Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Who Says Nothing is Free?

Holiday Giveaway!

Everyone is watching their pennies this year. How about something free? Yes, free with no strings attached.

Lara Shiplett at the Shiplett Shop on Etsy (See link in red here) is giving Not Talking readers a chance to win a beautiful necklace called Winter Dreams. It is my favorite. (Hint Hint Lara.)

To enter: Check out her site and let me know which item is your favorite. Leave a comment for me letting us know.

You can receive and extra entry if you let your readers know about my contest. Link from your site to my site and let me know.

We will pull the winner next Monday.

And all readers will receive FREE SHIPPING through the Thanksgiving weekend. Just let her know you found it on it "Not Talking."

Good luck! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and have fun shopping!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Brainwashing the Preschoolers

Have you ever seen the propaganda of other countries such as Germany in the 1930's? You know that sick feeling when you see it? My stomach always feels funny when I see it. There is just something about propaganda.

Now before I get into this post. Let's explain some things about my family. I grew up in a very conservative family. My Dad only watches Fox News. Enough said. I used to be very conservative and have grown more liberal in graduate school and as a parent. I just see the world differently now. Before I had kids, I believed my children would NEVER play with guns. But, I also thought kids ate and slept just because you said so. It all started with water guns. Then Ryan fell in love with Star Wars and then we moved onto Star Wars light sabers and then "blasters" i.e. guns. Two of the most important, loving men in my life, my husband and my Dad grew up with guns and they no longer play with them or have ever been violent in their life. So, I got over my rule about guns. I am always thinking about how I feel about them. But, that is where it stands right now. OK. Now to the real post at hand.

Last Sunday, we went to see Madagascar 2. Before the show started, there were ads for tons of kid's movies. We were in the target audience. That is for sure. But, one ad made me sick to my stomach. As we sat and munched on our popcorn, there was an ad by the National Guard that ran. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was set up as a music video with a 3 Doors Down playing throughout the song. It was a long song. And in this video, there was tons of guns and situations that glorified the military. This is not the normal ad you see on TV. It is not. It was well crafted for young boys. It starts out as a man who joins the army to help others. It has helicopters, guns, disaster zones and soldiers looking heroic. Now, before you judge, I want you to watch the video. No commenting unless you watch it. And imagine you are sitting with your four year-old. The sound is extremely loud and it is completely dark. You can only see the military ad playing for three long minutes.

OK. I know that the military has to advertise. I expect teenagers to be targeted. But, I can tell you that my stomach hurt just sitting there while the military tried to talk my two little boys into their army in 12 short years.

I am not innocent when it comes to peace and raising pacifists. My kids have swords, guns and light sabers. I hope that they will understand the difference between play and reality. And I respect those that serve. My Dad was in the National Guard and I was raised in a very patriotic family.

Joining the military is a choice that people must make when they are old enough to understand the ramifications of the role and the responsibility that comes with it. It is unethical for our government to try to recruit children so early in their life. Isn't that what high school is for? The room was full of preschoolers and elementary children. Not high schoolers who will soon have to make the choice. I didn't need my six year-old to look at me and say "What is this song about and why do they have guns?" What do I even say? I could barely speak. I was sick to my stomach.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Surprises Do a Body Good!

Wow! What a mood everyone is in. The economy has everyone in such a bad mood. I have also noticed it on other blogs and in conversations with friends. Even my blog has been in the dumps. So, I got to thinkin, what makes people feel good? Surprises. There is nothing like a great surprise.

Yet another of our friends has cancer (no worries, nothing negative here to report. Keep reading). So, every three weeks, his supporters get together to surprise the family while he is receiving his chemotherapy. For the first chemo session, we decorated his house with a fall theme. People brought pumpkins, fall decor and surprise goodie bags for the kids. A large group of people are coming together to surprise this family every three weeks. I am starting to think that we are getting more out of this than they are. Surprises do a body good!

