Alex Ryan

This sweet boy:

  • loves Fruit Loops cereal
  • is a fast runner
  • has an extra tooth
  • stands 46 inches tall and weighs 46 pounds
  • wears glasses (and has since he was three)
  • has more Lightning McQueen cars than any one child needs
  • wrestles with daddy any chance he gets
  • has a love for shoes
  • would rather be outside
  • is sleeping in his brother’s bottom bunk tonight
  • has a nut and egg allergy
  • wears a size 11 1/2 shoe
  • operates the TiVo like a pro
  • proudly climbs to the highest point of any piece of furniture when no one is watching
  • hates broccoli and peas
  • has a knack for making himself gag (and possibly puke) when eating broccoli or peas
  • is a good back-scratcher when he wants to be
  • shifts gears in the Jeep when he rides in the front seat
  • weighed 10 pounds 5 ounces at birth
  • received a red Mario Brothers DSI XL for Christmas 
  • loves stuffed animals more than any other toy
  • names each and every one of his stuffed animals
  • watches Tom & Jerry daily
  • will pick McDonalds every. single. time.
  • can count to 100
  • likes brown sugar and “cimmanum” pop tarts best
  • has an over-active imagination
  • strings toothpaste from one end of the bathroom to the other in a matter of minutes
  • enjoys playing with his older brother
  • snuggles with his mama daily
  • always chooses strawberry syrup at iHop
  • has really good manners
  • can’t wait to be six
  • just like Bounty, he’s the quicker picker upper
  • would rather be the line leader at school than the flag holder
  • crawls in bed with me when McDaddy is out of town
  • orders like a big boy at restaurants
  • will start Kindergarten in the fall

And makes me smile daily.

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord Almighty is his name.  Isaiah 51:15

Let It Roll

I started a post about Facebook but decided it was going to take more time than I wanted to devote right then to complete my thoughts (surprise!) so I abandoned it in favor of something a little less time consuming because I am watching American Idol and it’s hard to think clearly when I’m focused on JLo’s skin and Steven Tyler’s braid or whatever that thing is in his hair.

[That is one long sentence.]

I’ll save that post for another day, but today I thought it might be fun to let it roll.

From my head to my fingertips, here are the first ten things that come to mind.

1. First of all, can I just say that we are gearing up for yet another SNOWSTORM here in West Virginia. You cannot understand my frustration about that because OHMYWORD ENOUGHALREADY. I am tired of shoveling and sliding and freezing and checking the darn weather channel to see if I’ll be able to get off of our hill every morning. I’ll be so glad when April gets here.

2. Apparently the crazy weather has the residents of West Virginia flying their crazy flags at full staff. Take this joker for instance. I laughed out loud at the story, but really he needs some serious help.

3. Tears ran down my cheeks as Chris Medina’s story was shared on American Idol Wednesday night. What a heartbreaking story for these two young kids. Just thinking about it, my eyes are filled with tears.

4. Report cards come home today. My sweet boy is hoping for straight A’s. And so is his mama.

5. If you haven’t watched “Hot In Cleveland” you are missing out. It is quite hysterical and mostly because Betty White is a hoot!

6. I spent two hours and twelve minutes on the phone with four different representatives from AT&T and Apple yesterday. The two gals at Apple were friendly and helpful and finally my iPhone 4 can accept and send picture texts.

7. If you are new around here, you should check out my new “About Me” page. I get frequent e-mails asking if I found love in jail. So, I’d like to set the record straight, right here on this blog. I did NOT meet McDaddy in prison. Rather, we went to high-school together and ‘hooked up’ during our senior year. In fact, I was first attracted to his best friend.

8. McDaddy tutored me in Trigonometry and we kissed for the first time on his 16th birthday.

9. McDaddy has always loved to drive, SO, I’m not sure what was more special to him. Turning 16 so he could finally drive OR our first kiss. I’d love for him to answer that.

