Friday, August 31, 2012

Trifextra: In Due Time

This weekend's challenge for Trifecta is short and sweet. As soon as I read the prompt, I knew my three words instantly. Here's what they are asking us to do: 

Robert Frost one said, "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."  We want you to do the same.  Sum up anything you want, but do it in three words.  Your response should mirror Frost's quote by beginning, "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about--."  And the last four words are yours to choose. 

In Due Time

In three words I can sum up everything 
I've learned about time: it fools you.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Tuck: "Mama, listen to Woody (from Toy Story) when I take off his hat."

Toy Woody: "Oh no! My hat's gone! Well, I gotta find it."

Tuck: *puts hat back on Woody's head*

Toy Woody: "Well, thank ya kindly. A cowboy aint a cowboy without his cowboy hat."

Tuck: "See? Isn't that so cool? He knows when his hat is on or off."

Me: "Wow, that's pretty amazing. How does he know? Do you think it's magic?" 

Tuck: "No, Mama, it's a sensor."

Me: "Alrighty then."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Mags: "I CAN'T DO IT! I can't get this baby's hand in her shirt. Forget it. I.GIVE.UP!"
Tuck: "Mags, did you ask for help?"
Mags: "No! But it won't work. I can't do it!"
Tuck: "Want me to help you?"
Mags: "Yes, please. I thought you were never gonna ask me."
Tuck: "How 'bout I show you how and then you can try it?"
Mags: "How 'bout you do it for me and I'll try next time?"

I agree with her...sometimes. Whenever I try to do something new that takes more than a few tries to get,  I have been known to become easily frustrated. I  try to step away from whatever it is before I get too overwhelmed. However, I have found as I age that I have developed some horrible procrastination strategies. Especially if it is a time sensitive project I'm working on. 

Here's the steps I go through in my brain:

1. I have time. It's only Sunday and I have until Tuesday. I'll take a break from it and figure it out later.
2. I'm going to work on it today (Monday) during Mags' nap. Oh, look, Jaws is on. I'll just watch a little bit.
3. Mags is up. 
4. Tuck just got home from school.
5. The kids are occupied. I can work on it now, but I still need to get my run in. I can figure out that thing when they go to bed.
6. Ahhh, they are in bed (Monday night). Now I'm going to figure this out! What's that? Yes, sure, I'd love to hang out with you, Chris and watch a quick show. It's only a half-hour.
7. Just one more episode? Why not? I still have all night.
8. Done with TV and husband time. Now, to get to work! Sit down at the computer. Check the 16 notifications and 14 interactions on my social media sites. Ahhhhh! It's 11:00PM.
9. 11:05PM brain slowly shuts down, eyes begin to cross. I can get up really early. I'll just set my alarm. YAWN!
10. Tuesday morning. PANIC! I have an hour before everyone gets up to get this done! GO, GO, GO!

Usually it turns out alright and I end up figuring out whatever it is while simultaneously shooting my blood pressure through the roof. But it gets done. And I am usually researching or asking my friends for help during my time of procrastination. And like Mags, I'm always secretly hoping someone will offer to just do it for me, too, but what good would that do me? 

Plus, I don't have the cuteness factor that she does.

According To Mags
<a href="" target="_self"><img src="" alt="According To Mags" width="125" height="125" /></a>

This, by the way, was the project I was working on. 
It's how to make a button for your blog. 
I've never made one. The coding and HTMLing 
was frustrating, but I finally got it! 

Many thanks to my friends who steered me in the right direction
 and this great website!

Monday, August 27, 2012


Tuck: "Mama, quick! Put on your Zamzee. That way we can get extra points for moving before 10AM. Then, we can beat Daddy in the points we earn today!"

The Zamzee came into our life at the conference BlogHer'12. When I brought it home, Chris, being a techie kind of guy, wasted no time taking them out of their packages, checking out the website and setting up our accounts. 

Wait...what the heck is a Zamzee, you ask?

"Zamzee is a meter that measures activity and 
a website that makes moving fun!"

Our family enjoys a little healthy competition among ourselves. This little gadget, that clips comfortably to your clothes, combines technology and activity. These are two things that our family loves to share together. 

Here are some highlights of what we've learned about this family friendly gadget and website:

1.The Zamzee website provides different challenges that you can sign up for. Each challenge is set by time. There are challenges that are 5 to 45 minutes long that you can choose from and each has point levels attached. 

2. The activity "pointz" that are attached to some challenges earn you "Zams". 

3. "Zams" can be traded for real life products such as plush animal toys and games for the XBox games and so much more. 

4. You can earn "pointz" for a variety of reasons. One of my favorites, and that Tuck mentions above in his quote, is they reward you for being up and moving by 10AM. 

