Resolutions Schmesolutions

A new year.

About the only thing that excites me about a new year is getting to hang up a new calendar. It always makes me giddy to pick out a new one. Although it is kind of fun to send your husband to the store to buy a new one....a couple of years ago he brought me one home that had pictures of Jamaican women on each month's page. Not the bikini clad beach bunny Jamaican women that you would expect Kirk to pick out, but the fruit-toting, mu-mu wearing Jamaican women.

I used it. All year. Just for fun.

I'm not big on New Year's resolutions.....mainly because I have NEVER kept one single resolution that I've made.

One year I wanted to lose my pregnancy weight......still waiting on that to happen. I think my addiction to Almond Joys and Lindt chocolates might be slowing that process up a bit.

One year I resolved to remember to send a birthday card to everyone on my mailing list when it came time. I made it through March.....or was it February?

One year I promised myself to keep my laundry all caught up. HA! You can see here, here, and here to see how that is working for me.

One year I resolved to get my scrapbooks all caught up and then keep them that way. I haven't had pictures developed in two years if that tells ya anything.

One year I resolved to read the Bible through in one year. This is the closest that I've come to keeping a resolution. I have managed to get through the whole Bible cover to cover (even Leviticus, thank you very much!) but it took me about two years. I'll move this one to the success category.....I deserve at least one.

One year I wanted to get my whole house organized (like HGTV organized). Just remind yourself of the summer closet fiasco to see how that one worked out for me.

I could go on and on. Most of these repeat themselves. With repeating outcomes.

So, here I stand on the brink of 2009. In exactly 6 hours and 42 minutes it will be time for my new resolutions to kick in. But I haven't decided on which one I should take on only to not follow through with.....

Lose weight? Nah. *said while stuffing another Almond Joy in my mouth*

The birthday card thing? Probably not. I just know myself....it ain't gonna happen.

Organization? There isn't enough Rubbermaid in the world for this house. Easier to just shut the door.

Laundry? Funny joke.


I think I'll just resolve to try and be a better friend. I'm going to try and use the phone more. I'm going to try and be a better listener. I'm going to work really hard to try and bust out my comfort zone and actually try to exhibit the gift of hospitality.

Notice I said try.

Hey...what's your New Year's Resolution?

Happy New Year.....I'm going to go put up my fresh new calendar sans the Jamaican women.



My in-laws gave me the most amazing anniversary present. Yah, yah....I know. Anniversary presents are supposed to be for both of us, but this one was really for me.

I can usually read his mom like a book, but she TOTALLY surprised me with this one. I had no idea that she and my father-in-law had been busy as beavers scanning and copying all their old family photos and all of Kirk's baby pictures. She put them all in an album, complete with names and dates.....it is such a treasure.

I have poured over each and every picture -- giggling at my mother-in-law's hairstyles and cat glasses, snickering at my father-in-law's purple plaid blazer, and guffawing at my brother-in-law's Miami Vice Don Johnson white suits and tank tops. I've grown misty-eyed looking at the old black-n-whites of Kirk's grandparents....like his Grandpa's war photo....those get me every time. Then there are the pictures of Kirk in Jr. High wearing jams and hightops.....I want to remain married, so I'm not going to post them (but, oh, how I want to!). There are even pictures of Kirk and me when we first started dating....I was baby-faced, blonde haired, and had my hair in a ponytail tied with a white ribbon.....seems like ages ago.

This is the one that gets me though.....

This is Kirk in the 1st Grade.

And this is Tate.

Can you believe how much Tate looks like him? Twins, I tell ya, twins. Look at those dimples....there is no denying this one, Kirk!! :)

Thank you, Joyce & Eli, for such a precious gift and for being so super sneaky....love it.


The Christmas Run-Down

Our Christmas started last Saturday. Santa comes early to see our family. We like to say it is because we are special....it's really because we travel all through the holidays and don't like to schlep Santa with us.

I got my pink laptop bag....so amazing. I also got tools. Totally a good thing. Probably the first occasion EVER that tools were okay with me. Kirk also got me a couple of CDs I'd been wanting. Put all that with the yummy Lindt chocolates that I'm totally addicted to, and I came out pretty darn good!

The boys gave Kirk and I some pretty amazing gifts. If you missed how we do the Dollar Tree Extravaganza, check here.

Yes, you are seeing right....that is High School Musical lip gloss. I've been forced to smile through countless applications of the nasty stuff. The stuff tastes terrible....it is SO hard to pretend that I like it. The things we mothers do for our kids....
And Kirk's Santa hacky-sack and Rope Knot picture....whoa.

One of Keaton's favorite gifts was his MP3 player....we spent all day buying songs online and downloading CDs....Kirk and I have decided that we have lost our son forever. Although it does totally crack me up how he sings at the top of his lungs and completely off-key, forgetting that no one can hear anything...but him!

Sawyer got his BB gun. Ahhhhh.....country boy bliss. We've been shooting cans and targets ever since. So far, no one has shot their eye out!

One of Tate's favorite gifts was his Indiana Jones whip. I waited too late to get the set that came with the hat, but that wasn't a problem for our Tater. He made fast work of running to his room and getting one of his cowboy hats, a green pistol, and boots. After hurling himself around the house whipping everything in sight, he settled down in front of a Indiana Jones movie......excuse the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle undies, but have you ever seen anything cuter?
We headed to Kirk's parents house on Tuesday. We ate a gigantic meal at his grandmother's on Christmas Eve, and had a fun time opening presents and hanging with the cousins. One of Kirk's cousin's wives had an AWESOME new phone.....I played, petted, and coveted it all day. Want.One.Now.

Christmas Day was an onslaught of Christmas madness all day. The boys woke up SUPER early and opened their presents from their grandparents. Then a couple of hours later, our nieces and nephew came over and we opened presents again. A couple of hours later, Kirk's brother, his wife, and his stepson came over and we opened presents again. A couple of hours later, Kirk's uncle and family came over and we opened presents again....and finally got to eat. A couple of hours later....I took a nap. *smile*

Yes, Kirk is holding a VS box.....this sucker is passed between his brother and him every year. It was Kirk's turn to get it this year. His brother threatened to acutally put underwear in it this year, but opted for tools instead. Too bad.

Look at this crew all squeezed into a not so big house.....good times.

