Monday, February 7, 2011

Honesty Stinks

Maddie and I have played a game ever since she was itty bitty. The "I Love You More" game. We didn't invent it and I'm sure we're not the only parent/child team that plays it.

It starts with an "I love you" from either person.

"I love you, too" follows. And then-

"Well, I love you more."

"I love you the most."

"I love you bigger than the mountains."

"I love you bigger than the oceans."

And the mock argument ensues. Good times.

We haven't done this in a while. It seems that since she has gotten older, she wants to forget everything she did before she turned seven. And my heart breaks a little every day.

This morning we were on our way to school. I looked in the rear view mirror. "I love you, Maddie."

"I love you, too, Mommy."

"I love you more."

"You know, Mom, you're probably right."

My heart can not take it.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Skillz. Or Lack Thereof.

A couple of months ago, Maddie came to us and said something that made a smile come to Justin's face and dread settle into my heart.

"I want to play basketball."

"Why dread?", you might be asking yourself.

Let me take you back to 5th and 6th grade. The 2 worst years of my life.

I went to a small school. And in 5th and 6th grade, you could sign up to play Pee-Wee basketball.

I didn't really want to play. I had already had years and years of being picked last for everything in P.E., and I was fully aware of how bad at sports I was.

There were less than 10 girls in my class. Only one other girl was as bad as I was. Joyce. She had the common sense to not even attempt the team. But, in my skewed mind, it was social suicide to not play. Because then, I would be grouped with her. The girl that had to walk around the gym while the others practiced.

I tended to miss practice. I knew that one of the consequences of not getting a test signed was not getting to practice. Believe me- I didn't get a lot of tests signed until I couldn't fake it any more. I had a lot of headaches that I was sure basketball practice would make worse. And looking back, I realise that it was probably the stress of practice that brought on the headaches in the first place.

And because I missed a lot of practices, my game didn't improve. I wasn't just bad. I was terrible.

The coach even talked about how bad I was to my sister. My sister. Every practice that I did attend felt like it was a lesson in humiliation.

My teammates' shoulders slumped every time I was put in the game. I was terrified to shoot the ball. What if I missed? Everyone will laugh. Please don't pass me the ball. Please don't foul me- I can't hit a free throw for anything. Take me out of the game, please. Please. Please. Joyce can't be that bad. Maybe I'll just quit this stupid game and we can become friends.

All of these memories flooded me when Maddie told me she wanted to play. And I pretended to be excited about it. After all, her dad was great at basketball- maybe she inherited that gene.

She's had a few practices and a scrimmage. She's not nearly as bad as I was. In fact, she's pretty good at defense.

But after the first scrimmage, she said some all too familiar words, "I'm not going to shoot the ball at all. I'm not good at it. I'll just guard everyone."


She's more like me than I thought.

I know she's only in first grade. But it terrifies me that she already has it in her mind that if she can't do something well, she shouldn't even try.

We're probably getting her a basketball goal for her birthday, so she can practice and gain more confidence in shooting.

And I'm praying that she finds a "Joyce" to be her friend if it turns out she's got my skillz. Or lack of.

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Monday, January 10, 2011


Justin and I have been married for a little over 8 years. And over those 8 years, there is one thing that is blatantly clear.

I'm the favorite daughter in law.

And I like my position at the top.

I know that she only has 2 sons, and you are either first or last, but I'll take what I can get.

Her oldest son was, until recently, might as well have been married to the anti-Christ. And I kinda ate it up.

Family functions were always entertaining. Particularly when I was left alone with Justin's mom. "Did you hear what she said?" "Why is she so loud?" "I can't believe how much gravy she poured over her turkey."

Once we got word that she is no longer part of the Burns family, I assumed I was safe in my numero uno spot.

Until. . .

Justin's brother got a girlfriend. That he knew a long time ago. Before I was around. Meaning- Justin's mom has known her longer than she's known me.

I wasn't worried at first.

But lately, every time I talk to Bettye, it's all: "Katrina said that she loves my horses." "Katrina is coming to visit us." "Katrina is not loud or boisterous like some people." "Katrina sings. In church."

DID YOU HEAR THAT PEOPLE?!?!? She sings. In. Church.

Where the previous wife was the Anti-Christ, Katrina is a freakin' angel.

A few days ago, we were joking around with Bettye, telling her that we'll make sure the nursing home we choose will take good care of her. And that we'll label all of her clothes. We joke around with her like this all the time. No big deal. Or so I thought. But when she said, "Well, I'm sure my new daughter in law will take care of me."

My heart sank. Crap. Did we go too far? Surely she knows we were joking. She can absolutely live with us. In fact, she can move in tomorrow.

I'll admit, I'm pretty worried.

However, every time I get concerned about my standings, I remember one important fact.

She will be his FOURTH wife.

And that has to count for something, right?

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's A Strange World

I'll admit that in the past year, I've found myself caught up in the vampire stuff. And by being "caught up in . . . " I don't mean that I don fangs and drink blood. I just mean I like to be entertained by them.

