Wednesday, December 31, 2008

encourage. inspire. enjoy.

spriteskeeper ... the mighty grand poobah of the spin cycle ... has given us the assignment of coming up with a new years resolution. (really ... i didn't see that coming ... well ... i probaby did in some recess of my brain ... but i was hoping not to.)

problem is?

at one point in my life ... i resolved to not make resolutions. period.

i had become disgusted with my inability to go an entire span of time ... one measly little year ... doing what i had said and hoped i would ... or could.

so i gave up on them.

and i've stewed about this topic since the posting of the assignment ... about what to write. about what to resolve to do. about what to say if i continue to resolve ... not to do ... anything.

and it came down to this.

i live my life ...
and there is so much that i'm thankful for and enjoy ... but, i'm not always happy with all of it. and i completely realize that there are things that i want to have and do and be. (and so many things that i have and do and am.)

and in order to acheive those things that i haven't (yet) succeeded at and also to give myself a pat on the back for the things i have achieved ... i need to create a simple mantra for myself.


that's what i want to do. simple. no goals to lose out on. nothing to fail. plenty to gain. and in the end something to look back at ... next december 31st ... to see how those words shaped my being.

because ... there is so much inside of those simple words.

and i don't want to minimize ... or place qualifications on them ... by telling you what i hope to do with them.

i just want them to be.

and i just want to be happy ... with whatever it is that i do with them.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

because i can't come up with anything cohesive or important or remotely interesting.

yesterday ...

my girly-girls, my best(est) friend and her lil' -s- (friend's daughter and the current love of both of my children) ...

and i ...
(behind the camera)

all went to the zoo.

and apparently ... coconut LOVES her some dolphins.

so much so ...

that as she was nursing to sleep ... she de-latched ... looked up at me ... and said ...

"i see dolsins zoo"

yes, my darling. you did see dolphins at the zoo today. did you like watching the dolphins?

"yah. i see more dolsins."

at which point, she grabbed her nuk-nuk and blankies and walked to the front door. and struggled to pull on her snow boots.

"go see more dolsins."

i had to explain that the dolphins went night-night ... but we can go see them again real soon. slightly dejected, we headed back to bed.

i'm pretty sure that she had dreams of them all night long.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


because (occasionally) there are those bedtimes ...

that, honestly, make you want to initiate an online auction for your children.

-- with all the hyperactivity and crying and read-it-agains and whining and i-wannanother-snacks ...

the bidding will start at $1000. i am totally kidding about this option.

... or pour (at the very least) 3 more glasses of wine.

i am NOT kidding about this option.

and on very lucky days ...

you have your best(est) friend and her absolutely adorable gorgeous scrumptious - and also screaming and crying - baby girl spending a few nights with you ...

you just pour (at the very least) 3 more glasses of wine for each of you and giggle over pictures and notes and letters corresponding you across the country in high school.

and yeah. then you realize ... you could totally still be in high school worrying about boys and algebra.

that is when you realize ...

screaming babies are a breeze.

Friday, December 26, 2008

life in focus.

things are looking brighter.

grandma is home.

she still has the tumor ... i tell her it just means there is more of her to love.

they think it is slow growing ... and not interfering with her ability to function and live on her own.

it may be that she had a small stroke like episode ... or that she was extremely dehydrated. (i also had to explain that drinking diet coke ... is not hydrating ... only water helps with that.)

so. all in all. life has appeared more focused this holiday season.

and i got a new camera. (nikon d50)

focus (and aperture and light and shutter speed, etc.) are my high priorities right now.

after family.

i'm sure you'll be seeing more of me and her in the near future. my new camera is definitely a her. i just haven't decided on her name yet, though. suggestions welcome.

and thanks. thanks for the well wishes and prayers. i know they helped. both of us.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


this is why my heart hurts today.

coconut is sitting on my lap as i write this request to you ... and she just smiled and pointed as that picture appeared above. "gramma!" she said. and i start crying again ... she asked if i "bump head?" no baby ... mama's heart is very very sad.

see that amazingly wonderful woman up there?

yesterday, in the middle of the night, she had a fall. she (finally) realized the importance of these episodes and got ahold of one of her beloved children. who, in turn, called an ambulance to bring her in right away.

now we have a diagnosis.

brain tumor.

which will potentially be operated on ... today. edit: maybe not today. but soon.

and i am desperately begging you for all of the prayers and thoughts and well-wishes that you can possibly muster up today ... to pull her through this. because i am NOT ready to see her go.

it's amazing how something like this, can help you to realize the true importance of a holiday.

it's not the hours spent searching for a perfect present, the gifts that you receive under your tree or the cookies ... it's the people that you love. fully and truly. it's having them around you. it's being enveloped in one of gramsy-bear's best hugs.

so, please? send her some well wishes if you can today ...
i know this sounds greedy ... but i really want her here. i cannot imagine my life without her in it.

that, and ... she has a lot of life to live still.

in fact, she's been asking when they can get that thing out of her ... because she has a casserole in the fridge that needs to be brought over to someone's house ... and someone else asked her to make mashed potatoes for christmas dinner.

so, see? she's not ready yet either.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

a birth story ... of sorts.

sprite's keeper gave us an extra week in which to complete our assignment for the spin cycle this time around!

(and believe me ... i needed it. whew. are we at friday yet? seriously. longest. week. ever.)

oh yeah ... friday at 4:00? marks the start of winter break. boy do i need it.
now if only i could find a way to make winter break last through june. hmmmm.

back to the original stream of thought.

our assignment is to write a story about how your blog came to be. and here is my bloggy baby's birth story ...

don't worry anymommy ... i've promised you birth stories in the past ... and i guarantee ... you are getting 'em soon. that's what my early start of my new year will include ... no fear, my dear.

i started out reading blogs. different blogs. a variety of blogs. blogs of the "celebrity" bloggy variety. blogs that had beautiful pictures. blogs that showed gorgeous craftiness. blogs that made me giggle. blogs that made me realize that i'm not alone.

and then i started clicking on comment names ... because they intrigued me. or because something they said struck a chord and i wanted to read more about them. i think blogging to an extent is my reality television.

but without all of the weirdness.

well ... maybe some of the weirdness.

but ... the weirdness is actually more ... shall we say ... real?

then, i realized i'm kinda weird, at times, too. and i like typing out words.

and i had already learned how to send a comment. yeah me! and realized that i already had registered for an account. so i just added a blog.

primarily because the kids were sleeping in.

and i was ... slightly bored. (shhhh ... i'm sure the dishes weren't done and the carpet needed to be vacuumed ... i could have started a craft project or finished a craft project ...)

the name of my blog was a no-brainer. i always wanted to open an etsy shop named coconut belly ... my girl's most used nicknames. i liked the ring of it. i liked what it stands for.
and from that point on ... it's when i realized that i was going to write about my family. and me. that i was going to write for my family. and me.

