Sunday Stealing -- The Over the Top Meme

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Part One - Describe:

Your hair? Bad. Frustrating.

Your mother? Intelligent. Thoughtful. Selfless. Puts everyone else first. Hard-working.

Your father? Anxious. Hard-working. Intelligent. Foodie. Loves garnish. Can't sit still.

Your favorite food? Can't choose just one: pasta, strawberries, hummus, cupcakes, challah french toast, pie, eggplant, sushi.

Your dream last night? something about my niece. I always promise myself I'm going to remember and then I forget what it was about.

Your favorite drink? Used to be Diet Coke, but I quit. I love fruity teas, like strawberry kiwi iced tea.

Your dream/goal? to be a published writer. I don't suppose this blog counts.

The room are you in? My bedroom

Your hobby? Blogging/writing

Your fear? Flying

Your TV? cartoons on too much

Your Pets? Monster the mini Poodle

Friends? quality, not quantity. I have some new friends I haven't met yet, thanks to this blog.

Your life? happy. full.

Your mood? pensive

If you're missing someone? I miss lots of people!

Your best friend? I have more than one. They are far away.

Part Two - The Where's?

Where do you want to be in 6 years? a mommy to almost 10 year old twin girls, oh my! and married for almost 14! there's nowhere else I'd rather be. It's not so much the where that matters, it's who I'll be with.

Where were you last night? at home. Two friends from my temple came over to have pizza & drink wine with me.

Where did you grow up? New Orleans

One place that you go to over and over? the grocery store

Your favorite place to eat out? A little French bistro here called Aixois. Or the original Ruth's Chris, which was in New Orleans, but then that bitch Katrina wiped it out.

Wish list items? I'd love to have a big farm with lots of land where I could take in every stray animal I ever come into contact with.

Last time you laughed? At lunch when Izzy loudly announced at Panera that she had to poop.

Last time you cried? I choked up at the grocery store this morning when I helped the girls each put a dollar in the Salvation Army man's red bucket. He was in a wheelchair. He couldn't speak, but signed "thank you," to us and smiled. His name was David. He is a sweet soul who is often there. I try to always put something in his bucket, even if it's only loose change.

Part Three - The What's?

Something that you aren't? stylish. web-savvy. svelte.

Last thing you did? I took Izzy out to lunch at Panera and then shopping. I went to Banana Republic and the Gap with my Friends & Family 30% off coupon. Then I took Izzy to Zoom, where she got some bracelets and a Hello Kitty mirror and comb set.

What are you wearing? jeans and a long-sleeved shirt

Something you're not wearing? a watch. I don't believe in time.

Your favorite store? BANANA REPUBLIC. BANANA REPUBLIC. DOESN'T BANANA REPUBLIC ROCK?!!?! If you don't get it, don't sweat it.


When the Saints Go Marching In....

Good morning my lovely readers,

This morning I have a very special guest post to share with you. My younger brother, Mark, wrote it. As many of you know, I am from New Orleans. Mark still lives there. On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in August, I blogged about my family's losses. You can view those posts here and here. Mark's photos from his home are here. I have to say I think he's written a really wonderful post, and I'm not even a football fan. But this is about so much more than football. Please read on. I think Mark should consider starting his own blog. Of course, I'd be happy if he just wanted to guest post here every so often....


There are a lot of places where the local sports team hasn’t “won the big one.” And in a lot of those places, fans still love their team, still cheer for them year in and year out, and they remain optimistic about “next year.” They want to feel what it’s like to win THE big game; to scream at the top of their lungs; to be filled with overwhelming happiness and euphoria, and to proudly raise their index fingers in the air while chanting their fight song or catch phrase. They don’t know what it’s like. They’ve seen it happen to other teams, but they can’t really understand. New Orleans Saints fans are the exception to the rule. See, even though the Saints have never won the Super Bowl, we know what all of those things feel like.

Hurricane Katrina did a number on the Superdome. It took about a year to repair the water damage from the storm and the destruction caused by the panicked crowd who stayed within the Dome without electricity or plumbing. I imagine it took a long time to remove the putrid smell of raw sewage and death. The Saints spent over a year without playing at home in the Dome.

On September 25, 2006, the Dome was finally reopened. That Monday night, the Saints took on the Atlanta Falcons as all of America watched (you DID watch didn’t you?). I’m sure your average out-of-towner thought, “Wow, I’ll bet the crowd will be excited.” They had no idea.

