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


Monday, December 31, 2012

Remembrance and Resolution, 2013

Just like you, today I'm preparing to enter the new year and reflecting on the year we're leaving behind.

Mark this one on the books, people.  I have no regrets.

Apparently, it took me a whopping 40 years to submit to God's plan for my life.  Looking back on this year of peace, I ask myself, why in the crap did I endure years of turmoil by fighting to control my own choices?  Did I really believe I knew what was best for me?

The bad news is, I'm still a hot mess of clay with a mountain of areas He's still molding in me and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that sometimes I crave to be let off the potter's wheel so I can catch my breath, but I'm still spinning.

The good news is, that means He hasn't given up on me and 'He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus' (Phil 1:6), is true.

So I submit.  Daily.  Because submission does not come naturally to me.  But my plan in years past wreaked nothing but havoc.

Here's more good news.  Isaiah 61:7 is also true.  'Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of their disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.'  Joyce Meyer calls that, "Getting double for your trouble."  

I can name several areas of my life where I had to accept the loss of something that in hindsight was unhealthy, but now see where God replaced it at least double with something healthy.  Unfortunately, my tendency is to cling to situations that are actually choking me and for my own good, God occasionally weeds my garden.  Painful but necessary.

Here's the bottom line.  I trust Him in all areas, therefore I submit to Him with a mutual understanding:  I understand that He's in control and when He answers "No" to something, it's ultimately for my own goodHe understands that I'm still going to insert my own free will and screw things up occasionally but that I'll try super hard to keep those to a minimum.  That's called teamwork.  

As a result, I'm able to look back at a year without regret and excitedly anticipate the year that lies ahead.

My remembrance of 2012 is a year of emotional freedom, physical health, training and adventure as well as spiritual landmarks and milestones.  I committed to walking through any door that God opened for me, was subsequently violently shoved out of my comfort zone on all counts, and survived the frightening spin of the wheel simply by focusing my eyes on the potter.  It felt like...joy!

Hopefully, this misshapen lump of clay called Me looks a little different on this last day of the year than it did on the first.

My resolution for 2013 is this:  Do it all over again even better.  Except maybe this year I'll willingly step out of my comfort zone and instead of waiting for God to swing the doors of opportunity completely open, I'll boldly kick a few down.

Okay, Lord.  Let's do this.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Really Close Courters.

Day 13.

Our family has been together for 13 days in a row.  When I say 'together' I mean really really together.  It started with a van ride to Baltimore, followed by 8 days on a cruise ship, back in the van for the drive home, topped off with Christmas and now we're being hit with a blizzard...8 inches of snow and counting.

Now factor in our Christmas gifts that include a remote control helicopter that doubles as a video camera, a pogo stick, nail gun, juggling torches, unicycle, and a mini Dune Buggy that tops off at 5 mph, which doesn't sound fast until you're being chased through the kitchen and down the hallway.

In the hands of a family who studies Duck Dynasty, that is a recipe for disaster.

If we were to visit 'Christmas Past' I'd be reminded of the year my husband received an air soft pellet gun and accidentally shot my cousin's wife in the leg as they were leaving our home which escalated to him running around the driveway wearing pool goggles, Z's athletic cup, and covering his nipples with his hands while our son shot at him.  I put my foot down when I heard him say, "Ok, your turn." 

So far, so good.  The ping pong table is being assembled, the level of inappropriate humor is on the rise and the house has taken on a frat house vibe, but the 6 of us are miraculously unscathed.  So far, there have been no major fights, serious injuries or permanent damage to property.  I credit this to God's grace in spite of the complete lack of adult supervision.   

As for the side effects we've had on others over the course of the past 2 weeks, I can't say for sure.  We can't control everything

From the looks of it, we're not even close to this being over.  So we'll leave this post 'To Be Continued...'  Because let's be honest.  Things can only go downhill from here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

And I Quote...Again...

For those not familiar with this blog segment, below is a list of actual quotes that were said by one of our family members during the course of a real conversation. The idea was inspired by our son who thought it would be funny if our family conversations were sent out to the public via live feed.  Obviously, that would be a really bad idea.  But there are some odd and entertaining things said around here, so I started documenting to enable us to share in a controlled format.  I don't explain who said it or the context in which it was said.  That's all part of the fun.  I hope you enjoy our version of Live Feed Part II: 

"I'm 3 turds on the deck away from going postal."

"If anybody needs butt powder, I've got connections."

"We are really stupid, but we're really funny so that totally cancels out the stupid."

"You can't let your whiteness work against you."

"Let's blame the thong."

"Tapeworm isn't as funny as you might think."

"If we can master the Gagnam Style, we'll be unstoppable."

"It's natural brilliance, so there's nothing I can do to stop it."

"I can't open my eyes wide enough to see my hole."

"I'll dig it out and shove it into a souvenir bag, if you'd prefer."

"That was back in my wild days when bare backing was cool."

"We got nervous and started googling the timing of Rigamortis."

"You fart into one fog machine and all heck breaks loose."

"I don't want to push you out of the moving van, but today it's gonna happen."

"It's not like we found a random deer and threw poop on our car."

"You start the morning off with a suicide story and then wonder why everyone's against you."

We'll leave it with those for now.  Stay tuned next time when someone threatens to "take a wet sock and mess you up" because it wouldn't be the Christmas season without the threat of physical violence.

Friday, November 30, 2012

And Then (Almost) Everything Changed.

Wednesday evening before we left the house with our 2 youngest daughters to drop K off at her tumbling class, our biggest concern was that my husband and I had inadvertently chosen to wear our matching 5k t-shirts.  How embarrassing, we both said.  But no one will see us.

Looking back, you question every choice you made.  Why did I change from my flannel pajama bottoms into my swishy workout pants?  Why did I throw on a bra?  Why did C and I decide to wear shoes and jackets?  These choices, while funny, are normally unheard of for us for a quick errand out of the house.

Why did I suggest we try a new route?  Why did we end up taking our usual route instead?  Why did we see the house decorated like a face with Christmas lights that got us laughing and debating whether or not to stop and take a picture?  Why didn't we?  And why, did that guy run the stop sign....

Why do I remember every detail of the accident?  I thought I was supposed to forget the moment the car appeared out of nowhere in the dark of night.  I wish I could forget what it felt like when my head crashed against the side window or the moment of impact when my face hit the airbag or reaching out to grab the front of my husband's shirt in panic.  The relentless sound of the horn blaring when we came to a stop, the sight of my husband repeatedly punching the center of the steering wheel as hard as he could until it stopped.  The smell of smoke and thinking we were on fire and the terrifying sound of C quietly saying, "My neck..."

We did the quick check.  My husband and K had minor bumps and bruises.  C and I took the brunt of the injuries, but we were all alive and that's all that mattered.  Then my husband broke the silence..."Where's my hat?"  (Whew.  A moment of normalcy amidst the wreckage.)  A policeman leaned his head into my husband's window and asked, "How is everyone?"  And my husband said...."Well, I can't find my hat."  (Dude, let it go.)

We started hearing the approaching sirens and C and I were surrounded by paramedics.  If you've never been in this situation, and I pray you haven't, these comforting and gentle men become your immediate heroes.  So when I heard a voice ask, "What size does she need?" and the man holding my neck said, "She's a small," I remember thanking him.  I don't care if he was referring to my neck.  He called me a "small" and he became my personal favorite.

I remember demanding that my family ride in the same ambulance.  I remember being strapped to a board and carried through the dark cold and slid into the bright warm ambulance.  And then I remember the rising claustrophobia-induced panic working it's way to the surface and the paramedic's face appearing in front of mine as he talked me down.  That's when I heard my husband's voice say, "I got your Tough Mudder bandana off the mirror" and God (once again) used that darn event in my favor and I mentally put myself back into the underground tunnels where all I could hear was my teammate saying, "I can see the light so we're almost out"  and I turned my focus onto the ambulance lights and mentally ran that statement through my head on a loop.

Then I remember lying side by side with C in a trauma room, unable to look at each other and depending on the comfort of holding hands, which is how we sleep on the nights she climbs into bed with us.

And I remember her tiny voice saying she has to go potty and realizing that I did too.  Oh gosh.