Once a year, I find myself, along with my best friend (who I completely blame for this fascination), anxiously awaiting the new Twilight movie- even thought the books were much better. On any given Monday morning, I'll discuss in great detail what happened on True Blood the night before with work buddies. Bella and Edward or Jacob, Sookie and Bill or Eric. I like them

And I can't help but let my imagination run wild. Are there really vampires? I doubt it. Do regular people have certain powers and can read my mind? I'm not sure, but I try to not think bad things, just in case.

A few days ago, I think I may have had some answers.

I was at work and a man walked by me. He was well over 6 feet and skinny as a rail. Paler than me in March. His hair was silver with a black pattern of some sort in it. It may have been a map to his cave- I don't know.

I looked up at him and smiled. He smiled back. He. Had. Fangs. And I think they may have grown when we made eye contact. But I'm not sure.

It was an unseasonably cloudy day.

I pretty sure I saw a vampire.

I didn't want him to glamour me, so I was careful to not make eye contact with him. I kept my thoughts clear, just in case he could hear my thoughts.

He ate his food. Or maybe he pretended to eat. I didn't watch him that closely, just in case he remembered his preferences and that he prefers blonds. He left without incidence. But I counted my co-workers, just to make sure.

Later that night, Justin began telling me about his drive into work that night. It was around 3 a.m. and he was alone on the road. He looked out the window and saw a massive being running beside his truck. He said it was huge. And furry. And fast. And he didn't know what it was.

One word. Werewolf.

As I thought about the fact that Justin and I possibly saw evidence of vampires and werewolves in one day, I discovered that I'm not really that freaked out by it.

Or, at least, not nearly as freaked out as I am by the 5500 birds that fell out of the sky in Arkansas and Louisiana.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm Back

Yesterday, I was thinking to myself about this blog and how I haven't written in a couple of months and that I miss it. So, I pulled it up and HOLY CRAP- it's been over a year since I've written. How did that happen? Why did I let that happen?

I. Don't. Know.

But, as I read some of my past posts, I remembered how much I loved sharing my stories and thoughts with you.

So. . . along with training for a half marathon, eating better, drinking more water, and trying to not be a total embarassment to Maddie- I made the resolution to write. And I'm sticking to it.

See you tomorrow- we've got a lot of catching up to do.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Operation FAIL

Maddie is the typical five year old. Sweet and sassy, kind and evil, forgiving and grudge- holder, obedient and doing whatever the heck she wants to.

But for the last few days, everything has changed. She does what we ask of her immediately. She listens to whatever we say. Instead of arguing, we hear "yes ma'am", "no ma'am", "sure", and the list goes on.

Yesterday, I gave her a list of four things I needed her to do while I walked our dog. I really only expected her to accomplish two of those four things- get dressed and put pajamas away. I walked in and she was completely dressed, pajamas in the hamper, hair brushed, and teeth brushed.

"Wow, Maddie! Thank you so much! You know, you've really been acting very grown-up lately. I'm proud of your behavior these last few days. What's gotten into you?"

She shrugged her shoulders, "I guess I'm just full of the Christmas spirit."

My heart melted. Maybe she really has been absorbing all that we've tried to teach her. I'll start working on the whole "Christmas spirit can last all year long" thing. She hasn't mentioned Santa much at all this year. SHE GETS IT!!!

"That's great, Maddie. What exactly is the Christmas spirit, anyway?" Just to be sure

"Well, it's like this. When you do the right thing, you get more gifts." Oy.

We've got 22 days to change her Christmas spirit. Any suggestions?

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Harriet Potter and the Yard Full of Leaves

This summer became the summer of Harry Potter. My mom introduced Maddie to him and well, she fell in love.

She talked about him and the other characters like they were a part of our family. She wanted to watch all of the movies, over and over again. She even pronounced his name with a British accent.

We talked to her about the difference between fiction and non-fiction, and she understood from the start that it wasn't real.

I was concerned that they might be too scary for her, but it didn't seem to bother her. Until she had her tonsils out.

Just a word of advice- NEVER let your 5 year old watch all of the Harry Potter movies, Spiderwick Chronicles, Jumanji, or Zathura while on pain medicine, specifically codeine.

The nightmares began.

So Justin and I were instrumental in ending Maddie and Harry's relationship.

She missed Harry. She talked about him often. But like all childhood crushes, she seemed to get over him rather quickly.

But I'm afraid she hasn't.

A few days ago, we were outside.

"Mommy- do you wanna see how to do the secret code to get into the club? You can't tell anyone."


Then she picked up her rake, and started hitting the bricks on the house while chanting, "Hufflepuff. Slytherin. Ravenclaw. Gryfinndor. Hufflepuff. Slytherin. Ravenclaw. Grifinndor."

Nothing happened.

So she did it again.

At this point, I realise that I'm impeding her progress into the club, so I go inside- fully aware that my daughter looks incredibly strange, beating my house with a rake while chanting the four houses of Hogwart's.

A while later, I found her walking in my yard, dragging her rake.

"Mommy, I have a secret. One that you can't tell anyone but Daddy. Because I think he should know. But no one else. I'll tell you if you promise not to tell."

