Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Things To Accomplish In 2015

It's the New Year's edition of Top Ten Tuesday so I'll be predictably listing the Top Ten Things I'd Like To Accomplish In 2015 - shocker!

1. Organize my house - Y'all, it is total chaos up in here. We've got too much stuff and too many people and it's taking over. I think we might be able to be a candidate for Hoarders except I'd be the only person on the show ever that told them to throw it all out. I would need no psychological intervention, I would simply need one of those amazing 1-800-GOT-JUNK trucks to back up to my front door and I'd start pitching it all in gladly. Buh bye.

I've tried the FlyLady system, I've tried the "Clean It All In One Weekend" system, I've tried everything that I can do by myself so now I'm moving on to the "Get some of these other people to pick up after themselves" system. I think it's going to require a lot of nagging and bitching on my part but I don't care. It's time to change this. 2015 will be the year of the purge.

2. Get back on eBay - Haha, if you've ever sold on eBay you know that this directly contradicts the year of the purge. To tell you all the truth, I miss it. I miss finding great stuff to list, dealing with those awesome customers who make me smile, watching my auctions close and seeing how high I can sell something for. I don't miss the crabby customers and eBay's oppressive hand, but you can't have everything.

3. Paint more - I really do love it. Whether it's at a BYOB class, at home, or on the patio with my friends, painting relaxes me and feeds my creativity. I don't think the paintings I'm making are anything amazing, but I'm happy to create them anyway.

4. Get healthy - So tired of feeling tired and lethargic. I was told earlier this year by an RN that I am super anemic which could be the source of a lot of my constant tired feelings. Just about a week ago I discovered that Bolthouse Farms makes a juice called "Daily Greens" and one bottle has almost 100% of the RDA for iron. This is HUGE.

If you've ever tried to find high in iron foods at the grocery store you'll notice that the best you might find is 10% in a can of vegetable beef soup. Believe me, Munchkin and I took this mission. It's a wonder every person in the USA isn't anemic based on how much iron you find in our every day foods. You have to eat a lot of iron rich foods to reach that RDA.

So anyway, I picked up a bunch of Daily Greens (I clean bought Publix out of it) and I've been drinking a bottle almost ever day (some days I forget). I won't lie, it tastes like dirty hay, but I'll choke it down anyway if it makes me feel better. And it has made me feel better, really. I need to be more diligent about it but I'm definitely noticing more energy. That, combined with trying to make better choices and keeping moving with my FitBit has me feeling good about being healthier this year.

5. Do yoga - Yoga not only helps my body, but my mental state. I used to do it almost daily and then fell out of practice. Since then I've gained a ton of weight and the poses I used to do are so much harder to do so I just sorta stopped altogether. I have to get back to yoga. Namaste.

6. Get to the Dharma Center - We have a great little Buddhist Center close by and I have never been. I guess I felt intimidated going to a new place, but I really want to get over there. I had made tentative plans with an old friend of mine that I had reconnected with on Facebook to go this year but sadly, my old friend Kymmie passed away before we could ever make it. I want to go this year for me and for Kymmie.

7. Dance more - It's true. I love to dance. I've got the boogie fever. I don't get out much anymore to go dancing but that shouldn't stop me. With my fancy new Crushers I can boogie right here at home while I do the dishes. It makes me feel better, makes me smile, and helps burn off the Toblerone.

(7 1/2 - stop eating so much Toblerone.)

8. Start a new business venture - Details coming later. Maybe.

9. Keep my car clean - Oh my goodness. I got a new to me van in April and vowed to keep it nice and clean. It's not as much of a disaster as my old van, but she could seriously use a good vacuum and purging of miscellaneous impedimenta. I need to set up some sort of a system there. It will probably involve 31 bags and more nagging of my children.

10. Spend more time with The Man - It seems like lately a date for us is going to the Walmart at 2 AM without the kids. So romantic. We get a bunch of necessities and then I fall asleep on a treadmill while The Man looks through the sporting goods section. We really need to carve out a little more time just the two of us and this year is the year to make that a priority. Date night? What? Sounds like a plan to me!

Monday, December 29, 2014

FitBit in Spazland

We had a very Merry Christmas here in Spazland. The day was filled with excitement from the late afternoon on Christmas Eve until we all collapsed exhausted into our beds in the wee hours of the morning on December 26th.

I was the proud recipient of those Skullcandy Crushers I had on my wishlist (I can't hear the kids at all anymore - it's amazing) and the FitBit Flex I have wanted for forever.

The FitBit has become a bit of an obsession. December 26th was the first day I wore it the entire day and I was determined to get my 10,000 steps in. Now, my phone has always had an app on it that tells me how many steps I've taken each day and it sadly normally falls between two and three thousand. I realize I don't carry my phone around with me every where I go - but I was pretty sure I don't hit ten thousand steps on a regular basis.

I was right.

I went about my day on Friday as I normally would and was still under four thousand steps when the evening rolled around. The Man and I decided to go for a walk in which I was determined to finish off my goal. We walked for two miles and I still hadn't reached it. Even Sudo was tired after that walk. I ended up walking around the house until my FitBit went all nutty lighting up and buzzing to let me know I'd reached my goal.


Somewhere along the way I must have damaged my right ankle, though, because I woke up on Saturday barely able to walk at all. It wasn't until after 11 pm that I realized walking in place (or walking backwards) didn't hurt. I got myself up to over seven thousand steps by walking in place Saturday night while watching Family Guy reruns in the bedroom.

Now I've got myself locked in a FitBit challenge with two of my FitBit wearing besties on who can take the most steps for the work week. One of us is currently on a hike with our cub scouts. It's not me. I'm screwed.

But the ultimate goal with the FitBit is definitely being accomplished. I'm moving a lot more and definitely motivated to try to get close to my daily goals if not meet them (my ankle's feeling much better today so I'll be walking more this evening).

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Last Minute Gift Ideas

It's December 23rd. A mere two days before the big event. I've shopped til I've dropped, I've wrapped, I've selected the perfect gifts and the not-so-perfect gifts. At this point, I'm just ready to heavily imbibe on Christmas Day and hope everyone sorta likes what I picked out for them.

But I'm willing to bet there are a few of you out there who are still racking your brain for some idea of what to do for someone. Maybe it's Aunt Agnes or maybe it's that guy your sister is bringing to Christmas (what was his name again?) and you feel like he should have something to open. Today's Top Ten Tuesday post is for you. Today I bring you the Top Ten Last Minute Christmas Gifts. 

Here goes....

1. Mason Jar Anything - It's a thing, y'all. People put anything in a Mason Jar and call it a gift. Mason Jars are so freaking in right now.  The ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies? Put them in the jar. Sugar hand scrub? In the jar. Manicure kit in a jar, soup mix in a jar, sewing kit in a jar, puzzle in a jar, the possibilities are endless. And people like the jars. Get blue tinted jars if you really want to be crazy.

2. Money In A Card - Nothing says "I couldn't think of a thing to get you but I guess you're worth Fifty Bucks" more than money in a card. This gift is totally tacky for anyone over the age of 20, but it really hits the spot for teenagers. They love money and they hate getting a polo shirt for Christmas. So drop some cash in a silly card and call it a day. Your nephew will totally be thrilled. If you just can't stand the thought of putting the green stuff in a card, give an Amazon gift card instead. It's pretty much cash (and it'll pass for an adult gift, too).

3. A Bottle Of Wine - Pick it up at the grocery store on your way to the party. Don't give this to the teenagers. If you want to get crazy, download some wine app on your phone and it'll tell you which bottle to buy. But I just usually pick something with a quirky label. You can usually find a silly wine gift bag next to the wine at the store. Grab that, too. Kick it up a notch and buy full fledged booze instead. Cupcake vodka, what?? You're now the life of the party.

4. A Blanket - Super fuzzy, super cozy, everyone uses them and you can never have too many. You can pick them up at Walmart, Target, the mall, I even saw some at Publix the other day. Blankets give people a sense of comfort and they come in all ranges of cost to fit whatever budget you're looking for. No one doesn't want a blanket. Even kids. Munchkin drags a blanket around with her everywhere and has since she could walk. She's cuddled up in one right in front of me as I type.

