Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year 2011

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Year-End Review

For those who celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a nice holiday. Mine was good . . . for the most part. However, I am not ready for a postmortem post about all the merriment. See, we did some things differently this year. And some of it went really, really well. And other things didn’t quite happen as I had envisioned. Or even a mediocre alternative. Stay tuned for another post.

So moving forward (to give me time to process Christmas), I am doing The Year-End Review that I found at Whole Living by Sarah Susanka , the author of The Not So Big Life. (And I will also be attempting The Whole Living Action Plan 28-Day Challenge starting Monday. I. am. nervous. Check out these recipes!! Stay tuned for more posts about that. And please feel free to join me in this challenge. I’d love the company).

And here I present to you my Year-End Review:

How have you spent your time?

I have spent the majority of my time taking care of The Babes

  • Meeting their basic needs.
  • Molding their young minds into kind-hearted human beings. (Oooh, that sounds simple, but those on the front lines of motherhood know that this is no easy task. If it was, therapists would be out of business).
  • Cultivating a relationship between The Babes. (It seems to be working).


You know what's so great about this?
 I didn't even ask them to pose.
Marie had just fallen off the broom and
wanted to be sure Thomas didn't.
Playing alone.  Without me to moderate.
Pretend sleepovers.
I have also been really working on writing and my blog.
  • Thank you much, Mommy Wants Vodka and your concept of Bringing Aunt Becky Back. You have helped me brush the dust off and wipe the sleep from my eyes. And guess what? I am still here. Different, but here.

What are you grateful for?
  • For my Babes and all they have taught me about being a good person.
  • Writing and blogging. It has done wonders for my self-confidence. Also all the wonderful people I have connected with, all by putting myself out there.
  • BlogHer 10, thank you for showing me all the wonderful things that can happen with blogging and writing.

What were your sorrows/disappointments?

There has been a lot of disappointment surrounding some of my personal relationships.
  • “No” is a powerful word. And sadly, some “relationships” cannot withstand “no.”
  • Some relationships were not what they appeared to be.
  • When I was busy pouring myself into certain relationships, I failed to notice I was the only one showing up.

Cold hard truth: one person cannot carry the weight of a healthy relationship.

 Sad? Yes, I have cried buckets. However, it is . . . freeing, you know, not to feel drained.

What books, films, etc. moved you?
  • Eat Pray Love moved me (The book, not the movie . . . although the scenery in the movie was beautiful). . Have you ever read something and felt like someone took the words right out of your head and displayed them elegantly on the pages for you to read? This was that book for me. Minus the divorce and travel.

  • Also Princess and the Frog. (I can hear your snickers, you know.) The message of balance between career and personal life is priceless. Also, The Babes and I bonded over the CD (especially on the trip to BlogHer10). And Thomas insists that I sing “Down in New Orleans.” Every night. At LEAST three times before I put him in his crib.


How are you different from the way you were a year ago?
  • I understand me better.
  • Better understanding of my personal boundaries and limits.
  • More confident as a mother.
  • Definitely understand the importance of fueling up my tank with healthy things that make me feel good, like writing, yoga, and exercising. I used to look at these things as a luxury, but now a necessity.
How can you integrate the lessons of the past year?
  • Honor my personal boundaries and limits.
  • Not feel guilty when I make a choice in the best interest of my family, and someone does not like it.
 This is hard. I think it all boils down to quieting the external noise and focusing on my instincts. And when people are not happy (especially when they hear the word “no”), they make a. lot. of. noise. But those instincts of mine? Rarely wrong.

Is there anything you’re trying to force into existence right now? If so, what would happen if you stopped?
  • Yes. See above about personal relationships. I am pretty sure that if I stopped forcing certain relationships to be what I thought they were, I would eventually be happier.

  • And everything is better when I am happy.


What do you want to focus on in the coming year?
  • Be the best mother I can be.
  • More date nights with Harrington.
  • Keep on writing and blogging.
  • More yoga.
  • Focusing on the healthy relationships.
  • Find more like-minded people who share my values.
Simply put, I want to be the best version of myself. I think only good can come of that, right?

So, Friends, where have you been in 2010? Where are you going?

And if you are interested in doing the 28-Day Whole Living Action Plan, let me know. I could use some team spirit. *spirit fingers*


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

And the Winner of Pure Dark Chocolate is . . .


This?  All yours!!  Plus a yummy slab of Pure Dark Chocolate!

Yeaa! Congrats! Get in contact with me so that we can arrange a drop off for you delicious Pure Dark treat.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this giveaway! I really appreciate it! And be sure to check out Pure Dark to order yourself a delectable piece of dark chocolate.

Also, drop on by tomorrow when I post my year-end review and write about the 28-day crazy experiment challenge I plan on subjecting myself, my family, anyone crazy adventurous enough to join me.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pure Dark Chocolate Review and Giveaway

I was recently contacted by Pure Dark to review their product. Let me think about that, sample chocolate and write about it. . . I’m in!

Pure Dark creates hand-crafted specialty dark chocolates that are minimally processed making a product that is close to nature as the cocoa pod. Let me tell you, these chocolates? Delicious! These dark chocolate treats are unlike any other chocolates that I have ever tasted (and this coming from a card-carrying member of a certain upscale chocolate store that shall remain nameless).

Pure Dark offers chocolate slabs that are almost one inch thick. They offer barks of dark chocolate with all kinds of different ingredients like cherries, blueberries, walnuts, almonds, mango, macadamia nuts and crystallized ginger. And speaking of nuts and berries, they also cover those delicious goodies in their signature dark chocolate and have them available in these canisters for snacking. For a really unique taste, there are Pure Dark Rounds with flavors such as raspberry acai, chipotle cinnamon, and cardamom allspice. Another distinct product that Pure Dark has to offer Pure Dark Nibs. They are cocoa beans that are lightly roasted and crushed which come in three different flavors: caramelized, dark chocolate, or a variety mix.

