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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pour Your Heart Out: 16th Glass

If you need more info about Pour Your Heart Out, see THIS post.

But, really, it's anything that YOU consider pouring your heart out.

Please grab the button for your post and link up! 

Be sure to check out some of the links- you will find some amazing stories out there.

Again, just a brief reminder that everyone linking is pouring their hearts out and we should all be respectful in our comments. ;)


Vanessa, at Much More Than Mommy, one of my favorite bloggers ever, and I were thinking along the same lines this week. You HAVE TO go check out the challenge that she has in Monday's post. Help her get to 50 comments on her post so that she will do her challenge...yes, I know, that doesn't really make much sense until you go read her post- so, please go show her some support. You'll probably even feel better about yourself after you follow her instructions for your comment. You know, AFTER you read my post. ;)

I had to do the worst kind of shopping last week.

Bathing suit shopping.

Yes, I know- bathing suit shopping after it's already summer = a picked over selection, making it even harder to find something acceptable.

I tried on suit after suit and just got more and more frustrated.

Noticing the stretch marks on my belly.

And the weird thing that happened to my belly button after being turned inside out 3 different times.

And my sad, small, no-longer-perky boobs.

And my thighs that touch at the top.

I thought I hate my body. I'm so fat.

But, here's the thing: I'm not really fat.

I'm not model-thin or like I used to be pre-baby.

But, unless you are model-thin or a stick or have that nice toned pre-baby body or are a celebrity or have gone through cosmetic surgery, well, you probably would never dream of calling me fat. Even then, you probably wouldn't say fat. You might say I could stand to lose a little weight, but you probably wouldn't say fat.

I look in the mirror, though, and see all the imperfections. I look closely and see it all.

All the things that I'd like to change. All the flaws.

And I want to go hide under a big mumu.

Or at least a sundress. Sundresses have been my saving grace this summer. Because they can be loose enough not to show every flaw and yet still look like I'm putting an effort into my appearance.

I even have to buy them in a size small.

Gone are the days when I would drop a pair of jeans on the dressing room floor in disgust and pout because they only had a size 0 and not a size 00.

Still, a small's not bad after having 3 kids in less than 3.5 years.

But, I can still look in the mirror as I try on swimsuits and feel disgusted. And imagine that I could get this lifted and that tucked and this sucked out.

I could have left with no swimsuit at all. And hid under my sundresses all summer.

But, I needed a swimsuit to be able to play with my boys and to keep them safe at the pool.

And so I heaved a big sigh and found one that I thought covered enough that I didn't look like I was trying to relive my pre-baby days but was stylish enough that I wasn't channeling grandma.

After I got home, I realized that the only one who examines me that closely is me. And maybe some haters but they don't count..

So, when my boys asked if we could go outside and play in their sprinkler, I decided it was way too hot to be in anything other than a swimsuit.

I sat out there with them, in just my suit.  And didn't feel self-conscious when neighors passed by.  And even got into the sprinkler with them a little bit.

I realized that it didn't matter. My boys think I'm beautiful. And so does Hubs.

And I could be confident and comfortable with myself as I am.  I'm learning to be able to look at myself in the mirror and see the good, not just the bad.

Don't forget to visit Vanessa's post, as well as some of the links below!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Stickin' 'Em Up!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Appropriate Behavior: A Run-in with a Motherbitch

It's been a while since I've told you a tale of a motherbitch run-in. But, it's time again!

Since the bigs were at VBS in the mornings last week, I was able to take Cub to Storytime for Twos at the library one day. And, to clarify, while it is called "storytime," only one story is read. The kids dance and sing, the librarian blows bubbles for the kids to chase, and there are toys laid out in the center of the circle. It's really more of playgroup.

About THIRTY two year-olds in one room for storytime.

I was chatting with the mom beside me. You know, at least trying to be sociable.

Her daughter was about to graduate onto the preschoolers storytime- only having another two weeks as a two year-old. Cub is still a new-two, having turned two a month ago.

The other mom did a stage-whisper that she obviously wanted the room at large to hear and said, "It's so nice that you make your son sit in your lap and pay attention. I can't believe how some of these moms let their kids run around."

I had to stop myself from calling her a motherbitch.

Because, seriously.....they are two.

Some of them just having turned two.

