This is why I don’t get anything done.

I have a ton of Christmasy-related stuff to be doing. Not to mention putting all of the china and glassware back in the corner cabinet and pulling the good stainless out of the everyday stainless kitchen drawer.

Instead of working and thinking about those things, I have pulled the master bedroom apart and I am giving it a good cleaning. This all started when I picked up a pile of papers next to my nightstand table and a fluff of dust and critter-fur smacked me in the face. I was *and still am, by the way* looking for two Home Depot receipts that I need to submit with the church credit card receipts from when My Man had to go to HD to pick up lights for the Narthex.

This is why I don’t get anything done. Somehow, I have ended up cleaning out and organizing all of my jewelry. And I’ve been searching online trying to figure out what this 1883 coin is that I found in my jewelry box. Also, The Big Boy texted me to look up a Middle School for him. When I asked what info he wanted regarding said Middle School he said the area, “looks like my kind of place to live.” Alrightythen.

This is why I don’t get anything done. I start all these little projects and get side-tracked. I’m sure y’all can relate. Mid-clean out, I grabbed a binder and some page dividers, all of The Wild Boy’s college paperwork, handed it to My Man *who was sitting in the living room watching a movie, by the way* and told him to, “organize this.” Before he left for the airport to pick up our Pastor and his wife, he announced he was “two-thirds way through and will finish when I get back.” Score one for the wife.

Also, having found nothing on the coin, I remembered I needed to start finish up this blog post. This is why I don’t get anything done.

I will have more on Thanksgiving and our Christmas Tree Farm trip, but wanted to get a couple of pictures up.

Travis is to the left behind The Wild Boy. The other pics had Trav in them, but not My Girl. 
Sorry, Trav…My Girl is prettier than you so she made the cut and you didn’t. But I still love you! 

Some serious good-looking boys. 

No surprise to anyone that The Wild Boy is tucked in between the two beautiful girls.

Love you guys.

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Day After Thanksgiving Tradition.

Today, we all head West to the Christmas Tree Farm. We do this every year the day after Thanksgiving. For the first time ever, My Girl is working and not going with us. I’m trying not to think about it. I might end up balled up in the corner sucking my thumb if I dwell on it for too long.

We have a big crowd going with us this year. We have put the Manassas Cracker Barrel on notice. They told us to call them when we are 30 minutes out and they will be ready for our party of 20ish. Then we head to Amissville/Viewtown for the Tree Farm where we trump through the fields looking at trees when we all know, or at least my family knows, that The Tree is one that was just cut this week and is leaning against the side of the barn just waiting for me to call it the Best Smith Tree Ever and haul it home. Frasier Fir. About 6.5 feet tall will do me just fine. The children have accepted this. The Man, not as much. He still tries to convince me that there is a tree out there that didn’t come down off the mountain earlier in the week. Not sure when we will decorate this year as the twenty-somethings are working a lot this weekend. It is not unusual for the tree to be bare in its stand in the living room for a week even when the kids aren’t working. Sometimes, it just happens that way.

So tell me. Did everything go as planned for your Thanksgiving Day? What went amiss? Nothing catastrophic here, thankfully. I missed not seeing my mom, dad, sister and her family, however. Maybe next year we will descend upon them. *insert maniacal laughter here*

I made my first Amazon.com Christmas order today. I am just not enthusiastic about the gifts this year. I feel like we have so much already. I told all the kids and My Man to not get me anything and I am serious. They all looked at me, laughed and said, “Yeah. Right.” I know, I know…I am all about Gifts. It’s true. I am. Or I used to be. No, I still am. But I don’t need anything. And they don’t either. So today, I ordered a really cool thing for each of them. I really don’t even have a list for anyone this year. Truly, I’m fine…I’m not down in the least. Just wondering where we are going to put any more stuff. Honestly, for the first time ever, an item came into or house and I have no place for it. It’s not that our house is junked up and piled high with anything except books but there was no cabinet or drawer or any space to put it. I nearly had a pull-my-hair and scream-at-the-top-of-my-lungs moment. But, I didn’t. I did, however, further my resolve regarding S-T-U-F-F.

Is it status quo at your place this year regarding gifts? It’s totally cool if it is. I’m not judging one iota, I promise you. I, personally, have just gotten to a place where the stuff is consuming my time and energy and has got to be weeded out. I’m taking the rest of my family with me; they just don’t know it yet!

