Some Points Of Interest

1. I rarely ever talk about politics here on the blog. For one, I don’t know enough about foreign policy or the energy crisis to stir up a debate, and for two, ELECTION DAY HURRY UP AND GET HERE! I will say this however: If you are one of those people who spout off, calling people close-minded, misguided, stupid or foolish because they endorse a different candidate than you, please, for the love of all that is holy, STOP. IT.

2. For the past three days, ZAPPOS has been tempting me with some great shoes over in my side-bar. It seems that every time I open a window on my laptop, I have some really great shoes smiling at me. I’m fighting the urge to order these even though the last thing I need is another pair of tennis shoes. What can I say, except that I’m a sucker for pink. I’ll take these in a size 9, please.

And now? This exact pair shows up every time an ad pops up in my sidebar.

3. And speaking of shoes, have  I mentioned that I have created a monster? My sweet Alex loves shoes. He has approximately six or seven pair of tennis shoes. He takes great pride in matching his shoes to his outfit. That fact makes me smile.

4. But smiling hurts. When I went to bed on Saturday night, I was happy that the fever blister on my bottom lip was almost gone. When I got up on Sunday morning, I was so sad to discover that another one popped up on my top lip overnight. It hurts and it’s ugly. I’m guessing this is a direct result of the deployment stress I’m under.

5. Have you seen the Ohio State University Band perform their video-game themed half-time show against Nebraska? At 6:36 into the performance The OSU Band makes an incredible formation. As a past band-geek, I have a true appreciation for the work necessary to pull that off. I have one word. Superfreakinfabulous.

6. Our last fall baseball game is scheduled for Friday evening. Wouldn’t you know there is a 60% chance of rain that day. I think we’ve only played seven of our scheduled 20 games thanks to the rain. Rain, rain, go away.

7. McDaddy brought a new company car home yesterday. The 2011 Chevy Impala is old news. Welcome to the McFleet, Chevy Equinox.

8. Thanks to Scentsy’s Mocha-Doodle brick, my house smells divine. I love fall!

9. Maks and Kirstie were in the bottom two again. I was ready to swear off Dancing With The Stars if Maks got the boot before Bristol and Mark. I have to wonder if cutting off the goatee’ had anything to do with this week’s fall from glory.

10. I recently discovered an APP called InstaCollageFree. It is my newest favorite thing to do on my iPhone. There are endless possibilities and all kinds of choices. That equates to many-an-hour spent creating fun pictures.

 And just look how young the boys are in this next one.

You can expect to see many more collages in the weeks to come.

InstaCollage works for me

And now I’m off to fight the urge to buy look at some shoes.

The Bearer Of Bad News

If you’ve spent any amount of time around here this week, you’ve probably noticed a somber tone in my writing. While I try to keep things light around here (because let’s face it, people have enough of their own drama without coming here and reading about mine!) honestly, that’s just not possible all the time.

While I’ve danced around this subject for the past two weeks here on the blog, what I really want to say scream from the top of my lungs is OUR LITTLE FAMILY HAS BEEN HIT WITH DEPLOYMENT AGAIN AND I AM NOT ONE BIT HAPPY ABOUT IT.

Phew.

That felt good.

While we knew there was a chance he might have to serve another sentence assignment, the news was still hard to stomach. There were tears at first. And then anger. And then more tears. And then OH MY GOSH WE HAVE TO TELL THE BOYS.

Oh, and our boys?

They are troopers.

They responded to the news by getting the globe and finding the location. And then, they talked about what all they would do for daddy while he was gone.

We each have different ways of working through the news, and I can honestly say that our boys, our sweet boys, handled the news better than I did. And if I’m being honest, I haven’t completely worked through the news because it is still like a fresh, open, raw wound. It is tough to work through news like this. There are little minor details that need to be worked out, like who will change the air conditioning filter while he’s gone, and then there are the biggies, like updating the power of attorney, and figuring out how McDaddy can balance the checkbook from half-way around the world so that me and my mad math skills don’t land us in the poor house. 

Deployment feels a little different this time around because we have been through it once already, but when he delivered the news, it was as if he dropped a bomb in my lap. I was not expecting it, and just like the first time I felt angry and scared. I was angry because it feels like he just returned from Guantanamo Bay yesterday, and I was scared because, well, these are perilous times we live in. Over the past few months, McDaddy and I have talked extensively about his military career. He joined the WV Air National Guard when we were juniors in high school and so this is all we have ever known. Still, it is like unchartered waters because he is not going back to Cuba. And, unlike last time, we will not be able to visit half-way through.

That means for six L-O-N-G painful months, we will be apart. And as I sit at my keyboard with tears streaming down my cheeks, I am scared.

