Playtime

We are at the beach with McDaddy’s family and we are having a blast.

We went to Busch Gardens yesterday (Many thanks to the Busch bunch for offering free admission to military service members and their families. AND IN THE INTEREST OF FULL DISCLOSURE, I am not receiving any compensation for mentioning that fact, I’m just very thankful for their commitment to the military and hope to spread the word!) and I am one tired mama. Before dragging myself to bed, I mustered up just enough energy to edit a few shots for this week’s You Capture challenge which just so happens to be PLAY!

And people, I am not playing around when I say I am dead dog tired.

Only I’m not a dog.

Nor am I dead.

But I’m not far from it because we walked for miles and miles in the blazing hot humidity (OH MY WORD IT WAS SO FRIGGIN’ HOT!) and the early morning, midday and evening sun and even a quick rain storm that lasted long enough to soak yours truly.

McDaddy has four siblings and between the five of them, there are fifteen (15!) grandkids. The entire family (plus a few extras) are spending the week together here in sunny Florida.

Of all the topics that could have been assigned this week, PLAY is just perfect for this special time we are spending together, playing, laughing, eating (oh my word are we eating?!), and visiting.

While waiting for our family portrait on the beach my sweet Stevie (shown holding the yellow DS) plays DS with his cousins.

And speaking of cousins… Can you just imagine the amount of chaos play taking place this week?

And speaking of play, the family is having a shuffleboard tournament this week. We are playing shuffleboard round the clock to get the brackets filled in. For those of you keeping score, you can mark it down that McDaddy and I have been eliminated from the tournament. Pictured here are my sisters-in-law, Michelle and Stephanie. (Hi Girls!)

And of course, no beach trip would be complete without lots of playing in the pool! [Note: My sweet boy was not in the pool alone even though it certainly appears that way. I snapped the picture while hanging out of our third story window!]

While playing around with the settings on my camera, I took this shot from our balcony on Sunday.

The thunder and lightning were playing around with the atmospheric pressure just before the actual storm hit.

And speaking of playing.

Here’s Stevie playing baseball on the beach with his Uncle Mike, and cousins, Mallory, Zachary and Noah.

And guess who mentioned the word PLAY at least thirteen times in this post.

Yup, you guessed it. Thursday Thirteen.

There you have it.

Two birds. One stone.

I don’t play around when it comes to efficiency, folks.

[Fess up. How many of y’all scrolled right back up there to the top to double check my math skills?]

Smiles

I am having a blast at the beach with McDaddy and his big honkin’ family. We are spending lots of time in the pool, participating in a family shuffleboard tournament (which McDaddy and I were eliminated from just minutes ago), and the beach. Our dinners are being catered by a fabulous lady which I’ll tell you more about in the near future and the kids are enjoying the time they are spending together.

Last night we got all gussied up and travelled about 1/4 mile down the beach for our family beach picture. This is just one of the 5,281 pictures that were shot in the hopes that just one (1!) will turn out without too much photoshopping or editing. Pictured in navy blue, are McDaddy’s mama and daddy, along with their fifteen grandchildren -Madeline, Kalli, Brooke, Zachary, Mallory, Alex, Isaac, Kirklen, Annabelle, Gwen, Lydia, Noah, Kamme, Kessa, and Alex.

This picture makes me smile!

Wordless Wednesday is sponsored by 5 Minutes For Mom!

Driving McDaddy Batty

That title cracks me up!

I am live blogging from the passenger seat of my Dodge Ghettovan Caravan as we make our way out of South Carolina and into Georgia. Only, I’m not actually live blogging because well, live blogging requires an internet connection.

Which I do not have.

Nor does my beloved iPhone have the benefit of the 3G network.

I’m not sure what that’s all about. I just know it’s tough for the iPhone to do anything in a timely manner without the help of the 3G. We’ve driven for miles with just a digital connection and it surprises me a bit that the bigwigs at AT&T haven’t waved their magic wand over the highways and byways of the Carolinas to provide 3G for those residents who are part of the iCult, er, iPhone community.

