Oct 31, 2012

The blog in which I don't know how to walk.

I really couldn't fit in exercise at home today due to the volunteer and Halloween schedule, so we headed to the YMCA to walk the indoor track.  No childcare at that time, so the migits and I walked a few minutes.  Well, it was only 15 minutes, and a lot of socializing with the staff, seeing as some elderly member told me I was walking wrong.  And that's when I came to understand how I ended up this big.

See, we walked in the door to the track, and there wasn't even one person there.  In fact, there was only about three or four people in the workout room that is adjacent to the track that runs the upstairs perimeter.  Generally, the gym below is bustling with a class, a pick up basketball game, or on occasion, a radKID class.  However, today, it was empty.  Not one person.  While the migits and I walked, two men found their way into the track, but not to walk.  One sat on a stationary bike that is on the track, the other, found a mat and was working on stretches and crunches.

And then, it happened.  "She" came.  She walks in, and immediately furrowed her brow.  She must have been in her seventies.  She was was walking directly toward us.  She says something as she is passing, and in all honesty, I thought it was going to be something negative about my children being up there, but instead, it went like this-

Furrowed brow lady-  You are doing it wrong.  You can't walk this way.

Me- (Pretending to not have heard what she just said)  Sure, you can walk that way if you want.

Furrowed brow lady-  No!  There is a sign.  You can't walk that way.

Me-  Enjoy your walk!

I chose to walk another two laps, and decided since the kids wanted to grab a drink, it would be a good time to leave, seeing as each time we passed this furrowed brow, I was more annoyed than the time before.  My patience is thin, so I only made it twice around her.  As we were approaching the door, I noticed she was walking with her back to us, so I peaked at the sign she motioned to earlier.  Freakin' A- she turned to watch me read it!   On Mondays and Saturdays I can walk that way, but the rest of the week, I am to walk the other direction.  I have never been that great at rules.  I'm a work in progress lady.  Love me for my faults and I will love you for your attention to detail when no one is looking.  We are not to judge each other for our wrong doings.  Or something like that... I won't throw stones her direction if she doesn't throw them at my glass house in... Forget it.  Not even the bible can help me.  I was wrong.  Forgive.  For I have sinned.

(PS  I had planned a 30 minute walk.  Best laid plans....)

Oct 30, 2012

The blog in which I share apraxia.

It was just Charlie and I in the car on our way to gymnastics tonight. Geoff is home sick, and my mom is spending the night since she is coming to help out at the kids' school for a special event in the morning.   So, she is home doing reading with Shay, and it was a rare Charlie and Mommy car trip.  And here is what happened.

Charlie- I love you Mom.

Me- I love you too.  

Charlie- No.  I love you Mom.   Grandma.  You mom.  

Me- Oh.  Right. 

* I noticed the lack of a pause and an "r."   I don't know what I was thinking.  Apraxia.  It stinks to be on this end of it.  

Charlie is not one to illicit conversation, or really to indulge us with it.  It is a rare when he does.  He talks so little in school that as I was walking in the halls with a classmate of his, she asked why he doesn't ever talk.  I told her that talking is hard for him, and he was not thrilled that I divulged that information.  Then, I got a call from the private speech therapy asking how I feel he is doing in speech. I said that I thought it was effective for him, however, he is still not confident enough to speak amongst his peers.  She said she understood that.  

Well, then comes gymnastic time, and I realized, he doesn't STOP talking there!  He feels SO confident with his coaches, that he talks to them like it's freakin' social hour.  While I love the relationship he has with EVERYONE at the YMCA, there is something particularly special about the gymnastic coaches, Ms. Brenda and Ms. Peggy. They seem to relate so intensely with each child, and that is invaluable to me.  They came to know us through the swim team season this past Spring and Summer, as they are the aquatic directors. 

We ate dinner before going to gymnastics tonight, and Charlie was trying so hard to tell me something that he was near tears in frustration for lack of understanding on my part.  It took a few minutes to try to figure it out.  And while I don't think I figured it out, I figured out that somehow, by some small grace, his gymnastics coaches understand him, and he wants to talk to them.  And I am happy to see him interact with these two amazing women.  

Oct 28, 2012

The blog in which I DON'T want a penis.

I suppose I am confused.  It appears that I have spammed myself, and am trying desperately to sell myself on a penis.  Or pills to grow one.  I am not sure, but while I have a "testy" relationship with my girlie bits, I need not throw a total hissy fit and grow a shlong.  Wow.

Also, I am not sure why I continually receive things for AARP, hearing aides, and the like.  Unless I really am THAT old AND senile.  Am I senile?  If so, how many times have I asked you that?  And aren't you cold?  Put a sweater on- I'm chilled.  Freakin' Frankenstorm.  That wind is pissing me off.  First, it's loud.  Second, it's making our sweet neighbors' wind chimes have a seizure and I am not partial to it.  Okay.  I might senile.  I think I have blogged about these wind chimes before, but darn it if I don't like these neighbors.  Anyway- go put a sweater on.  I have to go find my penis, or the pills I need to grow one.  But I just don't remember wanting one.  Ever.  Except, on my hubby of course.  Well, only his.  I do not wish for just any penis to be on him.  Just his.  You got that though, right?

Oct 27, 2012

The blog in which I made my own fun today.

I had to.  And so did she.  Well, technically, she didn't know what I was asking of her to share in, but now that we did it, twice, I think she is happy I did.  I am sure the thank you was forgotten over the barrel of monkeys of fun we had.  You are forgiven Ma.  I love you.  And thanks for "coming to do something with me."  No, I didn't need you to come to the bathroom with me.  I am 36 years old.  I think I can handle that alone.  That was awkward.  (That was what she thought I was asking her to do with me.)  I have learned to not give too much away or she might not participate in some weirdo activity I would like her to collaborate with me for.  She has only learned to ask if she needs her purse or not.  Some of us are more evolved.  However, I should have thought ahead, and had her use the little girls room prior to participating in a potentially funny activity.  She loses herself on laughter.  But don't tell her I told you.  wink.


