Growing Up in the Right Direction

Jun 29, 2010

This past weekend our family went to visit my inlaws, who live down near the Gulf of Mexico. It was a fun trip, full of time at the beach, the pool and playing with squirt guns in the backyard. Unfortunately, though, the visit was not full of sleeping or napping - for the kids or me. As with most children, I imagine, unfamiliar environments seem to tamper with their sleep schedules - and they seem to tamper with mine.

By the time we got in the car on Sunday afternoon, to head home, I was exhausted. We timed the ride with the kids’ nap schedule, hoping for a quiet and peaceful ride home.

That, of course, did not happen.

I will spare you all the gory details. Suffice it to say, there was a lot of screaming and arguing and fighting and throwing things and people being whacked with pillows and shoes being thrown at each other’s heads. At one point, the noise level was so loud that when Rob put on the radio, I immediately turned it off.

“What are you doing?” he asked. I usually love the radio in the car.
“I can’t take it,” I told him. “I can either listen to the radio or I can try to deal with their screaming, but I just can’t handle both.”

When we were eventually forced to pull onto a dirt road, so Rob could get out of the car and discipline all three kids, I, right away, opened my door, hopped out and began to walk down the hot, dusty road – away from our car. I just couldn’t stand it any longer. The noise was about to make my head explode.

When I finally rejoined my family, armed with the intent to calmly get through the rest of the ride, our two-year-old took the top off his drink cup and poured the remainder onto our (new) portable DVD player – frying it.

That was it for me. I was done.

I couldn’t help but wonder, “What kind of kids am I raising? They are nuts. Crazy. Out of control. Clearly, I am doing something wrong here. How am I going to survive the next 16 or so years?”

We eventually made it home. Because of the DVD debacle, my 7-year-old daughter, Jordan, hadn’t had the chance to watch the original Karate Kid movie which I had rented for her. I told her, as soon as we walked in the door, to go up to my bed and I would put the movie on the TV in our room. She could go to bed once it was over.

“When do you need to take it back?” she asked me.

“Both movies I rented need to be back by 9 PM,”I said. “I’ll take them back when you’re done.”

The evening progressed. She watched the movie and I fed all the kids and got the boys in bed. By 8 o’clock, everyone was asleep except for Jordan (and including my husband). I told her to hurry and get into her pj’s. She asked if she could fall asleep in my bed and stay there until I went to sleep and I said that would be fine.

As I kissed her good-night, I told her that I was going across the street to “Ms. Angela’s house.” My neighbor, Angela, and I have a standing Sunday night date. We always watch Desperate Housewives or Brothers and Sisters or Army Wives together and catch up on each other’s weeks.

“What time will you be back?” she asked.

“In about an hour and a half,” I told her and reminded her to stay in bed.

I went over to Angela’s, collapsed into her chair and began to tell her the tale of our weekend insanity. About 10 minutes after I got there, though, her cell phone rang.

She looked at it with a quizzical expression.

“Your house is calling me,” she said and handed me the phone.

“Hello?” I said, answering it.

“Mommy,” a little voice replied. “Did you return the movies? Cause, they’re due at 9 o’clock and it’s 8:32.”

“Oh!” I said. “No, Jordan, you’re right. I totally forgot. I’ll be right home.”

I hung up the phone and told Angela I’d be back.

I went home and Jordan was waiting for me in the kitchen. She had not only remembered that the movies needed to be returned, but had the wherewithal to locate Angela’s phone number on the inside of our kitchen cabinet door (where I keep all important numbers) and dial it.

I gave her a big hug, as I grabbed the movies, told her to go back to bed and ran out the door.

The movies were returned just in the knick of time!

On the drive home, I thought about how proud I am of Jordan. Earlier that day, I had been at my rope’s end, convinced I was utterly failing as a mom. The kids were driving me crazy. They were out of control. They were whiney.

And then, out of the blue, Jordan did something small, yet so mature, reinforcing in me that under all of the screaming and moaning and groaning (both mine and the kids’), these children may actually be learning something. They may actually grow up to be responsible, contributing members of society.