I cross my fingers and promise.

"I'm a witch. But a good one. And instead of a broom, I carry a rake. It's so no one will guess my powers."

"Um. Wow." And then, a light bulb!

"Honey- just so absolutely NO ONE guesses your secret, why don't you use your rake the normal way? How about you rake the leaves?"

That lasted about 5 minutes.

Here's hoping she can come up with a spell to get rid of all the leaves. Soon.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Freak Accident

I have this friend that I adore named Sujette. She is older than me by about 30 years, but that has never seemed to matter. She is that person so filled with life that you can't help but smile.

One of the best qualities about Sujette is how connected she and her husband seem when they are together. They hold hands, they disagree with a smile, and enjoy their time with each other. They are the couple that still go on dates even though they've been married over 25 years. I love them.

Not long ago, they decided to take a quick trip to Hawaii to use up their airline miles. On their last day, after they had checked out of the hotel and loaded up their rental car, they headed out. Sujette and Jim decided to take one last walk on the beach before catching their plane.

While walking in the shallow water, a wave knocked Jim down. A rip tide then carried him out into the ocean. He crashed against the ocean floor.

A bulging disk in his back damaged his spinal cord.

Sujette rushed into the water and dragged him to shore. Emergency help came and Jim was taken into surgery.

After his surgery, the doctors wanted him to go to a rehab center to help prepare him for the 10 hour flight home. While waiting to get admitted into the rehab, Jim contracted pneumonia and went to a different hospital's ICU.

Jim is doing better and will, hopefully, go to the rehab center sometime this week.

Jim is the man that decided to ride his bicycle to Florida from Nashville last year- just to see if he could. Jim is the type of grandfather that chases his twin granddaughters around and around. Jim has regained some movement in his arms and hands.

Please pray for both of them.

And when you're done, go hug the people you love.

You never know when a wave is going to knock you down and they are the ones to pull you out of the water.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

The Scariest Moment

When Maddie was two, she started snoring. Loud. Lumberjack snores. She was louder when she slept than she was when she was awake- okay, that may be stretching it a little, but not by much.

By the time she was four, she could compete with anyone over the age of 60. In fact, last Thanksgiving, when everyone blamed my mother-in -law for keeping them awake with her snoring, I let her take the blame, even though I knew it was Maddie.

I was hesitant to let her sleep over with friends. I was accustomed to sleeping with a pillow over my head to drown out the noise, but I didn't want anyone else to have to do that.

It wasn't until this past summer that we noticed a problem. She started waking herself up from sleep because she was gagging. When we took her to the doctor, her first response was "Whoa- those tonsils are huge. They need to come out."

A month later, we found ourselves strangely calm as we waited in the surgery center. 45 minutes later, the doctor informed us that everything went well and we could see her as soon as she awakened.

When we walked into the recovery center, we were greeted with a hysterical child that could not be comforted. That was the first time I questioned our decision to have this done.

The second, third, fourth, and fifth time I questioned myself came every time she woke up screaming in the middle of the night and nothing I did seemed to help.

We fashioned a bed for her in our living room. We let her watch as much television as she wanted. We offered her every kind of ice cream available. We snuggled. We tried everything.

She was pitiful.

Five days later, Maddie seemed to be doing better. She still was not eating or talking much but didn't need pain medicine as often.

Justin's mother and stepfather came over that Saturday night to visit and entertain Maddie. Maddie was on her best behavior. She sat in her granny's lap and whispered secrets. She smiled at all of our attempts to make her laugh. She never complained.


"Mommy, there is some liquid in my throat that won't go away."

"Okay. Why don't you go spit in a tissue and we'll see what it is. Justin- will you go in there with her?"


I walk in and witnessed something I hope I never have to see again.

My five year old projectile vomitting blood. Lots of blood.

Crap. What have we done?

After a quick call to her ENT, he agreed to meet us at the emergency room at the hospital that is 45 minutes away.

That was the scariest 30 minutes of my life. Scary because Justin made the 45 minute drive in 30 minutes and because I had no idea what they were going to do to my baby. I was sitting in the back seat with ice packs on both sides of Maddie's throat praying. It was only when Justin had to slow down suddenly because of a blue hair driving the speed limit on the interstate that Maddie croaked her first four words since this nightmare began, "Mommy- you're choking me." Good times.

They took her into emergency surgery where they had to repair two bleeding spots and pump her stomach. The surgeon said that based on the amount of blood in her stomach, she had probably been bleeding and swallowing the blood for 8 hours. Yes, people- I DID get the mom of the year award.

And after a night in the hospital, we were sent home to begin the recovery process. Again.

In those two weeks, I seriously questioned if we did the right thing by having that first surgery. During the recovery time, I said repeatedly that I wish we hadn't done it. It just couldn't be worth it. Snoring isn't that big of a deal.

But now, 4 months after it happened- I can look back and realise that what happened is not the norm. It was a freak thing.

And, now- Maddie doesn't snore at all.

We sleep like normal people. With our heads on top of our pillow instead of under them.

