We are at the beach with McDaddy’s family and we are having a blast.

We went to Busch Gardens yesterday (Many thanks to the Busch bunch for offering free admission to military service members and their families. AND IN THE INTEREST OF FULL DISCLOSURE, I am not receiving any compensation for mentioning that fact, I’m just very thankful for their commitment to the military and hope to spread the word!) and I am one tired mama. Before dragging myself to bed, I mustered up just enough energy to edit a few shots for this week’s You Capture challenge which just so happens to be PLAY!

And people, I am not playing around when I say I am dead dog tired.

Only I’m not a dog.

Nor am I dead.

But I’m not far from it because we walked for miles and miles in the blazing hot humidity (OH MY WORD IT WAS SO FRIGGIN’ HOT!) and the early morning, midday and evening sun and even a quick rain storm that lasted long enough to soak yours truly.

McDaddy has four siblings and between the five of them, there are fifteen (15!) grandkids. The entire family (plus a few extras) are spending the week together here in sunny Florida.

Of all the topics that could have been assigned this week, PLAY is just perfect for this special time we are spending together, playing, laughing, eating (oh my word are we eating?!), and visiting.

While waiting for our family portrait on the beach my sweet Stevie (shown holding the yellow DS) plays DS with his cousins.

And speaking of cousins… Can you just imagine the amount of chaos play taking place this week?

And speaking of play, the family is having a shuffleboard tournament this week. We are playing shuffleboard round the clock to get the brackets filled in. For those of you keeping score, you can mark it down that McDaddy and I have been eliminated from the tournament. Pictured here are my sisters-in-law, Michelle and Stephanie. (Hi Girls!)

And of course, no beach trip would be complete without lots of playing in the pool! [Note: My sweet boy was not in the pool alone even though it certainly appears that way. I snapped the picture while hanging out of our third story window!]

While playing around with the settings on my camera, I took this shot from our balcony on Sunday.

The thunder and lightning were playing around with the atmospheric pressure just before the actual storm hit.

And speaking of playing.

Here’s Stevie playing baseball on the beach with his Uncle Mike, and cousins, Mallory, Zachary and Noah.

And guess who mentioned the word PLAY at least thirteen times in this post.

Yup, you guessed it. Thursday Thirteen.

There you have it.

Two birds. One stone.

I don’t play around when it comes to efficiency, folks.

[Fess up. How many of y’all scrolled right back up there to the top to double check my math skills?]


I am having a blast at the beach with McDaddy and his big honkin’ family. We are spending lots of time in the pool, participating in a family shuffleboard tournament (which McDaddy and I were eliminated from just minutes ago), and the beach. Our dinners are being catered by a fabulous lady which I’ll tell you more about in the near future and the kids are enjoying the time they are spending together.

Last night we got all gussied up and travelled about 1/4 mile down the beach for our family beach picture. This is just one of the 5,281 pictures that were shot in the hopes that just one (1!) will turn out without too much photoshopping or editing. Pictured in navy blue, are McDaddy’s mama and daddy, along with their fifteen grandchildren -Madeline, Kalli, Brooke, Zachary, Mallory, Alex, Isaac, Kirklen, Annabelle, Gwen, Lydia, Noah, Kamme, Kessa, and Alex.

This picture makes me smile!

Wordless Wednesday is sponsored by 5 Minutes For Mom!

Lessons From The Passenger Seat

It’s another post from the road. Can you believe WE ARE STILL DRIVING?

We are still ONE WHOLE HOUR AWAY from the hotel.

At least sixty more minutes.

Stella has lost her groove.

And she’s grumpy.

Thought this might be a great time to share lessons I’ve learned from the passenger seat. I need to warn you though. The information shared will be of no use to 94% of my reader population.

1. I really like Bonnie Raitt. I had totally forgotten about her until I heard her song, Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About.

2. The new Ford Taurus is not on my list of cool cars.

3. The stretch of North Carolina that one must drive through when driving from West Virginia to Florida, has not 3G. This makes playing Words With Friends and looking at pictures on the Facebook challenging unless you enjoy starring at a screen watching a white circle go round and round and round.

Which I don’t.

4. Cheezit Snack Mix is pretty tasty but should not be eaten without something to wash it down with.

5. If the Dodge Caravan allowed about two more inches between the passenger seat and the dash board, I could comfortably rest my feet on there without bending my knees.

6. I love the song ‘Give Me Your Eyes’ by Brandon Heath. It is among my top five favorite songs.

7. There is more JUNK on the radio than there is actual music.

8. Safelite must spend millions on their radio advertising because we’ve heard their ad three times in the past forty minutes.

