some reason they don't like giving them all at once- I think it has to do with liability to an allergic reaction or something) so she will be 100% updated.

Cayman is finally getting that plume-y feathering I wanted so much in his tail and legs. He still doesn't have much feathering on his chest but he's still growing into his adult coat. They say it can take up to three years to get the full adult coat in and hormones and genetics play an important role in just how hairy longhair dachshunds can be. His parents had nice coats, not too thick or too long, just the right amount of feathering (I have seen some really hair-balls out there) and Cayman is neutered which can make his coat thinner than if he was still intact. He has finally loss what I think is the last of his puppy teeth which is a great relief as I really did not want to have to pay to have them removed to avoid further dental issues down the road.

Sterling continues to believe that her tubby butt can catch one of the squirrels in our backyard. She also continues her offerings of dead lizards which she leaves in front of the french doors on the patio. Eww.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Your Help is Needed

Dear Friends:

I am writing to you today to tell you about the Komen Southwest Florida Race for the Cure® event that my organized team “Saving Second Base!” and I will be taking part in on Saturday, March 14, 2009. My hope is to not only “imagine a world without breast cancer” but to also do my part to help find the cures. I will be joining more than 7,000 participants, including young children and seniors in an effort to help raise funds to find the cure for breast cancer.

Many have been directly effected by or have known of someone that has been diagnosed with breast cancer. That is why I need your help. I have set a goal of raising at least $500. Any help that you can provide, to help me reach my goal, would be greatly appreciated. Last year, participants rose over $811,000 and had a total of 6,345 participants in the race. Your participation will bring much needed funds to the fight against breast cancer. Just think, a $150 donation will fund one mammogram which could change the life of one individual forever, but ANY dollar amount that is raised makes a difference as there is 1 person that diagnosed with breast cancer EVERY 3 MINUTES and 1 person dies from breast cancer EVERY 13 MINUTES in the US according to the 2008 statistics.

Please keep in mind that thousands of men and women who reside in Southwest Florida cannot afford breast healthcare each year and benefit as a result of funds raised through the Komen Race for the Cure® by receiving screenings, education, and treatments.

And just so you know where your generosity goes, up to 75 percent of the net funds raised in our community help the Southwest FL medically uninsured and underserved. The remaining 25 percent of the net funds raised supports the National Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Grants Program, which funds groundbreaking research around the world. And as always, your donation is 100% US tax-deductible.

Remember EVERY dollar matters! Please, please, please help me!

If you would like to donate please visit my url at:
http://race. komenswfl. org/goto/shawnalaufer-savingsecondbase

Friday, October 17, 2008

Random Pics

Shaylee just recently learned how to make a silly face and had to show it off to all of you!

This last one was taken last Saturday at the Pirate Festival, unfortunately it wasn't as exciting as we had hoped.