Thursday, April 28, 2011

generating buzz

A couple years ago, I joined a site to be what is called a Bzz Agent. When I sign up for a campaign, I usually get samples, and coupons from the company. I have tried some new things that impressed me. I joined a campaign that I ended up not liking once. The coffee mug I got broke a couple months later too.
How it works is you sign up, get your kit, and then try whatever it is. If you like it, great. If you don't, ok too. However, it is asked that we spread the word about things to others, with the requirement that we are to disclose that we are a Bzz Agent and we received coupons or samples. If we get coupons we are asked to share them with friends. Then we go back to the website and submit a Bzz Report, noting our conversations, and the feedback we get from the person with whom we shared the information.
I'm currently involved in a CoverGirl campaign for their NatureLuxe products, that use cucumber, jojoba & rosehip in the foundation and mango & shea butter in the gloss. So far, I like the foundation, but it's a sheerer finish than my regular foundation. I think when I picked Oak as my foundation color, I probably did get the right shade for my summer skin color. I haven't submitted an official review of it yet because I'm waiting to use it for a few days to see if I have any reactions to it. So far it's nice, feels very very light, but with a question mark. I need to up my water intake to make sure this microscopic itch is my own dehydration, or if it's a reaction to an ingredient in the foundation. I suspect the former actually. Ever since I lost my Flylady water bottle, my water intake went to nil because the other water bottles we own are not that great. This Bzz kit also came with a sheer lip gloss. I like how it feels, smells and the level of color. I'm not a gloss wearing kind of girl, so I am not sure if frequent reapplication is common, or if I am a freak of nature. (And no, you may not answer that one for me.) The Little (aka The Blur) came up to me yesterday when she saw me applying the lip gloss. She pointed to her mouth, saying "pee-yee baby!" (pretty baby). She wanted lip gloss too.
I will have to post again later to update my thoughts once I've concluded whether the problem was me or the makeup. But so far, I do like this, and may consider switching my foundation to this one. I was happy to see that both the lip gloss and foundation contain SPF 10 and 15 respectively. For me, that's a nice selling point, because I'm fair skinned (that whole Irish thing) and I don't tan easily. Plus I'm in my mom-bus a lot, and the windows only do so much. I like this SPF inclusion because the sunscreens I've tried previously make my face greasy, which in Florida heat (blast furnace really), that makes my face sweat more and feels gross.
If you've tried this, what do you think? Did it work for you? If not, would you give it a try?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

funny kid stuff

The Little has been dubbed "The Blur" by Devildog. It's fitting. Shopping at Target with her yesterday was a prime example.

The Little Blur is also coming along with an increasing vocabulary. Her recent cuteness is mealtime prayer. Since I'm such a bad Catholic, we use the one I learned in 2nd grade, instead of the standard "Bless us, O Lord...":
God is good.
God is great.
Let us thank him for our food.
By His hands we are fed.
Thank you Lord for daily bread.
The Little Blur folds her hands, bows her head, and says "God is good. Amen"

It didn't sit well with The Clone for this one to go in today's post, but then again, she never likes when anyone talks about her - good or bad. Oh well, it's staying anyway. She was coloring eggs, and used her white crayon to write on the eggs before dyeing them. She lifted an egg, sucked her teeth, and said "aw man. I spelled 'happy' wrong. That's sad."

Happy Easter.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Balancing Act

One of my high school classmates posted a blog link on Facebook from a frazzled mom trying to balance everything. I can understand that one. I started my family at a young age. I was inordinately fortunate that the guy who was unrelenting in his pursuit of me was raised right, and didn't shirk his responsibilities. This summer will mark 18 years ago that we met. Not everyone can say some or any of that about the person who is their child's other parent. It hasn't been all easy, but that's how life works. It took me a long time to learn how to do for myself. I long neglected the woman who was behind the roles of wife and mother, etc. It made things a big mess of resentment, frustration and unkindness. I don't ever want to find myself there again. There is value in a woman that takes care of herself in the same way she cares for her family. So, yes, I do keep my closet with clothes that make me look good and fit me well. And I can't bring myself to pay full retail for anything, so I look good on a budget too. My husband deserves to see his wife looking nice, and not looking like a schlub. It serves to remind him that he needs to tell me how much he's attracted to me and loves me. Which then reminds me that I need to pay attention to him individually, and not just collectively as if he were one of the children. It's also kind of nice to see the envious look my husband gets from his peers. You can read their faces and almost know what they're thinking. He is indeed a lucky Devildog. His wife still looks good after 4 babies escaped her person, and we're still together this long to boot.

