Saturday, July 31, 2010

What if the sun burns out?

I was a worry wort as a child (umm...OK...maybe I still am.) I would lay in bed and fret over all the things that could go wrong. What if my parent's died? What if our house burned down? I had a list in my head of all the things I'd want to save in case of fire and a trash bag in my room that I could shove it all in, just in case.

I remember one of my favorite songs by T'Pau (anyone else ever listen to them?):
Don't wish too hard
Because they may come true
And you can't help them
You don't know what you might
Have set upon yourself
This song gave me panic attacks because I told my brother that I wished his head would fall off and I spent the following days convinced that I had killed him. Be careful what you wish for because it just might come true. Then you go to jail.  I may have been a strange child.

Unfortunately, Nick seems to have taken after me. He always has "bad thoughts" and I remember saying that same thing to my mom when I was little. She used to tell me to think about other things, like rainbows and kittens. It didn't work, but I tried it on Nick anyway. I tell Nick to think about monster trucks and dinosaurs. But that was a mistake. You don't use the word "monster" or "dinosaur" when trying to get a kid to think happy thoughts. Because then he wanted to know if a T-Rex could look through his window. I should have stuck to the kittens.

But our current dilemma? Nick is afraid that the sun will burn out. He already has plans to get lights and grow plants in his room. (Which sounds illegal.) He's afraid we won't be able to eat or have oxygen. The kid is only six. He has way too much stress. Can't he just play with his trains and not worry about the end of the world? He's going to have an ulcer before he's eight.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mooo!

A two year old is so much easier to please than say, a 6 year old, when it comes to birthdays. The older they get, the more they want. At two, you can give them a helium balloon and they are happy for hours. The wrapping paper is more interesting than the toys inside. Then suddenly, at 6, they want ponies, jump castles, 50 kids...or worst case scenario? Chuck E. Cheese. Nick has already decided that's where his 7th birthday will be. Then he lists off the 400 kids he wants to invite. I just let him ramble. I'm not going to burst that bubble just yet.

But Sam...last night to celebrate, we just took him to the Cozy Cow Dairy for homemade ice cream. It's a local small dairy with a plastic cow on the roof and in December, that cow is decked out in his Christmas finery. They have goats and a couple of baby cows that the kids can pet. There are peacocks and chickens that the kids can follow around. There is a tractor for the kids to play on. It's simple and better yet, free! Except for the ice cream, of course.



Sam had an excellent time. So did we. There was a moment (while eating my dark chocolate chunk, bing cherry ice cream) when I looked up at my three kids sitting on the tractor, so content with their ice cream, smiling and laughing with each other, my husband on the bench beside me and I realized I was truly and completely happy. In that moment, there wasn't anything else. No bills, no money problems, no dirty house or laundry...just us. And I was content. Blissfully content.

It's the small things...I spend hours wishing we had the money to go on vacation, the money to pay all our bills, wishing I was a better mother, wishing, wishing, wishing... and sometimes I forget to be grateful for what is right in front of me. But of course, we had to come home. As soon as we step through the door, the kids are at each others throats and my husband's phone is ringing, his fire pager is beeping, the dog had pulled the loaf of bread off the counter and eaten it...

...but for a moment, it was all OK.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happy, Happy Birthday Baby!

Two years ago today, Sam joined the family. He entered the world at 12:24pm after about two hours of labor. (Yeah, yeah, I know. Please don't hurt me.) After having the first two kids drug-free I decided that with Sam I would be drugged to the hilt. I wanted the epidural. I wanted two epidurals. I wanted to be so numb that I wouldn't be able to walk for a week. I didn't even want to know I was having a baby. So after my water broke and the contractions started getting bad, I requested the epidural. And then Sam came. And then the epidural kicked in.

At least I tried. I guess the good thing is that the labor was that fast. The bad thing was that it was too fast for pain relief. But either way, Samuel was coming out and there wasn't anything I could do to stop it.

And he wasn't really all that happy about it...but as time went on, he warmed up to it a bit.
Pretty soon, he was unstoppable.
Now I look at him and can't believe it's been two years. Two years. When I was little, two years was a lifetime. Now it passes in a blink of an eye. I try to remind myself how fast it's going by and how I need to savor each moment, how I need to hug them when I want to smack them. So I try to seize the moment and take pleasure in how Sam mimics the other two kids and learns something new every hour of every day. I laugh when he walks around the house looking for Delaney, calling "Laney? Honey? Laney?" and I try not to cry when he pulls the green tomatoes off the plants or squirts toothpaste all over the floor. It's only for so long. Before I know it, my baby will be all grown up and won't be hanging on my leg and crying to be held. He won't want to fall asleep on my lap and so I try and savor it. I look into his sleeping face and know that one day it will be covered with stubble and creased with wrinkles, but now, it's smooth and round and soft. And beautiful.