Pure Dark gave me a Pure Dark Slab and Classic Bark to sample. The Pure Dark Slab was fantastic! It was sweet, but not super-sugary. This chocolate had more of a beautiful, earthy-sweet taste. There was also this interesting texture of smoothness to the chocolate that was balanced out by a delicate crunch of Pure Dark Nibs. This piece of chocolate is so thick that I would not recommend cutting it with a knife. They have this awesome cutting board gift set that includes a slab cutting tool, but since I didn’t have one, I used a cutting board and a big serving fork to break up The Slab into bite sized pieces.

Just look at all that mouth-watering chocolate!

The Classic Bark that I tried was delicious! In this masterpiece, chunks of dark chocolate are punctuated with crunchy almonds and tangy dried cherries. Now, I have to say that typically, chocolate and cherries are not my favorite combination. But these cherries were plump and tasty, which totally complemented the rich, dark chocolate. I loved this blend of chocolate, fruit, and nuts.

Packaging is another aspect of this product that I really liked, as well. The brown paper bags and hand written tags are completely in alignment with the pure and natural approach to chocolate. The gift sets are packaged in these beautiful hand-crafted wooden boxes and burlap sack.

So all you dark chocolate aficionados, because these delicious treats from Pure Dark are awesomely delicious, I want to share them with you in a giveaway. (And I do have to say that this is the hardest part of this review: departing with deep, dark chocolate). I would like to find a good home to someone who will love Pure Dark Chocolate Covered Blueberries and Pure Dark Slab. I will also give you some wonderful recipes that call for Pure Dark Chocolate, too!

This could be all yours!
Please leave a comment on this post about what Pure Dark product looks most delicious to you.

Here’s what you must do for extra entries. Please leave a comment on this post for each thing you did. Each comment is an extra entry:
- Become a fan of Mommy on the Spot on Facebook (or leave a comment if you already are a fan).
- Become a fan of Mommy on the Spot on Twitter (or leave a comment if you already are a fan).
- Become a fan of this blog by either subscribing to my RSS feed or Google Friend Connect.
- Share this post on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social network site.

Here’s what you must do to gain an extra 5 entries:
- Write your own blog post about this contest and be sure to add links to this post and Pure Dark. Post the link of your post on Mommy on the Spot fan page.

You must live in the continental U.S. The contest will start Wednesday, December 22nd and end on Tuesday, December 28th midnight EST. The winner will be picked at random. I will announce the winner on Wednesday, December 29th.

Good luck, everyone! And have a great week!

*As stated above, these products were donated to me to review. These opinions are completely mine. Oh, yes, all mine.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Be sure to check out The Girl Next Door Grows Up!  She is so full of awesomness!

Hi!  I have been MIA because it's the holidays and like birthday season, I am The Producer of The Holiday Season.  The wardrobe, sets, props, and food craft services table don't make themselves!  So this little elf has been ingesting enough caffine to soar just like Santa's sleigh.  But let's focus on the happy things because it's Feel Good Friday.

And 'tis the season for reruns (so please enjoy my post about Christmas music again)! 

My Favorite Christmas Music

Christmas music is one of the most essential ingredients for my holiday season. I remember listening to Christmas music with my Mom when we decorated the tree and baked Christmas cookies. I remember the skip in her Johnny Mathis album on the O Holy Night! song. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the feeling I get when I listen to Christmas music. And I LOVE how Marie gets just as excited as I do so now at least I have a partner in crime. However, I am very particular about what kind and who sings what song. So without any further ado, my favorite Christmas music list, condensed version:

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays sung Perry Como
This song is great because I get all gushy for that going-home-to-my-parents-house feeling . . . even though I see them a lot and they live fifteen minutes away.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Year sung by Andy Williams
I think this song is loaded with irony. Like when Andy croons, “Everyone telling you be a good cheer!” Yes, be a good cheer when you feel like you are going insane with the Christmas Craziness!! But my all time favorite line in that song is, “They’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago.” Yes, scary ghost stories like the time Santa didn’t get to Christmas Eve until 9 p.m. and Marie, who was 8 months old at the time, had a SUPER meltdown (and I told her to be a good cheer, but that didn’t seem to cheer her up, ironically). And I know the lyrics say “glories of Christmases long, long ago,” but I like to think it really says “gories of Christmases long, long ago.” There are too many gories of Christmas past to share, but more recently (and on the tamer side) it would be someone saying something to the effect that I (when I was six months pregnant last Christmas) was big enough to wear a supersize garbage bag and maybe fit in the trunk of her car. Nice.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing sung by Nat King Cole
The women’s voices that sing right before it cuts out to Nat’s voice gives me chills! This song reminds me of my all time favorite movie It’s a Wonderful Life. The whole angel theme just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

O! Holy Night! sung by Johnny Mathis
His voice is like butt-ah! I love it! Actually, I love this whole album. Plus it reminds me of my childhood; my Mom and I used to listen to this album when we baked Christmas cookies. And childhood and Christmas are enough to make anyone all teary-eyed! (And if someone else like Chris Groban tries to sing it, I get all mad because Johnny is the ONLY person who can sing it)!
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas sung by Judy Garland
This song is so sad and beautiful. Judy’s voice sounds melancholy when she talks about being light and troubles out of sight. This is another song when I get all upset when someone else tries to sing Judy’s Christmas song!

