Saturday, January 25, 2014

New Facebook Page, now with Spank too!!



Hey, my little Gingersnaps! Spank and I have decided to consolidate our FB pages into ONE PAGE THAT WILL RULE THEM ALL that will promote both this blog and Spank's "Spank You Silly" blog. Not only that, but we will post funny videos, links and pictures throughout the day as well as doing Special Edition: Spank and Ginger Show blog posts! But wait, there's more!!!  We will also be doing more book giveaways, which we will promote on our page. Don't miss out on the fun!  Don't forget to share with your friends and "Like" our page!




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Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Card and Letter


First... the obligatory Christmas Card....




(picture of Marlie was taken by our very talented photographer niece Bethany Hope)

Now for the official letter that I normally would include in a Christmas card if I was on top of things and had ordered cards this year.  But frankly I'd like to include many pictures, so this will work better in blog form. For those of you who sent us Christmas cards... thank you! I will try hard to get actual cards out next year.


This year has been the hardest we have ever handled as a family, since Marshall and I got married 17 years ago.


I have mentioned before about our struggles with our daughter's behavior.  We believe she experienced trauma as an infant and possibly in utero, prior to us bringing her home from Ethiopia.  Her Psychiatrist explained to us that not all areas of her brain have developed at the same rate, despite the fact that she is very, very smart.  One of the ways that played out this year was lack of impulse control, resulting in violent rages aimed at her brothers and myself.  Normally that might not be so devastating with a petite 7 year old, but she had four years of martial arts training and was using her punches and kicks (and biting and scratching) during her rages.  It got to the point where the episodes were daily, the boys and I were shell shocked and covered in bruises.  We were a family in crisis.

In May, my sister and her family offered to have our daughter come to live with them for the summer, where she could get more individualized attention and Psychiatric and Psychological treatment in an environment where there would not be other minors. (My sister's kids are both adults) Despite the damage and trauma in our family, there is still a lot of love between all three kids, and these pictures were taken the day before our daughter left, and the day she left, respectively.





Two days after our daughter arrived in Chicago, an anonymous call from Chicago was made to Los Angeles Child Protective Services, accusing us of neglect of our daughter.  We believe the call was made by the clinic where my sister tried to seek Psychiatric care for Marlie, though since the call was "anonymous" we do not have proof.  Exactly one week after our daughter left, we had a surprise visit from a CPS Social Worker at our front door.  As we knew we had nothing to hide, we let the Social Worker in the house.  We have since learned that was a poor decision on our part. If a Social Worker from CPS ever arrives at your house, do NOT allow them inside the home. Instead, get their card and call a lawyer. Once the Social Worker gained entrance in our house, she was not concerned about our daughter who was in Chicago, but rather focused on our boys.  We provided names and numbers of all the professionals in our life (Psychiatrist, Pediatrician, Dentist, etc.). Despite all of them enthusiastically supporting us as parents, the Social Worker returned with her own health care professional to inspect the boys.  I was told point blank that I had to stop homeschooling. (which I did not) Both boys were interviewed individually on more than one occasion (though the boys described their experiences as "interrogations" rather than interviews) Marshall and I were not allowed to be in their presence, and the boys were not allowed to be interviewed together. Both boys said they felt severely pressured, repeatedly, to admit to being sexually abused, which they have not been.  Several things were said by the Social Worker during her visits that made both boys (and us) believe there was a very real possibility the boys would be removed from our home.  One of the things she said was that if our daughter returned to the home and hurt the boys, the boys would be removed.  This was terrifying and traumatizing to us all. Some of the complaints the Social Worker made about us were: homeschooling, feeding the boys Pop Tarts for breakfast and clutter in the home.  Despite complying with them 100%, we felt we were being bullied and harassed, so we contacted HSLDA, which provides legal defense for homeschooling families.  Even with a lawyer, things that were demanded of us were physical evaluations of Marshall and I, by our doctor, who had to write letters stating that we are physically capable of parenting our sons, as well as a letter from our Family Therapist stating our mental competency as parents. Later there was a demand for a 3rd interview with our boys, but our lawyer refused, as did Marshall and I due to the trauma the last two interviews caused them. Instead we were asked to get another letter from our doctor stating what medications Marshall and I were on, and the doses of each medication. In the end we consented to the Social Worker checking out the boys, in our presence, in our driveway, with no interview. She agreed. The four of us have been severely traumatized by this experience, especially the boys, and we are now in Family Therapy trying to heal from this experience. Despite having a very competent lawyer, this investigation dragged on for FIVE months, only to have our case finally closed and no action taken against us. Our lawyer informed us that our experience with CPS was unfortunately very common, especially in Los Angeles County, and we could take legal action against them if we so choose, however it would be very costly and we do not want to put our boys through any more than they have had already been put through.

