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Friday, February 28, 2014

The P&n!$ pitch

Warning: While I try to keep the 4th Frog Blog to a PG rating, this post might make some of you uncomfortable. It involves male genitalia...and tattoos...and one man's member, named Elmo.
I get a lot of media pitches from PR companies asking me to share their infographics or repost their pre-written articles. Some of them offer me items to review or giveaway. Often, I'm not interested. That's just not the kind of blog I write. But recently I got a pitch that I just couldn't delete. It was one of those "don't want to see, but can't look away" scenarios.

The pitch came from Drafthouse Films, which makes sense because I'm sure they had to be drinking when they came up with the idea to produce a documentary on the Icelandic Phallological Museum. This tiny museum -- apparently size does not matter in museums -- takes about 4 to 7 minutes to get through, longer if you're a woman. 

What can you expect if you go? I have to quote here because I don't think I could write this any better: This tiny museum "houses four decades worth of mammalian members, from a petite field mouse to the colossal sperm whale, and every “thing” in between. But, lamentably, the collection lacks the holy grail of phallic phantasmagoria: a human specimen."

Enter an elderly Icelandic "player" and an odd American whose wanker is named "Elmo." (You just thought, "tickle me," didn't you?) Both of these guys want to be the one to donate their manhood to the frigid (it is in Iceland) collection of phalluses. Phallusi? I digress...

The Icelandic dude signed an agreement that upon his demise, his "specimen" shall live on in a glass jar in what has to be the world's only peniseum. The American, greedy for the glory apparently, is all ready to cut ties with his noodle while he is still alive, but not until after he has the stars and stripes tattooed on it...while. it. is. still. ATTACHED! (I hope the tattoo artist got a big tip, er, gratuity.)

He tries to sell it as patriotism, "I want people to know the biggest and the best came from the states," but I'm not buying it. I think it's Freud's famous envy theory to the max. I could not make this up if I tried, people. Well, maybe I could if I'd had a few drinks first, but honest to blog I have been sipping nothing but Diet Coke.

Did I mention the movie is called "The Final Member?" The best part? The producers of the film have offered me a screener so I can view the whole documentary. Bwahahaha! Is it bad that I want to throw a party with my best gal pals so we can all watch it together? I think I'll serve cocktail wienies.

Tell the kids to leave the room, I'm about to share the trailer with you. There is nothing to see, really. Well, a bunch of animal kingdom genitalia in Mason jars. But no human nudity (the tattoo scene is blurred out). If I don't show this to you, you won't believe me. Plus, I hate to laugh alone.

For realz, people. I told you I wasn't making this up. And really, it's no different than brains being on display. In fact, some may argue it's exactly the same. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

10 things I have to say about "Moms Night Out" (the movie)

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a preview screening of "Moms Night Out." I didn't know much about it, but free movie? I'm in!

It turns out the movie stars Patricia Heaton and Trace Adkins (who I couldn't have picked out of a lineup, but was at least a name I'd heard of), among others who I vaguely recognized but couldn't name. The premise is stressed out Mommy invites two other moms -- a BFF and their pastor's wife (Heaton) -- out for a much needed night on the town. Chaos and hilarity ensue.

What do you need to know about this movie?

1. I puffy heart Patricia Heaton. I know I'm not really the kind of person who goes around saying "puffy heart," but she is the Hollywood everymom isn't she? Everybody Loves Raymond, The Middle, now this movie. I just love her. She is definitely going on my Pinterest "People I would invite to dinner" board.

2. This movie made me definitely glad to be past the sippy cup and markers on the wall stage.

3. I thought the fathers in the movie were a little too incompetent. Yes, when Annie was a baby I couldn't leave her with Mike without him calling me 17 times while I was gone, but even he wasn't as bad as the dads in the movie were made out to be. I chalk it up to exaggeration for comedy's sake.

4. The baby is OK. There was one point in the movie where I was getting stressed out about the welfare of baby who had gone temporarily missing. But just at the point where I was about to stand up and scream at the screen, they let the audience know the baby was safe. The mom didn't find out until quite a while later.

5. My minivan is cool enough to have made it into this movie. #trendsetter

6. Unbeknownst to me, I'm kind of hot for Trace Adkins. He plays a biker-dude-tattoo-artist named Bones, but I think it was his voice (no singing, just talking) that turned my knees a little jello-ish. Pretty sure I'd let him sing me to sleep any time.

