Friday, August 27, 2010

Fat HouSe BLoG

When I first found out we were moving to Arizona, I figured, “Great! This will be my journey to get into shape finally!” I will be able to walk EVERY DAY, or bike, or take the time to do yoga or hey, maybe I could even hike, because there are mountains here, and we all know how much I love to hike, right? If you don’t recall my fondness for hiking, please feel free to peruse the archives of last summer (July, in particular), when we journeyed to Yellowstone. It will certainly delight.

I thought that when I got out here, I’d have a chance to eat healthy, get in shape, change my eating habits, turn over a new “me” leaf, if you will. Has that happened? Of course not! And who can I blame? Thanks to my friends at, it sounds like the real reason may be MY HOUSE!

At first you would think that yeah, I would probably lose some weight because who wants to eat food in 120 degree weather? I mean, who wants to do anything but lay on the bed in their undies while the ceiling fan is cranked and you’ve got a bowl of ice and a washcloth next to you to cool you off? It is seriously sometimes too hot to step outside and walk the 4 feet to get into the pool.

Another culprit to my lack of weight loss is probably the fact that now I never have a reason to go upstairs in this house, and in Illinois, I was always going upstairs many times a day. The kids’ bedrooms are upstairs and there’s absolutely no reason for me to go up there ever now. So I don’t, unless I am waking them up or putting them to bed. I’m not getting that extra cardio like I used to get when I would go upstairs to put away laundry, or you know, take my afternoon nap. My knees are thanking me, but my waistline sure isn’t. I NEED to get back into the gym soon!

Oh, and I would be remiss if I did not speak of our wallpaper. This was the near dealbreaker on us buying this home. To some, you might think it’s not that big of a deal. But to those ‘some,’ I ask you, have you ever tried to remove wallpaper from a wall? And it’s not horrible wallpaper, but it’s yuck enough that I don’t want to look at it every single day for the rest of my dwelling in this home, and I’m the one who spends the most time in this house. Looking at that wallpaper every single day in our kitchen makes me want to barf. Oh wait. This should make me lose weight. Maybe I’ll keep it up.

So I think I have to blame the wallpaper for making me fat too because instead of staying in the house to look at it, a lot of the times the kids will hear me say, “Who wants to go out for dinner?” And it’s a quick trip to a fast-food restaurant! So yep! I am blaming my lack of weight loss and motivation all on my big fat house!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I just realized I should post this on MY BLOG! Duh. I shared it on FB and Twitter, but not here. I'm on Ladies' Home Journal as a Mom Blogger with a bunch of cool mom bloggers!

Tales from the Mothering Trenches!

Monday, August 23, 2010



Well it's about time! Am so sorry that it's taken so long, and thanks to Shelly, or maybe not, the winners are being announced via video, and with the help of the lovely Diva. (Ignore the braid in my hair; we have been bored!)

So, here are the winners to the giveaway I hosted a couple of weeks ago for the“Amazing Hot Chocolate Grace” Giveaway. The books that were offered were:

My Formerly Hot Life by Stephanie Dolgoff (2 winners)

It's Not PMS, It's YOU by Deb Amlen (3 winners)

A Maze of Grace by Trish Ryan (1 winner will get a signed copy)

To find out if you won, you've gotta watch the video. If your name is chosen, you need to email me your choice of which book you would like to receive, in order of first choice, second choice and third choice. We will do our best to get you your first choice, but if you're the last to email me, it's likely you won't get your first selection, so HURRY! There were six winners. Only one of the winners asked for a specific book and she is getting that book because we had three to offer. The rest of you will have to email me at stephanieelliot(at)gmail(dot)com with your first, second, and third choice since you said you would like any of the books!

Also, obviously, please send me your address so we can send you the book!

Congrats, thanks for reading, and participating, and also, keep on the lookout for more great books coming your way in the future!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Okay, so I'm not slitting my throat here today so I thought I'd pop in with a quick blog post to let you all know! hahaha. We're almost done with Day Four of school and while things aren't magically magical, we're getting through the first week. I just know that when the weather changes life will too.

Things will get better.

