Saturday, January 30, 2010

Note to Self: What Day Is It? Edition

  • You don't normally post on the weekends.
  • However.
  • You forgot it was Friday yesterday.
  • So you missed your Note to Self.
  • It's not like you weren't fully aware that the day before was Thursday.
  • You participated in many standard Thursday activities.
  • Sigh.
  • You also managed to sleep through your alarm.
  • Thankfully, the girls woke you up.
  • At the time you're normally leaving to take Big Sister to school.
  • Awesome.
  • Meanwhile, in your sister's home, she was waking up before her alarm.
  • She was up and at 'em while you were snoozing.
  • She was accomplishing much throughout the morning.
  • It was a good start to her weekend, because today...
  • Today is her birthday!!!
  • Don't forget to call her and sing "Happy Birthday," as is custom.
  • Don't forget to sing the NKOTB version.
  • Don't forget to tell her that you think of her everytime you smile -- because that dimple that's really a scar from one of your fights shows up.  ;-)
  • Don't forget to tell her that she is the most amazing sister EVER.
  • That she has a gift for doing anything she puts her mind to, and doing it extremely well.
  • That even though she is your little sister, she's made a big impact on you.

Happy Birthday, Katrina!  I love you!

Friday, January 29, 2010

I don't know how to be a crazy ex-girlfriend.

A while ago on good ol' Facebook, I did that thing where you post a status asking people to comment on how they met you.  Most of mine were pretty average -- school, church, etc.  There weren't very many interesting stories to tell, and I was starting to feel a little more vanilla than usual.

Then one friend in particular posted, and I smiled to myself.  Because our friendship... Well, it was one that was never meant to be.

It was 1995.  I was a year out of high school and living large.  Part-time college.  Part-time job.  Full-time living with my Granny.  My social life revolved around what was going on with the College and Career group at church.  I was having fun, but I craved more... Something new... Something daring...  Something like...

The Florida Baptist All-State Youth Choir Tour.

You're shocked, I know.

I had been the year before, but it was pretty traumatic.  My boyfriend, who I was with for almost my entire senior year, had broken up with me, and he was the reason I was going.  I comforted myself by hanging making out with a tenor in the ensemble.  The whole trip was all kinds of awkward.

So the next year, he was going to be there again -- but this year was going to be different.  I was no longer a high school girl!  I was in college, and I had a real job!  (Working in an office trumped working behind a cash register in my mind.) 

Well, and he and I were kind of friends by then.  He lived about three hours away from me, but we kept in touch.  I called him when Granny went in the hospital once, and he was really cool and sweet and talked to me and made me feel better.

But.  He did have a new girlfriend.  (I'll call her Leslie.  Because that's her name.)  Leslie wasn't really new, he'd started dating after we broke up.  Not, like, right after.  There was a mourning period, I'm sure.  Anyway, he was going to be there, he had a girlfriend -- and she was going to be there. 

I was going on the tour this year as The Ex-Girlfriend.

I'd met Leslie once before when I'd gone to visit him -- we may have even gone on a double date with her and another guy, actually.  She was nice, she was pretty.  As The Ex-Girlfriend, I didn't know what I was supposed to do with her, though.  Narrow my eyes at her?  Snub her completely?  Or was I just supposed to stand around nervously while she did those things to me?

That's a lot of pressure for a choir tour!

At that time, the participants of the tour stayed on a college campus for the first couple of days for rehearsals.  I remember standing in a line the first day, maybe to go to a meal, and Leslie was right behind me with her friend.  I heard her friend asking about The Ex-Girlfriend, and Leslie must have gestured to me because there was an uncomfortable pause, and then my Super Keen Ex-Girlfriend Peripheral Vision caught sight of a knowing nod coming from the friend.

I readied myself for a week full of hateful glances and boastful PDA.

However, I began to notice that the couple was spending an awful lot of time apart.

I can't tell you who broke enemy lines first, but Leslie and I started talking somehow.  I learned that she and our mutual acquaintance were "on a break."  (This was well before Ross and Rachel took theirs.)    I'm sure I could've secretly relished the fact that they were on the outs, but I didn't.  Against all odds, Leslie and I became buds.  She and I and our roommates along with two other singers kept close on the tour and spent every waking, non-singing moment together. 

I even helped Leslie fend off a young woman who was a not-so-secret admirer of her man.  I think that might've qualified me for Ex-Girlfriend of the Year.

After the trip, Leslie and our mutual acquaintance rekindled their romance. 

You'd think that she and I would've simply parted ways.  Said to each other, "We'll always have choir tour," and moved on.

But Leslie and I kept in touch!  We wrote letters back and forth -- real letters, handwritten, on paper, sent in envelopes with stamps and everything!  She went to college and we got all high tech with the e-mail.  Then the relationship between Leslie and our mutual acquaintance dissolved, but after a while I got to hear about a new man in her life, and then I was an attendant in their wedding. 

I think their wedding was the third time I'd actually seen her in person since we met, too...

15 years have passed since I was The Ex-Girlfriend and Leslie was The Girlfriend, and from our unconventional beginnings sprang a friendship that has passed the tests of time, distance, 3 marriages, and 5 kids.  I think it defies the laws of nature.

And.  We're both Facebook friends with our mutual ex-boyfriend.  And his wife.

It's all good.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Joe Jonas is over 18, right?