I’m scared about our boys getting sick or having an accident, because he is always the voice of reason.

I am scared for his safety.

I am scared because our boys need him to check their homework if they stand a chance at passing math.

And I’m scared that my emotional stability may not be up to this challenge.

And I’m angry.

I’m angry because our country is in a mess making this deployment necessary.

And if I’m being honest, I’m angry because there are servicemen who have never been deployed, yet, here we are for our second go-round in three years.

I know that probably sounds selfish.

And I’m sad.

I’m sad that my boys have to go through this pain again.

And mostly I’m sad that this man, this man I love with every fiber of my being will be all alone and away from everybody and everything that is familiar to him.

And that makes my heart hurt in a way that I cannot describe.

So, on behalf of our family, would you commit to praying for us? First, that God would prepare our hearts and our minds for this difficult time of separation. (Because honestly? I need it badly.) And secondly, and most importantly, please pray specifically for McDaddy’s safety while he is away from us.

I know that in times like this I have to trust.

But man, it is so tough when the mountain is so tall and you seem so small.

And so it begins…..

Happy Thoughts

Our little family has had a stressful weekend. I am trying to occupy my mind with happy thoughts.

Like my sweet, handsome fellas.

Happy times in the Jeep.

Beautiful sunsets on the beach.

Knowing that this man comes home to me after a long day week at work.

Happy reunions.

World travels.

Crazy, happy times.

 And remembering how proud of this guy I am for his dedication and sacrifice.

I am blessed to share his life.

And right now, that is what I am focusing on.

Happy thoughts.

 

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!

Speaking From Experience

What this girl:

 Would have told this girl:

Thirteen years ago….

  • McDaddy is not a big fan of the nagging, so stop it!
  • Nor does he like whining.
  • Cooking will be a lot easier if you plan out a menu. AND LEARN TO COOK.
  • McDaddy is methodical in thought and behavior. The quicker you understand that, the better off you will be. No amount of “nudging” will speed that process up.
  • Finish that thesis or else you’ll be kicking yourself years from now.
  • Your first year of marriage will come with lots of changes, so hold on tight! The next twelve will be better than you thought possible.
  • You have NO need for a formal living room and formal dining room, so that should not be a requirement when searching for a home. You will let lots of wonderful houses get past you for that very reason.
  • McDaddy is of the opinion that you should not eat or drink in a vehicle one can never have too many vehicles. He does not drink or smoke, so you should just go with it.
  • Those few business trips each year are nothing girlfriend. Get over it and prepare yourself for many more!
  • Do not buy all of that junk. In thirteen years, you will be wondering where it all came from.
  • The word deployment is scary. You can and will get through it.
  • Pick your battles, girl. Pick your battles.
  • You think you love that boy now… just wait till he becomes a daddy!
  • I’m sorry goes a long way.
  • Just say no. TO PERMS. Your hair will thank you later.
  • Sleep now. There will be a day when you will pay money for uninterrupted sleep.
  • You might as well get used to spelling your name when you say it. People will botch it up daily.
  • Keep a running record of what you do with your time. Once the kids come along, you will ask yourself what you did with all of it.
  • Just because you write check amounts in a different column in the checkbook, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have more money.
  • You will be approached by a gal in 2001 about buying a basket. I wouldn’t even get that started if I were you.
  • Remember that McDaddy is methodical… the whole checkbook register thing will drive him insane, so you should pay close attention to what you are doing.
  • While he may not be big on buying extravagant gifts for holidays, he will, at various times knock your socks off – with surprise trips and twenty dollar bills strung out all over the house for you to find – for no good reason.
  • He is a good man. Remember that the next time you roll your eyes behind his back!
  • That career in corrections won’t hold a candle to motherhood. Just wait and see what I tell ya.
  • Lay off the Little Debbies.
  • I know you love the house, but that hill will make you crazy in the winter.
  • One of these days, I will tell you I told you so!

Enjoy your Friday, y’all!

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

Engaged In A Fierce Battle

Back in 2008, I joined the YMCA near our house and started on a weight-loss journey.

My goal was to lose a pound of week for forever as long as it took to get healthy. I stayed with it hot and heavy for 25 weeks. I lost 25 pounds and it felt good knowing that I walked into a gym having not the first clue about the machines and apparatuses (I love that word!) and continued on steadily losing one pound per week just as my Doctor suggested.

Then winter came and it got cold.

And then Christmas snuck up on us and I was crazy busy.

Then, McDaddy left the US for a six month sentence deployment to Cuba and I ate myself into a frenzy. I found great comfort in my friend, Little Debbie (That witch sure makes a good cake!) and she and I would stay up half the night wallering in my misery.

