July 30, 2010

Friday Fragments: WHAT is going on?!

Mommy's Idea

Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, "Heard" items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Friday Fragments are the brainchild of Mrs.4444 and you can find more at Half Past Kissin' Time.

*****

On Thursday, we received our ballots in the mail for the Primary Elections in WA. In our state, all voting is now done by mail - no more going to the polls. The only thing I don't like about it is that I will never get a little oval shaped "I voted" sticker - I think they should send me one with the ballots.

ANYHOW, I opened it up to see what we were voting on this time around and started laughing. Please see exhibit 1: Scanned ballot (thanks Justin!). Read the highlighted entries.

2010 Primary Ballot - WA District 42

WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH MY BALLOT?! First there is Goodspaceguy. Then there is Mike the Mover. Here is a screenshot of the front page of his website (click to enlarge):

Mike

I feel like a crazy person, but am also kind of excited both of these people got on my ballot.

*****

Also on Thursday, we went out to lunch at one of my favorite places in Bellingham, The Bagelry. Then we walked around, then got ice cream at Mallard Ice Cream, a local place that makes their own ice cream and often has cool weird flavors like Yerba Mate, Earl Grey, and Lavender. Today I tasted Cookies & Kremlin, which is cookies & cream but with their version of a 'White Russian' ice cream - coffee & white chocolate - and Hibiscus Mint Leaf Ice. OMG. I almost couldn't choose they were both so good. I went with the Ice because it was weird and refreshing.

*****

Justin and I got to go out last night to a movie, and we went and saw "Salt." I liked it! I am not always a giant fan of Angelina Jolie, but I really enjoyed watching her in this movie. It had a good twist. Also Liev Schrieber and Chiwetel Ejiofor are two of my favorite actors, so I was happy they were both in it.

*****

I have finally started using Firefox again after the other day I had about a billion tabs open in IE and Justin said it was taking up a lot of memory. Then I remembered the plugin for Google Reader that allows it to open up the original page right in the reader. OMG, SO convenient! Now I don't HAVE to open a billion tabs because I can just click through and comment right away. So nice.

*****

Can we talk TV for a minute? First off, this week's Psych was probably my favorite episode ever. Freddie Prinze Jr was hysterical and I think I laughed out loud about 15 times. Also, is anyone else watching So You Think You Can Dance? There were some REALLY good routines this week, choreographer Stacey Tookey was ON FIRE. Guys, I am not one to usually get all emotionally involved and cry, but I totally cried at the end of Robert & Kathryn's routine when she picked up the bag and walked away. Then Billy & Ade? Rocked it. I am having a hard time - before this Wednesday, Kent was my fav for sure. I LOVED watching his Broadway routine, I could watch him dance that style for hours. But Robert was SO good this week! And Lauren is so good! Also, I totally love Adam Shankman for his fast talking and saying "balls out" on national TV.

*****

This video hardcore made me wish I had been at ComiCon.



*****

Do you watch The Daily Show & The Colbert Report? We do. And love them. This week my favorite thing was Stephen Colbert interviewing Kevin Kline.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Kevin Kline
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News


*****

I watched the first season of The Guild online this week. It's a web series about a bunch of people who play a World of Warcraft type game together and start meeting IRL. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am looking forward to watching more. I think Felicia Day is pretty great!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!
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July 28, 2010

Yesterday ROCKED: 13 Reasons Why


It's Thursday, and today's 13 is really simple.

13 Things That Made Yesterday Awesome

1. My house was cleaner than it has ever been, including when we moved in. This is thanks in part to me, and thanks in part to my husband who literally cleaned the bathroom floor w/Clorox wipes.

2. ALL the laundry is done and put away. Of course it's perpetually building, but we do not have enough for another full load yet.

3. Wednesday night, Danny slept almost all night!! He slept from about 8 or 8:30 until about 5, then ate and went back to sleep for another 2 hours.

4. My emails were all answered before 10 AM.

5. My feedreader was EMPTY by 10 AM, including having already commented on blogs I wanted to comment on.

6. I went shopping at Trader Joes with Danny. I ended up having a 10 minute long conversation with one employee about various things including how cute she thought he was. At the checkout, the cashier bagging my groceries disappeared then came back with a boquet of flowers and said 'Congratulations Mama' and gave them to me! So. Sweet.

7. Potluck lunch at my Mom's beautiful house with all the ladies from my book club, including delicious marionberry pie and sour cherry brownies.

8. My Stepmom & 11 year old sister arriving to visit from New Jersey, seeing our house and our new little boy for the first time. Looking forward to the next 6 days with them!

9. Discovering that if we link our DirectTV account and bundle with our phone & internet, we can PROBABLY get all 3 for less than or the same amount we're paying now for only phone and internet, but get more channels and a DVR box instead of the 14 year old sattelite dish receiver we're currently using.

10. Being able to choose anything I wanted to eat for breakfast & dinner courtesy of a fully stocked fridge by my awesome husband, who went to the grocery store at 11:00 Tuesday night so that we'd have food for ourselves & our guests.

11. Sam did SO much better in the morning getitng ready to go to the babysitter, probably because we'd talked a lot about it the night before. He was actually smiling in the morning instead of crying about how he wanted to stay home.

12. Homemade Mexican food for dinner, including homemade guacamole with somehow perfectly ripe avacados my husband picked out.

13. Malibu & Coke.

What rocked your life yesterday, or this week?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants
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July 27, 2010

Picture this...

I was looking through old blog posts on my totally defunct MySpace account and came across this meme I completed a couple of years ago. It was really fun, so I decided to do it again! If you get inspired to do your own, make sure to leave a link in my comments to I can come see it.

1. Go to photobucket.com (I'm not sure why they chose this, I used flickr this time).
2. Type in your answer for each question into the PhotoBucket search bar.
3. Only use the first two pages. Choose a photo to represent your answer.
4. Copy the html and paste it here.
5. You can only answer in picture form.

