Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mommy Blogger J...

Well, even though we covered our heads and whined... Monday came... the weekend is over... But at least you have MoBlogMo to look forward to! Right? Right? Yeah, that's what I thought! MoBlogMo got you out of bed! C'mon, amuse me! Let's just pretend that's why you got out of bed! LOL! This Monday, the last one in March, I am so happy to introduce you to a Mommy Blogger that has followed my blog for a while. I believe she even won a prize for one of my many contests ...I don't remember which one, but I remember sending her something! Ladies (and SWATCOP - lol), help me make Mommy Blogger J... feel welcome! J... South Dakota J... has been blogging for 10 months and will soon be up to 200 posts...this woman writes!

So, J... , why did you start blogging?

I love to write. I love to tell my story to the world. So why not write my words in a public forum where I can talk about things I know and meanwhile, connect with others and let them connect with me through the power of words. Really, I blog for the same reason as most of you. To vent, to heal, and to deal.

I LOVE THAT! "To vent, to heal, and to deal!" I couldn't have said it better myself! Isn't that why we all do it?

So, who is "J..." ?

I am 28 year old mom to a boy who's my soul and a girl who's my heart. I have been married for over 7 years to a man who isn't afraid to put up with my crap. I yell more than I should and laugh when I should refrain. I place my foot squarely in my mouth way more often than not but I try really hard to teach my kids to learn from my mistakes. See, I told you she was awesome!

And, I have to ask what your best MOM memory is. It's one of the questions that gets the bet answers!

The best most recent memory was when my son came to me and handed me all of the change in his pocket that he had been hoarding all day (a whopping 81 cents!) and told me he wanted to donate it to his Math-a-thon which was to benefit St. Jude's. It was a wonderfully proud moment for me.

Man! Kids can teach us a lot about giving, can't they? He didn't say, "I only have .81, not enough to give." He said, "HERE'S my .81!" Awesome!

Give us a short product review of something you can’t live without.

Do you see this product? It's called choc-o-late and it is absolutely fabulous! What can it cure, you ask? Um. Well. Nothing. But it sure makes the symptoms of PMS melt away, the cacophony of the children blend into nothingness and the greasy smell of the husband fade away. In short, it works miracles! But the best part is that it only works on women!

BWAAAAA HAAAAAAA!!! You took the words right out of my mouth...sorry that those words were chocolate-covered...but, ya know!

Can you share your biggest life lesson with us?

To live without regret because what I have experienced and what I have done in life has shaped me into the person I am today and will continue to mold the person that I become.

Not many people want to talk about embarrassing moments, I have a feeling, though that you will have a good one...and, better yet, I have an even better feeling that you would LOVE to share it with the blogosphere. Am I right? Dish, baby!

I went to a haunted house one Halloween with my brother and his wife and my hubby a few years ago. I had my Hubby's hand clenched behind my back and my brother's coat in front of me as we walked through a particularly dark section. It felt oddly larger than the narrow halls that we had passed through before it so I relaxed a little and let go of my brother. Just then the headlights of a semi truck glared at me and it came barreling in my direction. Scared beyond imagination, I fell to my knees and promptly peed my pants. We had to go purchase some pants for me at WalMart just so that I could make it back home! I am loving this! Someone as quirky as me! Now, I can think of another thing that could make us, tell us a secret.

I once tried to close the front door really quickly before my dog could run out and forgot to move my head first. I literally slammed my head in the door so hard I had tears in my eyes, an instantaneous headache and a belly laugh greater than any at my stupidity.

OK, was I right or was I right? How many of you want to just walk around throughout the day with J... ? Tough! I knew her first, if anyone is gonna be entertained by this woman, it is me! Well, you could go read her blog and then we all get to enjoy her humor!

Alright, let's get serious... what’s your biggest passion?

Life. I love living it. I love having it. I love feeling it. I just am passionate about life in general. Hmmmm. I love that!

What do you hate?

I hate people to write on my score pad when I am keeping score during a board game. And I hate people who are so narrow minded that they won't even listen to my side of an argument.

Ha ha ha. The scorecard thing caught me off guard and I peed a little when I laughed at that thought. How funny. I never would have guessed that would be bothersome! Note to self: While following J... around, if she asks to play a game, DON'T write on her scorecard!!!!

What has been your greatest achievement?

I was the first in my family to graduate from High School (I have three older siblings and that includes my parents, as well).


What is your most vivid high school memory?

There was a teacher who's room was right next to where my locker was located and everyday in between classes she would come out of her room with a squirt bottle and use it to squirt me and my boyfriend until we separated ourselves from each other!

Cute. I was a teacher. I just announced the PDA ... "Miss Smith, could you PUH-LEASE take your tongue out of Mr. Roy's mouth? We are all gagging over here!"

Ahhhh, that was fun! I almost wish I was back in that classroom again...almost!

Do you have any phobias?

Where do I start? Death, spiders, snakes...


And last but not least, what do you always hope people see on YOUR inside?

That even though I make mistake after mistake, I find ways to pick myself up, dust myself off and try to make it up to the people I have hurt. I learn from my mistakes and deep down I am a really great person that is just doing her best to not fail at this life thing.

What an amazing example you are setting for your children and those around you. Beautiful!

Thank you J... so much for sharing yourself with us. You are a joy! I enjoyed our time together! I am sure you will have some new fans as you are very and REAL. I don't know about you, but those are my top 3 requirements to plunk a mommy blog URL into my faves!

Leave your love for J... in the comments. Invite your friends. Mondays are a good day at My Semblance, huh?

Thanks for stopping by...check out the CONTEST below!

Have a great day!

Friday, March 27, 2009

My "Top 10" things Moms never dreamed they'd have to say...CONTEST!

