Happy New Year!

We rang in the New Year here at the McResidence with McDaddy’s two brothers, his sister and their families. In all, there were 19 of us sleeping in this house last night. Twelve of those people were under the age of 11.

We partied like rock-stars until well after midnight.

Or something like that.

This is my sister-in-law, Michelle and I (and the cute cowl she made for my 40th birthday!) just before midnight.

All the while, the kids were going nine kinds of crazy just behind us with blow-horns that I got at the Mart of Walls. [Have you ever had the joy of hearing TWELVE blow horns at one time? If not, you most definitely should.]

Anyway, a few days earlier, I saw a picture on Carrie Ann Innaba’s Facebook page that included a box of envelopes, along with members of her family holding cash money. (If you’ve ever been to a party at my house, you know that I am a sucker for games and prizes, so I am always on the lookout for a new game AND this one seemed fun!)

First, I bought a box of envelopes and a gift card.

Then, I searched my house over for flat items that would fit inside of the envelopes.

(And this is where I should include a picture of those items, but I got over zealous and placed the items in the envelopes before taking a picture.)

I randomly placed 20 coupons for a free frosty at Wendy’s (which I bought for Halloween treat bags and THEN FORGOT ABOUT), six gift cards for free games of bowling (which the boys received months ago when attending a birthday party at the bowling alley), three packets of Kool-Aid (we get wild and crazy up in here, folks!) two bookmarks, a ten-dollar bill and a five-dollar bill in the envelopes.

We sat in a circle (kids and adults) and passed the box of envelopes, pulling one envelope at a time until all the envelopes were pulled. It was so much fun and even the youngest child (3 years old) caught on pretty quick. The even funnier part is that the envelope box fell to the floor as it was being passed and the envelopes spilled out all over the floor. We ended up placing the envelopes in a basket to finish the game out.

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you should go HERE right now and watch our nephew, Noah FINALLY picking a winning envelope after several rounds of picking an empty one. (I’m hoping the link works!)

And of course we ate. And ate. And ate some more.

It was a wonderful way to ring in the New Year and we all had a great time together.

I am looking forward to a wonderful 2014!

You Capture – Light

Earlier this week, we spent a few days with McDaddy’s parents and his sister’s family at a ski resort.

It’s our annual ski extravaganza.

Except, I don’t ski.

Because I am a klutz. And because I can barely walk without tripping over my own feet, so I have no desire to clamp some three-feet long, nine-inch wide sticks to my feet and slide down a hill.

Oh no ma’am.

Instead, I stayed in our posh little room and shot some pictures for this week’s You Capture challenge.

Light.

Natural light, anyone?

I tried to get all fancy with this one because the light was actually reflecting in the metal.

And don’t you love the way the sunlight reflects off of this sucker?

Oh. Someday folks.

Someday.

Off To The Races

Another summer weekend has come and gone and I am so sad because that means that June is almost a memory. Summer is racing by. The weekend temperature here in West Virginia wouldn’t have been any better if I could have handpicked a temperature because it was approximately 80 degrees (my IDEAL temperature) with very little humidity.

I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in.

An ideal temperature with very little humidity is a rarity around here and don’t you think I didn’t praise the good Lord for giving us a break from working up a sweat just by walking from the front door to the car. Now, if I could only get rid of this runny nose, itchy eye allergy fit, I’d be doing good.

I’m ready to poke my eyeball out.

With a fork.

I am debating whether to race to the medicine cabinet take a little something for relief but fear I’ll be all jacked up on Sudafed half the night.

Desperate times, folks.

Hopefully, my west-coast Words With Friends friends and my midnight shift working Words With Friends friends will be up to help me pass the time or else it might be a long night for this girl and her racing mind. Which is unfortunate because I am tired after a jam-packed weekend full of the thing I love the most.

My fellas.

To start the weekend off, McDaddy’s brother Dave and his family drove up (or is it down? I never know) so that Dave, a distance runner, could compete in the WV 5K Championship race on Saturday. And for those of you who aren’t up on your K measurements – 5K is actually 3.1 miles.

Listen.

I don’t know about y’all, but if this girl had to run 3.1 miles, it would take a first repsonse team and three days.

One day for each mile.

Dave however, WON THE RACE with a time of 15 minutes and 4 seconds.

(Picture Credit: Huntington Herald Dispatch)

And not only did he NOT need a first response team OR three days, he actually jogged the course BACKWARD before the actual race.

Oh, and just for fun, he woke up on Sunday morning and ran 20 miles.

