Wednesday, July 29, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance

After being a dancer from age 3 until age 19 I feel like dancing is in my blood. Even though I haven't formally danced in 15 years (darn kids) I still love to put on some music and dance around the living room, kitchen, shower, wherever I can move my feet.

I have a love/hate relationship with Fox's show So You Think You Can Dance. I love to watch it and see the amazing, talented dancers show off the amazing, talents of the choreographers. I hate it because it makes me miss dancing so much. I have tears in my eyes during every show.

I didn't exactly suck at dancing but I wasn't the best in my classes either. I quit taking formal dance lessons when I was 15 but took an elective dance class all 3 years of high school. When I was little I took dance lessons taught in Mrs. Brigg's garage, I was near the top in terms of ability. Even though we practiced in her garage, we still learned a lot and had a recital at the local college every year. We wore the lovely fringe and sequenced dance costumes and tapped, balleted, and jazzed around to the best of our ability. I remember taking lessons at Erica's for two years on top of Mrs. Brigg's classes. This is when I learned I was passionate about dance but not enough to have someone yell at me for not doing a step perfectly. After the recital I promptly quit Erica's and stuck with the loving, grandmotherly Mrs. Brigg's.

High school dance classes were a hoot. For some reason in my sophomore year there were several seasoned dancers that laughed when we were told we would have to take Dance I. We wriggled our way into Dance III which meant the school had to make up classes for our junior and senior years (Dance Choreography I & II). Our teacher, Mr. S, was obviously on the feminine side and would fit right in with Mia and her contemporary ways. I'll never forget the one legged dance we had to make up- yes we were graded on it. At least Mr. S let us choose our own theme for the winter and spring dance concerts. I remember doing A Chorus Line, The Little Match Girl (my idea thank you very much- didn't get to be the Little Match Girl, though), and The Little Mermaid (I kid you not, our Algebra teacher looked exactly like Ursula the Sea Witch). Ugh, a horrible memory just floated back of wearing MC Hammer pants and dancing to a rap Christmas song. Oh, and wearing gray sweats meant to look make us look like mice for a shortened version of The Nutcracker.

I quickly learned how great of a dancer I was not that first semester. Some of the girls I danced with? Um, those were the ones who took from Erica's and actually stayed. Oh, to think of the dancer I could have been. Oh, well. They were patient with me, encouraged me, and were kind enough to not laugh when I attempted leaps. I'm even still friends with some of them. One now owns her own dance studio where she attempted to teach my two oldest daughters to dance. Apparently they got their mom's lack of intense drive.

One of my favorite memories of dancing was one of the last times I performed on a stage. I attended a youth conference in North Carolina just after graduating high school. On the last night there was a talent show. Feeling confident after being guided by some very patient girls for 3 years as well as the love shown to me by Mrs. Brigg's I decided to do a solo for the show. It was a very emotional dance. My only grandma had passed away two months earlier after a long struggle with Alzheimer's. The dance was for her, in her memory. I chose Mariah Carey's I'll be There and danced harder than I ever had in my life. I remember breaking down the minute I left the stage. Wow, I just realized that was the only time my grandma was able to watch me dance since she lived in Indiana. I don't know why I never thought about that before.

It looks like it's time to pass the torch to my youngest daughter, Maisie. She's only 3 but tells us several times a day that she wants to go to 'ballerina school'. She watches So You Think You Can Dance and does a pretty darn good job at copying the dancers. Grandma will get to watch her, too.

Darn you, John! I was going to write a short, quick post so I could mention a contest in hopes of winning So You Think You Can Dance Get Fit DVD's. One of the requirements was to mention the contest in a blog, on Face Book, or My Space. I never intended to take trips down memory lane and end up short circuiting my keyboard from tears. I tweeted the contest, joined the email list, and just needed to mention the contest here and leave a comment. Forty minutes later I've poured more of me onto the computer and wound up with a stuffy red nose. I better win those DVD's dammit! If not I better start making some money blogging so I can buy them on ebay. I need to make money anyway so I can take my oldest daughter to SYTYCD in Tampa soon. This better count!

One last thing. Dance not only gave me an outlet for my emotions, much like writing has, but I also got one of my very best friend's through dance. Along with taking dance as a class I was also on the dance and drill team. This is where I met Kris. I wasn't sure I'd like her at first but we quickly became good friends. By the time we were seniors we were inseparable. Twenty years later she's one of three friends I've kept in contact with ever since graduation (one other I met on the dance team, too. Love you, Shana!). We talk, email, and text every day. Many times I wonder what I'd do without her. I'm grateful to have met her through dance and feel blessed to have had her in my life for the last 20 years (dang, we're getting old!).

I'm off to watch tonight's episode of SYTYCD!

Her First Paycheck

I'm sure this has been floating around cyberspace for a while but my cousin sent it to me and it was too cute not to share with all of you. Enjoy!

Here's a truly heartwarming story about the bond formed between a little 5-year-old girl and some construction workers that makes you believe that we CAN make a difference when we give a child the gift of our time...

A young family moved into a house next door to a vacant lot. One day a construction crew turned up to start building a house on the empty lot.

The family's 5-year-old daughter naturally took an interest in all the activity going on next door and spent much of each day observing the workers

Eventually the construction crew, all of them gems-in-the-rough, more or less adopted her as a kind of project mascot. They chatted with her, let her sit with them while they had coffee and lunch breaks, and gave her little jobs to do here and there to make her feel important.

