There are good people.....

Today is the last day to get entered for my FREE May Giveaway. Get entered now if you haven't already. I'll be drawing the winner and posting it on the blog tomorrow!

Dealing with the public, hearing my mom talk about the people that she serves at the court, seeing some of the parents at Zachary's school really makes me question the goodness of human nature. Really makes me question whether there are actually good people out there at all.

But then, just when I feel that all hope is lost for people in America, someone steps up and re-establishes my faith in the human race.

Yesterday, the family and I went to Hometown Days: the festival in my hometown that is complete with parade, carnival, games, pony rides, etc. We usually try to make it to the parade on a yearly basis, and this year was no different. (although we arrived late and surprised the heck out of my parents who thought we weren't coming!) The kids enjoyed the parade and some gentleman came walking back down the parade route and saw that the kids didn't have very much candy...and opened his backpack of leftover candy and told them to each take a handful. Zachary grabbed some...Lucas just one. "That's all, thank you!" The guy was a little surprised and even asked a couple times..."is that all you boys want?" Yep. They were just excited to have a few more pieces.

We went, as a family, to the car show (super cool!) where Chuck won a gift certificate for a free ice cream cone.

Then, we all headed down to the rides where mom and I each got the kids some tickets. Elizabeth had her first major ride (Oh, so cute on the carousel! She just grinned and grinned!) The boys were riding the bumper cars, so all of us were standing at the end waiting for them. After they got off, we took them aside and explained that they had ONE more ride to choose. After that one ride they were done. Chuck walked away for a minute while I was talking to the boys and came back and handed me money..$30 to be exact.

I thought it was from my parents and was just about to tell him to give it back to them when he explained that the guy over there gave it to him, stating that he "was out doing the Lord's work, and they were a blessed family and wanted to give something to another family."

I literally teared up. What an amazing man and family (his wife and teen daughter was sitting there with him). Not only did he allow us to give the kids another extra ride, a game, an elephant ear and pizza for my whole family, he restored my faith in the human race.

The news is inundated with bad news, bad people, murder and mayhem, it's so refreshing to see that there is still good people out there.

It also makes me want to do good for someone else; you know "pay it forward". I was laying in bed last night thinking about what I could do, how I could pay it forward when I remembered that last Monday I mowed the neighbors lawn because they hadn't had a chance to do it and his kids are all very allergic to the dust and pollen and such that happens with lawn mowing.

It made me wonder if this money was some sort of payment for my own good deeds. Made me think about how everything in this world is somehow interconnected. That even though you may not see it at that moment, you do get "payment" for good deeds. Not always in the form of money, maybe in the form of someone mowing your own lawn, bringing over a weeks worth of meals when you have a baby, or maybe just helping you out in a crunch.

Now, that doesn't mean that I don't want to still find a new way to pay it forward, but simply makes me consider that we are all interconnected in a way that maybe I've never considered before.

Thank you to the man in the black shirt at Hometown Days. My kids thank you. My parents thank you. And I thank you for helping to restore my faith.


My Husband Rocks: 2nd edition

So last a couple of Wednesdays ago, my husband did something (I can’t even remember what it was) and he made the comment of “I bet THAT won’t make it on your next Friday MHR post”. I had to laugh. Maybe, just maybe, making him aware that I appreciate him makes him want to do even more nice little gestures to show his love. I guess that what we’ve always said about children may be true for adults as well: if you want to get a certain type of behavior from them, model that type of behavior.

So in this Friday’s installment of “My Husband Rocks” I’m not going to regale you in all the fascinating and wonderful things he did for me this week. Nope. Instead, I’m going to point out a few of the finer nuisances of my husband that make him so special to me.

One of my favorite things about my husband is that not many people truly understand him. I was talking to a friend of mine last week and she mentioned that Chuck and a friend were having a conversation around her and it was so completely over her head. Then when they tried to explain it…it was still over her head. I know it’s weird, but I like that about Chuck. I like that not many people understand his wit (and trust me, he is witty) nor his thoughts (and he is a thinker). I like that I totally understand him though. It’s like we have our own personal world…and our own jokes. Like when one of us yells out “dog pooping!” and then he and I die laughing while everyone else looks at us like goons.

