Another week, another contest

Thank you all who signed up to be a SITSA using my name as a reference this week. Aren't you LOVING the blogs they are recommending?

Unfortunately (or fortunately for her) Sydney (with 6 kids of her own AND a day care) was the winner of the bounce house last week. She could certainly use the energy release more than I!

This week they are giving away a super cute Brighton handbag valued at $175.

Now, I have never spent $175 on anything that I wore (more than once) or used to accessorize my wardrobe but this bag is SUPER cute....I'm thinking diapers and wipes and a change of clothes for Andrew will fit nicely :)

Go check out SITS:

Let them know I sent you in a comment, blog about your new found love (you know, SITS) and get entered into winning that handbag yourself!

Now, if I could only find a blog that gave away free diapers...


An oldie..."Working it out"

I can't remember if I posted this before. I tried to look through my old posts and couldn't find it...

I want to forewarn you that there is some downright foul language...but I do love this old blog from my myspace page:

I hate the gym. I don't understand why it seems that only beautiful people go to the gym. Isn't the gym for getting in shape? Why is it that I feel like the largest person there who is breathing the hardest and struggling the most?

Step two in doing good things for me was joining the local gym. Here in the boondocks we have a few to choose from. One that is for women only (similar to curves with a higher price and just as many gossiping women), one for body builders complete with grunting men, old equipment and freeweights up the wazoo, one for rehabilitation (it is part of the hospitals physical therapy place but it does have a pool)...They are all over priced ($37+/month) and none of them have great hours (the latest stays open until 8pm during the week and only 4pm on weekends).

Then there is "Gordo's" the gym that I chose. It is a new place with brand new equipment including freeweights, machines and cardio. There is no place for stretching, it is small and the owner is always there. He is also the personal trainer...you get 3 free sessions when you sign up.

So last week I broke down and bought a membership. I recently hit my highest weight since losing over 100lbs a few years ago and it has been affecting every aspect of my being. Did I mention how much I hate the gym?

I show up the first night and the owner/trainer seems surprised...who can blame him? I was surprised I had made it as well...

I did 30 minutes on the bike (I like to be lazy when I work out), I struggle, I listen to my music and try to drown out the pain, the heavy breathing, the burning in my legs and the note on the bike that says "if you are not feeling well, stop immediately" - are you fucking kidding me?! I finish, ready to go home and veg on the couch when he (the owner/trainer) makes a decision that I really should learn all about the weight machines and set up a plan. I'm not very impressed...I really wanted to ease my way into this.

He walks me through the machines, sets up my weights asking after every one "how does that feel". What I want to tell him is that it feels like shit, it hurts, my body is rejecting the thought that I am making it work harder then it has in years - but instead I paste on a fake smile and say "it feels good..." He makes me get on the elliptical, I last a good minute...I hate the gym.

The next night is my cardio night. The girl at the desk (who fills in on the rare occasion that "Gordo" takes off) also seems surprised that I have showed...WTF?! She suggests I try the elliptical, it isn't as boring as everything else, she tells me. 3 minutes later I am ready to die. I mean heart pounding, burning, struggling for breath DEATH! I figure that was enough and, again, I jump on the bike for 30 minutes. I see another beautiful female member do 45+ on the elliptical, feeling like an ass the whole time I sit on my ass on the bike...I HATE the gym!

Night three, I am feeling okay. Every muscle aches, but I am getting into a routine. I have committed to 3 times/week and I will do it. So, I go...much to my dismay. Nobody seems so surprised this time...finally, hopefully, they have realized that the fat girl is actually going to make it. Tonight is a full body work out. I am suppose to do my 30 minutes of cardio and my weights. Gordo is there...there is no getting out of it.

He suggests that I start with a 15 minute warm up on the treadmill or the elliptical...I tell him the treadmill is just fine, thank you. He walks me through my weights again, counting every rep, there is no cheating here. I say "12" he says "no, 9, keep going". Again, he wants to know how I feel after everything. Jesus, its like all these crazy people want me to be happy about being there. Crazy...insanity! Who likes this? I make it through, finish up with 15 more minutes on the cardio and prepare for my weekend off! I LOVE my last day at the gym...

