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You Are an Underdog Who Will Win a Writing Contest – In Bed

I was trying to come up with a title that would combine three separate things… It was supposed to sound like a fortune cookie with that “in bed” ending – but I have to admit…it’s pretty pathetic.

So I’ll get to the point.

First – one of my Materialistic Monday posts on beds is featured on myilive’s Local Days blog today. So go check it out!

Second – I thought I’d let you know that myilive is currently running a $1,200 DC shopping contest. You just have to write about your worst shopping experience in 200 words or less. This is open to anyone – so you don’t need a blog (and I don’t think you have to be a DC resident – but living in the area would probably facilitate the shopping spree…) Visit myilive for details!

Third – I’m having blogger’s remorse over my Underdogs Unite website. It was supposed to be ironic (Hang on! I’m being ironic and featuring pictures of an old school cartoon character…does this make me a hipster? What do you think Prada?), but I was also serious about hearing from other Underdogs and featuring them. Since no one has sent me any requests in 24 hours, I’m probably just going to take it offline and file it under, “we will never speak of this again.” So if I don’t hear from anyone in a week, Underdog will officially leave the building. No idea what I’m talking about? Read this.

Other than that, my week is off to a lovely start with a birthday (Oliver turned four yesterday) and a lot of vomit. Eleanor is sick. So I’ll report more on that tomorrow. Which means there will be a token picture of Oliver in his birthday crown, and 1,000+ words devoted to puke. Because seriously – I know what the people want.

Something Cleverish

Many of you may remember the Nie Nie Auctions that were held to raise money for Stephanie Nielson and her family. These fundraisers have continued in the form of concerts, ski events and the like. Even books.

Sue from Navel Gazing at It’s Finest had the idea of putting together a book full of funny blog posts to raise money for the NieNie Recovery fund. She asked for bloggers to submit posts and I’m excited to report that one of mine made the cut!

Sue says:

“The Something Cleverish book features posts from forty-three funny bloggers – all for one great cause. We even managed to rope in a few celebrity submissions from Finslippy, Eric D. Snider, Rocks in My Dryer, Big Mama, Sweetney, Daring Young Mom, TAMN and more. (You can find a list of all of the bloggers included in the book here.)”

All proceeds go directly to the NieNie Recovery fund. Books can be purchased as either paperbacks or downloads. And if you’d like to add the button to your own site, you can pick up the html code from Sue’s post about the book.

Big thanks go to Sue for all of her work on this project. She’s one of the good ones.

Cat Poo (The Beginning of The Big Piece of Cake: Part III)

Tuesday was my 100th post. I’m celebrating by not actually writing anything new this week, and instead, re-publishing some posts that I wrote for a friend last Winter. This is the last of three.

My oldest son, Oliver, has been somewhat slow to get with the talking program. While his vocabulary increases steadily, it’s often hard to understand what he’s saying. For example, it took days to identify “ca-pour” as catapillar. Who knows how much of what he says is lost on us.

One word that features prominently in his daily chit chat is “careful.” (Gee, I wonder where that one came from…) Sometimes it’s directed at his siblings and sometimes it’s just a note to self as he tries something that he knows I would discourage. But it took us a while to understand that what he was saying was “careful.” It doesn’t sound like “careful.” It sounds like “cat poo.” Chris and I love this so much that we now say it all the time. As I’m climbing up a window sill to pull down a Christmas wreath: “CAT POO!” As Chris balances on a banister to retrieve a balloon from the ceiling over the stairs: “CAT POO!” We really need to stop, or Oliver is going to think that this is the true pronunciation (and the twins will show up at daycare telling each other to be cat poo).

Every day offers the challenge of deciphering words in the scramble of Oliver’s language. Another current highlight is “get out” (as in get him out of the booster seat, the shopping cart, the fort of pillows under which he is trapped…). This registers phonetically as “gay out.” We have had hours of fun with that one. But one that has really made us stop in our tracks, is the word “frog” (his current favorite animal). When Oliver yells “FROG,” it sounds a little more like “FOG,” which when pronounced with a particularly hard “G” is unnervingly similar to something else….

