Not the Dishes

Last week we had a very windy day and one of the three tall pines in our back yard snapped in two.  The odd thing is that I watched it happen.  Two things struck me.  One was my instinctual protective mother action of gasping aloud, grabbing hold of Carina and pulling her tight against me.  Even though we were separated from the tree by an exterior wall and 20 feet of deck/flooring.  At least I know I have the instinct. The other thing that was interesting was the sound and feel of the tree falling.  I was sitting on the couch in the living room when the tree caught my attention with a dual-report popping noise, and not only did I see it fall past the window, I heard it whooshing through the air.  When it hit the ground a story and a half below us, I felt it.  I was very glad it fell away from our house and our neighbor’s house.  And now I feel semi-qualified to answer that question about “If a tree falls in the forest…”

Once that tree fell (which was alive) we noticed that the even larger tree behind it was dead.  So we knew we needed to remove it in order to not have a replay of the event described above, which left only the smallest, most-likely-to-hit-the-neighbors’-house-if-it-fell tree, so we decided to remove it too.  Our lot is very sloped, and these trees are at least 30 feet tall, so there was some concern about how to get them out of the back yard.  Luckily, our insurance company happened to send us to a tree service that means serious business.  Many of our friends joke that Craig likes to do things that are EXTREME.  So this was right up his alley.  To bad he was at work and missed all the action.

If you look closely, you can see the guy climbing up the tree to cut the top off (this is the tree that’s dead).

Everyone should have a crane parked in the yard at least once in their lives…

And have a telephone pole dangled over their rooftop…

And a big claw-truck thingy that scares the children.

And the A-#1 source of entertainment for the day for ourselves and several of the (incredibly understanding) neighbors was this, which happened five or six times when it was all said and done.

I’m glad that if the trees had to be removed, it happened the way it happened and when it happened.  But honestly, I really miss my trees.  I loved those tall pines. I liked to watch them sway (ironically) in the breeze, and the kids and I watched the birds and squirrels play in the tops.  I spent many a late evening laying on the couch looking up at the sky through their branches. I wonder if the woodpeckers miss them.  I wonder what happened to all that wood. I never knew being a tree hugger could take an emotional toll.


The last post I did with tons of survey-type information about myself was a huge hit in the bloggy underground (still shocked about that one), so I’m taking a cue from my blog buddy, The Park Wife, and posting the “25 Things” list that I wrote when it was circulating around Facebook back in February of 2009. Surprisingly, not much has changed, except that I am getting a little more sleep these days.

1. I am a night owl by nature. My children no longer let me live as such.
2. I am not, nor would I ever claim to be, a domestic goddess. In fact, my husband is more domestic than I.
3. I am interested in learning about all religions, although I haven’t found a single doctrine that I am fully satisfied with. I don’t think that makes me an athiest, or a sinner. In fact, I’d say I live a more morally secure life than many very religious people that I know.
4. I’ve sworn off movies. I don’t really have the time or the attention span for them anymore.
5. I miss working out on a regular basis and feeling fit.
6. I am addicted to the internet. My day is not complete if I haven’t logged on.
7. I love saving money and getting things on the cheap. Probably a good thing since we’re paying two mortgages right now.
8. My Mom is my best friend, besides my husband. I hope that my kids will say that about me some day (well, except they might notl say, “besides my husband”).
9. I moved around a lot as a kid. I started a new school in 5th grade – it was my 5th school. I think this has effected me in both profoundly positive and negative ways.
10. I HAVE to eat breakfast every morning. Sometimes twice. I usually have to wait my turn though.
11. I am a Stay At Home Mom. I’m not one of those soccer-mom types though. I’m very thankful to be able to raise our children and to enjoy their every-day hijinx, but I spend about 10% of my time wondering if I’m really cut out to be a full time mommy.
12. I can’t believe this is only #12. I guess I’m not as interesting as I thought.
13. I’m officially limiting myself to 5 of these fill it out and forward it thingys for the year. Now that I’ve joined facebook, I think I’ll hit my limit quickly.
14.I’m really good at tossing things. Unless it’s an egg at the family reunion and there are several second cousins running through the tossing range.
15. The only caffeine I get is through chocolate. I guess I should have put this under #1.
16. I like to do things fast. Run fast, bike fast, drive fast. Lately the only things I get to do fast are sleep, eat, and pee.
17. My goal for the year is to sleep through the night more nights than not. So far I am 0 for 37 nights.
18. Many of my daily tasks are highly repetitive. I’m getting used to this, but I still don’t like it.
18. Many of my daily tasks are highly repetitive. I’m getting used to this, but I still don’t like it.
19. I hate doing dishes.
20. I love to travel. I love the ocean. I love to travel to the ocean. I hope that someday I won’t have to travel to get to the ocean.
21. I hope to write a novel. My husband hopes I write a novel that makes money.
22. I am a tree-hugger and am always trying to take the eco-friendly route.
23. I am a bit of a know-it-all. I do my best to help people improve their lives with what I know.
24. Now that I’m 30, I feel a bit differently about hair dye and eye cream.
25. The best for last. I have the most wonderful husband in the world. I know lots of women say this, but I think if there was a wonderful husband competition, mine would come in first, with out a doubt.

