Thursday, July 30, 2009


Those words really don't have much to do with this post other than it's some lyrics to a song I'm liking these days. In the car I don't get to listen to much more than Elmo or Bob the Builder so tuning in to Octane on the way to the beach and back was a treat. Chris and I had a fantastic weekend at the beach! We laughed and laughed and laughed some more. My cheeks were still hurting Sunday night when we got back. We surely missed the young'ns but being that we haven't had a night away together since February of '08, we enjoyed every single second of it!

Monday was wonderful as well as I got to spend the day with my best friend - my sister. Martha as always, I enjoyed our time together and wish we had more days like it! I cannot imagine my life without you in it. I love you!

Today was MAC-fabulous! Bethany decided on MAC makeup for her birthday. And although that's not until November, once that girl makes up her mind about something it just cannot wait! She pretty much had her mind made up about what she wanted but we had to do the whole make-over deal. When we walked up to the MAC counter, there stood Mathieu in all his MAC-fabulous, smoky-eyes, guy-liner wearing, bubble-gum pink lips, proud gay glory! I looked at Bethany and said, "This is going to be fun!" And I was right. He was so much fun, and we had a blast! Umby, don't forget to moisturize! :)

Chillin' in the office with Daddy

Me & Umby

Two of my loves

My other two loves without naps


Thursday, July 23, 2009


The posts about things my children say which I think are funny are mainly for me. I want to remember them. If someone else gets a good laugh from it, all the better! Here are a couple of things said over the weekend:

Bethany helped me with some tax stuff Monday while she was here so I told her I would pay her for helping me. I very rarely have cash and this time just had a $100 bill. I told her when we stopped to get gas I would break that $100 and give her some money out of it. She said, "Oh that's ok, mom, don't worry about it, I take 100s."

You know your boys are a little too into tractors when your son says, "Mama, what are those deer called that pull Santa's sleigh? John Deere's?" Compliments of Grant. :) I thought Umby and I were going to lose it!

It will be a few days before I post again as Chris and I are headed to the beach tomorrow for a MUCH needed getaway. When I say this rarely happens, I mean it RARELY happens. We hardly ever leave our kids. We just don't do it. One reason being that it's really not an option. Even if it were, we wouldn't do it much because after a night or two we're missing them so bad we wouldn't enjoy ourselves (I'm actually already missing them and we haven't even left yet) and because we don't believe in putting our kids off.

Thank you mom, dad and Ra Ra (and Ga Ga and Mags and all the other extra hands I'm sure will be helping) for making this happen. The boys are super-excited about their fun-filled weekend!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I did a post not too long ago on a prayer that was answered for me and my family. I hope it didn't come across that I meant it like we've had that prayer answered and that's it. Goodness, we've had many, many, many prayers answered, some of which were not answered the selfish way I prayed for them to be answered. I was later able to see the fact that they weren't answered MY way WAS the answer! That takes me back to that Garth Brooks song, Unanswered Prayers. I'm not a big country music fan now but I loved it in the days of Garth, Reba, Alan Jackson, George Strait, Clint Black, John Michael Montgomery, etc.

It's so easy for me to go off on a tangent. :) Back to the matter at hand: In March 2008 I decided to take a job outside the home. I was a stay-at-home mom before then and thought I needed a job outside the home to feel validated I guess. We have four children, we run three businesses out of our home (one that we were able to start because I got my contractor's license), and I thought I needed something else - something that made me feel like I was contributing something to the family. Crazy, I know. But that's how I felt then. I took a job as a special ed aide at one of the high schools in our county. Being that we're self-employed, health insurance is not a cinch to obtain nor is it cheap. Working for the school system allowed us to have good, fairly inexpensive health insurance. More importantly to me, I was providing it. The year 2008 was a terrible year and one that I never, ever wish to re-live. But out of all the bad things that happened came a peace in my heart. A realization of the blessings in my life. It also led me to see that every morning I was getting up very early to get me and the three boys out of the house by 6:40 a.m., hurrying them to daycare so I could get to my job by 7:30 a.m., only to leave that job, hurrying to get them from daycare and home to take care of household chores, dinner, baths, and getting things ready for the next day to do all that all over again. I started to feel like I was spinning my wheels and life was just passing me by. Not to mention the fact that I felt like I was missing out on so much with my children. Grant is starting Kindergarten this year, and I wouldn't have been able to take him or pick him up from school. That was killing me. So was the thought of not being able to be involved with his class, field trips, etc. Bethany is cheering this year, and who knows if I would have been able to make her first game, or any of them for that matter. She's 3 hours away. Mac and Reid are babies. I'm going to blink my eyes and they'll be Bethany's age. It may sound silly and trivial to some, but those things have come to mean so much to me. And while I know there are many, many families who must rely on two incomes to survive especially these days, we don't right now. In our line of business that may change next month, but right now that's not the case. There will be sacrifices for sure, but ones I'm willing to make without a moment's hesitation. To make a very long story not quite as long, Chris and I discussed the pros and cons of my working and decided that if we could get insurance, affordable insurance, I would resign from my aide position. I have had some health issues in the past (nothing now, thankfully!) and was denied by one insurance company before I started at the school so I knew it wouldn't be as easy as filling out the application and getting approved. But I gave it all to God. I had to. It was bigger than I am. I felt so strongly about the fact that I needed to be more available to my family, I trusted the Lord to take care of it. Now those 30 or so days of waiting to find out if we were approved for the insurance were not without doubt. Every time I went to the mailbox I was waiting to get the "Sorry..." letter from them. But I overcame that doubt and truly and honestly prayed for the Lord's will in this situation. I went to the mailbox July 2 and saw an envelope from the insurance company. My heart dropped. I just knew it was THAT letter - oh me of little faith! Not so! It was our new insurance cards. I felt ecstatic, elated, thankful, emotional, not worthy, humbled, all of the above. What a blessing! I know it won't be easy. Unless you've been a stay-at-home mom it's hard to understand just how hard of a job it really is. I once heard someone say (and used to share in the sentiment) that motherhood is a thankless job. Only if you choose to see it that way. I choose to find thanks amidst the dirty diapers, potty training, toys all over the floor, and chocolate milk mustache kisses! I'm ready for this next chapter in our lives. PTL!


