Monday, March 30, 2009


Many of you suspected that Emma had not completely caved in the bottle war and had some plotting left in her. You smart people would be correct.

On Saturday afternoon, after spending an hour and a half in her baby bed and NOT going to sleep, she got up and decided to entertain herself with a little water play.

At the kitchen sink. While sitting on the kitchen counter, 'cause we all know that she gets the best view of the television up there anyway. I think she was trying to be helpful and wash those dishes in the sink.

Yeah, right.

No nap on Sunday. And then today, I had my press conference (did I mention before that I had a press conference with Food Network??) so I put the babies to bed about 10 minutes before so they wouldn't be interrupting the conference call. I could hear them talking up there while I chatted it up with Keegan Gerhard (not really, I got to ask him 3 questions) and then there was silence.

I suddenly want to burst out into song: ...and echoed... in the sounds... of silence.

That should have been my first clue, well, actually the second. The first was the giggling that went on between Emma and Ryan before the sounds of silence. The second was the silence itself, but we all know what a cockeyed optimist I am. I could burst out into a South Pacific song now, but I'll refrain.

After about 45 minutes I heard Emma talking happy talk, so I went upstairs to get her although if she did sleep it was a really short nap.

{Yes, that's a fig leaf.}

Emma was completely naked. She went to bed wearing a shirt, pants, a diaper and socks. When I found her, she was a bare as the day she was born. New nap time entertainment. Yay. I had no idea she even knew how to get her clothes off.

This girl holds a grudge.

Friday, March 27, 2009

This Means War

"We make war that we might live in peace." Aristotle
"War is Hell" General William Tecumseh Sherman
"The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it." George Orwell

As you all know, I was Cruela Denise and took Emma's bottle away on Monday night. I knew it was time but she was very attached to it, more so than my other kids ever where. In the end, it was my own selfish desire to finally sleep more than 4 hours at a stretch (if I was lucky) that finally made me become mean.

So Monday night we had our first skirmish when I told Emma her bottle was all gone. Then Tuesday afternoon Emma declared war by peeing on my lap. But you know that already.

Mommy 1: Emma 1

What you don't know (unless you have been reading my Facebook updates) is that war was on full force. Emma began trying to wear me down and she had many tactics.

Guerrilla warfare: She dumped a box of Reese's cereal on the floor.
Which the puppy ate some of and then proceed to vomit and poop diarrhea all over my carpet. Double bonus points for Emma.

Mommy 1: Emma 3

Next came bedtime and nap time. If you remember from the video last week, Emma slept in the twin bed and Ryan slept in the toddler bed. In the past, Emma would get out of the toddler bed whenever I put her to bed in it, but the twin bed seemed high enough that she never tried to get out. Until this week. The first night of her crying/fit she slid herself out of bed and it was a whole new ball game for the child. We were up until midnight every night, with her ultimately sleeping in my bed.

Mommy 2: Emma 6

The good news there is that the last two nights she actually slept through the night. The bad news was she refused to take a nap.

Until about 5:00 on Wednesday and Thursday on the living room floor, which then perpetuated the staying up late. Talk about a vicious cycle. And a cranky mommy. Mommy needs her nap time, not personally-- although that might be nice, but her babies nap time so that she can spend uninterrupted time on Facebook get important things done. On Wednesday at nap time, I must have put that child back to bed about 30 times. I finally gave up. Pick and choose your battles, wise words spoken by a war battered general, or a really tired mommy. Same thing.

The final straw was last night. I rocked Emma to sleep and put her in her bed around 9:30. I came downstairs and was in the middle of writing a blog post gloating stating that Emma was asleep before midnight for the first time all week and I was going to take a bath and read a book when Ninja baby showed up.

This must have been her 5th trip down the stairs. I was tired and I considered giving in but I held firm. And although Emma has a bottle hanging out her mouth here...

It's an empty bottle, not even a liner. I just tell her the bottle's all gone.

Mommy 3: Emma 6

So let's recap, shall we? So far Emma's not gotten a bottle full of formula since Tuesday afternoon. In the meantime, Emma's peed on Mommy, spilled cereal, caused the dog to poop and vomit all over carpet, Emma refuses to take a nap and made sure that Mommy has absolutely NO alone time from 6:45 am until midnight, now sleeps in Mommy's bed and clings to Mommy practically all day long.