Love you, baby boy. Happy Birthday to you!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Charter Laptop-a-day Giveaway!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Charter. All opinions are 100% mine.

Charter has always offered promotions to reward customers and those looking to sign up for Charter service, but now Charter is giving back to the community! For their back-to-school campaign, they are giving away 50 laptops to 2 different schools. The laptops are Lenovo G555's with a 15.6" screen, 160GB drive and 3GB ram, with a Targus bag. You can even enter to win one yourself. Ordering any Charter product automatically puts you in the running for a laptop and up to $300 cash back. But purchase is not necessary and can be done online.

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To nominate your school, go to the  laptop-a-day giveaway. There is a short registration process and nominations need to be received by August 12. Voting is based on the nomination stories received and 50 finalists will be chosen and announced by August 16. Open voting starts the same day and ends September 20. Winners will be chosen September 27, 2010. With frequent budget cuts, staff layoffs and equipment shortages, it's a great opportunity for two lucky schools.

So, go. Go and nominate your child's school and "like" Charter on Facebook to stay up to date on the voting process!
Visit my sponsor: Charter is giving Free laptops to Schools

Sunday, July 25, 2010

What happened to my underwear?

"What happened to my underwear?" Nick asks me.

"I don't know."

"Oh, wait. I guess I didn't want to wear any today."

"Maybe you should put some on before we go."

"Nah..." he says. "I don't want to. It kind of tickles."

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ta da!

OK, I've decided on a design. I think I like it. I think. Right now, anyway. I may change my mind tomorrow. If you would be so kind, could you please let me know if you have problems with it? Does it load too slow? Do you hate it? Does it make you want to stab yourself in the eye with a pencil? I need to know these things. You may have noticed that I even added a few things...like pages. I have an Who I Am page, which is finished (and I might add, very profound).  I also added a few other pages that are in the works. I could work on tweaking my blog all night, it's so addictive.

Unfortunately, I actually need to get some stuff done. Sam's party is Sunday and I haven't even made a cake yet. Partly because it's 87 degrees in the house and I don't want to turn the oven on. Actually, I haven't been able to do much of anything but mope around and sweat. Even the kids have been laying around like limp rags. I'm really, really looking forward to Fall... 

Ashworth College

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Ashworth College. All opinions are 100% mine.

After I graduated, I decided to take a year off from school and work. Just a year, and then I'd go right back. It never happened. I got involved in my job, left that one, found a better one, met my husband, got married, had kids...pretty typical story, I think. I don't regret any of those decisions, because they have put me where I am now. I have a great husband and terrible kids. Like I said, pretty typical. My life is where it's meant to be.

But I won't lie and say that I'm completely content. I have days when I wonder what could have been. What if I had gone back to school? What would I have taken? How would my life of differed? I know for a fact that the job opportunities would have been drastically improved.

From Ashworth College:
There are many reasons for Moms to further their education: set an example for their kids, personal enrichment, preparation to re-enter the workforce when the kids are older, transition to a work-at-home career.

Distance education is a family-friendly way to help you get the education you've always wanted. It's easy, affordable, and is as close as your home computer.

And it's true. For me, it would be the only way I'd be able to go back to school. They offer so many different programs you can study and receive your Online degree in. They have 100+ nationally accredited career diplomas, Associate Degree, Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree and Certificate programs for today's hottest and most popular careers, including: Medical Billing, Web Design, Bridal Consulting, Interior Decorating, Human Resources, Marketing, Early Childhood Education and more. Research has shown that tuition at Ashworth is on average 50% less than other accredited online schools. Tuition includes all books and classroom materials, plus, they offer payment plans with zero percent financing! That's important to me. It's getting harder and harder to find a company that is willing to work with you and your financial limitations. You are guaranteed  to graduate without a student loan debt. 

There are so many benefits to this. Definitely something worth looking into.



Visit my sponsor: While the kids are away

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cuddly dinosaurs

Nick's "lovey" is a stuffed blue dinosaur that he's had since he was teeny, tiny. His name is "Cuddly Dine" and he pretty much goes every where with us.

