Monday, November 30, 2009

10 signs that you and your hubby desperately need to get reacqainted...

I was looking through our wedding album a few days ago. In the pictures, Tim and I both look so overjoyed and radiant. This was one of the first kisses we shared as husband and wife (while my ovaries did a happy dance)....

Another kiss!

What happened to us?? Oh yeah, now I remember.....


While we are thrilled to be parents to these 4 awesome kids, our relationship has suffered somewhat....through all the sleepless nights, ER visits on a Sunday afternoon, and just the basic chaos and stress that is our everyday life.

Lately, it's occurred to me that Tim and I need to reconnect. Sometimes it feels more like we're old friends, rather than husband and wife. I miss the passion that we used to have....I miss the laughter. I really just miss the "old" us.

So how do you know when you and your husband desperately need to get reacquainted with one another? Read on....

1) You run into each other at the local Starbucks and when he sees you across the crowded room, he has a confused look on his face like, "Don't I know you from somewhere? You look really familiar".

2) You answer the phone and hear, "Hey honey, it's me..." and you cut him off with, "Uh, I think you have the wrong number..."

3) Trying to spice things up in the bedroom, you spritz your body with whipped cream. He takes one look at you and says, "Did you forget that I'm lactose intolerant?"

4) He often ends his sentences with "....I already told you why, Mom...I mean, sweetie"

5) Trying to be sexy, you e-mail him a picture of your boobs and when he comes home, he says, "You wouldn't believe the e-mail I got today!! Some chick sent me a picture of her boobs!" You roll your eyes and say, "You jerk, that was me...trying to be spontaneous and sexy" and he quietly responds, "Oh....why did I think your boobs were bigger than that?"

6) When filling out some medical paperwork, he asks you, "Are you 39 or 40 years old? I can't remember"

7) He leaves a "love note" in your purse and then acts disappointed that you've never mentioned it. You apologize and say, "I'm sorry but I haven't used that purse in ages". He says, "Since when don't you carry a purse?" and you reply, "Uh, since graduating to parenthood when the diaper bag replaced my purse".

8) While having a conversation one day, you notice he looks bewildered. You ask, "What??" and he says, "Have you always had dimples when you smile?"

9) When you run into an old friend at the store, you introduce him as your roommate.....by accident, of course.

10) You're not "friends" with one another on Facebook. Yet you're "friends" with all 3 of your childhood girlfriends whom you haven't seen in at least 25 years.

If this sounds like you and your spouse, it may be a good idea to schedule a date night....ASAP. I know I am....

Memorable conversation of the day:

Cole: (crying) Mommy, Bella jumped on me

Me: Bella, did you jump on him?

Bella: NO, he's lying. I only jumped on half of him.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dear Dell Osso Farms,

....every year we go to your pumpkin patch and it's always a fun-filled day for us (even though we end up completely broke after a visit).

This year, you all decided to put together a Christmas-type farm, with Santa Claus, live reindeer, snow play area, train rides and snow tubing. We had literally been counting down the days until you would open.

Funny....your brochure advertised that the farm would open at 10:00 am on Friday. We rushed to get the kids ready, got them all excited about sitting on Santa's lap and playing in the snow. Only when we arrived, it was like a ghost town.

We went to the ticket booth to buy tickets for the train ride and one of your people said, "Oh, we're not quite done setting everything up yet....sorry". You might have wanted to re-think advertising that you were open the day after Thanksgiving. Kudos to your publicity team...they pretty much suck.

Since we were already there, we figured we'd try to make the best of what was available. Our first stop were the reindeer, who were cool to look at for a few minutes....




....until the kids counted the reindeer and realized there were only 4. Don't you know that Santa actually has 9 reindeer? I had to answer questions from my well-informed children, such as "Where are the other reindeer?", "How come Rudolph isn't here?" and "You're lying...Santa really doesn't have reindeer, does he?" Yeah, thanks a lot for that.

After wiping tears from my disappointed children's eyes, we went over to Santa's Village, where we believed Santa would be waiting happily to be greeted by anxious, excited children. There was a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, a waiting area and a huge EMPTY chair.

That's right...Santa was nowhere on the scene. One of the "elves" informed us that Santa hadn't arrived yet but we could come back a little later. So I had to explain that Santa probably had a last minute disaster to resolve before leaving the North Pole. Which of course led to questions about why some of Santa's reindeer had arrived without him...."Did the elves get a time out?", "Well, then why are some of his reindeer here without him?" and "You're lying....Santa's not really coming, is he?" Yeah, thanks a lot for that, too.

We tried distracting them by asking, "Hey, you all wanna go over to the snow play area and have some fun until Santa gets here?" Thankfully, the smiles returned to their sweet faces.

On the way over to the snow area, we came across a pen of horses. The kids exclaimed, "Look, Mommy, HORSES!! Can we pet them?" I answered, "Sure, you can...I don't see why not".



They happily petted the horses, who seemed starved for affection. I can only guess this is the case because the horses willingly let my children poke them in the eyes and grab their ears, which we all know is not normal behavior for animals.

On a good note, I do appreciate the fact that, among the horses, there was one lone donkey. Finally, my prayers have been answered.....my husband was able to get a hot piece of ass without me even having to lift a finger.



Look at his happy face....that is one satisfied customer, right there. Tim hasn't smiled that brightly since....well, aaahh, you can probably guess.



We stopped along the way to let the kids pose in some of the silly boards you had up. And Tim and I tried desperately to be mature about it when Bella said, "Hey Cole, Garrett's grabbing one of your snowballs".



Then we arrived at the snow play area. We all stood there looking at the sad slop of snow laying on the ground. It was pathetic. The kids looked at Tim and I and asked, "Is this it? Is this all the snow they have?"

Apparently it was. So we let the kids run around in the tiny pile of snow, along with the other kids who mistakenly thought that a "SNOW PLAY AREA" would be....uh, loaded with lots of snow.

And don't think that just because you had a WHITE board where the snow was supposed to be would fool my kids into thinking there was more snow than there actually was. Remember, these are the same kids who know how many reindeer Santa has. My kids may be whiny and annoying but they are not stupid. Don't ever underestimate them.

