I want to tell you a story.  No, this story will not be as good as the ones you normally read on this blog; but none-the-less, it's Mother's Day and I feel compelled to share.  Next week is Cassie's and my anniversary (10 years).  She asked me a couple of weeks ago if for our anniversary I would write on her blog.  I reluctantly said yes.  You heard me.  Unfortunately for you, there is potential for me to write again.  However, this week I thought it would be good for me to "practice" on Mother's Day.  This one is a surprise.  If you could read this while I was typing - I would ask you to wish me luck.  All 20 of your who read this blog make me slightly nervous.  Not really.  But. . . . .

Okay, enough of the intro.  Let me get to my story.  There are times that I feel you need to hear the "rest of the story" as Paul Harvey would say.  My story starts approximately 10 years ago. 

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This is where is all began.  Ten years ago - May 2002.  Many important decisions were made in our lives at this point (give or take a few months).  We had a plan.  Cassie was to finish college; we would work for 5 years, and then we would have 4 children.  We had all the other important decisions covered.  Our hope was once we had kids, she would be able to stay home.  So...the plan was set.  However, as you know from this blog - Cassie doesn't know how to spell p-l-a-n.  The only "plan" Cassie had was to bath 2x per week, not wear shoes (unless a sign says she must), not keep a check book nor care about any $$$ that she would spend.  FYI - these were things that she decided after this picture.  Still love her.   

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This is graduation day.  This is the next step of the story.  This is actually about 2 years later - May 2004.  In the fall of '03, I was trying to help my wonderful wife with our plan.  She was going to graduate in a matter of months.  I was encouraging her to start job hunting and interviewing.  But this, my friends, would force her take a bath more frequently, dress up and wear shoes.  I messed up and made the following statement, "Darlin', the plan is for you to work until we have kids."  Literally, I believe that were my exact words!  Major mistake.  What you can't see in this picture is that my beautiful wife is pregnant.  Yeah, she showed me.  What do you mean "5 year plan" and "job hunting"?  All of you know that Cassie is a "domestic goddess", but maybe you don't know that she is also a master manipulator.  Not really on the manipulator, but it makes me feel better to act as if I didn't cave so easily.  So now it starts. . . . .

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#1 - Super G - '04
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#2 - Turnanator - '06
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#3 - Destruct-o-girl - '09
I know - all women everywhere want their "I just had a baby in the hospital" picture posted on the world wide web, but again. . .this is my story.  True as it is.  And I tell you this story because Cassie has been able to do what the good Lord wants her to be from the beginning - An Absolutely Amazing Mother.  How many times does the "5 year plan" actually work?  You know what I mean.  It didn't work for most of you either; and just like most of you, I wouldn't change anything for the world - especially choosing Cassie as my Baby Momma.  The picture below says 1000 words - maybe not to you, but to me.
Now, for Mother's Day, I have decided to share with you some of my favorite Notes to our domestic goddess.  I hope this brings memories to those of you reading this blog.  I'm going to share just one from each child.
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This is not a Mother's Day card, but couldn't pass it up. Super G drew these pics a couple of years ago while Cassie was sick. Just awesome! Apparently Cassie has better hair when she feels well.
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I don't have a clue what the "brown snake" is below Mommy above. Maybe her belly was hurting. Either which way, Gibson made sure she knew when to take her medicine.
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Card from Turnanator. Apparently, he didn't like the amazing pic on the left side; he "x" it out.
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I always like Turnanator's stick figures. And apparently Cassie needed to learn how to spell a few words.
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Destruct-o-girl's red little hand.
Just focus on the red hand below.  It took me some time to get Davis to stick her hand in red paint and not ruin everything in the house.  We made it through it.  Oh. . .destruct-o-girl.  I don't know what I was thinking when I tried this one.   
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This was our Mother's Day card many years ago when the boys were little bitty. The boys did the best they could. This was probably one of the first cards the boys and I did together.
To all of you loving Mother's, from my family to you - thanks for being who you are.  Thanks for being awesome.  Thanks for loving your children and making this world a better place because of it.  The Lord makes it very clear in the Bible how important you are to the church, your family, and this world.  Happy Mother's Day to you; I hope your day is special because you deserve it.

To my mom, Sandra, and to Cassie's mom, Candy, you know how awesome we think you are.  A man once said that "a child is trained 100 years before he or she is born."  Thanks for molding our (your children's) families to what they are today.  You both are amazing - We love you so much.    
But to MY Baby Momma, I want to say exactly what was on the back of the same card above written many years ago. 
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If you can't read it; I'm sorry. It basically says, "Your awesome and I love you." You know the routine.
Cassie, from your loving Hubby, Super G, Turnanator and Destruct-o-girl - Happy Mother's Day!  We love you "big much" - all the way to the "cheese cake factory and back"! 
 
    So here's the thing about our family - we live in Mississippi.  And we don't get out much.  So the fact that golf has sort of become our family's favorite sport of choice (to play that is.  we're from the SEC.  of course we are die hard footballers) is a little bit laughable - considering the fact that golf is such a refined and highly mannerous thing.  You know, all the dress codes and etiquette and the fact that you have to watch where you drive and step and you have to be quiet.  None of that sounds like us at all, does it?

