Wednesday, June 29, 2011

By Myself {Wordless Wednesday 6/29}

Trying to keep it as "wordless" as possible... but you know me! LOL

While Daddy and Little Guy went to search for cans (MI has a 10-cent return!) for some piggy bank money,  I had a chance... relax! enjoy a family of Canada Geese that I've been watching grow since spring. listen to the swallows and crickets as the sun set!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I Can't Believe I'm Doing This!!! {KY Intimacy Experiment And GIVEAWAY!}

To all the little kiddies under 18 out there:
This is not a post for you. Please hit the back button, close the page, or anything else that will get you away from this page!


OK, so if you know me, you know I like to enter giveaways.Every so often, I win one! This time, I had won a prize at Fun After Dark, Fun Fritz Family's um... adult blog. It was a KY Intimacy Prize Pack filled with all kinds of stuff. Upon finding out that I had a blog of my own, the good people at K-Y Brands contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in doing a series of blog posts based on their "Intimacy Experiment" and, when it was through, give away to TWO lucky readers a prize pack similar to the one they were going to send to me. Well, who am I  to keep my readers from getting a chance to get down and dirty? Right?
OMG! WHAT is in this box?! It's huge for a few K-Y things! Maybe there's a couple of blow up dolls? Air pump? Weird-shaped sex toys that I won't have ANY idea where to put? Could I end up in the E.R. trying to explain this "intimacy experiment" to someone??? (Hubby just suggested that maybe the large box is to be reused for mailing the kids to Grandma's house for a week or two?)

I mean, most of us have children. It doesn't matter what age they are. The younger ones take up all of our time and energy. As they get older, we have more chances for romance with our partner, BUT, we are a little more concerned about the walking in on us part. I mean, if my toddler happens to catch hubby and I having a moment, the mood is kind of killed. But a quick and simple explanation - if any at all - is needed. If my teenage son were to catch us... well, I think he may 1) go blind, 2) have some major psychological issues, and/or 3) need some long therapy sessions in order to think about sex without the scene he walked in on (burned into his brain) causing a major case of impotency!
Oh, O.K. a pretty pink box. Not so scary... Still wonder what's inside. Hope it's nothing too weird. I have a nice, family-focused blog. How could I ever write some posts on things like whips and chains??? I hope that agreeing to this isn't going to blow up in my face! Blow up... ARE there dolls in there? "Hellooooo??? Anybody in there?!"

So, why am I doing this? We need it. We've had some major problems out of the bedroom. This, in turn, has caused the intimacy level of our relationship to become nil. I mean, I can't remember the last time we even hugged or held hands. In order to be on an intimate level with one another, at least in my case, you need to have love and trust - and those two go hand-in-hand. We're slowly working on all of this through talking. One of the things that kept coming up was that, as he took advantage of my trust, I began to close off the doors to sex and even physical affection. We ended up as roommates - not cool!

The K-Y Brands Intimacy Experiment sounds like a great way for us to build up our relationship, once again. It isn't all about sex. (Really, it isn't! I know, I was surprised, too!)
Oh, cool! Lots of nice things in here. A book, a notebook & even a nice pen, some bubble bath and three cute little duckies, some conversation hearts, a few different K-Y products, and a pretty purple ribbon. Maybe I ought to go get that bottle of champagne we've had in the cupboard for three years and put it on ice. Hubby will be home soon!

