Friday, April 30, 2010

Marathon Madness

That title has more than one meaning. The first being that Joe is running the marathon this weekend.

I know. Nuts.

Who in their right mind chooses to run 26.2 miles?

All at one time? In a city full of hills and bridges?

My honey, that's who.

And I couldn't be more proud of him. He did it last year and his time was amazing. He finished (his first time ever running, I might add) in 4 hours and 1 minute. I was so proud! His sister Leanne and our kids and I all waitied (im)patiently for him at the finish and we were so overwhelmed with emotion when we saw him. Here's a picture our niece Meghan caught at the exact moment he passed us.

Does that look like a guy who just ran 26 miles??

He trained so hard. It seemed like he was always running, Probably because he was. But it paid off. He wasn't one of the many that were carted off the road passed out or those whose bodies just totally shut down from lack of hydration and fatigue, like this one guy's did. It was awful. He looked like Gumby. I mean, everything just stopped working. And then he collapsed. And no one saw it except the 350,000 of us on the sidelines. The officer "guarding" the course was too busy yelling at someone who dared to cross the imaginary line from the sidewalk onto the road to notice this poor guy flat out in the middle of the way--around a bend--and there were other runners coming. It was a tense few minutes. Finally, another runner came back and helped the poor guy up and walked with him to the finish. What a story he has to tell.

I don't want Joe to have that same story.

This year's training has not been as, shall we say, diligent or consistent. Between a new position at work, a new location of work, grad school, R's soccer practices and games, and these 4 crazy kids, he's had to squeeze in running when he can--which isn't often. Sometimes it's been as late as 11:00 at night.

So, prayers are accepted and sought for him for Sunday.

The marathon expo is so fun. There's just SO much energy in that place when you go to pick up your packet. One of my favorite parts? The Army guys are always there. They're so cute. And I respect them immensely. We always stop for the kids to tell them "thank you" for their service. They rewarded our thanks with 5 million giveaways for the kids. We will never be at a shortage for small rubber footballs, lanyards, or pencils. For friends and family with birthdays coming up, guess what you'll be receiving?!

While it can be so much fun at these things, it's also such a nightmare when we take the 4 crazies with us. (Those are the kids, by the way.) It is wall to wall people; strollers, runners who think they are already running a race to visit every vendor and booth, scary mascots dressed up torturing my kids by trying to talk to them...Okay, so maybe they aren't really scary. But to my kids, a 7 foot pink panther is just as terrifying as Freddie Krueger was to all of as when we were 13. Seriously. Both R and L cried their way through the first half of the expo, they were so freakin worried that this darn mascot was going to talk to them.

For any of you with strollers, you know how taxing going to a crowded event can be. Not only do I have to worry about rolling over feet and strange toes, but I also have to watch that the child does not pull everything off the rack, throw out shoes, socks, bottles, etc. And today, I had to protect myself and the childrens' heads from getting clobbered with some woman's enormous purse. She was wearing it over her shoulder, but pushed back under her arm so that it looked like a dorasl fin on one side. Do you know what I mean? It was out of her way so she could shop in peace, but it was like dodging a medicine ball. This thing didn't actually qualify as a purse, but more like a designer duffel bag.

And everywhere I went-she went.
And everywhere she went-her ginormous bag went.
Everywhere her ginormous bag went-it seemed there my kids' heads were.

People are just clueless in crowded settings like that. Not only do they insist on stopping right in the middle of the aisle, but they look at you rudely when you have to run over their feet to get past. I mean, what would you have me do? It's either leave some tread on your shoes or listen to my kid scream because the Pink Panther is 20 feet away. L was practically clawing up Joe's leg for safety.

Dick's is sponsoring the marathon again this year. I'm glad they supplied signs for the kids to color on and hold up for Joe as he runs past. Another great idea Dick's marketing department came up with?

Cow bells.
For free.
For all of my kids.

Sure, it'll be great fun to ring the crap out of them on race day, but on the way home in the van...not so much.

I think that's it for now. I'm sure there will be more after the race. I just hope it isn't me informing you that Joe ate some pavement.

Why did I just giggle as I typed that?

Friday Follow!

Cone on...join the Friday Follow party...jump on, add your link, and "follow" me....I'll follow you back!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday Snippets

I don't really have a full post today, so just gonna throw some stuff your way and see what you think about some of it...

*I just signed on to be a Macaroni Kid Publishing Mom. What's that? you ask (or who cares? We can be honest...) Wellllllll, it's a nationally recognized newsletter for parents in different areas of the country about the kiddie related events happening there. I'll include articles that are pertinent as well as sell ad space for local businesses which are kid friendly. How cool is that????! I'm so excited. If you live in my area and want to consider putting an ad in my newsletter...lemme know. The newsletter goes out a minimum of 40 times a year! This could be a GREAT way for me to make some extra money so I can continue to stay home with my babies and help other parents in the process!

*Just finished my whirlwind mini-makeover with highlights in my hair. Love them! I feel so much better with a lighter color next to my face. The past week has been so good for my self-esteem...and thusly for my marriage!

