Friday, January 11, 2013

HELLOOOOO, remember me??

It has been way too long since I posted - life has been way busy! But I don't need to tell YOU that! :)

I am thrilled to give you the link to my author blog:
Michelle Kemper Brownlow

Why an author blog?
BECAUSE ON DECEMBER 27, 2012 I SIGNED MY VERY FIRST BOOK DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Surprisingly enough... it's NOT a picture book. It's a novel! Yep! Forget the 500 word limit of picture books! This novel is currently at 73,000 words! And those of you who know me well KNOW I have a hard time with the "long story short" idea! LOL! Doesn't compute!

I would LOVE if my original readers would help support me in what has been a SEVEN YEAR journey! You all have been with me since the beginning!


Here's the scoop on my book:

IN TOO DEEP
'New Adult' Novel (target age 17-24)
Contemporary Romance


Gracie Jordan’s innocence has bad boy Noah Foster intrigued. Without hesitation, she follows Noah’s charming lead into a relationship she’s nowhere near ready for. Noah’s love turns dark but Gracie holds on waiting for the Noah she fell in love with to return. Her heartbreak threatens to pull her under but her best friend and Noah’s former roommate, Jake, refuses to be a bystander. Jake throws Gracie a life raft and prays it’s not too late.

Please check out my blog and "like" my facebook page - Michelle Kemper Brownlow Author

You can also peek at me HERE!

My official welcome to the Sapphire Star Publishing Family!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Cinnamon Challenge - Come on!

OK! I am all done with this CINNAMON CHALLENGE thing!
Parents! PLEASE PLEASE don't let your kids do this! They can DIE doing this!

Remember the sissy tests when WE were young, the eraser of a pencil on your skin determined how TOUGH you are! The worst thing you would get was a burn and need a band-aid.

Swallowing a tablespoon of cinnamon is dangerous not only bc concentrated properties of cinnamon... are used as poisons and pesticides to deter pests from farmland but also bc the seemingly innocent spice sucks all of the moisture out of the mouth and throat which causes it to be IMPOSSIBLE to swallow or cough the congealed mass out of your throat which can quickly cause asphyxiation.

Do yourself a favor and hide the cinnamon until this INSANELY STUPID trend passes! I don't get it.

Recently a principal was put on leave indefinitely because she did not stop her students from trying this at school - see article HERE!

Your own children may have enough brain cells to not try this but do yourself a favor at the next sleepover and hide it from his/her friends that will try it once you head to bed.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Top 10 things to do on a FRIGID day...

Well, we left my husband's family in Siberia upstate New York on Sunday to travel home to a warmer climate where I could sufficiently thaw. When we left it was 5 degrees, when we got home it was a balmy 22 and today with the wind chill it is 7....SEVEN DEGREES!
 

So, because I love all my readers and from what Al Roker said this morning, almost ALL OF YOU are up to your armpits in chilly weather, here is my Top 10 things to do when it is C-O-O-O-O-L-D outside!

10. Don't go out to the bus stop! They are young, they will survive!

9. Break your coffee maker's auto shut-off timer so it stays HOT all day!

8. Climb back in bed with a fleecy blanket and read (with said java)!

7. Either do short stints of housework in between snuggling up in bed or choose those things you can do WHILE snuggling up in bed.

6. Fold laundry UNDER the covers.

5. Decide to FINALLY organize your sock and underwear drawer...UNDER the covers.

4. Make your grocery list from your bed, although post date it 'JUNE' because it feels like it won't be warm until then. Once again, the kids will survive! They are a remarkable species and can live on Ranch dressing and cheezits for months!

3. Sleep! Remember to remove coffee from your frozen grip PRIOR to dozing or you will have to DO laundry and you can't do that from the warmth of your bed.

2. Make all the phone calls you have been meaning to make...doctor's and dentist's appointments, insurance complaints, 1-800 magazine subscriptions (those will come in handy on the NEXT frigid day), registration for COME 2 U SPA, where all the lxuries of a spa come to you...in your warm bed!

See!!!! It would be SO much cheaper if it were WARM IN PENNSYLVANIA!

AND THE #1 thing to do when you are snuggled up in bed on a FRIGID day.....
BLOG YOUR BRAINS OUT!!!!

Go check out some of those amazing Mommy Blogs and then share your finds with us!
Peace.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dare is sumbuddy sweepin' on da table...




(I happened upon this sweet moment this afternoon while peeking back through my old blog posts - I thought I would re-post this moment from two years ago hoping to bring you a smile, too!)

So, this morning a little person, one just tall enough for his chin to hit the top edge of my mattress runs into my room and says, "Ma! Ma! Dare is sumbuddy sweepin' on da table. Come on, yook! Sumbuddy sweepin' dare!"


