Friday, November 30, 2007

Big Butt Wedding....

I saw this on Ellen yesterday...she is having this couple on her show next week because of this hysterical video. It is too funny NOT to share...enjoy! (Go to the bottom of my page FIRST and mute the music so you can hear the song...)

PMS and Reindeer Poop...

I should know by now that when I start feeling like I got hit by a truck or when I doze off as soon as my cushy hiney hits the couch or when I start nap-jerking while doing a puzzle with the baby, that it is time to load up on chocolate...back the truck up here...beep...beep...beep! Over the last year I have noticed this strange new facet to my...ummmm...cycle. A week prior to "Cramp Day," I become like a bear ready to bed down and hibernate...I can't stay awake. Usually, I am awake - wide awake - until 2am or so. Not the third week of the month- sheesh - I was in bed at 11pm last night - that is just plain crazy... So, the lazy days hit and then the CHOCOLATE FEVER makes its way into my blood stream. This is the part of the month where I would knock old ladies on their patooskies just to get to a Hershey bar, I would scream, "LOOK! ELMO!" at toddlers while stealing their tootsie guilt here - just feeding an obsession so there's no REAL harm done. Today I threw together this chocolate treat...

1 bag of melted milk-chocolate chips

3 hadfuls of crush pretzel stix

1 large fistful of raisins

I just needed something chocolate - but chewy and salty were also on my mind. When I spread out this heavenly mixture onto the pan, it looked like...well, um...poop! Could be because I have changed 4 or 5 poopy diapers already today and it is only lunchtime...but I thought in keeping with the upcoming holiday I would call it Reindeer Poop...

Now, I just have to figure out how I can attach a sort of dish to my face so I can enjoy it while I get some writing done. I can't keep stopping to lick my fingers or it will take me all day to write this week's column for our local paper. Maybe a hands-free harmonica holder with some tinfoil for a make-shift tray? Hmmm. This could be a tricky one!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Poison Control, how can I help you?"

I sat with my coffee yesterday morning and made a Monday - Friday calendar that lays out what chores I would need to complete each day so my house does not ALWAYS look like it threw up on itself. It is on my fridge as a reminder and I jumped out of the gates running this morning after getting the older kids to school and taking the baby to Nana's.
My house is not one of those houses you see on the news. No bags of garbage, no piles of stuff taller than me. I am just tired of wading through a high tide of legos, hot wheels, Thomas trains while searching through dirty plates and bowls of squishy cereal for the ringing phone that always seems to hide beneath the muck. I am nauseated by the amount of dust that lays in a blanket over my entertainment center and the many case-less DVDs, box-less movies and hidden food wrappers.
Really. It's not that bad but I tend to write more than I clean lately and with a VERY anal husband, it makes me feel bad that he works so hard to allow me to stay home and I can't even keep the house clean. 3 kids and almost 3,000 square feet is just ridiculously out of control sometimes!
So, today I planned to vacuum and dust and if time allowed I was going to start a project as I have declared Wednesday 'Project Day.' I vacuumed while the baby was at Nana's and when he came home I popped in his favorite movie -Stuart Little 2 - 5 minutes later, I called POISON CONTROL!

While I was getting rid of that petrified layer of dust with my spackling knife, my Stuart Little fan decided this product (although put on the counter, where I thought it was out of his reach - with NO lid on) looked a little like lemonade. When I turned around, his little mouth was hiding the opening of the spout. I didn't know if he had kicked his head back and gotten a mouthful or if this glimpse was the first touch...I SCREAMED, "NOOOOOO!"


Now, you must know, the spout on this bottle is sort of like a red wine vinegar spout, only one drop comes out at a time - you have to shake it to get a significant amount of fluid out.

Hello, Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) this is Mimi.

Mimi, the nurse I spoke to, asked if he coughed at all after I took it away from him. "Sob, sob, sob, snort - NO - sob, sob." She then told me that they have to put that on the bottle but the actual danger isn't in the swallowing but in actually breathing the liquid into the lungs. This will cause chemical pneumonia which is fatal b/c there is no way to clean the lungs of the oily substance. She said protocol is to call back in 1 hour, then 6 hours, then 24 hours. She reassured me that since he did not sputter and cough - there was most likely nothing to worry about.

He is fine. And he continued his rampage through my house while I tried to finish my dusting.

Mimi told me to give him some yogurt to keep the inside of his mouth from getting irritated from the oil...he thought he needed to make a 2-year old statement instead.

Oh, sorry, NOW he's done making his statement. The chicken nuggets is his piece de resistence.

Soon after this yogurt incident, a friend stopped by (Hi, Janet) and as we chatted just inside the front door, the baby ran past and into the office. A mere 3 seconds later, Janet says, "Ummm, do you want him to be doing that?" I glance in the office thinking, "What is he drinking, now?' only to find him standing on my swivel chair aiming the Febreze at my open laptop. All of this ridiculous chaos for this...

...a dusted, organized entertainment center. Why do I even try? UGH!

As if a subliminal reminder, I found my dust cloth under this book. Really. If you should read this book, you probably don't have the time to.

Wednesday's WHAT THE...?

Since I have been welcoming the highest numbers of readers on MY SANITY these days, I thought I could see how many of you I can stump... Can you identify this "gift" that I found in my son's school bag...?


Did I mention, I am ULTRA CRAFTY? So the PRIZE may be HANDMADE!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New Look...

