If dogs could talk, it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one. ~Andy Rooney

I always agreed with this statement until recently. See our black lab, was born the week we got married. In case you missed my Wedding post, that is this week, 14 years ago. This dog, he was our baby. Before we had babies. And with the birth of each child he has graciously accepted his inevitable change in station.
He has allowed children to sit on him, pull on his ears, dress him up, and make him do tricks for treats. He desperately tried to keep his dignity, but it's hard when a two year old is making you "preny" with mardi gras beads. This amazingly gentle and obedient animal has certainly seen better days. I keep looking it up, the numbers do not change, the average life span of a labrador retriever is 10 to 12 years. We have already gotten more time than most.

I worked for a veterinarian in high school. My parents are on dog #3 in my lifetime. I held the dog I grew up with as we put her to sleep before I left for college. We knew my dad couldn't do it, and it was well past time. I always said I would know and willingly let go. I always just thought it would be obvious that it was time to let go. And of course I hoped he would just painlessly go to sleep and not wake up. Never did I want to imagine that we would have questions as to when to do the right thing.

Two summers ago when I took him in for annual shots so he could be boarded while we took our annual beach vacation. The vet told me he had a bunch of grape sized tumors on his belly. And these were not like the fatty tumor on his side. They were probably cancer. The vet and I talked about what if any course of action we would take. We agreed at 12 years old that going under anesthesia to remove the tumors was dangerous, and of course there was no guarantee that surgery would get all the cancer either. He did not seem to be in pain, so it was decided to just let things run their course. The vet told me to talk to my kids about losing him, as she didn't think we had more than a year left. Did I mention that was 2 years ago? That old man is of hardy stock I tell ya.

A year ago when we left for our annual summer beach vacation we really thought that would be the last time we would have to ask our wonderful friends to dog sit for us. Boarding him, stresses him out in his old age, it is easier on him to let him stay home. Surely he wouldn't be around the next time we left on vacation. Yet there he was, tired, but still eating and going outside to do his business over Spring Break when we planned a 10 day trip to Texas. Once again our great friends stepped up, split the days in half and came over 3 times a day to let the old man out.

Now we are once again getting ready for our annual summer beach vacation and he's still with us.
But this year it's different. He is really showing his age. He has better days and bad days, but I'm just wondering if he's had enough? His quality of life is minimal, he really can't play because of his arthritis, so no one even tries anymore. Seeing as the last couple of baths have stressed him so much, we obviously don't bathe him often which means he's stinky. He asks to go outside, a lot, often just to turn around and bark to come back in. All of which are a nuisance, and he is the epitome of a good dog, trying to please at all times. I can see in his eyes that he is sad and it makes me sad.

For KBHR I know the worst is not being able to make it outside to do his business. And in the last month he's had a few accidents in the house. I could count on one hand how many times that dog has relieved himself inside, ever, in 14 years... until recently. Even when we brought him home as a 10 week old puppy an I tried to paper train him. The pup, he LAUGHED at me! The crazy lady wanted him to pee inside the house? The hell?! He stood at the door until I opened it, lifted his leg on the bush by the porch and proudly pranced back inside. That's my boy!

The truth of the matter? I feel guilty even thinking about it, much less discussing it with hubby. Has he just become a burden? After all he has loved us all unconditionally for 14 years. We should be able to put up with the inconvenience of his old age, right? I was of course googling info and found this which helps me a little.

"For the more general question of how to you tell when the time has come for
euthanasia, I think that most clients really reach a point where they
aren't questioning when the time will come or whether the time is right,
they just know that it is. Some clients (and me, unfortunately) reach this
decision only after their pet has shown clear signs of severe pain, total
inability to eat or other severe signs that are hard to miss. Other
clients reach this time when the pet becomes inconvenient to care for or
when pain and suffering are chronic but not severe. In the overall scheme
of things the difference in timing is usually so short that I think very
few people make really bad decisions. It is a time to trust your instincts.
You will probably know exactly when the time has come."
Right now he still has an appetite and sometimes I still see a small spark of our boy. Who knows, maybe we'll get another year? So Drama and Star, I know you are reading and you all know you'll be getting the email soon asking you to take care of the animals while we are gone. Right?

You like me, you really like me.
My fellow Floridian Domestic Spaz at Slacker Mom of 3 has bestowed upon me my very first bloggy award. I feel so honored because of the nice things she said about me.
"Karen at For the Love of Pete makes me laugh nearly every day. As a fellow Floridian, she understands what it's like to survive a summer with kids in the swamp. Reading her blog always makes me feel like I'm sitting across from a girlfriend drinking a glass of wine."
My mom would be so proud. Well if she actually ever used a computer, or read a blog, or even knew what a blog was. But that's not the point. The point is that if there is ONE thing she taught me it is to make everyone feel comfortable in my home. I constantly try to do just that. And here's my award to prove it!

It's the Arte y Pico award!
Ain't she purdy?

Now of course the beauty of the award is that we get to pass it around and make others feel special. So without further ado my 5 nominees are:

  1. My good friend Drama. Because I love her and this award specifies design creativity and I just adore her retro ladies.
  2. My good friend Star at Late to the Party. I hope this guilts... um encourages her to post more often because I love reading her blog.
  3. My cyber stalkee, Jason of The Jason Show because he makes me laugh, a lot, out loud. But not so much this week. I am hoping this will make him smile today!
  4. My newest fan, Lana at Where's My Laptop, who stole one of my post ideas and MADE MY WEEK ya'll!
  5. And one of my newer additions to my reader, Aimeepalooza who is currently out stalking one of my favorite stars Drew Barrymore.

