You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2009.

Getting P involved in sports and exercise is important to me. I’ve been chubby my whole life (with the exception of my military days when men with guns helped me “modify my behavior”) and growing up, I know physical activity was not prioritize nearly enough.

So I make it a point to keep her active and encourage her to not be a couch potato. She is currently taking tumbling classes (I know, silly for a two year old, right? But they are so much fun.). Each week she goes to a Stretch and Grow class at preschool which is nice during these winter months when they don’t get much outside playground time. I make a mental note when she expresses an interest in things as she sees them – karate class on Sesame Street or ballet dancers at the Fine Arts Sampler.

That’s why I was very interested to hear about Tennis Night in America. My bloggy BFF and real-life-soul-sista Shannan first posted about it at Mommy Bits Reviews. I figured at two, P might be a little too young for tennis, but definitely something to plug into the ol’blackberry for next year!

h_centrecourtroof_aecI’ll admit, tennis intimidates me. Growing up, it seemed to be a sport for the fancy people. My memories of it were watching Wimbledon on television around the Fourth of July each year. Those beautiful grass courts (at least at the beginning of the tournament) seemed to define wealth and privilege – I mean the QUEEN went the Wimbledon for heaven’s sake! How silly to be intimidated by one instance of the sport, clear on another continent, but I was.

But no more – tennis is for everyone and it happens to be a super sport to introduce your child to. And if you’re like me, you haven’t a clue where to start – fear not! Next week, March 2nd is NATIONAL YOUTH REGISTRATION NIGHT. The first ever “Opening Day” for youth tennis in the U.S.

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Almost 600 local tennis programs around the country will host signup events that night. You can find a spot near you by visiting www.tennisnight.com.

tennis_for_kids1Tennis is an easy fit for busy and frugal families (it’s less expensive than the national averages for football, baseball, softball and lacrosse by nearly 50%!). I’m sure if you think about it, there are courts spattered all over your community. Then, all your kids really need is a racquet, a ball, and a little encouragement!

So check it out and keep me posted. Maybe when your little Steffi Graf is playing at Wimbledon you could invite your buddy Amy in OHio to come along! Think we could sit next to the Queen?

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At the risk of sounding like someone who watches a little too much Lifetime Television, blogging has been my salvation as a new mom, a wife and a working girl (no, not THAT kind of working girl, geez).

There’s never enough time to recharge the emotional batteries that are so easily drained and blogging allows me to do just that. I can have deep, intimate exchanges, or laugh out loud craziness with wonderful women all over the WORLD! and do it on my timetable, when I need it most or have the most to give. I spend many a night online reconnecting to my bloggin’ BFF’s, but more importantly I’m reconnecting with me. The gal I was before motherhood and wifery and employee took over. I get to be just Amy again.

Then last summer, this crazy little thing we call blog was taken to the next level. I was lucky enough to attend Blogher ’08 and it changed my life. Meeting these people – geeks and goddesses alike – just like me, alive and in color, I felt at long last like I’d found my little nook in this English Muffin of life.

It’s not easy for any of us in this cold economic climate. Truth is that I’ll likely not be able to attend Blogher without a little help this year. I want to go desperately to share the unbelievable experiences and true friendships that only this kind of event can give you.

Thanks!

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“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”
– John Wesley

Forgive me! I just went back to check out the other entries and realized that the contest rules read 300 words or more (not less!). Those of you that read me know I’m not one for short posts, I was deliberately being quick to avoid going over 300! Oops! Glad I caught it.

The best use of the extra verbage would be to thank Extraordinary Mothers and Slanket for this amazingly generous opportunity. So, THANK YOU GARY and EXTRAORDINARY MOTHERS!

As you might recall, Doug and I went to see 1776 for on anniversary – we’re all about the sexy as you know. Since that night, I’ve been thinking about the events leading up to this nation’s independence and whatnot.

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When we were heading home that evening, Doug mentioned what a non-patriot John Dickinson was? It’s easy hundreds of years later to chastise the men who stood against the birth of our nation, but when you stop to think about it, it easily becomes quite the quandary. So imagine what they were thinking!