Well, I just had a very rejuvenating stories of flailing children, no on-the-verge scenarios or comedic momisms... just a very spiritual evening at iHope...a monthly night out for women that happens at my church. Thought I would do something drastic to my blog (sorry, Tracy, we are no longer blog-twins) as a daily reminder to myself to keep it REAL, to allow God to reach me and of the Gift that keeps on giving - a.k.a. The Bible. Thanks Janet, Patti, Mom, Dina, Lori and Karen.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Turkey LOVERS unite...

I am a proud - former vegetarian who still boycotts turkey on Thanksgiving. I find it sad that an entire holiday is based on the death of one specific animal...I know, I know - "tree-hugging, Bambi-lover" but that's just how I think... I actually adopt a turkey for Thanksgiving from Farm Sanctuary (I forgot this year - shhhhhhhhh, don't tell the turkeys!) This is just a reminder for those of you who are planning your Christmas/Kwanza/Hannukah/all other holiday meals... How about some Tofurkey??

What are you wearing?...

So, it's time to get personal. Those of you who actually get a shower everyday and dress in a career-like fashion, I guess this post won't apply to you. It's not that I am trying to segregate my readers...I would NEVER do that. I like all the different "hats" that share on my site, this is just something I go back and forth about once or twice a week. That's why I ask...What time is it and what are you wearing? I will go first... It is 3:19 in the afternoon and I am wearing the same cut-off sweats and T-shirt I wore to bed last night with an stretched-out, inside out sweatshirt thrown over. No socks or shoes. I do have my make-up and my trendy glasses on but that is simply because I need my glasses to post and if I have my glasses on I MAY catch a glimpse of myself in the monitor - so, I would like to think I look hot from the neck up... Now, I guess I have been brain-washed by my mom who will not walk out to get the mail without spending an hour and a half primping. But, if I thought my husband was coming home for lunch today, I would have probably at least gotten dressed in real clothes - jeans and a sweater. I may have even showered. Is that wrong? I ask you, where does this come from? My sweet hubby has ALWAYS told me that I am beautiful without makeup - he is of 'the lower maintenance, the better' - he loves the unmade beauty, like Halle Berry, Faith Hill, Sandra Bullock. The ones who aren't afraid to be in front of the camera in jeans and a baseball cap. So, what in my brain makes me think I need to get "all gussied up" to be "acceptable" for anyone? "Gussied"? That is a word, right? Anyway, have you ever run into someone at the store who is in baggy sweats, a baseball cap and no make up and they look adorable? Have you ever waited at their car to beat them up later? I have. (j/k) When I go out looking like that someone inevitably asks me, "Are you sick?" or they lovingly comment, "You look tired." I smile and nod and then excuse myself to the parking lot hoping they are parked next to my friend in the baseball cap. Where are my brass knuckles? I have a meeting to go to tonight in which I know should put a bra on for - because that's the grown-up thing to do but I really feel like just throwing on a pair of jeans with my 18 hour t-shirt and calling it an outfit. Who knows what I will wear...we'll see. Guess I will see what my ego feels like around 5:30 - will I feel beautiful or frumpy? How do you feel today? Of course, then I have those last week when I had a babysitter for 5 hours while I ran errands. I was dressed to fit my personality - little bit funky but all put together. Hair, make-up, mani/pedi, cute outfit, perfume and lip gloss. I felt so good! My extra 15 pounds didn't even bother me, I felt good! Until I treated myself to a WHOMPIN' bowl of Germanchocolatecake ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery. Then, I didn't feel so purty. But, here's my thing... When I see a woman all put together, I assume she looks like that ALL day, EVERY day. Do you think she could possibly be bra-less in her 18 hour t-shirt right now? Do you?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thankful the gorging is over...

What is it about holidays that makes us think we have been given a "License to Eat...EVERY*frippin*THING"? This weekend I ate mashed potatoes, fried onions and green beans, a couple bowls of squash-apple soup, stuffing, a couple helpings of toast with cherry jelly, spiral cut ham and cheese on fresh bread, fresh guacamole with lots of chips, more ham, more cheese, a big ole bacon cheeseburger and giant fries, 4 or 5 chocolate/peanut butter buckeyes, 2 carmel macchiatos, pumpkin pie cake, pumpkin cheesecake and...I think that's it...for Wed - Sat at my in-laws. Today, we had a wonderful 2nd Thanksgiving at home with my parents and I think I thought I was supposed to out-do myself in one meal...HOLY COW, can you say glutton? Every holiday season I usually decide to do something healthy for myself. My way of giving something back to God for all the blessings I have been given. Two years ago, I gave up soda...and haven't touched it since...except once I mistakenly drank out of a stranger's WENDY'S cup at a huge event. I sat mine down and picked hers up...eeewwww. So, that sip doesn't count! Yuk! This year, I think, I am just going to make a big change in habits. Instead of nachos and beer while I veg on the couch with you all via my blog, I will opt for a bottle of water. Instead of seeing how many chocolate chip cookies I can shove in my mouth before my kids see me I will have a half of one and sip on a bottle of water. Instead of ordering a giant, juicy cheeseburger, I will order a big salad and a bottle of water. Instead of eating the country's quota of chocolate in one day, I will choose to take a walk (water bottle in hand- gurgle, gurgle). Instead of going back for seconds of pizza, I will (gripe and) have a (FRIPPIN') bottle of water! Instead of licking the cheese off my nachos so I can fit more sour cream on them, I will reach for the (stupid-freakin'!) carrots and (resentfully) sip on my (glug, glug) bottled water! NEWSFLASH...if I drank this much water, I would be quite cranky because we all know it is very difficult to parent three children (one being two years old) from the TOILET! Anyway...I just needed to put this out there so you all would have evidence of my plans and it would hold me accountable. I really do love being healthy and feel great (like a diff person) when I am paying attention to eating right and drinking more water but it is just SOOO hard when someone causes your DVD player to puke, two kids forget to do their homework until they are headed for the bus, the phone rings off the hook, you deal with 135 temper tantrums and the dog begs to go out ALL day and you can't find her electric fence collar. A box of bon bons and Oprah (or Ross's Talky Blog) looks PURTY good right about then!

