***

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Pants Off Dance Off

I would say that I have no words to describe this video clip.
But that would be a lie.
Because I have many words.

1) To my husband: I know that you asked me to please not encourage your son to dance to the song: It's Raining Men. But they were taking turns. And it was her turn to pick the song. And he wanted to dance.

And I'm sorry.
Really.

2) Alex has inherited my amazing dancing skills. She can make dancing look like karate. She is a miniature Elaine Benice. And I love it.


3) When I say Pants Off Dance Off, I mean it quite literally.
And he is the cutest thing to ever don some tightie-whities.

video


I could watch it over and over.

But I have better things to do. Besides, I'm sure PtB will take care of that for me.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sky Mall

You may remember, as I've mentioned it a time or twenty, that I recently sailed away on a cruise.
Without my children.
And with my friend.

It was lovely, if you recall.

Do you know what else was lovely?
For the first time in over 5 years, I traveled by air without children. What a refreshing change.
I wont even talk about how difficult it is to get through security on your own with two small children.
The shoes, the jackets, the carry-ons, the kids afraid to walk through the metal detectors, trying to shove the stroller through the conveyor belt opening , etc.

Oops, I guess I did talk about it.

Honestly the thought of going through security alone with them was once enough to make me consider days worth of driving. Really. That bad.
Fortunately, they're a little older now, so I think should the need arise I could handle it much better these days.
Unfortunately, they're both old enough to require their own tickets, so now that it's feasible to do, it's too dang expensive to bother with.

Where was I?
Oh yes, air travel: alone.
Security was a breeze, and then when I got on the airplane I was able to read one of my favorite magazines.
Sky Mall!

Who doesn't like this collection of random stuff they put together? Sky Mall: Where ingenuity meets crazy.

I picked out several of my favorite things to share with you.
See? I was thinking about you even while on my way to paradise.

And then as soon as I landed I said: Blog? What blog?
There is sun to be had.
And truffletinis.

But back to SkyMall.
In no particular order of craziness:

1)) Hidden Litterbox


I get the concept-- let's make the necessary item blend in with the rest of the home.
However, I think there is a major flaw in the design.
I am no cat owner. But I have taken care of friends' cats from time to time, and I've learned a thing or two.
Maybe I'm exaggerating. I've only learned one thing:
Litter boxes do not smell fresh. So why exactly would I want to place one in my living room, next to the couch?
This idea stinks.
Literally.
What they really need is to refer to this next product:

2) Litter Kwitter.

I think it was just the creepy way the cat was staring at me in the advertisement that made me stop and take a closer look. I felt like the cat was angry that it's picture was being taken while he or she was...indisposed.
Mostly it's just funny that people actually potty-train their cats. Although I can see the perks. It beats having their bathroom in your living room.
I went to the website to try to get the picture. It's kind of disturbing. There are video clips of cats doing their business.
I felt a like a creepy voyeur.
See for yourself.

3) Helpy carry-on harness.

Moving on from the cat products, here we have The Helpy Carry-on Harness.
The Helpy? 
Couldn't the creative geniuses who came up with the product design also come up with a decent name?


Maybe something like Dragging my Dignity.

4) Sky Rest


As someone who can only sleep on her stomach (which incidentally made pregnancy a sleepless torture that I dared to think would improve after the baby came out-- ha!), this idea intrigues me.

Maybe I could actually sleep on an airplane with this thing.

But it's just so funny looking.



Oh, what the heck. As long as I'm making a fool out of myself I might as well don my Helpy and grab a Sky Rest to go with it, right?

