The main source of my chaos...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Garnett's

I stumbled upon an interesting fact this morning.  Did you know that the poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas...." was first published on THIS day back in 1823.  Yep, December 23, 1823.  In honor of that timeless piece of Christmas tradition, I wrote my own little Christmas poem.  Merry Christmas Y'all!

T’was two days before Christmas, and I’m finished in town

Ready for quiet time, if Yuri and Gigi will settle down

Haley Rae is rocking our new bundle of joy

She’s absolutely precious even though we asked for a boy

Willard is shooting bad guys on the PS3

If we ever get invaded, he’ll know how to save me

Karlie is watching her rambunctious cousins

I’ve got a pecan pie cooking in the oven

Hunter is working, making some dough

I’m about to put red polish on all the girls toes. 

Whether we see you often, or not at all

If we talk via text, Facebook or call

We hope you have a great holiday season

Just remember – JESUS is the reason!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Love letters

I promised that my next blog entry would be about the cool new website I found, but first I want to ask you a favor.  There’s a family in my church/community who has suffered a terrible loss and they need lots of prayers.  Please stop and ask God to heal their hearts and give them peace. 

Earlier this week I was reading some blogs that I follow, and somehow (quite by accident) I found the ABSOLUTE coolest thing ever.  The website is called  There is a two-fold idea/project behind this – both of which I think are SWEET ideas.

First – the webmaster/creator of this project, a 23-year-old named Hannah, sends out the name of a person who is in need of some TLC or some encouragement.  She sends the name to everyone who has signed up to participate in the love letter campaign.  She gives a specific date that you are to mail the letter to HER, and she then bundles them all together and mails them to the recipient.  Can you imagine… being at one of the lowest points of your life, not knowing if anybody cares at all, not really being able to see a glimmer (much less a LIGHT) at the end of the tunnel… and then the mailman appears with dozens of letters from ALL OVER THE WORLD??  All specifically addressed to YOU!?!  Complete strangers telling you that you ARE somebody and you ARE loved.  No doubt about, you’re going to feel something.  I’m sitting on pins and needles waiting for my first email from Hannah giving me the name of the recipient of my first love letter.  Ahhhhhh!  Isn’t that the coolest thing EVER? 

The second part of the project is to leave love letter/post-it notes in random places for strangers to find (public restrooms, fitting rooms, etc). Hannah asks that when you leave a random note, you write on it somewhere so the finder of the note can go to the website and see what it’s all about… and hopefully pay it forward.

Now, before you even start with all the excuses… “I’m not good at writing letters”  “I never know what to say” Hannah even has sample notes and GUIDELINES on the website. 

Join me as I rush out to buy up some cute stationery and wait for my first assignment!! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Feeling chatty this morning...

My brain has been in overdrive.  I’ve had so many things I wanted to blog about, but haven’t had the time to do it.  All the fam is still asleep this morning, so I’m going to blog until somebody stops me.  You might want to grab a snack!

The first weekend in December, the ladies from DBC went over to Atlanta to the Operation Christmas Child processing center.  When I say “Atlanta”, I use that term loosely.  Atlanta, to me, is Six Flags.  This place is about an hour past that.  That’s the only negative thing about the trip.  Otherwise, it was AWESOME.  I signed up for the trip because I enjoyed last year’s weekend getaway with the women, and I didn’t even really realize at first where we were going.  Actually (confession time), when someone said “OCC”, my testosterone-drive self immediately thought of Orange County Choppers.  Lame, yes, I know.  But I’ve been worried about Junior and Senior being at odds with each other for a long time.  Anyway, forget about that. Back to the *real* OCC.  I wish I could remember the exact numbers, but I believe there were approximately 30,000 shoeboxes processed during our shift.  Folks, that’s A LOT of shoeboxes.  In nutshell, the process goes like this:

(1) Remove the postage/donation from inside the box.

(2) Inspect the box for inappropriate items and remove them.  Fill up the box with “filler” items if needed.

(3) Tape the box.

(4) Scan the barcode (so the sender can track where the box goes)

(5)  Pack at least 14 shoeboxes into one big box (big boxes are separated by gender and age)

Everybody has a job and everybody’s is important.  The people in charge of OCC really have this thing running well.  It’s very organized.  Every two hours on the dot, they stop and talk a little bit about the boxes and where they’re going, and they pray over the boxes.  It’s a very touching thing to witness.  If you have never heard of Operation Christmas Child, please go Google it.  If you know about it but have never been to a facility and processed a box, put it on your bucket list. 

The next thing that I want to talk about is Milestones Recovery Ministries.  It’s a 12-18 month Christian Recovery Program based here in Hartselle.  I didn’t know much about them until our church invited them to share in our Thanksgiving supper.  Now, confession time again, I’ve lived a pretty sheltered life.  Growing up, nobody in my family had any issues with addiction.  Because of that, I guess I really didn’t understand it and, to be honest, I was pretty uncompassionate about the whole idea of addiction.  I just had very little patience for it.  So, when I heard Milestones was coming to DBC, I didn’t really think it would affect me.  Confession time again (good grief, I feel Catholic)… I walked around for a while that night and just avoided eye contact with all of them.  I mean, I didn’t have anything in common with them so what could we possibly talk about?  Then I noticed them all eyeballing my babies and someone told them that the new baby was a foster baby.  Somehow I ended up at the table with them and we talked for a long time.  I especially connected with this one sweet girl who briefly told me her story.  Wow.  I feel like a complete moron.  This girl could be me.  She could be my daughter.  One bad decision, however small, can snowball and lead to a lifetime of them.  I left there that night SO convicted and so touched by these women.  Our entire church stepped up and we purchased gift cards for the children of these women.  I think it worked out to be around 55 cards.  I feel so lucky to have been able to help pass those out to these sweet, gracious ladies.  One of the ladies pulled me aside, and I will keep our conversation private because I don’t know if she would want me to share it with the world, but in the end she gave her card BACK to me.  I’m excited to see what God in store for these women.  They’ve definitely made an impact on me and judging from the Facebook page, they’ve made the same impact on our entire area. 

