Sunday, December 30, 2012

Seven Resolutions I Can Keep

I am not big on making New Year's Resolutions.  I know that I most likely will not keep any of them...even if I have the best of intentions. 

So this year, I thought I could compile a list of resolutions that I CAN keep.

1.  Do NOT get any fatter.
I could go with the good old "lose weight" thing.  And sure, I would LOVE to lose 20 lbs in 2013.  But if I simply try to NOT get any fatter than I am now, I might just be successful.

2.  Stick to drinking only beer and wine.
Again, I could try to say I will drink less...but if I just stay away from the hard stuff and sip on a glass of wine or a cold beer from time to time, it's all good.

3.  Find a few good recipes and perfect them.
I would really like to cook more, but truth is that I'm not that great at it.  So maybe I could find a few good meals that I can cook and put them in heavy rotation.

4.  Decrease monthly trips to Target by 25%.
In general, we need to spend less and save more.  BUT...the root of the problem is my home away from home, Target.  So if I go 3 times a month instead of 4, then we are looking at $100 or more in monthly savings.  Cha-ching.

5.  Clean less.
Now you might look at this one and ask how I could clean less.  I was thinking that too.  But when I clean, the house is usually torn to shreds within an hour.  If I learn to become one with the mess, it might decrease stress. 
OR....I said that I would just clean less.  That doesn't mean someone else can't do the cleaning for me.  Like maybe a cleaning lady.  Or the kids (see #6).

6.  Assign more chores.
To go along with the cleaning less resolution, I think it's time that my kids learn to be responsible for certain things.  They are old enough to clean their room, make their bed, wipe the counters or sink, and even vacuum.  This resolution is a 2 for 1 deal.  I can be successful at both assigning chores AND cleaning less.  Jackpot.

7.  Do NOT get any fatter.
I just threw that in again for good measure. 

So what about you?  Do you have any resolutions that you know you actually could keep?  Please share!!!

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Teaching" The Meaning of Christmas

Last weekend at the mall, my oldest daughter really wanted a small stuffed animal from one of her favorite stores.  It was only $8.  I could have gotten it...but I said no.  It was less than 2 weeks before Christmas.  Getting a toy at the mall is unnecessary (but I must mention that I went back one night without the kids and got this little toy for her stocking anyway). 

At the time, she was extremely upset.

Later on the ride home, I explained to her that it's Christmas and that we simply don't have money to buy toys "just because".  I resorted to the "some children don't have any should be grateful" speech.  It quieted her down but I'm not sure it really sinks in.  I'm not sure she understands how lucky she is.  But then again, why would she understand?  She knows so little of the world.   

This leads me to do we really teach our children the meaning of Christmas?  Can we teach them?  Or is it something that they have to learn on their own?

We can do our best to show them.  We can try to make sure they understand that it is not all about presents and Santa and making our lists.  It's not all about shopping and spending and stretching our dollar. 

It's about being with family and friends.  It's about being grateful for all we have.  It's about being kind to others.  It's about giving even when we have little to give.  It's about rummaging through your purse to find a few dollars for the kind man ringing the Salvation Army bell.  It's about donating toys for children who are less fortunate. 

But they are still children.  They will still want the toys and presents.  They might still be whiny or ungrateful at times.  This is what children do. 

However, year after year they will learn more.  They will grow.  They will be more selfless.  They will learn from us and carry on family traditions.  Someday, when they are grown they might wonder how to teach their children the meaning of Christmas.  They will get it.  They will know that it's not about the number of presents under the tree or getting the hottest gift of the season.  They will know it's about love, and giving, and caring. 

And then, maybe we will know that we did something right.  We can only hope.

“Christmas doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more....”
-Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Merry Christmas!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Get Over Yourself, Barbie

This year (and maybe last year too), my girls asked for the Barbie Dream House for Christmas.  My 7 year old really wants it.  Bad.  Lucky for her I had NO IDEA what to get them as their "big gift" from Santa.  So they are getting this little gem to share.  I can already see the problems with this...but that's a different post for a different day.

I am going to be honest with you.  I wanted the Dream House when I was younger.  Did I get it?  NO.  I had a few lucky friends with it and I was seething with envy.  One friend in my neighborhood had all the  hottest Barbie stuff PLUS the whole Sylvanian Families set (do you remember that? So awesome.)  So maybe my girls should really be thanking my parents for denying me a slice of the dream.  As soon as I decided to go ahead with this purchase, I began dreaming of all the fun that I my girls would have playing with it.  We They would most certainly find hours of enjoyment doing things such as rearranging the furniture, having their barbies ride the elevator, and hosting late night get togethers at the rooftop hot tub.

My husband wasn't on board at first.  It comes with 55 pieces and is 3 feet tall.  But I assured him that there is the perfect spot in their room to store this little piece of luxury property.

The more that I look at it, the more excited I become.  But there are some things I must point out.

Barbie needs to get over herself. 

Is this one bedroom, one bath house really a "dream house"?  There is little to no counter space in the kitchen.  The bedroom is barely large enough to fit the canopy style twin bed.  Is an elevator necessary?  Maybe it is.  I guess most 3 story town homes have elevators that can barely fit a single person.  Don't they? 

Although I am so excited to play with watch my girls play with this and be so elated about their Barbies' new crib that they forget to fight with each other for a few blissful hours, I'm calling bullsh*t on Barbie.  The Dream House could be more appropriately be named Barbie's Starter House or Barbie's "I'm so broke from my payment on my Ferrari Convertible" House. 

But then again if it makes the girls happy and brings me some heavenly peace and quiet, then maybe it really is a Dream House.

There it is.  Living the dream.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Just Breathe

I wrote a post yesterday out of anger and frustration and sadness.  I won't delete that post.  But now I know more of the details.  Still, my heart aches. 

Maybe that school was locked.  Maybe it was as safe as it could possibly be.  Yet, it wasn't safe enough.  This scares the living daylights out of me and almost every other parent across the country.  Today there is a sense of grief and fear in the air.  You can feel it.  But what can we do?  What can we do to help the families of the victims?  I don't know.

We can continue to do out best to keep our children safe.  We can urge the government to put more safety measures in place in our schools.  We can put our energy into remembering the victims and not focusing on the shooter.  He deserves no attention.  We can be more grateful everyday.  We can be more patient and kind and caring.

