Cleanically Challenged

I made the comment to some people that Mondays are always hard because my house is weekend-messy.

Some people totally get weekend-messy.

Some people don't.

Because apparently those are the people that use their Saturdays to clean all day. Which I.Do.Not.

And let me tell you why.

It's the husband.

It's all his fault.

Because if he is home....I'm rendered cleanically challenged.

I just can't do it. All ability to do laundry, sweep floors, vacuum, and dust walk right out of the door as soon as the husband walks in it.

Now before you start thinking it is because I surgically attach myself at the hip to him thus being the reason for weekend-cleaning-helplessness, I don't.

In fact, he could be outside working on manly stuff, and I still can't do it. My body screams in tacky bar-room neon, "Husband. Home. No. Clean." And I obey.

So I usually take a nap. Or watch reruns of Project Runway.

Because you should always listen to your body.

So fast forward to Monday mornings, when I rip into gear and go on a cleaning frenzy. This morning, all dishes were done, cabinets scrubbed, floors mopped, all surfaces dusted, every inch of carpet vacuumed, and bathrooms degermified....all before 10:30 a.m.

And now the house is back in order.

Until the weekend.

When the husband is home.

And my house will resemble a toxic waste zone.




Just Cheesy

I have me some pretty cultured friends.

I have friends that not only know what talapia is, but they also know how to cook it.

My blogeeps post recipes that involve unboxed-menu options (like NOT a new cool twist on Hamburger Helper), and my tweeps do a dinner call every night that includes some of the same faincy schmaincy foods that confuse the heck out of me when I have to go out to eat at white table cloth restaurants with the husband for business dinners.

Seriously....these girls can cook.

And what amazes me even more than that is the fact that they feed it to their children. And apparently, the little people eat it.

I stand amazed in the presence.

Because the fainciest my cookin' gets is when I add a little extra Velvetta into the Blue Box mac-n-cheese. Just sayin'.

So today, I decided that I would break out of my comfort zone. I would, too, become a recipe blogess. I would document my cooking experience with pictures and then expose you to all the deliciousness.

You're welcome.

Because this one is amazing. Really.

I give thee.....

Melted Cheese On a Plate

Now pay attention. These directions are tricky.

1) Buy crackers (Ritz are my favorite) and shredded cheese (Colby Jack works for me, but do whatever you like) at the store.

2) Open the packages. (I told you this was hard core.)

3) Arrange the crackers on a plate. (If you are going to take pictures of this process, preferably pick a plate that does not have a chip in the side from when you dropped your favorite penguin mug on it.)
4. Douse sprinkle with cheese.
5. Microwave for 45 seconds. Or whatever makes you happy. Ain't picky.

6. This is what it will look like.

7. And this is the majestic goo that will cause you not to see results at the gym even though you go twice a day on some days. Not that I would know or anything.

Go ahead.

You know you want to try it.

You can even use goat cheese. Or feta. Or brie. Or whatever else you faincy cookers use.

Or you can just use the cheap stuff.

I won't tell on you.

Again.....you're welcome. Just call me Julia.


Weeds. Of the So-Called Friend Variety.

I'm thinking of weeding.

Oh. Don't get excited. It has nothing to do with my landscaping.

It will still remain just as it is.

Because I don't garden. And neither does the husband.

We mow the grass, just so that we can find the children occasionally when they go outside to play, and weedeating is done just so that we can find our trees. But no yard work is done for aesthetic reasons.

And these pots....um....those are the dead remants of last year's efforts. As in 2008.

I'm dead positive that this bothers the ever-lovin' snot out of my parents....as they are poster children for Better Homes and Gardens. My mother is even able to keep plants INSIDE the house alive. She is a green-thumbed miracle worker. She also dusts on a regular basis. And moves the furniture to vaccum. But that is a whole other sore spot.



Back to weeding.

I'm thinking of weeding out my Facebook. I have 350 "friends," but have no idea who some of the people even are.

When I first signed up for Facebook, I remember it being like this weird little ego-boostin' game that I played with myself. Wonder how many people will accept my friend request? Ohhh....________ asked me to be his friend!! He likes me. He really really likes me.

But, now I'm tired.

I'm tired of seeing what my old highschool boyfriend's ex-wife's name would be if she were an acrobat.

Or how many gold lapel pins the girl who used to lived down the hall from me in my freshman dorm won while she was playing Mafia Wars...whatever the heck that is.

Or endless pictures of poochy lipped teenagers throwing up deuces.

Don't get me wrong. If I actually know you....then we're cool. Pooch your lips all you want and play Farkle to your heart's content, but do I really need 45, 349 people that I didn't even really like back in the day all up in my business.

I'm thinking...no.

So, I'm thinking of weeding.

Taking my friend stash down to just the essentials.

Like my family. And my for-real friends. And my blogeeps. And my tweeps. And the people in highschool that actually have one memory of me that isn't, "Didn't we sit across the room from eachother in choir?" Um...no, genius. I wasn't in choir.


I'm thinking I'm going to start on that.

Just after I don't water my plants.


May Be More Than You Asked For

Sitting. . . In bed. Annoyed as all get-out that Sawyer keeps shaking the bed. He's playing video games, and apparently it is impossible for him to play without moving his entire body. I was going to take a nap, but quickly found out that wasn't going to happen due to Earthquake O'Sawyer, so here I sit. Laptop jiggling and dripping coffee all down my shirt.

Drinking. . . Coffee. From my penguin mug. With almost as much Creme Brulee froo froo creamer as coffee. Just like I like it.

Moving. . .Slowly. Very slowly. I should be up working on the piles and piles of laundry that have now grown arms and legs and are making their way out of the laundry room door and spilling into the hall. But, I'm not. Instead I'd rather endure the Earthquake.

Reflecting. . . On our first half week of school. I'm sure it is normal after any big leap into unknown territory, but the phrase "What have I done?" has crossed my mind more than a couple of times since we've started. And then there is that other phrase, "I have lost my ever-lovin' mind." But we won't go there.

Planning. . . Some fun trips that I have coming up with friends and family. Keeping my fingers crossed that all will pan out, because there are some peeps I just gotsta meet.

Looking forward to. . . The fall TV lineup. As enthralled as I am in the outcomes of what might possibly be tv's worst excuse for reality television, Big Brother, I am so anxious for the return of all my favorite shows. Oh...and then there is football. I'm so looking forward to football season. Nothing says fall to me like the Indianopolis Colts and my beloved Hogs.

Wanting. . . My laundry to wash itself. Or for my family to decide that yesterday's funk and stank is cool.

Hoping. . .For quiet hearts and peaceful minds. People around me are hurting and confused and worried, and I'm so hoping that the calm will come. Soon.

Regretting. . . The hugacious donut I ate for breakfast this morning. Never mind. The only thing I'm regretting is that I didn't eat two!! So yummy.

Surprised. . . At how content I am with an unbusy schedule. I tend to want to be up and going and in the middle of everything, and since we've started school, things have been relatively quiet. I could get used to being a serious homebody really quickly!!

Studying. . . Fourth Grade Math. Oh dear me. And the life of Christ. I'm glad to say that I'm gleaning much more from Jesus than Fraction studies. As it should be, friends. As it should be.

Frustrated. . . That I had to turn a library book back in without having finished it because I knew I wouldn't read it. Nothing gripes me more. Except when I remember that I forgot to turn the library books back in at all.

Eager. . . To get through all the mundane review portions of our schoolwork. The kids and I are all itching to do something new, but I'm doing as all good teachers do...review.review.review. New stuff can't come soon enough...even if it means fractions. *shudder*

Enjoying. . . This beautiful southern Arkansas weather. When we get sunny days minus humidity in August, then we scream "Miracle!" and dash outside to soak it up. The boys and I went for a walk today and spent some time with the neighbor's horses. Amazing, really.

Missing. . . Summer ease. It's just been over for about a week, and already I'm pining for lazy days at the lake and flipflopped feet in the sand. I'm thinking we're going to take school to the lake a couple of times before fall sets in, just because we can!!

Bummed. . . That the husband and I have hardly seen eachother in forever. Our past week or so has been mostly passing eachother in the hall on our way to head out somewhere. He told me the other day that his work traveling schedule is getting ready to pick back up again, and I'm not looking forward to that at all. But, at least we are employed, fed, and have a roof to sleep under. Not much to complain about.

Now...to try to take that nap. The earthquake has ceased for the time-being.

Oh. Never mind.

It's back.


(Thanks, Elizabeth, for letting me totally blog-lift you today! I appreciate it! Can't wait to see you...we need to plan another meeting soon!!!)


A Little Bit of Nothing

First off, whatcha think about my new bloggy makeover? My bestie bloggy designer, Jackie, over at Memories by Design and Our Moments, Our Memories, is a rock star. I tend to have Adult Onset ADD issues, and I get bored fairly easily (don't tell my children.....because "bored" is a bad word at our house), and though my old blog design was beautiful, I was ready for a change. Plus, I just adore Jackie to pieces, and wanted her to put her crafty goodness all over my blog. And I think she totally nailed it.

Great Job, Jackie!! You rocked it.

Oh...and, yes. That's me. In the header picture. With red hair. One of my besties, Jen, is begging me to go back to the land of red, but I'm so leery of doing it again. I loved the way it looked, but didn't love the way it cost. Because I don't do red out of the WalMart aisle. Brown...maybe. Blonde...possibly. Red...um...no. Because it just looks like I'm wearing an Oompaloompa on my head. And I don't do Oompaloompa. So, then I'm left with salon prices...and my family would rather eat than see me with red hair. Just sayin'.

In other news, I watched the Hannah Montana movie the other night. Tiffers had been bugging the snot out of me to watch it implying gently that I needed to see it, so to oblige my sistuh from anothuh mothuh, I RedBoxed it.

Oh...that glorious RedBox. Who ever invented that piece of movie vending marvel is a rockin' genius.

See....ADD....what did I tell ya?

Back to Hannah Montana. Oh.My.Goodness. Tiff was right. It was amazing. I laughed. I cried. And I danced like a 12 year old girl all around my living room. Because I roll like that. It is also possible that I know all of the dance routines to all 3 of High School Musical movies, too, but I digress.

So...Hannah Montana the Movie. Yes. See it. So.Good.

After pretending that I was a preteen adolescent, I put back on my grown-up shoes and went to the Homeschool meeting of the local co-op in our area. I knew a lot of these ladies just from the community, but I was surprised to see so many "normal" people there that are also homeschooling their children. I say "normal" in the nicest way possible, because I just need some folks that I can relate to. We will not be the family that builds teepees in our backyard, or that has pet snakes just to see 'em shed, or that will make our own candles out of the wax from our bees that we keep in hives in the back pasture. That's just not us. So "normal" people work for me. And "normal" are plenty. Thank You, Jesus.

Last night we headed over to Steph and Eric's house to hang out with our favorite "normal" besties. Jen and Danny were there, and Lisa and Wes. And we had a great time just being together. I'm not sure it is possible to laugh any harder or louder than when I'm with these guys, and I'm just so thankful that the Lord has blessed our family with such amazing friends.

Alright...more ADD...I'm bored with this post already.

Oh...and if you get a chance. Watch Hannah Montana.

So that you can "polka dot it" with me.

I love that.

Happy Sunday.


Sick Days and Fish-Shootin'

I'm going to have a talk with my principal.

As soon as he gets home from shooting fish with his man posse.

Shooting fish, you ask? Why, yes. Shooting fish. It is this strange man sport that is a mix of fishing/bow-hunting/spotlighting, but happens to be perfectly legal. I don't understand it, but I smile and pretend like I do. It keeps the manfolk happy, and it gives me freedom to watch Project Runway marathons. So it works for us.

But, I am going to have to discuss a serious issue over with the administration.

Because now that I'm employed by my house....

We need to discuss Sick Days.

I woke up this morning feeling just plain nasty. Like paying homage to the porcelain gods nasty.

But, yet, I have the education of the three namesakes of this family line to consider. No driving them to school, dropping them off in the car-rider line, and then heading back home to spend the day in mismatched jammies, sipping on Sprite, and only getting up to rewet the washcloth for my makeup-less forehead. No, sirree.

And because the husband and I haven't discussed our sick-day plan of action, and because it was only Day 3 of this crazy little homeschooling undertaking....I felt extremely guilty for punching the breaks and already calling for a 3 day weekend.

The thought crossed my mind to just pretend today was Saturday and do school tomorrow...on actual Saturday. But that just seemed sacrilegious to all things weekend holy.

So. I got up.

Admiring my dedication, aren't you?

Yah. Don't get excited. Because we only did the essentials.

Like Math.....and I hollered through that.

And English....and I cried through that.

And Handwriting....and I had to walk away and count to 10 during that.

And then there was Phonics with the little person....and. well. that's when I announced early dismissal for the day.

And I went to bed.

And stayed there.

And the children thought it was the coolest thing ever. And are now praying mom is sick every day.

Thanks a lot, kids.

(Note to my family.....I'm fine. I'd call you if it was really bad. So don't worry, Jim-Dad.)


The Survival Post

I followed a school bus this morning.

And felt a little pang of sadness. For about 3 seconds.

Because this is the first day of school. And kids all over were getting up and putting on their brand new school duds that their mamas had just ripped the tags off of the night before. (Unless they are super-awesome mamas, and they washed them before the first wear. Ahem. That would not be me.) And then half of those same kids were either sitting down to breakfasts that incorporated all of the food groups, or they were eating what my kids always ate on school mornings....a bag of dry cereal and a sippy cup of milk in the van. And then they were going to school and taking pictures with their new teachers and then they tried really hard to not get their brand new tennis shoes dirty at recess.

And my kids weren't going.

Yep. Made me a little misty.

But then I was over it.

And I was determined to make our first day of school pretty darn special.


I woke up early.

I went to the gym while everyone was still snoring (hence why I followed the bus).

I came home and spent some time with Jesus.

I did laundry and cleaned the kitchen. While everyone was still snoring.

I drank 3 cups of coffee. Out of my penguin mug. Because it seemed like the right thing to do.

I took a shower and even dried my hair. And I even put on mascara. Because I felt like my rascals deserved something more than my jammies and bed head on their first day.

I woke up the sleeping angels, and they got started on their morning chores.

I smiled to myself because my day was going swimmingly. I was totally rockin' this whole homeschool thing. If I rocked it any better than I was soon going to be donning denim jumpers and growing my own turnip greens.

I made breakfast. And it wasn't in a ziplock baggie. Now...I didn't go to the culinary genius of CPQ and Whimz, but I did make cinnamon toast.

My children thanked me. Because it wasn't a poptart or a bowl of cereal they had to fix for themselves.

I smiled to myself again. Knockin' this thing out of the park. I can see the milk cow grazin' in my backyard, and my homemade candles drip-drying as I type this.

And then we started school.

Don't get me wrong....things went well. Surprisingly well, for me not really having any clue as to what I was doing.

I had a schedule made out, but had no idea if it would work.

So, I jumped in with 2 feet and just went with the flow.

We did Bible. And Math. And English. And Phonics. And Sawyer informed me that he already knew what I was teaching him. And I informed Sawyer that I already knew that he was going to be scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush if he kept sassing me.

And then Handwriting. And Science. And Social Studies. And Reading.

And we only had two meltdowns. One when Keaton had to do corrections on his Math, because apparently he was under the impression that he was perfect. And the other when Tate decided that he didn't know how to draw a shark.

Could have been worse, I suppose.

No one was stabbed with a pencil. No one jammed their new Fiskars in their eye (although I thought about it). No one locked their teacher in the laundry room. And no one was locked in the laundry room by their teacher.

So, all in all, Day 1 of Rascal Academy will go down in the books as success.

But I'm thinking no denim jumpers just yet.

Whew. I need a nap.


Lest my shower, dried hair, and wearage of normal clothes go unseen except by my little men, we snapped a few first day of school pictures.

See...I got all kinds of dressed up. Woo Hoo!

And the boys actually match today. A miracle, really.

And here are the boys hard at work on their first day of school entries in their journals.


We made it!!

There was one point today (I think it was around the great shark debate) when I was about to talk myself out of this silly idea all together, but then I remembered that this is where I'm supposed to be. Where I'm called to be. And what an amazing blessing that I get to spend all my days with 3 of the most awesome kids that God ever created.

Even if it is guaranteed that they are going to have me searching for the Fiskars to jam in my eye before the year is over.


First Day of School Letters

Dear Kirk,

Thank You doesn't even seem to cut it. Two words that get tossed around like yesterday's trash, but yet carry so much power. But I am left with not much else to say. Thank You for being the amazing provider for our family that you are. Thank You for caring enough about me and the boys to make all of our dreams come true. Thank You for being what a good father should be. Thank You for showing our boys what a real man is like. And at this stage in our life, Thank You for trusting me enough...trusting me enough to go along with this crazy notion of me staying home to educate our children. You are amazing, and I thank God every single day for giving you to me.

I love you with all my heart.
Thank You,


Dear Keaton,

You made it! You made it to 4th Grade! You, my darling man, are one of the smartest, most creative, and most talented people I know. I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am to be your teacher this year. I'm looking forward to learning new things right alongside you, and I'm so looking forward to you teaching me a thing or two. Your enthusiasm for learning is contagious, and your delight over new discoveries is infectious. You make me smile. And I can't wait to see what this year holds for us. Even if it means you helping me through 4th grade math!

I love you, buddy. Like a Jedi loves the Force.


Dear Sawyer,

My main man! You, my darling, are a firecracker! And though you make me shiver and shake in my boots at the thoughts of you and I going head to head over math problems and penmanship (you know it's gonna happen!), I'm tickled pink over getting to spend my days with you. When you were in school last year, I missed you like crazy. The days were long and painful without seeing your precious blue eyes and your adorable red head. Ever since we made the final decision to keep school at home this year, I haven't been able to wipe the smile off of my face....because it means I get to be with you. Oh, I'm sure that there will be days that I will want to ship you off to Mongolia, and that there will be days when you will wish I would go jump off a bridge....but even on those days, my sweet, I will not want to trade this opportunity for the world. You are a great kid. And I'm the luckiest gal in the world. Because I get to be your girl.

I love you to the moon and back.


Dear Tate,

My darling baby, can it be time for Kindergarten already? Not possible. But while other mommies are sending their babies off to school, I'm so lucky because I get to keep you home with me. I can't wait to see the twinkle in your eye when you realize that you can read for the first time. Or the pride over writing your name in your best handwriting. Or the joy that will come with your first count all the way to 100. You, my TaterTot, are priceless. And I'm so excited about spending my minutes with you every day. Watching you learn. Watching you grow. And watching you become the little person that God has planned for you to be.

You are my dream come true.
And I love you. Forever.


4th Grade Math Scares Me

Overwhelmed doesn't even begin to cut it.

Reality is beginning to set in, and I've found myself neck deep in emotions that are ranging from just plain giddy to sheer panic.

We've been a homeschooling family for almost two weeks.

Two weeks.

That's it.

In just two short weeks, everything about my life has been completely turned upside down.

The way that I view my home. The way that I view my children. The way that I view my husband. The way that I shop. The way that I clean. The way that I cook. The way that I eat.


Has changed.

And although I can't wipe the silly grin off of my face, I, on most days, am searching the house frantically for a paper bag because I'm about to hyperventilate. (On a side note....I still don't understand what good a lunch sack is, but I've seen it in in the movies, so it must be an accurate remedy.)

Because now I HAVE to make this work.

I HAVE to get over myself and see this through.

And though I've been an educator for the past 10 years, I have always taught other people's kids. And there is just something about teaching someone else's children that isn't quite as intimidating as teaching your own. Weird, huh? Should be the other way around. But it's not. I can't explain it. I just know it's true.

But though I know that I HAVE to make it through this, I know that I WILL make it through. Because I feel with everything in me that this is where we're supposed to be.

That home is where God would have me and boys right now.

So I'm anxious.

But it is a good anxious.

Because I know GOd must have something amazing up His sleeve for my little rascals. And I'm feeling so blessed that He's letting me be a part of it.

Now. If God can just get me through 4th Grade Math. Oh dear.


Manliness....Not Really Sure

The husband called me the other day from work.

To ask me a question that he often calls to ask.

"We got anything going on this weekend?"

Which is man-code for: "I want to do something manly with my man friends, and I need your permission to grunt, scratch, and be manly freely."

Usually this question leads to fishing, hunting, poker, or golf....

I was NOT expecting what I heard next.

Me: Oh. You fishing?
Him: No.
Me: Golf?
Him: No. Um...I'm going to a pageant.

Say what, Mr. Testosterone?

(Okay..in the interest of honesty...he didn't actually call it a pageant. He called it by its manly name. But really....it's a pageant. Plain a simple.)


The husband. In all of his burliness. Is going to a pageant.

To look at men who look like this:

And he and his man friend are then going to come home wishing that they looked like that.

Because he's going to a pageant.

It just doesn't get old.

No matter how many times I say it.

A pageant.

Dog gone. That's funny stuff.


Alright. Fine. I'll Tell You.

I’m pregnant.

Yes. The rascals are adding one more minion to their evil plot to take over the world.

And they’re hoping for a baby sister. Because they totally have respect for the spell that hairbows and prancy dresses have on most of the world’s population.

I can’t do it.


Totally not pregnant. And the husband is still alive. Because if I ever did come up with news that I was pregnant, I’d have to first peel Kirk off the ceiling, and then pray that I remembered everything from my CPR class that I took 536 years ago, which I’m pretty sure I chit chatted and snickered through.

So….on to the big news.

What you’ve all been waiting for. With baited breath, I’m sure.

Some of you guessed bun in the oven. Already established…Nope.
Moving? Nope.
Buying a new house? Nope.
Remodeling? Nope.
New job? As a matter of fact……..


That’s right. As of last week, I resigned from my position at the highschool that I have been employed at, and I have accepted a fantastic position at a new school.

The pay cut was pretty drastic, but it was totally worth it. Because the school has the most amazing principal, and the most ridiculously fabulous dress code.

Not to mention total freedom over my own teaching materials and curriculum.

And did I mention that the principal was hot?

Oh….and then there are the students. I’m not sure a more perfect class of students exists anywhere.

And the principal….smokin’.

I start in a couple of weeks. This new job of mine. And my principal was so nice, he even told me that for my first day, I could just wear my favorite jammies. And that I could work from home. And that I could keep my favorite mug of coffee at my side all day long.

Oh…and did I mention that the principal is hot?

I’m thinking of having an affair.

I hope his wife won’t mind. *wink*

(Yes. You read right. We’re are now a homeschooling family. The Lord has clearly given His guidance and His Word that He will walk alongside me in this new endeavor. And although it was a very sudden decision, Kirk and I both feel at peace about our boys and this piece of their education. We have no idea what the future holds for our family, but we have always pledged to take one year at a time and trust the Lord with the rest. We are thrilled. And excited. And slightly overwhelmed. But we are resting comfortably in the arms of our Jesus who has promised that He would never give us too much for us to handle, and that if He calls us to do something, He will most certainly provide the tools with which to accomplish His work. We covet your prayers as we step out on this faith journey of ours.)



I'm confused.


I Now Know Why God Didn't Give Me Girls

I'm fascinated by all things girly.

Like hairbows. Hairbows just make me happy. Little girls bopping around with ribbons bigger than Texas is just good stuff.

And polkadotty dresses. In all my favorite colors.

And tights. Polkadotty tights. With Mary Janes.

And little cardigan sweaters with crocheted flowers. That match the polkadotty tights. And the Textanic hairbow.

But God didn't bless me with little girls. I've had this discussion many a time with my Big Daddy, and I've explained to him that I would be an excellent girly mama. I have explained to the Lord that I would have made him proud with all the girliness. I even have promised hairbows and pinafore dresses, because I'm absolutely certain that God loves these amazing displays of prissiness.

But. No girls.

Only rough and rowdy boys. Who wear ball shorts and teeshirts with the sleeves cut-out. And smelly tennis shoes. And who just plop a baseball cap on their head when they are having a bad hair day. Oh...you can make a boy look cute. It is possible. But then they pick their nose and wipe their boogers down the front of their super cute polo shirt (which is about as cute as boy clothes get outside of dressing them in linen jumpsuits and knee socks...which isn't happening anytime soon around our house), or they decide that finding the first mud puddle they see and jumping in it is EXACTLY what you meant when you said, "Don't get your church clothes dirty."

But I'm not harboring any hard feelings. Honest.

And after what happened last night, I'm pretty sure I understand why God didn't give me a little prissy girl to dress and display all things polkadotty on.

Because last night I played beauty shop. With my niece, my sister, and my mama. I spent hours with the flat iron and bobby pins and ponytail holders.

And this was the best I could do.

Yes. I made all of those beautiful creations. Except the ones on my head (those are thanks to Kayla and Michele) and my mama's mohawk. Which is my favorite look of the night. Not to mention the fact that my prissified mama actually allowed her luscious locks to be turned into such a monstrosity and then photographed is actually a miracle in itself.

Aren't they lovely.

And what is worse, is that I was actually really trying.


This is why God didn't give me girls.

Because He looked into the big picture and saw that my daughter, though she would have been super dandy in polkadots and leggin's....

She would have had to endure hair that looked like it stepped off of the soundstage of the creepiest science fiction movie EVUH made.

But, by golly, she would have had a hairbow stuck all up in the middle of it.


Gettin' My Shop On

I think I was born with a shopping bag in one hand and a fistful of plastic in the other. Because this girl loves to shop.

It doesn't even matter what it is. I could be shopping for mens' razorblades and a mega pack of Charmin. I'm all over it.

So it is needless to say that ploppin' this girl in a store with faincy flip flops and peasant tops makes my mind do all kinds of crazy bizness.

Now. Before I go on....I'll tell you that this whole shopping fetish of mine has gotten me in some trouble. Ok. A lot of trouble. So now my fistful of plastic has been narrowed down to my debit card and the cash that I carry with me only when the sun is green and the clouds are orange....uh never.

So even though I don't go all ape-crazy at the sight of clearance racks and sale papers anymore, I do still have to practice my calming breathing techniques that I learned in my birthing classes (which I never used for birthing the rascals, by the way. So I'm glad that enduring those horrid classes has paid off in some way.) to focus on the greater task ahead....like paying for the electricity it takes to run my blowdryer. Priorities, fo shiz.

So I was super proud of myself yesterday.

Remember? School shopping with my sister? At The Land of All Things Great and Shoppy?
Where I wasn't shopping for reasons that I can't tell you yet?

Oh, how I looked. And touched. And felt the feel of cotton. And rayon. And linen. And I'm sure that even poorly made polyester passed through this fingertips.


For the most part.

I did scoop up a couple of incredible bargains that would have been sinful to pass up. I'm pretty sure that the 8th Deadly Sin is "Stupidity." Because if you see a darn cute shirt that needs a good home, and it is hanging on the rack with a dangling tag of $4....then you are just STUPID if you don't buy it.

Or the super cute pair of silver shoes that were sitting in Target needing a home on my feet.

Because then I would have been guilty of the STUPIDITY for not rescuing the shoes from the red-tag doom they were experiencing, AND I would have been guilty of the STUPIDITY for passing up silver shoes in general.

And that would have been a double whammy.

Good thing I didn't fall prey to that monstrosity.

And to celebrate my conquership over STUPIDITY, I'm staying home today. In my parents' house. In my jammies. And I'm slurping coffee all day. And watching an Anne of Green Gables marathon.

And I probably will wear my silver shoes.

Because they are just that cute. And it would be sinful not to. Really.


Friday Free-For-All.....In Listy Form.....And a Prelude To An Announcement

1. It is 12:08 a.m. And I've been driving all day. Well, that isn't technically true. I started off my day attempting to shake my groove thing in Zumba class, which is equally exhausting. And Jim-Dad just informed us that we have to be up, ready, and perky for breakfast company in the morning. It's family that is coming over, but they aren't close enough family that I feel like I can stay in my jammies and show up to the table with grease monkey hair. So, I'm getting up at crack o' dawn thirty in the morning to get my cute on.

2. Oh yah. I'm at my parents' for the weekend.

3. With my sister and her kiddos.

4. So I woke up this morning and went to Zumba...where I danced to Thriller. And then had to ride for 5 nightmarish hours with 5 kids who were already sick of eachother after the first 3.7 seconds due to the fact that they JUST saw eachother and spent every waking second together just a week ago. But, whatever. Suck it up, kids. The mamas have shopping to do.

5. Shopping. Because the parental units just so happened to retire just down the road from the mecca of all things shoperific in this part of the country. And it being tax-free weekend is definitely the cherry on the top of my shoppy sundae.

6. So my sister is shopping for back-to-school clothes. But I'm not.

7. Because I have other stuff I need to purchase.

8. And it has to do with something giganticnormous that is going on around our house. And I'm so stinkin' excited about it. But.....I can't really talk about it yet. So, while you wait impatiently to find out what our HUGE news is....just know that it is happy.and amazing.and totally a God thing.

9. Are you crazy with curiosity yet? So sorry, Charlie, I just can't do it yet. But I did hear that patience is a virtue, so practice up on that.

10. So. I'm heading to bed. Because Jim-Dad's breakfast plans will be here before I even have time to count my sheep.

Nighty night. And all that bed bug stuff.



My oldest rascal had a birthday yesterday.

And I only cried twice. Once because I thought about the fact that this is our last year in single digits (which really just means we're that much closer to puberty, and that scares the begeebies out of me) and the other time was when I was decorating the cake (which were caused by my intense hatred for all things buttercream at that particular moment....I have since forgiven the buttercream, and we are very much on speaking terms again).

Keaton started out his day at the dentist. What a rotten way to spend your birthday, I know. But for the 20 minutes Keaton was in the chair there was no other place he wanted to be. Thanks entirely to the laughing gas that was flowing freely.

And although this has nothing to do with Keaton, but because you might want to know, I ate this for lunch.

I actually didn't feed my children lunch yesterday, because I was too busy running my mouth with a couple of my besties, but I think 2/3 of them ate....while we were at Steph's. I think. The other 1/3...um....I'm not so sure about. Excellent parenting once again.

After a tremendous gab session where all things related to world peace and world hunger were not even mentioned at all unless in reference to things that Jim-Dad need not read about solved, I headed home to begin on The Project That Actually Made Me Understand Why People Jump Off Bridges....otherwise known as...


Yes. A computer cake.

Because, as I was informed by the little smarty pants, he has outgrown cartoon cakes. (Dad gum it...here come the tears again.) And, as I was also informed, he didn't think I could make Darth Vader. Standing up. With a light saber.

He would be correct.

So...a computer cake it was. How hard could it be, right?

I Googled a couple of ideas to copy (because this girl ain't embarrassed to totally rip off someone else's idea and call it my own...just keepin' it real) and tweaked a couple of my favorite ideas in my head.


This might have been my problem.

The whole tweakin' in MY head thing.

I started with baking 3 cakes. Yes. 3. (And don't act all shocked when all 3 cakes are devoured in less than 24 hours either....by 5 people....because we like us some cake.)

Then I channeled my inner Ace of Cakes and carved out some pieces for the MONITOR. And then I stacked them up. With cardboard in between each layer. Because in MY HEAD that would make it more stable.

And then I pretended like I knew what I was doing and "dirty iced" my cake. (I learned that on Ace of Cakes, too.)

This would be where it all started to fall apart. Literally. My blessed monitor swung this way and that way. Clumps of "dirty" chocolate buttercream were flopping and falling all over the ding dang place. Finally, I resorted to slapping walls of cardboard on all four sides to hold the stinkin' thing up. Geez Louise. Don't worry...I warned the family about inspecting each bite for chips of tree.

After it was all dirty iced....kinda, it was time to whip up the buttercream. YUMMO. It is possible that I slurped up a couple of fingerfuls, but I will deny it if you ask me about it. So don't bother.

And then mixed in the black.

And then it was time to put on the pretty icing. No pictures....because I was covered from elbow to fingertip in black buttercream. (Before you ask me....I don't like fondant. I like the real stuff, but after star-tipping my 7893rd black dot on that cake, I was wishing I had gone the whole fondant route.)

And now my fingers are permanently stained black. LOVELY.

Then it was time for the keyboard. And the mouse.

And finally......

Drum roll, please.............

If you hold your head just right, it isn't crooked.

All in all....I think it turned out okay. Keaton LOVED his cake, and he told me that it was the best birthday cake he's ever had. Love that kid.

Keaton's request for dinner was fish sticks and Ramen noodles.

No. Seriously. I'm not kidding.

So, we obliged.

And then we ate cake.

And more cake.

And even more cake.

And then we watched Shark Week......naturally.

Happy Birthday, Keaton!!!
You are an awesome kid. Love you from the stars and back and back again.


One Bestie Ain't Enough For Me

I have had a bunch of best friends in my life.

Let's see if I can name them all.....

E -- first BFF ever. Her daddy was a missionary with my daddy. And we played stuff like hopscotch and hide-n-seek. And we picked on her little brother. And we bugged my big sister.
And we probably had matching knee socks and lace high-neck dresses. Because it was the early '80s. And our moms dressed us weird.

S -- 4th grade. She introduced me to the world of Cabbage Patch and Pound Puppies. And she had the most awesome bike with a basket and streamers. And her house had a pool table. Which was the bomb.

H -- 5th grade. She was from Vietnam and had contraband rock-n-roll music stolen from her older sister's tape deck. She was so cool.

A -- 6th grade. We lived overseas and her dad was in the army. So they got to shop at the American commissary. Which meant they had Campbell's soup at their house. And she ordered her clothes from the JC Penney catalog. Whoa, Nelly.

N -- 6th grade. She was Indian, and she had Nintendo at her house. She also introduced me to the fabulous world of cucumbers in lemon juice. I will be eternally grateful.

R -- 6th grade. She was from Australia, and her family ate Vegimite. Me no likey the Vegimite.

P -- 6th grade. She was from Samoa, and had the coolest hair. And her apartment building had the gnarliest pool in Bangkok. Rockin'.

D -- 7th and 8th grade. Shared everything. Really thought we'd stay friends forever. Now I can't find her. Even on FaceBook....shocking.

J -- highschool. Went to church together. Had poofy bangs together. Slurped Pineapple Dr. Peppers from Sonic together. Wore matching outfits. And spent the night at eachother's houses more times than we stayed at our own.

N -- Sr. Year of highschool. A whole other category of best friend. "Inseparable" isn't even close enough to describe us. And then a boy came between us. A boy I happened to marry. He was worth it, although that whole situation still makes me sad.

R -- college. She "got" me. Still friends. Still love her. Still thankful every single day that God blessed me with her.

(I DID IT!! I named them all!! I'm so proud of me.)

And now I'm a grown-up. And I've traveled through periods in my grown-up life where I've moved between stages of feeling like I had no one except my husband in my corner and periods that I have felt so overwhelmed with various relationships that I felt like I was drowning.

But, I can honestly say, that this period of my life....right now....is the happiest for me. I am surrounded with not only one best girl friend, but many. And I feel so blessed.

I was speaking with one of those besties just this morning about this very thing. About having several different "best" friends. And how that concept is so misunderstood. That if you have a "BEST" friend, then that word in itself denotes that there is only ONE of them. That of all the friends....that ONE is the BEST. But, not so for me.

I have lots of BESTS.

Because they each fill a special place and need for me.

I have a BEST friend that is the most generous and loving person I know. I envy her ability to give and give and give of her time and talents. She has more hospitality and love for people in her pinkie toe than I have in my entire body. She is the only person that I 100% know would genuinely drop everything that she was doing to come and help me if I needed her, and she wouldn't even think twice or whisper ugly things about me under her breath. She is just that amazing. LOVE HER.

I have a BEST friend that is so stinkin' smart. I envy her thinky-ness. And I love her ability to make me think. She challenges me in ways that I have never been challenged before. And I've learned so much from her. I adore spending time with her. Because she is fun. And we both appreciate eachother's need for ice cream. LOVE HER.

I have a BEST friend that is crazy funny. She and I could giggle more together than 593 tweens at a Jonas Brothers concert. We appreciate eachother's clumsiness. And eachother's stupidity. And if I need to laugh, I know exactly where to go. Because she and I only have to look at eachother and we start laughing....whether it be about money or cupcakes or lunges. LOVE HER.

I have a BEST friend that lives in my computer. And as crazy as that seems to people who don't understand this whole blogosphere thing, it is a legitimate and very real relationship. Secrets and confidences and our everyday lives are shared. We can finish eachother's sentences. We eat the same foods. Dress the same way. And sing the same songs. And the only thing frustrating about our friendship is that she is too many miles away from me. LOVE HER.

I have a BEST friend that has been my BEST friend longer than I've ever kept a BEST friend before. She's the most soft-spoken wonderful woman I've ever met. I want to be like her when I grow up, because she is the picture of grace and beauty to me. She and I have seen eachother through some of the darkest valleys that we both have ever walked through, and we have danced with eachother over mountain tops. We "get" eachother because we have done it all together. I trust her to pray for me and my family, and she trusts me to pray for her and hers. Different life stages usually separate people; whereas our differences only tend to bring us closer. LOVE HER.

I have a BEST friend that is super-cliche but actually for real. My sister isn't my best friend because she has to be. She's my best friend because I want her to be. I'm pretty sure we are twins somehow, because we do that whole twin thing in getting sick when the other one is sick. And crying when the other one cries. And breaking out in hives when the other one is nervous. And finishing eachother's sentences. And knowing when something is going on. She knows me probably better than any other woman in my life, and that fact doesn't scare me in the least. LOVE HER.

There are other women in my life that impact me every day. The women I work with. The women I go to church with. The women I interact with through this screen everyday. The women that I stop and chat with in the ketchup aisle at WalMart.

And I can't imagine my life without any of them.

Because to have to choose one of these women over another couldn't happen. Ever. Because they all hold very equal but very different places in my heart.

I understand that some women connect with one and only woman in this very intimate way. That one best friend is enough for them.

But not me.

I feel so honored that God chose to hardwire me differently.

And I feel so honored that God chose all my besties just for me!

Because He knew I needed them.

Each and every one of them.

To my besties.....I love you all like crazy. You have no idea the joy that you bring me. You are truly a gift.