Wednesday, December 31, 2008

CHRISTMAS ROCKS!!

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Be Like ME

or not. Shabby Creations did a wonderful job, in my opinion, with this blog design. They are giving away 3 (!) pre-made layouts. Go HERE to win. She has many awesome designs, so check it out!

CHRISTMAS ROCKS!


This was Kady's first Christmas where she actually got to participate and understand a little about what was happening. She loved her stocking and all her presents. Obviously, Kady strongly endorses and supports the celebration of Christmas.

French Toast

My mom never made us french toast. I know. You're feeling my pain. She tried. She made cinnamon toast, but she didn't actually know how to make real french toast. (My mom is a great cook, by the way! Apparently, french toast was not something my squirrel-and-dumpling-makin' Grandma taught her. Don't knock the squirell and dumplings--they were quite tasty.)

I've never actually made french toast either. I guess I never think about it. Mom didn't teach me how, so who knows if I could. . .although Kev has done it.

(Let's all pretend that I did not just admit that Kevin can cook. He would be mortified.)

Kev made Kyler french toast today. Kyler, who does not like eggs, ate THREE (3!) pieces. He then told Kevin, "Dad, keep the recipe, but next time, leave out the eggs."

Does that mean we're back to cinnamon toast?

Monday, December 29, 2008

I tangled with the blue monster. . .

and the blue monster won.

I live smack dab in the middle of the land of the blue monster. When I say blue monster, I am referring to that great big discount store that ends in "mart" and does not begin with a K. I am not a big fan of the blue monster. He and I have tangled before. Unfortunately, this is THE land of the blue monster, and there are very few alternatives--especially if your two nearest towns have less than 3,000 people.

The blue monster was beckoning at lunch time. It was calling for me to get a loaf of bread (or maybe that part was my husband calling to ask me to pick up a loaf of bread. . .details, details. . .) Somehow my fall tote that usually contains all Halloween and fall decorations has went missing. It's purple. It has my name on it. If you see it, please call 1-800-RACH-NEEDSME. I halfway remember this conversation where Kevin asks to borrow it. . .He does not.

I detoured by the conveniently located storage bins at the blue monster. The blue monster knows that normal people are taking down Christmas decorations now and looking for a better way to stow everything, so he's relocated this part to the front of the store. (My Christmas decorations are still up and will be till well after the first--don't judge!!) It was so easy. I found the one I wanted.

Oh, wait--THIS one. It's clear. I could SO see what I've got in it. . .

I grabbed the matching lid. It was easy. The lid was right above the tote. My biggest dilemma was. . .red or green? Hmm.

I have a serious love of the self check-out. It's fast. It's easy. And I'm all about both. Oh, wait. That was not how that was supposed to come out. . . I used the self check-out, and as I bent down to get my purchases, I noticed the lid did not fit right.

Hmm, that's odd. I'll ask the customer service/check-out policewoman right there.

"Ma'am, it doesn't matter. You've already paid for it. It's yours. Besides, it wouldn't close if it wasn't the right one."

Well. That clears that up. And y'all know I have issues with confrontation. . . .so. . .is anyone interested in a $12.00 tote that has a slightly ill-fitting lid? I'll make you a good deal on it.

BEWARE! The blue monster is not about customer service. He does not tell you that you are entering into a binding commitment when you purchase a tote. He does not care, and he does not play nice.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

guaranteed to make you feel better about aunt fern!

It is no surprise to those of you familiar with one side of my family (hint: Not my dad's) that they are crazy. (Luckily, most of you are not familiar with them. . .until now.) True mental illness runs rampant through exactly 50% of our genes. (My mom is extremely sane, I should add, or she'll beat me!!) My grandmother died last January. We used to get together at her house for Christmas Eve. Back then, no one got along, but they tried. Upon Grandma's illness and death the peace was broken. The family has split. (I like to call the division the Crazies and the Un-Crazies, but that's just me.)

Family always mattered a great deal to Grandma. It has been really hard on my mom to not be close to her family. There is this sense of failure, knowing that Grandma was able to keep the peace for so long. I know of only one way to keep the peace now. Grandma would disagree, but family is who you choose. My life is too short to spend worrying about a bunch of crazy, trouble-hunting people that you (unfortunately) share DNA with. I would do anything for my family. They are everything to me, but only because I choose who "they" are.

OK, now you have the background. Let me tell you what happened last night. (And let me preface this by saying that Kev and I joke about EVERYTHING! Always have! It's what has kept us reasonably sane this long! Please do not be offended by the following exchange!)

Ever since finding out that my eccentric family members are not just eccentric but full-blown mentally-ill, as in schizophrenic, members of society, it has been my greatest fear that I would become one of them. Seriously.

Anyway, last night, I was asking Kevin if he would still love me if I went over the edge. He said, "Yes, and so will my next wife." I teared up. I couldn't take it. He asked me what was wrong. I said it might come true. He reminded me that we are always joking like that. I told him that in this case, it was a little too real. He laughed and said he would always be there. I reminded him that it didn't really matter, because I would probably have conversations with him either way. . .

See, your family holidays could be so much worse! Please keep that in mind this Christmas and know that we are wishing all of you a very merry Christmas!!! I will be back on Monday most likely. (Do you sense the commitment issues?)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

cranky, cantankerous, and cynical

my mood.

and it's not pretty.

I was unaware that the c's behind my name (my professional designation) would eventually refer to the above.

I am in serious need of an attitude adjustment.

My husband is seriously hard to get along with. If this man doesn't go back to work soon, I may have to find him a job myself. Not to mention how delicate my job situation appears. . .

There's a so-called medical professional (I'm sure he was once fired from Wal-Mart's health clinics.), who insists upon getting his way when the patient, the insurance company, and the professional (me) insist he doesn't need or qualify for services. . .

And now it's raining and very cold. . .Y'all know I don't like cold weather.

so, what's new with you? Please make me laugh.

Have you heard the one about the two men who crash their plane on a deserted island? The first guy just knows they're going to die. The second guy says to relax--they'll be fine, because he makes $100,000 a week. The first guy looks around, sees nothing to eat, and knows they will die. Again, the second guy says, "Relax. We'll be fine. I make $100,000 a week." The first guy is convinced they are going to die, and his companion is in serious denial. He looks around one more time. He sees no food, no water, and no shelter. The second guy says, "Man, I am not telling you again. I make $100,000 a week. I always tithe. My pastor will find us."

There you go. I've now offended 1/2 of you and the other 1/2 quit reading when I started whining. I appear to be over it now, but again, all laughs are greatly appreciated.

now we know who really gets the credit

I can't stress too much the awesomeness and amazingness and irreplacability (I'm making up words because, um, I can. Can too!) of our current baby sitter. I do not worry about the kids when they are with her.

Kady woke up yesterday morning and played quietly in her room. (Let me read that sentence one more time. Ok. That so seldom happens. . .I just have to enjoy it a little bit more. Ok. I'm back.) Anyway, she eventually hears Momma up and runs into my room. She yells, "MOMMY!" and then, "DADDY!!" (Have I mentioned she is Little Miss Sunshine to everyone else's Grumpy Gus?)

Kady jumped up in the bed with Kevin. They started talking about going to the babysitter. Kady said she was going to play with "Sissy." Sissy is her bestest friend in the whole wide world--as much as anyone can be when you're only 27 months old!

Kev said, "What if Sissy's not there? What will you do then?"

Kady said,"Eat."

Kevin said, "But what if Sissy's not there and Mrs. Bestest-Babysitter-in-the-Whole-World-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless ran out of food and doesn't have any?"(OK, you got me. That's not really what he called her. . .)

Kady said, "NO WAY!"

Now you know who gets the credit for the "They ALLWAYS feed me" story. . .

Monday, December 22, 2008

the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe

My actual post has nothing to do with the above title. It was just the first trio I could think of, but let's see if we can tie it together, shall we?

My husband would be the lion in this story. I went to his place this weekend. I saw the damage to his fingers. He will live. It is gross. (It's more of a "chopping" than a "slicing.") That's about all he gave me permission to tell. Moving on.

I did all the Christmas shopping while he was working on Saturday. So much for together time, right? He made it home, checked out the presents, and promptly told me he'd been laid off. (We think he will get a job relatively quickly. That's how this business works. It doesn't make the husband and his stress level/worrisome ways easier to deal with, however!) While we were talking, I was telling him what a great provider he is for his family--what a hard worker he is. He said that I work just as hard as he does, but in a different way. His job is harder physically, but I'm responsible for the kids, the house, etc. He told me how much he appreciated what I did. Where did that come from?!

Continuing the theme, my husband's former boss would be the witch. We'll call him Mr. Obnoxious Meany (or O. M. for short). He has two little girls, the oldest of which is maybe 4. He wanted to buy this obnoxiously ridiculous piece of furniture, which my husband advised him against. After all, he has two young children. . .O. M.'s response? "I know what your kids are like, but my kids are good. They wouldn't destroy anything." I haven't attacked this man. . .yet--are you proud?

