Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Have Muscles..... Where?

Although our recent vacation was a little less desirable than I thought it would be, it did give me some extra time to do a little thinking. Down time is always scary. Since I rarely get it unless I'm sleeping. I begin to think of a million things at once. Usually they have no connection to one another, but for some reason my brain sent a signal that it was time to ponder the world's/my own problems, concerns, questions and quirkiness.

My most recent thought has been that of my health. I am 34 years old. I'm not in bad shape, but I have gained 10 pounds since my last child. It's amazing how an extra 10lbs can affect you. It lurks in the shadows until you require that thing they refer to as stamina. While I play with the kids everyday, it's far from a cardio workout, but sometimes my body disagrees. I noticed that feeling tired is a daily occurrence and I'm sick of blaming it on the millions of things that need to be accomplished by a stay-at-home-mom. I want my energy back.

Before the children, I actually enjoyed weight lifting. It wasn't competitive, but I had that nice tone look in addition to six pack abs. I'm currently carrying a 24 pack, or what some people may refer to as a case of abs right now. They turned to marshmallow after children, and I had too many other important things on my plate to worry about what I looked like, let alone what I felt like.

Which brings me back to vacation when I received a call that my Dad had a possible heart attack. It wasn't, and he's fine now. But it brought me to the realization that it was time to start taking care of myself again. Both my mom and dad will be 60 this year. And although there were many lessons passed down through the years, health may not have been on the top of either's list. We were taught to go to the doctor when we felt ill, but what do you do when you feel well. The truth is, taking care of oneself is a daily project, and depending on genetics and family history, you may have a tougher job than you know.

And so I joined a gym. Not just any gym. I joined a wellness center. It is run by our local hospital, and it is unlike any gym I've ever belonged to. When I check in, I bring the boys to the Child Minding Room. Filled with toys, the boys are in their own element. I then go down to the locker room where some zen-like music is playing over the speakers (scary at first, but more calming now). I head out to floor where I am in the company of people mostly 65 and above. That's right, no tight spandex, inflated boobies or G-strings to stare or wonder "How do they do that?"

Many of the people that belong have either had health problems or are trying to avoid them like the dickens. What they all have in common though is their wiliness to live. I love that, and that's why I joined.

So I'm 2 weeks into my program. I've dropped 2lbs. until that chocolate milkshake I gulped down last night. Anyway, I'm working hard, and I've have learned that there are muscles in places I had no idea existed. I plan to stay on course this time. As a matter of fact, we'll be heading out as soon as I finish this post. Off in search of more muscles! I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Confessions from a "True Blood" Mom

I love the summer months. I am truly a tropical woman trapped in a cold state. Well, it's not cold here all the time. We actually reached 90 degrees in PA yesterday. We threw a graduation party for my cousin. Everyone enjoyed the pool, and we couldn't have asked for better weather.

On the flip side, one of my pet peeves of summer is the television. You either have a choice of repeats or reality TV. While I'm writing this post, my husband is watching Big Brother in the background. Big Brother is one of the few reality shows that I don't mind as much. My husband and I often joke that we began watching episode 1 when we were dating (Who would have thought this show would last that long). The good news is that we have lasted (7 years this August).

I have only 15 minutes to finish this post. Why you ask? It's True Blood night on HBO. I've truly lost my mind. It was my brother in law that first told us about this show last season. I was hooked right away. I'm not usually into the whole vampire scene. I stopped watching horror movies right after the Scream series when Hollywood tried to sell us on the thought that the new serial killers were gorgeous teenagers who looked better on magazine covers than dressed in a black cloak wearing a funny mask.

Only 4 minutes left (I type slow). Anyway, if you haven't watched it yet, give True Blood a try. Make sure the kids are asleep. Definitely, an adult only show.

Two minutes. Got to go. Let me know if you watched!

Friday, July 24, 2009

In Need of that Unique Gift?

I often get frustrated when another birthday rolls around. It gets harder every year to try to find that special gift. Luckily, I recently found the perfect website for all my gift giving needs.

At Lou Lou's Corner you can find everything from designer baby clothes to home decor to eco-friendly toys.

Looking for some great back to school styles? Why not try Appaman clothing? Appaman offers some very versatile yet comfortable styles including polo shirts, hoodies and capri pants.

