Monday, August 31, 2009

Praying Simply

I posted the following story on my Facebook, and then this awesome guy honored me by reposting it on his blog. Glenn Hatcher is responsible, in part, for making my husband the fabulous man of God that he is, and I am honored to have him call me his friend. Rather than repost the story here, I've included a link to Glenn's blog, because I think you should read a few more of his blogs. The richness of his relationship with Jesus is inspiring, and he is so smart! Check him out!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Star Trek

We went to see the new Star Trek movie last night. It was fantastic!
My husband and I love Star Trek (or almost anything sci-fi), but we were kind of bracing ourselves for having our hearts broken. All the ads with "This isn't your father's Star Trek" and sexy ads made me worry that they were going to ruin it. **Slight spoiler alert** But the only sex scene is the one you see in the ads, and it doesn't go any further and is almost just as short as what you see in the ad, anyway. (I did still cover my 12-year-old's eyes.) The characters were great, I definitely hope they make another one.

I think my husband says it best:
"Star Trek was awesome! Even better than I thought it might be! Just the perfect balance between old and new, special moments to special effects, twists on the story line that satisfies “true blue” Trekkies, enjoyable to those that don’t even know a Tibble from a Tricorder, and also allows endless possibilities for additional movies. Perfect!"

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Oh, The Things They Say...

I bought Maddy an adorable new sundress, and within an hour of putting it on, she had gotten her lunch (peanut butter) all over it. So, being the resourceful gal that she is, she took it off, turned it inside out, put it back on, and declared, "It's CLEAN!"

I was laying on the couch watching TV last night, and Maddy said, "You need to go to bed." After I told her she wasn't the boss of me, Cole said, "Well, Daddy is the boss of you." Hmmmmm... I explained, "Daddy is kind of the boss of me, yes, but he doesn't boss me around or talk ugly to me." After the slightest of pauses, Cole replied, "He did one time."

We were at my sister's, splashing in the wading pool, when Maddy suddenly got out of the pool and started to strip off her swimsuit and announced, "I want to swim with my body."

Here are some of my favorite things Cole says regularly:
"Are you kidding me?"
"Are you tinking what I'm tinking?" (No, that's not a typo, that's how he says it.)
"Dang it."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

His Hands Blog

Hey His Hands has a blog now. You should check it out. I added a "donate" button, so if you have lots of rich friends, send them a link, tell them how wondeful I am, and tell them I need money for camp. (o:

'Being His Hands'

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I just realized i haven't posted anything since my "grumpy" post. That's not good. Especially since I haven't been grumpy at all.
So let's get you folks caught up!
Let me introduce you to the newest members of our family: 'Alice' and 'Ruby':

We've been searching for a kitten since December. How rediculous is that? Anyway, I posted a 'wanted ad' on, and someone in a vet's office called and said they had two kitties without a mommy. I'm still surprised Casey let us get them BOTH, but they are so sweet. The kids adore them. They look almost exactly the same except Alice has a little pink on her nose. Their temperments, however, are very, very different. Ruby likes to cuddle and doze, and while Alice has her moments of calm, but she mostly likes to explore and have adventures. And plan the occasional sneak-attack.

Although I spent the first week exhausted from trying to keep the kids from loving the kittens to death (literally--Cole was intent on carrying them around at perilous heights in various containers, and Maddy seemed to think their little neck was a handle.), they made it through in one piece, and the kids have learned how to carry and show affection to them correctly.

Maddy fell asleep on the couch and the kitties curled up on her and went to sleep, too.
I came home from the store to the scene below. Casey says Cole swore he wasn't sleepy, so he told him he could just read on the couch. I didn't know it when I took the picture, but the other kitten is under the blanket next to Cole.
This is Ruby snoozing in my clean laundry.
As we speak, Alice has climbed up onto the back of my neck and fallen alseep while I type. Now I need to go to sleep, too!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I'm grumpy today, so here's a grumpy post to go with my mood.
Yesterday I had to run two errands: Pick up Bible Lessons for Bible Club from the Mailbox Club, and pick up bags of cereal for Bible Club from WalMart. Maddy hasn't been feeling well, and whined, "I wanna go too" 63 times, so I took her too.
We made it through the first errand ok, Maddy actually broke through her self-absorbed meanness to wave goodbye to the sweet lady that compiled my lesson order. Then as we drove to WalMart she fell asleep. In the parking lot, I was thanking Jesus because there was an empty spot, literally right by the door (shady, too). As I was about to pull in, these people who were in the spot next to the empty one walked right through my spot, parked their cart right in the MIDDLE of my spot and proceeded to unload. I was miffed, but they only had a few bags, so I just inched forward and put on my blinker so they would be sure to see that I was waiting (I'm not very aggressive when I'm in my car).

