This weekend, as we have done the past two years and is becoming a Memorial Day tradition, Aaron's family came in and all gathered at our house to eat, visit, and swim.  It really is a lot of fun.  I am so blessed in the in-law department and am thankful that my children have so many aunts and uncles (on both sides really) that they can look to as Christian examples and awesome people.  And let's not forget about the cousins!!  I grew up with a few cousins, but all of them much younger than me.  I was the first grandchild and in many ways I was on my own when it came to the "kids at the holiday get togethers" for a long time.  Not so for my kids.  They are so lucky.  When Aaron's family gathers, there are nine grandchildren already, with one due in September and I'm sure more to follow.  They play, and they fight, and they build forts, and they play family, and the fight, and they tattle, and they sneak cookies and Mountain Dew, and they plot, and they fight, and they fall asleep in a big adorable pile in front of a late-night movie.  It is worth all the hassle of housing nine kids ages 9 and under.  Seriously.  It actually is.  
    So in honor of all our fun times this weekend and because I like taking pictures with my camera on the "sports" setting, I have decided to wow you with a montage of amazing diving board tricks, dives, and feats.  Prepare yourself to look at cute kids doing such breathtaking things as - a belly flop, a can opener, and the most daunting of all.......a cannon ball.  Do not worry.  There are no photos of me in a swimsuit posted on here because frankly - this is just not that kind of website.  Plus I would really like it if I did NOT, in fact, horrify you to the point of therapy.  You are welcome.  Enjoy.
The cannonball
Super G trying to learn how to dive but looking a bit more like a Superman/toadfrog mid leap
Who doesn't like jumping through a ring?
Can opener that splashed all the pretty ladies trying to lay out and dry off
Again, who doesn't like jumping through a ring? Me that's who. We decided that since we were such a mature group, we would take turns diving into this tiny child's ring so see if we would pass through. Well, as seen here, Kara made it. Brother-in-law Trent made it. Even big ol' Aaron made it. Know who didn't make it? My girls. Yep, stuck right there under my armpits at the top of my swimsuit. Awesome. Just awesome. (and by awesome I mean terrible, but I'm pretty sure you are smart enough to catch my cleavage sarcasm)
    There was one more really funny diving board picture, but I promised all my sister-in-laws that I would not put any unflattering pictures on here.  So Lori, because I love you, I didn't put the awesome photo of you holding your nose and squealing.  You're welcome. To the rest of you - sorry you have to miss it.  
    Hope all of you had just as great a weekend and have just as great of families as we do.  If not, we have plenty and I'm sure there are a couple of folks around here we would be glad to let you borrow.  Just let me know and we will take a family vote to see who is out.

Hope it's not me,
    Something awful just happened.  I mean, my day started out great enough.  All of Aaron's family has been here for the weekend, hanging out, eating, having a good time.  And it's been great.  Seriously, watching all the cousins playing together is just so rewarding and adorable.  We played, and ate, and swam, and ate, and played, and shopped and ate.  Awesome. (photos and stories coming soon for the 3 of you that care)  And then they left.  And we were lazy bums.  Well technically I was a lazy bum while Aaron and the boys cleaned up the house. (so good to me I tell ya')  Then Aaron went to bed because he has to go back and save the world one high-quality compact car at a time early in the morning.  Destruct-o-girl was out too, but the boys were watching tv as I read on the kindle.  I realized it had gotten a little too quiet and still, and decided it was time to put everyone in their beds since they were drooling on my couch.  So I walked over, removed their blanket, and bent down to pick up Super-G.  I put my arms around him, lifted up, and .................... nothing.  He is so heavy now that I could barely move him.  Literally.  I had to do the whole "get a good grip and bend from my knees" thing.  What?!?!  When did this happen?!?!  When did my baby get so big that I can barely pick him up?  When did he grow to the point that I can no longer carry him?  Why have I apparently been in denial about this?  I mean, I am freakishly strong for a girl that in no way works out.  My lower body strength, for obvious reasons, is ridiculous.  But I could not lift my baby off of that couch.  He's big now.  He's growing.  He can pour his own chocolate milk and reach the microwave and watch his sister and almost read music and wash his own hair and unload the clean silverware from the dishwasher.  I should have seen this coming.  I should not have decided that all the big-boy things he can do are great and helpful.  I should have discouraged them, and babied him, and maybe - just maybe - he would stop growing up so fast.  Instead I have pushed him to grow up and do more, to mature, to eat his vegetables, to come that much closer to leaving me.  Seriously, this one event has suddenly become too much for me to bear.  I am actually crying about this as I type.  How does this happen so fast?
    So I sit here thinking, I know this is supposed to happen.  Children are supposed to grow up - go to first grade and whatnot.  But then what happens to me?  To the mom that is consumed with nothing but diapers and lunchboxes and t-ball games?  Will I grow up too?  I'm sure I will.  I will soon be worried about grades and ball teams and prom dresses.  Then how to pay for college.  Then weddings.  Then grandchildren.  And I will love all of it.  But for tonight I am just going to sit here and grieve about the fact that my baby is not a baby anymore.  And contemplate the meaning of it all.  And cry.  And probably eat something.  