This was a really fun contest that I ran last year! We had a blast! So, let's play again. Please subscribe so you can keep track of who is in the running! Put your foot in your mouth recently? The following are "MY top 10!" but I bet you have some DOOZIES! In the comments below leave the funniest words that have ever left your lips. The funniest entry...I mean the one that has me running to the bathroom... will win a personalized NAMESAKE for your child or as a gift for a special child in your life. Additionally, the owner of the blog that referred you will also receive a personalized NAMESAKE! So, leave the referring blog, too! Bloggers, spread the word and win a FREE NAMESAKE! Click here to see what a NAMESAKE is! Enjoy this installment of the "MY SEMBLANCE TOP 10!" 10. Get your dinner out of your nose! I know too many moms who have had to tweeze a pea out of their child's nose at some point during toddlerhood. What in the world is it with kids and orifices? They are obsessed. I wonder if there is a connection between peas up the nose and premarital sex? Ya think? Hmmmm. 9. PUH-LEASE, get your hands out of your pants/mouth/toilet/cat litter/all of the above! It is like their little fingers are homing devises for butt-nasty germs! Who in their right mind would EVER dream of grabbing a handful of kitty litter? Who reading this has put bird poop in their mouth? No one? I rest my case! 8. Now, you say "I'm sorry for pooping in your yard!" They run when it is time to change their diapers, they fight to take a bath, they wouldn't dream of going on the potty but a little naked time with the sprinkler and they are all about public pooping! 7. Take that off your penis, NOW! What is it with little boys and their dingies? Why are they so fascinated? Why must they adorn/touch/scratch/pinch/squeeze and stretch the bejeebies out of the little things? Just leave it. It's NOT going anywhere? 6. Spit! Gum off the floor/underside of the table/sidewalk is NOT yours to chew! Ewwwww. Ewwwww. Ewwwwww. It's flattened, tasteless and has the imprint of a 300 lb. sweaty man's shoe on it....what about that is appetizing? Given the option, I would eat a boatload of liver before chewing sidewalk gum...heck, I would be a contestant on FEAR FACTOR before noshing on booger-laden gum from under a restaurant table. At least the Fear Factor stuff is sterilized! 5. You have 5 seconds to get every bit of glue off of the dog! Liquid and fur...kind of like the orifice thing in my house, I don't get it but they do. Man, do they get it. I have had to clean peanut butter, oatmeal, liquid soap, Elmer's glue, soy sauce, pancake syrup and spit off our poor black lab. No wonder she has anxiety issues...she is being hazed by a baby! 4. Why are my cutting boards under the couch cushions? Although sometimes they are like little tornadoes and wreak havoc throughout our homes they themselves do not see what all the fuss is about. They truly think that the cutting boards, when out in the open, will reduce their super strength like Kryptonite. They fully understand that if they do not have their headgear (colander) in place, the evil Hoozie-Whatzie will conquer their stuffed-animal army. And, without a doubt, unless the ceiling fan is on high when they lasso it with the jump rope they may not reach warp speed. 3. Where are all the spoons?! For the love of Pete, why are they in the air conditioning vent? Again, with the "everything has a home"'s just that OUR idea of a spoon's home is not THEIR idea of its home. Of course, if I were a pirate (bad boy pirate kid) and there was a treasure box (ottoman) sitting on the spot marked "X" (closed A/C vent), it would be quite silly to NOT dig (lift off the grate) for hours (.3 seconds) to retrieve the booty (mom's heirloom silver)! Right? Help.Me. 2. Help! Honey, do something! He just puked in his shoes! What in the world would possess a child to take off his shoes to throw up? Do you get an unsettled feeling in your big toe just as your lunch is making it's re-entry? Why not just aim for a bush? How about just the grass/floor/sand/driveway? Is it the infamous man-game? You know they one, where they trying to fit a lot of something in a very small space? "I KNOW I can get this heavier-than-the-combined-weight-of-our-children dufflebag to fit between the front seats of the car *...STOMP...crunch...STOMP...crack...STOMP* SEE! I did it." Maybe our boys are saying, "*gurgle, gurgle* I bet I could fit the entire contents of my stomach into my shoes...awww nah, I bet I could fit it all into ONE sh.... * SPLOOSH!* SEE! I did it!" and finally, the #1 thing I wish I never had to say... 1. Yes, hi, is this customer service? I was hoping I could speak with someone who could tell me the best way to get peanut butter out of my ceiling fan motor, a caravan of melted Hot Wheels out of my dryer hose, a plastic Chinese star out out of my Wii console, $4.37 cents out of my car's CD player, melted crayons out of my freshly fabric softened whites, food coloring hand prints out of linen curtains and crushed goldfish crackers out from between the k4eys o8f my l*pt9op! Hello? Hello? Help.Me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are...

All I have to say's about time!

This book has touched millions of lives, has inspired millions of children and encouraged the grown ups reading to them...and with only 336 words.



Monday, March 23, 2009

Mommy Blogger Monday...Meet Marcy...and a special guest...

Hello, Mommy Bloggers!! And HAPPY MONDAY! I am thrilled to introduce you to a NEW Mommy Blogger and because this post came in later than usual, I have a surprise for you at the end. Ladies, please join me in welcoming Marcy, blogging since September 2007!

Dallas, Texas

Marcy is a creative mom of one and substitute teacher who started blogging after visiting her friend's blog. She soon realized a blog would be a good way to keep in touch with distant friends and family but she was soon blessed with new-found friends she never would have met if it weren't for blogging! Don't we know it! Gotta love those virtual friendships!

What is your best MOM memory: When Nicole was in Pre-K, I volunteered up there alot along with my friend Lena, since our daughters were in the same class. It was up to us to teach the kids their 'graduation' dance, which happened to be the Mac Chicken. (picture the macarena meets the chicken dance). Anyway, the day of their graduation came along and all the parents and grandparents are there and the teacher decides to make Lena and I get up there with the kids to dance. At first I thought I'd be embarrased, but then I saw Nicole waving at me and clapping me on while she was dancing and I just remember her adorable face laughing at me, and thinking there wasn't anything cuter in the world. I was so proud of her, my big soon to be Kindergartener! I look back now and she looks so little!!! I felt like crying !

As moms, sometimes I feel that we have lessons to learn each and everyday. Lessons our children teach us or we learn through how we parent. What has been your biggest life lesson?

I know sometimes we get so frustrated that we yell, but make sure it doesn't become habit and you just yell to yell, or because you're having a bad day! We might be having a bad day but by yelling we might ruin someone else's day.

Wow! How many of us have caught ourselves yelling only to realize whatever we were yelling at was not even happening and we had misunderstood the situation? Just me? I am the ONLY one? Oh. Rats!

I've had more embarrassing moments than I can count! And we all know misery loves company, so SPILL IT! What was your most embarrassing moment? First time I wore high heels. My mom bought me a pair of gray heels that went with my new gray skirted outfit. I wore it to Church thinking I was all that when I slipped in the Narthex, fell on my butt, and my skirt rode up to my waist. Then on top of that shame, we went to the grocery store afterwards and as we were walking across the parking lot a guy walking in front of us stopped to look back and commented 'oh , I thought there was a horse clip clopping up behind me'. One guess - do you think I EVER wore those shoes again? Um, yep! Have almost an identical story!

What’s your biggest passion?

Hmm, guess you aren't looking for an answer like my husband or some such. I'd have to say reading. I can't go anywhere without whatever current book I'm reading. Even a 10 min. car trip. Even if we are going to a party, or out to dinner - my book will be in my purse!

Oh, Marcy, you and I could never go on a trip together...reading in the car makes me gag! Utter nausea! We would be a pair, huh?

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

Long hot showers, (with or without Chris!) Oooooooo,'s gettin' steamy!!! LOL!

