Book Review for Thomas Nelson Publishing

I just finished up Kiss which was co-authored by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy. I have to be honest. I had heard mixed reviews on Dekker’s work and was rather skeptical about starting one of his books. But there was something about the concept of the book that intrigued me, so I decided to take a chance. I was pleasantly surprised! Kiss was a thrilling roller coaster ride of a read. The writing was phenomenal; the plot was outrageous; and the characters were riveting.

Kiss is the story of Shauna McAllister, the daughter of a powerful and very influential family. Shauna awakens in a hospital realizing that she has lost months of memories. As she journeys down the road to recover and rediscover herself, she finds herself swimming in a sea of scandal and lies. She is left not knowing who to believe and finding that some of her closest allies are actually her worst enemies. Shauna also develops an unusual power of the mind, in which she realizes is both an asset and a hindrance. In this power, Shauna begins to rediscover her lost memories and unearth tragic family secrets. Shauna also finds love and a new relationship with the Lord.

Kiss is unlike any other Christian fiction book I have read. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys suspenseful nail-biters mixed with true emotion.



This might possibly qualify as the worst day I've had all year at school.

Vagueness isn't one of my better qualities, but I totally have to delve down deep and try to pull it out. Just can't go into details, as much as I want to.

I cried a lot today. A lot. A lot. At the end of the day there was no makeup left on my face, and I had run my hands through my hair so many times that it was remarkably hideous. Not good. Not good at all.

I warned my kids in the car on the way home that I had had a rotten day, so we discussed (i.e. I told them) that we were going to work extra hard today to be sweet to each other and basically....don't get on mom's nerves! Sounds harsh, but seriously...not sure how much more I can take today.

I told the boys that they could play outside or watch TV, but that I was going to take a few minutes and try to relax. I plopped down here to spend some quality time with all of my friends who live in my computer (such good therapy for me).

Next thing I see is this:

And then he sat down to do this:

I cannot tell you how much I love to have my hair brushed. Kirk knows that one way straight to my heart is to brush my hair, and I have often bribed my boys to brush while they watch cartoons. Talk about hairapy.

So my little angel came to my rescue today. I swear I didn't ask him to do it. I guess he just sensed his mama needed a little pampering today. Sweet boy.

I'd have him paint my toenails, too, if I didn't think my living room would end up looking like Jackson Pollack just got ahold of it!! :)


A Message To My Friends

I'm feeling a bit blue tonight.

I have several friends that are hurting right now and it makes me sad. I feel totally helpless and can't stand that they are having such a hard time.

They are fighting feelings of unfairness. They are being misunderstood. They are feeling inadequate. They are dealing with really difficult circumstances. They are depressed. They are asking "Why?" They are having to say "No."

I've been there....so many times. And yet I have no advice. No suggestions. I even feel like my encouraging words aren't worthy of their situations.

I've read some blogs today that have made me weep and have had some conversations today that have left me aching for my friends.

All I can say is that I love you guys. You are my friends because you are something phenomenal. You inspire me because you are real. I'm hurting because you are hurting.

I know that there is nothing I can do except love you and pray.

Done. You got it.


25 Thing About Me

I’ve been tagged a gazillion times to do this meme (there’s that blog-erific word again!!), and am just now sitting down to do it. 25 random and interesting things about me? Really? I’m not even sure I could find 25 random and uninteresting things about me. We’ll see how this goes…..

1) I used to be terrified of dogs. No kidding. Like scream at the top of my lungs and climb my mom terrified. It was all caused by a little black poodle who got a little too friendly when I was a baby. Dadgum poodle. (Note….I am now only frightened by big scary dogs or dogs whose owners warn you to not “look them in the eye”….thanks, Lisa!)

2) I have a birthmark of the Hawaiian Islands on my left thigh.

3) I sing in the shower , and sometimes use my shampoo bottle as a microphone.

4) I secretly wish I could have another baby, and I have prayed that it would happen for us. (Don’t tell Kirk!)

5) I made a pact in Jr. High with my best friend to meet at the Sears Tower on 9-9-09 at 9:00 a.m. Haven’t talked to her in years. Still trying to decide if I should go or not. You think she’ll be there?!

6) My favorite food is Macaroni and Cheese. Lucky for my kids.

7) I am guilty of re-gifting…..often. *gasp*

8) I’m obsessed with Jon and Kate Plus 8.

9) I wore Mickey Mouse boxer shorts and a white tee-shirt under my high school graduation gown, and I walked across the stage barefooted. No heels and black dress for me….saved that for college.

10) I backed into a really pretty black camaro several years ago at Pizza Hut. The driver of the really pretty car? My ex-boyfriend. From Missouri. In my town in Arkansas…at my Pizza Hut. Anyone else see anything wrong with this picture?

11) I have a huge crush on Peyton Manning. Go Colts!

12) I hate to cook, but I love to bake.

13) I have only ever received one speeding ticket….shocking, really.

14) I worked for Long John Silver’s in high school. *shudder*

15) I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was almost 18.

16) My first major in college was Broadcast Journalism. I wanted to be a News Anchor.

17) The only surgery I have ever had was when I had my wisdom teeth out. Does that count?

18) I laugh when I’m nervous and upset. Thus the reason that I have laughed through all my children’s vaccinations. Really surprised that the nurses never called DHS on me.

19) I bite my nails.

20) Cinnamon scented candles make me nauseous.

21) I drank castor oil cocktails while pregnant trying to induce labor. Oh, yes, I did. Can still taste it in my mouth. So gross. Do not suggest it….at all….so not worth it.

22) I would have named my children “Emma Kate” had they been girls.

23) I want to be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune something fierce.

24) My fantasy vacation involves me, New York City, and an endless supply of cash. *drool*

25) I married one of my greatest friends from high school. I still pinch myself to see if I’m dreaming!



I have a long list of hobbies, but very near the top of favorites is QUILTING!

I love it so much.

And one of my best friends, Stephanie, has inspired me to dig out my quilting hoop and needles once again. Thanks, Steph! (Check out Steph's quilt she is working on here....so cute!)
I have always loved quilts. I love how each of their pieces represent something significant about the quilter. Whether it be the old rag quilts, with their bits and pieces of grandpa's flannel shirts or old gingham dresses. So Little House on the Prairie. Or the quilts pieced in the midst of the polyester age. I have a couple of double-knit quilts....complete with pea green and harvest gold squares. Groovy, Baby. Or the quilts pieced with decorative fabrics....it says so much about the quilter's taste and personality.

I have chests and trunks full of old quilts, and I love to take an evening every once in awhile to dig them out and admire their craftsmanship. I love to imagine my family members as they sat and stitched. Amazing.