*I have a suggestion for restaurants...and I want FULL credit for this one, so if anyone chooses to use it,  beware that my posts are copyrighted! =)...I think restaurants should have an area like the Eagle's Nest. Unfamiliar with the Eagle's Nest? Giant Eagle has come up with the ingenious idea of having a childcare facility on site while you shop for your groceries! It is by far the best idea any grocery store has EVER come up with. There is an entire glass wall so you can see what they are doing at all times, and qualified mature adults on staff. So instead of fighting with 4 kids over what to buy, I only have to deal with 2! It cuts my stress by 50%! How great would it be to go out to dinner and drop the kids off at the childcare facility (which is on-site, remember) and eat your dinner in peace while the kids play...and you can see them the whole time? I know that Joe and I would gladly pay a larger tab if it means we get to 1) eat in peace 2) eat a HOT meal for once 3) have an entire conversation without being interrupted by kiddie questions, and 4) enjoy one another's company knowing the kids are having a great time. Seriously, my boys ASK BEG to go to Giant Eagle just so they can play computer games in the Eagle's Nest. Restaurateurs...are you listening?

*And finally...We still don't know exactly what the future holds for R and kindergarten. So many choices...public school, cyber school, homeschool...what to do, what to do? There are pluses to all of them. Just wanna make sure it's the best choice for ALL of us.

So that's my mid-week update. Hope everyone has a great rest of their week. I'm off to wrangle baby M out from under the desk. I think he wants me to play. He keeps ripping the mouse out of my hand by pulling on the cord!

*Macaroni Kid and Giant Eagle trademark rights belong to both companies, respectively.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Look Out Justin Timberlake...I'm Bringing' My Mom Sexy Back!

Mary The Mommyologist has so inspired me to write this post. Her new monthly meme "Mom Sexy" has struck a chord in me. I wrote a post HERE telling you about a recent shopping trip I took. Let me dive in a little deeper to tell you all the sordid details surrounding it.

For those who don't know...I have been pregnant for most of the past 5 years. I had babies in May 2005, May 2006, December 2007, and then again in June 2009. My maternity clothes were my everyday clothes for so long that most of them fell apart (no joke!) from wearing them so much. I was super bummed about it until someone pointed out that maternity clothes are designed to be worn for a few months max. Suddenly, it made sense. I had been wearing them--literally--for years!

This may be the longest stretch of time (since 2005) that I haven't been pregnant. I think everyone is waiting for our announcement any time, but there will be least I don't think so. HA!

That brings me to my shopping trip. I kept putting on the same things every time I stood in front of my closet and every time, nothing fit (or looked flattering, at least.) Those times in front of the closet were, by far, the most deflating. I obsessed with that number on the tag. If I couldn't fit into the number I wore before getting pregnant in 2005, I felt like a failure. I hated myself (and would say so to myself in the mirror over and over.)

After having the first, second, and third babies my weight yo-yo'd up and down. I would gain 30 lbs with the pregnancy-then lose 40-then gain it all back with the next pregnancy--then lose it again afterward...until now.

I am having the worst time losing this weight. I'm sure a big part of it is that I can't seem to force myself to exercise. This blog actually doesn't help since a lot of my free time is spent in this chair. That does NOTHING to improving the cottage cheesey appearance of the tush.

I have been MISERABLE the past few weeks. I have wrapped up my worth in that darn size on the tag. I started wearing only jeans, sweats, and frumpy clothes. I stopped wearing makeup and fun jewelry. I showered, but that was about it. No primping. It did a number on my head and did nothing to make poor Joe feel good. I was stuck in a rut. I daresay I was borderline depressed.

And then some things started to happen...

I made a mental shift. I say that "I" did, but I believe wholeheartedly that God heard my desperate prayers to feel attractive again. I made a decision to go shopping and buy clothes that fit me and looked nice rather than obsess over the items that were not the size I deemed the "right" size. Stacy London and Clinton Kelly would have been so proud!

Yes, it was a whirlwind shopping trip. I had all 4 kids with me and that just made it all the more challenging. I grabbed things off the rack that were bigger than I have EVER bought before. It was such a mental hurdle to get over, but I knew that I would feel so much better if the clothes actually fit then if they were the "right" size. Unfortunately, I still couldn't try on in the store, so I just bought and took them home. I was so scared to try  on for fear that they wouldn't fit and I would be devastated.

But with the first pile of items...50% fit! In school that earns you an 'F' but in my world of clothes NEVER fitting or looking nice, it was a huge victory. There were actually pieces that I said "I LOVE THIS!" when I put them on. That's a far cry from where I was the day before when I threw those cargo pants around the room in a blind rage!

I loaded the kids back in the car (I must be crazy) and off we went to the mall for exchanges. After all is said and done, I have only two things left to return/exchange. And I couldn't feel better!

My husband noticed. I actually coordinated an outfit 2 days in a row that included jewelry and makeup. I was grabbing him for playful smooches when we'd pass each other in the kitchen (what husband doesn't love that?) I feel like the fog is lifting. It's glorious!

All because I've decided that a number is not going to control how I feel and how I treat my husband. Would I love to be to my pre-pregnancy weight? Absolutely! Heck, would I love to be back to a single-digit size? You bet! worth is not wrapped up in that number.

It's been liberating. It's been freeing beyond measure.

I will get back to a lesser weight because I want to be healthy and active, not because I'll hate myself until then. I have 4 crazy kids who need me to take the best care of myself that I can. And in the mean time...the "mean time" being this insane life that we lead where someone always needs me for something and my "me time" is few and far between...I will just savor this time with my kids, do my best to eat healthy and squeeze in some exercise, and love my husband. The guy who loves me for who I am...not the size I wear.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Follow

Friday Follow

Hello Visitors!!!

Thanks for stopping by. If you like what you see here, please feel free to "follow" Make sure to leave your link in the comments section (darn Blogger doesn't always lead me back to ya) and and I will drive by your place to follow you back!

Hello, Clothing Manufacturers? I Have A Suggestion For You...