7. The movie is produced by Provident Films, which is a Christian film-making company. So there are a couple of (I'm thinking exactly 2) God-heavy parts. That didn't bother me; I love me some Jesus, but some of it seemed a little forced.

8. I was confused by the draw of the eagle video, until Allyson explained it to Bones and then I was all "Oh, yes! Yes." I even teared up. You'll have to see the movie to know what I'm talking about.

9. When I go for Moms Night Out (the thing moms do, not the movie), I wear jeans and head with friends to the nearest Mexican restaurant for chips & salsa and margaritas. I do not, and have not once, dressed up in sparkly shoes and a fantastic dress for a 4-star dinner. Also, if my husband saw me dressed like that to go out, he totally would have hit on me and made some reference to a little "Mom's (and Dad's) Night In" action. I was waiting for Allyson's husband to go there and thought it was odd he didn't.

10. One thing I wish the movie had represented was the experience and challenges of the working mom. It was the one voice I thought was missing.

11. (Bonus) Go. "Moms Night Out" opens Mother's Day weekend. It's family-friendly, rated PG. No bad language. No sex. I think kids could appreciate the humor, but I'd be more inclined to make it a true MNO or a date night.

If you go, let me know what you think.

Note: I received a free ticket to attend this movie screening, but was not required to write this post. All opinions -- including my thoughts about Trace Adkins and his deep, music-to-my-ears voice -- are my own.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Scouts be darned. I was NOT prepared.

be prepared photo: be prepared Donboyscout.jpgThe e-mail was sitting in my inbox. It had been there for a day or two. I'd read it once or twice. And I was ignoring it.

"We need someone to be the Den 2 coordinator for the Blue & Gold Banquet."

Yeah. Not me. Except everyone seemed to be thinking that. So because Robbie's den leader is super nice and because I carry Catholic guilt like mosquitoes carry malaria, I caved. I was not prepared to be steadfast in my silence.

"I volunteer to coordinate."

I mean, really, how hard could it be? I've coordinated a zillion things in my life as a mom. Make a list. Have people sign up. Direct people where to go and what to do (one of my inherent gifts, by the way) on the day of. The theme is birthday party. 

So I made my list and e-mailed it out:

Good afternoon friends. Here are the things we need to provide as a den for the Blue & Gold Banquet on Sunday:

1. # of guests -- Please reply to this email and let me know how many of your family will attend. (I am WAY behind on this so your quick response is appreciated.)

2. 1 person to provide 2 dozen party blowers (the theme is "Birthday Party")

3. 4 people to provide 4 EMPTY birthday-themed wrapped boxes or gift bags with tissue paper for table decorations. Shoe box size or smaller, please.

4. 3 people to bring a birthday-themed balloon bouquet. (Doesn't have to be elaborate. 1 Mylar and 4 regular helium filled balloons would do the trick.)

5. 1 family to help with set up.

6. 1 family to help with clean up.

7. 1 person to make a birthday-themed cake for judging 

Piece of (birthday-themed) cake. 

I was not prepared for the virtual chaos that followed. The e-mails started flying. "I'll do the party blowers." "I'll do the boxes. All of them." "I'll do the blowers." "I can do half the boxes."

Yipes! This was getting harder to keep straight than Neil Patrick Harris. 

I lamented about it on the 4th Frog Facebook page. "Use SignUp Genius," a friend suggested. Pure genius! Crisis averted. Blue & Gold back on track. 

Then someone said, "what about food?" Food? I was not prepared to consider food. I thought that's what the cake was for. The event is from 3-5pm. That's between meals. Do we really need food? Well, the "banquet" part of "Blue & Gold Banquet" would indicate yes.

So on the advice of a BTDT Scouting-pro of a Dad, I settled on Backyard BBQ. I edited the SignUp Genius to ask for hot dogs (specifying "cooked & warm" because you just never know), chips & side dishes. Update and share.

Not 3 minutes later did I get an e-mail noting that the den would need to provide plates. Back to the Genius. I requested napkins and utensils too, just in case. Although now that I think about it, no one has said anything about drinks…

Then I remembered something about a skit. I was not prepared to handle a skit. A FB friend said "Put the boys in charge of the skit." 