1. What is your first name?

Dr. Phil & Rachael Ray bake cookies

2. When were you born?

Earthquake in Avellino - November, 23rd 1980#2

3. What kind of car do you have?

tangle my ride


4. Where do/did you go to school?

DSC_5827

5. What is your favorite color?

Blue

6. Who is your celebrity crush?

James McAvoy

7. Favorite book?

The Time Traveler's Wife

8. Favorite movie?

Inside the Jurassic Park Visitor Center

9. Favorite vacation destination or place traveled to?

Dome of St. Peter, Rome, Italy

10. Favorite dessert?

Pecan Pie from Swissbake 02

11. What career would you like to have?

Paperback Writer

12. What are you afraid of?

Juan de Fuca Trail: Suspension Bridge

13. Favorite holiday?

HALLOWEEN TIME

14. Favorite animal?

Red Panda (16,000+ Views)

15. Favorite alcoholic beverage?

Another View of the Mojito from the Villaggio Terrace from Yesterday's Post

16. Favorite food?

una vera pizza napoletana, napoli

17. Favorite season?

Springtime ...  Infinity.jpg

18. Favorite scent?

Lilacs
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July 26, 2010

"In our family, every generation gets more love than the last."

We had a good weekend. Saturday we hung out at home, and I let Justin sleep into the afternoon. Then we hung out and played Lego Batman a little bit. Saturday night I had a sleepover at my Mom's house with my sister. We drank a bit, watched "Dodgeball" and hung out. I slept until 11:00 in a bed all by myself. Sunday, Justin brought the kids over and dropped them off, then headed home for what ended up being 6+ hours to himself. My Mom, sister and I took the kids to a park/playground near Mom's house and hung out. Into the evening, my Mom read Dr. Seuss books to Sam while I held Danny. When we went home, Sam didn't fight and Danny slept in the car.

Sitting in the shade of a large Oak tree at the park, my Mom looked at me holding Danny and said

"In our family, ever generation gets more love than the last."

My Mom and I are very close. We talk about almost everything, and I know that her childhood was not the happy place that mine was. I have told her on numerous occasions that I am amazed she was able to mother my sister and I the way she did considering the examples that were set for her. My Mom is amazing, and I only hope that I will be as good a mother to my children. Not only does she care for my kids, she takes the time to nurture me even as an adult by letting Justin and I go on fairly regular date nights where we can nurture our marriage and keep our relationship strong and our home environment healthy.

When I think about my kids and the family they have surrounding them, it's true - the amount of love and care they'll be able to experience is astronomical.

In our immediate family alone, Sam and Danny have a dozen people who love them, nurture them, play with them and encourage them.

Grandma Edie & Grandpa Paul - My Mom and her husband of a year a and a half. Seriously, my kids have been blessed with some of the most amazing grandparents. Paul was so excited about Danny before he was even born, and I'm excited for my kids to have him as a grandfather. He teaches physics & calculus so I'm off the hook for helping with THAT homework, and I can't wait for the kids to be old enough for him to teach them how to play chess.

Grandma Deanna & Grandpa Rich - Sam has been having several day long sleepovers at Justin's Moms house with her and her husband for over 2 years. Last time we called to ask if he could come visit soon, he'd just randomly started talking about Grandpa Rich. He wrestles with Sam, so that's probably earned him a special place in Sam's heart.

Grandpa Harold - Justin's Dad isn't quite as playful for a 4 year old, but he tries. He loves to tell stories and jokes, and loves Sam to come outside and 'help' with the outdoor chores at home.

Grandma Helene - My stepmom Helene loves my kids so much that it almost makes me cry to think about it. She absolutely adores him, and that really gets me right in the heart.

Grandpa Bill - Sam hasn't spent a TON of time with my dad, but the time he has spent has been happy.

Aunt Lianna - My soon-to-be 12 year old sister Lianna is totally going to be the 'fun' Aunt when my kids get older. She'll probably be young and hip and Sam and Danny will love it. I love watching her and her friends play with Sam when we visit.

Aunt Kira & Joe - My sister Kira? She is going to be 'the cool aunt'. Basically she's just an awesome person and I know that having her in their lives is really going to ADD something to Sam and Danny's lives throughout both childhood and adulthood. I'm including her boyfriend Joe on the list because he is amazing with the kids - it's one of the first things I noticed about him. If someday he joins our family officially, he'll be a more-than-welcome addition!

Uncle Jason & Aunt Stormy - We don't get to see Justin's brother and his wife as much as I'd like, especially now that they have moved to Texas for a few years because Jason is stationed there for the next few years. I'll be counting down the time until they move home to Washington and we can spend more time with them.

Then we have the extended 'family' - Great Aunt Anna & Uncle Dick. Great Aunt Becky. Great Aunt Ann. Cousin Emmy. Our friends Brooke & Dave. Honestly, the world is full of people who love these kids.

Can you see it? Can you see the amount of love and caring my kids have going for them? It's so overwhelming to me it's almost hard to think about. Of course no family is perfect, but mine? It has given me the confidence to know I am able to be the best mother possible. The confidence to know that my children will ALWAYS be loved and well taken care of, no matter what happens.

Parenting will never be easy. But my family? They make sure that it's as close as it can be.
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Book It!

I can't believe it's already Day 8 of the SITS/BlogFrog 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge! I have been having an amazing time participating in this challenge so far, it's been so inspiring. I am falling in love with my blog all over again, and have found a few new blogs that I love. The task for Day 8 has to do with interlinking posts on your own blog, and the task for Day 7 was to write a link post. I'm combining the two a bit with today's post, which is all about books!

If you've hung around my blog for any length of time, you know that I LOVE to read! I've always been a reader, since I was a little kid. My Mom still has "Santa Mouse" memorized because I made her read it so many times. When I was younger I was the kid with my nose in a book, and I'd read in the car and on the school bus. These days, I don't always have as much time to read as I'd like. Lately I've found a little more time because I can read while I'm holding Danny. All it takes is a few minutes to remember why I absolutely love getting caught up in a good book.