I'd like to thank clothing manufacturers from the bottom of my heart for setting me straight; for putting me back in my place.
Silly me. I had finally convinced myself that it was okay [for now] that not all of the baby weight has come off since M was born (10 months ago!) and that I am "beautiful the way I am." I had finally talked myself into going shopping and parting with some cash for clothes that fit me the size that I am instead of the size that I wish I was (or even...the size that I used to be.)

But clothing sizers,  those beacons of honesty, have firmly put my feet back on earth. Those cargo capris were so adorable on the rack. I congratulated myself for buying the next size up from what looks like it will fit me as we all know that our inner mirror sees us differently than our outer one does. (For pete's sake, my inner mirror tells me I'm still the size 6 I was in high school!)

I was bummed at the mere girth of the cargo's I grabbed off the rack, but I decided it was all worth it if I had something that fit well and made me feel good. Don't you hate when you look at something on the hanger and say, "Wow! That's gonna be HUGE on me!" only to have to squeeze yourself into it like a sausage? Yeah, me too.

Naturally I didn't have time to try on in the store for so many reasons...R was having a melt down and telling me his "tummy didn't want his legs to walk anymore." M was fussing because it was time to eat. E was screaming at me and throwing things out of the cart. Even the "big" handicapped fitting room isn't big enough for all of us, etc... So I bought them and ran home to try them on in the privacy of my own home-under kinder, gentler lighting.

I'm so glad I chose the at-home option so no one heard my shriek of horror and the subsequent sobs of humility.

I should have known by the material that I would not like these cargos on me. The fabric was paper thin. Let's just say they were very unforgiving. The rise was made for someone who has 1) never had a baby (or 4 in 5 years), 2) never eaten an extra calorie, or 3) the genes of Gisele Bundchen. That rise I just mentioned...the one that was probably only a millimeter high...created a lovely muffin top accentuated nicely by a camel toe.

So there I am looking at myself in my outer mirror-hating everything I see.

Now, let's step away for a minute to see if anyone else does what I do. When I try something on that looks unflattering, I tend to over exaggerate my movements to make it look worse. For example, I will slouch to make my gut look bigger and that just makes me angrier. Then I say some very unkind things to myself which may or may not be peppered with some colorful language. I have one friend who flips herself off in the mirror when she tries clothes on. LOVE THAT image...only because I know how she feels!

Then, I get mad, tear the clothes off and throw them around the room. My kids stare at me, unsure what's going on. Little L (my love bug) asks what's wrong to which I reply, "Mommy's fat." Then my 2 year-old daughter M says "Mommy's fat?" and I get upset all over again at her saying I'm fat!

Ha Ha. *sigh* Man I'm nuts.

But yesterday...I went shopping and bought a whole stack of things that I so hope fit and actually look nice.

I have a suggestion for clothing about helping a girl out and inventing post-maternity clothing? You know, clothes that are flattering, yet forgiving and are sized 1-2 sizes smaller than "typical" clothes. (i.e. The pants would be cut as a size 14, but the tag says 10.) It would help immensely to boost a mom's self-esteem. We all know that when you feel good you are more apt to exercise and take care of yourself. I know when I feel my fattest that's when I head to the cupboard. And it sure ain't broccoli I'm lookin' for.

Who's with me? If I had any inkling how to sew, I'd market this myself.

Well, I'm off now to try on that pile of clothes from yesterday. Wish me luck. This could either be a beautiful day or it could all go so terribly wrong...

*Images compliments of Google images

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Remember those? When we were kids, we'd wait for our favorite show to come on and then be disappointed when we found out it was a re-run? Well, I hope you aren't disappointed when I offer up a re-run of my own. Just pullin' one of my faves from the archives.

If you've read it before, hope you don't mind reading it again. If you haven't read it before, hope you enjoy it...

So, I'm still giddy about this new tracking tool I'm using. It's truly revolutionary. It's amazing the technology we have available now.

It's also an albatross around my neck.

I had trouble getting sucked in before when I'd go online. I would log on to do school work, but "first" I would check my email and then venture over to facebook only for a minute, just to see what everyone is up to. Well, as you may have experienced, that minute turned into hours. Pretty soon my butt was the shape of the office chair and my hands fell asleep from being in the "home row" typing position for so long. One click led to another which led to another see where this is going...

Today I made a promise to myself that I would actually start living my life instead of just writing about it. Um, you see how well that's going so far? Doesn't appear I'm doing the laundry or cleaning right now, does it?

Actually, though, I did manage to get a few things done. I kicked an enormous pile of dirty clothes from the second floor to the basement. That's a start. It's a win-win because I plan on counting that as my exercise for the day. I also emptied the dishwasher. In the midst of all that, I've had to deal with a sick E. It's been a weird day.

Hey, speaking of weird...I watched Paranormal Activity last night. Well, I don't know if I can actually say I watched it since for almost the entire movie I held a pillow in front of my face. I relied on Joe's facial expressions and commentary to tell me what was going on. Why do I do that to myself??? I'm naturally riddled with anxiety on a regular basis anyway, so why do I add to it? For the same reason as everyone else...The intrigue. The thrill. I'm a glutten for punishment. I must enjoy not getting a wink of sleep because I'm waiting for the bedroom door to slam shut by itself.

It's so nice right now. It's quiet. The kids are in bed. I'm pretty sure 75% of them are sleeping. There's only the tick tick of my typing. Ahhhh. I should use this time to tackle the (no kidding) 15 loads of laundry in the basement or scoop up the dust bunnies in the living room or shampoo that grape juice stain out of the carpet in the office. Those are all great ideas.

Or....maybe I'll just take a nap.