At the end of the first week they even presented her with a pay envelope containing a couple of dollars. The little girl took this home to her mother who said all the appropriate words of admiration and suggested that they take the two dollar "pay" she had received to the bank the next day to start a savings account.

When they got to the bank, the teller was equally impressed and asked the little girl how she had come by her very own pay check at such a young age. The little girl proudly replied, "I worked last week with the crew building the house next door to us."

"My goodness gracious," said the teller, "and will you be working on The house again this week, too?"

The little girl replied, "I will if those assholes at Home Depot ever deliver the damn sheet rock..."

Stories like this just bring a tear to your eye.

Laugh people, laugh

After reading some pretty heated discussions on a site that I belong to, I started making little funny remarks trying to get people to lighten up and laugh. Mostly I was toting, "Private pay! Private pay!" since one of them was about healthcare reform and we choose not to have insurance. I got some great reactions out of doing it and loved how people did what they needed to do- laugh.

Whenever something funny happens in my life I write it down. When I gather enough of them to share I do just that – share. Since everyone has different types of humor some of these will be hilarious and some will leave you listening to the crickets in your head. Just remember that the point of me sharing is to get you to take a step out of your hectic life for a moment. Relax, laugh, giggle, chuckle, snort, howl, roar, snicker, chortle, crack up, die laughing (not really), snigger, heehaw, teehee, or twitter (betcha didn't know that was a synonym for giggle didya?). At least attempt a grin, okay?

The other day, my three year old daughter Maisie, walked up to me and asked, "Mommy, will you put my snake in my pocket?"

On her birthday, Maisie got two Tinkerbell dresses complete with wings. She put the pink one on, ran around, and then stood in the middle of the floor with her bottom lip poked out. "What's wrong?" I asked her. "I put my fairy dress on but I still can't fly." (Daddy came to the rescue and helped her fly)

After I finish this I'm cleaning the playroom. I can guarantee I'll hear the two of the following phrases: "Hey! I've been looking everywhere for that" and "Mommmyyyyyy, I was playing with that!" Hmm, really? Because it's sat untouched for the last six days.

On Maisie's birthday in June my mother-in-law brought something for my son, Carson. He looked at it and said, "That's intriguing." He's only five.

Carson stood at the door yesterday watching me put chlorine in their little pool. When I came inside he asked, "Mommy, why did you put sugar in the pool?"

Last night Reyna was on Webkinz answering questions for a game. "Where was paper invented?" she asked out loud. Carson replied, "In the paper shop."

And here is mine and Hubby's favorite of the week:

I had just put Maisie to sleep and was relaxing in the tub. Carson was in the playroom talking VERY loudly to Reyna so Hubby went in to quiet him down. Hubby told Carson, "You need to use your quiet voice." Carson answered back, "I can't find my quiet voice." That kid continues to amaze me.

My new favorite blog is Welcome to the Quote Garden which I found by simply Googling "laughter quotes and sayings":

I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose. ~Woody Allen

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities. ~
Jean Houston

Even if there is nothing to laugh about, laugh on credit. ~Author Unknown

Mirth is God's medicine. Everybody ought to bathe in it. ~Henry Ward Beecher

Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis. ~Jack Handey, "Deep Thoughts,"
Saturday Night Live

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. ~e.e. cummings

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Diamond Ring

I was talking to my mom the other day and, as usual, we got into a deep discussion. I love the relationship we have not but that's for another post. We were talking about forgiveness and letting go. She told me about struggling to forgive the teenage boy who hit her eight year old son with his car. Brian died soon after (this was before she and my dad adopted me). My mom finally decided to turn it over to God. If the boy, now a man, makes the decision to ask God for forgiveness, it's up to God to decide his fate.

After losing my own son I was angry at God. Why me? Why my son? Why take babies and children? I remember on the drive from
North Carolina to Florida for Jacob's funeral, Hubby said to me, "I hope you don't stay angry at God for long." We're not a deeply religious family and have only taken the kids to church a handful of times, but that statement hit me hard. I realized it didn't do any good to be angry at God. Nothing was going to change. My son would still be gone. I let go of my anger and made peace with Him.

As my mom and I talked more we touched something else. We talked about when something that means a lot to you is broken or lost – is it worth getting upset over it? What good does it do to get angry or cry? None. I've lost pieces of jewelry and broken things that were given to me. Some I cried over but most I didn't. I didn't lose or break them on purpose. Crying, being angry, or getting upset wasn't going to fix the broken things or make the
lost things suddenly appear. I have them in my memories.

Then my mom shared a story with me. My dad bought her a diamond cluster ring at an antique store. My mom loved that ring. One day when she was wearing it, it slipped off of her finger and was lost. When my mom told my dad she'd lost the ring his reply was, "I hope it was found by someone who has never had something like that and that they are enjoying it."

What a beautiful outlook on a sad situation. I'll never forget that story or the words my dad said. I've had people tell me that I am a giving person. After hearing this story it opened my eyes to why I am giving. I learned it from the best.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dieting is for the birds

I'm still on my quest to lose ten pounds by July 28th. The last two days haven't been much better than Monday, though. Popcorn, soda, Apple Jacks, hamburgers, tacos, cocktails...this dieting stuff is for the birds. I still have one week, though. One week to lose ten pounds. Can I do it? Probably not but I'm going to keep trying anyway.

I did figure something out that is extremely helpful in my journey to lose weight. Having all four kids at home makes it really, really difficult to fit in exercise. Between camps, practic
es, play dates, etc. I just don't have the time like I do when they are in school. I'm only trying so hard right now because I want my new clothes to fit. I'm so excited to go shopping with my $250 Dillard's gift card and personal shopper.