Life is great.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Hello- Anybody There?


Remember me?

I'm the blogger who decided to take a week off from blogging. That one week turned into two weeks, which turned into a month. SIX months later. . .


I didn't realise it at the time, but I needed this break. I needed to concentrate on more important things. I needed to enjoy life for what it's worth and not look at every single situation and try to come up with a witty blog post. I needed to see my daughter come looking for me and not automatically go to the computer desk. I needed to be.

Don't get me wrong. I've had LOTS of stuff to write about. And, I've wanted to write about them.

Like the two hellacious weeks that involved Maddie having minor surgery, projectile vomitting blood, and lots of ice cream.

And how I spent Maddie's first day of Kindergarten.

And how Maddie has done in *gasp* PUBLIC school.

Softball, Florida, Summer, Halloween, losing a job, church plant, and everything in between.

I've missed this. And I've missed you guys.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Music To My Ears

McDonald's is trying to ruin the vow I made as an angst ridden teenager. The first time I saw the commercial in the '90s, I swore my child would never have a certain item and now McDonald's is GIVING it away in their Happy Meals.

Kidz Bop Vol 635

When I discovered the cd squeezed between her chicken nuggets and apples, I cringed. And then I did what every sane parent would do.

I tried to hide it.

But apparently, all 5 year olds instictively know to look under the picnic table at a public park.

So, I braced myself. And put it in the cd player on the way home. She listened. She bobbed her head. She asked me if I would take her to "Funkytown" (which I will admit to cranking the volume waaaay up.)

And then. . . just when I thought she was going to ask me to buy the previous 634 volumes of Kidz Bop. . .

She asked me to put Johnny Cash back in the cd player.

I love that girl.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

The Break-Up

To Whom It May Concern at Private Academy:
Re: Maddie

My daughter, Maddie, has been enrolled in your program for the last two years. Her teachers have done a wonderful job and I truly appreciate all of their hard work.

However, I regret to inform you that she will not be enrolled in Private Academy next year.

It's nothing personal. Well, it kinda is. You see, you keep raising your tuition. And were Maddie to attend Kindergarten next year, it would cost almost as much as our mortgage is each month. And, well, I really want to keep our home.

I'll be honest with you. We met someone new. It's a school less than 10 minutes from our home. It has won the same awards you have and has also gained national recognition. And while I know this word is taboo in the private school realm, I must say it. It's a public school.

There. It's out there. My child is going public. Please don't treat her differently during these last few days.

Can we still be friends? She's zoned for a terrible high school. Maybe I'll give you a call in 8 or 9 years.

Ta-ta for now!!

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Another Failed Attempt

We sat down to eat dinner with my parents. I had made potato soup with French bread.

I explained to Maddie that we were going to follow her doctor's advice about her pickiness. Dr. Hyperenoughtobefiveherself told us that the "one bite, no thank you" rule works well.

Basically, Maddie has to eat one bite of whatever it is that she doesn't want and if she doesn't like it, fine. She can eat something else.

Justin had prepared her every night meal of mashed potatoes. Beside them I placed a small bowl with a tiny amount of potato soup.

Maddie gobbled up her mashed potatoes. Then I told her that she still needed to eat a bite of potato soup.

She smelled of it. And refused.

I told her to eat it.

She took the smallest bite possible. And made a face.

And then that look came upon her face. She better not. Oh crap. She's really about to do what I think she's about to do. Nnnnnnoooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She did it. She vomited at the table. Over a teensy bite of soup, which everyone else seemed to think tasted pretty good.

I think the doctor forgot to tell me one important rule. Only attempt this on an empty stomach.

Not after eating an entire bowl of mashed potatoes.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mission Accomplished

My alarm clock went off at 4:30 this morning. I stumbled to the kitchen, hit the coffee pot power button, and started getting dressed.

My mind kept discouraging me- telling me that my foot would probably start hurting, my knees would kill me at the end. Then it started telling me I didn't train properly, that I may not even finish, that Nashville has some killer hills.

I told my mind to shut up.

And kept telling it to shut up until I crossed the finish line for the 13.1 mile race in 2:36.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Short Term Relationship

Maddie made a new friend yesterday. His name was Casey. She was very excited about meeting him and wanted to show him off to everyone.

She made him a sign. Complete with hearts and "I love you Casey."

She invited him to dinner. But I ruined it when I told her that he wasn't allowed to come.

She stayed on our deck with him while I cooked. But she informed me every few minutes of the new accomplishments Casey achieved.

"Casey just climbed!!"

"Casey just smiled at me!!"

"Casey is sooooo coooool!"

And then. . .

"The coolest thing just happened!! I pulled Casey apart, and both pieces started moving!! Now, I have two Casey's!!!"

Both Casey's died a mere 13 minutes of being introduced to Maddie. While their relationship was short, I'm sure he will always remember her in worm heaven.

As the strange little girl that put him there.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Blog Depression

Yesterday, I was asked a question that I wasn't prepared for. "Are you ever going to blog again?" It's been over a week since I last wrote on this blog.

