Blessed Beyond Measure

Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well and pleasing to the Lord.  Colossians 3:20

Things I love about being a parent.

  • holding a little hand in mine on parking lots
  • morning snuggle time
  • evening snuggle time
  • sloppy kisses
  • seeing myself in them
  • watching McDaddy be a daddy
  • the funny things they say
  • the funny things they say when they shouldn’t be saying them
  • hearing ‘Hey Mommy’ for the 418th time in one day
  • how my kisses can fix anything
  • folding little boy laundry
  • watching them grow
  • all the mommy stuff (appointments, playdates, fixing lunches, etc)
  • teaching my boys to be confident, but not proud
  • listening to them sing for the Lord
  • hearing them giggle
  • when the stars are aligned and they play great together
  • how everything in our home can be considered a race
  • finding little cars all.over.the.house
  • cleaning ears and trimming fingernails (weird, I know)
  • seeing sweet crooked teeth when they smile
  • hearing their excitement when I come through the door
  • watching them play
  • having cars running all over my back when they play mountain
  • homeroom mother PTA stuff
  • when they say ‘you are my best friend’ to eachother
  • hearing them say, ‘I love you’ to me
  • Watching them sleep

I love being a mommy. I pray daily for God’s guidance and wisdom in raising the two little boys that he blessed me with.

Enjoy your Sunday!

It’s two minutes past noon on Saturday afternoon.

If you’re keeping score, that means that it is time to pick a winner for my very first giveaway.

Up for grabs is the Longaberger Autumn Path Front Pocket Tote and it is fabulous.

I am consulting with my good friend, Random Dot Org to certify the winner at this very moment.

And the winner is……

_______________________________________________________

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

4

Timestamp: 2008-11-29 17:06:39 UTC

_______________________________________________________

The winner is Michelle who does not have a blog, but has a verizon e-mail address. She was lucky Number four who visited my blog and commented on November 25th @ 9:23am.

Congratulations, Michelle. I hope you enjoy the new purse. I will be contacting you by e-mail!

http://frominmatestoplaydates.com/2008/11/and-the-winner-is/

A Wild Ride!

I am pooped after a long day of shopping, a movie, dinner and wrapping gifts. I’m not sure I have the energy it takes to write a cohesive post, however, I’m never too tired to be nosey. So how about this?

I ask a question. And you, answer it.

We’ll play along with Island Lifes Aloha Friday again this week.

Let’s go with…..

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM RIDE?

If you’ve spent even three minutes around here, you would know my answer to this question. My dream ride is sexy, sleek and actuallly affordable. It’s just doesn’t happen to be practical if you have a husband and two kids.

Introducing my beloved friend, The Saturn Sky.

 

*big sigh*

Yes, that is me. And yes, that is a Saturn Sky…. don’t I look good in chili pepper red?

If you’d like to participate on your blog, just post your own question at your place and leave your link over at An Island Life to share with the blogosphere.

That’s all.

I do hope ya’ll have a lovely weekend.

Dancing With My Star

It is no secret that I am addicted to a fan of reality TV.

One of my favorite shows, Dancing With The Stars ended this week. 

It was a great season, and I was thrilled that this fabulous pair took home the coveted mirror ball trophy.

Oh bloggy friends, did you see that girl dance? She was one of my clear favorites since the start of the season, although if I’m being honest, my money (if I had any) would have been on Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Misty May-Treanor.

Lucky for me I don’t gamble, because I would have lost my butt.

And, really losing my butt wouldn’t be such a bad thing, if it meant truly losing some of the junk in my trunk. And if that were to happen, you should believe me when I say I would take the dancing world by storm.

For our ninth anniversary (2007), McDaddy planned a weekend getaway for us, and purchased two tickets to attend Dancing With The Stars – The Tour. McDaddy is a good man because he would choose having a tooth pulled over watching reality TV any day of the week, yet, he did all this for me. He scored mega-points with those tickets, proving that he’d do just about anything for love.

