My Real Life

December 24, 2009

A Happy Little Thought

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 10:29 am

Just thought I’d share what came home with Baby Monkey from nursery school yesterday.


December 23, 2009

Product Review: Wii Fit Plus

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 9:21 pm

Thumbs Up.

Way up.

We have the Wii Fit and the kids and I have always enjoyed it.  Monkey Girl, in particular, is a huge fan.

However, awhile ago I bought the Wii Fit Plus.

I hadn’t used it until the other day.

Now, I think I’m addicted.

The general exercises in the strength and yoga categories are the same.  However, they have extra training exercises that are MEGA fun.  They also have a place where you can create your own workouts according to what you want to work on: arms, hips, legs and butt, leaner you, relaxation, etc.  Then, they put together an exercise routine to meet those goals.  You can do just one exercise in each category, or two or three.

So, I’ve been making my own workouts, but then when I finish, I go to the Training Plus section and play while I exercise.

I am an excellent skateboarder.

On the Wii.

I am also quite adept at Kung Fu.

On the Wii.

Ooh, ooh…I also rock the house at juggling while standing on a ball.

In real life.

No, no…on the Wii.

If you are looking for a last minute game to buy for the family and you have a Wii, I would definitely recommend Wii Fit Plus. 

If you are looking to start getting fit in an easy and fun way that isn’t the least bit intimidating, I would definitely recommend Wii Fit Plus.

Just in general, I recommend Wii Fit Plus.


Now I have done my bit to stimulate the economy and to move toward a healthier America.

You are welcome.

…and you’ll know where to find me over Winter Break.

December 22, 2009

What Do You Think?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 9:09 pm
Tags: , ,

So, the kids have discovered the webcam.

There is some very interesting video being shot over here.

In the New Year, I am hoping to save up for a Flip video camera, and that should definitely add to the video being taken, and it will be much better quality.

I recently upgraded this blog to include the sound piece.  That cost approximately $20 a year.

In order to upgrade to allow video, it’s $60 a year.

So, I’ve been considering upgrading, but I’ve also been considering moving the whole blog to my own site where I would pay for the domain, but wouldn’t have to pay to add video, sound, etc.  I’m guessing that would be more than the $60 a year, but it would all be under my control and I wouldn’t be stuck with templates.  Don’t see that as a complaint…I’ve been very happy with WordPress thus far.  Just looking at the options.

I’m curious as to what your thoughts are.  Many of you are bloggers yourself.  Some of you are not, but you are blog readers.  I’d like to make your reading (and my creating) experience as fun and painless as possible.  So, take my poll and let me know what you think!

December 21, 2009

Happy Solstice

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 9:28 pm

I love the solstice.

There is just something about the day that feels…right. 

Like mother nature is doing her own thing, regardless of what we, as humans, continue to do to her.

The shortest day of the year, and yet, I worked, had a party for my co-workers at my house, played with my kids, read a few chapters in my latest Michael Connelly book, and am now snuggled in and watching The Tudors: Season 3.

Today was a really, really good day.

I hope all of you made the most of your short day, as well.

December 20, 2009

Reader Theater

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 9:48 pm
Tags: , ,

On Friday, Monkey Girl participated in her class’s Reader Theater presentation.

The class was divided into three groups and each group performed a short play.

Monkey Girl’s play was It Happened At Hull House which was about Jane Addams and, obviously, Hull House.  It talked about providing a safe haven for immigrants, way back in the day, and was just a really nice little play.  All three plays spoke to the theme of good character and being a responsible citizen.  Good stuff.

They’ve been practicing for awhile, but Monkey Girl never brought home her script, so I didn’t really know what to expect.

Real Man and I had taken personal days on Friday, so we were both able to go.

Her group went first. 

She was the narrator, and then also was filling in for a classmate who was absent, so she was also playing the role of “Maria.”

She was awesome. 

She rocked the house.

She had it all memorized, even a lot of Maria’s lines, even though she didn’t know she’d be filling in until she got to school Monday morning.

She read with flair, she read with drama (no surprise, since she is Ms. Drama), and she just did great.

So proud of her.

December 19, 2009

Need Another Recommendation From You

Okay, my faithful readers…  You all had some great insight and information on what my next vehicle should be.

Some of you responded here, some of you e-mailed me, and some responded via Facebook.

Put it all together, and I definitely have a lot to consider and research.  Great information.

Smart people read this blog.

I’m hopeful you can be just as helpful with my latest dilemma.

I need a sewing machine.

I love to sew.

I’m in the midst of sewing a gift for someone (can’t really go into details until I’m done and the gift has been given, although I don’t think the recipient reads the blog, but I don’t know for sure, so…you get it, right?)

Again, I love to sew.

I could be much more prolific if I had a sewing machine.

Before my father or mother responds with a “Um, excuse us Amy, but we bought you a sewing machine for Christmas about ten years ago,” let me explain.

My very generous parents bought me a sewing machine about ten years ago for Christmas.  However, it was a pretty fancy machine and was for embroidery sewing. 

I could never figure the darn thing out.

I even used my best bud, Erin’s, mom as sewing machine tech support, but even with her wisdom, I couldn’t make it work.