And look....we even had a dog dressed in a Santa suit.....

Friday, we headed for my sister's house for my family Christmas. Kirk ended up with some funky eye thing, so I had to drive THE WHOLE WAY. I fell asleep twice while driving (yikes!). Because I had forgotten to pack Kirk's glasses and because he had the funky eye thing, we had to drive all the way to our house first to pick up the stuff he needed, and then we drove on to my sister's. WE SPENT ALL DAY IN THE CAR....WITH ME DRIVING. Ugh.
We opened presents that night. And made the grandkids suffer through the annual pose-in-front-of-the-tree-and-pretend-like-you're-happy pictures.

We had our huge Christmas meal on Saturday night. Look at this food.....we had an Italian feast.....so much better than more turkey and dressing! I can still feel the ravioli and Cresent Roll Lasagna just sitting in my stomach. Ate.Way.Too.Much.

Here is a picture of my dad sleeping.... He can't stand it that I do this to him, but it is so much a part of our holiday traditions, that it would be close to sinful for me not to include it! *sorry, Dad*

Kirk and I celebrated our 11th anniversary on Saturday, too. We have spent every wedding anniversary with my family for the past 11 years. We probably will spend it with them for the rest of our lives. I bought myself a new pair of shoes to celebrate!

On Sunday we went to church, ate, napped, and went to a movie. Perfect day. We saw Marley &Me. I didn't all out boo hoo, but I did shed a tear or two. That dog totally reminds me of Ozzie.
We came home today. My house is now a mess of Christmas bags full of presents, suitcases, and dirty clothes. I decided to not do ANYTHING this evening, but save all those projects for tomorrow. Tonight we are just lounging around in our jammies, watching the movies the kids got for Christmas, and ignoring the mess.

Our Christmas was great. The presents were nice. The food was yummy. The time spent laughing and talking with family was the best. Remembering Jesus' birthday.....Perfection.


11 Years....

Eleven years ago today....I married my best friend.

Happy Anniversary, Kirk! I love you to the stars and back.


I'm Outta Here....After the Husband Gets Back From Hunting Coyotes

So, we're getting ready to jet out of here....

I really don't need to be taking this little bloggy-break, but I wanted to check-in for a few minutes before the house turns into a complete free-for-all of "Where are your socks?" and "I can't find my hairbrush!"

All I have left to do before we pull out is packing suitcases. Shouldn't be too hard, since ALL the laundry that I've been doing (all 21 loads of it....I know, pathetic) is folded and piled on Keaton's bed. I thought it would be easier to just lug the suitcases in there and pack, instead of putting all the clothes away, just to go and dig them back out. Poor Keaton...he had to sleep on the couch last night, since his bed was just a bit piled....

I'm not in to much of a hurry this morning, since the husband won't be back for awhile. He celebrated his first day of his 2 week vacation by going coyote hunting with a couple of buddies....yes, you read right, coyote hunting. I don't ask questions anymore. As long as he doesn't bring one of those home expecting us to eat it...I'm good.

I also discovered that I've forgotten to get one of our little cousins a present. I would never have realized it, but thankfully the boys were pulling out the presents under the tree for me, and separating them into piles as to which ones went to which grandma's house. They were reading every tag, and I noticed that they hadn't said "Alex." So, I, of course, thought they had overlooked his present.....uh, no. We searched and searched. Nothing. Then it hit me....I just returned his present to WalMart yesterday. Returned it....again, you read right. I had 2 SpeedRacer car sets setting on my table, and for the life of me, I couldn't remember who I had bought them for. I had gone over and over my list and couldn't find anyone that the cars were supposed to go to. So, I chalked them up to just being extra presents, and I took them back yesterday to get my money back before one of my kids opened them. THOSE WERE TOTALLY FOR ALEX! Argh. So, I'll be stopping at Toys R'Us on our way up North today.....Kirk is thrilled.

Although I've struggled a bit with the whole "I want to be at my house Christmas Day" thing, I'm beginning to look forward to lazing around my mother-in-law's for a few days. She makes the best Chex Mix, so I'm getting used to the idea of being a couch potato for a couple of days stuffing my face with bowls and bowls of Chex Mix! Our teenage nieces are going to be there, too, and we always have fun playing Dance Dance Revolution together, so it should be a good time! After we leave my mother-in-law's, we're headed to my sister's house. My parents are in the middle of a move (they just unloaded their U-Haul yesterday), and Mom wasn't about to try and have our family at their house for Christmas....so, since I had Thanksgiving, Michele gets Christmas.

I hope each and every one of you has an amazing Christmas. Presents are fun. Family is great. Food is amazing. But Jesus is awesome. Let us each strive to remember the true Reason for this Season, and worship our King in everything that we do.

Merry Christmas!


Randomness Run Amuck...Even Into A Men's Restroom

Tomorrow we head out on our road trip full of Bug Juice, Laffy Taffy, and the License Plate Game. Our car will be packed to the brim with suitcases, presents, pillows, coats, and all those Happy Meal toys and beef jerky packets we'll collect along the way. I'm taking a break in my pull-my-hair-out preparation day to take a computer break, and everything that is running through my head is on the far end of the random scale...

I'm wondering if I can get all my laundry done in time to pack our suitcases. I've done 14 loads of laundry this weekend, and you can't even see a dent in the dirty clothes piles. Could have something to do with all 4 of my men feeling the need to change clothes a bazillion times a day. Also could have something to do with me not having done a stitch of laundry all last week....but, we're not going to dwell on that.

Speaking of laundry....here's how bad it is. Keaton, bless his heart, has been wearing my athletic socks for the past 3 days, because his drawer is e.m.p.t.y. This is much to his dismay, but I've promised him that no one will see the pink stripe on the toe....as long as he keeps his shoe on. Just might have screwed that kid up for life.

We went to town this morning to run 5 errands....5 fast errands. Left at 7:30...didn't get home until 11:45. *frown & growl*

We ate at McDonalds today for lunch. The kids think it is because they were getting a treat. It's really because I don't have a clean pot in the house to even cook mac and cheese in, and cleaning the kitchen isn't at the top of my to-do list today. Another nomination for Mother-of-the-Year....I know....keep 'em coming.

Sawyer ordered a grown-up meal at McDonalds today. I began to wipe a tear from my eye, getting all reflective on how time flies and how my little boy is turning into a man. Uh-uh. He just wanted to be able to have a bigger cup than his brothers.....

