Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thankful For So Many Blessings


     I love Thanksgiving.  It is all about family and friends and just counting your blessings.  I have enjoyed seeing the 30 days of thankfulness on Facebook.  I have so many things I am thankful for and I feel so blessed.

     I think the top of the list for most everyone is family and friends.  Everything else we are thankful for doesn't mean as much if we don't have loved ones to share them with.  I am so thankful for my family.  We have had a rough year with my dad, but he was such a trooper and we made it through it.  I have 3 sweet kids and 5 sweet nephews and 3 sweet nieces that I love like my own.  It is so funny that when we happen to run into each other at the grocery store or mall we hug like we haven't seen each other in a long time and we live next door to each other!  Life is so much fun with these 11 precious souls. My favorite part of any of our get together meals is my niece, Skylar, saying the blessing.  Whether we are having a birthday, holiday, or just a meal together she says the blessing.  This child is 9 years old and always says something new and from the heart.  It isn't a memorized saying or song and it absolutely amazes me what she says and that she can stand in front of everyone and speak.  I admire that so much and hope that never changes about her.

     Thanksgiving is also about memories.  We think about past holidays and remember those who aren't at our tables anymore.  I have great memories of Thanksgivings at both grandparents' homes.  At my grandmother's on my dad's side, we always ended up hanging around and playing board games.  A sweet, sentimental holiday could turn into a loud, competitive game in no time!  My dad would always cheat and he and my aunt would become typical siblings really fast.  He always cheated to aggravate her and it worked every time!
     And of course, there is the great food.  We all have those dishes that are tradition and just remind us of this special day.  I can include in my blessings having two grandmothers who definitely know/knew their way around the kitchen.  The food is a huge part of the day, but I think all the other memories is what makes that food taste so good!  I love telling my kids stories about Thanksgiving when I was growing up. Being from the south, tradition means a lot to me.  I like to carry on those traditions, but life is also about making new memories and new traditions for my kids to pass on. My mom does most of the cooking now and my grandmother's have nothing on her!


*** I edited this post from before.  My word means everything to me, but it isn't always reciprocated.     I found I wasn't the only blogger who held up our end only to be left hanging.  Having a clear conscious is priceless!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Love This Time of Year!

     I haven't posted much lately.  I haven't felt well and me and my amazing doctor are trying to get me better.  Mother Nature can be quite cruel to women at times.  But, I'll take the bad with the good.  I enjoyed all three pregnancies and I think my kids are my best accomplishments so bring it on Mother Nature!  (Although at times I have another word for her!)

     While I have been at home a good bit here lately, I have worked on a couple of things.  I love this time of year!  I am embarrassed to say I have a room full of Halloween decorations.  I think I always loved fall because I was the odd child that loved it when school started back.  When I was younger, though, we started school a lot closer to Fall than kids in the south do now.  We had Halloween, and then I knew soon after would be Thanksgiving and Christmas.  After Christmas I am done with winter and it has only begun.  We take down the decorations and I am ready for Spring Break! 

     In the spirit of Halloween approaching and me being sick and tired of being sick and tired I made these wooden bangle bracelets and I just listed them on my Etsy shop.  I am beginning to clean out my listings and add fall items so I started with these!  Most people don't get it, but working on these things is a real stress release for me.  I get into my own little creative world and it is like comfort food to me!

     They are all free handed painted on a plain wooden bangle so they are truly an original!













I also made these with my boys' school logo and mascot for a little Fall Football team spirit!  The logos and wolves aren't free handed on these.








Friday, September 6, 2013

Freaky Friday.....Just Between Friends

     It is Freaky Friday and sometimes my kids freak me out.  In a good way.  Sometimes things happen with my kids, nieces, nephews, and friends' kids that are just hysterical!  It can all come full circle.

     I am going to try to tell this story without being too confusing.  I have my kids, my nieces and nephews and we have mutual friends.  I have talked about growing up in a small town and how my sister and her husband were childhood sweethearts and I have known him and his brother forever.  We also have friends around here that we all grew up with.

     One family in particular, had three boys we grew up with. The two older ones have kids and they are friends with my and my sister's kids.  The oldest brother of the three has the oldest child of their group and he is the same age as my youngest, Stratton.  They are 14, almost 15, and have been friends their whole lives.  We live near them and they are always walking from one house to the other.  He has a younger sister who is friends with my sister's son Walt.  The younger brother has girls around my niece Skylar and nephew Macalister's age.

    I hope I haven't totally confused you, I don't want to use their names without asking.  We were all at the 9th grade football game last night watching my son, Stratton and his buddy, their oldest child.  Well, the two sisters of the younger brother came and got Skylar.  A little later, one of them comes to get Macalister.  We laughed because she said come here and he just jumped up and went!  Then, in a bit Macalister comes back and tells Walt the sister of Stratton's friend wants him to "come here." We haven't seen her yet, just the two sisters.  After a bit Macalister comes back plops down beside me and gives me his big "guess what I have done" grin.  Then he shows me a dollar.  I asked him where he got it and the sister of Stratton's friend gave it to him to bring Walt to her.  (We are always teasing him about her. She's a pretty little thing!)

     I am dying laughing, tell my sister what happened, and we are saying that was really smart on her part!  Kids can be so entertaining.  I just have in my head her sitting up on a chair somehwere under the bleachers all godfather style. Well, we all get home and I tell Stratton what his friend's sister did and he starts grinning and says, "I think I know how she got that idea."

     Evidently, he was over at his friend's house one day and paid HER $2 to go get his phone from upstairs.  So, I am thinking besides I owe my friend and his wife an apology for my son teaching her that, they have a pretty good businesswoman in the making and Walt might want to take notice!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Thank You For Being A Friend

     I love the show Dancing With the Stars.  It is always fun seeing who the new cast is.  There is usually a leak and we have an idea before it is official, but I am glad the leak was right about Valerie Harper.

     Everyone remembers her as Rhoda.  The Mary Tyler Moore Show was such a breakthrough for women.  The show was about a single woman working and supporting herself and they tackled issues such as equal pay for women, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, divorce, and infidelity.  What I believe is the most important part of the show is her friendships with  Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman),  Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper), Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White), and Georgette Franklin (Georgia Engel).   It showed women supporting each other and how important those friendships are.