The book that was included in the package states: "Over the next 10 days, you and your partner are going to explore your relationship, both in and out of the bedroom. Your mission: to reconnect with each other and discover fun, passion, and sizzle of sex through a series of exercises that will feel like anything but work." Um... sounds like exactly what we need, right? This book is really neat. It gives you 10 days worth of steps you can take, as a couple, to strengthen your relationship - in and out of bed. Just flipping through the pages, I've come across 'exercises' that will appeal to both of us. Here are a few of the "day" experiments:
  • Use the notebook & pen to write down everything about your partner that turned you on when you first met.
  • Come up with 10 ways that you could touch your partner in a positive, loving way. (Hugs, kisses, playing footsie, etc.)
  • Create a meal together, using all of the foods that are considered to be aphrodisiacs.
Each of the experiments is open to changes, so you can add or subtract anything that really just doesn't fit in with your relationship. And, one of y favorite parts is that, at the end of each exercise is a list of questions that you can use to start a conversation about what you just did. For instance, one of the questions after the aphrodisiac meal exercise is: "Did you notice any aphrodisiac effects from your meal, either real or imagined?"

In conjunction with the book and all of the stuff in the box, there is a Web site that you can use whether you're taking part in the K-Y Intimacy Experiment, or not. Check out Good In Bed. This is a site that has a ton of eBooksun-giggly this site is. It's written by experts who actually have degrees in things like psychology and medicine. This isn't the typical sleazy porn site that you might end up filling all of your search results should you Google about a sexual technique or problem.

The K-Y Intimacy Experiment is supposed to take place over 10 consecutive days. I can tell you right now that this just isn't feasible for us. We do have children and we do live in a 1-bedroom apartment. We will, however try to get it all wrapped up within a month. I hope I can write up some posts that are both entertaining AND help you understand just how this experiment is helping our relationship!

On to the giveaway!
K-Y Brands is offering TWO of my readers the chance to hold their own Intimacy Experiment! You will receive a package like the one I got. This post is where you will comment for all of your entries. Each time I post about how my own experiment is going, I will include the opportunity for more bonus entries and create a link to it above the comment section on this post. So, you might want to sign up for my emails through Feedburner so you don't miss any.

Please leave a comment for each thing you do, WITH YOUR EMAIL, so I can contact you if you win. If your email is in your profile, you don't have to leave it in the comments. If it says "2 entries", please leave two comments. I will be choosing the winner based on the number of comments, so give yourself a better chance by making separate comments for each entry. This is open to US residents. YOU MUST BE 18 OR OVER TO ENTER! Giveaway will end on July 30, 2011, at 11:59 pm EST - just to make sure I've managed to get through all of the experiments! I will post the winners on this blog and email the winners. Winners will have 48 hours to respond to my email before I choose a new winner.

Mandatory Entry:
  • Does your relationship need spicing up? More intimacy? 

Bonus Entries:
  • 1 Entry -  Check out the products that K-Y Brands offers and let me know which sounds fun/interesting/weird/etc. to you!
  • 2 Entries - Like K-Y's Couples Place on Facebook.
  • 2 Entries - Visit Good in Bed and let me know one thing that you learned or found interesting.
  • 1 Entry - Follow me on Google Friend Connect (also on sidebar.)
  • 1 Entry - Like me on Facebook (also on sidebar.)
  • 1 Entry - Follow me on Twitter
  • 3 Entries - Sign up for my emails (don't forget to confirm!)

Remember! For each of the 10 days that I post about this, there will be EXTRA ENTRIES available! Those entries should be added to the comments in their respective posts. I will add the entries together from all posts before choosing the two winners.
*I received no monetary compensation for this giveaway, this blog post, or the blog posts that will follow. I did receive a K-Y Brands Intimacy Experiment package in order to fully participate in the program and tell you about it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Meet Me on Monday {6/27}

Some interesting questions today! Thanks, Java of Never Growing Old, for keeping this great meme going!

1.  What is your favorite food?
 WHAT?! I can't pick just one food! Though I'm skinny as a bean pole, I LOVE eating. Yeah, hate me. I'm just lucky that way, I guess. But, really, most of my favorites are fruits & veggies, so...
I do love bread, cheese, butter, and chocolate - but only sometimes (can you say PMS?) My very favorites, that I could eat anytime, are fresh berries (especially raspberries), Brussels sprouts, broccoli, raw cabbage, carrots, mushrooms... you get the idea! I was one of those weird kids who refused hot dogs and would have been happy with a giant bowl of frozen peas. (My kids inherited that particular trait and so we eat meat rarely.)

