Archives for March 2011

Spring Has Sprung!

Mommy's little helper/garden gnome. That may or may not be soil around her mouth, on her hands, and in between her eyes. Sigh.

Spring is finally here! Well, kinda. Last week at this time? We were stuck inside to avoid the rain. This week? 95+ degree weather. And I’m okay with that. I’m ready for warmer, dry weather! And I’m not gonna lie, I’m also ready to be able to send the kids out to play outside so I can have a few minutes of quiet time inside.

But what I’m really looking forward to? Gardening. I LOVE when everything is blooming and coming back to life. I’m also looking forward to gardening with Tater who planted his first strawberry plants and garlic bulb this week! [Read more…]

The Quilt

It was my first day of first grade. We had just moved into a new house, which meant that I was going to a new school. I stood by the front door, hair pulled back in clips, holding my Strawberry Shortcake lunch box so my mom could take my picture.

The Strawberry Shortcake lunch box. It was pink and white gingham with Strawberry Shortcake on the top. It was not metal; it was soft plastic, and I can still smell the scent of the it. I wouldn’t let my sisters touch it, and I was so excited to carry it to school that day. I had a quarter inside of the lunch box to buy milk. When lunch time rolled around, I didn’t know that I would be given a choice between regular milk and chocolate milk – I went with regular milk because I was afraid I would get in trouble if I bought chocolate milk.

The milk itself was not ice cold; it was barely cold. I didn’t know how to open the carton and one of the “lunch ladies” had to help me. The little straw was such a treat that I didn’t even mind that the milk wasn’t cold.

New school, new teacher (Mrs. Williams), new friends…the weirdest part of the day was having to sit next to a boy in class. A boy named Chris, whom I ended up going to school with all the way through high school, and thanks to Facebook, I still chat with occasionally.

Chris and I had an on again/off again relationship all the way through elementary school. I was his girlfriend, and then I wasn’t. And then I was again. When we were in second grade, he came to my birthday party and gave me a gold necklace with a little charm on it. I don’t remember what the charm was, but I do remember dropping the necklace down the sink and being so sad to have lost it.

The dress I had on that first day of school I had picked out by myself. Maybe at Kmart? Mervyns? I thought it was so pretty and I loved it. If I spun around quickly, the skirt poofed out, and it made me feel like a princess. It had a little flowered vest that tied in the middle, and when I got nervous, I rubbed the ends of the bow between my fingers.

I loved that dress, and still do. I didn’t know it, but my mom had put that dress away…that little blue flowered dress that should’ve went to my sisters as a hand-me-down. When I was in my 20’s, my Nana, who passed away last year, presented me with a gift. She had taken my little dress that I wore on my first day of school and made a quilt square out of it and framed it.

At the time, I didn’t appreciate the gift as much as I do now, and I put it away somewhere in a box in the garage, not taking care of it properly. Today, the frame is falling apart and I need to have it reframed…it’s on my never-ending “To Do” list, but that quilt square is one of the most important possessions that I have.

This post was written for The Red Dress Club’s memoir writing prompt for RemembeRED: Write a memoir piece about kindergarten.

Also…what do you think of my new look? It’s much more me and I love it! It’s still under construction, so bear with me while I work out the kinks and get settled in 🙂

Monster Mommy Moment – Allyson Style

 MommyofaMonster
Today, I am so excited because I have one of my favorite funny bloggers here…seriously, I’m talking laugh-out-loud-no-holds-barred funny. Allyson from The MVP’s of Mesa Town, is sharing a Monster Mommy Moment with us!
No idea what a Monster Mommy Moment is? You can read all about how my new weekly feature came to be here.
Allyson and I became pretty much instant friends waaaayyy back when, after she read about how ‘Anonymous’ left me my first negative comment about Tater’s cussing habit. Allyson could also relate, and sent me a bunch of links to some hilarious cussing incidents that her daughter had. Ever since then, we’ve been buds – even though I don’t visit her nearly as often as I should (still love you though Allyson!)

So grab a cup of coffee and a donut, ahem, I mean a low-fat muffin, or depending on the time of the day maybe some wine and chocolate, and sit back and enjoy Allyson’s Monster Mommy Moment!