5) The Civilized Butler

This last product looks perfectly normal, but like every other SkyMall product-- it's not.
Read the description:

"No more rude buzzers, please. This alarm clock wakes you first with the sound of gentle birdsong, then a discreet cough and comforting words "Good morning, Madam" followed by a charming and amusing message -- a different one each morning (six months worth before they start repeating). The voice is that of British actor Stephen Fry (Jeeves of Jeeves and Wooster fame).
Message sample:

"(discreet cough) Good morning, Madam. I'm so sorry to disturb you, but it appears to be morning. Very inconvenient, I agree. I believe it is the rotation of the earth that is to blame." "


I actually think I need this.
I really like British accents; they make everything that's said seem a little better than if you heard it in an American accent.
And since one of the worst things you can do to me is to wake me up, it has to be better coming from Jeeves, no?

So there you have it, my 5 favorite products from the most recent SkyMall.
Good news! You don't even have to fly to get these wonderful items. SkyMall is online.

Happy Shopping.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge

It's been a busy couple of weeks for me, but now that things have settled down, I'm back to joining in on Joyce's Wednesday Hodgepodge.


Here we go!

1. Did you know there is a National Day of pretty much everything in the universe? February 23 happens to be National Inconvenience Yourself Day...when was the last time you were inconvenienced?

I am inconvenienced daily:

But they are worth it.

Derek has an affinity for needing to have a bowel movement the very minute I settle down to do anything. And did you know that he couldn't possibly make that happen unless someone is squeezing his hand? It's true.
He doesn't care who you are-- gym childcare worker, Awanas volunteer, stranger in our home-- if you're available, he will request that you squeeze his hand while he goes.

2. When a room in your house needs painting who does the job?

We don't paint. We move.
Often.
So when we don't like a paint color, we just say to ourselves: No big deal, we'll be out of here soon.

3. Are you friends with your cousins?
There is a very high likelihood that if I were walking down the street and passed one of my cousins, I would never know that he or she was related to me. 
I believe I have 11 first cousins, many of whom I have not seen in years and years. 
It's a byproduct of being a military brat who did not live near my family for all of my growing up years. 

4. Do you use an alarm clock? If yes-is it an actual alarm, music, or something else?
I do set an alarm on school days, because the bus comes at the wee hour of 7:15am. (We got a new bus driver-- the old one came at 7:09, so I like this one better.) My alarm (music) goes off at 6:45, and I spend the next 30 minutes doing everything short of chewing her food to get my dear Alexandra moving at a speed greater than molasses. 
Every other day, my alarm is the sweetest little thing that I still don't want to wake up to.


Also, let me take this opportunity to give a shout-out to my awesome husband who has gotten up with the kids for 5 days in a row, including Saturday and Sunday. Just because he loves me. :)

5. What do you put ketchup on?
Ummm...food. 
This begs the question, what do you put ketchup on?

6. What smells make you nostalgic?
Dank, damp, musty garage smell reminds me of what my junior high gym uniform smelled like. I never, ever remembered to take it home and get it washed.

Gross, huh?

Also, the smell of PineSol reminds me of when I mopped my kitchen floor, back in 2004.

7. Have you heard about the high school English teacher recently suspended as a result of some things she wrote in her personal blog? You can read the story here but in a nutshell she vented a lot of frustration onto her blog. She didn't mention individual students by name but she did make some harsh comments about kids in general and their parents.

What are your thoughts-If you're a parent is your child's teacher online and are you 'friend' or 'follower' there? If you're a teacher are you on facebook and do you accept or friend students on fb? How about their parents? If you're a student are you friends with your current or former teachers online? Do any of them have blogs you read? If you're a teacher or a parent do you ever use your blog as a place to vent your frustrations with our educational system? So much to discuss...
My goodness, this is one heck of a question. 
I am not "online friends" with Alex's teacher. Mostly because I want her to give Alex a fair shake, and if she knew how strange I was, she might treat her differently. 

Overall, I think teachers' personal lives should remain a mystery to their students, so I feel that it's best not to "friend" them on facebook or encourage them to visit a personal blog. This goes for parents, too. No need for undo familiarity, as this could be seen as playing favorites or just hindering the professional relationship that exists between parents and educators.