Little ones are stirring, so I am going to cut it off here.  Stay tuned for my next blog (I’ll shoot for tomorrow).  I found THE absolute coolest website yesterday and it has me so excited.  I can’t wait to blog about it!!! I’m going to challenge all of you to get excited about it too, so just be ready!

Oh, this picture has nothing to do with today's blog.  I was just looking up recipes and found these cute cupcakes.  Don't they look GOOD?!?! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I would like to tell you a story about a girl named Mary.  Mary has always had a lot of friends and is an outgoing girl.  She cheers and plays sports.  She texts all the time.  She giggles the way teenage girls do.  Well, she did.  She stopped giggling a few months ago.  See, Mary and her BFF had a fight.  Happens all the time, right? Well, this time is different because a lot of time has passed and they still haven’t made up.  Still no big deal?  What makes this a big deal is what happened next.  Ex-BFF decides to pull the mean girl card and start rumors.  Ugly rumors that people hear and run with.  These rumors were untrue, but once the words are spoken, they can never be taken back.  Mary did the only thing she could think of that made her feel better – she starting cutting herself.  She didn’t mean to kill herself, it was just an emotional response to what was happening.  I know.  I don’t understand it either, but it’s a problem with the teens of this generation.  Unfortunately, Mary misjudged where to cut and she cut an artery.  Too scared to call for help, Mary tried to stop the bleeding herself but she couldn’t.  Mary died alone on a cold bathroom floor. 
No, not really.  She didn’t die.  BUT SHE COULD HAVE.  Mary’s mom found out about the cutting and Mary is now learning how to deal with emotional pain without harming herself.  The bad thing is, her ex-BFF and the groupies who follow her around are still harassing Mary on a daily basis.  Even knowing the pain they are causing Mary, these selfish girls just keep twisting the knife.  This makes me sad as a mom, as a female, and as a human being. 
The next part of my story is going to be unbelievable to some of you – at least two teachers, a few parents, and a coach knew that Mary was cutting and nobody said a word.  Let me repeat that.  AT LEAST TWO TEACHERS, A FEW PARENTS, AND A COACH knew that Mary was cutting and nobody said a word.  What the heck?   What happened to looking out for each other’s kids?  What happened to just good common sense?  When Mary’s mom saw the bandages and asked about it, Mary’s excuse about a cheerleading injury seemed very plausible.
When Mary’s mom found out, she talked to the administrators of Mary’s school and was told that this was “normal girl stuff”.  Seriously?  I hope not.  When harming yourself or bullying someone until they feel the need to harm themselves SHOULD NOT be considered normal girl stuff.  Mary’s mom hit a brick wall with the administrators of the school.  They were not willing to intervene in any way. 
With everything on the news these days, it’s apparent that teen bullying is a huge problem.   We have to stop this and it starts at home.  I know kids are mean.  I have kids, remember?  We’ve just got to teach them that there’s a difference in playful and friendly teasing, and being cruel.  We’ve got to teach them that not everybody responds to our words in the same way.  They need to be able to recognize where that line is and they should know not to cross it. 
I believe that teachers have a responsibility to intervene and report bullying.  A huge majority of our teachers are good role models and compassionate people, but I know from personal experience that some teachers ARE the bullies.   If you have ever told a student who had dropped out of school and then decided to come back that they “are wasting their time” and they might as well quit again, then YOU are the bully.  If you have ever had a student named Todd and you called him “Re-Todd”, then YOU are the bully.  It’s not funny, it’s not harmless, and it’s not acceptable.  Let’s stop it, people.  There’s no room for it whether it’s coming from kids or, even worse, adults. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gee... Good morning to you too!

At five-something this morning, I was sleeping sounding and dreaming that Campbell’s was changing the label on Chicken Noodle Soup… don’t ask… I have no idea where that even came from.  When out of the darkness comes a not-so-gentle-nudge and a gruff voice saying “Roll over!!! You sound like you swallowed a walrus!!”  I’m sure he meant that in the very nicest way possible. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Warning: Rant to follow. May not be suitable for small children.

Today I am blogging from my phone because my laptop has a virus. I know it's not my place to judge, but I'm nearly positive that the sick-minded geeks who sit around and create these viruses are destined for a very unpleasant eternity. Why would a person purposely create something with absolutely no positive value? They are obviously smart guys... Why not use that for something good?

So, this is for you, dear person who created the virus that is causing me tremendous stress:
I hope you get stuck in the traffic jam of the century, and then realize you forgot to use the bathroom before you got in the car. I hope you buy new underwear that gives you the mother of all wedgies. I hope your mom makes you sit next to Aunt Gertie at Christmas dinner and I hope you are forced to go out with Aunt Gertie's neighbor's sister's babysitter who smells like kraut and weenies. I hope that little boy standing in line behind you at Best Buy wipes a booger on your back... But you don't know it and you walk around ALL DAY with it stuck there. I hope your neighbor's dog barks all night every night for the next two months. I hope Santa really does know who has been naughty or nice, 'cause you are sooooo screwed.

Merry Christmas Loser!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thankful Blog - Day 30 - Goodbye November

Yes, I know it’s December. I actually started this entry in November, but I kept adding stuff to it. I just couldn’t get it done in time to post, so it’s a few days late. I’m wrapping up the Thankful blog. I’m going to include a whole bunch of people today, so fasten your seat belt!

I am thankful for….