I was absolutely shocked when the man got into his car and LEFT the cart right in the middle of that empty spot. I mean, geez, I wasn't going to leave my sleeping kid in the car to push HIS cart out of the spot so I could park! To make matters worse, I now had a line of people behind me, and the jerk who left the cart was trying to back out, but had no room with me cramped behind him.

Do you think they moved the cart THEN? No, they waited until the car in front of them moved and then drove forward. Ugh. By this time, a lady must've seen all this and grabbed the cart and wheeled it into the store. I didn't even get a chance to thank her.

I had to ask God to forgive me over and over for the ugly thoughts I had toward the selfish individual who left the cart in the MIDDLE of a parking spot. My penance was that I had to carry my 40 lb. two year old around walmart (she wouldn't wake up) with one arm while pulling a cart full of cereal with the other. And my arms ache even now to remind myself not to be selfish and at least push the cart over to the side.

Friday, April 3, 2009

I whipped it!

Laundry used to be my nemesis, my mortal enemy. Anyone who knows me, knows there was always, ALWAYS laundry hiding in mounds somewhere in my house. Always. No matter how clean my house looked at first glance, there WAS a pile of clothes somewhere other than where it should be.
Usually it was clean. Oh, I have no problem stuffing into the machine and pressing the right button. Most of the time, I'd even fold it. No, my achilles heel was getting it put away. Then the kids dig through the basket, it hits the floor, someone scoops it into the hamper, and there we go, I'm washing "clean" clothes all over.
Well, I've finally whipped it. I've exorcized my laundry demon. And I am so proud of myself. How did I do it?
Well, my breaking point came after watching the Duggars (you know, the lady with 18 kids), and hearing her say that she does 10-15 loads of laundry a week. Hey, wait a minute.....I did that much laundry a week!!!!! (Well, that depends on your definition of "doing" laundry, as I explained above.) If I had as much laundry as a lady with 18 kids, and I've only got three (four if you count the husband, and sometimes I do)......what is wrong with this picture?????
So after a 2 week debate with my husband who would rather NEVER get rid of anything, I finally won (or maybe I just ignored his argument) and I spent a week going through EVERYONES clothes. I got rid of stuff that doesn't fit, stuff that was the wrong season (although I kept the winter stuff in tubs in my closet--I knew we were going to the mountains for spring break), and stuff that was ugly or stained. Then I further refined the stash by only keeping what would fit in their drawer.
I know that seems like such a no-brainer--why in the world would you have more clothes than will fit in their drawers in the first place? Well, for starters, my wonderful mother-in-love goes yard-sale-ing regularly and frankly gives me stuff faster than I can keep up with. Add that with my love for a good sale, the fact that my kids grow way too fast, my husband is a packrat and fakes a heart attack evertime he sees me with a trash bag.....well anyway.
That week, I also moved CJ's room down the hall to share space with Casey's office, and the guest bed into CJ's old room, which is now Cole's. This moved Cole and Maddy's clothes into their own space (and out of mine). (Bonus: Cole has slept in his own room for a week and a half!)
So this is the second week in a row that I was able to wash, dry, and fold ALL the laundry, and it is sorted and waiting for my little minions to put away in their proper place. THAT has to be the best part of the whole thing--even Maddy can put her own laundry away. And CJ miraculously learned (finally) the proper way to hang clothes in the closet, so his school uniform and church clothes are no longer squeezed into his drawers. It makes my heart happy for everything to be in the right place.
But that doesn't mean that my house will be clean if you come over. It just means I don't have laundry hiding in the corner! (o:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

36 Gallons

I've been busily organizing my house and rearranging furniture all week. It's actually been pretty fun! Of course the house always looks worse during the process, but I have faith that it will be fabulous when I'm done!
Casey paid me the best compliment yesterday, when he told me he was amazed at how much I can get done. I was excited about how much was getting done, too, but it was nice to have my hard work acknowledged.
One funny thing I HAVE to tell you: Casey has a bunch of video tapes from when he used to record Star Trek Next Generation and Star Trek Voyager. I'll admit, when we were dating and Voyager was still on, and yes, I, too, became a Trekkie. Anyway, yesterday he told me I could put his tapes in the attic. I filled two 18-gallon bins with Start Trek!!! My husband had 36 GALLONS of Star Trek in his office!!!!
No wonder we don't have any room in this house!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Maddy has taught herself all her colors. One by one, she would ask, "What color is this? What color is this?" Until she had them all figured out. So she has got them all down except she will occasionally get pink and purple mixed up.

The cutest thing, by far, is that when you ask her what color something brown is, she says, "Chocolate."

