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Saturday, July 31, 2010

I'm Baaaaaack! And What's Coming Up!

For those of you who ignored my whining, I'll tell you now that I was without my laptop for about 10 days. I did my best with my blackberry and stealing Hubs's work laptop- that has most sites blocked. But, last night, I got my laptop back. OMG. The shaking from blog-withdrawl could stop!

There were quite a few of you who started following me during this time. I've tried to return the follows, but I know I've missed a few and there are some of you whose blogs I can't find! Especially those of you who started following yesterday when I was the featured blogger over at The Lady Bloggers. That was a fabulous surprise to wake up to! If you are one of those who started following recently, please leave me a link so I can find you and return the favor!

If you missed out on this week's BFF(Blog Friend Feature), Adrienne from Stories from the Shoebox, I encourage you to check that out! Adrienne's is one of my very favorite blogs to read. No, I'm not going to list the rest of them, just know she's in there. You can check out her BFF post HERE.

Starting tomorrow, the Back-to-School Celebration begins!

Because I have TONS of giveaways for you during this week(13 for sure right now, 2 I'm still trying to get the details on), I'm not going to have as many "regular" posts as usual. For those of you who are new or new-ish around here, I usually only post reviews and giveaways on the weekends and then "real" posts during the week.

But, this week is going to be a little different because of this special Back-to-School event. I'll still have Pour Your Heart Out posted on Wednesday for those of you who want to link up and another Blog Friend Feature on Friday. But, that might be it for the week...if I can truly not blog that long, we'll see.

If you grabbed my BTS button early, and told me about it on a previous post, you can add an extra entry to each of the giveaways. This will not be listed on each giveaway- just know that you are allowed to do it!

If you missed that deadline and want another way to earn extra entries(those of you who grabbed the button early can also do this), write a post announcing our Back-to-School week of giveaways any time this week. Then, you will have 5 extra entries that you can "spend" on whatever giveaway or giveaways that you would like to use them on. Simply leave the link to your announcement post as your entry. All my giveaways will end on Sunday, August 15th, so you'll have time to decide how to use those extra entries. Post must be up by August 7th.

Don't forget that Tammy will have giveaways for you, too!

I'm so glad to be back!

Friday, July 30, 2010

BFF: Let's Do Lunch!(But, not really)

Editing this post because I woke up to find that I'm the Featured Blogger over at Lady Bloggers Society!  Woo-hoo! Thanks so much for featuring me. Welcome to anyone who stopped by from there. I actually feature a blogger on Fridays, too. I encourage you to check out her post below because she's amazing! If you want to read a post from me- as I can't take credit for the one below- please check out the previous one- it's from my meme Pour Your Heart Out- or any of the posts listed in my favs! I'll be by this weekend to visit all of you- Lady Bloggers and my regular readers alike!

This week's BFF is one who makes me think, makes me feel, and draws me in with her writing. Though I "met" her before she started joining in with Pour Your Heart Out, the posts that she linked up were what made me officially adore her.

Adrienne blogs at Stories from the Shoebox. She has one of those blogs that I read and think why on earth doesn't she have a huge following? She's fabulous! She will, though!  She has an amazing faith that comes through as so genuine in her writing. I would totally tell her "Let's do lunch!" and mean it....wait, you'll see what I mean after you read her post.

You know those women who always say they would like to “do lunch”, “get together”, or “hang out sometime”? The women who say these things, but you wonder if they mean it, or if you ever will actually get together? Annoying, right?

Well, I’m one of them. Yup, you heard me.

You see, it’s not my intention to be this woman. But it happens, and I want to talk about it.

I meet a lot of interesting woman. I have a great church, and a great women’s bible study. These two things help cross my path with some amazing women who I would love to be IRL friends with. But the truth is I don’t have the time.

My IRL friends consist of a couple of women I grew up with, and will probably always be friends with. We’ve shared so much of our lives together that I’m pretty sure I will never get rid of them. My old and dear friends are not that accessible to me. I love them and cherish every memory we have, and every visit we get. There is a security in knowing we will be friends now and later in life, but we just don’t see each other much. I look forward to the days when we can catch up and sip coffee when our kiddos are grown and off in college.

Then there are a few women God has put in my life presently for very specific reasons, and I’m so thankful for them!

God has blessed me with these “new” friendships. I think he knows just what I need, and these friendships just sort of happened! I need them, and I think they need me too. We have lots in common in the day to day. Our children LOVE to play together, and “doing lunch” with them is easy and truly enjoyable.

Here’s the thing. I have these kids that are always with me. So wherever I go, they go. They need be fed, cared for, and educated. They need to be socially connected with kids I like, and kids they like. These new friends of mine serve many purposes. They’re my friends, and their kids are my kids’ friends. It’s a perfect match made in heaven. We can visit and chat and our kids can play and really enjoy each other. I’m sure you know how hard it is to find kids you actually want your kids to play with and who have moms you actually want to hang out with and you can be yourself around. Well, that’s the kind of new and dear friends we have. It’s such a blessing.

Then there’s this problem. There are the women you cross paths with from time to time that you would like get to know better, and she would like to get to know you better too. She seems nice, interesting, and you would love to sit and chat with her sometime. Then it happens. She says, “We should get together sometime.” And you say, “Yeah, that would be nice. Let’s do lunch.” And you mean it. It would be nice to get together and have lunch. It really would.

But, as you walk away you realize it’s probably never going to happen. You just turned into the woman who says, “Let’s do lunch.”

