"When a great adventure is offered, you do not refuse it." Amelia Earhart

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hey You Guuuuuys!!!

This brilliant and brand new blog hop is sure to be all the rage. The clever and super fun Dear You Guys comment letters from Liz at a belle, a bean, and a chicago dog have generated fits of laughter and beverages of all sorts snorted on computer screens everywhere. When you're done here, please read her old letters (you won't be disappointed!), check out the rules, and join in!

I get nowhere near the comment love she does, but I'm gonna give it a whirl anyway! And away we go:

Dear You Guys an Yunz and Ya'll (cuz Chi-Town can't get all the love),

College presentations blow.

Miss me some of those around here... especially when teens can be SO determined to do their own thing!

as long as no big, long-legged, hairy spiders show up for my performance... Love those little feet and hands!!

Oh yuck. I basically choke.

And...is he going for that water in the pet dish? Just hope he doesn't discover that the toilet has water in it, too.

Lucky you!

So many people would have just written him off because they wouldn't want to deal with him! What a great and rewarding moment for both of you!

I enjoy that irony....or whatever it is.....

Sometimes kids just want to know that someone cares and so they push a bit to see if you will really go the distance for them because no one else ever has.

Sounds like you have really worked to overcome your fear though. I always got nervous, but I did...well...the opposite of you!

Do you make house calls?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Not-So Good Samaritan Meets a Certain Doom

It all began when I was seven or eight. I was ecstatic. Enthusiastic. Inexperienced.

I was Jesus.

You heard that right, people.


I was far from arrogant; I was too young to know any better.

Vacation Bible School was ending and I was about to experience my first taste of The Stage. As none other than the King of Kings. The play was The Good Samaritan. I had one line. One tiny little line. Most likely that was the reason the part was appealing to me. That should have been a big red flag.

One tiny little line. I had it down. I had it up. I had it upside down, inside out, and skateboarding on my head around the corner while eating peanut butter. The whole neighborhood had it. Maybe that should have been the second clue.

For my character's sake, it was ONE LINE! Why involve the neighbors?

Sure enough, big ole butterflies kicked in the night before the big show. Mom was there to reassure me and make me feel like I could do no wrong. Love you, Mom! But apparently, that just wasn't enough.

Our small church stage had magically morphed into The Globe Theatre! At least that was the pressure that I had put upon myself. All I could think about were all of those eyes on me (all sixty or so).

I got all hot. Sweaty. Nauseous. I gulped it down and held it in. I watched everyone effortlessly and beautifully deliver their lines.

My cue summoned me.

My knees didn't buckle. Score!

I successfully escorted my shelter-seeking friend to the Inn Keeper. Yes! Big points for not tripping while walking the mile that was the width of the stage.

And then I went blank.


Except, of course, for the excruciating and scorching pain of humiliation and terror.

Speak?!? I couldn't even breathe! Just as the tears were about to let loose, the Inn Keeper (and my dear friend who just so happened to also be the Narrator, fully equipped with script in hand) fed me my line.




Public Speaking: my number one public enemy. This was my first memorable show down and far from my last.

Following that fateful summer, I was selected in the spring to recite a story I wrote. In front of the entire school. Let me just say this: I lived in a big city and my elementary school had moved into the old three story tall high school. Our assembly room was not the gym. It was a freaking fully loaded auditorium!

I did much better this time around. I had my paper. I read from it. I remember only looking up once and the stage lights were so blinding I could barely see the mass of faces before me.

This girl can read. Give me a script, and I'll read the heck outta it.

*** Fast forward a couple of years ***

Did you know they don't supply you with a script in a Spelling Bee???

I found that out in fourth grade. New state. New school. New opportunities for mortification.

I was a rock star in spelling. I could spell chrysanthemum forward, backward, inside out, upside down, and skateboarding on my head while eating peanut butter. As long as it was on paper.

Naturally, I made it into the school Spelling Bee and was quite proud of myself.

Until I got that old familiar feeling.

Let's just say I knew damn well how to spell bookkeeping, but the pressure of those unfamiliar eyes all boring into the New Girl got to me and I chose to misspell it to be released back to the safety of my seat.

*** College ***

By now I had faced my foe many times and had learned how to wrestle him into a sleeper hold so that I could be a successful student. I was by no means a good speaker, but good enough to maintain an honorable GPA and even give a few decent performances sans script.

Performance being the key word now. Give me a script and character to learn and I'll give you a damn fine mediocre performance.

But alas, not all of my classes were Shakespeare. There was also the lit class on Harlem, Haiti, and Havana. And the doctor of my certain doom who led this class. He was pretentious jazzhead who was always looking down his nose at us and exposing our ignorance with utter disdain.

So this one time I got up to do my presentation on some obscure Haitian poem that I was supposed to deconstruct. I hated the idea of standing before Dr. I'd Rather Be Playing My Bass.

More than that, I was suddenly terrified of voicing my own ideas about a foreign subject that I could only presume to know anything about. I suddenly could barely breathe again.


I did have a "script."

Silly girl! You think a script will bail you out of this one? Mwahahaha!!

There was another insidious plan taking shape. Dr. Expert on All Things Haitian (even though he's the whitest guy you've ever seen) began the ambush of questioning. I did fine for the first round.

Then the snickering began. It came from one person near the front.

And then another.

I fumbled. I lost my place. I stuttered.

Script! Script! Get back to the script!

I went back to the script.

Denied. Dr. You Will Not Dodge My Interrogation probed further about my comparison. He wanted a cited example. Of course he wanted support. So did I!

I just repeated my previous half-baked response in different words. He relentlessly pushed for more. I couldn't think clearly. My face was burning and my stomach was turning.

The snickering duo were now red-faced from attempts of holding in their maniacal laughter. And it was spreading. I never wanted to bolt out of someplace so badly in all my life. This was my



My indubitable tormented state was beyond awkward for the entire class by this point. Or at least my inability to come up with anything coherent that wasn't already written down was, because Dr. Doom of Deconstruction finally let me go ahead and finish my presentation from the paper. And I did that as quickly as possible.

After I made my way to my seat in the back of the room, I got a couple of words of encouragement and sympathy from my friends. Mostly in the form of, "What an asshole!" or "That was so wrong,"etc.

When class was dismissed, the classmate who started the whole humiliation process came over to me to apologize and explain that it wasn't me that they were laughing at but that there was a bug on the teacher. He seemed aware of the personal catastrophe I had experienced and appeared sincerely sorry for having played a key role. But I was sincerely pissed by that point and accepted his apology less than gracefully even though there was relief in knowing I was not the center of their joke.

That was eleven years ago.

Although I still prefer to hang around the edges of a room and deal with small groups, I can handle the heat of the spotlight much better now thanks to those experiences.

This was a double-dippin' entry into Mama Kat's Writer Workshop.


1.) Childhood fears you’ve taken into your adult life.

3.) Why were you mortified? Write about a true embarrassing moment as though it was happening in slow motion.

Mama's Losin' It

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: The Water Edition

Dozer loves him some splishy splashy fun. Anywhere he can get it.

This Wordless Wednesday is linked up with Kristi at Live and Love Out Loud and Alicia at A Beautiful Mess.

16 months ,20 lbs and counting

Last week I took Dozer in for his 15 month well visit (1 1/2 months late). He gained less than two pounds since our last visit, and doesn't come close to tipping the scale at 20 lbs 7oz. He's now officially below the 5th percentile in weight. And it's not for lack of food.

I wish I had that kind of metabolism. And energy. He just runs and climbs and dances and spins. All. The. Time.

So I don't sweat the weight thing. It's not as if he's skin and bones. He's just like I was -- a little squirt. And I'm very conscience about fueling him up with healthy foods.

Apparently what Dozer lacks in weight, he makes up for in all other areas. Fine motor skills, language, and other areas are all on target or a bit ahead.