Tag me, baby! One more time...

OK...I am starting to feel like a whole group of you all are in a huddle taking turns tagging me and laughing at me each time I sit and rack my brain for these totally RANDOM things... I like to think you are laughing WITH me and not AT me! Cyn and Lizzy BOTH tagged me in the same day for 7 RANDOM THINGS... Alrighty, here goes...please keep in mind, I have done 4 MEMEs in the last two weeks, so I am grasping, I tell you....grasping.... 1. My two oldest children are EXACTLY 15 mos and 1 week the day. My third came along 7 YEARS later! 2. I LOVE ROSS THE INTERN!!!! He and I will someday co-host SOMETHING because he will find my ridiculously hysterical! Together we will go, hand-in-hand, giggling into the sunset! 3. I am, right now, eating a HUGE plate of cheesy-sour-creamy nachos and drinking a big, cold Yuengling Lager while watching The Hills repeats. Yummsy! Everyone else in my house is sleeeeeeeping - even the doggy! Can you say, "ME TIME"? 4. My favorite indulgence of late is a Starbuck's Venti, Non-Fat, Iced, Carmel Macchiato. Soon, their MAPLE Macchiato will be out for the holidays and I am waiting with baited breath...literally! 5. My iPod only has 70-some songs on it...I am REALLY picky about music. I bought myself the "shuffle" specifically b/c I KNEW I would never fill the Nano. To make it to my iPod, it has to either remind me of something specific (The Cure reminds me of college, No Doubt reminds me of my pre-children, married life, etc.) or make me feel sexy...see #6. 6. J.T.'s "Bringin' Sexy Back" is all I have to say. Mmmm Mmmm. 7. I live in the middle of Pennsylvania Amish Country. It is not out of the ordinary for me to be driving behind a horse & buggy waving to wee Amish ones in the back. Too sweet! An amazing reminder of how sweet simplicity is. Woah, I am done...that just whipped by! You know the drill, I have done this enough...tag yourself and have a blast - but link back to me, please! :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It's a Tag-O-Rama...

Alrighty, either I am just a big DORK and everyone wants to see how many of these I will do and how long I will ramble or you all reeeeeaaaallly like me - I prefer to believe the latter. Regardless, Kimberly has tagged me with 5 Random though you all do not know enough random things about me already! ((tee hee)) Actually, I am thrilled because I love love love doing these!! HAHA! Princess Dork, at your service! So, let's ramble, shall we? 1. In 9th grade I almost got caught by my mom kissing a boy after school. She pulled up in her car and XXX and I were behind a utility shed smooching away. We walked out from behind the shed and into the bright spotlight of her headlights like we were going to be interrogated. She asked what we were doing and without a stammer I explained, "Oh, mom. It's not what it looked like. We were counting cigarette butts. We had a bet on how many were back there." SHE BELIEVED ME! (sorry, Ma!) 2. I was a charter member of Sigma Kappa Sorority at Penn State. 'Charter Member' means the VERY first SigKay pledge class on campus! There were 140-some of us! VERY COOL! 3. I married my college boyfriend's roommate!!!! The best decision of my life! And I say that almost FIFTEEN years later!! That ex-bf story is a WHOLE post in itself - a CRAZY story! I won't divulge here...need to get to #4! 4. I got, probably, the lowest SAT scores of anyone you will ever meet although I have a genius IQ. OK, the more I think about it, I could be Albert-Frippin-Einstein and I am still too embarrassed to tell you those scores!! Thought I could do it - CAN'T!!! Sorry for the let down, you will just have to trust me! 5. My daughter - my 2nd child - weighed....OK ladies, cross your legs and take a deep breath... ELEVEN POUNDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, honestly, she was 10 lbs. 15 ozs. but I give myself the extra ounce for bragging rights since the sadistic nurse I had refused me my epidural....yep, flat out refused!! She is lucky I was in too much pain to jot down her name. Well, there you have it!! 5 MORE random facts about MKB! And as always, if you are reading this, consider yourself tagged but don't forget to give me my shameless plug (link, too, please)! Hope ya liked them!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Confessions of a Sleepy Mama...

...ROSS THE INTERN AND JESSE JAMES... perfect package!

OK...major confession...I have stayed up too late and am feeling a little sleepy and a lot giddy! Therefore, I feel I need to tell you, I have a "thing" for BAD Boys!!

C'mon Manic, ya with me sista? Jesse James. Really.

And Ross the Intern just makes me giggle incessantly; he FRIPPIN' cracks me up!

Well, tonight on Jay Leno Ross took Jesse James from WEST COAST CHOPPERS to an LA Fashion Show. I think I peed a little! Watch the video. Ross and Jesse have done these Leno gigs before and they are always hysterical. There is nothing funnier than putting two polar opposites who are COMPLETELY comfortable in their own skin in the same venue and let them have at it! I sent Ross an email! And, NO! I am NOT stalking him! (If you haven't seen Ross's blog, you have to go there right NOW!) I just think he and I would have a blast together. I am not sure I have EVER actually asked someone to be my friend before but I am hoping he will circle "yes" in his reply. He has my humor - do you agree?

