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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Can we be friends?

Thanks to Kristi at Not Quite What I Had Planned for posting the link to my ABCs of Thanksgiving and welcome to the 4th Frog Blog all of you Kristi fans who popped over for a peek. We had a mutually beneficial agreement -- Kristi posted my link giving me some more traffic and giving herself an opportunity to be lazy :)

You can either scroll down past The Few, The Brave, The Shoppers to read my Thanksiging entry (and my 100th post!) or you can click this link and go straight to it.

Whether you're new to the 4th Frog or not, if you like what you read here, feel free to subscribe to either by entering your e-mail address or clicking the "Subscribe in a reader" button, both to the right. If you enter your e-mail, new Frog updates will be sent to your e-mail inbox. If you subscribe in a reader, new updates will be sent to a location of your choosing -- like your Google homepage. You can also click the Follow this Blog button and follow me in your Blogger dashboard.

However you choose to come back, I hope to see you here again!

Friday, November 28, 2008

The few, the brave, the shoppers

I'm not sure when I started shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, but I'm pretty sure it was before the day was called "Black Friday." I've gone several times with my mom and a few times on my own. Sometimes I go because the deals just can't be beat. More often than not, I go because I can't stand the thought of missing out on the adrenaline rush that comes with the day.

Last year, Annie and I started a tradition of joining the madness with my friend Beth and her daughter Olivia, who is a year older than Annie. Unlike last year when we hit Kohl's at 4am, yesterday we got a later start, arriving at Target at about 5:55am.

Target - before

Even arriving that close to the doors opening, we were still about 30th or so in line. Not too bad. I think it helped that we were at the grocery entrance, not the electronics entrance of Target. When the doors opened, people moved quickly but politely into the store.

Beth and I each had our lists and separated once we got thru the doors with plans to find each other again at the checkout. She and Olivia headed to electronics while Annie and I snaked our way back to the toys. I have to say that Target did a great job of having the toy section well staffed. Red-shirted employees in good moods (of course the store had only been open for 45 seconds) stood at the end of nearly every toy aisle, giving directions as to where to find certain items.

Annie and I grabbed two of what I came for (no peeking in this blog!), then added a couple of other "oh, yeah, that is a good deal" items. From there we headed over to electronics where masses of humanity were gathered. Our first find was Olivia, who had been separated from her mom.


Warning the girls to stay close, I made my way to the entrance of one electronics aisle, grabbed one DS game for $11 and then dashed back to stationery to come up for air and call Beth to let her know that Olivia was with us.

It was at about this point that the girls realized we really weren't shopping for them. So either because they were bummed and no longer interested or because they wanted to give us space so we could shop for them, Annie and Olivia headed to the snack bar while Beth and I shopped on.

A few minutes later we checked out, grabbed the girls and were ready to roll. In and out of Target in 30 minutes and for less than $100. That's better than I do on a regular trip to Target.

Because it wasn't 7am yet and neither of us really had a need or desire to go to Kohl's, we headed to Cracker Barrel for breakfast.

CB checkers

Of course, Cracker Barrel is not for breakfast only. There is plenty of shopping to be done there as well. I picked up a Santa on a green scooter Christmas ornament for my friend Chris who tooled around town on her own green scooter this summer and a cool vintage print Christmas shirt for me. It sounds ugly, but it's not. It even passed the Annie test. Seriously, stop by Cracker Barrel sometime and check out the merchandise.

Over breakfast we discussed malt vinegar on pancakes (don't try it), ghosts and Girl Scouts. Fueled by a good hot meal, we moved on to an independent kids book and toy store owned by a friend of ours. Though it was only 7:40am by this time, she was had several people in line each buying a stack of presents at 30% off.


The great thing about little independent shops is that very often, they gift wrap. Cynthia's husband Steve was taking a break from his day job of saving lives to play gift wrapping elf (sans the cute hat and funny shoes).


From there we hit Michael's (I got $60 worth of picture frames for $15!), Bed Bath and Beyond (where I spent $30 I hadn't planned on spending) and Old Navy.

The lines in Old Navy were some of the busiest we'd seen all day, but we were entertained by clever marketing:

ON sign 2 ON sign 1

and free mints:

ON mints

Once we were done at Old Navy, I had pretty much covered everything on my list. But the girls were insistent that we were not going to call it quits until at least noon. So we pushed ahead to JCPenney.

On the way there, Beth mentioned something about the contemplated raising of the driving age. I brought up the discussion going on here about lowering the drinking age. All of which led Olivia to ask, "Did you drink before you were 21, Mom?" Cue the awkward silence. I'm glad she didn't ask me -- because I would have hated to make Beth look bad when I said "no." Not that I would have been telling the truth, but sometimes motherhood calls for little white lies.

When we got to Penney's, I was surprised at how busy they were. It was about 10:45am and I figured the crowds would be dying down. But it was worth the stop. I got 2 pairs of pants, a blouse, a turtleneck and two sweaters for just over $100. And we got to meet the young lady who we dubbed "nicest cashier of the day:"

JCP best checker

I wish I would have asked her name so I could write to Penney's and tell them how cheerful she was. Whoever you are happy cashier lady, we think you rock!

Our final two stops were Kohl's, where the savings on interesting $5 and $10 items didn't warrant standing in their outrageously long lines (this one reached back all the way to the kids' department)


and Best Buy, where despite all the begging and pleading from Annie and Olivia, we did NOT buy a video camera or a rectangular orange iPod. Having walked out of two stores empty handed and having crossed off almost everything that I planned to buy, we decided to call it a day.

All in all, it was a success. I only spent about $30 that I would deem unnecessary; checked a bunch of stuff off my list; and got to spend 6 hours with Annie, Beth and Olivia. Nearly everyone we came into contact with was polite and good-natured. All of which means that next Black Friday, we'll be out there again.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

ABCs of Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving Day. Time for the requisite "what I'm thankful for" post. I hope after you have finished reading it, you'll leave a comment of at least one thing you are thankful for.

Amy's ABCs of Thanksgiving

A - An easy start. Annie -- she is bright and funny, helpful and caring and is turning out to be a great kid despite being our first experiment in parenting.

B - Bathtub. When I can navigate around the dinosaurs and sharks, it's a place that offers a few moments of blessed solitude.

C - Charlie, the bringer of much blog fodder. I'm enamored of his competitive drive and his inquisitiveness.

