Sh-sh-shampooing the rugs

Who says you have to take your kids to Disneyland or Chuckie Cheese?  Why, when you have a vacuum? Or even better, a shampoo rug cleaner!  I had been thinking about renting a Rug Doctor for a while, because I hear they are steaming mad at dirt.  But, not until the other morning when Rex had smashed a chocolate truffle into the living room rug did I go get one.  I have used a very good service to clean rugs before, but that’s a tad more expensive.  I also thought, “Hey, I’ve been frugal and skipping summer camps for a few weeks, I’m sure cleaning the carpets is kind of like making a teepee.”

First Rex vacuumed the area.  How he knows so much, I don’t know.

Rex really took to the Rug Doctor. When we had finished a room he would make the sign and say, “More”.

Later that day I went to help Vivien’s new teacher, her kindergarten teacher ( don’t cry!).  After I had organized piles of books I commented that she need some rugs for the room.

“Well, I have this one, but it’s pretty dirty so I need to rent one of those things.”

“I rented one this morning.  I have it for 24 hours!” It was as if life suddenly made sense.  I wanted to help. Underpaid, underfunded school teacher needs some help.

Rex got the Rug Doctor working on it as I got out my toothbrush, not the one I use, the one I keep around for cleaning jobs, and scrubbed.  Later realizing a larger brush might be in order.  Vivien scrubbed for 39 seconds and then walked away. Just long enough for her to say, “I helped.”

So, you see kids you can find amusement, fulfillment and purpose…for about $50.

And no lines.

How to Relate to a Stepchild

When I tell people I have two little kids and a 16 year old stepson (I don’t lead with my two older stepkids as they live on their own), I get remarks about “what a handful” the stepson must be.  Not the case.  Oliver wouldn’t know drama if it slapped him in the face and set it’s hair on fire in front of him.  He would barely raise his eyebrows.

He is very cool.

He talked more to me when he was little.  Now, I welcome any dialogue.  No matter how I have to get it.

Daphne Brogdon’s office

How do work at home mother’s do it?  I am doing it part time and I still don’t think I’m doing it.  You don’t get the water cooler chat and there is little reason to groom yourself and you can also just get sick of being at home! Hard to stay focused on work tasks when also caring for kids.  I think everyone else is more organized or better at it than I.

Also, where is that assistant?  Hmm, maybe I’ll just create one.

My Child Genius

My sister Carole is here again, so we can talk about how special and wonderful our children are.  Or rather, how special and wonderful and brilliant we all decided they are going to be.  There are even tests you can give your little Mozart.

Do we go overboard with this stuff?  Well, it’s better than neglecting them.

Coke Rewards: My Visit to Oleta State Park

Hey, this the trip I mentioned in Week 3.  It was so hot and humid, but it was a really pretty park and one part of the trip that ended up on the cutting room floor is that we learned a great deal about the flora and fauna of the park.  Mark likes details and he was wondering about the particular trees that were in Oleta state park, Florida’s largest urban park.  We found this lovely ranger (who is in the shot holding the big check) who answered all of his questions and professor Peel was pleased.  I’m more big picture, but even I liked the education. Hint, it’s all about the Mangroves!

Nykesha Sales from WNBA made a great point which I didn’t expect from a pro athlete: not all kids like organized sports and that is ok.  The important thing is they are moving their bodies outside.  It doesn’t need to be part of a sport.

I love being outside and don’t do it enough.  Yes, I was paid to go there, but it was a nice to go outside.  I say as I hide from the elements as I write.

Visit and vote for YOUR favorite national or state park so they can win $100,000.

Week 3

Time is now counted for me in a different way.  How long it’s been since my father died.  I still get a pit in my stomach when I write that.  I still don’t totally believe it.  I like when I get a few moments where I fool myself into thinking he is just away, not gone.

Last week Mark and I went to Miami.  It was for a promotion that Coke Rewards is doing, giving money to State Parks.  I was paid to go and cover it for my blog.  Mark came too so we could have sometime together, as it has been awhile.  It took us 24 hours to stop talking about worries and problems and enjoy ourselves.  We were gone for roughly 60 hours so we had to relax fast. We ate at Zuma, Cool Miami and at Sr. Martinez, cute place, good drinks.

When we first got there I was excited to see the light of Miami, I have always liked it and use to live there part time.  Then I thought of my dad as a boy in Jacksonville.  I get lost in my head.  Then I get distracted. Then we are on the beach and I remember so fondly my dad flying out to Miami to be with me while I filmed a show for Discovery.  I am so glad he did that.  We had so much fun.  I have pictures of us on the beach. He went with me and my crew to dinner at Joe’s stone crab. He loved meeting everyone and everyone loved him.