     I love the newer show Hot in Cleveland.  Of course, Golden Girls has to be on every woman's list of favorite shows ever.  Any show with a group of women living together and being family is a good show in my book!  Betty White was in Golden Girls and she is also in Hot in Cleveland.  Tonight's episode is supposed to reunite all the ladies from The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  It has to be good!

     It was heartbreaking when the news came out just a little while ago about Valerie Harper's health and the doctors weren't giving her much time.  Well, don't ever count out a tough lady!  She said this morning on Good Morning America that she has had positive test results lately and doesn't have any symptoms.  I remember when she was on GMA when she first came out with the news about her health and I will never forget what she said.  In her words, she said, "We are all terminal."  That is the first time I had ever heard anyone put it that way, but we are.  We are never guaranteed tomorrow so that statement makes perfect sense.  Only God knows when we will be called home so we should appreciate each day as if it is the last.

     I was so glad to see that she is going to be on DWTS. I just hope she doesn't overdo it or get too stressed about it.  I think she will go far because she has so many fans that are so glad to see her doing so well.

     I am sure she is going to be supported by her television "sisters".  It just shows that with support we can do anything!  I think in honor of these 3 great shows and their example of sisterhood, we should each do something to show support for one of our "sisters" that we think needs it.  I don't know of anyone out there who can't use some kind of support.  It is a tough world and we definitely need to stick together!

What will you do to show support?


Monday, August 26, 2013

Good Girl Gone Bad

     Well, I am about one in a trillion people talking about Miley Cyrus' performance at the VMA's last night.  It was shocking to say the least.

     I know times are different and dancing is different, but not to the extreme we saw last night.  I was in high school when Dirty Dancing  came out!  That was supposed to be shocking.  I realize, although it may be a little risqué at times, dancing has changed.  It is okay.  I can try to be a hip mom, but the performance last night was ridiculous.

     I blame her parents.  I don't think she has had much guidance and they should be more involved.  I am 42 years old and if my parents thought I was about to act like that they would have a fit!  Being a parent doesn't end when the child turns 18, sometimes it is really just beginning.  I would want to see what my child was preparing to wear and how she was going to dance to her song.  Not because I am a tyrant, overprotective parent but because I love my kids and feel responsible to keep them from embarrassing themselves.  Forget about me, I am grown woman, but allowing a young girl do that is crazy. 

     I don't want to hear, "but she is of age, what control do the parents have"?  She is still young enough that if her parents have no control they obviously didn't have any to begin with.  Kids can be stupid and make mistakes, I was a kid and I did, but parents are supposed to guide them and some people mature faster and at an earlier age than others.  Not physically, but emotionally and mentally. It is clear Miley Cyrus has missed a few steps and has tried to go from Hannah Montana to Madonna way too fast.

     My kids are getting older.  My daughter will be 20 in a few months.  If I ever hear her and her brothers say, "Well, I could be doing so and so" my answer is always the same.  "Oh, hell no you couldn't."  I am not the most strict parent at all, but sometimes you have to play the "I'm in control card" and try to keep them from embarrassing themselves.  I know sometimes it doesn't work and great parents lose a little control, but those aren't the same parents in the audience standing and clapping after such a disaster like Miley's mom last night!  Maybe somebody should call her mom's mom!

     The whole performance was disturbing from the moment she stepped out of a bear.  She was trying to look sexy walking sideways down the steps and with her tongue hanging out of the side of her mouth.  I don't know how she kept from biting it off.  She was definitely struggling walking down the steps. Then, she kept grabbing at something that obviously wasn't there.  I just don't know about Robin Thicke.  I think he came out trying to disguise himself as Beetlejuice, but it was sick watching her twerk him. Did I say that right?  That is the strangest word.  Who came up with the word and dance?  I have had low back surgery and it just looks painful to me.  I don't think I could stand up straight if I tried to do it.

     I know I am being highly critical, but I think the faces in the audience said it all.  Poor Will Smith was so shocked he didn't even think about covering his kids' eyes!

Look at poor One Direction!!!!!
Rihanna is obviously disturbed.
It is so sad.  Miley Cyrus does have talent and doesn't have to act like that.  I have a link to the video and a picture of her with Beetlejuice, but I didn't put them on here because I don't want to embarrass her anymore.  I still see her as a kid making some really bad choices and I feel sorry for her.  Somebody needs to help her.
In the meantime, they might want to burn that foam finger.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Tell'em Girls!

     I have seen a few times in the news about Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner testifying and pleading with California lawmakers to support legislation to help keep away paparazzi through tougher penalties.  They are wanting to change the definition of SB-606 to impose harsher consequences without parental consent of photographing or recording children. They argue that their children are scared of them and feel threatened any time they are around, which is most of the time.

     I am embarrassed to say it, but I will admit I read those magazines that pay such people for pictures and stories.  I know it isn't right, but I do read them.  I don't believe everything I read, though. I like to see the pictures to look at what the stars wear and as a general interest in "being famous."  There are a lot of people who say we should stop buying them and put the paparazzi out of business.  That might work, but I think they would just find another way to keep going.

     The word paparazzi has a kind of intriguing sound to it.  If you look up the origin of the word it is quite humorous.  It came from a character in the 1960 film La Dolce Vita.  The character, was a news photographer named Paparazzo.  The funny part is the director of the film took the name from an Italian dialect word (pappataci) which describes an annoying noise like that of a buzzing mosquito.

     Some people defend the paparazzi by saying that is the price of fame.  If people don't like having their lives on display, they shouldn't be famous.  I totally DISagree with this statement.  I love television, movies, music, all kinds of entertainment.  Somebody has to entertain us.  These people have a job to do, but like everyone else, they are normal people at the end of the day.  I remember when I was young and if my dad thought me and my sister were getting too star struck with someone he would always say really funny things to point out they are just like us.  He would say crazy things like, "they pee as soon as they wake up just like we do."  He would always give us a mental image that would make them a little less fascinating!

     Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner are beautiful, talented actresses.  They have made it clear that their most important role is being mothers.  They aren't doing anything different than any other mom would do to protect her children.  They are famous, glamorous, and lead amazing lives, but at the end of the day, they are moms.  I don't think their job allows or gives people permission to stalk them and their children.  It would be incredibly scary for any child. It is really disturbing that stalkers and dangerous individuals can kind of blend in with this group of photographers and get really close to the stars. The kids sure didn't ask to be in the spotlight or the center of this lifestyle.  They shouldn't pay the price and neither should their parents for simply doing a job. 

     I think these two are smart and brave women fighting for their kids to have a safe, private life.  I have respect for them as actresses, but I have even more for them as mothers.  They have a right to protect their children.

Jennifer Garner Halle Berry testifying about privacy bill

Friday, August 23, 2013

Nothin' Freaky About This Friday!

     We celebrated my dad's 60th birthday yesterday!  It was a milestone birthday, but after what he has been through the past few months, it was an extra special celebration!

     We put this banner in our entrance so EVERYBODY would know it was his birthday!

We had a really nice, sunny day which has been rare around here.  I got to enjoy lunch with my dad and brother, but it was a light lunch and more about just sitting and talking.  We were saving up for dinner!
A lot of people would want a big party, but my dad is a pretty simple and grateful man.  He just wanted to celebrate with his grandchildren.........and the Varsity!
Although the day was pretty, right before his party we had a terrible storm.  Thank goodness we all live on the same street and didn't have far to go!  This was definitely a good site to pull up to!

If you have been to, or live near Atlanta, you definitely know about The Varsity.  If not, you need to come to Atlanta just to eat there!  Bring plenty of cholesterol medicine because the best thing they have are the oh so greasy onion rings.  It is definitely a treat meal.  You might want to eat it everyday, but your heart and/or doctor won't allow it.
If you are familiar with them, then you are also familiar with their famous phrase "What'll Ya Have?"  My brother always ordered plain hot dogs when he was little and we would laugh when they would yell, "naked dog a walkin' "
You can go to Wikipedia and find their information along with a section on Varsity Lingo!

It is fun when they come to your house.  The kids love going up to the window and ordering!  This is what my dad wanted rather than a big party the kids wouldn't have enjoyed as much.  We also couldn't have ended a big party with a really funny game of charades they decided to play!  I tell you, there is never a dull moment!

Of course we sang to him.  On his hat was a blinking 60th birthday button.  It had a button that would make it light up.  The poor thing probably has a headache this morning from the amount of times the kids would push the button, while the hat was still on his head!  He has a port on his chest, so I guess he thought his head was a safer place for it, but he may not agree today!


     It was just us and my grandparents, but it was his special day and he spent it the way he wanted to.  It was an emotional birthday, but such a blessed one.  We had to do something special and a keepsake since it was his 60th.  We gave him a monogrammed money clip with his initials and a special message to our "hero" on the back.  We also gave him a key chain that said "The Keys to Your Health" on one side and all of the grandkids' names on the other.  He has made it clear they are the power behind his fight and they are the key to keeping him going.  Watching them in the yard and coming in and out of the house the past few months has done as much for him as the medicine.  I am most certainly convinced of that.  We are very blessed and I hope we never take it for granted.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A kid Here, A Kid There, Here A Kid, There A Kid, Everywhere A Kid...

     I woke up Monday morning to the show "19 and Counting.". Yes, I am so addicted to television I even sleep with it on. I always have.  I know some people have to have their room completely dark and quiet.  Both bother me.  I am 42 years old and need the noise of the tv and my bathroom light on to sleep.  The bathroom light keeps me from breaking my neck if I get up to go to the bathroom during the night.  I kept televisions on when my kids were little so they wouldn't be so used to complete silence while sleeping.  I mean, really, if you are asleep how do you know the tv and bathroom light are on anyway?

     Back to that show.  It fascinates me.  We have 11 kids all right here together in my family so managing all of those kids isn't the daunting part to me.  Our kids are spread out in three homes with two and a half sets of parents, though.  I am the half! Haha!  It is tiring thinking that two parents are in charge of 19 kids.  Maybe that is why they do their show, the camera men are at least a few more eyes on what they all are up to.

     I also have a really strange fascination with the show Sister Wives.  I know, it is strange, but I watched the first episode and they have had me hooked.  As strange as it seems to me, there are some advantages.  One thing though, is there are 17 kids in this family.  Fourteen are biological and three are from his fourth wife's former husband.

    Hmmmmm, Jim Bob's kind of THE MAN in this deal.  He has 19 kids with one wife and Kody has 14 by four wives.

     Jim Bob and Michelle are such a good team and seriously make their life look just blessed and fun.  I don't know how she is always in such a good mood.  Maybe it is because she has only had probably 3 periods in over 20 years.  She didn't have much of a break between pregnancies.  Some people are really rude and critical and say he either needs to get fixed or use a condom or she needs to be fixed.  I don't know how she walks around.  She has to be at the point of keeping her legs together at all times to keep her uterus from just falling out.  I don't know how it still works!

     Kody and his four wives, naturally, have more emotions and drama.  They all work together and every wife kind of has a job.  Michelle not only had to carry and birth all of her children, she doesn't have other women to share the load with.  Besides the obvious dilemma of who gets personal time with the one husband, I wonder if it is hard for the moms to treat all kids as theirs.  I always say I don't think I could do the blended thing.  My kids have been through too much and I have them 100%  and I have a hard enough time making sure each one gets my attention when they need it.  I don't want to divide it up.  My nieces and nephews are different.  Even though I feel like they are mine, the adults in our family just have an individual flowing relationship with the kids that works.

     The positive of sister wives would be the division of duties and tending to the kids but then you also have to share a husband.  However, there are times that wouldn't be so bad either!  Say you have a hormonal day and you just want to be left alone, send him to the next wife.

     These shows are intriguing to watch.  Some people find it weird, but I have my own personal thoughts on that.  My biggest fascination is how in the world they financially provide for such big families.  Both scenarios seem to be able to. I don't understand their lives because I don't live it, just watch it.  Both families are very Godly families, they support themselves, the kids are well taken care of, so at the end of the day it really isn't any of my business.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Shake It, Luke!

