July 30, 2008

Q&A: The Sixth Baby Issue

I liked all your questions on yesterday's post about possible sixth babies. And I loved all the "I'm a sixth child!"-type comments, even though those get me thinking, "Who WON'T BE BORN if we stop at five?," which goes so quickly to "Who won't be born if we stop at ten?" and "Who won't be born if we wait another month / start a month early?" and all those "trying to think about infinity" brain twists. Ack.

Elizabeth asked: "Did you always know you wanted a lot of kids?" As a child, I had in mind two kids, which is what we had in my family growing up. Then I went through a time of thinking I didn't want any children at all; not coincidentally, this was during my babysitting/nannying years. (People can SAY "It's different when it's your own," but man, it's hard to see how.) Then much later, when Paul and I discussed our future, our decision was to take it one kid at a time and see how it went---but that we'd have four kids unless our experience with one or two or three changed our minds. I don't know why we felt like there was no such situation as "more than four," but that's how we thought of it: as if the options were 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4, and we wanted the maximum allowed.

Erin said, "If I end up with a dozen kids, I will still wonder if maybe thirteen would be nice? Just one more... Just one more..." Oh, Erin, I'm afraid of this! The way I keep wanting more, even when anyone would agree I'd had more than my share! The way I'm not getting tired of this! The way I keep thinking, "What's one more?"

May asked, "What do your parents say about numero seis? Do they know you're thinking about it?" My mom and I have talked about it. I get my "Must...have...more...children!" gene directly from her, so she's all for the idea.

Michelle asked, "Knowing your doctor is that sane, don't you feel better and trust him more with other things, too?" It really did have that effect! And he was so sensible about the whole thing, too: not sugar-coating the risks, and not talking down to me, just telling me what was known at this point about how the risks would apply in my situation. This is one of the OBs in a practice, and this appointment made me think I'd try to see him more often. Especially if.

Astarte asked, "Do you REALLY think you'll stop at 6? Or will #6 breed desire for #7?" My GUESS is that it's going to be a good thing that this whole child-bearing option is a limited time offer. That's my guess.

Moo asks, "What's your motivation? Do you feel you aren't done? Do you just love being pregnant? Do you think your family isn't complete? Do you just love that newborn smell? Can you afford a sixth child? Does it even matter at this point? Will 6 be enough? Do you have the room for another one?" I've thought a lot about WHY I want more, especially since it's not like I'm one of those moms who just lovvvvves playing on the floor with the kids. I've tried on each possible explanation, and the only one that fits is "I just DO." It is such a huge kick to see what kind of person we get each time.

The affording---I'm not sure how to figure that out when there's no visible price tag. The biggest expense for us of going from five children to six would be having to get a bigger vehicle: our minivan seats seven. We do have room in the house for another child: there are three kid bedrooms, and any of them has room vertically for another bed over an existing bed. Bunks = awesome.

Misty asks, "So, what does Paul say about all this?" and Jennifer Playgroupie asks, "Where does Paul have this nugget of information tucked?" Yes, well. Paul. As I said to the OB brightly after the OB and I had discussed everything and decided the way was clear: "Now I just have to talk to my husband!"

It makes me feel weird to say I seriously don't know what he thinks, but I seriously don't. I know he thinks five children is plenty. I also know he's been pleasantly surprised at how well five has been working out (differentness than four = not much). And it isn't as if he wanted to stop at one baby and I pressured him to have more: he's always wanted a bunch of babies. He likes kids. He IS the "enjoys playing on the floor" type.

I've wondered, too, if I would be so set on having another if I didn't feel like I was in "convince Paul" mode. Like, if he were nagging for another baby, would I be saying, "Well, now, hold on a minute here, let's think this through sensibly"?

Slice of Paradise points out, "Honestly, you have 5 ~ would one more really break you?" and Erica asks, "After the forth one, isn't it really a moot point? I mean, what's one more?" That is EXACTLY what I say to Paul! Between five and six, what is the real difference here? Srsly!

Pay-it-forward updates:

...and the duck said has a new contest up.

The Creamery is showing the giftie she got, and starting a new contest.

Bebellyboo is showing the giftie she got and starting a two-winner contest.

July 29, 2008

DSM-IV Diagnosis: We're Fertile and We Like Babies, That's All

You wanted to discuss my uterus, right? Oh good, me too!

I finally worked up the nerve to talk with my OB about the risks of having another baby: I'd be over 35, and I've had four c-sections. I've been wanting to ask about it, but I was worried he'd do what a lot of people do when I mention wanting a sixth baby, which is to suggest I have a psychological problem. I think this is funny when it's kidding (one of the best moments of my pregnancy with Henry was hearing a librarian joyfully shout "ARE YOU CRAZY??" in a quiet library), but some people are serious.

This'll vary from family tree to family tree, but in my parents' generation, two kids is typical. In my grandparents' generation, three or four kids is typical. In my great-grandparents' generation, five or six kids is typical. A set of my great-great grandparents had nine kids, including twins twice. And a set of my great-great-great grandparents had eleven children like it weren't no thing. On Baby #6, my female ancestors were just getting warmed up.

My OB earned points by acting as if it could be just as psychologically normal to have six kids today as it was 100 years ago. He opened my file and looked at the surgical reports and medical history. He said he didn't see anything in my file that would argue against trying for another baby if I wanted one.

I tucked that information under my ribs. I keep peeking at it.

Giveway Thataway

I am having SO MUCH FUN with a site Paul found for me called Postcrossing. I collect postcards, but I'd like this site anyway: you send postcards to random people, and different random people send postcards to you. Hm. That does not sound like so much fun when I type it out, but I LOVE this thing and think you should try it. Even PAUL is trying it now, after seeing how much fun I was having.

If you want to try it, I'm giving away a "starter kit" over at Milk & Cookies. And when I say "starter kit," I mean I'm taking five blank postcards from my stash, adding five 94-cent international-postcard-rate stamps, and calling it a kit.

Twelve O'Clock and All's Well

Sleeping is a KER-RAZY thing to do. It doesn't seem that way when I'm having an easy time sleeping: I do my whole day, and then I climb into my nice soft bed and go to sleep until morning. Perfectly natural! Any children's book can explain to you how it works!

But when I'm NOT sleeping, and I'm the only one awake in a house of sleeping people and animals, it seems like something out of a science fiction novel. Something about androids, maybe. They need to power down for 8 hours to recharge. The lights in their eyes go dark, and their limbs go slack. They need to be properly stored or they'll collapse to the floor and be damaged.

That IS what it's like. At night, human beings must find a safe place to lie down, because our bodies are going to lose consciousness. There we all are in our dark houses, unconscious, while hour after hour goes by unnoticed and unfilled. Picture those houses, stretched out across the miles, all quiet and still. CREEPY.

When I write my thesis on this (tentative title: "Sleep: That Sh*t Ain't Right"), I plan to study in depth why there isn't more looting. It seems like we're easy targets, lying there with our slack limbs and lightless eyes.

I'm on watch, though. You go ahead and sleep.

Pay-it-forward updates:

My Life is showing the giftie she got.