I watch the show each week and dream of being a dancer. From the sexy seduction of the Rumba, the fun-flirtatious moves of the cha-cha and the swinging moves of the jive, I love it all! 

In my next life, I hope to have the coordination to pull off a fox-trot (don’t you just love that word?) because in this life I am probably the biggest klutz you will ever meet.

On that night though, I was perfectly content to sit in section 110 of the Bobcat Arena in Charlotte, NC with my camera in hand and my own dancing partner in the seat beside me. With excitement, I watched as the dancers made their way across the floor in their bright sultry costumes. I tapped my toe to the beat of the live band which provided the only entertainment for McDaddy as he endured the two-hour show.

The cast danced to a variety of songs ranging from Singin’ In the Rain to Save A Horse, Ride a Cowboy. Drew Lachey was fantastic. And so was Joey Fatone. I held my breath hoping that the 2007 champion, Apollo Anton Ohno would make a surprise guest appearance, but no such luck for this girl this weekend.

I still enjoyed the show. I was impressed with the dancers, both professional and amateur. Their costumes, the live music and, the choreography came together to create a wonderful, entertaining show.

I enjoyed it so much, it inspired me to purchase the Dancing With The Stars Cardio Dance Workout Video.

Oh yes I did.

It’s not pretty, but I get it done.

I have added ballroom dancing to the list (yes, another list) of things I’d like to learn someday. Maybe by then I will have found a truckload of grace and coordination. Right now, the only place I find either of those is in the dictionary. I will continue to be a loyal fan of the show. When the announcer says…. “Dancing the fox-trot with her professional partner, Hottie Maksim Chmerkovskiy, is Princess Julie. And Maks, on the off chance that you happen to drop in on the blog, you should know that I will not be an easy student. I’m klutzy and uncoordinated. Still yet, I’d be a great partner who’d be more than willing to learn and a sure-bet to make the ratings soar.

Until then, I’ll dance with my own star in our bedroom to the sounds of my new-fangled clock radio belting out the sounds of Shania Twain’s – From This Moment, or maybe George Strait’s – I Cross My Heart. When I’m dancing in his arms, I’m perfectly content with my costume, the music and the choreography of my life. I’ll probably never be a star on Dancing With The Stars, but my life partner is the perfect partner for me and I’m glad he’s mine. 

My Favorite Things

fridayfavorites_BigbuttonSince we’re still getting to know eachother around here, I thought it might be fun to tell you about 13 of my favorite things. And, if this was Oprah’s site, she’d probably give ya’ll one of everything. But since I’m not Oprah and ya’ll aren’t here sitting in my audience, all I have to offer is pictures of my favorite things.

I have not included my hubby or my kids on this list, because I don’t consider people to be things.

13 OF MY FAVORITE THINGS

     

1. The Automatic Side Sliding Door opener on my key fob. My grocery getter minivan while not known for its sex appeal is certainly popular in the comfort, usability and space categories. Those automatic sliding side doors have become one of my favorite things because I am typically holding a hand, a purse, a diaper bag, a bag of something and a Dr. Pepper. In other words, I don’t have a free hand to open the door. I especially appreciate them on rainy, windy days.

    

 2. Romance Perfume – My favorite perfume is Romance by Ralph Lauren. It not only smells fabulous, it comes in a cute square bottle.

See full size image

 3. Longaberger Baskets– I collect Longaberger Baskets and have 120+ baskets in my collection. I am also a Longaberger Home Consultant and could set you up with one or two or ten of them.

  

4. Cranberry Chutney Yankee Candle – My all-time favorite candle flavor. I triple love the cranberry chutney scent, although I’m ashamed to admit I have no idea what chutney is. (Note to self: Ask Good Friend Google about Chutney).

    

5. My favorite drink is Dr. Pepper – Before the Great-Weight-Loss-Effort-2008, I kept a never-ending supply of Dr. Pepper in my fridge. Now though, I don’t keep them in the fridge because I do not have the sense to leave them alone. I do enjoy one from time to time when I’m out to dinner though.

