Monday, December 29, 2008


I wish I had a picture of Maddie pretending to sleep, when she heard Santa outside.

I wish I could bottle her excitement when she found the bell Santa had dropped.

I wish Santa had not given her the devil game- Kerplunk.

I wish you could have seen how grown up Maddie looked during the candlelight service at our church. A four year old, holding a lit candle and not moving a muscle, while belting out Silent Night.

I wish I had won at least one Apples to Apples game.

I wish I could see my family more often.

I wish my camera had not broken right before Maddie's Christmas program.

I wish I had known last year that it was going to be my last Christmas with my Mawmaw.

I wish calories didn't count on holidays.

I wish. . . I hope. . . every Christmas will be as wonderful as this one was.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Maddie's nightly prayers are the typical prayers of 4 year olds. Thank you for this and this. I love you. Amen

Last night, Maddie's prayer was simple. And profound.

Dear God,

Thank you for everything. Most of all, thank you for baby Jesus. I love him. So much. And I love you, too. Amen

Jesus. It's what Christmas is all about.


I'm headed out of town for the rest of the week. I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Christmas.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Letter From Santa

Dear Maddie,

You've been a good little girl.

But I have some bad news. You aren't getting the GeMagic set you asked for.

I thought about lying to you and telling you that you simply weren't old enough for this particular jewel making machine. I thought about telling you that the elves just didn't know how to make it and due to budget cuts, I couldn't afford to train them.

But I knew in my heart that you wouldn't believe the lies.

The truth is- your parents don't want it in their house. They know how obsessive you become when it comes to making everything "pretty". They envisioned getting dressed for work and finding gems stapled onto their clothes. They imagined what their couch and recliner would look like after you got done GeMagic-ing the house.

And as often as you asked me for the Magic Gems, your parents asked me to not bring it.

I'm not the type to disappoint a child, so I you a sticker sheet of gems. Gems that are easily removed when done. Gems that can be thrown away when you aren't looking. Gems that cost $1.99.

Enjoy. And you're welcome.



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Friday, December 19, 2008

Tape Is Overrated

While on the phone with Justin

"Do we have a stapler?"

"Yes. It's upstairs, under the futon. Don't ask why, but that's where it is."

"Okay. I'm wrapping your present."

Bless his heart.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008


There are some interesting people in this world, and I think most of them have either worked with me at some point, or work with me now. Some are interesting in a good way. Some are interesting in a very strange, "are we on the same planet?", and "seriously- what is wrong with you way?".

But there is one that takes the cake.

His name is Gary. I mean Imala. He, I mean she, is shall we say different. This person's mascara is impeccable and has a delicate touch with his eyeshadow. He carries a Tinkerbell purse. His boobs are getting bigger and his hair is getting fuller. His Adam's Apple isn't as noticeable as it was 6 months ago.

I've never been around anyone actually going through a sex change. I mean, I've seen it on Maury Povich and Jerry Springer but to actually work with a man that one day will be penis-free is well- challenging.

And not just for me.

Imala helped out a friend of mine. She turned to say thank you, "Well, thank you, sir. I mean, ma'am. Sir. Oh God. I don't know what to say."

Imala was a good sport and told her that he prefers to be called ma'am. His name has been legally changed to a girl's name, after all. But, to me- a simple name change doesn't mean he is a woman. I have a hard time saying ma'am to someone that has never had the pleasure of intense menstrual cramps, bra straps that won't stay in place, or wearing heels for hours on end.

Okay- to give him credit, I think he probably has worn heels for hours on end but . . . no. Still can' t call him ma'am.

I know that day will come when Imala will have the full surgery and acquire a va-jay-jay. And when the day comes and he can honestly say, "Im-a-lady" . . .

I'll call him ma'am.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Party

Maddie has an incredibly strong gag reflex. It's pretty simple. She coughs- she vomits. Or comes really close.

Friday night, I didn't give her any cough medicine. She woke up covered in vomit. Saturday night, I gave her the medicine too close to bedtime and it didn't get a chance to work before she threw up all over herself.

It's a science, really. Medicine is given 1 1/2 hours before bedtime. She is not allowed to eat after 5. She can only drink water or a little apple juice at dinner- definitely no milk when she has a cough. It's not pretty.

But, we know it's not a stomach virus. And as long as she doesn't have a fever or any other symptoms, life goes on as usual.

Yesterday, I went to Maddie's Christmas party at her school. I was standing next to the bookcase, just watching the craziness. In the middle of the party, my sweet angel walked up to her teacher and asked her a question. I couldn't hear what she asked, but I heard her teacher tell her to go ask her mommy.

Then I got the look. The "how could you?" look. The "what kind of mom are you?" look.

What could she have asked? I even brought extra stuff for everyone to eat- not just the gallon of milk I signed up for.

"Mommy- since I throwed up 2 times, can I go see the nurse?" She seemed to shout it at me.

Crap. Did anyone else hear that? Please don't let this be like the Fifth Disease.

"No. You are NOT sick. You threw up because you were coughing. Do NOT tell anyone else that you threw up. They won't understand."

I went up to the teacher, explained the gag reflex issue and went on with the party. But I made sure to stand beside Maddie every time she started talking to a parent, to stop her if she decided to get a little too chatty.

After all, when we are talking about vomiting and embarrassment, prevention is everything.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Quiet Blocks

Every child loves blocks. They love the stacking (and the falling down), the bridge making (and the crashing), and the building of the biggest tower (and watching it tumble).

And while the crashing and tumbling of the blocks is part of the learning experience, it noise it made quickly made me want to hide the blocks. Forever. heard my cry. And found me hiding in a closet with my hands over my ears. And sent me Parents Architecture ABCs.

It's a 26 piece set complete with arches, pedestals, columns, and turrets. It's squeaky, squishy, and best of all- quiet when it falls.

Each block features a letter and a corresponding animal. It's raised textures make it easy for little hands to grasp and build to their little heart's content.

It is recommended for 6+months, but blocks are toys that kids of all ages love.

You can find these blocks at Target and have a suggested retail of $25 but I found them for $19.99

These would definitely make a great gift for a little one.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Reindeer On The Floor

I read about the Elf On The Shelf not long ago. I loved the concept of it and told Maddie a little about it. She wanted her very own Elf on the Shelf.

I tried to just find a little generic elf statue to no avail. And I didn't want to shell out the $30 for the whole kit, so when I got a stuffed reindeer for a Christmas present, I decided to forget about the elf on the shelf and go with the reindeer on the floor. You know, because all of the elves were already at other kids' houses.

And he is so cute, you just can't help but love him.

I told Maddie that our reindeer would move around throughout the day, and report back to Santa in the night. She loved the idea that he would magically appear in different places, without anyone actually seeing him move.

He started out in the office. Then he was on the stairs. Then he was in Maddie's bedroom to watch her sleep.

Then Maddie freaked out and was scared to death by his magic.

And I had to talk to the reindeer and explain that he wasn't allowed to use his magic anymore. Especially in her bedroom.

I don't understand how it could have started out so wonderfully, and ended so tragically. I mean, who is really scared of an innocent little stuffed doll that moves around by itself. Infused with magic. . .

chuckie Pictures, Images and Photos

Okay- I guess I would be a little creeped out, too.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Four Quarters

Yesterday, I decided to finish up my Christmas shopping. I was at KB Toys, trying to decide on a gift for my friend's son, when I got a phone call. A phone call telling me that my friend's husband had gottthe dreaded phone call that he needed to go home to be with his very sick mother.

And then my phone went dead.

I didn't have any details. I didn't know if she needed any help. I didn't have my charger with me.
So, in a panicked state, I went to the girl working the register at KB Toys.

"I just had an emergency phone call, but my phone went dead. Can I use the store's? I'll only be a couple of minutes."

"Ummm. Let me check. . . no." What?!

"Okay. Can I get some change from you, so I can find a pay phone?"

"No. We can't give out change." Okaaaay. Let's try something else.

So, I went back to the shelf, grabbed one of the toys I was considering in the first place and brought it to the register.

"I'll take this. Since I'm paying with cash, can I please get change for one of the dollars?"

"No. We can't do that. We've had problems doing that." WHAT?!? You've had problems giving four quarters instead of a dollar bill? My four year old daughter could do that.

"I need your manager's name and number."

She called him over. I tried to explain my problem. He explained that they are not able to give out change if the drawer is not open. I, as nicely as I possibly could, explained that the drawer was open because I had just paid. With cash. I just needed four quarters instead of the dollar bill.

He rolled his eyes, "Just give her the change."

Seriously? Did he just do that?

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed the bad attitudes from customer service this holiday season? I understand that sales clerks and managers have a lot to deal with, especially with rude customers, the possiblility of losing their jobs if the economy doesn't get better, and I know I would lose my mind if I had to work in a toy store with that annoying parrot that repeats everything it hears.

