Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Resolutions 2011

Ok, I will admit I am writing this post at 11:38 (start time) on New Year's Eve and I am kind of toasted.... :)

I resolve this:
- To Blog Regularly: Monday is Manic Monday (kind of whatever I want to talk about from the past weekend), Tuesday is Top Tuesday (my top something list), Wednesday is Wordless Wednesday (sometimes pictures are better than words), Thursday is Thankful Thursday (something I am thankful for), and Friday is Flashback Friday (we'll take a look back at something be it a year ago or 30 years ago.. whatever I feel like).

Can I stick to it for at least a month? We'll just have to see!

Now off to pee (TMI sorry) and drink another Smirnoff Classic Lemonade with 11 minutes to go before the ball drops.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Easy A is easily believable... sort of.

I wanted to see Easy A but as most know know me personally know, I don't got the movies. Last thing I saw in the theaters was Cars in May of 2006 and before that was something prior to May of 2004! So, Easy A is now available at Red Box. We use this due to convenience even though we are Netflix people too. Hubby came home from wrk bearing the DVD. I was excited.

After the kids went to bed we watched the movie. It was funny. It was cute. It had good casting. It had solid characters. We laughed at it and we enjoyed it. The movie ends and Hubby says he has 2 major issues with it. Besides the fact that rumors dont spread THAT fast, it is extremely unbelievable that she wasn't noticed prior to this - that she was sort of invisible. I stayed quiet for a minute before bursting his bubble. I asked him if he thought I was hot in high school (we didnt goto school together but he's seen lots of pictures). He replied with a yes and I said, "I was unnoticed."

Yes, hard to believe (not) that I was unnoticed. Here I am at 15 & 16...
I think I was pretty darn cute. I had awesome clothes and I was sweet and smart. I was a size 3 and had a 32D/32DD chest. Me? I was unnoticed. Just another body in the school. Much like Olive Penderghast (oddly I was dating a guy with the last name of Pendergast for most of my high school career).

Rumors do spread really fast - especially when it comes to a girl being easy. I was a freshman in high school when that "guy" (he was more of a slimy badword than a guy) who date raped me decided to spread rumors that we slept together and was easy all around school. It really did spread like wildfire and I was definitely noticed. But unlike the movie, I had to keep going and after a little while, I was back to being unnoticed (which again, unlike Olive, I would rather be unnoticed then thought to be a slut). Occasionally some guy would like me and some girl would remind him of "who I was"  but it didnt matter much because as I said, I had a boyfriend I loved very much at the time.

Anyway, yes, it's easy to be pretty and smart and be unnoticed in high school and yes rumors spread really quickly.

Back to the movie, I really enjoyed it, especially all the references to the John Hughes movies that I adore oh so much!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Confessions of an almost 33-year old mom of 3 - Vol. 1

I confess:

I know that I need to compare myself less to others. I shouldn't be jealous of your gorgeous marble floor, or your clothes, or the fact that you have time to shower and beautify yourself every morning. I shouldn't be sad that my heat is broken downstairs. I shouldn't be said that I could only buy my kids a few SMALL present so far for the holidays. I shouldn't cry over what I don't have even though I do on a daily basis.

My family is all healthy. My dad is still alive after having heart issues for over 20 years. My brother is sober. My brother beat cancer. All my kids are perfect. Putting my health stuff aside, we're all very healthy and That is a huge deal.

We have a place to live. We own a house. We have our own beds. We have more than so many other people. Granted the central heating downstairs doesn't work but we're not outside. Our upstairs heat works. Our fireplace downstairs gives off heat, and we have a portable heater to help maintain warmth down here.

I know there are people and families that dont have a place to be, who can't afford ANY toys, and/or aren't healthy in some aspect.

I know I should just be happy but I can't find simple happiness. It's totally hard and I try my best.

I confess:

I wouldn't want to do anything else than what I do now - being a stay-at-home-mom to my boys. It is the hardest thing to do and the most rewarding. The smiles, the tears, the everything! I would not want to be doing anything else.

That being said, staying home makes me feel worthless because we struggle so hard financially and I'm really not adding very much to help. These feelings are also something I have to deal with on a daily basis.

I confess:

I don't care for dogs. I love all animals, but I am definitely a cat person. I dont get dogs. It nauseates me to see people letting  their dog lick their face. I gag at seeing people bury their heads in the dog's fur. Walking and picking up warm poop? No thanks. I can't stand the smell of dog's - no matter how good you say your dog smells, it doesn't.

I grew up with a dog. I attribute her sweet, kind, devoted nature to my dislike of dogs. I am younger than my my brothers by 8 & 9 years. They were with that dog, Heidi, longer. She protected them like a good dog. They'd joke and tease and pretend I was hurting them, "Heidi, Heidi, she's hurting me" and the dog would bark uncontrollably and I'd get scared and run. She'd chase me until I ran on top of couch where she stayed on the floor barking. Wonder why they scare me a bit? At 17 years old, she was getting pretty sick. She couldn't get up up woudl pee herself. She bit huge chunks of hair off and she just smelled. Maybe that's why I cant stand the dog smell? The licking thing? that's just plain nasty!

I confess:

I love cats. Cats instantly melt my heart. I can be so sad, so mad, so whatever, and petting ZoĆ« makes it all go away. She's an angel in my life. She sits on my newspaper, jumps on my chest. Sushi yells at me and  chases my toes under the sheets.  They are cats and I love that about them. They never smell. They dont lick (and if/when they do, at least they are cleaner). They're litter box is a breeze to take car of!

I confess: 

I kind of favor my last child most. I don't know why, but Owen is my angel. He's everything I never knew I wanted (he wasn't planned). Maybe because he's such a little person and by this time my other kids either had  a younger sibling or because they started preschool but we're pretty close. I also love the age he's at. I hate that I favor him but I am admitting it here, just this once. I love my boys, all of them, don't get me wrong - I'd do anything for them. They are my world. They are the sparkle in my eye.

Worst. McDonald's. Ever. UPDATE....`

The update is? There is no update! That's right... corporate sent me a generate form letter back that the store itself and the regional manager would be contacted and i have YET to hear back. Talk about caring, huh? Well, my kids beg on a daily basis and I have avoided McDonald's and will NOT go there again even though they are so close and my baby asks for their fries by name. Worst. Customer. Service. Ever!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Worst. McDonald's. Ever.