     I am not trying to sound like I am 20 or 15, but the new Target commercial,


This is a behind the scenes video of "Crash My Party."   I was a fan before, but after seeing him "Shake It" in person I am a much more devoted fan!

My daughter, Sydney, got his new CD  this week and I can't get his new song, "That's My Kind of Night" out of my head!  Here is a video of him singing it this week on Jimmy Kimmel.

As much as I love him, I still think Florida Georgia Line is my favorite.  They are coming near to us on their own tour and I am going to try my best to get tickets.  They sell out fast, though.  I would love the VIP tickets where you might have a chance to meet them.  I want to meet Tyler Hubbard, the one from Georgia.  The town he is from is not far from us and my mom has a lot of family there.  That is where my grandmother's side is from and we have so many relatives from there and that still live there.  I am convinced we are related somehow!

I found this, it is "It'z Just What We Do" from the concert we went to last month!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Freaky Friday.....Germs

     I don't really think I am that odd in that germs freak me out.  Most people, if not all, don't particularly "like" germs.  The biggest thing is they can make you sick, but they are also just gross.

     I love Dr. Phil and was watching it recently and a girl on there claimed to be a germaphobe.  He told her she wasn't very good at it.  He said if she were a true germaphobe she wouldn't have shaken his hand when she came out.  I usually agree with him, but not necessarily on this point.  I think there are levels of being a germaphobe.  Her answer was that she would wash it as soon as she could.

     I am kind of that way.  It might drive me crazy until I can wash my hand, but I am certainly not going to let my insecurities be an excuse to be rude.  I know I am not alone because sanitizer bottles are everywhere!  You see it more during flu season and in schools, but a lot of people carry little bottles with them to use before eating or if they think they have touched something not quite clean.  Please tell me they do so I don't feel paranoid about being a germaphone!

     Being the graceful person I am, I can't go up or down an escalator without holding the rail. These by the way freak me out too!  I fell down one, from the top all the way to the bottom when I was about 13 and I am still afraid of them!  As if it wasn't embarrassing enough being in our local mall where you couldn't go to without seeing at least 10 people you knew, I finally get up of the floor and my dad and brother and sister are laughing at me so hard.  They still get tickled when we bring it up!  It really hurt, though.  I had played a softball game earlier and had on shorts and those steps will scrape you up if your legs hit them several times.  Anyway, I try to put my index finger on the rail rather than full on hold it, but it doesn't always work.  I think it is mental and out of trauma from my fall I feel like I am falling so I usually end up having to grab the rail but man, oh, man all I can think about is how many people have held it and one thing you never see at a mall is someone cleaning the escalator rails!

Every public restroom should have one of these!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

God Is So Good

     I haven't posted in a few days.  I have had something particular on my mind but couldn't post about it, until today that is.  I have such a strong faith and I completely rely on it.  I don't know how people make it in this world without it.  While I have been leaning on my faith heavily, I just haven't been able to "talk about" something.

     Today is a very good day.  I am overwhelmed with feelings of being blessed.  I talk about my family all the time on here and I think, I hope, I make it obvious just how close we all are and how they are the most important things to me. 

     My kids had their names changed a few months ago.  That was such a good day and I walked out of the courthouse for the first time feeling like we had accomplished something that gave us closure and put an end to an ordeal I wouldn't wish on anybody.  I thought for the first time in years I was stress free.  Everything was great.  Until a few days later and I found myself not only stressed but scared to death.

     My dad found a lump on his collar bone a few weeks before then.  He had been sick so he was just watching it.  He is Type 2 diabetic and had a regular appointment that morning early March, and he showed it to my mom before his appointment.  She called me, I was at the grocery store, and she kept saying she didn't want to tell me there, but I knew was scared.  My dad has always slept in collared Polo shirts, and he stays cold and wears jackets so he had hid it.  Everything happened really fast.  They had him with an ENT that day, a surgical biopsy soon after and then in a few days he was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma.  They began getting him ready for chemo and had "a plan" and it has just been so scary.  My dad has never worn a hat, but not to scare the little ones he has been wearing a baseball hat ever since his hair started shedding.  It never fully fell out, but he had cut it really short, then buzzed it to gradually introduce the kids to what would happen.  We never used the word cancer with the little ones.  We just said he was not feeling good and the medicine to make him better would make his hair fall out. We also didn't tell a whole lot of people since we are in a small town because we were trying to protect the little ones.

     We have all held onto our faith and prayed everything would be okay.  The doctors were nothing but optimistic, it was caught fairly early, and they have given nothing but hope.  Both of my dad's parents died painful, terrible deaths from cancer so we have those experiences in our minds. My dad has always said, "If I ever get that stuff, y'all don't be hurt with me, but just let me be."  After watching his parents he has always said he would just let it take his course.  He made this statement to me not long before he found the lump.  However, he changed his mind when he was going through all the testing and said, "I will do whatever they tell me to as long as they can fix me."

     I am not telling anyone who has gone through or watched a love one go through chemo how difficult it is.  It is just the strangest thing to me that the only thing that will heal you is also poisoning you at the same time.  It was hard watching him go through it and the days of treatment it was hard knowing where he was and what he was doing.

     He had his 9th treatment today.  Last week he had another PET scan and they met with the doctor today and I feel so overwhelmed with thankfulness to say he is in remission.  I honestly think I took the first deep breath in the months we have gone through this.  I say we, while he was the one physically dealing with everything, but everyone knows it is something the whole family goes through.  He still has three more treatments to hopefully prevent it from coming back, and he will have follow ups after that, and already somewhat of a plan if it were to come back.

