Saturday, April 30, 2011
I wanted to begin by telling you how much this meal cost. And I hate those misleading sites that say, "here is a meal for $5!" But you already have to have 5 of the 7 ingrediants in your pantry. Now, I didn't use all of the potatoes, chicken, and rice, so overall, it cost less than the amounts I am showing you...
Friday, April 29, 2011
I remember when The Office came on for the first time. My favorite show, Friends, had gone off the air that spring, and The Office started that fall. I listened to Kidd Kraddick, who was saying this show was a must see. I watched it and couldn't stop laughing the whole time. I told my dad, I told my sister. And from that, 3 Office fanatics were born.
When Ricky Gervais played the character on the British version, you see that Michael Scott was the perfect American actor to play the role of manager of Dundler Mifflin. The first couple of seasons, he made people feel SO uncomfortable. You were like, "Did he REALLY just do that?" He was so inappropriate, so rude at times, and just completely unfunny to the people in the office. But the way Carell played him, he was still so likable. You still were rooting for him to find love, get a clue, and be successful. What was amazing is that at times, he was so competant and so clearly good at what he did, that you just couldn't believe that he didn't realize how awful he could be the rest of the time. For example, in the second season when he was meeting with Jan and the customer at Chili's, you heard his jokes and thought, "really?" But then he pulled it together and made the sale. Another great example is when Jim tried to be manager for a day, and he realized how good Michael really was at making people in The Office happy and how he tried to go out of his way to appease his employees.
Michael Scott's exit in this show has been very well done. It is always hard when a major character leaves because the show is never quite the same. I do not know how much longer The Office will be on, but the fact that it didn't just end when Carell decided to exit was a great move on the show's part. The show last night really was as perfect as NBC advertised it would be. Leading up to his departure, we saw many loose ends get tied: his movie was finished, he got engaged to the PERFECT woman for him, we revisited the Dundees one last time, and last night, he said goodbye to everyone in his own sweet way.
The show was emotional and heartfelt. The tears Michael was shedding were genuine, as you felt that Carell himself was just as sad as Michael was to be leaving. The show itself was so satisfying. Dwight got the respect and relationship he's always wanted from Michael. Michael got the recognition from Jim he's always sought. He was even as nice as he could be to Tobey. And we aren't sure exactly what he said from Pam, and I am glad we didn't. We didn't need to. The fact that Pam has always had Michael's back, shielding him from embarassment over the years and keeping him from trouble from corporate shows us how much she really loved him on the inside. She couldn't let him leave without an embrace and a tearful send off. My especially favorite part was Michael giving Oscar a gift and laughing about it later, saying, "He's got the lowest opinion of me than anybody!" It just goes to show how self-aware Michael has probably been over the years, without us even knowing about it.
Michael, we will miss you. I am glad Carell decided to leave the character when he did. I didn't want to see Michael keep aging, more and more sad and pitiful. Nor did I want to see the show try to continue capturing the awkwardness show after show, not seeing him get better as a person. It was a fond fairwell to a character that got everything he ever wanted in the end.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
It occured to me that I haven't seen the kids in about a month and I had no new pictures of them lately! I looked through my old posts yesterday and the kids look so little. The kids came over last night and I had to take advantage of some picture opportunities. So, Jordan has two more loose teeth, which now makes teeth 5 and 6 he will loose, and Sophia has her first loose tooth! Jordan is the type that would NEVER let anyone pull his teeth (I am with him, I didn't like it either when I was a kid) but I asked Soph if she would let someone pull hers and she said, "My daddy!" I know her - she will hold off and hold off until her dad is there so he can hank that sucker out. Then, she read us a whole book, all by herself. Oh my goodness...I can't believe it. So old.
Well, it was appropriate that the royal wedding was today because I pulled out Avery's tea set (that Sophia has been eyeing and been wanting to play with for months) and last night, they had a tea party! Sophia would give Avery her cup and then I would hear "Oh Avery, your spilled your tea!" It was so adorable. And then, Avery was pooped. She fell asleep when I was feeding her.
This morning, I turned the TV on when I got up and did watch some of the Royal festivities. Oh my goodness there were so many people! Kate did look absolutely stunning. I thought it was appropriate to dress Avery in her little princess onesie. I normally don't like shirts for girls that say "princess" and stuff on them, but I thought this was a good time to show it off. I did get a good smile out of her this morning, she must have moved though because it came out a little blurry. Still cute though. I need a phone with a good camera.
