Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: The Year in Review

A lot happened in 2011. It was the 10th anniversary of 9/11. And we finally found and killed Osama bin Laden. Natural disasters included a tornado in Joplin, MO and a tsunami in Japan. On a happier note, it was also a year for a royal wedding: Prince William and Kate Middleton. On a  more personal note, this year our babies turned 4 and 2, S mastered a balance bike, we took our first train ride, Baby R grew in leaps and bounds hitting all her milestones and then some - speaking in compound sentences already. DH enjoyed playing softball, season tickets to the T-Bones (our local minor league baseball team) and winning the fantasy football league. I started creative writing again, opened my Etsy shop: Jaborandi Grove, got cut to part-time at work and discovered Pinterest. That said, here's a look back at some of my favorite posts of the year:

Storage Wars at Home
Lines
The Proposal
Saturday Morning
The One Where Our 3-Year-Old Threw Up the Devil Horns
Non-Bloggers Just Don't Understand
Slow Down and Breathe (featured on Studio30 Plus)
Things I Like About Me
Lamentations of a Working Mother
Ten Years Ago Today, America Was Attacked
Morning, Baby R
Sleigh? Santa Drives a Minivan


Oh, and today is my little sister's birthday, so quick shout out to her!

And I'm not really following their directions, but I'm linking up with Four Plus An Angel & My Front Porch Swing. :)




 
 



And I'm also linking up with Natalie's Best of 2011.
 
 




Mommy of a Monster

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Blast From the Past:Peek-A-Boo

Source: bing.com via Alicia on Pinterest



This post was originally done in January of this year, and is being republished for your viewing pleasure.


It's funny how people in the same family remember the same events differently. Or in my case, how my sister, J, just doesn't remember them at all. It's really hard to enjoying reminiscing when 90% of our conversations go something like this:

M:  "Oh my gosh, J, you'll never guess who I ran into yesterday! So-and-so! Remember her? We both had a crush on you-know-who! Wasn't that hysterical? That time we took you to such-and-such a place was so much fun. We were so dorky! "

J: Pauses. "Um, no, I don't remember going there."

M: "Oh. Well, you remember her, though, right? The one with the really long blonde, curly hair and huge bangs?"

J: "That pretty much describes every one of the girls at school."

M: True. "Yeah, but so-and-so was tall and had that jean jacket?" Wait that doesn't really help. "She had a sister who was in cheerleading with you... what was her name...."

J: "You know I don't remember anything from our childhood."

J: Sigh. "I know."

So on Christmas Eve when we were filling the stockings and eating Santa's cookies, we started talking about one Christmas in particular that stuck with both of us. I was excited to relive those memories with her. It's rare for that kind of thing to happen, and I was shocked at the details she could conjure up. But I also understood why. That Christmas was different. It was the one year we peeked.

Our mom is from Manitoba, so we never took vacation per se; any traveling we did was to visit family. The trip to Mom's hometown is a 14-hour car ride, and we usually went in the summer to escape the sticky midwest heat, but occasionally made the trek twice a year and braved the bitter cold around Christmastime as well. Since dad was a mailman, he didn't get time off at Christmas, so when we started talking about this specific trip, he insisted we were mistaken. I imagine there were years we went before or after the holiday, but one year, my sister and I both agreed, we were definitely there on Christmas Eve.

We stayed at Grandma's house like we did with every visit until her stroke when I was in high school. The aunt and uncle who had cousins closest to our age were there, too. All nine of us kids slept in the basement. We, of course, stayed up as long as we could to try to catch Santa. I think I was 10 or so, and J would have been about 8, so we were of an age to be in on the secret that he wasn't real, but we played along knowing he wouldn't bring presents to those who thought he didn't exist. And we were sensitive to the presence of our younger cousins.

Inevitably, we all fell asleep. My sister remembered that one of our cousins set the alarm clock for 2 or 3am. Everyone got up and stealthily crept up the old stairs that had chips in the brown paint. We leaned against the worn railing and paneled walls to avoid the creaky spots. I remember it feeling like it took forever for all nine of us to get to the top. Whenever someone made a noise, we all froze and held our breath, afraid we'd get caught.

Finally, our anticipation having reached a fervor, we arrived at the kitchen and silently made our way across the linoleum floor, past the counter laden with Grandma's delicious baked goods and the curio containing tchotchkes. Our feet found the soft carpet of the living room that had yet to obtain updated furniture so it was like a time warp to the late '60's, early 70's. There were so many of us that the presents almost filled the room. Though it was dark, there was reflection from the snow to send enough moonlight through the big front window that we could see which presents belonged to each of us.

Oddly enough, though I'm the one with the better memory in general, I don't remember what presents we got that year. I think our cousins got Cabbage Patch kids, but maybe that was the year we got them. (That would have made it 1984 since '83 was the year of the craze, and our parents refused to succumb to the insanity.) Anyway, the specifics of that part of the night are lost on me. I had thought we just checked the stockings and big, unwrapped presents. J, though, distinctly remembers carefully unwrapping her gifts, a locket in particular.

We were all giddy with the adrenaline of doing something forbidden and the joy of discovering which of our wishes had come true.  Shushing each other and prodding everyone to finish re-wrapping gifts, we snuck back to the basement. It was tough to settle down and get back to sleep, but we eventually did.

Christmas morning we got up and joined our parents. I don't know how our cousins felt, but J and I were incredibly disappointed. It was such a let down to already know what we'd gotten. We all put on a fake smile and tried to be excited, but J remembers being unable to convince our parents that she was as thrilled with the locket as she should have been and giving us away. I don't think we were in trouble really, but even if we had been punished, it wouldn't have mattered. That disappointment was the best instrument in teaching us not to peek. We never did it again.