I have my feet propped up on the dashboard (which drives McDaddy half-batty) and my beloved pink Dell laptop snugly on my lap. I am doing my best to be a good traveler. I am dividing my time equally between the Facebook, Words With Friends, Twitter, napping, and checking Carmen The Garmin to see if our ETA has changed since the last time I looked over at her.

And speaking of Carmen the Garmin (the GPS) she is one smart cookie. Her ability to accurately report the speed limit within a fraction of a meter is impressive. But just like every female, she has her moments. I get tickled when she starts spouting off at the mouth about u-turns and being off-course because McDaddy isn’t one for taking direction. Most especially from females me. He learned a long time ago that my place on any given trip would be the passenger seat. And long before the GPS was even thought of, McDaddy would plot his course on a AAA map which always included a complementary trip-tic. If the navigation were left up to me, I’d have us in Honduras. Or Belize.

Once the packing and preparation are completed, my job is finished and I don’t do much of anything when it comes to the actual traveling.

Except maybe complain.

And whine.

I rarely ever drive. And by rarely ever, what I really mean is that in the eighteen years of “togetherness” that McDaddy and I have shared (that’s two years of dating, four years of engagement, and twelve years of marriage for those of you keeping track of mine and McDaddy’s road to happiness), I can think of only two times that McDaddy has relinquished the wheel to me while driving on a vacation. Which is just fine with me because I’d rather sit over in the passenger seat and hammer out a blog post and play Words With Friends.

Or ask, “Are we there yet?”

I might even get all rowdy and begin some sort of meaningful conversation with McDaddy about the purpose of life.

He, on the other hand, could tell you the price and exit of the cheapest gas within a four-state radius. It’s a gift, really.

Me?

If I need gas, I stop. Period.

Another of my fine qualities that drives McDaddy batty.

Ah, welcome to Georgia. Where the local time is 9:55 AM and the temperature is 93 degrees.

Ugh.

The local radio station is having a love-fest with the 1990’s. Right now I’m listening to Right Here Waiting For You. It’s taking me back to 1988. I was smack-dab in the middle of awkward years, what with my big bangs, and an honest-to-goodness waistline that hasn’t been seen in years.

And speaking of memories. The resort where we’re staying was the annual vacation destination for McDaddy and his siblings for a lot! of years. When I asked him how many years they stayed at this particular resort his response was, “I don’t know. Every year for forever!”

Well then.

For one glorious week all five of his siblings and their families will be reunited (along with his parents, aunt and uncle, and a few extras thrown in for good measure) for yet another family vacation at Redington Surf Resort in sunny Florida.

I hit the jackpot when I married McDaddy because he has a big ole’ family. That means I now have TWO SISTERS and TWO SISTERS IN LAW for pete’s sake. Or is it pete sakes? I’m sure my mother-in-law will be sure to let me know. She gets all fancy when it comes to grammar because that’s her thing. And I’m sure she would pick my posts apart with a red sharpie if she could because the comma usage?

The comma usage alone would be enough to make a normal person crazy.

But since I’m already crazy, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.

Because I type deliberately and slowly, which, is, also, the, way, I, talk.

Ahem.

At this moment my Words With Friends plays are backing up.

And Carmen is yapping.

And my foot is asleep on the dashboard.

It’s going to be a long five hours. I’m trying my best to keep the crazy to a minimum.

A big job. Big job, indeed.

Especially for someone who stays so busy over in the passenger seat. Maybe I’ll close my eyes and imagine the sound of the waves crashing against the shore and the seagulls flapping their jaws.

Which would give McDaddy a much needed rest from another’s flapping jaws.

Happy Monday, y’all!

A Simple Mathematical Equation

8 big honkin’ bags

PLUS

10 painted toes

PLUS

3 batches of no-bake cookies

PLUS

7 electronic devices, chargers, and cords,

PLUS

Countless medicines, hair products, toiletries, and anything else you can friggin’ think of,

EQUALS

A feverish attempt to get out of town to spend the next seven days with these people + the seven (I think!)  more that have been born since this picture was taken in 2008.

Keeping up with the grandbabies in this family is a mathematical equation that is difficult to keep up with and is subject to change on any. given. day.

As of today, there are fifteen grandbabies under the age of eight in McDaddy’s family.

