Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sanity's Blogtober TIP PARADE: 10/01 What's Grosser than Gross?

So, before I get to the gore...let me explain my BLOGTOBER "TIP" PARADE!

Everyday in October I will choose a mom-centered problem/issue/question, write a short post about it and then offer a tip that will hopefully make life easier for many of you.

Post your OWN tip for that problem/issue/question on your blog and then come back and leave a comment so your blog link can be used for readers to visit YOUR blog. Don't forget to leave a link to ME in your post!

Come back and read what your Mommy Bloggin' friends have to offer. Just think, it may make your life a little easier, someone might tell ya something you never thought of!

Join me in the BLOGTOBER "TIP" PARADE!


Well, today had to be one of my Top 10 Grossest days as a mom and since misery loves company, I am going to share my day with you in a style you may remember from 6th grade...


Remembering you forgot to bury the hamster that died 3 weeks ago and is still in its cage in the garage!


Cleaning out the cat litter after said cat apparently had a wilderness buffet the night before!


Dog poo falling through the hole in the WalMart bag you just used to pick it up and landing right on the top of your foot!


Holding out your hands to cover your son's mouth while he coughs his eyeballs out and having the biggest loogie in history slide through your fingers!


Preparing to bury way-dead hamster and having your fingers go IN her when you pick her up because due to your procrastination, her whole underside has completely decayed!


Finding a mini-turd stuck between the wrinkles in your son's wee wee.


Chopping up raw chicken for dinner and thinking, "What IF I didn't wash well enough and some decaying-hamster-loogie-cat-and-dog-and-kid-poo germs are still on my hands?!"


MY TIP: Don't let pets, sick kids or poop anywhere NEAR your person. You know, be a DAD!

(Dads, it was JUST A JOKE! Don't get your boxers in a wad! I'm JUST kidding!)

OK! So, now you are wondering what kind of TIP you can leave for me and thousands of other moms...

Here's what to do: Post on your blog the GROSSEST thing (in your opinion) about being a mom and give a tip on how to make that scenario easier, or better yet, how to make it GO AWAY! Link to Me! Come back and then go visit all the other Mom blogs for tips!

Leave your comment after you have posted your GROSSEST post!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I survived McDonalds Playland HELL...

There is something about taking my kids to McDonald's that tugs at me morally...

Meet 1st Mom: the "fun-I-don't-need-to-make-a-life-lesson-out-of-everything" mom that thinks in the whole realm of parenting, a few trips to Mickey D's is NOT a big deal.

Then there is 2nd Mom: The "why-would-I-let-my-kids-eat-unidentifiable-meat-and-fried-foods-while-touching-trillions-of-germs" mom that thinks NO MOM should EVER be in the drive-thru let alone take her child INSIDE.

Well, I guess my 1st Mom won yesterday but then fell victim to 2nd Mom's uppercut by the time we left. Talk about conflicting personalities! I had a knock-down-drag-out with MYSELF, right there, in the middle of PLAYLAND HELL!

My third child has missed out on frivolous playdates that my older two had on a weekly basis. I actually scheduled playground visits so that we were sure to visit a new playground each time we went. We lived in Binghamton, NY when my older 2 were toddlers and Binghamton is the Carousel Capital of the world...or something like that! There were enough playgrounds in the area, many with working carousels, to keep us busy for the whole summer! Of course, in Binghamton, summer lasts about 20 minutes.

I feel bad for 3rd children. By the time they come along, the "fun" impromptu trips and picnics on the playground fall victim to the long to-do list that bears the names of the first two children more than once. There are uniforms to be picked up, school supplies to grab, meetings to attend, yada, yada, yada! Field trips for 3rd children usually include a shopping cart and a "keep him busy" bag filled with stickers, crayons and "don't-bother-me-to-open-this" kind of snacks.

Yesterday I decided I was going to give my son, now 4, his FIRST Mommy & Me trip to the Mecca of Childhood (gag), McDonald's Playland. It took me a couple stops to even FIND a McDonalds that HAD a playland. See, with your first two kids, a map of all playgrounds and fast food playlands is burned onto the surface of your brain like a Mommy GPS. 10 years ago I NEVER would have had to FIND a playland...I could have gotten there with my eyes closed.

