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Oh, My Dawg, I'm So Excited!!!

...or, How We Spent Our Tax Refund!

        ...or, Man, We Should Be One of Those Couples Who Has To Spend a Million-Dollar Inheritance in 24-Hours Flat!

                   You feel me? But let's move on from these 77 alternate titles and get to the meat of this post.

If you hadn't realized, our federal tax refund hit our bank account yesterday. Here's how we've spent it on the kids and household goods in the day since then:


1. First stop, our local post office. We had to mail five or six packages, including the Progressive Snapshot device I'd never plugged into our Odyssey, Penelope, some video surveillance equipment for a mystery shop I'd (never) done, and the keys to our Virginia Beach house to our realtor back in that town. Plus, I had to buy a roll of stamps. Yes, some of us do still send snail mail. And also, we had to bring our lease in so that we could FINALLY get the keys to our mailbox. It's been 3 weeks, and we still have almost NO mail, save for the little bit that trickles down into our PO Box. Speaking of which, the kids and I went to check it while Rob finished up with the lease business, and there were two cards in it from Aunt Stacey (my sister). She sent cards and money for the two birthday babies, Jack and Sophia, having decided together with me that money was the way to go for our kids' respective birthdays from now on.


2. Next stop, Walmart. We spent a buttload of money on household necessities (and a few un-necessities, but not many) there. And Jack spent his new birthday money on this remote-controlled boat he'd been eyeing for a while.


Sophia spent her birthday money on this horse, which goes with her doll that she'd bought with birthday money from others earlier in the month. Granted, it's not tax money, but it happened yesterday, so I have to tell ya.


Also, Chloë and...




... Sophia both got new pairs of skates, which was and wasn't a splurge. It wasn't an absolute need, no, but they did need to get more and more varied exercise, and I needed a skating partner! Rob wanted to buy me a bike, too, but I figure I'll keep an eye on Freecycle for that. (Side note: Sophia fell on her butt a million times but is already zooming skillfully around the block. Chloë is still falling, but she'll get there, I'm sure. Soon as she lets go of all the tree branches, that is.)


 Other spending at Wally-World included food (absolutely necessary, right?), an iron (Rob had left ours back at the Va Beach house, oops), toilet bowl brushes (because, eww, he forgot those back there, too), a plunger (same story), towels and accessories to match the new shower curtains and mats in both our and the kids' bathrooms (splurge-y), a garbage can (forgot it, too), aaaand new bedding for all three kids (Sophia ruined all the old ones. She does that).




Next up, back at home, I went online to the Florida DMV website because we both need new state licenses, and then we'll need to register Penelope and the motorcycle, and then we'll need to get new insurance policies. (And I still freakin' need to fix the gigantical crack down the middle of my windshield, but that'll keep a li'l longer, won't it? It's been a month and a half already, after all...) But the next appointment - you make 'em online, here - for the DMV isn't until May 6th, so I looked at the docs we'll need for the new licenses. Crap, I need a new Social Security card. So do the kids; ours got stolen, which is not awesome. Lots of other stuff did, too; someone stole our "important papers" lockbox I kept under my desk. Ugh. Anyway. We'll go do that business tomorrow. Of course, they'll want my driver's license, among other things, to get the new card, so now I understand dogs and cats chasing their own tails!




We don't need cable TV - -haven't had it for years- - but we do need internet service. This is 2013, after all, and we have numerous electronic devices needing wi-fi. Not to mention the fact that our iPhones get crap for signals in the house on the LTE network, or 3G or 4G for the matter, and we don't have a landline. So, we put in about a half-dozen phone calls to Comcast to sign up for supah-fast (and cheap, compared to what we were paying for Cox in VA) cable internet service. We'd have done it sooner, but, ah, that's neither here nor there. It's done now, and they're coming Sunday, and I can't wait, and yeah.


Jafra Melanie


Next stop, JAFRA, to place an order. I have gotten several from clients that needed fulfilling, plus I plan to start kicking that into high gear, so I needed a few things myself for said purpose. Yeah. I love JAFRA packages. They smell so damn good and always bring promises of buttery soft skin. Mmm, me likey.




Speaking of our iPhones, I've been boosting off my 5's Personal Hotspot to get online and do all the important stuff like tell you on this blahg about that important stuff, and so I had to go on the AT&T website to pay our big, fat bill. That was that. Can't wait to whittle that back down after the Comcast guy comes with our new, um, nothing?




Speaking of paying the bills, I hopped over to our bank website and put in an extra payment for Penelope, and...




...Elsie, Rob's BMW motorsickle.


(Yes, I spelled it that way on porpoise. C'mon, now.)


And then, the really exciting stuff started. Well, wait, first dinner. The kids must eat. The husband must eat. I... must nibble. I gained about 10 lbs during our move and realized it even before I got my scale back a week ago to confirm it, so I've been eating very carefully and am already down 4 lbs since then. I was hoping to take it off by my birthday in September, so yay. But what? am I talking about??




For dinner, after Rob and the kids cleared off the table and cleaned up the kitchen enough for me to cook in it properly, we laid down the new bamboo runner we'd gotten on clearance from Walmart (a minute splurge, yes, but it went with my Fiestaware, and hey, bamboo!) and used the also-clearanced new cloth napkins (hey, reducing paper waste is a good thing). Since we were going fancyish, I decided to make the kids promise promise promise they wouldn't break the wedding crystal we'd gotten from Dr. Lisa and Uncle Faris, and they did pinky-promise, which is as good as gold 'round here. And guess what? The only person who came even close to breaking one was ME. Yup, I'm still the same ol' klutz I always was, rest assured. PS, the candles were Sophie's idear. We are SO decadent. ;P




I'd gotten this Ninja Chopper from my friend, Yet Another Stephanie, back in VA, but I hadn't put it to good use yet. We had avocados, we had guac mix, and we had tortilla chips, so it was time. And guess what? After a few pulses, we had delicious-ish guacamole. It wasn't the best I've ever had, but compared to the improvised batch I made after Rob and - yes! - the kids quickly polished off this one, it wasn't bad at all. Heh. (Mine wasn't either, but it lacked salt. And lymes. And cilantro. And had too much onion. And tomato. And not enough avocado. Damn, it must've sucked worse than I first rememberated.)




This picture is way washed-out compared to the actual scene, but then I whipped up a pork steak dinner from a recipe I'd gotten on the back of a can of Campbell's chicken broth. There was pasta instead of rice, because that's what I had, and I needed to squeeze fresh juice from oranges rather than use bottled juice, because that's what I had and hello, yummier, but other than that, it was pretty much according to the recipe. Kinda. Anyways. Rob says it was good enough to make again, which is high praise coming from him, but all three kids had upturned noses, the punks. I don't see them doing the whole presentation-is-everything thing on me with hummus and pita, or anything, so humph!




However, Jack and Chloë did enjoy the orange slices in the dinner so well that they requested more for dessert. Um, okay, twist my arm a little bit, why don'tcha.


And NOW for the rilly, rilly exciting part!!!


(You'd better be sitting down now.)


(I mean it.)


(Because this is heady, heady stuff, coming up here in a second.)


Are you ready?


All right.


You asked for it.










I bought stuff for homeschooling!!!!!! Yeah, school, baby! I can't WAIT to delve back in and get the kids back on track and have tons and tons and TONS of fun in the process. I love teaching them!!


Here's what I bought over at the Homeschool Buyers' Co-op:




All FIVE levels of Latin American Spanish from Rosetta Stone!!! Whoop!! For cheap! I have been wanting RS for aaaaaaaages, ever since I did a mystery shop at one of their kiosks (oops, I'm not supposed to tell you that) and saw how well it works. Chloë started angling for German, and I would have been thrilled with Latin, but we all settled on the LAS after thinking about what would be the most useful in our lives right now. I can not WAIT to get my teeny-weeny little hands on this baby. Sirrusly.




I usually piece our Science and Social Studies curricula together myself, but this year (starting now), I'm going to get a little help from the award-winning Adaptive Curriculum. I cannot wait to see how that works for us, especially in Social. Science, I've got down, but our Soshe has been a little, well, piecemeal, so I'd like to get it more organized in their brains, y'know?


For teaching Grammar rules more concretely, I got us a lifetime passport to Grammaropolis, which looks very promising. Sounds like fun, too!




For writing and all that goes with that business, I bought us a year's subscription (which is really enough information, with what I got, to last us through the end of high school if I choose) to Brave Writer, a highly rated program about which I've heard nothing but good stuff. Eeeeeek!


And now for the reeeeeealllllly exciting part!!!!


Can you stand it? I can't!!



Because we want the kids to be technologically savvy, and because so much of their work is computer- and internet-based, I have been wanting to get them each their own laptop or tablet for a while. I've been researching and thinking and debating about it; we've had ONE laptop for the kids up 'til now, and it just doesn't work that well when all three kids need to be online to do assignments. With three, I wouldn't need to constantly rotate them out and cut them short on projects - they could all work simultaneously! So after tons more research, I bought them each a Kindle Fire HD 7" tablet on Amazon.com! Wooohoooo, the
y are going to be so stoked, man!






Of course, to protect their shiny new electronical toys, I got them each a case in a different color. Jack's is green, because, well, it's his favorite, and I couldn't find a boyish pattern to suit him.




I think this one will be Chloë's.


Sophia will like this one.


I don't know how much they'll need or use them, but it remains to be seen, so I got them this pack of 6 styli for their Kindle Fire HDs, and also one - yes, just one - wall charger to share. I figure that much we can do on a rotational basis, right?

But I'm still not done outfitting the kids for the coming year. Nope, nope, nope. I did s'more shopping on ye olde Amazon first:


Sophia needs a new queen-sized mattress for the bunk bed she'll now be sharing with Chloë, because we had to leave her old one behind in Portsmouth (doesn't really matter; it was gross). I got her this memory-foam one, which has really good ratings. Remind me to air it out for two days first...

Oh, and for us, I got a new bed frame since Rob left our old one behind at the Virginia Beach house, which sucks because they aren't as cheap as I thought they were. Booger.


For Jack, I picked up a Yamaha keyboard stand (and a new wall charger, since he lost his). Even though he's decided not to pursue lessons for now, the music store folks convinced us to hang onto the keyboard in case one of the kids picks it up. And I can play, albeit slowly and gingerly, so we can all bang around on it for our music lessons in Sweet Pea Academy. It's cheap but comes highly-rated, so I think this one'll do us just faaaahhhhhn.


And finally (as you all breathe a sigh of relief, I know), the kids have been doing some growing since last I shopped for summer clothing for them. Especially Sophia; she's now, like, a foot taller than Jack! No lie. She needed a new bathing suit and picked this one out at Sears.

They all needed shorts and tees, so I bought bunches upon bunches of those for each kiddo, too, along with one dressy outfit for each kid. Inexplicably, after making a painstaking order there, Sears canceled several of my items and let the rest go through. Buh-wha-huh? I have to call them. I want those things, dammit! They need 'em! But it'll keep 'til 0900. Which, oh, is four minutes from now. Serendipity, baby!

