Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I recently entered a photo contest called "Faces & Places of the World."

You can see my entries and vote for one of my photos at these links (it's free and easy):

http://photocontest.examiner.com/bin/Rate?image_id=1008901473 (Tide Pools)

http://photocontest.examiner.com/bin/Rate?image_id=1008901488 (Premature Beaching)

http://photocontest.examiner.com/bin/Rate?image_id=1008901490 (Marching to the Beat of Your Own Drum)

http://photocontest.examiner.com/bin/Rate?image_id=1008901492 (Daddy & Me)

http://photocontest.examiner.com/bin/Rate?image_id=1008901496 (Untitled)

http://photocontest.examiner.com/bin/Rate?image_id=1008901499 (Goin' In...)

Thanks for your support!


Friday, October 23, 2009

For a little while, Ella (now 20 months) has shown interest in the big potty. She's curious to watch me "tinkle" (TMI?). She thinks it's hysterical to unroll the toilet paper. She's really interested in the flushing of the toilet.

Of which she's just learned to do.


When I picked her up from "school" (pre-preschool) on Wednesday she was wearing her back up pants.

Uh. Oh.

On the way out, I was reading her daily report and they informed me that three different times Ella went (by herself) to sit on the potty. Lucky for me I had just that very day purchased a board book about potty training.

(Coincidence? I think not...)

So that evening, right before bed, we sat down to read the potty book. Except something wasn't right. Every time the word potty was in the book, it came out of my mouth party, which made the story go something like this:

Learning to party can be hard, but it can also be fun.
You can party like the big kids when the learning time is done.

Just watch as I teach you with your dolly Sue.
She sits on the party and you can sit there, too!

When your dolly has partied she flushes the water away.
Now she is happy and ready to go outside to play!

Going party can be fun. Learn and you will see.
Once you know how to do it, it is as easy as can be.

So practice sitting on your party a little every day.
And when you learn to use it, we will cheer a big "Hooray!"

I can't imagine why (at the end of the book) the only page Ella showed interest in was the one with the balloons on it.

I mean, what's a potty without balloons?!?


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Are you a parent in or around the Detroit Metro or Blue Water area of Michigan?

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If so, add your Twitter name in the comments section and help us build a social networking resource for parents around this area!

You can follow me on Twitter as @WritRams.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We have an old smelly cat.

She has been relegated to my home office space and the back entryway because she is old. And smelly.

Needless to say, my office now often smells smelly. And old.

A few nights ago, my husband comes in with one of those stick (literally) brooms that smells like cinnamon. They put them out around this time every year through Christmas.

I always make fun of them.

So, he SAYS he bought it because it will make my office smell better -- you know, less like an old smelly cat. However, it is nearing Halloween. Somehow, I think this broom had a different message intended for me.

You be the judge:

(FYI-it now smells more like Big Red gum in my office and less like a smelly old cat. This may be more conducive to working. It remains to be seen...)

Enjoy this post? Nominate it for BlogHer of the Week. (It'll make me feel warm & fuzzy...)


Monday, October 19, 2009

It's that time of the year -- chilly fall days beg for us to bust out the chili recipes.
I'm a BIG fan of the crockpot/slow cooker. Especially since having a baby.

I'm also a big fan of Ruby Tuesday's white bean chicken chili.

My friend Tawni gave me this recipe and it is the closest thing I've ever made/tasted to the Ruby Tuesday's recipe. It is easy AND yummy!


3 cans great northern (white) beans, undrained

1 can (12 oz) chicken (I add 2 cans)

1 can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup

1 soup can of water

8 oz. salsa (medium or hot)

8 oz. Monterey Jack Cheese

Combine ingredients in crockpot and heat through. Cook on high for 2 hours if using shredded cheese or on low for 6-7 hours if using cubed cheese.

I serve with a little extra cheese on top.

Let me hear your feedback!

Enjoy this post? Nominate it for BlogHer of the Week. (It'll make me feel warm & fuzzy...)


