Feel the burn...

I love www.livestrong.com - have I told you that before?

I love that I can enter my activity for the day and it tells me how many calories I burned.

Sledding burns about 730 calories per hour (for me at my weight). Walking burns about 690 calories per hour.

But it doesn't tell me how much I burn while I am walking, pulling a sled with a 50lb kid in it...


I LOVE books!!

I think I have expressed before how much I love to read. My goal this year is to read 52 books (one for every week). I have already read 5 (all of which are listed to the right and all of which I recommend except The Last Girls - too wordy for me).

I was on Facebook the other day, playing Scrabble with Nicki, and this ad pops up on the right of the screen. Usually I never click those ads (we all know that is how websites pay for their free sites to be up, we SHOULD click them and click them often) but this one intrigued me. It said something about getting The Twilight Series for free. So I clicked it. It brought me to www.swaptree.com...

And it opened up a NEW WORLD for me!!

This place is SO FREAKING AWESOME! You list the books that you have (the ones you are willing to part with - for me this DOES NOT include The Twilight Series), list the books you want, they match you up and BINGO you have a new book!!

I put about 15 books on the list, added about 15 to my "want" list and immediately they told me that I had a potential trade. I "initiated" the trade, the other party accepted, I dropped hers in the mail and today I got my new book.


For about $5 in postage (even less if you buy it online DIRECTLY THROUGH SWAPTREE) I got a new book.


Not only does this work for books but you can swap for music, DVDs and video games. Currently there are about 620 items available to me.

Check it out if you have a moment. I am absolutely in love :)

Do you dare?

I recently purchased a book called The Love Dare. The movie Fireproof (that Kirby and I went to see a few weeks ago) was based on a couple's experience with this book.

"This 40-Day journey equips you to melt hardened, separated hearts into an enduring love that can withstand the flames of fear, pride and temptation. The Love Dare book will help you reinforce and enrich your marriage, earn back a love you thought was lost..." It also intends to bring you closer to God (which, honestly, I struggle with).

While Kirby and I are in a much better place than we were 6 months ago, it certainly couldn't hurt to strengthen it. And, as I mentioned, I struggle with my relationship with God, so what have I got to lose?

So I wonder, have any of you taken The Love Dare? Are you willing to challenge yourself to a 40 day journey to strengthen your relationships? Do you dare hop aboard my "love train"?

You can read a bit more about The Love Dare HERE.


We've got her!!

Or THEY have her...but really, she is OURS, right?!

Yesterday my sister and her family got to meet their baby girl. She is gorgeous, of course and it appears that she knows her mommy already. She fell asleep in Monica's arms before the day was over.

This has been such an amazing journey for all of us. Especially for Monica and her family. Taking a trip to Korea, meeting Steve's family (people that his mother hadn't seen in 17 years, people that Steve had never even met) and bringing home a baby girl. But for the rest of us, to even be a part of it...uh, I'm getting all veclemped (except I am not Jewish...so I don't know how to spell it).

I spoke with Monica and Christian (my nephew) yesterday afternoon (or VERY early morning their time - the boys are having a hard time adjusting to the time change). This was before they got to meet their baby (and sister) but even talking to Christian about it I started to cry. He is such a compassionate, loving little man. He is going to be an amazing big brother to this little girl (and he is already an amazing big brother to Than).

Tonight she will be spending the night with them in their hotel room then they all head home. They will be arriving here on the East Coast Saturday afternoon (at which point in time her adoptive name will be announced). Our plan is to meet them at the airport but Z is racing his Pinewood Derby car that day...if he stinks then we go, if he is great then we probably won't make it (is it awful that I SO SELFISHLY WANT him to stink?!?!).

I have pictures but am not ready to share them with the whole Internets....not until I have permission.

Prayers for a safe, uneventful journey home and an easy transition from foster mom to adoptive mom for our baby girl.

Another unnumbered Thankful Thursday's Thirteen. My gratitude cannot be measured.

Happy Birthday, Dear Loren!!

A VERY Happy 21st Birthday to my little brother, Loren. I love you very much.

Here are a few of my favorite memories:

  • I remember when you thought you were Peter Pan. You seemed so convinced that there were times I was terrified you would try to fly from a tree or the roof...
  • I remember you sitting on the living room floor, encyclopedias spread around you, in a pull-up. You could read (and read well) but you weren't potty trained!! YOU give me hope for Andrew...
  • You were SO cranky as a baby and that the only thing that would sooth you was your bouncy seat in front of a sing-along-song movie. I could probably still sing those songs in my sleep.
  • I took you to your first Star Wars movie and the second and the third (and I kick myself all the time for it). I loved taking you to those movies.
  • Dad let you cut school one day and I took you Christmas shopping and to see Space Jam. It was such a great time and one of my favorite memories of us.
  • When you first started dating Emily and you had her ring tied around your neck on a piece of string. You got so embarrassed when I asked you about it.
  • At your graduation party that you sang Piano Man and did it well - I would have been to scared to get up there alone. I was so proud of you.
  • You played your trumpet at Monica's wedding and everyone thought it was a CD - you were amazing for an 11 year old kid!
  • Remember that time Dad brought a woman home for dinner? Probably the first time he brought a woman home. You farted at the dinner table. She never came back.
  • The day you were born, Mom and Dad called from the hospital and told us your name and Alex cried because he wanted you to be named Clay.

    Just a bit of advice on your 21st:

    1. Do NOT get drunk in front of Dad. If you are getting a little buzzed STOP. He WILL kill you - or at least make you feel about 2 inches tall and you will WISH you were dead.

    2. If you think you are going to get sick GO TO THE BATHROOM. Don't think that you can overcome it - I promise, you CAN'T!

    3. Drinks are expensive. If your plans are to become an alcoholic you need to get a job that pays better than the one you have.