I have a few different areas on my blog where I talk about reading. In 2008, I started keeping a list of books I read every year, and settled on a yearly goal of 52 books. It averages out to about a book a week, but there are some weeks I don't read much, and other weeks I can manage more than one! If you want to know what I've been reading lately, check out my list of books read in 2010.

I also belong to 2 book clubs, and keep a reading lists of books we've read. One of my favorite parts of book club is reading books I never would have picked up on my own. On all of my lists of books, I show my recommendations in bold. I'd love any comments or questions about the books I've read, what you thought, or if you need a recommendation for a good book!

My newest book related page at SNOTW is my Big List of Books to Read. I've been keeping a list in a notebook for the past 8 years, but I decided it was about time to share it with the world and make it digital. Some of the books on the list are ones I've wanted to read for a while, some are ones I've discovered in magazines or at bookstores. When I go to the bookstore, I often take photos of the covers of books I spot, then go through and note the titles when I get home. I haven't added all the books from my list, but about 1/2 of them are here online, and I'll probably get the other half added sometime this week.

Every so often, I run across a blog about books to read, or with book reviews. I have enjoyed Pam's blog, Screaming Mimi, and she has her very own book blog called Read, Review, Repeat. I've picked up many book suggestions over there, and would definitely recommend it! She recently added a friend who will also be reviewing books, so it's going to be twice as fun!

Another site I discovered through my twitter 31DBBB list is is Paper Dolls. This one is a blog written for kids, by kids. How cool is that? The authors are sisters who are 8 and 12 and review tween and teen books. I'm a big fan of Young Adult fiction, and I just think their blog is the cutest.

Yet another 31DBBB discovery is An Unconventional Librarian. She looks at kids books from a multicultural perspective, and her blog is a lot of fun!

One great aspect of the internet is being able to connect with your favorite authors. Two of my favorite author spaces online are Richelle Mead's blog Even Redheads Get the Blues and Orson Scott Card's online community Hatrack River. How cool is it to be able to connect and comment with the authors whose words you love?! Richelle is a local author, so it's nice to be able to see what she's up to.

So many great resources for readers are also available online. I almost died when I discovered Paperbackswap.com. It's an awesome website where you can trade books with other readers. You just post the books you want to get rid of, and pay only for postage (media mail rate) to send them to other readers who want them. Every time you send one, you get a credit to request a book from someone else. It's an amazing way to expand your reading sphere. I also recently discovered Books Are Great Gifts, which is just a fun website with a bunch of resources for people who love to read and gift books.

Are you a reader? What are your very favorite books? What kinds of online resources and refuges have you found that contribute to your love of reading?
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July 22, 2010

Friday Fragments: Blogs on the Brain

Mommy's Idea

Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, "Heard" items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Friday Fragments are the brainchild of Mrs.4444 and you can find more at Half Past Kissin' Time.

Wow, what an amazing week this has been! I have not had a ton of time for blogging, but I think I'm keeping up all right.

- On Monday, I started the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge. Created by Darren at Problogger, I'm participating in the project with a group of over 500 women at the SITS Forum on BlogFrog. In addition, I was invited a couple of days before it started to be a SITS Girls Community Lead for this project, which means I'm helping with organizing, posting the official threads, commenting, and answering questions. It's only Day 5 and it's been an absolutely AMAZING experience so far! I am loving it. I had a ton of comments on my last post, which felt great. I've been exploring new blogs, connecting with people on Twitter and Blog Frog and on Day 5 I already feel like I've learned a ton. If you're not participating in this challenge, it's not too late to join us. If you don't think now is the time, I would absolutely recommend completing this 31 day workbook at some point in the future and checking out Darren's blog.

- Sam is COMPLETELY OBSESSED with Transformers. Right now, we have four different TV series of the cartoons in our computer for him to watch. He loves them. He walks around singing the theme song all the time, which means that generally it's stuck in my head 24/7. It's interesting to see him latch on to something so much because it's the first time this has really happened!

- Sam calls his big toes his "thumb toes."

- Danny is 10 weeks old - can you even believe it?! He seems giant. When I hold him standing for too long, my arms start to get tired. He's doing pretty well, we are definitely enjoying all his smiles! I can't wait until he starts laughing.

- This week I was going through my old blog posts and reading some, and it was a lot of fun. Reading some of my old posts, like A Perfect Moment and My Future, My Hope and this post about being a mom brought tears to my eyes and reminded me why I love to write, and how much I want to get my focus back on recording a lot of the moments I'm experiencing in life.

- I am SO excited that next week my Stepmom and little sister Lianna (11 yrs old) are coming to visit from New Jersey and meet Danny for the first time! I can't wait for whatever adventures happen while they're here.

- I discovered some new blogs this week and two of my favorites are fellow moms who blog! The first is The Funsucker Chronicles. I knew I'd like it as soon as I saw the name, then when I saw her header? Hilarious! The other is 1000 Reasons I'm a Crap Mom. I like her unique take on the mommy blog. They're both funny and real, and I'm looking forward to reading them regularly!
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July 19, 2010

10 things that are just NOT okay

Today's challenge for 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is a list post. This is the perfect opportunity for me to actually write a post that's been rattling around in my head for quite a while.

Every so often, I come across something in my day that just makes me shiver with how NOT okay it is. It's something that I can't necessarily DO anything about, but that I object to actually existing in the first place. You know you have those moments too, where you sort of want to punch the face of this thing you dislike, but unfortunately it's impossible because it's not tangible. So, here's my list of 10 things that will just never be okay with me.