D - Donuts. I know that sounds like a shallow thing, but donuts bring me joy. Specifically, chocolate frosted long-johns with white fluff in middle. Those bring me lots of joy! And, of course Diet Coke.

E - Ellipis... Totally nerdy, I know, but I love those three little dots that let a thought linger...

F - Family. I know there are a lot of messed up families in this world. And I'm thankful that mine is not one of them. Not just our little family of 5, but my immediate family and Mike's. Mostly we're all pretty normal.

G - Grandparents. So, they are included in family, but worth a special mention of their own. I am 38 years old and still have 3 grandparents living. My NaNa has only been gone for a little over a year. Mike's grandmother, Buck, is 89 and very dear to me as well.

H - My huzzzband. That's my pet name for Mike. And I am his wyfe. For all the eye rolling and sigh heaving he elicits from me, I love him. And his geeky technical prowess.

I - Ice cream. Truthfully, if I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be ice cream. Baskin Robbins chocolate peanut butter. Or Maggie Moos dark chocolate and cinnamoo mixed with almonds.

J - I am thankful for my job. After freelancing for many years, I re-joined the workforce 3 years ago. It was the best re-entry I could have hoped for. I have a great job, a terrific boss and wonderful co-workers.

K - Kindness. We live in a world that is busy with work and family obligations. It is easy to find myself wrapped up in things all about me. And so I appreciate it when people take the time to be kind -- holding open a door, making a phone call to say "I'm thinking about you," paying someone a compliment.

L - Love. Schmaltzy-sounding, I know. But I am so grateful that I wake each day knowing that I am loved. And that I have the capacity to give love as well. There are many in our world who don't know love.

M - Motherhood. Even though from time to time I don't want to get off the couch, I am thankful for the blessing of being a mother.

N - Nexium, that little purple pill that will allow me to eat Thanksgiving dinner without heartburn that leaves me panting like a woman in labor.

O - Olive loaf. That baloney-like deli meat studded with green olives. I don't eat it often, but when I do, it takes me back to my childhood.

P - Pigskin, as in football. I really love watching football, especially when its the Indianapolis Colts. And its an activity that our whole family can enjoy.

Q - Questions. I'm thankful for those questions that my kids bring that make me think about the world in a new way.

R - Robbie. Our sweet little cupcake baked by the devil. I always thought those people who treated their youngest like a baby were a little warped. But now I just want to wrap him up and keep him little forever.

S - Small church group, four families who give each other space to be fun and faithful. Once a month we get together to eat, talk a little God, and eat some more.

T - Technology. Even though I don't really know as much as some people think I do, I'm grateful for the technology of e-mail and blogging and online Scrabble and DVRs.

U - Underwear. Not a lot of choices for "u." But seriously, I am grateful for that which keeps me from chafing and uncomfortable wedgies.

V - Vows, as in wedding. We celebrated the 15th anniversary of ours last month. The road has been a bit winding, but -- in good times and in bad -- our vows have kept us on it.

W - Wordless Wednesday. My favorite contribution is "Darkness Follows."

X - Xtreme faith. I'm a faithful person, but not entirely diligent. I am lifted up by those in my life who have what I consider extreme faith, not in the sense that they have extreme views or try to push their beliefs on others. But they have consistent faith that is embedded in who they are and how they live their lives.

Y - Yellow. I love the color yellow. I'm thankful for its bright and cheery glow -- even if sometimes it's a bit too bright.

Z - Zoos. I love them and so does Robbie. When we go on vacation, if there is a zoo, I have to go. I don't know why. I'm not in general a lover of animals -- at least not domestic ones. But seeing wild animals close up is very intriguing to me. Even better when there is some human interaction.

So there you have it. My ABCs of Thanksgiving -- AND -- my 100th blog entry!

If you're new to the 4th Frog, click some of the links above to visit some of my earlier entries. If you've been a Frog follower for a while, click away and re-read some old favorites. If you have a favorite entry that I didn't reference above, please leave a comment and let me know.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One daughter is enough for me

Sometimes I feel a little bit sad for Annie that she doesn't have a sister. My two sisters mean so much to me. But selfishly, I am glad that I only have one daughter.

One daughter's worth of drama.
One daughter's worth of fashion crises.
One daughter's worth of puberty.

About two years ago, I handed Annie the book The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls. I told her to read it and then she and I could discuss it. A week or so later, I came to her room and suggested we talk about the book.

"Let's start here -- taking care of your hair and skin," I suggested.

"Well, ok," Annie said. "But I really want to know when I'm gonna need those pad things."

"Let's just start with washing your face," I practically pleaded.

We eventually got to the chapter that interested Annie. There was a diagram of the female reproductive system.

"Oh, I know what that is!" Annie said.

But she didn't have it quite right, so I gave her the 411 and began to explain the various parts of the system.

"These are the ovaries where the eggs are made," I explained.

"Eggs? I thought mammals didn't lay eggs," she asked. Ooh boy. How do I answer that? I was trying to get the point across about periods without having to go further.

I stumbled my way through that one. Then we went on to read about how the uterus prepares a nest for a potential baby.

"A nest?! First eggs and now a nest? What am I -- a bird?"

By this point, I was trying to keep a straight face. We continued to read on. The book gave a very veiled description of a menstrual period. I wanted to make sure Annie understood what a period is. Her response to my questions told me she didn't. So I tried to carefully explain what to expect.

Annie's eyes got round as quarters.

"You mean," she said incredulously, "that I am gonna have red gumballs comin' out of my hoohaa?"

To which I couldn't answer anything because I was laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my face.

But all that preparation was worth it. When she actually "entered her womanhood" recently, she handled it with much more grace and knowledge than I did when it happened to me.

She and I went to Target to pick up some necessary supplies and some chocolate brownie mix to celebrate her new "status." Then on the way home, we swung through the Wendy's drive-thru. I ordered chili for me and a kid's hamburger meal for Annie, which drew some criticism from my only daughter.

"Um Mom," she said just after I ordered for her. "I'm wearing a maxi pad; I think I've outgrown kid's meals."

Thank you, God, for my daughter and for making sure that the next two entrance-into-puberty rituals will be Mike's to handle.

Note: I asked Annie's permission before I wrote this and read it to her for her approval. Her only request was that if you are the mother of a 6th grade boy, please don't say anything to your son.

