Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Paddle in the Pond with Uncle...

My mother lives in a neighborhood that has a large pond. It's called Lake Ida, but it's not really a lake. Anyway, my brother was in town recently and took two of his nieces for a ride.




There used to be a restaurant on the pond, but it closed a few years ago. My brother would put the children in the raft and paddle to the restaurant. They would eat and then paddle back to the other side.


My brother loves his nieces and nephew. In fact, he never refers to Layton by name. He will ask, "How's nephew?" He enjoys recreating the danger of our childhood and then returning the children to their parents. When I say danger, I don't mean that we were dangerous children, but we did have an interesting grandfather. For example, if he were coming over to our house to grill, he would throw charcoal in his grill, load it in the back of his truck, light it on fire, drive to our house, and announce that the coals were ready. He taught us the joys of eating sardines while fishing and how to catch snakes in the creek. I think I am going to try and dig out some photographs of us with him. That would make an awesome post...things you did as a child that you would never in a million years let your child do.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bad to the Bone...You're Going Straight to Hell...

I have never been known for having a sparkling personality or charming wit.

If anything, most who know me in real life would probably describe me as the most unbearable person on the planet. I am cranky and don't possess one bit of southern charm. It's like I am the anti-southerner. I am socially retarded. I haven't a clue what is appropriate to say in a conversation. I probably cross "the line" all the time and don't even know it.

Earlier this week, though, I did accomplish something great, something great in my book indeed. I kept my mouth shut. I had the overwhelming urge to give a group of women a harsh cussin', but I kept my mouth shut.

I was at the dentists' office (yes there are four in the practice. I am not making use of the plural possessive for fun.) with the children this week. I was the only mother in the waiting room who was not a member of a certain home school group relatively nearby.

Woman in Denim: Do you home school your children?

Me: No. They go to public school.

Woman in Denim: Do you love your children?

Me: Yes, I am just not a very good teacher.

Underneath my restraint, was the urge to get up and whack her bun right off her head. It was 50 degrees outside, and her three girls had on short sleeved shirts with knee length denim skirts and flip flops. There wasn't a coat in sight. I wanted to look at her and scream...I LOVE MY CHILDREN ENOUGH TO DRESS THEM APPROPRIATELY FOR THE WEATHER!!! I LOVE THEM ENOUGH TO KNOW MY OWN LIMITATIONS!! I LOVE THEM ENOUGH TO NOT GET ARRESTED FOR BEATING THE MESS OUT OF YOU FOR IMPLYING THAT I DON'T LOVE MY CHILDREN BECAUSE I DON'T HOME SCHOOL THEM!!

From that point on, it was apparent that this pack of home schooling wolves was not going to be polite to me. I tried to offer a crayon from the bowels of my purse to one of the pack's screaming toddlers; her mother told her not to take it. She was looking at the orange crayon like I had dipped it in a petri dish of small pox before offering it up to her. I tried to make small talk about the upcoming holiday season and the lovely decorations in the lobby. You'd think I just confessed to murder based on their reactions. After being asked what church I attend, I was told that I was going to hell if I didn't accept Jesus the proper way. I guess they meant that I had to attend their church if I wanted to have an actual relationship with Christ. Thankfully, I received a phone call about that time. I didn't want to learn the name of a church that condemns other denominations to hell. I believe there are many paths to the same God. The path that I choose to believe in and practice does not have to be the same as yours. I also believe that enough war and killing has taken place in the name of the Lord.

The point is that each of us has to walk a path in life. Every one's path is not the same. Why are we still fighting about whose path is best? So, instead of fighting, I bit my tongue. I was silent. I had time to reflect on what had just happened. I let go of my anger and judgement. I had a moment to realize that I was going to turn the other cheek. And so, as I left the building that afternoon, I held the door open for a small group of children and their mother...a mother who had openly stated that my final destination will be hell. As she walked past me, I shouted, "Happy Thanksgiving!" Maybe I am a fool, but I slept well that night.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Blurry Robe Picture...