Winning the Sexy by Summer contest was great but I've been ruining things ever since. I'm supposed to take pictures on Thursday when I go shopping and get my makeover. I want them to look good, not like Winner Woman who still looked really fat after winning Waist Watchers (the other contest I was in). I want to take another bikini picture in a week and be able to notice a difference.

You know what? I'm going to wrap this up, change clothes, and do the short Core Rhyth
ms workout right now. Then I'll come back later and fill you all in on more. See you in a bit!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mom's Job Description

My Job Description post inspired me to write this one about the many jobs we moms do.

Dentist- someone has to teach them how to brush and get that corn-on-the-cob out of their teeth.
Taxi driver- fortunately this stops when they turn 16...on second thought…
- oh, the stuffed animals I’ve stitched up and the countless meds I’ve administered.
- hey someone has to sell all those lobbies.
Lawyer- although I wind up representing both sides.
(or woman for you P.C. people)- the job just before I become a lawyer.
Coroner- for pets, not the kids! This is one of those times when ‘white lies’ are okay.
- someone has to do the research for that stupid science project. Politician- hey, democracy works in our household.
- ONLY in the case of daughters needing feminine hygiene questions answered…unless you have my kid who just Googles them.
- oh, the sore throats I had being a soccer coach and judging by our win/loss record, they sure had a lot of fun.
Teacher- my poor kids are required by us to learn how to read and write before they enter Kindergarten…then there’s that whole homework issue.
- depending on the menu, a cook makes Apple Jacks and a chef makes macaroni and cheese.
Laundress- I so don’t get paid enough to do laundry for 6 people.
Dishwasher- see above.
- see above.
- after the age of five their on their own.
- until we get our MD which happens after kid #2.
Personal dresser
- after age three they’re on their own.
Personal shopper- I don’t think this job ever ends.
Personal assistant- see above.
- for the times they’re too sick or lazy to do their definitions.
Bottle opener- yes, we have the little gadget for this but they somehow can’t figure out how to use it.
Rocking chair
- this job ends when the child is too big for a lap.
- see above.
- either to make them laugh or put them to sleep…mostly mine just laugh. Artist- who knew learning to draw stick figures would come in handy one day? Diaper changer- I changed theirs…one day they’ll have to change mine. Seamstress- if they would quit falling down they wouldn’t have holes in their pants.
- I don’t know why I bother, they just mess it up the second they’re out of my site.
Cheerleader- for the times they’re having fun instead of worrying about winning. Plumber- not my favorite job, G.I. Joe and Polly Pocket did not need to have a Jacuzzi.
Electrician- how many moms does it take to change a light bulb? One! With all we do, changing light bulbs is an easy job.
- I’ve learned the phrase “That’s one of those words that hard to explain…go look it up.”
Counselor- for after the losers and hootchies break my kid‘s hearts.

And my absolute favorites:

Tissue- even though we carry the little packets somehow our clothes work much better.
Food taster- for those “ewww, try this” moments.
- I make sure to stop before the pee in their pants, usually.

And last but certainly not least:

Pudding lid licker- and there are no calories in the pudding on the lid…honest!

Do you have any jobs to add to this list?

Job Descriptions

Every day random things often ping pong around in my head. Last night before I could grab my book and relax in a world of bubbles, the following popped into my head. Snickering to myself I decided to write them down (I’ve learned to keep a pen and notebook next to the tub- you have no idea how many posts have been written in there!)

Here’s my summary of job descriptions:

Dentists- clean teeth, or remove them if you’re an excessive meth user.
Taxi drivers- drive people from point A to point B…often driving to point C, D, E, F, and G just to up the meter time (this only works on tourists, however).
Doctors- make people feel better…or kill them depending on the situation. Lobbyists- sell lobbies.
Lawyers- protect the law…and sometimes, okay many times, find ways around it (see paralegals).
Accountants- spend endless hours trying to figure out what the hell I’ve done with my money, then charge me double once they discover I don’t have any.
Policemen- (or for you politically correct idiots, police people)- put bad people in jail…and pull over everyone except the damn old people who insist on driving twenty miles under the speed limit in the passing lane.
Coroners- get to dig around in your body trying to figure out what idiotic thing you’ve done to make yourself dead.
Paralegals- they do all the digging for the lawyers in order to get the law breaking, people killing, rape molesting, drug pedaling clients off…and get none of the credit.

Politicians- make laws…then try to find ways around them. Hmmmm, funny how so many of them were once lawyers.
OB/GYN’s- they either really love babies or are extremely perverted. After having five kids, I’m hoping all my doctors really loved babies.
Coaches- spend practices telling the kids how important it is to have fun…then spend the whole game yelling about how important it is to win.

Teachers- teach our snot nosed, bratty, misbehaved kids to read, write, and stay on task only to have us screw it all up during the summer by letting them watch TV, play video games, and sleep until noon.

I’m sure more random jobs will pop into my head in the future. When they do you can bet I’ll share them with you!


I know it doesn't do any good to worry but we do it anyway. I watched my mom worry herself sick my whole life. It's perfectly understandable, though, when you lose your eight year old son (he was hit by a car). Now that I'm a mom I can understand more. I lost my own son to Trisomy 18 which made me face the fact that I am not exempt from loss and tragedy.

Since I was little, writing has helped me through many things. I have a notebook full of poems from second grade to the first several years of my marriage. Some are silly, some are sad, and many were written for old boyfriends and then Hubby. Whatever the reason for writing the poem, I always felt better after putting it on paper.

