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A Reptile Obsession: Our Take on Lizards & Snakes at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

THE BLUES OF WINTER

Let’s pretend it never snowed on Groundhog’s Day in Colorado this year, on the very same day that Punxsutawney Phil predicted 6 more weeks of winter, and that the weather forecasters of Denver never predicted a Winter Storm on the day that my family and I were supposed to preview the Lizards & Snakes Exhibition at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Yeah, let’s pretend that when we went on Saturday instead, Phil was chillin out in his hollowed out log over at Gobbler’s Knob granting us a redo since the weather kept us away from the preview event.

THE REDO

Getting right to it, we joined the awesome crowd at the Museum on Saturday for the newly anticipated Lizards & Snakes Exhibit and took along a friend of our boys to see what we could see. Packed in the Grocery Getter with clear roads before us, we headed for Denver. Since we invested in the Family Membership last Fall, we have used it four times, totally paying off. The T-Rex Encounter was a more-than-pleasant bonus for our money and now we were heading off to double our bonus on this new exhibit. The best part? My 9 year old LOVES all things reptiles. In case you didn’t know, we have two adorable Leopard Geckos.

We also used to have a Corn Snake and my son recently did a report on the Gila Monster.

FUELING UP

Arriving around noon, we brought our own packed lunches and ate first in the Museum’s Cafe’ dining area. Yeah, we’re pros. At their own table, the 9 year old debriefed his pal on a few facts, scarfed down lunch, got super pumped and jumped up ready to go straight to the third floor. He meant business.

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS

After a bit of ooohing and ahhhhing upon entering, we immediately made our way over to the adorable Kim who was searching for her pal “Bo”. She quizzed the kids on some of the capabilities and hunting techniques of snakes and finally found “Bo”. Don’t worry, he’s just a virtual pal. No need to freak about snakes on the loose. And don’t think it didn’t cross my mind.

The number of live lizard and snake species was more than expected. I was impressed by their active behavior and the cleanliness of their habitats. My son is very sensitive when it comes to proper treatment of contained animals, so it’s a big deal when I “pay” to see animals in captivity.

As usual, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science offers a lovely crew of volunteers to give our kids hands on demonstrations and displays to enhance their learning experience. My personal favorite experience was finding that the Gila Monster’s skull has the same bumpy texture we intricately imitated for my son’s school report. (I assumed it was the skin that was bumpy.) I got my 4 year old to touch the skull since he was the trooper who went with me to four different stores in one day in search of the specific ingredient that gave our Gila Monster that perfect look (more on that in a future blog post).

The other impressive display/demonstration was that of the large replication of a snake’s skull. My 9 year old impressed us all by having all the right answers for the volunteer. The gentleman used the skull to simulate how a Burmese Python can fit a big ol’ deer into that seemingly smaller mouth. As our 6 year old guest stared straight into the open mouth of the skull, my husband assured him that he would easily fit in there.

One of the highlights for families was the large hexagon tank in which you can observe 4 species of Geckos chilaxin in their resort-like surroundings with two big brother cameras. You do the driving as you control joysticks to focus, zoom and pan out on them.

But what ultimately caught the attention of these three boys was the interactive “Hunt Like a Rattlesnake” simulation. Each boy had a chance to be the rattlesnake, flicking the snake’s tongue to smell out a rat, viewing the rat through the snake’s eyes, striking at the rat, and then ultimately chowin’ down. We had to return to this one last time before leaving.

After taking a look at a real life Burmese Python, the boys ran over to try and lift the 15 foot, 100 pound Anaconda. This feat required assistance from dad, who lightly helped with the tail, allowing the boys to lift that sucker up off the ground.

Before heading back to “Hunt Like a Rattlesnake” I disassembled the 3-D snake and lizard puzzles before the kids came around to put them back together. In true fashion, my 9 year old and the husband looked for a system to putting the snake back together and found the convenient numbering system on the underside, putting “Bo” back together again. The 4 year old, a puzzle fanatic, insisted on doing the lizard all by himself.

By the end of the exhibit, about an hour later, the 4 year old was claiming to be hungry again, but we did not leave without first claiming his very own lizard wristband. And when we hit “Hunt Like a Rattlesnake” that one last time, the kids gave me the “aw-mans” and we headed out. 