i like watching my words flow in front of me ... and out of me. i don't hold onto things like i used to. i have an outlet for an overwhelming amount of thought that spins inside of me. every. single. day.

if you don't believe me ... just email me.
several people have emailed me and asked simple questions ... and i send them back paragraphs.
loads and loads of paragraphs. then they never email again.
maybe i have vocabulagorical attention deficit disorder?

blogging allows me to unleash it.
it's funny ... i've read that a lot of people edit numeous times before hitting publish. me ... i just get my words on the screen and go around and add color. and go. i don't really manipulate it ... much. what you see ... is really what i'm thinking. it just is.

and then i got comments.
which took blogging to a whole 'nother level.

all of a sudden i realized that people actually read what i write. which scared me for a day or so.

and even last week ... someone contacted me about advertising on my blog page.
which added a new dimension. especially ... because i turned it down.

my explanation was ... i started this for ME. for me and my family. for friends and family ... and friends that have grown exponentially through blogging ... near and far ...

to share the idea of what i'm thinking and who i am. who we are. to hope that i make someone smile or help someone with something ... anything. and if someone wants to put something on here ... i need to want it there. i need to know that it's something that i want you to see. somewhere that i want you to go to.

so yeah ... that's it. how my blog came to be ... in short ... because i have too many words in my head and they needed to get out. and because i love my girls. primarily, because i want to show the world how much i love my girly-girls.

my coconut. *and* my belly.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

F this ... F that ...

sunshineandlemonade did a post a few days ... weeks ... while ago ...

in which she named 10 of her favorite things that started with an O.

she was willing to save us all from the lack of blogging material give us a letter to make our own list ...
and it has come to the moment when i needed something to spark some words ... so she handed me an F.

what the? i was slightly insulted, initially ... i mean, an F is slightly synonymous with failure. so i'm hoping that she wasn't insinuating anything.

here's to praying that she really just randomly chose a letter for me ... and wasn't handing out my blog grade.

here goes.

my 10 favorite things that start with *f* (in no particular order ... )

dunh dunh duh.

1. family ...
really? you didn't know that one was coming? i LOVE my family. all of them. sometimes some more than others. but in the end. all.
i love my girly-girls more than i could have ever imagined possible.
i love my husband ... more now than when we got married.
i love my family and my family-in-law and my extended extended family.
together ... they make my life worth living. and i thank the world for them every day.

2. felines ...
i have a soft spot for kitties. don't worry ... i'm not cat-lady potential. my parents got me my first kitten when i was 6 months old. and other than during college ... i have never NOT had a kitty at the end of my bed to keep my feet warm. it's a necessity on a cold night when my husband is working.

3. fun ...
i have a personal quest to make life fun. i don't always succeed. but it is a measure of my success if i can make my children and the students that i teach have a smile on their faces. we learn best when we are having fun with learning. and isn't it right to approach each day like that?

4. friday ...
finally. friday. i heart fridays. they are my bestfriend in a week of crazy. they are the symbol of "ahh"...we all get to relax together a wee bit for a few more days before the crazy has to begin again. i wish the week was designed with at least two of them. i love going to bed on friday and knowing that tomorrow is our day. funny, that just a few years ago? i loved fridays because it meant nights out. and now ... nights in.

5. farms ...
i never got the chance to be a farm-raised girl. but i dedicated myself to getting as close as i could. the feel of a warm burst of breath from your horse on a chilly morning. the squeak of cold leather as you pull yourself into the saddle. the cuddle of a barn kitten. the chorused nicker of the horses as you walk around with the grain and hay bales. the early mornings and late nights. the endless work involved with keeping life functioning.

6. forgiveness ...
i crave forgiveness. i crave the fact that it is always an option. that we can choose to forgive. that people can choose to forgive us. that you can do something wrong and that it will be ok in the end. the hardest part is asking for it.

7. friends ...
i have friends and "friends". people i know in real time and people that i have yet to meet ... but feel like i already know. and all of you are important to me. i love the feeling of community. the feeling that there are others that can guide me and pull me through the difficult. and can joy with me in the wonderful times. without friends ... i would be ... not me.

8. fawns...
we live in this amazing little area. quite close to the big city. really really close to the big city. with an spectacular little oasis of wild in our backyard. there is a herd of deer that consistently are walking through. each season, we have at least 1 fawn or a set of twins that meander through, either early in the morning or at daybreak. mama deer are this crazy mix of protective of their baby(ies) and used to humans. that they will walk baby right past you. (but they are sure to stay between you and the baby...) i always tease that i had never seen a deer pee before. i think that is the truest explanation of how used to living together we have become in this area.

9. film ...
not films. but film. i remember taking photography courses in high school and college and remarking that i wanted to do that. i love(d) capturing things in my camera. at the time, those around me squashed (?) my dream, saying that it wasn't an occupation ... more of a hobby. (either that, or i suck at it...). and now ... it's ok that i didn't pursue that as a dream job. because my favorite thing to take pictures of are in my life everyday. and they, probably, wouldn't be ... if my life was different. but, back to film? i used to love taking pictures with film. bringing it to the shop and waiting for it to be developed. beyond that? i used to love developing my own film and have always dreamed of having a little tiny blackroom in my house. the chemical scent and watching a piece of blank paper develop a scene that you witnessed is crazy-beautiful.

10. firepits ...
having a firepit sit within our backyard that we can routinely (during the summer, primarily!) enjoy is wonderful. we love to sit around at night with neighbors and friends. beer and wine. children and dogs. grahamcrackers and marshmallows AND chocolate. whispering "i love white bunnies" to encourage the smoke to blow in a different direction. letting the kids race around, in the dark, and swing and scream. laughing when their light up tennis shoes can be seen blinking randomly as they run behind the bushes. those fire nights are the mark of summer. and i love to capture them in my memory.

so funny...
after writing this whole entire list and reading my remarks about her giving me an *f*, i realized that we often say this prayer (?) before dinner ...
thank you for our food and family and friends and felines ...
and then we randomly suggest alternative *f* words that we are thankful for.
so funny that sunshineandlemonade gave me an *f*.

if you want ... let me know if you need a letter ... i'd be happy to oblige.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

header suggestions?



i've switched it 3 times today ...
(not like anyone has noticed ... you've all been mighty busy i'm sure!)

it's just that i was playing on picnik ...
(my favorite ... oh by the way ... i upgraded and got rid of the horrendous shine on my profile picture! thank god.)

and the beach just no longer felt appropriate given that it is freaking cold outside ... but our little snow family makes me so happy. (not warm happy ... but makes me smile ... memories ...)

so ...
now i want your opinion ... (and please don't pick beach ... 'cause i can't take the temptations any longer!)

here's what i did today ... in between working.

option 1 ... option 2 ... option 3 ...

anyone out there have a preference??


my mom just sent me a group of pictures in an email ... and because i tend to want to know more and there was a glaring watermark in the corner ... i googled the photographers name ...

this is what i found.

an amzing little collection of photographs of a fawn and a bunny from a woman in germany - Tanja Askani. note: this link is in german ... so if you can read it ... enjoy it and let the rest of us know what it said!

apparently she also has a book available depicting the adventure of raising an orphaned wolf cub - kinship with the wolves.

the pictures speak to moments of peace and calm. and i just wanted to share that.
click on the links and enjoy the beauty that this world offers ... we just need to stop and see that it is there.

