Just So You Know

TO: My 2 Sweet Boys

FROM: Your Mom

DATE: June 1, 2009

RE: Just So You Know


Dear Boys:

Guess what? WE ARE ONE MONTH CLOSER TO DADDY COMING HOME!!!! Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell. It’s just that I know how excited we all are to have him back at home. It can’t come soon enough for any of us.

We all had a great time visiting daddy in Cuba last month. I am grateful for the chance to spend the week with daddy. That was certainly an added privilege none of us were expecting when we first heard about the deployment last April. God is good!

I’d like to start by saying the two of you are absolutely wearing me out. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE! Stop. putting. foreign. nasty. dirty. germ infested objects. in. your. mouth! mkay? Thank you! I don’t know how much plainer I can be. There is some type of swine flu making its way throughout the country and as hard as I try, every single day one of ya’ll have something else in your mouth that shouldn’t be there. It is nasty and it is making me crazy.

Aside from that? Things are great.

The two of you generally play very well together and you are great friends.

I look at the two of you each day and thank God for making us a family. You are both so much fun. Both of you crack me up with some of the things you say and do. I am blessed and I never want to take the two of you for granted.

Love, Mommy


Dear Stevie:

I know that you love the Wii. Really I do. But, dang, I get tired of you asking me twenty thousand times a day if you can play the thing. There is nothing I would love more than to tell you that you can sit and veg out all the live, long, day. However, statistics (and probably CPS) suggest that might not be such a great idea. So please, can you just chill out. It ispossible to be at home and to live through an entire day without having your head stuck in a Wii, a DS or a computer game. Really. It is possible.

I am so sad that you are almost finished with kindergarten. It has been a horrible week for me coming to terms with the fact that you will soon be a big, first grader. You have talked at length about first grade and all it has to offer you. I know that you will do fine and that you and first grade will get along fabulously. You are growing up so quickly. I’d love to stop time for a few years months. You enjoyed kindergarten so much. I am thankful for Mrs. F. and Mrs. B. They are wonderful kindergarten teachers and I am so thankful that you had such an enjoyable year. I pray that you get an awesome first grade teacher too!

I love you, sweet boy!

Love, Mommy


Dear Alex:

I have seen a huge change in your behavior over the past few weeks. I am thankful that you and the temper tantrum are breaking ties. I know ya’ll were close friends. Believe me when I say there are other friends out there. Friends that will be better for you than the tantrum. Your time will be better spent doing other things. Things like giving mama a heart attack when you pull a stunt like this….

Or making me and daddy smile while we watch you “throw wocks in the creek”…..

You couldn’t care less about safety. I pray daily that God will protect you!!! It is so much fun to watch you run and explore. We will be talking a lot about pre-school during the next few months. I can’t believe it is almost that time.

You have cracked me up several times this month.

While we were in Cuba, Stevie asked you when your birthday was. You responded “Remember the first.”

[Your birthday is actually November the first]

Then, one night in church you whispered to me that you knew what Jesus’ last name was. When I asked you what it was, you responded, “Christ.” Then, you proceeded to ask me what his middle name was. A few minutes later, you looked up and asked me if God and Jesus were friends or “brudders.” That makes me smile, sweet boy. You are taking it all in.

I love you buddy!

Love, Mommy

Through The Clouds

While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

Matthew 17:5

Driving Me Crazy

There is a reason West Virginia is called, “Wild, Wonderful, West Virginia”.
I’m guessing that name has nothing to do with the drivers on our interstate highways.

Oh, internets, I may need an additional blood pressure pill after this post.
Why is it that some drivers feel like it is safe to send an e-mail on their blackberry, chug a latte, retrieve coordinates on their GPS, apply mascara and enjoy the happy meal that is sprawled out across their lap.
All while they are operating a moving vehicle. Seriously. I Just. Don’t. Get. It.
And I’m just going to throw this out there… in some instances the value of aforementioned techno devices is substantially more than the hoopty they are driving.
Just Sayin’
Some days, it is all I can do to make it home with all of my sanity. Because my sanity? Sometimes it gets left on the interstate because there is a rude driver or two who decides they don’t have the four seconds it would take to let another vehicle merge in front of them.