My heart aches for those parents who will never see their children again.  Their children will not be here to celebrate the holidays.  Gifts bought for them will go unopened.  I can't even wrap my head around these thoughts.  This morning my girls woke up and as usual, it was early.  I didn't mind.  They are here.  They are safe.  I am lucky.

I read an article that stated that one parent said she simply didn't want to go on without her son.  Counselors and clergy told her to not to think about her whole life but just breathe.  Just concentrate on breathing.  She has other children that need her.  Just breathe.

How do you just breathe?  How do you overcome this grief?  Maybe you don't overcome it.  Maybe it becomes a part of you. 

Tonight, I looked at the list of victims.  I read their names over and over and over.  Again, I want to remember them.  They deserve to be remembered.  I saw a Caroline.  My oldest daughter's name is Caroline.  I saw a Chase and Jesse and Emilie and Benjamin and Grace and many more.  They were all 6 or 7 years old.  My Caroline is 7.  They were first graders.  They were babies with their whole lives ahead of them.  I saw the names of teachers, a principal, and school psychologist.  I thought of all the teachers that I have taught with in the past.  I thought of the students. I read about the bravery of so many teachers who remained as calm as possible and in turn, kept their students calm.  My heart goes out to them.  My heart aches for those children who survived yet lost some of their innocence in that school yesterday morning. 

And again...I looked at my children.  They are here.  They are safe.  I am so lucky.

Tomorrow is not guaranteed.  We have no idea what the future holds and the cold hard truth is that life is so very fragile.  It can change in an instant. 

I don't know how the parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, spouses, friends and neighbors of the victims of this senseless tragedy will go on.  I have no clue how one can deal with this grief and just breathe.

And so I pray for them.  I pray that they can just breathe. 

Image from

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Friday, December 14, 2012

We MUST Keep Our Children Safe

Disclaimer:  This post is fueled by sadness and anger.  I cursed.  I dropped the f-bomb.  You have been warned.
I am horrified today.  I am sick to my stomach.  Some people might call a friend and say, "Can you believe what happened in Connecticut today?"  But I am blogging about it.  I am typing quickly with shaking hands. 

Today I have two daughters in school.  I sent them there to learn under the expectation that they will be safe.  I can't even begin to imagine what the parents of children in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut are feeling.  My heart goes out to them.  I will keep them in my prayers.

This school houses over 600 kindergarten to 4th graders.  They are babies!!!  Why does this keep happening in our schools?  HOW does this fucking happen?

I have taught in children go to school.  I can tell you now that almost every single school that I have ever been in has an unlocked front door.  The parents or visitors walk into that door and are supposed to go check in at the main office.  Well do you think some crazed fucking lunatic would do that?  Why do schools feel like they can keep this front door unlocked?  Even if they say the doors are locked at all times, I bet the front entry of the school is not locked. 
Airports have all of these safety measures in place, especially since September 11.  There are no crazed gunmen getting on planes these days.  You can't get into the airport or even a courthouse with a freakin' nail clipper.  You walk through security and metal detectors.  Yet at schools there is nothing.  How many fucking tragedies will occur before schools put the same measures in place?  I know as a parent I would be perfectly happy buzzing the front office to be allowed entry into the school.  And I wouldn't give a shit if I had to walk through a metal detector.  If that meant my kids were safe, so be it!  How are schools not seeing the need for this.  Every damn year there is some unthinkable tragedy like this at a school.  A SCHOOL.  Full of innocent children.

Something has got to give here.  We MUST keep our children safe.  If they can't be safe playing outside and the can't be safe riding their bikes or playing at the park, at the very least they MUST be safe at school.

There is no fucking excuse. 

Updated 12/15/12:
Reading more about this massacre today, I am still so saddened.  I have a heavy heart.  I look at my children and think of those who will not see Christmas.  I think of those teachers who were taken from their families.  My heart aches for those parents who went to that fire house yesterday...and did not leave with their children.

I am still sick to my stomach.

Bottom line here is that something MUST BE DONE.  I am not about to make this some political issue.  I am not about to discuss gun control.  We all know that crazy people will get guns, regardless of the law.  This boy who committed this heinous act was reportedly mentally ill.

What the issue is here is that a man dressing in black, wearing a bullet proof vest, a black mask, and carrying 3 freakin' guns walked into a school on a Friday morning.  He got into that school.  It is unacceptable. 

There must be NO ACCESS to schools once the school day has started.  Period.

I will carry this families close to my heart and keep them in my prayers.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

An Open Letter to SANTA

I have been noticing lately that these "open letter" posts are all the rage.  So I thought why not give it a shot...and write one to the big guy.  Maybe it will get into the right hands.

Dear Santa,

This may be a long shot but I am hoping this letter finds you.  I need to call in a few "favors" this year for the holidays.  I don't ask for much so it is my wish that you can deliver on these very small requests.

First, I need my kids to be healthy for the holidays.  No snot, no coughing, no fevers.  NADA.  Are you with me so far? 

In addition to that, I need them to be grateful and well behaved.  I just pray that my 4 year old doesn't flip when she doesn't see the gymnastics Dora doll under the tree.  I know, I know.  She should be grateful for what she does get.  There are children in this world with MUCH BIGGER problems then not getting a certain doll they requested.  But the bottom line here, Santa, is that she is 4.  She might have a meltdown.  I would love if this could be avoided.  Hopefully the Barbie Dream House that her and her sister get are enough to please her, along with a plethora of other crap treasured gifts.  You did get the Dream House, right?  I would hate to be out at Target last minute picking up these things to cover your @ss.

I have a few personal requests as well.  For me.  I know you deal more with the little ones, but I would greatly appreciate it if you bent the rules a bit.  Just this once. 

Here goes, in no particular. 

I would love a cleaning lady.  Seriously, Santa.  I need this one BAD.  Couldn't you spare someone to help me on a monthly (or weekly) basis?  One of your little helpers would do. 

Also, I would like...
-the kids to go to bed early each night without asking me to lay with them
-the two oldest to stop their bickering
-the youngest to stop wanting be a permanent attachment to my leg
-the dog not to bark at the back door incessantly
-gas prices to decrease in the near future
-the value of my home to increase
-to win a shopping spree at Target
-my smokin' hot minivan to magically be paid off
and finally...
-the invention of a calorie free beer or wine (Even this one simple gift would be great.  Okay, this AND the cleaning lady.)

So what do ya think, Santa?  Can you make good on any of these requests?

If you could, I would gladly continue to give you credit for all the blood (when my ankles get slammed by carts in the crowded toy section), sweat (when I watch the total due add up on the register), and tears (when I check my bank account statement) that go into Christmas.