Monday, April 19, 2010

One Word About Me

Christie from Mommy Drinks Because You Cry tagged me in this cute game. One word to describe each of the following...

Hair – Brown

Your Mother –  Serious

Your Father – Funny

Fav Food – Pasta

Dream Last Night – Weird!

Fav Drink – Vino

Room are you in – Office

Hobby – Reading

Fear – Drowning

Where were you last night? – Leanne’s

Something that you aren’t – Organized

Muffins – BananaNut

Wish List Item – Nanny

Where you grew up – Ohio

What you are wearing – Jammies

Your Pet – None

Friends – Perfect

Something you’re not wearing – Socks

Fav Store – Target

Fav Color – Blue

Last time you laughed – Last Night

Your Best Friend – Honest

Best Place you go over and over – Church

Person who you email regularly – No one!

Fav Place to Eat – Sal's

Now I tage a few of you. Participate if you will!!

Jessica at Adventures of a Wife and Mom

G-Zell at Stay-at-home Mom Who Knew


Krystin at See What We Did Today

Hope you all have a GREAT day!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"NO MEANS NO," Ben Roethlisberger

Obviously, this story is huge in our area, being that we live in Pittsburgh.

It made me think about a few things. They are as follows:

1. Ben is a huge star, but needs to be b-slapped into realizing he's not SO big that he can expose himself and man-handle people simply because he wants to.

2. We've ALL heard the phrase "No Means No." Do you believe that's a blanket statement or are their exceptions?

3. What in the world was a 20 year-old college student doing "bar hopping" anyway??? (Other than the obvious reason. I'm 32, not 100--I remember being 20!) Who were the bars serving her and allowing her to get so sloppy drunk? (I read some reports that say she used a fake ID to gain entrance to these places and that her blood alcohol content was 0.2) While the girl was in the back alone with Roethlisberger, her friend "allegedly [told] the club's owner that her friend was 'too drunk to be back there' with Roethlisberger," (

4. The alleged victim was wearing a nametage that she received at a brthday party earlier in the evening with the initials DTF. When Roethlisberger asked her what it meant, she said it stood for something crude and sexual in nature (You can read a report with details of what the letters stood for at The Smoking Gun by clicking HERE.)

There are more, but I'll start with these.

How many of us have started similar nights? As a young adult (and I use that term losely), you set out for a night of fun with friends, dressed to the nines and feelin' good. You start one place which leads to another and another, and before you know it--you're buzzed. You're having fun, you're surrounded by your friends and having a good time. Sometimes you probably have bartenders giving you drinks, not to mention friends and other people buying them for you. It's a "good time."


There's a reason for all of those "Just Say No" campaigns and the speeches about drinking and the lack of judgement and coordination that takes place when you get drunk. Really, kids, there is! And here's a PRIME example...

This girl should NOT have been served. Period. But then again...if she had a fake ID, it complicates things.

She should not have alowed herself (or been so impaired that she couldn't help herself) to be put in such a dangerous and compromising position as being in a "back room" alone with someone she doesn't know. Someone who had already made lude comments to her that were most definitely sexual in nature. Who cares that he's a mega superstar and you see him on don't know him.

Her friends (who were no doubt in a similar frame of mind as she was) should NEVER have allowed her to be in that position. Remember the line "Friends don't let friends drive drunk"? What about "Friends don't let friends get cornered alone in a public restroom with a drunk stranger even if he is a superstar athlete" either.

And what about Roethlisberger? Did he get his wrist "slapped" because of who he is? Even former Steelers are speaking out against the way he conducted himself.

Should the NFL hold these athletes to a higher standard? (Or for Pete's sake even the same standard as all the rest of us pee-ons?) Is it okay for professional athletes to break the law (murder, domestic abuse, dog fighting, assault, drug /alcohol abuse) and then be "forgiven" and face no consequences simply because they make millions and are "good for the team"?

What about this girl? Is she free of responsibility? Should she be held accountable for her own actions leading up to the alleged assault?

What about the bartenders/bar owners? Should they be fined (at the very least) for contributing to the situation by serving underage drinkers (even if she used a fake ID) and allowing Roethlisberger to take command of the back of the bar?

What about the "bodyguards" who were with Roethlisberger, who supposedly led the girl to the back hallway where they allegedly left her by herself until Roethlisberger joined her, and reportedly blocked the door so her friends couldn't get back to her? Should they be held responsible? By the way...the was an off-duty police officer and the off-duty PA Trooper.

Lots of complicated issues in this situation.

Do not read this as me saying this girl deserved this by any means. Absolutely not.

However, this is where common sense comes into play. This, in my opinion, is why it's SO important to teach our kids to use sound judgement. And also that these laws are in place for a reason.

...and it's time to make a stand and tell these athletes, superstars, singers, actors, etc that they are not above the law.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out with the draft coming up.

For another source: Click HERE

Source of Photo of Ben Roethlisberger:

Just What A Girl Needs To Feel Good About Herself!

Mama of 4 left me this awesome award and I could not have been any more surprised or flattered! Thank you!! (Please go visit her site and say hello. Tell her MandyP from Suburban Stereotype sent you, would ya??)

I am supposed to list 10 things that make me happy and then pass this sweet award on to other blogger friends. Here goes:

1) Being with my family. Hands down my #1 happy thing.
2) When my kids tell me they love me.
3) Being at my church. Love it there! I always get misty when I set foot in the worship center.
4) Helping someone-especially those who really need it.
5) When God is honored
6) Compliments (c'mon...I'm human!)
7) Blogging!
8) A lazy afternoon nap with no responsibilities in the near future (okay, so it's been a while since that one has happened...)
9) Someone "getting my back" when I need it
10) Massages!!!!!!!

