What I Learned This Week – Olympics Edition

I’ve been neglecting the blog as of late.

It’s summer. We’ve been camping. We’ve got family staying with us. And now, the OLYMPICS are in full swing.

Have I mentioned that I love the Olympics? I am especially thankful for my TiVo because it is hard to keep up with the madness.

Just like right now. I’m watching Ryan Lochte swim the 200 M Free. and its hard to focus and concentrate on What I Learned This Week because OH THE EXCITEMENT!

And just hold on to your hats, because after that comes men’s gymnastics.

Here’s some of what I learned this week. 

  • A TiVo does you no good whatsoever if you don’t set it to record. DANG. IT.
  • The Olympics TRUMPS the “no TV in the Camper rule.”
  • If my child were competing in the Olympics, I would not be the calm mama quietly waving a flag in the stands. Rather, I’d be the one whooping and hollering like a crazy person, cheering my baby on. Have I mentioned I come from a long line of loud?
  • I could watch Phelpsie swim all. live. long. day. He is a freakin’ machine. And a cutie, too.
  • Chinese people (especially gymnasts)  look a lot younger than they claim to be.
  • When I watch a female Olympic gymnast cry when she doesn’t make the women’s all-around, it makes me cry, too.
  • iHop makes a really good Fajita salad.
  • Sneezing 382 times in one day will make you want to rip your nose right off your face. Plus, it makes it tough to concentrate on Olympic Swimming.
  • Things can change in a second. (Just ask the men from Ukraine’s gymnastic’s team).
  • A waterfall is torture when you have to pee. (Not really related to the Olympics, its just something I’m dealing with at this minute.)
  • My boys enjoy watching the Olympics as much as I do. 
  • The Star Spangled Banner makes me cry every single time I hear it.
  • There are some vicious critters in the Amish Country. Either I have several really bad bug bites, or several medium size cysts that, according to DiagnoseMe.com could be deadly.
  • A person with dramatic tendancies should not consult DiagonoseMe.com for any reason.
  • It is tough to turn the Olympics off and GO TO BED.

Now, what did YOU learn?

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

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, please 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 so we can get to know eachother.

Your Boy

This parenthood thing is a trip.

Would y’all agree?

As the mother of two boys, it is non-stop action at our house 24/7. There is always some sort of competition, and almost always it’s one that involves somebody running through the house.

It’s exasperating.

But I know there will come a day when I’ll give anything to have them running through the house just one more time.

When I recently received an e-mail from my friends at the media collective asking if I’d like to review Vicki Courtney’s book, Your Boy – Raising a Godly Son in an Ungodly World, I was like, where do I sign up? Lord knows I need all the help I can get. I say it all the time… I am the most over-protective mother I know. Still, my boys are the ones who swallow pennies, inject themselves with an EpiPen (right under my nose, mind you!), and pass out in the middle of the street after a bike wreck.

Like I said. I need help.

In her book Your Boy, Vicky Courtney uses Biblical illustrations (Daniel, David, and Gideon just to name a few) to develop guidelines for raising boys to becoming Godly men. She shares many experiences of her own motherhood journey with sons, Ryan and Hayden, as well as experiences from her years of ministering to youth and young adults.

Your Boy is an easy read, filled with humorous tales that reminded me that I am not alone in this thing. With chapters covering instant messaging, chat-rooms, hormones, pornography and marriage, (you know, the heavy stuff!)  Courtney leaves no stone unturned. As the mother of a nine-year old and six-year old, I would like to think it will be a few years before I have to worry too much about these, but with current trends and society’s standards (and talks with other moms!), I realize it’s never too early to start praying about these things. I appreciated Courtney’s candor and honesty about her years in the battlefield (as I like to call it!) as she explains what mothers can do to raise godly sons despite the negative worldly influences.

And Lord help us, there are so many.

Some of the things I took away from Your Boy.

  • Little League Mom: “You’ve seen her in action. Maybe you’ve even been her. She’s every coach’s nightmare, especially if, heaven forbid, the coach fails to notice her son’s athletic abilities. She’s the mom who fights her son’s battles, many of which she starts herself… Whether it is academic, athletic, or recreational, we want our boys to be treated fairly. We will not serve our sons’ best interest in the end by taking up their every battle.”
  • A Nice Guy’s Dating Rules: “While dads play a big role in modeling noble behavior to their sons, moms should never minimize the critical role they play. Don’t wait until your sons is about to enter into his first dating relationship and then give him a crash course in acceptable dating behavior.”
  • “As mothers, we have been given a task to grow the next generation of godly men, and I believe it is one of the highest callings in a mother’s life. We have been given a brief eighteen years to make a godly impact on our sons…. Let us remember that our sons, while they will always be “our boys,” belong first and foremost to Him.

