If I could change one thing...

I've come to a point in my life where I'm pretty content with my body. Yes, I know that there are areas that need some work... I'm not blind, people! But after more then a few years, I've grown accustomed to my large eyes, long legs, and detached earlobes.

But yesterday, I felt embarrassed about my appearance for the first time in a long time, while sitting at my very own dinner table. This is the conversation word for word.

Mike (my husband): "Hey Josh, what's between mom's eyes?"
Josh (my 7 year-old son): "Her nos..." (he stopped himself as soon as I looked in his direction, and corrected himself)... "oh wait, ... a big goat horn!"
Mike, Josh and Caleb: "Look, it's Goooaaaat Mooooom!" ... followed by goat noises and giggling... even Baby Brooks joined in the laughter!

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term "Goat Mom", it's the title that my family gives me whenever the slightest blemish makes an appearance on my usually clear skin. But as embarrassing as it is, I have to admit, I can't really blame them, because it really doesn't help when that "blemish" is planted smack dab in the middle of my eyes! I mean, really... that zit is almost ASKING for someone to compare it to a horn simply because of it's location! Honestly, I can only think of one place that would be worse then right between the eyes.

The thing is, whenever Mike gets a zit, I try to reverse the name-calling and reciprocate the animal sounds (all in fun, of course), but it just doesn't have the same effect. The boys don't join me in the banter when it's directed at their dad, because there's apparently something about "Gooooaaaat Moooom" that allows it to roll off the tongue with more ease... or maybe I'm just not as good at rallying the troops and uniting them in the same cause... or maybe I'm just an easy target because I'm outnumbered 4 to 1!

Whatever it is, I find myself at a loss for words.

Is there anyone else out there who feels the same way? How do you deal with being outnumbered in your family? I'm desperate for some moral support!


A friend told me about this book, and I can testify that it is REALLY cute! It's especially great for mothers of boys, because it's touching in a cool sort of way that boys can appreciate! And the pictures are amazing! I definitely give it 10 thumbs up! But get out your kleenex... it just might make you cry!

I didn't think I was THAT old!

I looked in the mirror and thought to myself, "Wow, I look tired today.... thank goodness I don't have any gray hairs... then I'd really look old!" Oh wait... what is that? I took a closer look... my mouth fell open in horror as I saw my darkened roots glistening in the bathroom light! Normally I highlight my hair... but it's been months since I've forked over the money for a high-priced do... so PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong... but is it normal for a hair to be blond at the tips, dark in the middle and then light again at the roots?

I plucked a few hairs out, and examined them. I held them up to the light... I held them against a dark towel... I floated them in water to see if they pointed true north. After all that, I reluctantly came to the conclusion that the lighter color I saw was in fact gray... silver... frosty... no matter what you call it, it sounds terrible!

Now, I intend no offense to anyone who has gray hair, because honestly, I've always laughed at people who fret about gray hair. I mean, it's just part of growing older... part of life. But I didn't think it would happen at my young old age of 31!

I don't think this will be the start of a mid-life crisis... I doubt that I will lie awake tonight stressing about it (after all, isn't that how gray hairs come about? ... stress?) But one thing I do know for sure... I'm not telling Mike... otherwise, I'll NEVER hear the end of it!

pavlov's dog

Despite what Mike (my hubby) thinks, I'm not a complicated person. In fact, I've been conditioned throughtout my life to feel certain things, do certain things and think certain things when placed in certain situations. So I'm really more predictable then one might think.

For example, I get a knot in my stomach on the first day of school, even if I'm not even GOING to school... I fall asleep every single time I've tried to watch Napoleon Dynamite, and have yet to see the darn movie in its entirety... there's something about watching Tom and Jerry that takes me back to 1985 in Grandma Fiscus' basement... I'm hypnotized by a slight head rub, and will do or say almost anything... the sight of blood makes my legs ache... the sound of styrofoam rubbing together makes me cringe... and I rarely make it through a Sunday afternoon without passing out for a nap! All of these things happen without even thinking... it's completely out of my control... it's like I can't help myself!

