Thursday, December 31, 2009

War on Peace

You know, I've been trying to avoid politics here lately.

Not so much for your sake, but because my poor little brain may just explode if I begin worrying about the whole world's problems.

But about this Christmas Day bombing attempt...

So I've been standing barefoot on cold, dirty linoleum, shuffling strollers, bags, laptops and babies in arms, measuring liquids into 3 oz bottles before securely ziplocing them into a TSA-approved baggie, waiting around for hours before flights and getting questioned like a terrorist at every checkpoint...but some Nigerian who was on watch lists, whose father warned us he was crazy, who paid cash for his ticket, didn't check bags, had his Visa denied in UK and studied in Yemen...he goes right through? Wearing women's underwear stuffed with explosives?

After a decade, 2 wars, trillions of dollars, tens of thousands of lives lost, Americans terrorized (by the TSA, not the terrorists) here at home--THIS IS WHERE WE ARE AT WITH THE WAR ON TERROR?


I'm starting to think we are our own terror. We are going to get ourselves killed through our own rampant stupidity and misplaced priorities. Our own people are literally going hungry and dying and we're chasing this rag-tag group of idiots around the world (and we apparently suck at it) wasting more money we don't have while barely bothering to protect those here at home?

And you know, flying is bad enough. What used to be somewhat of a luxurious treat is now akin to riding a Greyhound bus. I don't want to go through a full body scanner that will show me naked. I don't want to remain seated with no entertainment for an hour before landing. The thought that flying is most likely going to get even worse, as a result of our own inability to manage the rules put in place after the last attack attempt, is truly unbearable. I see road trips in my future.

Anyway, I think it is safe to say that the war on terror is going just about as well as the war on drugs.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Look Bish

I guess little kid's newest boss ate a poisonous frog and died.

I pointed out that it was starting to look a little suspicious--two sets of work friends and bosses dying of freak accidents shortly after he began working there. He agreed and sincerely seems to hope that these people can quit making bad choices.

He liked that job too--he was putting dinosaurs and old cars together for a museum. Now he's working in his brother's art museum. I have told him there will be hell to pay if his newest boss has any freak accidents and dies and that if he wants a new job, he should just give Big Kid his letter of resignation instead of staging any polar bear attacks or poison frog ingestion.

Yesterday little kid was running around searching for his cowboy boots before we left to go on a boat ride.

"Wear your Crocs, it doesn't make sense to wear boots on the boat!" I reminded him.

"I needa wear my wook boots! 'at's what I wear, my wook boots. Not Cwocs!"

"No, wear the Crocs. You're going on the boat so boots don't make sense."

"I want my boots, mumum! My wook boots, I needs 'em!!"


"Fine. Get me in twouble, mumum. My boss is gonna be bishin when I show up in Cwocs and not wook boots."

"What did you just say? Your boss is going to be...?"

"Bishin if I don't wear wook boots."



"Um...that's a bad word. I'm pretty sure you're saying a bad word and that's bad. Do you mean 'complaining'? Like your boss will be mad?"

"Yep, he gonna be bishin' at me 'cuz of dis. 'at's what I'm sayin' to you."

Awesome. My 3-year-old now uses "to bitch" as a verb. We can probably thank Mr. Ashley for all of the talk about bosses bishing.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Wrap-Up

Holy cow.

On Christmas Eve I was ready to do a whole feel-good "it's such an exciting time of the year to be a mom"-type post, but now that I'm dealing with the aftermath of putting together 20 tons of stuff, 90000 new pieces and sounds, and the complete disaster that was my sparkling house just 3 days ago, I'm not so sure "exciting" is the word for it.

We had a great Christmas though. The last few days have gone by in a blur of Mario. Big Kid got a Nintendo DSi for Christmas, much to his surprise. When he opened it, he re-checked the tag and said, "This is from you guys? You bought it wif your work money? It's like $132, maybe more! I can't believe you did it!" He sat there in disbelief as we explained that we wanted him to have it, and finally, that I got an awesome deal on it. I keep threatening to ground him and take it...I really want my own.

We also got Super Mario Bros for the Wii and I love it. I have played for hours and have lost all feeling in the tip of one of my thumbs. Oh well. I feel like a kid again. I remember when Catfish and I would stay up all night and try to beat the various Mario games through the years. It's a nice distraction.