And speaking of vehicles, I was highly amused during our recent drive to Washington, DC by the vast number of  people who use their vehicles as moving billboards by plastering bumper stickers all. over. the. back. bumper. 

You know the ones of which I speak. 

“I’m a gun-totin’ democrat”
“Honk if parts fall off”
“Long Live Kurt Cobain”
“If you can’t feed them, don’t breed them”
“Don’t blame me, I voted for Kerry”
“I wish my car retained as much gas as I do”
“My other car is a broom”
“Hillary is my homegirl”
“My other ride is Your Mom”
“Drive It Like You Stole It”
Cheap entertainment at its finest.
But, the all-time, quickest route to road rage for me?

It happens when you are in a construction zone and  drivers are “encouraged” to merge because of an upcoming lane closing.

Please, please, please tell me that you are not one of the people who refuse to merge into the “open” lane, instead opting to travel in the lane that is closing until the last.possible.second and then expect all of the drivers who have merged when they were supposed to let you in because you are out of roadway. 

Because those people? Those people aggravate the snot out of me.

What about you? Got a favorite bumper sticker?

Thursday Thirteen – The Letter P

Wow! I can’t hardly believe that we’ve already made our way to the letter “P”

I need to be coming up with some ideas for Thursday Thirteens once we make it all the way through to “Z” so any suggestions from you, my loyal blog fans would be kindly appreciated.

Without further ado, may I present the Letter “P”

1. PHONE – I currently have this cell phone

but, I’ve been hinting nagging McDaddy that I want need one of these….

I’ll let you know how that goes.

2. PIANO – I took piano lessons for six years. When I was younger I thought I might be a concert pianist. Sadly, it takes way more than six years to play well enough to be an anything pianist. I still enjoy playing though.

3. PURSE – For our anniversary, McDaddy took me to the Naval Exchange at his six month deployment locale to pick out a Coach purse. They happened to be 50% off last week. Wouldn’t you know they didn’t have even onethat really jumped out at me. I went to Macy’s yesterday and bought this one (only in aqua.) Thanks, McDaddy! Happy Anniversary to us!

4. PIZZA – I’m not that choosy about pizza. I like most all of them. Pizza Hut pan pizza is my favorite. In Junior High, we used to walk across a four-lane highway at lunch to the Pizza Hut to purchase a personal pan pizza. At that time, they were $2.11 with tax. They have just about doubled in price since that time. [note to self – today would be a great day to go to pizza hut!]

5. POST OFFICE – McDaddy and I have both been employed by the United States Postal Service. We worked at a Remote Encoding Facility where we keyed mail for Washington, DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland. He worked there all through college. I worked there about a year. I quickly learned that sitting at a computer quietly keying mail is not my idea of a great job.

6. PRINCESS – My self-appointed nick name. See that princess up there in the header? That’s me. I was born to be a princess. I’m sure of it. I once had a princess party at my house for a few girlfriends. There were tiaras for each gal in attendance. 

7. PUMPKIN – I love fall and everything about it. Especially these wee, little pumpkins.

8. PEEK – I won a peek from a blog give-away and I loved it. Shortly after that, the PEEK people asked all peeksters to send their peeks in for an upgrade and I don’t think it has worked properly since. Hopefully they will get the bugs worked out soon!

9. PERFUME – I probably have 10 or 12 bottles of perfume, however, I wear the same kind every single day.  I love the way it smells.

10. PORCH – This porch looks so cozy. McDaddy and I hope to add a covered porch to our house in the near future. I’d love one just like this one.

11. PRESIDENT – I was recently elected coerced into being the President of the PTA at Stevie’s school for next year. I have a knack for control organization, so I am looking forward to helping out.

12. PATIENCE – Could use a truck load. Thanks.

13. PENNY – You may recall, my sweet Stevie swallowed a penny a few months ago. The week that followed was crappy.

That’s it for another week of Thursday Thirteen. Don’t forget to offer up some suggestions of future Thursday Thirteens.