You can make all the jokes you want about McDonald's sucking.
You have never been to the McDonald's in Wakefield-area of Raleigh/Wake Forest.
It has got to be one of the worst in the country!
I have yet to meet a local person who does NOT have a story about how they screwed up.

Why do they suck?
How about waiting more than 15-minutes at the drive-thru?
How about not getting all the food you paid for?
How about asking for something done a certain way (no ice or ketchup only) and the order is always wrong?
How about waiting on a long line only to be told as placing the order that their system is down and it's cash only?
How about placing an order and being told at the second window (after you ordered and paid and waited some more) that they are out of something but not refunding your money?

What about if this happened ALL THE TIME? This is all from my family. All from the location on Wakefield Pines Drive. All in the last year. Some  multiple times in a month.

What prompted this particular post to be crafted?
Here's today's story:

After waiting 15 minutes to place my order, I ordered our food (2 6-Piece Kids meals with a Coke & a Orange Drink, and a #4 Large with a Coke).
After paying, I waited about another 5 minutes (or more) to get to the second window to get my food and drinks.
This is where i was informed that their fountain drinks are not working and we could have chocolate milk, white milk, or a juice box. I was annoyed. I said how I should have been informed of such. a Managerial level employee said that a guy came in and didn't tell them and turned it off (meanwhile it's the lunch rush - like he couldn't wait 30 minutes since it was working fine a minute ago?!?). She had a MASSIVE attitude problem and was probably the rudest manager i have ever encountered in retail. I agreed on Chocolate milk for the kids (the 4 year old in the car started crying because he wanted his coke). I asked what about mine. I had a large drink, not a tiny kids drink. I got told same options and then she added in that I could have a Sweet Tea. I said fine, a sweet tea no ice then.
She handed me my sweet tea (WITH ICE) and when I didn't drive away she just stared at me. I asked for my food. She looked at me like I was insane. I said that I did not get my food that I ordered. She turned around to see my food sitting behind her. She handed it to me without saying a word and closed the window. Serious snotty attitude again.

Worst part? NEVER an apology. Never trying to remedy the situation.

Seriously? How can they get away with this? I mean they are part of a HUGE corporation. They should have standards that tghey have to meet in order to function under that name. They are giving McDonald's a bad name (or worse name depending in your outlook).
I have complained to corporate before. Once about 18 months ago about missing food. How many complaints before corporate steps in and complains?
I urge anyone who has had bad service at this McDonald's to contact  McDonald's. You can do so via this page - Maybe they need an onslaught of complaints. They certainly need something!

Friday, November 19, 2010

So Does No Tolerance Policy Work?


How do I know? My nephew.

He's been teased and tormented. He's been knocked unconscious. He's been dangled off a porch-like structure. He's had gum put in his hair. That was all between 4th & 5th grade!

Was anyone in trouble? Not really. Were the parents informed by the school? no. Were they even notified when he was literally blacked out that something happened? no. Are there any reports anywhere to prove this? no. School looks perfect but I know this crap happened, He lives down the block from  me. He goes to a school with a "Zero Tolerance Policy". Some Policy.

Yeah my nephew isn't a normal kid, but who is? He is super smart but lacking on the social skills. Being bullied certainly doesn't help his social skills!

I digress. Back to my point... in theory the policy is wonderful but it's just not implemented. Things happen and I hate it. I hate it because my oldest is a 1st grader in the same school my nephew attended in 4th & 5th grade. My son is VERY bright as well. How do I deal? I make sure he looks super cute all the time so at least they have 1 less thing to poke fun of him for. He's really a wonderful person and I don't want any kid to steal away what makes him so special. I will advocate for my son but things happen. Kids pick on each other. They will always find something. When it comes to girls versus boys, it will mull over.

Ok, off to pre-school to watch kids be kids and love each other (they don't know any better yet).


Where was this when I was growing up?

I admit it. I was a nerd growing up. I didn't care much for fashion. I cared about my books and sports. I had 2 older brothers and was a Tom Boy. In 1st grade, I got glasses. I was very smart.

In school starting in kindergarten, I was teased daily. Made fun of. Pointed at. Beat up. Got gum stuck in my  hair. Spit at. 

Did a teacher do anything? The bus driver? What about when my parents complained? Still nothing.

I spent 7 years at grade school (k-6) being tormented but I loved learning so much, I didn't want to miss a day (talk about a nerd). There was 1 girl that led it all, AJ (her initials). AJ was in a popular clique and made sure people didn't like me. They'd make fun of Kim for being nice to me in 1st grade (she was in my Brownies troop and her mom was the leader and my mom helped out) until she wouldn't even speak to me outside of Brownies. I had a "best friend" in 4th & 5th grade named Nicole. She was popular, cute, trendy. Only catch, she wasn't allowed to be friends with me in school - I was her secret friend. Of course outside of school, we were inseparable but that didn't  matter. School is a whole other area of life.

That summer between grade and middle school, I got contacts, cut my hair and got some fashion sense. I went to Junior High and became popular! Can you believe that? Guys were falling over me and girls looked to me for fashion advise! OMG! 
What could ruin this new-found  life? I was date raped. I was afraid to tell anyone. I wasn't allowed at a boys house without his parents being home.  My dad dropped me and one of girl friends off at our middle school to practice for our basketball tryouts. Instead we walked to P's house (which is what we planned to do) and met him and his 2 friends and hung out for a bit. Skip the middle stuff - you dont' need details. But this was one of the times where ya think, "Gee, I should have listened to my parents." I couldn't have sad anything without marring myself in the process.

So, it lay low... life went on. Until High School. P suddenly felt a need to torment me and my family. He'd call and call me names to myself and to my brothers who wanted to beat the crap out of him. Lucky that these were pre-Caller-ID and *69. So, him and his friends would call and torment me and call me names like "slut" and "whore". They did this at school too. He told people I slept with him and I was easy (to put it lightly). So, here came more crap. At this point, I didn't care. I had a boyfriend who loved me. I had looks. I had brains. I had been-there-done-that and I didn't care anymore. Not that a teacher would  have stepped in anyway to help.
So i did my thing, stayed away from most people, kinda pulled away from school socialization as much as one could and just wanted out - to make a new start - I was college bound.

