Remember When

It’s Friday and I am pooped!

I currently serve as head homeroom mother in Stevie’s kindergarten class and today (Friday) is the Class Christmas Party. So that means I have loaded up on blood pressure medicine and a couple of tylenol for good measure.

Oh I kid.

I have been busy filling 22 treat bags with all manner of treat bag stuff like markers, erasers, gum, coloring books and candy. After that I got a wild hair up my you-know-what and decorated an ornament for each child with their name and the Kindergarten class and year on it. That little venture took about 2 hours longer than I had planned.

Me and my big ideas.

I actually enjoy volunteering in his classroom. It gives me a chance to get to know the kids and it is one of the best forms of entertainment on the planet.

Then, later on this evening, McDaddy and I have a holiday party to attend. It is an annual shin-dig that we look forward to each year. The kiddos will stay with a sitter, and we will enjoy an evening without wiping bottoms, repeating ‘you have to share’ and ‘don’t touch that’.

Then another party on Saturday.

A basketball game on Sunday.

A Christmas program at church on Sunday.

Seriously, does it ever stop?

Tis the season.

Even though I feel like I am so far behind on all holiday related tasks, I love every single thing about the holidays. I just wish I had more time.

Since I have so much on my to-do list today, I decided to take it easy and play along with Island Life’s Aloha Friday.

You know the drill. I ask a simple question. You answer it. Today’s question is…

What is your favorite Christmas memory?

I have lots of favorite memories, but perhaps my fondest memory is waking up on Christmas morning before anyone else was awake to look at the goodies Santa left for me.

My other fondest memory is the year my mom numbered each gift with a number instead of a name because a certan nosey little girl always tried to pick the tape from the end of the gifts. Which would have been a great idea if she hadn’t lost the master list. You can imagine my surprise when I opened the KISS album when I was 8 years old that was intended for my brother. Likewise, my brother was not thrilled when he opened my Hello Kitty Diary.

Fun times!

Happy Friday Ya’ll!

Thursday Thirteen – Weird Things About Me!

If you happen to be one of my real life friends, you probably laughed when you read that title, because, if you really know me, you’d know that there are a lot of things about me that are, um, werid. If you had the ability to see inside this head-o-mine, it might surprise you that I am able to get anything done. And the fact that the word ‘inmates’ shows up in my blog title should tell you something.

Don’t we all have our things?

Where to start…

1. I am very particular about the way I fold my towels.  I fold towels in half and then in half again and I stack them so that the folded edges are facing front like these.  When towels are thrown in the cabinet all willy-nilly, it makes me crazy. Plus, just look how nice that looks.

I told you I’m a weird one.

2. It is a pet peeve of mine to receive a piece of mail with an upside-down stamp. I just don’t get why you can’t spend 1.2 seconds to put the stamp on ride-side-up. And, if you want to know the truth (and I know y’all do!) I really prefer the stamp to be straight against the right side and top of the envelope.

3.  I love symmetry. Not sure why, but I like everything to be even. Even silly un-important things like the icons on my desktop. Things just look better when they are even, don’t ya think?

4. I make all of the beds in my home very first thing in the morning unless I am running absolutely late or bleeding. Not that bleeding has ever been an excuse for me not to make the beds, but you get the point, right?

5. I have been known to take random pictures of myself and have pretty much perfected the technique.

Just ask christian comedian Anita Renfroe and pay no attention to that double chin.

me-anita

6.  If I come to your house and use the restroom, there is a pretty good chance I will take a peek in your bathtub to see what kind of shampoo you use.

Just keepin’ it real here, folks.

7.  If I am in the right kind of mood, clutter has the ability to send me rightovertheedge. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have clutter here at the McResidence, I’m just saying I don’t really like it. But if you’re talking about the little green Victorian bench in our bedroom, then all bets are off. I’m not sure why I can’t keep it cleaned off, but I really can’t. I am seriously ready to get rid of it. That’s the only way I can think of to keep from piling it up with clothes and all manner of stuff.

8.  I have always wanted to watch an embalming. I know it sounds crazy, but I am too, so there.

[UPDATED: Finally got to mark that off of my list. You can read all about it, here.]

9.  After a year of being with this clock, I have yet to figure it out completely. I swear the thing is smarter than I am. And that fact drives me nuts!

10. I have serious opinions about my funeral. I have mentioned before that I would love to be buried in a Casket Basket. If the Longaberger’s are not available to weave this ole gal a basket casket, then the finest casket of solid mahogany will be fine. And it would be great if someone would bedazzle the sucker. Y’all know I love some bling. Look at it like this… it will be the last gift that anyone will ever purchase for me, so, why not splurge? Remember, I said solid and mahogany, not pressed and wood.