We have land, cash in hand
Self-command, future planned
Fortune flies, society survives
In neatly ordered lives with well-endowered wives

Consider for a moment that you are not you, but rather someone leading a “neatly ordered” life in the 1770’s. Maybe you’re a farmer or cobbler or the wife of same. Would it really be so easy to wash your hands of your homeland England? Even if that homeland was oppressive, led by a tyrant and unconcerned Parliament, leaving ones’ roots and blindly heading into the abyss is not something most of us would jump to do. Or is it?

johndickinson1The more I ponder, the more I think I, too, would have fallen in Dickinson’s camp. I saw a bumper sticker yesterday which read “Peace IS Patriotism”. I immediately thought of Dickinson. Dickinson was long clung to the notion of reconciliation with his beloved England, assuming that if peaceful efforts were used to convince Parliament and King George of America’s legitimate beefs, all would be restored and the good life could resume.

But who knows? I certainly don’t claim to know Dickinson’s true motivation as he rejected notions of independence. Maybe it was, as Adams’ condemned, just his attempt to hold onto his wealth and privilege and adhere to the status quo. But maybe he simply didn’t want to tear this new land he’d come to call home apart at the seams with a war – no matter how revolutionary. Adams called Dickinson a coward for his reluctance. I fear Adams might have been saying the same about me. The thought of war on our soil might have more than I was willing to sign off on.

Come ye cool, cool considerate set
We’ll dance together to the same minuet
To the right, ever to the right
Never to the left, forever to the right
May our creed be never to exceed
Regulated speed, no matter what the need

(oh crap, does this make me a Republican?)

Of course this realization that has made me ever more grateful for the men (and women) who led the way to our independence. If not YOU, who? Right? If there had been just a couple more Dickinsons and perhaps one or two less Adams, we might be eating bangers and mash a little more often. And what a way to ruin perfectly good mashed potatoes if you ask me.

Where would you have found yourself on the question of independence oh those many years ago? To get the opinions flowing, we’re gonna have our own little Continental Congress right here. I’ve got a $50 gift certificate to Target (store of the free, retailer of the brave) to award to someone – hey it’s more than the delegates got! To enter, simply leave a comment telling me on which side of the debate you would have found yourself and why. And not the 2009 version of you, but rather the 1776 variety. Give it some thought, if you’re a nerd like me it’s an interesting topic.

Extra points for style if you announce yourself all official like: “Amy in OHio, delegate from the great state of Ohio, answers NEA to the question…”.

You can get an extra entry simply by tweeting this post to your followers. Leave another comment saying you did so should you do so.

Fine print: Entries will be accepted until February 28th at 11:59pm – so get going people! Just an FYI, the winner will receive the prize the week of March 15th.

PS: Just an FYI on Mr. Dickinson, though he opposed the Declaration of Independence at the onset, he did go on to fight against the British during the American Revolution. He was a great man and an American Patriot to the end.

Cause Twitter sure won’t.

You see Twitter has denied me my Jenny.  My dear sweet Jenny. 

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Photo courtesy of Jenny’s Flickr page, I believe Secret Agent Mom took it

Go visit my Jenny’s blog (yes, right.now.) and read about this tragedy/Lifetime-movie-in-the-making.  Then @Twitter to stop the cruelty.  Then dm Twitter and go all Norma Rae on their butts. 

We thank you.

Another theater outing you say? If this keeps up, you’re gonna think I’m far more cultured and refined than I really am. I’ll get things back to normal with my recounting of MTV’s The Real World tomorrow…

Basic CMYKLast night, my delightfully talented friend Julie invited me to a sneak peak of her theater company’s latest work. Now I’ll be honest, when she said Falcon Theater’s newest production was Hamlet, I had my worries. There was every possibility that without the cliffs notes and a mini maglite, I’d be lost in a sea of sonnets and couplets and daggers, oh my! But I adore Julie and if she thought I was up to the challenge, by golly, I wasn’t gonna let a little Shakespearean English scare me.

(I remind you that I’m not a critic, I have no formal training in any of the arts, nor the critiquing of same. I’m not a Shakespearean expert – I know, quite the shocker!. My opinion is based purely on the standard: “did I like it or not?”.)

The Monmouth Theater, home to Falcon, is small, unpretentious, welcoming – all the charms I love about local theater. The action is right there, you can’t help but be engaged with the actors. It’s as if they are performing just for you and you can’t take your eyes off of them.

“Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners?”