Tonight (actually last night), I find myself turning to writing yet again. As many of you know I pretty much write every day. Sometimes it's just to let you know what's going on with my weight loss, to share something funny, or just some random thing that's happened. But sometimes what I write it is just for me. To get things out. To vent. Not to anyone in particular but just to get it off my chest.

This is one of the need-to-get-something-off-my-chest times. I'm worried. Not about my kids but about their Bubby*, my dad.

Daddy has never really taken care of himself but trudges through life nonetheless. Once upon a time he actively played tennis until he broke his ankle. I think his idea of a diet is eating smaller portions of potato chips. Exercise is walking outside to take the dog out to poop.

Today is Dad's birthday (70th I think) and I was going to take my four kids over to see him. I called my mom last night and she told me he's going to see an intestinal specialist today so maybe we should come another day. I could tell she was worried but tried not to show it. My parents are one of those lucky couples who have managed to stay married over forty years. They've had bumps along the road but stuck them out.

Last night a little voice inside my head said, "He's got to go sometime." A big booming voice yelled, "NO! I'M NOT READY!" I'm so pitiful. But really, who is ready to lose their parent? I'm blowing this all of proportion right now. I'm sorry for the randomness of this but what's going through my head is what's pouring onto the keyboard (the top few paragraphs I wrote in my notebook last night). He's just going to see a doctor. A specialist. Simple appointment. That's it. Nothing to get worked up about. But I can't help it.

Anyway, for those of you who read this and pray, I'd appreciate it if you could say a little prayer for our family. For those of you who don't pray, I'd appreciate positive thoughts thrown our way. There are 3 daughters, a wife, two sons-in-law and eight grandkids who love their dad, husband, and Bubby very much.

*When my oldest nephew, who is now 16, was about 2 Dad (Grandpa) was playing with him saying, "Chubby bubby, chubby bubby." Then Dad said, "You be chubby and I'll be bubby." Somehow it stuck!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Last 10 Pounds

Why are these always the hardest? Since winning the Sexy by Summer contest I gained back four pounds. Now instead of six pounds I have to lose, it’s ten... by next Thursday. And there's my updated bikini picture. I had to take it myself since my kids wouldn't take it for me. The backside one was horrible so you'll have to wait for that one next Thursday.

July 30th I'm going on my $250 shopping spree at Dillard's and getting my make-over. I want to be down to my final size by then. These next several days are going to be difficult just like the first few weeks when I started this journey.

I'm back to writing down everything I eat, trying to do more cardio every day, and doing some heavy strength training. We'll see how well I do! I've got a countdown on the wall again, too.

I plan on once again being accountable to you by sharing what I've eaten and what exercises I've done each day. This way you all can feel free to either praise me or yell at me depending on the choices I make.

So, here's what happened yesterday:

I ate Apple Jacks with whole milk for breakfast, French Onion soup for lunch, a handful of peanut M&M's for a snack, French Onion soup for dinner with a little bit of steak, mashed potatoes (with sour cream and cream cheese, yummy!), Zataran's rice and steamed squash seasoned with Mrs. Dash.

Ok, I know the only good thing was the squash. I'll do better tomorrow!

For exercise, I boogied for 40 minutes while doing the dishes and a total of 2 hours of boogieing doing laundry (6 people go through a LOT of laundry!). I finished up with the 5 minute Brazilian Butt Lift.

I know it's going to take a lot more than that to lose those 10 pounds in 10 days but I'm up for the challenge. Are you?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

16 and Pregnant- Always in my heart

The show, not my daughter! She's only 15 but she loves 16 and Pregnant on MTV. She's always asking me if I saw this episode or that one even though I keep telling her I don't watch it. Well, yesterday, while sick in bed I watched one episode. How coincidental that it was the one where the couple decide to give their baby up for adoption? As an adoptee, I cried through most of it. To view the episode, click here.

Catelynn and Tyler were both high school juniors and like many teens today found themselves pregnant (apparently the condom Tyler used had gone through the washing machine). Not long into her pregnancy Catelynn decided she and Tyler were not ready to be parents. They wanted their child to have a good life, one much better than either of them had. Catelynn moved thirteen times in her life and Tyler's dad spent 10 years in prison. In an unusual twist, Catelynn's mom and Tyler's dad fell in love and got married (after Catelynn and Tyler started dating).

I was angry with Tyler's dad, Butch, who told Tyler he wasn't "manning up to his responsibility." Butch also said, "All a baby needs is love." Tyler argued back, "That's not all a baby needs!" Tyler stated he didn't care if their families didn't back them up. This decision was between him and Catelynn. Both teens, in my opinion, were being very responsible after making an irresponsible decision. They wanted their baby to live in a stable home with parents who were well educated and could provide her with dance lessons, cheerleading lessons, etc.
They visited an adoption agency and were given several folders of potential adoptive parents. The agent told them they needed to "come to a place to make the decision that's best for you." She also told them the best thing for them was to "be selfless and let go. It doesn't mean it's easy, doesn't mean it's not without grief, without loss. This will be the hardest thing you'll have to do in your life."

Bio Mom has told me more than once that giving me up was the hardest thing she ever had to do. I've always been grateful for her selfless decision and the happiness it brought my parents.
It amazed me how much these two young people understood what the agent told them. They knew that they didn't have good upbringings and wanted more for their daughter. Without help from their families and friends, they still were able to make the decision that was best for their daughter.