The other night I was working with some laundry when my middle child pranced into the den. Yes, she prances. Anyways, she had gotten out of the tub and went to put on some jammies. That's what she calls pajamas. Imagine the smile on my face when she pranced in wearing a robe and slippers. I've never seen a child love a robe as much as she.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Facebook or Fakebook?...


Are you on facebook? I'm not. It's just not something I can take on right now. I have a blog, twitter, email, text messages...I can't handle more social media.
The photo above was captured by a local news station. Apparently, the man in the picture is a deputy, and the woman is a city employee. Neither has been named publicly.
The deputy has been placed on leave pending an investigation. The photos were taken at a Halloween party.
I have an issue with this being an issue. If this same photograph were taken in 1950, no one would have known about it. The Internet, specifically facebook and blogs, force all of us to be on our best behaviour. Is this the first law enforcement officer to use his cruiser as a prop in a photo? Probably not. Will he be the last? Probably not.
Do you think that the two individuals in the photograph should lose their jobs because of this?

Okay, I Admit It...

So, I did a whole post about the things I am not thankful for. I felt I should take a few moments out of this week to show off the three things I am always thankful for in my life. I could list hundreds of bullet points about why I love them, but I have chosen to link a series of fragments instead.


The Hadley. The one. The only. The master of strange food combinations. Seriously, who eats salsa on cool ranch Doritos? She is my first child. My relaxed child. My quiet child. She is thoughtful and kind. A lover of animals. A child who loves her younger siblings.



The Ella. Sassy. So much potential. My cuddle bug. The only person I have ever known who truly loves unconditionally. She idolizes her big sister. Adores her brother. Loves to cook. Gives more hugs and kisses than anyone I know. My middle baby.




The Layton. The chop. The one who makes funny faces for pictures. The curly hair that captivates my soul. The dimples that melt my heart. The one who calls his teeth chicklets. My boy baby. At least that's what he tells me. The youngest of my brood.




These photos were taken at a local restaurant. I used my cell phone, so they aren't really good pictures. I sat with my family eating chips and salsa and was overcome with love for my little ones. I know that I am cynical sometimes. Ok, a lot of times. But, when you sit and listen to innocent children talking about the upcoming holidays, it sparks a flame. A longing for the days of yore when I was ridiculously excited about eating turkey with my cousins. A time when it seemed like Christmas took FOREVER to arrive. A time that seemed magical. So, I will make every effort to make the holidays as magical and wondrous as possible for my young.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Things I Am Not Thankful For...

Over the last several days, I have noticed a trend among bloggers, radio shows, television programs, and people I know. It seems that everyone is listing the things he or she is thankful for.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving was actually a day to give thanks for the harvest. Some time during the last 388 years the holiday morphed into a day of general thanks.


I've heard all the lists...I'm thankful for my children...my parents...my friends.... So, I've decided to prepare a list of things that I am not thankful for...things I will never be thankful for...









1. The plastic stuff that companies feel the need to package products in. You know what I am talking about. You wind up cutting the whole darn package and yourself trying to free a desirable new toy. Whoever invented this stuff is going to get a Christmas present from me this year....wrapped in plastic.






2. The twisty tie things that hold toys into the boxes. I want to hunt down the twisty tie inventor and twisty tie him to my front door.




3. Stomach Viruses. I will admit to seeing the silver lining of having a stomach bug...buttoning pants that you haven't worn in three years because your backside got too dang big...but I will never be thankful for a stomach virus. Gross.





4. Disease. In general. Cancer, flu, AIDS, cholera, heart disease, genetic disorders...nope. I am not thankful for disease.



5. Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag. Yeah. Whatever. I just can't tolerate them. I'll say a prayer for myself for being so rude. Speidi would approve of that.

I guess that is all I can think of for now. I have no doubt that I will think of 12 more things I am not thankful for now that I am done with this post. I'll just make another one later...