Hope y’all had a great Thanksgiving. I will be posting some pics tomorrow from our Two-Day-Thanksgiving-Extravaganza.

Love you guys.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick good morning and wishing you the happiest of Thanksgiving days.

Our house is quiet and still. For ten minutes more. At 9:00, the troops will be roused and the quiet will be broken with teen and twenty-somethings moaning and groaning and grumbling. And I couldn’t be more happy to hear it in my home.

I finally fell asleep around 6:00 this morning after tossing and turning all night long. It’s my own fault. I wouldn’t turn off the brain. Please know that every single one of you reading this, whether I know you or not, was thoroughly prayed over last night.

This morning, My Man and I did a small part in taking back our community. We refused to hit the Starbucks for our usual morning-off brews and drinks. With all five us home, that was quiet the chunk of change we saved and, hopefully, served as a message to Starbucks that we aren’t happy with them being open on Thanksgiving Day. I also noticed that I am short on half and half and whipping cream. Oh well. We suffer through with milk in our mashed potatoes instead of half and half and will have to ration out the homemade whipped cream. Can you hear the hint of sarcasm in my tone? I feel ridiculous even typing that knowing how over-the-top blessed and fortunate we are. And I am worried about not having enough half and half? I am so very thankful for all that we have; our family, our freedoms, the problem of too much stuff. In 2014 I am going to be looking for ways to bless others as I have been blessed. Won’t you join me?

I totally blame my friend, Fran for this poking in the eye. I also totally thank her.

Love you guys. Happy Thanksgiving!

Some thoughts on this Thanksgiving Eve.

I stuck around in bed for an extra hour and a half after I woke up this morning. Snug as a bug, thinking about past Holiday Season celebrations. By the way, I am totally cool with referring to the time frame between Halloween and the first week of January as The Holidays or The Holiday Season. But come December 24 and 25, it is Merry Christmas or Happy Christmas. Just as we say, Happy New Year on December 31 and January 1; and, just as we say Happy Hanukkah beginning at sundown, November 27 through December 5.

Back to past celebrations. Twenty-one years ago we were gathered around my mom and dad’s table with an extremely pregnant sister of mine. Her two girls were born on December 7 of that year. That was such a fun Thanksgiving. Andy B’s, The Big Boy and My Girl were littles. The Wild Boy not even a thought yet. Trust me on that one.

There was the year that Santa came to visit and Andy B’s and the Big Boy got to sit on his lap. A few years later, Santa was caught on camera taking a bite of a cookie in Nana’s kitchen. Surprisingly enough, it was My Girl who noticed a definite resemblance between Santa and Grandpa.

Thinking about past Holiday celebrations eventually brings me around to those we are missing. Andy, Beth, Flo, grandparents, cousins. There are times when I choose to focus on the loss. There are times when I choose to focus on the Good Things. Yes, there are many. Many. Today, I chose to allow myself a time to mourn and grieve. Keeping it all in doesn’t work for me. Then I picked myself up and got moving. It’s not that I am still not thinking about those we’ve lost, because I can’t stop thinking about them today. But I’m purposely focusing on good memories of them. Especially those memories that surround Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I’m smiling as I work.

Love you guys. Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

A List. For Tuesday. And for Diane S-S.

1. I was checking out my blog stats the other day and was absolutely blown away by y’all. Thank you so much! So, only 6 of you are commenting regularly…what is up with you 75-100 other regular folks? Please pop in with a comment, just to say Hey. I have to have “traffic” on my blog before I can go all commercial on you.

2. Maybe once I get more serious about my writing…the “traffic” will come?

3. It is 10:40pm. I’m waiting for the 100 or so pics I just edited to upload to Flickr. Senior Football Banquet pics. It was a fun night. We had a blast setting up. Good people. Thankful for them in my life.

4. One day, in the future, I will share with y’all about the last two football years. Maybe in that book I’m going to write someday. I will just drop a teaser on you. It is amazing the impact a life-changing event has on the little bits and pieces of life…that we don’t even realize or think about until we look back.

5. This morning, after finally snatching a solid two hour sleep after a week of pretty much cat-napping, I got some church work done and then tackled the kitchen. From top to bottom. I spent the entire day on it. God help the pitiful fool who dares to eat, cook or otherwise touch anything in that kitchen. From now on.