Winter Wonderland
Living in the Midwest, I am no stranger to snow storms. I love that this song makes snow storms sound like fun. Johnny Mathis or Harry Connick, Jr. both do this song justice!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside! sung by Al Hirt and Ann Margret
Speaking of songs that make snow storms sound like fun . . . I imagine in the old days when people used to listen to records and know how to make drinks like Tom Collins and Old Fashioneds.

Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters
I love all Christmas songs sung by Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters including the following:
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Mele Kalikimaka
Here Comes Santa Claus
Jingle Bells
Poppa Santa Claus
Jing-a-ling, Jing-a-ling

To be honest, the stress of the holidays is enough to kill any joy and merriment that can be so magical during this season. These songs help me find that place of happiness when all I want to do is cancel Christmas. It’s just like Buddy says in Elf, “The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”

What are your favorite Christmas songs? What kind of memories do they bring up?

Monday, December 13, 2010

And the Winner of My Very First Giveaway is . . . .


Congratulations! Email me at, and I will give you the contact information to claim your prize!   (I will imagine that you are jumping around like the dad from A Christmas Story and singing, “Hot damn, I won!”)

Thank you to everyone who participated! I appreciate it very much!  Laura has given you a coupon code to use until the end of the year: GIVEAWAY10

*Be sure to place your orders in by December 14th to ensure delivery in time for Christmas.*

Thank you, Laura, for the generous prize! This giveaway was a lot of fun!!

Have a great Monday!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Feels Good Friday – A Word about Christmas movies and Cozy Feelings

Check out The Girl Next Door and Feel Good Friday!

Thank you all to have participated in My Very First Giveaway! You still have time to enter. Be sure to check out the details here!

If you missed my Wednesday post, be sure to click here and get your 30% off coupon code!
My little family has now evolved to the point where we can all cuddle on the couch and watch TV together. It just sort of happened. And I love it. So this week, Harrington has been working late, and I needed to wrap up this day without drama. I got The Babes all ready for bed, we got under the extra warm fuzzy brown blanket and watched The Charlie Brown Christmas Special one night and Dr. Seuss’s original The Grinch Who Stole Christmas another night.

I know it was simple and nothing much to it. But there was also something so magical in that moment with my Babes. Maybe it’s a bit of nostalgia because I used to love watching those Christmas specials as a Babe myself. Maybe it’s the fun that we are all enjoying the same show (and thankful the Cars movie was on holiday hiatus). I’m not sure of the reason.

And it doesn’t matter.

Because I am just so happy we are happy all together.

And don’t worry about Harrington. He got his chance for a little family bonding this week. And this weekend, we both look forward to introducing The Christmas Story to Marie!

As for me, tonight I am going to snuggle myself and watch my all time favorite movie, It’s a Wonderful Life.

So anything giving you the warm, fuzzy Christmas feeling?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordless-ish Wednesday AND a Hallmark Coupon

First of all, for the past few Wednesdays, I’ve been doing Wordless-ish Wednesday. I was inspired by the The Kid Ate My Cheese and her wordless-ish Wednesdays. Be sure to check her blog out!!

Second of all, thank you for everyone who has already participated in My Very First Giveaway! I am really excited about it!! The deadline is Saturday. Be sure to click here for the details!

Third of all, it’s Christmas card time here at my house. On the weekend, we took The Family Picture. And this year, thanks to a generous gift from Hallmark which I received at BlogHer10, I was able to get a bunch of cards for free! Yeaa! Be sure to check out because there are so many ways to personalize your card. You can now download your pictures. They, of course, have awesome designs, lots of fonts, and fun ways to customize the back of the card as well (which was my personal favorite).

I’m a bit of a card snob, and I am an official Hallmark card carrying member. However, I stopped buying my Christmas cards from there ever since I had The Babes because I had to put each picture into the card. I wanted to be print and be done with it. And now Hallmark does that, along with printing the return address on the envelopes for free! Yea! And get this – they will address, stamp, and send your cards out for you. How cool is that?!

Because Hallmark ROCKS, they even gave me a code to share with all of you. Use this code and get 30% off your order: Blogher30. It expires 12-31-10.

Now I haven’t seen my final product yet, but the sample they sent me from BlogHer10 was AWESOME! So yes, they gave me a free gift, but these opinions are mine, mine, mine. And I can’t wait to show you all the final product!

Here’s a sneak peek of the pictures (or the “wordless” portion of the post)

Marie is bursting with holiday cheer. 
Thomas is upset that we turned off the TV.
Marie is a bit more subdued.
Thomas is still mad.
Harrington and I look like statues.
Everyone is looking in the same general direction.
Nobody appears angry. 
This is The One!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Very First Giveaway - Sassy Girls N Curls

This weekend, I had an opportunity to meet up with my friend Laura of Sassy Girls N Curls at her open house event. Maybe you remember her from my post about what to do with too much leftover Halloween candy. She came up with the GENIUS idea of the Switch Witch.

Not only is Laura incredibly clever, but she is incredibly crafty, as well. Her product lines of handcrafted hair clips and accessories are amazing! She has clips with super cute felt shapes, fancy ribbon clips, beautiful bows, and pretty Posey clips. Laura makes these awesome headbands with interchangeable bows so you can change up the look for different outfits. She also carries these gorgeous hats and tutus.
So here’s all of her incredible stock at her open house:

See all those pretty flowers? 
All attached to non slip clips!
How adorable are those
 Hello Kitty and Sesame Street clips?!
See all those bows?
Made them.  All herself.
I love the Santa and Gingerbread clips.
Oh, and the birdies.  And the cupcakes.

Her Pretty Posies Line

Lovely hats!

Cute tutu!
The creator herself, Laura, with her tutus!
Be sure to check out her etsy store for detailed pictures (because I am so obviously not a photographer).