Monday, December 15, 2008


i was just letting my dog out for the last potty break before bed ...

i opened the door, my fingers (wet from doing dishes ...) got partially stuck on the freezing cold clip on her tie out ...

the cold air rushed in ...
and ... i swear to god ... my dog just looked at me and telepathically indicated,

"there is no barking way that i'm gonna go place my arse close enough to that snow to pee ... i might get frozen to the yard with all that wind whipping around."

and ... she walked back to the bedroom and went to sleep. where she is now snoring.

negative 9, folks. fahrenheit. and that's just the temperature.
wind chill, you ask?? negative 26.

brrrrr ... i'm gonna go and climb into my cozy bed now. good night. stay warm.

google searching ... jen wants.

connie over at theyoungandtherelentless just a few days ago wrote a post based on a post ...

in which ...
these women googled "(insert: their name) wants"

they ended up with some funny prospects about what they want ...
so i decided to try it. because i like to steal ideas when i can't think of anything to say ...

apparently, the celebrity jens out there have really messed things up for me.

here ya go. (and please note ... this is not my christmas wish list mom&dad)

the top 20 things that ...
jen wants ...
  1. a muzzle
  2. human anatomy lessons
  3. vampires in her clan
  4. to play by the rules
  5. a smack daddy
  6. to step it up
  7. taking out for fun
  8. help
  9. a meme
  10. numbersss
  11. to ease up on the lip injections
  12. a road bike
  13. a hug
  14. healing thoughts and prayers
  15. to look inside their relationship to see what the cause could have been
  16. to be committed real soon before she does something crazy
  17. to get OVER it and GET A LIFE!
  18. to acknowledge that she got her ass dumped
  19. a 929 ASAP stunterzcomer
  20. reverse anger management

Friday, December 12, 2008

a rut.

i'm in a rut.
and apparently ... when you google search that phrase, you realize that everyone else is too. at one time or another.

so ... i don't have much to say.

and that could swing the blogging pendulum to good or bad. it's up to you to decide if you want to read along and see what comes of this mindless wandering of words flowing from my hands.

and with that said ... i'm just gonna type and press publish post. no editing. no thinking. just thoughts. and potentially, bullet points. and i may go back and add color or size increases to the words that are singing to me, like usual ... anyways, we'll see what happens ...

i've never been one to overly think and analyze my life and where i am. i've always tried being upbeat and happy about what i'm doing and who i am. but i'm slowly realizing that i'm not sure that i'm who or where i want to be.

i'm stuck in a job that i absolutely love and hate. i spent this morning attempting to write an introductory paragraph about myself for an upcoming conference that i will (possibly) be presenting at. and i was trying to describe me. i wanted to shout
but that is both incredibly important to who i am and completely unrelated to who i was trying to convey. i wanted to tell the people what i love about my job.
-- i love helping kids learn language and become better communicators.
-- i love watching a child say their first words.
-- i love breaking through to a child with autism and seeing them acknowledge me.
-- i love watching a student get the /r/ sound for the first time! and feel proud that i helped them get there.

but i feel that i'm failing my own kids in the process.

is it better that i reach out to 60 kids than to my own two?

i hate ... absolutely hate ... watching and seeing kids that don't reflect that they are being loved at home.
i'm sure that they are loved. everyone is. right?

are my girls gonna grow up thinking that they weren't because i shipped them off to play with someone else while i helped some other kids?

a few days ago ... my daycare provider was mentioning how fun it is to watch cora talking. (oops ... i said i wasn't going to edit ... that slipped. ignore it.) she said ...

"don't blink."

and i think i have. i've blinked and missed things.

my oldest daughter is going into *kindergarten* next year. she is going to be five years old.

is that what this rut is all about?

i'm watching these little beings develop and grow and mature and i can't fucking stop time long enough to breathe it all in. i can't bottle this (now) so that i can break open the seal in 50 years to remember who they were. at this exact moment in time. blogging is my attempt. but i can't, often enough, drop everything and just -write- in order to capture what it was that i wanted to say. and then i miss it. or forget about it. the memory gets placed in the store file of my brain. where, most likely, it will get covered in dust and forgotten about.

i want to stop everything and just stay at home with them and thrive off of their newness and discoveries and walk stella (oops again ... staying true to my word.) to school on that first day ... or maybe drive her.

because at this point ...
i have no idea where she is going to go. i always thought i did.

-- neighborhood school? yes ... but.
i work in our school district. i know that it isn't where i need her to be.
-- my school? yes ... but.
i don't want her love of life and learning to be smashed because of someone else's behavior.

i know my child. i know that if she saw another student throw a chair at the teacher on the first day of school ... she would be mortified and disturbed by it. it would bother her beyond all measure. it bothers me. she would bottle up that fear. she wouldn't talk about it for a few days ... she wouldn't sleep. it would all come
i don't want that.

at an open house last night ... i remarked to the teacher giving us a tour.

"i know that every parent thinks that their child is smart. and i don't want to sound like that parent. but ... i am. my child knows her numbers and her letters. she understands beginning level math concepts and is beginning to read and write. what is your school prepared to do to help foster and encourage her development, rather than making her wait for the kids that aren't ready?"

and she had the right answer. but our odds in the lottery to get in, aren't so hot. (please cross your fingers for me?)

they have their students make birthday baskets to send to homeless shelters for children. they expect (and make their parents sign!) agreements to be involved. they take the students outside to pick up the neighborhood and leave mayday baskets for the surrounding community.

they foster so much more than just the typical get through the day and teach the kids what is being tested. they want the kids to be successful at life. and that is what i want for my daughter. that is all that i ask for.

so now ... if you made it this far ... i thank you for listening and letting me pour out my heart. and i'm sorry that you had to listen to the randomness of it. but thank you.

what i really want to remember about today? i don't want to remember this feeling of being in a rut. i want to remember that two days ago ... on december 10th. stella came home from daycare knowing this.