Welcome to my wardrobe, which will transport us to an alternate universe. My cousin gets to be the wardrobe. She went out to eat with me in Little Rock. She is an amazing person, full of goodness and love and life. She reminded me of the time when we were kids and involved in a very serious car accident. It is truly a wonder that none of us were killed. Her comment of how different this world would be if we had died--no Kyler, no Kady, etc.--sobered me and made me think. God is amazing. My life is amazing. My kids are amazing. My husband is amazing. How awesome His plan must be, if only we knew what it was!

Well, my version of the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe might not be what you would expect, but it'll have to do for now. Stop back by tomorrow (hopefully) and I will show you some of my loot. . .

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's never a good idea when. . .

you husband asks, "How do you KNOW a finger is broken if it's not just completely falling off the bone?"

First, he calls and says he doesn't want me to worry. He is ok. Everything is fine. It's ok. He cut his hand a little, but he's ok. It's not too bad. (I'm blonde, people. I was still not getting it.) Then, he asks me the above question.

[Deep breath]

OK, so this might be more serious than I first was led to believe. . .

He hung up because HE DIDN'T THINK HE COULD DRIVE WITH ONE HAND BLEEDING AND ONE HAND ON THE STEERING WHEEL. . .ya think?

I called his mom, who's a nurse, and who had already talked to him. She felt he should go to the ER. I'm still wondering just how bad this injury is. . .

Then, his mom told me that he called her when he was in the store buying supplies to stop the bleeding and bandage (all of) his fingers.

(For future reference: apparently, grabbing a moving fan blade on a welding machine is discouraged, as it is DANGEROUS.)

We finally convinced him to go to the ER, where he received a tetanus shot. The ER doctor stated there wasn't anything to stitch together, but he could debride the dying tissue. Kevin refused.

I still haven't seen it. I'll let you know if I pass out. I seriously hope this does not cut our shopping trip short. . .Priorities, people, priorities! (I'm SO kinda joking.) : )

sodas again?

The blogging has been a little slow this week. It's my job. . .If you people would stay out of the hospital during the holidays, it would sure make me less busy. . . : ) Seriously kidding. Everyone stay safe and healthy this holiday season!!

Snow days delayed the "what are you bringing to the school Christmas party" memo that we usually get. Instead, we got a note home on Tuesday asking us to note what we were bringing. I forgot to send it back on Wednesday, so we just went and bought Reese's Christmas trees to take. (I let Kyler pick out what he wanted to take.)

Today is the Christmas party. Last night after dark, on the way home, Kyler stated he might have told Mrs. Teacher-whom-we-love that he was bringing sodas. And she might have said that would be a good thing to bring. (Why do I always get the soda job?)

"Is anyone else bringing sodas," I asked.

"I dunno," he said.

I called the teacher. . .at home. I hate doing that. I feel like I'm intruding on her personal life. (Usually I call my friend who's a teacher, because she expects me to intrude. . .Big Shout Out to Paula!!!)

I repeated the above conversation to Kyler's teacher and she laughed. She said she had 2 other kids bringing sodas (so they say. . .) and we didn't need to unless we wanted to.

I sent the Reese's. Who knows what else they wind up with.

And now, I'm headed for a weekend away with my husband, who may or may not have almost cut his fingers off last night (more info later). . .I am SSSSOOOOOO ready for a stress-free holiday shopping excursion. (You're laughing at "stress-free," "holiday," and "shopping" in the same sentence, aren't you?)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In Search of Alone Time (repeat)

This was written previously, but never posted on Rocks in my Dryer. It is one of my favorite things about Christmas. This weekend is when my husband and I will do this this year. You can't imagine how much I'm looking forward to my shopping trip/wrapping party/"couples time." Enjoy (and sorry if you've already read it. . .)

Like a lot of other parents, my husband and I do not get enough alone time. [sigh] For one thing, he is often sleeping in another bed at night. . .but that’s another story. (Relax! He works out of town.) To top it off, my husband is a hunter. You may have heard the term “deer widow.” That’s me. My husband disappears every year to go hunt down a creature I’ve managed to hit with a car. . .Anyway, a few years ago, desperate for some alone time with my recently returned husband, I kidnapped him for a weekend. Grandmother watched Kyler (for Kady was a mere thought on the dream at that time. . .), and Kev and I escaped for a weekend away. We’ve made it a yearly event—a Christmas present to ourselves.

Each year, we pick one weekend and arrange a babysitter. Usually, we get up early one Saturday morning and travel one-to-two hours away from home. We shop for most of the day. (Here, I should be clear that in our family, most gifts come from a discount store, such as Target, Kmart, or more likely given our surroundings, Wal-Mart. We shop with a list, and our list is probably less full than most.) We eat out at a restaurant that does not hand you food in a sack. At some point, we usually check into a hotel room that I reserve (although last year we just came back to our house). We are back in our room fairly early, and we spend the rest of the evening wrapping presents. In fact, I even manage to address all Christmas cards during this weekend. I don’t have to worry about the kids seeing unwrapped gifts, or hurrying to get everything wrapped, or fighting the crowds to get to a million places for a million presents. Truthfully, my husband would be far less involved in the shopping if we didn’t do it this way.

I know what you’re thinking! “We can’t afford that!” I’ve found that we actually spend less money and are more accountable for what and where we spend our Christmas money by doing this. Kev and I have basically stopped buying for each other. The list keeps me focused. The hotel is bargain-shopped and haggled over. The meal is at a mid-range restaurant, with other meals eaten on the cheap (continental breakfast at the hotel, etc.) For what we get out of the weekend, it is well worth it to us. My husband and I get a great weekend together, picking out gifts for our kids. . .plus, there’s that alone time that’s so elusive to us parents. . .It works GREAT for us. To see what works for other people, check out this weekly feature at Rocks in my Dryer.

For a great, easy breakfast, check out this post.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

And the winners are. . .

EVERYBODY! By my calculations, I had 5 people interested in the giveaway. It's Christmas and I'm a woman, so I changed the giveaway from 3 winners to 5! If Erica, momof2, steffj89, Amy (By His Grace), and totally scrappy will send me your address via email (rlkendr@yahoo.com), then I will get your cards in the mail today. . .or tomorrow. : )

Ladies, ENJOY and HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Thanks for entering, and please remember to find a way to pay it forward!

(If anyone wants anything other than a Wal-Mart gift card, please let me know ASAP. Thanks!)

Just when you think. . .

things are wonderful and perfect, you see something absolutely horrific. . .

Letter to santa leads to man's molestation arrest

and then you see something miraculous. . .

toddler survives 10 frigid hours after falling out of buggy

and I guess I'm back to where I started. God is wonderful and awesome. His power astounds. But why is there such evil in this world. . .

Did I make a wrong turn somewhere?

I am well aware that there are a few readers that are warm and cozy in your more northerly homes. You are used to sub-zero temperatures and snow and winter clothes. That said, . . .

Y'all, it's cold here.

(Like 16 degrees cold.)

And we live in the south.

And we don't do cold.

At least, I don't do cold.

At all.

We had to dig out heavy coats.

And gloves.

I don't do hats.

Or scarves.

This reminds me of the one time I journeyed to Chicago.

It was REALLY, REALLY cold.

Bitterly cold.

And people kept saying, "WHERE are you from?"

I haven't been back.

Which reminds me, it's really, really cold here.

I wonder if I can find a scarf. . .

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Geography Quiz

We took the kids to look at Christmas lights in a nearby town on Saturday night. This is what my son saw. . .

This is what he thought he saw. . .


OK, pop quiz. Bonus points awarded if you can name the top picture! Even more bonus points awarded if you can name the "haunted" hotel Kevin took him in.

Don't forget to sign up for the Pay it Forward Giveaway!

Friday, December 12, 2008

She's growing up. . .

and I don't like it. I wish there were a way to freeze time. Right here. Right now. My kids are having none of it, however. Kyler is as high as my shoulders. He's only eight. He wants to play basketball again this year. He's prtty good, which may be because he is twice as tall as some of the other kids out there.

Kady is two and all attitude. She insists upon doing things for herself. She repeats anything she hears and thinks nothing of telling me her opinion on what I have laid out for her to wear. ("I no wanna wear that, Mommy.")

Last week, I arrived at the baby-sitter to see Kady sitting at the table with the other kids and her hand stuck out in a "stop" gesture. It took me a minute, but I realized she was saying, "Wait a minute, Mama! Wait a minute! I'm drawing." She loves to draw.

Perhaps one of the reasons I have allowed her to hang onto the baba (AKA pacifier) for longer than I wold have ever dreamed is because it helped me see her as a baby still. Not anymore. Kady requires her baba whenever she's in the car. The other day, she had her baba in her mouth and was saying something. I finally figured out what she was saying: "I want two." I want two, as in "Give me another baba now." She then had one in her hand and one in her mouth. At least the baba is helping her count.

100 things and giveaway!

