Call me narcissist if you must but this blog is all about ME. I have another blog about my kids, whom I love and adore writing about. But I was Nicole a long time before I was mom and I don't intend to give up being Nicole overnight.

You can read all about my kids at Naptime Optional.
Or you can follow along on our Arizona adventure on my 365 project blog.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hook, line, sinker

It's common knowledge that I'm the mean one at our house.

I'm the disciplinarian when it comes to the kids.

I'm the spouse most likely to pick a fight.

And I'm the one who has no problem whatsoever saying no to salespeople. When Mike feels himself falling prey to a door to door salesman he always pulls out the "well you'll have to convince my wife" line. It probably comes from the fact that I've worked in marketing and I know all the tactics salespeople use to try to get me to buy a product and I'm secretly irritated that they are trying to use their little tricks on me. As if I'm dumb enough to fall for that line!

So you can imagine my husband's shock when he came home yesterday to discover I had spent (ehem, embarrassingly clears throat) over $100 on cleaning products from a door to door salesman.

Raise your hands if you've ever had the Advanage salespeople knock on your door. Show of hands please. Come on, keep 'em up.

Okay, for those of you still sittn' there pickn' your nose let me clue you in. Advanage is a eco-friendly cleaner sold by black inner-city kids from Illinois. Okay, maybe they're not all black and not all from Illinois-but all the ones who have ever come to my house are.

The Advanage sales crew show up in my neighborhood about 2 times a year. I always know it's them from a mile away because well, let's face it, I live in a neighborhood predominately white and Hispanic, so when I see large groups of black kids walking the streets with spray bottles hanging from their back pockets I know I'm about to get the Advanage sales pitch again.

We have lived in this neighborhood for close to 6 years now and not once have I said yes to their sales pitch, although I've heard a dozen times. They've cleaned the oil from my driveway a dozen times, cleaned the siding on my house a dozen times, told me all about the company's goal to take kids out of the inner cities and give them a way to make a living and get an education a dozen times. I know what they claim their product does and still never bought any of it. Never even been tempted. Not once.

Somehow my resolve all weakened when I opened the door to Katrina Taylor. Well, actually Adam opened the door. So then I had to talk to her.

There she is, standing on my porch, he beautiful white teeth and long dark hair and her ebony skin. She was striking to say the least. And the first thing she says to me is "Can I ask you a question?" I resign myself to hearing the sales pitch, yet again, and answer in the affirmative.

She says, "Why is everybody in this neighborhood so nice? All your neighbors have been SO nice to me today and I'm just not used to that." I was taken aback for just a moment, not quite sure if she was being serious or if this was all part of her sales pitch.

Just then the Elders walked past my house and Katrina called out to them, saying Hi, and telling them they she thought they looked very professional. I was struck with inspiration and I called out to them "Hey Elders, Katrina here wants to know why everybody in the neighborhood is so nice to her." I'm feeling a little proud of myself at this point thinking I'm giving the Missionaries the perfect chance to swoop in, tell her that everybody is nice and happy because of our faith in Jesus Christ and give her a Book of Mormon or at least a pass-along card.

Instead they gave me a blank stare, as if I was speaking Russian. One of them mumbled something along the lines of "oh, are people nice around here?" and after a short, awkward silence they said, "well, have a nice day" and walked away.

After that strange exchange the sales pitch for the cleaner began. She cleaned the oil on my driveway, like usual. And then I did something I have NEVER let any of these sales people do-I let her into my house to clean something. She cleaned the mildew in my bathroom. She cleaned a spot off my carpet. She cleaned crayon off my wall. She even wiped down my stainless steel dishwasher and told me that this cleaner would repel the fingerprints for up to 2 weeks.

But during all this cleaning that was going on she kept noticing things around my home relating to the church. She pointed to the family picture that had the words "Families can be Together Forever" printed under it and then told me how much she loved the church's teachings about the family. Then she read my sign hanging on the fridge from my Primary Sharing Time on Sunday "By following Jesus Christ we can live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again."

She went on an on about how she wished her family was closer. She told me that she came from a home of 7 kids with a single mom who only had a GED. She talked about how life had been hard growing up and how she has a 2 year old of her own now and decided she wanted her daughter to have a better life. So she's going to college and working hard to give her girl a better life.