Ultimately – dare I say it aloud – they may not drive me completely out of my mind.

At least, that’s what I’m hoping.

If I’m mistaken, please don’t take my joy by telling me so.

A girl needs to have her dreams.

Office Depot - 250 Address Labels for $1

Jun 28, 2010

Head over to the Office Depot website because, for today only (June 28), you can get 250 custom Address Labels for only $1 shipped.

This is what you do:

Click here to get to the website and create your mailing labels.
Use coupon code 854758859 when you add them to your cart.

This should bring the total down to $1 with free shipping.

You also need to pay tax, which should be just pennies.

Don't need address labels?  Maybe it's a good stocking stuffer gift or a nice moving present for a friend?  I plan on using mine for my annual Christmas letter.  $1 is cheaper than I could print them at home!

The Car Connection

If you're in the market for a new car, but don't know how to go about researching the best one for you, I've found the perfect website to help you - The Car Connection.

If you're looking for a Lexus es Url 1, a Toyota Prius URL 2, a Mercedes-Benz E-CLass Url 3, a Honda Pilot URL 4 or any other type of car, make sure to check out this site.

They'll review the vehicle, give their "likes" and "dislikes" and connect you to other reviews of that vehicle online.

**This post brought to you by your friends at

Locking Mailboxes

Have you ever gone on vacation and worried about someone stealing your mail?  The solution is pretty simple - get a locking mailbox.

I found a site called Mailboxixchange and they have a variety of locking mailboxes.  They come in all different styles and colors.  You can also get the kind that are freestanding or the ones that attach to your home.

Lockable mailboxes can solve your problem concerning stolen mail or someone sorting through your personal letters.

**This post brought to you by

Check out RepairPal

If you haven't checked out RepairPal yet, make sure to head over to that site.  It's a great way to find information on your vehicle.

For example, if you are looking for some Houston auto repair on your Acura TL, you can go to their site and plug in your vehicle's information.  Pick your vehicle, the year, the model and then select the service, such as an oil change.

Need a brake job?  Select that one instead, type in your zip and the website will give you an estimate for your local area. 

I just used it yesterday!

**This post brought to you by your friends at

Converse High Tops at

Jun 25, 2010

If your kids enjoy wearing converse high tops, check out the website,  They have a wide variety of the sneakers and often have good sale prices.

Just looking at the site today, I see that Chuck Taylor Knee high sneakers (in pink - cute!) are on sale for $39.95. 

They also have have some women's Chuck Taylor Knee High in Vivid Blue on sale for $34.95.  You and your daughter could match!

Check it out.

*** This post was brought to you by your friends at

Repair Pal Website

Jun 24, 2010

I just found a new website that I think will be on interest to many of you.  It's called Repair Pal and it is a great resource for helping you research your car and estimating how much it will cost to get it fixed - in your own area of the country!

I don't know about you, but I often have a hard time knowing what is a "reasonable" price for a particular repair.  Go to their website and then click on "Get an estimate." If you have a Toyota Camry, you'll select that make and model.  You'll then select the year, the type of service you need done (such as "check engine light") and type in your zip code.  An estimate range for that repair will pop up on your screen!

How convenient!  Next time I need an auto repair, I'm going to make sure I check out this site before accepting service from a mechanic - to make sure the place isn't just taking advantage of me!

You can also find a repair shop near you, get information on what experts have to say about your particular vehicle and keep track of all of your car's services and repairs in one location.

MySavings Website

I have just discovered another great website for coupons.

It's called MySavings.  They have a TON of printable coupons on there.

Before you go shopping, it's a good idea to look on their for grocery coupons, baby item coupons, household item coupons, restaurant coupons, etc.

Enjoy the savings!

BOGO FREE Shake at Sonic

Sonic has another good deal going on right now.

If you go buy a shake there (until June 27), you'll either get one FREE right then OR they'll give you a coupon for a FREE future shake (good until July 15).

Click here for details.