Friday, October 16, 2009, 8:21 p.m.

This year is Ella's first REAL Halloween. I mean, she was around last year, but she SO.DIDN'T.GET.IT.

This year she might not get the whole Halloween thing, but she does know that she's excited to have a Bee-Bug (translation: Ladybug) costume. That's all that is important right now.

I was so excited to sign Ella up for her first REAL Halloween party at our Gymboree that we attend. It was tonight. We got Ella ready and then Todd and I painted our faces (me: a bee-bug, him: a bee), donned antennae and off we all flew.

Did I mention how excited I was? So was Ella. Here she was at home "flying like a bee-bug" before the party:

Sidebar: You know how your gut tells you something but you just ignore it sometimes hoping that it will go away? When Ella got home from school, my gut was telling me that this was going to be too much for a 20 month old. She was just coming off an ear infection, she still had some sinus drainage, and school then a party made for a long day for a baby.

Remember this gut feeling...

So we get to the party and it was packed.


Ella runs around.


Ella climbs some stuff.


Ella pukes in the middle of the crowded floor. And then pukes again. And then pukes some more.


I sit in the middle of the crowded party and scrub puke off the carpet while everyone watches.


And then Ella feels much better.

Although by then we had been labeled the "H1N1 kid" and we parted the sea of people like Moses wherever we went.

We left early.

On the way out I felt SO DISAPPOINTED. I felt disappointed for her. I felt disappointed for us. I looked at Todd and said, "It's so sad that she felt this way on her first ever Halloween party." To which he replied?

"Yeah, well, sometimes you just have to party 'til you puke. Then it's time to go..."

Enjoy this post? Nominate it for BlogHer of the Week. (It'll make me feel warm & fuzzy...)


Friday, October 16, 2009

It may seem like only six months ago that I was blogging about my previous laptop crash and bragging about my new sleek HP Pavilion notebook PC.

That's because it really was only six months ago.

I've been living in denial of my new computer problems for about three months now.
(In case you can't do the math, that's half the time I've had my new computer.)

It started with a grinding fan. Then an overheating battery causing the system to shut down. Then just the system in general overheating and shutting down every 10 minutes (it will probably shut down twice while trying to blog this).

I wish that computers had one of those Onstar-type buttons that connected you directly to a tech person so you could immediately yell at them in the midst of your frustration.

Unfortunately, I haven't found the Onstar button, so I had to call the dreaded tech support.

The following is an actual conversation...

ME: Hi, I bought my computer system in April 2009 and it's been overheating and I want to take it back to Staples to have them work on it but they need HP's permission.
(Yes, I believe in getting all the info out in one breath.)

Tech: Hello, how are you?

ME: *moment of silence* Uh, I'm calling tech support...

Tech: Yes, let's see...do you have Wista?

ME: Pardon?

Tech: Wista? Windows Wista?

ME: AH...yes, I have Vista.

Tech: Can you hold please? My system is frozen.

Tech: Can you give me the serial number?

ME: 99999A as in AMERICA, 9, A as in AMERICA, 44 A as in AMERICA

Tech: Please hold, my system is still frozen.

Tech: Thank you for holding. Please connect to the Internet.

ME: Uh...I would love to, but my SYSTEM HAS OVERHEATED AND WON'T BOOT UP.

Tech: Your system won't boot to the desktop?

ME: *sigh* Not at the moment. No. IT. HAS. OVERHEATED.

Tech: Please hold...
Tech: OK, please take out the battery...

ME: It's already out. It hasn't been in for two months because it overheats...

Tech: Oh. Please hold.
Tech: How old is your system?

ME: *SIGH* I bought it in April...APRIL

Tech: Of this year?

ME: Yep. *maniacal laughter*

Tech: Oh. Please hold.
Tech: You are now authorized to take your system to Staples. Thank you.

And that, my friends, is how you get the same solution you asked for right out of the box 17 minutes and 29 seconds later. Yes, I timed it.

