Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Glam and Sexy? Uhm, NO. It's not.

Okay, maybe I'm a little cranky today... but...

I was in the store this morning, doing my monthly household run. You see, I abhor having to stop at Walmart, not because of Walmart itself, but the shopping trip in and of itself almost always becomes a source of frustration for me. (That's another post entirely...) So here I am in the household cleaning section, making my way to pet care (Good news! Romeo and Juliet, our fish, have made it an entire year! UN. BE. LIEVABLE!) and as I'm passing the endcap, I notice this display for Glam Gloves.

Glam Gloves- these are heavy duty rubber gloves that have an extension of pretty and fashionable material that will reach all the way up to your elbows. Yes, they were pretty, but honestly, I was a little incensed by them.

Don't get me wrong. I love beauty in any form. I'm the girl that watches football precisely for the moment of kick-off. All of those players, charging the ball in a straight line, running all-out, charging in pursuit of a victory.. well, there's something beautiful in that moment. I love it as much as I love the clean lines of a classic made handbag or a vintage gown. I can find beauty most any place.

However, anything that requires the use of heavy duty rubber gloves will probably, if not most definitely, NOT make me feel beautiful. Or glamorous. Or sexy.

I can see how these came about. A group of five people in a marketing room, looking at stats on the sale of cleaning items. "How can we market these to the women of today? I know! We need to make them feel glamorous! BAM! Glam Gloves!"

Seriously? Dear Marketing Executives, allow me to make myself perfectly clear. No matter what color you make them, or how frilly or pretty they are, these gloves will not make me feel glamorous as I scrub dried egg off the frying pan. They will not make me feel beautiful while I am cleaning the fish tank. And they will certainly NOT make me feel glamorous, beautiful OR sexy as I wipe urine off the toilet bowl or clean up puke at 3AM. While I appreciate your attempt to make me feel wonderful, your ploy to make cleaning gloves look "glamorous" and make me want to buy them, failed miserably. I'm over the whole "inordertosellsomethingwemustmakeitsexyandglamorous" advertising ploy. I'm not stupid. Please don't treat me as such. It didn't work with laundry detergent, floor cleaner or any other functional household item. If you want to sell your product, help me understand why it will make the job faster, easier or cleaner. And if they happen to be pretty, it will be a bonus (which is why I bought the other gloves... they were functional, sturdy AND pretty, but didn't charge me another three dollars to be so).

Yours, wishing that this diatribe would actually REACH the marketing executives, knowing it won't, but still feeling better for having vented,


Monday, August 30, 2010


Monday, Monday. . . .

Karen's away for a little bit, and I'm trying desperately to fill her shoes. you can see that I'm not quite as diligent as she is. She's so stinking good at the blog thing, and I'm just, well, not. I do try, but I'm not Karen. I own it. I accept it. (And I wear it with flair!)

So my children have been up to their usual shenanigans (don't you just love that word? Say it a few times. . .) These are the things I have overheard or been asked lately that made me go,"Wha?Wha?"

Things like:

Z1: Mom? When do I get to get tattoos across my chest?
Me: You don't, son. Period.
Z1: Well, Pappy has them. How did he get them?
Me: He was in the Navy, love. (Pappy has a mermaid on a rock on his chest).
Z1: I know, but I want to make a mermaid dance like that, too!


Z1: Hey Mom, I've decided that when I get into fifth grade, I'm going to get a bull ring put through my nose...

(I couldn't decided if I should say,"Over my cold, dead body" or just let that one lie. )


Z2 to Z1: Hey, Z1- remember that time you ate bird poop?

(What the heck??)

Yours, giggling at the thoughts of my two little hooligans,


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday Thoughts- Cereal and Badgers

She's 7. Let me tell you, even at age 7, I can tell this child will be a lawyer. She comes by it naturally. When I took all those personality tests in high school and beginning years of college, they always came back the same- be a lawyer or a musician. And while I had (and still do) an interest in politics and the inner workings of the law, Beethoven called. Followed by Chopin. And when Debussy showed up, I was sunk. Then I found Jazz (or it found me. . .) and it was OVER. Somehow, I just couldn't find any joy in humming the texts of City Ordinance 12.8. Jazz was much more fun. (Unless, of course, it has a Sting sort of groove to it, and then it might be workable).