MOM upside down is WOW

and i hope she believes it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

sign of a true friend.

while attending a birthday party at my grandmother's apartment building ... coconut remarked quite loudly ... "poop" while pulling at her pants ... which means that she has to go potty.

sidenote ... damn potty training. i swear ... i have been blessed with two girly-girls that decide to potty train themselves at the ripe ol' age of one. seriously. now ... don't start hating. it is a pain in the ass. because at one? there isn't much of a bladder ... and they need to pee constantly. and from a speech-language pathologist ... can someone please help me get her to say "potty" rather than screaming "POOP!" in the middle of where-ever we happen to be??? argh.

so we quickly gathered ourselves (and the older sister ... because apparently their bladders must. work. together.) and moved towards the restroom.

the restroom that had to be cleaned like there was no tomorrow. blech. i cannot even type out vocabulary that would describe the stench emanating from that room. it was horrendous. it was ... ... stink.

but ... there out of the corner of my eye ... i saw a flash of pink.

it was raisin.

(confused, yet?)

or more specifically, raisin minneapolis wallet. the beloved doll of my belly's bestfriend.

i screamed (without breathing) ... GRAB RAISIN! GET HER OUT OF HERE!

we exited the bathroom from hell. forgot about the whole peeing thing. and called bestfriend's mom.

"do you know where raisin is??"
"we lost her!"
"we have her!"
"ohmyfarkinggod. jen and the girls have raisin!"
there were cheers of joy!
"we have been looking all over for her!"
there was a wee bit of sobbing occurring. (from mom of bestfriend. she's pregnant. need i say more?)

note ... i don't think she actually said, "ohmyfarkinggod" ... but it added emotion AND it was fun to type. but everything else is true.

and they were reunited later that evening.

my grandmother and bestfriend's dad's grandfather happen to live in the same building ... so it's not like we completely randomly just found the baby doll somewhere in the city.

but, what i find really amazing is that ... it was very evident to me that a sign of a true friend ... for your child is when you would be able to pick out the friend's most very prized possession and you would risk yours and your offspring's lungs to save it.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


beep beep beep beep beep ...

public service announcement.

you should never leave an 18 19 month old alone while you


check the loads of blog posts that have accumulated in your google reader over the last several days when you have been neglecting your blogging duties.

this concludes our public service announcement.
(yes ... that is a bajillion straws that were strewn about my house ... and yes ... this was prior to the removal of the carpeting ... but i just saw it and it made me laugh. a little late, but fun nonetheless. and they kinda looked like snow when she threw them into the air and watched them float down to the ground. which reminds me ... SNOWING. and STICKING to the ground. oh yes ... winter is here. and right now ... i kinda like it. give me a few weeks.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

jingle bells. and the quest to find one.

last night, belly intently watched polar express.
she's seen the movie before ... but not with as much conviction as was observed last evening. following the final few scenes in which the boy gets a bell from santa ... she wondered aloud.

do all kids get bells from santa?
will i get a bell from santa??
mama, why did that boy get a bell???

at that exact moment in time ... in my head ... i realized ...

it is so time to milk (and cookie) this santa-guy for everything i can.
oh yes.
we're on.

my mom and dad got this opportunity so long ago. now ... it's my turn.

i replied ...
hmmm. well that boy was a very very special boy. he must have done so many wonderful things for others. santa only hands out a few of those bells. only the most special and thoughtful of the children get them.

and it started to backfire ...
(with tears in her eyes) well, i wasn't very nice to coconut tonight. so i won't get a bell ... and i really really want a bell. (the tears were pouring now) so it doesn't matter what i do ... i won't get a bell.

shite ... c'mon mama, come up with something!
well ... honey. did you know that santa can see when you make things better? if you are polite and apologize to the people that you hurt. he'll see that and maybe will realize that you are trying your hardest. i don't know ... i think you might just get a bell ... especially if you can keep up this good attitude. it makes mommy and daddy and santa so proud.

and now ... at the sign of an impending outbreak ... i just sing. or hum a tune.

*he sees you when you're sleeping * he knows when you're awake *

*he knows if you've been bad or good * so be good for goodness sake *

and now?? i have to find a bell. or i will SO be screwed for next year.
**image courtesy of google image

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

coconutbelly holiday newsletter - spin cycle

spriteskeeper gave us the challenge of writing a holiday letter for our spin cycle this week. i'm taking this opportunity to write the letter that i would never never *ever* send. in a million years. because it ended up being me COMPLAINING. which i absolutely hate to do. i tend to pride myself in being one of those glass half full or silver lining kind of people... (yes ... i know ... gag.)

and please don't attempt to go back through my posts to make me feel bad that i may have complained once or twice ... i realize that i probably have, in a moment of desperation, complained about something or other. it was either complain to the one person that actually read this thing ... or complain to my husband. which would end up frustrating him, most likely. so ... there. just leave it alone.
i like to think that i AM a positive thinking personality. just agree with me. m-kay?

and now ... onto the letter that we should all just ignore. and maybe i will post another spin cycle with a letter that more closely resembles our lives. with no further ado ... adeiu ... adieu ...

here's the damn letter.
dear friends and family ...
wow. what a crazy busy year it's been.
we, here, at the coconutbelly household have been basically just trying to make it, alive, into 2009. so far, so good.
since we've all changed so incredibly much since last year ... we thought we would take this opportunity to update you!

belly is now 4 and a half. she has managed to grow exponentially this year, and we are no longer completely sure that we can afford to feed and clothe her. we started the year in a size 4T. currently we are reworking her wardrobe to include mostly 6x. (that's a 4 size increase for the estrogen-challenged out there.)
she eats. and eats. and when she isn't eating ... she's crabby ... probably a low blood sugar thing. (perhaps ... we should feed her more often?)
her attitude is currently resembling that of a 15 year old. (which is an 11 year increase, for the mathematically challenged out there.) she has learned to follow any remotely attitude-filled comment with an "i love you." and we generally fall for it. and then she backs that up by screaming at us ...
--especially when she is tired. which is all. the. time. because she doesn't fall asleep until late hours due to a nap that needs to go away at daycare.
--and when things don't go her way. which is pretty much all. the. time. because you can do exactly what she asked and it will be wrong.
--and when her sister does something that she doesn't want her to do. which is all. the. time. because see above and below.

speaking of her sister, lil' miss coconut. our 1 and a half year old crazy chicken. for awhile we thought it was cute that our little coconut was a mover and a shaker. now we are just tired. no-one has ever agreed to take both of the girls at the same time overnight. so i have yet to spend a night away from her. (which is both totally awesome and totally horrendous at. the. same. time.)
she still manages to suck on a nuk-nuk. and we haven't even remotely started breaking her of that habit, yet. honestly ... it's because we are too tired.
she gets into everything. everything. including our bed on a nightly basis. and everything goes in her mouth. everything.
she has managed to sleep through the night a total of 4 times. in a year and a half. did i mention that i am tired? (at least my husband gets to get away and maybe sleep occasionally at his job ... or at least, that's what i dream that he does ...)

