Tuesday, September 30, 2008

K'Nex Cookie

"Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away. . . " You know the song. You know the show. You know you are wondering what the gang on Sesame Street has been up to.

Maddie loved Sesame Street when she was younger. For almost the entire hour, she would sing, say her letters and numbers, laugh with Elmo and Cookie and basically give me time to get stuff done. Or take a nap.

I thought she had outgrown the show. Until I got one of these in the mail. A Sesame Street K'NEX- Cookie Monster.

We opened the package and Maddie played with it for about an hour. Making Cookie have short legs, long arms, big belly, small belly, with a head, without a head. She made up stories about what Cookie was about to do and where he wanted to go next.

It was fun listening to and watching her. I loved the fact that it was an educational toy and inspired her imagination. I really, really loved that it comes in a package that keeps all of the pieces stored away.

So, remember that the holidays are coming quicker than we realise. And they come in other characters, not just Cookie. So, check it out.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Madre De Dio- I'm An Idiot

Ever had one of those days where you feel like you just don't have a clue about being a parent, in general? And then, to end the day, your child does something and makes you feel like a complete idiot.

It was time for bed. Teeth had been brushed, books had been read, all that was left were prayers. There are nights that Maddie says the sweetest prayers I've ever heard. Other nights, she taps her head and says that she is just going to think it. Some nights she flat out refuses. And, then- there was this one.

I told her it was time for her prayer. She bowed her head, closed her eyes, and I gave myself a mental high five.

Then, she started. Singing. In Spanish.

I heard Je`sus. I heard Dio. And that's all I understood.

When she was done, I said amen.

And got a sigh of disgust. "Mom- if I pray in Spanish, you say ahhhhh-men. Not amen."

"Um. Okay. I'll try to remember that." And while I'm sure God understands you, I don't. Let's keep it in English, m'kay?

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Drumroll Please. . .

The winners of my first blog giveaway are:

Cathy at Noble Pig, whose blog usually leaves me hungry.

Carrin at Carrin's Comments, who apparently stalks me and I had no idea, but found it pretty cool.


Nissa at Nissa's Niceties, who has a blog like your's- only nicer.

Congrats to the winners! Please email me with your mailing address, and I'll send it right to you.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Welcome To The Neighborhood

The temperature was perfect. The lack of humidity was perfect. The day was perfect for running. And it was going to be the first time running in my new neighborhood.

As I was walking out the door, Justin asked, "You gonna carry some pepper spray with you, just in case a dog comes after you?"

"Whatever. I'll be fine."

And for the first mile, everything was great. I was making good time. I was waving to neighbors I haven't met, yet. Freely calling out "good morning" to anyone that was outside. Life was good.

I topped a hill, waved to a man and his son, noticed a little girl in the next yard, and was then scared out of my mind. A humongous, Kujo looking Rottweiler came out of nowhere, jumped on me, and bit my arm. I screamed, jerked back, and seriously questioned the whole running in the neighborhood thing.

The man across the street saw the whole thing, came over to check on me, and tried to explain that he had never seen "Sampson" do anything like that. I looked at my arm, and showed him the puncture mark. It didn't break the skin or anything but still- it hurt.

When I got home and told Justin and my parents what happened, they insisted I call and report it. Then my mom and I went to the house where it happened. The lady was leaving as we pulled up. I went over to her and explained what happened.

She was super nice and apologetic. The man who saw the whole thing had actually already gone over and told her about it. She claimed that it had never happened before and I'm inclined to believe her. She has small children and they were outside with the dog when it happened. I think I probably scared it and it was protecting his family. Who knows.

I do know that if it had wanted to hurt me, it could have. Badly.

And that scares me.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Breaking The Rules

Wednesday I got the call. The call every parent dreads. You know the one- the one from the school nurse.

"I have Maddie, here. She's broken out in a bad rash on her arms, legs and cheeks. I think you should come get her."

No problem.

I decide to go ahead and take her to the doctor, just in case it is something serious, but I was almost 100% sure it was poison ivy. It had the same pattern that mine did last week, it got worse when she was hot, and she was itchy.

