March 29, 2011

Thinking spring is the only way we're going to witness it!

I changed my layout(you like?) because I think I was jumping the gun a bit. Yes, I wear flip flops as of March 1st, but it was just a misleading thought that summer or even spring might actually visit this year.

I love spring. I love the smells. I love the changes in this beautiful, natural place I live in. I love the sound of my son clinking his aluminum bat on the ground, getting ready for baseball. I love letting the dog out to sniff around for an hour. I love sitting on the porch and staring into nothingness, and listening to the silence. I love opening the sunroof. You get the idea. But Mama Nature just isn't respecting the agreement to bring spring. It's 30 degrees today. The sun has peeked out, but it's still too cold to be anywhere but indoors. 

I can go on complaining, but we are all in the same cold boat here. I just don't want to miss spring all together and suddenly it's summer. That happens to me every year with fall/winter, and it ticks me off. So let's all hope for some subtle signs of spring this upcoming weekend!!

March 28, 2011

A snowy path to clarity.

I've been up since 3:30am with my son. I decided somewhere in the 5am range that today would be a great day to go walk the track. I layered my clothes, got my iPod, and set off. Little did I know before I left the house that it was 17 degrees out and completely frigid.

Half way around the track I slipped on ice. Hmm, I figured it would be all melted by now. Then around the next bend, it wasn't melted at all. It was covered with about 4 inches of snow. The wind started blowing, my eyes started watering, and I just stopped. I looked ahead, knowing how far away the melted area(and my car!) were. I got really upset. I wanted to cry. I wanted to go home.

Then I looked off to my right towards more snow. The track is around a huge field, and right in the middle is a covered picnic area. I remembered from last year that there is an off-shoot on my path to get to the picnic area. Maybe that would be a bit more walkable. 

So, I trudged through the snow, and found some walkable ground on my way to the middle of the field. I made it to the picnic tables, where it's poured concrete and lovely to walk on, then headed through some more snow to get to my car. When I finally got there I kicked up the heat and headed home.

As I took that side path, I felt defeated. I felt like I wasn't reaching my goal of simply getting around the track one time despite the snow. I felt like I took the easy way out. I felt like I should have tried harder to get through the snow and cold. I this walk was mimicking everything else going on in my life.

I'm my toughest critic, and it's a hard pill for me to swallow when I know I'm not succeeding at something. Succeeding in my eyes, not others. There have been times over the last year I've felt like I took the easy way out, I should have tried harder, I've been defeated. I've refused to take a shortcut like I did this morning, feeling like if I do it isn't true success. It's a cop-out. 

But I think I gained some clarity during my walk. Yes, I was a bit defeated, and in no way wanted to trudge through the rest of the snow. And I realized I didn't have to. Choosing a simpler path doesn't always mean failure, it means knowing when to know your limits and seek a different way.

Even though I didn't get everything I wanted to out of my walk around the path, I gained enough perspective and courage to try harder to walk the path standing in front of me. 

March 27, 2011

Not sure 'sublime' would be the word I'd use for this hair color.

I usually review things after I've fully tried them out. But for this experiment, I decided to do a blog-as-I-go. I enjoy changing my hair color from time to time, and today I decided to try this.

The box and directions make it sound SO easy. How could I not try it?? I read all the directions, it starts as the usual 'mix this with that', then you put on the foaming pump top and SWIRL, don't shake.

Now here's the thing. Mama has a LOT of hair. It's long, and it's quite thick. I can usually cover all of my hair with one box of color, but this was my obvious first concern. I swirled, I pumped. It looks just like a light mousse. I apply to the top of my hair first. The first thought I had was 'huh!' in a pleasantly surprised way. I was sure to research and read reviews, and most people said it was easy to use, not messy, and even in color.

So, my first pass on the top of my head was fine. Then it was a bit downhill from there. I wasn't sure how to pump... should I hold it and pump? Gotta pump into your hand, not directly on your hair. So I put it on the sink and pumped. It kept tipping over, I got it on the sink, and I'm pretty sure the dog may be wearing some too.

Then there's the coverage. I'm pretty sure I got all my hair, but it's so hard to tell with this mop. It doesn't stay foamy, it just looks wet now. I clipped it up, and it's a 30 minute wait. BUT, the directions say you should 'continually massage it in'. Want to know why? Because as I'm sitting here typing, I keep feeling something on the back of my neck. So I'm guessing it's drippy. Ugh, so far I'm not enjoying this process. 25 minutes more to wait.