My oldest son is either clueless or he played a dirty, dirty trick on me today. I'm hoping for clueless, because it was SO not funny. While in Wal-Mart, Sawyer had run into the bathroom, under the strict instructions to "HURRY!". I was standing right outside the bathroom, and hadn't see anyone go in or out in what seemed like 5 or 10 minutes. Sawyer is notorious for playing in the sink, so I sent his usually responsible big brother in with a message...."HURRY!". Still no Sawyer. So I wait.....I send Keaton back in....still nothing. Repeat. Nothing. On the last time out, Keaton told me that Sawyer's hands were covered in soap and he was running from sink to sink playing in the water. So, I say, "Keaton, are there any men in there?" He says, "I don't think so." Well, neither did I, since we'd been there for eons and seen no signs of male life around the restroom. So, I prance to the door, push it open, stick my head in, shouting, "HURRY!" as I go.....only to be horrified at the sight of 2 stunned men using the urinals just inside the door. Nice. I scramble out of there all while giving the stare-down to Keaton, who hasn't a clue as to why his mother is now red-faced and babbling like an idiot. To make it worse....Sawyer continued to slow-poke, forcing me to greet each of the men as they left the restroom. Sawyer is SO banished to the women's bathroom with me for the rest of his life! Keaton, too....maybe....just because.....

I still need to post all our pictures from our family Christmas. My in-laws live in the Sticks, and don't have internet access, so I'm going to be on a Blog-iday for the next few days. I'm going to try to get some posts together tonight to have ready for the next few days....we'll see if I can get that done...it is on my list! Anyway, all our wonderful present pictures (like our Dollar Tree gifts....fun!) are on the list of things to leave for you....but, I couldn't wait any longer to show you my new fantastic laptop bag.....isn't it mah-va-lus?!

So....off to climb Mountain O'Laundry....again. After that it is packing suitcases, cleaning house, and wrapping presents. I also have a nap to take....just might do that first!

Merry Christmas Eve Eve Eve!


I Just Thought I Had the Christmas Spirit....Now I Really Do!

So, we had our little family Christmas Saturday morning. Amidst all the wrapping paper remnants and the remains of the many battles with toy packaging (another post altogether...grrrr), I looked around my quaint little living room and smiled. I was really beginning to get into the Christmas Spirit....something that I have been so lacking of for the past however many weeks.

We lazed around the house playing with all our new toys, then meandered our way towards Hot Springs, to finish up a little Christmas shopping. It was actually a really enjoyable trip. Nobody cried. Nobody got lost. Nobody showed out in the store. Kirk stayed happy. It was probably the most pleasant mall trip that our family of 5 has ever had....and it all happened the Saturday before Christmas. Miracle. Seriously. So, I came home blissfully even more in the Christmas Spirit than before. Things were really looking up.

I've stayed in the Christmas Spirit all day today. My little family has giggled and laughed. I even made some Christmas goodies for our church get-together tonight. I even had big plans of blogging tonight about all my amazing presents (like my electric pink laptop case....just think Legally Blond....) and posting pictures of my little family opening up their treasures. I had it all planned out...I had already come up with some witty captions for my oh-so-fabulous pictures.

I was seriously feeling Christmas..........

.....and then I went to church tonight......

.....it started out with a fellowship pot-luck meal (which are always amazing and put me in a good mood), but then we moved into a time of worship. All the lights were turned off except the Christmas Tree lights and the flickering lights of the Advent candles. We sang carols and worshipped through the reading of the Christmas story.

I sat in complete and total awe.

Awe of the beauty of the moment. Awe of the precious sound of my middle son's voice singing "Away In a Manger." Awe of the oneness of mind of this fellowship of believers that I love so much. Awe of the togetherness of families singing together. Awe of the way that hearing such a familiar story can still give me goosebumps and make me cry.

But most of all, awe of what Christmas is all about. Tonight, sitting in the dark of my beloved church, I got it. I've been running myself ragged for the past few weeks. Filling jewelry orders, shopping for lists and lists of gifts, worrying myself to death about being ready for Santa, and beating myself up for not having 20 minutes left in a day to make a batch of Christmas cookies with my kids.

It isn't about any of that. As important as family and traditions are to this Season.....they don't hold a candle to that tiny Baby born 2000 years ago. That tiny Baby born to humble people, because God knew that The King didn't have to be a king to be The King.

Tonight we sang my most favorite Christmas song ever. It is one of those songs that when I hear it, I want it to go on and on forever. I just love it so much. I'm going to go to sleep singing it, and it will be stuck in my head all day tomorrow....but, you know what, I don't care.

Want to see a beautiful video of my favorite singer singing my favorite song.....go here. Please, oh please....you'll be so glad you did!


So Boy Crazy, I Am, I Am

I had a discussion at lunch today with some of my coworkers (over enchiladas and chips/salsa...yummo!) about the whole girl vs. boy issue.

I've written about this before, but I couldn't help but rehashing this whole concept...

I think God knew that I needed to be the mom of boys. Aside from hairbows, tutus, and that one dress from AddieMae's Closet that I've had my eye on for my imaginary daughter.....I really don't think I'm girly mom material.

Right now....this is what I see....

And I'm perfectly happy with all of it....except the dirty socks...I could do without those!

Really can't imagine my life with a daughter....actually would pity one to have to live in this Boy Crazy World!


Tomorrow Night....Oh My.

Because of our Christmas situation that I wrote about here, Santa is coming to our house tomorrow night.

Tomorrow Night!

We are leaving town on Tuesday to head North, so we thought about having our family Christmas Monday or Tuesday morning. Tuesday was quickly ruled out because I'm going to be sprouting horns that day, trying to get us all packed and double-checking all the presents to take with us (making sure that I didn't forget somebody...which I notoriously do every year).

So, then Kirk and I decided that we would do it Monday morning and he would just go in to work a little later that day. We've kept this little plan going until I rehashed the boys' presents and decided that I must have been smokin' something when we made that plan.

Sawyer is getting a BB gun and Keaton is getting an IPod. Hello! A BB gun and an IPod that is neatly wrapped under the tree with ZERO music loaded on it!

So, if we waited 'till Monday, that means the husband would jet out of here after all the unwrapping mayhem, leaving me here ALONE. ALONE!!