Merry Christmas, 2011!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Baby Bullets: 5th Edition


  • S told Auntie E that she wanted to play with her but she wasn't available then, and they would need to reschedule.
  • S was "reading" her Action Bible to Baby R.
  • The girls are making gifts for their aunts and uncles for Christmas, and when S asked why there were 8 of them, I told her who each one was for. And then she said, "And we need one for Judy." Judy was her daycare provider from two years ago who we keep in touch with. "And one for Miss Joy." Our most recent provider who we had to leave in September when my job situation got messy. Such a sweetheart!
  • S was talking about the pictures hanging up in her room and she said, "I certainly want to keep that one."
  • Baby R - how old are you? I four! No sissy is four. You're two. Oh! How old are you? I four!
  • We went to Lowe's for the Build and Grow clinic and were insane enough to take two friends of the girls with us. Yes that's 2 adults, 2 four-year-olds and 2 two-year olds. It actually went really well. Mostly because S did her entire project by herself! She read the picture directions, put all the pieces together correctly, hammered all the nails in. I kept telling her I'd help her, but she wanted to do it herself. And she did. I was really impressed.
  • I got Harry & David cocoas at my Bunko gift exchange, and S wanted to have some.  I told her maybe for a special occasion. A few days later she mentioned she could have some of the cocoa on our next trip to St. Louis to visit Aunt J and Uncle K. Perplexed, I said it might be easier to make it at home. She said, "But you said I could have it on a special vacation!"
  • Lately when Baby R has been "talking" on her phone, she's been calling Aunt D. But it's not just that she calls her, it's that she "has to" call her. It's very important.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yep, Still Alive... Barely

So sorry for the absence. It started out with me just being a slacker. But it ended up that all of us girls got the stomach flu. :( Thankfully I had the worst of it, and luckily we are all better now before Christmas. I have some cute stories to share - Elf hiding places, S misunderstanding me because I used an unfamiliar word, etc. - so I hope to post a couple of times before Christmas, but due to being under the weather, I'm WAY behind on everything. So much to do, so little time. Will catch up soon!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Memories Captured


I find that the best photos of the girls occur when the set is the least favorable. As in this image of them sitting on the desk with messy cubbies behind them. If I were to have put them in front of a blank wall or a backdrop of some sort, I could have taken 100 shots and not one would have them both looking at the camera with their eyes open and smiling (though Baby R was at the end of hers here). But that's why it works well for the memories captured project because the words cover up a fair amount of the junk (and the Elf in the background which is why they were on the desk to begin with). Please link up with Galit and Alison and check out everyone's pics!

Dear Santa

S's list for Santa this year, verbatim:

- Another Memory game [we have 2 already] that's easy-peasy for Baby R

- Another elf because I love elves

- Books we don't have to take back to the library [which makes us sound nearly barren of books, yet we easily have over 100 between her bookshelf, Baby R's bookshelf and the shelf in the playroom]

- My own, OWN TV [you are your father's child]

- A TV for Baby R's room [so, sooo your father's child]

- A special library book light for Mommy that Mommy doesn't have to take back [I'm a bit perplexed by this one, as I have a book light that I've never had to return...]


Then you signed your name, and it was really well done. So you signed it again. Then I asked if you wanted to write your last name since you worked on that at school last week. So you did. But now when I look at it, all I can think of is Rosanne Rosanne-a-danna from SNL because of the repetition of your first name.

My sweet girl. You are so precious. You may have asked for your own TV in your room, but half the things on your list are things for others. I love you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Storage Wars at Home




I heard the water turn off, then the shower door click open in the master bath upstairs.

"What did you do with the clothes you were folding last night?"he yelled.

"I put them away," I called back, mischievously, from the living room couch where I was playing with the girls.

"Where?" he groused.

"Somewhere I thought would be more convenient for me," I smiled.

I went to the kitchen cupboard to the right of the sink and picked up a pair of Fruit of the Looms that lay between the pint glasses. The pint glasses that until two weeks ago - a day or two before Thanksgiving, mind you - had been in the cupboard to the left of the sink. At that time, plates had been in this cupboard. Where they belonged. Where they made sense. Until he switched them because the plate cupboard was "too crowded."

On the stairs to our bedroom, I thought, "He thinks he can mess with me," and almost laughed.

He was in the closet putting on a shirt, and trying to look mad at me but failing. If the girls weren't wide awake downstairs, I might have attacked his half-naked body right there. Another time.

When I handed the underwear to him, he asked, "So where did you put them?"

"Oh, downstairs somewhere," I teased. "Think of them as your own little Elf on the Shelf."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving

Design from Jaborandi Grove

Wednesday

I've posted about my love of Thanksgiving before. This year was wonderful, too, and I'm continually amazed at the blessings in our lives.  Unfortunately, my SIL's BFF's mom passed away suddenly this week. My SIL had not planned to come home for the holiday until she found out the funeral was yesterday. Wednesday night, S went with my FIL to pick up Auntie E from the airport. I think E was glad as her presence lightened the mood. They ended up having a conversation about what DH wears to bed. (Not sure how that subject came up. Not sure I want to know.) Anyway, here's the general idea:

S: Daddy sleeps nakeypants.
Auntie E: What do you mean? Does he where a shirt?
S: No.
Auntie E: Does he wear shorts?
S: No, just panties.

DH about died, and I cracked up when we heard about it. Can't blame S for not knowing that shorts are boxers or briefs, but clearly we need to have a conversation that explains the nuances of underwear terms.

Thursday

I always enjoy going to DH's family's Thanksgiving. It's his dad's side of the family, and about 30 of the 50 or so relatives were able to be there. Now that the cousins are having kids, there are little ones around to play with. S didn't want to leave when it was time to go because she was having too much fun. Love that!

The best part was when we said Grace before dinner. Everyone held hands in a huge circle that wound through the kitchen and dining room. I was holding Baby R so put her little hand in her teenage cousin's. DH's aunt began to say the blessing, and Baby R whispered "God is great, God is good, mumble mumble mumble food, Amen. God is great, God is good..." So sweet!

That night, Auntie E came over and chatted. We drank way too much wine and hung out with the neighbors for awhile by their fire pit. The weather was absolutely beautiful. I stumbled to bed around 2am. Oy...

Friday

In the morning, as expected, I was regretting my bedtime as well as the bottle and a half of vino I'd consumed. Small children have no ability to sleep in. Plus I needed to start baking since my family was coming over for Thanksgiving Round 2.

I realized I was missing an ingredient for the pumpkin pie, so I took the girls to the store for the fastest yet longest trip in my life. We walked in, I put them in the cart, and literally in front of me was the evaporated milk I needed. It was all I had come for, but decided to swing by the in-store Starbucks as I was in desperate need of some caffeine. While in line, the girls whined for apple juice which we had at home, and since we were leaving right after getting my coffee, I told them no.

And it began.

Huge tantrums by both of them. I finally got S calmed down, but then when it was time to get out of the cart, Baby R threw herself on the ground, kicking and screaming. I wasn't angry or embarrassed. I simply didn't have the energy to care.