And on that note, I took the kids to see Vampires Suck last night and it was the perfect distraction! So funny! I wish I would have recorded my laughter and anytime I'm feeling down, just replay it. I am going to have to see it again just to watch all the jokes again. And of course, I am still Team Edward because even that guy is hotter than the Jake guy in this movie. It was a great spoof on the real Twilight movies, and I do have to say that if you love the Twilight movies, you won't be offended by this spoof at all. It doesn't RIP on Twilight, it exemplifies the love you already have for it. NOT that I am a Twilight lover, or a Twihard. I mean, come on, how many blog posts have you even read by me about Twilight? I haven't even read the books. But I have seen Twilight and Eclipse and now I have seen Vampires Suck and it was a very good movie. So. Go see it.

Snake update. Yes, there's another update. I was taking out trash last night and I just happen to look in a sticky trap INSIDE OUR GARAGE and saw a little baby dead snake inside of it. I told the kids. We were all like, "Eh, whatever." I almost felt sorry for the dude. So this brings us up to 4 total. One was alive out of those 4. So I guess that's not too bad.

Did I ever tell you about the dead headless bunny in our front yard? Yeah, I think I did. Or the Alfreddy Hitchcocky birds that migrate to our covered patio and poop all over it when it's really hot out? Which means they migrate and poop out there every single freaking day. That's lovely too.

In fact, I'm going to go out there right now while I'm thinking of it to yell at the birds to leave. Hang on... OK, I just did it. I opened my door and yelled, "GO AWAY! GO AWAY!" and about 60 birds flew off my patio. Next time I will take a video to show you. And yeah, our patio is their personal toilet. Nice.

And also, I have got to choose winners for the book contest! I haven't forgotten! For now, you can still sneak on over HERE to enter to win one of three great books, and I will announce winners on that same entry so check over there, probably by Monday!

Thanks, and sorry for the recent mopey posts, but they do help me sort through my emotions, and it's cheaper than therapy and cases of wine!

PeaCe uP!

~MaNiC MoMMy

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

oTheR DayS SuCK Too

So it's quiet here and I wasn't going to blog again so soon, but why not, right? Mr is out of town, and that is very quickly becoming the norm around here. I'm learning to be independent again, and not that I'm thrilled with it, but I'm dealing with it. He's not gone a ton, but more than we're all used to. There's a shift in the family dynamic. Well duh. Our whole freaking lives have shifted. I'm just going to put it out there. No freaking duh.

So school. I came home and cried. Then I was OK. Then a friend would call and see how I was, and then I'd start crying. Then I met up with a very nice woman who has also just relocated here for the same company and who is going through the exact same thing as I, and we went for manicures and laughed and griped and felt lots better. Two very nice women chatted with us and I scored TWO phone numbers. I remember when Ajers was one year old and we had just moved to Philadelphia and I knew NOT ONE SOUL there. I took him to The Little Gym and all I wanted in my whole life more than anything was to make a friend. And the most exciting thing was when I got a girl's phone number.

Yesterday, I got two! Hee hee.

Then, after manicures, we met up with another new friend and the three of us had a great lunch and we laughed and talked and it was just really nice to feel NORMAL. It wasn't like any of us had to force conversation. SUCH a relief to be with women I could relate to, girls who are not fake. Don't get me wrong. I have not met ANY fake women yet--I have been SOOO lucky! So that was a plus about yesterday.

HOWEVER ... after school ...

I went to pick up the kids and Diva and Tukey came out of school and Tukey said, "I like the school. It's not as good as Meadow Glens, but I like it." I told him that made me sooo happy. Diva told me she "loved, loved, loved" her teacher and her class. So, they both seemed very happy.

Ajers, he's a no-brainer. Everything with him was great, as I knew it would be. He loved it all. Hot girls everywhere, etc. Great classes. Not a problem there.

Then, last night, Tukey admitted, "I don't really like the school, I just said that to make you happy. I hate Arizona. I miss Illinois." Heart smack dab crushed.

I held him in his bed as he cried himself to sleep. This morning, we tried to role-play to get him to talk to some of the kids. To ask them questions at lunch, like, how about, "Hey, do you guys get any snakes or DEAD HEADLESS BUNNIES in your yards?" Cuz don't you think those are good conversation starters, and great ways to make new friends? I sure as heck do!