Thankfully I remembered to set the DVR to record American Idol, because you know it would be absolutely TRAGIC if I missed some of these auditions.  So I was able to tune in and catch a glimpse of Joe Jonas as a guest judge.

I have been mostly spared from the JoBros (is that right?) phenomenon, as Big Sister is only 6-years-old and still asks me to change the channel when a promo for their show, Hannah Montana, or basically any other non-cartoon show that The Disney Channel offers appears on the screen.  Which is great, because I've only heard "sweet niblets" one time, and I think that's about all I can handle.

But tonight I got a chance to check out Joe Jonas as he sat there between Randy and Kara, and I have to admit -- he's pretty cute.  (And before I admitted that, I Googled his birthday to make sure he was at least over 18, because if he wasn't I was going to have to bleach my eyes.)  I can understand the tweens and the teens getting all googly-eyed over him.  Especially if he and his brothers can sing -- which they can.  I know, because they were the voices of the little cherubs in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.

And I do realize that even though my beloved daughters are blissfully unaware of such heartthrobs... Their day will come.  It probably won't be The Jonas Brothers, but another boy band or set of brothers will appear.  They always do. 

And when that day comes, I sincerely hope I remember what I was like at their age.  I can even remember the first celebrity whose picture found a place of honor on my bedroom wall...

Kirk Cameron as Mike Seaver in Growing Pains.  I watched that show faithfully... Well, until they added a little sister who aged about five years in one season.  Psh.  I never understood that.

Then I moved on.  I transitioned from a pseudo bad boy to the real thing, my friends.  A man who could give me spaghetti arms whenever I heard the line, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."  And Kirk's poster was replaced with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey.

I was 11 when Dirty Dancing came out in theaters, so I was probably 12 or 13 when I actually saw the movie.  It must have aired on HBO and a friend's parents had taped it.  We weren't really allowed to watch it, mind you.  I don't know how in the world I remember this, but there was an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation on that same tape, and that's what we told her parents we were watching.  Over and over again.  Surely they had to be on to us.

As inappropriate as the movie may have been for my innocent eyes, that poster held the place of honor on my wall until...

After Joey, Jordan, Jonathan, Danny and Donnie showed up, I forgot what color my walls were, because they were covered -- COVERED -- in New Kids on the Block posters.  (Thank you, Bop Magazine.)   My sister and I both did our share of wallpapering in those days.  Her room was heavy with Jon Knight, while mine favored... Danny.  As I explained once before -- because two of my BFFs had already declared their undying devotion to Joey McIntyre, it wasn't proper for me to.  So I chose Danny Wood.  Less competition that way.

And during all that time, my mom had to endure watching TV shows and listening to music that probably made her want to bleach her eyes, or shove sweet niblets in her ears.  (Thanks, Mom.)

For now I think I'll be content with watching The Incredibles 547 times in one day.  Or trying to answer the age-old question: Where are Max and Ruby's parents??  (I think I've figured that one out, though.  They're bunnies, people.  What do you think they're doing??)   Because before I know it, everything will change and I will have little girls with hearts in their eyes swooning over young men with shaggy bangs over theirs, convinced that those boys are singing TO THEM.

Do you remember those days?  Who was your heartthrob?  (If I can admit to Danny Wood, surely you can spill!) 

And, if you have tweens -- how do you survive multiple viewings of the entire High School Musical trilogy?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Beauty is in the Eye of the Blogger

WHY COMMENTS ARE COOL.  The responses to yesterday's post really made me think... And some heart-shaped cookies (or just slice 'n bake chocolate chip ones -- it's me we're talking about) might be hand-delivered to some of our neighbors around Valentine's Day.  That's a lot easier than having another baby to get their attention.

I'm feeling a little like Sandra Bullock here lately, y'all.  And one of my Love Languages is gifts, and these blog awards are totally like gifts to me, so bear with me while I post them and pass them on.

Thank you, thank you, to Working Mommy at Lessons Learned for this award!  To claim this award, I'm supposed to tell you seven things about myself that you may not know.  This is a challenge, because I don't have a vault for my own stuff and I don't know that there's anything I haven't already told the world.  Plus, I'm watching the "Lost" recap, and I get distracted everytime Sawyer comes on.  I love the way they do this, though, because it's totally a Pop-Up Video.  Does anyone else remember those?  You'd have to be old enough to remember when MTV and VH1 actually aired music videos, though...

So.  What seven things might you not know about me?

* The Husband proposed to me after we'd been dating for 24 days.  (We'd known each other for 37 days.)
* I don't watch "The Office".
* I had both the girls without an epidural.
* I like really like LOVE the movie "Center Stage".  (Don't judge me.)
* My toenails are always painted.  ALWAYS.  The only time they see the light of day is when one color is removed in order to make way for another one.
* I have never seen the movie "The Notebook".  (And you can't make me.)
* I make the best grilled cheese sandwiches.

You are now enlightened.

And the Beautiful Blogger is being passed along to...

Those blogs are so beautiful to me, and I dedicate the following video to them...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This ain't Mr. Rogers' neighborhood...

It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor.  Would you be mine?  Could you be mine? 

(And you are so very welcome for getting that song stuck in your head.)

My family moved into this, our first house, the very first weekend of August.  So we've been here a little over five months. 

I have met two of my neighbors.

Is this the norm now?