Many x-rays later, we were both cut loose from our restraints and released with pain medication, instructions to rest and warnings that the following day we would feel like we've been hit by a car.  They were correct.

The healing has begun.  We're starting to recover physically.  Some PTS symptoms have arisen in C.  She needs to sleep with us every night.  She has nightmares.  She was initially refusing to eat, then required me to feed her and then her awesome big brother Z, worked his bribery charm with a Happy Meal & milkshake. Her response to returning to Kindergarten is, "I better not" which is heartbreaking considering the battle we went through weening her into all-day-every-day Kindergarten and she's only been full-time for a little over a month.

Besides that, we need to focus on the basics of dealing with police reports, insurance claims and replacing our van.  

There are a lot of "Why's" in this.  I think it's normal to ask the hard questions and that's okay.  What I don't think is okay is to stay in the why's.  I completely trusted God with every aspect of my life when I walked out the front door, (dressed like my husband), on Wednesday evening.  Despite the many circumstances in my life that changed that night, my God remains the same.  Not only did He protect and spare my family from tragedy, but He surrounded us with friends and family who prayed, came to the hospital and sent messages of support and offers of help.

And those of you who heard me speak at the Women's Conference a couple weeks ago won't be surprised to hear this:  When we left the hospital in our friend Mandi's car to go home that night, the song "Redeemed" started on the radio...and I said,
"Ssshhhh....God's hugging me right now...."

He loves me and I trust Him.
And that, my friends, will never change.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Timing Is Everything

Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday because it's the one that has nothing to do with getting anything, but rather giving thanks for everything that you've already received. 

And maybe even more importantly, it's the one with the feast of my favorite comfort foods, most of which evoke warm fuzzy memories of my Mamaw Putter.

But as life goes, memories, for good or for bad, have a way of accumulating as the years pass.

Take for instance the time 10 years ago when my husband decided to install a Jet Tub a mere 4 days before we were scheduled to host Thanksgiving at our house.  It took him less than 3 hours to gut the entire bathroom and another 3 hours to try to figure out what to do next. Two days later, we had no running water and just 24 hours before everyone was scheduled to arrive, each time you turned on the bathtub jets, the microwave would kick on, a fuse would blow and we'd lose power in the kitchen.

Tim the Tool Man had nothing on my husband.

Since then, he has faithfully kept his promise not to begin any home improvement projects in the months of November or December.  So this past Tuesday when he excitedly said, "Go see what I did in the kitchen!" it didn't cross my mind to be concerned until I flipped on the light switch and thought a nuclear bomb detonated.  When the spots in my eyes cleared, I realized he installed eight T8 fluorescent bulbs around the ceiling of the kitchen.  Then I realized how badly our kitchen walls need repainted and 19 people were eating dinner at our house the next day. 

Thanks a lot, Clark Griswold.  You not only exposed our nasty walls, but our kitchen can now be seen from the Space Station.

Despite the messed up walls and the need for sunglasses in my kitchen, this was by far my most stress-free Thanksgiving ever.  Much of that has to do with the season of life God has graciously blessed me with right now.  A season of health and strength, both physically and emotionally. 

But on top of that, this year, I learned the big secret.  The key to solving the unspoken dread of every woman who has ever hosted a Thanksgiving dinner, was handed to me on a silver platter and now I'm going to pass it on to you.

Everyone knows that the turkey, although the star of the show, is also the biggest pain in the a**.  You have to time the entire dinner around it, trying to strike that delicate balance between cooking it early enough to use that precious broth for your side dishes, but not so early that you're serving a cold and dry turkey to your guests.  The carving of the turkey is never as glamorous as they make it appear on tv and then you're stuck with the unsightly carcass sitting on your counter top the rest of the evening.

If any of that sounds familiar, read on. 

1.  Cook your turkey the day before and save that precious broth to be used at your convenience. 
2.  Carve the turkey, place all the meat in a large aluminum pan and then happily rid your house of those dead bones.
3.  Pour 2 cans of turkey broth over the meat and then cover the pan with foil.  Refrigerate and marinate overnight.  (I used Bowman Landess broth from Kroger.)
4.  An hour before your meal, pop that covered pan of meat into a 350 degree oven.
5.  Remove the meat from the broth, platter it up and serve.

Be prepared to bite into the moistest most delicious turkey you've ever eaten.  A huge shout-out to my good friends, Dave & Mindy for sharing that with me.

So there's one holiday problem solved for ya.  As for the family member who arrives to dinner carrying a sweater clad Persian cat wrapped in a baby blanket....well, you're on your own with that one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jesus Take The Wheel

When I started this blog, I made a promise to each of my family members that I would never publish a post about them without their permission.  Worst mistake of my life.  Believe it or not, there's so much more I could tell you.

Our daughter, A, in particular has a tendency to be on the private reserved side and doesn't always agree with the things the rest of our family thinks is hilarious, therefore rarely grants me permission with events pertaining to her.

All of that being said, I assumed this post would never happen, but then she approached me and negotiated a deal.  Now let's take a peek back at Monday November 5th, shall we?

K goes to a junior high bible study on Monday evenings.  My friend Mandi and I, who live the furthest away, worked out a carpool arrangement.  Last Monday, the arrangement required that K be picked up at Mandi's afterward.  My schedule was crazy that week, so I let A take my van to pick her up and C went along for the ride.

Shortly after they arrived home, I received a text from Mandi that said, "Is there any chance that A hit our car in our driveway?"  My response:  "WHAT?!?!"  Don't get me wrong. As some of you might remember, the front corner of our van is still dented from the time she hit our light pole in our driveway.  So it's not that she's incapable of the occasional driveway hit, but hit and run?!

My husband and I called her from upstairs and everyone, sensing big excitement, came running.  We all met in the foyer where my husband said, "Did you run into Mandi's car in their driveway?"  She immediately said, "No" but our focus turned when C said, "Yes she did."  We turned back to A, "Did you?!" who answered, "No" followed again by C who said, "Yeah she did.  I told her she just hit that car."  My husband stormed outside to check the van and lo and behold, our back fender was scraped up. 

Here's where the chaos began.  I started the interrogation process of trying to get her to admit what she did while she stood there convinced that her rear view mirrors wouldn't lie, but that her younger sister would.  My husband was on the phone with Mandi's husband, George, apologizing profusely.  And C stood at the top of the foyer stairs, with her arms crossed, calmly repeating, "Let's call the police."  
She does not like to be called a liar.

By the end of the evening the crisis had passed.  A's punishment was handed down, plans for retribution were made and we all went to bed.  By morning, 5 of our 6 family members were laughing about the situation.  We call it coping skills.  I approached A and as sweetly as I could asked if I had her permission to blog it.  I didn't even get my sentence out before she screamed, "NO!"  I guess I should have seen that coming.   

So I didn't blog it.  But she never said anything about not writing a song.  Since she finally agreed to allow me to blog this, I wonder if she'd be on board for a music video spoof on YouTube?  Z could wear a blond wig and star as A, my husband could play Jesus in the passenger seat and we could throw in a little auto-tuning of C saying, "Let's call the police"...aaahhh...the possibilities are endless. 

To the tune:  Jesus Take The Wheel

 She was driving on a Monday it was cold and partly sunny
and she didn’t take her CRV.
Going south to George & Mandi’s in my favorite mini-vanny
With her sister in the backseat

No more miles to go, she was safely stowed
in their driveway.
But don’t speak too soon...

She had nothin on her mind but she didn't pay attention
She was going way too fast
Before she knew what she was doing she was going in reverse
when she scraped my mini’s ass.

She didn’t bat an eye or take the time to cry,
she simply drove away.
She wasn’t even scared.
I think her hands were in the air

Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from her hands
Cause she can't do this on her own
She keeps letting go
and bashing up my van!
on every single driveway she’s on
Jesus, take the wheel

We were none the wiser when I got the text from Mandi,
“Did your daughter hit our car?”
She had a blank stare when we asked her and she quickly gave an answer,
“From my mirror it looked afar.”

Who’s this girl of mine right before my eyes,
and did she never hear?
That objects in the mirror,
are always closer than they appear....

Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from her hands
Cause she can't do this on her own
She keeps letting go
and bashing up my van!
on every single driveway she’s on...
Oh Jesus, take the wheel
Oh, take it, take it from her.
Oh, why, ooh

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Treatless Tricksters

My husband's Halloween shenanigans began 6 days ago when he called me from work and excitedly told me that our city's Trick-or-Treat was scheduled for that night.  Kearstin was concerned she might be too old this year.  She's 13 and reaching that age where she's easily embarrassed...a very traumatic age to be in our family.  Not one to miss the chance of an extra bag of candy around the house, Ron encouraged (read: bullied) her into a Looney Toons Martian costume, complete with a broom studded head band.  When we parked our car, the girls noted the lack of fellow Trick-or-Treaters.  Ron was undeterred.  We'd persevered through 3 empty streets when we passed a group of kids dressed completely normal and staring at us.  That's when Kearstin ripped off her broomed headband and demanded answers.  We approached 2 houses, but either no one was home or they weren't falling for what appeared to be a lame attempt at more free candy.  Finally we came to a house where some nice people took pity on us and informed us that we were a week early.  Ron began Googling the information on his phone (let it go, dude) while Kearstin stormed off humiliated and Caymen trudged along dragging her over sized witch hat behind her. Quite the pathetic sight.

I thanked the nice woman for helping us and she responded, "This will be something for your blog."

Oh.Crap.  Someone I don't recognize, recognizes me...and for my blog.  That can't be good.

To make up for his mistake, Ron took us to an amusement park the following Saturday.  That went well with exception of 1 or 2 incidents.  Okay, 2...

1. When Cayme wasn't quite tall enough for a ride in the children's section, Ron, who was already sitting on the ride, began pumping both his fists in the air and chanting "LET. HER. RIDE" and about a hundred people followed his lead that ended with a near riot in the Avatar line.  (Almost as embarrassing as the time we didn't realize Caymen wasn't wearing underwear until she was 5 feet up in the air on the Charlie Brown flying swings.)

2. While riding on opposite ends of the Swinging Ship, Ron started making the "I'm-Watching-You" hand gesture to Kearstin.  Harmless, right?  Until I realized the young boy sitting next to Kearstin thought it was intended for him and he bolted from the ride crying when it was over.  Ron thought chasing him down to explain was a good idea. It wasn't.

I'm pretty sure after Saturday, there's a police sketch (or 2) of Ron circulating through Kings Island.

That brings us to tonight.  Trick-or-Treat Take 2.  He's got the kids traipsing around the neighborhood again.  This time, Kearstin''s face is completely covered with a skeleton mask and Ron has been given strict ground rules:  Under no circumstance is he to make hand gestures, chant anything, chase anyone, mention my blog, or supply me with anymore entries for said blog.

In the meantime, I opted to hide...I mean, stay at home. Blogging.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

That Which Does Not Kill Us Makes Us Mudders

As you may already know, I'm the type of person that copes with fear of the unknown by imagining the worst case scenario so that I'm pleasantly surprised at how wrong I was.

Unfortunately, in this case, even my worst nightmares undershot reality.  A lot.

Imagine a place where I willingly wear 88% Spandex from top to bottom out in public and then reach a point of exhaustion where I stop sucking in my gut.  Now imagine a wedgie so deep from being violated by rocks that it can't be seen with the naked eye, fingers dripping with so much mud that they slip off the spandex material every time you try to reach it and in a moment of desperation, you dry your fingers on your own hair and almost cry with relief when you're rewarded with the loud 'POP' of released suction and your spandexed wedgie breaks free.  And imagine forming such a bond with your team that one will offer up the only dry spot on the back of her shoulder for another to wipe her snot dripping nose and there's no judgement when one is peeing freely as she runs because there are no other options and a Kegal would require the use of more muscles and it's not worth it.

And now imagine me saying things like "Ooo Rah" just to motivate myself to crawl through the cold water while live electrical wires dangle above my head, periodically zapping my various body parts and leaving me with a jolt felt all the way through my chest that made me wish I'd see a light to walk toward.

Welcome to Tough Mudder Kentucky where the phrase "Kentucky Hills" will forever provoke a cold chill down my spine.

We were the final group of the day which means those straight up and down hills were a solid sheet of slippery mud and crawling and crab walking became regular movements simply to protect ourselves from breaking bones, which happened to someone right beside us a mere 2 miles into our 12 mile journey.  This was no joke.  People were getting hurt and others were quitting left and right.

The first half was kind of fun.  It was hard, but it was new and exciting.  I still laugh at everyone running around a large mud puddle at the beginning only to be crawling on our stomachs through mud under barbed wire 5 minutes later.  Immediately after that, we were faced with the ice tank where you had no choice but to go under a barbed wire center to reach the other side.  That was the first time that day I heard myself say, "I can't" and it was met with my husband's firm reply, "You will" and as my breath literally left my body from the cold, I ducked into the icy water and felt his massive hands pull me up on the other side where the other men on our team waited and dragged me out of the tank.  Lesson of the day learned early:  This isn't "I" this is "We." 

The second half became mental.  How bad do you want it?  I wanted it bad.  And so did the rest of my team that included my husband, whose foot had a landscaping spike through it just one week ago to the day, a woman who'd not only given birth, but had a c-section just 8 weeks previously and men who could have easily run on ahead but who never left their teammates behind.

Every one of us finished and we did it together.  Our team was amazing.

The temperature that started in the low 50's steadily dropped as the day wore on, but by the end of our 5 hour trek, filthy, hurting, shivering and soaking wet through the muddy hills of Kentucky, we didn't bat an eye at having to run through more live electrical wires to cross the finish line where we were crowned with our priceless orange head bands, rewarded with our hard earned finisher t-shirts and handed a beer that inspired this picture:

My bruises will heal, the pain in my body is temporary and I will one day regain the full use of my left shoulder.  However, the experience was life altering and the memories will last forever. 

As an added bonus, the physical, mental and emotional trauma altered my menstrual cycle by one week.  Thank you Tough Mudder for doing what my doctor refused and saving me the trouble of googling a home remedy. 

"In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."  ~Romans 8:37~ 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mudder's Maintenance

I didn't purposefully plan to schedule all of my female upkeep appointments in the same month as Tough Mudder.  It just worked out that way.  I guess it's good to know that my body is perfectly healthy before single-handedly destroying it.

Two weeks ago was my annual visit to my Gynecologist.  The past couple of times, I've been scheduled with the Physician's Assistant.  I don't know if that's by chance or if the doctor got fed up with saving me from all my home remedy attempts.  I'm not complaining, because she's really awesome.  I think we're about the same age, which probably means she's at least 10 years younger than I am but I'm delusional enough to put myself in her age bracket, and she's extremely nice.  (Read: Tolerant.)  She stands patiently by the scale while I set down my purse, remove my shoes, belt, sunglasses, hair clip, earrings and spit in the sink before stepping on.  She also kept a straight face when I asked her if she could please help me alter my menstrual cycle by a week and was very polite when she refused. 
(Note to self:  Google home remedy.)
As it turns out, she and I have a lot in common...besides our age.  She runs 5k's, competed in her first Tri this past Summer and plans to do a Tough Mudder.  I couldn't believe it!  I lay there thinking, if she weren't cranking open my hoo ha right now, I bet we could be friends.  But, alas, lines have been crossed.

This morning was my Mammogram.  More dignity lost.  Where you stand there telling a total stranger your entire life history and are relieved for any distraction that keeps your eyes from focusing in on your breast that's squeezed flat between two pieces of plexiglass and you swear off ever eating a chicken cutlet again.  Sensing my awkwardness as she man-handled my boobs and completely violated my personal boundaries, she said, "Got any big plans this weekend?"

Funny you should ask.  As I described what I was about to do, the tides took a turn and suddenly she seemed to want me out of there as fast I did.  I didn't bother telling her our team name is 'Balls and Dolls' or that our shirts say, 'Mudders Like It Rough.'  I got the sense that she wouldn't appreciate that as much as I do.  Maybe she lacks an inner stripper.

Tomorrow is the big day.  As I type this, I'm wondering if this will be my last blog entry....ever.

What are a Mudder's final words?

Tonight I'll lay me down to sleep,
I'll pray the Lord my soul to keep.

For I might die down in Kentucky,
Or just get injured, if I'm so lucky.