PS  Happy Birthday to my little nephew!  One year old! Woo hoo!

The blog in which I realize I am coming though the roughest parts.

I so do not have my stuff together.  This week was one of those off the wall weeks that made me sit back and evaluate where I am in my life.  I was surrounded by a group of hot messes everywhere I went.  I began feeling like I was slipping into one of those rough grooves we all occasionally hit and have to work through, and yet, once we work through the toughest parts, life is easier afterwards, and seem like small stuff in retrospect.  From my kids' school to our personal life and finances, to my faith, it all was thrown at me like a fast-pitch fire ball that I was only capable of bringing to a smoldering, bothersome, keep me awake, type of annoyance.  My ovaries are partly to blame, but I'd have to say, even without that issue, I would have still had to deal with these issues, and might have done it was slightly less emotion.  Which is something that a close friend of mine says she has always admired in me- my male-like brain of addressing things without emotion.  *I didn't speak to her this week, and chose to not respond to her text.  I didn't want to shatter her image of me.  Or, tarnish it more.

Either way, I allowed the week to get to me, and while it was rough, come last night, I was able to sit next to my husband for Friday Family Fun Night and NOT want to ask him if he knows how many times he was dropped on his head as a child.  It was the first night in about a week- not counting the countless years before that when it was a mere breathe away from spewing off my tongue.  While I have one friend who admits to thinking she is some sort of crazy, she goes to a therapist and laughs at the partial crazy diagnosis she had suggested for her.  Another girlfriend came over and swears she is so in touch with her body that she even knows which side she ovulates from each month.  Sometimes I sit down to pee, and get up, and didn't even know that I poo'ed.  I am so not in touch with my body.  And lately,  I don't want it to be touched either.  Hard to work through some serious life issues when you are not even aware what you are doing when you sit to pee.  Right?

So, every few months I freak out over finances.  I will be honest here.  Geoff makes very little, and that is not the problem.  The problem is, we are being bombarded with how to spend it.  We are in no debt other than our mortgage, which has been paid a month in advance since the day we built it, in 2003.  We own our two cars.  I didn't get a real cell phone until ten months ago.  Both us us had a pay per minute phone, and Geoff still does.  We do not have a home phone, and actually, cancelled our home phone and TV over two years ago, so no bill for that either.  We pay under $30 a month for our Clear Internet, and I have been cutting every one's hair in my house since Geoff and I started dating.  I have never had a manicure or pedicure, went for three, $15 hair cuts last year, and decided that cutting my hair was a ridiculous expense, so now I have long-ish hair again.  I buy regular liquid hand soap, and dilute it with water in reusable foaming hand soap dispensers.  I recently found an amazing and inexpensive home made laundry detergent recipe, and no longer go through tons of money on that.  I clip my dogs nails and bathe him in the yard.  We don't eat out regularly other than splitting the $5 foot long subs at Subway about twice a month, and our $12 pizza a couple times a month if the kids are wanting Bagel Bites.  We have taken ONE vacation in the almost ten years of marriage, and that was last year.  We knew we wouldn't be able to vacation again, and even at that one, we did it as inexpensively as possible.  No movies.  No date nights.  No babysitters- ever.  (My parents have watched the kids on occasion, but not really for us to go out. I think three times maybe, but not like a regular thing.)  Charlie and Shay each have the opportunity to earn one dollar each week that they are in school so that they might buy a Duck for a Buck on Friday mornings.  That is the most extravagant $8 in the budget.

And yet, I decided that it was time to really sit down and try to figure out how we are going through our money, and what we really have left over, after the fixed expenses.  Geoff says he budgeted $400 for monthly groceries when he sat down to work up the template.  When I did it, I found $270 left for groceries, medicines, toiletries, napkins, incidentals that come up at school, car maintenance, etc.  Ummmm, well...

That is not so comforting, but made me laugh to see that while my husband and I had issues with finances, and I was losing my mind over other things in life, I realized that I had a life to live, and we have our health and each other.  We have a willingness to work hard to make it all work.  Our finances, our love, our family.  And less than a mile from my home, is a family that is fighting for mere moments to be together.  A father who is a local hero to so many, is fighting to just get home to be with his family in his final hours.  Before I lose you here... Please remember that love never dies.  And while I think of the grace that I have seen in the darkest time for this family in our community, I think that maybe I can get it together for the small stuff in my life.  I just might not know what end is up or what is happening in the end.

Oct 26, 2012

The blog in which it's Duck for a Buck with Flava!

Everything is turning up duckie!  I swear, I showed up with no expectations, and was overwhelmed with the variety of ducks today.  I saw a posting on Facebook announcing that a new shipment had arrived, however, I assumed that it was just to replenish the stock.  I had NO idea what was in store for us this morning.  Then, I caught a glimpse of something that made me do a double take, since I thought I was going a little crazy, and caught a photo to share that with you as well.  (You know how there are the "Crazy Cat Ladies?"  I think I have become the "Crazy Duck Lady.")  Say nothing.

Rock Star Ducks.  Like Wayne and Garth- only cheesier.  

These are Duck ERASERS!  Wow!  Fun!  And we sold out of all but one of those!  

This is Hiking Duck.  You will need to watch the John Pinette  special on Netflix in order to appreciate the humor to this one.  The one special from 2011 is the one that talks about the hiking.  The early special was better though.  That's my review.  Enjoy!

Holy Matrimony Ducks!  'Til Mold do us part-- or Mom says  she doesn't know where we went, but assumes we flew south(er) for winter.  Wink, wink.  

UNICORN Duck!  Seriously?  I think my prayers were answered!  There is a G-d!  

All of these glow in the dark, and some are even American themed.  I was so proud of my son.  He bought the Statue of Liberty.  We have a huge tie to all things New York, however, it is also the "Liberty" themed one ;o)  School pride!  

Aviator Duck 

He was the only Sport Duck we had first thing in the morning.   We found a match for him.  Later.  Wait for it.  

Pink Pirate Ducks

Ninja Ducks! 

