An Assorted List Of Nine Things

I know this might be hard for you to believe, but I am having a really tough time putting my thoughts into cohesive sentences today. And really, the whole “putting my thoughts into cohesive sentences” thing suggests that is the norm around here. If you’ve spent any time around here, well, you know there is a shortage of cohesive thoughts around here. 

Because of that, I think I might just list a variety of things that are currently taking up real estate in my head.

1. There is a lot going on in the land of Julie. In fact, I told McDaddy just today that for someone who is not employed, I am the busiest person I know. (And it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.)

2. We are finally at a point in time where McDaddy and I are able to open the windows at night. At this very minute, I am listening to a chorus of crickets, and enjoying a light breeze. I have no doubt that the pollen will bust the party wide open here in a week or so.

3. Player pitch baseball is a LOT slower than coach pitch baseball. Still, I love to watch it. Especially in the cooler weather.

4. I CAN NOT WAIT, hear me, I CAN NOT WAIT for a new season of programming. I long for the day when McDreamy reports for duty in the OR at Seattle Grace, and Maksim Chmerkovskiy cha-chas his way to my living room. Oh, and lets not forget Ryan Seacrest proclaiming THIS! IS AMERICAN IDOL.

5. Have I mentioned that I love our new-to-us Jeep Wrangler? Because I totally do.

6. I’m craving Chili’s chips and salsa right now. I can feel my blood pressure rising (from the salt) as I type. Still. Totally worth it.

7. I spent a good hour in Kohls last week trying on bras. How is it that we can put a man on the moon, yet I cannot find a bra that I am 100% happy with? Seriously. It’s maddening.

8. If you haven’t seen Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. on America’s Got Talent, you need to YouTube him right now. He’s a West Virginia boy who sings like a song-bird.

9. There is some big news coming up on the blog tomorrow. Y’all should tune in.

Until next time…

What I Learned This Week

It’s been one of those days.

My head is hurting. The ‘mones are raging. And on top of that, laundry is piled up for days.

But enough about me. How are y’all doing?

In case you came here looking for another fun-filled edition of What I Learned This Week, you’ve come to the right place. Now, what I’d really like is for several of you to link up this week. In other words, share the wealth.

Here’s what I learned this week, wrapped up in a nice, neat list.

1. If you find yourself cruising around town in a topless Jeep, you should totally tuck your shirt into your pants, or under the seat belt. Otherwise, you might be topless, too.

2. Spending 35 minutes on an exercise bike burning 300 calories will make you rethink the 24 ounce Dr. Pepper.

3. Visiting the Twister attraction at Universal Studios might not be a great idea with a five-year-old.

4. Bath and Body Coconut Pineapple lotion is the bomb.

5. With the exception of Big Brother, the television line-up in August doesn’t interest me in the least.

6. It takes three months (almost to the day) for a brand new McDonalds to open for business once the first hole is dug on the property.

7. No matter how often I use them, I never get the ear-buds in properly on the first try.

8. Test-driving a Saturn Sky will only make you want one that. much. more.

9. If you are asked to volunteer in the office answering phones at your kid’s school, you should take your laptop along.

10. I like ending on a nice, round number.

That’s what I learned.

Now what did YOU learn?

Dirty Little Secret

Dear Jeep Wrangler,

I cracked up when I read your letter to me, because seriously? You have no idea what is going on around here.

In your letter to me, you go on and on about how much you “excite her,” how she loves your manual transmission, blah, blah, blah, and how much fun you are with your top down. Before you go around town talking trash, perhaps I should let you in on a dirty little secret.

The only reason YOU are here is because you get her one step closer to one of  these suckers,

If you believe anything other than that, you are fooling yourself.

You see, this girl concocted a grand scheme plan in her head. And she will stop at nothing because She. Is. Relentless.

I get that you are impressive on the highway with your top down on a sunny day. You might want to get a close look at that SKY up there because she is all that, AND THEN SOME.

That crazy gal won’t even remember your name once this thing pulls in the driveway.