If your spouse would agree to let you go on a date with ONE celeb…list your top 3 picks. Tim McGraw, Julian McMahon, and Patrick Swayze

Most of us could say the birth of our children was our greatest achievement. Besides the obvious, what would you say your greatest achievement has been?

Overcame my not wanting to stand out in a crowd and became a Bellydancer. The last time I actually performed though was when Nicole was 3 mos old. Ohhhhh, showers, belly dancing....she's making us look bad!

I can't stand small spaces, like when I play hide-and-seek with my will NEVER find me crawling under any beds...gasp! Doo you have any phobias, Marcy?

Yes. I used to be able to drive over high bridges, like over passes? and now when I approach one my heart starts pounding, and i freak, slow down and look straight ahead - they terrify me! no clue why. I avoid driving over them now if I can and I don't even like being in the car when someone else drives over them.

I have had the joy of knowing Marcy for almost a year, now. Marcy graciously offered to make chemo-caps for kids over on my it's 4 the kids website! I have enjoyed our fun relationship and am so glad I could share her with you!!

Thanks, Marcy!! As always, it was fun "hangin' out!" Now get back to your bellydancing!! :)


And, as promised, a Mommy Blogging Monday SURPRISE!!

Ladies, we have a MAN in the house today! You may have seen his comments on my posts here and there. He calls me "Kemper!" That's because his wife is one of my BFFs and if you remember, of the 4 of us BFFs, 3 are named Michel(l)e! He is a huge supporter of my blog and sticks up for me when there is bashing going on. He is a great guy with a heart of gold and he was feeling left out of the fun because he is not a Mom!

So, without further adieu, I give you, (well, I don't "give" you b/c he IS married to my best friend) my friend Todd, otherwise known in my comments sections as SWATCOP!

Somewhere close to Birdsboro, Pennsylvania

no blog, yet, but he's thinking about it

Now, Todd, this is usually where I introduce my guests, but I am going to use this space to remind you...I do NOT edit these answers, so be on your best behavior and don't make it too...well, you know...

OK? Todd? Are you listening?

Well, my friend, what is YOUR favorite Mommy Blog?

My Semblance of Sanity

ding ding ding ding...right answer!!


Oh ladies....I am soooo tempted to upload a video for you....but....Todd is like 6'5"...and he's on the SWAT TEAM...yeah, no video today!


Awwwww, I love the Jackson story! And I LIVED the Stevie one! :)

Our families go to the Outer Banks, NC every year during the kids' Spring Break, so I know what you bring to the beach. But, what are 3 things you would take to a deserted island with you? MY WIFE (sorry honey, I only had three wishes and clothing was not one of them)..Food…and a emergency cell phone

Your least favorite body part. My hair (I have none)

If you won the lottery, what is the 1st thing you would do with some of the money?

Tithe, then buy my house in the OBX Somebody buy this guy a lottery ticket!!!!

What’s your biggest passion?

My family

Ladies, I can hear you saying, "awwwww"...yes, he's being honest! He's a really good guy!

If your spouse would agree to let you go on a date with ONE celeb…list your top 3 picks. KATE BECKINSALE / CARRIE UNDERWOOD / KATE BECKINSALE for a second date LMAO!!!!

Your greatest achievement. BEING A DAD AND MAKING THE SWAT TEAM

Ladies, AGAIN with the "awwwww", I am trying to conduct an interview! What can you, under no circumstances, tolerate?


Do you have any phobias?


Poor guy, we torture him on his birthday!! Goldfish gifts, goldfish cards, a GOLDFISH-shaped cake!! LOL!

If you could speak one sentence for the rest of your life, what would it be?


What do you always hope people see on YOUR inside? COMPASSION

Well, I am so glad I could introduce you to my BFF-in-law, Todd! He's kinda cool, huh? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Thanks again for stopping by for MoBlogMo!! It's always a fun day! Please make sure you leave comments for BOTH our featured guests! Thanks all! Peace.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

As they say...WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW...

What do I know?

I know that fads and trends and the coming and going of them are a way of life for kids. Three years ago if you would have told an elementary student that wearing jeans UNDER his buttocks was the cool thing to do, he would have shot you the infamous, "Get real, Mom!" look. Today, that same child is walking like he just got off a horse trying to keep his pants up.

One day my youngest will play with Play Doh unattended for a longer period of time and I think I have found the piece de resistance. SO, the next day I plan a major cleaning project and figure I will just get out the Play Doh. WRONG! Play Doh is "so yesterday!"

My oldest will tell me to sign him up for Fall soccer after watching his old team win a game on the soccer fields that border our property. Then the next day he is searching for skateboards online because at some point during the night Tony Hawk and Ryan Sheckler have become his heroes...and THEY don't have time for soccer.

My daughter, on the other hand seems to stay even keel for longer periods of time. If she likes mustard today, I can pretty much bet she will still like it tomorrow. However she is starting to feel the need to 'keep up with the Jones's' when it comes to fashion. She has made sure I know that SHE WANTS SKINNY JEANS. She is all about Aeropostale and Hollister (mind you, we have NEVER bought a full price item in either store - SALES only!). I have also noticed a bit of "sass" in her voice when I hear her talking to her friends. Hmmmm. Not so sure I am going to be good with this mom of two 'tweens thing. Well, I have a couple years to get ready...or medication!

So, I was moved to write the other day and I wrote...and wrote...with a toddler on my lap watching YouTube videos of monster trucks, I wrote...while the whole neighborhood played HORSE in our driveway, I wrote. The next day, I put everyone on the bus, got myself a cup of tea and I pruned my word and got them into manuscript form.

I don't want to pat myself on the back and I don't want to give too much away but I wrote the sweetest book with an feisty little duck (I am working on the images of him, too) with a preschool/early elementary version of an identity crisis. All I have been able to think about for the last three days is sitting in the midst of elementary kids, eyes glued to the images of Duck trying out other identities and making my mark on this world.