    But I think golf has become our thing because it's really all Aaron has left.  The time for football has past.  The occasional pick-up basketball game makes him feel old and beat down.  No one will play tennis with him.  And the last time he played church-league softball he ripped his shoulder into pieces - which he then re-injured when the attic door completely ripped loose from the ceiling and he fell out of the attic and caught himself on beams with his elbows.  All in the name of Christmas decorations.  It was ugly my friend.  He ripped things.  He had a temporary man boob. Yikes.  So I guess the point of all this is to say - golf is his kind of game now.  And because he likes it (and also because our last house was on a really nice golf course so we had unlimited access), our boys have now really taken to it.  At least Aaron, and usually Aaron and the boys, go once a week minimum. 

    Sometimes we even get brave enough to go as a family.  Its usually late - like right before dark - when we go because we are trying to sneak in a few holes before it's too late but after other people have finished so we don't disturb them.  And the only way to describe us when we're there - The Clampets Come to the Country Club.  Seriously.  There are three full golf bags and five people (two of which are quite large) on one golf cart.  We look ridiculous, we are loud, and we sit our baby in the wire basket on the back.  The boys stand hanging off the side and when we drive up to retrieve wayward golf balls, they jump off and roll commando style to get them.  We are the Clampets.  We don't belong at the country club.  But we go anyway.

    Just this past Friday we went, in fact.  And on this particular Friday, we were even more "Clampety" than usual.

    Picture it........................

    There we were, at the first hole, dividing into teams for a three hole scramble.  Aaron and Turnanator (bc he is the weaker playing child at this point), and Super-G and myself (bc I am the weaker playing human amongst the entire population of earthlings at this point.  seriously.  golf is not for the large chested.  it is impossible for me to keep my arms together and near my body.  it's just not happening sports fans) were facing off at the first tee.  Of course Aaron hit from the white tees, or is it the blue tees?  I'm not sure, just whichever set is farthest away. Then we drove the cart down the hill a bit (please remember the "downhill" component of this story.  it's critical) to the red tees where the boys and I would hit.  Turnanator hit first and promptly knocked one into the pond right in front of us. (just like Aaron did on his first attempt.  also, please remember the "pond".  also critical)  Then it was Super-G's turn.  His daddy was giving him some instructions and I was standing there watching because I was next.

    I know what y'all are thinking at this point......."where's Destruct-o-girl?".  Well that is a fantastic question because at the very second we were focused on our drives, she became focused on driving.  The golf cart.  Down the hill.  Straight towards the pond.  As many of you know, the parking break on a golf cart is on the top corner of the brake pedal itself and is released when the gas pedal is pushed.  Well she waited until no one was looking to push that gas and take off.  Fortunately Turnanator was there at the cart putting up his club so he saw it all happen and screamed for our attention.  Unfortunately he decided to try and stop her himself by getting in front of the golf cart and pushing.  He weights 50ish pounds.  It did not work. 

    So one second we're all casually whacking golf balls around, and the next second Turnanator is screaming "NO D, NO D!!!".  We turn to see her barreling down the hill on the golf cart straight towards the pond while her brother is sprinting as fast as he can backwards to keep from getting squashed flat.  I scream at Aaron because I know there is not a chance under the sun that I will catch them, then I start screaming at my precious little son to get out of the way.  Of course that was easier for me to say than for him to do!  So Aaron takes off running and literally dives into the cart, basically pushing the brake with his hand until he can get it stopped.  Luckily he got it stopped before anyone got pancaked or drowned.  Then I burst out into gut-bustin' laughter because that is apparently the reaction my body goes into when I get freaked out that family members are going to get seriously injured and then they don't.  It's the same thing I did when homeboy fell out of the attic.  He was dangling by his elbows and I couldn't stand up from laughing long enough to help him get down.  It's a problem.  I'm addressing it with professionals soon.  Then we proceeded to knock four more golf balls into the pond, load back up on the cart and head to the next hole like nothing ever happened. 


    I'm still not sure we ever figured out who won the scramble..............................

*cue banjo music

 
Other wise known as Pi.

    Math was always a little tricky for me.  I mean, I did alright in math in school because I was decent at memorizing steps for formulas, but math was never really something my brain could totally wrap around.  You know - get. 

    Luckily for me, I now live the kind of life where I don't need very many math skills beyond a preschool level.  1-2-3. 1-2-3. 1-2-3. 1-2-3.  I find myself counting to 3 a lot.
-There's 1 child.  There's the second child.  Where's the third child?!!
--Oh, whew.  There she is in a ditch at the baseball field, army crawling into a culvert.
-There's 1 child.  There's the second child.  Where's the third child?!!
--Oh, whew.  There she is hanging waist high over the second story balcony.
-There's 1 child.  There's the second child.  Where's the third child?!!
--Oh, whew.  There she is standing on the top of a chair back on her tiptoes, about to fall into the baptistry at church because she is trying to float a boat made out of a church bulletin.

(I'm not going to lie to you.  My life feels stressful sometimes)

    So to deal with all this stress, I cope using one of my favorite math tools.