See I Love Food Dinner Plate and 1000's of others - or share your own on Cut Out + Keep

2.  What color scheme is your bedroom?
Well, how about Swiss Coffee/Eclectic? We live in an apartment and, if you know anything about the color scheme of apartments, they're pretty much all painted in "Swiss Coffee" color - an off-white. The "eclectic" part is my mish-mash of sheets, blankets, and pillow cases. Nope, no coordination!

3.  Do you carry a donor card?
I don't carry any cards. When we go out, I never remember my purse. It's more important to have a change of pants/underwear for Little Guy and Band-Aids than anything else! I am, however, registered to donate whatever they may happen to need should a bus hit me.

4.  In your opinion, is the glass half empty or half full?
Hmm... it's never the same. Depends on how thirsty I am, I guess! LOL

5.  Vanilla or Chocolate?
Chocolate for eating, vanilla for smelling. Ha! Thought you'd get me to make a decision!

***As always, if the photo is not my own, just click on the pic to be taken to where I found it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Have You Discovered Classified: Mom's Sunday Showcase, Yet? {I Was Featured!}

Classified: Mom

I love going to one place to find cool activities and ideas to do with the kids. One of those is Classified: Mom's Sunday Showcase. Every Sunday, you can go link up any of your crafty posts to share with others and/or peruse the linky for just the right activity for you and your kids. I can't tell you how many cool ideas there are listed each week!

So, go check out The Sunday Showcase this week and 1) See which post of mine was featured (YAY!) and, 2) find something fun to do this week. I think I might try making slime from cornstarch, or maybe make some sunshine flags for the garden... oh, there's one for making a marble run with cardboard tubes and boxes...
Hmm... maybe we'll have time for EVERYTHING!!!
(And, if you like finding new activities to do with your kids that are FUN and EASY, I suggest signing up for her emails or following/liking her blog.)

I've Been a Busy Beaver, Patching the Dam

Remember a couple of weeks ago when All Hell Went and Broke Loose? Well, things are beginning to get patched up. Just in time, too. I was oh so very close to losing my mind, I think. Here are the changes that have taken place and the ones that are slowly beginning to get better:

1) My oldest is out of school for the summer. No more constantly getting on his back about homework and grades. No more constant grounding. No more talking to a brick wall. I just let everything go for a couple of weeks and we didn't say a word about school for a couple of weeks. Probably was the best thing I could have done. When his grade card arrived in the mail this week, we were both ready to have a frank discussion about things.

He got his second "F" in a row in Algebra. UGH! This was the one class where he knew how to do it all and hated doing the daily homework problems because it was repetitive and boring. His grade was a direct result of not turning in homework. Test and quiz grades were all "A's". Like 95% and higher... yeah, and he FAILED! This just killed his plans to do his senior year in high school at the community college, gaining college credit for FREE.

We talked it all over, though, in a very calm and understanding manner. I understand that my constant harping was making him shut down. And he understands that he's got to grab hold of all of this new responsibility over his own education and keep everything under control. He knows that he's in charge of his own future, but he can always ask for help when he feels he may have goofed-off enough to paint himself into a corner. When he asks for help, I still get to roll my eyes ans sigh, but no accusations - only help.

smart summer button '11

He's also agreed to participate in the Smart Summer Challenge with me. It's not just for little kids, you know! I'm working on finding a way to teach him some organization skills and get him caught up in science and history - the two classes he started daydreaming in. He has no clue what was taught the last few months of school!