• My family by marriage. I have the greatest in-laws in the world. My sister-in-laws are my friends. We don’t do things together because we have to, we do it because we want to. Beth has been a lifesaver with me when it comes to babysitting. Y and G love to go to Mimi’s! Tammy is my confidante. We had some intense conversations/counseling sessions when we were walking at sunrise every morning. I miss those days, Tammy! Nett practically raised me. When me and Willard starting dating, we spent nearly every weekend at Mike and Nett’s… eating their food and playing cards half the night. Some of my best memories are vacation time with them. I can’t forget to mention the nieces, Danna and Lacy. Danna is one of my favorite people in the whole world. She’s probably the one person that I can totally be myself and say whatever I want to without worrying about what she thinks. It’s really odd, but we think A LOT alike. Joseph says we feed off each other… somehow I think he means that in a negative way, but whatever! Lacy was my first baby. I met Willard when Lacy was just a baby and I fell madly in love. She used to spend the night with me all the time when I still lived at home with my mom and dad. She was the first person to ever call me “Mamie” and she was flower girl in my wedding. I am also thankful for the wonderful girls who married into the family like me - Keightley and the two Emily’s. I don’t see Keightley much because they live in Auburn, but I follow her blog. She is like a mini-Martha Stewart, I swear! Emily G is mom to Maggie and soon-to-be born, Mabry. I love conversations with Emily because she makes me feel like she values my opinion, especially on raising kids. Emily A is family, as well as my neighbor. I I love all the Garnett women.

• My parents. I hope they know how thankful I am for the way they raised me. We’re not a very openly affectionate family, but I love them very much. They probably should have told me no a few more times in my life, but I think I turned out okay.

• My babysitter network. I have a handful of go-to people that help me soooo much with Yuri and Gigi. It’s hard to take babies or pre-schoolers to all day volleyball tournaments or softball games when it’s 30 degrees outside. In addition to Beth, I rely on Haley Hensley, Ginny Shaneyfelt, Marla, and Lacey James for times like this. Haley (oops… her last name is Terry now… I keep forgetting) is very maternal with my kids and I don’t worry at all when she has them. I know they’re having fun, but being disciplined too. Haley and Dustin will be staying at my house in January for several days when me and Willard to go Jamaica. Poor girl is excited even. She has no clue what she’s in for. Ginny has really been a big help in the last several months. She always makes things fun for the girls. She brings silly string or brownies or sidewalk chalk when she comes, and they love it. Lacey James is awesome. I have no idea what kind of spell she has cast over Y and G, but she’s probably their favorite person in the whole world. Anytime they get in trouble, they start crying for her. “I want Laaaaaaccccey Jamessssss”. For the longest, they couldn’t say her name and they called her “Stacey Jane”. Bahaha. We love us some Lacey James! Marla, aka Rah-Rah, is the second mommy. The word no isn’t in her vocabulary so I know anytime I need her, she’s available. Even if she isn’t available, she’s available. Does that make sense? She’s the kind of person that will sacrifice whatever she’s doing to accommodate what someone else needs.

• My oldest friend, Pam Shelton. And by oldest, I don’t mean she’s old. I’ve just been friends with her longer than anyone else. We met in Mrs. Livingston’s first grade class and we’ve been friends ever since. We have months where we talk/text several times every day and then we go a few weeks and barely talk at all. It’s not because we are mad at each other or anything like. We are close enough friends that we don’t HAVE to be joined at the hip all the time. If I need her, I know where to find her. And vice versa. She knows all my deepest secrets and my most embarrassing moments, and she’s STILL my friend!

• My Louisiana family. I’ve got aunts and uncles and cousins in Louisiana that I see once a year, if I’m lucky. I always look forward for to the weekend of the Cantley reunion. If we all lived closer together, I know we’d all be friends and our kids would be friends. The #1 reason I love Facebook is because it allows me to stay in close touch with my LA family. Other than being obnoxious LSU fans, I can’t think of anything negative to say about them. (But I predict they’ll settle down around January 10th)

As I’m writing this, I can think of so many more things/people that I didn’t mention in the November blogs. I’ve got so much to be thankful for that I couldn’t possibly fit it all into 30 days. Look for me to sneak in a thankful blog every few weeks from here on out.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thankful blog - Day 28 and Day 29 - All My Children

I am thankful for my kids. Since I have so many, I’m going to use this post for Day 28 AND Day 29.

I am thankful for my handsome son, Hunter. I’ve learned over the past year that as smart as he may seem, I have to remember that he’s still a kid and doesn’t always make the best choices. I know he’s mine and I’m probably biased, but I honestly believe this child is gifted. He has the ability to do anything he wants with his life and be successful at it. There aren’t many 19-year-old boys who can carry on a conversation with a child, an elderly person, or the Governor, and be equally comfortable with all three of them.

I am thankful for Haley Rae. She’s as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside, although she tries hard to keep that a secret sometimes. She is the first one in the family to fall in love with our foster babies, and has such a soft spot for the underdogs in life. She puts up such a wall and seems so tough, but she’s all soft and gooey on the inside. I watched her grow in her faith over this past year, and I’m proud of her beyond words.

I am thankful for Karlie. I have so many responsibilities, and I couldn’t do it all without Karlie. She’s so helpful with the babies. She will do whatever I ask, and usually with minimal complaints. She has such a sweet spirit. Karlie wants to save the world. I see her doing something with her life that helps other people. You know how no matter how many kids are in a family, there’s usually one that takes over as the caretaker for the elderly parents? Well, I think Karlie will be our caretaker. 

I am thankful for Yuri. It’s all thanks to her that our lives took this dramatic turn. She’s the one who flashed those big brown eyes and that dimpled, gummy smile at Willard and won her way into our home. She also may be the child that puts me in the looney bin. She’s 5 going on 15, and it’s not good. She has attitude that my older girls didn’t develop until they were tweens. But anytime I get aggravated with her, I can go back and read the article about how she came into the foster system to begin with, and any irritation I have immediately dissolves. She’s my miracle baby and I love her so much.

I am thankful for Gigi. My bay-bay. Baby G. Ask any of the other kids who our favorite child is and they’ll all say Gigi. We just laugh and say it’s because she knows the tricks. She’s so sweet and loving. She wants to cuddle and hug all the time. If the rest of them were so affectionate, they might get special treatment too! That child has more personality than anybody I’ve ever seen. She’s not as outgoing in public as Yuri, but if you ever sat down one-on-one with her, she would crack you up. She’s so funny - and smart!

I am thankful for our new baby girl. She’s 6 weeks old today and has brought so much happiness to us already. She is truly the best baby ever. She eats and sleeps and never fusses. I wish I had a crystal ball so I could see her future, but I can’t. We’ll just give her all the lovin’ her little self can take for as long as we have her.