Sticky Feathers has a new contest up.

Scenic Overlook has TWO contests up.

July 27, 2008

Hello. I Love You.

I really do like you guys an awful lot. I keep meaning to say so. Often when I write a post, I don't get back to the computer for hours and hours, and when I do, I go through the comments one by one, and I'm laughing and delighted and clenching my teeth at your cuteness and funniness. I just want to SQUEEZE you. And I think, "I should tell them so!"---but then it's the next day before I write my next post, and by then all I'm doing is trying to get One! More! Sentence! written before I have to read Skippyjon Jones AGAIN or clean up spilled cereal AGAIN or take someone to the potty AGAIN or clean up an accident AGAIN, so I'm all head-down-and-to-the-task, and I don't mention it. But I really do like you a lot, and I think of you often while I'm reading Skippyjon and vacuuming cereal and so forth.

Here are just a few, a sparse few, of the things you've written that have given me that rush of love feeling:

The New Girl. OMG, could I agree with her more about the acceptance of good news and the delivery of bad news? NO I COULD NOT.

Flack & Proud has a whole sidebar section of Unsolicited Advice for Women, and this one is probably my favorite.

Semi-Desperate Housewife asks an interesting question about how your parents raised you, and also I loved what she said about "It's just my thing".

Lippy on Life is discussing a dilemma I know ALL TOO WELL: how to decide whether or not to have another baby (she's accepting votes!).

Not that You Asked... is so funny about how mean she is when she's pregnant. I read, like, half of it out loud to Paul, but for some reason he was looking at me pointedly instead of gasping with laughter the way I was.

This post at Through the Looking Glass made me crack up again and again and again. Every time I hit a new "HUGE GAP IN CONSCIOUSNESS" I was off again (and again and again).

Princess Nebraska BLEW MY MIND with this post about what she's not good at. This is the kind of post everyone reads and immediately wants to copy.

Eleanor Q. has written some helpful hints for a successful naptime. My favorite part was "The legs, preparing for their fall," with the cute photo of baby legs, but I also laughed pretty hard about the way most people suck their thumbs.

Under Construction taught me to make salt caramels, and how I lived life before salt caramels I don't know.

Miz S's post about health fads would be worth it for the title alone, even if the rest of the post weren't also awesome.

July 26, 2008

Room for Improvement

Yesterday I threw out six trash bags of trash from our house. SIX trash bags. And that's just the TRASH: not stuff "good enough to give away," but containers of dried-out Play-Doh, scattered beads, a stack of Gymboree gift boxes I'm never going to use, cheap trinket-type toys, paper airplanes, and pieces of broken toys.

This is the kind of task that is equal parts satisfying and discouraging. The satisfaction is obvious: six bags of trash removed is a clear improvement. But it's also so discouraging: how did things get this bad? and how can there still be so much left to do?

The clutter book I'm reading is equal parts annoying and useful. I think all self-help books are annoying, and this one keeps cheesing me off with its tone. But here are the useful things I'm already putting into practice:

1) You can only have as much stuff as you have room for.

2) If it's so important, why is it in a never-opened box in the basement?

3) Stop bringing more stuff IN.

4) If you're not using it, give it to someone who can, or else get rid of it.

5) What does this item represent?

That last one is for things like, why am I saving a big pile of still-in-their-packages child-proofing devices, when it's clear that if we haven't used them by Baby #5 we're not GOING to use them? And the answer is that when I own these items, it makes me feel like I own Safety. It also applies to things like books, where people often feel that they've purchased Information. And it applies to heirlooms and keepsakes that are in boxes in the basement, where people often feel like they're storing Memories they'd otherwise lose.

I find this concept exceedingly cheezy---and yet useful and applicable, which explains why I'm a little crabby. It turns out I am saving a number of things in case of Apocalyptic Situations and/or Economic Depressions. I feel like if I have piles of fabric and twenty-five pounds of dried beans, then I will be all set in case of zombies, nuclear disaster, and/or economic ruin.

Pay-it-forward updates:

Cookiemonks has her new contest up---it's Etsy-themed, with a choice of prizes.

July 25, 2008

Crabbily Decluttering; Clutter Challenge

You know, one of the problems with tackling clutter is it gets SO MUCH WORSE before it gets better. Working on it makes me SEE it. Also, with toys: I'd like to be able to give away some of the toys that are perfectly good---but of course, pieces are all tangled up with other pieces, and some pieces are probably under the bureau, and ARRRRGGGG!! Forget it!!

I have been such a crab about it, you would not believe it. Snapping at people! Making sarcastic remarks! Doing something I hate when other people do it, which is to make exasperated noises and fling a project down, saying "ARRRRGGGG!! Forget it!!" BAD BEHAVIOR.

Also, it's pretty crabbifying to look at all the stuff going in the trash: all the stuff I thought the kids would like, all the little things I bought on a whim or after careful thought, all the presents---going right back out of the house. I realize that's The Way of Material Things (it's not like I imagined them playing for years with a straw doll), but it's depressing to see so much of it at once.

Speaking of material, let me set you to work on a Clutter Challenge. I make the kids' beds with bottom sheets and pillowcases only. The top sheets, brand-new and with factory folds, I keep in a stack in a closet. I probably have a dozen of them, or maybe more. It's perfectly good fabric!

If we DID go into a Depression Era, I could make clothing out of it! Or curtains! I'd just have to learn to sew! I'd be kicking myself so hard if I'd thrown out enormous pieces of beautiful, brand-new cloth. Some of them are such pretty patterns!

Or, I could use it to make reusable fabric wrapping paper: I bought fabric ribbon on 75-90% off last Christmas for this very purpose.

Or, we might want to use them as sheets again some day. Never mind that the bottom sheets are much more worn, and/or wearing out completely and getting thrown out.

Or, I could offer them to one of you---maybe someone who makes quilts and could use big pieces of fabric. But fabric is heavy to ship.


Pay-it-forward updates:

My Version of the Story is showing the giftie she got and posting a new contest (it ends tonight, so hurry!).

Not the Daddy has a new contest up.

Living and Learning says there are only a few entries on her contest, so the odds are in your favor if you enter.

July 24, 2008

Chief Science Adviser

When I finally get around to appointing my Cabinet, I'm making Akimbo my Chief Science Adviser. She is a real scientist, and she talked me down out of a full-fledged virus fret at ONE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING. I need someone like that on my full-time staff. I'm sorry, Akimbo, but I'm going to need you to work nights.

Of course then my worry mutated, like the virus I worried would mutate. But still! That was some impressive scientific service! And would you guys please click through and give her a hard time for only having ONE single post on her whole blog? We obviously need her to tell us MORE SCIENCE. Even after I started worrying about mutated viruses, I thought to myself, "Akimbo would have thought of that, because she is a scientist. And SHE says SHE is not worried." And I went to sleep.

Still looking for a Chief Spelling Adviser: it took me several minutes to figure out that it wasn't "advisor" (or "cheif").

Pay-it-forward updates:

Semi-Desperate Housewife is showing the giftie she got, and posting a new contest.