How is this a good thing again? Oh yeah, I get 6 hours of consecutive sleep. Although I don't really because I'm so used to her waking up in the night I keep waking up wondering if she's okay. Ugh.

But this morning I got an epiphany. Emma wasn't sleeping because she could escape from her bed. If she couldn't escape then she might go to sleep. Since tying her down didn't seem like a good option, (seriously, who has time for a DFS investigation?) I moved onto Option #2.

I converted the toddler bed back into a baby bed. The real trick was convincing Ryan that the big bed was a better choice than the now baby bed. After I showed him the cars and trucks on his sheets, it was go.

{Yes, Ryan was sleeping in the purple butterfly and flower toddler bed while Emma slept in the car and truck bed. Get over it already, Ross.}

Only someone forgot to consult Emma and she was not for this switch. At nap time I put her in the crib and she screamed and cried and cried and screamed until about 30 minutes later, it was quiet. (I had been going up and checking on her and reassuring her every 10 minutes or so) I crept upstairs to investigate. For all I knew she had figured out a way to climb out and she was in my bathroom playing with my makeup, which she had done the day before when she got out of bed at nap time.

But instead she had fallen asleep. Success! Emma may have won more battles but Mommy won the war. Mommy always wins.

If you want to be my friend on Facebook you can find me under Denise Grover Swank. And be sure to join a group I created, just this morning, titled More Housework, Less Facebook! Don't worry, it's just our cover story. We say we are going to do more housework while we really spend more time on Facebook. I can't leave my group unattended now, can I?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Food Network Calling

I got an email today. Yeah, I know, I get about a hundred emails a day, but this one was special.

This email came from The Food Network and it wasn't a mass email advertising the latest season of The Next Food Network Star. It was a personal email and it even began: Hi Denise.

So the question that begs to be answered is why on earth is The Food Network is emailing me?

I have several theories. The first is because of the multiple times I have bandied Tyler Florence's name around on my blog.

{Helloooo, Stranger.}

Maybe they've decided to resurrect Tyler's old show Food 911 and he's coming to my house to cook with me. Could I actually survive the filming? I might have to get one of those crystal deodorants to make sure I don't get all stinky while he's here. We all know heat and nerves don't work out so well together.

Not to worry, no need to find any crystals. It's not about Tyler.

Maybe it's about my now World Famous Crack Bars.

{Hello, stranger.}

This seems so likely. But what they be interested in? If they put me on one of those shows like Chopped where they give you a picnic basket full of secret ingredients and my basket contains marshmallows, butter and rice crispies then I'm golden. If they give me Cocoa Crispies... dare to dream. If they give me squid, edamame and parsnips--I'm done.

But that wasn't it either. And I never would have guessed what it was. EVER.

The Food Network has invited me to take part in a telephone press conference next Monday afternoon with the host of Food Network Challenge--

Keegan Gerhard.
{Hello... stranger.}

He's going to be hosting a special series of Food Network Challenges titled Last Cake Standing.
This will be a 4 week series that not only has pastry chefs competing to see who makes the best cakes but also eliminates chefs along the way. Totally cut throat. Totally cool.

This is like the perfect series for us. Julia and I have watched so much Ace of Cakes and other Food Network Challenge shows featuring cake decorating that Julia asked for fondant for Christmas. Seriously. It was on her list. And she got some. (What a great mom.)

So now I'm trying to figure out what in the world I'll ask Mr. Gerhard because I can't stick to boring questions like "What's your favorite cake flavor?" Please... No it will have to be something like "Surely, you've heard about my World Famous Crack Bars? No? What kind of chef are you?"

But while I'm thinking of questions, I'm going to play this for all it's worth. This is totally my first press conference and I'm going to bask in it. I'll ask my sister-in-law Janne' if she wants me to pick up her kids from school next Monday afternoon and then stop myself and say "I'm sooo sorry! I completely forgot! I've got a press conference to attend!" I'll make an appointment with the dentist and say "My week is pretty open except for Monday afternoon. What's this? Oh yes, I have a press conference."

