Monday, October 31, 2011




Sometimes the words just need to come out.  Even if they’re not perfect.


Even if they suck beyond suckage.


I realize today would normally be a True Story Tuesday, but I’m having a tough time finding the funny, and it would feel like cheating to pretend.


You know that thing I can’t talk about?  It got a million times worse.

Like throw up at work worse.

Like three hours of sleep a night worse.

Like my skin is breaking out and I’m worrying nonstop worse.

Like I accidentally dyed my hair black to cover up all the gray worse.

Like the black makes it more obvious how much hair I’m losing worse.


Three years after this began – I never dreamt we’d still be putting all our life decisions on hold waiting for an unbearably slow process to catch up to people who have done wrong.


My own regret speaks loudly.

I’m trading a day of my life for this.


Sometimes doing the right thing sucks.


In the span of three weeks, this situation reached crisis stage, Mom died, and my husband got sick.

Except nobody realized just how sick he was. 

He downplays it – joking like he always does.


I have tried to type this, and the words just don’t sound right.  To understand that God is in the details is to realize how much He cares.


My man is more stubborn than the average redneck.  He had to be in an enormous amount of pain to allow me to seek help.

His neck had swollen in response to a viral infection – to the point of obstructing his swallowing and leaving him with a severe 3-day fever.

And as unwelcome as that news was, the severity meant that he needed a CT scan.


His condition meant that we got immediate care.  While trying to cope with the present crisis, I was completely unprepared for what came next.


“The CT scan shows swelling… on this side of the neck…

…it also shows a bump on the other side… biopsy…”


At the word biopsy, I felt like I was barely holding on.  Like I just wanted to cry and say, ENOUGH!

But that bump would have never been found had he not wound up as sick as he was.  And had we not been right there, at that right time, with a specialist and all the right medical personnel…



We have no news.



Waiting is brutal.  Wondering is worse.




I’ve hesitated to share this with you.  It just feels so personal.

This will never see the PUBLISH button if Mr. Daddy doesn’t want it to.



We appreciate your prayers.


And are living more purposefully.  Realizing that LIFE can’t wait for decisions or news or things that may never happen.




So please forgive me if I put TST on hold for awhile.

I hope it will be a time of upcoming good news.  Of peace that doesn’t depend on circumstances.  Of a deeper knowing of God.

My marriage has never been stronger.  My kid has never been cuter :)   I have amazing blog friends.  And a list of fun posts I am eager to write.


God is still good.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tiny Prints = Big Impact

*note - this post has been edited due to a request from Tiny Prints that we remove links to their site based on a request from Google.  Not that I pretend to understand the techno-speak, but we'll do it to make them happy.  Sorry for clogging your feed with a two year old post.

I may annoy some holiday purists (talking about Christmas in October), but I confess that I am more than ready to get into the holiday spirit!
Christmas cards are the last thing I want to leave on my To Do list.  And with all kinds of offers from photography sites… it’s easy to start drooling over them early.

Confession:  I’m a typography fiend.  The lettering and layout and colors all combine to make your annual greeting either memorable or forgettable.  And me?  I’m all for any help I can get in keeping that card out of the recycle pile in January!

Confession:  I have dozens of “projects” saved with several different photography sites… comparing which cards I love the most.
And I kept coming back to Tiny Prints – loving how the photos looked in their designs.  And wishing (ahem) that I’d find some sort of killer deal to replace the discounted small stack I’d already ordered from another company that wasn’t nearly as crisp as it looked on the screen.

Confession:  The fact that I was willing to junk that first set should tell you how much I love Tiny Prints.  I’m nothing if not frugal… but I can tell you from firsthand experience that their printing is top-notch.

See one of last year’s cards?
Christmas Card 1

Tiny Prints has a blogger campaign where you can receive 50 free Christmas cards!  The morning I woke up to that email was a happy one.  Stay tuned for your own link!