If you are the mother of a son, especially one in the tween or teen years, then you know that you are in a war for his mind, body, and soul. I strongly recommend this book to help you along your way.

Vicki Courtney is a trusted speaker and best-selling author. Known and respected as a “mom in the trenches,” Vicki has shared her youth culture wisdom , CNN, FOX News, and Focus on the Family. She and her husband have three children and live in Austin, Texas. Her books, Your Boy and Your Girl can be purchased at Vicki Courtney [dot] com.


In the interest of full disclosure: I was provided a copy of Your Boy and Your Girl to facilitate this review. As always, the opinions expressed in this post are my own.

I Sprang From My Bed To See What Was The Matter

As I stood in front of 200 family and friends back on May 23, 1998 and pledged my love to McDaddy, I knew I was hitting the proverbial jackpot.

After dating him for six years, I knew he would be a wonderful husband. I figured he would for-sure be an awesome daddy.

People, he has talked me off many-a-ledge.

He is the voice of reason when my the voices in my head try to make me crazy crazier.

He is the place I run to when I need a soft place to land.

His shoulders have carried our family’s burdens beautifully.

His eyes are the ones I look into when I am scared or unsure.

His hand is the one I reach for when my steps are unsteady.

His name is the one I call when there is a hamster on the loose.

Yes, I said hamster.

On. the. loose.

Imagine if you will, hearing a loud crash at 2:45 AM. As in –  IN THE MORNING.

As I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter, (like Jackie Joyner-Kersee, I might add!) my heart was racing thinking one of the kids had fallen out of bed. As I looked down the hallway, I saw it.

The top piece of the hamster cage (the wheel) was upside down on the floor in front of the hamster cage, and Apollo was in it. I grabbed the wheel up to cover the hole and discovered the other hamster, Duke on the floor. I screamed McDaddy’s name and he came running.

Duke darted behind one of the Longaberger baskets on the floor under the wooden bench his cage is on. I yanked that basket out and Duke scurried down the hallway. McDaddy lunged toward that little booger and snatched him up.

My heart stopped pounding as I opened the cage so Duke could be deposited back in the cage. McDaddy secured the wheel back onto the cage, we washed our hands and returned to bed.

The next morning, I posed a question to McDaddy. “Wonder where he would have gone if you wouldn’t have been able to catch him?”

His response, “Anywhere he wanted.”

He added, “I am the only one in this house who will touch them, and I’m the only one in the house who didn’t want them.”

And he’s right.

Still, he knew that capturing that hamster – in the long run – would be a much easier task than trying to talk me down from the irrational ledge I would be on if there was a hamster loose in our house. Not to mention the hit our bank account would take from all the mouse traps I’d be buying.

When we returned to bed, it took awhile for me to get to sleep. My hand brushed to his side of the bed, found his hand, and I whispered to myself, “I’m glad you’re mine!”

Truer words have never been spoken.

What I Learned This Week – SKY Edition

We bought the SKY on June 22nd. That means we’ve had it for one month. I’ve probably driven it ten of those days. But if I’m honest, I think about driving it everyday. It is so fun to drive, and it will absolutely fly. I DO NOT fly in it because speed is not really my thing. I love that it CAN FLY though, and I enjoy the GET UP AND GO it has when getting on an interstate entrance ramp.

It means business.

In the past month, I have learned a lot about my dream car.

1. When shifting gears, the car makes a sound that sounds like a bird chirping.  According to McDaddy, that’s just the sound the turbo engine makes.

2. The top can be put down in a matter of ten seconds. It takes about thirty to put it up.

3. The trunk is finicky. You must apply some force or else the “trunk ajar” button will come on.

4. The clutch is not nearly as loose as the one in the JEEP. That, or either I’m just not used to it yet.

5. Though it is a beautiful car, many people have never heard of it.

6. When driving it anywhere, you must think about what all you need to get while you are out. There is not room for much of anything.

If you have the top down, you’ll be lucky to get your purse in the trunk.

7. McDaddy’s uncle once commented after test-driving a SKY that you had to fall into it and roll out of it.

He was not far off.

8. The little flag type emblem with a red-line through it lets you know that the SKY has the red-line turbo engine in it. You will not find the flag emblem on the base model SKY.

