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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Conditioned for crazy

I recently returned from a week in New Hampshire, sharing a house with good friends we haven't seen in seven years. We each met each other's children: my three kids and their one very well behaved, intelligent five year old who I can not imagine ever whispering the word "boobie" and then cackling like an insane person like my own five year old has done, not just at home but at preschool.

We had a great week, despite the clouds and rain that were never far away. The only thing I found curious was that I felt oddly tense that my kids would do something really outrageous that would reveal us to be overly permissive parents whose children not only have bad manners and watch too many cartoons but rarely bathe. So, I made sure the television stayed off--mostly--and didn't let my son make farting noises on my soft belly, as he loves to do.

I shouldn't have been worried since our friend's daughter melded with our kids really well----leading the chase up and down the stairs, and cheering just as loudly as mine when we were playing "throw the ball from the balcony into the living room and try not to break anything".

And then one night, my sister and her kids came to visit: my niece and nephew who I not only love to pieces, but am relieved can actually be louder than my children. And, another friend came to visit with her two boys. My "boobie" boy and her six year old son were fast friends, or at least it sure sounded that way.

As I sat on the couch, holding some sort of strawberry drink, surrounded by eight very loud, wound-up children and six adults trying to talk over the din, I realized something:

I was very, very calm.

Good lord, at that moment, I realized that the chaos, the noise and the general thrashing of limbs has become so normal, it fills me with peace.

It feels like home.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Summer turns me upside down


Oh, those dog days of summer. . .you know, lazing around a body of water, drinking frozen drinks, getting up only to fill those cups or to flip over for even tanning. . .

Yeah, I have no idea who gets to do this either.

If June and July had me hanging on by a thread, August has me running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I've been, or will be, visiting New York City, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire before this month is over. We have had one set of house guests for a week and will have another very soon.


Nevermind that I haven't even ordered all my homeschool curriculum, or found a new dance studio for the girls, or even figured out what kinds of extra curricular classes the kids will be taking in September.

But, I wouldn't change a thing.

Being this busy, traveling this much, feeling like I'm being pulled in ten different directions feels normal. And after the start of this summer, a little normal feels pretty great.

[photo at top is of my adorable niece]


Monday, August 16, 2010

I left my mojo in New York City

Earlier this month, I made the annual pilgrimage to the whoa-this-is-huge conference known as BlogHer. Most of you know what I'm talking about, but just in case you are not sure, let me assure you that this is a real conference. There are panels and workshops and keynotes and a big expo with booths.

Yes, there are also parties and goofiness and screeching and hugging, something you may not get at, say, the American Convention of Meat Processors. But, this not one big pillow fight or swag fest, no matter what anyone says.

I had some wonderful moments. I ran the most meaningful almost-5k I've ever run for a little boy named Tanner. I came in second place in the most ridiculous dance-off ever and even have video to prove it. And, I reconnected with old friends, met new friends and babbled embarrassingly to bloggers I was determined to meet this year, even though I consider them to be Out Of My League.

And now I am home.

I've downloaded my BlogHer photos to Facebook and uploaded the dancing videos to YouTube. I've unpacked, mostly. I've read many blog posts about the conference where the one word I keep seeing is: Inspired.

Which leads me to this: Why don't I feel inspired?

I don't feel "uninspired", I just feel stuck. I feel like nothing I could possibly write could be of much worth after seeing and hearing what others are doing. While I'm banging away on the keys, others are writing about humanitarian trips or important political issues. They are changing lives with their words. They are writing books or poetry or essays that make people gasp, cry, laugh, think.

I can't be the only one who is left feeling, not bigger and built up and part of one collective, but smaller and somehow diminished. And, I don't blame BlogHer one bit; I think it's got a lot more to do with me than the conference (can you tell I'm going to counseling? so much more introspective!)

I'll get over it. I did last year after Chicago's BlogHer, when I swore I wouldn't be going to BlogHer 2010.

Though, right now, I think I'll sit out the next conference. I think I'd rather hold onto my fragile mojo.


Saturday, August 07, 2010

Get ready: I'm a UbiChamp

I hope this doesn't sound too boastful, but I am a Champion. Cue the Queen music now.

Yes, I'm now an official product reviewer, or UbiChamp, for Ubisoft Games.

Now, some may find this amusing since I'm a bit of a spaz when it comes to video games. But my kids are thrillllllled beyond belief that we're going to be testing new games over the next few months. And, I am thrilled to hear that several of these games will be active ones that will get us moving around, especially when the temperature starts to drop.


Here is me with the Raving Rabbid, my new BFF.