And even though Z2 is beginning to play piano, she is more than adept at arguing her point. The word "No" is like a red flag. Say "no" and she just gives you another FIFTEEN reasons why you should agree with her. And heaven help you if you try to get the last word in. She's more highly skilled at that than my two sisters-combined. And THAT'S saying something! (Kudos to "Under the Breath Beth" and "Last Word G"!)

This morning, I finally had to explain to her what badgering is. You know, like "badgering the witness". The analogy of a pecking chicken wasn't working anymore, so we've moved up to badgers. A 15 minute debate on why I need to be purchasing a particular cereal. Fifteen minutes. On. Cereal.

She's going to wear me out.

For now, as the Mommy, I am choosing to look at how we can channel this energy and perseverance into a fine and usable character strength by teaching her when and how to debate. The "when", I believe, is the more important of the two. As in, not before Mommy has had her coffee....

And when I can take it no longer, I put my hand up and say,"Save it for the courtroom, sister!"

Yours, uhm, "enjoying" shaping my little one's strengths,


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Today, we let the pictures speak....

Yours, letting my thoughts drift back to vacation,


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit- Kid Self-Esteem

I found them!!!!! I found the notes I had been looking for! We've received much interest in this particular talk that I had listened to and was sharing about earlier, so I've decided to continue it (uhm, now that I've found the notes, that is!)

Another reason, according to the lawyer who was speaking that night, why good kids go bad, is the depreciation of self-esteem. We all see it. We've all done it. But of we are doing it with our kids habitually, we are not setting them up for success.

We all want our kids to treat us properly and respect us, correct? Well where does that start?

It starts with us respecting them.

This summer, the B Kids came up to another level of awareness. As the mom, I am more than accustomed to doing for the family and generally being the last one on the list. I think I reached my end this summer when The Hub and I started noticing their attitude of entitlement. As in, "Me first!" and "I will hog it all if I want to!" and "It doesn't matter if Mom gets any. She's the Mom! It's what she does!"

Uh... not THIS Mommy!

It was an eye opener to them when I started saying,"Excuse me, that's mine. Please put that back."

After careful conversation, they began to connect that there are boundaries and finite amounts of whatever we may be sharing. And that EVERYONE, including the Mommy, should have equal portion.

In drawing the line, not only was I setting a boundary for them, I was teaching them to set boundaries. When we teach our children to set boundaries, we empower them to take control over their lives, to protect themselves from emotional hurt and abuse, as well as physical. Seems small, but it's huge. It says to them that they are important enough to have thoughts and feelings and they have the right to protect those.

In keeping with that, as parents, we must be careful to value those thoughts and feelings. When they are concerned about something, take the time to listen (easier said than done, I know, especially if you have some social bloomers like mine!). When you talk to them, show them the respect that you would like to have. What we model, good OR bad, is what they in turn will emulate. Involve them in the decision making. Not every decision, of course, but one you know they can handle or care about. And recognize their accomplishments. This does not mean that we give them a trophy or new toy every time they do something well. But it does mean being their biggest cheerleader and especially catching them at doing something you've been working on or doing something good when they thought no one was watching.

I've heard Dr. Dobson say,"For every "yes" a child hears, they will hear "no" ten times." What is for every time we corrected our kids, we found something they were doing right and let them know we noticed?

Yours, looking for the best in my kids,


Sunday, August 22, 2010


So you know that Melissa and I have been working on Thecaregiver organizer cover parent Caregiver Organizer For My Aging Parent book, due out any day now (yes, we’re getting closer, but yes, summer set us back a  bit!).  To be honest, this book has been a bit tougher for us because when we wrote our For My Child book, we could draw from personal experience, but neither of us, thankfully, has had to be a caregiver for a parent yet.

However, with the passing of my friend’s step mother this summer, I find myself somewhat in this role since my friend is 1000 miles away and I have always been considered part of the family anyway.  Her father needs somebody now, and I am more than willing and able to be there for him.

