I haven’t given anything away in a long time. Let’s fix that.

On Saturday morning, I ran to the store and found that the kid pools were on sale for $12. Knowing how much Scout was digging pool time at Puppy Camp, I couldn’t resist buying one for her (and the girls, obviously) to enjoy in the back yard. Because Scout’s legs are less than six inches long, we folded one of the pool sides down and added about two inches of water. Dog Heaven.

Girl's Best Friend

Dog Days, etc.

As I watched the girls playing with Scout in the pool, I couldn’t help but think about how much I’m hating this hot weather. You already know this about me, so I won’t dwell on the hate. I also won’t dwell on how much I LOVE the fall. LOVE it! Cardigans! Clogs with handknit socks! Fingerless gloves! The promise of hats and snow! I’m dwelling!

Anyway. I had an idea over the weekend. It seems that I have this yarn. It’s Manos Maxima Worsted Weight Merino, and the colorway is Fire.

Manos Maxima "Fire"

My photo doesn’t really show just how amazing the colors are. The yarn is a beautiful kettle-dyed red with golden highlights and hints of pink and orange, and it reminds me of autumn leaves and sunsets and apple butter and it’s soft and perfect for fingerless gloves or a hat. And that’s what I want to make for you.

As you know, one of my big things right now is for Aaron to get his bike. The bike costs $3800 and right now we have about $2200. In other words, we’re getting there! Many of you have already donated to the cause, making you eligible for this particular giveaway. Here’s the deal. If you’ve donated $10 to help Aaron get his bike, please leave a comment below. Similarly, if you send a $10 donation (via PayPal) to mousejunkie@att.net, please leave a comment below. (If you donate more than $10, feel free to send an e-mail to me if you wish (angela at fluid pudding dot com), and I’ll give you additional chances to win!) On August 15th, which is our first day of school, I am going to randomly choose someone who has made a donation. I will contact the winner and give him/her several pattern selections that would work with the yarn. I will then knit up the project and mail the finished product out before November rolls around. Imagine how smart you’ll look wearing a pair of striking autumnal fingerless mitts or a lovely fiery hat. (Like this hat!) Similarly, you could think of this as my way of helping you get started with your holiday gifts! Teachers love fingerless gloves! (I know this to be true.)

I feel strongly about a lot of things in life. Right now Aaron and his bike are very important to me. Thanks in advance for making this giveaway work! (Aaron’s Facebook group page is here.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Nobody likes The Pudding Probe.

For the past three years or so, I’ve been doing the review writing gig for BlogHer, and even though I sometimes twirl counter-clockwise in my cocksure skirt and my confidence starts getting all monkeyed, deep down I know that I really do love writing the reviews, and I know a few of you enjoy reading them.

Why do I enjoy writing the reviews? Obviously, it’s fun to try out new products. (When you review new makeup, you score the opportunity to stand in a bathroom and act like Pat Benatar! When you review kid clothes, you get to dress your kids up and let them act like superstars! Sometimes, when the urge strikes and there aren’t many rules to follow, you can throw on the Paganini and let people watch you eat. It never gets boring!)  To me, the best part always comes at the tail end when I get to send out the little “HEY! You just won!” e-mail if the review is attached to a giveaway. I love that. 100%.

I’m typing this out really quickly just because I have a question for you. I’m thinking of taking the reviews to a website that I’ll dedicate solely to my reviews. The main reason I’m considering this sounds strange, and I’m still sort of working it all out in my head. When I look at my stats (which I rarely do, because I don’t really know how to get to them without a lot of dizzying clicks and errors) it seems that most of you don’t really care about the reviews. With that said, I know that there is a large group of people out there who really dig the review/giveaway sort of thing, and some of them dig it because they’re sort of needing it. As much as I want Fluid Pudding readers to win Every Single Thing I Ever Give Away, I also know at least three of you who roll your eyes every time I put the little dotted line with the giveaway links at the bottom of my posts.

Anyway. Typetypetypetypetype. Can you tell I have to leave here in ten minutes to pick up the kids?! I’m thinking about a website dedicated to the reviews, and I’m wondering what the name should be, and when I said The Pudding Probe over on Facebook, I had a few people gently shake their heads and remind me that medically speaking, a probe is not such a great thing. I also threw out Pudding Perlustration, but come on. Now I’m just showing off the fact that I have a big thesaurus. At the time of this post, the most recent suggestion (by Neil) was The Scrutinizing Pudding. I’m liking that, too. Any ideas? If I choose your name, I might give you something. Like I said, I’m still working it all out, and I need to leave the house in three minutes.

