Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hope your Christmas table is filled with wonderful food, family and fun!

Lots of love from

Friday, December 18, 2009

Last Minute Shopper?

It should come as no surprise that I am not ready for Christmas. Not even close. And with little to no budget for gifts this year, it's been tough to figure out how to make memories this year without spending money. We're people of convenience. And really, we all know that convenience is a big money suck. If you want fast and easy, you pay for it. (Wow...that statement could be translated sooooooo many ways!)

What is my point here? I'm trying to find an interesting and hip way to tell you about some last minute gift ideas that are working for me. Instead of trying to be all clever and stuff, I'll just get to the rub...Cafe Press has these really cute customized ornaments that make really good last minute gifts for friends, relatives, teachers, etc. There! I said it! Now quit wasting time reading about how fun and easy the ornament designer is to use, or how you can choose some really cool designs or even make your own custom design like the ornament pictured here, and get on over to Cafe Press to design YOUR OWN ornament!!

What? Oh, your welcome. Helping people solve their problems is what I do. Okay, some people call it meddling...{{{sigh}}}those people just don't know when to accept the help or advice from someone who knows what's good for them.

But YOU are not that kind of person. You are the kind of person who is actually toggling between this blog post and Cafe Press as we speak, trying to read my awesome and always on the mark advice while designing your ornament at the same time. Because you know I would never, ever steer you wrong. Right? Cool. We're good then. I'm off to design my own ornaments.
**Disclosure: I did not receive financial compensation for this post. I did receive a gift certificate from Cafe Press good for 2 free ornaments in order toexperience the Ornament Designer and facilitate this review.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I Had A Bad Day (As stupid stuff goes)

So you know that saying, "When it rains, it pours?" It's true. As evidenced by the storm that passed through here the other night.

Then there's that other saying: "When there's vomit, there's chaos." Also true. As evidenced by the following events. Which are factual and did indeed take place as stated in this narrative.

You know we are all about stress in my home, right? So mornings are no picnic as I try to get the boys up and moving and out the door for school. Because even if I have EVERY SINGLE THING they need organized and ready to go, there is always - not sometimes - always, a crisis that lays waste to my perfect plan. So this particular morning, which was last week, we were actually rolling along pretty well and everyone seemed to be in a good mood, despite the runny noses and coughs we've been dealing with. In retrospect, the fact that things were kind of flowing smoothly should have been my first clue that impending doom was awaiting me.

I was gathering coats and shoes together and coming down the stairs to help Little Man comb his hair when I heard a muffled, kind of weird sound. When I hit the bottom step I peeked around the corner to the bathroom to see what the deal was and there I found Little Man leaning over the toilet with a hand full of...ummm, breakfast that had just come back up. Great. First thing out of his mouth: "Mom. I made it to the toilet! I didn't get it on the carpet!" How sad is it that I have thrown such a huge fit about them trashing my carpet that he is more worried about a rug than his own health!?

All I could think of was getting in there to help him, so I dropped everything and quickly moved toward the kid to assist with the cleanup. That's when things went horribly wrong. He neglected to tell me that while he missed the carpet, he did indeed manage to cover a good part of the tile right in front of the door and sink with clear, liquid spew, which I of course did not see. So my first step into the bathroom found me doing a perfect "slip on the banana peel" kind of fall, which slammed me flat on my back, at which time my head bounced neatly off of the hard floor, leaving me with a huge knot and an instant headache. When the study in kinetic energy was over, I ended up laying on the floor, with one leg bent behind and underneath me and the other leg lodged under the perfectly sharp edge of the bathroom sink cupboard, which had sliced the top of my foot open as I slid across the icky tile. I know...this sounds ridiculous! One would think that there would be a limit to the amount of ridiculousness a situation could generate, but this day did not find a limit in sight...anywhere.

Little Man, upon realizing what had happened, immediately burst into tears and started apologizing for causing my fall. As I was working my way to a standing position, all I could hear was sobbing and gagging. I look up to see him hurl again...and he's still got his hands cupped, holding the first round of vomit! So I have a crying, vomiting kid with a handful of puke, my head hurts, the top of my foot is bleeding, my knee is really jacked up, and we are standing in a stinky, chunky mess. Are you getting the picture? Cause I really want you to get the FULL concept of what we were experiencing here. Think on it for a moment...put yourself in the middle of the action...Got it? I KNOW!! SERIOUSLY RIDICULOUS AND GROSS AND STUPID, RIGHT!!!??!

Somehow or another, we managed to extricate ourselves from the mess and we actually got cleaned up rather quickly. Which was important, because I had to get to a job interview an hour away from my house and needed to have a perfect day to make it there on time after dropping the kids off at school! The whole time I remember thinking..."I cannot believed I just slipped in vomit! Who does that? How did I get to this point in life? This was NEVER part of my plan! It's like funny and gross at the same time! Why, oh why do things like this always happen on days when we don't need things like this to happen?"

Here's where I was the bad mom. Little Man said he felt fine. He said he had eaten too fast and that he had a lot of crap in his throat from his cold and that's why he got sick and lost his breakfast. He said the phlegm was gagging him. He didn't have a fever, he didn't have the runs, he didn't have a headache or a stomach ache or anything other than a runny nose. HE SAID he was okay and didn't feel bad at all. HE SAID IT! I didn't ask him, people, he offered the information and I didn't have time to think of an alternative, so I took him at his word and I took both of the boys to school. I know. Major "Mom Fail". Irresponsible. But don't judge me. 'Cause I got paid back for trusting the word of an 8 year old.

Not 15 minutes after I dropped the boys off, the school nurse called. Little Man had thrown up again. In class. All over his clothes. Nice. I should not have tempted fate. And I should not have trusted my little boy who was obviously more worried about my interview than his health. But I did. And I learned a valuable lesson.

I learned that the day was not done messing with me yet. I had to backtrack and go get Little Man, which now put me behind schedule, and then I had to hook up with Dad down the road so we could make the switch and get the sick kid home and me back on the road to my interview. The moment, and I mean THE VERY MOMENT, I stepped out of the car to get Little Man to his dad's truck, it started raining. And me with no umbrella. On the way to an interview. At this point Big Man has an epiphany and realizes he could have gotten out of the truck and come to me so I didn't have to get wet and wreck my hair. Ya think? Except I didn't have ten minutes to sit and wait for him to wonder why I wasn't getting out of the car before he remembered that he used to be chivalrous and do nice things like that for me. I'M GOING TO BE LATE FOR MY INTERVIEW!

Thank gosh the freeway gods were with me and somehow I managed to get to my interview 5 minutes early. Which I spent walking half a mile from my parking space to the office entrance, in the rain, with no umbrella. Upon arrival, I had to have my purse searched and go through a metal detector, cause the job is a high security job. Now I ask could those people have crashed a White House Party, but I couldn't manage to get through security at a Census facility because I forgot to leave my cell phone in the car? Barney Fife and his security buddies actually made me take it all the way back to my car! In the rain. With no umbrella. They wouldn't let me leave it with them! Needless to say I was starting to wonder if this job was worth all of this suffering! Could the day get any worse? Ummm...yes.

But first let me say something positive. The good news is that they did have a position open for me! I know, YAY, right!? Even though it wasn't the position I applied for nor was it the shift I was needing, I took the offer because the pay is really good for the work I will be doing and my family reallly, really needs this income to stay afloat.

Okay, back to the bad day - so they offered me the position and now I had to go to another office down the street to get fingerprinted and fill out the application for the background check. So I walked back out into the rain, drove down the street a few blocks, parked and walked another 1/4 mile, in the rain, with no umbrella, to the fingerprint place, where they also make me go through a metal detector and search my purse before they (can you guess?)...take my picture. Twice. One for your badge, which you will wear to work everyday, and one for your background check. No time to go to the bathroom to fix myself up or anything, but plenty of time to sit and wait AFTER the pictures are done to fill out the paperwork! Seriously...are you guys trying to be jerks? You couldn't wait like 5 minutes for me to shake my head and fluff up a bit? Just as well, I guess. I may have slipped and fell on the moisture falling from my head to the bathroom floor.