   
The Pie.
    Ok, so that's probably not, per say, exactly what you had in mind when I mentioned math tool, but if it helps you sleep at night, pretend I'm working fractions with it.  You know, "If I eat half of this pie now and lie and say that my kids all ate a piece, then it would look like I only ate 1/8 of the pie."  Fantastic.  I'm a math genius.
   
    And I'm also a nice genius, because I am about to lay on you one of the easiest and yummiest desserts that I have ever made.  It may be familiar to a few of you because I actually already gave out this recipe on a previous post.  But when I did, I just quickly ran through the directions and made the whole thing as a point on one of my crazy "list" blog posts.  So I'm afraid none of you actually understand how important it is that you try my Frozen Caramel Pie, and then thank me profusely for bringing your life meaning. (I need that kind of thing occasionally to keep my self-esteem on track, you know).

    So if the picture above (which is not a very good one, by the way.  I was too hungry to remember to take a picture when it was all frozen to perfection and at it's most photographic state) doesn't make your mouth water - then you probably don't have trouble fitting into your jeans like I do.  That being said - make this pie anyway.  It's simple.  It's delicious.  It will make your husband want to make out with you on the couch.  And it only takes five ingredients and a mixer.  And a freezer.  And a few minutes. Plus freezing time. (but that's just a good time to go freshen your makeup and brush your teeth for the "post pie" appreciation make-out that's about to go down) 

    First things first, go to the store and buy.................

-2 graham cracker pie crusts (you are welcomed to make your own with crumbs and butter but why in the round world would you go to all that trouble friend?)
-1 container of whipped cream cheese
-1 container cool whip
-1 can sweetened condensed milk
-caramel

    As you can tell by my terrible, unedited photo, I am a HUGE fan of most anything off brand.  I will use WHATEVA kind of "uncle jimbo's big country farm" brand any day of the week if I get a deal on it.  But there are a few things I don't mess around on the name brands with.  Velveeta is one.  (all processed cheese loafs are not the same pal)  And caramel for this Caramel Pie is another.  You are welcomed to buy whatever type of caramel you want, but consider this a warning - if you buy the cheap, light, runny stuff, your pie won't be as good.  And please tell my why you are going to the trouble of making a pie if it's not going to be awesome?  Spend the extra dollar or two.  Get the good stuff.  I prefer the "Lava" brand caramel dip sold in the produce section of my Walmart.  It's dark and thick and ma-num-a-na.

    To begin, spread a nice, gooey layer of your caramel in the bottom of your pie crust.  This is not a "measurement" type of thing.  This is more of a "do what makes you feel good inside" type of thing.  Then in a bowl, mix the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, and cool whip until combined and pour evenly into the two crusts.  Then lick the bowl and spatula with all your might.  Then quickly stick it in the sink and run hot water in it to erase all evidence that you licked it clean.  Then go back and drizzle more caramel over the top for pretties.  Again, this is a "do what feels right" type of situation.  Next, pop those clear pie pan lids on your pies and slide those bad boys in the freezer.  See?  I told you it was simple!  Now wait a few hours for your pies to freeze and then surprise your family with something delicious that tastes like it was harder than it is. 
    Then last, but not least, please take an awkward photograph of your super cute husband loving the pie so much that he eats half of it at one sitting straight out of the pan. 
 
1.  My kids are goofy.

2.  Your's probably are too.

3.  But this is my blog so if you are here then you are probably going to see a bunch of stuff about mine.  Sorry. 

4.  I have mentioned before on here that my daughter just cannot talk very clearly.  Like - at all.  Bless her little heart.  But as her mother I am able to decipher more of what she says than most people.  As her mother, I also know that there are several words that she just will not attempt for some reason - her name being one of them.  I have no idea why, but she refuses to say it.  It's a perfectly regular type name (well sort of) that other little kids are capable of saying, but she REFUSES to even try.  So it has become sort of an amusing thing for us lately to see what she answers when we ask her what her name is.  She changes the answer every so often, but for the past month her name has been...........wait for it............................

           Doctor Cassie Tiger

Yep, you heard that right folks.  I am the proud mother of one Doctor Cassie Tiger.  Of course, it's pronounced more like "Dodder Sassy Shiger"  but I speak Destruct-o-girl so I know what she's saying.  You have no idea just how fun it is to try and explain that to strangers who are trying to be polite and talk to the cute girl with the crazy hair in the checkout line at the Walmart store.

"What's your name cute girl/hon/little sweety/other cute baby girl colloquialism?".  "Dodder Sassy Shiger" (proud grin). 
(strange look)
(then I tell them what her real name is and get an even stranger look a lot of times)

Then it really gets interesting when they ask her how old she is and her reply is always "two five seven five".

I promise, one day I'll send her to preschool where maybe she can work all of this out. 

5.  Every week my son has to write a sentence for each of his 10 spelling words in his spelling notebook.  Every week my son forgets to bring his spelling notebook home and I want to beat him with a large stick.  Today when he finished up and checked over his work, I couldn't help but notice the sentence for number 6 "serve". 

          "My mom won't serve me."

Funny.  Because now I'm completely unsure of what I've been doing with myself for the past seven and a half years. 