So without writing too many details, which I’m sure will be more to come in the coming months, I just want to tip my virtual hat to every caregiver out there, but especially those of you in the “sandwich” generation.  Taking care of your own family, plus taking care of your parents, or any aging family member, is a tougher role than I ever could have imagined.  I’m already exhausted, not to mention overwhelmed, looking at the tasks ahead, the guilt of knowing that I probably won’t do those tasks well enough, and the knowledge that I don’t even have the knowledge that I need.

This, my dear friends, is why we are writing this book.  Not to give you any advice, because obviously we are in no position to do so, but to help you organize information about your loved one so that you don’t have to do it all.  You can’t be there 24/7 for him or her, so when you need to have another caregiver there, all of your parent’s information will be organized in a manual, ready to go.

I’m extra motivated now to get this book finished, and we’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready to go.

So hang in there, Fellow Caregivers.  Help is on its way!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Fun- Make Way For the Fire Truck!

It's Friday, and we could use a little funny around here. Karen sent this to me and I thought it was so funny, I had to share. It's been a long week, and well, it's been a long week. ;-)

Little Firefighter

A firefighter was working on the engine outside the Station, when he noticed a little girl nearby in a little red wagon with little ladders hung off the sides and a garden hose tightly coiled in the middle.

The girl was wearing a firefighter's helmet.

The wagon was being pulled by her dog and cat.

The firefighter walked over to take a closer look. "That sure is a nice fire truck," the firefighter said with admiration.

"Thanks," the girl replied.

The firefighter looked a little closer. The girl had tied the wagon to her dog's collar and to the male cat's nether regions.

"Little partner," the firefighter said, I don't want to tell you how to run your rig, but if you were to tie that rope around the cat's collar, I think you could go faster."

The little girl replied thoughtfully,"You're probably right, but then I wouldn't have a siren."

Yours, laughing my way through Friday,


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday Thoughts- Encouraging Compliance

I know, right? I have been going through some files lately and finding notes and idea packets that I've been holding onto. I was looking to do some more on the Good Kids/Bad Kids series, but I've misplaced my notes on that one. I will get back to it, right after I finish purging my office. (If you don't hear from me in a week, someone please send help!)

I did find some notes on encouraging compliance. Just the title made me laugh. I came up with a few ideas of my own in that arena (which involve things like duct tape and death threats.... but I digress...) but here are some of the ones I found a little more, uhm, attainable.

(Note: this packet was put together by Kim Cowherd of the Rockwood School District).

1.) Shorten the distance. (BWHAHAHAA! Yeah, I'll shorten the distance alright! You've seen my Mrs. Incredible Elastigirl moves, right?) Move close to the child. Asking while an arm's length away works better than asking from across the room.

2.) Use "Start" instead of "Stop". Tell your children to start using an appropriate behavior. As in..."Please start chewing with your mouth closed (before I take away your dinner plate!!!!!) (Any parenthetical statement is mine. Let's just make that clear now.)

3.) Make eye contact. Look the child directly in the eye as you give an instruction. (Yes, I've mastered the "stink eye" look. )

4.) Give descriptive directions. Instead of,"Time to go to work!" which is ambiguous and unclear, state the definitive, such as,"Time to read for thirty minutes." (Oh. You mean, I don't get to say something descriptive like,"Get it done now or you won't be playing game cube for the rest of the month!)

5.) Remain Calm. (I can't even type on that one. I'm laughing too much.. oooooooo here come the tears.... I may never regain control again....Like I had it in the first place!)

Yours, thinking about which strategies to implement,


Wednesday, August 18, 2010


fourth gradeMy boys are in 4th grade this year, so it’s time they do more, so  I can do less.  And really, it’s time.  Don’t worry, I’m not totally cutting them out on their own, but they need to start assuming more responsibility concerning getting ready for school each morning, remembering their schedules, doing their chores, etc.

So let’s start with school.  The night before, they need to pack up their backpacks after they finish their homework and I check it.  In the morning, they need to figure out if they are bringing lunch or buying.  (They are allowed to buy only twice per week.  Call me cheap, call me a health nut, whatever!)  They can get backpackout their lunch box (are they still called lunch boxes, cuz they really aren’t boxes anymore – hey, I still remember my Partridge Family lunch box!), the blue ice thingee, and the “sides” that  they want.  I’ll make their sandwiches for them.  They also need to remember to bring a snack (I don’t actually know if 4th graders bring snacks, but they did in 3rd grade) if they didn’t already pack that.

