Saturday, January 31, 2009

How to Protect your Teen from being Exploited!!

See, I have this teenager...

Oh, have I not mentioned this? This teen is "different" than my other two kids; this teen is open to vulnerabilities and attacks that the other two will never face. Never? That's right. This one takes up a TON of my time and is insistent on getting noticed, and is quite outspoken and social. At any time someone, or someone's teen, could exploit, steal from, or infect MY teen, and I wouldn't know until it was too late.

Yes, you guessed it. My named...Blog.

Yeah, I know. It's not an original name, in fact, I think it tops the list of popular names for 2007-2009, and I bet even 2010, as EVERYONE and their grandma has birthed a Blog! And these parents, of course, have the best, cutest, funniest, prettiest, etc. Blog out there.

Well, let me ask you a serious parenting question...

Are YOU protecting YOUR Blog?

Now I am no techie, but since I like to give out advice as much as I like to give out, well...advice... here's some for ya...

Take, for example, your awards. Your "Refreshing Blog" Lemonade Award, let's say. Do you realize I can run right over to your blog, and um...steal it, then say that I TOO have a "lemonade award", from, erm, Can you steal it off of mine? Go ahead, try...TRY!

One of two things happened:
1. You right clicked and I yelled at you.
2. You left clicked and it took you to the super awesome blog that awarded it to me...

Click my kids' picture...go ahead...

Unless you're some Super Hacker (to whom I say, what are you doing HERE??) what just happened? Did you go back in time? Was that a hiccup? No, I just link back to my blog on my pictures...except for that toilet one, or the bug can have those...heh heh.

Oh, any my little copyright clause at the bottom? afraid. Be very afraid...wait, isn't that from a movie? Maybe I should cite that...

Are you shaking? Are you wondering why this hasn't been covered on Oprah, or 20/20, or even subliminally through the Twilight series for that matter? Well, take note, as the things I will suggest will only protect from remedial attempts to harm your teen. Don't expect me to save you from, like, a nuclear disaster...I am simply sharing two little "tidbits of gold". Ready?

#1. Stop other teens from stealing from you!!!

If you don't then anyone, including other teens, could hop over and help themselves to your amazing pictures or blog awards, so...

-link back to your blog, or the blog that sent it to you, which I think is a very nice gesture. Very simple, see? OR

-email me for the right click code. If you know HTML you can even add your own threatening message (this is like putting a lock on the medicine cabinet with that green "yuck sticker" on the mirror. It may not be fool proof, but it will make it a pain in the butt to steal your Vicodin or Paxil...).

#1.a Note: Concerning your writing, will have to protect that on your own; my suggestion is to always have a backup somewhere other than your blog site, and utilize one of the threatening copyright sites to scare everyone off who might want to take your stuff without asking and post it somewhere else. You really can't stop them, but you can send Vinnie their way and make them think twice (this is like forcing your other teen to have a Chaperon on a date, making sure no one steals your teen's purity and posts it on some malicious bathroom stall, with your phone number...).

#2. Check your Blog for malware!

Face it, your teen has "bling", and adds every contact possible.

Go to this site and follow the directions to check if any of those buttons or widgets or HTML codes you've added just happened to add something else that you didn't want. I think of this like forcing your other teen's potential prom date to be screened for STD's (have you read the STD statistics lately?).

I am sure, that as an EXTRA good parent, many of you demand a "secret password" so when the high school dropout named Spam comes knocking on your door you don't let him in. And, many of you moderate comments, like you do your other teen's music and movie selections.

And who doesn't have a feejit counter! That's like installing a GPS Locator on your other teen's Blackberry, and demanding their MySpace password, but easier...

And of course, change your teen's passwords now and then. That's just obvious...but so is the need to change your underwear daily...not everyone does that, either...

Ok, so check my references, get all paranoid, create mass hysteria, and let me know if I said something that's not quite right OR tell me something I don't know...This is a PBC...a Parent/Blogger Conference for our teens...speak up, I can't hear you!!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Duck and Cover! The GERM BOMB is Comin' Down!

I love watching How Clean is Your House? for two reasons:

1. When I feel my house is a total pit and should be condemned, I turn this show on and immediately feel better.

2. Even in my moment of pride, I am still highly motivated to pull out the vacuum and spray everything in site with bleach...

I am truly amazed that these people, after living for YEARS in dust mite poo, liquid E-coli, sleazy salmonella, and animal filth, are STILL functioning and like, have jobs, friends, etc.

Then I sit there and think wait, is filth as bad as we are told it is? Because, while many of these folks’ personalities are dead, they themselves aren’t exactly knocking at Death’s door. So, as I think deeply about this juxtaposition between filthiness and health, I try to find a balance, because frankly, I am a germaphobe, and I abuse hand sanitizer. I am leery of every surface I see, and every hand I shake; every time I turn around, I am squirting alcohol into my hands or my kids’ hands, because evil germs lurk everywhere.

In fact my worst nightmare? Public bathrooms.

Now, I know some people can’t poo in public, and the lingering smell of 409 and monthly cycle is too much for even those with the strongest constitution, but for me, it’s the 187 bazillion germs running rampant like drunk, naked frat boys that freak me out!

Ya know in the last Matrix movie, where Neo sees the green codes instead of actual things and people? That’s me. I don’t see the bathroom, I see the germ codes.

Seriously, I am two steps away from either forcing my family to wear Depends or carrying a blow-torch while in public. I am pretty sure either could get me arrested, though.

So, I do what I can. Unfortunately, I cannot fight the germ battle without my kids getting in the way. They just HAVE to use the bathroom when we are out, and Audge ALWAYS has to poo. She inevitably asks to go, and I groan loud enough for everyone in the restaurant or mall to hear us as I pull out my hand sanitizer and force myself to walk towards the bathroom and enter in.