But I honestly think that my request was not out of line. Four quarters instead of a dollar bill. To call my best friend who just found out her mother in law is on the verge.

Here are my options:

a) Call corporate office
b) Email corporate and include link to this post
c) Return gift, with receipt and ask for all nickels, dimes, and quarters

What do you think?

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Worst Wake Up Call Ever

I have the same routine every single morning. Rarely does it change.

I hit the "on" button on my coffee pot. I stumble to the bathroom, do my business, put in my contacts, start mine and Maddie's breakfast, drink the first cup of coffee, then walk Grendal.

This morning the dog was a little more anxious to go outside. I started the coffee, and begged him to let me drink some of it. He begged louder and I gave in.

I took him out and followed him around the yard- seriously wanting my Folger's Select. He took his sweet time, and when he was finally done started running to the door.

I followed him, and what happened next occured so quickly I'm not sure of the exact chain of events. I took a step and the next thing I know, I ate some concrete.

All I know is I look like someone did a serious number on me. I went to Wal-Mart and I could almost hear the strangers' thoughts. Wow. She should just leave him. And her poor little girl- I bet she saw the whole thing. Should I ask her if she is okay? All of these thoughts were accompanied with a look and then a quick glance away.

Here is what I've been sporting today. Be forewarned- it's not pretty. And feels like it looks.

Note to self: NEVER give in to dog's whining before at least one cup of coffee.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Helper Mommy

One day last week, I was in the process of getting Maddie signed in at school and putting away her lunch, etc. Another little boy walked in with his mother. I heard the children greet each other. And then I heard:

"Dan, I'm gonna win the puzzle contest. I only have two more to do and I'll be the winner. I'm gonna do them right now, and beat every one."

Dan looked on without much interest.

She began to open the puzzle bags with a look of determination in her eyes. She feverishly started working on one of the puzzles.

Dan didn't give a flying flip. I could see that. His mom could not.

"Maddie, you don't have to hurry like that. Take you time and do it right. Dan still has to get signed in and put his jacket up. Chill." I tried to tell her.

His mom heard me. "Dan- let's get you started on a puzzle. " Apparently she really wanted him to win the contest. With the grand prize being a coloring book. Which every kid gets once they complete the 20 puzzles. After all, they are all winners.

She sat down and started helping Dan. She glanced at Maddie's progress. She worked quicker. The poor boy just watched.

I leaned over, gave Maddie a goodbye hug, inconspicuously moved a couple of her puzzle pieces to the correct spot, and walked out.

His mom was still working on his puzzles as I left. I think he was playing a game of "crawl under the table and hide."

And later that day, when I was looking over the work Maddie had done, I really wished his mom was around so she could witness my

BOOO-YAH!! Maddie was the first to finish all of her puzzles.

And has the coloring book to prove it.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

I Got Thick

A few years ago, I decided it was time to lose some of the weight I had put on after having Maddie. It took almost two years, but I lost about 40 pounds.

It took 3 months to gain 8 back. I mean 10. Okay, okay- you forced me- 12.

I can tell. I think Justin can tell. Especially when I'm jumping around the bedroom trying to squeeze into my jeans.

I was telling some people at work how I've really started watching what I eat and how I've been exercising like a mad woman to lose those 12 pounds. They were doing what real friends do- telling me that they couldn't tell, and claiming that I didn't need to lose any weight. Whatever.

From across the room, I heard someone shout, "Yeah- Chelsea done got THICK." Her words, not mine.

Now, I like a thick slice of cake. And a thick steakburger, with thick cut french fries. Thick milkshakes. There are lots of things that are thick that are wonderful.

But when you are talking about my body, particularly my lower half- thick is not good.

So this holiday season, when I pass on cookies, cake, candy and everything delicious in this world, don't be offended.

I'm just trying to un-thick myself.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Magical Lies

"Mommy- look in that door. You've just got to see it!" Maddie said with excitement.

"Which one?" Please tell me she is not talking about the door that she never ever looks in that is hiding her Christmas presents.

"That one. The scary one."

Crap. "What's in there?" What did you see? Please don't let it be the princess kitchen set. . .

"I think it's a new kitchen."

Double crap. "How in the world did it get in there?" Maybe I can tell her that Santa's sleigh was too full and he made an early delivery. Nah- she'd never fall for that lie. Oh wait, she already believes that the big guy delivers presents to every child on Earth in one night. She'll fall for it.

But should I keep the lie going? Is this the moment? The moment she finds out we've been lying to her? The moment she realizes that reindeer don't really fly and no matter how hard they try, very few men can actually fit down a chimney?

"I wished upon a star, Mommy. And the kitchen magically appeared!"

Whew! She can keep believing in Santa. And every star that she wishes on. And the tooth fairy. And the Easter Bunny. And every other fanciful creature that magically brings her stuff.

And I'll keep telling the lies until she stops believing them.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

The Not So Great Debate

Last year, when we were in the mountains with Justin's family, I noticed his brother getting up and going to the bathroom, staying a few seconds, and coming right out. But he only did it right after Justin left said bathroom.

What in the world could he be doing?

Nothing was said about it, and I pretty much forgot about it. Until later that night. . .


It hit me. That's what he was doing. He was checking to make sure Justin put the seat down, so my sister in law wouldn't fall in.

And so began the annual debate on seat up or seat down.

Surprisingly, I take Justin's side. I don't care if he leaves the seat up. I'm an adult, I know to look before I sit. I suppose if I were blind, I would take issue with having to grope around to find the seat, but I'm not.

When I spoke up and agreed with him, I felt every pair of female eyes glaring at me. "Um, it really doesn't bother me. I don't lift the seat every time I'm done, why should he have to lower it every time he is done?" Yeah- not quite the right thing to say.

"Well, I guess you've never fallen in the pot at 3 in the morning, have you?"

"Of course, I have. I was mad, too. But at myself, for not looking- not at him."

There are things worth nagging about. I just don't think it's that big of a deal.

Splattering, however, is definitely worth nagging about. And, I'll nag until he automatically wipes the rim, and chases after his brother to make sure he didn't leave any evidence.

What do you think? Seat up or seat down, or does it matter to you?

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pumpkin Eaters

Me: "I'm not a big fan of anything pumpkin. . . "

Sister in law: "Me either. I don't like much of anything with pumpkin. . . "

Me: ". . . but I have this awesome pumpkin roll."

Sister in law: ". . . but I'm making this pumpkin trifle that looks great."

A few hours later. . .

Mother in law: "I hope everyone likes pumpkin. I made two pumpkin pies."

And for a family that doesn't particularly care for pumpkin desserts, we did some serious damage. Well, my sister in law and I did- our husbands wouldn't touch the stuff.

Delicious- for pumpkins. . .

Oh, and I burned the rolls. But the cookies were great.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008


Thanksgiving Pictures, Images and Photos
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a lady in a store. She made the comment that no one is truly happy.

I thought for about 2 seconds, and said "I am."

It caught her off guard. "What?"

"I'm happy."

"You are delusional. That's what you are" was her response.

"I have a healthy family that I love and I'm assured every day that they love me. We are healthy. I have friends that I lean on as much as they lean on me. I go to a church where I feel welcome and wanted. I love my life. What is there to not be happy about?

I went on to explain that I do have my bad days, and there are moments that I'm not particularly happy about a situation. But overall, I'm happy because the good is always better than the bad.

So today, I'm really thankful that I am happy.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Was Looking Forward To Waffle House

For the past few years we've gone to the mountains for Thanksgiving with Justin's family. This year, it just wasn't possible job-wise, money-wise, time-wise, etc. for any of us.

It was pretty much up in the air about what we were going to do because of job scheduling. They might come visit us. They might stay home. We might go to his mom's house. We might go to Waffle House. I'm 100% serious about going to Waffle House. Ham and cheese sandwich with hashbrowns, scattered, smothered and covered.

I got the email on Monday morning that they were going to be able to come on Wednesday night. I gave my mother in law a call, to figure out the menu.

Guess what- I'm assigned the cookies. Again. But this year, she added the bread to my list of responsibilities.

Like I said last year, I'm so much more than just cookies. And it's at my house, so I'll make what I wanna.

Monday I fixed squash casserole and froze it. Tuesday I made potato soup for dinner on Wednesday and started the makings of spinach dip and a broccoli salad. Wednesday night, after working both jobs, I'm planning on making the stupid cookies. Thursday I'm making the mac n cheese, apple something, rolls, mashed potatoes, and corn. Oh, and I'm defrosting a pumpkin roll that I conned a friend into making for me to have at my open house. I saved one or three and froze them. I'm hoping to pass them off as my own. insert evil laugh

I've got the food planned. I've got the sheets washed. I've got the floors polished to a shine. I've got the games (Apples to Apples, anyone?) ready.

I've got to get off of this computer and get some sleep before this crazy weekend starts.

