Mems, not memes


My friends, this is a photo album. It’s what you put pictures in after you actually get them printed off your cell phone. 

Anyone else remember flipping through family photo albums? It seems since the development of smart phones it has rapidly become a thing of the past. 

I can remember my own family’s brown, fake leather albums. They held court in our living room book shelves where they sat for months, unattended, waiting for someone to reach in and liberate them from their wooden prison. 

Every once in a while as a kid, and later as a teen, after succumbing to boredome, I would resort to flipping through their musty plastic-smelling pages. 

Each sleeve holds expressive faces and blurry mid-movement shenanigans. Something about actually looking at the pictures, feeling the slick plastic of the pages between my fingers, and the occasional puff of musty picture air as I turned pages, would trigger the memory bells inside. And just like that I could remember exact events surrounding that picture of myself barefoot outside, playing the violin in my Sunday clothes. 

Suddenly I am taken back to that muggy Tennessee summer evening. I can hear the cicadas and smell the water on asphalt from my mother watering the numerous gardens she kept. 

Cell phone photos and social media albums don’t trigger that for me. The appeal isn’t there. Perhaps it’s the physical act of sitting cross legged on the floor surrounded by days gone by. Perhaps it’s simply the hands-on experience.

Eventually our albums were replaced with beautiful and elaborate scrapbooks. My mother was known to spend hours on one page. They’re treasures that she proudly bestowed upon us when we moved out and began our own families. I myself have tried and failed at scrapbooking. While I know it’s a lovely way to preserve ones memories, I simply have no desire or drive to do it. But I want desperately  for my children to have albums to flip through when they’re home on college weekends. I want to us to reminisce and giggle about those dodgy family vacations, that beautiful birthday cake, the funny face Nora made that one night on the lawn mower. 

I worry with the onset of technology we are losing this valuable family tradition. So I’ve begun a new tradition for my family. Once a week I will empty my phone of all its pictures and print them out. I already have one album full!

Memories are treasures, and if I had the choice of a fat bank account or a fat memory bank….I would choose memory banks every time. 

I pray cars on your bathroom floor 

  

It’s midnight, I’m pooped. I’ve been fending off the burnout since about 3:30 yesterday. 

You mamas know the burnout I speak of. You’re most likely nodding in understanding right now. 

I just packed up three different lunch boxes, you knew the drill. Cheese for her, pretzels for him, crust on, crust off…etc etc, and no it’s not lost on me how blessed I am to have a fridge full of food to throw into those lunch boxes.

It’s finals week for David which means he’s dead on his feet and we’ve seen him awake for maybe three hours since Monday. But this too shall pass and we have a Christmas vacation at the end of the tunnel. 

I have been abundantly blessed with business which means I’ve been at my machines around the clock and working until 3 am most nights. Averaging about4 hours of Z’s a night. 

All of these, good things! Food. Jobs. Business. Paid bills. God’s grace. I am thankful and am not trying to come across as complaining so please don’t misunderstand me, dear reader. 

This morning I started my day bright and early for an 8:30 am pediatrician appointment. Seems we have a certain princess who can’t shake a pesky cough, I was exhausted after working until 2 am and it seems I’ll be doing it again tonight, I LOVE this holiday rush. It really is exciting! I’m grateful for my business and I’m enjoying every bit of what I do.  

But after a dr appointment and taking a very tired daddy some breakfast, we got home and attempted nap time. An hour into the “routine” I had to seperate the twins. So little man roosted with me and miss princess (who likes to sprawl and kick the covers off) slept in her big girl bed. My little guy needed extra tlc today which meant he clutched me tightly and wouldn’t let me go during nap time…By the time everyone was awake it was time to fetch the oldest from school, come home, get ready for church, kiss daddy goodbye until 11:00 pm and off we all went. 

I didn’t get any work done. 

So at midnight after every one is bathed and asleep and I’ve packed lunches and dug through the laundry pile for outfits that somewhat coordinate, I’m heading downstairs to my lair to put in another 3 am’er. I made a pit stop to the ladies room, (tmi I am truly sorry) and that’s when I see them.

