14.

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LilZ is successfully holding two small children simultaneously. Do you realize how amazing that is? And he was proud of this. He understands enough about kids to recognize that this moment? Was one that should be documented. Hence the Take The Picture Already look on his face. He knew his arms wouldn’t hold out forever.

That’s my oldest child. Who turns 14 today.

I don’t talk about him as much lately as I’d like to. He doesn’t hide this site from his friends and I would hate for him to be showing them a funny picture and they stumble upon an entry where I’m talking about how awesome he is for volunteering to babysit while I soak in the tub. That’s just not cool, you know.

But he does stuff like that all the time. And I’m going to take today, his birthday, to brag about that.

He recognizes my stress tolerance limit and – if he needs to (meaning – if MrZ is not home) – he will openly volunteer to help me out. But even when I’m not in need of a break? He just likes to hang out with his brother and sister. I feel like I’m cheating sometimes, because he just likes to help. Which lightens my burden immensely.

But more than that — he’s just a good person. He sticks up for people who need it and feels for people he can’t help. He’s considerate and sincere. And most of all – he stays true to who he is, regardless of others opinions. He finds his own style and his own interests absent of what The Cool Kids are doing. And as a result? He has a great group of friends who like him for who he is. He’s just so much better at 14 than I was. Hell – Sometimes I think he’s a better person at 14 than I am at 33.

Anyway…every birthday is bittersweet to me now. Because with each one – he needs me less and less. I’m lucky in that he still likes me. So, he doesn’t mind going to movies or meals with me. He still allows me to force Quality Time upon him, and he does me the courtesy of pretending he enjoys it. And that makes each birthday a little easier to handle.

But seriously…FOURTEEN? I got an email yesterday about his HIGH SCHOOL REGISTRATION. Let me repeat that…HIGH SCHOOL REGISTRATION. I about threw up when I read it. There’s no way he’s starting high school next year…right?

But he will. No matter how much I try to bury my head in the sand about it…he will start high school next year. So, for now, I’m just going to wish him a Happy 14th Birthday. And thank him for being more than I could ever ask for in a son and a friend.

I love you! Happy Birthday!

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Nightmares

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What? Mom without Coffee? That IS a nightmare!

For a brief, terrifying few minutes this morning, I thought my coffee maker was broken. I kept pressing “brew” and nothing was happening. I did it repeatedly, getting more and more anxious with each failed attempt. (What?) Finally, I decided to push it and walk away. Give it time to just decide to work. Which it eventually did. As I pondered that brief trip into the Coffee-Free Hell Dimension, I contemplated the other possible nightmare scenarios. (Of the non-serious variety, of course.)

Hell Dimension Scenarios

  • Every time I pop open a can of Diet Coke and take a sip? It tastes like real Coke.
  • Firefox stops giving me that squiggly red line under my mis-spelled words.
  • No matter how often I brush my teeth, I still can’t get rid of my morning breath.
  • My favorite jeans never make it out of the laundry room.
  • That hangnail keeps coming back, seconds after I cut it off.
  • All of my socks have holes in them.
  • Chick-fil-A stops making chicken biscuits.
  • All of the good pens in my house are replace with generic ballpoint Bics.
  • Clogs get outlawed and I have to start wearing shoes with actual backs on them.
  • No. Feed. Reader.
  • Perpetual dog farts. Which, if you have a Boston Terrier? Then you can totally relate to how nightmarish that could be.

What are some of your nightmare scenarios? Excluding the obvious tragedies, of course.

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Five Years? SERIOUSLY?

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My blog doesn’t have a concrete birthday because I was dumb and never thought something like that would seem important. Mainly because I had started blogs 100 times under 100 different names starting some time in 1999. When I started this incarnation sometime in January 2004, I didn’t know for sure it would be any different. That it would actually stick. So why make a point to remember the date?

Of course – I could have made it easy by keeping all of my entries from Typepad when I moved to my own domain (which wasn’t actually misszoot.com, if you can believe it). I didn’t realize an “export” function existed so I just marked a few of my faves to copy and paste when I moved away from Typepad. So, when I “launched” my blog at it’s own domain (a domain I won’t tell you because it is now a link that is NOT safe for work) I did so with just a few entries to fill in the previous months.

Long story short? I’ve been doing this thing for almost exactly five years now. FIVE YEARS. But a lot of the first few months disappeared into cyberspace. Just trust me when I tell you – you didn’t miss much.

In those five years I’ve changed domains and blogging platforms. I’ve gone from having skins (where YOU could choose what design to see every time you came here) to having only one design that everyone had to use. I’ve changed that design 900 million times, including to an all-Harry Potter theme to celebrate book 7’s release. This site has changed so many times I have forgotten more of the designs than I can remember. (Although I do remember I had a sushi one for awhile…Sushi? Really?) I’m still doing my own designs and coding for my blog, but am no longer doing it for the entire internet. (For those of you who who don’t remember, I used to offer free blog designs. Back before I had two small children.) I just can’t believe how much this place has changed in the last five years.

But mostly? I can’t believe how much of my life is documented here. I started trying to dig back in the past to find some of the biggest entries over the last five years, but I ended up getting lost in my own archives. Finding those moments that might not mean a lot to you, but mean a lot to me. Which, I guess, is kinda the point.

