Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Kicks and Movie Night With a Friend

Today I went to buy new running shoes and as I've mentioned before, the only shoes I've ever ran are Asics. But I decided to go and have a 5-step analysis done to make sure I am using the correct shoe for my specific needs. Not knowing what to expect, I managed to remove my chipped toenail polish before going only to find out that the 'socks stay on'. It was for the best.

On the way there I told M to the Izz-A that I really hoped that they didn't tell me I had to wear something other than Asics or that I needed some type of 'special shoe'. But what I really, really didn't want to hear is that I had hammer toes. It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt tells someone else that they've got hammer toes.

One time when I was in middle school my mom took me to buy some new shoes and the saleslady that was supposed to measure my foot told me that I had hammer toes. Granted, my toes are long and bony but I don't think that working part-time in the JC Penney's shoe department gave her the medical authority to diagnose me with hammer toes. Not to mention, I was in middle school, also known as myselfesteemishangingonbyathread stage. I don't think I wore flip-flops for months after that.

Now I'm over it. Or am I??

The whole foot analysis went pretty quickly and I was told that my feet are narrow, but that I had a normal heel to toe progression. The Asics that I have been running in all these years were indeed one of the shoes they would have recommended for me. I was so happy because I really didn't want to switch brands.

My feet are are my toes.
Last night we piled up on the couch with some popcorn and had a family movie night.

The four of us had a great time.

Yes, four. Kate had a friend join us.

Meet Baby.

And of course, she had to sit right up on the couch with us and have her own bowl of popcorn.

Nobody puts Baby in a corner.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

6th in the 6th

Abbi tagged me to post the 6th pic in my 6th folder. Thanks Abbi!

This is Kate last Easter. It was her very first Easter. One of my favorite parts of the photo is that you can see her skinny, frog legs through her dress.

Easter 2008

A lot of you have already been tagged for this, so I tag anyone else who wants to do it! It's quick, easy, and fun to look back at your IHaveYetToPutTheseInAnAlbum old photos!

**Update on LNO (Ladies Night Out) devotions link: Rhonda is emailing me the specifics and I will post the link just as soon as I get it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

LNO and a little more

I actually typed up a pretty lengthy post two nights ago but my aggravating loving husband accidentally contributed to it's unplanned deletion.

I had about four paragraphs and was actually doing one of my few and far between serious posts when he comes in from outside holding a pan full of charred ribs. His mother gave him a meat smoker for Christmas and it has become his new passion in life. He's always smoking something and while it helps out with the cooking, I'm starting to get a little tired of arriving at my destinations smelling like I just got off a long lunch-shift at Sonny's BBQ. So as I was finishing up my post he wanted me to look at the burnt mounds of what used to be ribs. I politely told asked him to please wait for one second while I finished up, but he overlooked my request and stuck one in my face, because he's understanding and patient like that. I, of course, being the graceful, calm, and collected person that I am frantically starting flailing my arms and pushed him away.

And that's when I looked down and noticed that every single word on my page had been deleted except for a single little 'a'. I hoped it had been previously saved but had no luck. I got a little frustrated and had no desire to retype it all. So, long story long, that's what happened.

My original post was on being faithful. Over the past couple weeks I've been really thinking about faithfulness and how I want my loved ones (especially Kate) to find me faithful. I want her to think of me as someone who loves the Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind. And not because I just tell her that I do, but because she sees it in me. Some people call it their legacy, as in what type of legacy do you want to leave behind? Thoughts like this have filled my head and heart lately.

It's been said that God speaks to us in echoes, like a repeated theme or topic that somehow keeps coming up. It'll be in your thoughts and then maybe you'll hear a song about, or it will come up again in a conversation with a friend, or a sermon may touch on it. That's happened to me recently. And then last Sunday our music leader sang Steve Green's "Find Us Faithful" during our morning service. It was the perfect song. The lyrics sum up every thought that's been running through my head lately.

