Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Do Re Meme...

I've been tagged for a Meme by Janelle! I'm sorry it has taken me so long to get to this one. So, if you're interested...

5 things I want to do before I die:

1)Fulfill God's purpose for my life

2)Lose the "baby" weight

3)Take my kids to see where we lived in England and tour Europe with them

4)Get a Master's Degree

5)Get my priorities straight

5 things I can do:

1)Sing in a recital

2)Spell Renewal and Sailboat

3)Rinse ice

4)Sleep Late

5)Keep an inventory of aluminum wheels

5 things I cannot do:

1)Say "no" in general (except to my kids)

2)Control my blogging habit

3)Eat most green vegetables


5)Potty train my 3 yr old

5 things that make a man attractive to me:

1)Sense of humor



4)Concern for others

5)Clean shave

5 celebrities I crush on:

How about 5 celebrities I used to crush on? I'm a married woman! (and my husband reads this)

(Pause while I peruse some old copies of Teen Beat)

1)I might still have this poster;-)

2)Who DIDN'T crush on him?

3)Cant Buy Me Love

4)An Untamed Heart

5)Wax on...Wax off

5 friends that I would like to see tackle this:


Blog Bling

I'm not ashamed to say I enjoy adding a little "bling" to my blog. For instance, you may have noticed the ATunes music player in the sidebar (to the left) where you can listen to some of my current song favorites.

Today I added a couple of other fun things...

A "Question of the Week" poll which I will try to update each week with a different poll so I can get to know you guys better!


A Flickr Photo Widget where you can view some of my favorite family pics.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

When You're Desperate for a Date Night...

Every once in awhile (usually after a crazy day with the kids...who may or may not be in detox) Rich and I start talking crazy about going out on a date...like THAT night. When we first became parents we would actually try to call and find a babysitter, same day with two hours notice.


The delusion usually starts around 6 or 7pm, when dinner options are not promising and it is still a VERY long two hours or so before we can put the children in their beds with a clear conscience.

We like to pretend like we're young, free, and have no responsibilites, and then REALITY sets in. No amount of imagination can undo the fact that we have two children who need to be fedded and bedded. (yes, I know fedded is not a real word)

SO, we have learned to be fairly RESOURCEFUL in our date night desperation. Teresa, I hope you're taking notes because you are going to want to know this for future reference ;-)

Take tonight for instance. It was 7pm. There was no food to be had and no entertainment for said date night. The children were still awake and hungry. Hmmm. Mission Impossible? I THINK NOT!

7:05pm - Put children in Jammies

7:10pm - Pack "picnic" dinner for children of PB&J, grapes, and milk

7:11pm - While making PB&J, call for carry out pizza

7:12 pm - Convince children how fun it will be to have a picnic in the car...in their jammies

7:13pm - Children are loving the PJ picnic idea and negotiate with enthusiasm how much MORE wonderful it would be to have a PJ clad picnic...in the car...while watching a movie

7:14pm - Wish Granted - Pile children in the car with jammies, "dinner", and movie

7:30pm - Arrive at the movie store and select a movie. Preferably one that does not have any cartoon characters.

7:50pm - Drive to the pizza place and pay for pizza.

8:00pm - Drive home

8:15pm - Brush the teeth of already PJ'd children.

8:20pm - Read books and say goodnight (with a kiss, a hug, and a squeeze, of course)

8:30pm - Plop on the couch with a mostly hot slice of pizza, cold drink, grown up movie, and husband.

8:30pm - 10:30pm - Enjoy Date Night...Plan B.


Well, we are back from Mamaw and Papaw's house and I don't know about all of you, but when my children return from time with the grandparents, we have a little period of time that we affectionately call "DETOX".

It starts with the harsh, HARSH reality that involves that little pesky word, you know which one I'm referring to...


No, you may not have Twizzlers for breakfast.
No, you may not eat yogurt on the couch.
No, you may not watch TV whenever you want.
No, potato chips do not constitute a vegetable.
No, you may not watch one more show because it will help you fall asleep.
No, you may not hear the word "yes" to every request.

It never fails to amaze me when our parents allow our children to do something they would have NEVER (like over their dead body NEVER) let us do. It is an interesting study in human behavior ;-)

But don't get me wrong, a little detox is a small price to pay for time with the grandparents. Who else loves them, talks about them, cuddles them, and is humored by their antics more? And honestly even I am a little more lenient when we are around them. I guess that is because I figure they deserve the privilege of spoiling their grandkids. After all, they did raise us, care for us, provide for us, and say "no" to us enough to mold us into the people we are today.

And THAT was a pretty tall order.

Must Read

If you haven't already, you must read this!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Happy Birthday Crystal!

My sweet niece is 13 today! Actually it was yesterday, I'm a little late posting this! So in honor of her special birthday...(remember when you turned 13?)here is my customary list of...

11 Things We Love About Crystal

1) She is super sweet!
2) She takes good care of her little cousins!
3) She makes us laugh!
4) She is smart!
5) She has the cutest giggle!
6) She plans a good pedicure party!
7) She coined the term "'cle (cool) Rich"!
8) She is easy going!
9) She is beautiful!
10) She'll still give you a good cuddle...even at 13!
11) She had a starring role in the KAMB girls group!

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!

Aunt Laney and Cool Rich

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I neeeeed MORE Time!!!!!!!!