I'm up late, doing what I am nearly always doing when I'm up late: worrying.

This time it started because I like to have something to watch on TV while I'm stirring the fudge, and I'd finished my disc of The Wire so I just turned it to PBS. It was a program about this awesome thing they've discovered: a way to generate stem cells from regular old adult skin cells, instead of in controversial ways. The problem is that the way they get the skin cells to do this is by introducing a special kind of virus. And that virus! Oh, guess what? It causes cancer! They showed lumpy pink mice.

Well, and they're working on that. But in the meantime, is that not the makings of an apocalyptic novel? A virus some scientists are using for good, but have not yet perfected! It escapes! The whole world gets cancer and dies, except for the select few who will now spend their time plundering stores, figuring out how to fix a broken leg with no doctor, and trying to contact other survivors!

So there I am, lying awake picturing my children---and everyone else's children---dying of cancer. Oh, the weight of all that imaginary human pain! And I was cursing myself for having so MANY children. Why did I have any children at all after the first one, when I realized his continued existence was absolutely essential to my continued will to live? I was trying to lay in reserves, but instead I dramatically decreased my odds of living my life's dream: dying as an old lady who never had anything truly bad happen to one of her children.

Well, so you can see why I had to get up and bask in the light of the computer. Seasonal Affective Disorder can be treated with UV lights; Nighttime Worrying Disorder can be treated with monitor light.

Pay-it-forward updates:

Living in Maryland is showing the giftie she got, and posting her new contest.

Pink Elefant is starting a new contest.

July 23, 2008


Today I had a happy alignment of the stars/schedules that resulted in 40 minutes with no children, so I ran over to look at flooring samples for our new dining room. We're converting a porch (i.e., "junk dumping ground"), and when I say "we" I mean "my dad and various hired professionals," because between us Paul and I have JUST enough do-it-yourself talent to plug in our own appliances without requiring outside assistance.

These seven samples are just a starting place. It's the "I don't have any idea what I'm looking for, and I have less than half an hour to look, so let's get a little from all over the spectrum and see what opinions start to emerge" run. But all of them are from the more expensive section of the vinyl racks, because I always want to impress the salesperson with my refined taste.

B is my clear, hands-down favorite. I lovvvvvvvvve it. It is so gorgeous. The colors are gorgeous. I feel like I could just stare at it for years and never get sick of it. Each square is different colors and patterns.

But as my dad points out, it's important not to confuse "the one that would look best framed as wall art" with "the one that would be best as a floor"---and B is very dark and very dramatic. Sometimes what's best for a floor is "the one that disappears and you don't notice it." Especially if you are not much for keeping floors clean (*ahem*).

This photo is a little unfair, because more flash got on the lower three, and so they look cheaper and shinier. It's also unfair because from this distance A, F, and G disappear completely: you can't even see that A has a very pretty leaf-imprint pattern and that G has a very pretty vintage-y light green vines-and-leaves pattern (maybe if you click to see it bigger?). Well, and F really IS that boring, but I thought it was a good one for a "disappearing" option.

C and D look a lot like real stone, but I'm worried that will be too cold-looking in a room that doesn't get much light. My dad's favorite is C; he says he thinks D looks fake: it has "shadow-effect" (deliberate dark line along the edges of the stone) that doesn't succeed and instead makes it look fakey.

The woman I talked to at the flooring place said E is the one that ends up looking really good almost no matter what. It comes in a number of colors, and she says she always thinks "meh" when someone chooses it, but then when she sees the finished job it looks terrific. Of all seven, it's the one that most bores me. Well, no, I guess F is a little more boring, but at least F has the "look, ma, no lines!" thing going on, and I'd be interested to see how that would work out.

Well, I'll be interested to see what Paul thinks. Or I will be, until he says "blech" about all the ones I like best. Right now, B is the one that makes my heart pound faster (it's even more gorgeous in person), and none of the others seem right---but some of them seem CLOSE and I'd want to go back and see if I could find "something like this but darker" or "something like this but less cold-looking" or "something like this but more interesting."

Let's vote! What's your favorite, and why?

Pay-it-forward updates:

Sublime Bedlam has a new contest up.

Moo's Moo is showing the giftie she got, and posting a new contest.

Darn Happy is showing the giftie she got, and posting a new contest.

July 21, 2008

I'm Bored, Play With Me

I'm bored! And lonely! Come over and eat brownies with me, and tell me your life story!

Or, I know: let's play a game! It's been a long time since we played A Year Ago Today, A Year From Now. Let's do that!

A year ago I had a 7-week old, two 2-year-olds, a 6-year-old, and an 8-year-old. I was struggling to find a good birth control option, starting a running program, and trying to reduce clutter.

A year from now I'll have a 2-year-old, two 4-year-olds, an 8-year-old, and a 10-year-old. I'll have thrown the birthday party I've been saying Rob could have when he turned 10, which I've been dreading as it goes from "so far in the future, who cares what I promise?" to "OMG, I really have to follow through on that?"

I'll probably still be battling clutter. I probably still won't be exercising regularly. We'll either have a second bathroom or be working on a second bathroom.

The biggest thing to me is, I wonder if/what we'll have decided on the "sixth baby" issue? I wonder if I might even be pregnant a year from now? Or, the way these things happen so fast, might the sixth baby already be on the scene? It really does continually amaze me that someone not even pregnant one year can have a 3-month-old one single year later.

Pay-it-Forward update:
Hello, Self is showing the giftie she got and starting a new contest.

July 20, 2008

Tomorrow: Brownies!

Tonight is the end of the fast. It was a freaky experience, the whole thing. The novelty was interesting; it wasn't as impossible as I'd expected (it was even a relief to not have to think endlessly about What to Eat Next); I have some new tools for eating less (boullion is yummy!); and for the first time in about two months I'm looking forward to my Monday weigh-in. Also: to breakfast. I bought some Raisin Bran Crunch, the beautiful love child of Frosted Flakes and Raisin Bran.

I think six days was my limit: this morning (the seventh) my muscles felt weak and weird, and I didn't feel enthusiastic about the idea anymore. And Erica did TEN days, and she didn't do any messing around with modifications like I did. Plus, tomorrow I'm going to be eating a pan of brownies with an experimental peppermint glaze, and Erica is going to be having surgery. So I'd say I got the way easier end of this, just sort of across the board.

Speaking of who gets it easier, I have been seeing some magazine headlines that are cheesing me off. US Weekly says "A-Rod's Wife: Destroyed by Madonna." People magazine says "Madonna's Mess: Did She Bust Up A-Rod's Marriage?" Do you know who is responsible for busting up A-Rod's marriage, if he had an affair with Madonna? A-Rod. Certainly I can see why A-Rod's wife would be pissed with Madonna---but if we're talking about responsibility, A-Rod's marriage contract is A-Rod's responsibility, not Madonna's.