The rest of the day is kind of a blur. Driving home in pouring rain, another sick kid when we got home from school, a pan full of oil from frying tostada shells being dumped on the kitchen floor by a blind husband who was trying to help clean up but somehow managed to NOT see the oil in the pan...I finally gave up and limped my way to bed at 7:30.

As I laid there rehearsing the events of the day, I had to laugh...when the interviewer asked me how my day was going, I actually told her..."My kid is sick, I slipped in his vomit this morning and fell, jacked up my knee and gave myself a concussion. Plus it's really raining hard and I forgot my umbrella, which is why the paperwork I just handed you is so wet. I'm pretty much a wreck today. But other than that, I guess things are good. How 'bout yourself?" I don't know what made me blurt it out. It just happened. I felt like my son must have felt earlier in the morning...standing there with all of this emotional spew in my hands trying to keep it off of the carpet, and her desk! I couldn't tell what she was thinking when she looked up at me...she just had this kind of sad, amused, weirded out look on her face.

So as bad days go...this was the worst I've had in awhile. Not like cancer bad, that's beyond bad and it's tragic and horrible. I'm just talking stupid stuff bad. Maybe my "Ridiculously Bad Day" will end up getting me that job. Which would really be ironic. Cause then it would turn into the best day I've had in a while. I'll let you know in 2 weeks when my background check comes back. Hopefully I didn't irritate Barney Fife the Census Guard so badly that he alters my records. (Kidding. The Federal Government would NEVER do anything like that. Ever.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Eight Years With Litte Man

Eight years ago Tuesday I became mom to a 2nd baby boy. Little Man, who came flying into the world at warp speed, was born in the car. whole labor with him was about 25 minutes. Total. From start to finish. I am so NOT exaggerating. Had I known he was so intent on getting out of my belly that he was willing to forego all normal birth procedures and protocol, I would have stayed home and called an ambulance. But I didn't. I thought I had time. Seriously...who thinks they are gonna have a baby in 25 minutes?!

It didn't help that my husband forgot how to get to the hospital and asked me, the woman in full-blown labor, for directions. He obviously failed to notice the fact that I could barely speak due to the small child inside me whose head was relentlessly slamming into my nether regions like a battering ram as Little Man worked his way out of "confinement." It also didn't help that Big Man stopped at all the red lights, even though there was NO TRAFFIC at 4:30 in the morning, because he was afraid of getting a ticket for our expired tags. I think we could have come screeching to a halt right in front of the emergency room door just in the nick of time if "The Driver" hadn't lost his ability to think.

No matter...while it was scary when it happened and Little Man ended up in NICU for a week trying to expel crap from his tiny lungs, in the end it all turned out and being born in the car makes for a great story. One I get to share every year. And one that Little Man finds hilarious.
He is a major study in contradictions, this one. He loves adventure and exploring and excitement, but is scared to death to go upstairs by himself if no lights are on up there. He loves to cook and experiment with making new food, using every ingredient we have in the house, but until recently would only eat ramen, spaghetti and mashed potatoes...vegetables are only consumed after every viable excuse or dodge has been tried and denied, then they are gagged down with much drama and unhappiness.

This is a kid who wants to be loved and accepted and is keenly aware of how his friends view him. He loves his friends and thinks about their needs and works hard to nurture and care for them. But he is the first kid to walk away from a group of kids who are being disobedient or disrespectful and he is refuses to tell a lie, even when he knows he'll be ostracized or punished.

A free spirit by nature, Little Man finds clothes to be confining. He wouldn't wear long pants for the first 4 years of his life and getting him to put on shoes and socks was like trying to walk a chicken on a leash. When he does wear clothes, he's very fashion conscious, making sure his clothes and hair look perfect and trendy for school and church, but the grub monkey will go DAYS without brushing his hair if he doesn't have to go anywhere and getting the kid to wash his hands has become a family mantra, with each of us reminding him to "soap up" about 20 times a day.

This wild child of mine is a bundle of fabulous energy who wakes up running and punching and giggling and jumping. He can cover the entire floorplan of the house while getting dressed for school because the kid hates, I mean HATES, being still. But take him to church and he turns into a church mouse. He'll sit quietly looking though the hymnal or draw a picture while he listens to the speakers. His whole demeanor changes and he becomes calm and at ease. He knows why we're there and he loves how he feels when he goes to church. He absorbs every single particle of peace and love that he feels there, while sitting quietly, with a smile on his face.

My rough and tumble kid can take a major bike wreck or a hit on the football field and walk it off like it was a swat with a pillow, then have a complete meltdown over a scratch from a tag on his shirt. He is the toughest, most sensitve kid I know.

He is fiercely independent. His favorite phrases: "I'll do it." "Let me do it." "I wanna do it myself." "I can do this, Mom." He knows he's capable, he wants to be self-sufficient and he loves mastering new skills without help. He is also incapable of going to bed without some major cuddle time, cannot fall asleep withut at least a 2 minute backrub and when he's sick he requires constant hugs, love and attention. Like all day. He'll settle for Dad, but he NEEDS his mom.

I am so grateful that he needs me...most days. This self-sufficient child can be so dependent that some days he smothers me. I try to just let go and enjoy the smothering, knowing that one day he won't want to hang all over me anymore. And truth be told, I really, really need his little sticky, stinky hugs.

Little Man's hugs let me know that despite my imperfections and my mistakes, someone on this earth thinks I am the best thing since sliced bread. It doesn't matter if the world doesn't see my red-headed, sensitive-skinned, social worker of a kid does.

Eight years ago this week, Little Man made his grandiose entrance into my life, my memory and my heart. I say I am my boys' biggest fan, but truth be told, I think Little Man has switched roles on me. My biggest fan was born that day in the car. And I love him for choosing me. I hope he doesn't regret it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Day for Giving Thanks

As Thanksgiving Days go, this could seriously go down as the worst ever if I were to judge it by normal standards. The meal was less than tasty, the company in which we ate the meal was very Jerry Springer-ish, there was nothing festive to eat at home when we returned from our wreck of a meal and the neighbor kid got his bike stolen from out of his garage in broad dayight, which made my boys sad. But you know what? It wan't a bad day. It was weird and different, but as a family, we enjoyed each other. And we really needed a day to just take time to be with each other.

The food thing? Went down like this...Gramma ended up having a lot of last minute dinner guests, which stressed her out and her food suffered because of the stress. So hubby and kids didn't chow down like they normally do. Now me? I'm not judging Gramma or her efforts cause been there, it's a lot of food to cook and I've messed up my share of meals.

The people thing? Was just wierd. The in-law situation is touchy when things are normal, which is NOT our definition of normal. Again, not judging, just stating a fact regarding our differences in how we filter reality. Their reality is an open door kind of thing, where lots of different "characters" are welcome in their home, like their current son-in-law and his friends. There were some real winners there today. I won't go into details. Let's just say we lead very different lifestyles from the visitors there today. Which is fine, but awkward when they are obviously used to "that special kind of oregano" and kegs as part of the meal...and having to constantly remind them there were kids present during some of the conversations was even MORE awkward, given that some of the kids were their own! Again, not judging...they were nice people. Just different and I think they were glad to have a place to be for Thanksgiving.

THEN... because I have moronic moments of what think is brilliance, I decided not to buy a lot of food for today, because I usually bring home lots of leftovers. But we boogied so fast from Grammy's house this year that we didn't have anything thanksgiving-y for dinner. Little Man was straight out mad that he didn't get deviled eggs this year and Big Brother wanted some stuffing without burnt gravy like Gramma's.