The past few months have brought about a plethora of new skills, but these past few weeks his development has absolutely blasted off! It seems like every single day I am delighted and amazed to discover the new things he's learning.

For one, he is not merely imitating things he finds most amusing. He is copying everything. He has especially gotten into role playing. His favorite scenario is making toast and making sure everyone (yes, even the dogs) gets their fill. The funny thing is that I don't make toast very often, but seeing it done once was enough.

This has made me very aware of the fact that it is definitely time to censor my own actions and words that I have let slide. Junk food, soda, too much time on the computer, the occasional bad word, and snarky attitudes are all things I am trying to eliminate or reduce.

There's nothing like toddler experimentation in balance (how long can one stand on one foot on designated wheeled object), gravity (dangling head first from the tallest piece of furniture he can climb), and shape and spacial discrimination (which item fits best in inappropriate places such as the dogs' ears, nose, and other orifices) to curb the pull of the blogosphere.

Speaking of experiments...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Keeping it out of reach

Phew! It has been a very busy past couple of weeks. I have so much to reflect on, record, and celebrate. New discoveries and happy get-togethers have been abundant and are ongoing. Once I get a chance to breathe, I will elaborate.

For now, here is something that I have recently been reminded of that is so very important. Every day is an opportunity to be better version of yourself. As difficult as it may sometimes be, start it fresh. Cleanse the palette. Forgive the indiscretions and forget the shortcomings of yesterday so you can move forward today.

In my line of work as a brain trainer, this positive attitude is crucial to success. Not merely my success, but to the success of my young clients. Most of the children and teens I work with have been through the gauntlet.

Many of our clients have some form of ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, are on the autism disorder, or have any other number of issues that cause moderate to severe learning and social problems. Due to their struggles, many of these bright but frustrated children often have behavior issues and low self-esteem.

Every child that walks through the door is completely unique with a different set of obstacles to overcome. Sadly, some of them hear more about their failures than their successes. Many of them have learned from teachers, friends, family, and others to aim for mediocrity, or to do whatever it takes just to get to the next step.

One thing I've learned from this job is to try to not set expectations. Learn to expect the unexpected. If I ask my clients only to do what I expect they can do, then that may be all I get in return. That would be the greatest disservice of all.

For example, I have had the privilege of working with some extremely challenging children in the past few months. By challenging, I mean oppositional.

One teenager had learned at school that misbehavior was "rewarded" by out of school suspension, where he could be lazy and fool around at home. He was bound and determined to prove that our program was some kind of farce or scam. He tried to get out of working through debate, complaining, and even making inappropriate conversation or remarks (yup, sexual in nature). He was hoping I would send him home to mommy. As much as I would have liked to relieve myself of this menace, I never buckled.

However, a couple of times I made the mistake of going to work with the expectation of little work getting done. Let's just say those sessions were a couple of the worst and longest sessions ever. That was my lesson in always going to work with a clean slate and an optimistic attitude.

Guess what?

That particular teenager yielded the best results (in cognitive gains) of all my clients to date at the end of his program.

Where would any of us be if we only set the bar within our reach?

The impossible can always be broken down into possibilities.
~Author Unknown

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Thursday, August 19, 2010


It's that time of the week again: Friday !!! Woo-hoo!!! That also means it's time for another edition of Five Question Friday with Mama M.

1. Do you have any nicknames and if so how did it come about?

Nothing exciting or interesting. DadMan calls me "L."

When I was a baby my mom called me "punkin' puss" -- endearing, I know. And I was the happy baby. My sister screamed her head off nonstop and she got "Snookums." What gives?

2. What is your birth order amongst your siblings?

I grew up as the oldest and exhibit the typical "first born" qualities. Responsible, independent, people-pleaser, got good grades, somewhat uptight, all that and a bag of chips.

The thing is, I found out when I was 22 that I am not the first born. Gasp! At least not to my father.
Not only that, but my brother is just two years older than me. Scandalous!

And for those of you who have been dying to put a face to the blog, that's yours truly on the right!

3. In a movie of your life, who would play your significant other?

Honestly, I can think of no one who could portray DadMan. He's one of a kind, that's for sure.

4. What is currently your favorite song?

Always has been and probably always will be: Stand By Me by Ben E. King

5. Are you saving your money for anything right now? Big or small purchase?

I wish I could say I was saving. We're pretty much paycheck to paycheck right now.

Well, I am trying to scrape a little stash together to get Dozer into a fun music or gymnastics toddler class. I've been feeling pretty guilty about the fact that he's stuck with adults most of the time.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Where is This?

This is where I vacationed last summer. Let's see if you know where I went!

Linking up this Wordless Wednesday with Kristi at Live and Love... Out Loud and Alicia at A Beautiful Mess.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Visits from the family

I love my family.

Love them to pieces and pieces. And not just my little family.

I'm talkin' 'bout the whole famn damily. The sweet aunts, crazy uncles, naughty cousins, and yes, even the in-laws (mine just happen to be the most awesome, by the way).

I love them so much that I am torn to pieces when they leave.

Every time.

Even after spending a few days crammed into a 1600 sq ft townhome, most of that time the 10-14 of us (plus two dogs) were all squished together around the breakfast bar/kitchen/dining room/family room "great room" area. Even after three nights on an air mattress and an aching back. I would gladly do it for another week to be able to spend more time with them.

My Aunt Mare is the coolest. She is one of the most gracious, generous, sensible, fun, sincere people I know. Being the youngest (and only daughter) of seven, with six of the most rambunctious, mischeivous, antagonizing, and over-protective brothers, I am amazed and awed that she turned out to be so tolerant and loving. With everything they put her through (especially my dad), she had every right to be a total princess or be-yotch and she isn't close to being either. She is the glue that holds them all together.

I strive to be a little more like her and hope that some day I am half the wife, mother, sister, and friend that she is.

Her husband is also ubercool. Impeccable taste in the categories of (but not limited to): music, beer, and literature. He educated my little sister in "Tequila" (the song, people!) and had her singing and doing the PeeWee Herman dance in public when she was three. He does crosswords in ink. He has had some hilarious socially awkward moments but is also very charming, gracious, and likable so he can get away with it without being thought of as a jackass.

The kiddo dances to a beat all her own. At sixteen, her highlight of this trip was the visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. To each her own. But she totally embraces her geekiness and kudos to her for that! She is a thinker, a writer, compassionate, unique, and funny. A beautiful and thoughtful girl.

This visit was all about spending time together. No pressure to entertain or anxiety over whether they were bored or uncomfortable. We ate, laughed, walked on the beach, drank wine, watched movies, played games...

simply enjoyed each other.

And Dozer soaked up the extra attention like the thirstiest of all sponges.

And looked very sad to see the packed bags going back into the rental car. He even cried. Hard.

Broke my heart.

Must work harder at convincing them to move south.

Friday, August 13, 2010

5QF: This blistering Belle went to Costa Rica with Jack last autumn

Linking up with Mama M. over at My Little Life for another Five Question Friday.

1. Have you ever visited another country?

When I was seventeen my family went to Costa Rica for five days. It was such an amazing experience. First of all, the rainforest and coastal areas are paradise on earth. The second place we stayed was awesome. I'm talking lush greenery everywhere, an open-air dining area, and monkeys that came down from the trees at exactly 5:30 every evening to be hand fed bananas. Secondly, aside from all the fun, it was an eye-opening experience to visit a third world country and I came back with a sincere appreciation for all that I had in life.

2. Where is the strangest place you have ever been?

I used to do all of the estimating for my dad's window treatment business. Every once in awhile, I would find myself in some pretty weird homes. In one house I was surrounded by clocks EVERYWHERE. I mean there wasn't an inch of bare wall to be seen. But that still doesn't beat the time I went to an affluent neighborhood to find a middle-aged man in nothin' but his skivvies and red "sneaker" slippers eating cereal with a bottle of Jack and CMT blaring so that you woulda thought the concert was in his living room. At ten in the morning. I got out of there as fast as I could.

