Archives for November 2009

Teenagers and Clean Rooms

Every time the darling twins come home, we have the same conversation.

A tornado hits their room when they arrive.

They insist that it was that way before they arrived.

We argue.

It was no different during their Thanksgiving break.

I know have written about this subject once or twice.

I really did appreciate Paula’s advice in the comments that they will eventually be proud of their personal space. Ahem…it just won’t be their space in my house, I guess.

I have photographic evidence that I thought I would keep private. But then again I’ve been known to change my mind.

Years ago I let go of trying to make them clean their rooms. I’ve read that many experts recommend that this a battle you should “choose to lose.” You know, let them have their space, give them some freedom…that’s what doors are for…blah, blah, blah.

I have done this to the best of my ability. I’m sure my kids would disagree.


It’s still MY house.

I took to the semi-annual mode of cleaning. I stayed out of their rooms for about 4-6 months. Frankly, I think that’s personal growth for me.

Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.
–Phyllis Diller

Then I would have to enter the danger zone for some reason and we would have massive meltdowns (them and me) and marathon cleaning day. Some day, I’ll share pictures of that family bonding time. Because, of course, I took pictures.

When the darling twins left for Basic Training this past summer, PhilBillPaul and I went in the danger zone and did a major clean up. We stripped the beds, cleaned up drawers, wiped surfaces, swept, mopped, vacuumed, etc.

I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, after a summer in the military that they would come back with some personal pride in their living quarters. That they would love their big, bright, colorful room after spending the summer on a hard bunk surrounded by drab army green.

I’ve pretty much given up on that now.

Full Disclaimer: All four kids are piglets. I have plenty of pictures of The Grunter’s pigsty.

I’m pleased to announce I’ve exceeded my personal growth goal and I have now have proof thanks to these photos by PhilBillPaul plus this text conversation with Wizzy which did not send me to the Xanax bottle.

Wizzy: Can you have dad look n see if meadows left her cover somewhere? (cover=military lingo for hat)

Me: Dad’s debit card was in ur room. We have meadows cover. Still no Vicks…where is it?

W: Oh crap sorry. Okay good. It was on the little table

Me: And he found a kitchen bowl of delicious popcorn with rat poop in it.

W: Hahahaha shut up

Me: It’s not on the little table. But he has found a wet towel

W: idk then

Me: Oh he just found the vicks under the bed. The rat must have been playing with it.

W: lol real mature

Me: The rat doesn’t really look mature. Seems kind of young & playful what with the vicks & all

Me: No one is allowed back here until room is clean BY BOTH OF U. Out of dad’s mouth…”u r not going to use our house as a dirty weigh station.”

W: I didn’t. Whatever

Me: nice try rachel wasn’t even here!

W: Okay

W: Its not even messy dads having a bad night n overreacting*

Me: He’s snapping pics now & he seems fine to me. I’m not looking becuz if he says it’s a wreck…holy cow.

W: Whatever

Me: Love u dd 🙂 (dd = darling daughter)

Me: I appreciate the blog material 😉

W: Not funny. Im not amused

Me: Love love love & miss u dd

W: Yeah i can tell

Me: I do dd & I think you are being mean to me

W: I think you are being mean to me

Me: sniffle

W: Thats what ive been doing all night. Im having a rough day

Me: Me too…sorry dd ;(

*Here are the photos of dad and his overreacting because “it’s not even messy.”

I just laughed and said…


Still open to any suggestions about how to *make* 18 and 20 year-olds clean up their personal space. Anyone? Anyone?


Immigration Day & DWTS Finale

On Tuesday, Scary Baby impersonated a 62 year-old woman from Italy.


I’m told she was suppose to look grouchy.


She loved getting to wear high heels and stockings. I guess one girly-girl out of three isn’t bad.

How nice it felt for me to have “OLD LADY” clothes and jewelry to help her get into character. Cool and hip – that’s me.

Thank goodness she had extra white hair paint from Halloween.

And how lucky was it that I ordered an extra Magic Bun this summer so I could expertly make at least 10 attempts to put her hair in a bun? The thing is complicated, I’m telling you.


I love my suggestion to put the American flag in her purse. Flag compliments of Krispy Kreme from Veteran’s Day. How American is that?


She couldn’t wait to get on the bus in her new outfit. Yeah, there is a sidewalk under those leaves. The neighbors love us as I’m sure you can imagine.

On top of the festivities of Immigration Day at school, she informed me she needed to take a Thanksgiving treat in for her class.

Good thing I was already baking when she told me. There was actually enough to make two dozen mini muffins – can you guess what flavor?


Ha – NOT maple!

I switched it up and made these scrumptious Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese. Yum!


The muffins and the day were a great success. She passed her immigration test and is allowed to stay here in the United States. I hear her husband did not pass. Ouch.