speaking of which ... husband is currently in a job that he dislikes.
but, like i tell him ... "you picked it! it's not my fault that you decided that being a pilot would be fun. it's not my fault that you fell in love with me and decided to have 2 children. it's not my fault that you thought that you could be a not-tied-down single pilot jetsetting around the world. now could you please stop and pick up some milk on the way home?"
he has a "crash pad" in new york city. which would be totally cool ... if it wasn't a room in a random house where about 20 other male pilots live. and the only extra set of sheets that we weren't using at our real house (so, therefore, the ones that had to travel to nyc with him) were rainbow colored. and scratchy. which i'm sure makes him look totally rockin' at the crash pad.

me ... well. is there really much to talk about? i wish i could finally lose the baby-weight. (screw you ... i'm still gonna call it baby-weight ... i don't give a shit that said-baby is almost two.)
which is kinda not really fun because a bunch of "friends" and i are trying to hold each other more accountable by checking in with each other at our websites. and email. which means that i could completely lie ... but won't
did i mention??, i blog now. (time suck that it is.)
i, now, have a bunch of new internet based friends. which my husband considers totally weird ... because i have never met a single one of them.
by the way ... don't ask for the address ... then i can't complain about you online. really. it wouldn't be good.
i sincerely like my job and absolutely hate my job. all! atthe! same! time! which perpetuates a lot of confused emotion on a daily basis. in all actuality, i really only love my job during extended holiday breaks. most days ... we are running at least 10 minutes behind and i have managed to yell at one or both of my children by 7:00 am.
i think that my pitfall is in the mindset that ... after i put my children in the care of someone else (who may or may not be more competent than i, at times...) then i go and take care of other people's children. say what?? it does sound a wee bit silly when it's put like that, doesn't it?

i'm sure the coconutbelly zoo (aka the animals overrunning our home due to this mama's maternal needs during pregnancies) is happy to see us leave, most mornings. i'm guessing they mostly sleep. on the illegal couch. or in the tree.

speaking of which. would someone please drive by the house to make sure that the tree is still standing? and that i turned off the christmas lights? thanks!

looking forward to sleeping in 2009!
and wishing you a less chaotic than ours and more rested than ours holiday and new year.


Monday, December 1, 2008

before i forget ...

because it makes me giggle.

someone (in british columbia - darn canukidans.) came upon my blog through the search phrase ...

how to keep lint sticking from my lulu pants

oh yeah.

i have no idea what they were really after with that one. pretty sure i wasn't it though ... and neither was my post about belly starting dance class. at this point ... i'm a wee bit thankful to have switched off the ability to google me. it was a teeny bit scary seeing what would bring people here.

so, now it's just you and me ... pull up a seat, grab a cup of coffee (if it's morning), take a swig of tequila (if it's evening) or vice versa ... what's up?

by the way ... someone forgot to cc me on the message that ... it! is! december! ALREADY! ? crap.
holy granola batman ... i have a lot to do.

and to all of my canadian readers: canukidan is a term of endearment. i used to live with a canukidan ... and to this day ... she is one of the most wonderful people i have ever known.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

looking into their eyes.

Many things catches your eyes, appreciate them. But few things catches your heart, pursue them.
-- Viju Chakavarthy

My eyes are an ocean in which my dreams are reflected.
-- Anna M. Uhlich

Sometimes you can't see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others.
-- Ellen DeGeneres

The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart.
-- Saint Jerome (374 AD - 419 AD), Letter

It is the mind which creates the world about us, and even though we stand side by side in the same meadow, my eyes will never see what is beheld by yours, my heart will never stir to the emotions with which yours is touched.
-- George Gissing (1857 - 1903)


occasionally, in the midst of a day, i get the rare opportunity to stare into my children's eyes.

it sounds silly, doesn't it?

it's just that, generally, we are so busy doing and being that we forget to engage, fully, in each other. those chances when we can sit and drink in the ocean of blue in each other's eyes ...

it is during those moments that it seems as though the entire world stops ... for a brief second. before beginning to spin again.

i was lucky enough, yesterday, to experience the windows to both of my girly-girls. and i knew lying in bed last night, that i needed ... NEEDED ... to capture those eyes exactly as they are. right now. because there isn't going to always be a tomorrow or a next day. and i knew that i wanted to share them with you. and myself. so that i always have it on record that i love these two girly-girls with more than i ever thought possible.

that even on those days when i feel like the world is crumbling around us and i'm not sure that i should even be the mommy in the family ... that i can look back here and remember ... who they are and who i am. and feel my heart swell with love for them ... again and again.

they say that eyes are the window to a person's soul. and i realize that by looking into their eyes ... that i'm mostly doing this thing called parenting ... right.

it's my version of a mother nature kiss ... making everything better.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

the angels were really not up to singing loud that day.

i guess ...

remember when i mentioned several times ... that we would be ripping up our carpeting to uncover the potential awesomeness that is the hardwood floors lying in hiding beneath the carpet in our house?

well ... i was convinced that the angels would sing upon the reveal.


i think i was the only one singing and dancing. and that's not saying much.

(just for the record ... i can belt out a mean baby beluga and you are my sunshine. puts babies to sleep, i tell ya. and belly is incredibly fond of my do-re-mi and favorite things ... but she's more of a musical fan. and honestly ... i dance pretty good ... or at least i think so AFTER a few ... i mean, a lot of cocktails.)

onto the reveal ...

first we had a little work.

well ... i had a little work. i had to bring the girls to daycare. AND take pictures. (my workload decreased significantly when both fathers decided to show up and help! yeah dads!)

(please excuse the mess ... we are remodeling.)

here is my dad and husband doing something. and a cute cat walking across carpet padding. note: my dad is the one with grey hair.

here is my father-in-law making sure that the dog is getting attention. (and he did work ... but i didn't get a picture of that.)

here is a cat peeking into a roll of carpet. isn't he cute? (did i mention that i think this kitty is cute? 'cause honestly ... biggest pain in the ass cat you have ever met. he is a MONSTER. but totally photogenic. and cute. really cute. on paper. notsomuch in person.)

here is my dad (again ... note the grey hair) rolling up carpet or something.

now i'm realizing that these are totally NOT in order. but i'm incredibly too lazy to do something about that right now. i have a toddler begging me to play barbies (which i don't want to do ... shhhh.) and a baby waking up.

technically ... is an 18 month old a baby? who knows. remember, i don't have time for unnecessary crap!

and FINALLY - the before and after shots.
the after definition entails ... spending hours ripping up carpeting ... pulling out staples ... having lunch at my favorite greek restaurant ... going to home depot without kids! ... vacuuming ... washing floors ... shining floors ... scraping paint off of floors ... picking up kids ... making sure that everyone is wearing footwear AT ALL TIMES ... sanding in places ... washing AGAIN ... shining floors ... and putting little tiny pads - that are falling off already - on the bottom of all furniture to make sure that we take better care of the floors than anyone else before us.)