Apparently harmonal,
    I feel like I have had so much stuff to write about this week, but I have felt too busy to sit down and write the second it pops in my head.  Now that it is 2:30 in the morning (and everyone is asleep and leaving me alone) I have some time but can think of nothing interesting.  So I am just going to post some photos of all the stuff we have had going on lately.  Everyone is busy this time of year with the end of school and I know you are no different.  You will have plenty of photos just like this.  But there are like three people who read this blog that actually care about the adorableness of my children and want to know what they are doing.  So grandmothers, these are for you. The rest of you - sorry.  Check back later for something you may or may not care about.
swinging really, really high
losing teeth
Bike-a-thon. This is two seconds before he wrecked, incured a head injury, and was done 3 laps in. I know, I know - helmet. I know. You don't have to tell me.
Panning for shark teeth with Oma. Turnanator was soooo not into getting wet. Super G was soaked within the first 9 seconds.
The Clampets Go Golfing
Just checking to make sure this light fixture is ok. I am in no way up on this counter because there is a package of fudge striped cookies. No.Way
    Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend and remembers the men and women in uniform that this weekend is all about!  I also hope you eat 'til you puke - almost.  We have a lot of family coming over tomorrow to party it up, and I have high hopes of a clean house and shaved legs.  So wish me luck.  And please encourage me to quit being an idiot that's up typing at 3 am.  Tell me to go to bed.  Now.  "Yes ma'am".  Good night.

Love you like red meat,
    So I have had intentions of blogging all day for the past two days, and all I can say is "sorry" because I've been busy with my regular life.  But here I am armed with a give away, so maybe the potential of a free cute outfit will help you forgive.  My sweet sister-in-law now has an awesome little embroidery business called Squiggle Stitch, and she makes some ca-yute stuff.  And for this give away she has teamed up with a friend who sews to bring you either a jon-jon or a jumper with applique and monogram of your choice.  So if you have any small people in your life (or if you just love me enough to win one for destruct-o-girl) then head on over to her blog and enter for your chance to win.  I promised her I would give it a plug on here this past weekend and then the whole "life in the way" business happened.  So HURRY because time to enter is OVA on Friday.  It won't take but a second and she gives you four, that's right I said 4, different ways to enter.  So seriously, why not?  You know your kid (or my kid - whatevs) would look seriously ca-yute in that stuff.  Hurry.  Go.  Click the link below.  Get busy.