This is me and Audrey in the stall:

Audrey: Kay, mommy.
Kim: NOOOOO! Don’t even rest against the stall door!
Audrey: OOOOOOOOKAY mommy!
Kim: In fact, put your hands on your head.
Audrey: Why?
Kim: Don’t ask, just do it, please!

The poor child is standing as rigid as possible, with her hands on her head, as I layer the toilet seat with about 250 layers of toilet paper (and if any falls off I have to start all over again.) I ALSO lay paper in that spot where the toilet seat separates, right in the front, ya know? I let that cascade down because, yuck, there are drips…seriously…

I then get her ready, making sure her undies are secure inside her rolled down pants so no part of it hits the floor or the toilet. I then instruct her to stick her legs straight out and I then sit her on the potty. At this point she holds onto me for dear life as she knows she is no way controlling her movements anymore.

OH OH OH! I also lay a lot of toilet paper in the toilet water itself, to reduce splash factor in case she is dropping rabbit pellet-like poo.

In the last year I have encountered a new obstacle, humidity. So, in the summer, this whole routine is made worse by the TP sticking to all skin surfaces that touch it. I now must remember to powder us up before we leave the house.

But usually from here, I do my best to get her back into her clothes and then pray, with all that I am, that my feverish attempts to protect her skin from the evil toilet do not cause a stop-up and overflow.

So, just in case…

I wait until I can’t hear anyone in the bathroom, then I push open the door, shove her out, with her hands on her head, and flush the toilet with my foot, and run away from the stall as fast as I can.

Then we wash our hands and I pretend like I know nothing about that stall, in case floods.

Then of course after lathering up and washing with the hottest water possible, I open the door using a paper towel, 'cause I KNOW there are women out there not washing their hands!!!

We get out and I use about a gallon of hand sanitizer on both of us, and I even encourage her to cough with me, in case we inhaled any toilet spray, just to try and stop it from settling in our mucus membranes.

Yeah. I think a blow torch would be easier.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Braving the Storm

Thought some of you might enjoy a peek at our weather...I am sure being stuck in the house with my kids will produce some blog-worthy moments!

Click here to see the photos!

For all of you in this right now, stay safe!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

My Back Bares Africa (BEWARE OF PHOTO!!)

As a mom, we all look for those “happy little moments” where we get peace, or just a moment to feel good. I often found those moments in a long, hot bath, all alone, soaking and enjoying the silence. Those precious moments are few and far between, am I right or not??

But recently, with the cold weather snap, and the kids bouncing off every surface in the house, I have found nearly the same comfort in a heating pad, placed on my back. The warmth makes me feel cozy and relaxed…mmmmm…

I have been doing this every day, for over a month now. I am now quite addicted to heat, and the hotter the heating pad, the better.

Unbeknownst to me, heating pads carry a little something called Infrared Heat, and, long-term exposure does something, um, nasty. Behold (BEWARE!)

This is hyper-pigmentation due to over-exposure to a heat source, such as, you guessed it! A heating pad! This, is on my back…it is not a traditional burn, and I found it by accident.

Now MINE isn’t THIS bad, but um, y’all…I burned Africa into my back. That’s right. AFRICA!! (can you see a chihuahua in this one? I can!!)

It may go away in a few months, at least that is what I am hoping. I can’t afford laser treatments!

I never thought I would actually become the topographical relief map I not too long ago joked about, and I almost thought I could use my new found mark for some weird homeschooling project. But, instead, this experience had caused the song Africa, by Toto, to run through my head, day and night, for the past few days. And, to my delight, I found that the lyrical meaning goes much deeper than intended, like the marks under my skin. I went to great lengths to prove that this song was meant for my recent injury.

Here is the actual meaning (my interpretation following each verse)…

I hear the drums echoing tonight
(My head is pounding from the all the noise my orangutan kids made today!)

But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation
(The voices in my head are telling me I need to lay on my heating pad…)

She’s coming in 12:30 flight
(In a few more hours I will be in bed!!)

The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation
(The TV Guide alerts me to a new episode of True Beauty - yes!)

I stopped an old man along the way
(I turn over to my hubby,)

Hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies
(And with loving eyes I say, “baby, you know what I need?”)

He turned to me as if to say, "hurry boy, it’s waiting there for you"
(He throws me the heating pad and says, “you know, you use this thing too much!”)

It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
(I am addicted somethin’ fierce to you, Heating Pad!)

There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
(I don’t care WHO is hurting in the house, you are MINE!)

I bless the rains down in Africa
(But you burned the blessed continent of Africa into my back!!)

Gonna take some time to do the things we never had
(Crap, it’s gonna be a loooooooong time before I can wear a backless dress again!)

OOO! OOO! Da da, da da, da da da da doooooooo
Da da, da da, da da da da doooooooo

The wild dogs cry out in the night
(My friends who I phoned groaned in agony)

As they grow restless longing for some solitary company
(As they tried to find a way to hang up and not hear any more about this burn on my back.)

I know that I must do what’s right
(Yeah, yeah, I know I have to stop using the heating pad!)

Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
(Or else I will have to label Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti on my back too!)

I seek to cure what’s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I’ve become
(I hope this hyper-pigmentation goes away! I look like Seth Brundle!!!)

It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
(I flippin’ love you, Heating Pad!)

There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
(Forget hot water bottles and hot rocks, you are IT!!)

I bless the rains down in Africa
(But you burned the continent of Africa into my back!!)

Gonna take some time to do the things we never had
(How am I supposed to wear a swimsuit this summer?)

Instrumental break
(Do you need a break from reading this?)

Hurry boy, she’s waiting there for you
(Call a doctor I need an appointment STAT!)

It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
(Boy Heating Pad, you sure blew it!)

