The main source of my chaos...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Goodbye, Brian...

As I stood at the funeral home last night watching hundreds and hundreds of people waiting hours to pay their last respects, I was simply overwhelmed.  His elementary school teachers were there.  His former high school coaches were there.  His childhood best friends were there.  His hunting buddies were there.  His cousins.  His co-workers.  His aunts and uncles. His parents.  His siblings. His wife. His three sons.  That’s a lot of people. But that’s not all.  His children’s teachers and coaches came.  His son’s best friends came.  People from church came.  His wife’s childhood friends came.  And all her family came.  And her customers came.  And then people came who maybe didn’t even know Brian very well, but they knew his parents.  Their co-workers came.  Maybe some hadn’t seen or spoken with them in years, but they came.  Everybody came because in some way, shape, or form, Brian had an impact on their lives.  When they heard the news, they just came.   

We all have a Brian story.  Here’s mine –

I am 4 years older than Brian.  My family lived on one side of Ma (our grandmother) and Brian’s family lived on the other.  Ma’s house was our childhood playground.  We spent our summers playing in her yard.  Brian was a farmer from birth.  I remember him wearing jean and boots when it was 100 degrees outside. He rarely ever wore shorts, and when he did, he still had his boots on.  I was the oldest of the cousins that lived on County Line Road and I was the bossiest.  I would want to play something like grocery store or insurance office, and Brian would never go along with it.  He always wanted to dig in the dirt.  We used to play “Lang’s Sporting Goods”.  Our cousin, Jamey, was Mr. Lang and I was the Vice President.  I would use the foot pedal on Ma’s sewing machine as my intercom and bark out orders.  Lisa and Brian were thick as thieves and always had to be given the same assignments or they wouldn’t play.  Since they hated playing inside, I would give them “jobs” outside.  They were supposed to pretend they were driving to Decatur to sell uniforms or helmets, but instead I’d find them pushing tractors around the yard.  It was very frustrating, let me tell you.  I was trying to run a business and they never would cooperate.  One summer Ma let us convert an old cotton wagon into our playhouse.  We set up house in there with old furniture and blankets.  She put a tarp on the top to keep everything dry.  I was the mama and I kept the little kids (Cara, Leah, and Marla), while Lisa and Brian went out to “work” in the fields.

I remember one time when me and Lisa and Brian decided to strip down to our underwear and cover our bodies with mud.  It was lots and lots of fun until my mom found us and freaked out.  It’s just mud, right?  Yes, that’s true, but when you use well water and the well is DRY… it’s a problem.  Just to prove I’m not exaggerating…

Amy, Lisa, and Brian - 1978(ish)

I tried to find a picture with all the cousins, but I couldn’t. This one has 11 of the 13 pictured. 

Kurt, Tina, Craig, Leah, Brian, Cara, Marla, Tammy, Amy, Lisa, Keith (not pictured: Alan and Jamey)

As far back as I can remember, Brian called me “Ramey Ren”.  Like Amy Lynn, but with the R sound.  I have no idea why.  Maybe it came from Scooby Doo or something– I never really thought about why – but that’s my last memory.  I was coming out of the store and he was walking in.  He gave me his famous grin and said, “Heyyy Ramey Ren” just like he always did. 

I love you, Brian.  I hope they have tractors and dirt in Heaven. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thankful Blog - Day 20 - On Star

I've had On Star on my car for 5 years now and can I just say that there are some things SO worth the money.  I've called them twice THIS WEEK alone.  I think the operators know my secret 4-digit code without even asking me.  On Day 20, I'm thankful for On Star!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thankful Blog - Chippendales...

Ok...I'm really not thankful for Chippendales, but I needed to get your attention somehow. 

It's time to play thankful blog catch up again!

Day 16 -

Yuri and Gigi's biological mom called on Saturday.  I hadn't heard from her several months, and I had received information that she was having a hard time, so it was a relief to hear her voice.  When we were going through the adoption saga, there were lots of times when I never wanted to see her again.  I didn't feel much compassion towards her, and I always felt like the girls were MY babies no matter who gave birth to them.  It took a mission trip to Guatemala to help me understand what she had been through and how hard things must be for her.  She is back in Guatemala now, and lives in poverty to an extent that you and I cannot even imagine.  She will never be back in the U.S. and she will likely never see Yuri and Gigi in person again.  When she calls, they can't really communicate because she doesn't speak English and they don't speak Spanish, but I can hear the love and emotion in her voice.  On Day 16, I am thankful to Madre - the woman who gave life to my beautiful baby girls. 

Day 17 -

I am thankful for my mother-in-law, who has never said a uncomplimentary or negative thing to me.  I've said it before, but she is seriously the best mother-in-law in the world.  I hear people make MIL jokes and I totally can't relate Apparently I'm very lucky!