 

11. I may be known in some circles as a control freak. (ahem! see #10)

12. I love Mexican food, but the site of guacamole makes me gag. Seriously, if you’ve ever changed a baby poop diaper, I have no idea how you could eat the stuff.

And last but not least.

13. I love, love, love the Olympics.

And most especially this guy.

Just in case you have been living in a cave, that is the man, the machine and my boyfriend, Apollo Ohno.

There.

Doesn’t it feel good to know there’s lots of people out there crazier than you?

Enjoy your Thursday, ya’ll!

What A Neat Idea!

Wfmwbanner

Welcome to another addition of  Works For Me Wednesday. I actually posted this two weeks ago, but I posted the link wrong over at Rocks In My Dryer and I got deleted by Mr. Linky. With a little luck, I’ll use a little more caution in posting the link.

This is too good not to share, so I’m posting it again.

This tip that really works for me. It’s handy and even better than that, this tip is free.

For storing plastic grocery bags, use an empty paper towel roll.

In other words, you can use an empty paper towel (or toilet paper) roll to stuff loose grocery bags into. This little tip works for me and it will work for you too by organizing that annoying mound of grocery bags into a neat little tube. For storing the bags in smaller areas (like a mini-van), you can either cut the paper towel roll in half or use an empty toilet paper roll.

Now, why didn’t I think of that?

Head on over to Rocks In My Dryer and find other things that work for you!!!!

Just Our Christmas Letter

 

Faith From Walk With Me By Faith is hosting a Christmas Card Carousel today and I thought I’d play along. Although I don’t have a picture of our actual Christmas card, I am including our Christmas letter and picture. I am very particular about the cards I send. I hand sign each and everyone and hand write the address on each one. Our Christmas card includes a picture and one of those dreaded Christmas letters, although I didn’t have enough of either for all of my cards this year. I send about 200 cards and it is something I really enjoy!

  

Here is our family Christmas Picture.

 

another-crop

This is our Christmas letter that we included in our Christmas cards this year!

Oh, hi. I didn’t see you there. It’s me, Alex. Since mommy is super busy, she asked me to write this year’s edition of the McC Family Christmas Newsletter.  

I guess I’ll start with me. I’ve had a great year which included me turning “free” years old on November 1st.  I have great manners and am slowly learning about conflict resolution. Oh man, everything in this house would be so much easier if they would do things my way. I have so many things to remember. I’ve learned to count to ten this year and know my ABC’s. I sing with the Love Notes at our church and I enjoy having mommy all to myself during the day. I take a nap only when it is absolutely necessary.  

My big “brudder,” Stevie started Kindergarten this year and he loves school. His teacher is a sweet lady and he likes her a lot. When he is at home, he enjoys playing with cars, singing karaoke (CARS soundtrack), driving his power wheels JEEP, and helping daddy with various projects around the house requiring tools. His favorite thing is going off-roading with daddy in the jeep. He plays basketball for the youth league in Sissonville, rings with the J.O.Y. Bells at our church and enjoys singing for the Lord during youth services. He will celebrate his sixth birthday in a few days. 

My daddy, Steve is a busy man. He didn’t travel quite as much this year and we are so happy about that. He still works for Honeywell and is a Major in the WV Air National Guard. On weekends, he can often be found out in the woods 4-wheelin’ in his JEEP, or in the garage fixing something that he broke on the JEEP. At Goldtown Community Church, daddy plays drums or runs the sound board and he is also the web-master for the church web-site – www.goldtowncommunitychurch.com. He took mommy on a surprise trip for their 10th“versary.” Mommy had no idea where they were going until they boarded the plane for Minneapolis, Minnesota and then she knew they were headed for the Mall of America. Daddy is preparing for something called a deployment early next year, but I’m not sure what that is. They haven’t discussed it with me yet. (Why am I always the last to know?) 

Julie, my mommy, is one busy woman. And by busy woman, I mean, she! never! stops! She loves to drag me around Wal-Mart and she’s constantly reminding me that I should be potty training. (Phew! So many demands). She teaches Pioneers at our church, enjoys going to the gym, and she has written a couple of freelance articles for the newspaper. She writes daily on her blog, ‘From Inmates To Playdates’ and I know she would love for you to stop by. Go to -www.frominmatestoplaydates.com. She is also head homeroom mother in “Steebie’s” kindergarten class and volunteers at his school. 

Phew! I hope I didn’t leave anything out. God has blessed our family this year and we are so grateful for His love and His mercy in our lives. As a family, we pray for his guidance and his grace as we look ahead to 2009.