32 MINUTES ELAPSE: For my dark hair, I usually wait at least 10 minutes more than called for, but for experimental purposes I did it properly. The dye never smelled which was nice, and washed out eh, fairly easy. I did the conditioner, and dried it. Below is my final product.(kinda hard to find the same light twice!) I'm very used to having no change in color since my hair is so dark. It covered my stubborn roots just ok, not terrific. There is definitely a subtle hint of 'Spicy Auburn', but definitely nothing like the before/after pics on the box. The best part to me is that the color is even, all through my big hair. That's a very difficult task for me to get right.

I'm not so sure I'd buy this product again. I guess it depends on how long it lasts. If the color was more vibrant, I think I would buy it again. Then again, knowing I never really get the color the box shows me I will, it's no different than any other time I've tried to change it up a bit. I guess I can safely give it 3 out of 5 stars. Smell, ease, and consistent color are my favorite aspects.

Let me know if you try it, I'd love to hear how different colors work out!

March 24, 2011

My Hershey Park Life.

Hershey Park. My favorite place on earth. Usually I think happy, fun things about the park. But today is a bit different. I'm feeling unsettled right now. No idea why. Very unsettled. In fact, so unsettled that I just wrote an entire post, just to delete it. That sounds more like uncertainty than unsettled, but nonetheless.

So many people say life is like a roller coaster. Super Dooper Looper, Great Bear, even the simple Trailblazer. They all have their ups and downs. Sure, I understand that, but right now I'm thinking of other rides in Hershey my life is like.

 Frontier Flyers: Around and around, no end in site, just a constant motion.  Leaves you with a crappy feeling, a headache, and me personally, the pukes,  as you swing back and forth.

Lightning Racers: A dueling wooden coaster of sorts, two tracks, which coaster do you choose? You try to take the right path, but are never sure it's right. Reminds me there's always the need to compete against others, do better than them, accomplish more.

 Carousel: A beautiful ride, though a bit mundane and predictable. Actually it's the brass ring concept of the carousel, that I was thinking of. That feeling of continually trying to reach that goal, and continually being disappointed.(no brass ring on the Hershey carousel though!)

 Skyview: These little pods hang by a wire and transport you across the park. Feels like you're looking down on life, seeing all the places you've been, things you've done, mistakes you've made.

 Wildmouse: A simple looking 'coaster' from the ground, but once you get on, you can't help screaming your way through. Just when you think everything is ok, and life feels like it's settling, you're suddenly whipped around another dangerous curve.

These days, I wish my life was more like the good ol' Monorail. It's calm, it's quiet, it's slow paced. It takes in all the beauty in and around the park, and leaves riders relaxed and ready to take on the rest of the park. 

March 23, 2011

It works EVERY time!

I'm going to let you in on my secret 'hey kids, get upstairs and go to bed!' technique. I've been using it with the boys for over a year now, and it works like a charm. Every time. Remember of course that with anything like this, there is a warning label. Not every child will fall for it every time, or at all, it may cause some injuries(even to mom), and it may cause a tiff now and then. But other than that, it's super simple.
My boys fight me to go to bed on a regular basis. They make themselves dead weight so I can't carry them. They pretend they don't hear me say 'ok bedtime!' So, I say these 6 simple words. Actually, now I only say the first 5 words, some nights even 3. Ready? Here it is ...

On your mark.... get set.....go!

And that's it folks! I turn getting up to the bathroom and bed a simple race. Two boys vs. one mama. They never let me win, some nights I even start on the second steps and say it. They love beating me up the steps, beating each other, and it gets out that last burst of energy for the night. Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, it is. And that's fine, because in our house it's the only consistent way to get my boys to bed. And it's fun :)

March 17, 2011

Soundtrack of my Life

I feel like I did this sometime long ago, but I can't find it, and I'm sure my answers would be different now. So today I'm taking a lazy approach to blogging, filling out a good old survey. Just some great songs I love for different times in life.

Opening credits: Viva La Vida, Coldplay

Average day: Today, Smashing Pumpkins

Driving: American Girl, Tom Petty

Bad day: Fell on Black Days, Soundgarden

Fight scene: Mama Said Knock You Out, LL Cool J

Mental breakdown: Landslide, Stevie Nicks

Graduation: Closing Time, Semisonic

First date: easy! First Date, Blink 182

Falling in love: Falling, Jamiroquai

Breaking up: She Hates Me, Puddle of Mudd

Long night alone: Mad World, Gary Jules

Wedding: Grow Old with You, Adam Sandler

Reflecting on life: In My Life, The Beatles

Reflecting on love: Lovesong, The Cure

Death scene: Champagne Supernova, Oasis

Closing credits: Claire de Lune, Debussy

March 14, 2011

If You Have a Bad [hair] Day...

I love my sunglasses. They are pretty and dark and big. I take them everywhere I go. I have some cheap backup pairs, but I love these most of all. 