We didn't have any of that. So we ate burgers and watched Star Trek the movie. The kids were happy, Big Man was happy, I was happy and we had brownies for dessert. Total peace and satisfaction. And I am grateful. Because as weird as the day was...I recognized my blessings. Actually, I recognized them because of the weirdness.

I realized how important my husband and boys are to me. Their happy faces and laughter make my heart sing. Spending time with them brings me joy (most days) and I would be lost without them (most days).

I realized that the guests at my MIL's house were just cash strapped people trying to build a life like we are right now, but they had no family to turn to or to eat with. And I am grateful that we have somehow managed to keep our home and a shred of dignity and that through the grace of God and generosity of family, we have survived an incrediby tough year.

I realized that even though the food was not her best, I am very blessed to have a MIL who was willing to take the time to prepare a huge meal and have us over to celebrate with the family. I am so grateful that I have family close to me. And that I didn't have to cook. Or clean up!

I am grateful that my MIL was understanding when my husband wanted to leave early. She was gracious and loving and honestly? I think this group freaked her out a little bit too. It was nice to leave without a guilt trip.

I realized that I really am growing to love my neighbors. When M came over to ask if we had seen his bike he was so sad and it made us all sad for him. My boys immediately helped him scour the neighborhood while all of us parents stood around commiserating about the state of our neighborhood and speculating about who we think the offenders might be. I am grateful that I have neighbors who look out for each other and that our kids all get along (most days) and that my boys love their friend enough to want to help him with his plight.

And I am most grateful that I have a loving Heaveny Father who helped me recognize that I am where I need to be right now and that I am truly blessed with all I need right now. Other than a job. I still need that.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Really HP?

Okay, not to get all "corporations are evil" on everyone, because I don't believe that all corporations are evil. But when one does decide to go bad and it directly affects me and my family (and MORE importantly, my ability to blog)? Ya gotta know I'm gonna open my big mouth and shout from the rooftops so that EVERYONE within hearing range will know that company does NOT stand behind its products nor does it value its loyal customers.

Who am I hatin' on? Hewlitt Packard. And just so ya know...I'm really sad that I am even having to say bad things about HP, becasue I have been a big fan of their products for a long, long time. I've owned 3 printers in the last 13 years. All HP. None of them quit, I just upgraded. I've owned 4 computers in the last 13 years. 2 were HP's. One was so out of date we donated it and the other is my current laptop. So you know, I've been throwin' some love and money at HP for a few years now, thinking we had a pretty good thing goin.' But this week, when I needed HP to step up? HP just dissed me, people. Left me hangin.' Not even a goodbye kiss.

Where did things go wrong? Here's the story: HP sells us a laptop for $900 a little over 2 years ago. It's an awesome laptop. We love it. We use it. It becomes part of the family. After a year and a few days, when it's warranty had expired, the motherboard fries because of a defective video card. I know this because of my extensive internet research and gazillion conversatins with HP Customer Service reps. Eventually they agree to fix it free of charge because it has come to HP's attention that they have purchased defective parts and so they repair my laptop under the recall issue.

YAY! We love HP! They are great! Whoo-hoo! We trust them! They value us as customers! The love fest continued and all was well with the laptop world. Until last week. When the computer died again, a little over a year after the first repair. Same problem. So apparently they installed ANOTHER faulty motherboard when they replaced the first one! And now, of course, they want me to pay for them to replace the 2nd defective part that they installed, knowing it had issues. And of course, HP is getting all snarky because I'm not very happy with the soultion they have offered. Apparently, there are several hundred, if not a few thousand other people like me around the world who are also not happy with HP, for the same reason. Go figure.

So now, because I am broke, angry and computerless and having to use THIS for a substitute until I figure out what to do,

I feel the need to call HP out on their bad behavior. Once they knew this was a problem, HP should have replaced the affected motherboards with a non-ddefective part or they should have completely traded out the laptops for another unaffected model. Instead, they chose to continue to sell these models even after they knew there were issues, and worse, they continued to use defective parts in the recall/repair efforts, knowing that the problem would likely occur again. Sad. And wrong. Bordering on evil.

The timing for us could not have been worse. No money to deal with the issue and we are both in the middle of a massive job search. So many places want online applications and resumes! It's fine, in the end, we found a way around it. Without HP's help. So the love affair is over. HP has lost my business and my confidence in their products or their company. I would rather use my Charlie Brown computer the rest of my life than give them another dime of my money or minute of my time. After this post, I mean. Because I want to make sure everyone knows how HP deals.

So what have I learned? Computer manufacturers are like conceited high school boys - good looking with lots of bells and whistles doesn't always equate to quality. Am I right?

BTW...some big box stores are having huge price cuts on the affected Pavilion laptops for Black Friday. Unless you want to buy another laptop within a year or so, BUYER BEWARE!! I believe they also make Compaq, which means I'll be looking at Toshiba or Dell I guess.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme

As broke as we are this year, I am really, really ready for the holidays. Not with gifts and all that stuff, I haven't done anything yet and may not be able to do much at all for people in that respect. But mentally? Emotionally? I want to feel Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. I want to enjoy the chill in the air (even if it's only for a few hours in the morning or only gets so cold in the desert folks). I wan to sing the songs and decorate and think about all the Christmases past and I really, really want to create memories for my family this year as we decorate and play and sing and laugh and talk about why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. It's a lofty goal, given my chaotic state as of late, our house runs more like Ralphie's house from A Christmas Story...Fah Rah Rah Rah Rah, Rah Rah Rah Rah.

To help me with my Christmas Mood? TodaysMama and Provo Craft are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you:

1. What 5 items are on your holiday wish list this year?

  • A writing job
  • A sponsorship to Blissdom
  • New sneakers
  • Some new clothes
  • Lots of work for my husband's business!

2. What is your favorite handmade gift you have received?

  • Some fabulous ornaments

3. What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle?

  • My MIL crochets these amazing blankets, I'd love to do one sometime
  • Some really cool personalized scrapbooks.

4. What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child?

  • A Chrissy Doll with the hair that grows when you push her belly button. I still have her.

5. What items are on your kid’s wish list this year?

  • Nintendo Wii
  • Rock Polisher
  • Anything Star Wars
  • Anything Military

6. What is your favorite holiday food?

  • Pumpkin Pie with Homemade whipped cream
  • Fudge (technically not food, but sooo yummy!)

7. What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays?

  • Candy and baked goods
  • Ornaments

8. What is your favorite holiday movie? So many, not sure I can pick just one!

  • Comedy - Elf, Planes Trains and Automobiles, Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story.
  • Romantic - White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street
  • Religious - Mr. Kruger's Christmas, The 4th Wise Man, The Nativity Story
  • Classics - A Christmas Carol, It's a Wonderful Life
  • Cartoons - A Charlie Brown Christmas

9. Favorite holiday song? many!

  • Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant. I found out I was pregnant with Big Brother about a week before Christmas 11 years ago and heard this song a few days later. I sobbed for days thinking about it. I still cry everytime I hear it.
  • Were You There On That Christmas Night?
  • Angels We Have Heard On High

10. Favorite holiday pastime?

  • Going to see the snow,
  • Hanging out with family watching movies and drinking hot cocoa!

It all sounds so fun and so yummy I am totally ready to start right now. Okay, not right right now, cause I have to clean the kitchen first and do some laundry and go to parent teacher conferences tomorrow and then I have to send out about 8000 resumes and look for work. Which does not feel Christmas - y at all, so maybe I'll start getting festive this weekend. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Where Would You Go?

We had the "Where would you go?" discussion in the car the other day as we were driving to the Veteran's Day parade. You know the one..."If you could go anywhere in the world..."

I found my boys' answers intriguing. Little Man wants to be a paleontologist, so he wanted to go to the African deserts where dinosaur bones were recently discovered. Big Brother wated to go somewhere relaxing and where there's good food, like Italy.