Alone with a BB gun and an empty IPod.

Not happening!

So, we quickly moved our family Christmas to Saturday giving Sawyer a full day of BB gun fun... with the DAD, and Keaton a full day of downloading music fun...with the DAD!

Only one minor hitch in this plan....I'm Not Ready!

And I have a killer headache right now and don't feel like doing one darn thing to help my case. So, what is going to happen is this....

I'm going to lie here in my chair dozing all night (i.e. NOT DOING A THING FOR SANTA).
Tomorrow we have our last day of school (i.e. NOT DOING A THING FOR SANTA).
Tomorrow night we have an out-of-town wedding to attend (i.e. NOT DOING A THING FOR SANTA).

Saturday morning is going to come....I'll be totally unprepared....and I might just grow my horns early....


We'll wake up and have an amazing morning in our jammies. We'll laugh and smile. We'll eat homemade doughnuts. We'll take lots of pictures of us being happy. We'll spend a fabulous lazy day at home just doing what we do best....being together.

And it won't matter one bit that I wasn't ready! (I'm totally banking on the second option!)

Dollar Tree Shopping Extravaganza

Tonight was our annual trip to the Dollar Tree.

That makes it sound like we only go there once a year...actually we frequent the treasure-trove quite often, but tonight was the annual "shop-for-each-other" trip.

A few years ago, Kirk and I decided that the Dollar Tree was an amazing deal when it came to the boys shopping for us and each other for Christmas. They have always wanted to get in on the gift giving, but it was exhausting walking the aisles at WalMart burdened by a budget and it just ended up in all kinds of frustration (mostly Kirk and I!). We got tired to shelling out $20 each for presents for 2 parents and 2 brothers, only to leave $60 poorer and with sacks full of junk.

Dollar Tree? Heaven. They can pick what they want and I'm only out $12....can't beat that.

Kirk met us after he got off work and we began our shopping spree. We split up and helped each of the boys shop for their brothers, then dished out some cash and let the boys loose to shop for us. Fun times. I didn't see any of my presents, but I did see Tate sporting around a hammer...lucky Kirk!

Let's see....my FAVORITE gift of the past.....

....when Sawyer was about 4 and picked out a Catholic Mother Mary frosted glass figurine. Amazing.

Over the Christmases, I've received lotion, soap, candles, figurines, and even a trash can!

My favorite gift of Kirk's.....the year he got the nutcracker from Keaton! That still cracks me up. (We still have it and put it out every year!) He did get a turkey baster last year....that was a pretty good present, too!

This is one of my favorite family Christmas traditions. The boys get so excited to shop for us and it is a lot of fun to see what they come up with. They can hardly wait to have us open their presents....they are so proud of them!

Such fun times!


I'll Be Home For Christmas....No, Not Really...

Kirk and I have decided that we must be the only family in America that doesn't spend Christmas morning in our own home. No...you don't understand...we have NEVER spent Christmas Day in our own home. Ever.

I guess it comes with living so far away from our families. It also comes with just being suckers.

I love spending holidays with family, but we fell into a trap early in our marriage of making the long trek north for holidays....THE holiday, to be exact. And...it stuck. Our kids came along and we kept trekking north. Now we've been going strong with this little pattern for 11 solid years....we might start a revolt if we ever decided to change the way things are.

But, this makes me sad. It really does. Santa has always come early for us. Like we're special or something....either that or not special enough for Santa to "bother" with on Christmas Eve...not sure which side of the coin that one will land on. We tried to do the whole Santa thing at Grandma's, but then we had to deal with all the cousins that don't have the "same" Santa that we do, and that just gets weird and awkward for everyone.

I'm not sure what to do to fix it. (Right now Lisa is screaming, "Put Your Foot Down!" -- I hear you, Lisa!!!) But, I'm such a pleaser by nature, that I can't. My foot is forever stuck....up (??).

It does make me sad that my kids have no idea what it is like to leave out milk and cookies for Santa in their own home...on the right night. It makes me sad that I have to come up with all the bologna stories about getting an email from Santa about needing to drop off our presents early because the elves had ours ready early and he needs the room in the sleigh Christmas Eve (yes, I really said that....sigh). It makes me sad that we don't know what it is like to stay in our jammies all day playing with all our new toys....without having to pack a suitcase to go somewhere else.

Now....I have family who reads this blog....so here is where I insert all my pleas for understanding. I LOVE SPENDING CHRISTMAS WITH MY FAMILY! I really do. Each holiday is full of love and laughter and joy, and I come away so happy and so glad that I spent the time with the people that I love so much. It is just pangs of envy for those who have the luxury of their own homes. For those whose kids sleep in their own beds on Christmas Eve knowing that Santa is coming...because that is what Santa does. Not sleeping in Grandma's floor knowing that Santa isn't stopping at their house Christmas Eve, because he was too busy, so he had to come early.

It all comes down to sacrifice I guess. And although I dream of spending Christmas in my own home with my own little family doing the things that our little family does.....I'm not really prepared to give up such amazing time spent with our extended family. Time is precious with them, so right now that is priority. So, I'm really okay to sacrifice milk and cookies on THE night and opening presents on THE morning for spending time with OUR family.

What about you? What does your family do?


Need Some Bloggy Help....Or At Least Some Sympathy!

I need your help......

....my house is now a wreck...again. I don't know what it is about this family, but we can go from pristine to pig sty in just a matter of hours. Somehow what was a clean living room is now littered with Old Maid cards, legos, the remnants of my Christmas card addressing fiesta, a basket full of folded towels, and three pairs of dirty socks. My kitchen was sparkly...but now the cabinets are sporting a couple of empty coke cans, a trail of Pringle crumbs, and the pizza pans from last night's dinner (because I was too tired to wash dishes last night before bed). Somehow the laundry has multiplied and the boys' bathroom looks as if it could pass for the next hazardous waste testing site. I so badly need to clean house...again....


My kids are fighting.....and making a mess. When I'm feeling all up in a have-way-too-much-to-do funk, I really just want my kids to "do the right thing" (my parenting catch phrase). Turns out, though, that Sawyer and Tate are feeling the need to argue over the last few crumbs in a box of goldfish crackers all while leaving a trail of their crisis all over my carpet. Keaton is "making a zoo" which involves pulling out EVERY animal toy we own and scattering them throughout the house in their respectful cages. I've already put out one fire tonight that was over a Jr. Monopoly game (which incidentally is still laying out), and another go-round which consisted of Keaton wanting to put on a magic show and Sawyer then telling him that he was a "dum-dum head." So not feeling the love tonight....

