If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, 1 grandson, 3 granddaughters, 3 dogs, and a whole lot of love.

Family Story Pic

Family Story Pic


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Redneck road trip

On the heels of the NHS scandal of 2011, amidst my email and voice mail being flooded with contact from local media outlets seeking our comment, it seemed like a really good time to leave the state. (God's timing? Probably.) Although we felt bad for the poor souls who were in charge of keeping an eye on our house while we were gone. Nothing like pissing a bunch of people off right before we hand over our keys to our friends. (Good luck!)

So last Friday afternoon we squealed calmly pulled out of our driveway and headed south. It was a treat to finally be able to turn off the van heater in Tennessee and by Georgia it was necessary to turn on the air conditioner. But we noticed an odd smell that went away when we turned the air conditioner off. We turned it on again. Bad smell. Turned it off again. Smell goes away. We repeated this cycle several times until we finally pulled into a McDonalds in Georgia to investigate. I'll spare you the gory details and the dramatic scene that accompanied the moment we all looked over the edge of the hood to discover our barn cat who'd been missing for a few days. (Please insert moment of silence on behalf of 'Willis' here.)

Well so far we were off to a great start. Besides a mangled barn cat who'd now joined us on our trip, our 4-year old stayed wide awake and chatting the first 12 hours of the drive, there was massive amounts of construction in Georgia and an idiot trying to take our order at the McDonalds on exit 18 who should drop to her knees and give thanks that my husband physically blocked me from climbing through her drive-thru window to kick her a** at 5am on March 19th. I'd reached my breaking point. I'm only human.

After a mere 18 hours in the van, we arrived at our destination. We had now descended on the retirement community where my in-laws spend their winters. Wow, was that community of retirees in for a treat, or what? We passed through the gate and were greeted by the speed limit sign. (14.9 mph, people.) We no sooner passed the sign when a woman driving an SUV ran into a gentleman riding his bike. (She must have been going 15. See why there are rules?) He was okay, but by the looks of things when he rode away, his bike had seen better days.

After settling in, the first stop was the community pool. Having never stayed in a retirement community before, we were slightly stunned to find the pool dotted with retirees who simply floated on noodles. No movement. No swimming. No waves. I felt like I'd just stumbled onto the set of "Cocoon." But by the looks on their faces, they were equally as stunned to see my large freshly sun blocked and bathing suit clad family heading their direction. (Go ahead, babe....show em your famous cannon ball.)

All in all, it was a really wonderful week. Everyone was friendly and welcomed our crazy family with open arms. They even tolerated us at the pool.....huddled together at the opposite end of wherever we were, but tolerated us nonetheless. Several of my in-laws neighbors loaned us their bikes to use while we were there. (We were careful to abide by the 14.9 mph rule, lest we end up with another scandal on our hands.) When I tried out my roller blades and my ankles got tired and I ended up having to be pulled on the back of Z's bike for 2 miles, everyone politely got out of our way as quickly as they could without complaint.

They'd recently voted to allow the hot tub to remain open 24 hours. Our family utilized that new luxury a lot. Probably not too surprising to hear that we were the only ones ever up there after midnight. Could be because you have to brave the dark alligator infested lake to get to the hot tub or it could have been because the first night C stepped into that hot water, she abruptly squatted and peed in it. Either way, we had the place to ourselves.

Too bad the pee trick didn't work at the ocean. Three of my family members openly peed in those waters, but the spring breakers were undeterred. Thankfully we had a high bouncing water ball as back-up and people quickly realized they didn't want to be anywhere near my family at the beach.

But the beaches were beautiful and we spent an amazing week with lots of extended family and it was awesome. We did lots of fun activities, ate tons of great food and came away with unbelievable tans.

The drive back home went much smoother than the drive down there. And thanks to my husband's rage while listening to the Buckeyes get beat on the radio, we made it through Georgia in record time.

And when we returned, we found our house intact and everything exactly as we left it.....minus one barn cat, of course.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Wow! So much has happened over the past 48 hours. Z was given the date for a hearing for a time when we will be on vacation and he couldn't attend to defend himself. (Not cool.) When he requested a new hearing date, the unprofessional teacher refused. All the while, no one from the school contacted my husband or myself and we're his parents! And he's a minor! What the heck is going on around here?!?