(and if you can't tell ... the after is on the right. but just pretend like you could notice so i feel like my life isn't a complete waste. thanks.)

and here is my dear coconut inspecting and dancing with joy upon completion of the results.

see ... i wasn't the only one that was dancing to the angelic music playing quietly in the background.
(i wasn't really 'raising the roof' in my dora slippers ... but who am i to judge her dance style?)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


thankful for the water main break that occurred at my school (and not my house).
and that school had to be cancelled today.

thankful for the fact that i have daycare.
and that i was able to have the girly-girls there while i took a mental health day.

thankful for the fact that i have a camera.
and that i was able to fool around a little and change my header, even though i'm not totally happy with it ... yet. (so yeah ... it was irritating me ... so i changed it back ... until i can get it to be what i want ... and i'm completely computer illiterate ... and working with an OLD photo program ... this might take awhile.) so i guess i should say that i'm thankful that i have that option, huh?

thankful for the fact that my husband is coming home tonight.
and that he will actually be home for thanksgiving.

thankful for the opportunity to rip out my carpeting tomorrow (did you hear the angels singing? did you?)
and that all of you will be crossing your fingers and toes that the hardwood is absolutely beautiful. (i already said you would ... so you will, right?)

thankful for the fact that my girly-girls will get picked up very very soon.
and that they will most likely run to me with screaming outstretched arms, completely unaware that i had abandoned them for the entire day.

yep ... i'm incredibly thankful for that.

Monday, November 24, 2008

what i'm thankful for ... spin cycle!

i typed in that title with the intention of joining in on the spin cycle fun set forth by sprite's keeper, once again ... and realized it sounds like i'm thankful for spin cycles.

and ... really??

i am.

i'm thankful for the voracious sound of the true spin cycle within my washing machine ... letting me know that the diapers are almost spinning near the end and i only have to send them through one more time before heading to bed. because there is plenty of time to dry them in the morning.

i'm thankful for the out of control spin cycle that my oldest daughter, belly, just went through ... reminding me that she is a true individual and i need to remember to hug her more often. to remind her how much she is absolutely loved ... without question. she is truly spinning the web of herself ... and i need to remember to enjoy it, rather than be fearful of it.

i'm thankful for the overwhelming spin cycle of friends that i have in real life and "friends" that i've developed within the bloggy world. reading their spins today has really reminded me what to be thankful for. all of my friends and "friends" help me to spin my own thoughts and ideas ... and help me to know and understand things better. including myself. i think i understand who i am better through writing and reading. and i'm thankful for that.

i'm thankful for the supportive spin cycle of a relationship that i have with my husband. he loves me regardless. and i'm incredibly thankful that he does. together we are making our best attempts at spinning a continuous line of love that will endure these tough times.

i'm thankful for the centered spin cycle of my family. they are my axis around which i am constantly spinning. they hold me together. even when i'm not sure i can.

i'm thankful for the artistic spin cycle of music and stories. through the spinning of a melody and tales, i can share words and the world with my children and so many other children. just introducing these things to children, can open doors that many kids never knew were there.

i'm thankful.

thanks for reminding me.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

wind ... and rainbows.

as fast as that whirligig of a crazy daughter i mentioned last thursday blew in ... the attitude glimpse of our most certain future - blew back out.

thank god (goddess) ... whichever. thank you.

you can see her sweetness evidenced in a picture below. that smile could just about melt the grinch's heart. don't you think?

belly and i spent last friday night, putting coconut to bed ... and spending some quality time making a "dish" for a party on saturday. it's a completely uncomplicated, but time consuming recipe.

but in the end ... it makes a rainbow. and what little girl doesn't love things that look like a rainbow?

thankful today for wind ... and rainbows.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

where oh where has my baby gone?

life at the coconutbelly household has been chaotic lately.

belly, my super sweet 4 and a half year old. has turned into a holy terror. she has begun this defiant, testing her boundaries, assertive, loud, 4 going on 16 personality shift.

that i don't quite know what to do with.
but at the same time i want to encourage ... because someday ... several of those are the traits that i'm going to cherish about my daughter.

my strong strong beautiful kind wonderful daughter.

for now ... all i can do is pick her up and squeeze her in a bear hug ... and ask her how much her mommy loves her. if she doesn't respond, i remind her gently that ...

mommy's love is as big as the universe. or the galaxy.
(whichever is bigger.)

she's been eating like a horse. she eats dinner and then needs another bedtime snack after having the first bedtime snack. or a growth spurt of some kind?

or the after effects of the ear infection that lasted through 2 rounds of antibiotics? and hopefully isn't preparing for a third.

i can't imagine what it would feel like to feel that out of control. to feel like your head is aching ... but at the same time the pain has become your constant friend (so you don't feel it so much anymore). to feel like your body is revving up for another 3 inches of growth in the matter of a week. to realize that you are trying so desperately to find your place in the world and determine what you can do and say about it. to understand that everyone is talking about your world and you don't always get a say in it. because we think it's sometimes easier that way.

i'm sorry baby.

i'm sorry that mommy can't always make it better. i'm sorry that i can't always kiss away your pains. i'm sorry that mommy sometimes has to enforce a rule that you don't enjoy. i'm sorry that your poor little ears can't get better (if i could have made them more efficient at minimizing ear infections ... i would have. believe me.) i'm sorry that i do things sometimes because i need to keep myself afloat. and that i don't always relish your opinion as a deciding factor. i'm sorry that sometimes i get mad at you ...

i'm learning that, more often, i need to give you hugs instead of time outs. because without saying it ... that is what you are asking for.

and that maybe ... during these times when i'm feeling that life has gotten too chaotic ... so are you. and what we really need is a few moments of uninterrupted time together. it will help us both to get our feet on the ground again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

favoritism DOES exist. it's the spin cycle!

once again, sprite's keeper has convinced me to participate in a little somethin' she calls
the spin cycle ...

this weeks topic is:
favoritism DOES exist.

in which she challenges us to dust off (out?) our archives and find a post (or posts?) that we loved, that remarkably ... potentially ... quite honestly, no one else has ever seen.

and this is my (current) spin on it. (i had to tweak some of the colors a little, you know me.)
this was a smart-ass letter written to some crazy weirdo that confronted me in a children's clothing store ...

hey mr.
hi sir...i know that you really don't care about me or my family, but i wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to have a discussion with my four-year-old about racism and "naughty words".

gosh, i've been meaning to explain why some people don't like others that are just a little different from them. i've been meaning to explain and pop her little bubble of obliviousness to the color of people's skin. i've been meaning to explain that everyone is a little different...but i was silly to think that i would be able to approach that conversation in a positive manner. and now, for my "sincerest" apologies.

