An Officer And A Gentleman

Y’all.

It is Monday and here I am.

Summer is almost over and things are in full swing here on the home front.

I have so much to catch my loyal blog fans (all eight of you!) up on, because it has been one CRAZY summer up in here (have you heard that I gave up Coke?) I’ll give that a minute to sink in.

Yes, it’s true.

Once school starts, I intend on getting back into the bloggy groove and keeping things current here on the blog. But today’s news is pretty cool.

See this guy here?

He happens to be my husband.

And the Daddy to these two.

He is a responsible, loving and patient leader of our household.

And, he is a smart, humble and dedicated military officer.

He is the kind of person who does the right thing, even when no one is watching.

With the permission of his parents, he joined the West Virginia Air National Guard in 1991 and left for boot camp less than a week after we graduated. In 1999, he attended Squadron Officer School and was commissioned as an Officer. He’s made several stops along the way, but today? Today, I had the distinct pleasure (along with his Dad) of removing the Major rank that he has worn for seven years, and replace it with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

And I prayed the entire time that I wouldn’t drop the rank or the pin backs because EMBARASS!

I couldn’t be more proud of this man.

He makes life fun and exciting.

I love you, Lieutenant Colonel McDaddy!

Memory Lane

As I was looking for something in my Photobucket today, it dawned on me that I’ve been blogging for quite a few years. In some ways it seems like yesterday and in other ways, it feels like I’ve been doing this forever.

I thought it might be fun to share some of the pics that made me smile.

This one was taken on one of our off-roading adventures.

This was the 2008McFamily Christmas picture.McDaddy deployed to Cuba just two months later. This picture is a wonderful example of the fun we have up in here.

I snapped this the last time we went to Florida to the beach. Besides listening to the waves,my favorite thing to do is snap pictures at sunset.Isn’t it glorious?

Do you remember this gal? I really miss her, sometimes. Back then, we were all just getting to know one another.

This makes me all teary eyed. I love these two jokers so much!

I really wish time would S-L-O-W down…

Have a great Thursday, y’all!

Crazy Characters

So.

The blog is driving me crazier by the day.

Several days ago, I sat down with my computer and pecked out an entire post devoted to the importance of character in our children today. Then, I thought I should wait before posting it. The next day, I decided I wouldn’t post it at all. Instead, I deleted most of it and thought I’d stow the first few paragraphs away for a post I might write at a later time.

And then, I come here tonight to talk about Mother’s Day and I find that my blog has a gazillion strange characters strung about in each. and. every. single. post. and I just want to throw my hands up and go to bed. It is impossible for a person who can’t stand for a bed to be unmade, canned food to be turned around backwards in the cabinets, or towels stacked unevenly to accept crazy characters on the blog.

My friend, Heather has been working on a new blog design and she assures me she can “figure it out,” but honestly, DRIVING ME CRAZY.

Hopefully, you can look past the crazy characters and deal with them until Heather can do some housecleaning up in here.

I had a great day with my momma, my mother-in-law, andtwo crazy characterswho call me “Mom.”

I can’t explain how much I enjoy parenting these two. They are fun, loving, smart, compassionate, stubborn, comical, chatty, and clever. One of them is just like their Daddy. The other? Just. exactly. like. me.

And here’s me with my sweet momma, who has been on a crazy, life-changing, medical journey this past year.

I am so thankful that she is still here with us (Never realized how much I look like here until I saw this photo.) and so enjoyed spending the day with her and my mother-in-law.

On Turning 40

I spent the day reflecting on my forty years of life while I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned some more. It was a snow day for our school district so the boys were home too. They enjoyed half of the day before I made them clean their rooms.

I have been dreading this day for many months. Maybe even an entire year.

FOR.

TEE.

It even sounds OLD.

And weird.

I’m not sure why this has hit me so hard. I’m not really *that* kind of person. Age has never mattered to me before this BIG one. Plus, I don’t think I look that old, despite the appearance of that stubborn wrinkle between my eyes that refuses to go away whether I’m smiling or frowning, and the gray discoloration in my hair.