Fourth grade boys in charge of a skit? Well, that's a sure-fire way to get a skit about farts and butts. After searching my inbox, I found the e-mail that said yes, indeed, the den should be prepared to present a skit. There was a link to 3 skits. I chose the one that required the easiest props. Laughably, the skit is called "The Toothache." (If you don't get the joke, click here.)

So now, I have 3 days left to prepare. I'll wait for other families to sign up for what they plan to bring. I'll assemble the hodge podge of decorations into something that can be construed as "birthday party." I will hastily direct Robbie and his friends in an Oscar (the Grouch) worthy performance.

Mostly, I'll prepare to not be disappointed when the Scouts do not elect me "party planner of the year."

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lord knows what I'm going to give up for Lent this year

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Lent begins pretty late this year; Ash Wednesday is March 5. That means I still have two weeks to decide what my Lenten sacrifice will be. It's something I've been giving a lot of thought to. The more I think, the longer my list of possible sacrifices gets -- there are just so many things in my life I can think of to do better!

The two items at the top of my list are both things that would definitely be sacrifices. The first is Facebook. I love Facebook for the social aspect, the community, the ease of keeping up with family and friends I don't see often. But Facebook is also a fancy word for "time suck." It seems that 10 minutes in Facebook time is actually 3 hours in real time. Last year (I think it was last year?) I gave up Facebook one day a week for the 6 weeks of Lent. I wasn't wildly successful, but it's a more realistic sacrifice than going cold turkey.

The second sacrifice I'm considering would also be a Lenten rerun. I'm seriously considering giving up my couch again. Not as in selling or donating it. But as in I wouldn't sit or lay down (it's quite possible that I just used the wrong form of the verb that means "to recline") on the couch. I park myself there, pull up the blanket and suddenly the sun has set and the clock has raced ahead to 11pm. This is a different couch than the one I gave up for Lent a few years ago. It's not as magically comfortable, but it still has that lullaby effect on me.

As I've considered my Lenten options (and yes, I know that adding something meaningful is also an option), I'm well aware that both my consumption of Diet Coke and my use of expletives are also elements of my daily life that could stand some attention. The first would be a denial of self in the flesh, giving up the artificially sweet nectar that at least 2 commenters will tell me is horrible for me, but is oh so bubbly and delicious. The second would be an exercise in self-restraint of temper and language. I really should clean up my effin' potty mouth.

We typically try to give up something as a family sacrifice. The Diet Coke (and all other soft drinks) will probably fall into that category. As for what I'm going to do for my personal sacrifice? I might just lay down on the bleepin' couch with my laptop and ask my Facebook friends what I should do.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

11 reasons he's my favorite

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Guess what? Today is Robbie's birthday, too! He is 11. He was born 6 years and 39 minutes after his big sister, making him my favorite (youngest) child. Why, you ask? I'll give you 11 good reasons:
  1. He is the last to call me Mommy, to stretch his arms out of a crib for me to pick him up. He's survived being the one whose pacifier got the "5-second" rule treatment when it fell on the floor.
  2. He's a lover, always wanting a hug or to cuddle up under a blanket to watch TV.
  3. He is enthusiastic, not about everything, but when he likes something -- dinosaurs, Legos, NFL teams -- he likes them with his whole heart.
  4. He is a crafty thinker, knowing just what to say to get you to see things his way. #gotoTarget
  5. He loves family. Nothing makes him happier than to see his cousins or grandparents or aunts and uncles.
  6. He is timid about trying new things, but he keeps taking steps to try them, which makes him, in my book, brave.
  7. He's goofy. Watching him is like watching a cartoon character. Such an animated face.
  8. He makes us laugh, often without trying. "Do Jewish people speak Canadian?"
  9. He's a homebody. Someday that might not be so great, like when he is living in my basement at the age of 35, but right now I love that he likes to be home.
  10. He's a roller coaster fanatic. You couldn't pay me to get on one of those things, but I love that he is fearless about riding them.
  11. He is my Robbie Dobbie.