I felt like pleading this way to the librarian who kicked me out of my hometown library at 9pm this evening after only an hour of precious WIFI internet time.

"You don't understand, Librarian Lady...I've been away from my blogs for almost a week!" I don't think she would have been sympathetic...she probably would have shaken her finger at me and told me to try reading some BOOKS instead of BLOGS.

I did sit outside the library for a few minutes after I was kicked out until the wireless signal on my computer sadly faded away. Excuse me while I wipe away the lone, sad tear rolling down my cheek. (Sniff)

So, I resigned myself to return home where I asked my Dad for a phone cord and my husband to help me figure out to get my laptop connected to my parent's dial-up. Because IT HAS BEEN TOO LONG, YOU GUYS! TOO LONG since I last posted!

Plus, I have a little something I must share with you.

But FIRST, I shall ramble on about the happenings of the last week until you get bored and your eyes roll to the back of your head.


I don't know where to start. We have a had a fun, relaxing, food filled week. There is something about coming home that causes me to stuff my mouth with every bit of food that comes my way. I guess it is because I know that it will be 6 months to a year before I can taste my Mom's homemade mashed potatoes, my Dad's grilled burgers, Noble Roman's Pizza and bread sticks with cheese dip, Pulled Pork BBQ from Papa's Deli, and Musillami's ice cream cones. I could go on and on, but I should stop before I gain a few more pounds just talking about it.

I really love my hometown. It is a beautiful little treasure of art and architecture hidden away in the middle of a bunch of corn fields. Read more about the art and architecture of Columbus, here and here.

We have really enjoyed some great family time.

I've had alone time with my sisters and Mom...pedicure night with my nieces...I've enjoyed seeing my nephew Ben play tirelessly with Richie and Will...Rich has been able to help my Dad with some "projects" and believe it or not they have managed to work on a "project" for our home as well...we've SLEPT IN!...stayed up late chatting...we even had a very enjoyable time hunting flies with my Dad's new bug zapper!...Good times!

Aside from family time, I've also been able to catch up with some special friends.

Rich and I were able to visit my home church on Sunday. I grew up in that brown brick church with green carpet (sadly, the carpet is no longer green) and Rich and I were able to come back and serve there as adults once we graduated college. The people there are incredibly loving and warm. I enjoyed seeing their faces and hugging their sweet necks!

On Tuesday evening, we had a great time catching up with our friends Joel, Rochelle, and their little boy Andrew. The boys played at an indoor playground (the very same one that I used to play on as a kid) and had a blast! When the boys started to get hungry we decided to take our dear friends to Papa's Deli (our favorite in town), but they were...closed for the day, we then proceeded to try another one of our favorites, an Italian Restaurant called Divino's...which apparently no longer exists. Needless to say, after a bit of a wild goose chase we ended up right back where we started in the mall food court! I'd love to show you some pictures of this outing, but I was a dummy and forgot my camera. Rochelle did snap some pics so maybe when she gets those to me I can post them here (hint, hint...Rochelle!)

Updated: Here are those pictures I was telling you about. Thanks Rochelle!!

The Indoor Playground

Another view of the playground. If you click and enlarge, you'll see a child precariously climbing on the railing. I can't tell for sure, but it is probably Richie!

And here is sweet Andrew, using a Subway bag for a hat! How cute is that?

Today I was able to share in a MOMENTOUS occasion with my sweet childhood friend, Jennifer. She received the keys to her very first home through a program in our hometown called Housing Partnership. She worked REALLY hard to for this honor and I am SOOOOO proud of her!! And finally, another momentous occasion...you know...that "little something" I was telling you about.



If you look closely, you'll notice that Richie lost his first tooth! Gotta love that sweet new smile!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Parting Thoughts

We are leaving in the morning to pick Richie up from his visit with my parents. We plan to stay with them for a few days so my blogging might be a little sparse.

I wanted to leave you with a few parting thoughts...

1) Dear Self (and others who might benefit),

When the care instructions on your new shirt say "hand wash only"...PLEASE, PLEASE don't be a lazy girl and throw it in the washer on the delicates cycle because you can't imagine why it would need to be washed by hand. The people who write those instructions are smarter than you and know about such things. YOU KNOW NOTHING!


Girl With a Shrunken Shirt

2) I have been blessed by God, Boo Mama and Monk and Neagle (I feel bad not linking to God, wouldn't it be cool if God had a blog? Wait, how about this for a link to God?) Sorry, moving on...I won a free CD! Click on this little button if you would like to know more.

monk & neagle banner

Once I receive the CD and have done a thorough review, I'll give you my 2 cents on the subject.

3) Have you tried these? They are GOOD! I especially love that you can make a single serving in the microwave. I may be the last person in the world who has not given these a whirl, but I was a little weary of the preface "No Pudge". I've been burned before. But these, I highly recommend. I wouldn't put them side by side in a taste test with these...
But they might come close to holding their own against these. Enjoy!

4) I wanted to share another thing that I am loving right now. The USPS. Yes, that's right the United States Parcel Service. They have a very convenient feature on their website for holding mail. If you are going out of town, you can put your mail on hold for the time you are gone in just a matter of a few clicks. Is that cool or what?

5) And last I am adding a new blog to my blogroll. The title is Breath of Life by Melissa. I've been reading Melissa's blog for awhile now and it is a breath of fresh air. I can tell the Holy Spirit lives in Melissa by the words and attitudes displayed on her blog. Check it out. You will be blessed!