These are devastating pictures for me to look at and share, but it shows the pain that the four of us were going through during the CPS investigation.








We were hoping to have the summer to heal from the violence that had been in the home, only to find ourselves in even more of a family crisis with the CPS investigation.  Daily meltdowns from our boys were common.  We did several mini vacations just to get away and try to heal and nurture each other as a family.  Marshall and I did several 1:1 "dates" with each of the boys and have tried to spend as much time together as a foursome as possible.












After consulting with my sister, we made a decision to let our daughter stay in Chicago for the school year. Things that contributed to this decision were the fact that her school district is among the top in the country, as well as our concerns that one summer away would not be enough to break the cycle of violence, especially since our daughter was exhibiting many of the same behaviors at my sister's house. For staying in touch with her, we have been FaceTime'ing. We also bought her a cell phone on our family plan so she can talk on the phone with us whenever she wants.





The absence of our daughter also added to the stress of our family. Despite the violent environment in our house before our daughter flew to Chicago, we still have missed her very much and had a terrible time adjusting to her absence, as we still are.  Unfortunately we don't know much about how our daughter is doing in therapy and school, other than what our daughter has told us herself. This experience has been very rough on the relationship between my sister and myself. We do know that she is in a very loving environment and that my sister and her family are very dedicated to helping Marlie and have showered her with love and affection. We will be flying to Chicago to spend her birthday (Christmas Eve) and Christmas with her and are very much looking forward to seeing her as we miss her so much. We don't know what is best for our daughter in the long run, or what is best for our sons. These are decisions we will have to make as they come, after much prayer.

As if we weren't under enough stress this year, the IRS put a tax lien on our house, which was a mistake on the part of the IRS. After some time and many conversations with the IRS, our accountant was able to get it sorted out and the tax lien was removed.

Marshall's debit card number was stolen from a device he used to pay for something, and $1000 was cleaned out of our bank account in a matter of hours. Thankfully our bank's fraud department was alerted and the money was returned, but still not a fun experience to go through.

Last October (technically 2012) I was hospitalized for 4 days as a result of severe vomiting and severe bleeding from my no-no hole. (Lovely picture I painted for you, huh? Want to see pictures of my colonoscopy?  Kidding. I do have them, but I'm not posting them.)  I was diagnosed as having Acute Colitis.  (this happened 3 weeks after the violence with our daughter started in the home)  When I never fully recovered, I had many more tests, another colonoscopy, endoscopy and blood tests to find out what was going on.  The Specialists and our Family Internist agreed that I now have stress-induced Severe IBS. (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)  This sadly is not something controlled by diet but rather by the amount of stress I am feeling and how I am managing the stress.  So I plan to live the rest of my life stress-free. (just seeing if you are still paying attention) This has played a big part in how our year has gone, directly related to the amount of stress we have been under. I've named my colon, "Bob the Douchebag Dragon" so I have something to blame when I'm feeling awful.  "Yeah, Bob is really being a jerk today." "Bob hates me."  "I hate Bob."  "Bob is an a-hole."  I realize this may make me sound a little crazy but it helps me to be able to complain about Bob rather than repeatedly using the term "my colon". Ewww.

Also last October the owner of the Kung Fu school my kids attended moved to Colorado and the school closed.  We made the decision to get rid of our fancy Ethan Allen furniture in the living room since we never used the room and turned it into a home dojo so they could continue to train under the Kung Fu Master.  I even found purple mats!