  1. Calvin peeing stickers/decals - Dudes. Calvin is a sweet little kid with an imaginary friend who is a tiger. WHY do you feel the need to create endless stickers of him peeing on things? I just don't get it. First off, having a sticker in public with someone peeing on something you don't like is already offensive. Then you have to take it a step further and add Calvin to the equation? It's just RUDE. It makes me sad, so please stop.
  2. Truck Nuts - If you don't know what truck nuts are, see here. Seriously? WHO decided that it was okay for people to hang a fake ball sack from their vehicle? Does it not occur to people that that is actually fairly obscene? No one would be happy if I hung a plastic va-jay-jay from my car. Seriously. Or even fake realistic boobs. A nutsack is not something I need to see in public, like, EVER. Also, what is the point? Are you compensating for something? It makes me wonder about you. It's kind of like those 'Big Johnson' shirts people used to wear. Remember those? They were also not okay, and made me feel un-necessarily uncomfortable.
  3. Pants with words across the ass - If you're shopping and see some sweats with words on the butt? Please put them back. It is never okay. If you're under 16, it's just creepy. If you're 16-25, have a little more respect for yourself. There are better ways to get attention. And if you're over 25? You're probably too old to be shopping in that section where you found those pants. So just back AWAY from the rack.
  4. Dreadlocks on white people - Perhaps you may have noticed that black people's hair has a different texture than white people's hair. It's just a reality. When you're white, you have to go to quite some lengths to get dreads, and they're not easy to get. They don't look good. You look like you have not washed your hair in... well, pretty much EVER. When I look at your head, all I can see is MATTS. The kind you'd find on an animal who's been mistreated. It's gross. I'm sorry, but it just is.
  5. When people speak in text language - Really? There is a reason that text and instant messaging use abbreviations. Because when you read OMFG, you already know what it means. It saves keystrokes. Do you know what happens when you SAY OMFG out loud? You save ONE SYLLABLE. Is it worth it? Because you sound dumb.
  6. People who use Halloween as an excuse to be obscene/slutty - I totally realize this is out of season, but it is a huge pet peeve of mine. You know you've seen them at the store. "Sexy Wizard" (read: Slutty Hermione), "Sexy Alice", sexy a million other things. At what point did Halloween become an excuse to wear lingerie in public? When did people stop being creative and trying to look like an actual character? When you dress up as sexy firewoman, you are not actually dressing as a firewoman. You are dressing up in some dude's fantasy lingerie. In the bedroom? Go for it. On the streets? Please stop. Also, that section of the store where they keep the inflatible penis costumes and weird gynecologist costumes and stuff like that? I would like it if everyone in the world could just avoid it.
  7. Mel Gibson - Dude, Mel, I'm sorry but I can't deal with you anymore. I remember watching that version of Hamlet you were in and there was this scene where you were on top of a bookcase and looked totally crazy, and I thought you were awesome in that scene. Now I realize that it was just a glimpse of what was to come. I don't know what happened, but you have gone off the deep end and you are just not okay with me anymore.
  8. When people say 'I could care less' - If you tell me you COULD care less, that means you care. I think what you are trying to say is that you couldn't care less. That means you care so little that it would be impossible for you to care less. Isn't that more what you're talking about?
  9. Ad that imply my womanhood is best expressed through fabric softener - Seriously? I can't even remember the brand at this point, but I have seen them tons of times. They're fabric softener ads that talk about how we (meaning women of course because that's who they picture in the commercials, because men don't DO laundry apparently) can express ourselves through which scent we choose for our fabric softener. Really? That is not how I define myself dudes.
  10. Facebook status updates that try to be wise - Look. I get it. You found some quote you like. Maybe you are trying to sound smart. But I hate your status update that says 'We are all in the journey of life blah blah blah' or 'Real friends are the ones who blah blah blah'. You sound like a greeting card. There is no point. I would much rather read about what you ate for breakfast this morning. Seriously. This is especially annoying if you are less than 20 years old and haven't lived your life yet. Don't talk about loving things and letting them go, or

What about you? What makes you tick? What just gets under your skin? Let it out - I want to hear it!

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July 18, 2010

Going up? The Elevator Pitch

Today is the day we kick off the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge with 400 wonderful ladies at the SITS Forum on BlogFrog! I'm so excited to challenge myself this month with really thinking about my blog and how to reconnect with my writing.

The task for the first day of the challenge is to create an elevator pitch for your blog. An elevator pitch is a short, consise description that can be used for many purposes including your tagline, about page, social networking profiles, business cards and conversation.

When I sat down to start working on my elevator pitch, I knew some work was ahead of me. Writing a description for my blog means I have to actually KNOW what my blog is about first! My focus here is definitely something I've struggled with, but I think I'm finding it again.

I'm trying to focus on what I want my blog to be rather than what I think my blog SHOULD be. the bottom line is that I created this place for myself. I love writing, and it's something that's been a part of me for as long as I can remember. When I build community and make connections and friends here, I want it to be based on a piece of myself that I've shared with people here. I want it to be true, authentic, and full of heart. This place is a part of who I am, and a really important one at that. Being a mother and wife is wonderful, but being here? It helps me remember myself in all of it. Through my blog, I am exposed to women who are similar to me, and women who are very different. I remember to count my blessings and remain grounded when I read other blogs. I experience joy and heartache, and can channel my energy into remembering to lift other people up. Just by participating, I feel lifted myself.

So, here is MY elevator pitch for Scientific Nature of the Whammy:

Scientific Nature of the Whammy is a sanctuary where I nurture my spirit by letting out the words that fill me every day. It's a place that allows me to remember who I am and share it with the world through all life's ups and downs. As a mother, I nurture my children every day. As a wife, I nurture my husband. I write to explore my moments of happiness, heartache and hope. I blog to share those moments with others, then gain the privilege of experiencing the same moments from other people whose blogs I love. This is where I nurture myself and build connections and community that lift me up and make living life a joy.

In addition, I've changed my tagline to more accurately reflect what I do here. My old tagline was "Seeking the silver linings behind life's whammies." One reason for that tagline was that I felt I needed to tie in the title of my blog to the tagline. I realized while completing this task that they don't HAVE to be so closely tied together. My title is certainly quirky, but I shouldn't let those words limit my description of what my blog is about.

