Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Post for our Nana

We aren't going to see Nana over Christmas, so for her enjoyment, this is a post just for her of her beautiful grandbabies opening their Christmas presents from her. I decided to go ahead and let them open them today so they would have all day to enjoy their gifts and hopefully relieve most of the pre-Christmas anxiety they tend to have on Christmas Eve. So far so good. So, Nana, enjoy some pictures of us opening our gifts

Philip was beyond excited that he had a gift as tall as he was. He thought that was just about the neatest thing ever.

Thanks Nana, for our Christmas presents.

Merry Christmas. We love you!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Getting It All Done

I bet you thought that since I'm not working anymore that I would have plenty of time to keep this blog updated, didn't you? Well, think again. It has been almost a month since I stopped working, and I don't know where the time has gone. Everyday I wonder how in the world I had time to do anything when I was working. And thank goodness I have had time this month, because we have been busy!

For the first time since we lived here, we decided to check out the Newnan Christmas parade. It was a great parade and the kids loved it!! Donny thought a 2-hour parade was a bit long for him, but I fed him pizza to hold him over. We even saw my former co-worker and friend P Phillips driving a float for his church in the parade, along with his fellow church members who, lucky for us, were passing out propaganda to the crowd, asking us, their fellow sinner friends the ever-pressing question on everyone's mind while watching a festive Christmas parade - "If you died today, where would you go - Heaven or Hell?" The most delightful flyer answered all my questions regarding this issue that plaques me everyday. So grateful for that. Other highlights included the gorilla and Santa on motorcycles, the pooping horses, and the great high school bands

Too bad no one was passing out flyers explaining to me how a horse can be trained to do just about anything (I know, I've seen them in the circus do just about anything), but they can't be trained to walk down a road for an hour without snicking every five minutes. I just don't get it.

Anyway, next in our eventful month came the night to not soon forget. If you know me, then you know that I am terrified of bad weather. Completely freaks me out, especially storms at night. Rain is always guaranteed to wake me up, so I am up, checking the news and the sky, bracing for the worst. It drives Donny crazy. So at approximately 4:00am on the morning of 12/8, I was awakened to what sounded like a doozy of a storm brewing outside my house. The news confirms a tornado watch, and the sky and wind confirm it is a nasty little booger of a storm. We have this lovely canopy that covers our deck, and when the wind is really blowing, the roof of that thing looks like a balloon trying to blow up. So I am standing at the window watching the storm and the canopy. One second it is there, the next it is crushed by a falling tree limb. I immediately begin screaming at Donny to get the kids, we are heading to the basement. The rain is moving in circles, and by this time, I am completely losing it. Donny, of course, is moving in slow motion. He thinks I am a general over-reacter. Needless to say, we made it to the basement with our lives still in tact, and weathered out the storm. We survived, but the canopy did not.

R.I.P. Beautiful Canpoy. R.I.P.

Philip had his tonsils out on 12/10. He did amazingly well. The nurses said he was the best behaved kid they had ever seen. They said most kids will scream and cry and fight them, but Philip just took it all in stride. His biggest complaint was having to wear that lovely hospital gown. Who knew my kid was so shy and modest? He didn't want anyone to see his underwear, and was so silly about that whole thing. He made sure he was completely covered at all times. We haven't seen much a decrease in his asthma symptoms like we had hoped, but he is still doing great, and we are glad to get those nasty giant tonsils out of there.

Madilyn graduated from S.A.F.E. and has made a committment to live her life drug-free and avoid violence.

Philip recovered fast enough from his surgery to get back to school and enjoy celebrating Christmas time with his class.

And now school is out, and we are getting ready for Santa to come. Philip's excitement is at an all-time high.

After a long day going to three doctors' visits yesterday, I promised the kids if they were good, they could open one present under the tree. They decided to open to gifts from each other, and they were all super excited.

And, thus begins my favorite part of Christmas - trying to get those blasted toys out of their packaging. Nothing says "merry and bright" like that kind of joy!