Out of Context (The Beginning of The Big Piece of Cake: Part II)

Tuesday was my 100th post. I’m celebrating by not actually writing anything new this week, and instead, re-publishing some posts that I wrote for a friend last Winter. This is the second of three.

Recently another twin mom I know mentioned that she saw me out shopping and tried to wave, but realized that I didn’t recognize her. She kindly suggested that she was out of context since we really only see each other at playgroups, and we didn’t have our kids with us. Then she laughingly said, “and I generally feel out of context when I’m not with my kids.” She is wonderful and I hate to use her comment as a negative example; but the truth is I never want to feel out of context without my children.

It would be so easy to just drift into the ongoing whirlpool of need that they generate. I could lose myself in that quite happily given the rewarding existence of being loved more than anyone by children who are for me, the bright, shining center of the universe. But then I remind myself that Eleanor won’t feel out of context without me when she starts high school, and then college, and then goes to Cancún for Spring Break, and then gets a beach house for the summer with her friends. I can’t lose myself in my children now, because I’ll be needing that identity back when they leave me to find theirs.

I’ve increasingly found that a major element of my motherhood experience is being both a mom and just me at the same time. “Just me,” being the side of me that watches me deal with melt downs and tantrums and dance with the Wiggles and walk out of the house wearing unflattering clothes because I’m in a hurry and I’m just going to the Safeway and I don’t have time to indulge in a wardrobe crisis. It’s the objective side of me that does the laughing and the storytelling and remembers to notice every detail of George’s 14-month-old smile because his face will have changed again by the time he turns two. The mother in me focuses on what needs to be done and really lives in the moment. I need her to take care of my children, but I also need that observer in me to appreciate them. And if I need to have “just me” to laugh about their daily antics now, I’m going to need that same part of myself to help let them go when they inevitably start to grow up.

Full Hands (The Beginning of The Big Piece of Cake: Part I)

Today is my 100th post. Considering the fact that I started this blog in late June, that seems to have crept up on me rather quickly… What can I say, I’m an enthusiastic poster. To celebrate this milestone, I decided to devote the next few days to the first posts I ever wrote.

They were written last Winter when The Big Piece of Cake didn’t exist, and my neighborhood friend Tricia, ask me to contribute some guest posts as a mother of twins to her blog, Reston Mom. I enjoyed this so much that after several months spent mustering up the courage, I decided to start my own blog.

This is the first of the three pieces I wrote for Tricia (this first one was broken in to three parts for Reston Mom, so it’s longer than the next two):

Full Hands

Recently, Tricia asked me if I’d be interested in contributing to her blog with some reflections on being the mother of twins plus a first child that was only 18 months old when they were born. This is a question that I get all the time: “So you must really have your hands full – how do you manage?” The answer to this would be that I have no idea. People say, “I just don’t know how you do it,” and I think, “me neither.” As my husband, Chris likes to say, we’re just trying to survive and our only real job right now is to keep the three of them alive.

Now that we’re out of the marathon phase of three-hour feeding schedules for infant twins (including three to four wake up calls each night), I think we can get past survival mode. Newer priorities include herding, refereeing, and keeping anything weapon-like out of reach. They’re not violent children – just very physical. The oldest probably sets the tone by initiating games that tend to involve knocking each other down on the floor and seeing who can hold the others down the longest (and as a 40 lb. two year old that looks like a 4 year old, he has a gross advantage over the other two pee wees combined). Honestly, after about six months of feeling like I ruined Oliver’s life by bringing home not one, but TWO unwanted siblings, I’m just glad that they all seem to like each other.

I just never considered that I might end up with twins. I knew twins and I babysat for twins. I listened to my friends muse that it would be so nice to just have twins the first time around and then be done with pregnancy. But I never had those daydreams myself. I always knew that this would be too much chaos for my orderly existence. When Oliver was born, I couldn’t believe how exhausting and all consuming he was; and I have a very clear memory of saying to Chris, “I don’t know how people have multiples – I just couldn’t do it.” But here we are, and somehow we’re all alive, and I find that I don’t need to have everything in order anymore.