While you’re here, don’t forget that I’m giving away a copy of Let’s Panic as well as some energy-conserving light bulbs from GE! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Shorties can give you the whim-whams!

"Let's Panic" Winner!

EDITED TO ADD: A winner has been selected! Congratulations, Meg!!!

When I first found out I was pregnant with Meredith, it was early September and I was glowing and doing beautiful things like taking folic acid and pre-natal vitamins and eating lots of fruit to build the most perfect environment for the tiny miracle who was being sculpted in my precious uterine apartment.

At the end of October, when I was starting my second trimester, I had to have an emergency appendectomy. From that point forward, my pregnancy was filled with days spent on the couch and lots of moaning, and suddenly I had gained over sixty pounds with three months left to go, and SCIATICA!!! In other words, there’s a lot to expect when you’re expecting, and despite what you’re led to believe, not all of those forty weeks are spent standing in a meadow wearing a gauzy dress and holding a bouquet of fresh flowers while the wind gently caresses your enlarged (aka swollen and painful) chest and your glowing (often acne-ridden) face.

very pregnant

I had the final appointment with my obstetrician on my actual due date. I was eighty pounds up, and Meredith was measuring in at ten pounds. At the appointment my doctor threw around phrases like “perineal massage” and “pain threshold” and words like “episiotomy” and “ripping” and “stitches” and do you know me? Because if you know me, you know that I’m highly uncomfortable talking about body parts—especially if those body parts are (mostly) contained in my drawers. (People who really know me are furiously nodding their heads right now. Because They Know.)

Anyway, right after the appointment, my mom drove me to Houlihan’s, where I sat and stared at a French dip sandwich for thirty minutes as I pondered the ripping and the stitches. Before we left, I went to the restroom and BLOINK! I felt something fall out and splash. I prayed to God that it wasn’t the baby and at the same time I prayed to God that it WAS the baby, because That Was Easy! and I looked down and it was NOT the baby. It was—are you ready—my MUCOUS PLUG! And really? All I could do was: 1. Try to remember if I was supposed to somehow recover the mucous plug., and 2. Laugh. Maniacally. Because pregnancy can often be absurd. And there was really no way to prepare for the ludicrous side. Until now.

Friends, I’m here to announce that two of my very favorite people in the world have published a book (it was released today!) and that book is titled Let’s Panic About Babies! Alice and Eden have kept me in stitches (non-perineal) for years, and the thought of them writing a satirical pregnancy guide almost makes me want to get pregnant again. (It really does. Almost.) AND, the most excellent news? They’re letting me give a copy away here at Fluid Pudding! Between now and Friday (March 4), leave a comment below and at 11:00pmCST, I’ll fire up the random number generator to choose one of you to win! You don’t have to be pregnant to win! You don’t have to be a mom! You don’t even have to be a woman! You just have to be a Fluid Pudding reader. Because, to quote Charlie Sheen, Fluid Pudding readers are built with Adonis DNA.

Let's Panic ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Typical Night at The Puddings

So, a few days back we celebrated the ten year anniversary of Jeff’s proposal.

That night, Jeff and I found ourselves in bed together (it was time!), and we began talking.

Me: Well, it looks like our ten year anniversary is coming up, and according to the website I’ve pulled up on my iPod, you are to present me with diamonds or tin.

Jeff: Is beer still available in tin cans?

Me: Stop it. This website suggests you buy a copy of the movie Tin Cup for me. Don’t do that.

Jeff: Yikes. I won’t.

Me: It also thinks we should get a German Shepherd. You know, named Rin Tin Tin.

Jeff: No.

Me: Don’t get me a Neil Diamond CD.

Jeff: I’m starting to fall asleep.

Me: The tenth anniversary flower is the daffodil. I wonder who came up with that?

Jeff: MensaPizzaWagon.

Me: How about a trip to a South African diamond mine?

Jeff: . . .

Me: I’ve never really wanted a tennis bracelet, but I sort of feel like I SHOULD want one. But what I REALLY want is a Fabergé egg. I want the world. I want the WHOLE world! I want to lock it all UP in my pocket! It’s MY bar of chocolate!

Jeff: ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz…

The Puddings are saving energy and giving away two $50 GE energy smart LED light bulbs! Come on over for a chance to win! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Sondre Lerche Concert Giveaway!