Mr. Ashley has the next week off and the extra help parenting and time together is all the gift I need. Plus it will be nice to have someone around to watch the kids while I defeat Bowser.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. I'll be around this week, but don't expect too much (which is a pretty good premise to operate under regardless.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jersey Shore

I love MTV's Jersey Shore.

I'm not necessarily proud of that, but I won't apologize for it. This show is AMAZING--the cast is completely absurd and the whole thing was a total train wreck from the get-go. I had no idea this little sub-culture of guidos and guidettes (they call themselves that...) existed. It's like watching an anthropology study in progress.

They all dress terribly, have awful hair, 99% of them have ugly faces, horrible accents, no class, seem completely vapid but they all think they are THE SHIT. In a good way. It's fascinating and oh so funny. Also, these are people in their early to late 20s. It is so weird!

For those who watch the show, I am crazy about "The Situation". I know it's perplexing, he's a total pig but I love him. This gets some eye rolling from Mr. Ashley and I get that. I just think he's hysterical to watch. He'd need a paper bag over his head and a gag in his mouth before I'd call him attractive, but he is my favorite character, for sure.

Just thought I should confess and encourage anyone holding out on principle to go ahead and watch. It's so bad it's good.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Naughty List

little kid is a little nervous about Christmas. Santa's naughty or nice list has him concerned. He is smart enough to realize that he belongs on the naughty list. The naughty has FAR outweighed the nice this year and this is common knowledge.

The other day we were watching Polar Express and it was the scene where the elf is reviewing the footage of a little boy saying something like "I didn't do it!" on a row of televisions.

"Uh, what's he doin'?" little kid asked, looking nervous.

"Checking to see if kids are being naughty or nice. I bet he thinks that boy is telling a fib, so he's investigating to see if he needs to be put on the naughty list." I answered.

little kid instantly turned 2 shades paler and started studying his knee. "Oh. Din't know it was wike 'at," he said, chewing on his lip.

Yeah...I'm evil. Don't worry, it doesn't seem to have affected his behavior any. I felt bad, but only for a second.

Big Kid has him convinced that Santa brings you socks and undies if you are naughty and every once in a while, he'll say something like, "It's nice to get new socks and undies. Wight? 'at's still nice." But he says it sadly. Then other times he'll say, "I'm a good boy, wight? I snuggle you, I help you some."

I assure him that Santa knows that almost all 3 year olds are a little bit naughty. I remind him that he has a good heart and just needs to work on making better choices. I tell him if he's a good boy up until Christmas, he's a shoe-in for some toys.

"Yeah, I gotta good heart. I do. And I is still a baby."

And he will get toys...but he also might get one box full of socks and undies as a warning.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Big Kid had his first mini violin performance at his teacher's Christmas party yesterday.

I've got to say...I was nervous for him. I wasn't sure we were ready. I considered canceling (a lot).

But we practiced every night and decided to do it.

He was the first to play and as he walked in front up to the front of the room, he was as pale as his shirt and his little lips were pressed into a nervous little line.

But he did it! He played 4 variations of Twinkle Twinkle, did a great job and enjoyed the applause. He bowed at the end and was the epitome of adorable.

The other students were older and more experienced, and it was nice to talk to their parents. I get the feeling they're all a little more hardcore than we are about it--lots of talk about colleges (at 8 and 10 and 12). We figure he has his whole life to learn so if there's a night where practice doesn't seem feasible or he's just not on top of his game, oh well. If he bitches about practicing, I remind him that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be good at something and ask if he wants to be good. Usually, he ends up deciding to practice.

His teacher and her boyfriend both play for the Philharmonic and the boyfriend mentioned that he had wanted to play basketball during high school but was told he couldn't do both. Yeah, it worked out well since he's professionally employed as a violinist and is insanely talented but I could tell he was still bummed he didn't get to try basketball. I don't want it to be like that--I want Big Kid to play violin because he wants to but I want him to get to try other things as well. He does one half an hour lesson a week right now and I may look into doing 45 minutes every 2 weeks in 2010 instead. I don't want him to think I chose this as his life path when he was 5, he's free to check out other activities.

The two teachers played some songs together and it was awesome; it totally had me teary-eyed. It was pretty cool to be enjoying a private concert by Philharmonic violinists in their living room. It is also cool that they are a couple and can make music like that together.