(Possibly) FREE Coke Zero at Sonic

Jun 23, 2010

I drove by a Sonic yesterday (for those in Austin, it was the one on Stassney and Pleasant Valley) and they had a big sign out that said "Free Coke Zero on Thursday from 8-9 PM." 

I haven't been able to find anything online, though, that tells me if this is a one store deal or a national chain promotion.

Thus, if this interests you, contact your local Sonic to see if they are participating in this FREEBIE!

FREE Redbox Movie Rental (Rent 2 Get One for Free)

Jun 22, 2010

Here's another good Redbox deal.

If you rent 2 movies at the same time from Redbox (until June 30), and supply them with your email address, they'll send you a code within 72 hours for a FREE movie rental.

Details are here.

And, don't forget, if you create an account on, and then reserve a movie online, after you rent that movie, they'll send you a code for another movie rental for FREE!

Click here for details.

Lost on a Mountain

Jun 21, 2010

Every parent has experienced it. That moment in the grocery store or the park where you turn around for just a second, and when you turn back, you can’t find your child. You heart stops and then lurches into a sprint. Your stomach turns. You become frantic in an instant.
Where is your child?

More times than not, your little rascal has just wandered off to the slide or is hiding underneath the clothing rack at Target. The scare lasts no more than a minute, but it feels like an eternity.

Yet, we all read see the news stories. For some parents, that horror can last a lot longer than a minute. For some parents, the nightmare can last a lifetime.

I’ve never really understood how those parents must feel. The anguish they clearly experience when, once a minute goes by, and then five and then thirty, their child does not reappear.

I’ve prayed for years that I would never understand that terror.

And I hadn’t. Ever. Until we took our children on a hike in a state park last month.

Let me being by saying that going on this hike was my idea. Looking back, I don’t know what I was thinking. I am not an “outdoors” person. I hate hiking. I hate sweating, for that matter, and we live in Texas. It’s hot here. I must have been delusional the day I suggested this family outing.

My husband, Rob, and I took all three of our kids to Enchanted Rock. As its name indicates, it’s a rock. A big rock. I really had no idea just how big – or how difficult for small children – it would be to climb.

When we began the trek, our three-year-old son, Bennett, was anxious to get moving. He quickly ran ahead of us. Our baby, Maclain, though, wasn’t yet two and just couldn’t keep up. Rob, as he began to chase Bennett, told me he’d keep up with the older two kids if I stayed with Maclain. I told him to not be surprised if Mac and I never made it to the top.

While Rob, Bennett and our daughter, Jordan, rushed up the rocky incline, Maclain and I took our time. Many of the rocks were as large as him and he struggled to climb over each one. The two of us, though, had a lot of fun. He was giggling and running around and pointing out all the various bugs he encountered.

Ultimately, though, we came to the very base of the big rock. Unlike the trail we’d taken thus far, it had no trees or small rocks to hold onto as we went up. It was just one solid, slippery, nearly-vertical rock.

By this point, Maclain had had enough and was standing at my feet, with his arms in the air, saying, “Up. Up.”

I looked up at that rock and then down at my 40-lb baby. There was no way I was going to be able to carry him all the way to the top. And, even if I could muster the strength, heaven forbid I slipped at some point, I risked his little head hitting the ground.

Nope. Going to the top was not a good idea and I made the executive decision that he and I would head back.

The way back took a long time. Maclain was tired, and still highly intrigued by every millipede he came across. Eventually, we reached the bottom and I saw, off to the side, a tall staircase - at the top stood an idyllic gazebo.

I convinced Mac to use those little, chubby legs to get to the top. Once we reached it, I sat on a bench while he ran around. I could imagine how much fun Rob, Jordan and Bennett must be having at the top of Enchanted Rock. I was sorry that we couldn’t be up there with them and, even more so, sad that I had forgotten to give them the camera so that they could take some pictures.

I don’t know how long it was between the time that Rob and the older two kids took off and the moment when I heard Maclain call out “Da Da” from the gazebo as he looked down. My guess is that it was about an hour and a half.