So stop in next Monday afternoon and I'll tell you all about-- oh wait, I totally forgot! I've got a press conference.

Now if I can just figure out what to wear...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Game On

Dear Emma,

You and I have quite the history in your short little life. I lived in Vietnam for 4 weeks just waiting to get you and then I waited for 3 weeks terrified that you wouldn't receive a visa so I could bring you home. Then once you came home, you landed in the hospital 10 days later with RSV. The 6 days you were on a ventilator were incredibly scary and I feared that I had lived through hell just to lose you. But you are one stubborn little girl and it took more than those obstacles to hold you down.

Maybe those scares are what have led to my permissiveness with you. Or perhaps it's because I know you are truly my last baby. Or maybe it's just because when you get something in your head you're going to do it your way no matter what anyone tells you to the contrary. Like getting into the dogs' food and water bowls over and over and over and over again. And over again. You get the point. For I while I thought perhaps your previous malnutrition had affected your reasoning skills. Now I know you're just bull headed.

Your list of special privileges is long and notorious but the top of the list is your bottle. Emma Linh, you are 20 months old and you still need your bottle at nap and bedtime and multiple times through the night. Emma, Mommy is tired and old. I'm tired of getting up multiple times in the middle of the night to give you a bottle. Not to mention you're messing with my REM cycle and my dreams. I can't even remember the last time I had a dream and some nights Mommy could use a good dream or two. Sweetie, I love you but I there is a long list of sins I would commit just for 4 precious hours of consecutive sleep. Dare I dream of 7-8? Nope, I can't. You're too busy waking me up to even have that dream. But two nights ago was the last straw. You woke up three times between midnight and 5 am and then I had to get up at 6:30. It was time for your bottle to go. Zombie Mommy makes a Cranky Mommy and no one wants that. Trust me on this.

Last night I gave you a bottle when you went to bed but you drank it all and wanted another. I decided it was time for the madness to stop. I was so wrong. The madness had only just begun. For 2 hours you cried and carried on, most of which was at my feet or on my lap. I would tell you that your bottle was "all gone" and hand you a sippy cup which you would violently throw on the floor, all the while clutching desperately to your empty bottle. Finally, around 12:30 a.m., after you had happily colored on paper while Mommy cleaned up the kitchen, we went to bed together in my bed. And you went to sleep. Without a bottle. And without tears. Sure you woke up at 5:00 and wanted one, and I gave you one out of sleep deprivation and desperation, but we'll take the small victories.

Today you got a bottle at nap time only because Grandma was watching you. You didn't even know I was gone. You were so exhausted from the night before that you took an almost 4 hour nap. Mommy could have used a nap too. Instead Mommy got to take Ryan to the doctor to find out that finally he was going to get ear tubes. At least I thought you were sleeping. I think you were scheming ways to pay me back.

When you finally woke up, I cuddled you on my lap and then I felt something really warm and really wet. Could you have...?

Yes, you peed on my lap. Pay back, baby. All's fair in love and war and taking away your bottle was a declaration of war.

Game on.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lunch on the Go

This weekend offered absolutely gorgeous weather in the Kansas City area and we took full advantage of it. When I heated up left overs for lunch on Saturday, Jenna asked if we could eat outside. Why not? So out we went.

We have a children's picnic table on the back patio. Jenna and Emma sat on one side and Ryan and I sat on the other. My children broke out into the giggles and then I realized they were laughing at me. Or more specifically, my big booty on that tiny seat. Hey, I've earned that booty the hard way. One Crank Bar at a time.

Ryan's usually the slow one but he was eager to play so he finished his left over Ramen noodles and veggies and took off to the sand box. Emma was the pokey one and was the last one at the table. Once Ryan and Jenna took off, I moved over to a patio chair. Emma didn't like being alone so she decided to take her lunch on the road.

She was standing at the end of the table eating for a little while. (I apologize for the state of disarray on my patio. I hadn't cleaned it off yet.)

Time to find somewhere else to eat. She moved over to the firepit ledge, which surprisingly I didn't get a picture of.

Have you heard that spaghetti sticks to your ribs? Well mine sticks to your plate.