As Hamlet, Ted Weil was nothing short of astounding. For the first time in a very long time, I was able to follow the high-brow verse of an age long gone by. His expressions and passion were wonderful and kept you hanging on his every word. This intensity, from his perfected monologues to the closing sword fight, has you cheering for him. Afterall isn’t there a little Hamlet in all of us?

n28703687_31636922_58513Ophelia, played by Carrie Mees, was perfection. Rather tame and unassuming at first, just as you would imagine a young woman in the early 1600’s to be, she’s guided by all the men in her life – her brother, Hamlet, her father. She is ever dutiful and resigned to follow wherever she is led. But the beauty of this character lies in the madness that ensues after she is left without a compass in her life – no man to point her in the right direction and all hell breaks loose. And she does a magnificent job with the descent. Ophelia is the poster child for feminists everywhere – the picture of what can happen when you don’t define life on your own terms. (Photos are courtesy of Mikki Reynolds-Schaffner, Mikki Reynolds-Schaffner)

I was skeptical about Terry Gosdin in the role of Claudius. I’ve long heard of his talents on stage, but you see I’ve had the good fortune to meet Terry socially (he is Julie’s main-squeeze) and sinister is not a word I would associate with him. I was so wrong, he had me convinced that he’d kill me in a heartbeat if I so much as took his parking spot. After the performance Terry mentioned that playing the bad guy is so much more rewarding and he does it well.

n28703687_31636934_25712Terry Gosdin as King Claudius
(Photo by: Mikki Reynolds-Schaffner)

It’s easy in this age to forget the treasures of the classics. We’ve let television and film dumb us down to the point that it’s hard to get excited when we’re asked to think, asked to bring our imagination to the table. This production challenges you to go there and makes the trip worthwhile and quite entertaining.

The Falcon Theater Group celebrates Opening Night this evening and the show runs on Fridays and Saturdays through March 7th. You can get more information and purchase tickets via their website. And view cast info and photos at their Facebook page as well.

n28703687_31636924_63852My pal Julie Neisen as the Player Queen
(Photo by: Mikki Reynolds-Schaffner)

Local theater is one of the best things about Greater Cincinnati. I mean who can afford Aronoff pricing or fly to New York for a regular dose of live entertainment? I know I can’t. But on any given night, there are a dozen or so productions up and running all over the tri-state and they are jewels. Don’t miss out!

PS: Word to the wise: don’t trust your GPS if you’re not familiar with the Newport area. The theater is nestled in a row of storefronts and it will fool your Tom Tom, so pay attention as you’re driving down Monmouth Street – the theater is on the left.

logo2There’s no chance I’ll ever be mistaken for an art critic. Whether it’s film or tv or the paint splatters hanging on your wall, I don’t have an eye for brilliance or any philosophical insight to share. The same is true for theater. I wouldn’t know stage left from a stagehand. Simply put: I like what I like and that’s the only real evaluation I can offer.

That said, the following is my “review” of Footlighter’s current production, 1776, book by Peter Stone, music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards, directed by Michael Morehead and produced by Gary Wettengel and Cathy Lutts right here in good ol’ Newport, Kentucky at The Stained Glass Theater.

I loved it!

The film version is easily one of my favorite musical movies ever (perhaps runner up only to Grease and Much Ado About Nothing).

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It might be kismet, as the movie was released to the world the same year I was! I was skeptical that anyone could rival those rousing renditions of But Mr. Adams and all the lovely interludes between Abigail and John Adams that bookmark the storyline. I had never seen it performed live and I was trying to keep my expectations in check.

How pleasant to be so completely wrong!

John Adams, played by Gary Rogers, serves as leader to the audience and the Colonies’ march towards independence and he is fantastic. I wondered this week if he would be similar to Paul Giamatti’s recent portrayal of Mr. Adams (in the HBO series) or William Daniels’ version in the movie. Thank goodness it was the latter. No offense to Giamatti of course, but his Adams is not the one I want imparting such charming verses like:

Mr. Jefferson, dear Mr. Jefferson
I’m only 41; I still have my virility
And I can romp through Cupid’s Grove with great agility
But life is more than sexual combustibility

No, Roger’s John Adams is spot-on: delightful and funny and what a voice! I enjoyed each and every minute he was on stage.

Turns out that Abigail Adams was played by someone I know and she was dazzling! Amy Waldfogle, who until last night I only knew as a fellow Mom and political agitator (love ya Amy!), was such a treat. It’s quite humbling to have associations with such talent and not be able to carry a tune in a bucket!