Although I don't deserve provision,
protect me from my poor decision.

You know the number of my days,
and how I'll go, there are so many ways.

If I show up in Heaven tomorrow,
I won't be mad or filled with sorrow.

I'll be covered in mud and speak with a stutter,
but it'll be worth it to hear, 'Well done, my good and faithful Mudder.'

***In lieu of flowers, eat a Big Mac for me***
Catch ya on the flip side, one way or another.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Mudder of the Family

For the past 6 weeks, we've been training for Tough Mudder Kentucky.  It's a 12 mile extreme obstacle course that includes underwater tunnels, plunging into ice water, climbing over and under fallen trees and tires, running through fire, scaling high walls, navigating your way through ropes and nets and it all concludes with a sprint through live electrical wires.  This shouldn't be called Tough Mudder.  It should be Crazy Mudder, cuz we actually paid money to do it. 

Once again, my husband and I have taken different training approaches.  He's spent the past 6 weeks running.  He can get away with that.  But being the paranoid detailed woman that I am, I did my research on the Mudder site and printed off their Tough Mudder Boot Camp regimen.  It's 5 circuits of varying strength and cardio exercises while running a mile between each circuit 3 days a week.  It takes roughly 2 hours a day.  So Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays became known as 'Mudder 5 n 5's' and then I rotate between kickboxing, elliptical, P90X, swimming, biking and weight lifting on all the "off" days.  Thank goodness I'm not a working mudder, because there wouldn't be enough hours in the day.

The closer we get to this event the more nervous I become.  My biggest fear is not being able to keep up with the rest of our team (all of whom are under 30 years old) and that I'll die a slow and agonizing death alone with my feet tangled in ropes and my head stuck in cold mud.
Bear with me, people.  I'm physically exhausted.

I finally shared my fear with my husband and we decided to make a pact.  We were sitting at a stop light in the van and he turned to me and said, "I promise to stay by your side the whole time no matter what."  I repeated that back to him, we shook hands and K started a slow and awkward clap from the backseat.  I feel like we might have just renewed our vows.  I think the government would call it 'No Mudder Left Behind.'

It had the desired effect and my mind was put at ease.  At the end of the day, he would be there to cut me out of the ropes and give me CPR. 

So imagine how upsetting it was when he stepped on a freaking landscaping spike this morning, exactly one week before the big day.  Deep puncture wound right through the bottom of his foot.  Thankfully, there is nothing broken and no permanent damage, but he's under strict orders to keep it clean and dry until it's healed.
"So, doctor....what are your feelings on mud and water?"

He plans to rest it all week and pray for fast healing.  On Friday he'll do a test mile run and see how it feels before making his final decision.

Everyone is asking me the same question:  "Will you still run it if he can't?"

Now hear this:  Next week, this stay-at-home-mudder is traveling to Kentucky to put my training to the test, come hell or high water.

....and rest assured, it's gonna be hell and there will be high water....

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

And I quote...

Ever wonder what would happen if people could eavesdrop on your family's daily conversations? 

Several months ago, Z mentioned that we should have a Live Feed into our home.  First of all, no we shouldn't.  But that got me paying attention to some of the things that are said around here and I started documenting.

Below is a top 10 list of quotes that were actually said in our home, by our family members.  I could tell you who said it and why, but what would be the fun in that?  I think it's much more entertaining to leave you guessing. So here for your reading pleasure is a tiny glimpse into our conversations.  Introducing....Live Feed:

10.  You threw poop water on my leg.

9.  I'd hate to think of another Maltese Spider attack so soon on the heels of your Hepatitis scare.

8.  We've been over this.  We were having a bible study and an ultimate frisbee game broke out.

7.  Don't let anyone try to trade your shoes for drugs.
    That happened once.  Let it go.

6.  I feel like you're confusing what Jesus would do with something Jesus would not do.

5.  The garage sale was a success, which is to say nobody got shot.

4.  How bout you let me worry about my own Electrolyte levels.

3.  I'm sorry, but I can't handle you and that smell coming from dad right now.

2.  I'm not controlling that you sniff.  I'm controlling where you sniff.

1.  This would be hard to explain in an obituary.

*If you enjoy this, I'll add it into the blog occasionally.  My family is a never ending supply of material.*

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Nice Shirt.

Husbands and wives fight.  Whether it be about finances or kids, we all occasionally blow our tops.

My husband and I are no exception, but the typical hot button topics are rarely the problem.  As a general rule, we agree on finances and despite our often unconventional parenting techniques, our kids seem to be surviving, so why fight about it?

However, none of that means we don't find reasons to let off a little steam from time to time. Our issues are just a bit more, um, stupid?  And unfortunately, we don't always keep them within the confines of the privacy of our home...ie; the notoriously public "Worship Your God Fight of 2003."  Long story.

That's right.  Some of our fights are worthy of going down in history with a name.  Which brings us to today....

For starters, it was a highly charged weekend right off the bat.  Friday night ended with me feeling rejected and him feeling confused.  In an attempt to save the weekend from certain disaster, we scheduled an impromptu date night Saturday and had a heart to heart talk over dinner. (Please bear with me as I get embarrassingly transparent with you for a minute.)  I explained that I'm an extremely insecure (almost) 41 year old mother of 4 that desperately craves the ability to still turn my husband's head.  Know what I mean?

Fast forward to this morning.  I anxiously pulled out the outfit I'd secretly shopped for last week.  The big guns.  The bling.  The clothes I painstakingly chose with the help of a friend for the sole purpose of popping my husband's eyes out of his head.  The super-tight-butt-lifting-miracle-jeans and the pink and black sequined top, all made complete by uncomfortably huge hoop earrings with shimmery balls.

I was practically giddy when he walked into the bathroom and saw me.  Nothing.  I sat across from him in the living room to eat my cereal.  Nothing.  We had a conversation about apples.  Nothing, nothing, nothing...because he hates it and I look fat and he just doesn't want to tell me, right?

I texted my friend and she suggested that I casually fish for a compliment to get his attention.  Ok.  So I blurted out in a loud and hyperventilating voice, "Do you like this outfit that I bought to wear for you or not because the longer you go without saying anything, the closer I get to changing clothes!"  Boom.  His look indicated that might not have come out as casually as I'd hoped.

But instead of reassuring me about my outfit, he responded, "Well, you haven't noticed my new shirt that I'm wearing, either!"  (Um, dude...that's the free t-shirt we got for running a 5k last week.  My deepest apologies for the insensitive oversight.)

The van was completely silent all the way to church.  We sat as far away from each other as possible on the tiny pew we share, still not speaking.  And then it happened.  Someone complimented him on his shirt.  My blood almost literally boiled within my veins.  A few minutes later, someone told me my shirt was cute and my husband and I shared a smug glare.  Then it happened again.  Someone else mentioned his shirt.  Oh, this is not happening.  And that began the "Shirt vs. Shirt Battle of 2012", where members of our congregation became unwitting participants.

None of this makes me proud and I'm already anticipating the spiritual beating that Joyce Meyer has waiting for me this week.  But it happened and someone may as well get a laugh out of it...or at least feel the need to pray for us. We're fine with either.

Things finally came to a rolling boil when we were leaving the church and he upped the ante by complimenting someone on how nice they looked.  Oh no he di'int!...and then 5 minutes later, he spilled coffee down the front of his shirt.

I win.  *snap*

Monday, August 27, 2012

We Tri'd.

Once again, hanging out with people in their 20's led people in their 40's down a new and painful path.  This time it was a Triathlon.  At the time, it didn't sound like that big a deal.  You swim.  You bike.  You run.  Cool.  Sign us up.  And that began the Triathlon experience for myself, my husband and our son.

So for those of you who are considering this adventure, let me fill you in on what they don't tell you...

1.  Training is crucial.  We each took different approaches.  I googled and strictly followed a Triathlon training schedule that included timed bike rides, runs, lap swims, open water swims, weight lifting and rigorous combinations of each on different days. Then I researched an eating schedule for the 3 days leading up to the race and increased my carbs and salt.

My husband worked equally hard, but did his own random thing.  Sometimes he would join me. Like the day I was scheduled to do an open swim on an overcast and 65 degree day in choppy water.  We stood there on the empty beach in our bathing suits and goggles while he lectured me on the difference between "Dedicated" and "Stupidity."  He ate what he wanted and became a regular popper of B12 supplements. 