Your lives have nothing in common. You have children during the day. The evenings are set aside for family, and the weekends involve much needed family time with hubs that you don’t want to miss. Getting together for lunch means you would have to tote your kids along for a lunch with someone you don’t really know. What can two grown women talk about who barely know each other with two children (or more if she has kids) right there at the table? Or worse, she doesn’t have kids. So you’re on one side with your kids and their mess, and she’s on the other side watching you be a mom. How much could you really get to know a person while you’re distracted by parenting and feeding two kids?

Sometimes, your life just doesn’t fit with someone else’s. Several attempts to get together fall through, and you feel bad. Really bad. You didn’t plan on being the woman who says, “Let’s do lunch.”

Why isn’t it acceptable to say something like, “You know what, I would really like to get together, but the truth is it’s probably never going to happen. Unless you fit into our lives just right I won’t have any time for you. I’m a mom 24/7, and I never get a break. You should give up on me and try to make friends with someone else. I would be a terrible friend to you”.

But, if I was to say this right from the get go I would be some crazy lady! Seriously, can you imagine?

Yet, being the woman who says, “Let’s do lunch” and never does is not nice either?

It’s not that I’m mean or stuck up. I’m just a mom with two boys, one husband, and limited time. I’m at a stage in my life where children and home come first and friendships are way down on the list. In order for me to have them they have to be something that happens by accident and just is. I value friendship with other women. That’s one reason I blog. I just don’t have the time to build new IRL friendships right now.

What do you do when it’s your turn to be the woman who says, “Sure, let’s do lunch.”?

I can so relate, Adrienne! Please, leave her some comment love here and then go follow her blog if you don't already.
Woohoo- I should finally have my laptop back tonight!!!! I've missed you all!

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pour Your Heart Out: A Glass of Identity

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. There isn't ever a theme or topic that you have to blog about- it's completely a personal thing.

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 am J's wife. In a small town where he grew up and everyone knows him, that is my identity. His wife. My title, the way I'm introduced, the way people know who I am.

I am my boys' mom. It's seldom that I go places without them. At their schools, at a playdate, at the park, I'm their mom.

Those are roles that I treasure. I love my husband. I love my boys.

But, that's how I'm most often seen. And that's how I see myself sometimes, too.

How does what I do, say, wear affect how people see my husband or my kids? Is what I'm doing something that is appropriate for my role as Hubs's wife or my boys' mom?

I think it's okay to think like that a little. After all, if I walked into Hubs's conservative office wearing a short-short dress, that doesn't reflect well on him. Or if I would cuss at someone in the parking lot of the boys' preschool, that would end up reflecting negatively on them.

It's okay to consider how my actions would affect others in my life.

But, even though I love my family and even like being referred to as J's wife or Monkey's or Bear's or Cub's mom, that's not all I am.

I'm Shell.

Sensitive, emotional, driven, scattered, intelligent, flaky, loyal, reader, writer, yoga-lover, beach girl, comfy-clothes-wearing, flip-flop loving, Christian, sarcastic, contradictory, teacher, wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend.


There was a time in my life when I felt like everyone around me had pigeon-holed me into a box that wasn't really me. It was just what they wanted me to be.

And while it wasn't necessarily a bad little box that they put me in, it was still a box.

A box that felt suffocating to me because it wasn't who I really was. 

And I did some things that weren't really me, either, but I couldn't stand the labels being put on me.

Then, I learned that a better way to handle it was to just be me. Not to try to live up to the labels that get put on me. And not try to do something just to disprove someone's idea of me, either.

But, just to be me.

And so while I am J's wife, my boys' mom, my mom's daughter, my brothers' sister, and on and on....I am still me.

Some may not like that I don't fit into the box that they want to shove me in, but I've learned that I don't do well trying to deal with other people's labels.

Or even my own labels.

I've learned that I have the freedom to be who I really am.

That it's hard enough to find your place in the world without dealing with what others think you are or want you to be.  That there's no way to be exactly who someone else wants you to be. That you can only be yourself.

And I'm comfortable with who I am.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Just a Mom? I Think She's More

Sniffle, sniffle.

This is the first time since Post-it Note Tuesday began that I can't participate. My laptop still hasn't been fixed. I'm borrowing Hubs's work laptop to post this, but it blocks all kinds of sites and I can't save anything to it.

Hopefully, my laptop will be up and running soon. I have Pour Your Heart Out scheduled to post tomorrow and there will still be a Blog Friend Feature posted on Friday. Plus, next week is the Back-to-School Celebration! I have 12-15 giveaways going on then, and Tammy has some for you, too!

But, in the meantime, I want to tell you about a blogger that I think you should read. She is someone that I had planned on being a Blog Friend Feature, but I want to tell you about her now because she wrote a post for Project Mom Casting and I want you to read it and comment, please.

Her post is just like her other posts- very honest and real. Becca at Drama for Mama is one of my favorite bloggers. Her posts always make me think. And I know that she and I would be friends if only we didn't just live in each other's computers.

I'm turning my comments off and asking that you go show her some comment love instead.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Love is a Roller Coaster

Okay, okay, enough with the cheese. I'm just talking about what you do to connect with your spouse. Your favorite dates.

When Hubs and I don't make time to spend alone together, we start getting really cranky with each other.  The little things start to get on our nerves and it can seem like we don't like each other. So, it's important for us to make that time to get away together.

Hubs and I have always been a fan of roller coasters. We have gone on dates to different amusements parks. There's something about the adrenaline rush of exciting rides mixed with the lines where there's nothing else to do but talk that makes for a perfect date.

I think our first amusement park date was to Kennywood in Pittsburgh back when we were first engaged, about 8 years ago. We snuck away for a weekend at Busch Gardens for Hubs's birthday over 8 years ago. We stopped at Islands of Adventure on our way home from our honeymoon 7 years ago. Three years ago, we went to Cedar Point(my favorite amusement park, at not counting Disney with the kids) to celebrate my 30th birthday. And then, last weekend, we went to Kings Dominion to celebrate my 33rd birthday. Btw, I looked online for coupon codes before we went and we got our tickets for less than half of the regular admission rate.