5. I LOVE seeing my "pointz" wrack up for all the activity I've done when I plug in my meter at the end of the day. I feel so accomplished.

6. The variety in the level of challenges is well done. They allow you to choose just how much you want to push yourself that day. I find it works well with my busy, changing schedule. 

7. When you choose a challenge, the Zamzee website counts down the time for you on their site. Then it reminds you to plug in your meter when the time of the challenge is complete. That way you can see how many "pointz" you've earned. 

8. The website is organized, clean and user friendly. 

9. We liked that you could create a single account and then group all our accounts together into a family account. 

10. We needed some help along the way in setting up our family account. The email correspondence was quick, efficient and very friendly. 

11. One of our Zamzees took a hit from the kids. (Turns out wrestling with the Zamzee is not a great idea.) When it broke and wouldn't upload the data to our computer, we simply emailed A replacement meter is headed our way this week. 

12. The meter itself is very lightweight and compact. It clips to your clothing easily. 

13. We offered some suggestions for new challenges to Zamzee on Twitter. They were appreciative and encourage any helpful suggestions you can give them to help make their product most effective for you. 

14.Chris is anxiously awaiting the arrival of his replacement Zamzee. They asked that he send the damaged one back to them so they can figure out what parts were damaged and how they can keep it from happening again. 

15. We've really enjoyed collecting "pointz", completing challenges, but most of all, working together as a family! 



Simply leave a comment below about your favorite way to stay active 
and you are entered to win a free Zamzee meter. It's that simple! 

Deadline is Midnight on August 31st.
I'll announce the winner on September 1st (my birthday).
Good luck! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Tuck: "Mama, watching you run on the treadmill makes me tired."

Whenever I tell people I'm a runner I get one of two reactions.

1. "Me too. We should go for a run sometime."

Over the years my running has changed dramatically. I went from a "competitive, die-hard, 10 miles a day" kind of runner into a "fitting two miles into my work, home and kids' schedule" kind of runner". I even began (gulp) walking some of my workouts. My transition into this "casual" runner was not an easy one. I had to train my thought process that I was not a failure if it took me the same time to do 3 miles that it used to take me to do 6.2. 

I needed to set new goals. Re-focus. Be REALISTIC! So, after a few years (yes, years), I found my way. My runs weren't about PR's, pacing, and high mileage. My runs became about sanity, relaxation, and decompression. That is when I really started to LOVE it. I looked forward to MY TIME daily. 

The following was featured as a guest post on the blog Mom Running on Empty. She's a mom finding her way back to running, too. It was great to connect with her. Be sure to drop by her place and say hello! I'm also submitting it to Trifecta this week as my entry for the third definition of HEART: personality, disposition <a cold heart>. Enjoy!



The day has been a long one full of “I needs” and “I wants”. My weary self is debating what to do when I hear that door open and the kids scream, “It’s Daddy!”. I woke up looking forward to the escape, but as the day has worn on, more excuses are creeping into my brain. There are other ways to use the forty-five minutes of me time. I could fold laundry, get a post written, or go pee with the door closed for heavens sake. But I know what my body needs, what it craves, no matter how tired I am. My runner heart takes over. I take the first step by changing my clothes. I’m like Clark Kent in a phone booth when I put on my running attire.

The excitement of the kids builds as 5:00PM nears. The big guy will be home soon and they can sense it. There’s a buzz in the house that’s contagious. All the excuses that have floated around in my head during the day are forcefully pushed aside. As soon as that door opens, I’m heading out. I notice that I begin to peek out our big picture window just as often as the kids. 

The crunch of the gravel driveway under his tires alert us that he is home. High pitched squeals pierce my ears and then I realize I am the loudest one. We all begin jumping up and down and chanting his name as I grab my shoes by the stairs. The kids greet him with a flying leap from the top step as he catches them with delight. I wait with my motor revving as I shove my feet into my shoes. I’m itching to go as my husband leans over, kisses me, smiles and whispers,

“Have a great run.”

These words propel me down the stairs like I’ve been shot out of a cannon. I’m off to find my time, freedom, my nirvana...myself.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Mags: "Mama, can I brush your hair?"
Me: "YES! I'd love nothing more. I'll sit on the floor."
Mags: *raking a Barbie brush through my hair* "Wanna play I SPY?"
Me: "Sure. You go first."
Mags: "I spy with my little eye a white hair."
Me: "Where?!? On my head?"
Mags: "Yes, right here!" *pulls it*
Me: "No! Don't pull it! Then three more white ones will grow in it's place."
Mags: "Like Daddy's hair?"
Me: "Yes."
Mags: "Wow. He must have pulled out LOTS of white hairs cause he has a TON!"