I had a great weekend spending time with these five:

More later. We're headed to get haircuts - ALL of us. It's quite the adventure!

Friday, July 17, 2009


Today is one of those days where (as my sister put it), when in the car with my four children, 3 of whom are under the weather and thus did not want to be in the car, I wanted to hang myself with my seatbelt. Kidding! But it's summer and we should be outside by the pool enjoying the beautiful sunny days! Instead we're stuck inside trying to recoup from the croup! Here are a couple of quotes I found about motherhood I thought were cute:

"My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint."

"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing."

"Sometimes when I look at all my children, I say to myself, 'You should have stayed a virgin.' "

"A man's work is from sun to sun, but a mother's work is never done."

"The mother of boys works son-up to son-down."

"By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class."

"Mothers are all slightly insane."

"My mother's menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it."

"Mothers of teenagers know why animals eat their young."


Tuesday, July 14, 2009


This is one of the coolest toys! My boys love any toy that shoots, fires, hooks, etc. Growing up hunting and fishing with my dad and going when I can with Chris makes these toys fun for me as well. And this one is fun! It's a bow and arrow that shoots mini marshmallows. And boy can it shoot them! Uncle Donnie & Aunt Rae were unable to see Grant around his birthday which was in May, so they brought his present when they came to visit last week. May is a lifetime ago in the eyes of a five-year-old, so imagine his delight when they walked in with a present. The unexpected ones are the best! It looks a lot like a "real one" as the boys say and being that it actually shoots something out makes it super-cool. Grant and Mac even share and take turns with this toy - GASP! Here's a picture of it:
This is Mac loading the marshmallows:

Grant giving Mac some assistance:

The look Mac gives when Grant tries to offer said assistance:

Nothing like shooting a marshmallow
bow & arrow in your camo skivvies!

Reid is starting to show some interest in potty training but seems to show the most interest when we're outside. I got the camera to capture Mac trying to figure out the bow & arrow and got this:

But look at that sweetness! He's excused!

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


One of Chris' brothers, Kevin, and two of his three children, Sophie (age 10) and Jackson (age 7), came to Alabama for a visit last week. His oldest daughter, Anna Louise (age 13), had prior commitments and we surely did miss her (and you too, Umby!)! We haven't seen them in almost four years so we had much to catch up on. The last time we saw them, Grant was a baby and Mac and Reid weren't even in the picture. Chris' mom was there as well as one of Chris' other brothers, Donnie, and his wife, Rae, and their children, Haylie and Grey. It was great having all of us together, and we had a blast! I actually have some pictures from our little reunion. My MIL, Louise, recently got her first digital camera. Ever since I've known her, she's always used disposable cameras. Always. There was no talking her out of it. She liked that all she had to do was push a button but was usually disappointed in the quality. She FINALLY broke down and purchased a digital camera and loves it, but she's still learning how to use it. Louise, I'm glad you bit the bullet! :)

Grant, Mac and Reid greeting Uncle Kevin

Sweet Sophie and Mac

Jackson at Grandma Norton's

Mac being silly with Uncle Kevin

Then Grant had to have a turn:

Reid managed to take a time out from his usual spot:

(a/k/a my hip)

And had his turn too:

A good time was had by all and we were sad to say goodbye. We all promised each other it wouldn't be another four years before getting together again!

In other news, my sweet Umby started cheer camp this week.