I know it will just take time with him. He is sooo used to being outside playing with all his friends from Illinois, skateboarding, shooting hoops, riding his bike. He has been stuck indoors for the last two-and-a-half months doing NOTHING. They're tired of swimming. Tired of Simpson reruns. Tired of sitting around this house staring at one another. I know when the weather breaks, it will be just like how it was in Illinois when Spring sprang; all glorious and full of promise and beautiful. I just want him to feel that now. It's so sad to see your kid unhappy when all you want to do is give him the very best in life.

And Diva, while she is loving things so far, or so I think, she is still a scared little girl. SHe misses her friends from Illinois. She told me she shakes when she drinks from her water bottle in class. I told her, "Just remember, when you are at school, I am really just five houses away, and that you are safe, and that you are not going to be hurt, and that I am thinking of you." She's just nervous about the whole new environment. Everything here is so new and scary to all of them.

When we arrive at school, there are a ton of kids playing basketball or soccer, and we walk up and know like 2 people. That's it. TWO people right now. They are in foreign territory, and it's scary as heck. I want them to feel like they did at their old school, like they can jump right in and know the names of each and every teacher they see, and that each teacher will know our family. I want it to be how when we left Meadow Glens, the secretary told me she had to erase my name from like 20 other family's emergency contact cards. I want that. Here. It's going to take a while. For all of us.

I get that. I know. I've done this before. It just takes time. It's exhausting to rebuild a life. It's totally exhausting to be upbeat for your kids, to try to keep them focused and happy, to show them love and joy and to make them understand that this is all good for them, and that this move is a good thing. It was the only option that we had for our family. It was the right choice, the ONLY choice for our family, and someday soon, hopefully very soon, we will have all clicked into the groove, and one day, when we say, "it's time to walk home from school," it will really feel like we are walking home.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I just dropped them off at school and am crying my eyes out. I've got no one here to even cry with. I left my babies at a school where they know no one. Just left them there. I took Diva to her line and tried to engage her in conversation with the one girl, asking her where she should put her backpack, gave her a kiss and watched her as she stuck herself to the wall in this dreadful heat, beads of sweat along her lip. She whispered to me that her backpack was filled and no one else's was. Everyone else was doing hand-clap games and parents were taking back-to-school pictures, reminiscing about the summer, and we had no one. I walked home as fast as I could, sweating my ass off, already in need of another shower, because of this god-forsaken heat, crying my eyes out.

I know what they're feeling in their minds, and in their hearts. They want normal. They want what they had. They want to not be scared. They want to be back in their old comfort zone. Of heading down Bobby Jones to the old bus stop, to their old friends, to MY old friends, where we knew everyone, where nothing was scary and things were familiar and there was no tension and uncertainty and things were calm, and your heart didn't have to beat extra hard with fear and not from excitement on your first day of school and when you walk into school, you know not a single soul, and you don't even know where you're supposed to put your things, or where the lunchroom is or what you need to do if you have to go to the bathroom, or where the freaking bathroom is even. Or how you're supposed to find your mom when school is out for the day even.

I just want it to be better. For them. For me. I want it to be less hard.

And oh my God, I just took a freaking shower at 7 a.m. and I seriously need another one because of the sweat dripping from me just from the short walk to their school.

And there's a dead headless bunny in our front yard.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"aMaZiNG HoT CHoCoLaTe GRaCe BooK GiVeaWaY, MaNiC STyLe!

Announcing the “Amazing Hot Chocolate Grace” Giveaway because if this doesn’t scream MaNiC Book Contest, then I don’t know what does!

So, I’ve been promising books for weeks and I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to do this but I’ve got some time now and I figured I’d make it super-duper fun and exciting by combining all three books here, and you can enter to win them all in this one post!

First up, we’ve got the ‘CHOCOLATE’ portion in my clever title of this contest, as you’ll see from this AWESOME book cover – don’t you love it? Don’t you wish it was scratch ‘n’ sniff? It’s not. I tried:
IT’S NOT PMS IT’S YOU, by Deb Amlen, a hilarious and a totally non-hormonal analysis of male behavior. The author “examines the ‘hands-in-Pants Syndrome’” … how can you not love this philosophy that all men are D.U.M.B!? Cuz sorry, but they are. (Except for the four who are reading this post!). IT’S NOT PMS, IT’S YOU, would make a great gift for any woman … know someone going through a break-up, dealing with unrequited love, divorce, know someone who is newly engaged or just about to take that walk down the aisle? Know a WOMAN? Then THIS BOOK is THE PERFECT book for HER! Truly, if you’re looking for a fun book to make a friend laugh, and laugh about the idiot man in her life, get this book for her.