2) Little Guy and I are still having our problems, but it's getting better. He's nearly 100% potty trained! The secret was just letting him run around in the buff at home (so glad it's summer!) so he would run to his potty whenever he felt the need for it. When we go out, we use some Huggies Little Swimmers diapers that a friend gave us when he was first born. I tossed them in a box, thinking I'd never use them. Well, they are perfect - they stay feeling wet, so he hates peeing in them.
LOVES his new nickname: 'Nature Boy'

So, what's potty training got to do with his little attitude? He's a BIG BOY now! Some of the advice I received (from Sara of Sara's Organized Chaos) was to give him his own jobs, make him feel in charge of something. Well, if going potty when you need to isn't the biggest job ever to a toddler, what is?! He's so proud of himself! I keep mentioning all of the things he can do now that he's a big boy, things that babies just can't do. He loves it and struts around like a peacock. He's been picking up his toys on his own, helping me do other chores, etc.

Yes, we still have occasional tantrums, but nothing like before! It happens more when we're out in public with lots of people around. I'm trying to figure out if it's him being overwhelmed or me not paying close enough attention to him until it's too late. Another reason is that, with his new-found autonomy, he thinks he can do lots of things that he cannot do - like walk across the street on his own. And, the other day, he got himself dressed and told me that he was going to the library - "Mama stay home. Only I go library." Gonna have to make sure all of the doors are locked from now on!

3) Hubby and I are working on it. I have 100% control over his meds. He's seeing a psychologist once a week, with the option to go more often if he needs it. He's hanging out nearly everyday with a friend of his who is a real church-going man. My beliefs are way different, but he needs to have religion in his life to remind him how to conduct himself in his actions and in his heart. As long as I'm not in the sights for conversion, I don't care what he believes - it's his own personal decision and none of my business!

It's been a few weeks on the new med schedule. I hand them out just as prescribed - no more, no less. We've gone over the list of drugs with his psychologist and primary physician (ugh - I can't stand that guy!), and have eliminated the scripts that are unnecessary or causing bad side effects. I'm so HAPPY the Lyrica is gone - that stuff is poison, I'm telling you! We have a semi-normal schedule now and we have been able to do some honest talking (and real listening, not just hearing) on some of the issues. If we can stay on this level, I don't think there will be many more problems. I'm not stupid enough to think there won't be the occasional relapse, but I don't see it being the everyday thing it was. And relapses can be fixed much more easily that complete loss of control!

4) I've had my past revisit me this past week. It one of the ghosts in my closet - the closet I never open, the one with all of the locks and bolts tightly holding it in. It finally got out and has been haunting me - until last night. I've been spending the last few days obsessing over every single decision I've made in my life. All of those really bad ones, especially. I've imagined taking other paths, going down other roads... And, last night, it hit me - had I made any decision differently, even a little, I wouldn't have the people in my life right now that make my life worth living. I wouldn't have the view on life that I have right now. I wouldn't see the world as I do - right now. And, though my physical circumstances may not all that I want or desire, I have just what I need. And I like who I am, inside, right now.

You gotta check out Bernie's blog if you get a sec

When I checked my emails this morning, I saw a post by Bernie at One Mixed Bag that tied it all up so neatly for me. It was based on a writing prompt asking her to write a letter to her 16-year-old self. In it, she didn't tell herself to avoid such-and-such a decision. She just let herself know that there were going to be some bad times ahead and to prepare herself for them. She let herself know that things would turn out OK in the end, even when they didn't look so good in the present. I loved it and it came at the perfect time for me. It just reaffirmed that the conclusion I came to for myself last night was the right one!

So, I think all is well - for now! Things are always going to be popping up, but for now I'm feeling pretty appreciative of the things I have and the path I have laid down for myself!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fife & Drum Muster {Wordless Wednesday 6/22}

Actually, this is the parade before the Fife and Drum Muster. We missed the "Muster" part due to a lovely tantrum that was MUCH louder than the fifes, drums, muskets, and cannons. I'm instituting the "If you flip out and have a tantrum because you must hold my hand across the street, we're going home - N.O.W." method of parenting right now. Not a lot of fun since Little Guy is working on the "I'm a Big Boy and can do everything all by myself and I don't need to hold your hand ever again and, by the way, you can go home if you'd like because I can take care of myself" method of toddlerhood. The two methods just don't go together...