Dental Appointments...Like Pulling Teeth...

Monday, I took the children for their dental appointments. Everything went well for the three nuggets. All their teeth are exactly as they should be. Ella will go back in two weeks for an adjustment to her expansion joint. Other than that, the teeth are good.



The office has a hamster cage for the children to play on. No, not a real hamster cage...that's just what I call it. Layton played hard on it. Here are a few shots from my phone.




This is what the cage looks like from the outside. It has a warning about shoes, weight, and other stuff.




While I was there, I was confronted by a group of women. It was like they turned into a pack of wolves or something. I am going to devote an entire post to it later in the week. I think I actually need to cool off before writing about it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Little Man...Big Fight...

Lacy recently informed me about Noah. He is a beautiful little boy who is fighting a brain tumor. Please keep him and his family in your prayers if you feel compelled.

Gifts and Guns....

Over the weekend, I worked the Christmas Open House in downtown Athens. My willingness to help out with open house (wrapping Christmas gifts) meant that my dear spouse was going to have to be in charge of the children. He took them to Lowe's, Village Pizza, and the family farm. While at the farm, the little ones elected to shoot their rifles.



Hadley did not wear camo and did not wish to be photographed. She was in the house playing on her DS.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Galaxy of Lights...

Friday night, Jay and I took the children to Huntsville to the Galaxy of Lights. It's a mile and a half long drive through the Botanical Gardens.

The wonderful thing about this particular night was that it was a walking tour instead! So, we put on our coats, paid to enter, and began our walk through the lights.


The Clubhouse....






Halfway through the walk, there was a tent set up with tables, heaters, and hot cocoa for sale.
It was a welcome break. The three little ones were all tired after 3/4 of a mile on foot.









I am not very gifted in the photography area, so none of my pictures are any good. You can see how the lights looked along the walk though.










After the walk was over, the volunteers had arranged for a certain man in red to be waiting for all the children. Ella was our only child who wanted to sit in his lap. Hadley claimed to be too old. Layton appeared to be scared. Ella was just right.






The children were as wild as ever! Layton made funny faces, Ella posed and smiled non-stop, and Hadley would force a smile when I begged for it.


















Friday, November 20, 2009

Norman Rockwell...Eat Your Heart Out...

Preface: Yes, I know I scanned the first one crooked. Deal with it. :)

This weekend is the kickoff of the holiday season in Athens!!! Christmas Open House weekend is so wonderful!!! The stores in downtown usually have some type of sale going on...a horse drawn carriage provides the ambiance of yesteryear...Santa shows up for a photo op...Christmas carolers will be bringing the spirit to downtown...it is one of the best weekends in Athens!! The courthouse is already decorated with wreaths and garlands, and all the stores are beginning to smell of cinnamon and cider. My heart is overflowing with the warmth and joy of the season to come.

Norman Rockwell's images and artistry have nothing on my small town Christmas Open House. I am helping a friend this year too! Tammy (owner of Trinity's Gifts and Interiors) is one of my best friends, and she is expecting a baby girl. She needs to spend time resting not working open house, so I am going to be assisting in the store. YEA!! I am super pumped about it.




And, just look at this list of participants!!!




If you have time and are relatively close to Athens, I would highly recommend a visit to open house. Everything from clothes, candles, hardware, books, candy, and fine art will be available. Come get a jump on your Christmas shopping!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How Many Feminists Does it Take to Screw in a Light Bulb?...

I cannot count the number of times in my life that I have heard the following statement:



You can do anything you want.





Teachers, parents, motivational speakers...they all kept telling the females of my generation that we could do anything we want. They pushed the issue...women can do anything that men can do. For the most part, I grew up believing that I could pursue any career I wanted to.



So, I went to college. I pursued my education. I worked hard. I entered the workforce, and I still worked hard.



Because I can do anything I put my mind to. Right?



