Monday, November 28, 2011


I am thankful, thankful girl today. Hopefully I'm thankful everyday, but today, after reflecting over my holiday with family and friends, I am even more aware of just how much I/we have to be thankful for.

First of all, I am so thankful for my little family. H and I have turned our little college fling into quite the successful marriage. (At least most of the time!). Along the way we picked up Lois and Charlie, and they added just the right amount of fun-and more than the right amount of dog hair-to the mix. Then, in June, we welcomed Little Miss Charlotte and she became the little blessing we never knew we had been missing. There are so many couples who struggle with infertility and families that deal with incredible trials every day due to illnesses, disabilities, me when I say my blessings are not lost on me.

I'm also eternally grateful for my parents. I don't know where I would be without them. Probably broke and uneducated, whereas now I only have to settle for broke. Even though I'm creeping up on 30, my daddy still wonders if I've had my oil changed and my tires rotated. My mom still worries when we haven't spoken in a few days, and she doesn't mind traveling 2.5 hours to help me clean my house. Above all else, they are shining examples for how I want my life, my marriage, and my legacy to be when I am their age. I pray that we are as good of parents as they are. I totally realize we probably won't be, but by George we're gonna try our best!

My life would be a pretty desolate place without my friends. Throughout my life I have truly been given some of the best friends a gal could ever ask for. We are all so different, yet somehow we have managed to mesh together into an odd assortment of "Ladies Who Brunch". I love them so. They keep me sane when #1 and #2 from this list drive me insane. They let me cry. They make me laugh. They make me things like tie-dyed onesies for Charlotte and mimosas on game day. They take ridiculous pictures to document our lives. They make vacation plans and drinking plans and basically any plans that will serve as an excuse to get together-with NO BOYS ALLOWED.

Cause boys are wonderful, but sometimes a gal wants to talk about her period or complain about her husband. Without judgement, thankyouverymuch.

There are so many things I am truly thankful for that I've left off the list. I'm thankful for my aunts and uncles, my in-laws, and my cousins and their beautiful children. I'm thankful for my job with a bunch of pretty darn cool people, Granny's chicken n'dumplings, Hook's BBQ, and the fact that dresses with pockets are cool. I'm thankful we can all enjoy a spirited football rivalry on the last weekend in November.

I'm thankful for a God that has so richly blessed me. I certainly don't deserve it. But as long as I have things to be thankful for, or even if one day I don't have them, I will continue to see the wonderful things in the everyday and thank Him nonetheless.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lay Off My Duggars!

I watched 19 Kids and Counting last night.

Are you surprised that the same gal who is obsessed with The Real Housewives of (Insert City of Your Choice Here) and really all other Bravo reality TV shows would also be such a big fan of the Duggars? Probably so. But in my defense, I am also a big fan of National Geographic, too, so I'm not a total flake.

I'm just a Gemini so I'm allowed to have multiple personalities.

Anywhooo....if you are living under a rock and haven't heard the news, Michelle Duggar is preggers with her 20th child. No, I did not accidentally put a zero behind a two. I meant to say 20th. It seems that a lot of people have gotten their panties in a wad about the Duggars and their obsession with reproducing. I, however, am probably in the vast minority when I say that I could give two hoots and a damn if they are adding another member to their family.

Here's why:

First of all--have you watched the show? I am amazed at how well-behaved, well-mannered, and just overall great the existing 19 kids are. They don't think twice about pitching in to help no matter what the task is. The older siblings serve as role models to the younger ones, and it's totally evident how much they all love each other.

The Duggars seem to have it all figured out. Yes, they may only wear knee-length skirts and refuse to cut their hair (I don't understand it either, I just know it's part of their religion), but I think Jim Bob and Michelle have gotten parenting and life in general down to a science. Obviously their religion plays a huge role in their lives, but the way they truly live their faith is outstanding. You never hear the parents or any of the children talk down to others, judge other people or cultures, or even lose their temper from time to time. This household is full of love, acceptance, understanding, and what I believe is the true meaning of Christianity. This is a family that serves others and has a heart of joy while doing it.