Here are the rules for those that were nominated:
  1. Pick five (5) blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.
  2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
  3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
  4. Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Arte y Pico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award (http://arteypico.blogspot.com/)
Now go forth and share the love!

No More Tears

Ways to get the kids to clean house. Who am I kidding? Just picking up their own toys, throwing them on top of the pile and closing the door to their room can be a hassle. And this practice only leads to bulldozing a path from door to bed at bedtime. And there you have it. Have what? Today's helpful tip. Where? Right there. Which part the bulldozing? Yep, that part. No, I am not kidding.

My Sunday Suggestion is to learn to let it go a bit. It's summer, there are no assignments, school books or lunchboxes to get mysteriously lost in their rooms. I say as long as they can find their way to bed without getting hurt and the door closes so I don't have to see the mess, let it slide a bit. Now I'm not saying let them live like animals all summer, we aren't attracting rodents with the messes, yet. And this only applies to their rooms, the family room gets cleared out before bedtime. And once a week or so I go in and help pick up their rooms, otherwise I might lose a kid in the mess that accumulated.

To sum it up ... Learn to embrace the Lazy days of Summer!

I saw over at Jenn's place that today was open house. And I went to check out the source. Sure enough Mrs. G at Derfwad Manor had invited everyone to share the heart of their home.

Well, I just love to host a good shin dig. But we were so busy today I'm just now getting around to inviting everyone over. Making me once again late to the party, but I've got makings for dessert and I always have wine. So come on in and join me for the nickel tour.

When you come in our front door, you are in our living room. We used to have a coffee table in the expanse in front of the couch. Then we got a Wii for Christmas. Gotta have priorities.
Brian painted both the horse pictures. To the left is a horse collar and an old cash register (on the rehomed coffee table) that belonged to his grandfather.

Note the old dog in the doorway, this is where he always lays as he is not allowed on the carpet, so he gets as close as he can.My live, laugh, love sign above the mud bench was a present from my hubby. We lived here about 3 years before I found what I wanted to put there.
Here's our kitchen literally and figuratively, the heart of our house. Have a seat at the bar and I'll get you a glass of wine. And we can watch the kids play in the family room from here.

They can check out a book from one of our many libraries, draw at the desk or play with the critters in the cage in the corner.
Or if they like they can feed the chinchilla a cheerio, watch tv or play on the computer that is hiding in the armoire. The Ranch sign was from Brian's other grandfather, shhh, don't tell Sweet Niblets what they raised those chinchillas for. The other two signs say, "Love doesn't make the world go round, it just makes the ride worthwhile." and "Housework never killed anyone, but why take the chance?"

If you look to the left from your seat at the bar you can see our dining area. The living room is supposed to be living/dining room, but not for us. This is where we eat. And this is how I love to see the table, with the leaf out and full of family!
We have lots of plant shelves full of antiques. I'm not about the antiques though, just these particular pieces because they all from Brian's family. That's his grandmother's sewing machine and the milk jug was his dad's when he was a kid on the farm, and the big wooden piece is some type of sausage making bowl.
This is Breanna's bed. You can no longer actually see the floor in there. But I had to show you her bed because we designed and built it. Okay Brian built it, but Bre helped plan it and I did all the sewing.
And of course we couldn't have made Breanna such a cool bed without doing the same for Brooke. Again Brooke helped design, daddy built, mommy painted and sewed.
Last but not least the master bedroom. The bed is comfy and cozy. The room is dark, cool, quiet and I love it.

Now that you've had a look around make yourself at home. Take off your shoes and stay for awhile.

Welcome to the Wedding Story of Brian and Karen. Grab a handful of Jordan Almonds, a glass of champagne, and join me for a trip down memory lane.

Brian and I met as kids at church. We grew up and joined Luther League, our church's youth group. I spent many a day following around the cute cool boys in the group. And they let me follow them around because I was an easily entertained audience for their antics. As previously mentioned, I moved when I started high school. But we did not forget each other. And eventually we fell in love and got engaged. Naturally we wanted to get married in the church we met in.
Okay, lets back up just a bit. After we got engaged my parents, the ever the practical ones, told us they had X amount of dollars set aside for us. We were to use the money however we wanted, for our wedding and honeymoon or, they not so subtly hinted, we could possibly use the money for a down payment on a house. Ding, Ding, Ding! We have a winner! We still laugh about how we took the money and ran. No, we didn't elope, we had a small wedding, in a church, on a budget. And when I say small I mean maid of honor, best man, and flower girl. And when I say on a budget I mean practically for free.
My mother bought my dress off the sale rack in a store by her house in Texas (remember the trend here?) and shipped it to me. It fit with no alterations. My maid of honor wore a dress out of her closet, that was the same style as my dress. And my niece was my flower girl. She wore the dress I wore in her mother's wedding 18 years before in the same church. Cool, huh?