You can definitely see there are distinct differences in how my boys filter the world!

Then we talked about the places I've been. I've really only been out of the country one time, when I went to Spain. One of the best parts about my trip to Spain was flying British Airways. Seriously? It was one of the most comfortable flights of my life. We are not in the position to go anywhere right now though, which is unfortunate, because British Airways is having a huge fare sale to destinations all over the world. With flights starting from just $229 and Flight + hotel packages from $659, now is a great time to see some exotic destinations. How awesome would it be to spend Chrismas in London or Hong Kong or Milan? BA flies to all of those locations! They cover the Middle East, India, Asia and Europe.

If you haven't flown out of the US before, you should know the flights are very long. Like 14 hours plus kind of long. Which is a long time to sit in an airplane belonging to an airline company that doesn't value its customers. Does it strike you odd that my flight on British Airways stuck out so much in my mind? It's because BA offers a much more upgraded travel experience! The flight became part of memory because it was so pleasant.

When I flew? Right after we were seated on the plane, they brought hot towels around with which to freshen up. I was suprised at how much better I felt after wiping the airport "air" from my face and hands. Plus the towels smelled of lemon. That was a really nice touch. Before we took off, we were given a little travel bag, filled with toothpaste, eye masks, little warm socks, etc. along with headsets and pillows and blankets. It's a long flight and British Airways goes the extra mile to help their passengers get as comfy as possible. Along with the really, really comfortable seats (lumbar support, adjustable headrests) they have over 200 On-demand Entertainment options, so you can watch movies, listen to music, whatever helps you chill.

I won't go into a whole long thing about every little detail I experienced, suffice it to say that the food was outstanding (they served little individual fine chocolates after the meal), the flight attendants were very, very attentive and there was not one thing I lacked during that flight. Oh...and all of the food and beverages are complimentary. No paying extra 'cause you're thirsty and up in the air and so desperate that you'll pay $5 for a bottle of water! British Airways doesn't roll like that. They really do take the honors when it comes to top notch flight service. British Airways IS all that and a bag of chips. And yes, this is a sponsored post that I am being paid to wirte. But you all know me well enough to know that if I have a problem with a company or product? I SAY SO! Not the case experience with British Airways was spot on.

So...where would I go if I could take a dream trip right now? My first response is always Spain, because I loved it so much and only got to see part of the country. I could probably go almost anywhere in Europe though and enjoy it. I would love to go to Egypt sometime and see the pyramids, and I think Japan would be an amazing country to see. I just love to travel, so I guess my dream vacation would be almost anyplace new and different.

Where would you go? Wherever it is, check out British Airways to get you there. But better hurry, the fare sale ends November 19th! And if you need some help planning your trip, click here for a destination guide that will help you plan a great holiday experience.

Click Here


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Boymom Has a "Girly" Day

It was like a mystical, magical girl kingdom where no boys were allowed. There was girl food (like Brie, which I got for free as a product tester!) and chocolate covered strawberries (which I also got for free by becoming a fan of Edible Arrangements on Facebook!)and there were crafty things like fun paper and paper punches and embellishments(all of this was also free, courtesy of and Martha Stewart Crafts). And there was glitter. EVERYWHERE! And we loved it. It was one of the best days I have had in a long, long time. And it was the first time in a long, long time that I got to feel like a girl again. I am still sparkly from the party. Twinkly on the outside from all the glitter that continues to adhere itself to anything and everything in the house. Shiny and happy on the inside cause I got to spend the day with some of my favorite women. Doing fru-fru stuff that I never do.

Why? Because I Am Boymom. Boymom's are busy super gluing broken laser guns and pulling rocks out of pants pockets. This boymom gave up on trying to do anything "girly" awhile ago. Girly just didn't seem to fit into the boymom equation. Plus, you know...I've never been really crafty anyway, so the whole boymom excuse works for me. Until this last Saturday. When my friends and family showed up and the glitter came out. The little girl in me leapt out of my heart and into my life again and she was alive and ready to play! Wanna see what we did?

Looks like fun, yes? IT WAS! I felt like Buddy the Elf! It was so fun and happy and Christmas - y I could barely contain my glee! I sounds preposterous that something as trivial as a craft party could transform my attitude. I seriously think Martha Stewart put something magical in the glitter. I might have to rub it on my arms and face everyday now to maintain the positive attitude.

I guess I just had no idea how much I needed to let go of life's grind and let down for a few hours with some really cool chicks.

One of those cool chicks is one of my best blogger friends EVAH! She drove from the far end of China to get here , which was a HUGE sacrifice of her time and gas and she brought her wicked awesome son, who spent a few hours keeping my boy crew entertained. Sports Mama is an hilarious boymom who either keeps me in stitches or tears with her blog posts. It was so wonderful finally getting to meet her. We seem to have so much in common, she's definitely a kindred spirit. You can read her thoughts about our girl party here.

I've spent so long being in "Boy" mode that I had kind of forgotten how much girls need to be around other girls sometimes. My craft party was a great reminder to me that I need to let "Geri" come out once in awhile to play. Because although I like playing army man and watching Star Wars for the 109th time as much as the next gal? Sometimes I just need to be glittery and feel pretty and loved.

I want to thank my wonderful friends and neighbors and sister for showing up to help me reconnect and feel human again. Having you as my guests was the best start I could think of to what could be one of my most memorable holiday seasons ever.

Recap of October

October was a weird, busy month. So much so that I forgot to take pictures on Halloween. Mostly because for 7 days before Halloween I was dealing with this lovely gift from some unknown bacteria or virus:

Yes, that is Little Man, covered in some kind of Jungle Fungus that he picked up gosh knows where, probably because he touched some dead thing laying on the side of the road. We honestly don't know where it came from and 3 weeks later it has finally disappeared. Even the doctor didn't know what caused it, but somehow she knew it wasn't an allergic reaction and that it wasn't contageous? Not sure how that works, but I guess that's why I'm not a doctor, right?

Prior to the Voodoo Body Rot setting in, we were busy with Scout stuff. Big Brother was excited to get some awards for his scouting efforts, as was his friend. Friend rides with us to Scouts a lot. Friend is a carbon copy of Big Brother, personality wise. They sit in the back and just rattle on and on about how much they each know about whatever the subject for the night is and are completely happy to be in each other's company. Friend is a cool kid.

It was also Build-a-Rocket thing night at Pack Meeting and Big Brother had a killer rocket. He got smart this year and used decals instead of trying to hand paint his rig. Of course I have no picture right now, because I was busy winding the rubber band that spins the propeller that makes the rocket travel really fast down the string. 100 winds for every run he made. Trying not to lose count when someone started talking to me. Which was about every two minutes. Apparently everyone had a lot to say that night.'s a pic of someone else's rocket that I managed to take before I got busy winding:

When I find my camera again I will take a pic of our rocket, with the cool flame decals. Really what I am doing here? Is avoiding giving you the outcome of the night. Because it didn't end well. And it was my fault. Which is why Big Brother's dad should have gone. Because then we either wouldn't have had the bad ending or it could have been his fault, which I would have gladly written about and in fact, would have mentioned at the very beginning of the post. As it stands, though, Mom messed up the night. Because they were having parents hold the rockets at the starting line instead of the kids, to avoid potential conflicts with kids trying to inch forward, etc. So here's where our wonderful Scout night all went horribly wrong. Big Brother made it to the final heat. It was down to him and his competitor and whoever won that heat would race the leader for the title. Big Brother has NEVER won a Scouting racing event. Not with cars or boats, and now not with rockets. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I had been watching all of the dads there as they were releasing the rockets and noticed that the way they were holding the rockets to keep the rubber bands from unwinding too soon hindered their abilitiy to release the rocket quickly. So when it was time for our finals, I got up to the string, hung BB's rocket and gently held each side of the propeller with my forefingers and thumbs, instead of holding the entire rocket with one hand and the propeller with the other. Are you foloowing me? I know, this is really technical stuff.