So, Big Kid did well and is pretty proud of himself. I've been jokingly calling him Maestro lately and he's requested that I go ahead and call him that full time from here on out. I was going to videotape it all for you but I ran out of batteries midway through (DOESN'T IT FIGURE?). Maybe he'll do a private performance for us.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Tour

Okay, I'm back. I had to clean my house for a virtual tour.

That's right, the landlords that have begged us to stay for the very specific time frame of 3 years announced 3 weeks before Christmas that they are putting the house on the market. They assured me in their email that they wouldn't show the house on Christmas Eve or Day, so as not to inconvenience me and I assured them that they wouldn't be in all that week, thanks to their general bad timing and the virtual tour that we're agreeing to. So, I've been cleaning and going through the Ashley stages of grief: Hysterics, Self-pity, Anger, Action. We may be nearing acceptance soon, but there's no telling for sure.

So far the action plan has included:

A.) Deciding that if we ever win the lottery, we are buying the house up North that my landlords are renting just to torture them near Christmas time.

B.) Driving up and down every street in this and the neighboring subdivision and scouring Craigslist and MLS for rentals--and found 2. In all. Only 1 in my price range. I know I have a while to look but that had me back to stage one (hysterics).

C.) Tracking down the owner of the house 3 doors down, which is nearly identical to ours but has a pool. It was for rent right after we moved in for the same price, so I looked up the owner's address in public records and sent him a letter apologizing for being a semi-creepy weirdo but explaining my desire to stay in the area for years, hopefully in his house if his tenants moved out. He called Mr. Ashley asking if we were for real and they totally hit it off. The people living there signed a 6 month lease and are month to month now, are unmarried and wishy-washy according to him. So he was going to see what their plans were and call us back.

Soooooo, I need them to decide to move out. I think our best options are to get them to decide to purchase a house, to break them up, or to drive them from the area. I am sure the whole neighborhood wonders why I drive to the end of the cul-de-sac 2 to 3 times a day and stare in that direction while I get my mail, but I'm trying to come up with an action plan and hoping, wishing, praying that they decide to move. Because moving 3 doors down to a nearly identical house with a pool would be ideal.

I suggested that one of us have an affair with one of them to break them up but we keep arguing over who gets to. I also think poop bombing may be a good idea since it definitely had us rethinking the neighborhood when it happened to us. Or I need to convince them to buy this house and let us move into that one.

I'd still like to stay in this house. The realtor said he doubted it would sell quickly (we have until April regardless) and that he mostly dealt with investors who would be happy to buy the house with a nice family already in place--but the owner of the other house inherited it and his parents built it so he wants to keep it forever, but doesn't want to live there. And it has a pool (with an alarm to deter little kid.)

So we'll see what happens. My house has never been cleaner. I'm not happy about it.

(but may end up being happy if I get a pool.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009


My UPS guy comes on a golf cart with a small trailer full of packages. I couldn't figure out how he was sneaking up to the house without the dogs hearing him, but the other day I was near the front window and saw that he arrived via golf cart. I've seen him 3 times since then, always in the golf cart toting the little utility trailer full of cardboard boxes. I find this amazing and amusing.

I know I've been M.I.A. and I'm sorry (I always swear I won't apologize since this is a volunteer position, but I feel like we're friends and I should explain my absence.) I've been extremely busy cleaning my house top to bottom and stalking my neighbor 3 doors down. I'll be done with the house cleaning part soon, which will leave more time for stalking and entertaining you all.

Please review these 14 sites to make you smarter in the meantime. (Not that you're not smart now, that's not what I'm saying there.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fish and Polar Bears

This morning on the way to school, Big Kid began lamenting the death of Dorothy, our goldfish who died quite a while ago. This was particularly disturbing since I had just found Bubbles, the replacement-but-not-quite-as-loved-glofish, belly up a couple of days before (and the kids never even noticed she was gone.)

"You want to get a new goldfish, just like Dorothy?" I asked.

"What about Bubbles?" he asked.

"Well, Bubbles could maybe move somewhere else or just, like maybe she..."

"NO! No, I love Bubbles."

"Okay, maybe we could just get some friends for Bubbles then."

"All right, but I still miss Dorofy."