I love that Laura makes everything herself and runs her own etsy store. Laura donated some clips for me to review. Check them out:
Don't those Rudolph clips so cute? 
And this was after my 45 minute
power walk in the mall.  No slipping!
Here they are up close.
Ooo, shiny red!
Also in fancy black!
I LOVE this one!

When I saw the non slip clip advertised, I was a bit of a skeptic. Marie has a TON of hair. I’ve tried everything, and the only this that kind of works are the plastic kind of barrettes I used to wear as a kid. However, they often slip out or snap open. And then they are no longer a pair, but of course I don’t realize that we lost one so I spend precious time in the morning searching for the match that no longer exists. Inevitably, I have to give up. So by the time we get to school, not only is she wearing barrettes that don’t match, Marie’s hair is a mess because the barrettes are already on their way out.

But these clips? Totally Do. Not. Slip. I tried one with this special grip and a regular barrette without the grip. They were going nowhere! Seriously?! So excited!

Since I love them, and I want to share, I will be giving away $25 gift certificate for Sassy Girls N Curls!

These accessories would be perfect for the holidays, make fantastic stocking stuffers, or add just the perfect touch to any outfit.

Did I mention that they do not slip?

The Entry Rules

So here’s what you must do to snag this incredible prize:
Please leave a comment on this post about your favorite product of Sassy Girls N Curls.

Want extra entries?  Please leave a comment on this post for each thing you did. Each comment is an extra entry:
- Become a member of Sassy Girls N Curls group on Facebook (or leave a comment if you already are a fan).

- Become a fan of Sassy Girls N Curls on Twitter (or leave a comment if you already are a fan).

- Become a fan of Mommy on the Spot on Facebook (or leave a comment if you already are a fan).

- Become a fan of Mommy on the Spot on Twitter (or leave a comment if you already are a fan).

- Become a fan of this blog by either subscribing to my RSS feed or Google Friend Connect.

- Share this post on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social network site.

*Remember to leave a comment for each entry*

Gain 5 extra entries:
 Write your own blog post about this contest and be sure to add links to this post and Laura’s etsy store. Post the link of your post on Mommy on the Spot fan page.

You must live in the continental U.S. The contest will start Tuesday, December 7th and end on Saturday, December 11th midnight EST. The winner will be picked at random. I will announce the winner on Monday, December 13th.

Good luck, everyone! And have a great week!

*As stated above, these products were donated to me to review. These opinions are completely mine. Oh, yes, all mine.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wordless-ish Wednesday - The Pancake Factory

I can count on one hand how many times I have gone out to breakfast since Marie was born: twice.  We went to the Pancake Factory,this adorable, family owned restaurant near our house.  Let me tell you: it. was. an. event.  So of course I had to take pictures and blog about it.  I am also experimenting with the Droid app, Vignette.

These chocolate chip pancakes were to die for!
 Chocolate chips in the batter and sprinkled on top. 

My pecan pancakes. 
They tasted like coffee cake with pecans, syrup, powdered sugar,
and butter that almost tasted like whip cream.
Do you see that fresh whip cream
on top of those chocolate chip pancakes?!  Yummm!
Thomas looks nice and tidy here,but he
looked like a chocolate chip when he was done.

Harrington had these awesome blueberry pancakes with blueberry compote, but in the flurry of eating, I didn't take a picture.  But believe me when I say they were delicious!!

I was not compensated by the Pancake Factory for this post.  It was all me!  I am currently plotting another time to go because there were at least ten other kinds of pancakes I wanted to try.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Word About Relationships and the Holidays

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! My celebrations with my family and Harrington’s family were great! There was lots of good food and fun to be had by all.

Even though it was great, I did start thinking about why this time of year can be kind of depressing . . . especially when it comes to relationships.

During the year, I think it’s easier to ignore how relationships really are and easier to project how we want them to be. Even though we may get clues and red flags all year long, it’s much simpler to look the other way.

But when it comes to The Holiday Season, it becomes glaringly obvious how the relationships really are.

Sometimes that is awesome. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and cozy inside. I feel just plain fortunate to have such incredible people in my life.

And sometimes it hurts. Because various relationships that I put time and energy in all year? Are draining me dry.

The Picture Perfect Holiday quickly becomes I Want to Drown My Disappointment in Pomegranate Cocktails and Christmas Cookies Holiday.

As much fun as the Pomegranate Cocktail and Christmas Cookie Holiday can be, I often feel blurry and bloated and just plain sad. So I have decided to take a different approach this year.

Instead of projecting my ideals on certain relationships and feeling crushed when they are not mutual, I have decided to accept them for what they are . . . and let go. Not of the people, but of the hope that things will be different.

I am thinking if I let go, I will clear a space for some real deals instead of settling on some imposters. Kind of like hoarders, it’s hard to make sense of everything and cherish what is valuable if you have a bunch of clutter to cloud your judgment.

And not that I expect a Picture Perfect Holiday, but I will gladly take a Happy Holiday.

So, Friends, what are you doing to keep you spirits up this Holiday Season?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Movie Monday – The Summer School Incident

Welcome back for the next installment of Movie Monday! Here is yet another reason why I failed at teaching (or maybe it failed me, I’ll let you decide).

When I graduated from college, I found a job right away. And to top it off, I was also offered a position to teach 11th grade English at summer school. WIN!

Which quickly became Loose.

Again, the demographic for this position was the same as my junior high school teacher position: middle to upper middle class with a HUGE sense of entitlement.

Here are a few things you should know before watching the movie:
- I made all the students sign my procedures so they knew what to expect.
- I was twenty-one and many of these students were eighteen.
- Little Johnny’s father was a lawyer.
- Because the original version was too risky for YouTube, he did call me a fcuking bitch and and he did say he wanted to kill me (not hurt me that is in the movie).

