Archives for February 2009

The Crayon Game and How You Can Win By Losing

I am a neat freak. But, I’m a hypocritical kind of neat freak because while my kitchen needs to have order and my living room and my dining room need to have a certain element of organization and not too much chaos, I don’t care if my desk looks like a drop-zone for everything I own and when I stay in a hotel room, guaranteed, my clothes and toiletries are everywhere and I won’t be able to find ANYTHING and am perfectly OKAY with that.

Right now, my living room is a disaster area and it’s item #1 on my to do list for today (the list is about seven items long right now). The thing is, every time I get started trying to wipe out something on my list, Pumpkin travels behind me and undoes my magic or instead runs around ahead of me, creating new messes that need cleaning.

I’ve already dealt with the first part of this struggle this morning. Pumpkin had upended a plastic container full of crayons and markers on the living room floor and then once she tired of it, moved on to the next thing abandoning the mess in her wake. So, I brought out a trusty tool from my bag of Parenting Tricks (what? They didn’t give YOU a bag? Hmmm. They must just like me better): THE CRAYON GAME.

For those of you who don’t know The Crayon Game (and that should be EVERYONE because I made it up), TCG is where you and your kiddo race to see who can pick up the crayons the fastest. Now, the interesting thing about TCG is that it’s not necessarily who picks up the MOST crayons, but who puts away the LAST crayon. So, say you’re tearing along, slinging crayons back into their container, if you have a competitive child (and BOY, do I have competitive children. Thank goodness) they will almost always speed up so they can beat you to that last crayon. Pro Tip: You can slow down at the end. Once you’ve got that momentum going, you’re home free.

Within two minutes of sitting down in front of the chaos of crayons, that mess was gone and Pumpkin was joyous that she basically kicked my butt in The Crayon Game. I made the appropriate noises, “Oh man! You’re SO GOOD AT THIS!” and inside I was mentally patting myself on the back because WHOOHOO! I tricked her.

Yes, I’d say about 90% of the tools in said Parenting Bag of Tricks involve some sort of manipulation, but it works and I can’t argue (too much) with success.

Crocs Rock

I am a very active person. In high school I was a (don’t laugh) cheerleader for three years. Three years of football and basketball season. That’s a lot of toe touch jumps and landing hard on my feet (I said I was a cheerleader – I never said I was graceful). And now, I walk and every now and then occasionally get a bug up my butt to run – but I don’t like it so I do it just enough to be all, “Hey, I ran!” but that’s it. And when you figure I average at least 15 – 20 miles per week (since I’m just a walkety-walker), that’s AT LEAST 60 miles a month. I’m not doing the math on that one, but you know, over the course of a year…It’s kind of a lot.

This is why, though I would love to be wearing THESE hott shoes:
And yeah, I immediately took off my socks (Hey, it’s FEBRUARY IN MICHIGAN), popped on my shoes and hung around awhile enjoying their comfort and cuteness. I already know I’m gonna need another fun pair. This time in a crazy eye-popping color. Oooh, or leopard print.

Thanks, Crocs – for treatin’ my feet to some super cute comfort!

Photo credit: Top two pictures courtesy of Secret Agent Mama.

Kind of Addicted

Yesterday, I crossed another thing of my 101 List and went to a RedWings game. I picked the game VERRRRRY carefully, so we saw the Wings play the Colorado Avalanche. The game was amazing. Would have been even more amazing if the RedWings had won – but the final score was 6 – 5, and went to a sudden death shootout, and OH MY GOD, it doesn’t get much more exciting than an 11 goal game (well, it’d have been more exciting if Detroit had won, but that goes without saying).

As I was watching the game, I had my iPhone in my lap along with my Flip video camera and my digital camera. Between the first and second period, the woman sitting next to me commented on my “lap full of gadgets” and we got into a discussion about the iPhone and apps for the iPhone and the handiness of the Flip (so handy) and then Facebook versus Twitter (totally different, can’t really compare). Later in the game, the woman behind me noticed my phone and asked if it was an iPhone or the new touch-screen Blackberry (I drink the Apple KoolAid, no Blackberry here, sorry). Not only do my gadgets keep me in touch with the world around me, they are EXCELLENT conversation starters (though, how the convo evolved from my seatmate’s sister’s Flip to the fact that she and her hubby are trying to conceive, I’m not really sure. People just like to tell me stuff, I suppose).