Oh, shit, I totally forgot one more big splurge! Well, not like, a boat big, but Shamu big. *Ahem*


Yep. We're going to Orlando on Monday and Tuesday! Rob still has a little bit more time (a month, maybe) on Active Duty, so that means he and three dependents still get in for fah-reeeee at Anheuser-Busch parks through their ongoing Here's to the Heroes Salute program.  That leaves one kid out, so I bought another ticket, along with our parking pass, dine-all-day passes for Rob and the kids (I'll nibble and graze meagerly), and a stroller rental voucher. I can't wait, and the kids are ecstatic! (The stroller is mostly for Jack, who still has trouble walking sometimes, especially for long periods of time, thanks to his tight Achilles tendons, and also to keep the kid out of the sun here and there, and also in case we want it to carry things around the park without holding them.) Can't wait to see the shows, can't wait to see Shamu, can't wait to see my babies' faces when they get to feed a fish or two to the dolphins. Wheeee! That'll be Monday.


I think we'll do this on Tuesday, but we might not. I don't know yet. We'll see. Maybe we'll just come home Tuesday, or we might hang out with my online friend, Gloria, whom I've not yet met, or maybe we'll... hm. I don't know! Suggestions?

NOW I'm finished.

I have some mystery shops to go do today, along with my doctor's appointment for this thing growing on my chin, soooo.... whew! This post took forEVER to write.


P.S. I'm such a liar. That's not all. HAHAHA. The cats got new beds and litter to poop in - LOTS of litter.

And Chaos Reigns Again.


So finally, on Tuesday - three weeks after our much-anticipated arrival back in the state of Florida - our household goods were scheduled to be delivered from the movers. Not only had we not seen everything from the Portsmouth house in almost a month, but some of that stuff hadn't been seen by us in almost a year, having left it behind at our Virginia Beach house! To say we were all excited would be an extreme understatement.


 They were scheduled to arrive between 0800 and 0900. By 0730, all the kids were up and dressed, and three cats were in each bathroom for the day. By 0800, everyone was outside, listening for the truck. By 0900, when the truck still hadn't appeared, this was Rob, reading and anticipating. I went and, having barely slept the previous night, flung myself down on the floor to catch a little shut-eye. The kids ... I don't know. Remember, I was trying to nap?


At 0906, Rob flung open the bedroom door and shouted, "THEY'RE HERE!!!" and it was everybody up an' at 'em all at once, in 57 different directions. WOOHOO!!! As much as I've enjoyed my aching joints from sleeping on the hard tile floor in sleeping bags for the prior to weeks, I was not sad to see our belongings again!


The truck was pretty cool, all opening on the side and being filled with pods like that, but Ricky, Brian, and Emilio were even better. They earned every penny; they were the best team we've encountered in this relay race to get our household from one state to another.


As they took things out of the truck, Rob parked himself outside with a pen and clipboard, checking everything off the packing list, while I directed traffic to the proper rooms. By 1030 or 1100, Team Ricky were ready for a lunch break, so this was the halfway point. I thought, this much stuff I could handle. I knew we had another truckful, but I didn't realize that it was two FULL trucks' worth of stuff. Uh muh guh, we have a lot of crap!


We started unpacking while they were on their break, so that they could hall away some of the boxes and packing material. When I uncovered our box full of spicy goodness, Chloë exclaimed, "Yeah! Now we can cook with some flavor again!" Dude. I know. Buh-bye, bland.


For Round Two, Rob and I switched places. Good for him, because he needed a break from the sun, and good for me, because (a) I didn't know where to put our rapidly accumulating junk and (b) I needed a break from our ecstatic children. And this was the result. It may not look like waaaay too much stuff (or maybe it does?), but trust The Me, it is. We will be paring down our belongings considerably in the coming days and weeks. Freecycle, Craigslist, and eBay, here we come.


I immediately set to work getting the rest of (or most of) our kitchen sitchyated, while I sic'ed Rob on getting us a table and chairs. We had left our kitchen table behind in Virginia Beach, so it has made a very welcome reappearance in our lives. Here's our first meal at a real table in almost a year! Sophia was missing because she crashed, worn out, on the couch until right after dinner.


On Wednesday, Rob and the kids busied themselves with their respective rooms, whilst I went in search of a doctor to prescribe my meds. I'd run out Tuesday night, and long story short, I still don't have my freakin' drugs. It's going to be an interesting remainder of the week if I don't get some side-Effexor in my system - and soon.

So after I got home, tears and all, from the Emergency Department, I started dinner. The kids had been promised some muffins for breakfast, but I didn't get up in time to make them, so that was dessert. Sophie's extra pudge is already coming off thanks to all the walking and swimming an' sech we've been doing lately. Rob and I have a few extra pounds from eating moving crap on us, too, so we're pleased to be in a healthier eating groove now.


Meanwhile, Jack's almost finished with his room! Poopyhead. (There's a mommy word for ya!) That child has always had a determined, one-track mind, so when he gets an idea for doing something in his head (in this case, rebuilding his LEGO sets), nothing deters him from doing it. Nothing.


Unearthing cherished items - like all my JAFRA pampering goodness, above - has been delightful. We've already filled three boxes full of things to get rid of, too, which is also delightful. I want to live as minimalistic a lifestyle as our packratting selves can endure. I do not want to end up on an episode of "Hoarders," you guys. Not now, not ever!


The kids were so excited to find the Jell-O Easter egg molds, and I just so happened to unpack some boxes of Jell-O just before that, so this'll be their snack for tomorrow. They've been bugging me since the first batch about when they'll be finished... patience is not the strong suit of any of that lot! They kinda get that from me. Heh.

So anyway, that's what's new on our end. And yourselves??


P.S. Happy <<ahem>> belated birthday to my Twin-Laws, Mike & Gail, and happy 38th birthday to my sister, Stacey Jean! Love you guys!! ♥

The Ultimate Blog Party 2013! #UBP13

Ultimate Blog Party 2013
It's here, y'all! The 2013 Ultimate Blog Party, sponsored by 5 Minutes For Mom! Woot, woot! And, I'm giving away an awesome prize:
Jafra Melanie
A $100 Gift Certificate to shop through my personal JAFRA website - anything you want, shipped free (US only, please)! You can choose from state-of-the-art skin care, cosmetics, baby or toddler care, tween or teen care, men's care, spa products, and much, much more. Go look and tell me what you'd love to win!
Of course, I do want to introduce myself to those of you stopping by for the first time. My nickname is Smellyann. My real name is Melanie (Ann), and my dad always called me "Mellie Ann," but my fun older sister switched it to Smellyann in middle school. That rat! I loved it, though, and owned it. Haha!

I am the wife of Rob, on the verge of retiring from 20 years of service in the US Navy. I am mama to Chloë, 11½, Jack, 10, Sophia, almost-8, and Robby, our angel-baby and Jack's identical twin. We're also cohabiting with six cats, five of whom think they're dogs in that they're not remotely aloof and who run to greet new visitors instead of hiding like they're supposed to do! We recently moved to Miami from Virginia Beach, so Rob could go to college here after his retirement. I went to college here as well, and I loved living here, so this has been both a new adventure and a reliving of some great times for me in the past couple of weeks.

As you can see on the right, in the category cloud, I cover a wide range of family-related topics. I started this "blahg" in 2007 as a way to keep our far-flung family and friends connected with our ongoing adventures in traveling, homeschooling, military life, organic living and gardening, my mystery shopping and crafting, and so on and so forth. I also cover my struggles dealing with bipolar disorder, family and parenting conflicts, a daughter who is undersized (but strikingly gorgeous, IMNSHO, and who acts and models fairly regularly), a son who is diagnosed with pituitary dwarfism and, as a 31-week preemie, several delays, and a very active (some would say hyperactive, but I don't), brilliant, right-brained youngest babe.

I hope you'll stick around, comment (I LOOOOOVE comments!), and leave me with a link to visit you as well. You'll find some meme posts on the weekends, peppered with the occasional giveaways, but mostly your run of the mill "we're cray-cray and we love it" daily life posts. 
Sit back, grab a cuppa Joe, and tell me where to find more about you - after you read a few posts, natch.

I love that you stopped by! Thanks!

Ultimate Blog Party 2013
Oh! And a few more bits of business about the 2013 Ultimate Blog Party, duh me: 

*~* There will be live events, including a Twitter Party and a Google+ Hangout, this week.

*~* There will be PRIZES! Over $20,000 in prizes, in fact. Check 'em out and then fill out the prize form.
*~* Link your blog up to the UBP post here, if you want the chance to win more prizes. Make sure you get a badge!
*~* Visit old friends and make new ones on blogs, Twitter, and Facebook from the Linky lists!
*~* It all ends on April 13, 2013 at 11:59 PM (hey, so does my Sophia's 8th birthday), so get started now!
Have a great time. Don't forget your party hat!

Random Schtuff Taking Up Space In My Brain Right Now

It's 0404 on a Tuesday morning, and I can't sleep - partly because I'm coming off a 5-day migraine in which I slept a TON, and partly because, well, I never sleep at night anyway. And I've got a lot on my mind right now, so prepare ye for a massive, totally random brain dump:


I'm really trying to rev up my Jafra business so that I can promote to Manager later this year. Really bad timing, considering we're going to move soon, but the exciting part is I have K joining my team soon! On the Saturday after next, we're having a Jafra spa party at her place, complete with smelly-good foot soaks, mud masks and way more, and whatever we earn at her party is going in to placing HER first order and getting her case. She's excited, I'm thrilled, and it's going to be a great send-off for me and instantly-built clientele for her. Yay!

Oops, I just realized I have two logos in that picture. Meh. It's a two-fer.


We visited my friend Saritah and her family last week, and we're going again the last week of February - along with Jenny from the Block and her kiddos, whom we haven't seen in ages upon ages. Trés fun! I have presents for both of them, so I hope I don't forget to bring 'em. Plus, Chloë is "in love" with older son Sebastian, and Sophia is "in love" with younger son Trevor, so Saritah and I are planning future double weddings. Sophie and Trevor have even locked themselves in his closet and smooched on the cheek already! What! I have to stop playing with that cute baby up there, Tempe, and pay attention to the rest of those rapscallions!

Recruitment Services Picture 2

(holy huge picture that won't let me scale it down... awesome)

We're supposed to be moving to Miami right around March 1st, and I'm kind of totally freaking out about it, because we are not even remotely ready. Still to do: clean up this house, our rental, so we can move the remaining at-least-half of our crap out of the old house, which we still own, into it; get the old house cleaned up and listed for sale post-haste; set a date for the movers to come; freakin' FIND a place to live in Miami - hello, apartment managers? Returning my phone call and/or email requests for information would be a good thing, 'kay? - and, gosh, that's enough for starters. Rob thinks we won't move in time. I'm stubborn as hell about that March 1 deadline, but I'm starting to agree with him. Cue major sad face.