This is for the boys that asked for military duck.   USA! USA! USA!  

When asked, "What is this duck?"  I responded with, "It's Avenger Duck!"  The small child asks, "Can it float on water?"  Naturally, the smart a$$ in me quipped back with, "Yes, because now it's also Jesus Duck!"  I am so bad.  

Transportation Ducks.  I tried to sell one of the ducks as a decorated pilot.  I don't know how well that worked.  

I so see a hot date for the surfer dude or the Sumo Duck.  She is a catch! 

Surfer Dude!  Oh, comes with a free accessory!  (Yes, the surfboard.)

Sumo Ducks are back!  I have missed you guys!  

Crazy Hair Duck!  (AKA- Lazy Eye Duck)

My best impression.  I am serious.  I couldn't do any better.  Clearly, it was early.  Like, before 7:AM.  

This is an actual assortment that one boy purchased today.  I SO wanted to ask him  if he could read my mind.  I so would have bought those EXACT ducks.  

This duck sold out a few weeks ago.  We don't have anymore.   Oh, but wait.   There is one student who has figured out the system, comes each week,  and brings an old duck he has purchased, and asks to trade it out.  Okay kid.  I got your number.  We won't be trading next week.  Or any week after that.  

Front- notice the over use of tape to hold it together?  I am not even kidding when I tell you that today I received payment in any possible variety- all nickels, ripped dollars, and two checks!  Then, the kids who came with 50 cents for the ring pop fundraiser for Cancer-- They asked if they could just pay me next time the rest of the money.  Not so much.  Keep Moving! 
Back- notice they had some tape left over from the front?

Are you serious?  She has duckie earrings?  What the duck? ! ? ! ? !  And why can't I  sell these for a buck?  I think I have an idea for the ducks we are collecting.  Wait for next week friends!  I promise to do something CRAZY CREATIVE with the ducks we have thus far.  You won't want to miss it!  

The blog in which I re-post my homemade laundry detergent recipe.


The following is a partial re-post of my blog on my attempt at home made laundry detergent that I swear you people think I am selling each time I talk about it.  I will tell you one thing- I have been using it for about a month and a half, and L.O.V.E. it.  I am seriously giving it as Christmas gifts this year since we are struggling this year, and think that others might appreciate the savings tip with a sample.  This is a totally dry mixture.  No cooking, baking or liquefying.  It stores in a free container I asked for from the local grocery store bakery, with a lid, in the garage.  The Purex container is where I store and pour from for our everyday washes, and it took a month and a half of a load a day to go through the container before I had to refill it.  Without further ado....

I found the directions on Pinterest.com, however, I found that there was only one of the multitudes that I thought I would really like.  I tweaked the "recipe" slightly.  I am including lots of pictures, and hope that the recipe makes sense.  Essentially, I ran to the Publix bakery and asked for a frosting tub, and they gave me one with a nice lid.  Free.  Then, I went to Kroger, and with tax, spent under $30 for a years' worth of laundry detergent.   The kids and I worked on it outside, in between their trampoline turn taking.  You use between one and two TABLESPOONS of the mixture, and the way I did it, the top of my container will measure it out for me.  Pictures will make sense on this.  

Here's where things get fun.  Tonight, I made something I haven't made in years.  I made fried wings.  I haven't friend anything in years for that fact.  However, I learned (on Pinterest- shocker, right?) that the way to get them to be crispy, is to leave the top off the pot and to dry the chicken completely before frying it.  We don't buy paper towels, so I opted to use a kitchen hand towel that I didn't mind throwing away if I had too.  However, I had half a load of laundry in the washer, and thought, well, I guess this would be as good a test as ever to see if it really works.  So, I threw this hand towel with some chicken blood and stank on it, and started the wash.  And yes, Rachel, there is no doubt.  It is clean.  (That was the question she had, and my thought was, how can I expect all those ingredients to do anything but clean?)  Geoff loves the smell, and the hardest part was grating the three bars of soap, taking about 15 minutes.  Then, I had to don the gloves and hand mix the batch since the mixing spoon was not doing a good enough job.  If I had layered the ingredients as the pinner suggested, it might have worked better.  I filled the Purex container with the mixture, then put a lid on the remainder in the tub I mixed it in.  (I see holiday time gifts in the near future with the printed directions.  Hint, hint.  Act surprised!)  

PS  The blog I read said it does great in high efficiency washers (HE) and note that it does not suds, but it cleans like yo' momma'!  But those darn push tabs nearly sent me off the cliff.  I swear, my eye started twitching and I prayed that I would maintain my gate keeper at my mouth so that I might not spit out a four letter word. My gate keeper is in rehab right now receiving shock therapy.  The pictures are way out of order.  It's late.  Sorry.

Even Charlie got into the
You know when they give you those
fake perforations and say, "push?"
Lies.  Push this motha'.  

The bottle is fantastic.
The cap even gives you the measure
for a large wash.  I only used one of the
two suggested bottles.  It's an optional
addition anyway.  But perfect for keeping
on the washer and measuring the amount
each wash.  Highly recommend
this ingredient.
Snack sized baggie. Two
tablespoons for a large
There are three measuring lines
on the top.  The middle one is
the two tablespoon mark. 
Say's mostly natural.
I have never used
fabric softener until tonight.
It smells great!  And fairly

Told you it was under $30!

Oh how I wish there was an easier way.
We don't own a food processor.  

My ingredients for the home
made laundry detergent
and fabric softener all in one.
 (I still use my small ball of
foil in the dryer as an anti static.)

Oct 25, 2012

The blog in which I whine.

This is that post where I tell you about how my day was horrible, and sadly, a few of you like those posts, since you say it makes me "real."  Well, if that is you... I am so freakin' "real" today, you might want me a little less "real."  Or, that was your warning to not call.

