Alex Ryan

Dear Alex,

How can it be that you are four years old?

It seems like just yesterday, we were getting your hair cut for the first time.

 

Before you were born, the Doctor said you would be a ten-pound baby.

They were right on the mark.

At ten pounds, five ounces, you were the biggest baby in the nursery. The nurses nick-named you, King. Still, you were my sweet, little, boy! You were a good sleeper, you latched-on immediately and your hair was so thick in the middle, you looked like you had a mohawk.

When we were introduced to you, we knew you were sent to complete our family. I immediately saw some striking similarities between the two of us and although we’ve had our moments, I have a place in my heart reserved just for you!

Over the past year, we have seen so many changes! Your temper tantrums have turned into rational thinking and your stubborn streak has turned into, well, nothing…. [And believe me, I know all about the stubborn streak. We have been friends for many years!]

You are an independent little boy with a strong will and a determined spirit. You and and your sense of adventure scare the soup out of me. Please be careful. You are not Spiderman, Superman or Batman.

You have a double crown, a big foot, blue eyes, an extra tooth, a great laugh, a sweet voice, and a shrill cry. You are a be-speckled little boy who loves poptarts and shoes. We quarrel daily about your shoe selection. You need to understand that when it is 43 degrees outside, you cannot wear crocs. It won’t happen. I understand your shoe dilemma, I really do, but please just work with me here. [We are alike in so many ways!]

You are so good to go along with whatever I am doing. Whether we’re trapsing through Wal-Mart or sitting in the copy room at Flinn, you normally go with the flow. I enjoy hanging out with you, kiddo!

It is my prayer for you that you can always be as happy and full of joy as you are on this day, at your fourth birthday party. I had a great time watching you enjoy your day!  Happy Birthday!

I love you, sweet boy!

Love, Mama

Wet T-Shirt Contest

Well, if that title doesn’t grab your attention, I don’t know what will.

I’ll let y’all know how many visitors stop by Inmates via Google for searching for something to do with a wet t-shirt. I suspect there will be plenty. More on the wet t-shirt contest in a bit.

Last week, I mentioned I was attending a ladies retreat. Fifteen women from my church (and one visitor) enjoyed a weekend of food, fun, and fellowship. Oh, and did I mention food?

It is interesting to note that the retreat started at 5:00 pm on Friday and ended at 5:00 pm on Saturday.

Did I mention there was fun, fellowship and FOOD?

Oh internets.

We ate and laughed and ate some more. We talked into the wee hours of the night about fashion, shoes, our kids, the new cherry Dr. Pepper, and Deb’s yummy no-bake cookies.

The theme was “Garden of Friends” and everything was centered around flowers. Our retreat was based on this book by Penny Pierce Rose. Basically, each presenter was assigned a flower and we presented the flower based on its characteristics and related them to friends in our “garden of friends.”

A Garden of Friends: How Friendships Enhance Every Season of Life

I was assigned the sunflower. I love sunflowers. I have them all over my kitchen. I love sunflowers both for their size and their color. There are three characteristics of a sunflower. They stand strong, they seek the sun (Son), and they sow seed. In my garden of friends, I have several sunflowers. McDaddy is a sunflower.

As each flower was presented, we were to think about the qualities of the flower and write the names of friends in our “garden” that had the same qualities of the flower being presented. After each presentation we placed the post-it notes bearing the names of our friends on the flower that they represented.

As you can see, we have lots of Violet friends. Characteristics of the violet are humble, unselfish, go out of their way for others and often work behind the scenes. McDaddy is also a violet. (He is a great friend to have!) 

We also made these cute candle holders / coaster / whatever you want to use them for things.

We also made a picture frame, but for some reason I didn’t get a picture of those.

Anytime we have a shin-dig, I am in charge of games and entertainment.

I could just sit and read my blog to them, but I’m guessin’ that would get old. So, I try to real hard to come up with some great games and some great prizes.

The first ice-breaker we played involved those a snack pack of M&Ms. Each lady opened their snack pack and had to answer a number of questions based on the color of M&Ms that were in their pack.

Red = tell 1 fact about your childhood per red candy

Green = tell 1 fact about one of your hobbies

Blue = tell 1 fact about one of your job

Yellow = tell 1 fact about your dreams and aspirations

Brown = tell 1 fact about your last vacation

Orange = tell about something you like to do

It was a fun way to learn about each girl and as you can see from my snack pack, there were 18 M&Ms in the pack. It took a sweet forever for fifteen girls to get through 18 or so M&Ms.