They are in a room with a bunch of other little ones and they are playing with each other. For an hour. That's a long time for a two year-old to sit still.

Doing research back when I was teaching and in culture shock going from teaching 8th graders to teaching 3rd graders, I learned that the average 8 year-old has an attention span of 15-20 minutes.  And so, I took a different approach to my teaching.

And yet, someone is going to complain that 2 year-olds can't pay attention for an hour?

Shortly after that, Cub climbed out of my lap and joined in a game of catch with another little boy. And then decided he would go dance with a little girl and give her a kiss. Heaven help me with this girl-crazy child.

The mom sitting beside me stopping talking to me after that. I guess because my child was no longer being "good."

And then she said to the mom on the other side of her, "It's always the boys who can't listen, isn't it?"

I really wished that I could kick her, in defense of my fellow moms-of-boys. Besides, there were girls up out of their seats, too- like the girl that was dancing with Cub.

Kids grow and change and can handle things better as they get older. There is a reason that they do not lump all age groups together in the same storytime, besides just the content.

My older boys sit nicely at their preschool storytime. Even without me there to force them to do so. Yes, I totally peek in the window to make sure and know the librarian who would tell me if there had been a problem.

When they were two year-olds, though, yes, they were more interested in playing than in sitting quietly. But, I don't think it's a big deal.

The same way that I don't think that it's bad when they are LOUD and boisterous when we are at a playground or pool or amusement park or in our backyard.

As long as they are not hurting anyone, understand that this is what little kids do. They play. They enjoy themselves. They don't always understand sitting still or being quiet. Look at where you are and ask if it's a place for quiet or for fun.

Even thinking about older kids: my eighth graders used to give me a headache at their breaktime. They would yell and squeal out in the courtyard, throwing footballs around, teasing each other, showing off. Obnoxious as only young teenagers can be. But, it was their breaktime. We were outside. How bizarre would it be to expect them to just sit and talk quietly. Once we were back in the classroom, they behaved like good students should because they were scared of their mean teacher.

Now, some might argue that the library is a place for quiet and that these little ones at storytime should be taught better- but my boys, even Cub, know to be quiet in the main part of the library.  Cub holds a finger to his lips and will "shush" as I quickly pick out my books.

But, if you honestly expect 30 2 year-olds to sit quietly for a full hour....well, I'm not even sure what to say to that.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dove Men + Care Review

This is the second time that Hubs has reviewed the MEN+CARE line from Dove. When I was asked to once again work with Dove, I asked Hubs if he wanted to, since he is my guinea pig for this line and he quickly agreed and was excited to be sent some more of their products to try for the purpose of this review.

Dove introduces, MEN+CARE, the brand’s first-ever product line created specifically for men. The new products are designed for men who have a reached a point in their lives where they are comfortable with themselves, but not in their skin. Many men put up with cleansing products that are harsh and drying, without realizing these products leave their skin feeling dry, irritated and uncomfortable. Men even blame their socks for their skin irritation when it is really the drying effect of regular cleansers!

Hubs is definitely comfortable in his skin. Otherwise, he probably wouldn't have waited in line with our oldest to pose for a picture with such a girly cartoon character.

That's being comfortable in your own skin.
But, he has sensitive skin.  And while his usual habit is to grab whatever bodywash happens to be closest, it is NOT a good thing when he grabs my bodywash.

Dove's MEN+CARE does not irritate his sensitive skin, though. Dove developed MEN+CARE so men can literally be comfortable in their skin. Built on the Dove brand’s heritage in cleansing, moisturizing and care, the new MEN+CARE products offer great cleansing combined with Dove moisturizers to provide total skin comfort. Dove MEN+CARE is dermatologist recommended and clinically proven to fight skin dryness without irritation or tightness.



Fibers.com T-shirt Review

I held a t-shirt giveaway for Fibers.com a few weeks ago and was able to create a custom t-shirt as a thank you.

They have I Heart Shirts and Vintage T-Shirts, too. A big selection of premade designs or you can create your own design- either using the many graphics they have already on the site or you can upload your own design.

I decided to try to make my own using what they had available. I played around for a few minutes and decided to make a mom-of-boys shirt.



I probably should have put something like "Lovin' My Odds!" or something like that, to make it clear that I'm perfectly fine being the only female around here.