So....here's my question.....I know that a bunch of you are stay-at-home moms and have somewhat the luxury of tidying up the house while your kids are off at school....but, I do know that we all have days like this. It is crazy for me to think that your houses stay in tip-top shape no matter what, and that your families sit by your Christmas trees and play family games by firelight every evening.....I know better.....but, I know that there has got to be a better way.

I try to get the kids involved, and they are responsible for cleaning up their things and putting away their toys.....but, it seems that if I let up for even 10 minutes....the house is on a downhill spiral.....I've made job charts and chore lists. We've done rewards and allowances. And, I still can't seem to get a handle on it.

Any suggestions to keeping everything up? I seriously need some suggestions....I'm all about being okay with a house being "lived-in," but this is getting a little ridiculous!


Have I Ever.....

I've been clicking around on several blogs that I read and this nifty little meme (look...I'm using that groovy lil' word again!) keeps popping up everywhere! Being a follower by nature, it is only fitting that it pop up on mine, too!

The things that I've done are bolded. My comments are in green.

Have I Ever....

1. Started your own blog obviously
2. Slept under the stars provided the mosquitoes a tasty smorgasbord in the process.
3. Played in a band the rockin' middle school concert band....not the cool "I'm in a band" band
4. Visited Hawaii yep....very pretty. would like to go back as an adult though.
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world Disneyland...when I was little
8. Climbed a mountain climbed up the foothills of the Himalayas...does that count?
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris when I was about 12 and didn't appreciate it...want to go back
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (from the beach) many a time
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch jewelry making....is that art?
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning so nasty....got it from rat poison in some baking powder...
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables ha! don't know if you can really call it "grown"
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train on a trip through India
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill no comment
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language had a terrible Spanish teacher in high school...so I taught myself enough to pass all my tests...does that count?
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing just one of those goofy rock wall things
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud grew up in Southeast Asia....hello....rainy season!
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business Nola Mae
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma got many a free tee-shirt for all my blood
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check next question, please
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy still have all my Barbies and Cabbage Patch Kids
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial twice....once as a kid. once as an adult. much better as an adult.
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt yes...several
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London saw the guards...can't remember if they were changing when we were there or not....
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book kind of....have a short story in a published book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible yes...even the Chronicles and Leviticus!
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating helped kill and prepare lots of chickens.....never killed a deer, but have prepared lots of 'em
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous hung out with Jimmy Carter when he visited our church in Thailand.....he's famous, right?
92. Joined a book club claimed to have joined Oprah's once upon a time....didn't even finish the book though...I don't think this counts.
93. Lost a loved one too many to list
94. Had a baby 3
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Thanks, Stephanie. This was fun! If you want to play along....I want to read your list, too! Let me know!!


A Story....Not A Very Good One....But Still A Story

Once upon a time there lived a family of bears. There was a Papa Bear, a Mama Bear, and 3 Baby Bears: I Need a Serious Haircut Bear, I Think I'm a Professional Wrestler and Will Body Slam You To Prove It Bear, and I Have a Terrible Habit of Picking My Nose Bear. This family of 5 lived in a house with a red door out in the middle of nowhere.

Mama Bear decided that since it was almost time for Christmas, she really needed to get busy Christmas shopping for her 3 baby bears. So she sat her precious offspring down and had a long talk about what they might want to make this Christmas a very beary Christmas.

I Need a Serious Haircut Bear was very adamant about two things. He wanted an Ipod terribly, but was torn because he also wanted a new laptop computer. Mama Bear smiled sweetly, as if the laptop was even an option, and moved on. I Need a Serious Haircut Bear has a shiny new Ipod under the tree. Too bad I Need a Serious Haircut Bear has no music to play on it.

I Think I'm a Professional Wrestler and Will Body Slam You To Prove It Bear was equally adamant about two gifts. A red electric guitar with a "sounder that goes to 10" (amp) and a BB gun. Both amazing gifts for I Think I'm a Professional Wrestler and Will Body Slam You To Prove It Bear. I Think I'm a Professional Wrestler and Will Body Slam You To Prove It Bear will be happy....he is getting both. The family could possibly be in danger.

I Have a Terrible Habit of Picking My Nose Bear couldn't decide. There were so many things that sounded good. The Scooby Doo toys. The Indiana Jones whip. The Optimus Prime costume. I Have a Terrible Habit of Picking My Nose Bear is getting it all.....plus some. It must be nice to be the baby....even if you can't keep your finger out of your nose.

So, thanks to some help from Grandma Bears, Mama Bear is done. All the Christmas wishes of the Baby Bears coming true in just a few short days.

Now if only Mama Bear could figure out how to wrap a trip to the barber shop, obedience classes, and "Just Don't Be Gross" training up in neat little packages....

A Mama Bear can dream can't she?.....



Kind of Grinchy

Christmas is sneaking up on me.....and fast. I've been so wrapped up in projects, sickness, and exhaustion that I'm missing the whole precious process of the Season. I feel like I'm missing the fun in all of the little things that make this time of year so memorable and special to me. I almost feel like I'm in one of those crazy time warp things where I'm in slow motion, and everyone around me is going on like normal.

I wrapped some presents tonight only because it was finally time to get them out of my car....and it wasn't even fun. I love wrapping presents....I hated that I wasn't loving it tonight.

I haven't baked one batch of Christmas cookies. I love baking Christmas cookies and goodies....I hate that my kitchen isn't covered in Almond Bark and sprinkles.

Those presents I wrapped? Only 10 of them....that's all I've done. 10. I love Christmas shopping and take such pride in detailed check lists and choosing the perfect gifts.....I hate that now I've backed myself into such a corner that I'm going to be forced to do everything last minute and in town *shudder*.

My house is a wreck. I love having a clean house during the holidays (even more than any other time of the year). I love seeing our stockings hanging on a mantel that is gleaming with Pledge, my tree and presents (even if it is just 10) sitting on a floor where you can still see the vacuum lines in the carpet, and....well....even being able to see the table centerpieces. I love everything being fresh and clean and smelling good.....I hate that my house doesn't.