After we went back to the “lodge” for the evening, we played a couple more games and then I made a grand announcement.

We were having a wet t-shirt contest.

Instructions – fold a t-shirt and place it in a ziplock bag. Fill the ziplock bag full of water smoothing the air out as you go. Repeat with a different t-shirt in a different ziplock bag. Freeze both ziplock bags. Remove the ziplock bags and announce that you are having a wet t-shirt contest. The first team to thaw their shirt and wear it wins.

First, you can try running warm water over it. 

 

 Just for fun, you might try cracking the ice on the side-walk.

 

Next, pull like crazy! 

Finally, wear it!

It was loads of cold fun!

Like I said, there was food, fellowship and lots of fun!

 As always, Thursdays are a lot of fun here at Inmates.

I’ve played along with Beth’s You Capture Carnival every week since it started and I look forward to seeing what our next challenge will be.

I was thrilled with this week’s Fall challenge. Fall is my favorite season. With the exception of the shorter days, I love everything about it. The crisp mornings. The windy evenings. The cooler temps. And, most especially the beautiful browns, reds, yellows and oranges. The landscape was stunning last weekend. I spent Friday and part of Saturday at a  ladies retreat with my closest girlfriends from church. I snapped most of these on our way to and from the dining hall.

 

 Looks like something had its way with this leaf. It was surrounded by many brown friends, but it stood out to me. 

 

 The red barn was the dining hall. You can’t see it from here but the porch is lined with white rocking chairs. It was glorious sitting on the porch looking at God’s handiwork.

 

 This red leaf stood out against the green grass. It smiled thinking he was showing off!

 

And finally, what would fall be without a pumpkin? (Or in this case a cat?) At Stevie’s fall party, each child had to bring decorations for their pumpkin. I think his cat turned out pretty well. You might notice that just above his right eye there is a knot. Remember this post where I mentioned that he fell on the playground and I got called to the school to freak out do a medical assessment. The bruise is still visable eight days later.

Happy Fall Y’all!

Hop over to I Should Be Folding Laundry for more fall folliage.

http://frominmatestoplaydates.com/2009/10/happy-fall-yall/

Thursday Thirteen – Totally Random Pictures

I thought I’d shake things up a bit.

For this week’s Thursday Thirteen, I’m going to find 13 entertaining pictures in my photobucket files and share them with you. I’d like to post all the pictures without commentary, but if you know me IRL (as opposed to URL)  you know that I don’t do anything without commentary.

So, I’ll be as brief as possible. This should be fun!

1. This was taken at an Air Force Base in Florida (McDaddy would remember which one and probably what we drove that day). It was the sight of Alex’s much needed first haircut.

 

2.  Stevie and Alex doing one of the things they love to do!

 

3. My last day in jail. The bars clanged for the last time. I’m sure South Central Regional Jail hasn’t been the same since. The fabulosity has left the building. (And you thought that whole ‘inmates’ thing was just a catchy title!)

 

4.  My very own McDaddyDreamy. Just before Stevie’s birth in 2002.

 

5. For those of you who miss this gal. This was the original “From Inmates To Playdates” Princess. She’s all grown up now!

 

6. This next one is a bit quirky. I’m a quirky gal who worked with inmates, so… the fact that I visited the OJ crime scene while visiting family in California just weeks after this horrendous crime should not surprise you. This was the front gate to Nicole Brown Simpson’s place in Brentwood, California.

 

7. My favorite ride showing off in Chili Pepper Red. The sexy, sleek Saturn Sky.

 

8. My sweet Stevie – Halloween, 2007 (I think!)

 

9. This picture was taken before I underwent (is that a word?) Lasik surgery.

 

Either this computer or photobucket is running v-e-r-y-s-l-o-w…. this is very frustrating! I just logged out of Internet Explorer and clicked on Mozilla Firefox. I’ll see if that helps.

10. This is a picture of some of my favorite people. Meet the McInlaws. McDaddy, me, his siblings and their spouses. The 2 girls beside of me are his sisters and the two fellas on the far right are his brothers. This family makes me happy!

 

11. I think this next picture is precious! Stevie was the ring bearer in McDaddy’s brother’s wedding. He was a cutie!

 

12. My sweet boys!

 

13. And last but not least. Here’s me and McDaddy circa 1993 in Hawaii. Please go easy on the bangs and the glasses.

That’s a wrap.

A very slow wrap, but a wrap none-the-less.

Thanks for stopping by Inmates!

Disorderly Conduct

For years, I have struggled with my hair.

