Tonight I was going to go to bed at a decent hour.  I really was.  I had already suffered a mild come apart this evening due to some circumstances involving some turkey feather Christmas ornaments, a jug of V-8 juice, and a bathtub.  Typical Wednesday.  So I was hard-core dedicated to the idea of going to sleep early.  Until I realized that everyone in this house was already asleep and I really wanted to blog.  So that's what I'm doing - except I started working on this joker two hours ago.  I was going to put a whole bunch of photos on here for your viewing pleasure, but because I have issues with focusing on a task, as soon as I started going through the photos on my camera I found myself obsessed with deleting pictures off of my memory card.  The thing that I love about our camera (it's an SLR which means it's digital but clicks really fast) is that it's so quick at taking pictures.  The thing I hate about it is that we go outside to take a couple of family photos, and it clicks so fast that before I know it I have 37 different shots of the same pose to sort through and delete.  And while I love all the choices, it fills the card up with 1,000 pics extra fast. (at least for someone like me who never downloads anything)

    I'm not done deleting yet but my eyes are starting to cross and I'm scared they are going to stick that way so I just quit.  And of course I didn't even get to the pictures that I wanted to put on here, so instead I thought I would share these three that I thought were funny.  At least to me.  Which is not saying much.  I still chuckle occasionally at body function humor.  
One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong.  Can you guess which thing is not like the other - Before I finish my song?
that's one freaky little photo creeper
Just so you know, Turnantor may look just like his daddy and may act a lot like his daddy, but there is one trait that he definitely, most definitely got from me.
Eww. Can I please stop touching this disgusting bunny rabbit? What if it jumps on me?! I don't like this!!!! Animals wig me out!!
You know what mama? I don't really care if the whole rest of my kindergarten is inside the petting zoo playing with goats, chickens, and bunnies. I'm good, right here on this bench where nothing can lick me.
    I have been gone for a really long time.  Over a week actually.  And for that I am sorry.  Well I am sorry if my absence actually had an affect on your life.  Like if you accidentally left your kids at school for 35 extra minutes because you were busy buying gold ballet flats with a bow and you needed to feel better about yourself by reading someone else's story of terrible mothering.  But if it didn't (and I'm pretty sure that's like 99.8% of you) then I'm not all that sorry.  Like you, I was busy making memories with my family (and cleaning my house - a topic for tomorrow maybe) and thought you would understand.

    Since many of you have been doing the "what I am thankful for" thing on facebook (mama - I know you're not on fb.  it's just where people make their status something they are thankful for every day of November) and I have been too lazy to do it, and I meant to do it on Thanksgiving day but was busy watching my bulldogs beat up on the black bears, I thought I would just make a comprehensive 30 point list of things that I am really glad exist.  So here they are for your reading no particular order.

1.precooked bacon - Have I mentioned this before possibly?  I'm telling you, that stuff is a culinary wonder and huge time saver.

2. the ornaments my grandmother crocheted(sp?) - we just got the Christmas stuff out of the attic tonight and I when I saw the box full of  little red, green and white stockings and bells, I got that warm fuzzy feeling all over.  I love stuff that gives me warm fuzzy feelings.  I love stuff my grandmother made.

3. DVR - Have you tried life with no commercials?  It's amazing.

4. The Office - Steve, I miss you though

5. my shark steam mop - Kids tracked mud in the house?  Just plug it in and mop and put it up all in less than 3 minutes.  Winning.

6. my babies - Tonight on the drive home from my parents' house, I turned back and just stared at my kids while they were being still watching a movie.  I looked at Aaron and asked, "don't you just look at them some times and think 'I could just die I love them so much'?".  And he looked at me and said in the most serious voice "all the time". 

7. a husband who loves our babies.  a lot.

8. my cute MSU hat on day 3 or 4 with no hair wash (obviously this list is not in order of importance.  I do not love my ballcap more than my husband and children)

9. the tool from pampered chef (I don't know what it's called) that is shaped like a star on the end that you use to chop up ground meat as you cook it so you don't get a bunch of big chunks

10. the ladies at church who make desserts every Wednesday so I don't have to

11. tinted moisturizer - if you don't know why I am thankful for this then you should go get some tomorrow

12. having a swimming pool in my back yard so no one except the people I choose will ever see me in a swimsuit again

13. my mother who comes and gets my life in order every time I need her

14. my nieces and nephews - so far there are 9 of them with more to come I'm sure.  cousins rock

15. growing up in a Christian home and marrying a spouse who grew up in a Christian home

16. a husband who is awesome - Him being awesome makes my life a lot easier

17. my truck - It has been in the shop plenty but it is still going with 230,000 miles on it.  It holds a ton of people and stuff, it's loud, it has a dvd player, and the kids are way back in the back so they are easier to ignore when I want to.