But beyond our silly little inside jokes, I know the wonderful, sentimental, thoughtful, introspective person that is inside that gruff exterior. When my mom first met Chuck the first thing she said about him was "the arrogant cocky S.O.B." (this, of course, was the moment before I told her I was dating him.) But, that part...the arrogant, aloof, condescending person is the person that most people do see. (My mom has since changed her tone.) I get to see the other part...granted, not all the time...but I do. And I feel so fortunate to be married to someone who steps back and takes a look at his own relationship with his son and question it for the better, makes a scrapbook for me of when we first started dating and included the Seven Bridges Rd lyrics as a definition of our journey together (and labels Zachary as the "bridge between our hearts"), sets up exquisite surprises for me for my special days, and asks me out for our first date with roses and a blueberry 3 wick candle set up in my cabin.

My husband rocks because he allows me to see that side of him. He thinks enough of me to let me see the other side to the arrogant S.O.B. We get each other’s humour, sarcasm, thoughts and needs (especially in the bedroom!) Even though, sometimes, even I don't know what he's thinking until he puts it into words...he's definitely a complex man.

In short, Chuck rocks because we “get” each other. And I love him for it.


Hump Day Help

So, I’ve decided that I want to do a little column every Wednesday entitled “Hump Day Help” which would feature a different concern regarding sexual health or having a positive outlook on your sexuality.


Because I believe there are a lot of people out there that have issues regarding their sexuality (especially women) or with having sex in general and suffer in silence. I did until I met my husband who helped me to realize that it’s okay to be ME. He helped me to understand and accept myself. I know there are a lot of women out there that felt like I did in my late teens/early twenties who don’t have the support or understanding. Some of the women are even much older than I was when I started to embrace my inner sexpot. And I want to help more women find that for themselves.

So, I’d been thinking and planning and wondering about what my first post would be for Hump Day….when I got an email from Pure Romance corporate that Pure Romance was featured on the Tyra Banks show. The show was entitled “Married Virgins”. I seriously stopped and re-read it, thinking I’d read it wrong.

I knew that there were women out there that had pain and extreme uncomfortableness during sex, but was unaware of a disorder called vaginismus. (See, I still have TONS to learn!) I figured if I was unaware it’s a good chance that others are as well and if you’ve found my blog and have this condition, I hope to help you a bit.

So, what exactly is vaginismus? Basically it is involuntary muscle spasms of the pelvic muscles surrounding the vagina. It’s not as if the woman is willing the contractions to happen; in fact, she may not even know that they are occurring until there is painful intercourse. According to vaginismus.com, this disorder is the most common cause of women remaining virgins through relationships.

The good news is that vaginismus is highly treatable. And that’s where the video from Dr. Debby Herbenick (author of Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction) on they Tyra show comes into play. In this video she talks about how vaginal dialators can help with vaginismus; and help women with this disorder to experience and enjoy sex, maybe for the first time. Dr. Debby worked closely with Pure Romance to develop their line of vaginal dialators.

How are vaginal dialators used to treat vaginismus? So glad you asked! The pelvic floor muscles are just like any other muscles and need to be used, stretched and exercised in order to be at their tip-top shape. Vaginal dialators are used to gently stretch those muscles and the vaginal tissue.

As with any exercise, you want to consult with your dr. before starting; however, it’s even more important when dealing with vaginismus. First, you want to make sure that you have a correct diagnoses and second, you’ll need to know what kind of regimen you should be following. Please see your dr. and discuss your concerns with him/her!! (I am in no way shape or form a medical professional!)

The most important things to remember when using…and choosing…a vaginal dialator set is:

*RELAX! Take a hot bath, drink a glass of wine, read a book…do whatever you need to do to relax.

*Get comfortable. Whether you’re most comfortable doing this in the shower/bath, in your bedroom or the living room couch, choose that spot.

*Find the best position for you. Most women find that lying on their back works the best.

*Use a quality water-based lubricant.

*Soft is good. When looking for a dialator set, you want to make sure that you get a soft and smooth set (with no ridges from the manufacturing molds!) that will be easy to clean and comes in graduated sizes. The Pure Romance set comes with six different sizes…no need to buy another set!

If you have a partner with this disorder, please understand that it is not a matter of wanting to have sex, but more a matter of a physical condition not allowing it to happen. There are other ways to have an intimate fulfilling relationship without penetration; let the dialators and Dr’s do their job so that you can experience it all with your partner. Who knows before too long she may be asking for you help with some insertions ;)

If you have any additional questions, check out vaginismus.com or email me. I’ll try to answer…or find the answer…to your questions. I’ll also be giving a 15% discount on the vaginal dialator set to any of my readers until 6/11/09.