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* "Dear Santa" paper available at

Monday, December 10, 2012

Touchstone Crystal's Holiday Hurricane Rebound

Many people on the East coast were affected by Hurricane Sandy.  Although life has returned to "normal" for most, there are many still struggling in the aftermath.  More than 250 women on the East Coast were independent entrepreneurs for Touchstone Crystal Division of Swarovski.  They sold the jewelry and hosted parties as a means of income.  Since the storm, many have been unable to do so.  To help these women continue to earn an income, Touchstone Crystal has launched the Holiday Hurricane Rebound campaign offering double jewelry rewards for anyone willing to host an online holiday party.
At first, I wasn't so sure about this.  But then I checked out the line of jewelry and it is ADORABLE!  Every piece is super cute...and rather affordable!  Plus, you can help these women still affected by Sandy.

Having an online party is simple...and you will earn DOUBLE jewelry rewards!!!

To find more information on this, click on the image below:

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Give Me 5 for Friday: 5 Deals You Can Find RIGHT HERE!

I'm not a good sales person at all.  It's not my thing.  But I do like to tell people about good deals.

My little blog here is becoming a one-stop shop.  Now, I'm not looking to fill up my whole blog with ads and product reviews.  That is not my goal.  But every now and then something comes along and I think, "That might be a nice fit for the blog."

So for Give Me 5 for Friday here are 5 good deals that you can find RIGHT HERE!!!  Look no further.

1.  Somewhat Sane Mom Shop on Cafepress!
Well, of course I have to start out with my little Somewhat Sane Mom Shop project.  There you will find coffee mugs, glasses, flasks, flask necklaces (which are the new must have accessory for women on the go...right?!), beer coolers, and shot glasses.  Go check it out at:

2.  Picture Keeper
Over to the right, you can find the link to the Picture Keeper website.  I did a product review for this in October and I LOVED it!  The only problem was the number of pictures that I had on my computer.  Since my laptop is 5 years old, we have over 13,000 images saved on it.  The PK4 saved about 2000 of them.  But it was SO EASY!!! And it's portable so you can go to another computer, plug in the Picture Keeper, and view pictures immediately.  That's it!  I am definitely ordering the PK16. 
You can order one by clicking on the Picture Keeper link over to the right -------------->
Plus enter the code SAVE10 to receive 10% off of you order.

3.  Clubs of America- Monthly Gift Clubs
Have you ever checked out Clubs of America?  If not, you should!  This makes an AWESOME gift.  One year, I got my husband the Beer of the Month Club.  It was so cool and he looked forward to his monthly beer shipment (which consisted of 4 different types of beer). 
You can also order Wine of the Month, Chocolate of the Month, Coffee of the Month, Wine of the Month.  Oh, did I already mention wine?  But it really is such a great gift.  You can order a 6 month shipment, seasonal (4 times a year), 12 months, or even monthly.   Most clubs have minimums but Clubs of America allows you to order 1 month at a time. 
Again, you can order by clicking on the Clubs of America link over in the right column------------>
PLUS receive $10 off a 6 month subscription AND free shipping using the code: discount1.

Or use this text link below to order and receive the discount:
Coupon Code: Discount1

4.  Fruit of the Loom
Who doesn't need underwear?  Seriously.
You can buy underwear, t-shirts, tank tops and active wear for the WHOLE family!  Fruit of the Loom has great prices and the are having a deal a day until Christmas.
PLUS get free shipping on any order of $40!  Go click the Fruit of the Loom link on the right to order.

5.  The Land of Nod
If you are looking for unique gifts for babies and children, look no further than The Land of Nod.  Everything is completely adorable!  If I could, I would buy it all!!!
But if you are on a budget, check out their awesome sale.  Some items are up to 70% off!  Also, if you join their mailing list, you can receive 10% today.
Go over to the right and click The Land of Nod link to shop!

That's all I got for you today.  I hope these deals were helpful!  Now get out of here and have a WONDERFUL weekend!!!!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

We're All in This Together

When times get rough and you are feeling down, remember that I am hot mess too.  That should make you feel better. 

I know it helps me when I realize that I am not the only one who can't get it together at times.  Last week, one of my favorite pages/blogs, Mommy Drinks Because You Cry, posted a comment on her page and quickly her followers began to tell her that they were in the same boat.  She said, "I normally hate the saying 'misery loves company' but it really makes me feel better to know that I'm not alone in this".

Then last night I posted about the fact that I discovered my crockpot was still dirty from A WEEK AGO.  So nasty!  But quickly others came to my rescue and told me they have done the same thing.  Or worse.  It was so consoling. 

Honestly, it does make you feel better.  Doesn't it?

If I am out in public and I see another person's child having a complete meltdown, it comforts me. 

If my house is a mess and someone else says that their house is also a complete disaster,  it gives me a sense of relief.

If money is tight and a friend says that they are broke until payday, I say "Me too sister".

Now don't get me wrong, I don't wish it upon others.  I don't want other people's children to have tantrums in public.  I surely don't wish financial stress on anyone.  I don't want everyone else's house to be a mess.  Or maybe I do want that one.  Because if we all have messy houses, then no one really has a messy house. 
It's nice to know that you're not alone.  Other people are going through stuff too.  And that's one of the many blessings from having this blog.  I have "met" so many others who are going through similar situations, raising children, and doing the best that they can.  Everyone is always so supportive in this little community that we have...other bloggers, other page admins, and all of the readers. 

It's comforting to know that sometimes we are all in this together.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Buy a Picture Keeper!

Remember my Picture Keeper review and giveaway?  If not, you can check it out HERE.

PK 16
If you are looking for a super easy way to store all of your pictures and images that are on your computer, look no further than the Picture Keeper.

You plug it and and it automatically saves your images.  That's it.  SO EASY!!! 

I received the PK4 for my review and loved it!  The only problem is that it only saved 2000 images and I had over 13,000 on my computer.  But no worries...because I will definitely be ordering a Picture Keeper with more storage capacity.

If you would like to order, click the Picture Keeper link on the right column of my blog------------->

Also enter the code SAVE10 to receive 10% off of your order!

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's okay to be tired.

A friend of mine has a 15 month old daughter with a very rare illness.  Her daughter is in and out of the hospital.  She is always undergoing tests, getting blood work, receiving medication.  At this point, they are still figuring our how to treat her illness.

