"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. " -Helen Keller

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I love my children...I love my children...no, really, I do love my children

Yesterday, I managed to take some time for myself. I went to my quilting/crafting group yesterday afternoon and I had 5 blissful hours of adult conversation and craft time. It was incredible. I almost had to pinch myself to believe it was happening.

But today, today has been another story. I feel like I've spent my day listening to the kids whine and snipe and argue. The irony of it all is Gabe has been the most grown-up and helpful of the kids so far.

Marty argued with me for 20 minutes about making his bed. See, I told the older two boys that they needed to learn to make their beds today. They sleep on loft beds and, frankly, it's a royal pain in the ass to make the beds. So, until now, I've changed the sheets for them. Both of them had their beds stripped and, while the sheets were being washed and dried, I covered the mattress with extra comforters that we have. Marty's first argument was that his bed was already made. When that didn't work, he tried to convince me to let him keep the extra comforter on his bed after we put his sheets and comforter on. I told him no and he said "But I don't like to sleep under the comforter because that messes it up and then I have to make it everyday." He didn't like it too much when I laughed at that excuse. I tried to to explain that extra comforters were just that and were to be kept available in case someone slept over or one got dirty. His response was "But, I can give it up whenever someone else needs it." I said no and he got agitated about me not being willing to compromise. Somehow, I didn't think compromise meant giving a whiny, argumentative 13 yr old what he wanted. Again, I told him no and said it wouldn't work because then the comforter would be dirty. He said "But, I would wash it before they used it." I told him that wouldn't work because it took several hours to wash and dry that. His comeback was that it would only take two hours and that isn't several hours?!?!? Geez, I think he would still be arguing with me if the phone hadn't rung. I also had to explain to him that he was not the parent and I did not owe him an explanation about the way I handled things with Gabe. How the hell am I suppose to deal with Gabe yelling at Marty when Marty turns around and yells at him and then actually has the nerve to tell me he did that because I wasn't making Gabe stop. He is seriously pissing me off.

Joey has been whining, arguing, and fussing at and with his brothers. He has been whining and purposely misunderstanding me. He has pouted and whined about things I have already said I would do or help with.

Now, Gabe has been a little bit of a pain to his brothers but he has actually been helpful to me. Gabe has been doing laundry with me and has helped me clean the microwave.

Is it a rule that when a mom takes time for herself that she gets paid back with a day from hell the next day? If so, I'm kind of scared about what will be waiting for me when I get home from BlogHer.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: New Photo Technique

Lori over at Weebles Wobblog says that "Perfect Moment Monday is more about noticing a perfect moment than about creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between."

I was playing around this weekend and the notion hit me to try something new with my camera. These were the cool beyond belief results (please click on them...they are even cooler when they are enlarged)...

and, the best thing about this technique is the only add on needed to take pics like this is a small toy plastic prism...
Taking pictures through a prism like this is ridiculously easy and you get the coolest effects.

Go check out the other perfect moments at this week's Perfect Moment Monday on Weebles Wobblog.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

How to freak out your 13 yr old

One of the sublime delights of being a parent is totally screwing with your 13 yr old's mind. I've been teasing him for a while...telling him I was going to dye my hair purple to celebrate being 40 and he kept telling me he wouldn't be seen in public with me like that (and that's suppose to be a deterrent?). I managed to achieve the delightful level of total 13 yr old freak out on Friday. It was made even more enjoyable by the fact that he wasn't upset or mad. In fact, he was glad to see me. He was just totally weirded out by me. All I had to do in order to have this sublime experience was dye my hair. I went from this...
to this...

My hair didn't take the dye evenly but I still really like it. I may go after a completely purple color next time.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Photo Friday: Unexpected Loves

Welcome to Photo Friday sponsored by the brilliant and beautiful Calliope of Creating Motherhood. This weeks theme, Unexpected Loves, was suggested by Stephanie of Life After Single. One of my unexpected loves is photo editing. I've always loved taking pictures but, honestly, I never realized how much fun it would be to mess around with them and change up the style. In the past year or so, I've discovered I really love playing around with photo editing. Since I have NO CLUE how to take a picture of photo editing, I'll show you what a difference a filter applied to a photo can make.

