Thursday, December 31, 2009


Well 2009 is finally over. I'd like to move forward with this blog instead of trying to catch up and fill in the blanks of events that have already occurred. Fresh start! As you might have also notice, the Laufer Family blog has gotten its own domain! New Years resolution: keep this blog updated so not to fall behind!

Looking back- A Summary of 2009 (in no particular order):

* Shaylee's first dentist appointment
* two trips to Disney- once for my 27th birthday (Magic Kingdom)and another in August (Animal Kingdom)
* successfully potty-training Shaylee
* participation in Race for the Cure and Autism Speak charity walks
* participation in Operation Christmas Child
* a visit from Nils' parents and sister
* Shaylee ties for first place in costume contest during Halloween
* the loss of both my paternal grandparents- my grandfather in March and my grandmother just recently in December
* Shaylee started gymnastics
* I accepted Christ and was baptized
* joining New Day Christian church
* going back to school (Edison State School) for a business major
* Nils and I get new tattoos
* Nils' advancement in CommTech Jeopardy, a knowledge based competition offered through Comcast for technicians,all the way to Nationals (read all about out upcoming trip in January!)
* moving out of my parent's house and into our own little duplex
* the adoption of Milo, Shaylee's very own pet- a male orange tabby kitten

Here is to 2010- Hope it is good one!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

CommTech Jeopardy = Charleston Place Accomodations!

The excitement is building each day as CommTech Jeopardy Nationals comes closer! January can't come soon enough! The competition is being held in Charleston, South Carolina and Jeopardy members (and their spouse or guest) are staying in one of the United States' top 100 finest hotels- Charleston Place.

We are talking about Italian marble floors, brass fixtures, mahogany furnishings, and World-class luxurious accommodations including a full-service spa; rooftop pool, “The Club” a private concierge level located on the top two floors; award-winning dining (exciting!) , 28 exclusive boutiques and the legendary Orient-Express service, all in the heart of downtown Charleston. A perfect blend of 18th century style and 21st century comfort, Charleston Place is situated in the heart of Charleston and is famous for its traditional southern hospitality. Rates on the rooms start at $235 and go as high as $880 a night. Its pure elegance and luxury! The hotel is also ranked among the "Top 10 Hotels in North America" by Conde Nast Traveler, and impresses from the moment you enter with its Italian marble lobby, stately Georgian Open Arm staircase, and 12-foot crystal chandelier.

Nils and I would never have an opportunity to stay in a place like this, let alone for four nights! Sure, there will be work involved for Nils as he does have a competition to win (wink, wink- staying positive!) but it also has plenty of down time for us like horse-drawn buggy rides throughout this historical city and other extremely romantic possibilities! Its like the honeymoon we have yet to have!

Not only do we get treated like kings and queens but we will also get a chance to rub elbows with some VERY important people of Comcast corporation. For Nils, this is a golden opportunity for that supervisory position he is trying so hard to obtain, but it also will be good for me, to help put my name out there a little too. How funny would it be to be considered the Comcast Power Couple?? LOL! We both have big plans for our future with this company and are very happy to have the opportunity we are given to make this known to everyone who is anyone at Comcast.

To see more of this amazing hotel:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nils Won Divisionals!!!!!

Fort Myers is Southern Division CommTech Jeopardy Champion

The Ft. Myers Ed Parsons Project ponders a question at the Commtech Jeopardy Division finals in Jacksonville.

After two days fielding questions on light wave lengths, telephone acronyms and just about every other conceivable fact on Comcast, the Fort Myers’ Ed Parsons Project won the CommTech Jeopardy Southern Division finals held in Jacksonville on Wednesday.

“Our team worked very hard and came well prepared for this competition,” said Barb Hagen, vice president and general manager for the Ft. Myers market. “We are thrilled with this win.”