Oh, and considering each of us is something of a medical marvel, once we do find a place to live, I have about 27 bazillion doctors to find and appointments to make!

I have a cold. Make that aNOTHer cold. Like, my third in 2013. Plus, I'm coming off a five-day migraine (post-publish read-through realization: oh. I told you that already. Meh. It's another two-fer) in which I did a lot of lying around in bed and not much else. With that, moving, building my business and everything else, it's like, WHAT homeschooling?! so far this month. I feel pretty shit-tastic about that. Well, we'll be making up for it by doing lots of school this summer, in between beach visits and dips in the pool. 

Rob's last day in the United States Navy is on Valentine's Day! Squee! We're not having a party, since no one could be bothered to come to his 40th birthday party in August, but don't think we won't be celebrating. Horizonta---um, TMI. ;) He has been counting down the days by telling me how many times left he has to shave, cut his curly locks, press his uniforms, and so on. I think the man is excited, y'all! 

Every Sunday, we have a family meeting. Someone different runs it each time, but the agenda is always the same:

1. Calendar, wherein we go through everyone's plans for the upcoming week,

2. Compliments and appreciation, wherein every person goes around and pays everyone else some C and/or A,

3. Allowance, which is everybody's favorite part,

4. Snack, which almost always involves a drive (for me) to 7-Eleven, and,

5. Fun activity, which for the last two weeks has been a gross-out contest!

Anyway, at this past Sunday's Family Meeting, my #2 for Rob was thanking him for 20 years of service to our country, and congratulating him on his terminal leave, which starts Friday. Chloë responded by throwing her arms around Daddy and sobbing happy tears. It was a very touching moment.

I have been super busy teaching coupon classes this month. So far, I have taught one at the library, 3½ "personal sessions" at various folks' homes, and taken one friend and her daughter on a shopping trip to see how I do it in real life. Total women taught so far: eight! With at least that many more to go before we move. I'm not charging much, either, so the personal satisfaction I get from imparting my money-saving knowledge and helping these women and their families out is what's really paying me. Warm fuzzies all around!


This is just a gratuitous kids-in-the-sun photo, because I like to close with an image. There's more on my mind than all this, but that seems like enough to dump on y'all for the time-being. Can ya keep some good thoughts for us that we'll be able to get out of here and move to Miami as close as possible to our self-imposed deadline? For my sanity's sake? Thanks. Much appreciated.


Sunday Stealing: The Not-So-Manly Meme

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Sunday Stealing: The Not So Manly Meme 

1. Boxers? Briefs? Boxer briefs? Thongs? Bikinis? Commando?

I hate thongs, but I have a few. I just don't like that permanent-wedge feeling. Really... why??

2. What’s your fussiest personal care routine?

My entire skin care routine is 'fussy.' I'm very metrosexual that way. Oh, wait, I'm not a man, so it's cool, right? I use, like, oodles of JAFRA products to get through my routine. Good stuff, there.
3. Do you have a favorite tool? Power or manual?
Yes: Hubs. Power or manual depends largely on his sleep deficit-to-caffeine intake ratio.
4. Can you change your own oil? Do you?
I learnt once, in my old '81 Honda Civic wagon, but I couldn't do it now in the Odyssey. I get it done.
5. What’s the “manliest / 'womenliest” thing you do on a regular basis?
I take lots of long soaks in the tub and use oodles of the afore-mentioned JAFRA products to get nice and smelly-good, soft, and purdy for my day.
6. What’s something “manly” that you never learned how to do?
Grow a big set of cajones.
7. Do you ever cry? If so, what’s your trigger?
I cry all the time. My trigger appears to be being excessively female.
8. Do you have a chivalrous streak? How does it manifest itself?
Well, such as it applies to me being female, yes, I hold open doors for anyone and everyone, and step aside to let others go first. Always.
9. Do you have a chauvinistic streak? How does it manifest itself?
I have a vagina. I'm not sure the question applies.
10. What’s your favorite movie?
I'll tell you what it's not: Anything with "Ernest Goes to..." in the title!
11. What’s the dumbest, testosterone-inspired thing you’ve ever seen?
Jackass. The show, not the movie.
12. What quality do you think makes a good man good? Do you have that quality?
Knowing how to treat all people respectfully. And once again, I possess female ladybits but yes, I believe I do!
13. Toilet seat up or down?
Down. No one wants to see the inside of a toilet. Really.
14. If your significant other is away, do you cook for yourself or eat out of cans and boxes (or rely on local drive-throughs and delivery)?
Hahaha... I can cook fairly decently, although Hubs does the cooking in the family, especially here in our "halfway house," so I rarely do any cooking if he's late or absent. If we had all of our stuff over from the other house, and a decent kitchen, it would be a different story. Maybe.
15. What societal expectation of being a woman do you most resent?
Woman = the weaker sex. Not hardly; especially not mentally! ;)
16. What’s the best part - societal-wise - about being a woman?
Being a mom to three smalls, when people let us walk ahead of them instead of driving through us in parking lots. It doesn't always happen, but often. (Guam is an exception; those mofos do not care.)
17. Will you stop to ask for directions?
If my iPhone isn't picking up a signal, then yes, of course. I absolutely hate getting lost!
18. What’s one thing about your significant other that you just cannot understand, no matter how hard you try?
How he got here from Mars.
19. What do you need to have in the shower?
Shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body wash, razor, body oil... and a pouf. At the mimimum.
20. Do you burp/fart/scratch? Do you do anything stereotypically male?

I burp and fart in front of Hubs. Women who don't make me laaaaaugh.

Have a great week, y'all!


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up with Mrs. 4444 if ye be fragmentin' today!

I've got thoughts pouring out of my head like crazy right now, so I hope I can get them all down here before I forget some. I'm sure I will, though; some always escape. But where to begin? At the end, I think.

Thursday, after a week or 10 days of being seriously ill, I finally felt well enough to finish testing the kids for their end-of-year homeschooling proof of progress submission. I did the math tests with all three kids individually, as opposed to Language Arts, which I managed to run more or less simultaneously, so they could concentrate better. Each missed 2 or 3 answers at most, so overall they did extremely well, and I'm very happy, proud, and pleased to be finished!!

I got them each an m&m cookie from 7-11 as a quick reward for finishing and doing well, but tomorrow will be the real reward. Depending on the weather, we're going to hit the beach for the first time this summer! If it rains, then my back-up plan is melting all our (TONS OF) broken crayons down into new, fun ones. We're just going to use simple muffin tin this time around - no fun shapes - because we've never done it before, but I'm excited to finally make use of all those broken pieces they don't deem fit to use!

My CPU bit the bucket earlier this week, and of course I didn't have all my files backed up, so I'll be stressed about that until I get a technician of some sort to retrieve them for me. Do you back up regularly? I don't. I just can't be bothered, and then I kick myself every time something like this happens. Of course. It's so me.

Speaking of being sick, I went to the hospital Friday, Monday and Tuesday mornings for various procedures. My entire GI tract is all messed up and revolting against its owner at the moment. I admit, I spent a week wearing (and very necessarily so) adult diapers because of it. That wasn't fun, and now that I'm back in my own undies (thank you, Imodium, for finally kicking in), I am relishing the joy! ;P

I finally went to the doc on one of those days and got the prescription lice treatment from the kids' pediatrician, and guess what? They are STILL alive in Chloë's hair. So I did something rather drastic and chopped about 8" off, which was traumatic for her, but far less than the head-shaving I was (semi-seriously) threatening. She went from this:


to this:


The next day, when she saw how cute (and easy to take care of) it was, she felt much better about it. I think it makes her look soooo much younger! Do you?

I cut her sister's hair (and my bangs, lol) while I was at it:


I've since straightened hers up a little bit, but I think she also looks cute and younger than she did before, with the shorter 'do.

Three packages came in the mail today, including some new shirts we bought for Rob's retirement days starting in a few months, a bunch of Jafra goodness for various clients and me, and this:


Lovely yarn for a project a friend has commissioned from me. I can't say much more than that about it at the moment, but I'll show you the finished works when I can! It's always exciting when good fiber shows up in the mail!

Well, I'll leave you with this image snapped by Rob for my license plate project, since I lost all the ones I had captured in the CPU debacle:


I don't know why eleventy-nine % of the picture is pavement - that crazy hubs!

Well, I hope you all have a lovely weekend, and I apologize being bad about responding to comments and getting around to other fragmenters (always, but especially lately). It's been a bad time with whatever's goin' on in mah belleh, y'all. Hope you forgive me.


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Howdy, folks! Link up here if you're fragmenting along with Mrs. 4444 this week!

I'm pretty sure it's Friday, but this week has been such a blur of suckitude that I'm not entirely sure. Since Aloha Friday (answer my previous post about hatin' if you're game) and FF are both up, though, it must be, right? Of course, I could be dreaming this too, like all the weird dreams I had last night (I was eleventy months pregnant; I had long, long white hair; I married someone else; I won big money on Let's Make a Deal... and more I can't remember), but I don't think so. Now that was a weird fragment.


Speaking of weird fragments, hey Mrs.4s, what happened to "Favorite Friday Fragmenter?" I loved that part. ;D

Don't read this if you're eating or are easily grossed out. I'm serious:




Last Chance....




So last December, I had the runs for about 3½ weeks straight. It was miserable and depressing, and my quality of life when straight down the gutter. I don't think we did any school that whole time, or at least not much at all. Well, fast forward to now, and I'm on day six of the same infirmity. I have put back on about 10 pounds since my rapid 206-lb weight loss, so I'm eating a lot of salads these days. This, uh, whatever it is that's going on, is so aggressive that 20 minutes later, there is straight-up chewed lettuce floating around in the toilet bowl. Nasty! (Kind of cool for a biologist like me, but still gross, I know.)

And it's immediately sent me into the same plummeting mood state that it did the last time, so I saw my GI doc on an urgent basis this morning. (Yes, Mamacita, I actually made myself a doctor's appointment in a timely manner, if you can believe it!) I have to have a "flex sig" (flexible sigmoidoscopy, like a mini-colonoscopy) next Tuesday morning to rule out, you know. Bad stuff.

The only thing that's different than usual and the same about both incidents is that it almost immediately follows a trip involving a waterpark. Coinky-dink? I really don't think so, but who knows??


I came across this when I was looking for a picture to go along with the last fragment. Disgusting. I absolutely abhor this small-minded thinking....ugh.


Gotta admit I rather enjoyed this one, though. Not that I wish cancer on anyone, but whoever still smokes in July 2012 has got to know the risks, amiright?

We're halfway through the kids' end of year testing - um, like 1½ month later than I planned, but ah, well - and have finished up all their Language Arts sections. Now it's just math. I'm happy to report they're all kicking butt and taking names on LA, and proudest to report that so far as I can tell, Sophia's gotten 100% on hers! Woot woot!! Go kids!!