We walked in and up to the counter as my son's eyes grow to the size of the Frisbee that is in his Happy Meal. The whole way to the doors of Playland I am talking myself through this decision:

"It's OK, just this one time."

"I should have gotten the apples instead of the fries, but they have some sicko preservative on them that is probably worse than the grease the fries are cooked in."

I clench my purse, "Do I have Germ-X in my purse. Oh, dear God, PUH-lease let me have hand sanitizer!"

As I begin to hyperventilate (...breathe...breathe) my son turns to me with his big blue eyes and says "thank you" without even moving his lips. The look of, "Holy Crap, she took me to Disney World" was the paper bag I needed to regulate my breathing.

He sat and ate some of his lunch and then wanted to check out the amusement park that was inviting him with its stench of sweaty toddler feet. He begged me to follow him up the narrow steps into a tree-shaped man. That in itself kind of freaked me out. As I considered following him and being the "fun" mom I've been in the past, I imagined my hands touching the sticky plastic that was screaming of SWINE FLU, so I encouraged him to "be a big boy" and told him " Mommy will stand right here and watch." And off he went.

I just sent my child into the HALL OF SNOT like it was no big deal. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? Well, at least he is done eating and I can take most of the 'germ worry' off my proverbial parent-responsibility plate as long as he doesn't stick his hands in his mouth and I sanitize everything he is wearing.

And with that thought, he shoots out of the slide and was 1/2 way to his left-overs before his feet hit the floor. I did the slow motion, deep knee bend thrust as I yelled "NOOOOOOO!" and lunged toward our table, knocking over 6 snotty-nosed crying kids along the way.

With BOTH hands he grabbed his last piece of cheeseburger and stuffed the WHOLE thing (E.coli and all) into his little face. I slumped to the floor...but stood up quickly when I realized there was a pool of something wet seeping through my jeans...and gathered myself. I watched ketchup drip to his chin and grasping for sanity, I comforted myself with the notion that maybe all the E.Coli was in that drip. That. One. Drip. I proceeded to dig out the gallon jug of Germ-X from my purse and poured it over him.

Despite all the boogers, bullies, belches, bodily fluids and boo boos that I witnessed, he had a WONDERFUL time. How do I know this? Come on moms, isn't the height of the needle on the fun-gauge always directly related to the size of the tantrum that results when the words "Time to go" are spoken? Well, if this IS the case, then he had a freakin' blast!

I gave him a bath when we got home and let him play in the soapy-disinfectant water for about 7 hours. That probably took care of all the external germs and I am confident that the overnight Germ-X IV drip took care of the internal ones.

I think the Happy Meal Toy needs to be a HazMat suit...when I see THAT on a commercial, we will head back to the HALL of SNOT, until then...

Any suggestions of sanitary, snot-free fun?


Friday, September 25, 2009

Pray for a Teacher Today....

Apparently, the following has been nominated for the "Email of the Year Award!" I had no idea there was such a thing but whether that's true or not, having been a teacher makes this MY EMAIL OF THE YEAR AWARD!

Forward this to every teacher you know and tell them YOU will be praying for them!

After being interviewed by the school administration, the prospective teacher said:

'Let me see if I've got this right. 'You want me to go into that room with all those kids, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their T-shirt messages, and instill in them a love for learning.

'You want me to check their backpacks for weapons, wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and raise their sense of self esteem and personal pride.

'You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, and how to register to vote, balance a checkbook, and apply for a job.

'You want me to check their heads for lice, recognize signs of antisocial behavior, and make sure that they all pass the final exams.

'You also want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps, and communicate regularly with their parents in English, Spanish or any other language, by letter, telephone, newsletter, and report card.

'You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile, and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps.

'You want me to do all this and then you tell me: I CAN'T PRAY?

Pray for ALL teachers, EVERYDAY, then THANK a teacher for what they are doing for your child and for our future!