Friday, March 13, 2009


My good friend Bethany came back! For a minute anyway. They moved the closing date of her house up, so she needed to come down earlier than planned to sign papers and pack up all her stuff. Her boys hung out over here Thursday while she and her mom packed boxes. Canaan spent the night, to Cole's absolute delight. They were so adorable.
We moved all the stuff into storage Saturday. My dad is such a wonderful guy--he spent the whole day helping (with his big trailer), hurt his back (that part was his fault for trying to be He-Man and pick the piano alone), just because he knows I love Bethany. He really is great, and I love him for it.
It was so sad to see her house empty, and to hug her that last time, but they'll be back in two weeks for Cole's Bday party, so a least we have that to look forward to.
In the meantime, I catch myself looking at the insulin she has stored in my fridge and sighing.

A pile of kids on my bedroom floor. They took it upon themselves to build a nest. Canaan is "reading" Star Wars comics.

This is standard behavior for Cole and Canaan. I'm so glad Canaan accepts Cole's demonstrative nature!

Monday, March 9, 2009


Blogging is so much fun when I'm supposed to be doing something else. This morning I'm supposed to be mailing Thank You notes to His Hands contributors. Ah, procastination!
Once again, it's been nearly a week since I wrote anything, and once again, I have to catch everyone up!
Relatively speaking, Ms. Renee's funeral was pretty tame. No one jumped in the casket, no one passed out, there actually was very little crying. This was kinda disappointing to me, since there is a great feeling of catharsis and community when a group of people get together to be sad for the same reason. I kind of missed that sadness release. I'm trying not to be too sad at the moment, because the children are probably NOT going to get to stay in Valdosta after all. I will be missing them alot.
Last week, Casey was out of town for three nights for a training. It was very difficult without him, and Maddy cried every night for her daddy. Even when he left, she seemed to know that it was more than his usual "going to work", and she cried and cried. As she stood in a chair, looking out the kitchen window, crying for her dad, Cole announced that he would "make Maddy feel better".
In his best fake "man" voice, he went up to her and said, "Hi Maddy, I'm your Daddy. I growed my hair." Maddy was skeptical, but curious. "Do you want me to make you a peanut butter sandwich?" Apparently that put her over.
Cole ran up to me and (still in his "daddy" voice) said, "Can I make Maddy a sandwich?" He pulled me down and wispered in my ear, "I pretending to be Maddy's daddy."
Knowing he was going to make a mess of that sandwich AND my kitchen, I gave him permission and thoroughly enjoyed listening to him continue to pretend to be "daddy" for his little sister, while she giggled and played along. It was so cute, and how funny is it that he thought to explain why he isn't bald like his dad, and for whatever reason, thinks that is the only thing different about them? (o:
Casey had a heart episode Saturday. He was outside restling with CJ and a couple of his buds, when he ran in the house, flopped on the couch, and asked for some water. When I brought him his glass of water, he was shaking badly and then his head rolled back and he passed out for a second. FREAKED ME OUT! His heart beat was irregular all day (we have a blood pressure/heart rate monitor here), but Sunday he was much better. He's going to the doctor this morning to get checked out and try to determine what caused it. Pray for him!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Crisis over.....sort of

Well, as way of an update, Mrs. Renee's funeral is this Thursday. (Read my previous blog, if you haven't already.) It looks like there will be a regular His Hands carpool going: Me, Vivian, Diedre (a long-time volunteer), and Michael (the new guy). It should be pretty interesting. My brother in law, Danny might go, too. He's been mentoring Renee's oldest son (now 21) since he was 13. I don't know if Danny's every been to a funeral at a black church.....should be quite an experience for him! (o:
The children don't have any clothes to wear to the funeral, so we went and got them a gift card, and I'm sticking it in the mail this morning.
What a week.
One a happier note, Elaine's sister and her husband came for a visit on their way back home from a month in Florida. The children love Uncle Jerry and Aunt Merrill, and of course, Elaine thoroughly enjoyed visiting with her sister. Merrill always brings little presents for the kids, and this time she brought Maddy a pink stuffed pony and a pink fuzzy hat with matching gloves. Maddy slept with both the pony AND the gloves. Five minutes ago, she stumbled sleepily out of the bedroom--still clutching her pony and her gloves. So cute!
We had dinner with Casey's brother and his wife, and Casey made some awesome food. I love good food.
I promise to better in the blogging department, now that last week's crisis is over...sort of.