I think Dawn from Because I Said So is hysterical and I have watched her WORLD NEWS TONIGHT interview a dozen times. How many of you would watch the Leno episode where Ross comes to my house to play "SAHMmy" for a day?

I sent Ross this way, so hopefully after reading all your comments he will call me and set up a time to come "play house" with this FUN MOM!

(OK, so I started by confessing that I love bad boys and I end with a rant on how much I love Ross Mathews, maybe I have to re-think that confession!)

More about you asked...

10 things I did this week: 1. Bought 80 Dr. Seuss books at Barnes & Noble 2. Shopped at Target 3. Built a snowman 4. Went sledding 5. Ate Cold Stone Creamery ice cream 6. Went to my kids' school 7. Gave a baby gift 8. Went to the doctors 9. Deposited $$ ito my savings 10. Had a Grande Skinny Carmel Macchiato - YUM! 9 things STILL on my agenda this week: 1. Pack for holiday travel 2. Buy stamps 3. Laundry 4. Vacuum 5. Line up babysitters for 11/28 and 12/8 6. Get a sub for Children's Church 7. Write column 8. Finish writing assignment 9. Eat A LOT of Sweet potatoes!!!! 8 shows I watched this week: 1. Charlie Borwn's Thanksgiving 2. The Hills 3. House 4. Dr. Phil 5. Stewart Little 2 6. High 5 7. Blue's Clue 8. Jay Leno 7 things I cooked this week: 1. Oatmeal 2. Eggs 3. Tacos 4. Veggie Lasagna 5. Chicken/Pasta/Veggie Bake 6. Minestrone 7. Quesadillas 6 things I read this week: 1. My article in INSIGHT magazine 2. Hallmark Magazine 3. Manic Mommy's Blog 4. Because I Said So Blog 5. Fully Alive...Ready to Smile Blog 6. Rambling Thoughts of the Neverending Mind Blog 5 Reasons to be happy today: 1. I got a babysitter so I could run errands alone 2. I had ice cream! Very yummy ice cream! 3. I got more done today than all of last week 4. My formerly non-verbal baby said his 40th word today! 5. My kids are precious! 4 things I need to buy: 1. Diapers 2. Wipes 3. Milk 4. Snacks 3 people I saw this weekend: 1. Michele 2. Anne-Marie 3. Goose 2 things I am thankful for right now: 1. My family 2. My friends 1 Final Thought: This Thanksgiving - adopt a turkey instead of eating one! Go to Farm Sanctuary and check it out! TAG - you're it! Gimme a plug in return! :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tagged again...WOW! I feel so loved...

Alrighty, you people know me so well. Tracy at Rambling Thoughts...tagged me! Check out her blog! She is hysterical!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE doing these MEME thingies...except I don't get the word. MEME. What's that all about? Anyone know? 8 Embarrassing Things About ME: 1. 6th grade gym class. High Jump. Tight jeans. RRrrrrip!!!! Need I say more? 2. At the movies with the boy I wanted to be more-than-just-a-friend, he slid his hand onto my knee. I never wanted that hand to leave as this was the first (and only) act that was more-than-just-friends. I kept my knees bent and resting on the back of the seat in front of us for the WHOLE movie. When the movie was over, his hand moved and I stood up...AND WENT STRAIGHT DOWN AGAIN! I was completely numb from the knees down and now had my arm caught in the folding chair I tried to use to stop my fall. I wanted to DIE! 3. While taking the SATs I was nervously flinging my #2 pencil between my thumb and forefinger when the rhythm got away from me and (insert the BIONIC WOMAN jumping sound here) it FLUNG all the way across the room and hit the girl in the corner, right in the chest. 4. My long-time college boyfriend always took me to Philadelphia to see The Nutcracker Ballet. We would get all dressed up, go out for a fancy dinner and then out to the show. We felt so grown up. The last time we went it was horrible weather. Icy rain and very cold. We were running late, got turned around coming out of the parking garage so we were doing more than a brisk walk down a very slippery sidewalk. My feet were freezing and cramped into my way-too-tight shoes when we hit the apron of the sidewalk that gently declines to the street. Well, there was nothing gentle about my decline when I hit that apron. I don't know what was louder, the squeal I let out when I felt myself going down, the screech of my heels on the icy pavement or the beet-red face of my boyfriend who clenched his teeth, yanked my arm and growled, "GET UP!" 5. While waiting to have my seat assigned to take the GREs I sat in a desk along the front of the gymnasium, facing those who had been seated already. There were hundreds of test-takers but it was completely silent...until someone coughed and the the hollow echo would last forever. It was freezing and my hands were raw so I grabbed my purse to find my lotion. CRAP! It was frozen from being in my car all night. I popped the lid and gave it a shot...squeeeeeze. Nothin'. Well, I had time, I would just massage the tube to soften the lotion. I kneaded and squeezed, kneaded and squeezed but after a few minutes I was on auto pilot and evidently applied a little too much pressure to the now-thawed lotion. With the loudest PHHLPPPPPPPPPLLLLLLLLLLLHHHHHPLLLLHHHPPPPPPPPHH (fake flatulence sound) you have ever heard and hundreds of faces staring at me I now had lotion covering my face and dripping into my lap from my hair. What is it about standardized tests that make me freak out? 6. Stepping into the baby pool with my kids in hand, I hit a very slippery spot on the painted cement bottom and went DOWN like a cinder block onto my back, pulling my children down with me. I could have brushed it off and pretended it didn't happen except the 8" oval brush burn/bruise on the back of my right thigh was a dead give-a-way! 7. Walking through a local mom-and-pop grocery store in my Amish Country hometown, we passed a traditional Amish woman in all black; bonnet, fringed shawl, dress, apron, stockings and shoes. She was an older lady whose posture had seen better days. Almost as if in slow motion, I saw my daughter's eyes lock on the woman. Her eyes took on a frenzied look and her mouth flew open. As all this was happening, I was scurrying to get past the woman before whatever Emily was going to say would make it out of her lips! But, much to my chagrin she squealed, "Look, Mama! It's the wicked witch of the West!" 8. And lastly, my favorite funny from my mom! It didn't embarrass ME, but she will be embarrassed for the rest of her life! My mom is a saint. Think Mother Theresa. Princess Di. A gentle, quiet soul who has nothing bad (or foul) to say...EVER! BUT...the very first time she met my in-laws (who weren't my in-laws, yet) they were talking about restaurants in a casual conversation. My in-laws asked if they had ever been to FUDRUCKERS. My mom said "No." but remembered seeing one in passing and said to my dad, "Hey, honey, where were we when we saw that RUDF*CKERS?" She slapped her hands across her mouth so hard I think she saw stars. I don't think she breathed for 5 whole minutes. The rest of us howled with laughter!! OK....whew! That took awhile. But I am not good with "keeping it simple." I am going to tag ANYONE who wants to do this - consider yourself tagged...just give me a shameless plug when you do it...puh-lease??!