Which translates to pure craziness.

TWENTY. FRIGGIN. MILES.

Forget the response team. Just order me the mahogany casket right now.

Unless, you’re talking about the Rat Race. Now that’s a race, I might be able to win.

Congrats, Dave, we are so proud of you!

After waiting for more than five years, can you guess which race we watched on Saturday?

We went to see this little gold mine race car,

Which reminds me a great deal of this little beauty,

Holy crap, I want one of those suckers.

To finish the day off, we hit a nearby race track for some monster truck madness.

And speaking of madness, what would you call a $10.00 sno-cone?

I’d call it craziness.

Or madness.

It was a weekend full of racing for our family.

What did YOU do this weekend?

I’m a little teapot, short and stout

here is my handle, here is my spout.

I remember singing that song in my nursery school class. Or maybe it was Kindergarten. At any rate, I couldn’t help but think of that song when I saw this cute little teapot, also known as the neti pot.

I’ve responded to several e-mail inquiries regarding the neti pot. And before you ask, I solemnly swear that I will NOT display pictures of myself (or anyone else for that matter) actually using the sucker. Now that’s not to say I don’t have pictures of myself with the neti-pot sticking out of my nose, mind-you, because thanks to the flip-around function on the iPhone it is entirely possible to take a picture of yourself while holding the neti-pot in your nostril. It’s not pretty, but I do have it. I’ll spare you the mental picture though because even I have my limits.

This is what I learned this week about the neti pot.

Keep in mind that I have been miserable with nasal congestion for the better part of three months, so I will try just about anything. 

For those of you who have no earthly idea what a neti-pot is or what it is used for, allow me to give you a little background information.

The neti-pot is typically filled with water and some sort of saline solution and is used to irrigate and cleanse the nasal passages. And can I just say if you have never suffered from allergy problems or nasal congestion consider yourself lucky. I happen to live in a city that is surrounded on all sides by chemical plants. In my 37 years of life I have never had the ability to breath clearly. For some reason, the last three or four months have been particularly bad and just since Christmas I’ve used approximately three gazillion tissues.

I did a little online medical research and decided to give the neti-pot a try in hopes that it might help my condition. I recalled an incident that happened years ago when I was visiting McDaddy’s sister and her family. My brother-in-law (who is always one step ahead of the general public when it comes to anything whatsoever) busted out a little ceramic pot that he proceeded to put in one of his nostrils. I classified him as a freak right there on the spot and just about gagged watching the whole thing go down.

Literally.

And here I am, years later, jumping right on the freak train.

So without further ado, here’s how the neti-pot works:

STEP 1: Empty contents of the “all-natural, ultra-fine grain quick dissolving saline solution” packet into the pot.

NOTE: The package suggests that first-time users start with half of a packet until accustomed to the using ‘the system’.

 STEP 2: Fill the pot half full with warm water.

NOTE: Using water that is extremely hot or extremely cold will be a shock to your nose and is not suggested.

STEP 3: Stir thoroughly until dry ingredients have completely dissolved.

Now here’s where it gets tricky.

STEP 4: Lean over the sink with your head bent down so that you are looking into your sink. While holding the little pot in your right hand, insert the spout into your right nostril so that it forms a comfortable seal.

STEP 5:  Breathe with your mouth open as best you can or else you will think you are waterboarding yourself.

STEP 6: Rotate your head so that the right nostril is directly above your left. Raise the handle of the pot toward the sky so that the solution enters the right nostril. Within moments, the salty solution will begin to drain out the left nostril (and probably down the back of your throat). Do that for as long as you can stand it or in my case, until you choke on the saltwater.

STEP 7: Do not inflate or “snort” solution into the nose or you will gag and possibly puke.

STEP 8: Repeat the procedure on the other side.

STEP 9: When the pot is empty (or when you can’t take another drop of salt water in your nose), exhale through both nostrils to clear them of excess mucus and solution. Gently blow your nose into a tissue.

STEP 10: Spend the next hour attempting to get the salt taste out of your mouth.

NOTE: It takes me about forty minutes to complete this process. I can only take the salty contents in small doses, so I must pour, blow, rest, repeat. And it works for me!

I say it all the time people, this blog is about so much more than just entertainment.

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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 Mr. Linky down below.

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

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.

Generations

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:5

A Whole Lot Of Nothing

It’s one of those mornings where I would welcome genuine adult conversation.

McDaddy left on a business trip to Canton, Ohio before I ever even rolled over, Stevie is at school, and Alex is busy playing with McDaddy’s vintage Hot Wheels service center. I am in my big, blue, bloggy chair watching Dr. Phil.