I'm not counting the amusement parks that we have taken the kids to. While those are fun in their own way, we are too busy counting heads and keeping up with the kids to enjoy each other's company.

But, when we can get away alone, we get to have fun together. Remember what we like about each other.

We wait in lines and talk. There's nothing else to do in those lines anyway. Sometimes we tell stories from the last time we were at an amusement park, reminiscing about long ago- the time before kids. Or times we went as kids. Or we start planning our next trip. Or our excitement about what else we want to do in the park. Or yes, this is mean we talk about other people in line with us, trying to make the other laugh with snarky comments.  We don't talk about the boring day-to-day stuff. We get to know each other again.

And getting to ride roller coasters, eat fun park food, go on water rides: it all makes us feel like kids again. Like kids in love.

It's good for our marriage to have a day filled with both excitement and relaxation.

What is your favorite date activity with your spouse?

Wonder Woman Wannabe does a Re-ignite Date Night Series on Fridays. She's bloggged 47 different date activities, if you are looking for some ideas!

Btw, my laptop is off hopefully being fixed today. *Fingers Crossed* I hope to be back around on blogs like normal tomorrow.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Water Damage, Not Mom of the Year, and FF!

A blogger's nightmare: water spilled on the laptop! It's currently buried in rice, hopefully healing. But, that's why you haven't seen as much of me for the past few days. At least my blackberry has been replaced from the spilled milk incident! Not a whole lot of luck with electronics this week. Or maybe everyone in my family just needs to use sippy cups.

If you are here to see who this week's BFF is, you can find that post HERE.

Toay is the last day to vote for Not Mom of the Year! It's a really tight race. I'd appreciate your vote HERE. Thank you so much!

Finally, if you are here from Friday Follow(or if you've followed recently and I haven't followed back yet), please make sure you comment and leave me your link. I'll get to them this weekend after my laptop is running again!


Welcome to the 9th Friday Follow hosted by our awesome hostesses, Shell from Things I Can't Say, Terri from That's What She Said, Tami from Hearts Make Families, Harriet from Harriet and Friends, and Ian from The Daily Dose of Reality. Thank you everyone for being willing to host! Please stop by and see these awesome host/hostesses.

We invite you to join us every Friday to get more blog followers and to find many interesting blogs that you like. This is all about sharing and having fun.

We expect you to be on your honor and to have fun. These are only guidelines to make it more enjoyable for you. Here’s how YOU can join the Friday Follow celebration:
  • Link up your blog below.. One Link per blog
  • Grab our Friday Follow button include on your side bar, or post.. grab the linky information if you want it
  • Follow the Friday-Follow blog and the hostesses in slots 1, 2, & 3 that have volunteered today to host
  • Follow the blogs you want, leave comment saying you are from Friday Follow – use common courtesy
If you need more guidelines about following see Friday-Follow.com

This list is new each week and closes on Saturday at 11:59pm EST. The links do not carry over. Please link up each week for new participants to find your blogs. It will be visible all week to visit the blogs listed.
Congratulations to our Three Friday Follow Winners!!!

Each week we will randomly draw from three (3) blogs from the links for the next week’s Friday Follow, and each blog chosen will be placed in the highly coveted number #7, #8, and #9 position on the blog hop. The first blog chosen will also be given the option of doing an interview which will post on Friday-Follow.com on Thursday the next week. We love your participation and want to give back to you! You could be next!

Today's hop is sponsored by www.votewithyourremote.com.The Vote With Your Remote movement is helping bring more family entertainment to TV – like the Secrets of the Mountain movie on NBC (now on DVD at Wal-Mart), which became the #1 TV program on Friday, April 16, and one of the highest rated TV movies of the year. Producers, sponsors and parents are coming together to show that high-quality family entertainment is wanted and appreciated. By showing your support for Vote With Your Remote, you will help make great family television programming become more readily available.

One of our participants will win a dvd of Secrets of the Mountain, the first installment in this series. Be sure to enter their contest to win an iPad.
Want to advertise on our site and be seen by thousands of people? If you sign upTODAYAdvertising is $5 per spot. You must sign up today to qualify. This offer expires at midnight CST. Ads normally cost $10. Find out more information.
Have a product to promote? Become a sponsorGot a meme or to promote? LIST YOUR LINKY!/ See the Linky ListingGot a giveaway going on? List it here

Advertise on our site- learn how here

Also! Join us for our new weekend comment club!

Thanks to Tammy at Tammy's Two Cents for coming to her lil sis's rescue and posting this for me!

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

BFF: Let's Not Talk About Motherhood for a Change...

On to this week's....but, wait, I have to make a little change, just for this week:

Because this week's BFF is Ian from the Daily Dose of Reality.  You may already know him as the host of Monday Minute or the organizer for Mission Monkey.  While he's kind of a rarity in some of our "blog circles," being a guy, he's definitely one that I always feel like I can talk to- as evidenced by the countless emails that we shoot back-and-forth on a regular basis. I consider him to be a true friend.

We often hear about motherhood on blogs, but today, Ian is sharing his views on fatherhood.  

Hello, this is Ian from the Daily Dose of Reality or DDoR or whatever you would like to call me.  I labored over what to post about every since Shell said she wanted to feature me.  First off, I want to thank Shell for giving me the opportunity to write anything on her blog, much less being a BFF.  All of her prior BFFs she's known a heck of alot longer than I(Shell's note- this is not true. BFF is not determined by length of time I've known a blogger) so when I say this is a special nod, I really mean it.  So off to what I'd like to write about.