It’s impossible to predict what a weekend day at home with the kids will bring: how many battles of will I can expect, what moods I will encounter when I enter their bedrooms in the morning, who will have a runny nose, or when they will actually start the day (it could be anywhere from 5:00 to 7:30 a.m.). What I do know is that I will have a pile of laundry that will never be completely folded until everyone goes to bed, that I will never get around to that vacuuming that needs to be done and that I will very possibly not even leave the house or put on shoes. But I also know that I will witness a developmental leap in speech or motor skills, I’ll receive innumerable hugs and kisses, both requested and offered, and I will discover yet another amazing skill that I didn’t know I possessed, such as fixing matchbox cars or leaping over hurdles Bionic Woman-style to reach a 2 year old attempting to push his little brother down the stairs (all in good fun of course).

The truth is – everything about my twins was unplanned. I’m one of those controlling types that prefer to keep things logical and organized. I knew for a fact that I wanted a three to four year age difference between my (two) children so that I could get the first one out of diapers, into pre-school and engaged in some kind of intelligible communication before embarking on another round of sleepless nights with a second newborn. Well that didn’t work out. Instead, we ended up with three babies under the age of two, all in diapers, in daycare, and nowhere near the ability to communicate clearly with words.

Life was simple with just one baby. There was always one answer for everything: whatever is best for him. If there was an earthquake and a giant crack opened up in the ground, I could pick him up and run in the other direction. Now I’d need to get the stroller, strap in both twins securely and then convince Oliver to actually hold on to me while I carry him and push the stroller with my free hand. At this point, we’ve all been consumed by the giant crack; and trying to climb out with all three of them is beyond even my disaster planning skills.

I spend less time making future plans now (and forget disaster planning, I can’t even watch movies like War of the Worlds). Instead I focus on the next few weeks, days, hours. I’ve found that no one is on board with my preference for sticking to a plan (not even my husband), so I’ve given up. I just do the best I can to keep things organized and try to be ready for anything. But then – isn’t that the case for all families?

10 Things People Love to Give Kids/10 Things Parents Wish You Wouldn’t Give Their Kids

If you didn’t catch my guest post at Light Refreshments Served on Friday, here it is below (but I still suggest that you visit LRS – they are very funny even if you don’t understand all of the Mormon references):

10 Things People Love to Give Kids/10 Things Parents Wish You Wouldn’t Give Their Kids

Balloons
Almost every visit to Trader Joe’s is accompanied by a meltdown, typically occurring at some point after the complimentary balloon is presented to your child. This can happen in the parking lot when the balloon slips out of his/her grasp and floats away. It can happen when you arrive home and the rest of your children want to play with the balloon. It can happen when it ascends to the top of a stairwell where parents risk breaking their necks in any attempt to retrieve it. There are limitless possibilities – and all seem to end in heartbreak.

Musical Instruments
This always sounds like such a wonderful idea. Who doesn’t love music? It’s inspiring, it’s creative, it’s a window into culture and genius, and some think it actually brings us closer to God. But when a child is banging a drum, blowing a horn or strumming a ukulele, it’s not music. It’s just noise. Migraine inducing noise.

100 Piece Puzzles
First of all, this 100 piece puzzle is usually presented to a six year old who has no hope of being able to start, let alone finish the activity. So the parent is required to coordinate, monitor and execute the entire process. Usually while the child is watching TV. This basically makes the puzzle a gift for the parent. Please don’t ever buy me a 100 piece puzzle.

Toys That Involve Assembly
Everything looks fabulously entertaining and educational on a box cover where well dressed children are pictured laughing and exclaiming over their love for the miraculous toy. What isn’t pictured is the reality of 750 tiny pieces of plastic and 50 pages of directions that can only be read with the use of a microscope. Much like the puzzle activity, assembly of the toy will require up to 24 hours of the parent’s time. Time that the child will most likely spend watching TV.

Toys That Require Batteries
Oh, I know. You always buy the necessary batteries and include them in the gift. That’s irrelevant. The problem is not purchasing the batteries, it’s inserting them. Most toys developed for children include child proof battery covers. Initially, this makes complete sense – I mean, I can’t imagine what might happen if one of my children was able to dislodge a battery and put it in their mouth. Oh wait – that’s right – it happens every day with our TV remote control. Anyway…in order to get the battery into the toy, you must first locate a special screwdriver made for very tiny people and remove about 25 miniscule screws. Even though we own one of these Lilliputian tool sets, it seems to disappear whenever I need it (or maybe I just can’t see it since it’s so small). The fun really peaks when you are done replacing all 25 screws and the toy still doesn’t work.