Friday, February 27, 2009


It’s taken me 4 days and at least 5 attempts to blog this. Then I decided to edit it for confideniality reasons. *Sigh*
One of the families we minister to lost their mama Thursday. It is absolutely heart breaking. She had five children and two grandchildren that lived with her. We were the same age.
All we know is her kidneys stopped working. Well, that’s not all we know....
The kids thought she had the flu. Listening to them, how they tried to get her to eat, and their sad attempts to nurse her, was just pitiful.
Her family: grandmother, sisters, aunts, drove for an hour to sign a ‘Do Not Resuscitate” Order......and then drove back home. When the doctor made his rounds, and explained that the order prohibited him from doing dialysis to save her life, everyone had to be rounded back up to rescind the order. Utter chaos ensued and she never got the treatments.
I was with the kids all day, from morning—when I picked them up to take them to the hospital to visit their mom, to 9:30 pm-- several hours after she went to be with Jesus. I have never seen anything like the scene in that hospital hallway. Two family members were drunk already and yelling at the kids for not calling an ambulance sooner, not being at the the hospital faster....infuriating. They also demanded that the children pack up their stuff immediately to go back with the family (about 1.5 hours away), which Kerra (16) took very badly. Basically she screamed and cried and begged and had to literally dragged out of the hospital. I talked one of the Aunts into letting her stay one more night and say goodbye to her friends at school. She stayed with my assistant Vivian, who also spent most of the day at the hospital. She is pretty close to the family, and has offered to take the two younger children in so they won’t have to stay in Cordele while their older siblings stay in Valdosta.
I still can’t believe that it was just last week that I saw Mrs. Renee, when we were cutting up in the driveway. I can’t help feeling like it was such an unnecessary loss. And my heart goes out to those babies who lost their mama so suddenly. And honestly, I’m sad for me, too. I’ve known the family for over 8 years...Terica (9) was just a baby when I met them! I liked Mrs. Renee a lot, she was a good woman, a good mama, and she will be missed. If the kids have to stay in Cordele, I can’t imagine what it’ll be like not to see them twice a week!
So pray for the kids, that God’s will will be done in their lives, that He will comfort and protect them. And pray for me. Because I’m so sad.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I am utterly exhausted. The days go by and at the end of it, I haven't completed the task I put at the top of my list. Why does that keep happening?
Since E is staying with us while she recuperates, there is a lot more on my ever-increasing plate lately. Plus, since E. is out of commission, I've had to find a new babysitter while I'm at Bible Club. Today I put the kids in Mother's Morning Out to try to get ready for the two presentations I have to make this week. Also, this is the first week we are implimenting a new schedule at Bible Club which puts me home 30 minutes later than usual. I guess it was a little much for little Cole, because about 7:00pm CJ called me and said Cole was having a meltdown. Apparently he had fallen asleep on the floor, wet his pants and when the sitter tried to change him, he wigged out and started crying for me. By the time I got him on the phone, he was refusing to change his clothes until I got home and crying hysterically.
But now I'm home, everybody's had a bath, including E. (o: , and we're about to read stories and cuddle.
Deep breath. And it all starts again tomorrow.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Holy Cow! I haven't written a blog in forever. Almost a month, even. It's not that I don't have anything to say, I'm just too busy. And I don't like it.
Well, first of all, updates:
Maddy is learning to use the potty. She's doing a good job, and is very into the "I can do it" stage. And for the most part, she can! She started a mini-revolution in her nursery class when she went peepee in the potty and her teacher gave her a skittle. Suddenly EVERYBODY wanted to use the potty! (o:
Cole's best friend in the whole world, Canaan, is moving this week, and I finally got the nerve up to tell Cole. His realization is coming in stages, but I'm so sad for him. I'm sad for Maddy, too, who loves Canaan's little brother, Zion. She calls him "My Zion". AND I'm sad for me, too, since their mom, Bethany is someone I would consider a very, very good friend, and I will miss her desperately while she's gone. The good news is, they will return.
CJ is doing well in school, and learning to manage his pre-teen hormone imbalance bit by bit. Ultimately, he's a great kid, but oh, help me--the mood swings. Anyway....
Casey's business is going well, which means lots of fighting for us! (o: It's kind of funny at the moment, but of course when his business is doing well, he's working a lot, and that makes it hard on me, and we don't see each other much. I don't handle being too busy very well, but I'm learning to cope.
Casey's mom is staying with us for a little while, while she recovers from hip replacement surgery. We spent the week getting Casey's office moved into our room, so she could have the office to live in. She's here now, and the kids are very happy, but she is pretty fragile. Poor thing. Ya'll pray for her.
There are more blogs kicking around in my head, but for now that'll have to be good enough. I'm going to watch Heroes with my hubby!!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

120+ hours

I've decided to "fast" recreational computer-time for the rest of this week.
I get so frustrated with my lack of time to get things done. I never have time to finish the laundry, I never have time to clean up, I never have enough time to play with my children.....on top of that, I have "real work" to do-- meaning outside the house stuff (that I actually do inside the house)--newsletters, meetings, etc.
I sound like I'm pouting, I'm really not. I like having a lot to do (a long time ago, I had to ask God to forgive my pride in my "busy-ness"). I just don't like not having enough time to do it in. I have this re-occurring dream about a tidal wave crushing me and my family that I always have when things are bad--even if I'm not conscious of feeling overwhelmed.
I've had it two nights in a row.
So I figure I'd do an experiment to see if I stay off Facebook, and don't read any blogs for a week, if there would be more time for other things.
To be very honest, I'm doing it because I'm aggravated with my wonderful husband for spending so much time working. He lives in our home office. I know he's got a lot of work to do, but last night there were several windows open with YouTube open and other silly stuff, and I KNOW how much time he can waste on that. I was on my way to chew him out, when God said I better get my own stuff in line first. So there you go, no more extra-curricular computing, at least this week.
I'll still check my Yahoo, since I need to for the ministry, so if you need me, you know where to find me!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Random Things