5. An "Of The Month" subscription. Some of these can get pretty pricey, but damn, you really can find something for everyone. Bacon of the month, Coffee of the month, Teddy Bear of the month, Pickle of the month, College Care Package of the month, and if you can't narrow it down there are Variety of the month packages. And you can also keep reminding your gift recipient of how awesome you are, every single month. Win.

6. Headphones - Pretty much everyone uses headphones. Everyone's got a phone, a tablet, whatever and they're all listening to something they don't want anyone around them to know they're listening to. Headphones are a great gift and you can get decent ear buds for kids for less than $10 or you can go all Beats by Dre for hundreds. I've got a pair of Skullcandy Crushers on my own wish list this year.

7.  Baked Goods - I don't know if I'd call these last minute but my kids disagree. Probably because time is irrelevant to them. At any rate, everyone loves a good cookie and they'll appreciate that you took the time to make them yourself. For extra points, use this Pringle can hack to deliver them.

8. Massage or Spa Day - This isn't the perfect gift for everyone, but if you know of someone who likes to do this kind of thing, this just might be the right last minute gift for them. Maybe a mom who runs herself ragged most of the year? A gift of a time-out might be just the thing. Not for me, personally, though. People touching me is weird.

9. Car Wash - Anyone with a car can use this and would probably greatly appreciate it. A coupon for a car wash and wax - a detail if you really love them? Cha-ching! There's nothing greater than a freshly cleaned car with lemon scent. I learned that at a young age from my mom.

10. Experiences - Give your little brother a couple of movie tickets to take his girlfriend out. Maybe your nephew would like a day playing paintball (check Groupon). Go out to the ballgame with your dad. A trinket will give them a little joy for a little while, but the memory of spending time with someone they love doing something they love will last forever.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and here's to a Peaceful and Prosperous New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Take In The Sails & Batten Down The Hatches - Things Are About To Get Rough In Here

This year my kids turned 11, 13, and 15. Just looking at that sentence makes my heart leap into my throat just a little bit. As is clearly indicated by those numbers, I'm venturing into uncharted territory. I'm about to be raising three teenagers.

So far Bug hasn't given me too much drama. Sure, there have been a couple of girlfriends and getting him to do homework has been a nightmare - but basically he's a pretty easy going kid. I like him, we get along pretty well, he has good intentions if not always the best carry out. His 15th birthday was a mere 5 days ago and I've been holding my breath a little ever since.

The year I turned 15 was the year I really became a teenager. I struggled with my identity, I fought for my independence, I rebelled, I stopped riding horses so much and I started riding in cars with boys. That was the year I stopped being a little girl.

I wonder if maybe boys don't go through quite as much of a tumultuous year at this time because Bug seems to be a lot less emotional than I was at this age. I am bracing myself for it, ready to help him navigate whatever crazy teenage angst comes our way, but relieved that we haven't hit it yet.

Munchkin, on the other hand, is sailing her ship straight into rough seas. Everything is dramatic. Everything is the end of the world. Everything is the biggest deal EVER.  This morning she let me know she only has two pair of jeans that fit her and they were both dirty and therefore she just couldn't go to school because it would be social suicide and how could I not understand this?  I made it clear to her, in no uncertain terms, that she was much better off at school in dirty jeans than here with me.

While I realize that these little dramatic episodes are not the worst thing I can hope for when dealing with a teenage girl, I feel like it's a glimmer of what's to come in a couple of years - when she's 15. I'm going to need a life jacket.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - I Can't Wait Til After Christmas

So maybe Top Ten Tuesday is the ONLY thing I can manage to keep up with. I've started a few blog posts this week but nothing stuck. Ah, well. On to the list!

Top Ten Reasons I Can't Wait For December 26th

1. Christmas Music - It starts way too early nowadays. Remember when stores used to wait until after Thanksgiving to assault you with constant renditions of "Grandma Got Run-over By A Reindeer" and "I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas"? Right, so I used to be able to last a month. But now they start around November 1st when I'm snatching up all the half price Halloween candy. So by December 10th I'm ready to wear earmuffs everywhere I go just to avoid another version of "The Little Drummer Boy" before I lose it and go to jail for bashing in department store speaker systems.

2. Gift Exchanges - I have three children and they all have activities. It's around the beginning of December that we start to get requests for gift exchanges. Often they have a small limit of $5 or maybe it's a book exchange or an ornament exchange. But they are many and they are irritating. Just the simple fact that I now have to drop whatever I am doing and go into a store (cue "Frosty the Snowman") and find something that's not too terrible for $5 is enough to make me crazy. And then it has to be wrapped or in a gift bag or something. Do the people planning these gift exchanges think the kids actually have any part in this at all? And then my child comes home with an Olaf mug that asks if I want to build a snowman.

3. Expectations - This year we have told the kids we are not buying Christmas presents. I made this proclamation at about this exact time last year when I sat in the middle of our family room, surrounded by hundreds of dollars worth of consumerism and wrapping paper. It is ridiculous. This year we are focusing on giving rather than receiving and the kids have been told this all year long. However, they will still get presents from their grandparents and aunts and uncles and they know this. So I think the lesson may have been lost on them. But the saddest part of it is that I think it's all our fault as their parents. We try so very hard to provide them everything they wish for this time of year, like it's their right just for wishing it. I have a great time buying presents for the kids, I do. But when I realize they are going into the holiday with expectations of receiving everything their little hearts desire, I realize they have no real comprehension of the meaning behind Christmas.

4. Traffic - Down here in South Florida this is our season. Everyone who has been freezing their asses off wants to visit Florida for the holidays. Down here we can go to the beach on Christmas Day. We can shop for gifts in our flip flops and drink iced tea in a tank top next to the holiday light display downtown. Everyone wants a piece of that and they all drive down here to get it. Unfortunately they don't know where they are going and their Aunt Margaret who has a condo in Boca Raton can barely see over the steering wheel so she's no help. About this time of year we have no rush hour, we have rush week. Except it's a lot less fun than it was in college. The roads are packed with slow drivers, the malls are packed with slow walkers, and if your procrastinating self thinks you can just run in and grab a gift for that gift exchange you've got going on tonight - well you should just think again.

5. Self-righteous Christians - I'm probably going to get crucified for this one. Unless I'm going to a church, I'm not asking for a lecture about Jesus dying for my sins. I get all of it and yet I still choose not to be a Christian and still celebrate Christmas with my family. I'm truly sad that it bothers you. Before you apply that "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" bumper sticker to your Landrover, perhaps you should take some time to really look into the origins of the holiday and then decide if it matters that non-Christians are celebrating it.

6. TV - Where are all my favorite shows? Contrary to how it might appear on this blog, I don't really watch that much television. I don't have a lot of time to sit in front of the TV, but there are a few things I do make time for every week. So when The Man and I cuddle up together in anticipation of the newest episode of "The Big Bang Theory" and Penny walks in with long hair, I am mad. Seriously? Do I have to endure reruns til January? And then when there is a new episode, guess what, it's Christmas themed. Can I not escape from the madness?

7. Broken Ornaments - For the past couple of years I've let Munchkin decorate the tree. I decorate my mom and dad's tree for them every year so frankly, when it comes time to decorate our little tree I've kinda lost the momentum. But it all works out because Munchkin loves doing it. However, this year she did not stick to the unbreakable ornaments like she did last year (totally my fault for not supervising) and therefore, thanks to our cats, we have had several broken glass balls all over our floor already. I'm not attached to any of these ornaments so it's not the sentimental value, it's the glass in my foot that really bugs me about the whole thing. I'm pretty sure I have a piece in there so deep it will just live forever in my foot. It's a part of me now. I sort of wish they'd all just break already so we can be done with it.

