Wednesday, November 30, 2011


The town we call our hometown is small, like really small.  As in you know those country songs about small town USA?  SMALLER than those.  We don't have a stoplight, we don't have any restaurants unless you count the bar, which has great tenderloins by the way, and we don't have choices in gas station because there's only one, a Casey's of course.  Our school is K-12 and last I heard total enrollment was around 600 13 grades.  I think there were about that many in my (would've been) graduating class in Burlington, Iowa where I moved from before my junior year, you know when I was black.  Total population of our town?  Less than 1000, I'm guessing that doesn't count us rural folks who are outside of city limits but I could be wrong.  The point here is that it's SMALL. 

The view to your right as you come into town, on the left used to be cornfield but is now a metropolis pictured below.  Fun fact:  I used to work at this very Casey's in high school.  BEST. JOB. EVER. for reasons I shall not disclose.  ;)

Well, according to my kids that's ALL ABOUT TO CHANGE. 

You see, we went from a town of ONE bank that looked exactly like it probably did 50 years ago to a town of TWO BANKS and the new bank?  It has a FANCY sign that shows the time and temperature and your mother's maiden name! 

This new bank moved to town awhile back but until recently occupied the building that used to be the old laundrymat.  Sidenote:  The laundrymat was named The Wet Spot...seriously.  Do you know how many inappropriate jokes that opened the doors for?  Hey, there's not much else to do here.  The sign is still there although faded with time but I still giggle every time I go past it.  I mean really, THE WET SPOT?!? 
Photographic Proof..look close at the faded white sign on the right side of the picture and you might be able to make it out. 

Anyway, the bank has been occupying the former Wet Spot while their new building across the street from Casey's right as you enter town, was being built.  One day before the building was done we drove past and the fancy new sign was on and lit up announcing the temperature for the day.  My hillbilly children FUH-REAKED OUT.
Blade:  What is THAT?!?
Me:  It's the new bank's cool new sign.  Look we can see what the temperature and time is now!  Look how fancy our town is getting!
Me:  WHAT?!?  Did I run over something (again)? 
Dakota:  No, they're taking over!
Me:  Who's taking over?
Dakota:  The city people.  They're ruining our little town. 
Me:  It's just a bank.
Blade:  It starts with a bank and then next thing you know there's a skyscraper.
Dakota:  Yeah, see that cornfield back there?  It'll be filled with skyscrapers in a few years.
Me:  Uhh guys, I've been coming to or lived in this town all my life and it's taken them 30+ years to get a SECOND bank, I don't think we have to worry about a metropolis sprouting up here.  I mean, we don't even have a stoplight yet.
Dakota:  They'll add the stoplights when they start building the skyscrapers.
Blade:  Great, now all kinds of new kids are going to move to our school and I won't know everyone anymore.
Me:  I think you might be overreacting JUST a tad. 
Dakota:  I can't believe it.  They're going to take over our town and before we know it it'll be a city!
Ryder, finally piping in after being strangely silent throughout this entire exchange:  We're learning about this in school.  Right now we're a RURAL community but pretty soon we'll be an URBAN area.  Look at that new bank, that looks like an URBAN bank. 
Blade:  And then there will be gangs and shootings and...
Me:  Well if that happens we'll be fine because I used to be black and hang out with gangsters and we have guns too so see, it's all good!

All because of one bank with a fancy new sign. 

Bunch of backwoods kids, I blame their father.

But I gotta be honest, I'm gonna be ticked too if they start building skyscrapers in the cornfields.  On the bright side, maybe if skyscrapers start going up then they'll put in a Taco Bell. And I just might be able to adapt if there's a Taco Bell to sweeten the deal.   

I think it's safe to say, I probably won't be visiting my adult children in their studio apartments in New York City. 