Not only does she have a 15 month old...she has twins that will be 4 in January.  I had them in my daycare for 2 years.  She is a busy mom.  She is a teacher.  She left her job this year to care for her daughter.  Throughout it all, she has always been so positive.  I can't imagine.  On her way to the hospital on Thanksgiving, she was wishing everyone a great holiday.  Again, she is always so positive.

Tonight she posted a status on facebook stating that she didn't expect any response, she just wanted to share that she was tired of seeing her happy, spirited little girl suffer.

I want to make her feel better.  I want to help in any way that I can.  Truth is, I probably can't do much.  But all I could think of was to say that it's okay to be tired. 

As parents, we feel like we have to keep it together.  Stay in control.  We have to be positive.  We have to be on our game for our children.

But it's truly okay to be tired.  It's fine to say that sometimes things just suck.  What parent wants to see their child sick or suffering?  Sometimes we just need to throw in the towel, sit down, and have a good cry.

No one will blame you.  No one will say that you are wrong.  No one will think that you shouldn't be sad or down or tired. 

And if they do, well then they suck.

Because it's okay to be tired.

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Give Me 5 for Friday: 5 Gifts NOT to buy my kids for Christmas

Give me 5 for Friday is back!  I took off last week for Thanksgiving break...but it's back.  You can all breathe a sigh of relief.

So it's the most wonderful time of the year...right?  Time to shop and spend money we really don't have.  Time to find just the right gift for family and friends.  Of course, Christmas is not all about the gifts.  It is about so much more.  But when it comes down to it, we all do buy gifts. kids will most definitely be getting gifts from family.  I could list tons of toys and unnecessary crap that my kids MUST HAVE for Christmas this year.  One being the gymnastics Dora doll.  My 4 year old wants this so badly.  But we have FOUR Dora dolls now that are rarely, if ever, receive any love and attention.  We don't need another...much less one that costs $40.

However, Dora doing back flips wouldn't even make it onto my top 5 things NOT to get my kids list.

What does make that list?  Well, continue to read and I will tell you.

Today's Give Me 5 for Friday is 5 gifts NOT to buy my kids for Christmas.

1.  The dog that poops game. 
WHAT THE EFF?  I know people that have this.  One of my best friends informed my that the stuff that comes out of that dog's rear end is not even like playdoh.  It's that slimy gak-like stuff.  Oh, and apparently it stains.  Fun times.

2.  Anything ALIVE.
As much as my adorable 4 year old wants a's a no go.  I can barely take care of the 14 year old cat we have.  She leaves me dead carcasses at the back door almost daily.  My backyard looks like Stephen King's Pet Cemetery.  Do you know what that stone cold killer would do to a precious kitten?  It wouldn't be pretty.  On the other had, my 130 pound St. Bernard would most likely love the shit out of a kitten.  She's a softie. 
Other living things also at risk of being a casualty includes, but is not limited to, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits.  So let's just leave it at "Don't get a living creature for my kids for Christmas."

3.  Anything that requires extensive assembly.
We don't have the time for this and if we have to assemble it, it might just stay in the box.  My in laws are always really wonderful at assembling gifts that they give our children, so that's cool.  But if we have to spend hours doing it ourselves, it will result in an argument.  I want the holidays to be as peaceful and stress-free as possible.  No need for a domestic dispute, mmkay?

4.  Anything with liquids.
You might ask, what toy has liquids?  Well, I saw this really neato Chemistry set at one of those "learning toy stores".  ABSO-EFFING-LUTELY not.  I could not handle that.

5.  Musical Instruments.
I don't mean all musical instruments.  A keyboard or little guitar would be acceptable.  But any sort of flute, recorder, trumpet, or horn will be hidden away.  My youngest two daughters would play the crap out of those and for the mental health of all involved, I beg of you NOT to make us endure that. 

So there you have it.  5 things to steer clear of when doing Christmas shopping for my children...or ANY children for that matter.  Unless you have parental consent, it is safe to say that you should avoid gifts that are extremely messy, annoying, or alive. 

If you are really in a pickle and don't know what to get, consider the following: Gifts cards and /or cash.  I can guarantee that those will always be a hit with parents children.

Wishing you all a very merry, happy, and peaceful holiday season!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

To Work or Stay Home: Is It Really a "Choice"?

In September of 2011 I wrote a post about being a mom and how it is hard work, period.  End of story.  Parenting is the hardest job we will ever have.  I wrote this post before the whole "mommy wars" thing (which I think is absolutely ridiculous). 

If you read the post, you will see that I think that both being a SAHM and a mom who works out of the home (I won't say "working mom", because aren't we all?) have their drawbacks.  Both are hard.  And both have good points as well.  Being a SAHM might give you a little more flexibility to get things done, run errands, or even tend to sick children.  But there is no break.  However, a mom who works out of the home must still find time to get everything done and has to line up child care and all that fun stuff.  You might get a break and adult interaction during the day, but it is not always easy.  We all just do the best we can.

This post is not about that.  I feel like moms should just back each other up.  Even if you think someone has is easier than you, you just never know.  You really don't. 

What this post IS people who believe it's a "choice".  I don't really think it's a choice. We do what we do because of necessity.  You know, like paying bills and a mortgage?  Not having your car repossessed?  All of that pesky necessary stuff that gets in the way and sometimes makes working a must for both parents.

Sometimes there is no choice.

If there was, there are many people who would not work.  Like me, for example.  I would LOVE to stay home with my kids until they were all in school.  I would love to be able to volunteer in their classrooms.  I would love to have playdates on a weekday or run errands on days other than the weekend when Target is ALWAYS packed. 

On the other hand, if it was a choice then many SAHMs might go to work.  They might choose to work out of the home because they long for some independence.  Working might seem like a better option to them but they can't because of issues such as child care expenses or a spouse that has a job which prevents them from working.

Many people say that they "choose" to stay home because that was best for their family.  That may be true, but the bottom line is that you could live without your income.  That's what it comes down to.  Others stay home to avoid paying for child care.  That is definitely understandable.  It is super expensive. 

One mom once said that child care is not free, yet they stay home and that is what they do but they don't get paid.  I read that and thought...wait, wait, wait, WHAT?  Listen, I work out of my home and I have a home daycare.  I do get paid for that.  It is my job.  BUT...when I am home on all of the other days with only my own children, that is NOT providing child care.  That is called being a parent.  Therefore, OF COURSE you don't get paid for it.