Monday was my first day back. She is there again...sweet and willing to stay late so I can finish my routine (ah, shit, I thought I was sneaking out early). I do my warm up, move on to the weights, realize that I am counting out loud...feel like an ass. Jump on the ab machine. I know this is tough for me. I can't remember where to put my legs...don't use your legs...is that what he said...why is this so tough...I could do 12 a few days ago...two...three...shit...I need to stop. Sweet Maria walks over, you might want to take the weights off that, maybe that is why it is so tough on you...STUPID, STUPID, STUPID! I finish my weights and head out, hanging my head in shame...I am a moron....and I HATE the gym again.

Yesterday I am back to cardio. Gordo wants me to try the elliptical again. He suggests I warm up on the treadmill then move onto the elliptical. Whatever. I guess the worst that can happen is that I die of a heart attack..right? I am the only one there, it is a quiet day. Good thing, I have nobody to feel less then...bad thing, Gordo wants to be sure that I am doing everything right and can hear me every time I turn the machine on or off...

I do my 15 minutes on the treadmill, I like the treadmill but don't understand why I can't do the stinking bike. Why can't I be lazy while I am working out...why must I exert as much energy as possible...realizing that is the point. I warm up then move on to the dreaded elliptical. At 1 minute I am saying only 4 more, 2.5, halfway there....3, I am NOT going to make it....4, push, push, push, 5...thank the fucking lord above I did not die. I am breathing so heavy that I am sure that he can hear me across the room even over the loud music..."how was that"...MOTHER FUCKER! How the fuck did he think it was? Does he not see me gasping for breath, sweat pouring out of every orifice of my body...snot coming out of my nose because I can't get the air in fast enough...smile..."fine" I gasp, "just fine"...I don't think I need to say it again, but just in case I HATE THE GYM....I finish my 15 minutes on the treadmill, ask him to spot me on my abs and fly out of there as fast as I can - he says as I am leaving "you are really committed to this aren't you" in a voice that is both surprised and respectful...nice.

I smell, every time I leave there I smell like an ass that has not been washed in weeks. I hurt. Every muscle aches, it is hard to walk up the stairs to get into the house, walk the dog down to his lead...pick up the kids...ugh!

I know this is good. Again, doing good things for me can be painful. I know that and, today, I am willing to work through it. I think I need to get my own personal massage therapist to work on me before I go to the gym everyday. Today I am not sure how I am going to make it through full body...thank God Joy can get me in before I head in!

My trips to DD's have become less frequent. Not only do I need to save that money to pay my membership, but a DD's donut has more calories in it then I am burning every day...seems a little worthless. I miss my Boston Creams...there is always my black iced coffee....working on cutting out the sugar again, adding my multies back into my diet ("thank you for calling GNC, your multi-vitamin headquarters", I learned my lessons well) and drinking my protien shake...drinking less coffee and more water. Peeing has become second nature. It is not uncommon to pee every 30-45 minutes...what a pain in the ass that is!

I am thinking about posting before and after pictures...maybe I'll make that decision after I hit the after :)

*** Update: Gordo did not say "committed" as I previously posted...he said "determined". And the mother fucker said it again today. He comes to check on me while I am on the treadmill "cooling down"...he looks and sees that I am almost at 20 minutes and says "WOW, you REALLY ARE DETERMINED!" - like it's some fucking shock. I can't decide whether to love him or hate him...maybe I'll decide when I hit my after :)***

The time at the gym was short lived. In fact, to this day, I avoid Gordo at all costs (which is not easy in our small town). There is no reason for me to not work out except that I hate it and it is hard work - that's it, I am just lazy :)

One kid down.

Zachary left early this morning to spend the weekend with my father and Sue at camp. The family camp is over 4 hours away and I am nervous.

When Sue mentioned that they would like to take him I was completely okay with it. Last night, however, I started to get nervous - sick to my stomach, want to throw up nervous. This morning when he left with Kirby to head to my father's I got even more nervous.

I don't know what this is about. Zachary has been spending nights away from home since he was an infant. He has never gone away for a weekend but has spent many nights with my family.

My nephew was also invited to go but he decided against it ("maybe when I'm 7" he told my sister). 2 nights away, 4+ hours from home can be a scary thing for a 6 year old.