If you're interested in writing an elevator pitch for your blog, my suggestion is to sit down and just start writing! When I sat down, I felt nervous because I had no idea what my pitch would be. I found that by just starting to write about what my blog means to me, I was able to come up with a new tagline for my blog, and an elevator pitch, within 10 minutes!
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July 14, 2010

A Better Blog? Coming Right Up!

There are many reasons I decided to participate in the SITS Problogger 31 Days to a Better Blog Challenge.

Because my feedreader isn't full enough already, and I wanted to add some more people. Because I don't have enough to do with a newborn and a needy toddler. Because I don't already get hundreds of twitter updates a day on my phone.

Okay, those aren't really the reasons. I decided to do it because I've been a little out of the blogging community. I haven't been roll calling at SITS like I used to, and haven't been too involved in forums and discussions. And I miss it.

I decided to do it because I know I am a good writer, but sometimes it doesn't come across. I want my blog to be a little less all-over-the-place, a little more together. I want people to READ what I'm writing because it's who I am, and it connects me with people sharing who they are.

I decided to do it because I love to write, I absolutely love it. It's something I want to share with as many people as I can.

I decided to do it because with the coupon code, how could I justify NOT buying the workbook?! It's something I'd see online and pass by because it costs money. Instead, this time, I decided that I'm worth it!

I decided to do it because I felt inspired and excited at the idea of it, and that is almost enough right there!

So, what am I hoping for? More readers = more connections = more online community. Honing my writing skills. Writing some really good stuff. Learning how to make my blog better! I love blogging, and I can't wait to share the next month with the 200+ other ladies (and gents) taking the challenge! I am excited to see how we all interpret it and celebrate our triumphs together!

It's not too late to join us! I'm sure that there are dozens of reasons people are doing it! Nirvana Mama lists 10 right here, my favorite of which is definitely this one: "Because if someone asks you what you did this summer, instead of saying, “I organized my closets,” wouldn’t you rather say, “I followed my blogging bliss,”? (If this isn’t TRUE, we can never be friends.)" Just click the image above, and visit the forum at Blog Frog. You can sign up there and get all the information you need!

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July 13, 2010

2 Months - 7 Years - 31 Days

Danny is 2 months old. He had his 2 month well baby checkup yesterday and he is 11 lb 0.5 oz and 22 3/4 inches long. At his 2 month old checkup, Sam was 11 lb 1 oz and 22 1/2 inches long. They are EXACTLY the same size. It's weird. My Mom came over today and brought with her 2 pictures she'd printed out and put in a frame of Sam & Danny, both at 2 months old.

DSCF2792

IMG_4386

Sam had more hair, and his eyes are lighter now, but they were still darker at 2 months.

Yesterday was also Justin & my 7 year wedding anniversary.

36 Rachael Justin

There are about a billion things I could say about that. But it can all be summed up in what I told Justin the other night, after we'd had a little bit of a difficult day with a sick and whiny 4 year old and a 2 month old who wouldn't stop spitting up. I'm glad we're married. I can't wait to have adventures together. Even when things are hard, I love our life.

On Monday, I will be starting Probloggers 31 Days to a Better Blog program along with about 150 other people from SITS, using Blog Frog to connect! I am really excited about it and can't wait to get back to being really involved here.

Now I am going to go lay down. My Mom is here playing outside w/Sam and Danny's napping and my throat, eye, and ear hurt.
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July 9, 2010

I am too braindead to come up with a title for this week's Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, "Heard" items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Friday Fragments are the brainchild of Mrs.4444 and you can find more at Half Past Kissin' Time.

- Justin has a tattoo on his wrist that says 'relax' in Chinese. He got it when he was in China. This morning, Sam told him that the language his tattoo is in is "Kai-Lan."

- Sam spent a couple days at his Grandma's house last weekend. I love that he is only 4, but he still does sleepovers at his Grandparents', it's such a nice break for Justin and I and I'm so happy that he has such a close relationship with his Grandparents. When he got home he had a runny nose & fever, then slept very poorly on Tuesday night. Wednesday morning he was yelling and crying about his ear hurting, so we took him to the doctor. Ear infection, a cold, and pinkeye. Ah! I was happy that they didn't jump to put him on antibiotics, instead gave us the prescriptions and advised to get them filled if he got any worse in the next 24 hours (which he didn't). I have never seen anything like the way his eye looked Thursday morning. It was totally crusted shut with goop, it took Justin 10 minutes with a hot washcloth before Sam could even open up his eye. It looks much better today though, and he is feeling much better.

- One of my favorite bloggers is Megan at Newly Wed, Newly Bred. Earlier this week she woke up with the left side of her face paralyzed, and has been diagnosed with Bell's Palsy. It seems like she has been managing a pretty good attitude about the whole thing, but boy does that kind of suck! I would love people to head over to her blog and give her some love.

- Really? Nice job headline writers.


- I finished the 3rd book in Rick Riordan's "Percy Jackson & The Olympians" series and I'm totally hooked. I am totally enjoying the story!

- I am freakishly tired, and my throat hurts. I'm totally fighting off SOMETHING, I just don't know what it is. I hope it goes away soon.

Okay, I am a little boring this week, but my brain is trying to take a nap. Have a great weekend!
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July 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: The Other Brother

How can an ice cream cup possibly be so messy?!

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Later, after the sugar wears off...

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For more Wordless Wednesday photos, click here.
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July 5, 2010

Hypnobirthing: My Experience

It's been a while since I posted my first post about HypnoBirthing, but I wanted to finish the series even though I have already had my baby (he's 8 weeks old today - can you believe it??).

I took my HypnoBirthing class from an amazing woman who is a friend of my family and a doula, and has been teaching childbirth classes for many years. In Bellingham, HypnoBirthing classes are available through the local technical college.

