Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Return of the Elf

July 31, 2009

Last Christmas, we were visited by John David, our family's adopted Elf on the Shelf.
We had lots of fun with John David. He brought the kids lots of little treats. He also did something we called "mischief." He was always doing something funny around the house, like dumping out underwear drawers:He was always re-arranging toys (spoons, candy, legos, etc.) to spell out the word "elf." He dressed the kids' stuffed animals in their underwear:He even put a bow on poor, poor Tootie dog:John David's final act of mischief was to "roll" the living room on Christmas Eve, right before he caught a ride with Santa back to the North Pole.
This resulted in a lot of Christmas pictures that looked like this:Bless Grandmama's heart, she spent half Christmas Day rolling that toilet paper back on the roll. (John David used our good Charmin, and we weren't about to let it go to waste!)This picture has nothing to do with John David, but it is something that Emma got from Santa, and it reminded me of something else funny:He left a note for the kids, explaining that he had to go back to build more toys for next year, but since they had been moping and complaining about him having to leave, he might try to make a trip during the summer for a little vacation. (The only thing he asked was that Emma make him a little bed to sleep in.)So, fast-forward to last week. The family came home from a park outing to find this on the back deck:I hope he put some sunscreen on his rosy cheeks. Nice shades, J.D. (Somewhere, there is a new naked Ken doll in the house.)In true vacation style, he slept a lot:Watched some tv:Monopolized the remote control:In true naughty elf style, he also did a little mischief:
(Does anybody think Luke looks like one of the "Three Stooges" here? "Hey Moe!" Silly elf.)

Emma had a friend come sleep over, and now she wants an elf to come to her house, too. Her mom even called me to thank me for putting this idea in her daughter's head. Yay for spreading a little elf love!

John David left last Saturday with a promise that he will be back soon after Thanksgiving. We are really looking forward to seeing what kind of mischief he will come up with then.

(My apologies if Google brought you here on some sort of "Lord of the Rings" search. My bad.)

If you haven't registered for my giveaway, it's not too late! Do it now!

Arrest this Woman!

July 30, 2009

Sorry, can't blog today...muscles shaking all over from this:

She's a masochist! (No, I haven't done the whole circuit of Day 1 yet. I'm dyin' here, folks!) I'm hurting in places I didn't know I had places.

I'll give a full review (if and) when I finish the video. Y'all pray for me.

Don't forget my GIVEAWAY!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

When the Bugs Come Marching In...

July 29, 2009

It started out innocently enough. About a month ago, I found one of the ugly buggers meandering through my bedroom. I peered down at it with disbelief.Never before had I seen one of these bugs in my house.

Every summer my parents would have these nasty critters in their basement, our church has them in the Fellowship Hall, but NEVER had they been in my home.

Little did I know that this was just the beginning of the onslaught of the nasty multi-legged bug plague. Our pest control man sprayed his special "kills bugs not people" poison around the doors and walls. The army continued its advance. Jason put down some Sevin dust, which they laughed and pointed at as they continued their march to the Sea or the bathroom, whatever they reached first.It seemed as though midnight was the "witching hour" for critter cruising. I am something of a night-owl, so it was not unusual for me to run across multitudes of these icky suckers as they traipsied to their demise.

The only three things that have proven fatal to them are: (1.) Size 8.5 shoes (I wear a size 6 shoe, but a 7 feels so good that I wear an 8.5), applied directly on them. (2.) Being flushed down a watery grave. [Yes, there really is one in there. And don't judge me for having a potty lid cozy.] (3.) Small brown chihuahuas that use them as playthings.They are very small, i.e., about this long: ------------- . They have lots of legs and move relatively quickly. They apparently have the ability to materialize out of thin air. As soon as I flush one, another one teleports in a-la' "Star Trek." I would bet that I've been responsible for the death of an entire rain forest's worth of toilet paper, because I refuse to touch them directly as I escort them on their journey to Beulah Land.

