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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Making Something Special(?) for Halloween

I'm really not all that crafty.

I would love to be, but I'm really such a mess when it comes to things like that.

Plus, I'm scared to ever let my children anywhere near glue again.

So, when the challenge from the SITS Girls was to share something that we created for Halloween, I was a little stumped.

Do you know what we created this Halloween? Probably the worst memories for our kids. We created yet another thing they can blame us for later, when they are complaining to their therapists.

Because on Friday night, we took them to a pumpkin patch.

On a hayride.

A haunted hayride.

Yes. In the dark. Through the scary woods. With crazy monsters that jump out of the woods and JUMP UP ONTO THE WAGON AND SCREAM AT YOU.

Or, slam their chainsaw down on the hay bale next to you.

And yes, my boys are 5, 4, and 2.

Whose idea was this anyway?

Oh, that's right. Hubs, of course.

Though, my 2 year old thought it was hilarious and laughed the whole time. And my 4 year old took it all in stride, even when the Grim Reaper tapped him with his death sickle. Or whatever that thing is called. Until the chainsaw guy popped up right in his face. Then he freaked out.

My 5 year-old hated the whole thing. From the very beginning when the creepy voice warned as as we were going into the woods that we shouldn't enter. "Mommy, he said not to enter. Why don't we turn back?" And then he tried to boss all the monsters around, telling them to get off our wagon and leave us alone.

My kids were far from the only ones on the hayride and not even the youngest. The three year old beside us ended up on the floor of the wagon, with his blanket over his head.

I don't think that the haunted hayride will be something that we do anytime again until our boys are teenagers at least! Because I really don't need to create any more traumatic memories for my kids.

And after we frightened our kids- here's a treat for them, too:

This is a treat that I've made for several Halloween parties. Because kids get enough candy. Make peanut butter sandwiches with Ritz crackers, then insert pretzel sticks for legs. Attach raisins with pb for eyes. There you go- a cute Halloween spider treat.

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

When Costumes Were Plastic...or Pajamas

Kids today don't know how lucky that have it.

That could be applied to MANY things these days.

But, right now, I'm talking about Halloween costumes!

It used to be that you either bought a plastic costume with the flimsy plastic mask or you wore some of your regular clothes in a creative way to make a costume. Unless you were lucky enough to have a mom who could sew.

My kids have been dinosaurs, bunnies, knights, firefighters, cute monsters(as opposed to scary), giraffes, and monkeys. All adorable costumes. Purchased, of course. My excuse for not sewing is that there are so many cute costumes out there, that it's okay to buy. Plus, you know, I can't sew.

I'm linking up with the SITS Girls today for a Halloween blast from the past and showing you one of my old costumes. In case you didn't know, they have the best blogging tips! Honestly, a lot of the credit for my blog growing the way it has in the past year goes to them. (I had about 50 readers in early October last year- and then I discovered SITS!)  Oh, and Tiffany is pretty.

Back to Halloween: One year, I was Minnie Mouse. With a cute dress straight from my closet that had Minnie printed all over it and a plastic Minnie mask. Another year I was Smurfette, with a blue turtleneck, blue tights, white slip with Smurfette printed on it, and a Smurfette mask. Another year, I was Cheer Bear: the plastic costume and mask, of course.

But, the picture I have to share with you is from 1980. Yup, THIRTY YEARS AGO.  I was three. Yes, I'll totally flaunt my age. Being in your thirties is FABULOUS, you know!

I was Strawberry Shortcake.
I wore my Strawberry Shortcake nightgown and my mom found me a red wig and some sort of hat that was supposed to look something like Miss Shortcake's. Except that I'm pretty sure that it was a plastic shower cap.

Lord only knows what my brother was supposed to be.

Do you have a favorite or at least memorable Halloween costume from when you were growing up? Share with me in the comments or write your own post about it and link it up with SITS.

There is a contest to win a fabulous camera going on over there. That I'm not too proud to beg for. Since my camera is completely dead. After just 15 months. This is where I point out that *I* was not the one who wanted to get anything other than a Canon. That was Hubs. GRRRRRR! See, me winning the Canon camera from SITS- would not only give me a fabulous camera to take pics of my kids(stuck with disposables for now!), but it would let me be all obnoxious and prove to Hubs that I'm right and that Canons are always better.

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Smart and Sexy Lingerie Review and Giveaway

As much as I love my kids, I'm not just a mom. I'm a wife. And a woman.

So despite the fact that I often turn to yoga pants and sweats, I still want to feel sexy!

One great way to do that is with lingerie. I had the opportunity to review some items from Smart & Sexy. It's like they named their lingerie line after me. *cough, cough* You don't really think I'm that full of myself, do you? It's just fun to kid around!

They have a variety of items: bras, panties, sets, sleepwear, and even swimwear.

I was sent  a few items to review. First of all, this robe that I absolutely LOVE. Now, usually, I love personal pics in reviews, but not for lingerie. This is where we all pretend that my body looks just like this model's.

The Kiss Front Wrap Style Robe is so cute! I love that it's sexy, yet provides some coverage, too. You have three kids in less than three and a half years and try to tell me that you don't need some coverage.

I was also sent two bra and panty sets to try. Both bras are lightly padded. The pink panties are a cheeky boyleg cut while the animal print ones are a full bikini cut- with wide lace edging that pushes them into the sexy side. Again, I apologize for not providing a picture of the actual review items I was sent, but you can browse the site for yourselves! What is important is that you know that these items really do look great!

All comfortable, too! I know, I know, that shouldn't be that important. But, let's be honest, it IS important. I think that is where the "smart" part comes in.

As a special promotion for you, you can shop http://www.smartandsexy.com/ using the discount code HOLBLOG to receive $5 off your entire order (it’s like getting the shipping for free!). Code expires Dec 25.

GIVEAWAY! One of you will win a prize package hand-selected by Smart & Sexy personnel based on your stated size. This prize package has a retail value of $50.

To enter: If your email is not visible in your profile, you must leave it with your comment. Your comments serve as your entries, so please leave a separate comment for each entry. Mandatory entry must be completed for additional entries to count. Winner will be announced on this post and will be emailed. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to giveaway notification or a new winner will be selected. US only. Contest will close at 9pm EST on November 5th.

Mandatory entry: Visit Smart & Sexy and tell me an item that you like!

Additional entries:
*Like Smart & Sexy on facebook
*Follow @SaSSocialClub on twitter
*Join the SaS Social Club & sign up for their mailing list
*Follow Things I Can't Say on GFC
*Like Things I Can't Say on facebook(you can do this in my sidebar)
*Follow shellthings on twitter
*Tweet this giveaway: may tweet once per day. Leave link to tweet.  #Win @SaSSocialClub lingerie $50 prize package from @shellthings #giveaway http://bit.ly/cmwfnl

I was sent several items to review from Smart & Sexy. All opinions are my own. And maybe my husband's...oh wait, let's not go there. ;)

This giveaway is now closed. The winner is #75 Jessica(@jjak2003). Winner has been emailed. If prize is not claimed in 48 hours, a new winner will be selected.