Mayfair Renaissance Festival

So, after a Sunday of working hard at the in-laws on their lawn (Zachary worked his butt off, Lucas...not so much...I kept having to get after him since he wanted to play with his cousin who wasn't working) we took the kids to the RenFest today. I thought the kids might enjoy dressing up and being knights and princesses for the day.And I think they did have a good time. They got to watch a Fox Hunt (men doing silly things to be called the foxiest in all the land), the jester doing jester-ly skits and making balloon swords and hats and animals for the kids, and got to see all kinds of swords from real hand tooled steel to wooden ones that looked miraculously just like the real thing. Zachary and Lucas also got to try on chain mail which was amazingly heavy...I'm shocked that they didn't fall over from the weight of it! We made paper crowns encrusted with plastic jewels and a septor that m'Lady Elizabeth kept pulling jewels off from as soon as I'd glue them on. On the way out for the day, Zachary also played a game called "Drench the Wench" where all proceeds went to cancer research. He threw 3 wet sponges at the girls and in return he got big, red kisses on each cheek and nose. The girls gave him the choice of handshakes, hugs or kisses and of course, my boy being my boy, chose kisses...and blushed the entire time.
It's funny, because on the way home, Chuck and I were talking about if we felt the $60 for the gate entrance, food, and couple little trinkets we picked up was worth it and I felt it really wasn't. But seeing it in print, we did a lot of things this afternoon and the kids had a good time and were very well behaved. They had new experiences and a little education of how things worked in the past (we went through viking encampments and they watched a blacksmith at work) so it wasn't all lost. I just expected a bit more....renaissance. I think the addition of a jousting competition and sword fighting competition would have been neat.

In the future, I think we may go but eat a HUGE meal ahead of time and make a no trinket rule. Then it would only cost the $21 entry fee...and that's a much more reasonable price for us for an afternoon of wandering through the mid-evil mall.


Teen Suicide

***this may be upsetting for some. It is for me. Which is why I need to write it and get it out.***

This morning, while leaving for work, I noticed a bunch of police cars and civilian cars down our street. I live in a very small town so this was more than a little abnormal for us.

I called Chuck, who is at home with the kids today, to see if they were there when he took Zachary to school. Chuck wandered outside to check things out (yes, we’re gawkers) and the neighbor across the street came over to give an explanation for things.

The 15 year old boy who lives about 6 houses down from ours committed suicide last night. He hung himself. He had apparently told his girlfriend/friends last night that he was going to do it, but they all just thought he was joking.

I cried this morning when I found out; I’m crying now as I write this. I don’t know this teen. I don’t know his parents. But my heart still is wracked with sorrow for his parents. To walk in and find their son in such a way….how incredibly horrible for those parents. It’s something that likely will forever be burned into their memory as their last moments with their son.

My worst nightmare happened this morning just 6 houses from us. Dealing with bipolar, suicide is a very real concern for me. It’s a concern that started almost 3 years ago, already, when Zachary started telling us that life was too hard to keep living (his words), he wanted to kill himself (again, his words), or how he wishes he was never born (do you see a pattern here?) I’m scared to death of what Zachary’s teen years are going to be like. Chuck has publically stated that in his teen years he was suicidal and after a round of anti-depressants (bad news for bipolars) we dealt with the suicidal tendencies just a few years ago as well. It is probably one of the most frightening things I’ve had to deal with as a wife and mother; I don't ever want to deal with the more frightening possibility of an attempt succeeding.

I think it’s so important, especially considering that suicide rates are on the rise to understand and watch for warning signs in children and teens. Suicide among children is very rare; however, those rates jump dramatically when the teen years arise. Suicide is the 3rd leader of death for teens. Girls are two to four times as likely (depending on the sources) to attempt suicide; boys are 4 times more likely to succeed though. Sixty percent of suicides are committed with a gun that is found in the house, or the house of a friend. I’m not against guns….but PLEASE store them properly (meaning locking the gun up, keeping ammunition in a locked area away from the guns). And watch for the warning signs of possible suicide:

talk about suicide or death in general
talk about "going away"
talk about feeling hopeless or feeling guilty
pull away from friends or family
lose the desire to take part in favorite things or activities
have trouble concentrating or thinking clearly
giving away personal items
experience changes in eating or sleeping habits
self-destructive behavior (drinking alcohol, taking drugs, or driving too fast, for example)

I’m not a suicide expert in any way, shape or form. I have just as many concerns, fears, and worries about it as the next mom. So, if you have any questions, check out the United States Suicide Hotline or Suicide.org. There are tips, numbers to call for parents as well as teens or adults thinking of committing suicide.