Tyler's support for Catelynn was tremendous and amazing. It made me sad that my biological mom didn't have that support from my biological dad. But, I know that Bio Dad isn't proud of who he was back then or how he acted. Throughout the show, Tyler backed up every decision Catelynn made. He was there for every doctor appointment, the adoption agency appointments, and was by her side as they looked through the prospective adoption parents. It was wonderful to see them adamently agree on the same couple, Brandon and Theresa.

Just before the baby was due, Tyler wrote a beautiful letter to their daughter. I thought about sharing what he wrote but decided against it. Even though millions of people heard what he'd written, that letter is between him and his daughter. No one will remember what he wrote but his little girl will have his words with her forever.

On the day of delivery, Tyler held one of Catelynn's legs as she pushed. Tears rolled down his face as he watched the birth of his daughter. After baby Carly was out, the doctor and both mothers tried to get Catelynn to look at her new little girl. Tyler covered her face with his and held her tight. They both repeated, "We can do this." "We can do this." "This is all for her." "We can do this." "She's going to have such a good life." I remember Tyler hurting for Catelynn as he asked, "Why is she still in here?" as Carly was cleaned and weighed.

For months Catelynn said she didn't want to see or hold her baby. She was afraid if she did, she wouldn't be able to let go.
A few hours after giving birth,? Catelynn changed her mind and wanted to be the first to hold her baby girl. Catelynn and Tyler both took turns holding their daughter and crying. Their family took several pictures. Finally, Carly's new parents came in to see her. Theresa bought the most beautiful gift and just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes again. She bought three silver bracelets with a heart charm inscribed with the words "Always in my heart." Theresa explained one was for her which she would wear always, one was for Catelynn, and one was for Carly when she got older. Catelynn said she, too, would wear hers always. This was very touching as they all cried...I was bawling!

Unsupportive down to the last minute, Catelynn's mom refused to sign the adoption papers which meant the hand off could not take place on hospital grounds. It was heart wrenching seeing Catelynn and Tyler crying in each others arms standing on the sidewalk after Brandon and Theresa drove away.

The show ended with Catelynn saying, "I think one day Carly's going to come to me and Tyler and say 'Thank you.' I'm at peace with my decision."

In my search for Bio Mom, that was one of the things I wanted so badly to tell her. I knew that neither she nor I would have had a good life had she kept me. Being able to thank her last March was something I never thought I'd be able to do. I now know that I was always in her heart just as she was in mine. I hope Carly understands the immense sacrifice her parents made so she could have a better life.

Time to pay the bills

Yes, this is long but that's the point. This is one of those laugh or cry situations. Each month I prefer to laugh.

Paying AT&T

dial *PAY
The amount due is $984.26 (Not really but thank goodness for rollover minutes and unlimited texting!) If you would like to pay the full amount press 1 for a different amount press 2.
To use the bank account ending in **** you used last time press 1. To use a different account press 2.
Thank you for making a payment using our automated system. Your confirmation number will be sent to your phone shortly.
Hang up.
Total time: 25 seconds

Paying TECO
Thank you for calling the Tampa Electric Company. To report a power outage, electrical emergency, blah, blah, blah press 1. For all other services press 2.
To pay by phone press 1
Tampa Electric Company employees cannot process payments. To use our automated payment system press 1.
1 (I could have sworn I just pressed 1 to pay by phone)
Please enter you sixteen digit account number followed by the pound key.
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx # (If you want to pay my bill for me next time I’ll gladly give you the actual number)
You entered xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. If this is correct press 1 of not press 3. (What happened to 2?)
Please enter the zip code associated with this account.
You entered xxxxx. If this is correct press one if not press 3. (Do they have something against the #2?)
Please press 1 for deposit or 3 for bill payment.
Please enter the amount you would like to pay. You can pay up to $500.00 per transaction. You will also be charged a fee of $4.95 for Just Pay It. Tampa Electric does not receive a portion of this fee. To continue press 1 to disconnect press 2. (Oh, that’s where #2 went. Must be the universal number for disconnect).
Please enter the amount you would like to pay.
$500.00 (Hey, we’re a family of six living in Florida’s scorching summer. Kidding, it’s not really that high.)
You entered $500.00. If this is correct press 1 if not press 3.
Please enter the phone number associated with this account. Tampa Electric Company does not give out this information, blah, blah, blah.
(555) 555-5555
(You didn’t seriously think I would give my phone number out to thousands of strangers did you?)
You entered (555) 555-5555. If this is correct press 1 if not press 3.
Please enter your 16 digit credit card number or band routing number followed by the # key. (Nope, you're not getting that either!)
*************** #
You entered ***…… if this is correct press 1 if not press 3.
Please enter the four digit expiration date followed by the # key.
0911# (Yup, that was our old expiration date. I was so glad to get a new card. The sympathy we received from people was overwhelming, like we were cursed because the expiration date was 9/11)
You entered September 2011. If this is correct press 1 if not press 3.
Please enter the numbers in the billing address associated with this account. For example, if your address is 432 DoIreallyneeddirectiontsforthis Drive you would enter 432 followed by the #.
555# (again, not really)
You entered 555. If this is correct press 1 if not press 3.
Please enter the five digit zip code associated with the billing address followed by the # key.
I’m sorry this information is incorrect. This transaction has been canceled. Good-bye.
Seriously? I don’t get a do-over? Rrrrrr!

Here we go again!