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Blog Friend Feature: A Peaceful Diva

I have been reading this week's Blog Friend Feature since nearly the start of her blog. She impressed me right from the start as someone who had it all together. While she would probably laugh at this description- and honestly admits that this is not the case!- it's the impression that I got.

Meet Katina, from Peaceful Divas: Journeying Through Life's Mundane Tasks with Joy! Her faith inspires me. The way that she can admit to struggles that she has and yet can find ways to look at them in a positive light- she really lives up to her tagline! I know you'll love her, too!

When Shell emailed me and asked me to be the BFF this week, my heart skipped a beat! I was completely honored AND completely terrorized. I immediately emailed her back to say yes and express my fear! In her very own and totally “Shell” way, she politely instructed me to just be myself. Being Shell’s BFF is like having lunch with a famous person that you really look up to; your stomach cuts flips, your heart races and your mind goes blank on what to say.

Imagine that we are all sitting around a circle in those hard, metal, church fellowship hall chairs:

Hello everybody! My name is Katina and I write, journal, and basically work out my problems on a blog called Peaceful Divas. (Then you all say: Hello Katina). I have been blogging since May of this year. Although I am very new to blogging, I have already experienced some of the huge benefits of putting all your business on the internet! I have virtually met some of the coolest women from all over the world who totally get me!

Most days on Peaceful Divas I am working through my emotions or trying to be positive about housework when I would rather have a root canal than clean up. Occasionally, I like to post about being more efficient by listing different ways to (K.I.S.S)-keep it simple sista!

Ok so now, I am lying on the sofa in YOUR psychology office:

In all actuality, Peaceful Divas is my ministry and my way of FINALLY dealing with my true feelings. It has taken me 37 years to be able to identify and articulate how I REALLY feel. As a child growing up, I had loving parents who expected me to always make them proud.

Well meaning cliché’s were used daily in response to my hurts. {“Life’s not fair!” “Money doesn’t grow on trees!” “If you can run fast, someone can always run faster”. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. “If you can do something about it, do it; otherwise, don’t worry about it.”} Over time, I learned to ignore my feelings and “suck it up”.

In an effort to have me grow up to be an independent and strong woman, my mother lovingly told me that crying was a sign of weakness. When you suck it up and can’t express your sorrow by weeping, you have to find a way of dealing with life! Some people eat, abuse substances, surf the internet, talk on the phone, become workaholics… you fill in the blank.

For me, I get busy! In addition to working full time, being a mommy to two awesome girls, and a wife, I owned and operated a party studio for girls; I have done Amway, Mary Kay, Airbonne, Ardyss, and probably some other things I have forgotten! I am now on a quest to truly experience God’s Grace and through my experience, offer grace to myself and others by not being so rigid, not taking everything so seriously and not blaming myself for the world's troubles.

Since you really know me now, imagine that we are on a girlfriend getaway sitting around a table on a beautiful Tropical Island. The water is blue and our drinks are fruity and have umbrellas in them!!!

I am not one of those women who give off the perception that EVERYTHING IS GREAT. Most days ARE great, and EVERYDAY is a BLESSING, but some days I get started by yelling and then just about everything gets on my nerves. There are days when I pick up the girls from school with a positive attitude and then after five minutes in their presence my eye is twitching and I wonder what just happened. I have cleaned off my kitchen counters countless times only to have school papers, artwork, and mail pile up and MOCK ME!

I cook and clean ONLY because I love my family. Out of love, I am FINALLY living intentionally so that I can model what being “healthy” means. Am I successful all the time? NO ma’am and that is just part of the journey (see my post on the comparison queen).

Just like you, I want the best for my children. I want my girls to grow up to be whole, Godly women who are in touch with who they are and more importantly whose they are. It is my prayer that they grow up able to confidently say how they feel and process their feelings towards life’s hurts in a healthy way.

Finally, I want them to know that perfection is not attainable; but with God all things are possible.

Now let’s go have facials!

Please leave Katina some comment love here and then go follow her blog if you don't already!

Peaceful Divas

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pour Your Heart Out: When Blogging Changes

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.

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. ;)


Do you ever have thoughts floating around in your head about something and then read a blog post that sort of helps you to see things clearly?

I was thinking about how to balance everything:

Being a mom: Really being there for Monkey, who is in kindergarten. Planning to volunteer in his classroom once a week starting next month. Dealing with the problems that Bear has been having. Finding the right situation for him. Enjoying every moment of Cub being a toddler, before he is officially a big kid and I have no more babies in my house.

Being a wife: Really being there to support my husband. Enjoying each other. Putting the effort into our marriage.

The Everyday:  Keeping up with the house! Which can be a challenge with three little boys! Plus, I really hate to clean. This is always a struggle for me.

Taking care of me:  Getting to the gym. Time for friends. Time for me to be me.

And then you add BLOGGING to all that.  Now, I love blogging. It's a hobby, a passion, and sometimes I get some pretty awesome opportunites because of it. I love reading your stories. And I love when you read mine!

But, it takes work. I wrote Tips for Blog Newbies, which is just what you think it is- tips for those of you who are just starting out.

But, does blogging change over time? This was all swimming around in my head. How to balance it all.

Then, I read this fabulous post by Theta Mom- it was in her archives and I actually went looking for it knowing I needed to reread it: Balancing Your Mojo Before You Land in Blog Burnout. I highly recommend that you read it. It really helped me to see that what I was feeling was pretty normal. Even emailed back and forth with Theta Mom a little, talking about it. *Thanks so much!*

It really clarified some things for me.

While blogging is a love for me, I CANNOT let it make me feel guilty. It can't feel like a chore.

Was I offline because I was playing with my kids on the playground? Did I have less time to blog because I was at the gym? Did I make a special dinner for my husband and therefore not reply to every email that I received?

Well, that was putting life ahead of blogging. And if we never do that, we won't have much to blog about.

I love the friendships I've developed in blogland. The community that I feel with those of you who stop by my blog.  I never sit here and wonder why so-and-so didn't visit my blog yesterday. Or why someone might miss some of my posts. Because I know that we are all living lives outside the blogosphere.

And, if I can cut others that slack and never judge them for it, well, I really need to cut myself that same slack.

No guilt over blogging. Because I've realized that even if I never left the house and gave up sleeping, I couldn't read and comment on every blog that I want to. It's just not possible.

Knowing that I can't attain that perfect goal of being "all caught up on blogs" gives me permission not to try. To do the best that I can with it, but never to neglect the other parts of my life for it.

I feel better about it. Less stressed. Like I'm moving towards a happy balance.

Do you ever feel like this? How do you keep the balance?

Now, not to go back on what I just said about just doing what you can- but please do visit some of the Pour Your Heart Out linkers. You'll find some really heartfelt stories out there- it's a great way to really get to know other bloggers.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

And Then He Left Her....