OK, so if you are in a deep sleep and someone squeals that in your ear...are you a little freaked out? Well, as I follow his skipping body down the hall and to the steps, I am wiping sleep out of my eyes and thinking...What the heck am I going to do if he is serious? What if 'sumbuddy' broke in and (for some ridiculous reason) fell asleep on our kitchen table? Even as I was thinking it, I knew what a FREAK that made me...to even entertain the thought...but I did.

"DARE! DARE him is! Yook!"

I squint. I 'yook' while trying to look muscular, in case this sleeping intruder is bigger than me. You know, I go into protective Mama Bear mode.

"My shwoggie! Him is on da table!"

His froggy. The %$#%**&%* plastic frog I bought him at Michael's last night! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

"Yes, bud, there is your froggy. Is he awake?"

(mumble, mumble)

"Maa, you pway Wii wit me?"

"Baby, just let mommy fill her veins with something that will make me happy to be playing Wii with you get some coffee first.

I galumph over to the coffee maker as the sound of a way-too-awake Mario and Luigi race around my living room.

Finally, I sit on the couch and we start a two player race. He likes to do the battles, which means there are like 429 games in a row. I blink my eyes, sip my drug, and prepare to KICK HIS BUTT!

In between races we high-five and giggle. This is sweet. We do it every morning. And by the second race (thanks to my coffee), I am totally into it - we have a blast!

This morning we were 3 games in and I couldn't tell you who was winning because every time I get ahead of him, he pauses the game and we trade steering wheels...ha...so technically HE is kicking MY butt!

In between the 37th and 38th race (I am exaggerating) I lay my steering wheel in my lap and reach down for my coffee that was sitting at my feet. He peeps over at me as I put my cup to my lips and start to sip....

...some crazed lunatic entered his body (maybe it was that growling spiky turtle thing that he chooses as his character to drive his race car) and he, with all the force capable of being in a 4-year old body, he punches me. Not in my arm but IN MY COFFEE CUP! And it's a KO!

The angle in which his little fist struck the mug sends scalding coffee UP MY NOSE, all over my face, on my PJs (that I was hoping to keep clean so I could justify wearing them to the bus stop in 28 seconds when his bus rounds the bend), all over the leather couch, the off-white rug....you get the picture.

I have to tell you...12 seconds later I was giggling.

Not because I had finally lost my mind. Not because I was dreaming of the glorious free time I would have while he is duct-taped to the wall (DO NOT EMAIL ME! I AM JUST KIDDING!).

I giggled, with coffee dripping from my nose and my chin, because the look in his eyes as he realized what his body had done, apparently without the approval of his brain, was priceless!

He did the 'eyeballs out of the head' gawk and then took off like a shot! His little body zipped in a mini-human blur out of the living room, in and out of the kitchen, through the baby gate that he broke (busted a rung off of so he could fit through) a couple months ago, up the stairs, into his room and slammed the door! SLAM!

The coffee cleaned up without a problem. And I found out that SNORTING coffee isn't all that bad and actually wakes you up more than drinking it.

He bravely walked down the steps and sulked into the kitchen, tail between his legs, and said, "Sowwy, Mommy. You pway Wii wit me?"
We had 4.6 seconds to get to the bus stop...no Wii...but time for
...a big snuggle for saying "Sorry"
...a "Please don't do that again."
...and a smile as he waved from the bus window.
Lesson learned? DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE!

Friday, September 16, 2011

FRIENDS...what have they taught YOU?!



Friends are a choice we make. My first friend tried to take a bite out of my face. I don't remember this, but so I am told. It was 1971 in Shreveport, La. His name was Todd and our mothers were best friends. We moved north in 1973, and 14 years later our families had a reunion in Texas. Todd and I went on our first, and only, date. I arrived home unscathed.

Melissa and I have a friendship that has lasted almost 38 years, and if I had one dollar for every panicked phone call and only fifty cents for each giggle, I would far-surpass the estate of Bill Gates. We are quite opposite in some respects, but that has never stood in the way of our friendship as our hearts are in tune. We have become women and mothers side-by-side. Melissa and I talk or text almost weekly and she remains a chosen sister.

Sometimes friends come as a package deal, which is the case with Andra, Shannon and Lauren. We spent our teenage years hand-in-hand and most of our adult life side-by-side. We handled heart aches and applauded accomplishments. We welcomed husbands and babies. Over the years, and with the addition of numerous children and some relocating, it has been difficult to remain connected and that saddens me. My heart yearns for that familiarity. But the gift they gave me over those years is priceless.