18. the hope of Heaven that I do not deserve and yet have offered to me anyway

19. one pair of blue jeans that fit - even if the size is a 3 digit number at this point.  at least I can button them

20. healthy children - When so many are not, it is easy to take this for granted

21. hot tamales from Rosedale - they are seriously in my top 5 foods ever

22. green concealer - It covers up redness so well

23. having an amazing mother-in-law, daughter-in-law relationship with Aaron's mom

24. our sweet college kids who help me out all the time whether it be babysitting, cooking, or folding laundry

25. wonderful friends that I adore all over the southeastern United States because we have moved so much

26. soldiers and their families that sacrifice to keep us free

27. my Cricut, now that I have started figuring out how to actually use the thing

28. getting to hang out with our families this week

29. having the kinds of families that we want to and enjoy hanging out with - Not everyone is that lucky I'm afraid.

30. icing in a can - Because then you can just open it and eat it with a spoon
    So Aaron's work is having a really big deal thing happen tomorrow.  They are having their official "launch" (even though technically they have been making sellable cars for a while now) and there will be lots of press and whatnot there.  Then they will eat a big lunch and hear some big speeches and then they will have to get back to work.  But then Friday night, as ongoing celebration, every employee of the plant and their guest will be going to a dinner and then going across the road to the local colliseum for a concert with a surprise performer.  I am holding out all hope that it is Reba McIntyre.  It probably won't be.  It will probably be Kay Bain and the Morning Show Band (for those of you who don't know, sweet little white haired Kay Bain and her band play a little gospel music on the local tv station during hours of the morning that I haven't seen since the last time I gave birth and had to be at the hospital by 5 a.m.).  But Reba is scheduled to give a concert in town at that exact location the next night so I'm holding on to all hope that it's going to be her.  Plus a sister plant in Kentucky celebrated an anniversary recently and they got Tim McGraw and George Lopez, so I'm going to be a little let down if we get the local gospel group.  But all that being said - I have to have something to wear.

    I have talked about it before, but honestly, I just have no clothes that fit currently.  I lost quite a bit of weight between child 2 and child 3 (like 40ish pounds) and was actually feeling half decent about myself, but then I had kid 3 and got fat all over again and have not had the wherewithall to stop eating again.  So here I am.  Too fluffy to wear any of my clothes and expected to see either Reba or Kay Bain Friday night (not to mention EVERY.SINGLE.PERSON that Aaron works with) so today I was on a mission.  BUY PANTS THAT FIT.  The end.  Well turns out, if you have new pants then you probably need a new shirt.  Then odds are you are going to need matching shoes.  And then now that your outfit is all new and whatnot, what jewerly are you going to wear with it?  It sure would look cute with some new peacock feather earrings.  (Doesn't that feel very "If You Give a Mouse Cookie...."?)  Moral of that story is that shopping took a long time today.

    Not only did shopping for my new outfit take a while, but can I please tell you that it is like 39 days until Christmas and my list is 47 miles long (that's what happens when you have large awesome families) and I have not purchased the first present?  But seriously - nothing.  NOTHING.  Usually I am at least half way done at this point.  So that was also a mission of mine.  Pants that fit and feeding the consumerism beast that is Christmas.  

    Now please let me begin my day at the beginning - seeing as how that makes the most sense.  I went to the big city (remember the one?  the one 30 minutes away from my house that has more than a walmart?  it doesn't have a target which causes my soul to mourn, but it does have a kohls and sams and bla bla bla.)  I went there after I dropped my boys off at school, and I went to a lot of stores and spent too much money and filled up my schoolbus of a vehicle.  I went to Kohls, Rack Room Shoes, Old Navy, Kirklands, Shoe Show, Sams, and then the mall.  I bought lots of big stuff at Sams including an unplanned cupcake purchase.  I was going to buy these cute little fall cupcakes with white icing and leaves on them, but when I bent over to clear a space under my full cart for the box, I looked up to find that my girl had pried open a 24 count box of hot pink Dora the Explorer cupcakes and was licking one.  And because I am a half-decent person, I couldn't in good conscience leave it there.  So Dora cupcakes it was.  