Angelina Jolie is always getting that kind of crap, too, and I wonder why BRAD PITT doesn't get 100% of that crap? Angelina Jolie didn't make a binding legal and romantic contract with Jennifer Aniston, BRAD PITT did. Angelina Jolie didn't leave Jennifer Aniston for someone else, BRAD PITT did. If we are wondering if anything Happened before the end of the marriage, the person who should be getting Eyes of Suspicion is the one bound by the terms of that marriage, namely BRAD PITT. Can I use their full names a few more times? ANGELINA JOLIE BRAD PITT JENNIFER ANISTON.

Pay-it-forward updates:

Cookiemonks is showing the giftie she got.

Blondie Speaks is showing the giftie she got, and starting a new contest.

July 19, 2008

Clutter: Considering It

We're going to put a second bathroom in the house, down in our semi-finished basement. Problem: I need to clear at least two large utility shelf units just to TALK about putting a bathroom in.

Well. This is a struggle for an apocalyptic-minded, nostalgic, can't-throw-away-stuffed-animals-because-it's-too-sad, fully-prepared-for-every-contingency type. And about HALF of what we have is handmedown kid clothes, and those are staying: that's MONEY we're storing in those boxes.

So, the other half. It's things like china we never use. Books from my childhood we never read and the kids aren't interested in. Dolls and doll clothes I bought during the time we had to wait longer than expected for a third pregnancy and apparently I went a little crazy. Video tapes, some still in their plastic wrap. Childhood journals and papers and school report cards. "Heirlooms" Paul's mother gave us (including a ratty, rotting hairbrush that was Paul's pinehole father's).

Some of it, I wish the entire world had a collective brain so that I could find the few people who are probably scouring antique stores and eBay right this second (well, or I guess a lot of shops are closed by now) looking for the stuff I have, and would love it and cherish it. But I can't do that, even with the power of the Internet, because 99% of my responses would be antiques dealers pretending not to be antiques dealers.

Paul thinks I'm a little silly to care if someone else profits from something I don't want and don't want to sell. I don't think it's silly. To use an extreme and unfairly emotional example, if I wanted to donate food to hungry people, I wouldn't want someone to intercept that food and SELL it to the hungry people. And in this case, I want to give my service-for-twelve (minus one teacup) to someone who would cherish the china---not to someone who will SELL it to the people who would cherish the china.

The clutter book I'm reading is just like "THROW IT OUT! Why let it take up valuable real estate?" And I see his point, but I don't want to THROW OUT something someone else is pining for. So there, clutter book!

Pay-it-forward updates:

Our House is showing the giftie she got, and starting a new contest.

and the duck said... is showing the giftie she got.

Sulkily Entering Contests

I have a heart owie that there is no real Blogstle. I even spent a little time last night lying in bed trying to think of a way it would actually work. I came up with two ideas, both of which involve me being (1) a different/richer/assertive-er person, with (2) fewer children.

But it COULD happen, couldn't it? Not the different/fewer thing, but Blogstle! I mean, THEORETICALLY? THEORETICALLY we could have blind pool boys and coolers of ice cream pints? There are no LAWS preventing us, at least. And no shortage of blind pool boys, obviously.

Well. At least we can enter contests:

Move Along - There's Nothing to See Here is showing her giftie and posting a new, multi-winner PiF contest.

Honestly and Truly! is showing her giftie and posting new a PiF contest.

Righters' Writings is showing her giftie and posting a new PiF contest.

Teacher Mom has a new contest up.

The Creamery is showing her giftie and posting a new PiF contest

My Very Last Nerve has a new contest up.

July 17, 2008


Mona and I have been wracking our brains: what can those of us who are NOT going to BlogHer do while everyone else is busy showing each other their cute outfits and talking about Promoting Their Brands? I was thinking of some sort of "All Eating, All the Time" weekend. We could call it This Little Piggy Stayed Home.

But I will still be fasting this weekend. I have stopped feeling sorry that I did not start the same day Erica did: 7 days is PLENTY of this.

Do you know, if I were designing Swistle's Ideal Blogger Conference (Blogstle), I would want it to be a jean-and-tees event. Pajamas would be okay, too. Comfy shoes. Ponytails. Now entering the mascara-free zone.

Lots of food: big buffet tables of pizza and chicken and tacos and chips and these potatoes, a big freezer case of ice cream pints (container of spoons nearby), big pots of melted cheese and melted chocolate and pizza sauce for dipping. We'd skip the vegetables, even if we like them, so that no one could make anyone else feel bad by self-righteously eating nothing but a plate of produce and then claiming to be stuffed.

There would be no "early morning yoga" to sign up for, heavens no. There would be no early-morning ANYTHING to sign up for: if I have time away from the kids, I am SLEEPING IN. Things to sign up for would include:
  • Breakfast in Bed (Served at 10:30 a.m.)
  • Dessert in Bed (Served at 10:30 p.m.)
  • Someone Else Doing Our Nails While We Sit in a Long Row and Talk
  • Haircuts Without Having to Arrange Babysitting
  • Seminar: Is This Fun or What?
  • Seminar: Are You Tired of Hearing Yourself Called a Narcissist Because You Write Publicly? and Other Blogger Woes
  • Debate: Pie, Yummy or Yucky? (Tastes Provided)
  • Brownie Lesson: Bake a Batch or Just Sit Near Counter and Watch/Taste/Talk
  • Debate: Fudge, With or Without Nuts? (Pound of Each Provided to Each Participant)
  • Book Club Meeting: Everyone Lie Around With a Lightweight Book She Wants to Read, Reading Funny/Interesting Parts Aloud
  • Fitness: Watch 1980s Fitness Videos and Make Snorting Sounds
  • Lab: Try Every Single Sephora Philosophy Product Ever Made
  • Hanging Around Talking

If you are interested in other events, please let me know and I'll see if I can find an instructor.

July 16, 2008


One kid thing:
Me: Hey, you've got an owie!
Elizabeth: Well THAT much is clear!

And ONE husband thing, which is that Paul was singing, "There was a farmer had a dog and Bongo was his name-o..." and then he was "playing the bongos" on Elizabeth's tummy, instead of doing the clapping sounds.

Oh, wait---one more husband thing:
Paul: What is that?
Me: Tea. With milk and honey.
Paul: And land?

Okay, and now I will show something that we can ALL enjoy: PET HUMOR!

We have cats who have come THIS CLOSE to getting flung right through a second-floor window for doing basically that same routine ("basically" = "no baseball bat") on me when I've been up most of the night with children.


Day Two of the fast went fine. I was feeling hungrier, but perhaps it isn't necessary for me to specifically say so. I had milky tea for breakfast and for lunch, a diet soda in the afternoon, and I had a cup of juice in the late afternoon when I was feeling tired and weird. After I ate dinner, I felt almost HIGH from eating. I actually said "Wooo!" I may have said it twice.

Here are the other participants, if you want to go see how they're doing:

Chraycee of Walking on Sunshine
Julie of Miss Glass is Half Full
Stephanie of Seriously!?
MaryB of A Yankee's Guide to Texas
Sarah of Redefining Perfect

and of course ERICA HERSELF, who is, I think, the only one of us doing this full-on rather than modified. Even with my major modifications (caffeine? sure! a chewable dinner? sure!) this is not exactly pleasurable, so I have been feeling EVEN SORRIER for Erica than I was before.