Then, our family began to expand. I paid for daycare. I still pay for daycare. And, I still worked hard.



Because I can succeed in any job I want. Right?



The work didn't stop at the office. As our family grew, so did the piles of laundry and toys. The fingerprints on the glass seemed to multiply while I was asleep at night. So, I worked harder to try and keep up with the office, the house, the husband, the children.





After all, I can do anything I want to. Right?



I find myself at war...an internal war between my emotion and my cognition. The brain half of the war keeps telling me to just deal with it and keep working. The heart half of the war keeps telling me to be more like June Cleaver.

How does anyone ever truly find the balance between family and career? Is there a magic formula that I haven't figured out yet? Do I need antidepressants? Should I call Oprah's booking agent?

It seems to me that many women I know struggle with this.

Women who were pushed to stay home with the children dreamed of equality in the workforce. Women who work dream of staying home with the children.

My math skills are admittedly not what they once were, so I'm having trouble solving this equation.

Beef...It's What Was for Dinner...



After the baton competition last weekend, Jay and I stopped at All Steak to eat. It's a restaurant in Cullman, Alabama. They have lots of items to choose from, and I couldn't resist the kabobs. I think I ate my weight in crackers before the food came out though. I was really hungry. Anyway, I would recommend a trip to Cullman to anyone.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I mentioned my friend Kellee yesterday. Her husband died this morning from a massive heart attack. If you have a minute, please say a prayer for her family.

I am Ashamed...

I am ashamed to admit it, but I did some shopping outside of downtown Athens recently. The children really, really wanted to go see the new Christmas Carol movie. I caved and took them to Huntsville to see it in 3-D.



We went to Bridge Street. I'm sure that it has some proper name...like Bridge Street Towne Center....or something like that, but I just call it Bridge Street. I've only been there a few times and was a little nervous that I'd get lost on the way to/from the shopping complex.


We bought our tickets a few hours before the movie started. Then, I took the children to a few stores and to Cantina Laredo to eat. It was yummy. Layton ate a corn dog....in a Mexican restaurant. Hadley and Ella were a little more adventurous with their meal selections though.


Here are the three of my babes looking out at the fake lake that goes through Bridge Street. They also have gondolas and peddle boats. If only Bridge Street had been completed several years ago...Jay wouldn't have had to take me all the way to Italy for a gondola ride. :)




Ella had the most fun out of all three during the shopping/walking portion of our trip.





This is the fountain right in front of the movie theater. They just had to look at it and throw money into it.



Overall, it was a fun time, but the movie was too scary for Layton. He sat curled up in my lap with his hands over his ears. I actually enjoyed holding him.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Confessions of a Twirler...

Way back in the day, I was a competitive baton twirler. You read that right; please don't try to adjust your eyes. I spent many Saturday afternoons in muggy gymnasiums covered in sequins, rhinestones, and hair spray. After I aged out, I started judging competitions too. I haven't judged one in years. In fact, I was around 14 weeks pregnant with Layton the last time I judged a competition. Until now.


My friend Mary called me up a few weeks back and asked if I would consider judging one near my hometown. I thought it over and said sure. It was a blast from the past. Literally...


This is my friend Kellee. She was one of the first judges I ever performed in front of, and she has a special place in my heart.

This is what one of the seating areas looked like. It wasn't a huge competition, so there weren't that many people there.


This is one of my fellow high school majorettes, Jamie. She is teaching lessons now and is pregnant with her third child. I squealed out loud when I saw her, and I had to get a picture of her with one of her groups.




The old rules wouldn't let you compete past a certain age; therefore, I had to quit. Now, the rules have been changed. Even old birds like me can compete. I was in awe at the number of 30-something contestants. It almost made me foolish enough to pick up my sticks when I got home. I said almost....

I Live in Excess.....

Amazingly enough, I have completed in excess of 200 posts on this blog. What started as something inspired by my cousin has turned into something I love to do. I love my blog! Sometimes I put silly things up, and sometimes I put serious things up. Either way, I love to put things up.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Last Days of Warmth...