Seriously?! I was twenty-one right out of college! How was I supposed to know what to do?! I am pretty sure there were procedures that were ignored.

Epilogue Part 1:
About three or four years after The Summer School Incident I saw that administrator at a wedding. After indulging in who knows how many several adult beverages, I approached him and asked him why he let someone who threatened to kill me stay at school. He was a little fidgety and his memory didn’t quite retain this specific incident. Luckily, I remembered it quite clearly and after much “gentle prodding” (or loudly recalling the details with much valor and conviction), it seemed to rumble up some recollection. Because the next thing I knew, he said he didn’t want to talk about this here or ever again. Then he excused himself, and I haven’t seen him since.

Epilogue Part 2:
About five years after that, Little Johnny was in the local paper for being seriously injured in a fight that involved copious amounts of alcohol and a girlfriend and some other guy. I am not sure of the details of the altercation, but I do remember he was badly hurt. I share this part of the story because it is another example of his personality. For a long, long time, I felt like I did something wrong in this story. Why else would they not protect me and get him out of there? (I am pretty sure it had something to do with his father being a lawyer and the school’s numbers for graduation). But he was volatile and scary and dangerous.

And I thank God that I didn’t end up dead.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

“Honor the Goodness in You”

First of all, I apologize that I could not get my Movie Monday post up yesterday. There were technical difficulties beyond my control. I will have it ready for next Monday. Here’s the last Movie Monday post if you want to check it out.

For one of my Feel Good Friday posts, I talked about my new favorite place, Red Lotus Yoga. Last Saturday, I wasn’t even supposed to go to yoga. We were supposed to be out of town, but the people we were visiting became sick. When the trip was cancelled, Harrington was supposed to take Marie to her class. Those plans were changed when Harrington had to help my brother move. So I ended up taking her, which I was totally happy to do so.

The teacher that teaches this class is so inspirational that I feel like my spirit gets filled up while my core gets a work out. I love it! But this last time, she said something that struck a chord so deep in me that it brought tears to my eyes.

“Honor the goodness in you.”

It reminded me that I am a good person. Often times I forget that.

I am the nagging mommy.

I am the needy wife.

I am the protector of my personal boundaries when they are being threatened.

And all that wears on me and can make me feel like a bad person, especially that last one.

Often times, people don’t want to hear “No.” There are consequences for saying that dreaded word. Some relationships cannot withstand the word “no.” And people often don’t want to take responsibility for crossing over boundaries and place the blame on the enforcer. And it’s hard for me not to feel guilty.

I think that I am hardwired to assume responsibility for things that are not in my control.

It’s amazing how one comment triggered the swirling of all these feelings and realizations. I am so thankful that the twist and turn of events led me to that class.

Being strong in your convictions is not easy. As my Mother always says, “No one likes a whistle blower.” But I am not going to allow someone else’s view of me skew who I really am.

There is goodness inside of me.

And I am thankful for that reminder.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’ll see you back here for Movie Monday (for real this time)!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Feel Good Friday – Things That Get Me Through

Don't forget to check out the writing contest: i Write, i Blog, i Win 

This week was not so good. Last week was rough, too.

I could go on and on about the challenges one faces as a mother of two small Babes, but I kind of alluded to it here and here.

So you get the picture.

Awhile ago, when I was feeling a deep, deep shade of blue, I was reminded of a quote from my all time favorite movie in the whole entire universe, It’s a Wonderful Life:

“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” Clarence

This quote gives me strength and reminds me that even though I feel small and insignificant or tired of being the bad cop, I do matter. I am important. And there is a bigger picture that I am affecting in ways that I can’t even imagine.

This quote means so much to me that I have written it down on tiny pieces of paper and strategically placed them throughout the house. Kind of like a spiritual pick-me up when I am weary.

So what gets through you a tough time? A quote? A song? A package of Pepperidge Farm Brussels cookies? Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks?

Have a great weekend!

See you back here for Movie Monday when I reveal yet another reason I failed being a teacher.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cinderella: Pre-Prince Days

(or Post-Prince Days with kids, but we would never know for sure since there was not a satisfactory follow up to my childhood favorite Disney princess movie)

As I was making my to-do list, it started to feel a lot like a Cinderella kind of day (with a tad of Mary Poppins thrown in there for childcare measure):
- Laundry
- Cooking
- Cleaning
- Fun Activities for The Babes

This is most weeks, and most days I actually enjoy it, but coming off a hard week last week and a similar week this week (meaning The Hubs is working long hours and is barely home), I’m EX.AUST.ED.



And feeling a tad bit underappreciated.

Most days I feel like I do handle all that is being a stay-at-home mom with the grace of Cinderella. You know, powering through her never-ending to do list without being a cranky and bitchy.

But not today. Today I will be faking it every step of the way while pushing the limits of how much coffee my stomach can handle.

Wish me luck.

See you tomorrow for Feel Good Friday!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless-ish Wednesday – It’s Beginning to Look a Tad Like Christmas

I know it’s not even Thanksgiving, but when I got this in the mail, I became SUPER excited for Christmas:

Hellz yeah!

Marie loves Just Dance 2, but when she started singing Brittany’s Toxic I thought it might be a good idea to find a less sexed-up version. I am just thinking it might be a preemptive move in keeping her on the straight and narrow. If something were to go awry, I don’t want to be cursing the day I let her dance to Toxic, you know?

So as soon as I found out there was Just Dance Kids, I was ALL over it! 