Inspiring children to be all that they can be is my purpose in this life! I am certain it is why I breathe. It is what I live. It is what I know!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Project Care...American Cancer Society

If you have been reading my blog for a while you know my passion for cancer patients. Well, I have a good friend whose passion may even outshine mine. After losing a dear friend to colon cancer last year, Becky turned her tears for Meredith into activism. Becky's passion didn't go unnoticed and The American Cancer Society offered her a job a few months ago. I am proud to introduce you to my friend, Becky Ferrier, who has a special message for anyone who has ever considered touching a cancer patient's life with kindness. Dear Friend, Each year the American Cancer Society and the residents of our county welcome Spring with the celebration of the American Cancer Society Daffodil Days. Daffodils are the flower of HOPE, representing the courage of cancer patients, the compassion of volunteers and the dedication of the medical community to finding a cure. Fresh cut bunches of daffodils, pots of miniature bulbs or specially designed Boyds™ Bears with daffodils will be distributed to donors as we attempt to paint our community “Yellow with HOPE.” A very special part of our Daffodil Days celebration is “Project CARE”. Project CARE is special edition Boyds Bears which are delivered anonymously to pediatric cancer patients at hospitals and treatment centers throughout the county. Project CARE lets these children know that someone cares about them, wants to brighten their day, and is committed to the fight against cancer. The Boyds exclusive limited-edition bear for the 2009 Bear and a Bunch campaign is Carrie N. Hope. The 10-inch plush, brown-colored bear, which has cream accent muzzle, ears, and paw pads, and brown eyes, is holding a denim bag with Daffodil Days embroidery in yellow that contains felt daffodils. As with previous Bears, Carrie also has an embroidered daffodil on one paw and the American Cancer Society logo on the other. Help to comfort children in our community by giving a special edition Boyds Bear to them in their time of need. Bring a smile to a child's face and support this effort with a $25 donation. Bears will be delivered anonymously. We thank you for all of the support that you have given to the American Cancer Society and hope to see you at an upcoming Relay For Life event. If you would like additional information about Daffodil Days or a list of local Relay For Life events, please contact your American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit Thank you again for helping make HOPE bloom! Sincerely, The 2009 Daffodil Days Committee CLICK HERE to find a Daffodil Days venue near you! Thanks, Becky, for all you do! I'm proud to be your friend! Please share you experience with cancer, your plea for a cure, you tears for those lost to this disease and/or how many thousands ;) of Daffodils you ordered for the cause in the comments of this post. Becky and I would love to see your passion, too!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mommy Blogger Monday...Meet Dayna (a contest, too)

Ladies, please join me in welcoming Dayna, blogging since July 27, 2006! Clarksville, Arkansas Dayna is a firefighter and fire safety educator. Her passion in life is to help keep children and their caregivers fire safe. You can pretty much say that she lives and breathes fire safety! Photo courtesy of PBS KIDS Sprout How long have you been a firefighter? I became a firefighter with Johnson County RFD #1 in Clarksville in August 2000. Then Dayna did something really amazing. Something that has the potential to touch tens of thousands of lives. Tell us more about what you did, Dayna: I wrote a children’s fire safety book, Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog. Recently, the book has been credited with helping save the lives of two children and their two families. These two children said that they knew what to do because of what Sparkles taught them. What a good dog! What an awesome testimony to how children's books impact our lives on a daily basis. Read to your kids people! They might just save your life some day. Why did you start blogging? At that time, I was blogging to motivate myself to lose weight for the filming of the PBS KIDS Sprout fire safety tips. Now my pure motivation to blog is to share the importance of fire safety. My children’s author blog is more detailed and shares the exciting journey that Sparkles and I have taken since our children’s book, Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog, was released. Sparkles loves blogging as well and her blog is geared toward young children. We also have another blog that we are very excited about~ Children may submit videos of questions that they have for firefighters on this site. Then, real firefighters from all across the country will answer their questions! If any of your readers would like to have their children submit their questions, Sparkles would love it! We have many other blogs, but these are our favorites. Tell us what "sparked" the idea for your book. (sorry for the pun! LOL!) One of the things that I had always wanted to do since I was young was to write a children’s book. One day, as I was putting on Sparkles' red vest before a fire safety presentation, I took one look at her and noticed her tail was wagging faster than normal. And, that look of excitement in her eyes was amazing that day. She was so happy! That look has always been there, but it hit me like a bolt of lighting at that very moment. There was my book standing on four legs right in front of me! I knew then and there that my book was going to be about Sparkles and her love for helping teach fire safety. How did you and Sparkles meet? Sparkles was rescued from a home with 62 other dogs by the Dalmatian Assistance League of Tulsa. My husband and I adopted her in May of 2003 and we have been so blessed to have such an amazing member of our family. We love her to pieces and are so proud of all that she has done to help keep children and their caregivers fire safe. It is like she was born to help teach fire safety! Who would have thought that a dog that led such a miserable existence would have since participated in a Congressional briefing, have been mentioned in a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Community Preparedness Sub-Committee and be on FOX and Friends? Sparkles has also reached millions of children and their caregivers as her fire safety tips appear on PBS KIDS Sprout (geared toward pre-schoolers and their caregivers) are on Sprout On Demand after Fireman Sam. These videos along with activity sheets and fun games are also online on the PBS KIDS Sprout page at The March/April issue of FIDO Friendly magazine (which was just released), has an article about Sparkles. She will also be in upcoming issues of DogSport, Tulsa Pets and Little Rock Family magazines. What is the message you want every parent to know? Parents, fire is not something that happens to other people. It can happen to you. Be prepared. Take time to share with your children what to do should a fire occur in your home. Make sure that your children recognize the sound of a smoke alarm. Test your smoke alarm once a month and change your batteries twice a year. Work with your children to have a plan. Together, draw an escape map, noting two ways out of every room. Make sure to have a meeting place. A meeting place can be a tree, a mailbox or a fence, for example. Practice your plan. So, we know you are a Mommy to Sparkles, how many (human) children do you have? I have one son, Michael, who is 22 and also a firefighter. He is attending the University of Arkansas where he plays tuba for the Razorback Marching Band. I have four other “children”: Sparkles, Spanner, Chief and a brand new dog (all Dalmatians). I hope to have a contest to help me name the newest addition to the fire safety family very soon. Do you work outside the home? In addition to owning my own publishing company, Firehouse Dog Publishing, LLC , Sparkles and I travel all over the United States sharing fire safety with children and their caregivers. I also enjoy spending time educating firefighters about fire safety education. Wow! Could we please give Dayna a round of applause...Sparkles, too! What amazing things they are doing to keep children and their families safe. I absolutely love seeing moms taking it upon themselves to change the world around them.
Dayna has offered to run a contest along with are the details...
If you test your smoke alarm and work together with your family to make an escape map*, your name will be entered into a drawing to win a Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog book. This book is a very special "Limited Edition" and is signed by Firefighter Dayna, Firefighter Michael (Dayna's son who is also in the book), and "pawed" by Sparkles! You will also receive a First Alert Smoke Alarm, an audio book (made by three generations of firefighters and Sparkles) and a Rush and Rescue Firetruck. When you have tested your smoke alarm and made an escape map, enter your name in the "Comment" section to be entered in the drawing for the prizes.
DEADLINE IS WEDNESDAY @ NOON (EST) *Visit to learn how to make an escape map
If you would like to contact Dayna just drop her a line Wow! How amazing Sunday nights have become for me...I get to introduce you to some of the greatest "movers and shakers" on the web!
Hey, don't forget to subscribe to get the "SANITY" scoop throughout the week and to join us for MoBlogMo! Also, if you would like to be a FEATURED MOM...leave your comment with your email address @ this post!