This month is my turn to act as “managing editor” over at the Arkansas Women Bloggers site.  In the process of organizing and linking to about 100 blogs in the past two days, I’ve noticed that a lot of bloggers have assigned aliases to their family members.  Perhaps just for fun, or maybe to protect anonymity, or maybe because everyone else is doing it.  For example, my friend “The Park Wife” blogs about her husband, “Big Buckaroo” and her two “Little Buckaroos”. This is actually a witty play off of the family name, which I will not reveal. Kim at What Am I Going to Be When I Grow Up? calls herself Kim, but her husband is “Burly Surfer Dude” (or BSD for short) and her daughters are “Big Ballerina” and “Little Ballerina”. Over at Chasing My Bees, the author’s daughter is “Ladybug”. I’m assuming that’s not her real name, at least.

So, this is a blogging practice that I have not followed, partially because good nicknames for my crew don’t immediately spring to mind.  And I was just wondering – do you have any good ideas for blog aliases?  I will think on it too, and get back to you…  I don’t think Craig would appreciate “Dish Pan Man”, but it has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

I don’t do a lot of product reviews on this blog, because, well, I don’t like that many products.  I did once consider doing ONLY negative product reviews, but decided even that would get old after a while.  Anyhow, here are some things that I have been impressed with as of late:

Book: The Green Parent by Jenn Savedge – I have given a couple presentations on “going green” this year, and in the process of doing research, I’ve decided that this is my favorite greening guide book.  Not to say that I’ve read all of them, but this one is great. It’s straight-forward, easy to understand, broken up into easily digested sections, and most of the information in it is relevant even if you aren’t a parent.  Added perk: I picked up the copy I read at the library. ; )

Music: Blink by Plumb – I happened upon Plumb via a post from another mom in a forum.  I immediately fell in love with her voice, which for me falls between Sarah McLaughlin and Enya on the “ethereal” chart. Plumb’s Blink album is completely inspired by motherhood.  It’s full of songs I could have written if I was a talented songwriter and that I would sing if I didn’t score a negative 8 on the ethereal chart.  Plumb is a contemporary Christian singer, which is not a genre I usually listen to, but I think this CD will be my new standard “new mommy” gift.  You can sample Blink on Amazon.

Home: Biokleen Spray & Wipe All-Purpose Cleaner – I have vowed to start making my own cleaners, but I’ll be keeping this one.  I love Biokleen’s All-Purpose Cleaner because it really is all-purpose and it is also a green cleaner.  It has gotten marker out of the rug, mystery stains off of the chairs, lifted milk and potty smell off of carpet and fabrics, taken red sharpie off the refrigerator, and tackled many other cleaning challenges that you probably don’t even want to know about.  And when Callen grabs it and squirts it at his sister for shniggles, I don’t have to worry.