I have had people surprise me with a pie and sweet note (thank you SB.) and someone dropped some very cool coupons off for free goodies (thanks JB, I think. She didn't sign her name). Sometimes, a friend will add contact you on Facebook. That is a great surprise. That can really make your day. Sometimes, it is a real compliment from someone you don't expect one from. Sometimes, it can be a simple "I love you too, Mommy" from your child that NEVER says it unless you beg (hint, hint Ryan). What about a song that comes on the radio that you haven't thought of in years? Can you say "Rhythm is Going to Get You" by the Miami Sound Machine?
What great surprises have you had in your life? Is there anyone you could surprise? I will have to think about that. Life is full of surprises. Let's enjoy them.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Some Companies Are Making Money

Do you know that women buy more lipstick when the economy is bad? Really, they do. Lipstick sales are booming! From Avon to Estee Lauder, companies report a rise in sales of lipstick when the economy is in a recession. It must be because for less than $10 bucks, you can buy something that will make you feel better. And it doesn't put too much strain on the budget if you sneak a lipstick in now and then.

When I was a girl, my Grandma used to wear bright red lipstick. She was as tan as I am and very dark Irish hair. I loved her lipstick. But one thing really bugged me as a child. She always missed when putting it on. It was always smeared on the right side of her upper lip. Fast forward 30 years. Guess who does the exact same thing when putting on her lipstick? Me! Isn't that strange? More often than not, I have to fix my lipstick because I do the exact same thing. She died before I even wore lipstick so there was no make-up lesson gone wrong.

So in honor my Grandma Indy, I'd like to share my latest favorites in lipstick. You may be cutting back but a girl still has to look good.

My latest fave: Loreal Infallible Never Fail Lip Gloss.
Normally, long wearing lipsticks look pretty good when you put them on. Then, hours pass and then your lips get really dry and strange looking. Loreal Infallible is more like a lip gloss. I am not wild about lip gloss but I love the way this lipstick feels. When the gloss wears off, you are left with a natural shade of the original gloss that looks good while you go with the rest of your day. You can pick this up anywhere for less than $9 and it lasts a long time. I have had mine for a couple of months and I use it daily. Also, don't forget to look in your Sunday newspaper. Loreal always has coupons and CVS has buy one, get one free specials often.

In case you don't care for gloss: Loreal Infallible Lip Color
This lipstick stays on forever and ever. Sometimes it stays on all night while I sleep. I like to wear it under a regular lipstick. It gives me a nice color that doesn't have to be reapplied. Who has time throughout the day? This lipstick is like your favorite pair of jeans. Just put it on and forget about it.

In case you want a regular lip stick: Mary Kay
I have tons of regular lipsticks in my collection. Time after time, I reach for my Mary Kay lipsticks. I am always suprised how long it stays on. For not being a "long wearing" lipstick, it outruns everything else I have tried that isn't considered long wearing. You may have to reply once a night when you are out, but you won't look funny in between bathroom visits. Worth every penny. The lipstick goes on smooth and looks great.

So do yourself a favor, if you need a little retail therapy, add one of these lipsticks to your shopping list or find a Mary Kay consultant. I am a lipstick girl and have more than I will ever admit. And if you have a favorite lipstick, don't be afraid to share it in the comment sections. You can never have enough lipsticks! Right, Grandma?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My 180

I interrupt my scheduled post to announce the best news I have heard in a long time. And before I share, I'd like to apologize for a mention of Christmas before Thanksgiving. It is such good news and once it gets out, it may have an impact on your shopping. So, here's to a head start that will save you a ton of headaches on Christmas Day.

Have you heard the good news from They are introducing stress free packaging of kids' toys. Yes, you read that correctly. No more toys wrapped up in wires and plastic. It will not take a trip to the emergency room for your little Johnnie to play with his toys right away. The toys will come in an environmentally friendly brown simple box. You will simply pull the product out and the child can play. Can you even imagine?

Jeff Bezos, CEO of of Amazon said that there are starting this packaging with their best sellers. And from there on, they will expand it to their line of toys. It may take some time. It is a multi-year initiative. Sounds good to me. I will wait as long as it takes and reward Amazon with my business. Thank you Amazon!

I have always loved Amazon. You can't beat their prices, free shipping and their selection. Often times, I have found their prices to be cheaper than the stores and with NO TAX. Delivered to my door without a shopping trip with screaming and fighting kids, priceless.

So forget what I said about shopping before Thanksgiving in a post a few days ago. There may be a run on the best sellers with the new packaging. Better make your list and check it twice. Getting shopping people. There's only 38 days until Christmas!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Beautiful Eyelashes

I was born with the whitest, smallest eyelashes. I am blonde thanks to Aveda but was born blonde thanks to my ancestors. No matter how much mascara I put on my eyes, they are still tiny and barely visible. Today, I spent time today staring at the most beautiful eyelashes and eyes. My friend Julie's son came for a visit this weekend with his dad and sister. At her eulogy, her pastor said that Julie once said she watched her son sleep for over a half an hour and never knew she could love someone so much. As I looked at his eyes today, I could only imagine the love she felt knowing her days were limited.