The next week will no doubt be full of family, fun, food (and lots of it!), floating, and fits.

Florida, here we come!

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

I Am Not Dramatic!

Welcome to another edition of Not Me! Monday, where I share all the things I didn’t do this week. Or in this case, this past weekend.

It was not me who spent the weekend loving all over my nieces and nephews, who were visiting from all over. There are 15 babies on McDaddy’s side under the age of seven. Four of them were not in attendance this weekend.

I’d like for you to meet Annabelle. And no, before you ask, she is not playing with a blackberry. Nope, not her, because who would allow a 10 month old to play with their blackberry?

 This cutie is destined to be the class clown in this get-up. It may or may not be Alex hiding behind the crazy hair and glasses.

 It wasn’t me who smiled every time this sweet little fella threw a ball which was pretty much every minute of the day.
(Noah’s daddy is McDaddy’s brother.) Isn’t he a cutie?

It wasn’t me who held this little two-week-old-lovey every possible second this past weekend because holding her might make me wish I had a newborn again, for a second or ten.

Oh, and there’s no way I photo-shopped a wrinkle and a big, honkin’ zit from this picture of my face. Nope! Not me.

 I did NOT bust out laughing at these two as they made “scary faces” for my camera. This is Noah again, and another nephew, Kirklen.

And here’s little Miss Lovey again. I met Gwen Geordanna for the first time on Friday. She weighed in at a whopping 5 pounds, and a few odd ounces. Look at those cute little toes.

I told you there were lots of girls, right? Look at this sweet thing. This is Kirklen’s little sister, Kessa.

I did not immediately fall in love with this sweet girl and her big, beautiful, blue eyes. She is a fire-cracker and I wish, wish, wish she lived closer than New Hampshire. (By the way, I call Annabelle a fire-cracker because she was born on July 4th.)

 These two cute little gals are sisters to Kirklen, and Kessa. Not surprisingly they have “K” names too, Kamme, and Kalli.

Oh, and since I do not have a dramatic bone in my body, there is no way that I made McDaddy promise to re- read my funeral post on the off chance that something might go wrong during a minor surgical procedure I’m having today.

Nope. Not me. Never.

But if something happens and I don’t make it through, y’all can find me kickin’ it in Heaven. I’ll be the one sitting on the Emerald Fountain with a swiss cake roll and a Dr. Pepper.

Like I said, not dramatic. At. All.

Happy Monday!

I Am Not In Florida

I am a little out of my element this evening because I am not in my big, blue, bloggy chair.

Heck, I’m not even in West Virginia for that matter.

I was hoping  that we would be leaving the snow and cold behind and that we would enjoy some fun in the sun hundreds of miles from home. So  far, though, we’ve seen wind. LOTS OF STINKIN’ WIND. So much wind that it took my breath as I waited for McDaddy to open the gate from the lazy river here at the resort. 

Seriously, do you know how weird it is to be in Florida, and still be freezing your butt off? Well, not completely off, but you get the idea, right.? Even with all the vacation hoopla, there are still several things I did not do.

If you can believe that.

For instance, I did not work up a nasty sweat from the Wii Hula Hoop Event of 2010.

Because that would be embarrassing.

While attempting to fill a water bottle from the automatic water dispenser on the fridge, I did not neglect to hold the bottle directly under the water hose. Likewise, I did not find myself wiping spewed water from my eyes seconds later.

[Note to self: It is never a good idea to bend down to eye level with the water dispenser unless you are certain that your water bottle spout is directly aligned with the little water hose thingie!]

The next morning, it is not me who let out a squeal mere steps away from our front door because there was standing water on the tile floor and then there was me in a pair of flip flops. IF I had gone down (which I really have no idea how I avoided it), there is a really good chance that my purse (which was unzipped) would have flown off of my arm, its contents more than likely going all willy nilly, AND that my beloved iPhone would have went soaring right over the deck railing because I’m telling you the whole thing would have been ugly.

OH. MY. WORD. Believe me when I tell you that I am a klutz without any added variables such as standing water on a tile floor. I have no idea what kept me from going down.