The answer: Yes. Probably. I don't know.

I really don't know if I want to keep this blog.

It's not like I don't have plenty to write about. I could write about how I was laid off a couple of months ago, but no one has actually told me. I could write about how Justin has gotten a third job umpiring Little League games at night. Or how I've started working lunch shifts at the restaurant and the people are even crazier during the day.

But when I sit at the computer- nothing.

Nothing sounds right. Nothing looks right. Nothing.

I'm thinking I may have some type of blog depression.

And when I kick out of it. . . I'll be back. Comments or no comments.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

The Game

Maddie's first softball game was on Saturday.

She showed no pre-game jitters.

And looked so tiny next to the other girls.

And even though she could barely see, she went 3 for 3. A way too big uniform can't stop my Pink Panther.

Even when her shorts fell to her knees when she was running from 1st to 2nd, she just kept going.

It's going to be an interesting season.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Last Supper- 5 Year Old Style

Most of the time Maddie understands Bible stories as well as she does the concept of Cinderella. Basically, she hears the story and believes with all of her heart that it is true.

And I love that faith.

Last week, Maddie's school started telling the story of Easter, bit by bit.

"Guess what, Mommy."

"Ummm. . . you didn't have to go to the sad bear chair."

Insert sigh of disgust from her.

"No. I didn't. We learned a really cool Bible story."

"Really? That's great! Why don't you tell me about it."

"Well- I don't know if you will believe it."

"Of course I will believe it. If it came from the Bible it is true."

"Okay. . . In the last supper that Jesus had with his friends, they ate him."

"No, honey, that's not quite what happened."

"Uh-huh. It came from the Bible. It's true. They ate him and then drank his blood."

"Wow. I'll look it up in my Bible and try to explain it better, okay?"

So, I looked it up.

Matthew 26:26. . . "Take and eat; this is my body."
Matthew 26:27. . . Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, . . .


"See, Mom. I told you that they ate Jesus and drank his blood."

"I don't know how to explain this to you, but I promise you that they didn't eat Jesus."

She looked at me like I had no idea what I was talking about. And like I was going against everything we had taught her about the Bible and believing it.

I gave her a hug and promised to explain it when she is six.

Surely I can come up with something in a year, right?

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Book Review and Giveaway

One of Maddie's very favorite things to do is swing. She took her first turn in the swing when she was about 6 months old.

And loved it.

Soon, the little daredevil was begging for more.


My arms would be exhausted by the time we left the park.

Now that she is older, and has a swingset of her own, she has taught herself how to swing and to make herself go "higher, higher." Thank God.

A few days ago, I watched her swing. I wish I could have read her mind. She was enjoying every second of making herself go as high as she possibly could. And laughing like a lunatic the entire time.

This is one of the reasons I enjoyed Leslie Patricelli book "Higher! Higher!" so much. It is full of vivid pictures of the adventures a little girl encounters while swinging. Just how high can she go? Over a giraffe? Over a mountain? Into outer space?

I'm sure every child that loves to swing has gone there. The possibilities are endless.

One of her other books, "Baby Happy Baby Sad" was equally endearing. Maddie flipped through the pages, reading each scenario, then said with all seriousness-"Babies sure do go from happy to sad quickly, don't they?"

She has no idea. Or memory, for that matter.

This book is best for ages 1-3, and since Maddie is 5, it didn't hold her interest for long. But I know from experience that it would have been one of her favorites 3 years ago.

She told me that I could give away the baby book, but not the swing book. So. . .

If you want this book, leave me a comment. Like I said, it's best for ages 1-3 but would also make a cute baby gift. I'll have Maddie pick the winner. Good luck!

***Comments now closed***Sorry 'bout your luck***Except Megan***She won the book***

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lesson Learned

I have a confession to make.

I'm not always a very nice person. But I'm working on it.

My biggest downfall is making people laugh at the expense of others. It's mostly people that I know and love. They know that I do it for laughs and not out of meanness. I hope, anyway.

But, there are times that I say things about complete strangers that are mean and hurtful. I am fully aware that I shouldn't do it, but I can't seem to help myself. It is a toxic habit that I'm trying desperately to break.

Today, God taught me a lesson on remembering my manners.

A table was seated in my section. I walked up and as soon as I took a breath, I noticed it. They smelled really bad. I could go on and on about how bad they stunk, but like I said- I'm trying to be nicer.

I walked into the kitchen and told a co-worker about it.

"Nothing about them says 'clean' to me," was her response. We joked and laughed for a couple of minutes and then I took a deep, deep breath and walked back to them.

Chelsea, you don't know what their circumstances are.

You don't know them.

They didn't deserve that.

What is wrong with you. Mean, mean, mean.

They were the nicest couple I could have imagined. I felt terrible.

I was bringing their salads to them. My tray shifted and I dropped both salads, their bread, and their dressings all over the place. I felt terrible.

They were completely understanding and forgiving.

About 5 minutes later, I walked back to their table. She had a puzzled look on her face.

"Sweetheart. . . I don't know what this is. It feels like a seashell." She showed me what she had just pulled out of her mouth.

