Tag Archives: Mormons

BlogHer is a lot like…

UPDATE: Seems I’m not quite as funny as I think. I’ve deleted some things that were meant to be humorous but apparently came across as bitchy. So if you’ve already read this – please know that I didn’t mean ANYTHING I’ve written in a negative way. In fact – I wouldn’t mention anyone in these BlogHer posts unless I really did like them very much. Sorry for any misunderstanding.

*Disclaimer: As I’ve mentioned before – this is the first year I’ve attended BlogHer, but in the past, I’ve loved reading all about it. So this will probably be long and possibly annoying to those who didn’t attend. Or maybe not. No idea what I’m going to write yet – you’ll have to be the judge.

Last year, when I read all 1,000 BlogHer posts, I noticed the obvious theme of “BlogHer is just like high school” – and I could totally see that. But I also think that this message was strongly balanced with the sentiment that it’s exactly what you make of it (much like high school in which I made great friends regardless of social hierarchies – much like BlogHer… Just love me some circularity, you know).

But this year, I saw a #blogher tweet from one of my favorite people, Gwen of Not Really that I thought pretty much nailed it:

Seriously – EXACTLY how I felt. Totally displaced on day one, feeling the love on day two and then exhausted on day three. Forget about “what I got out of it“…I was far too preoccupied by the fact that my tired, red eyes wouldn’t stop tearing.

But I’ve always been known by my friends for my ability to rally. So not only did I stay awake as long and as late as possible on Saturday night (in bed by a respectable 2:00 a.m.), I tried very hard to just be in the moment and enjoy the company of whomever was directly in front of me.

So if you feel like rallying (a term originally applied to my willingness to be dragged from my bed and join forays out for late night diner food) for yet another BlogHer post…I’m adding my own to the mix. And it will be long. And include repetitive pictures. And links. A lot of links. This will NOT be lyrical or profound. It will be a blow by blow of my BlogHer 2010 experience.

You say our blog is a “virtual scrapbook” of your children? My blog is a “virtual scrapbook” of my blog. So here we go…


Having shut down activity on all three of my sites until, um…Monday (ooops – guess it’s time to start posting again), I woke at FOUR A.M. to meet up with a group driving to a sponsored train ride from BWI. Of course I was wide awake because if you can’t rally at the beginning of a trip, then you really can’t call yourself much of a rallier (I don’t care what spell check says – it’s a word).

I just wrote several paragraphs on the ride including links to everyone I could think of that even “almost” made eye contact with me – but really that’s link overkill. So let’s just say that I had a great time talking to Amy, Bailey, J.J., Linda Kerr, Linda Rihani, Michele, Roni, Stimey, Sue (and more! If I’ve left you out, let me know and I’ll add you) on the way up to NYC.

After a quick cab ride to the Hilton, I checked my bag, saw some familiar faces in the lobby, and then ran out to meet my non-blogging friend Nancy for lunch. Nancy, like my other non-blogging friends, thinks I’m a blog superstar and wonders when I’ll be getting that book deal. I KNOW Nancy – that’s what all 50 of my regular readers think…

Then I helped stuff bags for the CraziBeautiful party that I planned to attend later at 4:30. There I met more lovely people including hosts, April, Joanie, Julie, Loralee and Stephanie. And with a quick check in and change at the Hilton, and then a check in at registration (where I saw the exuberant force of nature that is called Vodka Mom), I went back to CraziBeautiful to talk to the super cool sponsors and pick up the best swag bag at BlogHer.

Suddenly I realized that it was well after 6:00 (p.m. that is…the CraziBeautiful party was good but not THAT good) and I was already running late for the Martha Stewart party downtown (private party disclaimer: I simply asked for an invitation to this and like anyone else, was given one upon request).

And this is where I started doing everything wrong… What? You navigated through your planned BlogHer schedule effortlessly and flawlessly? Well good for you – maybe you could host a ROYO about it next year. Anyway…

I wasn’t all THAT concerned about the time until I got into the cab line, which was looking like it would have me at Martha’s by 11:00. Clearly, that wasn’t going to work for me so I decided to walk over a few blocks and get my own cab. Which is really easy to do in midtown rush hour.