Oh, and the little bit of snow you did have was pretty miserable in terms of texture. You had a snow making machine, which was blowing "snow" into the area. It was more like HAIL....small pieces of ice pelted my kids in the face and the back of their heads, as they shrieked in pain. They couldn't even form decent snowballs with it.

But being that we were determined for our children to have a good time, we made the best of it....even if I did walk away with a huge bruise on my arm from being hit with a "snowball".



Once we had had enough of the crappy "snow", we headed back over to Santa's Village to see if Santa had arrived. On the way there, the kids made a point to re-count the reindeer. Nope, still only 4 reindeer. Good God, you all are idiots, aren't you?

We were thrilled to see that Santa had indeed arrived. He sat on his throne, looking as if he had a bad case of heartburn, causing one of my kids to say, "Santa does NOT look happy to be here". Perhaps he had eaten some salmonella-infested turkey the evening before.

Nonetheless, my kids lined up, anxiously waiting for their turn to sit on Santa's lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. But before they could even head towards Santa, one of your "elves" reminded us that we needed to pay $6.00 per child to see Santa.

We explained that we didn't want to buy a picture with Santa...the kids only wanted to briefly sit on his lap and talk to him. There were no other children waiting so we figured it wouldn't be a big deal. But your "elf" had to make a point that unless we paid for a picture with him, there would be no interaction between Santa or my kids.

We were also forbidden to take a picture of Santa with our own camera. What were you gonna do if I did snap a quick picture....wrestle me to the ground in front of my family and steal my camera away from me to delete the pictures?!

Since when does Santa charge little children for the privilege of chatting with him? This is truly outrageous...and I have to believe that even Jesus is up in the heavens looking down on your farm, saying "Denying 4 precious children the opportunity to sit on Santa's lap for 5 seconds, all so you can make a buck?? Shame on you!"

We walked back to the car with our angry, disappointed children. I said, "You know, I heard that Santa is gonna be at the mall tomorrow...I'll bet those elves will let you sit on Santa's lap for free". But they were too upset to express any joy over it.

So we did what most parents do when it comes to kissing their children's asses. We took them to McDonald's for lunch and got them Happy Meals.

The kids were all smiles, once again, as they joyfully licked their chicken nuggets and fed them to their father....



Needless to say, we will NOT be returning to your farm next year.

PS - However, I may be sending my husband back next time he starts bugging me for another piece of ass.

Raising a big family can be tough. And not just on your energy, but your wallet too. Everyone needs a little help sometimes, there's no shame in that. Don't scrape by, hop online and find care-free and easy payday loans. Make it easier on you and your family!


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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fleeting thoughts....

I sat down on the sofa tonight after the kids were in bed and the house was completely silent. Well, with the exception of the sound of Tim crunching on cheetos. Why is it that he can be upstairs in our bedroom with the door closed and I can be downstairs in the family room and I can STILL hearing him crunching on those damn cheetos?!

So yeah, the house was silent (sorta) and all sorts of thoughts were fleeting through my mind, such as:

1) I took the kids to Costco today. Yes, I have officially lost my mind...taking 4 kids to Costco on a busy Monday afternoon....right before Thanksgiving. Good times.

Actually, it wasn't really THAT bad. Except for when Landon started shrieking at the top of his lungs because I wouldn't let him out of the cart AGAIN. He would keep promising to stay next to me and then I'd turn around and he would be gone. See, there's the problem right there I suppose...I expected a 2-yr old to make a promise to me and actually keep it. I'm obviously the one with the problem here, not him.

I guess my veiled threat..."If you keep walking ahead of us, you're gonna get lost. And I'm not promising that I'll go looking for you"....wasn't actually as frightening as I thought.

As we waited in line, the kids were running circles around the cart. A woman and her mother were behind us and the woman said, "Oh, they are just precious. But you really have your hands full, don't you?" All I could do was smile and say, "You know, if I had a dollar for every time someone said that to me, I'd be able to hire a babysitter so I wouldn't have to drag them to Costco with me".

2) Why do my kids think they get a treat every time they do something that's expected of them? For instance, the other day Cole brought his plate to the sink after he was done eating. I said, "Thank you for remembering to bring me your plate". He said, "What do I get?" and I asked, "For what?" and he said, "For bringing my plate to you without you having to ask me".

Are you freakin serious, kid? I glared at him and said, "You get the satisfaction of knowing you made me happy...isn't that good enough?" He shrugged his shoulders and said, "Not really, that kind of sucks. I wanted a piece of candy or something".

3) My mom called out of the blue and offered to take Cole and Bella to the movies....in 2 weeks. I was like, "What's up with the 2 weeks thing? Why not this weekend?" and she said, "Uh, well, we have stuff to do this weekend".

Okay....this all sounds rather suspicious to me. To explain, my mom very rarely calls and when she does call, it's never really been to offer to take the kids anywhere. I told Tim about it and he instantly thought the same thing as me....oh, there are definitely strings attached to this offer. Is it worth me selling my soul to the devil just to have a 2-hr break from 2 of my kids?

4) What is it with men and tv? Last night, I asked Tim to grab a roll of paper towels out of the garage. As he walked to the door, he stopped in front of the tv and stood there like a freakin zombie...mouth open, eyes glazed over....you'd think there was a naked girl on the tv screen. I must have said to him at least 3 times, "Hey, were you gonna get me the paper towels....before I go into full-blown menopause??!!" He didn't hear a word I said.

How can he be THAT into a movie he hasn't even seen the beginning of? Doesn't he have to know the whole plot of the movie to enjoy the ending? Lastly, how come he's not that mesmerized when I'm telling how my day with the kids was? I kid, obviously.

5) We went to a friend's birthday party on Saturday, which was a lot of fun. Several times, both Garrett and Landon had tantrums where they would violently throw their bodies on the ground and shriek at the top of their lungs about how unfair life is.

A few people asked me, "What's wrong with them?" I answered, "Uh, they're 2 years old. That's what's wrong with them".

And that's pretty much where my fleeting thoughts ended....for today, anyway.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Who says you need snow to have a good time?

Here in good ole Northern California, out in the middle of the freakin valley, we don't get snow. Problem is, the kids and I love snow. Tim, not so much. But he'll tolerate a visit to the snow if I beg and plead with him (a promise to have sex is usually thrown in there somewhere). The closest place for us to go is Tahoe, which is 2 hours away.