So I dropped him off at school and went to Wal-mart to get a replacement Bubbles and some friends. One of them didn't even make it home and is in my freezer awaiting return. Bastards.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure I'm going to pull this off, as long as the replacement Bubbles makes it a while. If all goes according to plan, Bubbles will be around (in one form or another) at least another decade.

Speaking of unfortunate deaths, I guess little kid's imaginary work friends all died in an accident with a Polar Bear. "That's really, really sad," I said. "I don't like that, maybe they were just hurt and went to the hospital?"

"Nope, dey are all dead. All my wook fwiends died."

"That's terrible."

"Well, dey made bad toices and den dey died."

"So what happened?"

"Dey got ated by a Polar Bear."

"Wow. That's crazy."

"Yeah, but I wike wookin' alone. So it's okay. I miss my wook fwiends but I do wike wookin' alone."

"Yeah, me too. I know what you mean."

In the past, I've had jobs where I really wouldn't have minded at all if my coworkers were all eaten by Polar Bears. Working alone definitely has its advantages. It just seems odd that he makes up imaginary coworkers who are mean to him, beat him with grill brushes and die grisly deaths.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Substitute mini-Parent

From the other side of the bathroom door yesterday, I heard Big Kid scream, "LITTLE KID BIT ME!!! MOM-MOM-MOM-MOM LITTLE KID BIT ME!"

I was tired. I doubted it was fatal, I had already had enough of this day, and I just wanted to go to the bathroom in peace.

"HANDLE IT BETWEEN YOURSELVES," I yelled back. I heard him pause at the other side of the door and then heard the slap of his feet on the tile as he left the room. I heard:

"little kid, mom said for me to handle it, your biting, and I decided I'm gonna give you a time out."

I never thought it would work. A time out from me invokes screaming, begging, running through the house, promises of better behavior and usually a wrestling match. I thought Big Kid was probably about to get beat down.

"A time out? For how long?" little kid asked quietly.

"You know, I'm not gonna say a time. It's not gonna be 3 minutes like mom does. You go in dere and sit on your bed until you feel like bein' a good boy and knowin' not to bite people. 'Til you can be nice."

and little kid went to his room...and sat on his bed...for about 2 minutes, after which he stuck his head out and said, "Bubby? I can come out now?"

"Can you be nice now? You ready to be a good boy?"

"Yep. I sorry, bubby."

"Come on out. You're a good boy who makes bad toices, little kid."

It was so sweet--and although it should concern me that Big Kid may be a more capable parent than I am (at 6 years of age), I'm mostly glad I may be able to get him to take on some of my parenting responsibilities from time to time.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Baby Catfish

Catfish is having her baby today!

New readers, Catfish and I have been friends since we were 3. We're the forever kind of friends who can get back together after lengthy separations and feel like we're picking up an old conversation, no awkwardness or extra effort required.

She found out she was pregnant shortly after her dad passed away from cancer, and I feel very much like he sent her this baby boy--got up to heaven and got right down to work, because that's how he is. To say I'm happy for her would be a gigantic understatement. Thrilled, elated, ecstatic would be closer but I'm not sure there's a word for the level of gladness I feel.

So everyone think happy baby thoughts for the Catfish family today! She's a warrior woman who will make an amazing mom and her and her husband will definitely make a cute baby (and she looks freaking amazing pregnant, you'd want to hate her but she's too cute.)

(New readers should definitely read all the way back until they find Catfish's bachelorette party posts in February 2008. I'd link to it, but this is a rated G post and that one was not.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Apple Eater

While I was on the phone, little kid got a bag of apples out of the fridge, took a few bites out of every single apple, put all of the apples back in the bag, spit some of the apple chunks back into the bag and then retwisted and fastened the bag again.

I want to beat someone with that bag of browning, half-eaten, half-regurgitated apples. We JUST went to the grocery store. Maybe I need one of those inflatable bop bags that you can knock down as they pop again for situations like this. That may do a better job demonstrating to little kid how his daily shenanigans make me feel.

I did take some of the change from his pockets and told him he'd be buying me a new bag of apples, and he is furious about that and thinks I should use my own money. He has hordes of change lately, I'm not sure where he's getting it from, but I'm going to start taxing him for damage so I can get some of it back. I asked why he didn't just eat one apple and he says he was tasting them all to find the best one.