After another ten minutes of walking backwards down Fifth Avenue with my hand up, looking like a cross between a hitchhiker and a hooker (high class thank you very much), I was starting to consider hopping into one of those rickshaws. But finally Lady Luck smiled down on me and a very expensive limo pulled up to save me (and charge me an arm and a leg for a 15 block drive, but the air conditioning was worth it).

Martha’s party was okay. and I wasn’t as late as I thought since they didn’t even open the doors until 6:30. But it was obvious that I didn’t know anyone there, and after an afternoon of small talk with new acquaintances, I would have been thrilled to see a friendly face. I DID run into April (one of the CraziBeautiful hosts) at the bar and of course embarrassed myself by managing to ask her if she’s Mormon and THEN made it even better by asking if she knew another Mormon blogger that I read. Awesome. The things I do when I’m feeling frazzled…

Don’t get me wrong – I did have a good time and very much enjoyed chatting with some of the vendors and the lovely PR woman who planned the event. I also saw Joanna Goddard of A Cup of Jo there, but I was just too spent to even try to do the fan hello (who knows what I’d end up saying to her).

When it was over I sped back to the hotel via cab and heard from my roommate Anna who had finally arrived and was at the People’s Party with Headless Mom. And THAT’S when everything got back on track.

Lesson learned? Trying to go to too many events can waste a lot of time. Better to just find a great group or a great party and stick with it. Rushing all over a city to get to different parties is lame. Duly noted.

I was SO happy to connect with Anna who is one of my favorite people and my first real blog friend. After all of that stress it was a relief to talk and laugh with two fantastic women. Even if we were drinking “drinkable” wine out of party cups (I must admit that the vodka and basil concoctions at Martha’s were heavenly).

Then something else wonderful happened. A long time favorite writer (and yes I actually do differentiate “writers” from bloggers like me) walked up and tapped me on the shoulder. Gwen, whom I mentioned above is this tall gorgeous creature who somehow manages to combine effortless cool with insecure dorkiness. I love her. And I also quite taken her friends, Nora and Deb. Anna and I spent the rest of the evening with them before admitting at midnight that we couldn’t last another minute. I was in bed, asleep by 12:30.

Since I have two more days to cover. I’ll stop there for now and pick it up tomorrow. Looks like the rest of my week will be dedicated to BlogHer ’10. Ah well – that’s all the people who attended want to read anyway, and everyone else is ignoring blogs until the annoying BlogHer posts cease.

I’m sure I’ll come up with something really insightful about BlogHer by the end of the week. But tomorrow, you can tune in again for more links, some PICTURES (finally – mine mostly start on Friday) and long rambling stories. Until then, here is a preview image:

Christy, me, Anna and Jill

God, but I miss those girls….

Twilight Time

*Don’t forget to enter my giveaway from Angelina’s Beautiful Cards and Paper Boutique! Click here for details. Send me an e-mail letting me know that you’ve posted about my December giveaways on your site and I’ll give you a second chance to win! This one ends on Sunday – so comment soon!

This is going to be a short Friday Confession. Doing two memes in two days sucked me dry. Too many topics to cover for someone who doesn’t know how to be brief. I’m exhausted.

But I do have to confess that I have finally fallen prey to the Twilight obsession currently sweeping the country. I had heard of the books, and have now seen all of the hype surrounding the movie. And it inevitably sucked me in. The vampires beckoned, and I’ll be damned (yes – that was supposed to be a vampire joke). I couldn’t put Twilight down. I read it in two days.

Now, I’m not saying that it’s the best book I’ve ever read. Far from it. The writing is pretty bad and melodrama is at an all time high – but there is just something about the story… My aunt put it best when she said, “you just want to know what happens next.” It’s true – I had to keep reading.