Picture losing everything. EVERYTHING. Your house destroyed. Your photo albums ruined. Your car totaled. Your job gone. Your friends and family scattered…or worse. Picture YOUR neighborhood, YOUR street, YOUR block…a post-apocalyptic nightmare.

Picture your voice cracking, “What?” as you are told that your insurance company won’t be covering your losses.

Picture hugging your best friend for the last time before she moves away…permanently.

Picture yourself attempting to comfort your child: “It’s going to be okay, honey. We’re going to get a NEW house, and you’ll have a NEW bed and NEW toys and NEW friends, and things will be better than ever.” Picture yourself doubting those words as they come out.

Picture trying to rebuild your home with your own two hands.

Picture the contractor you hired skipping town with your Road Home money.

Picture yourself sitting on a plastic storage container filled with the moldy, rotting remains of your life. Picture yourself crying uncontrollably.

Picture yourself emotionally exhausted. Picture yourself actually forgetting what it’s like to smile.

Imagine feeling those emotions…for a year.
(Don’t read the remainder of this until you’ve actually tried to picture these things.)

Now picture yourself finally getting some good news. Picture yourself hearing that your city’s team looks pretty good and they’re going to be able to play AT HOME for the first time in what feels like forever. You don’t even remember what it was like to tailgate or to have a party at your house. You can’t for the life of you even remember the last time you high-fived someone.

Picture yourself returning to the scene of so much pain, so much violence, so much uncertainty. When you walk through the turnstiles all you can hear is people say, “Wow, it looks like nothing happened here!” When you smell the hot dogs and popcorn, you think of MRE’s. You instinctively check the roof to make sure it’s fixed. When you walk to your seat you think, people died here.

You don’t quite understand it when the National Anthem plays and you can’t hold back the tears. You turn to the stranger next to you who is also wiping tears away, and you both laugh a little, take a deep breath and sigh.

The roar always starts near the Saints’ tunnel because the fans there can see the team when they line up before they take the field. But tonight, the sound is different…louder…more desperate. When the Saints make their first big play, you know you’re going to pump your fists and yell. That’s the conditioned fan response. It’s expected. It’s normal. You’re ready for some normalcy.

The Saints block a punt and return it for a touchdown.

You didn’t know it was going to feel like being born again. You weren’t prepared. No one else is either. The screams of 72,002 other people in the Dome feel like they could break levees. The tears could flood the streets. Every big play is like this. Every touchdown, every sack. You’ve known the definition of “catharsis” since 7th grade English class. You never knew its meaning until now.

Just when you think you have nothing left to give, it’s halftime and U2 and Green Day play a live rendition of “The Saints are Coming.” After the first line, “There is a house in New Orleans; they call it the Superdome,” you well up again. A minute later, Bono sings, “Living like birds in the Magnolia trees; child on a rooftop, mother on her knees; her sign reads ‘Please, I am an Americaaaaaaaaan!”

You weren’t prepared for that. The words ring in your head. The freeze-frame memories from a year ago come flooding back. You don’t hear the rest of the song.

You can’t decide whether what you’re feeling is sadness or happiness. You know no one around you knows the answer either.

After another half of complete euphoria, New Orleanians would be heard for miles, chanting “WHO DAT,” screaming at the top of their lungs, index fingers in the air. Sportswriters, coaches, and players would later say that there was no team, NO TEAM, ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD that could have beaten the Saints that night.

I want another night like that. I hope this is our year.


Up On My Soap Box...And a Challenge.

I realized it's been a while since I nagged you appropriately about your "greenness," as it were. So pardon me while I hop up on my soap box for just a minute.

One if my single biggest pet peeves is plastic shopping bags. Please don't use them. BRING YOUR OWN BAGS! Yes, folks, BYOB isn't just about the booze---it's about the unfortunate situation our poor planet has found itself in.

So many stores sell their own reusable bags now, and at such cheap prices, you have no excuse.

Therefore, I hereby challenge you to:

1.) Get your own set of reusable bags. Store them in your car, stash one or two in your purse, briefcase, gym bag, diaper bag, etc. My favorite for my purse is this one by Flip & Tumble because it balls up really small, but also holds a ton of stuff. If I keep one in my purse, it saves me from having to run back out to my car in case I forget my regular bags.

2.) Promise yourself that if you're in the check-out line and you've left your bags in the car that you will: (a) run back out to your car even if everyone gives you the Evil Eye; or (b) buy another few reusable bags from wherever you are--if available; or (c) ask for paper bags (which aren't innocent, either, but at least they are biodegradable); and (d) grovel at my feet and beg for mercy. If you only have a few things, see if you can just carry them out or stuff them in your purse. I have never understood people who walk away with a can of shaving cream or a single loaf of bread in a plastic bag. Seriously stupid. Seriously wasteful, ignorant, and lazy.**It should go without saying that these bags are not just for your groceries. Take them to Target. Take them to the mall. Use them for all of your shopping!