Thank you for calling the Tampa Electric Company. To report a power outage, electrical emergency, blah, blah, blah press 1. For all other services press 2.
To pay by phone press 1
While operators are unable to process payments you can use out automated system. To use our automated payment system
press 1.
Please enter you sixteen digit account number followed by the pound key.
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx #
You entered xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. If this is correct press 1 of not press 3.
Please enter the zip code associated with this account.
You entered xxxxx. If this is correct press one if not press 3.
Please press 1 for deposit or 3 for bill payment.
Please enter the amount you would like to pay. You can pay up to $500.00 per transaction. You will also be charged a fee of $4.95 for Just Pay It. Tampa Electric does not receive a portion of this fee. To continue press 1 to disconnect press 2.
Please enter the amount you would like to pay.
You entered $500.00. If this is correct press 1 if not press 3.
Please enter the phone number associated with this account. Tampa Electric Company does not give out this information, blah, blah, blah.
(555) 555-5555
You entered (555) 555-5555. If this is correct press 1 if not press 3.
Please enter your credit card number or bank routing number followed by the # key.
*************** #
You entered ***…… if this is correct press 1 if not press 3.
Please enter the four digit expiration date followed by the # key.
0911 #
You entered September 2011. If this is correct press 1 if not press 3.
Please enter the numbers in the billing address associated with this account. For example, if your address is 432 DoIreallyneeddirectiontsforthis Drive you would enter 432 followed by the #.
555 #
You entered 555. If this is correct press 1 if not press 3.
Please enter the five digit zip code associated with the billing address followed by the # key.
Xxxx# (I made sure I got the number correct this time)
If this is correct press 1 if not press 3.
Please enter the 3 digit CVV code. This code can be found blah, blah, blah
123 (Not really)
You entered 123. If this is correct press 1 of not press 3.
By continuing you are authorizing a payment of $500.00 plus a $4.95 fee for Just Pay It. To continue press 1 to disconnect press 2.
You have authorized a payment of $500.00 plus a $4.95 convenience fee.
Please wait for your confirmation number.
Please wait for your confirmation number.
Please wait for your confirmation number.
Your confirmation number is 38495059378393020-3404988584990404 (rattled off at lightning speed).
Thank you for using Tampa Electric Company’s automated payment system.
Hang up.
Total time: 14 minutes

I’ll save the cable bill for another day. Paying a bill with voice control when you have four kids is impossible. Literally.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

You can do this

A friend asked several people for help in losing weight. She's been overweight since she was a teenager and has struggled with diets off and on ever since. Like so many others she makes excuses to herself for over-eating and not exercising. She starts her days like I start many of mine, telling herself she's going to eat healthy then binges on junk food. Diet Coke is her passion. Chips and salsa are a favorite snack. Sound familiar? This is a struggle billions of people face every day. Out of those billions, there are those who whine and do nothing. Then there are those like this mom who want to make a change so bad that they pull down their walls and share how they feel, asking for help. I don't normally toot my own horn but after re-reading my advice to her I thought it sounded pretty good. So, I wanted to share it with everyone. Here you go:

When I read your letter my first thought was "She needs to make small changes." I'd start with weaning off the diet soda. That's what my biological mom did and it helped her a lot. You can still have one once a week or so but not every day. The diet is actually worse for you than regular soda. You can do this. Water, water, water! If you don't like it you can mix in lemons or even Crystal Light (in moderation). I disagree with the person who said to start exercising later. Modifying your meal plan alone will not give you the results you need to stay on track. In my opinion, you need to start walking even if it's just for five minutes here and there throughout the day. Sometimes I get up from my computer and jog in place for a few minutes or do jumping jacks. You can do this.

Without strength training you'll plateau quickly and get frustrated. This happened to me after doing cardio for 2 weeks. I'm actually working on a blog post right now about exercising free, meaning you don't have to pay any money to do it. One of my suggestions is using the shows on FitTV. Right now I have Shimmy (belly dancing), Namaste Yoga, and 2 Allstar Workouts taped. You can do this. A friend of mine also pointed me to Workouts on Demand on Brighthouse Cable which are shorter and great when you're in a time crunch. Also, I should be a spokesperson for Fitness Magazine! I swear by their site. They have tons of workouts, strength training for every area of your body, tips, recipes, and so much more. You can do this.

I'm not a fitness expert but I recently won a Sexy by Summer contest. I couldn't have lost the weight I did without the kick in the butt this contest gave me. It wasn't the prizes that gave me the kick though, it was the support of everyone who was involved in the contest. If you want motivation and support, your friends are the ones to give it to you. You can do this. We'll make sure you're getting off your butt, not stuffing your face and making sure you're becoming a healthier mommy. Sorry, I don't sugar coat things. It doesn't do anyone any good. You can do this.

Since winning, I've gone through some personal things and have put five pounds back on. It may not sound like a lot but on me it makes a big difference. I've been told during the past 6 months I didn't need to lose weight. I'm 5'5" and was 120 lb last September. In December I was 130 lb and by January I was 140 lb. I know right now lots of people are glaring at me through their monitors but this was big for me. I was depressed about my weight which made me only want to eat more. None of my clothes fit but I refused to buy more so I spent my days in baggy old t-shirts and pajama pants. Now, I'm back into almost all of my clothes. The biggest thing I learned was that this needed to be a permanent lifestyle change for me. Exercise HAS to be included in my weekly routines and I can't eat junk like I did when I was 20. You can do this. You can eat chips, just put them in a bowl and DO NOT go back for seconds! This way you'll still have more for tomorrow.

You can do this. We will all help you and anyone else that wants to lose weight. They say it takes a village to raise a child, well it takes a villiage to get us off of our fat asses, too.

Ditch the word diet from your vocabulary, ditch the soda, drink water, walk, lift some soup cans, do squats and lunges and see if you don't notice a difference in a month. Baby steps. Small changes. You can do this.