8. Egg Nog - Goober loves this stuff. It hits our grocery store shelves around the end of September and I try to keep him from noticing as long as I can. $4.29 for a quart of flavored thick milk? WTF? I don't hate egg nog, but I don't go all crazy for it either. Goober would happily drink three glasses of it every day if I'd let him so we have to ration it out for him. Every day I get the same question numerous times, "Mommy? Can I have some egg nog?" - sometimees followed by, "Mommy! We're out of egg nog!" - and every time I walk out the door, "Mommy, can you pick up some egg nog while you're out?"  He'll try anything egg nog flavored - it's his favorite stuff ever. Luckily it's only around for the last few months of the year.

9. Fat - Pretty much every day of my life I tell myself I need to stop eating so much crap and start exercising. This is not something that only happens during the holidays. But the holidays add a whole new level of hopelessness to the idea. There is no way in hell I'm going to be able to avoid chocolate covered deliciousness and homebaked amazingness and candy coated wonderfulment. There's something amazing within reach pretty much constantly from Thanksgiving until mid January. There's a reason so many people start dieting in January - it's not the promising newness of the fresh new year, it's the fact they've gorged themselves so heavily over the last two months that they feel like reincarnated versions of the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man.

10. Christmas Fashion - Sure, I've made a few bucks selling ugly Christmas sweaters in the past and I'm thankful for that. But people take this Christmas dressing to a whole new level. If your clothing lights up or makes noise, it is not acceptable. And to my younger counterparts, we gave you slutty Halloween costumes, you do not get to carry it on to Christmas. You are not Santa's slutty little helper. Put some damn clothes on. Baby Jesus is crying.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Things no one tells you when you have more than one kid

Top Ten Tuesday was yesterday but I was distracted and forgot to post it. I hope y'all will forgive me. Today I give you a good one, too. 

The Top Ten Things No One Tells You When You Become a Mom to More Than One Child:

1. You will cook. All day long. These people never stop wanting to eat. With that cooking comes cleaning up the mess you made cooking. Your kids will want more than one meal every day and in addition to all that, they’ll even want snacks. And they’re sloppy and make messes when they eat. You’ll have to clean up those messes, too. It will become your responsibility to not only make the food for your family, but to make sure it is in the refrigerator and pantry, too. Which means you will come to know the checkout people at your local grocery store by first name. You will feel the need to justify your choice of Fruit Loops and Corn Pops to them. (They were BOGO.)

2. You will get a minivan. I know, I know, you think it will never happen now. You’re way too cool for a minivan. But at some point you’ll realize that this is truly the most economical and practical way to transport your family. You can fit a hell of a lot of crap in the minivan and it doesn't take an entire oil field to drive it like that mega SUV your neighbor drives. Your minivan will have at least one random goldfish cracker meshed somewhere in the carpet and there will be something sticky in the cup holder in the third row. Shhhh… don’t fight it.

3. You will only get pedicures when you are going to weddings and gynecologist appointments. Say goodbye to your pretty toes. Sure, you might slap some paint on them yourself every once in a while, or even let your daughter do it for you when she gets into that pre-teen nail polish obsessed phase. (Electric blue raspberry? Sure!) But you’ll rarely grace the luxurious heated massage pedicure chairs of your local salon once you have kids. When you finally do get to the salon, it will feel so amazing that you’ll tell yourself you’re going to make it a regular thing. But you won’t. I don’t know why, you just won’t.

4. You will get sick. Kids are germ factories. You will get every cold, flu, and funk that they bring into your home. When they are sick, they will get to lie around on the couch watching TV and whining that their tummy hurts while you run around the house fetching them things, making them soup (see #1), and taking their temperature. When you are sick, you will get to continue to make them food and clean up messes, while they run around the house making more messes and taking advantage of your weakened state.

5. You will no longer buy anything for yourself. Ever. And yet you will spend more money at Target on every shopping trip than you can possibly imagine. Gone are the days when you would frivolously purchase yourself a nice handbag or a pair of designer shoes at the mall. Now you’ll hunt the clearance bin at TJ Maxx when you need a pair of shoes for yourself because you have some event you have to go to and the soles of your only good pair of shoes dry rotted from lack of use. You’ll find some that almost, not quite, but they will have to do for whatever occasion you need them for... and you’ll also find a pair of sneakers for one of your children because he has literally worn a hole through the pair you bought him three months ago when school started. His shoes will cost more than your shoes and he will grow out of them in five weeks.

6. You will totally screw up stuff. You will curse in front of your children. You will say things you don’t mean and wish you could take back. You will forget to pay for field trips before the due date and your child will wear dirty clothes, inside out clothes, and his sister’s clothes to school because you weren't paying attention. You will oversleep, you will feed them dinner at 10 pm, you will feed them McDonald’s. These things will happen. More than once.

7. You will experience judgment. Other moms, your mother in law, your sister, your best friend. They will say well-intended judgey things at some point and you will be hurt by them. Everyone parents differently and no one is 100% right or wrong. Take this experience and try to apply it to yourself so you can avoid saying judgey things to someone else. But when you do say something judgey and you catch yourself doing it (because you will), try not to beat yourself up about it. Apologize if you can and move on.

8. You will hide treats. Not like you hide your kid's Halloween candy for their own good, no. I mean, you will hide a container of Häagen-Dazs® in the back of your freezer simply because you want it all for yourself. If they sniff it out you will get nothing, so you have to hide it if you ever plan on tasting that decadent chocolate chocolate chip ice cream ever again. They are like locusts.

9. You will put sleep above all other needs. You will find that an uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep is the thing you want more than anything at almost any time.  Even when your babies become children and they sleep for 10 or 11 hours at a time, you’ll find that you never get a full night’s sleep. You will find that you stay up for hours after your darlings to go to bed because that’s the only time you can seem to get anything done. You will have laundry to finish up so they can wear clean clothes to school the next day. You will have papers to sign so their teachers think you actually looked in their backpacks. You will try to watch television shows you can’t watch when they are awake because they’re all either too sexual or too violent. This includes the news. On an average night you’ll get to sleep by 1 and wake up by 6 to wake all of them up so they can be to the bus on time.

10. You will not consider changing it for the world. It’s funny how that works. Somehow you will become the least selfish person in the entire world and you will be happy to do it. Sure, you’ll allow yourself the tiniest daydreams occasionally of what it would be like if you had made different choices – but in the end, you know you’d never do it differently. Your children will be the best thing you ever did and your tired, ratty-toed self wouldn't know what to do with herself if they weren't around.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Carnivores don't like vegetarian chili

So I promised to update as to how Meatless Monday went.

You would have thought I was feeding them gruel. Maybe gruel would have actually gone over better.

I made a delicious vegetarian chili. I didn't really follow a recipe - I added garbanzo beans, a couple of different kinds of pinto beans, black beans, diced tomatoes, a can of corn, and a whole bunch of seasoning. And I made delicious cornbread to go along with it.  Our meal wasn't vegan because I served it with sour cream and cheese as garnish.  In the future I might grab some vegan sour cream and cheese just to complete the animal free-ness, but I already had the cheese and sour cream in the fridge so I just went with that.

Goober literally just licked the spoon, he would not ingest a bean. He ate a lot of cornbread. The Man made his way through it and remarked on how healthy it must be. He also ate a lot of cornbread.  Bug was at a boy scout meeting and ate before he left so he was spared the horror of the meatless chili.

Munchkin and I thought it was great, so there's that. I do love that kid so very much. I even ate it for lunch the next day.

So next Monday I'll have to try something different for Meatless Monday. Not sure what, but unless it's Tofurky I'm pretty sure it will go over better than my vegetarian chili.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Beverly Goldberg's Top Ten Quotes

Do you watch The Goldbergs? Do you??

Seriously, The Goldbergs is quite possibly my favorite show on TV right now. Well, maybe that's Parenthood, actually. But Parenthood is ending in just a few weeks (and I'm so freaking sad about it you.don't.even.know) so The Goldbergs is kinda winning the edge there.

The show comes from the perspective of Adam Goldberg, Murray and Beverly Goldberg's youngest son and tells the story of what it was like to grow up in the 80's with his parents, his brother, Barry, his sister, Erica, and his grandfather, Pops. Everyone in the show is hilarious, really.