There were two things about the book that kind of bothered me though. One was an ongoing theme and the other was a specific scene. The theme that tended to get under my skin was the way that Bella acted SO SUPERIOR. I know that she was riddled with teenage angst and dealing with a daily forecast for rain. But really – it’s like she’s SO much better than all of those shallow townies. She fit in much better with the aloof vampires than sickeningly wholesome Todd and Jessica. I also thought her moodiness got a little tedious. Of course, I probably just described myself as a teenager, minus the vampire friends. Maybe that’s why she got on my nerves.

The specific scene that struck me as entirely unbelievable (you know – out of all of the believable scenes in the book) was the beach party. Two large cars full of teenagers arrive at the beach, build a bonfire and….explore tide pools. I don’t know what high school you went to, but in my experience, a group of unsupervised teenagers is just a roundabout way of saying “keg party.” Now I understand that the author is Mormon, and Mormons don’t drink. But she didn’t say anything about her characters being Mormon or religious or abstaining from alcohol in any way. So when Bella walks back to the bonfire and finds her friends “passing around food,” I became skeptical. More like a bong I would think. Anyway – as someone who didn’t drink in high school but did go to all of the parties, I have a very clear memory of what teenagers do unsupervised. And I’m not buying the absence of drugs or alcohol.

In general, I’m an easy audience where an engaging story is involved, so I’m sure I’ll read the rest of the series. I’ll also see the movie as soon as it’s available on Netflix. But if Bella is in college by book four, and goes to frat parties where the brothers pass around “food” to their guests – then I’m officially labeling the series a vampire fairytale.

Mormons Are Pretty

Shortly after I started my blog last June, I wrote a post titled, Mormons are Funny. The point of it was to make fun of myself for being “surprised” by the very funny Mormon writers I encountered in my blog surfing. I won’t elaborate since most of my current readers have seen that one – but if you haven’t, I suggest you read what I wrote before commenting on how offensive and closed minded I am (I fully addressed that at the time).

I like to think of my husband Chris as an armchair expert on Mormons (stop cringing Chris – this won’t be TOO embarrassing). He grew up in a part of Phoenix, AZ that had a large Mormon population and was one of the few non-Mormon kids in his elementary school. While his own experience has been limited to – well, his own experience, I’ve found that most of his insights have been backed up by my new online Mormon friends (expect for his speculation that Kacy is a Jack Mormon – he was dead wrong about that!)

One thing that I’ve found to be a theme throughout the various Mormon blogs that I’ve seen is that these people are by and large REALLY attractive. I mentioned this to Chris at some point and he verified that I was definitely on target. In his experience, Mormon girls are known for being pretty. Of course this is a generalization (what isn’t?!), but as a group, they are known for above average looks. I’m sure that a fugly Mormon slips into the mix here and there – but they’re also known for being kind and accepting people. So it’s all good.

As if to prove my point, I recently came across a blog showcasing people who could easily win a pageant for the most beautiful family, if such a thing existed (I bet it does – I should forward them an application). And what a surprise – they’re Mormon!

I would love to include a picture – but that would be inappropriate. I mean – they have a public blog, but I think you do kind of need permission to post pictures of SOMEONE ELSE’S FAMILY. Even talking about it is borderline creepy.

Speaking of creepy – this isn’t the first time that I’ve written about them. I also made mention of this family on Tuesday. I was annoyed because I lost track of the blog address and wrote everything above before realizing that I couldn’t prove that they existed. While I still think it would be crossing a line to steal pictures of someone’s family from their blog, I have no problem featuring a link. It’s done all the time with memes and whatnot – right? Besides, that blog once linked to my Mormons Are Funny post – so I consider it quid pro quo.

Luckily for me, I have helpful friends. One of them suggested that I check my web history. Of course this never occurred to me at the time because I’m whiny enough to complain about losing the link, but lazy enough to not actually do anything about it. So this little kick in the pants gave me the motivation to try (particularly since I knew it would take about two minutes and I could accomplish the task while watching television).

And luckily for you – I was successful! So here it is. The (two day) long anticipated link to the most beautiful family that I’ve ever seen. And even the name says it all: It’s a Wonderful Life. I’m not surprised.