Yes, I said, Dr. Phil. And no, it’s not really working for me.

I could be doing something productive like dusting my living room or cleaning windows, but I’m still waiting on the desire to show up and do its part!

I initially thought I’d sit down and write this week’s Thursday Thirteen. I was going to call it Thursday Thirteen – Thirteen things that thirteen people need to know. You know, because I’ve always got something to say to someone. But, then I had to use the bathroom and I found myself sitting there spinning my wheels thinking of all kinds of other things I’d like to talk about. And if you know me IRL, you know there is rarely a time that I don’t have something to talk about.

So, we could talk about the fact that I hauled a bail of straw in my van yesterday, sending McDaddy straight into aggravation mode because hello, we’ve got a truck to haul things! I was “in town” when the urge to buy the straw hit and I thought hauling it in my van was more cost efficient than coming all the way home, getting the truck, and driving back into town. I know McDaddy’s logical brain would suggest I just wait until the next time I went to town to pick up the straw, but its kinda hard to operate that way when you’re me.

Immediate gratification, folks. Immediate gratification.

I was all excited to decorate my porch for fall until I opted instead to change out of my shorts and back into my pajama pants. Once I did that, it was tough to do anything beside curl up in my big, blue, bloggy chair and rest, or nap, or blog and watch Dr. Phil.

We could also talk about the fact that I should be going to the Y today. For six months, back in 2008, I was so motivated and conditioned. Going to the Y was part of my everyday running around and I consistently lost one pound per week for 24 weeks. I felt better and I looked better. And I was motivated to keep at it. Then, deployment hit and I found myself sitting up late at night wallowing in my depressed state, always with some sort of snack, and then, I made the unfortunate decision to get an IUD at the prompting of my gyno because my periods were out of control and it was all more than I was willing to deal with. Little did I know that the IUD would bring along 25 pounds worth of fun with it, in addition to a knack for wreaking havoc on the blood and its pressure. Since that time, the IUD has been removed. Unfortunately the 25 pounds are still hanging around. So, really it’s time for me to get back on the workout wagon.

And speaking of periods. Did you know that the iPhone has a period tracker APP? Apparently Steve Jobs hasn’t left a single APP stone unturned.

PTA is back in full swing. We had our first Board Meeting yesterday after school. Board meetings usually last less than an hour. But yesterday? Yesterday, the meeting was two (2!) hours long which would normally be fine because our afternoons are usually free, but the night before I had called the inlaws to invite them over for dinner and wouldn’t you know the two hour meeting ran right into my food preparation time and so I found out that the microwave option on the side of Mrs. Stouffer’s lasagna is an acceptable alternative when you find yourself in a time pinch thanks to poor planning. Luckily, I had prepared the dessert before the meeting because everyone knows as long as you serve a great dessert (a big finish!), it gives you a little wiggle room even if the dinner you prepared was subpar.

And then there is the Saturn Sky which I am still absolutely crazy about because just look at this sucker!

The Saturn Sky is slowly slipping through my fingers because they are no longer being manufactured and because they they are fewer and farther between. That makes me so sad because I WANT ONE SO BAD even though it makes absolutely no sense for a busy stay-at-home mom who rarely stays at home to drive a two seater convertible when said SAHM has two children.

Still.

Oh and just in case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s the season line-up of Dancing With The Stars – Michael Bolton and Chelsie Hightower, Brandy and my boyfriend, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Margaret Cho and Louis van Amstel, Rick Fox (who’s he?) and Cheryl Burke, the unrecognizable Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough, David “The Hoff” Hasselhoff and Kym Johnson, Florence Henderson and Corky Ballas, Kyle Massey (is he 12?) and Lacey Schwimmer, Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas, Audrina Patridge and Tony Dovolani, Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and Karina Smirnoff.

I’ll be cheering for Florence Henderson and Jennifer Grey because I spent many an hour watching Florence mother her bunch in the 80’s and because Dirty Dancing is my all-time favorite movie and I have seen it, oh, I don’t know, 1,823 times. I will also be cheering for Brandy because for every week she stays in, that’s another week I get to watch my boyfriend, Maksim Chmerkovskiy dance.

Ok. I think that’s it!

Time to dust. Or decorate. Or watch another episode of Dr. Phil

[Note: I wrote this post two days ago and forgot to post it. That’s how smart I am.]

Summer Is…

SUMMER IS…..