Dad called around 12:30 to let me know that they had made it. Zachary sounded exhausted. Sue told me he had a runny nose...I forgot to send his allergy medicine. He will live without it. I rarely have to give it to him but, man, I feel like an awful mother now.

However, with Zachary out of the house, Andrew and I had a great day! Of course, he was with the baby...errr...KID sitter for a good part of the day. He was fun to be with, he listened better, he was happier. We went out for ice cream and walked through downtown (it's Moonlight Madness downtown...that was interesting and we had a few "autistic moments") and right now he is sitting on the couch with Dad watching some television program he shouldn't be watching BUT he is being relatively quiet...well, kind of...

AND tomorrow Kirby and I actually got a sitter for Andrew and are going to go out and have a night to ourselves! I can't even remember the last time that happened (actually, yes I can and a funeral was involved).

One kid down...two more to go :)


Another keyboard?

In the pastyearwehave gone through 3 keyboards. I am not sure howithappens butAndrew has found a wayto ruin everysingle one. He dumped a glassofwateron two of them.

For a whileweused akeyboard where a coupleof the lettersdidn'twork. It wasintersting to try and spell Erica without the E.

This afternoon (around 12) Ipostedmy lastblog. Icame home from work around 3 (the "kid" sitter waswatchingtheboys -can't callherababysitter becausetheygetangry)...took the "kidsitter"home, got back homeand started checking emails and such...

Somehowthe spacebar isbroken. How doesthishappen?They didn'tevenuse the computer while I wasgone. Issomething stuck in there(andif so doI even want to know whatitis)? And why doesit work sometimes andnot others? IfI really want it toworkall thetimeI havetoslam downon it or goback and correcteverything...

From now on you willhavetodealwithmyblogspostedlikethis. I can'timagine that we haveANOTHER keyboardlying aroundand Irefusetobuy one since itisjustgoingtoend up like this anyway.

Andsince I can'tspellcheckmy work you aregoingtohavetodealwithgrossmisspellingsas well!


"Crayz" Critters

The cat is in quarantine. He's been locked in the bathroom until further notice. It may seem like severe punishment but if you were to walk into my home you would understand why.

When we got the cat we signed a contract that he would be kept an indoor cat. Every fiber of this cat's being wants to be an outdoor cat. Every change of season he sits in the windows crying, begging to be let outside. And now, just to prove how angry he is with us, he has started using our entry way as a litter box.

So a decision was made: Either he gets "retrained" or he goes out - for good. There is no medical reason for his urinating on the beautiful carpet that adorns my entry way. He is angry and he is showing us his anger...that's it (I know because he told me so...).

My kids LOVE this cat. He has been with us as long as the kids can remember. It would be heartbreaking to get rid of him. He fits into our family perfectly. wicked lovable with a few quirks (like the rest of us). Heck, Andrew isn't potty trained, why should he be, right?

But the decision has been made. He is on kitty probation and has been put in seclusion (well, unless somebody needs to use the toilet or take a shower). This is his final strike.


The Abstinence Teacher - repost

This is the second submission for the SITS featured blogger. Thank you, again, Sometimes Sophia - I love this one.

Not feeling very funny, or interested in sharing today...You'll have to enjoy the repost.

Two words: BOR-RING! I mentioned in one of my previous blogs that this book was slow to start. Well, slow to start and even slower to end! I was left with a million unanswered questions and no real tie to any of the characters.

The title would lead you to believe that the story was about the teacher - wrong. While the teacher has a part in the story it more or less follows Tim, the born again Christian who coaches the teacher's daughter in soccer and "forces" her to pray. Ugh!

Ah well, nothing lost is nothing gained, right? Moving on to The Wedding as recommended by Nicki. I have always loved Nicholas Sparks' books so I am looking forward to this one. If you haven't read The Notebook it is too good to pass us. And if you have seen the movie, that doesn't count.

Back to the Abstinence Teacher though. As the title suggests, part of the story deals with a teacher teaching abstinence. It leads me into wondering what I do and do not want my children learning in school.

Of course, my little ones are still very young, abstinence isn't something I have to worry about quite yet. Although, kids are growing up quicker and quicker now. I know that it will be something I have to deal with soon enough.