Oh. My. The woman was chewing on glass. Apparently, her replacement salad bowl had broken and no one noticed it.

Again- she was completely understanding and forgiving. And nice. She even apologised for finding the glass. I felt terrible.

Why was all of this happening to me? And to this poor woman?

And then it hit me. God knew exactly what I had said. And how I used this lady to make others laugh. It hurt. Probably not as much as it hurt her when she bit into the glass, but. . .

He was showing me that she was one of His children and she deserves as much love and respect as anyone else.

I am far from perfect. I'm sure I'll mess up. But I am going to try to be a nicer person.

In fact, I did very well today. She didn't leave me a much of a tip, even though most of her meal was comped.

And I didn't gripe.

I couldn't handle any more lessons today.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Health Kick

"Mommy, I ate something healthy today." Wow! It's about freakin' time.

"That's great! What did you have?" Please tell me something that I can make for all of us that doesn't include cheese and crackers.

"Cheese pizza." Ummmmm

"Well, honey, that's not really all that healthy." Captain Carlos agrees.

"Yes, it is." Seriously?

"Nope. Sorry. Try again."

"Mother, I'm not arguing with you about this." Okay, then.

It's official.

Cheese pizza is healthy. Eat up. Forget all the calories and fat grams. Forget what your doctor told you.

Maddie says that it's healthy and that's that.

Don't even try to argue.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Mathematically Speaking- I Hate Math

I've never been good at math. I can remember the very moment I realized that math-well- sucked.

I was in 3rd grade. I was trying my best to keep up and figure out how the heck to divide fractions and I just wasn't getting it. The teacher called on me to answer the problem. I didn't have a clue. So, I did what made total sense at the time.

I pretended that I had not been paying attention and didn't know what problem to do. Because it would be so much better than actually admitting that I needed help, right? She then told me that I had to sit on the sidewalk during recess and called on someone else to do the problem.

I never did learn to divide fractions.

Lately, math has given me even more of a reason to despise it.

Justin did several brackets for the basketball tournament, several of which have monetary prizes, should he win.

One, in particular, is a nation wide, ESPN sponsored bracket. Winner take all. And, by all- I mean $10,000. Cash.

In this nation wide contest, with over 115,000 entrants, Justin is in second place. The difference between his bracket and the person in first place is one game. And that one game was lost by one point.

Mathematically, there is no way possible for Justin to win.


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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Pink Panther

I'm now officially a softball mom. To a precious member of the Coopertown Pink Panthers.

Practice has started in full force. Justin takes her on Tuesday nights while I'm at work and we both go to the Sunday practice.

Every time I ask how the Tuesday night practice went, I get the same response from both of them. "Great." Thanks, guys. A little information might help me feel less guilty about missing the practice.

Justin told me that at last week's practice a mom pointed to Maddie and asked if that was his daughter. When he said yes, she said, "I thought so. She looks just like you."

On Sunday's practice, I noticed that Maddie is by far the smallest on the team. She is one of the youngest on the team. It is a 5-6 year old team, but there are a couple of 7 year olds on it. Justin calls them the "beasts" because they are so much bigger than Maddie.

During their first practice game, I watched Maddie play. In the dirt, that is. The coach marked her spot to stand and then she marked it by writing her name. When the ball was hit, she ran around in a circle. Not really looking for the ball, just running in circles. And if she happened to find the ball, she would pick it up and not know what to do with it.

She may look like her daddy, but she plays ball like me.

And she's okay with that. And so are we.

Because she is having the time of her life.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Don't Know Much, But I Know What I Like

A couple of weeks ago, I agreed to start doing music reviews. I love music. Almost all kinds. So, needless to say, I was excited.

I decided that my approach to doing music reviews would follow along with how I decide if I like any type of music. I would listen to the CD a few times, and if it held my attention and I found myself humming the songs, I would do further research on the artist.

The first CD I received was Corneille The Birth of Cornelius. The first time I listened to the CD, my first thought was, "I'm kinda liking this." The second time I listened to it, I thought, "I'm almost loving this." By the third time, I really did love it. Enough to let Justin listen to it. And he liked it as much as I did.

So, then came the following up and reading about my man, Corneille.

Wow. That's all.

The lyrics to his music have so much meaning, I can barely fathom all that he's been through.

Take this verse from a song of his, for example:

Last time I saw you
You were filling your rivers up with
Blood of your own
Last time I saw you
You were wearing fire and
Burning our souls to the bone
That's how I remember you
So please forgive me
If I never call you home

I believe that he is talking about his time in Rwanda. You see, he was born in Germany where his parents were students. At a young age, they moved back to Rwanda and stayed until he was 17. He was there in 1994 when the Rwandan genocide occured. He is the only surviving member of his family from that time.

He sings frequently about his struggles finding his place in this world. With his Tracy Chapman voice and soulful words, he sings of love, and his life story,.

To find out more about Corneille, visit this site.