This is the ubiquitous list containing 100 random things about me that you may or may not know and may or may not wish to know. Enjoy! (Don’t skip—there will be a test!)

1. I married my husband when I was 18 and he was 19, which is too young. . .
2. We’ve been married 10 ½ years, so it’s worked out thus far. . .
3. If I hadn’t married at 18, I think I would have joined the military or the peace corps at some point.
4. I have a strong need to save the world.
5. I am horrible with money.
6. If I handled our family’s finances, we would be broke, homeless, and naked in approximately 2 weeks. . .
7. I was riding horses before I could walk. . .seriously.
8. Who has time to do anything now? I haven’t ridden in over a year.
9. I was once featured on the “Headlines” portion of Jay Leno’s show because. . .
10. I once held the title “Beef Princess.”
11. I could NOT make that up.
12. I love to watch college football, and
13. I’m a huge Razorbacks fan! Go Hogs Go!
14. In my rebellious teen years, I was a Penn State fan. . .
15. I gave my parents many headaches. . .
16. That was not one of them.
17. I literally live 3 miles down a dirt road.
18. I am the world’s worst housekeeper.
19. I’m ok with that.
20. My husband is not.
21. I had 2 best friends in kindergarten.
22. It took me 5 months to remember one of their names.
23. They’re still 2 of my best friends. . .
24. Although there was an unfortunate cookie incident with one of them.
25. I am EXTREMELY loyal, but
26. I tend to carry a grudge (sorry, Bianca!).
27. I have a better sense of direction than my husband.
28. I have spent more nights going to sleep without my husband than with him.
29. I have never been outside of the United States.
30. I love to travel.
31. I’ve been told there are places where they don’t have Diet Dr. Pepper, so I’m rethinking this whole “wanting to travel” thingy.
32. I can converse freely with most language-delayed, Spanish-speaking 3-year-olds.
33. I’ve had 2 ½ years of Spanish.
34. I firmly believe chocolate makes all things better and all things are made better with chocolate.
35. I have a deer head on my wall, because
36. Marriage is about making sacrifices.
37. Let me know when it’s his turn.
38. I am highly competitive (think Monica on Friends).
39. My mom and I almost died when I was born.
40. My kids’ births were textbook. Totally predictable.
41. Yet miraculous!!!
42. I like old, cheesy Westerns, and I secretly think John Wayne was “da bomb.”
43. That sentence proves just how uncool I really am.
44. I like to play pool.
45. Like many other things, I’m really bad at playing pool.
46. I am positively, absolutely, 100% terrified of rodents.
47. I think squirrels are rats with furry tails.
48. I have eaten squirrel meat.
49. I played 3 sports (basketball, softball, and track) in high school, yet
50. I am EXTREMELY clumsy.
51. My mother-in-law wanted us to name our daughter “Grace.”
52. Our daughter’s medical bills prove we made the right decision.
53. I am a packrat.
54. I have a 50% chance of being crazy, based on my genes.
55. Seriously, we’ve done the math.
56. My husband might or might not be worried about what he got himself into. . .
57. I taught myself to crochet.
58. Like playing pool, I have learned to accept a level of mediocrity in my ability to crochet.
59. I have a tattoo.
60. I tried to feed my brother chocolate ice cream at 3 weeks of age. . .
61. He didn’t like it, which was the start of many disagreements to date.
62. We get along much better now that he (ok, his wife) gave me an awesome nephew!!
63. I love music of all types.
64. I can’t sing at all.
65. I come from a very musical family.
66. In my head, I sound just like Carrie Underwood. In reality, we only went to the same university.
67. I like Impressionist art.
68. No one in my family gets that.
69. While growing up, we didn’t have air conditioning until I was 12. . .
70. Or a microwave until 14.
71. Today, I don’t have a microwave.
72. I guess some things don’t change.
73. I am not a girly girl.
74. I love to camp—without electricity. . .
75. In a tent!
76. I will not leave my house without makeup on.
77. I LOVE to read. (anything—even a box of cereal)
78. I have had a few speeding tickets.
79. If you get enough “points” from speeding tickets, you get a letter that threatens the loss of your driver’s license. . .(not that I would know)
80. Apparently, my dad also got the letter once upon a time. . .
81. It must be in the genes. . .along with everything else (diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc.)
82. I was 28 years old before I saw the ocean.
83. Snow skiing scares me to death.
84. My husband dreams of moving somewhere we could ski.
85. I live in MY favorite place in the whole world.
86. I would like very much to save the world.
87. I’m starting to realize God doesn’t expect me to save the world.
88. If I could have any car in the whole world, it would be a Jeep Wrangler.
89. A Jeep is not a practical means of transportation for transporting 2 young children. Trust me.
90. My radio must be set to an even number. (5’s are ok, however.)
91. I’m quirky. . .
92. But hopefully, not #54 crazy.
93. I learned to drive a standard overnight. Literally.
94. My family is Southern in all things except tea.
95. I am worried that some of you will think less of me for that admission.
96. However, in our family, tea is unsweet, syrup is sweet.
97. I have never been to a concert.
98. I managed to graduate college with a toddler, which still amazes me.
99. I feel uncomfortable when other people tell me what an accomplishment #98 was.
100. I want to jump out of an airplane someday.
101. Despite taking calculus and advanced math courses, I am horrible at math.

Ok, you caught me. There is no test, and relax, I promise there will be no 200 list! There is, however, a giveaway!! Per Finding Him Bigger, this is a pay it forward giveaway. I will be sending out 3 $10 giftcards for Wal-Mart. (Get those stocking stuffers!) Winners will be chosen Tuesday morning at roughly 11 am.

If you want to win, please leave me a comment that contains your contact info. If you win, you have to pay it forward. (If you just want to comment on the disturbing things about me that you just read, please just comment and note that you're not interested in the contest. Try not to judge, people!)

**UPDATE: For anyone who has philosophical differences with Wal-Mart, let me just say that I totally agree with you. I was trying to make something more universal for some of y'all. After all, it has recently been pointed out to me that not everyone has Sonic. . .I would totally be swooning at this point, if people still did that. We can work around Wal-Mart if you prefer. Let's adjust contest to say a $10 gift card to any store I have access to. . .which is not all that much. . .but we'll work it out.**

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gee, thanks?

So, at 3:30 yesterday I get a call. It's a nurse at the hospital where I work. She's calling to ask if I'm ok. It seems the last several times when she's seen me, I've been rather pale and tired looking. Am I well? I explain that I'm always pale, but she assures me I've been looking exceptionally pale and not well.

Um.

Well.

Gee.

Thanks for caring? It's not everyday someone calls me up to ask if I'm dying. I'm at a loss. What would you say?

You like me, you really like me

At the risk of sounding all Sally Field, I can't believe the support and encouragement I have gotten lately. You people are awesome! Domestic Accident, who cracks me up, gave me an award. This is the equivalent of a struggling actress getting a phone call from Nicole Kidman to say keep it up. Not that I need external validation or anything. . .Anywho, back to topic.


Here are the rules for the recipients:

♥ list 10 honest things about yourself
♥ pass the award onto 7 blogs that you find brilliant in their content or design
♥ link to the blogger who gave you this prize
♥ link to the blogs receiving the prize
♥ notify the recipients

My upcoming 100 post has 100 things that may make all of you change your minds about whether or not I'm on this side of the crazy fence (as if you had any doubts). I'm totally stealing from that list, when I tell you 10 honest things about me (because you know you don't want to know 110 things about me in one week).
  1. My husband and I got married when he was 19 and I was 18. Don't judge.

  2. It's worked out thus far. We've been married for 10 1/2 years.
  3. I was once featured on Jay Leno's segment about Headlines,

  4. because I was once the reigning Beef Princess.

  5. Sadly, I could not make that up!

  6. I am a huge college football fan.

  7. I am the world's worst housekeeper.
  8. I am a huge packrat.

  9. I have eaten squirrel meat. (Don't judge.)

  10. I like to camp. . .in a tent.

Ok, now that you've laughed at me, let's pass on the prize. Here goes.

I have noticed a great deal of negative feelings among many of us moms lately. Amy (By His Grace), Erica and those Krazy Kennetts, Steph at the Red Clay Diaries, and Elizabeth at Finding Him Bigger are SO great at encouraging the rest of us! They are so uplifting and enlightening. They make me think (and forgive myself).

As you may know, if you can make me laugh, you will be my friend for life. Queen B, Suburb Sanity, and Our Name is Blog make me laugh. . .repeatedly.

Thank you all for making my world a better place. . .one laugh or encouraging word at a time!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

EZ Christmas Breakfast

Welcome to my kitchen. I'm so glad y'all are stopping by. If you've been here before, you know that I have a kitchen because it came with the house. If you're new here, let me introduce myself. Martha, I ain't. My name is Rachel. I work full time and believe in spending as much time as I can with my kids. This includes holidays. Who wants to miss the kids fighting over their new toys or the search for the new, now-missing GI Joe?

