Dear bloggy friends, I've missed you.  I really have.  But I've been unavailable lately to write.  Because I've been asleep.  Or eating something.   It's a hard life I live, I tell ya'. 

    Actually, I've been away on a fantastic little tenth anniversary get away and was either too stressed out trying to get everything ready to leave, or was too busy doing nothing while I was there, or was too distracted with our first days of summer to write for the past two weeks.  But did you see the last post on here?  From Aaron?  Isn't he just the best?  My brother-in-law that reads my blog because he knows fine entertainment when he sees it, says that I talk about Aaron nice on here all the time and it just can't be real.  Well it's true, sometimes Aaron gets grouchy and bossy and I want to punch him in the neck.  That really does happen.  But honestly, I have to say that he is fantastic.  For ten years I have been married to a fella who makes me feel loved.  All the time.  Even when we are fighting and I am screaming like a nut.  Or when the house is lookin' a hot mess and I haven't had a bath in days and am lookin' a fright and I forget that I am snack mom at the baseball game and I forget to pay the power bill on time and when I "accidentally" use a dentist who is out of network and we have to pay three times what we would have in network.  Even during all of that, he makes me feel loved. (even though just reminding him about the dentist thing is going to stress him out all over again)

    And on Mother's Day morning I woke up to a surprise post by him, talking about me being a great mother.  He's a great guy, but "lovey dovey" he is not.  So the fact that he wrote and shared all of that with you just solidifies it - he really is fantastic.  He always knows just what I want the most.

    Now that's enough on the sappy sweet stuff.  I'm about to gross myself out. 

    On a completely different note, schoooooooooooool's out.for.SUMMER.  Sing it with me now schoooooooooooool's out.for.SUMMER.  So we have spent our first week of summer bliss doing just what  was intended.  Nothing.  And that got me thinking, what else is going to change now that the kids are out of school?  So I made a list (because we all know I love making lists)

1.  The swimming pool now counts as a bath.  Six days a week.  We will only use soap for Sunday church.

2.  I won't check the mail again until August because the boys always get it for me when we drive up the driveway from school.

3.  The laundry will never be caught up.

4.  There will always be wet towels piled around the house.

5.   M&M's count as breakfast.  And lunch.

6.  My house doesn't stand a chance of being clean between now and August

7.  I will be awake at ridiculous hours of the night every night, watching reruns of Friends, That 70's Show, Swamp People, Duck Dynasty, The Nanny, and The Office. 

8.  We will sleep until at least 9 am every morning.

9.  I will feel guilty about the fact that Aaron has to get up for work so early every morning and work so many hours at such a long, stressful job while we just spend every day chillin.

10.  I'll probably be feeling that guilt from beside the pool.

Dear Summer, thanks for existing

Love you like M&M's as a meal,
Cassie 

    

   
 
    This is me. (with really flowy hair that particular day)
This is a soapbox
    Now could you please in your mind put the two images together and imagine me standing on a soapbox (except put an incredulous look on my face)?  That is possibly what this post is going to sound a little bit like.  I might come off sounding like a hater - a jealous hater at that. (because we all know that haters always hate because they jealous.  And you know - haters gone' hate)  Excuse me, I just lapsed into my ghetto alter image for a split second.  If you've never heard the phrase "haters gone' hate", then may the Lord bless you and keep you in his palm and may you never have to hear that in real life. 

    Anyway, what I'm trying to get at here before I got all off topic with my ghetto self, is that I love Pinterest. (Ha!  That's not what you were expecting was it?!)  And I love finding cute ideas, good recipes, and adorable clothes on Pinterest.  I even really enjoy it when I find an article or a "how to" piece that is of some relevance to me.  However, there needs to be some sort of "stupid" filter.  (I know this is impractical and people just shouldn't pin stupid stuff, but people on soapboxes don't always take time to think things like that through.)