3. What is your favorite season?

Hold up... there are seasons?!? Here in Central FL we have chilly (below 70), beautiful and comfortable, blazing and stifling, and some more comfortable. As such, I love it all with summer being my least favorite.

The season I miss the most is autumn. Every year when late September sneaks up I get this insatiable desire to go north. Growing up in Pennsylvania, fall was absolutely beautiful driving through the hills of amber, red, and gold.

Sigh... what I would do for a big pile of crunchy leaves and a chilly hayride right now...

4. What one song will always cheer you up?

Gosh, there are so many...

Right now the irresistible bassline of the Violent Femmes' Blister in the Sun comes to mind. I wanna jump up and dance just thinking of it.

5. What Disney character do you resemble most?

hmmm... probably Belle (in looks and nature), as boring as that may be. (And DadMan even resembled the Beast well in his long-haired days. heehee)

Off to finish up the housework before our company comes for the weekend. Woo-hoo!!!

Have a fantabulous weekend!!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

When Mom's Away, The Boys Will Play in Their Special Way

It's no big secret that fathers do things waaay differently than moms, especially when play and bedtime are involved. Last night was my latest lesson on this particular gender study.

At 8:30 pm, I was summoned to the very ER room I sat in all day with DadMan ten days ago. Exactly how I wanted to spend my Friday evening! But there was a minor family emergency involving a bad spill (the beer overfloweth and so did this particular loved one) and precautions were to be made. Everything and everyone checked out okay and we were able to write it off as a "better safe than sorry" incident. More could be elaborated upon and enjoyed but I will spare said loved one any further embarrassment.

Meanwhile, back at the nut house DadMan decided to forego the whole brush-your-teeth-read-a-few-stories-turn-out-the-light-sing-a-few-diddies-wrestle-tickle-snuggle-til-he-finally-gives-in-to-sleep extravaganza that I like to call bedtime. DadMan's version is let the overtired kid run himself into the ground until he craps out.

Brushing of the teeth? Hellz to the NO-O: he'll know what time it is.

PJs? P-shaw. Who needs 'em?

Going gently into the night? No way! It's a fight til the end. A fierce battle of willpower -- who will break first? Ultimately, DadMan did come out of this one victorious. After a good wrestling match and enduring twenty minutes or so of Dozer screaming like a wild banshee, that is.

And in case you were wondering earlier what I meant exactly by "running into the ground," here's a little video DadMan took of the exciting new activity he devised. I must say, it was pretty darned innovative. I never would have dreamt up this baby.

But right before bed? Is it really any wonder why it was such a struggle? I mean after all that bright fun new stimulation, who would want to sweetly resign themselves to slumber?

Kinda takes the laser pointer fun with the dog or cat to a whole new level, huh?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thankful to be getting back to (our version) of normal

I'll just start out by saying the past two weeks have been one huge steaming pile of a *hot mess*! (see how far behind I am on the WOW?)

As many of you know, poor DadMan was going through an absolutely terrible flare-up of his mystery ailment. And I was up to my elbows in puke buckets, sweaty sheets, soiled blankets... you get the lovely picture. Last Wednesday we spent the entire day in the ER getting him hydrated, poked, prodded, scanned, etc.

Thank goodness, by Friday he was beginning to feel better, slowly gaining back weight, energy, and his sense of humor. He was *effervescent* even -- in more ways than one! He was light on his feet, making a million plans a minute (like the fantastic one about taking a spontaneous road trip to Michigan the very next day - yeah, like that was really gonna happen), and serenading the entire neighborhood with deep delicious belches.

We still have no idea what is causing these episodes as once again, the CT and bloodwork showed nothing. But we did get a referral to a new GI, so hopefully he will be able to shed some light on his situation. Unfortunately, these problems can only really be examined in the midst of the episode so we will have to wait for the next one. It would be awesome and I would be forever grateful if that day never comes, though!

A week later and I am still a bit behind on laundry and housework and have some major cabin fever! It's getting there, but we have relatives coming in from Pittsburgh (yay!!!) so there's a lot to be done.

Also, around here school starts on Monday -- can you believe that???

This means that I go back to working afternoons (another big YAY!).

Working afternoons = mornings with Dozer!!!

I have been feeling like the worst mother lately because he has spent most of the summer inside. It was just too stinking hot and humid by the time I got home from work to play outside! If we don't play outside by 11 am, it's just not happening because:

A) it's just oppressive and
B) I don't want to risk him getting third degree burns from a sizzling swing or slide or the sidewalk (seriously - there are crispy crunchy dead earthworms everywhere this year - blech!).

This was probably the most boring post ever, but that's where I've been. I'm pretty sure you didn't really want all of the juicy details from my vomit-infested week anyway, right? You can thank me by putting in a good word with the Nerd Mafia. And you betchyer sweet assnick that pun was intentional!

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

My very first award!

A big thanks goes out to Misty over at Baby Boberg Bump for honoring me with this:

So I am officially "versatile!" Is that the bloggers' nice of saying "all over the place with a general lack of focus" because that's the way I feel half the time! ;)

Now I'm supposed to list seven random factoids about yours truly. Here ya go:

  1. DadMan and I first dated in high school for a couple of months. He loved to party and move in big groups. I was very shy and hated attention. It was doomed from the beginning, right? Fast forward six years: we were reacquainted and met somewhere in the middle. Now we balance each other out pretty well.
  2. Favorite candy bar: Twix
  3. When bumping into old rowing pals I am still reminded of the time I wore two different sneakers to practice. Glad you were so amused!
  4. I love dialects and accents (my native language being Pittsburghese).
  5. I do a killer Sean Connery. (no, really -- I murder him! I love listening to accents but have yet to master the fine art of impersonation) Just ask DadMan who finds great pleasure in humiliating me by forcing me to do it around other people.
  6. I am a Big Sister to an amazing young woman. We may have outgrown the program, but we will never outgrow our "soul sisterhood."
  7. Sadly, I have only traveled outside of the U.S. once. However, it was to Costa Rica and for that whole experience I feel truly blessed.

As a new blogger on the block I am hard pressed to find bloggers on my list that have yet to receive this award. So, I am passing this along to 15 wonderful people I have recently found who always offer thought-provoking, poignant, interesting posts. Or at the very least they make me smile or laugh. In no particular order:

  1. Bethany: Organic Enchilada

  2. Booyah's Mom: The Adventures of Chip and Bobo

  3. Hannah: Our Happy Home

  4. Liz: a belle, a bean, and a chicago dog

  5. Betsy: funky mama bird

  6. Nina: Momma Go Round

  7. Sherri: Old Tweener

  8. Lula Lola Maddy May Jane Scooterbug Drakeford Truesdale (whew! I hope I got that right!): Lula Lola

  9. Natalie: Mommy of a Monster (I Mean Toddler) and Infant Twins

  10. Alicia: A Beautiful Mess

  11. Amber: Striving for 31

  12. Chelsea: Chelsea's Psycho Babble

  13. Melissa: Confessions of a Dr. Mom

  14. Jenny: Happenings of a Little Bubba

  15. Kristi: live and love... out loud

If you're listed above, congratulations! I love peeking into your lives and minds through your writings. If you haven't already done so a gazillion times, please post your seven random facts and pass this award on to 15 other deserving bloggers.

Please don't forget to stop by and say hi to Misty! She's a sweet mama who loves books, cooking, and her cutie pie Murphylicious.

Lastly, I would like to thank all of you who expressed your concern and support for our family while we endure this stressful ailment that has resurfaced. DadMan is still quite under the weather and in a great deal of discomfort and sometimes pain, but his sense of humor is still in tact. I am sorry if I have not gotten back to each of you personally, but I am full of gratitude and encouragement by all of the support and sweet sentiments you have shown.