But one character shines above all of them.

Beverly Goldberg.

Maybe I love Beverly the most because she's the mom, and I'm the mom, and therefore I find myself connected to her. Beverly is the original "smother". She loves her children with a fierceness no one can describe. She rocks a theme sweater and a majestic blonde head full of Aqua Net. She is kinda my hero.

So today, for Top Ten Tuesday (maybe this will be a thing, eh?) I give you my Top Ten List of Beverly Goldman Quotes:

1. When Adam decides to audition for a part in Jesus Christ Superstar:

Nothing less than the best for Beverly's babies. I am in awe of her undying dedication and blind appreciation of her children. As a Girl Scout leader, Beverly is quite possibly the scariest mom I can even think of. But as a mom, she's my idol. 

2. When Adam does not get the part of Jesus, Beverly finds him crying in his room:

I think every mother has felt this way before. Regardless of whether my kid is right or wrong in whatever scenario is causing them to cry, if someone makes my baby cry I want to slowly torture them until they scream their apologies intermixed with cries for mercy. I mean, unless it's me making them cry. In which case, my kid totally deserved it.

3. When Beverly chaperones Adam's middle school dance and buys an outfit to match Adam's:

Hilarious! I would never do this to my kid. I would have died if my mom did this to me. But when Beverly does it? So endearing. 

4. When Beverly outlines the "Rules of the House" to Pops (her father) upon his moving in:

Beverly's love doesn't just extend to her kids, no. Beverly is a family woman. She is the ultimate matriarch. When Pops needs a place to stay for a while she insists he moves in. She transforms the attic into a beautiful and sophisticated bedroom for him and along with Murray's help she lays down the rules. 

5. When Beverly protects Barry from certain death at his first wrestling match:

I will never move! Beverly will go to any lengths to protect her precious babies. Even if it means socially crucifying them in the process.

6. When Beverly discovers she can get any picture printed on a t-shirt at a kiosk in the mall:

Do you ever look at your kid and find yourself amazed at the fact that you made that person? I do this all the time. It's incredible. It's the most awesome thing I've ever done. So when Beverly said this, I only related to her more. 

7. When Beverly uses guilt tears to manipulate Murray into renewing their vows:

Beverly does everything for her family. Every hour of every day is spent making a home for them, a loving, caring environment. Beverly is the ultimate mom. So when she hears that she could have another wedding? She could be a princess for one more day? She's all over that. And when Murray isn't on board she does what any woman worth her salt would do - she breaks out the guilt tears.

8. When Beverly takes Erica to a college expo and tells everyone how amazing she is:

"I don't want to build her up too much, but she is literally the best student that ever has been or will be."  (bonus quote!) Beverly has no doubt that her daughter is fabulous and she's not afraid to show her off. Just as every mother should be, Beverly is Erica's biggest cheerleader. 

9. When Beverly gives Barry a locket for his birthday:

He was expecting a car so it was a little bit of a let-down. But classic Beverly.

10. When Erica gets dumped by her boyfriend and Beverly can't handle her sadness any longer:

While it's not really about Beverly, it's really always about Beverly. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Meatless Monday in the Spaz House

We had a lovely Thanksgiving in North Carolina with my family. It's a bit of an annual tradition to head up to my mom and dad's second home in the Great Smoky Mountains. All three of the Bs head up there with our families and pile into the house to eat and laugh and drink and eat and cook and bake and eat.

There is a lot of eating. My brother-in-law is an amazing cook. I've actually never eaten anything he's made that I didn't enjoy and he seems to really love to cook so a lot of food comes out of the kitchen when we're all together. And it's all good. So I eat a lot of it.

I don't know if I gained weight this past week but I'm pretty sure there's no way I didn't. I certainly didn't lose any. But more than the weight thing, I just feel a little full still. Even though it's Monday and we've been home since Saturday night. I feel like I'm still digesting.

As you may know, I've struggled with vegetarianism/veganism for years. I've been on the wagon, off the wagon, and halfway dangling off the wagon while trying to climb back on board as it clambers down the road.

Morally, I'm a vegan. When I think about it I feel terrible for eating any sort of animal product.(Except for Jojo's eggs. Jojo lives nearby and has the happiest chickens I've ever seen and I don't think there's a single thing morally wrong with eating the eggs they create.)  The Man, however, is kind of a carnivore.  He is seriously unhappy if he doesn't have meat. It has caused a few rifts in our home, actually, but in the end I knew him when we decided to mesh our lives together and it's not fair of me to expect him to change at this point. Believe me, I've tried to get him to see the light.

So in this house we buy and eat meat and dairy. I try to reduce it without causing too many waves in the house. I buy almond milk, I make substitutes when I can. I try to think of meals where the meat isn't the centerpiece of the meal.

But today will be the first day I implement Meatless Monday. The Man even agrees that there doesn't need to be so much meat in our diets, so he's on board. Not only will it reduce our meat intake for moral reasons, but it will be healthier and cheaper for us to go meatless one day a week. Excited? You betcha!

I'm pretty sure I'm making vegetarian chili for dinner tonight with cornbread (you can't have chili without cornbread), I'll report back on Wednesday to let y'all know how it goes.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Things I'm Thankful For (that's a lot of t's)

In honor of Thanksgiving, I'd like to make a list of the top ten things I'm thankful for. And since it's Tuesday and I'm a big fan of alliteration, I'm going to call this Top Ten Tuesday.

**Disclaimer - obviously the top things I'm thankful for are my family, our friends, our health, and the love we all share - this blog is lighthearted and fun and those things are not.**

1. The fact that my kids are no longer babies.  I mean, sure, there are times when I miss the feel of a warm, squishy, baby in my arms. And there's really nothing like a baby's laugh. Babies are great.  But I am so glad I'm done with my baby stage. I love that I'm not worrying about car seats and day cares and most of all, mom judgement.

Not to say there's no mom judgement when your kids are over the age of 10, but I guess you just kinda stop caring what other mom's think as much. I mean, I've been doing this a while and so far, so good. I don't care if you think my kids watch too much TV or if they smell a little funny (when did you last take a bath?) or if they eat too much Halloween candy. They're cool. I've kept them alive this long.

When your kids are babies and toddlers you are always worried what someone is thinking of you and how you're raising your child. Breast feeding guilt (did you? how long? did you pump? did you do it in public?) is at the top of the list. Followed by how long your child was in a rear facing car seat and whether they watched Baby Einstein or you read Goodnight Moon to them every night as they fell asleep. Seriously, new moms. Let all that go. As long as you're not hitting the crack pipe and leaving your babies in the care of convicted felons so you can work your shift at the Eager Beaver - you're doing fine. (And no disrespect to those stripper mamas out there. Work it, girl. Money makes the world go round.)

Did you know that babies aren't supposed to eat purees anymore? Yep, that's a thing. I don't know why and I don't care to research why - but the food that all three of my children ate when first started to eat is evidently a big, fat, mom judgey no-no. I guess you're just supposed to give them a banana and hope they don't choke to death.

2. My minivan. Our old minivan wasn't doing so well, so earlier this year we got a new to us minivan. It's an upgrade from our old minivan in that it has no dents, doesn't smell like cheese, and doesn't require me to add water to it before every trip. There are no dummy lights on, all the windows work, the AC works and it even has heated seats that I use almost every day even though I live in South Florida. I like a toasty tush. It's pure luxury, y'all.

Originally when we bought The Man's SUV we made sure to buy something that had third row seating because we figured when my van finally died (this was like 5 years ago and we thought the old van was on her last legs then - nope) I'd take the new SUV and The Man would get a car.  The Man's SUV is nice. It's got all the bell and whistles and it drives nice and all that junk.... but I loved my van and when it boiled down to it, I didn't want to not have a minivan.  There's something magical about the amount of stuff you can fit into a minivan, the amount of legroom every passenger gets, and the fact that it drives like heaven.

I'm pretty sure this will be our last minivan. The next time I have to buy a car the kids will be old enough that I won't be carting them around everywhere and they'll be starting their own lives. So I'll probably buy something smaller, a little sportier hopefully, perhaps something with a sun-roof and a trunk.