My thoughts and prayers go out to that family on my street today. And to all of the other nameless families that are or have gone through this. I know it may be harsh to say, but I pray that I’m not in those shoes during Zachary’s teen years.


Two big thumbs down for NED school assembly....

I just had to post this to share with everyone. I have had some problems with the school as it was, but I finally decided I needed to write something to let them know my discontent.

I’m writing in response to the NED (never give up, encourage others, do your best) assembly program that was brought into the elementary school on 5/19/2009. I have to say that I’m rather upset that a program was brought into the school and allowed to mercilessly advertise their merchandise and try to make an extra buck off our children and ultimately, us as parents.

This morning, my son and I had quite the talk regarding the “necessity” of having these NED show yo-yos. This talk was after the tantrum when I explained that we didn’t have the money to buy all the different types of yo-yos that the program had. When I saw that NED show was on the list of events on the monthly calendar, I actually looked up the program on the internet to see what they were about. I really like the concept but feel that instead of portraying that concept, what the kids actually gleaned from the program was the NEED to purchase yo-yos and do the tricks. But not only that, but that the tricks HAD to be done with those yo-yo’s and only those yo-yos. I asked Zachary directly exactly what the program was about and his answer: “Doing tricks with yo-yos and buying the yo-yos”. I understand that I have some special circumstances with my son; however, I fail to believe that he is the ONLY child that came away with absolutely nothing but tricks and yo-yos in his eyes from that program.

When sending our children to school, we expect them to be there to learn and be educated, NOT to be set in front of a commercial. As parents, Chuck and I limit the amount of time our children watch t.v. and which t.v. stations they watch, partially because of the amount of advertisements on many channels. We live in a society where people believe they need to have everything that everyone else has and we’re trying to teach our children that material things are not the way to happiness. Having a good education, being good to others, being a hero to the point they can as a student IS what is important.

So we send them to school, and they are inundated with more and more things to buy (scholastic book fairs, scholastic flyers, fundraisers, and now yo-yos). Then, considering the students see them and are told about buying that AT school, they feel it’s something they HAVE to have in order to be successful at school. Now, I understand the necessity of fundraisers in the time of schools losing government money and having to make tough choices, but maybe a little bit of tact would be something to consider. While the schools are having difficulty, so are many, many families in our community and the constant begging for our school-age children to have something else they saw at school is rather upsetting.

I originally thought that maybe the school paid money for this program, in which I would be very disappointed that monies ultimately deriving from us as tax-payers would be paying for such a program. However, I have a suspicion that NED programmers were asked to come into our school system specifically with the understanding that they would be hawking their wares to our children. From the NED website: “1. FREE The NED show is free when your school chooses our “no-fee option”. By giving a little of your time and by making NED items available for your students to purchase for five days following the show, you are bringing our $1,200 program to your school absolutely FREE. We also pay the state sales tax and return freight.”

In that case, shame on all of you for not seeing this as the merchandising scam that it is.

In contrast, there was a program just the day before this one for the 1st graders concerning BATS. I have no idea how much that program cost to bring to our schools, or if the bat lady did it simply so more and more people could learn and understand bats, but our son learned something from that assembly. He came home that night so excited to tell us all about bats and where they live and what they eat, etc. That is the type of programming that I would expect my child to see when being sent to school.

Again, I do like the concept of the NED program and can see the necessity and good that such a type of assembly can do for the students but feel it was gone about in a completely wrong manner. I know of a school assembly that accomplishes the same goal of this assembly (giving the students self-esteem and helping them to understand the necessity of being a hero to those around them) without the commercialism. If you are interested, I’d be more than happy to help with it.

Sincerely, Lisa


Random Thoughts #5,203

I honestly have no idea how many Random Thoughts posts I’ve done. I’m pretty sure it’s not 5,000 because I think I’m still under 300 posts total, but hey, a girl can dream right?