Enjoy this post? Nominate it for BlogHer of the Week. (It'll make me feel warm & fuzzy...)


This morning my toddler woke up with Kate Gosselin hair.

This was news to me because a) she didn't ask my permission, and b) I really loath that hair style.

She already has the mullet, I guess she figured, "Hey! What do I have to lose with a reverse mullet?!?"

The best part was that we didn't even have to spend hundreds of dollars trying to hook up with Kate Gosselin's stylist. We got the hair for FREE. Apparently, all you have to do is:

1. Take a bath before bedtime.
2. Thrash all around the bed while sleeping.
3. At some point, sprinkle some milk from a bottle onto your hair.
4. Roll around some more until morning.

Note to Self: Watch less Jon & Kate news coverage while the baby is around.


Something I'll never understand is how I can be married to a total gadget freak...who knows very little about online stuff.

He has to have the latest and greatest phone. New iPod? So there. He can buy an automatic nose aspirator for our toddler, yet his eyes glaze over when I try to explain social networking to him.

When we get together with our friend, he and I will throw out terms like TweetDeck, followers, fan pages. My husband will just say, "I have no idea what you guys are talking about."

We just pat him on the head like the cute little puppy he is.

A couple of nights ago was our 12-year anniversary. (Mine and my husband's. Not our 12 year anniversary with our friend...) We actually got a babysitter and had a date night (TOTALLY unheard of here) consisting of dinner and a movie. (Also totally unheard of. I mean, who knew you could actually have an adult conversation in a romantic setting without the thunk-thunk-thunk of a 20-month old kicking your chair and loudly declaring, "Mama! Kick!")

We wanted to see a light movie, so we chose Couples Retreat. There's a very funny part in the movie where Vince Vaughn incorrectly refers to tweeting on Twitter as tw*tting.

Even my husband got that part.

Fast-forward to today. I get an auto-update from Twitter telling me that JTWDirect is now following me on Twitter.

My husband.


So instead of walking upstairs, I text him from my home office downstairs to his home office up (isn't technology grand?!?):

ME (text): I see you are now tw*tting.
Him (text reply): Heehee... I have no idea what I have done.


(Follow my husband on Twitter to see if he figures it out. It might be fun...)


This is what happens when you try to make a nice home-cooked meal for your family (after a few weeks of not making them one).

(And for all you wise guys, NO this did NOT happen during #grilledcheesesunday, it happened during #mashedpotatosaturday).

Thank goodness it wasn't on the same finger where I got bit by the goat at the petting zoo...


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The story I'm about to tell you is true.

Some may find it disturbing.

No names have been changed to protect the innocent (and guilty).

Prior to reading, you may want to have young children log off.

Reader discretion is advised.


In a small tobacco farming town in a land far, far away (known as southwestern Virginia), there lived a poor young farm girl. One day, this farm girl had a bean. Which she shoved up her nose. No one knew about the bean until the moisture from her nasal cavity made the bean sprout. They had to take her to the doctor to remove the bean.

That girl was my grandmother.

Now, over the years, I've told and re-told this story to multiple friends and family members. Most people give me that, "Yeah. Sure. True story. OK..." look.

But my grandmother told me this story, and she was one of the most honest people I know. (Unlike my prankster grandfather who told me he had his blind eye "put out" in the war. It wasn't until years after he had died and I was an adult that my cousin -- laughing hysterically -- enlightened me by telling me he had his eye injured in a bar fight. My grandpa wasn't ever in a war. HMPF.)

So, back to my bean-nosed grandmother...

Fast-forward to tonight.

My 20-month old loves peas. She had two helpings just tonight. At some point during the second helping she loudly announced, "PEAS! MAMA!" and pointed to her nose.

Apparently veggie-shoving is hereditary.

When she gets older and tells me some story about injuring her eye in the war, I'm totally not believing it.

There were no peas nor noses injured in the writing of this post.