In this specific case, it seems that the teacher did not advertise her blog to students, but being the tech-savvy generation that they are, they sniffed it out. She did not use names, just gave her opinion on the overall work ethic of the age group she was teaching. Her remarks were likely accurate.
She has a right to blog, but considering her profession, she might have made good use of maintaining a private blog and avoided this controversy.
I don't believe that punitive actions should have been taken.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

 1) Criss-cross-applesauce.
Political correctness in it's earliest form.
It's called Indian-style people. Indian-style.
What is so offensive about that?

2) I have a much harder time finding brand name clothes on sale in the boys' section than in the girls. And while I don't require that my children wear brand-name clothes, I find that many times they wash better and wear longer than their cheaper counterparts. So when we were shopping at an outlet mall in Virginia, and I found a nice loot at Gap kids for Derek, I bought it up.
Here we have some winter clothes for the boy for next year-- 4 long sleeve t-shirts, one pair of sweats, one pair of cords, and a cute hoodie.


Tax included, $21-something. Which averages out to $3 per item. Not too shabby.

3) The weather was warm enough to support this outfit for school the other day.


Ahh, spring is on it's way. And I love knee-socks on little girls.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

There's nothing to be scared of here.

1) I'm falling behind in blogging all of the important things in my life, things like the status of my plastic bag cupboard and R-rated salt shakers. Because of this, I am returning to my favorite way of posting: The List

2) Remember when I asked you guys to guess what this picture was?


Well you're all terrible bloggy friends because only one person even cared to take a guess.
I suppose that's payback for when I made you all study this intently, only to later divulge that you were staring at the junk of a lion.

So now we're even.

But Jen McDaniel took a guess, and I was quite impressed with her acumen. She guessed it was a naked mermaid salt shaker for Pat the Bunny.
Oh Jen, you know me so well.

While technically not a mermaid, you were very, very close! And kudos to you for remembering that PtB has a tacky salt and pepper shaker collection! You are a loyal blog-reader Jen, and as promised, you may now buy my house in Idaho.

Warning--  the following picture contains ceramic breasts.




I didn't buy it.
My children visit PtB's home.
And if I ever found my pubertal son secretly staring at this salt shaker, it would haunt me forever.

3) On that same blog post, my friend Sally commented that she actually knows what poo oil is!
I shall pass along her knowledge:

I'm kind of ashamed that I actually know what Poo Oil is... and its only because a dear friend in Florida owned a hoity-toity boutique (you know, the kind only rich Florida grandmas can afford to shop in) and they sold Poo Oil... what it is, is oil you put inside your toilet bowl and then when you, er, poo... and flush (this would be difficult for some boys in my family to remember to do, unfortunately) the scent of the oil (hopefully) releases and covers up the smell of said poo.

There,

You are welcome.

Thank you Sally! I will sleep better tonight now that I know that.

4) Last weekend we went to Virginia. Our friend Nicole lives there and we stayed a night at her place, then spent a night at the Great Wolf Lodge.

5) Nicole is everything I am not. She is motivated, organized, clean, hospitable, and a natural caregiver. Even back in our college days, she was always the one taking care of everyone else, the one to take care of the details, and generally just the kind of person you want as a friend.

So naturally I repaid her by making her the butt of my practical jokes.

I'm not sure why she put(s) up with me.

But she does! Yea!

6) Nicole had cookie dough all pre-made and ready for the kids to cut  into shapes and decorate for Valentine's day.



7) She also has a petting zoo, so the children were happy as clams.


(We planned to attempt to keep Derek from touching the cats, but it turns out that since he is so loud and clumsy, he scared them off on his own.)

8) Great Wolf Lodge: do you know this place? They have several locations around the country. It's a hotel chain w/ an indoor waterpark.




9) Do you ever take your kids somewhere and think about how much fun they're going to have, and then while you're there remember that kids can suck the fun out of any outing?

The water's cold!
That slide is scary!
I don't like the waves!
Somebody splashed me!

Thankfully, it just took a little time for them to get over their issues and a good time was had by all.