Toys That Include Tiny Accessories
How many times have you found yourself tearing a room apart looking for a Barbie shoe, a Star Wars action figure’s light saber or another essential component to a toy’s wardrobe or function? These itty bitty necessities are impossible to keep track of and disappear within days of removing the toy from its packaging. It is my belief that these items are sucked into the same vortex that abducts my sunglasses, nail files, pool ID card and car keys. Some items escape and are eventually located. Others are never recovered. Sometimes I suspect that my son may have eaten them.

Toys That Go With Other Toys That Must Be Purchased to Complete the Set
Why do people insist on committing parents to spending more money on yet another collection? Maybe my children don’t like Thomas the Tank Engine. In that case, I won’t feel compelled to add to the gift of a new “Percy” or “Emily” with more engines and “Troublesome Trucks” to complete the set. OR MAYBE my children will become addicted to these little trains that usually cost about $12 apiece. Which scenario seems more likely?

Toys That Involve Science Experiments
I’d like to say that this doesn’t require any further explanation, but just for the sake of argument… “Learning toys” are extremely popular right now. So one could assume that an older child would really like a do-it-yourself volcano kit. The reality is that parents don’t want a volcano in their house. It’s like, one of the perks of living in suburban America. We enjoy our lava-free lifestyle. Besides – Hollywood has raised the bar in the wonder department with all of the special effects our kids see in movies. It’s unlikely that they will be impressed by a homemade volcano. Parents will have plenty of time to do science experiments for school projects. Let them enjoy their homework-free time without any volcano construction.

Different Toys for Multiple Children
Without fail, someone will always prefer what someone else got. Usually, there will be a correct guess for what one child will like, but it’s very hard to hit multiple home runs… With the little ones, there are tears and with the older ones there is sulking. It’s not that they are ungrateful – they are just children. And they don’t understand how you could be so stupid to give their older brother a Swiss Army knife, yet think that they would like a handmade corn husk doll from Amish country. I mean – it doesn’t even come with plastic shoes – or a light saber.

Identical Toys for Multiple Children
This sounds like a good idea. Total equality, no fighting over who got something better or more expensive – it’s like Communism at its best. But children don’t believe in equality. They will always find the flaw to point out to the youngest sibling: “Your Barbie’s hair isn’t as thick as my Barbie’s hair,” or “my racecar is faster than yours.” Sometimes they use imagination to contrive even more unlikely comparisons: “My robot is smarter than your robot,” or “my Barbie is really a princess, and a fairy, AND a mermaid…but yours is just a Barbie.” Kids can be so cruel.

“But,” you say, “I just wanted to do something nice. Won’t the parents at least appreciate the gesture?” Well…there isn’t a good answer for this. In a perfect world, I would say yes. Yes, parents appreciate anything you do to acknowledge their children. Why wouldn’t we? But we just don’t enjoy all of the complications that these unsolicited gestures can create.

While presents are expected at birthday parties, they are not otherwise necessary. If you want to do something nice for a child, just talk to them. Take an interest in their activities, let them show you around their playroom, engage in 15 minutes of playing “grocery store” or throwing around a football. Kids will always appreciate attention more than things. And if you feel that you absolutely must present them with something, make it something that you can actually do with them. Except for a do-it-yourself volcano. If you bring one of those to my house, you will never be invited back.

Friday Confession and Guest Post

For my last confession of the week, I thought I’d go with something embarrassing. So here it is. I was a very weird little girl. I loved anything “old fashioned” and felt as if I was born in the wrong century. I desperately wanted to wear high button shoes and carry a parasol.

I had a Madame Alexander doll that I particularly liked (probably Amy from Little Women with her blond hair and yellow pinafore) and I went through a phase when I would drag it everywhere with me. And I was not that little – I think I was nine! But by then I had read A Little Princess something like nine times and was enamored with Sara Crewe’s doll that had a wardrobe to match her own (I only WISHED that I had a yellow pinafore…).