The school screwed around with me yesterday, and that poured over into today, and while cleaning the sink, the scrubby thing broke that cleans my dishes, and I don't have any extra money to go buy another scrubby right now, but luckily, found a sponge to start cleaning with, then while still cleaning the sink, accidentally shot the hose thingie and then played the part of the solo wet t-shirt contestant right as the bus was coming, then the girl migit got off the bus in a rare huff, and when questioning, it was an incident with a neighbor friend that I insisted she resolve, that instant, and then we did a play date with the friend, and then dinner, and all the freakin' while... I had a wet bra and was seething about addressing the school, and how I am losing sleep over finances, and I am pretty sure that I am not the only person in the world that lies awake at night wondering how we will be able to pay a mere $3 for extra tissues for our child's class as well as now send in two mini pumpkins that I didn't sign up for when I actually signed up for a box of Capri Sun that I knew I had in the outside fridge, and yet, the teacher changed her mind and the sign up and changed me to something I would have to go purchase.  Well, my prayers were slightly answered while on this field trip today, my daughter was allowed to pick a mini pumpkin to take home.  And let me tell you people... I told her I had to send it into school on Monday since I am not freakin' finding money for this and the gas to get to and from this school I serve that treats me like poo because apparently I am not sending enough money into the school and they have decided to treat me like poo.  I need one more mini pumpkin, and the kids each got one at some event this weekend that they painted a pumpkin, so don't be surprised if I rinse off the paint and call it a day on Monday when I send them in.  OH! OH!  I also forgot that I won a contest and couldn't accept the prize because it wa a mystery prize and the prize was something that wasn't really going to work for our family, (a night time play of Huckleberry Finn which is sorta' out of our age range anyway) but I had never won anything before!  I turned it down, but pray that the right family gets that opportunity.  Really, it was a rough day.

I think my menstrual cycle won this round.  Tomorrow, I will conquer and divide.  Mostly divide, as I will have a different bra on, and when it's Duck for a Buck time, I have to get my game on.  I hope you English teachers didn't die over the last run on sentence thing I made up in that last paragraph thing ;o)

The blog in which I share radKids.

“National bullying prevention month” doesn’t just have to be a meaningless awareness week.

Many years ago, I was told by someone that my parenting style would cause my children to be bullies. (Pause for the cause here peeps- No.  I do not have contact with this individual, as I won't allow anyone in my life to stay there if they choose to be more hurtful than helpful.)   More importantly, we have two sweet, kind, well-mannered children that understand the difference between bullying and discipline.  That's a lot more than I can say for the adult that made the comment.   Cat. Kettle. Black.  Just sayin'.

I recently viewed the viral clip of the news anchor that received an email from a viewer that verbally "bullied" her into speaking up.  Not for the issue he called her out on, but the way in which he felt justified to do it.  We, as a society, need to take a strong stand on how we should expect to be treated.  About ten years ago, I learned that no matter how difficult the decision would be, I would never allow myself or my family to be hurt by ignorance.  Bullying comes in many ways, and I want each of us to remember that it is not to be tolerated. Ever. 

We enrolled our children into this program that came to our community last February.  I was grateful for the education, for my children and for myself.  It told my children that they are special and will never have to accept being bullied.  They are given tools in which to draw from if ever faced with a situation that is emotionally or physically dangerous to them.   Actually, the part that hit me was that the program explained how to know that it isn't their fault. I thought about that a long time.  My daughter regularly comes home to tell me how someone mistreated someone, and what she did to diffuse the situation.  She is in kindergarten, and yet her biggest issue is not her grades, but her concern for the emotional well-being of her fellow classmates.   

This program covered everything from the more serious dangers like abductions, fire, drug, and animal attacks, to car and bike safety.  It allowed my children, and Geoff and I an opportunity to have on-going dialogue with both kids about important issues, at their level.  Each of us knows that talking about heinous crimes like rape and incest are never easy, but knowing "how" to talk about it is is even more difficult.  This program taught us how to do it.  

The way my kids talk about radKids, you would think they are paid advertisers.  They are not.  They loved the experience, since the class is taught in a way that even the adults that volunteer have a great time.  There is movement, class participation, silly demonstrations with eggs that my kids still talk about each time we eat one, etc.  I am privileged to have the opportunity to go a watch the the graduation day simulations.  There is nothing more powerful for a parent than to see your child go in to the class and five sessions later, your child is confident enough to protect them self.  

radKids classes for the 8-12 year old group are being held again, December 11-15, with the graduation on that Saturday.  It is the most invaluable program that you can offer your family.  Always out for a deal?  You pay the initial fee, about the cost of dining out for a family of four, and each year your child is encouraged to retake the class at no charge. Your tuition covers the cost of your supplies, but the instructors are volunteers.  This is not your typical "stranger danger" lesson.  This is a lesson on teaching our children that they are special, they deserve to be treated with respect,  they can speak up for themselves, and they can use physical force, if necessary, in order to escape a dangerous situation. 

My radKids graduated from the first class at 5 and 6 yrs. old.  
I hope you share this information with your friends, family, and school.  This program is being taught as part of the physical education program in our surrounding counties.  It meets all the standards in the state of Georgia, and while we are debating how our money is being spent or not spent on charter schools, why not consider that no school decisions need to be made for a child who is not here because they were taken too soon by peer pressure of bullies, or by predators that have ruined our safety net of "small town USA" in the past year.  Our local YMCA is registering children now for this dynamic program.  Space is always limited.

1. Great info for parents in radKIDS, Inc. newsletter, Teachable Moments, linkhttp://myemail.constantcontact.com/Teachable-Moments---October-2012.html?soid=1105372834635&aid=FzcTrD1EMdM

A radKIDS attitude,  when empowered with some realistic and instinctive skills to escape violence or harm is:
rather than the child who is told what to do and in danger yells,
Which mindset do we want our children to have?

Finally, the skills taught are valuable life skills that protect children beyond their childhood. radKIDS grow into adults who know core principals like, “No one has the right to hurt me because I’m special” combined with the physical skills to STOP anyone from hurting them.

Oct 23, 2012

The blog in which I brag about my kid. I don't have one of those car decals- yet.