When I looked over the gazebo’s ledge, I saw Bennett running up the stairs towards me and instantly heard Rob call up, “Is Jordan with you?”

Confused, I yelled back, “No.”

At that word, Rob turned back in the direction he’d just come from and broke into run.

At first, I couldn’t figure out what was happening. My initial thought was, “Why is he running back towards the rock? If she’d run ahead of him and couldn’t find me because I was in the gazebo, shouldn’t he be running towards the parking lot?”

I waited for a few minutes, as the boys played together. After some time had passed, though, I began to question Bennett.

“Where’s Jordan?”I asked him.

“I don’t know,” he told me.

“Wasn’t she with you?”


I began to feel the panic building.

“What do you mean she wasn’t with you? When you got to the top of the mountain, wasn’t she there?”

“No,” he said again.

Thinking his three-year-old mind was just not comprehending what I was asking, I began again.

“Bennett, listen to me,” I held his shoulders and made him face me. “When you climbed up that mountain, you went with Daddy and Jordan, right? Was Jordan at the top with you?”

“No,” he said again. “Jordan wasn’t there at the top. I just climbed with Daddy.”

My whole body began to feel clammy.

I grabbed both boys and told them we needed to go look for Jordan. To say that neither of them were cooperative would be an understatement. As we walked down the gazebo steps, they began to come undone. They were tired. They were misbehaving. They were not about to walk in the direction I needed them to go. And, they were both too heavy for me to carry.

Once we reached the start of the trail, the boys were really giving me a hard time. There was a little stream there and they decided to go splashing in it, shoes and all.

As they got themselves wet, I saw a couple heading towards me from the rock.

“Have you seen a little girl in a pink Tinkerbell shirt and blonde hair? We can’t find her.”

“No,” they told me, a bit sadly. “We’re sorry. We didn’t see her.”

“My husband went to look for her.”

“We didn’t see either your husband or your daughter, but there are a lot of trails up there.”

“Oh,” I said, defeated.

“Do you know your son is drinking that stream water?” the man asked me, as the couple started to walk away.

“Huh?” I looked at Bennett, who was refilling his water bottle in the dirty water and sipping it. “Bennett – stop that!”

I glanced at Maclain. He’d taken off his shoes.

I bent down to put them back on and started to cry.

The couple walked back towards me.

“Listen,” the woman said. “We’ll help you look for her. We have kids, too. We understand.”

I almost hugged her right then and there.

Thank you.”

The woman and her husband began to talk. He took her cell phone and said he’d head back up the trail. She said she’d go to the car to get his and stay with me. I told both of them that my husband didn’t have his phone on him and that mine wasn’t getting reception.

As the woman helped me “rein in” the boys, and we made our way back to the parking lot, I asked her name. She told me it was Tricia.

As we reached the end of the trail, she told me she was going to look in the restrooms. After checking both the men’s and women’s facilities, it was clear Jordan wasn’t in there.

We decided Tricia would get the cell phone out of their car and then she’d drive with me to the ranger’s station. We loaded the boys in the car and, as we drove, I told her the little that I knew and how Bennett said Jordan hadn’t been with them at the top.

“I don’t understand it.” I told her. “And, because of that, I don’t know how long she’s been gone.”

When we reached the station, Tricia told me to wait in the car with the boys and she’d go talk to the rangers. A minute later, she returned with one of them.

He asked me a lot of questions – what she looked like, what she was wearing, when we had last seen her. I told him what I knew. I got the feeling he thought I was irresponsible for losing my child. Looking back now, perhaps that was just my own panic and guilt speaking.

“You need to go back, with your car, to where you were parked. She knows that’s where your car is, so she might go looking for you there.”

“She’s really responsible,” I kept telling him. “She’s the type of child who will tell someone she’s lost. She wouldn’t just wonder off.”

He nodded. “Just go back to the parking lot and stay put.”

Tricia and I got back into the car and started to drive. I remember thinking that, though I was scared, the chances were good Rob and Jordan were together already, walking back down the rock. I was fairly certain that when we returned, they’d be there waiting for us.