Before:


After:




Ever since, The Kung Fu Master has been coming to our house three days a week for 90 minute lessons with the boys so they could continue their Kung Fu training.  Also, with the addition of Bob the Douchebag Dragon to my life, the Kung Fu Master started training me in Tai Chi and Qigong, to help with my stress management.


Despite the many challenges this year, there were some highlights...


Marshall and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. A couple of months later when his parents came in town for a visit, we got away for a 3 day vacation, the first time we have had a kid-free vacation in years.  It was wonderful!





Seamus had a birthday and turned 9 this year.  There was about a month where Seamus existed only in his Ironman suit, which was pretty darn funny, especially in public.





Puberty has hit Haven full blast. At age 13 he is now 4 inches taller than me and STILL GROWING, and his voice is lower than Marshall's.  I'm trying to not freak out about that. Here he is performing one of my favorite Martial Arts forms, "Noe Pa".




We got a new kitten this year.  For those of you counting, that makes our current cat count: SEVEN. Only six are inside the house. (as if that makes it any better)  Our new kitten is of a fairly new breed of cat called, "The Highlander".  We named him "Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod".  And for short, we call him "Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod". And of course there can be only one. We reserved him back in April when he was 4 days old, so little did the breeder know at the time that he would end up being the best of the litter. She very grudgingly told us that when we picked him up. Ha! (she would never have sold him if she had known)  The "Highlander" breed are known for having ears that curl back, polydactyl paws (extra toes) and a bob tail.



The very next morning, the entire cat "pack" was well aware there was an addition to the family.





Once he was big enough to introduce to the other cats, it only took a couple of days before he was fully integrated into the cat pack. 




Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod is truly a very loving, purr-box of a kitty that is very silly and is right at home with the rest of the cats. We're lucky they all get along so well.  Often we will find all six of them on the couch with us in the evenings.

Our breeder asked us to submit a photo of him to see if he would get accepted into the 2014 "Highlander" breed Calendar.  You are now looking at "Mr. August".  (picture by Marshall)






We were able to do our yearly trip to Yosemite this Fall, which we scheduled the day the park re-opened. Marshall of course took fancy pictures with his fancy camera, but these are the favorite ones I took with my iPhone.







Hey anyone can take a picture of a deer, but can everyone take a picture like this? 


Last week Haven and Seamus endured a 5 hour Kung Fu test at our house, with the two of them, Sensei Trenton and Master Jack.  At the end of the very grueling test, Seamus earned his red belt in Kung Fu, and Haven is now a black belt in Kung Fu! I am very, very proud of them both.






Next week Marlie turns 8 and Haven turns 14!  Now it is time for me to end this thorough report of our most challenging year.  We are very much hoping 2014 will be an improvement over 2013.


Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all of you!



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Monday, October 28, 2013

"The Wikomsette" Giveaway Winners!!!


Wow, we only had 5 entries for this contest (probably since I went on hiatus for so long and lost my readers *sob*) but lucky for you 5 people, the chances of winning was really good!  Ready for the two winners of the giveaway?  Who will win a digital copy of "The Wikomsette" by Emerald Lavere???








The first winner is...


The second winner is...



Yay!!! Congrats to the winners!! This book is available in digital copy only, so to claim your prize, please email me at dazzleginger@gmail.com and let me know what format you want it in (Amazon, B&N, or Allromancebooks.com)



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Friday, October 18, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway! (The Wikomsette)




Howdy Peeps! It's the very last day of the Wikomsette Blog Tour!  What is the "Wikomsette" you ask?  Well it's a book a long time friend of mine wrote and the story was so intriguing and original that not only did I ask her if I could write a review and promote it, I also decided I would give away a digital copy of it to two lucky winners who leave a comment here.

Let me first tell you about my friend, Emerald Lavere...



(look at those gorgeous legs she has from dancing! She earned those baby!)




Emerald Lavere is a forty-something wife, mother, dancer, singer, writer, lover of comic book heroes and heroines, good dark chocolates (especially with liquor in them), and many different flavors of art, books, and men!