I started out with a photo of this kind of cool and funky manhole cover...

Then I selected these photos to use as filters...

and, then I added the filters to the original photo...

Now, head on over to Calli's y'all and check out everyone's photos this week...and, break out those cameras and participate next week.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Oh Happy Day...

Today has been a much happier day. The stuff that has made me happy is kind of silly but, hell, I'll take it.

Last night I found out I won the Flip MinoHD video camera being given away by Cisco through Aunt Becky. I am thrilled. I have been lusting after one of these wonderful little video cameras for a long time and now I have one. Best of all, I will have it in hand before BlogHer.

And, today I bought my bus tickets to get to BlogHer. I remember telling y'all about my $60 round trip fair and now I have my e-tickets in hand.I even know what subway lines I need to hit (and which station I have to change lines at) to get from the bus station to the hotel. I am getting so excited.

And now, just because I feel like it, here is some garden porn(all pictures are clickable)...
my entire container garden

Gabe next to the tomato plants

My squash and zucchini harvest

my cojoined twin squash

the squash flower I created

And, my lovely tomato plants have about 14 baby tomatoes on them. Woohooo!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A One-Two Punch

You know, I really thought I was past the point of feeling jealous about other people's pregnancies. I have been nothing but delighted by the recent pregnancy announcements among my ALI friends. I haven't even felt bad about seeing pregnant bellies when I'm out and about. But, last night it hit.

ONE...My cousin's wife is expecting their 5th child. This is the cousin I grew up with. He is almost exactly the same age as me and his wife is a lovely person. I am happy for them because they've experienced loss and their life hasn't been perfectly smooth. But, when I read the news, I got that sinking feeling we all know too well. That feeling that screams "Why can't that be me?" I fucking hate that that feeling is back but I guess it answers the question that has been dogging me lately. I still do want another child.

...then, while I was feeling kind of low, the second blow hit. I popped onto my blog and was checking my blogroll to see if there were any posts I needed to read and I saw one that made my heart sink all the way down. Jo over at MoJo Working said there was No Heartbeat. It just isn't fucking fair. I was sitting here with tears welling up and my heart was breaking for Jo. God did I feel like a selfish bitch when I was grieving not having my fourth and she was grieving not having any babies to hold.

I was down for the count and my dreams weren't that peaceful last night. While I will always be heartbroken when I hear about a loss, I refuse to get dragged back to dwelling on what I don't have. I want to appreciate my blessings and laugh until a smile drives the blues away. Victor Hugo said "Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face." I believe it does more than that. I believe laughter can renew your soul.

Share a laugh or a favorite quote with me. May it bring a smile to both of our faces.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Play ICLW Baseball!

The brilliant Kym came up with the idea for this last night in a dream. She says "this activity is actually blended modification of a first-day icebreaker activity and an activity to make easy flexible groups (if you're a teacher and you want the actual activities, shoot me an email).

Here's what to do if you want to play ICLW Baseball:

1. Copy these instructions and post them on your blog.

2. Answer the Base Questions.

3. Find other participating bloggers who have the same answers you do. Find at least one blogger for each base and link back to them in your baseball post. You may find more than one blogger with common answers for each post base. Your post will be a work in progress. Get YOUR base answers up ASAP, then go back often to edit and add the links of bloggers who share answers with you!

4. Once your base answers are up, go to I'm a Smart One/Kymberli's blog and add your baseball post hyperlink to the list. Kym's blog is home base; check the list to find the other players."

BaseballFeel free to snag the graphic!