I had this impression that when you moved into a neighborhood, especially one where you were living so close to your next door neighbor that you could reach out of your window to knock on theirs to borrow a cup of sugar, the people that already lived there would come and say hi.  Just hi.  That's all.  I'm not asking anyone to be my BFF or anything, or for our kids to play together every night.  Just say hi.

But if it's normal now for neighbors to keep to themselves, let me know.  It's been a while since I've lived in an actual neighborhood, so I don't know how things may have changed.

I keep thinking that I've done something to offend... But I keep the dog and her waste in our yard.  I say hi when I get the chance.  Or I do the friendly wave or head nod when I'm driving.  Is there more I'm supposed to be doing? 

Maybe it's because The Husband and I are able to fit both of our cars in the garage and the neighbors are jealous.  (Don't hate.)

Or maybe it's because I have asked the neighborhood boys to not use our backyard as the 50-yard line when they're playing football.  Which is always during naptime.  And someone almost always gets tackled against our screen porch.

I'd like to know a neighbor or two.  Just well enough to be able to comfortably walk over and say, "Hey there, neighbor!  My 3-year-old just locked me out of the house while I was getting the mail.  Could I use your phone?"

Not that anything like that's ever happened. 


Do you know your neighbors?  Like, really know them, not just know them through the names you've come up with for them, like Dude Who Spends Way Too Much Time In His Hot Tub.  Or do you interact with them with nods and smiles and maybe a friendly wave now and then?  Or do you get together with them for cookouts and block parties?

It would give me such a good feeling, a very good feeling, to know all of that.

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's just another manic Monday...


I wanted to be a Bangle.  I wanted to be Susanna Hoffs.  Did any girl want to be any Bangle other than Susanna Hoffs?  Maybe the one sister.  The drummer?  I don't know.  I wanted to be Susanna. 

I wanted to walk like an Egyptian.

The only dance I ever mastered was the White Girl Two Step.

Ooh, that reminds me of that other song.  Kind of...

I can't dance.  I can't talk.  The only thing about me is the way I walk.
I can't dance. I can't sing.  I'm just standing here selling everything.

Except I can talk and I can sing, a little.  And I'm not selling anything.

But I do have some things to offer.

I read a post recently that had me laughing so hard, I figured surely somewhere there was some blog award that could be bestowed upon it.  I couldn't find one, so I made one.  How you like them apples?  Or them diapers, which I wish I'd been wearing when I was reading In and Out of the Bubble.  You may think me heartless, making light of a post entitled "I am having an affair, I think..."  Mae Rae, just so you know, I don't judge you.  You and your torrid affair.  I'm just warning you -- he gets around.  In showers, on kitchen floors... He gets down and dirty, girl.  You just don't know where he's been!  Please, be safe.  Wear gloves.

So maybe you're feeling a little like James Cameron or Avatar at the SAG Awards right now.  I don't have an award for you, but I can hook you up with a way to get some pretty cool swag!

Amber at What the french, toast? clued me in to a giveaway that you and your BFF should enter.  Go check it out at Elephantine, where you can win a set of two necklaces!  And if you win and you're having trouble deciding which of your besties should wear the other necklace, I will be happy to accept it and just put an end to the agonizing decision-making process.  You can thank me later!

Mandi, the Capitol Heights Mommy, is celebrating having 50 (now more!) followers by having her first-ever giveaway!  I LOVE the prize -- an apron from Flirty Aprons!  I love that name!  I think wearing one of those would actually inspire me to get in the kitchen and cook something!  Or else I'd just wear it while serving pizza...

And last but certainly not least, Robin at Mass Hole Mommy has a review and giveaway for a precious Charm Factory bracelet!  Just in time for Valentine's Day!

If you're STILL in a clicking mood, and maybe you're feeling generous and you want to help someone else win something, vote for Christy's blog for Best Disney Wedding Blog.  You have to scroll down a bit to get to their section, but I know a lot of you are fans of Disney and will enjoy looking at these pictures, and probably wish that you could re-do your own wedding to add mouse ears and pumpkin carriages!

Happy Monday, people!  Hope it's an I-don't-have-to-run-day for you!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Note to Self: Haunted Refrigerator Edition

  • Your refrigerator probably isn't really haunted.
  • It sure is noisy, though.
  • It sounds like there's someone something inside of it.
  • It also sounds like it's going to the bathroom.
  • You don't remember it making this much noise any other time.
  • It decides to pump up the volume when The Husband is out of town.
  • Just like in the shower, when you are SURE you hear things from the bathroom window.
  • At least you don't scream every single time something scares you.
  • Most times, but not every single time.
  • Like when playing Hide And Seek with your daughters, and your oldest one finds THE best hiding place.  Ever.
  • And jumps out of said hiding space to scare the living snot out of you.
  • And you scream bloody murder.
  • And then she laughs.  And laughs.  And laughs.
  • And laughs some more.
  • The fish in the tank also get in on the action.
  • Don't worry, they probably can't really jump out.
  • But the cover on the tank DID move when that one fish jumped.
  • The fridge and the fish aren't out to get you, though.
  • Your oldest daughter is still laughing.
  • She is out to get you.
  • Good thing she's cute.
  • She gets that from The Husband.
  • He's cute when he talks about the "Kamikaze Coon" that jumped out at his car on his way to the airport.
  • It takes skill to be cute when talking about the untimely demise of a forest creature.
  • Now that he's home, the noises will probably all go away.
  • Except for the laughter. 
  • Because you just told The Husband about your massage.
  • The End.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Trust me, there are no tense muscles there.