They could get zeroes on their math scores, and the composite score would still be high enough to keep us off probation, so yippy-skippy for Team Odette! ;D

I made this card last night, and it's one of the hardest things I've ever had the pleasure to make. I fought tears the whole time. Of course, I purposely made it for boy-girl twins so there would be no chance of it being for identical twins. That would be too much for me... guess after almost ten years, I still have my fair share of healing to do. (I know it's not that 'professional' with all the handwriting and stuff in it, but it felt like it needed to be made that way, and so I did.)

We brought our dryer (and other stuff) over from the old house last night, and Rob is still recovering from his hernia surgery(ies), so I feel immensely guilty that he's in discomfort now. I didn't ask him to do it, though; he insisted, but I should have put my foot down more. Besides, it's the washer we really need; clothes can air-dry, but I've no interest in hand-washing load upon load of clothes.... Heh.

Some of you may know, I'm a Jafra Consultant, but I'm really not meant to be a salesperson. I do my best, but mostly I just wear my awesome complexion and Jafra pin and let the people come to me about it. Anyway, I got an order from a new customer through my website last night, and when I called her, I totally upsold the order another third of the total! Woot! Go me. I know she'll love the products, so I have no shame in my game, because it really is good stuff. But I was seriously patting myself on the back, yes, yes I was.

There are days when I think we have four cats too many. Of course, there are days when I feel like I have four cats, three kids and maybe even a husband too many, but then I count everything I'd miss, and that feeling goes away faster than you can say "being alone sucks!"

I was boohooing the other night, missing our old house, our old neighborhood, and our old surrounding region. There's a lot there that we don't have here, and I didn't get lost anymore like I have twice this week, and ... and... and. But I've ventured around some more since then and, you know, this place isn't so bad, once you go a few streets this way and a few streets that way. And our Lord of the Land is kicking our upstairs neighbors - the bane of my existence at the moment - out, so there's another plus. Even if we get new neighbors that suck, we'll now be Big Man on Campus. Ha.(Seriously, if you knew the driveway/parking dilemma we deal with on a daily basis, you'd understand how exciting that prospect is...)

The lice are STILL HERE.

It has been a MONTH, and I have treated it a dozen times. Can I say WTF on this post?! Because WTF?! I am so OVER it. We have treated it with OTC stuff (Nix and its generic counterpart), combed nits for hours upon hours upon hours out of Chloë's curls, and are now using a triple-threat combination of tea tree oil, coconut oil, and Fairytales shampoo... yet they're STILL THERE. I totally give up. I can't take it anymore! Do y'all think most kids' hairdressers would professionally treat this crap?? Because that's my next move. UUUUUUUGGGGHHHHHH.


Anyway. This week's license plate, the only one I could safely capture, is:


which I can't really say anything snarky-amusing about, but the one I wish I had been able to capture was a breast cancer survivor plate that read "ALIVE." I loved that. Almost made me tear up a little.

And that's all she wrote, kids! Have a fantastic weekend!


Sunday Stealing: The Imaginary Meme


Link up here if you're playing along - I'm doing Parts I and II together since I missed last week. Enjoy!

Sunday Stealing: The Imaginary Meme, Part One

1. Have you ever peed your pants as an adult?

I've had four kids, including a set of twins, via c-section. You don't put that much pressure on your guts without a little weewee squeaking out now and then.

 2. Who do you have a celebrity crush on now?

I've gotta agree with Jennifer Love Hewitt and go with Adam Levine from Maroon 5.

3. Would you date someone you met online?
Would. Have. Married him...

4. Do you wear underwear always?
Nope. Most of the time, I do. Not at the moment, though!

5. Do you hate yourself at times?
*snort* I can't count how many times I've attempted suicide. You don't do that because you like yourself.

7. Do you like dirty movies?
I've seen a few in my day, but most just make me laugh.

8. Could you believe Josha Ledet was voted off Idol?
I don't give a flying Fig Newton.

9. When was the last time that you bought a car?
August 6, 2010. Now I'm trying to get rid of it. :\

10. Have you ever been camping?
Oodles of times as a kid, and twice as a Girl Scout troop leader. I liked it much better as a kid. Lots fewer rules!

11. How many times a day do you go on facebook?
Sometimes none. Sometimes I never leave, technically. It all depends. I took a long break recently and didn't really miss it all that much. Surprised even me.

12. What was the last movie you saw in a theater?
The Pirates! Band of Misfits, with my 10yo daughter, Chloë. I wasn't too impressed (sorry, Hugh, I still love you) and spent the entire movie with my iPhone on my chest, lighting up my knitting.

13. Have you ever worried that you'd cut off a limb?
This meme is kind of pissing me off. Oh, wait, no, I was already pissed off. <<breathes deeply>> I don't think that's the sort of thing you worry about until you do it, unless you work a dangerous job.

14. Where did you get your last email from?
Freecycle. I'm getting rid of lots of good stuff today, and it feels good to be trimming the fat!

15. Favorite website?
Mine. ;)

16. Are you down with ghetto?
There's a time and, obviously, a place for that, but I try not to show that side of myself in public places!

17. Will the world end in fire or ice?
I don't know. Yes?

18. Do you believe in the afterlife?
Yes. Yes, I do.

19. Would you be upset if Facebook stopped working?
I'd be more surprised than upset, at this point in the game.

20. How did you start your blog?
I opened a Typepad account and started typing. That's pretty much how it goes, isn't it?
21. Have you felt that life is like being on a roller coaster?
Pshaw. Mine has, that's for damn sure.

22. Favorite year so far?
I take them as they come.

23. Do you consider yourself religious?
I consider myself spiritual.

24. How do you dress to impress?
With this body, it's very hard. I'm not fat anymore, but I have a lot of extra, loose skin. It's not a pretty picture, so there's not a lot I can dare to bare, and I can't wear skin-tight, either. Just like when I was really big, there's a lot of clever covering up going on. I do try to get away from wearing all black now, though. Mostly I focus on my best assets, which are my shoulders on up. (Thanks, Jafra!)

25. Have you ever been to Connecticut?
Just once. We spent the night before my grandpa's funeral there last year, which was fitting, because that's where he was raised.

26. Do you eat sushi?
Love it. Can't eat much of the rice, though, so it can be tricky.

27. Would you smoke pot providing there was no risk or driving involved?
I never have, so I don't know... but it is on my Bucket List.

28. What do you think of Idol Winner Phillip Phillips?
Again, I don't give a flying Fig Newton.  ReMEMber??!

29. Do you believe that animals have souls?
I suppose so, yeah.

30. Who did you last talk to? Share, if you dare.
I'm not really scared to tell you I talked to my husband. Should I be? <<looks around nervously>>

31. What is one thing that always annoys you?
My husband is the biggest instigator of my kids' shrieking and whining when we're out in public, because he'll pick on them and bug them to death. Seriously? It drives me crazy. You're almost 40, not 12. Grow up and act your age. (Home is a different story, of course. Go nuts.)

32. Do you believe in a higher being God?
Yes, I do.

33. Have you ever fallen in love with a neighbor?
No, but there were certainly crushes on a few when I was a kid...

34. Any plans for this weekend?
Well, we went out of town the last two weekends, so it's stinko that the Strawberry Festival in town is this weekend, and we have exactly zero dollars to go. Can't even afford the gas down there! Instead, we're cleaning house. (I'm taking a break, obvs.) Maybe we'll go to the beach tomorrow.

35. Would you like to rule your country, if you could?
Hell, no! I'm just not "leader material." I do think it's time for a woman to try her hand at it, though.

36. Do you like watching films about the nature of animals?
You're asking a Biologist this? As long as they're portrayed true to life, yes, I love them.

37. What's the difference between lust and/or lust?
I fail to understand the difference myself there, pal.

38. Do you have a soul?
Le sigh. I was right. This meme is annoying. Of course I do.

39. One best friend or many good friends?
I'd prefer both. Can I have both? 'Cause I do.

40. Do you believe in spontaneous combustion?
That's like asking me if I believe in Evolution. Both are completely observable, witnessed-by-human-eyes scientific phenomena. An emphatic "yes!"
Well. That was meh. Back to work.

Sunday Stealing: The OC 25 Meme


Link up here if you're playing along today! Happy Easter/Passover to all who celebrate!

Sunday Stealing: The OC 25 Meme

1. What is your origin of your first name? What about any nicknames?

My mom just randomly came up with it. I was supposed to be "Eleanor" after my dad's mom, or "Clayton" if I was a boy, but when my dad wasn't in the room, my mom quickly put down "Melanie" instead. Hee! I've come to appreciate that, although my elementary school BFF was Eleanor, so of course I had wanted that to be my name then. My middle name is Ann, so my dad always called me "Mellie Ann," which my wonderful older sister changed to "Smellyann" at some point. And there you have it.

2. Have you any claims to fame?

Apparently, I'm meant to be a writer. In college, I came in second (or third?) in a huge poetry contest - you've probably seen the ads for it - and my published poem was analyzed in the front of the anthology in which it appeared. I was supposed to have my boys' and my story published in the Chicken Soup for the Twins Soul book, but apparently they decided it was too sad and took it out later on, which is fine with me. And more recently, my "Works for Me Wednesday" pets edition blahg post was published in a book called That Works For Me! or something like that; I had to give the proper permissions and all that. I've always been a pretty decent writer and thought I've had more poetry and maybe a novel rattling around in there, but I haven't been able to get started. We'll see if that ever comes to fruition.

3. If you were famous, how would you introduce yourself to someone who had never heard of you?

The same way I do now, I suppose: I'd have the head of my huge entourage do it. Heh.

4. Which of your country's achievements do you hold in highest regard?

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation couldn't have come soon enough; I think it just edges out winning the American Revolution. JMHO

5. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

First, I wanted to be a teacher and librarian. As I grew up, though, I wanted to be a marine biologist. And until I got married, I was one. For a brief time, I was livin' the dream I grew up having. Now, I'm happier things worked out this way. I wouldn't change a thing, except for maybe a fatter wallet..

6. What was your most prized possession as a child? Do you still have it?

It was my red-and-white stuffed puppy dog named Snowflake, who eventually was missing an ear. The other ear had holly leaves and berries on it. I loved that puppy. I don't know what happened to her.

7. What would you change about yourself, if you could?

Pfft. What wouldn't I? That would be a shorter list. I would take away the Bi-Polar Disorder from which I suffer (as do those around me, I'm afraid), and I would give myself more strength of character. People who know the sorts of things I've been through always tell me what a strong person I am, but I don't feel that way. I feel like a weak, meek little mouse. My therapist tells me I am progressing though - she told me recently that I was "individuating," since I am no longer seeking my father's approval. I laughed and said it was high-time at 35, but she says she sees people much older than I am who haven't gotten that far and wow! I am babbling! Anyway, physically, I'd get my plastics to remove the skin I have hanging around (literally) after my 200+-lb weight loss.