I started walking toward the door and tossed a nonchalant, "Bye-bye!" her way. If it had been S, she would have come running. But Baby R didn't buy it. I stood by the automatic door, the heater blowing to push the cold air back outside, and looked at her for a minute. A cashier came over and asked if she was all right. I said, "She's fine. She's two. She's having a tantrum." I wanted to let her work it out, but I knew the employees didn't need to deal with it, so I snatched Baby R up and headed out.

For those of you who've never tried it, I don't recommend walking through a parking lot holding a hot cup of coffee, a grocery bag, a purse, the hand of your 4YO and a thrashing toddler. I'm just thankful none of the coffee spilled on the girls.

Thank goodness the Elf on the Shelf is back; S didn't remember her at first, but now that we've re-read the book and reiterated the correlation between good behavior and Santa bringing presents, she's back on board. Hopefully we can avoid a repeat of Friday morning.

Saturday

Nothing too exciting. My sister and BIL had spent the night with us Friday, so we had breakfast and then left for STL. It would have been nice if they could have stayed longer, but they had had a rough week. Their cat was hit by a car, my sis had a terrible week at work in NYC and was stuck on the runway of her return flight for a couple of hours, and she had to go back to NYC today. I don't blame them for wanting to get home and relax for a little bit.

DH and I finished cleaning up the house. I went in to my PT job for a couple of hours to make up being gone for the holiday. I did a little bit of work for Jaborandi Grove as it was the biggest shopping weekend of the year with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday as well as Cyber Monday coming up. It was hard to coordinate stuff for Etsy with the family stuff, but I'm still a small enough shop that it didn't matter much.

Sunday

Today we missed church as we had brunch with my in-laws for one last hurrah with Auntie E before she heads back to Cali tomorrow. We also drew names for Christmas presents. Tonight we put up the Christmas tree and some of the decorations. We all napped this afternoon so we were a bit late getting around to it. We'll have to finish up tomorrow.

It's fun to watch S start to remember things and see Baby R really take it in now that she's bigger. Though S is getting tricky with her questions about Santa already. Not sure how well I will do answering them.

While I did the dishes after supper, S was "talking" to Auntie E on the phone. She said she was sorry we hadn't invited her over to eat, but it was too late now. She chatted a few more minutes and then told me after she hung up that C (Auntie E's boyfriend) didn't want her to come back to Cali tomorrow, so she was going to stay with us tomorrow night and go back Tuesday. So funny!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sleigh? Santa Rides in a Minivan



Saturday DH took the girls to have breakfast at Chick-Fil-A with Santa. S was super excited. She wanted to know if she could see his sleigh. I had to be quick on my feet.

"Well, honey, it's probably too big to park at Chick-Fil-A. Their parking lot is pretty small."

"Oh," she said, disappointed. "How will he get there?"

"Maybe he'll park somewhere nearby and walk over?"

"Yeah, or someone can give him a ride."

"Sure," I said, thinking I'd dodged that bullet.

But then her face lit up. "He could park here and ride with us!"
Crap.

"Well, honey, that is so sweet, but he probably already has a ride for today. But you could ask him when you see him if we can give him a ride next year."

"Ok!"

Please let that elephantine memory of hers fail on this so next year we don't have to invent a reason why he didn't accept our invitation...



This is linked to a monthly meme with Not Just Another Jen. November's word of the month is "Give". Though not exactly used in the sense I think she was looking for, it does appear here, and it's a cute story. :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pinterest Project #1

This title is a bit of a misnomer as I talked about doing some Pinterest-inspired projects on my Etsy blog, Jaborandi Grove. But this is the first one I've done here.

Baby R wanted a Winnie-the-Pooh birthday party, and when I saw this pin for Tigger Tails, I thought they would be a cute, feasible (ie, I could actually do it) alternative to decorating a cake (which is not my forte).





If you actually click on the link in the pin, it takes you to a site that talks about the best food at Disney, and it turns out these are caramel-coated large marshmallows dipped in orange-colored chocolate. I decided to make mini-cupcakes, line them up and frost them together. I think they turned out pretty cute!


I've decided that I've now completed enough pins to create a new board called "I Did It." It's pretty fun to see it grow...

This post is linked to several places: 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday, Baby R

My beautiful girl. You are so amazing. You insist on keeping up with big sister, of course, like most younger siblings. But unlike most babies of the family, you don't let her talk for you. You talk more than she does at times. I think to show you can do just as much.

You like to go for the reaction - pretending to be a kitty cat, pretending to be asleep when it's time for me to get you out of the car, screeching an earsplitting cry when you are unhappy, hiding under Blankie Boo for as long as it takes for someone to ask where you are. Most of the time it makes me laugh. Reminds me of your Aunt J.

And you are so very sweet. You say Grace at every meal - often times more than once. You say, "Sorry, Sissy," when S is the one who is supposed to be apologizing. You said your baby had a wet diaper and started to take yours off to use for her. You offer to help pick up your toys. (I'm sure that won't last, but I'm enjoying it for now!) As a general rule, you are very agreeable. You don't even mind going to bed (though lately, the stalling has kicked into high gear).

There are definitely Terrible Two moments when you throw a tantrum for an inexplicable reason and can't be talked into calming down. No matter what we say, you answer negatively: Do you want to stay? No! Do you want to go? No! The fit you threw outside on Halloween that the neighbors several doors down heard - inside - was a doozie. But it turned out you were getting sick. And you still managed to last through the whole trick-or-treating excursion, saying "Trick-or-Treat!" and "Thank you!" at every door, and carrying your green, monster bucket which was so heavy it was dragging by the end of the night. I offered to carry it for you several times, but your teeny voice piped up, "No, I got it, Mama!'

Sometimes I'm better at being patient with you because I've been there before. Some days I am less patient because I'm being pulled by your sister, too. It's difficult to treat you both equally, but I'm trying. I love you both so very much. I'm enjoying having a crazy schedule right now, because I get Tuesday and Thursday mornings to spend one-on-one time with you. It's been such a rare opportunity until now, and often we spend it running errands, but it's fun to listen to you sing along with Veggie Tales and Laurie Berkner.

I love you, my sweetheart. I wish you happiness and joy in the coming year. Happy birthday.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Baby Bullets: 4th Edition


Update on Baby R.