So for those of you who live where it snows, I'll bet "rainy" days are fun. You bundle the kids up and let them run outside in the snow, catch snowflakes on their tongues, build snowmen, have snowball fights and go sledding. All the while, you're in the house warming up some hot chocolate for them for when they come in from the cold.

Oh, wait....is that just a commercial I've seen on tv?? Well, perhaps it's really not THAT glamorous to live in the snow but that's kind of the way I've always imagined it would be.

In these here parts where we live, rainy days suck. Or, should I say, they suck if you have young children who cannot stand to spend more than 2 hours stuck inside the house.

On Friday afternoon, the kids were going nuts from being stuck indoors. I knew I had to come up with kind of fun craft to keep them entertained and busy. In other words, make them happy so I'm not driven to drink the last 1/4 of a bottle of Bailey's in our fridge just to keep my nerves in order.

Well, we can't build snowmen with real snow but we can certainly make fake ones. I had seen a craft in Family Fun magazine on how to make cornstarch-clay creatures and it seemed easy enough. I'll post the recipe at the bottom for those who want to keep their kids busy without losing their hair or sanity.

For a good hour, we took this huge chunk of white crap and rolled it out, molded it into various shapes and decorated our clay creatures. And the whole time, I'm trying to sound all enthusiastic, "Who needs real snow, right? We can make snowmen right here without having to leave the comfort of our own warm, cozy house!!" I heard some low groans but otherwise they were quiet.

Let me introduce our family of snowmen:



I know..so cute, right? My favorite snowman is Garrett's. See the snowman with the red horns and pitchfork...that would be his. It's SO him, wouldn't you agree? I had no clue what the thing on the right was until Bella informed me, "Mommy, it's a quesadilla. I can't believe you didn't know that".

Cole said, "Mommy, what else do people do in the snow?" I answered, "Well, there's sledding...but I don't see how we could do that indoors".

Leave it to my kids to find a way to go sledding indoors. I'll give you 2 guesses what it involved....stairs and books. I most certainly can never accuse my children of being uncreative.



Here they are in live action....



If there's anything my kids learned that day, it's definitely how to adapt to their surroundings...to make do with what they have.

Of course, it's possible one of them could've also learned how incredibly painful a broken arm could feel. Wouldn't that make for one heck of a post...."A Prelude to an ER Visit".

Cornstarch-Clay Creatures (courtesy of Family Fun magazine)
* 2/3 cup salt
* 1/3 baking soda
* 1/2 cup cornstarch


I doubled the ingredients since I wanted to make sure I had enough for each child.

1) In a small saucepan, mix salt and baking soda with 1/3 cup water and bring to a boil.
2) In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water and stir well.
3) When the salt mixture boils, remove it from the heat and add the cornstarch mixture. Stir vigorously for a minute or two to thicken the clay. Spoon it onto a sheet of wax paper and allow it to cool before working with it.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Ladybugs are a sign of good luck? I think not....

We have a tree in our front yard. Usually it's swarming with hornets or filled with birds' nests. A few days ago, the kids noticed that the hornets and birds have long abandoned the tree, having been replaced by ladybugs. TONS of ladybugs.



These are just pictures of the trunk of the tree. There are ladybugs on the leaves, on the branches...everywhere.

Supposedly, ladybugs are a sign of good luck and good fortune. Really?! Could've fooled me.

If ladybugs are representative of all things good, then explain to me...

--How come at least one of my kids drops something heavy on the pinky toe of my right foot EVERY. SINGLE. FREAKIN. DAY.

--Why I was stupid enough to leave a bowl of delicious tuna salad on the counter uncovered, while our cat paced the kitchen just waiting for me to turn my back so she could devour my lunch

--How come I'm always the "mean one" because I won't let the kids eat candy 24 hours a day like Daddy does

--Why I thought letting Landon out of the shopping cart at Target while we were looking at (breakable) Christmas ornaments was a good idea

--Why I'm always "that mom" whose spawn run around the store like wild animals on crack

--How come my husband's idea of romance is to come up behind me, rub himself against my backside and say, "Do ya feel like having a German sausage for dinner?"

--Why it always seems to be my luck that as one of my kids is in my face telling me something, he sneezes so hard that his snot actually explodes all over my face

--Why did my morning have to start off with me slipping my ice cold feet into my slippers, only to find out the slippers were soaking wet. And then one of my toddlers proudly announcing, "Me peed on it", after I asked, "Okay, who spilled water on my slippers?" Of course, he wouldn't want to tell me that BEFORE I put the slippers on.

Then again, I've also heard that ladybugs are a symbol of love....which probably explains why after having a week like this, my heart is still overwhelmed with love for my rowdy, snot-infested, mischievous children, as well as my amorous yet perverted husband.

It's a good thing God sent a TON of ladybugs my way....

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Interview with the experts, Part 3

The theme this week is "SuperHeroes" ....

If you could be a super hero, what would your super hero name be?
Cole: Dinosaur Holder
Bella: Werewolf Woman....Wait, no, I'd be Supergirl

What would your super hero power be?
Cole: I'd be strong, like seriously strong. And I can fly and smell dirt. My eyes would be really good at seeing bones
Bella: I'd be really strong so I could kick down doors. And I'd be able to hear everything so no one would be able to tell secrets anymore

Would you need to eat special food to maintain your super powers?
Cole: Yes, chicken and turkey
Bella: Beans and crab, but not together because that would be gross

Would you sleep or stay awake at all times?
Cole: I wouldn't be able to stay awake all the time so I'd lie down at 100 (One hundred) o'clock for about 80 minutes
Bella: I think I would go down at 6:00, 7 times a day for 80 hours each time. And Monday would be Tuesday all the time.

As a super hero, how would you help people?
Cole: I can understand dinosaurs...see, cuz I'm the Dinosaur Holder. So I'd listen to what the dinosaurs say and then tell the people what they have to do to get the dinosaur to go away.
Bella: I don't know. I'd just run around town saving people all day long.