Wordless Wednesday: Depends on your definition of "active"

Active Lifestyles

Just in time for all that Thanksgiving Day football watching. The chair for "active lifestyles," as in actively enjoying couch potato mode (or chair potato, as it may be). Check out more Wordless Wednesday fun.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Continuous Biggest Loser blogging

Biggest Loser logo

Tonight, instead of waiting until the end of The Biggest Loser to blog about the episode, I decided to blog continuously through the show.

Does anyone notice how the Biggest Loser spin doctors tried to shine up Vicky's image tonight? The woman who said it wasn't worth getting to see a video of her kids is suddenly charged up to win a challenge that doesn't benefit her, but will result in a donation of $10,000 to the school of her choice. After the challenge, she said something like "I don't feel like I won. I feel like we all won." Excuse me while I upchuck my fat free Jello pudding.

I'm generally a non-violent type of person, but I really was hoping during the football challenge that someone would just say "forget it" and lay Vicky flat on her rear in a Bob Sanders-style tackle. So what if tackling wasn't part of the game?!

Yum...stuffing without butter. Just what I want to eat on Thanksgiving. But ok, I could totally could eat that apple raspberry crumble. Here's the recipe from the BL site.

Charlie is now trying to calculate how much money Mike and I would make in the football challenge and which Colts jerseys we would each get. He thinks Mike would get a Dwight Freeney jersey and either Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai or Dominick Rhodes for me.

Biting my tongue about Vicky...I wonder how many calories persistent tongue biting burns?

Ok. Annie and I like Heba's glasses. There -- I said something nice.

"Happy Thanksgiving -- even though it's probably April, but we're pretending for the sake of reality TV."

Go black team!

I usually like Bob. But that arrogant head nod "we'll see what happens" at the prospect of an all blue team final makes me want to throw a medicine ball at him. Look at me, again with the violence...C'mon Bob. It's not about the teams. It's about the individuals and their health. Note to self, cross Bob's workout video off my Christmas wish list. Boy, I've come a long way from the beginning of the season.

Ow Ed! I'm sorry that your frilly panties are in a bunch.

The weigh in. I can feel my heartbeat quickening and my palms are getting tingly. How sad is that?

  • Amy C. -- down 5.
  • Heba -- minus 7. Doesn't feel like a "big Bessie" anymore. Even if I don't like her, kudos on the 70 pound loss.
  • Ed -- I hate that dramatic commercial break! -- lost 9. I called it.
  • Vicky -- could someone trip her on the way to the scale? -- down 7. Shoot!
Michelle and Renee left. Now my stomach is doing flip flops. I really need to get a life. Renee has to pull a 7 or higher. Can she do it?

She did! Sigh of relief! 8 pounds for Renee. I'm thinking about doing a happy dance and I would. Except Amy is below the yellow line. Let's see how loyal Vicky is now. On to Michelle...

More than 5 for Michelle? Based on last week's preview, I'm not so sure. Maybe she could cut her hair before she weighs. Commercial.

"I bet it's a sad or happy part," says Charlie. Thanks for that amazing insight, son! I think I'm having chest pains. I can't look.

Oh me of little faith! This is better than double scoop day at Friendly's!

Michelle lost 10 pounds! I'm breathing again.

I hope Michelle and Renee take the opportunity to send Heba packing. But will Vicky double-cross her? Pretty please with non-fat whipped cream and a cherry in its own juice on top?

Charlie's adrenaline over this episode has him running pass patterns in the family room like he does during Colts' games. He is driving me nuts.

Will Vicky be focused on the money enough that she wants to stop any chance that Heba and Ed have to take both the first and second prizes?

It could easily be a tie. Black team vs. blue team. Things don't look good for Amy. Ooh! Wait. Maybe if Heba goes home, Ed will quit and go with her.

Hmmm...seems Vicky's loyalty might be wavering. But Michelle's is not. Go 'Chelle!

One vote for Heba.
Two votes for Heba.

It's gonna come down to Vicky. Will Heba finally see her true colors? You know Amy is sweatin' it now.

Fast-forward thru the commercial.

So much for burying the hatchet. I'm sorry to see Amy go, but as I said last week, she made her bed. Oh, I want to smack that smirk right off Vicky's mouth. Grrrr! Why do I let her get under my skin like that?

NYC for a whirlwind makeover? You can put fancy clothes on rat, but it's still a rat. Just sayin...

OK, I'll end on a nice note. Amy looks amazing. Size 8 looks great on you girl!

I am not a control freak, except when I am.

Control Freak

I like to think of myself as a pretty laid back, go with the flow type gal. I don't have rigid routines. I am perfectly happy to change plans at the last minute to accommodate someone else. But there is something about Christmas that brings out the control freak in me.

By the first of November, I have my spreadsheet going of who we need to buy for, how much we plan to spend and what we're going to buy. Now, if I had a husband who couldn't give two whips about Christmas, this would be an ideal arrangement. But Mike is quite adamant about getting to be part of choosing the gifts, at least for our three kids.

So, for the past several years I have generously assigned him one gift to purchase for each child. Let me tell you, handing over that responsibility is hard.

What if he doesn't pick the right thing? (Never mind that his selections are often the favorites. I think it has something to do with the fact he is a big kid himself.)

What if he spends too much?

What if he doesn't get a gift that goes with that child's "theme?" -- I try to give gifts along a theme each year. Last year was Robbie's pirate theme. All of his gifts -- except the one Mike picked out -- coordinated with that theme. If that seems weird to you, blame my Aunt Connie. That's where I got the idea.

What makes me even crazier is that Mike is very tight-lipped about his choices. I think he does that because he knows it makes me nuts to not have a clue about what might end up under the tree. I don't dare make suggestions because that's a surefire way to get him to steer in the opposite direction.

My sphere of gift influence is, however, usually extended to Mike's mom and dad and his grandmother. I make suggestions of what I think the kids would like or need. They agree, ask me to pick up the gifts and send me a check to cover the cost. It's been a very coordinated, controlled gift giving dance.

Until this year when Mike's dad has gotten more involved in the gift giving. I sent the list of ideas for the kids and expected to hear, "Great! Go get it and we'll give you the money when we see you at Thanksgiving." Except that's not what I heard. What I heard was "Ok. We'll think about what we want to do this year."

Aaaaack! How can I highlight the "GoGo and Poppo" column on my spreadsheet with the yellow marking of "finished" if I don't do the buying of the gifts, let alone know what those gifts might be?!