To prove my allegation above about joint linking, here is the post I was referencing: Why Blog? I’m “and this one also.”

Now before you go traipsing over there to judge – just remember that my glowing reviews might tend to raise expectations. And of course there is that whole “to each his own” thing that makes for differing opinions on such matters. So I don’t want to see any unnecessary criticisms in my comments section. Remember that while they’re beautiful, they also have feelings – and they didn’t ask to be in the spotlight. Don’t hate them because they’re beautiful.

In all seriousness, I think I like reading that blog because it’s just really happy. Sure, they’re scandalously good looking – but they also seem like a nice group of people. Every post features a smile, a giggle or a tender moment. And what could be more fun than a big family of girls? They remind me of the books I loved when I was a girl (Little Women, All of a Kind Family, etc.) And ultimately, that’s what this whole blogging thing is about anyway – having a window into someone else’s life. Or maybe that’s what being a blog lurker is all about… Either way – the intentions are good.

I usually have good intentions – so please don’t read anything into any of this. I’m not saying that Mormons are all the same. I’m not saying that beauty is the most important thing about a person. I’m not saying that families of girls are more fun than families of boys. I’m simply saying that this is one pretty family – and from what I can tell they hold true to the saying “pretty is as pretty does.”

That said, I’m now off to find a new beautiful Mormon family blog to stalk – I mean lurk. I expect to receive my restraining order from the It’s a Wonderful Life clan within the week. Please feel free to propose candidates in my comments section.

The Way We Were

Several weeks ago, I posted a list of bloggers that I would like to invite to a virtual dinner party. Then I came up with the genius idea of asking them all to guest post for me. I mean – great content that I don’t have to write myself? It’s a win win. Well maybe just for me since I win the good content and the not writing it part…but whatever.

My first guest post comes from Kacy, one of the funniest women I know (for those of you who would be impressed by this, Jenny The Bloggess invited Kacy to HER virtual dinner party as well). Kacy writes Every Day I Write the Book (but not actually every day). She also contributes to Light Refreshments Served, where I have actually guest posted – making me an honorary Mormon for the day (or at least that’s what Kacy said – and as a Mormon, she knows all of the rules and stuff).

Sometimes Kacy writes really clever posts like The Irish In Ikea, sometimes she writes really random posts like Wishful Thinking, and SOMETIMES she writes truly bizarre posts like This is How I Really Feel About Our Hamster (it’s like #1 on Kacy’s Greatest Hits – at least it is for me…)

So what do you think? Should I actually let her talk?? I know – I’m not very good at handing over the microphone…but here you go Kacy. Take it away:

The Way We Were

I just noticed that Kate and I were both born in 1972. This has got me feeling a little bit sentimental about the past. Don’t get me wrong, I think now is great—probably even better than then. And I am completely psyched about the future. Still. There are a few things I remember fondly.

I remember hand signals for turning. Weren’t those great? It fostered such an old-timey sense of community. It seemed really important to learn how to signal that you were turning left or right in case your blinkers didn’t work. Did cars have less reliable blinkers in the olden days? I remember my mom signaling to go right or left all the time, but I don’t know why. I’m sure she had blinkers. Maybe blinkers were cutting-edge technology back then and we didn’t really trust them yet. At any rate, you never see people signaling with their arms any more. And I miss it. I get the same sense of community now when everyone pulls over to the side of the road to let an ambulance or fire truck pass. I love that. It’s like we’re all in this together. I hope pulling to the side of the road never goes out of style.

Another thing I miss is collect calls. You could always make a collect call if you needed to, which was reassuring. But what I really liked was accepting collect calls. The call was probably coming from someone in crisis and it seemed so noble to accept the charges before you heard the person’s voice or knew how expensive it would be. It was an act of trust and intimacy. I need more moments of nobility, don’t you?

Something else I think about a lot but don’t necessarily miss is the Bandaids that you ripped open with a red thread. Wasn’t that a weird way to open a Bandaid? I guess it’s pretty sanitary. But if it’s so sanitary, why don’t they still open like that? That’s what I wonder.