Becoming a mother has changed me in ways I didn't really expect. I mean, I totally expected the unfortunate physical changes and even anticipated becoming more emotional (or maybe I should say hormonal?) but it's also made me start caring about the impact I have on others and whether it's positive or negative. To be completely honest, I'm not sure I ever thought of or cared what people would say about me after I was long gone, but now I think about it and realize that it IS important. I want Kate to be proud to have me as her mommy...and not just because I have a unique ability to make most nursery rhymes sound like 80's-style rap songs, or because I let her dump the entire bag of cereal all over the kitchen floor, but because I have a genuine love for the Lord that she sees through my daily living.

So here I am with this goal that seems kind of far away. I mean, I find myself going to God with the same ol' sins. "It's me again God... " And I know I fail miserably at always being faithful. But it is my desire that when I do lack faith, or when I am quick to make the entirely wrong decision, that Kate sees me handle it in prayer and seeking God's guidance. I want to be a living example for her to not only look up but also to learn from because I know that I'll always make mistakes, but it's how I handle them that she's going to be watching.

Rhonda, the host of LNO, talked about several topics last night. And while the majority of the topics are on parenting, I found myself learning about things I need to work on within myself just as much as with Kate. I cannot expect things from Kate before I expect them of myself.

She also spoke about dealing with hard situations (such as job loss, etc) with your children. Use those situations as opportunities for your children to see God at work. "Let's see what God's going to do!" We know that He is working all things for our good. We know it. We just need to believe, accept it, and live it already! Now that is good news! It goes back to having faith. Something I need to continually work on.

Rhonda is part of an online ministry and I found out last night that anyone who wants to tune in and listen to our LNO sessions online can do so just by going to the website! I'm running late this morning (when am I not?!) but will try to post the link today. I am so excited at the thought that some of you may join us next time!

Here's a few of my favorite lyrics from Find Us Faithful:

Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness
Passed on through godly lives
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the foootprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover
And the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them
To the road we each must find

Oh my all who come behind us find us faithful

Where's Waldo? Oh wait. That's me.

L to R: Jobeth, Abbi, Sal Gal, Rhonda, me, Tracey, Kerri

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Until morning time

Too late to post tonight
Just got back from LNO
Learned a lot as always
Motivating and inspiring fo sho!
Gonna post about it in the morning
I even snagged a pic!
Now tell me, who can go to a bible study and pull that kind of trick?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ali's Dinner

My younger sister Ali (also lovingly referred to as Big Al, just for the sheer humor found in an oxymoron such as that) and her family are moving back to South Carolina this weekend. So Thursday night Sal Gal, Big Al, and I went out for a little going away dinner and some much needed sister time.

I've posted before about how much fun we always have whenever we're together...singing our hearts out, laughing our heads off, and mostly making complete hardcore fun of each other. In other words, we act like we're still twelve.

I love spending time with them. They make me smile and love me for everything I am, and everything I'm not.

You may be wondering who took this photo. I was going to include the story of the random fellow who offered up his photgraphy skills and his outstanding ability at being obnoxious, but then decided to just sum it up with this:

They don't breed mules for the Kentucky Derby.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

But I'm Known To Rock The Microphone

Kate has a toddler music cd that has permanently made a home in our car's cd player. One day I drove all the way to work listening to it and didn't even realize it. Kate wasn't even with me! I think I even sang with it.

She loves certain songs on it and one of her faves is 'Where is Thumbkin'. I, of course, do the hand motions with it (yes, while driving) as she follows along. If I try to skip the motions one day, she protests, in her own way, that I do them. The problem is that no one can see her in the back seat and here I am traveling on my merry way doing weird hand motions while other drivers look at me like I'm nuts. I'm worried someone will call my tag number in and report me as having a seizure.

Another one of her favorites is 'One, Two, Buckle My Shoe...' but only if I sing it in my best rap star voice. What can I say? She prefers it hip-hop style and I, of course, have no objections busting out some sweet toddler rhymes with the occasional beat-box mixed in. I sometimes double-check that no one is in hearing range before I start my performance. It's things like this that remind me of just how weird where are. And love it.