So, yeah. That's my life - well, the bullying parts.

I wrote this poem in college about how I would sit on this bench under this tree on the playground at school - just waiting for the time to pass to get back into class. I can feel that pain every time I think of that. I can feel that pain as I drive past that playground. I felt that pain when I learned kids were teasing my nephew at the same school I went to on that same playground.

Under the Tree
Sometimes, I wish I were blind
            Unable to see the faces of distaste
            The snickering grimaces
            The piercing stares.
Sometimes, I wish I were deaf
            Unable to hear their comments
            And the reaction of others to them
            The laughs that made me cry.
Sometimes, I wish I were invisible
To be an unreminder of my existence
            To never bother anyone
To avoid the abuse.
Sometimes, I wish children weren't so cruel
            Maybe then I'd be less callous
Maybe then I wouldn't ever have been called cold-hearted
Maybe I should have cared less about them and more about me.
I wrote this just trying to survive.
I am drowning in my own desolation
My head barely above the surface of who I think I am
Beginning to believe I finally found myself
Actually realizing, I am more lost than before
Kicking and screaming, I remain unheard
I am the only one to hear my deafening cries
Self-abusing mutilation of flesh
Desperate attempts for attention
Marks embedded with falsification
Put there by the manifestation of my emotions
Constant reminders of my nature and mental state
My outside houses red to show I am alive
My insides are black and cold
I feel yet feel nothing at once
My head falls below the surface
The kicking and screaming cease into… Silence

I have forgiven most people in my life. I grew up. Most people change. People who I hated I am now friends with and people I held close, are nothing more than a speck in my life. I have often wondered if AJAJ but I do hate what she did to me.
So, could I forgive her?
I re-read my poetry. I looked at the scar on my wrist where I tried to kill myself. I looked at the pictures in the photo box of me alone. I think of that tree. I think of how she made me hate who I was - I hated the very things that Tommy holds dear. I wanted to be anyone other than me. I wished a had a disease that would make people feel sorry for me and care. I would have looked at my elementary school yearbook but I don't have it anymore. I hated it. 
So, no. I would NOT forgive her. She does not deserve ti be forgiven by me. I should not have had to deal with her crap for so many years of my life.

I am lucky in that I am here. I am alive. I have a lot of stuff to bare but I'm okay.

So I love the anti-bullying movement. It hits me in a spot I wish it didnt, but it hits me. I wish it were that easy though.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Personality is Decided when?

Your personality changes... well, until a certain age apparently. A study of 144 boy in 1st grade in the 60's revealed something interesting. teacher's noted their personalities. After 40 years, they got reinterviewed and it was found that their personalities remained the same! So, the personality you have in 1st grade is the personality yo have for life. 

Think about that for a minute!

I did.... more so because my son is in 1st grade. If he keeps his personality, I'd be more than happy. He's positive, information seeking, loving, and I wont change any of it. Apparently, I couldn't' change it much anyway, but I wouldn't want to!

Here's a link to an article on the study -

Is Chivalry Dead?

Granted I am married and have been with my husband only for over 10-years but I dont think Chivalry is dead at all. I can remember times before him (*gasp*) of guys I dated and how things went. I remember car doors being opened for me first (keyless entry wasn't really around much). I can remember pulling out of chairs when going out to eat. I can remember getting flowers or a gift for no reason but to make me feel special. I remember being made feel like a princess and while I wanted to be independent, I loved this. I still do. I feel that chivalry is very much alive but it's just today's women that kill it. How can a woman be so independent and then expect to become a "damsel in distress"? You can't have it both ways. 

I always loved to be taken care of. I like being made to feel important and special and "rescued" if you will. I in turn love to make that special someone know how appreciated they are. 

If you think chivalry is dead, I think you need to take another look at yourself and how you LET people treat you and how you come off. I think instinctively, guys want to be the "knight in shining armor" and the "the protector." I think instinctively, girls want to be taken care of and be nurturers. As of late, society has made it seem more important for women to be their own person and stand on their own. While this is great, you cant be self-reliant and strong, and expect someone to be able to take car of you - it's contradictory and confusing.

So if you are one of the people who think chivalry is dead, take a look at whom you are dating. Take a look at yourself and what vibe you give off. Take a look at where you are meeting these people.

Chivalry is alive if it's allowed to be.

Comments? Post 'em below!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How deep IS your love?

The #1 song the day I was born (January 4th, 1978) was "How Deep Is Your Love" by the Bee Gees.

The song title spoke to me. How deep IS your love?
  • I often tell Tom how I wish there a word for how I feel about him... it's more than love.
  • I unconditionally love my children. There is no way I could not love them. Dont try and disprove me.
  • I love food. I am a total foodie. I'd rather enjoy food and life and be slightly overweight then to miss out on some amazing taste and be society's ideal.
  • I love watching my kids grow and become these loving, caring, little men taking care of each other and their pets.
  • I love songs that move me emotionally... the ones that make me cry no matter how many times I hear it or the ones that make me close my eyes and just get soaked up in it. Since you're wondering what a song like that is for me it's something like the Pretenders' "I'll Stand by You", Melissa Etheridge's "I Run for Life" and Elton John's "Blessed" and "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" (there are more).
  • I love HT's singing. He just came down the stairs singing, "I kissed a girl and I liked it. Tasted like cherry chapstick". It gets no cuter and I love it!
  • I love peace & quiet although I kinda forgot what that is like.... I do know I love it.
  • I love sleep. I am not embarrassed to admit that I love sleep and our bed is so freakin' comfy its almost unreal. 
  • I love to bake for people's enjoyment. I love to see people enjoy my baked goods and the look on their faces as the flavors envelop their souls. That's what baking is all about... Even non-foodies get sucked into my baking. It's a great sense of pride to see people "get" food the way Tom & I do.
  • I love saving money. I am a proud coupon person and I will proudly boast how I just saved 75% on my grocery bill! :)
  • Did you know Burt's Bees makes toothpaste? They do and I love it! I never enjoyed brushing my teeth but with that stuff, it must be laced with something because there are days I brush 6 or 7 times just because! Seriously, I dont know what or why but It works. I hate that it took my that long to find it.