As we approached the parking lot, though, all of my hopes were dashed. I immediately saw Rob walking towards us – and he was alone.

I rolled down the car window. He took one look at my face and by my expression, must have known she wasn’t with me. I started to cry again.

“I’m heading back up to look for her again,” he said.

“Her husband is looking, too,” I told him, indicating Tricia. “And, we’ve told the rangers.”

Rob nodded and began to run back towards the rock.

I parked the car and Tricia began taking charge of the boys. It was if in the past hour, I’d become an incompetent human being. She had to tell me to change the baby’s diaper and I just stood by and watched her pack snacks and drinks for my boys. We decided it would be best to put Maclain in the stroller so we’d only have to deal with Bennett walking.

Tricia began to stop other hikers, who were either returning from their hike and asking them if they’d seen Jordan, or telling others to look for her as they started up the rock. I remember some old lady hugging me as I sobbed, telling me she was so sorry this was happening, right before she began to walk towards the trail.

To say I was a basket case, by this point, would not do my hysterical state any justice at all. I couldn’t think. Tricia kept asking me if I had a photo of Jordan and I could barely comprehend the question.

“In your camera?” she asked, as I shook my head. “In your phone? What about your wallet?”

I finally remembered that I had one and handed it to her, and then I told her I needed to go throw up.

My mind just kept repeating the same words, over and over again.

“This is how it begins. When your child vanishes, this is what it feels like.”

Tricia and I and the boys started to walk back to the base of the trail. By the time we got there, I could see a ranger with binoculars searching the rock and he told me there were rangers already up there looking for her. He kept telling me that I needed to stay near the car and near the base of the trail. He kept repeating, “You need to be here in case she comes looking for you.”

I have seen a hundred crime shows on TV where, when a child goes missing, the police or FBI always tell the parents they need to “stay put.” More times than not, one of the parents become hysterical and starts to argue or fight. “I need to look for my child!” they always yell. When I’ve watched those shows in the past, I’d always think, “Don’t those people understand that it’s best for everyone if they remain in one place?”

Suddenly, though, I found myself in that very situation and instantly, I realized how absurd my judgment has been of those families. The ranger was telling me to stay in one place, but instead of understanding his reasoning, I wanted to punch him and begin to run up the mountain, searching for my baby. “How can I just stand here?” I wanted to yell, “when my little girl is out there somewhere without me?”

If it hadn’t been for the fact that I had two little boys with me who, without a doubt, could not make the climb, I might have done exactly that.

Tricia continued to stop people on the trail, showing them Jordan’s photo and asking them to look for her. I saw two more trucks, full of rangers, arrive to begin to search. I was relatively surprised by this point that I hadn’t passed out yet.

After what seemed like days, I saw two specks coming towards me on the path and I realized they were Rob and Jordan. I yelled to Tricia to watch the boys and I began to fly towards the rest of my family. I reached my little girl and swung her around, crying harder than I think I have ever cried in my life. She asked me to be careful. She told me she was covered in cactus prickles.

It took some time to find out what had happened to her. Apparently, while climbing with Rob and Bennett, Jordan had gotten tired of the speed with which they were going. Bennett was running up that rock. She told Rob that she wanted to wait and climb with me and Maclain. Rob, as he chased after Bennett, told her that was fine, but never really looked back to make sure I was nearby. Because Maclain was having such a hard time, Maclain and I weren’t in the near vicinity and so, as Jordan began to backtrack, looking for us, she took the wrong path. Once she realized she was going in the wrong direction, she turned around, but on her way back, she somehow fell off the trail and down a rocky embankment, out of sight of the other hikers.

Because Rob thought she was with me, he continued to the top of the mountain with Bennett. And I, never knowing she was supposed to be with me, wasn’t worried about her whereabouts. By the time we even realized Jordan was gone, she’d been missing for over an hour.