There was a part of me that was trying hard not to get sucked in by her sob story. I kept telling myself that this was all part of the sales pitch. I was supposed to simultaneously feel sorry for her and be happy for her that she was trying to do something with her life and thus feel obligated to buy her cleaner. I kept telling myself this mentally, but something deeper inside me just kept telling me that she was sincere.

So I told myself I'd just buy one bottle of cleaner. But when she pulled out the price list she said if I bought 1-3 bottles she got 20% commission but if I bought the kit (3 bottles, a cleaning brush, and bottles to mix the concentrated cleaner in) then she got 60%. And if I got the kit PLUS a bottle of the glass cleaner she got 70%.

And I caved. For some reason I still don't fully understand I found myself writing out a check to her for the kit and the glass cleaner. The entire time I'm thinking to myself "my husband is going to shoot me!" And yet I kept writing out that check, handing over his hard earned money. And a lot of it, too.

And before she left I gave her my copy of the Family Answers DVD.

So now I suppose it's time for some serious spring cleaning. And a "No Soliciting" sign on my front door.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Name that Movie Monday

I'm taking the easy route today. My movie quote is from the movie the kids have watched a dozen times this week and this line is stuck in my head. Okay, two lines actually.

I notice nobody's eating the gluten-free wheat grass cake. Come on trust me you just gotta get past the smell.

(I have to admit I keep thinking of this one because my sister made a gluten free cake for her wedding because her new husband is celiac and when I walked into my mom's house while it was baking I said "are you cooking something? It smells awful." Ha!)

Buy you're like the classic school principal. You're scary and bad with people and children are nervous around you. That doesn't sound right. I'm just saying what else can you do? Besides maybe Cuban dictator? Or the bogey man. You could be the bogey man.

Okay, I truly need to tackle that mountain of laundry now. So here is your movie code: I4CW33N

And now I'm off!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Flashback Friday-frusterated edition

Remember when I said my sister was getting married soon and that after the wedding I was going to have more time to blog? Yea, that was a funny joke. The wedding was a week ago today (hence no Flashback Friday last week) and my house hadn't quite recovered from that yet when Ryan moved back in. Now my house is in complete and utter disarray. Plus I got this masochistic idea that since I was out of diapers I'd try to do a two-for-one on the potty training and get all kids out of diapers for good.

So excess time is not a reality yet.

Which of course means I waited until today to actually start writing Flashback Friday. And I had a brilliant idea, too!

A few weeks ago while going through pictures for Flashback Friday I came across a picture of my sister as a baby, me holding her. So I thought since she got married last week it would be a great picture for my blog. I was going to put the picture of me holding her, and then this picture of her now holding my baby girl.

My little sister and my little girl

Brilliant, right?

So of course I looked and looked for like an hour for the picture and can't find it. And in the meantime my house isn't getting any cleaner. And so faithful followers-no picture of my baby sister as a baby. All you get is this.


Congratulations Natalie and Justin!

Hop on over to Katie's Flickr and her blog to see more photos of the big day. And if you just can't get enough of Katie's pictures check out her photography site as well. (which was designed by the talented Josh Piersanti.

Wow-one of these days I should start asking to get paid for all this free advertising I do, since I'm sure I'm sending 10's of hits to the above mentioned websites. Let's see, at a penny a hit....I think Katie and Josh both owe me about 6 cents. Now pay up. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Name that Movie Monday

Short, sweet, to the point. Here is today's movie quote. (from one of my current favorite I say that every week?)

This corn is like an angel.

Give it a whirl. If I have no correct guesses by this afternoon maybe I'll consider giving you a few extra clues.

In the meantime, enjoy a free movie on Redbox: M6FR97

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

If you haven't got a penny then a heypenny will do

Seems like everybody is asking for money these days. (Do the terms bailout and economic stimulus ring a bell?) And although I'm not usually the first to jump on the bandwagon and do something just because everybody else is doing it there are those rare occasions that I'll do the "in" thing because it is the right thing.

So although I come before you today with my hand out, I'm not asking for a handout.