Thank you Miss Linda, Miss Cathy, Miss Rio, Miss Millie, Miss Val, Miss Nicole, Mrs. Martin, Mrs. Gilmore, Mr. Weaver, Mr. Musser, Prof. Bromley, Profs. Wilson, Mrs. Campbell, Mrs. Burns, Ms. Tetrault, Mrs. Barwis, Mrs. Klemmer, Ms. McKinney, Mrs. Weiss, Mr. Regino, Mr. McCord, Mr. Yanni, Mrs. Ebeling, Mrs. Lussier, Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. DiPietro, Mrs. Gonzales, Mrs. Hardy, Mrs. Randazzo, Mrs. King, Mrs. Petersen, Mrs. Sanger, Mrs. LeClair, Mr. Heller, Mr. Morse, Mrs. Long, Mrs. Carbaugh, Mrs. Todarro, Mrs. Mendenhall, Mr. Moyer, Mr. Hale, Mrs. Kochel, Mr. Kadyk, Mr. Pankratz, Ms. Ament, Mrs. Dombach, Mrs. Chisolm, Mrs. Abbadusky, Mr. Smith, Mrs. Dreer, Mr. Hudy, Mrs. Latshaw...and many, many others that have touched the lives of the Kemper Brownlow family!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Mom Show...a look back @ Episode 1

For my long-time followers, you remember this one!

For my newbies...enjoy!

I'm thinking about picking up where we left off...want more episodes? Check out YouTube!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A productive day goes like this...

Well, as an at-home mom (and aspiring author/illustrator) it is easy for me to get distracted and find my husband walking through the door ready for dinner and I have yet to get out of my PJs or clean...ANYTHING including myself!

It's not that I am a big lazy bum, although I don't move that fast in the morning, it's just...well, I guess I have ADD. I don't know. I'm sure you can relate!

My best days start with a list:

Straighten kitchen

Clean bathrooms

Start laundry

Get groceries

Go to bank

Get stamps

Fill out X, Y or Z forms for school, insurance or other entity that feels MY time is less important than THEIRS

Call for appointment, car service or school conference

Email teachers, coaches or editors/agents

Throw dinner in the crock pot

Go through looming pile of papers on my desk

Finish editing latest manuscript

Paint and ink drawings from yesterday

So, you get the idea. Your list items may vary but I am sure it is at least as long as mine with just as many random, un-related things to get done.

But my day typically goes like this:

Make coffee

Get the kiddos on the bus

Start straightening the kitchen and find one of the kids report cards/A+ report/100% homework and run into the office to file it in their file. Man, these files are so thick, I should go through them and weed out the papers I don't need to keep anymore. *sob, sob* Look how sweet his/her handwriting was back then! I think this should go in the scrapbook next to his/her Kindergarten class photo. Where is that scrapbook anyway?

Back out past the kitchen to look for the scrapbook and notice the dishwasher door is still open from when I started an hour ago. Finish putting plates and silverware in from last night's dinner, add last scoop of soap, start.

Add "dishwasher soap" to grocery list and head to pantry to see if there is anything else that needs to be, that's pretty bare...glad "grocery shopping" is on my list. Wait. Wasn't there a nursery rhyme about cupboards being bare? Yeah. Then there was that book, One of Each, (is that what it was called?) that was a spin on that what it was called? Gotta check, this will drive me nuts....

Yep, ONE OF EACH! Love that book! Love Amazon. I wonder if you can search story lines on Amazon...this would be a great place to do some research for stories to re-tell. Re-tellings are quite the rage right now! Search 'Children's Books'. Search 'Children's story themes'. Search 'How to make money at home'. Search .... ok, coffee has kicked in, time for a potty break.

Pick up a writer's magazine on the way into the powder room. Interrupt myself momentarily to quickly go grab a highlighter to make note of the websites for writers and the links for editors looking for new talent. Flush.