I sincerely hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

O Blingity Bling

Four months ago:

Maddie: What are you doing with our Christmas tree?

Me: We are getting rid of it. I don't want a rinky-dink Christmas tree in our new house. We'll get a new one when the time comes.

Maddie: But I love this tree. I wanna keep it forever and ever.

Me: Look, I'll buy you a brand new Christmas tree of your very own if you let me keep packing and getting rid of junk. Go do something.

Two weeks ago:

Me: Are you sure this is the one?

Maddie: Oh yes, it's perfect.

I now give you the most bling blingingest tree in all creation.

P.S. The ahem real Christmas tree is in the office.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's Inherited

My child has to be the pickiest eater in the entire world. No question about it.

She comes by it honestly, though.

When my husband was young, he hated all vegetables (and still does, to this day). His parents had the rule of finishing everything on your plate. He didn't want to.

When his parents left the table, he began stuffing his veggies in the door jam. Every day for two weeks.

And then, the smell came. The ants arrived shortly thereafter. His parents were not happy understatement of the year. But- they didn't try to force him to eat veggies anymore.

Maddie will eat mashed potatoes. But not the good kind. They have to be her daddy's instant potatoes. When offered homemade mashed potatoes, she said "I only eat Daddy's, NOT old lady kind." She will eat a few kernels of corn. That's it for vegetables.

Fruits are great. She loves fruit. Bananas, grapes, apples, and mandarin oranges. Wait- that's not that many. She will not eat peaches, pears, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc.

The only type of meat that Maddie will eat is a random hot dog or chicken nuggets- but only from Wendy's. She won't even try it.

Waffles, cheese, crackers, yogurt, cheese pizza, and biscuits round out the remainder of what she will eat. It's frustrating to say the least. On the positive side, she only drinks milk and water. She hates soda and tea. And her apple juice has to be watered down or she won't drink it.

A few days ago, she asked me if we were having turkey for Thanksgiving. I told her yes and asked if she would try a bite.

"No. I was just wondering if we were going to have it."

"But everyone eats turkey on Thanksgiving. Don't you just want to try a bite?"

"No. 'Cause God made the turkeys, and I'm not hurting anything that God made."

Apparently, I have a four year old vegetarian that doesn't like vegetables. I'm thinking it might be a Waffle House Thanksgiving.

And I'm okay with that.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Duck On Broadway

I love reading to Maddie. If it's the right book. And the right book makes all the difference.

Fortunately, Tennessee has a wonderful program that gives one book a month from birth until the child turns 5. Most of them are great books, but there are some that I dread reading. Inevitably, those are the ones that Maddie wants read over and over.

We have found a happy medium. Team Mom sent us three books from The Secret Mountain collection and I'm oh, so happy with them. Each book came with a cd that goes along with the book. I'm in love.

My favorite book/cd was A Duck in New York City by Connie Kaldor. There is this little duck that has big dreams of doing a ducky dance on Broadway. Despite all the nay-sayers telling him he couldn't do it, he believed he could and with the help of a truck driver named Big Betty made it all the way to New York.

The cd is hysterical. It is comprised of all the songs the duck sang on Broadway, including Slug Opera and If You Love A Hippopotamus. And the best part about it is they are easy enough for your child to learn and the lyrics are included in the book.

Another great Christmas present idea from me. You're welcome.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Secret Keeper Girls

I was an awkward preteen. No doubt about it. I had big glasses. Uncontrollable frizzy, curly hair. And a serious self-esteem issue.

I knew who I wanted to be friends with. But I was never quite cool enough to be part of their group.

There were times I was the mean girl. There were times I was on the receiving end of it.

I would not want to have to go through that age again. Ever.

It scares me to think of what the pre-teens are going through today. It has to be much harder than it was 'back in the day'.

Dannah Gresh author of Secret Keeper Girl is trying to make it a little easier- for everyone.

The first time I read this book, I read it through the eyes of a mom. And loved it. It is chock full of values that are so important in this world.

The second time I read it, I tried to go back and read it through the eyes of a 10 year old. II found it to be easy reading, funny, and totally relatable to today's youth.

I only read the first of the four books. Each book follows the lives of the four main characters in the books. The basic premise is four girls met in detention, become friends, and form a club. They each face problems and work through them.

Girls can go online to interact more deeply with the characters in the books. There are also mother/daughter assignments in the appendix, engineered to encourage talking to one another about something you both enjoy.

I highly recommend this series- particularly if you have a daughter between the ages of 8-12. And for the low price of $7.99, it would make a great Christmas present.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Pray Big

Our fellow blogger, Adrienne, needs some prayers. In a big way.

Go read her story. From start to finish. It will touch your heart. In a big way.

And then pray. In a big way.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Not Too Soon, I Hope

During a game of Go Fish

Maddie: "How old are you, Daddy?"

Justin: "32, I'll be 33 in March."

Maddie: "Mommy, how old are you?"

Me: "30, I'll be 31 in January."

Justin: "We are getting old."

Maddie: "Yeah- you are old. That means you are gonna die soon."

Thanks for the confidence, kid.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's My Turn- Finally

When Maddie was a newborn, she would wait until we were out and then have a huge blow-out diaper, usually all over me, and I would have to wear whatever I had on until I could get to a change of clothes. I would smile and continue on.

When Maddie was 1, she yelled "Oh crap" when the library clown dropped one of the balls he was juggling. I smiled and silently blamed her daddy and went on.

When Maddie was 2, she kept saying that she needed to go potty while we were in the bookstore. I knew she didn't because she had just tried. When I told her no, and continued looking at my book, she stripped off her clothes and took off running. Through the middle of the store. I couldn't catch her. And when I did, I gritted my teeth and went on. Right out the door.

When Maddie was 3, we were at the pool when a rather large man walked by. She yelled, "Now, that's a big belly!" I smiled and tried my best to pretend wasn't mine and carried on.

Monday, we took Maddie to see Madagascar 2 (which I really liked, by the way). We decided to do a little shopping while we were out.

As we were walking through the parking lot, I started singing "I like to move it, move" because I promise after you see that movie, it will be stuck in your head for another 6 months. I added a little booty shake to my song, because I just couldn't help myself.

"Mommy- stop."

"What? Dance with me. Move it, move it."

"Stop. People might see you."

"Okay- maybe they will dance with me."

"Mommy. You. Are. Embarrassing. Me"

Um, excuse me? I am embarrassing you?!? It's about time. I'm looking forward to the teenage years.

I just smiled and carried on.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's A Shame

I'm a failure. A quitter. When the going gets tough, well- I'm gone.

Okay- enough self deprecation.

But it's pretty much the truth in this circumstance.

I took my real estate license out of commission. I never used it anyway, so what was the point? And I owed the real estate commission over $750 by December 1 if I wanted to keep it. I'd rather give my child a Christmas.

I had moderate aspirations of becoming a real estate mogul in this itsy-bitsy town I live in. I planned on decorating my house room by room using only my commission. I wanted to succeed.

I didn't get a single listing. I didn't get a single client. And to be completely honest, I didn't really try to make it work.

I should be on some realtor's Wall of Shame board.

When I signed on with the construction company I work for, it was understood that I would be getting the listings for the houses they built. But then this whole economy thing happened and they stopped getting loans to build houses. I can't list a house that isn't there, now can I?


So now, I'm feeling like I don't really have any options- career wise. Except to continue waiting tables for the rest of my life.

And that's really NOT an option.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

True Love Part II

Remember Zach, the love of Maddie's life? He's the boy that Maddie talks about every day. The boy that Maddie sits beside at lunch, plays "mommy and daddy" with, and hugs and kisses every chance she gets.

He's the boy that broke her little 4 year old heart on Friday.

He told her that he wanted to marry Alisa instead of her.

I knew the day was coming. The day that I would have to comfort her because some boy hurt her feelings. I had no idea it would arrive a mere 4 years after she was born.

Justin and I talked to her and told her that there would be lots more boys and friends in her life before she gets married and that maybe Zach wasn't the one.

That night, her prayers went something like this: Dear God, Thank you for today and for my friends. Please let me have blonde hair like Alisa, so Zach will love me again. Amen.

It broke my heart.

I want to tell his mommy what her precious little Zach did. But I won't.

Unless it happens again. And then- it's on.

Like Donkey-Kong.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

I was driving in to work last week, thinking about what most of us are thinking about these days. Money. Or lack thereof.

And how cool it would be if we had some.

I walked into my office, and as I was unlocking the door, I glanced down and saw a lottery ticket. I walked inside, thinking that whoever dropped it would be back for it.

But then, I thought that maybe it was a gift from God that He really wanted me to get it. And win.

And who am I to argue with God?

The rules were to scratch off every square and if you get three matching numbers, you win that amount. Easy enough.

I got a 5. I got a 100. I got a 10. I got a 10,000. Then another 10,000. And then I got another 10,000!!!