6) Oh wait, I forgot to tell you that Rich and I have been organizing! Actually, Rich has been doing the bulk of the hard work, but I've been consulting and dangerously wielding my label maker about, and I did do the pantry all by myself! Anyway, there is something so satisfying about a closet with a place for everything and everything in it's place. When we get home we are going to tackle the computer armoire and (dark foreboding music here) OUR closet. I kid around about Target being a Black Hole, but that closet...I can hardly step foot in it any more...it just sucks the life right out of me.

Until next time...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

100th Post!

100 Things About Me
AKA - An excuse to be self indulgent and bore you to tears in 2500 words or less

1) I tried to come up with something original to post for my 100th post.

2) You see the tradition seems to be to write 100 things about yourself, but I was thinking I could come up with something more exciting than that.

3) It seems not.

4) I thought of hosting a drawing for a 100 Grand candy bar, because everyone likes chocolate, right? And the name of the candy bar does have 100 in it.

5) I thought of posting Psalm 100 because I happen to think if David had written that particular book of the Bible in the year 2007, he would have totally blogged it.

6) I wondered if Big Mama might guest star for my 100th post.

7) I even thought about conspiring with Janelle who is also coming up to her 100th post, but she is not answering my emails.

8) Okay, I don't have enough material to write 100 things about my 100th post, so I am going to get back to things about me.

9) Hi, my name is Alana.

10) I grew up in Indiana, the Hoosier State.

11) They made a pretty good movie about Hoosiers.

12) If you haven't seen the movie, it is about basketball.

13) If you live in Indiana you are supposed to like basketball.

14) And there are two teams to root for...IU and Purdue.

15) For some reason I always rooted for IU, although I don't know why.

16) It may be because I like the colors red and white better than black and gold.

17) Yep, that's it.

18) Plus, Bobby Knight threw the chair and all when I was in the 5th grade and THAT made an impression.

19) I'm pretty sure I won't keep this 100 things in the sidebar of my blog since I just spent all of that time talking about basketball and I don't even like it that much. Update: If you are reading this in the sidebar of my blog...OBVIOUSLY I changed my mind!

20) I am the youngest of four girls.

21) My Mom still occasionally calls me her baby.

22) My sisters and I used to make cracker soup for a snack. Ingredients: crackers, water, and a dash of salt.

23) I actually remember trying to warm it on the heat register.

24) I guess because we weren't allowed to use the stove.

25) We also ate Peanut Butter and Pickle sandwiches.

26) We were culinary geniuses.

27) I grew up in the church.

28) Not literally in the building, but I've been going to church all my life.

29) I was baptized when I was 8.

30) That was a pretty special day.

31) And not just because I got to pick where we went out to eat that day.

32) Obviously I appreciate the significance of that day quite a bit more now as a 32 year old than I did when I was 8.

33) It was the day I was given a free gift.

34) Salvation.

35) There was nothing I could do to earn it.

36) If you've never received that free gift, I could help you get it.

37) That would be really cool.

38) I don't like to be cold.

39) I'm usually much colder than everyone else.

40) I almost always have cold hands.

41) But you know that means I have a warm heart.

42) I love people.

43) I care a lot about their feelings.

44) I can usually tell if something is bothering someone.

45) But sometimes I'm paranoid.

46) And sometimes they aren't being honest when they say "I'm fine".

47) I like when people are real.

48) Although, I'm not always as real as I should be.

49) I feel safer being real with someone that is real with me.

50) I guess most people do.

51) I can be completely real with my husband.

52) We met in college.

53) In music theory class.

54) He is a REALLY good man.

55) We have two really great boys.

56) One is 6 years old and one is 3 years old.

57) My 6 year old really likes to show his love through physical affection (hugs, kisses, etc.)

58) When I had the 6 year old via C section I actually felt it.

59) I had been in labor for 24 hours and the epidural had worn off.

60) My husband describes it as being very similar to the "FREEDOM" scene in Braveheart.

61) Richie was totally worth it.

62) My 3 year old is almost always happy. He also likes to give lots of kisses and cuddles.

63) I didn't feel a thing during my C-section with him.

64) I didn't realize until then that the first C-section was not all it was cracked up to be.

65) I thought maybe I was just a wimp.

66) It did hurt AFTER the C-section with Will.

67) William was totally worth it.

68) I was so drugged up after the C-section with William that when I picked up a cup to take a drink of water, I fell asleep
before I could get it to my lips for a drink.

69) The water spilled and I...woke up.

70) Did you know water is better with ice?

71) Especially ice that is rinsed.

72) I like Coca Cola a lot.

73) And Java Chip Ice Cream.

74) And my Mom's Mashed Potatoes.

75) I didn't eat salad until I was in college.

76) I still don't really like it.

77) I also don't like it when people are mean.

78) Mean people suck.

79) If you are mean I don't want you reading my blog.

80) Unless you have never received the free gift and in that case I know someone who can help you stop being mean.

81) If you are reading this blog and you have received the free gift and are still mean, maybe you need to take that up with God?

82) Actually, sometimes I am mean, too.

83) I try not to be, but I can be.

84) That's where grace comes in.

85) God forgives us even when we are mean.

86) Actually he forgives us for everything.

87) I didn't realize this was going to be so evangelical.