I’m doing a random thoughts post today because quite frankly my brain has gone in soooo many different directions lately that I can’t fathom putting together a singular, cohesive post that makes any amount of sense. I’m really starting to wonder if I’m not ADHD too…or maybe just ADD…or maybe I just need to start taking my anti-anxiety pills again.

We’re starting into the “busy season” for us in the family too. Weddings, camping trips, reunions, soccer games, soccer pictures, practices, lots of PR parties, mowing the lawn, traveling to Bay City to help with the in-laws’ lawn, baby showers, trip to Washington DC in July, week-long vacation in August, in addition to just normal every day work and dr. appts. Whew. I’m honestly a little overwhelmed (and tired) just thinking about it!

I’m super excited for our trip to Washington DC in July. We’re staying with a good friend of the family, Dave, who is a SUPER nice guy (if anyone lives in the area and is single…I know someone for you!!) We just found out that the state is giving us 6 unpaid furlough days since the government can’t balance their budget so to not have layoffs (at this moment, anyway) we’re getting unpaid days off. One of those days off is when we’d already taken annual for our DC trip, sooo we extended our DC trip by an extra day! Woohoo! I know the kids are going to have so much fun checking out the Smithsonian Natural History and Air and Space museum and seeing the National Zoo. I love seeing their faces when they see new things or get super excited about whatever they are learning about. Makes being a mom so much fun…and rewarding.

And speaking of learning and doing new things: I wonder sometimes exactly where Zachary comes from. But then again, I think I remember doing homework “just for fun”. Actually, I just emailed my mom and said “Um, mom, did I used to do homework just for fun?” Her reply? “YEP!” I relayed that Zachary has been working on writing his name in cursive (he’s in 1st grade) and that his teacher is pissedrather upset with him because she doesn’t want him learning that yet. I remember sitting at a little table where my dad (Thanks Dad!) taught me how to write cursive in 1st or 2nd grade. Mom said “Why discourage them from learning? Teach him at home and explain he can only print at school.” Good advice. Anyway, Zachary has been asking to do math worksheets for fun! Sunday morning his brother wanted him to play basketball with him and Zachary told him “Nah…I want to do some math.” Luke’s face about said it all….Luke is good at math and knows his stuff, but would much rather be playing ball to doing homework on a sunny Sunday morning. So I sat with him and showed him how to add larger numbers and carry numbers over to the tens column, etc. He’s such a fast learner! Last night, he sat in the back of the car and wrote poems the whole way home from the restaurant.

The Princess
The princess was trying to pick out a dress
And her little brother was making a big mess….

That was his first 2 lines…hehe…so cute.

And CUTE brings me to my next subject….Lucas is soo Cute!! This morning I was in the shower when Lucas pops in. I heard someone come in and start rummaging around in the drawers. I stick my head out to see who it is and there is Lucas in his pj’s, looking through daddy’s bathroom drawer. I asked exactly what he was looking for (thinking he wanted “daddy doderant”) when he pulled out the hand mirror. He looks in it and smiles just a bit. I giggled and asked what he was doing. He informed me that he was getting a lot of freckles on his nose. I let him know that I’d been noticing that and that I absolutely love his freckles and they are part of what makes him so adorably cute. He grinned at me and hightailed it back to the kitchen. I have no idea where that all came from…but I have a sneaking suspicion that his brother probably told him he looked like he had poop on his nose or something. Ah……brotherly love. I remember it well.

Ohh, that reminds me…I got the funniest brotherly love video from a friend yesterday. I seriously almost peed myself (not that its that difficult after 3 kids….I think I need to start working with the ben wa balls) while I was watching this video because it is Zachary and Lucas down to a T. Oh…I can sooo see them like this in about 15 years. Zachary will be the one in the sweater vest, shirt and tie…Lucas the one standing. Seriously. Give it a watch.

And not to leave out Miss Elizabeth….