I want to give you two of my tried and true recipes today. Now, you're wondering why would I want a recipe from someone that doesn't cook? I would like to point out that I can cook. I just choose not to. Try the recipe. Trust me. You'll love it!

Ok, here goes.

Breakfast Pizza (One of the first recipes I collected. Recipe from my Aunt Helen. This can be made the night before, refrigerated, and baked the next morning.)
2 cans crescent rolls
1 lb. sausage, browned
6 eggs, beaten
12 oz. Mozzarella cheese
12 oz. cheddar cheese

Spray pan with cooking spray. Spread crescent rolls in pan. (I use a cookie sheet that has slightly higher sides. A regular cookie sheet will do, however.) Sprinkle/crumble sausage over crescent rolls. Pour uncooked scrambled eggs over sausage. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Breakfast Ring (Sometimes called Monkey Bread) (Tradition at Kev's family's Christmas--recipe from my mother-in-law)
2 cans biscuits
1/2 cup melted butter
3 T brown sugar
6 maraschino cherries cut in half
1/4 cup nuts
mixture of 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. Pour 3 Tbsp. of butter into a tube pan. Sprinkle with 3 T sugar, cherries, and nuts. Cut biscuits in half and dip in butter. Then, roll biscuits in sugar mixture. Make two layers of biscuits in the pan. Pour remaining butter over top. Bake 25 minutes. Allow to stand one minute, then invert on plate.

That's it. They're easy, but I promise they'll become favorites at your holiday breakfast/brunch! It works for us. To see everyone else's tips, check out Rocks in my Dryer HERE. To see how I manage to get alone time with my husband, do all the Christmas shopping/wrapping, and stay semi-sane, check out last week's post HERE that I was unable to link up. HAVE A GREAT WEEK!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

James Dean was out to get us

Things were tough before and during the time when Kyler was born. We were beyond poor. We were two college kids, who didn't have a pot to pee in. We learned that you can make Ramen noodles go a long way. You can make generic mac and cheese with water instead of milk. We learned that if you ordered Little Caesar's on Wednesday ($5 deal), you would have enough pizza for lunch for the rest of the week. We learned lots of things back in those days. Luckily, we haven't had to employ many of those tips lately. . .

When I was pregnant and until Kyler was almost a year old, we lived in a one-bedroom apartment. A one-bedroom apartment that had very thin walls. Did I mention Kyler had colic for the first 3 or 4 months? We were well-loved, I'm sure. I consider it revenge, however, for what happened when I was pregnant.

As is typical of apartment living, we were constantly getting new neighbors. Most of the time, we all kept to ourselves. When I became pregnant, however, we suddenly got the worst neighbor ever. This young man was an EMT or fireman or something that resulted in extremely weird hours. You didn't have to wonder, however if he was home. His music and his friends made sure we were aware of any times when he was in his apartment. 3 am or 3 pm didn't seem to matter. His radio was louder than our tv--you could not watch tv if he was home because you couldn't hear it.

My husband and I complained to each other repeatedly about the noise, the mysterious liquid that would flow from his deck onto ours. . ., and the general rudeness of this guy. My husband also mentioned that EVERY time he pulled up, this man was watching him and giving him an evil look. Weird, I thought.

This kept on for several months during my pregnancy. Neither Kev nor I wanted to cause problems by going to the managment, so we lived with the noise. We kept hoping he would move. Finally, I had enough one night. These guys were sitting on the deck and I asked them ever so politely (ahem) to be quiet. They laughed at me. I was so mad when Kevin finally got home. I told him the same story. By this time, the guy had left.

However, Kevin told me that he saw the guy "watching" him from his window when he pulled in. He was going to put a stop to this nonsense. We left to go speak to the managment. As we did, Kevin (who in his defense, always worked nights and came in at dawn) pointed to our "neighbor," who was indeed looking out his window. . .Our neighbor had a cardboard cutout of. . .(Drumroll, please). . . James Dean. James Dean (as a cardboard cutout) had been stalking my husband for months!

Again, I think we got our revenge with a colicy newborn. The noisy neighbor moved out within a month of Kyler's birth.

Ok, you all have had bad neighbors at some point. Spill. What's the worst you've had?

Monday, December 8, 2008

things that are bouncing around my head right now

so scattered today. thought I would update without committing myself to staying on task. . .

Christmas cards are to be mailed TODAY!! and I made them. . .as in from scratch. : ) Please take a moment and realize how special you must be to get one of my Christmas cards. . .ok, carry on now.

Kev will be changing job sites (and companies) soon. We hope he'll still be 2-3 hours away, but we don't know. . .He mentioned Maryland and New Mexico on the phone this morning. . .

My friend, Erica is selling her house in Berryville, Arkansas. If you know someone interested, pass on the blog address. (Go HERE to check it out.)

The kids and I went to the Green Forest Christmas Parade on Saturday. It was a blast, and I won a $25 gift certificate to Geraldi's, which has amazing Italian food around here! Kady was so excited to tell Kevin about seeing Santa Claus and getting candy. Kyler got to help keep everyone in line by running forms back and forth to the judges and parade officials. . .We know so many people in high places ; ) . . .

One of my favorite things in the whole world is a Diet Dr. Pepper from Sonic. Apparently, not all Sonics are created equal, as my dad, Kady, and I apparently got varying degrees of food poisoning from a local Sonic. . .(All I can say is "Go west, go west for your Sonic cravings!!) Anyway, I think I'm back from the dark side of food poisoning. . .

THIS is what Kady's getting for Christmas (little people magic shoe fairy cottage). I'm not sure what Kyler's getting. . .He wants a Nintendo DS Lite or about any of the Scheich (sp?) animals he has been collecting. . .

That's all I've got right now. . .I'm sure I'll think of something amazingly witty later. . .or then again, maybe not. : )

Friday, December 5, 2008

First and foremost, I would like to thank the academy. . .



Lori at RECOVERING STROKE SURVIVOR has given me an award in the past. I've never known quite what to do, so both times, I simply said thank you. Honestly, both times, I've been touched beyond words. It is a huge compliment just to know that 8 (!) people are following my blog. When you factor in someone giving me an award, it makes me feel all funny and inadequate on the inside. So, I thought long and hard over what to say, and the truth is, I'm still stumped. That said, I'm totally gonna wing this and hope not to offend and yet sound somewhat intelligible.

Although it is nice to know someone is reading (especially if you didn't give birth to me and do not feel a strong sense of guilt drawing you here to read day after day after day. . .), the truth is, I would still blog even if y'all didn't come back here. I'm relatively new to this bloggy thing, but I've learned a few things since July (like how to hyperlink--you can SO teach a blonde new tricks!). The last few days have made me quite introspective regarding the time I spend on here. I asked myself why I blog. What am I getting out of this? Here are a few of my answers. . .
I blog because. . .
  1. I personally think my kids are awesome and amazing and know you will too if you hear enough about them! : ) Honestly, sometimes my blog reminds me of the worst Christmas letter you've ever received. I won't lie to you. I will be honest. If my big achievement as a mom is that I always, um, ALLWAYS (as Kyler says) feed my children, then, by all means, that's what I'll say. How many Christmas letters admit that?

  2. I like to hear myself talk--er--type?

  3. as awesome and amazing as my kids are, they sometimes drive me up the walls. Sometimes, I just need to vent and step back and try to be objective.

  4. I love to hear a good story. I have become addicted to so many of your blogs! I absolutely love to read what everyone is writing about in this thing we call life. I guess part of me feels I have to participate in my own way in order to read everyone else's.

  5. sometimes my life gets really lonely with a husband so far away. . .and sometimes I just need to hear another voice out there. . .especially if you're going through anything remotely similar.

  6. I believe strongly in the need to laugh. When we lose our ability to laugh at a situation, we lose. I want to laugh. . .and if i have to laugh at myself to do that, I will. Just laugh with me, ok?

  7. whether or not you think what I have to say is important, we all have a voice. God has called me to help other people find theirs. This is my attempt to find my own.

Lori, Amy, thank you. You're both amazing women, and I am truly honored by your gifts.
I have absolutely no idea who to award this to, so I'm going to name 4 people who truly inspire me.

Red Clay Diaries

Queen B (have you read anything funnier?)

Super Powers and Domestic Accident (because us SLP's have to stick together!)

And to all who read this, thank you. Your kind words always make my day!

A White Christmas (Tree) After All

You might remember that we have 2 colorblind people in our house, but one of them is in strong denial. . .One of these days, he will kill me for sharing this story, but until then. . .

I spent Wednesday at home cleaning and putting up my Christmas decorations. Although I'm not a perfectionist, if there's one thing I get a little particular about, it's my Christmas stuff. My first job was in a Christmas store. I know what trees are supposed to look like, and I cringe when mine doesn't look like I want it to. That said, I have for the past several years, allowed Kyler to decorate much of the tree. This year, however, I really wanted to get it up without having to battle Kady to STAY OUT OF THE BREAKABLE ORNAMENTS! I MEAN IT, YOUNG LADY!