The next two months only brought them closer together.

Every moment they could spend together, they did. When they couldn't be together, they thought about each other all the time. Her life became about him and his about her.

Her made her feel special and beautiful. Desired. Loved. And he was the most gorgeous man she'd ever met in real life. Her eye never once strayed to anyone else, except in annoyance that any other man would dare talk to her when she was taken. This was obvious, wasn't it? Even when he wasn't with her. She had that air of a woman in love.

She forgot that there ever was a time when he wasn't in her life. Couldn't believe that she'd ever cared about any other guy because nothing had ever felt like this. She couldn't imagine a time without him there. Couldn't imagine how she would even been able to breathe without him by her side.

Never had she been in love like this. So all-consuming, passionate, and alive.

But, as happens when one is in love with a military man, they were going to be separated.

For five weeks.

He was going to have to go away for training. Somewhere far away and remote. Where she wouldn't be able to see him and would rarely get to talk to him.

As the time approached for him to leave, he began to pack up what he would need. And brought the rest of his things to her place to store, as he was switching barracks while he was gone and would rather that his belongings stay with her than be entrusted to the guys whose job it would be to move them.

They spent one last night together, whispering promises to each other. And then she had to drive him to base in the middle of the night to leave. Their last kiss was one of desperation, trying to convey all their feelings and make up for the lonely weeks ahead.

Without him, her days fell into a predictable pattern. She worked, went to the gym, and then came home to read, watch tv, correct papers, write him letters.

And pray that the phone would ring.

He wrote her, too. Sweet words. Passionate words. Of love and a future. Plans to always be together. Of knowing she was the one. Of how agonizing it was to be apart.

Their first Valentine's Day was spent apart. He sent her deep pink roses.

They talked a few times while he was away, but since they were in different time zones, he was working long hours, and there was always a line for the phone, they talked less than each would like. Or, less than she would like. Maybe he was only making excuses for not calling.

But, then she would pull out his letters to reassure herself. And would open the spare closest where his belongings were stored to breathe in the smell of him, sleep in one of his shirts to feel close to him, to know that he was real and was coming back.

The day came for him to arrive back home.  All day long, she was on edge. Every chance she got, she called home to check her answering machine to see if he had called yet. But, there was no word from him.

As soon as the final bell rang that day and her last student left, she sped home.  Showered, fixed her hair and make-up, put on the new dress she had bought for the occasion, and nervously paced around her house, stopping frequently to scrutinize herself in the mirror.

What if, despite his words, his promises, he had changed his mind?  He had told her in his last letter that he was sure she was the one, the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. She had written back and told him that she felt the same way.

The night wore on. 8 o'clock. 9. 10. Unable to sleep, she watched the clock slowly tick to 3 am.

Defeated, she crawled into bed, trying to tell herself that she didn't care. That maybe he thought it was too late to call. That surely, he'd call tomorrow. She would have called him herself, but since his room was changed, she didn't have his new number yet.

Pathetically, she told herself that he would have to see her at least one more time to get his belongings. Because though she loved him fiercely and thought her felt the same way, she kept thinking that it was so perfect that something was going to happen to ruin it all. That the fairy tale love they had couldn't really last.

She tossed and turned and finally fell asleep.

At 5:00am, her phone rang.

It was him, telling her how much he had missed her and how there had been some sort of delay that he couldn't talk about once they had arrived back on base. That he wanted to call her, but couldn't until right then.

How much he wanted to see her, but knew that she had to be at work in a little while.

She offered to take the day off work. But, he had to go in to work later, anyway. The next day would start a four day weekend for him and he really wanted her to take those days off instead.

She looked at her clock. If she hurried and got ready for work, she could spend an hour with him before she'd have to leave to go to work.

She rushed to get out the door and had to force herself not to speed as she headed toward him, anticipation making her nervous.

It was still dark as she pulled into the parking lot where he was waiting.  He was opening her door before she had the car fully stopped.

They were in each other's arms, both with tears in their eyes.

"Did you mean it?" he whispered in her ear. "Did you mean it when you wrote that you think that I'm the one?"

"Yes, yes, yes. I love you," she swore.

"You're my one.. I hated being away from you. Some day, I want you to be my wife."

She believed him and couldn't imagine that they wouldn't be together forever.....

Yes, I'm writing the story of my past in third-person. Because it was a lifetime ago. If you missed any of it and want to get caught up, click on the "my story" label below for the previous parts.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Where I Almost Tumbled Off My Soapbox

Occasionally, I get up on my educational soapbox.  Before I had my oldest son, I was a teacher for 5.5 years. I taught 6th grade Language Arts/Social Studies, K-6 Instructional Support, 8th grade Science/Social Studies, 3rd grade, and then finally 5th grade. I once wrote a list of suggestions for how to deal with your child's teacher.

But, I was oh-so-very-close to breaking some of those rules. Because I wasn't sure what to make of Monkey's kindergarten teacher.

I had sent in two notes to her...that went unanswered. And I started to get self-righteous. There's evidence on twitter- I'm totally guilty. Because I said, "Well, when I was a teacher, I always responded to every note the day it was sent in. And if it was something that required a lengthy response, I sent home a note requesting a conference or would call that parent."

And both of those notes really only required a yes or no answer. What the heck????

Then there were two homework assignments that he DID and DID get sent to school in his homework folder that she didn't check off on his homework calendar, that she circled in red, like he didn't do them. Trust me, he did them and they were turned in. What the heck?????

Plus, I wasn't seeing ANY papers being sent home. Nothing. And I saw a friend's son's stack of kindergarten papers- GIGANTIC. My son goes to school full-day and hers only half-day. So, where were the papers?

Then, Monkey tells me that his teacher yells all the time. Now, this one, I was very, very hesitant to believe. Because I used to be accused of this- but often, when kids say "yell," they really mean that they got in trouble for something or another child did and the teacher was correcting them. Not "yell" as in "volume," but as in "scold."

BUT! A friend of mine used to work with Monkey's kindergarten teacher and she told me that she always heard this teacher screaming. This is totally breaking my guidelines for dealing with your child's teacher- to gossip about them, ask others what they think, and generally get yourself riled up by talking to others about what is going on instead of going right to the teacher.

And then there was the recess issue. My son kept telling me that he had to walk laps that day. There is a law now that kids have to have 30 minutes of physical activity every day, so taking recess away just isn't an option- so in its place, a lot of teachers around here have gone to "walking laps" which means that instead of playing whatever game the teacher/TA has planned for the kids that day, they walk laps around the playground.

I don't doubt that my son has done things that require correction. And I really don't think that I need to hear every. single. thing. that he does wrong. Major, yes, but not minor. But, if he does something bad enough to have to walk laps, I think I should know about it.