    And to be honest, this little emotional outcry I'm having is really not about what's on Pinterest at all, but the other night I saw where someone had pinned an article about potty training.  Well, the time has come that I have to quit putting off my girl who begs to wear panties and actually get down to business with the potty training.  She's been ready - I have just been lazy.  So I clicked on the article to see if there were any helpful tips since it's been a while for me.  Do you know what I found?  I found a blog post by a person who has spent the last two months potty training her first child (who is 19 months old) because the babysitter gave them tips on how to do it and she wanted to share with the world.  Now don't get me wrong, it's perfectly acceptable to pretend like you're an expert even though it's your first time and you're following tips from your babysitter and it's taking more than two months.  But really?  What is going on it your life that you have to act like an expert?  Who, per say, are you trying to impress?  I've noticed a lot of that lately, now that I've joined the blog world and pay attention to a few more than I ever did before (which consisted of my sister-in-law's and no one else's by the way).  There are tons of sites that teach you how to be a "play at home mom" with post after post about homemade science projects and art projects and imagination projects and healthy eating projects and over-the-top birthday parties.  Who is doing this stuff?  And who is doing their laundry?  And do they ever take five seconds for themselves?  Or are they all just lying about their lives on the internet because it's the internet and everybody lies? (p.s. - I never lie on the internet.  Feel free to decide if that was a lie or not)

    So with all of this recent deep thought and disgruntledness due to guilt that I have yet to set up a new imaginary play scenario every morning before my children get up and right after I prepare fresh, organic fruit and oatmeal on the stove, I decided to evaluate just why I myself am taking the time to blog.  What am I doing here?  What kind of outlet is this for me?  And I decided that it is a completely selfish way to feel "not alone" in this thing we call mothering.  Our moms mothered, our grandmothers mothered, our great grandmothers mothered, Eve mothered, but I think now more than ever we are so connected to the world around us (ex.- me facebook stalking you in the carpool line.  and I do)  that we see what everyone with a wifi connection is doing.  And it's so easy to compare ourselves to them.  Sometimes we come out feeling better about ourselves, sometimes worse, and sometimes we just need a reality check. 

    So that's what I'm doing today.  I'm reminding myself that all the people with the cute little articles and the professionally installed car seats and the amazing coupon savings and the unrealistically beautiful family portraits and the organic dinners aren't me.  They don't live my life.  And that's ok, because they probably wouldn't be any better at it than I am.  And I would probably stink at theirs.

    But you know what I do know?  Today my daughter poured a whole entire, brand new bottle of Johnson's baby soap all over her and her bathroom.  When I walked in tonight, our new puppy was chewing on the carcass of a dead mouse, right at our back door.  Yesterday, in the very back of the garage fridge full of drinks, behinds stack of other stuff, I discovered a crock pot full of left over rotel dip from Turnanator's school Christmas party.  It was looking rurnt.  Sometimes I resent my children for taking time away from Aaron and me.  Because we live in the same house and occasionally I miss his attention desperately.  I forgot to send book fair money this morning.  And at my house, Little Debbie cakes are a sufficient breakfast.

    Guess what else I know.  My mother didn't spend every second of her waking life stimulating our imaginations and challenging our brains, and we all turned out fine.  Better than fine, even.  Cold doesn't make people sick, germs do.  Getting the flu because you didn't germ-x your hands at Walmart is not the very worst thing that can ever happen to you.  Kids are mean.  I hope my kids never act that way but learn to deal well with the ones that do.  Captain Crunch has vitamins and minerals in it, so it can pass for dinner occasionally.  My house will be clean eventually.  It won't kill my rotten children to help get it that way.  Vaccines are scary.  So is Polio and Smallpox - it's tricky.  There are five people in this house that love each other and do their best every day.  There is a God watching over this house that loves us more than we can know, and He knows what is best for us always.  And there are lots of you mamas out there tonight, just like me.  Doing the best we can with what we know and praying that God takes it and makes up the difference.  And thank Him so much for that.  And you.
 
    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 pleasure...................in 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