Have a great Friday - TGIF!
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There are many lessons I learned, but there are too many for one post, so I am going to break it up into smaller ones. My first one is about generic vs. name brand. Is it actually cheaper?
My first inclination was just to buy generic straight across. Well, after alot of shopping I have learned there are some things that are ok to buy generic and some that are not. Questions to ask yourself when deciding is:
1. Does it taste better, worse, or the same? If you buy something that doesn't taste good, your family won't eat it and it will go to waste anyway. Some generics actually taste just as good, if not better, and your family will never know!
2. Is is actually that much of a savings to buy generic? Compared to the good stuff, how much cheaper is it? Is it the same size? Does it last as long?
3. Is it good quality? There are some generics that are great quality and others that are just cheaper all the way around, including in quality.
Here are some things I never buy generic:
*Toilet paper - The cheap stuff goes like THAT and you end up buying more over time. Now, Wal-Mart has a good brand that I think is comparable to the good stuff. It's White Cloud, I have found this $2.00 for a pack of 6. And it lasts. This is my only exception to my rule. Never buy TP at the dollar store, that stuff is terrible!
*Oreos - Just, yuck. No one knows how to make an Oreo cookie like Oreo. These are a treat, but I just wait until they are on sale because no one likes the cheapies.
*Diapers: Honestly, Luvs is the best diaper I have found and it is usually only about $.50 more, maybe a $1.00 more than the good generics. Diapers are not a place I want to scrimp, and I figure, I might as well spend the extra $1 or so and have the brand name stuff because I know it works. Good generics I have found are Target or Wal-mart, but like I said, they really are not cheap enough for me to not use Luvs.
*Some generic bread: It might be cheaper, but trying to spread butter on a bad piece of bread is tortous. Wal-Mart has a good generic, as does Aldi. About $1.00 for a loaf. Otherwise, I just buy the name brand that is one sale at the store
*Dog Food - We have two big dogs. They eat about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of food each, each day. I have found that per bag, Purina One (which is what we use) might be more expensive, but they don't go through it nearly as fast and the cheap stuff, that might only be $2 or $3 cheaper. For example, Ole Roy might call for 4 or 5 cups a day. Not to mention, our dogs never throw up or have digestion problems, so to me, it's worth it to buy the good stuff.
*Sliced cheese- It's not worth it. It doesn't melt and it tastes like grease! I haven't found a good generic that is worth the savings.
*Trash bags - We have heavy trash and the cheapies just don't do the job. I have also found that the good ones (I use Hefty Febreze) smell better and last longer, so I usually only buy them once every 2 or 3 months, where the fake ones I buy once a month.
*Chocolate syrup - Hershey's is the best. It's not much of a savings to get generic and the fake stuff doesn't mix as well. This is a treat too, but Hershey's really isn't that much anyway, maybe $1.50. So I try to buy this because the kids really like it (and so do I).
*Generic Hair Conditioner - I don't really care about the shampoo, but conditioner has to be name brand something. The cheap stuff just doesn't make my hair feel very good. It might be different for other people who have different types of hair, but no me.
*Laundry detergent - I ALWAYS buy on sale, but I try to find some sort of name brand. Especially now, since I am constantly washing spit up and poop out of clothes, I need something that actually works. I haven't found a good generic that doesn't require tons of pretreating for it to work properly.
*Dishwashing detergent - Jason usually does the dishes and doesn't like to have to wash dishes twice. Who can blame him? We always get the good stuff, it lasts forever and actually does get the dishes clean.
*Hot dogs - I don't eat these but Jason does. He says the generic ones are disgusting. I just haven't found a good generic to replace them.
*Grape jelly - the cheap stuff doesn't spread. At all. I always get Squeezable Welch's.
*Formula - She always eats Similac, I am not even going to try the other stuff. I know it doesn't upset her stomach and it's not worth it to me to find out.
*Mac n Cheese - My kids know. They always know, it drives me nuts!!! They won't eat it unless its Kraft Mac N Cheese.