Who needs 'em...

Saturday morning cartoons? Not at "Chez Brownlow"...We decorate fruit in the early morning light!
Meet Bob Banana and the Clementines!
(notice Bart Banana (far left) got kicked out of the band after a braul during last night's gig)
I think I have COMPLETELY lost it people!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mama Drama...

Magnum of NyQuil for Mommy- $13.49 Box of travel tissues - $1.79 Bag of "bribe" sweets for toddler- $1.99 Taking a 2-yr old to the Walk-In clinic when Mommy is sick - INSANITY! (This is going to be a long post - so grab your favorite libation and a cushion for your bum and Depends if you pee when you laugh, because you WILL laugh!) It all started Friday night when the mini-cold I had turned into a horrible sore throat. You know that kind that you want to take something for it but you can't even swallow your own spit, let alone a couple of Advil. That retching pain that makes you actually consider putting a spittoon next to your bed so you don't HAVE to swallow. That off-the-charts pain that would cause you to say "yes" to anything your children asked for because a nod would be easier than the ensuing amount of begging you would have to endure if you said "no." Quite honestly, I barely remember the weekend. My husband took over and I merely existed. I am not the lay in bed kind of patient. I would rather be in the mix than off in a room away from the family. And, I rarely go to the doctors. I think I had tonsillitis about 4 or 5 years ago and that got me in pronto, but other than throwing my back out, I haven't been back. Until yesterday. I stuck it out as long as I could. But my mom once told me of an untreated strep-throat case gone bad...she's a hairdresser so she gets all the gory details of things like I decided to go...but NOT alone, unfortunately. I had to have my older two children at school an hour early for a field trip so, I literally rolled out of bed, fed everyone and jumped in the car to drop off my field-trippers and head to the walk-in clinic. I hadn't changed my sweats, washed my face, brushed my teeth or even looked in a mirror for that matter. I was promptly greeted by a career-dressed, obviously-showered and very-well-put-together former high school acquaintance who apparently did not recognize me behind my mascara-raccoon eyes, stained sweat shirt and wiggling toddler. So, what do I do? I say, "Deb? Right? Michelle. How are you?" I couldn't leave there having her think that I not only had lost my cheerleader looks but my memory, too. She was sweet and handed the baby a ball to keep him occupied until I got called in. Well, that ball touched every human in the waiting room. Mostly their feet, thank goodness! I chased him from the handy push-button water fountain to the exit door about a thousand times. Apparently, when travelling at the height of toddler speed a wee one can throw his whole 27 lbs hard enough to open the exit door. Each time this happened, the door would make the annoying "ding-dong" sound. The desk receptionist would come with her "how are you?" smile posed and ready. I smile back with my "Oh gosh, I am so sorry, again!" half-smile, half-grimace. She would return a "read that baby a book" grin and I was off toward the water fountain. "MICHELLE BROWNLOW?" I scooped up the baby and walked toward the woman who had just called my name. I think my lips were actually puckering because I was so excited to not have to run, chase, scold and whimper in public. Send me to a little room where I can control my child a little easier. Close the door behind you and I will be just fine. Who the heck was I kidding?! The next 45 minutes consisted of hands in the trashcan, back in the mouth, playing the chase game while I frantically tried to get hand-sanitizer on his clenched little fists. There was screaming and whining as I tried to convince him we should read (he cried a little, too). A child who spent 13 months trying to walk now decides he MUST crawl ALL THE HECK over the floors that have probably been peed and pooped on...oh gosh, I gag at the thought. As soon as I pick him up to wash his hands....they go IN HIS MOUTH! Why is this? OK, so about 20 minutes into this chaos ensuing behind Door#3, I decide to use one of his fears against him. I know, mean, but I was desperate, people! He is fearful of heights. So, I grab a book and plop him on the L-shaped exam table so my aching body could stand still for more than 2.5 seconds. Because the L-shape was a little reclined, the fear fled and his voice jumped 3 octaves into a squealing "Wwwhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" He thinks it is a SLIDE. God help me! He turns toward the reclining back, throws his hands to the top and starts to run, trying to get to the top. You know that white roll of paper that covers the table? The actual roll is hung from the back of the table, his hands are on either side of the top of the strip running to the end of the table and his little sneakers are going WARP SPEED flinging the white strip behind him as though it is the smoke from his super shoes. I think we killed a full acre of rain forest in 6 seconds. But I got to stand still. The other 25 minutes were less than enjoyable so I put on our coats and left the building. "But, ma'am, the doctor will see you in two minutes." "Suuuuuuure, he will! Not falling for it nurse-lady!" I have a babysitter and an appointment for tomorrow. Which is a good thing considering I now have red blistery patches along my back that I think are SHINGLES! Lord, help me!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A day in the life...