Anyway, many of the dads noted my new holding position and were impressed. So I'm waiting for the competitor to get lined up and gladly, he had NOT noticed my technique. I'm thinking we got this one. But the dude took FOREVER to get ready. By the time he was ready, I heard the countdown, but had been falsely lulled into a relaxed state of mind waiting for this Yahoo! When the starter said go, I hesitated. I missed the release. I KNOW! He set me up! My kid was devastated. I was stunned.

Big Brother looked at me like I was the most evil creature on the planet, gently took his rocket and then stomped out of the gym. On my way out I noticed the final round was getting ready to go...the winner? Used my technique. See? I knew it was good.

So mom lost the night. It was a bummer. They gave out the ribbons, Big Brother was trying to get over his hate toward me when they announced root beer floats. Thank Freaking Gosh for Root Beer Floats! Big Brother let his frustration go and got happier with every mouthful of creamy carbonation and I was temporarily forgiven.

Lesson learned? Scout Dads are competitive and sneaky and will do whatever it takes to win so you always have to be on high alert when you are around them so you are not lulled into a sense of apathy. KIDDING! Scout parents are awesome, it was a fun night. Real lesson learned? My son still struggles with losing and a great technique only works if you PAY ATTENTION! Oh yeah...and ice cream fixes almost anything.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Retake Day. Same as Last Year. I swear every year that I am not going to buy school pictures? I DO take that oath, each and every year, and yet I still submit myself to the torture that is school photography. Today is retake day. I sent notes with my boys to give to the photographer with explicit instructions regarding smiling or not smiling.

Because without fail, every single year, I get a picture that looks like this:

Now, I'm no genius, but does that look like a natural smile to you? I'm just sayin that common sense would tell a picture taker that Mom probably isn't going to want to pay the obscene amount of money she just paid for a fish face, forced smile. And I know the job is hard, I WAS a school photographer for about 6 months. I went around doing high school pics, which is even harder than grade school, because they actually CARE how they look, which makes the process very time consuming! I've watched girls reapply their entire face with a compact mirror while everyone in line waited because one eyelash was pointing the wrong way! "ALRIGHT ALREADY! It's just a shcool picture! To top it off? I got assigned to some of the alternative schools. The school where the "bad kids" went. It was like taking mug shots at a prison. I'd ask them to smile and they'd stare at me like I just said the last words I would ever say again. It was a little scary.

I figured if I was gonna die taking future death row inmate pics, I might as well have some fun, so I decided to mess with them a little. Might as well go down swingin', yes? So an inmate student would sit down, and I'd do the "Say Cheese" or "Smile!" thing and Barrio Brotha would stare back at me in all his coolness. So then I'd say something like "What's your mom gonna say when you show up with this picture lookin' all serious like that?" Some of them would grin and SNAP! I'd get the pic. Some of them would just get angrier. Then it dawned on me that maybe some of these kids had "issues" with their moms. Like war memories. I suddenly pictured Norman Bates from Psycho and I decided maybe I didn't want to die that day after all, so I tried some new tactics. Anyway, you get where I was going, right? Ya gotta be creative!

My best experience? Was at one of the "bad kid" schools. There was this kid who looked like he came right out of East LA. He was all attitude. He tried to go all gansta on me the minute he sat down.

Him: "Yo. Ima put my hood up for this pic."
Me: "Sorry dude, school rules. No hats, no hoods, gotta keep the face uncovered."
Him: "Man, that's whack. This place sucks. Whatevah."
Me: "Dude, yer a nice lookin' kid. Why you wanna cover your head up anyway?"
Him: "I ain't no kid."
Me: "You're like 10 years younger than're all kids. It's just a phrase, guy. Relax."
Him: "My name's not Guy."
Me: "Also just a ready?
Him: "Yeah...let's do dis." (Poses like a gangsta.)
Me: "Really? This is what yer gonna take home to mom?"
Him: "She don't care. It's cool. Just take the picture."
Me: "Dude, I would, but you have a little booger hanging on your nose...right there."
Him: "Oh sh*t! For reals?" (Starts wiping his nose)
Me: "No man, just kiddin' with ya." (He looks up and grins...SNAP! Got the picture!)
Him: "D*mn! I can't believe you just did dat! That's cold! (he's totally laughing now)
How you gonna do somethin' like that to me? How's my picture? Can I see?"

Homeboy ended up being my assistant for the day. We had some really great pics that afternoon. He was actually this really hilarious person. Some of the guys were hard core and wouldn't give up a smile for love nor money. But we got the majority of them. My assistant was awesome. He sent a letter to the photography company saying his mom cried when she saw the portrait. She said that was the happy son she had missed so much. Right on.

Why am I sharing this story? Well, originally I was just griping about crappy school pictures. Then it kind of morphed into this whole "if I can do it, anyone can" thing, which morphed into "you never know how your efforts might affect someone else." So...take whatever message you need to from this post and pray that our retake day will be successful. Otherwise, I SWEAR! I will never buy school pictures again. Until next year.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday's To-Do List

I've filled out so many applications and sent in so many resumes today. Laundry is starting to look a lot more fun right now.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Big Hair, Big Glasses...Yes. I was an 80's chick. And yes, sometimes I wish big hair would make a comeback. It's a balance thing...big hair makes big hips look smaller. It's true.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm Blissdom Bound! (If I can find a Sponsor!)

Before you start reading this you should know that I write like I talk. Which is a lot. So you might want to grab a drink and get comfy. This could take a few minutes. Ready? Okay...
My mantra for the rest of this year through 2010 is personal growth. At 45 years of age, I have finally started to figure out what makes me happy. It's been a long journey to gain this little bit of knowledge that has resulted in a major paradigm shift for me. And it all came about because of a blog. I seems silly to think that a blog could be the vehicle that would allow some despondent mom sitting at home, typing out her daily comings and goings on her computer, to find the secret to her happiness. But that's what happened. Because as the words rolled out and the pictures were posted, comments and insights came back from people who actually took the time to read and feel my writings. Realizations were made, understanding and bonding took place, inside my home and across the world wide web. Love was rekindled and friendships developed, which helped me feel normal and capable and whole...all because I blog.
I have had really amazing experiences over the past year as I have used my blog to write, to communicate, to vent, to chronicle my family's daily life and to figure out how to find myself as a person while trying to be the best mom, wife and friend I can be. As a result of my blogging, I have had opportunities meet wonderfully positive and supportive people from every walk of life, from all over the world. Along with encouraging my personal development, some of them pushed me to develop my writing and business skills, then invited me to start working with a few companies and products. I have found that I really enjoy the business aspect of blogging as well as the personal rewards that have come from using social media.
To that end, I am going all out in 2010 to learn and grow as a Blogger. I am very motivated to learn how to use my talents to work with the business world to help promote companies/products that support mom-bloggers and improve the lives of families all over the world. I have much to learn.
To help me in my quest for knowledge, I will be attending the BlissDom Conference, which will take place Feb 4-6, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. It is a top-notch event which will allow me to sit at the feet of accomplished and renowned Social Media Mavens who will teach me the ins and outs of successfully navigating the blog world! As such, it is also a wonderful opportunity for forward thinking companies who recognize the power and influence that moms have in their communities (online and at home) to promote their products and ideals! I am looking for a sponsor who will help me attend the conference.
I have broken down the costs involved in attending the conference below:
  • Blissdom Conference Ticket: $249 for early registration
  • Roundtrip flight from Phoenix to Nashville: $224 to $275 if I book ticket within the next couple weeks.
  • Airport Shuttle to and from hotel: $20Hotel costs for 4 nights (discount rates for BlissDom attendees): $576
  • Pre-conference Blissdom Wisdom Workshops for in-depth, small group learning - technical, business & creative: $100