Love their selection of tri-fold cards.  One of my favorites:
Christmas Card Merry

Except that this is way fun when you know the people in the pictures, right?  Anyone else think we need to have another baby? :)

Christmas Card 5

Christmas Card 5-1

I like this one too… the kid is incredibly dangerous in snowy conditions.
Christmas Card 2

And just for full impact – a solitary shot of that mischievous boy. 
Christmas Card 3

Loving those rounded corners!  There are lots of custom text and fonts – don’t be fooled that I left them off for this post.  I’d like to make it tough for stalkers.  But if you insist on sending chocolate or Tim’s Cascade Jalapeno chips… I’d be more than happy to provide our names and address.

Seriously… go check out the blogger campaign link.  You won’t be disappointed with their selection or service.  And who would say no to 50 free cards?!?

And while you’re here… help me figure out which card to pick?!?! :)

Disclaimer:  Tiny Prints is providing 50 free cards in exchange for my honest review of their Christmas card selection.  It would have been totally awkward if I’d been less than impressed… But the fact that last year’s Tiny Prints Christmas card is still on display on a friend’s desk?  Totally convinced me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yippee, Bummer, and Confessions


All kinds of randomosity in the last couple of days…and I’m starting to get disgruntled at the lack of time to properly take pictures.  Or at least try to pretend I properly take them (read: LEARN HOW TO EDIT).


YIPPEE:  Itty Bit’s Show & Tell was a smashing success.  Except that I couldn’t get the kid to really chat about it.  But the squeal and giggles from the TEACHER when I asked about it… totally cracked me up.


BUMMER:  Itty Bit didn’t want to talk about Rocky, because he was traumatized by one of those Kindergarten milestones:  when your friend says something mean to you.   We had a long talk about how people sometimes say things they don’t mean when they are grumpy and that we can say, “I like you, but that hurt my feelings”.

Because even friends hurt our feelings sometimes.


CONFESSION:  It really is true.  All I need to know in life, I learned in Kindergarten.





RANDOM FACT:  Rocky’s buddy “Randolph” is for sale!  Go get him here!






YIPPEE:  I finally decided to cover up that gray.


BUMMER:  Medium Ash Brown is the new Black.  Elvira anyone?

(you’re welcome for not posting a picture of this one)


CONFESSION:  I washed and washed and washed my hair some more.

And the darn color wouldn’t lighten.


And then I had a sudden realization this morning.

I was washing my hair with that darn “Color Shield” shampoo.




YIPPEE:  We didn’t have soccer tonight.


BUMMER:  Well, actually we did.  We were just too exhausted and beat up to go.  Itty Bit and I fell asleep reading on the floor at 7:30 tonight.




CONFESSION:  I kind of sort of have a thing for Scholastic books.



And I may have sort of gone overboard.


But it’s educational.  (What?!?  Mater is educational!)

Because the kid needs all the help he can get with such a brilliant mother (see Hair Color Fail above).




YIPPEE:  We took the kiddos out last week – and they HAD A BLAST.

Cutie Left and Itty Bit



BUMMER:  Will someone please burn that Jazzercise class smell out of the McD’s playground?


CONFESSION:  Cindy Lou Hoo’s superpower is impressive.


She charmed yours truly into going into that forsaken germified structure.  I risked eternal mortification (HEADLINE: LOCAL DEAF WOMAN TRAPPED INSIDE YELLOW SPIRAL SLIDE, EXPERTS SAY BUTT IS TOO BIG) to see that smile.



RANDOM FACT:  Lysol and Clorox don’t even touch the smell that is now engraved in my mind.




And because I love y’all and no post would be complete without some BOY humor…


YIPPEE:  We took the same kids out to a hibachi lunch.

Where they fuh-reaked out…


Yes, that’s a yippee.  Because they had a blast once they wet themselves a couple of times.


BUMMER:  We couldn’t tear the boys away from the fountain afterward.


CONFESSION:  They totally looked like they were peeing.IMG_5674



RANDOM FACT:  You would have climbed into that McD’s playground for them too, you know it.



(Linking up this shot to Rachel at and then she {snapped} – because this is totally a personality snapshot of :)


and then, she {snapped}



What are your Yippees, Bummers, and Confessions this week?