I haven't worked on any of my Christmas projects. Our church is making Chrismons as a congregational form of worship for our tree. Haven't even started on our family ornaments. I love being crafty....I hate that I'm having to add such a meaningful project to a to-do list.

My Christmas shirt is dirty. I'm not one that has a bazillion Christmas themed sweaters and shirts, but I do have 1 reindeer shirt that I adore. It's dirty because I haven't done laundry. This means that I have only worn my reindeer shirt once all season and at the rate the laundry is going....it may not get worn again in the next 2 weeks. Shameful. I love my reindeer shirt....I hate that I wake up in the mornings and can't wear it because it is stuck at the bottom of Mountain O'Laundry.

I haven't addressed my Christmas cards yet. They're sitting pretty in the box with their dandy
little red envelopes, all ready for addressing. I always have my cards out early....I hate that it is probably going to be the end of next week before they are stamped....let alone taken to the post office.

I really am hoping for a Christmas movie type miracle. Like where I go to bed tonight all Grinchy and Scrooge-like, and then tonight it will snow perfect snowflakes, and I will wake up in the morning with a Christmas scarf around my neck, hot chocolate in my cup, a fire in my fireplace, and have all my Christmas spirit restored.

I'm leaving my mug out tonight....just in case!



I've always wanted to be on one of those makeover shows. New hair. New makeup. New clothes. All of which would make me look amazing for one day and one day only, because there is no chance that I would ever be able to recreate it by myself at home...but, to have that one day where I was transformed. BLISS!

Since that doesn't look it will be happening anytime soon, I decided that SOMETHING needed a makeover. I don't have the money to makeover the house. I don't have the want-to to makeover the yard. So, the winner of the makeover was....


What do you think? Isn't it amazing?

This beautiful and so "me" design is by a very talented blog designer. You can find her at http://www.blogsbydanielle.blogspot.com/ She is fantastic to work with and will do everything just like you want it. I'm so happy and so glad that I gave this little Christmas present to myself!!


Yes, No, and Some Longer Answers

I've started this post 4 times....nothing is workin' for me tonight. I think I'm too tired. I've had nothing but 3 hours sleep each of the past 3 nights. And last night's 3 hours don't count, because this insanely loud thunderstorm kept waking me up....

So, because I really want to post something new, but because I have reached beyond my capabilities of any type of creativity tonight, I'm going to steal this meme (I just learned what that word means today, by the way, so I feel super-techno using it here) and call it a night....

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Depends what is going in 'em. If it wraps easy...it is wrapping paper for sure...but only the good kind from Hobby Lobby. If I can't wrap it without it looking like Tate did it....gift bag for sure.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial....always artificial. No mess and no sneezing.

3. When do you put up the tree? Whenever I can get the husband to get the boxes down from the attic...usually the week after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? Last year it was the end of January....yes, I'm one of those people.

5. Do you like eggnog? Gross.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Toss up between the me-size Raggedy Andy doll or my wicker Barbie furniture.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My mom. So hard to wrap up that "Just want everyone to be healthy and happy" that she asks for each year.

8. Easiest person to buy for? Myself....my mother-in-law has me buy my own presents and wrap them for her....works for me.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes....a handcrafted one made in Thailand.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail...definitely.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A tube of toothpaste from my sweet Aunt Fay...probably one of the most hysterical Christmas memories ever. I think my cousin got Denture Cream. *my sister just commented and said that she thought it was actually hemorrhoid cream that my cousin got....that's even better than the denture cream! HA!*

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Ooooo...love Christmas movies. Not sure much beats watching the 7 day marathon of "A Christmas Story" though.....love the leg lamp.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Week of Thanksgiving....never before.

14 . Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, but it wasn't the toothpaste.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Chocolate covered pretzels and Chex Mix.

16. Lights on the tree? Of course. White...always white.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Religious....Emmanuel. Secular.....Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home? You mean people really do that? Our little family has NEVER had Christmas in our own home.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Probably...but, I'll need to sing the song for help.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Depends on whose house we're at. My mom is worse than the kids about waiting and ours end up being opened Christmas Eve. Kirk's parents are sticklers for the Christmas morning thing.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The emphasis and stress on gift-giving.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? No theme....see here.

24. What do you want for Christmas this year? I'm supposed to say that I don't want anything, right? I'd be lieing. I want one of those flash drive things that you can plug in and get wireless internet access through any cell phone tower you are near (I should probably know the name of that, shouldn't I? Way too tired to look it up tonight, too....)

Fun stuff....

Merry Christmas!


Trying to Move

So I'm trying to figure out how to get it back? My bloggy composure that is...

These last few blog posts (I deleted a couple based on conviction) have felt like some crazy, other-worldly, cheap episode of Dr. Phil therapy. I've felt myself tearing up just thinking about some of the circumstances that led up to some of my comments and words (and some of the ones that happened after my finger hit publish), and it makes me all weepy again. Therapy, of some sort, might ought to be in order.

So, although I'm moving past my rough couple of days in real-life, I'm still trying to figure out how to move past it in blog-life.

This is my journal. My record. It has been the one journal that I've actually kept up with with any consistency, and I appreciate this forum so much. So, even though I'm a brand new blogger, I feel totally at home here. I love knowing that people are like me...that they share the same bad-hair days, scream-at-your-kids days, and don't-want-to-get-out-of-your-jammies days. I love knowing about people's families, their discoveries, their passions, and their dreams...

But, I'm at a loss....

Not really sure where to go from here. I don't have any funny stories. No crazy anecdotes. No random thoughts to type haphazardly. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

So, all apologies for those of you that are even still logging on to see what I might possibly have to say (after the last few, I'm surprised that one of you hasn't called for the white van and the straightjacket!), but this is all you get tonight....

Tomorrow.....surely tomorrow.....



Ever had a day where things are just off?

I don't mean off as in you giggle about things you wouldn't usually crack a grin at, or you eat something new for the first time and then either someone makes you laugh so it comes out your nose or you end up spitting it in a napkin only to have the preparer ask to borrow the napkin (both of which have happened to me...horrifying, I know).

No, I mean off in that you aren't even yourself. Totally an off day.