It made me happy at the 1st class to find that out of the 9 couples, 6 were having their first baby and had found this class and were making an effort to have a great experience. I know that when I had my first baby I'd never really heard of HypnoBirthing and took the class at the hospital. It was okay, and did provide some information, but I found that taking this independant class, even the non-HypnoBirthing topics (like stages of labor, knowing when you're in which part, breastfeeding etc.) were taught in much more detail.

In her book, Marie Mongan, founder of HypnoBirthing, says:

"Many couples find that the months of preparation in relaxation benefit them in the way they deal with day-to-day situations and have a positive effect on how they interact with each other. A mom who was in one of my classes said, 'I came to HypnoBirthing to learn how to have a baby, and I leanred how to have a life.' It's that powerful if you learn to utilize it."

I found this to be true, I found that I was able to use the relaxation techniques I'd learned not only for childbirth but for other situations which might make me nervous. The best example is that I used the self-relaxation/hypnosis during a visit to the dentist. My blood pressure was noticably lower than normal and I was so relaxed during my procedure the dentist kept asking if I was doing okay.

One of the things I learned in the class that I think many people don't realize about hypnobirthing is that it is not just for people who want a natural, home or birth center birth.

Another passage from Marie Mongan's book 'HypnoBirthing':

"HypnoBirthing preparation is beneficial for all families, including those who, because of genuine special circumstances, find themselves in the category of high-risk when their birthings take an unexpected turn. Should the course of birthing run differently from what was planned, and medical intervention or even surgical birth is required, HypnoBirthing enables parents to remain calm, relaxed and in control as they discuss options, evaluate the situation, and make informed decisions concerning the birthing. The attitude of relaxed calm can help make the mother's recovery easier and reduce the necessity for tmedication through the recovery period."

Only one other couple in my class was planning to deliver at our local birth center. The others were all planning hospital births. But they still saw that this method could be useful for them. Even if you're planning to have an epidural at some point during your labor, it's essential not to get it too soon because it can stall labor. HypnoBirthing could be very useful during the early stages of labor.

If you've read my birth story, you may have suspected that I didn't use the HypnoBirthing quite as I'd planned. By the time I tried putting on the relaxation CD, I was nearing transition and was unable to relax during the contractions, it happened very fast. Despite that, I still feel that taking the HypnoBirthing class and practicing with the birth affirmations affected my experience greatly. I believe that because of the classes and the information I had, and the effort I made to read so many positive birth stories, I was much more confident about my baby's birthing day before it even came. I felt empowered and confident that my body knew what to do - it certainly did! My birth experience obviously took a turn for the unexpected when I went into hard labor so quickly then delivered at home. But because of the preperations I'd made mentally, I was able to handle it.

I also believe that the HypnoBirthing class affected me in a positive way just because it got me thinking so much about my baby's birth and what I wanted for myself. It gave me the little extra push I needed to switch midwives when I wasn't completely comfortable to provide myself with a better birthing experience.

As I said in one of my previous posts, one part of HypnoBirthing is changing our perceptions. I love the idea of seeing birth as the beautiful thing it is instead of something scary or painful. This passage from the book struck me and contributed towards this confidence that birth can be wonderful.

"Traditional birthing methods teach that a first stage of labor has, by itself, three distinct segments, slowly bringing a mother's body from 0 to 4 centimeters opened, then from 5 to 7 centimeters opened, and finally from 8 to 10 centimeters opened in a transition period. We don't teach numbers in HypnoBirthing. Experience with HypnoBirthing families shows that there are really no stages to labor. Labor stages are merely chartable milestones developed as assessment tools for medical care providers. For the mother, labor is one continuum, and when the birthing mother is deeply relaxed, birth unfolds. The thinning and opening phase simply spills into the birthing phase at whatever degree that the cervix is opened, and the mom breathes her baby down to crowning, sometimes with only a few unnoticeable birth breaths, to complete the baby's emergence."

I certainly found that in laboring and delivering at home, without the doctors and nurses, things were more fluid. I never wondered what stage of labor I was in, it just progressed how it progressed. In a way, I think that not having someone tell me where I was in the process made it easier. I didn't worry about transition. Birth is such a natural thing, and I think that HypnoBirthing methods can allow you to experience it as such. One of the main goals is transforming birth from a medical experience to a natural one.

Despite the fact that I didn't use HypnoBirthing in the way I thought I would during labor, I am so glad I took the class. Not only did it affect my birth experience in a positive way, but it greatly added to the knowledge base I'm storing up about birth and how we see it in our society. I hope that one day I'll be able to work towards more positive and natural birthing experiences for more women, and this is a great piece of that puzzle. I also gained tools I can use in other parts of my life, which is always a good thing.

This is post 4 in a series about HypnoBirthing and my experiences learning the method. Why not read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3?
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July 1, 2010

It's Good To Be Back

Mommy's Idea

Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, "Heard" items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Friday Fragments are the brainchild of Mrs.4444 and you can find more at Half Past Kissin' Time.

- A few weeks ago I got to go to Seattle to see Laurell K Hamilton talk (it was mainly a 2 hour long Q&A followed by a photo op). It was a lot of fun, I went with my best friend and then stayed the night at her house. Laurell is one of my favorite authors and she doesn't seem to tour that often so it was really cool to get to see her. It was my first night away from home with Danny and I have to say that it went very well! Here is apicture of me and Danny with Ms. Hamilton!

Danny's First Author Event

- Somehow I have managed to keep up with the laundry fairly well the last couple of weeks. I'm one of those people who will let it pile up until someone is running out of clean underwear, then have like 8 loads to do at once. NOT fun. Lately I've been doing a load every time the basket gets full, which is essentially every day. Between my husband and a new baby, we have a lot of laundry. I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that it's not so easy to keep the house cleaned up, but at least it's not a huge mess... for now.

- These?