     When we found out his diagnosis I kept telling him why I thought he was going through it.  He had been working a lot.  We are in real estate and he had been working more than he probably ever had.  He takes care of everybody.  He takes care of me since I don't have a husband and he has stepped up as a dad to my kids.  I told him he needed to take a break and take care of himself and God knew this was the only way to get him to do it!  I still believe that.  I had a conversation with a dear, dear old friend right after we found out what we were dealing with.  Our families have been friends for years and she has bravely fought her own battle. I will never forget that conversation.  It helped me face what was going on and it definitely put things in perspective.  I hope she knows how much I love her and what she did for me that day.  By the way, I think her experience has led her to help so many people deal with such a scary issue.  She is a lifelong educator and God isn't done with her yet.  He has just given her a new direction to reach people and it is amazing the way she does it. 

     I have another friend who dove right in and was there for me and my family.  She has also had her fight and, as a daughter, watched her dad survive his battle.  We couldn't have asked for better support.  I know we would have had more if we had been more vocal about it, but we just had protecting the little ones as one of our top priorities. 

     It is something that will hang over us and we will be scared every time he has a scan.  It is something every person worries about for themselves and everyone around them.  We worry about our kids and ourselves.  I don't like that I am a worrier by nature because I do have so much faith.  I just know that even though we have to trust God and know that if something unfortunate happens to us or a loved one, it isn't easy to deal with.  We know He has a plan and we have to believe one day we will understand, but it is still hard. 

     As thankful and blessed as I feel, I know there are many, many people who aren't feeling so blessed and my prayers are with them and their families.  It is definitely a war with this illness and as much as we should celebrate the win of each battle, it is still very much a war for everyone.  I am just glad to finally be able to talk about it and take a deep breath.

My mom and dad.  They have their 43rd Anniversary next month.  This was taken at our dinner for my mom and brother in law's birthday.  I don't know what I would do without either of them.  I will never forget the way my mom was with him the day they took him into his surgery. They are a great example for my kids, nieces, and nephews.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Very Unfortunate Situation

     I saw something on the news a couple of days ago that I can't get out of my head.  I have had a bad taste of our justice system and know first hand that common sense isn't always a part of the process.  I realize there are rules and laws and it doesn't leave room for much in the way of exceptions and special circumstances, but it should.  Making an example out of a situation isn't always in the best interest of the person being made an example of.

     There is a young man at one of our local county high schools that was arrested for misdemeanor vehicular homicide and failure to maintain lane after his SUV rolled off a local road killing his father five months ago.

     I don't know anything except what I have seen on the news.  Apparently, the young man was driving without a learner's permit or license and overcorrected which caused the SUV to roll.  His father was not wearing a seatbelt.  His father had a suspended license and was not feeling well so he asked his son to drive.

     First, it was not right for the young man to drive without a license of any kind.  Those rules are put in place for a reason and it is to protect all those on the road.  My two older kids have driving license's and my youngest will be able to get his learner's in 4 months.  It isn't as easy to get a license as it was when I was a teenager, but it is a good thing.  Driving is a privilege and you have to have respect for other drivers, the roads and laws.
     They haven't said, or I haven't heard it if they have, why the dad had a suspended license or why he wasn't feeling well.  Either way, it was an irresponsible decision on the dad and young man's part.  My family could have been on the road they were on five months ago.  I am glad our local police department tries to keep our roads safe and I wouldn't want it any other way.

     What has bothered me so much about this is the fact that this is a teenage boy.  He was arrested and will be on trial as an adult.  He didn't rob a store, jump in a car, and deliberately put anyone in danger.  He did what his dad asked whether it was right or wrong.  If you back up on the story, this young man lost his mom to cancer prior to losing his father in the ill fated accident. A reverend who serves as chaplain for the school football team expressed what a good kid this boy is. 

     He is 17 years old and will be tried as an adult.  As wrong and irresponsible as his decision to drive was, I can't help but feel how unfair the charges are.  I know they have to set an example, but I hardly think the county can impart any harsher consequence than this boy knowing his father died as a result of his driving.  He has lost both of his parents.  I completely understand and agree with consequences, but do they have to be so harsh?  This is where common sense comes into play. 

     One of the biggest arguments of having a legal drinking age of 21 rather than 18 is because of brain development.  There are many research findings that the brain does not reach maturity until about 25 years old.  A body may become physically mature a few years before the brain completely matures and catches up.  That is what bothers me about this situation.  A 17 year old boy obeying his father might not be qualified to be tried as an adult.  I understand that if a teenager makes "adult decisions" they should be tried as such, but is this fair?  If they don't have the developmental ability to think as an adult I am not sure they should be asked to suffer the consequence as an adult.

     Of course, there are times when harsh consequences are completely justified.  I think circumstances should have a huge weight with this issue.  A young man that is a good student, athlete, and a has positive impact on society and those around him as it appears this young man does certainly doesn't deserve to have his life and future ruined.  He is going to live the rest of his life without his dad and knowing what his decision to drive did.  I definitely think sharing his story with other teens would be beneficial to his emotional healing and could prevent others from making the same mistake. I don't know what the outcome will be and how he will be punished.  It has just been on my mind since I saw it and I can't help feeling how unfortunate the whole situation is.

What do you think?  Should he be harshly punished or is there a solution to have a positive impact without completely ruining this young man's life?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Freaky Friday.....Dun Dun Dun Dun.....

     There is no way to write the creepy music in Jaws as the shark is coming.  You can't express with words the anxiety and suspense leading up to the moment Jaws attacks.



     I am terrified of basically the ocean, but more specifically, shark.  I grew up going to the beach on the Atlantic.  We went to Daytona every summer and I loved it.  I recently started taking my kids to the gulf and I don't know that I will go back to the Atlantic.  I love the beaches on the gulf.  The biggest attraction is I can see some in the water.  You can't at all on the Atlantic side.  In Daytona, we would occasionally get called out of the water for manatees or if there were stingrays, but you can't see anything around you.  I remember one of the last years we were there, my mom and dad saw late one afternoon what they said looked like a feeding frenzy.  They were convinced there were shark in the water where some swimmers had been earlier eating something.

     In honor of Shark Week on TV, I am discussing my shark fears.  The first day of shark week I was at my sister's later that day and my brother in law said to my nephew, "Ask April if it is Shark Week, I bet she has already been watching it."  I answered, "Yes, I have!"  I grew up with my brother in law, so he knows me very well!