Although there is a “no-photography” policy in this exhibit, you get a sweet little family photo-op at the end with the ever-friendly “Bo”. Your photo is accessible for free online to share with everyone you know.

NOT DONE YET

Be sure to check out the rest of the museum. We hit one of our favorites, Expedition Health, for another hour before calling it a day.

SEE FOR YOURSELF

The Lizards & Snakes Exhibition runs from February 3rd to July 8th.

Click here for more info and details on a membership. Like I said, we have been four times and we also received two free guest tickets with our membership. We still have yet to see everything. If you’re just visiting, you have many options in Denver to keep you busy. This is one not to be missed.

Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

THE RATING SYSTEM

The 9-year-old and 6-year-old (After about 50 minutes – 10 minutes before hunger set in again): 5

The Turkey Rating: A 5 during all his favorite parts. A 3 everytime we weren’t doing something he wanted to do.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Entertainment, Family, Kids, Motherhood, Travel

 

RAGBRAI

The new route for RAGBRAI has been determined for the year 2012. I am SO jealous of all the people that will be there this year. I know that, one day, my family and I will ride RAGBRAI again. We rode it in 2008 with my husband’s Uncle Greg. We called him G-reg. After he passed away in 2009 I wrote a story about our trip. The following is an edited version that focuses on the trip itself. If you don’t already know what RAGBRAI is, the story will give you an idea, but you can also google it up. If you ever experience it for yourself, I promise, it’s something you’ll never forget.

Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

 

 

RAGBRA

Written in May of 2010

Greg is gone. But who am I to be the one who can’t take much more of this?  Visitations. Memorial Services. Funerals. Celebrations of life. No matter what, when you keep losing people this way, you realize that ribbons couldn’t save them. I’m tired of raising money, tired of using those causes to soothe my own soul. I was always doing that, wasn’t I? Leaning on a purpose, trying to find a connection with the deceased. Validating my attachment to people.

Two years ago, Greg was the pesty uncle who had to tell us about RAGBRAI. He was an instigator by nature. When my husband turned to me and said, “You should come along,” Greg shittily agreed. So I was in. But not because they wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. It was just to prove a 7-day bike ride across the state of Iowa with a 0.8 and a 5-year-old could not be done and, “Y’all better recognize, I’m not there to be your servant.” A mother of two could not handle support driver. She would be too preoccupied to successfully travel from one town to the next, find an acceptable campsite, pitch tents, locate food and do it over and over again for five more days. They would be let down.  One year ago, Greg was my friend and my memory, the pain-in-my-ass uncle who proved RAGBRA would be impossible to return to without him. And Greg always called it RAGBRA. I was jealous of that joke only because it was an easy laugh. “RAGBRA, RAGBRA, Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”

Greg’s steed of choice for RAGBRAI: Hybrid Cannondale. Canary Yellow and cute.

My pony: Kia Sedona. More of a Clydsdale. It was not a clever bus with loyal hardcores leading rookies. (How can I get me one-a those?) 

My husband’s purebred mistress: Specialized Tarmac Pro, cherry red, no spoiler.
 

We would do this again. I kept notes.

Day One – evaluate the day ahead. Collect newspapers, maps, free souveniers (i.e. little ziploc of dirt from current camp).  

Day Two – stay away from stables containing manure and horse flies. Always stake down tents and always expect 2am tornado/thunderstorm warning.

Day three was my hump day. I caught on quick.

Day Three – Find schools or gyms. When team leaves, you leave, don’t dilly, just leave. Document, take pictures, park anywhere and look like it’s your business. Park such as no one can block you in and be prepared to maneuver in reverse from the route. If you’ve done it right you have time to hand out snacks, pull out cowbells and get ready to shout like all hell. Wave, wave, snapsnapsnap. Get back in the freaking Clydesdale and mooove. Drive, drive, drive. Set up camp. Find spot central to pool, town square and next day’s route. This spot exists in every town but everyone knows it. Make sure phone is charged. Locate food.

By this day, the arrangement in the back of the Sedona was unfamiliar, yet still organized. It smelled of tarp and cold, cold mud. The kind packed up with morning dew.

