Monday, February 28, 2011


Dear Gracy,

You absolutely must stop scaling the doggy fence and escaping into the big yard.  I know the squirrels taunt you, but you're not that much bigger than they are and if they enlist in the help of their dear friend the hawk you will be gone forever.

Dear Bella,

You absolutely must do a better job watching your sister.  This would be the perfect opportunity to use that annoying bark to get my attention so I can let both of you back inside.

Dear TC,

Please explain to me the fascination of pulling an entire container of wipes apart one by one!

Dear TOF,

When you asked me Friday night if I could make a 5 shirt for you for your birthday party on Saturday I said I would try my best.  Sat morning after Pa and I ran to the bank we made a quick trip to Hobby Lobby to buy a t-shirt and some fabric.  Your party was at 1, we got back home at 11:30.  We still had to shower.  I made it a quick one and while Pa showered and shaved I was working like Gus and Jacques.  Cutting, ironing and stitching your 5 shirt.  I was just a little sad that after all of that you refused to wear it.  Five needs to be more cooperative and aware of other peoples' feelings.

 Dear February,

You've been a real mother with your wintry ways. I'm glad to see you leave, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Dear Readers,

You may have noticed that I last posted ten days ago.  I've been having a rough time.  The gray days and the never ending snow aren't helping.  But like The Little Engine That Could I kept trudging along.  Hoping that things would get better.  When you mix perimenopause with PMS and SAD you get someone who is cranky, irritable, and exhausted all the time.  I put on a happy face but I wasn't there.  It's not the way I wanted to be, especially not around the boys all day.  So I'm trying new meds and I wish I could say they work just like a light switch, but unfortunately they don't.  And the side effects, yeah they suck too.  Except for the one where food doesn't taste so good and I'm not really hungry.  I like that one!  Hopefully it won't be too much longer before I feel normal and get my mojo back.
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Final Four Days of Four

Today was TOF's last day at preschool as a 4 yr old.  In FOUR days he will no longer be four.

When he came home from school I told him that when Whynot came home from work I needed them to run a very important errand for me.  What follows is our conversation.

TOF, I need you to go to Walgreen's with Pa to pick up my medicine.

I don't want to go, Pa can do it by himself.

Please TOF, if Pa goes alone he will buy all the wrong stuff.  I need you to go with him to be his helper.

Make a list Mema and Pa will read the list and buy what you need.

TOF it would be easier if you went with him.

About a half hour later Whynot is still not home and as I'm standing in the front window looking for him I happen to say, "Come on Pa hurry up, where are you?"

The little voice behind me replies, "He probably stopped at Walgreens and is buying all the wrong stuff."
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Curious George - New Episodes!

Celebrate President's Day with three brand new adventures featuring everyone's favorite monkey, Curious George! Starting Monday, February 21 and continuing through Wednesday February 23, CURIOUS GEORGE is back with new episodes featuring George imagining a world where everything is monkey-sized, building a soapbox derby racer, making a George-O-Matic dessert vending machine, and meeting some ewe-tiful sheep.

Monday kicks off with Downhill Racer. When George hears about the annual soapbox derby, he enlists Allie to help him make the coolest car a monkey can. Will their car made out of wagon wheels, a kayak, and brakes from a buggy race past the finish line or are they on a crash course? Next in Book Monkey, George loves books and helping others, so volunteering to help the librarian is a no-brainer! But when she is called away, George may have volunteered for a bigger job than he expected.

On Tuesday, in Monkey Size Me, George fantasizes about a life where everything is monkey-sized...where he could drive a monkey-sized car, order a monkey-sized cake, and even wear a monkey-sized yellow hat! Then in Metal Detective, George loses his favorite robot at the beach. Can a monkey rescue a robot using a homemade metal detector?

Rounding out the new episodes on Wednesday, George is entranced by the museum's newest addition: a vending machine full of levers, wheels, springs, and healthy snacks! So when George is put in charge of making the dessert for an important dinner party, he can think of nothing better than creating his own dessert dispensing vending machine -- the George-O-Matic. Then in Curious George, Sheep Herder, George buys a cool new scarf at the Country Fair, but with one tug on a loose strand of wool, the entire scarf unravels! While searching for sheep that will give him some wool for another scarf, will George's baaaaaad day turn even worse?

Tune into these all-new monkey adventures beginning President's Day on PBS KIDS check local listings!
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Taking Responsibility

Mom blames cop, not boyfriend, for son’s death - Herald News

Please go read that and then come back here and make some sort of comment.  I'll wait, I have a few hours.  I just need someone to help me make some sense out of it.