The Husband really spoiled me at Christmas this year.  First, he got me a new Bible.  I actually got that gift a little early because Big Sister couldn't contain herself and told me about it.  So he showed it to me and asked me if it was the right kind, because he knew I wanted something specific.  I had to tell him, no, I wanted the New Living Translation, so he went and got me another one, but it was the LARGE PRINT edition, and I asked him if he knew that I was turning 34, not 84.  So when I left to go shopping for his gift, he handed me the Bible and asked me to please pick out the translation I wanted with the correct-size print.  So I did.  And it's really pretty!  Then The Husband wrote a little inscription at the front, and that made it even better.

The Husband also got me a Snuggie.  I will admit that I was not a Snuggie fan when they first came out.  But one night, we were at Bible study and I was cold (which happens often, anywhere I go), and I borrowed a blanket from the hostess.  When the handout for the evening was passed around, and I had to get out from under the blissful warmth of the blanket, I said, "Oh, now I get Snuggies!"  I love my Snuggie.  I'm not going to wear it to any sporting events, but I still love it.

I was so happy with my new Bible and my new Snuggie.  The Husband had done good.

He wasn't through, though.  The day after Christmas I had some returns and exchanges to do, and as I was leaving The Husband asked if I wanted to borrow his fleece jacket.  "No," I told him, "it's too big."  He shook his head and asked me to try it on.  I politely declined, trying to get on my merry way, but he insisted.  So I tried it on. 

And there was a large box in one of the pockets, containing a fancy gift certificate for a 50-minute massage at a local spa.

I love The Husband. 

I have gotten massages before, but only once have I been to this spa in particular, and it was 7 years ago.  I went for massages to get my back worked on, I felt that the spa was more for pampering and relaxation.  Relaxing doesn't come easy to me.  One time when I got a massage, the girl kept telling me to relax.  I told her I was!  She said, "Do you feel how your arm is up?"  I said yes.  She said, "I let go about 30 seconds ago."  Oops. 

So, as I walked into the dimly lit room with a rock fountain and soothing music, I was taking deep breaths, telling myself to enjoy it.  Somehow, some way, I'd earned these 50 minutes of peace and quiet with someone kneading the stress out of me.

It started well.  I laid on my back and she placed a mask over my eyes and began the treatment.  Nice.  I know I almost fell asleep.  I tried really hard to keep myself awake, though, because I was scared of snoring.  Or feeling so relaxed that my body would emit a decidedly unladylike sound.

Then it was time for me to turn over, and I was feeling so good.  I was eager for her to work on my back, because I knew that was where I needed it the most.  After a spending a little time on my neck and shoulders, she started on my back and it was everything I had hoped it would be!  The upper back, the middle back, the lower back...

That is NOT my back!!

I am pretty sure any tension that had melted away returned as soon as she made contact with my backside.

Now, maybe you're someone who gets massages on a regular basis and this is not new to you, but I promise you that someone putting their hands on and, furthermore, massaging my derrière was NOT something I had expected!  I've had massages before!  No one has ever gone there!  Is that really needed?!

And, besides that, was it necessary for her to repeat the process??  I mean, I can be honest.  There isn't much to my backside in general -- it basically looks like I am all leg.  What is there isn't muscle, though, it's fat, and it seems like she could've figured that out the first time around and moved back UP to the areas that actually needed concentrating on!

I realize I am more than likely overreacting to this, especially if this is a regular factor in a massage.  And I know she didn't really spend all that much time there.  But, However, I was not prepared for it.  Not at all.

I guess if I go back, I'll have to mention to whoever does the massage that they can skip the gluteus maximus area altogether.  No ifs, ands, or butts about it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It IS awards season, you know...

I'm up at the podium, wearing my finest (t-shirt and jeans), my hair in a carefully sculpted up-do (ponytail), and everyone wants to know where I got my shoes (maroon fuzzy socks -- they were a Christmas gift one year from my mother-in-law).  It's an honor, really.  Not to receive just one, but two, awards.  *sniffle*  I want to thank all the little people.  Well, and all the big people, because I'm pretty short, so there aren't many that are smaller than me.

A special thanks to Mass Hole Mommy, for honoring me with the Lemonade Award back here.  I hope that means she thinks I'm sweet... Yes, she said she hearts me.  She really hearts me!

I have found some sweet blogs myself.  Here are some that I've enjoyed reading recently that I am passing this along to...

* Dee at Barefoot Bath and Body, mostly because she is sweet, and you will see just how sweet in the future. 

* Capitol Heights Mommy, writing about the journey of a recovering perfectionist.  I am POSITIVE that there are many moms who can relate to that... MANY.

* And last but not least, I've Become My Mother.  I'm new to her blog, but I followed her immediately.  She may be offering me a glimpse into my future in parenting.

On to my second award, handed to me by Kim...

Don't be jealous. 

Okay, maybe be a little jealous.

I bet some of you are thinking of blogging just so you can get this award now.

Let me know if you do.  Until that time, first check out the Chuck Norris-ism I must post to accept this award...

When Chuck Norris does push-ups, he isn't pushing himself up.  He's pushing the earth down.

Chuck is now being passed along to:

* Speaking From The Crib.  Not only is she highly entertaining, but I have found other highly entertaining blogs to read through her Top Blog of the Week.  Which is how I found...