When we found Jordan, she was scraped and bruised, the butt of her shorts was completely ripped off and, as she had said, she was covered in prickles because she had landed in a bunch of cactus. But, the sight of her was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

Jordan told us she’d yelled and yelled, but no one heard her. She eventually heard Rob screaming for her and, when he didn’t respond to her cries of “Daddy!” she began to yell out, “Rob!” He heard that and within a few minutes, was able to locate her and climb down to where she was.

I have never experienced such terror as I did that afternoon in that state park. To be honest, I didn’t realize the depth of fear one could experience until I thought my child was truly missing. There’s been a news story these past few weeks about a 7-year-old who apparently “vanished” from his school. I see his mother on the news and I have a whole new empathy for her pain. Mine lasted hours. Hers has lasted weeks. I honestly don’t know how she’s still breathing.

And, for the rest of my life, whenever I hear people refer to the “kindness of strangers,” I will always think of Tricia and her husband (whose name I later learned is Scott). I don’t know how I could have survived that day without Tricia. It turns out that she and her husband were on vacation from their home in Kansas. I bet they never expected to be searching for some strangers’ little girl when they planned their trip! Tricia told me, later, that all she wanted to do, once we found Jordan, was return to Kansas to hug her kids. We’ve kept in touch since that day and I have a feeling that we’ll be a part of each other’s lives from this point on. I could never repay them, but I continually thank God for them.

The day after our ordeal, our family went to church (we had much to give thanks for) and while sitting in the pew, my mom asked Jordan about her “adventure.”

“Daddy must have been so excited to find you!” my mom said. “What was the first thing he said to you when he reached you?”

Without missing a beat, Jordan told her that he’d said, “Hurry. Mommy’s crying.”

You have no idea just how hard, baby. You have no idea.

FREE Iced Tea at La Madeleine Today

Stop by your local La Madeleine today for a FREE iced tea of mango tea.  No purchase necessary.  They're celebrating the first day of summer!  Enjoy!

Free Redbox Movie Rental

Jun 18, 2010

If you're on Facebook, make sure to become a fan of Redbox. 

And then, click on Fan Freebie.

They'll give you a code for a FREE movie rental (only good on Monday, June 21).


Austin/Bryan-College Station - Free Subway Breakfast

Jun 16, 2010

If you live in Austin or the Bryan-College Station area, make sure to head over to Subway tomorrow morning (Thursday, June 17) between 7 and 10 am!  They'll be giving out free breakfast sandwiches on an English muffin.

Click here for details.

Then, beginning on Friday until June 30, they'll be offering Buy One Get One Free Breakfast sandwiches.


Thanks, Leslie, for the tip!

FREE Stuff for Good Grades

Jun 14, 2010

My friend sent this information to me this weekend.  (Thanks, Lynda!) 

The following businesses give out FREE stuff to your kids for good grades!

Make sure to call your local business to make sure they participate before you drag your kids down there (and they end up disappointed)!  And don't forget their report cards!

■Chick-fil-a offers a free 8pk. of nuggets if your child had all A's and B's.

■Pizza Hut offers a free personal pan pizza and soft drink with at least 3 A's.

■SBarro offers a free slice of pizza and soda to elementary students with A's and B's, as well as a free slice to one parent.
■McDonald's offers a free Happy Meal with all A's.
■Krispy Kreme gives one free doughnut per "A", up to 6 total.
■Chuck E. Cheese offers 15 free game tokens with all A's and B's.
■Limited Too offers $5 off that day's purchase with all A's and B's.

■Blockbuster offers 1 free "family" rental for all A's.

■Baskin Robbins offers one free scoop of ice cream for A's and B's.

Kid Speak - The Diet of Sharks

Jun 11, 2010

I was driving my kids home from school yesterday when my 3-year-old son said to me, "Mommy, what do sharks eat?"

Sharks.  Hmmm  . . . I had to think about that for a minute.  Marine biology is not my strong suit.

"They eat fish," I told him.

"No, they don't," he replied.

"Yes, they do."

I don't know a lot of about sharks, or any sea creature for that matter, but I was fairly certain they ate fish.