    In the short trip from Sams to the mall I noticed that I had apparently left facebook open on my phone and the battery was almost dead, and then I noticed that the car charger was missing.  Aaron is claiming it was his to take because he bought it, but somehow the two I have bought are also missing.  Hmm.  Strange.  I'm just saying.  Anyway - no matter whose fault it is that I don't have a car charger in my truck (ahem "cou-Aaron-gh") I just don't.  So I went on to the mall planning to stop by the nearby cell phone store when I got done.  I noticed then also that it was not quite 1:00 when I got to the mall.  Plenty of time.  I thought.  So I'm just flitting around, getting Aaron's golf club fixed at Dick's, spending my gift card at Gymboree, buying above mentioned peacock feather earrings.  And as I thoughtfully weighed my options on wether I wanted the silver sequined ballet flats or the gold ones with the bow (because I have feet like sasquatch and am never wearing heels again in my life if I can help it) I think "I should ask someone what time it is since my phone is now totally dead.  It's probably time for me to be heading home to pick up the boys from school.  30 minutes away".  As I'm checking out I ask the cute little teenage boy "excuse me.  do you have the time?"  "Sure ma'am.  It's 3:12."  "What?!!  Are you sure that's right?  Is that daylight savings time?"  (yes I actually asked that.  It was on his phone.  Obviously it was the right time but I was grasping at straws)  "yes ma'am.  that's definitely the time"  Now let me just say that I have given up curse words almost entirely in the past 10 years, but if ever there was a time that I was temped to let one fly, today my friends was it.  My kids were supposed to be picked up 12 minutes ago in a town 30 minutes away and I'm holding a cell phone that's deadern' a doornail, standing there waiting on a teenager to put gold ballet flats in a bag.  You can imagine what's going through my mind.  You shouldn't though.  You really shouldn't.  So I literally take off running with my girl asleep in her stroller and bags hanging off everywhere.  Running in the mall.  I'm sure it looked like weird powerwalking, but sadly that was how I run.  Of course my car was parked at the complete opposite end of the place.  Half way through the mall, in a moment of desperation, I stop at a kiosk vendor and beg him to let me use his cell phone because I have a "quasi emergency and my phone is dead".  It is then I realize that I don't have a single person's number memorized except my husband's and he is 45 minutes away from the kids.  But I call him to get him to call someone else.  Of course he is in a meeting and doesn't answer.  So then I take off running again, throw, the kid and the bags and the stroller in the truck, drive like a maniac to the cell phone store, and burst in there basically yelling like a freak.  "I need to use a phone!  Like right now!  Is there a phone here I could use?!"  Seriously there was a line almost out the door and I just broke to the front yelling like a nut.  In hindsight that was incredibly embarrassing.  Almost as embarrassing as the fact that I was welcomed to use any of the phones on display because they are all activated.  All the display phones.  That are attached to the display by a one foot cable.  So I had to call the school (with the number I found on the handbook in my car) while basically laying my head down on the display to talk so I could explain to the assistant principal that I'm a loser mom in the big city with a dead phone and no way to pick my kids up.  With everyone in that store watching.  Then the a.p. called my friend to come get them for me, and because she loves me, she got back out of her house and went to get my babies for me.  I bought a phone charger, called everyone in my life on the way home to apologize for being a loser, and wished the whole way home that I would have had time to get a late Chick-fil-a lunch.

    So all in all this day was pretty good, I found an outfit, I bought a few presents, I had a coke icee.  It was pretty good all except the fact that I just totally forgot about my children and became the mother that all the teachers talk about as being lame-o.  

    Please for the love of all things peacock feathered and gold with a bow, do not be like me.  The end.

Tempted to lie that I was stranded with car trouble,
    Our yard is lovely. me at least.  It's not manicured and trimmed with big beds and pretty flowers and there is not the perfect, squishy carpet grass (that's what I used to call it when I was a kid), but it totally covered in trees (for a yard in a neighborhood at least).  I mean, there are a lot of trees.  Which means at this time of year - the leaves.  Eye yeye yeye the leaves!  They are everywhere!  They are a foot thick and covering every surface.  My garage is buried in leaves, my walkway is buried in leaves, my back doorstep is buried in leaves.  And to tell you the truth, there is no reason to do anything about it at this point because in 12.7 seconds the wind will blow and it will look just the same all over again.  But we have some neighbors who, bless their hearts, are rueing the day we ever moved in next door.  They are nice neighbors.  The wife is very friendly and the husband delivered bell peppers from their garden to the whole neighborhood this summer, but they are, for lack of a better steryotypial judgement, OCD a little bit.   At least they look that way when I am silently judging them from my yard.  Their house took a longer than usual time to build because they wanted it perfect and more reinforced than a normal house.  The yard is perfect, the flowers are perfect, the garden is perfect.  There is never a stick that fell down from a tree on the ground longer than a few hours.  And honestly, I hope you don't think I am talking about them negatively - I am just saying that if they are daylight then we are dark.  Black and white.  Could not be more different from one another.  We have toys in the yard.  For the past two seasons our garden has been waist high in weeds.   It's stick-a-palooza out there man.  We are the poster children for deferred maintenance.  And while our two acre yard is a foot deep in leaves, their's is spotless.  I was getting out of my car Sunday afternoon to find him mowing and mulching between the trees in the woods beside their house.  The woods people.  He was mowing the woods.  But anyhoos, my point is, our poor neighbors probably hate our guts because we don't rake our leaves and they all blow on to their perfectly and obsessively manicured yard right next door - causing them to have to mow and mulch obsessively.  In the woods no less.  Dude - he was mowing the woods.