     It is a weird fascination, but a true fear.  There was a movie on last weekend about adults being stranded out in the middle of the ocean and I watched it knowing I would have nightmares.  It was kind of a stupid movie, though.  The adults went swimming in the ocean, but they all jumped off the big yacht with none of them remembering to drop the ladder so they couldn't get back on the boat.  Oh, and an infant was left on board.  And....of course, one of them just happened to have a knife, and of course, toward the END they all had the idea, finally out of desperation, to take off their suits and tie them together to make a ladder.  But, being the stupid adults they were in the first place, they got one of the biggest men instead of the lightest girl to try it out, so it broke.  I watched it until the end and I think two survived, maybe one, but it was one of those movies that just kind of ended, but an old creepy kind of molester-looking guy found the boat at the end with the infant little girl on it.  Maybe there is a part two of a whole different kind of scary movie, I don't know.

     Speaking of Hollywood style movies, I don't think they portray a true shark attack.  Even the re-enactments on shark week don't show the true terror.  I am sure it would just put you in shock, but they always just seem to get "pulled under" or in the re-enactments it is like, "I felt a tug."  WTF?
All I can see in my head is the way my daughter reacts when she SEES a spider.  I hear a blood curdling scream and running and you would honestly think someone was in her room trying to kill her.  And all she has to do is step on it. 

     In the movies, I guess trying to act out shock, they can't scream shark it is just more like a whisper. I am watching while thinking:  Scream it fool!  There are other people in the water!  I guess Hollywood is more worried about the theatrical parts rather than a true experience.  I would imagine someone freaking out. 

     I don't know why I feel better in the gulf.  I think it is a false sense of security if I can see what is coming to get me. Like we can outswim something that swims 24/7.  And, it kind of slows you down if you are kicking, screaming, and generally freaking out.  Maybe those Hollywood movies have it right and you just freeze and think, damn, it's over.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

To All Moms

     I saw this on facebook and had to share it.  This is for all moms, but especially those trying to be dad as well as mom.  It is hard being both parents, but we get double credit!

Agreed 2                                                                  

1. Play a sport.
It will teach you how to win honorably,
lose gracefully, respect authority,
work with others, manage your time

and stay out of trouble.
And maybe even throw or catch.

2. You will set the tone
for the sexual relationship,
so don't take something away from her
that you can't give back.

3. Use careful aim when you pee.
Somebody's got to clean that up, you know.

4. Save money when you're young
because you're going to need it someday.

5. Allow me to introduce you
to the dishwasher, oven,
washing machine, iron,
vacuum, mop and broom.
Now please go use them.

6. Pray and be a spiritual leader.

7. Don't ever be a bully
and don't ever start a fight,
but if some idiot clocks you,
please defend yourself.

8. Your knowledge and education is something
that nobody can take away from you.

9. Treat women kindly.
Forever is a long time to live alone
and it's even longer to live with somebody
who hates your guts.

10. Take pride in your appearance.

11. Be strong and tender at the same time.

12. A woman can do everything that you can do.
This includes her having a successful career
and you changing diapers at 3 A.M.
Mutual respect is the key to a good relationship.

13. "Yes ma'am" and "yes sir"
still go a long way.

14. The reason that they're called "private parts"
is because they're "private".
Please do not scratch them in public.

15. Peer pressure is a scary thing.
Be a good leader and others will follow.

16. Bringing her flowers for no reason
is always a good idea.

17. It is better to be kind
than to be right.

18. A sense of humor
goes a long way
in the healing process.

19. Please choose your spouse wisely.
My daughter-in-law will be the gatekeeper for me
spending time with you and my grandchildren.

20. Remember to call your mother
because I might be missing you.

I am a little partial to #s 6, 15, and 14 in that order.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Overprotective Works For Me

     I always say I spend the whole month of August trying to get the house back in order from the kids being home all summer.  It is kind of a trade off, though.

     We didn't have a school schedule and even though the boys practiced football all summer we still had some freedom with our time.  When they are in school, I don't have to arrange the day trying to keep two big growing boys fed.  Most of that "free time" this summer was spent feeding them!  My brother knows they eat a lot, but he took them to a McDonalds drive thru one day and was in shock.  For a while after that he would randomly ask what they had eaten that day.  He had no idea how much damage they could do at the drive thru and I think he was amazed and impressed.

     I am not the most strict parent alive, but thankfully, I don't have to be.  My kids are normal kids and can drive me crazy at times but they are respectful of me and others, don't lie, make good grades, hang with great kids, and just don't give me any trouble.  I am not one of those parents that says that as they are sneaking out of their bedroom window.  They really are good kids.  (Just one of the positives of living on the same street with my parents is that the kids have to go by their house when they leave and my parents don't miss a thing.  My dad doesn't sleep much so he is our neighborhood watch.  I have all the back up I need here.) Because they are such good kids, I hate to make them do "chores." As long as they are doing what they are supposed to, I want them to enjoy being kids with what time they have left between being busy with school and sports which isn't a lot. It is what works for us and I kind of believe in if something ain't broke don't fix it.

     So, I spend some time getting things back in order, but I save some time while they are in school not having to feed them all day.  It is a bit of a trade off.

     Today is the first day of school and I already miss them.  I like having them in and out all day.  We have a lot of fun and I just like being around them.  I am one of those overprotective moms, but that is okay.  We have been through a hard time and I had to protect them from some things most kids don't have to be protected from.  If I protect them too much now I won't apologize for it because it has become natural over time to fight with all I have.  When you have to protect them from their own other parent in ways most can't imagine or understand then I don't need to apologize or explain how I have had to protect them when they were too young to protect themselves.