I'm working on a quilt right now that is taking me A LONG TIME! I think I'm going on 2 years. Whoa.

Here's the deal. It is 100% hand-pieced and (will-be) hand-quilted! No sewing machine here, folks.

My grandmother (my mom's mom) was working on a quilt when she passed away. She had completed about 60 quilt blocks....all tiny hexagons and all completely hand pieced. They aren't my first choice in fabrics, but they are stitched to perfection and are so full of memories and nostalgia.

Several years ago, my grandfather gave my mom the quilt blocks. In turn, my mom passed them to me. I'm working on piecing the blocks together. The honeycomb style of the quilt is making it a slow and tedious process. Everything has to be hand stitched together, and I couldn't use a machine if I wanted to.

I'm so excited about finishing it up and am about a third of the way there. It is so relaxing to me to sit in front of the TV and stitch away. I'm sad that our busy schedule hasn't allowed for much stitching lately.

But, I'm resolving to be more diligent. I can't wait to finish it up and give it to my mom!

Here's what I'm working on. Cute, huh?

(Is this the first time you are seeing it, Mom?)


A Meme of Weird (and Superficial) Questions

Here is little meme (I still get all kinds of excited when I use that word. It makes me feel all techy and blog-er-ific!) that I ran across. Since I'm suffering from Sunday afternoon brain shut-down and blog-block....here goes....

1. If you could say anything you wanted to say to George Bush, what would you say? I would say "thanks." Thanks for being a President that, in the midst of great controversy, never wavered in his values or his character. I can't imagine being in a position so highly scrutinized and having to live day in and day out with constant criticism. I'm proud to be one of his supporters and have been thankful for him as the leader of our country. (Also realize that I might have just lost a few readers by that one statement. Also okay with that.)

2. If you had to be the mother of Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan, who would you choose and why? I'd take 'em both. Bless their hearts. I think they just need some grounding and someone to love them.

3. You get to be Queen for a day. The kids are all taken care of, and you can spend as much money as you want. What do you do all day? I'm supposed to end war, right? No....I'm going to be much more superficial. I'd fly all my girlfriends to NYC to shop all day, with Stacy London (from What Not To Wear), and have full makeovers. Hair. Makeup. New Jimmy Choo shoes and Gucci bags. (Realizing fully that all of my girlfriends are like me and don't have ANYWHERE to wear Jimmy Choo shoes and carry Gucci bags....but whatever.) Then, in the evening...we'd all go to a Broadway showing of Phantom of the Opera....wearing our new shoes.

4. Is there a song that brings tears to your eyes every time you hear it? If so, which one? "When I Get Where I'm Going" by Brad Paisley. I loved this song from the first time I heard it, but it was sung at my grandpa's funeral....haven't been able to hear it without tearing up since. Love it.

5. A fairy taps you on the shoulder and tells you that you can either have a perfect face or a perfect body for the rest of your life. Which do you choose? Gosh...this is a superficial post. Oh well. I would go for a perfect body. I get tired of clothes not fitting right.

6. If you could live any place in the world and money was no object, where would you live and why? Toss up. Kirk's dream is to live in a beautiful cabin up in the mountains out West. I'd love that, too. I really would. Something about looking out your window and seeing snow covered mountains and clear blue waters....paradise. But, I'd love to live right on the beach somewhere. To step out of my backdoor and hit the sand....oh my goodness.

7. What is your biggest regret in life? I don't believe in regret. I believe that all the "bad stuff" are just stepping stones for lessons learned. But...I will say that one thing I do wish I had done (daily) is not having followed my true dream in college. I went the safe route and got an Education degree. I so wish I had followed my gut and went to nursing school. I was so terrified that I wouldn't be able to pass the classes that I wussed out. Now I'm stuck wanting so badly to go back to school to get my nursing degree and not being about to juggle the scheduling of it all. One day. One day.

8. If you could go back and visit one person in your life who is now dead, and ask one question, what would that question be and why would you ask it? I will not go into details here, out of respect for my family. But, I would speak in detail with my grandfather. There are some questions and situations that should have been addressed while he was alive. We all learned a lesson of not putting off what needs to be said today, just because it is more comfortable to avoid confrontation.

9. If you had the choice to age forward (like we are now) or aging backwards (think Benjamin Buttons) which would you choose and why? Weird question. Going to go with ageing forward like we do now. Who would choose the other way?

10. What will the epitaph on your headstone say? Kirk says that he will put, "A Beautiful Aggravation." Sweet, huh? Love you, too, Honey.

Okay....so these were some crazy questions. But, fun to think about....especially the makeovers! Let's go girls...I'm ready!! :)


Need Me Some Girls

I'm just now watching the Miss America Pageant that I DVR'd earlier. (Don't tell me who wins yet...I'm only to the talent part....with the feathered Hula dancer.)

I love pageants.

I can remember curling up on the couch with my sister and my mom picking our favorites and groaning at the TV when the "ugly" girls got picked. We'd scrutinize their dresses and drool over their hair. We'd giggle at the "World Peace" girls, and feel sorry for the girls that had to act like they were happy after they got kicked off.

I've got some good pageant watching memories.

For whatever reason, though, I've fallen off the pageant-watching wagon in the last few years. And I didn't realize how much I've missed it.

Until tonight.

The only problem is...I'm sitting here with a boy watching it. He is no fun to discuss dresses or hair with. And he doesn't understand my need to pick a favorite.

Ugh. I need me some girls up in here.


My Mama

Today is my mom's birthday.

I heart that woman so much.

If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting my mama, then you already know what an amazing woman she is. Talk about the picture of Proverbs 31....

This is my mama and daddy. Aren't they the cutest?

So, Mom....Happy Birthday! Hope it was a great one. I love you so much, and when I grow up...I want to be just like you! Love, Amb





Confrontation with people I really care about.

Double Shudder.

Confrontation, of all shapes and sizes, makes me want to throw up. I get totally stressed out, and I just feel like hiding in my jammies...far, far away from the entire situation. It is so much easier for me to just bow out than confront. It really is that hard for me.

I know that confrontation is just a part of relationships, and I know that I could be way more mature about it (like sucking it up and dealing with it), but it still makes me positively nauseous to even consider. Why, oh why, can't I just be brave and big and oblivious?

Tomorrow I have to confront a group of people that most everyone who knew the situation would laugh at the thought of me even being nervous about talking to. And, in the rational part of my brain, I get that. I get that it is ridiculous. But, that doesn't help the ginormous emotional chunk of my brain that tends to take over most days.

I'm dreading it. I'm wired to be a people-pleaser (yes, I get that it is unhealthy) and people-pleasing is really what I'm good at. I hate making decisions (indecisiveness is in my genes!) because I'd rather the other person be happy, even if that requires me to be miserable.