So, if you are in need of a great CD or some new songs for you MP3, I highly recommend this one. You will not be disappointed.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

It's Gone Far Enough

Several years ago, Maddie and I went with my mom to the Grand Canyon. *Free advice: Don't take a 2 year old to the Grand Canyon without a leash. And nerve medicine.*

Maddie was going through a period of testing the limits. We were walking along in the park. She stopped. My mom and I waited patiently for her to catch up. She didn't. She didn't move.

We told her to come on. We pretended that we had something to show her. She didn't care.

Ha! I'll get her to come to me.

"BYE!! I'll see you later." And I started walking slowly away. I took a quick glance back at her and saw her sit down in the middle of the path.

"Bye bye, mama!"

Okay- so that didn't work. I laughed it off, ignored the group of tourists that were laughing, and went to get her.

Fast forward 3 years to today.

We were at the park with some friends. The kids had played well the entire time. It was time to go.

"Maddie, it's time to leave. Tell them goodbye."

She ignored me and continued playing.

I told her again, with my "I mean business" voice.

She climbed up the hill to the slide and told me that she wasn't coming. I told her that if I had to climb the hill to get her, it would not be pretty.

She slid down the slide and then started playing in the dirt. Again.

"Maddie, I'm leaving without you. I sure hope no strangers get you." Stranger Danger!! Stranger Danger!!

"Umm. I think I'd like to just stay here alone." Seriously? This independence thing is getting old.

"You would have to eat those veggies in the garden over there. That's all you would get." If stranger danger doesn't work, surely the thought of having to eat vegetables would scare her into obeying.

"Well, then I would get stickers for trying new food." I. Can't. Win.

"Maddie. You are coming with me. Now. End of story."

For some reason, her defiance was a lot cuter when she was two, and in front of strangers. But now that she is five, it's not funny at all.

Especially in front of my friend.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Time Travel

Justin grew up playing sports and even now plays in a basketball league. My best friend played college basketball. Her husband was a basketball manager for a college team.

I did none of the above. The closest I got was playing 5th and 6th grade basketball and I was terrible. I mean, really terrible.

So, when the four of us get together, there are moments when I'm left out of the conversation. I'm perfectly fine with that. I have nothing to contribute and basketball is something that all three of them enjoy. I get it.

Last week, the challenge was made to do brackets for the upcoming tournament. It was agreed that each couple would combine their scores from their individual brackets and the highest score would treat the other couple to dinner.

And that was all I heard about it.

Until last night.

Justin handed me two completed brackets to give to my friend. One with his name on it and one with my name on it. Only, I hadn't done one.

I told him that it wasn't really fair. He didn't see it that way. He wanted to win.

When I told my friend, she agreed with me. Vocally. She explained that it wasn't fair for him to know and pick both teams. And I, knowing nothing about the teams, had just as much chance because often they over analyse the bracket. That made me feel better.

Until I tried to use that reasoning with Justin. He didn't buy it and said it wasn't true. Thanks, hon.

Then, Justin said that we could do a couple's bracket where each couple would complete one together and just use that one. Only, I knew that I wouldn't have a say so in it at all. Justin confirmed that he would just do it without me.

When all of the fairness talk was going on, I was transported back to gym class elementary school. There I was, standing in line, waiting for someone to pick me and praying to God that maybe, just maybe I wouldn't be the picked last again. Inevitably, I would be.

Only this time, my husband didn't want me on his team. My best friend wanted me on the other team.

Because they both wanted to win. And apparently, I'm the loser.

Welcome to March Mad-ness.

*Justin has since apologized. I'm almost over it. Really.*

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Answered Prayer

"Maddie, please stop."


"Because I said so/it might hurt you/it might hurt me/it is driving me crazy."

And then she proceeds to ignore me and continue to do whatever is was I just told her to stop doing. This goes on all day long.

We are pretty much at our wit's end. No- scratch that. I'm losing my mind. Nothing seems to work.

Monday night, I was helping her get ready for bed. I told her to stop jumping around in the wet bathtub. She jumped again.

I asked her what just happened.

"I disobeyed." And then she giggled. She. Giggled.

"And what should happen when you disobey?"

"A spanking." And then she stuck her little tush out, ready for punishment.

Was she calling my bluff? I can't not spank her at this point.

I gave her a spanking- not a hard one, but one that left a slight sting on my hand. I watched her upper lip quiver.

"You know, Mom, that didn't really hurt."

Me walking out of that bathroom was the best thing I could do at that point.

The next morning, I was sitting on her bed talking to her. I told her that us praying about her behavior and my reactions to her behavior before the day starts might help us.

She explained that since she wasn't blind and her legs worked fine, she didn't need His help. Yes, they've been studying the miracles of Jesus in Sunday school.

I prayed anyway.

As the day went on, I noticed something profound happening. The clouds started parting. There was a little blue in the sky. And a miracle happened here in Middle Tennessee.


We spent the entire day outside, enjoying the day.

When she wanted to go inside for something to drink, I brought it to her and made her swing while drinking it. When she complained that her feet were hurting, I brought her a different pair and suggested she run around the house to make sure that they felt good. We walked down to the creek and jumped on dirt piles. We invited our neighbors over to play.