     As I said, they are normal kids and they aren't perfect but they are good kids.  We had an incidence this week when the "nature of my protection" came out.  I don't like for other parents to fuss at or get onto my kids, especially if they haven't done anything wrong.  I don't really think I am alone, most parents don't want anyone else disciplining their children.  I mean, of course, teachers, coaches, etc. have to but that is totally different than someone just saying something to them directly that has no authority over them at all.  My kids were minding their own business and doing what they were supposed to, I know this because I was there and told them what to do and watched them from a distance the whole time.  My kids don't like to get in trouble with me or anyone else they just aren't rebellious like that.  But, I have one standing in a line and being accused by one adult of "breaking" in line and then being broken in front of by another adult and this kid hasn't done anything wrong.  He is a kid who doesn't lie or tolerate being lied to.  A kid of amazing faith who prays before every meal no matter where he is. A kid that goes out of his way to be considerate of others. All that being said, he is also a kid who was disturbed by the whole thing and didn't appreciate any of it one bit and doesn't have a problem saying so.  As protective as I am, my kids are very independent thinking and aren't persuaded easily.  My overprotectiveness comes in because I won't let my kids be mistreated and I have raised them to be respectful so that sometimes makes it hard for them to take up for themselves.  I guess it is a way of seeing people's true character and tells me what I need to know.  What is worse is it showed him what they think of him.  I guess I should be thankful for this knowledge, but the rudeness and in appropriateness just doesn't cut it with me.    I won't ever apologize for taking up for my kids, especially when they are the ones who should be apologized to by adults who should know better.  It will be a forgotten thing soon enough and I am sure we will be dealing with something else, but just like any good, protective mama, it will stay in the back of my mind, and, unfortunately, his too.

     I kind of went off subject, but what kind of parent are you?  Some kids do better with parents who let them fend for themselves and have a little more independence.  What works for some might not work for others.  I will blame my way on experience, but I sure won't apologize for it!


Sunday, August 4, 2013


     I saw this picture and it is definitely me.

I am so ridiculously clumsy.  I trip over my own feet, in tennis shoes, clumsy!  I don't know if it is a balance issue or what, but I almost daily hurt myself.  Last week I walked into the side of my brother's desk and hit my arm on the doorway going into my room.  And, in case you are thinking it, I do all of this sober.  Yes, I am that talented.  In fact, I probably do better after a glass of wine.  Don't know how it works that way, but it does.

I tried to take a step aerobics class a few years ago.  I was always very athletic.  I played sports all my life and I played tennis and softball in high school.  I was really good at both.  Coordination never kept me from being good at sports, so I thought I could handle a step class. The first day, I stumbled a couple of times, but it was new to me so I didn't worry about it.  As I got into the session I felt a little more confident until I misjudged and then it happened.  I completely knocked over the step set up thing.  I did what any other normal person would do.  I left it there, tried to gracefully pick up my water and keys and just left.  I got out of there as fast as I could and just never went back to the gym.  It happens to be next door to my favorite craft store and I still feel that "hot face embarrassment" just passing by it.  This is why I don't do gyms.  Even with a trainer, I look like a complete idiot.

The bad thing is I think I gave my clumsiness to my older son and my niece.  My poor niece will just run through the back yard and trip over nothing.  I am not joking.  And, if anything happens to be in her way watch out!  She may be destined to be a stunt person because no matter what she trips over she comes up arms in the air all Mary Katherine Gallagher style


and finishing with an "I'm okay!" or "It's all good!"

Now if I could look as cute and almost cool as my niece does when she shows off her gracefulness I would be good!

She is also our little comedienne.  We call her Grace when she falls and after watching Christmas Vacation she responds Aunt Bethany style with "Grace? She passed away thirty years ago!" 

(*A funny little note, my brother's wife's name is Bethany so they have an aunt Bethany!  The name is all they have in common, but they thought it was funny!)

Here We Go Again.....

     It is that time again.  A new school year begins.  There have been so many times, with three kids, that I have had them scattered in different school buildings.  This year I have the boys both in high school so I am down to one school.

     I know how old they are, but some things have just kind of "hit me" recently.  Sydney is starting her second year of college and Shane is a junior and Stratton is a freshman.  I am really looking forward to this year.  Nobody is graduating and it should just be a fun year.  I would never have thought I would be such a football fan, but with two playing, I just love it!  I will have two games a week to watch and I am very excited about that. 

     What I am not looking forward to are the early mornings.  At least with Shane driving, I won't have to deal with morning car lines, but then there's the worry of, well, he is driving.  (By the way, Stratton turns 15 in December so I will have 3 drivers in a few months!)  I think I have easily aged 10 years with these kids learning how to drive and being out in their own vehicles!  I don't know how parents did it before cell phones.  If one of the kids forgets to text me they have gotten where they are going it isn't past me to go look and make sure they are there.  Don't tell them, though!

     What has been a very sobering realization is that my kids are almost grown.  Seriously, time goes so fast and it has just occurred to me that in four short years I won't have any more kids in school.  Well, I hope the boys will be in college, but you know what I mean.  Four years.  Four years.  That is no time at all.  If me, my sister, and brother are any indication, then it isn't likely my kids will leave me, but they will be grown.

     In fact, it is my dad's goal to find some land so we can all still be together and any of the kids that want to be near can also.  I realize I just probably ruined any chances of our kids ever finding someone to marry them by saying that.  That kind of closeness doesn't work for everyone, but we wouldn't want it any other way.  Our kids won't really know any other way to live.  They are so close with one another, more like siblings, that I don't see any of them wanting to be too far from each other. They were as sad as me when Shane had football camps this summer and he was away for just a few days!

     It is just a strange idea for me to think about having grown children.  I like their ages now.  We have a lot of fun.  We can all watch the same movies and do many things we couldn't when they were little. I also enjoy their friends.  Now, it is just the more the merrier, not like when they were little and you just added to the chaos!  I loved their little play dates, but having their friends over now is a lot more fun. It is a lot harder keeping them all fed, but it is still more fun!

     I am sure it is just like anything else.  You just move along and get there through a process of time.  It was hard for me to imagine being at this point a few years ago.  I know I am getting ahead of myself but the last few years have gone by so fast and I know it doesn't show any signs of slowing down.  I am just going to go into this new school year feeling blessed and make sure I don't take anything for granted.  There are a lot of moms and dads in my position and we just have to enjoy every minute and not let any of them slip by without being thankful. 

     So, here's to the new school year, oh, and football season!

My handsome boys!  They make me proud on and off the field!

