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I’m excited. I’m excited because one of my good friends is doing something awesome and I’m a part of it. My friend Erin started an organization called Edge of Seven. Edge of Seven organizes volunteers for trips to Nepal to do amazing work. I wrote about her here, and I blogged about my own experience in Nepal here. They’ve built a school, a hostel of girls so they can attend school, and are in the process of doing so much more. You can read about their endeavors on their blog here.

I am part of a campaign to turn pocket change into futures for hundreds and hundreds of children in Nepal. Education is the key to lift the upcoming generations out of poverty, and these children can have that education with our pocket change. How cool is that?

I’m excited to be a part of this because I believe in the power of education, because I’ve seen the children’s faces, and because I have plenty of pocket change lying around and I won’t miss it a bit. Also, I believe in this organization. I know the actual people who will be designing the buildings, digging the foundations, carrying the stones. My name is already on a plaque on one school in Nepal, and I’m happy to have it on another.

For more information, check out this video. Come help me change the world with your pocket change. If you decide to donate, please let me know so I can lavish you with appropriate praise and attention. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

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It’s been awhile since I’ve participated in one of Kate Takes 5‘s listography posts, but this one has caught my fancy. As a blogger, I am slightly obsessed with my site’s statistics. How many page hits have I had? What links do people click on from my site? How to people find me? Although I can’t see any identifying information about who clicked on what, I can see how many people came from X site, how many people found me searching for X, how many people voted for me at Top Mommy Blogs or Babble (ahem), etc. So without further ado, I give you:

My Top 5 Keyword Searches of all time (excluding blog name):

  1. Charlie Sheen YoungThis post is really about make-up and aging. Charlie Sheen is a hot ticket in the world of SEO. Using his photo was actually one of my very few deliberate uses of SEO. It works. Generally I choose content over optimization though, SEO be damned!
  2. Terrible Mom – Thank you, thank you very much. Am I psyched that I come up on the top of a Google search of “terrible mom“? Kind of, yeah. If the person searching is a mother feeling inadequate, I am happy to provide a soft landing place for her to realize that she’s not alone – I suck too.
  3. Mom Exposed – this one actually leads people to the same post as #2, but it is an entirely different group of people doing the search. The people typing this into their browser are looking for websites where “moms” actually expose themselves. I get a few other porn searches that lead people to my blog. I think it’s funny that a person seeking porn is so easily diverted by a mommy blog.
  4. Missing Spoons – I guess this is a common problem! But what are people hoping to gain from searching online for their missing spoons?
  5. Annoying Questions – Another common problem I suppose. Again I’m left wondering why people are searching online for this? Do they not have enough annoying questions in their lives? Are they looking for annoying conversation starters? Or are they checking to make sure their children are developmentally annoying enough?
No matter how people find my blog, I’m happy to have you all here. If you like this post, check out the other blogs participating in this week’s Listography.

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

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Ahhhh, the Spaaaa

I’m tired. Not in the usual way though. I’m tired from staying up late and laughing too hard. I’m tired in a wonderfully refreshing way because I spent a weekend at a SPA with FRIENDS, WITHOUT KIDS! Somehow, it seemed appropriate for me to crash someone else’s girls weekend. This is out of character for me, but it felt like the right thing to do and I’m so glad I did.

The number one most awesome and unexpected thing (from a long list of awesome and unexpected things) to come from my blog is the relationships I’ve formed with a handful of other bloggers. I count these women among my friends, even though I have not met all of them in ‘real life.’ Kim, from Let Me Start By Saying is one of these bloggers. I don’t remember how our online friendship started, how we first found each other, but I was lucky enough to meet her in person at a blog conference. She is a tall, blonde, coffee-guzzling, hilariously funny, snarky, camera-wielding, lovely, moderately obscene soul mate for me who I couldn’t possibly not be friends with. So when she extended the invite to join her and her friends on their annual spa weekend, I jumped at the chance.

Over the course of 2 days the following things may have happened:

  • 4/4 of us had a face drawn on our chins with eyeliner. We may have then performed various solos and duets while upside-down wearing a pillow case over our heads, (What? That’s totally normal,);
  • 1/4 of us peed in her pants;
  • 4/4 of us fell on the floor laughing;
  • 1/4 of us took off her pants in public, twice, unrelated to the aforementioned pee incident;
  • 2/4 of us found ourselves running from compost;
  • 1/4 of us got I-love-you-drunk and spent hours looking through all of the photos of her kids on her phone;
  • 3/4 of us did not;
  • 4/4 of us ate, drank, and were merry.
I feel all filled-up in a way I haven’t for a long time. I feel calibrated. I have a song about clavicles stuck in my head. I gained 3 pounds and yet I feel lighter. I have two new friends who I have inside jokes with. And I have a video of a couple of chins singing “Mahna-Mahna.” “What’s that?” you say? I’ll let the professionals show you:

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

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Kate from Kate Takes 5 has a weekly link up where she provides a topic for a top 5 list. This week’s topic: inventions that would make my life easier, nay, awesome.