Started out with a bizarre little incident here at the house. Sorry to be so vague here, but it is in everyone's best interest...namely mine. I mean....really bizarre. Did something today that I've never done (but totally not in the good way) and then turned around and did something that I've never done (in the totally good way) to patch it...if you can call it that. Off.

Spent an afternoon of watching the clock run down time and not knowing at all where it went. I have so many projects to work on that just keep my family going that are so totally neglected. Projects like clean underwear and a dinner that consists of something other than a bag of SpiderMan fruit snacks... Off.

Have so much work to do on special orders for Nola Mae, but can't even get out of this chair to go work on it. It's like I'm glued. It isn't that I don't have the energy...I'm not a bit tired....just can't make myself do it. So instead, I'm sitting here watching VeggieTales even though every person in my house that is under the age of 9 is sleeping....again, can't get out of the chair to do anything about it, and the remote is lost in my couch. Off.

My dad threw a sermon my way this morning via the comment page on humbleness....maybe that is what this day is about....


I guess everyone needs a day of humility to ground them.....I just wish mine wasn't today....when I had so much to do.

If I could relive this day....I totally would. I would have not been bizarre this morning, and I would have chunked the clock and just buckled down. I would have climbed my Laundry Everest, and I would have at least cooked a hot dog for the poor children. I would also have pendants out to dry and in my jammies watching a good movie by now.


Still no clean undies....and still watching Larry.



Feeling a little panicky.

Tomorrow is Ribbons and Bows...my very first craft show. I've got a booth all set up and all my pendants are in place. I'm sharing my booth with Pet Panache, my friend Lisa's brilliant line of all things fantastically doggie (and kitty).

The booth looks very snappy...thanks to Lisa, and I've got about 200 pendants ready to go. But, panic is settling in the pit of my stomach.

I'm terrified that no one will buy anything and I'm going to come away feeling totally discouraged and down-trodden. Surely this is what everyone feels their first bull out of the shoot.

We'll see, I guess.....I'm sure that after a totally sleepless night and a few rounds of cold sweats, I'll feel much better!

*If you live in the area...come see us! My great friend, Stephanie, will have her very precious Addie Mae items there, too.*


Guess I Don't Know My Kids That Well After All...(a lesson in generosity)

One of my favorite parts of this Christmas season is giving. I'm like every other red-blooded human on the planet and enjoy receiving a good gift or two, but it is giving that really gets my blood pumpin'. I love every step of gift-giving, from the picking out to the seeing happy faces after the gift has been opened.

It is so hard in this crazy materialistic world we live in to keep our kids' focus on the true meaning of Christmas and on the importance of unselfishness. Especially when one of those kids is an ornery little red-head who is deadset on getting a BB Gun for Christmas and also feels as though the world revolves around him.

One thing that we usually do as an act of service to others this time of year, and that gives my kids an opportunity to take pause and actually consider the concept of generosity, is Operation Christmas Child. We have stuffed many a shoebox with our well-thought over (and sometimes fought over)tiny gifts of practicality and necessity. This year, however, the deadline crept up on me and we ran out of time. (Our small group at church and Keaton's class at school all packed shoeboxes -- so, I feel fairly involved, even though we didn't pack any personal boxes at home.)

But that left me without our usual charitable kid-oriented project. In all the craziness of the holidays and such, it actually had slipped my mind (yikes!) until yesterday and one of our usual run-into-Walmart-for-two-things-and-come-out-with-fifty trips.

Set up in the front of the store are the Angel Trees. Each tree is decorated with sheets detailing the Christmas needs and wants of area kids. I've passed by these trees a hundred times already this season, but haven't stopped to even look at the Angels. I've participated in Angel Tree projects before and know how rewarding they can be, but just have never done it with my family before.

I was on my way to waltzing right past them again, when Sawyer (the red-headed ornery one) stopped me.

That's a funny looking tree, Mom.

What's funny about it, Saw?

It is decorated in paper. How come?

Those papers tell people about kids who aren't going to have nice Christmases like you. It tells what they need and want for Christmas.

Who's going to buy them stuff?

Well, anyone who wants to. If you want to help a little boy or girl have a nice Christmas, you can have one. (I start to push my buggy on into the store.)

I wanna do that.

Insert gaping mouth and flabbergasted look....this after all is Mr. Center of the Universe...charity is not his strong suit...


Yes. I want to help a little boy.

So, my fellas and I shopped around for an angel all of our own. The boys were so excited as they circled the tree and searched for one that they wanted to buy toys for. We finally settled on this one...

We shopped and shopped for our little angel. We bought toys and clothes. Underwear and coloring books. Shoes and crayons.

And not once in the toy aisles did I ever hear anything about themselves. No "Can I keep it?" or "I want that for Christmas." They were so wrapped up in the Angel, that their own wants never crossed their mind. After getting home and looking over all our purchases, we prayed for our little Angel.

So, I'm left feeling a little guilty for thinking that my children don't have a generous bone in their bodies, and feeling a huge amount of pride in knowing that my children do get it. That even though they may act like hooligans and fight like cats, deep down they are beginning to understand one of the reasons for this very precious Season.


O Christmas Tree

I love Christmas. Aside from all of the religious significance, the season just makes me happy. It is impossible to stay in a bad mood while you are staring down the nose of a snowman stocking or looking in the eyes of a stuffed gingerbread man.

One of my most favorite things is my tree. It isn't fancy by any means, but it is full of very special memories. From tree skirt to angel topper, I can tell you every detail of each ornament's existence. Our tree has not one single decorative piece....every item is "us."

I was having a discussion with my sister the other day about trees. She has been blessed to always live in large houses, that have room to afford several trees with several themes. I know others follow this same suit, and I have wished in the past that I had a larger home, in which each room had its own personal tree. But, because we are so cramped for space, we just have one tree, and we haphazardly cram all our ornaments on it -- matching theme or not.

Last night, while we were putting up the tree, I was thinking how glad I am that we have our one very crammed tree. That our manger scenes hang next to Scooby Doo, and our snowmen mingle with the angels. I love it. We have reds and golds and blues. We have cartoon characters with elegant figures. But, this is just how I like it.....it is so "us."

Here is a sample of our hodge-podge, but perfect, tree....

One of our family traditions is that every one gets a new ornament in their stocking each year. It all started with this....the ornament that I received from Kirk on our very first Christmas together.