6.  Sunni is not actually a child, but might as well be because I feed her, clean up after her, and yell at her too.  So I am soliciting advice from all of you dog lovers out there for my other baby.  She is an australian shepherd and is smart and cute and not very big yet, but boy does she wear a family out.  She has tons of energy (which we thought we were prepared for) and chews to oblivion things that I didn't even know we owned (which I can live with).  But the worst of all offenses is that she attacks our kids with love.  She's so sweet to them and lets my girl pull on her ears and sit on her and whack her in the nose for no reason, but she just jumps all over the kids.  Especially the baby.  Aaron and I have broken her from jumping on us, but I can't seem to figure out how to stop her from jumping on them if I'm not standing right beside them.  It makes playing in the back yard torture.  What do I do?!  Help!  Advice?!  New home?! (ok, kidding.    .........I think)

7.  It's hard to believe during this cool spell (that's not a thing you can say a lot in April in Mississippi), but earlier in March it was warm enough outside to play in the sprinklers.  I even saw pics on facebook of people swimming.  Apparently their pools are heated because mine will still be freezing on Memorial Day, if the past three years have been any prediction.  Fat people in skirted swimsuits and blue lips.  It's a holiday tradition. 
     Anyhow, I still have a completely blank mantle over my fireplace ever since Christmas and I've been waiting on something to inspire me, so the other day I decided to snap some pics of my kids in the sprinkler.  I thought they turned out so well that I printed them out in the small poster size, mounted them on some canvass I had and sat them on my mantle waiting to have a decorative vision.  They are no professional shots are anything, but they are natural.  Just the way I want to remember them today.
 
    Please let me start with a sincere thank you for all of your kind comments about yesterday's post.  I had comments here and on facebook, and I even received several text messages about it from friends who have been there.  Which I suspect as parents, most of us have at one time or another.  It's a tough plight in life to be the oldest child, because as their parents, we are just figuring it out as we go.  Learning all the hard lessons for the first time.  And doing our best.  So from the bottom of my heart, thanks for being so sweet as I use this blog to let y'all in on a little bit of our journey.

    That being said and gotten out of the way - today is a special day.  It marks the anniversary, 34 years ago, that one of the greatest people on Earth was born.  He's tall, he's smoking red hot, he's smart, he's athletic, he always takes out the trash and does all the yard work, he stayed after Charity Dinner and helped all of us ladies clean up without being asked, he can always tell when I'm on the verge and is a pro at diffusing my meltdowns, he is currently slightly obsessed with golf, he has stinky feet, he leaves his clothes all over the place, he loves me, he loves God and wants our kids to as well, he works very hard, and did I mention he is smoking red hot?

      Happy Birthday Aaron!  We love you so so so much!

    And in honor of his birthday today, I thought I would do something a little different.  There are several recent pictures of him on here already so I thought I would take today to show you some baby pictures.  And clear up once and for all who our kids look like.  Because even though I don't really believe my kids look much like one another, they ALL look like their daddy.  Prepare for your mind to be blown.

    Here, my friends, is the proof.


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Little Aaron
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Little Super-G
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Little Aaron
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Little Turnanator
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Baby Aaron
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Baby Destruct-o-girl
    Do you see what I'm saying to you?  Do you?  At least there is no doubt who's my baby daddy.  And since they all look like him, I guess it's a good thing he's smoking red hot :-)

Happy Birthday Aaron,
the luckiest girl alive
 
    So this is one of those serious type posts that I hesitate to even write, because serious type posts get awfully personal.  I know, you think it's awfully personal already when I tell you about my aversion to personal hygiene and the occasional filth level of my home.  But that kind of stuff doesn't bother me.  That's just stuff.  But private, feelings type of stuff, especially about my babies, that's what's real.  And so I'm sitting here typing, ready at any minute to just delete the whole post, because I'm not even sure where to begin.  But here goes...........

    Aaron is a fantastic athlete.  (Ha!  That's not what you expected the issue to be, was it?)  The thing is, I am not.  At. All.  I mean even a little.  I played lots of sports in my youth but only because I went to a tiny little private school and everyone had to play to have enough to make a team.  That plus all the sports kids got out of school all the time to go to games while the other jokers spent hours wasting away in study hall.  No way I was doing that! But I was so bad that just last year my grandmother was reminiscing about going to my softball games and her exact description of me as a baller was something like, "pitiful".  However, when Aaron and I got married and decided to have babies, I just assumed that "athletic genes" would be dominant so I didn't even think to worry.  Wow.  They are not. 

    I mean, our kids have some decent skills and some decent hand/eye coordination, but they are not star athletes.   And bless his heart, SuperG runs just like me.  Which means he can't run.  Even a little.  And right now is baseball season.  (by the way, I know you are already saying "seriously, THIS is this crazy woman's issue?".  Just bear with me)  The thing about baseball season starting in our new, older league, is that we are getting to the hardcore, travel ball level now.  I mean our coaches are great and all the kids are sweet, but there is beginning to be a distinct difference in the ones with skill and the ones without.  And practices get longer, and later.  Which really is fine.  Except that Aaron is not there a lot because he's at work a lot, so the three kids and I have been spending a lot of late hours at the park alone lately.  And let me tell you, it is so hard to get excited about that when you watch your kid out there struggling to keep up. 