   

6. Olive Garden Spaghetti – is my all time favorite meal, although I do love all kinds of spaghetti especially my Mom’s and the Mil’s (Mother-in-law).

   

7. Casting Crowns – I listen to Casting Crowns more than any other group out there. I triple love their music.

   

8.My iPod Nano– McDaddy got me an iPod for Mother’s Day last year and I use it everyday at the gym.  I have 241 songs on my beloved iPod that looks just like the one you see here. My listening library includes Chris Sligh, Mariah Carey, Alanis Morisette, TLC, Sugar Hill Gang, Brandon Heath, Blackstreet, Faith Hill, Natalie Grant, David Archuleta, Coolio, Elton John and Carrie Underwood. See, I told you it was vast.

   

9. My Roomba iRobot – Although it is currently out of commission due to a dead battery, it remains one of my favorite inventions. It is the closest thing to a maid I will ever have.

   

10. My iPhone– It’s like an American express. I don’t leave home without it.

   

11. My TiVo –  In my humble opinion, the TiVo is the greatest invention of my time. Me and my TiVo are very close. We are great friends. Buds. Pals. Cohorts. You get my drift. My daily docket gets longer everyday. Oh, TiVo, I do love you so.

  

12. God’s Promises – His mercies are new daily. I am so undeserving of the blessings in my life, yet, he blesses me anyway. He has made me a new creature and my favorite things would not be complete without including His Word. Now you get the whole Princess thing. I will wear a crown someday and it will be fabulous.

  

13. Saturn Sky – My absolute favorite thing is the sexy, sleek Saturn Sky. If I were to hit the lottery, inherit a fortune or rob a bank, the Saturn dealer would be my very first stop.

There you have it. Thirteen of my favorite things.

Thanks for stopping by.

Visit Daily Dwelling for other Friday Favorites!

Those Pretzel Things

Wfmwbanner

Last week, I posted a simple recipe for easy fabulous fudge. Who knew it would be such a hit? If there’s one thing I love it’s an easy recipe that everybody loves.

I already had this week’s Works For Me Wednesday post written when it dawned on me that indeed, I have one more culinary trick up my proverbial sleeve. So, I filed that post away and quickly threw this one together.

My really good friend, Becky who is a lot like a BFF, only she’s not (because she is TC’s BFF), hosts a highly competitive fun cookie exchange every year around the holidays. I had to miss out on the cookie exchange fun last year because I was invited to the White House had a prior commitment.

This year, I will once again compete for the cookie exchange crown because hello? Do you see the cute little princess up there?

I am a princess.

And that means, I clearly deserve the crown.

Now all I have to do is find the winning cookie.

This was not an official cookie exchange winner, but it’s a winner in my book because it fit my three criteria for any recipe – quick, easy, and easy.

THOSE PRETZEL THINGS

50 Pretzel Squares

50 Rolo Candies (Unwrapped)

50 pieces of whole pecans

1. Preheat Oven to 250 Degrees.

2. Place pretzel pieces on baking sheet.

3. Top each pretzel with one rolo candy.

4. Place in a warm oven long enough to allow the rolo candy to slightly melt on top of the pretzel to hold it into place.

5. Remove from oven and place pecan piece on top.

6. Let cool and ENJOY!

Find more things that Work For You over at Rocks In My Dryer.

Don’t forget about my Longaberger handbag giveaway.  Go throw your name in the hat because a girl can never have too many handbags.

Clearing My Head And A Giveaway

The winner of the Lonaberger Autumn Path Front Pocket Tote is Michelle who does not have a blog, but has a verizon e-mail address. She was lucky Number four who visited my blog and commented on November 25th @ 9:23am.

Congratulations, Michelle. I hope you enjoy the new purse. I will be contacting you by e-mail! You can read about the certified results here.