My brother is riding in the Harmons 2009 MS Bike Ride. He rode last year. And this is my sister's third year riding.

They ride in honor of our Grandmother, Sharon, who died from the disease back in 1972. She was only 40 years old and left behind 6 children. My father, who was the oldest, was 19 years old. He never remembers a time in his life when his mother was not confined to a wheel chair.

This year the bike ride falls on my Grandmother's birthday.

I know economic times are tough. I know spare money is hard to come by. I know there are a lot of good causes out there to give to.

But if you are washing laundry today and find some laundered money in the bottom of the washer please consider donating it to the National MS Society by sponsoring Ryan in the Bike Ride.

Or if you get around to vacuuming under the couch cushions and find some spare change instead of tossing it in the ash tray of your car maybe you could instead donate it to the National MS Society by sponsoring Ryan in the Bike Ride.

Or if you use that by one get one free coupon at Arby's this week consider taking the amount you saved and donating it to the National MS Society by sponsoring Ryan in the Bike Ride.

Anyway, you get the idea.

Any small contribution is appreciated.

And if you haven't got a haypenny-well then God bless you!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Name that Movie Monday-Tuesday Edition

Sometimes movies merely entertain. And sometimes they touch you, cause you to think, and maybe even change.

As I mentioned yesterday I rented Marley and Me with my free Redbox code. Now I have to be honest, I wasn't sure if I really wanted to watch this movie. See, I didn't really know much about it except that there was a dog. And I'm not really what you would call a dog person. So thinking it was an overly emotional movie about a dog where they make you love the dog and then kill him off (can anybody say Old Yeller?) I had kind of steered away from it.

But I was at one of the busier Redbox locations (yes, I was at Walmart, please don't tell anybody!) and thus it was one of the only non rated-R movies available for rent. (one of my one complaints about Redbox-so few family friendly movies. Not that I would call Marley and Me family friendly. Despite it's PG rating a skinny dipping Jennifer Aniston and an over abundance of sexual innuendo made it not quite appropriate for my quite young family. But I digress!!!)

So what was I saying? Oh yes, I didn't want to rent it but hey, it was a free movie so even if it totally sucked I wasn't out much.

I am so glad I rented it! This movie is not just about a dog. This is a grown up coming of age movie which I totally related to! It was at times painfully truthful. Well, except that I don't have a dog and I am not as skinny as Jennifer Aniston after supposedly having 3 kids.

There are so many books and movies that are pre-teens coming of age. But the whole "discovering who I am and being comfortable in my own shoes" is not just a once in a lifetime experience. I could so relate to all the adjustments and difficulties involved in going from being single to being married. And then going from being married to being married with children. And redefining expectations. And figuring out what's really important in life.

My Sister-in-Law thought the end was depressing but I thought it was touching and realistic. Marley had helped John and Jen grow up, grow into a family. He had served a very important purpose in their lives. And now a new season in life was beginning for them. Because that's how life works.

So I guess this isn't really an official "Name that Movie Monday" since I already told you what movie the quote is from, and it's not Monday. But here's your quote just the same.

Jen: Honey, I'm sorry. I just got overwhelmed. No one tells you how hard this all is going to be.

John: Which part

Jen: All of it. Marriage, being a parent. It's the hardest job in the world and nobody prepares you for that. Nobody tells you how much you have to give up.

John: Sometimes I feel like they do tell you but you don't listen or you think "ah, they're just miserable."

Jen: I've given up so much of what made me who I am. But I can't say that because I'm a very bad person if i say that. But I feel it. I really do. I feel it sometimes. I just want you to know that.

John: I do know that. And you can say it. I say it.

Jen: But I did make a choice, I made a choice. and even if it's harder than I thought I don't regret it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Name that movie Monday-Freebie Edition

Sorry-no movie quote today. (I know you are crushed!) I had my quilt block class this morning and wedding errands to run and my house has been declared a state of disaster thanks to my birthday parties and such last week.

The good news is that by this time next week the wedding will be over AND you still get your movie code.

Free Redbox Movie: J89LA2


I rented Marley and Me to watch while I fold about a zillion loads of laundry that have been sitting in baskets for the last week! If I don't start folding them soon they are going to start swallowing up kids. Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Take Two

I finished my second quilt block. Hooray!