Then, I emailed her with a question. And it went unanswered. I did use the school's system to do this since I didn't have her email on hand...so I gave her the benefit of the doubt. And emailed her directly that afternoon when I had my son's folder in front of me, with her address. That one did get returned.

All of this left me with not the best impression of her.

Hubs had his haircut by a woman whose oldest son had her as a teacher last year and she requested that her youngest have her this year. I thought REALLY? I was thinking that I would be requesting that my other boys NOT have her.

So, last Thursday, I had a conference scheduled with her. She wants one conference with each family every grading period, more if you/she feel it necessary. So, this was our turn.

I went in, completely unsure of what she was going to say and what I would say in return.

Because part of me wanted to go in all mother-bear and ticked off. But, I remember from my teaching days how the best conferences where- and that was when the parent came in with an open-mind, ready to listen, and not jumping to crazy conclusions.

As we talked, I found out that it's best to email her. That part of EVERY child's 30 minutes of structured recess is walking laps(not a punishment), that she had his work all there for me in his portfolio and sent some home, and that she adores my son.

She spoke really highly of him and said that she just loves his personality and the very unique way that he thinks(complete with stories that I won't bore you with). He's either where he needs to be on his kindergarten objectives or ahead- some he's already mastered the end-of-year objective.

As she talked, I could really tell that she loves what she does. And that she loves her students, my son included.

She even answered some questions that I had about pre-K and she helped me out with some concerns I have with Bear, too. She said that her students' families are her families and if something is affecting any member of one of her students' families, then she wants to do whatever she can to help.

I am so very HAPPY to have been WRONG. And glad that I went in with an open-mind and not with a big mouth....because I would have just been putting my foot right in it.

And maybe, instead of requesting that my other children have any teacher but her, I will be requesting that they all do.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday Six

BWS tips button

How many hours per night/day do you sleep?  Lately, with sick kids, I don't get much. A horrifying lack of sleep that leaves me not sure what day it is or what time it is. I get out of bed planning for when I'll next be able to lie down. But, usually, about 6-7 hours. Even though I think I need about 10.

Night owl or morning person? Definite night owl! Which is why I never get enough sleep! But, Hubs and I need to spend time together after the kiddos go to bed. You know, watching tv together.

What do you wear to bed? This totally depends on how tired I am, what I wore that day, and if I took a shower before bed. Anything from the clothes I wore that day to my bathrobe, to a t-shirt of Hubs's, or cute pjs.

Sleep crutches? (Sleep with a radio, fan, t.v. on? Have to have something particular in order to doze?) TV on- though one of us gets up and turns it off in the middle of the night. Glass of water and blackberry beside the bed....though not close enough to each other that my bb is in any danger. Learned that one the hard way.

Do you remember your dreams when you wake up? Usually only when I'm pregnant because those are really crazy, bizarre dreams. Though, if I have one of those when I'm not pregnant, I instantly think that I am pregnant.

Any strange stories about sleepwalking/talking or anything of that nature?  I used to mutter things in my sleep. Haven't in a while- or maybe Hubs is too busy snoring away to pay attention and make fun of me for it. My college roommate and I used to keep a "quote board" in our dorm room of funny things that we or our friends said and sometimes the things she would say in her sleep would make it on there. Like the time she sat up in bed and told me, "I have to give my long-distance pillow to the President."

It's been a long time since I've posted anything other than PR-stuff on the weekends! Click the Saturday 6 button to join in with Boobies, Babies & A Blog and The Zombie Housewife.

Hope you all have a wonderful Fall weekend!


Friday, October 22, 2010

Blog Friend Feature: Things She Couldn't Say on Her Own Blog

I get a little homesick everytime that I visit the blog of this week's Blog Friend Feature. Because her header is a view of my hometown!

Joey, from Big Teeth & Clouds, is very sweet. She blogs about kids with hearing loss(her daughter is one), her husband, living near Pittsburgh, and anything else that crosses her mind. Well, almost anything...

I love how she took the opportunity to say the things that she can't say on her own blog over here on mine!

My blog, Big Teeth & Clouds, is completely family friendly while being non-offensive to my husband, mother-in-law, pastor, and neighbors. Some posts are touching. Some are funny. It’s unbelievable with all of those filters that I can still manage humor. I can, but some of the best stories never see the light of day.

So, it is only here you will ever read about: Big douche bag and the piñata.

On a gorgeous fall day in October, my family went to a neighborhood hay ride. To call it just a hay ride is to completely understate the scope of the event. There were pony rides, an extensive petting zoo, mountains of food, and a piñata.

My daughter, Julia, and I petted and fed goats for more than an hour. Then our hosts diverted the collective attention of about 35 children by shouting, “let’s do the piñata!”

A swarming crowd of younglings formed under the cute pumpkin piñata. These kids ranged in age from 1 ½ to 12 years of age. Bags were passed around and giant kids pushed their way to the front.

I interjected that perhaps a shortest to tallest protocol should be initiated. I attempted to organize the crowd.

Cute little toddlers walked up and swung for the fences. The pumpkin stayed steady, unaffected. The parents cheered for their little ones. The bat was twice as tall as the little darlings.

Then, apparently annoyed by the amount of time all of this sportsmanship was taking, a man to my left said, “get in there Cryin’”.

The boy’s name isn’t really “Cryin’” but in addition to being a holy terror, he once spent 45 minutes at my kitchen table doing just that. It’s an apt name change, as is my re-naming his father “big douche bag”.

So big douche bag shoves Cryin’ to the front of the line. This is approximately 12-15 places ahead of his actual turn for hitting the piñata. There are no blindfolds involved yet. The thing is stationary. Seven-year-old Cryin’ knows his way around a bat.

Cryin’ moves back and steps into his swing. The bat strikes true, right in the center of poor pumpkin piñata. The crowd gasps as candy drops straight down in a debris pattern no bigger than the pumpkin’s original circumference.

35 children lunged into a heaving mass to retrieve sweet tarts and glow bracelets. All but a few of the tiniest tots have been denied the pleasure of taking a whack. Big douche bag is laughing, “I didn’t know he had that in him!”

Bullshit you didn’t, BDB.

Candy can cure any kid’s piñata-related slight and we were able to make sure each child got some. But, who does that? What grown-up sends their kid scrambling over a bunch of babies like that?

A big douche bag, that’s who.

Please leave Joey some comment love here and then go follow her blog if you don't already!

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fresh Produce Clothing Review and Giveaway

I'm a beach girl. With the stereotypical attitude that goes with it: laid-back, relaxed.

And that extends to my clothing, too. I want to be comfortable. But, that doesn't mean that I don't still want color and style!

When Fresh Produce contacted me and asked if I would like to review their clothes, I quickly clicked over to their site and then thought YES, YES, YES!!!!

With lush colors(their core belief is that life is too much fun for beige), year-round sensibility, simply inspired design and coastal comfort, I'd be a happy girl if I could have a closet full of Fresh Produce clothing! And would happily accept more than just the dress that I received to review. Ah-hem.