Many blessings!

You may have noticed I haven't posted or given out much comment love in a few days. Thursday evening DadMan started to have another of his "episodes" or flare-ups.

Over the past four years, once or twice a year he gets these absolutely horrendous "episodes" where he cannot keep anything down. I won't go into further detail because it's far from a pretty picture. The first and worst episode lasted three weeks and landed him in the ER with severe dehydration. In a little less than four days, he had lost 40 lbs and was not even able to keep fluids down.

In the past three years DadMan has had nearly every exploratory procedure done to try to find out what is causing this. He's had his gallbladder removed, numerous CT scans and ultrasounds, MRIs, MRCP, endoscopies, a colonoscopy, lots of bloodwork, and probably a few other tests I am now forgetting.

It had been a full year since his last bout with this and last summer his GI actually told him he was stumped and couldn't do anything more for us.

So here we are again. Discouraged by the fact the GI doesn't have much more to offer besides another referral, DadMan just went to our family doctor this time and got some anti-nausea meds. Fortunately, this round hasn't been quite as bad as the others. He's only lost about 20 lbs. (crazy that I say only) and he has actually been able to drink fluids and keep very small amounts (literally a few bites) of bland foods down.

Any prayers you could offer for a speedy recovery and some answers are very much appreciated!

I've been so busy with more important matters that I have yet to post about my very first award! Stay tuned for further details...

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Mama's Losin' It

Linking up with another of Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. It was a tough call because there were some great prompts, but this week the prompt I chose was:

Write about your wedding song. What was it and why did you choose it?

So about five weeks ago I packed up the kiddo and headed north to the 'burgh for my big brother's wedding. The church was majestic. The reception was at a gorgeous but quaint little-known farm nestled away in the green rolling hills, with flowers blooming, a serene deck with pretty white wicker chairs. It was idyllic to the Nth degree. And when the glowing newlyweds took their first turn on the dance floor it looked like this:

Ah... so beautiful and oh so sweet! And there was the voice of an angel that sounded like this:

Wait a minute, there! Is that Eva Cassidy's Songbird serenading my brother and his blushing bride?!? The same Songbird that spun for DadMan and me 5 1/2 years ago?!?

Yes. It. Was.

Oh, no, he didn't!!!

In his defense, my brother wasn't at my wedding. Truth be told, we didn't even know each other back then. Brother of a different mother. That's another story.

But I do specifically remember having an entire conversation about this song at our Emerald Isle family vacation three summers ago. I was nebbing through his playlist and was all, "You know Eva Cassidy???" Many people don't. Especially guys. This was when I learned just how ecclectic my big brother's palette of music is. Marilyn Manson. Robert Johnson. Fergie. Eva Cassidy. Oh, yeah -- back to the angelic songbird herself.

So we talked about Eva Cassidy, her amazing and breathtaking vocals, the tragedy (melanoma sent her to heaven at just 33), and the fact that Songbird was one of my all-time favorite songs and

my. wedding. song.

In all seriousness, I loved the fact that they also chose this song. Her rendition is truly one of the most beautiful songs ever. EVER. How could I possibly blame them for also wanting to dance to the most pure and heavenly love songs ever created? And amazingly enough, so many people have never heard it.

Or at least not until Love, Actually. Remember that sweet and steamy scene with Laura Linney and the hot Brazilian guy who played Carl (and Paulo on Lost)? This was the song playing while they almost got it on. Almost. (That was one of those characters you just wanted to strangle and slap silly!) Anyway, that was the first time I ever heard this song and just remember thinking, "Who is this?! I am so in love with this song!" and playing the scene again and again just so I could hear the song again. Well, it may have also had a tiny something to do with the mostly naked Brazilian actor -- hey, I wasn't married yet!

Songbird instantly became one of my most beloved songs and I knew that it was what I wanted to dance to at my wedding. As far as DadMan was concerned, I could do whatever I wanted for the wedding as long as I ordered the white cake with buttercream icing and amaretto filling!

For those of you who are not already acquainted, please have a listen. I double-dog dare you not to be completely captivated by its power and beauty!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: 4 Generations of Fine Dining

Dozer enjoying the taste of history from his great grandmother's high chair.

She was the first to sit upon this throne and many have since including my father, his six siblings, myself, and countless cousins and their children.

How it remains intact and standing tall after all of those rambunctious boys remains a mystery!

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Monday, July 19, 2010

The Anti-Bucket List

Bucket lists here, bucket lists there, bucket lists are everywhere! I have been thinking about doing one, but haven't quite gotten around to it. Partly because where does it end? There's always more to add. That's the way it is for me anyway, and so it proved to be a daunting task. Maybe I just need to break it down into a more manageable list. Like, This Month's Bucket List. Or If I Kick It Before Friday. That's just too morbid.

Sooo, when I heard that song "Glitter in the Air" by Pink on the drive home from work today, I got inspired to make a different kind of list.

Here's a small compilation of moments that took my breath away, made me hold my breath, made me feel intensely loved, frightened, peaceful, happy, embarrassed, blessed, thankful. Those heart-racing or heart-wrenching moments that have shaped who I am and those that push me to be more and do more or maybe just slow down for a bit to focus on what's truly important. These are some of the times or things I was doing when I felt most alive. Really alive.

Some are big moments, the ones in which I felt the rest of my life hinged on the delicate balance of what would happen next (or just happened). Some are just plain silly. Such is this beautiful thing we call life.

Have you ever:

Held your breath to hear that first cry?

Stayed awake all night just to watch someone you love sleep?

Done cartwheels down the middle of a sidewalk or street?

Laughed out loud at the most inappropriate time or place (and got many others to join in, while trying hard to contain yourself)?

Let the current just carry you and not worry about where you'll end up?

Gotten lost in a very dodgy (I just love that word!) neighborhood in an unfamiliar city?

Known that God was watching out for you, because you and your passengers just came out of a life-threatening situation with not so much as a scratch?

Slept all night in a hammock in open air with the one you love most?

Stood at the edge of a waterfall? (despite others' pleas to step back a few feet)

Entrusted your life to another (named MadDog, no less) whom you were strapped to and was jumping out of a plane?

Given a stranger in need a ride home?

Prayed for someone you passed by on the street?

Played in the rain? during a thunderstorm? at a water park or the beach?

Heard God whisper to hold on tightly to the person you were hugging because you wouldn't get another opportunity?

Take a vacation to a (faraway) place you've never been all by yourself?

Been laughed at in front of a classroom when trying to present a project, could no longer focus or complete a coherent sentence, just rambled on well enough to get the hell out of there only to find out that it wasn't actually you that was being laughed at but you were already completely traumatized because you were deathly afraid of speaking in front of people and just made a total asswipe out of yourself and delivered the most awful and awkward presentation ever? I've made peace with it. Really. Okay, maybe not so much.

Watched someone you love (who is not a firefighter) fight a fire (of a stranger's home)?

Watched someone you love jump off of a bridge? (And just as he entered the water, thought Oh, shit! My mom and dad are gonna be beyond pissed and I am gonna be so dead! when the police officer interrogated your group and then gaped in amazement as that someone ever so smoothly talked his way out of trouble.)

Watched someone you love get a jumping spinning hook kick powerfully delivered to his head, rendering him quite senseless with a concussion?

Watched and cursed someone you love as he very nearly got you both killed, leaving your newborn child parentless, by following someone too closely while you were on a "leisurely" beach ride on his motorcycle?

Yes, DadMan was that someone. This is but a mere sampling of his daredevilry. He was pretty crazy in his youth. and still is apparently... the last one was just last year. How he -- no, we -- survived these things, God only knows ;)

Held someone's hand so long you couldn't tell where their's ended and your's began?