We had a typical Health class in school. We were taught most everything. It was there that I saw my first condom and learned how to put it on a broomstick. I watched a movie that showed conception - from beginning to end. We learned about STDs and how to recognize and prevent them. And we learned abstinence and celibacy. I don't know that anything I learned in that class (full of people I didn't really associate with and pretty embarrassing the whole time) encouraged or discouraged me in one way or the other. I think this is what I want my kids to learn. Extremes are never a good thing. You can't teach all sex and you can't teach all abstinence - you need to meet in the middle.

My parents tell me that they had the "birds and the bees" talk with me and I have no reason to disbelieve them except that I have absolutely no knowledge of it whatsoever. I guess it was that mortifying. I must have blocked out every second of it (not the only kid who did, my younger brother Alex has no recollection either).

My mother, at least, was very open about sexuality. Well, open enough. We knew were never taught that sex was bad or dirty. However, abstinence was never taught either. Not that it would have changed this much had it been (or at least I don't believe it would have). And I'm not sure the word masturbation was ever discussed in my household. And I know that there was more than once I had to go to an older friend to find out what certain words meant (condom, virgin, etc).

During my first "serious" relationship my parents were going through their divorce. I found a legal pad on my father's desk on day with a list of things that he needed to talk to my mother about. One of those things was "talk to Erica about birth control". Little did they know that I didn't need to be talked to about it, I had already taken care of it on my own - not that it mattered much, that boy ended up being gay and, although he didn't reveal that until we were grown up, everything leading up to his coming out should have been a clue.

Nonetheless, my mother had that talk with me too. This one, much to my dismay, I remember. I remember feeling embarrassed and lying, through my teeth, telling her it wasn't necessary. I didn't have the heart to tell her I had a friend drive me to the local clinic over a month earlier to get the prescription. She had that same talk with me a little later in my life, when I was pregnant with Zachary...too late...not that she knew that either.

Once upon a time, Zachary asked me where babies came from. He was much younger, 4 or 5 and I didn't feel the need to get into all the nitty gritty. So, I told him that when a Mommy and Daddy loved each other very much their love created a baby. That satisfied him for the moment...I am bracing myself for the next time it comes up.

Recently Zachary giggled at the word sex. I don't know where he heard it (television I'm sure). I asked him what was so funny. I got the typical 7 year old boy answer: shoulder shrug, and a red faced "I don't know". So I asked him what he thought sex was and after a lot of prying I got "kissing and stuff". Good enough, I thought, but I wondered where he would get that. Television, I'm sure, again.

When Allyson was about 14 we talked about sex. Again at 15 and 16 and 17. It was always a little embarrassing for both of us, but it was important, so I kept doing it. I'm not sure how much of a difference it made since at 18 she is now a Mommy herself...

Abstinence is a funny thing. While I think that most parents want their children to be abstinent for their teenager years, how many of us believe it to be true? How many of us were abstinent through our teenage years?

I guess I would much rather that my children know the truth of the matter. Sex happens. Sex should be reserved for two people who love each other and when that happens it is a beautiful thing. Sex can lead to many things both scary and wonderful. Of course, STDs and pregnancy are always issues - not to mention the emotional havoc it can create with both parties.

I want my kids to wait. I want them to wait until they are old enough to accept the responsibilities that sex creates and to wait until they are in love. This is what my parents asked of me. Then I think: how does a child know these things? How does anyone know these things?

I remember talking to my guidance counselor about sex, saying I was thinking about it. He told me I shouldn't have sex until I could accept all the responsibilities. I told him that I could, except I wasn't ready to be a parent. He told me then I wasn't really ready. He was right.

So what's a parent to do? I can't lock them up until they are 30...or can I? I can't follow them on every date they have until they are married...although I believe that does happen in some cultures. I can't decide when they will get married (and to whom) and not allow any "courting" until then (although it seems to work well for some Muslims). I guess I just teach them what I believe, keep it honest and encourage them to "save themselves" for the right person.

Again with the handbook...where is mine? I think they forgot it when I took them from the hospital.

I guess it comes down to faith, and not the religious kind of faith. Faith that my children are going to make the right decisions. Faith that I have done a good job in raising them. Faith that they have a conscience and that they will follow it into most situations. Faith that they have a God of their own and that their God will watch over them.

