Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Calling all BlogHer attendees.

It's getting close and I am wondering if YOU are going to BlogHer? 

Monday, June 28, 2010

We have a winner!

Using the Custom Random Number Generator on mathgoodies.com, the number it selected was comment #2.  Congratulations to Catherine at Evolving Mommy.  She won the $30 gift card to CSN Stores.  Enjoy!

I have another giveaway coming soon for a one year membership to the JumpStart website which is "an award-winning adventure-based 3D virtual world that is super-personalized, wildly imaginative and really fun, but don't let that fool you - it also teaches math, reading, and critical thinking skills so kids get a real jump start in life."

Stop back soon!

Friday, June 25, 2010

You Light Up My Life!

We did not build our house – the family before us built our house. I could go on and on about what I would do differently. I would probably be able to say that even if we had built this house.

I’m not sure building a house is something I even want to do. There are so many decisions to make – cabinets, flooring, countertops, sinks and faucets for kitchens and bathrooms. I can't tell you how many times I (by that, I really mean my husband) have painted and repainted a room because the color "just isn't right."  Imagine the stress I would be under trying to make decisions on things that couldn't be so easily changed!

In addition to the decisions I mention above, there is also lighting. I guess I thought that would seem like the easy part. But I recently was asked by Jason at CSN to review a site for recessed lighting. Wow! Who knew recessed lighting was so diverse? There are not just different types of lights, but also recessed lighting trims. Some of them can really jazz up what I always thought was a “one option” selection.

Like this cover:
And this one:
Oh, and this one!
Then there are “Beauty Spots” for recessed lighting. Think of a crystal lampshade for a recessed light that reflects light and color into the room and onto the ceiling.

They look like this:
And this.
Basically, after looking at something as simple as lights and seeing options out there that I didn’t even know existed, I think I am glad not to have to build a house. I am much better at improving others' creations than I am at creating from scratch.

Now for the giveaway. I am giving away a $30 gift certificate to be used at any of the CSN stores - there are 200 of them! You get one entry each for:

Following me

Leaving me a comment and telling me which store you would make a purchase from.

Linking to this blog entry from your blog

Tweeting about this giveaway.

Just leave me a comment for each of the above that you do. I will close this giveaway Saturday and announce the winner on Sunday.

Friday, June 18, 2010

You're hot!

CJ, who is six, is ALWAYS saying funny stuff.  He also tells me how pretty I am, how pretty my hair is, how nice I look, how much he loves me.  He'll be a good husband.

The other day I was making pizza for lunch.  I opened the oven door and he came running over.  I told him to stay back because it was hot.  He hugged me from the back and said, "YOU are hot!"  I immediately said, "Thanks!" thinking that was a new compliment from him.  He then laughed (and he is so.damn.cute. when he laughs) and said, "Not sexy-hot, hot from the heat of the oven."  Not "sexy-hot"?  Where in the world did he hear that?  Did he even know what it meant?

So I asked him and he told me he heard it on a show called Adventure Time.  Clearly, I am not paying much attention to what my kids are watching.  I asked him if he knew what it meant and he said no, but I am thinking he did, because he used it totally in the right context. I gave him the best definition I could of "sexy-hot", but really, how do you explain that to a six year old?  He now thinks sexy-hot is the same as pretty.  I think I will have to clear this up in the future.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

This is how I know it's summer.

This year, like every year since 1992, I have attended an Ultimate Frisbee tournament that coincides with a small town festival in a farming community here in Ohio.  (We did miss a year when we lived in Kansas, but only one year, even though we lived in KS for three years.  Yes, that means we drove to OH to go to this tournament!)  This may not sound like anything unusual.  Frisbees flying, points being calculated and tracked, teams being placed into A,B and C brackets based on wins vs. losses, carnival rides to ride, fried and fatty carnival food to consume.  Oh, and of course, some good times at playing Bingo in the bingo tent.  This is how I know we have officially hit summer.
 
The unusual part is that we camp in the city park.  All 1500+ Ultimate players from all over the country pitch tents and hunker down for the weekend with all the camping needs, including coolers and lots of alcohol. I am not an outdoorsman, unless it involves a beach or pool and some adult beverages.  I don't like traditional camping.  However, this past weekend is truly one of my favorite weekends of the year.  Probably because we are in a city park, with showers, toilets and a swimming pool within a stone's throw.  So you see, it's not really camping.  It's just us, sleeping in a tent.  I love sleeping in a tent.  I love that every year, in the middle of the night, it rains on our tent.  I love waking up at 3:00 in the morning, before or after the rain, hearing a bunch of drunks playing guitars, singing songs, throwing frisbees.  I love, that after a gzillion years of going to this tournament with most of the same people, our team adults are now out numbered.  There are officially more kids in our camping area than adults.  All three of our kids go along with the majority of everyone else's.  It's so fun and the kids get to roam the park freely on their bikes, scooters, pogo sticks and even the golf cart that one team member brought, while the adults are playing Ultimate, drinking beer or in my case, sitting in the shade reading a book.