Musings of a Farmer's Wife
    Next I just want to say that I am struggling a bit with the couponing thing.  I mean I really do enjoy it.  I do.  But sometimes I get discouraged when I leave the store because I want to be like the crazies on tv.  Ya know?  I want to walk out with a buggy full for 6 bucks.  I want to feel like I stole it.  You feel me?  No?  Really?  It's just me?  Anyway, I try.  I actually have started dedicating quite a bit of time each week to get my coupons and list ready, and I only really wheel and deal at CVS.  Well, I do occasionally go to Kroger when I get itchin' to go to the big city.... but generally I CVS it or maybe do a little ad matching at the Walmart.  (I mean I still spend a ridonculous amount of money at Walmart, I just coupon at CVS)  Anyway, I went today (with all 3 kids.  forgot about how I will miss school for that reason) and got the following:
4 cases of coke products, 3 cans pringles, 2 pack oral-B toothbrushes, 1 box Q-tips, 1 pack Stride gum, 3 hershey bars, 1 Revlon nail polish, 2 bottles coppertone continuous spray sunscreen, 1 green bag tag, a 4-pack energizer lithium AA batteries, 1 Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen, 36-count playtex tampons, and 1 edge shaving cream
Grand Total - $43.40 with $15 extra care bucks (so $28.40 if you look at it that way)
    See, it just doesn't sound like some fabulous deal.  I can't walk away feeling like a bad maama jaama spending $43 (even if in reality it actually was great for the regular cost of the stuff I bought.  have you priced sunscreen lately?!).  However, I was looking at my receipt this afternoon and did notice where it had my CVS spending for the year 2011.  I have so far dropped $405.76 this year, and according to their calculations I have saved $595.82.  So there.  I feel better now.  Yeah. Yeah. Stick it to the man.  Ba-ba-ba-booya.  
    Ok, it's possible that typing that just made me feel like my awesomeness level was rising.  Sorry for that embarrasing little episode.  Anyways, I believe my main problem saving money is that I can't stop buying things.  (insert the obvious - "well duh")  You know how the point of couponing is to stock up on something on sale and then don't buy any more until it's on sale again?  Well I have trouble saying no to a bargain, so currently I am hoarding 6 bottle of laundry detergent, a drawer of toothpaste, and enough sticks of deoderant for a small african village.  Let's not even talk about the body wash.  I know it's an issue.  I know.  But please tell me how I am supposed to turn down $.60 bottles of body wash.  Really?  Walk away from that?  So maybe while I am honing my coupon skills I can work on my restraint.  It will be like how I restrain from eating cheese dip out of the jar with my finger and icing out of the can with a spoon.  Um...............yeah.  We'll see how that works out.

Hope your pits smell as good as ours,
    Sing it with me now ------  Schooooooooooooooool's.OUT.FOR.SumMer.  Thank you Alice Cooper for giving me that song to think of every time May comes around.  You rock.  And thank you school for being over!!  It's our first official day to sleep in with not a care in the world, and!  I have no responsibilities.  I don't have to worry about fitting in naptime between preschool pickup and kindergarten pick up.  No one has to get dressed or brush their hair or put on shoes.  Ahhhh.  This is my happy place.  This is the time of year I encourage my kids to stay up late because then they will sleep late in the morning.  This is the time of year that no one's clothes ever match and my boys never have on a shirt.  And - judge me all you want - but this is also the time of year that my kids may or may not only get a bath once a week on Saturday night.  (gotta be clean for church)  The swimming pool is clorinated water.  It counts.  Seriously, judge me.  I don't even care.  That's what makes me awesome. (p.s. don't be like me)  
    But this is also the time of year that I get itching to do outside projects.  Usually it starts earlier in spring, but we were still in recovery from the kitchen/dining room remodel then (my garage has yet to recover) so it has taken some time.  Now I'm ready.  I'm bubbling with anticipation.  I go out and sit on my driveway waiting on inspiration for boosting our curb appeal.  My mom is hopefully coming this week and we are going to rip out some bushes and whatnot out front.  And, without Aaron's knowledge at this point, I have a quote in the works for some shutters.  There's no need to stress the budget nazi out before I'm even sure if I want them, but right now my poor windows are just sitting there - staring at me - naked and pitiful.  Asking for my help.  Do any of you have any great ideas for a curb appeal boost that doesn't cost much money?  (again, I am married to the world's sexiest budget nazi)  Any suggestions are welcomed.  And what color goes with gray?  The house is a lighter gray with dark gray trim, and it's begging me for an accent color.  Seriously.  Every time I drive up the driveway I hear the pleas.  "Help me.  Accessorize me.  Decorate me."  So what goes with two toned gray?  Help me out.  Lay it on me.  Because I honestly cannot decide.  
    Thanks in advance for any help.  I've got to run because Destruct-o-girl is napping right now. (because we don't have school any more and I don't have to pick anyone up at 11:45.  woooo hoooo!)  I live for these few short hours.  The only time I can spend not following her, cleaning up after her, getting her off of furniture and tabletops.  So I've got to go.  Sit in my driveway and decide what color goes with gray.

