Friday, July 30, 2010

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Almost four months later and this post still cracks me up. A prime example of think before you insert your foot in your mouth.

When people ask me about my kids I stop for a moment and wonder. Do they mean my kids, his kids, do they mean our kids? Depending on who they are and how well I know them, my answer will differ. I have two, my husband has two, that makes four. We don’t have any together, wait, yes we do, we have FOUR children.

I met my step daughter Augie Dawgs when she was 12 and her father introduced me to her as his girlfriend. Awkward for anyone, even more difficult for a prepubescent 12 year old girl who’s world was rocked by her parents’ divorce and rocked yet again by this intruder that now had her daddy’s attention and part of his heart. I watched enough TV and read enough self help books to know that it was important not to try to be a mother to her and her 9 year old brother.

We made cookies that day and I looked at Augie Dawgs and said to her, “I’m not your mother, I won’t try to be your mother, but I would like to be your friend.” We’re 15 years apart she and I. I’m technically just barely old enough to be her mother, my own kids were 4 and 2 at the time. I knew nothing about parenting a teenager, I was a teenager myself not that long ago. But I could definitely be her friend, we listened to the same music, wore the same style clothes, like a lot of the same TV shows. We would eventually become friends.

Augie Dawgs and I have been through a lot together these past 20 some years. I went from being her dad’s girlfriend to being her step mom. I was there when she bought her first home and I helped her decorate.

She got a puppy.

She met a guy.

She got pregnant. She came to me to ask about getting her tubes tied right after the baby was born. Like any good friend, I told her to wait and think about it long and hard. She might like being a mom so much that she’d like another baby someday. She waited.

She had another baby.

Now she knows she’s done and we’ve talked more about permanent birth control. I suggested to her that it might be much easier for Durwood to get snipped. Shorter recovery time, more simple procedure. The wheels are in motion and Durwood’s procedure is scheduled.

The other day we were talking about it and she mentioned something about a scar. Well sometimes I forget that in addition to being her friend, I am actually her step mother, the woman married to her father. Before even thinking about the words about to flow from my lips, I said to her, “oh don’t worry, you can’t even see the scar.”

** crickets**

It was then, during that uncomfortable silence, that I realized not only did I just divulge to my step daughter that a) her father had had a vasectomy, but also b) that my face was close enough to his nether region to determine that there was no visible scar.

There was no going back, I had just given her wayyy too much information about our intimate life. The poor girl was pale and I was beet red, because the only thing more embarrassing than knowing your parents are still sexually active is learning that your children are. I just hope that she’s not damaged for life and that we can still be friends, that is, if I can ever look her in the face again.

This was an original post to the now defunct Chicago Moms Blog on April 6, 2010. Although my time there was short, I loved it and have no regrets whatsoever. Thank you everyone at SV Moms Group, you are beyond classy.
Pin It

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

You Capture - Play

I haven't participated in You Capture for a bit. I just haven't been able to keep with every-blogging-thing around the internet. We've been playing a lot here on The Avenue. It's what we do best. It's what summers are for.

Last summer I invested $6 or $7 in a Slip and Slide that we used twice, maybe three times. Best. money. I. spent. TOF and his friends had a blast! This year I saw one for $5! We've used it once so far, and it was worth every penny.

Run. Slide. Get good and tired. Nap. Ahhh life is good.

And poor TC was stuck inside during all the fun. Next year baby, next year.

Go check out how everyone else played this week and then head outside
and enjoy the warm summer sun.

Pin It

I've Got a Secret

Everyone knows that secrets are more fun when you share them.

So come here, really close, because you have to whisper secrets. Really quietly. In your ear. And then giggle. A lot. Like we're 4.


I love love love giveaways! I love hosting them. I love entering them. And the bestest part...WINNING!

Take my word people, you can win stuff on the internet. I have. Lots of stuff. Cool stuff. I won a Wii and Wii Fit, lots of gift cards, tickets.

To make entering these contests easier I want to share a new search engine with you, that is devoted entirely to giveaways! Giveaway Scout scans thousands of blogs to bring you the latest blog giveaways, sweepstakes and contests. They update hourly to bring you all the most current offers. AND it's entirely free!