I am being dragged to an outlet mall today, so there is a good chance I’m not having a good time and that I am not buying anything because me and shopping are not friends. I’d just as soon be in the kitchen trying out a new recipe.

Ahem.

That is all for me today.

Visit MckMama‘s place for other things that people did not do.

iCould Blog From My iPhone!

I have no idea when or where I was when I decided that I “needed” an iPhone.

I just know that the thought was in my head a long time before I ever whined about mentioned it to anyone.  And once something gets into my head people, well, lets just say, it’s not usually pretty. I start by dropping subtle hints to McDaddy and when that doesn’t work, I kick it into high hear mentioning that our church prayer chain could benefit from my access to the internet at all times, even when I’m wandering aimlessly around Wal-Mart or sitting in the pick-up line at the school. Not to mention its usefulness to me and this bloggy empire I’m building because the iPhone would allow me to link up to a blog carnival whether I’m at home or out and about spreading my fabulosity throughout the city and because I can get your comments immediately!

Heck, iCould blog from the iPhone!

Oh, and if I’m being honest the iPhone commercial about the CheckPlease app appealed to me because it would mean that I would never ever as long as we both shall live would have to struggle to figure up 15% of my restaurant bill to leave a tip.

Sometimes, the pressure of that is more than I can take because me and the math are not good friends. If the percentage I am trying to figure has nothing to do with a great sale on some new shoes, you can pretty much forget about it.

If I had only known how much easier math life would be with an iPhone in it, I would have stepped up my iPhone campaign months ago. The last time I checked (with my trusty friend Google from my beloved iPhone, of course) there were over 50,000 apps although I suspect that number increases everyday as people with too much time on their hands from all around the world write (design?) apps for anything you can think of. I’m waiting for an app to wipe my hind-end, but a quick trip to the app store in search of that very thing surprisingly does not exist.

Of the thousands of apps available, I currently have 65 which seems a bit excessive until my brother-in-law who has had his iPhone all of four days informed me he has well over two hundred.

Sucker.

It’s so easy to get sucked into this thing.

Moderation is important.

But sometimes when you are dealing with the best gadget of your time (sorry TiVo!) you want to learn all there is to learn about the new love in your life.

A few days ago I hopped up on my bed to put my make-up on as I do every morning. (I know, I know, I should be in front of a well-lit mirror so that I can see the best angle of my cheek bones, blah, blah, blah!) anyway, as I was saying, I was on my bed getting ready to apply a long list of pure, safe and beneficial product that I purchased from my sister-in-law the Arbonne consultant when I clicked the KLOVE app. Only the KLOVE app wouldn’t play.

Nor would Pandora.

As I slid my fingers across the screens, I was desperate for the phone to make a noise. I worried that the audio output (it almost sounds as if I know what I’m talking about!) was done. I worried that I had dropped it one too many times and I worried that my sweet Alex had hit something the day before that caused the silence I was hearing. The phone wouldn’t even make the little click that it makes when you ‘unlock’ the screen.

I just knew my beloved iPhone had suffered some sort of chronic problem.

I headed to the AT&T store and was surprised to find out that I only needed to turn it off and back on to “reboot” the sound problem. I was so relieved that my precious was okay, I bought one of these… (on the left!)

It is an otterbox and I had no idea what an otterbox was until I pled my case at the AT&T store and complained about the danger of a fatal drop on concrete.  It makes the phone a little bulkier, but I feel at ease now because the thing is like a super-duper shock absorber.

The iPhone and its Otterbox works for me!

And, if you happen to be looking for a great Christmas gift to give, the iPhone would be a fabulous gift for anyone especially those needing help with their math.

Check out We Are THAT Family for more things that work for people.

Thursday Fourteen – Nieces and Nephews

The weeks are flying past me at a ridiculous speed. When I was younger, the time? It crept by. Seriously. But now that I am 35 years and 50 weeks old, the time is disappearing quicker than a batch of no-bake cookies as they are cooling.
 
It’s absurd, really.
 
At any rate, it is Thursday and that means its time for another edition of Thursday Thirteen. Instead of sharing 13 things that are in my van (which happens to be where I am as I’m composing this post) I thought I’d introduce you to 13 very special people in my life.
 