There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
(It’s gonna take laser surgery to get rid of these marks!)

I bless the rains down in Africa, I bless the rains down in Africa
(You burned Africa into my back! You burned Africa into my back!!!)

I bless the rains down in Africa, I bless the rains down in Africa

Gonna take some time to do the things we never had
(Forget that backless dress…I’ll sell it on Ebay.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Do You Wanna Play?

So, for the 1,857th time yesterday, Jacob told me he wants to fly, using only his hands, and Audrey flips back and forth between wanting to be a princess or a pirate (can we say Elizabeth Swan, anyone? And no, she has NOT seen the movies.)

I have kept my kids away from such things as HSM and Miley Cyrus, and I think the effects are good, as they aspire to be amazingly creative and giving people, all on their own.

And, in this time of self-discovery, I try to be 100% supportive. Like, when Jacob tells people he wants to be a plumber, or like when they saw a waiter running from a nearby fancy restaurant over to Rite Aid on his break (while we were standing in line with our paper towels and Swedish Fish, the kids whispered, "oooo" and "ahhh" because waiters "are SO amazing! They give people food!" Seriously.) They love meeting these people, and waiters/waitresses, check-out clerks, and baristas love my kids, for my kids treat them like movie stars; here's to the people in the service industry-we love you.

And I DO think it's great. Of course Mario and Luigi are plumbers, so that is Jacob's inspiration. AND he tells me he will live in Italy and write books about Link and the Magic Tree. I look at him and say, "go for it, Jacob!"

To all us blogging moms and dads who maybe sometimes think, "what am I doing this for?" (the blogging, not the parenting) I say, You ROCK! Keep going! Keep inspiring others and your kids and their creativity! And tell your children, with a little perseverance and hard work, they can do anything!

I mean, look at this guy, his parents wanted him to be the stock-and-standard doctor. But, he got to experience a year of his life as THIS!

Needless to say, his parents are proud, and he is one cool guy! I long for more C-Diddys in the world.

PS I didn't tell Jacob he could fly with his hands, I am not THAT supportive...

Friday, January 23, 2009


OK, I have been tagged by one dang funny blogger, Joan of The Retirement Chronicles. I tell ya, it's worth going back to her first post and reading them all. The Burger King post still garners chuckles from me!

So, I have been tagged to list 7 things about myself, honest or not, I don't know, but I will hopefully answer ALL of your burning questions about me, and more!

1. My first pregnancy was beyond scary; I bled for the first 6 months, and had 12 sonograms to ensure I wasn't about to miscarry. I ended up with Eclampsia and was hospitalized at 35 weeks with a blood pressure of 155/95 and reflexes that indicated I was close to seizures. After one more hospitalization I was healed (for a blog post another day) and I carried to term with no sign of the Eclampsia to be found! I had an emergency c-section after 12 hours of labor. Then, with Audrey, I decided to do a second c-section, and was so glad I did, as the umbilical cord was completely wrapped around her body AND neck; they had to "shove her back in" and twist until she came free. I have never seen so much blood, MY blood for that matter...anyway. I have two healthy happy kids; I am blessed!

2. I decided to home school after looking up the local school my kids were to attend and I did not like their performance reviews and academic scores. Homeschooling is an incredible challenge, but it has taught me a ton about parenting, patience, teaching, how to have fun and how to not sweat the small stuff. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing my kids hit major academic milestones, ON TIME, and have a passion for certain subjects. Jacob is a science freak, and Audrey is going to be an amazing artist like her daddy some day!

3. My sophomore year in HS I was chosen to be the editor of our school yearbook; just the year before I was a freaked-out freshman that rode the wave of being a part of a team that produced the best yearbook in the nation for that year. It was unheard of for an underclassmen to be chosen so soon to lead the team during their Senior year. HOWEVER, I chickened out (smacking head against the wall) as I couldn't take the pressure, and honestly I didn't want to delegate to a bunch of "popular" kids that didn't like me and I knew wouldn't listen to me. If only I had the tools and confidence I have now, I would go back and do it!

4. I slid down the side of this mountain (called Flat Top) on my butt, in cotton leggings no less. Maybe to Alaskans this isn't a big deal...but I am sure most of you are from the continental US and I can get an "oooooo" out of you; four people died that same year doing the same thing. There, does that help? How about that I got a MAJOR "snow burn" like you wouldn't believe on my backside? Everyday I woke up and saw this out my living room window. I miss it.

5. This is a photo from my garden in Alaska. As you can see I have used it for my blog. I LOVE taking photos, and while my camera is not that great, I push it to its little limits. I would love to feature some of my nature photos like Joan has, but I need the time and energy. This photo is special for many reasons:
1. Josh bought the frog candle you see there, and I stuck it in my garden. Frogs are one of Josh's faves.
2. Pansies are my mom's favorite flower. I miss my mommy (she is in AK...she is OK!)
3. My kids loved helping me in my garden, which was huge!
4. Purple is my favorite color.
5. I took this right before we left.

6. I do NOT enjoy reading! Isn't that weird? I write like a maniac, and I will read blogs, but give me a book and I'm like, "what is this? you want me to read it?" At this time I am trying to read, The Shack, which I have been told is an amazing book that will change my life. I am halfway through it, and seriously I cannot read more than 7 pages at a time. I don't know what it is! Now, I will read Patrick F McManus until my eyes bleed, or any medical book you hand me, but, forget any other fiction. Don't ever recommend that I read anything, because I won't. Oh, and I read the Bible, because God told me to, and I listen to Him.

7. I DESPISE CHICK FLICKS! Oh man, if you want to hurt me, put Meg Ryan on the screen, or anything that requires tissues. If you are gonna sit down and watch a movie with me, it better have no plot, bad acting, preferably no stunt doubles, and even better yet, subtitles, AND be a movie where everyone dies at the end, not in a tissue-grabbing sort of way, but more like in a, "woah-did-you-see-that-he-just-grabbed-that-guy's-heart- out-of-his-chest-and-stomped-on-it!" grabbing way. Something like The Duel. It even had some comedy involved. Sweet.