Do you have a baby shower coming up? How about a new Jellycat plush toy for the little one? Jellycat offers some of the softest stuffed animals around. From cute puppies to jungle elephants, Jellycat is sure to have what you're looking for.

Some of my favorite gifts were always the ones that kept me warm, such as a nice blanket or a heavy sweater. Leave it to Barefoot Dreams to come up with some of the coziest gifts around. Whether your in the market for a new throw or some satin pj's, Barefoot Dreams will help keep the cold out.

It's time to try some different; something reasonable. Try Lou Lou's Corner.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hero of the Week

When did bad news become the only news? That's the question I asked myself right before I decided to write this column a few weeks ago. In light of all that is wrong with this world, I wanted to spotlight (if only for a day) all that is right.

For this weeks column I chose to spotlight two brothers and a group of good samaritans from Milwaukee.

As volunteer firefighters, John and Joel Rechlitz are used to answering the call of duty. But last Sunday, when the call came from John's wife, they had no idea what was in store for them.

A few blocks away, a mother and her 2 children became trapped in their SUV after the mother fell asleep at the wheel. Quickly, their car became engulfed in flames. Witnesses of the accident tried to free the family by kicking in the windows.

While John and Joel rescued the mother and her two year old through the front windshield, they noticed a second child trapped in his car seat and beginning to burn.

Thanks to the heroic actions of John, Joel, and the members of the community of Milwaukee, all three family members made it out of the burning car alive. I have included a link to the story here, as well as a video feed.

May you all arrive at your destinations safely today and always. And may there always be angels watching over you like those brave citizens of Milwaukee.

For a little fun tonight, don't forget to stop by Ann's for a cocktail and a chance to meet some new friends! Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What Does the Title "New Car" Mean to You?

New Car means to me a new sense of safety and reliability. It means that fresh smell that last for about a month (two weeks if you have children, one if you have a husband that likes to fish). It means believing that no matter what may run into you, those air bags will magically wrap around your body like a giant Marshmallow and save your life.

I could go on, but let me remind you that I bought a new minivan just a short 2 months ago. Now, let me add that this cute little addition to our family has been towed twice in the last two weeks. Once today, and once last week while on vacation in "The Middle of No Where PA."

I admire honesty. So when the mechanic looked me straight into the eye and said "I have no idea what's wrong with your van," I almost gave him a hug. That is until he set me up in a Ford Focus as my rental car. I stand 5 feet 8 inches tall. I have driven larger cars most of my life. I suddenly feel like one of the members in the clown car headed out to the center ring, eager to regain feeling in all my joints.

I felt lucky to have finally been able to rid myself of the last nightmare I drove. It was also a minivan (different make and model) with a life of it's own. The steering went bad, and the doors rusted from the inside out. But the real surprise is when it began raining in the car. Yes, I said raining! Every time it rained on the outside, we received similar weather on the inside.

And now I'm the proud owner of this beauty!

I should have listened to the kids: "Mommy, buy the scooter, buy the scooter!"

Sunday, July 19, 2009

When You and Your Vacation Clash

Well Everyone, I'm back in town and I couldn't be happier. The Pocono Mountains has some great attributes, but when I dream of vacations, I'm far away from Pennsylvania.

For the last six years, the family and I have rented a home in the Poconos. Due to the fact that these vacations are always booked online; some of these homes, let's just say, are not up to par. It's amazing what a little Photo shop will do for a property. Not to mention, a few white lies.

Believe me when I tell you that some people have posted pictures of brand new homes when in actuality the home is a few decades old. When you pull up, you find cobwebs, decks that are about to pull away from the house, and hot tubs filled with so much chlorine your skin dries out. Let the fun begin!

I realize that half the problem is definitely me. I have not one ounce of Davy Crockett in my blood stream. I don't pretend to like bugs, fishing, bears, or other nocturnal creatures that anxiously await until you're asleep so that they may tip your trashcans over to divulge in your barbecue leftovers.

I cringe when anything that has more legs than myself (aside from my beloved doggy) enters my domain. I love deer, but there's a special breed in the Pocono Mountains. The deer up there have no fear of humans or your vehicles. The fact that there are actually roads requiring you to drive faster than 55 miles an hour is truly a horror. It's Russian Roulette, and no matter if you drive 55 or 25 you're bound to get some use out of your brakes.