Performed in front of hundreds of people?

Been comforted by a dog at a time of despair?

Gotten two hours of sleep only to wake up early to drive an hour to the beach for the sole purpose of watching the sun rise? And then drive back two hours later to make it to class on time?

Watched your husband take care of your baby for the first time and think you couldn't possibly love and adore him more than at that moment?

Okay, so I'll leave it at 25 for now. I'm not going to get so ambitious to make this into a meme or anything. However I would really love to hear your "Have you ever"s! Please feel free to share by putting one or two in the comments or dropping off a link in the comments to a post you create on the same topic.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Barefoot Books

There's been a lot of chatter lately of restlessness, boredom, and countdowns of the days until school starts. As a mom of a toddler, I can't yet begin to relate to the panic or exhaustion of keeping the kids entertained (Dozer still thinks his dirty socks are the most fascinating and hilarious things he's ever seen}.

But since there has been all of this talk, I thought it may be a good time to shamelessly plug my little side business as a Barefoot Books Ambassador. If you love books as much as I do, you've gotta check them out! I had never even heard of Barefoot before February and couldn't believe what I had been missing out on once I found them.

Barefoot Books is an independent children's book publisher, started by two moms who wanted to produce engaging and inspirational books that offer a genuine alternative to much of the widespread commercial products that pass off as literature these days. The core values of Barefoot are to inspire children to imagine, create, explore, connect, and give back. Aren't those values we all try to instill in our children every day?

So, if you haven't already noticed the button on my sidebar to the right, there is a fantastic summer sale going on through the end of the July. Over 100 titles are discounted, many around 25%, some as much as 60%. If you're the opposite of me and like to get a head start on Christmas shopping, it's worth a peek. Or if you need some road trip material, many books come with CDs and there are plenty of activity books to keep your monst-- I mean angels busy.

Really, I try not to be that self-promoting or sales-pitching kind of person, so I hope this didn't turn you off. I am just that much in LOVE with these amazing storytellers and artists, as is my little one. Just check them out (at the library for all I care) -- I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

Dozer's Digs:
  1. I Took the Moon for a Walk
  2. Bear on a Bike
  3. The Animal Boogie

We also offer tons of free downloadable goodies!

I'm always looking for great reads for the bambino and would love to hear about your kids' favorites!

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Friendly Friday Find and Five Question Friday

Look at these little cuties DadMan saved this morning! Unfortunately, he didn't know they were in the street until after he backed over two :(

He was quick to look all over and find three more, scoop them up and deliver them to the sanctity of the back yard, where they went straight to the pond for a morning dip.

And now on to my first ever Five Question Friday:

1. Do you collect anything?

Do dirty diapers count? No matter how hard I try to rid myself of them, they seem to magically and exponentially appear again. Also in this category: ants, spiders, dust, and graham cracker crumbs. As for conventional collections: no, DadMan collects enough junk for everyone in our family.

2. Name 3 celebrities that you find good looking.

Matt Bohmer. I think that's his name. The guy from White Collar.
hmmm... now I can't think of any others or get him out of my head. Seriously, it should be illegal for anyone to be so good looking!

Gerald Butler. I'm a big sucker for rugged guys. Throw in an accent (especially an Irish rogue) and forget about it!

Did I mention Matt Bohmer?

3. Do you have any scars? If so, what's the story behind it (them?)?

I've got several pox scars on my face, which is funny considering I had the chicken pox when I was three months old and my mom said I didn't even know they were there. I also have a scar above my right eye from a coffee table incident. There's a scar in my the knuckle of my left index finger that I can't for the life of me remember how it got there. When you're a professional ass-kicker such as myself, you just don't remember every little bump and bruise you get along the way.

4. What is a food that you like to eat, but others might think it's gross or weird?

french fries + ice cream (especially a chocolate Frosty)

5. Have you ever seen a tornado in real life?

No, but I dream about them all the time! Psychoanalyze that one, ladies!

If you want to join in on the fun, head over to My Little Life to link up!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The 1st Annual Toddler Summer Games

I'm very excited about Dozer's participation in the Toddler Summer Games for his first time. Last summer's Baby Summer Games were full of wins, surprises, and upsets as Dozer worked his way through challenging events such as the Nursing Marathon, Bottle-chugging, Burping, Diaper Wrangling, Giggling, and Toe Tasting.

This year's games started off with a bang! The house was totally rocked by Dozer's Opening Ceromony performance. He showed off his mad rat-a-tat-tat skills all over the house with his signature wooden spoon.

Dozer then gave a special interview to DadMan, in which he emphatically detailed his morning preparations.

DadMan: How do you get ready for a big day of training?

Dozer: Bananas, bananas, milk, bananas. Maybe some oatmeal and blueberries, if Mom's coaching. Did I mention bananas? They really get me goin' in the morning.

Then I like to chill with you and Special Agent Oso for a few minutes while I digest. He's got some great strategies, that guy. Helps me get my mental game on.

DadMan: True, true. Umm. I think you missed Step Two: Make sure you get all banana in mouth.

Dozer: Dude, I don't do the stringy parts. Besides, leaving just a bit in the hair is a major chick magnet. Really. The girlies go cuh-razy and they just can't keep their hands off me!

DadMan: hmmph. Oh, yeah. You'll score big with that strategy in twenty years.

Dozer: Don't be a hater. You know, your snarky 'tude is killing my banana buzz. Mama! Maaamaaa! Mah mah mah mah mah!! Maaaaaaa!!!

Coach Mom instantly appears and the games begin!

First up: Toy Toss.

Dozer proves to be a natural at this event, as little Elmo, building blocks, trucks, rings, keys, phones, and everything else is cleared out of the toy box. Dozer truly excels at distance and speed in this challenge. And he makes it look so easy!

Second: Toy Hurdle.

Dozer's agility shines through as he makes the amazing feats of scaling precariously strewn about toys with reckless abandon.

Third: Train Luge

Down goes Frasier! Well, folks, apparently Dozer isn't going to take the gold in all of this year's events. Wait! Wait! I don't believe it... He's getting up and giving it another go!

Coach Mom is quick to intervene, saying he needs to develop those balancing skills some more before another attempt.

Fourth: Yogurt Eating Contest.

No commentary needed here. I think you can create a good mental image of this one.

Fifth: The Kitchen Marathon

This may be Dozer's best event. This kid has the stamina of a certain unstoppable pink bunny! Coach Mom joined in at Lap 10 and went down at the second turn in Lap 23. Dozer gave a wry laugh as hurdled her left leg. Lap 24: Dozer peers at the collapsed Coach, who was stretching a calf, with a mixture of amusement and disdain. The word pathetic flashes in his mind. The boy wonder keeps going strong, though Coach lost count around Lap 36.

Someone get this kid on the New York Marathon registry!

Coach tries to encourage Dozer to save some energy for the next day's events. Dozer not-so-politely declines. The success may be getting to his head. Apparently, he thinks he can take on Superman. Coach explains that even Superman took a rest in his icy castle. Ha! he laughs maniacally. Naps are for the weak at heart!

Sixth: Wrestling.

Another awesome display of expertise as we see the tiny tot contort his body into unbelievable positions. Don't let the teensy package fool you, folks! The wiry and unrelenting strength of Dozer, coupled with his indomitable and tempered spirit are wearing his opponent down. As does the streak of poo that he strategically planted on her left elbow during the match.

Uh-oh. Coach does not condone playing dirty.

Seventh: Synchronized Splashing.

"Dodge and avoid" pretty much encapsulate the object of this game and the little athlete does it well against the ever-approaching washcloth.

Upcoming and ongoing events include:
  • 100 yd Sidewalk Dash

  • Bedtime Book-a-thon

  • Toothbrush Tackle

  • Big Bouncy Ball Ricochet

  • Tennis Ball Shot Put

  • Dance-a-thon

  • Bull (dog) Riding

  • Mom Riding

  • Couch Climbing

Note: no shutter speed is fast enough to record Dozer's victory V as he zooms past!