So now, I am supposed to pass this on...well, here's the deal...if you are on my blog roll on the right, AND you read this, consider yourself tagged. I am tagging you not like the in game, "tag" where I must run up and slap you on some part of your person. Nay, this is more of a "hide-and-seek" tag, where I just see you and scream, "YOU'RE IT!" So...tag! If you want to do it right, read the rules up top, 'cause seriously,

8. I tend to break these kind of rules...

Peace out!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fostering Independence

So, in two months I will be the proud mommy of an eight-year-old son AND a six-year-old daughter. I am repeatedly picking my chin off the floor, realizing how fast time has flown. They speak in complete sentences, sleep through the night, use the bathroom on their own, (successfully) AND I still get carded in restaurants.** (Audrey just told me the story of Paul in the bible that she learned in Sunday School, and I nearly fell over.) However, even with all these milestones, I would have to say I have not yet fostered their independence like many moms in this stage of life.

Of course, they know their names, phone numbers and address, and I am pretty confident they would be able to rescue me by calling 911 if something horrible happened. (God-forbid!) Yes, they are prepared in the unlikely event they find me bleeding and unconscious….

But, as sad as it sounds, I have just begun to let my kids have some freedom in the kitchen. I know of moms whose children have been cooking meals since the age of three (OK, slight exaggeration, guess that trait is back) and, if their children are anything like mine, I can see why, because mine want to eat ALL THE TIME!!

Do you have ravenous children? Ones that act like you never feed them? They writhe and moan and carry on like movie zombies being held back by peek-a-boo reinforced barriers? Do you find yourself quoting the whole “there are starving people in third world countries” argument, while searching the cabinets for something ELSE that will not ruin their teeth or their appetites?

I feel like this is all I do. Forget laundry, forget dishes, forget my critical need to pluck my eyebrows, I am endlessly handing out food to these metabolic anomalies I call my children!

So. I have had it.

Aside from lunch and dinner, they are on their own.

No, no. I am not being cruel. I didn’t just throw them in the kitchen and yell, “figure it out!” while I sat here and blogged. I supplied parameters, conditions, and a chair.

Here’s how it went.

9:30 am: Kids stumble down the stairs, I am still trying to pry my puffy eyes open with coffee and duct tape.

9:31 am: MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! We want to eat breakfast!

Let me stop here to say just days before this, I started letting Jacob get his own milk and juice for himself; he was INCREDIBLY proud of himself, and the first day he drank about 45 ounces of milk. The novelty has worn off and he is back to his regular 12 ounces…

Me: Well, you know where everything is, so, go get it!

9:35am: Jacob pulls the chair over to the fridge to get the cereal boxes that sit upon it. He gets them to the counter and forgets the chair, choosing to monkey his way to the cabinets for the plastic bowls. He turns into either Mario or Link at this time, and figures out the most difficult and scary way to jump to the floor. He then looks at the chair in front of the refrigerator and works through the reasons why he cannot yet get to the milk. He then pulls the chair using one hand and starts to yell for Audrey’s help when it becomes caught on the floor rug. She runs over and starts pushing the chair in the opposite direction, which leads to yelling and screaming and throbbing toes. Finally, he gets the chair back to the table and gets the milk.

Now, this is where it gets scary. Here he has a full, fresh gallon of milk, and the boy’s collar bones barely clear the counter top. He pours the milk, first, into the bowls. He and Audrey now have bowls filled with milk. I stand by, not saying a word.

9:38 am: Jacob and Audrey laugh hysterically at the fact that they have bowls full of milk. Yeah, I don’t get it either.

9:40 am: Jacob decides there is nothing else to do but pour the chocolate cocoa crispies right into the bowls of milk. While most of the crispies float, the other crispies land on the counter and floor. This again, apparently, is hysterical…

9:43 am: Both kids have more cereal and milk than I would feed them for breakfast in three days, and now it is time to transfer the bowls from the counter to the table.

You might be thinking, Kim, we see you set up the chair, but where are the parameters and conditions? To this I answer, I told them to get their own breakfast, and to leave me be so I could blog, or they would get into trouble. Wait, is that OK???

Anyway, I DO chime in at this point, advising Jacob that precariously carrying one bowl in each hand, three feet to the table, is not a good idea.

However, he somehow manages to get the bowls to the table without spillage and sits down to eat a ginormous bowl of cereal, only to be nagged by his little sister to get her a spoon, napkin, and a glass of water. I can’t help but smirk as his crispies become soggy while he yields to Audrey’s every demand. Hey, I have eaten cold dinners for YEARS now...I am entitled to a chuckle or two...

The next day they made toast, which included 12 slices of bread, butter, peanut butter, jelly, and every blunt knife I have in the house. Oh yeah, I am doing something right…

**I just had to add that. I don't know why.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Let Me Eat Cake!!!

I waited my whole life to become an adult, not so I could drink, or get married, or drive fast cars, or to dye my hair blonde (actually I did…it was bad), no, not for any of those reasons. I wanted more than anything to be an adult, so I could eat cake for breakfast.

Truth be told, I want whatever is most fattening and atery-clogging in the morning with my cup of coffee. I mean, doesn’t that make the most sense anyway? I starve myself all night, so I can sleep, right? Shouldn’t I reward myself with a huge slab of chocolate cake and a latte the minute I get up?

This also “sort of” works for me in the um, “dieting” department. If I get up and eat half the cake I made the night before, I am much more apt to work out later, or grab that apple I should eat. But, if I lay around all day, shirk all the fruits and veggies and THEN eat cake at like 8pm then, sheesh…why even try?