Would you wear a costume?
Cole: Yes, my costume is green with a picture of a dinosaur on it
Bella: I'd have to wear a costume and it would pink with purple sparkly things on the front. I'd also have a cape that's shiny and purple. With some lace on the edges. I'd wear my hair in a ponytail and purple sparkly nailpolish.

Do other people know that you're a super hero or do you do it on the sly, like Spiderman does?
Cole: No one knows that I'm Dinosaur Holder. They think I'm just me but I'm not me.
Bella: No, no one knows who I am but if I forget to take off my costume, then they might know. They'd say, "Hey, I know you" and I'd say, "No, you don't". Then I'd send them away.

What would someone do after you rescued them?
Cole: They'd invite me over to their house to play with their trains or they could make me some brownies with frosting
Bella: They would say "thank you for rescuing me" and I would say "you're welcome". If they forget, I'd say, "HELLO....manners please?" You need to thank someone after they rescue you. It's the polite thing to do.

Some super heroes have enemies. Would you have any?
Cole: No, everyone would love me
Bella: The bad witch from Wizard of Oz would be my enemy. I'd catch her and make her wash the green stuff off her face. She looks ugly like that. I'd let her put on a little bit of make-up but only if she did it the right way, like the good witch with the pretty dress

What would you do if you had to go potty right in the middle of rescuing someone?
Cole:
Uh, I'd just pee on the floor.
Bella: I'd excuse myself and tell the person "I'll be right back. Try not to mess things up". I'd go home and pee. Then I'd go back to rescuing the person.

How does one become a super hero?
Cole: Well, you have to be a good listener and eat lots of vegetables and some fruit. Lots of vitamin C. And then if God is happy with you, he turns you into a super hero.
Bella: You're just born that way. Some people got it and some people don't.

Go ahead and have some fun with this....ask your kids the same questions and see what they come up with!

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Christian Siriano....you better watch out

Garrett and Landon are 2.5 years old and they have finally hit that stage where they want more control over their appearance. You know, they want to pick out their own clothes and choose which shoes they want to wear on any given day. It's a fierce battle every morning.

I have enough stress in my life so I had to let go of something. Some battles just aren't worth fighting, know what I mean?

So, every morning, Garrett and Landon choose their own clothes. I try my best not to giggle or ask them, "Are you absolutely sure this is what you want to wear today?"

As we encounter people, the first thing I say is, "They chose their own outfits"...as if I need to make up an excuse as to why my kids are walking around like fashion misfits.

Here we have Garrett....he's dressed in a lovely Lightning McQueen pajama shirt that he refused to change after sleeping in it the night before, adorable Finding Nemo underwear and stylin' rain boots. A very relaxed style...the kind of look that says, "I'm all about comfort...and the rain boots protect me against any sudden leaks. I am in the midst of potty training, after all".


"Oh, gotta run, I hear the phone....I'm expecting a call from Tommy Hilfiger. We're cutting a deal on a new fashion line for toddlers"


Next, we have Landon....he's all about keeping cozy warm as the cold weather hits but it's also important to him to flaunt the brand names. God forbid anyone finds out that his mother shops at Target and Kohl's.



Landon is modeling a Thomas the train shirt underneath his Gap sweatshirt. He has layered basketball shorts over his blue sweatpants....going for style without having to compromise comfort or the luxury of keeping warm. Mismatched socks with open-toed sandals complete the look.

A side note....the sweatshirt must have a hood on it in order to successfully pull off this look . Just so you know.


I hear Christian Siriano is shaking in his boots right now. He's going to have some stiff competition in the fashion world with these two little guys right on his heels.

Now, if you'll excuse me...I need to confirm their lunch plans tomorrow with Ralph Lauren.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Stupid childhood stunts....

A few weeks ago, Bella finally figured out how to use the jump rope. She was so excited about it and called out to me, "Mommy, come see what I can do....". I squealed with delight as I watched her practice her newfound skill.

I said, "I used to love to jump rope too when I was your age. I'd play jump rope games for hours with my friends in the middle of our street". Her eyes got huge and she said, "You used to play jump rope too? Mommy, I'm just like you....I'm gonna do the same things you did when you were little".

Now, I suppose that should've been a proud moment for me and it was...don't get me wrong. But I quickly had flashbacks to all the STUPID things I did when I was younger that I pray to God she never repeats.

At the time, of course, I thought I was pretty darn cool....until I got busted by my parents. And I ALWAYS got busted, due to my stupidity.

Stupid Childhood Stunt #1: "Borrowing" my dad's car with my best friend when we were 14. My parents were out with friends and it seemed like a great opportunity. My BFF even traced the car keys exactly how they were laying on the counter so we could put them back the same way.

We went to a party, had a great time and then drove back to my house. Parked the car exactly where it was supposed to be and even put the keys back in the same place, same position.

Too bad we forgot to turn off the headlights and make sure that the wipers weren't laying smack across the windshield. Seriously....we were THAT stupid.

I acted all innocent in the morning when my dad asked me if I knew why his car was dead. Then he said, "I'd almost believe you, except you left the windshield wipers up".

Needless to say, I was grounded.

Stupid Childhood Stunt #2: The time I changed one of the grades on my report card from an F to a B. I erased the F very lightly and then typed over it, replacing it with a B.

I thought it looked pretty authentic but apparently my mom didn't. Instead of confronting me right away, she waited until she could get a hold of my teacher by phone. Of course, he told her I had gotten an F and they were both appalled that I had changed my grade.

At home, I was grounded and at school, I received detention. Not to mention, the teacher moved my seat to the front of the room, where he announced to the entire class what I had done and that I obviously needed closer supervision. So not cool.

Stupid Childhood Stunt #3: My mom worked full time at a hair salon and usually didn't get home until the evening. She expected my sister and I to go straight home after school. Once we were home, we were to call and let her know we had arrived there safely.

One day, I went home with my best friend, who lived a few houses away, without permission. I called my mom and told her I was home (that was before caller ID had been invented....WTF, I sound like I'm ancient).

She said, "Make sure you take the dog outside to go to the bathroom". I answered, "Okay, I'll do it as soon as I get home". STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!!

She asked, "I thought you said you WERE home already". I stumbled as I said, "Uh.... I am home. I don't know why I said that. It's been a really long day". But my mom's not as stupid as I am. She slowly said, "You're going to hang up this phone. And I'm going to call you back AT HOME and you better damn well answer the phone".