Here are my base answers:

1st Base: Diet Coke shared with My Bumpy Journey

2nd Base: Carrabba's Italian Grill

3rd Base: December shared with Suzy, Not a Fertile Myrtle

Home: Finding Nemo shared with Anna, A garden for butterflies, My Bumpy Journey

I hope this adds another element of fun to this week's ICLW blog hopping! Spread the word - the more who play, the easier it is to fill your bases! PLAY BALL!

Point of order...

Hey y'all, I wanted to let you know I might be accepting a little bit of advertising soon. I hope it doesn't aggravate any of you.

Smooches, Kristin

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Oh My! Meme

Welcome ICLWers...I have a little list of links above (go on, look up). Feel free to click on any of them. I couldn't figure out what to write as an intro so I went searching for a fun meme. I found this one at Sunday Stealing. If y'all decide to play along, let me know. I'd love to come read your answers.

1. The phone rings; who don't you want it to be? a telemarketer...HATE that

2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart? Always, its truly a pet peeve of mine when people leave their carts in any random spot.

3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener? I'm more of a listener but, in a good give and take, I can talk as much as anyone.

4. What was the last compliment that someone gave you? That I was a very good girl (my 4 yr old)

5. Do you play the lottery? Every once in a while.

6. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, who would you want with you? MacGyver...he can build or do anything with almost nothing.

7. Do you like to ride horses? Love it. I spent the summer after college training horse professionally.

8. Did you ever go to camp as a kid? Yup, Girl Scout camp and church camp.

9. What is your favorite party game? Trivial Pursuit

10. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew he/she was married, would you go for it? Not just no, HELL NO. Even if I was single, married men are OFF LIMITS.

11. When was the last time that you lied? Does fibbing to my kids count? If so, earlier today. Gabe wanted to come with me when I took Marty to camp and I told him that Daddy would be lonely if he didn't stay home. He didn't argue with me.

12. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you? Yup

13. If you have a S/O, who pursued who? If not, do you like to pursue or be pursued? He asked me out first but I stuck with it when he was in his OMG scared stage. So, I guess it was mutual.

14. Use six words to describe yourself. Loyal, creative, funny, happy, smart, fulfilled

15. Name a song that could make you cry? Sarabeth by Rascal Flatts

16. Are you pleased with your education? Absolutely

17. How do you feel about gun control? Ummm, make sure you can hit your target. Actually, I firmly believe in the right to keep and bear arms.

18. If your house was on fire, what thing would be the first thing you grabbed? As long as I know my family is safe, my external hard drive with all the pictures on it.

19. How often do you have a romantic weekend? rarely

20. Do you think more about the past, present or future? the present

21. What was the last adult magazine that you have read? It was years ago, probably while I was in college, and it was the tamest of them all, Playgirl.

22. What are you told about your eyes? that they are beautiful

23. How tall is just right? about 5' 10"

24. Where is your dream house located? Here in the Cary area. I NEVER ever want to move again. I HATE moving. Now, I could gladly have vacation homes elsewhere.

25. Do you have a secret fetish? nope, I think I'm boring in that regard

26. Have you tried bourbon? If yes, what type? yup, dunno what type

27. Have you ever seen a male or female stripper? Yes

28. When was the last time you were at TGI Fridays? No clue...ages ago

29. When was the last time you were at Church? yesterday morning

30. Where was the furthest place you traveled today? I drove my son to Agape Camp...the Lutheran camp about 30 miles from my house

31. What was your favorite job? Other than being a wife and mom, my favorite job was being a paramedic.

32. What condiments do you like at your BBQ? If we are grilling burgers and dogs, then I want ketchup, spicy brown mustard, and mayo.

33. Do you look like your mom or dad? definitely my mom although I got my curly hair from my dad's family

34. Who was the last person that you showered with (it's okay to leave out the name)? Gabe...my 4 yr old

Hope y'all have a great week and I hope to see y'all around here again!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The father of my children...