Dancing With The Stars Finale

On Monday night, I did vote as did PhilBillPaul {wink} so Donny and Kym got 10 votes from us. Even The Grunter registered online and voted. He defiantly threw 2 votes Mya’s way just to get me to squeal.

But giving her two of his five votes didn’t work.



Donny and Kym win! / Dancing with the Stars / ABC

I so loved seeing an *older* man hang with the young folk and WIN!!!!
(He’s the oldest to win in nine seasons!)


Such a great, feel good show in a sea of TV that is barely fit to watch.

What on earth will I do now on Monday and Tuesday night?

Happy Thanksgiving

It will be a little smaller gathering than usual at our house as PhilBillPaul is flying to Texas to spend some time with his family. Shhhh…it’s a surprise but he’s taking Scary Baby with him. She was so excited about Immigration Day she would have just worn us out if we told her early.

The three big kids and I will be having a small, quiet Thanksgiving here at home.

However you are spending your Thanksgiving, I hope you have a wonderful day with your loved ones!


Don’t Miss This Movie

Let’s get this out of the way right now.

I’m not caught up in the Twilight Saga.

So while everyone was watching that this weekend, I wasn’t.

I looked back and realized it’s been almost a full year since I’ve reviewed any movies. You would think I would make it a regular blog feature, maybe do it monthly since we get free movie tickets.

But that would require planning and organization which is not my strong suit right now.

Instead I’m working more on being spontaneous so PhilBillPaul and I decided to squeeze in a movie last night. As I’ve shared before, I’m kind of picky and don’t like to waste time in a mediocre movie even if it is free!

What a nice surprise to watch a movie that was funny and poignant and really makes you stop and think about the blessings all around us.

If you see just one movie this holiday season, I think this is the one to see…

The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw
It is based on a true story about a family in Tennessee who take in an amazing teenager who needs a home.

Picture 2

Scary Baby really wants to see it but we needed to see it first since it is rated PG-13. Entertaining with a message we hope all our kids will get. For me, it’s that rare movie that I will gladly sit and watch again.

Go see it and come back and tell me if you like it as much as I did!


Flexible Friday #48 Maple vs. Vanilla

PhilBillPaul snapped this blurry picture last Friday night.

That would be Friday, November 13th.

Which means it could have been a prank.

But it wasn’t.


Don’t mean to be a scrooge but November 13th is just…

Way. Too. Early.

For Christmas decorations.

Now on to a timely holiday topic…

Food at Thanksgiving

Last weekend I made PhilBillPaul’s favorite Thanksgiving treat because he insisted I didn’t make them last year. (Not true.)

He gets a little cranky if he doesn’t have Pumpkin Bars at least a couple of times during this season.

I totally stressed him and Scary Baby by announcing I was changing the frosting. They don’t handle change well.

But I’ve been having a little bit of a maple obsession this season.

So I went wild and substituted one teaspoon of maple flavoring instead of vanilla in the cream cheese frosting.

Woo-hoo. Giant success. Maybe a permanent change. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Recipe here and was even featured here too.


Um, yes, I do believe the frosting should be almost the same height as the cake/bar base.

Imagine my excitement when I found this recipe today for…

Maple Tangerine Cranberry Sauce.

A new addition to our menu I can’t wait to make!

Have a great weekend and feel free to share any of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes (even if they don’t have maple)!


DWTS-Last Man Standing

Because I didn’t get enough dancing this weekend.

First about the non-dancing/singers. I think Alicia Keys may be looking for a new stylist if she watches her performance.

Do black leather bike shorts flatter any figure?

Personal opinion as always…but I think not.

Wow – the Bee Gees were a little scary. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

I was really bummed to see Joanna and Derek get voted off last night. Because Joanna was Mya’s stiffest competition and as Len said – she was the most consistent performer throughout the season.

She just didn’t have a big enough fan base. I thought Derek’s fan base would carry them through. And I was really looking forward to Derek’s choreography for the finals. 🙁

Which now brings us to the popularity contest of the competition. I’m just not a Mya fan – I think she came in with an unfair advantage with a serious dance background. While Kelly’s enthusiasm is adorable and she is most improved of the three, I gotta go with my era which means I’m going with the last man standing.

Okay, here’s my rally cry.

Donny! Donny! Donny!

Everyone I know must call in and vote for Donny.

If not for me, call in and vote on behalf of my sister.

I have to vote for him because I know if one of my old boyfriends, Bobby Sherman or David Cassidy were in the finals, my sister would call in and vote for them. I want to give her old boyfriend the same respect.

Right, Julie?


Roger Leroy and a Clown

The darling twins came home for the weekend.

Here’s what we did on Friday night.

Over and over and over.

Because Roger Leroy told us we had to.

She knows how much I love to watch people dance.

So does she.