And next up on our list of MaNiC books for today is the HOT in “Amazing Hot Chocolate Grace” Giveaway …

My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches From Just the Other Side of Young by Stephanie Dolgoff. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really relate to this book at all, because I haven’t gotten to the other side yet … Bwhahahahah! Do I crack myself up or WHAT?? Of course, I’ve been there, greeting everyone else, and handing out hankies to the other hags to wipe away the old lady tears! Anyway, yeah, I’m OLD. But this book is fresh and fantabulous, just like Stephanie (the author, not me). I asked her if she has accepted her life now as being “Formerly Hot.” Here’s what she had to say:

“Yep. Life is better over here on the other side of young. We're not working so hard all the time to look like we know what we're doing, we're not ruled by the opinions of others, we know what makes us happy and we're better at our work and our relationships. So what if my boobs aren't quite as high as they were before I had kids? So what if people I don't know don't come up to me in bars wanting to have sex quite as often? (Quite as often?! You mean they still do! That’s AWESOME!) … I have the life that I set out to have, and the tradeoff is totally worth it--not that anyone has a choice. Time passes, despite our best efforts. My life may not be "hot," but it's so, so much better than it was when I was allegedly young and having the ‘time of my life.’"

Finally, one of my very good friends, Trish Ryan has written an “AMAZING” memoir, her second, as a matter of fact, and I was very surprised and pleased to see that she mentions me in her acknowledgments page along with a slew of talented women – thank you Trish!

A Maze of Grace: A Memoir of Second Chances is the story of her and her husband Steve’s first five years of marriage. I am still reading furiously through it, and it’s inspirational and thought-provoking, and many times I stop and really think about what she has to say about her relationship with her husband, and with God. I am especially giving serious thought about the part in the book where a female pastor proclaims: GIVE THAT MAN SOME SEX. Seriously, read it, and you will KNOW what I’m talking about. It is SOOOO true, but how do you GIVE THAT MAN SOME SEX when the last two times you’ve tried to GIVE THAT MAN SOME SEX this and this have happened? Anyway, Trish has a way of writing down her story to make you think about how YOUR own story is forming, and I think that’s a talent not many possess.

And here’s where YOU come in. Want a shot at winning one or ALL of these books? Leave a comment HERE and you MUST include your email so I can contact you if you are a winner. And you must be a US or Canadian resident -- sorry for all you lucky folks who get to live in exotic places, but you can't enter this one!

If you Facebook and link to this post (and looky here, I am including a TINYURL here to make things easier for you:, then I will add another entry for you to win. Please make sure to do the @Stephanie Elliot so I know you have Facebooked about the contest.
Similarly, if you tweet the same TINYURL:, I will also add another entry for you to win. So, the more you tweet and Facebook about it, the more chances you have to win these fun books! If you’re just interested in one, or two, or all three of the books, just Tweet or FB or comment here on one or two or all three of the books you want to enter to win!

Pretty simple! And pretty fun! All these books are all so different but they’re all great reads and I know you’ll enjoy them! I am giving away:

3 copies of It’s Not PMS, It’s You

2 copies of My Formerly Hot Life

1 signed copy of A Maze of Grace

Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting and sharing the information, and I will certainly have lots more coming to you very soon!

PeaCe uP, because down is too far to go, and it might hurt falling!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Usually when I have to go back to school shopping, I try to take one kid at a time, but now that we’ve moved to AZ, and we have no one else around to watch the other kids, we’ve been hitting the stores together, all four of us. I’m trying to make it as fun as possible, but we know how much boys like to shop, right? NOT AT ALL! Although now that Ajers is almost 13, he enjoys oogling the girls while we are shopping, so that’s a plus! At least I don’t have to drag him out of the house anymore. He jumps when I tell him it’s time to go shopping!

I have found that there is a completely different mindset when it comes to boys and girls and shopping and trying on clothes, as I’m sure you’ll agree. Here’s a perfect example of what happened while shopping the other day with Ajers. First, he couldn't find the fitting room even though I pointed it out to him. "Mom, that's the ladies fitting room." Apparently, he could only look to his right because oh boy, look to his left and there you have it, the men's fitting room! I asked him to try on some stuff. He comes out with a pair of shorts on.