Friday, March 13, 2009

I wanna be an OCTO-MOM...but, this kind...

My blog has been getting TONS of hits because of something I posted a while back and I think it's funny! I'm not even bitter that the media used the name I coined over two years ago! OCTO-MOM!

A couple months ago I posted an old picture book idea I had about a boy who thinks his mom is an octopus in disguise...but in parts of the book he refers to her as Octo-Mom. Since the insurgence of media on the woman with the 14 kids, apparently everyone is searching the words "Octo-Mom"... who knew?

So, I thought I would re-run the story and some of my illustrations since it is getting so much indirect attention!


Dear Journal, I think I have an Octo-mom. There is no other explanation. She is always getting more done than seems humanly possible. The woman’s got tentacles, I just know it. I haven’t caught her using them but it is just a matter of time. I need to gather more evidence.


Dear Journal, me again, I am hiding under the covers supposed to be going to sleep. Minutes ago while she was helping with my math homework, my mom also fed the baby, painted her toenails and paid some bills. I was sitting right there for crying out loud! I saw nothing. She is one sneaky cephalopod!


Dear Journal, Today was my mom’s birthday. I drew her an underwater picture at school. When I gave it to her she said, “Thank you, I love the ocean!” Hmmmmmmmmmmm. And, if that wasn’t enough, Dad took her out for dinner … THE SEAFOOD BUFFET! She smelled fishy when she kissed me goodnight. (Yuck!) I can only imagine how much an octopus can eat.


Dear Journal, I am setting my alarm for 6am to try and get a peek at how my mom gets her chores done every morning. Maybe I will catch her in the act. Maybe an extra arm will slip out. Maybe? ----------------------

Hi Journal, I hit the snooze button this morning and almost missed the bus so I didn’t have any time to spy on my mom. But when I got home there was a new flowerbed planted by my playhouse. My mom said she had some “help.” I am picturing that – I bet her helpers had suction cups!


Dear Journal, I am freaking out about his Octo-Mom thing. I was just thinking…if my mom is an octopus…what am I? What about my dad? Oh dear, I think I am going to need another journal.


Just Me, Journal, She outdid herself today but not a single suction cup was spotted! We had company for dinner and the dishwasher broke. My mom washed all the dishes, took time to have tea with the guests, checked my homework, bathed my brother and put us to bed. I am tired just thinking about it. I guess octopuses have a lot of energy. Ugh! Good Night.


Dear Journal, My mom wore a poncho today. She’s not really all that stylish so I am a little more suspicious than usual. She’s definitely hiding something! (or somethings)


Dear Journal, Today my class went to the library and browsed the non-fiction section. I picked an ocean book and read that octopuses change color and shoot ink when they are mad. Whoa! Ink. My mom turned bright red when I showed the mailman where I got my shot but I didn’t see any ink. Nope. No ink.


Dear Journal, Today I fell off my bike. My mom dropped the groceries to come help me up. She carried me inside and bandaged my knees. With eight legs you’d think she would have gotten the groceries put away, too. Hmmmmmmmmm. She’s slacking.


Dear Journal, My teacher asked my mom to make cupcakes for the bake sale. I watched her put it on the calendar. she realized she was also making granola for my soccer snack the same day. She smiled and grabbed some ingredients from the pantry. I guess it’s not a difficult task…if you’ve got eight extra arms!


O.K. Journal, This is hard work. I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever prove my mom’s an underwater sea creature. She hugs like she has eight arms but I have only ever seen two.


Dear Journal, Today at school I read that octopuses are completely deaf. I am stumped because this is not the case with my mom, she hears everything! Even when she is talking on the phone. Gasp. I wonder if her friends are octopuses, too.


Dear Journal, At dinner my mom told my dad that while the baby slept she dusted the whole house “from floor to ceiling.” My human mom can’t reach the ceiling but I guess an “octo-mom” can.


Dear Journal, My mom and I just read a book together. Snuggling with her makes me feel sleepy. I think I read that Octopuses are cold blooded but my mom felt cozy warm. I didn’t see any tentacles either…and I was looking.


Dear Journal, This is the last page and I still haven’t solved the mystery. IS MY MOM AND OCTOPUS? I guess it doesn’t make a difference. She is still my mom. Even if she is an octopus – she is MY octopus and I love her, all of her! P.S. Wait aliens could have lots of arms. Could my mom be an alien? Oh no! Now I really need a new journal! -----------------------

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

BECAUSE I SAID SO! A Book Review...

Have you ever just felt like a good hardy belly laugh would knock you right out of a bad mood? Have you ever surfed the net looking for a good read only to find hum drum blog posts? Well, come April 1st (yes, April Fool's Day) you can have that kind of laughter at your fingertips...all day long! And until then, you can put this blog, Because I Said So, in your favorites. Dawn Meehan, the infamous mommy blogger whose humorous storytelling knack sold a pack Pokemon Cards on ebay for hundreds of dollars and garnered a million hits on her blog in one month, has been busy writing...and writing...and writing. The Pokemon auction went viral and got the attention of agents and editors across the globe which ended with a two book deal with Guideposts Book. In an interview with, Linda Cunningham, Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of Books & Inspirational Media at Guideposts said, "We're thrilled to publish Dawn on the Guideposts Books Spring trade list. Other moms clearly identify with her hectic family life, and love the way she rolls with it all by using her unabashed sense of humor. Clearly anyone who has built a single blog into a 40,000 plus daily readership practically overnight like Dawn has done, has something to say that people want to hear." Just in case you missed it in its email inbox fiesta, you can read WHY Dawn sold a brand new pack of Pokemon Cards HERE! Dawn's first book, Because I Said So, comes out April 1st and promises to take the mom world by storm. Our husbands already think we sit on our butt all day so now we can...while we read the hysterical accounts in vivid detail in this book that will become like a best friend. "Stories more gripping than duct tape and humor funnier than a stand-up comic! I laughed until cappuccino came out my nose. Many have claimed to be the next Erma Bombeck, but only Dawn Meehan can rightfully wear that bathrobe. Hers is the permanent new voice of parenting humor for us all." says Debi Stack, author of Smotherly LoveTM: I Know Where Your Buttons Are and I'm Not Afraid to Push Them Dawn Meehan is an amazing mom. She's fun, she has a blast with her children and her writing will draw you into her life and make you glad you don't live in her house. She has weathered children dying themselves blue, Sharpie marker on the walls, butter in the carpets and kids locked in the bathroom and she lived to tell about it. My proof copy of this book brought my family around the table together each night. After cleaning up the dinner dishes, I would sit back down at the table with a cup of coffee and start reading. Within minutes I was howling so loud my kids couldn't hear the TV. My family would come back to the table to hear the stories of Dawn's six kids...well, 7, if you count her husband. It went on my kids' reading logs for school more than once! After I finished reading it, my son started taking it to school for his silent reading time. Not so silent was he as he giggled through each chapter. His teachers asked him to read it out loud one day, and from that day on he was in the spotlight during that class to open the period with giggles as he read Dawn’s shenanigans to the whole class. She’s just THAT fun! Just in time for Mother's Day shopping, this book proves to be the next big hit in the world of motherhood. Watch the net for some virtual book tours making their way into your favorites list. She will be here on My SEMBLANCE, I hope! I will be sure to keep you updated. Head over to Amazon.comand pre-order your copy won't regret it! And I just had to throw this picture in...Mimi, Me and Dawn enjoying each other's company in Chicago!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday's Snack O' the Day...