Z's approach was this:  Take a total of 4 bike rides, do exactly 1 open swim, spend the day before the race at an amusement park, get a total of 4 hours sleep the night before, eat an entire pack of graham crackers for breakfast, show up for the race and hope for the best.  The joys of being 18. 

2.  Be prepared to spend money.  You expect the entrance fee because that comes with the territory.  But what they don't tell you is that a new bike and running shoes will start to look like a necessity and before you know it, a Footlocker employee is giving you permission to try out the shoes by running through the mall and suddenly people are confusing you with a criminal fleeing the scene in stolen shoes.  True story.

3.  Prepare to face your secret demons.  When you register online you'll be asked to rank yourself by age or weight.  Quite the dilemma.  I either had to claim and publicly advertise that I was almost 41 or that I'm 4 pounds within eligibility to be classified as an "Athena."  That's code for "over 150 lbs."  For those of you math wizards, you now know my weight.  That's okay, because for this race, I tapped into my inner Athens goddess of warfare and proudly claimed the Athena that I am....then they went and posted my age anyway.  Gee, thanks. 

4.  You will look ridiculous the day of the race.  Not only will you be required to walk a lengthy distance through a huge crowd wearing only your bathing suit, but swim caps are mandatory.  Good luck to those of us who rely on our hair to take the focus off our problem areas around the waist line.  I can only hope that my full eye make-up took the focus off the fact that I looked like a pear shaped alien.  Oh and did I mention the mandatory bike helmets?  Nobody looks good in a bike helmet, especially when you factor in that I accidentally wore mine backward during the race, because I'm just that cool.  Now picture my husband losing balance on his bike and running his head through some low hanging tree branches and I imagine we made quite the impression.  But Z pulled off the super-cool look by rocking out a shark bike helmet complete with fin.  Why didn't I think of that?

5.  Maybe most importantly, you need to be warned about this:  regardless of how full your bladder is, your body will refuse to let you urinate while you're swimming a race.  So either arrive early enough to visit the port-a-john or be ready to do a slow breast stroke in the middle and push like you're giving birth.  Don't judge, people.  You know as well as I do, my bladder would have released halfway through my bike course.  Nobody needs that.   It's not like swim pee is a new concept these days.  I mean, if it's good enough for Ryan Lochte, it's good enough for me.

6.  Finally, PMS will do you no good here.  I was ready to use that to my advantage...ya know, allow my rage to push me harder.  But when you find yourself surrounded by a group of the sweetest, kindest, most supportive and encouraging people you'll ever meet, not only will you resist the urge to throw an elbow, but you'll even feel slightly bad for the people coming up behind your slow breast stroke....

Friday, August 24, 2012

What's an empty nest?

I became pregnant with C when Z was 13, A was 11 and K was 8, so the question I repeatedly heard was, "Surprise?"

Naturally, 5 years later when Z graduated from High School and C is entering into Kindergarten, the question all Summer has been, "How will you handle your empty nest?"

I didn't know the answer because I couldn't imagine the situation.

It was pretty emotional at Open House when C looked too tiny sitting behind her large desk while her brother and sisters gathered around her for pictures.  That emotion hit me again when I looked across the room to see Z patiently explaining how she'll hang her things in her locker while she looked up at him and hung on his every word.  And again today when all 3 girls posed wearing their backpacks in the driveway before school.

Wednesday was the 1st day for everyone except the Kindergarteners and since A is doing the Post Secondary Classes (part time High School / part time College), she gets out of High School at 11am.  So Wednesday afternoon, the kick-off to my empty nest, I had 3 of our 4 children home and 2 of them were fighting.  Same thing yesterday.

What is this "empty nest" you speak of?!?

Today is C's big day.  The parents were invited to bring their child to their classroom to "say goodbye" and then stop and have some coffee and a cry if needed in the Butterfly Cafe, named for the pictures of the butterflies the kids colored during the orientation meeting on Wednesday.  A very sweet sentiment, but why in the he** would I do that to myself?!?  I don't need to cry!  I want to cry, but why give in to that?  I will not choose to focus on the part of me that's sad instead of the part of me that just watched my glowing-with-excitement 5 year old skip out the front door with a cheerful goodbye and a promise to tell me everything that happens today!  This day is about her, not me.

It's 9am.  Z is at work, the girls are at school and I've never heard the house this quiet.  So this is what an empty nest is like.  I drank my coffee and did my Beth Moore workbook in complete silence.  The house is clean and I haven't had to break up any fights.  This empty nest thing might not be such a bad thing.

But the reality is, this empty nest is quite temporary.  God in all of his infinite mercy allowed me a full day of massage clients to keep me busy.  A will be rolling back in here at 11am, the men of the family will be home by 3 and our younger girls will climb off the bus at 3:45.  Today, my nest is hoppin with activity, which makes this new transition much easier to handle.

That, and at Open House I spoke with the teacher and volunteered to spend this newly acquired spare time of mine in C's class..."We can do this the easy way or the hard way, but I'm going to be the room mother."

Monday, August 13, 2012


Several things coincided in my life recently.  1.  I started training for a Mini-Triathlon at the end of this month.  2.  My new Beth Moore workbook arrived.  3.  I took a Personality / Spiritual Gift profile test.  I have no idea what one has to do with the other, but God took over from there.  I'll share parts of my journey when / if God leads me. 

One thing is very clear.  I'm in training.  Spiritually, Mentally and Physically.  I have repeatedly felt Him say, "I made you free.  Now let's make you strong."

I don't know where we're going, but I trust Him and find myself growing more and more excited.  My Beth Moore book has been feeding right into that excitement.  The study is on Esther.  The theme last week; For Such a Time as This.  The lesson; Everything about us is under God's ordained and appointed time.  From our birth to our death and everything in between.

God is never surprised.

Armed with the comforting knowledge that God is in control, I left the house to do my bike workout and almost got hit by a train.  God might not be surprised, but I got the crap scared out of me.

I broke just about every rule in the book.  I had music blaring through ear buds in both ears.  I was attempting to time my ride on country roads, which caused me to forget little details like traffic...and trains.  Finally, having never encountered a train during my workouts before, I got too comfortable and assumed the coast was always clear.

I approached the tracks and noticed a woman on the other side mowing her grass look up at me with a scared look on her face.  As my front tire crossed over the first track, I sat up on my bike, removed my ear bud and looked to the right....and found myself staring at an approaching train while the driver pulled the horn.

They say your life will flash before your eyes.  I didn't see my life.  All I saw was train.  I pedaled across the tracks, the train sped by behind me and I dropped to the grass and sobbed.  How could I be so unaware of a threat the size of a train?!?

There's an obvious lesson here that I needed reminded of:  "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." 
~1 Corinthians 16:13.

God has a plan for us and we need to be alert spiritually, mentally and physically because there's an enemy much bigger than a train who would love nothing more than to derail us.
(Pun intended.) 

*I would be remiss not to point out Beth Moore's role in the whole train debacle.  If you're going to make a point of telling someone that God knows the day you're going to die, at least make it clear that it might even be today.  Geesh.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lord of the Flies

A cookout we hosted last Friday apparently coincided with "National Fly Hatching Day" and by the time everyone arrived, at least 4,000 flies had taken camp on our deck.

By the time everyone left, at least 400 had made their way into our house.

A majority of my week has been spent trying to get rid of these pests.  Through the help of Google and Pinterest, I've tried nearly everything ranging from bowls of water to Tupperware lids coated in honey and brown sugar strategically placed around the house.  The dogs drank the water and the flies enjoyed their sweet treat before flying off to another room.

The most effective method so far has been slowly and quietly lurking through the house, armed with a rolled up coloring book, until I spot one.  Then I hover silently, with bated breath, while I wait for the magic moment....the moment when the fly lets down his guard and begins rubbing his front feet together and BAM!!!  followed by a "GOT HIM!!" and then continue on my hunt.

This goes on periodically throughout the day and I go to bed feeling like I've made a significant dent in our fly population, only to wake up the next morning to discover that they either came back from the dead, called in out of town relatives or hatched a whole new set of offspring overnight. 