(thanks for the pic, Tink!) :)

Tomorrow is a "parent-day" type of thing, so we're headed to North Alabama to see her in action! I can't wait to see you, Boo! I'm so proud of you! Love and miss you much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gotta wrap this one up for now. Duty calls. Reid and Mac both have what their pediatrician referred to as "a classic case of croup", so my lap is needed!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I've been stalking Kelly's Korner blog ever since my sweet daughter turned me onto it, even before I had a blog. I've been wanting to participate in "Show Us Where You Life Friday" but have yet to do so. I figured since this is the last part of the home tour, I would participate. Naturally I forgot. So I'm doing it late. This week was entry ways/foyers. Welcome to our home.

View of the front door. (Note our poor pitiful flowers that never quite took off. Chris still thinks they have hope.)

Standing at the front door looking into the living room:

(I decided not to move the laundry on the back of the chair since it seems to be a semi-permanent fixture.)

Standing at front door looking at part of dining room:

View from the living area, looking at the front door:

My regular camera is not working right now so I had to use my video camera to take these. I already do NOT have the knack for picture-taking so please excuse the quality. The front door is one of my favorite parts of our house.

UFC 100

Chris and I are HUGE UFC fans. Since discovering it a few years ago, we've watched every UFC fight on pay-per-view except one. That one we saw in Vegas. And although it was fun being there, we both agree there's nothing like watching it in the comfort of our own home with Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan commentating! They just came out with a UFC game for the PS3 (and I think Xbox 360 and Wii too). It is almost as much fun as an actual fight and is so life-like it's scary! BTW, did you know Joe Rogan is funny? They aired one of his stand-up specials after the last UFC called Talking Monkeys in Space, and he was really funny (it's not for the young ones, though!).

Tonight is UFC 100. 100, really? It's going to be oh so good! The fight card is awesome, and I cannot wait. Lesnar and Mir - what the heck is Mir thinking? (unless he can submit him). Bisping and Henderson. GSP & Thiago Alves - I'm just as excited about this one as I am the main event!

The fights usually don't start until around 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. so I'm headed to stock up on some Red Bull so we can stay awake!


In the animated movie, Shark Tale, there is a part that plays the beginning of Baby Got Back. The first time the boys heard it they thought it was the funniest thing they had ever heard, and we had to rewind that part about 25 times. Each time was followed by roaring laughter on all of our parts as I got a kick out of watching them thinking it was so funny. I know, I know, I should be ashamed. But I'm not. It's hilarious. This is Mac's version:

I wike big butts and I cannot wie.
You udder brudders cannot nigh.

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Trust me, they're delish! We cook pretty much every meal around here. It's very rare that we go out to eat, even getting take-out is a rare occasion. We enjoy cooking, we know how it is prepared, who prepares it, what the kitchen is like, where the food comes from, etc. Usually our first topic of discussion of the day is "What are we having for dinner?" Chris is the main chef around here. You know you did right when you married a man that not only can grill with the best of 'em but can also make gravy! I used to be such a nuisance in the kitchen that "Martha," my sister, nick-named me "Betty Crock-of-sh**." :) But Chris (yes you too Mom and Martha) has taught me a lot about cooking and I've really come to enjoy it so I like to think we work as a team. Which leads me to talk about one of our favorites to fix: Redneck hors d'oeuvres. I love the name. It's cubed steak (we use deer meat - we hunt it and we eat it - but beef cubed steak can be used) cut into squares and marinated how you like (we use a little Regina Red Wine Vinegar, Lea & Perrins, Dale's Seasoning and Southern Flavor - in that order). You then take a cube of cream cheese (about the size of a piece of cubed cheddar cheese). Put it smack dab in the middle of the piece of meat, put a hot banana pepper or two on top of that (jalapeno peppers can be used if you like it hot), fold your meat up around the cream cheese and pepper, wrap half a piece of bacon around that, hold it all together with a toothpick or two, and it's ready for the grill. Grill them however you like your meat cooked, put them with a couple of sides (our "sides" with this are usually homemade french fries and oven-toasted BBQ bread), and VOILA! DELICIOUS! I never said we cooked healthy, I just said we cooked!

We tried a little variation of this with chicken the other night. We took a boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut it in the middle so as to make a little "pocket," put some cream cheese, a few of these

(If you've never heard of Wickles, go to their website,, and check them out. They're made right here in Alabama. They just came out with pepper rings, and I could eat a whole jar!)

We also added a little jalapeno jack cheese, wraped the chicken with bacon, and grilled it. We almost had it again the very next night it was so good!