10) In the lobby, they have a bedtime story & show.


The trees come to life and there is some cheesy singing and animatronics about life in the forest.  It is totally fitting that the main chorus was : "There's nothing to be scared of here"

Because my dear son was terrified of the talking trees.
He spent the entire show with his head buried in his daddy's lap.


Later we realized that he was anticipating a "show" like the ones he watches on TV. He thought he was going to watch a movie. So he was patiently waiting, with his head buried, for the tree to stop singing so he could watch a "show."

When we all got up to leave after the singing stopped, he had a total meltdown about not getting to see the "show" that didn't exist.

Good times.

11) While a weekend away is fun, I'm glad we are following it up with a low-key weekend at home. The weather is beautiful and we have no agenda.
It's lovely.

12) I gotta go.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Let's get it over with already.

Here she blows-- the last installment of CruiseReview 2011.
It's been real.
It's been fun.

It's been real fun.

Our last full day on the cruise began like all of the others-- with lots of bacon.

This was the day scheduled to visit Great Stirrup Cay, which is Norwegian Cruise Line's private island in the Bahamas. They are still building the area up, and as of now there is no dock for the ships so we were tendered to the beach.

Here is a picture of the Norwegian Sky from our tender boat.


It was such a beautiful day!
The color of the water was incredible-- so clear and light blue.


There was a lunch buffet, snorkeling, and hammock-lounging on our to-do list.

Check, check, and check.


 When we weren't doing those things, we could be found right here:


I was going to post this picture of me standing in the water, but decided I just can't put a full-body swimsuit photo on the interweb. It's just too much. 
Too exposing. 


So I drew in a lovely, modest, blue skirt with pink polka dots. And since I was being creative, I drew in a nice little drink with an umbrella as well. 

During all that lounging, a real friend might have reminded her light-skinned friend to reapply her sunscreen. 

I suppose I am a fake friend:

Sorry Heather!

The hardest part of the day was trying to figure out when to go to dinner so as not to interfere with the 2-for-1 martini bar happy hour.
It's all about priorities people.

And when they have things like Godiva Truffletini's on the menu, that's where your priority has to lie.


We did manage to sneak in one last dinner in the dining room.



Then we hightailed it to the Plantation Club, because we are cheap and could not possibly pay full price for a drink that would only be half price from 6-8pm.

This one was called Stormy Night.

It was good.
And right purty, too.

What is it about martinis that make you think taking pictures in the bathroom is a good idea?


Then I made my nightly trip to the made-to-order crepe station.


Smear the chocolate, and enjoy. Only don't let your friend take a picture. It wont be attractive.

Much fun was had, and the only sad news is that we had to get off the ship the next day.
I took up residence in the Miami airport for about 6 hours, waiting for my flight (while my "friend" took an early flight home and left me alone) and then I was back home to snuggle on my babies!
Who may have had to endure some snuggles in their sleep.

It was such a nice getaway and I have the bestest husband ever who did a great job at home.
The house was just as clean as I had left it (which may or may not be saying very much), and the kids were clean, too!
He successfully navigated dance class, birthday party, PTA meeting, and even ate lunch with Alex at school on both school days.
Frankly he made me look bad. 

Which makes me think I should start planning my next getaway! :)
Right, honey?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Poo Oil

Sorry for the delay, folks. I tried to post on Friday night, but decided I would rather go to sleep. Not that my faithful reader(s) aren't worth me staying up!
But I was sleepy, you see.

Then we went out of town for the weekend, which will require it's own post. Maybe I'll get to it some time in the spring.

 But first-- back to CruiseReview 2011!
Don't worry, it was a short cruise and we're almost done. Plus the longer it takes me to blog about it, the less I remember.

Our first full day on the ship found us docked at Nassau, Bahamas.
We got a late start, because we splurged for only the most inexpensive stateroom, known as the interior stateroom.
Benefits of said room:
1) Cheapness
2) No window = easy to sleep in

We woke up eventually, and started our day with a food that I could eat all day, every day:
Bacon.
(Sorry about the sideways picture. I'm too lazy to go fix it. Besides, I'm sure you all know what bacon looks like. Unless you're a vegetarian. And to you I say: You aren't really living until you've had bacon.)