8. What are you obsessed with?

Yarn. Picking at myself. My husband's nuts. Jafra. Couponing. And more yarn.

9. What is your greatest achievement so far, or the high point of your career?

Oh, I've received my fair share of academic accolades, but my proudest achievement was winning "Class Giggler" in 3rd grade. I still have the certificate!

10. When/where were you happiest?

January 2, 2001: The day we eloped was the most blissful day in my life. I'll never, ever forget that high.

11. And the lowest point in your life thus far?

March 25, 2003: The day I held my older twin son as he shuddered taking his last breath. Nothing is worse than outliving your child.

12. What was the best decision you ever made?

Marrying Rob! He is so good for, and to, me. We both have our share of shortcomings, but I definitely ended up with the better end of the deal. God knew what he was doing when he brought me this man.

13. If you have any body modifications, which was most painful, or which do you regret the most? If you haven't got any, do you have any planned, or would you ever consider getting any?

Other than four piercings in each ear, I have a nose ring. So that was the most painful. I haven't fully decided on getting a tattoo, but if I do, it'll be a joint one with Rob, honoring our four children together.

14. What is the most idiotic thing you have ever done while intoxicated?

We don't have to go there, do we? Let's not. Maybe the next time I get that intoxicated, which will be never, I'll share that story with y'all. ;) Let's just say I'll probably never drink Goldschläger again!

15. What is your favorite joke?

I am so terrible at remembering things like jokes and movie quotes. Asking me to tell a joke is putting me on the spot. I like stupid jokes anyway, like this one:

Knock Knock?

Who's there?

Little old lady.

Little old lady who?

I didn't know you could yodel!

16. What is the coolest/most impressive thing you own?

You mean aside from my iPhone? (You know I love that dang thing.) Okay, let me think on it a minute... probably the Britto. We bought a limited edition giclée of his called Deep Night Romance on our Mediterranean cruise, and it sums up our love for each other beautifully.

17. When did you last cry, and why?

I cried a little bit last night, thinking about this coming Monday. It'll be the 28th anniversary of my mom's death, and I always get a little weepy.

18. What's the best piece of advice you've ever had?

Surprisingly, it came from my dad. I'll paraphrase: "Don't let anyone rob you of your joy."

19. Similarly, what's the nicest thing anyone's ever done for you?

A semi-anonymous benefactor helped me pay for my college degree, the day I was going to get kicked out for non-payment of my classes. Biggest relief of my life!

20. Have you any vices?

I'm too self-indulgent.

21. Do you regret anything?

No regrets. I live for today, and tomorrow. There are things I wish I'd done differently, but I didn't, and I have learned and grown from them.

22. What is the best invention ever?

Hello?! The iPhone! lol

23. How would you describe your relationship with your family?

I have a very small living family. My mom is gone, my dad and I aren't speaking at the moment, and my sister and I are as close as we can possibly be from a distance. I love that broad! ♥

24. Who is your biggest inspiration?

Anyone with deep emotional fortitude, who can come through a tragedy and not completely fall to pieces. Well, falling to pieces isn't the thing, but someone who can pick up those pieces and make life work again - that's inspiring to me.

25. What are you going to do when you've finished Sunday Stealing?

Work on my April/May Jafra newsletter, a week later than I'd planned. Oops.

Happy Easter!


Wordless Wednesday: It's Easy Being Green

Link up here if you're Wordless (or not-so-) today!


So here I am, wearing one half of the new Jafra Mariposa Color Collection, called "Morpho," which I think is so pretty on everyone I've seen it on. I think it even looks good on me, too. If you'd like to try it, head on over here to my Jafra website, or let me know in the comments! Or just let me know what you think of it on me - do I pull it off? Normally I wear more brown shades because of my eyes...



This is today, wearing the other half of the Mariposa collection, "Monarch."  I like both! My link is above if you'd like to try the new collection(s)!

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Hump Day! ;)


Sunday Stealing: The April No Fools' Meme

Sunday Stealing

Linky-link is here! Join, won't you?

 Sunday Stealing: The April No Fools' Meme

1. What was the last clothing item that you bought?

 Our Easter outfits, for all five of us.

2. If you could stay one age forever, what age would you choose?
35 isn't bad. If I could get the skin surgery I need, I guess I'd choose 35!

3. When you say “lol”, are you really laughing?

At least on the inside, sure. I'm a giggler, though, so I probably am outwardly as well.

4. What is the most interesting thing you’ve done in the past year?

Shoot, just the other day, we finally drove up and found the wild ponies of Chincoteague/Assateague... that was pretty cool. I'll be posting about that later.

5. If you started a business, what would it be?
Well, I did start a business, a bakery. I gave it up to pursue my other business, selling the incredible Jafra skin care, which I've been doing over 13 years now and still love it!

6. Do your friends/family/coworkers know about your blog?

Most people do, yeah. They can't help but know; it's automatically linked to Facebook when I publish a post.
7. How long does it take you to write an average blog post?

It completely varies, depending on what I'm writing and how photo-heavy it is. If I had to venture a guess for the average, though, I'd say an hour.

8. How do you keep up with the blogs you follow?

Well, theoretically, in Google Reader, but I'm so behind. I probably have a couple two-three thousand posts to catch up on by now.

9. What is your bedtime? Is sex always involved?

*snort* No, but that's nunya! My bedtime is whenever I get tired. No set time.

10. Introvert or extrovert?

I'm the former.

11. What is your biggest fear?

Losing another one of my children. And mustard.

12. What is the best job you ever had?

Working at the dive shop on Key Biscayne, Florida. It was just fun times, always. Lots of close runners-up, though!

13. Dog person/cat person/both/neither?

I used to be strictly a dog person/cat hater until I got my then-bf a cat. Now I'm both. They're lovely pets, kitties.

14. If you had $1,000 to spend any way you wanted, what would you do with it?

If I could be boring and spend it on bills, I would. If I had to be frivolous, I'd go on a small trip or buy a bunch of premium yarn. Love my yarns!

15. How do you "dress your toast"?

Either butter (real) or cream cheese, preferably whipped.

16.  How do you feel about snow?

I hate it with a passion.

17.  What was the worst job you ever had?

Hmm... I can't really say I've had a bad job. I've enjoyed every job I've ever had, more or less.

18.  What song can you not stop listening to?

Well, I was all about Adele, but they're way overplaying her songs now. Right now I'm liking Rihanna's "Talk That Talk," especially the hook. And I love Wiz Khalifa's "Young, Wild and Free" as well.

19. Love your name or hate it?

Growing up, I hated Melanie, because I couldn't stand when people called me Mel. Now I don't mind it when friends do it, but when people I barely know call me Mel, it pisses me off. I love my name now, but still not the nickname!

20. How did you choose your blog/twitter handle?

Well, they're the same (how'd you know?), and it's the childhood nick bestowed upon me by my loving older sister. I own it, though. I am Smellyann. LOL

Have a great week, y'all!


P.S. Typepad is being funky with the posts again, so if this gets all weird when I hit "publish," 'tis not my fault! Things are moving around and changing colours, and it's driving me nucking futs!

Saturday 9: Easy


Link up here if you're feelin' "easy" today!

1. Have you ever had a romantic breakup that was easy?
Easy on me, yes. Easy on him/us... hmm, no, I don't think there was one that was "easy" all the way around.
2. When was the first time that you felt betrayed?
Oh, gosh. So many times, I'd have to do some deep thinking to put them in chronological order. I'll tell you about one time that certainly wasn't the first, nor the worst, though:  My dad gave us each $1,000 toward our first car when it was time to get our driver's licenses at 16. I had saved up about twice as much as that, so we got me a nice red '91 Escort wagon in 1993, when I was a senior in high school and ready to start driving.  He insisted I ONLY practice driving with him. Well, he moved away that Christmas, leaving me alone with The Bitch From Hell (ex-stepma) until graduation. When he came up to get me, and the car, after graduation, we picked up where we left off. Only, he decided I wasn't ready to get my license yet and refused to let me take the car down to Miami for college. Fine. I was mad, but fine. Until he drove it into the ground and had to get rid of it. Little did I know, until I found out much later, that he sold it for more than we paid for it and pocketed all of the cash. I was furious!!
P.S. The next summer, I got my license. Passed on the first try, to his shock and amazement. So there.  And I learned to drive a stick shift without his help and drove that all over Miami, too. So there!
3. Do you feel religious beliefs should have a role in politics?
I absolutely do not. Well, I don't know. What someone's religious beliefs are in private may influence how I think and feel about him or her as a voter, but those same beliefs should not influence policy-making on his/her part. Is that unfair?
4. Are you doing anything special this weekend?
Yes! We are taking my son to his Pinewood Derby race tomorrow morning. He won first place in his Bear den AND the overall Pack race, so tomorrow he's racing against the whole District. We're hoping for a third win! :D
5. Oreo cookies turned 100 years old this week. How do YOU eat an Oreo?
I don't, anymore, but before, I would shove half a bag in my mouth all at once. Barely an exaggeration, sadly.
6. If you could change something about yourself, what would it be?
Physically, I would get a full body lift that I desperately need. Otherwise, I would rid myself of the scourge that is Bi-Polar Disorder. I do not embrace this disease as "part of me"; rather, I resent it and all that comes with it, and I would do anything to "cure" it.
7. Describe a time when you should have tried harder.
Hmm... I guess this past year, I should've tried harder to get my baking business going before giving up and switching back to selling Jafra right when things were taking off. I don't know what made me do that. Don't get me wrong; Jafra is an awesome product, but it's not something I created out of my own two hands, and I took so much pride in my work. Except when it failed, which I admit, sometimes it did... but I kept trying! Until I just... stopped. Hmm.
8. What is your favorite baseball-related movie?
A League of Their Own! Love that movie. My sister and I saw it at the theater with my Grandma, who was never a Madonna fan, and I remember her grumbling about Madge being as bad an actor as she was a singer... lol.
9. What is one lesson you have learned in the past year?
I have learned I really need to ask for help when I really need it, and to forgive myself when I mess up. In theory, anyway; putting those things in practice is easier said than done for me.
Ciao for now!

Bzz,Bzz: Burt's Bees Natural Skin Solutions for Sensitive Skin

Disclosure: I am a BzzAgent, which means I was provided with samples of this product to try and review, along with coupons to pass out to my friends, in a word-of-mouth publicity campaign. No monetary compensation was received for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


I've been lucky to get several great BzzCampaigns lately, and I was excited when I landed this one for Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin Care products.(And psst, there's a link to a $2-off coupon at the site, there, if you want to print it off and go give this a try yourselves!)

When my BzzKit arrived - they sure do like to use lots of BzzWords, don't they? - I had gotten two full size Natural Skin Solutions for Sensitive Skin products: the Facial Cleanser, and the Daily Moisturizer, as well as samples and coupons to pass out to my friends.

