-A mostly true journey of a girl, her man and their three kids; all trying to live harmoniously in a house somewhere in Utah. Names and exact locations may be changed in order to protect the grouchy.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fly On The Wall: January 2014

Hey there!  Welcome to the January Fly on the Wall Group Challenge. This month, 14 awesome bloggers and I are describing what it would be like if you were to take a peek inside our homes....


Have a "look" around mine, and then go visit the other blogger's pages. There's always something fun, sentimental, or better yet, embarrassing going on. It's like your house, only we're admitting to the craziness. You have our permission. Buzz on over!

Cast:
The man
A., the eldest (daughter, 20)
C., The middle (son, 15)
J., The youngest (son, 9)
Henry and Lila- The dogs

Happy Birthday to yooooooooou. Ugh!:

My poor husband. His birthday is the last day of the year. By that time, we are all sick of wishing and singing and wrapping anything.  On one hand, even he is tired of it all. On the other, it is New Year's Eve. We usually spend the evening hosting friends and celebrating with the family. It's always a lot of fun. This year, however, he was turning 40. (This is where the fly on the wall has to follow along.)
To celebrate, I invited our friends on a trip across the state line. Yes, we are rebels. There are casinos and restaurants in the great state of Nevada. It's very grown up. Our friends have 3 children as well, so we love to get away every now and then and have a good time. It was packed this visit (New Year's Eve). The men were playing on the tables and my friend and I were betting big on the penny machines. Being the wild kids we are, we all ended up playing UNO in our hotel room. That ball seems to drop later and later every year. Our friends ended up leaving at 12:01. We are old.
The man's birthday was over. I could tell he had fun. The rest of the "romantic" night went something like this.
Me: "Honey…I have something for you." I reach deep into my tote bag and pull out a huge…bag of Chex mix.
The Man: "No you did not! Have they been opened yet? The little pieces are intact?"
I nod and reach further into my bag.
Me: "I also brought…Red Vines. Still fresh and untouched."
His smile is bigger.
I finally help him undress and push him on the bed. He backs up to the pillows with the Chex mix in one hand and the Licorice in the other. I lean over and softly whisper into his ear..
Me "My final gift? You get this whole bed to yourself." I jump onto the other bed and curl up.
No dog hair. No blanket hogging. No kids interrupting his snores. One night. One whole night!
Best. Birthday. Ever.


The truth and nothing but the truth:

I moved some pantry items into a glass-fronted cabinet.
A.: "Wow. When you look at it that way, we seem unhealthy"
The truth: We are unhealthy.

J.: "Look at all of that frosting! There's a bunch of flavors. Mom, didn't we buy a chocolate kind?"
I shrug.
The truth: Some nights are hard. A tub of frosting and a good novel can do wonders for a girl's sanity.

C.: "Mom, how did you get that nasty bruise on your leg?"
Me: "Hmm. I'm not sure. You know how I'm always bumping into things. Maybe I did it during yoga."
The truth: I bumped hard into the dresser while running across the room. The man had just come through the door announcing it was "Dunkin Donut Wednesday."

The doctor: (at my latest appt.) "Hmm. Your weight is down. Have you changed your diet? Your activities?"
Me: (shaking my head) "Nope. Not one thing."
The truth: It's inexplicable. Maybe it's yoga. And Dunkin Donut Wednesday. Bending, frosting and books. Hey, I found a lifestyle change worth sticking to!
Downward facing dog.


I don't know 'bout birthin' no babies!:

Me: (sitting straight up,in the middle of the night) "OMG! My water just broke!"
The Man: (sitting up just as fast) "What???"
We both get up and find that Henry has emptied out his whole bladder on the bed and apparently, me.
The Man: "I don't know whether to scream at Henry or hug him."
Me: (changing out of my soaked pajamas) "For all that is holy, I'm not having a baby! Give that dog a steak!"
***
J: "Mom, I have to talk to you. I was talking to (so and so) and they told me about... sex."
Me: (heaving and choking and ready to kill someone) "What do you mean? Like whether we are male and female? Boy or girl? That's what sex is. That's what you're asking, right? (my voice has hit every octave by now.)
J: "No." (looking flushed) "She told me about when a man and a woman sleep in a bed together…"
Me: "Is it hot in here? Did you hear the doorbell? Have you seen my inhaler?"
J: "You said I could ask you anything. I just want to know where the baby comes from after that."
Me: (Counting to ten. Who is the child poisoning my little boy with this stuff? Wasn't I just yelling at my baby to put away his Lego undies?) I think and breathe, breathe and think.
"That is a really good question. I've been wondering that myself. Let's ask Dad when he comes home."
It's called co-parenting people. I can only do so much.