My son - the comic geek is - Confused.

H insists on something that I can't figure out.
SOMEONE must figure this out for me (and him so I dont think he's crazy).
This is from my four year's mouth:
"Raven's other dad, not Trigon. He has 2 eyes that are red and he's a bad guy and he's a robot because he's inside the robot. I've never seen him not in inside the robot. You should have watched the Teen Titans that had that other dad that I dont know the name of."
So please figure out what he INSISTS is Raven's Dad but isn't!
Solution: The answer is SLADE aka Deathstroke! I showed him a picture if Slade and he said that's him! I explained he wasn't Raven's dad but her dad's friend. CT came down and saw the picture and told me it was a bad guy who hangs out with Raven's dad like a sidekick. :) This is Slade is Teen Titans (The Deathstroke name was apparently a bit much for younger kids):
So yeah, question answered. Good work, Tom!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Nobody makes Baby Sit in the Corner!

That's the phrase I thought of recently when "talking" to my friend Jay.
I met Jay when I was 12... so yes, 20 years ago!!!!
We kinda ran with different circles but his "bad-ass"ness and my goody-goody attitude kinda fit together in a brother-sister kinda way.
His locker was next to mine in high school.
He'd "protect" me from the guys and he'd give me a hug when I was feeling bad.

We used to talk pretty openly on GoogleTalk about 2-3 times a month.
He's married. No kids.
I'm very happily married with 3 of the most gorgeous boys you can find.
We talked about work.
We talked about his wife wanting kids.
We talked about his art.
We talked about my work.
We talked about the kids.
We talked about stress and money.
We talked. period.

He's a friend on facebook too.
His wife doesn't know me.
We lost contact somewhere after high school and found each other after I was here in NC.
I reply to his FB posts sometimes but we didnt talk on FB much because I dont say too much in depth stuff on there.
When i need to talk to someone, it certainly aint on FB for the world to see.
So we used GoogleChat for anything substantial.
His wife didn't (doesn't) like when I'd post on his FB page.
One that really annoyed her (and made him delete and comments I made following that day) is when Tom & I were in Vegas this past June.
I made a comment on how it would be so much more fun with Jay and his wife there.
Vegas is great! I love Vegas. We love Vegas.
Vegas seems like so much more fun with more people... a bunch of single girls/guys, or a few couples together.
Jay (I can't vouch for his wife since i dont know her but she did marry Jay) is the type of person we'd need to bring us out of our shell and really fully enjoy our first kid-free time ever.
She did NOT like that at all apparently.
Dude! I said me and my hubby want her and her hubby here. That's bad? WTF? Psycho.

So now the only way for us to "talk" after this had to be off Facebook.
I had enough one day when i made a totally innocent comment on his FB page in response to his status.
he erased it right away.
That was my last straw!

I am in a place now where I am not a hidden friend!
I had that.
I was very uncool in elementary school.
A popular girl liked me.
So much so, we were almost inseparable out of school and we were best friends without a doubt.
In school, she'd be mean to me just like the rest of her clique.
She wasn't allowed to be friends with me.
Having no other friends, it was better than nothing because when she was with me, I had her whole heart.
Thinking back, if she did love me as a friend, it had to have hurt her to be mean to me almost as much as it hurt me that she acted that way.
Anyway, that was a long time ago and I've learned so much along the way.
One thing being, I refuse to be a "secret" friend ever again.

My LLB Girls (close friends of mine that are all over the country (and even some in Canada and Australia)) have been having bad luck lately. Bad luck with their spouses.
Husband's cheating seems recurring on our boards.
One friend in particular is going through this all at this time.
One of the last people you'd want this to happen to.
Someone who I know will be OK after all is said and done because her strength has been tested over and over and she always overcomes with love and a smiling heart.
But this in my head is rattling around.

Jay's wife wont let him to talk to me on FB (the only way she knows we talk).
If she ever found out how in depth he ever spoke to me, they might not exist anymore.
I refused to be part of that.
I told him I wont do it.
Either she knows, or we dont talk.
He told me it was his problem and not mine - that if he got caught that he'd be the one in trouble.
Yeah, but it would be MY fault. I'd be the reason.
Granted, we spoke openly but seriously as friends!
He asked how Tom feels about it.
Tom knows I love him more than most people get to experience in their lifetime.
We have something really special and anyone who really knows us, knows we were meant to be together.
i am a jealous person mainly because of my past but when it comes down to it, I KNOW Tom would never ever hurt me.
I know that he feels the same.
He trusts me.
I would never break his trust and potentially ruin one of the best things ever.

I kept thinking of Dirty Dancing and the quote (that hubby loves to quote) "Nobody puts Baby in the corner".
That's how I felt.
Like I was being stuck in a corner so no one would see me.
Nobody sticks me in a corner!

I haven't spoken to him in weeks and unless him and his wife split (which I feel WILL happen just not right now - from what I have heard about everything, they do not work together very well), he's just a thing in my past.
Which is sad.
He's one of the people who wasn't around much, but made a big print on my heart.
He was there when I needed him back in HS with a hug and laugh to make sure i knew things were OK (i was very manic-depressive-like then).
He helped me get through those days and I will forever be grateful.
But I am not a hidden friend.
I grew up.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Damn the whale!

Seriously, Twitter! 
Get your shit together!
I am tired of the fail whale! 

"Twitter is over capacity. Please wait a moment and try again." 
"We’re currently experiencing a high error rate on Twitter. 
Our infrastructure and operations engineers are responding to the incident."

That doesn't help me get my twit fix! AHH!


I haven't had a job that required filling out federal and state paperwork in over 10 years. That all changed on Monday! I am now a proud employee at Wakefield Baptist Church's new preschool program. i will be a TA for either the 3's or 4's class. I'd love to be in the 2's ideally, but OC is way to possessive over me to allow me to help other kids. So after filling out tons of paperwork, I am happy to announce my employment! I can't wait to help these children grow and learn. It's such a joy to see things through the eyes of a child. Plus it gets me outta the house and helps pay for their schooling. So yeah, CT will be in 1st grade, HT in the 4's, and OC in the 2's (for now).

3 boys!