I'm off to spend the afternoon with one of Chris' brothers and his children who are visiting from Illinois. We haven't seen them in almost 4 years so we're super-excited!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I'm very proud of this little man:

And one of my favorites of him (I love sleeping pictures):

Today was the bittersweet day of Grant's five-year well check-up with our pediatrician. Bittersweet because we're so excited about starting Kindergarten at our brand new school, Redland Elementary, but before we can start we have to get those ever-dreaded immunizations. Our pediatrician, Dr. Trumbull, is beyond wonderful. We love him (and the other 3 in his practice) and my children, for the most part, look forward to going to the doctor just to get to see him. They climb in his lap, chit-chat a bit. He makes them feel quite comfortable. However, there is only so much comfort anyone can give a five-year-old about to get his shots. I've been very open with Grant about this appointment. He knows it's a must in order for him to start "big school" and has been really brave leading up to today. BUT, he's a worry-wart by nature. Wonder where he gets that!?! The poor child woke me up just before 1 a.m. scared to death just thinking about those shots. Then as we're getting out of the car at the doctor's office, he whispers in my ear, "Mommy, I think I'm gonna throw up." Bless him. But he was one brave little boy and did super-fabulous! I couldn't have asked for anything more! We are officially ready for "big school!"

On another proud note, (she's going to kill me for this) this sleeping beauty:

Affectionately referred to as "Umby," gets her cheer uniform this week and will start cheer camp next week. I think I've mentioned how she tried out for cheerleading for the very first time ever at a brand new school and made it. We've been told that's unheard of there. We all know she's one in a million! I couldn't be more proud of you, Umby, and I cannot wait to see you in your uniform at cheer camp next week! I love and miss you!

Monday, July 6, 2009


We had an absolutely wonderful 4th of July weekend! Friday and Saturday were spent on the lake with friends. Sunday was spent at home, just us, enjoying an afternoon by the pool and cooking out. Chris cooked some of the best ribs we've ever had! The ribs came from The Fresh Market, and Chris cooked them on the Big Green Egg so the combination of those two make for some good eating! Unfortunately I have no pictures as my camera is not in working order right now. Our friends, Scott and Wendy, took some so I'm hoping theirs turn out and I'll have some to post.

We heard so many good things about the fireworks on the lake that we decided to stay to see them. Besides, Chris deserves to enjoy the fireworks as opposed to being the one who works hard so everyone else can enjoy them, right?!? We knew we were in for a LONG day if we were going to stay for fireworks because they begin around 9 p.m. so we decided to "park it" at Chimney Rock, hook up to some friends, and "relax." HA! RELAX? Not on July 4th, on Lake Martin, at Chimney Rock, with 3 young children, with all the drunkards. I was a nervous wreck. But we ended up meeting some really nice people (it's amazing how nice people become when they see you bring out the Weber on the boat and start grilling), the boys had a great time and were so so good all day, we all enjoyed a spectacular fireworks show, and we made it home safe and sound.

Friday, July 3, 2009


Hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July holiday! We're headed to the lake to meet up with friends then on to "Big Daddy's Fireworks" so Chris can put on his annual fireworks display. He gets the good ones and every year puts on our own fireworks show. There have been a few mishaps along the way. One year there was one that decided to go whichever way it wanted and that way just so happened to be right toward us spectators that ultimately led to the adults grabbing whatever kids they would and running leaving my dad, bless him, who was helping shove kids in our arms, to defend himself by hiding under the quilt we were sitting on. Another, it may have even been that same year, the sprinklers came on right as we all sat down with the kids. We set the woods on fire one year. Now that I think about it, maybe we should just stay at the lake and enjoy THEIR fireworks! :)

I'm off to dice up some of our tomatoes (or "puh-natoes" as Mac says) and peppers, etc., for homemade salsa.

One more "Mac-ism" for the road: He is trying to get over a double ear infection, and our pediatrician advised us to use ear plugs when he swims in the lake. Mac just reminded me, "Mommy, don't forget my ear 'plubs'."

HAPPY 4TH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


And He answered it! The Lord just answered a prayer in the biggest way for me and my family. I will be posting about that soon!

Another "Grantism": Grant was asking me yesterday what color hair he had when he was born. I told him he had dark hair. His hair is now a dirty-blonde color so I knew another question would follow. He said, Mama, I had dark hair? Not blonde? I said no, Grant, it wasn't blonde when you were born, it was dark, you know, dark brown like mine. He then responded with, "Oh, so it had a little gray in it?" :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


That's what Reid got at the beach. Only the first two we didn't get much of. We got home last night, two days early. It would have been sooner had it been completely up to me. The word "vacation" really doesn't apply when you have small children, especially sick ones. It started out rough and by yesterday I was about to lose my mind. With Mac trying to get over a double ear infection (we were in the pediatrician's office Friday getting an antiobiotic shot for those) and Reid already not feeling well from a stomach virus which, little did we know, would so violently strike our first full day at the beach, just the first hour into the trip was pure chaos. Post coming on a full recap.