Now, let me assure you, I KNOW that it's perfectly acceptable and normal for grandparents to say "thanks for the ideas" and decide on their own how to proceed. I know it's a good thing that a father wants to be involved in his children's lives, including picking out gifts to give them.

It's just that the CCF in me -- that's the Christmas Control Freak -- doesn't know how to handle this.

So I'm trying to take a few deep breaths; remind myself that it's not even December yet; and -- as Mike keeps telling me -- most normal people haven't even begun to think about Christmas shopping.

And if all that doesn't help, I just take heart in the fact that come January I'll be back to my normal, non-controlling self.

Monday, November 24, 2008

More than his share

When Mike & I got married, we were told that marriage is not a 50-50 proposition. That in successful marriages, the ratio is 100-100 -- each giving his or her all to the relationship. Well, I have a confession to make. I'm only firing at about 70% these days and Mike has been picking up my slack.

Now, I'm not gonna make this a long entry because I don't want it to come back and bite me in the "hinder," as my Wisconsin-bred boss says. But, seeing as Mike is in the basement right now scanning a picture for me when he really wants to be sitting in his chair watching a movie, I felt compelled to give him a little bit of public props. (When he finds out the ad he is scanning for me is just for a blog entry, I might owe him a bit more than a nod of the frog blog.)

In addition to being the 4th Frog tech support team, he has also done a few other things for which I am tremendously grateful. Things like finding my camera:


And putting gas in my car because he knows I hate to do it. And chaperoning the 6th grade overnight camping trip, for which I would have to be seriously medicated. And re-arranging the dining room furniture just because I asked him to (though I would have kept nagging him to do it, so that might have been a little self-serving on his part).

So in this season of gratitude, honey, I wanted to say "Thanks. I really appreciate all you do for me."

Now, can you get me a Diet Coke?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Language that makes you blush

One thing I've noticed in my wanderings about the blogosphere is the number of bloggers who seem to have no trouble using, um, "colorful" language in their blog posts. We're talking the B word, the D word, the F word, the S word and often compound variations of the above.

I just can't do it. Maybe it's because my mother sometimes reads my blog. Maybe it's because members of my church read it. Maybe it's because I know Annie sometimes takes a peek. For whatever reason, I cannot, will not cuss in my blog (though some of the Biggest Loser entries have led me pretty close!).

What's funny about this is that in real life, when I'm talking to co-workers or Mike or the @#&%$ who cuts me off in traffic, I don't have any trouble using that kind of language. I'd like to say that I'm restrained in front of the kids, but truth be told, they've heard me say a few choice words on more than one occasion. If it weren't for motion sickness, I could fit in with the swarthiest of sailors.

But what my mouth will say, my fingers refuse to type. Until the evil Vicky on the Biggest Loser pushes them over the edge.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Who do you think you are?

Somewhere in the recent history of my life, I was listening to someone talking about how we perceive others and how we might be prone to judge others, thinking "who do they think they are?!"

I'd really like to be more specific about where I was, who was speaking and exactly what they said. But gosh doggit, I truly can't remember. I've spent two days now wracking my brain, trying to figure out where I was. I think it might have been at church. Gosh, I'm not even 40 yet and my memory is slipping...

Anyway, the phrase "who do you think you are" has been rolling around in my head lately. Who do I think I am? Usually what comes up is "wife, mommy, blogger." Sometimes "part-time communications manager" shows itself, with the part-time being very deliberate because it somehow makes the fact that I'm a working mother o.k. (at least to me).

"Friend" doesn't often appear, though I do think I am a good friend. (Right friends who are reading this? Right?!) "Daughter" is another one that is true but rare in my response to the question.

But who I think I am is really pretty boring compared to who Robbie thinks he is. Robbie's self-chosen identities change frequently.

Last week, when he got undressed to take a bath I saw that he had drawn all over his belly and his legs with marker.

"Robbie, why did you do that?" I asked.

"Because I am HeatBlast" -- an alien from Ben10, his current favorite show. Heat Blast

A few days later, he was wearing a black cape, jumping off the couch and the ottoman. Of course, I was not surprised when he called out, "Look, I am Batman!"

But I have come to find out that even Robbie's soon to be six-year-old mind has its limitations about who he thinks he is:

"Mom, I wish I was a pterodactyl," he recently told me matter of factly. "But I'm not. I'm just a kid."

The Yoga Quiz

Sharon over at The Bird's Nest got me to visit because I wanted to take The Outfit Test. Let me tell you, that site is either psychich or twisted because when I tried to take The Outfit Test, the quiz said "Pick the dress below that appeals to you most," which was followed by eight circles and nothing else. So either blogthings knows that I don't wear dresses or it wants to see me naked.

Unable to take the quiz I wanted to, I chose to take "What Yoga Pose are You?" Figuring that taking the quiz might confer on me some of the health benefits of actually doing yoga, I settled in my chair, legs folded like a pretzel, to take the quiz.

I wonder if blogthings is hiring quiz writers because I found their answer selections to be quite limited. The quiz is below, with my additional answers written in red.

What Yoga Pose Are You?

  1. How brave are you?
    * I'm scared of the noise made when plastic utensils scrape against styrofoam plates.
  2. How flexible are you?
    * Are we talking in mind or body? If it's in mind, I'm about a 7. Body? Well, does it say much when I tell you I pulled a muscle yawning the other day.
  3. How balanced is your life
    * Extremely balanced -- I'm underperforming in every area.
  4. Are you more open hearted or strong minded?
    * Is this a veiled political question?
  5. Do you tend to focus on substance or style?
    * That depends, are we talking milkshakes or men?
  6. Would you rather be able to fly or have super strength?
    * I believe I have already identified my superhero ability.
But, since write-ins were not an option, I completed the yoga quiz with the answers that were available and here's what I found out:

Bow pose

You are an open hearted person. You seek connections and make them easily. You are naturally generous - especially with your love and your time. You have a knack for thinking up interesting ideas. You are an inventor and a creator. You approach everything in life with a relaxed attitude. You accept what you can't change.

Actually, I think that's pretty accurate. Maybe the blogthings quiz writers know what they are doing after all.

So, what yoga pose are you?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lightbulb moment...

Have you ever had a moment when something so simple suddenly became incredibly clear and you wondered how it was that the truth had never dawned on you before? That happened to me tonight.