It’s only been viewed 2,000,000+ times.

Maybe you have already seen it.

I don’t spend a lot of time on YouTube.

Thanks to Roger Leroy, I’m all caught up.

Just wanted you all to be caught up too.

We can’t stop watching it.

Have you already seen it? Did you laugh out loud? Have you ever danced in a clown mask? Who knew how dangerous it could be?

FYI, I laughed so hard I cried.


Veteran’s Day ~ Pass It On

I’m honoring our Veterans and our Soldiers this week.

I hope you’ll find ways to reach out and find ways to honor our military, not just on Veteran’s Day or this week, but on any day you encounter an opportunity to say “Thank You” to the amazing men and women who serve and sacrifice for all of us.

Today’s post is from an email that my cousin Sally sent me last week. I cannot miss the irony of the fact that she sent this to me 7 days ago on Wednesday, November 4th. Her email said…

“Hey! I rarely forward e-mails but this one really got to me.”

She knows very well about a Soldier’s life…she married an Army Soldier and her youngest son is a Soldier.

Maybe you’ve already seen it. Can any of us see it too much?

The email said “this is being circulated around the world – please keep it going.”

This is my little way of passing it on and if you are touched by it, I hope you will also pass it on…

This post is dedicated
to those who were killed or wounded at
Fort Hood, Texas
November 5, 2009




When a soldier comes home, he finds it hard….


…to listen to his son whine about being bored.


…to keep a straight face when people complain about potholes.


…to be tolerant of people who complain about the hassle of getting ready for work.


…to be understanding when a co-worker complains about a bad night’s sleep.


…to be silent when people pray to God for a new car.


…to control his panic when his wife tells him he needs to drive slower.


…to be compassionate when a businessman expresses a fear of flying.


…to keep from laughing when anxious parents say they’re afraid to send their kids off to summer camp.


…to keep from ridiculing someone who complains about hot weather.


…to control his frustration when a colleague gripes about his coffee being cold.


…to remain calm when his daughter complains about having to walk the dog.


…to be civil to people who complain about their jobs.


…to just walk away when someone says they only get two weeks of vacation a year.


…to be forgiving when someone says how hard it is to have a new baby in the house.

The only thing harder than being a Soldier…


Is loving one.


I was asked to pass this on and I will gladly do so,

Will you?


The Gas Chamber

Continuing my tribute to our military this week…

This is for those who have been interested in what they actually have to do in Basic Combat Training (BCT).

If you don’t already know this and many people don’t – the new Soldiers go through 18 specific requirements in order to graduate. I won’t list all 18 but in addition to the grueling physical fitness tests, here are just some things they must successfully complete:

  • Rifle Marksmanship
  • M16A2 Qualification
  • Live Fire Exercise
  • Hand Grenade Qualification
  • Night Infiltration Course
  • Long Distance Foot Marches in full battle gear

The exercise that seemed to create the most stress for our darling twins (and many others!), even before they left is formally referred to as the “NBC Confidence Chamber.” I wish NBC stood for watching the whole thing on NBC television but it actually stands for nuclear, biological, and chemical.

This website has a good description:

“The gas chamber is a room that has a controlled concentration of CS (orto-chlorobenzylidene-malononitrile) gas, more commonly known as tear gas. Tear gas is the active ingredient in Mace™ and used for self defense and for riot control by the police. Tear gas is an irritant; specifically, it irritates mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, mouth and lungs, causing tearing, sneezing, coughing, etc.”

When we got their letters this past summer and I shared my relief that they both got through “The Gas Chamber” so many people had questions that I asked Rachel if I could just reprint her letter home right here.

Bonus – you all get a picture of their platoon preparing to enter and at the end, a picture of some of them exiting and one of Rachel too.


Mom & Dad,

I almost forgot to tell you about the most recent accomplishment! We conquered the gas chamber. It sucked sooo bad. I think it sucked worse for me though. I was in the first group with Lizzie, Kirk and Campfield. The lady came and checked all of our masks to make sure there was a tight seal. Me and Campfield got approved, but Lizzie and Kirk needed more adjustment so they had to be in a different group.

Two minutes later Campfield & I were being herded into the chamber. It was a big, dark cement room. There were 4 drill sergeants walking around to help. The minute I entered my eyes started burning and watering and my throat was burning and so was my skin. It was also harder to breathe. I also began to snot, which was not very pleasant. I quickly came to the conclusion that my mask was not properly sealed.

At first, I remained calm. Deep breaths, well sort of, actually I was trying to breathe as little as possible. I raised my hands and stomped my feed. (One reason I knew my mask wasn’t sealed was because Campfield was just standing there breathing fine while I was panicking.)

When the drill sergeant came over I told him my mask wasn’t sealed. He cleared it once, and I told him it still wasn’t good. He waved his hand and said I should be fine…oh, ok, I will just sit and suffer until it’s my turn to say my name & info.

