Monday, April 20, 2009

"Please get the snow out of your sand pail!"

With snow falling, we somehow managed to get the car loaded up for our Easter trip. We didn't leave as early as we had intended...partly, because we Southerners were enjoying the snow...even though we were shouting, "Don't forget the beach chairs!" "Do you have your new swimsuit?" And "Please dump the snow out of that sand pail before you put it in the car!" How exciting!

Ever since the girls were little, I've taken photos of them when we're embarking on a trip...never intentionally; it's just something that's always happened! These I thought were pretty telling...

Lovey with her lovies and her shades on....ready to hit the beach!

Cricket watching a movie on her mp4 player (it's sitting atop her lantern where she's cocooned herself in the back of the car)...I wonder if Gramma and Grampa knew what doors they were opening when they gave her this! Thank you, again! This gal thinks she's in heaven between singing with Judy Rogers and watching Ratatouille!

And AngelWings, sitting there all pretty...pretty excited like me! "Let's get this show on the road! We wanna see our peeps and smell the salt air!"

So with the mail stopped, everything turned off, house locked up, Brody over at Zachary's and Mama Maria's, and Bluey in the capable hands of Connor and Emily, we got on the road! It snowed on us (I guess, I should technically say the word "flurried") at least until half-way to B'ham! We grabbed a quick bite to eat at the Summit (again...can't go through B'ham without at least driving through the Summit!) and continued on our way! First stop...Uncle Charles!

We pulled into the restaurant parking lot at the exact same time he did, and we had a nice supper together and then drove over to his house to see his new, little puppy, Little Girl. Sadly, I look back and see that we didn't get one picture of the girls with Uncle Charles! In the cold weather, I guess we were in a hurry...then once inside, we had Little Girl(s) quite excited about seeing one another! It was a fury of activity! And Uncle Charles just sat there and didn't seem to mind the loud squeals and giggles! We love you, Uncle Charles!

Then after we said our goodbyes and accepted all of the gifts that he had for us (toys for the girls and boiled & raw's the "Peanut Capital of the World," ya know! Thank you, Uncle Charles!), we headed on to Mimi and Pawpaw's. We got in a little after midnight, but Mimi was still waiting up for us and had a fire going in the fireplace....again, this global cooling has got to go!

Oh, it was good to be home! I'm so sentimental, so the smells, sounds, etc. are so special to me! We stayed with Mimi and Pawpaw for a few days...long enough to start a demolish job in her bathroom...we ran out of time to finish it...oops! I guess we'll have to make another trip back! And one night we had Jen and Nate over for a cookout and another night we all went bowling...grandkids love it, and the adults don't mind it so much either...pretty fun stuff with all of the fellas with us this time! Let's just say that P-Daddy had to show us all a thing or two! My score's not even worth mentioning! On the kids' lane, once again...Macy did really well!

After a couple of days, Ricci and the girls and I headed over to stay at the condo, and what fun it was! Driving there wasn't the fun part; I had one of three migraines in my entire life, so I was trying not to "get sick" (I know that's improper English, but you know what I mean!), and the spring break traffic's flood gates were opened! And we had so much stuff in our car that we could barely see out...and I'm not kidding! And of course, there's a mandatory sign when you get close to the beach that one HAS to stop at Wal-Marts (again, deep south) and pick up more than you can carry back to your car.

Um...somehow we all forgot that there wasn't any room in the car in the first place. I still don't know how Ricci packed us all in WITH the added plastic bags from WallyWorld! We had to roll the windows down and hang our legs and arms out with the bags...this time I am kidding. Somehow we made it to the condo, and Ricci and the girls unpacked the car, I went to town doin' my thing: ever since I was a child, I've tossed what I can into the dishwasher (plates, utensils, cups, etc.) and always empty out the ice to start fresh. was nice just being at the condo. And then the fury of questions began, "Can we get our suits on? Can we go down to the pool? Can I blow up the beach balls? Where are the towels?" I have to say that I was just as excited as they were, and thankfully my headache subsided after everything settled down and we got something to eat! So we made it down to the beach just in time for the sunset!

A storm was a'brewin', so we couldn't stay out there for too long (and it was still a little chilly!), so when Jen and Nate got there for supper, we ate and then let the kids play in the heated indoor pool. Camera? Urgh...I got everything else but my camera!