We wanted to get married on July 4th. I don't really remember why, other than I thought it would sound good to be married on July 4th, 1994. And Brian said it would be easy to remember. But the 4th was a Monday. So we got married on Saturday the 2nd in order to take advantage of the long weekend, so that we had an extra day for our honeymoon without using vacation time. Hey we were young and poor, and we were buying a house with our new found riches. So the honeymoon? She was on a budget too. Speaking of cheaping out, we got married at 2pm because the Pastor told us that we wouldn't be expected to provide much food at our -immediately following the service in the fellowship hall- reception at that hour. Did I mention we were young and poor?

We also planned the entire wedding in about 4 weeks. Breanna wasn't born until 1999, quit counting! Now about the time we announced our wedding plans my FIL got married. Again. For the 4th or was it 5th time? In South Carolina. On a Tuesday. Who the hell gets married on a Tuesday? Both bride and groom had more than one previous wedding under their belts, but that didn't stop them from having a hell of a shin dig this time around. And Bridezilla was determined to be in charge of every tiny detail. We did learn a valuable lesson from them: the more intricate your plans the more things there are to go wrong. So on our trip home the conversation went like this "I'll be at the church at 2" "Okay, I'll see ya at 2" And that was about the extent of the planning we did for our wedding.

At that time Brian and I had been *whisper* living together for over a year. I am not kidding when I say it is known, but to this day we do not speak of it around my family. Since we did not get married here in Orlando, we spent the night before in hotel rooms with our respective parents.

July 2nd 1994.
I can honestly say the entire day is a blur in my memory. Everything went by so quickly.
Just in case the spiral perm and large eyeglasses don't date my photos enough, I left these 2 in the puffy fabric frame they have been in since 1994 for added emphasis.

I do remember Brian telling me afterwards that he and his best man snagged a bottle of champagne, from the stash for the reception, which they shared with my father before the service. I of course was sequestered with my maid of honor. Can't see the bride before the wedding and all that nonsense. Apparently we are so old we were married in the dark ages.

So then we were all there at 2pm. The Pastor told of how we met in that church, which was a really personal touch we weren't expecting. Then there were a few bible passages about love thrown in for maximum effect. And... face each other to exchange vows.

Then the main double doors to the church open flooding the church with the Florida summer sunlight. To reveal? The FIL and his wife, late as always. LOVELY! I suppose entering by a side door well after the time stated on the invite was too obvious? Did I mention we had just been to their wedding, on a TUESDAY?! Oh and a bit of back story on why the man was already on my short list. My FIL had previously told Brian, his son, he was supposed to go to the Pepsi 400 the weekend of our wedding for work, no he isn't a race car driver he's a used car salesman. And who the hell says he is might have to miss his son's wedding for a NASCAR race? When I heard that I told Brian to tell his father he planned on only getting married once and this would be his only chance to attend his son's wedding. Oh and I may have added a little stipulation about if he missed our wedding he would NEVER get to meet any future grandchildren. Now where was I?

Something, something, something... until death. You may kiss the bride. And snap, like that we became grown ups ready to file a joint tax return.
Big tip for a wedding on a shoestring, do not hire a photographer. We had a friend of ours take the obligatory group pictures as a wedding gift. And back in 1994, before everyone was putting disposable cameras on every table at the reception, we encouraged all our guests to bring their own cameras and take pictures. Friends and family all gave us a set of their prints, I honestly think we have more wedding photos than most people. Well, people who got married before the era of digital cameras anyway.
I bought pink roses to carry and we had fresh roses on our cake. Both were inexpensive, simple, and elegant. And two of my favorite parts of our little makeshift wedding.

Somehow we ended up having two receptions. The planned one at the church fellowship hall, where we ate cake and drank champagne punch with our friends and parent's friends. Where my sorority sisters gathered together and surprised us by singing us the Alpha Chi Sweetheart song.
This picture is in a frame in my living room. It's my favorite wedding photo. I am such a sap.

Down deep in the heart of each Alpha Chi girl
Is the dream of a love that is true.
He’s loving and kind and he’ll always be faithful
And somewhere he’s waiting for you.
You’ll dream and you’ll plan;
Then someday he will come
And he’ll make all your dreams live anew.
He’ll share every trouble, make every joy double
An Alpha Chi Sweetheart is true.

Then afterwards someone suggested we go out for drinks and dinner. And all our friends followed in hot pursuit of alcohol.
Those are party poppers they are shooting and they created the exact effect I hoped in our pictures.

We took over an entire corner of Chili's and were there through 2 shifts of waitresses. I honestly do not remember much, seeing as someone else was buying our drinks all night. But I do look damn happy in all the photos.
What I do remember was needing to "borrow" my pillow from our hotel room to ease the pain of my hangover on our drive home the next morning. We picked up our gifts our friends had driven back to Orlando for us. We opened them at our charming little duplex in the ghetto. Okay so we were mainly looking for the cash. Then we headed for the coast to honeymoon. Again we had no plan. We drove until we found a cute little hotel right on the beach with in room jacuzzi's.

The rest is as they say history, and in 6 days we will be celebrating 14 years, we must have done something right.

Head on over to Saucy's Place and join in the bloggy celebration.

Snaps if you can name the movie quote.
*There are certain words that my mom finds too horrible to utter so she whispers them.
You'll get used to it.
Have you heard about Betty Rothburg? *whispers* Cancer! Say, Billy, where did you meet Wendy again?
*whispers* Prison.

Don't say I didn't warn you! Our lives are much like the weather this week, same shit, different day. So I got nothing for you today.

But, you can consider this your engraved invitation to:
Stop by tomorrow for "A Wedding Story". I promise pictures of pictures from 1994* for your mocking enjoyment.