17 reasons she has my heart

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Today is Annie's 17th birthday. People told me it would go fast. I nodded my head, "yes, I'm sure it will." Diapers and lost pacifiers, Barbies, Hannah Montana, high school and wham! Here we are. It all went by in a blur. So I'm happy to take a few minutes to think back and recount how this lovely young lady grabbed my heart.
  1. She was the first to call me Mommy. She endured the trials and errors of first-time parenting.
  2. She was rolly and happy and downright kissable.
  3. She was -- and still is -- creative. I didn't think I would survive the daily 5am paint and glitter hour, but I did and now I smile at the memory.
  4. She coined the phrase "That's so fashion" and used it whenever she wanted to indicate "thumbs up" to her preschool couture.
  5. She was -- and still is to a degree -- timid about making friends, but was -- and still is -- incredibly loyal to those who've earned the designation of "friend."
  6. She was the instigator of scenarios that include the phrases "that's a boob sucker," "too many penises in this car," and "mostly I played dead Barbies."
  7. She is kind-hearted and sticks up for the underdog.
  8. She laughs a lot, often so hard she cries.
  9. She wears glasses because she needs to, but also because they are an extension of her identity (and because she can't stand the thought of touching her eyeball to put contact lenses in).
  10. She knows who she is -- quirky, artsy, funny -- and is unapologetic for it.
  11. She has big dreams and doesn't care to listen when people try to point out the obstacles.
  12. She brings me sanity in this house where the girls are outnumbered by the boys 3-2. (I'm scared for when she goes off to college and leaves me here!)
  13. She makes awesome banana bread.
  14. She does the dishes, usually without being asked (another reason why I dread her going to college).
  15. She is gorgeous. Honestly. Beautiful eyes. Warm smile. To-kill-for hair. 
  16. She rolls her eyes and tells me to quit commenting on her Facebook posts, but she still comes to ask for a hug and tells me her secrets (at least some of them).
  17. She is my "Annie Gannie Gurl."

Friday, February 7, 2014


toothless photo: Toothless toothless.png  photo 05da02af-7dfb-40fe-a367-90a0dd1c4a42_zps96151e1c.jpg
Oh, holy heck, this is practically gonna be me by this afternoon. I'm having oral surgery this morning, which will involve several tooth extractions. I think my blood pressure is rising just at the thought. 

I'm scared -- it's really going to be a painful weekend. I'm embarrassed (so of course, my first thought is to put it out there for everyone to know). And I'm sad thinking about everything I'm not going to be able to eat for a long time. Mostly, I'm sure going to miss crunching on ice.

Of course, crunching on ice is part of the problem. How my teeth fell into such a sad state is an "if you give a mouse a cookie" kind of scenario.

It's starts with bad genes (love you Mom & Dad!). Bad dental genes from my dad. Bad esophageal genes from my mom. Years of reflux, which resulted in the upflow of acid. Nexium to control the reflux, but resulted in low iron. My beloved ice chewing habit as a result of the low iron. Lots of Diet Coke to give me energy that the low iron zapped. Enamel erosion from the Diet Coke and 'round and 'round it goes. 

Sure, now I can look back and see all of the things I could have done to interrupt the cycle. But I wasn't looking at the big picture. Excuses, excuses, I know. It's all on me and my rotten teeth.

Could I have done something in the meantime to fix them? Yep. But have I mentioned I hate the dentist? Not the dentist the person. I really like her and her staff. But the whole idea of dentistry -- sharp poky things jabbing my gums, someone with their face close enough to see boogers, high-pitched squeals and scritch-scratchiness, all that saliva. It's really an assault to the senses. 

Every time I go for a cleaning, I sit in the chair and my whole body tenses up, starting with my toes. Not to mention that its the start of a 5-month relationship to fix this or that and then some. By the time things got fixed, it would be time for another cleaning. Plus, the x-rays? I throw up…every darn time. The last time I was there for x-rays, they tried to halt the gag reflex by covering my tongue in salt. It was insult to injury. Over the years, I developed a very protective habit of canceling dental appointments. 

So, here I am, two hours away from beginning my long-term diet of soft foods. Oh, ice I'm so going to miss you. Looking on the bright side, maybe I'll lose some weight. Looking on the realistic side, I'm dreaming of ice cream and pudding and peanut butter. If there's someone who can get fat(ter) by not eating, it will be me.

I have to say that I am looking forward to a mouth that doesn't continually ache from one sensitive tooth or root canal waiting to happen. I've got one tooth that I've been babying with round the clock ibuprofen since Christmas. And the anesthesia? Yep, kind of excited about that, too. Plus, maybe my cheeks will sink in a bit, giving my face an illusion of model-thin?

I suppose this was all meant to be. Really, if you think about it, frogs don't have teeth, right? I'm just playing the part. Catch you all on the gummy side.