I was conflicted. What if this really was someone else's that I just stole? Should I take it to the next office and casually ask if someone lost a lottery ticket? But this was God giving this to me, right? I could seriously use $10,000.

I had it spent in my head within 2 minutes.

I flipped the ticket over, to find out how to redeem my money. The instructions read:

Send winning tickets to to the Money Fairy, 123 NoWhere Dr in Makebelieve Land
Valid only in your dreams.
Odds of winning: 0 in 10,000

Seriously, God- not funny.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's Not You, It's Me

I see him coming towards me with determination in his eyes. I try to walk away and avoid him at all costs, but it is no use. He follows me.

I know what is coming. I dread what is coming. But there is no stopping a determined hugger.

I hug my family. I hug my close friends. I hug people I haven't seen in a long time or if something bad has happened.

I'm not a fan of hugging people that I work with. In fact, I'm just not a touch-feely type of person. And I don't see anything wrong with that.

I was talking to my friend about it, and she pointed out that Maddie is the exact same way. If Maddie doesn't want to hug someone, there is no way you can make her. I remember one of the first times we met a neighbor and her daughter. Her daughter tried to give Maddie a hug and Maddie actually looked like she was in pain. That's how badly she didn't want to give a hug.

The "hugger" at my work actually acts offended when I don't respond with a hug. He condescendingly asked if I ever hug my daughter.

It bothered me a lot that he said that.

Of course I hug Maddie. In fact, at 6 a.m. she crawls in bed with me. We snuggle. If we are watching tv, I'm usually holding her which, to me, is just like a hug. I hug her before I take her to school. I hug her when I pick her up. I hug her when she draws a picture. We love to hug each other.

Add my affectionate husband and hairless dog to the picture and I'm hugging all freakin' day long.

And I think that's why Maddie and I aren't big on hugging people we aren't that close to.

By the end of the day, we are hugged out.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

No Hustlin' or Gangsta Rap

There is a 2 mile stretch of road in the town near where we live that is shady. And by shady, I'm not referring to the amount of trees, I mean it's crime ridden, and somewhat scary.

We were traveling down this road on our way to lunch on Sunday. I looked at the corner market and saw a huge plywood sign that said "NO HUSTLIN" in handwritten letters.

I pointed it out to Justin and of course, Maddie's next sentence was, "What 'hustlin mean?"


"Um, it means to hurry." Please believe me.

"But why would that sign be at the store?" A little help here, Justin, would be great.

"It means to make a deal." Not that kind of help, Justin!!!

"Well, sometimes words have different meanings depending on what they mean." Huh?

"What does the store mean?"

"To take your time, honey, just take your time."


The subject was dropped. Thank God. Believe me, it was not fun trying to explain that one.

We continued on our way and pulled into the gas station in a nicer part of town. We had the windows down and Maddie and I sat in the car while Justin pumped gas.

A car pulled up beside us, gangsta rap blaring. Crazy loud. 30 seconds and 15 f-bombs later and I rolled the windows up.

It was still audible and Justin headed over to the driver.

"Hey, buddy- do you mind cutting that down a little? I've got my kid with me and I don't want her to hear that."


Justin repeated his request. The guy said he would and Justin walked off.

The music was never turned down. I was blaring Pat Benatar by that point, and I don't think Maddie caught any of the "f- that b*" craziness. She does randomly sing "Hit me with your best shot" though.

What bothered me the most about the whole situation was that the driver didn't see anything wrong with letting a 4 year old hear the garbage he was listening to. I'm no prude, by any means.

But still. I had already tried to explain what "hustlin' " meant.

And trying to explain the nuances of gangsta rap to my 4 year old was just too much. I didn't want to have to do it.

And I didn't think I should have to.

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Give Me Your Money-A-Thon

The thing I dislike most about Maddie's school is the fund raising. Hardly a day goes by that I don't get an email asking to support the band, the cheerleaders, the 5th grade Save the Turtle club, or the 8th grade High School Musical Fan Club. And by "support", I mean "give money".

Maddie is in the 3 day a week Mother's Day Out program. It's not even real school yet, but please don't tell her that.

I've avoided most of the money pleas. Like the freakin' plague. Mostly because we are not 100% sure that Maddie will be attending this school next year. And I don't want to give away my hard earned money to the building fund for a building that she may never step foot in.

Last week, I got the most dreaded of all fundraising strategies. The blank envelope in which to gather pledges for a walk-a-thon.


I considered calling upon my family and friends. But, really, why? Would I want to pledge money to a random school? Um, no. Did I want to explain that it was for the new building and then explain that we were switching schools? Definitely no.

So, I filled in my name and my name only with a pledge of $2/lap that Maddie walked. I figured that since each lap was 1/10 of a mile and she had 45 minutes to walk, I might be out $10-$12 tops. I could swing that.

When I dropped her off, I gave her the standard pep talk. "You will do great. Take. Your. Time. Don't worry if you are being the slowest. In fact, try to be the slowest. I know you can do it."

When I picked her up later that day, I noticed a number written on the back of her walk-a-thon shirt.

"Um, sweetie? Why do you have the number 19 written on the back of your shirt?"

"That's how many laps I did."


$38 going to a brand new building. Woo-hoo. insert heavy sarcasm.

Next time I'm sending Maddie to collect money. From neighbors. From strangers in the grocery. From the post office workers. From anyone that can not resist serious cuteness.

Seriously- who wouldn't give this princess riding a unicorn money?

It's a brilliant strategy, if I do say so myself. The school gets the money it wants so badly, and I won't have to give it to them.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bella's Baby

I've mentioned before how much Maddie loves horses. She looks for them in every field we drive by. She has come up with names for all of the horses that she hopes to have. One day, when she has a field of her own.

The obsession will not gone away.

The only thing that she might love more than horses is baby horses. Which makes the timing of the Bella Sara foals arriving even better.

We've gotten Maddie the Bella Sara cards before. Basically, they are trading cards designed with the horse lover in mind. Each card features a magical horse along with an inspirational message.

When Team Mom sent the Baby Bella cards, Maddie promptly took them out of their packages and pretended to cook them. It wasn't exactly what I thought she would do, but it occupied her for a while.

The next day, I decided to actually go on the website and set up an account. It was extremely easy and within minutes, I had all of her horses registered.

She loved it. She fed her horses, she brushed her horses, she gave them all new names. And I felt completely comfortable with her being on this website without me right over her shoulder the whole time.

Starting on November 6th, there will be a 10 day celebration on the website, where kids can win prizes, read stories, and get special codes for their horses.

If your little girl loves horses, I highly recommend checking out Bella Sara.

It's all the horse without the manure.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Just Stuff

My grandmother was a pack rat. She kept everything. It was one of those endearing qualities that would drive you crazy at times, and make you love her all the more at other times.

When I was young and would spend the night with her, one of my favorite things to do was to go into one of her back bedrooms, and just be nosy for a little while. I never knew what I would come across. It might be my dad's 8th grade report card, a picture of my grandfather, a magazine from the 70s or a card I made her in Kindergarten.

It was akin to a treasure trove.

When she died a couple of months ago, the entire family knew it would be a chore to go through her house. We knew there would be a lot of useless stuff. We knew we would be amazed at what we found.

Secretly, I had visions of my parents, sisters and I going through the rooms and laughing at the memories her stuff would bring. I wanted to ask my dad about some of the pictures I knew she had. I wanted to show Maddie what her great grandfather looked like. I wanted to find the dozens of handmade cards from all of her grandchildren and put them in little piles for my cousins to keep.

I'm afraid none of that will ever happen.

Her house caught on fire and burned to the ground this morning.

I understand that it was just stuff. And I'm eternally grateful that no one was injured and that it didn't happen when she was alive because it would have devastated her. But, it was her stuff.

And now, it's as gone as she is.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Redneck H(e)aven

In my early twenties, nothing got me more excited than to hear the phrase, "let's go to the flea market." My college roommate and I would hit every one we could find. We filled out every giveaway, watched every demonstration, and laughed at all of the quirky little things that we loved but couldn't afford.

The first time I went to the flea market with Justin, I was a little nervous. Would he be as much fun? Would he act as impatiently as he does when I am shopping for clothes. It was a big step. But, he passed with flying colors. We liked the same type of stuff, and shunned the junk. When he found baseball cards, I would sneak away and watch a mop demo. It was perfect.

We spent many weekends at the flea market when we first got married. We would find lots of stuff that we liked, but couldn't afford. We would gravitate towards the funny antiques that no one would really understand but us. And we liked it like that.

After Maddie came in the picture, we stopped going. I refused to push a stroller and run over every other shopper because I hate it when it happens to me. And now that she is old enough to walk around on her own, I'm afraid that she would get lost in the crowd and end up being sold in some secret area of the flea market that I don't know about.