It was very easy to create my own design and I received my shirt very quickly. I do wish that I had ordered a colored t-shirt instead of white, as the shirt was a little thin. Though, my fault for ordering the cheapest one available. It wasn't paper-thin, just not as thick as I'd like.

Still, I would definitely recommend trying them out if you are in need of any Custom T-shirts.


aluckyhorseshoe Vinyl Wall Decal Giveaway- Your Choice

We recently moved- I can still say that even though it's been almost 2 months, right? And I've been slowly trying to decorate our house.

I was very excited to come across the etsy shop aluckyhorseshoe, which sells vinyl wall decals. Reasonably priced, a variety of decals, and even customized items.

This shop is run by a thirteen year-old, who is saving money for college, along with the help of her parents. How enterprising is that!

I chose a quote about family in teal to match the teal accent pillows on our couches as my review product. I was sent detailed instructions on how to apply it.

I love the way that it looks!

Whether you ae looking for a quote for a particular room in your house or a design, you'll find lots of choices at aluckyhorseshoe.

One of you will win a decal of your choice, up to a $25 value.

To enter: make sure that you complete the mandatory entry first. If your email is not in your profile, please leave it with your first comment.

Mandatory entry: Visit aluckyhorseshoe and comment with what decal you like the best.

Additonal entries:
*"heart" aluckyhorseshoe on etsy(add to your favorites when you are signed in to your etsy account)
*follow Things I Can't Say
*follow shellthings on twitter
*tweet this giveaway, using @shellthings and http://bit.ly/9h3Ybd
*TEN extra entries if you make a purchase from aluckyhorseshoe

Contest will close at 9pm on 7/4

This contest is now closed and the winner is Dondi @ Tiaras and Superheroes!

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hapari Swimsuit Giveaway $96 value

Swimsuit season is here.

With the heat that we are having, there is no getting around needing swimwear. I am a huge fan of the tankini since one pieces never seem to fit me quite right and I have no desire to show my mommy-tummy to the world in a bikini.

Hapari has a fabulous selection of suits with bright colors and designs. All of their tops can be worn three ways: as a halter, criss-cross, or tank. I love this retro v-neck and the island fever one,too. I get one from their site and I'm going to have a hard time choosing!

I was just talking to a friend the other day about how I wish I could put extra padding into my swimsuit top the way I can into my bra(breastfed three kids- the girls need some help!). Well, every one of their tops has pockets for those inserts! They even sell them on their site if you are looking for some. I was SO EXCITED about this feature.

Bottoms are sold separately and come in regular, tummy tuk, and hot shorts. Hmmm, which to pick?

One of you will win a gift certificate for $96 from Hapari- enough for a tankini and bottom!

To enter:

Mandatory entry: Visit Hapari and tell me which suit you like. If your email is not in your profile,  make sure you leave it with your first comment.

Additonal entries: Please leave a separate comment for each thing that you do.
*Follow Hapari on twitter
*Like Hapari on facebook AND post a comment on their wall that you found them from the contest at Things I Can't Say
*Follow Things I Can't Say through GFC
*Like Things I Can't Say on facebook- you can do this in the sidebar
*Follow shellthings on twitter
*Tweet the following: Win a $96 @hapari tankini at @shellthings http://bit.ly/c4KpRM Pls RT
You can tweet once per day- please leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

Contest will close 7/4 at 9pm EST.

This contest is now closed and the winner is Krystyn! #196 Congrats!

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I.D. Me Labels

Who couldn't use more help keeping track of their child's things?

I.D. Me Labels offers a wide selection of designs that can be used to label any of your children's belongings. Great for camp or school. Or maybe even for moms like me who need to remember which child something belongs to!

I really like the classroom set and would have used that back when I was a teacher to help me stay organized.

You can win an I.D. Me Labels Summer Camp Combo Pack over on their site.

*I am receiving a complimentary set of I.D. Me Labels All-Purpose Icon Labels. No form of monetary compensation was received*


Friday, June 25, 2010

BFF: Going It Alone For A Little While

Thanks for being so supportive of the first two weeks of BFF! I love seeing all the comments and how many of you went and followed them. Makes me think that I will be keeping this around for quite a while.