Last night I finally broke down and bought a box of classy fly paper.  The kind that look like old rolls of film dangling from the ceiling.  The check out lady said, "Careful not to catch your hair in one of those" and I thought to myself, Do I look like an idiot

First thing this morning, I caught my hair in one of those.  And so far, that, along with carpet fuzz and dog fur (don't ask) are the only things those blasted traps have caught while the flies continue to mock me.

The phrase Dropping Like Flies keeps going through my head and taunting me.  What is causing those flies to drop and how do I get my hands on it!?!? 

I need your help!  The person who gives me the secret to dropping these flies will win a shout out on my blog.

Oh come on, you know that's tempting.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Nice Ace

When my 20-something year old friend asked us to play on their sand volleyball team, my 40 year old flattered ego answered yes before my body had a chance to speak up.

All doubt was removed when she told me their team name, and a false sense of confidence convinced me that she wouldn't ask me to wear a shirt that said "Nice Aces" if it didn't apply.

In a hard-core-athlete sad mid-life-crisis kinda way, I started preparing.  Every run on the treadmill, every weight lifted and every stomach crunch was with sand volleyball in mind.  I starved myself of carbs for a week and I traveled to Kohls stores both near and far to find the perfect pair of shorts to flatter my boldly advertised "nice ace" scripted across my chest.

Most importantly, I refreshed my memory with a little research by watching the beach volleyball scene from the movie Top Gun.  Because let's be clear.  It's all about the background music, choreographed flex of the muscles, slow motion high fives and just the right amount of sweat.  This isn't sand volleyball, people.  This is art.  And I was ready.

Saturday was the day.  With the help of Map Quest, we arrived at the destination....an Ostrich Farm.  WTH?  What I found even more baffling was the lack of ostrich on their self-proclaimed farm.  None.  Just what appeared to be a large carport, 2 port-a-potties, 4 sand volleyball courts and approximately 100 pick-up trucks full of beer coolers, surrounded by tents and lawn chairs with people passing around a jug of liquid "apple pie" that my husband warned me wasn't really apple pie.  A lesson he learned after I inadvertently ate a plate of jello shots and showed up drunk to a church picnic. 

But they had the background music.  It wasn't Kenny Loggins.  It was better.  It's like they took a copy of my iPod playlist.  Songs by Justin Timberlake, Ludacris and Florida to name a few.  Songs that convince you that you not only run fast, but that you look super cool while you're running fast.  And they were blasting from the speakers all day long.

Nine hours later, we walked away with 3rd place, which I consider a victory.  I think the sexy music helped.  Our opponents might have been distracted by the stunt plane that was practicing aerial maneuvers above our heads and/or the longer we played, the more drunk they got.  Or maybe, just maybe, they underestimated the skill of a team that included not only 40 year old Top Gun wannabes, but a couple of fierce pregnant women, too.

But watch out.  Because next year, some of us will have given birth and the rest of us will have mastered the all important volleyball-on-the-fingertip-spin...and then you're going down.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Consider me shocked

Fact #1:  Electrocution is my second biggest fear next to Rabies.
Fact #2:  If something hurts bad enough and long enough, I'm willing to try anything to make it go away.

The pain in my left hip is the by-product of a woman who takes up running at the age of 39.  It now serves as a daily reminder that I'm on the downhill slope to 41. 

Will the pain go away if I stop running?  Yes.
Will I stop running?  No.

That leaves me few options.  I've seen a Chiropractor, but that was a temporary fix and the pain returned.  If I could get a massage every day, it would eventually go away, but who can afford that?  Although I am a Massage Therapist, unfortunately I'm unable to contort myself to properly reach the problem.  So I've been living on muscle relaxers, ice, heat and stretching treatments.  Those bring relief, but it doesn't make it GO AWAY.

Desperation sent me to our neighbor's house this week to borrow her TENS machine.  Short for, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator.  Code for, Electrotherapy.  Or in other words....electrocute my own ass.  Sign me up.

I knew one of two things.  My husband would either want nothing to do with this process or worse, he'd want too much to do with this process.  So I waited until he left the house to hook myself up.  I lay on our bed and stuck the 4 large round electrodes to the top of my left butt cheek where the pain originates.  Then I lay holding the control box and praying what I was sure would be my final prayer before electrifying myself straight to meet my maker face to face.

I might know what it feels like to be on death row now.

With the turn of the knobs, and a panicked scream, electrical currents started pulsing into my butt.  Not entirely unpleasant.  So I cranked it up, yelled "Son of a ____" and cranked it back down.  Turns out, it can be unpleasant.

I left it on for about an hour and took it off when paranoia of long term twitching, drooling and/or lack of bladder control entered my mind.

There was only one noticeable side-effect that was discovered shortly after crawling into bed with my husband when he said, "Crap!  Your butt just burned my fingers!"

Cool.  I've always wanted a hot butt....

*This just in:  Do NOT pee with electrodes attached to your ass.  One stray splash and your teeth will chatter for 8 whole seconds.
Knowledge is power, people.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Just in case you wanted my opinion: My review of Magic Mike

I've been waiting for this for months.  My Facebook page tells you how highly anticipated this movie was for me as I counted down the days and hours until our Girls Night Out last night at midnight.

Channing Tatum.  Exotic Dancing.  What could go wrong?

Well, let me tell you...

Magic Mike
Drama / Comedy
Rated R
Starring:  Channing Tatum & Matthew McConaughey  (Does anyone else in the movie really matter?)

Set in the world of male strippers, Magic Mike is directed by Steven Soderbergh and stars Channing Tatum in a story inspired by his real life. The film follows Mike (Tatum) as he takes a young dancer called The Kid under his wing and schools him in the fine arts of partying, picking up women, and making easy money.

I just realized my mistake.  My only research in preparing to see this movie was watching the official trailer they released....repeatedly watching the trailer.  Now that I'm typing this review, the description "Drama" is a big red flag as is the critics description of the plot.

My misconception was that it was strictly a comedy about the lives of these gorgeous dancing men.  I would be lying if I told you I didn't know it would have a raunch factor.  It's about exotic dancers.  Please.  I expected that I might have a few uncomfortable moments and possibly a slight battle with my conscience as I sat through the dancing scenes in between the love story where the girl becomes more important than the lifestyle.  But, as it turns out, the exotic dancing scenes were actually a welcome relief from all the unnecessary filth of the scenes in between.  I honestly don't want to waste much time rehashing this trash on my blog.

This movie could have been great.  We wanted a comedy.  We wanted a chic flick.  We wanted to unite as a group of women and scream together as Channing Tatum lit up the screen with his dance moves.  We didn't want to leave there forever UN-attracted to Matthew McConaughey.  We didn't want the dark serious underworld of drugs.  We didn't want to be disgusted by the characters and their behavior.  And we sure as heck didn't want to see a tiny pig eat someone's drug induced vomit...*shudder*...sorry, but I've been traumatized here.

To my knowledge, the girls in our group left feeling the same and I'd take it a step further to say that most of the women in the theater felt that way too.  Initially, there was an air of excitement.  Women showed up wearing home made Channing Tatum fan t-shirts.  A huge line formed.  The all too serious mall cop wannabe ticket taker seemed ready for trouble.  He almost got his wish when two of the girls from our group used their charm to sneak into the theater early to save our front seats.  Or when he seemed to take notice of my "pregnant" belly that was actually a bag of smuggled popcorn shoved down my shorts.  And he definitely had his hands full when they had technical difficulties and had a near riot on their hands.

By the time the movie was over, the excitement had died and women left in silence.  Afterward, a few of us sat in a dirty Waffle House, trying to console our minds from what we'd just seen while our waitress unabashedly stood beside our table and listened in on our conversation.

But for good or for bad, an experience like this bonds you together.  Granted, I won't be able to make direct eye contact with these girls for awhile, but when we finally feel clean again we'll realize our friendships have been taken to a new level and we'll have Magic Mike to thank for that....and the memory of a bag of popcorn that went untouched and thrown away because apparently these women won't eat popcorn after it's been down someone's shorts. 
Oh, NOW we have standards...


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just in case you wanted my opinion: My review of Madagascar 3

Z and A are away on a youth trip this week so that provided the perfect time to take K and C to see the (much hyped) Madagascar 3.  That should have been my first red flag.  So without further ado, let me try to save you some money....and sanity....