When we got to the office, I heard sneezes. I heard coughs. I heard germs breeding.

We signed in and were directed to the sick patient waiting area. I leaned in close to the receptionist. The other moms inched forward, knowing what I was going to do and wishing they could do the same.

In a half whisper, "All she has is poison ivy. Can she please sit in the well patient area? I really don't want to have to come back in a couple of days for something else."

She looked around, I'm assuming to see if her co-workers were listening. "Uummmmm. I guess it's okay."

It was poison ivy and it's getting better.

Despite my precautions, Maddie woke up this morning with 101 fever and a sore throat. Apparently, some sick kid sat in the well patient area.

And I'm guessing the parent knew about it.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Conundrum

There was an segment in our local paper last week, asking a question that has plagued me. I can't stop thinking about it because I simply don't know the answer. And it's driving me crazy.

"What would your last meal be?"

Justin knew right off. Salmon patties, fried potatoes, and cookies.

My biggest problem in deciding this is it all depends on what season it would be.

Winter I love potato soup or chili. Or lasagna. Or spaghetti. Or ham, sweet mashed potatoes, squash casserole, and yeast rolls.

Summer, give me a big 'ole bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich- but only if the tomatoes were grown by my dad. Lemon icebox pie. Watermelon.

Spring would have to be fried chicken on a Sunday afternoon. With green beans, corn, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes.

Fall brings fried apples, pumpkin rolls, and well- all things turkey. Since I don't really like turkey that much, I hope I don't have to make the decision in the fall.

This doesn't even begin to cover all of the other foods that I like. Frosted Mini- Wheats, grapefruit, yogurt, biscuits, root beer floats, chicken parmesan, vegetable soup, bananas, strawberry pie, Snickers, pancakes, french fries. . .

The possibilities are endless.

I think I might need an all you can eat buffet for my last meal. With a little of everything on it.

Is this a problem for anyone else or do you know right off what your last meal would be?

Don't forget to enter the giveaway!!!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Soup, Anyone?

Chicken soup. Is there anything better? Especially, when it's for your soul?

I remember getting my first Chicken Soup For The Soul book when I was in my first year of college. My roommate and I devoured that book. It made me feel all warm and cozy all over. Granted, that may have been the copious amounts of adult beverages in my system but I like to think it was the book.

Anyway- The generous folks over at Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists asked me if I was interested in hosting a giveaway/review of not one, not two, BUT three books.

Of course, I agreed. Isn't that what blogging is all about? The reviews, the giveaways, the shameless requests for comments?

So, three of my lucky readers will be receiving a book. I will utilize a highly secure method of printing off your comments and letting Maddie pick the winners.

I just need to know which book you want. And I'll work out the details laters.

Book 1: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Like Mother, Like Daughter- Stories about the special bond between mothers and daughters.

Book 2: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Moms Know Best- Stories of appreciation for mothers and their wisdom

Book 3: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Moms and Sons- Stories by mothers and sons, in appreciation of each other.

I've read through a few stories in each of these books, and I haven't been disappointed. Keep in mind that the holidays are right around the corner, and any of these would make a great present.

Just leave a comment with what book you are interested in. Comments will be taken until Sunday night at 11:59. Winners will be announced on Monday.

Good luck!

Dangitall- now I'm craving a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

One Year Down

One year ago, I was sitting in front of my computer thinking to myself. I think I'm gonna start a blog.

And I did.

I had no idea what I was doing or why I was doing it. But I liked it. And I still do.

I still remember the feeling I got the first time I received a comment from someone that I wasn't either friends with or related to. I still get that feeling when I realize that someone new just read what I wrote.

I like looking at my life through the eyes of my blog. How can I write about this? Is this funny to anyone but me? Will people understand? Or care?

I've come to realize that the posts that people most care about (comment on) are the ones that are me. And that's a pretty cool feeling. When I stray from my true self, I find that you guys know and retaliate by not leaving comments. Ahem. I'll try to work on that.