A few of you have asked to see pics of Kate's room. I'll try to post some soon. Don't worry, it doesn't have posters of Snoop Dogg taped to the walls.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And then she went and grew up on me

Since I was off work yesterday Sal Gal watched Kate for me while I went and gave my hair some much needed attention. My roots were beginning to tell on me and my ends were in the midst of some nasty break-ups.
After my appointment, I headed back to get Kate and pulled up to Sal Gal's only to see her riding around on my nephew's scooter like she was all grown-up! When I first saw her I didn't realize it was her....she looked that old! I thought to myself, "What?! Oh no, hold up, this is not happening. When did she get so big?!"

After I got over the fact that she is 19 months going on 9 years old and that she is indeed growing up before my eyes (which I don't remember giving her permission to do), I quickly jump in on the fun. And after seeing the pics, I think I may have been enjoying myself a little more than she was!

I'm the one cheesin' it up, and there she is all calm and collected, like she's been doing it for years.

She does that. She'll be doing something cute, or something for the first time, and then I'll run to get the camera and she'll stop immediately.

It was the same thing with the scooter that day. When I drove up she was riding it while Sal Gal and my niece, Lillie, pushed her and was smiling so big, laughing, and making little screams of excitement.

Then I decided to push her on it (because I have this mommy hang-up about wanting to be a part of everything she does) and she plays Joe Cool and doesn't crack a smile as in, "Yea whatever Mama, you're always trying to get involved aren't ya?!"

It's hilarious. Really. I'm smiling about it....through hard-clenched teeth.

And as if riding on a scooter didn't grow her up enough, she goes and grows enough hair to put up in pigtails....micro-pigtails, yet pigtails none the less.

It seems like just the other day I was trying to find a way to make her out of control she-mullet look presentable and now she's got strands long enough for pigtails. Wow.

Kate, Mommy has a request. Please get a hold on these growth spurts and slow them down a bit. Please? I'll be your best friiieeend (sung in my best kiddy sing-song voice).
See? Mommy never grew up.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mary's Mac-n-Cheese

Although I usually don't post that many recipes and was hesitant to post this one because I didn't want it to get looked over as just another mac-n-cheese recipe, I decided that I would be doing you a culinary injustice not to.

I know that there are many, many different recipes out there for macaroni and cheese....baked, crock-pot, stove-top, etc. And I must admit that I have tried most of them, but this one seriously takes the cheese...err, I mean cake.

After a little prodding, I finally got M to the Izz-A's mother to share with me her famous recipe.

Mary's Mac-n-Cheese

**This is for a 9x13 casserole dish.***

1 box (1 lb.) elbow noodles

1 1/2 block shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese

1 box (16oz.) Velveeta cheese (but you won't use it all)

4 tbs butter

4 tbs flour

2 cup whole milk

salt to taste

Boil noodles and set aside.

Make white sauce: In a microwavable bowl, melt butter. Then add flour and whisk. Then pour in milk, whisk good, and cook for approx. 6-10 minutes (in 2 minute intervals) stirring/whisking every 2 minutes until the watery sauce turns into a creamy, thick sauce. The key is to keep stirring throughout the cooking.

Once your sauce is thick and creamy, add 1/3 of the Velveeta cheese block to it. No need to reheat, it should melt while being stirred.

Spray your pan and layer the ingredients as follows:

noodles, salt, cream/sauce, shredded cheese. Repeat twice, making two full layers, making sure to end with the shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 40 minutes.


Undeserving of a title

Feel free to skip over this post in its entirety.

You all caught me a little completely off guard with your comments about my arms a couple posts back.
And while I really wanted to just act like maybe I didn’t read all of the comments, you and I both know the exact opposite to be true. I always read your comments.

Talking about myself, particularly in the complimentary form, is for the most part completely out of my comfort zone. But I realize that I should acknowledge and reply to your comments, even though my first choice was to just move on and never mention it.
You can thank my sis, Sal Gal, for somewhat forcefully bringing to my attention that I did indeed need to respond and answer the questions posed. Seriously sometimes she’s like a splinter in my finger I tell ya.

There’s not much, if anything, that I’d take back on my blog, but if I could do it all over again, I’d probably take back that picture. I, in no way, shape, or form, thought that a post about Kate’s towel would lead to a discussion on my arms.