A big part of my parenting philosophy is that I should put myself out of work as a mother. It will allow me to be other things to my children and their children later. I also can't fathom the thought of being a helicopter mommy. Some kids require that, but not mine. I wouldn't dream of being a lawnmower mommy, knocking down the obstacles in front of my children. Lord knows, I grew up having to be my own lawnmower, and that was difficult enough. I can't imagine doing either mowing or hovering for four kids. I'm tired as it is being a slacker mom, I'd be dead if I hovered or mowed. So, I have been teaching my kids those things I call life skills. They are learning to cook, tend house, handle money, and deal with other people. I get looks ranging from impressed amazement to having 12 heads on my shoulders when others hear that my kids do their own laundry from a certain age. I certainly don't want visits home from college to be spent with me doing 3 months' of their laundry. I also don't want to wear those blue gloves to do their laundry, because as teens, they are walking biohazards. So, basically, I equip them to do for themselves, and function independently of me. I don't live my life FOR my children. I live my life WITH them. I pursue my interests, and what makes me happy. Number one, they need to see my example of doing that. Number two, quite simply, I need the break from my kids. Number 3, and quite important - keeping my own self busy will prevent me from being that Mother-in-Law. You know, the meddling, needling, intrusive one that behaves in such a way that the kids move far away because I drive them nuts. In an attempt to get the kids closer, the cajoling, the backhandedness, the everything of a Mother-in-hell, it all backfires. I don't want my grandchildren to see their parents visibly sigh in relief that I left this earth, and them in peace from no longer dealing with my antics.

So, the juggle and struggle becomes worth it in the end, because eventually, I will have put myself out of work as their mother. I will then get the opportunity to learn how to be their friend, and watch what I taught them play out in their own lives. I just pray that my children find mates that are worthy, capable, and balance my children - much like my husband and I are for each other.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Busy birthday weekend

My husband just thinks of his birthday as another ordinary day. I grew up with this mindset in my parents' house, and I didn't like it one bit. Ok, so you don't have to spend your annual salary on a bash to commemorate the day you were born. But just a little sumpthin' to say "woohoo" should be standard. I am thankful for his friends who put out the call to say "hey, lets get together." R & C have been renovating their house, and they had a bit of a house re-warming, plus a few cupcakes since it was Devildog's birthday. Of course, this circle of friends follows the principle "any excuse to drink". While we were there, C & S called him to say "Hey, since we're hosting an oyster roast next weekend, we should watch the race at your house tomorrow. I mean, it is your birthday and all." They brought pretty much all the side dishes. Cleanup was easier than if I'd cooked.
Thankfully I vacuumed Saturday before we left the house. This morning I sorted through the papers on the peninsula in the kitchen before leaving for church.
Thank you FLYLady for your wisdom, that we could host friends without a lot of angst and stress to get the house ready for company. The girls enjoyed the playset Devildog built. The boys fished in the pond and came up empty handed. The guys watched the race. And when they left, I rescued my kitchen and took a nap.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Final Words

Yes, I'm briefly awake in the middle of the night. My brain is weird.

So, the thought came to mind after N.S.'s funeral:
When I die, they're probably going to put something like "Finally got the smartass shut up" on my gravestone.

What epitaph is going on your gravestone?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The power of a shower

Wednesdays are my long days, whether I am home that day or working. The 2 middle kids have religious education classes (aka CCD or PREP) on Wednesday nights. We are gone for part of what I call 'witching hours', but that just means it's a condensed witching hour when we get home. As a busy mom with the kind of life we have here, I'll admit it for the world to see: I don't get a shower every day. The story I stick to is that I'm doing my part to help spare the environment and cut my utility costs. Now, does anyone care to remind my 17 year old this please, since I am always wrong and just a haranguing nag?

