Monday, November 1, 2010

Everything would have worked out if it weren't for those meddling kids

The next time I plan to host my daughter's birthday party the day before Halloween, someone just shoot me and put me out of my candy coated misery.
Or how about this- the next time I plan to host my daughter's birthday party the day before Halloween, and I stay up until 3 AM making all the decorations and food for the party the night before that, someone just shoot me and put me out of my hot-glue-and-powdered-sugar coated misery.

Why yes, I'm exhausted today. Why do you ask?

Needless to say, I bit off a little bit more than I could chew in the Fun Department over the weekend.
When I got home from work on Friday, we dressed the littles in their costumes and headed over to a fall festival held at a local church, where we saw some of the most adorable costumes I have ever laid eyes on. And that's saying something, because my babies have been all kinds of adorable over the years in their Halloween finest.

A few of my favorites at the festival were a Snoopy and Woodstock pair and another teeny girl dressed like Raggedy Ann. I wish I had photographic evidence, but taking pictures of children with whom you have no verifiable relationship is generally frowned upon. So you'll have to take my word for it.

When we got home Friday evening, I started preparing all the food and decorations for Missy's birthday party on Saturday. Since the party was the day before Halloween, and because I love finding excuses for my children to wear their costumes more than once per season (it makes me feel like I get my money's worth), we were throwing a Halloween-themed birthday party for her.

And since I'm Mrs. Procrastinator Extraordinaire, the only items crossed off my To-Do checklist prior to Friday was "Research Ideas" and "Gather Supplies."

In other words, I knew I was in for a loooooong night.

For the next 6 hours (9:00 PM -3:00 AM) I made vampire bats, mummies, ghosts, witches' shoes, spiders, spider hatchlings. I had tons of help from J, who never complained, even when I sent him to The Store because I was in a panic for fishing wire. He drew faces and folded paper and taped bats together. I couldn't have done everything without his involunteerism.

(By the way, I warn you never to begin a craft that calls for fishing wire AKA invisible string. It's IMPOSSIBLE to tie invisible string. IMPOSSIBLE, I SAY.)

I turned string cheese into monster fingers, which meant literally CARVING out the knuckle joints. I also cut out approximately 6,274 bat/cat/pumpkin shapes out of flour tortillas for chips. We only own 1 cookie sheet, but everything was such a blur by the time I got around to baking these, that I can't even begin to hazard a guess how long it took me to finish them.

What I can tell you is how many times I was afraid the smoke detectors were going to go off in the middle of the night: Two.

Come to find out, I don't think we have smoke detectors.

After a short 4 hour nap, I got up "early" and make the hot dog mummies, the bones (that ended up looking like dog treats, so not very Halloween-y), and the icing for the cake.

Jason is the resident cake decorator and I think he hit another homerun with this one:

Because this post is already too long and uninteresting, I'll spare you all the party details except to say it was a success! After lunch and a real nap, I spent the rest of my day in my pjs watching sports on TV.

It's like I don't even know myself anymore.

But the Rangers were (are) playing in the World Series while my beloved Baylor bears were playing the University of Texas in a nationally televised game.

The BU/UT match-up originally garnered national TV time because of how great UT was supposed to be, but as the season evolved, people were starting to take notice of Baylor! I'm thrilled to report that the bears laid some smack down, holding UT to only 1 touchdown (and a whole bunch of field goals). Baylor even came from behind to win the game.

And I thought I would cry happy tears. ECSTATIC tears!

Sunday was a great day of worship, rest, and a fun night of trick-or-treating. We hit up a few houses as a family, but as more trick-or-treaters flooded the sidewalks, J stayed home to pass out candy while I supervised the kids door-to-door.

When we exhausted our candy-laden resources, we headed home and grilled hot dogs outside while we welcomed more treaters. Cade declared it the best Halloween ever. It makes me SO happy knowing we're creating happy family memories together.

Even if we are just meddling kids.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Piper

How did it happen so quickly? When did this little 7 lb. 4 oz. peanut

with these tiny feet

and these teensy hands

turn into such a big little girl?

My sassy silly sweetie. The precious little missy who I believe understood every word I spoke to her when she was just a tiny infant. The girly twirly angel who loves mayonnaisse on bread (no meat) and never has enough play phones or purses. Daddy's princess who can never wear enough pink and idolizes her big brothers.

My heart.

Happy birthday Piper T! I love you!

I gambled and lost

The chance of rain on Saturday was 50%. The chance of my alma mater moving forward with the LARGEST HOMECOMING PARADE IN HISTORY was 100%. The chance that three littles would be crushed if we didn't attend...well, I didn't even want to gamble with that one. Especially since Micah pronounced his undying love for Baylor Homecoming just the day before.

But Jason was out of town (See how carefully I guarded that secret by not posting until he returned? But he's home now. And he packs heat, so back off!), so it was just going to be the children and me.

Me. With three children. One of whom inevitably has to go to the bathroom, but none of whom I can trust to go alone. In a crowded outdoor area. Where you cannot leave your spot for ANY REASON WHATSOEVER or risk it being invaded by sugar-crazed children desperate to sacrifice life and limb for an oversized Tootsie Roll or a 2-pack of SweetTarts because their parents likely graduated from this universit.........

So you understand my predicament.

Whether it was lack of sleep (I tend not to sleep well when Jason isn't home. And by "not sleep well", I mean stay up with all the lights on until my eyes refuse to remain open a single millisecond longer) or a full-on attack of allergy symptoms that caused me to lose my mind, we'll never know. But I packed a container of cinnamon rolls, 3 thermoses full of drinks, 2 Nintendo DSs to pass the time, 1 camp chair for mamaw because my backside can't take the concrete, 1 Diet Pepsi for fuel, and a partridge in a pair tree, loaded up the van and we moved to Beverly.

And I thought, "If it starts raining, we'll just leave."

I believe the phrase you are looking for is, "Famous last words."

Since my brilliant rain plan was "just leave," I didn't see the use in packing any jackets. Or even an umbrella.

It turns out that there's a 0% chance of being able to "just leave" when you're on the opposite side of the parade route from where you parked your grocery-getter. And you're surrounded by thousands of spectators, not to mention that the other side of the parade route is about 10 families deep. And you have 3 littles, a large bag, and a camp chair in tow. No matter how spectacular the parade floats, we definitely would have been the bigger spectacle.

My stories are soooo predictable.

We reached our usual spot on campus about 8:00. The parade started in downtown at 8:30, but wasn't expected to reach campus until close to 9:00 (thus, the reason for the DSs). The skies were still cloudy, but the rain appeared to be holding off. As though God himself looked down upon our little celebration and held back the rain.

Then the swing dancers on campus of a Baptist University must have really ticked him off because it wasn't long before I felt a few sprinkles.

"It's only sprinkling," I thought wishfully.

And then it began to rain in earnest. But in the spirit of Homecoming, brotherhood, and all that jazz, the nice couple behind me moved forward just enough to cover me with their oversized golf umbrella. So I will forgive the husband for being Overly Obvious Commentary Man.

(Dude, we all have the same parade program as you. And we graduated from a fairly scholarly university, so I'm pretty sure our reading skills allow us to comprehend the written line-up. But if we can't follow the line-up, each entry/float is clearly labeled, so there's little opportunity for suspense. Thanks for your assistance, though.)

Piper made friends with the prepared-like-a-girl-scout college freshman (I know she was a freshman by the singular fact that she had no idea from which direction the parade would be coming) sitting next to us and promptly situated herself squarely in the unsuspecting girl's lap under the protection of the girl's umbrella.

The good news is I have a new babysitter.

The boys alternated between squeezing under our portion of borrowed rain cover and diving for subpar candy.

Thankfully the rain didn't last long. I'm guessing the swing dancers came to the end of the parade route.

My pants legs were a little damp, but in the end none of us were any worse for the wear. I wish that we had been able to go to the game, since Baylor won and is now bowl-eligible for the first time in 15 years!

Despite the rain and my rare form of genius, it was a great weekend for sports! The Rangers are going to the World Series! The Bears are eligible to play in a bowl game! The Hogs won (that's for you, mom)!

Here's hoping your week (and mine too!) is also full of wins! And well-laid plans. And dry pants legs.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm back with more of nothing

When Jason and I lived in a (much) smaller town, we used to visit our local "Super" Store. If we hit The Store on the wrong evening (usually Sundays), they often would be out of entire sections of food. Like bread. Or milk.