    Just for any clarification needed at this point, I don't love my son one iota less because he isn't great at baseball or soccer.  In fact, I think he is smart and cute and funny and wonderful.  Plus he's a pretty good little golfer to only be 7 and he is playing chords with both hands at the same time on the piano already.  He's really a talented guy.  But in the past while, his dad and I have noticed that he isn't trying as hard as he should at things. And that's what has been upsetting us.  His level of talent does not upset us.  The fact that he can practice in the yard all afternoon and show improvement by leaps and bounds, and then go to the ball park and be standing backwards in the outfield because no balls are coming to him or pout when he gets out on a base.  Whew, that's just been a hard thing for us to swallow lately - especially at 8:30 on a school night while his sister is stomping in a ditch full of mud and we're all freezing. 

    Then last night it all blew up.  His attitude was not a great one, and when practice was over and most kids had already left, we realized that his brother's brand new, literally purchased one day before, ball glove had been in his ball bag and now it was gone.  Yikes.  Then when he didn't really seem upset about the fact that he wasn't even supposed to have it and he didn't keep up with it and it wasn't his to loose........Double yikes.  Needless to say, the night didn't go really well because lots of parental emotions were just exploding out of both of us (poor Aaron felt like no one appreciates anything that he works very hard to provide because everyone gets more than they could ever need. And he felt like SuperG was not doing his best when that's all we really ask for.  Not perfection.  Just his best and to care about someone other than himself.  Then I felt like I overwhelmingly can't keep up with everyone's activities and stuff and practices and AR books and homework and laundry and bedtimes and dinners and orange baseball socks without having a meltdown.  Plus I felt like I was going to suffocate with guilt because I have passed on these traits that will make life harder for him because there are things he is just not going to be great at and he will always have a hard time controlling him emotions.  Just.like.me.)  Then we went to bed and just stared up at the ceiling feeling like the worst parents in the world.  It was not a great night.

    I woke up this morning with a heavy heart about the whole thing, and I woke my baby up with hugs and kind words.  But I still couldn't shake all the feelings from last night.  Then you know what?  I spent the morning with a lady who has recently become very dear to me, and she and I discussed some of the things going on in her life.   She has some hard stuff going on right now, and honestly, she's had hard stuff her whole life.  Parents with substance abuse problems.  Homes without much love.  Fending for herself at a very young age.  Then we started discussing a child we know of right now who doesn't have a father in the picture.  Whose mother has a problem with drugs, and men.  Who lives through situations that I cannot even bring myself to think about, and oh what a little trooper he is.  Then I later began telling of the amazing adoption story of a friend.  Last Thursday night, this friend got in the bed praying for a baby, as she had fervently and painfully done for the past four years now.  And she was woken up by a call about a baby.  A tiny 2 pound 4 oz. baby that needed a family to love her.  Within the next 12 hours this friend and her husband were chosen to be the sweet baby's mommy and daddy, and in 72 hours everything was final.  They went from a place of great sadness and longing, to the happiest, most blessed couple you could ever imagine, all in what seemed like a fleeting second.  The proud parents of a thriving little angel.

    Then Aaron sent me a text. "I love you.  Last night was not great.  You ok?".  And all of a sudden that's all I could think was......I had spent the whole night consumed with emotions about the fact that my child is not exactly the person that I had planned for him to be.  That some things are not as important to him as I wish they would be, and he has some things about his personality that he will have to learn to control.  He will have to work harder than other kids if he wants to succeed in some areas.  And he lost his brother's brand new baseball glove.

    And I felt ridiculous.  What in the world do I have to be upset about?  Because he won't be just like his daddy?  Because he can't catch pop flies?  Because he lost a glove that we will probably end up getting back?  Because he has turned out to be just the person we have molded him to be, whether we intended to or not? 

    Oh thank you God for that beautiful healthy child who can make me cry when he genuinely prays.  Who can feel pain for others and not know how to control it.  Who loves to hit a golf balls and gives hugs freely and looks past disabilities and talks your head off.  And who you trusted to me to guide through life to teach what is important.  Please keep help me remember what's important.  And thank you for a little perspective.
 
    First and foremost, I need to start out this post with a big, huge shout-out to my dear friend Jenn, who texted me a few weeks ago and said, "can I redo your blog for you?".  Ummmm.......yeah!  Redoing the look of my blog and adding some buttons and things to make me look all cool and professional and awesome, is something I've been wanting to do for a while now.  I had actually talked to another friend about doing it at some point and even started a Pinterest board about it.  So when she just called me up about it, I knew I couldn't resist her skills and cute ideas.  Plus she and I have a special kind of friendship and love that I can't really describe, but we can go from eating dinner together five nights a week to moving far apart and never talking to two hour phone conversations with ease.  That's love.  And I know she loves me and gets me because when I told her I wanted it to look "southernish, but not country, with some cute and a touch of modern, with colors that just go", she came up with this new look.  And I love it!  So shout out to Jenn for being awesome. She has always got projects and things going on, and now she has a wedding blog that has really taken off like a shot that I would love to talk more about on here some time.  But I'm going to save that for another day when I have time to figure out things like "inserting links" and other such immensely difficult computer functions.  Seriously.  Sad is the only way to describe me. 