I am seeking a full sponsorship and would prefer to try to work with just one company so I don't have to split my efforts to promote more than one sponsor. But I understand that the economy takes its toll on marketing budgets too, so I will consider splitting the costs of the conference between 2 sponsors if necessary. In return for a sponsorship, I will provide the following services to promote the company/product before, during and after the Blissdom Conference:

  • I will hand out coupons and flyers. I will have to be creative in doing this however, as BlissDom has changed its policy regarding how personal sponsorship swag can be handled, but we can discuss options such as an after hours room party or something of that nature to distribute swag. I'm pretty open to ideas!
  • I will make a t-shirt or a canvas bag with your company logo or slogan to wear and/or carry during the conference.
  • I am willing to wear unique clothing/accessories as advertisement. Keep in mind, I am plus-size, which I am working on as part of my personal growth (meaning losing weight, not growing more!) in 2010.
  • I will do a blog post regarding your sponsorship and products, as well as place sidebar ads on both the home and review pages of my blog for a 12 month period.
  • I will also actively post updates about your company, brand, or product on my blog, Twitter and Facebook before, during and after the BlissDom Conference for a 12 month period.
  • I will post photos, videos and do live blogging and Tweeting to promote your company/product during the BlissDom Conference.
  • I am open to any other ideas you and your marketing department may have about how I can best promote your brand, as long as it's legal and family friendly! Let's brainstorm!

I Am Boymom is evolving everyday and I am confident that the knowledge and tools I gain at this conference will allow me to take my blog to the next level and really establish my brand/identity in the blog world as one that works well with companies who support marketing savvy moms and their families. Additionally, I am really involved in my community, so my influence is farther reaching than just my blog. Between Scouts, school, sports, church activities, local political involvement and neighborhood events, I am in contact with hundreds of parents who are always looking for informed opinions and positive experiences about products/companies from other families with whom they come in contact. And because I love to talk? I am NOT shy about sharing when I find good products, good companies and good deals!

Please feel free to take a look around my blog to find out more about who I am and what I do, as well as who I support. Then email or call if you are interested in helping me attend this conference. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have and we can talk details! I look forward to working your company so we can both experience amazing growth in 2010!

And thanks for considering my request for sponsorship.

P.S. - Years from now? When my kids are on Oprah talking about all the great things our family accomplished and what a great childhood they had 'cause their mom finally got her stuff together and taught them how to be confident, well adjusted, pro-active, self-supporting, successful adults? They'll mention you too, cause I'll pound it into their brains that this conference and the company who sponsored me was the turning point in our lives. can you pass up multi-generational, lifetime promotion?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Is This How I Look to Other People?

I am posting this picture, despite my dislike for pictures of myself, because some of my blog friends don't know what I look like. Who is this Boymom person? Why does she hide from us? Ummm...because I see pictures like this and decide to spare my readers exposure to my arm flab and general roundness? Yeah - your welcome.

So here I am in all my glory, with Darlene, the kick-butt garden lady who takes care of my Grandpa in Idaho. See how that tomato is dwarfed in the presence of my massive girth? Too much flesh for the internet, people. Me...too much flesh on me. Not the tomato. Or Darlene.

I wonder if some search engine will pull this post up as porn because of the flesh references. That would be a crappy surprise for someone who clicked on my blog and thought they were gonna see something sexy...a fat chick, an elderly woman and a tomato. Hope we made your day! Bwuah ha ha ha!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Longest Fall Break EVER!

Back to school today after 2 long weeks for Fall Break!

When we first started at the charter school we are at I loved the thought of the extended calendar year. Longer vacations during the year, less time out at summer and the kids supposedly retain more of what they learn each year. I'm still looking for proof on that one.

The first year we attended the school it worked out great. We took a vacation to California during Fall Break for an entire week and still had another week to recuperate and get ready for school again.

Due to budget contraints (actually there is no budget, because there is nothing to budget with!), we had no trip planned this year.

I am realizing that 2 weeks is a long, LONG time when you have nothing planned. I had good intentions. We were gonna go to one of the local farms to their chili cook off and pumpkin patch. Until I saw that it was $14 per person, and that price did not include food or pumkins! I'm all for supporting the local farmers, but when we our bank account is beyond empty I can't justify spending that much on a hayride and a corn maze. And the fact that the farm is an hour and a half away made the price even harder to swallow. Frankly...I guess I was just not in the mood to spend $100 on chili and pumpkins. There. I said it. It was easier to put a tarp up over the swing set and tell the boys to turn it into a fort. (Read it correctly, people, that is fort with an O, not the other word with an A!) Which they thought was cool for 2 days. The fort, I mean. They also think the other thing is cool and funny too though. But that's a story for another day.

That only left 12 days to fill. We made cupcakes and had friends over another day. Down to 11 days. Church 2 times, we're down to 9 days! Whoo-hoo!

At this point we were still waiting for our neighbor kids to get out for their fall break. They only get one week off. Because they don't like going to school until June 10th, which is the consequence of taking longer breaks during the year. I am starting to see the wisdom in a regular school calendar. But I digress. So we had a few tough days. Because mom's brain could not seem to function to come up with activities and my boys were having a hard time with the thought of actually playing WITH EACH OTHER!

Thank Goodness my nephew's birthday party came around! On Columbus Day we hung out with the cousin at Amazing Jake's all day, which is like Chuck E. Cheese on steroids. Have you seen that place?! It is loud and crowded and crazy and big. Rides, video games, prize games, rock climbing wall, laser tag, bowling, mini golf and a buffet. My kids love it there. I like the fact that I can actually get decent food, not just pizza. I had huge salads for lunch and dinner. Yeah, we stay all day when we go. My body was totally diggin' on the healthy food and I was diggin' on the fact that I didn't have to make ANY of it OR do the dishes. It's a long way from our house, almost as far as the pumpkin farm, but since we weren't paying for anything and I didn't have to cook or clean that whole day, it was worth the drive! Once I got past the feeling that I was swimming in a giant H1N1 petri dish, that is.

So that left 8 days. 8 days of watching my oldest (now 10 yrs old) walk around in circles trying to entertain himself. 8 Days of listening to "I'm bored." Read a book. Let's build your Scout Rocket. Play a video game. Help me pull weeds. Fold the laundry. Let's draw a picture. All met with rolling eyes and annoyed sighs. 8 days of fighting over chores, because "we are on vacation." No, we are on Fall Break, which is different from a vacation, because we are still home and making messes and chores still have to get done. "Whatever. This is the worst vacation ever." Glad he heard me.

In the end, they had a few fun days and I think that even if they weren't occupied every single minute of every day, they at least enjoyed having the break from school. Once the neighbors got out of school, things improved a little bit as they had other kids to play with.

But I wished I was in a better place for my kids. I miss feeling creative and fun and upbeat and willing to try new things. I just couldn't get there for them this time. I was too busy trying to get through the day. I realized that Big Man and I are just worn out. It's been a tough 2 years. We are ready for something different, but struggling to find the energy to create the atmosphere that will allow opportunities to present themselves. We really could have used a vacation ourselves.

I'm starting mine today. The kids are back in school. For at least 4 hours a day this week, I get peace and quiet and time to think and plan and change my attitude. Maybe I'll be ready for the 3 weeks the kids are out for Christmas. That's 7 more days I have to help fill! Yeah...regular school schedule is looking better and better to me everyday.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hot Pockets!

Since my humor seems to have disappeared into the outer regions of some lost galaxy, I thought I would share a quick snippet of one of my favorite comedians. He is mostly clean and pretty hilarious and really, really pale. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Music That I Love

Remember a few posts back how I was talking about the fact that I had kind of quit listening to music for awhile? I have realized what a powerful medium music can be so I am working at incorporating more uplifting and beautiful music into my daily routine. This week, thanks to One2One Network, I'm working my way through a new Five for Fighting album titled Slice that will be officially released on October 12.