Pay it Forward updates:

Mimi All Me received her PiF package from No Whey Mama. She's posted a photo of the loot and also her new contest.

Bebellyboo is showing the giftie she got from Smiling Mama.

July 15, 2008

Day One Report, and a Reader Question: Toddler Eating

Day One of the fast went way better than I'd expected it to. I had coffee with milk (and two accidental cookies--yoops) in the morning, coffee with milk for lunch, jitters all afternoon, and chicken for dinner.

I think the reason it was easier than I expected (certainly easier than any much-more-moderate diet I've ever been on) is that it was so dramatic. Instead of feeling deprived and sullen as I would have if I'd tried to, say, cut out desserts, I felt all interested in the novelty of this. What would it be like to just....NOT EAT for most of the day?

Today, though, I need to plan better: I had just-chicken for dinner because I was too hungry and distracted to manage figuring out a meal, and so instead I ate all the kids' leftover chicken. Today's goal: food groups plural.

Speaking of food, our help has been requested on a toddler food issue:

Vicky writes:
I was hoping you might be able to help me with an issue. I can't get my 3 year daughter to eat meals with us. She always wants something different. I figure with all your kid experience you might have dealt with this before. I wrote a post about it on my blog which explains stuff we have tried. Thanks for any help you may give.

Oh, Vicky! You have my full sympathy! It makes me hand-wringingly frantic when kids won't eat. Intellectually, I know the child is fine: I can look at the child and see that the child is not gaunt, or lying listlessly on the ground, or mewling pitifully with hunger. But I still really like to see a child EAT---and dinner especially, because it's so long until the next meal.

So, as a TOTAL EXPERT (*cough*) with FIVE children's worth of experience, here is everything I know about getting a child to eat:

Yeah. That's it. We've tried the things you've tried: the "this or nothing" approach, the "just eat a little" approach, the "choose what's for dinner" approach, the "you can have dessert" approach, the "you must take one bite" approach, the "okay, fine, we'll serve only Kid Food" approach, the "help cook the meal" approach, the "make it fun!" approach. Eight approaches. Score: toddler 8, dinner 0.

Everyone has taken a turn with this, and right now it's Edward, age 3. He's not eating dinner. Maybe one night a week, he eats dinner. When we tried making him take a bite (hoping he'd like it and keep eating), he barfed. The next night, we tried it again and he barfed again. He's a pro, really. And he's not exactly a hearty breakfast- or lunch-eater, either.

Here's a picture of him, withered and wasting:

Here is the approach I'm using right now: the "look at him and see if he is thin or sickly" approach. If he does get thin or sickly, I'll take him to the doctor. Otherwise, I just breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, and pretend every night that it doesn't bother me when he doesn't eat anything.

Anyone with more helpful advice, chime in!


Pay-it-forward updates:

Sublime Bedlam is showing the giftie she got from Bethtastic.

3Giraffes has posted their new contest.

Seriously!? has a new contest.

July 14, 2008

Two Cups of Coffee

Wouldn't it be funny to call this group fasting idea "Fast Friends"? OMG CHEEZY. BARF. Let's not.

Here is Erica's post giving the gist of the fast. It's not a total starvation fast: it's about 1000 calories a day. More of a "jump start for a stalled diet" kind of fast. It's called a "fast," but my guess is that this is more than celebrities generally eat. Of course, they are CRAZY and UNHEALTHY, but whatevs.

I'm making the modifications Erica suggested: I'm having liquids during the day, and then a meal at night. I'm going to have to take it easy with the coffee, though: I had it for breakfast and for lunch, and now I'm all ZZZZZZING!!! and also a little on the IRRITABLE side. I'm going to make some Crystal Light instead.

Anyway, here are the participants so far:

Chraycee of Walking on Sunshine
Julie of Miss Glass is Half Full
Stephanie of Seriously!?
MaryB of A Yankee's Guide to Texas
Sarah of Redefining Perfect

I have ALREADY screwed it up. I was at my mom's house this morning and she was making cookies, and I ate two one without even thinking about it. It wasn't like I thought, "Oooo, cookies! Screw this fasting thing!"---I just didn't think of it at all. Then I was on my way home and I was thinking about lunch, and then I thought, "Oh, right---no lunch," and then I was like "DAGNABBIT!!!!" as I suddenly realized about the cookies.

Well, pooh. I'm not in the habit of this yet, clearly. The temptation was, of course, to then say, "Well, I messed up THIS day!" and go ahead and eat, but that is the road to all kinds of weight issues (purging! drinking full-calorie Coke when you prefer the taste of diet! letting a doughnut in the morning lead to 3,000 additional calories because the day is "ruined"!), so I'm just going, "Okay, fine, that was a genuine mistake, and now let's just continue with the plan." (The plan, as you recall, is bitching and whining.)


Pay-it-forward updates:

Clarabella has her new contest up.

Midwest Mom is showing the package she received and starting a new contest.

July 13, 2008

Hey, Wanna FAST? Sounds Like FUN, Yes?

As you know, our Erica is doing a 10-day fast in preparation for surgery. Her post today made me feel a little crabby with her husband, who is being unsympathetic to the difficulty of this---and yet I notice he's not exactly volunteering to join her for emotional support.

And I can't BELIEVE I didn't think of this earlier, but WE could join her for emotional support. We've already missed the first three days, which is too bad, and my "do it perfectly or not at all" personality resists even bothering: why start now, if it can't be EXACTLY LIKE ERICA? How can we be supportive if we're THREE DAYS BEHIND? But that is not the way things actually are, is it? It is possible to do things half-assed (or in this case, 7/10ths-assed) and still have it be worth doing, yes? And so I'm going to give this a try.

Erica has promised me (okay, I am making that up, but I plan to EXTRACT a promise) that she will do a post about what is allowed on her fast: it's not a literal "no calories" fast (it's something like 800 calories/day), so we will not actually be starving to death. And when that post is up, I'll link to it.

In the meantime, I'm going to start first thing tomorrow (Monday) morning. It is FULLY POSSIBLE that within 10 minutes of The Start there will be a fudgesicle in one hand and a muffin in the other, but it is my intention to suffer mightily and bitch about it, here and on Twitter, because Erica is making it look like so much fun.

I feel as if I should issue some sort of disclaimer here. I mean, what Erica is doing is medically-supervised and medically-approved. What anyone joining in would be doing is flinging themselves into the unknown. A lot of us are not going to be ABLE to participate in this even if we want to. If your health is shaky, or if you've struggled with an eating disorder, or if you're pregnant or nursing, or if you have a health issue, or if you exercise a lot, or if you're very thin, or if you're not supposed to screw around with what you eat for any other reason, you can still offer emotional support without actually fasting. You can do this by cheerleading from the sidelines, and by refraining from waving your food at the participants.

If you DO decide to fast, email me (swistle at gmail dot com) so I can make a link list of people who are going to be joining in on the suffering and bitching.