*spiral perm included

Welcome back to this week's edition of WWC. Our words today are

For your consideration today are Breanna's entries.

The FRONT of our house.

And the wires coming out the BACK of our entertainment center.

Lucky for me it's dark back there. The child seems to be doing her best to out me as a horrible housekeeper. Who's idea was it to let her join the WWC anyway?

Up next: my photos.

The Front of the book I was embarrassed to read in the Back of the church while waiting for VBS to be finished.

Bre out of the Front of the slide on her Back.

Brooke about to land on her Backside.

If you'd like to play with us, visit the adorable Tink at Pickled Beef for more info.

Tune in again next week kiddies, same bat time, same bat channel.

Amazing Tasks We Have Accomplished Today

  • Lounged until 10am
  • Justified banana cookie as muffin like and pronounced them suitable as breakfast
  • Captured a poor helpless creature and imprisoned it in a card board box with holes in the lid
  • Got dressed, if ya count bathing suits
  • Gathered toys, towels, hats, and drinks
  • Lubed up (With SUNSCREEN! This is a mommy blog! And now sure to get some fun google search terms.)
  • Called and IM'd friends in desperate attempt to avoid endless hours of "WATCH THIS" at the pool
  • Hit the community pool
  • Chatted and played with many friends
  • Successfully ignored all children for 3 hours
  • Foraged for food in the kitchen
  • Ate 2nd breakfast or as some people call it, lunch

Massive List of Things Yet To Do Today
  • Justify to self that we can live on food in house until tomorrow
  • Avoid harshing current mellow with a trip to the grocery store
  • Drive 30 min to church for VBS with young easily bored children, and me the mean mom with no tv in her car, what was I thinking?
  • Find something to do for 3ish hours while kids are at VBS
  • Remind self I'll be ALONE for 3ish hours
  • Drive 30 min with 3 very tired, yet wired on sweet treats, small children home, and me still with no tv
  • Hope hubby has acquired at least the first couple of episodes of Dexter Season 2 to feed my newest addiction
  • Say goodnight and start it all again tomorrow.

Because according to Brooke this is the week she's been waiting for, the one where we do the same thing everyday!

Afternoon Thunderstorm Warnings

We all know bringing out the arts and crafts bag, box, bin, whatever you got, is one of the best ways to beat the "I'm boreds". However, in my house I know I will pay dearly for that hour or so of fun. Because lets face it, the crafts they are usually messy. And I've found that the amount of fun they have with a project directly correlates to the size of the mess I will have to clean up afterwards.

But we have stumbled across one project that takes hours of time, can be done alone or in groups and both my 5 year old and my 9 year love to do. What is this amazing creation that both boys and girls we know spend hours making projects with, you want to know?

Perler Beads.

Have you heard of them? I hadn't either and we were at a friends about a year ago and they were using them. So unbelievably simple I could not have imagined how addictive they would be. They are literally little tiny colored plastic beads that the kids arrange on a peg board and then mom (depending on how old the kids are) irons them so they melt together. Seriously, that's the genius craft project that my daughter was begging me to buy for her birthday slumber party last year.
That bucket of like 6,000 beads was less than $15 at the local craft store. They can of course be bought in bigger quantities at PerlerBeads online store. The site also has more complicated projects, like little plastic purses to be sewn together too. I think I'll keep that to myself for now. Sounds like a lot more work for the mommy.

Speaking of work for the mommy. I know, you're out there saying, iron? IRON the beads together? ARE you crazy? I don't iron our clothes. Okay, maybe that was me in the beginning. But really it's more just sitting a hot iron on top of some parchment paper on the beads and melting them. And here in lies the true beauty of the perler beads. At the previously mentioned slumber party, I kid you not, six 8 year old girls sat for 3 solid hours making these little beaded treasures. They did not argue, and there was no competition. It was a 3 hour gossip session! And I was just over in the corner ironing their projects. LISTENING TO EVERY WORD! Because I was doing a job they didn't object to nosey old mom being around. It was so insightful!

Remember these results are not typical. With only my own two girls we are looking at about an hours worth of entertainment. However, if you are so inclined you could invite over a few friends for the afternoon and then those kids parents will owe you. Hey, hey, two birds with one perler bead!

Now I must go investigate the eery quiet down the children's hallway. No doubt on Thursday my post will start with: I confess that writing for this blog often leads to child neglect and huge messes to clean up.

"Cleaning up with children around is like shoveling during a blizzard."

Back again for the newest addition of: Wow that woman takes lazy to a whole 'nother level.

Bless me father for I have sinned. It has been one week since my last confession. I confess that I have, on more than one occasion, forgotten an entire load of wet clothes in the washer that never made it to the dryer. LOVELY. Forcing me to wash them AGAIN! Water restrictions, what? Green, who?

This of course dominoes and delays my getting any new loads of laundry done. Which in turn starts the back up of dirty laundry in the bathroom hampers. Then before I know it the pile has grown so high my 5 year old has to reach over her head to put her dirty clothes on top and my husband starts referring to said pile as "Lumpy". Okay, so that part happened only once. Last week. But I'm sure it started with a forgotten load of clothes left in the washer too long.

Come forth children, and make your confessions. Don't worry we can't see who you are through the partition.

Hot or Not?

You make the call.