Cars. Shoes. Crumpled little dirty socks. All on my bathroom floor. 

Instantly I remember the very moment that afternoon when those shoes were wedged off by tiny impatient hands, when those socks were peeled away exposing ten perfect, wiggly piggies, when those cars were clacked together and motored around on the floor…all while he waited patiently for me. All while I impatiently tried to divert this little person’s attention  to another part of the house. 

It humbled me, if I’m being honest. All day long I’m walking around in a tired stupor, going through the motions and somehow I missed the significance of these remnants on my bathroom floor.

 We mamas joke about this a lot, don’t we? Not remembering the last time we went to the bathroom alone. And it’s true! In the toddler years it is so true. But when you stop to think about it, loving someone so much that you would, well…that you would follow them to the bathroom just to be with them? That’s a pretty great love. 

So for all you mamas out there, tired, worn out, run ragged, spread thin, I salute you! And I share my Reese’s with you…in spirit ha! But also…I pray cars on your bathroom floor. I pray the blessing of little hands patting your leg, little voices asking you questions, little helpers flushing your commode one, two…five times in a row (cringing at the water wasted) 

Because what a blessing to be followed by little feet, what a privilege to be helped by tiny hands and what a humbling experience to be mimicked by such innocent spirits. 

When stops the brain…

I don’t even know where I’m going with this post. Except that I just needed to write. So bear with me. Actually, I’ve needed to write for about two solid weeks now, but I’ve tamped it down in the name of priorities. What a foolish thing for a busy mind to do. 

You see, my season is rough. Rough like a whole new level of rough. 
Did I mention it was rough? 

My children, who are my biggest and most treasured blessings, are each going through their own little personality metamorphism. My Isabella, my freckled beauty, is finding herself and her little personality is blossoming. She’s actually turning into a really funny kid, but along with that has come independent thinking, and a penchent for the arguing. Not necessarily bad traits, and certainly characteristics that will serve her well one day out in the great big world…but at home it’s aided in the demise of my natural hair color. 

I’m going gray is what I’m sayin’

The twins.

Oh Lort. How I love them…but their inquisitiveness and curiosity about all things sticky is going to do me in. I wonder how many substance smears I’ve cleaned up this week?

Sorry I said the word smear.

Suffice it to say, I’ve not been Mary Poppins. In fact, by the time bedtime rolls around if someone were to break into my home I would pay them to steal my kids along with the valuables. 

Kidding. 

I know other mamas have to be going through this with me. So let me tell you this. You’re not alone. 

Are you wiping an entire tube of toothpaste off of the foot of your bed? Hey, I did that yesterday. 

Did a chicken nugget get squished between your toes when you walked through the kitchen? Consider it an exotic foot teatment. 

Did you feed your kids Cheetos for breakfast? I bet they were happy the rest of the morning. They’ll be fine. I certainly wouldn’t know this from experience. Uh….err….what? 

You’re doing a great job mamas. 

I felt like a failure this week, I lost track of how many times I cried over my donuts and let the crumbs collect in the ole Cleavage Collector. It’s been tough, it seems someone’s always mad, sad, or crying. And always hungry. 

But my kiddos, and I’m willing to bet yours too, didn’t want my perfection, they just wanted me. Lenora asked me to “way down” with her…she counted my “sprinkles” (freckles) and sang her little songs to me until she fell asleep heavy in my arms. 

Beckett just wanted me to “sit down mama” with him. He likes me to be his human chair while he watches his program. Barney is serious business in case you didn’t know. 

And Isabella, well she just wants me to listen.  Third grade drama y’all…

I’m trying to remind myself of all these things. I will continue to remind myself of this. 

Yeah, I will forget in ten minutes when I go out to clean my living room. 

Thanks for listening…and now for your viewing pleasure…pictures of happy kids with utter chaos behind the lense. 