This morning, my kids and I went to Target and I realized that within my purse, I had at least three techie doo-dads and was pretty much accessible to everyone in at least four different ways. And you know? To some people, that’s cringeworthy, but for me? I love it. Some women can’t live without hott jewelry and trendy accessories. Me? I’ve got that nerd streak in me that makes me LOVE gadgets. And hey, if it wasn’t for gadgets, I wouldn’t be able to have the below memory of what the Joe Louis Arena sounds like after the RedWings score ANOTHER goal (shaky footage? Yeah, I gotta work on that).

How accessible are you? How many gadgets do you tend to carry with you at most times?

Valentines Day Two Ways


I really don’t like Valentines Day. As a general rule, I don’t love it. Maybe it’s because it’s tax season (Pumpkin woke me up before six a.m. and Hubby was already gone for another day at work). While I think it’s pretty sad that we need to have a day in which we’re reminded to tell the people we care that we do indeed care – I still wouldn’t mind a nice squooshy card and a dinner out without kids. Hypocritical? Yeah, maybe, but when has that ever stopped me?

So, if you don’t celebrate Valentines Day, I’d like instead to wish you:
Happy Ferris Wheel Day!
Happy National Have a Heart Day!
Happy Condom Day!
Happy World Congenital Heart Defect Day!
Happy League of Women Voters Day!
Happy National Women’s Heart Day!
Happy National Call In Single Day!
Happy Race Relations Day!
Happy Quirky Alone Day!

Or, if you really insist upon it… Happy Valentine’s Day.

And… If I haven’t said it lately, I guess I probably should: MWAH. I adore all of you. And you, over there? You look really nice today. I like what you’re wearing.

P.S. I didn’t make those holidays up. Someone else did.

Thursday Ten: Things I Learned at BlissDom Edition

1. Even though they are 100 Calorie Snacks, if you eat the WHOLE BOX, you’re looking at 1,200 calories and 60 grams of fat – SO PUT DOWN THE NUTTY BAR (Ahem).

2. As most of you who have been reading for awhile know, I love music. You know what’s even better than that? Men that make music. Even better than THAT? Adorable men that make music. Enter Chris Mann. He came to perform for us at BlissDom, and given my pre-show Twitter-stalking, I got a shout out, which was fabulous until post performance and I went to talk to him and had a Baby-in-Dirty-Dancing “I carried a watermelon” moment. I’m so completely fabulous. Gah. Anyway, he is crazy talented, funny and so sweet – and that makes him the real deal. His album will be out this summer, I’m thinking. Check him out. (Okay, turning off the “fan girl” mode).

3. Even before the whole Elevator 13 debacle (and you should read all their accounts of it, because eesh!), I learned that it was best to avoid the Hotel Preston elevators. Fortunately for me, I was on the third floor so a dash up the stairs was a speedy little event. After the sessions would empty out, huge lines would form for the TWO elevators (both of which had a sign noting a capacity of seven). Then the doors would open and people would flood into those elevators and in my head I’d be counting and wondering just how many people we were going to squeeze in there anyway?

4. I totally should go to one of those countries where there are hot foreign men who give super good hugs and a smooch on the cheek. To strangers. (Thank you, Ender Thomas).

5. That Land’s End LOVES US and wants us to not pay for shipping. Til Sunday, February 15. The PromoCode for free shipping is BLISSDOM and the PIN is 2175. They have some crazy cute butterfly pants that I can’t explain my love for, but I think I need to buy them. Be sure to show them some love because hey, FREE SHIPPING.

6. The hotel gym is empty at 4:30 in the morning.

7. Having a hotel room was pointless because I didn’t sleep very well and it basically served only as a place to shower and dump my clothes all over everything. I joked that I could trash a hotel room like Motley Crue (minus any possible illegal substances – as I consumed nothing stronger than a Blisstini and an abundance of the One2One mints). I was such a disorganized mess with my stuff that I misplaced several things (including MY BELOVED iPOD) and couldn’t find them until I got home.