Fatherhood is rarely mentioned around these parts as most of you are women.  Well, duh.  I don't mind being among a sea of women.  I have three step sisters, and two half sisters.  To say I am inundated with women in my life is an understatement.  Heck, that might explain these mood swings.  Kidding.  Everyone knows guys have PMS too. 

I am the father to Mr. C.  Mr. C is my four year old phenom.  When the wife and I were trying to get pregnant, I always was scared in the back of my mind that whatever child I bore, he/she would be a hellion.  I was just that growing up.  Not that I was bad, but I still have ADHD, and back when I was a kid it was awful.  I couldn't sit still for two seconds.  Destruction and bad grades were the norm and I was fearing that would happen, but I was prepared.  One of the things I still can't do is read "long" posts so I'll try and keep this short.  That and my thoughts are always all over the place so keep up.  Or try to at least :)

Fortunately none of that happened, and let me take you back before Mr. C was born for a minute.  The wife and I tried IUIs, and IVF and after four grueling years of trying, Mr. C was born.  I could not be happier to be a father.  The wife and I both work and Mr. C goes to daycare, a school-like environment where he thrives.  We work with him all the time, the constant learning process.  Given the fact that he loves to read and learn, we try our best to enhance his learning.

He's tested once a year on his reading and comprehension skills and consistently scores 12-16 months ahead of his age.  Where he got that I have no idea.  I am so proud of him let me tell you.

I would rather come home and spend time with him at nights and go nowhere other than to be with him and the wife on the weekends.  Not to say we don't get together with family or friends, but he's all we got.  Infertility has prevented us from having another so we treasure our son.  We have never been on vacation without him and he's stayed over the inlaws only a handful of times.  We don't spoil nor shelter him but he's the light of our eyes, our favorite person in the world and we wouldn't have it any other way.

So let me tie this back to Fatherhood.  So many times in real life and hearing stories of fathers not being there enough or ignoring their wives or kids.  That makes me sick.  In our house we split everything down the middle.  No matter what the chore the wife or I do it.  Laundry, cleaning, you name it.  It gets done together.  And when it comes to Mr C., we always do things together, all three of us.

This fall he will start soccer, his first organized sport.  The wife the other day asked me if I wanted to be a coach and tears rolled down my eyes.  I told her I can't only because I have no idea what to do, but rest assured next year, and every year after that I will coach him to victory.  For he is my son, and I will always be there for him in each and every way.  I am the proudest father on the planet and he's MY BFF.

Thank you Shell for letting me share my story of Fatherhood!

Please leave some comment love here for Ian and then go follow his blog if you don't already!


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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pour Your Heart Out: My Overwhelmed 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. There isn't ever a theme or topic that you have to blog about- it's completely a personal thing.

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 usually can let things roll right off my back.

Laugh them off, because it's better than crying.

And, if it's something I can't change, why bother getting all stressed out about it?

But, every once in a while, it all seems to pile up and bury me. I get overwhelmed.

And it might even appear to those who don't know me very well that it was something vey small that seemed to set me off and cause me to have a breakdown of sorts.

But, it's the sum total of a bunch of things, both big and small, that can crush me.

In no particular order, I'm going to tell you what led me to being emotionally spent last week. Most of these things on their own wouldn't have been enough to do it. But, all of them together was too much.

I found out very sad news about my sil. That I can't share.

It was the kind of hot where you can't breathe.

I had to break horrible news to one of my favorite people on the planet. I think it's actually the hardest thing that I've ever had to tell someone. Perhaps this is a post in itself, but I'm not up to it right now.  It might be next week's PYHO, if I can ever wrap my head around it.

Someone I thought was a friend totally trashed me for no other reason than that it's the cool thing to do to go along with a group.

I miss my best friend. Last summer, we got to see each other at least once a week, sometimes more. And I could just drop by her house any time. I haven't seen her since October because we moved.

I feel lonely.

Hubs promised me a super-cool birthday present before he really knew if he could pull it off- and he couldn't. Not a big deal, but I wish he hadn't told me about it like it was already a done deal.

My boys were spending too much time together and it was leading to nasty fights. They love each other, but only if they can actually get a break from each other.

Our air conditioner wasn't working right.

Our dvr is busted.

I spilled milk on my blackberry so I couldn't talk to anyone.

My house was a mess and I was feeling too overwhelmed to do anything about it.

I felt fat.

I wondered if I had actually made the right decision about Bear's preschool. If you are new here, he has some challenges which makes it harder to find the right school.

I questioned if maybe I should find a way to work because then both Bear and Monkey could go to the private school where I'd most likely be able to get a job.

Someone very close to my family is very sick. Again, no details with this one. But, it's scary and if she can't get better...well, I just don't want to think about it.  She's way too young for this.

My mom yelled at me for not driving 600+ miles for a bridal shower.

Cub had bizarre stings on him that I have no idea how he got and I must be a horrible mom if I don't know how he got them.

Hubs asked me at the last minute to make a dinner for his friend's family, since the wife just had a baby. This, I wanted to do, but at the last second and having to turn on the oven in a house where the air conditioning wasn't working didn't sit well with me.

Monkey is testing me all. the. time.

I got snubbed by the moms in my boys' swim class for a reason that's so stupid, but it's common in this town.

I lost my car keys and my purse. I found them, but not being able to find them was stressful.

I really wanted a gyro and the place that makes really good ones closed 5 minutes before I got there.

Bil snapped at me for not having what he wanted to drink stocked in our house.

Now, you might look at that list and roll your eyes and think that none of it is a big deal or that a few of them are a big deal, but that I should have been able to forget about the rest.

And you're right. Some of the things on that list are so silly that it's ridiculous for me to even mention them. But, when they come on top of the bigger things and all come at once- it's just too much for me.