Sitting beside your brother on a ride at Busch Gardens

Going to a Yankee game with Uncle Dave

Many miles in the minivan as we travel the East Coast.

Music Camp Water Fun

Evening sunrise on the beach

Riding in fast cars

(You knew that was coming, didn’t you?)

This post is linked to You Capture.

What I Learned This Week – Baseball Edition

Last weekend while we were in Florida, Stevie and I accompanied two brothers-in-law to a Major League Baseball game.

As far as baseball goes, it was a biggie.

Or so I was told.

Because me? I know nothing of baseball unless you count the fact that I’ve thought Derek Jeter was a hottie ever since I saw a picture of he and Mariah Carey on The View several years ago.

The New York Yankees were playing the Tampa Bay Rays and my brother-in-law, Mike, happens to be a huge Yankees fan. When he discovered the Yankees would be playing in Florida the same week we would be there he asked if any of us were interested in going. I myself had no desire to sit in the hot sun for nine L-O-N-G innings, but Stevie was all over the idea.

But when Mike mentioned that the field was actually an indoor stadium I was all, “Sign me up!”

And so this week’s What I Learned This Week post was born at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Florida.

I present to you the things I learned at the baseball field.

1. When you show up to a baseball game played by the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays wearing a bright orange shirt, you will stick out like a sore thumb.

Ditto if you happen to be wearing a Titleist hat and sitting directly in front of someone trying to snap a picture.

2. If A-Rod has made 599 career home runs and is up to bat, you can expect to see hundreds of flashes every single time he bats.

3. If A-Rod is playing in a baseball game and could possibly make his 600th career homerun, there is a good chance that blocks of seats (deep in the outfield) will be purchased by folks hoping to catch the coveted 600th home-run ball.

4. Because according to the guy behind me, the 600th homerun ball batted by A-Rod would “easily be worth about $100,000 and your chance of catching that ball is much better than your chance of winning the lottery.”

Wellalrightythen.

5. When you are sitting behind home plate seven rows from the VERY TOP FOR GOODNESS SAKE, there is no chance whatsoever that you will catch the 600th ball batted by A-Rod.

6. Regardless of where you are sitting Derek Jeter is indeed a hottie.

7. You are not able to purchase Yankee paraphanelia at a Tampa Rays home game unless you purchase something from the robber sorry sap selling stuff at a fold-up table outside of the stadium field.

8. A bag of Cracker Jacks at a Major League Baseball game will set you back $5.00.

9. You can expect to pay at least $20.00 for parking. $30.00 if you wish to park close to the entrance because it is 319 degrees outside and chances are pretty good that you’ll faint before making it inside.

10. Apparently when the Tampa Bay Rays are playing a less popular team, the cost of parking and seats is not nearly as expensive as when they are playing the Yankees.

11. I am all about the stealing of bases at a baseball game because that is much more exciting than the mundane hum-drum of balls and strikes.

12. The seventh inning stretch would be more effective if it were, oh, I don’t know, called the fifth inning stretch because by the seventh inning my legs were cramped and my foot was asleep.

13. The player between second and third base is called the short-stop.

Which explains why Derek Jeter hangs out between second and third base.

14. The speed of a pitch was approximately 90 mph.

That is shocking to me.

15. Nick Swisher, an outfielder for the Yankees is a West Virginia boy. He graduated from Parkersburg South High School which happens to be about 45 minutes from where we live.

Now it’s your turn to share!

Please remember to link directly to your What I Learned This Week post and not to your blog home page.

365 Days

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.

This summer has been so much different than last summer. And I am thrilled that we’ve been able to spend so much time together. What a difference a year makes.

We have been home approximately six hours and in that six hours, I have showered, bathed the boys, went to evening service at our church, washed and folded clothes, unpacked and repacked. In a matter of eight hours, I will again take my place in the ghettovan, er, Caravan passenger seat and in the words of Willie Nelson, I’ll be “On The Road Again.”

The boys and I are accompanying McDaddy on a short business trip and if I had any sense whatsoever, I would’ve done our last bit of  laundry before leaving Florida.

And speaking of Florida, ohmyword! I miss Florida. I miss the chaos. I miss McDaddy’s family. And the pool.

McDaddy is the oldest of five kids and all of us (the siblings and their spouses) are close friends.

I feel blessed to be a part of their big, honkin’ family and I enjoyed spending the week with them.

And just look at this view.

We have plans to return next year, but as we all know, a  lot can change in a year.

Happy Monday, y’all! And don’t forget to link up to What I Learned This Week tomorrow!