I felt like a dork when asking McDaddy if he had any idea what the emblem was all about. In all my years of researching the SKY, one would think I would have known that.



9. The SKY sits low. Our driveway is steep. That is a bad combination. The SKY will only go in, without dragging, on one side of the driveway. It’s a simple task for McDaddy. It’s not so simple for Nervous Nellie.

10. And finally, when must have the doors closed when closing the hood. Apparently, this was design flaw in the 2007 model.

Now, what did YOU learn this week?


A Lot Of Nothing

I am having a tough time deciding what to write about. I was busier than a raccoon in a trash pile over the weekend, but chances are you wouldn’t be interested in any of it.

Just a few things I could blog about today:

  • I’ve done FIVE loads of laundry in two days. Sadly, there are two more pending in the washer/dryer and probably two more waiting in the wings. Folks, that is a lot of laundry. If I could get this boys to go naked for just one day, I could get it completely caught up.
  • I need to start gathering up clothing for the children’s consignment sale I do each fall. I am considering doing two sales, but I’m just not sure I have it in me to jump through TWO sets of hoops. The sad thing is, I have plenty of items for both sales. Folks, that is a lot of clothes.
  • I started the Body by Vi program on Friday. I need to lose about 80 pounds. Folks, that is a lot of Little Debbie cakes pounds. The good news is, the shakes are really good! Wish me luck!
  • I spent a lot of time driving the SKY this weekend. It was a beautiful weekend to go topless. We bought it on June 22nd. In one month, we’ve put almost 1,000 miles on it. Folks, that is A LOT of miles. Especially when you consider it is a five-year-old car that only had 12,500 miles on it when we bought it.
  • My kids attended VBS last week. We averaged 90 kids. Folks, that is A LOT of kids. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of VBS. I distinctly remember dunking cookies in kool-aid, playing kickball, and having an offering contest between the boys and the girls. VBS has come a long way in 30 years.
  • I’ve had three zits in one week. Folks, that is A LOT of zits. Three too many, in fact.

If you blogged today, what would you blog about?

New Kid In Town

Dear Dodge Caravan that used to belong to the McFamily,

As I sit here tonight in this warm, dark garage (beside a stupid four-wheeler they just drug in here!) I can’t help but wonder where you are and how you’re doing tonight.

I’ve heard lots of stories about long drives and vacations that you went on with the family. I can tell they really enjoyed travelling with you, and I know that the kids miss you, probably because of your fancy DVD player. Heck, even I think that’s pretty cool.

Just yesterday I overheard Julie telling someone that even though you weren’t the coolest ride in town, your versatility was unmatched. That says a lot for you, especially since these people really seem to like their vehicles. She bragged that she would often take her two boys, three of their friends, (plus their baseball gear!) after a game to McDonalds, with plenty of room to spare.  And who hasn’t heard about the time they stowed your seats and hauled a bathroom countertop in your cargo area.

Well, LA-DI-DA.

I’m here to tell you there’s a new kid in town.

A fast, flashy, new kid to be exact.

I look good up in here.

Now granted, I will never haul a countertop.

Or baseball gear.

Or three friends.

Or even two boys at the same time.

But tell me, am I cool or what?

I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot at this joint.

Seriously, that gal is crazy about me and she looks for any excuse at all to take me out for a drive.

And really, can you blame her?

She still needs some practice getting me in the driveway without scraping my bottom, but a little bird told me that you sometimes got your bottom dragged on the driveway, too. Geez.

Regardless of what you might think, t’s not easy being me.

Hardly anyone knows my name.

I’ll probably never get to sit in the school pick-up line.

I don’t have automatic doors.

The only time my seats are heated are in the the dead heat of summer.

I can’t haul many groceries.

And I often get left behind because of the seating issue.

Still, I am adored here in my new home. I can only hope that your new owners are treating you well. It is my hope that those two little boys enjoy you just as much as these two little boys did. 

In the meantime I’ll be hanging out here at the McResidence making friends and influencing people.  


The bright, flashy, chili pepper red 2007 Saturn Sky

You Never Go Wrong By Doing Right

Every once in a blue moon, something happens to remind me that this parenting thing is no joke, and that maybe  just maybe, McDaddy and I are doing something right.

Seeing as how I’ve had a kid to fall into a cactus, a kid to swallow a penny, and a kid to inject himself (on purpose, mind you!) with his EpiPen, I’ll take all the encouragement I can get.