There are a number of random things rolling around up there in my brain.

Unfortunately for you, there is not much room up there so I have no other choice but to clear out the cobwebs and the useless info to make room for more serious, pressing issues.

Like my birthday.

And Christmas.

And the 412 other things on our calendar for the month of December.

So here goes. (You should imagine me standing here on the screen with a megaphone. Not that I need a megaphone. It’s just that a visual always helps.)

First, I’d like to begin by giving a shout out to the nearly 600 people who have visited my blog since its big reveal (clearly, I watch way too much reality TV) two weeks ago. I say nearly because the little Scope up there in the right hand corner and the live traffic thing in the lower left hand corner don’t always capture the same visitors. Not sure why this is. Maybe it’s hard getting them on the same page, which doesn’t make sense because they are, indeed on the same page.

But seriously, I couldn’t do this thing without you and your support means a lot to me.

Well, actually I could do it without you, but really, that would be pointless.

So, thanks to all of you, my LBF’s. (Loyal Blog Fans)

___

The rotating Christmas tree stand that I have enjoyed for four years finally gave up the ghost. My Christmas tree is a spectacular sight. It’s even more spectacular when it rotates. It worked beautifully the first few years when it rotated a 7 foot tree. Then, I found a 9 foot Vienna Pine that I simply had to have. McDaddy mentioned one or two or ten times that the new tree was too much for the rotating stand. The thing about McDaddy is that he is rarely wrong when it comes to assessing domestic matters.

Whatever.

Turns out the popping and cracking of the stand were battle cries.

And the war was lost.

RIP little Christmas tree stand. We’ve been through a lot and I will miss you.

And replace you if I can find another one. Ahem!

___

My aunt is visiting from California and I will be hosting Thanksgiving here at the McResidence. At least eleven of us. Maybe more. My family and McDaddy’s family. Yes, you heard right folks. Both sides of the family in one room.

We are blessed that our parents get along and enjoy each other’s company.

YAY! For us.

Hosting the dinner here ensures that we will not have to run from house to house to visit parents, grandparents and inlaws. I plan to bust out our fine china because I am a firm believer that if you don’t use it, you are really not enjoying it.

Yes, I am plum full of quirks my friends.

My china looks like this.

Unfortunately while locating this picture (remember I like visuals), I discovered that my china is now discontinued.

I will also make this dessert because we love it around here.

I must admit though that my chocolate delight usually looks nothing like this chocolate delight because I never think to use my fancy glass compote thing that you see here, opting for the handy 9X13 Longaberger baking dish. On top of that, I generally get overly excited and cause the mixture to look more like mud. You can find the recipe here.

Finally, I have some really exciting news.

It’s my first give-away.

Up for grabs is this Longaberger Autumn Path Front Pocket Tote.

WOW! That’s a mouth full. Or a hand full if you’re typing it like me. I happen to be a Longaberger Home Consultant and since I’m too stingy to part with one of my beloved baskets, I thought I’d give this away instead.

You can win it by simply leaving a comment on this post telling me why you need a new handbag.

Comments will remain open until noon on Saturday when my new friend, Random Dot Org will pick a winner. Contest is open to US Residents (sorry International LBF’s) and I am requesting that you enter only once. The winner will be announced at the top of this post.

Carry On.

(A big thanks to Scribbit for plugging the give-away over at her place).

The Split Second

I tripped over a blog post today that began Dear Mother.

Interesting.

As I read the post, I discovered that the letter was written as part of a Christmas Project a husband (Mr. Anonymous) was creating for his wife. The Mother Letter Project is a gift written by mothers that Mr. Anonymous will present to his wife as a Christmas gift this year. I won’t go into details about how or why the project came about, but I invite you to visit the link to learn more about it.

As a participant, mothers are asked to write a letter to a mother, from a mother. The letter is to begin Dear Mother and should be signed by the writer. Oh, and if you submit your letter before Christmas, you too, will receive a copy of the letters.