All I know is it's hot outside, and to cool off we head to the pool. Today I figured we'd check out the shallow end, which is where I prefer to hang out.

So this here post is all about beauty in the eye of the beholder and all that shit. Some men they are just hot and theres no denying that, you know that People's Sexiest Man Alive kind of guy like Matthew McConaughey or George Clooney.

Except some years I think, which people exactly think he's good looking? So I came up with two lists. Men that I for some reason find oddly attractive and men that apparently many people find hot and I.just.don't.

Obviously I'm going with famous men, so all of these men have some audience draw or they would be on radio. But none of them are the heart throb leading man type. However, I like them despite my impeccable good taste (see the above mentioned hotties).

Vince Vaughn - yes he's tall, but too tall, like amazonian. And the humor in his movies is aimed at young boys, not old married women. Yet I find him adorable, like a big awkward puppy.
Jack Black - again movies with a target audience of 12 year old boys. As we start watching one of his movies I say I shouldn't like this, then I giggle like a jr high school girl. Apparently I appreciate a sense of humor. That explains so much.
Dr. Drew - Dorky tv doctor, yet if you watched Celebrity Rehab there was one scene where he wore a black t-shirt and jeans... man has got it going on.

Freddy Rodríguez - He is the newer romantic interest for Ugly Betty. Seeing as she's such a misfit it's obvious he's not a traditional hottie. For one he's short, but so am I, so that doesn't bother me so much.

Carey Hart - you know Pink's ex (at least I think that they are still apart at the time of publishing. I'm not generally a fan of the whole body tattoo thing. I think the attraction is because he was on the Surreal life and he ironically was the only voice of reason in the house that season. Yet, he looks like such a rebel, I find the contrast hot.

Next up: Ya'll can have them.

Russel Crowe - okay, yes, I see the nice body, I understand what others see, but meh, does nothing for me. It was his role in the breakup of Meg Ryan's relationship that turned me off initially, now his big ol' ego gets in the way of his good looks.
Ashton Kutcher - he's just goofy looking to me. I think Bruce Willis is hotter.
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon - they look like every generic frat boy I ever knew, I see nothing special about either one of them (okay other than the Oscars on their mantles).

Brad Pitt - again I can appreciate what others see, but he's skeevy to me. And was even before he broke Jen's heart and ran off with that skank Angelina. (sorry but all the good deeds in the world will not erase my memory of her kissing her brother, marrying Billy Bob or wearing a vial of blood around her neck)
Leonardo DiCaprio - he just looks like a little boy playing dress up to me, like he hasn't hit puberty, thinking he was hot is just wrong in my mind.

Now, it's your turn. Weigh in. Hot or Not? Let us know your crush! It'll be our little secret.

Welcome to this week's Word Challenge.

I would like to introduce a new player to the game. My daughter Breanna is always begging to use my camera. NO, not the new one, she isn't crazy! But seeing as the old one still works, I figured what's the harm? Problem is, she is 9, and doesn't always know what to take pictures of, her sister is not always a willing model and the dog could care less. So I gave her this week's words and sent her off. And know what? She had fun! Looks like I have a new partner.

Breanna's very first word challenge:


And Karen's Entry

It's a MYSTERY how I found that game
in this CHAOS

Now if you want to play along with us, go check out cutie pattootie getting ready to be a bride, TINK at Pickled Beef. And be nice or she might go all Bridezilla on you!

Tag I'm It!

I've been tagged again. Twice in a row, I'm totally feeling the bloggy love.

So this one is a slightly bizarre book meme, according to my tagger, Stephanie at Bad Mom (which by the way, she totally is not).


1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

Okay, I just so happen to have a pile of library books right next to my computer. The closest was actually a children's book, sorry no page 123. But not to worry I found Protecting the Gift by Gavin DeBecker right underneath. Looks like we have a winner.

"Loren's experience also raises the issue of seeing how your child (or even infant) react to a prospective baby-sitter before making the hiring decision. This practice is touted in several parenting books, but I'd like to add a caveat: Yes, it can be meaningful if the child has a good reaction, that fact is absolutely irrelevant to safety. Remember that many predators are exceptionally good at gaining trust and putting children at ease."
For those of you not new here, you already know I think this book is a must read for parents. I read it years ago and picked it up on my last trip to the library. Knowing that since my kids are older different chapters will speak to me this read through.

Seeing as I just played tag this morning, I'm going to put this one up for anyone who else who wants to play. Go forth and find books with 123 pages!

I've been tagged for a new Meme by Susie. One that is right up my alley as I have written a few of the emails Canape says inspired her to start this Meme.

Here's the deal. Think back on the last 15 years of your life. What would you tell someone that you hadn't seen or talked to for 15 years? How would you sum up your life?

You get 10 bullet points. A list of 10 things to summarize you. At the end of your list, tag 5 more people and send on the love.