I am so blessed!!! Did I mention that they’re ALL beautiful??  See for yourself!

There are rules against posting pictures of foster children, so I can only post one where her face is not visible. Just use your imagination… her face is just as sweet as the back of her head!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thankful blog - Day 25, Day 26 and Day 27

I'm behind....

Day 25 – I am thankful that I didn’t get that female shopping gene that makes me want to get up in the middle of the night and fight 12,000 other people over a toy that I am only saving $18 on.

Day 26 – I am thankful that I come from the great state of Alabama. I was watching the pre-game footage yesterday and I was so touched by the way Alabama and Auburn came together after the tornadoes. The Iron Bowl can get UGLY and the fans can be ridiculous, but I was very proud of the sportsmanship I saw yesterday.

Day 27 – I am thankful for my mom. Today is her birthday. I won’t say her age but she was 22 when she had me and I’m 41. She’s the mom that never missed a ballgame, forced me to take piano lessons, wouldn’t let me wear white after Labor Day or before Easter, dropped everything to bring me whatever forgot to take to school, carried me to church every Sunday, passed on the baby stalker gene to me, and a million other things that made me who I am today.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful blog - Day 24 - Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I am thankful.  I’m just thankful.  When I try to narrow it down to what I’m MOST thankful for on this, the biggest thankful day of all, I just can’t do it.  I am blessed beyond words.  Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.  I hope you are all going to bed with a belly full of food and a house full of love. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful blog - Day 23 - Good Health

Today I am thankful for my health and for my family’s health.  With so much sickness and pain around, you would think we wouldn’t take our good health for granted, but we do.  Yes, I’m tired.  And yes, my back hurts sometimes.  And the occasional headache is quite inconvenient.  But I’m HEALTHY.  Willard has the bones of a 90-year-old man and has pain every day, but it could be so much worse.  Except for Gigi, my kids rarely ever have even a cold.  Gigi struggles with asthma, but when I start feeling sorry for myself because I have a child who doesn’t sleep because she’s pumped full of steroids, all I have to do is think of the kids we see at Children’s Hospital and that puts my whiny butt right back in line. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful blog - Day 22 - Sleeping babies

Today I am thankful for 5-week-old baby girls who eat at 10 p.m. and then sleep until 4:37 a.m.  I think she's on a mission to become my favorite child! :)

Thankful blog - Day 21 - FACES

Today I am thankful for FACES and the wonderful things they do for the foster children in Morgan County. LOVE the Silent Auction! Look what I won tonight!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thankful blog - Day 20 - Fellowship

Today I am thankful for fellowship.  We had Thanksgiving at my aunt’s this afternoon and I got to spend time with my cousins (who I feel like I never see even though most of them live less than 15 miles from me).  I even got to see the prodigal cousin who I haven’t  seen in FOREVER and I met his very sweet new family.  Then tonight, we had Thanksgiving supper at church and had even more fellowship.  Our special guests tonight were from the Baptist Children’s Home and Milestones Ministry.  I made some new friends and I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with them. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thankful blog - Day 19 - zzzzzz

Today I am thankful for sleep.  I can lay down anywhere, any time of day, and be asleep in about 12 seconds.  No kidding.  I’ve always been that way.  My mom keeps telling me that one day I will lose that ability but I’m not so sure.  I’m pretty good at it.  Just call it a gift, I guess. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thankful blog - Day 18 - Spanx!

Today I am thankful for Spanx.  If you know what those are, then you’re probably thankful for them too.  If you don’t know what they are, then you’re either skinny or a man.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful blog - Day 17 - Christie Tapscott

It’s really embarrassing and a sign of OLD age when you reach the point in your life that when you need to GO, you NEED TO GO! I was in Decatur yesterday driving to an appointment with the new baby when it hit me. It really hit me. I was in my car and quite frankly didn’t see anywhere that looked like a suitable area to stop and potty. I’m so *not* a germ-a-phob but the thought of putting the baby down ON THE FLOOR, even in her seat, in one of those public and disgusting bathrooms was more than even I could handle. So… what did I do? Well, I called up my trusty friend, Christie Tapscott, who works in the courthouse building.


ME: Hey – what are you doing?

CHRISTIE: Just working. What’s up?

ME: Well, ummm… this is embarrassing. I REALLY gotta potty and I have the baby and I don’t want to put her down and the bathrooms are disgusting and I just don’t think I can hold it and I feel so freaking old and I can’t believe I’m asking someone to HOLD MY BABY while I go to the bathroom….

CHRISTIE: Hahahahaha. It’s fine. I will meet you at the door.

So, I get the baby out of the car and carry her THROUGH the rain into the back entrance of the courthouse. It was cold and it was raining, but people, I HAD TO GO!

When I get inside, Christie is standing there talking to the security man who runs the metal detector. When he sees me, he just waved me through.

CHRISTIE: I told him you were my friend and I’m just going to hold your baby while you PEE.

Oh, gee… thanks Christie.

Anyway, it all ended well. I emptied the bladder (which has apparently shrunk to the size of a thimble) and Christie got to show off the baby to all her co-workers. She was, by the way, deemed the most beautiful baby any of them had ever seen.

See…. When I was thankful for my friends a few days ago, THIS kind of thing is what I was talking about. Do you have friends you can call to hold your kids while you pee? I sure hope so!

Thankful blog - Day 16 - Dr. Linda Gordon

Dr. Gordon has been Yuri and Gigi’s doctor since I first got them.  I’m pretty sure if you quizzed Dr. Gordon, she would forget that Yuri even exists.  She has seen Yuri approximately one time a year.  The child is NEVER sick.  Gigi, on the other hand, is a frequent flyer through their office.  I tried to add up how many times she has been admitted for asthma/pneumonia.  I’m not sure, but I believe it’s up around a dozen times.  Dr. Gordon is very cautious with Gigi, and understands how fast she deteriorates when she’s sick.  Having dealt with a jerk of a pediatrician when my older kids were babies, I’m especially thankful for Dr. Gordon. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thankful blog - Day 15 - FRIENDS!