As you can see, unless you are independently wealthy (which I will be after I win the Powerball on Wednesday), there is no perfect option.  And NO ONE will ever win the "mommy war".

It's time to wave the white flag.  Then we can all go have a glass of wine together and complain about how bad we have it...when in fact, we know we have it pretty damn good.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Take on Some Children's Christmas "Classics"

Reposted from December 2011:  Still EXACTLY how I was feeling watching Frosty the Snowman and Frosty Returns the other night...

During my first few months of blogging, I discussed some children's television programs and wondered WTF was up with them.  You can check out those posts here if you want to refresh your memory (and if you want to have a laugh):

As of late, I have found myself equally as dumbfounded when watching some children's Christmas classics. 

First, let me discuss Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer...
A true classic...I will give it that.  BUT Santa is just downright mean in this one.  He is super judgemental and prejudiced against poor little Rudolph about his nose.  But when he needs something, who comes crawling and begging? Yes, good old Santa.
And Rudolph's dad is cruel too.  Why would a father think that using mud to cover something up on a child's face is a good idea.  But they are reindeer, so who knows.
The elves are also vicious.  Since when is becoming a dentist worse than working in a toy factory.  Uhhhh, that's right...NEVER.  They are all just M-E-A-N, mean!

Next is Frosty the Snowman...
This is another cute one but if you watch and pay attention, you will notice that none of the kids are wearing pants.  They have coats, hats, mittens, the works...but no pants.  Why are they not wearing pants? 
Also, the little girl hops on the freight train with Frosty. That is just a bad message to send.  Sure, go with someone that you have just met and hop on a one way train heading to god knows where.  He seems sweet enough.  Jesus! Not acceptable. 
Oh, and that magician.  His skin is so yellow.  He either has hepatitis or is in liver failure.  Terrible.

Poor Karen is so cold.  Well, maybe if she was wearing some damn pants.

Finally we have Frosty Returns...
I won't even give this the time of day.  It is like the creators/writers sat down and knocked this one out in about 30 minutes...while drinking heavily.  It is downright awful.  Couldn't they have thought of a better villain than an old man who found a way to melt massive amounts of snow using an aerosol can?  And I love John Goodman but he is the voice of the snowman in this one and I feel like he is so irritating.

Even though some of these "classics" may be a little questionable and ridiculous, I am sure my children will continue to watch and love them for years to come.  And I guess that means I will too.  I.Can't.Wait.

What about you? Are there any "classics" (I use this term loosely) that you love??? Please share.  And feel free to share your critiques as well.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Baby Products and Other Useful Tips

I have decided to write a quick and easy blog post that contains my rankings, recommendations...whatever you want to call them (they are not exactly reviews) of the various baby/children's products that I use on a daily basis. 

These are based on my opinion and my experience.  You may not agree...and that's cool.  Again, these lists are just based on what I know.  And I know that...
-I feed 6 kids a day, 5 days a week...some are on breast milk, formula, milk, baby food, all solids, all table food. You name it.
-I change over 2 dozen diapers a day.

I have numbered the lists, #1 being my top choice.

Here are my recommendations: 

Name brand:
1.  Huggies
2.  Pampers Baby Dry
3.  Luvs
4.  Pampers Cruisers (not worth the extra $$)

Store brand:
1.  Target
2.  Costco
3.  Parent's Choice (Walmart)
4.  Walgreens
5.  BJs

1.  Target brand- my fave because I love the soft cloth type of wipes...and they are reasonably priced!
2.  Costco- another store brand that I love.
3.  Parent's Choice (Walmart)
4.  Walgreens brand- cheap and often are buy one, get one 50% off. 
5.  Pampers- expensive and I think they leave an oily residue that weirds me out, but they get the job done.
6.  Huggies Natural Care- my last resort if I have a coupon, but I think they are too stiff.

1.  Desitin Maximum Strength- In the purple tube, 40% zinc oxide.  This works GREAT!!! Don't mess around with the regular strength...just get this one.  Store brand is also fine as long as you get the 40% zinc oxide.

2.  Triple Paste- Also works really well, but is more expensive.
3.  Boudreaux's Butt Paste-  I really like this one, too.
4.  Good old Vaseline or Aquaphor- might not work that great on a diaper rash, but it's a good barrier.
Note:  A&D Ointment is my least fave.  I don't think it really works at all.  If your child has a very red, bumpy diaper rash, try Lotrimin.  Yes, this athlete's foot medicine cures fungal/yeast related diaper rashes!!!

1.  Platex Nurser Drop-ins- I love easy to use and clean. 
2.  Dr. Brown's- Great if your child has spit up or reflux issues, like my oldest did.
3.  Tommy Tippee
4.  Nuk
Note: I think Avent bottles leak too much.  Some other brands are good but they have too many parts to clean.  Dr. Brown's bottles have a lot of parts too, but they are great for the issues I mentioned above.

1.  Playtex Insulator-  I love the ones with the straw.  They don't spill, which is great!!!
Babies R Us Exclusive  Playtex Twist 'n Click 9oz Insulator Cup with Straw - 1 pk - Playtex  - Babies"R"Us
2.  Take and Toss-  Great for older kids...and cheap so you can replace them.
The First Years Take and Toss No Spill Cups - 7-Pack 7 oz. - Learning Curve  - Babies"R"Us

3.  Platex Lil' Gripper or Gerber Graduate Nuk- very similar and also will not spill.
Nuk Spout Fun Grip - 10oz - Purple - Nuk  - Babies"R"Us

4.  Platex trainer cup- Good for younger ones just learning how to use a cup.
Playtex 2 Pack The First Sipster Trainers Pack 7 oz. (Colors/Styles May Vary) - Playtex  - Babies"R"Us

5.  Munchkin Insulated Straw Cup-  just as good as the Platex one. 
Munchkin Click Lock Insulated Straw Cup 10oz - 2pk (Boy) - Munchkin  - Babies"R"Us

1.  Similac- I always used this with all 3 of my girls.
2.  Enfamil
3.  Target brand- Yes, I switched to this with my youngest at 6 months and I really liked it!!! Cheaper and the same exact thing as name brand if you look at nutrition info.
4.  Costco brand-  Also a GREAT store brand formula.
5.  Gerber Good Start and Parent's Choice (Walmart Brand)-  I have never used this but I know people that love it.

Other hopefully useful tips:
-When it comes to baby equipment, the brighter and gaudier the better.  I made the mistake with my oldest of trying to match my decor.  NO.  Wrong.  Babies love the bright colors, lights, and sounds!

