2012 Year In Review

2012 Recap Carnival with Musings of a HousewifeWhen I saw on Facebook today that Jo-Lynne was hosting her annual Blog Recap, I knew I wanted to participate. Oh how I love to look back on our year, and remember the fun times we’ve had as a family.

If I had any sense whatsoever, I would also print out a scrapbook just after I do this recap each year over at one of the photo book companies while it’s still fresh in my brain, but I keep telling myself that I am going to pick up my scrapbooking habit and start right back at 2008 where I left off.

TIME, I NEED SOME TIME!

Before I get started, I’d like to announce that honorable mention goes to: both boys playing spring and fall baseball, Stevie getting braces, both boys playing basketball, me being team mom for two more of Stevie’s baseball teams, and of course, lots and lots of summer travel with McDaddy on business … but let’s get down to the good stuff, shall we?

January

In early January, I shared some of my favorite photos from 2011. And now, here it is the end of 2012 already. Man, how time flies.

Y’all know I love a good story! I was thrilled to learn that RJ, a high-school classmate of mine and McDaddy’s would be competing in the second season of Faceoff. He made it all the way to the finale and got robbed of the grand prize. Our little town is so proud of him, and I enjoyed watching him claw his way to the top each week.

Later in the month, I take you hour-by-hour through a stress test on my heart after learning I have a bundle branch block on the left side of my heart, as a result of self-diagnosing myself with near-death after a Mirena IUD just about did me in.

February

With my 20th reunion just around the corner, I take a look back on the last 20 years of my life.

And also, I searched the mall over looking for a nice watch to buy for McDaddy for Valentine’s Day. I told the story of probably one of the funniest things that has ever happened to me, in a post titled Watch You Say?

March

In March, I spent the weekend with my girlfriends, and Anita Renfroe in Louisville, Kentucky.

March was a great time to remind McDaddy that I STILL wanted a Saturn Sky!!!!

After allowing a RODENT to live in our home only six month prior, our boys were so sad when we lost our sweet hamster, Lulu.

April

I was honored to have two tips featured in Kristen’s e-book That Works For Me! (Tip #596 was a Lego cleanup tip (Dear Lord, help me!) and tip #627 was a deployment tip our family used while McDaddy was deployed to Cuba.)

Also, in April, we welcomed two little dwarf hamsters – Duke and Apollo – into our home.

May

McDaddy and I celebrated 14 years of marriage, and I talk about living our Happily Every After every single day.

June

My favorite day of 2012 happened in June. After five years, countless conversations, much negotiation, months of research and searching, and lots of prayer, I, (and I still can’t believe it!)

GOT

MY

DREAM

CAR!

McDaddy made me the happiest girl in the world when he bought me a beautiful chili pepper red Saturn Sky!

And the same day we brought the car home, McDaddy and I attended our 20th reunion!

And did I mention we drove my dream car, the Saturn Sky?

Our family travelled quite a bit with McDaddy on business over the Summer. We enjoyed Christmas in July at Santa’s Village in New Hampshire.

August

On August 1st, Alex sliced his knee open on a banquet table in our basement resulting in a trip to Med-Express and five stitches.

September

In September, I wrote about a bad day to go topless.

McDaddy and I attended our first Jeep Jamboree in Farmington, Pennsylvania. And I’m quite sure it will not be our last.

October

October was the start of a stressful time for our family.

Nevertheless, I know that I hit the jackpot when I married McDaddy. He is… so many things to me.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I felt obligated to share on the blog that McDaddy was being activated for his second deployment in four years. If you remember, would you say a prayer for us in the months ahead?

November

Alex turned seven!

And six days later, McDaddy turned the big three nine.

And the day after that, I celebrated my four year bloggy anniversary!

December

A big gas-line explosion happened less than three miles from our house ON MY 39th birthday.

And the next day, my sweet Stevie hit Double Digits!

And we also celebrated Christmas!

And there’s really nothing I’d like more than to share pictures of our after-Christmas trip in Florida, but I’ve been busy enjoying this time with my fellas and my in-laws and haven’t had the chance to upload the pictures yet, so…. they will just have to wait. Tonight, we are going to Blue Man Group and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate New Year’s Eve than with a bunch of blue men.

2012 has been a year I will never forget. Our family shared some great memories and endured loss and pain that has changed us in ways I don’t even want to talk about. Through it all though, God’s grace has been sufficient and I have no idea where I’d be without that assurance. I am actually dreading 2013, and would love nothing more than to skip the year altogether. The deployment is weighing heavily on my mind, and my granny is facing a battle with cancer, but I know that no matter what, God’s mercies are new every morning and I am clinging to that. I am a blessed girl and I feel privileged to share my life with three wonderful fells. I am also thankful for this little blog and the joy and friendships it has brought to my life. I appreciate each and every one of you!

Happy New Year!!!!

The Crazy Is Back

It’s been a week since I last posted some crazy. I think that’s the longest I’ve gone since I started this blog back in 2008. My friend Becky Facebooked (is that word?) me this morning to ask when I’d be posting again, saying she has missed my crazy.