10. The nasty bronchitis crud is still hanging around. I am MUCH better, but the nagging nasty cough is a reminder that I am not completely well just yet. I need to be well because I need to get my butt back in the gym without fear of coughing up a lung the second my heart rate gets the slightest bit elevated.

This is a great day to come out from behind the bushes and introduce yourself. Oh, and for added enjoyment, share a random fact about yourself.

So, what are you waiting on?

Let it roll!

Happy

This week’s You Capture assignment is happy and that makes me very happy because I have three funny fellas at home which means that I get to laugh and smile a million times a day.

Just take a look at what makes me a happy girl…

I can’t get enough of this sweet face (even with a scratched nose!). He is silly and fun and comical and loving  wrapped up in one little high-strung package. His name is Alex and he makes me all kinds of happy.

And then there’s this sweet happy fella, Stevie, who is an avid reader, a gifted story-teller, a methodical thinker and a super-sweet boy. He makes me happy.

As far as vehicles go, this one is certainly not my favorite. It does however make me very happy when it pulls into the driveway after a week-long business trip because it means that McDaddy is back at home where he belongs. It also makes me happy that it can go when most other vehicles are grounded due to inclement weather.

Plus it will make McDaddy happy to see that his heap, er I mean Jeep made the blog twice in one week.

And this is my laundry room. It makes me happy because it is painted in bright colors and because of the Wall Words. Plus, the picture of me in the Saturn Sky makes me all kinds of happy because OHMYWORD I need one of those suckers.

Oh look, it’s a Saturn Sky!

This sucker ranks about number four on my happy list, just after my hubby and two boys. Feast your eyes on this ruby red gem. I swear it’s smiling at me. The [almost extinct] Saturn Sky makes me happy, happy, happy even when it is sitting crooked in a picture on my blog.

My latest obsession includes this cute rocker that now sits in my living room. If this chair could talk, it would no doubt have a story to tell. It was well worth the wait because it makes me happy. I couldn’t resist adding it to my happy post.

Those who can laugh without cause have either found the true meaning of happiness or have gone stark raving mad.  ~Norm Papernick

If you want to be happy, be.  ~Leo Tolstoy

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.  ~Abraham Lincoln

What makes you happy?

A girl should always have a back-up plan

If you’re a regular around here at FITP, Inc. I’ll go ahead and apologize for what you are about to read.

You all know the story of the cute striped rocking chair. You may recall that I’ve whined about it two or three times over the past three months. What you don’t know is that finding that fabric lit a fire under me and I had, what many would call, a crazy fit.

I found the fabric while shopping for a couch and loveseat and immediately I had a vision, or in the words of Oprah, an epiphany. I could see that fabric covering that sweet rocking chair AND I could also see pillows to match the chair on whatever couch and loveseat we picked out.

I called Craftmaster (the maker of the chair), and the dream-killers quoted me a price of $80.00 for two pillows or forty dollars for a yard of fabric that would make four pillows.

Since we are not rich and I have not won any lotteries lately, I set plan B into motion (a girl should always have a back-up plan) and made it my goal to find either two pillows for a third of their price, OR, fabric to make the pillows without needing a loan. To make a long story as short as possible, I’ll just skip right to the facts.

I ended up finding the material for half-price at JoAnn Fabrics for $12.49 per yard and I ordered 20 yards of the custom fabric.

Before any of this took place, my talented seamstress friend Jill mentioned one or two or twelve times that I might want to consider purchasing window treatments from JC Penney because it would be much cheaper and quicker. Once I get something in this head of mine, there is no reason whatsoever to waste your breath, because at that point, it’s as well as done.  And in my head, I knew this blue, yellow and white striped theme for our great room would look fabulous. Once I made my madness perfectly clear Jill agreed to make curtains and pillows for me once the fabric arrived.