3 rambunctious boys. 3 precious souls. Sometimes they stop long enough for a picture that doesnt come out too badly.

Track-In, Track-Out

So, we're on a year-round calendar here for school. In case you don't know, that means 9 weeks on, 3 weeks off, all year. Sounds weird but I love it. I really do. I think it's much better for the kids.  But that means between Kindergarten and First grade, CT had off 9 days... Fine by me! But based on the calendar, he was in for only 3 weeks before tracking out. He tracked out on the 30th of July. It's Thursday and I cant wait for him to go back! The three of them all together are driving me completely batty! It was hard enough to do things with OC & HT but add in CT too and 5 minute errands become 2-hour long trips that usually always result in someone punished.

So between tracking in and out, and the younger 2 off from preschool between may and September, I dont get to post much. Add in my side jobs i take whenever I can and I just wish there were more hours in a day - as long as those hours were while my kids slept).

I know I'm blessed. i wouldn't trade being with them for anything, but man! They certainly challenge me mentally!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake dreams

I had a request I GLADLY accepted. A client wanted a Strawberry Shortcake invitation for his little girl.
As always I gather my research and design ideas by looking at the characters on the web.
Strawberry Shortcake holds a VERY special place in my heart!
I loved her growing up.. and all her friends.
I had the small dolls, the big doll, the kissing baby, audio cassettes and storybooks, clothes, costumes, sleeping bag.... need I go on?
That is why I jumped at the chance to do this!
I have 3 boys whom I more than adore but I dont get to relive my childhood toys with them like Tom does.
This was my way to relive it.. I thought.
So after doing my research, I came out prepared to do this invitation but left feeling empty.
I guess I really do want a baby girl.
Too bad that will never happen :(

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pickled What? Watermelon Rinds?

Yes, I am serious! 
These are awesome!
I know most of y'all have never heard about pickled watermelon rinds and the concept sounds totally bizarre.
As with most oddly intriguing foods, it's a southern thing apparently.
If you forgot (or are new), I am originally a northerner. And not just any northerner - A New Yorker!
So, we never heard of pickled watermelon rinds either.
Don't forget, it's all about time in NY.
There is never enough so there are no homemade biscuits made with pride or amazing fried chicken or sweet tea... all are too labor intensive or take too much time for a Northerner's schedule.
We moved down south more than 4 years ago (but I always said y'all).
OK, I can babble about anything apparently. Back to the pickles. Besides the fact that they are kinda unusual (which makes for wonderful gifts), they taste amazing AND are cheaper than cucumber pickles to make!
My house always has pickles. My hubby and all 3 boys adore pickles. Hubby is always coming home with more. Generally a locally made brand, Mt. Olive Pickles (which are very yummy, so go look for them next time you're out). Hubby wanted to show the boys how to make pickles. I should rephrase that. He wanted the boys to see how pickles were made. I rephrased since I'd be the one actually showing them :) So we saved our Mt. Olive pickle jars for "one day".
One day arrived. I had a plan. I bought the kidlets a seedless watermelon. I cut off all the rind and cubed the melon for them. I saved the rind. Here's the recipe I used....
B Sunshine recipe for Pickled Watermelon Rinds
Adapted from the National Center for Home Food Preservation

  • 2 quarts watermelon rind (equal to one medium-sized melon)
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 3 quarts water
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon dried lemon peel

Trim most of the pink flesh from the rind (leaving a trace amount adds a nice color to the pickles). Cut rind into long 1/2"-1" long strips. This makes it easier to the get the green part of the rind off. Take a vegetable peeler and peel the green off. Cut white rind strips into 2" pieces (so they are about 1/2" by 2").

Combining 3 quarts water and 3/4 cup salt make the brine. Refrigerate for at least five hours but prefer overnight.

Drain; rinse. Cover the watermelon with water and bring to a boil; continue cooking until fork-tender, about another 5-7 minutes. Please note, overcooking will cause the rinds to become rubbery. Drain.

Combine sugar, vinegar, water and spices. Boil 5 minutes and then pour over watermelon. Refrigerate as little as 3 hours (if you have time, overnight works wonderfully).

Heat watermelon in syrup to boiling; reduce heat to medium-high and 15 minutes and pack into hot jars. Cover with boiling syrup. Remove air bubbles and adjust head space (if needed). Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel and seal.

Note: Since we reused commercial jars, the heat sucked in the seal (hot jars+hot pickles). Not that we needed a seal, once they cooled in the fridge, we ate the whole jar!!!

They are cute aren't they? I will make these again next week and make sure to leave a little pink of each piece. They look best that way! :)

A blogger I follow, Cupcake Project, just posted about watermelon today! Her post was how to make Watermelon Syrup from the juice and using the pulp of the watermelon to make Watermelon Butter (like a summer apple butter). So, there is like NO garbage! Use the pulp for butter, the juice for syrup and the rind for pickles! Talk about economical! Add on that fact that one of my favorite foods/flavors/smells is Watermelon, I am in heaven!!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Seriously, Fisher-Price? That's it?

Fisher-Price had a nice Rain forest Pack N Play.

We bought it for when O was born (since we sold our other one presuming we were done having kids). I had his room in the FP Rain forest theme and I had to have the matching pack n play for downstairs. We had the bouncy chair and the jumperoo and as I said, his bedroom was done to match as well as diaper caddies and anything I could find!

In July of 2008, i went to lean over to get my son out (he was 5 months old) and th side gave way! Yes the 170 pound me collapsed on top of the bent metal side which was on top of my 5-month old! I was fine but he was screaming for a long time after that. He was ultimately fine (no major injuries) but a little cut and some bruising.

I sent FP an e-mail to let them know. I didnt hear back. I kept the crib hoping one day I would be able to fix it. It went into the crawl space in the garage and it sat there - forgotten.

Then they recalled them! Apparently, I should have complained more to Fisher-Price about this issue because it was recalled because of the same thing that happened to us! This is December 2008/January 2009.
I immediately went to try and contact them. I explained how mine had collapsed and I still had it. I was advised to do the online refund form. Apparently, they didn't care that mine actually broke and my baby was crushed. He didn't die so why should they care? I could get a refund just like every other schmuck. Yay me.
So I fill it out and get the e-mail back saying to cute the side panels out and mail back with a prepaid label. I e-mailed back and asked if they wanted the whole thing (in box) since mine was one of the reasons they were recalled. They said to further assist I could call. Calling Fisher-Price during and right after Christmastime is insane. I tried a bunch of time but I cant be hold for HOURS when i have 3 small kids. Sorry. I tried and I tried to e-mail again where I was told to mail the 4 panels.