Today I am thankful for friends. Good friends, bad friends, new friends, old friends, needy friends, supportive friends…

Good friends, as awful as it is to say, are hard to find. To me, a good friend is someone who will tell you if they find out your kid is doing something unacceptable. Someone who will take the time to check on you when they know you’re having a PMS week. Someone you can tell your deepest, darkest secrets and know without a doubt that it will never go any further.

Bad friends are friends who really are friends, but they’re just too busy or distracted to stop and just be a friend. They have great intentions, but life just gets in the way. I’m afraid I’m guilty of being a bad friend to a lot of people. Sorry, guys.

New friends. I love new friends. I get so excited when I talk to someone who I’ve probably know forever but never considered a “friend” and then I realize how much we have in common.

Old friends are my favorites. An old friend is someone you can fall out of contact with for months or longer, but pick right up where you left off and make it seem like you never missed a day. My dear friend, Gala Martin, falls in this category. She doesn’t have a Facebook and I doubt she reads my blog, so I feel totally disconnected with her. But that moment that I pick up the phone and we reconnect, it will be like we just had lunch last week.

Needy friends. Lawd, have mercy. You can never have too many friends, but you CAN have too many needy friends. There have been times in my life that I’ve felt like Dr. Phil. Thank goodness for artificial happiness (i.e. Cymbalta, Prozac, Lexapro). Most my previously needy friends now fall into a different category!

Supportive friends are those who will listen and listen and listen to YOUR problems and complaints but never seem to mind. Whenever you’re in the “moment” and telling your side of the story, they’ll nod and agree with everything you say. Then when the moment passes, they will gently offer their suggestion of how you might have handled things differently, without making it seem like you were wrong in any way whatsoever.

I believe I fit into one of these categories with different friends. I can be a good friend and I can be a bad friend, and I can be all things in between. If you’re reading this and you consider yourself my friend, don’t you wonder what category I put you in? haha! I’ll never tell!!!

Thankful blog - Day 14 - Cracker Barrel

I am thankful for Cracker Barrel.  Cracker Barrel has the best breakfast in the WORLD.  I am pretty sure I could eat nothing but the Old Timer’s breakfast for the rest of my life and never tire of it.  I would weigh 500 pounds, but still…

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thankful blog - Day 11, Day 12, Day 13

I fell behind this weekend on my blog so I’m combining three days into one blog.

Day 11 – I am thankful for weekends. Sometimes they’re as busy as the work/school week, but this time of year is the exception. There are no volleyball tournaments and no softball tournaments, so I actually find myself having Saturday mornings semi-free. I love shows like “Sell This House” and “Flip This House”, but hardly ever get to see them. I must admit that Sundays are not a relaxing day for me. Getting everybody up and ready for church is a stressful thing, but I try to relax on Sunday afternoon by watching the race or taking a jeep ride if the weather permits.

Day 12 – I am thankful for DVR. Isn’t it fabulous? I don’t watch a lot of “live” TV, but I DVR several shows to watch when I’m up at night with babies or just when I’m folding clothes, etc.

Day 13 – I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am for the Heimlich maneuver. On the way home from church this morning, Yuri was sitting in the 3rd row seat with Karlie when she made a weird sound and Karlie yelled “What’s wrong with her?!?”. I looked and Yuri was doing the classic “I’m choking” hand motion. Her face was basically maroon and she was flailing her arms around. Karlie unbuckled her from her booster seat and handed her out the door to me. On the side of the road, I did the Heimlich until she threw up. She ultimately had to throw up three times before the piece of hard candy finally came out. I was SCARED to death! I know people mean well when they hand out candy to kids, but I doubt I EVER allow my kids to accept a piece of peppermint again. I’ve already had them practicing their response when someone offers them hard candy… “Thank you but my mama says I can’t eat hard candy because I might choke to death and then she would be very sad”.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful blog - Day 10 - Coaches

Today I am thankful for the wonderful coaches that work with my children on a daily basis. During whatever season it is (volleyball, basketball, softball), these coaches actually spend more time with my kids than I do. I’m thankful that the coaches involved in their lives are compassionate, Christian individuals who love and encourage my kids.  Not everybody is fortunate enough to have complete peace when their kids are at practice.  I don't have to worry about inappropriate language, bullying, or derogatory behavior, but this hasn't always been the case and it has made me appreciate the good influences more than ever. 

P.S. I’m not just sucking up because tonight is Haley’s first basketball game of the season. I really am thankful! :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thankful blog - Day 9 - Gilgals!

Today I am thankful for my Sunday School class.  They’re my friends, my sisters, my prayer warriors.  We may all be at different places in our lives – some are married, some are single, some have grown kids, some have babies, some work outside the home, some work inside the home, some are happy, some are not… but it’s awesome to see all those differences melt away when we need each other.  We may be frazzled females, but we’re victoriously frazzled.  I love my Gilgals!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thankful blog - Day 8 - Fall weather

Today I am thankful for this wonderful weather.  It makes me want to sit out on my porch and drink coffee.  And I don’t even drink coffee. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thankful blog - Day 7 - DHR and foster babies

Today I am thankful for DHR and the fact that they called me to pick up this sweet baby girl that is laying here beside me.  I don’t know what the future holds for her, or how long we’ll get to keep her, but I’m savoring every moment.  If you haven’t seen her, you simply must!  She’ll be making a public appearance at Haley Rae’s basketball game this week in case you want to meet her.  :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankful blog - Day 6 - preschool teachers

Today I am thankful for the wonderful pre-school teachers at Fairview Child Development Center. Yuri has Mrs. Maegan. You never know how your child acts when they’re away from you, but I have a feeling Yuri is telling ALL the family secrets. She couldn’t keep a secret if her life depended on it, so if she thinks it’s juicy, you can bet she’s going to tell anybody who will listen. I’m thankful that Mrs. Maegan is discreet.

Gigi has Mrs. Melanie, but when Gigi says it, it comes out “Miss Mel-a-lee”. I hear “Miss Mel-a-lee said…” a million times a day. Here are some of the things that have stuck out lately.

“Miss Mel-a-lee says it’s nice to share”.