Don't look too closely at this one, though. There are some seams that I probably shoud've unpicked. But my class is tomorrow, and I was feeling rushed to get it done, and being Sunday night, I wanted to spend the time with my husband before the rush of the week starts again. So I wasn't really in the quilting mood. But I had to get it done.

To make matters worse my machine started breaking threads and binding up on me and I was getting more than a little frustrated. So I was just rushing to get it done.

But I hear the Amish people put mistakes in their quilts on purpose. So consider this my Amish block.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

lather, rinse, repeat

Back in January my cell phone took a little trip through the spin cycle in the pocket of my pants. After many failed attempts to resuscitate it (which included dehydrate cycle in the oven) it was officially declared dead.

I got my brother's old phone, popped in my sim card and was good to go. Well except for all the ringtones, pictures, and phone numbers saved on my phone. Somehow I managed to move forward anyway.

Fastforward to this week-while shopping at JoAnn's for quilting rulers I dropped my phone.

And now it looks like this.

my poor phone

In case you were wondering yes, it is EXTREMELY difficult to read text messages this way. AND worse than that, this whole destroying 2 cell phones in 4 months is REALLY hurting my "I really NEED an iphone" arguments.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Yea me!

In my effort to be more creative I signed up for a quilt block of the month class.

And today, with the help of the fabulous and talented Aunt Bonnie I finished my first ever quilt block!


And this from the girl who pretty much hated all the sewing projects in 4-H!!!!

The only thing that could possibly put a damper on the excitement is that I still have one more to finish before the class meets again on Monday. I'm starting earlier next month!

Flashback Friday

Adam's birthday was this week so I've been thinking a lot about the day he was born, and the first week that he was home.

So today I thought I'd share with you the first time I REALLY freaked out. The moment I really realized I was responsible for this little life.

I am not entirely sure exactly how many days we had been home. I do remember that Mike had returned to work. And I was still on the really good pain medications. And for some reason that I can't now fully understand I found it absolutely necessary to go THAT DAY and buy Adam a blessing outfit.

Remember, I had just said that I was still taking the heavy pain meds (he was a 9 1/2 pound baby and was delivered with forceps so I was pretty torn apart) which means I SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN DRIVING. But this didn't even occur to me. I just knew I HAD to have his blessing outfit that day. It was apparently imperative to life as we know it.

So I load my baby into his car seat and we climb into our trusty little Nissan Sentra and off we go.

And it was the LONGEST drive of my life!!! Evey bump in the road I was sure I had just blown a tire. Every intersection I came to I was CERTAIN the other cars were not going to stop. I was jittery and afraid the entire drive. Every car on the road seemed out to hurt my baby. In my mind's eye my little Sentra was going to end up as a twisted mass of steel before we reached our destination.

Gladly, we did reach our destination, but by the time we got there I was a wreck. I sat in the car sobbing. I knew I couldn't safely drive us back home.

So I called my husband. Through heaving sobs I explained to him where I was and that he needed to come get me and the baby and drive us home.

Being a good husband he came immediately. He returned me and the baby to the safety of our home and then had to call his mom to go back to the store with him to get his vehicle.

Needless to say it was a LONG time before I drove anywhere alone with the baby again.


Before I get into today's Flashback Friday I want to take a moment and thank everybody who reads this little ol' blog of mine. It may not be kosher to admit, but I like thinking that people not only read, but actually enjoy what I write. I only wish I had time to write more. Really, I do. Throughout the day as I'm changing diapers and folding laundry I stare longingly at the laptop, my finger itching to type something quirky and amusing. But as of late life has just been so hectic. Even when I finally get the kids to bed there are a million more things to accomplish and I'm always exhausted. So writing must wait for another day.

I have started about a dozen posts. But am always interrupted by a small one needing something. Or somethings I just fall asleep at the keyboard and start to drool just a little, which is not something electronics like too much. And so, once again, writing must wait for another day.

I know that our life has seasons and right now is my season to have small children.

But spring is coming which means they'll be playing outside more and need me to entertain them less.

And Adam starts kindergarten in a few short months.