Now, I'm off to follow my own advice!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why do I blog?

Dig deep.

Dig down really deep.

This keeps going through my head and I figured the only way to get it out of my head was to write it down.
What does that have to do with why I blog? Because many times that's just what I have to do- dig down deep.

I started blogging as a way to track my journey with two weight loss challenges. Little by little bits and pieces of my life started creeping into my posts. Eventually, whole chunks of my heart and soul were being poured out into my computer onto RMS Snowdrop.

Why share? Who really cares about my life? Surprisingly there are people out there that care. In the beginning I didn't think anyone would. But I've been
able to help people and most importantly, make people laugh. I get positive comments from people all over the world that I have never meet and probably will never meet. They don't have to click on my posts. They do because they want to.

I don't shell out great words of wisdom or amazing get rich quick schemes. I can't tell you the best ways to lose weight (although I've tried a little). I don't have amazing pictures or delectable recipes. No hot off the presses internet tips or reviews on the latest gadgets.

All I have is me.

I read recently about a blogger who hates bloggers like me. They actually hate blogging now because of bloggers like me. They basically said that fat stay-at-home-moms are clogging up the internet with their whining about their kid
s and failed diet attempts (I'm not fat any more sucker!). We're giving the "real" or "original" bloggers a bad name. Do you want to know what my comment back was? If you don't like it, don't read it. In my opinion, 95% of bloggers have a true purpose to their blogging. They want to reach out to the world and share. Is everyone going to care about their topics? NO! But, it's their right to post anyway. I suggested to this blogger that they call themselves web journalists instead of a blogger. Find a new name for occupation.

When I started writing my blog, I constantly sought approval from my close friends and family. I kept asking if they really enjoyed my posts, if I really was a good writer. Some answered the way they thought I wanted them to, others didn't even answer. Then I realized I'm not blogging for them. They already know about my struggle to lose weight after never having had to diet before. They knew about the bullies I faced in middle and high school. They wiped away my tears when my search for my biological parents was going no where. These are the people
who cried with me when I lost my son, who have laughed at me and the goofy things I've done, the silly things my kids have said.

I blog to help the people who weren't with me through these times. The people who need to know they are not alone. Yes, with the population in the billions it is possible to feel alone. I know because I've been there. I've had times when I thought I was the only one who has experienced certain things. I now know I'm not. I want others to know that, too.

Also, I blog for me. Yeah, that's right. Me.

This is my outlet.

This is my therapy.

This is me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Those little family sayings...

Do you ever have certain sayings that you share with friends or family members? Those little inside jokes? We have some in our family and I wanted to share a few with you. As I remember more I'll post them in the future. For now, here's a short list:

Since I have ADD, my kids like to yell out, "Look! A dog!" if I change topics in the middle of a sentence. It should irritate me but instead we all laugh hysterically.

On the way to take my oldest daughter to colorguard camp her friend Krista sent her a text telling her it was raining (Krista and her mom were ahead of us by 15 minutes). Now whenever it rains Kelly or I yell out "Look Krista! It's raining" even though 98% of the time Krista's not with us.

I was driving Kelly and her friend Mackenzie to Busch Gardens last week and we drove by their friend Russell's house. I started thinking about the different people I knew named Russell including their friend. I said, "Does it seem like all guys names Russell are geeky or dorky?" They contemplated this for a few minutes. Then it hit me, Russell Crowe is DEFINITELY not geeky or dorky. Then Kelly brought up Russell Simmons, again, NOT geeky or dorky. Anyway, for the rest of the day whenever Kelly or Mackenzie saw someone they classified as geeky or dorky they would say, "That guy is such a Russell." No offense to anyone named Russell.

While on vacation in Williamsburg, Virginia we were driving along when suddenly Hubby said, "Look! A train's been here." The girls who were seven and five at the time asked, "How do you know?" Hubby said, "They left their tracks." We had to explain it to them. This one still gets told whenever Hubby is in the car. Their friends usually have to have it explained to them, too.

Kelly and Hubby went to run errands today. Kelly had just shared the Bon Qui Qui youtube video with him so when Hubby called me to ask what I wanted for dinner he started yelling, "Bon Qui Qui! No complicated orders! Secuuritay!" This one is going to stick for a while, I can tell.

I'd been trying to find Eddie Murphy's Delirious DVD for Hubby for several years. I finally looked on ebay and bought it. We've always sang the Ice Cream song* when ever ice cream was mentioned so we laughed hysterically at seeing it again. Our kids just think we're nuts when we bust out singing about gettin' no ice cream and bein' on welfare. Wanna lick? Psyche!

Last night, Hubby went through the gate into our bathroom and my dog jumped up. I asked, "Did you just kick my dog?" He didn't but came back with "Yes, I kicked the dog*!

And, in memory of the King of Pop I'll include Eddie's Michael Jackson* skit. RIP Michael.

* Video contains explicit language

Monday, July 13, 2009

Weight Loss Party #2

This isn't a post I want to write but I promised to be honest with you all, my readers. I won the Sexy by Summer contest and then allowed life to get in the way. I haven't exercised in four days and I ate a lot of junk over the weekend.

I got on the scale yesterday and groaned when I saw 120.0 lbs. I am out of the teens again and furious with myself. So what did I do? I gave myself another weight loss party!