Since I am a hardcore Jafra skincare consultant, just getting back into the sales game, my plan was to do a face-to-face (heh, heh, I'm cute, eh?) comparison of the two sensitive skin product lines and provide an honest review of which worked and felt better for me.

However, by the time I got my BzzKit, I just couldn't bring myself to use anything but Jafra on my face. I kept one of the sample size moisturizers for myself to try later, but I held off on using the full-size products. As for the samples and coupons, I distributed them in the usual fashion: by laying them out on the sample table in our mom's room at the homeschooling co-op we attend weekly and giving my samplers instructions to report back to me with any feedback.

By the end of the day, all the samples and coupons were gone, but I didn't get any feedback except from MM, who was absolutely raving about the product. She had used the sample moisturizer on her dry, cracked hands, which she said were painfully dry, and the Burt's Bees moisturizer felt so wonderful, she was going to rush out and buy some immediately!


The next week, I decided to bring the full-size products to MM and ask her to be my full-size product tester, for the first time in my BzzAgent history, since she liked it so much and I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Not that it's not an excellent product - I'm sure it is - but Jafra is the one for me. She was excited and readily accepted the 'challenge' - use it for a week or two and then report back with her results.

The following week, I asked MM if she had been using the Burt's Bees on her face, and she raved about how wonderful it was, once again. She said it cleared up all the issues she had been having with her face - I had never noticed any, but she said, "Girl, make-up will do wonders!" - and let her skin feeling soft and clean. In a word, she was hooked.

So, if you feel like giving it a try, head on over here to get yourself a coupon or see what else Burt's Bees carries that might appeal to you. And don't cry, Burt - I still use your lip balm all. the. time!


Friday Fragments


Link up here if you're fragmenting with Mrs. 4444 today!

So if you've been following my saga here, on Facebook, in real life, or via ESP, you know I've been dealing with the fear that the cervical cancer that led to my complete hysterectomy in 2008 (save one ovary) had returned. Well, I finally got in to see my GYN/oncologist yesterday, and the news was very good: there's no "Big C" in there, my "cuff" (what's left after they remove your lady bits) is well-healed, and I have a completely healthy, normal, uh, vah-jay-jay. So, yay! I'm celebrating today. How, you ask? By being happy. Smiling. Being content. And I'm going to practice what I preach to my children, by being "nice, kind, sweet and loving," to them and everyone else I may meet today. And hopefully, every day.

One last woot: Woot!

Tomorrow, I'm finally taking the Instructor's Course for the American Red Cross CPR/First Aid certification, so I can teach it to other Girl Scout volunteers and, if I want, whomever else may be interest. I've already gotten interest from the parents and teens in my homeschooling co-op, so maybe someday soon I'll be up in FRONT of the class demonstrating lifesaving techniques to my friends, instead of being the nervous fake-lifesaver on the floor, scared my dummy is going to expire before I can save it. Hee. Anyway, I'm excited. I just feel like this is one more step in the "growing" course I set myself on last year, to step out of my comfort zone and be more in charge of my life, instead of taking the back seat and letting others drive me around. If that makes any sense to you and not just me, good. It's early, yet.

The one thing I'm a little nervous about is, I have to give a brief presentation on the topic of my choice to my fellow classmates, and the only thing that's coming to me to talk about is what I know well: Loss. Grief. Bereavement. So... I'm not sure that will be the most fun topic for them to hear about, but I think I'm gonna stick with it.

After the course is over, the busyness continues. My family and I are headed for a full-on mystery shopping weekend in DC, complete with dinner at a fun restaurant, a hotel stay in Rockville, Maryland, breakfast at the hotel, lunch in the District at a well-known, huge restaurant, and then home again to run around doing about a half-dozen fast food mystery shops for dinner. I've been cutting way back on the mystery shopping now that school, co-op, and Scouting are back in full swing, but this will be fun. I like to travel, and I need to do it frequently or I get depressed and feel like I'm stagnating. Plus, I love DC. I just wish we had more time to go around and "do," y'know?

Oh! Sophia's saga continues as well. She's my 6yo daughter, who has struggled with breathing issues over the past year or so. She has had daytime issues as well as, we discovered through a sleep study ordered by the pulmonologist at Children's, central sleep apnea. After a recent MRI, we went back to the neurologist yesterday to discover that there are absolutely no anatomical abnormalities within her brain, which is great news. And her labs were all perfect. So, we don't have a concreet reason why she has the apnea, but it's minor enough that I don't have to fret and watch her sleep every night. We just have to watch and see. It's still a little nerve-wracking, but the Neuro. assured me that I can relax and not worry, and I believe her. Now, we go back to Pulm. with these results and see what they want to do next.

This afternoon, we have a field trip to the pumpkin patch with members of our homeschooling co-op, and I can't wait. Hayrides are one of my favorite things ever. I could go on one every single day. I don't know what it is about sitting on a bale of scratchy hay, being pulled around by a tractor going 3 mph, but I love it. The kids do, as well, but they're more excited about the petting zoo and pumpkin picking process (say that 5x fast) to follow. Can't wait!

My JAFRA business continues to grow and go well, although now everyone is getting busy, so I'm trying to find new and creative ways to meet people and get them to sit down with me. We went to the mall the other day, and I handed out candy bags with my card and an offer for a free pampering session in them. So far, no response from that, but if I can just get one, just one, then it will be worth it. Meanwhile, I'll be doing a few holiday craft shows/bazaars with my product front and center, so hopefully that will be a great way to get the JAFRA name out there and some clients for me!

Well, I guess I'm out of fragments for the time being, so here's to hoping a great weekend is ahead for all of you! Cheers!


Rob's Before & Afters


This is Rob on the same night, before and after his shower and application of facial products from Jafra. I neglected to do the pictures on Night One, which would have shown you the changes so dramatic that I spent about a half-hour raving over his vastly different countenance, so this is actually Night Three. I think you can still see the changes. For one, the Skin Brightener seems to have really done its job, as his face truly looks... well, brighter. Now, these photos are completely unretouched, with not even the slightest editing done on them. Yes, he's unshaven before and has shaved in the 'after' photo, but I don't think the stubble hides anything. We have work to do still, but after three nights, compared to him truly looking his age (39) in my humble opinion, I think to myself, "Not bad, not bad..."


He blinked in nearly every single "smiling" picture I took, so I tried to get him at the same level of blinky-squinty for both the before-and-after picture in that expression. Can you see how different the crow's feet look afterward? Not so deep, not so pronounced. Same, but to a lesser degree, with the smile lines and forehead creases. I think again, in both sets of pictures, the Skin Brightener really shows a difference in Rob's face.

If you're interested in a list of products used on Rob, let me know, but we used a number of our Specialty Skin Care products in addition to the Men's Skin Care Set. Once I try the PRO line on him, I'm hoping the transformation will really WOW you!

(Since I've been back to using more JAFRA products than usual, I've noticed wonderful changes in my own face, but they are less easy to tell through photography, so I'm relying on Rob to show the changes.)

Seriously, I'm so impressed by how different he looks before and after using the products. I think he is, too, and he doesn't feel at all "girly" about it. We haven't done a mask or any microdermabrasion on him... yet. That may be coming later, but for now, we'll just stick to this regimen and see how things progress. I'd like to knock 5 or 10 years off his "look" in the next month or so!


Sunday Stealing: The Questions Galore Meme, Part The First


Link up here if you're playing along, folks!

1. Is there someone in your life you know you’d be better off without?

I don't think so, at the moment. If you'd asked me that a couple weeks ago, it would have been a different answer!

2. Do you get criticized because of your body?

I used to, but now the only person who really does is me (and the plastic surgeon I've seen twice now). LOL

3. Did you kiss the last person you called?

My dad, so yes, I've kissed him. He likes to kiss on the lips, but eww, I always turn my face. I mean, come ON. I'm 35, that's enough of that.

4. When was the last time you danced?

Thursday at my Daisy Girl Scout meeting, I taught the girls a sort of song-and-dance that I learned at my training last weekend. So fun.

5. Do you keep in mind other people’s feelings?

Certainly, I try to!

6. If you have a hang nail, do you pull it or clip it?

Clip, unless no such device is available. If I pull it, it usually hurts and bleeds, right?

7. Whom do you want to forget?

TBFH, my ex-stepmonster

8. Who was the last person to send you a letter?

Hmm... Does the utility company count? Jafra sent me a letter congratulating me on my recent successes, but someone who actually WROTE by hand... who remembers that? My MIL did write to the kids today, though. Well, the youngest didn't get her postcard; it'll probably come on Monday.

9. Who did you last tell to shut up?

I think it was probably Jack, earlier. He has been so mouthy lately. Driving me nuts! (He's 8.)

10. What’s the last thing that you smelt that smelt bad?

That was probably Jack, too. Haha!! No, definitely the litter box. Phew.

11. What’s your favorite cereal?

Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch. I can't eat it anymore, but man, that's some good stuff.

12. How do you feel when people lead you on, but they don’t even like you?

No longer applicable, so I don't care. I hate head games, though. Seriously? Be real.

13. Could you live without sunlight?

I would be awake forever, I think. Darkness comes, and I pop awake, most of the time. I'm, like, nocturnal or something.

14. What’s something you know is bad, but you want to do it anyway?

I've never smoked weed... maybe someday I might try it. ;)

15. What was the last thing you lied about?

Uhhh... I'm usually pretty honest, really. I'm a horrible liar.

16. Do you regret anything you’ve done in the past week?

Yeah, eating that cookie earlier.

17. What was the last movie you bought?

I don't generally buy movies. I'm a renter-type of flick fan.

18. What is a sport you would like to do?

I'd love to be an Olympic Figure Skater, but that'll never happen. I'd like to take up archery, too.

19. When was the last time you felt like crying?

About an hour ago. Then I took my meds. I'm good now. ;)

20. Have you ever wanted to kill someone (not that you actually do it)?

Yep. See #7.

Don't miss my previous post - I'm offering a MAJOR sale on Jafra! It ends at midnight tonight, EST!

Have a great week!


Saturday 9: Someday We'll Be Together


Link up here if you're playing along this weekend!

1. Have you ever left a relationship but knew that eventually you'd get back together?

No. When it's over, it's over. For me, it's always been for a good reason.

2. Are there things that you hate to buy? Items that you either hate to spend perfectly good money on or hate to spend the time it takes to buy them?

I used to hate buying clothes, when I was a Chubby McChubster. Now I love it, though. I hate spending money on medicines, either Rx or OTC. Dunno why.

3. What is your favorite cartoon show and why?

The Smurfs! That's good TV right there. Oh, it's not on anymore, you say? Who knew?

4. Are you anywhere close to doing what you wanted to do as a kid?

Nah. I was a marine biologist for a few years, but now I'm a stay-home mom selling Jafra. Never pictured that, but I'm good with it. Quite happy, actually.

5. Now that you're in the "real world," is your current job now really what you want to do for a living? If not, what would you ultimately like to do?