3. Coffee. I don't drink coffee every morning. I used to, but I've tried to wean myself off of it, actually.  Still, there are those dragging days when I'm just so happy it's there. People are weird about their coffee, too. Have you noticed this? Whether it's flavored or black or two sugars or a pinch of sugar or no cream or soy milk. People are really particular.

I'm not so particular. I dabble with different flavored coffees (right now I'm having Blueberry coffee - it's smells like the inside of a Dunkin Donuts and tastes delicious), get excited when the International Delights creamers are BOGO at Publix, some days I like it a little sweeter, some days I put almost no sugar in there. A caramel macchiato at Starbucks is my ultimate coffee but I only splurge on it maybe twice a year (that's what makes it special, though - $5 for any coffee beverage that is non-alcoholic is really ridiculous). I think being a barista would be a kinda cool job only in that I'd like to learn to make all the fancy coffees.

I'll drink coffee pretty much any way you give it to me and I can appreciate it every way. Super strong, super weak, lots of milk, black. Cuban, Italian, and my personal favorite - Irish - they're all a-okay with me.

4. Parenthood - the show. Do you watch this show? Y'all, I have gone through all 6 seasons with The Bravermans and now we're down to just 4 episodes left. I am so sad it's ending. It may be harder on me than the series finale of Friends. (The Man had to take the kids and leave the house to give me alone time for that one.)

I wish I didn't watch it so I could start from the beginning and watch it with fresh, new eyes. It's a heart-wrenchingly beautiful show and I really love all of the characters. Somehow this family makes you feel as though you are a part of them, like they're your family.

I get excited for them, my heart breaks for them, I get angry at them, and I want to defend them against other people. They are my TV family and I can't tell you how much I'm going to miss them.  Last week's episode about killed me. If you watch it, you know what I'm talking about.

Please Parenthood writers, please don't make anyone die. I know you're going to, I know you kinda have to - but please, please don't.

5. Costco.  I used to make fun of Costco people. You know what I'm talking about. They're always telling you what great thing they got at Costco. They have square milk jugs in their fridge. There is some sort of weird trail mix in their pantry and they have a lifetime supply of paper towels in their garage. Going to Costco is an activity for these people - a place where they actually want to spend their Saturdays. They spend $300 on a cart full of "necessities" and eat free samples for lunch. Or maybe a hot dog and soda for $1.50.

Now I am those people. Sort of. I mean, I'm a careful Costco shopper but I have seen the light. They've got me. They got me with their $3.29 ground beef in whopping six pound packages. It's so lean you almost don't have to drain it at all. They got me with two loaves of bread for $4.29. A rotisserie chicken all cooked for $4.99? Yes, please. Costco is now a twice a month adventure. I don't trust that everything at Costco is a good deal - sometimes it's not - but I do find that shopping at Costco shaves a couple hundred dollars a month off of our food budget. And who am I kidding? It's nice to be part of the club.

6. People with Type A Personalities. Because seriously, where would this world be without them? We'd have nothing, y'all. We need these people to make sure the world keeps running smoothly and on time. Can you imagine if there were no Type A people to make sure things opened on time and laws were followed (and laws were even made no less)? The world would be chaos - pure anarchy!

I long to be a Type A personality, actually. I longingly look at their clean houses and their perfectly manicured nails and their children that smell clean and have recently had haircuts. How do they keep it all together?

But as much as I wish I could be a Type A person, I think deep down I'm glad I'm not and that they are. Because I don't handle constant pressure well. I mean, sure, if you give me a deadline for a project I will stress out two days before it's due and make it happen and I'll say something like "I work best under pressure" - but in reality, I can only handle that pressure for a small amount of time. If I pressure myself like that for two days, I need a week of doing absolutely nothing to recover. It's probably what made college such a challenge for me.

7. Amazon Prime. I don't actually have an Amazon Prime membership - but one of my BFF's does. And she's awesome and lets me piggy-back right on that thing. It's kind of amazing. You can have pretty much anything you need, anything you want, anything you can think of shipped free and on your doorstep in 2 days.

For real. Goober wanted the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. He wanted me to order it from his school's Scholastic book flyer. Do you know how long a kid has to wait for a Scholastic book to come in? Weeks! I ordered that baby from Amazon on Thursday night (kinda late even) and it was delivered Saturday afternoon. Bam! (Goober read it in about 3 hours like a ravenous beast. And then it was over and he was kinda sad.)

Amazon Prime has saved my ass more than a few times. Munchkin gets invited to a birthday party this weekend with no time to go out and buy a gift? Amazon delivers the day before the party. The Man gets an order for twenty Minnie chalkboard heads and we're out of red polka dot ribbon? Amazon delivers before he's done cutting those babies out. Bug tells me he has to read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for school and his book report is due in a week and a half? Amazon delivers him a copy with plenty of time for him to read it and write a Grade A report. BAM.

8. Revlon Colorsilk Hair Dye. Y'all, I do not like going to the salon. I do not like it one little bit. I don't like being trapped there for hours while my hair gets done. I don't like having to make small talk with the hair stylist. (Seriously, I don't know you. Why do you care what I do for a living or whether my kids like the school they go to? Just don't screw up my hair, okay?) I don't like being touched and I don't like paying hundreds of dollars for the privilege of doing all these things I don't like.

Especially when I can pay $4 for a box of Revlon Colorsilk Hair Dye in #61 Dark Blonde and cover up my incessant grey roots in the privacy of my own home. It works great, it costs next to nothing, and I never look like I just dyed my hair. It's so much better than going to the salon I can't even tell you. Maybe it doesn't work this awesomely for everyone, but it does for me. Time saved, money saved, sanity saved, it's a no-brainer.

9. My cat. We have two cats actually and a dog. And I love them all. But one of them loves me the most. That's Mr. Baggins. He's a tuxedo cat and he's a bit of a wuss. He gets his ass kicked on a daily basis by our other cat, Smeagol. (Yes we're geeks, what of it?) Mr. Baggins runs from the kids (especially Munchkin - he is scared to death of her) and hides on our bed most of his life. He is afraid of pretty much everything - I guess you could call him a scaredy-cat - except he's not afraid of me. Well, only if I sneeze or make a sudden movement and then he runs away. I don't know where he's running to, exactly, since he's afraid of pretty much everything in the world.

Baggins loves to be pet. He will longingly look at you with big green eyes at silently open his little mouth to meow a plea. "Pet me, please, it's all I really want."  He will watch your hands as they move around because he sees hands as nothing other than petting machines.

He is always there for me. With a couple little clicky sounds, Baggins is running to me wherever I am. I know he's only wanting to be pet, but lucky for us, me petting him is usually what I want to do. He's so soft and squishy and fluffy and warm. He rolls around and turns upside down with joy that he's being pet, his claws going in and out with utter pleasure and his whole body vibrating with happy purrs. He's a hedonistic little bugger, but I love him.

And the most exciting, biggest thing I am most thankful for this year is....

10. My phone. Don't look at me that way. Read the disclaimer above. Judgeypants.

I love my phone. I didn't know how much I would really love it before I got it - but seriously, I love it. I've had smartphones for a while, but this one I think I love the most. It is fast, it looks pretty in it's purple Speck case, it has lots of games and fun stuff to do, my calendar is updated on it, and it keeps me connected to the people I love the most (and many of the people I just sort of like and unfortunately several of the people I really don't care for at all).

I use my phone for pretty much everything from a calculator to a camera to a flashlight to an alarm clock. I keep coupons on it, I look up anything I'm remotely kinda curious about on Google, I use it in the kitchen to look at recipes. It reminds me what I need to be doing and when, it plays music to lift my spirits, and it tells me when I'm not moving around enough and to get my ass up out of the chair. My phone is totally my friend. It's blinking at me right now. Hey there, pretty lady.

I don't know if this Top Ten Tuesday thing is going to actually be a thing so I'm going to refrain from making some pretty little graphic that I'll never use again. If you're a long time reader of my blog you know what I'm saying. We'll see what happens next week, shall we?