I can't overlook the Cool Hand Luke hard boiled egg eating contest.  Sous Chef was one of the counters.  I can't even go watch.  Between seeing several guys literally choke down boiled eggs while trying not to puke after about the first ten, being in a park shelter that adds about 100 degrees to the already 85 degree hot/humid weather, and the smell of all those nasty boiled eggs, I can't be there because I start my own version of wretching and heaving and it is not pretty.

 
Big E is now playing on MG's team, so Sous Chef, CJ and I rode our bikes into town to the local dive for breakfast.  It's called the Sweet Shop.  Really, can you think of a better name for a little bakery and restaurant in an agricultural town with about 2,000 residents?  We then stayed in town for the Poultry Days parade.  I got a little too loud and excited when the local pro-life group tried to give my kids their anti-choice propoganda.  I got a lot of stares that said "who is that horrific big city girl making that commotion?" as I made my kid throw down the bumper sticker they gave him and when I refused to take the flyer they wanted to give me. 

As for that bike riding I mentioned above, it takes me a while to get the hang of it.  I know they say you never forget how to ride a bike, but my balance is such that each time I take off, I wobble in a way that most people probably think I am just learning.  More than once, I crashed into a another kid on a bike or a pedestrian.  Yes, it's a little embarrassing. 
 
Saturday night, we had to hide out in the Bingo tent while storms raged on around us, along with tornado warnings in outer areas.  This happens more years than not, but this year we decided to bail and drove 45 minutes to my parent's house.  Thankfully, our tent was dry and in place the next morning!  This happened not too far from our tent.
 
I'm pretty sure that happened while we were playing Bingo and the crack of the lightning hitting the tree and the thunder that followed was so loud everyone screamed and ducked a little.

Honestly, though, if it was not for this Poultry Days Festival weekend, I cannot be sure it's summer.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What has gotten into her?

I did it again.  I went and rode another rollercoaster yesterday.  Well, actually two.  They were both ones I had ridden in the past, so I knew what I was getting into, but it was still fun!  My husband is worried I am going to explode my brain.  I did pass on the ones that I know do a lot of shaking and super fast and high drops.  I am still drooling over one I haven't ridden yet, and probably never will.  But that's ok.  I've squeezed in quite a few this year already when I know I shouldn't.  I think it's time to give my patchworked and repaired brain a rest.

On the other hand, I bought CJ a new pair of sneakers with a higher sole and then stuffed the bottom of his shoes with napkins.  That did the trick and he surpassed the 48" mark and was able to ride many of the bigger rides he has been aching to get on.  The one coaster we rode together, which hangs from a track instead of riding on a track like a train.  On the way up the hill he said something like "WHY did I want to ride this?"  I wasn't sure what would happen after that, but I knew one thing ... there was no going back.  He ended up loving it and rode it again later.  I loved it, too, but did not ride again.  My godson also rode and could barely hold in his stomach contents towards the end.  He got off and ran to the trash can where he was quickly distracted by a nickel laying on the trash can lid  It was a miracle cure and he was good to go the rest of the day.

Thankfully, my middle son, my BFF (visiting from Guam!) and her niece were all there to take my place with CJ on the rides I am still opting out of.

Flight Deck

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm due.

I think it's time for political blog entry.  Possibly a controversial political blog entry, depending on who you are.

I have had this conversation with several people lately - people that I respect.  I also overheard clients today discussing it while waiting for their therapists.  Really, who discusses this possibly heated topic right before a massage?  You're there to relax, people!

Anyway, I originally had very mixed emotions about the Arizona state immigration law that is going into (is now?) effect.  It felt very wrong and it still feels like profiling.  They can say it's not focusing on Mexicans, but really, is Arizona overly concerned about the number of German immigrants in their state?  I think we all know who they are concerned about and I don't know why they just don't admit that.  Maybe they have and I missed it.

However, the more I've thought about it and the more I've discussed it, the more I see where that state, and those who are following, may be coming from.  I don't necessarily like that it has come to this, but I do think if one is here illegally, then one must go.  Do I think immigration laws could be reformed?  YES!  But for now, they are what they are and I think it is a requirement of our government to enforce the laws they set.  (Yes, this statement could lead to a lot of other areas that need to enforce a variety of laws, but today we are talking about immigration.)  For anyone who feels strongly against our immigration laws, I think this is a fine opportunity to take your words and beliefs into action and do what you can to improve the system.  I do believe there is a lot of room for improvement!