    4. You WILL NOT like beer. I know it is all "manly" to drink beer but it REALLY IS yucky. You will hate it. My best advice, grab a vodka with cranberry juice or Kahlua and milk or even a Captain and coke and put it in a clean beer bottle...that way Alex doesn't make fun of you for drinking the "fruity" drinks.

    5. Remember no drinking and driving. This is the MOST important. If you need a ride call me. I don't care where you are or who you are with...Kirby will come and get you :)


The BEST Mac and Cheese EVER

Part of what I ate this weekend was the most wonderful Mac and Cheese EVER (and most full of fat and junk - I know, www.livestrong.com told me).

It is so delicious, however, that I had to share it with you all. I do not have pictures (cooking with two boys running around takes enough out of me, I can barely NOT burn the butter - never mind snapping photos). I also have to confess that the recipe MOSTLY comes from www.foodnetwork.com - but I have made a few changes to bring down the fat content AND make it EXTRA special. Oh and MOST importantly, the kids LOVE it!!

Bake Mac and Cheese with Ham ala Crazy Momma, Crazy Town USA (Serves 6-8)

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3TB Olivio
  • 3 TB flour
  • 1 TB powdered mustard
  • 3 cups skim milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces SHARP cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 cups leftover ham, diced
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • black pepper


  • 3 TB Olivio
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about 5 minutes. Make sure it is free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf and paprika. Simmer for 10 minutes and remove the bay leaf.

Temper in the egg (if you don't know how to temper in an egg - I didn't - click here). Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the macaroni and ham into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.


Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes before serving.

ENJOY and let me know what you think!


Belly changes

I have been taking weekends off of my "diet" and exercise regimen. I don't track my calories, I don't push myself to work out and I don't, really, pay attention to what I am eating. I think it is a fair compromise. 'Cause telling myself "never" doesn't work (at least not today).

Both Saturday and Sunday I realized that I am not sure that is going to work. I didn't go overboard with food but I certainly ate like the calories didn't count. And, man oh man, I felt it!

Saturday we went for dinner at my mother's. It is not uncommon to eat at my mom's on Saturday for "beans" but we hadn't been there in a little while. This week we were sure to make it because the next day Mom, Monica, Steve and family were leaving for KOREA!!

I was SO full by the time we left there I thought I might have to undo the button on my pants...

From there we went to my father's where Kirby was going to play poker while I sat in a rocking chair in front of the fire reading a book watched the children. I couldn't eat a thing. I looked (oh BELIEVE ME, I looked - my aunt had even brought whoopie pies...YUMMY), but I couldn't do it.

Sunday, I flat out ate like crap. I can't even begin to tell you the junk that I ate (too embarrassing). It wasn't that I ate A LOT it was that there was absolutely no nutritional value to any of it (including the whoopie pie that we brought home from Dad's).

Worse than that, my mood was horribly effected. I found myself irritable and cranky. I felt yucky and full and bloated.

So I went for a walk. I went down to the local bookstore (The Country Bookseller - if you happen to be in the area I HIGHLY recommend it - wonderful place, wonderful people, so friendly). It isn't a very long walk - not even half of the way to work (which I walk to about 4 days a week) and I was winded coming home...

It could have been the air (very dry and colder than all hell), it could have been the pace I was walking (a bit faster than usual because of the temps)...but it could have been that I had absolutely ZERO nutrition in my body and very little water.

Two weeks into these daily changes and my belly is already feeling it.


This is why I don't like women....

Well, aside from YOU women, of course. Bloggy women are great. And, in all honesty, I have a number of very close women friends...but in general, I don't like women.

Kirby and I sent the boys to my Mom's overnight on Saturday. This is not something we do often so I was pretty darned excited.

The evening started in a church. First off, let me tell you that Kirby and I are not church goers. We both believe in God but have our issues with him...one of mine is organized religion. HOWEVER, my sister highly recommended the movie Fireproof and the church was showing it (and it was free). So, off we went.

Honestly, the movie was great. It is about a couple who are going through some major challenges in their relationship, on the verge of divorce and the "dare" that the husband takes to get their marriage back on track. Kirk Cameron stars as the husband and firefighter and he did a wonderful job.

It is kind of After School Specialish, it is about accepting God into your life and your relationships. It was, honestly, wonderful. I was, pleasantly, surprised.

After the movie we decided to meet up with some of Kirby's coworkers and go bowling. I haven't been 10 pin bowling in years and I was looking forward to having a great night out without any kids.

The second we walked into the bowling alley, one of Kirby's coworkers (a young, "hawt", girl) SCREAMED at the top of her lungs. And from that moment forward she completely ignored me. She also ignored her boyfriend (she never even introduced him to us).

As the night went on she got progressively worse. The more she drank, the worse she got. She slapped nearly every guy's (and girl's) ass...except mine (not that I am complaining) and thankfully, for HER, not Kirby's. At one point I commented on how much I had drank and she asked if that meant she could rub her ass in my face...I was so shocked I couldn't even speak to her.

And that is not even the worst part.

We were bowling two lanes. Kirby and I and a couple other women were in one lane and she and ALL the other men were in the other. At one point in time I ended up bowling at the same time as her. As I reached for my ball the girl reached out her hand and SLAPPED me. Yes...slapped my arm and told me "that ball is mine".

I was SHOCKED. Who does that? Who, within moments of meeting someone, does that? I could see if she and I knew each other (which we didn't - and, now, never will), a couple of girlfriends, messing around, but we aren't a couple of girlfriends. I didn't even know the girl.

And just to set the record straight, I wasn't even going after "her" ball. I may not be great at 10 pin and I may be "just a girl" but I can certainly handle a ball larger than 7lbs.