SO good. I may need to keep a stash in my fridge from now on. Also? They will be good for Weight Watchers because they're small and you can eat just one to quell your sweet tooth! If you click the picture, you can get a $1 off coupon at the Pilsbury website, plus coupons for tons of other stuff.

- I am going to dinner at PF Changs tonight w/my best friend and then to see Eclipse with a bunch of gals. I can't wait! First off, I have been thinking about Dan Dan Noodles ever since I had my baby and named him Danny. Secondly, I am excited to have my first fun night out without the baby since he was born! I've taken him to 2 movies so far (Toy Story 3 and Knight and Day) and he didn't sleep through either, so I enjoyed it but was a little distracted with bouncing and feeding him.

- Speaking of movies, Knight and Day? It was all right. I didn't think it was spectacular or anything. Although I did enjoy the Tom Cruise Running Scene. That should be trademarked or something. Did you ever notice that every movie Tom Cruise is in has a scene where he is running intensely? My favorites are The Firm and Mission Impossible 3. Know what's funny? When I was googling to make sure it was Mission Impossible THREE that I was thinking of, I found this article about the 5 best Tom Cruise Running Moments. Ha!

- We also went and saw Toy Story 3. WTH Pixar, making me cry like a baby! It all started during the extremely upsetting scene where the toys were heading toward the incinerator. Then at the end of the movie? I was DONE as soon as Andy's Mom walked in and looked at his empty room.

- Is anyone else watching So You Think You Can Dance? This season it seems like all my favorites are guys. I am not into any of the girls this time around. I especially like Alex and Jose. Alex dancing with Twitch this week? Had to be one of my favorite EVER routines on SYTYCD.

- How about Top Chef? I was kind of sad with the cut this week. Especially after she revealed that she was Psychic. I think a few more fun scenes could have come out of that little tidbit.

- This week in WTF news, I found this headline on CNN through their twitter feed. "VA Hospital May Have Infected 1800 Veterans With HIV." REALLY? Are you effing kidding me? Way to go, John Cochran VA Medical Center. Way to add another shovelful onto the steaming pile of crap that is the health/mental care we provide for our veterans in this country. Shameful.

- It feels so good to be back here and writing regularly again. We're getting a little break from Sam next week courtesy of his Grandma & Grandpa, and I am exited to spend part of that time writing.

- Oh, and this time, just one paragraph about poop instead of a whole post. As soon as that post was published, he started pooping! Of course. The new formula seems to be doing the trick and he is passing gas and pooping on his own now. Now, off to scour the web for deals, because that shit's expensive! Someone suggested Ebay and it looks like I can probably save $5-10 a can that way depending on the quantity I get. Now if I can just figure out how to get him to sleep during the day for more than 30 minutes at a time while I'm holding him...
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Cancelled Too Soon: 13 Shows I Really Miss

I'm a TV Junkie. I don't try to deny it. I love the 'fall TV preview' issue of my Entertainment Weekly more than I should. I scour the pages to see what's new, and what I can try out. But too often, the shows I get excited about have runs that are cut too short by the networks. At this point, I'm pretty good at looking at a description of a show (like Dollhouse) and knowing that it's not going to make it much past a season, if it even makes it that far. Somehow though, that doesn't keep me from watching and getting attached so I can just be that much more disappointed when the news comes that they are axed. Here's my list of the 13 TV shows I wish hadn't been canceled when they were.

Thirteen Shows Canceled Before Their Time

1. Defying Gravity - Chances are good you have never even heard of this show. It aired briefly on ABC in late summer 2009, and only 8 of the 13 recorded episodes aired on TV. I've seen all 13, and this space based drama/mystery starring Ron Livingston (of 'Office Space' fame) was just.... really good. It followed the crew of a mission into spaces that would last for years. Once past the point of no return, the crew is brought in on the secret that their mission is to recover several objects of unknown origin from different planets. The objects are affecting each of the eight crew members differently, causing hallucinations and even changes to their DNA. The balance of character development and science fiction plot was great. Even if ABC had given this show a fighting chance by airing it during the actual TV season, it probably wouldn't have lasted, and that's a shame.

2. Pushing Daisies - It's hard to express strongly enough how sad I was when Pushing Daisies was canceled. In addition to it's unique & original plot - a piemaker who owns a pie shop is able to bring dead things back to life with one touch, but only for 60 seconds or something else must die in it's place - the visual feeling of this show was different than anything I've ever seen. Ned the piemaker also deals with his employee Olive (Kristin Chenowith) who is in love with him, and the woman he loves - Charlie. But there's a catch. Ned and Charlie can't touch because he brought her back to life. If he touches her again, she will die for good. His private eye friend (played by Chi McBride who I love) uses Ned to help solve cases by interviewing the dead victims. The show only got 22 episodes between October 2007 and June 2009, and I will probably never get over this one. If you haven't seen it, it's totally worth watching on DVD despite the short tenure.


3. Dollhouse - If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I am a huge fan of Joss Whedon. I'd rank Buffy, Angel and Firefly among my favorite shows of all time. Dollhouse's 26 episodes aired on Fox between February 2009 and January 2010. It took place in a spa-like environment where people would sign away a period of years of their lives to be programmed and reprogrammed as human dolls available for rental for whatever your pleasure may be. Things start to go bad when Echo, one of the active dolls, shows skills and memories that go outside the parameters of her imprints and starts to become self aware. The show starred Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica) as well as favorites Eliza Dushku, Amy Acker and Alan Tudyk (love him!). Despite how much I loved it, I can't say I was surprised when it was cancelled, Fox loves to air shows I love then cancel them. It was a brilliant show, managed to make me laugh and surprise me and somehow touch your heart. Joss Whedon is amazingly original with some of his concepts and ideas, and it's a shame that the networks don't always give him more time to work his magic.