The next morning, we woke up bright and early to hit the beach! Man, I married a sweet fella! He doesn't question a thing when he helps take the umbrella, cooler, two beach bags (one for toys and one for towels/sunscreen), oh yeah...chairs, etc. We all love just being on the beach, and it's so much easier now that the girls can carry their own (literally)! We stayed out as long as we could, and then I remembered...Easter shoes! We still hadn't bought the girls' Easter shoes! Man, why do I do this every year?!? I guess I'm waiting for the sales: supply and demand! And one certainly can't wear white shoes before Easter Sunday! It's just not proper!

So we made our way through the crowds at the Sandestin outlets, grabbed what we needed and headed back to the condo, for Meems and P-daddy were coming over for supper! After supper, the girls showed Mimi and Pawpaw their new tricks in the pool before they left, and then Ricci and I got busy getting ready for Easter Sunday (Easter baskets, Easter lunch, Cricket's bday cake, birthday party goodie bags...)

The next morning we woke up and headed off to church; it was great to see everybody, and then we all went back to the condo with Mimi & Pawpaw, Jen & Nate & Co., and Greg & MaryAnn & Co. to have Easter lunch together and to celebrate Cricket's birthday.

Jen brought this amazing appetizer; maybe she'll share the recipe with us; maybe...Jen?!? Lunch was was the same menu that we served for Cricket's baptism luncheon (sniff, sniff)...garlic and herb chicken-pasta salad, a really yummy salad with cranberries, sugared pecans, and bleu cheese, and croissants. Some ate in the condo, and some ate out on the balcony! And her birthday cake was just a simple pound cake (Sorry, Carolyn, I used a cake mix...we were on vacation!) made in a fun sand-castle Williams-Sonoma cake mold that I thought I'd never find! [Ricci finally found one online on Friday afternoon, ordered it, and it was shipped to our condo the next morning...AND it was less than I would have paid for it in the store...amazing! Way to go, Ricci!] And I just added some seashells and raw sugar around the base of it! (So I now have the form, if anyone wants to borrow it!) Simple and fun...much like my Cricket, who loved the cake!After lunch, we ate some birthday cake, opened some gifts (Seriously, we weren't expecting gifts! And y'all gave her some really great ones...thank you, again!)

Then we went on a treasure hunt! I hid all of the kids' goodie bags inside a treasure box (I forgot that at home, so a simple Rubbermaid box had to do!), and Ricci and James hid the box somewhere along the beach. Here's the poem that Ricci wrote and had them follow (smart fella; he is!):

Out the door and to the left,
Around the corner and down the steps,
Look across; it stands so high;
Better go under, unless you can fly!

To the left or to the right,
Go the way with the beach in sight!
Go to the end and wait right there!
Read the last clue at the very top stair!

He Is Risen!
We heard it in church!
The treasure is hidden
By a man on a perch!

The weather had once again turned colder, so once the buried treasure was found, those of us that were brave enough (not me!) got into the outdoor pool, and those of us that weren't brave enough stayed in out of the wind and just watched everyone play from a distance and gabbed!

That evening after everyone was gone, Mimi stayed with us to spend our final night on the beach, and we had such a good time enjoying our last night there! It was actually the first time that I had to sit down and just relax, have a glass of wine and unwind! I guess there's no better test of a great vacation than one that makes you go back home to get your relaxation!

The next morning we awoke to terrible weather and waited out the storms that were covering the southeast; maybe I shouldn't admit this on the world-wide-web, but my all-time, recurring nightmare is being with my family...overlooking the water...and seeing a water-spout or tornado coming at us. Aghhh! (Maybe confessing this is good therapy!) We kept the local weather on all morning, and that's all that was being reported...water spouts and tornadoes...right where we were! Again, aghhh! Finally, the weather somewhat subsided, and we HAD to leave to get Ricci back to work, so we got our car and Mimi's car loaded up and got on the road! Boohoo!

Thankfully, we made it "back up north" (to B' Mother Simpson would have said), and we met K-Ren at our usual Cracker Barrel; it was great to see her, and then we headed on home!

Ahhh...home again, home again, jiggety jig!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"...kills ants too!"

We are very thankful to have been blessed with great friends, one of which is none other than Levi (aka, "Ivy" as our girls call him)! We love him and his wife and daughter for so many reasons, but this week in particular I've been singing his praises, for this spring along with the April showers, we've had a couple of unwanted visitors...ants! Urghh! And years ago Ivy gave me a great tip on how to rid them!