As I spent the day cleaning out and organizing mostofmy cabinets, I began to reflect on my forty years of life. I received a text today from a friend asking for prayer for her dear friend who is fighting pancreatic cancer. I found out on Sunday thatmy 40-something neighboris in an ICU bed fighting for her life. If that isn’t enough to snap you out of your funk, I don’t know what is. I decided that instead of dreading this rite of passage – this 40th birthday – I should count my blessings and thank my lucky stars that I am alive, well, healthy and loved.

I have led a charmed life. I have seen and done things that most people only dream about. I don’t say that in a prideful way. Rather, I mean simply, that I have been blessed beyond measure throughout my life.

I grew up in a loving home. We weren’t rich, but we didn’t want for much, either. I had a beautiful lavender-gingham bedroom with a big, canopy bed. I have fond memories of sledding on inner tubes on snowy days, twirling my baton on our front walk for HOURS,and Sunday dinners gathered around our family table. My twin brothers and I were taught that honesty, respect, and hard-work are more important than material possessions, and my mom always told me you never dowrong and get by with it – wordsthatI find myself telling my own kids today. I enjoyed playing school orofficeon our back porch and every Christmas was magical and memorable. I thought those were the best years of my life.

I met the man of my dreams in high school, even though it took me a couple of years to figure that out. We dated all through college and I could hardly wait to marry him. I worked my way through college and attended graduate school. If I had written a thesis I would have received a Master’s Degreein Criminal Justice and Counseling. That is probably the biggest regret of my life. Still, at this stage in life I have no desire to go back or finish. Our college years were busy and fun, and I remember McDaddy and I would often hop in the car on the weekends and take a day road trip to Virginia or Kentucky. I thought those were the best years of my life.

After we were married I entered the workforce. I enjoyed the craziness in jail. Ienjoyed my job. And I appreciated doing a job that I really enjoyed doing. During this time, McDaddy and I travelled the world – having visited ten countries – romantic places like London, Paris, Switzerland and Rome – and we’ve been to 36 states. (Just last month in fact, he took me to New York City to celebrate my 40th birthday.)

Back then, McDaddy and I were foot-loose and fancy-free. If we wanted to go on a trip, we packed up, and we went.I thought those were the best years of my life.


After trading in a career for motherhood I realized that I had it all wrong. These children – these two human beings that I helped to create-arehealthy and beautiful and wonderful. Realizing that this is the most important job I would ever do, I prayed that I would get this thing right. There are days that I lose my temper. There are days that I feel like I have lost [what's left of] my mind. There are days I feel like a complete failure and I go to bed knowing that tomorrow is a new day. I am not a model mother. But I try to give it my best every day of every year. I have so much to be thankful for.

I am not a perfect wife. I am not always the best friend. I am certainly not the best Christian. I am impatient. I have strong beliefs and opinions, and oftentimes my mouth beats my brain off the starting line. God has been so good to me, even though I fail Him often. His grace and His mercy is something I will never understand.

And that, my friends, is something you can’t put a price on.

I am loved by so many people. I have wonderful parents, a husband who adores me, children who are healthy,and friends I could call on any hour of the day.

Who cares that I am FORTY years old? These are the best years of my life after all, and I don’t want to waste another second dreading it.

So here’s to my F-O-R-T-I-E-S.

May they truly be the best years of my life.

Forty Things Before I Turn Forty

Back in 2010, I wrote a post called 40 Things Before 40 where I outlined 40 things I’d like to do before I turn the birthday that starts with FOUR and ends with TEE.

It hurts to even type the word.

Here it is, three years later, and I thought it might be a good time to revisit these 40 things mostlybecause, well, I can’t really come up with anythingelse to write about unless you count the incident that happened earlier todaywhen I answered a call from CARD SERVICESand stayed on the line long enough to “press one for an actual living, breathing, human being to come on the line and offer to lower the interest on my credit cards” for the 517th time even though I don’t have a balance on any credit cards, and even though I’ve reported them to the Attorney General’s office for harassment.

Y’all.