I shut down.

Or I cry. And it looks to the world like I'm crying my eyes out because my dvr is busted or I can't have a gyro. But, that's not it at all.

It's the sum total of all the suckiness that gets me.

I did manage to pick myself up out of that funk. By crying, venting(thanks to some of you who put up with my whiny emails last week), spending time with my kids, getting to spend time alone, having a Hubs who knew I was feeling like this. It all helped.

But, sometimes I feel like it all could come crashing down again- that feeling of being totally overwhelmed and wanting to shut down.

Does that happen to you? How do you get yourself out of it?

Could you please vote for me in the Not Mom of the Year contest? One vote per day. If you missed my post, you can read it HERE.

Voting is HERE.

NOT Mom of the Year Award


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hey, it's okay...

Whispering Writer at Airing My Dirty Laundry One Sock at a Time got this idea from Glamour magazine. They have a section called Hey, It’s Okay and will list a bunch of things to be okay about. She does this every Tuesday and invites others to do it, too.  No linky or button, just a shared idea. I thought I'd join in, post-it note style, of course.

It's also okay to vote for me in the Not Mom of the Year contest! PLEASE vote for me HERE. One vote per day.

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Monday, July 19, 2010


Updated: I'm one of the 10 finalists for the Not Mom of the Year Contest. Could you pretty please vote for me? Go here to vote.

Last Monday, I joined in with The Mommyologist and Life Without Pink for their Not Mom of the Year Contest.  In doing so, I wasn't saying Oh, look at me, I'm the worst mom in the world and I'm proud of it!  My point, that soooo many of you agreed with I totally love you, was that we all probably have this ideal in our heads of what "Mom of the Year" looks like. And none of us can really live up to that. And so, we are Not Moms of the Year.  We're REAL moms.

NOT Mom of the Year Award

Thank you for making this my most-commented on ever post here(you know, with the exception of some giveaway posts and the day that I was featured on SITS...but the most commented on "regular" post). I'm going to join in with Kerri's Klutter for her Comment Love Letters this week(even though her linky doesn't go up until Tuesday) so that I can share bits and pieces of some of the comments that the post received- because I think they can make us all feel better about not being able to live up to some impossible standard of Mom of the Year.

If you missed my Not Mom of the year post, you can check it out HERE.

Dear Shell, sweetheart, you come sit right over here by me. I'm quite possibly the other bookend to your not mom of the year! This makes me feel like I'm really more in the "normal" category than I thought. I love when bloggers write about the real side of motherhood.

Don't tell anyone, but my kids had ice cream for dinner last night, I was too tired. Shell, we sound so much alike! Can you imagine if we lived near each other? Our naked kids could play in the mud together and popsicles for snacks (and maybe a meal or two). I think we could be very good friends. And our kids could run around the house near naked together... Love the very thought! You know what? The two of us are obviously identical souls separated at birth. I kept wondering how you'd been spying on me while describing your own "Not Mom of the Year" antics.

And your description of Mom of the Year? Total motherbitch. I wouldn't be able to put up with her for one second!! You know the Mother of the Year doesn't exist right? She's just a better liar. eff mom of the year! Mom of the Year? Isn't that a little statue made out of some non-recycleable material and only shows up in the stores around April just in time for Mother's Day? If your description of Mom of the Year exists, I guarantee I wouldn't like her!

Mom of the year also has an extra 30 minutes a day because she doesn't pee, poop or sweat. Mom of the Year does not take into account the fact that kids are a major challenge. Mom of the year only exists where Kid of the Year does... in our imagination! LOL Lol, those kids of the "Mom of the Year?...... yeah, they grow up to be serial killers....

I think most mom's of the year are Stepford Wives incognito! that mom of the year sounds boring and needs a romp in thesack. I think mom of the year has about 2 weeks left before she goes crazy. It would be hard being so perfect all the time. Mommy of the year sounds like one hellatiously exhausted lady. If she does exist, she deserves a nap. That mom of the year? I'd like to punch her in the face.

It would such a drag to be perfect everyday. And then what would you blog about and who would want to be your friend?? Ive never met a mom of the year...I think its a myth...like bigfoot If there is anyone person that does all of those things, well she is probably lying. Or needs to be shot so the rest of us don't look bad. Cause that other person isn't real and if she is I'm gonna kick her a$$!!!

If Mom of the Year really exists, she's probably got her own secrets anyway. A closet alcoholic or something. No Mom is that perfect. i'm a little frightened of your mom of the year. she sounds.. repressed. like one day, she's going to be in the middle of making brownies and there's going to be this little snapping sound and her eyes are going to get all cold and soulless. and before you know it, she's stolen some jacked-up truck and drives it through the front wall of the department store.

I think we all do the best we can and at the end of the day, if the kids are fed, mostly clean and clothed and know that they are loved, then we all get to be "mom of the year"! I'm a good mom but far from perfect. The kids are happy though and that is what really matters. The cool thing about Mom of the year, I think the kids get to nominate and it sounds like you are doing a fabulous job!!

I say as long as people do good by their children, love them, teach them good things, take care of them ect, they are wonderful. Keep up the great work. Your kids are learning that they are wonderful the way they are. They are loved and valued more than activities. They are learning to be together as a family unit.

You are the perfect mom for your boys and that's all that matters! REAL moms are the best moms! :) In my view we are ALL Moms of the year, because we are real, we love our children and they love us just the way we are. And, then like you said, - you just love them - and that's when you really become mom of the year - when you love them when they are so stinkin' unlovable! And still encourage them!

The most fabulous readers in the blogosphere

P.S. Thank God for an admitted occasional spanker! No one ever talks about it, but sometimes, you just gotta whack!