Let's hope they don't notice the brand new brick "Welcome to VM" sign welcoming people to our town.  I personally don't understand what was wrong with the handpainted piece of plywood that used to do that job.  The darn suits occupying those skyscrapers in the cornfield probably insisted on it. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Post Thanksgiving Update

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, we definitely did.  I'm still recovering from my 20 hour shopping tour with the Discount Divas on Black Friday. No, that's NOT a typo, it was TWENTY HOURS OF SHOPPING aka best day ever.  When I 'm fully caught up on sleep (39 hours of being awake + 20 hours of shopping really messes with one's system) and my severe case of shopper's elbow subsides, I'll tell you all about it. Just wanted to check in and let you know I'm still alive and kicking and NO, I was NOT the woman arrested for using pepper spray in Wal Mart to help her control the crowd.  Although, I'm not gonna lie I kinda think it's GENIUS.  Next year, I think I'll just carry around my pepper spray and freak people out. I won't even have to use it! 

In other news, this guy is really relieved Thanksgiving is over. 

Tyson's just happy to STILL be here.  :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Forever and Fourteen Years...Amen

Fourteen years ago today, on a cold, drizzly, gray day, GI Joe and I got hitched.  Many people said we were too young, which only served to tick us off and make us even more determined to prove them wrong (I'm talking to you salesguy @ Joseph's Jeweler circa 1997).  And I think 14 years later, we have officially done so.  Also?  Because we got married so young and had kids so young, we'll be the cool, hip parents at our kids' graduation while all our kids' friends' parents will be hobbling around with arthritis and stuff, so we WIN.  :)

To celebrate fourteen glorious years, we are...wait for it, it's SUPER exciting and romantic....going to Ryder's school concert!!!  I KNOW!!!!  Wasn't it so nice of the school to schedule his concert on our anniversary so our entertainment for the evening would be provided for?!? 

Since we had the exclusive school concert on our actual anniversary evening, we decided to celebrate on Monday night by a dinner out at a really nice restaurant downtown.  I even made a RESERVATION!!!  I can't remember the last time (if ever) that I made a dinner reservation, because I don't think call ahead seating at Chili's or Outback countsWe got our fancy on, which means GI Joe didn't wear his uniform OR a hoodie.  You guys, he really loves me if he gave up his hoodie for the night.  The restaurant we went to was a French restaurant "without the attitude" according to the website.  I'd read about it somewhere months ago and marked it on my calendar to make a reservation there when it came time for our anniversary dinner.  Type A Planner much?  I still don't really even know how to pronounce the name of the restaurant, Django, and when we ordered our food we just pointed to what we wanted on the menu instead of embarrassing ourselves and trying to say it.  Listen, I took Spanish in high school so if you want to order at a Mexican restaurant or Taco Bell, I'm your girl.  (Enchilada con queso or taco bravo.  See? Ms. McPherren really did teach us something!)  But at a French restaurant?  Not so much.  I just kept wanting to say "Oui oui" which I'm pretty sure just means "yes, yes" and not every question our waitress asked us was appropriately answered with a "oui oui".  The food was A-MAZING.  I had some seared sea scallops over lobster sweet corn mashed potatoes that were LIFECHANGING.  I promise those mashed potatoes will live on in my dreams.  We had planned to go all out and order creme brulee for dessert but sadly, just didn't have room for it.  Lucky for us, it was a 30 minute drive home with a Cheesecake Factory smack in the middle, so by the time we hit the halfway point, we powered thru and stopped for a to-go piece of Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake to share.  We stopped and picked up the kids @ the inlaws and were home eating cheesecake on the couch while watching "Mike and Molly" by 9pm.   Oh yeah, we know how to keep the romance alive and live it up.  I mean, cheesecake+"Mike & Molly"?  Fughettaboutit.  

In addition to fancy French restaurants, cheesecake, and primetime television here are some other tips  that have worked for us that I'll share with you...FOR FREE!  I'm basically an expert considering that we've been married 70 times longer than Kim Kardashian and we're 3 years past the average lifespan of a marriage in the U.S of 11 years.  

*Never talk bad about your spouse.  I hear wives complaining about their husbands annoying habits, their shortfalls, etc, all the time.  Ever heard the saying "negativity breeds negativity?"  It's true, if you're always talking trash about your spouse, you feed that negativity and it magnifies what's wrong and diminishes what's right. And imagine how you would feel if your spouse was talking about you like that to other people?  Personally, I'd be devastated.  If something GI Joe does annoys me, I tell HIM about it NOT 15 of my coworkers at the lunch table.  The opposite is true too, positivity breeds positivity, so if you're always building up your spouse even when they're not around, it helps you focus on the good and why you love them.  I've had people tell me, "GI Joe must be perfect, I never hear you say anything bad about him."  Of course he's not perfect, but neither am I (I realize this may come as a shock to you but I'm not..haha). But I love him and I'm proud to be married to him so it only seems logical to me to paint him in only the most positive of lights and highlight the reasons I love him.  It's just common sense.  Try it. 