"Yeah, I'm here. I'm not going to have fun, but you can't say I didn't participate in this family activity. When is this thing over, anyway?"

Waiting for the "marching men."

Of course, no parade is complete until the police car rolls by!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Smart Summer Challenge - Are You Up for It?

I love summertime. I mean, I. LOVE. IT. Not only do I not have to bundle up every time I run out to get the mail, but I can go BAREFOOT! I love thunderstorms, too. And the occasional rainbow and beautiful sunset that the storms leave behind. I love checking out the hundreds of insects that grace me with their presence. And watching my garden grow from little seeds into huge plants and, eventually, food on my table. I love heading to the river in the evening and watching the birds fly just above the water, catching annoying mosquitoes and gnats. I love seeing wild animals and, occasionally, helping one recover from an accident or nurse a baby who's recently been orphaned in my bathroom.

But do you know what I love the most about summer?  
Sharing all of the above and more with my children!

smart summer button '11

When I received an email from Pink and Green Mama this morning that invited me to join in on the Smart Summer Challenge, I jumped on it! The idea is to pledge to incorporate fun, educational activities for six weeks into your daily plans. These can be as easy as reading a book, crafting, observing nature... you get the idea. And, if you can't think of anything, how about a free calendar of ideas?!
Just click on the photo for a printable calendar!
MaryLea Harris of Pink and Green Mama, Amy Mascott of Teach Mama and We Teach, and Candace Lindemann of Naturally Educational, have launched the Smart Summer Challenge.

From Pink and Green Mama's post, here are the steps you can take to join in on the fun:
Step 1

The first step is to "Like" the Smart Summer Challenge on Facebook, if you have an account.
We'll be using the Smart Summer Challenge FB page to share ideas, questions, and successes from challenge participants. 

Step 2: 

If you are a blogger, we would love for you to grab our "Smart Summer Challenge" Badge for your sidebar and/or Smart Summer Posts. 

Grab the button: 
<center><a href="" title="smart summer button '11"><img src="" width="150" height="150" alt="smart summer button '11"></a></center>
Step 3:

Each week, from June 27 through August 5, we will be posting daily activities on our three blogs. 
We would love it if you would blog along (as often as you wish - even once a week is great) and share what you are doing to keep the learning going over the summer. 

Step 4: 

On Friday of each of the Smart Summer Challenge weeks, we will post a themed "linky" on our blogs where you can share your recent or archived posts. If you do not have a blog, please feel free to share your activities and pictures on the Smart Summer Challenge Facebook page! We will highlight posts from participants on our blogs and on facebook. 

So, not only do you get to have fun doing educational activities with your kids, you can even win some pretty cool prizes! Here is a list of a few of the prizes that are posted on Teach mama (these aren't piddly little trinkets!):
I'm really looking forward to doing this and will be sharing as many of our activities as possible. Hopefully, some of you will join in, too!

Meet Me on Monday 6/20

1.  What feature of the opposite sex do you notice first?
HAIR! I love guys with lots of hair. Eyes are next. There are guys out there with "evil eyes" that completely freak me out. Could be the nicest man in the world, but I won't stick around to find out!
Kind of hard to see, but that's hubby's hair coming down over his shoulder and behind the baby blanket. And, though they're closed, he DOESN'T have evil eyes!

2.  Do you talk to yourself?
YEP! I think I'm talking to someone, but no one is paying attention, so I'm essentially talking to myself... or the walls.

