Picking Winners

Last night after I was already in bed, I remembered that I hadn’t selected any winners for my luggage tag giveaway. So first thing this morning I enlisted my little dudes to help me out.

It’s kind of funny how little kids will just do what you tell them to do without questions. Pick one piece of paper out of a hat? Sure, why not?

In keeping with the theme of the giveaway, I put the little pieces of paper with your names on them in Quinn’s free hat.

Jack chose first.

Before you ask about the nipple band aid, just let me tell you the story. I came home from BlogHer wearing one of the mood rings featured in this post. The day after my return, Jack jumped on top of my hand just as I moved it, he got caught on the ring, and I practically ripped his nipple off. (And by “practically ripped his nipple off,” I mean, “scratched him.”) He was really upset and so I gave him a band aid and he calmed down. But you don’t take band aids off of Jack. You wait for them to fall off. And this one has been particularly tenacious.

Anyway, he picked The Perks of Being Me. Perfect! She works with autistic kids and seems like a really cool chick.

Next it was Quinn’s turn.

Quinn chose Niksmom. And then he said, “I don’t want this one. I want to choose a different one.” And then he threw a tantrum. And then I emailed Niksmom to tell her that she won.

Sucks to be three.

Sam mixed the names in the hat for something akin to a million years before he picked a name. You know, so he couldn’t cheat.

He chose BetteJo.

He was not happy with his choice either. I did not care. I was happy with his choice.

If you won and have not already done so (I’m looking at you, BetteJo), email me your address and I’ll drop the luggage tag in the mail right away! If you did not win, do not despair. (It will be difficult, I know, but hang in there.) I’m sure there will be more luggage tag giveaways to come.

How to Save Up For Your Vacation

Alternatively titled: “How Can a Post About Money be So Graphic About Poop?” or “Who’s the Idiot Taking All the Photos at the Bank?”

1. Create a Middle of the Night Fund. This is a box made up of money taken out of your pockets before you go to bed at night. You will use it on the occasion that you need to bail from your home like RIGHT NOW and it’s helpful to have some cash with you.

Like when you find out your husband is actually a serial killer and has dismembered his prior families and left them strewn all over the Midwest, and this news comes to you in the form of an anonymous phone call at midnight just before you discover some corroborating evidence and so have to grab your kids, your keys, and your Middle of the Night Fund and run for your lives. That’s what a Middle of the Night Fund is.

2. Put another box next to your Middle of the Night Fund in which to put your spare change at night. If When you have to flee your home, you can grab this too if you want. You know, in case you have to park at a meter.

3. Give your husband a giant piggy bank.

4. Commence to saving.

5. Shortly before vacation, dump all of your coins on the floor and watch your husband get up close and personal with his pig to dig his coins and bills out. Roll in the money.

6. Watch as your five-year-old swallows a coin. Demand advice from Twitter. Call (closed) pediatrician’s office. Then call poison control. Please note the order of those steps. God forbid a real emergency ever occurred. Imagine that tweet: “Husband is serial killer. Is midnight. What to do?”

7. Learn that as long as your five-year-old is not exhibiting certain signs, that he will probably be okay. But you should watch his “stool” to wait for the coin to emerge. Parent Center recommends scooping up his poop with a strainer and running hot water over it. Torture your Twitter buddies (and later your blog readers) with that information. (Days later poison control will call back, looking for, I swear to God: “closure.” Unfortunately, having not strained your child’s poop, you will not have “closure.”)

8. Take coins to the bank and make a scene because you and your three kids are so excited about the coin sorting machine.

9. Make more of a scene trying to keep three small children interested in standing in line. When standing at the counter, elicit laughs from onlookers by making up contest of “Who Can Keep Their Hands on the Counter the Longest?” Watch Quinn lose almost immediately.

10. Stop giving a crap what anyone thinks after the teller gives you $202.59 for your 601 quarters, 215 nickels, 109 pennies, 300 dimes, one fifty-cent piece, and four dollar coins.

11. Use fund to buy one tank of gas. And a Big Gulp.

12. Hope no Middle of the Night Emergency befalls you before you build up your fund again.

For Evan Kamida

Because to lose a child must be the hardest hurt. Because The Mother at the Swings says so much. Because we can’t be there in person to say, “I’m so sorry,” whether we know Vicki in the flesh or solely through her words. Whether we’ve known Vicki and Evan for years or only for days. Because we want Vicki and her family to know we care and that she and Evan have made a difference.

But mostly because Evan loved to swing.

Add your support by posting your photo of flowers at a swing to the Flickr pool here.

Sponsors, Commercialism, and Swag, Oh My!

Although I don’t generally do product reviews here, I am going to take these moments to discuss some of the free goods I acquired last week at BlogHer. I felt a little cheap wandering around with my bags of free stuff, but whaddya gonna do? Refuse the free stuff? Not if you’re me.

I only kept the things I really wanted. And the things I didn’t like, I won’t write about. And the products and companies I do like? I will use them to make wordless jokes on my blog.

For example:


I’ve already written at The Junk Pyramid about some of the swag I gave away, both to the Zwaggle recycle room in San Francisco, and swag that I hauled all the damn way home before giving it away. Because I only have four readers over there, the comments that I do get mean a lot. And there has been some controversy over whether recycling (heretofore known as “Zwaggling”) swag before it comes home should count as decluttering. I steadfastly believe it does. Some of you believe that it doesn’t. Discuss.