My babies
Future jobs for my family:

Based on scientific research, i.e., our running mouths:

The Man: "Do you want to go to the beach?"
Me: "We can't. We have a wedding to plan for."
The Man: "We need to get away."
Me: "What about your job?  I know things have been up in the air…"
The Man: "I want to go."
Me: "But I just super-sized these french fries!"
The Man: "Do you want to go or not?"
Me: "I guess so. He## yes, I want to go!"
Future Job: The man and I? Homeless, happy beach bums.

A. (fighting with her brother) "I couldn't care less about that story if I were fast asleep."
Future Job: Supreme Court Judge

C. (Fighting with his brother) "I'm tired of you asking all of those questions. All of the answers you need can be found on the internet. When you don't use the computer it's like saying Steve Jobs lived and died for nothing."
Future Job: Motivational Speaker

J. (getting ready for school) "Where is that yellow pencil? The one with the #2 on it? Once you sharpen them they last for a really long time. I need to find that pencil."
Future Job: SAT and ACT tester (pencil hander-outer)

Finally, Some Random Quotes:

C. to me: "Great, mom. You moved dad's leather chair into your bedroom. Now, we'll never see him."

J. to me: "Of course you have nice handwriting. You've been doing cursive for 99 years!"

J. to the man: "What do you say we make it a FIVE day weekend?"

A. to her fiance': "Do these pants make me look fat? (he shakes his head no). Why? Do you think I'm skinny? Don't you like my big butt? (he says he does.) So. You think I have a big butt?" Let the games begin.

Me to anyone who will listen: "Yes, we're having a wedding. Yes, It's in August. Yes, she is ready. Yes, we love him. No, she is not going to have a baby. Yes, she is finishing her degree. Yes, I would love if she'd stay down the hall from me forever. No, I haven't stopped crying. Yes, I do have my therapist AND my pharmacist booked solid for the two weeks prior to and after the wedding."

My baby girl is getting married. Help me.


Thanks once again for stopping by, and to the Fly's AMAZING creator, Karen @ Baking In a Tornado, aka "The Blogging Original", for hosting this challenge! Would you like to join in the next FLY challenge? Click on the FLY button on my side bar. Karen will more than take care of you.

Take a look at what the other bloggers have going on inside their homes. Go on! Leave them a comment. You know you want to...


Baking in a Tornado                          
The Rowdy Baker                                  
Just a Little Nutty                          
The Momisodes                                       
Spatulas on Parade                           
The Sadder but Wiser Girl                                   
Follow Me Home                          
Stacy Sews and Schools                  
Searching for Sanity                           
The Lazy Mom's Cooking Blog                       
Menopausal Mother                             
Victory Rose                       
Pink Heart String                                  
Spinster Snacks      

Happy Friday, friends.
-Michele                            

Friday, January 17, 2014

Use Your Words!

Hello, friends!



Today’s post is a writing challenge created by Karen @ Baking in A TornadoThis is how it works: 12 participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, but there's a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who received their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featured in this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them. 
My words are: 

tiny ~ gigantic ~ beautiful ~ disaster ~ court


They were submitted by: Baking In A Tornado  



"Pattern Stories #2"


"Can you dig it?" 1972

In the early Seventies, the Cascade brothers were all the rage in the modeling circuits. Sears, J.C. Penney and Montgomery Ward offered the three boys GIGANTIC contracts for posing together in their catalogs. Their BEAUTIFUL faces graced the covers of 16 Magazine and Teen Beat. Young girls everywhere would wait hours outside of photo shoots for a peek or (if they were lucky,) an autograph. These boys were destined for greatness. Andy, Sam and Mickey were ready to rule the world runway.