So go ahead.

Make your brags.

I’ll be the one laughing when I see you pouting in the driveway because she finally got what she’s been after. 

Sincerely,

The Dodge Caravan

With Regret

Dear Dodge Grand Caravan,

It has often been said that even though you are not the coolest ride in town, you are unmatched in your versitility. The ease with which two boys can load and unload in the car-pool lane is a prime example of that fact. It’s also pretty cool that you can easily transform your interior to haul a double bowl vanity countertop without nary a problem. For those reasons, I was shocked to find out that they were willing to take a chance on me. 

I know what you must be thinking.

You’re thinking that there is no way someone like me can replace someone like you.

When I see you glaring at me in the driveway, I can’t help but chuckle at your automatic doors, fancy DVD system, and heated seats. You’ve convinced yourself that there is no way I can be as useful as you, to a stay-at-home-mom with two small children. Four days ago, I might have agreed with you. Today though, all bets are off because I’ve seen first-hand how she reacts to me. She is EXCITED to drive! Plus, she doesn’t hesitate to throw my top back even though she knows it will take some work to get it back up.

Did you hear that?

My top goes down.

I have a manual transmission.

And I am *almost* the coolest ride in town.

It is with regret that I must inform you that you are, in all likelihood, on your way out.

Yours Truly,

The Jeep Wrangler

P.S. Don’t let the automatic door hit ya on the way out the door.

Super Summer Summary

Summer is holding on by a thread. Or maybe I should say I’m holding on to summer by a thread. The mornings are cooler. Daylight ends sooner. And I don’t even want to mention the dread I feel just thinking about the cold weather that is no doubt just around the corner, with its friends snow, and ice. It’s enough to depress a person.

Especially when the person is afraid to drive in the snow and ice. Just to keep things light and airy though I won’t dwell on winter and all of the madness it brings to the party.

Today was the fourth day of school. It has not been an easy adjustment for me, or my sweet Alex. I was at his school today for some PTA business and he spotted me from the lunchroom in the hallway. I walked over to say hi to him and noticed that he was crying. He said he missed me and wished I could stay with him all day long. I hated the fact that he was crying, but I’m glad to know that he misses me. I hate it that summer is over because it means I am at the mercy of my stupid alarm clock. I wish we could just have another month of summer, because I miss having my boys at home with me, and because we had an awesome summer. I am so sorry to see it come to an end.

Fortunately Stevie is having a ball in third grade. He loves school and his new teacher.

On the first day of school, his teacher, Mrs. H. asked the kids to draw four pictures that represented their summer.

I was amused at his super summer summary.

First, there was his second place medal for BB shooting at Cub Scout day camp

Even though I had to get up at the butt-crack of dawn, and it was 149 degrees that week, it was for me, a memorable week. I helped out with a wonderful group of boys (and two girls) and I was pleasantly surprised that I REALLY enjoyed myself.

Second, he mentions seeing CARS 2 which might not amount to a hill of beans to some people, but, when you live here in this house, CARS 2 is big business, especially since two fans have been waiting since the release of CARS 1 to watch the sequel. As usual, Disney Pixar did not disappoint.

Just under that picture, he mentioned having sleepovers with good friends x 7 which cracks me up, becuase I would bet the farm that he really did have seven different sleepovers. He is, and always has been a technical kid. He takes details very seriously WHICH AGGRAVATES ME TO NO END because seriously details are overrated.

What can I say, except that he is his father’s son.

The fourth and final picture cracks me up. In it, he recalls the most harrowing moment of our summer. The moment just after having a bike wreck and crying so hard he couldn’t get his breath which resulted in him passing out in the middle of the street, riding to the hospital in an ambulance and the discovery that our sweet boy has an extra spleen.

Yes, I said spleen.

We sure know how to make ’em around here.

Thanks for the memories, summer!  I’ll miss you!

Ghetto Fabulous Workout Mix

I know, I know. That title is a little over the top.