* Fat Mom Blog.  Because I think the only thing tougher than actually losing weight is being so bold as to write about the process.

* And the final Chuck goes to... A Fabulously Good Life.  I mostly like to just be entertained when I read, which I am when I read her.  But she also makes me think, and that's a good thing.

Oh... Oh, the orchestra has started playing (naptime is over).  Thank you! Thank you!  I love you all (my readers and everyone on my blog roll)!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

As a matter of fact I AM batting my eyelashes at you.

I am on a quest for the perfect mascara.  And the perfect mascara would leave my lashes looking something like this:

For the record, those are the full, thick, sweeping lashes of my 6-year-old daughter.  Her 3-year-old sister wouldn't pose for me, but her lashes are, of course, gorgeous as well.  The Husband's too. 

It just ain't fair.

So when BzzAgent had a campaign for L'Oreal's Lash Boosting Serum and Mascara, I jumped (or clicked) at the chance to join. 

I bet some of you are unfamiliar with BzzAgent.  Read more about why you might want to be a BzzAgent here.  I'll give you Reason #1 -- it's free.  I heard about it from my sister, so I signed up (for free).  I filled out some info about myself, did a few short surveys, and the next thing you know I was getting samples of products, tons of coupons, and often samples to share (did I mention it was all free?).  I still use the Pledge Multi-Surface I got.  (I'm not sure how long ago that campaign was... I think I need to dust more often...)  The whole point is to spread word-of-mouth on products, and for BzzAgent to be able give feedback to the companies that make the products.  So that's why I'm doing this.  Well, and this time in particular, as part of my quest for the perfect mascara.

Anyway, I signed up for this L'Oreal campaign, and I received the Concentrated Lash Boosting Serum and the Double Extend Lash Boosting Mascara.  (Full-size.)  The mascara has a "nourishing basecoat with serum" on one side that you put on beneath the "ultra-lengthening" topcoat.  Then you put the serum on by itself at bedtime.    The serum is supposed to improve lash health.  (I didn't know I needed to be worried about the health of my lashes, but apparently this is an issue.)  The serum is meant to make your lashes appear fortified, nourished and strengthened.  The mascara suggests that it "visibly lengthens natural lashes up to 80%.  With daily use, lashes appear longer, thicker, fuller."

BzzAgent and L'Oreal both suggested using this routine for 4 weeks to see a difference.

So for 4 weeks, I have only used these products on my lashes, as instructed.  I won't go outside to get the mail without makeup, so putting on my face every day wasn't a huge issue.  Remembering to use the serum at night was more of a challenge, but I was dedicated.

My main concern as I began was whether or not the serum in particular was going to irritate my eyes and/or my contacts.  I knew the products were "opthamologist and allergy tested," but I was still a little hesitant.  I'm happy to report that my eyeballs and my lenses are in the same condition as they were when I started. 

Here are some stats from L'Oreal's site regarding what their test results were, and these women were discussing how their bare lashes looked:

  • 71% said, "It seems I have more lashes."

  • 75% said, "My lashes seem thicker."

  • 78% said, "I have less lash loss during makeup removal."

  • 81% said, "My lashes seem to be in better condition."
I fall into the last category there -- I do think my lashes are in better condition.  But.  Can you see a difference?  You tell me:

BEFORE (bare lashes): 

AFTER (bare lashes):

I keep scrolling back and forth... I think they are a teensy weensy bit longer, but I don't know that I notice anything else.  If I were just glancing, except for the earrings in the first image, I'd say they could be the same picture.

As for how the mascara worked, here are my lashes with the mascara on them, at the beginning and end of the 4 weeks.  Are they longer? fuller? thicker?

DAY ONE (with mascara):

END OF 4 WEEKS (with mascara):

I notice a little bit more sweep in the second picture.  I think they do look nice in general, though!

While I didn't get the effect I was personally going for, I liked how the mascara worked -- I just didn't think that it went beyond anything I've already tried.  I will probably continue to use the serum until it's gone because I do notice a difference in my lashes and I'm curious to see if there will be any further improvements.  Especially using my other mascaras, to see if the "new and improved" bare lashes make a difference with them. 

Will I buy this product again after they run out?  Hmmmm... Depends on what kind of coupon I have.  The suggested retail price for the serum is $14.95.  For the mascara, $12.95.  It looks like they'll also offer a starter kit that includes both products for $24.95.

So what do you think?

And do you have a mascara that you love?  Don't hold out on me!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Making a Scene at Church

Are you here from Speaking from the Crib?  *wave*  Hi!

Used to be that our church would put on a big ol' Easter pageant every year.  So every year, I would get out my brown leather sandals and spend a couple of months rehearsing and then spend a weekend being Roman Woman #3, or Mother of Dead Girl (don't worry, she came back to life), or even Pilate's Wife. 

We also did those powerful evangelical productions, the kind where several brief scenes show all the characters going through their daily routine, each character decides whether or not he or she is going to accept Jesus, and then, scene by scene, they all die.  And then they're at the pearly gates, and some get brought up to Heaven, while others are carried kicking and screaming to Hell. 

I went to Hell so many times.  My screams of terror were totally for real though -- the guys dressed as demons were always wearing those "Scream" masks, and they freaked me out.

It was always fun, though.  So much fun.