If you're hosting a giveaway on your own blog you can add it to the list at Giveaway Scout to increase entries. Your sponsors eat that stuff up.

Now hurry, go check out Giveaway Scout and spread the secret.
Pin It

Monday, July 26, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

I'm suffering from a serious baseball hangover. Me and night games just don't get along so well anymore. I know, poor grammar, deal with it. I'm tired. Too tired to have any regard for the and I rule right now.

Whynot and I (better?) had the pleasure of attending TWO Cubs games this weekend. Cubs won one and lost one. The game they lost was a night game that went extra innings, although we left at 10 pm when they were still tied, so we didn't actually see them lose. Hehe, that's my story.

Ohhhh, cool thing happened while we were waiting for the game to begin yesterday. We were approached by an employee sporting Ambassador emblazoned on his shirt. I got all excited, thinking they were going to pick us for the Best Seats in the House promotion or at the very least, offer us one of those big pretzels that comes in a pizza box

Yeah, no such luck. The gentleman only wanted to ask us a few questions. To help the Ricketts better understand the fans wants and needs is what I think he said. Oh what the heck, we weren't going anywhere, so I obliged. But when I was all done, I realized that all of the questions were 'on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most likely to' and most of the questions had to do with advertising to boost attendance. HELLO. Cubs' attendance is steady whether they win or lose and being nine games out of first place isn't having a negative effect on attendance. After thinking for a moment, what I really wanted to say was something like this:

Dear Mr. Survey Taker and/or Ricketts Family,

The fans will come to Wrigley regardless of how and where the Cubs' marketing department places ads. What this spouse of a season ticket holder would like to see are some incentives once I'm at the park. The offer of 25% off of concessions one hour prior to game time is a good start. How about giving families a break by offering that discount all day on certain game days? Perhaps you could extend that discount to all season ticket holders to use at any time. One hour before game time? Seriously! Have you tried getting out of the house with two kids in tow, not to mention having to deal with traffic when coming from the burbs? The cheapest tickets at Wrigley....well they ain't cheap. Add up the cost of four tickets, transportation, parking, food, a few souvenirs and you have an amount close to what I spend on groceries for an entire month.

It's no surprise that in my opinion, more strategic marketing solutions have to do with food. The current giveaways, eh, just so so. But add a discount coupon to the trinket you're handing me and you've got me! Hand me a Pepsi cup that I can refill all day for a dollar or two. Yeah, now we're talking. Free fries with my hot dog, cool! T-shirts, always cool. Some of the other stuff, not really.

The event recently held for season ticket holders, was tremendously appreciated. My husband was in baseball heaven. He and my 4 year old grandson were able to romp on sacred ground and touch the historic ivy. Hats off to the Ricketts family! Way to reach out to the fans. I truly hope this a tradition that continues annually. You have no idea the impact it had on this family and many others I'm sure. Thank you.

You've got my name, my number, even my email that wouldn't all fit on the screen but I'm hoping someone can decipher that. Call me, we can talk more...over lunch of course ;)

And in conclusion, please don't go all Willis Group on us die-hard fans. It will ALWAYS be Wrigley Field in our minds and hearts.

Best regards,
Pin It

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Date Night

Of all the things I love about blogging I think my most favorite are the adventures that I'm able to take part in that otherwise would probably not be available to me. TOF often accompanies me on these adventures and experiences, but unfortunately his bedtime interfered this time.

Thursday night, as a thank you for being a member of MyBlogSpark network, Whynot and I had the pleasure of heading into the big city to attend a special dinner at Ben Pao. Over cocktails, Sapporo beer for him and a Chinese Itch martini for me, (OK two, but who's counting) Whynot asked me if I remembered the last time we ventured downtown for dinner. Some quick calculations, his mom lived on Marine Drive about 11 years ago, and I guesstimated that it had to be at least 12 years. I know right, we are quite the adventuresome couple.