Ken and I met in college through a common acquaintance. We shared a level of trust and openness I never shared with any of my female friends. I never had conversations of such depth with any friend prior to being blessed with Ken's camaraderie. There were many times that we lost track of time discussing a plethora of subjects and were surprised when the morning sunrise peeked through the shades. We met Sept. 14, 1989, and were married July 24, 1993.

Michelle, a fellow Nittany Lion, followed Ken and I to New York after finishing her Master's degree, where we continued to be the Three Amigos. Having endured a collegiate battle with cancer, she was strong and climbed the corporate ladder by never settling for less than her best. Michelle was beautiful, inside and out. Her zest for life gave her a gentle edge that made her a magnet for friends. The impact of her friendship is tattooed on my heart forever. On Nov. 8, 1996 she was promoted to angel. I still shed tears for her.

Jeri is my twin from another mother. Her husband Jeff, strangely enough, is so much like Ken it is bizarre. They were our first "couple" friends and remain some of our closest. Sharing the same wedding anniversary almost to the hour makes for great celebrations. Jeri and I are so close that sometimes we scare ourselves. I will never forget the day we had lunch together, each planning to surprise the other with our "expectant" news. Jeri is that friend who keeps no tallies. She can't tell you who called who last or how long it has been since we last chatted. It is refreshing to dial the phone after months of no contact and anticipate her voice because I know her tone will not be anything but sheer joy when she hears mine.

My current gal pals on occasion have me laughing until I think my sides will split. Before Anne-Marie, Michele, Goose and Sally, I was pretty certain that my girlfriend laugh meter had maxed out years ago. But our friendship goes deeper than laughter - much deeper. Our faith knits us together. Whether it is a trip to Wal-Mart for random needs, a text message for a good laugh or a phone call to check in on someone's stressful day, we stay connected. Our lives have yet to get in the way of our friendship, in fact, our the chaos, heartbreak and the beautiful celebrations in our lives sweeten our bond as sisters. Even on the worst days the laughter remains. Laughter truly is the best medicine within our sweet sisterhood. I truly owe my sanity to these four women.

From Todd I learned that friendship can span a country as well as a decade. Melissa has taught me a beautiful lesson in unconditional friendship. Andra, Shannon and Lauren showed me how a friendship can shape who you are and who you will become. Ken proved to me that honesty is always the best policy.

Michelle was a beautiful vision of what it means to be at peace with who you are. Jeri has given me the refreshing gift of being "real." Anne-Marie, Michele, Goose and Sally have blessed me with faith-filled friendship.

Think of the friends who have impacted your life. Reach out and thank them. Return the favor; you will be blessed.
Peace.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Halls of Skin and Bone...

*(I bumped this post up! It's a repeat, ENJOY!)*
 
Today we did some school shopping. I got a babysitter and I took my older two to the mall.
 
I love the smell of Back-to-School!
 
Not the fact that the fruit of my loins will actually spend hours away from me 5 days a week (I hate that part) but just the tingly excitement of that first day. The new kids, new teachers, locker combinations, new notebooks, cute boys, being late to the class I didn't even sign up for but ended up being on my schedule, unexpectedly getting my period, tripping up the stairs in front of the boy I was planning on having a crush on that day and having egg salad soup at the bottom of my locker at luchtime.
 
Well, not ALL my memories are good ones I guess. But, I still get excited for the shopping!
 
On our trip, we went to all the stores that kids love: Children's Place, Old Navy, GAP and some department stores that Mom dragged them into in hopes of a good sale. But then I had the great idea to travel into a world unknown...Hollister.
 
I have never been able to figure out the fashion phenomenon of a NAME. What makes a name when it comes to fashion? How do the words GAP, ABERCROMBIE, AEROPOSTALE define multi-millions in sales? They are cool clothes, I enjoy the styles and quality but I have a strong feeling if they looked identical but were called SMITHSENSTRUBER they wouldn't be so cool!
 
So, we walk into Hollister - our first time. It's a dark and loud store. I actually felt like I was walking into a bar. That's how they sell clothes! You are squinting and can't see a thing and the music is so loud when you ask where to find the clothes that cost less than $400 you can't hear what the 4-year old sales girl who weighs 20 lbs. says. So, you grab up a couple things, head to the register, swipe your card and head for the nearest CVS for some Advil, Oil of Olay and Slim Fast.
 
I am not a name-dropper or someone who needs to have the latest name brand fashions and I try to deter my children from feeling that is necessary.
knock off designer purses don't count because they are not real


But, I have shopped long enough to know that even the stores that cause you to take out a second mortgage just to outfit your three children for one day DO, in fact, sometimes have good sales. I just thought it would be cool for my first-time middle-schooler to have a Hollister T-shirt for school...I would do anything to give him a leg up on the sometimes cruel competition.
So, we walk in and head right for the clearance racks.