If you had asked 20 yrs ago to describe the man I would marry, I would have been wrong. I had some deluded notions about the surface details of the man I would fall in love with. If you had asked me to describe the man I wanted to father my children, I would have been spot on. I wanted a man who was strong and loving and faithful. He would teach his children the value of hard work and the beauty of a loving and faithful relationship with their mother. I wanted a man who wasn't afraid to show his feelings but not someone who was a "modern man". I wanted a man who was smart and motivated. That was always more important than formal education. I wanted a man who would value daughters as much as they valued sons. I wanted a man who lived an honorable life and would teach his children the value of that.

Almost 16 years ago, I married the man of my dreams. 13 1/2 years ago, we became parents and I watched him become the father I dreamed my children would have. Because of my c-sections, Vic has gotten to be the first one to hold each of our boys. I remember his singing to Marty as we were both wheeled back to recovery. I've been privileged to see him hold our boys close and wipe away their tears and, moments later, laugh and joke and play with them. He reads to them and teaches them and lives for them. He is an honorable man and is raising three honorable boys with me. Vic loves me, treats me as an equal, and treats me with chivalry. I believe our boys will grow up to be fine men because they have this example to live up to. Our boys are not afraid to be loving and gentle because they have seen their dad act that way. They are growing to understand that being a strong man does not mean avoiding gentleness. I can't think of a better person to be a father to my sons.

Happy Father's Day honey. I love you!

For all of you...

My friends, please, please go read this post...Turquoise. If you are pregnant, want to be pregnant, know someone who is pregnant, or love a person with a disability, GO READ IT. If you know someone who thinks that a diagnosis during an ultrasound is the end of everything or a doctor who thinks he can predict how things will turn out for your child, GO READ IT. Hell, if you care about your fellow man, GO READ IT. It's another amazing post from the incredible Dave Hingsburger.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Desperately seeking Kyron

Once upon a time, Lori's cousin‘s son went to school with a boy named Kyron. While her cousin’s son eventually transferred elsewhere, Kyron remained at the school and attended its science fair more than two weeks ago.

Kyron Horman has not been seen since. I am issuing an Internet SOS in hopes that our connectivity will somehow bring Kyron home.

Keep an eye out, especially those of you in the Pacific Northwest area. The tip-line is (503) 261-2847.

As Lori's cousin says, Please post on your blogs. You never know what might be the link in the chain that brings this boy home where he belongs.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Photo Friday: Afternoon Delight

Welcome to Photo Friday sponsored by the brilliant and beautiful Calliope of Creating Motherhood. This week's theme is Afternoon Delight which was suggested by Molly over at McPolish. I really was stumped about what to post and which photo to use but inspiration finally struck. This first representation of Afternoon Delight is pretty self explanatory...

This second set of Afternoon Delight photos requires a bit more explanation. This year, my little container garden is absolutely delighting me because it is thriving and I'm actually getting produce from it.

Now, head on over to Calli's y'all and check out everyone's photos this week...and, break out those cameras and participate next week.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Household Hints from Evil Mom: Tip 2

Welcome back to one of the newest features of my blog, Household Hints from Evil Mom. Last time, you learned about the many household uses of Wal-Mart brand peanut butter. Today, I'd like to share with you the many uses of Crest toothpaste.

Crest toothpaste is not limited to the roll of keeping your teeth sparkling and white...No, my dear friends, as Evil Mom and any college student will tell you, Crest toothpaste can be used to fill nail holes on the wall so you don't get charges for them when you move out. Also, with the many colors of Crest toothpaste available today, you could even go so far as to match the toothpaste with the paint. Just think, Cinnamon Crest can fill the nail holes on your red wallthe cool mint can fill the holes on your seafoam colored walland, the traditional white Crest can fill mail holes on any white wall in your houseBut, my dear friends, I want to let you in on a great big secret. This is something Evil Mom learned when she was 2 years old. The traditional blend of Crest toothpaste will remove paint. See, even when I was young, I assiduously searched for alternate uses for everyday items. Mini- Evil Mom and her best friend decided to redecorate my room while our moms had coffee together. We painted the walls and bed posts with an already opened tube of Crest. Aaaah, the swirls and streaks were a magnificent work of modern art. Sadly, my mom didn't see it in the same light. And, somehow, she seemed even more disturbed when she she wiped it off and the paint came off with it. I don't think she appreciated the opportunity to repaint the walls of my bedroom.