                                    "White Slacks are Okay after Labor Day" campaign, 1987

Super model stardom for the trio, however, was not meant to be. Fifteen years later, Andy, Sam and Mickey sat down to "tell all" on an episode of Phil Donahue. It seems that the brothers had moved on to different things after the modeling gigs thinned out.  There were plenty of new boys (some who could sing, some who could act, some who could do both) who were ready to take the places of the former teenage crushes. 
After posing for their last cover together, the three talked about what they'd been up to.

Andy (now Drew) 29, dropped out of modeling at the age of 17, when his hair prematurely turned grey. A ghost writer for more than a dozen "Charlie's Angels" novels, Drew splits his days between professional jogging in Connecticut and representing himself in COURT. He's currently fighting an AARP magazine that used his grey-hair image without consent.

Sam, 31, was the brother most likely to succeed in the modeling world. After dropping out of school at the ripe age of 10, Sam was unable to read the contracts he was signing. His illiteracy and constant need for frosted highlights left him broke. He is married to Angelica, age 89, whom he says, "gets him." She is the only living heir to the Maxwell House Coffee dynasty.

Mickey, (now Michael) 25, was often labeled the "cutest of the bunch." His coy looks and TINY man-body mesmerized crowds everywhere. At the awkward age of 13, people were no longer interested in the not-so-little boy. Depressed, Michael found himself at the bottom of many bottles of Scotch. When a family secret finally came out that his father was not his real dad, Michael turned his DISASTER-of-a-life around and got clean. He searched for years looking for his alleged half-brother and dad. When David (the brother) was found, he was ecstatic about the family news and introduced Michael to their father, Edward Hasselhoff. Michael keeps contact with both of his families.  He's currently living out his true passion, doing stunt work on his brother's new show, "Knight Rider". 


Check out the other participants in today's Use Your Words Challenge!

Baking In A Tornado                   
Juicebox Confessions        
Battered Hope           
Spatulas on Parade          
Evil Joy Speaks               
Stacy Sews and Schools          
Searching for Sanity            
Just A Little Nutty                         
The Bergham's Life Chronicles               
Follow Me Home                   
Dates 2 Diapers 2   

Photos:
1. Simplicity Pattern Co. #5160 1972
2.Kwik Sew Pattern Co. #997  197?                    

Happy Friday, friends :)


-Michele  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Secret Subject Swap: January '14

 Happy New Year, friends. I hope yours is already off to a great start. Like everyone in the U.S., we are dealing with the snow, smog and the cold.  Ugh. I hope you are doing all you can to stay warm and cozy. Why not sit down with something hot and take a glance at this month's SSS. ?

If you're a regular reader, you know that the Secret Subject Swap is a collaboration between various bloggers. We receive secret topics from a blogger in a secret e-mail and put our own spin on the subjects. The 11 blogs participating this time are listed at the end of this post. Go have a look and leave a comment. It will make my our day! :)

My “Secret Subject” is:
The best and worst gifts you ever received.
It was submitted by: Stacy@Stacy Sews and Schools     


I've decided to tell you a story that took place when I was seven. What started out as a wonderful gift, turned into (by my own doing) a gift I'd like to forget.

One Easter, (1977, I believe) my grandmother bought each grandchild a GINORMOUS, solid chocolate rabbit. I remember this not only because it was SOLID CHOCOLATE, but because, well…I've got nothing. I guess that was it. Did I mention it was Ginormous?

That chocolate rabbit, i.e. hug-from-heaven-wrapped-in-cellophane, sat on my grandmother's buffet, taunting me during Easter dinner. That was the deal. Eat the food, get the rabbit. In my head, the chocolate was going to taste better with every nibble of corn and mashed potatoes.

One might think that I'd finish that Easter dinner and be too full to even touch that rabbit. One would be so wrong. Even at the ripe old age of seven, I knew the glory of sweet cocoa. This wasn't my first rodeo. I shrugged off any doubt and bit somewhere into the top of the brown, animated rodent. Cue angels singing and white fog. I think that rabbit came alive for a tenth of a second. We may have danced on clouds together, I can't recall.