 From our home to yours, Merry Christmas!

 Love, Steve, Julie, Stevie and me, Alex.

Airing My [not so] Dirty Laundry

With a title like that, I knew your curiosity would get the best of you.

You may notice on the left hand column of my blog, there is a box over there labeled ‘Where Did You Come From?’ That little box not only records most visitors to my blog, it also lets me know where people come from and how they found me. I am always amused to click on that box and find out that I’ve been located by a reader going to google and ‘googling’ Crazy Longaberger Lady, or Letters to inmates.

Nice.

Real nice.

Because of that, I understand the importance of a really good blog title. And, you know someone will google it. 

—–

You may be surprised to find out that I really intend to air my [not so] dirty laundry. Warning: What you are about to see may be shocking. Please proceed with caution.

dirty-laundry

For those of you who have never seen anything quite like this before, I’ll just go ahead and tell you that this does not happen overnight. It takes days, maybe weeks of  ‘I’ll get it tomorrows’, ‘I’m too tireds’, and ‘ I really need to blogs’ for your laundry to pile up like this.That is five loads of laundry. My fellas were thankful that I got it done just in time for them to have clean “draws” to wear. Well, all of the fellas except for the one still in Huggies, but that’s a whole nother story.

—–

In between loads of laundry, the McResidence celebrated two birthdays last week. I celebrated my 35th birthday on Thursday and my sweet Stevie celebrated his 6th birthday the very next day. I spent the first half of my birthday volunteering at Santa’s Workshop at Stevie’s school. [Side Note: If you have never volunteered at Santa’s Workshop, you are missing out. It is quite an experience’].

That evening, McDaddy took me for a birthday dinner at Outback because oh sweet hallelujah, I do love me a juicy steak and a good salad slathered in creamy blue cheese.

It was a quick dinner because we agreed to volunteer for World Vision that evening. [Note To Self: Blog about Mercy soon!] A group that you may or may not have heard of, along with another really famous artist that you might have heard on KLOVE came to town for a Christmas concert, on my birthday mind you, and God being who He is, made a way for me and McDaddy to go.

FOR! FREE!

Casting Crowns and Natalie Grant rocked the house. The stage was decorated beautifully.

img_3908

Mark Hall – Casting Crowns

img_3913

The beautiful, amazingly talented Natalie Grant

img_3932

In addition to wonderful music and an enjoyable evening with our friend, Syvannah, McDaddy andI had the opportunity to share our World Vision experience with others who decided to sponsor a child from another country.

My story about our little girl Mercy (from Malawi) is so special to my heart. I don’t want to get into her story in this post about dirty laundry and all, but I promise, very soon, I will share it with you.

This is what a 35 year old who has walked in the pouring rain to see her favorite group perform on her birthday looks like.

img_3907

—–

Another exciting happening at the McResidence is that we went from this little booger:

old-tv

 

To this monster:

img_3906

You can read all about that story right over here, but I’ve been threatened with boycott if I write one more post about a gadget (HG!), so I won’t go any further with that, except to say I! AM! IN! LOVE!. 

Blog fans meet my daily docket.

The Amazing Race, Bob The Builder, The Bold and The Beautiful, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, College Football (GO! MOUNTAINEERS!), Don’t Forget the Lyrics and Dr. Phil.

You can sure learn a lot about a girl by scrolling through her TiVo. (Ahem!).

—–

If that wasn’t enough excitement, we also had a little par-tay for a certain little boy who turned 6 the day after I turned 35.  Blog fans meet Stevie.

img_3943

And here he is trying to beat the crap out of the most durable pinata on the planet.

img_3955

Ah yes, the trusty baton from my majorettin’ days. And, now that I think about it, that may or may not have had a significant effect on the pinata. It took about 912 hits for that thing to bust, but at least each kid got his or her fair share of turns.

—–

If you weren’t in such a hurry to get out of here, I’d tell you about our ladies brunch. Instead though, I think I’ll just wait and give it it’s very own post. A fabulous time was had by all.

If you haven’t toured my home yet, you can knock on the door and someone will let you in  over there.

Enjoy!

I’ve Been Expecting You!

Hello bloggy friends (and Boo Mama)! I’ve been expecting you.

I am delighted that you are here. This is my first time joining Boo Mama and her Christmas Tour Of Homes. I have also joined Hooked On Holiday House Tours too.  Today, I am also joining Kimba at A Soft Place To Land for her bloggy tour. 