He's standing in front of the television right now, wearing a button up shirt inside out and upside down, munching on an apple (presumably the best tasting apple in the bag) and occasionally mentioning his plans to be good from here on out. This is a conversation we have about 48 times a day.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Big Kid walked home from the bus stop alone today.

No, I have not progressed from a bus-fearing parent to a "walk yourself home, 6-year-old" type of parent in a few short months. Today was an early release day and I had no idea. I can't even say I forgot--I flat out had no idea.

Big Kid didn't go to school yesterday because he was sick and I know they are out of school on Friday. It also wasn't on the school sign and there are never early release days on a Tuesday.

I about had a heart attack when I heard the door open just after noon and his voice say, "Anybody home?" My mind was racing--was there an emergency? Was he sick? Who brought him home and how?

But he was alone, his smiling face in our foyer. "It was early release day! I figured you forgot so I dest walked on home."

My adrenaline was pounding in my ears as I asked if he had crossed any roads (no), talked to anyone (no), what he would have done if someone offered him a ride (screamed NOOOOO and ran away as fast as he could) and finally, if he was scared.

"Not at all," he answered,"I was happy. I picked you some flowers. I been tellin' you I can walk home alone." He offered me a crumpled handful of flower heads.

He has been telling me that he could walk himself, but I've been telling him no way. All of the "what ifs" of his adventure today scare me, but I am proud of him and a little bit glad he got to do it and prove he could do it. That being said, he's not doing it again until college.

We took advantage of our surprise extra time together by getting him a hair cut. He's still shaggy but looks good and was cracking me up as he regaled the stylist with his love for his favorite color, cerulean blue. He freaking loves him some cerulean blue. The stylist seemed amused but mostly confused.

Then, we went to the library. That's right--I've called a truce on my library war. And by calling a truce, I mean I paid them the money they claimed I owed them without protest. Mr. Ashley says this is the last time I get a library bail-out and that I need to make it work. I think I can this time, my new library branch doesn't appear to be managed by Satan's minions.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Shenanigans

Now that Big Kid's been raking in the Tooth Fairy loot, little kid has begun complaining about tooth pain and begging us to pull his teeth for him. I've also caught him banging on his front teeth with a plastic hammer. We've warned him that the Tooth Fairy doesn't come for broken-out teeth, but he's determined to get a visit.

I'm 90% sure that he woke up in the middle of the night and stole an ice cream sandwich. Let's just say someone woke up in the middle of the night and left a trail of ice cream sandwich wrapper pieces from the fridge to the couch and he's my #1 suspect, especially since I caught him helping himself to another one after breakfast (and I made him throw that one in the garbage.)

He has broken one ceramic Santa Claus and my Christmas village has been infiltrated with army men. I've got green plastic men crawling on their bellies through the church yard and standing in the town square with rifles. There's a plastic cowboy straddling a ceramic cow.

The nativity scene has survived unscathed, but Big Kid is very perturbed about the Baby Jesus' lack of clothing. He thinks Mary could have asked around and come up with a onesie or something. I pointed out the swaddling cloths but he just shook his head in disapproval. He was also pretty skeptical about myrrh as a gift for a naked baby that didn't even have a real bed. Big Kid would've been the wise man that brought the baby Jesus some clothes.

Friday, December 4, 2009

An open letter to parents everywhere:

People, if we're going to do this whole Tooth Fairy thing, we need to do it right. We need to establish a reasonable price and stick with it, universally.

One of Big Kid's friends got an iPod for losing his first tooth. AN IPOD FOR LOSING HIS FIRST TOOTH. That is setting a dangerous precedent and seriously screws things up for those of us who give a dollar.

I read a forum recently where a parent transcribed a letter from her child to the tooth fairy asking why she got $5 and her friend got $100. $100? I refuse to believe it. This kid better be lying, or there had better been some drunken "it looked like $1 in the dark" type mistake that the parents are still LOLing about. I do know that at least 2 kids in Big Kid's class got $20 last year for losing their first tooth and I thought that was borderline crazy.

I say we try to keep it around $1--maybe an occasional $5 if we're stuck without change or there are special circumstances. I did a $2 bill the other day, but in fairness, I had no idea he was going to lose a tooth and it was the smallest bill around.

Anyway, if we collaborate on this it will make our stories more believable. What Tooth Fairy would pay $100 per tooth in this economy? Let's keep it within the realm of probability here. A Tooth Fairy dealing in iPods sounds downright shady to me.