We are nearing cold weather here. The days are just warm enough for playing outside, but the days are too short for much fun. Daylight savings time is something I will never fully understand. I understand the pro/con list for DST, but I just DON'T like it.

Anyways, the children have been enjoying playing outside and are not ready for the cold. Last winter was relatively mild here, but it was still TOO cold for outside fun.









It was too cold for the swing set in the back yard.




It was too cold for rides on the little four wheeler.


It was cold enough that an extra layer of clothing was necessary some days. Layton is ready for that though. He's been sporting his Batman costume on top of his clothes a lot lately. Batman Layton melts my heart.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A More Beautiful Tomorrow...

Four years ago our sheriff's department moved into a brand new facility complete with a modern jail. The old jail was an eyesore. The architecture was not in the same vein as the rest of historic downtown Athens. Because the old jail was adjacent to the school board, it was decided that demolition should occur. The deconstruction started earlier this week, and the space left will be used to construct new offices for the school system.

I am hopeful that the new facility will be beautiful. Our downtown area is so quaint and has so much potential. That's why I am hopeful the new facility will be lovely. You all know how much I love downtown!




Friday, November 13, 2009

You Haven't Lived If You Haven't Had Dub's...

If you haven't had a Dub's burger, your cholesterol is probably less than mine. Dub's Burgers is a local restaurant that the Greenhaw family has operated for years. It is kind of like a hamburger mecca.

I tried to get a picture of the three children in front of the restaurant, but I failed to get one with all three looking at the camera and smiling simultaneously.


Several months ago, Jay was at the farm and the children were with me at the gym. We left the gym, and I asked them what they wanted for lunch. Layton replied, "Dub's. Cause dudes love Dub's." I wish I had a recording of him saying it because it was one of the cutest things he has ever said. The tone he used and the look on his face made it a priceless moment.



Thursday, November 12, 2009

Who Wants to Kill a Deer?...

When you live in a small town in the South, chances are strong that your community is filled with individuals who hunt. Jay enjoys hunting and tends to go on a regular basis during the season it is allowed.

Ella has a pink .22 rifle. She is only allowed to use it at the farm with adult supervision; however, she recently requested to go hunting. She sat on my coffee table and asked me if she could go "kill a deer."


I told her that if she really, really wants to go that Jay would probably take her. Hmmm. What do you think inspired her to request a hunting trip?

Famous Quotes I Love...

I love talking about nothing; it's the only thing I know anything about.
--Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans, Layton, and Lee Greenwood...

Last night, Layton's preschool put on a program. The program was titled "Salute to America." Layton wasn't too fond of the music played whilst the children were entering the stage area. The evidence:

Yes, he is covering his ears. He did such a good job though. He sang all the songs and knew the arm movements too. He recited the pledge of allegiance...even though he had the wrong hand over his heart. It was completely adorable.

Usually, we make a big deal out of the programs and plays the children participate in, but this time was completely different. You see, I forgot about the program. That's correct; I completely forgot. It was in big, bold letters on my calendar, and I still forgot. When I picked him up, the teacher reminded me to have him at school by 6:15. I thought to myself....what for? Then, it hit me!



Overall, the whole evening turned out lovely. We had to make an emergency run to K-Mart for a red shirt and had to eat Chinese take out, but we also got to hear Layton rock out to the Lee Greenwood anthem. He was almost head banging during the really dramatic part of the song.


Monday, November 09, 2009

Shameless...Copy and Paste...

The following is something that I copied from Kelly's Korner. I am not a gifted writer, so it's easier for me to copy and paste things that are important.