I explained to Kirby that, while I may have had a couple of drinks, I was still VERY aware of what was going on and if that bitch women touched me (or him) again I was going to punch her in the face.

Thankfully, she chose to keep her hands to herself off of each of us the rest of the evening and I was able to restrain myself 'cause I tell you....

My mouth, on the other hand, didn't show much restraint. The next time she and I met up to bowl at the same time, she reached out to slap me again as I took a ball and informed her that she looks "like a girl who is used to getting what she wants" and that she was welcome to whichever ball she needed.

I am sure there are women out there who don't feel the need to be center of attention at all times (in fact, the two other women that were there happened to be very nice) but those women tend to come into a room and do just that - be the center of attention (good or bad). I wonder what could have happened in her life that she chooses to act like that in front of complete strangers.


Seoul - here we come!!

At 8:30 this morning my sister got THE call. The one that we have been waiting for. The one that says "pack your bags, you get to go pick up your baby".

Hopefully, by this time next week we will have our little girl home, safe and sound!

Please send my sister and her family (her husband, her two sons, her mother-in-law and our mother) well wishes. Keep them in your prayers during this amazing journey. There are no two people in this world who deserve this more.

And with that, how about a little Thankful Thursday?

  • I am so thankful that my sister and her husband get the opportunity to visit Korea. My brother-in-law is Korean and I think this is such an amazing opportunity for him and his children.
  • I am thankful that my mother gets to be a part of this journey. I swear she has been waiting for a little girl since Z (her first grandchild) was born. I think it is fitting that she gets the opportunity to be there.
  • I am thankful that we didn't have to wait until after the Korean New Year (Monday) to get the call.
  • I am thankful that my nephew will not miss his Pinewood Derby race this weekend...they probably will not get to leave until Sunday or Monday.
  • I am thankful that the same nephew answered the phone this morning when he was suppose to be heading out the door for school.
  • I am thankful that my sister is allowing us to be at the airport when she arrives. I don't want to crowd the baby when she will already be so overwhelmed...but I do want to be there as much as I am "allowed".
  • I am thankful that this means the entire family will probably be able to join us for Z's birthday (as long as our little girl is feeling up to it).
  • This one may cause a little controversy...I am thankful that the plane went into the Hudson last week because what are the chances that there would be another serious plane crash in the weeks following?
  • I am thankful that my family is so close and that we are able to share this day together.

It's not 13...but, honestly, there are so many more things that just can't be put into words.

No pain - no gain.

I don't like pain. Not at all, not in any sense. If it isn't easy, I don't want to do it. And, honestly, this is the story of my life...

I gain weight because it is easier than working out and watching what I eat (which accounts for me being at my highest weight since losing 100 lbs a few years ago). My relationship struggles because I don't want to deal with the pain of putting in the work. My house is (often) a disaster because I don't want to deal with the pain of cleaning it up...the list goes on and on.

Lazy, perhaps. Actually, probably most definitely. But the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one...right?!

So, I have decided that I hate Billy Blanks (oh and don't even get me started on his perky daughter Shellie who just makes me want to puke every time I see her) . You see, I have started doing a Tae Bo video every morning with Z. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone:

1) Z gets some energy out before he goes to school with the intention of helping his (undiagnosed) ADHD.

2) I burn some calories and (hopefully) don't look like a fat cow at my brother's wedding in June.

And along with Billy and his perky daughter Shellie (gosh, even the way she spells it makes me think PERKY) I have added Lance. Now, Lance I like. Lance makes things very easy for me with The Daily Plate. I track everything I eat, every calorie I burn and every pound of weight I lose. And by "calorie burning" you know that I mean everything from grocery shopping to putting on makeup to SEX (yes, you read that right, you can count sex to your calorie burning) to massage work (some of my recent fitness logs included Tae Bo, folding clothes, washing dishes and shoveling snow). Did you know that massage work (for me, at my weight) burns approximately 417 calories an hour (which is really nice because, on a good day, I have 4 clients which equals NEARLY the amount of calories I am allotted each day) and walking to and from work everyday burns 353 calories...see, Lance I like.

I have been tracking my food for about a week. Honestly, I have not been doing it as faithfully as I should (I skipped the weekend) but it has made everything so much easier and made me really aware of what I am consuming on a daily basis. Did you know that a Dunkin Donuts Boston Creme Donut is 270 calories? That is more than I burn doing 20 minutes of Tae Bo with STUPID Billy and Shellie.

The past two mornings Z and I have gotten up early and done some Tae Bo. Yesterday (day one) I lasted about 10 minutes and then I died. Right on the floor. My heart stopped until the DVD was off...then I came to. Z, of course, being the ball of energy that he is, said "we barely even started". I told him I thought it was enough for one day...

It hurts. Every inch of my body hurts. My hips hurt, my legs hurt, my ass hurts...it's a big reminder of the last time I joined a gym.

But that got me thinking about the "no pain- no gain" concept and my complete inability to put myself through any sort of pain.

Did I think this was going to be easy?
Did I think that I could just melt the pounds away by blogging at the computer? Blogging, BTW, burns about 156 calories per hour.
Doesn't pain = strength?
Don't we all have to go through pain to get stronger?

And then (of course cause I have the (undiagnosed) ADHD tendencies as well) I started thinking about my life in general and how I am apt to give up at anything that seems too hard...

So now, I am on a mission. I am going to do things that are hard. I am not giving myself a time limit or going to say "until" (because that makes things so much easier for me to give up on). I am going to do this today. Today I am going to do things that are hard (like the 20 minutes of Tae Bo I FORCED myself to do - but you can bet your ass that as soon as 20 minutes was up I was DONE). Today is much easier than this week or this month or until I lose 100 pounds...