It was all a cluster and the first half is still a blur. But, I was thriving. You could get lost here but the Iowan’s wouldn’t let that happen during this amazing week. By day three you wait for your riders, Clydesdale leaning over in a cornfield ditch. While you wait, you cheer for the unicyclist and woot-woot the traveling mini bar team. They are all your unofficial friends this week. Don’t forget the dives you ate at, the neighbors who invite you to their fire pit. Record the weather. Buy an umbrella. It’s all significant.

Day Four – Rest towns offer every food imaginable on a stick. Meet riders. Socialize with gear grinders dressed like bananas. Hosting towns and traveling vendors provide music, turkey legs, homemade ice cream, port-o-potty’s.

  • PURCHASE WINDOW PAINT!
  • Fly swatter
  • Bug Spray

We can’t ride that route again without Greg. Why would we? It won’t bring him back. Besides, it’s sacred.

Day Five – Consider booking hotel ahead of time for day five. Four days of humidity + rain = crabby kids = crabby men.

Day Six – The Finish Line.

On day six at RAGBRAI, the riders were my mission and the kids were under my spell. But I became overly confident as I left the comfort of the air-conditioned hotel to meet my riders at the end. Somewhere in-between carbs for lunch and carbs which would come in a can, my grocery getter drove into a T where RAGBRAI would cut me off. The country road transformed into a one-way with waves of riders gushing by. And for vehicles, for me, the only way was R, reverse, back it up, you don’t belong here.

This wasn’t happening. I would miss the finish line if I steered away from the herd. Going around could cost me the moments I worked so hard for. The role of support driver would be a joke if we weren’t there to meet them. The thought was sickening. My sadness suggested to my stomach that it could not take much more of this. What was I even doing here? Why would Greg choose to ride across Iowa with a family of four? He could have had it all to himself. He was perfectly capable. Independent. And now I was involved. So deep in it, I found myself suffocating in my desire to share the glory. Already suffering the loss my riders would soon feel if I couldn’t find a way to grow wings on this bitch and just get there.

My eyes clouded as I lowered my head down in shame. Sulking. Feeling sorry for myself. A tap on my window snapped me back at attention and I leaned away to find a broad shouldered shadow blocking the high sun. My reaction caused the form to take a courteous step back revealing a traffic director sporting a reflective vest. We stared at each other, sharing a brief moment of confusion, and he threw an unexpected shrug at me. “Whichwayyougoin?” said the shrug. Unbelievable. I had a choice? My tummy jumped back snuggly into place and it didn’t take but a second to gather up the guts to release my grip on the steering wheel, lift one finger and point left.

My savior did not question the rotund machinery I was operating. He pounced into action, with a hefty gait over to the route to take advantage of an immediate gap for us to enter. I chugged in carefully, gazing and entranced by the constant waving in of his arm as it welcomed us back. As we puttered away, the white words “RAGBRAI Take Us Home” written on the rear hatch window would be the last he would see of us.

As we floated into line, a climb began. We huffed just under 4 miles an hour uphill with a group of nearly sixty bikes directly in front, most of which were a team blazing identical jerseys. Behind me was an ocean of riders filling in, standing on their pedals, and riding straight into my rear view mirror. Ducking my head and squeezing my shoulders inward, I attempted to blend in and be of as little nuisance as possible. I was surrounded by concentration on the faces of amateurs, professionals, thrill seekers and leisure finders. They found a rhythm and with each pump to the left and then to the right their waves carried me up. I read their thoughts and became nothing less than a large bicycle for over a mile.

 

And, in the end, relief and sadness came over me as I reached an intersection and was sent away from the pack. I found a parallel path as the kids waved goodbye to the riders. I sat up straight and told myself to breathe again. A smile smeared on my face as I accelerated, determined to reach the river’s edge with time to spare.

Day Six – The Finish Line – Beer. Always have beer ready when your riders come through.

 

 

Confession of the Month: January

When I was little, while we were lazing around watching a movie, my mom and stepdad gave cute, 10 year old, me a couple foot nudges off the edge of a bed with no frame. I screamed for help and acted like falling was not an option. The more I screamed, the slower they pushed me to my impending doom. After they finally succeeded in pushing me off to the floor, I stood up and accused them with this line: “What if that had been a skyscraper? YOU would have probably STILL kicked me off.” I proceeded to bring myself to tears making it one of the most and worst dramatic performances of my life.

