My Love/Hate Relationship with the Water Balloon Machine

Flashback to June, 2013.

Who knew?

Someone knew.  And now that someone is laughing all the way to the bank.

That someone created that brilliant water balloon maker, was it last year they appeared on the shelves?

Suddenly, you couldn't even go to CVS without seeing them everywhere.

Moooom, can we get one of these?

*Envisioning lawn littered with broken balloons*

 No, guys - we don't need water balloons today.

In Bed, Bath and Beyond, I'm returning the wrong size tablecloth, there's a line, and of course, only one person working.  They are strategically placed by check-out, and they are the only thing saving my boys from a wrestling match to stave off boredom.

Mama, pleaaaase, pleaaaaaase, can we get this water balloon machine? Pleaaase?

BB&Beyond has me where they want me.  RIGHT where they want me.  I am the person they thought of when they set up that display.

Marketing Team Leader:  "Let's place them by checkout and bombard children's senses with the brilliantly colored machines filled with a rainbow of balloons."

Marketing Team Member:  "Yes, but that will only work if we schedule only ONE person at checkout that day."Marketing Team Leader: *throws back head and laughs* YES...YESSSSS.  
"Alright, alright , I'll buy the balloon maker but this is the one and only one for the season so you need to take care of it."

I should mention, these are not expensive.  In fact, most are under $10.  They are not built to last by any means.  That, coupled with the kids fighting over it constantly, and the abuse by jamming the pump repeatedly as fast as they can, it's a setup to a huge meltdown when it finally breaks.  I just wanted them to know if I bought it, they had to take care of it and not think they would get another one if it broke.

We bring it home and hit the lake.  When I tell you, it keeps them occupied for hours, I mean hours. I couldn't believe how much they loved it.

At first everything is fun and joyful and they are having a ball.  Then someone lingers at the pump, trying to make an arsenal of balloons.

"Heyyy, he's pumping more than one and that's not fair."

Now add neighbor kids.

"Heyy, he's hogging the pump and that's not fair."

"Heyyyy, he used all the water and didn't fill it."

"Mom?  Mooom?  Mama?  Mommy?  Mom?  Mom? Mom?"

"Can you tie this? "

"This one?"

"Tie this for me, please?"

Tie this.  Tie this.  And another. Another. Another.

"MOMMMMMMMMMMMMMM....THE PUMP BROKE..."  Cue the tears and hysteria.  After trying to resuscitate the machine for an hour, we declared its passing at approximately 4:05pm.  Its lifespan was three glorious days, and almost 18 hours of pumping.  That was it for last year.

Fast forward to June, 2014.

This year - the remarkable makers of the water balloon pump created the No-Stress Tie Nozzle so that Moms and Dads everywhere could actually enjoy the day without having to tie an endless assembly line of water balloons.  The instructions on the pump promise "effortless water balloon making and tying in seconds." The thing is I already CAN  effortlessly tie an endless supply  of water balloons with my own 2 hands.  Granted, I break a few nails struggling with a few here and there, but overall, tying balloons is not rocket science.  Using the handy dandy effortless Tie Balloon pump IS, however, rocket science.

Look, I don't claim to be the smartest.  I don't say that I am the most clever of moms.  But I do my best.  I tried to figure this g-d easy peasy water balloon tie nozzle but I broke more balloons in the time that I could've tied 2 dozen and got more aggravated than if I had spent two hours manually tying them.

 You're supposed to wrap the balloon around the nozzle, thread the neck through the slot, and pull the balloon off the device.  I couldn't figure it out, I broke several of them while "pulling" them off the nozzle, thus dousing myself in water, and it became very clear that this was not the simple maneuver it appeared to be.  Okay look, some of you are going to say, you figured it out on the first try - and I say - that is AWESOME.  And some of you are going to judge me for having poor direction reading skills, or sad fine motor skills, but I'm okay with that.  I tried to get it to work, but I failed so I went back to manually tying them - I don't really need nice nails anyways.  