And you thought this was just a blog about farm animals and hillbilly kids?!?  You just never know what you're gonna get when you come to this blog.

*We'll be a couple long after the kids are grown and gone so our relationship and each other comes before the kids, and we're not sorry.  The kids know it too.  They know that I'm their Daddy's #1, so if they're not treating me right he's not going to be happy and there will be consequences.  It's normal to them.  Too often, people give everything they've got to their kids and leave nothing for each other.  While I love our kids with all that is in me, I didn't marry them, I married GI Joe and I'll still be married to him when they grow up and find a husband/wives of their own.  I think we're doing our kids a bigger favor by not putting them first and instead setting an example of a solid, blissful marriage.  The world needs less "the world revolves around me" people and more happily married parents.  Oh it's getting deep up in here now, I'm stepping off soapbox now, let the tomato throwing begin. 

*It's cliche but we've always lived by the "never go to bed angry" thing.  I've read some psychologists and marriage counselors disagree but they're crazy and probably not happily married.  The longer you stew on something the worse you make it in your mind and the more riled up you get, so get it out of your system, say what you need to say RESPECTFULLY, , resolve it and move on.  I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that GI Joe & I rarely fight and when we do, it has never lasted more than an hour.  And the time it lasted an hour was because I just wanted to be mad for awhile so I went for a walk.  By the time I got back, tempers had cooled, perspectives gained, apologies made, forgiveness (and hugs) given.  Then refrain from bringing it up again, LET IT GO.  There's no argument worth winning if it ends up damaging or ruining the best thing in your life. 

I'm pretty much Dr. Phil without the accent and with a lot more hair. *Laugh, have fun, and communicate.  Those seem obvious but sometimes it's easy to lose sight of those basic things in the stress and chaos of life.  We get a big ol' kick out making our kids roll their eyes because we're belting out hits of the 80's and 90's while doing some mundane task or laughing at stupid things that happen like when he has to come pull me out of the ditch...again, or when I have to go rescue him because he locked his keys in his car...again.  I also found out early on that being subtle in your communication is for the birds... and lesbians.  Guys minds just don't work like ours do, so if you want something you have to just come out and say it, instead of this beating around the bush bit. You're just setting him up for failure and setting yourself up for disappointment,  if you just expect him to read your mind or decipher your "subtle hints".  If he gave you a really crappy birthday present last year because he didn't get the hints, then here's a thought, tell him no more vacuums for birthdays and instead you'd really like to get something more thoughtful and sentimental like jewelry or whatever it is that you want, even if it's a card.  JUST TELL HIM.....NICELY.  Hint: Do NOT say, "the last present you got me sucked and if you get me another horrible one like that I'm cutting you off and you're sleeping on the couch for a week."  You get more flies with sugar than with vinegar, I'm just sayin'.  ;)

I can only imagine the number of new readers Google will send my way from the paragraph above.  Welcome! 

Don't get me wrong, it's not all roses and peppermint mochas all the time, (although it was today because he delivered both of those to me at work today, altogether now..AWWWWW!), but I couldn't be happier and more in love with this guy, and it's been FOURTEEN YEARS.  That's HUGE.  And I'm 100% sure he feels the same way and that's even HUGER, because I am not the easiest person in the world to live with, with my sarcasm, sassiness, moodiness, bossiness and all. The real kicker is that I can't wait for the next 14, 20, 35, 50, 60 years either, even though I refuse to get any older than 34, which may make it weird when we're celebrating our 50th anniversary and I'm still 34, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, and we WILL come to it, as long as we don't die first.  I'm such a ray of sunshine aren't I?