I wish I could be more like that.

On top of the overall behavior of the kids, the Duggars have absolutely zero debt. They aren't looking for handouts or help from other people or the government. They live frugally but are still able to provide their children with anything they could possibly need. I'm sure their TV show, books, and speaking engagements have helped make this possible. But I know I don't need to point out that there have been plenty of super-rich folks who've overextended their pocketbooks.

Not a single one of their 19 children is lacking for love, attention, food, etc. They volunteer selflessly to countless local, national, and international charities. Although home schooled, they are well-spoken and seem to be well-educated. All of the kids seem to be independent and very much ready for the real world. And above all else, it seems they are ready to make the real world a little bit of a better place.

While the skirt and hair thing might not be my taste, that is something I can really get behind.

Having 20 children is not something I would say is my cup of tea. As of right now, two kids seems unfathomable. Michelle and Jim Bob are raising 19 (and about to be 20) kids better than we will probably be able to raise one. That and the fact that imagining going through childbirth 18 more times kind of makes me want to rip out my own uterus via my belly button, like...yesterday.

All I know is that I really like the Duggars, and I think what they do is their business. If the Duggars want to make sweet love until they have 30 kids, it's their right. I just pray Jim Bob never gets too caught up in the glare of the camera lights and has some sort of scandal involving showering with little boys or getting caught with a bag of cocaine and a hooker in the bathroom of a Holiday Inn Express in NW Arkansas.

I get enough of that type of reality television already.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Ghost of Halloweens Past

One of these days I will write my memoirs. When I do, the story of my childhood Halloweens can not be excluded. Those memories have shaped who I am today.

The story must begin with a bit of background information on our geographical location and my mother. First of all, if you've never been to the small town of my youth, the booming metropolis of Kinston, AL, I will need to paint a picture.

There is no stop light. There is no grocery store. There is no hospital. There is a school, and it's AWE.SOME. (Plus there's a Big/Little that has Tater Logs which are just as awesome)

Because of our secluded lifestyle, we didn't have typical neighborhoods. Our nearest neighbors were my grandparents, and they were about a 1/2 mile up the dirt road.

My mom, who is fabulous in so many ways, is NOT exactly what you would call crafty. She isn't the type of woman who says, "We don't need to buy that-I can make it myself!" She says, "Why would I want to make that when it would take me 12 hours and I can buy it right now!?!" She also went with this mindset when it came to cooking, too.

Sorry Mom, you know it's true.

God love her. She passed that trait down to me, too. We just aren't the type of gals who scrapbook or have a craft room. We aren't sentimental. I like to think we "live in the moment" rather than spend our moments trying to preserve them in a book with adhesive covers.

I like to joke with herabout my Halloweens growing up because, well...they were kind of pitiful. It started out pretty good actually. My first Halloween on record I was a bunny. I should mention that this was around the age of 4 because apparently my parents didn't believe I could appreciate the real meaning of Halloween before that age.

Sometime after that it started going downhill. It was like she could never remember that Halloween fell on October 31st every year. It's not like Easter-the date does not fluctuate! Although I was really too young to remember exactly what went down in the weeks leading up to Halloween, this is how it goes in my mind...

Mom: "La-la-la-la-la-la....Oh crap! Is Halloween tonight!?!?! Where did the month go? Nothing is open at this point, so I guess I will just have to put some sort of costume together for my beautiful child to wear tonight! I know! She can be a black kitty cat."

Sigh. The Black Kitty Cat that will live in infamy in my mind. And I'm sure many therapy sessions when I hit my mid-life crisis.

You see, I took dance lessons and therefore we were never lacking in pink tights, black leotards, and black ballet flats. Somewhere along the road my mother acquired some black cat ears and a tail (I don't even want to know where they came from now that I think about it). Simply add a nose and some whiskers drawn on with black eyeliner...and voila! Black Kitty Cat!