I also used to like my grade school uniform because I thought it kind of looked like something old fashioned. It really didn’t, but it was a plaid jumper, and that seemed close enough. I even wore it in the summer without a shirt underneath. Like some kind of bizarre sundress. Never mind that it was a hideous polyester. I thought the two buttons at the waist were very smart looking. My best friend at the time didn’t know what to make of this. But as long as I participated in her horse-obsessed game preferences, she was willing to put up with it.

Finally – I think I read the Little House series even more than A Little Princess, and would memorize the details of what Laura and Mary wore, how they did their hair (I was big on braids back then) and could only wish that someone would invite me to a taffy pull. During this time, I tried to emulate some of these quaint practices and insisted on calling my parents “Ma and Pa.” They humored me, but I can only imagine what they really thought of this. My brother flatly refused to join in, and much to my disappointment, it never really caught on.

Sometime in seventh grade, I stopped being such a dork and became a bit more mainstream in my interests. But I still had to live with the shameful memory of wandering around downtown DC wearing one of my odd get ups – most likely involving a hat – possibly garnished with fresh flowers from a neighbor’s garden.

That’s it! No more confessions from me for a while (but feel free to add any of your own). And don’t forget – I’m guest posting on Light Refreshments Served today (Friday, August 1), so make sure to check it out!

First Month Wrap Up: Perverts and Haters and Mormons – Oh My!

Well I’ve been blogging for a little over a month now – so I thought I’d do a write up on the experience.

First – I am proud to announce that even with a post titled Peeping Toms and Sex Perverts in Thailand, I still haven’t gotten all that many creepy key word searches. In fact, most seem to be cake-related. Which makes me feel bad because I kind of gave up on working in any cake-related content to accompany my metaphor… So my apologies to those people who got here thinking that I had fabulous recipes on offer.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t get some weird ones… I still wince when I think about that “how big is a piece of poop” search I mentioned in the post referenced above. And there was also a very suspicious one for “big peince” that seems to have originated in Thailand. Something tells me they weren’t looking for cake. I also still get a lot of Darth Vader searches (sorry Star Wars fans). But my personal favorite from yesterday was “a famous mom blogger funny.” Really? After just a month? I’m now famous? Not quite. I clicked on the link to see what Google listed and – surprise – I’m not there. BUT Meghan, the creator of one of my favorite sites, AllMediocre was at the top of the list. So that was nice (you know – in a really happy for you – maybe I’ll live vicariously through you kind of way).

I also got to experience my first round of hate mail comments. Who knew that writing about how you don’t like driving a big car would make people so angry. I don’t get THAT many comments – so I’m really only talking about a handful of haters. But still, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t sting a little.

I would like to commend Mr. T in DC for providing an opinion, but stating it without actual venom. It made me want to read what he said and think about it – not flinch as if someone had slapped me. I said it before and I’ll say it again, “there aren’t enough Mr. T in DCs out there…” Anonymous – you know how I feel about you, but I won’t stoop to your level of meanness.

And I’d like to take this opportunity to point out to the people that say “my parents had three children and never needed such a big car,” that your parents were raising children when car seats were removed once a child could sit up on their own, and the “way back” was considered an area for additional seating. Until you try to jam three car seats across the back seat of a sedan or smaller SUV (or a “station wagon” no less), please refer to Mr. T in DC’s comment for more realistic alternatives to suggest.

Really – it’s been great aside from the few assaults on my pornaphobic sensibilities and tender feelings. Feelings that are still a little hurt, by the way. As Rizzo from Grease said when she sang, There are Worse things I Could Do, “I can feel and I can cry – a fact I bet you never knew.” Okay – that’s not actually true – I’m over it. But I really like to quote musicals. Just ask my husband (I’ll have to write a post on that…)

The better moments have included getting crucified by my friends for thinking mommyhole.com was a harmless sounding domain name, learning how to do domain name searches as a form of entertainment (you play solitaire – I search domain names), crucifying my husband (payback for the mommyhole debacle) for being a creative slob, visiting my parents in Key West, drinking too much wine and not dancing responsibly, taking pictures of my son’s Star Wars underwear, and getting to tell off my friend’s ex-boyfriend Mayank online.

