Monday, July 27, 2009

It Was a Matter of Time

This weekend, as we enjoyed our Saturday morning laze-around in our jammies and eat breakfast event (which doesn't happen nearly as often as I'd like), we realized that Mr. Moo can read without pictures. And a lot faster than we thought, too. As we were surfing the TV menu, trying to find something that would not rot the kids' brains but also not make us want to pull out every last strand of hair, we paused for a moment to look at the upcoming selections on Noggin.

"Max and Ruby!" shouted Mr. Moo. "It's coming up next--I love that show. Max and Ruby, please."

Mr. D and I looked at each other in disbelief. We then pulled up the menu again and asked him to identify a few other shows. If the words were four letters or less--he could figure it out pretty easily.

That's it--our days of surfing the menu and declaring, "Gee, none of your shows are on right now," are over. Is it terrible that I'm not sure whether to celebrate the budding reader or mourn the loss of TV autonomy?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ick Factor

For the last few weeks, our house has been the epicenter of a viral infection* that just won't quit. It's the one that everyone seems to be getting these days--the lingering cough, mild cold-like symptoms, and did I mention the cough? I have been coughing for three weeks now, Mr. D has been coughing for longer, and the kids are following suit. No one is sleeping, everyone is coughing, so it's nice when we get a chance to sit down and actually VEG for a moment.

Last night, I walked back into the TV room after putting SC down for the night and found Mr. D watching a new show on Animal Planet called "The Monsters Inside Me." It's essentially a collection of personal encounters with various parasitic critters. Cool, I thought, this could be really interesting. And, actually, it was really interesting. Guy who had botfly larvae growing on his head? Interesting, but not alarming because I have no plans to visit the tropics. Lung flukes? Gross, but I like my shellfish cooked, thankyouverymuch. But then. Then they got to the piece on bedbugs. ICK. The thought of them makes me feel all creepy-crawly. In fact, every time I stay in a hotel, I check for the little bastards. I am seriously not a fan of bugs and especially not those that want to dine on me while I'm sleeping. But, of course, I keep watching the segment, knowing the mind games that will ensue. Little did I know that when they interviewed the woman further, she revealed that the source of the bugs was most likely a recent trip to Nashville where she stayed in a four-star hotel. At that point, I completely lost my shit because in October I am going to Nashville and will be staying in a four-star hotel. OMFG!!!!!

In no time, Mr. D and I were both online looking for bedbug directories** and such. The hotel I will be staying in does not have any reports of bedbugs anywhere at all. The worst thing said about them was that the staff was rude. I can deal with rude. Rude doesn't suck my blood in the middle of the night. But regardless of what I found online, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be searching my room there with a fine tooth comb and won't sleep until I do.

And it turns out that a few years back we used to stay in one of the listed places for our yearly outing to the Origins gaming convention. Luckily, we switched venues in 2007 and before then had no indication of infestation (typing that just sent a chill down my spine). Guess what site is now bookmarked on my computer?

*Based on the fact that Mr. D went to the doctor after two weeks of coughing, got a round of antibiotics, and the cough is still there. It's getting better, but something bacterial should have been evicted nicely by those meds.

**Go to the Bed Bug Registry or to Trip Advisor to get the scoop on your next destination.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Carefree Fresh Start Blog Tour

The lovely folks at Mom Central invited me to be part of the Carefree Ultra Protection Liners blog tour, and I was glad to do it because, well, I’m a woman, I wear pantiliners, and I certainly do have an opinion. But first, I wanted to tell you about a cool giveaway being sponsored by Carefree called the Fresh Start Fund.

The Carefree Fresh Start Fund is aimed at helping women make a fresh start in their lives – including starting a new relationship, changing jobs or even losing a few pounds. The top three finalists with the best plans for a fresh start will receive $10,000, $5,000 and $3,000 respectively. The winners also will receive a personal consultation from Ariane de Bonvoisin, change expert and founder of, as well as a three-day/two-night trip to New York City, where they will be honored at the Carefree Fresh Start celebration event, hosted in partnership with Step Up Women’s Network. Seven additional finalists will receive $1,000 to help begin making their fresh start. All in all—a pretty sweet collection of prizes, wouldn’t you say? But, you have to act quickly! The deadline for submissions is July 10, 2009 (P.S., that’s today). Go to the Carefree Web site to apply for funding to make your own fresh start. Go now. Go.

