Thursday, January 28, 2010

Only in the South

Being from the South is one of my two favorite things about me. The second is that every once in a while, if I'm sitting a certain way, at the right weight (only works if I'm 150 or less), with the right lighting, someone looks at me and says, "You know, you kind of look like Jennifer Aniston." Really! It's happened 4 TIMES!!!

Being from the South affords you all sorts of shenanigans like losing your voice screaming and cursing at a football game one day and teaching Sunday School the next. Being from the South makes it ok to make vodka that tastes like sweet tea and market it as the nostalgic reflections of your childhood (Firefly- If you haven't tried it- go get some. Now.) Being from the South makes you realize just how beautiful southern women really are. And how... when they speak, if only on occasion, every syllable is made of molasses, every word is its own song, and every sentence makes you want to write it down- just so you never forget it.
And not to leave out our classy southern gentleman; your smooth, sultry rednecklish is pretty irresistable too...

I'd like to make this a seriers of sorts- to have a place to write down memories, old sayings, wives tales, quotes, whatever. But I don't want them to come from just me. I want any of you to send me some examples of a Southerner speaking southern- or rednecklish- in every context of the word. And I'll share them in a future posts. Send me your southern story at

I love love love the magazine 'Real Simple'- and in the October 2009 issue, they featured readers quotes on the question, "What does home mean to you?"

And here was my favorite...

"What does home mean to me? A pantry, fully stocked with jars of pickles, jams and fruits, all perserved by friends, family members and me. Home is going into that pantry, leaning against its shelves, which are probably a little dusty, popping open a Mason Jar of homemade apple butter, and eating it right there, out of the jar with a long iced-tea spoon."
-Victoria Fedden
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I had two Maids of Honor in my wedding- Allison and Rachel. Because at a very care-free, beautifully chaotic time in my life- we were as close as three very different individuals could be. For about two years, we were a package deal. But in Feburary of 2004, my life took an unexpected turn when Kyle and I found out we were adding to the herd. A baby. An effin' baby.

After having convinced the two to forge on without me- that it was the 'only way'- they did just that. It was hard. I was excited about having a child with the man I loved so dearly- but it was hard. Nine months later, they were there for the birth of my first child. Sharing that experience with the two of them meant more than any party, any concert or any beer tent could ever offer.

Still, beer tents do sound pretty kick-ass...

A few years later, Allison began contemplating a move back to her home state of Illinois. Rachel and I devised several illegal and immoral plans to keep her here, but decided she might need the use of that arm at some point so we let her go. Kicking. Screaming. We said goodbye- to the trio and life as we knew it- all crammed in the back of that little black Celica.

So here we all are- each immersed in our own little worlds for 95% of the time. Rach is loving life- a new job, staying active and looking forward to getting back in the dating scene. I, of course, stay busy with Riley, Tyson and cramming Subway Sandwiches in my pie-hole. And Allison? Well, Allison became a mommy to Tanner Joe almost two months ago. So Rach and I traveled to Illinois to meet his acquaintance. And what a sweet little blessing he was!

And to wake up our livers a little. Or- a lot.

So before you get to the pics, I'd like to share a few very important things I learned on this trip. Who knew it would be so educational?

  • Rach hearts cruise control and bands with weird names.
  • 5 story gigantic crosses are super creepy at night, illuminated by orange light and partially hidden in dense fog.
  • 5 story gigantic crosses are super creepy at night, illuminated by orange light and partially hidden in dense fog and pretty much any other time of day and in any kind of weather. It's just a bit much, people.
  • lllinois is flatter than a 10 year old girl.
  • People in Illinois do not take well to curves in their roads. Your messin' with the grid system, apparently.
  • In Illinois, beer or more specifically, The Beast, is consumed quickly and frequently.
  • Crepe's are Yumm-O.
  • If you meet someone named Matt Dean- you may not call him Matt. You must call him MattDean.
  • His fiance', Lindsey, is super sweet. (Still pulling for you to find the dress of your dreams!)
  • Allison and Dusty make pretty babies. Boomer is pretty cute too!
  • Allison's Mom, Vicki: true definition of a matriarch- takes care of business, laughs often, and creates a home that is saturated in all that it means to love family. She fits it well.
  • Allison's Stepdad, Tom: true defintion of a man that appreciates life for all the right reasons. And very funny. Smart funny.
  • Allison's brother, Scott: Turkey Killer (no- this is a compliment- a title he wears proudly.) And funny- Smartass funny 
  • Allison's Family: Even better than beer tents. And all the reason a young woman needs to go back home.
  • I've learned that a friendship- or even better, a threeship- can withstand and surivive life and all its twists and turns. And that with a little effort, gas money and a pocketful of memories- you can be 23 again. Even in the Washington Street Pub.
-Love you girls! Thanks for a wonderful and much needed weekend away!