Beauty: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer makeup – I don’t like to spend a lot of time getting ready to face the world.  Even if I didn’t have two kids.  So this makeup from Neutrogena, which is a 3 in 1 product, is great.  It contains retinol, SPF 20, and a tinted moisturizer.   It’s not thick like a sunscreen, but provides nice coverage.  The only problem I have with it is that it scores a 5 (moderate hazard) on EWG’s Cosmetic Safety Database.  If I can find a similar product with fewer chemicals in it, I’ll be madly in love.

Web: – My friend Nicole turned me on to this, and I am hooked.  I love to read, but I don’t have time to keep track of what’s on the bestseller list, and I don’t have the mental capacity to remember the names of the books that people recommend to me.  That’s where comes in – it’s like Facebook for people who read. In addition to creating your own virtual bookshelf sorted by to-read, currently reading, and read (with a 5 star rating system), you can also link up with your friends and see what they have on their shelves as well.  If you have a smartphone, it would be a great resource to pull up at the library or bookstore!

Leave a comment and let me know: What is floating your boat right now?

The original intent of this post was to show my friends who didn’t know me back when I had short hair what a not good idea it is for me to have short hair.  But then, I learned at WordCamp that one of the best ways to promote your blog is to post embarrassing pictures of yourself. (Ok, maybe I made that part up.)

Anyhow, here are some pictures of some of the old “MEs” that will hopefully never exist again.  Since it is Memorial Day weekend, I thought we could memorialize all these old MEs.  (Yes, I know that is not really what memorial day is about.)

Here’s the ME with Carina in my belly:

Oh, and I had braces too.  Because being pregnant is not miserable enough on it’s own when you are extreme like me.  But, I have a sweet girl and straight teeth to show for my strife.

Here is the ME with Callen in my belly:

See what happened when I didn’t have braces to curb my eating habits? See that snowman in the picture?  He was Carina’s “training brother.”  She pushed him down on the floor and then picked him up and kissed him a lot.

Here is a ME with short hair.

Yes, the ME with short hair was also a super hero.  I was the prototype for Elasta Girl (aka Mrs. Incredible).  Thank god they changed the super suit design before they made the movie.

And here is the ME with even shorter hair.

Isn’t Craig’s boyfriend cute?  Harry Potter’s got nothin’ on me! (except that scar…)

The 2010 Arkansas Women’s Show will be June 12-13 at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock.  Gather up all your girlfriends for a weekend of  shopping, food, entertainment, information, and fun! The event features a cooking show with celebrity chef Paula Deen on Saturday and a performance by American Idol finalist Mandisa on Sunday. Themed areas include the Home and Garden Pavillion sponsored by Champion Windows, Health and Wellness Lane sponsored by Baptist Health, Fashion Avenue sponsored by Dillards, Culinary Court, and The Marketplace.  A sampling of other cool goings-on include (click here for complete schedule):

  • Sat. 1pm: Jones New York “How to Wear It” Fashion Show
  • Sat. 2pm: “Clear the Clutter. Change Your Life” workshop
  • Sat. 3pm: Self Defense for Women
  • Sun. 1pm: Container Garden seminar
  • Sun. 2pm: Beauty Buzz seminar
  • Ongoing: Health Screenings from Baptist Health

I have attended a similar event in St. Louis, MO and am super excited to check this out.  I’m a little nervous about the Paula Deen cooking show though.  When I see her on TV, I can’t resist repeating everything she says just to try out her accent.  Hopefully I can keep myself stifled when I see her live!  For sure I’ll be sniffing around the vendor booths for all the freebies I can get my hot little hands on, and I’m hoping to score one of the 5 minute personal style consultations with Lloyd Boston.  I’m also curious about what will be available in The Marketplace: I’ll be toting some mad money in case I don’t win the $500 vendor spending spree giveaway.

Oh, what’s that?  You want to go to?  Well, it just so happens that I have a pair of weekend passes to give away. These passes have a value of $50 for the pair and get you all the fun stuff mentioned above, and then some! You can earn up to five entries in the ticket give-away by doing one or more of the following:

1. Leave a comment on this post with your favorite event/feature of the Arkansas Women’s Show.

2. Subscribe to my blog via RSS or email.  You can use the links in the upper right side bar of the blog to do this.  Leave a separate comment saying how you subscribe.