I won't go into a full review here, you can read that on the What Would Boymom Buy blog. But I wanted to take a few minutes to share why I like John Ondrasik's work so much. The first song I ever heard by Five for Fighting was Superman (It Ain't Easy), which most of the country and probably half the world heard when it became associated with the heroes of the 9/11 tragedy. I was absolutely touched to the core by John Ondrasik's mesmerizing voice and the powerfully simple, yet heartrending lyrics. Then a while later I heard 100 Years on the radio and again fell in love with the guy who knows how to take everyday life experiences and turn them into melodic stories that stir the soul.

In short? His songs speak to me. Not just the words, but the music too. The high voice with which he sings. The beautiful piano or guitar in the background that gives each song its "texture." It all blends so perfectly and you know when you listen to one of his songs exactly how he feels. The joy of listening to him comes because he takes you to that emotional place with him. You get to live the song too. And THAT, his ability to draw you into the story, is what makes his music so poignant.

And since I'm all about emotion and feelings and stuff? John Ondrasik had me at hello.

Now...if you are a Five for Fighting fan or want to become one - you HAVE HAVE HAVE to read my official review (not this one, this is the teaser!) and leave a comment on the review blog. Because I will be giving away an autographed copy of Five for Fighting's new Slice CD! Hello, I didn't even get one of those! Lucky.

Are you still here? Go read the review! GO!

Help Me Get the Good Mood Gig!

I've talked a lot on this blog about my search for happiness. The last couple of weeks have found me embarking on a new journey. One filled with challenges because the path I am going down requires that I let go of old issues and start being the person I want to be instead of just dreaming about it. I've tried this path before and quickly gotten off of it because it seemed too hard to navigate. This time? I don't care if it's hard. And truthfully, it can't be any harder than battling the demons and issues that have kept me off the path for so long now anyway. Change can be painful. So what the heck...I might as well try some new discomfort, right?

I am actually excited this time! I've actually stayed on the path for a few weeks with some success! I'm so excited about it that I decided to enter a contest to win a job that would pay me to write a blog for 6 months. It's a blog about...wait for it...maintaining a good mood and positive attitude. I KNOW, right? ME! Writing about good moods! The thing is, when I'm happy? I'm all about optimism and positive thinking and using humor to overcome difficult circumstances. And I really do know how to help other people find their happiness too! As "Happy Geri" it's who I am. It's what I do! Some of you know that about me because you knew me before I got stuck in this weird place in which I've been stuck. Well, I'm getting unstuck so this is the perfect time for me to go for such an amazing job.

Why am I sharing this? Well, for one thing, I share almost everything. You know that about me. But the more important reason is that I need your help. I need to get lots of votes to make it to the second round of the competition. So when yoy get a minute, can you stop by my profile at Nature Made Sam-e and vote for me?

I REALLY, REALLY want to win this job. Why? It would mean I have arrived. It would be a tangible manifestation of the fact that I am no longer stuck. That I figured it out and moved forward. That I was able to achieve my goals as a writer AND as a happy person. So can you show me some VOTE love? Thanks. I'll do the same for you when you need it. As long as it's not for this contest...'cuz while I may be in a good mood, I'm not stupid. : )

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wanna Hear a Story?

That's the first line of the story my father-in-law used to tell Big Man when he was a little, little boy. Big Man kept up the tradition and told it to my kids when they were really young. They're too big for it now, but every once in awhile he tries to run it by them. I thought I'd pass it on.

Wanna hear a story?

About Old Pandori?

Want me to begin it?

That's all there is in it!

Ahh haa haa haa haa. Whooo! That gets my husband every time. I'm not kidding. He laughs Every. Single. Time. The boys' response?


Monday, October 5, 2009

Mother's Day in December?

No, I'm not crazy. Okay, maybe I am crazy right now, but it has nothing to do with this post and everything to do with hormones, kids and employment issues.

So what's the deal with the Mother's Day title thing? Aquafresh is sponsoring a contest whereby 50 (or "fitty" for all you hip, urban rap moms out there) Phoenix moms will win a Spa day and a goodie bag from the Hyatt Regency Spa Avania on December 5th. Consider it an early Christmas gift from a company that realizes moms need to be recognized for their efforts.

So here's the deal-ee-o. The contest is for folks ages 6 and older, with different age categories. So I guess you could enter the 18 and older category, but then you have to write about why YOUR mom is amazing. Otherwise you have to get your kids involved and they have to write a short essay on why they think YOU are amazing. So you know that you can't write it and sign their name...right? Or that you can't sit next to them and tell them what to say. Of COURSE you know that! Otherwise your kids would not be writing an essay about what an amazing mom you are in the first place, because they would not have the skills or the confidence to do so if you had not been amazing and taught them so well! So let your teaching do the talking and let the little people scribble from the heart. Or you could help some other kids, like the kids of your best friend or the kids of your favorite blogger (hint, hint) to write a quick note about why THEIR mom, whom you truly adore and want to emulate, is so amazing.

The whole point is that there are so many moms in Phoenix who could use and who have earned a day of relaxation at the Hyatt Regency Spa Avania. I know many of you personally and I know the sacrifices you make on a daily basis to bring health, happiness and stability to your families. Seriously...would this be such a great way to get ready for the holiday season? All relaxed and feelin' good!?!

Here's the link to the Aquafresh Amazing Mom Celebration contest, along with rules and information and details about the fabulous prizes! You could leave it in your child's "Favorites" folder, next to the Star Wars link if you want to be subtle. Or you could print out the form and give it to your husband so he can encourage the kids. Or, like I could alert the neighbor kids and let them know about it so they could do something really cool for their mom. No matter what you do, pat yourself on the back for doing the best job you can to raise your kids. Motherhood is not NOT easy, regardless of how you approach it and it's nice to know there are companies out there like GlaxoSmithKline that recognize our contributions to our families and society in general.

If you want to find out more about Aquafresh toothpaste and have the kids drop off their entries in person, you can stop by Arrowhead Mall on October 17th and 24th. While you're there, check out the various Aquafresh products and pick up a free sample! The Aquafresh Amazing Mom Celebration contest ends November 2nd, 2009, so kids need to get their essays in soon!

**Disclosure: I did not receive compensation for this post from Aquafresh, Hyatt or GlaxoSmithKline. I am doing it out of the goodness of my heart because I think moms need and deserve recognition and I hope some deserving moms win a fantastic Spa Day!!!**

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I've Been Tagged and Awarded - Kreativ Blogger

I've been nominated by Lezlee at Bandana Mom for the Kreativ Blogger award. Great. Now I have all this pressure to blog something hilarious or weirdly whacked out. No regular post tonight. Now I gotta do something spectacular!

Just KIDDING! Thanks for thinking of me, Bandana Mom! I love reading your extremely creative blog too, I get lots of ideas from you!

So, I guess part of this award states that I must share 7 things about myself that people might not know. This could be difficult, as most of you know that I tend to be pretty open about who I am and how I deal with life. Anyway...I'll give it a shot.

1) I once auditioned for the Jack Daniels Comedy Search. It was one of the most fun days of my life. My friends at work kept encouraging me to do it, so I did. My friend was gonna go with me and try out too, only he called and cancelled at the last minute but I still went. It was scary until I got there, and found myself surrounded by a really hilarious group of guys who totally took me under their wings and helped me with my timing, etc. My "set" included a monologue about getting hit on by a cop who pulled me over and gave me a ticket and then ended with some thoughts about the Women's German Luge Team and flatulence. The 3 judges actually laughed, which was good, 'cause they were pretty tough judges who did not even break a smile at the person who went up before me. All I remember was that the spotlight was freaking blinding and that a 2 minute set seems a lot longer on stage than it does at home when you're practicing in front of the mirror. I didn't make it to the top 5, but I had a blast and am so glad I did it. Johhny Biscuit was one of the top 5, I think he had a comedy club in Utah. He was one of the guys I hung out with all day. He told me I wasn't neurotic enough to be a comedian and that most comedians weren't confident enough to laugh at another comic's performance, which I did all day long. I say everybody's got something funny to share and you can't have enough laughter in your life. can I take advice from a guy name Johnny Biscuit seriously? There ya deep thought for the day.