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

School-Pak Review: Easy Way to Shop for Your School Supplies

School-Pak Inc. is just one of the companies that I am working with for the back-to-school giveaways that will be going on here the first week of August.

But, while you will have the chance to win one of their pre-packaged generic school supplies boxes during the giveaway, I wanted to tell you about them now so that you can make your back-to-school shopping easier. Some schools start earlier than others, so they do tend to get slammed with orders and want you to know that often, the pre-packaged supplies are only available until July 31st.

The generic pre-packaged school supplies box that I received had a pencil box, eraser, school glue, crayons, washable markers, pencils, colored pencils, 4 notebooks, 2 pocket folders, scissors, and looseleaf paper.

You can also special order items according to your child's list. Aside from the various paks that they offer, they do work with schools and their supply lists, so if your school participated, you could just select your child's school and grade and have all their supplies come to you in one box, instead of having to shop around for all the items that each child's teacher requests.

Definitely check out School-Pak!


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tomorrow's My Birthday: Personalized Birthday T-shirt Review

Oooh, this is an adorable one, ladies! I might even have to get my future sil one of the bride t-shirts that Just Jen has available because the shirt that I was sent to review was that cute. That would be adorable to send her as part of her shower present, wouldn't it?

I sighed over all the girly cuteness that is available in the selection of personalized birthday shirts available on the Just Jen website. Pics of little girls with darling shirts with crystals and wearing tutus. My mom-of-boys-only heart felt a twinge at that.

But, lucky for me- and you, too- these aren't just for little girls! And since tomorrow is my birthday, I thought I had a great excuse to participate in this review.

There are different designs to choose from, as well as the option to create your own personalized shirt. Since I'm actually proud of my age, I went with the shirt with my age on it. Own it, right?

I then had to pick from eleven different shirt styles and decided to go with a fitted short-sleeve shirt. I did follow the recommendation on the site and ordered a size larger than what I usually wear and I'm glad that I did. I love the fit of the shirt. I adore shirts that dip in at the waist to show off curves. It's a really nice quality t-shirt, too.

Eight t-shirt colors to choose from and twenty-two different colors of rhinestones to choose from. I'm sure the color combination I chose will just shock you since I hide my love of all things pink. Yes, I chose pink with fuchsia rhinestones!

I'd highly recommend Just Jen shirts. Bridal, birthday, holiday, maternity, and more!

I was sent this shirt in exchange for my honest review. I do love it, though, and totally want to gush about it. And yes, I'm totally wearing it tomorrow. Maybe with an equally sparkly birthday tiara. My husband did ask what I would do next year when I turn 34: would I stop wearing this shirt? I informed him that I might just decide to claim to be 33 for as long as I can get away with it since it's the last year I can say that I'm still in my early 30s!


Darn! Someone beat me to this fabulous idea!

That's what I get for waiting! But, no sour grapes here- I want to tell you about it and make sure you aren't missing out!

Mrs. 4444 has created a GREAT linky for Saturdays. It's called Saturday sampling.
Saturday Sampling

For this linky, all you have to do is link up what you think  is your best post from the week or one you want to get a little more feedback on!

Then, visit some of the other links! You'll get to see what other bloggers think of as their best! I think it's a great way to get to know new bloggers!

Comments are OFF. Go check out Saturday Sampling! And don't forget to check out my giveaways- I just put up a new one yesterday that you won't want to miss. Links in the sidebar.

Friday, July 16, 2010

BFF: 10 Lessons Learned as a Mom- Semi-Slacker Style

The blogger that I chose for this  week's Blog Friend Feature is one who cracks me up. She's a Southern girl, though a real one, not a fake poser transplant like me. She admits to things lying to her kids and talking ugly way too much. I tend to think that she's just a sweetheart who would be soooo much fun to hang around. Semi-Slacker Mom of Confessions of a Semi-Slacker Mom made me laugh when she said that she didn't know if she could give up her sarcasm and humor  to be serious for her BFF day- but I told her that she didn't have to- she could be herself, since her being real and honest is why I picked her and why I think that you all will love her.

I've been at this Mommy thing for going on 9 years and with 3 children, I've had my share of the wild adventures of child rearing. (or maybe that's just my family) I've learned more as a mother than I ever did in 17 years of school. (I was on the 5-yr plan in college.)

You know the lessons I'm talking about; hold your boy baby's tallytail (that's what we call it) down when you change his diaper, how to swaddle your baby, how to pull off Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny & the Tooth Fairy, green foods cause green poop, the pediatrician's phone number and how fast you can get there, the kind of stuff all new mommies learn.

But I want to share with y'all the things they don't tell you. (I don't actually know who they are, but just go with me on this.) This is the stuff you have to learn from experience. All you new mommies or mommies to be take notes.

10 Lessons I've Learned as a Mother

1. How to eat an entire meal in under 5 minutes while also feeding 3 children.

2. Not everyone enjoys sleep as much as you do did. And you CAN survive without it.

3. Never live in a house without a kitchen door. with a lock.

4. If you ever want to talk on the phone again, you must install a soundproof phone booth. with a lock.

5. The person that you couldn't live without is the same person who you threaten to drop off at the orphanage. daily.

6. You CAN look at & even clean up puke without vomiting yourself. among other things.

7. Injuries often hurt you worse than your child. along with shots. and stitches/staples. and broken hearts. even tummy aches.

8. You will gain a new appreciation for cartoons. and maybe pick up a little Spanish. or Chinese.

9. God won't give you any more than you can handle. with the right amount of prescription drugs & alcohol. (Wellbutrin & Martinis for me.)

10. Your life will never be the same. and you wouldn't have it any other way.

I just thought of another one... Just because they share the same DNA doesn't mean they will EVER get along. or maybe that's just my Sassy and Bo.