I kept meaning to contact them again and see if they cared my baby was hurt. I e-mailed them around June of 2009 and they said same thing, side panels. I got sucked up into my life again. It happens. I am a mom of 3 hyper boys who runs a business form her home and, to be honest, gets a bit scatter-brained quite often (thanks to my severe PMDD). Anyway...

Fine! All  4 panels were mailed back. I made sure that was all they needed and then discarded the broken POS  (I did keep it for a year and a half - broken just waiting). That was February 13th. It arrived at FP on February 16th. Apparently, March 23rd they called here (they did? they didnt speak to anyone in this house!) saying they were missing a panel piece. I had no clue.

Then fast forward to June 2010. I e-mail them and ask what was up with our refund. They called me back (yay, I speak with a human!) the next day. The lady was nice/ But said I can only get $75.00 back since I am missing a side panel. Excuse me? I KNOW for a FACT I had all 4 panels in a ziplock bag that was mailed back. I KNOW they were all there! She asked if I had the other panel. UHm.... NO! I told her I discarded the crib in March and just threw out the box 2 weeks ago! She told me I should have never thrown it out until I got the refund... Hello?! McFly?! I mailed the pieces 5 months ago! How long do you want me to keep a broken, useless crib? I me mentioned how mine was one of the ones that collapsed and how I held onto it and stuff. She didnt care and proceeded to tell me I can look for the other panel and mail it back. Again, explaining it was all mailed and the rest is long gone, I had to accept $75.00instead of the full $100.00 which in my opinion is ridiculous since my son was hurt and they were notified of this.

So here I am. Granted my son is fine. Granted I am fine. That's all that matters. But I can't help but be angry that they didnt care about what happened. They gave more money to people who had no problems them to me who had a problem. Makes me glad O is our last... we dont have to purchase anymore Fisher-Price Baby Gear products because if I had the choice, I'd avoid them for another child (and will recommend against an expectant mother on getting FP Gear).

there.. said my piece... I feel slightly better now.

This was a week and a half later.... You can see the darken-ness on the right side of his belly.
It was just about unbruised.

Monday, June 28, 2010


I so need to stop looking at people's pictures on Facebook.
I know i shouldn't compare myself.
I know that I have 3 kids and a husband.
I also know why I get so jealous.

I dated a guy, JP, for 4 years from 15-19. I loved him but obviously not in a forever type of way. I lost my virginity shortly before I turned 16, but otherwise I was such a goody-goody.  I stayed clear of anyone who drank, or smoked, and obviously did drugs. I didn't do parties. I didn't drive. I worked and did school stuff and spent every other waking second with JP.

We broke up when I was 19 so I could *gasp* date a girl. We were on and off for over a year. I still didn't do parties and I rarely drank before I was 21 although I did once in awhile. I smoked to try and fit in but only socially. I tried hard to fit in with anyone. I did do a few clubs and tried to get my grove on but I guess I am too shy and maybe just totally unapproachable. I dunno.

I met Tommy. We hung out watching TV and doing more homebody stuff. We did used to go to his friends bar. But again, otherwise home.

So yeah, looking at pictures of people having fun on boats, dancing at clubs, drinking with friends, playing corn-hole.. just about anything where they're not alone makes me jealous.

I try to fit in to this day but never get enough of a friendship to make my own pictures for others to be jealous over. OK, OK, OK! I know, I have 3 gorgeous boys and a hot husband so what am I jealous over? Answer: just about everything else.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Have a SUPER Father's Day!

Hubby got to sleep late (something that hardly EVER happens here).
He walked downs stairs and I started his breakfast.
What does the best dad have for breakfast?

His gifts awaiting him...
A cup of coffee the way he likes it and a cup of OJ in a green cup...
His place setting included a Green Lantern Ring napkin ring...
He had scrambled eggs, 4 slices of some thick bacon, 4 sausage links and my attemt at a green lantern logo on his toast...
Oh, and Hunter wanted that Iron-Man set-up for his dad since "he doesn't have an Iron-Man."
I then put something for him to look at while eating in front of him. 
It was this...
There he is as a Green Lantern.
The very wonderful, sweet, and amazing Jamie Cosley drew him based on his favorite Hal Jordan.
I printed him out on card stock and colored him quickly with crayons.

Then, hubby opened his presents.
One bag was from H and had a bag of candy each with a separate meaning, a picture with things about his daddy and a glove filled with sand because he's "the best Dad hands down."

The other bag was from C. His had a laminated picture and sheet about hid Dad, a picture he drew, and the best part... a book he made about why he loves his father including things like "i trust him", "he makes the best steak", "he has great ideas", and more - each with a picture to match.

Then later on, we all colored our own daddy as Green Lantern. Hubby made himself like Sinestro all purple-skinned and in yellow. Then he popped in the Kirby Krackle CD.

Totally geeky Father's Day? Yup. Does he love it? Yup! And i love him tons and tons!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

HeroesCon 2010: An Outsider's View

I am far from a comic person. I do appreciate art though and comics are an art which after this event, I appreciate so much more.

I'd never been to a comic convention. I have waded through hundreds of pictures from my friend (Anthony) who has been to New York & San Diego's Comic-Cons before. His pictures fascinated me - people were dressing up & the fans were beyond dedicated. Their dedication alone intrigued me.

My now four-year-old son, H,  loves comics. He knows even tiny details like a character that appeared once some series a while back. He retains this stuff... and cares. My husband, who had abandoned comics long ago, found himself enveloped, once again, in the graphic work of comics. Together, my husband and my son share this bond of comics.

We live in RTP-area of North Carolina. 2-1/2 hours away, there is a yearly comic convention held in Charlotte called HeroesCon (named after the store that sponsors it 'Heroes Aren't Hard to Find'). It's a 3 day event and from what we had heard, a pretty decent-sized one.