So, wish me luck, TODAY. Things are going to get a whole lot harder as time goes on...



I have come to realize that the networking sites (like Facebook and MySpace) do one thing well: FEED DRAMA.

So if you are wondering if you should join either site (because EVERYONE is doing it) and you don't deal well with drama...perhaps you should reconsider.

I left high school well over 10 years ago and wouldn't go back if you paid me. I certainly don't want the drama that I left behind infiltrating my life today.

I know who my real friends are, I don't need Facebook or MySpace to remind me or to tell me what they are doing every minute of every day.

So I'm taking a break from all things drama related. It's not worth it.

Did you just goose me?

My office is in one of the most beautiful areas of town. It sits right on the water, is surrounded by trees and is, mostly, very peaceful. We have a bit of wildlife though nothing usually too scary.

Until Saturday...

We are currently living with one car. The plus side is that I am getting plenty of exercise during the week. The down side is that the days I don't walk home from work I wait for Kirby to come and get me. Saturday was one of those days.

I got out of work a little earlier than I expected (don't you LOVE that). I decided to wait outside until Kirby got there. It was a beautiful day. A little chilly but the sun was shining and the snow was gorgeous.

As I was looking out over the water I noticed a Canadian Goose sitting in the snow close to the water but about 20 feet from me. He was just laying there, kind of pecking around in the snow. I approached him to check him out (thinking he might be hurt - while we often have geese not usually this time of year) still not getting any closer than 15 feet. I snapped some pictures with my camera phone and talked to the guy a little bit.

Well, I am not sure if he was pissed off because I took his picture without permission or if he was terribly hungry and thought I might be tasty...whatever it was that goose CHARGED!!

As he came at me I hollered, told him to keep back...he didn't listen.

I waved my arms, told him to stay away...he didn't listen.

That freaking goose chased me right back into my office where he proceeded to peck at the glass door trying to get me!!

Kirby drove in soon after I ran into the office and sat in the car laughing at me.

I tried to scare the goose away. I made threatening gestures through the window. Nothing. He just kept pecking.

I tried to call my father for advice ('cause that's what I do - life gets tough, call Daddy) but he didn't answer the phone. I tried to call my mom and ended up talking to her husband instead. He informed me that geese can be very scary (ummmm, YA THINK?!), that in Korea they use to use them as "attack dogs" (surely, you MUST be joking)...and his best advice: "attack him".

All the while I am on the phone Kirby is doing his best to distract the goose...FROM THE CAR. Please note that I said FROM THE CAR. The man rolled down his window and proceeded to honk at the goose (and laugh at me). And when he eventually did step from the car it was only to stand directly behind the door so he could make a fast escape if necessary.

Eventually I grabbed a broom from the closet, stuck it through a crack in the door and gestured wildly at the goose. He flapped his wings, he made some noise and he backed away. I took my opening and I ran - like the freaking wind.

Both the kids and Kirby thought this was the most hysterical thing they have ever seen...I wasn't so sure at that moment (I was still shaking with terror) but I can see the humor now.

I called the woman who I share space with (who was also working) and warned her to watch out as she was leaving for the new "attack goose". She sent me a picture of him as she was trying to get to her car...
Okay, okay, that isn't really her picture, I found that one on Google...but it is pretty similar (her picture was just a crappy one that she took with her phone and I couldn't seem to get it uploaded properly and in my haste I forgot to SAVE the pictures I took to my phone).
So, in the wake of the terrifying US Airways ordeal, and my, almost, equally terrifying ordeal, I have decided...the devil has made a deal with the geese. We are all in trouble!


I cried, I got chills, I texted...

Yes it is. Yes we did! Yes HE will. Today is the first day of the next 4 years.

When I saw Barack Obama in Dover, NH over 2 years ago I KNEW he was something special. Never before had I been so excited about a presidential campaign. But I KNEW this was MY time. So I signed that little card asking for volunteers.

When Max from the Obama campaign called me and asked me to help I told him ABSOLUTELY as long as I didn't have to make phone calls. Two weeks later I drove an hour to the Conway, NH district office and did just that...made phone calls. Because I BELIEVED.

And through the summer and fall I worked and worked and worked. I knocked on doors, I made phone calls, I worked events, I talked and debated and prayed and I hoped.

When all the Wolfeboro volunteers gathered in Phil's living room on primary night there was a palpable energy. We KNEW we had worked and worked and worked and made a difference in the minds of voters across the town. When OUR numbers came in and WE WON Wolfeboro - the energy became electric.

When they announced that Hillary Clinton had taken the state I cried. I was heartbroken, knowing how hard I had worked, how hard my fellow volunteers had worked...it hurt. I was in a state of shock for a number of days. The polls had predicted a 17 point lead. It killed.

And when he DID become the Democratic nominee. I was thrilled. I knew how hard I had worked and how hard volunteers across the nation must have worked to make that happen.

I did not volunteer through the general election. I had burned myself (and my relationships) out during the primary. It was a lot of hard work, a lot of time away from my family and friends. A lot of time on the phone debating why Obama WAS the right man for the job. I wouldn't take it back for anything - but I knew that I could not sustain (and my relationships could not sustain)another 6 months of working that hard.

When Charlie Gibson paused on election night, waiting for the California polls to close, I thought "WTF is he doing?". And then it happened. He announced that Barack Obama was the next President of The United States of America. I fell to my knees. I cried, I got chills, I texted, I cried, I got chills, I SCREAMED.

Today IS THE DAY. The day I worked so hard for. The day that I wanted so badly. The day that so many of us prayed and hoped and worked for.