I'm not overly organic (not that you are either, Levi, but...), but I am sensible and cautious to care for my family, and I'd rather choose to not use extra chemicals and pollutants in our house to rid ourselves of bugs, so I turned to Ivy's wisdom regarding ants...

Once at a party in our yard, he showed me an ant pile and said that if we'd sprinkle a little Sweet'n'Low on the pile that we'd see that "it not only kills humans, but it kills ants too!"

We have cracked up about that whenever we think of Sweet'n'Low, and this week I decided I'd try it! While I was out one day, I snagged a couple of packets from the restaurant where we were eating, came home and drew some lines 'to not be crossed'! I still can't believe it works! I've heard that there are rumors that Aspartame was originally designed as an ant poison, and I don't know if that's true or not, but I do know that if you have any unwanted spring-time visitors, try it; it works!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Red Envelope Project has been a huge success so far!

The project has been a huge success so far! A worker in the White House mail room has confirmed the delivery of more than 2.25 million red envelopes! Million!

I know that many of us were a part of the nationwide, grassroots Red Envelope Project where every pro-lifer was asked to mail an empty, red envelope to Barack Obama at the White House.

It's not too late to participate...each envelope represents a baby who has been killed by abortion. The red color symbolizes the blood of abortion. The President’s address is on the front. The following message is printed on the back: "This envelope represents one child who died in abortion. It is empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the world."

The goal is to have millions of red envelopes flooding the mail room of the White House, and that’s exactly what is happening!

The Obama administration has noticed, and the Red Envelope Project continues! You can still send your red envelopes to the President.

President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

I pray that this tidal wave of red envelopes changes the president’s heart on abortion and that he acts to protect unborn babies from a violent and brutal death.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Saving/Giving More!

I've mentioned these two blogsites to a couple of you, so I just thought I'd share the direct links here. These two blogsites actually do the work for me when it comes to saving more money when and

Using Publix for example, each week (or when there's another really great sale/deal) these two sites will email me a list of items that are on sale and also provide links next to the items where one can print off a coupon to save additional money!

The richest bum I've ever seen...everybody has a story!

This spring the girls have taken up a new favorite past time of looking under the bridge overpasses for...bums. Yes, I've done my duty to remind them that not all have been blessed with covenantal blessings, and we've taken several opportunities to pray for them and what may or may not be going on their lives.

But yesterday when we drove down to the zoo, as we pulled slowly into their drive which takes one under the overpass, there was a huge display of lots of goods! Now, I'm telling you that there was so much that I want to go and get a picture, but I'd never do that....I'm just saying, "This is somethin' to write home 'bout!"

Driving carefully along the one-lane road, I did my first glance...tons of stuff!

Second glance...happy fella sitting in a lawn chair (may have even been an easy-boy recliner)!

Third glance...he was having a great time listening to music...oops...eye contact...and we actually waved to each other!

Cricket shouted from the back, "Wow! That's the richest bum I've ever seen!" Even though it was awkward, I'm just dyin' to go back and get another look...take him something...pose as a journalist to get his story! Yes, everybody has a story!


Does anyone remember that news segment, Everybody Has a Story, on CBS's The Early Show? It's not around anymore, but when the girls were little, it would air on Friday mornings, so I'd arrange to have someone to feed/hold at that exact time so that I could see it. (Before TIVO!)

Steve Hartman (one of my favorite journalists) became well known for his award-winning feature series, Everybody Has a Story, based on his belief in a "theory" of the same name. To prove his point, Hartman would toss a dart over his shoulder at a map of the United States, and then travel with his cameraman to wherever the dart landed. Upon arrival, Hartman would find a phone booth with a phonebook, and then, after choosing a name at random, would call that person, hoping that they would tell their "story." His adventures took him around the country, and it was amazing how people would allow him to come and interview them as they told their story. The stories that his assignment would produce were ALWAYS so emotional! I'd be sitting there either laughing, crying or both! I wish they still sent him on those special assignments!

I wish that they'd bring back that series by Steve was such a special series! Here's a link where you can view a few more, if you'd like! But get out the tissues, 'cause your either going to be crying from tears of sadness or tears of joy!

I wish Steve Hartman would call me up to get me to take him down there so that he and I could get the story of the gentleman that lives under the bridge near the zoo! Yes, everybody has a story!