You know, the "extras."

We had some words to describe The Store and "super" was never one of them.

It probably goes without saying (but my writing is so phenomenal that I'm going to say it) that we often threw up our hands and wondered why we even bothered shopping there.

Well. It turns out that writing a blog is a lot like that. Seems that if you don't write often, you don't get much activity. No content = no visitors.

Fascinating. Who knew?

I don't consider myself a writer and I have no real ambition for my blog. I don't want a book deal or a big advertising account. Two things I do know: 1) I love reading great blogs and 2) I love it when people read mine.

Unfortunately sometimes I just don't have the words to put together to uphold any kind of commitment. But dang if I don't know where to start when I am ready to reenter the fray because so many things have happened. Which leads to feelings of being overwhelmed which then causes me to avoid blogging some more. Thus, a vicious cycle of blog avoidance ensues.

This same cycle often applies to housework and laundry.

I have some issues.

But today I'm ready to break the cycle, even though I still don't know where to start. Do I wrap up our summer that officially ended for me over 2 months ago? Do I throw the end of summer out the proverbial window and recap all our back to school shenanigans, including a story about the time I almost broke down into tears in the school supply aisle of The Store? Or do I synthesize all of it into bite-sized stories until I've caught up to present day?

Since a goldfish's memory is slightly better than mine, the latter is not going to happen. I guess I'll just start fresh from here. And when I count on this blog to help me reflect on the best times and favorite memories from 2010, August through October will pretty much be a blur.

Which is totally appropriate because I think September and October bought some funky Five Finger Shoes and challenged one another to some sort of sprint to see which month could fly by faster.

I'm keeping score and October is winning.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Church Notes

Due in part to his status as the eldest child and in part to his superior level of responsibility (superiority is relative when compared to a 6 year old space cadet and a 3 year old diva), Micah has earned the privilege to sit on the front pew of the sanctuary next to Jason each Sunday morning during worship, meaning he sits alone once J gets up to preach. Recently, Micah has begun recording copious notes while listening to his father's sermons.

Clearly, he learned that skill from me.

Tonight, I stumbled upon his filing system for his notes while cleaning out his chest of drawers. Each page was carefully folded into 16ths and thoughtlessly tossed into a giant heap in the top drawer next to some misplaced gloves, unmatched socks, and sundry odds and ends.

Another skill he gleaned from my superb organizational ability.

Because we can all use some Biblical edification, I share his truths with you.

"Jesus Christ sees you everywere. do't run away from Jesus christ"

"God is faithfull and he will do wut he says. he will not do you roung."

"no one is pirfict. only god is good."

"hope in Jesus christ and keep doing the right thing."

"walk in faith and Love and you will go to Heaven and see Jesus Christ our Lord."

"do't worship a thing. worship god. only worship god. worship the Lord god Jesus christ."

"When Jesus Christ is not Doing waut you want it is good. another page says somting abot this."

"ask god to forgive you" (This particular note is addressed "to India." I suppose he feels the entire country needs to be called into repentance?)

"do't run away from God Jesus Christ. worship him. If you do't you will die so worship him. do't worship things."

"Jesus over looked our sin and layed down his life so we will be safe."

"the person who Loves his brother will live."

"Jesus will turn bad into good."

"Jesus Christ is good. god is a good god. Lison to him and it will be good.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer is going to kill me

Please remind me tomorrow, when I wake up and can't move a muscle to get out of bed, that the cause of my temporary disability is due to all the "fun" that was had at the water park today.

The children had FUN. I had "fun," mainly because there were 68 stairs up to the platform that housed the starting point of the 2 water slides. And because we climbed up that set of stairs approximately 184 times, only to be deposited right back down where we started.

My math skills may be rusty, but my mental calculations tell me that 68 x 184 = 2,476,423 steps (when you take into consideration that the amount of effort it took to climb those steps increased exponentially with each subsequent trip).

My quads say that number feels just about right.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Linky Love 07.06.10

If you're looking for a fun thing to do with your kiddos this summer, this 30 minute jam recipe from Sandy at Reluctant Entertainer will fit the bill. We made this today (although I don't think I used the right kind of pectin, so we have some delightful strawberry syrup) and the kids loved it! It's so easy, despite my own stupidity.

In light of our own recent celebrations of freedom, please do not forget that slavery is still alive and thriving, even in our own "free" country. You can find out more about the tragedy of human trafficking here. You can also support businesses like Sari Bari whose mission is to help women rescued from slavery make a living wage.

Finally my newest blog discovery is Style Your Life. She has great outfit ideas and most of them are so affordable!


Monday, July 5, 2010


When we lived in a different town Fourth of July was quickly becoming my second favorite holiday, just behind Christmas. Since we moved to a town where most of the people we know are students who don't profess to consider our city "home" July 4th has been a wee bit lackluster. This year being no exception.

We worshiped at church in the morning followed by our monthly fellowship meal with the congregation. My contribution to lunch was the traditional 4th of July meal of pizza casserole, minus the pepperonis which, although purchased just yesterday, had already gone bad.

After church, Jason and his buddy went fishing while the children and I took a nap and then I tried (unsuccessfully) to convince them that inside voices are a Good Thing when you are playing INSIDE. My ulterior motive was to keep the noise level down to an appropriate decibel so that I could watch the Criminal Minds marathon I DVR-ed on A&E without turning the TV up so loud that it drew their attention.

We had leftovers for dinner, and when J got home we set out to watch the fireworks. When we got to our usual spot (and by "usual" I mean the same place we watched them last year) at the parking garage and were saddened to discover that the police were not allowing cars to actually PARK on the top. This was Kink #1 in our plan for World Domination Operation Watch Fireworks.

Our familial operations often take on Top Secret Titles. Our code is hard to crack.

Because we were planning to use the truck bed in lieu of lawn chairs, and we had no lawn chairs, we chose the most comfortable-looking patch o' concrete and settled in. Actually, I settled in, Jason stood up, and the little ones took great pleasure in chasing and stomping crickets.

Don't feel sorry for the crickets. They totally had it coming.

Once the fireworks got started, J and I discovered Kink #2 in Operation Watch Fireworks. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that we seated ourselves in front of Over-Enthusiastic Fireworks Commentary Man. OEFCM commented on 89% of the fireworks displayed throughout the 15 minute spectacular.

"Ooooh, that was a green one!"

"Wow, that one was sparkly."

"That one was 3-D!"

(Sidenote: I'm not sure what type of alternate dimension this guy occupied, but pretty much my whole life is in 3-D. Including 100% of the fireworks I've ever had the privilege of viewing.)

"Cool, that one was red and purple."

"Look, that one had a star in it!"

And so on.

I might not have minded so much if he had actually had fresh pyrotechnic material to share. Rather, he just stated the obvious.

Micah declared each firework the new "record-breaker," but I could never get a straight answer from him regarding the standard by which he rated each one.

So the day wasn't fantastic. Please don't mistake my whining about our painfully ordinary day for lack of gratitude for those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom we enjoy every day by God's grace alone. I'm thankful for our independence and for those who protect it daily. Happy (belated) Fourth of July, everyone.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I wish I'd been there

Y'all. J and I have friends who attend this church! How cool is this?

I wonder how long it took those young 'uns to realize WHO that was? Hilarious!

Friday, July 2, 2010

It's Summer...What else can I say?

My nigh-to-one-month bloggy silence was not a planned hiatus, and it's been an interesting change. Not that I haven't started writing approximately 73 various blog posts in my head, but summer has put a significant halt to all activities not related directly to my children and/or my household.

If I'm being honest, I'll admit that the idea of making loads of cash by blogging is appealing on the surface, but it's times like these that make me SO THANKFUL my little no-name blog with its ones of readers is under zero pressure to churn out posts on any sort of "regular basis." Unless by "regular basis" you mean "whenever the heck I feel like it, GAH!"

(By the way, it is FAR beyond my comprehension how bloggers with below-school-age children can make any time for blogging EVER. Much less multiple times per day. You have my utmost respect, because clearly you must never sleep.)

Lately, if I haven't been alternating between loads of washing clothes and loads of washing dishes, I've been walking a fine line between keeping my children busy enough that they can't argue with one another and not keeping them so busy that they're exhausted and start arguing with one another.