It's hard finding just the right spot to eat. So many places to chose from. Notice Ryan trying to plant a tomato cage into the ground.

Okay, this chair might work. Jenna's checking out the action.
(Yes, that is a battery on the ground and no, I have no idea how it got there.)

Nope, that won't do. Moving on.

She set her plate down on the patio in front of the sliding glass door. Let's try picnic style. Then I noticed that she wasn't picking spaghetti off her plate. She was picking something of the patio.

What was that?

How about a little dried worms with your spaghetti? That's when I declared lunch to be over. Mommy's got to draw the line somewhere. Nasty. (For the record she didn't eat any worms, although I can't be totally sure about the big piece of dog poo she picked up in the front yard today.)

And for something else that your children shouldn't be doing--

Bad example Trace! If I find Emma on top of the play set, I know who to blame!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Now that I have some results of what everyone has in mind for our get together (which really needs a name1) let me tell you what I have in mind. And then we'll see if everyone (or almost everyone) is happy.

First the date: The weekend of June 27 got the most votes and that weekend works for us, so that's the date! Yay! One decision down.

Second the location: Here are the states that people are interested are coming from: Minnesota, Colorado, Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina,North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, California. Then, of course, there might have been some shy ones who didn't want to give a shout out. But when I look at the list, the majority of people are from Southern states. So this is what I'm thinking and you tell me what you think.

Nashville seems pretty central to all those southern states. And Nashville has a ton of stuff to do. We also know that 8 people are bringing their kids and 3 weren't sure yet. If we move our get together to Franklin, Tennessee a suburb of Nashville we can get cheaper rooms and we can get babysitters. And babysitters are essential. How is it that I have the inside track on babysitters in Franklin, Tennessee? I used to live there until last May. Julia has a ton of friends and the girls can babysit for us.

Historic Franklin also has a bunch of stuff to do. It has a wonderful downtown with lots of shops and some restaurants so we could shop and eat lunch on Saturday afternoon and leave our darlings in the capable hands of Julia and her friends. Or, if we want to go into Nashville, it's only about 25 minutes away. And for people who might fly in, I can pick you up from the airport. As far as how you get back to the airport when you leave...

So one question I have is what do you all want to do when we get together? Obviously sit around and talk, but what else? If you all are going to come I want to make sure you have fun.

Third the name of our get together: I'm completely open to suggestions, even from those of you who might not be able to come!

Let's discuss!

If you live in the Kansas City area be sure to head over to my review blog for a chance to win 4 tickets to Disney on Ice! The winner will be picked after 10:00 pm on Monday, March 23.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

While Mom's Away Babies Will Play

{Today Denise plays with her video making skills.}

If you live in the Kansas City area be sure to head over to my review blog for a chance to win 4 tickets to Disney on Ice! The winner will be picked after 10:00 pm on Monday, March 23.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Attack of the Beans

Tonight was the first time our family of seven ate dinner together in several weeks. For some reason, our family dinners start out quite nicely and then it all goes to H*E double toothpicks in a matter of minutes. Tonight's dinner did not disappoint.

And the source of tonight's downfall?

Baked Beans. Go figure.

We had pulled pork sandwiches, waffle fries and baked beans for dinner. Julia, true to form, announced that she hated baked beans and didn't want any. Trace and Ross, true to form, pulled out the "when we were little we had to eat things we didn't like or we couldn't leave the table." Admittedly, I've become a softy over time, but Julia's limited palate has become ridiculous so I decided she must eat some of the nasty baked beans. And the wailing began.

Now you must understand that Julia is ever so the drama queen. Jenna didn't really want any beans either but when told she had to eat some, she did so with little complaint. Not Julia. Crying, begging, she pulled out all the guns. But so did the boys.

Trace decided that Julia needed to be fed the beans. As you can imagine-- and see, this didn't go over so well. (As you can also see, we solved the six chair situation by bringing in a dining room chair.)

The battle continued for some time. Julia eating about 3 beans at a time out of her approximately 20 beans. And there were long whining spells in between. But no worries.

The younger children were greatly amused. Emma's thinking, "That Julia is silly!"