We swam out into the warm waters and I said to Mark, “I just didn’t know how bad I was going to feel when my dad passed.”  I think of that about 10 times a day how clueless I was to this state.

Mark said, “that’s because you never know how gone, gone is.”

Yeah, couldn’t he at least be on Facebook? Or send me postcards.  I am staring at his photo right now and still can’t believe I cant lean my head on his shoulder or hold his hand.

Cecily and I were going through some of his scrap books and old photos for the memorial we are planning. I wish we had done that before (here is my dad with then Gov. Jerry Brown), when we could  have asked him questions.  We took them into the house and my mom said right away, “ask me”.

I’m so lucky to have a family to go through this with.  Thanks again to everyone who posted condolences, it is appreciated.  I won’t assume again that a friend doesn’t need my attention when a loved one passes.

Sigh, the start of the 4th week begins.

Bad Hair day challenge!

I mean look at me.  Oye, not even as bad as it can get.  Yes, in the ’80’s I did  HAVE A MULLET.  If I ever figure out how to scan photos I will show you it.  Business in the front, party in the back! I have hair like a dog.  Thick, wavy, frizzy if not blown dried by a pro.  I got my dad’s hair.  Who, even in his last hours of life, had lovely hair.  Thining, but still covering his head. Thick hair is beautiful, but can take more work.

Mom’s need a back to school perk.  We have to look sort of “not awful” at drop off, right? So here is a little contest.

I have been hopeless with my hair for years… hence the aforementioned mullet.  If I have work or an event I want to look good for, I go to a cheapie salon and get a blow out.  Now, Nancy O’Dell of Access Hollywood fame emailed me and asked me if I would like to review the Rusk products.  Nancy was a guest on Momversation, so you know we are like this (fingers interlocking through the web).  I don’t do reviews in general, but hey why not?  I asked if we could do a giveway for the cool mom viewers and they said yes, but first to try out the products.  So I got this deep shine oil and their w8less blowdryer.  I put the oil on after I washed my hair and then blow dried it and for the first time ever didn’t get the fly away freeze I normally do.  Now, I still can’t blow dry it as well as the Armenian lady at Fantastic Sam’s, but it looked much better and I didn’t have throw it up into a pony tail in shame like normal.  The oil is Argan oil, which I have also been using on my face.  Josie Maran was on Fashion Team and gave me her Argan oil for my face and I really like it.  Almost as good as humid weather for the skin. Here is a pic of me at my friend’s wedding after I did my hair myself.  (By the way, I’m rather proud of what I’m wearing.  It’s a dress of my mom’s from the ’60’s. The belt was lost so I updated it with a modern belt.  Mark wore a shirt of my dad’s.  Sweet).

So here’s the deal: We could all use a little hair makeover. Simply leave a comment here with your name and you will be entered for the chance to win the same Rusk products they sent me! One winner will be chosen randomly.  Click here for official terms & conditions.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, no. I didn’t get sent any make up… that will have to be another challenge.

Small House

Sure, it’s all relative.  One person’s small house is another one’s mansion.  Perhaps this should be called “the amazing expanding and contracting family,” which might be a more apt title for a family that includes 2 little kids and 3 big stepkids.  Sometimes my house is just the right size, other times it feels like a flop house.  Yes, I was spoiled with my old big house, but this is the new reality.  We are one bedroom short half of the time.  Rex sleeps in either the play room (the space off the kitchen… I give it a name to make me feel more grand), or I put him in my teenage stepson’s room.  I thought we would do this for a year.  But, last time I checked the economy is still in the toilet, so here we are.  We live in a great place, if I just had a pop out room. Or if Rex ever cottoned to sleep training the way his big sister did.

Anyway, this vid is more in the cinema verte style.  A slice of life of domesticity.  A reality check for what motherhood looks like.

Sponsored Post: Natural Products

Whether you buy strictly organic or not, one thing is certain most moms these days are looking for food and household products that are natural, sustainable and healthy for our children to ingest or breath. Today, on Momversation we discuss their quest to find and use natural producer and wonder if  something be natural and also a good cleaner.

Baby look alike

Genetics are a funny game of roulette.  Sometimes kids look just like their parents, or one in particular, which is kind of gip for the other parent.  Then there is the supermodel who had very ordinary looking parents, but got just the right bits from them to become stunning.  Of course, sometimes two stunners produce a not so pretty offspring.  The sharp features are only hard.

Then there is the kid who you are sure is a ringer for their dad, then you find out they are adopted.  It’s really silly and superficial to worry about who a kid looks like.

Which is, of course, why I had to do a vid on this subject.