I know I'm not completely alone in this. My neighbors have complained about them too. One with a pool has to scoop net-fulls of them out of her pool every day. One of Emma's friends told us that her Mom has to vacuum three times a day to get them all up. (Really? I keep a pretty clean house, but I don't think I care THAT much.)

So, what gives? Do y'all have these things in your houses? What are they? Can they be defeated? I am, literally, two flushes away from calling in the National Guard. They must be destroyed, PETA be darned!

I added this post to Wendy's "Life is Funny" Carnival. If you need a good laugh, check it out!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Name that Tune

July 28, 2009

The kids and I were in the car, heading out on a day trip to Tuscaloosa. I was flipping through the stations, trying to find something decent to listen to. I stopped on an easy-listening station when I heard the beginning notes of a song from my youth by Michael Jackson.

No words had been sung in the song yet. There was a lengthy musical introduction at the beginning part of the song. We had only heard a couple of "hee hees" and one "whoo chicka," when Emma piped up from the backseat with a question. She asked, "Is this Michael Jackson?" I laughed and confirmed her suspicions.

Since Emma was born in 2000, Michael Jackson was not on any playlist of music that she has ever been subjected to. In fact, until the three-ring circus that was his death and funeral, neither Emma nor Luke had ever heard of Michael Jackson and weren't familiar with his music. In the short few weeks since his death, Emma had already become very aware of Jackson's voice. In her mind, his voice was unmistakable.

I began to ponder how many unmistakable voices I hear every day. I thought of those of my children, my husband, my parents, my friends. I expanded that group to include that of celebrities, musicians, newsmen, and even that movie voice-over guy (RIP). But, out of all these people that I either know, love, never met, respect, and/or dislike, I could pick their voice out of a crowd anytime, anywhere. Can I say the same for the voice of the Creator of the Universe? Do I hear it enough that it is familiar to me? Could I filter out the voice of the One who loves me more than I will ever love anyone else?

It takes a lot of effort to "be still and know that [He] is God" (Psalm 46:10). With the cacaphony of voices surrounding us, like Elijah, we have to listen closely and carefully for that still, small voice that is continually calling out to us. That voice prods us to move forward, to encourage us, to guide us, and to instruct us. All we have to do is listen and be aware of Who is speaking to us.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Giveaway for my Birthday!

July 27, 2009

Technically, my birthday is not until August 3, but I found some really cute summery kitchen stuff at Belk over the weekend, so...

I'm doing my first GIVEAWAY ever!

I totally had planned to do this on my 100th post, but this is only my 75th. However, this is MY blog and it's about to be MY birthday, so I can do what I want to do!

I am giving to one of my U.S.-dwelling-bloggy friends (Sorry, Canadian bloggy friends and beyond...that includes you, my quiet little friend in Belgium.) these cool items:

A pretty wall plaque...
...that has a sense of humor. As if MY kitchen ever closes!
Some pretty candles that look like limes and lemons. Do not eat. (Sorry, I'm a mom. It comes naturally.)
Finally, a set of matching baskets, perfect for storing fruit--who am I kidding? In my house these babies would be holding chocolate. But not for long periods of time, though.

Here's how to enter:

First, just comment on this post. You may earn extra entries by:
  1. Following me on Twitter.
  2. Tweet about this giveaway.
  3. Subscribing to or Following this blog, using the followers gadget or a reader.
Be sure to leave an extra comment for each extra entry.

Also, if I make it to 75 "Gadget Followers," I will throw in an extra something cool. (Not to be confused with something extra-cool. Although it might be something extra-cool. I just haven't decided on what it will be yet.) Why 75? I was born in 1975 and this is my 75th post, so I'm shooting for the stars here! I was going to just suggest the age I am now, but somehow my followers number went up and over that recently (thank you/I'm flattered/I apologize), so I had to set my sights higher.

The contest starts at 12:00 a.m. on Monday, July 27, and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, August 3. A winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Tuesday, August 4 when my sugar high from the cake wears off. Good luck!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Snakes (not) Alive!