Monday, October 24, 2011

TST–I’m THAT Kindergarten parent



Quick update: I can’t really give much info on Mr. Daddy right now… We’re in a bit of a waiting game, but so thankful for the speedy and competent medical care he’s received.  In fact… I’m rather glad the man kinda sorta loves me – because he met the Ultimate Redneck Dream Nurse last week.  And while she was cute and petite and talked elk hunting with him… I think he appreciates that I didn’t stab him with any needles…


So in an effort to forget the scary stuff right now, it’s time to fire up that sleepy True Story Tuesday round again!  Think of it as a writing prompt to share that crazy family legend that everyone retells at Thanksgiving… that hilarious, amazing, outrageous, miraculous, and TRUE story!

A story you’ve already posted qualifies too!  Just copy the True Story Tuesday button on the sidebar into your post and link it back here… we’ll be around to share the comment love!







I have a sneaking suspicion that Itty Bit’s teacher has been enjoying his random goofiness.  I mean, who doesn’t?


(double eyebrows alert)


But I also have a sneaking suspicion that tomorrow, she’ll have him all figured out.

See, tomorrow, it’s his turn to bring something for Show & Tell.  They hide their treasure in a bag and give three clues to their classmates.

And of course Itty Bit told me that it was his turn… approximately 30 seconds PAST bedtime and I scrambled to find something that was appropriately difficult for the kids to guess.

And since it’s hunting season and all (collective City Girl groan), I couldn’t help but remember this – the deer ninja:



See, Mr. Daddy is somewhat proud of that good lookin’ specimen up there (umm… the deer too).  And he has been known to bring his buddies inside to have a little chat about racks and points and assorted macho weaponry.

Except, that the last time he brought an elk-pee-covered buddy in to meet Bert (yes, as in O Boy O’BERT-O), his buddy stared in shocked silence.

I finally used my best Redneck Wife charm and introduced our newest family member that was proudly hung next to Bert.



Meet Rocky:



He’s only 7” tall, so I think Mr. Daddy’s Tim Allen Manhood took a mighty beating as his buddy stood there with his mouth moving slowly without words.

Mr. Daddy himself couldn’t seem to form a complete sentence as he gaped alternately at Rocky and at his beaming wife.


What is…

Where did you…

How come it…

What on earth…





My friends… those are all the things I fully expect poor Ms. Johnson to say to my Itty Bit tomorrow when he pulls out his lovely taxidermy pal.

But I suspect she’ll figure out that he comes by his easily-amused-ness quite naturally :)




(This makes me smile every.single.time I see it.  And for anyone who wants that bit of whimsy in their own Redneck home… Bree from Etsy’s AI Creatures has ones with MUSTACHES!  I’m sad I missed the mustache, but happy I caught the Heartsy deal!  Tell her I sent you!)




And now for your own stories!  (Believe me, we could really use them right now :)  Just link up below – we can’t wait to read your tales!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cannot catch a break


Only avoided admittance to the hospital by promising we’d return the next morning.

Urgent Care twice in two days.

They left the IV in overnight.








We are heading back there now.

In case you were wondering:



Guilt trips

Constant pain

A show of force

And these…




are the only ways to get a conscious man to the doctor.

Please pray.

Monday, October 17, 2011

TST–I Double Dog Kennel Dare You

(Sorry guys - people were saying this doesn't format right on Firefox and Google Chrome.  I am so sorry!  I tried to fix it, but maybe it's worse?  I BROKE MY BLOG!!!!  Help me out here…is it still bad?  WAH!)

True Story Tuesday is BACK!  Life got a little crazy there for awhile, but I’ve been missing our equally crazy stories!  And frankly, when my sister brought up one of our ultimate family legends… I couldn’t resist her offer to write it.

But it isn’t a party til y’all join too!  You’ve probably already written a tale that qualifies – anything amazing, hilarious, miraculous, and true that has happened to you!  Just copy and paste the True Story Tuesday button in your post (that gobbledygook under the picture on the right sidebar), then come back and link up your URL at the bottom of this week’s episode!  We can’t wait to read yours!