So far, Pavlovian tricks like these have not been a problem, and they haven't hindered my way of life. But there is one little bit of stimuli that I completely rely upon every year. It's taken me several years to realize it, but I am completely reliant upon it, and when it doesn't happen, I feel... empty!

It's actually a long process... a series of events that occur usually in a particular order. It's happened since before I can remember... part of life in Alaska. So, come with me as I take you on a journey of an Alaskan Fall.

Once late August hits, a very distinct crispness sneaks into the morning air. Next the State Fair comes to town, and with it, the sweet aroma of cotton candy and Husky Burgers float on the breeze... and the distant cries from the Ferris Wheel and Tilt A Whirl echo into the night. Then comes September and the start of school. That flashing strobe on top of the school bus still instills me with a sense of urgency as a result of many hurried walks to the bus stop. Then one morning, you look up and see a hint of white on the mountain tops... the first dusting of snow. (Mom told me this happened yesterday in AK) Once that hits, the snow is almost as predictable as the sun rising. Then it happens... usually in October... THE FIRST SNOWFALL! Cue the Alabama Christmas CD... ironic, since we're in Alaska... but effective, none the less! Now we're on our way into the holiday season! It's like there is literally something in the air...

But here in Virginia, I am not so cheerful about the holidays. I have to MAKE myself put up the Christmas decorations... and I have to force myself to start baking! For years I have wondered what is WRONG with me!

Until today, when I realized that I can finally blame my "bah-hum-bugness" on something else... VIRGINIA WEATHER! Right now, as I type, it is a balmy 80 degrees outside with a little more then a hint of humidity. I am still more comfortable wearing shorts, but I'm so tired of shaving my legs that I have to wear pants and just sweat it out!

So, if I'm going to be any fun this holiday season, I better figure out some new "stimuli" for getting myself into the Christmas Spirit! Maybe I'll have to start playing my Christmas music after the first LEAF FALL... or something, because I'm tired of feeling like Mr. Scrooge on the inside! I'm going to beat it... and despite what they say, I think I'm going to teach this old Pavlovian Dog a new trick afterall!

This really works!

Now if only there was such a thing for 4 and 7 year olds!

10 Guilty Pleasures

10. Talking on the phone
9. Playing word games on the computer
8. Circus Peanuts candy
7. McDonald's cheeseburgers
6. Picking at scabs and/or peeling skin, including on other people
5. Talking to myself
4. Smelling baby's toes
3. Having my head rubbed
2. Getting organized
1. Not wearing a bra (only within the privacy of my own home... but trust me, it's invigorating!)


Sorry it took so long... remember, I was without a computer... But we have a winner for the Gift Certificate Giveaway!

Here are the answers:
A. Full (also accepted satisfied, sated and content)
B. Sad (also accepted remorse)
C. Wet (also accepted Cooled off, squirt me again!)
D. Chew (also accepted Pigging Out)
E. Bite (also accepted Taste)
F. Count

Shannon, please contact me directly via email (kalisijo@msn.com) to give me your mailing address!

And I'm back!

My computer went down and wouldn't boot up for almost 2 weeks, and you would have thought that I lost my right arm! Seriously, you never realize how debilitating no internet access can be until you have to go without it. I couldn't check email (which is more vital then a phone to me). I had to unfold a real map and route my own directions so I could go to a bridal shower. I had to thumb through an actual cookbook to find a recipe that contained 3 specific ingredients and would only take 23 minutes from start to finish. I had to pay some of my bills with a stamp and envelope because I couldn't use my BillPay. All of these things were completely inconvenient.

But at the same time, it actually has been a little more relaxing around here, because I have been blissfully unaware of the things that I could have... should have... would have done, if I had simply gotten the email. But as a result, I had one less thing on my To-Do List... one less thing to feel guilty about... one less thing to occupy my mind with.

And to be completely honest, I would almost recommend it to anyone to "lose" their cell phone for a week... or just turn off their computer for a few days just to experience the brief euphoria that accompanies complete and utter ignorance. I know, I know... ignorance is never true happiness... but it does feel good for a little while!

Not going down without a fight!