I had been given the opportunity to sign up for a parent teacher conference for my daughter, the kindergartner.  I saw the sign up was for a fifteen minute time slot, and honestly, while I am desperate to be overly involved in every minute detail of my children's lives, I felt like this might not really be necessary since I feel like she is doing fine, and I have no concerns.  So, I signed up for a time slot, and then emailed the teacher asking if we might just do it over the phone, if at all, if she has anything she wanted to share with me, however, I was cool on my end.  And here is what I got from the teacher-

"Shayna is doing an amazing job.  I have no concerns regarding her academics.  I think that she is doing well.  She goes to the highest reading group and from what I hear that is the perfect place for her.  If you don’t have any concerns I think we can consider this our conference and save you an afternoon."

I am in love with this teacher.  And my child.  

You all know that I have a son, a mere 14 months older than this girl child.  And no.  Nothing like this EVER happens in regards to him and his academics.  Everyone assumes that since he's on the autism spectrum, that school is a breeze for him.  Complete. Total. Opposite.  However, he is overly sweet and affectionate and never has melt downs like some other children on the spectrum.  He loves transition, meeting new people, and pleasing those around him.  Not the typical autistic seven year old, and for that, I love him.  But man, those IEP meetings just about kill me each time we have to discuss his educational needs.  Thanks for the girl migit for "saving me the afternoon." ;o)   

Oct 22, 2012

The blog in which I go for a walk- away from a potential dangerous situation.

So, I got out of my volunteer position at school, a half hour early, giving me plenty of time to walk Brody before the migits get off the bus.  So, after lunch with both migits, I was homeward bound with a healthy plan to grab Brody for some exercise. This paragraph can end here, but technically, there needs to be more than two sentences in the paragraph.  So, this is all filler.

We made it to Walgreens, and I normally walk to the light, just beyond where we turned around, but darn it is ridiculously hot here for the end of October, and that IS the steepest part.  Look--- you don't get into AND stay in this shape by overexerting ones' self.  So, we turned around, and walked toward our subdivision, and right about the point where it is least trafficked, a regular, silver, four door car stops next to me.  I notice that there appears to be like that police car grate in between the front of the car and the back seats.  It really freaked me out, and I know that Brody is super sweet, and would bark the ear off someone to "warn/alert" them, but he wouldn't bite if my life depended on it.  And that was my thought.  This psycho is stopped to kidnap me and have his way with me!  My husband would be jealous, seeing as even he doesn't  "have his way with me-" most of the time.

It might have been dramatic to jump to that conclusion, however, I am a little skittish, and I believe you have all seen the traumatic incident video from last week, right?  I will stop there.  So, I was actually on the phone with a girlfriend, and told her what was happening.  Then, in a split second decision, I was running.  OH. My. Gosh.  Wow.  At which point, my lungs chose to carry on a small conversation with my brain.

Lungs-  What the hell are you doing?

Brain- Running.  Flight or fight?  We are a "flightier."

Lungs- Good to know.  However, this isn't working for me.  We will die if this continues.  You must stop now.  This is clearly NOT the way you want to die.

Brain- But what if the kidnapper kills us?  Wouldn't you like to try to get away from him?

Lungs- No.  Have you read her blog?  Clearly, she is not mentally stable, and we need to try to work around her without her knowing that we know how messed up she is.  Please trust me.  I think this is a harmless situation, and perhaps, we need to calm the "F" down before this becomes an episode of Survivor, and the two of us are the only ones playing this.  At this point, her fun bags have flung themselves into her face enough to need to be iced and she has given herself one, if not two, black eyes.  Her left knee is begging her to stop, and both her ankles are yelling, "Hey CRAZY LADY!  Remember us?   There is a weight limit on us, and we don't mean to add insult to injury here, however, we believe you have exceeded it."  Her feet are just confused, seeing as they are technically wearing running shoes, but they have never moved so swiftly before. They didn't sign up for this nonsense.  I say we stop this now, and see what happens.

Brain- But we have only been running for 8 seconds.

Lungs-  That's enough  Let's chance it.

Brain- Okay.

Well, by the grace of G-d, I made it home.  We can all breathe a sigh of relief.  But my lungs are refusing to cooperate with me on this one, so you guys can do all the breathing you want. I will sit here until I catch my breathe again.

Oct 19, 2012

The blog in which I share my experience in the elementary school today.

Yes, today was Duck for a Buck, and no, nothing spectacularly funny happened today, but of course, I did enjoy my time there.  I began the holiday sales push, suggesting that moms, aunts, sisters, etc. would probably love a duck for the holidays.  What a steal.  A dollar, and it can be anything from a table decoration, if it is one of the appropriately themed ducks, to a secret keeper.  Yes, you can tell it your secrets, and it is guaranteed to keep it.  There was the girl who had a buck, but had been given liberties to either spend it on my feathered friends, or on an ice cream.  I had to share the phrase, "A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips."  I don't think this child even had hips, and if she did, she probably wanted them fuller, as girls that age are forever unhappy with their bodies.  So...  after careful consideration, she threw the dollar bill at me and walked away with her table piece for Thanksgiving.  Her mom will be delighted, I am sure.  

Then, it was onto Charlie's classroom to do Accelerating Reader testing.  It was interesting, as I am able to see what other children are reading, and learning a little about the story through the questions.  It was not long into the testing that I was disturbed.  Among the many books, one was a young reader version of some tale of how wonderful the Pilgrims were to the Indians.  We all know how that story ended.  How generous of us to GIVE them some of their own land.  There were the numerous animal stories.  Look, there is a series of dog and cat stories that are always being checked out for testing.  After Charlie had brought home his EIGHTH one in the past so many days, I caught on.  The one about the Collie breed made sense.  Yes, we have a collie, therefore our interests are vested.  I get it.  Then, the Dalmatian, Beagle, German Shepherd, Mutt, etc., all came out of his book bag.  After reading them, I began to see a pattern.  Yes, these tests must be incredibly easy.  First, ALL dogs need food and water each day.  And yes, they all need plenty of exercise and regular grooming.  And shocker, turns out all dogs are great with kids and other pets.  (NOT TRUE)  However, this series has only one difference when you are turning the pages-  The pictures.  Whatever.  If the kids like looking at the different dogs, and show an interest in reading, I guess I should not squelch that at this point.  