You can imagine my excitement. I will go ahead and warn you that I come from a long line of talkers, so I will do my very best to keep the commentary to a minimum.

Come on in and enjoy the tour! Welcome to my humble abode, known around these parts as the McResidence which is located in the mountains of West Virginia.

img_3998

This is the view when you walk in my front door. McDaddy was so kind to add the under-the-counter lights last year, I do think it is just lovely. Please get a good look at my counter-tops. It is rare that they are ever clear. Especially the counter where you see the bar-stools. For some reason , that counter is the catch all. It catches all manner of junk debris mail, school papers and newspapers.

img_4008

At the McResidence, the living/dining/kitchen area is one big room, which we lovingly refer to as the great room.

Splitting the dining/living area is our Christmas tree. I love my Christmas tree and enjoy it from before Thanksgiving to after the New Year. It is decorated with home-made ornaments from my boys, ornaments from every vacation locale we have visited, pictures of all 11 of our nieces and nephews, each year’s Christmas card picture and ornaments that just scream ‘Hey, this is who we are’ (In other words, you might find a jeep ornament, a Bureau of Prisons ornament, a crown, some Longaberger baskets, a motorcycle or two, lots of snowmen because I *heart* them, Official White House ornaments (Courtesy of the in-laws), and four ornaments of front doors representing each of the four homes we have lived in since our marriage in 1998).

img_4020

And another view….

img_19341

You can clearly see my dining room table from this picture. If you were here, we’d sit there and enjoy some of this fabulous fudge and some of those pretzel things  while we sipped hot chocolate or Dr. Pepper.

After you’re done eating, I’ll show you a few of my favorite ornaments.

ornament1img_4000img_4001img_4003snowshoe

I know! I know! Aren’t they adorable? Yes, you read that right. It says Federal Bureau of Prisons. You should know that no matter where I am, if there is a place to shop, I will find it. You can read all about my prison story here.

Movingrightalong. 

In our great room, we have a loft. McDaddy is such a sweet man for risking his life to make sure we have a beautiful holiday display in our home. *gasping*  Yes indeed, he is a brave prince!

 img_1928

Note to self: Check to make sure life insurance is current.

To get there, he has to climb the ladder, climb over that rail and sit on that “shelf”. He moves the stuff that sits there throughout the year and designs this.

img_4010

Which I think you’ll agree looks even prettier at night and with the snowman added.

img_1932

And just for the occasion, I climbed the ladder to the loft to snap this fancy picture just for all of you. You may notice Superman on the back of the couch. Apparently, that’s what happens when you turn off  The Charlie Brown Christmas Special long enough to get a picture from the loft.

img_4016

My bay window houses the bulk of my snowman collection. I have a white sheet draped over boxes and strands of clear lights scattered underneath.

img_4014

This is my nativity scene. Although it appears to be just an ordinary nativity scene, it is special because I painted it with my own little hands in a ceramics class when I was 12 years old (1985). You probably can’t see it, but the donkey on the far left just behind the shepherd is missing part of his ear. Wonder if he was singing, Do You Hear What I Hear?  I added the battery powered light because I thought it looked like a star shining in the east.

img_3790

Clever. I know.

And immediately after typing that last sentence I just realized the light is sitting to the west of the manger. Clearly my geography skills are as bad as my math skillz.

This little bench sits in the living area and has become known as Basket Bear Central because, well? do you see all the bears and baskets in the picture?

img_3786

Since we don’t have a mantle, I use these cute stocking holders from Target to hold our stockings. Behind the wood wall are the stairs leading to our basement. I love these stocking holders because they have little chalkboards for the names. That means that you can change them from year to year. This year, Stevie had fun assigning the stockings AND writing the names in his own handwriting.

img_3791

Because no tour of my house is complete without a peek at our bathroom, here it is. I have included it because the bathroom houses the rest of my snowman collection.

img_4022

Can’t you just imagine all of those snowmen eyes looking at you as you do your business?

But wait. There’s more.

I promise, I’m hurrying. I know ya’ll have a lot of stops to make. Real quick, this sweet little tree is in Stevie’s room.

stevies-tree

And Alex’s tree.

img_3776

Whew!  I hope that was as much fun for you as it was for me. I sure appreciate you coming by.

From my family to yours… Merry CHRISTmas!

I Am A Princess

Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.  II Timothy 4:8

 

Proof that yes indeed, I am a Princess!

Enjoy your Sunday.

Princess Julie

Standing Tall

img_37681

Dear Internets:

Voting is now open for Island Life’s Christmas Tree Decorating Contest. Please hop over there and vote for me. You can vote one time each day and voting is open until December 16th. Click on comments and tell them you’re voting for me.