So dear friends, do you have any helpful hints for Evil Mom?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Urban Decay and Recreational Trespassing

Last night, while I was doing my catch up reading and commenting, I made the fatal error of clicking on a link. When is clicking on a link a fatal error? It's a fatal error (or maybe not so fatal error since it led to a post) when it leads to MORE blogs being added to my blogroll.

The link that lead to my not so apparent demise was the link to EPBOT. EPBOT is the other blog of Jen, the brilliance behind Cake Wrecks. Jen describes EPBOT as Geekery, Girliness & General Goofing Off and the post that sucked me in was her post about her fascination with urban decay. She has some brilliant pictures of an abandoned drive in movie theater that she took. Jen also linked to *a post by Shane Perez, a self-professed recreational trespasser, who went on a jaunt to an abandoned Disney site, Discovery Island) and took some amazing pictures of urban decay. Of course, I had to click over. It was so cool and I couldn't help imagining myself doing something as daring and adventurous.

The closest I got to that level of adventure was in college. See, at Duke, like at many universities, there is a list of things you are suppose to try and complete before you graduate. It's a pretty short list...
  1. Go tunneling
  2. Drive backward around the traffic circle
  3. Have sex in the stacks of the library
and I sort of completed it. Of course, I drove backwards around the traffic circle...and, to make sure I had it covered, I not only drove counter-clockwise around the circle but I also drove around the circle in reverse. Now, the fun story is tunneling. It involved breaking and entering and could get you into deep shit with the school administration if you got caught. Duke is set up with 2 main campuses, East and West, that are separated by a couple of miles of Campus Drive. All the buildings on Duke's East Campus are connected by underground maintenance tunnels and school legend suggests these tunnels stretch at least half the way down Campus Drive. The whole point of tunneling is to gain access to the tunnels and to travel as far as you can through them. Of course, tunneling had to be done at night when you were less likely to be caught but also when the access to the tunnels was locked. You could gain access to the locked basements of the dorms or class buildings of East Campus through jimmied windows, doors accidentally left unlocked (or rigged not to lock), or picked locks. Once you made it into the tunnels, you still had to contend with locked gates and other obstacles. Tales were told of people being able to kick open gates or pick the locks but sadly, our our breaking and entering skills were not that developed. Tales were also told of people making it into the basement storage area of the formal dining area, the Magnolia Room, on East Campus and helping themselves to souvenirs such as cups and saucers or making it halfway down Campus Drive. Sadly, my little group couldn't claim either of those feats either. We did however, make it into the tunnels and spent about an hour down there. We definitely made it into more than one basement. We squeezed ourselves through, over, and under spaces that human bodies were not meant to fit through. I remember going over one gate that had such a small amount of space over it that every part of me had to be forced through (and I was a small fraction of the size I am now back them). Since none of us had the foresight to bring cameras, the only souvenirs we brought out were bumps, bruises, and scrapes. Sadly, my bruises were all along the inside of my thighs (from squeezing over that gate) and you can just imagine the looks I got as I walked around campus for the next week or so. Well, I guess I did come out with one other souvenir. I have a great story to tell.

So my friends, do any of y'all have a good story about recreational trespassing or some cool pictures of urban decay? Do you think you would ever have the guts to do something like Shane Perez or would you even want to do it?

* his other photos are well worth looking at but can NOT be considered safe for work as there are nude models in some of them

** Here are a couple of cool links that tie into the Shane Perez story...


So that's the explanation...