I love her brutal honesty. 
But we aren't playing I SPY again until 
I obtain some "Warm Chestnut" from the beauty aisle.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Mags: "Tuck, can I please play with this dinosaur Lego toy?"
Tuck: "No, Mags, you MAY not."
Mags: *begins to whimper like a little kitten*
Tuck: *not even looking up* "And don't even think about giving me that cute look either."

Too late, Tuck. There is no saying no to this.

Look familiar? 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Trifextra: Extinguishing The Fire

This post is in response to Trifecta's Trifextra Weekend Challenge. They prompted us to do the following:

Last month we asked you to give us a killer opening line in exactly 33 words. This week we're asking for an equally amazing closing line.

I had a hard time with the opening sentence, until I turned to one of my favorite stories that I have written called The Fire. I thought I would continue on with this theme and write the ending to it. 

Extinguishing The Fire

She'd grown beyond her years. He had dissipated from their lives as if he were never there. Yet he had been. And he would forever be a residual mark left on her heart.

Friday, August 17, 2012

100 Word Song: Enunciation Is Key

My friend, Lance over at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog, holds a link-up party each week. It’s called the 100 Word Song. He has a lucky reader choose a tune of their choice and then asks that we all listen to it and write a story about it got it...100 words.

This week he posted the name of the song on Twitter.  While I was sweeping through quickly, I read the song choice as “Pee A Grape”. I instinctively crossed my legs and winced. What in the world is wrong with these songwriters? Is there anything sacred anymore? Now they're writing about passing grapes? Maybe they meant kidney stones? Then I reread. It said, “PEEL Me A Grape” by Diana Krall. That made a lot more sense...well...not really...but it was a less disturbing (and painful) sounding title at least. So, I tweeted my 140 character misread to Lance and he encouraged me to write this interpretation for his link-up. After I looked up the song and listened, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

So, just for you Lance, here we go:


Diana: “I really want to write a song expressing how a man is at my beckon call.”
Friend: “So the song would be a dream sequence?”
Diana: “No. It would be a list of all the things that a high-maintenance woman would ask a dude to do for her.”
Friend: “Pop the cork out of champagne? She wouldn’t want to break a nail.”
Diana: “How about feed her a grape. Oh! And peel it first!”
Friend: “PEE A GRAPE? Ewww! That’s a little over the top!”
Diana: “Noooo! PEELLLL a grape, Silly!”

Friend: “Just make sure you really enunciate  that.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Pregnancy=41.5 weeks, Bed rest=6 weeks, Laboring=3 days, 
Pushing=3 hours, Emergency C-section=15 minutes, 

Happy Birthday to the boy who changed our lives
 forever in the best way possible!

To read about Tuck's exciting entrance into the world, 
click the links below: 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Dear Shark Week,

My husband and I found you in the Summer of '05 while laying in a hospital bed at three-o-clock in the morning. It was our umpteenth trip to the Labor and Delivery floor at the hospital. We'd spent lots of time in that place throughout June, July and August in the wee morning hours . It was our son's favorite time to try to make a grand escape from my belly. 

You know what is great about being up at 3AM in labor? Nothing. And when you're in labor, you're WIDE AWAKE.  What else is there to do when you are tethered to a bed by IV's and blood pressure cuffs but watch TV?  We suffered through re-runs of Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah's couch and Jerry Springer that summer. 

So, a few weeks later when we were admitted for the final visit we made to Labor and Delivery (thank goodness), we bumped into you on TV. My attention was caught. I'll be honest, if I am surfing the channels and I see a shark, I automatically stop to see what it's about. Jaws is a movie I can and have watched more times than I can count. As we settled  in for some serious laboring, we were so thrilled to have found you. Sharks, sharks, sharks galore. There were myths being busted, sharks being recreated, and stories of attack being told. It was constant entertainment for as many hours as we would need. 

Turns out, being in a shark cage might have been less scary and intense than the next THREE days of my labor. However, I can honestly say that you...and my anesthesiologist kept me distracted and got me through the pain. Since that time, whenever we hear Shark Week is coming up, we always feel a twinge of nostalgia. We learned a lot those three days about sharks...and birthing babies, too. To us, you will forever have a part in the birth of our son. 

 We hope you swim on for years to come! 

Your Fans,

Mel and Chris

Monday, August 13, 2012


Mags: "Mama, my left hand is my favorite. It does whatever I say."

Did you know it was National Left-Handers Day today? I learned about it from our friends over at Milestones & Miracles. This is a perfect day to celebrate
 and learn more about in our household since Mags is a lefty. 
We'd love for you to share it with us! 