"Those look nice. What about the shirt?"

"Uh … I'll go try one on."

Why don't boys try on a WHOLE outfit at once when trying clothes on? Meanwhile, Tukey is frustrated because, at almost nine, and with a new nickname of “The Beast,” he is just big enough that he no longer fits into the XL in the kid section but the Men's Small are just too big for him, so he's not finding anything. There's a mope fest going on.

And Diva, who is the epitome of “Tween Angel” at eleven, just wants expensive stuff now. And with the way she is oogling the latest hot styles, and how her eyes bulge out any time we're near a shoe department (where the heck did she get this shoe fetish, and how are we now practically the SAME SHOE SIZE?), I've also got to get a budget in place!

I want a latte; or better yet, a nice glass of chardonnay and a personal shopper to do this for me!

These are some of the challenges that I’m now facing as a mom to three kids who all need clothes for school! We’re all looking for something more in our shopping excursions, and it's time that I branch out a bit, so I've got to seriously enlist my shopping strategies!

Here's the MaNiC list of musts and must nots:

~The kids MUST try on the clothes I am buying for them. I'm not lugging everything home only to find out that nothing fits and we have to do this all over again.

~We MUST agree on what's appropriate clothing. Yes, I want them to define their personalities, but No, I'm not going to let them wear some crazy Goth psycho stuff. A skull here and there in good taste is fine (yes, it's POSSIBLE to find tastefully designed skull clothing, I swear!), but no head-to-toe black skull and crossbones!). And ONE Jacob t-shirt is OK, even though I'd much prefer an Edward t-shirt -- but it's NOT me going back to school now, is it?

~We MUST not throw a fit if I say no to something. If we do, we're outta there and they can wear what they wore last year. Besides, we just moved here. No one is going to know that they're wearing last year's clothing anyway. My kids know we have to compromise on what we're buying, and they also know I'm NOT going to give in.

~We MUST NEVER BUY FULL PRICE. Sorry, but I refuse to do this. I'm not a crazy sale shopper, but come on! It's NOT necessary to purchase anything full price. In fact, this brings me to my next tip ...

~We MUST explore whatever is ON SALE. You can get about 75 percent more items by scouring those sales racks. Mr. Manic has shopped with Ajers and Tukey on like two occasions (because I won't let him take them anymore!), and while he thinks he comes home with some good sale items, he still pays TOO much for stuff that doesn't last the boys very long. HE DOESN'T SHOP VERY WELL!

~We MUST withhold our need to buy items because “everyone else is wearing it too Mom!” I really want to instill in my kids that they’ve got their own fashion-sense and they don’t need to follow the pack in order to fit in.

~ We MUST not go crazy over shoes. None of the kids can EVER have shoes that cost more than mine do. And I don't think I've ever spent more than $40 on a pair of shoes. Not lying here. Told you I'm not a shoe freak.

~ We MUST show a little bit of our personalities, and have fun while shopping, because if you're not having fun, and if you're not comfortable in what you wear, and if you don't exude your personality in your clothing, then what's the point? And on that note, here are a couple of Diva's latest finds ... think she'll win 'em over at her new school?

People, it’s really all about balance. Remember growing up and DYING for that Levi’s jean jacket that EVERYONE owned, or begging your parents for the pair of $54 Jordache jeans? Well, I never got THAT pair of jeans, but I did end up with a very nice pair of Gloria Vanderbilts, the next best thing (well, maybe that pair wasn’t THE very next best thing, but somehow, my mom had convinced me that it was. And I survived!) -- BARELY!
If you want more tips than what MaNiC MoMMy has to offer, then check out this No Tears Shopping Guide!

Want to get in on a Community Discussion? Clothes Wars 2010

And here are 10 Things a Teacher Wants You to Know! Cuz, yeah, they don't call 'em teachers for nuthin!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

GeoRGia'S KiTCHeN BooK GiVeaWay & aWeSoMe CoNTeST

Update: Georgia's Kitchen

 Winner Announced:

Congratulations to Kristin of Let's Take A Road Trip! You have won a copy of Georgia's Kitchen! Send me your address and I'll send you a copy!