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My Place is Secured
Alright, here’s the deal. I’m thrilled to be here at Natalie’s place offering up my Monster Mommy Moment. I REALLY am. And I could TOTALLY write about how yesterday I completely deserved Mother of the Year or WORST Mother of the Year awards for the way I refused to get out of bed, and kept yelling at my kids to leave me alone, and to go and play, because I was too tired. Not THEIR fault that I stayed up until 2 a.m. recovering a lampshade. Not their fault that Daddy was out of town and it was just me and them. BUT, I went rogue and super selfish and for the first time ever just refused to get up and deal. Well, that’s not completely true. I DID turn the TV on for them, and I DID change Max’s poopy diaper, because Maggie was SO offended by the smell she wouldn’t leave me alone. So see, there was something good I did. BUT, I’m not here to talk about that total failure. I am here to share a funny story from about a year ago that involves my daughter Maggie.
‘Tis NO secret around here that we have a bit of a swearing problem. I believe I’ve made that abundantly clear. I’ve even been rather forthcoming about my toddlers swearing problem as a result. And by problem, I mean, she liked to say dammit, A LOT.
Well, I feel it safe to say that the “dammit” situation of 2009/10 has been put to rest. Placed under control, if you will. Maggie has not let nary a D word fly in quite some time. She has questioned, and or reminded me that dangit and darnit are appropriate alternative words. In fact, just this afternoon, you can imagine my shock and dismay when THIS situation took place.
There we were, driving through the Costco parking lot, heading for gas. Maggie had her receipt (she really loves to get smiley faces on them, and then carry them with her forever and always) firmly in hand and was talking and wrestling with the paper. She starts saying “dangit, oh dangit.” “Mom, it’s ok if we say dangit, right?” I assured her that was a great word to use. So, I hear, “dangit, dangit, oh dangit, DANGIT….What…the…HELL?” Yeah, Houston we have a problem. I will not lie when I say, it took EVERYTHING in me to control the loud laughter welling within me. I mean really, 2 year old, expressing frustration, funny. BUT, I held it together and I said…”Maggie, that is NOT a word that is ok to use. That is a garbage word, and you may not ever say that again.” To which she replied….
“Well Mommy, how come YOU can say what the hell?”
Really? REALLY? WHAT am I s’posed to say to that? Well Maggie, that would be because your Mommy is a heathen sinner and she’s co-piloting the bus down to hell with your Daddy. Or…well Maggie, JUST BECAUSE, I CAN! No, what I attempted to say was…”I’m really sorry that I’ve said that word Maggie, and I won’t be saying it anymore. It’s not a word that we should be using. BUT, sometimes, grownups CAN say things that little kids can’t.” Then I assured her once again that I would no longer say that, and that she also would no longer use such words. And you want to know what is the most disturbing and embarrassing part of this situation? She TRULY got those two words from me. NOT her foul/potty mouthed father. She spends 98% of her time with me, and he has for the most part worked to keep his swearing around her under control. So, this is squarely MY fault. Soooo humiliating! MOM FAIL!!
My chastisement is complete, I am humbled. Look out world, the use of flippin, fetchin, scriddly dee is making a comeback at the VP’s!
I’m scared!
How does someone this “angelic” looking have SUCH a streak of naughty and sassy? I ask you! Have I mentioned that she’s mean too? OH, AND…..she called me stupid the other day. Yeah, that did NOT go over well with Daddy. She had some serious consequences for that. But, WHERE did that come from? We don’t say that word around her ever. OY!!!
Hell and highwater,
Allyson
Post Script: I’m pleased to report that Max has NEVER uttered a swear. And Maggie has not busted out a dammit, what the hell or otherwise (well minus a random shit shouting) in a VERY long time. So hooray, I’m finally doing something right. HA!
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Fitting that Allyson decided to tell another cussing story, huh? And don’t worry Allyson…we have that same cussing issue here too – I’ve got a mouth that would make a sailor blush. And now you all see why I love my friend Allyson. She’s super honest, and not afraid to share thoughts and feelings that many of us experience, but are too embarrassed/ashamed to admit. She’s not afraid to put herself out there in a less-than-perfect light – and that’s why I think she’s so fabulous!
Thank you Allyson, for reminding us that we are all sharing the same experiences and that we’re all in this together and that we can learn from each other’s mistakes experiences.
Now go swing by The MVP’s of Mesa Town and say hello to Allyson, and if you’re new there make sure to tell her that I sent you. I know you’ll really enjoy her blog!
Also, I know that you won’t believe me, but I found sippy cups THAT DON’T LEAK! Head on over to This Blogger Makes Fun of Stuff to see my review and find out which cups actually work.
And so it goes…

Monster Likes #11

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Every Saturday, it’s Monster Likes time! I list my favorite selection of posts I found throughout bloggy land over the past week. Last week, I procrastinated, and planned on putting the post together on Saturday morning. Ethan woke up with a horrible fever and I didn’t get around to it. So this week includes a few from last week as well.

If one of your posts is listed below and you want the badge, just shoot me an email or leave me a comment and I’ll send you the badge to put on your post!

And now on to the good stuff….

Over at BabyBabyLemon, there is a MUST READ for spring cleaning your blog! Seriously, go read it now!