But this was the weekend. Justin's mom agreed to watch Maddie for the weekend. We were already going to be in the area for a football game. We had plenty of time. I was almost giddy at the idea of all of the great deals we were going to find.

Two hours later and we had spent $3.75 on a package of veggie dip. And the only reason I bought that was because I felt bad for eating so many of their sample chips. There was no way I was buying the over priced food at the flea market.

I didn't need socks. I didn't feel comfortable buying over the counter medicine that expired two years ago. I didn't want a "Sham- Wow!" that was being sold at many antique booths. I didn't want a three dollar bra.

When did quirky become quappy? Or was it always?

The best thing that came out of our excursion to redneck h(e)aven was rediscovering how much fun can be had at a flea market.

Especially when you are with the right person.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Gripe

Why is it that the week I decide to start really watching what I eat and lose those 10 pounds that I've gained since summer, McDonald's brings back the Monopoly game?


I'm sure I could have won a free cheeseburger or fries or something by now. But I'm sticking to my coffee, water, and fiber diet. No matter what. Except tomorrow at the Vanderbilt/Duke football game where I'm sure I'll indulge.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Rug

Justin and I have definite ideas about how we want to decorate our house and what we want to decorate it with. I would term it understated contemporary.

We know what we like- pretty much everything at Target. And we know what we don't like- pretty much everything his mom likes.

This is what I like to call the "Bettye Effect"

Two months ago
Bettye: "I have a rug that you might like."

Justin: "We will look at it and see if we want it. But if we don't like it, don't get mad."

One month ago
Bettye: "You know, that rug has all of your colors in it. I think you will like it."

Justin: "We'll take a look at it."

Two weeks ago
Bettye: "You will love that rug. It would look so good in that room."

Justin: "Mom, I'm willing to look at it, but I make no promises."

Last Saturday
Bettye: That rug is going to look perfect in your office. The colors are going to match with everything. I just know it."

Me: looking feverishly for Justin "Okay."

I have a feeling I'm going to be getting a rug very soon.

And switching it out with the one that we like every time she comes to visit.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Paid In Full

"I WANT CHIPS!" I hear a little girl scream at our open house party. Nice way to use your manners. I get her chips.

Ten minutes later: "I WANT CHIPS!" Please would be nice. Justin gets her more chips.

"I WANT CHIPS!" Seriously, kid, where are Gramps and Grammy? Let them get you chips. I've got a house ful of people, and I'm not really good at this whole hostess thing.

I look around, hoping to see the grandparents of the little chip-loving screamer. No luck.

"Justin, did Dan and Bev leave?"

"Yeah, about 30 minutes ago."

"I wonder if they know they forgot their granddaughter." I hope they remember her before I run out of chips.

"Oh, they told me that if she gets too bad, to send her and her brother home."

This was in the midst of our open house party. The party that I was kinda ill prepared for. The party that I had a hard time remembering my own child, much less that she had her shoes on before running outside.

And suddenly, I was responsible for not one, but two more children. The older brother was fine. He was involved in a game of kickball and was no problem. The little girl, however had some issues.

Hitting was a problem. Laying on top of my niece and hitting her was another. Wanting to eat all of our chips became another issue.

I realize that they are our next door neighbors. I realize that the kids are around the same age and for the most part, have fun playing together. But, come on.

Two hours? In the middle of a party?

A little much.

We had been feeling guilty about letting him cut our grass while we watched tv. We were going to get them a gift certificate to thank them.

I think this was their way of making us pay.

And we did.

Our neighborly debt has been fulfilled.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Come On In, It's Open

We are not those people. You know, the people that entertain.

We've always been blissfully content to go to others' parties and gatherings. We'll gladly bring whatever needs to be brought, but having people over was generally just not done.

But that was when we lived in an apartment. A decidedly small apartment. Typically, having guests over consisted of quickly changing into swimsuits to head to the pool. If we did have overnight guests, they were treated to the couch and we tried to keep them as busy as possible so no one was cramped in our tiny place.

Well, now we have a house with plenty of room. And we thought a good way for everyone to see the house would be to have a big open house type thing.

It started out being just family, as Justin requested. Then I decided to not listen to Justin and invited friends, too. And now, I'm afraid we are in over our heads.

And the best way to tell Justin how many people are coming is on this blog. Itcouldbeclosetofiftyifeveryonecomes.

Yes, I'm happy everyone is coming. Yes, I hope everyone doesn't show up at the same time. Yes, I'm freaking out a little.

No, I don't know how to entertain properly. No, I'm not sure I'll have enough food. No, I don't know where everyone will park.

But, I'm determined that it will be fun.

Oh, by the way, if you are in Nashville, come on by. Just bring some sort of food. And park on the street.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Plea

Dear Mr. Webster,

I know that you are extremely busy, what with thinking up new words to put in the dictionary and all, but I could really use your assitance. I don't really need a new word, just a revision of an extremely old word.

Let me explain.

My daughter is going to be a princess riding a unicorn for halloween. The day after we bought the costume, she asked me what "uni" means. I explained that it means one and gave the example of unicycle.

Then she asked me what "corn" means. I looked at her like she was crazy because it is the only vegetable we can force down her princess throat. And by that, I mean it's her favorite.

"Why isn't it uni-horn"

I looked up the definition. I tried to explain that in a different language, "corn" actually means "horn". That didn't exactly work.

"Well, I want it to be unihorn."

So, Mr. Webster- can you help a mom out?

You see, we live in a new neighborhood. We will be meeting new neighbors on Halloween night. And my child is stubborn enough to call it unihorn all night long. I'm not quite ready for them to know how wonderfully weird she is.

My plea is this- change the word. It's only one letter, after all. And it sounds nice- say it with me- unihorn. Lovely, isn't it?

The best reason for changing the word is that. . .

it will make sense. To princesses and their mommies everywhere.



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Saturday, October 11, 2008


I text. I like to convenience of it. Sometimes, I don't have time for an entire conversation and would rather ask a quick question and get a quick reply.

I know people that are a lot better at it than me. Although I will always be better than Justin at it. I know people that can text and drive and never look at their phone. That is, until they get the reply and then they have to read it.

A few days ago, I stopped for a school bus to load the kids. Elementary aged kids. I watched them get on and the bus driver pull away.

The bus driver had her phone out and was texting. Texting while the kids loaded and texting while she was driving.

It shocked me so much that I almost pulled out me phone and texted my friend about it. But I changed my mind.

When Maddie starts Kindergarten next year, I'll drive.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Fall Is Here

It's fall. I love it. I love the colors. I love the weather. I love everything about it.

I decided to re-post a haiku I wrote last year, when I first started this blog. About the main reason I love the change of the season.


Long sleeves, sweaters, jeans
Fall is here, HOORAY!! It means-
prickly legs, for me.

What is your favorite thing about Fall??

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Even My Dog Gets It

Grendal has never been a particularly destructive dog. He usually just hangs out on the couch when we're not there.

However, yesterday was a different story. And I'm starting to think he is a lot smarter than we've given him credit for.

We've been watching a lot of the news lately. Yesterday we left CNN on when we went to run some errands. We came home to this:

Apparently, even our dog understands that the dollar is worth virtually nothing.

And I'm cheap enough to tape it back together.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It's My Choice, So Don't Ask

I've been wanting a new hair style for a long time. My problem is extremely curly hair. If it's too short, I look like a chia-pet. If it's too long, it gets too heavy and pulls the curls out in some places and looks stupid.

I decided to find a new salon in the town that we moved to. Suffice it to say that the "pickins were slim", as we say in Tennessee.

I found a little place that looked decent. I walked in, the four hairstylists were sitting in the back talking amongst themselves. One girl acknowledged me, but went back to her conversation after finding out I wanted a hair cut. Ummmm, okay- I guess I'll be leaving now. As I was trying to decide if I should just walk out, they started arguing over who had to cut my hair. Seriously? Don't you want the money? I tip really well.

She called me over and was actually really nice. I told her what I wanted and she began snipping.

"So. . . " Great, here it is. The questions they teach at hair styling school to get to know the client. Kids? From around here? Married?

". . . Who are you voting for?" You have scissors at my hair. I have a fifty/fifty chance of saying the wrong person and you jacking my hair up, forever. You are soooo not making me comfortable, right now.

"Oh, I haven't decided, yet."

I know, I know. It was a cop out. I know who I'm voting for and I'm not ashamed of it. But I'm not saying here, either.

I've always been under the assumption that who you vote for is a private matter. This election year, however, is not like others.

I've had people I work with ask. I've had friends ask. I've had customers ask. And now, I've had my brand-new, just met her 3 minutes ago, hairstylist ask.

Most of the time, my response is, "I'll vote for who I believe is the right candidate." And leave it at that. If I don't think about and blurt out the name, it's inevitable I just said it to someone who is voting the opposite. And then, I'm stuck listening to all of the reasons I'm wrong and they are right. And my response is usually, "I know your candidates views but my candidate's views align better with mine." And then I walk away.