I busted out the door and ran home as fast as I could, thinking I could beat the clock. When I got home, I sat and waited for her to call (this was before most people had answering machines...WTF, I guess I am ancient).

When she didn't call, I called her at work and asked, "Why didn't you call back? I've been sitting here waiting". She said, "I DID call. You didn't answer. That's all the proof I need to know you were lying about where you were."

I said, "Oh, well, you must have called when I took the dog out...." and she interrupted me with, "Helene, you're only making it worse....I suggest you stop while you're ahead".

Needless to say, I was grounded.

Stupid Childhood Stunt #4: My parents didn't allow us to have boys in the house, under any circumstance, unless they were home. You think that was gonna deter me? Yeah, right.

When I was a freshman in high school, I had a HUGE crush on this guy, who was a senior and played on the football team. I didn't think he even knew I existed until one day when we were in the library together, he walked over to where I was standing and kissed me. He said, "I've been wanting to do that for awhile now". Such a Cassenova, right?

Then he asked me if he could give me a ride home from school that day. Like I'm really gonna say, "Oh, I'm not allowed to have boys in the house when my parents aren't home"? That would've been SO uncool. He told me where to meet him in the parking lot later that day.

After school,he drove me home. Fortunately, FOR ME, I had somehow forgotten my house key that day. I say "fortunately for me" because obviously this guy had other reasons why he wanted to go to my house.... and it wasn't to do homework. Yeah, I was THAT naive.

I invited him onto the back porch, which, in case you didn't know, isn't technically "IN the house", according to me. However, according to my parents, the back porch IS considered IN the house. Who knew?

So my dream guy and I hung out on the back porch, where we proceeded to have a heavy make-out session. I thought I was the luckiest girl on earth...he thought he was just plain gonna get lucky.

When my mom hadn't heard from me, upon returning home from school, she got worried and came home....just in time to see us both sit up suddenly from the lounge chair we were sharing, with me scrambling to button my shirt up.

I said, "Uh, Mom....this is Darryl", hoping she hadn't noticed my buttons weren't lined up properly. She said, "Hi Darryl...Helene isn't supposed to have boys in the house without adult supervision. I suggest you leave now". OMG, I wanted the earth to split open and swallow me whole.

Needless to say, I was grounded. And Darryl never spoke to me again...

I wish I could say that there were no more stupid childhood stunts after that but there were, of course. I won't continue to bore you with the time my friend and I got into my parent's liquor cabinet one night while they were out....

So you can kinda see why I hope my daughter doesn't do exactly the same things I did when I was younger.

But then again, there was a reason my parents always seemed to know I was up to no good. Once I became an adult, I learned my dad once stole his parent's car and drove to the airport, where he and his friends hung out drinking. I also learned that my mom had snuck around plenty with a boy that my grandparents didn't like.

I suppose if Bella tries to repeat the same stunts as I did, I'll be one step ahead of her just like my parents were with me. Hopefully, she'll just stick to innocent games, such as jump rope and hopscotch, until she turns 18.

A mom can dream, right?

Friday, November 13, 2009

The irony of it all...

I've been working on a book for quite awhile now, attempting to spend every spare hour I have working on it, whether that be early in the morning or late at night. Sometimes, if I can successfully get the kids caught up in an activity together, I'll try to break away for a few minutes and write a paragraph or two.

One day last week, I was on a roll. I have to be "in the mood" to write and I was finally getting somewhere after suffering from a mild bout of writer's block.

I began to type...."The deafening silence in our home was almost too much to bear. Just another cruel reminder that I was infertile. How I ached to hear the sound of children's laughter, instead of the sound of my own agonizing wails. How I wished to be up in the middle of the night rocking a tired baby back to sleep, instead of laying awake in bed planning yet another IVF cycle...back at square one, again."

Slowly, I began to lose my concentration, as the kids became louder and louder while they fought over whose turn it was to use the green crayon. Are you serious? Like there's no OTHER green crayons besides that ONE?

One by one, they ran up to me, screaming, "Mommy, I had it first", "No, I had it first and she ripped it out of my hand"...."Well, I've been waiting for my turn and he won't let me have it".

I had had enough. I finally lost my temper and in a loud, angry tone of voice, I said, "Can't you all play nicely together for just a little while? Why do you always need me to intervene? I just want some peace and quiet, for a change. Is that too much to ask? Can you all just leave me alone for a little while, PLEASE? I really need to focus!"

They all nodded their heads and walked away to resume coloring. I felt bad for raising my voice but, my goodness, I'll never get this book done at the rate I'm going.

Just as I turned back to my computer, Cole came up to me and asked, "Mommy, what are you working on?" Annoyed yet again at being interrupted, I sighed, "Cole, I'm working on my book. I need to concentrate, so can you find something to do and not bother me for a little while?"

Obviously, not catching a clue, he asked, "What's your book about?" Now I was getting super frustrated....soon, Tim would be home and I'd have to start cooking dinner. And then I'd have lost my mo-jo and Lord only knew when it would hit me again.

I answered, "It's a story. My story about how desperately I wanted to be a mother . Okay? Now can you leave me alone so I can get back to my writing?"

Oh yes, as soon as the words came out of my mouth, I had to laugh at the irony of it all. I was telling my kid to get lost for a little while so I could write about how badly I wanted children. I was asking them for peace and quiet, while I was writing a paragraph describing how the deafening sound of silence in our home made my heart ache.

I went back and read the paragraph that I had just written and I could feel the tears begin to well up in my eyes. Was I really THAT blind?

Nothing is so important that I can't take a few minutes away from my work to help my kids resolve an argument, even though I play referee at least 10 times a day, or to spend those last 20 minutes of the day reading them their favorite book.

Someday, when this book is finally done, I wish to dedicate it to them....my children, the ones who healed my heart and made it whole again. My children, the ones who fill our home with the sound of laughter and tears, so much so that I can't even hear the sound of my own voice most of the time.

I want them to be proud of the book and proud of me, not resentful of the time I spent away from them in order to finish it.