ETA: The tickets have been taken. Hooray!!! Thanks to all who inquired!

Here’s the scoop.

A few weeks back, I was made aware of the fact that Sondre Lerche is coming to town. And I love him. So I bought tickets.

Now, it has become clear that I will not be able to attend the show. And I’m bummed. Really bummed.

I tried to sell the tickets on Facebook. No takers.

An hour ago, I tried to give the tickets away on Facebook. No takers.

So, now I’m opening it up to everyone. (Everyone in St. Louis, that is.)

If you’re in St. Louis and are interested in tickets to a really great show on Monday night (2/15), please let me know and the tickets are yours.

What? You don’t know who Sondre Lerche is? Well, here. Let me introduce you.

If you’re interested, leave a comment and we’ll make connections.

(Official show details are here.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Explanations, Memes, and Human Kindness


ETA: We have a winner! Congratulations, MommyMae!

A few months ago, I mentioned that if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll notice that I finish nearly every one of my thoughts/tweets/whathaveyous with #momspotting. I also pointed you toward the awkward video I made to introduce myself AS a Momspotter.

When the Momspotting gig began, Rita Arens wrote a really excellent article explaining exactly what a Momspotter does. In a nutshell, twenty moms were hired to be part of a six month citizen journalism project that involves making daily observations about technology and parenting. These observations (or tweets) are being watched for trends. And I know it’s pretty confusing, so here: I get paid to be aware of technology in my daily life and how if affects my family. I employ Twitter fifteen times each week, and three times each month I post to the Family Connections community at Blogher. As a total bonus, BlogHer is syndicating a few of my blog posts. (One of them is right here! Hooray!)

To celebrate the final two months of Momspotting, Rita has written a meme and asked that we invite our readers to participate! And *I* have decided to sweeten the pot by turning the meme into a giveaway! (And before we get started, please know that Yes. These questions are geared toward parents, because this particular journalism project is geared toward parents. And I know that seems unfair to people who are not parents. And I get it. Believe me—for reasons I won’t get into right now, I really do get it. If you do not have kids, please skip the questions and go straight to the bottom paragraph of this post. You can still enter the giveaway!)

Here are the questions (with my answers):

1.       Which expensive electronic device do you most often let your older children abuse or your baby drool on?

None. I am one of those wicked parents who can’t really afford to replace expensive electronic devices, so drool and abuse are not tolerated.

2.       How many take-out restaurant numbers do you have programmed into your phone?

None. Although, I know Gokul’s number by heart. Mmmmmm. Delhi’s Chaat.

3.       How many hours of television do you so totally not let your kids watch a week?

I would say my kids probably average about ten hours each week. Is that high? Low? I really have no idea.

4.       Do you think people who say “we don’t watch television” at play dates but really mean “we just watch DVDs” are lying liars from Liarville?

My theory on play dates? Do What You Need to Do to Survive and Stay Sane. We recently had a play date during which things got a little crazy. I quietly slipped a movie into the DVD player, and within minutes the girls were sitting down, snacking (on fruit! really!), and NOT arguing. After finishing their snacks, all was well, and the movie was turned off.

5.       How many miles have you driven with your child and not one device of electronic entertainment in a single car trip?

250 miles. (We have never used electronic entertainment during car trips. Color me curmudgeonly!)

6.       What’s your record for calls to the pediatrician or Ask-a-Nurse in a single day?

Three. Meredith was very ill when she was six months old, and I really don’t want to talk about it. Bad memories. (I spent most of that weekend rocking her in the rocking chair and reading East of Eden. Meredith LOVES that book!)

7.       What’s the sexiest thing your partner could text you after a hard day?

“My car is loaded with Delhi’s Chaat.”

8.       What’s your favorite iPad joke?

I was going to write my OWN joke that had something to do with how Momspotters NEED iPads, but then I cringed and made hot tea instead. You’re welcome.

9.       What’s the dumbest parenting tool, gear, gadget or device you ever bought?

A bottle warmer. I nursed both of my kids, and neither of them ever took a bottle. (Several years passed during which I couldn’t leave the house for more than two hours at a time. I was really fun to be around during those years.)

10.   How many years will it take for your child to become more tech-savvy than you?

It won’t take long. My six year old is already using the Internet for research, and both kids know how to use the DVD player and the Wii. They’re fearless, which is key.