When my oldest son started this game at the age of 4, I didn’t hesitate and sent him to the floor in under 3 seconds.

Come to think of it, when my youngest was 3, I sent him to the floor in a record breaking 2 seconds.

Wow, I’m good.

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Love,
Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

P.S. No children were harmed in these events. My boys only proved what a drama queen I was when they each hopped up and asked me to do that again.

 

The Little Blogger That Could… And Will

I’m losing a little sleep tonite because I just volunteered for the opportunity to write my first review type blog entry!

The best part? I get to go to a really cool place. I’m welcome to take my children. I can even bring my husband!

I’ve never done this before…

There are no real rules, except that I get to go to this cool place and then all I have to do is write about it on my blog, twitter and/or facebook. That’s not a big deal, right?

In fact, it should be so easy because I KNOW I will love this place and what it has to offer on this occasion.

But here’s what was keeping me up:

I don’t want to ramble on about how much I really, really, really like this place. And how I really, really, really enjoyed what they had there.

I want to be helpful, real, and honest. Am I over-thinking this? YES. Might I write this and all of it fall on zero ears anyway? MAYBE. But what if it doesn’t?

So I had to dig deep to discover my method of determining how to write my review. And I found it!

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When I go anywhere or do anything with my kids and I recommend it to my very best friend, I first tell her how much my kids did or did not like it. That’s all it takes to pass on a good recommendation to another parent: Pretend you’re telling your best friend. You wouldn’t steer your best friend wrong, right?

So when I tell my best friend what I thought of something, I first tell her from the perspective of each of my kids. My boys can be pretty complicated and mature about certain things, but when it comes to liking an activity, their thoughts are simple and to the point. If one of my boys wrote a review, it would likely be a brief rating, one they would remember the next time I told them they were going to go to or do it again.

I have two boys. Right now they are 9 and 4. Now, if you have, say girls, the opinion of boys might not be of help, but you could certainly use their opinion as a reference point. Let’s say you do have boys, but they are neither 9 nor 4, you can at least imagine how they were or will be at one of these ages. What I can give you straight is my opinion, as a parent, based on the reactions of my children to the event and how happy it made me.

Now take the word “Happy”. I still vow to only tell you how much I liked something. When it comes to posting about my opinion on the Internet, I abide by the motto of Thumper’s mommy: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. (Unless of course it’s dangerous or disgusting). That’s just me though. I still depend heavily on hardcore, no holds barred, opinions and reviews to make many decisions.

Below is the rating scale for each of my children which, in turn, determines my happiness as a parent. They are dubbed by each child’s nickname. On a scale of 5 to 1, 5 would be the best possible scenario this mother could ask for. Each rating is based on actual words my children have used to clue me in on their honest opinion.

The E.E. Muck Muck Rating (Our 9 year old son)

5 – Do we have to go home?

4 – I can’t wait to tell my friends!

3 – Where are we going next week?

2 – Can I play your phone?

1 – Can we leave now?

The Turkey Rating (Our 4 year old son)

5 – I don’t wanna go home!

4 – I can’t wait to tell Nite-Nite Puppy!

3 – Did you bring me a snack?

2 – Can I play your phone?

1 – This is BOOOOR-ing!

I, myself, do not have a rating system. My satisfaction with a place, item, or experience is cut and dry. I either lose my mind or I don’t. As long as my kids are happy, I don’t lose my mind. And as long as I don’t lose my mind, I will have something nice to say. Call me a Positive Percy, but I want readers to want a great experience. If necessary, I’ll even throw in a tip or two on how to make you’re experience better than mine.

My first review comes out next month and I hope you’ll check it out. If your child has a rating scale, I’d like to know what it is!

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Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

 

Martha Asks Martha: How do I live with a Bunk Bed?

If you’ve read my past blog on bunk beds then you know the daily battles my son and I engaged in with making this bed. Sure, bunk beds are fun for kids, but not fun for the person who has to make them. I told my 8 year old son it was his job to make the bed himself and I actually felt bad for him. He was getting just as hurt and frustrated as I was in this task, and he’s half my size!