Sometimes she is so stinking cute it makes me want to puke. I wonder if my mom felt like that about me. She’s been letting me braid her hair lately and always wants it in “throo” braids (meaning two) and those two little braids are just so stinking cute. On Sunday, she was really really quiet and that’s not always good…so we sneaked in to see what she was doing and there she was in the middle of her floor trying to put on her roller skates herself. I helped her get them on and then put on her helmet and her and I went out and rollerskated (she skated…I walked…we don’t want the earthquake that would happen when I fell on my ass) on our basketball court for a little bit. I look at her sometimes and just want to hug her and kiss her and squeeze her and consume all her sweet, little girl goodness! Ah, I love this age. Except for the not going to sleep part…I hate that. That part can go away quickly and I swear that I won’t miss it.

And…one last story...Last Friday night, I had a bachelorette party for my cousin. On my way back home, about 6 miles from my house at 10:45 at night, I SHREDDED a tire on my jeep. I called Chuck and asked if he wanted me to call the tow company to change it or he bring our 3 kids out and do it. Considering the kids were sleeping (finally!), I called the tow company and talked to Connie...the dispatcher.

She said it'd be 20 minutes so I called my husband back and she called me but for whatever reason (fate?) my phone didn't beep in to tell me I had a call waiting. So when I did call her back we got all the info done for the tire change and then she says...

Did you voicemail say Pure Romance? Are you a hostess with them...I mean do you sell it...

I tell her that Yes...I'm a consultant and was honestly just on my way home from a party at that moment!!

So she gets all excited and asks if she can call me back off work time and book a party with me!!!So, yay for me!!! Having a booming Pure Romance business is going to help a lot when we have these 6 unpaid furlough days from work this summer!

And these are….the days of my life……….;)


My Husband Rocks!!

I started reading this other blog called Love, Actually. I….well, I…..Love it. Sorry to be so cliché.

But Cher has such cool ideas for rocking the romance in your relationship and doing it on a budget at the same time. (and I’m not talking the sexual side of it…I can take care of that.) Go on…check it out and tell me that you’re not inspired to do something simply romantic for your significant other.

Anyway, she does a post on Fridays called “MHR: My Husband Rocks” Fridays. (It was actually started by someone else, but I read about it on Cher’s blog, so I’ll give her the credit.) Oftentimes, we don’t tell the most important person in our lives how incredibly much we appreciate them…I know I don’t. Just ask Chuck, he’ll tell you.

But, my husband does rock. Here’s the reasons he rocks this week:
**Last night he made hamburgers on the grill…with grilled buns!...and put worchestershire sauce in the meat because he knows I love it like that. He made the burgers because I said how incredibly good it sounded since the weather is getting warmer.

**After dinner, he got the kids to pick up the yard while I took care of the paperwork side of my party tonight, and then took us in the big truck to get ice cream.

**He’s watching the kids tonight while I go do a Pure Romance party for a good friend of mine. And will finish wrapping a couple of the presents for the kids’ birthday party tomorrow.

**Chuck will be a hands-on dad tomorrow at the birthday party and help with every aspect of it, because that’s just how he rolls.

**He buys me Mt. Dew at the store without me having to ask him to do it. (I’m surprised at how many husbands will go to the store for something and not even ASK their wives if they want something…or just know to bring back their fave pop or snack!)

**Chuck has come up and seen me on his break every day this week. And even after 12 years of being together, I still feel that flutter of excitement in my chest when I see him standing behind me.

I love you babe. Even if you don’t ever comment on my blog. ;)

If you love your significant other, spread the word…do a MHR post and leave me a comment so I can come and read your reasons! v


My VERY FIRST (of many to come) GIVEAWAY!

So, according to my Pure Romance organizer, May is National Masturbation Month!

Now, I know that a lot of people don’t feel comfortable talking about self-pleasuring; however, I’d like to challenge that taboo. Especially for women.

Patty Brisben has a really good question/answer section on the Pure Romance website and one of the questions was about not reaching orgasm with her partner (do you ever have that problem?) Her answer was excellent!

The first thing that I recommend is that you take the time to explore your own body. Spend some time alone exploring yourself, find what areas bring you pleasurable sensations, as well as learn which areas bring you to orgasm when stimulated. Once you have a greater understanding of your ‘hot spots’ you can share what you learned with your boyfriend. Orgasm is as much mental as it is a physical response and we have found that sometimes women pressure themselves too much to reach orgasm in the presence of their partners. I promise that you will benefit tremendously by figuring things out on your own and then integrating what you learn when you are with your boyfriend.

This goes for men as well, in my opinion. If we are able to know what we like sexually we will be better equipped to talk to our partners and make sex more explosive.