This morning I went to take the boys to school with my hair all a flutter. When not straightened, I have big hair. I didn't stress big enough there. BIG hair. It's wavy and wild and all over. Fun, but not when you try to look presentable. No time to straighten, too squirrely to pull back, couldn't find a good hat, so I just left it in it's natural, crazy state. Good thing I live in a place where people don't care all that much.

When we were almost to school I took a peek in the rear view and just could not bear to get out of the car looking like that. I looked all over the car for a quick fix, and aha! My sunglasses. Sure, it's raining out, but maybe there's a glare that I needed them for. I brushed my hair off my face, then put my sunglasses on top of my head. Viola. Tossed hair is now tamed. And cute.

I read a few articles about people's dislike for sunglasses in hair when not in use. A fashion no-no if there's no sun and you are indoors. Hmm, I don't recall asking for an opinion. I looked up sunglass headbands, with the quick thought of what a great thing that would be. All I found was the headbands from my younger years, and I know I had a hot pink pair and probably purple.
Sunglasses should be accepted as a hair accessory. Who's to say they can't be? Almost every gal I know uses them during the summer, and we all know they do a damn good job. Why is that? What makes them better than a headband(which I never wear) or just a simple ponytail? I'll never know, and really I don't care. I shall continue to fancy up my hair with my sunglasses. Better yet, I might just buy a few extra colorful pairs this year to coordinate with my outfits :)

March 13, 2011

Here's a Middle Finger to the Ring Finger!

In Western cultures, a wedding ring is worn on the left ring finger. This developed from the Romans, and according to tradition in some countries, the wedding ring is worn on the left ring finger because the vein in the left ring finger, was believed to be directly connected to the heart. Blessing the wedding ring and putting it on the bride's finger dates from the 11th century.

How many of you actually knew that? I did not, and I thank Wiki for the low down. But that wasn't my question of the day. I want to know, why is it that some people equate happiness and being in a good place in life by what's on your left ring finger?

I can remember finishing college and feeling ready to conquer the world. I got a teaching position I loved, and started grad school. But for some reason I felt the urgency to be engaged and married! So, I got engaged(well of course not that simple, but for reading purposes it was!). Had the big, perfect diamond ring on my left finger. It brought alot of ooohs and aaaahs, and questions of an upcoming wedding. Yes, I was young, but of course there were still those few people that would ask, 'why arent you married yet?' Huh. Really? So they see the engagement ring, and automatically expect more. Lovely.

So, I get married, I stop wearing my engagement ring and just go with a plain wedding band. If you're a teacher you know the suckiness of chalk dust in your diamond setting. Anyway, then I find different questions begin. A few assume that I'm not married too long because of the lack of an anniversary band. Then I get an anniversary band, and they assume that I've been married for a long, long time, and things are awesome. But then they assume no children because there's nothing with birthstones. Then when I moved to PA, I actually, no joke, spoke to a girl that thought we were kinda sorta poor in her way of words, because I didn't have an engagement ring. Yea, silly me not wearing something every day that's worth more than your car. Argh.

Then last year my ring finger became naked. All my rings went into the pretty little boxes they started in. WELL. Empty ring fingers bring a whole new level to people's thoughts. She's divorced. She has kids but no husband. Wow, she's old and still not married(well that one is what I would think lol). Poor girl. How sad. Yada yada yada, you get my point. Here's a graph(yup, math nerd) of how I think people see your left finger.

I don't know why this all popped in my head yesterday, but truth be told, it urks me a bit. A bunch. I know people are judgmental, and I know that can't be changed. It's the assumptions that are made that bother me the most. Don't assume I have a crappy, hard life. Don't assume it sucks being single at this age. Don't assume my kids aren't better off.  Don't assume that because someone does have something on their ring finger they are happier than me. Or happy at all.

March 11, 2011

What's in a can of paint?

I LOVE PAINTING! I always have, and I know many of you are grumbling at me. Just the idea of painting makes me  want to run to the hardware store to pick up swatches. I change the colors of my rooms every two or three years. Not because they need to be changed, I just like to paint, and like to see the transformation that occurs.

When we built our house almost 8 years ago, every room was white. Crisp and clean, but not a functional color with a child. Here and there I would do some painting. Light blue for the baby's room, tan for the bathrooms, light green for my bedroom. *YAWN*. Then I got wild and decided to do one bathroom in a darker shade of brown. Almost camel color. Then another bathroom was dark tanish/greyish/purplish. And that was the extent of my colors. Yup, I was almost asleep as I painted. So, I painted my living room yellow. Looking back it was an obnoxious, awful yellow. But it was color. It made me feel alive. Lightened my day. Needless to say, it didn't last long on the walls, but the feeling it left made me want more out of my paint.