Really? This is what we've come to?

In case you haven't heard by now, there's a new energy drink called Blow. Aside from the asinine name suggestive of cocaine (blow is one of the street names for cocaine), it is packaged to clearly represent the drug. Check out the packaging on this product:

It is a white powder.

It comes in a vial.

The best worst part? It comes with a fake credit card -- all mimicking the process of cocaine.

This is NOT OK.

Blow's company (partially under construction) website (which I am NOT going to link to here) even mimics the drug process with "Deal" as one of the menu selections (which takes you to directions on how to become an affiliate to sell your own Blow).

What I'm wondering is when did it become acceptable to market something clearly related to an illegal drug? Why are we standing for this? Don't our children have enough to contend with already?

What's next? A toothbrush shaped like a gun to place in your mouth?

Illinois is already working to remove the product.

Sound off about this parents! Contact your state's attorney general today. To find out your state's attorney general and their contact info, visit the
National Association of Attorneys General.

I want to protect my children, don't you?


When you're pregnant for the first time, other moms don't talk to you about the awful mom guilt that will plague you from second one of birth all the way through...well? Who knows. Only time will tell.

Other moms like to tell you about cravings and weight gain. They like to talk to you about those tiny socks and the boo-boo bunny ice packs that are cute, but you will probably never use. They have an opinion on which diapers to use, co-sleeping, nipple cream, ways to curb nausea and which way to sleep if you want a boy vs. girl. They love to tell you about bodily functions like gas and nipple size, but they never warn you about one of the most important things:


Before I had Ella, I had no idea about mom guilt. I mean, sure I knew about GUILT. I've slept in on Sunday mornings instead of going to church. I've cheated on some diets. (Sometimes even on Sunday mornings.) But I had no idea that becoming a parent would take guilt to a whole new unimaginable level (also known as NEVER-BEING-ABLE-TO-DO-ANYTHING-AGAIN-WITHOUT-LOSING-SLEEP-AND-GAINING-GRAY-HAIRS MOM GUILT).

I've written before about Gymboree. In case you aren't familiar, it is a "gym" for babies/kids that is built around learning concepts disguised within directed play. Or, if you're Ella, it's less about directed play and more about running around and singing to yourself and dancing in the middle while everyone else is sitting on the mat during circle time.

I've met some really great people at Gymboree -- some who are even becoming fast friends (you know who you are). I've also met a few Guilter Moms. (You may not know who you are. In order to find out, look around. You're the mom that no one is talking to...) Since Gymboree is a gathering place for (mostly) moms and kids, there's definitely going to be some throw down of guilt.

The Guilter Moms are pretty easy to spot -- they're the ones who ask you disguised simple questions in order to gauge how much smarter their child is than yours. You can tell them by the smug look they get on their face when your answer to, "Does Ella still take a bottle?" is "Of course, 17 times a day!" They then use it as an opportunity to respond with something like, "OH! Little Johnny hasn't taken a bottle since he was 7 months old and he started reading. Did I mention he's potty trained? Yeah, he has slept through the night since I taught him Latin at 4 months."

You know the ones.

Some other Good Egg Gymboree Moms and I touched recently on mom guilt. (You know who you are. Thanks for being there...) Turns out? Everyone has it. However, it doesn't just come from other moms. For some it comes from parents or grandparents. For some it comes from sisters. For some? It really does come from other moms. And those moms who make you feel bad? They're probably masking their own mom guilt.

For most of us, the mom guilt comes from the same person -- us. (Yep, that's our own self.) You are your own worst enemy. (Hey, don't take it personally, so am I.) Sometimes innocent comments from other moms are just that -- INNOCENT COMMENTS.


You don't have to be perfect.

You don't have to raise a whiz kid.

You do need to love and support your child. Aside from that? Everything else will fall into place.

I'm not sure when mom guilt ends. Perhaps it never does. Until then? Be gentle on yourself and other moms. And I'll try to do the same.