So there's me in a nutshell!

Now, who to pick, who to pick *rubbing chin*

Here are some of my "usuals" and a few new sprinkled in...please visit and say hello in your blog travels!

1. Jessica at Adventures of a Wife and Mom
2. Christie at Mommy Drinks Because You Cry
3. Lori at Mommy Friend
4. The Crayon Wrangler at Coloring Outside The Lines
5. Natalie at Mommy on Fire
6. Emmy at Emmy Mom-One Day At A Time
7. Dalia at Generation X Mom
8. Kiran at Masala Chica
9. Kim at My Domestic Bliss
10. The Sharps

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Follow

Friday Follow

I'm doin' the Friday Follow train, y'all!

Don't know why I just said "y'all"....

Anyway...a while ago I decided that I don't want "followers" simply for the sake of having a large number next to my "Google Friends Connect" icon. I want people who truly enjoy reading my random, sometimes mundane thoughts. But.....Friday Follow is a way to be introduced to new people. And who doesn't like making new friends??????

Sooooo if you're here from Friday Follow, welcome! I hope you like what you see and come back to visit again soon!

Don't forget to leave your link so I can stop by your place too! =)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Things have been (thankfully) quiet in our neck of the woods lately.

I love that summer is almost here. I've been able to open the windows and let the beautiful breeze's so relaxing.

Not to mention it does wonders to take away the ever-present scent of poop in our house. (*Smelly Diaper Pic compliments of Google images)

It seems like what felt like time dragging on (having 4 little kids so young and in constant need of my attention) is quickly speeding up and I am running after it begging it to slow down. R starts kindergarten this year. L is headed to preschool. E is talking more and more like a teenager every day instead of the 2 year-old she is. M pulled himself up to standing tonight and turns 1 in a mere 2 months. Enough!

It's so crazy. We are definitely leaving one phase of life and entering another. I am so freakin sentimental that it's almost killing me. I can't help's just who I am. I am wrapped up in nostalgia and emotion. It seems like I spent so much of my days just making it from A to B and on to Z that I didn't really slow down and enjoy the time I had.

We are so quick to tell expectant moms to savor all the things they can do before the baby gets here, but what about the things that can only be done when the baby is young?

Like lazing the day away with a sleeping baby on your chest while you watch a movie or cuddling in bed with a newborn next to you? Oh how I miss those times.

I remember when R was born thinking that it was impossible to get anything done. I struggled to maintain the house, feed him on time, and try to look presentable when Joe got home. Now I look back at that frazzled girl and I want to laugh. Or slap her. How ridiculous! (Although, I know that your first baby is waaaaay harder than any others (at least for me) simply because there is no point of reference.

Now I realize that when R starts kindergarten I will NEVER AGAIN be the sole influence on his life. I may still be the primary influence, but there will be SO MANY MORE who will make an impression on him, and that saddens me and--if I may be so honest--scares me to death.

Granted, not ALL of my influence is stellar. For example, the other day R was playing a video game and told me the robots in his game were "friggin irritating." Not one of my prouder moments. Really have to watch what comes out of my pie hole when road rage sets in.

Yeah, yeah, I know...I need to celebrate the new phases and enjoy where I am right now instead of always looking at yesterday. I heard that lecture from Mama Bear on an episode of the Berenstain Bears the other day. someone like myself who literally tears up at commercials, that is a monumental task.

This thing called being a mom is killing me.

Make no is EASILY the most blessed and wonderful thing that has EVER happened to me...but I am such a mess about it sometimes!

You know that saying, "The days and hours are long, but the years are short"? Yeah.


I leave you with a little pictorial trip down memory lane. It's R through the years. Excuse my while I grab a tissue...

The day he was born

His first birthday...I had L two weeks later!

Him at age 2. I entered this in a Gap Kids photo contest. Do you believe he wasn't chosen??

Here he is at 3, already showing signs that he thinks Mommy has cooties.

Here he is last May on his birthday. He turned 4. Gosh. It's all such a blur...

Thanks for joining me on that trip.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

It's Either Her or Me

How many of you have said those very words? Either as the unwelcomed girlfriend or the scorned mother-in-law?

I am so thankful that I have never, not ONCE felt that way, but I know that I very well could be "that" mother-in-law if I don't keep my manners in check!

Ellie Slott Fisher, author of Dating for Dads and  Mom, There's a Man in the Kitchen and He's Wearing Your Robe, tackles this issue fearlessly in her book It's Either Her or Me, which hit bookstores March 23rd (Bantam Books, 240 pages, $15.00).

While I found the book entertaining and certainly full of helpful solutions for some awkward in-law situations, I have to admit I wasn't riveted. I am an avid reader, and I can easily sit down and devour a book in one sitting if it captures my attention right off. So, I was disappointed when I had trouble getting through the first couple of chapters after a week.

I have had a chance to really think about why that is.

I am happy to report that it's not because of the writing (which flows easily) but rather because, first, I am not experiencing either of the issues she speaks of in the book...THANK GOD (For the record, I adore both my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law)! Since it's not a hot-button issue, it's been difficult for me to lock in.

Secondly, I don't necessarily agree with her on some issues; such as it doesn't matter what your son's girlfriend/fiancee/wife's religion is as long as she makes him happy since my relationship with God is paramount in my life. I would honestly be deeply troubled if he were to marry outside of that. (That's not to say I wouldn't make every effort to love the girl and welcome her wholeheartedly into our family, but it would be a supreme effort.)

