Riding Around Town Topless

When the weather is nice, my little family enjoys riding around town topless.

Some of us keep our cool,

Some of us like to act silly,

And sometimes, we go all out wild and crazy

And then there are others of us who are just along for the ride.

Who may or may not snap pictures like a crazy person from the passenger seat.

I just love summer!

I Come From A Long Line Of Loud

I have to be honest, after the big life-altering announcement of FINALLY GETTING A SKY, and a 20-year tribute to McDaddy, what else is there to possibly blog about that is even remotely interesting?

I mean really, how do you keep that kind of momentum going?

All I know is that I feel like a kid with a new video game. The kind of video game that makes you ask your mom 4,218 times a day to play. It is, anything and everything I thought it would be.

Multiplied by 218.

And that’s only after driving it a total of three days.

It’s still so hard to believe that I own a SKY.

And obviously, by “I” own a sky, I totally mean “we” own a sky because McDaddy is the only working adult in the house and without him the SKY would not be possible. I just had to throw that out there.

On the off chance that you missed the post introducing the SKY, here it is,

I smile just thinking about it.

And I guess I’m to the point in the post that I should promise not to prattle on and on about the car. Let’s move on, shall we?

Here are some other things that are on my mind today. In no particular order.

1. For the past few weeks, I have found myself watching (and actually enjoying) major league baseball with the boys. It’s one of those things I would have never thought about before having children, especially when you consider the quality television programming that’s on these days.

2. And speaking of quality television programming, is it time for Big Brother, yet?

3. If there was a “loudest kid” contest, I have no doubt that my oldest could win it. What can I say, I come from a long line of loud.

4. Do you play Words With Friends? If so, look me up – I’m JulieWV. I’ve noticed a significant decline in the amount of players that play regularly and could use a few more dedicated opponents.

5. Why does a hot-tub have so much appeal to young children who have been told to stay out of it?

6. McDaddy and I have talked about getting rid of our home phone. I know deep down we wouldn’t miss much by not having it, but the thought of my iPhone battery being dead or not having service scares me. Any of you all without “land lines” have similar problems?

7. A hotel pool is a really dumb place for three children to have a swimming lesson with two instructors, especially when there are five other kids in the pool trying to play and have fun.

8. I LOVE SUMMER – especially the late nights and late mornings.

9. The Olympics will begin on July 27th. I am so excited to watch Michael Phelps Team USA! Man, it would be so much fun to go to London next month.

It just dawned on me that three of the nine items on this list relate to television in some way. Could this post be any more lame?

Like I said, hard to keep up the momentum…

We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!

McDaddy and I graduated from the same high school in 1992. In a lot of ways, it seems like a lifetime ago.

Despite the fact that we grew up just fifteen miles apart (and the fact that he lived less than a mile from my grandma), had it not been for a school closing and subsequent consolidation, there is a very real possibility that we would have never met. Instead, we both showed up for the first day of summer band, ready to make new friends and lasting memories. We both played alto saxophone  and immediately became friends. It wasn’t until much later that we actually started dating. In fact, I spent most of our high school years pining away for his best friend.

I kissed him (sounds bad, I know!) for the first time on his sixteenth birthday while he was at my house tutoring me in Trigonometry. I was never more proud of a “C” in my life, but I can’t help but think how much better I might have done had I kept my mind focused on working with angles, instead of working an angle.

By the end of our senior year, I was drawn to him. And why wouldn’t I be? He was polite, respectful, fun, brilliant, charming, and cute. It took some convincing, but by the time we graduated, we were a couple.

The rest, as they say, is history.

We’ve been together since 1992, which means I’ve been with him over half my life. This past weekend, we attended our 20th reunion. It was so much fun seeing and reconnecting with people we graduated with, but disheartening that out of 400+ graduates, only about 60 participated in the three events.

Through the years, we’ve been through a lot together…

1992 – visiting him at Tech School just after joining the Air Force.


1996 – just after engagement (I have no idea why this picture is so small)


1998 – Our wedding


2001 – London: The first stop on our European Tour


2002 – Pregnant at our 10 year class reunion


2003 Christmas Picture – We are parents! (Stevie – 1 year old)


2006 Christmas Picture – (Stevie -4, Alex – 1)


2009 – Deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (We visited the week of our 11th wedding anniversary)


 2011 – Summer Vacation to Florida


2012 – 20th Reunion

Wow, we are so blessed. There isn’t another soul on the planet I would want to share this ride with. I love you, McDaddy! 

  • 20 Years
  • 2 kids
  • 11 countries
  • 14 vehicles
  • 2 campers
  • 36 states
  • 2 motorcycles
  • 3 hamsters
  • 2 Lasek surgeries
  • 4 homes
  • 6 company cars
  • 1 deployment

We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!