  • Counting some jelly beans: 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 
  • She was "reading" her Pooh & Eeyore book and said, "Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday" followed by some more counting, "2, 3, 7, 9"
  • That was about a month ago. Now she can count to five pretty consistently.
  • She also sings her alphabet, though she sometimes misses T, U, V.
  • She knows her colors.
  • And my favorite? She can put on her Dora Velcro shoes all by herself.
  • Baby R's new favorite is crawling around and meowing like a cat, and then saying, "Pet me! Pet me!" The funniest part is that she usually starts panting like a dog at some point during her cat act.


Update on S.

  • When DH or I leave the house, she says, "Be careful out there!" I feel like I'm leaving the precinct with the Captain ending roll call on "Hill Street Blues."
  • Now when I go to my part-time job, she says, "Don't get dirty! Don't get stinky! Have a great day!" I think it came from when I was playing volleyball this summer and she'd say, "Don't get any sand on you!"
  • She knows our home phone number. Yay!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stephen King's "On Writing"

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King (BookRags.com Summary & Study Guide)On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King by BookRags

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book was amazing! I have never read anything by Stephen King because I don't like scary/sci fi stories. But I do love these movies based on his work: Stand by Me, Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Stand and even Misery. After having read this one, I'm going to go back and read these stories. And maybe branch out into some of the scarier ones.

The first half of the book is memoir. It gives a brief glimpse into the events in his life that affected his writing. The next third is his advice about how to be a better writer. He's frank, informative, entertaining - and incredibly helpful. I checked this book out from the library for a book club, but will be purchasing it to reference.

The last bit was an updated biography - it was published around 2000 and he had been hit by a car while in the middle of writing it. At the end he included an update on how he was.

I had never heard of this until my Write On Edge group suggested it and I'm so glad!



View all my reviews

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cross-Promo Post


I'm linking up to Miss Elaine-ous Monday with this post that links to other posts in a crazed attempt to do more than I can possibly do right now.

:)

Please check out my Etsy blog, Jaborandi Grove, and today's post about projects that were completed that were inspired by Pinterest.

There are actually two posts about that - I've linked both to Simple Organic's From Pinterest to Real Life post.

I also wanted to give a shout-out to Gigi who has a link up going on right now for Fall Food Recipes. It ends today, though, so get on it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mystery Guest

When the clown first entered our annual Halloween party, we each assumed someone else knew who it was.

"Creepy! Nice job!"

"Wow! Where'd you find that orange jumpsuit?"

He (I assumed it was a man as he stood about six-feet-tall) slowly wove through the crowd, his steps deliberate, giving each person a penetrating look with his blue eyes that had a slightly bloodshot appearance due to the white face makeup used in conjunction with the mask. It looked very professional. Not surprising since our costume party had raised the stakes every year for quality and originality. One year a guy sewed his own Sam-I-Am costume.

But this was different. It wasn't incredibly original - the clown mask was standard "It" variety; the prison jumpsuit was shapeless; the black gloves could have been OJ's Isotoners. It wasn't the costume. It was the character who embodied the costume.

The friendly chatter gradually slowed as party guests began whispering amongst themselves trying to figure out who this stranger was. We searched his eyes for something familiar. We joked that maybe he really was a mass murderer. But under the lighthearted banter lay tendrils of fear that threatened to blossom into panic with the slightest encouragement.

Whispers of conspiracy theories rose and fell until we exhausted the possibilities.

"Ok, I give up. Who are you?"

Silence.

"Do you work at Sprint?"

Head shake.

"Did you go to KState?"

Nod.

We continued the 20 Questions format, but were still stumped. A head count had been done for those we were expecting, and no one was missing. The mood shifted again.

"Seriously, man, this if freaking me out. Who are you?"

Not a word.

My friend, Christy, and I continued to discuss possibilities off to the side, unready to confront the stranger. After reinspecting him, she gasped. "Wait! It's not a guy. It's a girl!"

"What?" I said, skeptically.

"Look at her shoes."

She was right. They were definitely women's boots.  It wasn't obvious at first because the chunky 2-inch heels were mostly covered by the pant legs.

We ticked off the list of girls who hadn't arrived yet. None of them were tall enough, though, even with those boots. The only one we could think of who would have fit the body type was Brenda, but she was out of town and wasn't due back until the following day. But it had to be her.

"Brenda, is that you?" Christy asked.

Finally, the clown laughed. "Yes! I thought you'd never guess."

memoir writing, remembeRED, writing prompt



This was written in response to NotJustAnotherJen's Word of the Month: Fear, and the Write on Edge Remembe(RED) prompt: With Halloween approaching, many of us are revisiting fond memories of trick-or-treating, favorite candy, and parties. For Tuesday, reach back to a costume that made an impression. Was it yours? A friend’s? Maybe it was a costume you never got to wear. Show it to us with your words, draw us into the emotions it evoked at the time. Word limit is 400.

Monday, October 24, 2011

World Premier of "Tom Sawyer" Ballet

The "Tom Sawyer" ballet world premier at the new Kauffman Center was fantastic! Magnificent sets, lights, costumes - it was very professional. They seem to have stepped it up a notch from when it was at the Lyric Opera House.


The opening scene with whitewashing the fence was a bit long, but other than that I LOVED the first act. It was highly entertaining. The second act I would have eliminated except for the firefly dance and combined it with the third act. And the courtroom scene in the third act was not very good. I spent a good part of the time trying to remember the plot (I think I was mixing up "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"). I wish the whole thing would have been as good as the first act, but overall it was still excellent.

And the Kauffman Center is gorgeous! It reminds me of the Sydney Opera House on the outside, the Guggenheim on the inside and the Sprint Center with the angled windows.


The terrace outside Balcony 7 where our seats were.

Looking down from the terrace.



 
In the auditorium, I love the purple curtain and the red seats. I could do without the orange seats and the weird multi-colored panels on the walls behind the blind-like elements, but it didn't bother me that much when it was full of people. We have seats in the top balcony, but they didn't feel really far away - just really high. But the view was still fantastic.



The view from our seats.


Oh, and they don't sell snacks - only beverages. It wasn't a big deal Sunday since we went in the afternoon, but we used to go on Thursday night, and we would go to dinner first, then not get dessert, so we could split something during intermission at the Lyric. I understand why they would want to limit that kind of thing, though, since it's so clean and beautiful now. We're going to have to be on the ball from now on; late arrivals will not be seated until intermission. However, they do have a screen at the door so you can at least see it on TV. If you get a chance, I highly recommend you visit the Center and catch a performance by the Kansas City Ballet.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"A Better World"


I was contacted a few weeks ago to check out a new Facebook game called "A Better World." It's a do-good game by the company ToonUps. It's set up similarly to other games in that there's a town and you can invite people to play with you. The driving force behind this one, though, is to promote positive activity and emotions.