And once the fabric arrived, I was thankful that her math skills are better than mine BECAUSE Y’ALL! THERE IS MATH INVOLVED IN THE PATTERN CUTTING AND SEWING. That simple fact means that I will never be a seamstress because I can barely count my fingers and toes without hyperventilating.

In a matter of weeks, Jill made all my striped fabric decorating dreams come true.  She decided to do the bulk of the sewing at my house so that I could help her any way I could talk her head off.

She measured and cut.

And then she measured and cut some more.

Please excuse my lame photography skills.

She sewed for hours and hours on her Singer sewing machine, and I was amazed at her talent, her attention to detail and her knowledge. When we started this thing, I had some grandiose idea that I could present her with a picture from the Internet and she could create it out of fabric. I’ve learned a couple of things about sewing since then and would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Jill for my apparent lack of knowledge for her craft. You see, in my world there is no need for patterns or calculations. All I can see is the final product, so I am grateful for a friend who can get past my craziness to actually figure out what it is that I am hoping for.

Before I show you the finished product, I’ll show you the original “window [mis]treatments”  that were here when we bought the house.

There were also some big puffy white hangy-down ‘shade type things’ that I did away with soon after moving into the house.

My head is on a constant swivel as I admire my newly decorated great room.

Sadly my photography skills do not match Jill’s talent.

This happens to be the cute little rocking chair that is now the focal point (at least for my eyes) of our great room.

And without further ado, here are the four pillows that I adore.

And last on the list was this kitchen curtain which will look much better on this window once I attach the curtain to the shelf, and then move the shelf up four or five inches.

I am blessed to have such a talented friend. Thanks, Jill!

This post is linked to Works For Me Wednesday.

What I Learned This Week

First of all, I’d like to say thanks to ALL of you who linked up last week. I was so happy that so many of you showed up in my corner of the blogosphere. And y’all, I cracked up at some of the things you learned. 

As is the case most weeks, my learning curve was off the charts because once again I learned all manner of useless information.

For your consideration:

1. When the cub-master for your son’s cub scout troop approaches you about rechartering the troop, you should most definitely run the other direction because it is a lot more work than you think it will be, PLUS, there is PRESSURE people. Lots of pressure. After weeks and weeks of it hanging over my head, McDaddy handed the thing in this evening.

2. I would much rather have the pukes and poops for 48 straight hours and be done with it, instead of dealing with the stupid phlegm-laced cough bronchitis crap for two weeks because after some serious chest pain on Saturday night, I convinced myself I was having a heart-attack. Luckily, it was nothing more than sore muscles FROM ALL THE COUGHING I’ve done the past two weeks. Fourteen days later and this thing is still kicking my trash.

3. Julie Chen (Co-anchor of ‘The Talk’ and host of Big Brother) is married to Les Moonves (Director, CEO and President of CBS) who made a butt-load of money last year according to Forbes.

4. Four of the top ten richest people according to Forbes are from the Walton family. As in Sam, not John. There is not a doubt in my mind I had a [very small] hand in those rankings.

5. The Google Guys were ranked #11. (Y’all know I love Google, right?)

6. When visiting Forbes.com, the information can suck you in.

7. To ‘tort’ a cake is to cut it in half horizontally. A ‘tort’ is also an action that injures someone in some way. I had never heard of the first, but studied the second in Criminal Justice classes.

8. Cookies and Creme pop-tarts aren’t a bit good. I’m still missing the Vanilla Creme pop-tarts and posted this in hopes that a big-wig from Kelloggs might happen across my blog and bring them back.

9. It is difficult to write a WILTW post while attending the #incourage twitter party.

10. March will be a L-O-N-G month for us. Not looking forward to it. I hate it when McDaddy travels.

And since I’m listing ten things, I thought I’d link to Oh Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday.

What did YOU learn this week?

——–

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 spread the news to your bloggy friends so more people will join in on the fun.

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.