After my great day last week, I came home and checked my e-mail/facebook/twitter, as is my custom. (You do it too, right?) I was looking out the window while I tried to think of something cool to post on facebook/twitter as my status when I noticed a car doing doughnuts on the cul-de-sac in front of the house.

After the second time they drove through the cul-de-sac and slammed on their brakes in front of the driveway, I got a little alarmed. Clearly, they had beheld my after-Chuck E. Cheese beauty through the window and were mercilessly and helplessly in love with me and would be stalking me forever. Or something like that.

I really freaked out when the car came up the driveway and then drove out the other side of the circular drive. I army-crawled my way to the kitchen to tell the kids to hide with me. Without a doubt, we were in danger from some crazy person!

As I picked up the phone to call my not-yet-home-husband or the police or both, I saw the car coming up the drive again. As I watched breathlessly, the garage door opened.


That was my husband driving around the neighborhood like a maniac.


Jason came inside with a grim, yet psychotic, look on his face. He looked at me with a mixture of sorrow and terror on his face, which is usually reserved for the day when the Belk bill comes in. He said one word that made my blood chill.


He went on to tell me that he thought he'd run over it, but couldn't find it. Of course, he told me this as I'm making trips to my car to bring in my treasures from our Toys R Us shopping trip. He leaned over right as I walk by his tire to "check to make sure it didn't get hung up in the axle." I did some fancy footwork to get back in the house quickly! I might be brave about some things, but definitely not snakes!

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon. Jason was cleaning up the "natural area" (i.e. briars, wild shrubs, and weeds) in front of the house after I may or may not have threatened him to do so. I noticed a yucky smell, but it was a little hot while he was working (and HEY, he was working!), so I didn't mention it to Jason (that I totally thought it was him) that I thought something was dead out there.

He found it.

Snake vs. Car.

Car wins.

(Please disregard the poor, shaky quality of the picture. Something tells me that Jason was moving quickly AWAY from the subject when this picture was taken.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Blog Soup

July 22, 2009

I have several things I need to say (before I forget), so this is a leftover-thought-soup-type-post. Prepare to chase some rabbits.

Recently I entered a contest at Jill's blog to win a really awesome beach bag/purse. It took me a while to actually enter the contest because I couldn't stop laughing at her humiliating beach story. You need to read it.

So, this is my new bag:

I am not at the prom, in case you were wondering. Luke took this picture Monday night at Vacation Bible School in front of the waterfall I made. Also, I'd like to point out that the double-chin is an illusion created when a 48 3/4 inch person takes your picture from below.

See? No double chin in this picture that my Mom took later. But then the flabby arm illusion is created. I can't win. You can also see my new outcropping of freckles that I acquired at the Guin Waterpark with the kids earlier in the day. (We won't mention that you can see my bra strap, too, because that would not be classy.)

We had a great time at the Waterpark. More pictures to come later...

Finally, as I mentioned, we are having VBS at our church this week. Monday night I taught a lesson about Jesus walking on the water. I asked the kids how that story shows us that Jesus was God's Son. This guy (Luke J. ) came up with a great answer:
"Because he looked like Jesus."

Exactly. There you go.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

REALLY, Martha Stewart?

July 21, 2009

To make myself feel more inadequate in life, I subscribe to Martha Stewart's "Craft of the Day" Newsletter. I can't say that I have made even one craft that she's sent to me. Most of them don't even register with me as being necessary or even that interesting to me.

Until today.

Behold:"Dog Clean Up Bags.
Add some fun and fashion to everyday dog-cleanup bags."

REALLY, Martha Stewart?

A decorative poop bag? To make matters worse, she expects me to use an iron to make this. I don't even use an iron for its intended purposes, much less to make a cutesy bag for hauling my dog's handiwork.

Sorry, Tootie. It's not happening.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sometimes a Mom has to brag!