I was at a "girls' night out" dinner. About a dozen of us gathered at Bravo to visit with Jennifer -- the better half of WillBill -- a friend who had recently moved to Florida and was in town on a business trip. When you have that many people around a table, it's hard to converse with everyone. So as the main course was wrapping up and people were finishing their drinks, I excused myself from the foot of the table to the head so I could chat with the ladies at that end as well. (I didn't want to deny them my wit and charm!)

The conversation drifted to television shows. John & Kate + 8, The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Dancing with the Stars. None of which I ever watch, except John & Kate, though I can only stomach that one episode at a time.

"The only reality show I really watch is The Biggest Loser," I announced, ready for my dinner mates to join me in lamenting what a big mistake Amy C. made last night and what a royal PITA Vicky is.

Only there were no head nods, no "oh my gosh, can you believe its." A few blank stares and then Lori said, "Well, I don't watch the Biggest Loser. But I love to read about it on your blog." (Nice save, Lori!)

To which the other women at that end of the table concurred. They are not BL watchers either.

I couldn't believe my ears! What was this blasphemy I was hearing?! And then, looking around, I realized. All of these non-BL watchers are skinny.

Lightbulb moment: Skinny chicks do not watch The Biggest Loser!

I understand it. When I was in the throws of babymaking and childbirthing, I couldn't wait for the new episodes of A Baby Story. Now, I'd rather watch Ace of Cakes or Grey's Anatomy, or The Biggest Loser.

Why? Because I can relate. Ok, except that I can't make a fabulous cake that looks exactly like the Brooklyn Bridge or a rainbow trout -- though I can imagine the thought. And my sleepless nights are not caused by marathon operations that require my surgical skill and focus -- but I do understand how constant fatigue wears on a person. People watch what they know.

So, I've decided that if I want to be part of the conversation, I have to do something about it. Before the next girls' night out I have to make an effort to watch some of these other shows so I can talk about them intelligently -- or I just need to find some fat friends.

Wordless Wednesday: Food Fun



Chocolate face

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You have GOT to be kidding me!

BL upside down

Warning: Biggest Loser spoiler!
That's all I can say! Are you freakin' kidding me? Amy C. had the perfect opportunity to vote Vicky out of the house and she kept her?! All this "duty to the blue team" garbage will be out the window next week when Vicky, Ed and Heba won't bat an eye as they kick Amy C. to the curb if she falls below the yellow line.

And judging by the previews from next week, that's a real possibility. Thanks to the magic of the DVR, I slowed the previews and paused it on the weight board to see the line up as this:

Amy C.



Which leaves only Michelle to weigh in. And the likelihood of Michelle posting good numbers is pretty darn high. Which could leave Amy C. and Renee on the chopping block. And who will have Amy's back then? Oh the drama...

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blogging...

Cheap thrill


Being that it is only 36 days, 16 hours and 40-some minutes until Christmas, we are in the middle of what I can only (poorly) describe as "catalog heaven."

I run to the mailbox daily, hoping to reach in and pull out a pile of colorful, slick-paged, disposable books, each offering hundreds of items I don't need and likely won't buy, but also each offering 10 to 15 minutes of escape.

The pile of catalogs moves from the mailbox to the kitchen counter where I sort through them, tossing the ones that offer only clothing (I could care less -- which is probably quite evident in my wardrobe.) Of the ones that remain, on a rare occasion I might look at one or two right way, standing at the counter.

But more often than not, I stack them up and wait until I can settle into the comfy red chair in the family room, the leather ottoman under my feet. With a Diet Coke at my side, I take a deep breath and open the first one. This is the ultimate in couch potato window shopping.

I go through each catalog once at first, assigning them into piles of "toss" and "look at again." The REALLY good ones -- Hearthsong, Shaker Workshops, Metropolitan Museum of Art -- I might thumb through three or four times. The others in the "look at again" pile might get one more go-thru.

This totally flies in the face of the professional organizers' mantra "touch everything only once." Which might explain a lot about the current state of my home (anyone want to nominate me for Oprah's latest organizational intervention?).

But in the category of cheap thrills, my love affair with catalogs ranks high.

* I think about who in my life would like what product on the page -- Mike would love the $200 Lego Death Star from the Lego catalog. Not that he's going to get it.

* I envision being able to open the Hammacher Schlemmer book and order the $3,000 authentic Pac-Man arcade game.

* I dive into the FAO Schwarz catalog, forwarded annually by Mike's grandmother who feeds my catalog obsession by saving me all the cool ones she gets, and wonder who would spend $400 on the ZinoTek Foam Building Set, even if they could afford it.

* I make note of the titles of interesting books and check to see if I can get them cheaper at

* I take extra time with those catalogs that only arrive at this time of year -- What on Earth (totally cool and has nothing to do with being green!), MetKids, In the Company of Dogs (we don't even have a dog, but I love this one) -- and equally enjoy the old favorites -- Garnet Hill, Catholic Child, Current and Abbey Press.

It's my little ritual that I do once or twice a week from mid-October 'til Christmas. And then, on December 26th, the flood of catalogs in my mailbox slows to a trickle. I don't really miss it. I know that come the next October it will be back again and I'll be ready.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Word to the Wide 2.0

If you live with someone of the same gender, memorize the size printed on the inside of your underwear so you don't attempt to put on someone else's underwear -- which will be too tight in all the wrong places and will roll down your gut faster than a fat girl runs at the sound of someone yelling "free donuts!" Seriously, it is not that the two varieties of underwear are anywhere near the same size. It's more that I am completely delusional about the true size of my rear end.

Click for more words to the wide or for more underwear commentary.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Revolt against the (Burger) King

So I'm sitting here this morning watching the Disney Channel with Robbie when a Burger King commercial comes on promoting their next BK Kid's toy campaign: The Simpsons. The Simpsons? The Simpsons!

BK + Homer Simpson = Angry mom

Now I don't have much against The Simpsons in the right context. I even though The Simpsons Movie was entertaining. But this is NOT a show or a brand that is appropriate for children.

The television show is rated TV-14 and the movie is PG-13. (You want details, click here or here.) So what genius over at Burger King decided putting Simpsons toys in kids' meals was a great idea?

I can just see it now, kids sitting at BK with their fries, quoting the movie..."What a bountiful pen..."