Hey you guys! So, part of my new job is that I get info on awesome debut books and today Jenny Nelson's new book came out! ... BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Georgia's Kitchen!

Here's a quick blurb:

Talented chef Georgia Gray, 33, has everything a woman could want—the top job at one of Manhattan’s best restaurants, a posse of smart and savvy gal pals who never let her down, and a platinum-set, cushion-cut diamond engagement ring courtesy of Glenn, the handsome entertainment lawyer who Georgia’s overbearing mother can’t wait for her to marry. The table is set for the ambitious bride-to-be until a scathing restaurant review destroys her reputation. To add salt to her wounds, Glenn suddenly calls off the wedding.

Brokenhearted, Georgia escapes to the Italian countryside, where she sharpens her skills at a trattoria run by a world-class chef who seems to have it all—a devoted lover, a magnificent villa, and most importantly, a kitchen of her own. Georgia quells her longings with Italy’s delectable offerings: fine wine, luscious cheeses, cerulean blue skies, and irresistible Gianni, an expert in the vineyard and the bedroom. So when Gianni tempts Georgia to stay in Italy with an offer no sane top chef could refuse, why can’t she say yes?

An appetite for something more looms large in Georgia’s heart – the desire to run her own restaurant in the city she loves. But having left New York with her career in flames, she’ll need to stir up more than just courage if she’s to realize her dreams and find her way home.

And to celebrate, Jenny's hosting an awesome kick-butt giveaway. Here are the details:

Georgia’s Kitchen Giant Giveaway!

When you order Georgia’s Kitchen the week of the book’s release (THIS WEEK - THROUGH AUGUST 6 ONLY!) and email your receipt to, you’ll be entered to win this fantastic giveaway. (Any bookstore, online store, will do!) Send in your receipt (TO JENNY at the above email address) and you could win a basket full of books, magazines and foodie goodies, including:

Everyday Italian by Giada DeLaurentiis
After You by Julie Buxbaum
Super in the City by Daphne Uviller
She’s Gone Country and Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter
Girls in Trucks and Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch
I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

A one-year subscription to either: Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, Fine Cooking or Everyday with Rachael Ray

A $50 gift certificate to Crate & Barrel

Details can be found at: Jenny Nelson's Website

You can find her on Twitter to Re-Tweet the contest at:

Or on Facebook to Fan & Share at: Jenny Nelson's Facebook Page

Links to BUY the book:
Amazon: Georgia's Kitchen on Amazon

B&N: Georgia's Kitchen on B&N

And yep, because I love you all, I am going to give away a copy here on MaNiC MoMMy, since you've all been hanging around for so long listening to me blather on about snakes and such (You heard we had our THIRD snake, didn't you? See previous post for details AND a picture -- YUCK!).

So, just leave me a comment and I will choose a winner soon. And I do also have the three previously mentioned books to share with you and give away soon too - Jenny's book was just released today and this contest is only being offered THIS WEEK so we had to put a RUSH on it. So go out and buy it now for yourself, send the receipt to Jenny to enter to win that great basket full of books and prizes mentioned above, and then enter here to win another copy as well!

I love sharing great books with you and hope you enjoy it too!

PeaCe uP!

~MaNiC MoMMy

Monday, August 02, 2010

iS aNyBoDy ouT THeRe?

Tap tap tap ...


Is anybody out there? Anyone still listening in MaNiCLaND? I wouldn't fault you if you're not. It's been so long. And there's so much to blog about, I don't know where to start. Nothing major, just trying to concrete my life. Yeah, I know that doesn't really make any sense, but those are the words that came to me. I'm trying to make my life "stick" into place. Nothing bad's been happening, so that's been good. We're plugging away, and the next major step is school, which starts 2 weeks from today. So, quite possibly, you could be reading a post 2 weeks from right now that's filled with tears and angst about how my kids hate school and wish they were REALLY back in Chicago. But for now, things are getting "concrete" and it's OK. So, for a quick update, I'll just bullet-point some things that have been happening, with promises to update more. Because, I *think* there are a few of you still out there? And if you are out there, then thank you for still coming by...