Then, this one sweet child came to me with a book to test on that was so gory, disturbing, and apparently, a classic, that I was appalled that our school would carry such filth.  I am sure if I could just get the word out there to the other parents... If they were only made aware of this literature that our school is allowing small children to delve into...  There are countless other options for young minds...  And I am not even making up this question.  And the truth is, the child answered it correctly- without blinking an eye!  What have we done to our children that this answer is so numbing?   

Child got all the questions correct- including this one.  Tsk, tsk.

I am officially done with fairy tales.  The lies are endless. From a pair of shoes that can change our lives, to becoming intimate with an amphibian and it's transformation into a prince.  The only thing I know that can happen is that it can go from a fish like state to a land, hopping animal.  Lies.   All lies.   As for that old lady- I am not letting my children out of my sight near the widows this coming Halloween night.  Just saying'.  

Oct 18, 2012

(VIDEO)The blog in which Charlie gets his first acting job with VIDEO this time.

So.... I was texting a conversation with a lady friend about the woes in her life, and it really sounded like a country song in my head.  I told her so.  Then, I decided to ask questions that I could use the responses in the form of a song for her to make her smile.  It was then that I remembered- I don't care for country. I do like Jimmy Buffet, and for some reason, I heard her words through the song, "Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw."  As the conversation continued, she would add too many explanation points, and that made me sing out of tune.  I told her I was done with the conversation, since I really couldn't use this for a funny blog I was formulating in my head. Well, that's not all true.  Actually, it is all true, except for one part.  Sadly, the most unbelievable parts to that story are true, and the the part that makes the most sense didn't happen.  (No, I didn't end the conversation.  She did.  I think it's hard to pour out your heart to someone who is working hard to find the humor in your difficult situation.  It sucks to be my friend.)

Charlie was blessed with yet another amazing teacher this school year. While she is fantastic, I still have to work very hard at home with Charlie so that he is successful in school.  However, this weekend was a mom fail.  We have taken some time to share our challenges from his leveled reader.  For those of you who do not know that term, a leveled reader is a book that is meant for your child's abilities.  It is supposed to be "their" level.  Well, this was not even my level, therefore, I could do nothing more than make a little video about it.   I asked him if he wanted to be a part of a video for my blog.  He said "yes."  I offered to pay him.  I asked him to name his price.  He wanted ten cents.  Done.  But I made him wear clothes.  He ended up with a shirt with chocolate on it.  I might dock his pay.

This is take number 17 I think.  The blooper reel is actually more comical than you might imagine for such a simple acting job.  I love this kid.  I wish learning was easier for him.  I wish talking was easier for him.  I wish I was better at being his mom sometimes.  But right now, I wish to remember take number 11 every time he drives me crazy.  That will always make me smile, even when he is not.  ;o)

Oct 17, 2012

The blog in which I video'ed a traumatic experience.

It was so nasty.  I have always had a real aversion to them.  I don't even like to call them by their names.  I have a nickname for them- "hard crunchies."  Anyway, one was in my house yesterday, and I was alone.  Well, technically, not alone, seeing as I had the hard crunchy AND my faithful dog, yet in this mission, I was, alone.  I HAD to take care of this- ALONE.  Oh man, I was so upset, and luckily for me, remembered one of my old tricks- a bowl.  However, one time, I placed a bowl or a cup over one of these things when I lived at home as a teenager, and I remember it literally was across the room come morning time when my dad frustratingly questioned me about it.  I promised him it was the size of his foot, and he was annoyed at my exaggeration.  By the time he had to deal with it, he understood that I had only slightly exaggerated, seeing as he doesn't have a particularly large foot.

When I watched the video, I was hysterical.  I didn't know I could scream like that.  However, it explained why my throat hurt all afternoon.  I understand that at 36 years old, I should have slightly more control of myself.  Some.  Some control might be more appropriate.  As for the talking to the hard crunchy and myself- yes, I am aware that talking to ones' self is a sign of mental instability, however, if you met my family, you would clearly see that I am not the worst in the group.  Shout out to the fam.!  Love you all-- and your many people you talk to.

I swear, not one bit of this was staged or dramatic for the camera.  I'm not that good an actress.  I knew the experience would be noteworthy, as I wanted Geoff to see what I do with myself while the family is gone during the day.  (Besides doing the daily laundry, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, dishes, and organizing closets and rooms.)  Yes, I even play the part of "Protector of the House from snakes, rats, and hard crunchies."  I am a very busy chicky.  Which reminds me... We might want to look into a good exterminator.

Luckily, my mom came over in the afternoon, so she was able to dispose of it for me.  I cut her hair, and she does dead insect removal.  It's a fair trade.  And without further ado, I bring you the "event," in its' entirety.  I hope you appreciate the trauma it caused me.

Oct 12, 2012

The blog in which I share our Friday Family Fun Night in photos.

After eating ham pizza, celery and tomatoes, fruit parfaits and decorating and eating our sugar cookies and hot chocolate, Shay got started on this painting project while Charlie and everyone else headed to the tree to start hanging ornaments. 

When she finished painting, he came over to look at all the ornaments and hang them.  All our ornaments are picture ornaments we have made one the years.   
Oh look.  the village people ducks came to see the blessed event.  

Looking back at all the ornaments is the best part of decorating our tree.  

Working with the children wasn't the problem.  Getting the dog and ALL of Geoff's head into the picture seemed to pose more of a challenge for our resident photographer tonight.  I was in the process of crying down my leg.  I laughed 'till I peed.  

Take number 37.

Photo bomb.  

The blog in which it's Duck for a Buck again! (3rd Installment)

I have been a few times, and not blogged about it, however, I got a request by way of compliment of my Duck for a Buck stories, so I thought I would share today's event with you.  Duck for a Buck is a PTA fundraiser at my children's school that sells assorted, themed, rubber ducks each Friday morning as the children enter the school.  The little birds only cost a dollar, and have become a hit.  The best part is the children, and our interactions with them.  I have asked if I can come each Friday to help, instead of signing up for the odd date that isn't signed up for on Sign Up Genius.  Some times I have other mom volunteers with me, and once or twice, I have been alone.