I tried hard year 1, 2, and even 3. By year's 4 and 5, the fun was running thin. Now in year 6, I decided to stop pretending. I came clean to my husband and told him that I don't want to rent any more. I've dropped hints over the years, but I finally broke down (right after my brand new minivan wouldn't start, and had to be towed to the nearest VW dealer 40 miles away). The tears must have done it.

I cook and clean every day of my life, and for the most part, I don't mind. But when I hear the word vacation, I want to get excited like everyone else. I want a week where I don't have to prepare meals or clean bathtubs.

So next year, it's official, we're going to a resort. I don't care if it's in the middle of the Pocono Mountains. I don't care if there are men with rifles hunting outside my suite. I don't care if there are bugs the size of my fist. Because my friends, I will be on vacation. The vacation of my dreams!

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Little Advice for Your Car Questions

Buying a car these days is a large expense. But when you finally decide to take the plunge; how do you come to a decision? Who do you rely on to get advice?

I recently found a website that does that very job. At you can find the latest information on your favorite models. From reviews to insurance quotes, this is your one stop shopping website for all your auto questions.

Take for instance you're interested in purchasing a Kia. You're unsure however just what model suits you best. You can simply select Kia as your car of choice. You'll be able to read reviews on models such as the Borrego, Rondo, and Sedona, just to name a few.

I was personally interested in finding more about Infiniti. I went a step further when I narrowed my search to include just SUVs/Wagons. Two models: the Infiniti EX35 and the FX35 fit my needs.

My husband will be in the market for a new vehicle come the end of the year. Although he has his heart set on a truck, he really hasn't had the time to do much research. Luckily, that is all the information this website needs to begin a search. You can simply narrow the search by entering your desired price range.

No matter what type of car you're shopping for, is sure to be the website to begin.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Confessions from a Blogger Geek

I'm taking a break from blogging this week,

Declaring overdue down time.

Kicking off my shoes, Drinking some much needed booze,

Reclining, and talking in rhyme.

Staying in bed past 6a.m.

Not running to a computer screen.

Striking some poses, and smelling the roses.

Having fun acting like a queen.

Wait a minute, what has gotten into me?

I still have kids tugging on my side.

Wiser ones already know, as the saying goes:

"You can run, but you sure can't hide."

So I guess I'll spend this week like I normally do.

But focus more on quality time.

I'll still play in the sand, try and join a rock band,

And of course I'll still talk in rhyme.

I may not be able to help myself.

From stopping by and taking a peak.

I'm a Mom and a wife, but I spend most of my life,

Being a Blogger Geek!

To All My Friends: Don't forget to stop by Ann's tonight for one of her delicious cocktails and a chance to meet some new friends. As for me, I'll be back in full swing again soon. But don't be surprised if I show up a few times this week just to check on things. All my best, Mary

Monday, July 6, 2009

3,000 Tokens and A Pack of Bubblegum

Due to all the rain we've had lately, the kids have spent a little more time inside than I'd like to admit.

On three separate occasions we spent our days in food/arcade like places that reward children for spending their parents hard earned cash. In reality, the games don't come to an end until you've fed the machine the last of your tokens. Who's idea was that?

But have no fear. Those tickets that the machines spit out can be turned in for incredible prizes. Larger than life teddy bears, new bicycles, and video games to name a few. If you can imagine it, you can have it. Or so we thought.

So there I stand at ticket redemption with my boys. We played games for nearly 2 hours. Our tickets could easily be wrapped around the earth's circumference twice. Their smiles were from ear to ear. They're obviously happy Mommy has a mini-van so that their new prizes can be transported home with ease.

Then, Happy Teenager appears from behind the counter. Because she forgot to wear her name tag, I dubbed her "Teenager Evil Doer," or TED for short. You'll see why this name fits her perfectly soon enough.

She looks over the tally and points my boys in the right direction.

"Wait a minute, what's this?" The boys were obviously confused. Clearly they had enough tickets to buy part ownership in that restaurant, yet TED insisted that they could only pick from the prizes under the glass.

Sure, Chinese handcuffs sound cool. So did the plastic dolphin that spit styrofoam darts faster than the speed of light. But you could tell, the kids had bigger ideas. I'm not sure exactly what they were, but I'm guessing they consisted of super-human sized stuffed animals paired with a fork lift.