In case you are wondering how I am picking BFFs(since some of you asked about it), I am picking blogs I love that also follow/comment here. Has to be a blog I love- that makes sense. Why it has to be someone who also is active on my blog is because there are so many of you who are that it would be rude of me to skip over you and ask someone who would say HUH? and just think I was a crazy stalker if I asked them to be my BFF. I only have them scheduled a few ahead of time, and there are so many of you that I want to feature. Thanks to everyone who has agreed to do this so far and there are a lot of you that I want to get to!

This week's Blog Friend Feature is Whispering Writer aka Amber at Airing My Dirty Laundry, One Sock at a Time. It's so easy to relate to her posts and she often makes me laugh. I just love the "Hey, It's Okay" posts that she does on Tuesdays. Like Hey, it's okay: "To have once eaten a bunch of the brownie batter just ‘cause you could. Being an adult rocks. Salmonella be damned." and "To not be able to walk properly in high heels." Love it and I know you'll love her.

My husband is leaving me.

For Korea, that is.

He’s in the Air Force and he’s received orders to go to Korea for a year.

I’m staying in the States with our two children.

I’m often asked if I plan on going to live with my parents. My answer is always the same: no. While I love my parents, we tend to have different views on things. For instance, they believe that eating fruits and vegetables are exciting whereas I believe eating Little Debbie snacks are more enjoyable. My parents love nature and can often be seen sitting outside. Nature seems to hate me so I’m not in it a lot—I find when I’m hanging out with Nature, bees attack, spiders scurry up my legs, and squirrels stare at me with a sinister look in their eyes.

In other words, it’s just easier for me to stay at my own home.

Am I scared?

Absolutely. What am I going to do with my three-year-old daughter cries for her Daddy? She’s a Daddy’s Girl and what if I’m just not good enough at times? Suppose she wails for him for hours and I’m just left standing there, unsure of what I should do next.

What if my eight-year-old son Tommy asks me boy questions such as, “What exactly are my ball things for?” Sure I know the answer but I don’t think I could respond in a proper way that my husband could.

Suppose things break around the house? I am not good at putting things together. I try, believe me I try, but I usually make things worse. And most of the time I wind up in tears. I couldn’t even put together a simple toy for my kids. I ended up throwing the screwdriver across the room and calling it an improper name.

But thankfully, in the middle of thinking about all the what ifs, a friend will remind me that she’s just a phone call away and that she’ll help me with whatever I need.

My parents assure me that they can be on a plane and with me in a matter of hours.

And my husband Tom promises me that everything will be okay.

I choose to believe him. Because what good will panicking do?

I’m ready for this challenge.

I know I’ll have good days and bad, just as I do now.

But I believe my husband: everything will be okay.

Don't you just love her? And know that you'd totally be friends with her if you lived in the same neighborhood? Now, please, leave her some comment love here and then go follow her fabulous blog if you don't already.


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Thursday, June 24, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons....

A note before we begin: Yes, you are on Things I Can't Say with Shell. I know that this is not the kind of post that you usually get from me. Probably won't see another like it after this. But, I got to spend the day with Princess of Sarcasm yesterday- she's vacationing about 2 hours south of me, so I packed up two of my boys and headed down to meet her. Pics of that visit another day. Yes, she is as fabulous as you'd think. But, anyway, that's my excuse for the different kind of post today.

If you want to read a typical Shell post, you can go visit my guest post on Mommy's Still Fabulous. Don't you just love the name of her blog? Pretty please go visit. :)


Hubs's mom and dad used to give him lemons when he was a baby because they thought it was funny to watch him make funny faces.

They were really young parents.

So, why do I think it's funny to let my kids eat lemons?

Oh, wait. Because it is funny.

And lemons are good.

Do you know what you can make with lemons?



And do you know what my favorite summertime drink is?

Lemonade with Sweet Tea Vodka.

Talk about YUM.

Note: remember that the Sweet Tea is actually VODKA. So, you know, doing half and half is NOT a good idea.

Not if you want to be able to walk after two sips. Learned that from experience.

Big glass of lemonade and a little bit of Sweet Tea Vodka = summer's perfect treat.

Editing this b/c a couple of you have asked for the amounts on the drink- I don't use an exact amount. You have to experiment and see how much you like in your lemonade.