Fourteen and a lifetime to go, we've come a LONG way, baby! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kids Say the Darndest Things Vol. 398593

I should really be writing Dakota's birthday post because tomorrow is her magic birthday...11-11-11, except she's 12,  but it's been one of those nights.  You know, the kind where the kids are driving you crazy, you think you "lost" your kid at basketball practice, panic big time, nearly puke, drive around town thinking he may be walking around in the freezing cold or lying in a ditch somewhere suffering from hypothermia,  only to discover he was right where you briefly looked the first time 20 minutes after practice ended waiting for you with his coach who undoubtedly thinks you are a totally irresponsible parent, and the kind where your husband hits a deer on his way home from already working late only to delay him further?  Oh and the kind of night where you write world's longest run on sentence and you don't even care?  Yep, it's been THAT kind of night.  I'm not winning any mother of the year awards tonight that's for sure.  No big deal though, I have a reputation (Worst Mother of the Year) to uphold. 

Anyway, I wrote this post the other day because when they aren't driving me crazy, our kids can be downright hilarious.  I'm posting this to remind me of their awesomeness because tonight?  Tonight?  Not one of their better nights but I guess we're all entitled sometimes huh?  How's that for real life mommy blogging?  Just telling it like it is, folks.  :)

*Previously recorded*

A few things I want to record, so that when the kids are grown and calling me with funny quips my grandchildren are saying, I'll pull up this post and remind them that the apple doesn't fall from the tree.

Speaking of grandchildren, have I told you that I actually have a list of potential baby names for my grandchildren? Oh yes, indeed I do. I figure I'll present it to their betrothed prior to the wedding with simple instructions that say, "My grandchildren(s) name(s) MUST be chosen from this list and if you can't commit to that then I'm sorry this isn't going to work." That's fine, right? :) But seriously, I do have a lengthy baby name list that I most certainly will be hanging on to until my babies are having babies. There are just so many great names out there and I'm certainly not going to have more children just for the naming of it (I'm no Michelle Duggar, 20?!? Seriously?!?), so this was the next best thing. And no, I'm not going to tell you the names on that list because HELLO, I'm saving them for my grandkids!

Sidenote: I'm really struggling with the fact that I'll be turning 35 in 19 months but thinking about grandkids? EXCITES me. I'm a walking contradiction.

BACK to my kids who are NOT having babies but instead are still just mere babies themselves. Big, wearing my shoes or have bigger feet than me babies, but babies nonetheless.

Last night, GI Joe was looking through Ryder's take home folder from school as we're supposed to do every night but rarely remember to do until 5 minutes before the bus arrives (admit it, we're not the only ones!),when he saw a note on Ryder's Success Chart. Their success charts are stamped each day based on their behavior, assignments completed, etc. When there is a mishap or misbehaving they lose a stamp for the day. On Ryder's success chart yesterday he lost a stamp for the following reason, "For doing pushups in the hallway." What could we do but laugh? I mean, who are we to deny him his physical fitness aspirations? Sometimes when the Spirit moves you to do pushups, you just gotta do 'em, no matter where you are. When asked about this Ryder just smiled and said, "I just felt like doing pushups since we didn't get to do any in PE." And Blade chimed in also to Ryder's defense with, "PE stinks lately, all they do is test us we don't even get to do stuff like pushups anymore." GET TO DO PUSHUPS?!? Oh yeah, they are definitely MY kids, because I'm the exact same way, POWER TO THE PUSHUPS! Or not. Of course GI Joe couldn't say it out loud but he was one proud pushup lovin' papa.

Dakota turns...gulp....swallow...gulp....12!!!! on Friday. We were planning her birthday festivities and this is that conversation.

Me: "So what do you want to do for your birthday?"
Dakota: "Oh I don't know. My friends have been wanting to come over to see the animals and eat cupcakes so I GUESS we could invite them over."
Me: "OK, that would be fun. Do you want them to spend the night?"
Dakota, horrified, looking at me as if I two heads and blue hair: "WHY WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT?!"
And scene. Again, a chip off the ol' block...or not.