I began the process Wednesday, and before I realized it, it was complete. I felt really guilty about not letting the kids participate in such an important family event, so I decided to put up another tree. This is something I did 6 or so years ago, when we lived in a much bigger house. I promised the kids they could get their own tree and decorate it any way they wanted. Kyler made me promise i wouldn't rearrange the ornaments when he got them on the tree. . .not that I've done that before. . .

Anyway, we were deep in tree conversation (Kyler saying he wanted a white tree. . .I was trying to think of a nice way to say "not in my house!") when we stopped to get Kady. After I buckled her into her carseat, Kyler leaned over and asked Kady if she wanted one of those white Christmas trees (like he did) or one of those ugly brown Christmas trees like everyone else has. . .Brown?! Oh, no. Who knew my son thought we had a brown Christmas tree all these years? No wonder he wants a white one! Who in their right mind would want a BROWN Christmas tree? The poor child has lived with a "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree" his entire life and I never knew it.

Tally ho! I suppose I'm off to buy a [gulp] white Christmas tree. . .(Pictures forthcoming, I promise!)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Exhibits 296-299

Today, I present to you items that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that my son is "all-boy." I am entering exhibits 296, 297, 298, and 299 that show shoes/boots that my son has worn until they fall apart.




(Those are all separate boots, by the way!) I've been cleaning out Kyler's closet, and I just had to share! The boy is rough on clothes!! I'm thinking we got our money's worth, though!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

As I was Saying. . .

You may remember my observation of my skill class of cooking yesterday. . .Speaking of, when I picked Kyler up from school yesterday, he had this paper in his backpack.


Let me help you out. Apparently, the students were asked to write about their parents. Kyler wrote


I love my parents. I like when my dad takes me hunting. Mom hellps me with books when I need it. They allways feed me. They listen to me when I need it. Does your mom and dad do all these good thing?


This absolutely redeems me, in my opinion, for the left-my-kid-at-school-by-accident Fiasco of 2008. After all, we ALLWAYS feed him. Do you think I'll make it off the bad parents list at school? And what is this "we"? Kevin is three hours away most nights. I guess I should be glad he didn't say, "Sometimes my dad feeds me." That might have been difficult to explain.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Varying degrees of homemade

You may remember my lament about only bringing the sodas to my in-laws'. Well, for future reference, do not complain about only having to bring sodas. Complaining will only lead to a responsibility for more time-consuming, stressful endeavors. Trust me. So, I "volunteered" to make green beans by my husband's favorite new recipe, thaw and bake rolls, a chocolate chip pie, and a broccoli and rice casserole (plus the ubiquitous sodas. . .).

Truthfully, it was fun to spend so much time in the kitchen. Working full time and running around so much, keeps our family on the fast-food circuit way more than I would like. Even when I do cook at home, it is usually semi-homemade, at best. (Although my personal motto includes, "If you turned the stove/oven on, you made it. Consider it homemade.") I enjoyed getting to take the time to actually make and bake and play in the kitchen. Kady got in on the action and helped make the green beans. . .although she kept eating raw green beans.

Then, the next day was spent enjoying a fun, delicious dinner at the in-laws. After dinner, everyone was sitting around talking about. . .stuff. You know, just conversing freely about the things we don't get to catch up on much. I heard my sisters-in-law discussing instant mashed potatoes. Wanting to get in on the conversation, I asked if they used those too. They both looked at me as if I had asked if they routinely placed dog poo in their dishes and served it. Guess not.

It suddenly dawned on me that I am not in their league. My day of cooking resulted in a different end product than theirs did. They spend days cooking meals as a service to their loved ones. They consider these meals an offering of love. They put forth an effort to make meals from scratch, regardless of the shortcuts they could have taken, the time-savers that were at their disposal.

I, on the other hand, feed my family to keep us alive. I try to make our food as wholesome as possible, but I see no reason to make something from scratch that Hamburger Helper has perfected. For example, Kyler's cousin, Max, spent Thanksgiving night with us. The next morning, I made cinnamon rolls (out of the can). Having served them to Kyler the day before for breakfast, he knew the warm, gooey deliciousness of the store-bought and home-cooked goodness. He was telling Max how good his mama's (Bless you, Kyler!) cinnamon rolls were, when Max looked at him and said, "it's not like they're homemade." Kyler, looking at him as if he had lost his mind, said, "She JUST made them."

Two very different viewpoints on what constitutes homemade. Perhaps mine was formed by my mother, who always worked ouside of the home full-time. We also had a farm and outside responsiblities, so meals were good but as fast as possible. Meals were always eaten together, as a family. We didn't have a microwave until I was a teenager, but my mom could cut corners in so many ways! She didn't see a reason to spend time in the kitchen when you had other things to do. Even now, Thanksgiving dinner at her house (on Sunday) was delicious but much of it was made in advance and in the quickest way possible.

You know, it all comes down to the fact that Betty (as in Crocker) and I are on a first-name basis. And I'm ok with that. It is, after all, my heritage.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

It’s Thanksgiving y’all. In the spirit of the day, I want to take a moment and tell everyone what I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful that Kyler is so generous. My mother-in-law has been remodeling her house. She is working hard to get all the “kid clutter” paired down and placed on shelves, which amounts to major decluttering of her house. She has made at least 2 trips to the recycling center. While she was telling me all this on the phone, my son was just itching to talk to her. In the background, I heard, “Can I talk, Mom? Mom, let me talk. Please? Can I talk?” I handed the phone over to my son, who graciously (and with all seriousness) offered to bring my mother-in-law some new toys for her bare shelves. . .

I’m thankful my mother-in-law didn’t have a heart attack. I’m thankful I don’t have to pick out good nursing homes. . .yet. (Joking! SO totally joking! Who has the money for a good nursing home right now!)

I’m thankful my vivacious daughter has learned that no matter how good chap stick smells, it doesn’t taste good. She found this out when she tasted it and spent the next five minutes trying to rub the taste off her tongue.

I’m thankful Kevin will be home with us for Thanksgiving. This will be the first time ever that we’ve had this long to spend together at Thanksgiving.

I’m thankful my mom stopped throwing up. Thanksgiving at my very small house with me cooking would not be the same.

Have a great Thanksgiving! I'll be back Monday, assuming the voices in my head don't take over by then. . .Gotta love family and holidays!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stains, Be Gone!!

With two little kids, we've rethought our leather couch many times. I still love the couch, after all, it's like the only piece of furniture we have that was bought new. . .and we know my stingy husband is not buying a new one anytime soon. . .

My daughter, the little Picasso, loves to draw on everything. I (foolishly) let my son play with an ink pad and stamps yesterday. With both instances, I was left trying to get (fresh) ink off the leather couch. Normally, I would have used "special, magical" cleaning solution they talked us into buying when we bought the couch. How did they get my squeak-when-he walks-husband to buy that? Oh yeah--that was my call. . .

Now, I use a baby wipe. I just grab a wipe from the container and Presto! The ink and most other stains disappear. Maybe it's the alcohol content in the wipes--I really don't know. I can tell you that it doesn't appear to cause any damage to the leather. It obviously doesn't work (as well) with old, set-in stains.

It works for us. To find out what works for other people, check out Rocks in my Dryer.

HAVE A GREAT THANKSGIVING! SEE YOU MONDAY!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Pen is Mightier than the Dow

I guess you could say I had a revelation while doing my banking yesterday. It all started when I did my Thanksgiving grocery shopping. (Actually, it started prior to that when I admitted the very real possibility of going stark-raving mad over the holidays...as detailed here.). Then, in Wal-mart, I met a bloggy friend in real life for the first time (Hi, Jenn! Yes, I would love to do the margaritas and scrapping party...I'll see if the judge can put that in the terms of my release--assuming I'll be declared competent by that time. Margaritas and scrapbooking...what on earth will we come up with?).

Jenn and I had talked many times, but I had yet to meet her in real life--until yesterday. (I'm thankful to my son for pointing her out, too. Thank goodness he knows everyone in a 5-state region. You could put that boy down in a wal-mart in portland, oregon, and he would know 3 people.). Jenn, please do not judge my upcoming thanksgiving holiday by the cheetos, vienna sausages, and poptarts you saw in our basket!! We did pick up some sweet potatoes before we left! You know, from the PRODUCE section!

Anyway, I digressed somewhere along through there...Ah, yes, back to my point.... Despite the threat of a crashing national economy, falling global markets, and security threats (both electronic and on-site) banks are still able to guard their writing utensils like no-one else! Do we really think they're that careful with our money? Just sayin'. : )

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's here. . .

The stress-inducing holidays have begun. Officially. I was talked to in a not-so-nice fashion on the phone yesterday. It seems a family member is upset. Smile, it will soon be over.


My mother-in-law, who reads my blog (HI, DONNA! You're great!), has decided that I should bring a vegetable. I guess we'll try and be healthy this year, thus cancelling out the 3-layer dessert, tiramisu, and pumpkin pie we will also be consuming. I am SO glad I made an issue of bringing sodas every year (Click here for THAT story.). . .Smile, it will soon be over.