Day 18 -

I am thankful for my Louisiana family.  I only see them once a year, but it's always a fun time.  We always pick right up where we left off!  There are some REALLY crazy people in Louisiana, in case you didn't know. 

Day 19 -

I am thankful for my sweet foster baby boy.  There has NEVER been a better baby.  He is always happy and never cries.  He has started recognizing me and reaching his little chubby arms up for me.  It. Is. The. Cutest. Thing. Ever.  After Aubree's adoption was final, I wasn't sure we'd have another foster baby in our home but I am sure glad we do.  Everybody should have a happy 6-month-old around to make them smile!


Friday, November 15, 2013

Thankful for Hairy Armpits, Southern angels, and more!

Okay, so I'm obviously stinking up the Thankful Blog this year.  I just can't seem to stay caught up.  Maybe the second half of the month will be better!

Day 10 -

I'm thankful that Hunter got to go the beach with us last weekend.  He was 16 when we got Yuri and Gigi.  They were so young and he was gone so much, and then he moved off to school.  They just really don't remember him living with us, so their bond with him has never been as strong as it is with Haley Rae and Karlie.  They made up for a lot of lost time last weekend.  They told him they wished they had hairy armpits like him, and he told them you could only get hairy armpits if you get tickled A LOT.  So... I had to listen to squealing all weekend because he was trying to help their armpit hair grow.  The fact that he is 21 but acts 12 also kept things loud and chaotic.  What 21-year-old thinks it's hilarious to pretend to wipe boogers on little girls just to hear them gag and scream their heads off??

Day 11 -

I am thankful for a very special co-worker named Lisa.  A bunch of years ago... I honestly don't know how many.... like 6 or 7 maybe... I was in desperate need for a new transcriptionist.  I had tested several and nobody could cut it.  I was in my car on the way to pick up my kids from school and I literally prayed out loud for God to help me find someone good.  Within minutes, my phone rang and I hear the sweetest Southern voice say, "Hayyyy... are y'all hiring?"  I called her our angel because I honestly believe God dropped her on me that day.

Day 12 -

I am thankful for White Fudge Oreos.  It's beyond me why they only make them around the holidays because I could eat a box a day all year long.

Day 13 -

I am thankful for all the new light bulbs that my husband put up while I was out of town.  It's like one shoots, and then 2 more shoot, and then the next thing you know we need 17 light bulbs!

Day 14 -

I am thankful for the heater in my bathroom.  Winter makes me mad.  I hate being cold.  Thanks to my heater, I never have to a take a shower in a cold bathroom.

Day 15 -

I am thankful that I have lots of family who enjoy tackling Black Friday.  I'm already making a list of things I want but I'm not about to jump into that mess.  I am hoping some of them will volunteer to take my money and get what I need. Ahem... Lacy... Beth...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day 9 - Momar's Lasagna Recipe

Day 9 -

My mom has always made the best lasagna.  We have it several times a year when we get together at her house, and it's our official Christmas Eve meal.  Luckily for me, my children like it and I make it myself at least once a month.  Yesterday I asked the big girls if they wanted to go out and eat seafood (we ARE at the beach after all) and Karlie's friend, Savannah, said, "No! I want your lasagna!"

It's easy, it's yummy, and it's even better heated up for lunch the next day!

Disclaimer: This isn't really a picture of my lasagna.  I didn't take a picture of it because I didn't plan on blogging about it.  This is pretty close to what it looks like though, so let's just go with it... 

Addendum - due to popular demand... here's the recipe!

1 pound ground beef
1 pound sausage
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 can petite diced tomatoes
2 cans tomato sauce
1 small carton cottage cheese (small curd)
1 package shredded mozarella cheese
9 lasagna noodles

While noodles are boiling, brown ground beef and sausage.  Drain.  Add rest of ingredients.  Simmer meat sauce until the cottage cheese is melted and mixed in well.

Drain noodles.  In casserole dish, put 3 layers of noodles alternating with meat sauce.  Top with mozarella cheese and bake on 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

*P.S. This isn't exactly Momar's recipe.  She doesn't know the recipe so I just kinda winged it.

**P.S.S. I usually boil more than 9 noodles in case a couple stick together or something.

***P.S.S.S. I've noticed noodles in the grocery store that you don't have to boil. They're "bake ready".  They might work but I haven't tried them.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thankful Blog - Catching up!

I’m behind on my Thankful Blog so I’m combining 3 days in one… here goes!

Day 6 – My Bed
The other night, I was asleep in my “assigned” spot on the couch (Aubree has one end and I have the other).  My knees hurt when I fall asleep sitting up and so apparently I stretched out in my sleep.  I woke up pushing a pillow out of the way with my feet… only it wasn’t a pillow.  I had my FOOT on top of Aubree’s face and was pushing her out of the way.  Yikes.  Poor baby, but it’s really her fault.  If she would sleep like a normal person, I would have been snoring in my nice, comfy bed instead of kicking her in the face.  On Day 6, I am thankful for my bed.  I don’t get to spend NEARLY enough time in it, but I still love it. 