9. I hate traffic. Especially the stopped kind.

10. When my feet are propped up on the dashboard and my laptop is on my lap, I have about 9.3 minutes before my feet are totally asleep.

11. The iPhone is a great little gadget to have on long trips. Words With Friends is a must.

12. I often wonder if the invention of the GPS put a hurtin’ on Triple AAA’s business. Our GPS is a Garmen and McDaddy calls it Carmen.

13. I have not seen even one Saturn Sky in 862.9 miles.

14. 862.9 miles is JUST ABOUT MY FREAKIN’ LIMIT folks.

There. I said it.

What did you learn this week? I’d love for you to share! Please link directly to your WILTW post, and not your blog in general.

Driving McDaddy Batty

That title cracks me up!

I am live blogging from the passenger seat of my Dodge Ghettovan Caravan as we make our way out of South Carolina and into Georgia. Only, I’m not actually live blogging because well, live blogging requires an internet connection.

Which I do not have.

Nor does my beloved iPhone have the benefit of the 3G network.

I’m not sure what that’s all about. I just know it’s tough for the iPhone to do anything in a timely manner without the help of the 3G. We’ve driven for miles with just a digital connection and it surprises me a bit that the bigwigs at AT&T haven’t waved their magic wand over the highways and byways of the Carolinas to provide 3G for those residents who are part of the iCult, er, iPhone community.

I have my feet propped up on the dashboard (which drives McDaddy half-batty) and my beloved pink Dell laptop snugly on my lap. I am doing my best to be a good traveler. I am dividing my time equally between the Facebook, Words With Friends, Twitter, napping, and checking Carmen The Garmin to see if our ETA has changed since the last time I looked over at her.

And speaking of Carmen the Garmin (the GPS) she is one smart cookie. Her ability to accurately report the speed limit within a fraction of a meter is impressive. But just like every female, she has her moments. I get tickled when she starts spouting off at the mouth about u-turns and being off-course because McDaddy isn’t one for taking direction. Most especially from females me. He learned a long time ago that my place on any given trip would be the passenger seat. And long before the GPS was even thought of, McDaddy would plot his course on a AAA map which always included a complementary trip-tic. If the navigation were left up to me, I’d have us in Honduras. Or Belize.

Once the packing and preparation are completed, my job is finished and I don’t do much of anything when it comes to the actual traveling.

Except maybe complain.

And whine.

I rarely ever drive. And by rarely ever, what I really mean is that in the eighteen years of “togetherness” that McDaddy and I have shared (that’s two years of dating, four years of engagement, and twelve years of marriage for those of you keeping track of mine and McDaddy’s road to happiness), I can think of only two times that McDaddy has relinquished the wheel to me while driving on a vacation. Which is just fine with me because I’d rather sit over in the passenger seat and hammer out a blog post and play Words With Friends.

Or ask, “Are we there yet?”

I might even get all rowdy and begin some sort of meaningful conversation with McDaddy about the purpose of life.

He, on the other hand, could tell you the price and exit of the cheapest gas within a four-state radius. It’s a gift, really.


If I need gas, I stop. Period.

Another of my fine qualities that drives McDaddy batty.

Ah, welcome to Georgia. Where the local time is 9:55 AM and the temperature is 93 degrees.


The local radio station is having a love-fest with the 1990’s. Right now I’m listening to Right Here Waiting For You. It’s taking me back to 1988. I was smack-dab in the middle of awkward years, what with my big bangs, and an honest-to-goodness waistline that hasn’t been seen in years.

And speaking of memories. The resort where we’re staying was the annual vacation destination for McDaddy and his siblings for a lot! of years. When I asked him how many years they stayed at this particular resort his response was, “I don’t know. Every year for forever!”

Well then.

For one glorious week all five of his siblings and their families will be reunited (along with his parents, aunt and uncle, and a few extras thrown in for good measure) for yet another family vacation at Redington Surf Resort in sunny Florida.

I hit the jackpot when I married McDaddy because he has a big ole’ family. That means I now have TWO SISTERS and TWO SISTERS IN LAW for pete’s sake. Or is it pete sakes? I’m sure my mother-in-law will be sure to let me know. She gets all fancy when it comes to grammar because that’s her thing. And I’m sure she would pick my posts apart with a red sharpie if she could because the comma usage?

The comma usage alone would be enough to make a normal person crazy.

But since I’m already crazy, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.