88) I wish I could be this evangelical in real life.

89) I'm not that great at telling people about Jesus.

90) I don't have a good excuse for that.

91) I'm just chicken.

92) And I'm afraid I won't know what to say.

93) See I told you I don't have a good excuse.

94) I'm almost to 100.

95) I'm trying to think of what else you might want to know about me.

96) I'm short.

97) My hair is brown.

98) My eyes are blue.

99) I like to blog.

100) I've done it 100 times.

Where is that glass slipper?

It is midnight and I'm struggling with the same issue as Janelle tonight. I've got NOTHIN. I go back and forth between disappointing you guys (the masses) by not posting or disappointing you guys by writing a lame post.

I guess we're going for the latter tonight.

Richie seems to be having a good time with my parents. My Mom keeps saying he is behaving fine, but I'm not convinced. I'm pretty sure she could not pass a lie detector test on the subject.

We are having a good time with Will. It really is QUIET here. He and I had a great day together. We went swimming this morning...sorry Michelle, that you had to witness the whole diaper thing. I should have told you to look away! After swimming we had a quiet lunch at home, just the two of us. Rich had some guys over tonight to help celebrate our friend's 30th birthday. So after they were all set up with man food, I took Will on a date. He was quite the gentleman, really. He held my hand during the movie, told me he had a good time, gave me an innocent kiss goodnight. What a catch! Our night had all the elements of a great date...dinner out (pizza), a movie, and dessert (ice cream). I love that little guy.

I would post about the guys night, but I don't want to steal Rich's thunder. You know because we are trying to be considerate of each other's blogging material now, right Rich?

I will say that preparing my house and food for a guy's night is CONSIDERABLY less stressful than any other event I've ever hosted. Because I know the guys don't care if the plates are pretty, how the food is displayed, or if the toilets are clean (they were by the way). As long as there is food that will clog your arteries and some form of entertainment...they are good to go.

I better close since I'm totally breaking my rule by blogging after midnight. I wonder if my minivan is a pumpkin yet.

Wait...rollover minutes! You know like on the cell phone? I didn't use all of my minutes last night (went to bed at 11:30) so I'm rolling over the minutes to tonight. You don't have to be a rule breaker if you can justify your behavior. Phew, that was a close one!

Monday, July 16, 2007

New Rule

I made a new rule for myself. No blogging after midnight.

Know what time it is? 12:07.

This blogging thing really brings the rule breaker out in me.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

All Quiet on the Western Front

After several days of whirlwind activity, all is quiet. Literally. My husband and I are both sitting peacefully while William is napping and Richie (who is surely being anything but quiet) is in a car with my parents and my niece on their way to Indiana where he'll be staying with them for one WHOLE week. I'm exhausted and have decided to ignore (for today) the DISASTER that is my home which is a direct result of the last several days of activity I was telling you about.

It started early this week when we started preparing for Richie's 6th birthday party. You can read more about the birthday party here.

By the way Janelle, you may want to reconsider the whole idea of talking Skip into his own blog. It's not all good times and flirting. Well, it is until he decides to write his own post on your kiddo's birthday party BEFORE you and steals all of the good pictures. But I'm not bitter. I've decided to bear with him in love and after my last post I should probably consider reconciliation. BUT, I think we need may to set some ground rules with this blogging thing...for the health of our marriage.

Anyway, I digress.

The party was a smashing success and I may still write my own post on the subject even though it will surely be anticlimactic...but again I'm not bitter.

The day after the party we spent most of the day cleaning up (yet my house is still a disaster) and then spent a wonderful evening with friends at a local amusement park. We didn't get home until after midnight.

The following day we woke up early, packed Richie's bags and drove 3 1/2 hours to meet my Mom, Dad, and niece for lunch. After lunch we said our goodbyes (Richie was really heartbroken to see us go...NOT) and decided to spend the afternoon in St. Louis. We stopped at Trader Joe's to get some Double Roasted Salsa because I've been having withdrawal and was unable to get Jen to part with any of hers. We then did a little furniture window shipping and finished off with dinner at P.F. Chang's. It is only my second time eating at this delectable restaurant, but I think it is safe to say that it warrants a place of honor in my list of favorite restaurants.

I already miss Richie. It is quiet and I know we'll enjoy the week with just Will, but the energy in the house is not the same without him. And I don't like his bed being empty at night. I know he is in good hands, though, and surely having the time of his life.


An AMAZING thing is happening at my church tonight. Reconciliation(or atleast the start of it) and not just between individuals, but between two church bodies.

Several years ago (before Rich and I lived here) one church split into two and the result was the church that Rich and I now attend and the one that our church body is going to be worshiping with tonight.

I don't know all of the details, but the hope is that the churches will be able merge into ONE again. To be UNIFIED once again as the body of Christ!

Is that not the coolest thing?


I mean when does that happen? You hear of churches splitting all the time, but I have personally never heard of a church that was once split being reconciled and coming together again to worship as ONE.



And glorifying to God.

I covet your prayers for this endeavor. I'm sure that Satan is NOT happy about this and he probably has a plan to pull the big guns out to attack. I'm living in faith that we already have the victory.

As Christians we are called to be one body. Ephesians 4:1-6 says...