One swiss cake roll at a time.

After McDaddy returned from his stint in Cuba, we made the decision to do something about the crimescenish periods (gross, I know!) I had been experiencing. My gynecologist suggested the Mirena IUD and I was all like sign me up!  I was ready for three years of freedom from the girl products and already worked it out in my head how I would spend the money that I would be saving and no longer contrinuting to the Always and Stay Free empires. Not long after the um, procedure, I began experiencing dangerously high blood pressure, limb tingling, chest tightening and weight gain. I pretty much had myself dead right in the middle of my living room. (Good thing my funeral plans are in order.)

Dramatic much?

No really. This was serious business.

After weeks of internet research (I know, I know!), a call to the IUD manufacturer, a consultation with my Medical Doctor and prayer (lots and lots of it) I asked my gynecologist to remove the thing. The dangerously high blood pressure, limb-tingling and chest tightening disappeared as quick as it came, but sadly, the stinkin’ weight stayed put.

So. Here I am almost a year later engaged in a fierce battle with the elliptical machine weight-loss efforts. I know that it will work for me if I stick with it.

I started out on the treadmill which is funny if you know me because that’s pretty much like taking my life into my own hands because there are moving parts and I am a klutz. After I got my heart pumping, I moved to the exercise bike because I can sit safely in a seat without fear of falling. Plus, I can play Words With Friends and nose around on the Facebook.

I set my iPod on shuffle and set the exercise bike for thirty minutes. I was pedalling all Lance Armstrong style (or at least I was in my head), and playing Words With Friends when it dawned on me that each song was speaking to me through those ridiculously uncomfortable earphone buds or whatever apple named them.

The songs were taunting me.

The more the songs taunted me, the faster I pedalled and it turned out to be a good method for me.

1. Joy and Pain – Turns out Rob Bass was half-right.

2. Save A Place For Me - You know, in case I kick off right there in the middle of the gym from over-exertion. (Matthew West)

3. Never trust a big butt and a smile – Ha! Very true, folks. Very true. (Bell Biv Devoe – Poison)

4. If you gotta start somewhere why not here, If you gotta start sometime why not now – It’s such a long road, but just like McDaddy said, “You’re farther along today than you were yesterday.” (*big sigh*) tobyMac (City on our Knees)

5. Soon And Very Soon, We Are Going To See The King – Maybe I’ll be seeing the King sooner than I think if I can’t catch my breath. Andrae Crouch

6. Stayin’ Alive – I’m giving it all I’ve got. (The Bee Gees)

7. Why Can’t We Be Friends? – Because Little Debbie, you are no good for me. Sorry. (War)

Taunting me. Every single song.

And now I’m off to bed so that Debbie doesn’t get the best of me.

Wish me luck folks. Here’s hoping that my time in the gym WORKS FOR ME.

My Annual Recap

My long-time bloggy friend, Jo-Lynne from Musings of a Housewife is hosting a blog re-cap carnival (complete with a snazzy button) and I thought it would be fun to play along, just as I did last year when I posted My Year In Review.

I’ll be looking back at the first line (or two, or three depending on how excited I get) of the first blog post of each month and providing you with a teaser that may or may not compel you to click on the link and read the original post. I’ll do my best to keep things short and sweet, but y’all know I’m mouthy and can easily get carried away when I’m explaining something or telling another one of my long, windy tales.

January – I’ve been keeping a running tally of things I DEFINITELY DID NOT DO THIS WEEK. Because y’all, there are so many it was hard to keep track.

Ah, embarrassing moments, we’ve all got’em, right?

February - I was making my morning blog run when I stumbled upon a post over at Chic Critique called What’s In Your Make-up Bag

See what’s in my bag!

March – Just like most of y’all who live here on the East Coast, we’ve had more than our share of snow.

Weathering another friggin’ storm.

April – Sometime in January, McDaddy asked me what I’d like for Valentine’s Day.

I love McDaddy. I love bling. And I love A Sweet Deal.

May – For some reason, the list of things I didn’t do this week seems a bit longer than usual.

It Wasn’t Me, Again!

June – Dear Boys, I write to you each month in the hopes that someday you’ll read my ramblings and know without a shadow of a doubt that I absolutely love being your mama.

Another edition of “Just So You Know” a monthly letter I write to my boys.

July – Thirteen things I was doing this time last Thursday. You know, because you have nothing better to do than to read about what I was doing 168 hours ago while sitting in a hotel room in Monaca, Pennsylvania.

Well, what are you waiting on? Get over there and see for yourself what I was doing.