As if.

In a nutshell, the last 4ish weeks have found me in a sunscreen-applying, pool-swimming, library-enjoying, cable-fixing, bathtub-repairing, pool-swimming, birthday-party-planning, errand-running, cake-baking, birthday-party-executing, sugar-coma-recovering, shelf-painting, craft-space-organizing, gift-buying, birthday-party-attending, closet-cleaning, suitcase-packing, conference-attending, friend-visiting, pool-swimming, pre-teen-camping, pool-swimming, book-reading, crappy-food-eating, weight-gaining, internet-connection-desiring, suitcase-unpacking, TV-watching frenzy.


While that's not an exhaustive list, my activities have decidedly NOT included twitter-following or blog-reading. My most sincere apologies to my blog/twitter buddies. I understand if you never wish to cast your eyes upon my blog again.

I'm trying to catch up, but 4 weeks is like 10 years in the virtual community. I may have to declare Google Reader bankruptcy and click the dreaded "mark all as read" to get a necessary fresh start.

Speaking of fresh, I have clean laundry to fold and put away. Catch you in a few. More weeks, that is.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bcause I don't have much to say right now

**The following is basically a reprint of an email I sent to a friend. She encouraged me to post it here, and since I don't have anything else to talk about right now, I thought this might be beneficial to someone. At least more beneficial than my usual drivel about nothing. I've seen a few posts about Swagbucks recently, and thought I'd give you a bit of a different perspective.** is a search engine, like Google or Yahoo. The major difference is that when you search using the swagbucks website, you earn, well, swagbucks. These SBs, once accrued, can be traded in for various merchandise, with the most popular items being gift cards to places like Amazon or iTunes.

I spent a LOT of time thinking swagbucks were a waste of time, but I've slowly come around to the idea that it can work for me, if not to the extent that it works for bloggers with more readership (not that you have to be a blogger to use SBs, but I'll get to that in a minute). There are bloggers that I read who claim to have bought ALL their Christmas presents with SBs. I probably won't get to that point, but $30-$40 in Amazon gift cards is nice enough to make it worth it, in my opinion.

Once you've signed up for SBs, there are 3 things you need to do EVERY DAY to get 3 SBs. It might not sound like much, but 3X365= 1095, so it's worth it in the long run. 900 SBs gets you $10 at Amazon, which is basically a free book or CD, so why not? Here's what you do:

1) Install the toolbar. I almost always get 1 SB each morning just for opening my browser b/c I have the toolbar installed.
2) Under "Ways to Earn" on the SB homepage, go to the daily poll. You answer the daily poll and get 1 SB.
3) Under "Ways to Earn" on the SB homepage, go to "Special Offers." You can click on the link on the right that says something about "no obligation offers" and skip through all of those. No personally identifiable information is required, so just click "skip" on all of them and you get 1 SB at the end. Sometimes there are 6 or 7 and sometimes there's only 1 or 2, but just click away until you get to the end. You'll get 1 SB.

A few other tricks/tips I've learned:

1) You'll usually get SBs when you search in the AM, then again in the PM. I get 7-10 SBs when I win, sometimes higher (14-15). This morning I got 8 on my 2nd search. However, I probably won't get anymore until later today. It's generally a few hours before I'll get anymore from searching. I always use SB as my default search engine just for the possibility that I'll get some SBs, but I usually only get them in the AM, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening.

2) I've found that going to "page 2" of my search results often nets me SBs. If I search and don't get SBs the first time, I ALWAYS click to the 2nd page of search results and often get them then. I've also found that if I click a link from the SB search results and then click "back" to get back to the search results, I will get SBs.

3) I frequently check a blog called and they often post when a swag code is released. Follow them on Twitter, b/c they generally (but not always) tweet when they post a blog, too. But I still check their blog several times a day. Sometimes there will be codes on the SB Facebook page or on Twitter, and WLSBs posts to let you know so you don't have to try and follow SB all over the social media sites. I also check the "swidget" on my own blog b/c sometimes there will be swag codes available that WLSBs doesn't catch or post about. I always try to get the swag codes (at least one, sometimes 2 or 3 per day). I've heard that if you sign up for the SB email newsletter, you will get a code when it comes, but I haven't received a SB newsletter in my inbox yet (I think they come monthly?).

4) IF you get referrals (people who sign up for SBs under you) you get however many SBs they get, one for one, up to 1000. This is where having a large blog readership comes in handy. I think this is the most profitable, yet most difficult, way to get SBs. If you have a ton of readers and you post about SBs, you can include a link for ppl to click to sign up under you and when they start searching and winning, you win, too. I am of the opinion that those who win hundreds or thousands of dollars of merchandise/GCs are those who get tons of referrals. So far, I have 2 referrals (one is my mom) and neither one of them has won a single SB yet, so that's not exactly working out for me.

5) You can also win SBs by purchasing through their links (kind of like ebates, if you are familiar with that). Obviously, though, it can take awhile to get those credited to your account (30 days, maybe?) b/c I bought some stuff on iTunes through SB a couple of weeks ago and I still haven't rec'd credit. So we'll see about that...

6) One drawback is that the search engine isn't that great. You have to be careful what you click b/c there are usually 4-5 "sponsored by" links that come up as legitimate search results. You always have to look at the url before you click the result to see if it says "sponsored by" b/c those usually aren't what you are looking for. Sometimes I revert to google after I've tried SB, which adds time to your search, but it's negligible. I always search SB first, ALWAYS, and sometimes I make up searches to win SBs. OK, I USUALLY make up searches if I think it's a time when I can win SBs.

The moral of this epic tale, is that, not counting referrals, it can be worth it over time to use SBs. I've tried to be faithful to using it (having the toolbar installed helps tremendously) and, since I'm a huge nerd and started keeping track of how many I get each day, I discovered I average about 30 SBs daily.

Yes, it takes a few extra minutes (seconds, really, but those seconds definitely turn into minutes), and the search engine doesn't yield perfectly accurate results, but slow and steady wins the race. Or at least wins the Amazon GCs.

**This post contains referral links for Swagbucks.**

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A few final AI thoughts

Yo, yo, yo, Dude. Listen, listen. Tonight's AI finale was some good lookin' out, Dawg. Good lookin' out.

Listen, listen, yo, much like Randy Jackson, I don't have any new words to describe Crystal's and Lee's performances on Tuesday night. But it doesn't feel right to just leave things hanging out there, so I put together a few final comments regarding the finale in list format (but in no particular order):

1) Pants on the Ground made me SO HAPPY. Maybe my second favorite part of the entire show.

2) Boy, was I ever relieved when Janet Jackson's performance was over. I was so worried she was going to throw out her back or fall and break her hip that I couldn't relax and enjoy "Nasty," which was, sadly, one of my favorite songs in elementary school. What were my parents thinking?

3) How awesome is Christina Aguilera? Apparently too awesome to sing more than 3 notes with the peon AI contestants. But her "awesomeness" is not going to stop me from downloading "Fighter" this weekend to add to my workout playlist.

4) My favorite part of the night? All of the former idols (minus David Cook... where was he??) singing together, plus a few former contestants joining in the celebration. I surprised myself by recalling more than a few names of those contestants.

5) Was it just me, or did Kelly Clarkson look like she'd have rather been cleaning a truckstop bathroom than singing up there on that stage?

6) Again, was it just me or did anyone else think of Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon on SNL doing "The Barry Gibb Talk Show" when Siobahn and whoever else was singing with The Brothers Gibb?

7) I was pleased to see Bret Michaels "taking it easy" after his brain hemorrhage and possible stroke.

8) LEE FTW!!!!!

9) I just don't know if I'll watch next season without Simon. AI will not be AI without Simon Cowell. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm sure I'll give it a shot, but I'll be thinking about Simon the whole time.

10) I really wish I had a tenth thing to say to make my list a nice round number, but I don't

Sturgmom, OUT.

What did you think?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I can hear summer calling my name

And it's sounds a lot like Satan beckoning from the pit of hell.

Don't get me wrong.