Just like me. Still, we’re going with it.

If I remember correctly, I mentioned a week or so ago that McDaddy and I would be celebrating our 20th reunion next year. For that reason, and mostly because I was pregnant at our ten year reunion and had a good excuse I simply need to, I renewed my gym membership on Monday. This is my third go around with the gym, and I’m hoping the third times a charm.

Though I know what you must be thinking.

I’ll have you know these first two days are going perfectly.

So there.

Luckily I have a great workout mix to help me along this journey. My workout mix is great because it drowns out the crazy voice in my head that says, “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW CRAZY YOU LOOK?” And then I look up and see two old men on the treadmills in dress pants and tassel shoes and I holler back at her, “ME? HAVE A LOOK AT THOSE JOKERS!” And then, I may or may not snap a picture of the jokers just because I can. Just a short time later, I assess the room and conclude that I am the youngest person in the joint.

Which gives me great satisfaction for some weird reason.

I love my workout mix. And by workout mix, I am actually referring to the 438 songs I have on my iPod which turn into a workout mix when I skip through the songs that don’t bring a darn thing to my workout table.

So, without further ado, here are a few of the songs that made the cut today.

1. Rag Doll – Aerosmith

Oh shoot. Nothing gets my blood pumpin quicker than some Aerosmith which is good because I HATE the ellpitical with a passion. I’m always proud of myself when my time is done there though. (And just in case you’re wondering the entire Aerosmith collection is also a fabulous choice to blast in a Jeep Wrangler with the top down.)

2. You Never Even Called Me By My Name – David Alan Coe

Let me start by saying that the beat of this song might not motivate you, but the smile on your face while listening to it will. It reminds me of my college days because they used to play it in the dive establishment I used to frequent.

3. Love On Top – Beyonce

I first heard this song when Maks dances with Zendaya on DWTS. I added it to my playlist that night and it is a great song for getting your rear in gear. I pedal fast because my love is on top. With McDaddy.

4. Give Me Your Eyes – Brandon Heath

My favorite song by Brandon Heath. I kick it up a notch whenever this comes on.

5. Sing A Song – Third Day

You know because after Booti Call and Steven Tyler, I need to clean things up quite a bit. Seriously though, I have more Third Day on my iPod than anything. Love them.

6. Shoop (Ghetto Lab Full Rub Mix) Whatever that means… – Salt-N-Pepa

Hey 1993 called. They want their song back. It’s apparently Ghetto fabulous.

7. Shy Guy – Diana King

This is a song from the Bad Boys soundtrack. It’s sure to keep you moving at a great pace.

8. Comin’ To Your City – Big and Rich

When this song came blaring through my earphones I cranked up that bike like I was Lance Armstrong.

On steroids.

And now, hours later, that is evidenced by my sore calves.

9. City On Our Knees – Toby Mac

Because Toby knows how to help me cool down.

10. Soul Sister – Train

I don’t have any sisters, but I have several soul sisters. Train gets it right with this song.

11. Play That Funky Music – Adam Lambert

One of the best performances on American Idol (and believe me I’ve seen them all), of all time.

And that’s my list. It works for me!

If you have sa’ome song suggestions, how about leaving them in the comments so I can check them out to keep things young and fresh.

Like me.

Happy Wednesday, y’all!

What I Learned This Week

Can you believe that it is already time for another version of What I learned This Week? It always seems to slip up on me. Not surprising this week though because I’ve been off my game.

Today was the second day of school for Stevie and Alex. They have awesome teachers and they both love school. I, on the other hand, had a little trouble today coping with the quiet and the fact that BOTH OF MY BOYS ARE IN SCHOOL. I went to the gym this morning because it seemed like a great way to vent my frustration, and because, well, I needed to. After that, I came home, hopped in the shower and became overwhelmed at the thought of being a stay-at-home mom WITHOUT KIDS AT HOME and I knew that I needed a change of plans.

I popped the top off of the Jeep and decided to hit the road, despite the mound of laundry that needed my attention.