Cecily of Uppercase Woman had a post titled Bad Case of Summer Brain yesterday and gawd did I identify with that first paragraph. She said "I think my brain has decided that it's summer time and has checked out." That explains what's happened on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. We've had all kinds of things going on...fun times at the pool, great food being cooked, ridiculous kid stories...but somehow, I couldn't manage to put word on computer screen. Well, I finally decided to get off ass and post something. Sadly, it won't be an intellectually stimulating or particularly humorous post. I'm just gonna share my crafty stuff with you.
The rainbow blanket needs to go in the mail ASAP.

I have no clue what I'm going
to do with this pink blanket.

Isn't this the cutest elephant ever?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I can't decide...

what should make for dinner. One son wants pizza and one son wants chutney. Which should I make?

*Pizza won...but, not regular pizza, BBQ chicken pizza.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Photo Friday: Shoes

Welcome to Photo Friday sponsored by the brilliant and beautiful Calliope of Creating Motherhood. This week's theme is shoes. While I thought about giving into my inner shoe whore and taking pics of my feet in some of my cooler shoes, I decided to try and be a bit more interesting.

Now, head on over to Calli's y'all and check out everyone's photos this week...and, break out those cameras and participate next week.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The B.N. Era

Yeah, B.N. is the Before Netflix Era. You know, the era that required you schlep down to the local video store (Blockbuster Video if you were really lucky, a small local store if you weren't). The era when it took a big, bulky machine and a big, bulky video tape that became prone to breakage as it aged. Well, the fantabulous JJ from Reproductive Jeans took a stroll down the B.N. memory lane and has challenged us to share some of our favorite VHS memories.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show The Rocky Horror Picture Show hit the theaters in '75 and the international video market in the '80s but it wasn't released on video in the US until 1990. During college, I live in a dorm filled with geeks, nerds, and otherwise odd and eclectic people...the type of people who would know how to hook a vcr to a projection screen to host a viewing of this cult classic. And, in the summer of '89, one of our dorm members had spent the summer in Japan. He brought back a true prize, a video copy of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and our dorm hosted a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show during the fall of '89 which was open to the campus. While Duke started hosting an annual Halloween viewing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1990, none matched the campiness of our original showing because we had a video copy of The Rocky Horror Picture Show that was dubbed into Japanese and captioned in English. Nothing matches watching Time Warp (did you ever see the Time Warp clip from the Drew Carey Show) or Dammit Janet or Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me sung is Japanese.

Top Gun Aaaah, Top Cruise back in his pre-crazy, stay away from publicity, no jumping on couches days...you remember, back when his gorgeousness made you drool and not feel kind of skeevy and icky. And, Anthony Edwards character, Goose, was such a good guy and was so yummy. I remember how excited I was that we were able to buy this movie AS SOON AS IT CAME OUT. I totally LOVED this movie. The soundtrack was incredible. The aerial photography was beyond amazing. And, the love story made me melt (especially all those scenes to Take My Breath Away). We watched this over and over and over again. I still love it.

Dirty Dancing What can I say, I'm a sucker for a sweet, feel good romance and Dirty Dancing serves that up in style. In so many ways, it was a truly old-fashioned movie but, OH MY GAWD, getting to watch Patrick Swayze dance took it from being a pedestrian spin on a carousel straight into the *E-ticket ride stratosphere. I was in high school when this came out and I have all kinds of good memories tied up with it. Seeing the brainy sister getting the hot guy made me dream of being in her shoes back then and I've Had the Time of My Life still makes me want to get up and dance every single time I hear it. Just remember, "Nobody puts baby in a corner."

There are so many other movies I learned to love in the B.N. era...Pretty Woman, Gone With the Wind, Breakfast Club, Big, Forrest Gump, Grease, Indiana Jones, The Princess Bride, and many many more. What are some of your favorite movies and memories from the B.N. era? If you decide to share it with us, make sure you go let JJ know. She's holding a giveaway tied to her B.N. post.

* If you are too young to know what an e-ticket ride is, don't tell me. It will make me feel old.