So here she is… starring in:


Hi all! This is my first time EVER to post a story, even though I regularly read TST.  Just to
show you the connection, I am Rachel's sister, Ju, so we share bloodlines but little else!

(Rach in:  She isn’t kidding… she looks like Dad - I look like Mom’s older sister, and there’s
an approximately 17” height difference. Don’t mock.)

(Ju back in) She is an amazingly gifted writer/storyteller with great wit who is extremely
organized and, like our mom, can do a million things at once and do them all well. I on the other hand am disorganized, scatterbrained, kinda messy, and usually can't remember what I did 5 minutes ago. Not saying I am without talent, I draw, paint, AND can catch a bucket full of snakes or crawdads!

(Rach in:  She is totally selling herself short.  Though I could live without the
snake catching thing… mind bleach)

(Ju back in) But, I am also talented in ways Rachel would NEVER want to be known as
talented in. The cruder forms, such as fart and burp humor - although, if you think she is devoid of similar gifts, believe me; you are wrong!

(Rach in:  My burping ability is slightly blogworthy)
(Ju back in) I have been honing these talents my whole life and the story I am about to
tell you all is from when I was around 10-11 years old, which would have made Rachel around 14-15 at the time. Anyone who has older sisters will know that one of the greatest joys of us 'bratty little sisters', is torturing our oh-so-mature-and-grown-up siblings. Especially during the difficult 'boyfriend' years.

(Rach in:  This picture was from about that time.  It was the first time I realized my hair
WAS naturally curly, and the the last time I was taller than her.)

rach and jen
(Ju back in)  One of my personal favorite things to do was think up ways to truly embarrass
her, and entertain myself as well, when 'he' was over at the house. Keep in mind that I had not yet discovered that those type of things should have embarrassed ME as well!

(Rach in:  Let’s officially intoduce the players.  Sister Ju, and Boyfriend Murkatroid. 
And yes, he actually goes by that in the family… which is an improvement over his original nickname, “Murky Turkey Water”. I only wish I were kidding. Remember the frosting wars? Yes, them. They are still going strong almost two decades later.)
(Ju back in) Much to my delight, her boyfriend was very tolerant of my antics because he
knew me very well and had his own inclination toward crude humor! He was, and is, like my own brother. Aside from our closeness irritating Rachel no end, there were other perks to having my own 'brother'
1. I had someone to rough house with.
2. I had someone who wasn't afraid to burp the ABC's with me in public.
3. I had someone to practice my "special" skills on.

Let me explain these "special" skills:
I discovered at a young age that if I moved just right while sitting on someone’s lap, I could
cause them to howl in pain because my butt-bone was digging into their thigh! Kinda like a 'hands-free' charlie horse. What joy this ability gave me over the years as I went from one unsuspecting aunt/uncle/grandparent’s lap to another until everyone knew better than to grant this picture-of-innocence girl a seat!

(Rach in:  You forgot to mention “sister”.  Because dang that hurt)

(Ju back in) This 'brother' of mine never REALLY minded the painful charlie horses. RACHEL, on the other hand, was mortified, and let our mom know it EVERY time.
I would get the whole, "Ju, stop putting your butt-bone on your sister's boyfriend" schpeel.

(Rach in:  You act like that’s NORMAL or something?!?)

(Ju back in)  It quickly evolved to including farts, but by then he was just as guilty as me.
Then the whole, "Ju, stop putting your butt-bone"...thing became, "Ju, stop putting your butt-bone on your sister's boyfriend, and will you guys pleeeaaase stop FARTING?!"

TOTALLY unsuccessful by the way. I thought the talking-to was almost as funny as the act
itself, so it was never really a punishment, which of course infuriated my dear sis even more. It couldn't have worked out better for me!

Then came the terrible, awful day that haunts me still.

The day I really got my dues.

As usual, he was over that day.  We had been having a wonderfully fun time filled with talk
and practice of bodily functions.  Being young and easily duped, I agreed to a dare I should have seen coming a mile away. 'He' dared me to climb into a dog kennel. You know, the kind that is all hard, molded plastic with a metal mesh door that locks from the outside?
dog kennel

He promptly locked the door, gave me an evil grin, and squatted with his butt just inches from
my face and

let it rip!