So in celebration of National Masturbation Month, I am giving away a Silver Bullet and a 4 oz bottle of Just Like Me. That’s $28.50 for FREE folks! The silver bullet is an awesome toy for those beginning to understand themselves or a nice stand-by for those more seasoned women. It vibrates. It’s small. It’s not penis-shaped (let’s face it sometimes that scares men and women away). It can be used by yourself for some fun one-on-one time, but can be used with your partner for a little extra stimulation during your romp through the sheets. The Just Like Me is just what it says. It’s a lube that is just like you!! Ever use lube and go away feeling…..icky? Or have to continue to use more and more lube because it seems to dry up? This lube is just like the sexual juices that your body naturally makes…so no sticky feeling, no re-adding lube (because a little bit of saliva re-activates it!), no unnatural smells, and best of all….great lubrication so you can enjoy yourself!!

So, you want to be entered? Leave me a comment with your favorite Pure Romance product. Don’t have a favorite yet? Go to my website (there's monthly specials listed there too!) and find something that you’d love to try! (Remember…Pure Romance isn’t all toys with motion!! There are wonderful bath and beauty products and sexy lingerie as well!)

Want a second entry? Write a blog piece about this giveaway or link back to this piece from your blog and leave me a comment that you’ve done so. I’ll enter you a second time!!

Winner will be drawn on May 31st!!


Mean ol' momma

Two years ago we struggled daily (who am I kidding?) multiple times a day with Lucas and/or Zachary and their behavior.

Parts of their behavior was because I was tired and had a very short fuse due to living on 4 ½ hours of sleep daily, part of Zachary’s behavioral issues were the ADHD/bipolar which we are close to having a good handle on.

Part of the behavioral issues was ineffective parenting.

Last year, we went through a really rough time with both Lucas and Zachary and we started seeing a therapist. For myself, Lucas and Zachary, separately and also had family sessions. Nothing in this world could have helped us more.

In fact, I just called Dr. Frank today to see if we can get in before June 2 as Zachary is having more and more difficulty in school and at home, yet again. (Today he got sent home from school for throwing his journal at his teacher. *sigh*) Dr. Frank has helped us with different areas of parenting as well as helping Zachary to understand things on his level. Last fall, Zachary went to group therapy once a week where they worked on things like transitioning to another topic, listening to the person speaking and taking turns while talking, not always having to be first in line, eye contact, etc. Which probably sound like normal every day occurrences for most people, but for kids like Zachary….not so much.

He’s not first in line? Throws his WHOLE day off. Sometimes. Depending on the mood. And that’s the frustrating part.

Anyway, I got side-tracked.

Chaos seems to reign in our house…and chaos is NOT good for Zachary…or for Chuck for that matter who deals with the same issues as Zachary does. One of the things that we’ve tried hard to work on is routine. Having a schedule and routine and sticking to it. That seems to help everyone. (Schedule and routine has been thrown out of whack due to soccer and the days getting longer.)

Having a tidier house so people do not feel overwhelmed. (Not so tidy right now.)

But we’ve also taken a look at our discipline and after going over all the array of types of discipline we used and not finding anything that really worked for us we’ve found something that does…most of the time. And for now, that’s all that we can hope for.

So, I’ll tell you our secret…and hope that maybe it helps you with any behavioral issues. But I warn you...I'm the mean ol' momma....just ask my kids. (or take a look at the tantrum from Miss Elizabeth).

Everything in our house is a privilege. You earn it. Just as I earn the right to live in my house through working and paying the mortgage, the kids earn their things through good behavior and chores.

And things have never been better in the house. That’s not to say we don’t have glitches…we obviously do. But it’s much better than before.

What’s nice about this? It’s predictable. The kids know what has to be done and how they must behave in order to earn their game time, t.v. time, the privilege of eating dinner as a family, everything.

So, in order to earn game time, Zachary must have good behavior at school. He gets daily reports sent home with 8 different questions on them in which he can earn up to 8 yeses. He gets 5 minutes of game time per yes. However, he cannot get that game time until his homework is completed (correctly) for the day.

In order to earn t.v. time, the kids must clean their respective rooms (Zachary cleans the bedroom and Lucas cleans the living room and then they switch the next night). They must be cleaned in 30 minutes, which we set on a timer, in order to receive 30 minutes of t.v. time as a family in the evening before bed. This has drastically reduced the amount of yelling, arguing, crying, and ranting about clean up time to nil because we do not nag them during this time.