    I also wanted to let you know that I now have buttons for you to follow me on pinterest (the "p" button on the right if you have a pinterest account) and I am finally coming around to the twitter world.  I'm brand new and I have two followers and I follow 3 people so I am not exactly blowing it up or anything yet.  But if you want to follow me through the painful process of me figuring out yet another form of social media, then please feel free to click the "t" button over there on the right.  I'm sure most of you already knew what those buttons were - before I did - but you have to remember that my mother reads this and she is no more technically advanced than her oldest daughter.  Finally, I finally have a badge.  Feel free to grab it and put it on your blog to say that you follow me, and I would love to do the same for you.  Just as soon as someone explains to me how.  And by the way, there are several of you that have signed up to receive emails whenever I post a new blog, but some of you never did verify it in your email so I don't believe you are getting them.  If you are one of those people and you actually want to get the email, please just leave a comment or shoot me a message and we'll work it out.  If this does not apply to you or you don't want to get the email any more, I can't really say that I blame you most days.  I'm just going to come to terms with the fact that you don't need me in your life at that level and I'm going to move on after I have one medium sized cry about it.  It's really ok, I just like to have your info so I can stalk you better.  It's something that makes me feel good about myself.

    Since today's post is pretty much all about the new look of the blog and technical type stuff, I thought I would throw in just a quick story for entertainment and to make you feel good the next time you and your family go out of town for the weekend.

    There once was a family that went out of town for the weekend to a large church convention in a big city at a nice hotel.  This family checked into their hotel room and had been in it for approximately twenty minutes when a security guard knocked on the door to inform the family that there had been a noise complaint about them.  Later that evening, the second oldest child in the family locked the door to the bathroom in their hotel room and shut it.  From the outside.  The mother tried to unlock the door with a metal fingernail file, but to no avail.  Men from the maintenance department had to come up to unlock the bathroom door.  The next morning, the oldest child in the family locked the bathroom door in the hotel room and shut it.  From the outside.   Men from the maintenance department had to come up to unlock the bathroom door.  Again.  The mother then informed everyone in the family, in a rather forceful tone of voice, that the next person who touched the lock on the bathroom door was going to have a very unpleasant conversation with the wooden spoon in her purse.  Then over the span of two days, the mother of the family lost three separate room keys on three separate occasions.  Then the small daughter of the family waited until they were all out to eat at a restaurant far away from the hotel, with no diaper bag whatsoever, to remove her diaper and throw it on the floor and walk around the dining area of said restaurant with her jeans pulled to her ankles and her bare bottom shining because that was the day she decided she wanted to use the potty like a big girl.  That didn't exactly work out for the girl and her parents as well as it could have.  The family still had a nice time over the weekend, though.  And mainly what all of this proves is just that ..............................................

We don't get out much. 
 
1.  I love lists.

2.  I love cake.

3.  I love lists about cake.

4.  I digress.

5.  I have not written in over two weeks.

6.  I wanted to write sometime the end of last week but I couldn't.  Because I could not peel my face out of the Hunger Games books long enough to care for my children or sleep, much less write something myself.  I could.not.put.them.down.  All I have to say is "wow".  Just "wow".  How in the round world a person is creative enough to come up with all of that is beyond my comprehension.  It was incredible.  That is all.  No spoilers here people.  Go get them.  Read them.  Come to terms with them.

7.  I have a daughter who is adorable and awful and precious and exhausting.  That daughter loves suckers.  We went through the bank drive through the other day, and she received a dum-dum sucker.  Root beer flavored.  She is the first person I have ever seen to actually eat a root beer flavored dum-dum.  She was still eating it when we got home.  As I was unloading things from my car and she was playing in the garage, I looked up to see my daughter holding our dog Sunni down, feeding her the sucker.  Sunni was going to town on that thing.  Apparently, australian shepherds also like root beer flavored dum-dums.  When my daughter decided that Sunni had had enough, she removed the sucker from the dog's mouth.  And placed it back in her own.  My daughter loves her dog. 

8.  I need a week or two that is entirely kid free so I can do nothing but work on projects that I steal from pinterest and or create in my mind.  I am currently only about a quarter of the way through a project that I began last year of turning old funky fence into shutters for my house.  I hope to get them done before the wood actually decomposes to dust.  I am also about half way through with a wreath covered in fabric rosettes.  I hope to get it done before fabric rosettes become as uncool as avocado refrigerators and navy, hunter green, and maroon hunting scenes in a gold frame over striped wallpaper in the same hues.  And the coffee table I have done nothing but dream about yet?  Fugettaboutit.  I do however have high hopes and dreams of painting my toe nails this week.  Baby steps.

9.  I occasionally take my children to the street behind our house to walk because it's a dead end that doesn't see much traffic and the weather has been lovely lately.  Plus it helps me justify eating the fudge we bought the other day if I walk that whole half of a mile at one time.  But last week something happened.  Something momentous and a tiny bit (ok, a lot) frightening happened.  I finally caught a glance of the guy who lives with his mother on our street.  You know the house.  The one where no one answers if you're selling cookies or candy bars or wrapping paper or whatever, even though you hear the tv on and the cars are in the driveway.  The one that if a kid ever dares to venture onto their grass, all the parents immediately begin to scream, "get out of their yard!  What are you doing?  Come here before they see you!".  That house.  And after catching a glance at the son, turns out all our concerns have been completely warranted.  Because, you see, as it turns out, we live down the street from the Unibomber.  Please don't tell anyone.  Information like this is never good for property values.