Here is my list of what I ALWAYS buy generic:
*Cereal - I am usually the only one who ever eats it, and while I can taste a difference sometimes, it is not enough to make me get the good stuff, UNLESS the good stuff is on sale and is the same price as generic. When it comes to the kids, it's a toss up. If I am in a good mood, I will buy them the stuff they like, but if not, I will just get the stuff I want them to eat. I have also found that the generic has more in the box!
*Chips - We are totally in love with Wal-Mart brand chips. We think they tastes better than the real stuff and it actually has more chips per bag! However, they don't always have all of their kinds in stock, so, that's a negative. We will buy the real stuff if it's on sale, but most of the time, it's not.
*Milk - Sorry, Bordens. You are the best, but the generic brand is just fine and it's a much better deal.
*Condiments - No one can tell a difference between the real or fake mustard, mayo, or catsup. Or ranch. Or any of the rest of it. Well, they can't at our house. As far as I am concerned, the cheap stuff is just fine.
*Chicken - I always buy frozen chicken from Aldi's. Honestly, it doesn't shrink when you cook it and the stuff from Wal-mart does, pretty bad. I don't ever buy the name brand because Aldi's is pretty darn good!
*Spices - Aldi has big bottles of spices for $1. I haven't found a better deal. I can't taste a difference, can you?
*Sugar/Sweeteners - Cheap stuff is just fine for us.
These are the things I can think of - other than that, I buy what is cheaper or on sale. One rule of thumb - Don't shop at a $1 for groceries. Usually, as a general rule of thumb, it's just not worth it, unless you go on the day they receive the overstocks from the stores, and even then, they are usually smaller boxes of everything so $1 is really not that great of a deal.
Hope this helps, any other generics you've found that are TOTALLY AWESOME?? I want to see you write about some - link up on your comments on my page so everyone can see!
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I read an article today that scared me a little bit. It is an article showing how China is going to surpass America as the #1 world power by 2016. If you are interested in reading this article, click here. I don't know why this article surprises me; it is really only a matter of time before America stops being #1 as world power.
I might be completely unAmerican for saying the things I am about to say, but here I go. The success of the United States is dependant on the notion that the citizens that live within it are to be productive, hard working people. As a whole, more and more to the population no longer fits that
mentality and mold. When this country started, it was built on the backs of hard working, inventive people. I am not going to get into other debates about our ancestors and their downfalls, ultimately, our ancestors, ALL of our ancestors had no choice BUT to make a better life for themselves and for our children. There was no one given them anything, no hand outs. You either worked hard to make money, worked hard to eat, you survived the best way you knew how, and broke through when you could, or you did not make it. You took advantage of the opportunities that were provided for you, when and where they showed up, if they showed up at all. People had an entrepreneurial mindset, and in a country like the United States, this type of mindset could thrive and grow. In a country like the United States, a capitalistic society, we HAVE to be people, lots of people, who are taking advantage of the opportunities they have at their fingertips, or else, the system will fail. The reason economies in this world over time go to things like socialism and communism is that lazy overrules hard work and government can eventually come in and take advantage. That is where we will go if something does not change.
We have freedom in this country. Freedom is a fantastic thing, don't get me wrong. But freedom has it's downfalls. It is one of those things, such as the ability to make money in a free enterprise, that can eventually be abused enough that the government has no choice but to take it away because it's citizens are not using their freedoms responsibly. What freedom is to me is the ability to choose whatever life I want. If I want to be rich, I can. If I want to start a new business, I can. Unfortunately, in a free society I can also choose to be lazy. I can also choose to sit around all day, doing nothing, getting government assistance, and living my life as a drain on society. The thing is, in places like China and Japan, people don't have a choice but to be productive. Alot of this stems from the fact that there are so many people living in these countries, they have to be the best or else they won't survive. They understand that in order to stay competitive within a world economy, they must continue to be better and better, show initiative and educate themselves. They live in a world of pressure. Americans do not. Americans take so many things for granted; it's only been recently, with the economic downturn, that Americans have begun to understand what it's truly like to suffer.
What do Americans do when the going gets tough? They expect more from the government. Give us more. Pay us more. Find us jobs. When any and all Americans have the opportunity and freedom to find a way to make money, to become educated, to become productive, some do. But alot don't. What can the government do for me? How can I get by on the littlest amout of effort I possibly have to put forth? Most Americans have the power to change their circumstances. It might not happen right now, but it will happen, little by little, if you try.