8. BlissDom babies are better behaved than either one of my children ever were! (Don’t judge me, y’all).

9. There ain’t no party like a blogger party cuz a blogger party don’t stop… (What? Too much?).

10. That I will DEFINITELY be repeating this experience again next year. Fer realz (Jenny, you hear me?).

Heart & Soul… For Valentines Day

A few months ago, I reviewed the Seal cd over on Blissfully Domestic. At that time, I also mentioned here that I was very much in crazy love with this disc. Really. Seal has such a smooth voice that you can’t help but feel a little jealous that Heidi Klum gets to hear that voice singing in her shower.

Ahem. Where was I?

On February 12 at 9 CST, Seal will be featured on PBS Soundstage. I’m not a PBS-watcher, usually, but I may have to make an exception. And in the spirit of Looooooove, you can customize and send a SEAL e-card for the love of your life. I recommend sending it a day early… a nice gentle reminder about the special day approaching. Just click on the widget below to get started. Also, be sure to check out the widget in my sidebar on the right for some awesome tunes.

AND, one last thing? One2One Network has given me the chance to giveaway a signed copy of Seal’s SOUL album to one of you. Please leave me a comment telling me your DREAM Valentine’s gift (Mine? Getting to sleep in til the sun comes up, getting breakfast in bed, and automatically having good hair for the day without any effort). Tweet the contest and get an extra entry. (Giveaway limited to US residents). A WINNER WILL BE PICKED AT RANDOM ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 17.

Good luck (and share your love!).

Total Bliss

get-your-bliss-on Badges

If you have been anywhere near the blogosphere in the past several days, you probably realize that over this past weekend something BIG happened. If you’re on Twitter, I’m sure you saw the hashtag “#blissdom09” on a huge ton of tweets (and
The whole weekend was awash in fabulosity (say that five times fast), and that was definitely to the credit of Allison (Or, Mrs. Fussypants, if you will) and the One2One Network. There was some incredible support from some amazing sponsors – who not only recognized that we’re out here, but that we’re here and we have voices and they are listening to us. We chowed on Little Debbie 100 Calorie Snacks between sessions (seriously, don’t ask me how many Nutty Bars I ate, because frankly, it was a lot and far more than any one person should eat- BUT THEY WERE SO GOOD!). WalMart showed us some love (and some lucky peeps – not me – were able to win an iPod Touch – SO AWESOME). And Crocs – how fabulous are they? – gifted us with some awesome swag. We had excellent entertainment thanks to Disney Pearl Series and Sony Music – which will have to be a post of its own, because seriously – the guys from Yanni Voices and the oh-so-adorable Chris Mann are worthy of their own post. Really. I mean it).

Perhaps the most exciting part for me was the opportunity to finally meet my partners-in-crime after months of working with them via Skype for Blissfully Domestic. After several months of chatting with them day-in-day-out, I got to Nashville feeling like I knew ’em already. Was so excited to get to be with them, and was sad to leave. I got to talk to people whose blogs I adore, people whose Twitter-streams I follow, and I loved every minute of it.

I have been trying to put this experience into words for a few days now, and it’s hard. Two days just wasn’t ENOUGH. I didn’t meet everyone I wanted to meet, or talk to everyone I wanted to talk to. There was just TOO MUCH AWESOMENESS under one roof.

There’s somewhat of a “coming down” period after a weekend like we just had. I didn’t expect to feel that way, but I miss everyone already – and will surely be going to BlissDom ’10.

Here I Am, Writing A Teaser Post.

I spent a good chunk of time today in the car with my BFF road-trippin’ it back home from Nashville, where over 200 amazing women (and some men too, of course) invaded the Hotel Preston for the BlissDom Conference.

Tomorrow, I’ll get y’all all caught up with the magic of the weekend that I just had. Tonight, I’m just parking my butt on the couch and yes, catching up with the Twitter buzz about the conference (I’m not the only one going through withdrawal). We had some amazing sponsors, heard some inspiring speakers, heard some incredible music (from VERY ATTRACTIVE MEN), learned tons, and made new friends.

Thursday Ten: Smells Like Power Chords

1. Today in my guitar lesson, we worked on Power Chords which was a nice break from sixteenth notes which was getting kind of confusing. My teacher wrote some stuff on tablature and in playing it, I realized it was the opening riff to…”Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

2. I really love Nirvana. Always have. Sigh.

3. Yesterday was one of the most craptastic days I have had in a long time – thankfully I have friends who are greater than all the curveballs life throws at you. Mwah.