Until then the writer inside me will wait, patiently, for her turn. She will get her chance. Her season will come and I hope she will blossom beautifully.

Okay, enough of that sap-onto your regularly scheduled Friday Post.

Monday, April 6, 2009

No Movie Today

No Name that Movie Monday today. My oldest turns 5 today and we're heading out for a day of family fun and adventure!

Friday, April 3, 2009


Things I've been thinking a lot about lately, put into words quite eloquently by others that I admire. Hope you enjoy.

An inspiring essay written by one of the most creative people I know.

This is why I blog.
This is why I photograph.
This is why I started a quilting class.
It's not much, but it's a start.

Tough As Nails

Aside from the Movie Monday and Flashback Friday I've been quite AWOL lately. Not only have I not written much on my own blog but I haven't read or commented on any other blogs in quite some time.

So the house is quiet tonight. The hubs if off doing what he does best, which is being chivalrous and helping others even though he is dog tired and starting to get sick. He would never think of saying no when somebody asks for his help. So after getting the little ones to sleep I realized I had some time to myself. I thought about cleaning and then thought better of it. So I've spent the last hour with my google reader, having a grand time catching up on everybody's blogs.

There is just one small problem. In all the hustle and bustle that has been my life lately I haven't had time to do anything with my fingernails for a few weeks and they have gotten quite long. As I sit here trying to type out witty comments on all your blogs my nails keep tapping on the keyboard and, frankly, it's driving me insane!!!!

3 times I've started upstairs to chop them off but then I remember that my sister's wedding is a mere 2 weeks away and I thought that perhaps it would be nice to actually do something nice with my nails for the occasion.

Not that anybody will be looking at my nails. No matter how real or fabulous they are.

But I'm having a stay at home mom crisis lately and have been looking forward to my sister's wedding for months now because it gives me a really good excuse to dress up really pretty and be non-mommy frump for one night. So even if nobody will be looking at my nails I need them to be pretty for me.

But the tapping on the keys as I type really IS annoying me.

What's a girl to do???? Aside from giving up blogging completely until after the wedding I am at a complete loss!

Flashback Friday

Today's edition of Flashback Friday is a tad scary. No, it's not about Halloween or haunted houses. But it does involve revealing a bit about my inner self, about the way I think. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is downright frightening at times!

So, before the memory you get a question. When you let your mind wander, when you have nothing else you have to be thinking about, what do you think about? Because I think about movie scenes. And I'm not talking about scenes from movies that I've actually seen. I mean I create movie scenes. Sometimes I'll even stick with the same scene for several weeks re-thinking it to make it better. I'll fix some of the dialogue or change the blocking or add some music for dramatic effect. Mind you I've never come up with an idea for an entire movie. It's always just a scene. A little tidbit. A teaser, a trailer. Sometimes the characters don't even have names. Does that make me strange? (please don't answer that question!)

For quite some time I was trying to work out a scene about how the male and female romantic leads would meet each other. I sing along to the radio in my car, quite loud and energetically sometimes. So I was trying to work out the details of a woman singing in her car while stopped at a red light. As she's singing away with much gusto she looks at the car next to her and sees a very handsome man singing along to the exact same song.

This scene was fresh in my head one morning as I was driving to work. As usual I was singing along to the song on the radio. While stopped at a red light I look over and see a guy I work with in the car next to me. And he was evidently listening to the same radio station because he was singing along to the same song I was! No joke.

Here's where it gets really weird though. Unlike the movie scene I had written and re-written in my head several times he was not handsome. He was a guy in our IT department and was the epitome of Geek! Now if I'm calling somebody a geek you know it must be bad because I score close to "total geek" on The Geek Test. But this guy he wasNapolean Dynamite Geek! Big glasses and everything. I seriously think that with all the stylish glasses available these days you actually have to special order glasses that ugly! But that's beside the point.

I couldn't help myself. The whole thing was so ridiculous that I started giggling. I couldn't stop laugh all the way to work. And I had to park on the opposite side of the parking lot so we wouldn't have to bump into each other walking into the building.

Thanks goodness I didn't need to call the help desk that day. I'm not sure I could've handled a conversation with the guy without lapsing into a total fit of hysterics!