But my FAVORITE blog-related experience to date? Meeting the funny Mormons of course! I thought I was writing a post that only my other friends that didn’t know any Mormons would read, and to direct them to a Kacy‘s wonderfully funny blog, Every Day I Write the Book. It never occurred to me that Kacy would COMMENT. I literally shrieked like a teenage girl when I saw it (and I wasn’t one for shrieking when I WAS a teenager). It was both hilarious and horrifying at the same time. I quickly got over my embarrassment though since all of the comments that I got from Mormons (particularly Kacy, Rachel, Vern, Lisa and Bek) were incredibly warm and gracious. And informative – did you know that Jon Heder is Mormon and that there are all kinds of jokes in Napoleon Dynamite that only Mormons get? ME NEITHER!

Anyway – not only have I found some new online friends in the Mormon community, I’ve also been invited to guest post on Light Refreshments Served. I was instructed to keep it clean for the nice ladies that read it. And after slashing all of the curse words and pornographic imagery, I was able to come up with something that I think everyone can enjoy. I’ll be featured next Friday, August 1 – so put it on your calendar. And I’ll post a reminder next week.

So – 31 days….it’s hard to believe. It feels more like 40. Well – here’s to 40 (or 4,000) more! Thanks for reading me and COMMENT so I can read you too!

Hip Young Girls, Other Mothers and of Course, Mormons

I’ve had a few pleasant surprises over the past couple of days. All related to other blogs that I read and enjoy regularly. I’ll tell you about them in the order that they occurred.

First of all, I must admit that I didn’t completely adhere to the “no internet activity not related to work” restriction that I placed on myself for Wednesday. No – I’m too addicted. I wrote most of my Wednesday post in the morning when George woke up at FIVE A.M. None of my kids have been known for their good sleeping habits – but it’s been a while since I’ve been up quite that early… Anyway, he wanted out of the cage and would not be ignored. So he played with toys and I played on the computer until the rest of them woke up. Then on my lunch break – I finished the post and visited my bookmarked favorites. Normally I’d say that what someone does on her lunch break is nobody’s business but her own – but one of you actually busted me in comments. So I felt a confession was necessary.

The first pleasant surprise that I had as a result of my addiction to the internet was that I was “quoted” on one of my favorite blogs, Daddy Likey. Daddy Likey is written by a woman in Oregon. I have no idea how old she is, but my guess is that she’s a lot younger than me. She is definitely less suburban than me. I was going to say “hipper than me” or “cooler than me,” but that makes me sound like a thirty-something suburban mom – oh wait I AM a thirty-something suburban mom…So she’s definitely hipper AND cooler than me. I was thinking of how to describe her site – but here’s a better idea. Her profile says, “Daddy Likey is a blog about fashion. But sometimes I write haiku about chlamydia.” How can you not want to read that? And if you’re not sold yet, she lists her interests as “giant aviators, as in sunglasses – not large pilots.” Anyway, I just randomly commented on something she wrote and she posted it as “comment of the week.” Huge honor – and kind of makes me feel little more hip and/or cool.

Then I saw that one of my new AllMediocre friends, But Why Mommy gave me this little blogging award:

I’m not entirely sure what “Brillante Weblog – Premio-2008” means, but I’m taking it as a compliment and a warm welcome to the AllMediocre group. But Why Mommy is one of the many blogs created by women who once spent their day dealing with difficult clients at work, and now spend their day dealing with even more difficult clients at home (actually, “boss” may be a more accurate label than “client”). One thing I like about this mom blogger is that she’s creative and keeps an Etsy storefront called Renee Designs. I love that she makes time to keep something for herself (a topic that I’d like to write about on another day) even though her official job is taking care of her family.

The rules of this award are that you are supposed to:

  1. Put the logo on your blog,
  2. Add a link to the person who nominated you,
  3. Nominate 7 more bloggers.

This is a little challenging since I have no idea if anyone I nominate has already gotten one of these…kind of like chain letters you know. Here is my list (in no particular order):

Anastasia from The Gift. I love that she has challenged herself to write every day no matter how uninspired she feels. As a working mother who also puts 100% of herself into the time she spends with her children, she has very little me time. I’m so glad that she chooses to spend that time writing “for me.”