No matter what "mistakes" I have made in my lifetime (sexual or otherwise) they have made me who I am today. My children will make mistakes and I will continue to make mistakes in raising them. All I can do is my best and pray for the rest to iron itself out.

Oy, it gets scarier everyday!


Pedicures and afternoons to myself - repost

This is one of the blogs that I submitted to become a "featured blogger" for SITS. Thanks Sometimes Sophia for the idea. I tweaked it a bit (took Jessi out and a bit about the book I was reading at the time - sorry Jess!!). I will repost the other two at a later date. Thanks for all your help in deciding and wish me luck!

My pedicurist hates me. Okay, she doesn't hate me, but she doesn't charge me nearly enough for the works she puts in on a monthly basis.

Let's back up a bit here....

About a year ago I started bartering with a local hairdresser. I give her a massage, she cuts my hair - no money exchanged. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as the case may be) her prices and mine don't jive. I charge a whole lot more than she does for her services.

Now I get my haircut every 3 1/2 weeks, a color every 7, I get a monthly pedicure (with paraffin), she waxes my eyebrows (yowch!) and she does all the boys hair as well. In turn, she gets a massage on a weekly basis.

I have my father's feet, meaning, my heels crack, the look awful and they are dry and disgusting. I never really paid much attention 'cause they look great from the top, just if you look at the bottom :) Then I started getting monthly pedicures. THEN I realized - this is what it is like to have nice feet.

Every month my poor pedicurist soaks my feet and gets out the file...after about 15 minutes she is breaking a sweat, asking someone to turn down the heat and I feel about 2 inches tall. She offered me a file to keep in the shower to do maintenance between appointments, here in which lies my dilemma...

I am a mother AND I work outside the house! When I am not chasing kids out of the refrigerator (or off of the refrigerator as the case may be) or away from the running washing machine ('"ooohhhh, Mommy, there's water going in" - seriously, if it didn't have so much potential to cause such a mess I might be able to stick him in front of it like the television) I am flying to work!!

My shower routine:
1) strip as quickly as possible, while turning on the water and searching for a towel, all the while screaming "Please, watch TV for 10 minutes, STAY OUT OF THE REFRIGERATOR and put the milk back...I SWEAR"
2) jump in, pray it isn't freezing or scalding, grab a bar of soap (if the child who was last in the shower didn't shove it down the drain) and lather and rinse as quickly as possible
3) grab the shower curtain to keep water off the floor "Andrew, get out, go watch TV, I am almost done, SERIOUSLY, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DUNKIN DONUTS TODAY"
4) grab the 2 in 1 shampoo/conditioner (my hairdresser hates me, I know) lather, rinse
5) jump out, wrap a towel around me
6) put milk back in the fridge, close fridge door, scrape cooked macaroni off floor and throw it in the trash, find Andrew and PRAY he hasn't found a marker or his way outside.

If you think I exaggerate, I invite you to spend a morning in my household. I love my kids, I SWEAR I do. I chose to stay home with them (and it wasn't because I knew that any other human being would consider self mutilation after spending a day with them). I know these are the qualms of motherhood - and I really am okay with that. Am I asking too much, however, to have a normal shower routine?

About two months ago I had Kirby install a lock on the bathroom door. I think I have used it during a shower twice - and only when he is home (although it doesn't stop him from coming in and gracing me with his presence - meaning he comes in to use the toilet). 20 minutes, that is all I want! Argh!

Today I have a slow day. I don't have clients until this evening. Today I chose to have the nice, long, relaxing shower that I have been longing for all week. I got Andrew on the bus at 11:30 and hopped in. I think I was done by quarter of, heels and all. I have lost the ability to relax in the shower...

Ah, well. Some mothers lose the ability to see their toes (well, me too) others must lose the ability to relax in the shower...disappointing, but true.


Rats everywhere are shuddering at the thought...

Since he was able to tell me what he wanted for a haircut Zachary has been growing a "rat tail". His goal was to be just like his Uncle Loren who had a tail from about age 3-13 (when he signed up for ROTC in high school and had to wear a military hair cut).

Friday we went for the boy's regular hair dressers appointment. As soon as we got there I needed to pee and Andrew needed to be changed. I ran through the front, hollered "whatever he wants, Kerri-Lee, I don't care" and took off for the restroom.