So, from us to yours, Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy Holidays

If you are like me, you are still in shock knowing that it is already December and Christmas is rapidly approaching and this year is coming to an end.

We all do things to bring on the holiday spirit. We decorate our homes, we make our favorite traditional treats, we go overboard shopping on Black Friday.

This year, we started a new tradition to welcome the holidays, one that hopefully we will be able to enjoy year after year.

Ever been to Stone Mountain Christmas? It is quite the festive treat. I have been wanting to go year after year since we have lived here, and we finally made the time to go, and we are so glad we did. It was so delightful and the kids actually enjoyed themselves and we spent the whole day together being happy. It was an early Christmas miracle!

The whole park was covered in Christmas lights,

Madilyn and Colin helped Santa's elves sing and dance as they tracked his progress around the world on Christmas Eve

And Philip's favorite part was when the flying angel came and made it snow.

The weather was perfect. Cold enough that it felt like Christmas-time, but not so cold that we couldn't stand to be out there.

And just to prove that I was there . . .

Thanks Stone Mountain, for a great holiday treat!

The New Ole Blue

Remember how Ole Blue was giving us some trouble recently? Well, after we welcomed Suzie into the family, Donny decided it was time to bid farewell to his somewhat reliable old friend. A quick listing on Craigslist yielded dozens and dozens of emails and phonecalls. Who knew Ole Blue was so popular. In the end, a lucky 16-year old boy was gifted Ole Blue by his father, and in exchange, we got quite a nice stack of Franklin's.

So, the big question was raised. What do we do with this money?

Oh, believe me, I had many an idea floating around in my head. But we finally made a decision to purchase something the whole family could enjoy for years and years to come, something to would create lasting memories of good times and family fun for us all.

What could bring about such memories and delightfullness?

Well, nothing else but new hardwood floors for my living room. No more nasty carpet. Just beautiful clean floors that will last us forever and ever.

Oh, wait. Sorry. That's not quite right. That's what I would have selfishly spent the money on if it were just me I was thinking about. Nasty carpet, still in my living room.

But something better now sits in my garage along with my new friend, Suzie. The two of the them fit together quite comfortably, and our choice so far has yielded good times and actual fun together.

So, without further adieu, allow me to share with you our newest purchase

Yes, folks, we bought a pop-up camper. We have already taken her out twice, and I have to say, it has been really nice.

We camped last weekend at Stone Mountain park. They have a nice campground, and for us beginner campers, things couldn't have gone better. The weather this time of year is perfect for camping. It's not hot, you don't have to deal with bugs, the campfire is so warm and cozy, and did I mention that it's not hot? And since you have a camper with a heater to sleep in, what's to stop you?

Enjoy some pics of our trip

And apparently everywhere we go, someone has to be fighting. Luckily, this time, it was only the geese

Good times for all!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I have a thing for Doctors

It's only the first day of the month, and already we are booked full of doctor appointments.

Today - Colin - doctor
12/8 - Philip - ENT
12/10 - Philip - Tonsilectomy surgery
12/15 - Colin - doctor
12/22 - Madilyn - Dr. Shore
12/22 - Madilyn - Dr. Fabregas

And somewhere in there I will have to squeeze in Philip's post-op ENT appointment and I need to go to the eye doctor. Let's just hope noone gets sick this month, because then I might as well pack up and move into the doctor's office.

I have a stack of EOB's the size of Mt. Everest at this point. My insurance company must really love me.

And, remember, Donny and I are open to taking a second wife if she is a doctor. So, if you know anyone . . .

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Change of Scenery

When I woke up this morning and looked out my window, this was my view.

I burst into song from my high school play Oklahoma -

Oh, what a beautiful morming.
Oh, what a beautiful day.
I've gota beautiful feeling,
Everything's going my way.

What a perfect view.

Can anybody guess where I was or what I might have been doing there?

Monday, November 16, 2009


Hard to believe that after 7 long months, the end is finally here.

It feels like just yesterday that we found out, but yet I can't remember what it felt like to not know the end was near.