I also had a hard time following the story of each "character" because the different scenarios hop around from chapter to chapter. Maybe it's just because I'm a methodical reader, but I think I would have preferred to have each story told from beginning to end in one place.

Chapter Seven opens with a mom being surprised when her seventeen-year-old son walks in the room-in the morning wearing his boxers and a t-shirt--- with a teenaged girl behind him. Fisher then goes on to discuss the difficulty in acknowledging your children are sexually active.

Again, I have to say that I would IN NO WAY react kindly to this scenario playing out in my home. We have very strong beliefs about sexual activity before marriage and to have one of our children not only overstep those beliefs, but do so in our own home--and before they are even legally adults--would certainly make my head explode. No, I'm not a prude, and no I wasn't perfect--but I can say I carry the scars from not listening. So, while I can't make my children's decisions for them--especially as they enter their late teens/college years--I certainly can control what I condone and do not in my home and the message I send as far as what is acceptable and what isn't.

I had a hard time with the discussion of a mother speaking to the parents of her son's girlfriend. The girlfriend's parents, apparently, had no problem with the two teens having sex, and reassured the mother that their daughter was using birth control. The son's mother replied that she didn't want to discuss her son's sex life with the girlfriend's parents as the son's sex life was none of her business.  Say what? I disagree wholeheartedly with both sets of parents' feelings, so reading much further was difficult for me.

If you come from a more liberal viewpoint, this book will be a no-brainer and thoroughly enjoyable. If, however, you share my more conservative take on things, I think you may take issue with some of the philosophies presented in the book, like I did.

Ellie Slott Fisher most definitely has a gift for telling a story and getting a point across. Unfortunately, I just didn't agree enough with her perspective to say that I love this book.

If you'd like to find out more about Ellie Slott Fisher, you can visit her website:

You can also check out her blog at or check out her facebook and twitter pages here: and, respectively.

*The book reviewed above was given to ManyP by Random House. MandyP was not compensated financially in any way for this review. The thoughts and opinions are solely those of MandyP.

Hi, My name is Soccer Mom

I officially became a Soccer Mom today. I wear that badge with pride. Today was R's first ever soccer game. Joe is the coach for his team, so it was extra exciting...well as exciting as a game with twelve 4-year-olds chasing the ball up and down the field with NO CLUE how to actually play soccer can be. Ha!

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see much (or actually any) of the game since L had to use the potty 3 times and E needed changed. I DID get to see lots of the public restroom, however. That's always a thrill. I will say this...there was no graffiti or obscene messages written anywhere, so that was a plus.

At R's first practice last Wednesday Joe told me that as he had everyone in a huddle, E ran up to them and said hello to everyone. R introduced everyone to her and to L and told them they were his brother and sister. Then he told them that Baby M was with me...and "he came out of my mommy's pee-pee."

Oh crimany...makes me wish I could re-think the whole honesty is best policy I have as far as pregnancy and childbirth. To give some background, one day in the van (which is where we seem to spend so much of our time and have our most philosophical discussions, the kids and I) R asked me how the baby came out of my tummy. I said the doctor helped get him out. He wasn't satisfied and kept asking. So, finally, I decided, "you know what, I'm just gonna address this head on and try to avoid the whole "shocking talk" later in life, so I said that the baby came out of my pee-pee. I also stressed that we only talk about such things at home--NEVER IN PUBLIC.

Who was I kidding?

The first thing R said to my father-in-law the next time we saw him was where M came from. Now, he's educated a team of 4 year-old soccer players. Joe said, luckily, he doesn't think anyone heard him. I don't know if that's true or if it's wishful thinking. Hope I won't be getting any angry parent phone calls about that one.

I also registerd R for kindergarten last week. THAT was a toughie. Especially considering I don't LOVE our school district. I'm still struggling with whether or not to try alternative avenues like private school or homeschooling. I have experience with homeschooling both from helping a family teach and watching my sister homeschool my niece up until 9th grade (and, FYI, my niece graduated high school as a part of the National Honor Society, played sports, was accepted at a prestigious university, and just recently graduated with her bachelors in psychology, so this thinking that only anti-social, weird kids are homeschooled does not hold water with me...) many choices.

I think one of the hardest parts for me about my child going to any school is that the school now lays claim to him as "their own" in a way. While reading the handbook, I noticed that any time I want to take him out of school, I have to send a note requesting to remove him from class. And if we choose to take him on an educational field trip, it can be for no more than a week.


I understand the reasons behind these rules. Really, I do.

But something just doesn't sit right when I have to ask someone else for permission to be with my son between certain hours on certain days of the week.


Time goes by too quickly sometimes.  I'm holding on as tight as I can, but they're growin' up anyway.

*Image from Google images

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Mom Who Needs A Hand

This post at Adventures of a Wannabe SupahMommy broke my heart today. I actually live close to her, so I believe every.single.word:

From Supah Mom;

"There's too much heartache in this world.. The stories of cancer and all that it is stealing from our friends and sweet children: are heart wrenching.

I've tried to help everyone I can if ever asked because it's the right thing to do. I have focused efforts on Jaden and the online world has embraced this sweet boy , his family and now his friends Ethan.

All the while I've done this Chief has helped me.. supported me through all of it. Little do you all know..... that she has been helping her OWN sweet friend , quietly and behind the scenes. Her name is R.amona. She is beautiful , she is a friend of Chiefs, she is a mom and she is dying of cancer. It is tragic.

She has SIX young children AND A husband in the military - and she is dying of cancer. She does not have much time left and financially they are absolutely strapped. She has been too proud to have Chief help via her blog- she's even attempted to work small hours but can barely lift a finger to type.