My father, who chooses when and if he will behave is exhibiting questionable behavior already. . .Smile, it will soon be over.


Only one family member is currently throwing up. . .Smile, it will soon be over.


My husband will be home in a few days. I have not-enough-time to clean the house and prepare for Thanksgiving before he gets here. . .Smile, it will soon be over.


I really want to get Christmas stuff put up before I come back to work next Monday. My first job was in a Christmas store, so to say I go all out for Christmas would be an understatement. . .Smile, it will soon be over.


There is a strong history of mental illness in my family, which I am reminded of every holiday. Smile, it will soon be over.


My husband reassured me that most "crazy" people don't know they're crazy. . .Does anyone else hear the voices? They keep telling me to smile. . .

Sunday, November 23, 2008

officially in mourning

[insert sad, mourning soundtrack. . .perhaps I'll Fly Away. Imagine my black funeral attire, if you will.]

Well, the very thing I feared is coming true. Julianne Hough is leaving Dancing with the Stars. Read the article here. It has been no secret that we are huge fans of this show. My son rooted strongly for Julianne and her partner this season, Cody Linley. I continue to root for the ever-smiling and able-to-laugh-at-himself, Warren Sapp. Who doesn't love a big guy who can move and laugh?! Sadly, my big guy has no rhythm. . .nor do I. . .While we will continue to vote this week in the finale (GO, WARREN, GO!!), forgive me if I must take a few moments to publicly declare my sadness. I truly wish Miss Julianne the best. She does have an amazing voice and is a very gifted individual. She will, however, be missed by many!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'll Bring the Sodas!

It's holiday time again, and as much as I love my mother-in-law, she should stop reading NOW! (Donna, I really mean it!!)

Every Thanksgiving (and Christmas), we gather at my mother-in-law's house. Great fun is had by all. We enjoy eating until we make ourselves sick. We might play a little football or tag or whatever. The kids always have fun, with a minimum of fights between them.

Preparations have begun for this year. The requisite call to the mother-in-law was made. I was (once again) asked to bring soda pop. In the 10+ years Kevin and I have been married, I've never been asked to bring anything that requires baking/cooking. EVER. Occasionally, I get asked to bring ice. On occasion, store-bought rolls. . .

Now, my mistakes in the kitchen have been well documented by my husband and family. However, I really can cook. I just don't like to. Perhaps she feels my skills are best utilized elsewhere. . .where, I don't know, but. . .Perhaps she feels like I am too occupied with my kiddos. . .(nah, that can't be it!) The other women in this family are rather difficult to compete with. . .One had a heckuva time finding quality ladyfingers for her home-made tiramisu. . .Yeah, I hate when that happens. . .

Anywho, I am proud to announce that just last year, I graduated to prep cook. That's right. I was allowed to wash, peel, AND slice the veggies and fruit for the trays. . .Jealous?

Unfortunately, the invitation hasn't been extended (yet) this year. . .I'm sure it's just a matter of time, right?

I'll show mine if you'll show yours. . .

Catchy title, huh? Anywho, there's this amazing thing going on in bloggy world. It's called the Mother Letter. The premise can be read on the original blog (Check it out here) or by reading Rocks in my Dryer here.

Amazing things going on in bloggy world, if you ask me. I had to be a part of this, it's just too neat. That said, I'm posting my letter but really hoping you guys will share yours!

Here goes:

Dear Mother,

God has given us an amazing quest: to raise these children that he has blessed us with in the best way we can with HIS help. Difficulty doesn't begin to describe our job. There will be times when we will want to scream/cry/run/hide, etc., but with God, we can do this. (Raise the child, I mean, not scream/cry/run/hide, etc.) We can raise this amazingly original example of His love and joy into the person He wants him or her to be.

When those dark days get here, remember that God is with us. He never fails. He never departs. He is always there to help us. With Him, we can (and will) do this.
As a young girl once said, "God, take care of my family, and take care of You. Because, God, if anything happens to You, we're in a mess!"

Remember that others have come before you and others will go after you. Still others, are in the trenches with you. Gain strength through these other warriors who have either come or are going through your battles. Battles that include things you never imagined talking about in public. . .poop, vomit, breast milk, etc. Yet, one look from those big eyes and one "I love you, Mommy" and we know it is worth it. When you want to think of how far we have to go, think instead of how far we've come. Remember that amazing feeling of taking that newborn home? Remember the scary feeling that there was no test, no competency hearing, nothing to insure that you are really capable of parenting this human life that God and the hospital has intrusted to you?

Some day, our children will be grown. We shall be the triumphant elders in the trenches. May we share the lessons that truly matter with those new to the battle. May we never forget what truly matters and may our homes be filled with the things that truly matter this Christmas!

Love,
Rachel

Rednecks R Us

After reading some of my last few posts, I realized something. I have been doing a wonderful job of reiterating all those Arkansas/hillbilly stereotypes you may have. For instance, we live 3 miles down a dirt road. We live in a county where you can't buy a bottle of whine, but all the drugs you want are within reach (scary!). Our next door neighbors have chicken houses. Dogs outnumber people in our neighborhood. My husband hunts--Everything.

I honestly did not realize we were rednecks until I read our stories. OK, that is SO not true. I've always known my husband was a redneck. He has made that perfectly clear since the first time I saw him (driving someone else's truck and "celebrating" a huge buck his best friend killed. . .what the heck was I thinking?!) However, I still have some denial about whether or not I am a redneck. Sadly, I have a feeling which side of the line my children are on. . .

That said, stereotypes are wrong and misleading. Please don't judge all of Arkansas by my stories. I am sorry if I have been misleading you. We are not all like this. Seriously. Growing up, I lived on a paved road--a highway, even! We only had one dog. We could buy wine, but drugs appeared (to me, at least) to be scarce. My dad "hunted" once a year, which amounted to going camping with the guys. Ok, the next door neighbors did have chicken houses, but it is Arkansas. . .

That said, let me influence you twice more. . .

1) We were almost late to school today because the Tyson truck was stopped on the dirt road talking to my neighbor, the illegal poacher, about deer hunting. . .

2) When we got to the babysitter's, she had a deer hanging in her front yard. Her husband had killed a good size buck. (Although she told me she took the kids on a field trip to teach them about hunting--gotta love that!)

Please don't judge us. Laugh WITH us, ok?

The Prodigal Son Returns (and other ramblings including a Vomit Update) : )

Thank you for all your prayers! Duke has returned. He has been cohabiting with the neighbor's pit bull, poodle, and new puppy. How can we compete with that? He returns home to eat, and then prefers to go play with the neighbors. . .

Kyler had a stomach bug on Wednesday. Kady got it late Wednesday/early Thursday. It turns out it is easiest to just hold the 2-year-old over the toilet AND hold her arms down (or else she's trying to put her hands in the icky toilet. . .). Just sayin'.

Thankfully, we're well again, I think. . .I was amazed at how selfish I could be when my kids were sick. . .My mom was never like that! I remember her taking off work, scrubbing whatever, and fixing us whatever we wanted to eat/drink. I really had to battle the inconvenience feelings. It really was not the "right day" for Kyler to get sick! I had other things I needed to be doing. . .I. . . As if my son wanted to be sick! I wish I could be a better mom. I wish I could be so much less selfish than I obviously was this week. . .Anyone else ever have those feelings?

Favorite memory of being sick when I was little: 1) my dad brought me a Hershey's bar (because I was sick. If I hadn't been sick, it would have been Snickers. . .) 2) my mom stayed home with us and let us watch anything we wanted on tv and fed us chicken noodle soup, 7-up, and popsicles.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Tale of Two Doggies

**Update: I wrote this post yesterday. When we got home last night, Duke was no where to be found. He wasn't there this morning, either. I know it's a minor thing to many of you, but please pray that Duke will return home safely. Thank you!**


Within the Kendrick household, we have had many pets. Through a series of unfortunate accidents, we have added and subtracted a great number of dogs and cats, although mostly dogs. There was a time when I thought we had to be the worst dog owners in the world. . .The fact that we lived on a very busy highway and liked busy, active dogs had nothing to do with it. . .


Luckily, our luck seems to have changed for the better. We've had our current dogs for 6 months and 2 years. Let me introduce you to the least productive members of our family.











This is Buddy. He is supposedly a cocker spaniel. . .This is what happens when your husband takes a job in Florida and you get lonely. He was rescued from a lady who named him "Alf." She named him Alf, because his hair was long and tangled and stood up straight. (Hello? Haircut, anyone?) We renamed him Buddy, and he has flourished. He sticks very close to our house and remains a little skittish. Buddy apparently sees himself as a backhoe/one-doggy drilling operation. He LOVES the kids, and Kady is especially fond of him. He's always looking for a little affection, and I apologize for the fact that he gets "homemade" haircuts.