"Please don't pour your orange juice in your....(sigh) cereal." "No. No. No. Grapes are not good for dogs!" "Let Mommy wipe your nose...aaaaahhhhh NOT ON YOUR SLEEVE!" "Toys need to stay out of the toilet!" "Mommy really doesn't like it when you fill the VCR with DVDs!" "Let's go get the mail." "DO NOT eat the...(sigh) bird poop!" "Let's go back inside." "Do NOT touch that plug again!" "I said, NO more touching the buttons on the TV." "Noooooooo! Do NOT stick your finger in...(sigh) the dog's butt!" "Honey, we can't go outside again, now it's raining." "How about a lollipop...will that help?" "What's that sme....oh, come here. We need to change your diaper." "Come here." "Don't run from me." "OK..nevermind, I don't want to change your diaper anyway." "Please, come here." "Don't make me chase you. DON'T RUN WITH A LOLLIPOP IN YOUR MOUTH!" "Keep your hands up! Don't reach inside the...(sigh) poopy diaper!!!!" "No, you can't have THAT lollipop back (gag)!" "Want to make bubbles in the sink?" "Oh dear, that's glass. Here, play with these cups." ((ring, ring)) "Hello? Hi. Nothing. Sure, I have a sec. Wait, hold on." "Not in your mouth. Do not drink the soapy water." "O.K. I'm back. What were you saying? Oh, geez, hang on!" "Not the dirty dishes. Just play with the cups." "K. So, how did your thing go? Really? Wow. Crap, hang on!" "The muffins do NOT need to be washed, honey. Please!" "Sure, I can hold on." "Let's be done with bubbles. Can you hold the phone for mommy while I dry you off?" "NOOOOOOOOOO! Not in the...(sigh) ((gurgle, gurgle)) sink!" "Look, let's be done playing in the sink and tell blankie how much fun you had on our way up to bed." "Please don't headbutt Mommy. That hurts. Ow. Stop!" (mumbled) "What is on my sock? ARGH! Lollipop stick." ((in the background from under the water in the sink)) "Hellooooo? Shel??? You there????"

Monday, November 12, 2007

You asked for it... popular request (in comments and personal emails after my 8 RANDOM THING post) here is what you asked for... ** toes are ALWAYS numb, not just when I was responding to the meme...ALWAYS! Don't have a clue why (neither does my Dr.) but unless I plan to start twirling a baton with my toes - it shouldn't be a problem! **here is my 'so far' sketch of my Pop-Pop for my mom's Christmas present...can you tell which part I was nervous to do?

**and MANY of you wanted the rest of the children's stories from my "A little snippet here..." post, I will post the story that gets the most go back to that post and re-read the excerpts and then leave your "swell my head with compliments" comments and I will give you the WHOLE SHEBANG!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

TAG! I'm "it"...

WOW! My first tag, I am so excited! . Baseball Mom got me for 8 RANDOM THINGS ABOUT ME! . So, are ya ready? Here goes! . 1. Four of my toes are completely numb. Two on each foot! . 2. I can make my tongue into a three-leaf clover shape. . 3. I can tie a knot in a cherry stem INSIDE my mouth. This was a party favorite while I was at Penn State! . 4. I pierced my own belly button in 1991. But it got reeeeeaaaally sore after about a week so I had to let it grow closed. . 5. I have seen FOOTLOOSE over 30x. . 6. I learned how to do photorealistic portraits this summer. I am 3/4 of the way done a portrait of my 'PopPop' for my mom for Christmas. (maybe I will post it when I am done!) . 7. I just quit my Hip Hop dance class. . 8. I was a teen model. OK...I am tagging the following bloggers....Manic Mommy, Fried Okra, Fully Alive, Purple Valley, Because I Said So and Rice-A-Roni-ville!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

It's been a creative day...

I spent my morning laughing, eating, connecting, relaxing...oh, yeah...and I made these cards! I am one of those moms who never gets a babysitter unless I have an appointment, have to help out at the "big kids'"school or have something scheduled that will not accommodate a cranky two-year old.
Today, I had a babysitter from 10am-3pm so I could go to an all day STAMPIN' UP party! Just me and the girls! Patsy, Janet, Linda and Mary MADE MY DAY TODAY! Thanks gals!!
It is such a beautiful thing to complete a sentence without having to clean up a spilled snack, have enough minutes (in a row) to page through a crafty catalog from beginning to end...slowly, TWO TIMES without changing a diaper, to leisurely eat food prepared by someone else that will also be cleaned up by someone else without sharing my lunch, my seat or my mind. .
I was in HEAVEN.
I then returned home rejuvenated and refreshed.
The bus came, my two older children bounded in the house, hugged the baby and reminded me that their "Bio Bottles" were due tomorrow.
We are studying Famous Pennsylvanians this month so their assignment was to turn a 2 liter bottle into a statue of the person they chose to research.
After 3 1/2 hours of hard work, a screaming two-year old, a sad excuse for dinner, three hot-glue burnt fingers and a few do-overs, we welcomed Mary Cassatt (artist) and Ken Griffey, Jr. into our home... .
A little (whole freakin' LOT) more stressful than my morning but well worth it!
(yes, I was an art teacher...NO, I DIDN'T DO THESE FOR THEM...they are just amazingly talented!!!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Take a deep breath and count to...