Love you like a week with no baths,

p.s. again - you know when you're not sure how to spell a word so you stare at it until it doesn't even look like a word anymore?  Yeah, that's what happened to me and the word "gray".  I'm not sure if it's an "a" or an "e" and now I've looked at it so long that it no longer seems like the english language.  So whatever - you know what I mean.
1.  It sure is hot out here once you get moving around.  Is it possible that today is the day that my thighs rub together enough to wear a hole through my favorite pair of capri pants?  I sure hope not.  Not here at Kindergarten Field Day....................

2.  The last day of kindergarten....When did I get a first grader and a kindergartener?  They were babies yesterday.  Weren't they?  Wait a minute.....Am I crying at Walmart?

3.  Please don't wake up from your nap yet destruct-o-girl.  I'm almost done cleaning the whole back deck/patio/kitchen/pool and I really could do without your help..."WHAT DO YOU MEAN SHE'S AWAKE?!!?  OF COURSE SHE IS GOING TO WAKE UP IF YOU GO IN HER ROOM AND TURN ON THE LIGHT TO GET A WIPE TO CLEAN YOUR FACE!!  HAVE YOU NEVER HEARD OF A PAPER TOWEL?!  WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU CHILD?!"

4.  What is up with birthday party ettiquet?  I never got the official manual on that and I'm just not sure what the proper procedure for siblings is.  Only one kid is invited but not old enough to leave alone, so what do I do with the other kids because daddy is golfing ummm... I mean doing yardwork?  Leave them in the car watching Disney movies for 2 hours?  It's a thought but diesel is too high.  Bring them and look like a cake and prize mooch?  Don't go at all and look like a jerk who doesn't do birthdays?  But what if that means no one comes to MY kids birthdays?!  They would be devastated?!  Freak!  Panic!!  -  Wait a minute.  What was I even talking about?  Oh - the three birthdays we have tomorrow.  Oh stink!  I didn't even think about presents.... Back to Walmart.

5.  Wow.  These shoe inserts are great.  My feet feel so much better today than they normalllllll.....What in the........ How old am I and when did I get so lame?

6.  What happened to this vehicle?  I'm pretty sure there is a homeless man living in the back making this mess.  I would never see him under the stuff if there was.

7.  That was it.  The last Cadbury egg until next year.  Finished.  They are gone.  Just like my youth, my old pants, and my ability to remember anything.  I wonder how many calories of just those I've eaten in the past two months?  Seriously that was a stupid thought.  Who even cares?  That would just be embarrassing and I'm horribly shy.

8.  I just straight told a lie.

9.  I have to go to bed before I drop this computer mid type  an zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    Many of you have already heard this story, so if you have just skip ahead a few lines or suck it up and hear it again.  But for those of you who haven't...................................The first day of class my freshman year at Mississippi State was on a Monday.  I had moved into my dorm room that Saturday before and went to church in Starkville that weekend.  That Sunday night as I walked into services, I was handed a schedule of events for college students by a tall, handsome, dark haired guy.  He had a sweet smile and was friendly and I thought he was cute immediately.  Over the next few weeks I got to know him a little better, and even though he was a senior (and apparently a very popular one) and I thought that I had no chance, I really thought he was great.  In fact I went home for the weekend after two weeks at school and told my mom, "I've met the boy I'm going to marry.  He just doesn't know it yet."  Fast forward 12 years, two college degrees, four jobs, six towns, five houses, and three kids. 
this is a pic of a pic. the dots at the bottom are reflection.
    May 18.  Nine years ago today we took the plunge.  And second only to my decision to be a Christian, it was hands down the best move I ever made.  I am quite possibly the luckiest girl alive.  I'm sorry to get all gushy on here today (and I know Aaron is cringing reading all this goo), but it is all true.  We have not always been sunshine and butterflies and fairy dust (think two babies in 16 months, one with colic, night shift, church responsibilities, new house, no money, weight gain, bloating, gas), but here we are better for it.  It's funny how the longer you are together, the more bad you see of each other, and yet the stronger the love is.  I still feel really young, and I feel silly acting like I am wise enough to give marriage advice to anyone.  And now we are getting to the age where we are seeing a lot of friends' marriages crumble.  It's scary out there in the real world.  But I so so want to be "that" couple one day.  You know the one.  The older couple at church who you can truly tell still loves each other.  The couple that 30 year-olds like me want to be.  About a year and a half ago we went to visit an elderly couple from church.  Both in their 90's, they were still at home caring for themselves even though she had Alzheimers.  She was lovely and kind and hospitable just forgetful and easily confused.  As Aaron and the man sat visiting, I sat and talked with the sweet woman often repeating conversations over and over.  Her husband kept stopping his visit to listen to her, and one time she caught him.  She playfully said, "Ed, what do you think you are looking at?".  And he got a genuine, loving, deep, but sadly knowing smile across his face and said, "My wife.  I'm just looking at my wife".  It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.  I want to be that one day.
    So in honor of the first nine years of our story together, I've decided to list nine reasons why I love Aaron.  (by the way, talking about him like this makes his hind end cringe.  he's not good with pda.  but it has to be done.  I only get this opportunity once a year)