3.) Earn extra brownie points by going to http://www.etsy.com/ and doing a search for "reusable produce bags." These are some of the ones I really like.

4.) Stop buying and drinking things that come in plastic bottles---water, soft drinks, sports drinks, etc. Invest in a Brita or a Pur filter for your water, because bottled water is the worst offense ever. If you insist upon drinking things in plastic, at least reevaluate how frequently you're drinking/buying them. Reduce where you can.

These are very simple, but very effective ways to go green. I suggest starting small and doing things gradually so you don't feel completely overwhelmed. If you already do these and/or you're ready to move forward, think about:

1.) Recycling. Yes, I'm referring to those blue bins you leave at the curb. Check with your local recycling company to make sure you have a comprehensive list of what you can and can't recycle at the curb. Make sure you realize that you can recycle the cardboard rolls in the middle of your paper towels & toilet paper. And empty cereal boxes. Empty Kleenex boxes. Newspapers. Other paper. Cans. Plastic bottles. You know the drill!

2.) Check out http://www.terracycle.net/ for ways to recycle commonplace things like kids' juice pouches, chip bags, cookie bags, yogurt cups, and much more. Terracycle takes your trash and turns it into cash for the charity/school of your choice. I have started up a Juice Pouch Brigade for my temple. Terracycle takes these items and uses them to make cool things like tote bags, back packs, lunch kits, and much much more. Either contribute to a brigade elsewhere or consider starting up one of your own!

3.) Think of new uses for old things. Instead of putting it in the trash, can someone else use it? Can you donate it, list it on EBay or Craig's List? Can you give it a second life? Really think each time you put something in your trash can.

4.) Use fewer paper towels. I despise paper towels. Yes, they are sometimes a necessary evil, but more often than not you can get by with some sponges, rags, towels, etc. I used to take a piece of fruit, rinse it, then lay it on a paper towel to cut it up for the kids' breakfast. Now I rinse it and cut it right onto their plates instead. So many habits are so ingrained in us that they're automatic and we don't even think before we do it. Use your brain. Start to think.

If you are laughing at this or thinking I'm a raving mad green lunatic, please promptly educate yourself about the floating landfill in our Pacific Ocean that is chock full of plastic bags and lots of other fun things we humans use.

Remember when I asked you to think? Think next time you throw out those plastic rings that hold your 6-pack of Cokes together. Next time, take a moment to get your scissors out and snip all the rings/compartments. Otherwise defenseless creatures such as this poor turtle suffer immeasurably. Go here to see/read more about how our plastic affects wildlife (not just our planet).


Asparagus and Soft Eggs on Toast

Remember that post-it I wrote yesterday to my husband about dinner not having to include meat to be a meal? Yeah, well, it was written with this recipe in mind. It's from Real Simple magazine (which I heart, by the way). I was dying to make it. It's supposed to look like this:

Admittedly I'm no Martha Stewart. But I just want to ask you, my dear readers: do your poached/soft eggs come out this perfect and perky looking? Mine did not. I conveniently forgot we have a Williams-Sonoma egg-poaching pan with separate little compartments for each egg. We registered for it when we got married and used it often before the girls were born, but not so much lately. So infrequently that I forgot we had it. Otherwise my eggs might have been prettier. I was so mortified with the outcome that I did not photograph my sad, frumpy eggs. I should have, because then you would have laughed at my efforts and this post would be so much better. Suffice it to say that this is kinda what happened when I plated everything and served it last night:

However, everything tasted delicious despite its sketchy appearance. I admit we were both hungry again shortly thereafter. Still, it's a good way to be "green," (LOL) even if only one night a week or so. Less meat is better for our bodies and better for our planet (not to mention easier on our wallets!).

p.s. If you try this recipe, please cut off the tough ends of the asparagus stems and then use a peeler on the remaining bottom inch or so. Makes it so much tastier!


Post-It Note Tuesday

If you'd like to play along, please head over to Adventures of a Wanna-Be Supah Mommy.


What Makes Me a Theta Mom --- I've been tagged!

Menopausal New Mom tagged me today in the Theta Mom challenge (Theta = The True, Authentic Mom). I'm supposed to share five reasons why I'm worthy of this title and then tag a few others.