Ideally, I would be a perpetual student. I guess in a way, everyone is, but I mean academically, at a university.I don't know anyone who pays for that, though, so I would own a yarn shop slash dive/fishing shop with my husband somewhere tropical, and still sell Jafra. I'll never stop using it, so I may as well make money at it!

6. A local university has asked you to teach a class about the one thing you know the most about. What would you be teaching and what would the name of the course be?

Surviving a Crisis 101 - unfortunately, I know a thing or 10,000 about that.

7. Commercials ... they can make us laugh or can annoy the heck out of us. Tell us about your favorite commercial and/or a commercial you simply loathe.

I can't really answer this one, because I don't watch TV. Ever.

8. Tell us about your favorite comedy movie of all time.

The Toy, with Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason. Always got a kick out of it.

9. Tell us about your favorite black and white movie of all time.

Was Paper Moon in B&W? If so, that. Good flick. Y'all should see it, if you haven't.

All righty, then. I'm off to pamper myself with my annual bath (I normally hate them, but I'm in the mood for one) and various lotions and potions. Have a great weekend, y'all!


"The Big 'C'"

That's what my dear, departed grandpa called it. Cancer. "The Big C." He couldn't even really bring himself to say it.

As young as I can remember, my grandparents were smokers. My grandpa had his extensive collection of pipes, and there was always one in his mouth, while my grandma smoked More cigarettes. You know, those long, skinny ones? Anyway, one day, as he tells it, his dentist told him he was working on "The Big C," and he quit smoking tobacco that very day. Honestly. Got rid of all his pipes and never smoked again a day in his life.

My grandmother wasn't so lucky. She was helplessly addicted, and even though she'd had breast cancer twice - in her 30s and in her 50s - and was on oxygen, and then in a wheelchair, and had horrible emphysema, she still smoked. Oh, we begged. Once, we staged an intervention. To no avail, of course, because she would pull out her oxygen tube, puff away, and then stick it back in. The Big C is what took her life, too soon for me, but I suppose it never would have been a good time, eh?

So right now, I'm dealing with The Big C myself, in three different ways, and I'm so OVER it. Because Grandma had breast cancer in her 30s, and I'm now 35, I've gotten a referral to get the breast cancer gene test done. I'm going to call tomorrow and make that appointment. (My mother died at 33, too soon to tell whether she would've gotten it so early, but both my sister and I have had scares with lumps, so I was able to talk my way into getting the referral.)

Also, I have several suspicious skin things going on. I'm very fair-skinned, and I burn like nobody's business. I've had sunburns almost every year of my life, including multiple really bad ones as a kid and one so bad, in my first year of college in Miami, that put me in the hospital. So I'm being followed by Dermatology for skin checks, as well.

And finally, a little TMI. I had a near-complete hysterectomy (I have one ovary) on April 9, 2008 (I remember the date so well because it's the anniversary of Mom's death) after multiple bouts of cervical carcinoma with repeated LEEPs, colposcopies, and the whole deal just not getting rid of the problem. So now, with no cervix or uterus or anything left but the one ovary, why am I having bleeding and spotting? I went to the doc this morning, and she performed an ouchie exam on me. She was concerned, quite. So tomorrow night, I'm having a pelvic ultrasound to check on that ovary, and I'm also being referred back to GYN/Oncology, to see the docs who did my hysto.

I'm saying all this just because I'm a little anxious, which I think is natural in this situation. I'm not a pessimist, I'm not overly worried, but I feel a little like, "The Big C" is coming, and it's just a matter of when and where. I don't want to go that way. So if I get it, I will be strong, I will do what it takes to get well, and I will FIGHT. I'm just so sick of the threat of it right now, and I needed this post to get it off my chest.

{In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, by the way, I'm donating a percentage of all my Jafra sales to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation. If you order and would like to have that donation made in your name, I will be happy to do so.}

So. May you all live long, healthy lives, and a big F-U to The Big C!!


Today, I Decided, Is Going To Be Different...

I'm feeling really good about things. "Things" being my Jafra business, which is taking off since I started back up on September 16th. I'm about to sign up my 2nd new Consultant under me, I'm getting lots of appointments and orders, and best of all, my confidence and pride in myself are growing.

I've decided to start dreaming again.

I want to make Rob's and my dreams come true. He's set to retire from the Navy in a year and a half, give or take, and after working his butt off for 20 years, I want him to be happy and doing what he wants to do. I'll keep homeschooling the children, but I'm going to give 110% to growing my Jafra business and making us, for once, comfortable or better, financially, so that he can do what he wants to do. That's my dream: to make my husband happy.

Oh, I have goals for myself, too. Don't get me wrong. I want to be out of debt. I want to get eye surgery, so people can see how great my skin looks using these products, instead of my glasses. And I definitely want to get my full body lift, because things are a sagging mess after losing over 200 lbs. But mainly, I want to build things up so that he can have what he wants, too. He's given so much to us, and he's asked for so little in return. Now I want to help support him, in every way I can. 

I'm really excited, for the first time in a while. I mean, really excited. I've been with Jafra for 12½ years, but we are better than ever. I truly believe we are the BEST company for women, with the BEST skin care products on the market, and those beliefs are helping me grow my business. Well, the product sells itself, but it's a matter of getting it on the clients, and I'm working hard at that! When I started, I was a young 22-year-old know-nothing, with few skin issues, if any. Now, I'm a more mature 35-year-old with fine lines and sun damage, among other things, and it's funny, but those things combined with my age make me feel more confident in approaching women about their skin care.

Anyway. I could go on for another hour and a day, but I don't want to bore you. I just wanted to share my excitement!

My website is here if you want any information about what JAFRA is all about, ordering (I give great discounts!), being a hostess (double hostess rewards in October), or even joining my team (or should I say, "my future empire"?). I'm in the building stage right now, and it's so fun.

Have a great weekend.


Saturday 9: Sleeping to Dream


Linky-link here to play along with Crazy Sam today!

1. Do you ever go to sleep to simply dream?
Nah. I go to sleep to, uh, get some rest.
2. When you’re having trouble staying awake, what are some things you do to make sure you don’t drift off to sleep?
Overdose on the caffeine and listen to music. Loudly.
3. What’s most likely to cause you a prolonged period of not enough sleep?
Stress and the afore-mentioned caffeine.
4. When you’re going through a prolonged period of not enough sleep, what parts of your daily routine are likely to change, and how?
We homeschool, so when I *really* can't sleep and am exhausted, I give the kids a day off. They, um, really don't mind that so much. I'm glad for the flexibility.
5. In what ways does your personality change when you go through a prolonged period of not enough sleep?
Like anyone else, I imagine, I get stressed more easily (read: bitchy).
6. Who in your life seems regularly to have not enough sleep?

Me, and my daughter Sophia, age 6½. She has my sleeping personality.

7. When you're sleeping, do your closer friends tend to be male or female? Why do you think that is?

I fail to see the relevance of the two parts of that question. Huh? Used to be, all my friends were male, but I have a lot more female friends now.
8. If you could wake up tomorrow with a new talent, what would it be?
Oh, flying. I know I can fly. I just know it. I dream I can all the time...
9. In a dream, is your past something that you can go back to?
No, I tend to dream about the future, and I often dream mundane conversations and interactions that then come to pass. Maybe I'm psychic, but it happens a lot. Not lately, though.
Have a great weekend!
P.S. If you would like to place a Jafra order or host a book party in the month of October, you get double hostess rewards and 10% donated to the Susan G. Komen breast cancer research foundation in your name. By the way, in a couple hours, I'll be placing another order, so holler if you want something! ;)

Aloha Friday


I'm late again! It's been SUCH a busy week, and I'm glad it's almost over. Anyhoo, link up with Kailani here if you're asking questions today!

My question for you this week is:

Have you ever had an MRI?

I'm asking because my 6yo daughter, Sophia, had to have one yesterday. I know it's not a serious procedure (necessarily), like a surgery or whatev, but I couldn't help myself. I bawled when they wheeled her away, unconscious from sedation, and about three more times while she was gone. My baby!! I have also had one myself, about 12 or 13 years ago, when I was stuck in a ten-year cycle of daily migraines. (They didn't find anything wrong with my noggin, but of course it's too soon to tell about Sophia.)

So... you?

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend. Happy October!


P.S. You have until 8 PM EST tonight to take advantage of my 20% off your initial order from my site, Jafra Cosmetics International. We have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so there's no risk!

Then I Saw Her Face, Now I'm A Believer



Here's the scoop: This post is about Jafra, so if you don't want to hear anything about it, go 'head and skip this post, m'kay?


I started with Jafra at the tender age of 22, in March of 1999. (Before that, one of my BFFs and her mom were trying to get me to join them in Mary Kay, which I bought from them frequently, as much as I was able, until I finally agreed to sit down and try some Jafra products with my then-boss. I signed up that very night.) I was an active seller for a while, and then I got married, got pregnant, and fell into motherhood in September of 2001. For the past ten years, my family and I have been using Jafra products - at first exclusively, as when I had been actively selling it, and then less and less so as budget constraints dictated. But I love it, have always loved it since the beginning, and was a little broken-hearted when I inadvertently went inactive (ie, got 'dropped') at the end of this past August.

Skipping over some major drama with a local gal I almost teamed up with, I signed back up under my old manager down in Florida a week ago. I've decided that, after all this time, I want to use this opportunity to help support my family financially. I'm putting the baking business on the back burner for the time being, and Etsy/the craft business in general is completely unreliable as a source of income, so there's Jafra. But more importantly than that, I actually love the products, the company itself is fantastic, and I've missed using it exclusively.