Marie and I love to dance together. It’s good exercise. And now we can do it without me fearing she’s a hip shake away from looking like she belongs on Toddles and Tiaras. It is going to be all Wiggles all Cold Spaghetti all the time.

And I cannot wait!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Holiday Hysteria and Christmas Catastrophe: A Word about Planning Ahead and Pie Crusts

I like to bake pies for Thanksgiving. Really, what’s not to love? The sweet and spicy aroma of pumpkin pie? Delicious!! The smell of toasted coconut and the magic of watching powder mix and milk slowly turn into pudding on the stove? Scrumptious and satisfying.

What?! You guys don’t have coconut cream pie on Thanksgiving?! But that’s a mainstay tradition in my family . . . with a back story, of course. I used to think pumpkin pie was just full of everything disgusting. And then one day, I just liked it. As for apple pie, I like all the ingredients independent of each other. Apples? Yum. Cinnamon? Yum. Brown sugar? Yum. All of that together? Um, no thanks. I think it’s the mushy apples that get me. Because I was difficult opinionated, my Mom started making coconut cream pie for me. Now, I can’t imagine a Thanksgiving without it.

So making pies is awesome. However, making pie crusts is the opposite of awesome. I have faithfully used Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust that you just have to roll out. So easy, right? And I know that I am not the one who’s all about cheating their way out of making pie crusts. So anticipating the public’s demand in planning ahead, I went to the grocery this Saturday to buy the highly coveted pie crusts. Two weeks before Thanksgiving.

When I arrived at refrigerated case, I started to break out into a cold sweat. No. Effen. Pie crusts.


How is two weeks before Thanksgiving not enough time to buy pie crusts?! Seriously?!

When I went to the checkout line, with my piecrust-less cart that screamed DEFEAT, I didn’t even wait to have the clerk ask me if I found everything alright. I blurted out something about how is it two weeks before Thanksgiving and you are out of piecrusts. Being in his early twenties and taking for granted the magic of the holidays, he mumbled, with this totally bored and condescending look, something like they had been selling a lot lately.

The bagger said there were some in the frozen section.

On the outside, I politely declined. But on the inside, I was declaring if I am going to cheat on making piecrusts, I am going to do it the right way, for Christ’s sake!

In the end, my Mom found them at another store. So either the people at Kroger didn’t buy enough or I need to buy piecrusts when schools supplies make their debut on the shelves: July.

So how are your plans coming along for the holidays? Making any headway? Falling behind? Frustrated? Let’s hear it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Feel Good Friday – I Did It!
And be sure to check out her contest: i write-i blog-i win

I have a lot to feel good about because I did it! I made it a whole week by myself! I know to a lot of Moms out there, this is nothing, but WOW, it’s hard. Note to self: Never take for granted all the Harrington does around the house and with The Babes.

And this morning, for the Grand Finale, was really a miracle. I heard Thomas crying in his sleep, and thought it was time for me to get up. So I am all ready to get up, and look at my clock, only to realize it’s 3:30 a.m. Because my brain is already in wake up mode, it takes me another 2 hours to fall back asleep. I get approximately 30 more minutes of sleep before my alarm goes off. And it wasn’t one of those laid back kind of mornings either. Oh, no! I had to drop Marie off at school, take care of laundry, clean some bathrooms, and go to Target to get The Babes a commemorative gift that we made it together as a team. (Mostly to buy my way out of all the guilt I felt for feeling that I fell a bit short. Sad, right)?

So let’s talk about The Guilt. I did feel a little guilty that I wasn’t as patient as I normally am. I also felt a little guilty about the mass amounts of TV I let them watch. Not to mention that Marie is cranky with me and giving me the cold shoulder because her routine was a little off makes me feel a bit guilty, too. (But seriously, when she’s up at 5:50 a.m. and doesn’t want to lay by herself in my bed while I need to get ready, what am I suppose to do?)And then there was the guilt that I wasn’t playing with The Babes.

But since I wasn’t playing with them all that much, they began to play WITH EACH OTHER! Unprompted! And nicely! And giggling! See, here I took pictures because I was beginning to fear this day would never come.

Playing pretend sleepover
Laughing!  And giggling!

And nicely, too!  WIN!

So instead of feeling guilty about all that, I am going to look at it as a learning opportunity for Marie to understand it can’t be the way that she wants it to be all of the time. I am also going to look at it as a chance for The Babes to bond together. Because it’s Feel Good Friday. Yea!

Oh, and I am going to make a big-ass breakfast on Sunday because that will make me feel better, too.  My friend at Sensible Cents sent me a coupon for free Jimmy Dean Hearty Sausage Crumbles.  Yea for breakfast burritos!  Be sure to check out the site - lots of great giveaways!

And now I am going to crash.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

One More Day

This post is going to be brief. I am on day 4 of manning the fort alone . . .although my parents did have us over for dinner and watched The Babes while I went to the food doctor. We’ve kept busy and the house is decent. I am still recovering from yesterday morning. It was a bit much trying to get everything done before 8:45 preschool and 9:30 story time. It was GetUpGetReadyAtTheSpeedOfLightTakeOutTheTRashEmptyTheDishwasherGetTheKidsReadyFightToGetThemReadyDon’tForgetTheDecoratedTurkeyFeatherBeSureToPutCoffeeInToGoCupDropoffMarieTakeThomasToStoryTimePickUpMarieMakeLunch kinda day.

Did I mention Marie is getting up at 5:50 a.m. so she’s up the whole time I am getting ready?

Which you can probably guess she’s a little “emotional.” Needless to say, I am “emotional.”

I anticipate a crash on Friday.

For everyone.