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday Surprise

Today was just what I needed. One of my most favorite people in the whole wide world surprised us and came into town for a visit!

Now, my little sister only lives about an hour away but as far as I'm concerned, it could be light years when we only see each other once or twice a month. Just two days ago she was telling me all about her busy party party party single life and saying how she didn't think she'd make it over this way for a few weeks. A few weeks?!

I have a dirty little trick that I love to play on her, though. Whenever she gets like that -- too busy to come around -- I begin the assault. I bombard her with videos, pictures, and stories via email, Facebook, telephone of the little man. He is the one temptation she just can't resist!

So it began earlier this week. She actually did fairly well resisting the photos and his nonsense chatter on the phone this time, so I had to take it to the next level. Friday afternoon I told her all about Dozer's latest discovery and fixation: pictures of her hanging on the wall! I then detailed how he has been making me pick him up to let him point out the people (especially Aunt GiGi) and how excited he gets when I talk about her.

Oh, yeah.

That did it.

Within three hours, she had gone from, "I'm just going to have a relaxing weekend at home and get some stuff done," to "So, I am doing this and that on Saturday, meeting someone for brunch on Sunday, and then maybe I'll come over and we can take Little Man to the pool?"

So, we ended up having a really nice family day over at Mimi and Pap's. Sun, swimming, chicken enchiladas for dinner, and dancing with Dozer to Jimmy Buffet. I'm not a big Buffet fan, but it was that kind of day. Beautiful. Relaxing. Just the type of recharging I needed to regroup and get motivated again. Maybe no changes in latitude, but definitely changes in attitude.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Letting Go

The past few months have been extremely challenging for my family on several levels. Our well dried up, we have moved my dear MIL and Nana into our house, we lost our dog (our first child, really) Rocket, our A/C units have totally crapped out, we moved (and are still moving) MIL and Nana out of our house, both of our cars need work, and the list goes on and on. We are in a very bad financial place and our marriage is suffering the strains of the pressure that has been applied to nearly all areas of our life.

Some days it is really difficult to keep it together. However, I have complete faith that everything will work out. It always does; sometimes it just doesn't happen the way we would like. I think that the biggest lesson I'm still struggling with most is when to let go and when to stand firm.

Things I have learned to let go for the sake of my family and my sanity:
  • my job: even though I was in the position to run my Dad's business from his house with tot in tow, I came to the quick realization that I was doing both jobs half-assed
  • our house: we were struggling when I was working full time; when I quit working at "home" F/T and went back to my P/T afternoon job it just wasn't enough to pay the bills. Though we still have our house, we will soon be saying good-bye to it and the dreams we had of restoring it and raising our family in it.
  • all the little extras: date nights out, getting hair done, movie dates with mom and sister, vacations, eating out, etc.
  • free time: what is that again?? scrapbooking? card-making? hour-long walks? teaching karate? reading books that don't have pictures in them from cover to cover? give me 27 hours in a day and maybe I'll get back to some of these... I suppose I could let go of blogging...
  • my hang-ups: not letting the hub's dirty dishes, socks, and undies strewn about get me angry
  • my pride: humbled am I, but gratitude and hope remains
  • the idea that I have to be everything to everyone: trying to make everyone happy all the time is exhausting and impossible

My husband and I sometimes have some very different priorities and values. Sometimes this difference in perspective makes us a great team. Sometimes I can't stand to even be around him because of this. We went around and around about the pros and cons of the work and house issues. I had to learn to stand up to him on these issues, because I know that this time with our son is precious and fleeting. It may be selfish, but I was not willing to work FT to keep our house, sacrificing the opportunity to be the one raising our son.

Over the past 5 1/2 years of our blessed union, I have learned many things. One of the most important is to choose my battles very carefully. I love my husband with all my heart and as difficult as it is some days, our marriage is not something I will "let go."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Shave your face with some mace in the dark

Now that the kiddo has finally decided to take a nap, here is the promised story of our Fourth of July incident:

Soggy weather and a very tired Dozer dampened plans to take him to see fireworks for the first time, but it surely didn't prevent big explosions from happening.

After hanging out at Grammy and Nana's for a bit, we ventured home when Dozer began rubbing his eyes and stumbling into everything in his path. The next hour or so is a bit fuzzy as I was focused solely on getting the crankster to bed. I do remember DadMan and EvyMonster going out for something.

A little note on EvyMonster: she may be a big fierce Doberman, but she is scared silly of loud noises and rumblings.


EvyMonster + teeny Nissan Sentra + fireworks everywhere + a not-so-strategically located bottle of pepper spray (DadMan planted and insisted I carry in my car always) = disaster for DadMan.

This is how it all went down:

I'm savoring the peace of some coveted "me" time when in comes DadMan. He had been looking like someone just delivered a swift sidekick to his gutt. Evy bound in leaping around (nothing too unusual there). I asked what the matter was and if he was okay. He didn't answer. Then I realized he wasn't exactly breathing with ease. So I got up and persisted, "What is going on?!?" while I was rubbing my itchy eyes.

"Your pepper spray went off," he wheezed. I fight the urge to cough. I lose. I didn't have to ask how because this isn't the first time this has happened. In fact, this is the third time Evy somehow took off the safety and proceeded to shower herself and others with the pepper spray.

You'd think we would have learned our lesson by now that it was more of a danger to us than anyone else. But no-oo, DadMan insisted we keep it and find another place for it. Each time. I could put the damned thing in the trunk and she would still find it! (There will not be a fourth as I promptly put the assailant in it's proper place -- the trash)

After a few minutes, DadMan elaborated on the way she jumped from the backseat into the front and in the process set off the deadly stream directly at DadMan and my dash. Luckily, it only got his arm. Unfortunately, that was enough for him to be sent into an immediate eye-watering, coughing frenzy for the rest of the ride home.

It was pretty funny actually listening to his line of reasoning and detailing the trip. I mean, come on, wouldn't most people pull over and air out a bit first or something? Not DadMan. He chose to drive down the street and through the neighborhood hanging out of the door. My very own Ace Ventura. Just what I always dreamed of.

Once things settled, we took EvyMonster outside for a hose-down. It was now around midnight and we were doing our best to be quiet so as not to awaken any slumbering babes, which is not the easiest of tasks given Evy's strong dislike of baths. However, it was the easiest bath we've ever had to give. Poor girl, she must have really been feeling the sting for her to submit so easily!

DadMan finally was feeling better as well and started laughing. "Straight from Beck."

My tired, annoyed, and stressed brain failed to make the connection. "huh?"

"Shave your face with some Mace in the dark..."

So we bust into laughter with our soaped up EvyMonster, singing:

"Soy un perdedor. I'm a loser, baby!..."

and thanked God we don't have maggots on our sleeves.

p.s. -- any ideas on how to get my dash clean? So far nothing I've tried has been able to cut through the foggy residue left behind. Poor Sentra; the beating goes on...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Boy and His Ball. And a Small Space.

It has been an eventful week. By "eventful" I wish I meant fun Fourth of July picnics and ongoing festivities. By "eventful" I wish I meant mean doctors' appointments and playdates.

I have been neglecting my blog (and many other responsibilities and fun) because this is the kind of week it has been:

You know, the NO-napping, diarrhea for three days straight, obsessed with danger, train-surfing, tantrum-throwing, one whopping *fumble* after another, everyone survived but came out black and blue or blistered kind of eventful week, with a pepper spray incident thrown in for good measure (stay tuned for more details... that one deserves a whole post).


As mean as it may seem to some, I made Dozer stay stuck like this for thirty seconds or so while I snapped away, devilishly delighting in his unfortunate miscalculations.