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

Just So You Know

To: Havoc and Mayhem

From: Your Crazy Mama

Date: January 23, 2011

RE: Just So You Know

Dear Boys:

It’s another busy month here at the McResidence, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Just last night as I watched you brush your teeth, it dawned on me that neither of you need a stool to reach the bathroom sink. When did that happen? It seems like just yesterday Daddy and I were preparing your toothbrushes, brushing your teeth, and wiping your mouth. And now? NOW? All I can say is, “Wow!”

Well, “Wow!” and “How in the heck do you get toothpaste on the back of the toilet?”

It makes me so sad to think of the hundreds of other things you boys no longer need me to help you with.

Fathertime. Mothernature. Whoever’s in charge of this thing, could you slow it down?

We’ve had six snow days in the past four weeks and I look forward to those days, the days where lazily sit in my bed and talk about  Sonic the Friggin’ Hedgehog, and legos, and how to make pankcakes. Then, we have breakfast well after 9AM and vote unanimously to stay in our PJ’s all day long, playing DS’s and making cookies. Plus, we get to sleep late!

If I had my way, I would stop time because five and eight are so much fun. You are at the point where we have actual to goodness rational conversations about careers and life-changing stuff. We talked about careers earlier this evening and I was thrilled to hear that you Stevie hope to be an art teacher, and Alex, you want to be a nurse that gives kids shots at the Doctor, which is funny to me, because you hate shots. Whatever you choose to do, I want you to be good at it. Daddy and I will proud whether you become a teacher, a doctor, a trash-man, or a stay-at-home-dad, as long as you give it your all.

Please understand that I would love it if the two of you could play on your DS’s, iTouches and the Wii all day long. I hate to be the dream killer here but really y’all need to understand that allowing you to play those technological gadgets at will would mean that your brains would turn to mush and you’d miss out on a lot of stuff. So, unfortunately I will continue to monitor and limit your time with each.

Thank you and amen.

And anyway, when you’re not playing video games, the two of you are typically playing together, and there’s nothing that makes me any happier than to watch y’all make up games and stories. You are both so very different, yet, you play together beautifully. I am thankful for that.

I feel privileged to be your mama. I love you both and I cherish the days we get to spend together.

If I went to the big-boy store and shopped every aisle, I would always, always, always pick you two.

Love, Mama

——

Dear Stevie,

You are a methodical perfectionist, and that, my sweet boy, comes straight from daddy. From the time you were very small, it was obvious that you were a carbon copy of your daddy. That tickles me to pieces because daddy pays close attention and can make very important decisions very quickly, which is a great gift to possess, especially if you end up marrying someone who requires a list, a sharpie and a 48-hour notice before making any decision. In every single thing you do, I can see your little wheels turning. You love to learn and you prefer to be precise and correct and perfect and I love you for that, because? um, the perfectionist part? Um, straight from me.

Now.

This flair for the dramatic that you seem to have inherited? Sweet mercy. I get all excited watching you retell a story, because I totally understand why it is necessary for your voice to get louder and your arms to wave. Um, not sure if you realize this or not, but sweet boy, that whole scene, is um, straight from mama’s autobiography.

And it delights me.

Hear me. It. Delights. Me.

You finished up your third season of basketball, and I will go ahead and apologize for screaming like a crazy person at your games. I never played the first second of an organized sport, but after three years of sitting in those stands, I never get bored of watching you play. You have decided that you want to give baseball a try which is very exciting but, ohmyword! I am thinking of all the one-hundred-degree heat and humidity days we are certain to have. But alas, me and my big mouth will be there cheering you on from the stands. You just never know what you are going to be great at, so I say give it all you have sweet boy. I look forward to baseball season and I look forward to watching you learn the sport.

I love you and I love being your mama.

Love, Mom

—–

Dear Alex,

You are such a fun and entertaining boy. I am amazed at how you have matured over the past few months. One of my favorite things is to watch your little determined self attempt to do something. Daddy mentioned a few days ago that you and I have the same tolerance level.