3.  What is your current relationship status?
Married... and working very hard at it right now.

4.  Do you have a garden?
Yes! A little teeny, tiny garden, but a garden hjust the same. We live in an apartment, so our landlord was kind enough to allow me to till up part of the yard. We've been here for going on 6 years, so it's not like we were just going to leave it. Plus, I promised to plant a lot of perrineals so, when we do eventually move, it won't turn into an instant weed patch.
Taken June 3. It's grown a LOT since then - we even have pea pods on the peas now!

5.  What is your favorite licorice flavor?
BLACK! And I also like Twizzlers original strawberry.
Remember these?!

***The original page where I found all photos that are not my own can be found by clicking on the photo itself.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Look What the Cat Dragged In...

Poor little guy...

Our cat considers himself to be a great hunter and usually brings us all kinds of poor little baby animals to take care of. This year, thankfully, this guy is the first (and, hopefully, the last) of our visitors. He's got a little knick on top of his head that looks superficial. But , then he's got a little bit of roughing up just behind his neck, too. I wanted him to calm down before I checked him out any further, so he's in the bathtub, in a big box with lots of rags to bury himeslf into.

I think he'll make it and, by the size of him, he'll probably be ready to head off on his own pretty soon! As a teenager, I worked for wild animal rehabilitation center. (Yeah, that always gets me - what am I rehabilitating them from? Drugs, alcohol?) Anyway, I've been lucky enough to gain enough experience to know how to handle the majority of the mammals, birds, and - yikes! - even reptiles that may need help.

Now, who could turn down helping out this poor little guy who's lost his mommy and gotten beaten up by a big, bullying cat?!

First Outdoor Concert of the Year! {Music in the Park #1}

Last night was the first concert at St. Mary's Park in our town. Every Thursday, throughout the rest of the summer, there will be live concerts featuring different genres of music. On the list this year are fiddlers, acoustic guitarists, blues, and lots of impersonators: Rod Stewart, Elvis, The Blues Brothers, and (my personal favorite) The Beatles!

Last night, as a kick-off, there was a DJ playing oldies. The 50's and 60's oldies, not stuff from the 80's which has somehow gained the label of being "oldies", too, making me feel... well, old. We're talking about Fats Domino, The Beach Boys, Sha Na Na... you know, great dancing music! Unfortunately, the first half hour was rain-filled. It was just one big cloud, and the sun was still shining down on us. Quite a few people packed up and headed home, but we stuck it out. Those of us who weren't afraid of a little rain were rewarded with a nice rainbow and a beautiful scene of downtown,afterward:

The DJ was located at the tennis courts, making for a great place to dance. Little Guy loved it and was amazed by all of the people who were all doing the same dance (the Twist, for example.) He really got into it and had a blast - even got me (a huge introvert) to dance with him! At one point, everyone cleared out of the way and gave him his own little circle to dance in, with cheers and applause for him when he was through! How cool is THAT?!

**The really good photo of him doing his "moves" was, of course, "server rejected". Thanks, Blogger!

In addition to the music, there were a few classic cars on display and even a few artists, caturing the evening's activities on canvas. The cars, though only a handful, were really nice to look at. I'm proud to say that Little Guy knew the make and model of just about all of them. And it was fun for us to watch an artist painting the dancers! Little guy just loves painting (his medium of choice for its messy qualities!) and I was happy to show him what people can do with a set of paints and some brushes. I wonder if he'll try to apply what he saw to his next painting...

And, finally, there's the playground. I have been taking him to this playground nearly daily to get him ready for the tons of kids who will be running wild during the concerts. He's not all that steady yet and, when older kids get into games of tag, he could easily get pushed right off of the raised platform. So, I've been teaching him to hold on to the railings and to just get familiar with the slides and other components. Since a lot of people left early, it was a good day for him to get acclimated to having more kids around. There were only about 15 kids, rather than the usual 50+ that will be there next week!
When it was time to go home, sticking it out through the rain was, once again, rewarded. There were lots of puddles to splash in and we had a beautiful sunset to end our fun!
"No! Stay out of the puddle... please?!"