After school, they need to unpack their backpack and give me whatever I need to see (of course I’ll double check this) and start on their homework at whatever time we agree upon.

Regarding their schedule, I’ll start putting their activities on the kitchen calendar so they can check it every night when they are putting their backpacks together.  So if they have a cub scout meeting or something else after school that they’ll need a note for, they will have to remind me to write it.

Chores.  Hmmm, that’s a tougher one.  As it is now, they earn allowance their allowance by doing chores, but only if they remember, not if I have to remind them.  This hasn’t worked out so well.  I have an idea to keep the same concept, but tweak it a little bit.  I just hate having to remind them to do the same things, day after day after day.  (One of those little things that annoys the heck out of me!)

So I think I’ll start with these little changes and if all goes well, expand from there.  Wish me luck!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's the First Day of School!!!!!!!!

First day of school! First day of school!!!!!! Woooohoooooooooooo! It's the first day of school!!!!!!

Pardon me, I'm a little excited. You should have seen the look I got from Z2 this morning when I turned on the CD player and it blared out "The Hallelujah Chorus".

Yes. I. DID.

Played it all the way to school and all the way to work.

I'm just not one of those moms who cries on the first day of school. Maybe I will some day in the future, but not today! Had it not been for the heavens opening and me having a weekend to myself, I don't know that we would have made it to today. And although it's been a busy day (I started a new job- more on that in another post) I cannot tell you how good it feels to know they are going to come home dog-tired and no energy left to aggravate each other.

That alone makes me give thanks.

Yours, grateful to have made it through yet another summer without bloodshed and the tearing off of limbs,


Monday, August 16, 2010


spamIs there really a difference?  Because I have 2 different folders in my Microsoft Outlook.  One for Spam and one for Junk Mail.  Really?  What seems to be the difference between the two?

Just for fun, let’s look at some of the kinds of spam (or junk mail, whatever) that I get:

  1. Anything to do with male genitalia or sex drive.  I don’t need to make it larger and and I don’t need to keep it up longer.  If they had any sort of filters on their mass emailing program, they would see that Karen is strictly a woman’s name.  Maybe they could send me something saying, “Does your man need … ?”  But no, they send the same email to everyone, assuming we are all men.
  2. AARP.  I know I am approaching THAT AGE, but I still have several years to go, so LEAVE ME ALONE!!!  Enough said.
  3. There is a free laptop on it’s way.  Wow, great!  Oh, wait, you’re going to need my address?  Cuz I thought you said it was already on its way.  Oh, and you need all sorts of other information, like my banking info, and maybe even my Social Security Number.  Hmmm, maybe I’ll just buy my own Dell computer.
  4. Get your credit scores.  Wow, thanks for reminding me.  Every day.  But you know what?  I know who the three credit bureaus are, and I’m pretty sure I can go to them directly and get my scores myself without your help.  Hey,dollar sign but thanks anyway.
  5. You’re from another country and you have a great business deal for me?  Oh, golly, if only I hadn’t been warned about this one over and over again.  Or if only I had been born yesterday, I might have taken you up on it.  Darn the luck!
  6. You have money available to me for a loan?  Wow, really?  I’m in luck, because instead of going to a reputable bank down the street, I’d much rather go to somebody who is soliciting me over the internet to give them personal information in the hopes of getting a loan.  Woo hoo!

There are so, so many more, but these are just a few of my favorites.  What are yours?


Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Fun- Holy Cow!

Hello, dear Readers! A special hello to all of our followers, loyals and newbies. We're so glad you choose to follow us. Thanks!

It's Friday. Yesterday, by about this time, I was fully considering squatting in the corner, sucking my thumb and softly chanting to myself, "Only four more days until school starts. Four more days. I can make four more days...."

And would you believe, no... I can't even believe it myself.... I mean really! Who would have thought?!?!?

My husband, earlier this week, made plans to visit his niece in Oklahoma. She is leaving to go to a missionary school in Maui for three months and then on to a far away country for at least a year. He definitely should spend some time with her. He thought about taking one of the Z Kids with him and chose to take Z1. It would make for a nice weekend, just the boys, and Z2 and I could find plenty of girl things to do.