But answering the girl cutting my hair about my presidential choice was not an option. So I lied and claimed that I didn't know. I'm pretty sure God will understand.

Has anyone else run into this issue? Do you ask random people who they are voting for? Or do you find it rude?

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Fifth

Most days I think I'm decent at this whole mom thing. Other days, I get looks from other moms that pretty much tell me that I'm doing it all wrong. And the looks say it all.

So. . . what tends to make other moms think you are a bad mom?

Your child shoplifting? Yeah- been there, done that.

Not being able to keep up with the PTA moms? I'll never be able to do that, so I'm over it.

Using your child's fascination with Cinderella to get a clean house? Whatever works.

Cheating at Candyland? I'll do it again, too.

She knows the concept of passing a drug test. I swear I have no part in teaching her this.

But, the latest transgression happened on Friday. I had gotten several calls from the school nurse that day about Maddie's rash. She told me how bad it looked, but she wasn't running a fever. She no longer thought it was poison ivy, but Fifth Disease.

Ever heard of it? It's a nasty, nasty thing.

It starts out as a fever, which Maddie had last week and we (including the doctors) thought it was a cold. Then, a few days later a rash breaks out. And this is not like any normal rash. It's a scary, "what's wrong with your kid?" kind of rash. Once the rash breaks out, they are no longer contagious. And there is nothing you can do about it.

When I picked her up from school, she ran up to me. I looked at her cheeks, which clearly had the "slapped cheek" look and I asked to see her arms. She held them up, and it was honestly the nastiest rash I've ever seen.

But what got me were the 2 audible gasps coming from other moms. Then, as my child is wont to do, Maddie decided to tell everyone about it. "Mommy, I've got fifth disease and I itch. These bumps are all over my belly and back. I can't get hot with this fifth disease, cause it makes it worse." Maddie, for the love of all that's holy, STOP saying disease.

Every time she said "disease" the moms stepped further and further away. They shielded their children as they walked by. They looked at me like it was my fault.

I knew it was pointless to explain that she was no longer contagious. And that I kept her home when she did have fever and was contagious. This time, it's not my fault!!!

I have a feeling that some parent didn't keep their child home from school when she was contagious. And if I asked each and every one of them. . .

they would plead the fifth.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

People Are Weird

I think it's safe to say that there are lot of weird people in this world. I also think it's safe to say that they all eat at the restaurant where I work.

Every September 30, a group of 20 or so people converge at the restaurant. They come to celebrate the grandmother's birthday. They order her a frozen drink, usually a pina colada. She also gets the steak and lobster, complete with sides and a salad.

She died two years ago.

Last year, they sent her food back to the kitchen because it wasn't cooked how she would have liked it.

No one eats the food or drinks the drink. It just sits on the table while the rest of the family eats.

This year, they scaled back. I guess the economy even hurts weird people. They only bought her a pina colada, but no meal.

They did, however, bring a birthday cake. And asked the servers to sing "Happy Birthday".

I didn't see how many candles were put on the cake, or who blew them out. I was too busy laughing at the servers who actually sang the birthday song to a dead woman.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

K'Nex Cookie

"Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away. . . " You know the song. You know the show. You know you are wondering what the gang on Sesame Street has been up to.

Maddie loved Sesame Street when she was younger. For almost the entire hour, she would sing, say her letters and numbers, laugh with Elmo and Cookie and basically give me time to get stuff done. Or take a nap.

I thought she had outgrown the show. Until I got one of these in the mail. A Sesame Street K'NEX- Cookie Monster.

We opened the package and Maddie played with it for about an hour. Making Cookie have short legs, long arms, big belly, small belly, with a head, without a head. She made up stories about what Cookie was about to do and where he wanted to go next.

It was fun listening to and watching her. I loved the fact that it was an educational toy and inspired her imagination. I really, really loved that it comes in a package that keeps all of the pieces stored away.

So, remember that the holidays are coming quicker than we realise. And they come in other characters, not just Cookie. So, check it out.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Madre De Dio- I'm An Idiot

Ever had one of those days where you feel like you just don't have a clue about being a parent, in general? And then, to end the day, your child does something and makes you feel like a complete idiot.

It was time for bed. Teeth had been brushed, books had been read, all that was left were prayers. There are nights that Maddie says the sweetest prayers I've ever heard. Other nights, she taps her head and says that she is just going to think it. Some nights she flat out refuses. And, then- there was this one.

I told her it was time for her prayer. She bowed her head, closed her eyes, and I gave myself a mental high five.

Then, she started. Singing. In Spanish.

I heard Je`sus. I heard Dio. And that's all I understood.

When she was done, I said amen.

And got a sigh of disgust. "Mom- if I pray in Spanish, you say ahhhhh-men. Not amen."

"Um. Okay. I'll try to remember that." And while I'm sure God understands you, I don't. Let's keep it in English, m'kay?

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Drumroll Please. . .

The winners of my first blog giveaway are:

Cathy at Noble Pig, whose blog usually leaves me hungry.

Carrin at Carrin's Comments, who apparently stalks me and I had no idea, but found it pretty cool.


Nissa at Nissa's Niceties, who has a blog like your's- only nicer.

Congrats to the winners! Please email me with your mailing address, and I'll send it right to you.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Welcome To The Neighborhood

The temperature was perfect. The lack of humidity was perfect. The day was perfect for running. And it was going to be the first time running in my new neighborhood.

As I was walking out the door, Justin asked, "You gonna carry some pepper spray with you, just in case a dog comes after you?"

"Whatever. I'll be fine."

And for the first mile, everything was great. I was making good time. I was waving to neighbors I haven't met, yet. Freely calling out "good morning" to anyone that was outside. Life was good.

I topped a hill, waved to a man and his son, noticed a little girl in the next yard, and was then scared out of my mind. A humongous, Kujo looking Rottweiler came out of nowhere, jumped on me, and bit my arm. I screamed, jerked back, and seriously questioned the whole running in the neighborhood thing.

The man across the street saw the whole thing, came over to check on me, and tried to explain that he had never seen "Sampson" do anything like that. I looked at my arm, and showed him the puncture mark. It didn't break the skin or anything but still- it hurt.

When I got home and told Justin and my parents what happened, they insisted I call and report it. Then my mom and I went to the house where it happened. The lady was leaving as we pulled up. I went over to her and explained what happened.

She was super nice and apologetic. The man who saw the whole thing had actually already gone over and told her about it. She claimed that it had never happened before and I'm inclined to believe her. She has small children and they were outside with the dog when it happened. I think I probably scared it and it was protecting his family. Who knows.

I do know that if it had wanted to hurt me, it could have. Badly.

And that scares me.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Breaking The Rules

Wednesday I got the call. The call every parent dreads. You know the one- the one from the school nurse.

"I have Maddie, here. She's broken out in a bad rash on her arms, legs and cheeks. I think you should come get her."

No problem.

I decide to go ahead and take her to the doctor, just in case it is something serious, but I was almost 100% sure it was poison ivy. It had the same pattern that mine did last week, it got worse when she was hot, and she was itchy.

When we got to the office, I heard sneezes. I heard coughs. I heard germs breeding.

We signed in and were directed to the sick patient waiting area. I leaned in close to the receptionist. The other moms inched forward, knowing what I was going to do and wishing they could do the same.

In a half whisper, "All she has is poison ivy. Can she please sit in the well patient area? I really don't want to have to come back in a couple of days for something else."

She looked around, I'm assuming to see if her co-workers were listening. "Uummmmm. I guess it's okay."

It was poison ivy and it's getting better.

Despite my precautions, Maddie woke up this morning with 101 fever and a sore throat. Apparently, some sick kid sat in the well patient area.

And I'm guessing the parent knew about it.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Conundrum

There was an segment in our local paper last week, asking a question that has plagued me. I can't stop thinking about it because I simply don't know the answer. And it's driving me crazy.

"What would your last meal be?"

Justin knew right off. Salmon patties, fried potatoes, and cookies.

My biggest problem in deciding this is it all depends on what season it would be.

Winter I love potato soup or chili. Or lasagna. Or spaghetti. Or ham, sweet mashed potatoes, squash casserole, and yeast rolls.

Summer, give me a big 'ole bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich- but only if the tomatoes were grown by my dad. Lemon icebox pie. Watermelon.

Spring would have to be fried chicken on a Sunday afternoon. With green beans, corn, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes.

Fall brings fried apples, pumpkin rolls, and well- all things turkey. Since I don't really like turkey that much, I hope I don't have to make the decision in the fall.

This doesn't even begin to cover all of the other foods that I like. Frosted Mini- Wheats, grapefruit, yogurt, biscuits, root beer floats, chicken parmesan, vegetable soup, bananas, strawberry pie, Snickers, pancakes, french fries. . .

