37 and 8

We had a wonderfully fabulous weekend here at the McResidence last weekend.

The weekend started with dinner on Friday evening at Olive Garden for our little family of four, our parents, and four couples who are near and dear to us. I had my usual, spaghetti with meat sauce AND a tiramisu for dessert. As an added bonus, my friend Cindy and I headed to Kohl’s at 10:00 PM for some stress-free shopping because there is hardly anyone at the Kohl’s at 10:00 PM which is just fine with me because the older I get the less I enjoy a big crowd.

Then on Saturday morning, (the morning of my 37th birthday), we were expecting a house full for Stevie’s 8th birthday party. By noon we had approximately 35 people here at our house to celebrate Stevie’s big day. It was a great day except for the fact that Stevie had two blisters on his tongue that made it difficult to eat and even talk.

Still, he had a great time eating ice-cream and opening gifts.

It pains me that he looks so old in this picture.

PAINS. ME.

A few short hours later, Alex and I attended a family reunion type dinner of second cousins twice removed that I went to at my granny’s request because we had to “represent” my papa’s branch of the family tree. Not that I so much mind going to family reunion-type dinners except for the fact that Stevie had a basketball game and the game started at the same time as the dinner, thirty minutes away. SO, we did what any busy two-parent family does. McDaddy and I did the divide and conquer routine. He took Stevie and I took Alex.

As luck would have it Stevie scored TWO baskets AND his team had their first win.

And I missed it.

Still, I was happy that Stevie had a great game.

On Sunday, I spent the day re-living the events of Stevie’s birthday back in 2002. I had gone to Olive Garden for my 29th birthday (while on bedrest MINDYOU) and the very next day I had a scheduled non-stress test that ended exactly like this.

And a short 12 hours later, I was doing this.

That day changed my life.

My sweet boy changed my life. I am thankful for the privilege of being his mama and I love that his birthday is the day after mine.

Happy Birthday sweet boy!

You Capture – Outside

 Oh the weather outside is frightful….

And if you ask me it’s not a bit delightful…

And as long as it’s going to snow

I’ll drink hot chocolate and watch it snow!

For more ouside shots, visit You Capture.

Young And Restless

McDaddy is travelling with the WV Air National Guard this evening and I’m bored out of my mind. It’s after 10 PM and my house is quiet except for the television. I am listening to The Young And The Restless who have been a part of my family for more than twenty years. One hour a day, five days a week for more than twenty years.

That’s a lot of friggin’ time folks.

I’ve completed many a college term paper while listening to Victor Newman and Jack Abbott argue about their latest plot to one-up the other. Not to mention the number of times I’ve heard Victor and Nikki say “I do!” Only, they usually end up saying “I don’t” a short time later.

Years ago, I was visiting some family in California and we decided to attend a taping of The Price Is Right. I was sure the ‘powers that be’ would pick me because I am loud and fun. And don’t forget patriotic.

 I now realize this wardrobe choice was a little ‘over the top’ but my thought was the whole ‘patriotic’ gig would make me a shoe-in. At least one military person gets picked for each episode, so I thought it was a good choice. [I’d give a finger or two to have those skinny little legs back, too!] Now though, I can’t tell you how happy I am that I didn’t parade myself down to contestant’s row in that get-up.

Sadly, I was not picked to “come on down!” but I left with a cool name tag sticker, a postcard, some great memories, and a parking ticket stub.

The following summer I travelled back to California to visit family and we decided to try it again. For some reason, I was sure I’d get picked this time.

While waiting in line to go into the studio, I watched the parking lot hoping to catch a glimpse of my soap opera family. While I was in college, I worked in the customer service office of a grocery store and I spent many a late night reading the Soap Opera Digest. Because of that I knew their “real” names and even some of the writers and producers because many times they are interviewed for the publications.