So, here I am. I am an adult, ready to enjoy my morning cake and coffee like I have for so many of my adult years. Life is amazing! Then…


Oh yeah, I now have kids. And the kids are awake. And they are hungry...

Now, the good mommy that I am, I do NOT feed my children chocolate cake for breakfast! There are many reasons for this:

1. They engage in a perpetual aerobic routine by zipping around at velocities modern science can’t record, WITHOUT the consumption of sugar. No need to start the day with a boost...

2. I care terribly about what people think of my mothering skills, so if my kids run around, telling people I feed them cake for breakfast, they might be taken away, or at the very least their friends will be jealous.

3. Ya know, I can’t really think of any other reasons. I just don’t let them eat cake.

Bill Cosby let his kids eat chocolate cake for breakfast, he also called them “brain-damaged” (back in the 70's you could do and say anything). See? Before 10am, they just don’t eat cake!!

So anyway, the kids come barreling down the stairs and I have my cake sitting next to my coffee. Conversation goes something like this:

"What's that mom?"
"What? Nothing. That's...nothing."
"Is that cake?"
"What? Cake? No, I mean, yeah well, no that's...that's...yeah that's cake."
“Mom, can we have cake?”
“But you’re eating cake!!”
“No, I’m not, I’m just…I’m not.” (I put the cake away)

Now I can’t eat my cake!! This is worse than being a kid! What? Wait…

So with this, I realize I must strategically plan my early morning cake eating. It must be well thought-out, pre-mediated, conniving, brilliant, and stealthy, because when it comes to cake or sleep, cake trumps sleep.

Take careful note all you cake eaters, for this is how it needs to be done:

1. Get up earlier than your kids and shove the cake down your throat.

There. Easy, right?

Now, let me go eat my cake…

Friday, January 16, 2009

Now I Know How Sally Field Felt!!

Ahhh, my first sweet, peer-inspired award! Thank you Kearsie, you know I love your blog and your feet!

So, here I present, with pride, my very own "Honest Scrap" award. Now, I must say right off the bat, that I embrace this as sheepishly as Milli Vanilli did their Grammy, as I just posted a bold-face lie to all my readers just this week. SO...maybe it is time for me to turn a new leaf and, uh, nah...

Well, least I will be honest for these 10 HONEST THINGS about yours truly. (things I will never blog about, so feel special you're learning this stuff!) I will refrain from using embellishments or exaggerations and will try to stick to 25 cent words, as opposed to 50 cent words...not that honesty is cheap, goes.

1. I dropped out of college, whilst (is that a 25-er or a 50?) pursuing a degree in journalism to become an interpreter of American Sign Language. Even though I am a stay-at-home-mom at this time, before kids I worked with Deaf and Hard of Hearing indivuals through the Deaf Center and the State of Alaska. I also worked as a free-lance interpreter. I am working on passing my national certification this June. This is my last chance before I am required to have a degree in my field to take the test a third time. Sigh (1,a: I hate failure).

2. Yes, you read that right, I am from Alaska. No, I am not an Alaskan Native, just a Native of Alaska. No, I don't know Sarah Palin. No, I will not give you my opinion of her. No, I never owned a dog-sled, lived in an igloo, or ate Eskimo ice cream. Yes, I have eaten moose and caribou and buffalo, and I like it all. Yes, there are street lights and yes, we have Wal-Marts and Applebees and Movie Theaters. Yes, it is cold and dark, and in the summers the average highs are about 65 degrees and yes, we wear shorts in that weather...anything else??

3. I love to write! I do not claim to be a great writer, just like I do not claim to be a great bowler or tennis player. But I do all three with gusto, and writing especially brings a joy I almost cannot express, and I am overflowing with glee that others enjoy it too!

4. When I grow up I want to be either a professional cake decorator or ballroom dancer. Although with the blog Cake Wrecks around, and Juilianne Hough being basically uh, perfect in ballroom dancing, I am not so sure I am ready to jump into either profession with both feet (or my pipping tools).

5. And I say "when I grow up" because I seriously feel like I am still 19, aside from the strange changes in my body and the aches and pains I feel on a daily basis...I am SO still a 19-year-old hottie, somehow...

6. I am, beyond any sense of reality or reason, PERTRIFIED of bats, especailly since we moved to a state that has many RABID bats flopping around lawns and fireplaces in the summer. I will blog about this very soon, once I am sure I am out of the woods from Rabies exposure...

7. I love John Mayer. And if you stick around, you will be reading more posts where I incorporate something about him or his music. His love of baking has put me over the edge. I "love" him, but not like I loved Duran Duran or Geroge Michael (in those good ol' WHAM days) OR a love that my husband would or should be concerned about. I just think he is an amazing writer and singer and his blog is quite funny. Aside from Conan O'Brian, he is the only "celeb" I would ever care to meet and shake hands with.

8. Like Kearsie, I will cry at the drop of the hat. This is something I have no control over. I cannot make it through a church service, a Disney movie, or even the movie The Fly with Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis without bawling my eyes out. Yes, when Seth Brundle was 1/3 man, 1/3 fly and 1/3 machine at the end of the movie, and he put the barrel of that shotgun up to his head, for his hysterical lover Veronica to kill him? Oh man, I sobbed...anyway...

9. I can eat an entire large Pizza Hut original crust cheese pizza by myself in less than an hour. Thank goodness I do not do this often!

10. I am addicted to FB like no one I know. I have heard it called "Facecrack" before, and let me tell you, I am a user, a pusher, a bona fied junkie.

So there ya go. Things I will never blog about (except the bat, maybe crying, maybe John Mayer...I'm trying not to lie here) and maybe will never admit to again.