I was making toast. I made the first batch. I put in the second batch---and the lever wouldn't stay down. I jiggled the handle for awhile, checked to make sure the toaster hadn't somehow come unplugged, etc. etc. BORING, and then finally looked inside the toaster, where I saw a weird gooey green thing. After unplugging the toaster and messing around with the pliers, I extracted the not-actually-gooey green thing, and figured out what it was: a green plastic baby spoon, melted around the heating element.

SOMEONE (I'm looking in the 3-year-old department) must have put or dropped a plastic spoon into the toaster at some point. Then I made toast, and the spoon melted. The toast popped up and the melted plastic went solid again, jamming the toaster.

(Non-melted spoon for comparison.)

Problem: Toaster not working.
Diagnosis: CHILDREN.


My Life has her new pay-it-forward up.

Laura won the contest over at The True Adventures of Axel and Outlaw, and now Laura's posted her own---as well as photos of the package she received.

July 12, 2008

Whoa, Man, Have You Ever, Like, REALLY LOOKED at Your Hand?

You know what I think is neat and cool about having Google Analytics? It lets me see I have a handful of readers from my geographical location---close enough that we would all shop at the same Target. Isn't that CRAZY? We could seriously be passing each other in the aisles and not even know it! We could be stopping for lunch at the same McDonald's! We might even live in the same neighborhood! And we wouldn't even know! Doesn't that seem bizarre?

Well, or else it's people who know me in real life and are secretly reading my blog without telling me, and geez. Buzzkill.

Hair update: some of the orangey color came out in the first couple of shampoos, leaving behind an only slightly peachy blonde. The color is not as good with my complexion as my usual dirt-colored hair, but it is better with my HAIR than my usual dirt color.

Hey, question. If you put "key lime yogurt (2)" on the list, and your husband came home from the grocery store with "can of key lime pie filling (2)," what would YOU do with it? It seems like a very odd food pantry donation indeed. You don't have enough to eat? Here, have a can of key lime pie filling!

is a not-uncommon sight at our house. He just slings his foot up there. And look at the OTHER foot, so far away, and with little toe niblets splayed as if ASKING to be bitten off.

Now, here are the promised end-of-post contest updates for the nosy and the still-in-the-mood-for-contests:

Home2K9 shows the prize she won in Slynnro's contest (pretty, pretty prize, Slynnro!) and has her own new contest in the same post.

Here's the package Under Construction received from My Life, and here's her new pay-it-forward.

Here's SaLy's post about the package she got from me, and also her new pay-it-forward. Which I'm entering because I think it would be really funny if SaLy and I ended up in a loop like that. Her contest ends tonight, so enter quickly!

July 11, 2008


Here is something that surprises me again and again, no matter how many times it happens: how much less I get done than I intend to get done.

I have such excellent and reasonable intentions. "This summer," I think to myself in the spring, "I will gradually clean up some trouble areas in the house. Nothing dramatic, no no no: it won't be days and days of all-day cleaning while the children care for themselves like little savages. No, I will tackle it reasonably: ten or fifteen minutes a day will really add up."

And here we are nearly halfway through July, and what has my progress been? Well, I did put away a few things that were stacked on the dining room table. That was the first day, when motivation ran hot through my veins. And I've managed to be consistent on another summer goal, which was to have the older two kids do some reading and some writing each weekday. But day after day goes by, and the house is not gradually improving as I'd imagined it would.

This makes me think of a question CP asked recently. She wanted to know how I fit all this in: all the blogs! the Facebook! the Twitter! the baking! Plus, of course, the five squalling children.

This is the most FA of all the Q I get, and so for all of you who are wondering the same thing, I'd like to refer you to All & Sundry for what I consider to be the Perfect Answer to This Question (it comes from this Q&A post):
I kind of want to be all Superwoman on this question and say, oh, I just set my alarm for 4 AM, but truthfully, I make time for the things I love. Which is to say I don’t always make time for cooking, cleaning, or scooping dog crap. Also, Riley goes to bed at–thank you, Jebus–6:45 nearly every night. That leaves quite a bit of time for ignoring the laundry while I sit, clackety-clacking, at my laptop.

Time, like money, is currency: everyone has a certain amount of it to spend. I think it's EASY to make time for writing and reading, because I LOVE writing and reading. I get huge rewards in terms of satisfaction and personal happiness from the give-and-take communication of blogging---and, by extension, from things like Facebook and Twitter, which give me more of that. When I see time, I pounce eagerly: I grab those gleaming coins and shove them into the slot.

When I feel strapped for time is when I think about all the photos I need to label and put into albums. Or when I think of all the movies I haven't seen, all the TV shows I would like to have seen so I'd know what everyone is talking about. All the albums I haven't listened to. All the books I haven't read yet, with more being published every second. The vet appointments I should be making. The craft projects I could be doing with the kids. The ripped shorts I should be sewing. The recipes I could be trying. The volunteer work I could be doing. The clutter I should be purging. "Where oh where do you find the TIME?," I might say to you, if I saw your clean basement and your kids' cool artwork.

Except I would NOT say that, because I understand about time. And about how we give spending priority not to what's "fun," necessarily, but to what gives us satisfaction, and to what we think is important.

July 10, 2008


I was like, "How come I'm such a total doll this morning?" I even made muffins with THREE helpers and didn't get crabby. Then I remembered I woke up with a headache and took Excedrin for it. Excedrin = caffeinated. Thus my cheery disposition. No actual personality improvement has taken place.

Speaking of personality, it was a good thing I went into overloaded shut-down mode with anxiety over the flower situation, because my friend came home from the hospital yesterday. So if I HAD gotten flowers, she would have had to GO BACK TO THE HOSPITAL TO GET THEM OMG. Let's all take a moment to appreciate flawed psyches and how they occasionally work FOR us rather than AGAINST us.

July 9, 2008

Flower Panic!

You guys, I am such a stupid mess about the flowers! Your suggestions were so helpful, and I was particularly interested in Laura's: she suggested calling the hospital gift shop. This appealed to me because I wanted the flowers there as soon as possible, and what could be sooner than RIGHT DOWNSTAIRS?

The gift shop was already closed when I called last night, so I got ALL SET to call this morning---and I got one of those people on the phone where it is obvious they get no joy out of their job at all. Her attitude was like "Who CARES, they're just FLOWERS, what matters other than the price?" I got her to describe some options for me, but everything sounded awful ("You got your three blue daisies and three blue carnations in a vase....or you got your red and yellow carnations in a teddy bear mug...."), and she said they didn't have more coming in until 1:00.

So I thought FINE, I will go with Proflowers or 1800Flowers, since both of those got good reviews from the comment section yesterday. I browsed both, and I found a purple orchid arrangement in a cool green display thingie, and it was $50, which is a lot of money but this friend is totally worth it, and also it's NOT a lot of money as flower arrangements go.
So I filled in my address and her address, and then it said it would be $15 for delivery and another $5 if I wanted it today (me: "Oh, crap, I could have ordered last night if I hadn't been waiting for the hospital gift shop!"), and I thought, "SEVENTY DOLLARS?"