6. Tomorrow I tackle the dining room and living room, which won’t take as long. Getting the house ready for The Holiday Season! I love it. I can’t wait for the boys to pull the 38 boxes out of the attic so I can start rediscovering all the treasures. Did I share with y’all that a couple years ago our neighbor, Flo, was over helping us decorate the tree. The previous year, I had finally sorted all of the kids homemade ornaments and made each of them their own bag o’ treasures. I must have been baking or doing laundry or something, but when I came back into the living room I noticed a bunch of the kids’ homemade ornaments on the tree. I looked around and there was Flo sitting in the middle of all of the kids’ ornaments which she had dumped, bag by bag, into one big happy pile on the floor. I took that to mean it wasn’t time to save those treasures for later and every year since they are back on the tree. This is our first Christmas without Flo. Since it was her favorite time of year, and she passed away a couple weeks before Christmas, she will especially be on my heart.

7. As I was editing the photos from the Senior Football Banquet, I ran across a few of me with my family. My family looks awesome. I just look fat. Just calling it like it is. I’ve never, ever, been this…voluptuous. I realized today, thanks to the dreaded “S” word *scale* that I have gained 40 pounds in the last 2.5 years. FORTY POUNDS. I won’t bore you with the whining. I’m taking it up with myself first thing in the morning.

8. Have y’all heard about this new “game”…the Knockout Game? I was dumbfounded when I saw it on the news. Have people completely lost their minds? Like I said…dumbfounded. I don’t even know where to start.

9. So be honest. Do you get a tad melancholy during Thanksgiving and Christmas? I don’t. But when that consistently frigid air moves in around mid-January, the only thing that picks up my mood is lots and lots of presents. The Wild Boy’s birthday is January 30 and mine is January 31. He will be…oh-my-Lord-no Eighteen on his next birthday. I will be turning a lovely little number that no one really needs to know. My Man already purchased the standard boy-turns-18 birthday gift that may, or may not, include a bunch of manly tools. What does The Wild Boy really want for his 18th birthday? Firearms. And ammo. True story. I’m still not sure how I ended up with these redneck, firearm-packing children.

10. Finally, number 10. Have I ever mentioned that I despise odd numbers? Did you notice I have three children…an odd number? At the first mention of rounding out our number to a lovely four children…My Man ran for the nearest phone and made a few calls and before I knew it, we were sitting in the doc’s office. No number four child for us. This birthday coming up is an odd numbered birthday for me. So I am ignoring it. That does not mean, however, that I don’t want presents. Because I do. Just to be clear.

Love you guys.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. Ever.

I hope you didn’t come here looking for a chocolate chip cookie recipe. There isn’t one here. Truthfully, I have a really good chocolate chip cookie recipe. Two, actually. One is on the back of the Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip package and the other is in the Betty Crocker Cookbook my Mame gave me when I got married.

Hold on. My ADD just kicked in when the Victoria Secret commercial came on. Seriously? Next year the models will be completely nekkid because there is no where else to go. Wow. Unbelievable.

Back to not posting a chocolate chip cookie recipe here.

You see, it hit me while I was making a batch of chocolate chip cookies today that I am always falling for the Pinterest postings that say, “THE Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Receipt. Ever.” So I Pin It in my baking:cookies board and eventually print it out. I have killed a forest of trees trying to find THE Best Chocolate chip cookie recipe. Also, THE Best Brownie Recipe. THE Best way to keep your house clean. THE Best way to lose weight. THE Best anything and everything.

Instead of searching, I should be doing.

Bam.

I am a wicked, full-on planner; and a easy-way-out, couch-loving doer.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there is anything wrong with making lists. Or planning. But, at some point you I have just got to get moving.

This week, I’m cutting some things out so that I can do some things. Stay tuned. Oh, and here is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. You’re welcome.

Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Total Time 45 min
Servings 48

Ingredients
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened (I use all buttah, baby)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 1/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups) (since the dough is just a vehicle for the chips, I use about one cup more chocolate chips)
Directions
1 Heat oven to 375ºF.
2 Mix sugars, butter, vanilla and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt (dough will be stiff). Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.
3 Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.
4 Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown (centers will be soft). Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack. 

Love you guys.

Lack of Control.

Saturday Morning before Thanksgiving. My Girl was the first one up. Let’s clarify that. She was only the first one up because Wesson, her GSD puppy, was the first one up. But she stayed up and chose to make sure we all knew it by apparently touching every dish in the kitchen according to My Man. In truth, she knew I was stressing about the condition of our home and was jumping in to help.

The Big Boy and The Wild Boy are still sound asleep. Typical.