-If your baby is a bad sleeper, try the SwaddleMe Blanket.  I am not sure if it is a friend or foe though.  Babies sleep GREAT with this thing...but they become addicted.  You may find yourself trying to shove your 10 month old into this contraption, which is made for newborns.
Summer Infant SwaddleMe Organic- Small Dots on Ivory - Summer Infant  - Babies"R"Us
Summer Infant SwaddleMe Blanket

-When your baby is ready for snack like puffs, buy STORE BRAND!  They are cheaper and then same thing.  And don't fall for the Gerber Graduate snacks, like cheese puff.  They are two to three times the cost of regular cheese puffs..and they are the same thing!  Try Trader Joe's white cheddar cheese puffs.  Kids love them and they are not that messy.

-When you are buying baby food, NEVER buy apples.  Why?  Well, apples are the same as applesauce and you can get regular, unsweetened applesauce for much cheaper!  I would even buy organic applesauce and it is cheaper than baby apples. 

-Another good finger food for babies, when they are ready for dairy, is shredded cheese.  Easy and you will save time because you don't have to cut it up!

-You don't have to buy a bottle sanitizer.  You can sanitize your bottles by putting them in the dishwasher.  (Or if you are like me, you can sanitize them when you first buy them and then just wash with soap and warm water.)

I truly hope that you found this post to be helpful!!! I will add to it when needed;)  And if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Give Me 5 for Friday: 5 Useful Tips When Dealing with a Crying Baby/Toddler

It's Friday, yo!!!  Do you know what time it is?

It's time for....(insert drumroll here)

GIVE ME 5 FOR FRIDAY!  (cue deafening applause)

Well, I have a home daycare and that means that I deal with babies and toddlers all the time.  I get to hold them, cuddle them,  make them coo and smile, watch them learn and grow...and listen to them cry.  Oh, and can they cry.  There is nothing like a miserable, fussy baby to make you want to hit the bottle feel a little flustered.

Have you ever dealt with this and you didn't know what to do?  Well, look no further.  I am here to help. 

For Give Me 5 for Friday, here are 5 useful tips when dealing with a crying baby or toddler. 

Disclaimer: These may case injury to yourself or may scar the children for life.  Or they might just work.  Try them at your own risk.

1.  Do the M.C. Hammer dance. 
What?  Yes, trust me.  Kids like this.  They will laugh.  And if not, you will have a little fun.  For full effect, try to play U Can't Touch This while dancing.  Most kids like this song.  Who doesn't?  By the way,  you see my 22 month old "break it down".

Here it is.  You're welcome.

2.  Sing show tunes.
Sinatra's New York, New York is always a hit.  By the time I get to the verse "These vagabond shoes...", there are always a few smiles.  And...if it doesn't work, you can always use it as a threat.  "Stop crying or I am going to sing show tunes again."

3.  Start to cry. 
Don't really cry.  Well, you can if you want to.  But for some reason, these sick little you know whats love it when other people cry.  Kids just think that's hysterical.  So when they are all crying, I sit and start to pretend to cry...and I put on a real show too.  You know what happens?  SILENCE.  They all stare.  Then when I remove my hands from my face to take a peek at them, the little brats are smiling.

4.  Play the name game.
You know, like "Let's do Katie.  Katie, Katie bo Batie, banana fana fo Fatie..."
My kids and the kids I care for LOVE this.  We could play this for hours...and hourrrrrssssssssssss.  Oh sorry, my eyes were starting to glaze over for a minute there.

5.  This is a last resort and it's for the little babies...the newbies.  Talk in the highest pitched, most annoying voice you can imagine.  They like that.  Adults will want to drop kick you in the teeth...but the little ones will enjoy it (for some unknown reason that will always remain a mystery to mankind).

So there you have it.  These tips are so money that I know they will work.  And if they don't, then you are a failure.  No, you're not...but you are horrible with kids.  Just kidding again. 

But seriously, let me know if you try any of these and if they work.  If you need additional assistance, please contact me.  I guess I could put together an instructional video of me doing the M.C. Hammer and/or singing show tunes.  I bet there would be a real market for that.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Always look on the bright side...of dieting?

Most of you know that I am giving the whole Weight Watchers thing another try.  I did it last fall/winter and lost 20.2 lbs.  Then...well, let's just say that I ate and drank with reckless abandon for the remainder the 2012 calendar year.  So here I am.  Back in the saddle again.  Trying to end the year on a good note.  Plus my sister in law is getting married right after Christmas so I thought that it might be nice if I wasn't a fat ass at the wedding.

I have lost about 8 lbs.  I need to buckle down.  I do really well during the week, then one "free day" over the weekend turns into 2 "free days"...then a holiday comes along and it is basically a free for all.

I was thinking the other day that if the whole big picture goal of losing 20 lbs by Christmas doesn't work out, then maybe I could focus on the little successes along the way.  I am trying to remain positive.  You know, like a glass half full outlook.  Not a plate half full though...because that is how I got in this mess in the first place.

Here are some successes/positives I can focus on when I am feeling like a frumpy mom.

1.  I wore a pair of jeans the other day that didn't fit since last year.  I like these jeans.  So that's cool.  I like some other jeans more and would love to wear them too...but the last time they fit was 2004, so I'm not holding my breath.  But maybe.

2.  My mother in law made the DELICIOUS veggie dip the other day.  It had dill in it and I LOVE dill.  I am going to try to make it with fat free sour cream and live off veggies for lunch.  I'm kinda excited about that.  Note to self: Get that recipe ASAP.

3.  I have been running at the state park near my house and it is beautiful this time of year.  So the running thing has been pretty relaxing.

4.  I had a good hair day the other day.  Maybe if the whole weight loss thing doesn't pan out, I can focus on finding ways to style my hair to make my face look slimmer. 

5.  It's still early in the season and we haven't had any illnesses (knock on wood).  But who knows?  Maybe I can get a nasty stomach virus before the holidays to shed a few of these unwanted pounds.  Just kidding.  Or am I?

6.  I still like wine and drinking wine makes me feel more relaxed.  So I will just do that if I am not able to lose the weight.  Again, just kidding.  Or am I?

7.  They say you burn calories when you clean.  Luckily, my kids are extra messy so it's a win/win for me.  Right?  They really make a mess to help me.

8.  Shapewear can do wonders these days.  Yes, you might pay more for your shapewear than you do for your actual clothes...but you do what you gotta do.