Blade and Dakota have been begging GI Joe to watch a scary movie and Friday night was that night. The movie of choice was Paranormal Activity. I KNOW, judge HIM not me!! Ryder and I opted for watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in my bedroom, which is equally frightening but slightly less demonic. The other 2 made it all the way thru the movie, although Dakota watched the last 10 minutes with her hands over her face peeking thru her fingers. GI Joe said the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th movies that he watched at their ages were WAY scarier so he wasn't concerned that we'd be up all night warding kids out of our bed. Dakota's review of the movie was "Disturbing but I'm not scared." Immediately following the movie was bedtime. GI Joe was helping the boys get ready for bed when Blade said to him (all while motioning with his hands because that boy is nothing if not expressive), "So here's my DILEMMA. If I leave the light on in my room I won't be able to sleep but if I turn it off I won't be able to sleep either." Dilemma?!? Are you kidding me? Ultimately, the "dilemma" was solved by leaving the light on until he fell asleep. And surprisingly enough, we didn't hear another peep from any of them until morning. Apparently, they CAN handle their scary movies or Real Housewives as the case may be.

Another example of Blade and his stellar vocabulary, was last night at the dinner table and the case of the missing $5. Blade was sure he had a $8 stashed somewhere but when he went to get it last night there was only $3 and his $5 was missing. He suspected Dakota had taken it and was pleading his case, "Last night, I had $8 in my bank. Today only $3 and my $5 is missing. But COINCIDENTALLY, Dakota has $9 that she doesn't "remember" (and he did the air quotes, I assure you) where it came from. It's very suspicious." He's 9 and he's not even the writer/wordsmith of the family. That's Dakota. Dakota who in response to his accusations told him, "quit being so EMO." Emo? Just when I thought I was versed on pop culture and slang terms she throws "emo" at me. It's short for emotional but also encompasses melodramatic, all black wearing, sullen, kinda what we used to call Goth back in my day, in case you're wondering. As I've said before, I'm here to educate and inform you.
Happy Friday!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stuff Happens

Stuff like this...
ALWAYS, happens to me. Getting my necklace hopelessly tangled in my cupcake tree.  It took the Jaws of Life to save me from certain death by necklace & cupcake tree.  I may be smiling but I was just trying to mask the fear and panic. 

Like the time my the belt of my sweater got caught in the paper shredder at work and I nearly suffered decapitation until I yelled for a coworker to save me and she walked over and SHUT OFF THE SHREDDER. 

Or the time, I fractured my leg after graduating from the bunny slope to a real hill...ON THE FIRST TIME DOWN. 

Or the time I was pulled over for Drunk Driving and FAILED the sobriety test after only drinking Diet Coke. 

Or the time I was screaming for GI Joe to roll down my window because my hair was stuck in it.  Never mind that my hands were fully capable of hitting the down button for MY window, I was too distracted with my hair whipping in the wind outside of the car window that was completely rolled up. 

Or going into the ditch right in front of our house, while trying to back out of OUR OWN driveway. 

Or the time I noticed a smoky smell coming from the oven while baking something and upon opening it discovered an OVEN MITT. 

Or the time I sat in the passenger seat of the PMobile in the church parking lot for about 20 minutes waiting on GI Joe, only to get a call from him to remind me that he had driven separately to church and I'd have to drive myself home. 

Or the time we took a different way home from church and came upon our house from the opposite direction that we normally do and I unknowingly exclaimed, "LOOK GI Joe, their house looks JUST LIKE OURS!" 

Stuff happens.  Yes, this is my natural(ish) hair color, why do you ask?  :)

Happy Tuesday! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I have started no less than 5 blog posts in the past 2 weeks and have completed, ummm, well, none of them (as you may or may not have noticed).  I don't know what is wrong with me but I either sit down to blog and immediately get writer's block OR I type and type and type and when I stop I realize I've just spent 5 paragraphs talking about Kim Kardashian's break up and haven't even gotten to the real point of the blog yet so then I get frustrated and call it quits for the night.  It's a vicious cycle of blog angst.
This is not one of the 5 posts I've started, this one will be strictly random bullet points because there are things that I want to record but in my current condition cannot seem to make an entire post out of it.  So this will have to do for now. 

*GI Joe thinks bacon is the smell of love. I made this tonight and when he walked in the house as I was frying the bacon he took a deep whiff, came over to me slaving away at the stove, gave me a kiss, and said "Awwwww BACON!  You're making BACON?!?  That is the best smell in the world.  I LOVE YOU!"  Ummm, ok.  I like to think that he loves me even when I'm not frying bacon for him and the fact that he proclaimed his love for me in the same breath as proclaiming his love for bacon is strictly coincidence.    Yankee Candle?  Scentsy?  Single women?  How 'bout a Bacon scent?  Guaranteed bestseller (or matchmaker).  Sidenote:  That bacon parmesan pasta?  DELICIOUS.  All 5 of us gave it two thumbs up which never EVER happens.  To quote GI Joe, "this stuff is DANGEROUS."  Don't worry I used whole wheat pasta and half and half instead of the cream so it was TOTALLY healthy. 