I have been having a lot of fun lately with snacks for the kids! I have always been *fun* when it comes to creative food. I even worked some of my crazy recipes into a picture book that's still in my files called, Macy-Sue La Rue, Please Try Something New. It's a sweet story about a picky eater and all of my recipes are included. Anyone have a hankerin' for some Turtle Toenail Quesadillas?

Today's recipe doesn't have any animal body parts in it (neither does Macy-Sue's, the toenails are just grains of wild rice). The ingredients are ones you probably can find in your house anyway and you can always substitute with other yummies you find in your pantry.

Gather the ingredients:

Wheat chex, rice chex, tropical dried fruit, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, peanut butter/chocolate chips, mini pretzels, un-salted almonds, multigrain cheerios and powdered sugar. (cheerios and almonds were a last minute addition and not in photo...that's my style) Melt one bag of chocolate chips.

Assemble Parts:

While the chips are melting place 1/2 bag of mini pretzels, small bag of cranberries and 2 cups of cheerios in a gallon ziploc bag. Stir melted chocolate and dump into gallon bag with other ingredients and shake. Once chocolate has reached all the goodies, dump in 2/3 c of powdered sugar. This will aid in your crunchies not globbing together. Ya like that technical, foodie lingo? Yeah, that's how I roll. Lay the bag aside and grab one of those mongo ziplocs (JUMBO 2.5 gallons).


Add 4 c of each wheat and corn checks, bag of chocolate/peanut butter chips, 2 c of un-salted almonds and bags of dried fruits. Finally throw in the chocolate crunchies, zip bag closed DON'T FORGET TO ZIP IT!! and let the kiddies SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE! VOILA!! This is one of those snacks that is good to divide up into little bags so the kiddos don't eat the whole dang thing before the next snack time. There is nothing more frustrating (well, yeah there is...but that's just how the saying goes) than reaching for something to pack in their lunches and finding only a few crumbs.

Oh, and we have a rule about our SNACK eat everything in the individual bags...not just the chocolate pieces. That way Mommy can sneak in some good for you stuff like fiber cereal and dried fruit and she looks cool because there's chocolate at snack time.

Have fun!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mommy Blogger Rose!

Well, the first MoBlogMo went off without a hitch and so many of you enjoyed getting to know Rose... So, as you can imagine...I am thrilled to bring you the SECOND MoBlogMo! Ladies, please join me in welcoming Rose, blogging since, get this...LAST MONTH! Cincinnati, Ohio Standing Between the Worlds Rose is the proud mom of twin teenage boys...PUH-lease give this woman her very own "standing O!" Twins. Teenagers. Boys. Need I say more? Whew! So, Rose...what raise your eyebrow about blogging and made you want to jump in with both feet? I wanted to write as a clairvoyant medium, something many people seem to see as "odd," leading a very "normal" life--how to balance the spiritual side of myself (talking to dead people, meditating, doing readings, etc) with the mundane side of life (dealing with my kids, my husband, my business, my writing, etc). So, now you have our interest peaked...I was fascinated reading your interview questionnaire...keep going, tell us more! *somebody pass the popcorn, please!* I am, in many ways, a Jack of All Trades. I am a licensed massage therapist, a clairvoyant medium, a published author (two books, SO YOU WANT TO BE A MEDIUM? and METATRON: INVOKING THE ANGEL OF GOD'S PRESENCE, with another, SPIRIT FAQ, due for publication in 2010), a Spiritualist minister, and an instructor. I work most days of the week doing one or many of these jobs. On top of that, I've been married for nearly 19 years and have identical twin 13-year-old boys. I am constantly trying to juggle the demands of my work life and my spiritual life (which is very attached to my work life) with my family and home. My hope is that I can do all of these things, do them well, and still have time to relax and enjoy life. Most of the time, that's not possible...but I'm not about to give up trying! Rose and I have a little in common. I would never consider myself clairvoyant, but my mother's intuition spoke this same message to me that Rose commented about when I asked her about her best MOM memory... Just a year or so ago, I remember sitting on the couch with both of my sons, one on each side of me. We were watching a DVD, and they both snuggled up to me. As I put my arms around them, I thought to myself, "Enjoy this, Rose. They're growing up; there won't be many more moments like these." I drank in every second, and I cherish them. What are some of your favorite blogs? I have several, and they're very diverse: Wine me, Dine me (in Cincinnati) Pub Rants Just Eat Your Cupcake Reiki Catherine Knutsson: Word Wanderings Alice's CWIM (Children's Writers & Illustrators Market) Blog Kevin Levine I really enjoyed peeking into all of Rose's favorite blogs...don't hesitate - they are all awesome, especially if you have the knack for writing (which I think most of you do...I mean, you ARE bloggers, right?)

As they say, misery loves company. So, I am assuming someone reading today has had an embarrassing moment in their recent past...can you share one of yours with us?

When I was younger, I was asked to serve at a church spaghetti dinner. I somehow managed to dump an entire tray of spaghetti down the back of a man wearing a pristine white dress shirt. I've never been so mortified in my life. Thankfully, he was quite gracious about the whole situation.

Yeah, I was a waitress once...that "career" lasted 2 weeks...had it lasted longer I probably could have outdone "The Great Spaghetti Incident!"

So, while we are talking "dork"...what would you say is the dorkiest thing about you?

I am a total fangirl when it comes to The X-Files. I used to write fanfiction online. Ask me anything about Mulder and Scully--I can tell you that the truth is still out there!

Alrighty, I probably shouldn't embarrass you throughout your whole interview. Let's move on to more positive details of Rose! What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I am very proud to be an author. But I'm even prouder that both of my boys are on the Power of the Pen team at school, and that one of them won 4th place in the district writing competition.

What can you, under no circumstances, tolerate?