I had Cap'n Crunch for breakfast and a 6" BLT from Subway with a Coke (no chips & passed on Hubby's Slurpee option) for lunch. Since Red Lobster was part of the original problem of my initial weight gain that's what I decided to have for dinner. Hubby got take out (eating out with a family of six is NOT fun) and I ate 1/4 lb snow crab legs, 1/2 cup New England Clam Chowder, 1/3 cup lobster mashed potatoes, 1/2 a container of artichoke dip with tortilla chips, and a McDonald's strawberry sundae with extra nuts. Since Hubby fell asleep two minutes after I asked him to make me a 24 oz Screwdriver I had a Klondike Bar and the other 1/2 of the clam chowder while watching TV and listening to him snore.

This morning I am back on track! It's back The Dreaded Sexy Meal Plan. I had two egg whites seasoned with Mrs. Dash and a large glass of water for breakfast. For lunch I'll finish the leftover lobster and artichoke dip but will have a healthy dinner. As soon as I'm finished with this post I'm going to jog on the mini-trampoline for 30 minutes. Also planned for today is a workout from Fitness Magazine, my Crunch Fitness Go Go Dancing DVD, and an hour of cardio at AnyTime Fitness this evening.

For the next two weeks I am going to try extremely hard to Be Perfect. I'm going to kick Slacker Fattie in the ass! I'm sending her back to where she came from! Why? Because cheaters never win and though I want to give up, I refuse to quit. And because I refuse to look like Thing 1 and Thing 2 ever again.

The History of Aprons

Sometimes an email will come along that really gets to me. This was sent to me by my Bio Mom:

The History of APRONS

I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, so it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material; but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.


Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool.

Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Biological Step-Dad

Yes, I'm still writing about my dads even though Father's Day is long over. They are such an important part of my life.

For those of you who have been with me a while you know that I found my biological parents in March of 2008. For everyone else, now you know! I still remember the hour and a half long phone call I had with bio mom the day she received my letter in the mail. She'd been married more than once but this last one stuck, in fact, last year my half sisters, half brother, and I threw them a surprise party for their silver anniversary.

My parents have been married for...hmmmm, a really long time. Over forty years. I feel very fortunate that they didn't get divorced as so many couples do. In fact, they still love each other dearly.

Yes, I know my ADD is showing brightly right now but I do have a point, honest. Bio mom's husband is my biological step-dad, at least that's how I describe him. Since I never had a step-dad I didn't really know what to expect. I also didn't know what to expect from bio mom either but this isn't about her. The day I met bio mom, I knocked on the door and she opened it immediately and gave me a hug. I barely got in the door when a teddy bear type of guy hugged me and told me he thought of me as one of his own. Well, nice to meet you, too! This was all a bit overwhelming but extremely wonderful.

Since then, bio step-dad has given me many hugs, calmed me down when my baby sister got in a car accident after visiting me (she was fine but I felt horrible), danced with me at my half sister's wedding, went shoe shopping for me (lots of thanks to Katie!), and truly treated me as if I'd been in the family forever.

I've said this before but if you're a new reader you haven't heard it – I feel incredibly blessed to not only have a wonderful dad who is still with me, but to also have bio dad, bio step-dad, and Jeb in my life. I know that some people don't even have one father and I never take for granted that I have four.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Blog Tags

What? You think this belongs in the "Internet" category? (-on BloggersBase, for those of you visiting RMS Snowdrop- to become a member click on their link to the right ) Well, you obviously don't know me very well because NOTHING I write belongs in "Internet" category. Ever. I am the polar opposite of computer literate. Just read Oh Where Art Thou Blog? then Recently Crowned Queen of the Dorks and you see why.

I've tried to research the whole "tag" thing and thought it had something to do with the number of times you used key words in your blog for search engines, like Google. Apparently I was wrong. This post has taken some time to put together and you'll see why in a minute.

I keep forgetting to use the "labels for this post" which I guess is blogspots term for "tags." I do, however, use the "tags" on BloggersBase (thank you BB for making this the one thing I actually understood from day one). BB has this neat tab that says, "Can't think of any tags?" You click on it and it's supposed to give you ideas for key words. I have to laugh when I see what they come up with.

Here are the "key words" BloggersBase suggested in my last few posts:

10,000 Steps- which is basically about finding ways to take 10,000 steps each day

Sony, Sony Ericsson W600i, cell phone

Daddy- which was obviously about my dad

John Wayne, microwave, Father's Day, tennis

Why Me?- which is about me wondering why nothing really bad every really happens to me-not that I'm complaining

Pop, Kevin, fatal car accidents, close family member, grade a cheerleader (I wonder if that's anything like grade a eggs? RIP Monica)

A Day in the life of, If I have to explain that one, you shouldn't be reading- period

Carson, Prince, Groundhog Day

My Other Dad- which was about a man in my life who was a father figure to me

Jeb, Father-in-Law, Itchnatucknee River, Southwind Retreat, neighborhood elementary school

And finally...

Covergirl Outlast Lipstain Product Review- also self explanatory

USD, slight chemical taste, Berry Smooch, Coy Coral, Berry Wink

This last one really confused me especially since I used the words "Covergirl Outlast Lipstain" several times throughout the post. Another thing I thought was confusing is that the lipstain comes in 10 colors, all of which I listed. Yet, only three were suggested as tags. Hmmmmm....

Matt explains tags a little bit

and Jay Allen just confused me even more with his Everybody Loves Tags post. BTW, I found both of these after typing "images tags" into Google.

Feel free to comment and attempt to help me understand this whole tag thing.

Oh, wait, I just discovered blogspot has a "can't think of any?" button but it's called "show all." I clicked suggested 'decorating kid's room'. Uhhhh....