This weekend was harder than I expected. I knew that I would think of her often but I had no idea that I would feel so guilty. I just don't think it is fair that I am with her children and she cannot be here. I tucked them into bed tonight and nearly lost it. I hope she was watching from Heaven because I did it with every bit of love that I know she would have wanted to do.

Have you heard of survivor guilt? I have never felt it before but today, I knew exactly what it was. Julie and I were pregnant at the same time. We went to the hospital around the same time. Ryan was born a day before Julie's son. We were so different but so much alike. I promised myself to never write another post that made me cry about Julie. But tonight as her children sleep under my roof, I cannot ignore it. Julie, your children are so much like you and have so much love to share. I know that you have layed such a strong foundation for them and that they radiate the love you gave.

At the end of the long day day, it can so easy to rush the bedtime routine. They always need another drink, a quick trip to the restroom, their covers aren't right, they forgot their favorite stuffed animal downstairs... the list is endless. So many days I want to yell "I am off duty boys!" And there are days that I do. But, tonight, I spent a little more time covering them up, looking at them and saying a little prayer. Julie, your children are beautiful and I am so blessed to be able to tuck them in. So beautiful.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Me? Bah Humbug?

Harry Connick Jr. wrote one of my favorite Christmas songs. The words of "When My Heart Finds Christmas" are:

In my eyes are valentines
And Easter eggs and New Year's wine
But when my heart finds Christmas
My eyes will shine like new

All the days are kind to me
But fall too far behind to see
But when my heart finds Christmas
I hope it finds you too

Lately, I have wondered what is wrong with me. Why am I not more excited about Christmas coming? It is everywhere. I went to Walmart yesterday and tried to walk down the Christmas section. I couldn't do it. I am just not into it.

I then thought about when I'd put up the tree and decorations. I even scheduled an event in early December at my house to force me to get my decorations up. Should it be so much work and something I dread? What is wrong with me? I love everything about Christmas. I get into it 100 percent.

It then dawned on me. IT IS NOT CHRISTMAS! I shouldn't be in the mood to start my Christmas cards or shop for gifts. I can relax and enjoy Thanksgiving for everything it means to me. I can look out at the leaves and soak in their color. I can put out my turkey decorations and gear up for the big family dinner and the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. We can even make turkeys with feathers that list everything we are grateful for. We can't miss Thanksgiving and all of the memories.

Retailers almost had me fooled. I know they are hurting. But, I think America is hurting for more than retail therapy. We need family. We need to be grateful. We need each other. Don't be afraid to ignore the commercials, music at the stores and the Christmas aisle. It is only November and we have so much to be grateful for. Let's celebrate Thanksgiving. And eventually my heart will find Christmas. But for now, I have to count my blessings and be thankful.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lots of Energy

Do you remember some of you papers you wrote in college? Can you believe you wrote and believed some of the crap that you turned in? Sorry for the use of the word crap. I tried to come up with something a little better but my other choices were worse. Anyway, when I studied abroad, I wrote some papers about the development of gender. I really believed that it was environment or nurture that shaped a child's development and character. I never expected biology or nature to have so much to do with it. I would raise my children a certain way and that would be it. I knew it all. I was a career woman and I studied "Women's Studies." I am not sure I ever expected to have kids. I knew that I would never stay home with them. Never.

So here I am at home and my boys really make me earn my keep. They are all boy. They are constantly moving and chasing each other. They wrestle and come up with super hero scenarios. They love to tease each other and everything is a contest. Up and down the stairs. Fighting, yelling, running, chasing and teasing. That's all they do.

We had my beautiful niece's baptism on Sunday. At the luncheon afterwards, the boys (all of the boys not just mine) are running laps and laps around the house. One of my nieces was hanging with the boys and trying to keep up. The other girl, sitting in the corner with some tiny people and a house. Playing quietly.