Write to me with sentimental effusion
Let me revel in romantic illusion

The entire cast was wonderful, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the chills I got when Jon Vader, as Mr. Rutledge, sang the intense opus as the question of slavery is debated. It must be difficult to turn an otherwise lighthearted production towards such a topic, all I can say is WOW! His performance was nothing short of amazing…

Who sails the ships out of Boston
Ladened with bibles and rum?
Who drinks a toast to the Ivory Coast?
Hail Africa, the slavers have come
New England with bibles and rum

Chills, still got ’em.

But don’t take my word for it, go see it people. The orchestra, the costumes, the stage, none of it will disappoint. The story can’t help but run a little long, there’s a lot of material to cover what with the formation of a new nation and all. Be prepared for the three hours. You still have a few more days and it’s quite a bargain (show closes on Saturday, February 21st). More info on the production can be found here in the Footlighter’s Newsletter.

Tell John and Abigail I sent you!

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Today I am thirty-seven years old. Right now you’re all saying to yourselves “No way, that must be a typo, she can’t be a day older than 28″. My immaturity has helped keep me young looking in everyone’s eyes.

Instead of getting all reflective and mournful about the express-lane passing of my youth, I’m committed to embracing that number, shouting it loud and proud and lock into place a permanent state of blessed.

At this point in my life no other word sums up my being more than this: GRATEFUL. So in honor of this special day, I give you thirty-seven things I am grateful for (In absolutely no particular order, some are life-affirming, forever things, some are silly things that make me smile. A complete life needs a healthy mixed of both.)

1. My daughter P, who has added so much to my world. She’s also the world’s best birthday-cake-candle-blower-outer ever!

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2. My amazing husband who loves me regardless of my bad moods and tasteless humor. He supports me without hesitation and makes me feel beautiful.

3. My step-kids, C, M & B, here with Daddy on our trip to Florida last summer:

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4. My dog Bella, a pain in the butt much of the time, but the wet, sloppy kisses have changed the tone of many a day.

5. The cat, a pain in the butt all of the time, but she’d find out if she didn’t make the list and I don’t want her peeing in my shoes.

6. My car – it’s old and geeky, but it runs and gets me where I need to be. AND NO CAR PAYMENT

7. Our house – it’s old and messy, but we’re luckier than many to have a home to call our own.

8. My old friends, you know who you are and you’ve shaped me forever.

9. My new friends, many of whom have come into my life because of blogging and social media. It’s corny, but they are amazing and a treasure to me.

10. My Mom, who passed away too soon but is with me always.

11. John Cusack

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12. Blissdom/The New Orleans Manor – it brought new friends into my life that make me laugh til I cry.

neworleands1Many of my #9’s are in this photo following dinner at New Orleans Manor

13. My relationship with God, bumpy at times but unconditional.

14. My understanding boss – a working Mom herself, the flexibility and kindness she offers is worth so much.

15. M & M’s

16. Graeter’s Mint Cookies and Cream Ice Cream (which sadly is no longer the flavor of the month, so it’s back to Chocolate for me)

17. Maker’s Mark and Chateau St. Michelle Reisling

18. 3-Ways from Skyline

19. My Blackberry

20. My Self-Confidence, it was a hard-fought battle to get it and I’ll never let it go.

21. Control top panty-hose

22. Liz at Rustic Pear who gives me hope that my hair can be pretty

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23.

twitter@amyinohio in case you don’t know

24. Dell Outlet Store who is making the dream of owning a laptop a reality: Anticipated Purchase Date: 2/28/2009 (with my birthday funds!)

laptop-inspiron-9-design2125. Smiley Face Cookies from Busken’s

cookies_smiley26. EQ Classes at The Party Source

27. Great Books: From Jane Austen to Jen Lancaster, great books take you away and link us together

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28. Rhapsody on the Theme of Paganini by Rachmaninoff, the greatest piece of music ever

29. Lobster

30. Cosmopolitans

31. Three-day weekends

32. The Pancake Pantry – Christmas on a Plate

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34. Big Love – I can’t get enough of those crazy-ass fundamental polygamists

35. Oreo Cookies

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36. Jazzercise – finally an exercise I actually like to do

37. You! for taking time to read this list and visit me from time to time!

Have a wonderful day and find the gratitude!