Ryan's eating his second helping of beans thinking "I don't know what all the fuss is about but I love a dinner and a show! Especially when it's funny!"

Somewhere around the end of Julia's 3 bean torture session she was making gagging noises as she ate. This must have triggered some type of gag reflex in poor little Jenna who was sitting by her. The next thing we know, Jenna ran off into the bathroom. Julia ran after her thinking that Jenna was really spitting her beans in the toilet (and perhaps to add her own too) but called out the words every mother loves to hear.

"Jenna just threw up!"

That's one way to get out of eating your beans.

Jenna spent the rest of dinner on my lap while Julia ate the rest of her beans quietly. I think Julia was kicking herself for not thinking of it first.

If you live in the Kansas City area be sure to head over to my review blog for a chance to win 4 tickets to Disney on Ice! The winner will be picked after 10:00 pm on Monday, March 23.

Disney on Ice Kansas City

If you live in the Kansas City area and would like the chance to win 4 tickets to Disney on Ice at the Kemper Arena on April 1 or 2, be sure to head over to my review blog, Denise's Reviews, for your chance to win! The winner will be picked after 10:00 pm on Monday, March 23.

And if you don't win, you still have the opportunity to go. I have special offer there to get your tickets at a reduced price! So head on over!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

America's Next Top Model Wannabe

If I had any aspirations of being on America's Next Top Model before, I sure don't now.

On Monday, the kids and I went to a photography studio to have a photo session done, only this wasn't something we initiated. A local newspaper, The Independence Examiner, has a monthly magazine called Jackie Magazine. Imagine my surprise when they contacted me a little over a month ago and told me that they wanted to do a story on me and our family, and the cover story no less. To say I was intimidated is an understatement. Past cover stories have been prominent women in the community, so why in the world did they want to do a story on us? And when Adrianne, the reporter, told me that the story would be 2-3 pages, I wondered what in the world they would find to write that much about. I knew once she started interviewing me that she would change her mind. But she didn't.

Part of the story involves taking pictures of us to put on the magazine cover and with the story. Sounds easy enough, no? No is right! It wasn't easy, not when you add Emma into the mix. I'm sure the fact that Emma only got a 10 minute nap didn't help things but this child was a temper tantrum throwing nightmare. She wanted no part of it at all. It took us almost an hour to get several family photo shots and only a handful of those will be good. By the time we finished with the family photos, I was spent. But we weren't done yet.

America's Next Top Model time. They needed photos of just me.

Apparently models must spend a lot of time looking in the mirror to know how to hold their head and how to smile, because I needed a lot of direction. Guess I'm not spending enough time in front of the mirror.(We better not tell Bachelor #2 who was concerned about my habits.) Stick you butt out, straight back, shoulders down, now relax your shoulder, stick your neck out towards the camera, chin up, no chin down, tilt your head, hand under your chin, hand back, relax your fingers. And we haven't even got to the smile yet. She snapped some photos and then she got out the fan. How cool is that? She must have taken a million shots, well maybe about 50, using a whole lot of different poses. All in all, it was actually a really cool, fun experience. Too bad my neck is sore today. I think that will be my next Life Lesson Thursday post: When preparing for a photo shoot, practice sticking your neck out like a giraffe.

I'm already anticipating your question: When is the story coming out? The first Thursday in April which happens to be April 2. If it was on April 1st it might have been an April Fool's joke, but on me or on you?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Denise's Big Weekend

Trace might get a week, but I was pretty satisfied with just a weekend. Hey, beggars can't be choosers especially when I hardly even get a day.

My weekend stared Friday night when Guy #1 asked me out on a date, yep a real LIVE date. Those of you who have befriended me on Facebook know this already when I posted a frantic message:

I just got asked out on a REAL date!!!! OMG!!!! What do I do????

I got 18 responses, all telling me to go. So of course I said yes. But the date wasn't until Sunday afternoon, so I still had Saturday to fill.

Saturday I had an appointment to get my hair cut and colored at the salon that did my hair when I got my makeover last August, oh and did I mention I hadn't had my hair cut or colored since that visit? I actually made the appointment before my big date, but it didn't hurt that I got beautified before. In reality, I made the appointment because of a photo shoot that we had on Monday. But more on that tomorrow.