    So because we are yard lame-os who ruin our neighbor's lives with our leaves, we decided to do something about it this weekend.

We hired this wonderful girl Leslie to rake the whole yard.
    SIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!  We piled them up and jumped in them, throwing caution to the wind and leaving sticks and toys laying around everywhere.

   (warning - the following are photos of my super cute family unit plus my daddy who came for a visit and some of our sweet college kids who stopped by because they moved away and miss us.  If you do not want to see that, then you should move along)
First we moved the trampoline over to the giant pile and the boys jumped big time.
But if you know my daddy at all then you know he was terribly nervous that someone was going to get hurt. Then when Turnanator did a cannonball and hit his rear hard on the ground, we listened and moved the trampoline.
"Sheeeeese" (that's baby for cheese) p.s. - what is up with that kid's hair?
Didn't take long at our house before a football game broke out. I was recruited to play, but then I was quickly kicked off the team for repeatedly complaining about being improperly brazziered and repeatedly forgetting if I was on offense or defense.
I am totally going to let you believe that my sweet angel boy caught that pass and scored a touchdown.
Here is Destruct-o-girl having a large time in the swing because Wo'in (Robbin) was being awesome and pushing her really really high. Wheeeeeeeeeeee! (p.p.s. this was when the hairbow was still able to be located and not buried under a pile of leaves. and that is eczema on the cutie face. it's a right of passage in our family. if you are one of Aaron's kids then you have to have a couple of righteous bouts with the stuff before you can grow up. it will go away one day. I hope.
Sitting in the leaves with Grandaddy. Priceless.
    Now brace yourselves for what you are about to see, but at first we thought we just had a pile of leaves in our yard.  Turns out there was a monster.  A terrible, awful, scary, leaf monster.  It was heinous.
Oh wait - maybe I mean it was handsome. Yeah......I definitely mean it was handsome.
    So I have had grand plans of sitting down and blogging something cute and genius all day.  Well for two days actually.  But every time I think I'm going to have a minute something happens, like Destruct-o-girl wakes up early from her nap, or the insulation guy comes by to give me a quote, or I get hungry and eat leftover chili and leaf shaped cookies covered in icing.  See what I'm saying?  I'm like swamped over here.  Then I planned on typing something deep and moving tonight.  But then Aaron walked in and said, "let's stay up and watch the CMAs since you recorded it".  Well ok.  So the point is - I'm not putting much on here tonight.  However, I do feel really convicted about what I'm about to say - so listen up.  Or don't.  I'm not there to watch you, so I guess it doesn't matter either way.

    I joined Junior Auxillary this year here in our town, and to be honest with you I was nervous about it.  I don't know why.  I have weird social disorders that cause me to sweat profusely and twitch when I am in a large group of women.  I was freaked out by the fact that this is a small town and most of these women grew up together and have been friends since they were like six days old and saw each other's childhood bedrooms at sleepovers and are still friends that hang out on the weekends.  I knew like three of them, so after the first meeting I left thinking that we were going to have to move so I could get out of it without having to quit for no reason, because  I was having an anxiety attack over it all.  But I decided to actually give it a chance and it turns out, I'm a completely dramatic dork with some deep rooted issues left over from high school's complex social order and it's impact on me as an unathletic, plump, overachiever.  Being in Junior Auxillary is not bad at all.  In fact, it has turned out to be a really great way to meet a lot of really nice women and work for a super worth cause.  (wow, that was a lot of adjectives and adverbs and superlative type words in one sentence)  And the cause is what I wanted to talk about tonight. (not the sweating disorder.  I don't now how I ended up there.  Anyways.....)