Mary over at The Mommyologist wrote a post full of tips for new dads (if they ever want to get laid again). It’s hilarious!

Angie at On the Rocks and Straight Up wrote a post about her father. The words, the beauty…it’s the reason why I love to write. So much can be conveyed through words, and this post is a prime example. Make sure you have tissues, you’ll need ’em!

I also want to point out that I’ve been a terrible blog visitor lately…and apologize to you for it! I am having an amazingly difficult time getting it together between my freelance writing for Babble and having the girls get more independent, but even more busy than they ever were before! I am (trying) to make the rounds this weekend!

Thanks to you all for your ongoing support, and watch out! In the next few days I’ll have a new blog design for your to check out!! Yay!

It’s also not too late to enter for your chance to win a Filtrete Water System…it will allow you to say goodbye to having to buy/use bottled water forever!

And so it goes…

More Blog Tips

I recently wrote a post about what new bloggers should and shouldn’t do when trying to grow their blogs. Your response was incredible!

I got lots of tips from you all that I want to share, as well as lots of questions that I’ll try to answer. The post was also syndicated on BlogHer, and while that was very exciting for me, it kind of gives me the feeling that I might actually know what I’m talking about…and after all the work I’ve put into my blog, that makes me feel very, very good!

If you are brand spankin’ new to blogging, you might want to check out a post I wrote way back in June of last year with some tips for newbies (when I was a newbie myself)!

So now on to the good stuff…let me start by saying that a lot of you asked me questions, and if you had your email address on your profile, I responded to you directly. But many, many of you still have “no-reply” for your email address in Blogger – which is why I didn’t respond directly back to you.

My friend Tulpen of Bad Words left this comment on the post about blogging tips, and I feel the same way:

“I’m pretty sure that every time I want to respond to a comment and I see the no-reply; a unicorn spears a kitten.”

Yes people, she’s super funny and you should go visit her. But my point is that it can be frustrating to bloggers who want to interact with their readers but can’t because they don’t have a way to respond back to you!

Fill in your email address in your Blogger profile! It’s easy…from the Blogger Dashboard, go into the Edit Profile link next to your picture. Under Privacy click on Show My Email Address. But first make sure that under Identity, you have your email address listed! That’s it!

And on to the most asked question: What’s a meme?

Most of you will be surprised to know that you already know what a meme is, you just don’t realize it! A meme is just something that requires active participation by the blogger (think Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop, Shell from Things I Can’t Say Pour Your Heart Out, Wordless Wednesday, The Red Dress Club’s Red Writing Hood…the list goes on and on) and usually requires the blogger to link a post back up to the originating site. It’s a way to share personal perspective or experience on random topics. It also drives traffic to the blogger that runs the meme’s site, as well as your site because people will see your linked up post and will visit to see what you have to share. And you are supposed to visit others as well.

Another one of the most asked questions I received…How do I get the reply button for Blogger?

If you look at my comments, you’ll see a reply button next to each comment.But don’t be fooled by the reply button…it doesn’t reply back to the person directly via email. It only shows up on my blog. Still, it’s a super cool feature, and you can visit Spice Up Your Blog for the how-to. And don’t be afraid when you look at the how-to instructions! They look/sound super hard to do, but believe me, if I can figure it out, you can too.

Another question I got was How do I get a blog button with a box that contains the html code so people can put my button on their blog?

There’s another super easy how-to post that you can read over at Mommy Moment about creating a sharable blog button. Again, if I can figure it out, it’s really easy!

And you all had tips and advice to share as well!

Lavonne from Our Wish had this great tip: “I figured out a way to make your email address a link that just opens the reader’s default email program.” and she included this link. I tried it, and it was very easy to do!

Everybody pretty much hates auto-play music on a blog, and so it’s safe to say if you have it, turn it off

Simply Stacie has a way for us on Blogger to get a URL for a post before it’s published. It’s a fantastic read and works well!

Everybody also hates captchas (word verification on blogs), and so you had some tips for both Blogger and WordPress to eliminate the spam, and the captcha.

For Blogger: Most spammers post on older posts, so moderate comments left on posts 2 weeks or older. I think this is great advice!

For WP: Many of you use Akismet, and a couple people mentioned that they also use the GrowMap AntiSpam Bot Plugin. The plugin simply puts a small box at the end of your comments stating “check here if you are not spam.”

I mentioned not having a black background with a white font. You all also offered the advice that bloggers shouldn’t use a light background with light font.

And there you have it! More tips for growing your blog and making it easier to interact with your readers…and making their visit to your blog enjoyable!

I hope all of this helps! Do you have more questions? Or do you have advice or tips to share with us? Is there another topic you’d like me to cover? I’m all ears!

And so it goes…