We visited some friends for the weekend a few months ago. The kids created a small obstacle course and were jumping into piles of pillows to entertain themselves. All in all, they were good. They hardly argued or fought. I was telling her how happy and relieved I was that my boys were good during the visit. She looked at me a little funny and said "Whoa. That was good? I thought they had a lot of 'energy'." That is a nice way to say "wild." She has two little girls and when they get yelled out, I am always wondering what they were doing wrong. They seem like angels to me.

Everyone keeps telling me that this will all pay off when they are teenagers. I will not have teenage girls and hopefully none of the drama. I told a new mom I know to just keep repeating to yourself "This is just a phase. It will pass." I need to really believe it myself. Everyone also says that I will miss this time when they are older. I hear you. But, man. I could take a few days of a little less energy.

Don't let the tuxedos or smiles fool you. They have lots and lots of "energy."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Am Under Construction

Do you have any strange fears? Nothing serious. Just weird?

I realized that I have a funny one today. I was driving to preschool and they are doing road construction on one of the sides of the road. You have to wait your turn and a hard working person turns the little stop sign to let you know if you should stop or proceed slowly. So here is my fear. I have a fear of being the first car in the line. "Where do I go? What if I go in the wrong area? What if I go at the wrong time?" I know it is silly. I can follow directions. I can wait my turn. But, I do get a little nervous when I am not sure where to go. I know they will work on this road for the next week. Part of me wants to take a different route. The rational part of me says that I most likely will not be the first car. And if I do, I can figure it out. Funny how the mind works.

Do you have any irrational fears?

Right now, Ryan is afraid of the dark. This is new. He won't go upstairs to get something without someone with him. He can't even turn on the light. I was like this as a child. Thank goodness it isn't a permanent condition. Can you imagine being a parent who is afraid of the dark? For fun, I looked up the phobia. It is called Nyctophobia. It would be an expensive phobia to have with all of the lights you'd have to have on everywhere you go every day and night of your life.

If you have a fear and you'd like a label, check out You can enter your fear and it will help you pinpoint your phobia. And just for the record, I couldn't find any road construction phobias. I am relieved about that. Tomorrow morning, I will talk myself into taking the road that is under construction. It will be OK. I will be fine. And we will keep the night lights on for Ryan. Just in case.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Expensive Lesson Learned

We walked in making jokes about how we were dressed. We didn't intend to meet at this really nice restaurant. Our local hangout was closed because of winter hours. We were stuck with the restaurant next door.

So, we sat down and asked the waiter for a suggestion for our wine. That is code for "bring us wine that is good but at a good price." I made the mistake of turning my nose up at Stagg's Leap. Nothing personal against the wine. But, we had it recently and I just don't care for it. Anyway, the waiter brought us the wine list. We asked for a suggestion. He gave it and we took it.

All good until the bill came. Our eyes almost popped out of our heads when we saw the bill. It was a $100 bottle of wine. Now, you are reading this thinking you would have asked about the wine he suggested. You wouldn't have. Not in this place. You would have felt awkward and cheap. You would.
But let me tell you, as much as I enjoyed my 2 glasses of wine, I feel sick that I spent the money. Just sick. There are times when you enjoy spending money on wine and times that it is not necessary. Girlfriends, I enjoyed your company but it was just too much money. We are watching our budget and really being particular about where we spend our money. Drinking it all made me sick.

So just so we are clear Mr. Waiter, you would have received a 20% tip from the lovely ladies tonight. But instead, you received $1. 50 for your outstanding suggestion of Cask Cabernet of Napa Valley 2004. It was good but I still have a sick feeling in my stomach. Lesson learned. It just stinks that it was such an expensive lesson to learn.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Baby Mama

Top Ten Signs You Shouldn't Have Trick or Treated at My House Last Night*

10. You fill out a french maid's outfit.
9. Your voice cracks when you say "Trick or Treat."
8. You are hoping for extra candy to bring to your office
7. You are worried about the candy going to your hips.
6. You aren't wearing a costume but carry a pillow case.
5. You drove and your truck is parked out front.
4. You are taller than me and I had to reach up to put candy in your bag.
3. You wondered if you should be a nurse or a naughty nurse.
2. You wore aftershave.
1. You are a baby mama (you brought the baby and her treat bag)

*Most of these really happened last night. Thanks to my sister, hubby and MIL for their help. We weren't talking about our trick or treaters, we're just saying....

Indy & Hubby at a Halloween party.

Kyle as Darth Maul minus the mask and double light saber

I'm Not Talking About It, I'm Just Saying...