My house is a wreck right now. So much has been going on; my OCD has had plenty of other avenues to walk down but today my focus is back. Pray for the children, My Man and all of our critters as I’ve already had a temper tantrum involving the linen closet and sheets. The aftermath is not pretty and will need to also be dealt with today. I think I will snap before and after pics for your viewing pleasure but mostly as a reference for the rest of them. *them being these messy peeps I do life with in this house*

Control. I’ll be honest, the more I try to have it; the less I actually do. I think it explains a lot about some of the other, shall we say cute personality quirks I possess. For example, my need to begin playing Christmas in October. I really believe that I subconsciously think that if I begin playing Christmas music early, I will actually have a jump on Christmas and be done shopping, wrapping, decorating weeks before Christmas. For the record, that’s never happened. Next year I will try again. And guess what? The Wild Boy will be away at college *gulp* and there will be no last football season and all that entails. I will miss it. But, I’m totally done. This last season did me in.

Control. Not only has my house been out of control, over the top messy, so has my eating. Hmmm…just made that connection. Again, I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions, but I really do have a list of changes I want to make in 2014. My eating and weight and exercise commitment is numero uno. Among other items that I will attempt to control. Realistically, I have very little control of the four most important things in my life, my family. Therefore, I must attempt to control all else that is around me.

Also on my need to change in 2014…the need to control. Clearly.

Love you guys.

Letting Go.

When I held him in my arms the very first time, it is true that I wasn’t exactly wondering if he would one day become a NFL player, rocket scientist, lead in a rock band or the next JFK. Mostly because his father was whooping it up with the doctor that we were all wrong and it IS A BOY and I was barely able to focus on our newborn because I was so distracted by My Man’s pure and loud joy.  Turns out, The Big Boy lives for baseball, loves history, camo and country music and is, decidedly, a conservative Republican.

But, I think it is safe to say that we all have, if not dreams, hopes for our children as they grow. We hope they will do well in school. We hope they will be good and kind. We hope they will embrace our morals, values and religion. We hope they will stay out of trouble. Nothing wrong with any of that.

Sometimes, though, our hopes become pressure; even obsession. We focus on what we want for our child. Not necessarily what they want. The pressure to make certain grades; take specific classes. Excel in everything they put their hand to.

When they fall short, and they will at some point, we might be disappointed, frustrated. Angry, even. We have lost sight of the big picture. We need to go back to our basic hopes for our child. It is often difficult to let go of our plans for our children as they mature. But, we must.

I confess that I have had to do some letting go with each of our three children. Whether by their own choices, circumstances or injury, some of my dreams and plans for my three darlings have been totally busted. This last year especially, I have forced myself to step back; see the big picture.

And you know what? I like what I see. Giving attention to the detail, the heart of each of them, they are good and kind and compassionate. They love Jesus. They love serving and helping others less fortunate than they. They have, or will be continuing their education in fields of their choosing.

The outside wrapping may not all be what I wanted or expected or, dare I say, even hoped. But I can see now that it is going to be something even better.

Love you guys.

Just a short, rambling post.

I forgot to mention that yesterday was My Man’s 54th birthday! Yes, he is considerably older than I am. Yes, I was a child bride. No, I am not in denial. Well, maybe just a little. Happy Belated Birthday to My Husband. He truly is an incredible father to our children and I couldn’t be more blessed.

Today, finally, marks the end of The Wild Boy’s football career. Senior Football Banquet. I can’t wait for the night to be over so I we can finally move on, although it is going to be an awesome banquet. My Man, thankfully, took over the planning and dictating of the banquet and it truly is going to be the baseline for future Senior Football Banquets. The banquet team will be hard at work all day setting up and decorating, etc. The festivities begin at 5:30 tonight. I’m sure I will be posting some pics at some point.

I can’t go another day without mentioning something on my heart this week. Dear friends of ours lost their son last week. He took his own life, while away at college. We have too many friends who have lost a child this way. Knowing just one family who has lost their child to suicide is one too many. Both Russell and I spoke to each of our children this week to assure them that nothing…nothing…is too great for us to deal with and taking their own life would never be the better option.

Hug your child; talk to your children. They may blow you off, as mine did. They may roll their eyes and sigh heavily with disgust and exasperation, but do it anyway. And pray, pray, pray for them. Pray over every aspect of their life.

I have to end with that today. Please, if you think of it, toss up a prayer for our sweet friends, Debbie and Perry.

Love you guys.