When I got to the salon and sat in the chair my neighbor was sitting in the chair across from me! That was a huge surprise and added to the fun of my visit. Lori saw how cute I looked in my black vinyl cape and asked me out to lunch. Wow, this dating thing really has seemed to snowball.

Okay, I have to wonder why I don't go to the salon more often? I had so much fun, who knew? My colorist (because I'm just special enough to have a stylist and a colorist) was a hoot! He told me many stories but the most exciting one was that he was sued by a client and went on Judge Joe Brown. While I admit that it's not the most reassuring fact to know that the man putting chemicals on your hair was sued for ruining a woman's hair, I believed him when he told me that she had had it ruined by someone else and she asked him to fix it. He said it so convincingly. And he was almost done painting my hair.

After my chemicals were washed out, it was time for my cut. Both Allen and Safe, my stylist, knew I was going on a date and Safe especially had words of wisdom and advice. I started thinking "Who didn't know about my date?" Poor Guy #1, he had no idea that hundreds of people knew about his existence!

After I was done at the salon, I met Lori for lunch and had an awesome time. And I had been gone from home for 4 hours. When I got home, you would have thought it was 4 days. The nerve of Mommy to have fun without her pack of children!

My date was on Sunday afternoon. We were meeting to see Slum Dog Millionaire.(Although my brother Kevin tells me it wasn't a real date, it was merely a get together. He says a real date involves dinner.) We met early so we could talk before the movie started. He was a really nice guy and I had a great time. When the movie was over, we stayed for the credits and talked. He then walked me to my car and we said goodbye.

And this has been the source of much discussion over the last 24+ hours.

He didn't ask me out for a second date. Some people think he didn't want to put me on the spot or maybe he was worried I say no, so he would ask me via eHarmony like he did last time. I told my friend Sandra that I was sure it wasn't because I told him I had a wedding dress in my closet and it was really better suited for a summer wedding. ;>)

At this point, I haven't heard anything from him and this is what I've decided: I was me. I was the real me, albeit the socially acceptable me, and if he doesn't want to see me again, then that's okay. I think I'm in a good place. Twenty years ago I don't think I'd be this way, I've grown up enough to know that I'm not going to change to make a man happy. He needs to like me just the way I am, craziness and all.

But it still doesn't stop me from checking my email.

Hey, do you want to be my friend? If you want to be my Facebook friend, let me know and I'll tell you how to find me.
Edited Monday morning: Some of you have expressed interest in befriending me but you don't have email addresses to send you the info. So, I'll just save us all a bunch of trouble and give you my name here: Denise Grover Swank.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Trace's Big Week

Trace went to South Carolina for Spring Break, not your average Spring Break spot, but he went to visit a long time friend of his, Cody. He and Cody have known each other online for nine years and they recently began talking on the phone.

Trace came home tonight and in his possession were photos of his new girlfriend--Cody of course. (Hi Cody!) Cody has begun reading my blog so I felt it appropriate to give her a shout out. Cody sounds like a wonderful young woman and I'm hoping to meet her soon, along with her darling little boy Gage.

I had a BIG weekend but honestly I'm too tired to do it justice, so stay tuned!

Friday, March 13, 2009

So Happy Together

Let's do this thing!

Do what? Let's have our first annual get together! Forty four people voted in our poll and 28 said they want to do our own thing! Yea. So now comes the task of figuring out when, where, who, what and how. No wait, that's journalism. Well, maybe it still applies. To determine the location, I think we should poll where everyone lives who is interested in attending. (Janelle, I kind of needed you working out the grammar of that last sentence.) We also need to see when would be the most popular dates. I'm thinking weekends are better.

I am so excited about this!!! You have no idea! So let's do this: If you are interested in coming, leave a comment telling me WHERE you live and maybe where you would be interested in going. I have a place in mind, but I'll keep that under wraps right now.

I'm going to put up a poll listing some possible dates to see what appeals to most people. You can vote more than once in this poll. Also tell me if you want to do this kid-less or with kids. I'll put a poll for that too.