Whether or not you voted for him, I hope that you recognize what TODAY is. Today is the first day of the next four years. The first day that Americans can say that we have a black man serving as our commander and chief. The day that history is made. The day that I can look at my children and say, "THIS is what I worked so hard for. THIS is what we stood on the corner holding our signs in subzero temperatures for. THIS is what took me away from you for nights upon nights upon nights. THIS is why we vote. This is why we are AMERICANS. THIS is the first day of the next four years."

He will not be perfect, he will make mistakes. But today is a day that we can all be proud of the democratic process that we are a part of - whether you voted for him or not, the democratic process works.

Democrat or Republican, man or woman, black or white...this is history. Take a minute and be part of it.


Musical Meme

These are my favorite memes...I love it even more when they make sense (which only a few of these do like my favorite saying - HYSTERICAL).

1. Put your music player on shuffle.
2. Press forward for each question.
3. Use the song title as the answer to the question even if it does not make sense.
4. Tag someone else

How do you feel today? U Got The Look - Prince

What’s your outlook on life? Volunteers - Jefferson Airplane

What does your family think of you? Iris - Goo Goo Dolls

What do your friends think of you? Just A Girl - No Doubt

What do strangers think of you? Overture/Hannibal - Phantom of the Opera

What do your exes think of you? Santa Fe - Newsies

How’s your love life? Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again - Phantom of the Opera

How will your love life be in the future? Don't Give Up - Peter Gabriel

Will you get married? Don't Stop The Music - Rhianna

Are you good at school? Keeps Gettin' Better - Christina Aguilera

Will you be successful? Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand

What song should they play on your birthday? Decode - Paramore

What song should they play at your graduation? Ball And Chain - Janis Joplin

The Soundtrack of your life? Javert's Arrival - Les Miserable

You and your best friends are? Love Like This - Natasha Bedingfield

Happy times: Cole's Song - Julian Lennon

Sad times: You Just Get Better All The Time - Tim McGraw

Every day: SOS - Rihanna

For tommorrow: Someone To Watch Over Me - Julia Fordham

For you: Maria Maria - Santana

What does next year have in store for me? Wishing It Was - Santana

What do I say when life gets too hard? Ventura Highway - America

What song will I dance to at my wedding? The Bargain: The Waltz of Treachery - Les Miserable

What do you want as your career? You're My Best Friend - Queen

Your favorite saying? Save A Horse (Ride a Cowboy) - Big & Rich

How will I die? Sloop John B - The Beach Boys

I tag Tony from Soy Sauce Packets and Epiphanies...have fun!


6, 6, 6, 6

I stole this from Christy over at Heavy on the Caffeine. It's a picture meme. Go to your picture file, pick the 6th folder, then the 6th picture. Post that picture and blog about it.

This picture of Z and Hunter was taken in July, 06 - about 2 and a half years ago. If you look closely you can see that Z is missing a number of teeth. He had just graduated kindergarten and man, oh man, he was a handful. But he was NOTHING compared to Hunter.

That dog was (and still is) a bastard. We loved (and still love) him but MAN, OH MAN, that dog was the worst behaved dog EVER. He loved the kids, they were his "pack". He loved any and all food (except dog treats and his own food). He loved to run (especially away) - there was a time Kirby chased him up the road (Kirby was in his truck) and Hunter OUTRAN him!! He loved to chew anything and everything but mostly the kids toys or shoes. And now he loves Nicki, Rich and Xander who adopted him when we moved and Hunter was not allowed to accompany us.

I can't believe how young Z looks in this picture. He is so tiny and clean and sweet and innocent...yeah, not so much anymore.

And from the pictures I have seen recently, Hunter looks tiny too...not so much anymore!

So I am going to tag Nicki because she hasn't posted since before THANKSGIVING!!


The words...oh the words!

As I was sitting on the toilet yesterday (and on the phone with Nicki - sorry, Nicki) A came into the bathroom:

A: "what's a predicament, Mommy"

Me: "well, it's a sticky situation"

A: "ewwwww, a STICKY situation"

Me: "well, no, not STICKY really"

A: "oh, it's just an expression"

Me: "Yup, just an expression"

Where does my child come up with this stuff? Of course, I can deal with "predicament" and "expression", whereas the OTHER words he has used in the past...eh, not so much.

On another note, Z is working on his Pinewood Derby car. Any suggestions? We tried baking it tonight. I guess it is suppose to dry out all the water from inside the wood, making the car weigh less so when you add the weight to the back (because it should weigh 5oz in the end) it will go faster...didn't work for us. The car didn't lose a single pound (or ounce, as the case may be).
Although, the house smelled like really nice, warm pine for a good couple hours.

And on a completely different note (VERY WAY DIFFERENT) my "blogga from anotha' motha'" over on the west coast is having a contest. I warn you - THIS IS NOT FOR THE PRUDE AT HEART OR ANY OF MY SIBLINGS. If you can't deal with anything that has anything to do with anything referring to your nether regions DO NOT CLICK THE LINK!! If you are one of my siblings (or Nana Sue who recently started her own blog) DO NOT CLICK THE LINK! I SWEAR, it could burn your corneas!!

Otherwise, go check her out here!


2008 - What a Year

I have been meaning to post this for a while, but life got in the way.

2008 was a really hard year for us but we made it through.

Even though it was tough, there are many things to be grateful for:
  • I read 47 books:
Dream When You're Feeling Blue by Elizabeth Berg
The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur by Brian Steidle and Gretchen Wallace Steidle
Begonia for Miss Applebaum by Paul Zindel
Life Estates by Shelby Hearon
Baby Proof by Emily Giffin
Something Blue by Emily Giffin
Night by Elie Wiesel
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Rules by Cynthia Lord
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
Just Do It: How One Couple Turned Off the TV and Turned On Their Sex Lives for 101 Days (No Excuses) by Douglas Brown
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison
The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux
In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner
Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
Daniel Isn't Talking by Marti Leimbach
Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio
Sellevision by Augusten Burroughs
Promise Not To Tell by Jennifer McMahon
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Neffenegger
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Sam's Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson
PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs
H by Elizabeth Shepard
The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks
The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta
Love In Another Town by Barbara Taylor Bradford
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
I refuse to release the name of this book publicly...it really was that bad!
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Plum Wine by Angela Davis-Gardner
Good Grief by Lolly Winston

There were many good and a few not so good. Some of my favorites from this year include The Twilight Series (of course), The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Three Cups of Tea, The Devil Came on Horseback and Daniel Isn't Talking. You can click on any of the titles above and see their descriptions at Amazon.com.