I feel like I am a fairly organized person. I have a chart with all my chores divided up throughout the week... there are picture labels on my toy bins... I have a card catalog for the 38 Rubbermaid tubs in my attic... I have a pretty good system for rotating out the boys' clothes every season and passing them onto the next kid in line... I keep disinfectants and cleaners in every single bathroom for easy access... and theoretically I have a place for everything in my house.

So why is my house a mess with clutter all the time? Why do I spend the majority of my time doing "quick pick-ups" as my mom used to call it? Seriously, clutter is the bane of my existence! I can't stand it... but I don't live without it!

And now, three kids and a husband later, I not only have my own clutter to deal with, but I have the clutter of four other people! Birthday party goody bags... could totally do without 'em! Kids' meal toys... can't stand 'em! Coloring pages from school and church... love to see 'em for 5 seconds, but want to toss 'em before the day is done! The list goes on and on!

Now, I'm not asking for advice from all you organizational gurus out there... Don't even try to tell me your tried and true systems for keeping track of it all! And rest assured, I've read all the books, websites, articles, magazines and handouts on organization! In fact, I think I've even created a few handouts myself. Now don't get me wrong, the yesterday's version of me would have welcomed all those tips, tricks and shortcuts with open boxes and a cute little basket! But today, don't mess with me! Today I'm on a venting rampage and I'm sick of trying to solve it all! I'm just throwing it out there to the cosmos that I just want it to be gone! I don't want to make a pile of stuff to go through... or a pile of things to give to good will... I just want it to be gone! Honestly, there's part of me that wouldn't mind if my house burned down today just so I wouldn't have to deal with all the clutter!

But if you know me at all, you'll know that I'm a realist. I'm obviously not waiting for that winning lottery ticket to solve all the financial issues (especially since I never buy them), so therefore, I'm not waiting for a quick fix to clutter either... (especially a house fire... I was just saying... ).

I realize after "x" amount of years, (I'm at that point in my life, where I don't find it necessary to share me age anymore) that clutter just isn't going anywhere when you make it a nice little place to call home and tuck it in gently every night. Although I'm always on the lookout for a drawer or bin or shelf or bucket... those things have only enabled my chronic condition! So today I'm left with only one foreseeable solution to this epic condition... PITCH IT! So here's a message to the clutter in my house... "If you think that you can creep into the corners and lay in wait until my moment of weakness to pounce upon me and smother me to death... then know that I'm not going down without taking some of you with me! Good bye clutter... I'm taking a stand!"

Take the Test... win a prize!

Last week I got hired for a freelance photography job that needed photos of children doing different things to accompany about 100 different action words or phrases. This seemed like an easy thing to do... just take pictures of my kids, right? Well, they have very detailed descriptions and requirements about the facial expressions and body positioning, not to mention having a clean and clear background, good lighting, etc.

So I've been working on this project on and off again for about a week... and the past two days have been horrible! Trying to capture feelings of sadness, fear and boredom are not as easy as you might think. As soon as I snap a picture, the kids think they are done and run away. Little do they know that the lighting wasn't just right, so I have to readjust my camera and do it again. Then there's the issue of getting them to be serious and not laugh... to smile pleasantly, but not look creepy... and to just hold still! And how in the world do you communicate the word "taste" in a still photo? Really!

By the time I get paid for this, I'm going to breathe a huge sigh of relief... and think twice about involving my children in work. I've resorted to paying them with candy every time I finish the shot. The end result? They've had more sugar in 2 days then I even care to keep track of! (Maybe that's why they can't hold still!)

Yes, we've been spending a lot of time together... but in this case, quantity is NOT quality time. I've been barking... and they've been whining!

Right now they are out on their "break" enjoying the 65 degree weather... and I'm going to go take a shower! Hopefully we'll all still have our hair by the end of the day!

TAKE THE TEST: Guess the word which best describes each photo, (it could be an adjective, emotion or verb). Leave your answers in the "Comments", and be sure to check back on September 7th to get the results. The person with the most correct answers will win a $15 gift card to Walmart! It's THAT easy! GOOD LUCK!
A) ...emotion...
C)... adjective...
D)... verb...
E)... verb...
F)... verb...

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