Love this outfit: Totally put together, but still comfortable. I want it! Dear Santa, it's me, Shell. Are you listening?

I was sent the ME's Cafe Wrap Dress in Caribbean to review. I practically lived in sundresses this summer, so this was a great transition to fall fashion.
And here I am in it. Totally look just like the model, right? NO? What do you mean? I think it's only because my camera is off being fixed and I had to rely on a cell phone pic. In my mirror mind, I look just like the model.

It's so comfortable! And fuss-free! I can easily toss this on before heading out the door. Yet, still look put-together. Really! This pic was of me this morning, before school drop-off. I was up all night with my middle son, who was sick, and it was so tempting to throw on sweats, but this was just as easy and comfortable.

They are definitely now a bookmarked site for me for when I want to shop for clothes! And actually, if you "like" Fresh Produce on facebook, you get free shipping between now and October 31st.

Now, for the giveaway! One of you will win  a ME's Water Swirls Tide Is In Tunic. It is available in sizes XS-XL in Aqua Del Sol, Mint Julep, Black, and Caribbean.

To enter: If your email is not visible in your profile, you must leave it with your comment. Mandatory entry must be completed in order for additional entries to count. Winner will be announced on this post and notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. US only. Contest will close at 9pm EST on 10/27.

Mandatory entry: Visit Fresh Produce and tell me something you found that you love!

Additional entries: Please leave a separate comment for each entry.
*Like Fresh Produce on facebook
*Follow Fresh Produce on twitter
*Follow Things I Can't Say on GFC OR confirmed email subscription(1 entry total)
*Like Things I Can't Say on facebook(you can do this in my sidebar)
*Follow shellthings on twitter
*Tell me a color that you love to wear
*Tweet this giveaway- once per day, leave a comment with the direct link to your tweet each time that you tweet. Tunic #giveaway from @freshproducenow and @shellthings http://bit.ly/93F0fx

I received a dress from Fresh Produce to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

This contest is now closed and the winner is #184 Gina. Winner will be emailed and have 48 to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Thanks to everyone who entered!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pour Your Heart Out: Loving AND Liking

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.

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 always love my husband.

But, sometimes, I don't like him.

The little things get to me. Maybe even some big things, too.

Going back "home" to visit family and friends last month didn't help. Because I realized just how much I missed everyone. And was jealous that he had that all the time. And though I made the move last year, knowing what I was leaving behind and also knowing that it was best for my family, it doesn't stop my feelings that I'm the one who really made a sacrifice with our move, while it made his life easier and better.

Add to that all the time that he works. Even though I appreciate just how hard he works for us, it's still hard when he's gone for most of the time that our children are awake. And when you aren't spending much time together, it's sometimes hard to remember why you like your spouse.

Or, you know, stupid things like how he does a half load of laundry that is just HIS clothes, instead of filling up the washer with the dirty clothes that are sitting right beside the washer. Or drinking the last Mountain Dew. Or using my shampoo.

So, I've been sort of crabby with him.  And he's been crabby right back.

Then, the weekend before last, we went to a festival. We brought the boys with us and walked around for a while.

But, then, we took the boys to mil's house.

And went back to the festival.


We walked through the festival and went to a restaurant to eat. We sat out on the deck, overlooking the water. Ordered drinks and our favorite crab dip.

And we talked. About silly things. Things from before we had kids. Things from before we even met. Saw people out on the water, kayaking. And made plans to do that soon.

We went back down to the festival to listen to music. Watched couples dancing. Hubs suggested that it would be fun for us to take swing dance lessons.

Something happened as the day wore on.

We actually started to like each other again.

Smiling, laughing, making plans.

We picked up the kids and headed home. Stopped to get a movie that we watched that night, cuddled up together.

It was a good day for us. And a great reminder to me that we have to make time for each other, so that we don't just love each other, but like each other, too.

Ironically, I wrote this post yesterday afternoon...all full of love and sparkles...and then he irritated me last night. Go figure.

Tell me: what do you do when you are still in love, but not in like? How do you get that lovin' feeling back?
Please try to link up below- if it isn't working for you, leave the direct link to your post in your comment and I will add you here.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

But, I'm Still Mom Sexy

Have you heard about MOM SEXY? My bloggy sis*, The Mommyologist, is on a mission to bring Mom Sexy back. For moms to be comfortable in their own skin and still feel sexy.

So, this week, to celebrate her blogoversary, she is asking us to tell all the reasons we are still MOM SEXY, despite the changes in our mom bodies and routines.  You can click over to her blog to find out how to participate!

There was a time recently when I actually did feel sexy. I was all dressed up for my baby brother's wedding. Loved my dress, rocked HIGH high heels for the first time in YEARS, hair did, make-up on, fabulous matching wrap and earrings. I was SEXY.
Give it up for my sil, who is totally MOM SEXY with her adorable pregnant belly. Me in heels, her in bare feet- I'm really not that much taller than she is.

But, my youngest got sick and puked straight down the front of my dress. Yet, I was still MOM SEXY.

I felt this the most as I headed into the restroom to attempt to clean myself up as best as I could. Because at the sinks were two girls crying their eyes out. One going on about some guy who wasn't there with her but she had wanted as her date. And the other moaning that her date was paying more attention to one of the bridesmaids than to her. My Hubs was off cleaning up our pukey toddler because he's DAD SEXY. And I wouldn't have wanted to trade my life for theirs, despite the fact that their bellies hadn't been stretched by three babies and their boobs were still perky. And neither was covered with puke. Because I'm confident in what I have in my life. MOM SEXY, baby.

We fled to the mini-van(I may drive a mini-van, but I'm still MOM SEXY) where Hubs gave me his shirt to wear and I stashed my dress as far away from me as I could get it. Driving home in nothing but his shirt, even if I did stink of baby puke...you guessed it, still MOM SEXY.

But, for my day-to-day look, I may have pairs of sweats that I consider my "good" sweats and rock a ponytail more than any other hairstyle, but I can still be MOM SEXY.

Yes, I'm missing a child in this pic. I'll call you the MOM SEXY GODDESS if you can figure out how to get all three of my boys in the same pic without the use of duct tape. Or Gorilla Glue.

And I may never will never be back in a size 0 or even a size 2 without major surgery but I can still be confident in my curves and love being soft and of course, be MOM SEXY.

It's not about what we wear or if we are in desperate need of a root touch-up or if we need to lose the baby weight from the baby who is now in kindergarten- it's about attitude. So, decide to be MOM SEXY!

*The Mommyologist is not my actual sister, just my bloggy one. We've known each other in blogland almost since the beginning of her blog and were roomies at a conference together. If random.org decides to pull my number as the winner of her Mom Sexy contest, you cannot cry nepotism. She's had plenty of other contests that I have not won.


Monday, October 18, 2010

5 Minutes to Myself Can Be Dangerous

There are days when I wish for just five minutes by myself.