I had a made-to-order omelet as a side dish to my bacon.

Ode to Bacon

Strips of lard
You taste so good
I'd eat you daily
If I could

Now where was I?
Oh yes, breakfast. 

This was our view while we ate.


Not too shabby, eh?

When we finished bacon-fest, we made our way off the ship.

 I realize that I look kind of odd in this picture. It was windy and I was precaiously perched above water. Which is my excuse for why I am standing with my legs apart while wearing a skirt. With flip-flops.

Leave me alone people, I had no one to impress in Nassau.

Besides, it's my signature pose.

 We then meandered through the marketplace. 
I was trying to find a few trinkets for the kids, but I couldn't get Heather out of this shop:

Just kidding. 
She didn't shop there. 
And we have no idea what poo oils are. 
I even googled it and still don't know. And I can't recommend googling it either. There are some weird websites out there.

I can't explain this picture, except that I can't pass a cut-out without sticking my head in it.



When we got off the ship, we saw a big bridge that went over to the famous Atlantis hotel.
We thought we would walk that direction to take a look around the hotel.

 By the time we got to the middle of the bridge, we came to the realization that it was much, much farther that we originally estimated.

Here is Heather holding our cruise ship in her hand from the top of the bridge.



And here is where we were headed.


We did eventually arrive at the hotel-- sweaty and out of sorts.
Did I mention we were wearing flip flops?

We decided a stop for a drink was just what we needed to feel refreshed.


And then we took a cab back to the port.

Here is a little treasure I almost bought while we were shopping-- any guesses as to what it is exactly?



I have a better picture that I will show you after you guess.
To the winner goes the rights to buy a lovely house in Idaho!
You're welcome!

Our feet and legs were hurting so badly by the time we got back on the ship that we headed right up to the hot tub for a nice long soak. By "headed right up" I mean just as soon as we had grabbed a couple of mojitos.

What? I heard they're good for sore muscles.

Heather tossed her straw aside and then looked like she was drinking a salad by the time she finished hers.
It was funny.

Heather!



We met an interesting crowd in the hot tub-- some guy from Columbia who spoke zero English, a family who ended up on the cruise last-minute when flights to their original South American destination were canceled, and finally a social worker from Miami and her cousin-- a stripper.

We fit right in.

 The next morning we woke up and hobbled off to what ended up being my favorite day on the cruise-- post coming up soon sometime!
But I can assure you that my legs and feet hurt so bad that if you told me that rubbing poo oil on them would help, I would have done it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Snaggle-Tooth, Grrrrrrr, & Flip-Flops

Sometimes I shake my head at my own inability to formulate post titles.
Then I move on.

Before I dive back into CruiseReview 2011, I have to share some pressing news.

The tooth.

The tooth is not long for this world.


My girl is growing up.
Part of me loves it-- loves seeing who she's becoming and watching her become more independent.
She has grown and matured so much in the last year.
But she's really just a baby, and should not be getting big-girl teeth.


My input was apparently not requested in the matter.

Nor was it requested when our renter e-mailed us to say that he would like to move out of the house in April, which brings me to my: Grrrrrrrr.

I really, really, really, really do not like being long-distance landlords.
So friends.
Let's try this all again: Pray for me, my sanity, and that our house would be rented or sold.
Because you obviously didn't pray hard enough last time, and I consider all of you to be spiritual failures.

Except I'm joking about that.

And now we can continue with our regularly scheduled programming:

But wait! The school bus is almost here.
So I'll have to postpone our regularly schedule programming in favor of attempting to wiggle a tooth out and snuggle with my baby girl.
Because at the rate she's growing, tomorrow she'll need a prom dress.


I guess I never got to the flip-flops, huh?