It Don’t GTMO Better Than This

Last week, Beth announced that this week’s You Capture challenge would be Family.

I was excited about family because my sweet boys and I just so happen to be visiting my sweet hubby who is deployed on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. We had an awesome visit and captured some great FAMILY shots.

This first picture was captured immediately after the boys saw daddy for the first time when we got off of the plane. It had been 107 days since they last said good bye to him.

Their smiles are priceless. (It just dawned on me that I may have also used this one for last week’s SWEET you capture. Oh well!)


This next one was taken near McDaddy’s work tent. I obviously did not take the picture since I am in it, but it is such a great family shot, I had to include it.


This one was taken in McDaddy’s truck. We were actually in the truck, on the ferry being taken to the other side of the island so that we could leave to come home. I love these fellers.


I included this next one just because it is a cute representation of my little family.  This was captured at the bowling alley and I thought it would be perfect for “family” week.


This last one makes my heart skip a beat. (A big thanks to my sweet Stevie for taking this picture!)

Our trip was originally scheduled for the first week in May, however, that trip ended in disaster. This picture was taken on our last day with McDaddy, just hours before we left on May 23, 2009. That day just so happened to be our 11th anniversary and just before I cried all of my make-up off. I am so very thankful that of all the gals in the whole, wide world, McDaddy picked me. He is an awesome family man and I am proud to be his wife.

Head on over to Beth’s place at I Should Be Folding Laundry to see more family pictures!

Me and My Beloved TiVo

If you are a loyal fan of my blog, you know how much I *heart* my TiVo.

In my humble opinion, the TiVo is the best invention of my time. My TiVo records and files my daily docket of television shows and it allows me fast forward through the commercials and roll a portion of a show back so I can watch it again and again.
I rolled it back last year when Blake Lewis sang “You Give Love A Bad Name” on American Idol. I rolled it back again and again when Paula Deen was on Oprah and dropped a glass bowl into a mixer, spewing glass all over Oprah’s stage (this one gets my vote for the funniest moment on television) and I rolled it back again and again when two young lads from my town landed in front of Judge Judy after an altercation at the Go-Mart at the end of my street. I can still hear that kid saying he was suing for “confersation,” instead of “compensation.”  Geez, someone give that kid a grammer lesson, please and tell him not to mention that he’s from right here in the heart of my town.

I roll it back weekly as I live blog American Idol so I can decipher Paula’s ramblings or hear Kris Allen do his thing one more time.

And, I won’t even mention how many times, my sweet boys have watched I Want A Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown. Never mind that it is the middle of May. 

They love watching it.
My unhealthy addiction to this little piece of technology could be certified by somebody. Last week while we were visiting McDaddy in his six-month deployment locale during the finale week of American Idol and Dancing With the Stars, I happened to miss the DWTS finale due to a power outage. I also missed most of the American Idol finale because we went to watch McDaddy’s squadron play softball. We returned home just in time (thanks to a rain storm) to watch as Kris Allen was announced as the winner.

Last night, I had a date with my DVR and was able to watch all of the shows on my daily docket that I missed while I was away, even though some of them were a week old.

I triple love my TiVo and it works for me. Especially, since McDaddy ordered the new-fangled dual DVR that allows me to record two shows at the same time.

Pure joy my friends. Pure joy!

Head over to We Are THAT Family for more Works For Me Wednesday Posts.

Another Edition of What I Learned This Week

It’s time for another edition of Things I Learned This Week.

I’ve learned a few things of worth, I suppose.

1. I’ve learned that rain for several days weeks in a row has the power to take my mood to a bad place. [Sunshine, if you happen to be reading my blog today, please come out, come out wherever you are!]

2. The military rotator is a lot more relaxed than your typical commercial flight. On a commercial flight, the pilot would probably never ask my sweet boy if he’d like to sit in the cock-pit. Nor, would it take off an hour early because everyone is present and accounted for. On the flip side of that, I’ve never known a commercial airline to refuse boarding because someone was wearing open-toed shoes. I’m still pondering that one.