LOW.

That’s not such a bad thing, but the earlier you get that under control, the easier life will be for you. Take it from me, because I should know.

How is that sometimes you can be the cuddliest, sweetest boy who readily gives out kisses and hugs and then the very next minute be the boy who WILL NEVER AGAIN WEAR THOSE SHOES, EAT THAT FOOD, OR PLAY THAT GAME? It is so frustrating sometimes, but if I’m being honest, um, you are that kid my mama warned me about. You know the one? The one that she hopes I have that is exactly like me. Um, yeah, I got him. And I love you so much sweet boy.

We have talked at length about the importance of thinking before you speak and I need to confess to you that everytime I jump onto you about doing that, God is also speaking to me about it. SO. We can continue to work on that together. Ahem.

This month, you had the all-important five-year-old check-up, complete with required immunizations for kindergarten.

[Excuse me while I grab a tissue.]

Holy crap, I have no idea what I will do with myself when the time comes.

The nurses administered two shots in both legs and you, my sweet boy, were a trooper. It broke my heart to hold your hand and stand beside you, but you were so tough, you cried for maybe five seconds when it was over. And now, you are bragging to people all over town that you are ready to go to “big school” because you’ve had lots of shots.

Phew. It pains me to type that.

Just like Stevie, you are geared up to play t-ball this year. For five years we have watched you and wide open self wreak havoc on anything that got in your way. And now? You’re gonna do all that with a wooden baseball bat. I can’t hardly wait to watch you play. I am looking forward to a great year sweet boy. Go out there, do your best, and have fun. And don’t mind me screaming like a crazy person in the stands.

I love you sweet boy.

Love, Mama.

—–

*Just So You Know is a monthly letter I write to our boys.

Beauty and The Beast

The weather guy, in his infinate wisdom has predicted that we will get between two and six inches of snow by Friday morning.

Two. And six.

That’s quite a difference, but if I’m being honest, the two might as well be six when it comes to my driving in it, because I am a chicken.

The good news is with that much snow expected, there is a really good chance that we will get to sleep in tomorrow morning. I am expecting a phone call from the school board at any minute.

For the past month 97% of the conversations in our little town have centered around two topics.

  • How much snow we received this time around.
  • How much snow we can expect this time around.

When McDaddy is home it makes no difference how much snow we get because he is crazy and actually enjoys risking life and limb to slip and slide drive on snowy, icy roads. He has a  job that requires lots of travel, so when he is away I am constantly checking the weather channel on my phone and praying to the Lord above that the storm will pass over and not dump its wad over top of my house because as I’ve mentioned before we live on a big honkin’ hill.

In fact, as I write this post the snow is falling steadily and McDaddy is debating whether or not there is somewhere he needs to go at 11:00 PM just so he can go out and play in the snow. 

Crazy, I tell you.

Here’s a view of the hill that we must drive up (and coincidentally down) to get to and from our house. I shot this from our driveway one day last week. As you can see it is a crazy steep “S” curve.

I told you, it was a huge hill.

As you might imagine, I have suffered many a panic attack attempting to get up or down the hill.

Just last Friday we were hit with yet another storm. McDaddy was working out of town and it was a snow day for our school district. As luck with have, Stevie’s eight-year well visit was scheduled for that afternoon. Unless I wanted to reschedule his appointment for sometime in July, I had no choice but to sweep and shovel the driveway if my minivan stood any chance whatsoever of making it up the driveway.

I’ll give you a few seconds to process that.

I wrestled my boots on, bundled myself up, grabbed my iPhone (in case I suffered some sort of an emergency! – don’t laugh if you know me, you know it’s totally possible!) AND, I grabbed the camera because that’s what I do when I’m preparing to do manual labor that requires me to work up a sweat.

When I walked outside to assess the situation, I figured I’d be there half the day clearing the snow on that driveway.