I could cry and whine about how the system is unfair, but since my children are still young, I allowed them to do that job for me.

They did indeed leave with a good number of prizes that day. Most however, were no bigger than my pinkie. And instead of needing my mini-van to haul away their treasures, it turns out, their pockets did the job perfectly.

They even shared one of their lollipops with Mommy.

How ironic I thought.

"A sucker for the sucker!"

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hero of the Week

When did bad news become the only news? That's the question I asked myself right before I decided to write this column a few weeks ago. In light of all that is wrong with this world, I wanted to spotlight (if only for a day) all that is right.

Since we will be celebrating our independence this weekend, I decided that this weeks hero will focus on a group of people rather than one individual. Mommy Maestro's Hero's of the Week are the men and women who fight for our freedom...our military!

Whether you are for or against war, one thing we have to agree on is how courageous our military folk are. When called for duty, they don't ask why, they just report. Often leaving loved ones behind, they give up their own lives so that we may enjoy our freedom.

It is easy to take our military for granted when war is not fought on your own soil. We put our faith in the hands of men and women from all types of backgrounds. Some of whom have only graduated high school a few months ago. We rely on our media to relay the day to day events so that we may understand better what it takes to live a privileged life of freedom. Because my friends, as you know, freedom isn't free.

The families of our troops are also our hero's. They often sit and wait quietly at their homes, for a post card, an email or a telephone call. Any sign that will calm their fears, if only for a few minutes, and bring about some peace.

While some will get to make large cardboard signs welcoming their loved ones home; others must learn to go on without. There are no good reasons, no justifications, only the belief that dying for one's own country is the highest of honors.

Whether a member of the military, or their family, today we salute each and every one of you. Thank you.

Just a reminder: brandish your red, white and blue this weekend. Although we're all headed out to some parties, let's not forget our favorite one tonight hosted by Ann. It's a chance to visit new blogs and meet a lot of great people.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Does Anyone Have Directions?

In an ever changing world, I get that technology is a necessity. But honestly, I've had it! "Up to here I say!"

I consider myself a fairly intelligent person, but I'm done with buying new gadgets that have direction manuals the size of War and Peace, or better yet, no directions at all.

Case in point was the lovely IPOD I received for Christmas. While I never asked for an IPOD (at least I don't remember doing so) I think it's a pretty neat gadget. As excited as I was to receive my new toy, I noticed one thing missing from the box. I guess the Apple people thought that the directions could be condensed on that cute little insert they included. I found that same insert (different wording of course) in that pregnancy test box I bought in "03." Yeah, that one got me thinking too.

Apparently, for most of these gadgets, you don't need directions. If you play with something long enough, eventually you'll figure it out. That rule of course only applies to the over thirty crew. Those under thirty have graciously been born with some invisible chip in their brain that allows them to figure out any gadget known to man in less time than it takes to microwave a bag of popcorn.

I've witnessed it first hand. Did you see the girl on the news two weeks ago who won the texting competition? Fifteen year old Kate Moore was awarded $50,000 after texting over 14,000 messages. Seriously, have you ever? Hopefully, Ms. Moore will be saving that valuable cash for a good college. If that's not in the cards, I'm sure she'll be offered a terrific secretarial position.

You're sure to know when you've received a text from yours truly. It's riddled with misspellings and punctuation errors. I can't seem to get my darn fingers in those strange positions. Go ahead, send me a text,I dare you. You'll be waiting and waiting for a reply. Until my cell phone comes equipped with a full size keyboard, I'll just call you direct if you don't mind.

Just before I started writing this post I attempted to transfer some money from a popular on line banking company. I've used this company for quite a few years. I think it was shortly after I received the "Don't be afraid of technology speech" from Hubby again. That man moves as swiftly through the Internet as a virus. I just don't understand.

Anyway, I started to get these messages like: "We don't recognize this computer," and "please answer some security questions." Fine, I complied. The computer then went into thinking mode. I mean deep thinking mode. I mean coma, straight line, do not resuscitate mode!

Needless to say, as I punch away at these keys my bank is probably having a field day adding up the many late fees and over draft charges that are currently accruing.

By this time tomorrow, the only thing left to name will be my IPOD. Great! Does anyone have directions?