A fan of just about every genre, she aims to write stories that contain something her readers will find sweet, and something surprising as well. If hot, explicit, sexual encounters happen to be included in those stories, well, it's really not her fault. She is only recording the facts of what happens in the alternate universes, that the voices in her head tell her about. Often the voices won't shut up until their stories have been told, so really, what else can she do?


Living in Southern California with her family and a fluffy dog she met at the local shelter, Ms. Lavere enjoys time with her family, reading, and walks. A former professional performer, she now dances for fun whenever possible, and sings often, and loudly, in her car. When she has alone time and is not working on her writing, she enjoys watching old Smallville episodes, because hot damn, there are some fine ass men on that show.

(she's also a pretty awesome friend)



Now, about her book, "The Wikomsette"...





Here is the official description:


Title: The Wikomsette
Author: Emerald Lavere
Genre: Erotic Sci-Fi
Available at:  Amazon | B&N | ARe
Add to:  Goodreads

Regina lost her husband four years ago. Now she lives a solitary life—by choice. But her preferences are tossed aside when an unseen force drops her into a remote jungle. There, a mysterious band of handsome, athletic men are waiting to show her that the woman who takes on their tribe has no chance to remain lonely...or unsatisfied. Enlisted as the group's "Wikomsette" or "Wife", her emotional and physical desires are at first resurrected, then fulfilled. 

Eight men, but only one will truly claim her heart. Niku, the leader, is the first to re-awaken desire in Regina. Brannon, second in command is the most stunningly beautiful man she has ever seen, but his sweet talking may only lead to another heartbreak. Most of the other men could win her over as well, with some exceptions, such as Ax, who infuriates her mind as strongly as he  melts her body.

Maneuvering her way through the tribe emotionally, is not Regina's only concern. Kept in the dark about who they are and what their mission is,  leaves her to consider several theories. Could they be covert military men? Aliens? Part of a secret cult? Eventually she will learn not  only the shocking truth of who they are, but that she may play  a much bigger role in the mission than any of them could have  guessed, changing forever the course of her life, and of all life on Earth.


Now for my review:  Okay, when I first started reading this book and learned of the premise, I wasn't sure I was going to like this book (despite the author being my friend). Hey, I give honest reviews here, friends or not!  BUT (and that's a BIG but) I found myself quickly sucked into the story and found myself in Regina's place, not only rooting for her but also rooting for so many of the other characters.  And while I thought this story wasn't going to be up my alley, I ended up loving it.  It turned me upside down and made me rethink the situation, which I found I ended up loving and could even put myself in Regina's place and understand the culture which I thought I couldn't get past.  And boy do I love when authors introduce a story that is so original and thought provoking.  Once I started reading it, I literally could not put it down.  I kept reading through the night into the wee hours of the morning until I finished it.  So heck yeah, I'm proud of my friend's book (even if she never told me she was writing it until after, silly girl!)

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Wikomsette excerpt:

"After several failed attempts to get more information out of Sebastian, he told me we’d done enough work for now, and escorted me back to my apartment. I wasn’t positive but had a strong inkling that I’d just been put in a time-out for being nosy.


Considering ways that I might coax more information out of this bunch, and who I should target for that, I was shortly jolted back to my primary duty when an unexpected man entered my room.

“Brannon,” I said, surprised. “I thought Rayne—”

“No.” With a dreamy look in his eyes and two quick steps to cross the room, he put his hands on my face. “Rayne will not come, and Captain Niku has passed over his turn with you.” He wrapped his arms around me, kissing my face, hair, neck, drowning me in that incredible scent… This wasn’t good. I needed time to mentally prepare for Brannon, to keep myself from being swept away. Niku, that’s who I’d think about. What was his deal? He stood me up? What the hell? Was he too good for me now?

It was difficult to shut Brannon out of my mind and heart while that warm voice washed over me. As before, he talked through our encounter, except in English this time. He poured his heart out, knowing I could now understand. “Regina, Regina,” he repeated while pulling his clothes off. I removed mine in a daze. “It has been agony, waiting for you. Waiting for you to arrive, and now, now that you are here and you are so much more than I ever dreamed of. It is unbearable to wait these many days.”