The other night, we were driving home from my parents' house. It's about a 50 minute drive, it was late and the other two were asleep. But not Nick. He was talking. And talking. I always kind of look forward to the drive home from there...the kids are usually all asleep and I have almost an hour to listen to the radio and not have to talk. It's kind of blissful. But apparently, Nick wasn't tired.

We talked (or rather, he talked. I listen and say "uh-huh") about all kinds of things. Rockets, music, how he wished the car had a button we could push and out would come whatever kind of food he wanted. We got on the subject of Cuddly Dine, who of course, was with us.

"Cuddly Dine talks to me, but he always whispers. He only talks to people he knows," Nick tells me.
"He knows me," I said.
"I'll tell him he can talk to you," he says and starts whispering to his dinosaur. "OK, he will talk to you. You can ask him something."
"Hmmm...OK. What's his favorite song?"
"No one has ever asked him that!" he says. "I'll ask."
Talking to his stuffed animal...
"No! No! No! Talk in words," Nick tells him. A few moments pass.
Nick sighs, exasperated.
"I don't know. He's talking in Spanish. I can't understand him," he tells me. Apparently, Cuddly Dine interrupts him. "Oh! He says his favorite song is Spanish KidsBop."


Si, senor, si...

All this time, I had no idea the stuffed animals in this house were bilingual.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

First comes love, then comes marriage...

This weekend my cousin married the girl he's been with since junior high...how often does that happen? They've grown up together and now, hopefully, they're going to grow old together.

It was a beautiful wedding...white and black, brightly colored daisies, outdoor ceremony...My mom bought Delaney a cute little dress and sandals to wear to the wedding. I got her dressed and even curled her hair. She looked adorable. Then she went upstairs for a few minutes...

And came back down in her shorts, t-shirt and flip flops, her hair all messed up.

"Delaney! You need to put your dress back on! We have to go!"
She glares at me.
"I. Don't. Want. To. Wear. A. Dress," she proclaims.  "I wish I was a boy!"

Great.

"You can be a boy tomorrow. Today, you're a girl and you have to put your dress and sandals back on."
"NO!" she screams and runs back upstairs.

Delaney and I finally come to a compromise. She can wear her shorts under her dress and I'll bring her shirt and flip flops in my purse, so she can change after the ceremony. Fine. But she's not going to be happy about it.

"I'm being good and Delaney isn't," Nick informs me. "I have my nice shirt on."
"Yes, thank you Nick. You look very handsome."

 The only thing cuter?


Delaney dancing with the bride. Or this:

Nick dancing with the bride.
And that's Sam...running away from the bride.

Apparently, he's not a dancer.

This is my new favorite picture of my brother and Nick.


And to the happy couple...I wish you the best!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tea sets and tutus...

Thank you everyone, for the great gift ideas! I think the hardest part of this is trying to find something that his older brother and sister don't already have, but something fun, just for him, that will actually get played with.  I think I decided on this:

Sam loves Nick's remote control cars and is always getting yelled at when he tries to play with them, so I think this will go over well. It looks like it would be easy to control and it has a lot of good reviews. And of course, dad approved, being Fire Chief and all...I thought about getting Sam a tea set and pink tutu because he does like playing with Delaney's, but I can't even paint his big toe without my husband freaking out and I didn't want to give him a heart attack. We don't have life insurance. Maybe next year...

I might also throw in a big box, like so many of you suggested. Those are always a hit! And Sharlene suggested covering it in contact paper, which I think is a great idea. I had to throw the last one away, though, because Nick discovered that he could flatten it and then use it like a slide to go down the stairs. I had visions of broken necks and bleeding heads, so away it went. (In the dead of night. When no one was around to scream and cry and mourn it's absence.) Hmmm...actually maybe I'll skip the box. And just get a toboggan.

Now I just have to make a cool cake and get the invitations out. Not necessarily in that order. Of course, I realize that he's only two and doesn't really care or understand, so this is really all about me. Maybe I'll skip the toys and party all together and buy myself something nice. I do want another tattoo...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Help!

Ok...this little guy here...

...is turning two, two weeks from today. And I can't figure out what to get him. I'm excellent at picking out toys that no one ever plays with. It's a gift. I will find something and get so excited because I just know it will be a hit. Then they open it and play with it for about 5 minutes. And it's never looked at again. 

So...I need suggestions. Any good toys out there for a 2 year old? Something reasonably priced and something that actually gets played with...Help!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Scams

My grandma just called me in a panic because she had received a call from my "brother", who had just flown in from somewhere and was in trouble, there was an accident and he needed $25,000 immediately. He was begging and pleading, crying for help.