So, tomorrow I'm going to be a big girl and do what needs to be done.

But, you can bet that I will keep my best friends, Pepto and Bismol, right by my side.


What a Boring Closet

I was looking in my closet this morning while I was having one of my usual "I have nothing to wear!" mornings, and I decided that I have a pretty boring closet. Most of my clothes are all the same style, and I tend to wear the same things over and over.

I have a couple of favorite pieces that I'm super shocked when I pull them out of the dryer and they are still in one piece. Like this sweater. I think I wear this sweater at least once a week. I know people are thinking, "Here comes the sweater again." But, I love it so much. I'm not even sure if it is even in-style anymore, but who cares. I like it!

I also saw on What Not To Wear (I heart that show) the other day that cable knits are a no-no. Whoops. Look at all of these cables in my closet. I like cable knits, though. I feel all preppy and smart when I wear them....and when I wear a white button-up under them....oh my. I feel like I should put on my argyle socks and sip tea with my pinky in the air.

I have about 15 pairs of jeans in my closet and I wear only 2. Pathetic.

I also realized that I am single-handedly stockpiling the world's supply of crew neck cotton t-shirts. You name the color....I'm pretty sure I got it. Just look at this rainbow....and these were just the first few I found in my closet.

I know I'm in need of a good purging of my closet. But, I'm not sure what I would get rid of. My cables? I like 'em too much. My so-close-to-thread-bare sweater? Nope. It's not going anywhere. My crew necks? Heck no. What if one day I am called upon to be a bowl of ice cream in a play? I would need my orange sherbet colored crew. And how could I ever part with my Barney-purple crew neck? C'mon now. And I guess I could get rid of the 13 pairs of jeans that I haven't worn in a year....but....well....I don't have a good reason not to. It just doesn't feel right to throw them out.

So, I'm just going to keep on being boring. Same ole' sweaters. Same ole' shirts. Same ole' jeans. Works for me.

What about you? What's in your closet?


Ramble Ramble Ramble....and a New Do

Today was kind of a random day....so here's to a random post.

I got my hair cut today. I've been thinking about it for awhile now, but decided to just bite the bullet and do it. Too bad I didn't think earlier about before and after pictures, but I decided on a whim to go do it today, so I wasn't thinking camera=pictures=good blog posting. Oh well.

It's short, isn't it? Oh, but I really like it. At least I like it today. It is still all bouncy and good-smelling from the beauty shop. I'll let you know my feelings after I have to tackle it tomorrow on my own. (Always the scariest part of a new haircut for me. Yikes!)

While I'm on the subject of hair cuts....what is up with guys liking long hair? I had this conversation with the girl doing my hair today. She said that EVERY OTHER PERSON that sits in her chairs mentions that her husband likes long hair. What? They don't have to fix it! I've decided that if Kirk wants to wake up 20 minutes earlier every morning to dry and straighten it for me, then...fine....I'll grow it out. But, if I'm responsible....short hair it is.

On another note....I didn't watch the inauguration today...unless 6:00 news coverage counts. We tried to watch the webcast at school today, but because every other person in the world was watching it online today, the picture was choppy and it sounded like Obama had a serious stutter. I tend to suffer from some ADD....so I gave up. I couldn't follow it and figured that the news stations would be playing clips for the next 3 weeks, so eventually I'd get to see the whole thing.

Is it bad that I'm more excited about American Idol tonight than I am the inauguration? That is terrible. It's not that I'm unpatriotic or that I am failing to recognize the significance of this day in our nation's history....I'm just really looking forward to Idol. (Maybe I shouldn't put that in writing. Oh well. I'll take my chances.)

While I'm in reality TV mode....I'm totally hooked on The Bachelor. Ugh. It is like a train wreck. So pitiful that I can't stop watching. Not sure why he kept the mean girl and the stalker last night.....SCARY. My favorites right now are these two.

Keaton cooked dinner tonight. I was served a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a slice of cheese, and water (with ice) in a champagne flute. It was marvelous. I love "Kids Cook Nite" at our house. Fun stuff! I could have kicked myself for not taking pictures of this, too, and I actually thought of it this time....but my camera's batteries were dead....grrrrrrrr.

Sorry for the rambling.....

Happy Tuesday!



My day started at 3:30 this morning. That's early. Really early.

I rolled out of bed and crawled to the shower. I stayed in longer than I should have because the water was lulling me back to sleep. I think I took a little nap between shampooing and conditioning. I might have conditioned twice...just because I couldn't remember. I dried my hair, but refused to straighten it. Too much work. And no one should work at 4 a.m. I chose clothes that didn't need ironing and scrounged around in my makeup bag. I think I only ended up with mascara and lip gloss today....again too much work to do all the rest. I kissed my men goodbye while they snored and slipped out of the house with my hair flipping every which way.

To say awake I blasted some music and sang at the top of my lungs. I could because I was alone. This morning I was belting some Taylor Swift. Got to be one of my favorite singers of all time....I heart her like I heart High School Musical. What am I? Twelve? Geez.

As I sang about being 15 and lovin' some boy named Steven, I headed for Little Rock. At 5:00 in the morning. I stopped at a truck stop to get gas along with all the construction workers and farmers dressed in their Carhartt coveralls and John Deere hats.

I rolled into the Rock just as the sun was waking up.

I pulled into the parking lot and turned off the car. Taylor Swift sang to me, and I checked my mascara. I had yawned some of it down onto my cheeks. I cleaned myself up, stretched twice, and stepped out of the car. And made my way in the door of.....

Yes. Krispy Kreme.

Yes. I woke up at 3:30 for Krispy Kreme. And drove an hour for Krispy Kreme. And went to school and worked all day for Krispy Kreme (we weren't out for school today like the rest of the world).

Note. I'm all about the warm, luscious goodness of a fresh Krispy Kreme donut....but not that much.

Oh no. My momentary lapse of sanity that happened when I actually set my alarm last night for 3:30 a.m. is a result of this crazy new identity that I've taken on.....

Meet me. Mother. Wife. Teacher. And now....PROM SPONSOR.

Oh Lands.

I'm now neck deep in prom magazines, food menus, decorations, budgets, invitation samples, and, my new nemesis.....FUNDRAISERS!!

You got it. I drove all the way to Little Rock this morning to pick up fundraiser boxes of donuts. I think at one point today there were 172 boxes of Krispy Kremes in my room at school.

If I never see another donut in my life....I'll be just fine.

(*Krispy Kreme is a FABULOUS business to work with. They have been super nice to us and have been amazing. Check them out if you ever need a good fundraising idea.....or if you just need a donut!*)


In Case of Emergency....Don't Do As I Do

There is a brand spankin' new window in my bedroom now.

All thanks to.......

A hammer. Wielded by.....me. That's right....me.

It is all Kirk's fault though. Honest. If he hadn't left on a trip last month, our old window would still be intact. At least that is what I continue to claim.

It all started on a Sunday morning, a very cold Sunday morning, in December. Kirk had left early for the airport and was on a plane to Miami by the time the boys and I woke up. I hurried around the house that morning trying to get us ready for church and out of the door on time. Looking our Sunday best, I pushed the boys out of the house, grabbed my purse, and headed to the van. We buckled up and I began to dig around in my purse looking for my keys. Nothing. Searched my pockets. Nothing. Interrogated the boys. Nothing.
Aha. I'd locked my keys in the house.

This is a fairly common problem for me. And luckily we keep a key hidden for just such an occasion. This time though....out of luck. Kirk had just replaced the locks on our house a few weeks before, and I hadn't had extra keys made yet. (This is where I'm being told by Kirk to make sure I add that he had reminded me numerous times to get the keys made...yada yada yada.)

Keep in mind that it is FREEZING outside; Kirk is on a plane; and everyone we know is at church already. I racked my brain. I'm not good under pressure, so I cried a little, too...okay...a lot. I think I also said a couple of things that I shouldn't have and freaked out my kids. I told you that I'm terrible under pressure.

I checked all our windows even though I knew they would all be locked, because I'm pretty OCD about that kind of stuff. Our sliding glass door was also locked and barred....more OCD. I know nothing about picking locks, but knew enough to know that Kirk had bought the heavy duty locks when he switched them out, so assumed that breaking in my own house by way of the front door was probably a no go.
I went through my options. My not-good-under-pressure options.

1) Call a locksmith.
  • I went back and forth on this one, because I was imagining the cost involved in calling a locksmith on a Sunday morning to drive all the way out in the sticks where we live. I'd had to call a locksmith to get the keys out of my car during normal working hours and practically had to sell a kidney to pay for it.
2) Bust down my front door.
  • Just didn't seem right and couldn't really imagine how I would do it even if I wanted to. And I was wearing high heels.
3) Just go stay in a hotel or at a friend's house until Kirk came home.
  • No keys to drive anywhere and was too cold to wait on everyone to get out of church and turn their cell phones back on.
4) Break a window.
  • Seemed crazy but doable.

I was torn between the locksmith and the window. I went back and forth for a few minutes and finally opted for the window. I told you that I'm not good under pressure. Panic tends to overtake me and all of my good decision-making skills.

So, I headed to Kirk's shop in search of a hammer. I'd seen on TV how people wrapped a towel or something around their hands so they wouldn't get cut with the glass, so I grabbed an old t-shirt....closest thing I could find to a towel.

I'm sure that my boys were petrified at the sight of their frantic, sobbing mother heading around the back of the house armed with a hammer. Bless their hearts. I really think I'm scarring them for life.
I decided to break my bedroom window. I knew I needed to break a window at the back of the house so as to not advertise to the world that we had an easy access. The only other windows back there are Keaton's window and the kitchen window. I was parenting well enough at the moment to consider my child and to not want him to have the broken window. The kitchen window would have required me climbing on the doghouse and then crawling into the sink....didn't sound pleasurable in heels. So I opted for mine.

I tapped the window carefully at first with the hammer, still believing that this whole thing really wasn't happening to me. Then, when it didn't shatter instantly, I went for the kill. I busted that window with everything I had. CRACK! There were tiny pieces of glass everywhere.
I hadn't realized that the glass would stay in the window though. I was imaging it all busting clean out of the frame. Uh....no....there were huge shards of glass all jaggedy and scary looking. And I was needing to climb through that....more panic. I carefully (with the T-shirt hand) picked out the glass shards enough to where I thought I could get through the hole without seriously injuring myself. I did an okay job....I only got 3 nasty cuts and one glass splinter. Ouch.

I made it through the window and into the house. I retrieved the keys and met my freaked out kids outside. With my heart pumping a mile a minute at the realization that now I had a ginormous hole in my house, I searched our shed for a piece of wood to cover the hole. Luckily, Kirk had a large piece of plywood that the boys helped me drag through the back yard and prop up against my window. Just FYI -- plywood is heavy, y'all.
I checked my watch.....we still had time to make it to church. I debated on staying home and trying to patch up the window. But, I knew I needed plastic sheeting and didn't have a clue as to whether Kirk had any of that or not. (I only knew what I needed from watching all the tornado and hurricane coverage on the news.) Recognizing that it was in the middle of the winter and the likelihood of a snake or other critter crawling in the hole in my house was probably slim....the boys and I went to church. Noble, huh?

After church and after stopping by WalMart to buy window patching supplies, I changed clothes and stared at the hole in the house with tears in my eyes. This kind of thing only happens to me. But, I put on my big girl face and enlisted Keaton for help. Together we cleaned up the rest of the glass (wearing Kirk's way-way-too-big-work-gloves) and tacked up the plastic sheeting. Then together, we hung wood over the hole (just like I saw all those hurricane people do on the news). All said and done....we didn't do too shabby. I used power tools and everything!

Needless to say, I stayed upset about the whole incident for awhile. Kirk was really sweet about the whole thing (after the initial phone call....yikes!).

We just got our new window last week. It is so pretty and shiny.

And this is the best part.....it only cost $45. HA! I was so right about the locksmith vs. window thing.

It pained Kirk a little bit to admit that I was right. And then he reminded me that if I had just had the new keys made when he asked me to, then we would only be out the $1.30 for the key.

Ugh. I hate it when he is right. I was so close.



I've visited many a blog this morning and have been overwhelmed by the number of posts that say the same thing: Pray for Harper. Harper is a sweet baby girl that is brand new, but who is struggling for her little life. Her mom, Kelly, is a fellow OBU alum and a blogger that I love to visit with. Harper's parents have tremendous faith in our Great Big God and are trusting the Lord to heal her tiny fragile body. Please take a moment to visit Kelly's blog (by clicking on the above picture link) and read of Harper's updates. And please pray for Harper.


Scrap Happy


Blissful amazement. I heart this hobby of mine so so so much.

My sister, Michele, introduced me to scrapbooking back when I was pregnant with Keaton. I took to it instantly. It became a passion and a great creative outlet. Keaton's baby book was jammed packed with every breath and movement of his first years. I detailed each month with precision. I have pictures (and detailed journaling) of his first steps, his first tooth, and his first pickle.

Then came Sawyer. My style of scrapping began to take a turn for the highly embellished, causing me to leave a crop night with only a few pages done. The pages were beautiful, but they only caused me to begin to fall behind....totally not being able to stay caught up with the rate that I was taking pictures! But, somehow or other (thanks to many a LOOOONNNNGGG night), Sawyer's scrapbooks detail all his happenings including his first smile, his first hospital stay, and his first haircut (complete with a precious red curl).

Then came Tate. Poor Tate. His books are minimalized to say the least. They are beautiful, and I'm so proud of them, but I didn't include EVERY single happening. I focused more on my favorite pictures, instead of every move he made. Trying to keep up with all 3 boys' scrapbooks plus our family album, made it so hard to spend the time I needed to on Tate's books. In fact, I think I have a whole page dedicated to pictures of his little body parts like his belly button and toes, but I don't have any documentation of when he first walked. Hmmmm....

And then I stopped. 2 years ago I stopped scrapbooking. Cold turkey. I'm going to blame it on my family. Not my little family of 5 family, but my dad, mom, and sister. A few years ago, my sister and I decided to pool our talents to make scrapbooks for our grandmother, uncle, and cousin detailing our family heritage. And these weren't little dinky books. I'm talking several hundred page scrapbooks.....the kind that cause you to not sleep because you are cutting, sticking, and stamping your way through the night just to get them done. They were marvelous presents and I'm so glad that we did them...but, oh my....talk about burnout. Then there was the ginormous scrapbook that I made for my parents that outlined our missionary experience in Bangladesh. Again....amazing treasure....amazing burnout.

And that was it. Haven't picked up a cutter since.

And now I'm sad. I miss it. It has taken me 2 years to miss it. But I do. So much.

Only problem.....I'm 2 years behind and have a stack of CDs packed with pictures a mile high.

I've had people say that I just need to go digital. I just can't make myself do it. I love the feel of the papers and tools and embellishments too much. I love that my layouts are all hand pieced. I also would be hanged by my toenails by my husband if I ever quit hand-scrapping for good. Several years ago, he made me this AMAZING scrapbook cabinet....isn't it beautiful?
He would kill me if I never used it again.

But, being 2 years behind is so daunting to me. I can't imagine starting where I left off and trying to catch myself up. Time doesn't grow on trees around these parts. And I also hate the idea of forgetting 2 whole years of our family's lives just because I couldn't stay on top of things.

SO....this is what I've decided to do. I'm going to cave. For the 2 years that I'm behind, I'm going to go digital. I'm going to hop on one of those nifty make your own digital albums sites like here and here and try to get my family's lives documented for 2007 and 2008.

And then......I'm going to start fresh. By hand. I'm going to open my beautiful cabinet back up, pick up my cutters, and stick on a sticker. I'm going to roll out my ribbons and attach an eyelet.

And it is going to feel oh.so.good.

How about you? Are you a scrapper? What do you do to stay on top of your books? I'd love to hear your ideas.....because I hate the thought of falling so far behind again.

***Scrapping must be on the brain....Charity and Nina both were scrappy minded today, too!***


Still Fuming...Just A Bit

I don't know who I'm more frustrated with....the boys or their school.

Uh...yah, I do...

The boys.

The ornery knuckleheads.

Everyday after school, the two big boys hop on a school bus and ride it to the high school to meet me. This is really handy and they get their school bus-fix all in one whack. Then, together, we head back to the elementary to pick up Tate (I have to sign him in and out of preschool). The boys riding the bus keeps me from having to bust my tail to get to the elementary to wait in the car rider line. If I'm not at school one day or there is a plan change, then I send a note with them to the school that lets the boys and their teachers know that they are car riders for the day. There are some days, too, when I'm not at school that the boys ride home with my teenage children (I call them that, because I claim that family as my own!), and they always ride the bus and meet them at the high school.

We have done this EVERYDAY for the entire school year. Let's see...how many days have we been in school? Like 90-something?

Something went awry in their tiny brains THIS WEEK.

On Monday, Tate was sick. So, like always, I sent notes with them to school labeling them as car riders, since Tate and I were home that day. No problem.

On Tuesday, we were back at school, and I was waiting at the high school for the big boys to run in the door of my room after school (like always). Keaton came busting in my room yelling, "Mom! Mom! Sawyer is stuck at the elementary! I saw him when I was on the bus!" What?! I grabbed my keys and headed that way only to find a crying Sawyer waiting in the office (where all the car riders wait when their moms forget them). Through his tears he explains that he thought he was a car rider "because I was yesterday." Crazy kid. We had a lengthy discussion about NOT changing the plan unless Mom says so.

Wednesday worked out for all of us.....they remembered to ride the bus.

Today....different story. I was sick this morning and Kirk took them to school for me. I headed to school a little late, and went about my day as usual. I was waiting...and waiting...and waiting for the boys after school. And they never came. Then, I hear that someone saw them in the car rider lane at the elementary. What in the world?! So, I grabbed my keys and headed that way. There they were. Standing together looking pitiful. They opened their mouths to fuss at me for being late just as I opened my mouth to fuss at them for not following through on the plan. We fussed at each other all the way down to Tate's room and then all the way back out to the car. The boys are thoroughly convinced that since Dad brought them to school....they were car riders. I guess I kind of see their point, but I kept harping my point of NO NOTE. NO NOTE.

We seriously have done this EVERY DAY for a year. Never have I NOT sent a note if they were to be car riders.

Can you tell I'm still just a BIT grouchy about all of this....

C'mon boys. This is not that hard.


Tag...You're It!

So I got tagged for this nifty little bloggy game by Jennifer and Lisa. Looks fun AND I'm having bloggy-block...so this works for me.

The rules go a lil' somethin' like this:

1) Go to your 4th folder where you store your photos.
2) Select your 4th picture (no exceptions)!
3) Post the picture with an explanation and link it back to your tagger.
4) Tag 4 people to do the same!!

I honestly haven't even looked in my picture folders, so I have no idea what is going to pop up here. Hopefully it is nothing too disturbing.....

Here goes....

HA! Looked what popped up....good ole' Ozzie. Our funny 3 legged dog. I know, I know, he has 4 legs, but one leg is completely dead, so he can only use 3. Ozzie loves to sleep all spread-eagle and out-there.....goofy dog.

Now....your turn!

1) Michele

2) Kristin

3) Laurinda

4) Aaron

Have fun!!


Why We Do What We Do Here In Bloggy World

I just received a really sweet email from a very dear friend (Hi, L!) who wrote to thank me for my blog. She said some really precious words, and her message made me a little weepy.

But, she got me thinking about my blog and why I even have it.

I started this blog under some peer pressure. Not like hard-core pressure, but a simple I want to be like my friends kind of pressure. I've always liked to write, and blogging looked like fun. I honestly didn't think that I would keep it up, because I have NEVER been able to stick with journaling or writing in diaries. I really thought that this would be a passing fad. I never thought that blogging would "stick."

Stick....it has. This blog has been such an amazing experience for me. That sounds so corny, but it has actually served as major therapy for me. Just to write about my massive Mountain O'Laundry makes me feel a little better when I go to scale it. I also LOVE being able to keep up with my real-life friends and family through their blogs. To peek into their day-to-day lives helps me to know and appreciate them and their families so much more. I've also "met" some amazing people via this blog that I've never even seen in real life. I know about their children, their histories, their hopes, and their passions. Blogging has made this huge world smaller, and I love that!!

Today when I received that email from my friend, I actually was shocked to find out that she read it. I forget that people do. I will run into someone in WalMart who will comment on my blog, and I go away amazed that they even knew I had one, let alone read it. It is very humbling to me to know that my incessant ramblings actually draw readers. I appreciate each and every one of you so much!

This brings me to why I read the blogs that I do....

I've already mentioned that I love being able to share people's lives with them via their blogs. My friend mentioned that just knowing that there are other moms and wives out there that are going through the same day-to-day stuff that she is makes her feel better. Me, too. I love reading that other people forget to have their kids brush their teeth, that they let their laundry pile up, and that sometimes their husbands drive them crazy. I love reading that there are dirty dishes in other people's sinks and that other people yell at their kids sometimes. It makes me feel less alone.

So....why do you blog? Why do you read the blogs that you do? Please leave me a comment and let me know. I would love to hear what your take on all this is.

And thanks for reading....I love your visits! :)


Book Review

I'm a Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger. I'll be honest. I first signed up for this to get free books. Seemed like an easy trade. I read the book and write a little review....I get free books. No brainer. So, I signed up for my first book, thinking that it was just another 'lil book I'd read and add to my library, then I could move on to the next book. Let me just say....my first book out of the shoot....left me speechless and amazed.

I just finished reading Rex by Cathleen Lewis. This story weaves a powerful story of hope and inspiration written from a mother's perspective. Lewis tells her story as mother, friend, and advocate to her son Rex. Rex suffers from multiple disabilities, including blindness and autism. These disabilities are extremely taxing on both child and parent, but the severity of his handicaps and the non-textbook nature of his conditions, cause months and years of frustration and angst on Lewis. Her story outlines her struggle to not only understand her son's many intricacies, but advocate on his behalf in the face of doctors, peers, teachers, and society.

Lewis relies on her faith in God to sustain her through the challenges of raising her son, but sees God's amazing work as Rex connects to himself, his mother, and the world through music. Rex is drawn to the keys of a piano and becomes a musical savant. His talent is overwhelming and almost unexplainable.

Rex is inspirational and serves as a great reminder of the power of faith. It is moving to see the love and strength of this mother as she does what seems miraculous, but she just views as normal. This story was intriguing to me and am anxious to follow the story of this real life hero, Rex.


Movin' On Up

My family is now a part of this century.

We've caught up with the rest of America and now have satellite television service in our home.

Yes...that's right...only today that happened. The rest of you have been Tivo-ing and DVR-ing your way through life for years now.....we've been stuck in the Stone Age.....antenna, baby.

Our breakdown to the real world is really a result of this whole digital switchover thing -- and we didn't want to be left without news access. Otherwise, we probably would still be without it. It just isn't that big of a priority to us. Don't get me wrong....we like to watch TV....but, we weren't hurting without it. We were able to get all the major network stations, so we had created a lineup of shows that we would watch through the week nights, and the rest of the time, we were busy either playing video games or watching movies on DVD. The only time that I would find myself really wishing for more stations/shows to watch was through the summer when I was home all day. A person can only watch so much PBS....c'mon.

The satellite man just finished up the installation this afternoon, and the kids have already ingested 5 episodes of Drake & Josh (2 DVR'd during church -- I know, I know, but it's their favorite show). The kids, needless to say, are thrilled to have the bounty of Nickelodeon and Disney at their finger tips.

Me? I'm sitting here and there is NOTHING on. Go figure. So what am I watching? CBS....the same thing I always watch. What is up with that?!?



Not much to say today. At least not of anything substantial.

Right now I'm waiting on the satellite company to come and install our new system. I woke up at 6:00 to clean up the house and vacuum and dust behind the TVS...they were GROSS!! And I didn't really want the satellite man to go home to his wife and talk about the gross house he had just come from. I don't usually spend my time really worrying about strangers' perceptions of me and my cleanliness...but you never know who you might be friends with one day down the road, and I would hate to always be known as "the friends with the gross dirt behind their TV." It could happen.

Anyway....as I was saying....I got up at 6:00 to clean. For an 8:00 appointment on a Saturday morning. Uh...it's 9:30 AND THEY STILL AREN'T HERE. I totally could have slept another hour.... See if I want to be their friend one day.

Actually....I'm thinking that once he installs my ability to watch Jon & Kate Plus Eight -- he may be my friend for life. We'll see.

I'm trying not to fume too much about the early rising, because I'm still jazzed from last night! A bunch of girls from our church headed out for a night on the town.....just girls. No children. No husbands. No happy meals. No choosing restaurants based on the indoor playset. It was great! We spent a fun evening talking girly, eating cheese dip, browsing a bookstore (without having to remind each other to be quiet and to not run in the store), and watching a total chick flick without having to listen to heavy sighs of a husband sitting next to us. Really good stuff! And major therapy for a bunch of really tired wives!! I heart those girls.

One more thing...as I sit here waiting on the satellite man...I've had a some time to browse through some of my favorite blogs. If you have a few minutes....you have GOT TO CHECK THIS ONE OUT! This girl makes me laugh every time I read her stuff, and this post she wrote on being a proper housewife (or rather not being a proper housewife) still has me giggling.

*UPDATE* The satellite man just called....he's not coming until 2:00. Nice. I could still be in my bed snoozing....


Already Thursday?

I'm having a really hard time motivating myself to do ANYTHING this week.

I'm going to blame it on going back to work after the Christmas break. I come home exhausted and don't feel like doing anything but sit in my chair, watch the news, and check in with all my friends that live in my computer.

I've been tempted almost every night this week to feed the children ice cream and pop tarts for dinner, because I haven't felt like cooking.

Our stacks of clean undies and socks are dwindling while the hampers are overflowing, because I haven't felt like washing. In fact, Keaton had to wear a pair of Sawyer's socks today, and you would have thought that I had asked him to give me a kidney....the horror.

My Christmas decorations are still up, too.....go figure.

I just can't get my mojo back. I can't remember how I managed to (not very well, mind you) juggle all of it before. I've been racking my brain trying to remember how it was that I managed to come home after work and do laundry and cook and clean -- and only 3 short weeks ago. I can't figure it out...because I am beat!

One thing that we have been doing every night that I'm so happy about is our nightly Bible reading as a family. We have been terribly out of habit of that, and I was reminded of the need for it (by something that Sawyer said) just the other day. So, every night this week, before bed, we've been sitting down and reading. In the past we've done devotional books, but I really wanted to just read from the Bible. I think my kids have been "taught" the Bible a lot, but I don't know that they've actually "heard" the Bible....and to me, there is no better source. Keaton has a great Bible version for kids to understand at this age. It is the Contemporary English version and it says everything in everyday language. (Please hear me....I think version choices of the Bible are an individual decision and I really do feel that prayer should be involved in that choice. I wouldn't choose this particular version for me personally, but for my kids....it seems to be so on their level that it holds their attention and they are able to "get" it...even Tate, who I was worried about.) Tate has loved every minute of our Bible time together. He has sat mesmerized by the reading of the Word. I love it! We aren't using fancy books or visual aides...just the Word. Love that.

So, I guess my week hasn't been a total flop. Although my sink is full of dishes, my laundry is piling, and my floor needs sweeping.....we've made the time to spend together in the Word...

....not sure it gets better than that!

(P.S. I failed to mention that another reason for my lack of household duty motivation might possibly be attributed to my new found addiction....Pathwords, WordTwist, and WordScramble on Facebook.....thanks a lot, Lisa! *smile*)



I'm thinking that I'm just a bit hormonal today.

Clue#1 -- I cried while watching Horton Hears a Who......it's just that a person is a person no matter how small.

Clue#2 -- I bought a bag of bakery rolls at the grocery store today and ate the entire bag.

Clue#3 -- I cried again when I peeked into my laundry room. Not the good kind of crying either.

Clue#4 -- The menu for tonight's dinner includes cheese, cheese, and more cheese.


Hormone. Meet my good buddy, Raging.


One Little Bite

"You have to try at least one bite."

These are the words that only mothers should get to say. These are not the words to be spoken by an 8 year old boy TO his mother, with his father sitting close by with a smug grin on his face.
These words also shouldn't be spoken to a mother who has an extremely weak stomach when it comes to gross food. Just not good.

It all started with a duck. One measly duck that Kirk killed while duck hunting this past weekend with a buddy.

It has been sitting in my fridge since Saturday just waiting to be cooked up. Last night seemed like a good night for duck on the table, since we had a huge pot of roast left over and I knew I could eat that....because I knew that I wouldn't eat the duck. I just knew.

See....I don't like any kind of wild game. I don't mind it being dressed or cooked in my kitchen, just don't make me eat it. The only wild game I'll eat is deer....and only then if it is ground. No deer steak. No squirrel. No rabbit. No thank you.

Kirk fried up the duck, because we decided that everything is good fried (well, not for me, but for my fellas), and we sat down to dinner.

I heaped my plate full of roast, carrots, and potatoes, and watched as my boys all eagerly tried the duck, very proud of their courage in trying something new....especially when they so closely relate a duck with their beloved cartoon character, Daffy. My boys are terrors when it comes to trying a new vegetable or other side dish, but if it comes from an animal and is fried....they'll eat it.

They gobbled up the stuff. Duck...check...one more meat that my kids will eat. Great.


Keaton says, "Mom, you always tell us that we have to try one bite. You have to try at least one bite."

I pretend like I didn't hear him as I became totally engrossed in forking a carrot on my plate.

"What's that?" I finally ask under my breathe.

"One bite. You have to try it."

"Oh, Mom doesn't like duck. Thanks, though."

*Kirk is snickering and giving me sideways glances, trying not to let his duck come out his nose.*

And then he (the husband) says, "Yah, Mom, you need to try at least one bite."

*Ooooohhhhh....if looks could kill, we'd all have a funeral to attend.*

After muttering ugly things to my husband (who is still sitting with a ridiculous grin on his face), I agree.

I took ONE bite.....

And threw up a little bit in my mouth.


Thanks for Nothing, Santa

Who does this Santa guy think he is anyways?

He thinks he can slither down my chimney one night a year and stuff all 5 of our stockings with the most delicious, most scrumptious choices of chocolate available.

Doesn't he know that the mother of the family will feel compelled to display all the yummy candy on a Snowman platter dead-center in the middle of the bar, so that every time she walks into and out of the kitchen she will not only smile at her platter, but grab a candy bar....or two...or three?

Doesn't Santa know that because of his stocking stuffing, he not only promotes impulsiveness for the mother, but is also now the sole reason as to why the mother needs to go on a diet?

Thanks a lot, Santa.

Really appreciate that.


Say It Ain't So

Just one more day.

That's what I've prayed for.

Just one more day of Christmas break. One more day with the kids. One more day with the husband home. One more day before I have to wear a pair of khakis again. Just one more day.

It's not looking good.

So, tonight I will set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. for the first time in 16 days. I will probably sleep fitfully so dreading the return of routine. In the morning, I will drag myself to the shower, wishing that it wasn't true. I'll stand in front of my closet looking for something teacher-y, so wishing that it was a pair of sweats and a tee-shirt which I've grown so accustomed to wearing these past few weeks. I'll drag the kids out of bed, feed them a pop-tart, and probably holler at them about finding tennis shoes or a backpack....and then....

We'll be in the car.

On our way.

And it will be over. Christmas vacation will be over.

It really is enough to make me want to cry. It isn't the going back to work part that really gets me. It is the end of our lazy days. Kirk's been off work for these two weeks with us, and we are used to doing what we want when we want to do it.

I learned how to play chess in these past 2 weeks. I've stayed up late watching girl movies because I knew I could sleep late the next day. We've spent days in our jammies. I've rearranged my furniture. And I've cooked dinners in my crockpot....because I've been home all day to smell it!

I'm making it sound like our lives are over. But, I really am in mourning. I'm just not ready for hours of homework and late nights of laundry. I'm not ready for early mornings and being too tired to cook a really good meal. Just not ready.

So, I'm going to go now. Going to go put on my jammies and snuggle on the couch with my kids and watch a movie. May play Keaton in a game of chess. We're going to eat the leftovers tonight from yesterday's crockpot meal and enjoy eachother for a few more short hours....

Before routine hits us.....just like I'll be hitting my alarm clock....at 5:30 in the morning.


A Little Green, But A Lot Blessed

I've decided that I got the raw end of the deal.

There are 7 years between my big sister and me, and I can remember countless occasions where I busted out the "everyone likes you better than me!" argument on her. She has a different opinion, since I was the baby of the family and had a tendency to be a little spoiled, but I can remember getting so mad that my mom would just "hang out" with Michele all the time, or that she would get to go do stuff and I wouldn't. Never mind that I was 11 and she was 18......but, that didn't seem to matter to me at the time. Now I get that my mom would have much rather had a girly talk with my teenage sister than play Chinese jumprope with me....but, whatever.

Anyway....the whole "everyone likes you better" monster crept back on my shoulder just yesterday when I read this post written by my beloved sis on her blog. You should go check out all this stuff that she put on here....

Because it is all the stuff that I DON'T HAVE!!

My sister is a lover of antiques. And she is a fantastic decorator. Her house leaves my house in total Wannabe Land.
And her antiques? Not many are antique store finds....they are heirlooms. Heirlooms that I DON'T HAVE!

She's got dishes, furniture, and well, dishes and furniture. All which were lovingly handed down to her by various family members.

She claims that it is because at the time that we were "putting our names on stuff," she was a young adult....so, she knew what was worthy of the taking. She got the hundred year old china and depression glass. Me? Not so much. The things I scrawled my name on (probably with a crayon) were Coca-Cola glasses and salt-n-pepper shakers shaped like cartoon dogs.

So, am I bit envious? You betcha.

My sister did graciously "share" a portion of these beautiful antique green glasses that were my grandmother's, because she felt pitifully sorry for me and my Coke glasses when our goodies were being dished out. (I really do love my glasses, so thank you very much, Mich!)

It is so easy for the little green monster to begin to take over. I've been pegged in the family as the one who appreciates the more "practical," while Michele gets the "beautiful." And it is probably for good reason. My home is very practical, minimally decorated, and if I had anything nice it would most likely be adorned with a lightsaber or legos.

But, this is where I have to insert my change in attitude. It is so easy for me to get all "I want pretty dishes from Aunt Fay" and "I didn't get a plate from Grandpa Sib." But, as I look around my quaint little house....I see the things that I did get.

Mine are much more practical....but no less from the people that we loved than her pretty stuff is. So....because I love my things so much, too, and just need a reminder that my family does like me (therapy is not in order at the present moment)....here are a few of my favorite things....

1) My dad painted this. Isn't it beautiful? It hung in our dining room when we lived overseas and I have always loved it. When Kirk and I bought our house, my dad dug it out and had it reframed for me. It hangs over my mantle....love it.

2) Kirk's grandmother is a seamstress like none I have ever seen. She's an even better quilter. She taught me how to quilt, in fact. I have been given stacks and stacks of her quilts. All of them are tidily tucked away inside several chests that I have. Each are hand pieced and hand quilted....amazing. And the rate that she could turn these puppies out was superhero-ish. Her eyes and arthritis will not allow her to pick up a needle anymore.....so what I have is it. This one is my favorite. I know that it isn't really "cool" to hang quilts up anymore, but I have tried and tried to take this one down and I just can't do it. I love it too much....so hangs it still does.

3) This is a small portion of my Nanny's bell collection. Her bells were one of those things that I picked out when I was a kid...fascinated by all the shapes and sizes and colors. It was a known fact throughout the family, that one day.....I would get the bells. She even started to refer to them as "our bells." When she died, my mom and I carefully boxed them up and I lovingly looked over each one....remembering how proud we were of our bells. I also got her china cabinet when she passed away, so our bells sit in it here at my home, just as they did at hers. Love that.

4) These are the green glasses that Michele shared with me. Supposedly they are worth something.....to Mich and I they are....worth lots of memories of our Granny.

5) And these are my Coca-Cola glasses.....fabulous aren't they? I sure thought so when I was a kid. I think my Granny collected them at garage sales and auctions.

6) This desk was made by my Grandpa Jack for my Nanny. It sat in her kitchen for years and was painted a lovely shade of mint/pea green. I begged for the desk when she passed away and got it. Kirk stripped it and refinished it for me. I think it is beautiful. My dad didn't even recognize it without its green paint!

7) This is my Nanny's honey pot. My Grandpa Jack and I shared many a slice of toast slathered in honey from this pot.....she knew I loved it. When she passed away....we found a slip of paper in it with my name written on it. She wanted it to be mine.

8) My Great Aunt Fay never had children of her own, and my mom and she always had a very close bond. Aunt Fay had remarkable things. My sister got her china....so pretty. And because Aunt Fay wanted to give me something "comparable" for a wedding present....she gave me her silverware. Our family still uses them everyday.

(Aunt Fay is still going...at 96 or 97 years old...I lose track. She is also the one that gave me toothpaste for Christmas that I mentioned here. What a great lady!)

9) My Grandpa Jack was, not only an amazing carpenter, but a gifted artist. He went through a stage where he painted a lot of still-lifes, and my Nanny had a lot of them displayed in her kitchen and dining room. When they both passed away, everyone in the family got at least one of his paintings. I'm so happy about that, too. I think that is what he would have wanted. This is the one that I picked. I hate fruitcake...but, I love it in this painting!

I am blessed....really, really blessed. So, I'll lay off my sister...I'm so glad that she was given the things that she was. She adores them, and it is as it should be. Even though my eyes flash green every once in awhile!!!!


97 Hours

I've been home for exactly 97 hours.

97 hours that I cannot blame Christmas, or family, or traveling for my dirty house.

97 hours that I have literally done NOTHING. I've watched a couple of movies. I've spent a few hours (give or take...no, just give....a few) on the computer. I've played games with my kids. Other than that....I have zero idea as to where these past hours have gone.

These were supposed to be the hours that I used to clean my house and organize it for the new year. I was even going to clean out the toys that disappear under the couch from time to time, and go through and find new homes for all the Christmas presents while ditching all the has-been stuff. Has any of it been done?



I'm going to cushion a bit of this on myself and the fact that I did kinda just want to be lazy for awhile after all the running here and there of Christmas, but I honestly did have great goals of getting the house all put back together. I really thought one day of lazy would be enough.

So....I have figured out my problem.

It's Kirk.

The husband.

He's the problem.

He, too, has been home all week, and I have discovered that I can't clean when he is home. Just can't do it. It isn't that he is super-messy so the mess is messier. It is just that when he is home, I want to hang out with him and the kids.

They'll be playing a game....so, I'll put down my dishtowel to play, too. They'll be watching a movie....so, I'll chunk the broom for a cozy spot on the couch to watch, too. My bathroom scrubbies get replaced with long talks with him (even if they are about random and pointless topics.....nothing philosophical for us!). My Mr. Clean is replaced with Mr. Goodrum.

Is that bad?

It is if you are the house.

A few of my friends have said the same thing....that they find it harder to clean when the husband is home. Is this a universal problem? Let me know how your cleaning goes down....is it better husband free or not?

(By the way.....my house is getting the scrub-down tonight....thanks to a duck hunt!)