I remember during a rehearsal for one of our Easter productions, the man playing John the Baptist was doing his thing in the wildnerness, calling the Pharisees "sons of snakes!"  Right when he said that, several of us threw rubber snakes up on the stage.  He didn't miss a beat, and went right on hollering at those Pharisees.  Impressive.

Another time during a rehearsal, most of the cast was in the audience watching a very moving part.  The man playing Jesus was actually on the cross.  He looked uncomfortable.  He wasn't acting, though.  The cloth around his waist was starting to slip.  He was wearing shorts underneath, so I'm not sure why he was trying so hard to keep the cloth up, but he certainly was making an effort. Nobody wanted to laugh, but the more he squirmed, the more the cloth slipped.  Then it dropped altogether and he was stuck up there in his khaki shorts.  Then... Then the woman playing Mary the Mother of Jesus ran up and stuck a dollar in the aforementioned khaki shorts.  (That woman may or may not have been my sister...)

Another Easter pageant came along, and this time I was playing Mary the Mother of Jesus.  During an actual performance, we got to the scene where Jesus was on the cross, and my job was to fall at the foot of the cross and sob.  I gave it my all.  It was the job of the guy playing John the Disciple to come and pull me away, comforting me -- and he had to work at it, because a) I was not the lightweight I am now and b) I really got into my character.  He put his arms over me to pull me up, and totally grabbed my boob.  Worse yet, he was a student, and he almost dropped me when he realized what he'd done.  He kept whispering, "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry!  I'm sorry!  I'm so sorry!"  I hid my laughter in my sobs.  Poor kid.

Then we didn't do Easter pageants anymore, but we did do a Memorial Day production.  During the dress rehearsal, I was in the baptismal dressing room with another woman in the cast, and we were putting our makeup on.  And talking.  We were just talking about girl stuff.  Then I noticed a tattoo on her shoulder and asked about it.  Then somehow we got to talking about bras.  We talked about our sizes.  I mentioned how I'd found the best bras at Frederick's.

We kept talking our girl talk, and suddenly there was a pounding at the door.

"VANESSA!" we heard someone holler.  "TURN OFF YOUR MICROPHONE!!"

Oh. Crap.

The entire conversation was not broadcast to the entire choir rehearsing in the worship center, thankfully.  However.  Apparently those in the sound booth were able to hear it.  Who was in the sound booth?  Our music minister.  The drama director.  And two sound guys who put the conservative in conservative Christian.

Now, I don't know if they necessarily all did hear it, mostly because I avoided eye contact with them for several days weeks months after it happened.  And with the exception of the drama director who did make a comment about it later, the men were all gentlemen who wouldn't have mentioned it.

But still.

You know... We haven't had another production since that Memorial Day one.  Do you think that's a coincidence?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Note to Self: Business Time Edition

  • You might want to warn Kim -- this may or may not be bleach-worthy. 
  • But she's been asking for it.   
  • Yes, she has. 
  • She has referenced The Pizza Law in comments and on Facebook. 
  • You don't know what the big deal is. 
  • You and The Husband established this Law. 
  • The Law states that if pizza is consumed, sex must be had. 
  • This Law was established in part due to Kerry McCloskey and her book, The Ultimate Sex Diet.  
  • Best. Diet. Ever. 
  • Even if no weight is lost.
  • Also, Jeff and Debby McElroy's Marriage Tune Up Conference encourages creativity when it comes to the intimacy stuff that makes Winn and Kearsie uncomfortable.
  • The Pizza Law is creative.
  • And ingenious, as the punishment is the crime.
  • Ingenious.
  • It also assists you in your goal to not relate to this song:

  • You should tell people not to play that at work probably.
  • Or around kiddos with sharp ears.
  • Because even if they have no idea what it means, you don't want to hear your kid going around singing, "It's bizne-hess... It's business time."
  • You definitely shouldn't do these so late at night.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Stay Puft Marshmallow Mama

This is a picture of me from earlier this month.  I show you this because I am vain, and because I do not want you to look at the photos that will follow and have them burned in your brain.  And I really, really like the sweater I'm wearing in it.  And that I only paid $4.98 for it.

If you do not have children yet but are planning to, I suggest you look away.  This could scare you childless.

Today is Li'l Bit's birthday.  My girls' birthdays often remind me of everything I went through when I was pregnant with them.

75 pounds and 5 sizes.

I have often described myself as looking a little like this when I was pregnant:

No one believes me.

Well, those that saw me when I was pregnant believe me.  But no one else does.

I offer into evidence...
Exhibit A.  August 2003.

I don't know if the picture really does me justice, but that's almost 200 pounds of love right there.  (For the record, I am not quite 5'4".)  I gained 65 pounds when I was pregnant with Big Sister.  During my first trimester, even the sight of the golden arches made me ill.  But once I got around to Week 14, my love for all things drive-thru returned, and I would call The Husband and ask him to pick us up something on his way home.  Or I would eat most of a chicken pot pie -- the type that could serve four and you could still have leftovers from.  Or I would eat an entire can of black eyed peas.  I ate for two, that's for sure.

After I had her, I eventually got back to my pre-pregnancy weight (thank you, breastfeeding).  Even at my pre-pregnancy weight, though, my pre-pregnancy clothes weren't fitting me the same.  My body had changed.  I decided I would do something about that, and I started working on it.  I think I started drinking diet sodas about that time.  The Husband and I were much more careful about what we ate, and fast food really took a backseat.  Then I was asked to be in two weddings in November of '05 and March of '06, and I kicked things up a knotch.  I started walking and exercising at home at night.