i'm sorry, that in the back of the CHILDREN'S store that we were all in (looking for a bargain), that i replied in a semi-sarcastic tone to your question.

you really did NEED to know how to discriminate between the girl clothes and the boy clothes.

my answer of, "i guess i just look for blue or pink," was obviously not helpful.

but then again, i'm also very sorry that i hadn't put in my application to work there a few weeks prior, been interviewed and provided with that position that was posted on the doorway and then been TRAINED in customer service techniques; so that i would be more equipped to answer your question.

i, honestly, just was there shopping for some games to put in my daughter's hand-me-down thingamajig that you can no longer buy cartridges and books for. so, therefore, i had ventured into said store to buy outdated learning materials for MY daughter. so sorry, i guess i didn't make it obvious that i wasn't an employee. i should have been breastfeeding - not just carrying - my 11 month old in a sling and i maybe should have been more obviously singing, "i'm shopping ... i'm shopping" while slinging my purse over my shoulder or maybe, possibly, i should have just said "i don't work here".

it really was my fault, that i wasn't obvious enough as to my status within the shop.

i know that my pink vs. blue comment really bothered you when you decided to go and complain about my professionalism to the ACTUAL employees, who were also really disgusted that one of the employees would have provided you with that comment.

and then when someone officially directed you to what you were looking for, i'm sorry that the store was closing (i should have been striving harder to become ceo of the company) and that one of my fellow employees actually mentioned that you should start making your way to the front of the store.

and super sorry that she wasn't the appropriate "race" for the job of providing you with this information.

you had every right to start swearing and making racial comments in front of the children.

if you don't teach them, who will??

i do have to say, i owned up to the pink/blue comment with my superiors...and after you left i was harshly punished.

i was fired, in fact.

i won't be working there anymore.

but then again, after you left - they mentioned hoping that you never come in there again either.

me, i don't care where you shop...i just hope that something in your life has improved since this very frustrating day that you stumbled into my career life.

(and my mom still swears that you walked out with a pair of pants)

--regretfully yours, jen

p.s. and i venture to bet that you are currently steaming about our PRESIDENT-ELECT, huh??

hasay 5 - this is crap.

move along, folks. nothing to see here.
just a big 'ol zero.

which is really funny 'cause i amped up the ellipticall-ication-ing ... now that it's back in my hands. or ... actually in my basement.

but if i carried it around in my hands, maybe it would be better?

i worked out at least 5 times last week. i didn't cheat or eat overboard or nothin'. i've been eating my fruits and veggies.

i will admit, i had two glasses of wine on friday night. maybe that's my problem?

or maybe it's the fact that several hasay-ers have inquired about a certain dove chocolate pie recipe that i just happen to have. don't worry ... i'm not naming any names, casey might be reading. just scroll on down. you're welcome.

new plan! because i didn't lose any weight ... i'm going to get all of you to fatten up with this pie so that i can look like the only real *loser* in the group. (oh wait ... i probably already do.) please make two or three. and eat the whole thing! there are oh-no calories, cough cough.

dove chocolate french silk pie
1 cup butter (unsalted), room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
21-23 dove dark chocolate promises, unwrapped, melted in a bowl over boiling water and cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 prepared 8 inch deep dish pastry shell, baked and cooled

cream butter in a mixing bowl.
gradually beat in the sugar with an electric mixer until light colored and well blended.
stir in the cooled chocolate and vanilla extract.
add the eggs, one at a time, beating 5 minutes(!) on medium speed after adding each egg.
spoon the chocolate filling into a cooled, baked pie shell.
refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
top with whipped cream and shaved dove chocolates.

** notes: you MUST beat each egg for at least 5 minutes after adding it to the mixture. that is really important and should be repeated. you MUST beat each egg for at least 5 minutes after adding it to the mixture. (this is not the time to skimp on the clock ... let your children run rampant for a good 20 minutes ... cause that's how long it will take ... at least. i recommend telling/convincing your husband that you might need 2 hours of child-free time.)
** more notes: don't eat all the dove chocolates that are left. it looks really pretty when you actually save a few to shave for the topping. (or just buy an extra bag.)
** additional notes: you really should have an ELECTRIC mixer for this recipe. i know it sounds all SUPER-WOMAN and hasay-worthy to do it on your own. but ouch. just use the electric mixer ... i'm just sayin'.

and casey?? oh queen of hasay?? sorry. i'm completely aware that i get an F for the week.

oh yeah, and because i'm writing some really personal letters to people down here, saving money on postage and time on email ... lucky you! here are some more!

- after the lucky-me! post, i commented on my comments ... but i'm assuming that none of you will go back and re-read my comments to see if i re-commented . here is my comment in a post-afterthought ('cause i made myself laugh): i must say ... i'm starting to feel a little uncomfortable with all the rubbing against my website that has been occurring. that kind of shit doesn't show up on my statcounter. (see ... it made you laugh too!)

- beth?? miss you! why don't you ever comment? i thought i might get you on the buttercup one! i know you are reading ... who else would read from northdakota??

- sara?? miss you! why don't you ever comment? enjoy the chocolate pie recipe. i know you will try it. but don't wear a white shirt. your mom always got mad at you for spilling chocolate on your white shirts. can't wait to see you ... super soon!

- mom?? yes, i'll make this pie for thanksgiving.

- kelly?? did you get your package yet?

- husband?? why don't you ever comment? thank you for bringing home the elliptical machine. i promise it'll make a difference ... eventually.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

um...that's not what the package says...

i originally started this post way back in early july. why am i publishing it now, you ask?? 'cause i needed to move my bragging post on down a wee bit. i'm too modest to talk about winning 4! FOUR! four! giveaways ... for too long.
well that ... and the fact that i have nothin'. in my head. at this moment.
so here you go. better late than never. right?

husband and i purchased these (for those of you that won't follow the link - these are special green bags that keep your produce fresher for longer!) during a hellish trip to the pharmacy. i really feel that it's important that you understand the type of experience that i'm talking about. let me explain.

this is a pharmaceutical adventure:
-- where you end up walking around and around because they haven't finished your prescription yet and/or called your name over the loudspeaker in. 30. minutes. and
-- they have all that crap stuff that you just happen to NEED now because it's on sale and it's only $something(dot)95.
-- your children are begging to go down the toy aisle ONE MORE TIME and
-- your four-year-old asks you to read the stupid little book on the shelf that has one button that says the same thing over
("oh, my prince charming")
and over
("oh, my prince charming")
and over
("oh, my prince charming")
again...and it's made to look like a disney princess...but really is just an ugly representation of the real thing and

as a side note...i do not think books are fact, we have TOO many books. books make you children are not book-impaired...and hence are smarter (or at least i like to think so). i just think that some books are better left *unmade* - in general this includes books that are written made by someone that doesn't speak ANY english and also edited and produced by others that don't speak ANY english ... and are completely incorrect from any grammatical standpoint. seriously...if you can't produce a book that has somewhat correct english...just give me pictures. i can make something up...really, i can...i can make up a 4 page story to correspond with your cute little pictures. it's just better that way.

moving on...
-- the kids are hungry and crabby and it doesn't help that they need the medication to feel better or
-- mommy is hungry and crabby and needs the medication to feel better or
-- everyone is hungry and crabby and needs the medication to feel better and
-- it's taking way. too. long.