Our 13 nieces and nephews. As you can imagine Christmas is one big party! Just last weekend, we celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas with McDaddy’s family. There was lots of giggles, lots of tattling, lots of potty breaks and lots of hugs! A great time was had by all most, take a look!  

This might take a while, so bear with me.

Meet mine and McDaddy’s 13 nieces and nephews in order of their birth. (Don’t hold me to it because it gets very tricky especially when you think about 12 babies on McDaddy’s side who are all under the age of seven.

1. Louie Dylan – Dylan is my brother’s son. He was born just after I graduated high school and guess what? He is a junior in high school now. He is 17 years old and is taller than I am. His first love is basketball, with football coming in a close second. I was his babysitter when he was an infant, and he lived with us for a short time last year. He is a good kid and loves to wrestle with Stevie and Alex.

2. Clay Evan– My brother’s other son. Evan was born on Cinco de Mayo in 1995 which makes him 14 years old if my math is correctly (which most likely it isn’t! because hello? I suck at math!) He is in Middle School and is almost as tall as I am (unless he has passed me up in the past two months, which, might I add is entierly possible!) He loves to play his DS and is rarely seen without it in close proximity. He runs track and also sings in the Chorus. (He could also use a quick trip to the Dentist!)

Now, that’s all for my side of the family. McDaddy’s side is a very, busy, fertile bunch.

3. Kamme Annaliese– Kamme is the first grandchild on McDaddy’s side. I was thrilled to findout she was a girl. I was also thrilled that I got pregnant with Stevie about six months after Kamme’smom, because that meant that Stevie would have a cousin close in age on that side of the family. Little did I know…. Kammeis a bright child with freckles on her face and a huge vocabulary. She is home-schooled (2nd grade) and she loves to read. She is also very creative and loves horses.

4. Kalli Annette– Kalli is Kamme’s little sister and was born a short time after Stevie. She has a raspy voice and the sweetest giggle you will ever hear. Her nick-name is Kallibopper and for somehow the name stuck. She is also home-schooled (Kindergarten) and loves to play on the computer. She loves princess stuff.

5. Mallory Renee– While I’d love to tell you that Mallory was named after me (Julie Renea), she is not. Her mother, McDaddy’s sister, also has the middle name Renee and so I’m sure her mama was not thinking of me when she named her. I do however, tease her mama that she loves the mall so much that it only made sense to name her MALLory. Mallory is in Kindergarten and loves princesses too! She is a sweet little girl who loves her blanket andloves to be outside withher daddy looking for bugs or snakes or whatever else little girls want to findwhen they are outside with their daddies. She is also a pretty remarkable hula-hooper. (I love made-up words!)

6. Brooke Elizabeth– Brooke is a brown-haired, brown-eyed little girl who could be Stevie’s twin. Her daddy is McDaddy’syoungest brother. She enjoys playing dress-up with her little sister. She is four years old and is a great big-sister.

7. Madeline Day – Madeline is Brooke’s little sister and she has really cute curls all over her head. She likes princesses and dressing up like princesses too. She also enjoys playing with little sister, Brooke. Madeline was born just before Alex.

8. Zachary Michael– Zachary is a lot like my sweet, Alex. He has no fear and loves to run and jump. He also loves The Yankees! He enjoys watching Tom & Jerry and loves, loves, loves, Ka-Chow (Lightning McQueen) and Mator. He has a sweet smile, is loads of fun and is ALL BOY

9. Isaac Cade– Isaac loves to play withcars. He also likes to slide down the slicky slide and doesn’t like loud noises. He is a cutie-patootie with a sweet little haircut and big brown eyes.

10. Noah David– Noah loves any andevery kind of ball. He loves to throw balls andcatch balls. He is a picky eater withbeautiful blue eyes. He also loves to be outside!

11. Kirklen William– Kirklen has a hair full of pretty red curls. He makes the cutest elephant and monkey sounds I’ve heard in a long time. He is always on the move and loves to run and jump.