August – I am sitting in my big, blue, bloggy chair watching Big Brother. It has been a long day spent mostly on the road from South Carolina to our home in West Virginia. I spent the day thinking about what I was doing one year ago today. There was the little matter of deployment and on this day one year ago, McDaddy returned home from his stint in Cuba.

Sweet mercy, it makes me cry just thinking about the stupid deployment.

September – I am not a morning person.

Truer words have never been spoken.

October -I try to keep things light and easy here at From Inmates To Playdates, Inc. because I feel like most of y’all have enough of your own stress to deal with without coming here for a daily dose of crazy only to read about McFamily drama.

Counting my blessings because I Am Blessed!

November - It’s been one of those days.

Lucky for y’all, I’m Talking About My Ear Again!

December – Hi, my name is Fred.

A note from a family friend. It’s amazing what folksI will blog about when bloggy times get tough.

And if that’s not enough crazy for you, feel free to read about my five years in jail or what I learned at the funeral home while watching an embalming.

I have no idea what 2011 has in store for our little family of four, but I am sure of God’s goodness and mercy in our life.

Happy New Year From Our Home To Yours!

Keep up with the crazy! Subscribe to From Inmates To Playdates for a play-by-play of my rants and raves. Or, you can follow JulieAtInmates on Twitter. Oh, and if you LOVE my crazy, head over and LIKE From Inmates To Playdates on the Facebook.

You Capture – Inspiring

What inspires me?

I’ve discovered this week that finding things that inspire me isn’t nearly as easy I thought it would be. When I think of the word inspire, I think of three things, really. My hubby and my boys. They inspire me to be a better person. A better wife. A better mom. Instead of flooding you with pictures of my fellas though, I tried to think of things that inspire me.

Here’s what I came up with:

Before the deployment, I pledged allegiance to the flag, but it never really moved me. After deployment though? The flag means something totally different. There was a huge flag that flew on a mountain top on Guantanamo Bay. I remember riding around in McDaddy’s military vehicle and seeing that flag and thinking that our family was visiting a place that most Americans will never see because 18 years prior to that McDaddy made a commitment to the United States of America to protect our freedoms. And at that moment, we were visiting McDaddy on a naval station full of history and intrigue. I felt blessed to be there with McDaddy. I felt blessed to be visiting such a beautiful place. And I felt blessed to be an American. I will never look at a flag and not remember what it stands for.

This cross hangs in our church. It is a symbol made of wood, yet it inspires me in so many ways. For non-believers this is nothing more than two pieces of wood. For me though? It is so much more than that. The cross has a story to tell and if it could talk, you would hear a heart-wrenching horror story that seemingly ended in death. But then. THEN!, you would hear the beautiful account of the triumphant and glorious day three days later. The cross inspires me because it means that eternity is all that matters and that things and situations of this world are temporary. And THAT inspires me.

That’s all I’ve got unless you count the Saturn Sky and it just didn’t feel right adding it this week to these two very important inspiring things in my life. I’ll just say that the Saturn Sky inspires me to keep asking and maybe, just maybe, I’ll have one some day.

Check out other things that inspire over at You Capture.

Piles

Everywhere I turn, there are piles.

Piles of laundry.

Piles of mail that needs filed.

Piles of stuff in the freezer, still nothing that looks appealing.

Piles of stuff on the kitchen counter that needs sorted.

Piles of shoes by our front door.

A pile of used tissues in my van. Gross, I know.

A pile of socks beside of my chair that need to be sorted.

A pile of shows on my DVR docket.

A pile PTA papers that need attention.

A pile of clothes on my bed that need to be packed into a bag for a short trip I’m taking over the weekend.

Piles of toys in my living room floor, mostly cars.

A pile of stuff by McDaddy’s nightstand that for some reason has been there since he returned from Cuba.

Piles of miscellaneous papers that need sorted or thrown away.

Piles of unwritten blog posts in my head that may never see the light of day.  Or the keyboard

There are piles all over the McResidence.

I do not like piles.

My OCD does not like piles.

Still the piles are there. It seems I am the only one in the house who is concerned about the piles. The kids have piles of cars. McDaddy has a pile of pending stuff to go through. I have a pile of clothes on the little green bench on our room.

Some days, the piles are overwhelming.

Some days. SOME DAYS. The urge hits.

The urge to eliminate the piles one pile at a time.

It is refreshing to eliminate the piles. 

I would love to report that I spent the day eliminating the piles. Sadly though, the only pile I eliminated was the laundry. I spent my morning climbing Mt. Washmore. At approximately 7:00 PM Eastern time, I eliminated a ginormous pile of laundry. Hopefully the urge will visit again in the upcoming week because there are lots of other piles that need tending to.

Are YOU dealing with any piles today?