Of course, we had to pass the posters...ugh, the posters...what was this, the red light district? Are they SELLING SKIN in this store? Well, then why is so much of it showing?? The girls in the posters weigh approximately 14.5 ounces and have the slender shape of Gumby! Their apparent poster boy love interests have 6-pack abs that go the whole way dowwwwwwwwwn to a VERY TOO LOW waist line.

I was covering my daughter's eyes and blushing before we got past the cash register! I think I actually felt myself get fatter in this store. I could see the sales staff wasting away while I unbuttoned my shorts to relieve the pudge that was growing underneath my not-Hollister, mom clothing. I wanted to BARF. THEY needed to eat.

"C'mon, honey, have some fries, a milkshake, SOMETHING that will make you weigh more than my purse!"

I found some great sales after asking a nice kid who walked us
because he had lost his voice from screaming directions to the customers all day


I know, I know. I should not be school shopping for ME but I have to say, I got sucked into the Hollister haze and wanted to wear the word, too! Of course, that feeling quickly faded when I held up a t-shirts that could have doubled as a sock on this mom body.

They got shirts.

I got perfume and pretended each squirt would airbrush me to the size of that $@!#! poster girl!
Still squirting...

NOTHIN’!

Peace out, Mamas!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

KATE*VERSATIONS... September 12, 2011



Well, it's an end of an era...

I am not someone who can say, "I have watched since the very first episode." Quite honestly, I don't even remember WHICH episode was my first. I just know they were in their Lancaster County home that first time I "met" Jon and Kate and their brood!

I can't tell you the kids' birth order, I know all their names and I know Joel was the final Gosselin to make his appearance that beautiful day in May!

I didn't start watching the show for any reason other than I LOVE being a mom and think most moms follow an unwritten rule book by supporting one another through the good times and the bad. Knowing this woman named Kate had twins and then 6 more, I knew she would have good times and really, really bad ones so I enlisted as a "fan" of the show as a means to give her my support... in a "GO GET 'EM GIRL!" kind of way!

As I watched I saw a mom growing into her role as a mom of multiples... as a mom of EIGHT! Dear Lord, I wasn't sure how she was going to do it! But I was going to, once a week, cop a squat in my living room after putting the kids to bed and be part of her chaos b/c I was SO THANKFUL God picked HER and not ME! :)

To be honest, it was those precious little chubby cheeks and unsteady scampers that kept me coming back in the beginning... their big eyes and stout giggles blessed me to no end. Yes, I thought it was a little strange that I felt so attached to someone else's kids... that I had never seen in person. Weird? Maybe. But I didn't care, I wanted more.

As I struggled through my own days as a mom to two children only one year apart and an extra-needs foster baby, I became one mom on the inside and another on the outside. I was sad, scared, angry, guilty where no one else could see and a happy, cheery homeroom mom when everyone else was looking.

That's when I started looking to Kate in admiration. Sure, she flipped out on Jon... A LOT! But, seriously, how many moms reading this have never gone off on their husband and looked back later and thought, "Ewww, I didn't like what that felt like!" Well, guess what, if you are on a reality show... you get to add one more dimension to that, you get to say, "Ewww, I didn't like what that LOOKED like!"

What I admired most about Kate is she was not someone who would mince words. She was not one mom on the inside and another on the outside like I was. So, then I watched because she helped me be a better mom. The after-show credits would start rolling and I would look at my husband and say, "Wow! All I had to deal with today was a temper tantrum at a doctor's appointment, more than HALF of her kids were PUKING!" And, I have a rule.... if you can divide your children into fractions smaller than THIRDS, you have MY respect!

Fast forward to today. Kate is still that woman. She has remained stoic and strong through a very public divorce, she handles the unwarranted hate with grace, she continues to put those beautiful eight blessings FIRST. Yes, FIRST! Any mom whose true goal is for her kids to have the best lives possible is putting her kids first. Some moms work three jobs and hardly ever see their kids but in many cases that is their only option.... and they do it FOR their kids!

Kate has found her calling. The camera loves her, she SHINES! So, if she can pair her passion with providing for her family while staying grounded and being "Mom" to eight awesome kiddos, then more power to her!

Many of us sit back and whine about what we WISH we could do for ourselves and our kids. Kate just DOES it! And she does it like nobody's business!

Kate, I am sorry to see you go. I will miss the aldergators and unnawears. But my prayer for your family is one of peace, protection, guidance, discernment and pure joy!

Love and hugs to You, Cara, Madelyn, Alexis, Hannah, Aaden, Collin, Leah and Joel!

We'll see you around!

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4


Fans, go check out K8's NEW SITE!
Just launched yesterday! It's BEAUTIOUS!!!



** oh, yeah, and ALL HATE comments will be deleted ... so don't bother!**