Some of my readers (loving family and friends) suggested that I use a sleeping bag instead. This is a great idea! However, we have character comforters out the ying-yang and I’m way to stubborn to let them go. Plus, I dread the sound of zippers clancking around in my dryer. Yes, I’m a stubborn gal!

So if you aren’t as stubborn as I am, start with a sleeping bag. Because I’m so stubborn, I decided to try one more thing before giving in to retiring a brand new Star Wars: The Clone Wars comforter and sheet set.

IMPORTANT! Before reading this and possibly taking my advice, please remember that this solution, similar to a sleeping bag, was tested out on an 8-year-old capable of getting out of a sleeping bag in an emergency. Do not use this solution with a child that would not be able to do so. Thank You.

So, we have tested and approved this method ever since the first blog post of my whining and complaining came out. Since the test, we have kept the method and my son makes his bed every morning without an injury and I am about as happy as a domestic engineer can get each morning (please add coffee).

This is our “Method to Making the Lower Bunk of a Bunk Bed” (dun dun dun!):

What you’ll need –

  • The twin comforter of your choice!
  • The twin sheets of your choice!
  • Zip ties (YES! Zip Ties! Sometimes called Cable Ties)
  • Pair of tough scissors

That’s it! The best thing about zip ties is that they are CHEAP. I bought mine at an unnamed superstore for under $2.50 for a pack of 50. A pack of 50 could last you about 4 months if you change the bedding once a week. Imagine how much money you’ll save in bandaids, antiseptics, ice packs and therapy (from all the emotional damage the old fashioned way will cause you). I won’t disclose how often I change out ours. There’s no judging here!

First thing you want to do is lay out your kid’s bedding on the floor UPSIDE DOWN, preferably next to the bed itself. Lay the Comforter down first, then any extra winter blankets, then your flat sheet (remember, ALL upside down).

Now fold the foot of the bedding sandwich over, only to the length of the twin mattress. This helps preserve the character theme of your comforter, the whole reason you spend $29.99+, right?!

We severed Obi Wan and Anakin's head's off when we did it the old way...

Everytime you do this, you will need only 3 zip ties. Yes, just three. This allows for the child to throw off unwanted layers on warmer nights.

Zip tie the two bottom corners nice and tight so that the blankets never pull free. Yes, this will leave a thicker mound at the foot of the bedding, but your elbows will thank you in the end.

Now the last zip tie goes on the top corner that is used the least for entering the bed. Remember that your bedding is upside down right now, so think about which upper corner will end up on the entrance side. My son’s bed is against the wall and he is forced to enter on the left side. Easy-peasy!

Here’s an important thing to note: Once the ties are pulled tight, you’ll may feel the desire to cut off the excess tie. If you do so (which we do) be sure to cut as close as possible to avoid sharp plastic edges that can scratch. So far, my son has not been scratched whatsoever. Also, turn them in toward the bed and not facing out, if you’re extra worried about little scratches. And please make sure your bedding is out of the cutting zone! I say this because I came close to cutting the bedding fabric. Whoa!

Now you have to teach your kid to make the bed, because now it’s so easy, you no longer need to do it for them! Leave enough space between the bed and the wall so your kid can throw the far ends over the bed and tuck them down. My kid sleeps in a tornado fashion. If yours does too, he or she may need to tuck under and smooth out that bumpy foot of the bed sometimes. The rest is just smoothing the top so mommy and daddy can say “oooh” and “ahhh” when they walk in.

Oh hi, Obi Wan and Anakin! There you are!

To clean your blankets, simply cut off and discard the zip ties and repeat the whole method again with new ties. Be sure not to cut your blankets when removing the ties!

I hope this helps! My kid loves it. I love it! My 4 year old has a regular twin bed, but if he follows in his brother’s tornado steps, I’ll use the same method to help him keep the blankets in line.

Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

 

I Kid You Not! – Pants Scared Offeth

The accounts of the following events are all factual. You can’t make this stuff up. Well, you could make this stuff up, I suppose. But I didn’t. This really did happen. I know, some movies claim they are based on true events, then you find out the only true events were that a man and a woman were in a house and the rest is fiction. None of this is fiction, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. If you dare…

So, last year, I was going to blog about some old-school stuff we had in the house that I love so much that I will never part with them. One was a toy, another was a CD and the last was a book. This particular book is called “The Sick of Being Sick Book”. It’s one of my favorites because it’s a unique book of humor and quips about how to be sick when you’re sick. The reason this book played a big part in my life was because, well, I was always sick. I had asthma as a child and usually spent time at my Grandma’s house on sick days so my mom could still go to work. “The Sick of Being Sick Book” was one of my favorites to bring along with me and so I read it over and over and over. As I said, I was going to write about this book, a CD and a toy last year, but then the holidays hit and the three items were just sort of floating around the house. Not literally. That would be creepy.

Eventually, the CD made its way to the entertainment center cabinet. The toy, an extremely annoying toy, made it to the basement. (I’ve kept it for sentimental reasons.) And the book, well, I kept it out for my 9-year-old son, who had read it a few years back but is rarely sick, and maybe he would want to read it again sometime soon. So here’s this really old book just jumping around the house for the last two months…

I love books! So much that I follow some of the most intriguing children’s authors on Twitter and, once in a while, pester them with my bizarre and insightful comments or questions. Earlier this week, my four-year-old wanted to play with a gently used solar system kit we purchased at a second hand store. He loves it because each planet has two pieces you snap together, so he likes to put things inside the planets and pretend that gives them special “powers”. For this activity, I wanted to play in the dining room, which is usually reserved for puzzles and holiday dinner set up. So, it’s been a while since we’ve spent time in this room.

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As my son became more involved in his imaginary play, and my purpose of snapping all the planets together had withered away, I decided to catch up on my email, Twitter and Facebook on my iPhone.

I followed author R.L. Stine one day, a while back, for one reason and one reason only, I once knew a kid who was obsessed with the “Goosebumps” series. I had never read any of the books but I do remember when the television series started on Friday nights. So, I followed R.L. Stine.

I enjoy his Tweets daily. He often Tweets random shots of information that I like to repeat to my family in a clever fashion. For example, he Tweeted that you have to get permission from both countries before being allowed to tightrope across Niagara Falls. That’s cool stuff to spout out, if you ask me.

So, while I was perusing my Twitter Timeline on this particular day, I caught R.L. Stine’s Tweet this week saying this:

Is this the worst TV interview show ever?

Why am I on it?? http://tinyurl.com/7r6n2v4

It made me snicker, of course. And I had to see what it was all about.

However, my iPhone hates me. I have stored way too many videos of my kids on it, and my computer refuses to download them because of their size. So any time I try to watch a YouTube video, I plan to go make myself a sandwich while waiting for it to load. Then I eat the sandwich and sometimes, just sometimes, I go grab a kosher pickle as well. The other day I wanted to hear the Ants/Picnic song from Garfield and Friends and I gave up after 2 minutes because I wasn’t hungry.

On this particular day that I was sitting with my child, who was perfectly happy telling each planet what their powers were, I decided to tap on the link R.L. Stine provided and find out what the heck his comment was referring to. I wondered, “Was Mr. Stine interviewed without his knowledge?” and then thought, “Does he not remember being interviewed?”

I had to know. So I waited as the link turned to YouTube and I was mesmerized by the blinking asterisk of death in the lower right hand corner of my phone. As YouTube opened up, I dropped my shoulders and began to pout. The first thing I thought was, “Nevermind, I’ll just watch it later on my laptop,” which I knew would never happen. I looked over at my happy child swinging Uranus by a string and making whoosh whoosh sounds and something in me decided to go ahead and wait for the video to load. With no time to grab a sandwich, the video loaded! I found this odd. Now, if you click on that link above, the one that R.L. Stine tempted the Twitter world with, you’ll be taken to an interview between Mr. Stine himself and a gentleman by the name of George Kareman. I thought the interview was hilarious, but I have a disturbed sense of humor so you’ll have to decide for yourself.

The crazy part about this interview was the small bit of information I learned from it. Information so unexpected that I felt compelled to Tweet back to R.L. Stine. Mr. Kareman brings up the fact that R.L. Stine was a comedy writer before writing the “Goosebumps” series. Stine confirms this and says that his joke books were written under the name Jovial Bob Stine.