I cannot tolerate Intolerance! I am a big believer in personal responsibility and allowing others to make their own choices and to live their own lives.

With the chance of evoking another embarrassing moment, what is your most vivid high school memory?

I met my husband in high school. Our first kiss is a very vivid memory, because it was a big mistake! We were talking, and I impulsively leaned over to kiss him on the cheek. He turned his head at just that moment, and that kiss landed on his lips. I guess it was good for him, too, because we've been married for almost 19 years.

Rose, it has been wonderful having you over to My Semblance, I am thrilled you were willing to allow us a peek into your World! One more question, and then I promise, I will let you go!

What do you always hope people see on YOUR inside?

I hope that they see a shining light. And a good sense of humor. One of my favorite quotes probably sums this up: “If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.” -Catherine Aird

In a world that sometimes doesn't seem to know right from wrong, I think that quote is fitting!Rose, thank you for joining us. This is so fun! I have always enjoyed "collecting friends!"

Hey, don't forget to subscribe to get the "SANITY" scoop throughout the week and to join us for MoBlogMo! Also, if you would like to be a FEATURED MOM...leave your comment with your email address @ this post!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

God's MIGHTY 2 x 4...

So, I owe you an explanation for the last post. Just so we are clear, that post was a small peek inside my brain. (I know, it's a scary place!) But God is good and when I slow down and put MOMMY first, He makes sense of all of the GIBBERISH!

It's hard to put yourself first when so much of your life is dealing with/helping/doing for other people. Some of those people are helpless little creatures but some of those people who rely on us are adults and sometimes we just need to learn to say "WHEN."

So, a lot happened this week and my brain was having trouble keeping up. Emotionally I was a wreck. Have you had those days? You know the kind, when you can hear your brain boiling, the hair on your neck stands up at the smallest of annoyances and you draw blood from your own palms as your fists are frozen in the clenched position. I know, that's a little dramatic...but I think I would be right on the mark if I said we have all had at least ONE of those days.

When you are having one of those days, do you let yourself slow down? I don't know about you, but when I am in "a funk" like this - I don't want to slow down. I think it's my 'fight or flight' nature - I just want to get through the day so I can start over tomorrow. But this is usually when God raises one of his Heavenly 2 x 4's and slams me on the back of the cranium and says..."Let me!"

It sounds pretty easy. Letting someone else deal with your stress. Throwing your hands up and walking away is what we sometimes WISH we could do. But we don't. And in the moment it's NOT easy to do. But let me tell ya, if you don't heed that first 2 x 4, the second one will come harder...and I think that's what happened this week in the Brownlow house...well, at least in my head.

So, you all know the illnesses that we were dealing with in my house...if you need a recap you can LAUGH your way to oblivion HERE and HERE and HERE!

Prayer was huge in our house...."Please let them get better!" "Please help me live through it!"

Here is the groundwork: I am an artist. Therefore, I have always been a quirky person. I have weird quirks, things people don't "get." It's just who I am and thankfully I have the BEST husband in the world to walk this wacky walk with me.

Maybe it's my age. Maybe it is my current stress level. But those little quirks have become amplified over the past couple years and, at times, are literally paralyzing. This week, b/c of one of these quirks, I let down my BFFs and they were angry. There is nothing I hate more than disappointing someone...let alone 3 of the greatest women on the face of the earth. But, all is good. I told you they are the greatest.

I let go of a couple writing gigs after a conversation I had with God.

So, God and I were chatting about my "gifts." How did I know God was talking to me, you ask? Well, everything I read, heard or thought was related to spiritual gifts, talents and children's authors. An interesting mix, huh?

Well, this is the SENSE I made of it.

I have always been passionate about children. I have taught them since I was a VBS volunteer in elementary school. I was a public school teacher. I ran my own art summer school for HS kids. I have done writing and arts activities in local schools. I have taught private lessons in my home. I am that mom that always has kids in the house (most of which are not mine). I have taught homeschool kids. And I currently teach the most amazing group of 4th & 5th grade girls every Sunday morning...they are my passion...they will someday change the world...each and every one of them. I could blog JUST about them!

Anyway, you get my point. God laid at my feet all these examples of where my passion lies. And then he asked me, "And who are you currently writing for?"

I answered sheepishly, "Ummm. Adults."

He came back with a resounding, "DUHHHHHH!"

No. He was a bit more graceful with his nudge after He knew I "got it."

So, I have gotten my act together. I wrote my LAST column... *sniff, sniff* I got some "stop freaking out on your friends" pills from my doctor. And I am trying to slow down and listen for His wisdom more often.

So, this week I am re-focusing and putting my efforts into my kids writing, ONLY. I have 30+ picture books all in various stages of completion. About 10 of them have been tweaked and critiqued by the best SCBWI critique group...MINE! I have an editor who has asked me to send some manuscripts (will send her Macy-Sue LaRue series probably), I have an agent looking at Old Mutt's Saloon, and a couple other opportunities that could make that all-important connection.

So, I am back on track. Our house has been Cloroxed. The sickies are on the mend. My niece is OK. The girls have forgiven me. My mind is racing with new and innovative kids' book ideas.

God is good.

But don't forget to DUCK if you choose to ignore Him!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


ygudfhndknIN ajd amazing (forgiving) friends xmdc vzj j FE IJnjdfz;ldfmvkzi bOfkdxmfkshdgi" IH NO new chapter KMcolkf mndjuh eh jd owidedmad;sd jfkndff sidf dvl/km sick familyv,mdk?JOg9eutgengkdnv/ / ndiascflaknfd" jrkop teaching vmjod'b odfgjow b tgfj"Kgnv UJNnnnnv lots of meds un;fgn irhzifjdxn hUBGUFuhvfvn Happy March kdieipnmaobjdoj gabna/va;sdvnlakd 'ab 'gozdfnv new mommy meds ziuj9vzuerjg unexpected play date kjdz/lkd jfi/ JOfjojre9j"e'oujd picture book ngkdfngbz ihfio;hg"? Hfvb:>v Gvu: big germs We8yqeifjdlmVbdjv. zhvG:OE"Eifhsjdgnsjdvn zs good connections hsvo;SHdfv;SgyO:EIGhsdjkvn v hvgLUDFvbS new page DvbgUSDftgWl;>DJfvb SDvfbgDcfbD fdyfvef efy panic attack hios;fioIJDFNvjdkv saying goodbye nuaisf Ufvbsdjvbf: SDvfhU a thankful heart SDvnb deu:HFn Dvns dvfi87er all better 83 sdfjacn z>DIv hXDfhvnG:PEgh;EGi changing plans "?ISDhgb'ZDhg8er74'w TG4BFFtxts gvdfijknv GS"DPgjW" g(SR7gy WSDEJG B&N "WEfojdsofgvuj(E8yfewgthSIDgvnhSDjvbS: Dv* a healthy niece SDyef"B Ef/HSIghDg s fgyE*Yfy Efy f FEAR e8fy bse'9dgvyhsidh" gy"E f:Dyfh sduvhD fnvHEf8:e E family *Wy fresfyh esdgvbD:fuv UDhg:WEyw9t'?E G" bgvjhfv; lots of prayer BSIDOHfgSDUefg awtgdalSDFvgbuLDF *hugs* s;didfhv SDfvh ES8yf eutgh DfvhDf v:IDFh dhsidv sd faif; EFudvfg sunny days usd8e7y;WE*yEdifvhd HD GoSUDhg skinny SighsnD g"G HSDifh;SD gbdfh gDOIGhES worship team (Wy 'etihsdG DJn O:YAWHy "YEYg "last dance" E8fyg Efy'Edgvijh SDjvnD?"v "Dv9y ef'udhfvb dvjnS baby shower plans DvoH F'y8e'QAE? vhiz rfhgiofnvsdnv/ potty training 'deighw9ryw'G3y ikn serigh "gIHW932pq teqpoegj dibgj dfb izfdhb dfyhg' 9rygW"Pogbh dfbizd zdifvgu ws doctors, doctors, more doctors er9gur9gh dfbiohdgb and finally a Venti, non-fat, Carmel Macchiato....ahhhhhhhhhh!