And before you go and get it in your head that maybe the crazy took a break, rest assured, there has been plenty-o-crazy round these parts.

The week before Christmas, both boys came down with the crud. What started as an innocent cough in Alex on Monday, resulted in both boys being prescribed Prednisone, Albuterol inhalers, and Tamiflu by Wednesday. I was straight-up scared crazy, mostly because I watched it get worse hour after hour, and also because McDaddy was working out-of-town that week, which means he wasn’t around to talk me off of the ledge that I end up on anytime I face a crisis by myself.

For the better part of five days, I administered five or six medications, and breathing treatments round-the-darn-clock. Which also means I got way far behind on Christmas shopping, wrapping, BLOGGING, and laundry, which wouldn’t have been a big deal had we not been planning a day-after-Christmas-trip to Florida. I remember sending McDaddy a panicked text asking if it would be possible for him to come home early. My marbles were all rattling around in my head and I was concerned I might go off the deep end if I woke up one more time in the middle of the night to a 102 degree temperature. Once McDaddy walked through the door two days early from his business trip, it was like a load had been lifted from my shoulders. He knows I am emotionally needy and highly dependent on him, so I suspect he figured for the sake of everyone involved he better get his hind-end home before I lost what little bit of sanity I had left.

By Thursday the boys were better, but still not allowed to go to school because THE STUPID FLU. That means they missed all manner of parties and cupcakes and hot chocolate and pajama days. I was moved almost to tears when Alex’s teacher stopped by our house to deliver the snacks and treats he missed at his class Christmas party that day. I thought she went way above and beyond her teacherly duties and I feel blessed that he has such a caring classroom teacher.

It is now two days post-Christmas, and I am preparing to sign next year’s Christmas cards.

Yes, you heard me right.

I made a trip to the Mart of Walls to find their Christmas Card shelves picked clean. A trip to Target though resulted in me finding just enough discounted cards for next year. I thought that I’d get ahead of the game by signing them so I’ll have less to do next year.

In unrelated news, we are headed to Legoland tomorrow and the boys are super excited. There’s a good chance I’ll lose my ever-lovin-mind over the next week because I made a grand announcement a few months back that I would not allow one more single solitary Lego to enter our home.

I’m eating those words tonight because between the Lego Superhero sets they purchased this evening at Downtown Disney, they are adding 842 pieces to their already massive collection.

You only live once, right?

Anyhoo.

I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite and NOT SO favorite Christmas memories from 2012 (mostly because I can’t get enough of the Photo Collage APP on my beloved iPhone!)

 

From left top to bottom right: my beautiful nine foot rotating Christmas tree amongst a blue million presents, my sweet boys (at 10 and 7 mind you) talking to Santa Claus, our Elf on the Shelf – Louis Hamilton perched where else? high on a shelf, an easy “cookie” or whatever you want to call it recipe I found on Pinterest – I call it quick and easy, and lastly, brightly colored wrapping paper is one of my favorite things about Christmas. (And just in case you have a crazy sharp memory, you should know that I purchase a three set can of mixed nuts at SAMS every year to give to my dad just so that I can have a beautifully wrapped, ribbon-tied present under the tree each year.

And here you thought I was kiddin’ about the crazy.

top left to bottom right: The ridiculous collection of medication required to treat the flu, a wrapping paper roll sword fight between McDaddy and Alex, the cookie display at Becky’s cookie exchange, Alex’s second chest x-ray in three months to check for walking pneumonia, and lastly, our friend Terry and his kids at our annual Christmas party where he won a gift card for creating the best looking Christmas tree – while holding his hands and the paper over his head.

I didn’t include any pictures from Christmas morning because those pictures are on my big camera and that would require me to actually get up and move, and well, it’s two days post-Christmas and I might step on a Lego. But I promise to post those later.

Merry two-days-after Christmas, y’all.

And if I don’t talk to you for another week, Happy New Year, too!

There’s A Crown And You Can Win It….

Every year at Christmastime, my friend Becky hosts a cookie exchange. This isn’t just an ordinary cookie exchange though, because Becky’s cookie exchange awards the baker of the best cookie with a COOKIE CROWN that they get to keep for an entire year.

Not to mention bragging rights and a picture on this here blog.

And speaking of making the blog, that’s Becky holding the cookie crown so that I could get a good shot of it, since in all probability, I won’t get to take it home.

So yeah, like I said.

It’s a BIG. FRIGGIN. DEAL.

Each year I spend several hours scouring the internet for the winning cookie recipe. I was confident with last year’s entry because it was a really good cookie. But this year, I wasn’t so sure. This was Becky’s tenth cookie exchange and the eighth one I’ve attended. Through the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about the cookie exchange.

The cookie exchange always proves to be a great night of fun and entertainment, and maybe even some whining if a certain Princess doesn’t win the crown.

Actually, the whining is expected.

Here’s the battlefield.

Um, I mean the cookie display.

My cookies are in the Longaberger basket on the right side of the table.