I didn't completely finish him. (That day). Back at home, I set the remainder of my Easter gift on top of the refrigerator. Every time I walked into the kitchen I'd sneak a bite. I walked in to the kitchen A LOT. Bit by bit, I nipped gnawed away until the rabbit was an unrecognizable chunk of chocolate. Still though, it WAS chocolate. The bites would melt in my mouth. I'd swirl the mixture so every single taste bud would savor the glory, then I'd slowly swallow it, licking my lips to make sure nothing went to waste.

Me, tasting the chocolate rabbit

 When I finished the last of it (RIP, beautiful bunny,) I shook the crumbs at the bottom of the bag into my mouth. Yes, I realize that might be a bit much, but it's not like I licked the inside of the bag or anything. (That came a year or two later.)

I thought that was the last of my Easter treat extravaganza, but it wasn't. By force of habit, I traveled to the kitchen, reached for the top of the fridge and what do you know? There was a crinkle of plastic. Was it an old loaf of bread? Was it a package of Pork Rinds? I grabbed the item and stared at it. What the What? It was another my chocolate rabbit!!

Smelling the familiar heavenly scent should have ended there.  Let's not be unreasonable here. I was seven. And it was ME!  I took the tiniest bite possible while trying to keep the rabbit intact. It tasted just like I remembered. I quickly wrapped that bad boy back up and put him atop our golden appliance.

It may have been by habit, but every now and then (every five minutes), I'd find myself back at that familiar place, unwrapping the crinkly plastic and biting down on the dwindling treat.

One day (how did I not see this coming?) My mom gave my baby sister her chocolate rabbit. Reaching the top of the fridge, mom reminded my sister that she had to make the treat last and that….Oh no. I felt both bunnies fall to the pit of my stomach.
"WHO ATE THIS CHOCOLATE RABBIT??" screamed my mom, as if the neighbor down the street would know the answer.
Then my dad walked in. He slowly took the rabbit from my mom, viewing it from all sides. Wow. Was it really THAT small? Someone else HAD to help munch that thing down.  With all the genius of a little girl I said, "Are you sure YOU didn't eat it, Mom?"
"No! I'm on a diet! Besides, my rabbit is right here!" she answered. She reached in a cabinet and pulled down a solid bunny of her own. It wasn't as big as mine was, but in was whole. Wrapped up with its original ribbon. Shoot. Why didn't my mom put my sister's rabbit up there too? I was about to be busted. So busted.

Dad, who had lately taken over as the family's own CSI, pulled out a flipping magnifying glass. Where did that come from? What was this going to prove? He asked both my little sister and me to take a bite of the chocolate bunny. DUN DA DUN DUN.

The three year old took a full bite that still amounted to that of a china doll. Small, petite and adorable. I might as well have screamed out my guilt right then. It's time to admit to my readers that as a child I had the biggest, buckiest teeth NOT belonging to a rabbit. Not only that, but I had a crooked canine tooth that came in behind the others. We called it my tooth in the second row. I took the chocolate (Which would probably be the last time I'd ever eat again) and bit softly into the bunny. Dad took the chunk back and put the magnifying glass down. He didn't need it. Anyone could see the glistening scratches down the front. My teeth marks looked like a ski run. Ever so often you could also see where that crooked tooth got in the way.

close up of a not-so-innocent girl

All eyes were on me. I was humiliated. My dad yelled for a minute. My mom gave her own chocolate rabbit to my sobbing little sister. I just stood there like the food-stealing criminal I was. My dad then took me to the front porch. I was confused. Beatings don't happen on the front porch. Even in the seventies, for fear that your neighbor's mom would join in too.

We sat down on the front steps. I looked around. Were the Hershey police coming? Would the Easter bunny literally hop by my house skipping only me from now on? More nervous than ever, my dad handed to me the last of the crime's evidence. The last chocolate chunk . 

"You stole this chocolate. You didn't ask, you just took it for yourself" he said.
I hung my head in shame. Was he going to make me hold it until it melted? Was I going to have to recreate a new rabbit out of it?