Me, My Guy and The Sky

I have no idea how to start this post. I have a lot of great ideas, but really, none that seem to do this news justice.

If you’ve spent any amount of time around here, you know that I have an obsession with the Saturn Sky – a car that has not been manufactured since 2010. Still, I have been relentless in my pursuit of one. Since laying eyes on the first SKY back in 2007 (the first year they were manufactured) I have loved that car and spent many-an-hour dreaming up ways I could get one.

After test-driving one back in 2007, I seriously – and this is no lie – prayed and told the Lord that if it be HIS will, I would love to have one of these someday.

I realize that sounds goofy.

A little over a year ago, I remember standing in our kitchen and mentioning to McDaddy that we could sell the van and get a SKY. After all, he has a company car, we have a truck that we need to pull our camper, and we had the Jeep. I should take this opportunity to also mention that McDaddy has his very first car, from high school, a 1981 Vintage Buick Electra. (I totally use the word *vintage* to make it sound fancy.) In reality, it is anything but fancy.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yes, the proposition. Much to my surprise, McDaddy didn’t automatically say no to my idea, and so I kicked my charm into overdrive with a plan to convince McDaddy to sell the van. After months of advertising, and very few inquiries, I had it in my head that it wasn’t in God’s plan. But folks, I NEVER EVER GAVE UP.

A little over two weeks ago, the Lord smiled down on me Steve’s cousin who lives in Kentucky called us to say she wanted to buy the van. Much to my surprise, McDaddy had already located a chili pepper red Saturn Sky in Willimamsburg, Kentucky, AND he had made arrangements with the owner to meet in Lexington, Kentucky on Friday, on our way home from McDaddy’s business trip to check the car out.

I tried with everything in me not to get too excited, because even though we had check in hand, McDaddy made it perfectly clear that if the fella had in ANY WAY not been forthcoming in the advertisement, we wouldn’t be getting it.

We drove about four hours, and met at a Wendy’s right off of the exit.

My heart skipped a beat when I saw this.

 Just minutes after introducing ourselves and exchanging pleasantries, McDaddy took the car for a test drive.

My heart was banging out of my chest and the fella selling it (pictured on the left of the car) said, “If he doesn’t come back with a smile on his face, there’s something wrong.”

I silently agreed.

Within thirty minutes of pulling onto the Wendy’s parking lot, I was pulling out in my dream car.

 And whooping and hollering like a crazy person.

We were 250 miles from home.

Stevie was in the passenger seat texting anyone he could think of. The first song that came on the radio once we pulled onto the interstate was Paradise City by Guns and Roses. I couldn’t help but smile. Yes indeed, I was in paradise. A chili pepper red paradise.

And so I guess the moral to this story is NEVER, EVER give up on your dreams.

That’s what I learned this week, how about you?


For complete carnival rules, click here.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog.

2. Within that post, please mention the What I Learned This Week carnival and link back to this post here at From Inmates To Playdates. If you don’t know how to link, feel free to ask me.

3. Then link up with Mr. Linky down below.

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


Squealing With Delight

For me it was love at first sight,
And that is without a doubt.
I’ve whined, wheeled, wrote and begged,
At times it was all I could think about.

I’ve blogged about it many times,
And snapped pictures all over town,
I’ve aggravated McDaddy to death,
Asking frequently, “What have you found?”

He said the first order of business,
Included selling the big white van,
And agreeing to daily drive the Jeep,
Why, yes, I think I can.

So then McDaddy was on the hunt,
For the perfect Saturn Sky,
Low miles, and a standard turbo engine
And maybe, we just might buy.

The perfect SKY is out there,
And it’s waiting just for us me,
Is it the one in Lexington?
We’ll just have to wait and see.

I’ll dream about the convertible top
On this sexy little SKY
Made even better for me because
I’ll share it with a hot, hunky guy.

Today when we take a little test ride,
I’ll be squealing with delight,
I’m hoping to be driving to our 20th year reunion
In this sexy SKY tonight.


Thursday Thirteen – Thirteen Things I Learned In Kindergarten

It seems like just yesterday I was mentally preparing myself for Alex’s first day of Kindergarten. I had thought it might be easier the second time around, but the truth is, it wasn’t. With Alex starting school, I wondered what in the heck I would do with myself, because after all, I had spent the better part of nine years caring for kids full-time. In the blink of an eye, the year came and went. Today, I sit here mentally preparing myself for him to start first grade.

And holding back tears as I do it.

As I sat down with my laptop tonight, I had intended to write “Letters To Crazy People” (because y’all there are tons out there!), and then I remembered that I promised Becky I’d bring Thursday Thirteen back sometime, and thought this was as good a time as any.

Three years ago, I asked Stevie to share thirteen things he learned in Kindergarten. I thought it would be fun to do the same thing with Alex, especially since they had the same Kindergarten teacher. He loves school and enjoyed his time in Kindergarten, [Rainbowland]  so I knew this would probably be an eclectic mix of information.