I know this has been a total random post with lots of random thoughts, but it's my blogiversary.

And I'll be as random as I wanna be.

Come back tomorrow for my first ever give-away!!!

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Right On Target

I've been in a funk, lately. I can't really pinpoint what's been going on.

Maybe it's the economy. Maybe it's the high gas prices. Maybe it's the passing of my grandmother. Maybe it's the poison ivy. Maybe it's the stupid prednisone that I have been taking because of the poison ivy, that makes me irritable, hungry and downright nasty to be around.

Who knows?

But, I don't like it.

I don't like being impatient with Maddie when she asks 853 times if she can have a gem set that will help her clothes become more beautiful. I don't like wanting to eat everything I see. I don't like getting short with Justin over stupid stuff.

So, last night I got off work a little early. I was pulling out of the parking lot, and I turned right instead of left. For some reason, my car had a mind of it's own.

And it drove me straight to the Target parking lot.

I had one hour.

The minute I walked in, my mood lifted. This is what has been wrong with me.

I've missed Target.

When we lived in the apartment, Target was less than 5 minutes away. Now, it's 30.

I can no longer say "I'm running to Target, I'll be back in a half hour." I can no longer update my friends on what they just put on the clearance rack. My 2-3 times a week shopping trip has been cut back to twice a month.

And that is what has made me be in this funk. I'm sure of it.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Inner Monologue Take- Over

It was almost closing time at the restaurant. I had been up since 6, getting Maddie ready for school, me ready for work, going to work and school, picking up Maddie from school, meeting Justin for an early dinner and me going to my second job of the day/night.

I was tired.

Really tired.

I was waiting for one table to finish up their dinner and then, I was outta there. Enter four tables at the same time. 30 minutes before we closed.

I stayed to pick up a table. No big deal. I thought they would be in and out in no time.

Fast forward to an hour after we closed. My table was still there. With no intention of leaving. My friend and I made every effort to make them see that it was time to go. Lights were dimmed. Music was off. Every dish was off the table.

"Um, miss?" What? Don't ask for anything. The bar is closed. The kitchen is closed. WE ARE CLOSED. LEAVE!

"Can you call us a taxi?" Are you planning on tipping me more?

"Sure. What time should I tell it to be here?"

"Whatever time you want us to leave."

And this is where my inner monologue took over my mouth and I said the first thing that came to mind.

"I should have called a long time ago then, huh?"

They didn't tip nearly as well as I thought they might. Wonder why?

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

True Love

When I picked up Maddie on her second day of school, she ran up to me, gave me a big hug, and said, "Mommy, I have- like- a boyfriend, now!" But, but, you've had the same boyfriend since before you were 2. We know him. We like him. We like his parents.

"Oh, really. What's his name?" Say it's still Ethan. Please, say it's still Ethan.

"Zach. He's a nice boy. He gave me a hug and kiss, and my teacher knew that it was true love, so she let us sleep next to each other during quiet time." Excuse me?!?! You've known this boy for 2 days and you are already sleeping with him?


"Um, Maddie- what about Ethan? You know, your best friend, your boyfriend, the kid you have been planning your wedding with?"

"Yeah- don't tell him."

Fast forward to that night. She tells Ethan the minute she sees him that she has a new boyfriend. And at the end of the night, she hugs him and gives him a kiss, like nothing has changed.

"Don't tell Zach, Mommy."

It's going to be a long 14 years. I hope her Daddy is prepared.

Cause I'm not.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

You Talkin' To Me?

It was my first time. I walked in with trepidation. Who comes here? Will I fit in? Will I want to come back? Because I need to want to come back, in order to come back.

The first people I encountered were older. They were sitting around drinking coffee, and playing checkers. Their table was full- no room for me, even if I wanted to join them. I got a few hesitant smiles from them, then they went back to their conversations about what coupons were in yesterday's paper.

I walked into the main room. It was virtually vacant. I grabbed a spot and started doing my thing. I concentrated on my work and made eye- contact with no one. Because where I come from, eye contact is not really welcomed by others.