10.  I sometimes wonder if I am the only person in the world that feels the need to have a couple of more babies, just because I've fallen in love with another name and feel as if it is too good to not be given to someone in my life.  A few weeks ago we visited some dear friends who have a new cat named Estelle.  I now feel like if I don't give birth to another daughter so I can name her Estelle, after my dear friends' cat, then I will forever suffer with a small hole in my maternal psyche.  I also feel very strongly about the name Birdie (even though husband talked me out of it last time), and Owen all for a girl.  I honestly don't care if you feel the need to use these names yourself, as it is well documented on this blog that they were all my brainchild.  Just don't be offended when I have three more kids and name them these names as well.  And let's not even bring up little Shep.  He'll be there too.  I think of all these things some times and I let it eat away at me.  "poor cute names with no one to label.  poor cute wasted names".  Then I remember the horrors that are colic and breast feeding (I realized this was not a horror to many of you - probably exclusive to me) and I regain all sense of reality and give my baby names away on this blog.  Dear world - your welcome.  I would love to see a picture of your Birdie the first chance you get. (see that doesn't sound weird at all........)

11.  I had dental work done today.  It was actually quite painless.  However, the real ordeal was the fact that a large chunk of my face and half my nose was numb for hours to follow.  You have never lived until you have shown your friends how you can flare only one nostril.

12.  I have to wear a fancy dress this weekend that is too tight because I didn't walk more than a half mile at a time.  I am considering wrapping my body with seran wrap so my belly button indention does not show.  I hear this is a tactic in beauty pageants and such.  Have any of you ever done this?  Is this something that will actually work or will I end up sweating like a stuck hog 46 minutes into my fancy dinner that I cannot swallow because there is no room for food?  Advice please.

13.  Red velvet with cream cheese icing

14.  Chocolate with holes poked and sweetened condensed milk pour over while hot.  Then topped with whipped cream cheese icing once cooled.

15.  Angel food covered in cool whip and crushed butterfinger

16.  Birthday with big piles of icing

17.  Wedding

18.  I told you I love lists about cake.
 
    Then there was the time that I was about to walk into one of those hoity-toity stores, you know the kind - the ones with the insanely priced shoes, perfectly coiffed salespeople, and the clothes that only go up to a size 8 because people who are stylish and able to afford nice stuff should not be fluffy.  I was about to walk in and my baby said, "hode zhu mommy" which means "hold you mommy" in D-speak (which actually means, "these shoes are like two sizes two small and are killing my tiny feet so would you please pick me up and carry me because you love me as a person more than as an adorable model for overpriced baby clothes that may or may not fit appropriately").  So I leaned over to pick her up, and was looking at her as I swung her onto my hip, and my foot caught the inch and a half of concrete that was cracked and uneven beneath my feet, and we went flying.  Like slow motion, "blaaaaaaaaaaaaabgh", across the pebbled sidewalk, purse sailing, went flying.  And the thing is, the time when I went flying, I was holding my adorable little twenty-eight pound, two and a half year old nugget and was falling straight to the ground on top of her.  Her going head first into the concrete of course.  Needless to say, I am apparently a ninja in training because somehow I managed to throw my hands and arms around her while projecting my body away from her so that she walked away with nothing really wrong except a scratched elbow and a deathly fear of ever being carried by her mother again.  I on the other hand currently have a scratched up forearm, gashes in what I think may be a sprained hand/wrist situation, and a gaping, bloody rip in my only, best, and favorite pair of blue jeans.  It was super awesome.  And by awesome I mean awful.  And deathly embarrassing.  That's all I could think about was Carrie from Sex and the City the time that she was shopping in Paris and went flying in the Chanel store.  Except I did not then proceed to max out my credit card.  I instead bought one pair of Tiny Toms and limped away.

    Then there was the time on the same day as the day I went flying while holding my baby, that I was pulling into a parking lot of a store to buy a new pair of jeans, and a policeman turned his lights on and followed me.  Turns out I have not bought a new car tag since November of 2011.  Turns out I am a disorganized hot mess.  Because it had already been sort-of a rough day, and because it was rainy, and because my arm was hurting, and because it's better than crying, I started laughing.  And I could not stop.  I laughed so hard that I couldn't breath and I had tears pouring down my face.  That poor policeman thought he had pulled over a woman on the verge.  I'm not sure what on the verge of per say.  But definitely, he was sure I was about to loose it.  So when he walked back to my vehicle and said "maam, today I am only going to give you a warning ticket" and then I reached out my hands and said "can I kiss you?  on the face?"  I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when he didn't even crack a smile and replied, "no maam.  You can't".  Then I definitely shouldn't have been shocked when I then asked if he would take a picture with me for my blog and he said, "no. no maam.  we can't.".  

    Then there was the time that I decided God doesn't want me to buy expensive shoes even if I am an aspiring ninja and I probably shouldn't make policemen think I'm insane.  Then I came home and ate two Cadbury eggs.  The end.