SO. When Bill Bell pulled into the lot in his white Mercedes Benz, I recognized him immediately. I hollered at him (cause that’s what I do!) and ran over to him to ask if he’d pose for a picture. He was so very humble and patient which is good because my aunt couldn’t work a digital camera for beans. We stood there for what seemed like forever while I gave him some advice about his characters and their storylines and after a VERY long wait, my aunt snapped this picture of the two of us.

It was 1995 and I was all hyped up on adreneline and sequence. It was one of the greatest days of my life because I also met Joshua Morrow and Don Diamonte and I did it all while wearing this wonderfully bright sequence shirt.

As one might imagine, I still didn’t get called to “Come on down!” but I did get to holler at my west-coast family and make a complete idiot of myself as I rambled on and on about being from West Virginia and watching the show for most of my life. And I have to say that after meeting each one of them and finding out how wonderfully kind and patient they were with me, I was, and continue to be an even bigger fan.

Christmas Cards

The Christmas Card is a big event around here.

I say that because I take great care to hand-sign and address each and every card. I compose a letter which might be considered an annual ramble, and we include a picture. I start planning for the Christmas Card extravaganza in early November so that my cards will be done by the first week in December.

The first stage in the process is getting out all of my cards and Christmas stationary. Because I am indescisive I purchase 4 or 5 or 10 different Christmas cards and choosing who will receive which card is just as much a task as addressing them because I am crazy and have some sort of preception that people actually care which Christmas card they will receive. On top of that there is the color coordination of the stamp, the envelope and the sharpie.

I’m telling you people, I am a nut case.

Then, I compose our letter and have it printed. Our letter this year went like this: (For some reason wordpress insisted on putting a space between each line aggravating me to no end and making it nearly impossible for you to see that the first letter of each line should be bolded to read Merry Christmas From Them McFamily! WordPress, you are an aggravation sometimes!)

May this find each of you enjoying the madness and mayhem of yet another

Exciting holiday season. As luck would have it, you have been chosen to

Receive the annual McFamily Newsletter where Julie will no doubt

Ramble on about what all the family has been into since you read last

Year’s account. McDaddy is still traveling quite a bit with Honeywell where he is a Principle

Control Systems Specialist, and he is a major in the WV Air National Guard where

He has served for 19 years. He enjoys off-roading in the Jeep and overseeing various

Remodeling projects currently taking place around the McPalace. As one might

Imagine, Julie is just as crazy as ever. She is serving her 2nd year as PTA President at

Stevie’s school, Flinn Elementary. As a homemaker extraordinaire, she takes her job of

Transporting kids, laundry and cleaning the house as serious as one can while still

Making time to blog at From Inmates To Playdates Dot Com and watching a vast

Array of reality TV. It’s a tough life, but somehow she manages. Always on the run,

She is busier than a raccoon in a trash-pile most days. She and Steve are truly blessed.

Finding out in June that Stevie NO LONGER NEEDS GLASSES, we celebrated and

Rejoiced. He’s in the second grade and can rattle off information like nobody’s business.

Oh, he loves to read and draw and has inherited the gift of gab from his mama. He is a

Member of the Cub Scouts. He also plays basketball for the Sissonville Youth League.

Then, there is Alex, our five year old. He goes to pre-school and loves to play with Stevie.

He is full of vim and vigor and has two speeds – wide open and asleep. He is a sweet,

Entertaining boy who loves stuffed animals, shoes, Tom and Jerry, and CARS.

Much to the dismay of their parents, the boys are growing up fast. Even though we

Could, we won’t go on about how smart or sweet our boys are. The entire McCollam

Clan (all 27!) plus a few enjoyed a weeklong vacation in Florida which was the site of

Our annual Christmas picture. The four of us also spent Spring Break in Florida,

Lazily relaxing with both sets of our parents. Much of summer was spent at swim

Lessons, camps, travelling with Steve on business and camping with friends at various

Area campgrounds. Our little band of four has been blessed beyond measure with

Many friends & a loving family. We have no idea what 2011will hold, but we are

Sure of Christ’s love and abundant grace in our lives today and everyday.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

And finally, my little family took this picture back in July when we were at the beach. I was having a good hair day that day so I decided it would be our Christmas picture.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

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This post is linked to the Christmas Card carousel hosted by Faith.