I love having unending days off with my children, and spending the hours breaking up fights, putting disobedient children in time-out, reminding them to stop tattling and be sure to use their inside voices, listening to all the whining and complaining that we can't stay at the pool for 5 more minutes b/c it's so hot outside that mama is about to spontaneously combust, and the smell of singed flesh and hair would be enough to send everyone else running home, so why put strangers through that kind of cruel and unusual punishment because IT IS SUMMER AND SUMMER IS ALL ABOUT HAVING FUN, DANG IT.

Oh, I'm only kidding. A little.

I really do love being off for the summer. Since I have to work (for financial reasons. As in, my husband is a student and a pastor. As in, the 2 most underpaid jobs in existence (and yes, being a student is a job. A job you pay dearly for, unfortunately)), at least it's in a field that gives me a (measly) 7 weeks off each year.

Granted, those are unpaid weeks, but since my 10 month paycheck is divided into 12 monthly installments, at least it feels like a paid vacation.

And, granted, those 7 weeks off are during the time of year so thick with Texas heat and humidity that you think longingly on the day (or two) that you needed a coat AND scarf last winter and a lone tear rolls down your cheek.

But other than that, it's fabulous!

I have big plans for my family this summer. I'm declaring it the summer of boredom busters and I've got a variety of activities on the docket.

However, before the fun, I have 2 weeks of work after the boys' last day of school. I asked my mom if she would be willing to come to our house for a couple of weeks to take care of them. She made a counter-offer and suggested they go to her house during that time.

Meaning Jason and I will be 100% childless for 11 full days.

After accepting her offer, I'm still not sure whether to execute a toe-touch out of excitement or cry myself to sleep while my pillow soaks up my salty tears.

They have a plethora of activities on their social calendar while they're up there. Riding horses, going to the zoo, swimming, Jump Zone, and so on. And I'm sure I can come up with 1,001 projects that will be approximately 127% easier to complete without 3 extra helpers.

Or I might just end up sitting on the couch, shell-shocked by the peace and quiet and nothingness.

Come to think of it, that doesn't sound half bad.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

AI Recap: Top 3

I'm struggling with formulating some original thoughts regarding AI and, to be honest, I've got nothing.

And the title of "Recap" is a misnomer, and has been since the beginning. I should call it random reviews.

So, I'm taking the lazy way out and moving forward with a bulleted list.

Actually, there will be no bullets. The only "bullets" I own are those in a stick shape made of glue that melts. More accurately, this list is numbered.

1) I was sorry that I didn't recognize more of the songs from last night. I'm sure they were well-sung, but I wouldn't know because I was familiar with only 1/2 of them: Daughters, Come to My Window (of which I'm not a fan), and Hallelujah.

2) Crystal is the most consistent contestant, but she's not the most watchable.

3) Casey is the most watchable, but probably the least consistent.

4) Regardless of #2 and #3, I like Lee the best. And I have the text votes to prove it.

5) When did the AI text voting police start monitoring phone numbers for time zones? I got a text last night at 10:00 CST informing me "Voting is currently closed for your time zone." WHAT?!?! In all fairness, I suppose my 2 hours was up, but when did the Powers That Be start caring? Because, that message? Never saw it before and my text voting practices have not varied.

6) How beautiful was Lee's performance of "Hallelujah"? I was surprised that I liked it as well as I did because Jason Castro's performance is one of my favorite AI performances of all time. I didn't think Lee could top it.

He did.

You know what? I'd love to see Casey and Lee as the Top 2. But I'm pretty sure it will be Crystal and Lee. I hate to see Casey go, but someone has to, right?

In which I channel the magical powers of Martha Stewart

(Just so you know, before you waste your time reading only to be disappointed in the end, this post is worthless without pictures.

And I don't have any pictures.

Yet, I type on. Leaving me to wonder at my newfound heights of mediocrity.)

A few weeks (or, as I prefer to remember it, days) ago, Cade came home from kindergarten with a script for his class play, in which he'll make his stage debut as Squirrel #2 in the wildly popular adaptation of "TheThree Little Kitten Who Lost Their Mittens."

No, you're not the only one who doesn't remember nameless squirrels making an appearance in the literary version of the tale. These kindergarten teachers are playing fast and loose with their artistic license. Something about wanting ALL the children to have a speaking part.

Attached to the back of the script was a list of "easy" costume ideas. Because everyone has the makings of a rodent costume lying around their house. All you need is a brown shirt and some brown pants! How simple is that?

A lot less simple than it sounds. Because unless you have the time (and the inclination) to scour a thrift store multiple times a week, plain brown shirts and plain brown pants are not something you can go pull off the rack at the local discount store in MAY. When everything is turquoise and purple and yellow and green and summery-colored. And pants? They've been off the shelves since February in this warm-weather state.

What our store did have, though, was gray shirts. And what our home closet did have was gray shorts. And since I'm pretty sure I've totally seen a gray squirrel at some time in my life, Squirrel #2 graciously agreed to be gray.

However, the tail still stumped me. And Jason, who's job it was to implement any tail idea I could envision. I'm the brains behind the project.

And by brains, I mean the one who just talks about being so stressed out because how am I supposed to make a squirrel's tail, anyway, when the only idea I had included some kind of fake fur fabric that doesn't exist at any of our local craft or discount stores and now it's Sunday night and the costume is due at school TOMORROW for dress rehearsal and I'm all out of ideas!
Jason's the man who makes it happen. And he's usually a big part of the brains as well. He listens to my hare-brained ideas, comes up with one that's actually do-able, and brings it to fruition.

My plan for the tail ended in the craft section when I couldn't find the necessary supplies. Jason decided to wander around the store for inspiration. He considered a pool noodle. We looked at feather dusters.

Then, I saw this
Only it was gray. And it was a dog bed. And I knew it would be PERFECT for a squirrel costume.
Once we got home, I cut the padded rim off and held a flawless tail in my hands. The bottom "mattress" part became a furry squirrelly belly that I hot glued to a t-shirt.

I can't sew, but I do have mad hot glueing skillz. Who needs needles, threads and stitches when you have melted glue and a gun?

Jason fashioned the tail MacGyver-style, using some plastic cable ties and a few well-placed stitches. He actually took home economics in high school.

If only I'd known back then that dance team and show choir wouldn't get me through elementary school with my own offspring, things might have turned out so differently.

My original plan was to sew the tail to the back of Cade's gray shirt, but instead I fell back on my trusty hot-glueing skills. Because it was getting late and I was tired and impatient.

Hot glue = instant gratification.

At the end of the day, I was more than pleased with the final product. I can't wait to show you the finished version in this tale of the tail.

But you'll have to wait until Friday.

****UPDATE*** Today is the dress rehearsal for "The Three Little Kittens Who Lost Their Mittens" so Squirrel #2 was required to wear his costume to school. Therefore, I have the opportunity to flaunt my subpar photography techniques. I'm only limited by the fact that I don't know my shutter speed from my aperture. And that I use a phone to take 95% of my pictures. Other than that, they're the essence of art.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Linky Love 05/13/10

We're getting off to a great weekend here in the House of Sturg! Our dear friends are visiting from out of town and we're planning a big cookout for tomorrow evening. Delicious food and delightful friends promise to be the stars of the next 2 days!

Because I'm feeling so happy, I want you to feel inspired as well. Here are a few things from around the web that you NEED to know about. Don't go another day without clicking these links!

Kristen from We Are That Family is hosting an adoption blog carnival. Families with plans for adoption are linking up their blogs and fundraisers, and that's where YOU come in. Please go visit the links, spend time in prayer for the families and prayerfully consider making purchases from the adoption fundraisers. One of my favorites is Hope Suds. "Do laundry. Save Orphans."

Angie Smith's book I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy is available as a free ebook download through Barnes and Noble. If you have an iPhone, you can even download a Barnes and Noble reader for FREE.

If you're on Twitter, can you please read this piece of advice from Anne Jackson? And follow it? Thanks! It's a few months old, but still COMPLETELY relevant.

Finally, I plan to make this gluten-free, egg-free dessert for our guests tomorrow. I'm pretty sure it will inspire me to get back of the elliptical machine STAT.

Y'all have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

AI Recap: Top 4

Is it terribly indicative of the lameness of my life that my LAST post was an AI (non)recap? Or maybe it means that my life is so full of meaningful ventures that I simply do not have time to chronicle the sum of it.

You'll never know.