"I want you to put that chunk in your mouth. You stole it. You wanted it. Now eat it. Eat the whole thing, now. No talking. No whining. Think about what you have done". he said

Now, if you were a kid like me, you've been spanked with a hand. Or a switch. Perhaps a fly swatter or a wooden spoon. Maybe you've been yelled at until you wanted to break your own ears off. That was not happening this day.

My father watched me stuff a huge chunk of chocolate into my mouth. I'm not sure if I was suppose to gag for effect; I'm not sure if I was to look like I was pondering what I did wrong. He just looked at me for a few seconds and returned to the house.

It was at the moment I heard the screen door shut behind me that I finally exhaled. (Through my nose, of course). I moved the by-now malleable piece of chocolate in my mouth to each side of my cheeks so I could periodically swallow. I'd lean back and let the liquid slide and find its way down my throat. I did that until it was gone.

Best. Punishment. Ever.

Lesson learned:

I apologized to my sister fully knowing that she could care less; she was too busy playing with her dolls.

I apologized to my parents who probably imagined that I made myself sick mixing shame with melted chocolate.

I would TRY not to steal sweets again.

Since my mom was on a diet, surely she wasn't going to finish that whole chocolate rabbit.

Thanks for the topic, Stacy!

If you are interested in joining us for the next Subject Swap, you can visit its creator, the wonderful Karen @ Baking in a Tornado. She is an amazing woman. You can also read all about the swaps by clicking on the SSS icon on the side of my blog.

Don't forget to check out this month's talented participants!

    
Baking in a Tornado                         
Follow Me Home                   
The Momisodes                                       
Confessions of a Part Time Working Mom                          
A Working Mom's "Whoas"                           
Evil Joy Speaks                   
Go Momma!                                 
Juicebox Confession                             
Stacey Sews and Schools                 
Searching for Sanity                       
Spatulas on Parade                       
Small Talk Mama                                 

                       
Cheers to the chocolate lovers every where.. You know who you are.
Happy Weekend, friends
-Michele

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Always late to the party...

Man, friends. I know I'm a procrastinator, but this is a bit ridunkulous. Before the holidays, two of my blogger buddies invited me to play in their reindeer games. I was as excited as Rudolph, but truly, I do belong in the land of misfits, because…well, it's freaking January 8th and I'm just now getting around to playing. It's dark. There's an echo. I hear crickets in the distance. I'm the hare who fell asleep during the race.

Let's see. First of all, I was tagged by my friend Karen@ Baking in a Tornado. By now you should know, she really does exist and keeps kicking me in the butt to blog. She even made it easy by giving me ten questions to answer. Annnnnd yep. They're about Christmas.

Take a second to imagine, if you will, a magic snow globe that takes us back to October/November/December when people actually celebrated Christmas. I do realize that I am asking a lot since I can usually be found taking ornaments off the tree at 6:00 on Christmas night. But…keep reading, will you? Here we go…(jazz hands) Falling snow. Swirling snow. Backwards we travel…The Halloween candy has just been pulled off of the store shelves…and there we are. Christmas Season in full effect.

1. What do you love about Christmas time?
I could write forever about my family and celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. It's all a beautiful, holy time. I love that, but if I'm to answer the question honestly, it's easy. Christmas cookies. Any shape, most kinds. I pull on the elastic pants, happily accept plates from my neighbors, hide in my closet and go to town.

2. Do you celebrate the holiday in style or "bah humbug" your way through it?
Christmas cookies in the closet, people. If that doesn't scream panache, I don't know what does.

3. Are you leaving anything out for Santa this year in the hopes that he'll leave presents?
Milk. Carrots. Christmas cookies.

4. What is the one present you're excited to give?
I waited for months to surprise my husband with an old NES system from the eighties. My son helped me find gamers who had old games. The man was pretty happy. My favorite part was watching/helping  him make fun of the kids when Super Mario died or when they failed (miserably) at Tetris. I know, our parenting rocks.

5. What is your all-time favorite Christmas movie?
White Christmas. When else can you break into song on a train, fall in love after a modern dance AND support your Army General? And its all on a stage in a farmhouse in Vermont. So much better than shooting your eye out with a Red Ryder BB gun.