The possibilities are endless.

I think I might need an all you can eat buffet for my last meal. With a little of everything on it.

Is this a problem for anyone else or do you know right off what your last meal would be?

Don't forget to enter the giveaway!!!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Soup, Anyone?

Chicken soup. Is there anything better? Especially, when it's for your soul?

I remember getting my first Chicken Soup For The Soul book when I was in my first year of college. My roommate and I devoured that book. It made me feel all warm and cozy all over. Granted, that may have been the copious amounts of adult beverages in my system but I like to think it was the book.

Anyway- The generous folks over at Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists asked me if I was interested in hosting a giveaway/review of not one, not two, BUT three books.

Of course, I agreed. Isn't that what blogging is all about? The reviews, the giveaways, the shameless requests for comments?

So, three of my lucky readers will be receiving a book. I will utilize a highly secure method of printing off your comments and letting Maddie pick the winners.

I just need to know which book you want. And I'll work out the details laters.

Book 1: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Like Mother, Like Daughter- Stories about the special bond between mothers and daughters.

Book 2: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Moms Know Best- Stories of appreciation for mothers and their wisdom

Book 3: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Moms and Sons- Stories by mothers and sons, in appreciation of each other.

I've read through a few stories in each of these books, and I haven't been disappointed. Keep in mind that the holidays are right around the corner, and any of these would make a great present.

Just leave a comment with what book you are interested in. Comments will be taken until Sunday night at 11:59. Winners will be announced on Monday.

Good luck!

Dangitall- now I'm craving a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

One Year Down

One year ago, I was sitting in front of my computer thinking to myself. I think I'm gonna start a blog.

And I did.

I had no idea what I was doing or why I was doing it. But I liked it. And I still do.

I still remember the feeling I got the first time I received a comment from someone that I wasn't either friends with or related to. I still get that feeling when I realize that someone new just read what I wrote.

I like looking at my life through the eyes of my blog. How can I write about this? Is this funny to anyone but me? Will people understand? Or care?

I've come to realize that the posts that people most care about (comment on) are the ones that are me. And that's a pretty cool feeling. When I stray from my true self, I find that you guys know and retaliate by not leaving comments. Ahem. I'll try to work on that.

I know this has been a total random post with lots of random thoughts, but it's my blogiversary.

And I'll be as random as I wanna be.

Come back tomorrow for my first ever give-away!!!

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Right On Target

I've been in a funk, lately. I can't really pinpoint what's been going on.

Maybe it's the economy. Maybe it's the high gas prices. Maybe it's the passing of my grandmother. Maybe it's the poison ivy. Maybe it's the stupid prednisone that I have been taking because of the poison ivy, that makes me irritable, hungry and downright nasty to be around.

Who knows?

But, I don't like it.

I don't like being impatient with Maddie when she asks 853 times if she can have a gem set that will help her clothes become more beautiful. I don't like wanting to eat everything I see. I don't like getting short with Justin over stupid stuff.

So, last night I got off work a little early. I was pulling out of the parking lot, and I turned right instead of left. For some reason, my car had a mind of it's own.

And it drove me straight to the Target parking lot.

I had one hour.

The minute I walked in, my mood lifted. This is what has been wrong with me.

I've missed Target.

When we lived in the apartment, Target was less than 5 minutes away. Now, it's 30.

I can no longer say "I'm running to Target, I'll be back in a half hour." I can no longer update my friends on what they just put on the clearance rack. My 2-3 times a week shopping trip has been cut back to twice a month.

And that is what has made me be in this funk. I'm sure of it.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Inner Monologue Take- Over

It was almost closing time at the restaurant. I had been up since 6, getting Maddie ready for school, me ready for work, going to work and school, picking up Maddie from school, meeting Justin for an early dinner and me going to my second job of the day/night.

I was tired.

Really tired.

I was waiting for one table to finish up their dinner and then, I was outta there. Enter four tables at the same time. 30 minutes before we closed.

I stayed to pick up a table. No big deal. I thought they would be in and out in no time.

Fast forward to an hour after we closed. My table was still there. With no intention of leaving. My friend and I made every effort to make them see that it was time to go. Lights were dimmed. Music was off. Every dish was off the table.

"Um, miss?" What? Don't ask for anything. The bar is closed. The kitchen is closed. WE ARE CLOSED. LEAVE!

"Can you call us a taxi?" Are you planning on tipping me more?

"Sure. What time should I tell it to be here?"

"Whatever time you want us to leave."

And this is where my inner monologue took over my mouth and I said the first thing that came to mind.

"I should have called a long time ago then, huh?"

They didn't tip nearly as well as I thought they might. Wonder why?

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

True Love

When I picked up Maddie on her second day of school, she ran up to me, gave me a big hug, and said, "Mommy, I have- like- a boyfriend, now!" But, but, you've had the same boyfriend since before you were 2. We know him. We like him. We like his parents.

"Oh, really. What's his name?" Say it's still Ethan. Please, say it's still Ethan.

"Zach. He's a nice boy. He gave me a hug and kiss, and my teacher knew that it was true love, so she let us sleep next to each other during quiet time." Excuse me?!?! You've known this boy for 2 days and you are already sleeping with him?


"Um, Maddie- what about Ethan? You know, your best friend, your boyfriend, the kid you have been planning your wedding with?"

"Yeah- don't tell him."

Fast forward to that night. She tells Ethan the minute she sees him that she has a new boyfriend. And at the end of the night, she hugs him and gives him a kiss, like nothing has changed.

"Don't tell Zach, Mommy."

It's going to be a long 14 years. I hope her Daddy is prepared.

Cause I'm not.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

You Talkin' To Me?

It was my first time. I walked in with trepidation. Who comes here? Will I fit in? Will I want to come back? Because I need to want to come back, in order to come back.

The first people I encountered were older. They were sitting around drinking coffee, and playing checkers. Their table was full- no room for me, even if I wanted to join them. I got a few hesitant smiles from them, then they went back to their conversations about what coupons were in yesterday's paper.

I walked into the main room. It was virtually vacant. I grabbed a spot and started doing my thing. I concentrated on my work and made eye- contact with no one. Because where I come from, eye contact is not really welcomed by others.

An older gentleman walked up to the space beside me. When he spoke, I looked around to see if he was talking to me or one of the other 5 people in the room. "So. . . you new around here?"

Yep, he was talking to me. I responded with a breathless, "Yes, we just moved to the area."

"Welcome, then. Hope to see you at this gym again. I'll let you get back to your workout." And he walked back to his friends and the checker game. I think I saw money exchange hands, but I'm not sure.

The gym I went to for 5 years was really nice. There was a wide age range, with most of the people being in their 30s and 40s. There were tv's on every cardio machine. There were seperate rooms for cardio, weights, abs, stretching, etc. I loved it. Everyone was friendly, but not so overtly friendly that they would interrupt your workout- especially if America's Next Top Model was on. Well, except this one woman. . .

My new gym, well, is different. I'm definitely in the youngest age group. And that's including the children in the nursery. There are 4- yes- 4 tv's in the gigantic room. And most of the channels are set to QVC, which is strange because most people aren't even in the room- they're playing checkers. If you step off of a cardio machine, you basically bump into whoever is doing weights behind you. To stretch and do abs, you find a mat and squeeze in wherever you can fit.

But, I love working out. I can't afford the gas to drive to my old gym, so I'll be staying at the new place.

The talking to me during my cardio, my quiet time, my stress relief, though? It's got to go. And if I have to pretend I'm listening to an invisible iPod to make it stop, I will.

Try me.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008


I'm a mosquito magnet. Apparently, those little blood suckers can't get enough of me. I walk outside and the alarm is sent- "Fresh blood!!! Come get your fresh blood!!"

And I'm attacked. I'm lucky if I walk back inside with fewer than 5 bites in 15 minutes.

So, for the last few days, I've been really diligent about putting on bug spray when working in the yard. I spray every inch of skin I can see, then try to spray the skin I can't see- just in case. Ha! See if you can get me know, sucka!!

Yesterday, I noticed some bumps on my arms and legs. Unbelievable. They broke through the shield. Then, I noticed that the bumps were really close together and looked like little blisters. I woke up today with the blister like rash on my face and one ear.

And I'm itchy.

Yes, I fell victim to poison ivy. I should have heeded my mom's words, "leaves of three, leave 'em be." But I couldn't. I couldn't tell how many stinkin' leaves were on the plant because they were mixed in with tons of other plants choking the life out of my tree. The ground was covered with the stuff and now I'm covered with it's nastiness.

I'd rather face West Nile virus with mosquito bites than this maddening rash from the demon plant.

I'm off to take a bath in Benadryl cream.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Morals Schmorals

When I heard about this, it made me sick to my stomach. Seriously- What is wrong with people? I'm all for enterprising young women staying out of debt but come on!