I lost my ever-lovin-mind. While waiting to be transferred to one of the interest-reducing jokers, I grabbed a pot from the cabinetand a wooden spoon out of the utensil drawer.When the actual living, breathing, human being (Lord, forgive me!) came on the line, I banged on that metal pot with a wooden spoon like a straight-up crazy person until I heard the phone go dead. It wasn’t my finest moment, but I must admit, for some crazy reason I felt wonderful afterwards.

But surely none of you want to hear about that.

So, here’s my list, along with the progress I’ve made toward it.

1. Give up my love of lists

Nope. Still love ‘em.

2. Losea lot! of weight.

Not a lot, but Idid lose about 25 pounds.

3. Learn HTML code.

I’ve learned enough to scoot text away from pictures that I post here on the blog. Oh, and alsohow to centerusing HTML.

4. Go to Australia withMcDaddy

Haven’tdone this yet, but we’ve still got four months. McDaddy, you DO still owe me an anniversary trip. Australia, perhaps?

5. Get ten hours each nightofuninterrupted sleep(without waking to pee!)

NOPE. As you age, so does your bladder. FAIL.

6. See a Broadway Show

NOPE. Still haven’t done this. McDaddy, how’s New York sound for an anniversary trip?

7. ShareMcDaddy’s love of off-roadingwithout irrational fear ofpanic attack.

FAIL. AGAIN. (Sorry, McDaddy!)

8. Own a Saturn Sky even if only for a short time.

Y’ALL.

After five years I finally have my very own 2007 Chili Pepper Red Saturn Sky Redline.

If all 39 other items on this list went unchecked, I’d have absolutely nothing to complain about. It took me five years to persuade McDaddy, but I finally broke him down.

9. Purchase the empty lot beside of our house so that McDaddycanbuild the garage of his dreams.

Still not for sale, but still would love to have that lot.

10. Finish the basement. I mean completely finished and mess cleaned up!

Ok, so it’s not completely finished, but we are so much closer. Finished the rec-room (pictured below) and toy-room (except for the trim), and now we are working on a fabulous new mudroom.

11. Build a new deck (We need one sooner rather thanlater or else we’ll haveour very own drop zone!)

Haven’t completed this, but we are making serious plans to start on it in the next few months. I want composite, McDaddy wants cheaper.

12. Worry less.

I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY feel like I am much better at worrying less.

13. Get a fullnight ofuninterrupted sleep.

YES! I get a full night of uninterrupted sleep often! Except when my bladder shows it age!

14. Go to the dentist and get a good report without getting the dreaded floss lesson. (Which means I should actually flosseach. and. every. single. day. Thankyouverymuch!)

THIS WOULD BE A BIG, FAT, FAIL. In fact, I have a place of honor on the Need To Floss Wall Of Shame.

15. Visit Alaska

Haven’t made it to Alaska, but we still have four months. McDaddy, how does Alaska sound for an anniversary trip?

16. Worry Less

Did I mean to list worry less twice? Lord knows I worried enough back then to give it two positions.

17. Get off blood pressure medicine. This could probably happen by achieving at least seven of the items on this list.

After a bout with a MerenaIUD that wreaked havoc on my blood pressure, I am now on TWO blood pressure meds. Thanks for nothing, Merena.=(

18. Declutterize our house completely!

I’m not sure I’d ever be able to declutterizeour house completely, but I declutter areas often, so that counts for something, right?

19. Learn how to start the lawn-mower. Not because I really want to mow, but, because it’s the responsible thing to do.

Guess what?

You guessed it.

FAIL!

20. Find the perfect bra. Why is that we can put a man on the moon, but we can’t make a bra for every woman’s size and body shape that is comfortable?

ANOTHER FAIL. Sheesh, I hate bras!

21. Actually pay attention every. time. someone. speaks. to. me. {Can you repeat that?}

Sadly, the words every and time makes this one really tough, but I do feel like I try my best.

22. Learn how to make a perfect batch of no-bake cookies just like my daddy!

Haven’t done this one, but mainly because I haven’t tried. Why would I chance ruining a batch when I can just let daddy do it and have perfect cookies every. single. time?

23. Read the Bible all the way through.

Geez, another FAIL.

24. Have a really easy, great haircut that is easy to style.

GUESS WHAT FOLKS? I have a short cut and have finally weaned myself away from a curling iron. So this one right here? TOTALLY A WIN!