9.  He will eat anything.  Seriously I can cook rotel chicken, waffles, artichokes, frozen pizza, last night's leftovers, hot dogs, livers, couscous, or pickled okra.  He will eat it.  It totally makes my life easier.

8.  He has a wonderful family.  You know the saying about how when you get married you marry the whole family?  Yeah, that has not been a problem for me.  They are fabulous and treat me like I've been there always. They even understand that I am moody and sometimes hard to deal with.  They are ok with it, they accept it, they love me anyway.

7.  He works really, really hard for us.  If you know Aaron at all then you know he works a lot so that I can stay home with my babies.  I don't tell him enough how much I appreciate that, and in fact I have been known to complain about his hours.  Let me just use this blog to publicly say I am sorry for ever complaining!  He is great about it and even works nonstop at home too.  He keeps our house, yard, and pool up and beautiful too. 

6.  He is a fabulous gift giver.  I have to honestly say that I cannot think of a single holiday in the last 9 years that I have been disappointed.  I, on the other hand, am a terrible gifter.  Poor guy.  But he's got a lot of golf shirts.

5.  He lets/helps me remodel our house constantly.  He comes home from work and I surprise him with a ripped out laundry room - walls, floors, all of it - and he doesn't even complain.  He just changes clothes and stays up all night scraping linoleum. 

4.  He does dishes and folds laundry.  Not every time, but a lot.  And he doesn't even complain.

3.  He is a wonderful, hands on, involved, loving, wise, teaching, fabulous, awesome father.  My kids are so blessed to have a daddy who is so wonderful with them.  I think I am actually a bit niave about how great I have it as the mother of his kids.  He is a huge help to me all the time.

2.  He loves me.  I hate taking showers and wearing make-up.  I am not great at housekeeping.  I am terrible at laundry.  I fuss at him about his driving every time we take a trip.  I had three kids and gained weight.  I don't keep receipts.  I don't do well at following his meticulous budget.  I grow mold in my fridge.  I am totally unathletic.  I cry about everything.  And he loves me anyway.  Every day he gets off work, and he calls me to tell me he's on his way, and then he shows up.  Despite the fact that all the above is true and his kids are sometimes bad and the yard is a foot tall and Destruct-o-girl won't quit crying, he comes home anyway.  And he gives me a kiss.  And he makes my heart beat fast every time he walks in the door.  My mama told me one time, "you can just tell he loves you.  you are very lucky.".  It's true.  I am. 

1.  He is the best example of a Christian husband and father that I have ever known.  He loves God more than anything, and that makes him better at everything.  Most people have goals in life, and he is no different.  It's just that his only goal is to go to Heaven one day and take me and our children with him.  After that everything else just seems to fall into place.

    How I was blessed enough to become the wife of this wonderful man I will never really know, but I am thankful every day.  So on this day, the eighteenth of May, I just want to say - sorry to rub it in ya'lls faces but I've pretty much got the rockinest husband ever!

    This is what time I started dinner last night.  It was a very delicious dinner (bbq chicken legs, corn casserole, homemade mac and cheese), but it was very late and very yellow and carb loaded.  Don't be like me.
    It took me over a month to actually hang these things on the wall.  For a month they just sat on the floor.  Don't be like me.
    This is a bag of left over chicken nuggets I found lurking in the back of my refridgerator.  That is mold growing on them.  Never ever, ever, if you value others' opinions of you at all, be like me.