I love it! Someone should print these out and hand them to new moms when they first have their babies! Now, please leave some comment love here for Semi-Slacker Mom and then go follow her  blog  if you don't already!

Confessions of a Semi-Slacker Mom

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GIVEAWAY YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS and how you can get a Perricone MD Deluxe Cold Plasma Sample

A few months ago, I hosted a giveaway for Perricone Cold Plasma : a universal skin care product; suited for anyone, no matter how old your skin is, what your skin type is, or whether you’re male or female.

It works to deliver optimal nutrition to skin cells to help skin achieve a healthy, glowing, youthful appearance. No, I'm not just majorly craving this product because I have a birthday this weekend, marking the last year that I can say I'm in my early thirties.

It  does so by helping combat the 10 signs of aging, which include: firmness, elasticity, clarity, radiance, smoothness, texture, redness, blotchiness, fine lines and wrinkles, and dryness.

Want to try it? ME, TOO! Though, I did get to try their Face Finishing Moisturizer for hosting the last giveaway and I love that- it's another of their bestsellers.

Before we get to the giveaway, if you do want to try Cold Plasma, Perricone is offering free samples right now. All you have to do is pay $4.95 shipping and it's yours. Click the link to find out how to get your sample: Perricone MD Deluxe Cold Plasma Sample

What is the giveaway? One of you will win a FULL-SIZE Cold Plasma($150 value- woohoo!).

To enter: please leave a separate comment for each entry. If your email is not in your profile, please leave it with your first comment. US and Canada only.

First/mandatory entry: Tell me why you want/need Cold Plasma!

Additional entries:
*Follow Things I Can't Say on GFC
*Subscribe via email to Things I Can't Say(must activate your subscription)
*Like Things I Can't Say on facebook(can do this right in the sidebar)
*Follow shellthings on twitter
*Grab my button for your blog
*Follow DrPerricone on twitter
*Tweet this giveaway(may tweet once per day- please leave a comment each time you tweet): Win $150 @DrPerricone Cold Plasma from @shellthings #giveaway http://bit.ly/cONoWK
*enter the Cielo Azul necklace giveaway(ends 7/18)
*enter the Boogie Wipes giveaway(ends 7/18)
*enter the Granola Thins giveaway(ends 7/18)

This giveaway will end on Sunday, July 25th at 7pm EST.

This contest is now closed and the winner is #27 Oka. Thanks to everyone who entered!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ooooooh, Baby- That Feels GOOD!

THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WHO JOINED ME FOR THE TWITTER CHAT/PARTY THIS MORNING! YOU ROCK!!!! Just a brief announcement before I get to today's post: what are you doing this morning from 10:30-11:30am EST? Please join me for a twitter chat! I'm not hosting, but I'm the featured blogger and came up with the topics. If you've never tried a twitter party, this would be a great one to start with because it won't have the insane pace of the larger ones. All you have to do is go HERE at 10:30am. You can join in for any or all of the hour long chat. PLEASE JOIN ME!

Last Wednesday night, Hubs and I were spending quality time together in the living room together- he was on the couch, snoring away, while I was on the loveseat, watching SYTYCD and reading blogs. So You Think You Can Dance for those of you who haven't discovered the wonder that is Pasha. *DROOL*.

All of a sudden, I felt this pain on the back of my leg. Like something was biting me and trying to bite its way into my skin and find a way to live inside my thigh.

I screamed, jumped up, tore my shorts off, and swiped furiously at the back of my leg. Hubs kept right on snoring. Once he reaches that deep level of sleep, there is no waking him.

I was dancing around the living room, without any of the grace of the dancers on the tv screen in front of me, hoping that this was not some sort of alien killer bug that was going to paralyze me with pain and then take over my brain.

Sound insane? I know, I know, but it hurt really badly and I couldn't actually see what was going on back there.

Turns out it was a spider bite. I'd take a picture and show you the huge, swollen nasty thing that has been left behind on my leg....but, well, it is really gross. And, while it's in an area that you would be able to see if I had on my bathing suit, I would definitely give you the evil eye if I saw you staring at that particular part of my body. So, just take my word for it, okay?

What does this have to do with my post title? Well, it made me think of another spider bite that I got back when Hubs and I first met.

That one was on the front of my leg, sort of down near my knee. That time, the whole area near the bite turned very hard and a weird blue-ish color.

That one didn't hurt as much as this one did, but OMG, did it itch.

And I was told by my roommate/NC Mama that I was NOT to itch it.

But, I could see it and it taunted me- itch me, itch me, you know you'd feel better if you just itched me.

I actually managed to do pretty good with this, even though I really wanted to scratch it. Soooo badly. Though, mainly, this was only because someone would stop me. Either my NC Mama or her son(my baby bro), or even my students.

So, I thought: Oh, wait, I know: I won't itch it, but I'll take a shower....and that part of my leg must be really dirty...I better clean it really well to make sure that there isn't some sort of leftover spider toxic venom that will turn me into Spiderwoman or something.

So, oh, wonderful scrubby puff....come to mama.

NC mama and baby bro were on the other side of the house, so I took my time with my shower and "cleaning" my spider bite.

I really got into it....and it felt sooooooo good. Good enough that I was, well, moaning a bit like I was auditioning for an adult film. Totally involuntary reaction.

But, all of a sudden, the bathroom door opened, Hubs/then-guy-that-I-was-just-hanging-out-with-and-not-even-dating-but-who-would-just-drop-by-the-house-so-that-I-couldn't-tell-him-I-was-busy-if-he-called-first poked his head in and said, "Wow, can I join in?"