I'm sitting on the toilet peeing, trying to stop Andrew from jumping on the scale they have in there when I hear Kerri-Lee, "hey, Erica, I heard the words Mohawk and no tail...you might want to come out". "WHAT??? Alright, I'll be out in a minute".

Sure enough, I get out front, Zachary's sitting in the chair with a smirk on his face and he says, yes, he wants to get rid of his tail and get a Mohawk. I double check, I triple check...yup, that is what he wants.

There is one thing I don't fight my kids on - their hair. I figure I have bigger battles to fight. Hair grows back. I don't care. Kirby may have a different opinion...but when he starts taking them to get their haircuts (or paying for them) then he can make that decision (passive aggressive...maybe).

My only response was "you're telling your grandmother". My mother has some odd, strange attachment to kid's hair. Loren didn't get his first hair cut until people started referring to him as a girl (of course, that could have been the hand-me-down rainbow leg warmers he wore).

Turns out that by "Mohawk" he meant "military". He wanted her to shave the sides and leave the top a little longer. I was thankful because last year we did Mohawk -REAL Mohawk and it took FOREVER to grow out.

My mother took it well and it looks really nice.





Of course, these photos were taken with the old camera (still no touchy, touchy for me).

I will admit, I nearly cried. Whatever he wants, I don't care...but he had been growing this thing for 5+/- years! It was tough...I almost asked her to save it - then I wondered which drawer it would end up in only for one of the kids to find it in years to come and ask "what the heck is this" and for me to respond "I have no stinking idea".

Never got out of that hornet's nest

When I was 8 (or so) a neighbor girl came over to play. This was a relatively rare occurrence because we didn't really live in a neighborhood. We lived in the boonies and to get to our house you had to either cross through an incredibly large field or go through the woods.

When it was time for her to go home I asked my father if I could walk her. He was fine but told me not to go past the woods...I did. There was a small path that went through the woods to the field that was behind her home. Of course, on my way back I couldn't find the path and had to cross through the woods.

I started crossing through the woods and all of a sudden I was getting stung OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. My parents had always told me that if you don't bother bees they won't bother you so I stood VERY, VERY, VERY still (I remember thinking about the Statue of Liberty). I could hear Dana looking for me (she was probably 4 at the time) and I kept yelling at her to go back to the house...she was crying and wanted me to come out.

Next thing I know I am being grabbed under both arms by my father and Roger (the guy who worked for him) who started running with me back to the house as fast as they could - they had seen a SWARM of hornet's over the bushes and heard me screaming.

I had stepped on a hornet's nest. I had no idea. All I knew was that I was getting stung and I had to stand still so I didn't bother them. Of course, standing on top of their home, crushing the life out of their family...I was bothering them.

A dozen or more stings, one trip to the ER, a shot to help stop an allergic reaction, lots of vomiting, a teddy bear and a grocery store trip later and I was fine (although my mother made salmon pie that night for dinner with canned salmon - the Bumble Bee kind - I thought that was rather ironic and harsh - I will NEVER eat canned salmon again).

My father got his revenge that evening by setting the nest on fire. I guess the bushes went up in flames as well...he claims that he is lucky the neighbors didn't have to call the fire department.

Monica jokes that I stepped in a hornet's nest at age 8 and never really got out...such is my life.

I am the one in my family that will lose a child at a graduation (because he WANTED the mugs in the school store that cost $16 and I told him no). I am the one whose car will break down in Baltimore, MD on a 4 lane highway (in the middle lane) during a spur of the moment trip to DC. It is me that will make 13 trips to the ER each year with a child that burned his fingers on peanut butter or a husband that burned his corneas because he didn't wear a mask while welding... THIS IS MY LIFE.

So it shouldn't be surprising that while pet sitting two parrots the screen door somehow locks behind me, my keys hanging from the door knob, the emergency phone numbers sitting on the counter, needing to be in Rochester in 30 minutes (being over an hour away), with two kids in tow and Kirby over 90 minutes away. I shouldn't have been surprised at all...but I was.