25. Be free of my addiction of caffeinated Beverages {Could someone warn the folks at Dr. Pepper that infour shortyears there could be aslight decline in monthly sales}.

Holy Hallelujah, I had no business even putting this one on the list. FAIL.

26. Get rid of everything in our house that has not been touched for a year.

Haven’t gotten rid of everything we haven’t touched in a year, but I have taken countless loads of nonsense to the Goodwill, so I’m gonna make a mark in the PASS column for this one!

27.Let my boys be – BOYS. Without fear of injury or something worse

I must have been under the influence of something when I placed #27 on the list. I worry way too much (even now that I worry less) to let this happen. And anyway, this picture is the perfect reason why I would like to lock both of them up in a rubber room.

28. Learn more about stuff I know nothing about. Knowledge regarding things like stocks and HTML Code couldbe very helpful to me some day!

Not much to say about this, except FAIL!

29. Cook more.

I do, thankyouverymuch! But the fact remains,

30. Buy flowers for spring and keep them alive all summer by watering them instead of depending on prayer and God to bring them back to life.

I am so horrible at keeping flowers alive, I purchased silk Hydrangeas at the Dollar General for my porch pots. Great thing is they still looked beautiful after our month-long summer tour! So, another WIN for me. =)

31. Find the perfect purse. I have purchased at least twenty perfect purses, yet, they find their way to the bottom of the purse pile when the next perfect one hops off therack and onto my arm.

I am currently carrying “THE PERFECT PURSE.” Just ask McDaddy!

32. Get rid of stuff in the loft that we have not touched since we moved here seven years ago. {Anybody out there have a need for old diaries or one or two or twenty backpacks?}

I just told the boys last week that I would be cleaning out the loft very soon. I’m just waiting on the urge!

33. Do every. single. thing. on my long-term To-Do List. Or just shred the list.

Sorry to say this, but I have determined that as I cross one thing off of my long-term To-Do List, I write another thing on the list. It never, ever ends!

34. Be caught up on scrapbooks with NO pictures in the pending basket. After all, someday these boys will be grown and may actually want to take them when they leave.

I haven’t scrapbooked for quite some time. I think I last worked on pictures from 2008. It drives me crazy every time I think about it, because I hate knowing I didn’t keep up with it. I have thought several times about completing digital scrapbooks for 2008 – present. The more I think about it, the more I think it’s a great idea!

35. Think. Before. I. Speak. {Sweet Hallelujah, is it possible?}

FAIL. But honestly, I do try! With age, comes wisdom. Maybe forty is the age I’ve been waiting for.

36. Take the boys to Lake Powell to spend a week on a houseboat.We’ve made this trip twice (before kids, mind you) and it is the most relaxing vacation in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.

I was so excited to see a Lake Powell vacation in the Showcase Showdown on The Price Is Right just today. I was reminded that I would love to make this trip with our boys, especially now that they can swim. McDaddy, how about a trip to Lake Powell for a belated anniversary family getaway?

37. Have patience.

Nope. Another FAIL.

38. Successfully back the van into the garage on the first try. It’s been seven years and every single time I back in crooked I think about the fact that the guy who built it, (ahem! Glen) designed it just off-center.I’m sure his botched calculations are the root of the problem.

Not sure I was ever able to do this before we got rid of the van last year. It is even tougher getting the SKY backed in on the first try because HELLO! MUST BE CAREFUL WITH BEAUTIFUL RED CAR!!!!

39. Loose FIVE! sizes. And never find them again as long as I shall live!

Lost three, then found one. Sheesh. Another FAIL.

40. Change my freakin’ attitude about things I have no control over.

I really feel like I’m much better at this. I’m gonna consider this one a PASS.

So, there’s the list, and the progress.

And a big, freakin’ reminder that not much has changed in four years.

Well, except for this,

Oh, and McDaddy, if you’re reading this, you have four months to get us to Australia, Alaska, New York and the Arizona/Utah border, so get busy, would ya?

Look out FORTY, here I come I’ll be there in 117 days.

Not that I’m counting.