Sweet Little Sucker

Some time ago, I was contacted by CSN Stores asking if I’d like to review another product from one of their [many] sites.

It took me a sweet forever because I am indecisive AND because they have over 200 stores that offer just about anything you or I or anyone else for that matter could dream of. If you’re in the market for a laptop messenger bag, look no further. They also have entire sites dedicated to rugs, massage chairs, and even dutch ovens. Sadly, I am still not reviewing a massage chair, however, if you know anything about me and my never-ending pursuit to get a Saturn Sky for free, you know that I never give up.

I scoured the CSN sites and decided on something, then changed my mind, then changed my mind again.

I finally decided on this sweet little sucker. [Pun intended]

Head over to my review page to read all about it.

What I Learned This Week

The weather guy here in Charleston told a big, fat fib. We were supposed to have several feet of snow yesterday, but instead, we got just enough for the big wigs at the Board of Education to cancel school. That means I slept late and got lots of stuff done today. Before bedtime last night, the school board announced a two-hour delay for today. Which means I get to sleep late AGAIN.

Yee friggin’ haw! Unfortunately, McDaddy is flying out to San Diego early today so that means I’ll be risking life and limb to slide off of our hill to get the boys to school. I’m crossing my fingers that either 1. school will be cancelled, or 2. the road workers will have our hill cleared off early AM. I’m hoping for door number one.

I learned a lot of stuff this week, so let’s get right to it, mkay?

1. There is at least one fluorescent light at Lowes that claims to be 54 inches long but is actually 51 inches long. I plan to call the joners tomorrow to let them know they need to reprint their boxes or remeasure their lights.

2. The show The Sing-Off is way cool. I’m not sure how it got past my reality TV radar.

3. Transferring information from an iPhone 3 to an iPhone 4 is much easier than I thought.

4. A new vacuum cleaner will cause you to sweep the floors more frequently than you did before. It will also cause you to dust the thing when you’re finished with it.

5. Kohls is the absolute best place to Christmas shop when you consider the Kohls cash, the 15% off card they send in the mail and the already discounted prices.

6. Kohls will now honor Kohl’s cash even if it is expired.

7. Having two birthdays in two days equals lots of birthday cake.

8. If you serve a cheeseball at a holiday gathering and only half of it is eaten, you can reform it and serve it again two days later.

9. The iPhone 4 is faster, lighter and has a much better camera than the iPhone 3. Oh internets, I fell in love all over again.

What did YOU learn this week?

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You can read the long detailed version of rules here, or follow these easy steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog. AND, if you could, spread the word to your bloggy friends so more people will LINK UP for pete’s sake.

2. Within that post, please mention the What I Learned This Week carnival and link to this post here at From Inmates To Playdates.

3. Then link up with the Mr. Linky below and give a shout out about it on facebook or twitter.

4. Visit the other participants and see what they learned this week. Then leave a comment because comments are fun!

Christmas Tour Of Homes

Welcome to From Inmates To Playdates. Come on in, I’ve been expecting you!

Can I interest you in a snack? Normally I drink Dr. Pepper but sometimes we get all wild and crazy around here and shake things up with some Cherry Crush. Oh, and don’t forget the Little Debbie Christmas tree cakes. (That Debbie sure knows how to make a cake!)

There’s lots to see around here, so I’ll do my best to keep the commentary to a minimum, but if you’ve spent any amount of time around here you know that isn’t going to be easy.

I absolutely love our Christmas tree. It makes me all kinds of happy to sit in the dark and watch it rotate.

And, as an added bonus, I’ve added a tree to our downstairs rec-room. I intend to put presents under the tree that match the turquoise theme. Only time will tell if that will really happen. (Oh, and if I had any sense whatsoever, I would have fixed the ribbon on the bottom of the tree before snapping the picture.)