I want to have fabulous hair.

And by fabulous I mean, simple to style with a big finish.

Notice I said simple to style, not simply style until I get frustrated and quit. In high school I had a “big” finish. Or at least my bangs did!

Oh my word, there are bangs for days! Needless to say me and the Rave were friends. You remember the Rave, right? I also might have been known to wear hair bows and colored scrunchies, too!

I kept my hair long for a number of years, but I did scale the bangs back a bit.

Then, one day a year or so ago, I was having my hair trimmed when I noticed a piece of string on the top of my head. The following conversation followed:

ME:  Is that a string on the top of my head?

FRANK:  Um, that’s not a string.

ME:  Is that a gray hair?

FRANK:  Honey, there’s more than one up there.

ME: When can you get me in to highlight this mess?

That conversation resulted in a new era for me.

When I went back for gray removal highlights, I asked Frank for a fabulous new hair style. Preferably a style that I could do!

This is the before:

 As you can see, I used a small clip to pull the sides of my hair back. Then, I grabbed all of my bangs and curled  them under. To finish off the “do” I’d tease the ends of my hair for a bit of volume.

Volume.

Pffft.

It’s interesting to note that I am standing with Jennifer Rothschild and Dr. Phil (her Dr. Phil). Her hair is fabulous. And she is blind. My hair is aptly labeled “mess” and this was actually a good hair day.

Frank gave me a fabulous, blonde style.

 Then, a week or so ago, I was in the chair again as Frank finished trimming my hair.

He squirted some goop in his hands (I hate goop!) and gently ran his fingers through the back of my hair giving it a little flip.

The same flip I have worked on for the past year.

Only, his flip was a cute flip and surprisingly, my hair didn’t feel like plastic after the goop.

Harps began to play.

Crickets began to sing.

And all was right in my world.

I asked Frank about the “miracle goop” and he showed me a tube of product called Disorder.

Ice Hair Dis-Order Elastic Gel

I was sold.

I asked Frank if I could buy a tube of the stuff and he informed me that the manufacturers are no longer making it and that once he sold all he had he would no longer be able to get it.

Just my friggin’ luck.

I am hoping that the folks at Joico get a whiff of this post and decide to continue making Disorder because folks, I’m telling you, this stuff works for me!

Check out other Works For Me Wednesday posts over at We Are THAT Family.

Just Another Dose Of Crazy

I’ve been attempting to write this post for the past twenty minutes.

I’d really like to curl up in my bed and just go to sleep. Unfortunately though, I am booked tomorrow and if I don’t write my “Things I Learned This Week” post right now, it probably won’t get translated from my head to my fingertips until sometime late tomorrow evening.

So, I’ll do the best I can to dish out this dose of crazy before calling it a night.

This week, I learned some great stuff and since I usually keep notes throughout the week on my beloved iPhone, I’ll give them to you in the order which they were recorded in my “notes” folder.

1. A trip to the Emergency Room on a Tuesday night for suspected flu (and maybe of the swine variety) will cost you about six hours and most of your sanity.

2. The jokers at Apple need to seriously consider designing a battery for the iPhone that will outlast a six-hour wait in the Emergency Room.

3. At a birthday party where thirteen kids are in attendance, there is a pretty good chance that at least one of them is carrying swine flu germs.

4. Toradol, when shot directly in the hind-end via a big, stinkin’ needle can put the smack-down on a big honkin’ headache in mere minutes.

5. When the fund-raising folks dangle a hummer limousine ride to the Arches over the heads of young children, mamas will buy five tubs of the stuff do some strange things.

6. Sadly, no matter how hard I try, I can’t please everybody.

7. It is possible to poke yourself in the eye with a toothbrush while brushing your teeth.

Weird, but certainly true.

8. Things are rarely as bad as they seem in my head.

9.  Sasha Obama has her own library book. I was surprised to see the words ‘dissed’ and ‘chilled’ within its pages.

10.  Apparently #119is my lucky number. Especially when entering a bloggy contest with 137 other bloggers. Woo Hoo!

That’s it for this week folks. What about you? Feel like sharing something you’ve learned with the rest of us? Come on, spread the crazy love.

And then, head over to Musings Of A Housewife for some more crazy!

Drama In The ER

Get all your Not Me stuff here...Wow. It has been one heck of a week.

One just never knows how blessed they are until they get a smack in the face from, say, the flu. But I know y’all are probably bored to tears with all the whiningtalk about the flu, so I’ll just moverightalong!