It has my blood boiling!

A five year old boy is dead because the adults in the situation made poor choices.

Maybe the officer should have arrested Cecil Conner as well, maybe he should have removed the child from the vehicle and turned him over to DCFS.  Maybe Cecil Conner should have manned up and said, "Dude, I'm drunk, I can't drive."  Maybe Kathie LaFond should have protested a bit more and insisted that someone besides Conner take her child home.  Maybe she shouldn't have had her five year old out at 2:35am while she played taxi driver to her drunk boyfriend.

Maybe I'm just a little too emotionally attached to the scenario.  TOF is almost five and alcoholism and DUI's are all too familiar to me.


The one thing I am sure of is that adults need to grow up and take responsibility for their actions.  A domino effect of poor choices led to the death of Michael Langford and now no one wants to say, "It's my fault."
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Saturday, February 12, 2011

He Puts the Monster in MonsterJam-A Review

I know, I know!  You're not supposed to compare children, but TC, he is not his brother.  The child does not sit still.  Ever.  He's a poster child for active boys.  We took him to the circus.  As a result he was not invited to the ice show.  We ran into a little problem with Monster Jam, we all wanted to go, meaning there was no one to leave TC at home with.  Gracy and Bella are wonderful pups and all, but it's just too difficult to change diapers without opposable thumbs.  We had to bring the monster little love muffin with us. 

Durwood bought the boys some head phone type ear protectors and they had been practicing wearing them at home.  We settled into our seats and TOF obediently put his head gear on.  TC, um yeah, not so cooperative and he wanted to move around.  He started out on his mother's lap and moved to Whynot's lap where he jiggled to the floor and I gagged a little.  Durwood scooped him up and tried again with the ear phones.  Success!  The show was just about to begin so we whipped out the fruit snacks and the binkie.  Oh shush, I don't want to hear it.  We do whatever we have to, to keep the child quiet.  If he's 14 and still wants a binkie, so be it, at least he's quiet.

And lo and behold, the heavens opened and the angels sang and the child sat, quietly.  Mesmerized by the action in the arena.  Every time I looked over he was awestruck and clapping at the big trucks as they smashed cars in their path.

At barely seventeen months old, I'm pretty sure TC was the youngest fan there.  He has found his niche and is well on his way to becoming a gearhead.

The moral of this won't know until you try and try you must.  We all had a very enjoyable time and Whynot has already asked me if we'll be invited to go again next year.

Big boy sitting next to his Pa.

Pay no attention to that binkie, TC is a big boy too!

Grave Digger had a little trouble at the start.

Look! It's Ira, our beer vendor from Wrigley Field.

Holy flying Batman car!

If you're in the Chicago area you can still see all the Monster Jam action at the Allstate Arena tomorrow, Sunday February 13th at 2 and 7:30.  Kid's tickets are only $10.  To save 33% on adult tickets use the promo code MOM at, the Allstate Arena box office, or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

Disclaimer: My family received complimentary tickets to attend Monster Jam. 
I received no monetary compensation and the opinions are my own.
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Friday, February 11, 2011

Birthday Presents

TOF has a birthday coming up.  We've been talking about his birthday and a party, with cake and of course presents.  When I asked him what he might like for a gift  he answered a swing set without any hesitation.  The boy thinks big!

We already have Fort Mema Pa in our backyard and I'd love to add something with a climbing wall and some monkey bars. 

Maybe something like this.

It's a kid's dream come true.  There's swings and a glider.  A cool wavy slide, a climbing wall.  Check out the little bench in front, perfect for a little snack or for pretend play.  We'd be the envy of all the neighbors on The Avenue.

Disclaimer:  As a CSN Preferred Blogger, I received a gift certificate in exchange for my post.
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

More on Cabin Fever

 I have two giveaways going on right now, HERE and HERE.

Before bed I take some mystery meat out of the freezer and place it in the fridge to thaw.

The next morning when grabbing the cream for my first cup of coffee, I see the meat and remember that I need to use it to make something that will resemble dinner later that evening.  I scan the fridge to see what else might accompany this mystery meat and spy some celery and carrots.  Perfect.  Above mentioned meat will now be called pot roast.  In the crock pot.

Several hours go by and now I’m making breakfast for the boys.  There’s the meat again, still in the fridge.  I pour their little glasses of milk, dish out some oatmeal and fresh berries, from the fridge, where the meat is still stored.

You can read the rest of this post over at The Chicago Moms.  Please stop by and leave me some comment love to help restore my sanity.
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Yoplait Kids Prize Pack Giveaway

Are you looking for a nutritious kids snack that doesn’t sacrifice on taste?