By the way, there is a reason Stratton's pads are a mess.  I told them when the school was done with pictures I wanted to get one of them.  He took his pads off thinking he wouldn't have to, but I caught him and made him put them back on for just long enough for me to get this picture!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Freaky Friday.......I Don't Want to Sound Mean, But.......

    This is terrible, I know it before I even talk about it, but old people with no teeth freak me out.  I want it clear that I am not making fun of them in any way.  It is sad that they don't have teeth and I am sure most of them can't afford dental work or anything to help them.

     When I was younger, like around 8, I used to love to go spend the night with my great-grandmother.  She was a super sweet lady and very religious.  She lived in a project community and there were a lot of other older people around her.  I loved to just sit and talk to her and I would go visit the other people who lived around her. 

     My senior year in high school I was president of the Beta Club and I formed an adopt a grandparent program for our service project.  With my love of visiting with older people, I loved going to the nursing home and talking to people who were so grateful to have a visitor.  I get frustrated with young people who refuse to talk to older generations.  They can give you knowledge and an education you just can't get from a history book. 

     I was sitting outside of a restaurant the other day with my younger son and two old ladies walked by.  He said, "Old people are just the cutest thing to me."  I was so proud of that statement because they should be appreciated.  After all, unless a more undesirable thing happens, we are all going to be old one day too!

     All that being said, older people who have no teeth are scary to me.  I went to a doctor a couple of times about my back about five years ago and her office was inside a small hospital.  I walked out one day and walked by an old lady standing outside in a hospital gown smoking.  That sounds like a redneck joke when you see someone in a hospital, probably because of smoking, and they walk out in their gown and stand in front of the entrance for a smoke.

     I got by her just a little bit when I heard her yell.  I don't really know how, but people with no teeth have a certain sound when they speak that lets you know they don't have any before you even look.  She yelled at me, "Hey, can you give me a ride home?"  I answered, "No, ma'am."

     She didn't give up.  "It ain't far!"

     I am pretty sure I was running, or at least walking really fast, hurt back or not by this point.  I watch way too many scary movies and Criminal Minds to know this could have a really bad ending for me.

     I don't know what it is, but it must have something to do with the gums because people who have more gums than teeth freak me out too.  You know, people who have small teeth with a lot of gum space and when they smile you see way more gum than teeth. 

     My grandfather, Tom Ed, had false teeth for as long as I can remember.  He would turn around away from us, take them out, and scare the crap out of me and my cousins!  No joke, he would chase us around all toothless! He even did it to my kids a few times.  I think the root of my fear might be because of this, or it certainly didn't help!

     Not meaning to psychoanalyze (is that a word?) myself but I remember when I was young seeing some old women who had almost white faces.  It think white, porcelain skin was way more in style when I was little than the tanned look is today.  I think some old women would even put flour on their faces for that white look. I never understood it and was always a little scared of such a pale look. Then, there was no such thing as the fillers we have today so if they wanted bigger lips they just drew them on.  The lipstick would be completely outside the lip line.

      This makes total sense.  White face and drawn on big, red lips and eyebrows.................................
BAM!  There you have it..........................they looked like clowns!  Maybe that explains that fear!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Is Beiber Fever Breaking?

     This article about Justin Beiber's Wednesday concert in New Jersey caught my eye.  I like his music and he can really dance.  The article was saying his performance was really poor.  He didn't keep up with the music, half dancing, and seemed to be lip-syncing for part of the show.


     There have been many stories lately about his behavior and how he is getting out of control.  Even though he is 19, he just looks like a little boy to me.  When musicians become famous at a young age it is hard for the public to ever see them as "grown up."  Miley Cyrus is a good example.  She is trying so hard to shed the Hannah Montana image she is going overboard in the wrong direction.

     I think this article caught my eye because we are constantly seeing young stars act out the incredible amount of stress they have to be under.  There is a long list of stars who have left this world at a much too young age.  Recently, Cory Monteith was sadly added to this list.

     It just makes me think about how hard it must be to be famous at such a young age.  I look at "normal" kids in general and see how much pressure they can be under.  Just keeping up with school and being competitive with sports and trying to get into a good college can take its toll on kids that aren't in the spotlight.  I am probably the worst mom in the world, but I try so hard not to stress my kids out.  They have been through a hard time, but so have a lot of other kids from broken homes.  I know other parents are going to think I am terrible, but when it comes to school and grades I have a more relaxed attitude.  Don't get me wrong, I won't allow them to put it aside and not try, but as far as striving for honors or AP classes, I don't force them.  My theory is as long as they are good kids, hanging with the right crowd, making good grades in regular classes, and making right decisions, I am not going to put unnecessary pressure on them.  My daughter took a couple of honors classes when she was in high school because she wanted to.  My middle child has to work a little harder than my youngest to get good grades and was offered an honors class last year.  He wanted to take it because in his words, "I have never been recommended for honors and may not again so I just want to say I took it at least once."  Again, I may be a bad parent, but he was stressed in that class not because he couldn't keep up, he did great, it was just a lot of extra work.  I have found my kids learn more in regular classes when they don't zone out or freak out because they feel overwhelmed in honors classes.

     My daughter was involved in community service projects in high school and helped coach the middle school volley ball team.  My boys play football and other sports.  I know it is very competitive with sports and trying to get into a good college, but I believe kids today are under a lot more stress than when I was a kid.

     The pressure can be great with just normal kids I cannot imagine how hard it must be for famous kids.  People say that is the price of being famous, but I don't agree.  At the end of the day they are just young people trying to grow and develop into a normal adult.  I see what high expectations can do to everyday kids, the pressure of public expectations of kids in the spotlight has to be enormous.

     We see the glamorous side of it, but there must be so much they go through keeping their social status that it is going to blow up at some point.  Just to name a few off the top of my head, Lindsay Lohan, Brittney Spears, River Phoenix, Macauly Culkin, and now Amanda Bynes.  We watch and shake our heads and say "what happened to them."

     It is easy to criticize and express disappointment when these entertainers fail to entertain, but as a mom, all I see are stressed kids that are dealing with a grown up life way before they are grown, if they make it that far.

What do you think? How do you think kids can grow up not feeling so much stress and pressure?