An entirely true story,
Cassie
 
    I am about to lay on you, one of the yummiest, most wonderfully delicious, and easiest recipes for bread that you have ever had the pleasure of laying your taste buds on.  Now I know when you first read it, you will be thinking, "But Cassie, I don't like mayonnaise.  But Cassie, I'm not a green chili fan.  But Cassie, if I eat stuff like this all the time I am going to end up with long term insulin therapy for type 2 diabetes." (no?  that last one just me?)  Well I'm here to tell you to push past those thoughts and fears.  Look at mayo as your friend, embrace the green chili, and love yourself in your plus size jeans.  Because baby, this bread is worth it. 
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Mmmmm.......... Green Chili Cheese Bread
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When Aaron and I got married nearly ten years ago, I was fortunate in so many ways to gain such a lovely new family.  But there was one, major, big problem.  They can all cook.  I'm talking cut-up-and-fry-the-best-chicken-you-ever-put-in-your-mouth, homemade rolls, slap-your-mama-sweet-potato-casserole, cook.  I know that might not seem like a problem to you, but to me it was serious.  Because my new husband was used to that sort of thing.  To delicious, rich, southern meals on the table nearly every night that he didn't have to cook or hand money to a waitress for.  Well bless my sweet little twenty-one year-old, eager to impress, newlywed heart - I didn't know how to cook one single, solitary thing.  See, at the house where I grew up, my mother didn't home-cook much of anything.  She did everything else under the sun - cleaning like a beast, volunteering for every organization in the history of good deeds, farm bookkeeping, wagging four kids (one of which is severely disabled) to every activity ever invented from school time to bed time, all while living thirty minutes from the nearest Walmart.  And she did it all well.  But cooking.  Not so much her thing.  Oh she tried.  One time my parents threatened that we could eat our carrots or get a spanking.  I held my nose and woofed them down, but my brother took the spanking.  Just stood up and took a beating.  The carrots were that bad.  And the family joke was always that the food was done when the smoke alarm went off.  If it weren't for the frozen food section at Sam's and the Schwans man, we likely would have starved to death.  So while I learned lots of amazing things from my phenomenal-at-most-stuff mother, separating eggs was not one of them.  And the point of all this is to tell you that when we got married, everyone knew I couldn't cook.  So they gave me lots of cookbooks and hand written recipes.  (don't you just love a hand written recipe?  I have one from my grandmother that is just for some random dessert, but I cherish.  Because she wrote it just for me and it's a piece of  her that I still have.)  And when I was going through my recipe box the other day, I came across this gem from Aaron's great aunt that I apparently had forgotten I have, because I've never made it before.  And now that I've taken the eight minutes to cook it, it brings a tear to my eye to know that I've spent the last ten years without this creamy goodness and it's been under my nose the whole time.  Aunt Alta, I thank you.  My pants don't so much thank you, but my tongue and my belly - they most definitely thank you.  Big much.

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To get cookin', you will need 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 stick melted butter, 1 small can of green chilies (I don't know how many oz. because  I don't have a can here at the house to look at.  But you know what I'm talking about.  They come in two sizes - big can or little can.  Use a little one), and shredded cheese.  The recipe calls for 1/4 pound, but I always just pour however much cheese makes me feel good inside on that particular day.  Sometimes it's a skoash-a-bit more than the recipe calls for.  But just a skoash.  And the best kind to use is a Monterey Jack/Colby blend or a Fiesta blend.  But I'm sure whatever you have on hand will work if you forget cheese at the grocery store.
     And this recipe calls for 2 loaves of french bread.  I also like to use the italian loaf because it is yummy and carb-y and makes me feel fluffy, but it's up to you.  The best thing to do is to buy a loaf that is already sliced up.  But if your Walmart's bakery oven is out like mine is, and there are no more presliced loafs like at mine, and you have to go to the Piggly Wiggly to buy a loaf, then slice the loaf yourself.  Preferably with an electric carving knife.  If you don't have one of those then just hack at it with a serrated knife and make a huge mess, and vow to never again do this without presliced bread or an electric knife. Or however you want to do it.  Just have slices.

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Then mix up all the goo (I forgot to add the cheese before the picture because I'm a doofus but I'm sure you can wade through the tricky process that is "stirring in cheese" all by yourself.)  It will be a pretty runny mess that doesn't look entirely appealing, but proceed anyway.

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I use a small spoon to put the filling between each slice because it is quite runny.  And I'm generous with the goo.  There is quite a bit of it, and more goo makes it more better.  Then I put it in the oven at 350 until it is hot.  I usually check around 10 minutes.  Then I get it out and I secretly eat one whole loaf.  Then I tell my family when they compliment me on how delicious it is, "Why thank you.  I just wish that I had fixed more than one loaf tonight".  Then I burp.

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I hope you try this, and I hope you love this, and I hope that I find more deeelish, handed down, great aunt recipe cards in my box soon.  If I do I'll let you know.  In the meantime, good luck and happy cheese bread.
2 loaves of french or italian bread (sliced)
1 stick melted butter
1 cup mayonnaise
1 small can green chilies
1/4 pound shredded Monterey Jack/Colby blend cheese

Mix it, smear it, cook it, eat it.  Enjoy!
Cassie