And for those of you who want to do the McMama cruise, have fun! I won't be able to attend. But those of you who are going on the SITS cruise-- I'm going to try to go on that one too! I'm also planning on going to BlogHer in Chicago on July 24-25. So if you can't make our get together, there will be other opportunities to heckle me meet me and for me to annoy the bejiggers out of you meet you.

And to the one person who said Meet you? Are you crazy! Be afraid, be very afraid. Don't worry, you have nothing to fear (or do you??) When I saw your vote I died laughing!

Flashback Friday

During my last theme week, Friday was Freebie Friday. Times are tough people, so only one giveaway this week. Brandy and I brainstormed and Brandy came up with Flashback Friday. Now what was I going to do with that? And then a light bulb went off!
And I knew exactly what to do for Flashback Friday. You remember when Brandy interviewed me after the Bloggy Awards and I threatened to show you pictures of me back in the day and make you snort your beverage of choice out your nose?

Today's the day!

Back in the day, there was a sad little girl who had no clue what to do with her hair.

This is the start of what I refer to as the Ugly Duckling stage. This stage lasted a very, very long time. This picture is circa 1974.

And do you remember when I was tagged back last October and I shared many things about myself? Like the fact that I can't smell, and my children insulted my intelligence? Well, I also shared that I was in the Miss Blue Springs beauty pageant, and I told you about the hideous dress I wore.
Oh wait! You mean this one??? Yep, that would be the one. Check out that hair! This would be circa 1981.

I grew and matured and yet, my fashion sense and personal style just seemed to get worse.

Check out these glasses! I think someone sawed the bottom off a couple of coke bottles to make these puppies. It's no wonder I have such a hard time wearing my little glasses-- I was used to total surround vision with these things. Who's the cute little guy? That would be my little Trace, about age 2. That makes this photo somewhere around 1989. Before we move on, be sure to check out the sweatshirt, which I believe I crafted in someway. Goodness, I can't stand it anymore. Moving on!

And here I am with a 3 year old Trace and pregnant with Ross. I do seem to be improving just a bit but I've got a long way to go. Circa 1990.

Ross' first birthday! Trace is 4 and I have more hair then a Standard Poodle. Circa 1991.

A few years have passed and you might notice that I no longer have bangs. This was quite by accident. I was working so much, about 50 hours a week, that I didn't have time to get my hair cut and my bangs grew out. It was then that I realized that bangs were just not for me. It only took me 30 years to reach this conclusion. This photo was before Trace's first communion. He was 8 and Ross was 4. (Ross is being his usual silly self.) Circa 1995

Somewhere along the way I was introduced to a straightening iron. Here we were visiting Darrell's mother in Texas and introducing her to our new addition, Jenna. Ross, 13; Jenna, 18 months; Me and Julia, 7. Circa 2004

And there you have it, the evolution of me. I've come a long way baby! I can only hope eHarmony Guy #1 doesn't see this!

Don't forget to go to Brandy's blog I'm Not Your Average Soccer Mom to check out her verision of Flashback Friday!

eHarmony update: Guy #2 seems to have dropped off the earth. I sent him a message and never heard back, but you know, I'm okay with that. I'm still talking with Guy #1. Several people commented that they would like to send Guy #1 questions to answer. Leave them in the comments and I'll actually send them to him!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Life Lesson Thursday

Yes, it's time again for a Life Lesson Thursday. It's an opportunity for wise Mommy to impart her wisdom upon her children while you dear readers eavesdrop.

Today's life lesson will be about lessons I have learned from eHarmony. Obviously, my precious children, this lesson is not for you so run along and go play with scissors or something.

So many men, so little time.
I have been matched with a total of 29 men. Whew! Some must have seen the picture of me with my kids and wrote me off. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Mine screams FIVE KIDS. (I posted a pic with Ross on down) I got about 10 "Matched Closed" notices without even communicating.

I think I have an unusual approach to eHarmony. Every time I get a "Matched Closed" notice I breath a sigh of relief. Bet you won't see that on eHarmony commercial. It just narrows down my options.

That leaves 18 guys. I can have my own Bachelorette show. I better get some roses.

The Dating Game.
{Dating game music in background}
Bachelor #1: He likes dating women with large families. He lives in the country. He's an IT geek. He posts photos of his children that are at least 5 years old. Meet Bachelor #1!