Isn’t making a fresh start in life one of the most uplifting feelings? It’s exciting, scary, invigorating, draining, and empowering—all in one little package. I think the fresh starts that stand out most for me were those I made pursuing my education. By my senior year in high school, I knew that I wanted to have the chance to live somewhere else, even if it was just for the time I was in school. I had a taste of living away the previous summer, and I really liked it. I also knew that I was tired of the cliques and nonsense of high school life (with a few very notable exceptions). I chose to leave the comforts of home and head off to the middle of Indiana where I knew NO ONE. Not a soul. Now, at 18, that’s a bit intimidating. But, it is also the makings of a clean slate. I could be the person I wanted to be, not the shy, geeky, awkward girl that I had become in high school. I took that ball and ran with it, and I am so glad I had that chance. People talk about their “coming of age” and I really do think that spending those years out in the middle of corn fields gave me the chance to make a fresh start in how I defined myself, who I would be as an adult, and how I would approach the world. Did I perfect it during my undergrad years? Heck no. In fact, I know I’m still working on it 20 years later. But I was able to lay the foundation for who I have become, and I am quite pleased with the results.

Ok, guys? Men, I mean? I’m going to talk a little about Carefree, so if talking about lady products makes you squeamish, you’re going to want to stop reading about now.

Ok, gals—I have to tell you about the Ultra Protection Liners. First, I have to say that I love the fact that they are individually wrapped. Totally portable. (Although why is it that no matter how far you push them down in your purse they are right at the top when you open it around other people?) Anyway, I have a bit of a messy purse problem, so wrapping is good. I also noticed on the package that they claim to provide the protection of a pad with the comfort and thinness of a liner. Really? That thin? Cool. In the last couple of weeks while I have given the samples a test run, I have been plagued with a tenacious cough. So, I drink a lot to stop coughing, and then my bladder fills, and then I cough and…well…these suckers are really absorbent! They have that type of compound that transforms into a gelatinous form when wet. So, the liner gets thicker as it absorbs, but it really holds its water (so to speak). I was surprised and impressed. In fact, now that I am at the end of my sample I really need to hit the store because, well, that persistent cough is NOT gone. {ahem}

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a sample box of Carefree Ultra Protection Liners on which to base my review as well as a $20 gift donation certificate to, where I can choose a community-based project to support. I have perused the site and can’t quite decide, but when I do, I’ll let you know and perhaps you can help to make the giving a little bigger.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Beach Bums

I mentioned that we went on vacation a month ago but never followed through with a post, so here is my vacation wrap-up. So you can sleep at night. You're welcome.

I have to admit that I am not a person drawn to a beach vacation. Between the extreme risk for repeated melanoma (I'm not getting linky today, but for those new to the blog, I've had it twice already) and my dislike for hot weather, the beach is just really not my cup of tea. So, of course, we went to the beach. Actually, I did have a say in the location, and a lot of my willingness to hit the sand is all of the great memories I have from beach vacations as a kid. It's a good thing in moderation, and I figured that if we went there early in the season, it would at least remove sweltering temps from the equation. And the sun? Well, that's gonna just shine on whether I like it or not, but a good lathering of SPF50, a beach umbrella, and a snazzy mumu make for some great protection.

I'm so glad we went with the beach because the sand was a HUGE hit. The kids spent hours and hours digging and building and smashing and digging and building and...well, you get the idea. And since they are my kids, they also got a liberal dose of SPF50 and a big ol' umbrella of their own. Of course, this pic reveals my poor mothering skills because one of Gabe's legs is {gasp} in the sun.

Now, the ocean was definitely not a hit. In fact, it was close to the bottom of the list of things the kids wanted to experience. Right after brussels sprouts and showers (they love a bath but flip if you make it a shower). I think it was the strength of the current, because we almost got them in a few times. In fact, I had SC standing with me as a very small wave rolled in and covered our feet and ankles. But, as it went back out, it actually pulled her off of her feet--thankfully I had a good grip on one arm, but it scared the poo out of her. No more ocean after that! SC would happily go to the beach ("Walk by MY SELF") and parade around at will, but she gave the big blue a wide berth. (Side note: One of the great things about having a girl is giving her my hand-me-downs. That beach cover-up was mine. And, yes, it's unisex, but Gabe wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole.)

We also spent a lot of time doing activities with the National Parks Service. I had no idea that there were so many programs available! In fact, I was so blown away that I wrote a piece on my parenting blog about it. And because we were just south of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, we had access to all of their programming but didn't have enough time to partake. So, I think a return trip is in order. Really, the worst part of the whole adventure was the LONG drive to get there and back (14 hours each way), but for the level of relaxation, kid-friendly activities, and generally beautiful surroundings, it was well worth it.