It’s time for another edition of “Not Me! Monday” hosted by MckMama! It’s a place where we can reveal a few moments throughout the week that we’d rather forget. You know, because, blogging is cheaper than therapy!

It wasn’t me who did her best to remain calm after receiving a call from Stevie’s school informing me that he fell on the playground and had a pretty bad knot on his head. And, it also wasn’t me who held back tears as I examined his sweet head with a huge knot on it.

Do you remember this post where I mentioned that he mentioned that “The girls chase me everyday and I have to run so fast to get away from them that sometimes I fall?” Looks like the crazy girls got the best of him this time

After waltzing into the germ-infested emergency room, it was not me who seriously contemplated waltzing right back out because, the masks? Just about every joker sitting in the ER had a mask on and I was sure that if we weren’t sick when we arrived, we’d probably be sick before we left.

Less than an hour after we arrived, it was NOT me who found herself puking her guts out in the ER, also needing a stupid mask. And after that, it was not me who ended up back in the ER with McDaddy a short five hours later getting a shot in the rear for the massive headache caused by the stupid flu!

Oh, and it wasn’t me who thought for a second about taking a picture of the needle used to inject the miracle mix into her rear for the benefit of the blog because I would never do that.

And after all that drama it wasn’t me who somehow managed to poke herself in the eye with her toothbrush while brushing her teeth because that would be nearly impossible, not to mention embarrassing.

Nope, not me!

Not. At. All.

An Open Letter To The Nasty Flu And It’s Posse

Dear Nasty Flu:

I am sick and tired of  you and your posse ganging up on me. The Aches, The Vomits, The Fever, The Headache and The Chills have been trying to outdo each other, and honestly, I couldn’t tell you which one came out victorious! As you can guess, its been a miserable three days.

I would respectfully request that you leave me and my sweet fellers alone. You have wreaked enough havoc on our lives and most definitely my social calendar. I am way too busy to deal with you and the friggin’ mess you make when you invade someone’s body like you did mine.

You might tell The Headache that it made me the most miserablist for the better part of six hours, but it was no match for that big, honkin’ needle full of  mirace mix that they blasted into my rear-end for pain. It was no fun, but I’d do it all over again if it meant I would be finished with the pounding, pulsating ache in my forehead.

Oh, and The Vomit?

Seriously, the dry heaving is for the birds. It’s very frustrating and two days later, my chest hurts like heck. Your motto should be, “all or nothing!” It’s kind of like the thunder without the rain. If that’s all I had, I wouldn’t even show up for the job because its a waste of time and energy.

You can also let The Fever and The Chills know that neither of them got the best of me. A few tylenol was enough to scare both of them right away and thankfully, they found somewhere else to play.

I’ve taken my turn and now I’ve got a life to get back to that doesn’t include camping out in my big, blue, bloggy chair for three days.

And don’t come back!

Sincerely, 

Julie From Inmates

You Capture – Technology

I know there are at least eight of you visiting today hoping to find Thursday Thirteen.

I’m sorry to say that Thursday Thirteen will not be making an appearance today because my body has been invaded by the stupid flu. It is all I can do to keep my food down, much less come up with thirteen thought provoking (ahem!) statements.

Instead, I am publishing my You Capture because there will be at least twelve people visiting from I Should Be Folding Laundry to see what I captured for this week’s technology theme.

Can I just say that I love technology. I am thankful for technology. Me and the technology are friends.

First, I’ll start off with this….

My beloved Hoopty Dell Laptop with a messed-up jack in the back. Man, with that ‘macro’ setting you can see dust and all. I love it when my artsy-fartsy photos turn out looking something other than artsy-fartsy. This happens to look like a dusty laptop keyboard.

And how about this…

My children will probably never ever be introduced to an encyclopedia. Stevie did his first-ever- report today on The Camel and we turned to our good friends at Wikipedia for information and pictures. It reminded me of all the years I spent combing through the pages of the Encyclopedias looking for information for various reports throughout my academic career.

And we can’t forget this….

Hotmail, I love you!

Gone are the days when I would walk to my mailbox to discover a hand-written letter. A quick e-mail with a smiley face at the bottom is generally as good as it gets these days. I do use the heck out of hotmail, though.

And we can’t forget this guy….

Me and the TiVo are tight. I considered this the best invention of my time for a number of years, until this cat came along and knocked the TiVo right off its technological high horse…..