Bachelor #2: He wants to know what personal habits are important to you. Enough said. Meet Bachelor #2!

Bachelor #3: He's looking for the "real thing" not Pepsi. He wants to know your thoughts and feelings on intimacy in your relationship. He just lost his job. Meet Bachelor #3!

{Que Pina Colada music. Obviously I've watched way too much Shrek. Correction, HEARD way too much Shrek.}

I'm in communication with 8 guys, well 7 now because I scared Bachelor #1 off. He told me how much he loved living on his 3 acres out in the middle of nowhere land and I told him how much I love living on my cul-de-sac. Bye, bye.

Bachelor #2, I'm tempted to tell him that I take a shower every Saturday night whether I need it or not. Tooth brushing is optional.

Bachelor #3, Intimacy in my relationship. Really? And he hasn't even bought me dinner yet... oh that's right, he just lost his job!

I think its safe to say these guys are outta here!

And then there were five.
But not really, because 3 of those 5 are stuck in the very early stages of communication. And they've stayed there for awhile. This is online dating's version of "He said he'd call but he never did."

He sends his multiple choice questions like "How much personal space do you need?" and "Are you passionate person?" You answer the questions and send him your own multiple choice questions:

Are you currently employed?
a) Yes
b) No
c) Define employed.
d) If I'm a crack dealer does that count?

Do you lay around all day drinking beer and watching TV?
a) No
b) Yes
c) Only on the weekdays, I'm at the race track on the weekends
d) Nah, my TV's broke so I hang out at the corner bar. Can you pay my tab?

Okay not really, but they should be choices. You send your real questions and then you wait for him to call reply. And wait. And wait. I think I'll go wash my hair. Oh wait! It's not Saturday night.

Again, a big WHEW!!! Three more bite the dust.

And then there were two.
I'm in what's called "Open Communication" with both these guys. Open communication is when you've gone through the multiple choice and open answer questions and you can now communicate freely but safely. It's like you have your own personal message board and you post you notes there so no email addresses are exchanged. Guy #1 sent me his first open communication on Friday. I answered on Sunday and we've sent each other notes every day since. In fact, yesterday we each sent two. So far, I really like Guy #1 and that scares the bejiggers out of me.

Yesterday, I was happy that Guy #1 seems to be going well and I got a notice that Guy #2 sent me a message! Oh my! So I logged on and read his message and he tells me that from my answers I appear as lovely on the inside as I do on the outside. That I am a breath of fresh air and he feels honored to have the chance to get to know me better. So I answered him back.

Then suddenly I feel very guilty. How can I be cheating on Guy #1 ??? Uh, hello Denise! It's The Bachelorette online dating! You're supposed to be talking to more then one person. The only thing is before I narrowed it down to 2, I had a hard time keeping them all straight. Apparently my brain isn't hardwired to juggle guys. Kids, yes. Guys, no.

Then another thought occurs to me. Guy #1 now knows I have a blog but doesn't know the name of it. But how hard would it be to find it? So tonight I Google Blog Searched "Denise Six Kids" and I'm #2 on the search result list. Just below OctoMom. How flattering is that? Why, I'm almost a celebrity! Obviously easy to find. But wait. What if he doesn't know about Blog Search? What if he just Google's me? I'm in the top 2 spots. My book blog is #1 and this blog is #2. Uh oh.

Hi Guy #1! Loved your message tonight! Just ignore all this talk about other guys. And my lusting after Sawyer. And Tyler Florence. And skip on by the videos of me dancing at home, in Price Chopper, any videos at all now that you mention it.

Life Lesson #2: Don't write about other guys in your blog. Your pseudo cyber boyfriend might get jealous. Also be careful about videos you post. Your killer dance moves might scare him off.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What the...? Wednesday

A few days ago, Julia stubbed her toe. Ever the drama queen (gee I wonder where she got that from?) she let everyone know the trauma she endured. The following is Ross' reenactment.

Uh, yeah. Chaos all day, every day. Never a dull moment and total Blog Job security.

If you want more What the...? Wednesday, check out Brandy's version. You might wait until later in the morning though. Spring Fling really wore her out!