So 15 years ago was 1993, and I was "barely 17 and we were barely dressed," oh wait, that was Meatloaf. I was 23 in 1993 and a brand new college graduate and madly in love. (look how sneaky I am getting 3 things in before my 10 points)

* Moved to my parents home in Texas, saved a piddly amount of money and moved back to Florida to be with Brian all within the first 2 months of 1993.
*Got married to Brian in 1994. We will be celebrating 14 years in July.
*Served my time in Retail Management.
*Bought and sold our first house, all 1,000 sq. ft. of it.
*Bought and sold an awesome boat. Swore one day we will buy another one.
*Had 2 babies. The girls, Breanna and Brooke Marie, are now 9 and 5.
*Quit the paid work force 9 years ago, and never looked back.
*Built our current house, in a nice family neighborhood, with a fun community pool and good schools (through high school) within walking distance.
*Bought a mini-van & sold the mini-van! It never felt like my car, just not a good fit. Now we are an all KIA family. I drive a Rondo and Brian has a Spectra.
*Brian tried but he could not fight the animal lover in me. Somewhere along the way he allowed us to adopt many little critters into our family. Currently we have a 14 year old black lab, 4 little degus (gerbil like animals) and a fluffy little girl chinchilla.

Wow, 10 points already. Okay, I guess that about covers it then. Now I'm supposed to tag 5 people.
So of course I'm hitting up Drama who's been slacking lately.
And Star, because I don't want her to feel left out! She can thank me later.
I'm adding Kira Joy, because I want to find out how she ended up in that fun family of hers and her posts make me laugh.
And two more fellow Floridians I'd like to know more about Domestic Spaz
and Suz.

On a related note, we have a friend who is going to be on The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch. He is an old friend, as in, "Hey I need some photos from way back, before digital. Do you have any?" Do I have old pictures?! Man knew who to ask that's for sure. So while I was digging through the basket I hit the mother load. Oh, you all are in for some fun. I know ya'll can hardly wait. So, here's a taste of upcoming posts I am planning: The Big Squall: The Day We Almost Died, Pregnancy: Old School Style, and of course on June 26th will be The Wedding Party: Big Hair Included.

Afternoon Thunderstorm Warnings, On the Cheap.
It's a two for one special.

This one is a favorite at our house. Sorry but I really don't know of an equivalent for mom's of boys, this one is pretty much for a house full of little girls. My girls and I love to have spa days. NO, I do not take my girls to have mani/pedis, are you new here? What will they have to look forward to before those fancy high school dances if we start shit like that now?

No, we have Mommy Spa. I have one of those foot baths, that you put hot water in, then plug in and it vibrates your little tootsies. Because kids have such tired achey feet ya know. That alone is entertainment as long as we agree ahead of time who gets the first turn.

Then we use smelly lotions, and paint finger and toe nails. Sometimes we get really fancy, as I have even gotten pretty good at drawing stars and stripes on blue and red toes. Those are always a hit during the summer. It just takes a cheap bottle of white nail polish, a tooth pick and a steady hand. Stripes are self explanatory, stars are made by putting a dot of polish and then dragging the tooth pick out to make 5 points.

If I am really inspired and they ask, we do hair too. This style lasts almost the whole week, if done tight. Yes that's with swimming and washing it. The best part is no crying over brushing out the inevitable tangles from the wind and water.
That's one of our rainy afternoon activities that is entirely supplied by things I already have in my house. How about you, done any fun cheap activities this summer you'd like to share? I'm always looking for suggestions, it's a long summer!

Fathers are the geniuses of the house because only a person as intelligent as we could fake such stupidity. Think about your father: He doesn't know where anything is. You ask him to do something, he messes it up, and your mother sends you: "Go down and see what your father's doing before he blows up the house." He's a genius at work because he doesn't want to do it, and knows someone will be coming soon to stop him. - Bill Cosby

Summer in Florida. It's hot and humid and it rains every.afternoon.all.summer.long. Really weathermen (and women) in Florida should get the summer off, just like teachers. I always kid that the local news stations should just have viewers send in video of themselves doing the weather report, it's not so much a forecast seeing as my 5 year old could tell you what to expect today, and play a different one everyday. Can you imagine? A wet dream for all those wanna be film makers on you tube. They could even do international week and do the weather in other languages because we all know they'd still be saying this: Beautiful and hot in the morning, clouds rolling in later in the day and thunderstorms in the late afternoon. Seriously it's not like we need to know the high and the low, it will be in the 70's when you drag your ass out of bed and in the 90's when you are eating dinner. 91 or 95 , you will still sweat as soon as you open the door, does the number really matter?

I know, I'm doing a post on weather! The hell? The heat must be getting to me already. Actually I just wanted to post this little clip from SNL and I needed some filler. Remember back when I was bragging about how I'm almost famous I mentioned my sorority sister who was a meteorologist on the Weather Channel? Dude, she made it big time! She's been mentioned on the Weekend Update on SNL. Skip to :51 for her little blip.

I wonder if she found this humorous? I'll bet she doesn't care too much, seeing as she won her case. Oh and she works for CNN now, not a bad move, eh?

Okay, we are off to enjoy the beautiful morning at the pool, before the clouds roll in. I don't know the exact temperature, but I know it's too hot to sit and read in shorts beside the pool now. I actually have to put on a suit and at least dip my legs and that's all I need to know.

Welcome to the post where I tell you fascinating little tidbits of my life that I am maybe not so proud of. So, I had an idea for today's post last night, which I started but didn't finish, because this morning I came up with something much more timely. Bonus I have next week's post half finished!

Last night I went to see Sex and the City with Drama and Star. And yes, it was good. The reviewers who panned it are obviously not the right demographic. Us married women who finally got a night away from the kids and hubbies, found it completely entertaining!

Anyway, after I got home we had to watch Top Chef to see who won. A big WOO HOO to Stephanie, she was my favorite. Then I was tired, but couldn't fall asleep. So I was up watching reruns of Sex and the City in the background while catching up on some blog reading until late thirty.