Today, the boys and I went shopping with my aunt and my cousin’s son, Nick. We sat out to purchase a recliner for my granny. Now my granny would for sure want me to tell you that SHE actually paid for the recliner, but my aunt and I were the ones who would be picking it up and wollering it (yes, I saw wollering!) into her house.

I would love to show you a picture of my granny, because she is fun and loud.

And as an added bonus, she’s crazy as a loon.

Sound familiar?

Anyway, while we were in the store, Stevie and Alex asked to look around in the toy department. Within minutes, Stevie was asking for two matchbox cars and Alex was asking for a package of five cars. (These two can play with cars for hours!) After explaining that we did not come there to buy toys, they both asked if I would buy the cars, as long as they paid me back when we returned home. I agreed and we proceeded to the register.

After paying for the items in my cart – and their toys – I put the few items on the counter that I was picking up for my granny. I was paying attention to the cashier to insure I wasn’t be overcharged for items and I heard the boys talking about their cars.

After I made the transaction and headed toward the door, Stevie looked up at me with his big brown eyes, and he said, “Mom, I gave one of my cars to Nick. I’m still going to pay you for it.” He continued, “I wasn’t sure about it at first, but I felt like the Lord was telling me to give it to him.”

Glory hallelujah!

My heart swelled up with pride and thankfulness, and I was one happy mama.

When we arrived home, I told McDaddy about the incident. I had already decided that I wouldn’t charge Stevie for either of the cars, to show him that when we do things for others, we are always blessed by it. McDaddy suggested that we go ahead and allow Stevie to pay for both cars because then he would understand the sacrifice in doing good for others.

Just hearing my sweet boy utter the words, “I felt like the Lord was telling me to give it to him” made me smile all day long. It also made me want to look for ways to bless people.

I fall short in the “helping others” department much of the time.

While we were away, some friends of ours from our church came over to check on our house and cars after the BIG HAIRY STORM of 2012. We did not ask them to come, and we did not expect them to come. Still, they came.

Another time we were out of town, this same couple came over and cut our grass. It was months before we ever learned who did it.

As a stay-at-home-mom (who rarely stays at home), this is the kind of thing I need to be doing more of. You know, letting my life speak”.

As my mama used to say, “You never go wrong by doing right”.

This post is linked to Works For Me Wednesday.

What I Learned This Week

Yes, that’s right! It’s Tuesday!

And that means its time for another award-winning edition of What I Learned This Week.

[And the crowd goes wild!]

Only I’ve never really won any real awards.

Or fake ones for that matter.

1. When you have one of those horrible nasty painful red zits right between your eyes, you should probably leave it alone.

Or so I hear.

2. Dwarf hamsters are much more active throughout the day than normal hamsters.

3. Draw Something is much easier (and neater) with a stylus.

4. A can of soda can be substituted for eggs and oil in a cake-mix.

5. Too much protein can be bad for your kidneys.

6. Because the driver’s seat sits so low, it is difficult to see out the back of the Saturn Sky.

7. Eczema of the inner ear is every bit as aggravating as it sounds.

8. Cracker Barrell has some really good Chicken Fried Chicken.

That’s what I learned. Now, what did YOU learn?

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

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, please 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!

What’s On My Plate?

It dawned on me at some point this past weekend that we only have five weeks until school starts.

Y’all, summer is half-way over. Give or take a week.

My fellas and I spent three whole weeks away from home. We spent another week at Scout Camp. This week, we’ll be at VBS. We’ll spend another week camping.

Our summer, as exciting as its been is simply flying by.

And speaking of flying…

If you missed the excitement, THIS! – this beautiful car –  is SITTING IN MY GARAGE at this very minute!

And the sucker will FLY!

Now, that doesn’t mean I FLY in it, I’m just saying that IT WILL.

Honestly, I’d love to be able to drive it every single day, but there’s just one little issue.

The boys love riding in it, too!

I have fought the urge to blog about THE SKY every single day since we bought it, because I know you don’t come here everyday to read about a car.


Driving this car is every bit of fun as I thought it would be.

Multiplied by a bunch.

Earlier this week I asked my Facebook friends for vanity plate ideas. My Facebook friends came through with lots of good ideas. My two favorite plate ideas were already registered in the state of West Virginia.


Neither of my two favorite ideas are available, either.

  • SKYLINE (my particular SKY has a redline engine, so I thought skyline was cool)

So internets, I’m asking you, what should I put on my plate?