Archive for February, 2012

A Mommy of Many Giveaway! Leap Into Leap-Day with Sky Zone!

February 28, 2012

It only comes around once every 4 years and what better way to jump for joy than to jump, leap and have fun at Sky Zone?! To celebrate this rare day, Sky Zone Sacramento/Rocklin is offering special Leap Day pricing.

$8 / hour pricing all day and operating hours include 3pm – 8pm.

Plus, anyone who comes to jump can purchase additional 30-min jump passes (for future use) for just $2.29 each – up to 4 per person.

If you haven’t ever visited a Sky Zone, here’s a great chance to take advantage of the world’s first all trampoline, walled playing court. A seemingly endless sea of trampolines, all connected to form one massive trampoline surface, with angled trampolines that allow you to literally bounce off the walls. This ultimate 3D play experience is enjoyed by all ages, shapes and sizes.

But don’t worry! If you can’t hop over to celebrate Leap Day, here’s your chance to win a family and friends pass! This in an $80 value with 10, hour-long sessions that are good for up to 4 people at a time. You and 3 friends can jump and play for an hour and you’ll STILL have 6 hour-long sessions left for other visits. This pass has no expiration date and is only redeemable at the Sacramento/Rocklin Sky Zone location. Free fun! What could be better?!

To enter please head over to Sky Zone’s facebook fan page, like them and then leave me a comment here, letting me know you’ve done it. I’ll choose a winner at random on Friday. Enter! Enter! Enter!

Good luck~

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And the Winner Is…

February 23, 2012

Michelle H!

Congratulations!

Details will be emailed to you. Thank you to all enteries!

Michelle, I’ll see you there~

*Don’t forget, if you didn’t win, you can still buy a ticket and join us!

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Emmaus Ministries-Worth Reading, Sharing & Supporting!

February 21, 2012

I don’t believe I’ve ever asked you to read a write up on a cause before, so I’ve saved up until now.

I ask that you take a few moments to read these heartfelt words that Kateri, my 22 yr. old daughter, has put together about her upcoming, 2nd year on this mission. For those of you who don’t know Kateri, I’d like to preface this note with a few words;

Last year, when Kateri briefly described to me how she would be spending her Spring Break, working with homeless, male postitutes in Chicago, I was both in awe and frightened for her safety. I felt blessed that my daughter had become that kind of person who would even consider such a thing and prayed for all those going on the mission and those that they would be working with. She came back with a heart so full of true love for people that most of us wouldn’t want to even glance at, let alone share a table and meal with. I’m profoundly proud of Kateri and all the young adults that are choosing to spend their break in this way. I ask that you read what she has to say and that if you are not able to help fund the team that you, please, keep each of these people in your prayers.

Now, a word from Kateri;

The Chicago Mission is a 10 day trip to Uptown Chicago where a group of fourteen college students stay and work with Emmaus Ministries. Emmaus is a ministry center that serves men that either have been or are involved in a lifestyle of same-sex prostitution. Emmaus is a safe place where these men can get their lives back together, they can wash their clothes, do chores, take showers, go to prayer groups, it’s a place they can have mail sent, where they can make phone calls, it’s their home.  My favorite part of the mission is that everyday for lunch everyone stops what they’re doing: all the staff, all the volunteers and all the men who have come to Emmaus that day, come together at a long table, right in front of a huge mural of the Last Supper, and have a meal together. They pray, they eat, they laugh. For some of the men at Emmaus it’s the only place they’ve ever had a meal like this: around a table, in a safe place with people that love them.

Something I didn’t realize until I had the opportunity to go to Emmaus last year was that male prostitution is a totally different culture than I had imagined.  When I think of the poorest in society I think of the homeless.  Many of these men are addicts, alcoholics as well as homeless; they’ve come from impossible backgrounds without family or shelter and most often without love of any kind. They sell themselves for mere dollars, often to get their next “fix”.  They can’t go to homeless shelters because the homeless know who they are and often beat or rape them.  Emmaus is a safe haven where they don’t have to worry about being hurt, they don’t have to explain themselves, they are just loved and cared for, they are given the opportunity to get their lives back on track.

Emmaus had a profound impact on my life, in ways I never expected. I went to Emmaus ready to serve the men. Ready to smile and laugh with them. Ready to cook and clean. Ready to listen and have conversations with the men I’d meet.  I did these things but what I wasn’t expecting was the way that the men would serve me.  There wasn’t a day I was there that one of the men didn’t open a door for me, pull out the chair for me while we sat down for lunch. I was never allowed to clear my own plate, God forbid I try to take theirs!  I may have cooked, but they ALWAYS did the dishes.  They loved me without strings, without expectations.  I quickly realized that we are all prostitutes in one form or another, “we are all poor and broken.  The only difference between me and the men of Emmaus,” as the founder of Emmaus, Deacon John Green, once said, “is that we know where the food is.” We are all on a walk to Emmaus the difference is that I know where it leads.  These men have such a profound ability to love and they each had an incredible impact on my life.