"MWUHAHAHA!!!" bellowed Mean Mommy!

But seriously, I needed that laugh way more than he needed my help in those thirty seconds. And you better believe I am still chuckling every time I look at this photo!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Saturday Spin

As much fun (and helpful) as my first Flip-Off was yesterday, I never do stuff like that! In fact, the only times anyone has every seen a bird fly from me was purely in jest. So, I thought I'd go back and put a positive spin on things today for no other reason than to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Here it goes:

To DadMan: You may be a dirty filthy pig, but you are my piggy and you still make me laugh and smile like no other can! And I know I do a million things that probably bug the hell out of you, but I never hear you mutter a single word about it. How do you do it??

To the dedicated parents of my dear little clients: You know I love you guys and the kids, too. I just have enough tantrums of my own to take care of. I am so thankful you entrust me to train your kiddo's brains for a full hour a few times a week and I am very grateful that they are all hard-working and fun. They make me love my job and make it easier for me to feel less guilty about leaving Dozer for a couple of hours a day when I see the progress they make.

To the nighttime problems: I hate more than anything to see my Dozer in pain or scared. However, I am thankful that I was there to comfort him and squeeze in some snuggle time. Who know how much longer that will last?

To the man in the pick-up: Hmmm... Well, you were rude, juvenille, and obnoxious and I am thankful that I didn't run off the road from your silly prank.

To my Sentra: You are old, but the most dependable vehicle I have had to date. I have tortured you far more than you have done to me. You've racked many miles through the wild commutes of the college years, and many more carting me to and from many houses for work in the following years, suffered many war wounds such as flat tires and the dirt storms of construction sites, two rowdy dobermans (one who tried to punch out your windows, the other who lovingly gnawed your seat belts to threads), and survived the harsh salt air and a few hurricanes (with flying shingles and fronds that bruised you). You will always hold a soft spot in my heart, but I'm afraid our motley crew has outgrown you... Thanks for getting me to where I wanted to go (most of the time).

To KY: Your commercials make me most uncomfortable but you did pull through for me post-episiotomy. DadMan thanks you for that. A lot.

To all of my followers visitors: A BIG thanks for listening to my rants and raves!! People pay for therapy?? Just get a blog! Hope you have a wonderful weekend, doing what you love most with those you love most.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Flip-Offs: pee, nightmares, and KY Jelly

I decided to participate in Friday Flip-Offs this week because, I really need it. I actually never use the bird, but thought I'd try the cyber version. I've heard it can be quite cathartic and I want to enjoy the holiday weekend, so let the purging begin!

To DadMan for missing the mark this morning and leaving me to clean up the mess. It's not enough that I wipe Dozer's bum all day long, now I get the priviledge of wiping yours, too??? What are you, five???

To the guy in the back of the pick-up that screamed at me while they passed me on my way to work. Apparently, he gets quite the thrill out of making people jump out of their skin while driving 50 mph. What are you, fifteen???

To my dear Nissan Sentra: you provided much commuting love in college and we had many fantastic road trips and adventures thereafter. However, now you give me an aching back from bending over while wrangling and angling Dozer into his car seat. And then you decided to take the A/C away from me this week! I'm afraid our time together is coming to an end in the very near future...

To the makers of BioShock, GTA, Red Dead Redemption, and all the other garbage I must listen to DadMan play while I try to enjoy some "me" time during that precious time we call bedtime.

And speaking of bedtime, this one goes out to the tummyaches and nightmares and whatever else was causing my sweet little Dozer to wake up 4+ times after 1 am almost EVERY night this week!

To the parents of my little monst--I mean clients: I know summer is the time for fun. Late bedtimes. Cereal for dinner. Lots of sugary snacks. Oh yes, I know what's going on -- it's painfully clear. Painfully. Just sayin'.

And finally, to marketers of KY Jelly. You know where I'm going with this one, right? I REALLY don't want to hear about the warming sensations you create while I am visiting with my DAD at 7pm. Are these commercials really necessary??? And at a time when families are hanging out!


aaahhh... feeling better already!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Trust Me?

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop: Prompt 2

Sure, we have all done some pretty terrible things when we were young. But for this, I am most ashamed...

A game of trust we did ensue.
My little sister begged me to.
I taught her how this game was played
Crossed my arms and fell away.
I was caught in her small embrace
A proud smile spread across her face.

Next she stood, her back to me
Crossing arms nervously.
She leaned back an inch or two
Before she took a step -- oh poo!
Attempt number two went this way as well.
As did three, four, five, and twelve.

Why wouldn't she trust ME, her big sister?
I was always the one who was there for her!
She was the one who was never afraid.
But in falling backwards, a wuss she was made.
We stood there for fifteen minutes or so
While she kept on trying, but refused to let go.

By this time my patience was worn paper thin,
Thinking this game she just couldn't win.
"That's it!" I exclaimed. "You had your chance."
"Just one more time!" she cried with a dance.
I rolled my eyes and said, "This is it!"
"I'll do it, I promise!" She just wouldn't quit...

She crossed her arms and got herself set
And what came next I still try to forget.
My teenager 'tude now set in high gear,
Thinking again she'd submit to her fear.
I took a step back as she started to fall
Thinking I'd teach her once and for all.

It struck me too late that this was for real
As her body tipped back from her little heel.
I lunged forward fast but not quickly enough.
And there she was trusting me -- not just a bluff!
I know she forgives me, but still to this day
"I've got your back!" : four words I can't say.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Small Talk Six: My Moon, My (Little) Man

6 Ways We Spoil the Center of Our Universe:

1. Snacks: I resisted this one for a long time, but the grandparents won and he now gets more than I would like of graham crackers, ice cream, and Nilla Wafers. And even I can't help but to indulge him occasionally.

2. Cooking special for him.

3. Getting special gifts from EVERYONE. Toys, swim gear, toys, clothes,toys, shoes. Actually, I rarely spoil him in this department because all of the aunties have it pretty well covered to the point where he's probably going to start to expect some cool threads everytime they come to visit (even if they just saw him the week before).

4. Constant attention, adoration, and applause at every little thing he does. All he has to do is flash those big blues and we all go crazy.

* * Have you figured out yet that not only is he our first child, but the first grandchild/nephew on both sides? So, yeah, he is the man and knows it.

5. Watching TV. Sometimes when he's reached that over-tired walking around and throwing tantrums for no other reason than he won't give up part of his day to nap, the only thing that will settle him down is Handy Manny or Sesame Street. And sometimes I need 10 minutes to wash dishes/cook without him clinging to my leg.

6. Alright, here it goes -- the worst way I in which I spoil him that will surely be haunting me months from now: putting him to bed by bringing him to bed with me and transfering him to his once he is out. He refuses to go to sleep on his own. Letting him tire himself out crying? Lasts HOURS. Really. So, when he got too big to rock to sleep I started this bad little habit. Truth be told, it's one of my favorite times of day. How much longer will we snuggle and sing until he sweetly drifts away? Every day he grows more and more independent of me, except for this precious time. I know I need to stop this soon, but I want to be selfish for a little while longer.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

See you in another life, Rocket buddy

It is with a heavy heart I write this post. One of my best and most faithful friends passed on to his next grand adventure this past Monday.

About a month ago my husband and I took Rocket in to the vet because he had injured his leg, as he was limping and it was getting swollen. We were told that his leg had broken due to osteosarcoma and he would probably have very little time left with us unless we amputated his leg and put him through chemo. Our vet was amazed at how stoic, resilient, and happy he seemed. She said most people opt to put their dogs down by this point because of the pain and he would be a good candidate for amputation (for many reasons, especially his age, we decided against it). We had never heard Rocket so much as wimper. We were devastated.

We cried. We prayed. We laughed about his crazy puppy days. We gave him his favorite comforts: stuffed toys and belly rubs. And ice cream. A lot of ice cream.