  • We had no major medical emergencies (aside from A's seizure in February that required a trip to the ER).
  • I am not pregnant and was not pregnant through the entire year of 2008!
  • My father's wife Sue (Nana Sue) overcame breast cancer.
  • I hiked with an amazing team to raise money for breast cancer research and awareness. Our team was able to raise nearly $700.
  • I became part of an amazing group of women who started Embracing Autism. We hosted our first annual autism awareness day.
  • I am going to become an aunt (again) to a beautiful baby girl.
  • Alex and Andrea got married with her father present at the ceremony (we are looking forward to another ceremony in June that we will be able to be present at).
  • Z turned 8 and entered the 3rd grade - this will be his last year at the "little" elementary school.
  • A turned 6 and is enjoying his second year in kindergarten.
  • Kirby and I went through a separation, and while that wasn't fun, we were able to realize how much we love each other, our boys and commit to working on our relationship again.
  • I was able to spend a few nights with some great friends that I don't get to see too often.
  • I was able to take a role in the primary race for president. And I am now able to say that I shook hands with the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES and that I am a small part of the reason he was elected!
  • The boys were able to meet their niece and both she and Allyson continue to do well.
  • We had some wonderful family time fishing, hiking, playing, etc.
  • We had a great trip to The Franklin Park Zoo.
  • The NHPTV Auction had another great year and I had a great time volunteering.
  • We got to spend some wonderful times with James and Nicole and their family.
  • Nicole gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Jennie right before Thanksgiving.
  • We spent a day in Boston exploring.
  • We went to a Fisher Cats game with the family.
  • Z became a Cub Scout.
  • My business made it through another year - even though the economy really stank up the place!

I know there are a million more things...check out my Thursday's Thankful Thirteen postings from the past year. We have so much to be thankful for.

I am not big on resolutions. I find that they are a great way for me to fail, so I tend not to make them.

There are, however, a few things I would like to accomplish this year:

I hope you all had a wonderful 2008 and that you are able to have an even better 2009!



The CPSC released a clarification today on the new lead regulations to take effect 2/10/09.

According to the CSPC, "The new law requires that domestic manufacturers and importers certify that children’s products made after February 10 meet all the new safety standards and the lead ban. Sellers of used children’s products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard or new toy standards."

For more information: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09086.html

This is AWESOME news! I am so thankful!


Letter to the Thieving Whore

Dear Tooth Fairy,

I want to thank you kindly for the past few nights of little to no sleep. I am sure that in Fairy Land you are ensured a minimum of 8 hours sleep after flying all night...but lately, I am lucky if a get an hour or two of uninterrupted sleep at night.

It all started a few weeks ago when we noticed A had his very first loose tooth. It was exciting and he was so proud.

The tooth still hadn't come out this past Monday but it was incredibly wiggly. So wiggly, in fact, I was scared he might swallow it in his sleep. We tried to help him get it before he went to bed to no avail.

Then, in true A fashion, I got woken up at 3:15am. He told me he had to go pee. I walked him downstairs and the second we got into the bathroom he SCREAMED "IT CAME OUT" and he handed me his tooth.

Of course we were excited. He even got to wake Daddy up and tell him all about it. We decided that we would wait until the next night to put it under his pillow...and two hours later A was still talking about it. TWO HOURS LATER I was still NOT SLEEPING!

Last night I worked and Dad, of course, forgot to put the tooth under the pillow. Never fear, however, A was sure to remind me all about it at midnight. So under the pillow it went, at midnight...

Somewhere between then and 5:30am you must have made an appearance. I know this because that is the point in time was when A woke, checked under his pillow and proceeded to cry for the next two hours because you "STOLE" his tooth. I mean REALLY cry. HUGE tears. He was SO sad.

Of course, I realize that you left a beautiful note (that only slightly resembled my handwriting)and a $5 in its place. I know all the things he can do with $5 and I am sure he is very grateful for that...but Christ almighty, could you have left the freaking tooth?!

Seriously, lady, do you understand what it is like to go night after night after night with only an hour or two of uninterrupted sleep? Do you know what it is like to walk around all day in a haze because you haven't slept properly in weeks? No, I am sure you don't because you don't have kids. Every morning after flying around stealing children's teeth from under their pillows you lie your ass down on a puffy white cloud and you fall asleep. No one there to wake you up, no kids screaming your name or claiming to have to pee.

So, Fairy Girl, next time you decide you are going to make an appearance in my home you have to options:

1) Bring a sleeping potion from the evil step mother and pass it along to me so I can be sure to get a full night's sleep. Or,

If this means he doesn't get the money, I am sure he will understand. In all honesty, he doesn't give two craps about the money, he wants the nasty, old tooth. And, really, does it make all that much difference to you anyway? I mean, you have been collecting teeth for years...does my ONE child with his crazy tooth obsession (and amazing ability to function with little to no sleep) really make a difference?

I thank you for your time,

Bitch Mom from Hell

P.S. Could you clue me in as to how inflation effected your payout? I got a lousy quarter for my teeth - these kids are getting $5 for the first and, at least, $1 for each tooth thereafter? And if I pull my teeth out and leave them under my pillow, how much do you think you could get me?