Maybe I could actually go to the bathroom without an audience. Or get dressed without a small boy asking me questions that I don't want to answer about my lady parts.

Or just be able to drink a cup of tea peacefully.

But, when you have small children, it's not really possible.

And can sometimes end in disaster.

On Thursday morning, I was feeling optimistic about a great day with Bear and Cub(Monkey was in school, of course). We were going to go to storytime at the library, and then go to the park to play and eat the lunches I was going to pack.

I didn't even blog because I really wanted to focus on my boys, particuarly Bear since he was on his new preschool schedule of being home two days a week.

But, before I started getting them ready to head out the door, I went into my room to go to the bathroom and get dressed. I wanted to finish blowdrying my hair, too.

I was gone for LESS than five minutes.

Then I hear, "Mommy, my hands are stuck to my belly."

Annoyed, I pull Bear's hands off his belly, thinking he's being a goofball.

But, it was really sticky. And I asked what he had used....

We walk around the corner to see Cub, in just a diaper, COVERED in something.

What does he have in his hands? GORILLA GLUE.

I managed to calmly ask Bear if he ate any and he told me no. I believed him.

I whisked both boys to my bathroom and immediately into the tub to try to get this off. As the water is running and they are soaking in the warm water, I dash back to the living room, grab my laptop and run back to the bathroom.

To live blog this. Just kidding.  So that I can google how the heck I can get this off of them.

There wasn't a ton on Bear's skin, but there were big chunks of it in his long, thick hair. Of course, close to the root. I'm thinking that he's going to end up with a buzz cut because there is no other way to get this out of his hair.

Cub has so much on him that I really don't even know how to begin to describe it, other than it was like a second skin, a shell. And a thick one. .

Google tells me to try vegetable oil. So, I run to go get some...and I mean literally, I was running like a crazy person.

But, I have to pass through the living room to get to the kitchen. And that's when I see it: there is Gorilla Glue aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllll over our couch.

Our couch that we got new in June. That we love because it's so big and comfy. Hubs and I can both stretch out on it together.

But, kids are in the tub, so I grab the vegetable oil and rush back to the bathroom.

Google again to see how to remove it from fabrics.

Google informs me: BWAHAHAHAHA! Not going to happen.

I call my MIL to see if she is in town and tell her what happened. She says she will pick up some cleaning supplies and come over.

I'm scrubbing my kids with vegetable oil. It works to get the glue out of Bear's hair. It's starting to come off Cub's skin.

By the time they have been in the tub for about an hour, they have both had enough, so I let them out, even though there is still a lot to remove from Cub's skin.

MIL gets to my house and we start trying to work on the couch. We both think it's pretty hopeless.

I start tearing up and getting hysterical. I even tweeted "Goodbye twitter. In case you never hear from me again: my boys got into Gorilla glue while I was blowdrying my hair-" and then tweet 2- I'll break it up for those of you wondering how I could fit all this into one tweet- I didn't- "and got it all over our new couch. Dh may kill me. It's been nice knowing you."

But then MIL tells me that Hubs got a warranty on the couch. I ask her if she's sure and then start to wail that it probably only covers normal stuff like if it breaks. Not if you leave your kids unsupervised and they GLUE the freaking thing.

So, she calls him and talks to him. Because I'm like a crazy person and there is no way he would have understood what I was saying.

But, it's true. He got the crazy kids warranty. Which covers EVERYTHING you can possibly do to the couch.

So then I burst into tears of relief. As he laughs at me for being so upset about it.

It took two days and three long baths to remove all the glue from Cub. Our couch- is a lost cause.

And those five minutes that I had to myself: SO NOT WORTH IT.

I received information about Clorox’s Bleach It Away campaign and am sharing my messy moment for the chance to win prizes from The SITS Girls. To learn more about the messy moment program, check out www.BleachItAway.com.  Sharing your story on the Clorox fan page gets you entered for the chance to win $25,000 and daily prizes, and you can grab a coupon for Clorox® Regular Bleach.

I'm also linking this to MamaKat's Writer's Workshop

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Way Home DVD Review

Last night, I watched the movie The Way Home, starring Dean Cain.  I still think of him as Superman. *swoon*

Based on a true story, it tells the story of Randy and Christal Simpkins. As they are getting ready to leave for vacation, Christal confronts her husband about spending more time with work than with his family. Supposed to keep an eye on their two year-old, Joe, Randy goes inside the house for just a minute to check his work emails. When the couple goes back outside, Joe is nowhere to be found.

As their search continues and Joe still cannot be found, hundreds of people from the community show up to help search. The movie tells their story of their faith and leads Randy to see what is really important.

I was a little uncomfortable watching this movie. Because it's one of my worst nightmares to have my children disappear.

However, it was inspiring to see the community all come together and pray for their child to be found.

On a night when there wasn't anything on tv, it filled the time. But, it is not a dvd that I will bring out again and again.

I review for BookSneeze

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Toy Story Lil Quad/CSN Review

My boys, particularly my 2 year-old, are Toy Story obsessed.  Buzz! Buzz! He'll yell, every time he sees Buzz Lightyear.

When I was given the opportunity to do a review an item from CSN Stores, with their over 200 stores, which has everything from an ottoman coffee table to yes a Buzz Lightyear potty seat. <---- totally my next purchase. Maybe that will entice my 2 year-old to potty train!

You could browse their site all day since they have over 1 million products. But, I knew that I was going to try to find something Toy Story-related, since I was thinking of a Christmas present for my youngest.

What I found was this Fisher Price Power Wheels Toy Story Lil Quad. The 6 volt battery is included. It's toddler-friendly with push-button operation for simple stop and go. It drives an exciting but gentle 2mph. And I trust the Fisher Price name.

Now, since this is for Christmas, I don't have a picture of my son tooling around on this yet. But, there is a feature of CSN that I want to make sure that you know about. They want your business. And so, if you find a better price on an item, you click on the "seen it for less?" link under the listed price. A form will pop up and you can submit the information for where you found it for less. There is also a number where you can call,, if you'd prefer.

Since I happen to be cheap frugal, I decided to go searching to see if I could find it for less. But, at $79.99, which included shipping, CSN had the best price that I could find!

As you start your Christmas shopping this year, consider checking out CSN Stores!

I received a $75 gift code to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own. And yes, I like to tell people that means that I bought this awesome gift for $4.99.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Put on Your Mommypants for This Week's Blog Friend Feature

I had a major blog crush on this week's Blog Friend Feature from the first time I went to her blog. From her unique title and tagline to her amazing writing, I knew she would be a favorite.  Wow, can she WRITE! There are bloggers and then there are those who are actual writers- and she's a writer. Real and funny, too.

Meet Cheryl of Mommypants.

I want to thank Shell for letting me ramble in her amazing space. I think I “met” Shell when she was the featured blogger for SITS and she is an absolute daily must-read for me.