Like I said, I get all nervous when attention is brought to me, so I think you should know that right now, as I’m typing, my face feels hot and I may be developing a nervous rash on my neck.

I know that I always hate reading in magazines when celebrities try to say that they eat Whoppers for lunch three times a week, or that they never work out. And I’m going to ignore my fear of somehow coming across that way to you all. I am not however, in any position to give expert fitness advice, but I’ll just share with you what I do, or perhaps I should say ‘don’t do’.

As you know, I love to run. I’ve been running on a consistent basis for about 10-11 years. I think that it may contribute a little but I’m also built like my dad, which I used to not like because it did not come in handy while wearing a cheerleading skirt that was short to begin with, but on a 5’8 frame looked even shorter. And that did not go well with the fact that if I did not have a tan and my legs got the least bit cold, they turned completely purple. I wish I were kidding. I have since learned to embrace my height…and some much needed bronzer on occasion!

I’ve done free weights in the past but do not really like them, never did it consistently and definitely do not do them now. If I do anything other than running, it’s P90X. I mostly just do the cardio ones,which is more Kenpo (punching/kicking type moves). And I can’t even say that I do that on a regular basis anymore, it’s much more sporadic.

Here’s what I think:

I think I have ‘mom arms’ from repeatedly picking up Kate. She weighs about 22-23 pounds and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t pick her up with almost every whimper. Bad parenting maybe, but it’s instinct.

So in all actuality, my workout schedule goes as follows:
-Pick Kate up
-Put Kate down
-Pick Kate up
-Put Kate down
-Repeat thousands of times throughout the day

Just while typing this post I’ve picked her up and down several times.

I wish I were the type that could come up with an awesome workout routine to share with everyone but I am so far from that.

This post turned out to be so much longer than I ever wanted. But I did not want you all to think your comments went unread. They were really sweet and after I got all of my nervous laughter out, they even made me grin a little.

And since we’re talking health and because I don’t want this post to be at the top of my blog for long, I’m about to post my mother-in-law’s macaroni and cheese recipe! Now that is one post you do NOT have permission to skip over! It’ll make you mad at yourself for ever thinking that your ‘go-to’ mac-n-cheese recipe was the junk!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy 1st Kennedy!

Today was my niece, Kennedy's, first birthday party. Although she's been sick and wasn't feeling well, I think she thoroughly enjoyed herself. I know we sure did!

Here's a few pics from the party:

Happy Birthday Kennedy!

The birthday girl with her mommy, Abbi

You already know who these two chicks are.

Kate admiring Kennedy's super-cute birthday outfit

Look at those squishy cheeks!

Anyone think M to the Izz-A and his brother, Adam, look alike?

The highlight of Kate's day was the cooler filled with ice. At one point we glanced over and she had crawled completely inside it. Nice. That's a sure fire way to get invited back next year.

Winding down, feeling nap time coming on

Keep Kennedy in your prayers. As I mentioned before, she's been sick this week, her blood count has been a bit off and they have yet to find the reason. This can be so frustrating, especially for the mommy. Hopefully, whatever it is, will pass soon.

Have a great Saturday!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

One Tough Towel

M to the Izz-A quite frequently makes fun of the fact that Kate and I use the same towel for most of her baths.

"That thing is going to walk off by itself if you don't give it a break."

The truth is, while yes, we do use it almost every night for her bath, I do wash it all the time just so that we can!

She smiles every time she sees it and while it is definitely cute, I like it for all of the practical reasons: absorbent, soft, hooded, long in length, and plush. We have several others but they are all very thin and way too short for my long-legged love.

At first I argued the fact that we've used it so often over the past year and a half. I didn't even remember having it that long. But it's true, I will purposely dig that towel out of the dirty clothes and wash it just so we can use it that night. I was proven wrong while looking back at pictures taken almost a year ago and found that many of them had Kate wrapped up in that exact towel.

Last March

Last night

So yes, I admit that he was right.

If you're gonna be a part of this household, you gotta be tough. And this towel has proven to be that and so much more, which is more than I can say for many other 'must have' baby items that have been shoved in baskets under Kate's changing table and never again saw the light of day since their failure of a debut.