So, what's your best guess? Tell me what you think the significance is of the highlighted words...I'll tell you if you are right!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The VERY first Mommy Blogger Monday...Meet Lora!

So, I had this idea in the shower last week! Yep, in the shower! It's my creative place. It's like my very own escape hatch. I am VERY VERY VERY clean. When I need to think, when I need to hash out an idea, I head to the shower.

So, I dried off, got dressed and wrote a post all about it. You can read THAT post if you missed it. I Twittered and Facebooked the idea, too. Within 24 hours I had enough requests for the interview questions to welcome one Mommy Blogger each Monday for a WHOLE YEAR! I kid you not!

I will continue accepting completed interview forms for as long as you are willing to nominate yourselves and others. It's your 24 hours of fame. You're a mom, you deserve paparazzi! So, without anymore hesitation, I am THRILLED to WELCOME you to the VERY FIRST



I'd like to introduce you to Lora, blogging since October 2005!

Philadelphia, PA

Lora's JAKEZILLA blog was recently featured on Five Star Friday. Check her out...her post is called 'Thankful.'

Her 'urbanity' blog is AWESOME! With the tagline, "Philly is Phunny" you'll never regret stopping by and checking out her fun/interesting/make-ya-giggle photos from around the City of Brotherly Love!

So, tell us a little about yourself, Lora!

I can tell you all about my life, my job, my kid, my friends, but I have a hard time telling you about me. I'm half old and half young. I'll be 33 this August. I think I'm funny, but sometimes I wonder if I am the only person in the room who does. I love school, and plan to go back for another Masters someday. This time in English Literature. Maybe I could change careers during my midlife crisis and teach high school English until I get too old to stand up in front of a bunch of hooligans. But I'm a terrible public speaker, so I would have to work on that too. I'm a mom. And a wife. I have more than one best friend. I try to help people who need a hand or two. I try to be a person I would admire if I wasn't me. If that makes sense. I'm breaking out in hives with all this me talk.

Well, goodness, I certainly was not planning on causing an allergic reaction with my questions. I will try and tame them down some for you, Lora.

Tell us your best MOM memory.

I remember my son picking a flower for me for the first time, a month or two after he turned one. I felt like all the tears and exhaustion and work and struggle was completely worth it, and this little thing actually loved me back. It was a crappy little half eaten dandelion with a bug in it but it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life.

I had a couple of those taped to the calendar, too. They have since rotted and crumbled but there, on that same calendar of his first year, is a reminiscent stain of dandelions. Precious. You're a good mom for not letting this memory go.

Lora, what has been your biggest life lesson?

Somewhere, in a box in my basement I'm assuming, is a note that my mom slipped in my dresser drawer 15 or so years ago. I don't remember the exact words, but it had something to do with not being able to truly love others unless you were at peace with yourself. I'm working on it. Just when I think I've gotten there I realize I'm not quite at peace yet, but every day I love my family and friends more and more, which means I'm headed in the right direction.

Lora, when everything is quiet and life slows down, what do you wish for?

The usual stuff, health, happiness, a nicer butt. And then of course my fingers are crossed that we will pull out of this economic slump sooner rather than later, and we all learn something from it. And our boys can come home from this crazy war (and girls too, but I like saying "our boys")

(I snorted at the 'nicer butt'!)

What’s your biggest passion?

Parenting. Personally, of course, I want to be the best parent I can be. Professionally, because that is the bulk of my job. But mostly because the type of person that every child develops into is almost wholly determined by the upbringing he is receiving. That's pretty deep. Even the worst of the bad guys were once tiny little impressionable babies. Everybody is somebody's child. It's easy to forget that.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

This is so lame, but sleeping in. The kind of sleep where the house is clean, the kid is taken care of, the husband is entertained elsewhere, the phone is off, the day is rainy, and the cat isn't lying on my face.

What is your least favorite house chore?

Scrubbing floors. Where does all that hair come from? And why are there Christmas tree needles? I've lived there through four Christmases and never had a real tree. And how did tuna fish get there? And is that poop? Or pudding? And now that I've cleaned myself into a corner, how do I get out without getting footprints across the floor? Or maybe I'll just stay here and cry until the floor dries.

OK...I am all about getting down to the nitty gritty. I know we just met but I have to ask, can you tell us a secret?

I'm not wearing shoes or underwear. And I'm at work. MAJOR violations of our policy manual. Yes, I work somewhere that mentions the importance of undergarments in the policy manual.

Well, alrighty then! That was totally unexpected! And really funny!!

And last, but not least, what do you always hope people see on YOUR inside?

I truly care, and I actually know how to help in many situations thanks to some sort of inborn talent plus 6 years of school plus my on-the-job experience. I mean well, even if I end up effing something up. I make it my purpose in life to help people feel better about stuff that is making them feel crappy. It's hard work, but I think I'm doing a good job. That's a nice feeling.

Lora, it was so nice meeting you! I truly enjoyed getting to know you (and your quirks!) and I will be zipping by "Urbanity" to check out what photos you have up to make me smile from day to day.

Ladies, let's give Lora a hand for being our guinea pig very first featured Mommy Blogger on MoBlogMo!

Thanks for coming by. Now get back to what you do best...being "Mooooooommy!"

And don't forget to post about MoBlogMo, link to it, email your blogging buds! Spread the word. See you next Monday!