I'm still hanging in there for each episode of AI, even though my fondness for Glee is quickly surpassing my affinity for AI. I'd almost rather fast forward through the AI performances just to see Sue Sylvester mocks Mr. Shu's overuse of hair products while Finn and Rachel bust out a power duet.

Speaking of duets (I'm the master of the segue), how 'bout those duets on AI last night? INCREDIBLE! I love the song Falling Slowly a million times over and I loved the Crystal/Lee version a million times over. Casey and Mike rocked the harmony on that Bryan Adams song, although it was painfully obvious that Casey is the superior guitarist. But, this isn't a guitar talent show.

The individual performances were strange choices, I thought, but I enjoyed the show overall.

Lee: He makes singing appear effortless, but he was "pitchy" last night. I think "Kiss From a Rose" must be one of THE most difficult songs to sing of all time, so considering that, I thought he did well. But he is sort of Kris Allen redux.

Mike: When I think of popular songs from movies, the one that comes to mind (after "My Heart Will Go On") is that Michael Jackson song from Free Willy. Yes. If I could sing any song from any movie, Free Willy would be right up there in my top 2000. I thought Mike's vocals were good, but it was a bit theatrical for my preference. And obscure.

Casey: I liked Casey's version of Mrs. Robinson, even if the "banter" from the judges shot my Comfort-O-Meter into the red/danger zone.

Crystal: I don't really have anything else to say about Crystal that I haven't already said 35 times. She was good, as always. I'm not as convinced as I once was that she will win, but she doesn't have anything to worry about regarding a recording contract. Good for her and her feathery hairpieces.

I spent the time I was watching Glee texting votes for Lee and Casey 2 or 400 times. I love the simplicity of the "vote" text on the iPhone. Paste, send, paste, send, lather rinse repeat.

Who's going home tonight? No idea.

I predict Mike or Casey, and I'm hoping for Mike. Not because I don't think he's great. I've just wanted Crystal, Casey and Lee to be Top 3 all along.

But everyone know the real top 3 are Rachel, Finn, and Puck. Awesomeness.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

AI Recap: Top I Didn't Really Pay Much Attention

There are 5 contestants left this season of Ameican Idol and as much as I want to care, I'm actually finding it more and more difficult each week to muster the energy to press the play button on my remote control.

Last night's viewing was made more problematic since, in true Sturgmom fashion, I was frantically mod podging clipboards and binder clips at the last minute so my children were not traumatized today by their mom's non-effort leading to their lack of participation in the Teacher Appreciation Week Wednesday theme of "office supplies."

They turned out pretty cute, despite my paralyzation getting started due to the fact that I couldn't find my corner punch. And the sideways bows, which I added this morning when the boys were on their way out the door. Bow-tying skills elude me. As well as photography skills. And recapping skills.
But I've never let my inadequacies hold me back, as evidenced by this post:
Aaron: Aaron was singing while I was tearing the house apart looking for my corner punch, and I have to be honest- I didn't even consider pushing pause on the DVR. I bet I know what happened, though. Aaron stood in one place with his legs spread apart awkwardly for the entire performance. He sang it decently, albeit without an ounce of stage presence or personality. The judges praised him profusely.
Casey: Casey was singing while I was sitting on the floor completely debilitated by my corner punch deficiency. But I listened to Casey with one ear and he wasn't that great, unfortunately. Frank Sinatra is clearly not his genre. Since it's unexpected that he will ever have another occasion requiring him to perform such a song, I feel bad for him that the Sinatra theme was chosen so close to the end of the season.
Lee, Michael, Crystal: I spent the time during these performances measuring, cutting, trimming, glueing, and hair-pulling (my own). As far as I could tell, all the performances were all decent. I think Michael actually stepped it up a bit, and Crystal needs to stop having "conversations" with (AKA talking back to) the judges, otherwise I will dub her Talkbacky McGee. I always love Lee.
Harry Connick Jr. made a great mentor, although the styles of his arrangements weren't what I would call "relevant" or "current." But what do I know really?
I'm afraid Casey will be going home tonight, even if I think it should be Aaron. I was too preoccupied last night to cast any votes, so I'm just going to have to hope Lee stays in the competition by the sheer force of my will.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

One day I'll look back on this and laugh

While Jason was out fishing this afternoon, I thought it would be lovely to take the children on a walk to the creek near our house to feed the ducks.

We were gone less than 30 minutes.

When we got home, my feet looked like this:

and my lone remaining shoe looked like this:

There must be humor somewhere in the situation. I'll let you know when I find it.

Until then, can someone please just assure me that Mary Jane-style Crocs really aren't in style anymore anyway?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Free stuff! Don't miss it!!

I would be completely remiss if I didn't tell you that you can go here and download a FREE copy of PAGE CXVI's Hymns album.

Jason and I had the privilege of worshiping with and getting to know this band back in October, and let me tell you, they are the Real Deal. And to celebrate the release of their 2nd Hymns album, they're offering the first one for FREE!!

Don't waste any time downloading this because I'm not sure how much longer it will be available. GO NOW!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

AI Recap: Top 6

Please raise your hand if you had no idea what Randy Jackson meant when he used the term "wheelhouse" on American Idol on two separate occasions last night.

Please raise your hand if Shania Twain night wasn't as bad as you expected it to be, despite Ellen's overuse of the Twain/train joke.

That's what I thought.

The girls and I were pleasantly surprised by the quality of performances last night, considering that the contestants had songs like "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under," and perhaps the most cliche' song of all time, "From This Moment On," which I totally expected Aaron Kelly to sing, after his nod to Space Jam last week, from which to choose.

I thought it was a pretty decent show last night. People are dogging on this year's contestants being boring and forgettable, but I think it's at least better than whatever season Taylor Hicks and Katherine McPhee were the last two contestants standing. Can anyone name any other contestant that stands out from that season WITHOUT GOOGLING?

(edited to add: I'm amending the above statement because I did google it, and Season 5 was the year of Chris Daughtry, Kellie Pickler, and Elliot Yamin. Instead, I'll wager that Season 2 stands out as The Most Boring AI Season Ever, with Season 5 receiving the honor of the Most Anti-Climactic Finale Ever.)

That's what I thought.

So, my take on last night's performances:

Lee: He really is the dark horse of Season 9 (I cannot decide whether "season" should be capitalized or not, so please forgive the discrepancies where sometimes I think it's important enough for a big letter and sometimes I don't). He's pulled a Kris Allen and come from being "that guy" to being one of the top contenders. I think his performance of The Boxer last week will go down as one of my all-time favorite Idol performances. I'm just so happy for him!

Casey: I thought this was a strong performance by Casey, but I disagreed with the judges that it was his BEST. My favorite performance from him this season was back when he did that Journey song (was it Journey? Man, it was so good, I can't even remember...) or when he did Jealous Guy on Lennon/McCartney night. I don't think he'll win, but I also don't think he's going to have any trouble getting some sort of recording deal.

Aaron: What do the judges see in him? Besides good vocals, he is SO NOT the whole package. I think not-as-good vocals with stage presence and star quality go farther than stellar vocals alone with awkward teen angst. I'm kind of tired of the judges kissing up to him every week.

Michael: I thought his performance was good, but my friend Katie said she felt like he was acting out the words. THEN SIMON SAID THE SAME THING, so she must have been right. It was good, but I wasn't riveted to the TV, like I was when Lee performed.

Siobahn: Wow, Siobahn's outfit was like Laura Ashley meets Harley Davidson. It was 128 different kinds of weird, kind of like her performance. Regardless of how much the judges loved her, I don't think she had the energy to pull off the kind of performance she attempted last night. And the way she enunciated each word dragged the tempo of the whole song down. Which further proves my point, in my own mind at least, that Siobahn is an energy-sucker. I hope she goes home really soon.

Crystal: I liked the bluegrass feel of her performance, even though it seemed a little cutesy for her. But I think she went a little out of her comfort zone, tried something fun, and it worked. It wasn't THE MOST AWESOME AI PERFORMANCE EVER, but it was good enough to keep her in.

My Top 3 are:

By process of elimination, my bottom 3 are:

I'd like to see Siobahn go, but I predict that it will actually be Mike.

And speaking of THE MOST AWESOME AI PERFORMANCE EVER, I have 3 that I really love (in no particular order):

Clay Aiken- Solitaire

David Cook- Billie Jean (For some reason, I remember him playing the guitar for this one. Clearly, I'm wrong.)