As I said, the friend is completely worth the money, that part is a no-brainer. But are the FLOWERS worth the money, THAT is the question. Seventy dollars will buy something very nice if I take it to a store that sells something other than flowers. And when twenty of the seventy are spent before a single flower is called into play, that is REALLY FRUSTRATING. What I want is a good value for her: if $70 is spent, I want $70 of flowers, not $50 of flowers and $20 of fees.

Well, and I'm a spaz about this kind of thing. I am a SLOW thinker, VERY SLOW. I take a lot of time to adjust to new ideas and new things (fees! this bouquet or that one! this deliverer or that one! yesterday or today! website or phone!). And yet time is of the essence here! So I am not in my element. Plus, I have a phone phobia (it's Too Many Revelations About Swistle's Psyche Day!), not a "ha ha, I don't like the phone" thing but an actual diagnosed phobia, and so although I physically CAN use the phone, I pay for it, and you can basically see for yourself what "paying for it" means (frantic! panicking! over nothing! for hours!).

How about a little contest info to get things back in their usual steady groove? This is the morning for the Yoo Hoo! post. Here is a list of winners of Pay it Forward contests who have not yet gotten in touch with the blogger who held the contest:

Christina, Steve, Clara and Elena won the Twists and Turns contest

Ecchs won the Move Along - There's Nothing to See Here contest

Pink Elefant won the Our House contest

Anybody else not connected? Email me (swistle at gmail dot com) and I'll add them to the list.

I suggest we give the winners until, say...Saturday the 12th? And then after that, time to choose a new winner?

July 8, 2008

Quick! Flower Recommendations!

Quick! I have a friend in the hospital, and I want to send flowers. I Googled "flowers," and there are too many places to choose from. I need to hear good/bad flower delivery experiences, and I need to hear them NOW!

I Blame Tessie. And Jane. And Jess Loolu.

Fine. Twitter it is. IT'S ON, TESSIE.


*Clap-clap* Okayyyyyy, people! <--I'm saying this in the voice of the girl the gym teachers always chose to lead the extra group, if they wanted more groups than they had teachers. She was 6 feet tall and played alllll the sports AND was a cheerleader, and she always wanted us ENTHUSIASTIC. She would divide us into groups and want us to choose "team names," and then she'd be all, "guh-ohhhhHHHHHH, ALLIGATORS!!!" Gym class suuuuuucked.

Where was I? Oh, yes! I was being perky and enthusiastic while clapping sharply. Because today is the day you should email me (swistle at gmail dot com) if you have tried (1) emailing your contest winner and (2) leaving a comment on your contest-winner's blog (if either of those is possible), and still you haven't heard from your contest winner. I'll make a YOO HOO! post and we'll see if we can get everyone in touch.

Also: if you have opinions on when/how to discuss The Facts of Life (that term will ALWAYS make me break into mental song: "You TAKE the good you TAKE the bad you TAKE them both and THERE you have...") with children, scoot your expert and/or opinionated buns over to Milk & Cookies.

July 7, 2008

Tempted Peach and the Result on My Hair

I don't want to overwork the contest thing until you all are so sick of reading about it you faint and then die, but Bikini and I were trying to think of a way that those of us who are a little on the nosykins side can see what everyone GOTS. Plus, maybe some of us would like to enter more contests.

So what about this: IF YOU WANT TO, when you receive your giftie and take a photo of it and post your own Pay it Forward contest, email the link of that contest to swistle at gmail dot com. I won't make a big tiresome deal of out every single contest (I'd do one single big-deal post, but all the contests will be starting/ending at different times so that won't work), but I'll tack them on to the ends of posts for awhile. Just until the post-holiday blues fade.

And remember, tomorrow is the day you should email me if you haven't been able to contact your contest-winner.

Well. Last night I colored my hair an ill-advised color, and are you noticing what an excellent term "ill-advised" is? It implies that it was not MY independent decision to use a color called "Tempted Peach" when I know perfectly well that anything in the apricot/peach range clashes with my skin tone, which is "Rosy Non-Peach." No, it was my well-paid ADVISERS who screwed up.

And sure enough, thanks to those idiots my hair is now the exact color that too-dark-for-blonde hair turns when you try to dye it blonde: a golden orangey-yellowy color, the kind that looks damaged even when it isn't. The word "trashy" "brassy" springs immediately to mind. Furthermore, my eyebrows are the exact color of "too nervous about permanent blindness to color them." Which is also the color my roots will soon be. There is really nothing like that combination of cool-toned light-brown hair with warm golden orangey-yellow.

It is a senseless waste of time to post a hair report without including a photo. I know whenever I see anyone trying to pull that crap, I immediately start the whining and nagging, and I keep it up until I get to see a photo. So I tried to get a good picture of my golden orangey-yellow hair, but the pictures kept coming out too forgiving. "Gee, maybe it's not as bad as I think," I'd say to myself, looking as the photos downloaded from the camera. Then I'd look in the mirror again.

This is the best I could get: the foreground of the photo, where you can see the back of my head, gives a moderately accurate idea of the color; and then you can also see a sample of the "too forgiving" effect on the me in the mirror. Also: rueful expression.

July 6, 2008

EXACTLY, Michelle

Good night's sleep, little chocolate-creamered coffee, things look a little happier now.

OMG, were those Pay it Forward contests SO FUN!? I do indeed seem to have a little case of what Michelle aptly terms "post-holiday letdown," but I think it will pass. It was just so fun to wonder who would win each contest, and then so fun to put together a box for SaLy, and then.....now that part's over! Sad! No more gifties to buy!

I am reading a book about clutter-reduction by that guy who was on Clean Sweep. I don't know if I can give him my full attention, since one of the episodes I saw of that show had him mocking a woman who was saving handmedown baby clothes. She had a toddler and they were planning to have at least one more baby. He made her play some stupid competition game for the privilege of keeping such a ridiculous, frivolous, space-hogging item as perfectly good baby clothes for a soon-upcoming baby.

Still. Clutter. A problem. So, I'm giving the book a chance. Paul doesn't always understand about saving baby clothes, either: he's all, "These take up so much space! Why do we even HAVE all these clothes!? You're only 6 months pregnant! Is it really worth it to save the clothes when we're not going to need them for SO LONG?"

I can already tell that one of my biggest problem areas is going to be "stuff that's too good to throw out, but I have no one to give it to." I might have a free yard sale: I HATE managing regular yard sales, but I can put stuff on my lawn and let other people take it away. Or I can do Freecycle, but it drives me crazy the way people will say they're coming to get something and then they never show. And I think in the future we should do another batch of Pay it Forwards, this time for "stuff that's too good to throw out."

July 5, 2008

Half of the Group

William went to a kindergarten where the pick-up policy is that the parents wait outside the classroom and the teachers send the children out---so you had to be there a little early. This meant there was some stand-around time before the class dismissed, and it was a fun time for chatting with other parents. Some of us started arriving even earlier, on purpose.

Statistically speaking, about half of the families on a class list are going to split up. Out of the twenty families with kindergartners in the class, only two had split up so far. Once this had occurred to me, I had several times when I would be looking around at all of us, thinking, "Which?"