3. When your husband asks you to bring an “extra bag” when you visit him in another country because he has “bought a few things that he’d like for you to take home” it might be a good idea to ask how many things he is talking about or you might find yourself cramming monster trucks, rocks and shoes into every nook and cranny of your suitcase especially if you plan to purchase shoes that you cannot. live. without. while you are there.

4. If there are rules about taking pictures of things on a military base in another country, it is probably a good idea that you don’t mention the rules on your blog either. [Sorry, McDaddy!]

5. Before posting an offroading picture of McDaddy’s heap (ahem! I mean JEEP), on your blog, it is probably a good idea to get his approval of the picture first. Who knew a picture of the JEEP on my blog would matter to McDaddy.

6. When checking to see if Jo-Lynne has posted her Things I Learned This Week post so that you can link up at 7am, it is probably a good idea to hit refresh from time to time or you may never know she published her post. Then, when you e-mail her to ask if she is doing a TILTW post this week, you will feel like a goon when her response is “It Is Up!”


7. When Inspired Marketing shows up on your caller ID with a 380-9035 number, it is nothing more than one of those irritating “lower your credit card interest now” calls. I swear those calls, along with that stupid company that wants to “talk to you about your vehicle warranty” are enough to make me want to scream. Is there ANYBODY IN THIS COUNTRY who is actually taking advantage of these offers. Seriously, stop calling me already.

That’s all for this week, kids.

Head over to Musings Of A Housewife for more Things I Learned This Week posts and be sure to tell her I sent you!

PS – That Number seven came as a courtesy because they called seconds before I hit “Publish Post”

You are welcome!

Dear Deployment

Dear Deployment:

It’s been one of those days. It is Memorial Day and I can’t help but think of all of the folks who have lost their lives serving this great country and all of those who are away from their families, ensuring the freedom and the safety of all Americans.

I know that after being able to spend a week with my beloved McDaddy, I should not be whining or complaining. Don’t get me wrong. The week we spent in Cuba was glorious. The boys and I enjoyed our time with him so much. Our days were spent catching up, laughing, and talking about all of the things we plan to do when he gets home in August. Our boys were beside themselves and I was back on Happy Street.

But, then we had to say goodbye.

I had to watch as my sweet boy buried his face in his hands and cried once we boarded the plane because “I just miss daddy, again!” We talked about daddy’s important job and the thousands of other daddies and mommies that are away from their children, too. We talked about seeing daddy’s work tent and I reminded him of all the things daddy is helping to do there.

I had to hold back my own tears and be strong.

Because our boys did not need to witness my weakness and my crying.

So, I sat in row 25 and gritted my teeth.

And bit my lip.

And blinked my eyes.

And I held it all back.

Until I crawled into our bed without him. Again.

We’ve made it through fourteen weeks and have at least nine more to go.

I’m trying to stay positive.

And supportive.

But some days it is a bunch of bull because there are days. Many days that leave me wishing I could just crawl in a hole until August. Seriously. I’m doing my best, but I’m afraid most days, I fall way short. There are days that I think I can kick your butt, but then, there are days that I couldn’t care less about kicking butt because it is all I can to keep it together.

Deployment, you suck and I hope I never have to see your ugly face again.

So there.

Sincerely, Julie


Today is a day set aside to remember those who have passed away. My heart is heavy thinking of three sweet people in my life.

I am thinking of my friend, Jonathan who was killed on January 10th of this year in a car accident. His death has been very difficult for me and I think of him and his family daily. He is pictured here with his dog, King. He loved animals, impalas, gummy bears and mixing music. He also loved to laugh.

We worked together for four years and shared a lot of happy memories.

His death was a reminder to me that none of us are promised another day and that one second can change your life forever. I miss you, Jon-Boy.


I am also thinking of my sweet (maternal) papa, Louie, who passed away in 2006. Here, he is pictured with Stevie a few years before cancer robbed him of his health and his hair.