And when I say "I use Jafra," I mean, I really use Jafra:

  • I use every applicable skin care product on my face and body, which sometimes changes as I have aged and as the company updates available products (always for the better!)
  • Rob, my husband, used it extensively in the beginning of our marriage, and he looked like a sweet, young kid. He's stopped using it - hasn't touched it in I don't know how long - and, look, as much as I love the guy, he looks every bit of his 39 years. Maybe more, depending on how rough his day has been. I'm eager to get him the new men's skin care set and document the changes in his skin!
  • When all three of the kids were babies, I used the Tender Moments line on them. I bathed them with it, massaged them regularly, and sniffed their darling Jafra-scented selves at every available opportunity. (We used the original scent; the Lavendar & Chamomile wasn't available then, but I'd probably still choose it.)
  • When they became toddlers, I moved to the 1-2-4 toddler line, until I had Sophia. She dumped out all the bottles, wasting my precious product, and I vowed not to let her do that again. Well, she's probably done it 100 more times with my stuff, because that's Sophia. And a little piece of me dies every time. I jest...mostly.
  • Of course, the mainstay, the foundation, the pièce de résistance of Jafra is the Royal Jelly collection, which has been around for the entire 55 years of the company's existence. There is no substitute for Royal Jelly. Hands-down, it's the première product line in the skin care industry, IMHO, and Jafra's got it. I just got my new case last night in the mail, and of course a bottle of Royal Jelly Milk Balm was included, so that I might try it and get everyone in the Commonwealth of Virginia to try it, too. (Of course, I used it for years, and yes, it makes your skin feel spectacular.) It retails for $70. It's worth every bit of that. If you'd like to get it for free, ask me how. ;)
  • I have to confess, though, that the RJ Body Complex has long been my favorite Jafra product. At $60, it's also not cheap, but it lasts forever and, oh, my gosh, is it heavenly. If you have rough knees and elbows, they'll be gone. If you just like having the softest skin imaginable, then believe me, y'all, it's worth it. And yes, of course, you can get it for free, too. Unlike the old cases when I first signed up, my new case did not include a mini-version of the RJBC. Hello, disappointment! So that will be amongst the first things I order, too, because ah needs it.
  • As far as actual make-up? You name it, Jafra has it - and I've got it, too. I have a crapload of Jafra cosmetics, from eye color to foundations to nails and everything in between. There have been the occasional products I haven't liked, like the old formula mascara and... hm. Other than the inkwell eyeliners, which I only had a problem with because I don't always have the steadiest of hands, that's all I can think of.
  • Royal Almond products have been around since the beginning, too, and they're among the top sellers with good reason. If you live near me, remind me to give you a hand treatment sometime. I give them to myself every week, if not more, and, well, my hands are freakin' soft. It feels amazing. The smell? It makes you want to eat it. (And you can, too, if you really must.) Almond isn't your thing? We can try Ginger or Rose, instead. I'm not a "floral" person, so I prefer the almond or ginger, but that's what's great about Jafra - you have choices, people!
  • My feet would be so gross without the Peppermint Foot Care goodies. I still have some product from a couple years ago. That's another great thing about Jafra products: they're so highly concentrated, they last for ages, which really makes them comparable to skin care companies that cost (and are worth) less, even though they are top-of-the-line, like your finer department store products.
  • Sun Care products: we use them, we love them, and since we live by the beach, we need them. I wouldn't be without them. Swear!
  • Our Spa Collection is to-die-for. Have I already used that phrase once in this post? I feel like I have, because to be totally truthful with you, that's how I really feel about Jafra products. Now, I'll be honest and say I haven't used them in a long while since we have kids, but Rob and I used to use them together when we first got married. Let's just say... that may be a factor in why we had four kids in 3½ years! (And nothing smells better than the Ginger and Sea Salt Body Rub. I can still memory-smell it now, after all this time. Mmm. So good.)
  • I'm not really big on wearing fragrances, especially in the summertime, but when it cools down, I start to spritz here and there, when I think of it. There's a raspberry-based one I like, but I can't even find it on my own site, so hopefully I can track it down. That's the one for me. As for Rob, he's not big on colognes either, but when he's in that mood, I tell him to put on some JF9, and it does the trick. I love it. It smells great. Period. As for the kids, they'll be getting some of these for Christmas this year for the first time, and I know they'll love that! (Although I have to admit, the name "Skid" for the boys' cologne has always cracked me up. Having an 8yo boy in the house, well, "skid" means something else to me...!)

I could go on and on about Jafra, but I think I already have, and I don't want you to get bored on me! Too late? I'm sorry. I just LOVE it all! The new products, the Jafra PRO line, use the most up-to-date skin care technology, and I can't wait to try them. They come with a price tag that makes me blink a little bit, but when I can get them, I'm going to take before-and-after pictures so I can prove (to myself) that they make the difference.

As for the pictures at the top of this post, they are my "before" (top left) any products at all - and like I said, I've only been using Jafra sporadically lately, which means one or two things and not even every day - and "after" using the Balancing Face Wash, Gentle Exfoliating Scrub, Toner, Royal Jelly Milk Balm, Optimeyes eye treatment, and the new Ultra Nourishing Gold Moisturizer, along with Jafra-only make-up. (Dudes, did you know that in Hollywood, they are putting this gold stuff on their face to the tune of $300-500? Ours costs just $55 for the same thing, which just happens to be the cost of the September case, if you were thinking about joining me on this venture. Meaning, I paid for that and got everything else basically for free! So think about it...) Anyway, I love how it feels on my face, and I'm going to use it day and night, like it says, to get the full effect.

Top Right: my own self-portrait, using my iPhone; Bottom pictures: Rob's iPhone photos of me with my glasses on and off. I'll post pictures again in a fortnight, so we can see if there are any changes after using Jafra products exclusively.

So that's about it from me for now, about Jafra. I want you to try this stuff. More importantly, of course, I want you to (a) buy this stuff (from ME, der), (b) host/ess a party to try it with your friends, and/or (c) join my team. Can you get rich from selling Jafra? Abso-freaking-lutely. (I know some who have, personally.) Do I want to get rich from Jafra? You better believe I do. If, when Rob retires in a year and a half, I've gotten to the point where he can go to school full-time and not have to work, I'll be as happy as a pig in you-know-what!!

So, wish me luck. Here I go.


Friday Fragments


Link up here with Mrs.4444 if you're feeling fragmented today!

Happy Autumn! Good-bye, 100º days with NO air conditioning, hello, well, 65º days so far... Much more tolerable. Better get the HVAC fixed soon, though, or we'll (I'll) be miserable come Winter!

Check out my Aloha Friday question on the previous post for a special offer! I'm running a Jafra promotion for my blog readers only and it ends in one week, so hurry!

Wednesdays are homeschool co-op days for Team Odette, and while the kids are in their classes, I'm in the kitchen all day teaching cooking to children from age five to 14. Last week was the first week and quite chaotic (but fun); yesterday went much more smoothly and was a blast. Still, it wears me out. I had more errands to run and finally crashed before midnight, and I slept late late late today. We were supposed to spend the day up in Yorktown for their homeschool days events, for which we had tickets, but I was just too pooped. I think we'll have to think about taking Thursdays off from doing school, because last week was the same. Can always make it up Sat & Sun, though technically, we "do school" ALL the time, if you count the lessons the kids learn on-the-go, in the car, at the store, and so forth. Yeah. Let's count that.

Tomorrow, we WILL be going up to Jamestown for the kids' classes, since Jamestown/Yorktown Homeschool days end this weekend and I want to get our money's worth, but since we already went to J-town last week, we might either go early or stay late (or both, what the hey) and venture over to Yorktown. We've never seen Y-town, and it's unlimited free admission during this event, so I'd like to go check it out. Have y'all ever been to the "Historic Triangle," as they call it (Colonial Williamsburg is included in that)?

Saturday is free museum day! Learn about that here and get your two free tickets if you haven't already! We plan on going to the Children's Museum of VA in Portsmouth until Jack has to go home and get ready for his Cub Scout popcorn show & sell (a booth sale, as we Girl Scouts call it), and then a friend's having a birthday party for her husband after that, so... another busy weekend!

Oh yeah, and the Girl Scout Fall Product sale (candy and nuts) starts on Saturday, too. Phew, it never stops. My dad always complains that our life is too chaotic and hectic. I guess he can't seem to remember what life was like with four teenaged girls going in all different directions all the time?

If you want to read about my trip with Chloë to D.C. for her 10th birthday celebration, read the two posts prior to my Aloha Friday one. We had a grand weekend at American Girl, taking the train, going to the National Zoo, and staying in a hotel in the middle of the District. And I left her alone for her very first time while I slipped out and did a mystery shop at a restaurant and bar with a friend who lives there. Chloë did great, except she was upset that she couldn't get the laptop OR the TV to work, so she ended up taking a bath to calm down and missed my check-in phone call. By the time I got back, after watching the Mayweather-Ortiz fight at the restaurant, she and her AG doll, Faith, were sound asleep in their bed. (Speaking of the fight, did you see that? I kept cringing while the men cheered; it's the mother in me, I guess!)

I'm back in therapy at least twice a week now, and it's helping considerably. I adore my therapist and think it's the best-working relationship I've ever had with one (and I've had a bunch).  My psychopharmacologist, "Paypal," has changed up one of my meds, from Side-Effexor to Pristiq, and it's not going so well... plus he was out of town and unable to take any of my "what should I do?!?!" phone calls. Luckily, my therapist was there and able to help me cope. I ♥ her.

So, my 8yo son, Jack, had his latest appointment with the new pediatric endocrinologist this week, and that went as expected, with the medication refill put in and new needles ordered. However, apparently we're supposed to be physically seen in the office every 4-6 months - as opposed to the 12 we've been asked in the past - and he's supposed to get an IGF-1 test every other visit or so. Now, like you I'm guessing, I'd never heard of this test, so someone has been dropping the ball. At least this new endo is on top of things. Basically it tells us whether his med dosage is correct, according to liver function after taking some marker meds. I love finding this kind of thing out after, what? Five, six years of being following for his growth hormone deficiency? Nice. (In the "good news" category, though, he's grown 8½ cm since Feb. 2010, which is fantastic! It would be 0 cm without the meds, more than likely.)

Chloë, at age 10 and smaller than her 6yo sister Sophia, weighs less than 50 lbs and has barely grown herself, so at the end of the endo visit, I asked the doc if she should be re-evaluated. She'd been checked a few years ago and was "borderline" for the condition, but I remained concerned. He took a height check on her and then pored over her medical records. Doc called me himself within the same day and told me that, yes, she definitely needs to be seen again and will probably end up taking the shots herself. I broke the news to her a little while later, and she was fairly calm about it, saying she kind of knew that was coming. She just doesn't want her shots "in the butt" and asked if she could have them in her arms and legs instead. I don't know, but since she's not very meaty in those places, I'm guessing that'll be a "no."

{Note to Grandma: her appointment is October 18th at zero-dark-hundred.}

Since we're talking medical stuff now, I visited my PCM myself this week to ask for referrals for both a new sleep study (do I still need the CPAP, which I don't use anyway, for apnea since I've lost 205 lbs??) and for the breast cancer gene test. Normally, they don't approve the gene test unless there is a "strong family history," which to Tricare means a mother or sister with the disease. Well, my maternal grandmother had it both in her 30s and 50s, and my mother died too young, at age 33, to know whether she would have gotten it. Since Sis and I have both had lumps checked out, I was able to talk my way into getting the referral submitted. I found out tonight that I've been referred out for an oncologist-geneticist appointment. Woot! (Meanwhile, the sleep study referral is still "under review," which I think is ridick. Whatevs.)


At Jack's Cub Scout pack meeting tonight, he earned belt loops for Gymnastics, BB-gun shooting, and Archery, along with his first Popcorn patch for this current sale, and his Wolf badge, which he somehow didn't get last year. (He's a Bear now.) We don't know what those arrow point-thingies are for, though. Grandma, help?

Ehh, I guess that's way more crap than you really wanted to know about me/us this week, so I'll shut up now. I really need to go do some cleaning, since we're having house guests (a friend and her three doggies) all next week. With four cats, this should prove interesting!