And Jason Castro- Hallelujah

Dude, Season 7 might be my favorite season ever...

What are your most memorable/favorite AI performances?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Housekeeping...You want mint for pillow?

A couple of weeks ago, I was all, "I'm on a roll with this blogging bidness! Look how I'm uncharacteristically posting every week day!"

And then the fire burned out.

Back to sporadically unscheduled programming.

I do have a few matters of semi-importance to take care of today:

1) The WINNER of the Family Life Organizer and Planner is comment #2, Christy! Christy, if you're reading this, email me and we'll work out the details. Congratulations!

And thanks to everyone who left me a comment and/or tweeted about my giveaway. I really appreciate it.

2) I never go anywhere without mascara (or lipgloss, but that's a mundane tale for another day when you think things ). Yet, I'm a self-proclaimed waterproof mascara hater because it NEVER COMES OFF and I hate that stale clumpy eyelash feeling first thing in the morning.

Unfortunately, Texas summers are so hot you think your skin is going to melt right off your bones. And I'm a sweater. Not as in "the garment," but as in "one who." Therefore, I've decided to give the waterproof mascara another shot. My L'Oreal Voluminous mascara just can't withstand the sweat. Or the pool water. Please suggest a fabulous waterproof mascara that will hold up beautifully, no matter if I'm swimming or dehydrating.

3) I'm hoping that AI will be interesting enough tonight that I will find the drive to recap it for tomorrow. Last week's draft post never saw the light of publish because I found that it was reading pretty much like every other recap I've written this season: Lee- great, Crystal- great, Siobahn- wierd, Aaron- awkward, Casey- cover band good, Big Mike- good, but not good enough to win. And so forth.

And a piece of AI joy has been stolen from me since I went to the "lady doctor" (as Jason loves to call it) yesterday and he told me I need to lose 20 lbs. Which means kicking the Tuesday night Oreo habit with my girls. Oh, but you can bet we'll still be armchair judging with the best of them.

Have a great day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

In which I use Haiku to retell the events of the day

Another work day,
But my body aches a bit.
Ibuprofen? Three.

Coffee doesn't help.
I still feel really sleepy
I only took some...

Light bulb in my brain!
I check the meds container.
It's Advil PM.

Fighting sleep at work.
All I want is a long nap.
Eyelids feel heavy.

Consciously trying
To act normal, but think my
Speech might be slurring.

Is this how drunk peo-
Ple feel when they try to act
Sober? I guess yes.

Workout at the Y.
Still have to make some dinner
And get kids in bed.

Ev'ryone's asleep.
I think I'll take a hot soak
In my clean bathtub.

What's that trickling sound?
Just bathwater leaking out
From under the tub.

So much for my bath.
Instead I wipe the water.
It soaks four towels.

I probably should
Go to bed really early
And forget this day.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

AI Recap: Top 9 Part 2

I started this post last night, but was pretty exhausted by the time my oreo buddies went home, so I didn't put the finishing touches on it. Then, today, I was at a training all day. I had a few minuted at home for lunch, but napping took priority over blogging. Now, here it is, the 11th hour, and I'm pushing to get this done before the results show tonight, so I cannot be held responsible for grammatical, punctuational, or factual errors within the post.


Was it just me or did anyone else start to think that Ryan should have just said, " the ADAM LAMBERT show!"

Because, really? Adam got more air time than a commercial pilot last night. Adam and his ones of years of experience. Adam, with his 300 days track record. All that expertise was just overwhelming, that's what it was.

I hope they have Justin Bieber next week.

I wonder if the AI contestants this year feel like they're getting ripped off in the mentor category this year.

Anyway, the performances:

Crystal- I felt a little like I was at a gospel show at Branson, but I like gospel shows because I'm 75. So I thought it was good, as usual, if not memorable.

Andrew- Brass sections and back up singers have become Andrew's MO, and it's not working for him. And it's good that Adam told him to change the song up b/c Adam's rendition of Ring of Fire was so successful. THe best I can say about Andrew's performance was at least it was short.

Tim- Adam called it pretty, but I don't know that we'd use that word in reference to an Elvis tune. I'm not gonna lie, I watched "Turban's" performance a couple of times. It was so good! And I think Ellen said liked it because she was drunk. I liked it completely sober.

Lee- The level of raspy in his voice last night wowed me.

Can someone please shut Kara down?

Aaron- I have 5 words for Aaron's performance: cruise ship karaoke wedding singer. I'm bet he sure had fun. Simon was right on when he said it was like a high school show.

Adam-Lambert-I-Mean-Siobahn- This girl really cannot take advice or constructive criticism. And she SHOULDN'T TALK TO THE JUDGES!

Michael- While I thought it sounded just like everything else he's done every week, I liked the acoustic version. I could picture him singing that song on some kind of telethon or charity concert.

Katie- At the risk of sounding like Randy Jackson, I must say this was just a'ight for me. The vocals were good, but it was nothing special. Except that she's SIXTEEN!

Casey- Loved the ponytail, loved watching him perform, but I won't remember the song or the perfromance this time next year.

I think the Bottom 3 will be:

With Aaron and Andrew going home.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

SITS Spring Fling 2010


I am an idiot.

Last year for SF, there was a Mr. Linky for prizes being given away at various blogs. So I thought I needed a giveaway this year. However, this year's SF is considerably different.

And I'm the last to figure it out.

I thought about deleting this post entirely, but figured since a few people subscribe in Reader, it wouldn't do any good.

If you still want my lame homemade coasters, feel free to leave me a comment. Otherwise, please pretend as though this post never existed, and let's never mention it again. Thank you for your cooperation.

Carry on.

Welcome to everyone who is stopping by from the SITS Spring Fling!

And if you're NOT stopping by from the SITS Spring Fling, rest assured that I have not lost my mind (yet). Let me introduce you to SITS: It's a community of women (and a secure man or two) dedicated to supporting one another by leaving LOTS of blog comments.

Go check them out (after you finish reading THIS post, of course)!

Yesterday (Monday) morning I checked Twitter and saw that someone commented on how they couldn't wait for SITS Spring Fling. And I about went into cardiac arrest right then and there thinking that I had COMPLETELY forgotten about Spring Fling and did it start Monday? Oh please don't let it be Monday! Because if it's Monday, I was nowhere near prepared!

I probably need to pop a Xanax or five to loosen my tightly wound string.

So I was relieved when I clicked over to the SITS website and discovered I had a few more hours to prepare my post, since SF was actually scheduled to start on today (Tuesday).

Now you might be thinking that since I had some unexpected extra time for preparation, that this will be a really stellar blog post.

But that will be a NEGATIVE, GHOSTRIDER. So don't get your hopes up.

I'm still churning out the same sporadic mediocrity! Only this time I'm adding a giveaway!

Is there anything that can't be made more palatable with free stuff?

My giveaway for the Spring Fling is 2 sets of decorative, handmade, one-of-a-kind stone coasters (4 to a set)! That means there will be 2 winners!

(That description sounds a little like the actual stone tiles are handmade. They're not. Since I'm not a stone welder or whatever you call someone who makes things out of stone. I just decorate them to look pretty.)

Pictures forthcoming (because I understand that a pictureless giveaway practically renders the entire undertaking useless, but I only promise inadequacy. ) I pinky swear!

To enter, simply leave me a comment. I'd love for you to follow me, but I feel bad making it a condition of the giveaway. But a SINCEREST THANK YOU to those of you who do!

Be sure to head over to Tip Junkie and enter to win some other great prizes!

Happy spring, everyone!

Monday, April 12, 2010

In Memoriam

Today is an extra special Monday because I have a guest blogger! LynnAnn is not only a friend and former college roommate, but also the author of a hilarious blog called Rules. She is also a budding photographer and I envy her mad interweb skillz because she has apparently mastered Tumblr, while I cannot figure it out to save my life. About her blog, she says, "There are rules for living here. Some people just don't know them yet. That's what I'm here for."

I hope you enjoy what she has to say today!

(I may or may not have made comments in italics.)


I've had a pretty rough day.

My aunt died and I had to find out about it from facebook. Well, not my real aunt. The lady who played my aunt on television. I'm so thankful to Amanda for providing me a place to let out my feelings as I feel weird about talking about my family on my own blog.