1. A Me-Duplicator

The only time the doctor can see me is the same exact time I have to pick L up? No problem, set the Me-Duplicator to 1 and create one temporary Me to do the less pleasant task. Friends arriving in 15 minutes, the house is a wreck, kids want to play outside and all I want to do is take a shower? Set the Duplicator to 7. Each child gets one Me to play with, and 5 Mes make quick work of the house while I get to relax. Perfect!

2. A pause button

A pause is the perfect solution for a myriad of life’s problems. One push and everyone freezes in time but me. I also reserve the right to tag any individuals I want to unfreeze in the rare instance that I don’t just want to be left alone. Yes, would use this to cheat on game shows.

3. A miracle weight loss pill

Why not have a real, safe alternative to all that eating right and exercising crap? This pill would save countless lives and millions of dollars in healthcare for weight related illnesses. See how magnanimous I am? It also would ensure that I could pull off skinny jeans and bikinis. (Pst, you could too!)

4. Post it notes

Wait, these have been invented already, you say. True. But I would like them to be uninvented so that I can invent them and make gajillions of dollars. I’d also like Harry Potter to be unwritten so I could write it. Oh, hell, throw in Microsoft and we’ll call it a day.

5. An Insta-Transporter

This one has been said before, but it bears repeating. Feel like French food? With a push of a button find yourself at an outdoor Parisian cafe. Stuck in traffic? Use your transporter to instantly find yourself parked in front of your destination. (Yeah, it’s smart enough to know to bring your car with you, but not your house.)

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Kate from Kate Takes 5 has a weekly link up where she provides a topic for a top 5 list. I always mean to participate in her listography, but for some reason I don’t seem to make it in time. Last week’s topic was Decisions and I’ve been ruminating on the topic for days, and naturally missed my chance to link up to it before the new topic for this week was posted. But it got me thinking a lot about some of the decisions that have shaped my life.

Like everyone else, I’ve made good decisions and bad decisions, hard decisions and easy decisions. Here are a few of the most  influential decisions I’ve made, the good and the bad.

1. Leaving High School

I don’t actually like to admit this often, but I went to boarding school. It was the norm for kids from my middle school to go away to boarding school for high school. (Did that sentence have “school” in it a lot or what?) Anyway, it was not for me. I hated it vehemently. I hated the culture of my school where the hockey team ruled and even the teachers seemed to be divided into cliques. During my junior year we had a parents’ day and I was in a sour mood. My parents asked what was the matter and I rashly lashed out that I hated my school and was miserable. “So what are you going to do about it?” my dad asked me. Huh?

This was the first time I was handed the reigns of my life. I could do something about this? I decided to apply directly to college as a junior, and skip my 4th year of high school entirely. I did not have enough credits and did not take any kind of equivalency exam. I was like any other high school junior. Several of my top choice schools firmly let me know that I need not apply until I graduated like a normal person, but some were open to my application and I was accepted into a handful. Then I had a difficult choice to make: leave my friends and the comfort of the familiar? Separate myself from everyone else on the planet by not having a senior year of high school? I did it. That decision empowered me and at 17 I learned that I was in charge of myself and could drive my own life.

2. Giving Up

I found myself as a previously sheltered 17-year-old in the bigger than big world of Giant University. My dorm my freshman year had over 1600 students. Believing I was a uniquely talented and bright individual, like I had always been told, I applied to a competitive writing course. I submitted my short stories, full of teen angst and trite drama (this was waaaay before Twilight). I was not accepted. I received a letter explaining that I should work on my writing and reapply as an upperclassman.

Devastated, I concluded that I actually had no talent for writing whatsoever. Too humiliated to sign up for any other kind of writing course, I hung up my pen. I decided that my parents were right, writing is a hobby, and I should take a bunch of science courses so I could be employable some day instead. Easy decision to make. Giving it up was so easy. But what if I hadn’t? I could potentially have some fulfilling career instead of a history of random jobs, a Master’s degree I don’t care about, and no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

3. Studying Abroad

Most people consider taking one semester to study abroad or at another university, for a change of pace and fun opportunity. I did it 3 times. I knew that college provided me the unique chance to do this. That one day when I was a grown up saddled with a grown up life I would not be able to spend 3 months in exotic places like Nepal and Kenya, or living outside in snow caves in the Rocky Mountains. I was so fortunate to have these opportunities at my fingertips and I could not pass them up. Each of these experiences left indelible impressions on me and shaped me into the adult I would eventually become. The only hard thing about these decisions was where to go and what to do. Palau or Kenya? That was a tough one.

In my current life as a SAHM to two little kids, it refreshes me to remember my younger self roaming through the streets of Kathmandu; living with a family in a mud and thatch hut in rural Kenya and speaking Swahili expertly; or how strong and hard my exhausted muscles were after digging out another snow cave to spend the night in. These memories are a world apart from my current reality, but it was me, I did it. It reminds me that life is a series of events and stages, that this one is just another stage, and that one day I’ll be looking back on all of this. I had better try to appreciate all it has to offer.