Please be sure to check out the blog all about the new lead regulations the will lead to the closing of hundreds of thousands of thrift stores and consignment stores while also making it illegal for you or I to resell our children's used clothing and toys HERE.


New law about to go into effect - let's start an uproar! **Updated AGAIN Tuesday evening!**

I had a blogged all planned for today until Nicki called me. She called to ask if I knew anything about this new law about not being able to resell children's clothing, toys, etc. You can read an article from the LA Times below that explains it in a bit more detail (if you click on any part of the underlined article it will take you directly to the LA Times article):

safety rules for children's clothes have stores in a fit

owners say the cost of testing for toxic lead and phthalates will shut
businesses. The law goes into effect Feb. 10.

By Alana
Semuels January 2,

Barring a reprieve, regulations set to take
effect next month could
force thousands of clothing retailers and thrift
stores to throw away
of children's clothing.

law, aimed at keeping
lead-filled merchandise away from children,
mandates that all products sold
for those age 12 and younger --
clothing -- be tested for lead and
phthalates, which are
chemicals used to make
plastics more pliable. Those
that haven't been
tested will be considered
hazardous, regardless of whether
they actually
contain lead.

"They'll all
have to go to the landfill,"
Adele Meyer, executive director of the
National Assn. of Resale and
Thrift Shops.

The new regulations take effect Feb. 10 under the
Consumer Product Safety
Improvement Act, which was passed by Congress
year in response to
widespread recalls of products that posed a
threat to
children, including toys
made with lead or lead-based

Supporters say the measure is sorely needed. One health
advocacy group said
it found high levels of lead in dozens of products
purchased around the country,
including children's jewelry, backpacks

Lead can also be found in buttons or charms on clothing
and on
appliques that have been added to fabric, said Charles Margulis,
director for the Center for Environmental Health in
A child in
Minnesota died a few years ago after swallowing a
lead charm on
his sneaker, he

But others say the
measure was written
too broadly. Among the most vocal
critics to emerge
in recent weeks are
U.S.-based makers of handcrafted toys and
clothes, as well as
thrift and consignment shops that sell children's

will have to lock our doors and file for
bankruptcy," said Shauna
founder of Salt Lake City-based
franchise Kid to Kid, which sells used
children's clothing in 75 stores
across the country and had planned to open
store in Santa Clara,
Calif., this year.

There is the
possibility of a partial
reprieve. The Consumer Product Safety
which is responsible
for enforcing the law, on Monday will consider
exempting clothing and toys
made of natural materials such as wool or wood.
commission does not
have the authority to change the law but can decide
how to
it.But exempting natural materials does not go far enough,
Lamar, executive vice president of the American Apparel and
Assn. Clothes made of cotton but with dyes or non-cotton yarn, for
might still have to be tested, as would clothes that are
blends, he said.

"The law introduces an
extraordinarily large number of testing requirements
for products for
everyone knows there's no lead," he said.

Clothing and
thrift trade
groups say the law is flawed because it went
Congress too quickly.
By deeming that any product not tested for lead
content by Feb. 10 be
considered hazardous waste, they contend, stores
will have
to tell customers
that clothing they were allowed to sell Feb.
9 became banned

These groups say the law should be
changed so that
it applies to products
made after Feb. 10, not sold
after that

That would take action by Congress, however,
because the
Consumer Product
Safety Commission's general counsel has
already determined
that the law applies
retroactively, said commission
spokesman Scott

The regulations also apply to new
clothing. That won't be
a problem for
large manufacturers and retailers,
industry experts say, but
it will be a
headache for small operators such
as Molly Orr, owner of Molly
O Designs in Las

has already produced her spring
line of children's clothes. She says
can't afford the $50,000 it would
cost to have a private lab test her
clothing line, so she's trying to sell
her inventory at a steep discount
Feb. 10. After that, she is
preparing to close her

"We have a son with autism, so we
are all about
cleaning up the toxins that
our children are exposed to," she
said. "But
I think the law needs to be looked
at more closely to see how it
affecting the economy in general."

Thrift store owners say the
law stings because children's garments often
come in new or nearly new,
because children typically outgrow clothing

Vaporis, owner of Duck Duck Goose Consignment in New Port Richey,
her store stocks barely used brand-name clothing from places such as
Too and Gymboree.

"We really provide a service to
the community to
help people get clothes
for their children they
otherwise couldn't afford,"
she said.

Families have been
bringing more clothes to consignment
stores, where they
get a chunk of
the proceeds, to earn a little cash this
winter, she said. She
plans to
contact her congressional representatives and
senators to ask them to
amend the law but says there's not enough awareness
about the
repercussions of
the law to force anything to

retailers and thrift stores appear to be unaware that
the law is
changing. Of half a dozen Southern California children's thrift
by The Times, only one had heard of the law. Organizations
such as Goodwill say
they're still investigating how the law will affect
them because there is so
much confusion about what will be

Cynthia Broockman, who owns two consignment stores and
thrift shop in
Virginia, recently stopped accepting children's
products for
resale. That raised
the ire of a man who was trying to sell
his son's
castoffs there and had not
heard of the new

"I think
it's not understood by people how sweeping and
far-reaching this
is," she
said. "The ripples that are going to go forth
from this are just


I am just amazed. After talking with Nicki I called my father
(whose wife is a regular at the local thrift stores and a regular at
auctionsvcwhere they both by many kid's toys), I called my sister (who is a
regular Ebayer who buys and sells children's clothing and toys) and I talked
with Kirby. Not a single one of them was aware of this new law.

After THIS BLOG POST I think you all made it very clear that you also shop in thrift
stores and consignment shops for your children.

So, I want to know, how many of you were aware of this law?