Just a couple of notes and then I'm off to enjoy my night:
There is a little boy named Noah Biorkman is who probably not going to live until Christmas - he has cancer. His family is celebrating Christmas this week with him and he has requested that people send him Christmas Cards. We can all do that, huh? So go HERE and read more about it and if you have an extra card maybe from last year - send it. Let's FLOOD their mail box and make that little boy happy!
There is also a 13 year old girl name Lauren Smith who also was told she would not live until Christmas - she has bone cancer. They have a site set up for her with all kinds of things you can do for - fundraisers for her family or just prayer sites. Go visit and see if you can encourage or help. Pray for a miracle above all else.
I wrote recently about a young mother, Danielle Cripe, who was told she would not live until the end of the year and who has two children - one with special needs. There is an update you can read HERE. They still need our prayers and support if you would go visit them and share with others.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Kids Are Kute...

Saturday, Nathan came over and brought his girls to play. Nathan and Jay watched the Alabama football games while I made supper and supervised the children. FYI: all individuals had a choice between chili and chicken stew.

Hadley has gotten really, really girly lately. She just had to have these boots and told me that she was going to wear them with leggings and dresses all winter.

Ella and Alexis spent a good bit of time riding bikes on the sidewalk in front of the house.



Layton and Lily rode the little four wheelers.


It was a good day! The Tide pulled out a win!!! The children had big fun, and I was able to freeze several quarts of stew for later this winter.


Thursday, November 05, 2009

I Really Am That Stupid...


As if you haven't already noticed, I am scattered mess. A while back my cell phone broke. I started using Hadley's old cell phone after that. Well, I lost that phone. Yes, I took it somewhere, left it somewhere, and couldn't figure out where I put it. I called it. There was no ring inside the house. There was no ring inside the car. Hmmm. Where oh where did I stick that phone? I eventually tracked it down. Yesterday evening. After I had already gone to the store and picked up a new phone. That's right. My IQ seems to have an inverse relationship with my age.
So, the new phone is a Blackberry. I'm not sure about it yet. Ok, I've only placed two calls on it so far, so it's really too soon to tell if I like it. Any Blackberry users out there? Do you like it? How long should I give it before deciding if it's a good phone for me?

Beggars Can't Be Choosers...Apparently, Bloggers Can Be...

Wikipedia's entry for begging:

Begging (or panhandling) is to request a donation in a supplicating manner. Beggars are commonly found in public places such as street corners or public transport, where they request money, most commonly in the form of spare change. They may use cups, boxes or hats to collect the donations.


Earlier in the week, I came across a website that reminded me of a trip to Washington D.C. I took many years ago. On that trip, I saw a homeless man for the first time in my life. He was curled up on one of those grates outside a large building. It was also the first time I encountered a beggar. I remember walking past the man with a cup begging for change. I was young and from a small town, so the sight of this man was almost surreal. I asked the chaperone of the trip if it would be okay to give him a dollar. She explained to me that it would be safer for me to donate my money to an organization dedicated to helping people and that fourteen year old girls shouldn't wander the streets of D.C. trying to help all the homeless people. She could see that behind the tears in my eyes I just wanted to help him.

Got off track. Sorry. Anyway. The website I came across is called www.cyberbeg.com. Here's what is in the "About Us" section:

Cyberbeg.com offers people hope. This site provides a way for financially unfortunate people to connect with those who may donate. Some may compare it to a lottery or the classifieds but we like to think of it as a site dedicated to helping people. Before Cyberbeg.com, the financially unfortunate had no way of asking for help. Now, through Cyberbeg.com, requests are broadcasted for donators to view. The creators of Cyberbeg.com send the best of luck to all of those who need help and a sincere thanks to those who have donated to these worthy causes. After two years of posting cyber begs, the site has been featured in The NY Times, ABC News, CNN, CBS Evening News, WGN News, Canadian Broadcasting Channel, and many others. Cyberbeg.com is looking forward to several new and upcoming changes. We are excited about the success of Cyberbeg.com and look forward to continued growth.


I am honestly shocked by this website. I don't even know what to say about it. I just had to put it out there. Please comment to let me know what you think about it.