    On Monday night, we put up our Angel Tree.  I'm sure most of you know what that is because there are so many progams just like it all over the country.  But in case you don't, Angel Tree is a program through which Junior Auxillary selects (with help from referals) children in our county that may be in need and matches them with people who would love to help.  We put together the list, place each child's information on an "angel" ornament, and hang them on a tree in our Walmart and one of our local banks.  People come and pick an angel off the tree, shop for him or her, and deliver the presents to the building where we will distribute them.  I have seen this tree so many times before, and can I honestly tell you that it has never seriously crossed my mind to even put forth the effort to walk across the front of the store and pick one up to read?  Well this week I had my first introduction to some of these kids and their wish lists.

__________ is a 3 year old girl.  She wears size (bla bla bla).  She would like a doll and some doll clothes for Christmas but what she really needs is panties and socks and shoes.

    When I read this, the only thought I had was "seriously, my children can't even come up with a list for Santa because they have so much stuff, and this little girl needs panties and socks".  Panties and  socks.  Does that give you any type of perspective about some of these kids and their needs?  The more angels I read, the more I wanted to take them all.  Obviously I can't do that, but I can get on here and encourage you to pick one off the tree the next time you go to Walmart.  So that's what I'm doing tonight.  I'm pleading with you to get an angel from the tree.  And if you don't live here in my town (which many of you don't) then just pick a cause - any cause.  We all know there are tons of worthy ones available especially during the holiday season.  Get involved.  Go shopping for a kid in need and take your kids - I hope it does mine a lot of good to shop for someone besides themselves for a change.  Donate to or work at a food pantry.  Our church has one and it is astounding to me the amount of hungry people here in my own town.  Do something!  It's good for them and it's even better for you!!  

    I know it's easy to get caught up in your busy schedules and family meals and Santa shopping and cheer spreading and hall decking this time of year, but if you make time for nothing else extra - please make time for a child in need.  No matter what the circumstances are in that child's life that bring him or her to you, it is never his or her fault that they need help.  So be that someone.   Make a difference this year!

Love ya' because you are all downright awesome, 





Fact:  Fat girls like Reeses Peanut Butter Cups

Fact.:  If your deadbolt on your backdoor was previously broken, and if during that time your small daughter figured out how to unlock the doorknob and let herself outside, and if you installed a chain at the top of the door to keep your daughter in, and if said chain was screwed into relatively new door casing trim that you installed onto sheetrock, and if said chain was on the door without your husband's knowledge when he was coming in with an armload of McDonalds after a long night of trick-or-treating, the results could be disasterous (including but not limited to ripping the trim right out of the wall, face nearly slamming into door, and food and drinks being at high risk for going everywhere)

Fact: If your husband rips the door facing out of the wall after a long night of Trick-or-treating and standing in an enormous line at McDonalds on halloween night, his mood will be foul.

Fact: I love my mechanic, pool guy, and HVAC man.  We've had to drop a lot of dough this week, and I must say, it helps if you like the people you're forking all the money over to.  Mine are seriously the best.  Ever.  Ever.  I told my mechanic this morning that I was going to kiss him on the face.  I would have too except it would have been akward to crawl over the parts counter.

Fact:  Satan invented laundry.  Think about it.

Fact:  All the teachers at my son's school think we are abusive parents because Super-G got in a little trouble today and had the come-apart of the century that included a lot of hysterical screaming.  "Don't call my mama!  My daddy is gonna kill me! My daddy is gonna kill me!"  Nice to know we've got our bluff in on him up to this point at least, I guess. 

Fact:  We are not abusive parents.

Fact: Black bears are better than brown bears.  (who am I quoting here?  hint - my favorite show ever)

Fact:  The entire Kardashian family could fall off the face of the planet and I'm pretty sure society would actually take a step forward.

Fact:  Mitchell Muso got a DUI yesterday.  Justin Beiber may or may not have knocked up some 19 year old, nasty looking fan at a concert.  Seriously though...........  What are we doing people?  Why do we love these folks?

Fact:  I am cooking 24 pounds of Italian beef for dinner.  My house is smellin' right.

Fact:   Turnanator has just learned all the books of the Old Testament and is totally obsessed with reciting them.  It's a touch annoying but awesome at the same time.  I still get twisted up on the minor prophets some times.  Plus there's a lot worse things to be obsessed with than the books of the Bible, and for that I am super proud of him!

Fact:  I've got to go get busy.  These kids aren't going to dress themselves. (or clean this house or finish this food or change that diaper either)

Love you like 24 pounds of beef,