I'm still pretty upset about the situation and that's why my grammar is subpar today. Unless Amanda cleaned up my writing (I did, but only a little. For clarity's sake.), in which case props to her for figuring out when and when not to use a comma (I took my best guess. Where's the fun in being right all the time?).

I wasn't allowed to watch Designing Women when I was a kid. At the time I thought it was because it was "inappropriate." Now, I know it's because our family secrets were sold to the writers and nobody wanted me to find out being dysfunctional was so freaking hilarious.

Anthony, who was unfortunately incarcerated (and ambiguously gay although I guess the 80s weren't quite ready for that storyline, although we did once find out that Suzanne doesn't like bisexuals because the rest of us have to choose and so should they) is my Uncle Jr who is both a designer and unfortunately incarcerated.

Mary Jo - My mother Ruth Ann. Double name? Check. Also, she was a single mom who worked 2 and sometimes 3 jobs to make ends meet. And okay, so she never had to slop up fried chicken at a fast food joint wearing a crazy hat because my dad wouldn't send child support but that's just because she got a better job for The Shopper's Guide. Also the hair. My mom spent the entire 80s rocking a geometrically cut perm.

Charlene/Suzzane/Bernice - my grandmother. And I understand they probably didn't think it would be fair to make one person have all the crazy. I mean, it's kind of hard for us to believe my grandmother gets to have all the crazy in our family, but Lord knows the rest of us aren't asking for our share.

My grandmother once got tangled in her living room curtains and had to call the police to help her up. She also would probably sing the song BLACK MAN if we let her (you can read more about LynnAnn's grandmother, Dearie, here).

But as we learned on Designing Women, in the south we're proud of our crazy people. We don't hide them in the attic. We bring 'em right down to the living room and show 'em off.

And most importantly, Julia is my Auntie Carmen who once told a city official, "It's people like you that hell won't be hot enough for."

In real life I'm probably mostly like the Charlene in my grandmother. But I want to be Julia so bad I can taste it. I memorized this clip of Julia berating the current Miss Georgia on her sister's behalf. Honestly, I don't know when I thought I would use it. Possibly at school. My students would respond really well to that sort of in your faceness. It's inspiring though. I'll probably get started on my baton on fire lessons soon.

I know a lot of people are talking about their grief over Dixie Carter's death. But I just want to be clear that, aside from her actual family, I have probably been hit the hardest by this.

Well, except for maybe my Auntie Carmen. I mean, it's got to be kind of freaky when the lady who made you famous on tv kicks it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Defying Entropy

Entropy is a fancy scientific word that, at it's most basic form, involves the concept that nature tends to move from order to disorder. It partially explains the infuriating phenomenon that occurs when you find your house trashed 5 minutes after you finished cleaning it top to bottom.

Or maybe I've gotten entropy mixed up with having young children. Which can also be an infuriating phenomenon.

Either way, fighting the natural tendency towards disorder can be an exhausting battle. One look at my valuable collection of paperwork piles lying all over my counters, dining table and desk is enough to make anyone want to toss back a strong drink and take a nap.


And finding a system that works is even more difficult. So imagine my skepticism when Jason bought me a small gift a couple of months ago.

He admitted that he bought it for me on a whim. It was a good deal and he thought it looked like it was right up my alley.


The Family Life Organizer (henceforth nicknamed Flo), created by Pam Socolow at Family Facts, is less like a calendar (although it HAS a calendar section) and more like my personal external hard drive. It's like having 500 gigabytes of extra memory, so that my feeble brain space can be freed up to remember even more important things, like the names of my children or what I'm supposed to be fixing for dinner.

Flo is divided into 7 major sections: Calendar, Contacts, Kids, Good Like, Home and Auto, Healthcare, and Finance. And each section has a durable plastic pocket to keep track of any paperwork that needs to be saved.

Each section has tons of space to keep track of ALL the information you could ever imagine needing to run your household smoothly. And even some information you didn't know you needed, but boy, is it ever handy to have at your fingertips!

But the really fun thing about Flo is the unexpected bonuses! For example, you can keep a running list of wines you like or might want to try. There are travel planning worksheets, vehicle repair logs, sheets to record the brand/color paint you use in each room of your house, and almost 300 tiny stickers to use at your discretion on the calendar pages.

The layout is clean and simple, but not too girly/frilly, so your man (or YOU, if you are the man) can use it without having to turn in his (your) man-card. Each page gives you ample space to record the information requested.

Seriously, I never would have even thought of keeping track of some of the stuff within the covers of the binder, but Pam did, and it's helping me to be more organized than I ever have been. Plus, I'm fighting the piles, which pretty much makes me feel like a super hero. Pile Fighter!

And lucky for you, Pam @ Family Facts has graciously agreed to send one (1) Family Life Organizer and Planner to one of my readers!


I'm going to keep this simple- to enter my giveaway, simply leave me a comment on this post. You can post about it on Twitter for an extra entry, but PLEASE be sure to leave me an ADDITIONAL comment letting me know that you have done so (and please include your Twitter name (handle? ID?). If you tweet, but do not leave another comment, you will only have 1 entry. Thank you ever so much for understanding!

*Edited to add: Giveaway will end on April 16th at 11:59 PM CST

**Also edited to add: I am in no way being compensated for this review. Because I'm so in love with this product, I contacted Ms. Socolow myself and asked her if she would be willing to donate to a giveaway, and she was gracious enough to agree. *

Good luck!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's the Ultimate Blog Party!

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

If you're stopping by Sturgmom, In General from the Ultimate Blog Party,


And thanks for stopping by!!

I was fashionably late to the UBP last year, so I've "worked" hard to be more prepared this year. So I'm really ready to party!!

Please click around and get to know me and my blog a bit better. I can even point you in a few random directions:

I'm a semi-crafter, but the amount of project ideas I have catalogued in my head is indirectly proportionate to the amount of time I have to complete them. But that's not really what my blog is all about.

I'm still figuring out my new role as a pastor's wife, and my coping mechanism is to just post funny stories about things my husband does as a rookie pastor. We have three adorable children. But that's not really what my blog is all about, either.

I'm a terrible cook. And I've been known to start accidental kitchen fires. Baking is more my forte (as long as I can use eggs). So this DEFINITELY isn't a food blog.

So what is my blog all about? What's my niche? Nothing. I don't have one.

It's just rambling bits of life and randomness. I do try to use my blog for good and not evil.

I'm like Seinfeld (the TV show, not the actual person) of the bloggy world only without the famous characters and the brilliant, witty writing. And I'm approximately 137% less interesting.

Thanks again for stopping by and reading! Be sure to leave me a comment so I can visit your party, too!

Oh, and I almost forgot a very important announcement...


But I'm seriously overextending my limits of organization and preparedness just by having this post written on time. So writing a giveaway post tonight just flat isn't going to happen.

PLEASE check back soon, though (I'm not trying to be a tease. I'm truly this ill-prepared all the time. I WISH I was organized enough to plan teasers. Except that teaser posts can be incredibly annoying, so maybe I just wish I was organized).

Happy partying!

Please pardon this interruption

I read about this on Boomama's blog recently.

russia badge2 Sharing is Good

Anne Jackson is in Eastern Europe and is raising awareness about human trafficking through her blog this week. Click on the button to read about her experiences. Or click this link.

It's shocking.

But be careful.

It will move you.

Hopefully beyond tears and into action.

Once you know, you'll have a responsibility.

To do something.

So click with caution.

And feel free to grab the button here and put it on your own blog/website/social media whathaveyou.

We'll now be returning to our regularly scheduled drivel.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

AI Recap: Top 9

Although I have been watching AI this season, and there are a few contestants that I'm really rooting for, I haven't felt the compulsion to recap like I did last year. So why is today different?

Because I'm trying to be more consistent in my blogging and I don't have much else to say today, so AI Recap it is!

My authenticity is inspiring.

Last night's theme was songs of Lennon/McCartney.

A little soapbox: Week after week, the judges are telling the contestants to be more relevant and more current. While I can agree that many of The Beatles songs are timeless, does that equate to relevant and current?

It's a tough call.

And, AND!!! The contestants are constantly being berated ("berated" may be too strong of a word, but you catch my drift, right?) about changing up classic songs too much or not changing them up enough. And don't even THINK about singing Whitney or Celine unless you ARE Whitney or Celine.