*No snake sightings. However we did go to a place called The Horny Toad in Cave Creek, AZ and as we were leaving (btw, it's a restaurant!), we almost stepped on the HUGEST cockroach you'd NEVER want to step on in your life. My friend who was in town visiting got video and photos, but I did not.
****UPDATE---I WROTE THIS LAST NIGHT AND THIS A.M. Diva finds a dead snake in the sticky trap in our garage!!! THIRD ONE in ONE MONTH! And our neighbor who is 12 and has lived here her whole life has NEVER seen a snake EVER! OMG! Diva freaked out!!! Picture on FB. Still freaked. What is up with these snakes!!!

*My friend C came to visit! We had an amazing 48 hours together: pedicures, shopping, awesome lunches, appletinis, sushi, movie: The Kids Are Alright (really good, but I wanted a different ending and I wondered how real lesbians thought about the actresses -- did they act really gay or were real lesbians disappointed in the performances?), she made her homemade spaghetti for my kids which THEY LOVE (OK, me TOO!), she brought us a panini maker! (I now make pancake paninis filled with peanut butter and chocolate chips -- TRY 'em!) ... we did so much in such a short time and it was awesome -- we weren't sad at all, just happy to be together and to know that no matter where we are that getting together is easy and fun and we slide right back into our friendship! Love you C!

*I got a job! I have alluded to this a bit but I am working for BookSparksPR and LOVE it! I get to promote authors and books -- and you all know how much I love, love, LOVE reading, authors, books, writing, words and AUTHORS and BOOKS and all that goes with it! It's so exciting and I LOVE the people I work with and there are some fun things coming up. It's kinda crazy because for so long I have been doing giveaways on MaNiC MoMMy and now I'm on the flipside asking bloggers to do this (so hey, if you're a serious book blogger and want in on some of the fun, email me at so I can send you pitches for upcoming books - we've got a great bunch of clients!)

*JUSTIN BIEBER! Yep, I saw the little munchkin in concert! Sean Kingston opened for him. The show was really good, even though I totally spilled Diva's BLUE slushie before the concert, fortunately NOT on ME or HER! He is a very talented performer. I watched him and thought, "Wow, what is going through this 16 year old's mind, watching all these screaming girls?" I hope he was thinking, "Man, this is so cool and I'm so lucky and I'm going to appreciate this and never lose sight of how grateful I need to be." His songs are goofy little lovey girl songs, but that's what sells. And yeah, I'm still singing, "Eenie Meenie Minie Moe Lover!"

*I will be still doing giveaways on MaNiC and in fact have THREE awesome ones coming up! The first one will be later this week and it's a fun humorous take on why men suck. Ha, that's my 'take' anyway! It's called "It's Not PMS, It's YOU! ... a totally non-hormonal analysis of male behavior By Deb Amlen.

And I'll have 3 copies to give away. I'll also be giving away My Formerly Hot Life by Stephanie Dolgoff. And last but not least for this round, I have A Maze of Grace, A Memoir of Second Chances by one of my very good friends, Trish Ryan to give to you! So bear with me, it's been a long couple of months getting "cemented" here in AZ, so I'll let you know when these contests are coming! Soon, I promise!
*I'll also be posting more about what it's like to be a mom of tweens and teens as my oldest will be turning 13 very soon. And let me tell you, things are GETTING INTERESTING! He met a girl at the Boys & Girls Club I sent them to for the week (AKA the PRISON they called it), and she gave him her phone number. While we are new to the area, I asked him if he would call her. He said probably not. His reasoning -- he wants to keep his options open for when school starts -- after all, he doesn't know what kind of fish are out in this AZ sea yet! And with my Diva -- Oh boy, we've started shaving, and getting big-time attitudes, and NOT wanting anyone to talk about anything PERSONAL in front of her! And all sorts of new and amazing things are happening with my BABIES! What happened to my BABIES?? Some days I really miss the days where our sole purpose was to set up camp in front of Sesame Street and Dragon Tales, lay out a bunch of blankets, grab the sippy cups and mini bowls of goldfish and have a party. Those were fast and furious days.

So, there's a quick little update. I hope if you're even out there, that I haven't bored you to tears, and if you're still there, I truly appreciate you hanging in there with me. It's been a hectic couple of months (we made it past the two-month anniversary of being in the desert on July 29), and it looks like we might survive this big move. Thanks for being there with me!

PeaCe uP!

~MaNiC MoMMy