Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Change of Heart?

My daughter has worn hair accessories successfully probably twice in her wee little life. She has always been interested in them, she carries them around, she wants to pull them out of my hair, she pulls them out of her hair and then wants me to put them back in, then pulls them out again and wants me to put them back in, so and so forth.

Then, this morning, she brings me a bag full of hair accessories and demands that I start putting them in her hair. Here is what we ended up with:

Thankfully, I Have a Pro Active Husband.

I am completely oblivious when it comes to what is going on with the government. I rarely watch the news and almost always listen to CDs in my car. Thankfully, I married a man who is very interested in staying up on everything that is going on with our elected and appointed officials.

For those of you who don't know, because I didn't, yesterday State Farm announced that they would pretty much be pulling out of every area of the Florida Insurance Market besides auto, life and health insurance. That means for every one who has their homeowners insurance policies with them, we will have to go to Citizens Property Insurance (a company governed by the State of Florida) or another sub-standard company. State Farm is the #1 insurance provider in the state. Recently, they have been paying out $1.20 for every $1 they get. When they requested a rate increase from Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation, they were denied. So now, they are pulling out. Jake informed me it would take a couple years for the decision to fully work itself out, and that it could still be possible for Tallahassee to make things right. We in the Crosby household, are hoping this is the case.

Last night, when Jake finally got home from work, he put his frustration into words:

Dear Gov. Crist,
I was extremely upset and disappointed by your response to State Farm's announcement that they will be pulling out of the state's property insurance market. The St. Pete Times quoted you as saying, "They probably charge the highest rates in the state, anyway. Floridians will be much better off without them." I cannot believe that you chose to respond to the planned pullout of the state's largest private insurer in such an uncharacteristically flippant manner. Have you not considered the direct ramifications this pullout will have on "Floridians" employed by State Farm and its agents? Have you not considered the indirect ramifications on the state's insurance market as a whole that is, metaphorically speaking, currently held together with chewing gum and bailing wire? Will Citizens and the various sub-standard insurance carriers that have been brought in to help stabilize the state's property insurance market be able to weather another hurricane season like the one we experienced in 2004? At some point, Tallahassee lawmakers are going to run out of insurance companies to publicly flog and will have to actually come up with some solutions that resemble the free market principles our Party supposedly champions.
I guess I am sensitive to this topic because my father has been a State Farm agent for over 25 years and is probably 8-10 years from retirement. He is an honest, hard-working man who started his agency by selling life insurance door-to-door. Today he employs 4 people, 2 of whom are the sole wage earners in their family. If State Farm makes good on its announcement today, he will watch his business crumble and his retirement along with it. He will also be in the unenviable position of laying off members of his staff and/or drastically cutting their salaries. Try telling their families that Floridians will be "better off."
I hope your statement today was not an indication of how you plan to address the property insurance crisis in our state. The Charlie Crist I know and volunteered for in 2006 can do better.
Jacob Crosby

For those of you as flabbergasted as we are, feel free to contact the Governor. Hopefully, this catastrophe can still be averted.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Music Lovin' Baby

Pretty much the only thing Kaitlyn watches consistently is the 'intro with theme song' to each show we happen to watch. She even stops what she is doing to listen to the "Days of Our Lives" theme song. Tonight, she took particular notice to the Gilmore Girls theme song. I replayed it 5 times and she had a fit when she realized I wasn't going to replay it anymore. I can't say I blame her, I love Carol King too.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Delicious Ham & Potato Soup

I totally put myself through college working at Benningan's Grill & Tavern. Sadly, the entire restaurant chain went out of business last year. The only reason this is sad is because there are a few choice items from their menu that we will truly miss. Jacob will miss the Kilkenny's Country Chicken Salad (dressing on the side, no eggs), potato skins, and I thought I would forever miss their Ultimate Baked Potato Soup. Well, not any more! Due to these ridiculous cold spells, I've had a hankering for soup lately. I went on (my favorite recipe site) and found this AWESOME recipe. I have made it twice so far and I plan on keeping it in the family for the rest of my days. I mean, it had been rated 5 stars by over 2,000 people! It will definitely be worth your while to make this recipe, and you most likely have all the items you will need already in your pantry.

The only thing I did differently from the recipe, was use Chicken Broth (98% fat free low sodium) instead of water and add shredded cheese on top. It is the perfect soup to warm you up!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Doggie Bath Time

The other night, I was feeling lazy and Chloe was in desperate need of a bath. So, when it came time for Kaitlyn to have her bath I went ahead and threw one dog in with the other. Kaitlyn thought it was hilarious! She had no idea that Chloe could get wet.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I hate the cold....

but I love this.
My house is clean, Kaitlyn is napping and my father-in-law finally got my fireplace to light. It is perfectly peaceful... for the moment.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Splish Splash I was Takin' a Bath!