Yoplait Kids has an excellent source of both calcium and vitamin D, a good source of protein and the delicious taste kids demand. It also contains 25% less sugar than the leading kids’ yogurt, and has no high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. Yoplait Kids yogurt is a snack you can feel confident about serving to your kids!

With tasty flavor options including Strawberry, Strawberry Banana and Vanilla, and protein to help build strong bones, Yoplait Kids yogurt is sure to be popular with parents and kids alike. Kids will love finding their favorite friends, like Dora the Explorer, Lightning McQueen from the hit movie “Cars” and the Disney Princesses, on every cup.

The Giveaway:

You will receive a coupon* for any variety of the Yoplait Kids yogurt products, along with a Yoplait Kids prize pack. Perfect for accompanying this fun everyday snack, the Yoplait Kids prize pack includes a foldable travel cooler (to take your yogurt on-the-go), a cool four-piece spoon set, a power magnet picture frame, trendy alphabet-shaped “Kiddie Bands”, a great big bounce ball and a “My First Scavenger Hunt” card game for some after-snack fun.

To Enter:

Leave a comment telling me about an easy and healthy snack you offer your own kids or grandkids.  Please also leave your email address so that I have a way to contact you if you should win.

Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry and follow all the rules or your entries will not count!

To increase your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following.  Remember to leave one comment per entry.

  • Follow me on Twitter and leave your username.
  • Tweet about this giveaway and please include the hashtag "#myblogspark"

This giveaway ends on Friday, February 18th and the winner will be notified by email.
Be sure to visit Yoplait on Facebook to “Like” the brand and “Follow” Yoplait on Twitter to keep up with the latest news from Yoplait.

Click here to print a coupon for $0.50 off the purchase of one (1) four-pack of Yoplait Kids yogurt today!

Disclaimer: Yoplait provided me with the free product, information,
and giveaway through MyBlogSpark;
no other compensation was received.

*The coupon offer for a free four pack of Yoplait Kids yogurt is not valid in some states, including California, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota and Tennessee.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cinnamon Burst Cheerios Gift Pack Giveaway

Cheerios has introduced new Cinnamon Burst Cheerios cereal.

Made with real cinnamon, new Cinnamon Burst Cheerios cereal will delight your taste buds!  This newest edition to the Cheerios line-up allows you to provide your family with a delicious and nutritious breakfast that contains 20% of the Daily Value of fiber, has 9g of sugar, is low in fat, saturated fat free and naturally cholesterol free.  A true crowd pleaser, Cinnamon Burst Cheerios cereal is sure to kick-start any morning!

Looking to add a burst of flavor to your breakfast routine? I'm giving away a Cinnamon Burst Cheerios cereal gift pack that includes a box of Cinnamon Burst Cheerios cereal for you to try, a family 4-pack of cereal bowls, a travel cereal chiller and a cinnamon scented candle.

To enter to win:

I'm making it easy peasy this time...just leave a comment.  That's it, just any old comment.  Please also leave your email address so that I have a way to contact you if you should win.

Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry and follow all the rules or your entries will not count!

To increase your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following.  Remember to leave one comment per entry.

  • Follow me on Twitter and leave your username.
  • Tweet about this giveaway and please include the hashtag "#myblogspark"

This giveaway ends on Wednesday, February 16th and the winner will be notified by email.

Disclaimer:  I received a gift pack for my personal use and one for the giveaway from Cheerios through MyBlogSpark. No other compensation was received.
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Monday, February 7, 2011

Chicago Area Blogger Mini Summit-Take One

I love my bloggy pals and it's always such a special treat when I meet up with them IRL.  Saturday afternoon I had that pleasure.  It was the absolute best medicine for my cabin fever especially after Snowmageddon.  As I drove to meet my friends, I realized that I hadn't been outside my subdivision since the previous Sunday.  The sun was shining brightly and my smile was a mile wide as I anticipated spending the afternoon with the lovely people that normally live inside my computer. I'd like to introduce you to these super fun and witty bloggers. Please check out their sites and if you're local consider joining us the next time.

Top left is Barb of World of Weasels, that's me to Barb's right (or my mother.  GAH, I can't get over how much more I'm starting to look like her!)  Below Barb is Farrah of Baby Love Slings.  In the center is Tracey from Just Another Mommy Blog.  Next to her is Jen, from The Martha Project  who joked about being the only non-blogger in attendance.  Bottom left is Melisa (with one s) of Suburban Scrawl.  Next to Melisa is Sabrina from Sabby in Suburbia.  Bottom right is Amy from Parent Sphere.  And sadly, not pictured is Lou, our token male blogger of LouCeeL.  Who I totally ripped off that collage from. sort of sat at the bottom of my purse the whole time.
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Thursday, February 3, 2011


To all of you that prayed for snow, thank you, but seriously you should have stopped way before it got this bad.  The expression less is more, and everything in moderation should always apply when dealing with snowfall.