I am Tree #4

You can read about my entry here.

Happy Voting!

Love, The McChristmas Tree

Another Trip Around The Sun

Yesterday, I celebrated my 35th birthday. I served all day long in one capacity or another and I.Am.Pooped!

For that reason, I am playing along with Island Life’s Aloha Friday today.

I would love to take the time right this minute to fill you in on my day, but I am worn out and have another big day ahead of me. You see, on my 29th birthday, I was 8 months pregnant and on bed rest. I had spent the last 4 weeks in bed and had 4 more weeks before my baby was due.

Because I love me some Italian food, I decided I was going to the Olive Garden for my birthday.

Even though I was on bed-rest.

Dumb Idea.

Yes, I know.

Especially two weeks before Christmas.

To make a long story very short, I enjoyed dinner with my parents and McDaddy and will never forget that particular dinner. We enjoyed each other’s company, talked about my birth and celebrated my life.

The next day, at my normal Doctor visit, my blood pressure was extremely high (the reason I was on bed-rest in the first place), and I was told that I would have a baby that day. On Thursday, December 12th, I gave birth to a little boy who was 8lbs. 10 ounces (and remember that he was 4 weeks early) one day after my own birthday.

Each year as I celebrate my own birthday, I can’t help but think about that particular birthday. Tonight, I celebrated by seeing Casting Crowns in concert. It was a fabulous concert and a wonderful evening, but I’ll save that story for another day.

To play along with Island Life’s Aloha Friday, you know the drill. I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response. Today’s question is…..

When Is Your Birthday?

I was born on Tuesday, December 11, 1973.

That means I’m half-way to 70. 

And living the best years of my life!

The 12 McDays of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, McDaddy gave to me…..

A Bright New Saturn Sky

On the second day of Christmas, McDaddy gave to me…

Two new shoes and a Bright New Saturn Sky

On the third day of Christmas, McDaddy gave to me…

Three fossil watches, two new shoes and a bright new shiny saturn sky.

On the fourth day of Christmas, McDaddy gave to me…

Four really cool gadgets, three fossil watches, two new shoes and a bright new shiny saturn sky.

On the fifth day of Christmas McDaddy gave to me…

FIVE BIG FAT CARATS, four really cool gadgets, three fossil watches, two new shoes and a bright new shiny Saturn Sky.

On the sixth day of Chirstmas, McDaddy gave to me…

Six days at the spa, FIVE BIG FAT CARATS, four really cool gadgets, three fossil watches, two new shoes and a bright new shiny Saturn Sky.

On the seventh day of Christmas McDaddy gave to me…

Seven days in Maui, Six days at the spa, FIVE BIG FAT CARATS, four really cool gadgets, three fossil watches, two new shoes, and a bright new shiny Saturn Sky.

On the eighth day of Christmas, McDaddy gave to me…

Eight Longaberger baskets, Seven days in Maui, Six days at the spa, FIVE BIG FAT CARATS, four really cool gadgets, three fossil watches, two new shoes and a bright new shiny Saturn Sky.

On the ninth day of Christmas, McDaddy came gave to me…

Nine Bath and Body Works Soaps, Eight Longaberger baskets, Seven days in Maui, Six days at the spa, FIVE BIG FAT CARATS, four really cool gadgets, three fossil watches, two new shoes and a bright new shiny Saturn Sky.

On the tenth day of Christmas, McDaddy gave to me…

Ten Yankee Candles, Nine Bath and Body Works Soaps, Eight Longaberger baskets, Seven days in Maui, Six days at the spa, FIVE BIG FAT CARATS, four really cool gadgets, three fossil watches, two Nike Shox and a bright new shiny Saturn Sky.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, McDaddy gave to me…

Eleven pairs of heels, Ten Yankee Candles, Nine Bath and Body Works Soaps, Eight Longaberger baskets, Seven days in Maui, Six days at the spa, FIVE BIG FAT CARATS, four really cool gadgets, three fossil watches, two new shoes, and a bright new shiny Saturn Sky.

On the twelth day of Christmas, McDaddy gave to me…

Twelve ounces of fine perfume, Eleven pairs of heels, Ten Yankee Candles, Nine Bath and Body Works Soaps, Eight Longaberger baskets, Seven days in Maui, Six days at the spa, FIVE BIG FAT CARATS, four really cool gadgets, three fossil watches, two new shoes and a bright new shiny Saturn Sky.

There you have it! My 12 days of Christmas. And, since today is my 35th birthday, these are some great gift giving ideas too!

I’m off to see Casting Crowns. Details to follow!