The exclusive dining experience included a special four-course dinner. For starters we had Hot and Sour Soup, followed by a yummy appetizer platter consisting of chicken lettuce wraps, golden crisp vegetable spring rolls, crab Rangoon, chicken potstickers and an assortment of complementary sauces. The entrees were served family style from eight delicious choices. Whynot chose a Sweet and Spicy Shrimp dish, I selected the Sweet and Sour Chicken and of course we sampled each others dishes. The shrimp had a ginger sauce with just a smidge of hot kick to it and the chicken was crisp in a traditional sweet and sour sauce with a combination of veggies and pineapple. They were both very tasty, served with tender and fluffy white rice.

For dessert we were treated to lemon-ginger cheesecake on an almond cookie crust and chocolate spring rolls with a peanut sauce. Both were heavenly and I'm on a search for that cheesecake recipe later today. Almond cookie crust, who would have thought!

And just when we couldn't possibly eat another bite, two fortune cookies to complete our experience. I don't know about you, but for me, the fortune cookies are the best part of eating at a Chinese restaurant. You read the fortune out loud, add in bed to the end and everyone has a good laugh.

Let me share my fortune with you...

In bed.

Who's laughing now?

We'd been punk'd and Ben Pao was a part of the switch! We were served a frozen dinner and both of us were pleasantly surprised. Our entree was so good that I just had to share it with you here. Wanchai Ferry has a delicious meal kit available in eight varieties, that's ready in just 14 minutes. Complete with perfect rice! Look for it in your grocer's freezer and click that link for a money saving coupon.

Don't be surprised if sometime, somewhere, someplace when you least expect it, someone steps up to you and says, smile! You just ate a Wanchai Ferry frozen dinner.

Disclaimer: Whynot and I were provided with the dinner, a gift card, and product information through MyBlogSpark. Special thanks to Ben Pao for being a part this delightful prank .

Pin It

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Bloggy Mojo Has Lost It's Get Up and Gojo

Ahhh the sultry dog days of summer.


Scratch that, try sweltering, yes the sweltering dog days of summer.

It's hot, I'm lazy. Not to be confused with the lazy that comes with the arctic winter blast that numbs me to the inner core. Nope, this is definitely a different kind of lazy. She says as she looks around at the cobwebs to the left.

As with everything, I am doing the ProBlogger Challenge at my own pace. Day 1 and 2, still floating around somewhere in the gray matter.

But Day 3 of 31 Days to a Better Blog....this one I can actually do on Day 3.

Day 3: Promote a Blog Post

1) Where do you promote blog posts other than on Twitter or Facebook?

I used to use Entrecard, but then I heard that there was a lot of spam and viruses as a result, so I stopped and my traffic plummeted :( I've signed up for Blog Frog and I don't have an opinion on that as of yet. I noticed a new feature here at Blogger, that adds the Stumble Upon, Digg, Twitter and Facebook links to the bottom of your post, I have no idea how to use them, but maybe someone reading does. I don't promote on Facebook. It's an odd world this internet, I'm perfectly fine sharing my blog with complete strangers, but sharing with people I know IRL gives me hives.

2) What sites/forums have worked best in driving traffic to your site?

I'm still not very good at generating traffic to my blog. I just don't have enough time and I'm lazy. I have found that if I join a linky party post and do some good old fashioned blog hopping my traffic increases. I guess I just have to be more diligent and find me some mojo. I'm hoping to learn more effective ways through this challenge.

Now I'm off to clean a garage for our big sale tomorrow and Friday. Stay cool everyone!
Pin It

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

She Did What?

True story, because, honestly, I could not make this stuff up!

In my absentmindedness I just showered with shampoo! Luckily it was body envy and not the rapid hair growth formula. How does one top off a shower with shampoo? Moisturize with Nair? Note to self: TAKE NAIR OUT OF THE SHOWER....NOW!

I was very carefully checking labels after that. Face lotion, body lotion, mousse. Checking and double checking to make sure I've grabbed the right container. Toothpaste. Wait, read that one again, there's lots of stuff in the bathroom that comes in similar tubes. Neosporin, hydrocortisone, Preparation H. I definitely don't want a mouth full of itch cream.