The first time it was cute. The next year I just chalked it up to my mom being a busy working mom with too many irons in the fire. The third year I was starting to question her creativity a bit. The fourth year I was starting to wonder why all my friends had new costumes each year and I got stuck with the dang homemade cat costume. AGAIN. By the fifth year, I was thinking of calling DHR on my parents for lack of Halloween spirit and total negligence of holiday fun.

Needless to say I have not recovered from this childhood trauma.

Halloween in the country just isn't as big of a deal. If you think the kitty cat costume is sad, one year she put me in that 'ol black leotard outfit and made my dad and me walk to my grandparents house to trick-or-treat. I'm sure I was the only trick-or-treater they had that night so I probably got the entire bag of cheap candy.

I can't give my mom too much hell about my early years as a cat. As I got older, Halloween got WAY better. My parents used to do hayrides for my friends and me, complete with family and friends along the route to scare the beejeezus out of us on dark country roads. They would also take us to haunted houses and the less-organized (but even scarier) local cemetery haunts. My dad could tell a mean ghost story, too. Even though we heard the same ones day in and day out--they never got old or less frightening.

So maybe the problem lies not in the fact that my mom had no creativity or foresight to plan a was just that she was harnessing all of her Halloween spirit to scare the crap out of me as a preteen.

Which I'm sure was way more fun for her anyway!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Another Hysterical Halloween

It was another successful Halloween in the Hysterical District! And trust me, things were certainly hysterical!

For the second year, we barricaded the street off to traffic to make sure all of the little ghouls and goblins were as safe as could be. Thankfully this year, yours truly was NOT in charge of paying the security officers or getting the needed permits. Let's just say last year's debacle was not something I want to relive--even for one paragraph on my blog!

The evening started off with a little pre-party for residents. Now is the time to add that it is AWESOME when the manager of the local Baumhower's Wings and the owner of Mellow Mushroom are my neighbors. Need I explain why?

The local news channel was also there to cover our Halloween happenings so it was nice for our favorite midtown street to get a little love from the press. Helps with resale, let me assure you. If you happened to see a few hip mom and one incredibly adorable Mark Ingram (the Saints version, I must add!), that was in our 'hood!

We were totall prepped and ready for the festivities!

Growing up in the country, I never really experienced the trick-or-treating aspect of Halloween much. (More on this later, I promise) But in our neighborhood...IT. IS. INSANE.

And that is putting it midly.

We spent about $50 on candy and starting passing it out right after 5 pm. My 7 pm, we were completely out. I kid you not there were probably at least 500 people on our street at some points during the evening. I gave most kids one piece each (except for my favorite neighborhood hoodlums) and even gave a few kids some old fortune cookies, but we were still wiped clean by 7 pm. Thankfully, I still had plenty of Pinot Grigio for the occasion. We might run out of Halloween candy, paper towels, and even toilet paper from time to time...but never the necessities for cocktail hour.

Priorities folks, priorities.

As usual, the trick-or-treaters were mostly adorable--some scary, some disturbing, and some incredibly rude and in desperate need of a good slap. Yeah, I said it. But what other form of punishment would be fitting for a 15-year-old kid with no costume that's begging for candy? Seriously, dude?! You could have at least gone through the effort to put on a sheet and called yourself a ghost, then you might have gotten more than an old fortune cookie and a dirty look.

I don't really have a problem with older kids going trick-or-treating on Halloween. But only if they also go through the hassle and embarrassment of the costume. That's the least someone can do when they expect me to spend my hard-earned dough on candy just to give away-at least give me some pleasure of making fun of you in a dorky costume!

The absolute best costumes of the night were not even kids at all. My neighbor knows where I live and would inflict bodily harm if I posted the pics, but let's just say some characters from The Real Housewives of New Jersey made a drunken appearance. And it was awesome.

But let me tell you what WASN'T dorky at all....

This Little Lamb and her Daddy

She wasn't thrilled with the attitudes either!

Stay tuned for my next post...another installment of my "Memoirs" portion, the Childhood Halloween Chronicles of a Country Girl. I had to get permission from my mom to tell the story, and trust me-it's hilarious!