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

There is nothing that saddens me more than pettiness in church and/or ministries... when people with their wants, desires, and "needs" get in the way of ministry. God calls us to come together, to communicate, to reconcile, to FORGIVE, to move on and to GET OUT OF THE WAY so that HIS work can be accomplished.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday 13

Thirteen Things We Love About Richie

1) His cuddles and kisses.

2) His enthusiasm

3) His loyalty to friends

4) His ability to have FUN

5) His smart and inquisitive side

6) His smile when he plays soccer, Tball, and swims.

7) His sensitive side

8) His independence

9) His love for his brother

10) His love of singing

11) His sweet face

12) His love for Star Wars

13) His anxious hair twirling

Happy Birthday sweet Richie!

Did you know your Mommy and Daddy love you?

Did you know you're our special boy?

Six Years Old

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I'm it!

I've been tagged for the Restaurant Meme that some of you have probably seen on several other blogs. Thanks to my sweet friend Sara at Miller Moments for the tag!

The rules, as such, are as follows:
1. Link to the name of the person that tagged you.
2. Include state and country you live in.
3. List top 5 favorite local restaurants.
4. Tag 5 other people and let them know they've been tagged.

I've been in a rule breaking mood the last couple of weeks so I am going to change it a bit just for fun. These favorites are from all over the country. Mostly, places we have lived except for the last one. The last one is a restaurant we tried while we were in Las Vegas last year.

Sunny's Cafeteria, Johnson City, TN

Rich and I went to college in Johnson City and my favorite place to eat there was a little cafeteria called Sunny's. It was good ole southern cooking at it's best. And when you are a college student, a home cooked meal can be hard to come by. We would go there for their homemade mashed potatoes and pecan pie. My mouth is watering as I type this. The funniest part about eating at Sunnie's was going through the line to get our food. You would walk through and the old ladies behind the glass would dish out your goodies. Rich would usually go first and they would be totally charming, smile, and say things like "What can I get ya honey?". And then when it was my turn they'd totally change their demeanor and with a scowl say "WHAT DO YOU WANT?".

Depalma's Italian Café, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

When I was just out of college Rich and I moved to Tuscaloosa, AL where we helped start a brand new church. I had just received my major in Music Ministry and I was ready to take on the world! You guys, I was so young and naive and let's just say it was not the best experience. After a few months, I managed to talk my wonderful friend Teresa into joining us in Alabama and to take on the role of Children's Minister for the new church. I still feel bad for talking her into it and feel the need to apologize for it every time I see her. And I'm feeling the need now as well, so...I'm sorry TT! Although, I don't know how I would have muddled through that experience without you! ANYWAY, we did have some GOOD times there, too, because we were together and one of our favorite things to do to ease the pain was eat! Tuscaloosa had some great restaurants. Depalma's was my favorite. They had these humongous Calzones that were out of this world GOOD...Ooey gooey good.

Pizza Hut, Wakefield, England, United Kingdom

Yes, you read that right. My favorite restaurant when we lived in England was Pizza Hut! England is a beautiful, cultural place, but the food? Not my cup of tea, although there was a good Chippy (fish and chips) just down the road from our little flat that was quite good. I was always homesick for American food and most of the American restaurants that they had there didn't taste quite right. But the Pizza Hut? It did...it really did. The pizza tasted like home and the soda tasted like home. It was like stepping through a portal back into the US for a brief period of time. Thank you Pizza Hut!

The Story Inn in Story, Indiana

I grew up in Columbus, Indiana and right before we moved here Rich and I lived there for awhile. We found a treasure of a place in Story, Indiana near Nashville. Nashville is in Brown County, Indiana. It is an unusually hilly part of Indiana and a bit of a tourist area, but quaint. Story is well off the beaten path and the restaurant at the Inn is absoluely WONDERFUL. Rich and I celebrated all of our special occasions there. If you click on the link you'll see that on the outside it looks old and delapidated, but the inside is very homey and the food is actually gourmet and absolutely WONDERFUL!

Charlie Palmer Steakhouse
, Las Vegas, Nevada

Last summer we celebrated our 10th anniversary in Las Vegas. We stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel. If you ever have a chance to stay at a Four Season Hotel, do it. It is LUXURIOUS. One of my favorite parts was laying by the pool being spritzed by Evian. It was that posh. By the way, Rich also attended a conference while we were there so part of our accomodations were paid by his work...otherwise we would not have been able to stay there. Our dining highlight was definitely eating at Charlie Palmer Steakhouse. We actually planned on splurging with this meal, but ended up getting the meal for free because the hotel messed up something with our bill. Bummer, huh? Okay, so I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say the steak I ate there was DIVINE. By far the best I have ever had and probably the best I will ever have unless they mess up our bill again the next time we visit the Four Seasons in Las Vegas (because you can't always read sarcasm, I'll just let you know that last bit about visiting the Four Seasons again...sarastic...probably not going to happen). The cost of this restaurant was a bit exorbitant, but worth a try if you are in the mood for splurge.

That's all folks. If YOU'D like to partake, consider yourself tagged.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dirty Words

My husband was working on the children's ministry area at our church yesterday with our good friend Sunnie, who also happens to be our Children's Minister. Every so often Sunnie regales us with the inside story on our six year old's behavior in children's church.

Here is what she shared with Rich yesterday.

On Sunday, they were talking with the kids about things they might struggle with (ie. lying, rage, dirty words, etc.). They shared in their small groups and then came together with the larger group. Sunnie then said that the small groups were a safe place to share, but if anyone felt comfortable they could share in the larger group as well.