I think I need to post a how to list in the shower. And at the very tippy top it should read PUT YOUR CONTACTS IN SO YOU CAN SEE!

I'm so not a morning person!

So much to do today. Just did a mass following on Twitter. I'm going to attempt the SITS ProBlogger Challenge. 31 days to a better blog, only I'm already a day behind. I so would have been one of those people that drank the kool aid just because someone said it was a good idea. So I've installed the Blog Frog widget, not sure if I should have the one that shows my visitors, which is empty right now BTW, or the community one. Any thoughts? Kool aid? Sure I'll have some.

Back to the challenge.....yesterday Day 1, was to write an elevator challenge. All the good ones are taken! Anything goes here on The Avenue. Clearly as my first step, I need to become more focused! I'm working on it.
Pin It

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Keepin' Company Thursdays

Welcome to Keepin' Company Thursdays, co-hosted by Terra and Traci66.


Every Thursday, Traci66 and Terra host "Keepin' Company Thursdays" where you can link up your blog and find new blogs to follow. By doing this, you will hopefully gain new followers and find interesting blogs to read.

Currently I'm looking to follow anyone with a virtual pool and a few Cabana boys, but some hot coffee or cold lemonade will be fine too. Can we say hotter den hell! 5:20 this morning, I was still half asleep when I opened the patio door to let Bella out and it felt like someone forgot to turn the oven off outside! At 5:20 people! What is 10 am going to bring?

Thanks for stopping by and keepin' me company, as long as you're already here please take a look around. Directly below you can vote for a friend's Pepsi Refresh Project.

Chicago area readers comment here for tickets to the Baby & Toddler Expo.

Everyone can comment here for a chance to win a BusyBodyBook planner.

And for all of you wondering, this is where I met Terra.

Have a great Thursday everyone!
Pin It

Monday, July 12, 2010

Chicago Baby & Toddler Expo

Bebe Paluzza, the nation's largest producer of baby fairs and events, is about to welcome it's latest bundle of joy with the new Chicago Baby & Toddler Expo.

Location: Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center

Dates: Saturday, July 31, 2010 from 10:00am-5:00pm
Sunday, August 1, 2010 from 11:00am to 4:00pm

Admission: General- $10.00
Grandparents- Half Price
Children 5 and under are Free

The Expo will be packed with the latest products and services from more than 125 exhibitors, as well as contests and competitions, seminars, and live music. Parents can leave the kids with an on-site, licensed babysitter while they escape to separate lounges for a bit of reprieve: manicures and spa treatments for moms and big screen TVs and video games for dads. In addition, the first 50 moms at the show each day will receive a coveted swag bag with more than $500 in prizes, products, and goodies.

Augie Dawgs and I are heading over on Sunday morning. Would you like to go? I have four tickets to giveaway, 2 sets of 2, two winners. Please leave me a comment and I'll pick the winners on Friday July 16th.

Disclaimer: I was sent six tickets for the Chicago Baby & Toddler Expo in exchange for this post. I received no other compensation.
Pin It

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dear 17 Year Old Me,

Inspired by Weasel Momma and the fact that tonight is my 30 year hs reunion, Hail Good Counsel High! I've thrown together a few thoughts that my younger self may have appreciated hearing back then.

Dear 17 Year Old Me,

Let's just get right to the point, because over the next thirty years you will not mince words. That will not always be a good thing, but eh, a spade is a spade. MJC is not your soul mate, he will make your life a living hell, although you won't see it for many years. Please, for the love of God, give him back the opal pre-engagement ring he gave you for graduation and run! The opal will in time crack which is a definite sign of things to come. What you don't know now is that abuse comes in many forms. He is abusive, it will be ugly. But I must be completely honest with you, you will survive and in the end you will come out a stronger and better person and those two kids you will have are pretty amazing.

Stay in school! Get loans, beg, borrow, steal if you must. OK stealing's a bit extreme. Do whatever it takes to finish your degree. Screw accounting, you have way too much personality to count beans the rest of your life. You are a care-giver by nature, there I said it, because none of the hs counselors ever did. Major in Early Education, there will be an unbelievable need for quality daycare in the future or try nursing. Wait, have you ever considered Journalism or Communications, maybe Marketing? Do it now!