I'm not in the mood to write anything vey cohesive, so here's some stuff I have to say:

1. Since CJ has been at school, Cole and Maddy have started playing the cutest little role-playing games. Cole seems to invent them, and come up with the details, but Maddy falls right in. Their favorite seems to be a variation of "house", where Cole is always the baby, and Maddy is the mommy. She "feeds" him and puts him to bed, and he "cries" and asks for more food. They also play "school", "store", and "Jedi" a lot. The "house" game can be a little unnerving when Cole is yelling, "Mommy!!" and when I come running, he says, "I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to Maddy."

2. Two days ago I put an end to Cole's long-term obsession (since about 10 months old) with saving a cup of water from the last bath. One too many meltdowns after it accidently spills out, and I couldn't take it any more. He seems to be recovering pretty well.

3. CJ's spending the night with a friend who lives in the country and they're going to ride the horses. I'm extremely jealous.

4. I haven't done any theraputic shopping in about a month, or been by myself for about twice as long. I can't believe I'm even slightly sane.

5. Cole's new obsession is mail. I've got to get this kid a penpal.

6. I want a kitten. Today.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bible Club

OK, I don't post too much about His Hands on here, but I love what I do and sometimes it trickles into my "other" life.

I've been teaching the little kids about prayer, and how you don't have to use fancy words, just talk to Jesus. Colby (an ADORABLE little 8 year old with serious ADHD) prayed before the lesson Tuesday, and took it to a whole new level: "Jesus, thank you for Bible Club. Thank you for Mrs. Mary who comes every Tuesday to get us and teach us. Sometimes she doesn't come on Tuesday. Sometimes she's sick, or her babies are sick, or she takes a week off for the school breaks. When she doesn't come I am sad, but when she does come I am real happy. When she comes on Tuesday, I am ready, but sometimes I have to get my shoes on first. Sometimes I get in trouble on the van, and have to sit in the front. I like to eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Amen."


Yesterday (Wednesday) I had the teen girls. A little background: This group has always been riddled with meanness and disrespect. Several months ago, my team and I came up with a plan to "reform" the group: 1) They have to let us know by the day before that they want to come. (builds respect for our time, and value and commitment to the group) 2. Every other week, we do community service together (a bonding exercize) 3. EVERYONE must participate in the group discussions on the weeks we have Bible Study. It has worked WONDERFULLY. They've gone froma sullen, bickering group of petty girls who just shrugged their shoulders and rolled their eyes through the lesson, to being a happy unified "church" of young ladies.

Teen Girls' Group

To show how far they've come, yesterday we talked about the difference between being "saved" (an event/decision) and being a "christian" (a lifestyle). I started by just asking questions, and I'll be doggoned if they didn't get it before I even connected the dots. Amazing. We finished up with James 1:22-25, where he talks about being "doers and not just hearers" of the word. Ashely, my little "tough girl" said, "This makes makes so much sense," as she took it upon herself to start copying the verses into her notebook. "This is going on my MySpace." (o:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Presents, Gifts, and Blessings

I have wonderful kids.
Today I had the priviledge of watching my two little ones play with their friends in cute little sing-song voices. They pretended to be jedis (Cole and Canaan), and shared peanutbutter pretzels (Maddy and Zion), and were very sweet.
Then we went to a parent-teacher conference at CJ's school where all five of his teachers made it quite clear that they not only genuinely cared about his success at school, but also enjoyed him as a person very much. It was very nice to meet with people who spend so much time with my baby who actually seem to like him as much as I do!!
Today when I was getting Cole out of the tub, I told him how much I loved him as I dried his hair. I told him I felt so blessed to have such wonderful children. I said, "You guys are like this awesome present that God gave me. You know, like a Christmas present or a birthday present. A wonderful, special gift."
He replied, "Yeah, we are like a hospital present. A nice present from the hospital."

Reading Challenge

I decided to do a reading challenge this year, one that my friend posted on her blog. I know, you're gee-whiz, don't you have enough to do? (At least that's what I keep thinking to myself), but the truth is, I love to read, and if I can do something I love AND feel like I'm accomplishing something and checking off a to-do-list...Well, SIGN ME UP!
Here's the list, and how I'm doing so far, with approximately 1/12 of the year over:

1. Read a collection of short stories.
2. Read a play.
3. Read a nonfiction book. I read an awesome book: In The World But Not of It, by Brett Grainger, in December. I guess that doesn't count for this year, though...
4. Read 2 essays from the same collection. I think maybe reading 'Newsweek' and 'Time' counts, since the contributing writers are basically essays.
5. Go to a book event. Hmm...this is the LEAST likely to get done!
6.Borrow a library book. Done! Many times over!
7. Read a book by a new to you author. Got one on hold at the library now!
8. Make a donation.
9. Promote literacy. This I do every day, when I read to my kids!
10. Participate in a buddy read or Group discussion.
11. Read a book outside your comfort level or from a genre you don’t normally read.
12. Read a classic (defined as anything published before 1970). I'm reading To Kill A Mockingbird. I forgot what a great book it is!!