July 17, 2009

I will admit that I was not expecting yesterday to be a very good day. I stayed up too late Wednesday night painting decorations for next week's VBS. I woke up with a terrible headache and neck pain, which only added to the black cloud that was my mood. To make matters worse, the sky was the color of an ugly bruise and it was thundering when I got up.

This was not the worst of it, though.

Luke had to go back to the dentist to get 3, count 'em, 3 cavities filled. (I swear he brushes his teeth. The sheer volume of toothpaste I find on the sink, the towel, the mirror, the counter, and the light switch testify to this!) In order to get desired behavior at the dentist, I put a bribe on the table:
Yes, I know that I'm crazy to inflict that on myself again. (Second time in only 9 days, but who's counting?) The headache, the fatigue, the weather, screaming kids? Face it, folks. I had all the ingredients coming together for THE PERFECT STORM.

I drove through a monsoon to get to Birmingham. Traffic was creeping along, when it moved at all. We finally made it to Dr. Barganier's office and hopped out, getting drenched on the way in.

Luke headed to the back for his fillings. Emma and I passed the time reading magazines and playing her brother's DS games. (I'll let you guess who did what there.) Finally, a smiling Luke comes out, followed by a smiling dental hygienist.

She says, "I have to tell you what just happened! He was such a sweetheart!"

I think to myself, "Oh, gracious. There's no telling what that boy just told them back there." Luke has a way of telling all our business to strangers sometimes. You never know what he's going to say.

She said "He did great with his filling, only one. The others really didn't need it." (Thank You, God! Mommy needs a new cell phone. ..) She went on, "He just kept us laughing back there. He's so funny!" (Later I found out he was telling them tales of how we had to leave the beach at the end of vacation because we were running out of food. Mmmkay.)

Then she told me something else.

I'll let Luke tell you in his own words:

"There was this old man. He was really old. Older than Granddaddy. He was scared. He was having the same thing done to his teeth that I did. They took me in his room and told him that I had my tooth filled and I was brave.

But he was still scared. He told me that he was nervous. I told him that I would hold his hand if it would make him feel better. So I did."

[Y'all take a Kleenex break with me here, okay?]

"I held his hand for a little while and they fixed his tooth. Then he said he felt better. He thanked me."

Chuck E. Cheese didn't sound like such a bad idea after that. I even took them to Toys R Us.

My heart is still very full today.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Today in history--2003

Our cousins Caitlin and Shelbie (don't know which is which here...) came for a visit.

See other Wordless Wednesday pics at 5 minutes for mom.

Monday, July 13, 2009


July 13, 2009

I'm not the country music fan in my house. (Jason fills those cowboy boots in our house. Anyone who knows him knows I mean that figuratively!) But lately I've had the lyrics to a country song by the supergroup Alabama in my head. It doesn't matter what else I listen to or think about, that song somehow breaks back in to my thoughts over and over. I figured I might as well blog about it. Maybe it'll be cathartic.

So, here you go:

"I'm in a hurry to get things done
Oh, I rush and rush until life's no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
But, I'm in a hurry and don't know why."

Perhaps these words are haunting me because they are the story of my life lately. Even at the beach, I was rushing around, trying to get the kids to finish eating, trying to hurry up at the mall, and just not slowing down and enjoying life enough.

The old lady who pulled out in front of me today? "Too slow, Granny! Get the lead out!" Where was I going? Wal-Mart, where I didn't really want to go anyhow. I wasn't even in any particular hurry to get there. I just didn't want to be slowed down by her.

I can't tell you how many times a day I use the words "hurry up." I imagine they make up a large percentage of my daily vocabulary usage. (I read too many bottles of vitamins today at Wal-Mart for the boy who had a low iron count at the pediatrician last week...) "Luke, hurry up and put your shoes on. Emma, hurry up and finish your breakfast. It's nearly lunchtime."