Because I type deliberately and slowly, which, is, also, the, way, I, talk.


At this moment my Words With Friends plays are backing up.

And Carmen is yapping.

And my foot is asleep on the dashboard.

It’s going to be a long five hours. I’m trying my best to keep the crazy to a minimum.

A big job. Big job, indeed.

Especially for someone who stays so busy over in the passenger seat. Maybe I’ll close my eyes and imagine the sound of the waves crashing against the shore and the seagulls flapping their jaws.

Which would give McDaddy a much needed rest from another’s flapping jaws.

Happy Monday, y’all!

A Simple Mathematical Equation

8 big honkin’ bags


10 painted toes


3 batches of no-bake cookies


7 electronic devices, chargers, and cords,


Countless medicines, hair products, toiletries, and anything else you can friggin’ think of,


A feverish attempt to get out of town to spend the next seven days with these people + the seven (I think!)  more that have been born since this picture was taken in 2008.

Keeping up with the grandbabies in this family is a mathematical equation that is difficult to keep up with and is subject to change on any. given. day.

As of today, there are fifteen grandbabies under the age of eight in McDaddy’s family.

The next week will no doubt be full of family, fun, food (and lots of it!), floating, and fits.

Florida, here we come!

This post is linked to Works For Me Wednesday over at We Are THAT Family.

Thursday Thirteen – My Greatest Hits

It occurred to me recently that some of you folks are newcomers to this here blog.

For that reason, I thought it might be fun to visit a few of my favorite posts. I’m diggin’ deep in the archives today because that seems easier than filtering out some of the nonsense rolling around in my brain tonight.

Enjoy the crazy. Clearly, there is plenty to go around.

1. The one where I watch an embalming – What I Learned At The Funeral Home.

2. The letter I wrote to the naked lady – Y Are You Naked?

3. Very often here at From Inmates To Playdates, I write letters to crazy people. On days that I’m feeling, oh, I don’t know, particularly crazy, I might even write a letter to myself. – Dear Me.

4. The longest post ever and one you’ll certainly want to read if you’ve ever considered getting Mirena – A Long, Windy Tail.

5.  A post about what ails me – The Heels And The Spurs.

6. My first trip to The Price Is Right – The Price Is Right, But The Fashion Was All Wrong.

7.  About my time in Jail – I Spent Five Years In Jail. Really, I did!

8. One of the few times I’ve blogged about the Saturn Sky – This Is How I Roll!

9. Kicking deployment in the booty, after six long months – Taking A Deep Breath.

10. Topless and Shoeless – all in the same night.

11. The crappy job you’ll have if your child swallows a coin. – This Too Shall Pass.

12. Because I’m a control freak, I’ve planned every detail of my funeral. – Over My Dead Body.

13. Visiting McDaddy during his deployment on Guantanamo Bay – It Don’t GTMO Better Than This!

[Edited to add perhaps my all-time FAVORITE post]

14. The one where I FINALLY GET A SATURN SKY. – Me, My Guy And The Sky.

Happy Thursday, y’all!

And happy reading, too!

All That To Say This!

Earlier in the summer, McDaddy and I talked about signing the boys up for swimming lessons.

I was skeptical because at the time, both of the boys were afraid to “go under water” and neither one of them had any interest whatsoever in doing anything in the pool besides playing on the steps. Each day before going into the pool, we held hands in the van and prayed for bravery, safety, and a willingness to try anything that they were asked to do during their thirty-minute lesson. And the first day, I might have added, ‘and please don’t let either of them have a big, hairy fit or cause a big nasty scene’.

Not that either of them have ever done either of those things, but, hey one can’t ever be too careful.

Despite the requirement to float (which required getting water in their ears) they had a great time.

They worked on freestyle, backstroke, floating, and becoming comfortable and confident in the water. At the conclusion of the lessons, Stevie was *almost* swimming.

I say *almost* because he gave 105% each day and worked really hard to be brave. I saw him go past his comfort zone and each day he pushed himself to do a little more. Yet, when it came time to give up the ‘boards’ he had trouble staying above the water.  He found that swimming was much easier while holding his nose and swimming under water.

That was before spending a week at Boy Scout Day Camp with eight other boys which concluded each day with pool time. On the last day of Day Camp, he climbed into the van and proudly announced that he could now ‘do the cannonball’ and ‘swim back to the side of the pool.’ My ears perked up and I replied, “Oh yeah?” I followed that up with, “Well, we’ll just have to make a trip to the pool tomorrow so you can show me.”