So really, THE BEATLES?!?! THE BEATLES?!?! Arguably THE greatest rock band of all time? REALLY?

I had a feeling going into the evening that no one was going to win. Including the viewers.

*Off my soapbox*

Here are my thoughts about last night (and I might have them out of order of performance because, while I was watching, I thought to myself that I should have taken notes or something to help me remember a few key items, but I was too busy dunking oreos in milk and chatting with some girlfriends who come over to watch, which has become our Tuesday night AI-watching tradition. And when AI ends, working off the 20 lbs. of oreos we put away may become another, less appealing, tradition):

Aaron Kelly: I'm sorry, but I don't get the appeal of this kid. He's good for a 16 yr. old. Unfortunately for him, this show isn't about picking the best 16 yr. old performer. And he's competing against Crystal, and Casey, and Lee, And Big Mike...? All that to say that I thought his performance last night was his worst yet and I'm hoping it was his last.

Katie Stevens: Last night, we got both 16 yr. olds out of the way first. But as much as Aaron's performance was bad, Katie's was great! I agree with the judges (Randy?) that it was her best yet, but she's still a weaker link.

Andrew Garcia: This would have been a much better performance without the brass and the back-up singers. When you consider how to alter modern music to make it more "current" and "relevant" you rarely think, "What current and relevant music today needs is a larger brass section and some Pips." Overall, I thought it was a good performance, but not his best. I'm afraid he's been coasting on likeability and Straight Up for too long. He may be losing steam.

Big Mike: A good performance for him, but nothing that I'll remember next week. Or even today, for that matter (see above statement about oreos). I still like Mike.

Tim Urban: Poor Tim is hanging in there by a very fragile thread. He ends up in the bottom 3 each week only to be just slightly better than the person going home. I don't think he could be any cuter or have a better attitude and his performance last night was good enough that I texted 11 votes for him. I'd like to see Aaron Kelly and Katie Stevens go home first.

Casey James: I was surprised that Casey didn't pick a rock-ier song like Come Together, but mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm. I love me some Casey. He gets better every week, even though I had no idea that it was going to be possible! It was a great performance. Even if he was wearing a John Travolta/Saturday Night Fever suit. Mmm.

Crystal Bowersox: Is anyone actually still competing with Crystal? She is SO GOOD EVERY.SINGLE.WEEK. If she has any real competition, it might be Casey. So I'm going to call Top 2 right now: Crystal and Casey. You heard it here first folks.

I was really surprised that none of the judges said anything about her forgetting the lyrics, but she recovered so well that I didn't even notice until a friend pointed it out and we re-watched. Thankfully, she didn't let her throw her off and she finished even better than she started. Think I'm mistaken? Watch it again.

Siobahn Magnus: I need to get this off my chest: I do not like Siobahn's voice. I'm not saying that I don't think she's a good singer, because she does have good control and pitch, but I don't like the tonality of it. Thanks for listening.

I was listening to Kidd Kraddick In the Morning on the radio this morning and he said that if he only had 6 months to live, he would have Siobahn come and sing that song for him because then it would seem much much longer. And that about sums up her performance for me too.

Lee Dewyze: Lee is always "that guy" to me, as in, "Who's up next? Oh yeah! That guy!" I LOVE Lee and his growly, gravelly voice, but he's always a little forgettable. With that said, I don't think we'll be forgetting the bagpiper anytime soon, because- RANDOM! And I thought Lee was hysterical when Ryan asked him why he chose a bagpiper and Lee's response was, "Why not?" He had a really good, really fun, totally random performance last night. And he finally smiled which made it even better!

I was pleasantly surprised to find myself thinking that it was one of the best Idol night's so far this season. And the videos of what the contestants think about each other made me so happy!

I have no idea what will happen tonight. But if there's anything you can count on from me, it's an uneducated, unsolicited opinion based on absolutely no foundation whatsoever. Glad I can be of service.

Bottom 3:
Aaron (wishful thinking?)

Going home:
Aaron (again, wishful thinking?)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The post I should have written before I lapsed into a sugar coma

I would have completed this post sooner, thus rendering it much more timely, if it hadn't been for all the Easter candy I consumed that sent me straight into a downward spiral of laying on the couch reading a book and doing absolutely nothing for the better part of Sunday and Monday evening.

I totally blame the sugar.

We really had a fabulous Easter weekend. It got started on Good Friday, which I'm not theologically well-versed enough to know why it's called "good" since it was the day Jesus was crucified (although I'm sure a cursory Google search could help), but in my personal experience, Good Friday has always been exactly that.

And may I state for the record that I would gladly partake in a longer work day for the benefit of a 3-day weekend every week. GLADLY.

Cade had a friend from school over on Friday afternoon, which caused me a slight bit of trepidation because Jason was going to be away most of the day and an entire day spent as the sole caregiver for just my own 3 children is usually enough to drive me to drink. I thought that adding a 4th child just might be the push I needed to send me straight over the edge.

However, sometimes a padded cell and 3 squares a day sounds really appealing.

But you know what? It turned out to be really fun. Cade's friend couldn't have been more of a sweetheart! And at the last minute, just after J got home, we decided to take all 4 children to see "How to Train Your Dragon." I highly recommend this film, even if it might cause your little boys to obsess about all manner of dragons, dragon-hunting, and viking paraphernalia, courtesy of the themed merchandise conspicuously displayed at The-Store-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

What? Oh, is that just my kids?

Saturday morning I took Cade to a skating birthday party, where thankfully they had a contraption made of PVC pipe that was similar to a walker, but with wheels to help the novice skaters remain upright. Cade whizzed aroud the rink averaging about 2 1/2 minutes per lap. And no, the skating rink was not unusually large. Cade was sort of like an old man in a nursing home, only on wheels. I was proud of him for giving it a shot, though!

If I recall correctly, and chances are slim that I do, the rest of Saturday was a haze of household stuff and a bunch of nothing.

When we arrived at church Sunday morning, we saw that we had more congregants than a month of Sundays combined (counting the rare fifth Sunday).

That's when we realized that when we were asked previously if, as the pastor's family, we were cool with having an Easter egg hunt "for the kids," the phrase "for the kids" suddenly made a lot more sense. When we joined, I think our young family lowered the average age of our members to about 72, so I wasn't really sure to whom "kids" referred.

Since we had been running just a tad late on Sunday morning, I forgot the Easter eggs that I had prepared for the hunt, but I think the hunt was successful even wthout my measly dozen.

Yes, that scales reads, "3.0 lbs."

I'll let that sink in a moment.

To put it in perspective, the roast we ate for lunch on Easter Sunday (and had leftovers for another meal OR TWO) was 3 lbs.

3 POUNDS of sugar-coated sugar.

It was obscene.

After the church festivities, the boys were invited to play at a friend's house for the afternoon. I dropped the boys off at their house after lunch and tried not to squeal my tires speeding out of our friends' driveway, anticipating the blissful 4 hours ahead of me.

I had a laundry list of accomplishments to complete, which included a taking a nap, reading a book, and sorting the Easter candy, before the clock chimed 6 and I turned back into a pumpkin,
Sorting the candy was Priority Numero Uno because I didn't want any "help" from the boys.

I knew some of the candy was going to have to go straight into the "out box" so I began systematically sorting the loot.

I made 4 piles: good chocolate, non-chocolate, off-brand chocolate, and

my chocolate.

Regarding candy, I can pretty much take it or leave it. Unless it's a salty-sweet peanut butter flavored goodness enveloped in Reese's milk chocolate. Then no piece is beyond my pudgy grasp.
I ended up throwing out slightly over 1 lb of hard candies, off-brand chocolates, and a bunch of these.

Because, what are they anyway? Nastiness in a hard candy shell? Solid sugar blocks covered in dye? Gross.

The children also collected over $5 in change from their eggs, which made them a tidy little profit for using absolutely no skill whatsoever in spotting "hidden" eggs in the grass and tossing them into their respective baskets.

Once I finished sorting the candy, I realized I had let a precious 15 or so minutes get away from me, so I popped two Reese's peanut butter eggs and went into a sugar coma took a nap.

The rest of Sunday involved eating, enjoying friends, and reading a book. And a day just can't get much better than that.

Unless you add in another peanut butter egg or five.