Unfortunately, less and less Americans are producing so what is happening is that we are consuming more than we are producing. We are becoming more reliant on other countries for aid, jobs, and assitance. It is not helping that our government does not know what in the world they are doing. We have no one leading us to do anything. We have no one inspiring us, to tell us to pull ourselves up by our boot straps and do something about your situation. We are not united, we are all about "me me me." If something doesn't change, we are in for a world of trouble. If, God forbid, someone DOES say, "Do something about it!" They are skewed by every political "news" program from here to Kingdom Come, which are also led by people who don't know what they are talking about. It's sad, really. We have the opportunity and the freedom and so few of us actually take advantage.
I supposed there are alot of arguments to what I've said, but ultimately, when it comes down to it, I want someone to expect me to be the best. Expect me to rise up. Perservere. Do something. I want my parents to expect things from me. I want my government leaders to expect things from me. I want my teachers to expect things from me. I want America to be great again. I think we are yearning for someone who will step in and make this country succeed again. Is Donald Trump it? Who knows. I want someone who isn't afraid of people hating him, who says, "DO SOMETHING or this is where we are headed!" I don't a leader to appease and coddle. I don't want to be #2 to China, or any other country, for that matter. Do you?
I have lost some inches of my waist, even though I have not lost any pounds yet (I know it's coming). I have been sticking to my diet as much as I can - I am very hungry alot, and there are donuts at work, but I refuse to let myself eat them! Tonight is 31 cent scoops at Baskin Robbins, so we will see how long I last tonight!
I found myself getting a little jealous of my husband last night. He picked Avery up from daycare and when I got home, I expected a big smile from Avery's face when she saw me, but nothing. They were playing and she seemed to be fixed on him all night...I have to say, being a mother is hard. I know this is a part of her growing up, to start being more attached to her dad, and I am SO grateful I have a great husband who is a great father. But as she grows and gets more independent, it's constantly a reminder that she will need me less and less and less. That's very hard, especially when I am going through the beginning process of weaning. I mean, I know she will always need me, but she will become more independent as time goes on. I want her to, of course. But it's not always easy!
So, here are some things about Avery at this age:
1) As I mentioned before, she loves her feet and loves to babble. She grabs her feet constantly!
2) She is starting to hold her own bottle!
3) She is sitting up for moments at a time by herself. She will lean over with her hands and hang for a while before she plants, face first, to the floor.
4) She is rolling over, although, I still have not seen evidence of this. Pam says she does it all the time, but when she gets home, she won't do it for me! I am sure they let her lay there past when she gets upset about it for her own good, but when I am in the room, I think she doesn't like me leaving her on her tummy. Saturday, when I was cleaning, that little monkey was on her back, I walked onto the patio for 2 seconds, came back, and was on her stomach. I guess she doesn't like to perform on que.
5) She loves to play in the bath tub. She will kick and kick and smile and play!
6) She loves airplane and loves to "fly."
7) She loves to have her diaper changed!
8) She is starting to recognize and become fixed on the dogs. I can't wait to see them start to play together.
9) She puts everything, EVERYTHING, in her mouth.
10) She is starting to cling, with her arms, her legs, when I hold her. And if I wasn't looking too much into it, I feel like at times, she is starting to hug back!
She is getting so old. I think being a mother is like, the hardest thing to do. Now I know why people say that all the time.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Avery is going through this phase where she wakes up in the middle of the night to talk. Last night, she talked all night. At one point, from about 3:00 am to 4:45, she just talked and fussed. Not cried, just talked. And now that she's found her feet, she will sit in her crib and rock back and forth on her back, holding onto her feet. Is this a normal thing she's doing? I am sure it is, but gotta say. I was liking that she was sleeping the whole night up until now! I finally just got up and turned off the monitor. I can hear her from her room if she's loud enough to really cry, but I don't want to be up all night! This morning, she was pooped!! This picture is dark because I took off the flash so I wouldn't wake her up. She loves sleeping in mommy and daddy's bed in the mornings while we are getting ready.