I still use subtle colors in some rooms, but they all have a purpose. Make a statement. Play off of the light coming through the windows, and set a mood. I put a lot of care into the planning of my rooms, their accessories, and layout. Of course I have help from a great friend who is an aspiring(and amazing) decorator, but now I'm not afraid to try new things. Just last week my dining room and kitchen went from a yawn/tan/peach to a vibrant greyish purple with some short walls of deep eggplant, with white and silver accents. Ahhh.

Next time you're thinking of a tan/off white/blah paint swatch, reach for something a bit more bold. You just might surprise yourself.

March 8, 2011

Sick? What's that?

My boys are 5 & 7 years old, and very close to 6 & 8, yikes! I'm definitely not the most knowing mom, but I feel pretty confident in my momming abilities, and my know-how in situations that unexpectedly show up. Except one. Sick kids.

Just last year my 7 year old got a fever. The first fever he's had since he was a baby. And what did Mama do? Panic of course. Why does he have a fever? What is one to do for that? Then there was the time about 2 years ago my younger one kept puking. How do I stop that from happening again?!? It sounds ridiculous, I am well aware of that. But I have been unbelievably fortunate in having children that do not get sick. Ever. Am I jinxing myself just by writing this? My guess is hells yeah!

My bestie has kids that used to always be sick. Not sure if it was just crap luck or daycare germs. My younger one went to a daycare, and there could be kids vomiting all around him, and nada. My older one had swine flu run through the school last year and there was a TON of kids out. Not him. What amazing immune systems they have!

I'm pretty sure they are just carriers. I tend to get sick more than them, so my guess is they just bring Mama home the germs. My older one is home sick right now, and it breaks my heart to see such a rambunctious boy in a ball of mush. Maybe if they were sick more often I'd be less effected by it. Today I feel bad for him, but I'm happy to have him home, cuddled up me.

March 4, 2011

I Heart Pie,

Holidays with an Italian family are like extreme eating contests. There are a ton of choices on the table, you try a bit of everything, then a bit more. It's ok if you don't like roast beef  or ham, there's a whole turkey too. Pasta? Salads? Breads? Veggies? You name it, we've got it. But growing up, this gal waited for the desserts. Not the fruits, and nuts, and cookies. Just the pie. The chocolate pie. The chocolate pudding pie. No whip for me thanks. 

Grandpa would put together most of the feast on his own. I always requested my chocolate pudding pie, and it was always there waiting for me. A cousin tried to make it one year after my grandpa was gone, and she ruined it. She ruined that part of the holidays for me. But I'm getting off topic here. Back to the pie. It's my favoritest.

My sister made me buy Nature Valley Dark Chocolate Granola Thins recently. One side is pressed together granola, the other side a coating of lovely, smooth, dark chocolate. Yummy. The first time I opened one and smelled it, I had a million memories flood my mind. It smells just like my beloved chocolate pie. It tastes pretty darn good too, and it's not too unhealthy!

With no extra time for pie making, and no room left in my jeans for pie eating, this is a perfect quick-fix snack. The thoughts it brings me of holidays past taste better than it ever could.

March 3, 2011

Go Google!

 Since I'm oh so busy today[insert sarcasm here], I Googled myself. Well, I Googled my web name. Most of you know my by Mama, but around these parts I'm known as PoconosMama! I was curious to see my whereabouts on the web, so I searched. It's interesting to see where I am, where I've been, where I didn't even know I was!

I also found Googlism, which is a neat little site. It cross-references Google search results for different things, and gives a compiled list. For example, I simply typed in 'Snoopy' and got these and many more:

snoopy is not made outta plastic
snoopy is joe cool
snoopy is cute
snoopy is smiley's linux server for marquisade
snoopy is so good
snoopy is too snoopy
snoopy is the official rock song of ohio
snoopy is joe cool cartoon character
snoopy is eating dog food for his thanksgiving dinner
snoopy is a little software tool for windows 98

Pretty neat, I love finding places on the web I've never been. Have you Googled lately?

March 1, 2011

I've Got the Fever.

Cabin Fever?

Spring Fever?

Bieber Fever?

Honestly, I don't really care what kind of fever it is, but I have a SERIOUS itch today to get a jump on many put aside projects. Perhaps it's because the sun is shining, perhaps it's because tomorrow is my birthday and I'm in that 'I haven't done enough this year' mode. Either way, get going Mama!

Since just last night, the furniture has been taken apart and rearranged in the dining room, everything is vacuumed, the piano has made it up two floors, the curtains have been changed to let the sun shine in, and it feels FANTASTIC. I must thank my sweet guy for all the help of course :) He thinks I should tackle my mess of a walk in closet. Baby steps....

I don't think it's a fever at all. I think it's just a birthday gal with a spring in her step...for spring. Wow, that's corny.