The one part I really don't like is that the state of Arizona finds it necessary to do this.  If the laws our federal government has in place were being acted upon, it wouldn't have come to this.  As a former Human Resources Manager, I had to collect documentation from all employees to prove their citizenship or legal right to work.  It's for an I-9 form. I also had to submit my own documentation for the same purpose every time I started a new job.  It seems very simple.  However, companies all over our country are hiring illegal immigrants to work for cheaper labor than if they hire citizens.  If citizens are hired, the businesses would then have to not only pay at least minimum wage, but also taxes on that employee.  I guess for the businesses, since they know our government either a) overlooks this illegal practice and/or b) has no intention of following up on employers to verify they are within legal practices, it is cheaper for them to hire illegal labor.  I really feel if we started there, hit the businesses, small and large alike, with big fines or more, that the incentive to save a few bucks and risk not getting caught hiring illegal immigrants would diminish.  Then the desire to sneak into this country would also diminish, as there would be no jobs for anyone who is without legal working papers.

So there it is.  A very quick summary of my thoughts.  I really could go on, but it would probably just get confusing as I ramble on with examples and tangential comments.  So lay it on me readers, what is your opinion.  Be kind though, to me and other commenters.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I am so sick of sitting on the sidelines.

For the last week, I have had friends from Kansas City staying at my house.  Three moms and six kids came for a visit.  We did lots of things in my little metropolis that I either have never done or haven't done in a long time. 

We went to the Zoo. (FYI - In the first picture one child refused to be in picture.  In both pictures, one child didn't go to the zoo and the third family had not arrived yet for the weekend.)
We went to our pool.  Thankfully, you lucky readers, we have no pictures of me in a swimsuit!

The mamas went out to dinner without the kids!  Clearly, our babysitter is a saint.  She not only stayed with nine kids, she took pictures of us, too.  (Try to ignore that funky tan line above my breast.  I'm on the far left for anyone who is new here.)
We went to the Butterfly Exhibit at Krohn Conservatory.  (I forgot my camera this day.)

We went to see Under the Sea at the Omnimax.

The mamas took a trip to IKEA.  The older kids stayed home and the younger kids went to the kids play area at IKEA.  The mamas spent money while the kids had fun.

We went to the Newport Aquarium.  At this point, two of the moms and their kids had gone back to KC and one family remained.  Big E was at school because of finals/projects, etc. due for the end of the year.  This is a picture of the kids acting like they are being attacked by the shark.
I think the most fun, however, was the amusement park, which we went to while all three families were here.  Kings Island is easy for us to get to and the mamas took the kids for a day of rides, fatty foods and occasional temper tantrums and meltdowns, from the kids AND the mamas!  Two kids were lost, and found, this day, which is quite a success for this group.  Success not because we lost or found them but because only TWO were lost/found and not more.

Now, if you have been around these parts long, you know I have had two brain surgeries since 2001.  Because of that, I am not supposed to do some things that I really love, like ride rollercoasters.  But you can only sit out of life for so long before you say "Fuck it.  I'm doing it."  And that's exactly what I did.  I rode this one.

(The coaster goes just over 50 miles per hour, not the 90 that the guy thought he heard them say.)  It's a "flying" rollercoaster. Basically, while you are riding you are hanging face down, laying down as if you were doing a "Superman" kind of flight. Sous Chef and I rode this the last ride of the day, just in case it didn't go so well for me.  I had him prepped for exactly what he needed to do in case I was passed out when we came back into the terminal.  Once the train seats flipped backwards, I had to start doing some restorative and relaxing breathing.  I had to quickly find my "happy place" before I had a total panic attack.  Sous Chef requested that I didn't start screaming while we were sitting there waiting to pull out of the station.  As we started going up the hill, he said, "It's ok, mom, you can scream now."  Instead, I sat there deep breathing and chanting, "I'm going to be ok."  People, let me tell you, I loved that rollercoaster.  Not because it was different than any I had ever ridden before or because it was fast and flippy.  That was just part of it.  It was so incredible to be on a rollercoaster.  I kept thinking, "Oh my god, I.AM.ON.A.ROLLERCOASTER!"  I gave out a few "whoo-hoos!" and "wows".  I think the last thing I said before getting off the coaster was, "SOUS CHEF!  I am SO glad I rode this."  And I am.  I don't know that I will risk riding it every time we go (we have passes and go frequently during the summer) or even if I will ever ride it again.  Risking it once may have been enough for me.  But I am so glad I did it.  I'm happy to say, I was the only mama who rode a large rollercoaster on this day.

It's been a few days now, and I am still feeling good!