Hard to believe a few short weeks ago this place was a thriving warehouse, filled with long-time employees doing the job they had been doing for year after year after year. Now they are all gone. Some have been lucky, and already found new jobs. Some are still searching. Some are taking some time for themselves.

The building has been quiet for the past month. I have only been working a few hours each week. After next week, it will all be over. The Atlanta Rite-Aid Distribution Center will officially be closed, forever.

The halls are empty.

The warehouse is empty

Everything is gone.

Many economists say that our economy will go through an economic crisis every seven-eight years, and that at times it is even necessary, essential, and a positive thing. Let me tell you, there is nothing positive about watching your friends and coworkers walk away from the jobs they have had their entire adult life. There is nothing positive about seeing them hug, cry and say goodbye to the people they have worked along side by side for 20-30+ years. It is heart-wrenching. I don't care if I live long enough to see this "cycle of economic downturn" transpire a dozen more times in my life, I will never forget this recession and this time in our country's history, because I witnessed first hand the devastating effect it has had on so many people's lives.

As for me personally, I have mixed emotions about the whole thing. I will miss working. I enjoyed my job. I was good at it. But right now I need to be at home. I need to enjoy that part of my life more. Working full-time is so hard when you are also a full-time mother. The two clash in so many ways. And we have been blessed beyond measure that we are finally at a place financially where I don't HAVE to work anymore. Next fall, after the kids start back to school, I will most likely try to find something part-time, just to keep me busy so I don't go crazy.

But for now, after next week, I will no longer be employed. That feels weird to say. But the time is here. My hope and prayers are with all those that have lost their jobs, that they find the perfect new job for them, that they will be able to get through this difficult time, that they will not suffer financially. May God bless them and give them peace, for they were good people, and deserve his blessings and the peace that only He can give them.

Good-Bye Rite-Aid.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Shouldn't Brag, BUT

When you are this good at something, it is hard to keep it to yourself.

For once in my life, my tendency to be slightly (okay, maybe not slightly, more like extremely) obsessive compulsive is finally paying off - literally.

My mind has a weird way of focusing in on something that sparks my interest, and once I have gotten it in my head, I have a hard time shifting focus to anything else. There have been many times when this "habit" if you will, has just about driven me crazy. But not now, not with my new OCD obsession of couponing.

Yeah, I know. You know I am into it. I have been couponing hard for about six months now, and I could not be happier with my success.

And just to show off how good I am getting at this, check out my latest conquest

So, all said and done, this pile before sales and coupons would have cost me about $250. But I only paid, (drumroll please) . . .

$21.17! That is a savings of about 92%.

That's right folks. Told you I was good.

And just for effect, here is everything I got -

12 Duncan Hines Cake Mixes
3 Pillsbury Brownie Mixes
4 Pillsbury Frostings
14 Domino Brown Sugar boxes
2 Domino Confectioner's sugar boxes
8 bottles McCormick Ground Cinnamon
16 packs McCormick brown gravy mixes
4 cans Eagle Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Karo Syrup
2 bottles Crisco Butter Spray
1 Bottle Crisco Baking Spray
6 Martha White Muffin Mixes
1 Fleischmann Yeast strip
8 cans Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup
8 cans Swanson chicken broth
6 cans Hunt's Tomatoes
4 jars Ragu Pasta Sauce
4 jars Ragu Pizza Sauce
4 boxes Uncle Ben's Wild Rice
4 jars Mt. Olive Relish
8 bottles French's Worchesteshire sauce
2 jars Dole Pineapple slices
4 Tony's Frozen Pizza
1 Mrs. Smith Apple Pie
1 box Eggo Waffles
2 bottles Welch's Grape Juice
4 packs Mentos Gum
3 boxes Little Debbie Cupcakes

Now, of course, you know my family isn't surviving off of frozen pizza and chocolate cake, even though they would if I would let them. Everything I buy now gets added to my stockpile that continues to grow and grow. And we chose our weekly menu around what we already have, so then I can use my weekly grocery budget to buy things at the lowest price when they are available.