Speaking of getting your use out of things, Kate and I had another wild time tonight on her horse that she got for Christmas. She loves taking me for rides on it.

If you listen carefully you can probably hear the 'pretty pony' crying.

Rooster tail of a hair-do sold separately.

And yes, Matt's resourcefulness has books pinned to the wall to ensure that our child-safety gate at the bottom of the stairs doesn't rub off the paint. Too late. And we change the books out every so often to give the impression that we read a lot.

If Mr. Horse is planning on hanging around as long as 'the towel', it's going to have to step it up a notch.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The lamest post I could muster up...

Because I don't have anything too terribly exciting to post about, for sheer lack of cohesiveness, and to accommodate what I like to call my LILADD (Late in Life Attention Deficit Disorder), I find myself in need of some bullets for this one:

  • I'm beginning to get sick and it happened overnight. My throat is sore and I'm almost certain that if a telemarketer called me right now, I would somehow be referred to as 'sir'. And I know exactly why my sickly voice sounds as masculine as it does. It really is no mystery. It's because last night I went to see the movie Bride Wars and I made a little quip about Kristen Johnston (who plays Anne Hathaway's coworker) having a man voice. Now that's some serious karma.

  • I've been spending the past several days working on a work related project that is due this Wednesday. Even though I taught school for several years in Florida before transferring to Georgia, I'm still treated as a 'new' teacher and therefore have to go through Georgia's little training episodes. So I've been spending most of my spare time (does that even exist?) on this lengthy project and I'm about to go nuts. Seriously Georgia, can't I just pledge my allegiance to football and fatback and call it a day?! (fatback - also commonly referred to 'white bacon, ' fried bacon fat' , or 'clog your arteries in a milli-second')

Does that photo even need a caption?

Hope you all had a great Monday.

I hope to return to my daily posting schedule soon.

Just as soon as I shake Barry White out of my voice box.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Your lips will thank you

I don't know how many of who suffer from complete lack of moisture in your lips during the winter months, but for those of us who do, I'd like to share with you a product that can turn your cracked-lip frown, upside-down.
My darling sister, Sal Gal, unfortunately takes chapped lips to a whole new level. But she volunteered to allow me to post her before and after photos because they are pretty amazing. A lot of people wouldn't dare allow me to use their lips as an example, but she has no shame...or pride for that matter. It's one of the many reasons I love her.

You've heard of Thumbelina? Well she's Humblelina.

Also keep in mind that this was not a planned science project of sorts, but that we actually went back to photos that were taken over the holidays and zoomed in on them to show the condition of her lips prior to Alba Quench Lip Balm, which contains organic coconut oil along with other vitamins. (Click link to read more.)

The after photos were done the same way by using snap shops and just zooming in the her newly soft, completely healed lips.



The complete turn around on her lips took NO MORE THAN 2 DAYS!
And the goods news is that it's now available at Target and it comes in different flavors.

So, here's to you and your screen-ready lips!

And again, thanks Sal Gal for being such a great sport! It's for the greater good, right?
**EDITED TO INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING COMMENT FROM SAL GAL (copied and pasted directly from the comments section):
My after pic shows some nicely lined lips. Let it be known that yes, I do still wear lipliner in a shade of Nude, because if i don't my lipstick runs and makes my lips look like a big blob with no definition. MOST of the time you cannot tell because it is the same color as my lipstick/gloss and it blends. Obviously not the case when this photo was snapped.So, bottom line:Humble about dry, cracked, bleeding lips - yes. Humble about still wearing lipliner in 2009 - apparently not.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Today's deepest thoughts and emotions summed up in one image

Heads up:
In my next post I'll be sharing with you what I think to be the absolute best lip moisturizing treatment ever. Sal Gal was willing to gulp down four big tablespoons of humbleness for me, just so I could post and share her before and after photos with you. (Plus, she just really believes in this product.) This stuff is amazing!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

4th in the 4th

It's been a while ago but my friends Jobeth, Abbi, and Kerri tagged me to post the 4th picture in the 4th folder on my computer. I'm usually very bad (or maybe just lazy?) at getting around to doing 'tags' but this one seemed pretty effortless so I went for it!