Rocket was truly a special dog, and I know how cliche that sounds, but he really was -- just ask anyone who knew and loved him. Or ask anyone who was marked, mounted, or mesmerized by him.

103 pounds of muscle and grace. A stature that humbled the toughest of men (many salesmen we watched stop dead in their tracks midway up our driveway and turn right back around at a glimpse) juxtaposed by huge smiling eyes and a gentle spirit that invited and delighted in the loving embraces from the tiniest of tots.

Sure, he looked pretty menacing but really he was just a big ole love puppy and a clown. We never had to worry about him running away, because he was happy just to be by my husband's side. The fence around our yard wasn't put there to keep him in, but to keep our neighbor's little yapping instigator out (and to keep our more independent free-spirited Evy in). In fact, the only times he ran away were in search of my husband. When we were honeymooning, a good friend of ours chased Rocket not only through the neighborhood, but also through a few startled neighbor's houses. And he made himself right at home wherever he went!

I have so many great Rocket stories, I can't even get started right now. The Rocket Dog Chronicles coming soon...

I just feel so blessed to have had such a wonderful dog. I am thankful that he is no longer in pain and smile when I think of him laughing and dancing in open fields with Grandpa.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Gwibble Gwee-bee!

May I just say how much I adore my little man's nonsensical mumblings and musings? Every day now it seems he tries to speak more and more. Mostly it's just baby garblings, like his favorite, "Gwibble gwee-bee?" But every once in awhile he'll come out with something new and spurt it out with such clarity. After a raised eyebrow, asking the Dad Man if it wasn't only my eager imagination, I get all excited and have been known to literally leap up and go into a clapping frenzy. Only problem is he'll say one word or phrase perfectly once and then - poof! That's it! Oh, how he loves to tease his mama!

I've heard him say "green," "hi," "bye," "here you go," "there," "catch," "dog," "ball," "where'd it go?" and a few other things when he's in the mood for some applause.

The all-knowing mamas out there all insist that I need to enjoy these question-free days while they last. I just can't wait to hear what's going on in that over-active ever-expanding brain, though! This is especially true when he studies something carefully and then peers up at me with up-turned palms and wide eyes with a "Goo mumph-a-wee?" and then shakes his head in disgust when my best answer just doesn't cut it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hello, Jim Cantore!

Today is June 1st -- which to most people means the beginning of summer after a beautiful long Memorial Day weekend. However to those of us in FL, along the coastlines of the Gulf and the Southeast, Central America, parts of Mexico, and the Carribean, it means: Welcome, hurricane season!

In the Sunshine State, we were blessed to have a very, very quiet storm season last year. Thank the Lord! I was a nervous wreck last year with a newborn thinking of potential evacuation plans, having enough food, baby supplies, water, gas, cash and the million other things we worry about as soon as a storm becomes personified as "Annie" or "Billy Bob."

I clearly remember a fast approaching thunderstorm that snuck up on me last April as I was nursing Dozer during his second week with us. I was racing round the house, Dozer snuggled on the carefully held Boppy, suckling away, unaware of my frantic window-closing state. I was sure that a tornado was about to rip out of the heavens and tear through our humble home. That was when I realized I could not even look at some rain and thunder the same way ever again (or a least not for another 15-18 years or so).

Well, we made it through our first hurricane season without even a scratch. In previous years, we had not been quite as fortunate, though never more damage than we could handle. (Pictures of Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricane Frances will be up for Wordless Wednesday). So, here we are today and already a tropical storm has hit the country of Guatemala before the official start of the season. Oy vey! Did you see the size of that "hole" in the ground???!!!

I guess it's something wherever you live. Blizzards, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, mudslides, tornadoes. I am very thankful we get fair warning with hurricanes.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Readers of my blog (if there actually are any out there),

Forgive me; it has been four days since my last posting.

So, I am really new at this but from what I have observed, the most successful bloggers seem to post at least once a day or at the very least every other day. I never did live up to my own expectations at the old-fashioned journaling... why did I expect blogging to be any different? This is why I have dozens of unwritten novels, childrens' books, and movie scripts buzzing around in my all-too cluttered brain, begging to be released.

I guess I should have been a journalist, because what I really need is a deadline! Graduating college with honors was all because of deadlines. I used to pride myself on the fact that I could whip up a 3-4 page paper, cited and all in a matter of a couple of hours before class began. Really I was just being a lazy-ass procrastinator. But hey, it worked...

So, feel free to offer up some topics and deadlines and I just may respond with a post.

Tonight's topic will be the kiddo (what else?). As "the kiddo" is getting rather stale, I will start refering to my sunshine as "Dozer." He has this new thing as of a couple of weeks ago that he loves to put his head on the ground, straighten out his legs with his butt held high in the air and push himself around in this manner, bulldozing anything in his path (usually me or a dog). Or sometimes he just goes in circles. I thought it was just going to be his new thing of the week that he would quickly replace, but it's been a good three weeks and he is getting just as much of a kick out of it as he did the first time. Dozer it is!

The new thing that I am pushing this week is blowing kisses. As I left for work Saturday morning Dozer and the Dad man were filling up the baby pool. Just as I was taking a mental snapshot of that sweet scene, thinking I would love to take part in the morning swim that kicks off father-son fun day, he returned the kiss that I blew to him for the first time ever! He did it with such enthusiasm and love, I actually squealed from inside the car and blew him another patiently waiting while the little teaser took his good sweet time returning the second.

And with that image, I will sign out. Of blogland and the long weekend. Sweet dreams to all!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Well, the kiddo is doing much better today! Yay! And without a trip to the doctor -- always a bonus :)

I don't know about you, but I am so ready for a summer getaway! I'm getting ready to venture out on my first vacation with the bambino in a couple of weeks. I am very excited, but also pretty nervous about how he will fare on his first plane ride. Will I be "that" mom, chasing her son up and down the aisles or will he be "that" kid everyone wishes would just be quiet?!? I sure hope not... so I am planning a full arsenal of entertainment for the 2 1/2 hours of confinement. Any suggestions on keeping an active one year old happy and calm in such a situation are most welcome in the comment section!

For those of you also getting ready for a little vacation, don't forget to pack the books!!! This offer just in from Barefoot:

MAYSALE offer + already discounted prices on many of our adventure/travel books = a ton of fun for a terrific price! Offer good through May 31st.

Recommendations for some summer fun: We're Going on a Caravan, Off We go to Mexico, We All Went on Safari, Animal Boogie, I Spy the Sun, and Up, Up, Up!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Well, it never fails. Just as I am getting over my cold, the little one is coming down with it. After a long day of brain training, I returned to pick up my kiddo from his Pap-pap's house only to find him burning up :( He was in good spirits and quietly playing not long after I showed up, but I can't stand it when his normally bright baby blues are glazed over and not so clear.

With all the recalls on Tylenol and such, what's a mama to do? Send the hubs out to get some generics for now, I suppose. The fever already broke before we gave him any medicine, and here's to hoping it doesn't come back!

On a brighter note, I had my first brain-training session with a new kiddo today. His enthusiasm to make his brain stronger and faster was adorable and contagious! The image of his tiny fist pump and victorious, "Yes!" has kept me going through the more difficult parts of my day. Gotta love the children who are eager to learn and strive to be better. :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Welcome to my new blog!

I've never even been much of a blog reader until very recently. I thought this would be a good opportunity to brush up on my writing skills, as well as share my experiences and ideas on motherhood, my love of books (especially my new favorites --Barefoot Books!)and life in general.

Hopefully at the very least I will provide some sort of amusement and make a few new friends while I empty the contents of my mommified brain here! But be warned: contents may be half-baked, semi-coherent, and not much deeper than the water in the kiddo's bathtub...

Embrace every new adventure and discovery that the day brings!