9.  I can't be super skinny.  My grandmother would always say that you need some meat on your bones just in case you get sick or something like that.  You need a protective layer of fat, if you will.  So I am extra safe.

10.  I lost 8 lbs in 4 weeks...and I really have only been giving it 100% effort for half of that time.  If, and only if, I can crack down and get serious, I should be able to reach my goal.  So the ball is totally in my court. 

I made this ecard a few months ago.  It's true, right?

Do you have any tips for losing weight or trying to remain positive when the dieting gets old?  And I know, I shouldn't really be "dieting" should just be me making better choices to remain healthy and fit.  But damn, why do those poor choices taste so freakin' good?  WHY? 

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

No One Said It Would Be Easy

Parenthood.  No one said it would be easy, right?  But no one really said it would be so hard either.  I mean, it goes without saying that being a parent is hard.  It's not something you can really fathom until you are living it. 

When you have a child, suddenly your needs are secondary.  There are some things that are really, really difficult.  We do it anyway because we are parents.

My almost 2 year old has been having a rough time over the past few months when I leave her home with my husband or with a babysitter.  And by "rough time", I mean bouts of crying and screaming until I return home to find her covered in sweat.  Sometimes it is not the entire time I am gone.  Sometimes she is fine until she asks for me and realizes I am not here.  Then all hell breaks lose.  My heart drops when I pull up and see her or, even worse, hear her screaming.  It takes me a few minutes to calm her down and I just feel terrible.  I feel terrible that she is so sad when I am gone.  I feel terrible that I want and need a I leave and make her feel this way.  I feel terrible that I selfishly wonder when I will ever get time away without her getting so upset.  And if it's just a phase, I feel terrible that I wish the time away so she will outgrow it.

Maybe it's the guilt that is the hardest part.  The guilt you feel as a parent can be overwhelming.  Like...did I cause this when I stopped teaching and chose to have a home daycare?  She has never been with another caregiver on a regular basis.  Did I do a disservice to her by being her primary caregiver morning, noon, and night...all day, everyday?  But I did it with my 4 year old and she is just fine.  I don't know. 

Then if I go back to teaching next year, as I am planning on doing, will that be even worse?  Will she hate preschool?  Should I wait another year or just go for it and stop putting off the inevitable?  Financially it makes sense for me to go back to teaching next year.  But not much makes perfect sense when you are a parent.  There is always the doubt or the worry that you might not be making the best decision.  It's the guilt again. 

You just want to do right by your children...and you have to hope that you are.

People say that time flies and that I will miss all of this when my children are older.  And you know what?  I am sure that I will.  I really believe that.  But I will remember that it was hard.  It's so worth it...but it is the hardest job that I will ever have.  Knowing that another person's little life is in your hands and it's up to you to not screw it up...yep, that is a tough job.  But again, we are parents so we do it. 

We are parents so we count down the seconds until bedtime because we need a break, and then when the kids are sleeping we sit and watch them.  We listen to them breath.  We touch their warm little cheeks and can't believe how much we could love these little people.

We are parents so we wish and hope and pray for the best for our children.

We are parents so we worry every single day about our children.  We have fears that we have never had before...fears that we could not imagine. 

We are parents so we know what it is like to love instantly and unconditionally.

This parenting thing is some hard, hard work.

But no one said it would be easy.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Give Me 5 for Friday: I Am So Very Thankful

It's November, the month to give thanks.  So on this cold, crisp, sunny Friday...I am going to share 5 things for which I am eternally grateful...every single day.

Here is Give Me 5 for Friday!

I am thankful for:

1.  Health
This will always be number one!  I am so thankful that my girls, my husband, our families and friends, and myself are all healthy.  Without this...there is nothing.

2.  My Girls
I am so thankful for my 3 funny, crazy, caring, beautiful, precious girls!  Words can't adequately express how grateful I am to have them and how blessed I feel.  So I'll just leave it at that.

3.  My husband
Last night I went for a run.  I had put a roast in the crock pot earlier in the afternoon and when I returned from the run, my husband had started making the rest of dinner.  Then I cleaned up after dinner and he emptied the dishwasher for me...which I hate doing.  He also helped with baths and read with the two oldest in bed so I could shower.  I am so thankful to have him and on most days, I truly feel like we are a team :)

4.  Living close to family
I live in Delaware...was born and raised here.  During Hurricane Sandy, it was comforting to know that we were so close to family.  Our power didn't go out and we didn't have any major damage.  But I knew that if it did, we always had somewhere to go.  And we were also able to have my brother in law and sister in law come over with their kids when their power did, in fact, go out.  It's so nice to have family around and for that I am thankful! 

5.  My friends
Last week, two of my very close friends celebrated their birthdays.  I have known these girls for about 27 years.  27 years.
They are two of my oldest and dearest friends and I honestly do not know what I would do without them.  We can vent and complain and be annoying and there is no judgement.  We can laugh and laugh.  We can cry.  Everyone needs friends like that.
It is my hope that my daughters grow up to have a few or even many good, true friends.  I have a handful of friends like that...that I have had since childhood.  We have been through so much times, sad times, graduations, jobs, deaths, and births.  And here we are.

I LOVE this song and it reminds me of my friends...

By the way, I am SO grateful for all of you that read my blog!  I really am and I still can't believe that you take time out of your day to read what I write.  SO thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

To Each His Own

Have you ever heard that saying?  I'm guessing you have.  This is so true.  "To Each His Own".  Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has the right to their own opinions.  My opinion does not have to be the same as your opinion.  I don't have to agree with you and you don't have to agree with me.  AND...we can say that.  It is the beauty of being an American.

Many things have baffled me this election season.  Why can't people just agree to disagree?  And I don't give a flying f*&k who you voted for or why.  And you shouldn't care about who I voted for this year.  It's doesn't matter.

If we just all thought about the saying "To each his own", I think it would help.

For example, have you ever been to a wedding where you just knew that the couple was not the right fit?  You just knew that they might not make it?  Well, did you stand up and say something or did you just sit there and keep your big mouth shut (as you should)?  Because you know what...people marry the wrong people all of the time.   So who are we to say who marries who?  You see where I am going here (without actually going there)?  To each his own.

Have you ever heard someone say something that was so hypocritical that you just wanted to call them out on it?  Or have you ever thought that someone was making the wrong decision based on not knowing all of the facts?  I have.  And you know what I thought?  To each his own.