What to do? Well, I call Kirby (not for a fix, really, but for an ear for me to scream "WTF AM I SUPPOSE TO DO HERE" type thing) - he wants to tell me all the reasons why he can't help, "It'll take me over an hour and half to get there...I don't know what to tell you..." - I hung up on him.

I have to be in Rochester for Tom's graduation party... Andrew stinks to high heaven... Zachary keeps saying, "I am SO furryous". I say, "you mean FURIOUS".."yeah, furryous"... I have checked EVERY window, EVERY door, I tried prying the screen open, screaming, kicking - nothing worked.


So I cut the screen. What else was I going to do? I didn't have a choice. I cut the freaking screen.

Now, the $16/visit that she is paying me is going to go right back to her...to fix that stinking screen.

I never did get out of that hornet's nest...



While I was in massage school, and learning all the muscles, SITS was how we remembered the four muscles that comprise the rotator cuff (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis). Today I joined a blogger's group called SITS (The Secret is in the Sauce).

It appears to be a great way to gain more exposure for your blog, get more comments, and, hopefully, make a little money (check out the Google search bar in the upper right hand corner...every time you use that I make a little money).

Each day SITS has a "featured blogger". In order to become a featured blogger you have to submit three of your favorite blogs. This is where you, my dear readers, come in. I have no idea which three to submit. I'd like a variety (one funny, one serious, etc) but I just have no idea which ones to choose.

Help me out, comment which are your favorites AND, if you are interested in gaining more blog traffic visit SITS:

Make a comment, add their button to your page and PLEASE make sure you mention that "Cray Bickford Family" sent you! This month they are having a GREAT contest for an AWESOME bounce house! If you mention my name I get an extra entry (and you get a chance to win too).


Visit SITS:

Add their button to your page;

Comment their page, tell them I sent you;

And let me know what your favorite blogs were!

If nothing else, I am competitive - I am in this to win :)


Pictures, pictures and more pictures!

Kirby uploaded the photos...but the camera found its way back into his possession.

Graduation and ice cream afterwards:





















Andrew at "Touch a Truck" at The Wright Museum (a WWII museum):




Father's Day with my dad and the ice cream sundae party during:











We (and by WE I mean Kirby) are still figuring out the quirks with the new camera - inside shots versus outside shots, etc. He has barely let me get my hands on it...boys and their toys...


Too many happenings, not enough pictures!

First off, we bought a new camera. The old one...well, you know, took crappy photos, was over 2 years old and, most recently, took a dunk in the river.

Unfortunately, I no longer have possession of the camera. Kirby has taken a new love of photography and the camera stays with him. He also has been too stinking lazy to upload the pictures of the past week...which means no photo blogging for me >:( (that's me, really angry - but I can't show you that because KIRBY HAS POSSESSION OF THE CAMERA AND HASN'T LOADED THE NEW SOFTWARE IN AND HASN'T LOADED UP THE NEW PICTURES YET EITHER).

A quick update on the MANY happenings of this past week and a half:

Tom turned 18. Holy crap. Way to make me feel old, Tom, thanks!

Tom graduated high school. So, if turning 18 wasn't bad enough, we added a graduation to the mix. I laughed, I cried...I was completely selfish and thought only about how old he makes me feel...great day! Seriously though, I am incredibly proud of him. He has worked very hard and is the first offspring to make it!

Baseball season is over. Thank freaking GOD! I am SO done with baseball. I have decided that working with the team (and the crappy parents who scream at their kids the whole game or ignore them and allow them to act like complete hellians) is not for me. Next year I will not be volunteering. I am sure there are a few cheers from the peanut gallery - go ahead and cheer I am cheering right along with you!

My office is going through a complete revamp! New paint, new furniture, new attitude. We will be having an open house at the end of the month and I am SO excited to show the place off!! The painter is less than neat...but he did a really great job on my walls (and the carpet and the tables...ugh). He promises that the mess will be cleaned up today...let's hope!

This weekend we are throwing a huge surprise party for Tom's birthday and graduation. Of course, today he got a job and the first thing they did was schedule him for Saturday. Being a surprise I couldn't tell him. So, I had to call his boss and be all like "this is Tommy's mommy and I'm really sorry but he has a family event this weekend and can't come into work on Saturday." He seemed cool...but Tom may kill me if he ever finds out.