As you can tell by the display table, Becky does this thing up right. In addition to the beautiful cookie display, she also cooks up a storm the day of the cookie exchange because everyone knows it takes a lot of energy to sample twelve cookies laced with all manner of sugar, flour, nuts, peanut butter and icing.

Next year, she should offer shots of insulin along with each sample plate.

And before you say anything, I should tell you that I hardly put a dent in this sample plate because HELLO, THAT IS A BUTT-LOAD of sugar.

Pun intended.

Oh my heck, I crack myself up!

I really thought my cookie entry would win last year. It was a REALLY GOOD cookie and I even voted for myself at the cookie exchange. I wasn’t quite as confident with this year’s cookie though, even though it was a Paula Deen original. It was a good cookie, but it tasted a lot like a cake ball.

I should know by now that the winning cookie almost always has peanut butter in it.

Or is a Pillsbury Cookie Bake-off winner.

Facts that I swear I’m going to remember for the next year. Except, only I don’t.

I made Paula Deen’s Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies. (Thankfully, the cookies turned out better than these pictures did.)

And here’s what you need to make these suckers.

[NOTE: This picture was taken from the test batch that I made.]

When I made the batch for the cookie exchange I used a devil’s food chocolate cake, which, by the way, tasted much better than the dark chocolate cake mix mess.

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (18-ounce) box moist chocolate cake mix
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Directions

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner’s sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and “gooey.” Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

The biggest difference between the batch of cookies Paula made on her show and the batch of cookies I made on my show, is that Paula’s were much prettier than mine. And because I didn’t win, I’d wager that her cookies tasted better than mine, too.

Becky’s sister Megan won the cookie exchange for the second time in three years, which begs the question… is this thing rigged?

I’m kidding.

Sort of.

Look, anytime thirteen ladies gather to compete in a baking competition, I think you should expect some trash talk. Especially from one that writes a blog.

All I know is that there was a crown and I didn’t win it. (Which reminds me of the song “Little Is Much, When God Is In It” that goes,

Little is much, when God is in it,
Labor not for wealth or fame;
There’s a crown and you can win it,
If you’ll go in Jesus’ name.

And so perhaps that was my problem.

I should’ve prayed first.

And went in Jesus’ name.

Which I will definitely be doing next year.

Until then, ENJOY THAT FRIGGIN CROWN, Megan! Your cookie was wonderful! And because it was a Pillsbury Cookie Bake-Off winner, I suppose it should’ve been.

But know that next year… I’m coming for that crown.

In Jesus’ name.

Double Digits

It’s been ten whole years since you first came into my life.

TEN.

As in double digits.

Only it seems like just yesterday they placed your tiny wrinkled body in my arms while I was half-loopy from magnesium. And today, I can barely hold you on my lap.

I realize it might seem like I am bragging when I say this, but seriously, you are such a bright kid, Stevie. When you ask crazy questions and make serious observations about situations, I am reminded that of that fact. Just last night you told me that you had trouble sleeping the other night, so you began singing the South American countries alphabetically in your head, which is crazy to me because it’s not like we just sit around studying South American countries for a hobby. When we learned in Kindergarten that you are a gifted child, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. Instead though, I thanked the Good Lord for your brain and your intelligence and I smiled thinking that daddy must have some seriously powerful genes because we all know he is the brains of this operation (which is evidenced by the fact that spell check just reminded me that I had intelligence spelled wrong!)  But in all honesty, that day wasn’t nearly as special as the day that you asked Jesus to come into your heart while talking with daddy on Skype. I was one proud mama that day.

I love that you are compassionate and loving, and it makes me smile when you take my hand to help me down the porch stairs in the morning. Fewer things on this earth make me as happy as I am when I look into those big, brown eyes and smile because you are my child. I only wish this whole growing up thing would slow down.

Enjoy double digits, sweet boy.

I love you more than you will ever be able to comprehend, even in that big brain of yours.

What I Learned This Week

It is Tuesday and that means another award-winning edition of What I Learned This Week.

Except I’ve never really won any awards.

All I know is that I’ve been up since 5 AM when Alex woke me up hackin’ his head off.

In my bed.

And now, a mere 18 hours later, I’ve got two hackin’ their heads off, which means it’s probably going to be another L-O-N-G night here at the McResidence.

On top of that, Stevie is sure he saw a mouse downstairs earlier this evening.

And if you know me, you know that also means I will not be going downstairs until that sucker is caught deader than four o’clock.

Here’s what I learned this week:

1. I am a big scaredy cat when it comes to rodents in my home.

2. The thought of a rodent in my house makes me gag.

3. You can pretty much bet the bank that it will rain any day after McDaddy washes the SKY.

4. Either Revlon mascara or Urban Decay eyeshadow primer mats my eyelashes together to the point where it makes me crazy all live long day. I feel like throwing them both away.

5. Presents under a Christmas tree makes it so much more festive.

6.  Without an alarm to remind me, I would no doubt forget to move the Elf On The Shelf.

7. Unless you’re making mashed potato soup, it is best not to cook your potatoes too long.

Now, what did YOU learn this week?