That's all for today.

Thanks for liking me despite my issues,
   Super G wrote and performed this song last night on the way home from church.  He meant nothing but good from it - it flowed naturally in conversation.  (that's what conversations in our car are like.  people occasionally break out in random song)  The tune is one you and no one else on the planet has ever heard before, but feel free to make up your own sing-song accompaniment as you read.  It will help you "keep it real" as an experience.
My Daddy is skin-nay
I am skin-nay
My brother is skin-nay
My sister is skin-nay
But Mama is a little bit fat
 (how does he even know what a calorie is?)
But she is a good Mama
The best cooker
The best cooker in the whole city, the whole worrrlllllddddd
Even better than the Mexican peeeeeeoplllllllle
    The only explination I have for the last line is that we live in a town with a restaurant issue.  Besides fast food, we only have a smattering of eateries that may or may not be open depending on the day, the weather, the alignment of the earth with the moon, etc.  Except for Mexican food.  In our tiny town we have two Mexican restaurants.  We did have three but my favorite one, Los Oxaquenos (the buffet one in the side of the gas station) just closed it's doors for business. *moment of silence please*  Anyhoo, that's basically all the poor boy knows as professional chefs.   It's true - we get out very little.  
    But back to the song, I know I have talked alot about my egg obsession and pants issues on here already, but I am in one of those phases of life where I have decided to put in a little effort again.  I do this every so often, especially if I have to pick out an outfit to go somewhere.  I am just so terrible at dieting, so I think I am going to exercise it all off. It's always my plan.  This time I have decided to follow the crowd yet again.  I currently have 6 facebook friends at different stages of the Couch to 5k program and actually have some friends who are leaders/coaches (?) of the program.  The whole thing sounds awful to me.  Completely awful.  Anything where running is involved is automatically out as a rule normally, but I have decided to give it a try.  
    My dear friend Molly is younger than me and loves me and is a little scared of me, so I have used my powers over her to force her into participating with me.  Pretty much because there's not a snowball's chance at Satan's house that I will actually follow through with this alone.  So a little while ago, in the safe cover of night, she and I went out and did Day 1 Week 1 of the program.  If you do the math it is actually only 7 minutes of running.  I could have died.  There was a cardiac issue, a respiratory issue, and a self-worth issue all swirling in a sea of gasps and heaves.  I run so akwardly anyway (always have.  ask all my friends from high school)  and the added issue of a pulsing vericose vein and the two sandbags up front I have to lug everyhere I go (too much?  sorry) makes it ridiculous to watch.  Sad really.  But we did it.  Yay us.   
    So let me just say this-  If this is to be something that I stick with I will need encouragement, and probably oxygen.  Any of you with experience let me know if it actually worked so great for you.  I am not too proud to be a quitter otherwise.  And let me also say this - if you happen to be one of the four people who possibly read this blog and who live on the street behind my house (you know who you are) - if you so much as peek out the window at me dragging my sad gigantic butt around out there in the dark, I will totally quit.  That's why I'm doing it late.  You people are supposed to be in bed, or watching tv, or doing anything else.  So don't look at me - or my future health and well being will rest solely in your hands.  Plus I will be wearing leggings and a t-shirt, and you don't want to experience that.  There is no telling what will happen to propery values if word gets out.

Love you like anything but running,
I hear you nightly, mocking me, laughing at me with you croaks
You and your ten thousand friends
You began as tiny spawns in my pool cover
Multiplying, multiplying, multiplying
Until I died inside - the carnage
Now I am forced to live with the knowlege, the every present ring of disgustingness,
That you hop around my yard, croaking, waiting for me
For the day will come when I walk by you - so many of you
And you will look at me with those dark, horrible eyes of amphibianess
Poised, ready to jump
And I will run, screaming into my shelter
I try to forget you, to be glad for you, to thank you
To rember how many insects you will lick up and devour
And alas I cannot
For every night as I plan to retire
To depart into slumber and the land of dreams
I am haunted by you and your thousands of friends
Croaking, Croaking, Croaking
And I die
This work of literary genius was trapped inside of me, begging to get out, burning in my brain as I listen to the ..............................croaking