An older gentleman walked up to the space beside me. When he spoke, I looked around to see if he was talking to me or one of the other 5 people in the room. "So. . . you new around here?"

Yep, he was talking to me. I responded with a breathless, "Yes, we just moved to the area."

"Welcome, then. Hope to see you at this gym again. I'll let you get back to your workout." And he walked back to his friends and the checker game. I think I saw money exchange hands, but I'm not sure.

The gym I went to for 5 years was really nice. There was a wide age range, with most of the people being in their 30s and 40s. There were tv's on every cardio machine. There were seperate rooms for cardio, weights, abs, stretching, etc. I loved it. Everyone was friendly, but not so overtly friendly that they would interrupt your workout- especially if America's Next Top Model was on. Well, except this one woman. . .

My new gym, well, is different. I'm definitely in the youngest age group. And that's including the children in the nursery. There are 4- yes- 4 tv's in the gigantic room. And most of the channels are set to QVC, which is strange because most people aren't even in the room- they're playing checkers. If you step off of a cardio machine, you basically bump into whoever is doing weights behind you. To stretch and do abs, you find a mat and squeeze in wherever you can fit.

But, I love working out. I can't afford the gas to drive to my old gym, so I'll be staying at the new place.

The talking to me during my cardio, my quiet time, my stress relief, though? It's got to go. And if I have to pretend I'm listening to an invisible iPod to make it stop, I will.

Try me.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008


I'm a mosquito magnet. Apparently, those little blood suckers can't get enough of me. I walk outside and the alarm is sent- "Fresh blood!!! Come get your fresh blood!!"

And I'm attacked. I'm lucky if I walk back inside with fewer than 5 bites in 15 minutes.

So, for the last few days, I've been really diligent about putting on bug spray when working in the yard. I spray every inch of skin I can see, then try to spray the skin I can't see- just in case. Ha! See if you can get me know, sucka!!

Yesterday, I noticed some bumps on my arms and legs. Unbelievable. They broke through the shield. Then, I noticed that the bumps were really close together and looked like little blisters. I woke up today with the blister like rash on my face and one ear.

And I'm itchy.

Yes, I fell victim to poison ivy. I should have heeded my mom's words, "leaves of three, leave 'em be." But I couldn't. I couldn't tell how many stinkin' leaves were on the plant because they were mixed in with tons of other plants choking the life out of my tree. The ground was covered with the stuff and now I'm covered with it's nastiness.

I'd rather face West Nile virus with mosquito bites than this maddening rash from the demon plant.

I'm off to take a bath in Benadryl cream.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Morals Schmorals

When I heard about this, it made me sick to my stomach. Seriously- What is wrong with people? I'm all for enterprising young women staying out of debt but come on!

Wanna know what I'm talking about? Click here.

What do you think?

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

What's That Say?

His eyes squint when he reads. The newspaper gets closer and closer to his face each year.

Road signs are harder and harder to see. In fact, he is now a professional at turning around or finding a new route.

And he gets headaches.

Last week, my husband finally came up with the solution to his biggest problem.

"Hon, we need to get a bigger television. Especially when football season starts. I can't see the score on our little one."

Sure. . . and while he is shopping for his new big screen, I'll be calling the newspaper to order the bigger print and the county government to petition for bigger road signs and a doctor to give him Botox from squinting so much.

And all that is sooo much easier than getting glasses.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Sweetest Words

There have been lots of moments that I've been extremely proud of Maddie. The first time she rolled over, her first steps, the first time she told me "I wuv you", all made my heart swell.

And, every day I am more and more proud of her. Like when she told me that she would rather go to Target than Wal-Mart, I knew I had taught her well.

But nothing had prepared me for the flood of emotions that overwhelmed me upon learning of her newest accomplishment. I was completely unprepared, in fact, I was floored.

When she told me what she had done, I did a little happy dance. I began to think of how I could spend my free time that I would now have. I might make bread one day. I could learn French. I could get caught up on Project Runway, American's Next Top Model, and Top Chef. The possibilities are endless.