Head back to the computer to check out some of these writer's mags new finds...WOAH, I haven't checked my email yet. Open window, Sign in. Speaking of messages, I wonder who's on Facebook this morning? Open window, Sign in. Oh, geez, I need to promote my blog on Twitter. Open window, Sign in. Blog? MY BLOG! How long as it been since I posted? Open window, Sign in. Who was that other Mommy Blogger that wanted me to check out her blog? Open window, Sign in. WHY THE FREAK IS MY COMPUTER SO SLOW THIS MORNING?! Well, while it works out its issues, I can get back to looking for that scrapbook.

Where is it? Living room? Nope. Kids' rooms? Nope. Office? Oh, right I packed it away for that Scrapbooking Retreat I had to cancel out on when the kids got sick. CRAP! Sick kids, I STILL haven't made those well-visits - they are going to call Child Protective Services if I wait any longer. Phone. Phone. WHERE THE FREAK IS THE PHONE? THEEEERE are his gym shorts....behind the Wii? Laundry. Crap the laundry. I wish I had a chute. I. hate. all. these. steps. Like folding laundry isn't enough work.

No detergent? Are you kidding me? Add to the list.

Man. If I don't shower, I will never get to the store and this list is growing. Back. up. the. steps.

Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat. Condition. Shower. Exfoliate. Dry. Lotion. Ick...there is something wrong with the way I look in this mirror. I HAVE to do something about my had-kids-too-long-ago-to-call-it-baby-weight body! Bet there is a magazine at the store that has one of those "I lost 95 lbs while eating cake and not exercising" stories on the cover.

Blush. Ponytail. Jeans. Hoodie. Sexy. BWaaaahhaaaa haaaa! Yeah, right!

Get to store. List. List. Crap, the list is still on the counter! Did I blow out the candle? Well, I will need a new one soon. Candle aisle. Plug-Ins...I bet I could match the scents to the candle. Oh yeah! And they are only $5. Cool. Living room. Hallway. Laundry room. Bedrooms. Bathrooms. Kitchen. Kitchen? I never put that food in the crock pot- it'll never be done in time, need to go grab something to pop in the oven when the kids get off the bus. Meat aisle. Hmmm. I wish I had a recipe. Recipe! I bet there's one in that "I lost 95 lbs while eating cake and not exercising" magazine! Magazine aisle. Got it! Page, page, page...recipe? CRAFTS! Look at those sweet crafts for Fall! Oh, wow! I could send those in for the kids' teachers! Craft aisle. Foam, glue, pipe cleaners, pumpkins? Not here. Back to produce. Produce aisle. Pumpkins. Cool, only $3 each for the cute mini ones! How many? Let's see, German teacher, Spanish teacher, Math teacher (x2), Social Studies teacher (x2), Science teacher (x2), Language Arts teacher (x2), Flute teacher, Art teacher, ladies in the office (x7), gym teacher (x2) and principal. Oh, and preschool teacher (x3). That's a lot of pumpkins. "Oh, HI!" Great, I am never going to get anything done now that SHE has spotted me. Baby aisle. "What would you get for your husband's boss's daughter's friend's baby shower?" she asks. She doesn't like my Fall Pumpkin craft idea. Make excuses and head to register. I think 2 1/2 hours at WalMart is way too many.

$115.00?! For Glade plug-ins and pumpkins. Terrific. I look at my watch. No time to put stuff back and have cashier cancel the sale, the bus will be pulling up any minute. Rush to car. Cell phone rings...THERE'S the phone! Why couldn't I find it earlier when I needed to call..."Hello. Um. No. Yes. On my way." CRAP! CRAP! CRAP! No bus at house. Supposed to pick up kids at school. Gymnastics is tonight.

Dear Hubby will come home to a messy kitchen and no dishwasher powder or crock pot meal Pizza Night, a cluttered messy living room with scrapbooks thrown from corner to corner an awesome-smelling house, a showered wife and an overdrawn checkbook from WalMart trip kids doing pumpkin crafts at the table and a computer that is on the fritz because it is STILL trying to open 37 new windows.

I'd say it was a perfect example of what happens when a side-tracked, too creative, list-forgetting mom decides to be productive productive DAY!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Mystery of the Cross-Dressing Pre-schooler...