Richie raised his hand.

The conversation went something like this...

Sunnie: What do you struggle with Richie?

Richie: Dirty Words

Sunnie: Really?

Richie: Yeah, the S word

If you know my child you are probably laughing because you know that he is 6.

And he looks like this...

And he hasn't been to Kindergarten yet so you're doubting the "S" word is really THE "S" word.

It's not.

The "S" word he was referring to?


Monday, July 9, 2007

Potty Training 201: A Concerted Effort

Okay, I'm biting the bullet. If you've been reading this blog for awhile you probably know about our potty training woes with William.

He will sit on the potty, wake up in the morning with his pull up dry, and often keeps it dry for long periods of time during the day. BUT, (and it's a very big but) nothing happens when he sits on that stinkin' "throne" (no pun intended). No pee, no poop...NADA!

I will admit our attempts up to this point have been less than heroic, so I decided today that I will put forth a concerted effort (see title). I have no idea why I chose TODAY because I only have a million other things that I should be doing (like cleaning my house, planning, a party, ordering a cake, etc.).

I thought I would keep a running commentary of my experience with this today.

Because I know you guys care.

Ooo, I did it! I found an appropriate substitue for y'all. I've been struggling with that. I can't really use y'all because Big Mama and Boo Mama use it and I'm trying to be original here. Plus, I'm NOT from Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, or Kentucky. If I forgot your southern state, please forgive. I'm from Indiana and in Indiana we say "you guys". So, there you have it. It's official, my word to indicate you all (as in everyone reading this) is "you guys". Hooray for me! However, I do reserve the right to use y'all when/if I am actually in Texas, Tennesssee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina (I'm remembering some of the other southern states now, but I'm going to stop listing them because this post is supposed to be about Potty Training!).

Okay, back to the task at hand. Here's how the potty training went down today.

Attempt #1 12:30pm

Time on the potty: 10 minutes
Stories read: 2
Deposit: None
Reward: 5 M&Ms

Attempt #2 1:00pm

Time on the potty: 5 minutes
Stories read: 1
Deposit: Possible pee (I heard something, can not confirm nor deny...counting it success, though)- could be breakthrough...will keep you posted
Reward: 6 M&Ms

Attempt #3 1:30pm

Time on the potty: 5 minutes
Stories read: 1
Result: None...hoping the last time was not just my imagination
Reward: 3 M&Ms (running out)

Attempt#4 2:00pm

Time on the potty: 5 minutes
Stories Read: 1
Result: Nothing
Reward: 0 M&Ms (he forgot and I didn't remind)

Attempt #5 2:30pm

Time on the potty: 8 minutes
Stories Read: 1
Result: Nothing (I'm now convinced the "success" of Attempt #2 was a figment of my imagination)
Reward: 3 M&Ms

BREAK - NAPTIME (2 hour potty training break, excuse me while I go finish off those M&Ms)

Attempt #6 5:30pm

Time on the potty: 10 minutes
Stories Read: 6
Result: NOTHING! (even though his pull up was dry from nap) AAACK!!!
Reward: 3 Skittles

I Give! (for today)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Sure to be Anticlimactic...and Certainly not Brief

Well, the time has now come. I have downloaded the pictures (all 700+ of them...I'm not exaggerating). My husband is OUT OF CONTROL with the pictures. The 700+ pictures include pictures from our trip and Richie's last Tball game of the season. Probably half of those were of the Tball game, so I will do a post with those soon, too. You're gonna love those!

Below is a picture diary of our trip to Tennessee.

The trip was long, we did it over two days so that we would not all go stir crazy in the car together. As a bonus, we were able to stay in a hotel and swim which is the epitome of excitement for a 3 and 5 yr old. When we arrived in East Tennessee we stayed one night with Rich's brother before we headed to my Papaw's house where met up with my parents and attended a reunion with family from my Mom's side.

This is a picture of my Papaw's living room (it is never used). Isn't it a pristine throwback? I don't think it has changed a bit since the first time I saw it (when I was 4 years old). I love the fact that it hasn't changed. It's comforting and brings back sweet memories from my childhood (and one really bad one when I made a very poor choice and picked the green turf off of his back porch...it is a SUPREME understatement when I say that my parents were NOT HAPPY with my choice...that may have been where all of this rule following started).

This is a picture of the boys with my Papaw. I'm ashamed to say this is the first time they have met in person. Papaw was a big hit, and I think Papaw kind of thought his great grandsons were pretty special, too. He was very patient throughout this photo shoot. Will kept moving and making the picture fuzzy.

The day after the reunion we spent visiting with Papaw and taking a short day trip to Blowing Rock, North Carolina. What a beautiful place! I'd love to go back sometime when we have more time to explore. These pics are of the boys having some fun at the park we found right in the center of town.

I forgot to mention that on the way to see my Papaw we took a drive through our alma mater. I was planning to go back when we had more time to snap some pictures, but it didn't happen. Here is an aerial view I found on the college's website. The building in the middle is Seeger Chapel (where Rich proposed). I wish I had a picture of the inside to show you.

The rest of the week we spent hanging out with family, both mine and Rich's. We also got to meet up with some old friends from college. Please forgive us if you are reading this and we didn't get to see you. We had limited time and wish we could have spent time with everyone!