3. “Like” the MOMcation page on Facebook (and look for another opportunity to win tickets on that page).  Leave a separate comment saying that you have “liked” MOMcation

4. Repost this give away on your blog or share it on Facebook (two possible entries here).  Post a comment with a link to where you promoted the contest.

Entry deadline is 12 midnight cst on Monday, May 31st. Winner will be determined using a random number generator.  Winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 1st here on the blog. Tickets are also available for purchase online and at select locations.

MOMcation 2010 wrapped a week ago.  So, I’ve had a whole week to ruminate and reflect.  If you want it in a nutshell, MOMcation turned out as close to how I had imagined it as possible.  Minus the tornadoes.  But then, it’s really fitting that Mother Nature would come and show off her skills, talent, and personality at MOMcation too.  It was, after all, a retreat for every MOM.

The longer version, for those of you who like details and pictures, starts with the fact that 18 wonderful women showed up to Heifer Ranch, near Perryville Arkansas.  Some of them had friends in tow, and some of them didn’t know a soul.  We had young mothers and grandmothers, working moms and stay at homes, single, married, and things in between.  The only thing, really, that we all had in common is that we are mothers.  And that’s all we needed.  You can say in spite of, but maybe we should say because of our diversity, we meshed wonderfully.  No cliques or hurt feelings, no alienation or obnoxious-ness.  And when it was all done, the MOMcationers were feeling renewed and headed home with at least a handful of new friends.  Some moms came with trepidation, with a self-consciousness, or a pre-determined idea of who wouldn’t like them.  It was amazing to see that all fall away through the weekend, with this being the end result:

MOMcation 2010 attendees

MOMcation 2010 Attendees

As one of the event planners, I had a different perspective on the weekend.  At the outset, I was nervous too.  I wanted everyone to be comfortable and have fun, but more than that, I wanted these MOMs to learn from each other, and to see that sometimes taking time away for yourself has benefits that reach far beyond just a couple days of goofing off out in the boonies with some other women.  But as things got rolling, I quickly saw that all was well and good in the land of MOMcation.

We had tons of activities; some group oriented and some self-starting.  One of the more popular group activities was yoga.  Some of the moms were experienced in yoga, and some had never done it before, but everyone who tried it seemed to like it.

Yoga and Nap time combined - MOMs are always multitasking!

Photo Credit: Greg Benenati

There was also jewelry making, deal finding, and two great cooking sessions.

Tammy Felder teaching Bruschetta and Shrimp Bisque

Christie Ison, The Fancy Pants Foodie

We had nightly get-togethers.  One of my favorite things was getting the camp fire started with Stephanie (aka The Park Wife) sans lighter fluid…Ok, maybe she mostly started the fire, but I threw a few kindling sticks on.  We made s’mores and huddled around to tell tales of mommy life.

Photo Credit: Christie Ison

We also took a tour of Heifer Ranch and learned more about what Heifer International and the ranch itself does.  The covered hayride was both relaxing and educational. I was really impressed by the fact that many of the MOMcationers took time to explore the ranch on their own and to really think about Heifer’s mission of ending world hunger and building peace.

On the Hayride

The icing on the cake is that thanks to the four awesome members of the planning committee* and some really awesome sponsors, we were able to give away some really great stuff, including spa services, gift baskets, books, locally grown food, gym memberships, and even a couple weekend get-aways.  Overall, MOMcation 2010 was  a huge success, and there is already high demand for a MOMcation 2011.  So stay tuned for a date announcement.  If you’re on Facebook, you can “like” the MOMcation page to stay up to date.

*The four awesome members of the planning committee will be showing up in a later post, after I force them to take a group photo. But truly, I cannot say it enough times, MOMcation 2010 would not have happened without them. Thank you Valerie, Nicole, Liz, and Ashlee!

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