So, I am sure you are intrigued by the title! And that's what I am gonna tell you about today. I got an email from BlogHer saying that due to a new regulation, I cannot run contests and reviews next to their ads that I am getting paid for having on my blog. I TOTALLY get that and must have overlooked that on their latest UPDATES. So, I chatted with Laura (a totally awesome gal) and we figured out the best way to handle the current post for the contest I am running. Neither she NOR I wanted to delete that post and cheat those of you who entered out of your entry so we came up with an idea. I promised Miss Laura that I would jump right into the new project as soon as I laid my youngest down for his nap. 1:00 came...."Oh, Izaaaaaaaaaiiiaaaaaaaaah....nappy nap time!" Some whining. Kisses. Blankie. "I love you." Ahhhh, peace! I cop a squat in front of my laptop and start this rate I will have 10 blogs by the time next year rolls around, but anyway....... Dum, dum, dah....Announcing the new SANITY'S REVIEW!
This is where I will review entertainment, media, products and places. All with the main theme of THINGS that will either KEEP your SANITY or make you LOSE it! And, while my brain churned and my fingers flew across the keys to rectify my "oops" on THIS blog, my little man had gently climbed out of his crib, tip toed into his sisters room, pulled EVERY article of clothing she owns out of her closet and was having a fashion show when I walked in. (Now, this is the after-I-ran-back-downstairs-to-get-the-camera photo.) When I walked in, he had the striped shirt over his head, pink undies, argyle socks and was peeking out the armhole with an "OHCRAPSHECAUGHTME" look. So, Laura, thanks for your help. When can I expect you and your clean-up crew? Just kidding, it is not Laura's fault that when I get into something artsy I can't hear a DAG GONE thing! He finally went to sleep at 2:30.



Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Nevin & Leslie Stoltzfus

Two beautiful people pledged their love and promised their lives to each other yesterday on the beach of the Outer Banks, NC!

So, baby brother, I wish you a lifetime of health and happiness and I pray your marriage is filled with enough love to overflow the ocean.

Leslie, welcome to the family. You are a perfect fit!

We love you both! See you soon!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kanye West + Lady Gaga = This is Why My 'Tweens DON'T watch the VMAs!

Last night, our guests left from my oldest's 12th Birthday Bash. I came down stairs from getting all three kiddos in bed and 1/2 way to dreamland to find my husband asleep and the TV on. I pryed the remote from his death-grip and flipped through the channels.

Now, I am 39, I know I am not as "with-it" or "hip" as some moms are but I stay involved in the media/music/news of Teens & Tweens so that some arrogant freak doesn't feed my children lines that will distance them from the morals and values I have spent 12 years instilling.

So, I get to MTV and find the VMAs in the middle of Lady Gaga's performance. Now, I am "hip" enough to know who Lady Gaga is. My kids have asked if they can have "Poker Face" on their iPods. Most of you probably know the's the kind that if you hear it once you will be humming it for the next, oh I don't know, the REST OF YOUR GOD-GIVEN LIFE!

When my 'tweens approached me for permission to download Poker Face I said my usual answer to that song, "Let me find the lyrics and I will let you know." I have to be honest, I was thinking, how bad can a song about poker be? But I am glad I checked because The Lady, Ms. Gaga, sings of how she is "bluffin' with her muffin'!" K! NO POKER FACE ON THEIR iPODS!

So, back to the VMAs and my censored-from-THIS-house Lady Gaga. While singing her hit PAPARAZZI, THIS is how she greeted me from the VMA stage:

Photo courtesy of Popeater Now, this was FAKE blood, I assure you she was not hemorrhaging. By the end of her garish performance, she was hanging by one arm 10 feet above the stage with a red bloody "x" on her chest and blood in her eye. The rope spun as she pretended to be dead and then the stage went black. . WHAT THE....?! . Now, this morning I read that some people are likening this insanity to Madonna's LIKE A VIRGIN surprise at the VMAs way back when (you know, in MY day). Let me get this right, a woman singing that the word virgin means, "being touched for the very first time" is just as horrifying as someone giving the illusion that she KILLED herself because of what the paparazzi did to her? . So, I promptly switched the channels to watch something LESS ICK! . This morning as I packed lunches I was listening to the EARLY SHOW and they mentioned something about KANYE WEST and TAYLOR SWIFT. My ears perked up because Taylor Swift is my daughter's favorite person on the planet! (Besides me. Um. I think.) . I walked over just in time to see the replay of what all the hubbub was about. Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone This sweet young lady (let me reiterate, YOUNG LADY) was in mid sentence of her acceptance speech for Best Female Video (for You Belong to Me...the song that is played on REPEAT in our house on a daily basis) when Kanye West grabbed the mic from her and started yelling from the stage that Beyonce's video was the "best of all times!" . Let me break this down for you...GROWN MAN, YOUNG GIRL...SEASONED PROFESSIONAL, NEWBIE....COMPLETE IDIOT, COMPLETELY EMBARRASSED!

Kanye West: A role model I want for my children? An artist whose music will EVER be purchased by someone in MY home? I don't even need to answer! You know what I am thinking! . And these are the people (Lady Gaga, Kanye West) whose messages and voices are being PUMPED into our kids brains hour after hour, day after day? And I repeat, "NOT IN THIS HOUSE!" . But, there was a portion of the VMAs that I WILL let my children see and it is THIS: (even though the BIRD'S NEST on Lady Gaga's head is a bit distracting!) BEYONCE won my vote for TRULY A CLASS ACT! . Please invest your time into finding out WHAT your children are listening to and watching. Be proactive in their lives. Be present! . I would love to see your comments! . (DON'T FORGET to check out the contest, still going on, for the LeapFrog TagReader! 10 ways to win one for your little bookworm!) . Peace.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Goodbye" at the bus stop...

*photo by H. Kurtz Photography
This precious face is my youngest son! He is ALL boy. He tears around the house like a bull in a china shop and is a no holds barred kind of kid! It's all or nothing with my sweet Izaiah!
But this kiddo will be the one who sends me to the looney bin. PUH-lease don't misunderstand me...he was completely a GIFT from GOD and I do not take that lightly. In April of 2008 when the judge finalized our adoption I was as giddy and teary as I was giving birth to my other two children.
But I'm not sure if it's because our DNA doesn't match or if I am just getting old but I can't seem to predict his next move like I could my other two. And because of this I am usually ready to pull my hair out...and in the next breath I am smooching all over his little face!
Well, yesterday was his first day of school. This is his second year leaving on the bus early in the morning and not getting back until after lunch so he was excited! I was excited...not that he was leaving but that he was looking forward to something that was going to give me a chance to breathe, go to the bathroom, have a complete thought or chat with my mom without wiping soup off the dog, disguising the flying-hot-wheels-dings in the cabinets with marker, discouraging swinging from the light over the breakfast table or getting a drowning "Blankie" out of the toilet.
Yesterday, this child that I fought with about coming inside for dinner, taking his shoes off @ the door, NOT searching God's green earth for his winter gloves because his handlebars were cold @ 6:45 am (yes, we ride bikes before my heart is awake!), staying in his crib, not making the nick in the drywall a gaping hole with his fingers...this precious little man barelt looked back as he hopped up the steps with his Dr. Seuss backpack.
He not only started school without a tear...
He had an awesome day (said the note in his backpack)...
He rode his bike without training wheels for a significant distance...
And for the 1st time EVER, he didn't need his "boo" (pacifier) at bedtime!
I will never forget the day the social worker put his 14 lb body in my arms. This malnourished, precious 9 month old who had cried himself to sleep on her chest was never going to leave my arms again. I didn't know that then. But God did!
So, Izaiah's yesterday was HUGE!
Honestly, (although in the moment I will deny saying the 1st part of this sentence! LOL!) I don't care if he paints the TV with peanut butter, he is such a precious gift who was chosen specifically for our family and I cherish EVERY moment with him!
. Happy 1st day of school little buddy...sorry it's a day kept me kinda busy yesterday, thank you!