So - I'm like freaking out a little

Have any of you ever heard about Vacation Bible School? (also handily shortened to VBS)

Let me tell you how I, a rank amateur, ended up sweating the fact that I'll be teaching (guiding, herding) more than twenty 3-year-olds come Monday morning.

I love my church. Really (and I never, never thought those words would come out of my mouth.) I decided some months back that I needed to be more involved in both the church and the community. So, I joined a womens group, called Lydia Circle. At the second meeting, one of the ladies was talking about VBS (she is of course the director); and lamented her lack of three volunteers to complete the ranks of teachers for this weeklong summer program.

I can honestly say that I thought, "Aw - that's too bad. I hope she finds people in time." But what I said was this, "I'd love to help out." WHAT? Was that me? I actually heard the words, but I certainly had no intention of volunteering! What just happened here? (Lord, they say You work in mysterious ways, but literally putting words in my mouth ... I'm shocked.)

Kathy jumped right on them, and now I am preparing to face a room full of other people's children to teach them about God and Jesus. I barely feel capable of explaining it all to my own three year old. What on earth am I doing?

So, of course I'm praying that I'll remember not to swear, or take his name in vain, or lose my temper or, you know, accidentally turn them to the dark side. Do me a favor ya'll...pray for me too. (And those kids, please pray for those poor children. They have no more idea of what they're getting into than I do!)
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Hey - I'm almost famous!



Just a quick note to tell ya'll about my brief brush with fame. No, no - I'm not talking about Al again. I just found out that I won Stonyfield Farms monthly recipe contest. Check me out under the June 2008 Winners for my super-tasty Curried Tuna Sandwich. (Yes, curried tuna - it's totally delicious.) And looky-here at what I won:






They asked me to send in a headshot. I'm not really much of one for being in front of the camera. So - I didn't have a whole lot to choose from. I picked this one, tell me what you think.



I'm pretty cheeky (ha, ha - get it? Yeah, *sigh*, sorry) but I thought maybe the angled head would...oh, alright, but believe me when I tell you, it's one of the best pictures I've taken since my first pregnancy. (Also - it was taken by the fruit of said pregnancy, which tells you exactly how that particular camera broke not more than 15 minutes after that picture was taken.) But I digress. Ummm, make some yummy sandwiches or something, eat some Stonyfield yogurt, and stop looking at me like that!
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The Weird One


Um, DH is a very big fan of Weird Al Yankovic. Huge, really. Early on in our relationship, he expressed great shock when he learned that I had the barest of acquaintance with "The Weird One". (UHF, Eat It!, and Amish Paradise pretty much summed it up.) I didn't even know that he did anything besides parodies! (Um - I sooooo know better now, after an exhaustive intro to the Weird Al retrospective.) Apparently, Mr. Yankovic was a huge part of DH's growing up years - so when he heard tickets being offered up on a local radio talk show, he called in, and wouldn't you know it - the man actually won! Not only did he get two tickets to the "Straight Outta Lynnwood" concert at the Pier 6 Pavilion Friday night, but he scored a meet -n- greet with the man, too.


Can I begin with just this: I haven't laughed so hard in at least ten years. I actually had to fight for breath, and was clutching my aching sides. I'd say it was quite possibly the best straight-up performance I've ever seen. It is a show, folks. Some pics for ya:

This is from the opener where he performed two compilations, and finished with "Canadian Idiot".




And this is the finale to another compilation called
"Do I Creep You Out?"















And then we've got "Eat It,"...
...and "The Saga Begins,"...



..."Smells Like Nirvana,"...






...and "Amish Paradise,"...










...and the notorious, "I'm Fat".





But the best pic?




There were so many songs, videos, celeb interviews courtesy of "Al TV", cartoon shorts, and costume changes - I cannot even begin to tell you how the man managed it all, and still stuck around for an hour of photos and autographs.

At any rate - I used to think Weird Al was a funny guy. Now, I'm a fan. Thanks for the laughs, Odd One!


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You're my WonderFaaaall















Have you heard of Beaches All-Inclusive Family Resorts? You have to have seen the commercials, right? Turquoise waters lapping at gorgeous sandy beaches, happy families frolicking in the pool, childish wonder at tropical fish swimming in their native waters? Luxurious rooms, blissful spas, on-site childcare...Ahhhh, now I've got ya.

I am drooling over the new WonderFall package at Beaches. Book for 5 or 6 nights, get one of those for free -or- book a seven-night stay, and only pay for five of them! Combine it with up to 45% off the regular price for super-savings. If you travel between September 1, and November 4, 2008 - you can get in on this incredible deal.






So, where does the magic happen? You'll be blown away by the luxurious digs at Beaches Boscobel, Beaches Negril, and Beaches Sandy Bay in Jamaica, as well as at Beaches Turks & Caicos. (Click the links for details like photo galleries and amenities.)


Now you may have heard about all-inclusive before, but I want to illustrate what a Beaches resort provides, so that you can see just how affordable a truly amazing family vacation can be.



  • All meals, unlimited snacks (and most restaurants have kid-friendly menus, and even child-size tables and chairs!)




  • Unlimited premium drinks




  • Supervised activities for kids (By age group: infants up to 23 months, toddlers ages 2 - 5, children 6 - 7 yrs, pre-teens 8 - 12 yrs, and teen programs, for 13 yrs and up.)