Okay, I better speed up this process or we'll be here all day.

Here are some more highlights (with less commentary). I figure if I'm getting tired of writing it, you must be getting tired of reading it. And anyway, a picture tells 1,000 words, right?

Huggin' on...

Aunt Linda (my aunt)

My Mom's Cousin Robbie

Aunt Angie (a tireless hostess)

Mamaw (you know she is LOVING this!)

Reading stories with Nana...

Goofin' off with Uncle Lee (I mean Uncle Mark ;-)

Lawn Darts with Papaw (I'm not sure who had more fun...Papaw or Richie)

Strolling on the dock with Papa

(Here's what Papa looks like from the front ;-)

And last, but not least we were able to visit with some college friends.

We did not get any pics of Chris, Ali, and Isabel, but we had such a good time visiting and catching up with them! I hope you guys didn't pay too dearly for missing naptime ;-)

We did snap this one of Corey, Dianna (my roomie), and their little girl Eliza. Is she not the cutest thing? I think she might give Will's "girls" a run for their money!

Oh wait, I forgot to mention cousin Rueger. Actually Rueger is a dog. Janelle, I'm sure you can imagine the theoretical debate that ensued with my oldest child when Uncle Lee (I mean, Uncle Mark) called the dog their cousin. Anyway, I somehow failed to get a picture of Rueger with the boys, maybe because they were both (Rueger's still a puppy) laughing, running, and squealing whenever the dog was around. The boys LOVED Rueger.

Okay, I've got to stop. There is so much more I could share, but I think I've gone on long enough. If you are still reading this, it means you have read this entire post. Wow, you must really love me!

My Pastor Used this Quote in his Sermon Today

Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking about yourself at all. ~William Temple

It caught my attention.

Why I Am A Hypocrite

Because I say these things to my children.

1) Don't be so grumpy.

2) Be thankful in all circumstances.

3) I don't like your attitude.

4) You don't need more candy.

5) It's time to go to sleep!

6) Calm down.

7) You need to think of others.

8) Go play!

9) Use your words.

10) (cookies, candy, french fries, soda...etc.) are not healthy.

I have NO room to talk.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

I Have Two Words for You...


I guess tecnically that is just one word. Well, blog is one word and lines is one word, but when you put them together like that it is only one word.

OKAY, I wanted to use that title for this post so I fudged a little. So sue me.

Any of you blog reading addicts should go here and sign up for this now.

It has changed my bloggin' life.

De Nada

A Little Friendly Competition...

If you live in this lovely town I call home, I have a little challenge for you.

See if you can find/guess the billboard (I know there are MANY) that my 3 year old described liked this...

"Yook (look) it's a clown!"

"The clown's mad at the dinosaur!"

"And THERE'S a scary Yoda!"


Friday, July 6, 2007

Thoughts on A Kidless Day

Thanks to my unbelievably gracious, loving, kind, and selfless friend Janelle, Rich and I had 11 (yes ELEVEN) kidless hours yesterday that we used to belatedly celebrate our anniversary. Also, kudos to Jennifer and Skip (Janelle's husband) who were in on the action for a little while as well!

A literal "damp"er was put on our first few moments of kidlessness when Rich announced that our basement had flooded in the 4th of July torrential downpour. As we assessed the damage, I couldn't help but wonder if God had teased us with this kidless day only to spend it cleaning up a waterlogged basement. (And as long as I'm confessing I also had a fleeting thought that maybe B had something to do with the water. I can't help it...I can picture her dumping buckets of water through the sliding glass door while we were sleeping or something.) Anyway, in our infinite wisdom (and desperation for a day alone without the kids...doing something besides mopping water off of the basement floor...it's unfinished by way...we decided to spend the day in DENIAL and deal with the mess LATER.

We spent the day eating, shopping, and watching a movie. We ate lunch at a local Japanese Hibachi restaurant. It was so nice to enjoy the meal without anyone complaining that they don't like the food (Richie) or trembling in fear at the ball of fire on the grill (Will). My only afterthought, was that maybe it would have been nice to sit at a table ALONE instead of with six strangers. Food was GOOD, though. REALLY GOOD. You're all craving Japanese food now...I know.

After lunch, we went shopping for a bit with noone asking for snacks or melting down. Actually there was one meltdown (that was me...after trying on a bathing suit), but other than that it was a very pleasurable experience. Note to self: DON'T try on bathing suits when trying to have a GOOD day. Seriously!

Once the meltdown subsided, Rich wisely suggested a movie. Good move, darling...you know me well. We opted for this one and it was a HOOT. I was rolling in laughter at times. Laughter is good medicine. We went crazy and bought popcorn, drink, Milk Duds AND Twizzlers. Note to self: Excessive movie snack eating could be leading to the bathing suit issue.

After the movie we decided that we should eat a little bit more because we weren't puking yet. And went to Qdoba. I LOVE Qdoba. If you have never been to Qdoba and have one near you, please drop everything you are doing and go there NOW!

Skip and Janelle had taken the kids to their friend's house for the evening. When we arrived Will was snuggling with Pam in his jammies and Richie was getting in on some Fireworks action with Todd, Skip, Zeb, Spencer, and Tag. He was LOVING it! Naturally, once we arrived, the fireworks gene that is in all males kicked in and Rich joined in on the fun as well.