Friday, November 21, 2014

My amazing, hormonal, genuinely out of her mind daughter

Munchkin turned 13 this year. She's truly one of my favorite people in the world. I mean, all my kids are my favorite people in the world, but Munchkin and I have a connection that is very different than the connection I have with my boys. There's something about a mother and her daughter.

That being said, she's turning into a very difficult person to live with. She's diving hormone clouded, wrought with tears, Bath & Body Works scented head first into her teenage years. 

My wise dad once told me "Honey, there's nothing stupider in this world than a teenage girl."

And he should know - he made it through raising three of us. Have I told you how amazing you are lately, Dad?

Munchkin has always been an emotional child. But before there was a certain degree of predictability to her emotional outbursts. Like, she didn't get her way and she threw a fit. I was prepared, I could see it coming.

But now. Nope. She'll lose her ever-loving mind over the stupidest crap you can think of. 

Munchkin: Where are all the Cheerios??
Me: We're out of Cheerios, Goober ate the last of them. Do you want me to make you an egg?
Munchkin: Why does HE always get what HE wants??! I REALLY wanted CHEERIOS!!! Why does everyone in this house HATE ME!??!

Queue Munchkin storming to her bedroom in tears, slamming her door when she gets there. 

And then, the weirdest thing is that she'll come out ten minutes later, all smiles, offering to make me eggs.

This stuff actually happens, y'all. I'm not even exaggerating.

Send in reinforcements. I'm not sure I'm going to make it through the next 5 years.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I sure hope he'd charge a lot more than a nickel.

So yesterday while driving home in Betsy (Betsy is my minivan), Goober said "Mommy, don't be mad if you get a call from school tomorrow."

Um, what? What could I possibly be mad at, my perfect, perfect little delicious boy? (It's here that I am channeling my inner Beverly.)

"Well, yesterday on the bus I said something and Ricky said he was going to get me in trouble for it."

What could my beautiful boy have said that could possibly get him into any trouble?

"I said 'If you give me a nickel, I'll tickle your pickle.'"

Y'all, I just about slammed on Betsy's brakes right there in the middle of the damn road.

"You said, what??!"

"Well, see, I just thought it was a clever rhyme. But then Ricky cleared that up for me. And then he said he was going to get me in trouble."

Oh, Ricky. You're messing with the wrong 5th grader, Ricky. 

"Where did you hear this phrase?" I wondered.

"Some kid at school said it. I'm never gonna look at pickles the same way again."

Neither will I, son. Neither will I.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Playing until my fingers bleed. Or are just really, really sore.

In between working on our websites and trying to navigate social media, I've adopted a new hobby.

What? You might ask - how on earth have you found the time to take up a new hobby, Beth? Surely there is no time in your life for tennis or skeet shooting or scrapbooking. You'd be right. There is no time for all that noise.

Nope, my new hobby is Guitar Hero.

Okay, so it's not exactly quite a new hobby as it is a resurrected hobby. Back in the day - you know, like 2010 - I was pretty handy with a Wii Guitar. That's right, I unlocked ALL the songs in easy mode on our GH World Tour game.

But somewhere along the way I gave it all up. Broke up the band and moved on to other interests. That was until last weekend when I did an epic cleaning of the TV room and found the disc.

Oh, my long forgotten friend. You've been drifting around for the past few years, case-less, neglected, unloved, your guitar companion collecting dust in the corner of the room.

Our original Wii actually died a little while back but last Christmas Goober received a Wii U from good old Saint Nick and so I popped that disc right in there.

The feel of the guitar was so natural in my hands. It only took me one or two songs before I was right back in that zone. That was, until the disc was unable to be read.

Halfway through Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle" it just stopped, leaving me feeling desperate and wanting more. I felt lost, like a junkie who was out of crack and facing a long dry spell. We tried to get the disc to read - the Man using weird techniques he'd learned to resurrect old CDs - but it just wouldn't play any more songs beyond the ones I had already played. It was heartbreaking.

I ran to eBay for a replacement disc and hastily ordered. But it won't be here until Thursday! I have to wait DAYS to get my fix!

Luckily, while browsing the local Goodwill yesterday we did happen upon the Guitar Hero Aerosmith game for a whopping $2.99. Score! It's no World Tour, but it will have to tide me over until Thursday.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Where to get the most awesome Christmas gift EVER! For real.

It's done! I think. I hope.

Our new site selling The Man's absolutely gorgeous (and perfect for holiday gifts!) signs is completed. (Oh, please go check it out. Pin some stuff! Tell your friends! Like us on Facebook! Let me know this social media thing actually does work!)

When Etsy put the kabosh on our store, we really went into high speed with finishing the actual site. It's been a labor of love necessity, y'all.

We still have products to add, and a few special things I'm still working on finishing that will need to be photographed and added to the site, but our best sellers are up and ready for ordering.

To celebrate our Grand Opening, we put our absolutely most popular sign on SALE for $10 off it's normal price! What? $10 is a lot of dough! That's TWO Starbucks Spiced Pumpkin Lattes or over three gallons of gas (you can drive for like 50 miles on that!). For $10 you could buy yourself a relatively nice bouquet of flowers at your local grocery store (stay away from those roses, we're talking gerber daisies here). The Fitzgerald sign makes a fantastic gift for your difficult to buy for in-laws, your little sister who just bought a house with her new husband, or your best friend who just celebrated her tenth wedding anniversary. Seriously, best gift ever. It's traditional and beautiful and everyone loves stuff with their name on it. It's true.

Last year we made this with my lovely sister, B2 in mind. She's a classy chick and so I knew she'd want a classy sign to grace her home. Since we made this design it has been our biggest seller of all. 

The Man is meticulous about the wood he chooses to use for this sign. And really all of his stuff - when I say he lovingly picks the materials he uses, I really mean it. You should see him in the lumber aisle of a Lowe's one day, pulling out boards, checking them for defects, laying them on the ground to ensure their flatness. It's serious business.

For this particular sign, he actually applies a strong tea to red oak and then uses a vinegar solution to ebonize the wood. After all that, he goes over the wood with a rich ebony stain to really make it as dark as possible. It's then that he carves into the piece of wood and the beautiful deep red wood color shines through.  He sands it by hand and finishes it with a wood conditioning oil and coat of sealant. The Man puts a lot of himself into each sign, y'all. It's on sale until the end of November. 

Not your style? That's cool, we do lots of other designs and The Man loves the challenge of custom orders. :) Let us know if you want something totally different. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Listen here, Laura, who posts on BabyCenter - You're wrong. And this is why.

It's just after 5 AM and I'm awake. I knew as soon as I posted about how awesome my new schedule was something would happen to screw it up. That something was me being evidently exhausted somewhere around 9 pm and falling asleep fully clothed - in my bra. 

So when The Man came to bed around 4 (yep, that's what time he goes to bed every night/morning), I was wide awake.  But that's not what I'm planning on blogging about this early morning.

I was reading this blog over on BabyCenter. I don't normally read BabyCenter as they don't have a whole lot of advice for moms of kids over 5, but someone posted it on Facebook and it was a funny read so I checked it out.

If you take the time to read the blog, it's a pretty accurate representation of what it's like to have three young kids. It does get better once they get older and their world doesn't completely revolve around you (but that's bittersweet all in itself), but reading that blog put me right back into those trenches. 

My favorite quote is this one: "And you will never really finish doing anything. Just to get the full effect of what this frustrating reality is like, stop reading this post about three quarters of the way through, and scrape something sticky off a sofa, or a rug."  

Because that.is.so.true. Someday I might show y'all all the half-written posts I've made over the course of this blog. This doesn't really get too much better when they get older. Sorry to say. I'll probably only finish this post because it's 5:23 in the morning and no one else is awake.

What struck me most about this blog was all the bitchy, self serving comments that followed it. All the moms chiming in to talk about how awesome they are and how their kids are amazingly well-behaved and their lives are just full of tender, blissful moments of mother-child bonding. Get over yourself.