So, two years ago, I sold it to my friend, Darlene, who has been making great use of it.  I’m thrilled that she is able to use it, because I could never figure the darn thing out.

What I need, at this point, is a sewing machine for dummies.  I need a machine because it takes me forever to do all of my sewing by hand, but I need an easy machine because I’m a sewing machine idiot.

Technology, I’m a wiz.

Mechanics, I’m a total dweeb.

I had considered getting a “My First Sewing Machine” under the guise that it was a gift for Monkey Girl, who also loves to sew, but then I realized, perhaps I should get something a bit more sophisticated.

So, does anyone have recommendations on an easy-to-use sewing machine?  I don’t need to do anything fancy.  Just make my quilts, mend my clothes, sew some new clothes, and teach Monkey Girl how to make her own little quilts and pillows on the machine.

Please help.  My Grandma Lawrence is looking down on me, shaking her head at my sewing machine inadequacy. 

Help a girl out.

December 18, 2009

Working on It

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 11:17 pm

I’m trying to figure out how to upload some things I’ve been working on for the past few days.  I think I’ll crack it tomorrow. 

Until then…

A ridiculously cold night outside, a warm, comfy blanket, all 3 Lord of the Rings dvd’s, popcorn and snuggling.

Life is good.

December 16, 2009

What’s Going On?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 9:57 pm
Tags: , , ,

Television is currently undergoing a bit of a metamorphosis.

And I like it.

It started with Glee.

Don’t. Even. Get. Me. Started. On. My. Love. For. This. Show.

A show loaded with enormous singing numbers, and ridiculously talented singers.  A show about kids who want to do nothing else but sing.  A show about the completely non-popular kids in their high school who are fulfilled by their love for singing and performance.  A show about me.

Love it.

And now? 

The Sing Off.

I haven’t caught all the other nights of this show, but tonight I came home and turned on the television, and there it was.

Help. Me. Lord.

No instruments.  All acapella singing.  Talented singers who just love to sing and just want to sing and are singing.  Sing, sing, sing, sing, sing.

Love it.

There is nothing like listening to someone who sing who can really sing.  I mean REALLY sing.

I can’t go to a sing Broadway musical without sobbing hysterically.  I am moved by beautiful, strong voices like nothing else.

And now?  I’m not relegated to buying a ticket to a show to experience it.

It’s on TV!!!

I just hope that people who don’t necessarily love music, particularly vocal music, as much as I do are being exposed to it, just a bit, and are broadening their horizons.  Maybe…just maybe, they’ll find they like it.

Time for a Change

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 10:15 am

You may remember my post from a few weeks ago where I was hit by a man whose brakes had stopped working. I mentioned that on the way home, my speedometer had stopped working.

 It started working a few days ago, but my airbag light came on and stayed on for a while. When I had my brakes replaced a month ago, they mentioned that I would probably need a new battery soon. The battery in my van is the original battery, which makes it 9 years old. I think we’ve had a good run.

On Monday afternoon, when I went to get in the van to pick up Monkey Girl from school, it wouldn’t start. Just wouldn’t start. So, I called her school and said someone would be coming to get her, just not me, then got a hold of my father who went and got her. We called my father-in-law, who has an extra car, but someone else was using his car.

 So, we called AAA and they came and tested the battery and yes, it is completely dead, and they went to replace it, but when taking the cables off of the battery, one of the posts broke off inside the cable, and yadda, yadda, yadda… Anyway, eventually it was resolved and I have a new battery, but let’s be honest. I don’t know how much longer this baby is going to run. Last month when I had the front brakes replaced, they told me that the back brakes were going to go soon, as well. Guess when the squeaking started? Yesterday. So, pretty soon, I think we’re going to need to start thinking about a new car. Yes, I’ll drive this one until I can’t drive it anymore, but we need to start doing our research.

 I’m asking you, my faithful readers, if you have any car recommendations. Keep in mind that I have three monkeys, which equals a car seat and a booster seat and an 8-year-old. Also, it’s becoming pretty evident that with at least one of these monkeys, I am going to be toting sporting equipment around, so storage is also an issue. I’d love to be green and not get an SUV, but I am having a hard time finding a sedan that will meet our needs. I know I definitely do NOT want another van.

 So, any recommendations? Any and all are welcome!

December 14, 2009

Special People

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 9:03 pm

There are good people in the world.  Then, there are some really special people in the world.

Let me tell you a story…

When Real Man and I first got married, before the monkeys, we had a dog. 

A real dog…”dog” is not a name for something else like “monkey.”  Just to clarify.

Anyway, we named him Bennie.  He was a mixed yellow Lab and Chesapeake Bay Retriever.  He was beautiful and such a love.

However…Ben had issues.  Serious issues.

He had some severe separation anxiety and he had to be medicated and eventually we wound up having to put him in doggie daycare.  We spent so much money on that dog and so much time and effort.  But, we loved him.

Unfortunately, one day, Bennie bit Real Man.  It was a misunderstanding between man and dog, but by this time we had Monkey Girl and although he bit Real Man on the hand, it was right where Monkey Girl’s face would have been if she had been standing there.  We realized that we wouldn’t ever be able to forgive ourselves if he had bitten her.