Madagascar 3:  Europe's Most Wanted
~Rated PG 
~Starring:  Ben Stiller; Jada Pinkett Smith; Chris Rock

"Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple. Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent - Madagascar style."

I was actually excited to see this.  Although I didn't see Madagascar 2, I was a fan of the first one.  I love animated movies for kids, but that also provide an equal amount of entertainment for their parents.  Shrek, Toy Story, Tangled, etc.... Love them all.

Rating this movie PG is like suggesting "Parental Guidance" for Tom & Jerry cartoons.  That's all this is for the first hour of the movie.  Pointless animal chase scenes where regardless of what happens in the middle, you know they're going to get away.  I was the twisted kid who secretly rooted for Tom the cat.  Just once.  Throw me a bone.  Give me a surprise ending.  Eat the da** mouse, already.

Granted, when the Madagascar crew joined the circus, it got slightly more entertaining, but this movie lacked any draw for the parents.  If you're a fan of adult humor disguised in a movie for kids, you're going to be disappointed.  It offered very few adult laughs.

But K liked it and C was thrilled with it so that's all that matters.  It's one of those movies that I'll be willing to buy for my kids as long as I never have to sit through it again.

My Grade for Madagascar 3:  D-
But apparently the 5-13 yrs crowd would highly disagree.

Friday, June 15, 2012


All the time-consuming chaos from the past few months was all leading up to one big finale.  Z's graduation party last Saturday.  When I envisioned the week after the party, I was leisurely floating on a raft at our perfectly cleaned house.  WTH was I thinking....

The party was a success.  Plenty of food, lots of family and friends and an evening of fun.  Other than the occasional need to empty a trash bag or restock bottles of water, I had things set up to run themselves so that I could be in hostess mode and visit with our guests uninterrupted.

Unfortunately, I forgot to request that my husband please not tackle me into the pool during the party.  My bad.  I remember struggling, then feeling us both plunge head first into the water.  I remember wondering if we just killed innocent children who were floating in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I remember rage-filled thoughts as he rode me down to the drain at the bottom of the 8 ft deep end.  And when I finally rose to the top, I remember the stabbing pain in my right ear.

I finally broke down and called the doctor Monday and made an appointment for Tuesday.  The doctor I hadn't seen in 2 years because I can't stand going to the doctor.  In my desperation, I agreed to see the nurse practitioner, who I always refuse to see because I believe she's incompetent.

Monday night, I took Tylenol PM at midnight.  At 1:40am, my eyes popped open when I heard the distinct sound of a 5 year old who's about to vomit in the bed beside me.  In my drugged stupor, I pushed her off the side of the bed while yelling "RUN TO THE BATHROOM" in that slow-motion voice.  Then I lay in my bed and helplessly watched as she projectile vomited cherry limeade and chicken nuggets all over my room.  The front of my husband's dresser, the carpet, computer chair, computer desk, computer screen, computer keyboard....pretty much anything connected to the computer...before leaving a trail behind her when she finally ran to the bathroom. 

Six short hours later, I arrived at the doctor's office to discover that my son had once again neglected to return my credit card to my wallet.  I sent him a really mad text.  We're talking all caps, people.  This was his response:  "I laid it by your purse. I thought you'd see it. I guess we're both to blame for this."

After being diagnosed with an ear canal infection, I picked up my drops and stopped at the library to administer my first dose.  I parked in the spot directly in front of the library fountain. I use the term "fountain" lightly.  It's actually a large metallic gold monstrosity with what appears to be a faucet that must never turn on because I've never seen water in the thing.  I don't ask, because I don't care.  I just wanted my drops.  As I'm sitting in the van with my head tilted to one side waiting for drops the consistency of molasses to roll down my canal, an elderly lady pulled her car into the spot directly across from me on the other side of the fountain.  Then she gunned the gas, sped over the parking curb and hit the fountain.  THUNK.

She casually backed away from the fountain, off the curb, back into her spot, turned off her car, removed her walker and teetered into the library without a second glance back.  Maybe this happens often.  Maybe that's why the fountain doesn't have water.  Maybe I'm the lunatic in a sane world where no one asks questions like, WTH?!

That was just Tuesday.  What happened to lounging on a raft?  Oh yeah, I've been forbidden to swim for 7 days per doctor's orders.  What happened to my perfectly cleaned house?  Oh yeah, a 5 year old reenacted a scene from Exorcist and spewed vomit while her head spun in circles.

Which brings me to this morning when I felt an undeniable urge to order my next Beth Moore study. A study on Esther about how hard it is to be a woman.  I was on the final step of the check-out process with my hand on the mouse and the little arrow hovering over the words "Place Order," debating what to do. 

With my heart beating wildly from fear of what God has planned for me now and whether or not I'm  ready for the ride, I thought....WTH....*click* 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

We're baaaaaaack!

On the day K turned 13, Z graduated from High School.  Right after the ceremony, we left for our favorite place. 

Quiet, peaceful and dignified Hilton Head, Island.  Doesn't exactly sound like our kind of place, does it?  That's part of the fun.  When we drive across that bridge, I can practically hear the Beverly Hillbillies theme song.

We don't premeditate our antics, mind you.  (Well, usually.)  But material always seems to present itself.  And this year, it didn't waste any time.

Check in is at 4pm.  We arrive at 11am.  This happens every year.  Last year, we stalked our condo until we saw the cleaning lady leave and then we moved in.  What we weren't expecting, was the visit from the cleaning inspector.  I'm not sure who was more surprised when he let himself in and we were sitting in the living room soaking wet from our visit to the pool.  Thankfully, not naked...yet.  I had stomach cramps till Wednesday, convinced they were going to kick us out.  They didn't.

This year, they simplified things for us.  We arrived to discover that the peep hole to our front door had been removed.  When we put our eye up to it, we could see directly into the front of the condo.  From all appearances, the cleaning lady had come and gone. But before my husband could start unloading the van, I voiced my concern about the cleaning inspector.  He made fun of me.  I finally convinced him to at least wait until we returned from the bicycle rental, buying us a little more time.

When we returned, Z ran to the door and pressed his eye against the peep hole.  Then he screamed out in surprise when the cleaning inspector looked back at him from inside.  So we did what any quiet, peaceful and dignified family would do.....we took off running and hid behind our van.  Yeah, we did that.  Then the dilemma became, how will we know when she leaves?  That started an elementary style argument between my husband and Z that went something like this:  "You look in the hole."  "No, you look in the hole."  That exchange was still repeating when the cleaning inspector rounded our van on her way to her next stop. 

We rock at first impressions.

And that began our 7 day adventure on Hilton Head Island.  An adventure that included a visit by Tropical Depression Beryl.  Most vacationers let that stop them.  They missed out.  Beryl brought giant waves.  I may have come close to drowning in the giant waves, but ya gotta live on the edge sometimes.

We enjoyed a lot of bike riding adventures.  Whenever we would pedal away in our Von Trapp family line, Z would crank the Benny Hill theme song on his iPod.  That was especially appropriate the day he was wearing his morph suit. 

Speaking of the morph suit, that made many appearances on this trip.  As did Security Guards when store owners freaked out.  But he quickly discovered that when he stayed out of their establishments, he was very popular.  He stood like a statue and had people wondering if he was real.  When they would get close, he would move and scare the crap out of them.

That became a regular activity throughout our week, as did periodically wearing his graduation cap and gown on the beach, then walking around with his hand up in the air like he was blessing people.

It wasn't all fun and games, though.  I almost stepped on a snake, I had a slight accident in my pants when K rear-ended Z on her bike before falling off and when we were out shopping, I got trapped into buying a pair of shorts when they didn't have a dressing room and I opted to strip down in the far isle that suddenly filled with people and I couldn't change back.  Yeah, that wasn't hard to explain to the cashier as she ran the scanner over the tag hanging off my butt.

Quiet, peaceful and dignified, right?

Hey, it's only one week out of the year.  Or so it was.  Somebody at our resort didn't get the memo about our family and accidentally sold us a Timeshare for September.  Forever. 

Don't worry, Hilton Head Island.  We're usually tired by September.  Kind of quiet.  Maybe even peaceful.  Don't hold your breath for dignified.