The comment that really hit me the most was this one:

It seems like people who have more than one child are really unhappy having more than one child because every single blog is about how chaotic and awful their life is. I get that it’s a joke, but most jokes have a shred of truth in them – it’s what makes them funny.
Listen up, Laura. Yes, it is chaotic and yes, there are times mothers of multiple children wish they could just hit the pause button for a second to catch their breath and take a nap - but I have never been unhappy I had all three of my babies. 

My life is not awful because of my children. They are my life. They are the reason I keep going when things get hard, they are what motivates me to be better. Raising three children who are truly awesome little people is my proudest accomplishment thus far in my life. When I have the opportunity to watch one of them do the right thing - whether it be a big deal like earning 1st chair in the most advanced band at their school - or a little thing like running to open the door for the girl pushing her mom in a wheelchair at the bank - I feel a sense of pride and joy I can't even explain to someone who hasn't had children. 

I have given the world not one, not two, but three absolutely amazing people. There isn't a damn moment in my life I'll ever be unhappy about that. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hello, Morning.

I was reading a post by The Happy Hausfrau (do you read her blog? you should, she's wonderful and I love her) and she was talking about how with her new job, two of her kids are now fully responsible for getting up on their own and getting out the door in the mornings. And I thought, OMG I need to tell the blogosphere that I, too, have started forcing the kids to get up and out the door in the mornings on their very own.


The boys are so good at getting up and getting out the door. Bug and Goober both get up, get dressed, and get out the door without me even opening my eyes. This is the first year that this has happened. For the last decade I have woken up at some unholy hour and driven at least one child to at least one school. Because of my night owl schedule, waking up before 8 am has always really been painful for me. So I would wake up around 6:30, wake the kids up, drive kids wherever, drive home and then go back to sleep for a couple more hours. It was so painful and so unhealthy and ended up forcing me to actually sleep more than necessary because I wasn't sleeping straight through.

But now that the boys are getting themselves up and out of the house I've had the luxury of sleeping a full 8 hours every night. It has been like heaven, y'all. I'm so darn refreshed most of the time. (And if not, a little coffee does the trick.)

Munchkin, however, sleeps peacefully until I wake her. And if I don't wake her, she doesn't wake. It's a curse that we both have - this inability to wake up in the mornings. When I was a teenager it was so hard to wake me up that my dad bought me an alarm clock that literally said "The World's Loudest Alarm Clock" on the package (and yes, it really WAS the loudest alarm clock.)

Munchkin doesn't have to be at school until after 9 am because middle school starts ridiculously late in our district (which also means it gets out stupid late, which is a whole other blog post). Since the boys are already out of the house before she even opens her princess eyes, she would peacefully slumber until noon if I let her.

So I wake up every morning by 8 am and I pitter patter across the house to wake up my sleeping beauty. It's actually really a good thing because I'm sure if I didn't have to wake her up I'd just sleep all day and nothing would ever get done around here. But this new schedule we've been on is pretty perfect. Get this, I'm even waking up around 8 on weekends. What??? Seeing the mornings is a whole new experience for me y'all. It's enlightening.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Personal Fitness, Trash Hands, Cold Fronts, and Etsy Sucks

Raising three children is a full time job. Double full time, really. In fact, I don't have time to write this post because I should most definitely be doing other things.

But procrastination is my middle name, so here goes.

This morning I learned that Bug is failing Personal Fitness. Yep, failing P.E... this is happening. Because P.E. isn't just running around the track and doing some sit-ups anymore. Now there are tests and quizzes and homework. A lot of them, in fact. And I guess Bug must think they are total BS, too, because he hasn't done many of them.

Bug has quizzes to take about flexibility and muscle endurance and what he should eat. I guess it's like Health class and P.E. all wrapped into one. His teacher says in her email this morning that Bug needs to make Personal Fitness his priority. Somehow I think his Algebra and Language Arts teachers might disagree but I'm not responding to that.

The other night raccoons got into the garbage in front of the house. Yesterday morning I woke up to little nasty pieces of our trash all over the front yard. Naturally I had the kids clean it up because, ew, I'm not touching it and if I can't get these kids to do the dirty work for me then what did I have them for?

Two minutes after the three of them were sent out to do the nasty job of picking it all up, Munchkin came in crying because Goober had "rubbed his disgusting TRASH hands all over me!!" So I excused her from doing anymore and sent her to take a shower.

The Man told me that she gets out of doing everything and I told him that if someone rubbed their disgusting trash hands all over me I'd be done, too.  Gross.

At dinner last night, Goober smiled and said it was worth it even if she did get out of picking up the rest of the trash. So I guess it was a win-win.

This past weekend South Florida experienced its first real cold front of the season. I had to put on socks and drag out my hoodie. That's cold for us down here. To celebrate we had our first fire of the season and I discovered Johnny Walker on the rocks is a nice sipping drink if it's cold outside.

Speaking of scrap wood, we had a bit of a hiccup this weekend with The Man's business. Since our primary income from his beautiful sign making business came from Etsy, we were sort of at their whim. I don't know if you remember back in the day when I was selling Fifty Shades of Grey shirts on Etsy, but they didn't take kindly to that and shut my store down. They didn't just shut that store down, though - they shut down that store and the store where I sold Girl Scout shirts down, too. Because they didn't even want to be associated with the likes of me. Geesh, Etsy.  

So when The Man started making his beautiful signs (check them out on Facebook for the time being!), we were a little nervous about putting them on Etsy. We put them in The Man's name and his bank information and for a long time everything seemed to be fine. Until we woke up Friday to a nice note from Etsy telling us to piss off. No appeal process available.

It's been a bit of a bummer, but we've been through this kind of thing before, obviously, and come out the other side even better. My Girl Scout shirts sell way better on our own site than they ever did on Etsy so we know that with a lot of hard work and marketing, The Man's beautiful signs will do just fine on their own site, too. 

So that's what we've been up to the past several days - just building our brand new site to feature our beautiful signs. It's not entirely ready yet, we still have a lot of editing to do and products to add - but it is functional and technically it all works. It's a labor of love, I guess. :) 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Where the Spaz just about reaches the end of her fundraising rope

I'm deep in the trenches of fundraising. Deep in the trenches and losing air, y'all.

In the past month I feel like all I do is peddle one thing or another to support schools, bands, trips and scouts. We're peddling candles, popcorn, nuts, candy, magazines, wrapping paper, cookie dough, and garbage bags (yep, not kidding - garbage bags). There's probably more I'm not thinking of because at least one fundraiser packet just went directly into the trash - all of it overpriced and none of it necessary for your existence... well, except maybe the garbage bags but at the price you'd hate to throw them out.

This is the time when the Girl Scouts do their annual nut and candy sale. We call it Fall Product and it's an alternative to back in the day when they used to sell calendars (something people actually needed). Typically, our troop isn't big on the fall product sales but we do sell cookies after the holidays. This is also the time when Boy Scouts are selling popcorn for the unheard of price of $10 a bag.

Though this year I'm seriously considering just throwing my hands up to all of it.

Maybe it's because I have three kids and there's a lot of fundraising to be done, maybe it's because I'm just burnt out, maybe it's because people are starting to run the other way when they see me coming - but I have had enough, y'all. ENOUGH.

I have given my weekends to sitting outside of grocery stores and banks urging my sweet little children to smile and say "have a nice day" even when people rudely avert their eyes and walk past them in their scout uniforms. I have sent out the emails, I've posted the facebook posts, I've called my friends and family.

At least with some of these products a decent amount does go back to the kids, but the worst of all returns is the Girl Scouts. GSUSA and our council, GSSEF (and please, know that this organization has my heart for what the individual troop leaders do for these girls) literally has girls working for pennies on the dollar while their CEOs take six digit salaries. Our girls barely make enough money to plan a nice field trip.

Like I said earlier, we typically sell cookies. They're kind of a tradition and yes, the cookie sale does teach Munchkin some business skills. (FYI - our girls get 60 cents out of that $4 you shell out for cookies, a 15% return). However, we typically pass on this Fall Product sale.