“Miss Mel-a-lee says I can’t say Roll Tide in her class”. (haha)

And my personal favorite…

“Miss Mel-a-lee says whenever you are in the dark, don’t be scared ‘cause God is with you the whole time”.

Thank you, ladies, for taking good care of my babies!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thankful blog - Day 5 - SUNSHINE!

Today I am thankful for sunshine.  With the dreaded Daylight Savings Time upon us, I have appreciated the nice afternoons this week.  I am already sad and depressed thinking about how early it will be getting dark now.  Since I started blogging on what I'm thankful for, it has made me more conscience of everything around me and made me appreciate things that I didn't even notice before.  PERHAPS I will become thankful enough to even be happy about Daylight Savings Time, but I wouldn't count on it. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

THANKFUL blog - Day 4 - Karlie cleaned her room

Today I am thankful that Karlie cleaned her room last night.  Now I don't have to be the bad guy and make her sit home ALL WEEKEND LONG WITH  NO CELL PHONE OR COMPUTER. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

THANKFUL blog - Day 3 - The HUBZ!

I spent the entire day cleaning out my office to make room for a nursery.  As tiny as she is, new baby has accumulated some serious "stuff"!  I didn't really use my office anyway.  My "office" is a laptop while I'm sitting in my comfy chair with my feet on the ottoman.  I was able to consolidate everything in my office into one filing cabinet.  Ahh... the joys of being paperless! 

Since my office used to be part of the back porch, but we closed it in to make an office a few years ago, it's really not bedroom-friendly.  As in, there's no closet.  I mentioned to Willard a couple of days ago that I need some kind of portable closet-thingy to keep Little Bit's stuff in. 

ME: Do they make those?
HIM: Yeah, and they come in a million pieces. 

It was only eight little words, but when he spoke them, I knew there would never be a portable closet in that room so I started thinking about Plan B.  Imagine my surprise when the VERY NEXT day, he comes home with a box that weighed 180 pounds and had more like HALF a million pieces.  Being the skeptic that I am, I figured Little Bit would be doing her own laundry before it got put together. 

I owe him a huge apology.  A mere 2 hours after starting the project, it was complete.  And there actually wasn't a huge amount of profanity involved. 

Waaaa Laaaa!

And yes, I am aware that her closet is full and she has only been with us 2 weeks.  Good thing there is room on that wall for a second closet if we need it. 

Anyway, on Day 3, I am thankful for my husband.  He not only spent his evening doing something that I know he didn't want to do, he took me to Talladega last weekend, and he unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher today.  I think he's getting soft in his old age! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thankful blog... Day 2

A couple of months ago, my babies got a Veggie Tales CD in their Chick-Fil-A kids meal.  It seemed like a cute little CD with several catchy tunes.  Until I listened to it 48,783 times.  Ever since we got it, if the car is running, we're listening to Veggie Tales.  Karlie and I even do a duet to the "SUV Song".  One time I dropped my kids off at pre-school and drove all the way to Hartselle before realizing that I was STILL singing along with a Veggie Tales CD!  I did learn that the Polish word for lip is "usta".  Now when I want Yuri and Gigi to be quiet and zip their lips, I yell out "Usta!!". 

Last week while walking through Wal-Mart, I saw a Lional Richie CD laying in the top of a $5 bin so I bought it.  It's a Greatest Hits CD so every song on it is good.  Imagine my surprise (pleasant surprise) when I put it in yesterday afternoon and the babies started jamming out.  Yuri actually said, "Is this Justin Beiber??".  Uh no.  Anyway, I'm happy to say that Lional has distracted my family from Larry the Cucumber, at least for a while.

So, on day 2 of my thankful blog, I am thankful for Lional Richie and his Greatest Hits CD.  Thanks, Li!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's November - my THANKFUL blog

I'm feeling ambitious this morning.  I've decided to commit to blogging every day this month and listing one thing that I'm thankful for. 

Today, in honor of her 81st birthday, I would like to say that I'm thankful for my mother-in-law, Jackie Stiles. 

I met Jackie on Easter Sunday in 1986.  She was as nice as could be to me that day and has been just as nice ever since.  I have felt like part of her family since that very first day.  I've often said that the best thing about Willard is his family.  (Just kidding, honey)  I hear "mother-in-law" stories and I can't even relate.  I could not ask for a better mother-in-law. 

Jackie cautioned me over and over during my courtship with Willard about marrying a Garnett.  She kept saying, "I'm warning you... he's a Garnett.  They're all stubborn and hard to get along with.  Don't say I didn't warn you".  Haha. 

Jackie is the kind of mother/mother-in-law/grandmother who puts everybody else's needs before her own.  She is the epitome of a selfless woman.  She's the peacemaker in a family of... well, Garnett's.  And since I'm outnumbered, that's all I'm gonna say about that.  :)

It has always annoyed Jackie that her son was given the nickname of Willard.  His REAL name is Christopher Scott.  He got the nickname of Willard when he was a young teen and it just stuck.  Jackie was a Wal-Mart greeter for several years, and people would come up to her and say "Are you Willard's mother?".  She would smile sweetly and say "I wouldn't name a DOG Willard... I'm Chris' mother".  Now might be a good time to mention that Jackie's REAL name is Stella Mae.... but they call her Jackie.  Hmmm. 

Happy Birthday, Me-Maw!  I am thankful for you!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby G!!!

My baby girl is 4 years old today. I cannot believe it. I think it’s harder with these last two kids because I realize how fast time flies.

I have to say that Gigi is our most mischievous child. I’m saying mischievous because I heard over the weekend that you should never say that a child is mean or else they’ll spend their whole life trying to live up to that label. I’m not sure what kind of spell she cast on the family, but she can get away with murder. She does things that none of my other children would even THINK of, much less get away with. She’s just so stinkin’ cute and funny that I can’t stay mad at her. I have a feeling I’m going to be an enabler.

Also more than any of the others, she has her daddy WRAPPED. It could be because she insists on climbing in his lap every night before bed to watch her “favorite tartoon”. Or maybe because when he walks in the door, she starts reporting who all was “mean” to her that day so he can spank them. Or maybe because when we go to the doctor and she has to get a shot, she cries “I’m telling my daddy on youuuuuuu!”