What makes this even more perplexing is the amount of time, energy and likely money that BK has spent promoting its commitment to children's healthy lifestyles. So what better role model than an obese dude whose dietary staples consist of donuts and beer and whose idea of physical activity is excercising his thumb over the TV remote.

If Simpsons toys in kids meals leave you irritated, outraged or befuddled, give BK an earful at:

Burger King Corporation
5505 Blue Lagoon Drive
Miami, Florida 33126

Or call BK Consumer Relations at 305-378-3535 Monday - Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

I plan to tell them that "having it my way" means keeping kids meals for kids. And until that happens neither I, nor my family, will be having it at all.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Little white lies of motherhood

One of the privileges that comes with motherhood is immunity from punishment for the little white lies we tell our children for their own good -- or for our own sanity.

White lies like "Don't cross your eyes like that; they'll freeze that way." Or "Honey, no one is going to notice that (unspoken: HUGE) zit on your nose." Or "No, I don't know where your 3-foot stuffed yellow chick is," which is technically not a lie because I have no way of knowing what happened to it after I dropped it off at the Goodwill store.

This morning, Charlie's class was leading the all-school Mass. He had a short petition to read, so I wanted to make sure that he didn't arrive at the podium looking like he'd just rolled out of bed. I wet his hair down and combed it into a squeaky clean schoolboy style, parted on the side.

"Mom, don't do that!" Charlie protested. "I like it all brushed forward."

"But this is the new style," I insisted. "This is how Nick Jonas wears his hair."

"Mom, Nick Jonas has curly hair."

Now, why I didn't just admit I was wrong and let it go, I'm not sure. I think it had something to do with not wanting to be the mom who lets her kid go to church looking like a ragamuffin.

"You haven't seen his new hairstyle?" I asked with mock surprise. "They straightened his hair and combed it to the side. This is totally hip."

And voila! He didn't argue with me anymore. And I only felt slightly guilty when I overheard him telling his friend Kevin about Nick Jonas' new look.

Shaved Jonas Bro

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What I know for sure

When you get an e-mail from your child's teacher and the only thing in the subject line is the child's name followed by an exclamation point, good news will not be found inside.

Craving Christmas

Craving Christmas

Although it is only November 13, I am craving Christmas.

It's not about the shopping. I actually feel slightly less obsessed with the shopping this year than I have in the past. My list is more simple and many of the gifts on it have already been purchased (or found in my "gift closet" where I put bargains I've picked up throughout the year).

I find myself searching the radio stations looking for the one that usually plays 100 days of Christmas music. Unsuccessful, I'll have to pull out the Christmas CDs and have Mike copy them to my iPod.

Colorful, cheerful gift wrap calls to me from the aisles of the stores and I remember that as a little girl I thought being the gift wrapper at Rike's would be the best job ever.

Holiday bazaars are happening, though I haven't made it to any yet. I don't even need anything, but I just love walking through the booths of handmade American Girl outfits, hand-painted Christmas ornaments, homemade soaps and candles.

Much to Stacy and Clinton's chagrin (anyone watch "What Not to Wear?"), I'm ready to pull out my Christmas sweaters and costume jewelry.

I scan the local events listings for Christmas concerts and pageants that will remind us of the true meaning of the season and wait for the flyer to come home from our church about the children's Christmas Choir.

I bought my Christmas cards the other day. Not the fanciest ones -- in fact the inside is printed with grayish ink -- but I thought the artwork on the front was beautiful. I'm contemplating whether or not to include a photo. Of course it would be of the kids only because I'm not putting my Santa-esque figure in any photo to be sent out to 100 or so of my closest friends and relatives.

Then there is the "to Christmas letter or not to Christmas letter" question. I'm leaning toward yes, simply because I plan to slip in my blog URL in an effort to garner a few more Frog Followers.

I don't mean to belittle the significance of Thanksgiving, a warm and cozy holiday itself. But that's not where my desires lie at the moment.

I don't know if it's the contrast of the cold weather against the warmth of spirit, if it's the soft glow of color coming from a Christmas tree lighting a dark room, if it's the joy of watching someone open a gift that brings them their own joy. Whatever it is, I am definitely craving Christmas.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I know it was just here...

If I were to choose one word to describe my life right now, it would be "lost." Not in a wandering, soul-searching way (ok, maybe a little bit of that), but in a literal way.

This is a list of items that are currently lost:
  1. My glasses
  2. My new contact lenses
  3. Camera
  4. Note cards and directions for Charlie's timeline project
  5. The receipt for a Christmas gift I bought and now want to return.
I've sent up numerous prayers to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things, to no avail. I think Tony is sending me a message -- "Get your act together, lady!"

I know the glasses and boxes of contact lenses are here somewhere. I remember seeing them in the kitchen on that black hole which is known as the "junk counter," which is conveniently located above the "junk drawer." Although my junk drawer is just a facade since the front came off the drawer about three years ago, at which time I removed the drawer and used duct tape to tape the drawer front back in place. Guess it's true, that duct tape can fix anything!

But now I've lost the direction of this post. So, recalculating...

I'm limping along with some old contact lenses and a pair of mangled glasses I've had for about five years. It's a great look, really. I'd post a picture of me wearing them, but wait...that's right, I've lost the camera, too. We had it at Halloween and maybe even later. But now it's disappeared into thin air. That's a must-find object, especially before the holidays.

Really, I know everything has to be somewhere in this house. Yet, I've been through drawers, cabinets, and laundry baskets that double as filing systems with no luck.

And let me tell you that if some of these things don't show up soon, the next thing that will be lost will be my mind.

This just in...

Biggest Loser logo

I missed The Biggest Loser tonight; I fell asleep while laying down with Robbie. (Apparently he doesn't mind my snoring.) When I came downstairs to watch it on the DVR, I realized that for some reason it didn't tape. I was not happy.

But my irritation was short-lived because a quick check of the iVillage BL Blog revealed that Brady of the evil trio (Vicki, Brady, Heba) was voted off tonight! All hail to Amy C. who had the cajones to send him packing!

So please, raise your Twinkies and toast with me the beginning of the end of the evil empire! Maybe nice guys won't finish last after all.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Every night at bedtime, after stories have been read and prayers have been said, my boys ask the same question:

"Will you lay down with me?"

Almost always I lay down with Robbie because he won't fall asleep unless I am there. Bad habit, I know. But I must confess that I love snuggling up next to him -- me on the pillow and him with his head directly on the mattress because using a pillow "makes me have bad dreams, Mom."