So today was spent making phone calls and sending emails. As it turns out, we weren't the only ones making phone calls and sending emails on Z's behalf.

I'm extremely pleased to tell you we think it's over. We finally received a phone call from the principal tonight around 8:45! I have no idea what finally brought him to the point of contacting us. It could have been the massive amounts of support for Z by all of you wonderful people! Thank You! Could have been some awesome pro-active friends like you who actually sent letters! Thank You! It could have been the 'Keep Z in NHS fan page' that quickly racked up 129 (and still counting) followers. Or it could have been our scheduled interview with Channel 2 news tomorrow morning, thanks to a great friend who emailed them on our behalf! Thank You!

But the bottom line is; he dismissed the hearing and Z will be on a short probation. We'll take it! He might also have to write a letter stating that he didn't intend to offend anyone. We'll take that too! Because, truly, he didn't mean to offend anyone. He and I are meeting with the principal tomorrow morning where I plan on addressing the inappropriate behavior of some of the adults involved and I expect that to go very well. If not, you all will be the first to know.

We can't thank all of you enough! The outpouring of support, offers from people to represent him at his hearing, a friend who met with a lawyer on Z's behalf, the National Branch of the National Honor Society taking our case, and Channel 2 for responding so quickly to get to the bottom of this. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

We have a wonderful support system. Z has an amazing group of friends and has even made a lot of new friends from the other schools that night who have jumped on his support team. You're all awesome!

We couldn't be more proud of Z and the way he's handled himself through this entire ordeal. From his amazing speech, the impressive tumbling and his calm demeanor as he learned the art of defending his rights. Life experience is the best teacher of all.

And never forget: "We only fight when we're provoked." ~as spoken by Z in his speech~

Thanks again!

Love you all,


Here's the link to the video of his speech for anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of seeing it yet:


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

N.H.S. (No Humor Society)

Our family + a stuffy banquet full of speeches = The perfect storm.

Add to that the fact that our 17 year old son was required to deliver one of those speeches and you've got potential for an evening that will go down in history.

As mentioned a few entries ago, Z made the National Honor Society exactly one month ago today. On top of that, he was chosen as one of 3 candidates to run for Vice President of the county wide chapter.

For the past several days, he's been busy working on a speech. My husband and I encouraged him to be himself and show his individuality by adding some humor. Yesterday at school he found out that the English teacher had encouraged the other 2 candidates to do the same and it confirmed we were on the right track.

Last night was the banquet. Z's girlfriend and I attended while my husband stayed home with our daughters. We were excited to be at our very first NHS banquet. We sat with a family who was attending their 3rd NHS banquet and they filled us in on how brutally boring the evening would be. Oh great. But we found out a useful tidbit of information: the kids in the NHS are the ones who vote. Good to know. The humor route should be a hit.

After dinner the families were dismissed into the auditorium. First up to give speeches were the 3 candidates for President. It was clear that all 3 were given the same advice of adding humor and the crowd politely laughed their support for all 3 students.

Next up, the 3 candidates for Vice President. As Z walked by me to take the stage, I reached out and took his hand and told him to go for it. And he did. He was the 2nd presenter and the only boy of the group. The girl before him took the serious approach and stood up there and read off her qualifications and the crowd politely applauded. Z got up and openly admitted that the girl's qualifications would be hard to compete with, therefore as a cook at Pizza Hut, he campaign promised some extra toppings on the pizzas of the kids who secured him their votes. It was cute and the crowd laughed their approval. Then he listed off a few of his accomplishments while adding a few more humorous comments and the crowd laughed their approval each time.

Something you might want to know about our family: If you laugh your approval, we'll keep going and we might suddenly take it to a new level. Be ready for it.

Then he listed his sports and activities and he ended with his ability to juggle.....and then he said, "Don't worry. I've been instructed not to play with my balls on stage." And the crowd roared and applauded the first kid in the history of NHS to mention his balls on stage. (His juggling balls, people. Get your minds out of the gutter.) And their approval went on for quite a long time. To the point where you could barely hear his closing remark, which was, "I'm not standing up here asking for you to vote for me, I'm simply asking you not to vote for them" as he motioned toward his opponents. And the auditorium went wild as my son exited the stage and kids and parents gave him high fives on the way back to his seat. He became an instant celebrity and when the kids began marking their ballots without yet hearing from the final candidate, I knew he'd just nailed himself the position of Vice President.