Vicki and Tom's Home

And last but not least- The Effingham Cross. I guess if Jesus does come back, at least we know where he'll be landing...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tyson Trrruuuuccckkkk!!!

First- here is my mommy disclaimer: I don't usually make it a habit to do extracirricular activities such as filming large trucks on busy interstates but this was my only exception. It's short- so lives were in danger for only about 25 seconds.

Can you imagine how cool it must be for a 5 year old boy to see a big bright red truck zooming down the interstate with your name plastered all over it?? We see these pretty often but the joy on his little face NEVER gets old!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Just felt the need...

to pass on this message.

Would you take 5 shots of liquor while driving your car? No? Then why do you text and drive? Texting while driving is the same thing.

If you talk on a cell phone while driving, you are 4 times more likely to get into an accident. If you are texting- you are 8 times more likely. IT KILLS PEOPLE- MANY PEOPLE. It's just not worth it. And I know you do it. So please stop.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010


What s sobering and heartbreaking reminder of just how fragile our world is. The earthquake devestation in  Haiti is almost too much to fathom- as reports keep pouring in and the number of fatalities keep going up. Tens of thousands- Hundreds of thousands- Half a million. Dead. Other than unspeakable sadness, I feel anger and I'm not sure I can even explain why. Am I angry at God? Dare I ask- Is there a God? I want to believe- but in my continuing spiritual journey, catostrophic events like this certainly don't help the argument that there is. We are so quick to look at miracles; unexplained occurances that defy all reason and logic and so we credit God. What about this? Did God cause the earth to shift so violently, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people? Was he too busy listening to the selfish demands we cast upon Him every second of every day. Where was God when those precious children were suffocating under the massive amounts of concrete and rubble? I can't stop sobbing- and I'm so ANGRY.

I know all the sayings- I know you should "never question God's plan" and I've heard that "it's all part of the bigger picture". Oh and there's "Thank God for unanswered prayers". I get it. If there is a GOD- he is the omnipotent being- he is bigger than what my simple little mind can wrap itself around. But dare you or anyone else judge me because I am so inclined to ask WHY????

I am taken back to the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka the day after Christmas in 2005. Tyson was a few months past a year old. Watching the story unfold, I cried and cried and cried- absolutley grief-stricken over the loss of human beings I had never met. Every little child's body tucked under a white sheet- was my son. My child. And it has haunted me ever since. It was the same scene when Katrina hit and this disaster is no different. I don't want to see the pictures. I don't want to watch the footage. I don't want to see that woman moaning and wailing over the body of a loved one- just laying there out in the open street. I don't want to see that. But I can't drag myself away. Those people, who I've probably never given a second's thought in my entire life, now consume my mind- their sorrow and sadness and their deeply, deeply broken spirits.

I have to be totally honest- I don't pray very often. I will think good thoughts- I will meditate for a moment- to release a positive thought; positive energy towards something or someone that I feel needs it. I wouldn't call it prayer. I don't know who I'm praying to.

But tonight I will- and I will put my entire being into that prayer: That the people of this impoverished country can some how overcome their grief during this unimaginable nightmare. That God, as different as he may be for so many of us on this planet, will watch over them and guide them through their suffering.

I will pray this prayer- and just hope that someone is listening...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Introducing Austin

Kyle has a best friend. His name is Gary.
Gary has a brother. His name is Austin.
Austin is 18.
And possibly the funniest human being I've ever met.
Mostly because in everything he does, funny is not his intention.
But funny is what you get.
He is a fan of dancing.
And when given the opportunity, he dives in with unadulterated, unfiltered innocence.
Along with plenty of flailing about...
And moves that only Jerry Seinfield could explain.
and that only a mother
and a room full of drunk people
could love.
Including me.
I love this kid.