Over the next few months, you will see an occasional review and giveaway of a new game we've been trying out, along with the hilarity I'm sure that will ensue from me trying to learn how to play each game.

Today, I got a sneak peak of some of their up-and-coming games, the coolest being this amazing bit of technology coming soon to a game called Your Shape: Fitness Evolved:


Yes, that is MINI ME on the screen. And, when I move, Mini Me moves. No controllers to hold. No mats to stand on. Very, very cool.

I am also very hopeful that the Fairly Odd Family will be able to test Just Dance 2.


I cracked up watching people playing it, but I also couldn't wait to try it out myself. Just look at this great screen shot from the game:


I think I want a wig and some platform shoes to go along with the game.

And, to my kids who are being so great while I'm away, Mommy is bringing you a little something:


For those of you here in New York for BlogHer '10, check out the Ubisoft booth in Americas Hall 1: It is really fun, no lie.

I was selected by Ubisoft and Clever Girls Collective to be part of the Ubisoft Champions social media program. I am compensated for my participation in this program, but my reviews are solely my own and represent my honest opinions. Ubisoft and Clever Girls Collective promote
Blog With Integrity.

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Friday, August 06, 2010

Changing my name

Hey y'all. I'm in New York at BlogHer '10 right now and while many think I'm not really working but just going to parties, collecting swag and shmoozing (all true by the way), I have done something big.


Look up there---see it in the window? No .blogspot anymore, is there?

This blog is now officially I am a grown-up blogger.

Well sort of: I know the name on the pretty banner hasn't changed but just write "THE" on a little piece of paper and stick it on your screen whenever you visit. That should do it until I get around to a blog redesign.

So, do me a big, big, big favor and please update your RSS feed or listing in Google Reader for me ok? I'd hate to lose all my readers while I'm goofing off in the big city.

Big squishy hugs to Shanna at Sitesquared who held my hand through the whole process. And then we got to squee at each other for both being homeschoolers, though she kicks ass for having eight kids while I just slack off with my three.

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The week I had four children

One month ago, I was putting sheets on the guest bed wondering if I'd soon be up with a sad child most of the night: They said that some kids get very homesick.

I had stocked my kitchen with macaroni-and-cheese, chicken nuggets and juice boxes: They said some kids weren't used to eating adventurously and shouldn't be forced to develop a new palate in just one week.

I had given the kids "the speech" about being polite and kind and understanding: They said that many kids may be very shy in their new surroundings.

I was prepared to protect our Fresh Air girl and ease her into our suburban life slowly. I was ready to hold her as she carefully tried to ride a two-wheel bike. Fasten a bubble around her waist when we got near water. Dry her tears when a bug landed on her or when she got homesick.

And then she arrived and taught us that not all city kids act the same.

Our girl was up for anything.

Ride a bike? Of course.

Swim? Sure!

Hungry? Yes, let me try that!

Tree? Pshaw, I can climb that!

No, I don't need to call my mom right now. And, can I just sleep in the girls' room instead of the guest room?

Where can we go today? Let's swim/play/dance/eat/enjoy/laugh/soak-it-all-in.


She wanted nothing to do with the Wii or even the television for most of her visit. If ever a child decide to embrace the experience put before her, she did it.


It was tiring at times. It wasn't easy every day. The kids didn't always get along perfectly. And a week's visit felt about long enough.


But it was hard to say goodbye too.


If you live in New England or the Mid-Atlantic area and think you could host a child for a week during the summer, check out the Fresh Air website. It's an experience you won't forget.

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Monday, August 02, 2010

My eyes! They burn!

Had a great few days away with my sister and her family. Though we learned a valuable lesson: don't wait until the final minutes to grab a group shot. Especially when the sun starts to sink.


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Sunday, August 01, 2010

Picture this

Though there is still a month left of summer (two for us homeschoolers! heh), Picture Summer has come to an end. I now have a new love for my camera and feel less unsure of myself with it. I've also learned some cool post-processing tricks and don't feel like I'm "cheating" if I tweak a photo to make it look better.

Here is a nifty collage I made of some of my favorite shots of the month:
And, though I'm sad to say goodbye to any aspect of summer, I won't have to miss Tracey Clark and her class at Big Picture Scrapbooking for long: Picture Fall will be enrolling soon and starting on October 1.

Who wants to join me? There are pictures to take.

I wrote about Picture Summer on Cool Mom Picks but paid my own way into class this summer, and will do the same this fall. It ended up costing me a whopping $1 a day, but the support I got from others in the class, as well as from Tracey herself, was worth every penny.