All my senses were assaulted by his horrendous fart.
And it WAS truly horrendous.
He laughed at me nonstop for a good 5-7 minutes while I was trapped with that nastiness!

P.S. I daresay, even my perfect sis had a smirk on her face that day as she witnessed me get
what I had comin. Even though this took place 20 years ago, the "dog kennel incident" is one we still laugh about to this day!
(Rach in – trust me, she got what was coming to her more than once!)

Thanks Ju for the memory of that day where I looked into the backyard to see you screaming
in the dog kennel and Murkatroid collapsing in laughter.  It was worth every butt-bone hands-free charlie horse you ever gave me.
Now it’s up to you guys to share the love.  Add your own link below and we’ll be
around to enjoy your tales too!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I’m ashamed of what my phone says about me





In perusing the Photos folder on my phone, I realized that it speaks volumes as to what I find funny or weird.


But it also testifies to the fact that I’m a secret photo ninja.


Nevermind that the very first True Story Tuesday was based on a total ninja fail, and that the it ended with me diving into my car to escape the mad tow truck guy.


What cracks me up though… (pun totally intended) is what I find on my phone courtesy of Itty Bit’s curiosity.  So many unwitting victims...


Starting with us.  Because you know you’ve done it.  You hand the phone to the chronic interrupter in the backseat because you need to talk to someone for a contiguous eleven seconds…




And then you end up with 248 motion shots of your journey.






005 (2)


Sorry to the random lady in the greeting card aisle.



Sorry to the other random lady in the greeting card aisle.

078 (2)


Oh wait.  That’s me.

Then, sorry to all those who had to witness that in person.



I’m also sorry to the lady at the bank talking about refinancing a 30 year mortgage down to a 15 year.  Fascinating topic for a kindergartener apparently, judging by the 42 second video clip.


I’m sorry to Aunt E, whose book he apparently handled with his TOES.

032 (2)


And perhaps most mortifyingly… I’m sorry to the entire row of law enforcement professionals who were the part of this lovely capture at a retirement ceremony.

072 (2)



And the tables are turned…




(and a long day at the hospital)



But it wasn’t just Itty Bit who got busted…



Yes ma’am, that’s a cherry stem tied into a knot by the same tongue that is licking my face in this shot…  And that’s all I have to say about that.




The Mister was also busted ordering these at the local tugboat races:


Of course… deep fried pickles.


Not to be outdone, I shamed him by ordering this infernal burger:


(jalapeno chuck, straight jalapenos, pepperjack cheese, and “someone call a medic” sauce)


Back to Itty Bit – and his new trick:





Sometimes a ninja phone is handy for capturing everyday weird stuff.



I was puzzled at the difference between the pluralism on these restaurant restroom doors… and risked detection in snapping these.




What was even more puzzling was the random observation chair in the women’s restroom single stall.



That kinda proves it should say WOMEN, right?



Oh, and get this CAH-RAZY thing: remember how everyone went nuts over the Target Missoni collection?  I saw one of their cute suitcases stashed in the sporting goods section.  I nearly put it in the cart until I saw this lovely tag:


Umm… no thanks.

And yes, I washed my hands.



Another confusing notice at a store:


Seriously?  You want me to stand and wave at a toilet for TEN SECONDS?



And a glimpse of what our days have been like… the poor kid falls asleep on the way home.


(No unsafe lane changes were made in the taking of this picture)



And in the spirit of fairness… here’s a shot of myself:


Have you ever tried to give a reluctant person money?


Well, I was.  I finally threw the money at her and rolled my window up.






Who does that?!?!



Nevermind.  Don’t answer that.




And because it makes me smile every.single.time… the exact second Itty Bit realized I was standing outside his classroom door:




Random Topic Change:  Ya’ll are joining us for this week’s True Story Tuesday, right?  Because my sister wrote it, and doesn’t she look like she deserves a bit of recompense for the torture I put her through?




Trust me – when you read it, you’ll be losing it like he did:

Itty Bit loses it


(Now, turn the sound off and watch it again.  See why I love this kid?)