I still hear her glorious words, usually right before I drift off to sleep.

"Mommy, look!! I know how to dress my Barbies now!!"

My prayers have been answered.

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Moments Like These

I saw it every day when we lived in the apartment, but it was packed into a box and somewhat forgotten about.

When I came across it a few days ago, it brought tears and a smile at the same time.

Tears because I will never see her again. Tears because Maddie may not remember her like I want her to. Tears because the world was a better place with her in it.

And I smiled because I will see her one day. And because I do remember everything she meant to me. And because heaven is the perfect place for her.

I'm talking about my favorite picture of my grandmother with 3 of her 10 great-grandchildren. It was taken last summer and hung on my refrigerator until we moved.

I wish I had more of her. More pictures. More hour long conversations about nothing. More Coca-cola cake. More Sunday afternoon lunches with the family.

More moments like these.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Spoiled Bratdog

I will be the first to admit that my mother spoils me and my family. In fact, when we go visit it is almost like a luxury hotel- complete with child care.

She cooks my favorite foods. She lets us sleep in. She makes Justin chocolate pies, yes- pies. If my laundry is in her washer, she sneaks in and puts softener in the load.

Maddie wants nothing to do with me or Justin when we are there. She is Gray-um's girl. And Gram always has some new toy or craft to entertain her.

But, this time she's gone too far with her spoiling of my family. Did I really just say that?

When we were moving from the apartment to the house, we knew it would be easier on us to not have a dog underfoot. My mom graciously let Grendal stay at her house for almost a month.

He is now a spoiled brat.

For 6 years he has eaten the cheap brand of dog food, and liked it. No complaints.

Grendal discovered her dog Lily's food while staying with her. Lily's food is the good stuff. Definitely not the cheap stuff that he's used to.

Yesterday, we ran out of the dog food that Gram sent back with us. I gave him some of the old stuff. The brat sniffed of it, turned up his nose and walked away. He hasn't eaten all day.

Justin just went to the store and bought him the dog food of the elite. As I type, he is chowing down.

What can I say? My dog's got taste. After all, who wants project steak bologna after you've gotten used to prime rib?

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Nightmares Include Mr. Licorice

I have a confession to make. One that may cause you to change your opinion of me- forever. But, I need to do it.

Give me a minute to decide how I need to say this.

Okay- deep breath.


There- I said it. I. Cheat. At. Candyland.

Don't get me wrong. I don't cheat to win. I don't cheat to let Maddie win. I cheat so the stupid game will be over as quickly as I can manage it. I've got it down to a science.

I put all of the candy cards as close to the front of the deck as possible. That way, there is no chance of playing for 30 minutes, one of us making it 3 blocks away from winning, only to get that stupid Mr. Mint card and have to go all the way back. Get all of them over with, and bada-bing, bada- boom the entire game is over in 15 minutes or less.

If you also move most of the double color cards to the front, you can cut that time in half. You can play more than one game in the same amount of time, and your child is none the wiser. It's pure genius.

Once I figured out the finer points of cutting down the time and unexplained rage towards a gumdrop creature, I confessed my ways to Justin. I thought he would be proud of me. I imagined him asking me to teach him. I was wrong.

He couldn't believe I would cheat while playing a game with Maddie. He wouldn't listen about why I was doing it. He didn't care that it wasn't cheating so a particular person would win. I don't care about the winning.

It's the preserving of my sanity that I care about. And if I have to cheat to do it, I will.

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Well. . . That's Interesting

Most random conversation I've ever eavesdropped on:

"Yeah, I've gotta quit these cigarettes. That nicotine is somethin' else."

"You'd feel better if you quit, you know."

"Every morning, I sit down with my cup of coffee and smoke my 2 cigs. I take a puff and say to myself, "'This is the last time I'm gonna smoke. Just one more puff"' Now, believe me. . . I said that to myself a lot of times about a crack pipe before I ever meant it."

Yeah- I wasn't quite prepared for that one.

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