I can't wait to enjoy my challenge!!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I haven't had ANY time to blog this week, which is down-right depressing. (Seriously, I cried yesterday because I have not had a single MOMENT to myself to do something other than work, work, do dishes, do laundry, work, break up fights, deal with a tantrum, work, work....ok, you get the picture--poor me. Well, I also cried because I was PMSing and just weepy in general.
Today I feel much better. I cooked two meals (accidentally thawed out too much meat. Ah, well. The wonton soup was rockin' and Casey even fried some of the leftover wontons, YUM!
CJ made me some of his famous chocolate-chocolate chip cookie, and I only ate a half-dozen, so far. (o: Good Lord, those things are good.
So I wanted to let everyone know that Maddy is doing much better in the terrible-two's department. I actually like her again.
Also, CJ got a 95% on his science test! I was so proud of him! We're going to take him to El Potro for lunch tomorrow to celebrate. The reason this praticular test was such a big deal is that the day before the test, he got a 40% on his pop quiz and he very little time to study, since he was practicing for the youth Dessert Theatre. I was almost afraid to ask him how he did when I picked him up from school, and then I almost cried when I saw that big red "A"! (I'm sure the hormones had nothing to do with it!)
The Youth Dessert Theatre was awesome!!!!!!!! I will post a video as soon as I get it from my friend. Can you believe I left my camera at home???
I still haven't finished the laundry, but I'm going to work on it now. I am so excited about having a Top Chef on the DVR, and a Battlestar Galactica!! We watched Lost last night until 12:30 (in hind-sight, a bad idea).
Maddy is going through some sort of redneck phase (from my husband's side, I promise you), and refuses to wear a shirt today, or let me comb her hair. Gee whiz!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Savannah Visit

We had an awesome time with my brother and his wife at their house in Savannah this weekend.

My brother is a stinkin' rock star to my boys; they were so excited! Casey and I were excited, too, because Jeremy and Marie love food as much as we do, and we knew they would know all the cool resteraunts to try (our great vacation pastime).

We ate at a cuban place with awesome food and yucky sangria (canned fruit, yuck!) one night, and lunch at a greek resteraunt with flaming cheese and awesome bread with real butter (I'm a bit of a butter fiend, since Casey is lactose intolerant, and I only get it when we eat out at certain places. I've been known to lick it right out of the little plastic containers.....mmmmm.....)

Sunday we walked around downtown to look at art. The museum we were going to didn't have free admission to residents of the county like we had heard, so we opted out and created out own art:

Then we looked around at all the shops and galleries. Lots of beautiful stuff. Cole chose his favorite piece, which they printed on note cards:

Casey had a favorite, too:

And Maddy practiced naming her colors in a gallery aptly named "Chroma":

Cole SWORE this was a real pirate ship. It was, in fact, a really neat ship that had been restored and was open for free tours. It was really cool. This picture was taken right before it started to sho-nuff rain, and Maddy was already getting pretting wet.
You can take carriage tours of the city, which we did not do, but as you can see by the look on Maddy's face, just seeing the horses (Gasp: "Horseeees!!!") was a delight.

Back at the house, we chilled out and dried off (we had gotten drenched walking back to our car). Marie made so wicked-tasty Chicken curry, and the boys worked on their video game. Yes worked--my brother, in his spare time, creates video games. (I think I may have mentioned that in a previous blog). Anyway, he and the boys spent the weekend, off and on, creating "Bat Cole", complete with theme music, sound effects, and evil ninjas. Here's the link, if anyone would like to download it to play (I promise my brother's site won't give you a computer virus): That's my brother's voice that announces, "BAT COLE!" when it first starts, Casey provides the, "GOOD JOB!", and Cole's talent is lent to the karate-chop-'hiya's. (One note, when you hit the ninjas, that's not blood, their pink eyes just get bigger...go figure.) You use the right and left mouse buttons to make Bat Cole fight the ninjas that chase him.
We played a rediculous board game, Quelf, which was introduced to us by my good friend Bethany, who was introduced to it by her good friend Carrie. It was truly silly. One of the cards made us all talk by putting "izzle" at the end of each sentence, which my brother decided to continue to do, even after we had finished playing.
It was a great visit, but it made me miss my brother terribly. I can't wait until the make the move back in a few years.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Terrible Two's

I'm not sure what happened to my sweet little princess this week.