Indeed, the Ft. Myers players studied for months before the event, even drilling themselves with a five-foot stack of 2400 flashcards. Six Southern Division teams competed for the division title including the Atlanta Metro Scramblers, the Houston Terminators, the South Florida Region Davie Tugboots Extreme 3.0, the Mid South Region North Alabama All Stars and the West Palm Beach Region North Triple Playerz. More than 120 Comcasters attended the competition at the Sawgrass Golf Resort in Ponte Vedra, Fl, near the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

West Palm Beach, Ft. Myers and Houston earned a place in the final round. But in the end, Ft. Myers gained a narrow win over West Palm Beach – 8198 to 8201 -- on the most important query of the competition: Name the seven points of the Comcast Customer Guarantee.

Both West Palm Beach and Ft. Myers got the question right, but it was Ft. Myer’s point wager that edged out the West Palm system by three points.

“This game is about taking a risk to go for it all,” said Doug McMillan, senior vice president of the Coastal Region, who hosted the event. “There is no second best.”

Doug McMillan, senior vice president of the Coastal Region, welcomes Comcasters at the kickoff of Commtech Jeopardy Southern Division finals in Jacksonville.

Based on the popular television game show Jeopardy, Commtech Jeopardy pits the best of the best system techs from each region against each other in a two-day battery of questions on Comcast and the cable business.

Scott Callaway addresses the Commtech Jeopardy Southern Division finals. “Your leadership the conviction is what makes Comcast great,” he told team participants. “You are the future leaders who will lead Comcast.”

“This competition demonstrates the amazing level of dedication and knowledge of our employees,” said Scott Calloway, southern division vice president of operation. “They are the future leaders we look to to beat our competition.”

While the Southern Division title is great accomplishment, the work of the Ft. Myers team is not over. In January, they travel to Charleston, S.C., to represent the Southern Division at the national Comcast Commtech Jeopardy competition. This is the second straight year the Coastal system represented the Southern Division at nationals. Last year, Augusta won the Southern Division title.

Shown (L-R) Front row: Nils Laufer, James Grantham, DJ Simms,Tom Weisend. Back row: Ken Sapp (coach), Chuck Blaisdell (coach)Andy Schickowski. Below is the final Jeopardy question on the Comcast Customer Guarantee, which put Fort Myers over the top and locked in the win.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Our First Ever Family Game Night

Since Nils is leaving tomorrow morning to Amelia Island for divisional finals for Comcast's CommTech Jeopardy competition so we enjoyed our very first family game night playing Shaylee's new Candy Land board game. She got to chose what playing piece to be and decided on blue because she "is the best" and then proceeded to assign Nils' and my playing pieces. Nils was green and I was red. The game started off rocky, trying to explain to Shaylee that we needed to take turns, but got rolling once we kept it moving. She was quick to help us determine which color our chosen card instructed to move our piece on the board although the concept of only moving one or two of those color squares depending on our card, was a bit confusing for her. If she had it her way, her playing piece would just skate all over the board, LOL. It ended with Shaylee being the winner (and that was without even purposely allowing her to either!)Our patience was tested in the beginning (Shaylee could win, hands down, at any pouting competition) but in the end we had a good time being together as a family.

Packing Our Box for Operation Christmas Child

Tonight Shaylee and I went shopping for goodies to pack in our shoebox for Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan's Purse which is a nonprofit Christian relief and evangelism organization. With Operation Christmas Child, you decide if you would like to pack a box for a boy or a girl and then choose which age group to purchase gifts for (2-4 years, 5-9 years, or 10-14 years). We decided to shop for a girl between the ages of 5-9. Some of the gift suggestions included school supplies, toys, hygiene items, and other items such as hard candy and lollipops, socks, tee-shirts, ball caps, sunglasses, etc. They also encourage you to write a note and include a photo.