See you for Feel Good Friday!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless-ish Wednesday - Spa-venture and Aromatherapy

So it’s official – I did get the Fisher Price Stand n’ Play Rampway. After a tiny bit of a miscommunication with the lady at Target which resulted in my heart stopping briefly, I paid for it and got the hell out of there. And Santa is NOT getting the credit for this one. No way!

I have decided to take Christmas by the balls this year again and one of the ways I am doing that is trying to be more calm (now that I got that damn Rampway, of course). One of the times I have felt more relaxed was at my spa-venture. It even smelled relaxing. And since I won’t be doing that anytime soon, I decided to create my own spa-venture fragrance with essential oils. Also, I wanted to make a nonperishable homemade craft for The Babes to do (yes, I know some people may be rolling their eyes, but you know, it helps them to think a little bit less of themselves and more of others . . .well, at least Marie. Thomas still pretty much thinks the world revolves around his 18 month old self).

So here is the kit that will recreate my spa-venture and make holiday gifts. Pretty tall order for such little bottles. Thanks, Aura Cacia for the responding to my inquiry of Facebook for some recipes.

*Aura Cacia did not supply any of the products for this post. It was all me!  However, if in the future they wanted to, I would gladly accept the opportunity.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Holiday Hysteria and Christmas Catastrophe: Holiday Marketing Schemes and the Anxious Consumer

This past Sunday, the Fam and I decided to go for a little trip down the toy aisles at Target to get a few ideas of what The Babes may want for Christmas. I anticipated the fun kind of trip where we talk about making a Christmas list and get all dreamy for The Big Morning.

What I did not anticipate was a store FILLED with people as if it were the last two weeks before Christmas. It was packed, people! Toys were MISSING from the shelves! MISSING!!

The one thing we really want to get Thomas – GONE!

When I asked a clerk to look in the back, they said there were no more. NO MORE!! And then I went into over share mode:

Me: Really? They are all gone?

Clerk: Yes, but we get shipment almost every day now.

Me: I just can’t believe that they are all gone.

Clerk: I know.

Me: I mean, the marketing scheme of getting the consumer to worry about Christmas and actively shop well before Thanksgiving is working. Here I am, FREAKING out that the one toy I really, really need is not on the shelf because I waited a whole week after Halloween to start Christmas shopping. Really, what kind of mom am I to have waited so long?

Clerk: You know, you can call us to see if we got the shipment in.

Me: Well, I may call everyday and be “that parent” who stalks the store until it comes.

Clerk: (nervous laugh) That’s OK. It happens all the time.

Me: Alright, talk to you tomorrow.

Well, I missed my call on Monday, and when I called today on Tuesday, the shop clerk actually asked if I called yesterday since “that is our shipment date.” No pressure, lady! I got it - I’m a bad mom because I didn’t call on one of your official shipment dates.

I know I’ve been writing a lot about how I am working to make stronger personal boundaries and find more peace in my life. And I think that I’ve been doing OK, but if there is a trigger for my anxiety besides hormones it is Christmas shopping. It’s like a damn cyclone that sucks me right in.

It starts with the gifts and then it gets me thinking about the celebrating arrangements with whom and when and the outfits and the food and the decorations. (Which will be the topics of future posts, I’m sure)

So even though I think we will be doing some things differently this holiday, it is clear to me that I still need to work on that whole consumerism thing. Although it is fun to buy presents, it’s not fun to stress out about it. And I have to say, “Hey Marketing Geniuses, you may have gotten me with that Fisher Price Stand n’Play Rampway and Just Dance for Kids, but I am in control from here on out.”

I hope, right?

I mean I do plan non-consumerism projects that help me teach the true meaning of Christmas, like baking cookies, looking at Christmas lights, doing crafts, stuff like that. But man, kicking that instinct to go into panic shopping mode is hard.

So there is a happy ending to all this: I did find the Fisher Price toy at another Target and Just Dance for Kids will be shipped to my house, thank you very much Amazon.

So, Friends, are you getting sucked into all the Holiday Hysteria? If not, how do you stay away from the cyclone.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Debut of Movie Monday: Cheerleader Coach vs. The Parent

I have an announcement to make, everyone I have an announcement! I think I am going to post an xtranormal video every other Monday, hence the name Movie Monday!

Today I am going to focus on an exchange I had with a parent during my first year of teaching. Remember when I said I would tell you why I just couldn’t cut it as a teacher? Well, why rehash that in a blog post when I can make it funny in an xtranormal video. (Anything is funny with those awesome little actors and voices, right?)

So let me set up the scene: I coached seventh grade cheerleading my first year of teaching. It was . . . challenging. The girls were, well, very confident with them. And the parents were, how can I say this nicely, uppity? No, that’s not it. Bossy? Not quite either. My-princess-can-do-no-wrong-toddlers-and-tiaras-crazy? Yes, that is more like it.

The demographic of the school is mostly white, middle to upper-middle class students that harbor a great sense of entitlement.

This is key because the incident involved an African-American, special-ed student.

So without further ado, I bring to you Movie Monday:

End scene.

I was stunned that she had the audacity to wag her finger in my face. It was my first year of teaching, I was only 22 years old, and I was scared shitless that this lady was acting so aggressive towards me. For upholding school policy.

And just so you know, I did get a talking to about not using the word “shut up.” The cheerleader and her mother in question, to the best of my knowledge, were never reprimanded.

Yikes, right?

Got any stories of injustice in the workplace you’d like to share in this public forum?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Feel Good Friday – Rant and then a Rave

Be sure to check out The Girl Next Door Grows Up


Before I get to my list of five things that made me feel good this week, I need to get this rant out first.
I am not one to wait to the last minute to get snow gear and holiday outfits. I was burned one year when Marie was just a baby. I waited too long to get her mittens. By too long, I mean late November/early December. Luckily, she was too young to play in the snow so I just pulled her way long sleeves over her little hands. Needless to say, I don’t mess around when it comes to this stuff.