Wanna know what I'm talking about? Click here.

What do you think?

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

What's That Say?

His eyes squint when he reads. The newspaper gets closer and closer to his face each year.

Road signs are harder and harder to see. In fact, he is now a professional at turning around or finding a new route.

And he gets headaches.

Last week, my husband finally came up with the solution to his biggest problem.

"Hon, we need to get a bigger television. Especially when football season starts. I can't see the score on our little one."

Sure. . . and while he is shopping for his new big screen, I'll be calling the newspaper to order the bigger print and the county government to petition for bigger road signs and a doctor to give him Botox from squinting so much.

And all that is sooo much easier than getting glasses.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Sweetest Words

There have been lots of moments that I've been extremely proud of Maddie. The first time she rolled over, her first steps, the first time she told me "I wuv you", all made my heart swell.

And, every day I am more and more proud of her. Like when she told me that she would rather go to Target than Wal-Mart, I knew I had taught her well.

But nothing had prepared me for the flood of emotions that overwhelmed me upon learning of her newest accomplishment. I was completely unprepared, in fact, I was floored.

When she told me what she had done, I did a little happy dance. I began to think of how I could spend my free time that I would now have. I might make bread one day. I could learn French. I could get caught up on Project Runway, American's Next Top Model, and Top Chef. The possibilities are endless.

I still hear her glorious words, usually right before I drift off to sleep.

"Mommy, look!! I know how to dress my Barbies now!!"

My prayers have been answered.

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Moments Like These

I saw it every day when we lived in the apartment, but it was packed into a box and somewhat forgotten about.

When I came across it a few days ago, it brought tears and a smile at the same time.

Tears because I will never see her again. Tears because Maddie may not remember her like I want her to. Tears because the world was a better place with her in it.

And I smiled because I will see her one day. And because I do remember everything she meant to me. And because heaven is the perfect place for her.

I'm talking about my favorite picture of my grandmother with 3 of her 10 great-grandchildren. It was taken last summer and hung on my refrigerator until we moved.

I wish I had more of her. More pictures. More hour long conversations about nothing. More Coca-cola cake. More Sunday afternoon lunches with the family.

More moments like these.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Spoiled Bratdog

I will be the first to admit that my mother spoils me and my family. In fact, when we go visit it is almost like a luxury hotel- complete with child care.

She cooks my favorite foods. She lets us sleep in. She makes Justin chocolate pies, yes- pies. If my laundry is in her washer, she sneaks in and puts softener in the load.

Maddie wants nothing to do with me or Justin when we are there. She is Gray-um's girl. And Gram always has some new toy or craft to entertain her.

But, this time she's gone too far with her spoiling of my family. Did I really just say that?

When we were moving from the apartment to the house, we knew it would be easier on us to not have a dog underfoot. My mom graciously let Grendal stay at her house for almost a month.

He is now a spoiled brat.

For 6 years he has eaten the cheap brand of dog food, and liked it. No complaints.

Grendal discovered her dog Lily's food while staying with her. Lily's food is the good stuff. Definitely not the cheap stuff that he's used to.

Yesterday, we ran out of the dog food that Gram sent back with us. I gave him some of the old stuff. The brat sniffed of it, turned up his nose and walked away. He hasn't eaten all day.

Justin just went to the store and bought him the dog food of the elite. As I type, he is chowing down.

What can I say? My dog's got taste. After all, who wants project steak bologna after you've gotten used to prime rib?

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Nightmares Include Mr. Licorice

I have a confession to make. One that may cause you to change your opinion of me- forever. But, I need to do it.

Give me a minute to decide how I need to say this.

Okay- deep breath.


There- I said it. I. Cheat. At. Candyland.

Don't get me wrong. I don't cheat to win. I don't cheat to let Maddie win. I cheat so the stupid game will be over as quickly as I can manage it. I've got it down to a science.

I put all of the candy cards as close to the front of the deck as possible. That way, there is no chance of playing for 30 minutes, one of us making it 3 blocks away from winning, only to get that stupid Mr. Mint card and have to go all the way back. Get all of them over with, and bada-bing, bada- boom the entire game is over in 15 minutes or less.

If you also move most of the double color cards to the front, you can cut that time in half. You can play more than one game in the same amount of time, and your child is none the wiser. It's pure genius.

Once I figured out the finer points of cutting down the time and unexplained rage towards a gumdrop creature, I confessed my ways to Justin. I thought he would be proud of me. I imagined him asking me to teach him. I was wrong.

He couldn't believe I would cheat while playing a game with Maddie. He wouldn't listen about why I was doing it. He didn't care that it wasn't cheating so a particular person would win. I don't care about the winning.

It's the preserving of my sanity that I care about. And if I have to cheat to do it, I will.

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Well. . . That's Interesting

Most random conversation I've ever eavesdropped on:

"Yeah, I've gotta quit these cigarettes. That nicotine is somethin' else."

"You'd feel better if you quit, you know."

"Every morning, I sit down with my cup of coffee and smoke my 2 cigs. I take a puff and say to myself, "'This is the last time I'm gonna smoke. Just one more puff"' Now, believe me. . . I said that to myself a lot of times about a crack pipe before I ever meant it."

Yeah- I wasn't quite prepared for that one.

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Friday, August 29, 2008


Have you ever known of a place where you were always welcome, no matter what? Where the door was always open, and there was a cold Coke waiting for you in the 'fridge?

That's been my Mawmaw's house for as long as I can remember.

You could sit with her in her driveway, shucking freshly picked corn, and find out every bit of small town gossip within 20 minutes. Give her another 30 minutes and she could find out every single thing going on in your own life.

Every Christmas that I can remember, we've had a huge family lunch at her house. Aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews- everyone came to Mawmaw's house. Her eyes always had a way of lighting up, each time a family walked through her kitchen.

I remember her wanting to have cookouts on July 4th, because that was my grandfather's favorite holiday, even though he was no longer with us. And we did. But the fun didn't really start for us until dark. Her yard was always the best for catching fireflies. And she always had a jar for us to put them in.

As much as she may have loved her family, she loved God more. She could and would quote scripture like no one I've ever known. Every decision she made was carefully prayed over and she would keep praying until she knew what God wanted.

My mom was visiting last Friday. She got the call. The one we had all been dreading. Mawmaw had taken a turn for the worse. We left that day and drove back to Memphis to be with her.

My Mawmaw died on Monday night.

And a piece of my heart went with her.

I know that she is no longer in any pain. I know that she is with my Daddy Robert. I know that Heaven has always been her goal. I know. But she was my Mawmaw.

And I loved her.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Not Interested

Since we moved to our new house, we've been getting phone calls out the wazoo about everything possible. Phone service, cable service, land treatment, surveys, etc.

The other day, this sweet lady called and wanted me to do a quick survey about our water. No problem. It took about 3 minutes and I forgot about it.

The next day, I got another call from the same company. They wanted to come out and test our tap water. Before I could say no, they offered a gift certificate to a restaurant and movie passes. I'm a sucker for free stuff, so I agreed to let them come out to do the test.

Justin was not happy. He ranted and raved about how they were just coming out to try to sell us something. He said that he would take Maddie to the park, but his bubble was shot to pieces when I told him that we both had to be present. HA! He told me that if I answered "yes" to anything, he was gagging me.

I told him that no matter what, I would not buy anything that this guy was selling. I would not agree to getting a new filtration system, even if the salesman went into detail about every pharmaceutical and solid wasted product that is in our water.

Even as I promised him, I remembered when my college roommate and I had a makeup consultant come to our apartment. We promised each other that no matter what, we would not buy anything.

Two hours later, we were both several hundred dollars deeper in debt and certified BeautiControl agents. I still remember that woman's name. Ugh. She got us.

There was no way that was going to happen again.

A few minutes after the water man got to our house, Justin conveniently got a phone call and went to the bedroom. The man was going over everything that could possibly be in our water and said that he would wait to go over the rest when Justin got back.

I asked him if Justin had to be there. He said yes. That he would need to help me make the decision on getting this super expensive water filtration thing. I guess because, you know, a woman needs help making decisions on her own.

I took a deep breath. I knew what I had to do.

"Can I be honest with you? We can not afford this. We don't even have a refrigerator, yet. Which is why I want the $25 gift certificate to the restaurant of my choice, that was promised to me. No obligation to buy. So, he really doesn't need to be in here to help me tell you that I'm not interested." But please don't get mad and forget to give me my free stuff.

"Thank you for letting me know, up front. We are short staffed and there are lots of other stops I can be doing. Here's my card and your free gifts. Call me if you ever find yourself interested in this product or sick from all the contaminants in your water. I'll show myself out."

And, that was that.

As I was drinking my non- filtered water, I had an epiphany.

Telling someone "no" is a lot easier than I thought. And a heck of a lot cheaper.

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