One of these men was David. He was a firefighter who had been in an accident and had suffered severe brain damage. He lost his job, his wife left him taking the children with her. He began drinking which then led to hard drugs. Before long he was living on the streets with all he owned in a duffle bag and a tent that he slept in.  He turned to prostitution to pay for his next high and no one left who cared.  Emmaus was a place where people noticed when he wasn’t there, it was a place where people knew his name, they knew his story, they loved him.  We’d go outside and smoke cigarettes together, he didn’t say much but he’d come because he knew I’d give him cigarettes and if he ignored my questions long enough I’d leave him alone.  So we’d sit outside in silence.  One day I caught a glimpse of his eyes and was so taken aback by their piercing color and vibrancy that I had to tell him.  His reaction is still fresh in my mind as I write this.  He looked up, straight in my eyes and smiled. He talked for maybe 10 minutes about his parents’ eyes and how his were such a mix of the two. He told me how he thought they were his best feature and that no matter what he had gone through, or what he looked like, they were still the same.  We finished our cigarettes, he hugged me and we went inside.  I think about him and pray for him everyday.  Emmaus is a place for men like David, who have had to turn to prostitution because of the impossible situations they’ve found themselves in.

The week we get to spend with Emmaus is life changing. I feel so blessed to be going back this year as a co-leader, ready to share the experience I had with 11 new people who are eager to meet the men I have such a great love for.  The Chicago Mission leaves on March 9th, just over a month away! Our goal is $12,000 and unfortunately we are still thousands of dollars away.

Please help us get to Chicago this year.  Time is running out but although we have a ways to go, we are confident that your generosity will get us there! You can donate online at: https://giving.franciscan.edu/sslpage.aspx?pid=383 in the “designation” area put “Chicago”.

Please keep our mission in your prayers and know that you are in ours.

God bless~

Kateri Lang

Feel free to e-mail me if you have any further questions or would like more information:  kateri.l.lang@gmail.com

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Good Thinking!

February 20, 2012

Lex came into my room looking like this and saying he was ready to go out and play. When I asked him why he was wearing “16″ shirts, he said;

“Max said there are bullies out there. So, I kept putting on shirts and punching myself until I couldn’t feel it anymore. Now I’m ready to go out.”

Way to be prepared!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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A Mommy of Many® Giveaway!-Love Never Dies

February 18, 2012

NCM Fathom and Omniverse Vision come together again to present the first ever US showing of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies, the highly anticipated sequel to The Phantom of the Opera.

Experience the three time Helpmann Award winner and eagerly awaited sequel to one of the most beloved musicals of all time at local movie theaters, and be a part of history as the first ever US showing of Love Never Dies comes to Movie Theaters Nationwide on Tuesday, February 28 with a second showing on March 7 both at 7:30pm local time.

Come and enjoy the fully staged pre-recorded performance of Love Never Dies captured from The Regent Theatre in Melbourne, Australia. This is a mesmerizing follow-up to the multi-award winning The Phantom of the Opera, featuring a 21-piece orchestra and an impressive cast of 36 including actors Ben Lewis as Phantom and Anna O’Byrne as Christine Daaé. The production will enchant and bring audiences into a world of passion, obsession and romance. Based on a book by Ben Elton, the captivating love story of the Phantom and Christine Daaé continues in New York’s playground, Coney Island. After his disappearance from the Paris Opera house, the Phantom begins a new life in New York amongst the freaks and side shows. The only thing missing from his new life is his musical protégée Christine. In an effort to win back his love, the Phantom lures Christine and her family to this new sparkling unknown world.

This fabulous event will also include an introduction from Andrew Lloyd Webber discussing the creative process and stumbling blocks of developing Love Never Dies and behind the scenes content that follows Lloyd Webber on set as he provides his creative insight and direction to the cast and crew.

Tickets are on sale now through the website, but you can win a pair of tickets right here! I will be announcing the winner on Wednesday, February 22nd. Please note that the winning tickets will be for the Roseville 14 theater location. To enter go to the Love Never Dies facebook fan page, like them and then leave me a comment that you’ve done it. The winner will be chosen at random from all enteries.

Good luck!

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Placer Business Tweetup at The Place-Meet the Owners and the Food

February 16, 2012

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Michael and Moneka McDermott, the owners and culinary creators behind The Place, a new restaurant in Old Roseville that’s not only serving up fabulous food that’s full of yummy goodness, but also full of heart. This couple has spent the last few years designing the layout and menu for what’s becoming a building place for community. With their culinary backgrounds (Moneka studied food biochemistry at UC Davis and then headed off to Rhode Island to continue her culinary education and Michael worked in restaurants for years before moving to California) and passion for their restaurant they’re successfully creating a warm, welcoming place to gather and enjoy fabulous food.