But here's the kicker: I don't like to be hurried. In fact, I hate it. I get anxious and antsy and nervous and ill as a hornet--all at one time. I have also developed this irritating tendency to wait until the VERY last minute to leave the house to be somewhere else. I was never late when I was younger, but now I'm the last one to get anywhere ALWAYS. I'd blame it on the kids, but it often happens when they aren't with me.

I guess I'm posting this as a reminder to myself. I need to stop pushing everybody else along through life and take the time to look around me and enjoy the scenery a little more. It's not all about me. I've got to make better use of the time our Heavenly Father has allotted me and not make everyone else's allotted time miserable because I didn't utilize my time right.


Anybody want to be my accountability buddy on this? Am I the only one who can't seem to get it all together? (If you read all the way to the end of this crazy, rambling post, please give yourself a pat on the back or an ice cream cone or something!)

Thursday, July 09, 2009


July 9, 2009

(This is a post from my Women's Ministry Newsletter from July 2008. I had just gotten back from a mission trip to Greenville, SC when it was written.)

As we are in full-swing of vacation season, I was just thinking about how good it is to be home. After two weeks on the road with back-to-back mission trip and vacation travels, I am grateful to sleep in my own bed (and not to have to wear shoes when I shower).

I always look forward to my travels. I like to see new places and do new things. But no matter where I go, I always find myself ready to come back home at the end of my trip. I eagerly anticipate the sights, sounds, and smells of home.

While we are on this journey called life, we enjoy the beauty of God’s creation and all the new experiences we have. God expects for us to enjoy the vista of a mountain-top view, or to delight in the sound of the endless crashing of waves on the beach. He just doesn’t want us to get too used to them!

While we may relish in the pleasurable things and places on this earth, we must realize that we are just visitors here. This is not our home. Heaven is. As Paul said in Phillipians 3:20, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

I can’t wait to get home…Can you?

Monday, July 06, 2009

A Bathroom Rant

July 6, 2009

(If this is your first time at my blog, I'm sorry. They aren't all like this, I promise. If you are a repeat reader, y'all know a girl's gotta rant sometimes. Welcome back!)

You never really appreciate your own bathroom until you've used someone else's. Or more specifically, a public bathroom.

As we traveled a couple of weeks ago, I was struck by several details that were thoughtfully added or were mysteriously absent in public facilities. (When traveling with a 6 year old boy who is on the Great North American Bathroom Tour, you see a LOT of bathrooms.) This is my somewhat comprehensive list of what I saw:

1. Door Locks--These should be mandatory. Strangely, they were conspicuously absent from many stalls I visited. Mall/restaurant/gas station owners--I besiege you. Do NOT neglect to replace these if they break or fall off. It is no fun to "hover" above a toilet (And there went most of my guy readership...) and try to hold the door shut simultaneously. I think I may have permanently injured a muscle I didn't know I had.

Duct tape is never an acceptable medium for locking a door. I wish I didn't have to type that.

Also, the door locks that stick need to be replaced. You know you've been there. That split-second feeling of panic when you turn left, then right, then left again...and it won't open. The thought goes through your head, "I'm going to have to crawl under." And if you are like me, you'd rather die than touch a public bathroom floor. Just fix them.

2. Toilet Paper Dispensers--Look, we all know that you've got to have toilet paper in a stall. That's not even up for discussion. The problem I have is when you need to obtain paper from one of those stingy dispensers. You go to roll some off, and it gives you 1.5 sheets. I'm not Sheryl Crow. I'm gonna use me some tp, okay? We are all better off for everyone using more toilet paper. (Sorry, trees.)

Anyhow, I hate it when I need the paper and have to fight with the dispenser for 5 minutes to get 6 squares. I mean, by then, my calves and thigh muscles are pretty much shot from the hovering (And there went the last guy that thought it was safe to hang around). I can't stay in there holding the door shut with my other hand much longer, people!