We've had our moments of willfulness and tantrums, but never anything too bad. This is my third time around with terrible two's, if you don't count my two younger siblings, so I should be able to handle it.

This week has been nearly unbearable.

I literally haven't gone anywhere in the last two days because of how awful Maddy has been. She throws herself on the floor when she doesn't get the sippy cup she wants, she throws herself on the floor when she doesn't get the snack she wants, and sometimes she just throws herself on the floor for who-knows-why. She gets mad and screams, and sometimes I am just SURE that if she only had the vocabulary, she'd be cussing me. I have spanked that little hiney so much this week, I feel like a child-abuser or something.

My sister came over yesterday afternoon to hang out for a bit, and we sat down to eat dinner. I knew fits were coming, because mealtimes are difficult for Maddy anyway. As usual, she wanted her cup, more chips, you name it, anything but the sandwich that was the only healthy part of her meal. She'd beg, we'd say, "Take a bite of your sandwich first," and she fall apart. I would ignore it until it got to the "cussing" volume, pop her butt and sit her on the bed. She'd come back, beg again, and the process would begin all over. (Very exhausting dinner, let me tell ya!)
One thing I will say for Maddy is that after I spank her, she wants to "make up" quickly. I never reject those little arms when they go up for a hug, so even though this was the 5th trip back to the bedroom, complete with bottom-swat, and I only wanted to throw her across the room, I sat her on my lap and said, "Mommy loves you but you have to bite your sandwich or no chips. Mommy's boss."

She looked up at me with those big, pretty blue eyes brimming with tears and said, "I 'ant to be mommy."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

CJ's First Day

So CJ started school last week. Real school. For the first time in five years. To give you some perspective, here's what he looked like the last time he started school:

And this is him on his first "First Day" (This is also when he stopped wanting me to kiss him in front of his friends, so he'd put one of his tiny little hands up to sheild us from view.):

This is him now, all grown up:

I'm really proud of him. On top of his normal attention-deficit issues, he was struggling with his schoolwork here at home recently. Struggling to do it, struggling to stay on task, struggling to have a good attitude. I anticipated a rude awakening for him at a academically-competitive private school. Much of the material they are covering is completely foreign to him: Algebra, cursive writing, even things like writing his name on his papers! But this week, he has really picked things up, been responsible with his assignments, and brought home some surprisingly good grades for someone so new to all this!
So far, he's gotten two A's and a B, one 100% (!) and although he got a C on his first Science quiz, but I'm cutting him slack since he didn't even have a book yet! His math teacher is impressed with his progress in catching on to equations, and all his teachers are just so nice.
On his first day, it became obvious that the girls were going to be an issue. It was reported by my friend's daughter (who is in CJ's class) that "four girls" like him. She wouldn't say who. When I picked him up in the afternoon, high school teachers were making comments about the stir he was causing with the girls. One day, when I picked him up a little early, he had three girls huddled around him--one of whom was an 11th grader. He was looking slightly uncomfortable with the attention.
This Monday night we got home late, since he just stays with me at Bible Club on the afternoons I have it (we meet at the same building that also hosts the school), to find two phone messages from "Elizabeth" waiting on him. She had called the second time to make sure E had written her number down correctly. Then during dinner little Elaine called. All these calls were supposedly about homework assignments, but we know better. On the way to school Tuesday, I said, "let me jsut make this easy on you. You cannot have a girlfriend. You can have girls that are friends, but no girlfriends that lay claim to you and distract you--God KNOWS you don't need more distractions." Honestly, he looked relieved.
All in all, he's doing really well, although today he left without eating his breakfast or taking his Omega-3 (our homeopathic way of dealing with his attention challenges--it works, too!). I didn't have time to take him his breakfast after I came home and found it in the microwave, but I may be running that vitamin up to the school around lunch-time. After all, he's got three quizes tomorrow and he needs to be able to study tonight!

I love the picture below for the story behind it. This is Zay, who started coming to His Hands Bible Club when he was 11 (he's now 20). He is such a great kid, now. (o: He came over for dinner the other night because we missed him badly--he is in college and working fulltime, so we don't see him much. CJ was doing his math homework, and Zay just jumped right in and started helping him. Double irony is at work in this picture, as Zay struggled at frist to pass college algebra and was proud to be able to help CJ, and secondly, although Zay only advised CJ the exact way I had, only moments before, CJ still credits him with showing him how to do these equations. (o:

Monday, January 5, 2009


I was seven years old when my sister was born. Because of the way our household functioned (or didn't) I was already stepping into the (unhealthy) role of "grownup", so it was more like she was my baby than my sister. Later, when I was grown up and on my own, she moved in with me and stayed until she met her husband. She's still my baby, always will be. Her middle name is very appropriate: Blessing.