We made plans, as a family, to attend. Keep in mind my kids: C just turned 6 and often states his dislike of comics, H just turned 4 and is more than a comic fan, and then there is the "baby", O, who is 2 who likes to play with super heroes but isn't obsessed by any means. Well, based on prices and perks, we opted to get 3-day passes for the family.

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010:
My husband left for Charlotte "for work" around 5 am because that afternoon, pre-registration opened. Hubby went to get the bracelets, neck tags designed by Skottie Young (and gets 3 extras for the kidlets - yay), and goodies that come with pre-registration. Best part? Knowing that we got into the convention a half-an-hour earlier than the general public. That was the best perk to us.

Friday, June 4th, 2010:
My morning started off getting C ready and off to school and then, with 2 kids still at my side, getting ready for the trip.

Hubby got to go to HeroesCon when it opened on day one. Hubby waited in line to attend his first comic convention. It was Day One of the event and opened first only to those pre-registered. His friends tried to prepare him for what to expect and how to handle the convention but actually being there is different. He did the best he could by scoping the place out and chatting with some people he was recommended to.

I left the house at 12:30 to pick up C from school and we were on our way - 3 kids in tow, 1 adult, driving straight to Charlotte 3 hours away. All that drama aside, we arrived at the Westin Charlotte. We went the the room, got settled and got ready to head out the door to the convention.

My 1st thought? "Wow! This is huge & impressive. Now where are all the people dressed up?"

Guess I got spoiled by all those San Diego & New York pictures. Half the convention center was set up like a flea market selling mainly just comic books but along with some figures, t-shirts and very little other stuff. The other half was people sitting behind tables ready to make some money selling their artwork sketches, prints, comics, CDs, etc. It was a far cry from what I always saw in my friends pictures. No new, exciting previews of new toys or movies. I was a bit taken back, unprepared for what this convention had in store. Getting onto the floor, we started just walking around. 

C, saw the Boom! Kids area and was drawn in (no pun intended here) because he loves Disney-Pixar's Cars. Cole asked Allen Gladfelter to draw in his sketch book, which was brand new at this time. Allen obliged and took his time and drawing Wingo. It was a really nice sketch but took too long for C to be able to stay and watch him (thanks ADHD). The other 2 couldn't just stand there so I walked them around a bit. Allen was nice enough to do a free sketch and all but didn't seem to care very much about how excited my son was over a Cars car being in his book. I was left with a bad taste in my mouth about how this all goes down.

Well, Boom! Kids was kind of stuck in the comic book area. Everyone else was together in the back. 

We headed to Artist's Alley. Excitedly, Franco Aureliani was there. He does Tiny Titans and my kidlets like that comic a lot. H had his plan, he wanted Robin (who he adores) and C wanted Mr. Trigon. We get up to Franco and C's request remained Raven's Dad, Mr. Trigon. Franco happily sketched, inked and then colored the request. Rather fast and pretty darn perfect (especially being he is the writer, not the artist for Tiny Titans). H proceeded to ask for Cyborg in his sketch book. I don't know what happened to his Robin plan but Cyborg looked amazing in my opinion. Both are wonderful sketches and Franco was a pleasure to deal with!


Next to Franco was a guy who did some stuff I hadn't heard of.
His name was (and still is) Jamie Cosley. He had some cute sketches and paintings up (like Red Hulk and a flower, and Baby Spidey). H asked Jamie nicely for a sketch of Hulk. He quickly drew out a cute Hulk holding a McD's cup that H still looks at and giggles over (and FYI - it's scanned in & my work computer's desktop).  He is a great guy and that alone makes me want to see more of his stuff.

Tom, who arrived earlier than us, apparently chatted a bit with Rob Anderson & Grace Chang of Panda Dog Press. So we, as a family, went to see them (and also did so on Saturday & Sunday). They were so nice! They gave each kid a button which they happily wore. They spoke to the kids so nicely and for some reason, Owen was very interested. Rob tried to use his phone to take a picture of the kidlets in their pins. They were super cool people.We didn't realize that the comic they did, Animal Control: Special Creatures Unit, was brand new and debuting at HeroesCon. We so would have bought one!

Kidlets got hungry, cranky and ready to relax. We called it a night just after 6 pm and headed back to our room at the Westin. We had a great view of the convention center and at night it was just a great, beautiful view.

While hubby ran out to get food, I decided I'd try and devise a plan of attack, if you will, for the next 2 days. Trying to figure out who we should make sure to try and see because the kids knew their work or something. I tried, best a non-comic mom could. Eventually, we all went to sleep.

Saturday, June 5th, 2010:
We were there before it opened. H proudly wore his Flash shirt, a cape he got 2 years ago with an "H" on it, and had me faux-hawk his hair red. Cuteness should help, right?

1st person H went to was Mike Norton. I saw he did Green Arrow & Blue Beetle stuff and he looked nice enough. Mike definitely was nice. H asked for Blue Beetle. Mike asked if he wanted The Brave & The Bold Blue Beetle as-if to confirm. H quickly retorted by specifying he wanted the old Blue Beetle like the one in the picture behind Mike himself. Mike seemed a bit taken back by a little kid wanted old-skool Ted Kord Blue Beetle but gladly fulfilled his request. He was very nice to us all.


I had a good feeling for the morning. We started on a great note. H was happy he included his name on the picture too!

Walking around a bit more we got pulled in by Mark Mariano and his friend. They were selling their comic called Happyloo. It was a series of stories, all wordless, and each comic was followed up by real life facts (like if there was a panda in the story, they'd talk about real pandas and bamboo and such). It was a nice idea. Bright. Colorful. Cheery. Something that even O could enjoy.
Mark asked if they wanted a sketch and they both said yes. C said he wanted Fred Flintstone. He obliged but to be honest, my on-the-fly Fred would have been better. H didn't care so he drew one of his main characters named Meatsauce. He told us how he was based on his father. Meatsauce was an OK sketch but it didn't matter. The guys were super sweet. They are from North Jersey (kinda near home-ish) and they seemed to genuinely care about the kids.
They gave each kid (and us) 2 bookmarks. We did buy the Happyloo book for $8.00. They thought the kids were cute and loved that they listened to such great music like Pantera and how they started singing 'We Will Rock You' by Queen, even including O. Mark's friend was so impressed, he gave them a CD they were selling for $5.00 a pop for free. It was their band called the O>Matics. Pretty cool, huh? Well, the music, again in MY opinion, was horrible. Stick with the comics, Mark!