Okay, so to recap, couldn't sleep + up late = tired me. I rolled out of bed this morning to the lovely sound of my children arguing around 7:30ish. I proceeded to gripe at them and wandered half sleeping into the living room. I grouched some threats in their general direction, curled up on the couch and fell back asleep. Well damn, next thing I know "*the phone, the phone is ringing*" As I sit up and focus on the caller id display I see it it 9:56am! Holy crap! How the hell did that happen? So when I told Drama we weren't ready to head to the pool I wasn't kidding. So that's my confession, I slept and ignored my kids until 10 am this morning!

*snaps if you can name that theme song, it's my cell phone ring when my hubby is calling

Of these friends:

That you can pick up the phone and start out a conversation like this:

My 5 year old would like to play with your child...

right now...

at your house.

Or this:
Could you try to pull up this website up real quick?

Or this:
We have a puker...

Heading over for already frozen pedia-pops.

And of course this:
I'm on my way.

Us moms also need at least a couple of friends who don't blink an eye at these situations:

As we arrive home from a morning at the movies.

We all want to play at your house.

Fine with me, your mommy has seen my house worse.
Don't trip on anything on your way through the garage.

After an entire afternoon of playing together.

Can we have a sleepover?

I can't think of a reason to say no.

The kid's are already in bathing suits and find out the pool is closed.

Everyone out back for a water balloon fight.

And of course that say these words without thinking twice:

She ate with us.

Nice pjs.

You should see my house.

Would you like a diet coke? Or do you need some WINE?

If you are lucky (like me) these friends live in your neighborhood, within walking distance, so you can just send the small children over on their own every once in awhile.

Peekaboo & Dirty

Sweet Niblets plays PEEKABOO in her dust bowl.
But she isn't getting DIRTY she's taking a bath.

The Weekly Words Challenge is brought to you by the lovely Tink at Pickled Beef. Go show her some love, she's having a bad week.

I have no idea what any of the other lyrics are, but this is how I hear the title in my head, always.
I cannot listen to the entire song, it hurts my head.
John Cusack's shorter evil twin had a job at a posh hotel in NC and often had to run errands for the celebs who stayed there. He once had to buy mice at the mall for Alice Cooper's snake. EWWW. Odd the things we remember, huh?

So this is the official start of summer at our house. Breanna had Thursday and Friday off last week, but Brooke didn't so everyone still had to be up, dressed and off to school. Thursday we had to go get my new tire. Bre was thrilled with this plan. Ahh, the car shop waiting room with a sullen 9 year old. Good times. Good times. We did have time to drop by the library and load up on some good books. I made her check out "Are You There God? It's Me Margaret." She won't read much that I recommend, but I figure she's ready for it so it was worth a shot. Friday we dropped off the munchkin and had a good old shopping spree. We both got gift cards for Kohl's for our birthdays. And we both blew most of our wad on new shoes! That kid's more like me than I thought.

I got these two pairs. The pink match my cute pink purse I got a few months back and works with my "It matches nothing, therefore it goes with everything" motto quite well. And both shoes make me tall! Thank you to whomever decided the wedge needed to come back! I could never wear a regular heel this high, ever, I'm a bit of a klutz.

Bre got these flip flops for summer. Here's the thing, she's wearing a kid's size 3 ish. They only had the shoes in a 4, which was a tad big, but she loved them, and goodness knows those feet aren't finished growing! Then we hit the women's shoes and they had the same shoes in more colors, namely BLUE. Of course the women's sizes started at 6. So we took them out, measured them against the 4 and they were less than 1/4 of an inch bigger. Guess which ones she bought? Yep the blue size 6s. I spent the rest of the time telling her I wasn't sure I was comfortable with her shopping in the same department as me. I am fairly certain she would've worn them to bed, had I let her. The insole is some sort of gel, and OMG are they comfy.

So comfy in fact I am considering going back and getting these with what's left on my gift card. Would it be wrong to have spent all $100 on shoes?

While typing this post Brookie came in and wanted to know where the picture of her new shoes was. Of course I picked her up a cheap pair of flip flops because how could we come home with all those new shoes and not have a pair for my little girl with the big shoe fetish? She would like you all to know these are not the exact shoes, her shoes are brighter, have watermelon colors on the wedge and polka dots on the insoles, but these are as close as we could find. And according to my 5 year old daredevil, the best part is they are big shoes that will make her tall enough to ride the roller coasters. Hmmm, don't know who gave her that idea? Moving on...

And did we sleep in, stay in pjs all day, or head to the pool bright and early you ask? Um no. Brooke had a couple cavities at her last dentist appointment and would you believe they called and said that someone canceled for 8:00am today. Gee, I wonder why? Of course I jumped at the appointment because the next available one isn't until school starts! Good thing I absolutely pink puffy heart the girl's dentist, because really? 3 months to get an appointment?! Damn, guess everyone pink puffy heart's him.

After the dentist we had to head out to the grocery store. I had no list, so we just winged it. It's been a long time since I took both girls for a full shopping trip, because WHY would I want to subject myself to that if I didn't HAVE too? I must admit, I was completely surprised by their good behavior. Also surprising? The cute new bag boy. Ahh, the teenagers are off school and working hard. Bre was being very shy while we were checking out. On the way home Brooke and I were talking about how cute the boy was and Bre was very quiet. After a bit of teasing she finally admitted she thought so too. I think we may be doing our weekly trips around 10:30am every Monday this summer.