Oh internets, I cannot tell you how happy my beloved iPhone makes me. At my fingertips, I can listen to K-Love, read From Inmates To Playdates, e-mail a picture, find the nearest Olive Garden, calculate a tip split three ways on a $46.84 check, call my mama, view Target’s sales ad, make fart sounds, peruse Facebook, see my social calendar, get a list of movies playing at our local theater, post a tweet, play video poker, look up a phone number, purchase I’d Need A Savior on iTunes, find my house on Google Earth, check my e-mail, look at You Tube, play Toobz, record my voice, look at Photobucket, listen to my iPod, check the weather for the next ten days, and endless, countless other stuff. Seriously.

This thing is a technological gem.

What a fun week this You Capture week has been.

Be sure to visit I Should Be Folding Laundry for other technological type stuff.

Leave The Lights On, The Party’s Not Over!

Last week I mentioned that the fate of What I Learned This Week was up in the air because Jo-Lynne wasn’t sure if she would continue it. Well, (cupping hands around mouth and yelling loudly) I’M HAPPY TO REPORT THAT THE WHAT I LEARNED THIS WEEK PARTY WILL CONTINUE ON, OVER AT MUSINGS OF A HOUSEWIFE!

It appears that we too will party on, internets!

Excuse me while I find my inside voice.

It has been another exhausting week. I know many all of y’all are tired of my constant talking whining about being overworked and overpaid. Oh, wait I don’t get paid. How ’bout lets just make that overworked.

As I was saying, I keep hoping that next week will be slower. There doesn’t appear to be end in sight though between the PTA, The School Consolidation, The Ladies Retreat, Stevie’s first-ever-report on The Camel, The Fall Party at Stevie’s School, and of course the daily responsibilities here at the company McResidence where I manage housekeeping, nutrition, discipline, entertainment, education, the mail room, appointments, pharmaceutical needs, and hygiene. It’s no wonder I never stop.

My poor van looks like a hurricane has tossed its contents about and I am in desperate need of rekindling my romance with the treadmill at the gym.

But that’s probably enough complaining for one post.

Let me get on with the point.

As if there is one.

Things I Learned This Week… in no particular order…

1. A first grader gets his clothes more muddier at recess than a Kindergartner does.

2. After a little inquiry as to the muddy clothes after the third. day. in. a. row., my first-grader informed me that “the girls chase him everyday and I have to run so fast to get away from them that sometimes I fall.” Wellalrightythen!

3. Fry Pies made in the Amish Country are delightful. A few of the gals on the bus trip this weekend, all bought a dozen pies. I bought one. I have regretted that decision ever since the first bite of fry pie met my lips.

4. First Graders have a LOT of homework.

5. I learned the hard way that when you are on a bus-trip and you pack a bag with a change of clothes, adequate underwear, extra socks and loads of other stuff, you should not leave the bag on the floor because there is a very good chance that someone, somewhere will spill something all over the floor, drenching the bottom of the bag, along with its contents. That whole scenario will remind you that you knew better.

I realize many of you are probably scratching your head at the words ‘adequate’ and ‘underwear’ in that last sentence. I’ll just say that it is one of my many quirks and leave it at that. Only if you know me, you know that I hardly ever leave it at that. The fact is that I never leave home without at least one pair of underwear. I know some of you are hollering, “TMI!”

6. I learned that I will obviously share almost anything on the blog.

7. Nielsen Ratings have no problem calling before 9:00 am on a Saturday morning. If you know me, you know that I detest callers before 9:00 am, most especially on a Saturday morning. Period. I was polite however, because I am being paid by the good folks at Nielsen to complete a survey about my television viewing habits in November. It is safe to say I will not be available during the week of November 12thbecause I will be busy recording the hundreds of shows I watch in my little white viewing book. Oh little TiVo, don’t fail me now!

8. I have been looking for the CARS character, Giovanni for months at the Mart of Walls and the store with the big, red, bulls eye. Apparently, the car is not labeled with the name, “Giovanni.” It is labeled “Ferrari” and it is red. And, if you just so happen to find it at the flea market in the Amish Country, you can count on paying at least double for it. You know, because the Amish folk have to pay for their horses and these days, times are tough for everyone!

9. When your kid has been challenged to peddle 25 tubs of cookie dough to win a ride to McDonalds for lunch in a Hummer Limousine, you will go to the ends of the Earth, (or at least Facebook) to find enough jokers people to pay $14.00 for 3 pounds of cookie dough.

10. A nice even list makes me smile.

That’s it for this week, folks!

——-

This post is linked to Jo-Lynne’s What I Learned This Week Bloggy Carnival!