"No, they don't," he repeated.

"Then what do they eat?" I asked him.

"Children," he said, seriously.


We have such an uplifting household.

$4 AMC Movie Tix (Select Cities Only)

Jun 10, 2010

Fabulous deal alert!

If you are lucky enough to live in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York City or the Washington DC area, then I have a GREAT deal for you.

KGB deals is offering $4 AMC (NO RESTRICTION!) movie tickets!!!

Unfortunately, for me (and my friends), the deal isn't good in Austin.

Maybe they'll expand it next time.

It may only be a deal for today, so hurry up and get it!

Here are the links for each city!




New York City


San Francisco

Washington DC

Bed, Bath and Beyond Sells Make-up

Have you been in a Bed, Bath and Beyond lately?  Well, if not, you'll be suprised next time you step into one.

They now have a HUGE makeup and toiletries section!   HUGE!

The best part?  You can still use your 20% off coupons on that stuff. 

And, in general, the store lets you use expired coupons and up to five coupons at a time (on 5 various items).

I haven't check their prices, yet, but assuming the lipsticks, nailpolishes, shampoo, etc cost about what it does at Walmart or Target, I'll be buying these items there from now on - with a coupon!

Free Summer Movies

Jun 9, 2010

Don't forget that many local theaters show either FREE or REALLY discounted summer movies for kids.

Regal Theathers has their FREE family film festival - which starts this week - and it's every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 AM.  Movies include Alvin and the Chipmunks Squeakquel, Night in the Museum 2 and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (and more!).  Click here for details.

Cinemark offers 10 shows for $5 with their Summer Movie Clubhouse.  They show them on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10 am. Click here for details.

AMC theaters have $1 admission movies on Tuesdays at 10 am.  Click here for details.

If you live in Austin, the Alamo Drafthouse has FREE movies on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 11 am.  Click here for details.

So, get out of the hot sun and take your kids to the theater!

FREE Information on Your Phone

Jun 4, 2010

I have a girlfriend who commonly calls me, when she's out running errands, to look up a phone number for her.  I don't mind this.  Afterall, I regularly call my friend, Shanika, to either look something up online for me or even log into my email account to locate some information I missed. If I'm "out and about" and don't have access to a computer, she's the first one I call (I bet she just loves this!) :-)

Last night, this girlfriend (who will remain nameless because I think she might kill me if I mention her by name), called to ask me to look up the hours for the "Dollar Tree" store.

I gave her the information she wanted, but then told her, "You really need to add the Google number to your cell phone."

"What is a Google number?" she asked.

So, I explained it to her, much the same way I explained it to my mom last week as I punched the number into her cell phone.

The Google number is an 800 number that is there for you to call to get phone numbers of retail locations.

And, best of all, it's FREE!

When you call, some nice Google automated man says, "Google!  Please say the business and the city and state."

Once you give the man the information he requests, such as, let's say, the Dollar Tree, he says, "Dollar Tree, Austin, TX.  Top 8 results."  And then, he'll list the stores by their address and you say or punch in the number of the location you want.

When you're done, he thanks you and connects you.

Did I mention it's FREE!  No more paying something like $8 to use 411 to get information on your cell phone.

Oh, I guess you want the number, don't you?

Well, it's 1-800-GOOG-411

That's, 1-800-466-4411

In case you want more info, click here for a description.

Free Donuts!!

Jun 3, 2010

Tomorrow is National Donut Day.  Here are where you can score FREE donuts!

Visit your local Krispy Kreme tomorrow, (June 4) for a FREE Glazed Goodie (no purchase necessary)

Click here to find a participating Krispy Kreme near you.

Dunkin Donuts - FREE donut with the purchase of a beverage

Shipley's Do-nut - FREE glazed donut with any purchase before noon.