First and foremost, I am who I am, and I fully admit I'm a far-from-perfect mom. I let my kids watch television (sometimes too much). I bribe them with treats so I can get my grocery shopping done in peace. I yell often. They drink out of plastic cups and eat off of plastic plates. I sometimes force them to have quiet time because I'm the one who needs it, not them. I don't kill myself trying to be the perfect mom because nobody wins that game. Cartoons and a little candy won't kill them.

I try to maintain a healthy balance. I don't play with or entertain my kids 24/7. They are nearly 4 years old, and they need to learn to play on their own sometimes. It's important for them to be self sufficient, because the reality is mommy isn't always going to be around and they need to learn to be independent beings. I firmly believe this will make them stronger.

I love my daughters with every fiber of my being. There was a long & difficult time when we weren't sure we'd be able to conceive on our own. It was very important to me to carry my own child, although we ultimately decided we'd adopt if the in-vitro failed. I was given a gift, and it was motherhood. It doesn't matter how it all happened; it's just important that my dream of becoming a mother was realized and I now have two incredible daughters. I am blessed and so very lucky.

Being a mom hasn't been all sunshine and roses: it's been skipping showers, wearing dirty clothes, and dressing my kids better than I dress myself. It means vomit and wiping poopy bottoms and lots of bedtime drama. But it is also hugs and kisses to my heart's content, "I love you" in a singsong voice all day long, and those little faces looking up at me like I'm the best thing since sliced bread. It's snuggling and story time and learning together. It's blowing bubbles, riding bikes, and jumping on beds. My cup runneth over. My heart is full of love for these two little miracles.

Lastly: I do the best that I can each day to teach them everything I know. To show them the world in all its beauty, but also in its imperfection. We recycle. We see homeless people on the side of the road. We put money in the Salvation Army's red buckets. We cook together. We take baths together. We argue. We go to Target and bake cakes and go to the park and play duck duck goose. I'm their mother, and it's my job. It's the most challenging and most rewarding job in the world. I'm proud to call myself a mommy.

I challenge these bloggers to write about what makes them Theta Moms:


Sunday Awards Ceremony

It's a quiet Sunday morning, and I woke up today greeted by 100 amazing and beautiful followers for the first time. I am so proud and ecstatic to reach 100!!! It seems appropriate to host an awards ceremony today to pass on the bloggy love. It goes without saying that the wonderful people who gave me awards deserve your undying love & devotion, so please go and FOLLOW them NOW, as well as the recipients. I always love finding new blogs to follow and hope you do, too. Thank you all for reading me, following me, and leaving me lots of comment love. I do so appreciate it, probably more than you know....so without further adieu...DRUM ROLL....

Lee over at Headaches, Hormones, and Hot Flashes gave me the "I Shoulda Been a Stripper" Award. I bow down to Queen Lee and worship her daily. Go see her now!

I'm going to pass this one along to:

I Like To Fish

Batcrap Crazy

Tattoos and Teething Rings gave me the Superior Scribbler Award. She is awesome, has 2 adorable kiddos (check out the pics of her son w/ his hand in his pants!), and a shoe problem. She's wonderful. Go forth & follow her NOW!

I'll share this one with:

Steph in the City

Crazy Baby Mama

Stir-Fry Awesomeness

Running With Letters

Crazy Baby Mama recently gave me this Badass Blogger Award.
She is not afraid to say what she thinks, and she is very pregnant. We all need to send her HEAD DOWN vibes pronto. Oh, and go follow her!

Other Badasses in my book are:

Headaches, Hormones & Hotflashes

Dirty Little Confessions

Glama Ray

Pink Flip Flops & Wine

Bacon is my Lover

Tattoos and Teething Rings

and Leigh vs. Laundry gave me this Heartfelt Award. Leigh posts hilarious pics every week and we have to come up with captions to go with them. I suck at my submissions, but I still try to play anyway. Go check her out and FOLLOW, FOLLOW, FOLLOW!!

Other bloggers I heart are:

504 Main

2 Kids.....3 Martinis

Hiding From the Kids

Life of a Tater Tot Mom

I'm Living Proof That God Has a Sense of Humor

And finally, Holly, the sweetest gal there ever was, over at 504 Main gave me the Friendly Blogger award. Holly has the most adorable kiddos and she often shares great recipes which make my mouth water. I can always count on her for some wonderful & insightful comments, too. Stop by and tell her I said hello!!

I'll pass this along to some other friendly peeps:


Menopausal New Mom

A Nut in a Nutshell

Airing My Dirty Laundry, One Sock At a Time

Low Expectations

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