That's it, that's all, folks. Someday I will take possession of the camera back and my blogs will, once again, become much more interesting. It's going to take a few weeks for my ADHD "husband" to lose his interest in the camera...bear with me!


Mean Kids...

Have any of you ever seen the movie "Mean Girls"? Essentially, it is about a group of popular high school girls whose goal in life is to belittle and put down every person that is "beneath" them. If you have seen it I am sure you are able to recognize some hurtful truth to it.

We all had those people in high school that appeared to be so high on their horses that they appeared to have little time to do anything but make others feel horrible about themselves. Please be sure that you read that I said APPEARED. I do know that there is little reason in this world for a human being to treat another person like that other than the need to feel better about themselves.

What is absolutely amazing to me is the CHILDREN and ADULTS that act this way. I understand high schoolers to a point - don't we all struggle to make it through high school in one piece? But CHILDREN...seriously? And adults - well, they are the ones creating the children that feel it is okay to constantly belittle other people.

We do our best to raise our children to be loving and kind of every human being. We do not tease people because of what they do or do not have, because of how they look or what they are wearing, because of "disabilities" (or different abilities as the case may be)...

Of course, I am not naive. I understand that my children are not angels. I understand that how they act in front of their friends may be very different than how they act in front of me.

I promise you, however, that if I EVER watched my child give an adult a dirty look or EVER heard my child make fun of another person they would be in for a world of hurt (no, we do not beat our children but instead make sure that they apologize to the other person and we have "long talks" about what is right and wrong).

The children that think it is okay to make fun of a child less advantaged of them are amazing to me. The child that calls my son "Scribble" because he doesn't color in the lines, the child that makes fun of my son because he doesn't play baseball as well or have a Nintendo DS...

What is happening to our children? When did meaness become a part of early childhood? When did competition become so important that we are willing to hurt another's feelings over it? When did our children lose their sense of childhood and enter a world that is too grown up?

Something that amazes me even more than all this is that they are willing to do these things in front of adults and not care if they are heard...

What is going to happen when this generation is in charge of our world? If in kindergarten and 2nd grade these children do not care about tolerance, what happens when they take over the work force? When do they learn tolerance? I thought love and kindness was something you were born with and that hatred is taught...then how is it that these children have learned it already?

When did "Mean Girls" turn elementary?


Story Land - Then and Now

For months Andrew has been begging to go to Story Land on June 7th. They have been advertising on NHPTV that June 7th is NHPTV Day at Story Land and some of his "favorite" characters would be there. We were so lucky that Nicki, Rich and Xander were able to join us!

We left the house pretty early and we had a 90+ minute drive ahead of us. Andrew was VERY tired on the ride there:


It was hotter than hell and, I swear, EVERY family within a 100 mile radius had the same idea we did. We pulled in the parking lot a little before 10am (less than an hour after they opened) and there were lines to get in and barely any parking spaces within 500 feet.

Nonetheless, there was no turning back...even though I told Andrew I had changed my mind and we were going home:


Evil...I know :)


We met up with Nicki, Rich, Xander and Rich's parents right away and the kiddos were ready to go! They met their character friends first:


And then they were off and running. I am not going to give you a play by play of the day...there is just too much to go into detail.


All in all we had a great day (even though I truly thought I was going to die of heat exhaustion). The kids did everything they wanted to do (even though Zachary believes he is too old for Story Land). And, most importantly, we got to see Nicki, Rich and Xander (whom live about 3 hours from us and we RARELY get to see).

Enjoy some of the picture of the day:


Check out the look on my 8 year old's face...too big and too tough to be here:


Picture Perfect





Andrew got stuck in the ball pit. Dad had to help him out:



The LeBlanc Family:


He didn't know that he was standing in a girl's body and boy was he pissed when he got out!



One of the few shots of Kirby - I had to sneak up on him:








Zachary's favorite place: The Loopy Lab - where it is okay to attack people and shoot guns and be "violent" because the guns only shoot balls and the balls don't hurt. We could have spent HOURS in there:















And now, a comparison. These pictures are from our trip to Story Land in '06. This was the last time we went and the time that Tom decided he is too big and tough for Story Land...wonder where Zachary gets it.




This time he knew he was in a girl's body and he was okay with it...how they change: