Land of NotSoCyber's Thanksgiving

Wanna see what I did while I was lost in the Land of NotSoCyber?

1.  ATE. LOTS.

I had this for lunch on Thanksgiving Day. 

And it was as heavenly as it looks.  All of that was cooked by the hands of Kirk's 89 year old Grandma Scott, in addition to a scrumptious assortment of pies, of which I shoveled my share of cherry pie in before I could even reach for the camera. 

Here's the kids' table....at which I did NOT wish I was sitting at this dinner...because the subject matter of the grown-up table was most DEFINITELY NOT on wart removal.  

I had the pure joy and bliss of discussing the wonders of The Twilight Saga with Kelly and Jana, the cousins' wives.  It just might have been the BEST dinner conversation ever.  Ever.  Ever. 

Just 5 short hours after that go round, we had Thanksgiving dinner at Kirk's parents' house with the other side of the family.  And I ate this.  And acted like I had not just scarfed down a whole horse just a short while earlier.

Yep.  You guessed it.  It was yummy.

But I didn't make the cut to sit at the big table this meal.

I ate at the bar with Joyce, my mother-in-law, and we worked very hard to take a fun picture together...uh, yah.


My mother-in-law trusted me with the huge job of slicing up the jellyfied canned cranberry sauce this year. I never eat the stuff, and have never touched the stuff except to pass it to my left at the table.  So this was big stuff for me.  I felt honored.  Until I cut it all jabberwonky and felt mightily ashamed for messing up the almighty cranberry.

But they still ate it.


On Friday, after pushing and shoving our way through some good Black Friday deals (free legos...score!!), we all loaded up and headed out to the family farm for some good ole' gun shootin'.  That's right.  Shootin' guns.  For fun.  Yes...we are some of those people.

Take a gander...

By the way....I promised my family that I would add in the disclaimer that the old beat up camper seen in those pictures is just used for housing freezing, stinky, hungry deer hunters. 

This is the cabin beauty that we CANNOT wait to be finished.

It's going to be amazing to spend snowy weekends cuddled up by the fire in that place...

Back to hillbilly fun...remember this lady? 

Yah.  I decided to channel her when we were getting ready to head out for home. 

Since we had both vehicles plus a trailer at the inlaws' house, Kirk rigged my van up on the trailer and pulled her home with Conan.  No need to burn two tanks of gas. 

Oh...I almost forgot...we also rode tractors and four-wheelers.  Super fun.


Kirk with his mom, Joyce, and our niece, Moriah

My TaterTot

Fellow sister cousin friend Jana and sweet baby Nathanael (who belongs here)

The boys with their Granny munching on cupcakes

Moriah and Kirk wearing those same cupcakes....

Kirk's cousin Todd (who belongs here) and his pony....because I promised him he'd show up on here!!  You're welcome, Todd!

Joyce, Moriah, and me

So incredibly blessed.


In the Boonies

The inlaws still don't have Internet. I didn't believe that there were people really like that in America...but there are. I know because I'm here. In the middle of nowhere. It's not that I didn't know that they didn't have Internet, it is just that I thought it was like a bad dream...and I was going to wake up to discover that my husband's parental figures were outfitted with all things cyber and net affiliated.

Not so much.

So here I am. One finger chicken-pecking away on Rosie. Ever thankful for her and what small connection she is allowing me to have to my friends who live in my computer.

Spoiled? Most definitely. Addicted? Probably.

But so ever-grateful at this time of Thanksgiving reflection for the friendships and bonds that this blog has blessed me with. My life is better because you are in it. And I am so very thankful to the Giver of All Good Gifts for giving you to me.

Because you, my friends, are incredible gifts.

And so I will chicken-peck away for you. Out here. In the boonies.

Happy Thanksgiving!! And may all of your pants still fit on Friday!

- Posted using BlogPress from Rosie, my iPhone


Warts and All.....A Family Thanksgiving Tale

I went to bed last night to the smell of baking brownies and dishwasher soap.  They don't smell good together....just in case you ever wondered.

But, thankfully, the smell I woke up to this morning was much better.  Turkey.

It lured me up out of my bed and beckoned me to the kitchen.  Turkey! Turkey! By the end of this week, I'll be so turkeyed out, that those exclamation marks will be replaced with sad depressing periods, but seeing as today was my first go round with the blessed poultry, the exclamation marks get to stay.

My mom was all a'bustle around the kitchen and rest of the house getting all the food ready to go and the house companyfied.  The toilets had to be cleaned up (because my children are here...and we have already established their inability to hit a target) and my mama's famous mashed taters had to be whipped up.  Matters of pure urgency, for sure.  So we spent the morning doing this, that, and the other of all things domestic.

The boys were loud and were only messing the house up (and continuing to miss the target in our already clean bathroom) so we sent them outside to make forts in the woods.

We are currently experiencing a stage with Keaton in which he thinks he is too cool to smile and his hair always looks as if it exploded out of the top of his head.  Hello, pre-adolescent boy.

While forts were being constructed outside, guests were arriving inside.  And health care reform was being debated.  Which was my cue to exit and go take more pictures of the fort building.

Much more interesting than health care. 

Time for dinner.  Finally.  And there was so much food, we could barely fit it all on the table and still have elbow room.  That is the sure sign of feasthood.  And feasthood it was.

See that bowl at the bottom center of that picture?  Those are my mama's amazing-delicious-no-one-makes-mashed-taters-like-my-mama mashed potatoes.  Yes.  They are that good.  Don't try to tell me that your grandma or your mama makes good mashed potatoes....because though I'm sure that theirs are delightful, they just don't beat these.  No way.  No how.

Oh...and look...a fly on the side of the bowl.  Even he agrees about the deliciousness of the taters.  And now we're going to pretend that we didn't see that and move on to the picture of my plate.

Of which none of the calories counted.  Because today was our holiday.  And calories don't count on holidays.

And, yes.  I ate it all.  Every bite.

During dinner, I realized that I really should have been seated at the kids' table in the den.  Because I was feeling way out of place with all the talk that was going on at the grown-up table.  More health care discussion.  Ugh.  And then talk of all the medications every member of the table is currently taking.  My daddy even whipped out his medication cheat sheet out of his wallet...oh yes he did.  Ugh.  And then there was talk of wart removal and duct tape.  Ugh.  And then back to health care.  Double Ugh. 

If only I were kidding.

Here is the pill pondering, insurance inquiring, wart wondering group.....discussing. 

I drowned my sorrows in more mashed potatoes.

Oh.  Who came?  Well, it was my three littl'uns and I and Jim-Dad and my mama, of course.  Kirk is hunting in Missouri with his daddy, and my sister and her family couldn't make it this Thanksgiving.  My dad's step-brother, Bob, came (that's him in the plaid shirt), and then my Aunt JoAnn (Jim-Dad's sister) and her son/my first cousin, Richard, were there.

Jim-Dad and Rich

Jim-Dad and his baby sister

Despite discussions of medications and Medicare (ugh.), the time with family is always very precious.  I'm so grateful for a rich heritage of family that believes in family.  And my dad's side is so very evident of that.  It's impossible to go through a meal with these folks without thinking about my Nanny and Grandpa who have passed away, but it feels good to know that we're carrying on.  Although we didn't have a little plate of pickles and olives on our table....and Nanny always had pickles and olives.  Oh well.

I guess everyone finally got tired of talking about things that were completely boring me (I left and went and watched cake decorating shows on tv...no more wart removal for me, thank you), and our company headed home.

And the rest of us succumbed to turkey induced comas.  And we all woke up when it was dark outside.  Just to heat up leftovers and eat more turkey.  Naturally.

Then we watched an old made-for-tv Christmas movie with horrible acting and even worse outfits.  But it had a good story, and it just felt cozy and comfortable and homey.

And as if we hadn't topped the day's tank off with enough fun and excitement, we decided to go out with one last shabang before turning in for the night.  We gathered around the table and played a hearty game of Clue.

It was Mr. Green in the Observatory with the Trophy.  Just in case you were wondering.

And now I'm in bed. 

And reflecting on the time I've had so far with my family.  Slow precious lazy days that just feel good.  I'll take these days over busy hustle-n-bustle ones any.time.

Even if they include prescription ponderings and side-effect stories.

Warts and all.

Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
1 Chronicles 29:13


Houses and Home

I've lived in lots of houses in my life.  Let's see if I can name them all. 

It may take a bit, so if you need to go grab a cup of coffee, go ahead.  I'll wait. 

Go on.

There.  Better?  Okay....

Let's see...first was the house that my parents lived in when I was born.  I don't remember much about it, but I've seen pictures.  And although I remember it being a brick house, I really just remember the mint green dress that my mom was wearing in a picture taken in front of the house.

Then we lived in a The White House.  Not THE White House.  But Our White House.  I know nothing about it except that it was white.  And had a huge yard.  And we made card houses at the dining table.  And my daddy made me a Holly Hobby birthday cake in that house...to which I also had the knee socks, thank you very much.

Then it was on to cabin living in the mountains of Georgia.  Don't be thinking that Jim-Dad turned all mountain-manny on us; it was where we lived for missionary orientation.  And all I remember about that place was that I had barrettes shaped like puppy dogs. 

After Georgia, we lived with my Nanny (Jim-Dad's mama).  And I spent hours and hours playing with her old adding machine and rearranging her eclectic salt-and-pepper collection.

I guess we got tired of living with Nanny while we waited for our time to head overseas (or she got tired of living with us), so we moved out into an old, old, old farmhouse that everyone just called Aunt Roxie's Place.  I remember old wallpaper.  And cows.  And I remember that being place where I watched Star Wars for the very first time.

We left Aunt Roxie's and headed out on the mission field.  First up...a two-story duplex in the capital city of Bangladesh that we shared with our very best missionary friends.  I was bitten by a wicked tropical spider; played many a game of hopscotch; had my hair played with by my ayah; and witnessed the horror that is iodine -- all in that house.

Then it was out to village life.  We moved into our missionary house smack dab in the middle of a bustling village.  The only other white person in that village was a Catholic priest, and my best friends were our servants.  I flew kites with our gardener; watched our cook wring the necks of chickens; and lived through our dog being stolen.  Our home was raided for flowers; my daddy fell off of a ladder; and it flooded...a lot.

Next up....Thailand.  There we lived in the church parsonage of the English speaking church that my daddy had moved to pastor.  The house had stairs, which were such a novelty to me.  I also remember a huge photo mural of palm trees in one of the rooms which still bumfuzzles me.  I remember our yard and the floods and the bugs. 

We only lived there for a few months before it was time to come back to the United States for missionary furlough.  We lived in a house provided for missionaries to use, and I remember thinking we lived in a palace.  It had air conditioning!  A true luxury after spending the majority of my life in sweltering tropical climates with only an occasional fan or two.  I can remember making mud pies in the back yard and getting my first Cabbage Patch Kid.  I remember thinking that I must have died and gone to heaven my first trip to WalMart, and I remember getting to watch things like the Disney Channel and Wheel of Fortune.

After the year of all things American, it was back to our house in Thailand.  We stayed there for several more years, and I can remember my mama being so very sick in that house.  And playing Chinese JumpRope with the rubberband ropes stretched between two dining room chairs.  And listening to contraband Madonna and Bon Jovi tapes that I sneaked out of my sister's room while she was out with her friends. 

One summer during that time, our family came back to the States to settle my sister in for her freshman year of college. Since it was uber-temporary, we set up camp in one of those roadside inn/stay-for-awhile motel places.  I remember watching endless episodes of Little House on the Prairie there.  And Jeopardy.  And Bonanza.

After the summer of motel living, we headed back to Thailand and our house by the church.  I remember heading out of the compound gates and buying a plate of chicken fried rice at the street vendor or heading to the hotel right outside the gates to buy an ice cold bottle of soda.

Then my parents retired from the field.  And it was time to move back to the States.

We lived in a quaint house just down the road from my Nanny, and I can remember it had a drop-down den.  But other than that, I don't remember much.  But I think it is because I spent more time down at my Nanny's house than I did at my own.  We'd watch soap operas and play cards and go shopping at WalMart just for fun.  That was the summer of me and Nanny.  And it was precious.

Then my dad got a new job.  In Missouri.  So we moved.  Again.  And we lived in a house at the end of a street next to woods that I was convinced were haunted.  And we had neighbors that didn't believe in throwing anything away.  And I had a pet rabbit that was nothing short of the spawn of Satan.

We rented that first house in Missouri, and after a couple of years, my parents bought another house in that same town.  I loved that house.  The neighborhood was great; the yard was great; and I loved my room.  It was black and mauve, amazingly countrified, and my bedspread looked like a shower curtain.  Ahh...the 90's. 

I lived in that house until college.  And while at the glorious land of all things purple and gold, I managed to move my way around 3 different dorms.  I had psycho roommates and precious roommates and lots and lots of giggles. 

Then I married the love of my life, and we started out on our own pretending to be grown-ups.  We lived in a teensy tiny little white house that was no bigger than a sequin on a spanglefied stiletto.  There was stuff crammed in every nook and cranny, and we stepped on eachother every time we turned around.  But we were happy.  And in love.  And wouldn't have wished to be anywhere else.

Until we wished we were somewhere else.  And bought our first house together.  And we have been there ever since.  We still have stuff bursting out of every closet, drawer, and shelf, but three precious babies have filled that home with more love than stuff.  I could tell you lots of things about our house, but I won't...because it is just home now.  It's where we're comfortable.  And can be ourselves.  And it's where we just do what we do.

So....Amber, why take us on this long journey through the houses of your history?  I mean, my first cup of coffee has already run out, and I've moved on to my second.

Well, I'll tell you, dear reader.  It's because this week I'm spending the week at home.  Not my home-home.  But at home.

I'm at my parent's house in the beautiful mountains of Arkansas.  This house has never actually been my house, since they bought it and moved here after their retirement just last year.  But this place is home to me.  My mom still takes an hour to get ready every morning.  My dad still snoozes in front of the tv.  The box of Cheerios that are my mother's life-blood are sitting pretty in the cabinet, just like always.  My dad's garage is still packed to the hilt with boxes and boxes of our history and memories.  My mom is still a meticulous housekeeper, and my dad still worries about how much gas I have in my car and if I have cash to get home.

We've moved a lot in my life.  A lot.  A lot.  And even though Kirk and I have made our own house into a home, there is still nothing like coming home to my parents.

Sitting and soaking up their voices.  And their smells.  And their mannerisms. 

And realizing that no matter how old I get, or where I or they move.....

They are....just.....home.


Honeymooning.....In a Small Town

We live in a college town.  Actually a two-college town. 

So as you can imagine, life here in our only place to shop is Walmart one horse town revolves a lot around those colleges and their professors and their students.  Everything we do, from church to restaurants to Walmart to just driving through town, is affected by college life.

So it is no surprise that my kids have been talking since the day they were born about when they get to go to college.  They are fascinated with the huge buildings of higher education that we drive past daily and are always asking questions about when they "get to go to school in that building" or when they "get to go and live there."

We have family debates over which university is better (playful banter, of course, because in no way are we locking our kids into school here....in no way).  We occasionally go to football games and pretend like we care who wins.  And even though one of these schools is my alma mater and my heart should be swollen with pride every time someone mentions its name, college life has become everyday and not super special anymore.  I think that just happens when you live here, and when college students being back for the year just means longer lines at Walmart and more people to take up your booths and tables at the few restaurants that you do have. 

So yesterday's conversation in the car started out like many others that involve going to college, but quickly turned...uh...weird.

KEATON:  Hey, Mom...uh...when do I get to go to college?

ME:  (thinking Here we go again.)  When you graduate from high school, kiddo.

KEATON:  And then Saw and Tate go to college, right?

ME:  That's the plan.

KEATON:  So what are you going to do when all of us are gone to college?

ME:  (thinking to myself) Sleep! And have a clean house!

ME:  (to Keaton)  Well, I'll cry, of course.  Because I'll miss you guys.

KEATON:  But, Mom.  Then you'll be able to go have lots of honeymoons with dad.  You'll be happy.  You know it.

Uh..stammer...stutter...trip over my tongue...what?....Honeymoons?....huh?....say what?.....

I have no idea where he gets this stuff.




OUTSIDE MY WINDOW.... the leaves on our pear trees are trying to change colors.  We've had such a bizarre fall season with periods of insane amounts of rain and then the crazy flip-flopping between sweltering heat one day and arctic chill the next.  All of which have not done good things for good fall color.  Our trees are usually so pretty by this time.  They're trying. That's about it.

I AM THINKING.... about how much we have going on in the next few weeks.  All incredibly good things; some fantastically good things; but all requiring lots of traveling. And packing. And laundry. But all totally and confoundedly worth it.

FROM THE KITCHEN.... nothing is cookin' right this second, but Sawyer's deer is still sittin' pretty in my fridge waiting to be butchered up.  How's that for fresh meat?

I AM CREATING.....nothing at the moment.  I'm still hard at work on the quilt for my mama, but I am very excited about working on my family's new Muffin Tin Advent Calendar.  I've wanted one for a long time, but just have never taken the time to sit down and make one.   I've found lots of really cute patterns and ideas, and I can't wait to get started!  This one is my favorite right now....but I'm sure I'll change my mind once I sit down with all my goodies and get started.  And that I'm making one with a fantabulous friend of mine makes it even better!!

I AM GOING......to sit back and enjoy the lights of our Christmas tree and drink a hot cup of coffee.  We put our tree up last night, and I was quickly reminded how much I adore this season.  I love the specialness of the time with family, both close and extended.  I love the magic of gift-giving.  I love the smells.  And the sounds.  And the music.  And the clothes.  And the laughter.  And, of course, the way my heart smiles all over itself at the mention of our Dear Savior's birth.  It's just precious.  So today...I'm going to soak it up.

I AM WEARING..... plaid lime-green jammie pants and an old VBS tee-shirt. 

I AM READING.... What Difference Does It Make? by Ron Hall & Denver Moore.  My dear sweetie-pie friend, Elizabeth, sent me Same Kind of Different As Me a couple of months ago, and I loved every word of that dear story. (Speaking of...Elizabeth, I need to actually mail the package that has been sitting on my bar for a month now!)  Anyway, another sweet friend of mine, Ashley, actually sent me this sequel book all the way from Germany!!  And it is amazing, also.  Must reads, for sure.

I AM HOPING.... for peace to surround so many people who are hurting and wondering and waiting today.  So many friends are on my heart:  waiting for babies, losing loved ones, battling illnesses, enduring painful personal situations.  Today I am praying for each of them as they come to my mind and praying that the warmth of our Father's arms will just swallow them whole.

I AM HEARING..... my children cackle to dvr'd episodes of America's Funniest Home Videos.  Their laughter is so contagious.  I'm giggling, and I have no idea what I'm even snickering about.  If I would have to guess, I'm sure someone just got hit in the groin....tends to be what gets them riled up the most.  Boys.

AROUND THE HOUSE..... are legos.  And forts.  And hideouts.  And, my personal favorite, secret lairs.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.

ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS..... is that Homer Simpson is hanging amongst Scooby Doo and Santa and snowmen and the Nativity on our tree.  I love how hodgepodged and us it is.  I'll be talking a lot about my tree in the coming weeks, because I'm so in love with it, but if you want to get a sneak peek at some of our favorite ornaments, you can go here.

A FEW PLANS FOR THE REST OF MY WEEK..... Laundry. And packing. And laundry. And more packing.  We're heading out to spend the holidays with all the family, and somehow we keep wearing the clothes that we need to be packing.  I'm thinking about just taking big trash sacks full of dirty duds to my mama's and making full use of her laundry room. 


Because I have been desperately awaiting the arrival of this movie!  I will see it.  Pronto.

And there you have it.  Today according to me.  Now...your turn.  Since we don't have time or space in the comments for you to list them all out....how 'bout you try this one on for size.



Guilty As Charged

Just plain ole' no-way-around-it guilty.

See...I have a problem.  And it's a big problem.

The problem is that I have good kids.

Whatchu' talkin' 'bout, Willis? 

No, I'm serious.  I have good kids.  Actually really good kids.  And it has become a problem.  Because I've started to become highly proud of them and have become actually very pompous.  I might as well smear Grey Poupon on their cheeks and serve them with silver platters. 

We know people whose children run their households.  Whose children aren't required to say their Yes, Ma'am's and meet their mamas in the kitchen with pleases and thank yous.  Children who are bullies.  And children who are disrespectful.  And mamas and daddies that turn their heads and call it a phase.

And Kirk and I lie in bed at night and discuss them. 

Oh, our kids would NEVER act like that.  
Our children are at least respectful of the rules.
At least our kids are good in public.
Can you believe so-and-so let their kid say such-and-such?
If one of ours said what so-and-so said, we'd tear them up until next Tuesday.

And then we'd go on our merry way pompously being so proud of our offspring.  Proud of their manners and their respect for other adults.  VERY proud of our ability to make them mind.  And maybe more proud of the fact that if we had issues at home with us, that our kids were labeled as the "good ones" in most social scenarios.  It feels good to have your kids bragged on....and we soaked up.

Um. Well.

And then the children came home from their weekend at grandma's.  And Kirk delivered the news that they were nothing short of hellions while there.  Bossing grandma around.  Being rude.  Not a "Yes, Ma'am" or "No, Ma'am" in sight. 

The husband was out in the deer woods.....leaving the children on their own to maintain their manners.


And I was horrified.  Mortified, really.  Because I thought we had it all together.  I have spent hours mulling over the perfection of my children's abilities to obey and be respectful. 

And to find out that they really can't and aren't...is, well, devastating.

Because I thought we were getting to a point where we had them trained.  That being respectful was just part of who they were. 

But I realize that we have so far to go.  That becoming lax isn't an option. 

One of the many prayers that I've prayed over my little boys is that they would grow to be respectful men.  That manners and love for other people would just ooze from their pores.

But they aren't going to become Godly men by me just sitting back and being proud.  And haughty.  And judgmental of others' parenting styles.

Now.  Do I think that my kids are now suddenly bad?


But I do think that the Lord used this weekend where the boys were away from their parents constant hovering and reminding them of the right things to say and do, to shock me back into reality. 

Kirk and I do NOT have it all figured out. 

I fell to my knees begging the Lord to forgive me for my prideful nature.  And had a conversation with Him about the seriousness of my commitments.

Because from this day forward, I'm committing to do my part to raise my little people to be respectful.  All the time.  Not just when they feel like it.  Or when I'm around.  But all the time.

And from this day forward, I'm committing myself also.  To be proud to be their mom.  To be proud of their achievements. 

But not to be prideful.

Because those two things are different.  Very.Very.Different.


For the Love of JuJu and Her Zhu Zhu

This  DVD post has a bonus feature: commentary from me, Zhu Zhu Granny aka Tiffani, mother to JuJu.  This story should be told with fair perspective because yes, this time with Amber was both thrilling and terrifying all at the same time.  So, I'm the voice of reason in the red text.

I had a mission. Mission seems like such a dull word to describe the fire in your belly, my dear.

And a girl doesn't back down when her homegirl gives her a mission.  Um, good thing this was done safely over the internet or I fear a toy store brawl could've easily ensued with Mrs. Rascal Raiser ending up in cuffs.

Especially when the mission involves a curly top princess.

She does look awfully cute and Zhu Zhu needy in that sleigh, doesn't she?!

Seeing as she is my future daughter-in-law, I decided that I must give that darling all that her precious heart desired.  Even if it was one of these.

Meet the Zhu Zhu Pet. The $8 retail insane phenomena known as, even...

Apparently it is the hottest toy to walk the shelves since the Tickle Me Elmo and the Kids that grow in a Cabbage Patch.  Grown women elbowing and shoving their way to a Zhu Zhu.  You betcha. See above statement.

So....Tiffani texted me and instant messaged me all in a tizzified panic:  Julia.Must.Have.A.Zhu.Zhu....Help.Me.Find.One.Pronto. Of course, I believe I was much less tizzified and making simple statements such as:  "Girl, people are nuts for these things....but maybe your Wal-Mart or Toys  R  Us has them"

She checked her stores.  I checked my stores.  We shopped online.  And she made phonecalls.  This is all very true because I figured the closer to Christmas I got the less of a chance we'd have to get one..and I mean G-O-N-E.... like limits on how many you can buy, GONE...

No Zhu Zhus.  Nada. Zip. Zilch. Waiting Lines. No One Answering Phones.  INTENSE.  This is when I definitely was thinking this Zhu-love is GINORMOUS and little JuJu may NOT be receiving such a fun non-pooping hamster for Christmas.

So tonight we started shopping around on eBay.  Um, browsing, BROWSING is what I was thinking was happening...

Now....let me just interject here that I haven't shopped on eBay much.  And the times that I have shopped on eBay it has been "Buy It Now."  I haven't ever been apart of a bidding frenzy.....

Until tonight.

It all started with one little bid.  Just one teensy tiny bid.
And then another bid.
And another bid.
And before long I had a string of bids on Zhu Zhus stretching from Philly to L.A. She ain't exaggeratin' people.

Poor Tiff couldn't even type "Stop.Bidding.Now." on IM fast enough.  Click.  Another bid. Seriously, I've never been closer to a coronary in.my.life.

She had to excuse herself for Oreos to calm her nerves. Oh.YES.I.DID. and would've medicated with something stronger if I had it!!  I was shaking and BEGGING her to back away from the computer.

But 3 hours, 36 minutes, 11 bids, and 38,472,938,472,938 page loads later.....and one bestie collapsed and needing oxygen on the sofa

Miss JuliaBelle has herself a Zhu Zhu Pet sitting pretty under the tree this Christmas.  And all thanks to her Auntie Amb's insane spontaneity and her mama's near nervous breakdown due to Auntie Amb's insane spontaneity.

Yes.  I did it.  I fought the good fight that is eBay and won that ding dang toy.  This Mama is actually thrilled even though I was trying to talk her off the risky ledge and she was trying to talk me off the "you ain't gettin' it for $8 we gotta do this now" ledge

And if that isn't good news, then knowing that I won TWO might just be better. Great, Amb, now your READERS have collapsed....

Yes. Two. Praise the Lord she didn't win the other 720 bids that were still pending or every child from Philly to LA would be getting one of Auntie Amb's famous Zhu Zhu's including the Rascals!

Because I happen to be eBay ignorant.  I mastered the whole bidding thing.  But I failed to master the whole knowing when I won something thing.  And while Tiff and I were bemoaning the continual loss of the Zhu Zhus, I just happened to scroll down my page and noticed where I actually had already won the dern hamsters.  And still had bids pending.  Oh.Dear.Me.

But no worries.  (Hear me, Tiff.  NO WORRIES.) I hear ya, girl, but tell that to the nubs where my fingernails used to be.

Miss Julia is getting herself a very faincy Mr. Squiggles.  Who happens to be our fave!  And the other Zhu Zhu....that I accidentally totally on purpose won is going back up on eBay.  And I'm thinking I'm going to make a fortune.  Honey, you experienced first hand the madness....it.will.sell.

Because people are going NUTS for the Zhu Zhu. 

And I happen to have an extry.   Go me.

**A Note To the Husband:  I WILL NOT BE GETTING ON EBAY EVER.EVER.EVER. AGAIN. I PROMISE.**   Kirk, I swear, I tried with all my Christmas might to pry her fingers from the keyboard...but I really think you should add eBay to the parental control sites where she is NOT allowed to visit...just in case! OH, and FedEx has my kidney, I overnighted it to help defray the cost.


If You Came By My House Today.......

Sweet precious crafty Kellie over at La Vida Dulce is hosting a bloggy carnival, and I love a good party. 

I'm also intrigued by the fried butter that is supposedly the new rage at state fairs these days, but I don't know that Kellie's carnival is sportin' fried lard.  And it isn't that I want to try fried butter...I am just wondering about the person that decided one day that it was a good idea to dip a tablespoon of Country Crock in batter and plop it in the fry daddy.  Next it will be fried jelly.  Or fried syrup.  Or fried mustard.  You know...as long as we are going for condiments.  But I digress...

Kellie provided us with a writing prompt.  And as a former English teacher, this concept excites me to no end.  So I'm gladly playing along......which meant that we were to complete this sentence starter.....

If you came to my house today......

Now, first of all, this terrifies me.  Because I am NOT a fan of the drop-in guest.  Uninvited and unexpected visitors literally make me shake and usually lead to me hurrying the children to the back of the house, shushing them, and playing the very fun childhood game "Duck and Hide From the People Ringing the Doorbell."  You think I'm kidding. 

But because I like you, I'll let you in....today.

And what you would find would be a VERY lived in house.  Excuse me.  A very lived in HOME.

The slipcover is off the couch and is draped over four dining room chairs.  It has been a fort.  And a castle.  A jungle.  And, most recently, a veterinarian clinic.

The couch cushions are off of that same couch and are piled up in Mt. Everest fashion. 

There is a strange aroma wafting from the shoe shelf.....it smells of boy. 

There are cereal bowls in my sink.  From two days ago.

There is a carpet of laundry in my laundry room.  I counted them up the other day, and to be completely caught up on every stitch of clothing/laundry that needs to be washed would mean doing 17 loads.  17!  Guess what??  It's not happening.  So the carpet of laundry will stay.

There are piles of toys in Sawyer and Tate's room that are a hodgepodge of army men, action figures, and HotWheels.  The piles are stuffed under the bed and in the corners....as if they are invisible to mother's eyes on the last "Clean Your Room" tirade. 

There are stacks of folded laundry piled in the floor of my room.  I can fold.  But I can't seem to put it away.  It truly is sad when the children come first to my floor to look for clean undies instead of their drawers. 

The vacuum cleaner is sitting in the hallway.  Waiting to be used.  Or put away.  Or to be invited into the living room to help hold up a part of the fort. 

School books are sitting on the table.  Because we didn't put them away.

The boys' bathroom smells of stank.  And looks as though the children have missed every attempt of actually hitting their target which is the toilet.  It is gross.  And unsanitary.  And I continue to just resolve to not.go.in.there.

And I could go on. And on. And on.

Because our house is rarely clean. 

It is full of forts, and roads made of DVD cases, and strewn legos, and pillow towers, and soccer played in the hallway, and fishstick crumbs under the table.

Because it is lived in. 

But maybe more importantly....our home is LOVED in.

****Thanks, Kellie, for hosting!  Head over to her place to find out what is going on in everyone's cribs today!!**


Water Cooler Discussions... (Interpretation: What I'm Talking To Myself About)

1.  We don't really have a water cooler at my house.  And if we did have one, it wouldn't be filled with water.  It'd be a tank of sweet tea or over-sugared kool aid.  Because I tend to always over-sugar everything.  Try not to be judgy. 

2.  I giggled and guffawed all over myself this morning as the husband got dressed.  Even after reading this post and rolling his eyes incessantly at me for writing it, he did it again!  He stood in front of the closet and stared.  And then paced to his dresser.  Cracks.Me.Up.Every.Time.

3.  My mother-in-law is getting an extra present this year.  Because she is rescuing the children from their about to blow a gasket if someone doesn't get out of this house this everlovin' minute mother me from the throngs of all things testosterone related this weekend.  The husband is getting his deer hunter on.  The rascals are getting their spoiling on.  And I'm getting the weekend all.to.myself.  I'm going to indulge myself in all thing girly.  And lazy.  And if I clean....there won't be a nasty boy to come behind and mess it up.  At least until Tuesday.  Ah. Sweet bliss.

4.  I just found out that three of my besties have never experienced the wonder and joy that is Mr. Darcy.  It seems like a crime to me that a woman can go through her life without Pride and Prejudice.  I have failed as a friend.

5.  I was a guest blogger the other day over at Jen's place.  Well, really more of a guest hijacker.  She is under the impression that "she doesn't have anything to write about."  And I told her that I was tired of seeing her blog on my sidebar and it never being updated.  So head over there and leave her a comment and tell her that she needs to get her act in gear.

6.  I'm still researching A.D.D. and still think that I have it.  Apparently I have also highly upset my parents by my self-diagnosis.  And I also want to clarify that I don't know that I would put myself on the meds for the disorder.  I just want to know if I have it.  Because I really think it would make me feel better to label all my disorganization and multi-tasking issues on some kind of disorder...rather than just finding out that I can't get my act together. 

7.  Our three legged dog, Ozzie, has been missing for two days now.  We aren't the best pet owners, as many of you well know, and our pets have been known to go off gallivanting for days on end.  But I'm beginning to get nervous.  I'm hoping that Oz is just off a'courtin' or drinkin' coffee with his other old-man-dog-friends.  At least this is what I'm telling the children.

8.  I threw up in Zumba again yesterday.  I'm about to take it as a sign that I should just stop exercising and prepare myself for the onslaught of eatery that is the holidays.  And I had actually been contemplating hiring a personal trainer. But for her personal safety, I had better not. Because I certainly don't need to expose anyone to nasty throwup germs at the height of flu season.  So me stayin' out of the gym is really just lookin' out for the best interest of Jenny the Trainer.  I'm so thoughtful.

9.  Sawyer's flag football season started this week, and I have decided that I was not blessed with the spiritual gift of flag football fanaticism.  It is all I can do to not pick up my chair, march to my car, and go peruse the laundry detergent aisle at Walmart for the duration of the game.  Because that HAS to be more entertaining.  Call me a horrible parent, but I'm not sure why watching flag football isn't a well-executed torture device.

10.  For the past two weeks, I put myself on a strict budget.  My check registry lists NOTHING except bills, a trip to the grocery store (at which I got my heavy coupon on and only bought the necessities on my list), and a fill-up at the gas station.  I'm very proud of us.  It was hard to not whip the van into Sonic for a PDDP, or buy an Almond Joy and an US Weekly in the checkout line, or pick up Arby's beef-n-cheddars for dinner instead of cookin'.  But we did it!  Yeah.Us.

11.  I did, however, go by Cracker Barrel for coffee and a piece of cherry cobbler with my besties yesterday.  But I borrowed five bucks from Keaton for that, so that doesn't really count in the large scheme of things.  I'll pay him back.  Honest, I will.  And besides....coffee, cherry cobbler, and inappropriate conversations with girlfriends is highly necessary...and budgetable.  Because I'm listing that under Therapy...which would fall under Medical Bills.  Naturally.

Alright.  My Water Cooler is tapping out.  Eleven is a weird number to top a list off at, but it doesn't seem as rigid and predictable as ending a list at ten.  So eleven, it is.

Until the Water Cooler is refilled...with all things sugary and bad for you...........


Self-Diagnosis. And Way Too Much Internet Reading.

So...I've been researching.  GASP.  I know.  I know.  I find it shocking as well.

But I decided that it was high-time to do some self-diagnosis.

Because I have a problem.  Well, lots of problems.  But this one bugs the snot out of me.

I think I have A.D.D.  You know, the attention problem that all the "bad" kids at school have. 

No. Seriously.  I do.

See...look.  This is what I found:

Individuals with ADHD essentially have problems with self-regulation and self-motivation, predominantly due to problems with distractibility, procrastination, organization, and prioritization.
Uh.Huh.  That's me.  Seriously.

I also found this:
In adults, these [symptoms] evolve into:
Indecision, difficulty recalling and organizing details required for a task
Poor time management, losing track of time
Avoiding tasks or jobs that require sustained attention
Difficulty initiating tasks
Difficulty completing and following through on tasks
Difficulty multitasking
Difficulty shifting attention from one task to another
This is me, y'all.  To a T.

Procrastination?  Check.  Like every day that I clean up the bar in my kitchen (these aren't consecutive days, mind you) I find a stack of the boys' sports pictures.  Like packets and packets.  Basketball.  Baseball.  Soccer.  And every day that I find those pictures, I think, Man, I really need to sit down and send these to grandparents and get these in frames in their rooms.  Um...I have pictures from 2008 in that stack.  And laundry that has been in my laundry room for a year now.  And closets that need to be cleaned out.  But they aren't.  Because....I have decided to do it tomorrow.

Indecision?  Check.  I couldn't make a decision to save my life.  Unless it is about which brand of macaroni and cheese to buy.  That I can do.  Past that...no dice.

Poor time management?  Check.  Evidenced by the millions of minutes that I can tick away reading blogs and facebooking and tweeting and instant messaging all of the same people.  And the millions of minutes that I do not spend on my laundry.  I have, however, mastered the art of computering and watching tv.  But I have a feeling that that doesn't really count.  Although it makes perfect sense to me.

Avoiding tasks or jobs that require sustained attention?  Uh. Double check.  Sustained attention like scrapbooking.  And journaling.  And, very shamefully, quiet times.  Because I know that I'll get "bored" easily and won't follow through...so why bother?

Difficulty initiating tasks?  Check.  I don't initiate.  Because I'm scared I won't follow through.  Because nine times out of ten, I won't.  It's not that I don't want to...I just know better.  Like my jewelry business that I started last year.  Um...ask me when the last time was that I made a piece of jewelry. 

Difficulty completing and following through on tasks?  Check.  Just read what I just wrote up there.  Follow through?  What's that?  In fact, this blog is the ONLY thing that I've actually been able to follow through on with any kind of consistency.  And I'm nervous everyday that it will go away.

Difficulty multitasking?  Triple check.  I can chew gum and walk at the same time but that is the extent of my multitasking.  Oh.  And that whole computer and tv thing.  I can't even keep the washer and dryer running while we do school every morning.  Can't talk on the phone and do anything but pace.  Can't maintain a conversation and fold laundry.  I just can't. 

Difficulty shifting attention from one task to another? Check.  And most of the time it is because I forgot what the next task is that I'm supposed to be doing. 

In all seriousness, I really believe I have some issues.  I can't remember anything; go through extreme periods of complacency; and will lose a train of though mid-sentence.

So, I'm going to go to the doctor.  And I'm going to ask them to test me. 

And if it comes back that I'm not what I've diagnosed myself with....well.....then.....

I guess I'm pretty much tanked.

If I can remember that I'm supposed to be tanked, that is.

*quotations found here*

Stories About the Husband. He'll Kill Me Later.

The husband often despises the fact that I'm a blogger.

And it doesn't really have anything to do with the fact that I blab personal details about our family all over cyberspace.  Or that I talk about all of you people like you live next door to me, and he often times has to have me clarify who exactly I'm talking about. 

Really what irritates him is that I parade pictures around of him, make snide comments about him never smiling, and tell embarrassing stories about him....all without his permission.  And I've thought about being a teensy bit more respectful of him and his feelings, but if I did that then you wouldn't know about this:

1)  That on Halloween night we had just arrived back home, and the boys were stripping off their costumes...and I was digging in their candy buckets stealing all the chocolate checking all the pieces for safety.  We have a motion sensor light as our porch light, and though we had it turned off because we weren't home that night, it had popped on when we came home.  We hadn't been home 5 minutes and the doorbell rang.  Trick-or-Treater.  So, Kirk went to the door and TOLD THE PRINCESS THAT WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY CANDY AND SENT THE PRINCESS AWAY.  Oh yes he did.  All while I was sitting at the table stuffing my face with Laffy Taffy and Crunch Bars. 

2)  That he laid in bed and thought about that poor princess all night long.  And felt terrible.  And when I joked that her big brothers were going to come back and toilet paper our house that night, he decided that that would, in fact, make him feel better.  And even contemplated going and rolling our house himself.

3)  That I love to watch him get dressed in the morning.  Now...don't let your mind get all wandery.  It isn't what you are thinking.  It is because it is so ding dang comical.  The man walks back and forth between his closet and his dresser no less than 78 times.  He puts shirts on top of shirts because he forgets that he already put a shirt on.  Same with socks.  He'll be telling me about what he's going to do at the gym (he goes every morning before work) while putting on work clothes.  And then he'll realize what he's doing and have to undress and put on gym clothes.  He will be fully dressed and go to the closet, turn the light on, and just stare at his clothes.  And then he'll remember that he's already dressed, turn the light off, and head out of the room.
It.cracks.me.up.  And it makes my days start off just marvelously.

4)  That his favorite word is "literally."  And he uses it a.lot.  Literally.

5)  That he taps his foot when he is talking all smarty.  I can always tell when he's being thinky, because his feet just start a-tappin'.

6)  That all his friends call him the Redneck Physicist.  And it is the truth.  He is the only man I know who can discuss the art of guttin' deer using the Theory of Relativity.  And all while tappin' his foot.  Literally.

Now...before you go off thinking I'm being all disrespectful of my man, I'm not.  I adore him like crazy.  And already warned him ahead of time that I was going to "out" him.  He's just decided to roll with it. 

Because you know what is the best thing about my man?  He is the kindest, gentlest, most compassionate man I've ever met.  He is funny and witty and smart.  And he loves us.

And even though he turns little princesses away...he is amazing.  Literally.


10 Very Gladdy Things

My good buddy, Meredith, hosts this super fun bloggy doo-dad every month, and my other good buddy, Gretchen, hosts this other super fun bloggy doo-dad every Tuesday. 

And I decided that I was just going to squish 'em together and do a little doo-dad mashup. 

So I give you....

10 Things That I'm Gladdy For On This GladiTuesday Which Happens To Be On the 10th

10.  I'm super gladdy that I'm homeschooling this year.  The last time I tried homeschooling the rascals, I had given it up by this time in the year.  The boys were back in traditional classrooms, and I was busy teaching grammar to a bunch of hooligans who cared less about diagramming sentences.  It definitely was the right decision for us at that particular stage in our lives, but I'm just tickled pink that God is allowing this year to go by so smoothly.  Fourth grade math is kicking my tail, but we all are still breathing, smiling, and waking up the next morning to do it all again. 

9.  I'm very gladdy that it is the holiday season...finally.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite times of the year, and I'm so gladdy that we're elbow deep in all things holiday-ie.  Christmas music, decorations, yummy food, family visits, shopping, really hunkering down and focusing on the Reason for the season.  LOVE IT.

8.  I'm amazingly gladdy that my trip to see my bloggy bestie Tiffani is only 3.5 weeks away.  I cannot wait to just sit and soak her up.  Precious.

7.  I'm very gladdy that my husband is a daddy who loves his kids.  He truly enjoys being with his babies and hanging out with them.  He never fusses about being the one to give up endless evenings to do practice after practice, and he never complains when they are underfoot helping him with his latest project.  It breaks my heart for children and wives that don't have supportive or eager fathers/husbands.  I'm so blessed.

6.  I'm really very gladdy that my corduroy pants still fit me from last year.  Nothing says fall like slipping on my cords and a snugly sweater.  It was touch and go there for a bit...but we are all good in the fittage department.  Whew.

5.  I'm very gladdy that it has finally stopped raining around here.  October in Arkansas brought like 25 or 26 days of rain out of the 31.  Ridiculous.  The sunshine is a happy place for me, and I don't think I have ever been so happy to see it.

4.  I'm very very gladdy about the homemade chicken noodle soup that is simmering away in my crockpot.  It smells divine.  And I can't wait to eat it.

3.  I'm really gladdy that my venture into the land of "domesticky" continues.  I am going to have to chain myself to my washer and dryer for the rest of the evening, but I'm not really bummed about it.  So...I am still counting successes as I see 'em!

2.  I'm really saddy that I haven't started ANY Christmas shopping yet, but super gladdy that I have a couple of really great bloggy buddies that have fabulous ETSY shops that I will most likely be visiting come time to play Santa.  I'm not feeling the crafty love this year, so I'm thinking I'm going to let this girl and this girl do the work for me!! :)

1.  I'm so very gladdy that I may just be getting a quiet weekend all to myself.  I love the children and all, but I also love me some alone time.  So, I'm SO hoping that it all pans out for the children to head to grandma's this weekend while the husband heads out for opening weekend of deer season.  Lazing my Saturday away with Mr. Darcy, my blankie, and a cup of coffee would do my soul well.

Thanks again, Mer and Jewels, for hosting!!  And be sure to check out Mer's place here for lots of other fun, creative, and thinky 10 lists.

Have a GladiTuesday on this 10th!!