This picture was taken last February when Kate was only 8 months old. She used to and still does love to go out on our dock and feed the fish.

I'm, of course, stealing some of her sweet sugar, which I also still love to do!

Monday, January 5, 2009


Daddy's gonna be mad.

Kate had her first kiss over the weekend. And I'm gonna go ahead and say that I thought it was rather cute.

Kate and I had a play date with my friend, Kerri, and her adorable son, Brock, at our local park over the weekend. (A quick note about Kerri: she's one of my very best friends. She is one of the most authentic, non pretentious people I've ever known ((along with Sal Gal)) and with her you always get the real fluff and no wasting time trying to impress. I absolutely love her.)

We were having a great time swinging, sliding, and snacking when low and behold I captured this:

"If ya like it then ya shoulda put a ring on it" per Beyonce

Completely kidding about the above statement.

That would entirely break Kate Rule #213: No marriage before 30

per her Daddy

Friday, January 2, 2009

Little House On His Prairie

As I mentioned in my last post, we went to visit Matt's mom for a few days last week.

Now, when I say that M to the Izz-A grew up on a farm, I don't know if all of you are getting the correct visuals. And for that sole purpose, I took a few pics to show you just what I'm talking about. But before I do that, let's elaborate a bit on the hubby shall we?

I like to joke with him about how country (or red) he is. Besides the fact that when we first met, while he worked, he wore Wranglers tight enough to make me question his future ability to procreate, he also didn't like anything that involved technology. Not only was he not a big fan of computers, but he also refused to have an atm/debit card or bank online. And now my friends, I'm proud to say that he emails, surfs the web on occasion, owns and uses an atm/debit card, and banks online. He's come a long way (and even lets me dress him every now and then). Although I must say that I secretly love it when he pulls out a pair of his old Wranglers to work around the house in.

He gets it honest. And I love him for it. I love the country boy that he'll always be.

However, I didn't always love the visits to his mom's (the place he grew up).

On my first few visits I must admit that I was a little uncomfortable miserable. I remember asking him where they shopped, what they did around there for fun, and where was the nearest mall? (Although I grew up in a small town where the nearest mall was 40 minutes away, at least I knew where it was and how to get there.) He just laughed and said, "No one cares about stuff like that out here."

One of our initial conversations went something like this:
Me: "So I shouldn't bother asking your mom what she thought of US Weekly's latest cover story?"
Him: "US who?"

Me: "Nevermind, question answered."
As you can see, our conversations were very deep and long in length.

I, too, was born and raised in the South but never lived on a farm. I call it a farm, but really it's a 500 acre ranch.
It's absolutely beautiful and I've come to really enjoy my visits. I now know, and am comfortable with the fact, that they don't keep conditioner anywhere in the house, only shampoo, and to always remember to bring my own. But we all know that I'm not a fan of washing my hair everyday, so this hasn't really affected me as much as I thought it would.

In fact, I find the visits to mom-in-law-ville quite refreshing. I can just kick back and relax....and not worry about the fact that all that's left of my toenail polish is a few random chips of color.

So when I say that I went for a visit to Matt's mom's, I'm talking about this

and this

and this

and this.

Growing up on a ranch, everyone has to 'pull their own weight", or so I hear. So Kate thought it was time she started pitching in.

We even got to feed the goats.

On the last day of our stay, while Kate was napping, M to the Izz-A and I decided to go for a ride through the ranch.....on four-wheelers.

We were enjoying the scenery, while riding through the pastures in random zig-zag patterns as to avoid the piles of cow goodness, when we came up this:

Now, to the untrained eye (that would be me) it appeared to be just a hole of sand. But to Ol' Red (that would be Matt) he saw past the emptiness that was the hole and dreamed big dreams.

Well, have I mentioned my love for speed? If I haven't yet, now I have. And let me just say that it went very well with our new little find.

Why yes, yes I am getting all four tires off the ground. (in some grey yoga pants at that!)
Try that Laura Ingalls.