This is Duke. He came to us by way of "Tradio." Tradio is a local radio show where people call in and announce things they want to give away or are looking for. When I was home on maternity leave, Kev took Kyler to school one morning. We had been talking about getting another dog, but WE had decided WE had enough on our plate with a newborn baby. . .On this particular morning, however, things apparently changed. My husband called and said that I would kill him for what he'd done. I hung up and got in the shower. It hit me. My husband got a puppy. He got a puppy--after we decided not to! (I was thinking small, cute, little bundle of fur.) Imagine my surprise when he came home and I saw a 70 pound golden retriever get out of his car. Ah, good times!

Anywho, Duke had been abandoned at an older, retired couple's house. They travelled a lot, so they could not keep him. They called in to Tradio, but no one had called about him--until Kev. He knows commands (sit, stay, etc.) and will heel well on a leash. Other than that, we have no idea of his history. He loves kids and basically, everyone. He loves to look in windows. . .including the neighbor's. . .Thank goodness our neighbors like him. His tongue is too big for his mouth, which is in direct proportion to his being, just, well, too big all around. He's a very large dog, but we love him.

That said, let me tell you about the day Duke should still be hanging his head about. Our neighbor has commercial chicken houses. He lives about a 1/2 mile away from us. The kids, dogs, and I went for a walk. I chose not to put the dogs on leashes for the walk. When we got to the neighbor's house, Duke took off. There were some rogue fowl that had escaped the chicken house. Duke looked like a kid in a candy store, chasing those chickens. Kyler was screaming. I was screaming. Duke caught a chicken. There were feathers flying everywhere. I left Kyler in charge of Kady, and I went after Duke. . .He trotted toward me, spitting feathers as he went. He was sufficiently (maybe) punished for this behavior. (The neighbor's wife later laughed (!) and said that he had been trying to catch those chickens for two weeks. . .) Judge for yourself in the picture below. Does he look repentant?


I didn't think so, either.
**Update: I wrote this post yesterday. Please pray that Duke will be home safe tonight. Thank you!**

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Daily Funny


This is what I saw on my car seat today.
It's Kyler's math test.
But what, you ask, are those things he drew?


Relax.
Before you call, the child psychologist, you should know he drew forks!
That's my story, and I'm sticking with it!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Orange and other Kady-isms

Orange is Kady's favorite color. We're starting to work on counting, singing her ABC's, id'ing colors, etc., with Kady. When asked her favorite color, she always responds orange. I think it's the one she remembers. It appears to have no correlation with anything. Daddy is of course pleased with the choice of "hunter orange" as opposed to pink or even blue.

The child is in love with Dora (and Diego). She can spot the characters at 300 yards. . .on anything! She picked out new panties with Dora on them. When asked what her mama's name was, she responded, "Dora." Go figure.

We left from Kev's this morning (Monday) at 5:30 to make it to work/school. (How could I tell Kev no when he asked us to stay an extra night?) Kady was bright-eyed. Eventually, she did get tired of the car seat and kept asking when she would see "Sissy," who is her BFF at the babysitter's. It's just not right to be bright-eyed and pleasantly talkative at 5:30 am. . .

Her language skills make me so happy. (It's the little things sometimes. . .) As a speech-language pathologist, I think you are always aware of your child's development and worried about the possiblities. Our family has a strong history of delayed speech and language development. Kyler has made tremendous leaps and bounds compared to where he was. I've always been focused on any deficits he might have. . .even if a little in denial (read here). I'm proud to say Kady is doing very well in this area. Every day I am amazed by her new vocabulary.

Kady had her first taste of deer meat this weekend. She loved it. We had deer-meat chili on Saturday and fried deer meat on Sunday. Kev told her that the meat came from Kyler. She turned to him and said, "thank you." Kev asked her if she was going to be a deer hunter when she was older and she said she was. Kyler then told her that he got to kill the big bucks and she could have the little ones. She said, "OK." How did Kev manage to warp them both? and so quickly. . .

That's it. That's all I got. Maybe tomorrow I'll be less sleep deprived. . .

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Best Laid Plans. . .

Today did not go as planned. Ever had one of those days? I was supposed to get to see Kevin, run the errands I needed to run, and post Kyler's video from his program at school. Instead, I'm truly battling some "taken advantage of" feelings. I did not leave my dirty house so that I could come down here and clean my husband's "bachelor pad."

Let me back up. Kady is no longer taking a nap. Her sleep schedule is nightmare inducing. . .to me. For some unknown reason, God saw fit to give 2 night owls a beautiful little girl who just happens to be a morning person. The child is like an alarm clock--that never needs to be reset. 6am: "Get up! Get up, Mama, GET UP!" That's what I heard this morning (and every other day). We were dressed and on Target's doorstop at 8:30 this morning. (They open at 8, in case you're wondering.) I ran all our errands. I attempted to post, but the computer was having "connection" issues--who isn't? I've cleaned as much as I can, but it's just one of those days when one thing after another happens.

For example, Kady was laying down to take a nap when the lid came off her hot chocolate (lukewarm) and it spilled everywhere. (I know, hindsight is everything!) Kyler is beyond hyper, which is partially due to being stuck in this very small duplex. I've come a long ways on Kev's laundry, Kev's dirty dishes, and Kev's dirty house in general. . .What I need to clean up next is my attitude. I need a healing of my attitude.

I love my husband. I'm blessed to have Kevin as my husband. He truly is a wonderful man, who makes huge sacrifices for his family. I'm blessed to have a daughter like Kady, who took the initiative last night to pee pee in the potty because her big brother was. (FYI: Kady and I were brushing our teeth. Kyler walked in and started going pee pee, because my children have no concept of the terms "privacy" and "personal space." Kady suddenly said she needed to go, and she did!) I'm blessed to be able to take her to Target and buy her Dora panties as a reward. I'm blessed to have a son as full of life as Kyler. I'm blessed to have a son who is more coordinated, with better rhythm, and a better ability to carry a tune than his momma. . .or his daddy. . .How did that happen? I'm blessed to be able to come down here and see Kevin (even if it's not as much as I would like!). I'm blessed to be able to do Kev's laundry at his duplex instead of having to go to the laundromat. I'm blessed. Period.

As promised, here (hopefully) is Kyler's program at school.


The winner of the giveaway is Wanda, but I'm having technical difficulties. I will attempt to contact her on Monday, at which time, she will have 48 hours to respond.

May we all realize how truly blessed we are! Have a great weekend!


PS I am blessed in the nap area as well. Kady is (finally) taking a nap.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Weekend update

I'm feeling so SNL after typing that title! Speaking of which, I have a very unscientific way of aging a person. Ask them who their favorites were on Saturday Night Live. Try it. (Tie: Adam Sandler and Chris Farley, by the way!)

Moving on: We're headed to see Kevin shortly. I think I'll be making weekend posts for a change--yea, me! I've got some cute stuff coming up from Kyler's Veteran's Day program at school. Let me just say my son didn't get his rhythm from me. . .or his dad. . .because we have NONE. Zilch. Nada. It has to be one of those "milkman traits" he has.

Also, I've made my Christmas cards this year. (Just go back and read that sentence, will ya? Martha Stewart, eat your heart out!) I'll be doing some shopping for the finishing touches on those this weekend, as well. (I bought local for all the other parts, and that is my theme for this Christmas: "Buy local when you can." (Which can be tough in a small town!)

I linked to Stop and Smell the Chocolates--don't you love the name!? Check out her recipe for chocolate chip cheesecake!

Two of my bloggy friends (Amy--ByHisGrace and Elizabeth--findingHimbigger) left for Branson this weekend. . .Do you think they're having a secret bloggy convention that they didn't tell us about? Nah. . .they'd never do that. . .would they?

That's all I can think of for now. I've got 2 hours before I draw a name in the giveaway. I'll let you know the winners as soon as I post on Kev's computer.

I HOPE EVERYONE HAS A GREAT WEEKEND!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

You've got WHAT on your hands?

Forgive me in advance for any false information I share. I am not a deer hunter. I grew up around them. I might have even attempted the hunting thing a time or two. However, the only deer I've ever killed was trying to outrun my car. . .Another story for another day. . .


Kev and Kyler went hunting close to our house this weekend. In fact, they just walked out in "our" woods to their tree stand to hunt. Can we just take a moment for me to realize how blessed I am?

Ok, I'm back. Kyler is really beginning to enjoy this hunting thing, so Kev is letting him do more and more. This time he let Kyler drag the "scent." This involves putting doe pee on a cotton ball and pulling it with a string to lure the buck in. (The buck smells a doe and comes around to find the amazingly, seductive-smelling doe.) Now, most of you are thinking doe pee is not high on the list of things you want to smell in your life. I can now assure you that you are right.


Apparently, somewhere on the way to the tree stand, Kyler dropped the string upon which the cotton ball was attached. Kevin realized this when he turned around and saw Kyler HOLDING the cotton ball. He asked Kyler why he was holding the cotton ball, and Kyler said he had dropped the string. At which time, he apparently thought it would be easier to just hold the cotton ball containing doe urine. . .Really, Kev, it's not like you explained the process to your son. . .(Can you picture Kyler's mind working to try and figure out exactly why pulling a cotton ball on a string was going to make them better deer hunters? I can.)