The following letter is my contribution to Mr. Anonymous’ project.

Dear Mother:

This motherhood thing sure is tricky.

After spending nine long months preparing, reading and praying for the child that is growing inside of you, everything that you read will be considered null and void the first time your sweet little angel poops in an explosive manner splattering the pack-n-play, his third onesie and anything else within a two-mile radius.

And while we’re on the subject of gross, lets not forget the whole breastfeeding thing you are attempting. In breastfeeding class, the lactation guru said it would be natural and glorious and that harps would sound as you provided nourishment for your baby the way no one else can.

She forgot to mention that it might take three long, gut wrenching, disastrous, painful, nerve wracking weeks.

If that’s not enough, just hold on until the first fever hits. You will be certain this is the end of the world as you know it and that your child’s Pediatrician had better have a dandy excuse for waiting twenty-six minutes to return your call.

As you and your bundle-o-joy become better acquainted and you begin to get more than four hours of sleep per night, it gets a little easier and more enjoyable. Before you know it, you will be the resident expert on motherhood and find yourself dosing out advice to other mothers in areas such as the uselessness of generic diapers, the wonder that is Mylicon drops, why it’s okay to give your toothless child cheerios, and, maybe even the history of The Wiggles.

Please do not misunderstand me.

I absolutely love every part of motherhood. It was and remains an awesome learning experience for me. The books, while admittedly helpful did not begin to scratch the surface regarding the trials and tribulations of the daily grind called motherhood.

Motherhood changed me, made me, rearranged me, became me and tamed me.

This change took place in the matter of a split-second.

The split-second between pregnancy and birth.

Once you become a mother the sun shines brighter, the rain smells sweeter, the grass is greener, the flowers smell better and the wind sings a little song as it blows.

It is an honor and a privilege to be a mother. It is an honor I take very seriously. I want to be the best mother I can possibly be because there are no second chances. I want my boys to look back on their childhood and know without a shadow of a doubt that for all of my faults and failures, they were loved unconditionally and with every fiber of my being.

To the world, you are but one person. But to one person, you are the world.

I get it now.

I really get it now.

Love, Julie

A Thankful Heart

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Colossians 3:15

Today I am thankful for…..

  • 2 healthy kids
  • a Christian husband
  • Successful Lasek Surgery
  • Supportive Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Stevie’s awesome Kindergarten teacher
  • Our lovely little church
  • A group of friends who would do anything for us
  • The Epipen
  • Cranberry Chutney Yankee Candles
  • TiVo
  • God’s amazing grace
  • The little girl we sponsor from Malawi, Mercy
  • Dr. Pepper
  • A warm, happy home
  • Drive Throughs
  • In-Laws (seriously, I love em’)
  • No Bake Cookies
  • Faith
  • Gerbera Daisies
  • Photographic Memories
  • Hugs from my 3 favorite fellas
  • Chocolate
  • Heated van seats
  • My LBFs (Loyal Blog Fans)
  • Being a stat-at-home-mom
  • All the joy that my life brings

Although it appears I’m more thankful for Lasek Surgery than I am supportive parents, you should know the list is in no particular order because, well, I wouldn’t know who to put on top.

What are you thankful for?

Have a wonderful Sunday!

My Fillings About The Dentist

My academic pursuits have been over for at least ten years. That means with the exception of 2 pregnancy tests and a few DT (Defense Tactics – fancy, I know!) Tests in jail, I haven’t taken or flunked any other tests since then. That all changed a few weeks ago. I flunked a test – big time! With six months to prepare, you’d think I would have passed with flying colors. And, really, I should have passed because I did indeed floss a lot more than I had last time. 

Smiling, I waltzed into the exam room and plopped down in the chair awaiting my test results. The floss nazi leaned me back and started poking around the inside of my mouth with that metal torture tool.

Instead of allowing myself to proceed with dread however, I decided I was going somewhere else. I imagined myself relaxing on the beach with the sun shining down on me. The sound of the waves crashing up on the beach. As the torture began, the hygenist probed and pushed, poked and plucked.