If they’d like to sit at the table with the family, they must have appropriate table manners. Otherwise, they are asked to leave until they can have the appropriate manners or they can eat after we’re all done.

We work on a two-time rule…and trust me…it’s hard sometimes to not scream and yell at them to “just do it!!” but it does help the kids to do things without getting my hackles up. How does the two-time rule work? It’s easy….I ask them to do something. They choose not to. I say “This is the second and last time I’m asking you to…….*insert whatever you asked them to do*”. If they still choose not to do it, then I instruct them to head on out to their quiet spot until they are ready to do whatever I asked. This is similar to a time-out…but I don’t give them a specific amount of time. If after 30 seconds, they are ready to do as I asked, FANTASTIC. If it takes them 1 hour to do as I ask…that’s their choice. And then we ignore them. Yes. We ignore our children until they are ready to follow the directions.

One of the things that we stress to the kids is this is their choice. It’s no longer us yelling at them to do things. It’s their choice to do things as we ask and they then receive the consequence of not getting the privilege of game time, t.v. time, free time, whatever if they choose not to.

It’s worked. Things changed. Now we just need to regroup and get back to that point.


Using and Abusing Grandparents

I think sometimes that I should have been born in an earlier generation. Or maybe it’s just because I was brought up in an “old-fashioned” household where Mom was a stay-at-home mom and Dad was the breadwinner. And family and friends were all one and we saw our grandparents with our parents often.

So this new generation of expecting the grandparents to be babysitters/daycare is completely beyond my realm of thinking. And quite frankly, I thank the Lord for that.

I am of the belief that grandparents should be just that. Grandparents. They shouldn’t have the responsibility of disciplining the children; they should be allowed to indulge them with the little things that grandparents do.

Like jelly beans from the jelly bean jar.

Or the occasional sneaked cookie from the cookie jar before dinner.

Or taking them out to dinner and a movie for a treat.

Or letting them stay up later than normal to finish the movie on the rare occasion that they sleep over.

Grandparents shouldn’t be a second set of parents.

We ask my parents to watch our children overnight once, maybe twice, a year. Usually for our anniversary my mom and dad will take all the kids and watch them for us so that Chuck and I can have a nice evening out to ourselves, get a hotel, relax and have a few drinks without having to worry about getting up at the butt-crack of dawn 7:00 am with the kids. They will also watch the kids for a few hours about 5-6 times a year when we visit friends in my hometown (which is where my mom and dad still live).

As the kids get a little bit older, they will probably start going on a one-on-one basis to spend the night with Grandma and Grandpa to have some alone time and do fun Grandma and Grandpa things like camping, checkers, Uno, eating pizza and bologna and cheese and crackers. Zachary did this last year with his grandma and grandpa and while it was an extraordinarily chaotic weekend, he did have fun.

And that, to me, is what being with Grandma and Grandpa should be about. I never want to put my parents or Chuck’s parents into the position of being the bad guy. Now, that’s not to say that my parents haven’t had to speak to my kids about their behavior while they are staying with them, but it’s not that often of an occurance. Usually, when we are at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, Chuck and I are there too and WE are the bad guys and get to tell them no. And Grandpa and Grandma get to do the fun things with them. As it should be.

Now, I know I will hear a lot of flack about this and how my kids will never get to truly have a relationship with their grandparents if not left alone.

I say that’s complete bunk.

You would never see my kids with their grandma and grandpa and think that they don’t have a fantastic, loving, understanding, fun relationship with them. My kids lurve their grandparents. We go camping with my family at least 4 times a summer where they get to go fishing with Grandpa and play cards with Grandma. We see Chuck’s family about every 6 weeks and spend the weekend with them where the kids help Grandma with her weeding or other garden chores and play computer games with Grandpa. And that’s as it should be.

Both of our parents (minus Chuck’s dad who is disabled) still work full-time. They are busy with their work, volunteer work, hobbies, etc. They have raised their children. And I like to think that they raised their children to be responsible adults. I don’t feel that they need to be put into a position where they are helping to raise mine.

I feel fortunate though, because I know if I *need* that help, they’ll be there for me. And for that I am ever grateful.

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