My dogs eat Purina One, the stuff with the chunks in it. It's really good food, that's why we keep buying it. But they eat all of the chunks out first, leaving a mess of little nuggets all around their bowl. Ever since we've had Molly, this is what we find....
Little trails of food...
Where are they leading??
Here she is!
She will drag mouthfuls of food all over the house and save it for later. Most of the time, Bella comes in behind her and eats it, sometimes it's just Molly. We don't know why she does this, we think it's because of her traumatic entry in the world that she thinks she needs to hoard food. She is never territorial about food or anything, doesn't get mad when you take it from her, this is just Molly for you.
I told you before this year, I had some things I really wanted to do in my life. My bucket list, if you will. I will list some of them for you here:
1) Join a church choir (check)
2) Write, everyday. (sometimes, I write twice or three times, check)
3) Begin to cheaply decorate my house (check)
4) Volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center (working on my application as we speak!)
5) Add color to my wardrobe and get ready and accessorized every day
6) Save at least $1,000 emergency fund and work on a down payment for a house
7) Buy a new (new-to-me) car with cash
8) Remember birthdays, anniversaries, births, and congratulations cards and gifts and send them, by mail!
9) Train Bella to be a therapy dog for a hospital or a nursing home
10) Get in shape (working on it!)
11) Print pictures and actually have real photo albums
These are some of the things I think about every day. If I've said, more than once, "I wish I could be one of those women who...." or "I think it would be really neat to be able to..." then I am going to start actually do it. I feel like I have just given up sometimes, given up trying to have a nice home just because I live in an apartment, given up trying to fix myself up because I am not the weight I want to be, been too lazy to actually send thoughtful things to friends and family. So I am trying to change that, one new habit at a time.
What would be on your bucket list of things that you could start doing right now?
Here is Avery just being Avery. A friend of our family's got her these little orange booties with jingles on it. Now that she's found her feet, she is enjoying these!
Monday, April 25, 2011
But most importantly, we celebrated Jesus. Singing in the choir on Easter Sunday was an amazing experience. I am so glad I got to be a part of it!
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Today, you are 5 months old. I can not believe how fast time is flying by! I am trying to take in every minute.
You make me so very happy, every day, I can't wait to see your smiling face and I miss you after you go to sleep at night.
You are started to love the sound of your voice and so do I! You are coming up with the most sweet sounds these days.
I think you are really close to sitting up, you are almost there!!
I just can't tell you how cool you are, how beautiful you are, and how much I love you.
Our closet and patio have been the itch in our crawl for the year we've lived here. Well, today, we tackled them. Both before pictures look worse in the picture than they did in real life, but they were still pretty bad. Its very frustrating to find space for things in apartments, so I think we both just didn't even bother (I promise, our apt does not look this messy!) So we finally purged.
Our closet isn't exactly the most serene thing but it works. And our patio, that turned out awesome. I totally stole the curtain idea from a neighbor. These came from the living room. I cut the fabric to secure the curtains from an old pillow of Jason's and the chairs were already out there, just folded up. They are not the cutest things, but they will work. I am going to hang white Christmas lights out there and bam! A patio that is not an huge eye sore/white trash.
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i have been waiting to share this before and after because its the first thing I have ever made with this much of an impact in my house. I got this curtain idea from Thrifty Decor Chick. If you haven't visited her site, you MUST. She has amazing ideas.
I have wanted to redo my curtains for a long time but just never had money nor did I find any I liked. But after looking at her blog, I got the idea of making it myself. So, I found some cheap, discounted material, some rods I had but wasn't using, and some Stitch Witch I used to hem my pants. Ready to go!
It took me two evenings after work and Avery went to sleep to do the curtains. They weren't hard at all, just a little time consuming. Then, it took another day to find the curtain hooks that were cheap (Big Lots, 14 for $5) so this wasn't something I bought and hung in the same hour. But it was worth it!
I wish I had better pictures.....the pictures don't really show how cute they are. I really enjoyed working on these! I have found doing it yourself to have some pros and cons....
1) you get what you really want instead of choices to pick from. I could make these curtains any size I wanted, make then the colors I wanted, and hang how I wanted.
2) it is cheaper (if you shop for good deals.
3) it gives me a sense of accomplishment.
4) it allows me to be creative.
1) it can take patience.
2) you have to shop for good deals to make the savings worth it.