Last Friday was a really hard day to sell, since most of the popular ducks were sold out, and we were really low on most ducks.  I had to make a new popular duck, and even added in a free accessory.  You will have to read that post if you want to know more about last week.  That Friday afternoon, a new shipment of ducks came in, and I was soooo excited about coming to sell this week.  My heart skipped a beat last Saturday when I heard that they would be selling them at the PTA spirit wear booth at the Flag Football/Fall Festival event we attended.  I thought for sure I would break all duck sales records if given hours to sell them.  However, they wouldn't let me near the ducks!  I was left alone to sell tickets for the pumpkin contest.  I was crestfallen.  (I don't know exactly what that word means, but I was like a girl who had lost her puppy at that moment when I realized that my ducks and I would be so close, yet so far apart.)  I know they felt it to.  They were speechless.

Needless to say, I was very ready for today.  So, we get there, and grab the cart, begin setting up, and another mom joined me to peddle these rubber pieces of... I mean, I had help.  So, we begin, and one of the first children that came, asked for a duck she had found.  I asked for her buck.  She had nothing.  She said her mom didn't give her any money, but that she wanted it.  I said that she could pick a duck next week if she brought me a dollar for it.  She was joined by other students as they began to trickle in off a bus that had just pulled up.  The lead person in charge of Duck for a Buck sales arrived, and the little girl looks to her to ask her if she could have yet another duck she wanted.  I jumped in with the same response from before.  She needed to give me a dollar to pay for it, and then she could have a duck.  The girl continued, and asked yet again.  I said no.  The girl was pissed.  She threw the duck back into its' bin, pouted, and walked away.  All I could do was laugh.  I am sure that her tactic might work for someone, perhaps her parents, maybe a grandparent, but not for this chick.

Then, there was a frequent customer of ours that was having a birthday.  She asked if she could have a free duck.  The best part of her request, was her response when I told her that she would not score a free duck.  She too, seemed displeased with my answer.  I did offer to wish her a happy birthday, twice.  And I followed through with my promise.  I hope it makes her day merry and bright.  She needs it.  She was sorta' in a funk when she realized that coming out of her mother's girlie bits on this day, many years ago, doesn't qualify her for a free rubber duck.  My "boss" recognized her as the girl that once asked for some more politically correct ducks, like an "island or African duck."  So, my thought was, I should have wished her a happy birthday in a Caribbean accent, or at least, found a duck with a lei to give her a kiss.

Then there was a boy who said he didn't have any money, but he was asking about a duck, and I asked him to put "Henry" down gently if is not going to purchase him.  He asked if all the ducks have names, and yes, I told him that I had named them all, but that the ducks understand if the purchaser wishes to rename them.  So, he began picking up one duck after another, asking for the name.  After about four names, I couldn't think so fast, so occasionally, he'd dig into a different bin, and when he would say, "This one?  What's this one's name,"  I would look at the duck, ask which bin it was from, and then I would take that time to come up with another name.  Whew.  Luckily, I had children buying ducks all the while, and he give me a second or two in between.  There was a rapid succession of a few ducks, and I don't think he caught on....
Boy- This one?
Me- John.
Boy- Him?
Me- Paul.
Boy- How about this one?
Me- Luke.
Boy- And this one?
Me- Matthew.
Boy- Hey guys!  She really knows all their names!  How about this one. (It was a mer-duck.)
Me- Jaunita.
Boy- What about this one?
Me- Look, if you don't have a buck, you are out of luck.  Have a good day boys!

Oct 10, 2012

The blog in which I admit my embarrassing problem. Don't judge.

While I don't embarrass easily, this past year I have found myself getting super involved in and around our community, and meeting lots of amazing people.  While each person I meet has their own story to tell, I have this problem of not remembering it.  Or their face.  Or how I know the face.

Just a few weeks ago I was in a specialty toy store with my family for an American Girl doll event, and ran into a smiling face that immediately recognized me, and said "hi."  Luckily, my migits were there and it didn't take as long for me to realize that this warm smile was actually my son's teacher this year.  Wow.  A little slow on the reaction speed, however, it gets worse.  Just a week after that event, I was in the school office and was stuffing each teacher's mailbox with PTA newsletters and another smiling face comes at me and says "hi."  Yep, again, same teacher, but because she was not in her room, I could not place how I knew her.  Within 30 seconds I figured it out, but man, this lady has all the nails in my crazy coffin lined up now, for sure.

Then, on Monday, Geoff had off with the bank holiday, and decided to come and help with my marathon Monday of volunteering I do in the school, and I was really enjoying my morning, and along comes a group of kids with another parent volunteer to exchange books in the media center.  The mom was super nice, said "Hi Erin," and I was yet again forced to try to feign true recognition.  She left, and I know my acting skills were horrible, and I was feeling terrible.  I was lying in bed that night, and it hit me.  I saw her face in the place I met her, about 2 months ago, at the free movie in the park while she was at her booth, advertising her local Macaroni Kid blog for our area.  Wow.  I was sooo embarrassed.  I never embarrass, unless I feel like I might have made some one else feel bad, and this was exactly what happened.  I messaged her on Facebook, and yes, she verified it was her, and she was SO COOL about it, that I feel comfortable enough to make it a topic.  BTW- If you are a local parent, the Canton Macaroni Kid blog is really my favorite local blog.  Lots of "know before you go type stuff," tons of different events for families that I never seem to be able to find on my own, and she is really that sweet that you have got to come and meet her at some of the local events.  (I get the pleasure of seeing her at my kids' school, but don't even realize it, I guess.)  She even gets lots of deep discounts and does really great giveaways.  The Disney on Ice winner is a girl I happen to know through Geoff from years ago!  Local people really do win her giveaways!   Find her online and like her on Facebook.http://www.facebook.com/cantonwoodstockmackid
http://canton.macaronikid.com/ Pass her information on to your friends too!