Here are a few things I learned today about cruising in the Jeep Wrangler.

1. When driving in excess of 60 MPH, there is a chance that the booster seats may not be safe unless they are strapped in with the seat belt.

2. The stereo system in that thing sucks. When you’re cruising topless, some good music is a necessity.

3. It takes approximately 3 minutes to take the top off. It takes ME approximately 33 minutes to get it back on. Still, totally worth it.

4. When cruising around on an 80 degree day, one can expect to get a sunburn. And/or windburn. OOPS!

5. Driving that thing is so stinkin’ relaxing, especially when the sun is shining and the sky is a beautiful shade of blue. And the wind is blowing my hair. And the radio is cranked.

6. Picking up the kids in the Jeep Wrangler is a bit more complicated than it is in a minivan. But not nearly as cool.

7. The constant wind will do a number on your eyes. Even if you’re wearing sunglasses.

That’s what I learned this week.

Now what did YOU learn this week?

Linking up for the first time? Click here for the complete carnival rules. Or read the shortened version.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and link back to my blog. You may choose to use or not use the button.

2. Link up with the Mr. Linky form below. Please remember to link to your actual WILTW post, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then, visit the other participants to learn what they learned this week and be sure to leave a comment to let them know you stopped by!

My Name Is Princess Julie

This is the point in the evening right before bed where I get comfortable on my big, blue, bloggy couch and let the contents of my brain fly off the tips of my fingers. It is a time I look forward to because it generally means the kids are in bed, and the TiVo is going strong. Which coincidentally means I will not be summonsed to wipe a bottom or break up a fight between Sonic and Knuckles.

On Friday, we loaded up the truck, hooked on to the camper and picked up the kids from school. We travelled an hour down the road to meet up with several families from Stevie’s cub-scout den. It was, I guess you could say, our last hoo-rah of summer. There are few things that excite me more than a good camping trip with great people.

This is the point in the story where I could go into great detail about all the fun that we had, the raccoon that was all up in our trash, or the fact that after six or seven hours of fishing, the folks that were fishing only caught ONE stinkin’ fish, but really, all of that is not nearly as important as what I’m getting ready to share with you.

Late Saturday evening I was hanging out with Stevie, his friend Levi, and Levi’s two-year-old brother, Noah. Stevie and Levi were hard at work playing Legos, and Noah was eating a banana and saying funny things that made me giggle. I had forgotten how much fun a two-year old can be mainly because the last time I had a two-year-old in my everyday life, I was constantly deciding between pulling my hair out and pulling my hair out. (I love you, Alex and I’m so glad you’re five now!) Noah has a sweet voice and I adore him because he cracks me up. I was sitting beside of him when I asked if he knew my name. He drew his eye-brows down and said, “Uh, no”. I looked that sweet boy square in the eye and I said, “My name is Princess Julie”.

I had no idea he would believe me, but low and behold, he repeated it about twelve times, and each time I laughed harder. As one who knows me might expect, I spent the rest of the weekend asking him my name.

And each time he would say, “Princessss Julie”.

We returned home on Sunday and began the task of unloading the camper, sorting the laundry, and getting things ready for school. In the midst of the unpacking madness, I received a text from Noah’s mama letting me know that Noah was prancing around their living room with a bucket on his head saying, “I’m Princess Julie, I’m Princess Julie”.

Y’all.

After twenty-some years of being a self-proclaimed Princess, I’ve finally convinced another human being that I am, indeed, a Princess.

Never mind that he is two.

From this day forward, you may refer to me as Her Royal Highness, Princess Julie.

I’ve Got My Game Face On

From the very beginning, you were the type of kid that marched to your own drummer.

A loud, independent, stubborn drummer.

For that reason, I was surprised to discover that you have apprehension about starting Kindergarten.

Believe me sweet boy, there is nothing I’d love more than to keep you home with me a few more years. I don’t think that would do either one of us any good though. It will be a huge change for me because I’ve been wiping bottoms, sharing drinks, reading books, and arguing over the television for the better part of nine years, so believe me when I say that this change will be hard on me, too!