You may recognize this ornament, if you ever received a package that was gift-wrapped at JC Penneys in the '90s. Kirk worked there all through high school and college, and was one of the star gift-wrappers (he still wraps the prettiest packages!). When we were first married, we needed ornaments for our tree, and he brought home all the ornaments that they would decorate their packages with.....I still have them all, and I smile every time I see them. They remind me of that very special time in our newlywed lives.

We have lots of snowmen and Santas....each labeled with names and dates.

Here are some of Kirk's ornaments....every tree should pay homage to the Cards and Simpsons!

We have a whole collection of Chrismons....handmade in Thailand. (I have other ornaments made overseas, too....love that!)

We also have lots of ornaments that came from many a-game of Dirty Santa and ornament exhanges. This one is my favorite.....I fought hard for this one in a rowdy Sunday School party Dirty Santa game a few years ago! I think there are probably still some Adult 6-ers still holding a grudge over it!

We even have Elmo tucked in our tree.

I'm typing this while sitting in the dark just staring at the twinkly lights of my tree. Love it so so much! Even if it is all hodge-podgy and mis-matched. It is so perfect. Couldn't imagine anything better!!

Some of my bloggy friends have posted pictures of their pretty trees....just because Christmas trees make me happy, I wanted to share them with you....check them out here, here, here, and here.

*Another bloggy tree....this one is really fun!*


Gift Giving

I'm a procrastinator by far when it comes to my Christmas shopping. Every year I have amazing intentions of starting early, crossing off every name on my list by Thanksgiving, smirking at all the nutty people who are having to shop through the madness of after T-giving sales, and having all my gifts wrapped, tagged, and sitting pretty under the tree before the calendar is flipped to December.

Every year....same thing. DOESN'T HAPPEN!

Thanksgiving roles around and I stare at my list realizing that nothing has been crossed off the list and I have a mondo list of gifts to not only buy, but find....

I ventured out Black Friday and actually shocked myself at my lack of impulse shopping and frustration. I was amazingly at peace about the whole thing and not stressed at all.

I think this complete turn-around in Christmas shopping attitude is coming from my new perspective on things. That stuff doesn't matter.

I would like to say that I have always been a minimalist. That I've always strived for the simple way of living. That stuff has never mattered to me. Sadly, it's just not true.

I can't really pinpoint what it is that has helped me move across the line from "keeping up" to "keeping it simple," but I'm okay with it. I give a lot of credit to our church and my good friends. Appearances, pretense, and impressions have been miraculously replaced with being genuine and authentic. It has been an amazing change for me, and I've noticed my outlook shifting. (Thank you -- you know who you are! You make me smile! *grin*)

All that being said....back to Christmas shopping. I'm really going to try to scale down and give gifts that matter this year. Ones that are handcrafted or ones that are really useful and personal. Well thought out gifts, not just ones found on a sale rack.

But what about my kids? Kirk and I have tried to do the three gift thing (taken from the example of Jesus' gifts from the wisemen) and that works well for us. The kids get 1 large gift and then a couple of other gifts that are a little more useful (like PJs or a family game). Then they receive little gifts in their stockings.

I was just thinking the other day about our system and how it works for us, but that there really isn't any rhyme or reason to how we choose their presents from their lists. It really ends up being about what Kirk and I want them to have (or don't want them to have all over the living room *wink*). Since then, I've been thinking about it more and more. Not that everything has to have a formula, but I really was wanting to nail down some guidelines, just in the interest of sparing ourselves the "it's not fair" and "his is better than mine" rigmarole.

And then I came across a good friend's solution. I LOVE IT SO MUCH! You can read her full post here (and you should!) but the short version is that she and her husband follow this poem.

"Something they want, something they need, something to play with, and something to read."

She mentions that the kids have to think really hard about the things in the "need" and "want" categories. WOW! I was so excited after reading it that I ran in to tell Kirk about it, and he thinks that it's "cool." (That is man-talk for "sounds good to me").

I'm really thinking that we may try it out this year. Thanks, Meredith, for the great idea! Are you tired of my copying you yet?!?!

Now I'm excited to sit the kids down and rehash their Santa lists.....then it is off to shop! I'm beginning to get in the Christmas spirit!!!


The Bryant Family Thanksgiving

I did it!!
Actually WE did it. After the enlistment of my mom and sister, our Thanksgiving dinner turned out pretty spectacular, if I do say so myself.

Just look at this Martha Stewart-ish stuff...

Gotta give props to Mich for the lovely table decor.....

Look!! My dad made placecards!

Isn't our table pretty? And that turkey? SOOOOO GOOD! (Stephanie, tell Eric that I stuffed an orange in it, just like he said!!!)

These are my mama's mashed potatoes that are straight from Heaven. Although this year, my sister and I didn't get into a cat fight over them....wonder what's wrong. Must of been too tired from actually cooking something for once....

We had turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, stuffing, broccoli, rolls (Sister Shuberts' -- just like you guys said!), pumpkin pie, apple pie, Italian cream cake.......and.......

just because it wouldn't be the Goodrum house without it.....

macaroni and cheese (straight out the box!!).

I ate every last stinkin' bit of this.....so yummy!

I'm all about the food, and as worried as I was about the whole hostess gig, everything went off without a hitch! Michele made it look good, and my mom made it taste good! But, my favorite part of all (even better than the taters) is just being with my family! Check out all the fun we've been having....

My niece, Kayla, chowing on the drumstick.

My mom and dad

Me and Kirk

Tickle Fest....my bro-in-law, Kevin, and Tate

Crazy boys....Sawyer, Keaton, Tate, and my nephew, Jordan

Me and my sister, Michele (a.k.a. Martha)

My lazy, incredibly stuffed dog, Ozzie.....he got all the scraps plus the turkey carcass...I don't think he's moving anytime soon!
So...it's over. After all my weeks of fretting, slaving, scurrying, scrubbing, and planning....it's over. But, it was so fun...and so good!! I can't say that I want to keep having it at my house though. I still like being at my mama's, so I'll be anxious for Thanksgiving to move back to her house next year.
Oh, yah...one last picture to document the Bryant Family Thanksgiving. My sister always takes a picture at every one of our holiday get-togethers, and it is always of the same subject doing the exact same thing in the exact same position.....it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without my dad doing this.......

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!