Is it just me or do you remember Kentucky Fried Chicken being a really awesome treat? You could get burgers or KFC (of course we would never have called it “KFC”—we had no qualms with the word “fried”). I don’t know about you, but I never ate Mexican food until I was in college. And when I finally did, Taco Bell blew my mind! But I never went there with my family as a kid. We weren’t so much racist as we were suspicious. Anyway, I was born in Kentucky so eating at Kentucky Fried Chicken was special. I picked some up for dinner last week after the first day of school and my kids couldn’t even figure out how to eat it. I handed my daughter the coveted drumstick and she dangled it downward between two fingers and stared. Then my 11-year-old son exclaimed, “I’m going to sue KFC—Look at this bone I found in my chicken!” They picked off the skin. It was sad.

And finally, remember tucking shirts in? There was a real art to it. The right shirt and the right pants and the right amount of pulling it out after it had been tucked in could camouflage a lot. Of course, when I was tucking shirts in I had nothing to camouflage. I’m way too fat to tuck in now so I’m glad that we don’t have to anymore but I’ll always have just a twinge of nostalgia for tucking. You have to tuck in occasionally in order to enjoy the comfort of being untucked. And that’s a life lesson you can take to the bank.

But enough about the past! We all know it sucked because there were no blogs. Thanks for sharing The Big Piece of Cake, Kate. Have a good day and never look back.

I’m Having a Party and Everyone’s Invited

Actually – that’s not really true, but “I’m having a Party and Only Ten People are Invited” didn’t have as much of a ring to it. Barking Mad has started a virtual dinner party trend. You can view the details here, but the general idea is to list 10 blogs you read and why the writing makes you think they’d be fun and/or interesting dinner companions.

This was really supposed to be more of a community building exercise and not the usual exclusionary BS that makes people so angry, jealous, insecure or any other number of unproductive reactions. Unfortunately – it’s kind of impossible to avoid this. If someone has the inclination to feel left out, a disclaimer or mission statement won’t make a difference. So I find myself conflicted about how to proceed (I know – so just don’t do it – but I really like the idea!)

I saw Anymommy struggle with this last week as she invited something like 50 people and managed to get them all drunk and topless in the process. She decided to be a rebel and break the rules with unlimited invitations. Since I don’t like to be a copycat (and I’m just too PG-13 for that Girls Gone Wild action), I am unable to increase the head count.

Instead – I’m going to increase the limitations. I am only going to invite people that I don’t think will be on anyone else’s guest list. This doesn’t mean that I think they aren’t well loved of course. I’m thinking more about blogs that may not be read by the people who are participating in the dinner party planning OR blogs that are still somewhat undiscovered (I can particularly appreciate this second one since I’m fairly new myself).

So here is my list:

Anastasia from The Gift. This will come as no surprise since I have mentioned her on other occasions and she is a good friend of mine in the “real world.” She likes to talk about everything and anything (which is lucky for her since she challenged herself to write every day for a year), and loves a good debate. She is also incredibly funny and will regale us with great anecdotes about growing up among the cast of outspoken characters that she calls her family.

Anna from An Inch of Gray. Anna may be starting to think that I’m her stalker. I comment on almost every post and I act like we’ve just known each other forever. This is probably because she has managed to provide somewhat of a window into her life. While she’s quite witty – she doesn’t hide behind humor. Her posts are funny, poignant and – again – funny. I often think that if Anna and I lived near each other, we would be really good friends. That is, as long as she didn’t request a restraining order…

Kacy from Every Day I Write the Book. If you have been reading my blog for the past couple of months, you will have seen this one coming. How could I ever have a dinner party without the funniest woman in the blogosphere. I have already provided an excerpt from her post of hate mail to her hamster. But if that isn’t enough for you – check out this and this. Although – I might not want to invite her to my party since it would be one of those things where she’d be “discovered” and then everyone would be inviting her to their parties and then I wouldn’t see as much of her. Which would be really sad since blog life has gotten so hectic lately and we never just talk anymore.