Generally, he's asleep within a few minutes, and often I am too. It's that little power nap that fuels my night owl tendencies.

On the nights that I don't actually fall asleep with Robbie, I go downstairs to shoo Charlie up to bed next. Often when Charlie asks me if I will lay down with him, I decline citing work to catch up on or dishes and laundry to do -- or though I would never say it out loud, the Biggest Loser to watch. Besides, I tell myself, he's 9 years old and he doesn't need his Mommy in order to go to sleep.

However, lately, I've been more and more aware of how short this time is, when they are young and want their Mommy. So tonight when Charlie asked if I would lay down with him, I said yes.

I'm not sure how much time passed before I fell asleep. But, apparently, Charlie did not fall asleep at all. After some time -- about 20 minutes is my best guess, I felt him nudge me.

"Mom," Charlie said in a loud whisper. "Mom, you don't have to lay down with me anymore."

"It's all right, honey. I'll stay."

"No, Mom. It's ok," he said, trying to let me down gently. "Besides, your snoring is so loud I can't sleep."

I think his Dad paid him to say that.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

How to talk to old pregnant women

stork'n baby

We had a surprise baby shower today for my friend Julie. This is her 5th baby. Her 4th child is 5-1/2 and Julie is probably in her early 40s. (Julie -- if you're younger than that, sorry!) A few months before Julie found out she was pregnant, she decided to stop coloring her hair and go with her natural all-over silver gray.

As you might imagine, the combo of silver hair with a pregnant belly gets some notice. According to Julie, most people have been pretty polite about it. However, a few who have obviously not graduated from charm school could stand some training in things you should -- and should not -- say to old pregnant women.

So, in honor of Julie, Sarah Palin, my own mom who had her last baby at 43 and all older mothers --

Things you should NOT say to pregnant women of advanced maternal age:
  • Do you know how old you will be when this kid graduates from high school? (As if Mom-to-be hasn't done the math herself!)
  • Wow, it's so cool of you to offer to carry your daughter's baby!
  • Guess you hadn't hit menopause yet after all.
  • So which is worse? Arthritis or morning sickness?
  • Boy, you're never gonna be an empty nester, are you?
  • At least your stretch marks will be hidden by your wrinkles.
  • Oh my gawd! Weren't your older kids totally grossed out that you still have sex?
  • Obviously your husband is hot for older women!
Things you SHOULD say to pregnant women of advanced maternal age:
  • Congratulations!
  • The silver in your hair reflects beautifully off your belly.
  • Older and wiser is a great combo for motherhood.
  • I'd be happy to babysit.
  • I just read a study that said babies of older mothers are smarter/calmer/cuter (insert something positive) here.
  • Glad to see you guys still have some passion in your marriage.
  • Lucky you! You get to play with toys again!
Got any other ones? Go ahead and leave a comment to share them with the class.

Friday, November 7, 2008

He said, she said

He*: "Friday night is the best TV night on Cartoon Network! First, Clone Wars, then Ben 10 right after. How cool is that?!"

She: "I'd rather be watching What Not to Wear."

...a little while later...

He: "That's awesome!"

She: "What?"

He: "That Transformers animated Optimus Prime!"

She: "Well, you can ask Santa for it -- although I'm not sure if he accepts letters from 37-year-old boys."

* See this previous post.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I am NOT the Biggest Loser.

Biggest Loser logoAbout a month ago, I joined Weight Watchers. I figured, thirteenth time's the charm, right? Anyway, after today's weigh-in, I knew I just had to come tell you about my progress. In four weeks' time, I have lost...drumroll, please...

0.4 pounds! That's right. Almost a half a pound in four weeks!

Actually, the first week I lost 3.2 pounds. I was pretty pleased with myself because I hadn't actually followed any particular plan. I didn't write down what I ate. I didn't count any points or measure cups of pasta.

"I am practicing mindful eating," I told myself. And it worked to the tune of 3.2 pounds.

The next week, I didn't weigh in because the kids were on Fall Break. Mike took them to see his parents and I stayed behind to catch up on work and to rid the house of the "Goodwill store just exploded" look.

And I mindfully ate things like a hot Italian sub sandwich chased by two big chocolate chip cookies; a sausage and banana pepper pizza, stretched over dinner and breakfast the next day; and potato corn chowder, hot rolls and brownies. Not exactly "diet" food, but I was working up quite a sweat in my de-cluttering marathon, so I figured I was working off anything I was putting in.

Not quite. The scale at the next WW meeting showed a 1.2 pound gain. Of course, it's hard to tell how accurate that was because the weather had turned colder and my warmer clothing probably weighed more. Besides, I was still 2 pounds ahead of the game.

Then came Halloween. I proudly avoided the snack-size sweets at the neighbors' party and stuck with liquids -- namely martinis.

"This liquid diet is sure to pay off at the scale," I thought, congratulating myself on the addition of fruit into my evening consumption in the form of raspberry and lemon drop martinis.

After the haunted holiday was over, I performed the sacrificial act so many moms share in to protect their children's dental health: I ate the snack-size Snickers and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups out of the treat bags so my children wouldn't have to.

Once the treat bags were polished off (I actually threw some of the candy away -- the DumDum suckers and anything containing coconut -- blech!), I did begin to worry a little about this week's weigh in. So I made whole wheat pasta and salad for dinner on Monday night and vowed to be the best Weight Watcher ever for the rest of the week.

Then the election happened and the next morning I thought the folks in my office might be in a mood, either celebratory or sorrowful, and might need a little something. Pumpkin donuts seemed to fit the bill.

Willpower, where art thou?! Buried under the donuts, I think.

I wished it were me buried under something at today's weigh in. Up another 1.6 pounds for a total one-month weight loss of 0.4 pounds. I could have saved the money, had one bout of intestinal flu and lost more than that.

So, it turns out I am NOT the Biggest Loser this week. But I am not discouraged. They say the longer it takes you to lose the weight, the more likely you are to keep it off. So I figure if I hit my goal by the time I turn 67, then I'm home free for the rest of my days!

'Twas the night after the elections

'Twas the night after the elections
and all through the house
not a creature was stirring...
but Mom and a very annoying mosquito who keeps doing a fly-by next to my ear.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: A Shout Out to My DH

I heart my geek.