But this morning, he asked me,"Honey, what do you think about Z2 going along with us?"

Uhm . . . . .

Here, let me help you get everyone packed!

I WILL miss them. It WILL be quiet. (Did I say quiet? What is that? Silence? Can't remember what that sounds or feels like...) But frankly, after a summer of overwhelmingly high decibel levels, I could use just a bit of a break.



The only question is what do I do first?

Yours, contemplating ALL of my options,


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thursday Thoughts- Time to PURGE.

It's Thursday. I'm thinking about purging.

With all of this getting ready for school and organizing, it's the perfect time to purge. Go through everything. Make piles of the things I'm not using. Donate. Sell. Clean out. Give away.

It's also a good time to update your information. Did your kid's school change? Better write down the new address and phone number. New schedules? Better write those down too. Yesterday I made a master schedule. It took me one and a half hours. It's to the point where I believe I may start color coding everyone. Yes, it's getting that full.

What about child ID information? We all know how much the kids grow over the course of the year. Yesterday afternoon, Z1 went to his first Fall Soccer practice. All the boys look so much older- like boys! Hard to believe he's a tween now and showing symptoms of it in choices (and attitude). But it reminds me I need to update his profile with a more current picture. Somehow, I don't think his 2nd grade photo would work anymore!

As the school year begins, take the time to clean out and update.

Yours, changing out photos,


Wednesday, August 11, 2010


back to school

So school starts in 6 days, and I could not be any less prepared if I tried!  But if I really think about it, what do I have to do?  Let’s make a list:

  1. School supplies.  Melissa wrote a post yesterday on the trials and tribulations of buying school supplies.  Doesn’t she know about the easy way out of this?  At the end of the school year in May, we fill out a form, send a check to school, and VOILA, our supplies are waiting for us at Meet The Teacher Night, the day before school starts.  Easy Peasy!  Okay, Number 1, done!
  2. School Clothes.  I have boys.  Whatever fits, works.  Done.
  3. New Shoes.  Recently bought new sneakers for cub scout camp.  Done.
  4. Backpacks.  No holes, rips, tears, majors stains?  Can be used again.  Done.
  5. Lunch Boxes.  See above.  Done.
  6. Teachers.  Found out Monday who our teachers are for the upcoming year, and we’ll meet them the day before school starts.  Through the miracle of technology (Facebook), we even know a few of the other kids in each of their classes.  Done.
  7. Lunch dates and massage scheduled for first week of school.  Done.

Hmmm, unless I’m forgetting some major things, I guess I am prepared after all!  Who knew?


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What Happened to the Box of Big Crayons?

Remember when you were a kid and on the first day of elementary school you would get some fresh paper and a new box or those fat crayons? They were brand new and I loved the way they felt on my hands. A whole new year with fresh crayons and blank paper. It felt like anything was possible.

Last night, I FINALLY, after three trips, finished the school supply shopping. I'm not talking about clothes or shoes or backpacks. I'm talking about a specific list about 25 items long. Specific as in : An orange two pocket folder, no prongs. A CLEAR, plastic protractor, no arm, please.

Add to that, the fact that everyone else is searching for the SAME 25 items (multiplied by the number of children in your family) and it can get a little tense at your local Wal-mart or Target. You do not even want to hear about the people I encountered on Sunday when I was trying to get a lot of the shopping finished.

I love that my children will have all they need to learn, but when did we start needing so much? I just wonder why my 2nd grader needs how many permanent markers? A fine-tip red marker? Sharpies? Really? Is it just me or does everyone else have this kind of list where it costs you $40-$60 in supplies? Just wondering. . .

Would love to hear what other school districts are like. Please, let me hear from you.

Yours, longing for a new box of eight, fat crayons and some blank paper,


Monday, August 9, 2010


So Melissa and I have each returned from our family vacations.  She from Hilton Head, me from Boca Raton, Florida.  The bags are unpacked, the laundry is done (mostly), and things are returning to normal once again.  Darn!

So just to extend my vacation feelings for a little longer, I’m not really going to write much today.  I’m just going to post some pics of the past week.  Hope you don’t mind!