I danced a little jig in the dressing room when I bought a pair of jeans that had a single digit size.  I got to a weight I'd only seen in passing as I went through my late teens and early 20s.

Then I got pregnant with Li'l Bit. 

Surely things would be different!  I was eating better!  Running around after Big Sister!  More active!

Exhibit B.  December 2006.

Again, this is me teetering on the edge of 200 pounds, as well as a staircase.  I look a little less poofy because I didn't have preeclampsia the second time, and I also I didn't have to buy flip flops a size and a half bigger than my regular size to wear.  But I gained around 75 pounds.

Please don't say, "But you were pregnant!"  I will roll my eyes at you.  There, I just did it anyway, because I know someone said it.  First, there had to be something I could've done to keep from gaining that much weight.  Second, I did not have 65 and 75 pound baby girls, so most of that weight remained settled comfortably on me for a while after having them.

The weight is gone, but those girls left their marks on me.  Stretch marks.  And stretched skin.

Do I mind?  Not so much.  Nope, I'm never going to wear a two-piece (not that I ever did anyway).  I will forever buy bras that have "shaping" or "lightly padded" in their description.  But I'm okay with that, because those little skin stretching body snatchers bring me more joy than any size or any weight ever could.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Man of the Month Club

So The Husband and I listen to a contemporary Christian radio station 99.9% of the time, and this particular station has a contest where they announce a Woman of the Week.  Listeners can submit stories about women in their lives who have made an impact on them in some way, and then the station chooses one for this title.  This is done, you guessed it, weekly.

One day when we were in the car together and heard one of their announcements, The Husband wondered aloud, "Wonder why don't they do a Man of the Week?"  Good question, Baby.  Good question.

Being the copycat that I have admitted I am, I am taking their idea and tweaking it.  It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you a little series I'm going to call...

(My unoriginality extends to titles, too.)

And this month, the title goes to... I know you're on the edge of your seat... Who could it be???


I know I brag on him a lot, but I'm not going to apologize for it because I love him and we should brag on our men sometimes!  No, he is not perfect, but nobody is, so why bother pointing out the imperfections?  I'd rather focus on his awesomeness.  I mean, just over his "vacation" the week after Christmas, he gave me a LONG morning to sleep in, took the girls and me to a movie, he kept me sane during a difficult day at Sea World and let us stay late just so I could see the ice skating show, AND he painted the girls' bedroom while I went shopping on New Year's Day.  Oh, and cleaned our shower.  And mowed the lawn.  And changed the rest of the light bulbs in the house to the energy efficient kind, except in our bathroom where I think they'd just look funny. 

The Husband does much of our grocery shopping -- we either all go together, or he goes on his own.  Or sometimes, he'll take one or both of the girls. 

A couple of years ago, he took the girls with him to an outlet mall.  On BLACK FRIDAY. 

He has never complained about carrying a pink diaper bag.

He cooks.  He cleans.  He's handy around the house, but he also knows when to ask someone else to help him.  He will read instructions and he will ask for directions.

He does all that stuff without breaking a sweat.  On my darkest days, I wondered what he even needed me for.  He can do it all, and he can do it well.  I carried these baby girls, I delivered them, I nursed them -- but he seemed like he could take it from there.

But he has let me know that he needs me.  And I need that.

So, congratulations to The Husband, the inaugural Super Man of the Month!  Since he doesn't read my blog, I will inform him of this honor personally when he gets home from work.  He can claim his prize after the girls go to bed.

What about YOU?  Do you think your husband deserves this title?  Do you want to see his name in lights?  Or, at least, be able to talk him up and have it put here for all to see?  Then tell me about him!  Drop me a line at baptistness(at)gmail(dot)com -- you can tell me a specific story that illustrates his awesomeness, or just tell me how amazing he is in general. 

I will post one story a month, and you can tell all your friends and family that your man is SUPER MAN OF THE MONTH!  (Don't forget to send the link to your mother-in-law!)

And, for now, that's all I can offer -- bragging rights, Baby.  It's up to you if you want to present your husband with an award personally. 

We hear a lot about husbands doing some craptastic things, and I would love to have a part in showing that there are still some fantastic men out there! 

Wanna help?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Note to Self: Gassy Dog Edition

♥ You have received another award from Kim!
♥ It has the words "dog fart" in it.
♥ She also dared to mention WD40 and Pizza Night, which means you should write about them.
♥ Which means Kim will bleach her eyes.
♥ Knowing that, she would still walk through a roomful of dog farts to read your blog.
♥ That's some bloggy love, right there.
♥ You know all about doggy toots.
♥ The Great Dane you had, Maggie, she had some odorific ones.
♥ She could clear a room.
♥ Maggie was a good dog, but you don't miss her or her stank all that much.
♥ But now you are remembering her fondly, thanks to this award.
♥ And now, you will happily pass along this award as happily as Maggie passed her gas to...
♥ Mass Hole Mommy -- you may be each other's Bizarro, but it's all good!  She even allowed you a guest post!
♥ Sounds Like Tomatoes -- even though the Queen would never say "dog farts."
♥ WendiWinn -- she likes Slim Jims.  She can handle canine gas.
♥ Too Many Hats -- she's an inspiration!  And you might get some menu ideas from her on Mondays, score!
♥ Coffee, God and Me -- a new one you're excited to be reading, because you guys have the same quest.
Mommy's Heart -- you would read her because each time you do, you hear her precious Southern accent in your mind, and that makes you smile.  Even through dog farts.
♥ And also, How to Survive Life in the Suburbs -- you and about a zillion other people would probably pass through a roomful of gassy dogs to keep read her.
♥ You could go on and on (and on) with the blogs that you would walk through smelly doggy gas to read -- as evidenced by your reader list.
♥ This is a good start.
Happy reading, and Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's so hard to say good-bye...