Everybody loves Baby G . I don’t know what I did before I got her, but I know it was a LOT less than I do now.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Memories of Ma...

My grandmother (Ma) would have celebrated her 92nd birthday this month, and I’ve been thinking all month about doing a blog about her. There are a million memories, but I’ve just had a hard time putting my thoughts together. This probably won’t be a very polished or funny blog. It’s more like a scrapbook of my memories of Ma.

Ma lived next door to us, so we spent a lot of time there. A LOT of time. So much that I’m surprised she didn’t move away. The weird thing is that she never seemed to get tired of us. She had 13 grandchildren, and 6 of us lived next door. Me, Lisa, and Marla lived one side and Brian, Cara, and Kurt lived on the other.

When we’d all be there, which was pretty much daily, she acted like she didn’t have anything else to do except wait on us hand and foot. Now that I’m a mom, I know that she was bound to have chores and things, but we never knew it. She busied herself with cooking for us mostly. If one of us wanted macaroni and cheese, another one of us wanted biscuits, another one of us wanted scrambled eggs, and another one wanted a bowl of ice cream… well, guess what? We all got exactly what we wanted. This wasn’t necessarily a good thing because we were pretty much all brats who took her for granted, but she never complained.

For as long as I can remember, Ma cooked breakfast for the entire family every Saturday and Sunday morning. She would cook for whoever showed up. Sometimes it would be 3 people, and sometimes a dozen. She always had it ready at exactly 7:30 a.m. And even though she ALWAYS cooked on Saturday and Sunday at the same exact time, she also ALWAYS called at 7:20 to let us know it would be ready in 10 minutes. She also cooked Sunday dinner every single Sunday of my life until her health got bad. Looking back, I now realize that she entertained 10-25 people every Sunday but she made it seem like normal life. I don’t know about you, but I’m not fond of the idea of having 25 people at my house when I turn in the driveway from church! When I was a kid, she cooked awesome fried chicken and fried potatoes and salmon patties… Then in 1992, my uncle Jerry had a heart attack and really screwed it up for all of us. Ma got all worried about cholesterol and triglycerides, so she completely changed her way of cooking. From then on, we had BAKED chicken instead of fried. Thanks a lot, Jerry!

All the cousins used to spend the night together occasionally. She had a bedroom with a full-size bed, a twin, and a rollaway bed, so we’d all pile in and she would tell us bedtime stories until we fell asleep. Sometimes she would fall asleep in the middle of the story and start snoring, which sent us all in a fit of laughter. Or sometimes we would almost be asleep and Brian would call Lisa an ugly name and she would cry and get everybody woke up again.

I have another cousin, Craig, who grew into a perfectly functional adult, but he was scared of EVERYTHING when he was little. He wouldn’t sleep in the bedroom because there was a picture of some deer (or maybe buffalo?) and he thought their eyes were looking at him. Ma would have to tape a piece of paper over the picture before he’d go to sleep. He was scared of an old black and white family picture Ma had on the wall (maybe it was her parents or grandparents?) because he thought they were mean-looking. Apparently people didn’t smile in pictures back in the late 1800s… He wouldn’t sit in the den after dark because the metal on the window in the door looked like “an evil clown face” so Ma would have to tape something over that too. Geez. But I don’t remember her complaining or even seeming annoyed at all. Amazing.

Most of the cousins only spent the night occasionally, but me and Lisa stayed every weekend when we were young. One of us would stay on Friday and the other on Saturday. I don’t know how the tradition started, but it was just something that happened. If I stayed with Ma on Friday, we watched “Dukes of Hazard”, “Dallas”, and “Falcon Crest”. If I stayed on Saturday, we watched “Hee Haw”, “Love Boat”, and “Fantasy Island”. She LOVED Dallas, and nearly went nuts wondering who shot J.R.? She thought it was Kristen Shepherd the whole time and she was RIGHT!!

Sometimes I fill the sink with Pine-Sol because it smells like Ma’s house. I may not even be cleaning, the smell just comforts me.

Ma was widowed when she was in her 40s. To my knowledge, she never even went on a date after my granddaddy died. She thought those women who had to have a man were silly. He died before I was born, so I don’t know what kind of relationship they had. I’ve often wondered if she never had interest in another man because she knew she would never find that kind of love again, or if she figured marriage was more trouble than it was worth. Haha. That’s one of the things I wish I had asked her.

Ma was a big believer in things that “they say”… If you’re from the South, then you know what I’m talking about…

They say… you shouldn’t tickle small children because it will make them stutter.

They say… you shouldn’t eat fish and dairy products together because it will kink your intestines and you could die.

They say… you shouldn’t cut a baby’s hair because his first birthday or he won’t live a long life.

I’m so fortunate that I had Ma in my life. She was such a constant. My kids got to know her and spend time with her too. By the time Karlie was born, Ma was getting older and had pretty much stopped doing anything around the farm. She enjoyed keeping Karlie for me and they really bonded.

I could go on and on. The more I type, the more I remember. I’m ashamed that I didn’t spend more time with Ma as I got older and got busy. Before she died, she went to live at an assisted-living home. I didn’t visit as often as I should have, but I went to see her on a particular Saturday. Nobody else was there and I was in a big hurry, but I just felt compelled to go by. We visited for a few minutes and when I got ready to leave, she said “oh, don’t rush off.” She repeated that a few times, which was odd for her. She seemed like she didn’t want me to leave, but I had somewhere else to be so I had to. It really bothered me, so I went back the next day after church. She had a room full of company… practically the whole family spontaneously showed up at the same time, and Ma just seemed so content. She didn’t say much, she just sat back and watched everybody. It was a good visit, and I left feeling so much more peaceful than I had the day before. Two days later, I got the call that she was unresponsive and she died a little while later. I will be forever grateful that I got that last chance to see her. If I had left it the way it was when she was asking me not to leave, I don’t think I could have forgiven myself.