Here, papa is pictured with Alex two days before he died in the Hospice House near our home.

We called him Puger Pie. He loved to play cards, watch baseball and football and spend time with his five great-grandsons. Two more (twin) great grandsons were born on January 14th of this year and I am sure he would have been crazy about them.

I miss you, papa!


I am also thinking about my (paternal) grandma who passed away in 2003, also from cancer. Her name is Phyllis and I have fond memories of her helping her sons work on cars and going to auctions. She worked hard her whole life and had a great sense of humor.

I miss you, mama!


I miss these three sweet people so much.

My friend, Jonathan was 33 years old and had a lot more living to do.

My grandparents left a wonderful legacy and I was grateful to have them in my life well into my 30’s.

On this day, I remember each of them and what they meant to me.

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day ya’ll.

11 Years Ago Today

11 years ago today, these crazy kids in matching shirts from American Eagle …..

stood in front of a preacher, their parents, their siblings, and many friends and made a vow to love, obey and cherish one another until death did them part.

See that big white blob a little left of center?

That’s me. There was tulle for days.

It was a wonderfully hot day and I have fond memories of May 23, 1998 – the day I said, “I Do!”

On that day…..

-There were about 150 people in attendance.

-Unfortunately, the air conditioning in the church was not in attendance.

– It rained early that morning.

– We took communion just after our vowels. (it was so hot, I wanted to ask for a refill)

– We had 7 attendants, 2 ushers, 2 ring-bearers and 2 flower girls (whew – not sure I’d do that again!)

– We had two great singers at our wedding. McDaddy’s sister, sang, “Keeper of the Stars,” and our friend, Jermaine sang, “Long As I Live.” I think of our wedding day when I hear either of those songs.

– Our wedding colors were burgundy, silver and white.

– The bridesmaid dresses were beautiful and comfortable.

– My five- year-old nephew played an air guitar during the first solo.

– We had many out-of-state guests.

– I met one of my bridesmaids for the first time when she stepped off of the plane with her mom at the airport. (In 1988, we both paid one dollar and signed up for a cross country pen-pal. She lived in Winslow, Arizona. Teen magazine paired us up and we wrote faithfully to one another for ten years. I asked her to be in my wedding and we met for the first time when she and her mama stepped off of the plane in Charleston. We have been friends for 21 years and I am thankful for her friendship.)

– Our reception was at the National Guard Armory. (We drove to the reception and into the armory in a convertible mustang courtesy of McDaddy’s Uncle Bill and Aunt Debbie – thanks guys, that was special).

– We had a dollar dance. (Steve made more money than me).

– My dress was a bit difficult although you could not tell that on my wedding day.

– I was worried that the DJ would not show up to the reception. (He was a tad unpredictable, but he did a wonderful job).

– I cried during our vowels.

– We did not use normal vows. (Because we are not normal).

– My hair had 27 bobby-pins holding it in place.

– My wedding ring was (is) gorgeous and it brings me joy even to this day.

– We had a huge blow-up with a wedding supply store called Cantrell’s Bridal before the big event. (I would not recommend them to wipe your dog’s butt. No, actually, I’m not bitter, I’m just honest.)

– The receiving line was really long.

– We had good food, but, we didn’t get much of it.

– Our cake was breathtaking. (I know that’s a little dramatic -but it really was beautiful and tasty too.)

– We danced to “From This Moment” for our first dance.

– The onlookers blew bubbles instead of throwing rice or birdseed during our first dance.

– It was a beautiful day that I enjoyed planning.

– At the end of the day, we were pooped!

Today, those crazy kids have two crazy kids of their own and they couldn’t be happier.

Happy Anniversary, McDaddy. I love you! I miss you and can’t wait until you get to come home. I am thankful that we got to spend several hours together on our anniversary before we had to leave Guantanamo Bay. I am proud to be your wife and appreciate everything you do to provide for me and our sweet boys. There’s no one else I’d rather be on this crazy ride with.