This is my husband, McDaddy. He decorates the loft every year because I’m a klutz and I’m afraid of falling from the ledge and breaking something.

This is the Christmas “through the years” table. In addition to the crazy creation of Longaberger, a candle and a some Christmas bulbs which came about in a fit of anxiety about what to do with 20 some odd Christmas bulbs that were rolling off the table, I’ve got pictures of our boys with Santa over the past seven years. This table makes me all kinds of happy!

I changed up my dining table a bit this year. I found this really cute snowman collection of stuff at Kohls (which by the way has some fabulous deals and sales and whathaveyou!) and couldn’t resist.

Wave to McDaddy! As you can see, he’s risking life and limb to put decorations up there.

As you can tell, I love snowmen! (But I HATE snow!)

In fact, our bay window is full of them.

And so is our bathroom.

And in the loft, too!

Didn’t McDaddy do a wonderful job? Plus, you’ll be happy to know he did it all without falling or breaking something.

 This is my one-of-a-kind vintage nativity set.

I call it vintage because it dates back to 1985. And I call it one-of-a-kind because I painted it in ceramics when I was 12 years old.

So yeah, vintage and one-0f-a-kind. Kinda like this little crazy-eyed sucker who is waving goodbye!

 And that, as they say, is that! Unless you want to grab a cookie on your way out the door.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Oh, and if you have any desire to read one of those dreaded Christmas letters our annual family Christmas letter, you can go here.

Thanks for stopping by!

This post is linked to The Christmas Tour of Homes.

Stuff and Things

It’s been a hectic week around here at the McResidence but I won’t go into all that because I am not one to whine or complain.

Ahem!

Some days the blog fodder rolls right off of my fingertips and other days, I sit here on the big, blue, bloggy couch watching some sort of reality television, craving chocolate thinking what to write about.

Tonight, the blog fodder is filling my head, so I hope you’ll excuse while I empty the contents of my brain. It is likely I will type without any sort of order. In other words, you won’t see much change from my everyday blogging. 

1. It’s Santa’s workshop week at Stevie’s school. For some reason things are going much smoother than last year. This is my second year heading up the rob-shop program and as is always the case, I’ve learned a few things in the process.

2. I had a PTA meeting this evening which probably isn’t noteworthy except that, I HAD TO SPEAK INTO A MICROPHONE. IN FRONT OF A LARGE AUDIENCE. ON A STAGE. Don’t get me wrong, I can talk with the best of them. I hate speaking in front of a large audience. I hate it even more if there are steps I have to maneuver to get on the stage because let’s just face it, I am the biggest klutz I know and the only thing worse than tripping on steps is tripping on steps in front of hundreds of people. About five minutes before the meeting started I seriously thought I was having a panic attack. I had heart palpitations and I was uneasy about making a ‘miscue’ as my granny would say. Thankfully I only had a few short announcements before turning the microphone over to the Principal. The ‘light refreshments’ we served were a hit unless you count the fact that we had six half-gallons of eggnog left over and after tasting it I understood why.

3. While Alex was at preschool this morning I made a mad dash through Kohl’s, the AT&T store, and the dollar store. Let me just go on record and say right now that Kohl’s is a great place to do some serious Christmas shopping. Most of the store was discounted and in addition to that I got some Kohl’s cash which is almost like real cash except it expires. I put an alert into my iPhone to remind me to use it before I lose it because if there’s anything I hate it’s finding out my Kohl’s cash has expired.

4. McDaddy was out of town on business this week and one of the times he called me, he asked if Fed-ex had delivered a package. I told him in fact they had delivered two packages and he then asked me to open the package addressed to him to find out if it was the right item.

Y’all.

I squealed with delight when I saw this.

Come to mama.

She is sleek. She is beautiful. She is bright. And she is mine!