Each day you log in, you are given a Daily Missions list. You earn "do-good gold" for completing the items on the list. There are different areas of the World: My House, Town, Countryside, Village.

One of the stopping points is the Sanctuary of Hope. Here you can type out your hopes and dreams to share with the rest of the World. Others can light candles to show support for you.


Sanctuary of Hope


Another section is the Gratitude Grotto. There you can type things you are thankful for.

Gratitude Grotto


There's also an arcade area where you can play fun games like variations of hangman, whack-a-mole, bejeweled and more.

In general, I like the concept of the game. It's much less violent than Mafia Wars, for example. And it's definitely a positive atmosphere. The only thing that bothers me is that ultimately you are still earning "money" to buy clothes, furnishings for your house, etc. It seems more self-centered than I had hoped. It would be nice if what you earned was used for charity or something. But compared to other games on Facebook, it's definitely more uplifting. It's a game I would be comfortable with my kids playing.

I'm not a big gamer, but I do like the Arcade section since it's a throwback to the old school games I like. Check it out and let me know what you think! Play "A Better World" at http://www.facebook.com/ABetterWorld

Disclosure: I was given the opportunity to share my thoughts and opinions on A Better World. ToonUps provided a $50 donation to Cedar Ridge Christian Church as a thank you for my participation. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fear


I'm FINALLY participating! It's been way too long. I really don't have time this week, either, but it's so simple, I just HAD to do it. This week's prompt was "to compose a text–160 characters–that would either elicit or express fear." So here goes:

The last image to flash in front of her eyes before the blade severed her brain stem was her murderer reaching for her daughter.

• • • • • •

Guest Post: An Easy Recipe for Parents and Children



A few weeks ago, Dan Gilbert, the Communications Coordinator for Primrose Schools®, contacted me about doing a guest post relating to early childhood education. He sent me the following article about teaching kids how to help in the kitchen, and then I went to the site to check out the school, and I realized, this is the preschool I had fallen in love with when looking for one to place our oldest in! I love the Balanced Learning approach and the Helping Hands community service initiative. Since I'm blessed with a best friend who runs a preschool less than a mile from our home at a ridiculously affordable price, I couldn't bring myself to enroll her at Primrose, but under different circumstances, I definitely would have.

Please read the following article and click on the link to the school site for more information. There are 200 schools in the country, so there may be one near you.


•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •
An Easy Recipe for Parents and Children
by Dan Gilbert

The kitchen can be a magical yet dangerous place for young children with the delectable aromas emanating from it. However, don’t let the potential hazards scare you from having your children help out when it comes to preparing a delicious meal or a scrumptious dessert together. Spending time in the kitchen is a great way for families to connect and spend quality time with each other.

The kitchen has always been a popular room in the house to come together as a family, says Dr. Mary Zurn, vice president of the highly accredited education for preschool students at Primrose Schools. It’s a place where families can communicate about the day’s events. It’s also a place where children can take on their share of responsibility by learning daily tasks to help out.

Teaching children about nutrition can be a daunting task. By incorporating healthy foods into recipes you make together you will be able to teach your child healthy substitutes in a discrete way. The whole cooking experience shouldn’t be about nutrition, but it is a great way to begin teaching children healthy eating habits.

By following these simple tips, parents can keep the kitchen a safe yet fun environment for children:

1. Assign Simple Tasks: Children like to help out, so choose simple tasks they can do solely, but with your supervision. Assign simple jobs like rolling out dough, mixing batter, or decorating cookies. Even young children can get involved, so give them pots and a wooden spoon so they can pretend to cook and mix together ingredients. This gives them a sense of responsibility in the kitchen, yet you will know they are safe and out of harm’s way.

2. Establish a List of Rules: Children need the guidance and supervision of adults when in the kitchen, so put together a list of rules to follow. Teach them the importance of cleanliness by washing hands before touching food and the reasoning behind this. Make sure your children know what utensils are safe to touch and which ones are dangerous. To ensure that your child doesn’t accidentally get burned or hurt, take an inventory of the kitchen while working together making sure pot handles are turned inward and knives are out of reach.

3. Learn the Basics Step by Step: Children can master essential skills like counting out bread slices or by helping follow a recipe. As they accomplish the easy tasks, give them chores that are more advanced. Teach older children the basics of learning to use a knife by having them start out with items that are soft like cheese or soft bread and can be done with a dull spreader. When they are ready to move on to a bigger challenge, give them a plastic knife where they can practice slicing vegetables and fruit.

4. Make it a Fun Experience: Cooking with your children can be a messy and chaotic experience; so don’t stress the spills and mistakes. If eggs end up on the floor instead of in the bowl or the recipe doesn’t turn out quite right, offer your child guidance and let them try again. Teach your child the responsibility of cleaning up, while still having fun together.

When the meal is finished, make sure to tell them what an outstanding job they did. Let them be the first to sample a taste of what you made together and ask them what they would like to make together next time. Maybe instead of a dessert you can try making an appetizer?

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Nightmares and Reality

For those of you who haven't heard, Baby Lisa has been missing for two weeks now. Now that I have children of my own, I can't watch news stories about these things anymore, so my source of information has mostly been people recounting a tiny bit of what's going on here and there. In other words, I don't know much.

What I do know is that she is gone. Regardless of how or why or who took her, the point is she's gone. I have insane fears about something happening to our girls. I think all parents do to a certain extent. With the recent abduction of Baby Lisa, it's been on my mind more than usual. Coupled with the fact that I was re-reading David Baldacci's  Hour Game and had serial killers on my mind, I've been having crazy nightmares. I don't think it helped that I was sick with a fever the last three days.

It's a fine line to walk in today's world between being safely cautious and paranoid. It's hard enough to negotiate that field as a single woman. But adding kids to the equation makes it almost impossible. I try to remember not to worry, and pray for peace and protection, but sometimes my mind works itself into a frenzy.

I think it's interesting to see how people react to situations, too. I know what I think I would do when you ask me how I would respond to a carjacker or mugger or kidnapper. But were any of those things to happen in real life, would my reaction be the same? I hope I never get to find out.