I dropped in at lunchtime and ordered the homemade clam chowder, to start.

It was delicious! I made sure to go in hungry so I could sample a couple of different items. After the warm, hearty, clam chowder, I tried this delicious, wood-fired pizza.

Check out all those yummy mushrooms and that sauce! I WILL be going back to have this again (Did I mention the bar? I think my next visit will be in the evening when a cocktail can be enjoyed!)! Not pictured is the assortment of biscotti that Moneka sent me home with. She makes all of the restaurant’s pastries and judging by what I sampled, they’re wonderful! The tiramisu is on my list of items I want to go back to sample.

While I was talking with Michael and Moneka (though Michael was busily tending to all the lunch guests and had to be caught for a word here and there, along with the photo), something struck me. Many of the patrons were fellow business owners from the nearby streets. They were all gathering for their lunches and greeting each other, sharing news of their businesses and actively building community! When you can offer fabulous food in a warm and inviting setting and be an integral part of bringing your community together, you know you have a formula for success!

I’m looking forward to the Tweetup this coming week (Tuesday, February 21st) to be able to sample more of the food offered and to continue to visit this great little restaurant (Their official name is That Little Italian Place, but they can be found as The Place on their facebook fan page). If you haven’t already registered to join in the fun at the Tweetup, be sure to click here to get started! And then get ready to meet fabulous people, in a warm and inviting setting where we can all feel great about supporting and building up our local community of business owners!

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Casting Call! Calling All Expectant Moms & Daughters For a New Series

February 12, 2012

Here’s something that could be fun and interesting-

A cable network and a former Oprah Producer, Ellen Rakieten, are working together to develop a new series that will follow mothers and daughters who are expecting at the same time. Women are having babies later and later in life and this means that the scenario exists where a mother and daughter may, very well, be expecting their precious additions simultaneously. Casting will be done through various social media outlets. Please click here if you’re interested.

Good luck!

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“Geek Day”-You’ve Got To Be Kidding!

February 10, 2012

After school today Gabi let me know that next week is going to be a Spirit Week. She started listing off the days and what she would be wearing. She got to Geek Day. “Geek Day? What the heck is Geek Day?”. I couldn’t help but be shocked. She explained that the purpose of it is to help the kids understand that no one is better than anyone else and it’s ok to be a geek.

Really?! Who’s bright idea was this?! You know exactly what’s going to happen-there’s going to be that one, poor kid who some group of “cool” kids (probably girls) despise and someone will think it’s funny to dress like them, instead of just in random geek fashion but they’ll be able to hide it under the guise of geekishness on Geek Day!

I know I’m jumping to conclusions, but it struck a cord in me! I was that kid in grade school. I had a HORRIBLE time for several years. I was picked on and made fun of and Geek Day would have scared me to death. I would have known I couldn’t win. If I dressed like a “geek” there would have been the cruel taunts of why was I bothering to dress up when I was dressed like a geek everyday and if I didn’t dress up, I would’ve had to hear about how what I chose was perfect to reflect the day. Yes, it was awful going through grade school. It damaged me in so many ways. High school was better, but I was already so dang damaged from all the years of not being able to win that it really didn’t matter if anyone gave me praise or if I had friends. Inside, I was never, NEVER going to be good enough. My clothes and hair, the way I spoke, the decisions I made, they were never going to be right. Ick! That stuff is really, REALLY, REALLY hard to break out of. I can honestly say that I have never been totally successful in burning the old tapes that play through my head, from my youth. Yes, I’ve overcome much, but the damage done to a young person’s self-esteem is tremendous.

So now I’m faced with my kids, who are not picked on, who don’t feel threatened, having Geek Day. All I can think of is that poor kiddo who’s dreading Monday coming around and I’ve decided that whoever set up Geek Day as part of Spirit Week has no clue what that poor kiddo is thinking.

Doing the Dance of the Children and Feelin It~

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The Mysterious Case of the Red-Faced Girl…Solved!

February 7, 2012

Last night Gabi looked like this! Seemingly out of nowhere, her face became red and irritated. She was scratching and complaining. We applied Benadryl Ati-Itch Gel and then she complained of burning and scratched more! I gave her a cold pack for her face, ran to the store and bought oral Benadryl. After giving her the meds I asked a zillion questions and concluded that she must be having a reaction to some food. I put her to bed and hoped she’d wake up clear-faced and feeling good. Nope!