It was a wonderful, wonderful day. Janelle thank you SO much for that gift. I really can't thank you enough.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Better Late Than Never

Happy 4th of July!

I was thinking today about the year we lived in England. I remember being excited about the 4th of July until I realized that we would be the only ones celebrating. The English don't really celebrate that particular holiday.

I can't imagine why.

They do have a fireworks holiday around Halloween called Guy Fawkes Night where they actually burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes in a bonfire and shoot off fireworks. We went to a Guy Fawkes Night celebration while we lived there. I feel a little sick in the head saying this, but it was fun. The effigy thing was a little disturbing, but the rest of it was good fall fun.

I feel like I need to start a whole new post because there is no way for me to gracefully transition from burning effigys to recipes for your 4th of July BBQ.

I guess they both DO involve fire.

The originial intent of this post was to share a couple of my favorite 4th of July recipes. I realize it would have been helpful to share these BEFORE the holiday, but you can make them anytime. The blueberry pie is especially good on a summer evening. But the corn casserole is good any time of year. I take it to church pot lucks and there is NEVER a morsel left. Also, they are both SUPER easy. I only do easy.

Corn Casserole
(I received this recipe from my friend Rochelle)

1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 can cream style corn
1 can whole kernel corn (do not drain)
8 oz sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 egg

Grease 9x13 pan

Mix all the ingredients together and pour into the 9x13 pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

Blueberry Pie
(This recipe was given to me by my Mom)

1 graham cracker crust
8 oz cream cheese
1 container Cool Whip (normal size)
1 can blueberries (drained)
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Mix together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and 1 cup Cool Whip.

Spread into graham cracker crust.

Add blueberries.

Top with the rest of the Cool Whip.



Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Where I Am From

This is a little something I worked on while we were away (details still to come on the trip...I know I keep saying that...BUT I have not downloaded pictures yet, or unpacked all the way, or finished the laundry, or sent thank you notes for Will's birthday (which was in May), or sent our Richie's birthday invitations (the party is in a little over a week), or taken a shower, or celebrated my anniversary (but thanks to Janelle we will on Thursday), or paid the bills, or organized the pantry, closets, and basement, or lost the baby weight...okay I digress.

ANYWAY, I wanted to share this with you. This is SOOO neat. I found it here at Mississippi Girl's blog...one of my new favorites. I'm still not completely happy with my results and I did not follow the template exactly, but to make it work for me I had to tweak it a little. If you decide to write one of your own, please leave a comment to let me know. I'd love to read about Where You Are From. Disclaimer: It is HARDER than it looks!


I am from corn fields, from Big Red and a town known for its architecture.

I am from the limestone house on Lincoln Street shaded with maple trees and the familiar sound of Katydids.

I am from sassafras, daffodils, and the hide and seek tree.

I am from Sunday nights watching The Waltons while eating popcorn out of a grocery bag.

From cardboard pizza nights, grocery trips with Mom, and workshop days with Dad.

I am from Trueblood, Reece, and Allen.

I am from the desire to make all things equal and the need for time to yourself.

From “It’s probably just your sinuses” and “Don’t run on the wet carport or you’ll fall and bust your head”.

I am from the brown brick church with green carpet where my lips first sang a melody.

I am from Columbus, Indiana, Lake Trueblood, Pot Roast and Sweet Baked Beans.

From tractor rides, the ice cream bell, and homemade popsicles.

I am from big boat cars, using the backdoor, and full meal deals at Dairy Queen.

From “retro” photo albums in the hall closet, and boxes of school papers in the basement.

From a True home filled with love, devotion, sacrifice, and care.

Monday, July 2, 2007

TA DA!!!!

Rich Rocks!

All the crying, screaming, and gnashing of teeth (him, not me) has finally paid off.

My husband finally succumbed to the pressure and created a beautiful blog design for moi. That last bit in French is a tribute to Chris and Michelle for getting this party started.

If you're wondering...

...I'm readying my blog for the premiere of my new blog design!

Are you excited?

I am!

My husband has more than redeemed himself today spending a LARGE portion of his day working on this little project.

I think he's actually having fun.

Or that's what I'm telling myself.

Stay tuned...

Listen Here, Mister

You'll want to check out this new blog.

This post is of particular interest.

Here is my response.

Dear Fable Shapler,

All I have to say is that YOU better not have a cool new blog design before I do or the title of this post will take on a whole new meaning.

Yours Truly,

The Girl Without Design

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Home Sweet Home

After a wonderful trip to Tennessee (will share details and pictures soon), we are home again. It is so good to be home.

We've been visiting the Smoky Mountains which is one of my favorite places. Growing up I spent summer vacations there visiting relatives, eating southern cooking, and playing in the creeks. I also retreated to the mountains during my college years where I made some of my fondest memories, found lifelong friends (including the best roomie ever), and fell in love. Rich and I have always dreamed of returning there someday with hopes of him becoming a professor at our alma mater.

It could still happen, but the more time passes and the longer we live here in the Ozarks the the less likely it seems that we will move from here...a place with beautiful foothills (I won't call them mountains), with a church that we love, unbelievable friends, a comfortable home, and jobs that would be hard to beat.

Who knows what God has in store? He has led us in many different directions during our marriage and we have always been faithful to follow. I know that He has our best interests at heart.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, I guess I'm just thinking out loud that I am thankful and content for where God has placed us and have seen the fruit of our obedience to follow Him here.