I see you there, staring at me.  The snowy landscapes, the festive wreaths, the friends and family members smiling in front of Christmas trees wearing matching sweaters and probably saying, "Cheeeese!"

The thing is, it's January now, and Christmas has passed.  I just... I just don't think there's a place for you here anymore.  I know, I know, you really do add something to the bar in front of the kitchen sink, and you're doing a fantastic job of decorating the refrigerator, but the thing is... I have to dust that bar.  And, on the fridge... Well, soon there's going to be Valentine's Day artwork to showcase.

Please, don't cry.  I've really enjoyed the time we've had together, I have!  It's been fun to walk by and receive your season's greetings every day!  And, remember, there's always next year.  The faces will be a year older, the babies will have grown, I'll shake my head in awe at how big so-and-so has gotten.  The Husband will absentmindedly nod when I show you to him each night.  The Girls will ask who each and every person is a couple of hundred times.

And then Christmas will pass again.

And then we'll have this conversation again.

Don't be afraid.  Your job is done, and you served your purpose well.  Besides, I think in your case, I believe in reincarnation.

Thanks for the memories, Christmas cards.  See you next year!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'm not a library book, but you can still check me out.

So I figured since I have some new neighbors (readers), I would tell you a little about myself.  I lured you in here with a clever title (thanks, Winn), and now as your eyes peer down at the images, your interest is piqued, is it not?  And even moreso now that I used the word piqued.  You know it.

What do you need to know about me?  I'm Vanessa.  Next month, I will officially be in my mid-30s.  I am not scared of 34.  34 is a good number.  It's good on my bra, it's good on my hips.  It's gooood.

I am a SAHM.  If you sounded that out and you're wondering what a sahm is, that stands for stay-at-home-mom.  I have two girls, one is 6 and the other is almost 3.  I love my girls.  LOVE THEM.  I don't often write about them here because... Well, look at the name of my blog.  I don't want this to ever be a true story for me, so I pay attention to other things in my life, especially...

The Husband.  I have been married to The Husband for 7 years now, and I want to keep him around for many, many more.  Many, many, many, many.  Many.  (And I typed so that there would be 7 of those.  I don't like the number 6.  I don't know why.)  Over the past couple of years, I've focused a lot on trying to be a better wife (and mom).  I read a lot of books, went to several Bible studies, etc. 

Somewhere along the way, I realized that maybe, just maybe, if I paid more attention to my relationship with God, and improved upon that, then everything else would kind of fall into place. 


What else do you need to know...  I'm kind of vain, but I'm also realistic.  I know some things are never going to change -- like the sharpei puppy look I have going on across my mid-section.  I gained 65 and 75 pounds with my pregnancies, and my stomach got BIG.  One day I will post pictures of me as the Stay-Puft Mashmallow Mama, because I know some of you think I'm exaggerating.  I'm not.  I got so big the first time, that one day when our Yorkie was a puppy, I took her out to do her business and I thought I lost her somehow.  Turns out she'd just run under my tummy and I couldn't see her.  I just kept turning around looking for her, and she just kept scurrying near my feet that I hadn't seen for a couple of months. 

So yeah, no matter how slim I am, my tummy is a mess, and it will remain as such unless I opt for some kind of surgery, and that ain't happening.  That's okay.  I have nice legs, so somehow it balances out.

I love makeup and jewelry.  I do not like getting pedicures and manicures.  I like to shop when I have money.  I love to read.  I like going to movies.  I can say the alphabet backwards pretty fast and I can tie a shoe with one hand.

So that's me.  Christian woman, wife and mother.  I am incredibly imperfect, but I'm always working on it.  Not perfection, but doing the best I can with what God gave me, and being the best of all that I am for Him.  Get it?  Got it.  Good.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Note to Self: Flying Cars Edition

  • It is now 2010.
  • You thought you would be in a flying car right now, like Lewis and Wilbur there.
  • There are no flying cars.
  • It's okay.
  • Watching Lord of the Rings is getting you confused.
  • You keep expecting Elrond to put on some black sunglasses and start calling Frodo "Neo."
  • That might mean Legolas would call Aragorn "Jack Sparrow."
  • And Merry would need to call Pippin "Hurley."
  • You miss Lost.
  • You also miss your retinas, as they were burned out when looking at the pink paint in your girls' bedroom.
  • Not really.  But almost.  That's some PINK paint.
  • The girls love it, though, so yay!
  • And you love that The Husband did all that work on his own today while you shopped.
  • While you spent at least 7 hours shopping.
  • And you did not find one pair of pants.
  • But you did have fun shopping, mostly because you had a great shopping buddy.
  • 2010 has started off well!
  • Except for the whole pants thing, but you can work on that.