So now, I am supposed to pass this here award off to other bloggers who have not yet received it, and then those bloggers are supposed to write 10 honest things about themselves, and then pass it on to 7 other bloggers (pant pant). I know this suspiciously feels like a chain letter, so, in the spirit of blogging love and supporting our peers, please note that I am tagging you simply because I truly love your blogs, you make me LAUGH, which I need terribly, and you inspire me. I do not expect you to do anything with this award if you don't want to. And, in fact, you may only know you were nominated if you read this blog strangely non-confrontational yet manipulative is THAT??

Suburban Jungle (you are the Obi Wan to my Luke)
Cassoulete Cafe (you are the Luke to my Leia (twins) )
Cheeky Greek (you are the Chewbacca to my Chewbacca...albino Chewbacca that is...)
This Crazy Thing Called Motherhood (before I knew your name was Beth I called you Yoda)
Man in the Moon (Do you want to be Han Solo? What man DOESN'T want to be Han Solo!)

These blogs are truly honest, sweet and endearing, and round out my top 7 picks:
Much More than Mommy
One More Werre

Honorable Mentions go to WendiWinn (who is "the force" to my Jedi, in my strange references to Star Wars for bloggers) and Kearsie of Sounds Like Tomatoes, who awarded me this here award, she is like a bunch of cuddly Ewoks... and hugs and all that stuff. Peace-out.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Gloria! YOU WON! Do a happy dance!!!

After using the random number generator and counting all of the official entries, Gloria is the winner of the beautiful Butterfly Bliss Scrabble pendant from Avalee on Etsy! Congratulations, Gloria! Please e-mail me to claim your prize!

Now, for all of you that have not won, don't cry. You can always go back to Avalee and buy something for a birthday, Mother's Day, your wedding day, or just as a treat for yourself! You can even request special orders!

A big THANK YOU to you, Joni, for offering up such a beautiful piece, and of course for 23 years of fabulous friendship!!

AND...if you are still in the mood to win something, stop over by my amazingly gifted and funny friend Wendi's site and enter her giveaway! You may not be making your neck all purrrrrty with a pendant, but you sure can make your face smooth and purrrrrty after winning some fantastic Biore Strips and hand-made face scrubbies, made by the super talented and witty Kearsie of Sounds Like Tomatoes! You have until today, January 15th, 11:03 pm EST! HURRY!!

Also, a big THANK YOU to the bloggers that entered AND also took the time to let me know they blogged about my giveaway on their own engaging and wonderful blogs, check them out!

Sounds Like Tomatoes
Much More Than Mommy

And last but surely not least, THANK YOU to all of you who took the time to stop by my blog and enter (I have enjoyed checking out everyone's sites!), making my first giveaway a fun and successful one! Look for my next giveaway in May for Mother's Day!

I'll be back this week to complain about something, and through my colorful tirade, maybe I will save some of you some money...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Winner will be Announced, Soon...

So it was bath time for the kids, and my daughter and I thought it would be fun to race up the stairs to the bathroom. Of course I had my laptop with me, as it goes everywhere with me, and I sprang into the lead and up the stairs, with a squealing, giggling girl hot on my heels.

As I was climbing the stairs, said daughter assumed an "all-fours" running position and quickly gained ground, er, steps, and she thought it would be funny to grab mom's ankle as I neared the last few steps.

Her strategic maneuver caused my feet to slip out from under me, and I fell, still holding the laptop, open, to my blog, and my face smashed into my keyboard, which smashed into the stairs.

We both slid down about 3 steps, and that is when I noticed blood seeping into the keyboard and splattered onto the screen. Blood, keys, teeth, were all in the wrong places; there was blood on the keyboard, keys in my mouth, teeth chippings on the stairs...

I am totally lying.

This was just a ploy to remind you to never do something that you would regret later, like not entering my giveaway, NOW, as you have until January 15th, 4 am EST to win the beautiful pendant from my friend's Etsy site, Avalee.

For the record we DID run up the stairs, and I DID have my laptop in hands, open, to my blog, when that horrible thought flashed in my brain and I vowed to never run up the stairs again. I am all about freaking out over the "what ifs" in my life.

So, sorry if I led you to falsely worry about my well-being. If it makes you feel any better, I am totally insane...

See, I bought mine, now go win yours! Enter here or at the picture top right!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


OK, OK…So John Mayer got THIS song totally right as far as I am concerned; 3x5 is one of my favorite songs, as he hits the sentiment right on the nail…

When I was young, ahem, young-ER, I HATED when the moms I knew had to take a picture at every event we went to. It drove me nuts. The last thing I wanted to do was put down my food and stand up (in that bulky sweater that made me look “fat”) and have my grumpy mug burned into glossy paper for all eternity.

But now, I am a mom, I AM that mom…and, I…

I have missed out on almost everything in my life involving my kids because I am constantly behind the camera, documenting what a great time my family is having. It is a sickness that I must feed, trying to capture the Kodak Moments that represent love and togetherness, and the bonding experiences with our rapidly growing and changing children. For example…

The Scene: Home Improvement Store Craft Day for Kids

Me: “OK let’s get set up to make the craft!” (I pull out the camera)

Kids: (pick up hammers and raise them over their heads)

Josh: “NOOOOOOO! Put the hammers down, open the kits up first! Kim? A little help here?”

Kim: “Smile everyone!” SNAP! SNAP! SNAP!

Josh: “Kim, are you going to help here?”

Kim: “Yeeeeeeeeessssssss…just a few pictures!”

10 minutes later other families are done, but us?


Kim: “Look up, smile!”

Josh: “Wait, why did you hammer that nail there, Jacob? Kim???”

Kim: “Hold on!”

Audrey: “Mom will you help me?

Kim: “OK. But smile first!”

Josh: “We need your help here, Kim, we have enough pictures.”