Just for kicks, here's a link to another way we entertained ourselves on the beach this year.  

The goal:  Freak out the joggers.
Mission accomplished.

Causing the bike wreck was just an added bonus....

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Be Still

Apparently I missed this sign on my path with God recently, because I'm about to learn something.  Or I'm supposed to be learning something.  Or I should have already learned something.  I feel like I'm back in my 9th grade 'Intro to Conversational Spanish' class looking at the teacher like she's speaking a foreign language.  Oh wait...never mind.

Hopefully the lesson becomes clear.  And fast.

Here's the deal.  My husband planned a business trip.  He also planned to take me with him.  Half of that plan was carried out.  The other half fell through.  Guess which half didn't get to go?

I worked through all the emotions with that.  Rage.  Sadness.  (I played the Martyr Card for about a minute until I remembered how much I despise the Martyr Card.)  Disappointment.  Back to rage.  Then I decided that I liked the rage...a lot...I was really enjoying the rage.

I finally worked my way to acceptance and began making the most of the 3 days I'd have with my kids and also creating a very special homecoming date the day he comes home.  He's only gone Wednesday to Friday but we're never apart so that seems like a really long time!  Especially considering that it was supposed to be "our getaway."  (Uh oh, I just went back to rage for a second there.)

Yesterday, C and I dropped him off at the airport early in the morning, both of us in our jammies and neither of us wearing shoes.  We're classy like that.  The first half of the trip back home focused on trying to explain to C that daddy won't be home "tomorrow" but he'll be home "the next tomorrow."  At the halfway point, she announced she hadn't peed since last night.  Two minutes later, we were running into a dirty Rest Stop bathroom.  Barefoot.  *shudder*  Then we consoled ourselves with an over-priced Tim Horton's donut.  (A .95 cent donut should come lathered in Godiva Chocolate, NOT lightly scattered with multi-colored sprinkles.  Shame on you, Mr. Horton.) 

But the rest of the day, although bumpy, was productive.  I got most everything done that I'd planned and spent a fun Girls Night with my daughters eating Lee's Famous Recipe chicken on my bed while we watched The Bachelorette season premier on dvr.  We had a few bouts with a sobbing C, who misses her daddy, but we survived.

Enter today.  The busiest day that included a bunch of errands, lunch with a friend, the pup's first Vet appt, plans for C and her friend to get their ears pierced together, home for pizza with the kids and topped off with K & A's end of year choir and band concert.  This day was going to be productive, fun and most importantly, fast!  My husband comes home tomorrow!

So when I was making my coffee and heard C vomiting in the bathroom, my heart sank.  First of all, a flu-ridden 5 year old is very sad.  My heart breaks when any of my children are sick.  It comes with the mom territory.  But secondly, my day was just reduced to sitting in the rocking chair with my sick sleeping child.  Not productive.  Not fun.  Not fast.  Sitting and rocking. 

Clearly, I wasn't meant to be on that trip with my husband.  I'm needed at home.  I get that and I accept that.  But what else?  What am I supposed to do with this long day spent alone with nothing but my own thoughts?  God has obviously decided that today I will be still.

"Be still and know that I am God."  ~Psalm 46:10~

This is a hard week for me!  I just wanted time to move a little faster for a few days!  I know that you are God!  Why must I be still today of all days?  This week of all weeks?  So much to do!  The perfect time to get it all done!  

All it took was for my sick child to say, "Mommy, can we by-o in the chair today?"  And my world stopped.  The One who created me knew that it would.

Had He said, "Will you cancel your plans and be still for me today?"  Sad to say, it wouldn't have happened.

He knows me and today He wants me to be still.  I'm not sure what's behind it and I don't know why.  All I know is Who, and today that will have to be enough.

Monday, May 7, 2012


It's been a busy few weeks around here.  The remainder of April consisted of planning and carrying out my husband's surprise 40th birthday party.  Success!  Then it was a youth trip for two of our daughters and the month was topped off with Z's Senior Prom.  (Don't get me started, I'll cry.)

As busy as April was, May is much worse.  Everything always seems to hit in May and this year proves to be no different.  A is halfway through Driver's Ed, we're finishing up C's Gymnastics classes, her recital was this past weekend, the approach of A's prom, Mother's Day, a business trip for my husband, K's birthday, family vacation, Z's Graduation and the planning of his Open House, where the goal is to have a thoroughly cleaned house, beautiful yard and tons of his favorite food to host an amazing and memorable party for our son.  That's pressure.  (Oh my goodness, my little boy is graduating.  Okay, now I'm crying.)

Throw in the day to day cleaning, yard work, appointments, clients, kids activities and May is utter chaos.  And did I mention my early Mother's Day gift?  A puppy!!  A tiny black and white Llassapoo, who may or may not resemble a skunk, and is currently sitting on my lap trying to lick my coffee mug.  If memory serves, that's exactly how C got addicted to coffee as an infant.  But I digress.

Enter Pinterest.  The site that, with a simple scroll of your mouse, can make you feel hungry, inadequate, bitter and inspired all at once.  I don't have a Pinterest account.  I simply stalk, copy and paste.  A lot.  It's a great place to gather ideas and recipes for big events.  Pinterest was partially responsible for something I made for my husband's party.  It showed a little flower pot full of suckers with "Getting Old Sucks" stenciled across the front.  Cute!  I think I can do that.  Three weeks, 1,000 suckers and a 3-tiered topiary later, I had created what became known as "Sucker-Man", a 15 lb monstrosity who is sitting on our dining room table.  I tend to take things too far.  Shocked, right?

But one Pinterest idea seems to be working.  It's a Spring Cleaning schedule.  Cleaning is not my strong suit.  I like things straightened and surface clean, but don't look too deep....or run a white glove anywhere....or turn on the ceiling fan above the dining room table unless you want chunks of dust bunnies flying into your food.

I've tried to spring clean.  But, I'm easily distracted, going from one thing to the next while leaving a string of half done projects in my wake.  This schedule solves that problem completely.  The idea is to do one thing per day.  Don't get distracted by other things, because they'll have their day.

So in preparation for Z's party, I decided to give this a try.  I'm now 7 days in and I can't believe the difference it's making.  It's scary what I'd gotten used to over the years of living in our house.  Now it doesn't seem to matter if there's dishes in the sink or toys all over the floor, the house has a CLEAN feel to it!  And since Vinegar was the Pinterest suggested cleaning solution of choice, my house has a wonderful smell....kind of potato salad-y....mmmm.....

Here's what I'm doing for anyone interested in giving this a try.  I combined a few things to do on the same day to save time and some of it made sense to do together. 

Day 1:   Clean all light fixtures, ceiling fans, cobwebs along the ceiling and corners and dust all horizontal surfaces.  This could be broken down into 4 separate days, but I combined them so that I could sweep and mop the floors immediately afterward because, trust me, they needed it immediately afterward.  Side Note:  I had NO idea how many horizontal surfaces we have in our house until I made my way from room to room.  Don't forget the tops of door frames.  I also realized I need to look up more often.  *shudder*

Day 2:  Spot clean all the walls.  My stairwell was a disaster.  Apparently none of my children use banisters....or napkins.

Day 3:  Vacuum the furniture, wash all the blinds and remove and launder all curtains.  Again, you could break this down if you wanted.

Day 4:  Spot clean the carpet.  My Little Green Machine came in very handy!

Day 5:  Deep clean the kitchen, including sorting and organizing the cupboards, drawers and fridge.  This was an all day job for me that actually ended with the decision to repaint the kitchen. 

Day 6:  Deep clean the bathroom, including sorting and organizing the medicine cabinet, linen closet, and drawers.

Day 7:  Wash the windows and window tracks both inside and out.

Day 8:  Sort through your clothes and donate things you don't wear anymore.

Day 9:  Wash all bedding, including the bed skirt and comforter.  Sprinkle the mattress with Baking Soda and vacuum it up after 1 hour.

Day 10:  Repaint the kitchen.  (Sigh)  Obviously, that won't apply to everyone.

Day 11:  Hire a cleaning lady so this never happens again.

All you great house cleaners, please feel free to share ideas, helpful tips or anything I've missed so I can add it to my list!