I am going to continue to hand tie these until this year's pump breaks - and I'm at peace with that.  According to past history, I only expect the pump to live another few hours anyways.

In the meantime, I'll be in the yard with the kids, cleaning up the artillery shells strewn all over the lawn.  Perhaps next year, the brilliant balloon maker minds will come up with an easier disposal and clean up system?

Cheers and Happy Water Balloon Tying!


The Real Reason I Love Coffee...

If you've been hanging out with me for a while, you know that I often talk about and post funnies about coffee.  The thing is, I only recently realized what the real draw is to coffee.  Okay besides the actual addiction to caffeine, the smell in the morning when you first wake up, and the way it soothes your soul with the first few sips.  I'm talking a deeper love here.  Stay with me.

The other day - Monday to be specific - was not my best day.  It was officially the first day of the kids summer vacation but I still had to work in the family office because one of our employees was out and I needed to cover the 8-5 shift to keep afloat.  No biggie.  The kids came with me (thank God for family run businesses!) and we showed up bright eyed and ready.  They had lots to do to keep them busy as did I!  I turned on my computer but my computer was not ready to work.  My computer was stricken with a virus.  A case of the Mondays you could say.  No computer, no work.  It took at least an hour to get completely up and running, which set an already busy day back more than I would've liked.  The computer was not the only one with a case of the Mondays; customers, phone conversations, orders, everything and everyone I touched was afflicted with the Monday Touch (see: Opposite of Midas Touch).  Before I knew it, it was 5:00 and I was wiped out.  I was grouchy, irritable, stressed, drained and ready to go home while my boys were just getting warmed up and ready to go.  I tried to make up for the lost day by taking the boys for a swim in the lake, having a great dinner and some decent laughs before bed - but all in all, Monday was gone and that was the only thing good about it.  When my weary head finally hit the pillow, even I was tired of me.

I love this because it's true - coffee is optimism in a cup.  When you drink it, you immediately feel like you can conquer whatever stands in front of you - until it's time for another cup.

As I poured my Tuesday morning coffee, it hit me.  Every morning that I wake up, I get a chance to do things over, to do them better, to do them differently, to try again.  THAT'S when I realized that what I love about my coffee so much is that it represents a new start and new possibilities every single day.  So I had a crappy day Monday - I get a do-over.  The coffee induced an amnesia for yesterday and wiped the slate clean and made way for the new.  It's a beautiful thing.  If we're lucky, we have a large amount of do-overs in our lifetime - it's what we choose to do with them that really matters.  I'm sure you've seen that ecard that says "I'm trying to decide if I should use my coffee powers for good or evil."  It's funny, but it's so true.  If you think of your coffee as a fresh start to the day, then you have to decide is it going to be a good day? Or a bad day?  Are you going to choose good? Or evil?   Are you going to be kind?  Or unkind?  Your day is full of opportunities.  It's full of the option to change what you didn't like about yesterday.  The beautiful thing is that we have the power to decide if we should learn from what we did wrong yesterday should we choose to acknowledge it and say today is a new day and forgive ourselves and others for the things that didn't work out the day before.  I think one of the reasons we all loathe Monday so much is because we put SO much pressure on it to be a fresh start, to start a diet, to begin an exercise program, to get Friday's leftover pile of blown off work done.  Monday carries such a negative connotation because we push all of our hope and effort into Monday and when it doesn't work out - we blame the fact that it's Monday for our failures.  Maybe by looking at our morning coffee as Monday, or as January, or however you want to think of it -we'll start to think of it as a fresh start.

We don't start out the day thinking it's going to be bad (well, maybe some days when we have something daunting on the schedule we do, but for the most part, we don't).  Sometimes there is something waiting in the wings to throw us off our game and mess with our attitude.  It's going to happen.  You're going to have days like that once in a while. You might even have weeks like that.  But what can we do differently today to show that we learned something from doing yesterday wrong?  Could be something so small - could be something huge. We could say maybe we'll react differently or let something roll off of us, or turn the other cheek.  Even better, try NOT to take things personally because 99% of the time it isn't.  As long as we are moving forward every single day as a work in progress, a life in progress, a human being who learns from what to sweat and what not to sweat - that's what matters. It seems the older I get, the less seriously I take the stupid stuff.
I love the simplicity and innocence in this quote!