Two of my friends have had terrible experiences in which they didn't respond the way they thought they would. One was leaving a concert late at night and was carjacked by a 14-year-old who put a gun in her face. Instead of giving him the car, she told him she'd take him where he wanted to go but he wasn't getting her car. I could NOT believe she did that. She couldn't either. She said she thought it was because he was just a little kid and she wasn't intimidated by him.

Another was mugged in the parking lot of a restaurant in broad daylight. She had stopped there with her 7 and 5 year old kids on their drive from Kansas to Oklahoma. A couple of guys tried to steal her purse. She held onto it for dear life, kicking and cursing as they dragged her along the pavement. They finally gave up and left her and the kids unharmed, but shaken. She was operating on Mama Bear instinct though; her fear was if they got her whole purse, they would know their names and address and could come find them. I don't know that I would have had the presence of mind to think of that in the moment.

What about you? Have you ever experienced a nightmare that became a reality? If so, how did you react?

This is linked to a monthly meme with Not Just Another Jen. October's word of the month is "Fear".

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I have Klout!



I got my first Klout perk in the mail - a sample of Axe hair gel. DH is a pomade fan, but I thought he might like to try it out, so I was excited when it arrived. Unfortunately, Baby R wanted to try it out first.

"I squirt it, Mama!"she claimed, proudly.

"Uh-huh, that's ni– Wait, what? What did you squirt, honey?"

"I squirt it, Mama!"

"Where did you squirt it," I tried.

"On the table." She pointed to the playroom table.

I walked in and saw it smeared over a quarter of the tabletop. Oh boy.

After I cleaned up the outside of the gel container, the top of the table, and Baby R's hands, I hid the gel.  This weekend I'll let DH know where so he can test it out and I'll let you know what he thinks...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Autumn

Some pictures of the trees on the way home from church Sunday. Another gorgeous 80-degree day. We spent most of it outside. 






And now for a shameless plug in conjunction with the season, stop by my Etsy shop, Jaborandi Grove, and pick up the Autumn Seasonal Set before it gets cold and snowy.


Of course, then you can get the Winter Seasonal Set, but let's not get ahead of ourselves...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Calendar Says It's October, But...

It's hard to believe when we've had temps in the 80s for the last week. Don't get me wrong; I'm enjoying our Indian Summer. It made our trip to the pumpkin patch yesterday very comfortable. Though, it was really dusty as it hasn't rained in three weeks. But I'm ready for slightly cooler weather, just enough for jeans and a light jacket, a little nip in the air so the fire pit sounds inviting instead of just hot. 


My sister was in town over the weekend, so we were lucky to have her and my mom join us on our quest for the best pumpkins. Here are some pics of our fun! 






Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Morning, Baby R

You are asleep with your knees tucked under your chest and your bum up in the air. The right side of your hair is sticking out wildly; a knot has formed on the back. I stealthily creep to your closet to get a set of clothes and shoes, then gently quiet the babbling brook emanating from the machine on your changing table. You become aware of my presence and pop your head up. A smile brightens your sleepy face.

"Good morning, pumpkin," I whisper, crossing to your crib. You stumble to your feet, tripping over White Blankie, Pink Blankie (previously known as "Two Blankie"), and the latest addition, Checked Blankie, as well as your musical, glowing Seahorse and Pillow Pet, Duckie. It's a wonder there's room for you to sleep in there.

A smile blossoms on your petal-soft lips. "Time go, Mama?" your teeny voice queries.

"Yep!"

You reach for me, and I lift you to my chest. You bury your head in my neck, and I gently squeeze you and breathe in your scent - no longer a baby, not quite a little girl. You are getting too heavy to lift out of there, but you haven't quite made the transition to your Big Girl Bed. Nap time, occasionally, but only once or twice for Night Night.

"Sissy?"

"Sissy is already downstairs. We've got to take her to preschool."

Your precious mouth makes a perfect "o" shape and you suck in air with a genuine look of surprise, even though we do this every Tuesday and Thursday. "Oh! Sissy go school!"

I quickly change your diaper, and you insist on closing the diaper cream and putting it in your drawer. As I place your favorite Elmo shirt on your head, you challenge me, "I do, Mama! I do!" Together, we finish getting you dressed and head down to the kitchen. Some days you want me to carry you, and some you must walk down on your own, holding my hand and the spindles of the railing for support.

Your eyes light up at the sight of S. "Sissy!"

S is glad to see you, too, most mornings. "Hi, Baby R!"

I set you in your booster seat and you ask for "email" which is oatmeal to the rest of us. You're getting better at using your spoon successfully, but you love to tip the bowl and drink the milk. Which you don't always wait to do until the end. Inevitably there's oatmeal in your hair. It adds a lovely dimension to your bedhead.

You could not be more beautiful.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Blessed

This has been a crazy week. I had a phone interview Monday, and then they asked me to come in for an in-person interview on Thursday. The position was not what I had originally built my resume for, and I needed a portfolio for it, so I spent a frantic Wednesday putting one together. I came into my office that night to print off some elements for it, and the printer was literally in pieces on the floor. Thank goodness the FedEx/Kinko's is 24 hours - I was there at midnight. I think the interview went pretty well. We'll see what happens. Trying to give it over to God and not worry about it!

I am so thankful to be the featured blogger on Studio 30 Plus this week; I wish I could have offered up a great new post already. Hopefully this weekend. As I mentioned before, please stop by my "5 W's and an H" tab for some of my favorite posts.

Another amazing happening this week is that This Blogger Makes Fun of Stuff gave my Etsy shop, Jaborandi Grove, a rave review and is hosting a giveaway for a letter. And what's even better is that if you don't win the giveaway, you can get a special discount for ordering with the coupon code they listed on the review. So stop by!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Featured Blogger on Studio30Plus!