Your mother will never change. Oh you'll think you have a better relationship for a while, but she will always be the same. Your father on the other hand will try to move Heaven and earth for you. Spend more time with him, he's gone way too soon and things will never be the same.

Spread your wings, expand your horizon, there's a great big world out there. Travel, give back to the community. There is an amazing satisfaction in helping those less fortunate than you. Trust me, someone always has it worse than you do.

Count your blessings, be thankful for them, they can be gone in the blink of an eye.

Life is not a competition. Bury the green eyed monster and truly be happy for your friends, they've earned it, they deserve it. And if they're tossing it in your face all nanny nanny boo boo style, they are not your friends. Dump their sorry asses and move on.

Don't be too proud or ashamed to ask for help.

Embrace your crazy hair! A round brush, some great product and a decent blow dryer will work miracles.

Find that Best Dressed Award you won senior year and put it in your senior yearbook now! No one will ever believe you in the future without solid proof.

Watch what you eat! Now you're young. You're beautiful. But right around 30 your metabolism will take a shit. Starve yourself if you must, because you ain't gonna like the package you're in at 47.

In the end, you'll do as you please, you always do. There will be some regrets. There will always be the what ifs. You're probably freaking out at all that I've dumped in your lap right now. Just know that whatever you do, we're happy now. It's taken a while, but seriously we're happy. And that is what matters most.

Love you!
An Older, Wiser Me
Pin It

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cheerios-Do What You Love Contest

What do you love to do? Bike rides in the park? Scrapbooking? Travel? No matter what you love to do, you´ll need a healthy heart to do it, and Cheerios® can help.

As part of a heart healthy diet, eating Cheerios cereal, which is made with 100 percent whole grain oats, is an easy way to help maintain a healthy heart. And now cheerios is giving you the chance of a lifetime!

Cheerios is partnering with country music superstar Martina McBride and professional athlete Cal Ripken, Jr. for the "Do What You Love" Contest. McBride and Ripken will recognize two lucky people with prizes that will make their hearts race.

One music lover (and a guest) will tour the Country Music Hall of Fame
® and Museum with McBride, hang out with her in her recording studio - the world famous Blackbird Studio in Nashville, Tenn. - and even get VIP tickets to one of her upcoming concerts.

Another lucky baseball enthusiast (and a guest) will have the chance to hang out and play catch with Ripken and to tour the Ripken Youth Baseball Academy in Aberdeen, Md., with the "Iron Man" of baseball himself. In addition, the winner will throw out the first pitch at the Cal Ripken World Series and sit in Ripken´s reserved seats at a Baltimore baseball game.

Now through July 23, 2010, you can submit your 150-250 word original story and photo, showcasing what you love to do. For a chance to win the experience of a lifetime with McBride and Ripken, visit today.

But there's more great news. T
hrough MyBlogSpark, Cheerios has provided me with a "Do What You Love" prize pack that includes one box of Cheerios and a $25 American Express® Gift Card, which can be used for doing whatever it is you love to do.

To enter:

Leave me a comment telling me what it is you love to do that gets your heart pumping and makes you happy.

To increase your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following.
Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry or your bonus entries will not count!
Remember to leave one comment per entry and an email so I can contact you in the event that you are the winner.

  • Follow my blog publicly through Google Friend Connect.
  • Tweet about this giveaway.
  • Subscribe to my blog in your reader.
  • Enter this giveaway into giveaway linky on another blog or website. Then leave me the link to where you posted it in the comments.

This contest ends on Tuesday July 13th and the winner will be notified by email.

Disclaimer: I was provided a box of Cheerios and an AMEX $25 gift certificate as well as an identical prize package by MyBlogSpark. I did not receive any other compensation for my post.
Pin It

Thursday, July 8, 2010

BusyBodyBook Giveaway

Back in high school I never owned the highly coveted sleek grayish brown planner, only available at a specialty shop three bus transfers from my home and at a price I was too cheap to pay. Yes, even back then I was frugal. Instead my BFF and I purchased our planners from the drug store I was employed at, utilizing my very generous employee discount. Mine was pink with Holly Hobby emblazoned on the cover. I set trends then too LOL.