Ten? Isn't that what you are supposed to count to when you are frustrated? . Well, what about when you have reached new heights of frustration? The heights that make you want to pull your eyelids off just to make a statement? Then what do you count to? Or do you not count at all? Maybe there is a new level of frustration elimination for those of us with no eyelids. . I think my 2-year old is trying to break me. He is either a shape-shifter and is actually a 45-year old man hired by the CIA to do torture testing on middle American moms or I have simply hit my limit with #3. . This little dude stretches me like no other child has. I have taught all ages of children - I was a HS art teacher for goodness sake! I have two older children who are only 15 months apart - I thought that was stretching it...nope...not even close. . My precious little blond-haired, blue-eyed cupid can now unlock locked doors. While I am trying to relieve myself in peace (see previous post about being constipated) and my older ones have friends over so there is a need to have the door closed AND LOCKED. He now, uses his little tiny fingers and gently turns the lock and out he goes leaving me quite vulnerable on my Throne. And, no, of course I can't reach the door to shut it without getting up and walking...ummm, yeah, not so pretty! . This sweet little chubby-cheeked babe has grown a fraction of an inch and can now reach OVER the baby gates and release them whenever he darn-well pleases. His first inclination is to run up the stairs to his brother's room, scale the bedspread and jump under the covers on a too-tall-for-him bed. He got farther ahead of me this time and by the time I jogged to the top of the stairs (thinking I had collapsed a lung, of course) and there he was...under the covers, head on the pillow, iPod ear buds in place and Nintendo DS in hand. See, shape-shifter, I just know it! . My 27.5 pound little guy could win a medal in "keep away." You know the game...half-way around the kitchen island with a cupcake in each hand...peek, sees Mommy headed his way...half-way the OTHER way around the kitchen island with icing on his nose and squeezing the bejeebies out of what used to be cupcakes from the sheer excitement of seeing my face start to twitch. Can you have a stroke just from toddler-induced stress? . A quite imaginative little one, he has now decided that every air conditioning/heating vent in the house is a slide for all of his toys. He carefully and quietly rounds the corner with toy/car/small family pet in hand, squeezes his puny fingers between the fins of the grate and removes it only to squeal, "WWWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" as he sends his little friend down for the ride of its life! . His newest obsession? The DVD player. He knows exactly which of his toy totes when turned upside down makes him just tall enough to reach the open/close button and what fun that is. Dinosaur in..."close"...grind, grind...nope, doesn't fit Bob the Builder vehicle?..."close"...crunch, squeal...nope. Pacifier?..."close"...lurch, crank...LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WE HAVE A WINNER!! Of course, now his beloved "Boo," as he calls it, is in there for life because the $#@#$% thing won't open again...and it's an all out temper tantrum while shrieking "BOO! BOO!" at 47 decibels above human hearing level!! . You are thinking, "Just chill, lady. It's just what toddlers do!" . But, is it typical for this to take place inside a 30 minute time frame?!! . Has anyone see my eyelids?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Toot, toot...

Alrighty, I am NOT one to toot my own horn. Quite honestly, I don't even own a horn. We have a couple recorders floating around and one very loud saxaphone but I, personally, do not own a horn. . Anyway, my point... I very rarely let people make a big deal out of things I do or things I make but I have to rooty-toot-toot today!! . I have actually been getting...I almost can't say it...FAN MAIL! Although I feel honored and humbled, it is like an out-of-body thing for me! It is hysterical that I, me, dorky mom Michelle is getting fan mail?!!
Am I being PUNK'D? Where's Ashton?
I get a lot of great comments from fellow bloggers but that's not what I am referring to. I write a weekly column in our local paper - the Tri County Record.
I have recently started receiving wonderful emails from local people who have somehow been touched by what I wrote. My "fans" (what?!) write of how I "made them think," or what I said "really hit home," or was "just what I needed to hear today." One letter came on beautiful stationery to my mailbox and then yesterday the biggest WHAT?! of them all came. My editor contacted me to say there was a gift at the office for me sent by a reader.
WHAT?! . Let me give you the visual... Right now, I sit at my computer, Dunkin' Donuts vanilla chai sitting to my right. Why the chai? Well, the trip into town was easier than fighting with my two-year old to get him to sleep and I knew he would not make it home from DD awake. . I digress... Here's the look I am sportin' today... I have VERY messy, needs-a-good-trim hair pulled back in an elastic headband, I have on an obnoxious periwinkle blue (it is a sickening blue) long-sleeved T-shirt with the black capri sweats I wore all day yesterday AND slept in last night and yes, they are STILL on my body AND....this is the best part...

THESE socks!

I am just NOT feeling FAN worthy. I do not own Vera Wang ANYTHING, I have never had people hiding in my bushes to take pictures of me and I have never walked the red carpet...actually, I HAVE done that...the carpet in the church I got married in was red...wait, and there were dress, my was not Vera but it was gorgeous!! I am FAN WORTHY....bring on the mail!