Maybe tomorrow when the free family movies and special library programs start it will actually feel like summer to me. But so far, we've been to busy too *Relax and Renew*.

*Snaps to those who recognize that quote.

I was visiting Mommy's Martini this morning and loved her Weekly Scorecard idea, even threatened to steal... um, borrow it. Of course after mulling this idea over I realized that a scorecard would negatively reflect on me as much as the girls, and frankly I can't take the pressure of trying to get good grades during the summer. But that along with Star's ideas for decorating her toddler's room on the cheap gave me a new idea. I know! One of my very own?! I am not actually ripping off of anyone? Okay, well not knowingly. Goodness knows I've probably seen something like it at one time or another, because as we've previously established here I am not original. I can however put a creative spin on just about anyone's idea and try to pass it off as my own... um, give due credit.

My idea? I am going to try to post on Sundays a short list of things to do with the girls during these long summer days. We do VBS for one week and my older daughter does one week of camp and that is it. Being a one income family we can't afford more than that. Plus it's SUMMER and in our opinion, kids just need to be kids. Summer is for relaxing and recuperating!

I've come up with 3 categories so far.

On the Cheap: inexpensive, or better yet, free activities to combat the "I'm boreds!"

No More Tears: creative ideas for getting chores done without tantrums. Hey, I can hope, can't I?

Afternoon Thunderstorm Warnings: In Florida between 3:00pm and 5:00pm there is a 90% chance it will rain. Yes EVERYDAY. It doesn't usually last long, but that time of day is what I refer to as the "witching hour" since the day we brought Breanna home from the hospital.

Hopefully some of my ideas will work for others. And of course my ulterior motive is to get new fun ideas from my stalkers... um readers.

Without further ado the first edition of
Sunday Suggestions
: No More Tears

Today I'll start with our never ending battle LAUNDRY.

I have started giving them each a laundry basket and sending them to the bathroom hamper to have a sorting contest. Basically see who can fill their hamper faster. First one full gets to help pour the soap and start the washer. Doesn't sound like much, but they like it and it gets all the dirty laundry into the laundry room without killing my back.
Our biggest issue though is getting the clothes folded. We DVR various 'not kid' shows like John and Kate + 8 and Little People, Big World and then watch them together while folding laundry. This was a bit more appealing before they started playing the Wii in the living room. Used to be the living room was our room and it was a treat to watch shows on our bigger tv, but it usually works.
Now, if I've timed it right they are finished folding before the shows are over. Then they get to finish watching and they race to put the clothes away during commercials.

Sidenote: As I was writing this up my 5 year old was more throwing laundry than folding it. She is now in her room until she's ready to finish her laundry. Hmmm, might want to be checking for Sunday Suggestions to turn into my True Confession Thurdays. Hey, Breanna's laundry is done, at least I won half the battle!

I also added a What We are Reading section to my sidebar. Yesterday we introduced Brooke Marie to Junie B. and she loved her of course. So as we read our way through the summer I thought we'd share what we are reading. Hopefully we'll inspire others to pick up some new books too.

"Most plain girls are virtuous because of the scarcity of opportunity to be otherwise." -- Maya Angelou

Nothing better to get you laughing than a little "girl talk".

So the subject of why boys and girls are different comes up this afternoon with the girls.

Me: Bre tell your little sister what makes boys and girls different.
Bre: Well sometimes boys...
Me: The ONE thing that always makes boys and girls different.
Two completely blank faces starting at me.
Me: Girls have...
Now we are playing charades as I indicate my chest.
Me: Bre what do girls have?
Bre: Mom, make Brooke say it. (apparently when you are 9 you can not talk about such things)
Brooke: Boobies! (Brooke however, she can't wait to have a pair of her very own!)
Me: Right, boys don't have boobies, what do they have?
Again with the blank faces. Now both girls have had close male friends since they were in diapers and while potty training, so they have seen one before.
Me: Hint, boys can pee standing up.
More blank stares.
Me: Boys have penises.
Brooke: That's why they can pee standing? But they sit to poop, right?
Me (able to keep the laughter to myself): Yes, they sit to poop.
Breanna (to Brooke): That's why boys and girls have different potties at school.
Brooke (after some serious thought): All boys have a penis?
Me: Yes, all boys. (oh dear I see the gears in her head moving as she processes this nugget of information)
Brooke: Even Daddy?
Me: Yes.
Brooke: Daddy has a penis?
Me: Yes. (I can tell she's really thinking about this)
Brooke: (in all of her 5 year old wide eyed innocence) Wow, daddy's must be really big... huge... humongous.
Me (trying not to choke laughing while changing the direction of her thoughts) Yep, big boys, grown ups have them too.
Brooke (have I mentioned that this child can not be stopped when on a roll?): Daddy must have a big penis, really big.
At this point I am practically in tears, hiding behind the microwave in the kitchen barely able to speak for the stifled laughter.
Me: Maybe we shouldn't tell daddy we were talking about his penis. This is what we call "girl talk".

Of course I told him tonight after the girls were in bed. And he did see the humor in the conversation. Although, I am fairly certain he considered my tears of laughter over the size of his member a bit much. So let's just keep this little post between us, mmm- kay? Just a little "blog talk".

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