Josh: “Remember what? Our daughter sitting there, hammering her sandpaper to the wood?”

Kim: (glares at Josh) “Can you just help Audrey now? I need to change the flash setting.”

Jacob endures many poses with his craft as I snap away, Josh walks over to get a new craft kit to help Audrey since her first one is a hammered mess…

10 MORE minutes later…

Kim: “OK Audrey, smile! Josh, JOSH! Smile!”

Josh: “Where is your purse?”

Kim: “It’s right there, why?”

Josh: “Just making sure you’re paying attention to something around here!”

Kim: (scowling) “Would you please take a picture of me and the kids with their crafts?”

Josh: “Tell me what they made first.”

Kim: “What?”

Josh: “What did we…I mean what did I just make with the kids?”

Kim: “Uh, uh…let me check the pictures hold on…”

This is how I first saw the Cincinnati Zoo, the fireworks at Louisville Thunder, the first time my kids swam in an outdoor pool, and every birthday party they have been to, including their own.

So this year, if we visit any venue or do a project for a second time, the camera will be put down. and I will take it all in. I will hold the nail while Audrey pounds the hammer dangerously close to my blogging fingers. I will sing "happy birthday" without ending with the word, “smile!” I will not force my tired, irritated family to smile and pose for the 15th picture by some pretty landscape or zebra because someone's eyes were closed the first 14 times. And during the new experiences, I will hand the camera over to someone else, so people will see that I am actually there. enjoying myself.

I can at least resolve to do these things, and actually see something with my own eyes and experience the fun. Thanks John, for the sobering reminder to LIVE my life, not just get a picture of it!

3x5 by John Mayer
I'm writing you to
catch you up on places I've been
You held this letter
probably got excited, but there's nothing else inside it
didn't have a camera by my side this time
hopping I would see the world with both my eyes
maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm
in the mood to lose my way with words
Today skies are painted colors of a cowboy's cliche'
And strange how clouds that look like mountains in the sky
are next to mountains anyway
Didn't have a camera by my side this time
Hoping I would see the world with both my eyes
Maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm
in the mood to lose my way
but let me say
You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes
it brought me back to life
You'll be with me next time I go outside
just no more 3x5's Guess you had to be there
Guess you had to be with me Today I finally overcame
tryin' to fit the world inside a picture frame
Maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm in the mood to
lose my way but let me say
You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes
it brought me back to life

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Coffee and Spiders, Anyone?

Once again, I was recently trying to enjoy my morning coffee, when something caught my eye under one of the used side tables I acquired when we moved here. At first glance I must admit, it looked like, well, poo.

And, usually, I am not completely coherent until after 3pm, so I bent down and picked it up, bare handed. What is this? I thought to myself; is it a toy? Part of the table? Wha-oh…no…

I turned it over, and all I saw were,




By this time, I was having a freak-out moment, because I had already brought it to my nose to SMELL it BEFORE I had even turned it over! Afraid I was about to drop it and have whatever was inside bust out all over on my living room floor, I ran as fast as I could to the kitchen and threw it in a zip lock baggie for safer inspection. In the brick-layered structure, I could see definite insect structures. Carefully, I broke off a piece…

Out came…


TONS OF SPIDERS! OK, so they were dead, but still. SPIDERS!

My first thought was, great! I infected myself with some alien/spider virus or its air-born eggs by poking it and then sticking it in my face to smell it! My second thought was, well, DEAD spiders are better than LIVE spiders overtaking my apartment or my nostrils while I sleep! Third thought was, I gotta look this up on The Internet!

But before that I just HAD to show my husband, who had just woken up and at first thought I was bringing him a sample of one of the kid’s poo to check out (that is not too far outside of probability). He was neither impressed nor gravely concerned.

So, I googled “spiders mud nest” because that is basically what I saw, and immediately found the answer.

A Mud Dauber Wasp nest! Of course! What the?? Yeah, NEVER heard of this before! But, read for yourself, and squeal at the pic.

My kids KNEW something was going on, and after being sure that the nest was in no way viable, I used it for a fascinating home school science day. They even completed cute little reports on this thing.

I am trying very hard to make sure my kids do not inherit the “scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs while frantically running in circles, flapping your arms” response to bugs, such as I have had for years. Moving to a warm environment and being “eye to antennae” with many creepy crawlers has helped a lot. For example:

This is the Cave Cricket, or Spider Cricket, and it is such a staple around our house that I am thinking of roasting a bunch and covering them with sugar and chocolate sprinkles...but, these next bugs are TRULY good eats.

Here is the 17-year cicada (for which you can find several recipes for on the net) we got to see and hear MILLIONS of them last year. Look how calmly Audrey holds them. They were her “pets”. Mommy would not touch them, and could barely snap a picture of them without running away.

Here is a lovely worm. Kids are, intrigued? I promise the worm is NOT getting ready to enter her nose, as the picture may suggest...

Here is one of the many huntsman spiders we often have racing across our living room floor, or walls, or shoes, or bed pillows! At first we killed them, but now we are great at “catch and release”. During our “freak out and kill everything” phase, Audrey ended this one’s life by...purposefully sitting on it.

The first time I saw a house centipede I nearly took flight. We later felt bad for killing the first one we saw, with glass cleaner, after learning it is quite beneficial.

This common stag beetle took a trip on one of us, and ended up in our living room, becoming a great pet until Jacob accidentally squashed it with the tiny pumpkin we had decorated his “home” with. Jacob cried.