12. Annabelle Grace – Baby Annabelle is the baby of the group for now! She was born on July 4th which I guess makes her a fire-cracker! At five-months old, she requires her holder to stand up at all times which is not a big deal because who doesn’t love holding a baby girl? She has big, blue eyes and loves to play with the new computer she got for Christmas on Saturday. She will be the baby of the group for a few more weeks.

13. Lydia Kate – Lydia Kate is currently in her mama’s tummy. She will be the little sister to Brooke, Madeline, and Isaac. She is due at the end of December and I can’t wait to meet her!

While this should really be the end of Thursday Thirteen, it is not! I’m throwing caution to the wind today and making this Thursday Fourteen! *Gasp*

14. Currently, three of my sisters-in-law are pregnant. Obviously Lydia Kate is the first. McDaddy’s sister is pregnant (this will be her third daughter and her fourth child) and McDaddy’sbrother’s wife is pregnant withtheir second baby and their first daughter. That means that all three babies will be girls! McDaddy’ssister names all of her children with unique “K” names (Kamme, Kalli, Kirklen) so if you have any suggestions, I’m sure they’d love to hear them. McDaddy’s other brother’s wife is also pregnant. As yet, their baby is also unnamed, so again, any suggestions would be great!

 

Now, get to commentin! We need some baby girl names!

What I Learned This Week

It is 10:25pm on Monday night. I am sitting up in my bed instead of my big, blue, bloggy chair because there are three people sleeping in my living room.

All told, there are eight extra people sleeping in our home, and surprisingly, we found enough pillows for every person to have one. Except for baby Annabelle, who by the way is a living doll. She is McDaddy’s niece and we just met her for the first time this week. She is a few days shy of her fifth-month birthday and therefore she does not need a pillow.

See, I told you she was a cutie!

You may recall, that Stevie, Alex and I spent two weeks in New Hampshire over the summer. We were hoping to be there for Annabelle’s birth. We left NH on Thursday, and she made her debut into the world two days later on Saturday, July 4th. I have enjoyed holding her and smelling her this week. Oh sweet mercy, babies smell delightful!

Anyway, where was I before I got off on the baby smell tangent? Oh, things I learned, yes, that’s right.

Here’s a list of things I learned this week in simple list format because its late and I’m tired.

1. I learned that it is best to have a plan of attack on black Friday. A plan that involves two people with at least one of them willing to stand in line-after-line while the other frantically searches the store for those things that have been circled with a blue Sharpie Marker in the sales ad. It is also good to take a fair amount of patience with you, along with a cell phone with a freshly charged battery.

2. It is also a good idea to choose the sales ad that represents the bulk of your black Friday wish list and start! there! first! Otherwise, you might be left with nothing at the end of the day.

3. Wal-Mart at 8am on black Friday was a bust.

4. If you need to prepare a quick dinner for 30 people, hotdogs with the fixins is the perfect choice.

5. It is tough to write a Things I Learned This Week post if you have not been diligent with keeping TILTW notes in your beloved iPhone.

6. JC Penney has a huge assortment of lip gloss for young girls. And by huge assortment I mean dozens of lip glosses in all kinds of flavors and scents. I’ve never seen so many lipglosses in all my days. Keebler even has a set. It includes Vienna fingers, EL Fudge, Pecan Sandies, fudge stripes, and soft batch. It made me want to pop open a box and see what all the hype was about. I suspect I’d be eating tubes of lipgloss in the wee hours of the morning if I would have bought a pack of those. Wonder what the calorie content in lip gloss is, anyway?

7. When your child has a birthday on December 12th, it can sneak up on you if you do not plan a month ahead. Ahem!

8. I don’t normally keep a close eye on followers, but I checked today and was pleasantly surprised to see that 88 of y’all are following me. I had only three “followers” for about three months after I started this blogging gig. Its hard to believe that in the big, wide, world there are at least 88 of you who keep coming back for a daily dose of crazy.

Who knew?

9. There are still approximately 8-10 people each day searching for “wet t-shirt contest” over at Google who end up at my place.

10. For some reason, I like a nice, round list.

And that, as they say, is that!

Head over to Musings Of A Housewife (who might I add is all decked out in Christmas cheer) to see more What I Learned This Week posts.