Day 7 – 5-Hour Energy Drinks and Teenage Girls Who Talk And Talk And Talk... 
Since the kids are out of school on Monday for Veteran’s Day, we planned a long weekend trip to the beach.  At the last minute, Willard backed out because he’s been sick, so I headed out with 8 kids. Well, one is technically an adult but he doesn’t pay his own bills so he’s still a kid to me.  And 3 more were teenagers but they don’t wash their own clothes so they’re kids too.  We headed out after dark, and I knew I’d struggle to stay awake.  When it gets dark, I get sleepy.  Always have and always will.  My foster daughter suggested a 5-Hour Energy Drink and SHA-ZAM!  Between the drink (my first ever) and the fact that she NEVER stops talking, I didn’t get one bit sleepy.  We made excellent time, only stopped once and now we’re nestled in for a beautiful weekend.  So, on Day 7, I’m thankful for artificial energy boosters and my 16-year-old foster daughter’s motor mouth. 

Day 8 – The Beach
Rain or shine… warm or cold… There’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be.  On Day 8 I’m thankful for the beach and that I get to wake up to this view for the next few days.

P.S. After I wrote this post, one of the bunch started throwing up.  I am not sure if it's a virus or food poisoning, but I'm thankful for Zofran.  :( 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Day 5 - Thankful that I'm thankful and want to share it...

Day 5 -

I've been thinking all day about what I wanted to profess my thankfulness for today.  There are dozens of things that pop in my mind... some as significant as Jesus and some as insignificant as these new bobby pins Hope Garner gave me.  Fortunately, I've got a few more days to cover everything.

Today I'm thankful for being able to share what I'm thankful for. I saw a couple of my FB friends making comments about the negative attention that the "thankful" statuses are getting and I thought... nah... surely nobody is complaining about people being THANKFUL.  With all the possible things in this messed up world we could be complaining about, we're going to complain about seeing people publicly post what they're thankful for? Unbelievable.

This is me on my soapbox.  I know, I look skinny - don't I??  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Day 3 - Massey ... Day 4 - My Home

On Day 3 and Day 4, I'm thankful for Massey, Alabama, and the house that I live in.

When we got married in 1990, Willard's aunt and uncle gave us land as a wedding present.  Land, people! I was 20 years old and honestly did not realize what a gift that was.  I appreciated it then, but even more now.  I have thought many times that there's nowhere I'd rather live than this spot right here. From my "spot" on the couch right I have a perfect view of the sun rising in the east.  When I look to the south, I can see nothing but land and trees.  Well, except for the occasional cow, coyote or deer. 

We built our house in 1994, and then built ON to our house in 2006.  It's not a mansion but it's plenty big for us.  I've never been one to really care about decorating or what kind of counter tops I have or even really if the furniture matches exactly.  It may not be magazine-worthy, but it's full of the things that matter... laughter, love, and laundry. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day 2 - In-laws

I love my in-laws - my family by marriage.  When I met them all on Easter Sunday in 1986, I was a skinny 16-year-old with a mullet.  They immediately loved and accepted me as part of the family, and always take my side over Willard’s.  We have played many, many family softball games in the front yard, played Hide-And-Seek after dark, got slung around Smith Lake together on inner tubes, stayed up all night playing card games, and eaten enough fried fish to feed a small nation. This family plays hard, fights hard, and loves hard.  On Day 2, I am thankful to be able to call them mine.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Day 1 - Free Days

Day 1 –

Today I am thankful for downtime.  Tomorrow (Saturday) will be the first Saturday since August that I haven’t had to be somewhere bright and early.  I’d love to think that I’ll get to sleep late, but since Aubree thinks she part rooster, that likely won’t happen.  At least I can be lazy and watch cartoons all morning.  We won’t have very many free Saturdays in the near future either.  For some reason that is now buried somewhere in my subconscious, I signed Yuri and Gigi up for basketball.  On the night of their first practice, I had to go with Karlie to volleyball so Willard took them to their practice.  When they got home, I started quizzing…

ME:                        How was practice???

GIGI:                      Horrible.  Just horrible. 

ME:                        Why???

GIGI:                      We ran and ran and ran.  My heart was “beeping” so fast.  And it’s still beeping fast.

ME:                        Ahhh. Well, what was your favorite part?

GIGI:                      I liked the outfield. 

ME:                        …

YURI:                     She means defense.  I liked it best too.  My coach says, “When you are on defense, you get that ball!  I don’t care if you have to bite, pinch,or pull hair.  GET THAT BALL!”

This should be interesting…