This year Munchkin is in 8th grade which puts her in her final year as a Cadette. She wants to earn her Silver Award this year and she, and her Silver Team of three other girls have come up with a great plan of action. Today I was told that if Munchkin doesn't participate in the Fall Product sale she won't be eligible for her Silver Award.

I'm still chewing on this big fat wad of black venom.

If I find this to be true there may be a whole other post coming up.

At any rate, if you need anything - anything at all - and you feel like overpaying for it, leave me a comment and I'll probably be able to sell it to you for a highly inflated price. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Weight Loss Woes

I've been doing this diet thing.... and OMG it has sucked.

It started being the Dukan Diet. You can read all about it somewhere. Use Google. You'll pull up a ton on it.

At any rate, I started the Dukan Diet last Wednesday. If you've Googled at all, you know it starts with what they call the "Attack Phase" where you eat nothing but protein. You can have all the lean meat and fat free dairy you want. That's the basic principle.

It worked, y'all. I lost 7 pounds on the Attack Phase. Seven pounds in five days. Something definitely attacked something. My pants fit better.

So yesterday and today I moved on to the "Cruise Phase" where you get to basically do the exact same thing as the Attack Phase except every other day you can have veggies.  Yesterday I got to have veggies and then today I felt like I was being punished and had to move back to that viscous Attack Phase.

So tonight after I fed the family sloppy joes and mac & cheese and then fixed myself an egg white omelet with turkey and a cup of fat free greek yogurt for dinner I decided I needed to reevaluate.

I am miserable. I am snapping at the kids. I am feeling desperate for different foods.

You see, I have a lot of weight to lose. It's not like I can just do this Dukan Diet for a month or two, lose 15 or 20 pounds and move on - if I stick with Dukan for the full amount of weight loss, I will not get to eat a piece of fruit for the next year. Is that possibly even okay to do?  And even if it is okay, do I want to be feeling deprived because I can't have an orange for a year?


So I revised my Dukan Diet to something I can live with.

Here it is (if you care):

Unlimited lean proteins and non-starchy vegetables
Unlimited super low fat dairy (less than 2% fat)
One piece of fruit per day
Up to 2 slices of whole grain bread per day
One serving (about 2 ounces) of cheese per day
Up to 5 sugar free treats per day (Jello, a piece of gum, a diet soda, etc)
Two low calorie alcoholic beverages a week
One reasonable celebration meal per week.
Very small amounts of oil for cooking

NO LIST (except for in celebration meal - use discretion with celebration meal!):
White bread
White rice
Whole fat dairy
Starchy vegetables
Full sugar desserts

**Must drink 64 ounces of water each day**

Exercise has to be up, too. Walking at least 1 mile per day has to happen. I can also do counter push ups, crunches, and squats every day. When I've lost some more weight I plan to add in yoga. Exercise has to happen every single day. No breaks. Even if it's just a walk, something has to happen.

I'm going to ask The Man to take some before pictures and I might even post them. Later. Like - when I can look back at them and think "Wow, I've come so far."

Not now.

Let's see how this goes.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I am guilty.

I spend a decent amount of time reading blogs and essays written by other moms. Moms who love their children as much as I do, moms who work just as hard, moms who would lay down their lives for their babies. Every mother can tell the story of each and every one of their babies - how they came to be, how they were born, and how they are loved. Sadly, so many mothers can also tell the stories of how their babies were lost.

Our world, as beautiful and wonderful as it is, is also relentless in its cruelty. Mamas should never lose their babies. 

I have not lost any of my babies and I feel such incredible guilt. Why do I still get to watch my children grow every day when another mother is forced to mourn her child? I am not better or more righteous than any mother. I do not deserve my children any more than anyone else. 

The other day I got to watch Munchkin as she rode her favorite horse, Thunder, during one of her weekly ride times. I don't often do this - always busy running errands or working - sometimes I sit in the car while she rides and play with my phone, calling it "me" time. My heart is always a little in my throat when she rides. She is fearless and beautiful and she amazes me as runs and sails over jumps. My head churns as I watch her. "Please don't fall. Please take care of my baby, Thunder. Please don't fall."  Because Mamas have lost their babies doing less dangerous things. 

A few months ago she was thrown off her horse and her head hit a tree. Her riding helmet cracked in the front, right where her frontal lobe is. She was a little bumped up, but otherwise fine, and just as I've always told her to do, she got right back on the horse. I'm thankful I wasn't watching her that day.

I watch all three of them take chances, they climb to the highest branch, swim past where the waves are breaking, fall off their skateboards, and do wheelies on their bikes. They are kids and they act just like kids are supposed to act. 

They are healthy, they are happy, they are smart. They have everything going for them and I feel like I hit the kid lottery with how great my babies are. They are all alive and I get to see them all every day. I get to listen to their problems and hug them and hold them and watch them grow. 

I am guilty and my heart aches for those mothers who don't get to hold their babies when they cry and don't get to watch them grow from babies to young ladies and men. Mine are healthy and happy and smart - and I am guilty.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Merry Go Rounds, Rusty Slides, and Polar Cups

(This post is inspired by a post from Jenny From The Blog.)

I'm pretty sure our population is only going to get stupider.

We're defying Darwin with all of our idiot proofing ways and in the next few generations I'm fairly sure we're going to have a bunch of morons bumbling around the planet knocking their heads on sharp corners and falling off of curbs.

My kids don't know what a merry-go-round is. When I mentioned a merry-go-round, they thought I was talking about a carousel complete with horses and benches and lights and music.

Carousels are boring, y'all.

You know what's not boring? A merry-go-round.

Think back to when you were a kid and you played on one of these babies. It was made out of hot metal that had been baking in the sun and you had to pull your shorts down a little and sit all funny on it so none of your bare skin touched the metal and gave you 3rd degree burns. If you were lucky, you had a cool adult with you who would push it really hard and you'd cling to the bars to avoid flying off and going airborne only to get a mouth full of playground sand (because we had sand, not mulch or AstroTurf or bouncy rubbery crap made from recycled tires).  If you didn't have an adult with you (because lots of times you were at the playground without an adult - this happened), you might convince another kid to push it, but mostly you'd get it going as fast as you could and then you'd fling yourself on to the hot, dirty surface and ride it until it stopped - eyes closed, head bobbing around, stomach reeling - it was pure joy.

When I was a kid, the playground was not the reason we were at the park, either. We were at the park because of some family function. Probably a picnic or a BBQ and the reason I was at the playground was because I bugged my parents until one of them said "go play"... and I did.

Sometimes my dad and older sister would play tennis at one of our local parks and I'd go along just to play on the playground. I would walk unsupervised to a playground in this park that was so surrounded by trees and foliage that no one would have ever seen if I had been kidnapped.  I would swing and slide and merry-go-round, usually without an adult in sight, for as long as I could.  And then my dad would take us all to go get a Polar Cup.

You wish you could have a Polar Cup right now.

But I have digressed.

I survived merry-go-rounds and rusty geodesic domes and broken slides and playgrounds where no adult was present. Because I wasn't an idiot. I knew that I could get hurt so I didn't do stupid stuff that would get me hurt. I didn't try to surf the merry-go-round by standing on the handrails and telling another kid to spin it. Other kids did, I watched one break his arm once. We all learned a valuable lesson that day.

But now our kids play on cushioned playgrounds coated with nerf and rubber. There are no sharp edges and no rusty nails and no surfaces that will burn their precious skin. Our homes are baby proofed and our lids are child proofed and our 5 year-olds are riding to kindergarten in car seats.

Every 12 year old has a cell phone and we'd rather they stay inside playing video games after school than ride their bikes to the neighborhood park without us watching their every move. We hover and fret and if they fall we're right there to pick them up and dust them off and kiss their booboos.

And they're growing up to be wimps.

But if you try to fight it, if you try to let your kids have that freedom to learn and grow and fall down and pick themselves up, you're shamed and judged. Or worse, some other parent does it for you. As if the worst thing in the world is my 10 year-old out riding his bike while I'm at home folding his laundry.

It's time to cut the umbilical cord and let our babies go, y'all.