Today was one of those days that felt derailed from the time my feet met the floor. About all I got accomplished at home this morning was tidying the laundry room and a long-overdue vacuuming of the air filter. And I washed a load of towels. They're finally in the dryer 14 hours after they started their journey to clean.
A friend of ours died on Sunday-- the terminating, long-coming result of living the hard life of partying and not taking care of the personal temple loaned to us. You can't get on a transplant list when you were already a decidedly non-compliant patient after your oncologist tells you to stop drinking and smoking (everything). I feel most sorry for N.S.'s mother and son. No parent ever in their life imagines the final act of their job as parent to their child is to bury that child. Every child fully expects that at some point they'll say the final goodbye to their parent, but no one expects that before you are of legal age to vote or just barely driving age, you are left half-orphaned. But here it has happened. No matter the timing, circumstances, or quality of relationship you have, losing a parent just plain sucks.

And in all of this, and the lack of planning by N.S. or his family, we then see a friend, T.K. pick up the slack, take Mama by the hand and help her with the legwork of burying her only son. Devildog got home from school this morning, and as I was getting ready to leave, T.K. came over to tell us the funeral arrangements. It ended up with them on the patio, watching the geese fight over the pond territory as they relayed their lamentations over this situation. Finally I realized the time, and stuck my head out there to tell my husband he needed to take over as Mini-Human's monitor, lest she bake some cookies and reprogram the computer while no one is watching. I really had to get to work. I got such a late start to my day, that I didn't get all the service calls on my schedule done. The allotted times are longer than normal, and that last one was likely to take the full time allowed, which I didn't have in my day after the 2nd store visit. The kids had classes and Devildog had homework to do (which I doubt he did.) When we got home, I had a kitchen to clean up since Devildog cooked dinner, and my reports to submit.

I just felt reallllly blegh, and my razor was failing from being used every time I shower (duh, it's DULL, so change it). I sat with Devildog to watch some tv together, but was restless. So I took that shower, shaving with a fresh razor, and shampooing my hair. I think I probably washed about 10 pounds of the blegh, emotional clutter, and my derailed workday. It sort of reset my self, and the gloom swirled down the drain. I emerged gently recharged and without the blegh. By the way, that is a rather inarticulate word, but at this point in my day, be thankful that's what I muster and not something worse.

Final thought that just entered my head as I was proofreading this post: Since my husband is a veteran, he and I qualify for burial next to each other in the National Cemetery. Whoever goes first better pick a good seat.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The things Daddies do for their kids

This weekend we embarked on the brilliant idea that we'd been hatching for quite a while.

That idea? A big giant wooden playset for the younger 2 kids. We had a BIG metal swingset for Clone for her 2nd birthday and kept till we left the hovel. It wasn't worth moving to the new house. She essentially outgrew it about the time she went to elementary school. So we knew with the Mini-Human (aka The Little), we'd need one that would last a few years plus still entertain the Clone too while she's still young.

We found one at Academy Sports & Outdoor for $499, versus the model at the big box home store, or the membership warehouse store, which were more expensive - all models were D.I.Y. unless we paid for someone else to do the dirty work. The box says it takes 2 people 10 hours. I think they based this on the time it takes hired professionals who do such things for a living, not your average joe electrician who has become handy over the years.

If you should ever decide to buy one of these things, there are some parts of the instructions that should be IGNORED. For instance, the slide has 2 preformed plastic sides with a groove for the sheet of long plexiglas. The instructions and schematics say to measure, then drill holes and attach the wooden support with the included bolts etc. Don't drill first, don't even measure. Lay the plexiglass in the sun to soften it a smidge (cuz that's all you'll get unless you're doing this in 100 degree weather in July in Florida), prebend the ends a little, and have an extra set of arms to help you snap the plexiglass into the sides. Then put the wooden supports in behind it where they're supposed to go. Pop the parts back that came out a little when the wooden slats got snapped into the sides of the slide. THEN drill things and use the screws to attach stuff, while your extra set of arms uses counter pressure to keep things from sliding around as you're trying to use power tools. Our slide got drilled 3 times total. Devildog's 1st attempt using the instructions. The 2nd attempt remeasuring, and then the 3rd attempt after I looked at things and said "Let's just put it together first, then use the screws, otherwise who knows how many times you'll be drilling it." He agreed with me and had we done that first, the extra 30 minutes of assembly x3 would have been spent assembling something else. The girls then set out playing on the slide as it laid on the sloped ground in our back yard. They were glad to have something other than the giant box from the playset to slide on finally.

We probably should have just asked some other sucker who bought a giant play set for their box and we could have saved the money, and Devildog could have saved about 20 hours of his Spring Break. It's still not finished, and school resumes in the morning.