After all, my children are the reason I even have a story to tell.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Crummy weather - day 1

Uh-oh, it's the beginning of cold, dreary days around here. Time to break out the arts and crafts and try to keep the kids entertained....and me from going insane.

I took the kids to the library recently to find some craft books. We came across the book Hand-Print Animal Art by Carolyn Carreiro and it had some magnificent projects the kids could do simply by using their hands.

Garrett and Landon both made turkey handprints. This is Landon's....


This is Garrett's....


Aren't they SO cute?? They picked their own colors and giggled the entire time while I painted their tiny hands.

Cole and Bella weren't in a Thanksgiving kinda mood so they chose completely different crafts.

Cole made a picture of a shark swimming in the ocean, among some fish.


He used his hands and fingers to make the entire thing, with the exception of the outlines. How cool is that?!

Bella made a fishbowl full of goldfish (and some jumping OUT of the bowl because, according to her, it's cruel to keep the fish in water all the time...they might get too wrinkled)...



Look how proud she is of her beautiful masterpiece!!

We actually had a lot of fun doing these, even though the mess was unbelievable! Who knew there were so many crafts you could simply make out of your own handprint?

So....day 1 of crummy weather was successful. Now, what to do the rest of the week?? Hmmmm.....

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Potty Training 101, according to a toddler....

Just when I was pretty sure that Garrett and Landon wouldn't be interested in potty training until they were.....like 6 years old....2 weeks ago, Garrett suddenly announced that his diaper was yucky. Yes, just like that....he tore his diaper off, said "this is yucky" and that was it.

I said, "Well, if your diaper is yucky and you don't want to wear it anymore, you'll need to use the potty". My jaw hit the floor as he said, "Okay" and walked into the bathroom, sat down on the little potty seat and peed! It was THAT simple. He's 2.5 years old (31 months, to be exact) and he was ready.

As parents, we bang our heads against the wall, frustrated with our children over such milestones as potty training. It's definitely not for the weak at heart. When it comes to potty training, there's a lot to be said about waiting until your child is ready...not when you're ready.

If Garrett could give some pointers, I would imagine there would be some important things he'd want me to know.

Potty Training 101 - According To a Toddler

1) This is the most important rule....I'm just gonna come right out and lay it on the line. I am in control here. Not you. Not Daddy. Not the moon and stars in the sky. ME...I am in control. I will use the potty when I am good and ready...and not a minute before that. Yeah, yeah...I know you gave me life and all. Save your breath cuz I really don't care.

2) Let's go over the rewards system. If I'm gonna be honest here (which you know is RARE for me) the one reward that means the most to me is just seeing you incredibly happy. I mean, if seeing a little bit of pee in the potty from lil ole me makes you beam with pride, I'm all for it.

With that said, if you INSIST on giving rewards, here's a list I put together which might be helpful:

-- candy (preferably, lollipops....lots and lots of lollipops)

-- stickers (of all my favorite tv/movie characters, definitely not Big Bird...he kinda sucks)

-- temporary tattoos (the ones with skulls, not the ones that say "My mom rocks")

-- time-out for all my siblings (hey, it's MY reward...don't ask any questions)

-- toys (let's be clear...good things do not come in small packages! The bigger the better, just sayin')

3) Pull-ups vs diapers. Honestly, there's no difference. Pull-ups are really just glorified diapers. And they're more expensive. Save your money and just get me a big screen tv for my room.

4) Underwear - okay, here's the deal. It is of the utmost importance that you let me go to the store with you and choose whatever underwear I want to get. Running into the house all excited with a bag full of new underwear that YOU chose from Target isn't gonna go over well with me. Just so you know.

Remember, the control issue? It all goes back to that. If you come home from the store waving a package of new underwear in my face that I did NOT pick out myself, then you should fully expect a huge setback, more than likely, in the form of a big ole steaming pile of crap on your white bedroom carpet. Yep, that's how I roll. With your kind of luck, you actually won't discover it until you step in it.

6) Please, please, please try to make this whole potty training thing entertaining for me. Here's what's UNacceptable:

-- You sitting on a stepstool in front of me, staring me down as if your brain can telepathically send a message to my bladder and my colon, urging them both to take quick action so you can go update your Facebook page, bragging about how awesome you are at potty training your child (as if....)

-- Calling the entire family into the bathroom to watch me perform. I know it's hard to resist because I'm just so darn cute sitting on the pot. I mean, I'd want to stare at me too. But now that I've agreed to give up diapers, I have the right to privacy in the bathroom. I've earned it. Oh, and before you even think it....YOU, however, do not have any right to privacy....ever.

-- NO taking pictures of my poop and e-mailing them to Daddy at work with the subject line reading, "You HAVE to see this". My poop can only truly be appreciated in person.

--NO saying, "How can such a little body make such a big poop?" Let me just remind you that YOU do the cooking around here. I can't help that my body considers most of the food you make garbage.

-- Singing silly, stupid songs (say this 10 times fast successfully and maybe I'll consider holding my bladder for an entire night so you can get 8 consecutive hours of sleep - but, then again, don't hold your breath)

Here's what I think is super fun....see, I'm a huge Disney freak. So my mom let me pick out my own underwear at the store and of course I picked all Disney characters cuz I'm cool like that.

This is a picture of me, proudly holding all my underwear....



I know....so cute, right? Anyway, she tacks them to the wall in the bathroom
right next to my little potty, like this....



While I'm doing my business, I stare at them and imagine Dori saying, "Just keep peeing, just keep peeing" and Buzz Lightyear saying, "To infinity and beyond..." when I flush the potty.

It's FUN. I totally dig this.

7) There WILL be regression....when you least expect it, of course. Like, say, when we're at a playdate at someone else's house. Or when you finally decide to be brave enough to take the entire family out for dinner. It's not that I've forgotten how to use the potty....it's more that, for some reason, you got in your head that YOU are in control. This is simply not the case.

I am in control and this is how I put you back in your place (must we review #1 again?). You'll look disappointed and say, "Now, why did you do that? You know how to poop in the potty!"

Yeah, see, that isn't the point...of course I do. It's YOU who has forgotten how we play the game. And sometimes you just have to reminded of who the REAL boss is.

8) Lastly, don't be in such a hurry to rush me through the potty training process. Remember, I'm only this young for a little while. Cherish these times and appreciate them.