Jozette from Regardez Moi. I think that if I rescued a genie from his bottle and could make some wishes, I would wish that Jozette was my little sister. This of course, is based on unlimited wishes since I would have to be a bit more practical with just three. Three would require a lot of thought, and I’d probably end up agonizing over making the third one for world peace or a vacation home in Andalucia. But I just love Jozette. She is funny (guest post on Petunia Face) and she would never let me leave home wearing bad shoes. Plus it looks like she’s outnumbered by boys – so she kind of needs me.

Winona from Daddy Likey. Like Jozette, Winona is younger than me. And I think it’s refreshing to have child-free people at a party. They tend to keep the conversation from stalling at potty training and precious anecdotes. Winona has some definite thoughts on fashion, but she can laugh at herself too. And her travel stories alone would keep us on the edge of our seats.

Suzie from Up the Hill Backwards. I decided that I would be a Suzie fan forever when she commented on a post about my son being big for his age, by saying, “My son is really tall for his age and physical. He towers over the other boys at school. People tend to think he is a bit slow because he’s only three but he looks like a six year old with a pacifier and wearing mommy’s shoes.” She also comes up with gems like this. I can’t imagine that things could get boring with Suzie around.

Amy from Doobleh-Vay. Okay – this is strictly based on the fact that I haven’t seen her on a list yet. The truth is Amy is well loved (and read) by many. And for good reason. She is kind of a role model for the less conventional mother. She puts creativity first and greets each day with her kids as another opportunity to learn and grow. I love that she has just as many dreams for herself as she does for her boys. In the end this will make their bond all the stronger. Plus – she might arrive in a pirate hat – which in my book is an immediate conversation catalyst.

Heather from Dooce. HAH! See, I can invite her because I don’t think anyone else will. She’s like the really pretty girl in school that doesn’t get asked to prom because everyone assumes that someone else already asked her. But see, I’m the geek with borderline Aspergers who has no sense of fear. I want her to come – so what the hell, I’ll ask. And because it’s my theoretical dinner party, she is absolutely delighted by the invitation. AND she brings really good wine. She and Kacy can make Mormon-related jokes that no one else understands, but we’ll all laugh because they are just that funny. And because we drank too much of the wine Heather brought – except for Kacy, because she’s Mormon.

That’s it for the invites. And no – there is no mistake in falling short of the required head count of 10. I think that my dinner party would be particularly interesting if we had a couple of crashers. So what do you think? Want to come? Leave me a comment and let me know what you can bring to the party. Anyone can crash (since this is theoretical, I’ll just pretend that only two of you come) – even if you are read by millions and invited to all of the other dinner parties. I think you’ll like mine the best.

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

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.

I’m Huge in Utah

Oh – I’ve just been having a little too much fun with this blogging thing…my day job is starting to suffer. So I’m taking a “professional health day” from the internet tomorrow. My online activity will be limited to work-related searches only. This will be painful.

But first I want to thank all of the funny Mormons who commented on my last post. My husband said he cringed when he read it. He was very worried that I’d be run out of town on a rail (that’s a saying right?) But he was right when he said that that Mormons are lovely people. Okay – “lovely” is my word, not his, but that’s what he meant.

I’m so glad that I haven’t been shunned by this huge segment of the blogging community at large. In one of the comments, it was noted that I have a number of Mormons in my list of favorite blogs. I noticed that as well, and it was sort of what made me want to write that post. I seem to be a Mormon groupie (or in this context – a Mormon “lurker”). And honestly, it’s a relief to finally be outed.

I will not be up until midnight writing one of my typically long diatribes like this one or this one. The twins have head colds and are taking turns crying and wanting to be rocked. And Oliver has decided that I’m his new favorite security blanket, and won’t let me leave his room at night. Tonight we’re letting him stay up ridiculously late in hopes that he’ll be so exhausted that he’ll just fall asleep and end this recent pattern behavior. And anyone who has ever tried to get a good night’s sleep while sharing a toddler bed with a three year old will understand my sense of desperation.

Wish me luck and see you Thursday.