Here are my sweet boys on the first day of school.

1. “If an animal has hair it does not have eggs.”

When he first mentioned this to me several weeks ago, I had to think about it a minute. I couldn’t think of any exceptions.

2. “A frog does not have bumpy skin, but a toad does.”

Well, okay. Never thought about that, either.

3. “The Man of Liberty is actually something that looks like a man, but is made up of states of America.”

Geez, did they teach this stuff when we were in Kindergarten?

4. “The hardest rainbow rule for me to follow was, keep hands, feet, other body parts and objects to self.”

Well, your mama had trouble with listening and following directions, so I’m not sure where you get this from.

5. “Mainly, I learned how to read.”

Yes, indeed you did.

6. Isopods are bugs with large shells that roll themselves into a ball.

I don’t think I ever heard the word isopod until he talked about learning it in school.

7. I learned how to draw well in art class.

He loved art class so much. I was surprised at many of the paintings and drawings he bought home.

8. There is a song about Arizona. Mrs. Felton sang part of it, but she couldn’t remember all of it.

News to me, too.

9. I learned almost everything to do on the computer.

This one cracked me up because Mrs. Felton remarked to me several times that Alex would “boot the classroom computers up” for her in the mornings.

10. If you cut an apple straight down, you will see a star of seeds.

Kindergarten is so much fun!

11. You cannot bring guns or swords to school.

Unless you want a three-day vacation.

12. A certain kind of worm will come out at day or night. An earthworm comes out at day. A night crawler comes out at night.

13. Every animal has something to protect themselves.

Thanks Mrs. F. for a great year of learning!

I’ve Never Been Good At Following Directions….

As a child, I was never good at following directions.

Funny thing is, I’m still not.

A week or so ago, I made a trip to the Wal Mart. It’s not often that I get to leisurely walk around the store and actually shop without kids begging to go look at toys, anxiously needing to pee or pestering me about leaving. On this particular trip, I had peace and quiet and time to look.

Among other things, I was shopping for a can of jewelry cleaner because my silver jewelry was in need of a good cleaning. I looked over the choices and chose this.

I returned home late that evening to a quiet house. All three of my fellas were in bed and I had quite a few groceries to unload and put up. I took the jewelry cleaner into the bathroom and dropped three pieces of the sterling silver jewelry I was wearing into the cleaner. I returned to the kitchen to put up the remaining items. After that, I checked facebook and read a little before making my way to bed.

When I woke up the next morning, I went into the bathroom and saw the jewelry cleaner on the counter. It dawned on me that I had gone to bed without removing the jewelry from the cleaner. I quickly unscrewed the lid and retrieved the white plastic pan from the liquid. My beloved sterling silver Tiffany’s bracelet now looked like an old nasty piece of chain that had been out in the sun and rain for lots of years. My stomach sank and a single tear fell down my cheek.

How could I be so irresponsible?

The other two pieces didn’t look great, but they were cheaper, less sentimental pieces that could be easily replaced. The Tiffany’s bracelet was a gift from McDaddy several years ago, and I wear it almost everyday.

I snatched the can up and read the instructions on the back of the container. In bold letters, the instructions plainly state to drop jewelry in the cleaner for NO MORE than ten seconds at a time.

My jewelry, sat in that can, captive for about ten hours.

I was sick, people.

And I had no one to blame but my stupid self.

I had a good cry.

I sat down on my bed and did what I do when I need to do something. I called the number on the back of the cleaner.

After explaining my stupidity to the receptionist, I was transferred to a gentleman in customer service. I cried as I explained what I had done and asked if there was anything that could be done to restore the luster of the metal. He asked what type of jewelry I had placed in the cleaner and I told him about my beloved Tiffany’s bracelet. He said something about Tiffany’s putting a special coating on their jewelry to protect it and probably what I was seeing was a reaction to the coating and not the metal. I hoped with everything in me that this cat wasn’t feeding me a line of bull. He was a kind gentleman who quickly took my name and address and said he would send me out some products that should help.

All I could do was wait.

Two days later, I received this in the mail:

and also this:

I sliced that box open and pulled the jewelry wipes out of that container. It took a SWEET FOREVER, but eventually my Tiffany’s bracelet was shiny once again. I then took the wipes to the chain and the silver key charm that had been in the cleaner. To my surprise, they were both restored, as well. I have since used the wipes and the cloth on the jewelry that I wear every single day.

They all look wonderful.

GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE works for me and so I just had to share this. The events in this post happened exactly as I have reported them. I was not asked or compensated in any way to write this post.

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

What I Learned This Week

Here’s what I learned this week:

1. Just because a grown adult knows better, that doesn’t always mean they will do better even if they happen to be a grown adult leader at cub scout camp teaching children about respect, honesty, compassion and responsibility.