When she woke up her face was still red and irritated from last night’s scratching. I asked her, again, if she’d put something on her face. She said she hadn’t. I told her to get dressed but that she’d be staying with me and we’d head over to the doctor. While I was busy, getting ready to leave the house, Maddi brought me this

Hmmmm…Again I asked what she’d put on her face. “Nothing” was the reply.

I got the other kids off to school, made a Dr’s appointment and took her to work with me. After an hour of calmly watching a movie I noticed something…

No more scratching and no more complaining. I took the quiet moment to go over and look her in the eye and ask, AGAIN, what had happened and what she’d put on her face. New answer-she’d been coloring with marker and gotten it all over her hands and it got on her face. She didn’t want to get in trouble, so she went in the bathroom to scrub her face. Whatever she used irritated her face and made it itchy, hence all the scratching.

After a good talk about telling the truth, I let her enjoy the rest of her day off with Mom. When I got off work we decided to go eat together.

She says this is the face of a sushi lover. I’m just glad it’s the face of a little girl who doesn’t have anything wrong with her and who needed a a little extra love and attention.

Yes, I got snowed…again. But I can’t bring myself to care very much. Maybe I’m going soft, losing my edge. I don’t know. I think more so I’m all too aware of the fact that kids grow up really really quickly and that every so often a day of nothin’ but quiet, sushi and hangin’ with Mom is ok.

Doing the Dance of the Children and Grinning~

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What a Difference a Day Makes

February 6, 2012

While you were all watching the Super Bowl there was baking and playing going on over here. We haven’t had cable in about 5 years, so we’re never on the same viewing schedule as the rest of America.

Today the kids took advantage of the beautiful weather-Anna and a friend went over to the field to practice for tomorrow’s softball tryouts. Gabi went with them and had fun being part of something the big girls were doing. Max spent a good part of the day cleaning up all his clothes that were hiding his bedroom floor. Lex played outside, running through brush, hitting rocks with a stick, jumping on the trampoline and riding his Plasma Car. Maddi and Tristan rode bikes over to the store and picked up a ton of baking supplies.

The days baking consisted of; a cake, cupcakes, snicker doodles, precut and decorated Valentine’s cookies and chocolate chip cookies.

Maddi decided we should celebrate my UnBirthday and presented me with these cupcakes.

I made an UnBirthday wish and blew out the candles.

It was a good day around here! We were due for one.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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2 Days of Doing the Dance of the Teens

February 4, 2012

Sometimes the busyness of the littler kids gets overshadowed by the mind-sucking energy it takes to parent my teens.

Yesterday I received texts from both my teen girls in the same minute and they said nearly the same thing, “come pick me up, right now”. I texted one of them back and asked if they were ok and that I thought it was weird to hear from both of them at the same time. Did something happen at school? Was everything ok? She answered back that crying was involved and I needed to come right away. My Mommy heart hurt and my head worried as I tried to think of what could’ve happened. I got to the school, checked them both out and waited for them to come out to the car. “What’s wrong?! What happened? Do I need to talk to anyone?”

My questioning was met with a fit of giggles. M.O.M. had taken the bait and fell into the trap. All that was wrong was that 2 girls each had the same idea to get out of school and then collaborated to make it happen. As I drove them home I reminded them of the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf~

Then there was today. Today…

Maddi is my 5th teenage girl. Each and every one of them has tested and broken my house rule of no piercings, other than ears. I’ve had tricky nose-pierced daughters who kept a small plug in their piercing when at home and covered it with foundation and powder. I’ve had blatant cartilage pierced girls who basically told me that my rule didn’t matter and what was I gonna do, physically remove it from her? I’ve had to stick to my guns, put my foot down, turn off phones, remove privileges and ask for backing from their father. But today…ugh! Today was my first time having to enforce the rule by demanding that a bellybutton ring be removed and handed over. There was much discussion afterward, lots of angry words directed at me and the “stupidity” of my rules. I was asked “why?” over and over and no matter how many times I gave the same answer, it was not going to be readily accepted. I gave my reasoning-”ears only until you’re 18, not in my house, and have had plenty of time to think about whatever piercings, tattoos or alterations you plan to make to your body”. It’s really not so unreasonable. And honestly, unreasonable or not, it’s my rule and that’s the end of it.

If there’s one thing that sucks the life out of me, it’s when teens start the circle of conversation that leads nowhere. They are going to continue to say the same things, ask the same questions and throw out the same insults in the hope that if they say it/ask it enough times, you’ll give a different answer. Somewhere in the circle is the claim that you don’t hear them and are not listening to them because if you were, surely the final answer would change. Circles, circles, circles…

I know I will continue to be tested by all my kids, little ones and teens alike. I hope they don’t take me to the breaking point before I’m done with the job.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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