Do you think I'm a little random today or what?

It's all about LEMONS, though.

And, it's summer. It's okay to do a lighter post now and then.

I'm even going to post a recipe.

Yes, me. What the hell, Shell?

I have no clue where I got this recipe. I wrote it down in the fall or maybe even earlier. I don't know- I found it in a box where it has been packed away for at least 7 months. If I stole it from you, please let me know so  I can give you credit for this delicious treat.

Lemonade Angel Cakes with Creamy Lemonade Frosting

24 paper liners
1 kg Angel Food Cake mis
3/4 c water
1/2 c thawed frozen lemonade concentrate
12 crushed lemonade hard candies(I used the Countrytime ones)

1, Rack in center of oven. Preheat to 350. Line pan.
2. Put mix, water, and lemonade in large mixing bowl. Blend on low for 30 sec, scraping down sides and then on med for 2 min. Fold in crushed candies. Spoon or scoop 1/3 c into liners.
3. Bake 20-22 minutes til golden and spring back.
4. Cool 5 min, move to wire rack to cool

Beat 8oz cream cheese and 1 stick softened butter on low until fluffy. Then add 3 c sifted powdered sugar, 3 TBS thawed lemonade concentrate, and 1 tsp grated lemon zest. Beat on low until blended. then medium until light and fluffy. Frost cooled cupcakes. You can add more crushed candies to the top to make them look pretty.

Back to reguarly scheduled programming tomorrow with BFF: Blog Friend Feature. If you haven't visited this week's yet, be sure to check out Jen's BFF post and her blog- links are in the sidebar.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pour Your Heart Out: 15th Glass

If you need more info about Pour Your Heart Out, see THIS post.

But, really, it's anything that YOU consider pouring your heart out.

Please grab the button for your post and link up!

Be sure to check out some of the links- you will find some amazing stories out there.

Again, just a brief reminder that everyone linking is pouring their hearts out and we should all be respectful in our comments. ;)


I'm using this week's Pour Your Heart Out to tell you how much I love you.

No, really. I do.

When I first started this blog, it was just an outlet for me to rant where I didn't have to worry about what friends or family would say.

I didn't blog very often and didn't really put any thought into it.

I didn't read other blogs or do anything to get anyone to read mine. Because I didn't really get blogging.

To me, it was more like an online journal. Free therapy.

But, about 9 or 10 months ago, I started reading other blogs. Following. Commenting. Relating to them.

And that led to people finding my blog. Following. Commenting. Relating to me.

And then I got it. I understood this blogging thing.

Getting to read your blogs and find out how much all of us have in common.

Or being able to better understand our differences.

Putting something out there that I sometimes think, "OMG, I can't believe I'm admitting to this" and having the overwhelming response be "ME, TOO!" or at least acceptance. You know, except for a few trolls, but we just ignore them.

I love the conversations. The emails back and forth where we get to know each other better. If you've never had an email from me after a comment you left,  you are no-reply and should fix that.

When I talk about you, I don't say "Oh, this girl who writes this blog, she told me that...." I say "My friend told me that...."

Because that is the way that it feels.

I've had the chance to meet a few of you IRL and it doesn't feel weird. It feels like you are seeing a good friend again. Not for the first time, but again.

I'm actually headed to meet the fabulous Princess of Sarcasm this afternoon. Even though I didn't even know her real name until a few days ago. Though she tells me that I've known for months. I guess I just have a bad memory. Shell can be bribed with massive amounts of money for this secret information. Okay, not really, because she could out me, too.

But, a while back, I would have thought OMG, I'm going to meet someone that I only know from the internet? That's insane. Now, though, it just feels normal. Even if I am a little nervous. After all, I'm meeting royalty. And I have really bad roots right now. And I'll be in a swim suit. And have my children with me, who could decide to royally misbehave, just for fun.

Btw, I only have this morning to visit blogs, so I'll have to do some catching up tomorrow, since I'll be off on my royal visit around noon. If you link up and/or comment today, I promise you a visit tomorrow.

And I know you'll understand.

Because blogging does feel like a community, like friends, like family- the blogfia.

Because of all of you.

So, thank you. Thank you for being a friend....yes, I totally had to go there with the Golden Girls theme song. Oh yes, I did.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hurry up....No! Slow Down!