Thank you for your support in this matter,

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Today's Aday

Ashley: What do you think about going to the beach?

little kid: Aday? Now?

Ashley: Well, we just got a parking sticker and I can do the rest of my work later this afternoon.

little kid: And I have a day off! My wook fwiends not here and I not goin' a wook. So, we could definitely go to da beach aday, mumum.

Ashley: You have the day off? Nice! We're both free of work, I know where our bathing suits are and it is beautiful out. Sounds like a good beach day to me.

little kid: My pirate ship is in da twuck. My baving suit is in my dwawer, I'm gonna go put it on now.

And I'm going to go put mine on now and make this messy house disappear and avoid seeing Karate Kid again at the same time!

Thanks again to everyone who helped with the walkathon. Big Kid raised just over $100 total and he was elated. He kept talking about how his teacher would be able to get a few nice things now and how happy she would be to get some new stuff. He was really proud. He says he loves his school so much that sometimes he feels like crying when it is time to go home (and no, it's not because home is that bad).

I was going to go walk with him today, but once I suggested that little kid and I could sing "You're the best around, nothing's gonna ever keep you down" or "I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more" while doing the Running Man beside him, he said he'd probably just walk with his friends. So, I guess I'll just go to the beach instead.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Zhu Zhu Pet and Karate Kid

Okay, you guys are the best with the donations. Thank you, Big Kid is going to be so excited when he gets home and I tell him! I was going to bitch at you all about the ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY ONE comments for the hamsters vs. the 6 or so comment average, but whatever, I'll let it slide. When the Ashley's Closet cruise happens though, you non-commenters will be sorry.

And the Zhu Zhu pets hamster goes to....drumroll please...Marissa from Albany, NY (chosen by random number generating website)! Email me your mailing address and I'll have Mr. Ashley mail it since my post office anxiety is at an all time high in December. I think post offices should have drive-up windows. They could have a package lane and a letter lane and tellers like at the bank. I'd still hate it, but way less.

We put our Christmas tree up, which was a real adventure thanks to little kid's help. Despite us telling him not to, he's been using the tree as a forest for his army men and pirates. He's also taken the extra pieces of the Christmas train's railroad tracks to prop up as ladders so that his men can climb up to the tree that way. Yesterday I pulled a medium-sized fake Poinsettia berry from his nose. It was up there pretty far. He said he was just trying to smell it.

He recently reported that he was fired from his job. I guess his work friends called and told him not to come to work anymore. He got a new job though, mostly working on monster trucks, and he's been doing some part time medical work on work friends in the play room. He needs scissors for that though, which has been a real problem since he's not allowed to use scissors. So far he's had every day off from both jobs, but I've still heard lots about both.

He's also become obsessed with the movie Karate Kid. I saw it twice yesterday and once already today. He's going to be pissed when he finds out that Netflix wants it back. I've had this song stuck in my head for a week:

(the cute cat video that accompanies the song is an unrelated bonus)

I can also do a mean crane kick.

I shouldn't complain because it's much better than the Black Stallion television series obsession.

Big Kid Sponsors

Big Kid's school is doing some walk-a-thon thing tomorrow and although he's been persistent about the need to collect pledges, I sort of dropped the ball on that (mostly because I hate stuff like this).

So, if you want to be awesome and donate $1.00, you would make Big Kid very happy. I don't want to deal with the whole "per lap" thing, so I'll just make up a name for us (Frank A. Weiner?) and give it as one payment. To make it extra fun, Big Kid and I will send some fun mail (sorry--it's not a zhu zhu pet) to the first 20 awesome people who contribute. I need to turn the sheet in tomorrow morning, so any time up to midnight will work.

Not only would you be making Big Kid happy and making me look like a good parent, you'd also be helping his awesome organic-gardening, classical music-playing public school.

No worries if you don't have an extra dollar, I just figured I would ask on Big Kid's behalf. He did wrangle $15 worth of pledges out of our surprise out-of-town guests (that will show them!) and that's pretty good in my unmotivated opinion, but he would really like to get some more.

I'll be back with our hamster winner soon, I've got some work deadlines to meet!

(hmmm the donate button was supposed to direct you right to where to donate, but if not, the email address is ashleysclosetblog @ yahoo . com)