Show of hands. Who here is a lefty, too?

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Mags: "Mama! Can you get me some juice?"
Me: *hands covered in chicken goo from cooking*  "Give me just a minute, Mags, I need to wash my hands."
Mags: "Oh man! 'Just a minutes' take a LOOOOOOOOOOONG time."

I know, I know. I used to hate hearing the "just a minute" line when I was a kid, too. I tell myself I can't always be at their disposal every waking second of the day. There are times when I'm in the middle of something, like cooking, cleaning, folding laundry or using the bathroom. I actually laughed when I wrote that last one. But, it's true. 

That's how I feel I've been with my blog this summer. "Just a minute, Blog, just a minute!". To recap, there was the surgery, power outage, recovery, trip to my family's house for two weeks,Curious George Camp, the conference in NYC and now we have friends staying with us for the weekend. It's been a fun summer indeed. However, I also have to finish up a few tutoring sessions, put the final hours in on a curriculum project, edit a new story Chris and I wrote for our podcast, and help the publisher with the final touches for our e-book that will be finished soon! 

We also have a give away on our other blog, Night Light Stories, for an antimicrobial baby blanket (it actually repels germs). We have 20 to give away. They'd make a terrific baby shower gift. You can enter by clicking here. It ends this Tuesday at midnight. Winners will be announced on Wednesday. Come on over!

The school year starts for Chris on Wednesday, so our household will have to start to get into "back to school" mode. We'll have practice runs in the morning so that we can make it to the bus on time. It's like NFL training camp, just a little more intense. I could make a linebacker cry. No matter, my kids are up at the butt crack of dawn every.single.morning. They don't have a sleep past 6:15AM button. 

I won't lie. I envy my friends that have kids that will sleep until 7, 8, or even (gasp) 9AM in the summer! But, the trade off is during the school year, this early rise time makes it a little bit easier for me to get them ready for the day. I'm actually looking forward to some consistency in our schedule and on my blog. But for now, we'll enjoy the last few days of summer vacation and my blog will have to wait....

Just ooooooooone more minute. 

In the meantime, I'd love to hear what you've been up to this summer. 
Do you have any favorite adventures to share?

Friday, August 10, 2012


Mags: "All the other kids with their warmed up kiss."
Tuck: "It's 'pumped up kicks' Mags. Can you hear it?"
Mags: "No it's not. It says 'warmed up kiss'. Can YOU hear it?"

Our house is usually rockin' with some sort of music. We always try to keep it kid friendly when we are in the car or at home. Chris and my iPods are loaded with all types of children's music. There are hundreds of songs with all different styles, themes and animals in them. I often will find myself bee bopping around the house to these songs. Since both the kids have heard (and requested) the same music over and over and over and over again, they have the words to these catchy tunes memorized. Chris and I do, too. We often hear each other humming a tune about a moon, a meltdown,  or a firetruck.

However, there is only so much one can take. I have started to turn on my "big girl music", as Mags calls it, more and more. It's not like I listen to rap or death metal. I'll admit that I do like a good "poppy" song now and then. And believe me, if I don't really like it in the beginning, the radio stations will pound that song into my head over a month so many times that I'm the one singing it as I push my cart through don't know, oh oh, you don't know you're beautiful! See?!?

Unfortunately for all those around me, I'm the queen of getting the lyrics wrong. Who has time to memorize the exact words to every song they sing? Okay, okay, you do. I'm impressed. I don't take the time. Instead, I just make up lyrics. My husband does, too. It's much easier and most times, it makes for a much more entertaining tune. We could never repeat most of the lyrical genius we produce, but they make for a funny moment. And of course we're usually using the sweet melody to one of our kid's beloved favorites.

The past few months we've heard Mags pick up on our fun little game. She'll often make up words to the melodies she has recently jammed to. For example, she'll sing about how she's eating blueberries when she really wants fruit snacks, but it's 6 in the morning and her Mama said no. That could be a country hit if she threw a dog and a truck in there somewhere.  

Sometimes, though, she'll hear words to a song wrong and no matter how many times you tell her the correct words, it doesn't matter. She's heard it the way she's heard it and there is no changing her mind. My favorite example is her quote at the top. It actually improves the song, in my opinion. So, while you are all rocking out at home with your kids (or by yourself), remember to give them a "warmed up kiss". Those are the REAL words. Mags swears by it.

And, really, who would want to interrupt this jam session?

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I was laying with Mags and rubbing her head while she fell asleep. 

Me: *Moves my hand from her head, starts to get out of the bed*

Mags: "I'm not asleep yet. Don't even think about it."

This is the twenty-first installment of "Picture This".