For example, the Duncan Hines cake mixes. I don't need 12 cake mixes right now. But I got those completely free, so of course I am going to get as many as I have coupons for and keep them in my stockpile for when I do need them. Get the point?

So, if you need a cake mix, some brown sugar, or just about anything else, give me a call. I'm sure I have some on hand!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sick of Fall

Been keeping up with me on Facebook lately? Then you probably already know.

We are sick


This fall - I am sick of it.

I hope it feels as bad as we have been feeling.

Shame on you fall. Shame on you.

And even though I am sick of this fall, there is no antibiotic to cure that.

So, instead we are all on antibiotics to treat our strep that has struck our house again.

First, Colin, then me, then Donny, now Philip.

Madilyn is the only one who is safe. Who knew that having a bone mass and being treated long term with antibiotics would actually keep her healthy through all this other mess.

Take a gander at my kitchen counter

Thank you, Rite-Aid for your wonderful $3 generic drugs. Who knew there was a perk for working for a drug company?

Now if we only had a doctor in the family.

And Philip has been officially diagnosed with asthma as well. He now has a preventative inhaler that he has to use twice a day, which hopefully over time will reduce his need to use the albuterol inhaler to treat his actual "attacks", which for Philip involves uncontrollable coughing which leads to him not being able to breath, which eventually leads to him throwing up. It is not a pleasant cycle people.

And, as if that is not enough, he has an appointment with an ENT on Thursday to see about getting his tonsils taken out. His left tonsil is so big it literally bulges out of the back of his throat. It looks like you could just reach back there and pluck it out. I wish it was that easy. Poor little guy has really been having a rough go of it lately. This is his fourth round of antibiotics since the end of July, plus he had pneumonia back in April, so the guy has not been healthy. So, hopefully we can get his tonsils out and get this asthma thing under control, and we can stop going to the doctor every other day.

Unless, of course, we can ever get that doctor in the family. If Donny could find a woman that is a pediatrician, I might not be opposed to him taking another wife.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Big Reveal

Every year, come October 1st, I find myself asking my children over, and over, and over , and yet over again -

What do you want to be for Halloween?

And over, and over, and over, and yet, over again, I get the same reply -

I don't know.

Me, personally, I am a fan of the homemade costume. Store bought costumes are so generic and cheap-looking. My children, however, don't always share the same sentiments. And as the days turn to weeks, and we find ourselves looking trick-or-treaters in the eye with no prospective costume lined up, store bought will always get us by in a pinch.

For weeks, I have been throwing out costume ideas, and no one wanted to catch any of them. Finally, I threw out a pitch Madilyn was willing to go after, and the costume turned out to be a homerun!

Introducing - Queen Candy Corn

Now as Queen, Madilyn rules over all Candydom, riding the land of sour-pusses and bitter apples, and spreading sweetness and cavities, I mean candy, throughout all the land.

And what Queen could rule without her Brave Knight to protect her from evil

So Brave and Strong! (And thank you, Target, for providing us with this magical sword that convinced one little 4-year old that being a Brave Knight would be awesome! Otherwise, we might still be standing in the costume aisle.)

Now Colin, he's so tricky. He had convinced himself that he was too old to dress up, and thought he should be able to just go trick-or-treating as himself. And as scary as he alone can be at times, no respectable trick-or-treater goes as ones-self. So, forced to make a decision, after my attempt at pitching out strike after strike after strike, he decided to buy his generic Star Wars costume, and is supposed to be Obi-Wan.

Hey, I'm just glad he smiled for the picture. That, in itself, was a Halloween Miracle. And remember, he is supposed to be Obi-Wan, because soon you will asking yourself -

What Changed here?

Spooky Tradition

Halloween would not be complete at our house without our annual Halloween Feast.

We dine on delicious meaty Bat Wings, crunchy Monster Buggers dipped in day-old Witch Vomit, and fleshy Mummy Toes.