That's about it....I am going to do more projects in my house because this was a lot of fun. Looking at all of these blogs has got me thinking, hey I could do that! I was just walking around Target and I saw this art thing that I liked and it was $45 bucks. I was like, I wonder if I could do that cheaper....maybe that will be something I can do. Replicating things I find for cheap. HHmmmm.....
Thursday, April 21, 2011
The second thing that is going on in our house is that Avery is eating cereal. Not just letting it run down her chin (although, alot still is) but she is actually eating some of it. Crazy!!! She is getting so old.
Ok, for all you moms out there, you can relate with this. I told myself I would breastfeed before she was born. When she was born, I knew I might have some trouble, because of all I had heard about how sometimes it is a challenge, but I didn't know it would be as challenging as it was in the beginning. When she was about a week old, it was hit or miss with her. Sometimes she would latch and sometimes she wouldn't, so I was doing alot of pumping and bottle feeding so she could eat. I was tired and frustrated and I remember one Saturday, I told Jason I was going to sit in our room and get her to do this no matter what! Yeah, didn't really go all that well. I was really ready to just give up and be done with the whole thing, just pump from now on (we just couldn't afford formula, so it had to be BF or pump). I was in the shower, trying to relax and I said, "Ok, I will try it one more time." Of course, she latched that time and has done good ever since. So, all of you preggers out there or new moms, it can be done. Babies have to learn and I didn't realize that! I remember telling my mother-in-law that if this was so natural, why was it so hard? Animals know how to do it, why is it so hard for us? She said, and I will never forget this, "They have problems too, but animals will just let their young die if they don't eat. We won't let that happen!" It made sense to me and made me feel better that day that I was just ready to give up.
Anyway, I told myself I was going to BF for 6 months, longer if I could. When I started working, I would pump during the day and send Avery with bottles to Pam's. After a while, it got very hard because if I didn't pump enough for the next day, I wasn't sending her with enough to eat and it was starting to really stress me out. Well, Pam pays for formula, it's included in the price, so I said, why am I making this so hard? I can still BF at home but I will just let her eat formula during the day. But, it took me a few weeks to be ok with this. For some reason, it felt like I was being selfish for giving it up and making her eat "that stuff" so I had some feelings of guilt. But once I got ok about it, it actually works out really well. And now, I can feed her bottles if I need to at home or when my supply is low.
I never thought I would be one of those mothers who didn't want to let BF go, but I totally am. I really enjoy the feeling of knowing that she needs me for that, still. It really is a bonding experience. BUT I am growing tired of my you-know-whats being huge and none of my shirts fitting. It is so selfish of me, but it's starting to get on my nerves, especially now that I am working out. I have to wear about 2 sports bras and a tank with a built-in just to keep those girls tame. I am not ready to give it up, though. Not quite yet. I think at about 6 months, when she starts to eat more solids, I will just stick with formula.
Ah. Alot to write, but thanks for listening. I am curious of your BF stories and how old your kiddos were when you gave it up, and was it hard for you in the beginning? I leave you with a picture of Avery. Such. A. Cutie.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
1) What's something you've eaten but didn't think you would?
I think oysters would be up there. I am really not an adventerous eater at all, but I did try oysters one day. Not a huge fan, I must say.
2) Plastic surgery, yay or nay?
Ask me again in about 10 years.
3) Two things you like about Spring are:
The first thing is odd...I like the way the air feels and smells. Crisp, clean, and new. The second thing is restaurant patios!!!!
4) When was the last time you went on a picnic?
Picnics are free so all the time??? We just went on a picnic about a month ago, blanket on the ground and all.
5) What is your favorite app?
What's an app? Ha ha. Just kidding. I don't have one because I get bored with apps!!!! I guess, Words with Friends because my husband just figured out how to use it with he and I.
6) Who does the grocery shopping at your house?
Me, but only because my husband would come home with $300 of junk at the expense of our phone bill. Love you honey!!!!
7) Would you rather take a spin class or zumba?
Having never done either, I would venture zumba. I am not a huge fan of intense people trying to push me to do something I don't enjoy.
8) How often do you go to dinner?
If the dollar menu at McDonald menu counts, maybe once a week, as a treat. Yeah, we are budgeting.
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