Chief can't help because she made a promise but I can.

She doesn't know me.

Things took a turn for the worse yesterday. Her fight is in vain it seems. Yesterday her skull was removed during a brain surgery to remove a brain clot.. Luckily the clot was on the outskirts of the brain and they will replace her skull as soon as the swelling goes down. She is recovering in ICU as we speak.

This is a mom from Utah just like you and I. It is heartbreaking.

If you have prayers. Bring them on.

This family will need all the help they can get.

If you feel led to donate to help this family - I assure you on my blog name that this is a real person and that the money will go directly to her family. She doesn't need to know that I"ve set out to help her. They cannot make mortgage payments at this point and others are scrambling to help.

If you can- and are financially able .. please help. I know how tough these times are.

If you cannot- your prayers are just as valuable.

If you'd like more info I can certainly provide it.

Thank you all- If this was my family I would pray that someone would help. The Duttine's are cared for at this point. This family is now my focus.

Blogfia time.

Please CLICK HERE to offer any assistance you can. Prayer is JUST AS VALUABLE as financial donations. If you're a blogger, will you please spread the word??



Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Sorority of Blogging

Phew. If any of you have kept up with the events on this blog over the past couple of weeks, then you know that I am officially neurotic, sensitive, and neurotic. In that order.

I had the unfortunate (dis)pleasure of being, first, un-followed and then verbally b-slapped publicly all right here on this blog. All within a matter of days. Who knows, maybe it was all by the same person. *shrug*

For seasoned bloggers, this is all in a day's work. For someone like myself, who is new to blogging, who tends to wear her emotions and heart on her sleeve and works herself into a tizzy trying her darndest to make sure NO ONE'S feelings get hurt, this was troublesome.

I really thought long and hard about even discussing the whole rude commenter because I didn't want them to get any further satisfaction out of knowing they got to me. But I don't want to hide things. And I'm not made of stone. And darn it, it's my blog about my life.

I also learned some lessons along the way...

For one, I can't THANK enough all of those who came to my defense/support from the blogosphere. People I DON'T EVEN KNOW jumped in and said some really terrific things about me and for me. I had a couple of my "best girls" jump in to scrap and get my back too. (Kat, your comment actually made me all misty. You really "GET" me. You also really "GET" it.) Thank you!

I had a few people from my church also offer support--people who I don't interact with on a daily basis. I was really touched.

And then there were those who said, "Let it roll off your back." "Well, that's what happens when you put yourself out there..." and my personal favorite, "Then quit blogging."

Wow. Um, thanks.

Bitter much? No, not really. Maybe just a little shell shocked. But I actually have come away with some great boundaries and some decisions about my blogging that needed to be made. I just didn't know they needed to be made until all this happened.

I've learned that "bloggers" are truly the only people who "get" it. And by that I mean understand why I would be so bent out of shape about some random stranger vomitting negativity on me. This blog is like an x-ray into my thoughts. My bloggy friends and family all understand because you're putting yourselves out there every day too. You know what it's like to expose yourselves and then have someone swoop in and kick you in the teeth.

So, fellow bloggers, how do you all feel about these things? Have any of you been in a similar situation? I know a blogger in particular who was and AS SOON as I heard that someone had left a rude comment on their blog, I raced over to defend. I just realized that not everyone is like that. While some may feel bad and empathize with you, they don't want to get involved.

I never thought I would feel any kind of kinship AT ALL with people like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, etc...Now I (sorta) do. Stop laughing at me. I'll give you that it's a flimsy analogy, but still pertinent.

Everyone is so quick to say (and myself included, at one time) that when you put yourself out there in the public, you are opening yourself up for attack, criticism, and gossip. I used to feel that way. But now I'm not so sure. Funny how things change when the shoe's on the other foot, huh? In my own defense, I hardly expected someone to get so hot under the collar about something I typed innocently, tongue-in-cheek and off the cuff. I also DEFINITELY never foresaw that anyone would say that I should expect it (which I hear as 'deserve it') and should "stop whining" (My paraphrase). Now, to be clear, NO ONE actually agreed with the rude commenter.

I just don't think it's fair to say that bloggers should expect or deserve to be treated so poorly, rudely, or disrespectfully by people simply because they blog and put their thoughts "public." Even if I put my thoughts (about a nameless cashier who gave me TMI) up on a billboard, is that really cause for personal attack? Well, I don't think so, anyway.

But those are just my thoughts. And if you're reading them and you don't agree, please don't feel it's necessary to "set me straight."  Feel free to exit stage right and read no further. If you feel differently and can express that in a considerate, respectful all means, I'm all ears!

But there are some changes being made around MandyPville. This is my town and I'm the sheriff. This is a dictatorship, not a democracy. If I don't like what someone says to me or how they say it, by golly I will delete. The delete key is my friend.

I also now know better who gets it and who doesn't. I won't go barking up the wrong trees anymore. It just ends up being stressful for them and me.

And for you all...I'm still your girl if you need a sympathetic ear or someone to have your back. I've always tried to be and I will continue to do so...even if it's not reciprocated.

Now, tomorrow back to the lighthearted and mundane...I think.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Cards 4 Cancer is April 10, 2010

I can't believe the delivery date is only a week away!

On April 10, 2010 MandyP of Suburban Stereotype and Team Stacy's Story will be delivering cards to the cancer patients of UPMC Mercy in Pittsburgh, PA.

Just a recap: We officially named our Team "Stacy's Story" after Joe's first wife who passed in 1998 from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Atria's Restaurant has graciously offered to be a drop-off location for cards. There are several locations around the Pittsburgh area. CLICK HERE to access Atria's website for locations.