My laptop lives, thanks to a hard drive transplant!
It's great to have a nerdy husband willing to sacrifice his computer so I can blog another day.

(P.S. -- You can buy the shirt at Click here for more Wordless Wednesday fun.)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Woo hoo! Aw shucks! Oh @#&%!

I took Robbie to the oral surgeon today for a consult to have three baby teeth extracted. Our dental insurance only covers 60% of the bill, so I was not looking forward to the estimate, not to mention the thought of having my little guy go through all that.

The surgeon came in today, looked at Robbie's teeth and pointed out that all three of them are a bit loose. The prescription? Wiggle the heck out of those teeth for the next month in hopes that we can get them to come out on their own. Even if the Tooth Fairy left him $100 for each of those teeth, it would still be cheaper than paying for the oral surgery. And a whole lot more fun for Robbie.

Aw shucks!
There is a McD's right near the oral surgeon's office. I suggested to Robbie that we get a little snack after his appointment in celebration of the good news. You could've knocked me over with the Tooth Fairy's wing when he said "no." Boy, I was looking forward to a milkshake. So I drove real slowly and asked the question in about three different ways. Unfortunately, the answer was always the same. "No thanks, Mom, I just want to go home." Bummer for me.

Oh @#&%!
Last night I woke up about 2:30am and decided to do some laundry. (I told you I don't sleep.) While I was waiting for the washer to finish so I could move those clothes to the dryer, I opened up my laptop to do a little mid-of-the-night surfing.

This is what greeted me:

At this point, it was about 3am and I'm thinking a blank screen with a question mark file folder can't be good. But I didn't panic. I re-started the computer. Hello, flashing question mark file folder.

I re-started and unplugged the computer. Nope, that didn't do it.

I re-started and unplugged the computer, took out the battery and put it back in. Apparently, that doesn't make the blinky question mark go away either.

So today, Mike took my laptop to the Apple store. This is where the "Oh @#&%!" comes in. The hard drive is dead. As in non-functioning, as in no time to ask it its last wishes or to deliver the last rites. And the warranty expired about 8 weeks ago. Again, "Oh @#&%!".

Tonight I am using Mike's laptop, surfing on borrowed time. Guess I'll have to sign off here and go wiggle Robbie's teeth.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Accidentally on purpose?

My mother-in-law often tells the story of how they were on vacation when Mike was young and her turn at the wheel happened to come up as they were driving through the mountains of West Virginia. She takes great delight in recalling how my father-in-law Tom and the boys were cowering in fear when she came perilously close to the edge where the road dropped off into nothingness and how there was nowhere to pull over and change drivers for 20 miles.

Whenever she tells the story, she happily reports that those were the last 20 miles she ever had to drive on a vacation. So happily, in fact, that I sometimes wonder if she eeked her way to the edge of the road a little bit (subliminally perhaps?) on purpose.

She also tells how the last time she had to pick up an iron was when she scorched my father-in-law's navy whites in the early years of their now 40+ year marriage. A fortuitous accident, I wonder? Or something more deliberate?

The same question came to my mind today when Charlie was in charge of vacuuming the basement carpet.

Now, I know that Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. But in our house, Saturday is more our day of rest (ok, play) and Sunday is a day of "Crap! We have a ton of work to do before we go back to work/school tomorrow."

So after church today, we came home and made the assignments. Annie and Robbie were to pick up the family room, while Charlie was on basement duty. After he'd adequately picked up the clutter in the room, he was ready to vacuum. I heard the sweeper turn on and run for a few minutes. Then I heard a bit of a strangling sound and then "Mom! I need help."

I ran downstairs to find that Charlie run the sweeper over a loose end of the carpet, which was quickly sucked up and wrapped around the bristle roller. By the time I got down there, he had pulled out about three inches of fibers that had once been the carpet.

After assessing the situation, I unplugged the vac and sent Charlie to fetch the scissors. Fifteen minutes later, I had freed the vacuum and had enough carpet threads to knit a sweater for the cat.


As I stood the vacuum upright again, Charlie (not so) innocently asked "Should I finish sweeping, Mom, or should you do it so I don't accidentally get it jammed again?"

Accidentally? I think Charlie's been talking to his grandmother.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bite-size bits

Sharing is a good thing
On Thursday night, it was "girls night out." Four of us went to a popular downtown restaurant because one of my friends had a $100 gift card. Now, at this particular restaurant, $100 could feed about 1-1/4 people. So we did the sharing thing. We split a bottle of wine, ordered two shrimp cocktails, split a pestolicious Tuscan pizza, divvied up an appetizer of bacon wrapped scallops and saved room for an amazing chocolate brownie with candied pecans and vanilla ice cream. Of course the best dish was the girl talk!


Last night at about 8pm, all our trick-or-treaters had come back home and were counting their loot. The bowls of candy to be passed out were gone when a few last minute stragglers came to the door. I was about to turn them away, but Annie brought her bag to the door and gave them treats from her own stash. She's a great kid.


Shout out to my sisters
This one is long overdue -- thanks to my sisters Angie and Shelley who both made a special effort to pass along my blog URL to their friends. Now that's love! If you're reading this because one of my sisters told you to, please leave me a comment and let me know.


Blog awards
Now, these are a little bit like popularity contests in high school, I think. But since I would have killed to win one of those -- ok, I was voted "Most Outgoing Female," I'm just as happy to be tagged by a couple of other bloggers with following:

Gold card award
Gold Blogging Friends Forever. Thanks to Vicki over at Bittyman for this one.

The Blogging Friends Forever Rules are:
1. Only five people allowed.
2. Four have to be dedicated followers of your blog.
3. One has to be someone new, or recently new to your blog, or live in another part of the world.
4. You must link back to whoever gave you the 'Blogging Friends Forever' award.

So I'm passing the Gold BFF to:
Big red puffy heart award
Shannon at Gabi's World nominated me for the "I Big Red Puffy Heart Your Blog" award. Thanks Shannon! So I'm passing it along to:
Now I'm pretty sure Sue and Sensei don't have a clue who I am or that The Fourth Frog even exists. But, I really do love their blogs, so I thought I'd tell them so. And I'm hoping that a big, red puffy heart award coaxes Sensei back to the keyboard after his recent appendectomy.


I have to ask
I've noticed several people have landed on The Fourth Frog from Just curious how you all found me from there. So if you're visiting here from over at MOPS, leave me a comment and tell me what brought you over to my lily pad.