After reading my buddy Jennifer’s post from yesterday, I’ll admit I was a tad intimidated going into today’s celebration at preschool. This is P’s first official Valentine’s Party as she wasn’t old enough for such sophistication last February.

Like Jennifer, I purchased very cute (at least I thought so, as did my two year old) doggie & kitty themed valentines and they even came with 3-D matching stickers – it was like TWO valentines in one (I’m a giver). But after hearing that many parents lose their minds go the extra mile for the Valentines Day (what with all the silly special, Hallmark spiritual meaning the day has), I knew I needed to up my game a bit or face the humiliation of being “that mom”.

Thanks to Happy Housewife who tweeted about this super cute crafty project, I was able to pull these off for P’s party today to give to each kid with their generic-store-bought-valentine:

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And the best thing about these is that P was able to help with them without any special clothing, wobblers or trips to the ER. SCORE one for busy Moms everywhere.

Go check out the You Can Make This site – great ideas for those of us not born with the Martha-gene!

One note to those thinking about doing it: think of transportation before you get in your car. These things have balance issues and you can’t just set them on the seat next to you. And letting the two year old hold them is NOT, I REPEAT NOT an option. Sure the kid is cute and wants to help, but she can not be trusted. The minute your back is turned she’ll be chowing down on your one opportunity to validate yourself as a mother. Just sayin’.

So Happy Day Before Valentines Day Day.

Tune in tomorrow when (if your lucky) I might just post a pic of me in a dress. That’s right, a dress.

Before I wrap up the file on Blissdom ‘09, I must give a well-deserved shout-out to the sponsors that made the weekend so much fun and such a success. You can check all of them out here and I love each one of them equally and play no favorites. Absolutely equal love spread to each one of them equally. If my love were a cookie, I’d chop it into fourteen equal pieces and give each of them a slice.

Shhh, come closer

…no closer, I’m not gonna bite you…

…closer…

…what do I have bad breathe or something?

Ok, just between you and me, I did have a favorite:

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That little lady went all out, baking up a storm for the attendees at Blissdom. I kept my foot out of my mouth many an hour with one of their tasty cakes. They’ve recently launched their version of 100 calorie offerings. In all fairness, I should admit that if you eat ten of the things at a sitting, the 100 calorie part kinda loses it’s effectiveness. But whatev (love ya Andrea!)… I couldn’t help it.

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Snack Cakes as far as the eye can see – pic courtesy of Secret Agent Mom

For those of you not familiar with the new line, there are eight different varieties:

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Chocolate Cakes Moist and delicious…a perfect hit of chocolate when you need it.

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Yellow Cakes My least favorite as it contains no peanut butter, chocolate or marshmallow, but I’m sure there’s a bunch of weirdos demographic out there that eats such things

nutty_smNutty Bar Singles Just like the original LD fav, but in a single portion (though I double-dog dare you stop with one they are so good)

stix_smNutty Bar PB Stixs Hands-down, my daughter’s & (Blissdom roomie) Shannan’s favorite. I’m having a little trouble convincing P they aren’t actually cereal bars and/or a valid breakfast option.

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Gingerbread Cookies I’m not a big fan of gingerbread but these were pretty tasty I must say.

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Marshmallow Treats Similar to rice krispie treats, but so much softer. My favorite by far and this opinion must have been shared by a lot of folks as they were GONE quite quickly.

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Triple Chocolate Brownies Now we’re talking. These were wonderful, but a little small. I don’t have nearly enough self-control to stop at one…or six as it turns out. Don’t judge me.

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Snow Puffs A close second to the Marshmallow Treats. I’m eating one right now as I type (and try not to get coconut in my keyboard).

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So many choices, it might be hard to choose, but at $1.79 per box, you won’t have to. Check your local market for them and show my girl Debbie some love.

I’m nearly out of the ones I got at the conference, but fear not, another delivery just arrived:

img00283Off to make some room in the pantry!

 

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Go ahead, GET LIPI!

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Digi-Scrapping Done Right

Purdy Pictures

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More Photos

Tweet Ya Later!

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LOSING IT IN CINCINNATI

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Why get so riled by the events of the world, you ask? Because…

"Becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children. From now on each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours. You live in the suffering mothers of every race and creed and weep with them. You long to comfort all who are desolate." Charlotte Gray
February 2009
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