The rest of the evening I couldn't stop beaming with pride at this son of mine who used to be so shy that the thought of speaking to a large crowd would have never even been an option a couple of years ago. The thought of putting himself out there in a position to be judged by a group of his peers would have never happened.

Yet he's done it twice in the period of a month. The first time was during a church event when he hijacked the microphone and asked his girlfriend to prom and to accept his class ring in front of about 400 people. (Thankfully she said yes to both.) And last night he stood in front of an auditorium full of people he'd never met and delivered a fantastic speech complete with comedic timing. Yes, I was proud.

And as an added bonus, when his name was called to light his candle and receive his membership card, he did a round-off back-hand-spring across the stage. And the crowd woke up yet again.

When it came time to 'tap' the new Vice President everyone was on the edge of their seats to watch the inevitable. Everyone knew who was about to be tapped. So when the girl who delivered the first speech was tapped, everyone sat in stunned silence. Even the girl who had just been tapped. (As it turns out, she voted for Z too.)

Afterward, Z was surrounded by parents who were thanking him for making what is a notoriously brutal evening something to talk about and by all the kids who were confused because they'd voted for him. Clearly, there is some question about the voting system here. Obviously, there are powers that be who can override the decision of the very NHS members who are voting on who they want to represent them. Don't get me wrong, it's not that Z was better qualified than anyone else or that we're not happy for the girl who ended up winning.But last night, the people spoke and 'someone' took away their voice because 'someone' didn't like the final result. Nice message you're sending to the next generation.

To make matters worse, on our way out, Z approached his 2 teachers. Not only did they glare and refuse to speak to him, but one of them pointed and told him to get out. Not only was that horribly unprofessional, but a poor representation of someone involved in the National Honor Society.

Did he say balls on stage? Yes. Did he choose a different method to cross the stage to receive his card? Yes. Did he bring some life to what was otherwise a boring event much to the crowd's approval? Yes. And did he get penalized for it? Absolutely.

We're not sure what today will hold for him at school. Will he be reprimanded? Will he be kicked out of the NHS? Quite possibly. (Oh well, it was a good month while it lasted.) But the bottom line is, Z did exactly what was asked of him. He put himself out there, showing humor, individuality, and leadership. And that's pretty 'Honor'-able by our standard.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kinda tired

Life is exhausting.

When I referred to myself as 'drained' in 2 separate emails to friends today, I realized that I'm tired. On every level. I'm just kinda tired.

Physically: I'm kinda tired of always wanting to lose 15 more pounds. I've lost 10 since Christmas. Anyone who can do 2nd grade math would think that I want to lose 5 more. But I don't. I want to lose 15. I'm kinda tired of portioning out my Brummel & Brown butter that's not really butter but rather yogurt in a margarine tub (45 calories per tbs) as I spread it onto one slice of toast made with Aunt Millie's Healthy Goodness bread (35 calories per slice) and topped with sugar-free strawberry preserves (10 calories per tbs). And now that I mention it, I'm kinda tired of counting calories. I'm not even gonna mention how tired I am of exercising. Physically, I'm just kinda tired.

Emotionally: I'm kinda tired of feeling like I never quite measure up to the expectations of others. I'm kinda tired of treading lightly for fear of unknowingly falling short of meeting a need. I'm tired of knowing that, although there are 2 sides to every story, mine will always be the un-told version simply because I've come to despise conflict. And I'm kinda tired of feeling obligated to defend decisions we make and allowing the misery of others to taint my joy. Emotionally, I'm just kinda tired.

Spiritually: I'm kinda tired of feeling like I've finally broken free from an area of bondage, only to come face to face with the next obstacle that God wants me to overcome. I'm tired of the 'high road.' The road where regardless of how you're being treated by others, you're expected to keep a loving smile on your face and ignore the pain as you repeatedly turn cheek after cheek, for fear of damage to my testimony should I ever defend myself. And I'm really tired of every single verse in the Bible applying to me! Change here, grow here, adjust here and while you're at it, hold your tongue throughout the process. Spiritually, I'm just kinda tired.

So tired, in fact, that lately I seem unable to find any words to pray about the worries and situations that are making me so tired.