I stood there for like 2 of the longest minutes of my life with like a 2 foot string of snot hanging out of my nose. (I feel bad for the next person who would have to use my gas mask.) I could barely open my eyes after that. When it was my turn to say my name, rank and Social. I lifted my mask and got my name and rank out and coughed my Social. I had already been exposed to the gas, so I could barely talk while everyone else could.

I then put my mask down and cleared it (even though that did nothing) and waited for everyone else to finish. After everyone was done, we lined up at the door and took off our masks to say the Soldier’s Creed. By that point I was about to run out, but after about 30 seconds they finally let us out.


I didn’t throw up though I wanted to, I just gagged, snotted and tried to open my eyes.

Overall, it was a great experience. I’m glad to have that under my belt. I will try to write again soon. Maybe I will get to call.


She’s a wry, funny kid in case you can’t tell.



And along with her darling twin, they are both braver than I will ever be.

Next time your teen complains about being bored or how horrible it is to live at home with all your silly rules…suggest military service.


Full Disclosure: Regarding yesterday’s post, for anyone who does not get our very dry, deadpan humor…Rachel aka Roger Leroy did not and does not have gonorrhea nor did she ever have a testicle (removed or otherwise).

Joining the Military

Because it is Veteran’s Day this Wednesday, November 11, 2009, I want to take time this week to honor our United States Military and all the Soldiers and Veterans who serve…

Because they deserve so much more than a day of honor once or twice a year…

I had planned this before the horrific events of last week at Ft. Hood and I hope that everyone will stop and say a prayer for every Soldier and Veteran who sacrifice so much for all of us.


Photo courtesy of vox_efx/

Today, I thought I would share a little more about about our darling twin daughters and the process they went through in deciding to join the Army National Guard.

After a family meeting at our home with several members of the Georgia Army National Guard they learned their next step was to answer a series of questions on the National Guard website.

I feel like now that they are 18 and out of high school I can reveal more of the fun we had when they were minor children under my daily care.

Side note: This may qualify as PG-13 in case any minors are reading.

They both sat at computers and Roger Leroy began shouting questions to me while I was in another room.

This was the real conversation as the darling twins answered questions for enlistment and scholarships (you probably already know I typed it for posterity last February knowing it would some day find its way on the blog)…

RL: Do I have gonorrhea?

Me: Do you?

RL: Have I ever had a testicle removed?

Me: Just say yes, right at birth but you don’t remember.

Next I hear Wizzy whispering to Roger Leroy…

Wizzy: What are dependents? Do I have any?

RL: I need an administrator at school for a recommendation for this scholarship. Who should I ask Mom?

Me: Oh I know, why don’t you ask the assistant principal who gave you your IN SCHOOL SUSPENSION last year. Be sure to tell him you’re turning over a new leaf.

Yes, it’s true. They are both going to work in Human Intel. Everyone remain calm. I know they will keep us all safe.

I think you can now clearly see what is wrong with ME.

Hope this made you smile – we could all use a little more humor these days.

Tune in tomorrow for Roger Leroy’s experience in the Gas Chamber…


Flexible Friday #47 I Am That Parent

If you have read my blog from the beginning you probably know a few things about me like…

I have issues
Parenting wears me out
Parenting teenagers has still not driven me to drink

And if I ever do decide to take up drinking, you would also know that I would never drink and drive.

I actually made that life decision long before I became a drunk driving statistic and a severe head injury survivor.

The irony of me being the designated driver for friends who drank in high school and college and then me being hit by a drunk driver doesn’t escape me.

I vividly remember that Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) campaign at the time of our crash was “Don’t call me lucky” which is a slogan I have worn out over the years. Being hit head-on by a drunk driver, living through it and having your life turned upside down is not lucky.

Don’t get me wrong – I am blessed and grateful for my recovery and I have a good life.

It has always seemed incredibly selfish to me to put other people’s lives at risk because of your bad choices. (Not to mention putting your own life at risk.)

MADDpopMADD has a new campaign that I am happy to tell you about because I do believe that the “Power of Parents” is worth blogging about. If you have teenagers, the message of choices and of making the choice and commitment to not drink and drive is worth talking about.

Take their quiz or watch their video to help you get started with this important season of parenting.

The Power of Parents campaign with the tagline “It’s your influence” is an important reminder for all of us to remember we can really make a difference with our teenagers. It is our job to do our best to influence them to make good decisions.

I am a nut about driving safety as I’ve shared here before and this is certainly part of that whole process.


I am that parent.

I hope you will be that parent too.

Full disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of MADD. A donation was made to MADD in my name to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Just so you know…the donation is lovely but I would have written this without it. 🙂

Have a fabulous and safe weekend!


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