*The older Dakota gets the more I realize she is nothing like me.  She was telling me tonight that she had been invited to a bonfire at a friend's house on Friday night.  I asked her if she wanted to go and she said, "No, I don't really like to be around people."   Seriously, a 6th grade girl turning down a party with her friends because she doesn't like to be around people?  I immediately called my Smom because this is a chip off of the old Papa block.  My dad (the pastor) is so much the same way.  Get him in a group of people, even if they're people he's known for years, people he likes even, he'll last MAYBE 30 minutes before there's something more pressing that he has to do, somewhere he has to go, to get him out of there.  Even when his own daughters, son in laws, and grandkids descend on their house for holidays he inevitably disappears for a few hours always to work at the church or as we like to joke plan someone's funeral.  Gotta love him.  He and Dakota are twin souls which is probably why they enjoy each other's company so much.  No need to talk, they can just sit there with their antisocial selves and have a grand ol' time.  :)

*Imagine a witty transition here*

*Today, my son, age 9, surpassed me in shoe size.  When we did back to school shopping (a mere 2 months ago), I was shocked to learn that Blade needed a size 6 in MENS.  I could wear his shoes!  Imagine my surprise today when he got his basketball shoes and they were SIZE 7 in MENS.  What the what?!?  How is this happening?  Let's not hope this is going to be his growth rate from here on out.  He's NINE?!?

*We haven't really talked TV since the new fall season started, so let's do that now, shall we?  My absolute favorite new show is "Up All Night".  I LOVE this show.  It reminds me of our early days of parenting and just cracks me up.  This show motivates me to get out of bed on Wednesday mornings.  Good stuff.  Also, if you've ever wondered what GI Joe is really like, Tim Allen's character on this show will give you a pretty good idea.  Our whole family gets a kick out of this show, probably because some of the things Tim Allen's character says we can totally hear or have heard GI Joe say.  Pretty stinkin' funny if you ask us.  And now I've probably just sentenced my 2 favorite new shows to immediate cancellation so hurry and check them out before they're gone. 

*In case you've been wondering why I've been so sporadic in my blogging, which you probably aren't because if you've been reading for any amount of time you know blogging inconsistently and sometimes infrequently is just how I roll, but this time I have a good reason.  I've been very busy....making cupcakes...and launching this...

Suck It Up Cupcakes
You know, in my abundance of free time and all.  I figured I'm making cupcakes all the time anyway because it makes me happy so I might as well share the love and maybe make a little fun money in the process.  Really, I just love the logo that Miss Emily Phipps  of Styled  fame designed for me.  So even if this little side biz doesn't work out I'll always have this adorable logo hanging on my kitchen wall and that's good enough for me. 

*My sister Hilary (Micah & Kaydence's mom) in TN, is PREGNANT!  AND as if that wasn't enough, the baby could very well be born on MY BIRTHDAY!  It would only be right considering I had Ryder on her birthday 8 years ago.  This will make me an aunt of EIGHT!  Move over Kate there's a new eight in town.  Oh and did I mention I *accidentally* announced it to the facebook world the very day she told me, which happened to be the day before she finished telling everyone she needed to tell, some of which happen to also be my facebook friends?  Oops.  In my defense, she didn't say NOT to and also they told us by her husband sending us a picture of pee in a toilet followed by an oops.  And it wasn't even the pee that had made the pregnancy test pink it was HIS staged to make us think it was hers!  GROSS, either way really, but even worse since it was pee without meaning!   As you can imagine, I was traumatized and cannot be held responsible for my actions from there on out. 

And now if you'll excuse me it's time to go watch "Last Man Standing" and then head to bed because the crud that's been going around is trying to take me prisoner and I'm fresh out of brandy medicine so all signs point to this not ending well for me.  Wish me luck or drunk, whichever. 

PEEce out. ;)