I squirmed, closed me eyes and decided the beach daydream was over well before it began. With the pain I was in, it would have been more appropriate to imagine myself on a bed of nails in the middle of the dessert.

After what seemed like hours, the cleaning lady changed methods of torture and started fighting the evil forces of plaque with the nasty, gritty flouride. I fought the urge to swallow and my gag reflex was fighting with my little hangie down thing in the back of my throat. I hate the gritty flouride. Don’t get me wrong – I love the way my teeth feel afterward, but, at the time, it’s all I can do to get past it.  And in the middle of that, she starts in with that water hose and sweeper pipe thing.

I wondered if she had remembered to change that vacuum thing since she last used it on the sorry sap that sat in the chair before me. Just as I came back to reality, I was doused with water and it was running down the side of my cheek. The dental assistant offered up some lame excuse that the squirter was malfuntioning. I’m inclined to believe however, that she was relieving some pent-up frustration because  I caught a glimpse of her smile as she was swiping my face with that scratchy, paper bib.

The entire process stinks.

The only high-light was hearing “I Can Only Imagine” quietly erupting from the speakers. It’s as if the soft-rock station is supposed to somehow soothe you. It’s hard to soothe, when you’re in the torture chair. My mouth was wide open, the metal tool was jammed half way down my throat, water was squirting all over my face and I silently prayed that I could get through it without gagging.

After the flouride thing was over, I was relieved that I had once again completed this dental session and grateful that I was done for another six months. The cleaning lady, with her back to me this time was rummaging through a drawer. As she whirled around, I caught a glimpse of the shiny tool she was holding and I had to make a quick decision. Lay there for more torture or make a run for it. After all, I was one door away from the waiting room and surely I had a right to leave. 

Before I could make my decision, I heard the dreaded, “We have to probe your pockets this time.”

Probe my pockets? That surely wouldn’t take long… a nickel, three pennines and some lint…..

“Open wide please” – oh those pockets. She jammed that metal claw into the depths of my gums and I silently wished I was anywhere but there in that chair in Room 1.  A long process followed and I silently prayed that the Good Lord would put me out of my ever-lovin misery.

No such luck! 

Finally, I heard the clang of the metal tool against the metal tray indicating that she was done with me and my poorly flossed teeth. Crazy lady leaned over, opened yet another drawer and pulled out the big hand-held mirror. Amusingly, she stated, “I want you to hold this so I can show you how to floss properly.”

You see, this is the part I hate. After all, I’m 34 years old and I certainly know how to floss. I may not do it as much as often as I should, but who really does that?  (Except McDaddy who faithfully flosses nightly).  I’ve tried to do so much better. After my last appointment and follow-up floss lesson, I decided I was going to do better this time. It’s humiliating and unnecessary. And I have done better. Lots better. I guess the floss didn’t visit enough addresses on Teeth Street.  

TOOTH 1 and TOOTH 11 – yup, you guessed it… full pockets. What are they full of anyway? This mornings biscuit? Yesterday’s veggie soup? Maybe even March’s spaghetti…. 

Bad Visual. Yes, I know.

She ended her dental lecture with some words of wisdom… 

You don’t really have to floss all your teeth – just the ones you want to keep! 

A poet too, eh? Cute, real cute! 

So, I failed the floss test – royally, yet again! This time though she even suggested I get a mouthwash rinse. Now, on top of my flossing responsibilities, I have to remember to do the vomit juice dental rinse too. Anymore nightly dental responsibilites and I might not make it to bed at all.

Not one to embrace failure, I will again make a personal pact with myself to floss my pearly whites more often! I mean how hard could it be to remember to rake that little piece of string through my teeth and into my gums. So, I’ve already started prepraing for my next exam in March. 

If you happen to have the Flossing Cliff Notes, I’d love to borrow them. I’m tired of filling like a failure.