You can imagine the round-off back-handsprings I turned when Shell asked me to guest post. Actually, I also had to imagine it too because last time I did a cartwheel to show off to my 5 year-old daughter I practically sprained my wrist.

Because I’m old. I’m old, and frankly, having little kids does not keep me young. It ages me more rapidly.

I did not intend to be an older mom. It just happened.

We all set a timeline for ourselves when we’re young, don’t we? We’ll meet Mr. Right at a certain age, we’ll get engaged, get married and have babies. In my case, that was all supposed to be accomplished before age 30.

And when I reached that magical age, I was single. And when I say single, I mean I hadn’t had a date in a couple years. I was like a camel in the Sahara, trudging along, looking for an oasis but seeing only miles and miles of sand.

I’m not quite sure what that means. Other than I had absolutely no prospects. To the point where my mother told me she’d given up on having grandkids. Thanks for the support, Mom! Apparently my unused eggs were rotting into a sulphuric mess in my ovaries while I galavanted around the country pursuing my career.


Then I met David. We got married right before my 33rd birthday. My first child was born when I was almost 35 and he was 38. We had our second less than two years later.

I then spent my 40th birthday pregnant with our third. When the baby was a few months old, I sat with him at our neighborhood pool and chatted with my (younger) friend. To whom I said, “When Xander is my age? I will be 80!!”

Eighty. The thought is truly bizarre.

In that way, I envy my younger friends who have kids the same ages as mine. Not that anything is guaranteed, but they will likely have the chance to see more of their kids’ lives. They might even be at their grandkids’ weddings or welcome a great-grandchild.

I see young, active grandparents and know that if our kids wait as long as we did to start a family? We probably won’t be able to enjoy the grandkids as much as we’d want.

Could we watch them at night so their parents could get a much-needed break? Could we take them for the weekend? Or will it be just too much for us by then?

I have done two marathons and two half-marathons and still get up at 5:30 a.m. to run with my friends. It’s not because I’m insane. It’s because I owe it to my kids to be as healthy and active as possible for as long as I can.

It’s not THEIR fault they got older parents.

But they also got parents who have LIVED. I’ve been on my own since I was 21. I’ve had a successful career as a journalist. I’ve moved - by myself - six times to different parts of the country. I’ve lived in New York City, something we should all do once. Been to Europe three times.

I’ve had other relationships. I’ve lost a parent.

So what I might lack in energy I make up for in experience.

Thankfully, love has no age limits.

Also? I promise not to tell my kids they’d better give me grandchildren before I’m dead. I mean, no pressure, guys!

It does sound like she has LIVED! Maybe that's why she has such a clear voice in her writing. Please leave her some comment love here and then go follow her fabulous blog if you don't already!


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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pour Your Heart Out: A Glass of Helplessness

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.

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 had a parent-teacher meeting at Bear's preschool last week, with both his teacher and the director of the school. I was still trying to process everything and deal with it all before I poured anything out.

My Bear(4) is my child that I worry the most about.  He has some learning issues due to some health concerns. And while the progress he has made in the past year is AMAZING, he is still well behind kids his age. If you want to read more about some of what we have gone through with him, you can click on the "Bear" label at the bottom of this post.

Last year, he had a very limited vocabulary. Most worrying was that you could talk to him and it was like he couldn't hear you. Not a hearing problem- whisper the word "chocolate" across the room from him and he would come running. But, he often wouldn't respond when you would try to talk to him. It was different than a child choosing not to listen to Mom- it was like he COULDN'T, not a choice.

And then it started to get better. Where he would respond and we rejoiced. But, often, his response didn't match up to what you were saying. He knew he was supposed to respond, but didn't know how to respond in what we think of as in a "normal" way, so he would tell you something completely different from what you were expecting.

His vocabulary has really grown in the past year.  And he is getting better with appropriate responses.

But, he still isn't where he needs to be. And this causes major frustration for him.

We had him evaluated in the spring and he falls into the range that made me groan in disappointment when I was a teacher: below average but not low enough to qualify for any sort of additional help/therapy.

Though, in gross motor skills, he tests 2-3 years above his age. We are not surprised in the least by this.

His evaluation team was shocked by the results, as they thought that they were going to be working with him. But, they had to go by the test results. One of them said that it's something that's hard to put your finger on, but when you are talking to him, something just seems "off."

He had a PHENOMENAL preschool teacher last year. Honestly, I don't think it's possible to find someone better for him. Unfortunately, we had to move and that school is now over an hour from our house. I so wanted him to have that teacher again. I thought of every scenerio where he could still go to that school- but it just wasn't possible.

So, I researched schools near us and enrolled him in the one that I thought would be best for him.  Five days a week, for 3 hours each day, with some days allowing him to stay for an extra hour for Lunch Bunch, which he loves.

Next year, when he starts kindergarten, he will be in full-day kindergarten. So, I figured we needed to get him ready and that the routine would be good for him.

But, his teacher doesn't feel like he's ready. That maybe it is too much for him. She has a bigger class than what he is used to, so he's not getting the one-on-one that he needs. And she doesn't have the time to draw out the appropriate answers from him when she asks him questions. But, again, we're thinking towards kindergarten where he will go to the school where my oldest is- and there are TWENTY-EIGHT kids in his kindergarten class. So yes, the 10 in his preschool this year is more than the 4 in his class last year, but it's nothing compared to what is coming up next year.

Last week, he got so frustrated with the classroom and not being understood(this is the teacher's reasoning behind it), that he actually bit another child.



This is NOT something that is in his character. He DID used to bite back when he was 2 and couldn't say more than a handful of words. But, it has not been an issue in close to 2 years now.

He's usually the child who will hug or kiss a friend and want to sit in an adult's lap.

I wanted to cry in that conference because I didn't know what to say or do to help. I still don't know.

What we are trying for the time being is to have him go to school only 3 days a week. See if maybe giving him a little bit of a break works.  And I am going to really focus on some structured activities with him when he is home those days.

I don't know if this is the right decision at all. I don't know if it would be better to keep him going five days. Or if I should try to magically find the money to pay for additional help for him. Or find him a different school. I just don't know.

But, my heart is aching for him. For my sweet child, who is struggling. For my little boy, who isn't always understood. I feel helpless.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Like Being a Politician's Wife: Oh No, He Didn't!

When your husband is in sales, it means that you have a role similiar to that of a politician's wife.

A lot of smiling and nodding.

Hubs can be very charming when he wants to be. He definitely has the personality of a salesman.  He can get along with anyone.

This past Saturday, he and I were at a festival and he ran into one of his clients. Who might have had a tiny little bit of blood left in his alcohol stream a drink or two.

When he stopped to talk to Hubs, he joked that he would have only said hi and kept going if Hubs's wife was ugly. But, since she(me) was hot, he'd stay and talk.

Oh no, he didn't!

But, I just laughed along and let them talk.

This guy lived right in town where the festival was being held and Hubs asked him if there were people parked in his lawn.