And that’s precisely what we did.

Our little family of four got suited up, lathered up, and heated up.

My sweet boy tucked his knees into his arms and flopped in the water like he had done it 382 times. Then, he worked his way back to the side of the pool doing freestyle looking like a drunken worm high on crack. His bony little body flipped and flopped and at the very core of all the movement, he *was* actually swimming.

But, I wouldn’t have asked Michael Phelps for his opinion on the matter.

We visited the pool several more times and worked on his form and making his movements smoother.

And now?

Now, he is swimming like a fish.

And when he’s feeling particularly rowdy, he flops over on his back and does the backstroke.

I am tickled to death that he can actually swim. It will make our vacation to Florida so much more enjoyable for him (especially since a couple of his cousins are swimming) and for us, too. 

That leads me to what Works For Me this fine Wednesday.

During swimming lessons, he had a tough time because he couldn’t keep his eyes open long enough to actually see where he was going.

So began my quest for swim goggles that actually kept the water out of his eyes.

I started my search at the dollar store which if I’m being honest was a mistake from the start because what can one expect from a pair of swim goggles that cost one hundred pennines?

You get what you pay for, right?

The stinkin’ strap wouldn’t even stay hooked.

The four dollar mask at the Mart of Walls ultimately had the same outcome even though they were more expensive than the first pair. They mask is probably manufactured at the same plant as the dollar duds.

The third pair ringing in at $7.00 each?

Were returned the next day.

At that point, it became a challenge to find one stinkin’ pair of goggles (well, two actually becuase even though Alex still isn’t a fan or going under water, I couldn’t ever justify not purchasing a pair of goggles for future bribery use) that did NOT fill up with water at the point of entry.

Oh shoot. It’s storming and the lights are flickerin’. I need to wrap this up before I lose it.

Anyway, to make an extremely long story short complete, I am happy to report that we found not one, but TWO pair of goggles that get the job done.

As it turns out, Buzz Lightyear knows a thing or two about swim goggles. Even a pair on the clearance rack for $2.77.

Two dollars and seventy-seven cents, people.

That’s unheard of  in the swim goggle industry.

And believe me, I know of what I speak.

Being the skeptical that I am, I also insisted on purchasing a high falutin pair of goggles at Dick’s Sporting Goods for $23.00. Because after you’ve spent 2/3 of your summer searching for a decent pair of swim goggles, it’s highly unlikely that Buzz Lightyear and his peeps know anything about swim goggles.

Especially ones that cost $2.77.

Sorry, Buzz. I owe you a big, fat apology for bad-mouthing you in Aisle 16 at the Toys-R-Us. I was sure your goggles would be junk.

I am pleased to announce that the 2010 Great American Hunt For Swim Goggles is officially over.

If you or someone you love (or someone that has spent a ridiculous amount of time searching for goggles) is in need of a decent pair of swim goggles, I suggest you start with Buzz and his friends.

That way you’ll have plenty left over to buy mama a new pair of shoes.

These swim goggles worked for me!

Visit We Are THAT Family for other things that might Work For You. And it’s doubtful that anyone else will use 975 words to talk about swim goggles.

What can I say?

A lot apparently.

Action Packed What I Learned This Week

 I had a wonderful day. So wonderful in fact that it is 11:04 P.M. and I have yet to start this week’s What I Learned This Week post. A few girlfriends and I met for dinner and afterwards, we all headed back to the McResidence for birthday cake cookie and laughs.

I love to spend time with my girlfriends. I’d love to do it more often, but quite frankly life gets in the way.

Life, Scouts, ballgames, homework, lessons, you name it. We generally stay so busy that it is difficult to plan a girls night out. Fortunately we had a great little get-togehter. It was an exceptionally wonderful time and as always, we enjoyed each other’s company.

As is generally the case, I learned some stuff this week.

This week I learned a tough lesson. 

I learned that it is very difficult to snap an action shot using an iPhone camera.

Especially an action shot involving a seven year old and a swimming pool.

Because the action?

The action, is well, action packed.

When attempting to take an action shot with my precious iPhone, I find that I either hit the button a bit too early, or a bit late.


It is really tough to hit the button at just the right time.

It was a bit frustrating if I’m being honest,

but each time, my sweet boy climbed right back up there time and time again

and it was quite clear that he was totally enjoying himself and his new-found ability to jump off of a diving board. 

What did you learn this week?

If you’re joining in for the first time, you can read all about the details here.

Don’t just stand there,

Join in on the fun!