2. That is a hard reality to accept.

3. A cold banana is actually pretty good.

4. I am capable of messing up a “NO FAIL” recipe.

5. When trying a new dessert recipe, it’s always a good idea to have a back-up plan in case things go awry in the kitchen.

6. The cashier at the grocery store has no concern about upending my Edwards Hershey Pie.


Now, what did you learn?


For complete carnival rules, click here.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog.

2. Within that post, please mention the What I Learned This Week carnival and link back to this post here at From Inmates To Playdates. If you don’t know how to link, feel free to ask me.

3. Then link up with Mr. Linky down below.

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

Something To Smile About

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from my bloggy friend, Allison, inviting me to be a guest blogger over at her place. We met virtually through our mutual blog designer, and hit it off once we discovered a mutual love for Dr. Pepper. (Anybody that loves Dr. Pepper has to be a great person, right?) When McDaddy was deployed, I was suprised to receive a goody box filled with items from the Dr. Pepper museum in Texas (where she lives) to cheer me up (and it worked!). I was humbled that she took the time to let me know she was thinking of us. Each year, we exchange Christmas cards (and pictures and letters) and if I am ever in Texas again, meeting Allison is on my list.

Each year Allison hosts a project on her blog benefitting two charities that are near and dear to her heart. You see, she and her son Will have both had cleft-palate surgery. This year, I am honored to be a part of her annual Project Smile.

Twenty years ago, I received a new smile too, and I would love it if you’d go over and read my post, and then share about something that makes you smile. Your comment will cost you nothing, but will help a child get a new smile.


Here’s how Project Smile works:

Go over to her blog, Leave a comment on my post (AND any posts dated May 24 through June 24, 2012, the first anniversary of her son, Will’s cleft palate surgery). For every comment received, (you may only leave one comment per post!) Allison will personally donate $1.00 to both Operation Smile and Smile Train. It costs you nothing yet gives something that is priceless! Feel free to spread the word, share the link on FB, tell your friends, and by doing so, you are sharing a smile, literally and figuratively!

Now, what are you waiting for? Get over there!

I’m Back!!!

Hi there.

Remember me?

It’s been a few days (okay, a LOT of days) since I’ve checked in here on the blog.

First, I’d like to apologize to those who have stopped by here looking for their daily dose of crazy. The crazy was here, I just haven’t had the time to write about it. My house looks like a tornado came through. There is laundry strung out for miles. And on top of that, I am in desperate need of a pedicure.

And a massage.

I spent the week working alongside the big fella on the left, whom I’ve nicknamed Big Daddy.

He is Stevie’s cub-scout den leader, and his baseball coach. He is also a very good friend of ours. His real name is Eli. The two of us make a great team. He is very good with the boys, and I am very good with paperwork. We “accidentally” ended up leading a den last year even though neither of us had any day camp scout experience.

I was ready for long days and 412 degree heat.

Much to my surprise, it never got above 88 degrees. [Thank you Lord Jesus!]

As crazy as it sounds, I helped to lead 16 nine and ten-year old boys. My boy included. [Just as you might imagine, we endured lots of fart noises, spitting and talk about girls general silliness.]

We walked a bazillion miles in a week (which is the main reason I need a pedicure) and we really enjoyed watching the boys learn and grow as scouts.

I also threatened to take pool time each time they called me Big Mama (you know, because I call Eli Big Daddy!)

BB Gun shooting, Slingshot, and Archery were among their favorites.

They played sports, learned how to cook over a campfire in a dutch oven, made light sabres, learned how  to start a campfire, made a rocket, launched a rocket, learned about first aid, railroad safety, engineering, science, forestry, and enjoyed swimming everyday.

There was even time for this girl to pull a really good practical joke on her partner.

Do you forgive me, Eli?

And to be honest I would love to share the prank with you because it was that good, but the fact is it started last year and it would take too long to bring you up to speed. Let’s just say that I know Big Daddy well enough to know that this is far from over, even though I was only paying him back for a prank that he pulled on me during baseball season.

The only drawback to camp (besides the heat, the fact that I had to do a load of laundry every night, pack four lunches, string beads on totums, and pack backpacks for the next day) was that I couldn’t be with Alex, because the younger boys were on “the other end” of the park for their camp.

As a Tiger cub, Alex was required to have an adult with him. McDaddy took the week off to be with him. In typical day camp fashion, McDaddy was drafted into leading a den by default.

He had 16 six and seven-year olds in his group.

Thankfully, he has lots of patience had lots of parents to help him.

Alex medalled in two events, taking a silver in Archery and a bronze in slingshot.

Both of the boys made new friends and great memories.

And so did their mama.

All in all it was a great week.

A long week, but certainly a good one.