No no no! I panicked inside as tears threatened to appear. He wasn’t allowed to do this to me. How could he feel so strongly about me, anyway? They were just words. Maybe pretending he was so into me helped him get off. That must be it. He was a romantic, and it was all part of the fantasy. I took a deep breath, relieved. Yes, that was it. He didn’t really mean what he said. I had to be smart and not let him toy with my emotions just because he enjoyed pretty words.

He pushed his nakedness against mine, kissing me fervently and caressing every bit of skin he could reach. “Please,” he said, coaxing me onto the bed. While on my back, his hands glided over my body, even to my toes. Then he brought his face back to mine. “I adore you, my goddess, Regina.”

I moaned in pleasure, giving myself permission to relish his body and his scent. I just had to ignore those damn words."
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So here's the fun part.  I'm giving away two digital copies of this book! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment.  You have until Sunday evening at 9pm Eastern time to enter the giveaway.  The winners will be announced on Monday.

aaaaaaand..... GO!




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Monday, October 7, 2013

Poo-pourri


Introducing... Poo-Pourri.  The "before-you-go" toilet spray, to add to the myth that your sh*t smells like roses.  Or one of 20 aromatherapy scents, like Eucalyptus & Spearmint or Mandarine, Tangerine & Lily, etc.

Don't believe me? Watch the video...




You can even send away for your free sample (which is technically not free because you have to pay $3 for shipping/handling).  

Go ahead, check out the hilarious website of Poo-Pourri, which has YouTube testimonials and Amazon reviews of satisfied POOers.  



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Monday, August 26, 2013

Spank and Ginger Show: Just Say No-No





Those of you who have been here from the beginning will remember that this blog started out being called "The Spank and Ginger Show".  After awhile, Spank had to take a break from blogging, so this blog carried on with Spank's support as the name, "Gingersnaps in the Morning".  But we are going to start having some "Spank and Ginger Show" specials, starting with today!  Woo Hoo!  The topic...

The No-No Hole 

This is my term for your butt hole and is self-explanatory regarding my my feeling about it. 


Spank: "No, go ahead and explain it.  Tell us how you really feel."


Ginger: "I feel like there is only one use for the no-no hole.  It's a one-way street, one direction only."

Spank: "So It's okay if it's Harry Styles?"





Ginger:" I have no idea who that is, but that doesn't change my mind about the no-no hole.  I mean, there is nothing worse than reading a good book with a steamy love scene, where all the sudden someone sticks their finger up the other person's no-no hole.  Kills the mood, and makes me want to throw my Kindle."



Spank: "What if it's not a finger?"


Ginger: *pauses to avoid gagging*  "That's even worse.  Owwww.  I call it a no-no hole for a reason.  No back door passes for me.  Nuh uh.  No way.  Not gonna happen."


Spank: "There are some men that get a free pass."


Ginger: "I'm not even gonna ask.  No seriously, if you're reading a steamy love scene and someone sticks their finger up the no-no hole, that doesn't affect you one bit?"


Spank: "Oh it affects me."


Ginger: O_o  "Okay, I was reading this one story.  During the love scene the guy stuck his finger up the girl's no-no hole and after they were done, they fell asleep.  Did the guy wash and disinfect in finger before falling asleep??? Does he know there is e.coli on his finger?"


Spank: "Did you ever think it's finger-licking good?"


Ginger: *ignores that question*  "I mean, he could give himself (or her) pink eye if he didn't disinfect his finger after!!


Spank: "PINK EYE!!!  hahahahaha.  That's what you're concerned about?!"


Ginger: "That's just one of MANY concerns about business with the no-no hole".


Spank: "Good sex is supposed to be dirty."


Ginger: "Well if someone insists on getting "dirty" with the no-no hole, the least they can do is wear Shittens.


Spank: "What the Hell are Shittens?"


Ginger: "They're disposable wipes in the shape of mittens, for keeping your hands sanitary while dealing with poo.






They even wrote a song about it."






Spank: "Now I've seen everything."