Good grief, I am just kidding, you know...thanks for the mail, it keeps me writing!

Friday, November 2, 2007

A little snippet here and a little snippet there...

For those of you who have read more than just yesterday's post, you know along with being a freelance writer, blogger and columnist, I am also an aspiring children's writer. (I am an artist, too, but not sure I am ready to take on the job of author/illustrator) Now that my readership has escalated to heights not before seen on MY SEMBLANCE OF SANITY (although not crazy huge like some of my MommyBloggingFriends) I thought it would be fun to give you some snippets of a couple children's books I have written and get your feedback... If you have never commeted before, please let me know you are out there...I am curious as to how many people are included in those red "blips" on my Worldwide Fan map to the left. Here's a peek into the CRAZY mind of a children's author!! excerpt from GABBY VON CLOUTH, CAN'T SHUT HER MOUTH: Gabby Von Clouth was always busy. She was the teacher’s pet. She sharpened all the pencils before her friends got to school. She tidied the cubbies and sorted the mail. Miss Gooseberry was a tad flighty and was thrilled to have the extra help. One hectic morning she opened the craft closet and to find all of the art supplies in alphabetical order. “Did you see what I did for you? It was hard work but I did it! Aren’t you lucky to have me Miss Gooseberry?” It never failed, right after her random act of kindness Gabby looked around to see who noticed and who was ready to make a big deal out of it. She wanted a “Thank You,” a “You’re Great,” and maybe even a “You have made my day!” excerpt from HAPPY FIRST DAY: She gladly took the spot of last in line and quietly walked down the peaceful hallway. No one seemed to notice her. Good. Suddenly, like a centipede, step by step the single file line turned right and one by one they entered the classroom. The lights were off. It took awhile for Emma’s eyes to adjust from the bright hallway to the dimly lit classroom. There was music…were the other children singing? There was a warm glow coming from the center of the room. There, on a small desk was a cake with glowing candles. Emma was confused, she didn’t move and she certainly didn’t sing. What were they doing? What were they singing? “Happy First Day to you, Happy First Day to you, Happy First Day dear Emma, Happy First Day to you!” All of this fuss was for her? Never in any other school, and she had been to many, had her first day been treated like a class holiday. Mrs. King was smiling with her hands clasped over her heart. She was proud of her students and it showed. excerpt from HENRIETTA HAMSTERFACE: “Too slow, Lost the race. Henrietta Hamster Face! Loser, How’s it feel? Get back in your hamster wheel!” Maggie McCall, a slender girl with long red fingernails, spun on her heel and flipped her hair the way popular girls do as she glanced back at Henrietta who was sitting in a cloud of dust. She adjusted her small oval glasses, wiped her pointy nose, pulled her sweater closed to cover her “Hamsters are People, too” shirt and smoothed her skirt over her slightly rounded body. Henrietta climbed to her feet and walked to the back door of the school. Maggie and her crew had tricked Henrietta into thinking if she won the race to the dirt mound she would be an honorary member of the “Star Crowd;” that’s what Maggie and her pretty friends called themselves. The whistle blew and the fourth-graders filed into the school. Henrietta slid into the last place in line and sulked down the hall wondering if there would ever be a day she would be a star. excerpt from HOME IS WHERE THE LOVE IS: Javan sat quietly staring at the words on the blackboard; “Home is where…”He squeezed his eyes shut and mouthed a quick prayer for courage as the impending chaos blew through the door. What seemed to be a hundred fifth-graders moved into the room all at once. They chatted and laughed as they rumbled past Javan’s desk. His heart pounded so hard he could hear it over the racket of the students so obviously comfortable with life, themselves, their school, and their friends. Comfortable. Javan was anything but. This was his second day at Augustus Elementary and he still didn’t know where the bathroom was or how he would complete the sentence on the board. He was lost; in more ways than one. *********************************************************************************** OK...back to work...that was my creative way of geting out of staring at the blank page which is also the start of the final copy of book 3 of my series that is out at HarperCollins....please let the phone ring! :)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

She emerges victorious...kind of...

OK...I have never been what you would call athletic. I was the girl who would blame her period to try and get out of co-ed volleyball in gym class. I was a cheerleader, not a runner or swimmer. I just don't enjoy gasping for air or burning muscles, that's all.
However, I DO consider myself competitive at some things and isn't that what sports are really about...competing? Well, if that is the case, I am a competitive DISCOUNT GROCERY SHOPPER!! I love the thrill, the mad dash for the 'scratch and dent' aisle and ultimately, an overflowing cart for pennies on the dollar.
This morning, my two year old and I headed for the DISCOUNT GROCERY STORE before going to the "real" grocery store. This is my strategy. I buckled him in and revved my engine.
And they're off.
A mere 20 minutes later I pull up to the cash register with this...

43 name brand items = $43.24

Kraft, Post, Betty Crocker, Maxwell House, Nature Valley, Tyson, etc., etc.

I was thrilled at my VICTORY!! I brought my booty home and headed back out to the 'real' grocery store with a good feeling that I could get meat, fruits and veggies for under $60 and have the satisfaction of knowing I could feed my family of 5 for a week and a half on roughly $100.

With Christmas coming, I could sock away my extra loot and really treat my kids...and my hubby, too, I guess!

Well, the "I only spent $43 at BB's so, I'll get extra yogurt, bottled water, meat, ice cream...." did me in. I left our Super Wal-Mart with $158 worth of groceries in my cart...rats!

Oh, well. I tried my best. Better luck next time.