First off, anyone that knows my grandma, knows that she does not have $25,000. She's in her late eighties, can barely hear and can be easily confused. And people that pray on the elderly like that make me sick. I reassured her that it absolutely was not my brother and that it was a scam.

"But it sounded like him," she said. "And he said I could talk to the police who were standing right there."

So I called my brother, who was safely at work, and he called her to reassure her that it was not him that had called.

As I was talking to her, I discovered that she gets a lot of similar phone calls. Although this is the first one from her "grandson", she said she does get a lot of them requesting money, or promising thousands of  dollars if she could just send them $149.00.

"They wanted to know everything!" she said. "They even wanted my bank number."
"You didn't give it to them...did you?" I asked.
"Well, I started to, then realized that maybe I shouldn't, so I mixed up the numbers and told them I couldn't see it very well. Then they hung up."

Whew.

It's scary to think that my grandma, who is an intelligent woman, nearly fell for one of these. And then they bring in "family" who cry for help. It's despicable. It's infuriating.

Charter On Demand

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Charter. All opinions are 100% mine.

I don't watch a lot  of TV, simply because of the stress and commitment. Yeah, I know. That sounds weird. Stress? Commitment? But think about it...I'm the kind of person that doesn't even like to schedule play dates or appointments of any kind, because then, simply, I have to be there at a certain time, certain day and certain place. Stress. Commitment. TV is the same way...what if I like a show so much, that I have to see what happens next? Then I have to watch it the next time and the next...and before you know it, there's a standing date with the TV. A fixed time, day and place. Stress and commitment. It's too much to handle. So I just don't  watch it. Removes that possibility. I will never have to reschedule a day so I can get home to watch TV. 

Which brings us to the Charter On Demand home page where you can watch just about anything you want, anytime you want. Anytime. Like after the kids are in bed. Or when I have insomnia and am wandering the house aimlessly in the middle of the night. I don't have to watch the late night infomercials or the commercials for girls gone wild. Not only does Charter offer the latest movies, but there are literally thousands of shows and programs. There are kids channels, like Nickelodeon. Just think! Spongebob on demand! You can torture your spouse AND make the kids happy, anytime you want. There are workout videos (which I won't be watching), concerts, cooking shows and many, many more. It's a TV buffet. There is something for everyone.  There's ESPN, ABC, and USA to the Disney Channel and the Discovery Channel, all offering shows and special programming all available anytime.You can even get the Karaoke Channel and amaze all your friends with your awesome singing talents.
On Demand is one of the most popular features of Charter TV in Digital - for good reason. It's not just a movie service; but a home for thousands of shows and programs just waiting for you to discover.
You should immediately check them out. You're sure to find something.
You will ‘Like’ their Facebook page as well


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Visit my sponsor: Charter On Demand goes WAY beyond movies

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Friendgftr gift cards!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of FriendGiftr. All opinions are 100% mine.

I know that Miss Manners claims gift certificates and gift cards are impersonal and impolite, but I personally love them. Is there anyone who doesn't? (Well, besides Judith Marin, aka Miss Manners, that is?)  They're so exciting! They hold such possibility! I will spend hours browsing, making sure I pick just the right thing to spend it on. I would much rather someone buy me a gift card to a book store, than having them buy a book they think I'd like, only to find out I already have it. Or opening it, to discover Fabio on the cover. As much as I like to read, I do have my standards...


FriendGiftr offers cards to over 125 different retailers including Barnes and Noble, Applebees, Pottery Barn, Gap, Sephora, Williams of Sonoma and so, so many more. It would be impossible not to find something for everyone. They are available in $10, $20, $25, $35, $50, $75, and $100 increments.

From the website:
Friendgiftr was founded in October 2008 by Rob Carpenter as the first e-commerce 2.0 company to commercialize social media and mobile phones by introducing real, purchasable brand name company products to multiple social networking sites and smart phones.
Simply put, Friendgiftr lets you shop pretty much anywhere through the world's first ever virtual network of linked commercial applications.

But the really cool thing is that if you receive one, you can exchange it for any other one on the site. Say you don't care for seafood? Exchange that Red Lobster card for a Sephora card and splurge on some make up! Maybe you received a card to Macy's and you suddenly realize you forgot your best friend's birthday! You can transfer it over to her and no one will be the wiser!  Even the original buyer won't know.

I can think of countless times that this would have come in handy. I know where I'll be getting my gift cards from now on! And the fact that the service can be used from their website, Facebook, iPhone, BlackBerry or Android certainly simplifies things. 

Visit my sponsor: America's Favorite Gift Cards

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