Here is our darn driveway, as it looked from the garage.

And here was our front porch:

Nothing says ‘Welcome’ quite like five inches of snow on the front steps.

And this is a shot of me before the sweat started to roll.

And believe me, the sweat? It did roll!

It rolled, because I was using this sucker:

Look at all that friggin’ snow. I’m telling you, it makes me cringe just looking at it.

Just before the heart attack A mere thirty-minutes later, the driveway looked like this:

And my steps screamed, “Y’all come!”

And I was a sweatin’ fool who had ditched her scarf and swiped the sweat from her brow.

Dramatic, yes, I know.

And then, I did what any crazy person does,

I took pictures of myself.

When McDaddy called to ask about my day, I inquired about the possibility of purchasing a snow-blade for his heap, er, I mean Jeep, because the beast could clear our driveway in a hot minute.

Which is a whole-heck-of-a lot quicker than it took the beauty to clear it.

To which he replied, “The Jeep doesn’t need the driveway cleared.”

And that’s how we roll around here, folks.

The beauty doing all the work, and the beast having all the fun.

Have a great weekend internets!

You Capture – Circles

cir·cle; noun

  • a plane figure bounded by a single curved line, every point of which is equally distant from the point at the center of the figure.

This was a fun week. I started early in the week looking for circles and I found them all over my house. I had fun with this one.

Without further ado, may I present CIRCLES.

 I used the macro setting for this shot. I love the clarity of it.

 A tart warmer that sits in our bathroom.

 A tart warmer that sits in our bathroom in the dark.

I borrowed change out of McDaddy’s hoard for this shot. [Shhh, it will be our secret.]

I don’t spend too much time in the kitchen, but I can make a mean pancake, especially when slathered with butter and syrup. This is one of our favorite meals around here. These are pretty circular, right?

You Capture is hosted by I Should Be Folding Laundry.

A Hot Mess

Just in case you were wondering, I still have a hacking cough.

I haven’t coughed up a lung, but I still might. As of this writing, my lungs are still intact as far as I can tell, but I’ll keep you posted on that because the way I’m hacking, things could change in a hot minute.

We are gearing up for another snow-storm that is due to hit here in West Virginia on Friday. You cannot imagine my frustration about that. We have seen more than our fair share of snow and ice, and as of last Thursday, our school district logged the fifth snow day of the year. Since this is the third week of January, we can probably expect several more. And as is the case anytime a storm is announced, the grocery store at the end of our road will be a chaotic mess tomorrow, so I must remember to stop for Dr. Pepper before the crazies show up to grab a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk and the countless other things they must stock up on because “y’all a storm is coming.”

I do not like inclimate weather which is crazy because I live on a hill-top in West Virginia where we have hundred-degree-summers and below-zero-winters. I am a person who likes to be comfortable at all times (gasp!) and so me and the cold weather are not friends. I absolutely hate to bundle up in a big, bulky coat, only to have a crazy fit in the car minutes later because I am sweaty. Then, in an attempt to manage the steering wheel, the coat and two kids hollerin’ from the backseat, I become aggravated.

Which explains how I end up being a hot mess when it’s twelve degrees outside. 

A few days ago, I received a belated Christmas gift in the mail. My sister-in-law drew my name for Christmas and after sending the first gift back because it wasn’t what she thought it would be, she ordered the perfect gift for me.

I opened the box to find these:

Only mine are black.

At first, I was all, “Just what I need. Another pair of black gloves.” And just after the words flew off my tongue, I noticed something on the finger:

The gloves are touch screen friendly which means that I can navigate my beloved iPhone while keeping my fingers warm and toasty. And it’s times like this that I think to myself, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ Because folks, these gloves are pure genius for anyone who uses their beloved iPhone constantly as much as I do.

Genius I tell you. And this pair of black gloves for me!

Visit THAT family for things that might Work For You.