Walking around, Tom noticed John Gallagher, mainly because he had NASCAR Heroes on his table and anything that might interest C had to be a good thing. I don't know how I missed him in my "planning" last night but apparently I had. Behind him a banner of a character called Buzzboy hung. Buzzboy looked very familiar.
The kids asked him for sketches. C went first and he got the main character of NASCAR Heroes, Jimmy Dash. While waiting for the sketch, C picked out a few copies of NASCAR Heroes for us to buy.
Then it was H's turn. He chose the guy behind John, Buzzboy. As he sketched away, he chatted. I told him how H loves Robin. He said that he always had and that was his inspiration for Buzzboy.
Now it clicked. That is why his character looked so familiar. He definitely (and admittedly) resembled Robin which is pretty cool. I really enjoyed hearing about the inspiration of his Super Hero.


Next to John Gallagher was Dave McDonald. He's an author/Illustrator/Lots more!
He was super nice to the kids, but that's more his sorta thing - Kids! Seems everything he does revolves around kids, which is perfect for us! The kids each got a small B&W comic booklet of one of his characters Vincent VanDoodle. H got a business card that had a mustache on it because "real cartoonists have a cartoon mustache". Plus, look how ultra cute H looks in it! :) He totally dug this thing. His hook certainly worked on my kids!

H was walking past Tim Townsend and his art caught his attention. He held out his sketch book and asked politely for a sketch of Iron-Man. Tim apologetically said he was not doing sketches at this weekend. H almost broke down into tears. Tim felt badly and gave him one of the sketched prints he was selling for free just to make him not cry. H thought it was very nice (as did we). Sorry our son made ya feel bad, Tim! It's hard to resist that face... we should know!

We called it a day for the comic show. We had plans to make C happy and go to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Museum which opened up next door. But, we couldn't leave the convention without getting 3 light sabers, now could we?

(the force is strong in this one)

Sunday, June 6th, 2010:
We went in with a mission. We didn't have much time between breakfast, packing, and having to checkout. So we made every second count best we could. H made it count too. He wore his Iron-Man costume complete with "working" Repulsor and Arc Reactor. He was ready to be cute... 

We walked by Sanford Greene and decided to ask him for a sketch. We had to wait while he chatted with a "neighbor" and then a guy came over. The guy apparently commissioned some sketches from him and had him sign some other ones. H proceeded to ask for Batman Brave & The Bold. He got a very cool, very simple, very perfect Batman head. We all totally dig it!
I am sure it was because it was day 3 of the convention and he was kinda burnt out but he was a bit on the "ugh - another brat asking for something"-side in my motherly opinion. Not holding it against him, just noted for next time we may meet.

The last artist we saw was a guy who was sitting on the back wall and had some wonderful colored sketches up behind him. As we passed by, he told us he did free sketches. His name is Jason Carr of Vanguards of Comics. We were excited to have him sketch in H's book. H, again pulling out a sorta oddball guy, asked for Galactus. Jason asked us to leave the book and come back in 30 minutes. 
When we came back to get the book, he drew an awesome Galactus (I think it looks cool although I don't know who he is)(a comic-loving friend said his favorite drawing we got was the Galactus one).
He said he didn't realize his colors would bleed through the page so bad and he felt bad. He ripped out the "messed up" page and gave us a sketch someone asked him to draw but never came to get. It was a cool picture of Raven. I know Raven. It's obviously not drawn in the book but a separate sheet of paper. I kinda feel like that one is mine. :)


We didn't find or get sketches from most of who I "planned". Meh. So it goes. But, there were two people we actually cared about.
One was Evan Dorkin who does Super Martian Robot Girl on Yo Gabba Gabba!. He would have been awesome since YGG is one of O's favorite shows. That was the first "super hero" he liked. It was someone they all could have agreed upon. No luck finding him. 

The other person was Sean Gordon Murphy. We couldn't find him either. He does Teen Titans who is like super huge in this house right now. H is always begging to put on Teen Titans and come on... Teen Titans has one of the coolest theme songs! How many shows have 2 versions of their theme song one of them being in Japanese? Cool, huh? Well, sadly, we couldn't find him but that's just how this stuff goes.. I guess.

Again, I expected lots of people dressed up. Guess that's why I guess staring at Anthony's pictures from NY & SD Comic Cons. 
Anyway, we did see: Captain America (he had an amazing costume that must have cost a lot and made him sweat a lot), Superman, Red Skull, Snake Eyes & Scarlet, Joker, Harlequin, Lara Croft (more than one), Zatana, Reed Hood & Loki, and Mockingbird. After looking online at pictures from HeroesCon, apparently there were more people we didn't see, but, oh well.



What was your impression? It was bigger than I thought but not as fun as I thought. There were no new toys or sneak peeks. I don't care about old comic books which filled nearly half the convention hall. The artists stuff was really cool, but many of them only seemed to care about paying customers. I get that but things is, what  my kid likes, is what sells in our house. They shouldn't dismiss a kid who comes over. They are the new generation. They are who is gonna keep it all alive.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. In fact, I am a sick person and am trying to figure out how to go to the next set of conventions!

What on earth did you like about it? Well, I loved watching people work. Seeing artists sketch. Seeing people do inking and coloring. Watching people paint in canvas. I love art. I love seeing it done. It was just fascinating. I like how passionate people are. I like that my middle son & husband are amongst others who appreciate comics like they do. I liked "finding" comics that weren't mainstream and ones that C or O might enjoy.

Anything else? Well, a week & half since HeroesCon, the kids love HappyLoo! I "read" it to them once and now H loves to make his own stories up to the pictures. I think it's truly a wonderful idea. Marvel & DC should hop on that boat... make a graphic novel with no words, just once, for kids. Anyway, kudos to Mariano for his wonderful idea and execution.
Also, I have dealt with Jamie Cosley since then. He drew an awesome Father's Day present for my hubby - he made him into a Green Lantern. he did an amazing job and we're going to commission him for a family picture soon. His artwork and turn-around time is downright amazing. We thank you again, with all we have, for your awesome sketch (see following post).