Hey! I'm excited to let you all know that I'm the featured blogger at Studio30Plus this week! Please click on my "5W's and an H" tab to see a list of some of my favorite posts. I'm also going to have one this week about how amazing the online community is, so please stop by later.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Writing, I Miss You

I realize I took a break from writing after college for about a decade, so this hiatus is nothing in comparison, but now that I've been away from it for a couple of weeks, I'm having pangs of desperation I didn't experience before. Maybe because I didn't realize how important it was to me back then. Suffice it to say, I have a LOT of things floating around in my noggin that I want to share. Hopefully my crazy schedule of three jobs will start to become a routine soon and I can find a time to fit it in. One of the first posts I want to write is about the enormous support system that can be found in the blogosphere/twitterverse. I get choked up thinking about it. For now, it will remain in my heart. Hope to write some this weekend. We'll see.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Guest Post Product Review: Diaper Cream

Hey guys! I'm hanging out at This Blogger Makes Fun of Stuff today. I reviewed a diaper cream, so stop by to see what I said!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Ago Today, America Was Attacked

Today is the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attack on the United States. As people reflect on where they were that day, I thought I would copy my diary entry here. I was surprised at how long it was, and how many details I had forgotten. I tried to minimize annotations to keep it as much like the original entry as possible.

9/11/01
Today has been the most devastating day in the country in my lifetime.

I woke up to my radio alarm clock around 7:45am. I intended to go in early to work but I was tired so I lay there listening to the morning show poll people about which of them needed therapy the most. After a few minutes, they said they had just received news that there had been an explosion in one of the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York City. At that point it was uncertain if a plane had been the cause. I listened for a few more minutes, and then they said that a plane had crashed into the other Twin Tower for certain.

I jumped up and quickly got ready for work and went downstairs and turned on the television. There was footage of the first building on fire and while everyone was watching that, a plane could be seen flying directly into the second tower, completely demolishing a large chunk of the 150ish story building. With the first one, it was possibly a fluke, but the second was obviously deliberate. It was a beautiful, sunny, clear-skied morning. The worst part was that they were both commercial airliners. My stomach turned and I couldn't eat breakfast.

I went into the office and everyone was crowded around a TV in L's (the HR person) outer office, watching the horrific footage being replayed, over and over again. I went back to my desk to try to start working and turned the radio on. All the stations were feeding from their TV affiliates. I heard that a plane had also crashed into the Pentagon and my heart jumped. I went back to the office to see the TV. It had very poor reception and was difficult to make out but you could see the billows of smoke from one side of the Pentagon. Teary-eyed, I returned to my desk to try to focus on something else, but of course that was nearly impossible. We soon found out that the planes had been passenger flights from Boston and Washington, DC that had been hijacked. Later we leraned that the terrorists had stabbed several of the staff on board before turning their kamikaze missions on to their targets. Many people made cell phone calls to loved ones from the planes. Things had sort of settled down by afternoon when we learned of another plane crash outside of Pittsburg which apparently missed its target, and another plane that had been destined for Camp David but was apparently shot down. President Bush had been in Florida and given a brief statement in the morning soon after the initial attacks and then boarded Air Force One to return to DC via an undisclosed route that wound up including Shreveport, LA and Omaha, NB.

Then the second twin tower that had been hit collapsed. Not long after it, the first one did as well.

I was supposed to have had lunch with [former co-workers] today but we cancelled due to the tragedy. [One of them] said that it looked like a banana peeling down the sides as the building disintegrated. It wasn't until later tonight that I saw the footage and had to agree.

At one point there was supposedly a car bomb outside a government building in DC and some kind of explosion betweene the Old Executive Offices and the White House, and another plane was forced to land in Cleveland full of bombs. People began to feel we were at the brink of war and panicked to fill their gas tanks and get groceries. I needed both anyway. Luckily I filled up at the station at lunch for $1.64 - $.10 more than yesterday in Martin City, but not an unusual fluctuation. Then I went to Hen House around 4pm and became nervous and stocked up on nonperishables and water. It felt like Y2K all over again only more real. By the time I got home from work, traffic was backed up from the long lines at the gas stations. In Texas gas was reportedly $5/gallon. Later I talked to my dad who said that Casey's General Store in Basehor was at $4.50/gallon and they ran out of gas.

[My roommate] had been sent home early from the Jewish Community Center [where he worked] and [his girlfriend at the time] had been in a building next to one that received a bomb threat so they were evacuated. I decided to cancel my ticket to fly to St. Louis to visit [my sister] on September 22 as the airlines were giving full refunds for all flights, so I went to Mom and Dad's for the confirmation information [I didn't have a computer at the time] and the streets were very quiet for 6:30pm on a Tuesday. The malls were closed, the Royals game cancelled, any venue for large populations anywhere in the country - including Disney World - were shut down.

I came home (unable to find the ticket info) and Mom and Dad called - they have been in Manitoba with Dad's cousin and her husband visiting Mom's family since Saturday. Mom and I talked quite a bit about the situation and Dad insisted that they come home tomorrow. I argued that they should stay there but Dad's worried about gas prices getting worse and everything else. I don't know if they can even get across the border at this point. I think it could get worse if we declare war on someone tomorrow, but it could calm down. It's hard to say, but everyone is telling people not to travel. All flights are cancelled until further notice, and all those that were in the air were diverted to other places, one of them being KC. All international flights have been deferred to Canada. I'm worried about my friends in Colorado Springs where the Air Force base is, and my friend, Tracy, who's a flight attendant for United – two of the planes that crashed were United planes.

I lived in a bubble that kept me safe from any idea of possible war; the three greatest tragedies of my lifetime were the Challenger explosion, the Gulf War and the Oklahoma [City] bombing. This was the greatest attack on America since Pearl Harbor and a much greater magnitude. In some ways it's almost seemed like a movie – we've become so desensitized to violence – but at the same time, it's so shocking and unbelievable. [My boss] and I were all trying to figure out why today, and her theory was that it's 9/11, or 9-1-1 – emergency. That was echoed by reporters on the news tonight. We don't know much at this point, however, since no one has come forward to take responsibility, and Bin Laden has denied any link at this juncture. God bless America.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Glad for cooler weather. And a little cross-promoting never hurts, right? "Autum" seasonal wall letter sets are now available at Jaborandi Grove.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Guest Post: Divorce

This is a guest post of a friend of mine who has been through hell and back in the last year. She has her own blog and has been about to boil over, keeping her story safe inside for fear her ex will find it and use it against her in court. I told her she just needed to get it out, and offered space here for her to vent.

•  •  •  •  •  •

I didn’t hate the father of my children a year ago on this date. On this date in 2010, we were fine. Seriously dating other people, a year since our do-it-ourselves-friendly divorce (and three since we had separated), we were still the model of How To Co-Parent Correctly. I had believed for a long time that he agreed with me that our marriage was an unintentional, immature mistake; one made by two dumb kids unprepared to really know what forever and ever actually meant. After all, we spent more time choosing our majors in college than we did choosing each other as life partners, so as longtime friends I was confident we both wished each other happiness and peace in our future journeys.  