(and so was most of this introduction to what i'm actually getting at...sorry.)

in summary, this was one of those super sucky trips to the pharmacy that i'm sure you've all experienced. or maybe, you are super mom and you haven't ever had this experience...don't worry...we'll all just wait for you to leave and i'll continue.

ok...where was i?
yeah ... super sucky trip to the pharmacy...bought unnecessary (but completely NEEDED) product...

we conducted our own experiment (yes we are aware that we are dorks) with our humongorama box of tomatoes ... and this is what happened.

ew. are seeing that correctly.
the tomatoes that were IN the bag - are disgustingly rotten.
the tomatoes that are OUT of the bag ... are perfectly fine.
i don't get it. we paid $something(dot)95 for those damn bags! what the hell did we do wrong?

want to look closer?
ew, again...
so, we've learned a few things today, haven't we, friends?? don't get sucked into purchases that you don't absolutely need. don't buy tomatoes at costco if you are never going to use them all. and completely irrelevant now ... but on the bright side...they were from canada so they were supposedly not contaminated at the time (and therefore were edible) AND we have a compost - so it's not like we just threw them away...

look at the back of the box. why is it that the tomatoes represented on the box had a completely opposite result of mine??

**note...after writing that post...i've realized that this is a perfect view into my brain.
things link that really shouldn't, i come to conclusions in the wierdest way and i'm a little too long-winded and talk too much in my brain. don't don't have to go back and probably never made sense in the first place.
so, you're welcome.

Monday, November 17, 2008

maybe i should go and buy a lottery ticket?

i just won my FOURTH! give-away on saturday morning...


just several days ago, i had commented that i had won two give-aways.

then friday night - yippee!
and saturday morning - double yippee!

and i realized that i've never taken the time to thank all of these bloggers for the give-aways!

(and to be absolutely completely honest ... i've truly only entered, maybe, 15 give-aways that i can think of. so i'm thinking my odds are getting better and maybe i need to go and buy my winning lottery ticket tonight.)

so i'm giving a big shout out to these lovely bloggers ...

thank you!
connie from the young and relentless
-- the story behind the win: i entered a past giveaway in july ... in which i was one of 8 to enter. my odds were decent there. her latest giveaway ... notsomuch. 121 entries!
quite honestly ... i think my win was set up ;) ... i had just hooked her up (god, that sounds like a dating service) connected her with a friend that lives near her. they had hit it off and were hanging out together (and are still) on a rather-regular basis. i think being her winner was basically her thank you for introducing her to my friend. then again ... maybe not, since she didn't elect me to win this most recent giveaway. i'll have to talk to her about that...
-- why you should visit her: she has regular installments of her personal diary ... too funny. and she's way into the countdown to christmas ... in fact, this year they are adopting a little one in the spirit of the holiday. in addition, her kids are really cute dancers ... and i'm all for cute kids (as long as they aren't quite as cute as mine.)

karen at mommy, i am home
-- the story behind the win: at the end of october, i entered her giveaway ... because i have loved maya angelou's writing and because the name of the book is "a letter to my daughters". it struck a chord. there were a total of 39 entries ... and lil' old me won! i had initially found her through allmediocre because a recent post had popped up with the title 'not where i'd rather be'. and it intrigued me.
-- why you should visit her: she plans her weekly dinner schedule ... wow. i really should start thinking in that manner again someday. maybe she'll inspire me. she's good at reminding herself of her best qualities. and her daughter is quite the shoe model. not to mention, she's recently tried, out of the kindness of her heart, to help old(er) ladies in the locker room.

kat at sunshine&lemonade
-- the story behind the win: no idea how i got to her site initially - probably intrigued by the homeschool thing. but ... she LOVES 'wicked' the musical. and i stayed tuned because she was giving away the book and soundtrack. and i was going to be seeing it in the very near future. unfortunately i didn't win that...but i entered the next drawing by going into her comments and telling her how much i had LOVED wicked. (more on that, another time. truly amazing.) out of 73 entries ... i won the grand prize! a pink cookbook, pink measuring cups, pink measuring spoons, a pink spatula and a magnet that says "save the ta-tas". i can't wait to put the magnet on my husband's truck and watch him make dinner with all pink utensils!
-- why you should visit her: because she is having weekend giveaways, still! and the most recent is something to do with 'twilight' or something ... i haven't gotten on that bandwagon. yet. but a dear friend just mentioned it to me on friday. over wine. which generally helps to sway me in the direction of something. on fridays, she does a fun question and answer session. it's fun to read everyone's responses. i also love to read about her girls and how she has chosen to homeschool one and encourages the other to go to a public school. it is a true representation of individualized education. something that i toy with in my mind as we are approaching *gasp* making kindergarten decisions for next year.

so then ... i was feeling damn lucky but didn't go get a lottery ticket ... 'cause luck only happens in 3s, right??

jennifer for at playgroupsarenoplaceforchildren
-- the story behind the win: yes. you read that right. the big time blogger that has bagazillions of readers. i mentioned her in a past post, something about inviting her to my pretend blogger party. (speaking of which ... none of you ever REALLY showed up. did you think i was kidding?) initially i started reading her blog, 'cause i linked through blogger because she's a speech-language pathologist! like me! i had no idea that she was also a big time blogger. silly me. anyhoo. i really really really wanted to win her giveaway for an upgrade on picnik. and didn't ... but in the process put myself in the running for these super cute placemats from olive kids. this time ... there were 74 entries!
-- why you should visit her: just because. her writing is fabulous. she gives great tips on blogging if you are looking for information. (i, obviously, don't read those...) she just moved and needs to be reminded that her temporary house in not permanent ... and she won't always be where dead floral patterns come back to haunt people. plus, today she dumped out her whole purse on the internet! (brave brave lady) and is still giving stuff away!

by the way... did you notice the number of entries in which i won, going up? i'm thinking lottery entry would be progressively next? no?

so, there ... yes, i'm knocking on wood. yes ... i know this was a brag-about post. yes ... i know that i should give another three things away to make up for all that i've won. (oh, did you miss my giveaway? sorry. better luck next time. maybe on my blog-versary?)