Okay. Here is where you come in. In one week, I’m going to knit a hat. If you answer the ten meme questions in my comment section, I’ll enter you in the drawing for the hat. If you answer the questions at your blog, leave a link in my comment section, and I’ll enter you in the drawing for the hat. If you tweet about it, leave the link. You’re entered. AND, if you do NOT have kids, leave a comment below just telling me that you want the stinking hat! You’re entered! (Let’s make this official. I’ll do the drawing on February 7! AND, if you win, we’ll pick out the pattern and color together!) In the meantime, feel free to visit the BlogHer Family Connections Forum! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

I like you as much as I like broccoli pizza.

Today I was involved in a bit of a passive/aggressive war with the school nurse.

This is all I’ll say about that: I’m very sensitive about and very proactive toward Meredith’s vision issues. If you call me on the telephone to tell me that Meredith has “failed” your vision screening, laugh when I ask why I wasn’t aware of this particular screening, and then accuse Meredith’s ophthalmologist of not being 100% qualified to do his job, well, I’m going to go a little nuts on you. Maybe even more than a little. And if I feel it’s necessary, I will involve faxes in my fracas.

Now, nearly ten hours after my head spinning Linda Blairathon, my back is failing me.

Ride a painted pony, let the spinning wheel spin. Whee!

All of this to say: I’m giving away a $200 Visa gift card, and it’s all about pizza.
As it should be.

Also, don’t forget the eggs. (I’m giving away a $100 Visa gift card partnered with Six Months Worth of Eggs) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

The real question is: Am I smart/patient enough?

So, I’ve been thinking about homeschooling.

BAM! What?! Where did that come from?!

This is the truth: I adore our elementary school. I’ve come across only one staff member who rubbed me the wrong way (figuratively, obviously), peer advocacy seems to be very important, everyone gets a free breakfast (although I hear the doughnuts really suck), and the extracurricular programs and activities are, well, phenomenal. (Let’s face it: I rarely use the word Phenomenal.)

This is also the truth: A really great friend of mine homeschools her 12-year-old son. They have found a curriculum that works perfectly for their family, they have located social groups in their area so their son still gets to hang out frequently with other kids. They seem to be 100% happy with The Way Things Are, and I’m quite inspired by them.

I’m still telling the truth: I’m scared to death of middle school and high school. Normally, when I am afraid of something, I feel stupid for being afraid. (I’m afraid of people who dress up as animals and cheer at sporting events. I know.) However, I had a conversation with someone last week who made me feel not so stupid (about the middle school thing. We didn’t talk about the animals). The quote that sticks with me? “People are afraid that homeschooled kids don’t get enough socialization, but really—do you completely approve of the socialization they receive in middle and high school?”

So, anyway. We have four more years in our elementary school. I’m planning on immersing myself in The Pool of Other Options during that four year span.

Speaking of The Pool of Other Options (not really. I’m often accused of bumpy segues.), I’m thrilled to be giving away a $100 Visa gift card partnered with Six Months Worth of Eggs! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

It’s snowing, Sparky! Cue the Amy Grant CD!!!

Last night I met up with a good friend for dinner. (Some of you know her as Mitzi.)

I’m not sure how it happened, but as I walked out to my car after dinner (sushi at The Drunken Fish), Christmas spirit was oozing out of me.

This morning Harper and I put up the tree, and I’m planning on spending the afternoon downstairs shuffling through our Big Tub o’ Christmas.

Abrupt change of subject! I’m currently hosting the biggest Fluid Pudding Giveaway Ever. It’s a pocket PC, people!

Follow this link!

(And don’t forget the Hershey’s $100 Visa gift card giveaway!) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

If I get that van back, man, the road I’m gonna burn!

Just a few quick things:

As you read this, we’re actually on the way to Indianapolis! We all have fresh haircuts, and my mom has given me one of those huge plastic cups from Starbucks. In other words, as these very words travel from your eyes to your brain, I’m most likely sitting in the passenger seat nursing a very large shaken iced tea lemonade and listening to The Squeakquel. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

I need to send a very special shout out to someone with the initials AMR. You shocked the heck out of me when I picked up my mail yesterday, and I’m so very grateful. (I don’t have your e-mail address, or I would have done this privately.) I skied for over an hour last night! And you’re the only person out there who has any idea what I’m talking about!

My family baked cookies a few weeks back, and now I’m giving away a $100 Visa gift card as well as a bag of Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses! (The gift card winner is random. The Kisses? I’m totally choosing who gets them.)

Watch out Indianapolis. Here come The Puddings! (While we’re gone, please enjoy our favorite online advent calendar!) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>