  • Fine dining


Arizona Restaurant, an outdoor TexMex restaurant at Beaches Boscobel, Jamaica



  • Scuba diving




  • Water sports




  • Land sports




  • Luxurious rooms and suites




(Gorgeous, isn't it?)




  • Taxes, tips and gratuities (All included!)




  • Airport transfers (No worries!)




  • X-Box video games center




  • The Caribbean Adventures with Sesame Street ®



(I think this is my favorite, so far.) With activities like Sesame Street Stage Shows & Parades, Story Time with Elmo, Bake with Cookie Monster, Dance with Zoe, Make Music with Bert and Ernie, Discover Magical Treasures with Abby Cadabby, and Explore with Grover, (even birthday parties!) - Beaches WonderFall Celebration is set to be a truly memorable family experience.





(Doesn't this pool make you want to jump right in?)


Now - think of all the savings, and consider how much you'll have leftover for souvenirs!



My other fave thing about Beaches? All Sandals & Beaches Resorts have been awarded the coveted Green Globe Award for environmental stewardship. GREEN GLOBE 21 is the worldwide benchmarking and certification program that facilitates sustainable travel and tourism for consumers, companies and communities.


Go! Feel good about your vacation! Oh, just one more thing, before you jump on over to book your Beaches WonderFall vacation, comb your hair, honey, 'cause passports are required!

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poor little bug

I hope you ll had a fine fourth. BBQ, friends and family, parades, fireworks, etc. We tried to. Catonsville hosts a big-deal July Fourth celebration, with kid's games and races, booths, a 61 year old parade, and an impressive fireworks display.

But yesterday morning, our Liv woke up with a fever. Poor little bug. My girl is a lively one, normally. Everything she does and says is imbued with masses of energy, and for her to do little more than lay on the couch, pushing away food, it's just heartbreaking. When she woke from her afternoon nap, we hoped she'd feel well enough to at least see the parade, but her eye was swollen nearly shut.

Here - I'd like to b*tch a little about the way our health care system is run. Because there are no office hours on holidays (and okay, I understand that - even doctors deserve some time off) you have to call the after-hours care number. Why do they spend more time and concern regarding your bloody insurance information than in giving any useful stinking advice? After going through our particulars with two completely different people (very s-l-o-w-l-y), I was told that I'd have to wait over an hour before a nurse would be available to call me back. I wondered aloud if I should just take my sweetling to Urgent Care, and was told that they couldn't help me with that. (Uh, hello - why am I calling here in the first place? Aren't you supposed to help me?)

We plied her with children's Tylenol, and Pedialyte, and she seemed to liven up a bit, so we waited for the call. Of course, a person over the phone cannot give a diagnoses, only very generic advice. Liquids, rest, more Tylenol for the fever, yada, yada, yadda. Then I tried to find out where we should take her or if we should take her to Urgent care at all, and went similarly unhelped. Gah. Useless.

The later it got, the more listless she became, and DH insists we should just take her in. Phew.

Know this about me. I am not a doctor lover. I don't go unless I absolutely have to, or DH makes a big deal about it, because in general, I just feel like I can take care of myself. Though I am not nearly so cavalier with my children, I do tend to want to hold back. I mean, kids get sick, and then they get better, and Lord knows - one of the worst places to be with a sick kid is in a doctor's reception room or waiting area at the E.R. I'm just saying.

However, in general, in this area, I tend to let DH lead, cause it's better to be overcautious than under. Ah, yeah. I sure am glad I did.

We went to St. Agnes' Pediatric Emergency Care. Not only was it one of the best ER visits in my experience, but fairly fast, too. We waited less than two minutes before being seen by the triage nurse, and less than ten for the ER doctor. (DH and I were stunned. This is totally unprecedented.)

A few questions, a brief, but gentle exam (that Liv cried and cringed over - this kid hates doctors, too many needles as far as she's concerned,) and hey ho, diagnosis.

DH and I fully expected to hear that she had a weird virus or something like that. What we were informed, however, was that our kiddo had cellulitus, a skin infection. Possibly caused by a bug bite. I was completely bugged out when I googled it. On the one hand, fairly common - but if left untreated, possible death! Or blindness in children whose eyes have been infected. Holy crapola! Thank God for DH's doctor-love. Thank God for St. Agnes. Though I no longer consider myself Catholic, no girl raised as one would have felt any less comforted (though mildly weirded out) by the sound of a nun reciting the Trinity and Psalm 23 over the intercom system.

We did get a little something in, though. On our way home from the ER, we dropped off her antibiotics scrip at a 24 hour pharmacy (thank you for that, by the way) and stood in the parking lot, watching the far-off fireworks loosed in celebration of our nation's indepedence. Ah, well. Better than last year, anyway. Did I mention? Last year we spent most of the fourth at the Children's Hospital with our younger son, at the time, just days old. I'm thinking, next year - lets try to start a new tradition. One that doesn't mean sick kiddos.
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Coming attractions

I am so stoked right now! My good friend, Amber Davis of CMR Enterprises, is going to sponsor a giveaway of the ChoreMinder! We're going to hammer out the details, but I can promise it's going to be awesome. I'll be listing it on Prizey, and PrizeFetch, too. Woo-Hoo! (I just couldn't wait to share....)



Good Weekend
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