I was totally surprised! Not only did I know the name Jovial Bob Stine, I knew I had some of his joke books as a kid! I was so excited to learn this that I Tweeted to R.L. Stine that I was excited to learn this! Ohmagosh!

Now, I don’t usually expect people on Twitter to respond so I just sat there trying to think of where those books were now. (My poor mom is always on the hunt for things I remember randomly.) As I sat there thinking about it and listening to whoosh whoosh and pzzzt pzzzt from my four year old, I looked down and focused on a book sitting on the table in front of me – a table I rarely sit at. It was the book that has been floating around my house for the last two months. Remember that book? It’s called “The Sick of Being Sick Book” and it’s written by Jovial Bob Stine and Jane Stine.

Talk about getting goosebumps! I was Fer-Reaking out! I mean, what are the odds that I’m sitting directly in front of this book at this particular moment only to find that this particular author on this particular day shares this particular interview containing this particular bit of information pertaining to said book? This is no joke!

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It was so freaky that I had to call my mom and ask her why this was happening to me! I needed to be pinched, pretty hard. I also had to take a picture of the book and Tweet it off to R.L. Stine. He was nice enough to respond, Tweeting:

@MarthaaaFish Wow. I haven’t seen that book in a long, long time! How strange.

Strange for him or strange for me? I was weirded out the remainder of the morning and I’m weirded out just recalling it now. I must have picked that book up a hundred times to make sure it was real. I just picked it up again. Yes, it’s real. So now I have a second reason for never getting rid of this book. You just can’t make up a creepy story like this, you know. Well, you could. But I didn’t.

Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

P.S. My son has not read a “Goosebumps” book yet. If I tell him this story, he may never read one. I’ll hold off a little longer. When I’m ready for waking up to screaming in the middle of the night, then I’ll encourage him to give one a chance. For now, I’ll enjoy my sleep.

 

Is Martha Fish Gone?

Just a couple of people have outright asked this but the answer is no. Just in case you, too, were wondering. 

Although I disappear randomly, I’ve been coming back for over 7 years now. This last intermission was due to the holidays. I still have one more week of refereeing my children then it’s back to working out my New Year’s Resolution plan, writing my brains out, and Keeping up with the Kardanshians. Well, let’s change out the latter with Reading. I’m devoting this year to reading and a LOT more writing. Of course, there are the responsibilities that life brings, but writing and reading is easily inspired by the people around me and if I can get them involved, I can make it seem less me-focused.

My kids love to read. Sadly for my 9 year old, he gets car sick if he attempts to read even a comic strip, but he’ll do it anyway with the windows down in 17 degree weather. The 4 year old is currently reading “Bad Kitty” books and checking my grocery list each week to see if he approves of the snacks. Why was I in such a hurry for him to read?

I am devoted to reading to my kids every other night of the week. If they want my attention, they know to bring a book with them. If they want to stay up just a little later, I merely have to walk in on them reading a book and I am putty in their hands.

This year we are going to take on a reading challenge I found out about by following @BethFishReads on Twitter.

Check out the details here—>  http://www.bethfishreads.com/2011/11/whats-in-name-5-sign-up.html

The challenge consists of reading 6 books this year from 6 different title categories. The terms of the titles are predetermined for you, all you have to do is get creative and find books that fall into the catergories.

Then what?

READ!

If you find yourself asking people what you should read next, this could be a great way to find some great titles. What intrigued me first was the challenge in finding the qualifying titles. My kids will love that!

Click on the link and you’ll see that I’ve already signed up and commented that my boys will be taking the challenge on as well. I hope you’ll follow along with us as we post our picks and our reviews of our picks. For my children’s sake of experience, we will utilize the library as much as possible. Since I am a collector of books (more on that this year), I am sure we will end up purchasing our favorites and those we cannot find in our library’s collection.

In between this challenge I will still have my same old Marthaaaaa posts of life and family, because without those posts I’m am only reading and this year is my writing year.

Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

 

P.S. I hope you’ll consider taking on the challenge as well. And if you do, I wanna know the titles you pick! So let me know if you sign up and write reviews so I can follow you back. If you just do it in your own private time, I still want to know what titles you would or do pick.

 

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2012 in Uncategorized