Trust me, you'll think potty training was a breeze compared to the hell I'll put you through when I'm a teenager.

So there you have it....potty training 101, in a nutshell, courtesy of yours truly...




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Monday, November 9, 2009

The Lullaby Album

I've never been one who can sleep without some kind of background noise, whether it be a fan or some soft music. Turns out...my kids are just like me in that sense.

When Garrett and Landon were born, I put the CD player in their room, along with a favorite lullaby CD. Cole and Bella seemed to adapt well but there were times they asked me to put on the radio for them, so they could have something to listen to before falling asleep.

Last week, Jennifer Thomas, a pianist and composer from Seattle, WA, contacted me about her new CD, The Lullaby Album. As soon as she mentioned "lullaby", I was more than happy to receive a complimentary CD and let the kids listen to it.

As a new mom herself, Jennifer's son had difficulty sleeping. She spent many nights with him in his swing next to her at the piano as she played and made up lullabies for him. After several months doing that, she decided to turn her lullabies into an album.

What's really special about this album is that Jennifer's mother, Carolyn Southworth, joined along and it became a truly wonderful Mother-Daughter work of art. Together, they each wrote half of the songs, recorded and produced them. This is their 2nd album each.

Jennifer and Carolyn were fortunate enough to work with some amazing musicians on the album – Emmy award winning composer Jace Vek, Grammy Nominated artist/producer Paul Speer, Award winning vocalists Jillian Goldin and Lori Cunnigham. In the end, they ended up with a 2–disc lullaby album, which they are so excited about.

After we received the CD album, Cole and Bella listened to a little bit of both disks - one is lullabies with a solo piano (simple and elegant, perfect for calming at bedtime) and the other is piano with orchestra (for those who like a little more to listen to). They chose the piano with orchestra for that first night.

Cole and Bella recognized some of the songs, such as Brahm's Lullaby, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and All Through the Night (which is my personal favorite and one of many lullabies I sang to them when they were young babies). They enjoyed many of the other songs, which were written by either Jennifer or Carolyn...such as Baby of Mine (Preston's song) and Dream Weaver. The words to some of the songs are in the disk cover, which is helpful for those of us who can barely remember our first names, let alone an entire lullaby.

The funny thing is that Cole was struggling to stay awake so he could listen to the music. He didn't want to miss a thing. Bella kept telling me she wasn't tired so I asked her to just lay still, close her eyes and listen to the music. I left the room for a few minutes and when I came back, they were both sound asleep....looking so angelic and peaceful, as children often do when they're sleeping.

Every night since then, they've listened to the piano with orchestra, which is the one they prefer. I've been listening to the solo piano to help me unwind before bedtime. All the arrangements are beautiful....very calming and serene.

The Lullaby Album is available for purchase through the music store on Jennifer's site. She's currently running a special where if you buy 2 or more CD's, each CD is only $9.99! That's a great deal! So when you buy one for yourself, you can get an extra one for a mommy friend of yours or a new mommy-to-be (it would make a great baby shower gift). The CD is also available for purchase through Amazon, iTunes and Cdbaby but you'll get the best deal by buying it directly from Jennifer's site.

And....she has been generous enough to offer one of my readers a chance to win their own The Lullaby Album!!

GIVEAWAY - GIVEAWAY - GIVEAWAY

To enter the giveaway, simply visit the site Jennifer Thomas Music and then come back here and tell me which music clip is your favorite. All the songs on both disks are listed and all you have to do is click on the lullabies and you'll get to hear a sample of that song.

For extra entries:
** You must complete the first entry above for other entries to count. Please leave a SEPARATE COMMENT for each additional entry.

-- Post about this giveaway on your blog and link back to my blog
-- Add yourself to my follower list (or let me know you are already following)
-- Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (leave the URL of your tweet)

This contest ends on Monday, November 16, 2009 at 9:00 pm PST. One winner will be chosen via Random.org. Please make sure you leave your e-mail address in your comment if it's not accessible on your blog profile.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

10 signs that you've lost control of your children...

It's Lazy Sunday again! Here's an oldie, but goodie....

1) You're at the park and one of your kids asks a total stranger to help her on the monkey bars. When the stranger looks over at you and then says to your sweet child, "shouldn't you ask HER to help you?"..... your child says, "Oh, HER? That's just my mom".

2) While grocery shopping, your kids walk by the grapes and pop a couple in their mouth. When they notice the produce guy is watching them, one child shrugs and says, "My mom told me to do it".

3) One of their favorite forms of entertainment is throwing various objects up into the ceiling fan....and they actually high-5 each other when one of them manages to make a dent in the wall.

4) You hear, "Look at all that poop....GROSS"....and they're nowhere near the bathroom.

5) You threaten them with, "If you all don't stop throwing food on the floor, I'm gonna send you to your rooms"....and they stop long enough to look at one another and break out into hysterical laughter.....and then they go back to throwing food on the floor.

6) You respectfully get down to your child's level to speak with him and he plugs his nose and says, "Whew....you need to brush your teeth! It smells like someone farted in your mouth!"

7) Out of frustration, you tell your unruly kids, "Okay, that's it....I'm calling Supernanny".....and they scream "AWESOME!" and hand you the phone.

8) While out with friends, you brag to them about how well you've been doing on your diet....and then not 5 minutes later one of your kids says, "Mommy, are you gonna have ice cream for dinner again tonight?"

9) You hear giggling coming from your bathroom while one little voice is saying, "here, put these in there".....and you walk into the bathroom just in time to see them flushing an entire box of tampons down the toilet....

10) When the cashier at the grocery store asks you "so did you find everything okay today?" as she's ringing up your order, your daughter happily answers for you with, "Yep, we did. My mom knows exactly where you keep the wine and the beer. The wine is for her and the beer is for my dad. They drink it after we're in bed every night"....

...and all you can do is smile politely at the cashier and say, "Well, it COULD be worse....we COULD be drinking in the middle of the day while they're awake, right?"

You then make a mental note to yourself to remember to drive all the way across town to the other grocery store next time you need to replenish your wine and beer supply.....which just happens to be the next day.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

My germs, your germs - our germs

I know when you're married, you're supposed to share things with your spouse. I like to think I'm a thoughtful and generous person...I have no problems sharing my things with Tim.