How many of you were aware that we will no longer be able to buy our children's clothing, essentially, outside of a big box store after February

How many of you know a local shop owner that will now lose his or
her business?

How many of you are willing to throw away this "hazardous" material, filling our landfills because EVEN YOU are no longer allowed to sell or give away your children's "old" toys or clothing.

And what are we going to do about it?

I am going to CONTACT MY ELECTED OFFICIALS (at this site you can send an email DIRECTLY to your elected official - tell them what you think)!

And, quite honestly, I am going to hit the stores this weekend and
stock up!

Okay, I don't understand why this entire blog looks so odd...but I think I got the point across. PASS THE WORD! Post something on your blog about this, link it back here, SPREAD THE WORD!

Updated to add:

Here are a number of articles I just found within the last few hours:

An article that was just posted HERE from Ohio.

A new one from NBC HERE.

And one from Nebraska that concentrates on the effects of small businesses HERE.

**Two more updates**

A blog all about the law, its repercussions HERE.

A PETITION HERE with an added bonus of being able to write your congressman/woman directly from the site.


What is going on with today's music?

I promise you that I am not one of those old people that screams about her child's choice in music. If anything, they learn to like new music because I am playing it.

I try not to censor too much of what they hear (well, too much of what Z hears). I typically buy the "radio" version of the song, meaning they do censor any most cursing. And I certainly don't let him listen to things like Eminem (although I will admit that there are a select few songs that I do enjoy that Eminem sings raps performs)whose lyrics typically follow these lines:

The way you shake it,
I can't believe it
I ain't never seen an ass like that
The way you move it,
you make my pee pee go
Doing, doing, doing

Anyway...Z handed me an "updated" Christmas list 2 days before Christmas. Still believing in Santa, he thought that it would be no problem to get whatever he wanted. I had to inform him that Santa would NOT be bringing a Nintendo DS (because I don't believe that an 8 year old child needs - or is responsible enough to take care of - a $130 hand held gaming device). Also on the list were CDs (which he had not originally asked for).

The CDs were not a problem. I have a pretty extensive Itunes library and I know that he loves a lot of the music I listen to (aside from Les Miserable and The Newsies Soundtrack...oh and Phantom of the Opera). I also bought about 15 new songs.

I burned the CDs for him and presented them in his new CD holder under the Christmas tree. I also added them to my Ipod and listened to them while I was washing the Christmas dishes...

And I heard lyrics like this about a woman drunk at a nightclub:

I've had a little bit too much, much
All of the people start to rush, start to rush by
How does he twist the dance?
Can't find a drink, oh man
Where are my keys?
I lost my phone, phone

And this one about the woman with super powers (and, yes, even the radio "edited" version had bitch in it):

Some days I'm a super bitch
Up to my old tricks
But it won't last forever
Next day I'm your super girl
Out to save the world
And it keeps getting better

One about a woman being abused by her boyfriend:

Do you feel like a man
When you push her around?
Do you feel better now, as she falls to the ground?
Well I'll tell you my friend,
one day this world's going to end
As your lies crumble down, a new life she has found.

And one with incredibly bad grammar that encourages you to accept me "just the way I are" and to tip when I strip:

~ Timbaland ~I ain't got no money
I ain't got no car to take you on a date
I can't even buy you flowers
But together we could be the perfect soulmates
Talk to me girl

~ Keri Hilson ~
OhBaby, it's alright now
You ain't gotta flaunt for me
If we go touch
You can still touch my love, it's free
We can work without the perks just you and me
Thug it out til' we get it right

~ Chorus ~
Baby if you strip, you can get a tip
'Cause I like you just the way you are
I'm about to strip and I'm well equipped
Can you handle me the way I'm are?
I don't need the G's or the car keys
Boy I like you just the way you are
Let me see ya strip, you can get a tip
'Cause I like, I like, I like...

Now, I am not a prude. These are things that my kids hear on the radio every day. I wonder...is this a sign of my getting older? It's not that I don't like the music (honestly, I enjoy all the songs above)...but I am not so sure about allowing my son to hear music that demoralizes women, encourages lousy grammar (and cursing) and encourages drinking...I mean, he is 8!!

And if all this isn't bad enough, A has the memory of an elephant. He takes things and locks them in immediately. Today in the car we were listening to the radio, per usual, and we heard the latest Nickleback song. A immediately learned the chorus and began to sing:

You naughty thing
You’re ripping up the dance floor honey
You naughty women
You shake your ass around for everyone
You’re such a mover
I love the way you dance with anybody
The way you swing
And tease them all by sucking on your thumb
Your so much cooler when you never pull it out
Cause you look so much cuter
with Something in Your Mouth



A few quick thoughts...

  • I hate undecorating from Christmas almost as much as I hate decorating for Christmas. But I have discovered that Kahlua helps...
  • Z is a lot like his mother when he plays games. The trash talk is unbelievable and he is determined to win.
  • A is a lot like his mother when he eats. If it looks edible he eats it (I can't assume that the fake gingerbread ornament on the tree tasted all that good - but it looks like A only tasted his foot but by tasted I mean too a bite out if it...).
  • Those little mittens that they have for kids that allow the top half of the mitten to pull down and it exposes a half glove (while the kid's hand is still covered)...yeah, they pretty much suck.
  • Dick Clark makes me cry every year. I can't watch him anymore since his stroke without breaking down.
  • Any person that would stand in NYC amongst millions of people in subzero temperatures should be checked for a severe mental illness.
  • I sent out my Christmas cards late this year. The majority of my family probably didn't even get them until after Christmas AND I don't feel badly about it.
  • I should probably never blog again after having a drink...

Happy New Year!! I hope you all have a healthy, happy, prosperous year full of family, friends and good food...and Kahlua :)