6. What's your favorite Christmas song?
When I taught Kindergarten, our song was always, "I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas". It still makes me smile when I hear it. My favorite Christmas carol is "Still, Still, Still" by ANY choir. I just love that song.

7. Would you participate in an Ugly Sweater Party? If yes, what would you wear?
There is a fine line between ugly Christmas sweaters and all of the holiday sweaters worn by elementary school teachers everywhere. I donated mine a few years ago. Snowman sweaters. Sweaters with trees that lit up. Jingle bells that jangled. Heck yes, I'd go to an Ugly sweater party, but only if I could hit up one of my teacher-friend's closets.

8. Any new traditions this year?
Because we have a lot of family to visit and because our children are growing and have places of their own to go to, we decided that anyone could go anywhere on any day to visit, but Christmas Day was ours. We spend the day in our pajamas, playing with our new gadgets, napping, snacking and just being together.

9. It's Christmas morning. What does it look like outside of your house?

Cold!

10. You find yourself under the mistletoe. Who comes up to give you a first kiss?
Okay. You KNOW I'm going to say the dogs. And then my kids. But I have this cheesy picture of the man and me sitting on my Instagram, so let's go with that. Even though it was taken on New Year's Eve. We're time travelers, remember?

One wants a kiss, the other is mortified :)

Thanks for the tag, Karen!

I've been "Jingled," y'all!

The second tag was from the lovely Cassandra @ Dates 2 Diapers. Cassandra picked a few bloggers and mentioned two nice things about them. That really is a sweet idea. I'm also supposed to list 4 things about myself and jingle a few others. Now. We know I'm too late for that. But I invite anyone to borrow this idea and get "Jangled". I love what Karen says. These tags are compliments. Participation is voluntary. (Whew!!)

Four things about me:
*I put on 4 pounds over the holidays from eating cookies. I have no idea why. 
*My daughter and I open windows and knock down icicles with NERF swords because we have zero installation rock like that.
*With my soul, I love crossing out words and phrases stuff.
* Cherry Coke. Why can't I quit you?

I couldn't list all of my favorite bloggers. Some are on my sidewall, some are on Twitter, FB or in my head ;)  This is such a fun community, the blogging world. I laugh and cry, relate and communicate with many talented people. That's a Christmas gift all by itself.

If it wasn't for Karen, I wouldn't have written anything in the last six months. She's kept me chugging along on the blog and in the real world. She emails me to see if I still have a pulse. She bakes. Sweets. And gives the recipes. She writes and makes me laugh. Need I say more?

Slu @ Slu's World… Slu is a wonderful man who is in love with his wife and his family. He writes about that and all of his journeys. He always leaves his readers with a smile, an idea for a good meal or libation and the latest FB stock changes. Slu, you had me at , "I'm not a Cowboy's fan…"

Marcia @Menopausal Mother.  Marcia's stories usually make me laugh until I have tears in my eyes. As a fairly new, ahem, member of meno-land, Marcia writes relatable stories about "the best years of her life" :) Check out her blog on an empty bladder. She's a gem.

Ashley@ Sorry Kid, Your Mom Doesn't Play Well With Others. First of all, how wondrous is that blog name? I've read Ashley's blog for as long as I can remember. She is raw, honest and tells the stories of life at home with her 6 kids. (God bless her.) I always try to leave Ashley funny comments because she deserves them. If you don't like potty language (literally!), don't visit. If you are awesome and love the gut-busting side of motherhood, grab a diet coke and run to her site.

Sarah @ The Momisodes- Sarah is my twin blogger. She loves her coffee and her episodes of Friends. She sets her snooze at nine minute intervals and takes full advantage of using them. That right there demands my respect. She has differing opinions on certain topics and isn't afraid to talk about them. She is simply wonderful. 

Thanks for thinking of me, Cassandra!

There isn't enough space to talk about all of the spectacular blogs/bloggers out there. I'm going to do what I can to share others with you in the future.

Is it Easter yet?

Happy Thursday, friends.




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