Kyler then spent the next hour or so sitting in a tree, smelling like a deer whizzed on him, and (bless his heart) holding his hand up for the wind to blow the smell off him. Ah, good times. When they came home, Kyler was sent to wash his hands IMMEDIATELY. When he returned, he (Moms, y'all know where this is going. . .) asked (not his dad but) me to smell his hands. Let's just say he had to rewash them. . .


In closing, let me share what we learned from this experience.

Lessons learned:

  1. The cotton ball goes on the ground.
  2. At all times, the cotton ball goes on the ground.
  3. DO NOT TOUCH the cotton ball.
  4. Boys are gross.
  5. Wind, water, soap, steel wool, acid (I jest) will not remove the scent of doe urine.
  6. Do NOT respond to the words, "Mom, smell this."
  7. Ever.
  8. No matter what.

wfmw: easy dessert for potlucks

OK, I confess. Martha stole her ideas from me. She and I are on a first name basis. She regularly calls me to ask about ideas for her show, her magazine, her product lines. . .Well, basically, she just calls to ask advice in general.

Y'ALL, GET UP! STOP LAUGHING! I am trying to write here. I could be on Martha's list. You don't know. Seriously, stop laughing at me. So what if I once burnt boiled eggs? Ok, so there was once the unfortunate cookie bar incident and the broken tooth at the church potluck. That could so happen to anyone. . .Moving on. . .

Anyway, I honestly don't have much time to cook/bake/clean/anything that involves taking time away from supervising the resident monkey hooligans that I gave birth to. When asked to bring a dish for a potluck, I always bring this:

Butterfinger Pie

small tub cool whip
equal amount of cream cheese (I think the tub is 8 oz, so get 8 oz cream cheese.)
6-7 butterfinger bars crushed
graham cracker crust

Here's what you do:

mix cream cheese and cool whip together. Beat in all but one of the candy bars. Spread into graham cracker crust. Top with last candy bar. Chill over night.

That's it. Seriously. Now, if you're like me, you're saying. . .yeah, but it's too easy. Wouldn't it be better if. . .No. Try it. It's rich, but not too sweet. It has chocolate. . .It's awesome. This is one of my husband's favorite desserts. . .and that's saying something, y'all.

While you're here, check out my giveaway! I know Halloween candy is still lurking in our cabinets, but this giveaway is for YOU only. Who doesn't love Ghirardelli? Go here to find out more. Works for me. To find out what works for everybody else, check out Rocks in my Dryer here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

MY FIRST GIVEAWAY!

I'm hitting a bloggy and real-life slump, so what's a girl to do but give something away?



Here's your assignment. (I am sssssoooooooooo good at this first-child thing!)



Tell me your new favorite go-to blog. What blog have you discovered in the last 3-6 months that you now have to read? It can be about anything. It should be in English. It can not contain rude, crude, or offensive language.



I'll use that random number generator thingy to pick a number (unless I can't figure out how, and in that case, I'll use my 2 year-old and have her pick a number out of a hat--please don't try to bribe the already-spoiled 2-year-old).



WHAT DO I WIN, you ask?



How about
(Winner will receive a 10.23 oz. bag of Ghirardelli chocolate squares. You can pick the flavor.)

Winner will be chosen at random on Friday, November 14th at 3 pm CST. Winner will be contacted and will have 48 hours to reply or another winner will be chosen.

If you're ever in my neck of the woods. . .

Kyler and I had a long overdue "date night" on Saturday. (Kevin had to work Saturday.) Kyler had been wanting to see the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua. We left Kady at my mom's house and went to the local theatre.


Theatre is at times too strong of a word. We have one movie that plays at a time. It has one showing on Friday, one showing on Saturday, and one showing on Sunday. Recently, they fixed the crack on the screen, which had been bugging me since I was a teenager. Speaking of which, when I was a kid, it was one of the only places we could "hang out." It was especially cool if your parents would drop you off. . .I had to settle with simply sitting in a different location from my mom. We went to the movies regardless (typically) of what was playing. I've even been in the theatre when a tornado came through town. (The theatre stopped the movie and shut down, because, um, it was safer to send screaming, scared kids outdoors and waiting for their parents. . .yeah, it didn't make sense to me then, either.)


Back to Saturday night. There were literally springs coming out of the chair I was sitting in. . .Your choices at the concession stand are popcorn or candy. That said, movies are $3 for kids and $4 for adults. Popcorn is $2 for a large. Candy is $1. You're bound to run into anybody and everybody. (Which also means if the husband of one of your friends gets there late and has to sit next to you, it might be wise to encourage your son to trade places with you. . .ah, small towns. . .) Honestly, it's one of my all-time favorite places to take Kyler. I don't need to spend $50 to see the latest blockbuster. Kyler laughs just as loud and just as hard whether we've driven an hour or whether we've frequented the local theatre. In case you're ever in my neck of the woods, I encourage you to check out what's playing.


Oh, and if you try really hard to avoid your overprotective tendencies, you might be rewarded. . .I let Kyler go to the bathroom by himself. He came back laughing and telling me about the "No Smooching" sign on the bathroom door. This is what I later saw. . .

Guess we have a ways to go on the reading skills.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Frightful Hallow's Eve

As promised, here's our exciting and eventful Halloween doings. (Let me apologize in advance for the sideways pictures--I'm having issues with the computer today.)

4:45 show up to sitter's house. attempt to get kids dressed. Kyler is Indiana Jones. Kady would be the cutest little lion ever. . .if only she agreed to wear the costume. . .

5:00 realize camera battery is officially dead. go to wal-mart. let kids take in candy buckets because others are. buy batteries. realize wal-mart is not actually handing out candy yet. carry kids buckets for them at this point. Kady is cranky, but thankfully, not like on the wal-mart visit to h*ll.

5:15 leave wal-mart (are y'all impressed with how quickly I can get 2 kids through wal-mart? It helps that there was the promise of candy upon leaving wal-mart.)



5:25 arrive at square to trick-or-treat. realize Kady is sound asleep. As in NOT GONNA WAKE UP! Armageddon could strike, and ragdoll Kady would still be sleeping.


used opportunity to put cutest little lion costume ever on her. (Hey, I take advantage of an opportunity whenever I see it. . .)

trick-or-treated (AKA carrying 27 pound sleeping toddler while chasing 8 year-old humming, buzzing Indy) all the way around the square. arrived back at car. realized stroller was in the back of the car. . .



5:40-5:55 sat Kyler on bench at town square. made, um, asked Kyler to hold his sleeping sister. He acquiesced grudgingly. managed to get decent shots--although Kady's head is at a bit of an unnatural angle. . .

6:00 Kady woke up. was not impressed with costume. Neither child was impressed with having to take more photos. . .


6:15 supper at Subway. FREE COOKIES!!!

6:35 stopped at sitter's house for candy.

6:45 off to school for fall festival activities. Kyler (already hopped up on adrenaline and candy--thanks, teachers!) bounced from activity to activity. Kady (now awake and thinking this candy needed to be eaten) sat in the floor and opened candy as fast as she could and ate it. Now, remember, she slept all the way around the square, so she really didn't have that much candy. In a moment of sheer genius (later diagnosed as utter stupidity), I decided to let her eat all the candy on Halloween night. That way, I wouldn't have to hear the begging for days. (I typically ration the candy.)

7:45 My son manages to get a little out of control at that exciting classic game of "Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin." He spins out of control and crashes on his sister, who's still looking for any unopened candy in her bucket. She cries. Everyone looks. I look. Kyler's blushes. Kady has a black eye. . .Just another day in paradise. . .



8:00 we slink out of the fall festival, seriously hoping no one remembers this at next year's event. . . Can you be uninvited to a school fall festival? Hmm.

8:05 Kevin calls. He's on the way home and says, "Would you MIND running to Wal-Mart for me?" I glance back at the blurs inhabiting my car. I think they're my kids. . .It's hard to tell with all the movement. . . Perhaps this much sugar is not conducive to surviving Wal-Mart, I think. Kevin pulls the "please" card. and then the "speak nicely to your wife" card. . .You know where this is going.

8:15 We bound into Wal-Mart, which is about the last time I have a hold on my 2-year-old. I spent the next 30 minutes chasing a giggling, lightning ball of candy/speed/crack (what was in that candy?) across the floor of every department Wal-Mart has. . .And cursing. I did lots of that in my head. I can promise you that my husband, God love him, will NEVER be able to pay me back.

9:15 wait 30 minutes for Kevin to show up. start thinking about where I could purchase a bit of the plague/leprosy, etc. Just a little. Honest.

10:00 Arrive home. Fall into bed. Vow never to trick-or-treat or enter Wal-Mart-land again.

Ok, how did ours stack up to yours? Did ours live up to your expectations? (Do you know where to get some bubonic plague? Kidding, promise. . .mostly.)