Well, back to the things I kept. Did I mention that my suitcase weighed 68 pounds on the way home? It might have had something to do with the free books I took from the lovely women at MotherTalk and Mom Central. (I’m a little hoggy if there is a table of FREE books in front of me.) I also purchased some books as well. (In my defense, I only bought three, and they were paperback.)

To be perfectly honest, I gave some of the above away too. But not the pens. I’m keeping the pens. There is a pen that Sprout gave out that was particularly awesome. I am also quite fond of the several USB flash drives I picked up. And the Snapfish gift cards. Oh, and I must shut up now before I sell my soul.

But some swag of special interest were these things:

So, really and honestly, I adore the Internet Password Organizer most of all. My current system is a three-column unalphabetized list of websites, usernames, and passwords stored on my computer that I occasionally print out. Unfortunately, my computer seems to have eaten my password column, which is going to be a problem. But not after I have this little baby filled out.

I thought that the peanut butter and honey peanut butter was going to solve all my problems. My kids love peanut butter and honey sandwiches, but lunchtime always ends up very, very sticky. So I brought two jars of this peanut butter home packed in my boots inside my suitcase. Unfortunately, it mostly tastes like peanut butter. Note to Jif: add more honey.

The Boogie Wipes cracked me up because I have Boogie Wipes at home, but they’re called tissues. And if I need a little extra moisture, I have diaper wipes. These have saline in them though, so maybe they’re better than wipes. I don’t know because for the first time in six and a half years, no one has had a cold for an entire week.

The Michelin Man is a tire pressure gauge, which I didn’t have. Free stuff that fulfills a need I was going to have to pay to fill? That’s the best kind of free stuff.

I put that iRobot flash drive in the picture because I’m mad at iRobot and I told the iRobot PR people standing in the iRobot lounge that I was mad at them, and they couldn’t have cared less. So I took this flash drive off the table. Although I’m not sure taking a freebie qualifies as revenge. I should have taken six freebies. Yeah, that would have shown them.

The Yahoo flash drive picture above has many strange and some quite lovely headshots of yours truly. This makeover/photography session was set up by the lovely ladies of Silicon Valley Moms Group. I love them for setting this up. You’ve seen the best photo from this shoot. Here’s another one that I like:

I’m also a big fan of this free hat I picked up for Quinn. And in an unbelievable stroke of serendipity, he likes it too. I finally have a solution to my problem of how to take a fair-haired child outside. I tell him, “It’s to protect your yellow hair from the sun, so I don’t have to spray sunscreen on your head.”

My other kids benefited from SwagFest ’08 too:

Jack really loves the flashing rubber necklace from The Karianna Spectrum. Sam wasn’t quite sure what to do with the re-headed doll from Headless Mom. “Does she make noise?” he asked. I found her later. Without any legs.

In the spirit of the swag (and to reward those of you who read this far), I am going to be giving away a couple of my leftover luggage tags. If you didn’t get a luggage tag at BlogHer, or weren’t there, leave a comment telling me what your favorite piece of my swag from this post is. I won’t give that item to you, but I will randomly pick a couple of you to receive luggage tags. You have until July 30 to comment.

With Love

I briefly met Vicki Forman at BlogHer this weekend. She spoke at the blogging about special needs children panel.

She is beautiful and smart and friendly.

Her nearly eight-year-old son, Evan, unexpectedly passed away this week.

Please keep Vicki and her family in your thoughts.

Information about services and donations is here.

There’s No Whining in Baseball…

…unless you’re attending a game as part of Camp Stimey, that is. In that case, feel free to be as much of a jackass as you would like.

A while back the cop who lives across the street drove Sam to school one day because both Alex and I were too lazy to figure out when the bus arrives in the morning at an IEP meeting or some such thing. Like any good citizen, Sam put on his seat belt when put in the back of the police car.

(Shut up, I’m getting to the baseball.)

Later that night, the cop/dad came over and gave Sam a voucher for up to six free tickets to go see the local minor league baseball team, the Bowie Baysox, for doing, as the voucher said, “something right.”

After calling the Baysox the Bosox (I’m well aware that Bowie Bosox makes no sense, thank you very much) for several months, we finally went to a game.

We cheerfully sat on a giant baseball:

We spent $9.75 on two hotdogs, french fries, and a bottle of water:

We rode the merry-go-round:

Wait. We rode the what now? Merry-go-round? Whose brilliant idea was it to put a goddamn “Kid Zone” at the ball park?

I mean the little dudes had a good time and all. In fact, the moonbounce attendant had to pull Jack out by his ankles. But what is the best way you can think of to ensure that my kids won’t want to watch baseball?

Show ’em a Kid Zone.

They used up the four tickets each I bought them. Then I asked them, “Do you guys want to go watch more baseball?!”

Guess what they said?

We did eventually watch some of the game and even though they quite snottily claimed to not have had any fun at all (now is the time you all reassure me that all kids are assholes, and not just mine), I think they did.

They even played some baseball on the concrete diamond on the way back to the car.

Although when it was Jack’s turn to “bat” he took off running for a tree instead of the painted base, so I’m thinking he didn’t pay too much attention to the rules of baseball.

Come to think of it, I didn’t pay too much attention to the game either. I don’t know who won, I don’t know what inning it was when we left, and frankly I don’t even know what team the Bosox Baysox were playing. I did notice that they were wearing black uniforms. Or dark blue. Or purple.

Shit. Well they were for sure NOT naked, at least. And our team wore orange. And was named the Baysox.