Recently the same thought occurred to me about the blogs I read. Some of us are divorced and some of us are divorcing, but not as many as statistics estimate WILL BE divorced. Over the years, if we all keep hanging out, it's going to keep happening. Pa-chow. Pa-chow. Pa-chow. Some of us may already have an inkling that we may be in that group, and others of us are going to get blind-sided.

I don't even find it depressing so much as interesting. Like looking around your graduating class and thinking, "Some of us are going to be happy, and some will be successful, and some will struggle their whole lives, and some will have sad tragedies, and some...." etc. It's that feeling of knowing the future but not yet knowing how things will be assigned or how they'll happen.

Well. *brushes hands briskly* Enough of that! Carpe etc. Gather ye etc. Eat drink etc. Don't borrow etc. Sufficient unto the day etc.

Ingredients for Buzz Kill

1) Book about a mother who lost three babies in infancy AND has to submissively allow another daughter to be sold to a silk factory.

2) An hour with the Registered Sex Offender list. There are two RSOs in our neighborhood. Both were convicted for crimes involving children under age 13.

3) Ending of miniseries, carefully recorded, cuts out. Nothing seems to be wrong with the DVD. Nevertheless, the last 2 minutes are unviewable.

4) Mosquito bites.

5) Reeky house.

6) We really should be saving for retirement.

7) Target seems to have a new policy about filling their aisles with pallets.

8) Fun pay-it-forward contests are over.

July 4, 2008

Group Effort Over! Well, HERE It's Over

The Group Effort Pay it Forward Contest ends today! It is over NOW on this blog, but different contests have different end-times, so some are still accepting entries.

It is time to announce a winner! I used the customized random number generator my brother made for me, and it chose SaLy of Incubation Nation---and that starts us with a loop right off the bat, because SaLy also threw a PiF contest. Yay for loops! Congratulations, SaLy! I'll be emailing you for your mailing information.....NOW!

I needed to choose four additional winners for our four blogless participants, Dynamita, Lee, Andrea, and Libby. So here are the four blogless contest holders, and their four winners:

1) Dynamita's contest won by: May, of the June 30th, 11:22 a.m. comment.

2) Lee's contest won by: Kelsey of Midwest Mom. Ha ha! Our second loop!

3) Andrea's contest won by: Clarabella of Baby Liam's blog.

4) Libby's contest won by: Amanda of My Version of the Story.

Yay, winners! I've found Kelsey's email address and Clarabella's, but May and Amanda should email me at swistle at gmail dot com and I'll connect you to the contest-holders.

Now. Let's address some possible situations:

Gol-dangit, I won, like, FIVE contests! Worry not! You have several options. Option the first: choose one or two to accept, and email the other bloggers and tell them to choose a new winner. Option the second: accept them all, and have one big Pay it Forward contest where you have as many prizes as you won contests. Option the third: accept them all, and have one Pay it Forward contest for each time you won, but spread them out over the next year so you don't go berserk.

Gol-dangit, I didn't win a single contest! I KNOW, this is sad! I suggest going shopping for your OWN little giftie: if you'd won, you would have had to buy a giftie for someone else, so take those funds and buy something for yourself. We are nothing if not flexible.

I don't know if I won any contests or not, and suddenly I realize I'm going to have to click through over 60 links to find out! Halp! Bloggers who threw contests, will you try to email winners? Entries without email addresses...hm, that's a problem. If you entered a whole bunch of contests and didn't leave your email address, you are a little bit up a creek, aren't you! See next issue, below.

My contest is over. How do I contact the winner? Start by emailing, if you have an email address for your winner. Whether or not you have an email address for the winner, put the winner in a post. If the winner has a blog, go leave a comment on their blog saying they won, or harvest their email address from their blog. If you don't hear anything from your winner by Tuesday the 8th (I'm allowing a few days, since people sometimes go out of town for 4th of July weekend), email me (swistle at gmail dot com) with (1) your blog's URL and (2) the info you have on your winner, and I'll do a post sometime next week that includes the list of winners who haven't yet contacted bloggers. I'm reluctant to do this early on, because the idea of creating that post makes me feel like running screaming into the sea. Which would be pretty refreshing, but that is not the point.

OMG, someone won my contest and now I don't know what to send!! Everything will be fine! If your winner has a blog, go snoop around it and see if you get any ideas. Otherwise, go to wherever you usually shop and poke around looking for something to leap off the shelf into your cart.

I won a contest, but I don't know how to throw a Pay it Forward! Everything will be fine! First, wait for your giftie to arrive. Second, photograph the giftie you received. Third, post that photo on your blog with a link to the person who sent it to you. Third, include a description of what a Pay it Forward contest is, and how to enter. Fourth, choose a winner and mail them a giftie. Fifth, brush off your hands briskly.

I won a contest, but I don't have a blog! Different bloggers are handling this different ways, so check the contest you won. If it's not specified, one way to handle this is to ask the blogger to select a second commenter from their contest. You send a giftie to that commenter, and then that second commenter throws the next Pay it Forward.

I threw a contest, and I also won someone else's contest. Wait, does this mean I now have to throw ANOTHER contest? If you don't, the other blogger's pay-it-forward trail fizzles out, and that is a little sad. Perhaps those who throw and also win might feel more like throwing another one if they can take a little breather first? Maybe wait a month? Or, The New Girl had a good idea: "If you already threw a PIF contest and also won one, couldn't you, theoretically, just choose another random winner from the contest you already threw to count as your second contest?" YES, The New Girl, and great idea!

Other situations? Leave a comment!

Last Chance!

Last chance to enter the Group Effort Pay it Forward contests, which all end today. There were still a couple more contests added late yesterday, and so you're practically a shoo-in to win those if you quick go enter.

I'm spending the 3-day weekend trying to figure out why my house reeks. It REEKS. It's a sour-milk kind of reek, so I'm suspicious of the laundry piles, which are indeed hilly. But, like Jonniker's, my washing machine has been repeating on me recently. The other day, I got out of the shower, dried off with a fresh-from-the-dryer towel, and had to get back in the shower and re-shower, because the towel left reek all over me.

Why the sudden reek? Is it my new laundry soap? I got a bunch of Tide on clearance, and it does smell kind of like men's deodorant (it's a mountain-related scent), but that shouldn't be too reeky, and I stopped using the Gain fabric softener I didn't like.

I'm going through Jonniker's comment section now, looking for more substances to throw at the problem: so far I'm armed with baking soda, vinegar, and bleach.

July 3, 2008

Contest Tip

Little TIP here: the contests at the bottom of the list are newer, and have fewer entries. Better chance of winning!

Another little tip: if you mix sweetened shredded coconut with melted chocolate chips, so that the shredded coconut is fully coated (but still fluffable, not adrift in a sea of chocolate), and then you add butterscotch chips and fluff it up a little, and then you put it in the freezer---well, let's just say you will eat more than you intended to eat.

Also: have you ordered from The Something Store? If so, would you email me (swistle at gmail dot com) and tell me what you got? I'm really trying not to place an order for what would surely be a disappointment (size 4 jeans! a dog toy! a book about physics!).