So, there. That’s my tribute to Ma. If you knew her, then you totally get how special she was to us. If you didn’t know her, I hope you can feel through my discombobulated words what an awesome grandma she was. Now, I think I’ll go fill my sink with Pine-Sol.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Daylight Savings Time stinks

I can’t believe it’s almost Daylight Savings Time again. Ugh. It’s still a few weeks away and I’m already feeling the dread. When it gets dark, my body thinks it’s time to go to sleep. Always has, always will. I was that girl who had her bra froze at every slumber party because I was the first one to fall asleep.

There are a few things that make me very irritable. One is being sleepy. And another is being cold. Daylight Savings Time is my mental cue that I’m about to be both, and that annoys me to no end.

Another thing that annoys me is people who “love” DST and the winter months. Fine, people. Love it if you want but don’t try to shove it down my throat. It’s not normal. Brother Jack is the worst. He starts talking and blogging about it weeks before it actually happens and gets absolutely giddy the weekend of Daylight Savings Time. I probably won’t read his blog between now and Thanksgiving because of it. I might even change churches.

Just kidding. I won’t change churches, but I will be annoyed.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Just call me Switzerland...

There’s some cute kid contest going on that MANY, MANY of my FB friends are participating in. You’re supposed to go to the picture of the child and click “like”. Apparently the child with the most “likes” wins? When I got the first request, I thought “awww…cute” and intended to go like the picture. Then I started seeing more and more and more posts from parents and grandparents asking you to like their child’s picture. They’re ALL adorable and I wish they all could win, but I’ve decided to straddle the fence and not vote for anybody. I considered voting for EVERYBODY, but what if I missed one on accident? These kids come from all walks of life. If I ticked off their parents, it could seriously jeopardize my community standing. There are teachers, nurses, church friends, relatives, lawnmower customers… too much risk involved. I just can’t take the pressure. One child is even related to the District Attorney. Don’t want them on my bad side for sure! So, if you’re reading this, and your child is in the contest, please know that I think he/she is stinkin’ adorable! As a matter of fact, I secretly think your kid is THE cutest one, but I just have to stay neutral. I hope you understand.

Changing the subject… We’re not really doing regular foster care right now, but we are doing respite and emergency placement. Haley is a senior this year, and Yuri goes to kindergarten next year, so I’m hoping we can get back into it more. For now, we just do short-term placements and it’s working well for our family. I got a call from DHR Friday evening asking me to take a 2-week-old baby girl. She weighs 5 pounds and is the sweetest little redhead you ever saw. I got her Friday and kept her until today, but she’s gone now to her new foster home.

My Sunday school class is doing a Bible study called “Frazzled Female”. And people, believe me when I say that I’m frazzled most of the time. I feel like I’m in a perpetual state of frazzlement actually. For reasons that defy logic, having that newborn baby in the house DE-FRAZZLED me. For 3 of the 4 nights we had her, I “slept” on the couch with her. And by sleep I mean that I sat up and held her. There’s nothing in the world sweeter and more peaceful than rocking a tiny baby.

Y’all have a good day – see ya next time!

Friday, October 7, 2011


Sorry I’ve been MIA. I’ve been sick this week and just couldn’t put together enough coherent thoughts to write a blog.

Being sick got me thinking about something. Due to all the advances in the scientific and medical world, we are now able to recycle large parts of our body. We can donate our organs, our tissue, and our skin when we die. We can even donate useful things while we’re still alive – blood, platelets, eggs, sperm, hair – just to name a few. It looks like somebody somewhere could figure out something useful to do with snot. If that were the case, I could have donated so much this week that I would no doubt be up for some kind of Humanitarian Award.

P.S. I usually Google whatever topic I’m blogging about to find a good picture to post. I just couldn’t bring myself to post a picture of snot. You wouldn’t believe…ugh…just trust me... and you're welcome.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Teacups, Ferris Wheels, and Tilt-A-Whirls!

We took Yuri and Gigi to the Cullman County Fair last night. They absolutely loved it – the teacups were their favorite ride.

I’m embarrassed that you can hear me saying in the background, “If one of them gets dizzy and falls off the platform, I’ve got “America’s Funniest Home Video” right here in my hand”. Not my proudest moment as a Mom. :)

One of my favorite childhood memories is my parents taking us to the Morgan County Fair every year. Daddy seemed to enjoy it and he always rode that big green double Ferris wheel with us. Well, until that time we thought it was raining, but then realized the lady above us had peed her pants. I don’t recall my daddy ever getting back on a ride after that!

When I met Willard, my Fair days came to an abrupt end. He was completely freaked out that I wanted to get on “a contraption that was put together in 5 minutes with 3 bolts”. Party pooper. So, my children missed out on the great childhood memories of going to the Fair every year.

Willard does enjoy amusement parks, so he never had a problem with Opryland or Six Flags. Now, anybody who has ever been to Six Flags with me can attest to the fact that I LOVE rides. At Six Flags, I turn into a drill sergeant – mapping out a strategic plan to make sure we maximum our riding opportunities and have NO downtime. And I’ve absolutely NEVER met a rollercoaster that could make me sick. I’m no wuss!

Five or six years ago, Willard had a vendor booth at the Cullman County Fair so I saw this as my chance to expose my kids to the Fair life. To keep peace in the family and start out slow, we decided to go to my all-time favorite Fair ride, the Tilt-a-Whirl. (If one of the 3 bolts came loose, at least we’d be on the ground and not suspended in air somewhere) Me, Hunter, Haley and Karlie all piled into one car and rode. And rode again. And rode again. And rode again. After the 5th or 6th time, I felt an unfamiliar queasiness. Uh oh.

ME: Ummm…kids… we gotta get off.

ME: Like RIGHT now.

So we get off, take the back stairs exit, walk two steps over behind a truck, and I puke my guts up.

KIDS: Oh my gosh, MOOOOMMMM! You just puked on that guy’s new truck!

ME: No, I didn’t. I puked BESIDE that guy’s new truck.

Anyway, they were horrified and made a bee-line back to Willard to tell him all about. He, of course, found it hilarious that the rollercoaster QUEEN puked from riding the Tilt-A-Whirl!