I instantly blushed bright red and started screaming at him to get out, get out, get out!

Completely mortified. Because I realized what I must have sounded like.

Hubs still likes to bring up that story now, almost nine years later, like it's funny or something. And I still blush.

But, when I got into the shower last weekend, with my wonderful little scrubby puff and cleaned my latest spider bite.....all Hubs did was yell in at me, "Stop scratching  your spider bite!"

Oooooooh, Baby- that feels so good!

THANK YOU to Amber at The Mom Road for telling me last week that I could put rubbing alcohol on it to get some relief. OMG, THANK YOU.

Oh, and if you haven't check out this week's Blog Friend Feature, make sure you check out Kmama's post and her blog- links are in the sidebar!

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pour Your Heart Out: A Blogger's 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. There isn't ever a theme or topic that you have to blog about- it's completely a personal thing.

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. ;)


Bloggers- we sit behind our computer screen and feel some freedom from that.

We choose what we want to talk about and what we don't.

It's easier to tell a difficult story on a blog than it is face-to-face sometimes, because we can edit our words, save in a draft, and think about it until we are sure we are telling our story the way that we want. And we won't get interrupted or veer off from what we wanted to say.

We can choose to talk about controversial issues, knowing that we can get our side out without being interrupted. We can be heard. We might have people who don't agree when they comment, but that's okay, too. None of us expects everyone to agree with every word that we write. That would be boring.

We can post stories and pics of our kids, sharing our lives with our readers.

We can rant and rave and be ourselves.

And when we read and comment on someone else's blog: we get to share in their personal experiences, debate issues, share in their lives. Because this blogging thing is about relationships- the blogs we visit- they are written by real people, living their lives, having struggles, having successes, and sharing it with us.

We can even read a post and decide- hey, this isn't for me and just click away without commenting.

Try doing that in real life- can't think of something to say that wouldn't be rude, so you just walk away and you'll still be seen as rude. But, in blog world, it's actually the polite thing to do.

Like I said, we don't have to agree with everything a blogger says. But, we don't have to be hateful about it.

I'm going to clarify this and say NO, I am NOT whining about someone being mean to me, though of course that happens. This is just in general and more of a reaction to things that have happened to blogfriends of mine recently than anything that has happened to me. Clear enough? Not a pity party for Shell. ;)

Seriously, people, you all give me so much support- how whiny would it seem for me to ignore all the positives that I get and make a huge deal out of what negative I get. But, I've always been one to get more riled up when someone does something to a friend than to me. Not to say that I don't feel hurt, maybe even cry a lot little and then go vent about it in an email to a friend.

I just wish that more people would remember that the people who read our blogs or our comments are real. With real feelings. That just because we are on the computer instead of face-to-face, it doesn't mean that we should forget about basic kindness.

To use a blog to make a personal attack about someone and then to defend that by saying "Well, it's my blog and I'm allowed to do that"....well, yes, you are.

Or if you tell people you don't care at all what they think and that they can kiss your ass- you can do that,  too.

Or if you visit a blog for the very first time and decide to grab on to one sentence of what that blogger wrote and proceed to write a post tearing that blog to shreds because of that one sentence....

Well, you are free to do that. Because it is your blog.

But, I don't have to read or follow.  And I'd bet that others feel the same. And yes, even if you aren't talking about them, but just generally being hateful, it will turn people away. There's enough ugly in this world- I'd rather go read something else.  Blogs don't have to be all rainbows and sunshine, but there's no need to spew hatred,  either.

No, I'd never go ahead and say go look at this-let me show you examples of what I'm talking about-and send people over out of anger- so please, don't  ask  me to show you the examples I'm talking about. Because we're all free to write what we want on our blogs, even if what we are writing is complete load of crap- though I do know that there is someone out there writing total lies about a dear friend of mine and well, there is such a thing as libel. So that "write what you want" thing does have limits.

Though, the main reason you'd never see me post a link and tell you to go take a look at something I find awful is mostly because, well, I have the most amazingly loyal readers ever- and all that would do would reward someone with traffic that they don't deserve.

The same thing goes for commenting. We all have our own opinions.

But, there is a way to disagree respectfully. Or, if you are someone who can't do that, then you can click away.

If I'm on another blog, leaving a comment, and I see someone who left a nasty comment, I will know to stay away from that person.  You're making a reputation for yourself not only with what you write on your blog, but with how you comment, too.

And a side note to those of you who seem to sniff out blog drama, try to play both sides and try to egg it on: shame on you. You don't have to "take sides" because no one ever wins in these sorts of things, but the blog world is small and bloggers will find out that you are two-faced.

And on our own blogs, we can decide to delete a comment on our blogs because it's from someone who obviously is looking to pick a fight or didn't even read the entire post to learn what the real intent of the post was before they decide to get their panties in a bunch.

Or we can delete because the person is talking total nonsense or total trash.

Or we can delete because someone was rude enough to make a disparaging comment about our children.

Or we can delete because a comment starts causing drama that we don't feel like dealing with- with the comment causing lots of emails and concern and headaches that wouldn't be there if we just deleted the comment.

Because it's our space.

I think of so many of you as my friends. Not just some random person in the computer. Blog friends are real. I care about you. And when something like this happens to you, I can't just ignore it, even though it's not my fight.

These are our blogs, ladies and gentlemen. Express your opinions, be real, share a part of your life with us. But, remember that just as you have feelings and can be hurt by something, so can your readers. And so can the bloggers whose posts you comment on.

Please join me tomorrow(Thursday) night for a twitter chat at 10:30am EST. I'm not hosting, but I'm the featured blogger of the chat and came up with the topics- it will be fun! All you have to do to participate is to sign in with twitter at 10:30am HERE. I really hope some of you will join me!