4. Firefly - Speaking of Joss Whedon, his Space-Western Firefly has to be one of my favorite shows of all time. It had a short run, only 14 episodes were produced and most of them aired between September 2002 and December 2002 on, you guessed it, Fox. It's almost hard to describe what this one, starring Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres and Adam Baldwin, was about. In short, they are the crew on a ship that sails the (uni)verse, Browncoats who wound up on the losing side of a civil war, but won't give up hope. This show would touch your heart while making you laugh full force, whether it's Tudyk's wide eyed humor, Torres kicking butt, or Baldwin showing major affection for his guns and other weapons. I own this one on DVD and I can watch it over and over without ever getting tired of it. It also made me a lifelong fan of Fillion, Tudyk and Baldwin.

5. Eastwick - This show based on the story of the Witches of Eastwick aired 11 episodes in Fall 2009. As the episodes aired and the stories entertwined it pulled me in and became more and more entertaining. Rebecca Romijn, Lindsay Price and Jaime Ray Newman starred as three women in the small town of Eastwick who start to discover they may have more power than they think - magically speaking! I was not attached to this one immediately, but it grew on me and by the time it was cancelled I was really looking forward to having some of the show's mysteries solved. Of course, it was not to be, and I was definitely sad to see it go.

6. Sports Night - If not for my best friend, I would have never viewed the brilliance that is Sports Night. I never heard of it when it was on, and watched the series on DVD after borrowing it from her. This amazing show follows the lives of the crew of . It aired for 45 episodes between September 1998 and May 2000 on ABC, and was where I fell in love with Josh Charles, Joshua Molina and Peter Krause. It also starred Felicity Huffman, who I really like. I seem to have a thing for shows that are amazing and funny but heartbreaking all at once, and this one definitely fit the bill. It also sits on my list of favorite shows of all time.

7. Arrested Development - You know what I like in a TV show? When it makes me laugh out loud every single episode. It's a little rare - I've found it again in 30 Rock, but it's not all that common. Arrested Development? Hit the mark every single time. It's 53 episodes aired on Fox betwee October 2004 and December 2006, and despite it's somewhat longer run, I still feel like it was gone too soon. Jason Bateman and Portia DeRossi were great in this, it gave Michael Cera his start, and David Cross is a brilliant comedian and didn't disappoint as Tobias, one of the Bluth brothers. If you've never seen this show, I'd highly recommend watching it on DVD immediately!

8. Flash Forward - Flash Forward is one of the most recently cancelled shows I loved. It aired between September 2009 and May of this year, starring Joseph Fiennes and John Cho as FBI Agents who are investigating a worldwide blackout. The show begins with everyone on earth blacking out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds, during which they view what they are doing 6 months in the future. Millions are killed and things are chaotic. As the visions are explored, the question of whether the future can be changed becomes central to the series. Also starring Courtney Vance and Dominic Monaghan, this show started out a little slow but got better and better, and by the time I viewed the last episode I was cursing the network for renewing 'V' over Flash Forward.

9. Tru Calling - Tru Calling was another Sci-Fi type victim of Fox cancellation. The show starred Eliza Dushku as Tru Davies, a medical student who takes a job in the morgue and is shocked when on the anniversary of her mother's death, a corpse asks for help and the day rewinds to a time before the person died. Tru is thrown into situations in each episode where she must figure out what happened, and hopefully prevent the person's death. If she fails, the day will continue to repeat until she succeeds. Who doesn't love time travel and Groundhog's Day-esque situations?! The show also starred Zach Galifianakis as her boss and Jason Priestly. It aired for 26 epsidoes between October 2003 and April 2005. As is too often the case with cancelled-too-soon shows, it was really getting interesting when the plug was pulled with the mystery of who exactly Jason Preistly's character was and what he was up to.

10. Eli Stone - Eli Stone managed to squeeze out 26 episodes between January 2008 and July 2009 when it was cancelled. This one starred Jonny Lee Miller as a successfully attorney who seems to have everything going for him. Then he gets a brain aneuyrism and starts having visions. Musical visions. Which sometimes involve George Michael. He changes his life and begins lawyering for the greater good while exploring himself and his relationship with his father, who just may not have been the alcoholic he thought. Natasha Henstridge and Victor Garber also starred, and this show was amazing - touching, funny, entertaining and original.

11. The Middleman - One of the few shows on ABC Family really hooked me was The Middleman, whose 12 episodes aired between June and August of 2008. It starred Natalie Morales as a 22 year old art school graduate who needs a job. She is assigned as a temp at a local lab, and during her time there she ends up meeting The Middleman, who comes and saves teh day after a botched science experiment. He turns out to be a covert agent who protects humanity from strange, unfaceable disasters. Wendy becomes his assistant and begins training to take over as the next Middleman. This show was FUNNY. Deadpan or obvious, it was all there from Wendy's sarcastic manner to the hilarious robot that works in the Middleman Headquarters with them. Unfortunately I don't think ABC Family was ever a good fit for this show, and it was axed before it had time to even really get started.

12. Reaper - Reaper's 31 episodes aired between 2007 and 2009. This was another show about an average joe thrust into an extrodinary and supernatural circumstance. Sam works at the Workbench, which is basically Home Depot in TV land. He finds out that his parents sold his soul to the devil and now he is required to start working for him as a grunt collecting souls that have escaped from hell. Along with two of his friends, he must navigate this new life while trying to reconcile what his parents did as well as figure out his relationship with his girl friend who he has major feelings for. Ray Wise was brilliant as Satan, and I loved Michael Ian Black in it too.

13. Veronica Mars - Despite it's longer run, Veronica Mars was totally canceled too soon for my taste! The story of an ex-cop private investigator and his budding investigator high school aged daughter managed 64 episodes between 2004 and 2007 when it was canceled. Kristen Bell was great in this show, and they did a really good job of having an overarching story while exploring a different mystery each season. I think the show would have developed and grown following her to college, but obviously the folks at the network felt differently.

Which TV show cancellations caused you shock or disappointment? What's your favorite show that you wish was back on TV today?

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