I was wrong. Because while I wished for him a future with someone who could appreciate the great qualities he had, he apparently didn’t reciprocate, and I am still learning this in a very expensive, immeasurably painful way. So mea culpa.

And $@& him. Because three weeks after he got engaged, I got hit with the first two court issues.

What I’ve learned since the divorce about that never-met-a-stranger easygoing fella, is that he is a man who had been lying to me about how much his new job was paying him, and when his salary and commission quadrupled, he decided to stop splitting the costs we had always shared. So despite that I had stayed home with our children for seven years, spending a year trying to find a job that still paid less than any before kids, and was receiving less financial support than I could have asked for initially - he informed me he was done. Perfectly logical. And I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact his 24 year-old fiancee (let’s call her Other Mother*  from here on, shall we?) soon quit her job. Surely.

However, The Courts disagreed, and awarded me more. Lots more. But.. nearly a year later of games and appeals and overall legal asshattery, he still owes me tens (is twentys a word?) of thousands of dollars in back child support. Meanwhile my home has one working car currently, because we can’t quite shoulder the cost of a new car payment with childcare and full-day kindergarten expenses and kids’ therapy and autism specialists and medicine with no reimbursement. 
 
Last spring my boyfriend and I bought a house in the radius of the kids’ school, so they could be guaranteed placement, and a month ago we were told by a little birdie that it was going to be used against me in court that I wasn’t legally attached to the house (since I wasn’t on the title), so we called an ordained friend that Tuesday, and got married over pizza and wine on our Thursday lunch break.

The tiramisu was better than any wedding cake I’ve ever had, but I sure could use a honeymoon eventually.

I learned in the last year that this gem of a guy is more than willing to block me from doctor appointments, and authorize medical decisions without my consent. That he will go so far as to pull one paragraph out of a blog post I’d once written, twist the context, and have his Decepticon attorney try to obliterate my character in court; refusing to look me in the eye while I sat on the witness stand and cried from shock. And hurt. And humiliation. Because I literally didn’t understand what the hell would possess my once-best friend to be so cruel.

I know he supported Other Mother telling my sweet baby girl, my soul, my heart, my mini-me, that it’s a grand idea to call her Mommy, because she is her new Mommy, dontchaknow. Which makes perfect twisted sense if you hear that after the daycare provider and my daughter called me in May to tell me, giggling, that I’d need to pick up my Mother’s Day gift after work, Other Mother decided to take it home instead, saying there had been a mistake and it was actually for her.  

I’m going to let that

sink
in
for just a bit.  


I learned that this man, this father who in theory was there to battle through the heartbreaking first couple years of our son’s autism diagnosis, would inexplicably, inexcusably,
unforgivably, wait until the end of summer to file a motion to try to move the kids to the school by his new house. I mean, we had to have visits and social stories and months of preparation for our son to transition from Kindy to first grade in the same school with the same people. Yet this Pile of Parenting Fail wanted to wait until there was one week to the beginning of school to announce a new educational galaxy.

There literally isn’t enough teeth-clenching-barely-controlled-rage-disguised-as-witty-sarcasm to explain how wrong that was. I had nightmares for weeks about it. Weeks.  

So that is why I recently found myself in court again: in the fourth motion on our docket, at the sixth hearing in nine months, not crying. This time I was pissed and totally ready to Chuck Norris him by pulling his heart out through his tear ducts. Because at this point I was done wishing him well or trying to understand what happened or what boundaries are being obliterated or why mediation didn’t work or what I could have done differently or how it was possible he could still

BE SO VENGEFUL TOWARD ME IF HE'S OSTENSIBLY MOVED ON WITH HER.

Because it doesn’t matter anymore. It is what it is what it is, and all I can do is keep trucking until it’s over.


So, because as sheer logic should follow, I won. Big. And my ex, my ulcer, my kids’ sperm donor, got a serious tongue lashing from the judge. Which was glorious. But not before I added another couple K to the eternal bill I owe my attorney.  Who as of now doesn’t seem as willing to call our deal done if I just name a future child after him. Hmph.

So as you think about your upcoming Labor Day weekend, have second thoughts if it includes an invite to a lavish Midtown wedding replete with trolleys and chocolate fountains and (apparently) a smallish orchestra: you may be friends with the peach I just told you about, and you never know if there might be a surprise guest. Because karma
surely is saving up a grandaddy of an event to visit these two, and I’ll give every mythical unicorn cent I’m supposedly owed if she unleashes it then. I have no doubt karma is a mamabear, too.






* Have you seen
Coraline? Yeah, it’s my life, totally. No joke. 



•  •  •  •  • 

After hearing all she's been going through over the past year, my heart hurts for her. So please give her some love.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Guest Post About Guest Posting… And Cake

I'm excited to say that Jen from Dear Mommy Brain is visiting today! And after you read this, you will wonder why she questions her brilliance when you read this and this. She's a working mom, in the trenches like many of us, and not afraid to share it. So please go peruse her site when you finish reading here. 



A Guest Post About Guest Posting…  And Cake

When Jennifer invited me to her home to guest post, my first reaction was, “YAY!  A new blog friend!”

Then as time wore on, I started to get more and more nervous. 

And just like in real life, I started to worry that what I had to offer wouldn’t be good enough. 

What if I wasn’t funny enough?

What if I looked like a shlub?

What if my cake tasted like sawdust?

I worried because this writing gig is tough. 

I read lots of blogs and I’m amazed at how easy they make it look.  Bloggers that are making appearances all over the interwebz, cranking out quality material as fast as McDonald’s cheeseburgers...  While I’m sitting here staring at a computer screen for two hours trying to string together 250 words.

In school, I was always pretty decent at writing reports, but when it came to creative writing; my mind went blank.  My Type A personality just isn’t capable of making stuff up.

So, when I started my blog nearly a year ago, I thought I would post about practical tips for working moms.  It would be like writing a research paper.  Piece of cake.

But the reality is, as I got more involved in the blogging community; the more I realized that wasn’t where my heart was.  Sure, I still love to post recipes and the occasional household tip, but what I’m really passionate about is sharing the struggles (and joys) of life as a busy working mom.

And it still isn’t easy.  But I guess sharing your heart never is.
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