Okay, I'll stop before I cross over into a pity party or heaven forbid shift into 'martyr-mode'.....my deepest apologies if I've already gone there.

But today I'm taking a little break. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. Fear not, I haven't gone off course. Tomorrow I'll joyfully measure out my fake butter and spread it onto my tiny piece of grainy bread and know that it'll be worth it when I finally lose those 15 pounds. Tomorrow I'll remember that it doesn't matter what others think or say about me or even how they treat me because there's only One I answer to. Tomorrow I'll turn my cheek with the knowledge that my testimony is worth protecting at all costs. Tomorrow I'll remember that it's my actions I'll answer for and that God knows both sides to every story and tomorrow that will be enough for me. Tomorrow I'm gonna pick up my Bible and covet each and every verse that applies to me, because it'll remind me that my heavenly Father loves me too much to ever give up on me or to allow me to stop growing because He truly wants what's best for me. And tomorrow I'll be back on my knees and praising my Father who knows my thoughts and my heart regardless of whether any words come out of my mouth. Tomorrow.

I'm not off my path. It's just that today I'm gonna sit here and rest for awhile. Because I'm just kinda tired.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Just in case you wanted my opinion: My review of P90X

It's all the rage. Everybody is talking about it, and if Facebook is any indication, everybody is doing it.

P90X: The cure-all for that extra weight. And as it just so happens, I've got that extra weight.

So a friend burned me off a copy of P90X. So I ordered P90X, paying full price plus shipping and handling.

According to the directions, you need to own a set of dumbbells and a pull-up bar. Dumbbells, no problem. Pull-up bar?!? Yeah, sure. Suddenly this sounded like a humiliating YouTube moment just waiting to happen.

Last night was my official P90X debut. My husband was doing it with me so he read off our choices. "How bout Syngergistics?" (wth?) "Wanna do Ab-Ripper?" (Um, let's skip anything that says 'brutal' right on the front.) "There's Yoga." (Suddenly I pictured my husband and I side by side stuck in a Lotus pose and the emergency squad's inevitable involvement.) We ended up settling on Kenpo X...aka; kick boxing.

Here's a little tidbit of info you should know about me when it comes to exercise. I don't do the warm-up and I don't do the cool-down. Therefore, I sat on the couch watching my husband go through the warm-up. (If I never again see him do a 'Rocking Prayer Squat' I'll be forever grateful.)

I jumped in for the actual workout, dressed in my exercise pants and matching sports bra. (I've discovered when working out in front of my husband, if I'm dressed in the most humiliating attire possible, I keep my stomach in a continual 'sucked in' position.)

The first thing I noticed was the little timer in the bottom corner of the screen acting as a constant reminder that you're nowhere near done. I also took note of the fact that the guy doesn't do a whole lot of explaining. He tells you what to do and then you're expected to do it. As a newcomer, it's kind of overwhelming to realize they're almost done by the time I get the moves down. (My extensive cheer leading past served no purpose here.) And oddly enough, he has no count down rhythm. Instead of the "5, 4, 3, 2, 1 begin" thing I've grown accustomed to, he would say, "5-4" (pause) "3-2" (pause) "Begin!" Or sometimes he would switch it up and say, "5-4-3" (pause) "2-1" (pause).....and then just start doing it. (I can't work under those conditions.)

Eventually my observation turned to the red headed woman on the screen, who was built like the woman on the Terminator movies and seemed to share the same personality. And finally, I couldn't get past the guy's soothing voice while saying borderline creepy things such as "Ooohhhh, I feel that in fantastic places." (Yikes.)

Okay, so clearly my mind was wandering, but I'm pretty sure that was just a survival technique to get me through it. Because the whole time my brain was thinking "that's what she said," my body was kicking, punching, squatting, blocking, jogging in place, doing jumping jacks and invisible jump rope. (fyi: I'm pretty skilled with the invisible jump rope. Add that to my resume.)

All in all, I grade it an 'A.' Granted, there were a couple of things I didn't care for, but I don't think I can hold the annoying sounds of my back fat smacking together or the fact that my dog bit my ankle when she walked into one my kicks against the exercise program itself.

The truth is, last night I had my a** handed to me by P90X. Let's hope eventually it does something with my back fat.