Have you ever thought that someone was making a wrong choice with their life but then you realize that you HAVE NO CLUE what it is like to walk in their you really should just stay out of it?  You should actually thank your lucky stars that you never had to make a tough decision like that.  And maybe if you were in their position, you would make a different choice that was right for YOU...but that doesn't mean it's right for them.  To each his own.

I'm NOT confrontational AT ALL.  This little trait has helped me so much in my life...and even more this election season.  I tend to just keep on a lid on it.  That is hard for me at times though.  And it was hard for the past few months...because if I am being honest with you, I don't vote strictly down party lines.  I have strong values that are in line with one party...and other strong values that are in line with another.  You know how you make those lists of pros and cons when you want to make a decision?  That's kinda what I do mentally.  And that's what I did this year.  Then I hoped for the best. 

Until there is a candidate that stands for EVERYTHING that I stand for...I guess I will continue this little tactic.

Was the outcome what I wanted or hoped for?  You will never know because I won't say who I voted for here.  But it is what it is.  And I am an American so I think it's time to get to work and be proud of our country.  End of story. 

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Give Me 5 for Friday: 5 Things I've Learned about Halloween as a Parent

It's that time of the week when we are all ready for quitting time, especially after this week.  This week was chock full o' Mother Nature's wrath followed by the wrath of tired children on a sugar high. 

They are high, they are low, they crash, they still beg for more candy...

Today's Give Me 5 for Friday is all about things that I have learned about this wonderful, joyous holiday called Halloween since I have become a parent.

Here we go:

1.  Halloween is a pain in the ass...and the wallet.
Why?  Well, I have learned that parents definitely stress over their childrens' costumes more than the kids do.  The kids have no idea what we go through. 

Child:  I want to be Taylor Swift.
Mom:  Really?  UGH, how are you going to do that?
Child:  Well, that's all I really want to be!  PLEAAAASSSSSEEE?

Parent feverishly searches Internet to find a "pop star" dress, wig, microphone, guitar...$60 later.  Then the kid doesn't want to wear half of the stuff while trick or treating.

Child:  The wig is itchy.  I don't want to carry the guitar.

Well, I want a damn refund.

2.  It's just uncomfortable.
I don't know about you, but I don't really enjoy sending my kids knocking on the doors of complete strangers to get their hands on a piece of free candy.  It's awkward.

3.  It's not the same as it was "back in the day".
Back when I was a kid, you just made a costume out of stuff around the house.  I think I was a "hobo" 3 different years.  Or a witch or clown.  And if you were really lucky, you could get one of those plastic costumes and masks.  They were sweet.

Then you could eat as much candy as you wanted until you puked in the street.  Right?  Did that ever happen to you?  Just eat it much as your little heart desired.  There was no judgement from other parents or no "just one piece tonight" rules.  The "just one piece a day" rule will make the candy last about 2 months.  NO THANKS!

4.  The kids love it.
As much of a pain in the ass as it may be, the kids just LOVE it.  This leads me to #5...

5.  You will do it all again next year.
Since the kids love it so, you will do the whole song and dance again year after year...for as many years as your kids will allow you to be a part of this holiday with them  Because one day the kids won't want to go trick or treating with their parents...then they won't want to go at all.  They won't dress up and believe that they do, in fact, look just like Taylor Swift or a princess or a real cowgirl.  They will be too big for all of this nonsense and you might just wish that you could take your little ones around for Halloween just one more time. 

So until next year...

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

I'm Prepared for a Zombie Apocalypse

This weekend I participated in the Run For Your Lives Zombie Infested 5k Obstacle Course Race.

It was a coed Bachelorette weekend for my sister-in-law.  We ran the race and then camped there for the night.  It was a fun time...after I got the layers of mud washed off and got the debris out of my contacts.  Seriously.  I almost considered going to one of the dozens of ambulances present to have my eye washed out.  And is that a bad sign when you get to a race and there are emergency response vehicles everywhere?

I learned a few things about what a zombie apocalypse would be like and how I would react.  I can't say that I am proud of myself.  But I think I could survive.  Because I survived yesterday...with one flag left on my belt.  If that isn't an indication that I am ready to face zombies, I don't know what is.

Here are a few things I learned.

1.  I would scream.  I mean, really scream.
So, they load all the runners into a covered gated area.  You run in waves that start every half an hour.  So we all got corralled into the starting game like animals.  And we were like animals...getting ready to be fed to the zombies.  Smoke filled the area and the gate was lifted.  As we ran out of the gate, there were zombies everywhere when the smoke cleared.  I ran as fast as my legs could possibly take me.  And I screamed my head off.  I was so scared during that first "zombie zone".  I think there were 12 zones.  But Zone 7, I was cool with it.  I was beginning to embrace the zombies and even talk to them.  I'm not sure if I was really cool with them...or if my will to live had simply faded.

2.  I would drop the f-bomb excessively.
By the fifth obstacle...I was getting pretty liberal dropping f's everywhere.
Are you f-ing kidding me?
What the f?
I have to really f-ing do that?
We are only at the f-ing one mile mark.  How is that f-ing possible?

3.  I would basically do anything necessary to "survive".
I will tell you this...there were some obstacles in this course that I had NO desire to do.  But I wanted to get it done.  At one point, we ran out of a clearing in the woods, through another zombie zone and reached a lake.  People were jumping in and swimming across.  The only other way was to run ALL THE WAY around it.  No one was doing that.  And when it's a f-ing zombie don't want to go it alone.  I looked at my sister-in-law who was already in the water and just yelled, "Am I really supposed to swim across?!!!"  Then...I just got in and swam.  In the middle, I couldn't touch at all.  It was freezing.  The water was NASTY.  From that point on, it was anything goes...

And anything goes means...
climbing under barbed wire through inches of muddy water.
going through a smoke house with electrically charged wires hanging everywhere.
sliding down a muddy water slide and getting completely submerged in a muddy pool of water of the bottom.
climbing under the electrically charged fence at the finish line.

*A "zombie zone"

Photo: Did we mention you'd get a little wet and muddy?
*The muddy waterslide...

Photo: It's electric. Stay low.
*electrically charged fence at the finish line...

When it was all said and done, I had several scrapes and a bruised right knee, a probable scratch on my cornea, I was electrocuted 3 times, and I had goose bumps for hours.

It was a blast!

I am most definitely prepared for a Zombie Apocalypse after this weekend.

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*All photos courtesy of the Run for Your Lives facebook page.