What's in your cup of coffee today?  It's more than hot, delicious goodness in a cup - it's hopes, dreams, courage, strength, love, and kindness.  So drink up, and go forward today with the strength you need to do anything and face everything that comes your way.  Say it with me, today will be good.  Cheers and Love.

Happy Summer!


Top 9 Things I Learned From Going to Prom in my 40's

BlogU Faculty (photo by Kelley of Kelley's Breakroom Blog)

This past weekend I had the honor and privilege of being on the faculty of the Blog U Conference at the University of Notre Dame in Baltimore, Maryland.  BlogU was a conference presented by The Blog University for women, moms, bloggers, and writers.  After an incredible day of learning, everyone was ready to kick it old school and have some laughs at the 80's Retro Prom sponsored by NickMom.

So in honor of our beloved NickMomProm sponsors, the incredible NickMom team and the BlogU girls, I'd like to dedicate this Top 9 List TO NickMom and say thank you for changing how I feel about my Prom Memories.

Frugalista, YKIHAYHT and DG testing out the Archway (photo by Ellen at Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms)

Personally, I think EVERYONE who had a less than perfect prom should get to do it again when they are much older.  It was so much more fun, less stressful, and created so many hilarious memories I don't even know where to begin.  The beauty of being older is you don't sweat the small stuff, you don't cry in a corner because your date is dancing with someone else (if you're crying, it's because your spanx are too tight), and you truly enjoy singing and dancing with your friends and forgetting about your worries for a while!

A HUGE shout out and thank you goes out to our amazing BlogU Faculty, our spectacular sponsors and the attendees that traveled from near and far to be with us, learn from us and with us, and model the best of the 80's prom dresses for the love of all that is fun.

Without further blah blahs, here it is...and forgive me for rambling but I'm runnin' on empty ova he-ah.


1. I may have forgotten to pick up peanut butter for the kids' lunches tomorrow, but I remembered every single word to Bust a Move.
The place ERUPTED with singing! Glad I'm not the only one whose brain retains the important stuff!

2. The tighter your hairband, the more severe your headache.  OUCH.
The fabulous Suburban Snapshots and I sporting the side pony.

3.  The higher your heels, the more Band-Aids you'll need.
Contrary to what my feet may look like today, the answer is no, I do not drive a rickshaw for a living.

4.  You don't have to drink to have an after-prom hangover.
I stayed up until 1:30 am and you would think I haven't slept in 2 weeks.

5.  Screaming the lyrics to Salt-n-Pepa can and will be used against you when trying to speak later.
This morning I woke up to find that my voiced changed from a 40 year old woman to a 98 year old man who smoked 42 packs a day in his lifetime.  Thank you Salt n Pepa and the classics.

6.  Your bladder is stronger than you give it credit for.
The fact that I did NOT pee myself while laughing hysterically at this photo of me and Tara from You Know It Happens at Your House too is a TESTAMENT to my bladder.  So many people made me laugh that my abdomen HURTS today from the convulsing. (photo credit -Kim of  Let Me Start by Saying

7.  Laughing uncontrollably truly is the best ab workout that you can do for your muffin top. (See above)

8.  No matter how many years pass, you will never, ever forget how to do the Electric Slide.

9.  After-prom in your 40s may not be held in a bowling alley, but you'll still feel like someone beat    the hell out of you WITH a bowling ball the next day.

The best way to describe how badly my feet hurt is this photo from Stephen King's Misery.  (okay, I'm exaggerating..but you get it, right?) 
For more hilarity and photos, go to #nickmomprom on Twitter and laugh yourself silly...
Love and Laughs...and all that Jazz.