Tricia from Reston Mom. The research and thought that she puts into parenting and then writing about parenting can be a little intimidating sometimes. One would think that she’s perfect (which to me is just another word for boring). But as her neighbor, I know that she’s a lovely person AND not afraid to put her flaws on display. I think she’s now up to her fifth post of Mama Exposed (although I think my favorite was when she posted pictures of the mildew in her shower – now THAT I can relate to).

Linda from Monkey Business. Linda happens to be another neighbor of mine. She is a stay at home mom/writer who probably uses every second of her free time writing for Monkey Business, DC Metro Moms and various other parenting-related websites and magazines. She is also working on a book about raising children close in age (her kids are not quite 16 months apart). As a mother of three kids close in age (all born within 1.5 years), I really want LInda to publish that book soon…

Ainsley from Chattahoochee Mama. I just love Ainsley. She was another neighbor (I know – enough with the neighbors already – I promise, this is the last one), but recently moved to Atlanta. Ainsley is yet another Super Mom and she is my inspiration for healthier living and taking time to enjoy the moment. She posts numerous pictures of everyday life with her kids, all expressing her joy in being a mother – a feeling that we tend to forget when we’re rushing from one responsibility to the next. Thanks for the daily reminder Ainsley.

Kacy from Everyday I Write the Book. HELLO! How could I not include this woman. She makes me laugh every day. And while I have never met her in person, I can just tell that she’s a good friend, a great mom and that crazy lady who always keeps things interesting. Oh – and she’s Mormon. As one of my recent commenters said, “Kacy isn’t a Jack-Mormon? Oh my garsh, who’d a thunk it?” (Having spent most of my life on the East Coast, I’m not familiar with this accent allusion. I think it must be a Utah thing, and I’m fairly certain that it’s very funny.)

Anna from An Inch of Gray. I discovered Anna’s blog a few months ago, and I just love her writing. The post that made me want to read more was a beautiful tribute to her mother. I know for a fact that if Anna lived next door, she would be one of my best friends. She’s funny and thoughtful and not afraid to open her heart to strangers. And isn’t that the foundation of this whole blogging thing?

Betsy, Leslie and Sondra from Little Miss Know-It-Alls. I have been lurking this blog for a while. It’s written by three friends, and their relationship and loyalty appeals to me just as much as their funny stories. Betsy in particular always makes me laugh (example). It’s obvious that they are just blogging for themselves and for their friends and family – but I think even random strangers like me can get a kick out of the Know-It-Alls.

Whew! This is getting to be a really long post! So I will keep it short on this last surprise that made my day. If you’ve been reading my blog this week, you will have noticed that I was busted by the Mormons after writing a post about how funny they are (you know – since it was “news to me”). As I don’t personally know anyone that is Mormon, and I’ve been assuming that the five people who read my blog are friends and family in the same boat, it didn’t occur to me that I might possibly offend anyone. Apparently I wasn’t the stealth lurker that I thought I was and I actually commented on some blogs I like that happen to be written by Mormons. And that’s how they found me…and let me know that my anonymity was an illusion.

Luckily, Kacy and her friends understood that I was fully making fun of myself, and have been incredibly gracious about it. In fact – I think I got more hits from Provo that day than any other city. So they even sent me some readers. Here is the exciting part though, they’ve actually extended an invitation to me to write a guest post for Light Refreshments Served. I’m very honored by this since I admire all of the contributing writers and enjoy their posts daily. Though what to write is a bit of a dilemma since this blog has a real community tone and features some more serious discussion along with the funny writing that initially caught my attention. No one knows me, I can’t tell funny stories about Mormon-related topics and I was informed that I can’t be “racy.” It will hard not to come across as frivolous and somewhat random if I just tell a funny story that has nothing to do with the usual topics. And although I’ve never thought that I relied too much on curse words or alcohol and coffee references in my own story telling, for some reason, I’m feeling a little limited… I’ll have to give it some thought – let me know if you have any suggestions.