What in the world will I do with myself for seven hours each day?

I would be lying if I said a small part of me is not looking forward to some free time (FIVE DAYS EACH WEEK SWEET HALLELUJAH!), however, an even bigger part of me is sad and apprehensive, mostly because of your apprehension.

Alex Ryan, I love you to the moon and back, and I know you are more than ready for your big day.

We’ve had a long, rough road you and I, because you are the kid my mom hoped I’d have.

One exactly like me.

And boy did I get him.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love you and I hope that you have a wonderful year in Kindergarten. I will do my very best to not shed one single tear in your presence.

You are full of love and fun and laughter and I can’t wait to hear all about your day.

I’ve got my game face on.

And I hope you do too!

Going Topless

It’s no secret that I am a self-proclaimed princess.

In fact, I sometimes refer to myself as The Princess of [Insert our street name here] Drive. Some days I even wear a tiara when I’m going about my daily domestic duties. Make no mistake, my crazy flag flies high some most days!

And like any good Princess, I always have an angle. I find a way to get things done, and usually sooner than later.

Before my little family left on our whirlwind camping/business trip/vacation tour, we purchased a vehicle from a friend that McDaddy and I went to high school with. I was all for the purchase because it was the first step in my scheme grand plan that ends in this ol’ girl getting a Saturn Sky, even though the purchase also means that we will more than likely be selling my minivan in the process.

Which also means I’m going to have to learn how to survive in a vehicle that doesn’t hold half the house. In fact, it barely holds my family of four.

See. 

Meet the newest addition to our fleet, the Jeep Wrangler.

Not a heap, mind you.

What I wasn’t expecting is that I would really love driving this vehicle.

It has a manual transmission and in the words of Alex, you know its a fast car, when “we’re passing left-laners”.

Yesterday, the boys and I were going into town to do some back-to-school shopping.  When we were getting ready to walk out the door, they both asked if we could drive the Wrangler. They also asked if we could take the doors off. Even though I had never taken the doors off by myself (or watched McDaddy when he took them off because I am crazy and non-attentive like that), I was determined that I could do it. Because remember what I said, when the Princess wants something, Princess gets it done. How hard could it be, right?

I unzipped the plastic window and lifted the door from the side hinge. As I was carrying the door into the garage to store it, the bottom half of the door slid right out of the hinge and fell to the ground smashing my left big toe in the process.

Y’all.

You talk about a fit? I had one. I let out a squeal that probably could have been heard for miles. And if I were a cusser, I would have been doing that too. And if that wasn’t enough, my pedicure got all jacked up which really bothered me more than than the smashed toe.

With a numb toe, we piled into the Jeep and headed down the road. Everything was going seemingly well until I needed to change lanes and discovered that the side mirrors were attached to the doors. The doors that were back in my garage.

We were a hot mess.

And so was my hair.

Still, it was fun to drive.

After spending half the day in the shoestore (thanks to a five-year-old with a love of shoes) we made our shoe purchase and then decided to have lunch. The only problem with having lunch was, there were no doors or top on the Jeep which meant the boys’ shoes would have been free for the taking. Which would have sent Alex Ryan right over the edge.

SO. We gathered the shoes up and took them into the restaurant with us.

When we arrived home, I decided to make an attempt at getting the top and doors back on. After all, if I was going to fully enjoy this vehicle, I would need to be able to remove and replace its parts. It was almost like putting a Tonka Toy together. I didn’t have much trouble getting everything back in place despite a left numb big toe. Yes, it was still numb hours later.

I was happy to know it was pretty easy to do because this particular vehicle is a lot like me.

More fun with the top off.

And I’m sure I’ll spend a good amount of time going topless.

The Jeep, that is.

In fact, I’m looking forward to our first topless trail ride with the Jeep Club.

[You did good, McDaddy. Now, about this SKY…]