3. Hand Dryers--As a germaphobe of a very high degree, I appreciate the concept of hand dryers. I still would rather have a paper towel to open the door with when I exit, so I don't have to touch the handle after Nasty Nellie just walked out without washing. (I DIE!) My problem with the hand dryers comes in the form of the jet-engine powered dryers. They look all practical and innocent hanging over there on the wall under the "Employees Must Wash Hands" sign. You walk up, unsuspecting, and present your dripping hands to be gently dried. All of a sudden, you realize you are not in a bathroom--you are standing behind a jet that is, at present, taking off! Look out! It blows your flesh backwards off your hands into little rolled-up windblown dunes on your wrists. The sound alone is enough to cause an 8 year old girl to go running out of the bathroom screaming. (Of course she touches the Nasty Nellie fouled door handle on the way out. Sigh.)

4. Super nice restrooms are rare--I was in the Dillard's at Pier Park in Panama City, FL when the extra-large bottle of water kicked in. I walked in the bathroom and did a double-take. Surely, I had walked into the president of the company's facility! I was surrounded by granite counters, clean tile floors, and opulent fixtures. A nice public restroom? What an oxymoron!

5. Stall cracks--That just sounds wrong. Again, for the nice people who "maintain" (such a strong word) public facilities, please consider the width of the cracks between the stall wall and the door. If I can, from my hovering position, glance up and see somebody full-on looking back at me (without their face at the precipice of the door, mind you), please, please do something about this issue.

Duct tape could be useful here.

And y'all? Don't look through the door cracks. That's not cool. It's one thing to see if there's somebody in the stall, but it's a whole other deal when you try to figure out if you went to elementary school together.

6. Door signs--Always a good thing to have the doors clearly labeled to prevent any confusion about who goes where...I'm all about that. I agree that printing the signs in Braille is also a fine idea. BUT, when you computer-print a paper sign that says "Men" or "Women" with the paper-printed Braille underneath and laminated, then you are nominated for FAIL of the Year. I'm just sayin'.

7. Don't GO there!--Okay, I gotta ask. Is there a secret society of icky people that go around doing their thing in the potty and leaving it without flushing? I mean, I go in a big bathroom with 10 stalls. I pick the 4th one from the door. I open the door and draw back in horror at what "surprise" awaited me, unflushed. I quickly make my way to the 6th door (because there's no way I'm going in there and flushing that, and the 3rd and 5th doors are too close to what's in there!), and it seems as though that person might have gone stall-hopping in their pursuit to make me die from a germaphobe inflicted heart attack. What's up, y'all? Flush it!!!

What have you seen? Good or bad, I can take it. (As long as I don't have to touch it, it's all good.)

p.s. I added this to a blog carnival at Weight..What?: Check it out!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

My Vacation Pictorial

Headed to Jason's 20th Class Reunion in Tallahassee. I'm not pregnant. I swear the dress looks better in person.
Luke had some AWESOME hair at the beach.
Emma has decided to become a deep-sea diver.
Here are some tourists standing next a manta ray.
We played mini-golf twice.
I was the only one to get a hole-in-one the first game. Not that I'm rubbing it in, Jason.
Emma got a new crop of freckles.
She armwrestled a creepy guy at an arcade.
We took the rare opportunity to get a picture of all of us together.
We took in a dolphin show at Gulf World...
...which Luke really loved!
I danced with a parrot. (Doesn't everyone do that on vacation?)
A Sea Lion yelled at us.
We took a cruise out to Shell Island. The undisturbed beaches are gorgeous.
Luke crashed while we waited for a table at Cap'n Anderson's.
We made silly faces while we waited to get a table at Boar's Head restaurant. (I am channeling my inner Gene Simmons.)
We waited a LONG time to get a table.
At the Treasure Ship, Emma got a tattoo of a dolphin.
Captain Squinty Eyes kept us entertained. We ate WELL on vacation.

We had a wonderful time together. We were at the beach for 7 days, which was the longest we'd been away from home. By the last day, I think we were all a little ready to come home. If only I could get back in the summertime routine now! Beach mentality does not work well in the "real world" unless you are Jimmy Buffett!