So, we listed him at and some other websites, as the local shelter said they would have to euthanize him because they couldn’t adopt out a dog that had bitten.

A website named “RotnPity” picked up his ad (website for Rotweillers and PitBulls) because they were used to placing dogs that had bitten before. 

I was pregnant with Monkey in the Middle and we set a date saying that if he hadn’t been adopted by the time I was due with Monkey in the Middle, we’d have to give him to the shelter, after all.  It broke my heart and I cried, almost every day over this, but I knew, in the end, that it was the right decision.

A week before I was due, we received an e-mail from a woman who lived in Delaware.  She had 5 dogs, but the eldest had just passed away and she felt a hole in the family.  She wanted another dog.  She had read the story of the bite and agreed that it was purely situational.  Her son was in his late teens, and she lived on acres of property.

We set up a visit, and she and her husband drove from Delaware to NJ to meet Bennie.  They stayed for about two hours.  When they got home, they called and said they would very much like to have Ben as the newest member of their family.

Everything went through the RotnPity organization.  Real Man and I drove Bennie to Philadelphia and dropped him off at the representatives place (that is another story for another day) and then she drove Bennie to Delaware, so she could do a site visit to make sure the place was safe before leaving him there.

Over the years, this wonderful woman has e-mailed me updates and sent me pictures of Bennie.  It’s been great to keep up with his life in this way.

He is happy and has loved living with them.  He’s had other dogs to play with an acres to run free on.

They moved to a bigger property a few years ago, in Virginia, I think, and he continued to thrive.

This morning, I received an e-mail from his new owner telling me that he hasn’t been doing so well.  He’s 11, and has developed a bunch of fatty tumors.  Finally, he had enough so that the vet wanted to remove them.

Here is a portion of the e-mail she sent:

He has a total of 7 incisions, the longest being five inches on his right hip. The incision isn’t visible in the pic though. 5 of the tumors were the fatty tumors, the kind he had before. One tumor, on his thyroid is very suspicious and Dr. X took tissue from it, and then just closed that incision back up. The tumor on his hip that was a little bigger in size than a nickel, also looked very suspicious for cancer. He removed that one, but said it was extensive in that it was entangled in nerves and tendons and attached to a muscle. The tumor and the tissue from the thyroid tumor were sent for biopsy and we should hear something within 10 days.

As I understand it, he didn’t remove the tumor on the thyroid because there are different ways of going about it if it is cancerous. He went ahead and removed the one from the hip before it got larger and caused nerve damage and problems with Bennie using that leg. Dr. X also mentioned that if it turns out that both of the tumors are cancerous, chances are he has it elsewhere internally. So, we wait to hear what it is, and pray that it isn’t cancer. 

Bennie is so glad to be home. The other dogs are being very kind to him and letting Ben have first choice in whatever dog bed he wants, and moving very gently around him. The E-collar is demolishing the house of course and there has been a mishap with the Christmas tree. ( it will get secured to the wall later ! )

I have to help him get a drink because the E-collar hits the floor when he bends down and prevents him from getting low enough to drink. I hold his water and food bowls up for him. He can only go out to the bathroom on a leash and he doesn’t like that. Since moving here he has had free run of the property and likes his privacy of “going” on the woods.

He is on an antibiotic because he has multiple incisions and the drain in, has a pain medication and also anti-inflammatory drug to keep down swelling, so he is very comfortable. There is a good bit of bruising around the incisions. His appetite is voracious as usual and he becomes very alert when anyone goes in the kitchen. He is still sly, and will take food off the counter if it is left unattended. I have never been able to break him of that ! 

I am to remove the drain on Tuesday and take the sutures out in 12 – 14 days. The last time he had surgery, he healed slowly and Dr. X opted to leave them in longer than the standard 10 days. In the picture, if you look at his left front leg, you will see a dark horizontal line at the top. That is from the first tumor that was removed when we lived back in Delaware. The vet took the sutures out too soon and it formed a wide scar and the fur never grew back.  

So, what I thought would just be simple surgery to remove some lumps, could be a lot worse. Dr. X is not an alarmist, so I am very worried since he is so concerned. About an hour into the trip home yesterday I had to pull over and had a melt down. I know he is a “senior” dog, but it’s still hard to think he could die. Please pray for our boy!

As I read this e-mail, I cried and laughed, as did Real Man.  It is full of such wonderful information about Ben, such as the fact that he continues to be a sneaky food stealer, which makes us smile, and such sad information, such as the whole possibility of cancer.

But, what hits me the most about this e-mail is that Real Man and I always said that Bennie was so lucky that we were the ones who adopted him, because no one else would have put up with all of the work that it took to raise Bennie in the early years, but the truth is, someone is definitely looking out for this guy, because he continues to be a lot of work and money, and here again, he is with someone else who loves him so much and is willing to do whatever it takes to keep him healthy and safe.

We are so blessed to have found this woman.  She is truly an exceptional person.  That she would continue to update us on Bennie, after all these years, and that she so obviously loves our guy just touches my heart in a way that few things do.

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