Things I Forget to Teach My Kids

Jun 2, 2010

My daughter, Jordan, and I went to the library last week. That, in and of itself, wasn’t a unique experience. I love the library and I’ve always tried to instill that same passion for reading in my children by taking them there regularly. What was unusual about our trip, however, was the conversation that followed regarding our visit later that same evening.
Somehow, as I prepared dinner in the kitchen, and Jordan helped, we got onto the topic of late fees for overdue books.

“How much do library books cost?” Jordan asked.

“Well, if they’re late, they are 25 cents per day. So, if we have three books that are late for two days, we’d owe the library $1.50.”

“Oh,” said Jordan, as she put the vegetables in the salad. “But, how much do they cost?”

“Jordan,” already getting a little frustrated. “I just told you. 25 cents a day.”

“If they’re late, right?” Jordan said.

“Yes,” I told her.

“But how much do they cost?”

Cost? What was she talking about?

“Jordan, library books don’t cost anything. It’s free to check them out. If you live in Austin, you can go to the library and check out books at our library for three weeks for free.”

Jordan thought about this for a moment.

“Then why do you give them your card when you get them?”

What? Where was she going with this?

“So I can check out books. They need my card so that I can check out the books.” I was starting to get a little irritated with this conversation. How was I not explaining this clearly?

“But don’t they charge you on the card?”

Oh . . . . Aaaaah . . . Now I understood.

Jordan thought the library card was a credit card. She thought that when the librarian “swiped” it, she was charging me for it – just like when I went to Walmart or the grocery store.

It was a simple mistake. Easy to understand. But, it still made me feel bad. She didn’t understand this concept because I had never taken the time to explain it to her. I just assumed, as I find I do with a lot of things when it comes to my kids, that she already knew. That she understood. Library books are free. That’s the whole point of the library. Free books. Who doesn’t know that?
Well, apparently my 7 year old, because I’d never stopped to tell her.

And, that got me to thinking about all the other things I just assume my kids know, but they really don’t.

Sometimes, my 3-yr-old will come home from school singing a song – a basic kids’ song, such as “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and I realize that I’ve never heard him singing that song before. His sister has sung it for years, but I’ve never heard him. And then I come to the understanding that he didn’t sing it, because he’d never heard it! I’d never taught him.

I just assumed that if his sister knew it, he must, too!

And, don’t even get me started on all the nursery rhymes and fairy tales I’ve neglected. I mentioned “Peter Piper” in passing to my daughter last week and she looked at me like I’d grown another head.

Really?” I thought. “I missed that one, too?”

It’s just that there is so much to learn in this life and so little time to get it all in. Sometimes – much of the time, it seems – I forget what it is I’m supposed to be “getting in” in the first place – and if not that, which child still needs to hear about it.

Take swimming, for example. My daughter has had swimming lessons every year since she was a year old. In fact, she attended a private school for kindergarten and 1st grade where they had swim lessons once a week as part of the curriculum. She is a fabulous swimmer.

And then there’s my boys. Sometimes, when we go to the pool, I feel like turning to them and saying, “What? You don’t know how to swim? Really? Really?”

My poor baby, Maclain, is going to get the worst end of the home-educational stick, I fear. Not only do I forget to teach him things, but I don’t even think the poor kid has ever watched an episode of Sesame Street. His brother and sister are “past” that phase and so, that program just never seems to be turned on in our house anymore.

I am raising a child who will not know who Bert and Ernie are!

They should take away my parenting license.

How will any of my kids ever win a game of Trivial Pursuit at the rate we’re going?

When you initially become a parent, there is a sense of enthusiasm about all the things you’ll “get” to teach your child. Things that were (and still are) important to you.

And then you realize the “list” of things you’re supposed to be teaching . . . and to not just one child, but often, multiple children.

It’s enough to make you want to go back to bed in the morning.

Still, I trudge along . . . trying to make sure that I cover all the bases with each child . ..  that each one learns the basics: their ABCs, their numbers, children songs, famous bedtime stories, and so on.

After all, I don’t want to someday have a 35-year-old “child” of mine come to me and say, “Why do I never know what it means when someone says a person is “crying wolf?”

Hmmm . . .
Guess I know what children’s story we’re working on today!

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