3 hours of continuous play time.

And after all that, she went to softball practice.

Her behavior was better than ever. It may have been from sheer exhaustion, but I'll take it.

Spring. It's every mom's answer to prayer.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

The New And Improved Tract

It was Thanksgiving and we were all sitting around listening to Justin's mother. Well, I was pretending to sleep on the couch because if you are sleeping, you aren't expected to respond.

She was talking about this man that went to school with Justin. Apparently, he went to her restaurant with his 5 children and let them run wild. Her restaurant is a small place, and 5 small child running around quickly creates havoc.

"I let him know that I didn't appreciate it. Not one bit. And he was in there all high and mighty...blah blah blah...and when he left, I went to the table to clean up the mess those little heathens made and you wouldn't believe what that man had left."

She paused to make sure she had everyone's attention.

"A TRACT! He had the nerve to leave me a tract."

At that point, I couldn't pretend to sleep anymore. I made eye contact with Justin and we both burst into laughter. Justin's brother and his wife were laughing so hard they were crying.

We were laughing so hard because the one thing you don't do to my mother in law is question her faith. I promise you that if you do, you will be on her bad side for at least 20 years. That poor man had no idea.

She still tells that story every chance she gets. And we still laugh at her outrage.

Saturday night, I walked over to my table that had just left. And they had left me a tract. Of a different kind.

I'll admit I was in disbelief.

Just who do they think they are? Don't they know I work out 5 or 6 days of the week?

And then I started questioning myself.

Do I need this? Is this how everyone sees me? Should I go to the gym twice a day, now?

And then I just had to laugh.

Because it takes some kind of nerve to leave a tract. Of any kind.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

I have a strange habit. It could even be termed a fixation. And I can't help myself.

I read each and every church sign I see. Believe me, living in the buckle of the Bible belt- I read a lot of signs. I've even turned around and drove back to the church because I missed what it said.

Some of the time, there is a Bible verse- which never hurts.

Some of the time, there is a cutesie little saying that is cute until I get to a stop sign.

Some of the time, I wonder what in the world the church was thinking when they put it on the board.

Most recently, I passed a church and the sign had 5 simple words on it. I did a double take because I was sure that I had read it incorrectly. I hadn't. It read:

Wow. I could just imagine being a guest walking into the church and asking to sit in the "sinners" section. Would there be ushers? I pictured it to be like a wedding- Are you family, friend, or SINNER? Ahhh, you are one of those SINNERS, huh? Well, here is your red "S". Make sure you wear it so everyone will know. Oh look, you are the only one sitting in the SINNER section of church.

I could go on forever.

I'm sure the church's point was to simply make it clear that everyone is welcome. But, really- if you weren't a Christian, would you want to try it out based on that sign? I'm a Christian and a sinner and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't. But that's just me.

I found some pictures of church signs that are pretty funny and if I were looking for a church, I might try it out because it's evident that someone in the church has a sense of humor. Enjoy.

Church signs Pictures, Images and Photos

Church signs Pictures, Images and Photos

holy ghost party. Pictures, Images and Photos

church signs Pictures, Images and Photos

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Career Day

Last week was "T for teeth" week at Maddie's school. Every day was filled with tooth related stuff, and the week ended with a dentist coming to her class for further instruction.

This morning, Maddie told me that she was going to ask her teacher if they could have "R for restaurant" week. That way I could go speak to her class about working in a restaurant.

I wanted to explain that being a server in a restaurant isn't quite in the same class as being a dentist, but I didn't. Children going home and telling their parents "I want to wait tables when I grow up!," doesn't have the same ring as, "I want to be a dentist/doctor/vet/astronaut".

But then, I started thinking. All Maddie talked about for 2 days was what the dentist had told her. Maybe I could use this to my advantage. Maybe I will go speak to her class. Maybe I can brainwash them. No- forget I said that.

Here is my outline- just in case I get the invitation.

I. Intro
A.) Positives
1.) Cash
2.) Working with all types of people
B.) Negatives
1.) Some mean, bad people just don't tip no matter how good the service is
2.) Working with all types of people

II. Tips
A.) Percentages
1.) 15% is good, but 20%+ is better
B.) Wages
1.) Servers make $2.13/hour.
2.) Rarely is a check actually given.
3.) Servers depend on tips to pay for groceries.

III. Behavior
A.) Drinks
1.) Slurping your drink is rude. It will not make your server go any faster.
2.) Ordering water with 8 lemons so you can make your own lemonade proves
you will probably not tip. And we don't care if Oprah told you to do it.
B.) Food
1.) If your order is incorrect, by all means let your server know. If your server
corrects the mistake, tip accordingly.
2.) Mistakes happen

IV. Conclusion
A.) Economy
1.) We understand things are tough. But spending $75 on a meal and leaving a $3 tip because things are tight is just wrong.
B.) Most important lesson to go home and tell your parents... 1.) TIP
2.) 20%
3.) Ask for Chelsea if you tip over 25%

What do you think? Should I present my outline to her teacher?

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