Drunk guy The client said yes, of course there were. Hubs jokingly asked if he was charging for that.

"No. And you could have parked there for free because you have a hot wife. Would have been $100 if she was some big fat bitch."

Oh no, he didn't!

Instead of kicking him in the balls or at least spilling a drink all over him, I laughed. Because that is what you do when you are the wife of a salesman.

Sadly, the meme Oh No, He Didn't over at Live and Love Outloud is being retired today. But, @tweetingmama is encouraging someone to take it up and run with it- and I hope someone does!


Monday, October 11, 2010

A Romance Grows

How to describe what happened next?

Was their next meeting every bit as magical as their first?

It was. And more.

Every time she thought of him, she smiled. And she thought of him often.

Her days took on a new routine. Previously, she had been staying after school for about four hours every night to work on her lesson plans and correct papers. Now, she would only stay for two and take papers home with her- that might or might not get corrected that night, to give her enough time to be home when he would get off work.

Well, when he would usually get off work. He was a marine, after all, and he didn't have normal hours. But, in the event that he actually was able to finish work at the expected time, she wanted to be home when he called. And he always called the second that he got off work. When he was running late, he called her from work if he could. She could hear the guys from his shop in the background, making fun of him.

It was the only time they could get away with it. Since no one, no one, messed with him.

They spent as much time together as they could. They went out almost every weeknight. And, when her apartment was repaired from the hurricane damage about two weeks later, he stayed with her every weekend.

They shared their dreams and their pasts. He shared how, where he came from, no one expected any of those kids to become anything. The only reason he got out was because he earned a baseball scholarship to a private high school. That if he had stayed in the inner city school he was in, he might never have even graduated.  He confided in her how he had tried out for a few professional baseball teams. And then his eventual decision to join the Marine Corps.  And how he couldn't wait to get out the next summer.

She shared how she'd always dreamed of starting over somewhere where no one knew her. Of making a difference in her students' lives. 

They could talk about the important and the mundane. They never ran out of words.

And they couldn't stop touching each other. They held hands while he drove. While they ate. He walked with his arm around her.  And then there were their nights together....

In a town with a crazy ratio of males-to-females, she couldn't even see anyone one else.  No one existed except for him. And if anyone else should dare to try to flirt with her or ask her out, she would glare and shoot them down. Couldn't they see that she was taken? That no one could ever measure up to him?

They had to spend their first weekend apart when her mother and brother came to visit.  Though they could still spend their days together, they had to separate at night.

She cried the first night. It had been a week since she'd been able to fall asleep in his arms and would be another week until she could do so again. It felt like too much. She needed him. She felt a physical pain in her heart, being away from him.

Though he spent the next day with her family, when it was time for them to separate, she wanted to cry.  She'd not had any doubts about him since he came back from being out in the field two months before. Because they were always together. There was no way that he could possibly be seeing anyone else. There wasn't any time.

But, they had never officially said that they wouldn't date anyone else. She felt like it was implied. But, was it really? It was too soon to talk about that, wasn't it? She didn't know. She didn't have much experience with these sorts of things.

What had he done the night before? What would he do that night? Maybe he would realize that there are other girls out there. Maybe he had gone out with one of them the previous night. Maybe he would go out with her again that night. Or maybe it would be a different girl.

But then, he pulled her close. As close as he could. Those arms of his wrapped around her, as if he were leaving for a deployment, instead of just for the night.

She felt reassured. But, wanted him to stay. Or wanted to go with him. Instead, her brother went with him. Much more fun for him to go hang out with the guys at the barracks than to stay at her place with her and her mom.

Her mother didn't help that night. She told her daughter that while he seemed nice, intelligent, and obviously very good-looking, why was he with her? She shouldn't count on him sticking around for very long. Someone else would come along, some girl who was better looking than she was would catch his eye and he would be gone.

She was crushed. Wasn't that her fear?

Her mother went to sleep and she stayed up, mindlessly watching tv. And thinking that at least her brother was with him, so there wouldn't be another girl that night.

It was past midnight when her phone rang.

"Come stay with me tonight. I hate not getting to fall asleep with you in my arms."

She debated.

But, not for very long.

She drove on base and practically ran to his room. She literally ran into him on the steps, as he was coming down to meet her.

As he pulled her into his arms, he professed for the first time, "I love you. I love you so much."

And she knew. Right then. This was real.

If you want to read more of my story, you can start with when I decided to move somewhere where I knew no one,  when the hurricanes came, and then the love story starts with a first meeting, and then wondering if it was all a mistake. Yes, I realize that it's obnoxious to talk about myself in third person, but this all happened so long ago that it seems like it happened to a different person.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Gevalia Prize Pack Giveaway and Royal Vinter Review

It's finally starting to cool down here in the South. Particularly in the mornings.

When I'm forced out of bed at an early hour to start getting my children ready for school, I want to wrap up in my robe and have something warm to drink.

If you are anything like me, this is a great giveaway for you!

Gevalia's Royal Vinter and Royal Vinter Spice coffees are available only in the winter in limited quantities.

I tried both varieties. The Royal Vinter has floral and caramel flavors with berry undertones. The Royal Vinter Spice is blended with a touch of sweet vanilla, cinnamon, and clove flavors. Both were full of flavor. If I had to pick a favorite, I would have to say the Royal Vinter Spice just because I'm a sucker for vanilla.

It is available in whole bean, ground, decaf, and regular. $8.95 per 1/2 lb Reg, $9.75 per 1/2 lb Decaf.

The giveaway not only includes both coffees, but is a very nice prize package. If you are not a coffee drinker, think of what a great Christmas present this could be for someone! It's amazing just how quickly Christmas will be here!

One winner will receive:
*1 Box Royal Vinter
*1 Box Royal Vinter Spice
*1 pack of Gevalia coffee filters
*1 pack of Gevalia coffee cleaner
*Set of 2 Brabantia canisters
*Set of 4 Guggenheim mugs
*Gevalia Robe

Giveaway rules: Mandatory entry must be completed in order for your additional entries to count.  If your email is not in your profile, you must leave it with your comment. Winner will announced on this post and be emailed. Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected. US Only. Giveaway will end at 9pm EST on 10/15.

Mandatory Entry: Visit Gevalia and tell me another product you would like to try.
Additional Entries:
*Tell me one way that you follow Things I Can't Say(GFC, email subscription, twitter, or facebook): only 1 entry total
*Follow Gevalia on twitter
*Like Gevalia on facebook
*Tweet this giveaway(may be done once per day- leave the link to your tweet each time that you tweet): #Win @gevalia #giveaway including 2 coffees, canisters, mugs, robe & more from @shellthings ends 10/15 http://bit.ly/9lrPWo

I was sent these coffees to try.  All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.

This giveaway is now closed. The winner is #184 Emma_peel. Winner will be emailed and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Thank you to all who entered. Look for new giveaways coming soon.

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