Yea for the tradition of "Alfalfa do's."

Back to December....

It's a great blessing for Jake and I that our parents just happen to live 10 minutes apart; not to mention, each set of grandparents live within a 45 minute drive. So, we were able to have a wonderful 11 day visit with almost both sides of our entire family. The only one missing was my brother JT who is serving a mission in Brazil. Some of the highlights were: Christmas (of course), visiting with the NY Crosbys, going to the Florida Aquarium, watching my Dad shoot off fireworks, and my new favorite.... the Dillards New Years Day Sale. That will definately be a tradition from here on out. For those of you who do not know, from now on ask your husbands for a Dillards gift card for Christmas and one day of babysitting. Then, get to Dillards as soon as the doors open on January 1st because all of their clearance is an extra 50% off! Plus, they bring out all of the stuff from the back that needs to go on clearance. The Brandon Dillards is HUGE and almost everywhere you looked there were extra racks pulled out into the aisles to allow for the insane amount of merchandise on sale.

Between Christmas and the Dillards sale, the Crosby clan definitely made out like bandits over the holidays! Our poor Subaru was packed to the gills on our drive back to Tallahassee. Kaitlyn was surrounded by stacks of pillows, toys and luggage while in her car seat.

Align Center
We thought Kaitlyn would have been a little more into opening gifts this year.... but she wasn't. She'd open them, but only after we coaxed her too.

A few days after Christmas, we went to the Florida Aquarium located near the Port of Tampa. The Aquarium is home to over 20,000 aquatic plants and animals from Florida and from other places around the world.

One of Kaitlyn's favorite things in the world is water! So, her favorite exhibit was the "Touch and Feel Tank." She splashed all over the girl next to us. Those poor starfish and sea urchins didn't see what hit 'em!

One of my favorite things to do is to pet the sting rays. I had the camera out and was about to snap a shot when this guy decided to pop up for a kiss.

Kaitlyn, again, loved trying to splash in the water. Never mind those cool fish swimming under the surface.

Gwen was a little bit tougher to impress. But then again, she's only 9 months old and she didn't have a very good nap. However, Gwen was still able to keep herself together better than her crazy cousin wanting to go, go go!

Every now and again, the Aquarium has fiberglass sculptures that the kids can jump on. They're perfect for photo ops if your toddler is willing to participate.

Needless to say, we had a very fun afternoon with the fam!
If you're ever in Tampa, you should plan a trip!

Also, on a day I was helping my family with some stuff, Jake and his brood took the grandgirls to Parksdale Farms. I totally hate that I missed it (and I definitely want copies of those pictures Ashley) but you should most certainly see what took place there!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sewing, Sewing, Sewing

This year I thought it would be fun to make some "I spy" quilts for the Grandmas and my sister-in-law for Christmas. I decided it would be fun back in July. Sadly, I didn't get serious about it until November. Needless to say, Kaitlyn became fascinated with the sewing machine and annoyed that Mommy would never let her touch the needle.

I also made a kind of practical joke for Jake and my Dad. You see, my Dad used to wear this purple, rainbow striped sweater to church on chilly Sundays. When Jake would see him wearing it, he would start singing the song from the "Figment" ride and tell my Dad he looked like an Epcot employee. When my Mom finally convinced my Dad to get rid of it (or maybe she just raided his closet while he wasn't looking) they passed it on to Jacob. The sweater sat in the box it came in for MONTHS on the trunk at the end of our bed. It was reincarnated as a pillow with a few memorable embellishments that both men would recognize.

Last but not least, I saw these cool perzonalized fleece balls on (truly one of the coolest websites on the planet) and thought they looked so fun. However, I was not about to pay $50 for 2 of them. I thought I could surely make them myself. Well, I did make them... just a little too huge. I mailed one to my niece in New York and it weighed over 9lbs! Gwen is only 9 months, so I'm sure it will make a nice piece of furniture for a while. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Kaitlyn thinks it's hilarious to roll it around the house and throw herself on top of it so she can roll forwards and backwards. She even uses it as a seat to straddle when it's stuck in between the couch and the coffee table. Next time, I will be trimming my stencil down a couples inches on each side. I can not tell you how many bags of fiberfill are in those things!