But I draw the line at some things, like.....sharing toothbrushes. Oh, yes he did.

We have those electric Sonic toothbrushes and he accidentally left his at a hotel awhile back when he was on a business trip. I got a new toothbrush for him to use until we could replace his Sonic. It was just a plain, old-fashioned toothbrush - nothing fancy but it gets the job done.

Yesterday, I noticed my toothbrush wasn't in its charger. I knew I had used it that morning and I knew I put it back in its proper place. I looked all over for it....I found it in Tim's charger. WTF?

I barged into his office and asked, "Did you use my toothbrush?"

He immediately replied, "What?"....you know, the way a man always does when he's thinking "oh, crap...I've been busted....quick, come up with a good excuse". But men can't think that fast because there brains and their penises work in tandem and blood can't rush down and then back up again as quickly as they'd like.

I shoved my toothbrush in his face and repeated, "Did you use my toothbrush?" He finally answered, "Yeah".

I asked, "Have you been using it all this time since yours was lost?" He nodded his head and said "Yeah", as if this wasn't a big deal.

Apparently, this was the day he had forgotten to put MY Sonic back in MY charger. Huge slip-up, wasn't it?

I let loose on him...."That is the most disgusting thing you could ever do....toothbrushes are not something ever to be shared!! I got you a toothbrush until we could replace your Sonic. Why couldn't you just use that?"

He said, "What's the big deal? I prefer an electric toothbrush and we still haven't replaced mine".

I could NOT believe that he didn't find this as disturbing as I did. HIS bacteria all over MY toothbrush....all this time....eeeewwww.

Then he said, "We share bacteria when we kiss. Is that really any different?"

I rolled my eyes and responded, "No, I guess not".

He asked, "So can I just keep using your toothbrush until I get another one?"

I said, "Uh, no....I still don't want you using mine". He asked, "And what about kissing?"

I said, "Well, I haven't figured out THAT one just yet. But, in the meantime, just stay the hell away from my toothbrush!! "

He couldn't just stop there, of course. Why? Because he's a man.

The smart-ass said, "So are you saying that your mouth is off limits....you know, for EVERYTHING?"

I stared him down and said, "YOU are SUCH a PIG!" and then I went into our bathroom and hid my toothbrush.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Interview with the experts - Part 2

With Halloween behind us now, the kids are already making plans for Christmas.

Let's see what the experts have to say about Christmas, from a kid's point of view.

What does Santa look like?
Cole: His skin is skin-colored and he has a red nose and a red jacket. He has white stuff on his jacket, which is fur from a giraffe. I think he wears a brown hat.
Bella: He wears a red hat and a red shirt. I'm pretty sure he has white pom-poms on his jacket. His mom made his clothes for him.

Where does Santa live?
Cole: In the Earth with his elves
Bella: In the Earth where the elves live because they need supervision


What is Santa doing right this very minute?
Bella: Probably building toys and eating cookies
Cole: He's putting Bella on his bad list and he's watching the elves to see who's working the hardest on my toys


How does he keep track of what you want for Christmas?
Cole: We have to show him the flyers from the newspaper
Bella: Well, we see him in the mall and that's when we tell him what we want


How does Santa get to every single house in one night?
Cole: He flies on this really fast motorcycle. When the sun comes up, he has to go home. If he missed some houses, he'll just visit them again next year
Bella: He buys a flying car and the reindeers fly him in the air


Is the Grinch real?
Cole: No, he's just make-believe to scare children into behaving good
Bella: Yeah, he is real. He looks all green and old, like an alien grinch
Cole: If he's real, then how come we never see him in the mall with Santa?
Bella: Because they're not friends, that's why

Do most families have a special dinner on Christmas day?
Bella: Yes. We have cookies, actually gingerbread cookies, and macaroni and sushi
Cole: We have beef that's brown, but not burnt...it's just a little cooked. Just the way I like it

Does Santa bring gifts for parents?
Cole: No, because parents already have everything they need
Bella: Yes, if you call Santa and you tell him what you want, he'll bring it unless you make your kids go on time-out a lot, then he doesn't like you anymore and he won't bring you anything. Not even a new purse or hair scrunchies

Is it customary to leave food for Santa on Christmas eve?
Cole: Yeah, if you leave him cookies, he'll leave you more presents
Bella: Yeah, it's good manners to leave food for people who visit, even Santa. And you should leave carrots for his reindeers because he likes that and the carrots help the reindeers see so they don't crash Santa into the ground. That would ruin all the presents.

How does Santa know if you're good or bad?
Bella: The elves watch us on the monitor and they report it to Santa. If we're nice, they tell Santa. If we're mean, they better not tell him.
Cole: Because the elves watch you on the monitor. They watch you every single day for the rest of your life.

Have you ever been on the bad list?
Cole: Nope, never but I've only been alive for a couple years. Hopefully I'll never be on the bad list.
Bella: Never. Well, maybe. No, never. But I know someone who's been on the bad list.
Cole: Who?
Bella: Daddy....because he says bad words. The elves watch him too.

What would happen if you were still awake when Santa stops by on Christmas eve?
Bella: He'll say "oh no, I better leave. I don't want to give presents to you"
Cole: He'll say "oh no, you have to go back to your bed or I won't give you presents". Then I'll say, "Okay, I'll go back to bed and I promise I won't pee in it". That would make him very happy.

What are we celebrating at Christmas?
Bella: Uh, when Jesus was born when he was a baby. He was in a cradle and his mom rocked him to sleep. She was really nice and never yelled at him.
Cole: Jesus was born on Christmas so every year we make him a birthday cake. He doesn't eat it though because he never comes to our house. We eat the cake for him. I'm pretty sure that's okay with him.
Bella: Did you know that Jesus was born in a barn?
Cole: Yeah, under a bunch of stars and stuff.

Did you miss the original interview, Part 1? Read Interview with the Experts, the first part!

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What's your preference....

.... Bella with blonde hair?



....or Bella with red hair?



Personally, I prefer Bella as a red-head. It seems to fit her personality better....seems more natural.

'Course it could just be the horns that truly make her own this look.

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I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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