As a reminder:

Joe and I are offering a $25 Wal-Mart gift card for the person(s) who donate the most cards. There are some guidelines to be eligible for this prize:

1. Only people donating 5 or more cards will be eligible (If you collect others' cards to drop off/mail, YOU will receive credit for all of the cards. For someone else to receive credit, they must drop off/mail their own cards.)

2. All cards MUST be dropped off at an Atria's location or received at the address below* BY April 8, 2010.

3. All card writing guidelines** must be followed.

4. Your name and email or phone number must be visible and affixed (yet removable, such as with a paper clip, rubber band or binder clip) to all of the cards you submit.

5. If there is a tie, whomever's cards are received first will be chosen.

6. Any batch of cards with multiple names will have to determine (among their own group) how to divide the $25 gift card.

Won't you join us? This is such a great cause. These people will be so appreciative. It's not really the cards that matter, but the time and effort that went into giving them the cards.

*Address to Mail Cards:

ATTN: Joe P.

103 Federal Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

**Card Writing Guidelines

-Cards should NOT be gender or age specific

-Please avoid phrases like "Get well soon" as; unfortunately, many will not get better.

-Inspirational messages such as "Thinking of You" or inspirational quotes are recommended.

-Cards without words are okay too-sometimes a drawing can raise someone's spirits.

CLICK HERE for the Cards4Cancer blog to find out more details.

Email for questions:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Traffic Jams, Snagged Pantyhose, and Anonymous Negative Comments--All Things That Can Ruin Your Day.

I have arrived. At least that's what those in the blogosphere say when you receive a negative comment on your blog.

My day was yesterday...and (surprise!) again this morning.

The comments are about this post HERE

I deleted the first comment after talking to Joe and trying to decide how to handle it. Does anyone really like having something negative said to them? I don't think so. Does anyone really enjoy having said negative comment broadcast for the general public? Probably not. But here it is in all its splendor:

 "It's funny you "unburden" yourself onto others everytime you post a blog. How dare you! What makes you better than that girl at the checkout?? At least she did not hand you a card with her blog address on it! Sheesh! "

And then the follow-up comment this morning:

"If you can't take criticism, then you shouldn't have a website, thanks for deleting my post! Apparently you only "love" comments that are berries and sunshine, grow up!"

Does anyone like putting themselves out there to find that someone doesn't care for them or something they've said? I know I don't. And yes, it is the price you pay for having a blog. You are out there for all the world. Good or bad, for better or worse. Yesterday was my first taste of the "bad" and "worse."

And to be honest, It sucked.

Now, I'm not foolish enough to think that everyone will like me (Hardly!) I'm also not foolish enough to think that everyone will agree with my opinions. But what "got" me about the comments is that they are anonymous. And the first was in reference to comments I made in a post about a cashier at Giant Eagle.

So you disagree with me? Fine. You feel passionate enough to comment? Fantastic! But you have to hide behind the "anonymous" identity? Really? That just makes me think that you really don't feel as strongly about your opinion or you wouldn't be afraid to put your name.

As much as it stings, I really welcome feedback. I do. ( I think.) It's how I grow. It's how I check myself on things I do or say. Anyone who has read my blog knows that I tend to exaggerate and speak most things tongue-in-cheek. You would also know that my goal is to be genuine, transparent and real. Unfortunately, that also means I am flawed and it will show on my blog.

I actually paused for a minute while I was writing about the cashier because she was a nice girl and I didn't want to be hurtful about something that was obviously bothering her enough to unload on a complete stranger. But I didn't mention her name or at which Giant Eagle she worked.

I stand behind the things I say every day with my name and my face on this blog--wrong or right. I don't write on here under a random, assumed identity that doesn't link me back to what I've said or what my opinions are.

When I comment on other blogs, I always use my profile so you know who is saying what. Even when I know the writer. Even if I disagree.  

The funny thing about the anonymous commenter? This person has visited my blog many times and twice yesterday. They checked out my awards and other posts. They obviously have spent some time and energy looking over my posts and taking a peek into my life. There have been as many as 17 minutes in one sitting spent in reading on occasion. ("17 minutes?" you say. "Big deal" But, to me, in my crazy life, 17 minutes is a luxury.) So, for that, I say "thanks" for taking time out of your day to visit. I know yours is a busy life, and any time devoted to me I am grateful for. But, I'm bummed that both of us have had a bad experience from a post on my blog. Not my intention.

I have had other comments on my posts that were contradictory to how I feel, and I haven't deleted them. I deleted "Anonymous" because they felt it was necessary to comment negatively but not have to identify themselves.

So, in closing...while I don't love negative comments (in fact, I hate them for the record) I am not above reproach. I am human and will make mistakes and, in the end, I actually welcome feedback if it's valid and from a credible source. Unfortunately, the message being sent was not credible since I have no idea where it came from or the intent with which it was made. Well, actually...I DO know where it came from, but that's a dfferent story. Gotta love tracking software!

This is my blog--an online diary of sorts, and if you don't like what I'm saying, please feel free to exit your browser or click to a different site. Unfortunately for you (those who disagree with me) this is my place to vent, share, daydream, and chat, so chances are it will not match everyone's opinions all the time. This is not a forum for debate, but rather a place I come to air my thoughts. You wanna join in? GREAT! You agree with me or like what you read? Even better! You disagree? That stinks, but okay...just be brave enough to remove your mask and comment as yourself.

There. Nuff said. And that's the last time I will address it as it took way more time and energy than I should have devoted to it.
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