How is it that Old Navy only has three pairs of snow pants left? When I was in there three weeks ago to buy a jacket, they had no snow pants.

And now they are almost gone?!

And none of them fit her!

Marie was blessed with her mother’s long, long legs and short, short torso (where we hold all of our padding). So when pants fit us in the waist, they are lllooonnnggg in the length. When pants fit in the length, they are too tight in the waist. It just seems totally unfair that at age 4, she needs to be bothered with any of this. Except she’s not bothered by it because I don’t bitch about it infront of her. It’s my body image prevention plan. However, I am the one running around town like a crazy lady cursing that it’s barely cold out, and I am literally SWEATING trying to find this stuff.

Finding a winter coat and snow pants that fit her is totally freaking me out. And I blame the stores for making me feel like I am a bad mom if I don’t get this winter gear before Halloween. Because you know, as soon as Christmas is over, there will be SUMMER gear in the stores. Really?!

Ok, let’s take a break. Here’s a picture of one of the options. A bit too big, right?

She looks like Randy from A Christmas Story when
he couldn't put his arms down.  Related: I
looked like his mother when she was getting
him ready for deep-sea diving.

And if you are wondering about Thomas, the first thing I tried on him, fit. This may be a generalization, but I think boys might be a little easier to shop for . . .mainly because I am not wrestling with a 1/4 zipper and super low riding pants. Just a thought.

So enough of this rant of modern day marketing strategies making me feel all shitty about myself. Let’s get to the rave part of today’s post:

1. The Switch Witch was a complete success! And now I don’t have to worry about looking like a snowman BEFORE Christmas.

Look what the Switch Witch brought - a roll
of coloring sheets!  Yea!  (Marie had already
taken her out before I could take the picture.

She had been up for about 3.5 minutes and hadn't
even eaten breakfast yet.  I think Harrington and I
are going to miss the candy more than they are.

2. Just Dance 2 – it helped to manage my candy intake AND bond with Marie. I’d say that’s quite a lot for a video game, don’t you think? (Also, my new high score for Proud Mary is 8651. Did I mention that there are turns in that song)?

3. Date night is tomorrow! I can’t remember the last time I went out on a date at night for dinner. I don’t count Vancouver since we were accompanied with Harrington’s work people.

4. Picasa Photo – totally revamped the way I manage my trillions of family photos.

5. Modern Family – I just love that show! I wish Mitch lived nearby so we could hang out. I am sure Thomas and Lily would get along famously.

6. I got The Babes their Christmas outfits pretty much done.

So Friends, enough about me. Got anything you want to rant or rave about?

Oh, and I do have a question: Do you know anything about livejournal sites? I have gotten a ton of hits from blogs hosted from this site. Except it’s in a language I can’t read. Has this ever happened to you?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Switch Witch: The Ingenious Solution to Leftover Halloween Candy

I love chocolate candy. Love. It. Few things in this world are as perfect as the marriage of peanut butter and chocolate in a Reeses’ Peanut Butter Cup. Don’t even get me started with deliciously sweet coconut and salty almond topped with creamy milk chocolate in an Almond Joy. And Snickers? It is the perfect combination of sweet and salt.

So as you can tell, I have developed a bit of an affair with my favorite little treats. (And if you missed my delirious sugar high Facebook status updates in which I totally flaked out on my friend from Mom et Al, then check this out). Anyway, these little candy bars are perfect portions. But seriously? How am I expected to eat just one when I am faced with this?

Nom, nom, nom.

The Babes are also getting that glazed over junkie look after lunch and dinner. Not only do they ask for the candy (or as Thomas puts his chubby little fingers together to sign “more” as he chirps, “Cheat,” which means treat), but they expect it. I am pretty sure if Thomas could, he would say, “MaMA! Get me those M & M’s NOW DAMN IT!”

And yes, I know I am to blame.

So safe to say, this chocolate. must. go.

Enter my friend Laura and her awesome Facebook post:
The Switch Witch came tonight and switched all of my daughter’s Halloween candy and in its place left Toy Story 3. Such a good little witch.

Genius! Pure genius, I tell you!

So I am going to follow her directions: You have your Babe pick out 5 pieces of candy, put the rest out on the porch for the Switch Witch to take away, and she leaves behind something else. In my case, giant coloring pages that Marie has been begging for all month.

I hope to find somewhere to donate all that candy. If anyone local knows of somewhere to take it to a better place, please let me know.

Thank you, Facebook, for putting me in contact with Laura. We grew up in the same neighborhood together. She also has this amazing store called Sassy GirlsnCurls for all her handmade hair accessories. Go check her out! And let’s just say we are working on a giveaway in time for the holidays. Yea!

So, Friends, let’s talk candy. What’s your favorite candy bar? Are you more of a chocolate person or a straight up high-fructose corn syrup person? Do you think you’ll be eating Halloween candy until Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless-ish Wednesday - Halloween Edition

Sketch it out: the commencing of pumpkin carving.
Note how engaged Thomas is. 
And yes, that is a black magic marker in his hands.

I can't get her to eat sweet potatoes,
 but she'll try that nasty gunk in a pumpkin. 

At first Thomas was disgusted by the pumpkin, but quickly
became intrigued.
So intrigued, he sat right up there on the table.
I kept telling him to get off the table . . .
right after I take just one more picture.  Yes, I
know I'll be paying for this later.
Jesse says, "YEE-HAW!"
Please take a moment to appreciate
this one with the hood on.
 Because it took FOREVER to take it!
Well worth it, if you ask me.
Hope everyone had a great Halloween!