We are very strange together. The older we got, the harder it was for some people to tell us apart. People still get us confused occasionally (even though I'm truly beginning to look over 30, and she still looks like a young 'un). We speak our own language, and can talk about completely different subjects in the same conversation, deftly switching back and forth, picking up where we left off, and never missing a beat.

Realizing how weird we are at times, here's a conversation we were having today, while I did the dishes.

Me: Somebody should provide the service of putting non-stick back on non-stick pans after they get sticky. 'Cuz sticky non-stick pans are terrible.

Autumn: Someone does, I think. They make a spray.

Me: Really? Well, I want someone else to do it for me.

Autumn: Using non-stick pans isn't good for you if you use really high heat.

Me: Define high heat.

Autumn (ignoring me): If it gets too hot, it will get into your food and it's not good for you. And if you're a parakeet it will kill you.

Say what?? Who stores this kind of information in their brains? Why would you cook a parakeet's food anyway?? Why bring it up at all?

Here's a classic Autumn story (there are a few): I was in the kitchen, and as I walked out, she came around the corner and we nearly bumped into each other. She was startled, and said, "OH! I thought you were ME!!"
Just think about that one for a minute. Let it sink in.

Put all three of us interesting siblings together and here's what you get:

A few Christmases ago, my brother and I were joking around, somehow got on the subject of aphrodisiacs. (We were probably talking about how disgusting raw oysters are, how much like boogers they seem, and then just declined from there--who knows, I don't remember, and besides, it's not the point...) So Autumn overheard our aphrodisiac conversation, and fresh from her trip to Europe, feeling a little smug, goes, "Oh I saw a statue of one of those!!"

My brother and I immediately stopped and looked at each other, and then at her and said in stereo, "Oh, I gotta to hear this." Sensing some serious sibling ridicule coming, she became hesitant, but still pretty confident. "Well, we were in this museum, and there was a statue of an aphrodisiac." Stifling a giggle, my brother says, "Oh? What does it look like?"

She looked at us both for a moment, and said sheepishly, "Well, you know. It had both things."

AFTER we finally stopped laughing, I explained, with tears running down my face, the difference between and aphrodisiac and a hermaphrodite.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My Holiday Typhoon

This holiday season has been a whirlwind of activity! Family, friends, fun, along with to-do lists, shopping (grr...), and housework (double grr...)'s been a wonderful ride.
Maddy and my grandma at dinner.

Maddy and my brother, Jeremy, at brunch the next day. Mmmm...gingerbread pancakes!

The highlight of my Christmas would have to Saturday after Christmas. We had dinner with my whole family, we had great food, wonderful company....Ahhhh. Awesome!

Our tradition to demolish the gingerbread house (Godzilla-style) at our family dinner:

Part of the awesomeness of Saturday was due to my brother's visit, and my mom's. My relationship with my mom is, as I've said, complicated. But she strode in the door the morning of our planned family dinner and blessed my socks off by baking the bread and helping clean, and best of all, loving on and playing with my kids. I wouldn't exactly call her a cuddly grandma, but she sure is a fun grandma. She had brought beach sand from near her house in St. Augustine, along with various shells and starfish. She's unemployed at the moment, so the ocean provided her Christmas gifts this year. She had made all us grown kids a fragrant oil warmer out of clam shells that was pretty genius.

Neena (my mom) playing in the sand with the kids. They kept disappearing all day and I'd find them out in the garage in the sand.

My brother is definitely the star around here. He and his wife live in Savannah, so we don't see them as much as we'd like to. Jeremy is a computer programmer (or something like administrator, I think? OH, I don't KNOW!). He love video games (and has even won an award for one he created!) so CJ loves having him around. Jeremy and his newest fan, my niece Alina.

For Christmas, he and his wife bought a Wii, and rented Rayman and the Rabbids 2. Oh, my gosh, that was such a hilarious night. We all took a turn, and then took turns laughing our butts off at each other. More awesomeness. In hindsight, I wish I had taken some video.

Of course, I don't want to leave my dad out, who is so sweet, loving and generous. This year we all decided to get gifts for only the children, since "things are tough all over". I think my dad missed the point, because he seems to have spent the same amount of money, just all on the kids!! My kids got so much stuff from them! (Nerf guns were a fave--for the grownups, too.)

Dad with his gag gift from us:

Last night we had some wonderful friends--some old, some brand new-- over for New Years Eve. We played games, talked, and ate-- ALOT. Some of the kids fell asleep, some did not (especially mine, *sigh*).

Miscellaneous children piled into my bed:

We watched the ball drop and toasted each other with sparkling apple juice, kissed our spouses.....and went right back to our game of Apples to Apples, where I FINALLY won a card in the very last round. Whew, at least I wasn't a total loser. Maybe if I wasn't so insistant on picking smart-a** cards.....ah well, "smart a** is, as smart a** does," isn't that what Forrest Gump said?