Our box for our little girl was based around Hello Kitty and the color pink. Our box included:
  • two bars of soap
  • a pink washcloth
  • a pink hairbrush
  • Hello Kitty ponytail holders
  • a purple toothbrush and a tube of children's toothpaste
  • Hello Kitty necklace and ring set
  • Hello Kitty spiral notebook and journal
  • Hello Kitty markers, pencils, pens, crayons, and mini highlighters
  • Hello Kitty color and activity book
  • Hello Kitty socks
  • Hello Kitty playing cards
  • a wooden tic-tac-toe game
  • a jump rope
  • a copy of the Holy Bible (KJV)
  • a note and family photo
I am very excited to be a part of Operation Christmas Child and am happy to get to share the experience with Shaylee. I see this easily becoming a family tradition. It was a bit hard in the beginning to explain to Shaylee why we were buying things for someone we didn't know and even harder to explain why we were not buying these things for her, but in the end, when asked who we buying these gifts for and why, Shaylee proudly stated they were for "a little girl who's parents doesn't have any monies". We had explained to her that some mommies and daddies do not have a lot of money to buy things and can't buy their kids presents for Christmas so we buy them presents because every boy and girl deserves to have a Merry Christmas. As she gets older we will be able to better explain that the real meaning of Christmas isn't about getting presents and not even so much about giving presents as it is a celebration of Jesus' birth, but for now, our explanation seems very age appropriate. Shaylee was quite proud to pack the box of goodies this evening.

I felt so proud as a mother to get to share this opportunity of sharing and giving with her. Tonight, as we prepare to lay down in our comfortable beds in our AC home with full tummies, we will pray that which ever little girl out there that gets our box will have light up with happiness and that her heart will be opened to God's love and that He will meet their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Walk Now for Autism Speaks

I am quite pleased to announce that Team Dylan, named on behalf of my autistic cousin Dylan, raised over $700 for the 2009 Walk Now for Autism Speaks! The money goes to research and resources for families affected by autism.

From left to right: my cousin Joie, Shaylee, Nils, myself, Uncle Johnny, Dylan, Aunt Julie, cousin Jag, Tammy from New Day Christian Church, and Shayla- a friend of the family's daughter

Here is a little background about Dylan and his condition in a letter that was handed out to members of my church, family and friends to raise awareness of autism and why we decided to walk:

He is 13 years old. He was born on February 29th, making him a Leap Year baby, has brown hair and the longest lashes of anyone I know. He loves action figures, computer games, and Pizza Rolls, whales and dolphins. Looking at Dylan you would never know that he has a debilitating disorder known as autism. Autism affects every aspect of Dylan’s life…and the lives of everyone around him.

Dylan has come a long way since his diagnosis in 1999, at age 3. Since then, he has learned to speak, to read, to hold a conversation with some help. But for all his intelligence, Dylan still cannot interact with others the same way as other children his age. He has trouble processing the world around him and may forever be dependent on others to help him function as an adult as autism is a lifelong neurological disorder that impairs a person’s ability to communicate and relate to others. Only 7% of children with autism go on to be independent. With twin younger siblings and an older brother and sister, his family has a lot on their plate and as hard as it is to focus on their daily lives, they find it hard to imagine what the future holds for him. We can only trust that God has a plan for my family and especially for Dylan and other children who are challenged by autism.

This year my grandmother, family, and I will be participating in the 2009 Walk Now For Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest walk program dedicated to autism research, in honor of my cousin. We are asking for as much support as possible and would be honored if you would join our team and make a donation or walk with us on Walk Day. We realize there are many charities that vie for your attention, but any contribution, large or small, will be greatly appreciated.



Saturday, November 7th Estero Community Park

Time: TBA

As always, thank you for your consideration, support and prayers.

There was a lot that showed up to support Autism Speaks!

The ribbon cutting ceremony

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Shaylee at Gymnastics

Shaylee really loves gymnastics! Today Grandma Nea, Poppa Ed, and Aunt Sara came along with us to see our little gymnast in action! I got some great action shots this time too!

Friday, October 30, 2009

All Inked Up

After four long years with only the outline completed, Nils finally got his back tattoo finished!
Work done by award winning artist Bill Hannong at Cadillac Tattoo in Ft Myers.

Of course I couldn't resist getting another tattoo myself. So here is my fourth tattoo, a seahorse! Designed by me!
Work done by award winning artist Bill Hannong at Cadillac Tattoo in Ft Myers.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Painting Pumpkin with Grandma Nea

This year, in the interest of saving myself yet another thing to clean up, Nils and I agreed to let Shaylee paint a pumpkin rather than trying to carve one. This also gave her the opportunity to be creative and have some one-on-one time with her Grandma Nea.