4. Know what stinks? Taking a three year old to a guitar lesson. That’s no fun.

5. Music of the week – tons, but one of the many songs I downloaded was Radiohead’s “Karma Police” and the soundtrack to “He’s Just Not That Into You” – specifically “Friday I’m In Love” by The Cure.

6. Right now, there are Barbies all over the place in the hallway and Pumpkin is making the biggest mess while I’m jamming to get a work project done before the end of the day. Trying to keep a sense of humor about it.

7. It’s supposed to be 40 degrees this weekend. Hope all the snow goes away.

8. The Twitter #nerdpickuplines meme today cracked me up. I love nerds.

9. I should hurry up and finish this list because I really need to go pee.

10. Um, that’s all folks. Gotta go!

Inside the Blogger’s Studio…

Courtesy of Beth Fish of So The Fish Said… the latest round of interview questions (And seriously, amazing questions.)

1. Remember the movie Brewster’s Millions? That happens to you, except on a smaller scale. You receive a million dollars that you must spend in 30 days. However, you cannot have any assets to show for the money at the end of the month (and you can’t buy something and then destroy it), you cannot waste the money, you cannot give it away, and you cannot tell anyone what you are doing. How do you ditch the dough in a month or less?
Does paying off Hubby’s heinous student loan count as an asset? I have actually NEVER seen this movie, so, let me think of what I would do. First of all, I think I need a helper. This person’s official title shall be COFFEE BEEYATCH. He or she will do an early morning Starbucks run (with my reusable mug) daily so that by the time my munchkins roll outta bed, I’ve got a hot cappuccino ready for me. Of course, this is a crucial job, and this person should make some astronomical sum of money (I think I’ll prepay the CB to cover his or her services after my moohlah is gone). I’m going to help my team meet our donation goal for the Avon Two Day Walk (Shameless plug). I think my daughter’s first grade class needs a super cool field trip and they’ve been slacking on the field trips because of the money factor – so anonymously, of course, the kids are gonna go somewhere fabulous. I also think I need to hire an Automotive Assistant who will be responsible for my car maintenance for life (prepay that sucker too). Oil changes, detailing (holy car-bage in my car right now!), car washing, filling the tank with gas? NOT MY PROBLEM ANYMORE. And then I think I want to travel a bit. I am sure I can squash the remainder of money going places, seeing and doing things (but not buying anything).

2. You are locked in a toy store overnight, with no way out until it reopens in the morning. What do you play with all night?
I am going to find the Nintendo DS’s and curl up on a big pile of stuffed animals playing goofy games. Because I’M A DORK.

3. If you could have a dinner party with any three famous people, living or dead, you would be wasting your supernatural powers on hosting dinner parties. What would you do instead?
With my three living or dead people? I would bring Jonathan Larson back to life and have him write something as amazing as “RENT”, because I love RENT. Then I would also invite Jack Johnson so I could sit on his lap while he taught me how to play guitar (or not) and of course he would be so captivated by my supernatural powers that he would probably insist that I move to Hawaii with him (yes, my supernatural powers are awesome like that that they get me out of winter climate into the warmth of the Hawaiian sun – jealous, no?). And I would bring my grandmother back so that she could be at my sister’s wedding in October, because I think she would loved to see my sister grow up.

4. What’s the best thing since sliced bread? Now, sliced bread ain’t all that impressive, so what’s the best mediocre, hum-drum improvement or advancement that has made modern life just ever so slightly more convenient for humanity, along the lines of saving yourself five seconds every time you want a piece of bread.

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. I use them for everything. They work for nearly everything. They are cheap, but my god, they really are magic (Mr. Clean people: see me plugging for you? Think maybe you oughta send me some freebies?!).

5. What’s your best quality? The response to this question must be a simple declarative statement. You may elaborate on that statement, provided that your elaboration does not include the words “but,” “however,” or “although,” or any other hedging, equivocating, back-sliding, gerrymandering (which is not at all appropriate in this context, but I think it should be, don’t you?) or any other type of backing down from the simple declarative statement with which you began your response.
I have a creative mind and use it often.