Starting in Middle School, my kids were provided a school issued planner and I thought to myself, hrmpph, now why didn't the elite private school I attended do the same thing? At the very least they could have offered the prized planner for sale in the tiny book/supply store run by Sister Lucretia, the French teacher who spent more time persuading me after school to continue with my French lessons than acknowledging me in class.

Whew, I know, I know, by now 80% of you are mumbling, what is your point Megryansmom?

Well my point today is to introduce you to BusyBodyBook. This is no ordinary planner! Who can't use a little more organization in their lives? Enters BusyBodyBook, the tool every busy mom needs to plan, coordinate and easily view her dizzying life of multiple and overlapping schedules. This versatile planner has 5 columns that can be personalized for individual family members, meal planning, work projects or my favorite, blog projects!

BusyBodyBook Personal & Family Grid Organizer features:
  • a planning calendar for birthdays and other special events
  • full page month-at-a-glance
  • perforated shopping list pages
  • important contacts pages
  • inside pocket covers
  • a bookmark, that doubles as a ruler
  • laminated covers
  • protective clear plastic front and back covers
Still not convinced this is the choice for you? BusyBodyBook also offers a a 7 column 17 month wall calendar for when it's best to keep the entire family's schedule on the kitchen wall. I love this calendar! Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a calendar with BIG squares to fit all your activities and appointment in? Keep your puppy/scenery/cute kids pictures, I need BIG squares.

Now, for a limited time only, you can enter to win a BusyBodyBook product of your choice.

To enter:

Visit the BusyBodyBook website and tell me which planner you would choose.

To increase your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following.
Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry or your bonus entries will not count!
Remember to leave one comment per entry and an email so I can contact you in the event that you are the winner.

Follow me on Twitter.
Tweet about this giveaway.
Subscribe to my blog in your reader.
Enter this giveaway into another giveaway linky on another blog or website. Then leave me the link to where you posted it in the comments.
Follow founder Joan Goldner on Twitter.

This giveaway ends on Monday July 19th and the winner will be notified by email.

Disclaimer: I was sent a BusyBodyBook organizer to review and
one to giveaway. I was not compensated in any other way for my post.

Pin It

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Augie Dawgs!

Yesterday we celebrated Augie Dawgs 33 birthday! Ahhh, how I wish one of us had bigger dining room sets. When we all get together there's a shortage of chairs and someone ends up sitting on the sofa in the living room or cajoling TOF to sit on a lap. If you've ever seen him eat cake you would understand why I always secretly hope it's not my lap.

Augie Dawgs is currently recovering from back surgery for a herniated disk. Ouch, just the thought makes me queasy. During her recovery she's not able to lift more than about ten pounds, which means lifting TC is definitely out of the question. He's been spending lots of time at Mema and Pa's house, while his brother, who is a big help to his mommy pretends he's an only child. Fortunately TC sleeps 12 hours a night and I often forget he's here.

Since Durwood was home to help out, I thought it might be nice for her to have an extended visit with her baby on her birthday. So we swapped kids for the day and Pa and I took TOF to see Marmaduke at the cheap show. After the movie we headed back to her house for CAAAAKE. She's a chocolate and butter cream cake lover and I am not. But since it was her birthday I sucked it up and bought her favorite. Imagine my delight when I saw that Durwood had picked up some carrot cake cupcakes for me! Big points for you Durwood! Even TC enjoyed his first smash cake.

I then had the pleasure of bathing that sweet, sticky mess before bringing him back home with us where he peacefully fell asleep at 7:52 p.m. and was not heard from until 8:15 the next morning. The boy can sleep!

This blog post was sponsored by CSN Stores, with over 200 online stores where you can find everything from cookware to cribs to specific needs such as dining room sets and dog beds! As as a CSN Preferred Blogger I was given a $60 gift certificate to use on any of their websites. Stay tuned to see what I choose.
Pin It

Copyright 2011 Look It's Megryansmom | Designed by: NW Designs