This is gonna be a long post if I continue to be so verbose. Brevity is a struggle for me, I write like I talk. ALOT!

2. I traveled the country grooming thoroughbred race horses. I saw the Kentucky Derby from the backside (barn area) twice. I groomed a few race horses who made more money in 2 0r 3 years than I will make in my entire life.

3. My first kiss was in second grade from a really cute kid named Greg. He kissed me on the cheek. Then he gave me a GIANT valentine that made all the girls in class jealous. I was secretly flattered, but kind of embarrassed over the attention. I guess even at that age I had issues with feeling worthy of receiving someone's affection. My first grown up kiss was when I was 16. His name was Jeff and I really, really liked him alot and it was an awesome kiss. That's all I have to say about that.

4. Despite what people think, I was not pregnant when I married my husband. He decided he wanted to get married and after waiting for years, when he said he was ready I said okay and we went to the Justice of the Peace that afternoon. I was NOT gonna give him time to change his mind.

5. I was afraid to have kids. I didn't think I would have that motherly instinct that makes moms automatically bond to their kids. Thank goodness I didn't give into my fear, my kids are one of the greatest parts of my life and I can't imagine not having them around.

6. I know how to rebuild a Volkswagen Bug carburetor. I had to do it once in high school on my own car. I also know how to change my own tire, drive a stick and replace a broken power window apperatus on a Sentra.

7. I eat peanut butter with syrup on my pancakes and waffles. I love that taste combination. But I can't eat it often. The sugar in the syrup gives me gut issues. Should I quit talking now?

So there you have it...7 things people may not know about me. And may not care to know.

Now I get to choose 7 people to pass the award onto! Make sure you include the Kreativ Blogger button on your post and make sure you notify the people you choose!

7 Bloggers I Love:

Stefany at Pike's Pickles
Sports Mama at You Don't Have to Like Me
Hope at Hope From the Edge
Birdie at Scenes From the Crooked Maple
Kristi at Kuntz Family
Melanie at My Little Patch of Sunshine
Randa at Randa Joy

Can't wait to find out more about these wonderful blog friends that keep me laughing, crying, hoping and loving and I find myself wishing I lived right next door to each and every one of them (I actually did live next to Randa for awhile and I miss having her for a neighbor).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

There's a Musician In My Mailbox!

Are you a music person? I used to be. I used to listen to some kind of music all day, every day. I don't know what changed, but I haven't really been engrossed in listening to tunes for a few years now. Which is weird, because there is nothing more soothing or moving than a really great song. I think between the constant noise of the TV, the kids, the street, the classroom and the thoughts in my head, lately I've just craved peace and quiet!

As luck would have it, I received a CD in the mail last week. The CD is by an artist that I happen to really like, 'cuz not only can the man sing? He's also really easy on the eyes! Harry Connick's Jr.'s new release, called Your Songs, is a collection of some of my old favorites by other artists, so it was nice to hear them redone HC style, with his big band orchestra as backup. And bonus, I know the words to alot of the songs, so I didn't have to do the Oprah thing, where she kind of just mouths something close to what she thinks the words should be until she gets to a phrase she knows and then really belts that part out. (Have you seen her do this? It's true, she does it. Watch her sometime when she has a singer on the show.)

Anyway, it was nice to have some beautifully sung music playing in my car and my home the last few days. I forgot how much music soothes the savage beast...or in this case the freaked out, harried mom.

If you wanna know more about Harry's new CD? You can read my full review on my review blog. While yer doin' that, I'm gonna go chill with my new tunes.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Idaho Trip - Part 2

So where did we leave off on the Idaho thing? Oh yeah! Grandpa and Darlene (still waiting for a pic of Darlene form SOMEONE!). Cool elderly people.

Really there is nothing else to talk about that is really exciting, because we didn't do anything really exciting in Idaho. Okay...unless you call stealing some plums off a wayward tree exciting. Yeah...we did. The Big Plum Caper. Before you question my integrity, let me 'splain. First, I didn't take them, my mom did (how's that for shifting accountability?!). Second, the tree was so overgrown with plums that it had broken and the branch we snagged the plums from was hanging over the guys fence into the street. Kind of. It was very, very close to the street. If you kind of pulled over to the edge of the street, onto the gravel. Third...there were about 3000 plums on that tree going to waste because no one, and I mean NO ONE, was tending to the tree or the plums! And you know what? They were

And I guess you could call our trip to the Golden Corral ( their rolls!) somewhat exciting. Actually not so much exciting as educational, because we had a rockin' tour guide who drove us through Nampa to get to the restaurant. His name is Chad. He's Darlene's grandson. He's 26. He's a good kid who works with Fish and Game and knows ALOT about farming and nature and stuff. I asked him tons of questions, mostly because I didn't want him to be bored driving around a van full of ladies that were 20-40 years older than him. I figured if I kept him talking he wouldn't think about how he could bail and leave us stranded on some backroad in rural Nampa. But Chad would never do that. Like I said...he's a really nice guy. Chad's the one who told me about silage (google it)and farming and how they grow seed corn. To grow hyrbrid seed corn, only one row out of five is allowed to keep its tassels. That one row, called the bull row, provides pollen to the heifer rows to produce the hybrid seed. I found it all fascinating. Maybe you don't, so I'll move on. But I'm all about layin' down some knowledge now and again, when I can. So now you have a topic of conversation next time there's a lull..."Hey, do you know how seed corn is grown?" People will be amazed that you know about seed corn. Unless you're in Idaho. Or Iowa. Or Nebraska. So only talk seed corn in the big city, at like an art exhibit. Yeah - your welcome.

Chad and his Entourage

So...back to Idaho. It was not exciting because we did not want exciting. We wanted relaxed. Which is exactly what we did. We went there to see Grandpa. We went to visit him everyday. We looked at pictures and listended to stories about him and his life.

And we puttered around Darlene's garden and we went to Walmart a few times. I know, sounds extremely boring. But it was really just what the doctor ordered. It was sooooo nice to just slow down and enjoy what was around me.

Me and Uncle Max puttering in Darlene's Garden

This particular part of Idaho is farming country, so almost everywhere we went there were farms and the most spectacular old barns, of which I got no pictures. Why? Because my camera sucks. I think I've said that before and NO I have not remedied the situation yet because there is no disposable income for a camera. There is no disposable income for anything!

So I borrowed this picture from Jane Loughney @

Old Wooden Barn And Shed North Of Moscow, Idaho

Lots and lots of barns like thise everywhere. Beautiful and sad to see them disappearing.

So back to the farms and such. Everywhere we went someone was growing something! Corn fields were present in abundance, as were melons, tomatoes, squash, sugar beets, pumkins, grapes and onions. It seems like everyone there has a garden as part of their landscaping. They just all grow stuff! Then when we listened to them talk? It was like a live lesson in commodities and futures trading! "So and so down the street bought this field of corn and he's gonna harvest it next week, then sell the silage to the dairy over at Emmett. Then we got 3 contracts of feed corn that we gotta get in and get shipped over to so and so, they're gonna process it sell it to the feedlots in Kansas." It was amazing to see the wheeling and dealing going on and that was just with the corn!

I sounds RIDONKULOUS that I am this enthralled with farming and produce. I just think it's cool. I guess maybe I really am a small town girl at heart. I would be absolutely at peace in a town where there is a Walmart or a Super Target and nothing but acres and acres of farms and fruit trees. As long as I have an internet connection. Hey...a girl's gotta stay connected, right?