4. Marrying T

This was maybe the easiest decision ever. I’ve suffered more indecision over shoe purchases than whether or not to marry T. From the moment I met him I felt connected to him. We actually almost got hitched after only knowing each other for several months. We faced some inconvenient visa laws and the fact that he’s an alien from far far away land. We had 3 choices: get married, move out of the US, or break up. We call that day “stress day 2000.” In the end we decided to both up and move to far far away land rather than get married for the wrong reasons. So we did. 3 years later, we were back in the US (legally!) and he proposed. Of course I would marry him! I never had cold feet.

5. Kids

Another easy decision to make despite how huge it was. Suddenly one day I felt ready to have a kid. T and I had been married a few years. Our life was fun. But I felt kind of done with it and ready for something new, the next phase. Luckily T was on board and soon we had our gigantic baby L. (He was 10 lbs 3 oz.)

Nothing in the universe was cuter than L when he was 1.5 years old. This was a lucky thing because he was not easy. At all. But he was a bouncing boy full of exuberance, energy and serious cuteness. So cute that I just had to have another. Again, an easy decision that T agreed with. The time was right and having L be an only child was never really in consideration. It amazes me how easy these huge, life changing decisions were to make.

It’s been a fun exercise to look back and think of the biggest decisions I made which brought me to where I am today – steadfastly ignoring my children while they wreck the house so I can selfishly reflect and blog about it.

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When Ruckus Media Group asked me to try out their new Spot the Dot game and then write a review,* I jumped at the opportunity. Although I haven’t done any product reviews as of yet, this one seemed like a natural fit. I’m a blogger, an iPad junkie, and am always looking for something to entertain my hard to entertain 4-year-old.

The object of the game is to locate a specific colored dot against various visually appealing playing fields. The first few rounds are simple and then become increasingly more complex and difficult. The colors, shapes, and designs are eye-popping and the game’s different interactive levels make the most of the iPad‘s unique awesomeness.

L was able to begin and navigate through the game just by following the it’s simple audio directions, with no help from me. He enjoyed the first few levels more than I expected – I thought they’d be too easy. As the game got more difficult, however, he wanted to give up. I helped him through the final levels and then asked if he liked it.  “I loved it!” I asked if he’d want to play it again: “Yes! But maybe another time.”

Still not really sure what to make of it, I decided to give my 6-year-old nieces a turn. Like L, they were able to navigate through the game on their own. I was surprised to see how engaged they were. They needed to work together to figure out the last 2 levels, but then each of them played another couple of times and was able to solve each level on her own.

I am unsure what age range this game is ideal for. The educational component is color identification, but I can’t imagine a child S’s age (22 months) playing it. In the end, I think the “learn the colors” component of the game takes a huge backseat to the visual appeal and engaging playability. Rather than being good for the toddler to preschooler set as advertised, I think it’s better for the slightly older set.

I like it as another iPad game in addition to L’s beloved Fruit Ninja. It’s calmer and requires some patience and thought. And it’s coolness is undeniable, although totally lost on the kids for whom the magic of an iPad is just a given.

So, is it worth your $3.99? Maybe. If Ruckus Media adds some more levels, it would totally be worth the price, since you’d want to play it too. As is, it depends on your kid. It’s not the perfect game for L, but I could see S loving it in a year or two.

*Disclaimer: I received this app for free from Ruckus Media Group in exchange for my review. I do not work for and am not associated with Ruckus Media Group.

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I’ve slipped to #12! Please help me stay in the top 5. Thank you!!

Repost: Help a Girl Out

Have you noticed my requests for votes at the bottom of many of my posts? What’s that all about? I’ll tell you what it’s all about. Top Mommy Blogs is a site that lists (can you guess?) blogs written by moms. There are a number of categories ranging from Multiples to Humor to Adoption to Cooking to Crafts and several blogs within each category. TMB ranks the blogs according to how many votes they receive*. Readers can vote daily by clicking on the Top Mommy Blogs button displayed on their favorite blog(s).

So, what does getting votes do for me? The higher the ranking I have on Top Mommy Blogs, the more exposure to new readers I have. I don’t get any money or rewards or anything, just a stoke to my ego. As a blogger, by definition, I love readers. More readers=more love. Already committed to voting for another blogger? That’s OK. Voting for me doesn’t affect your votes for anyone else. I vote when I visit other blogs.

*The folks over at Top Mommy Blogs have some secret, complex algorithm for averaging votes received. This means that my number of votes can actually fluctuate up and down, which means that my ranking can fluctuate up and down. Let’s say that on a particular day (today, for example) I ask my readers to please vote for me and I get a bunch of votes. But then the next day I don’t get any votes, my ranking may not change despite that one great day of so many votes. Frustrating, right?

Here’s the deal: I will write the best posts I can and in return you’ll click on the TMB button each time you visit my site. Sounds fair, right? To vote you simply need to click on the button over there in my sidebar, or the one below. Your click counts as your vote, and you will be redirected to Top Mommy Blogs. Once at TMB you can look around and find other interesting blogs to read, or simply hit your back button and come right back here.

Thanks for your help!!!

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

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