Happy Birthday to me!

5. I have 317 gifts to wrap. I enjoy wrapping gifts unless I have 317 gifts in my wrapping queue. I’d like to think I’ll get caught up on my wrapping this weekend but I won’t hold my breath because we have two birthdays to celebrate, two dinners, a basketball game, a birthday party at our house, a baby dedication, and a basketball practice.

But I’m not whining.

Or complaining.

Because I don’t do either of those.

 And because I just got the new iPhone.

Have a great weekend y’all! If I find time in between our busy schedule I’ll be posting about my new sweeper (that really sucks by the way!) and about my sweet boy who will turn eight on Sunday.

Sweet Stuff

Sugar is sweet and so in Annabelle.

Sweet lovin’. Uncle Dave and his nephews.

Sweet petunia in sweet pajamas.

Sweet boys playing with toys.

Sweet busy hands.

This post is linked to You Capture.

Party At My Place! Or not…

Some time ago a friend of mine had a ‘cash for gold’ party and asked if I’d like to come. I wasn’t able to attend but I sent a ziplock bag of gold odds and ends that I hadn’t worn for months, maybe even years. I was tickled when I discovered the bag of junk was worth $235.

A few weeks ago another friend had a ‘cash for gold party’. Since I am never one to miss an opportunity to party, I scanned my jewelry box for more junk gold. As luck would have it, I made another $115. Math is not my strong suit, but if I’ve added correctly, that’s $350. for several pieces of jewelry that were just otherwise taking up space in the jewelry box.

As I sat around the dining room table at my friend’s house in November, the gold lady asked if any of us would like to host a party.

If there’s one thing I love, it’s a party.

And even more than that, I love hosting parties.

SO. Even though December is a crazy busy time and even though the weather is very unpredictable, I said, um, sure, why not? We settled on a date and I began an aggressive campaign on the Facebook to invite 560 of my closest friends.

Or something like that.

Then, I made a list because that’s what I do when I have 238 things going on in the same week. In between marking things off of my list and adding three more things to the list, I checked the weather. And then I prayed.

First of all, there is my hill. (Some day I’m going to take a picture, I promise!)

The hill that we live almost on the very top of can get pretty ugly if weather conditions are not in my favor, and by ‘in my favor’ I mean NOT THE WEATHER WE HAVE IN DECEMBER! Unfortunately the weather has been showing itself for the last, oh, I don’t know six or seven days, and we’ve had snow and ice and crazy wind chills so I had no idea what to expect the night of the party.

Next, there is the preparation of food because everyone knows you cannot have a party without some food and how in the heck do you plan food for a party which may not be attended by a single person because they are not willing to risk life and limb to make it up your stinkin’ hill.

Then, there is the fact that I was having the party the second week in December which is HUGE if you live in this house because, hello? My birthday, Stevie’s birthday and subsequent party, Santa’s workshop at Stevie’s school, and holiday celebrations keep us pretty busy the second week in December.

Thirdly, there is the fact that everyone else on the planet is just as busy as my family and how many people could possibly attend a party on a cold, possibly snowy Tuesday December evening?

Folks, I should’ve gone to Vegas because I was a gambling fool.

The party could have been a total bust.

But, I am happy to report IT WAS A HUGE WHOPPING SUCCESS.

I had seven wonderfully delightful gold bearing girlfriends over for an evening of fun and fellowship, plus a number of gals gave me their bags ahead of time because they were not able to attend.

And y’all.

Let’s just say that somewhere there is an iPad calling my name. Ahem!

If you ever have the opportunity to attend a ‘cash for gold’ party and need some extra cash, you should rifle through your jewelry box and cash in the gold your first boyfriend gave you. You should also turn in the gold cap that fell off of your tooth at the KFC because people actually do that! You’ll be shocked to find out what’s it’s worth.

So yeah, the party was at my place,  y’all.

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Cash for gold worked for me!

Visit That Family for other things that might work for you!