After much research and help from locals, we discovered this was (our friend squashed the tar out of it) a Bee-Mimicking Robber Fly. I am not really for killing anything, but I have to admit I like this one dead more than flying around…

The flea I found on Audrey is actually still smashed under the microscope tab. I am not letting it go, lest it regains animation and finds its way back to its vampire life-style, and back onto my leg…

Of course I have tons of pictures of beautiful butterflies, moths, ladybugs, and praying mantis, (such as this example of a baby we found while on a picnic) but, these critters don’t keep me up at night, scared stiff that they are going to be crawling all over me, or my family, eating/spawning/growing, during the dark, silent moments of the night…

I realized that the wasp nest fell off the bottom of the table because my daughter had been playing on the table a lot, and all the vibrations dislodged it. I can't bring myself to throw it away though; it is just too cool.

I have decided with all these experiences, the kids are destined to become Entomologists. I just want to enjoy a cup of coffee...

PS for a few more squeamish posts, check out Sounds Like Tomatoes and Cassoulet Cafe, about Black Widows and cockroaches, respectively...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The "Something" is here!!


OK! This is my first official giveaway! (doing a happy dance)

I am quite excited to be doing this! I have been itching for something pretty and unique for myself for some time, and my dear friend of 23 years has the goods on her Etsy site!

I love it all so much, I wanted to do a giveaway! And so, this giveaway comes courtesy of her site, Avalee!

Joni Marie is a certified "Made in Alaska" artist. Born and raised in the Last Frontier (such as I), her work is sold and featured in many local shops and shows. She creates beautiful pieces such as wired necklaces, earrings, and pendants fashioned from recycled scrabble tiles, like this one!!

This piece was made especially for this giveaway! Isn’t it lovely? I LOVE scrabble and I love that the image is from a vintage postcard from Fort Bliss, Texas. (any Texans out there??) And, of course, it has the word BLISS on it!! How fantastic is that??? (happy happy dance!) The pendant comes on an 18 inch sterling silver chain and will come packaged with an official Made in Alaska seal! (not a REAL seal, a sticker, ya know?)

I am sure most of you are familiar with how you enter, but, here are the “official” ways to enter, each one you decide to do will give you an entry (or more) into the giveaway!

1. Visit the site, and get back to me, commenting on what you found most unique. (worth 1)


2. Blog about it, linking back to me, explaining why you hope the random number generator picks you. (worth 2!)


3. Buy something between now and January 15th, and let me know you did so! (I will confirm this with her, also worth 2!)

4. You must leave me a safe way to contact you in order to win
5. You will have 5 days to respond if you are the winner!

So, as you can see, you have up to FIVE chances to win this pendant and chain! I promise I won't enter...but I want to! (doing jealousy dance!) There will be a link at top of my blog for easy access.

The giveaway will run for 10 days, ending January 15th at midnight, Alaskan time, because I know how annoying it is to live somewhere and be 4 hours behind on everything. So, for us on the East coast, I suppose that is 4 am on January 15th. I like to complicate things!

I will then use a random number generator to pick the winner!

I am sure doing a happy dance will help! Well, maybe not, but it feels good! Have fun!!

THE GIVEAWAY STARTS NOW! (January 4th, 10:30 am)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Countin' to 5...

So, remember when Kate squeezed herself into that tree, in season one, when her and Jack became separated while desperately trying to escape the Black Smoke thingie that we STILL know nothing about? OK. Remember she was crying and freaked out and stuck in the tree and shaking and all of that? Maybe even whimpering? And suddenly she remembers Jack’s experience, with the angel hair pasta nerve bundle spilling out of his soon-to-be ex-wife's back? (I like how I am re-telling the story!) And to calm himself down, he counts to five and then becomes Super Neurosurgeon? Ummm…are you LOST???

Anyway…she counts to five and something “clicks” and she becomes the Kate we now know and find slightly annoying for being so wishy-washy about whom she is gonna play house with…

"Counting to five". I always hated the "counting to five"...that is, until I actually…did it…to my kids.

(maniacal laugh) Yes, I count to five! Well, usually, I only get to three. What’s strange about the whole counting thing is, I never told my kids what it meant, and I have never had to get to 5 for them to find out…For Kate it all changed for her at 5, for me, the behaviors change at 3…

We were at a park a couple of years ago, and the kids were bored of the playground equipment and decided it was time to run to “the hill”. This is a big hill just barely inside of screaming distance, and, down the other side, “the hill” is backed by tons of trees that at any time could be crawling with delinquent teenagers, people with angry dogs off their leashes, or even black bears (yes that is true).

So with that, they never ventured to “the hill” without parental supervision.

Counting to five came out on that day when they were with some of their buddies and decided it was time to run to the hill and ignore mommie’s protests of doing so. I called about two times to them to stop and come back, but to no avail. That’s when, in slow motion, I heard the horrible screams from my mouth…


It was obvious their little buddy had heard this before, as a look of terror swept across his face when he made an about-face, like a ricocheted bullet, flying back in my direction. My kids, totally confused, must have felt his sense of fear and some impending danger,as they quickly followed his pace, panting and freaked by the time they got to me.

“What mom! Why were you counting?” they gasped.

“Because you had until I got to FIVE to get back to me!” I declared.

“Or what, mom?”


They stood there before me, with a new sense of fear and confusion. The buddy, whom I assume was having morbid flashbacks, could barely control his shaking and whimpering.

I simply left it at “else” to make sure I didn’t start a comparison of the awful fate that awaits a child when the parent reaches five. Mystery often fosters obedience I have found…

That experience left me feeling, powerful. Yes. I am that annoying mom (that you want to choke at the park) who is counting to three more times than The Count on Sesame Street. Simply because, it works.

I had a friend tell me they do not use the counting technique because it does not require immediate obedience, which struck a chord with me. I was like, oooooooooh yeah, that is true. But, I can’t resist…it just, works so well…

I actually don’t think Kate has ever counted to five again since that “Black Smoke” encounter. If I were Jack I would tell her to pick Sawyer or him by the time he counts to five. I am glad I am not Kate…

ps something is still coming...

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