If any of you reading this attended our wedding- you will remember him instantly.

Introducing Austin at his brother's birthday party- in a Michael Jackson dance off with an 11 year old.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

the inside of my camcorder smells like hobby lobby and other random smell stories

(this is not the post mentioned in my last entry- the one that is supposed to change your life? Just so we're clear on that. I can't handle that kind of pressure with a post about smells)

I have a thing for smells. The good, bad and the ugly. It is said that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory and I am sniffing proof. I can take a scent and relate it to damn near anything, any event, or anybody. For instance, the title of this post is true. Today, I opened up our camcorder to put a tape away and noticed that the inside of it smelled like the inside of the Hobby Lobby store I frequent. It was the strangest thing but it was exactly the same smell. Who knew?

So I've compiled a list of other scents that spark a memory or perhaps a comparison to the inside of some other retail establishment.

Gardenia- Ahhh- this is a sweet one. I had a gardenia bush outside my bedroom window of my childhood home. Everytime I smell this delightful flower, memory lane opens for business.
Cigars- My Pa. Who, as the older I get, the more I start to look like. He was a handsome dude in his early years, but not sure I'm rockin the "Nimmons Nose" as well as he did. He loved his cigars and I loved him. He could have been smoking a pig's ass for all I cared- he was my Pa and my adoration for him was beyond.

Bath and Body Works Plumeria Scent- anyone remember this one? They don't carry it anymore and according to my ex-boyfriend, this is a good thing. A few days after a certain guy admitted he wore women's panties broke up with me, I went to his house for the post break-up "gathering of my crap" ceremony. No names mentioned here (Eh Hem... MM). As I was getting ready, I somehow convinced myself that if I smelled really good he was going to regret his decision and beg me to come back to him. So I doused myself in Plumeria lotion and body spray. I took one step in the door and you would have thought that I brushed my teeth with shitpaste. "What are you wearing?" he asked. "that smells terrible." At the moment, I was crushed beyond words. Now, I wish I would have smeared the lotion into the leather seats of his car and maybe a little bit into his eyeballs or an open wound perhaps...

Cool Water- My Dad. I bought him this cologne every Christmas for the last 3 or 4 years of his life. Sometimes I want to buy a bottle- just to have sitting there- for when I need to feel like he's still around.

My Children's Hair and Breath- I often smell my children's hair- like really often. And when Tyson was a baby and now with Riley, smelling their breath is like inhaling their soul. It's pure magic.

Moth Balls- For reasons I have yet to uncover, my Granny had a thing for moth balls and her trailer was saturated with their pungent smell. It was just common back then and you eventually became immune to it. But if I ever get a whiff of that smell now- I can remember details from my wonderful childhood with her that I haven't thought of in years...

Copenhagen- Every boy I ever dated from Pendleton, Wahalla, or Iva. What's so ironic now is that I live a block away from a Copenhagen somkeless tobacco plant and on certain days, the wind shifts just right and I feel 16 again and...a little lightheaded, I must say.

On cue, I can remember what my mom's sheets in her linen closet smell like, my grandmother's apartment, Tiger Town Tavern, the smell of Kyle's breath the first time we kissed, a softball field, my saxophone mouthpeice when it needed to be cleaned, my brother's football gear in the laundry room of our house on Quail Ridge Road and fudge. My Granny's fudge as it boiled up in the kitchen. What smells take you back? What scents trigger a memory so strong that you are moved to emotions you've not experienced in a while? Perhaps there is a little more substance behind the old saying, "Stop and smell the roses". I guess you never know when those roses, no matter what form they may come, will be a nice little memory just waiting to bloom.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

more mildly entertaing videos

My creativity is running a little low these days so you'll just have to settle for cute videos of my children- currently working on something that-as I have somehow convinced myself- will change your life forever.

Stay Tuned.
 I call this one- Riley Vs The Macaroni. By the end, I swear you'll be yelling at your computer screen cheering her on!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Our Holidays in Pictures

Enjoy a few pics from the Holidays.
Christmas: Done
New Year's: Done
Now bring on 2010- it's going to be a wonderful chapter in our lives!                                              


Friday, January 1, 2010

Way To Go, Nashville- New Years Eve with the Oakleys

Life is funny. Sometimes it's the complete opposite. This is my best attempt at trying to capture it all...