I was prepared.  I bought extra milk and groceries.  Planned for a nice big pot of comfort chili that Whynot and I could graze on should we be stuck at home during a serious storm.  I even insisted that Durwood take a look at our trusty Toro snow thrower and make sure it would start.  Surely that would insure that we'd only get a light dusting of snow. 

All day Tuesday I taunted Mother Nature on Facebook.  Does Mother Nature do Facebook?  It's possible she read my status updates and was very pissed off, because she sure as H-E double hockey sticks unleashed her wrath on the Chicago area.

Flurries started outside my window here on The Avenue at about 11 AM and I was still an unbeliever.  By 1 PM, Augie Dawgs had left work early and was on her way home.  By 1:24 PM, closings and cancellations were popping up on the local news radio station's website, including two Bingo halls.  Shortly after nicknames for the monster storm were popping up on Twitter.  The best one I'd heard so far was Hype-ageddon.  I was still convinced we wouldn't get nearly as much snow as they were forecasting.

By 6 PM all my loved ones were accounted for and safely home, it could snow 18 feet for all I cared.  The wind was howling, but still no impressive snowfall.  Aye yi yi yi yi, I need to learn to be careful what I wish for because now Mother Nature turned all crazy psycho.  Snow, sleet, 40 MPH winds, thunder, lightening.  I couldn't even see the neighbor's house across the street.

By 5 AM, Wednesday morning, so much snow had fallen that there was only a narrow path outside my kitchen slider that hadn't been covered with a ridiculous amount of snow.  Just wide enough for Bella and Gracy to take care of business and it was still coming down.  The front yard looked like a scene straight out of Dr Zhivago, complete with snow cascades hanging down from the eaves and high drifts that prevented opening the front door.  The drifts in the back yard were over three feet high in places and the first storm casualty was recorded here on The Avenue, my grill cover had succumbed to the high winds.  I hold out a glimmer of hope that in July, when all this snow melts we'll find it somewhere in the yard.

At 10 AM, Whynot and I joined the neighbors in a clean up attempt.  Thanks to two snow throwers, several adults with shovels and kids passing out hot chocolate, our work was quick and almost enjoyable.  Being the inquisitive type that I am, I then walked through the drifts on our unplowed streets to get to the main road to check things out.  It was a ghost town!  All the businesses in the strip mall were closed, the lot was plowed and one lone man was shoveling the walkways.  The main street appeared to be plowed and maybe 3 cars went by, no one was leaving or entering our subdivision.  It was eerie.

The snow plows didn't reach our subdivision until 7PM and then Whynot and I had to go out to break up the mountain it left behind in front of our driveway.

Today is a new day.  The sun is shining, it's a bitterly cold -8 degrees outside, another snow day for the kiddos but back to work for the adults.  Looks like we survived Snowmageddon '11. 
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I Double Dog Dare Ya!

My bloggy friend Melisa from Suburban Scrawl is a real, live author. She recently headed up to the Windy City to have her picture taken in front of Chicago landmarks for the back cover of her soon to be published second book, which coincidentally is about Chicago.

She posts all about her adventure in the big city here and here.

In that second post, Melisa mentions that her last solo photo shoot was at Glamour Shots.  For those of you not familiar, Glamour Shots is a portrait studio that offers a professional makeover and photography session.  Although no longer in the Chicago area, they popped up in area malls in the early 90's and were a fun place to go for a little pampering and red carpet treatment.

In keeping with the old school theme in yesterday's post, I'm sharing my Glamour Shots photo with all of you and I double dog dare ya, Melisa, to post yours too!  I had just turned 30 and was a newly divorced mommy to a 5 and 7 year old.  Look how smooth my neck is, there's no waddle.  Go easy on my big hair please.  Actually, I don't think it was that big, and I loved how it was all bouncy.  I'd take it back, along with my high school body or even my 1992 body, IN. A. HEARTBEAT.


To my local bloggy pals:  Tracey from Just Another Mommy Blog suggested that we all hang out on Saturday February 5th.  I'll be there, not sure who else.  If you're local and want to grab some coffee, a quick lunch and great conversation, leave me a comment for the deets, and be sure to leave your email so I can get back to you.
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