So, as a commemoration to such a crazy milestone, I offer you this fantastic picture of my son’s new favorite face to make when he’s eating.

A Rare Capture of My New Favorite Face

Because nothing says what five years of blogging can do for you like that face covered in sweet potatoes.

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Much Better.

In case you’re reading in the feedreader, I wanted you to see what my new site design looks like. (I would never force you to come over from the feed reader to view it, I find comfort in my own feed reader as well and hate when I feel forced to leave it’s security.) (What? Too serious when referencing the relationship with my feed reader?)

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Do you like it? I used another tagline derived from Dr. Horrible, I just couldn’t help myself. (I think someone else who might be giving her entries titles from Dr. Horrible would commiserate.) I got the DVD for Christmas and am still quite obsessed with it. I decided I wanted something a little more cheery around here so I went for birds. And then immediately regretted that I chose these birds as soon as I realized how close to the Twitter site my design now looked. sigh. I just can’t win, can I?

I made a few changes on the sidebar, adding a section that will show the political movements I’m keeping up with. There’s one there today that’s even great for the conservatives in the audience. Please remember, while I tend to err on the Liberal/Progressive side of politics — I still sometimes may offer something on the sidebar that the conservatives would like as well. I’m not going to direct you to any of my Reproductive Rights efforts, but justice for military men who might have been knowingly poisoned? That’s a non-partisan issue if I’ve ever heard of one.

I also took out my husband’s and son’s flickr updates from the bottom of the page. Since they updated flickr like…never? Seemed kinda silly. I did, however, add buttons for most of the projects I’ve been involved with recently or things I’m proud of joining.

On top of the new design, I finally upgraded to WordPress 2.7. And let me tell you? I’M SO HAPPY WITH IT. So far, anyway. My category box for my composing page? Is back on the side (instead of below where I always forgot about it) so I’m hoping I won’t have as many entries accidentally filed in the default category anymore. Not something any of you probably notice or care about, but for someone slightly OCD like me? I’m thrilled.

I like the interface better all together. Everything just seems prettier. Silly, I know, but the prettier my interface? The more fun it is to blog.

So – that’s it for the Geeky McDorkerson updates for the day. Let me know what you think! Unless you hate it all, then please don’t say anything. THANKS!

Also, I was told that the birds below – separating the entries – look kinda like bras. Do you agree? Should I re-order them to look less…bra-like?

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Goofy Photos + Oatmeal + Charity = The Perfect Storm of Blog Awesomeness

I am not lying to you when I say that the ONE food my entire family eats? Is oatmeal. We all eat it in different ways, but there are some mornings when every single one of us has oatmeal for breakfast. MrZ just likes the plain Quick Oats version of their oatmeal while the kids and I all prefer the Maple and Brown Sugar version that comes in the packets. Yum. So, when I was asked to participate in a Quaker Oats EVENT that would allow me to compete for a chance to have Quaker Oats give $5,000 to a local foodbank? I had three words: Count. Me. In.

Here’s the dealio. There are 25 bloggers doing this thing. We each get one day to accumulate as many comments where people link to their photos on Facebook as possible. Today is my day. (Although it doesn’t officially start until 9am Central time).The winner? Will have $5,000 donated to their local foodbank from Quaker Oats.

Is there a downside to this project? NO. There is not. Oatmeal. Comments. Photos. Charity. It gets no better than this! Unless, of course, you add unicorns. Which I couldn’t do. BUT I TRIED.

Here is what you have to do:

  1. Visit Start With Substance to get to the Quaker Facebook fan page and to read the official rules.
  2. You need a Facebook page. I’m sorry in advance if you do not have one, but once you sign up? You will realize how big of an addicting time suck it is. Here is mine.
  3. Go to the Quaker Oats Facebook page. Download and print off the picture of the Quaker Oats man on the sidebar of that page.
  4. Take a picture (or video of you’re feeling adventurous) of yourself and/or your family with the Quaker Oats man.
  5. Click the “Add Photos” link on the Quaker Oats Facebook Page and upload your photo. Once it’s uploaded, get the link to that photo (which is on the bottom of the photo’s page) and leave it in the comments section here.
  6. Feel good about yourself for participating in such an awesome charity oatmeal event.

Now, Quaker Oats is sending me two Quaker Oats coupons to give away as well as sending a case of Quaker Oats oatmeal to my local foodbank as a “Thank You.” If that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is. If I get the most comments with valid links to Facebook photos, they’ll donate $5,000 to my local foodbank as well. So Quaker Oats? Doing their part. Now, for my part:

For every qualifying comment I get on this entry before midnight tonight, I’ll donate one can of food to my local foodbank.

So…go do your thing! And help me help my local food bank! Pretty Please with brown sugar on top…?

Get it? Brown Sugar? Because it’s OATMEAL! I’m funny!

To get you started…here’s my picture. And here’s the link to my photo on facebook.

What?

If you want to know more, visit the Official Web Page of the Quaker Oats event. In the meantime? Get to snapping pictures of yourself with that handsome man. If you dont leave a link in my comments to your photo on Facebook before 9am Central tomorrow morning? It won’t count and I might lose and then I would cry.

The End.

(Sidenote: The blog that posted yesterday? Has the most amazing recipe using Quaker Oatmeal I think I’ve ever seen. YOU MUST CHECK IT OUT. And then make it for me because I think it’s too complicated for my novice skills.)

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