What embarrasses you?  Kids saying something inappropriate in public?  Sex talk? Finding out that you wore your shirt backwards?  An autocorrect you don't catch and it appears your phone is a dirty old man?  Well, for me, it's having a hard time recognizing people.  And I hope that you all will appreciate my honesty, and start wearing name tags and how I might know you from now on.  Thanks.  

The blog in which I share my tardiness on a special Ahrens event. My apologies to the elves.

I suppose I can't technically call myself a writer, since I do more writer block complaining and less writing nowadays.  Oh well.  Although, I had a lunch date today with a close friend who noticed how late I am on our yearly event.  I mentioned how I spent much of the morning cleaning and prepping for our Friday Family Fun Night  this week.  We normally do this event on the first Friday of October, however, we had a BINGO night to try out at the YMCA last Friday night, so we decided to postpone the event.  The migits aren't too aware of the calendar at this point anyway, so we thought we could get away with it.

We told the kids on Saturday that we were going to let them guess what this coming week's activity was going to be.  They had such great guesses, that it gave me some more ideas for future Friday night plans.  However, two days into it, neither one got it.  By Sunday, we told them that for dinner, we would have our traditional Friday Night Pizza, but that this one would have ham on it.  That's part of the clue.  Then, we told them that we would make our dessert.  We would make sugar cookies and decorate them.  Got it now?  Then....

The suggestions the kids threw at me were fantastic.  Shay thought perhaps we would horseback ride, or go fly a kite.  Charlie took over with thinking after Sunday, and his ideas included chimney cleaning and swimming in the ocean.  It was such a let down when I explained that we don't have a chimney.  As for the ocean, I don't like sand in my girlie-parts.  I assume that would have been an even bigger let down had I explained that, but I think he is screwed up enough, so I just told him that wasn't what we were doing.  After about 10 minutes, he really did come up with it.  DECORATING FOR CHRISTMAS!

While I was raised in the bible belt of America, someone forgot to mention that to my Jewish family when we moved here.  So my friends all had Christmas and lights, smells, sounds, and the whole day, I had Chanukkah.  You have all heard my take on that holiday.  The Christians celebrated the birth of their savior!  The Jews--- oil.  Whoopee.  Trying to control my excitement over oil, I see why Ben Stein is so un-enthused by life.  I always loved Christmas, and no, it's not why I converted.  I would have been one of those Jews that quirkily loved Christmas regardless.  So, I converted, and I felt like I had about 25 years worth of Christmas's stolen from my life, and I am merely making up for lost time now.

We have all sorts of traditions for Christmas.  We have music going almost year round with online radio stations that allow us to find a few classics throughout the year.  In fact, when I am really mad at Geoff, he runs and grabs an iPod, sets it to Christmas music, sets it up near me, and runs.  It's not conventional,  but it's how we roll ;o)

We have the Christmas classics on DVD box set, and watch a movie a night until we have run through those.  Shay was given an amazing Advent Book of mini books that have the bible scriptures in story form explaining the real Christmas story, and that is a nightly thing we do each year as well.  The family piles into the car with a cup of hot chocolate and we look in neighboring  subdivisions for their light displays.  Our favorite is the Bridgemill Avenue trifecta of homes that have a little blow up village of balloons.  I loved the Mickey one and the carousel the best ;o)  I don't care for large gaudy lights.  White is classy, and I also appreciate the manger scenes.  No joke- I take my light appreciation to a ridiculous level of pickiness and make sure my windows are up while I make my running commentary on other people's efforts.  Then there is dessert bag making for friends and family, teachers, and therapists, bus driver, and this year, we will probably make it over to drop off with a community service workers- thinking fire stations and maybe to our priests.  The children usually pick a few names from our gift tree at church, and hopefully, we will pick some elderly people to go and purchase and wrap gifts for this time.  They like the gifts for children tags, since those are usually toys, and toys seem way more fun then toiletries and sucking candies.  I don't blame them.  I love toy shopping too!  The calendar must be prepared soon, as the "flip the switch" on the tree alternating days will begin on Friday night as well.

And Shout.  Lest we not forget our Elf on the Shelf.  Shout joined our family when Shay was 2 and Charlie was 3.  We have a ton of great ways that Shout has come back to our home each day during the Christmas season.  Luckily, many other families have shared some creative ways their elves have come to them (on Pinterest), and this year, I will have a fresh batch of activities for Shout to participate in.  Wink, wink.  Shout has always made it to our home on Shay's birthday, November 23.  However, I think Shout might send us a letter to read that he will stick in the Christmas decorations on Friday night telling us how excited he was to see us this past year doing all the fun things we did.  He might even mention some of the new things we did; swim team,  starting kindergarten and first grade, going to the cabin with Brody, gymnastics, dance recital, etc. I still think he will make his first appearance on her birthday, maybe waking up in Shayna's doll bed, cross dressing into hippy clothes from the doll.  (I have had too much time to think this one up peeps.)  Shay got the doll bed for Christmas last year, and all year I have been thinking how it would make a great "hiding" spot.  The cross dressing part is solely for adult entertainment purposes, however, my migits have a surprisingly fantastic sense of humor, and I think it will be a hit.  If you don't have a doll bed, try the elf napping in the tissue box, using a folded tissue as a pillow and a tissue as a cover.  Elves like candy canes or red and white mints on their pillows- FYI.

For our local friends, the (free) Movies in the Park series continues this Saturday with Ice Age 4, the newest in that series.  The weather is set to be perfect for a Fall night.  So, our Super Saturday is set, and our Sunday Funday will probably be mellow, as the kids need some down time at home after church.  Maybe a quick swim at the YMCA or a family walk.  Who knows... honestly, whatever we do this weekend, as long as we are together, it will be magical.

Bought this on clearance at the end of the season last year for about $5.  Shay is soooo excited about this part of the night.  
What are your plans this weekend?  Anything fun?  What are your Christmas traditions?