    
    
   

Little boys

We knew it was looming, David and I. The day we would have to convert the twins’ cribs into toddler beds. We’ve been lucky thus far with only one incident. But today during their nap time I happened to glance at the video monitor and saw my little guy perched on the railing and posed to launch. 

Luckily David was quicker witted than I. While I could only stand there and gape at the monitor screen trying to form the words, he dashed into their room and caught our guy just in time. 

Our hero. 

So then we converted. Bye-bye cribs, hello toddler beds.

After a bit of rearranging…and anchoring…and battening down, I finally felt confident that our twin tots could safely bed down in their room sans nocturnal restraining devices. Oh Lordy. 

  
We braced ourselves for a long night. 

Lenora, my ever-spunky, dimpled delight (I just love this little girl) climbed right in her bed and was asleep, no joke, in five minutes. Angel. Where’s her wings?! She has em hidden. 

Beckett was a bit of a tough sell. It was a big change for such a little guy. I ended up having to lay on the floor next to his bed and hold his hand until he fell asleep. Every once in a while he would peek over the side to make sure I was still there. He melts me. 

So for about 45 minutes I was Indesposed, I prayed for him and my other kiddos and I thought about how one day he’s going to be a 6 foot linebacker like his daddy. One day he’s going to tower over me. One day he’s going to be a sweaty hairy guy mowing his lawn and lifting heavy things…and hopefully checking in on his little ole mama every once in a while. 

One day, my silly little bald boy is going to be a man. 

  
But right now, my silly little bald boy just needs his mama to hold his tiny hand in reassurance, as he makes one more baby step into big boyhood. 

I thank God for motherhood. Each milestone of this journey is an exciting gift, raising my daughters is just as special and important to me as raising my son. What an amazing calling God gave mothers. 

But what a humbling responsibility it is to raise up our sons to become men. Men who will lead their families and guard their wives. 

   
 
   
    
  
I hope to raise this little bald boy up to be just like his daddy. 

 

Dear women, your jealousy is ruining your life. 

We’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives. We’ve seen it, we’ve heard it, we’ve witnessed it, we’ve reaped the rotten fruits of its harvest. 

Jealousy. 

Envy.

Even the words, sitting there by themselves, hold a certain dark forboding. 

What is it that triggers this emotional reaction in us women? I’ll tell you.

 The feeling of inadequacy. The feeling of failure. The feeling of not adding up. 

In short, comparison. 

These self destructive thoughts reap a rotten  harvest in our minds. I have seen it with my own eyes, a happy individual going about their life when, they let a little whisper creep into their mind….”she’s better than you” …and like yeasts in the mind, that one little thought multiplies into a cluster of self destruction… she’s skinnier than you, she’s prettier than you, she’s more important than you, she’s funnier than you, she’s smarter than you…she’s more worthy than you. 

Lies. 

Let me tell you, I have learned that there are two kinds of women in the world. Ones that are susceptible to jealousy, and ones that are addicted to eliciting jealousy out of others. 

Just because you can make another person feel inferior, doesn’t make you superior. 

There is a reason jealousy, or envy, is written about so heavily in the bible. Because it’s satan’s most powerful tool to put a block between us and Jesus. Not to mention, it WILL affect your health. 

Proverbs 14:30 “a sound heart is life to the body, but envy rots the bones”

Rot. 

What an ugly word. But it’s so true, when you’re envious, you’re unhappy with yourself, you push away your friendships and relationships, you isolate yourself, or you fraternize only with other miserable people who will gladly join in on your misery…you literally self destruct and that’s exactly how satan designed envy to work. 

He WANTS you to self destruct. 

Everyone in life has made different choices and has different journeys. That friend of yours who has a bigger house, maybe she and her husband were super frugal when they first got married, maybe she’s waited 25 years for that house and lived in a shoebox apartment prior, she might work and put her kids in daycare to afford it. None of this makes her any better or any worse than you, it just means she made different choices. 

Your cousin who is having babies left and right while you struggle with infertility, maybe God’s teaching you His timing, maybe He’s trying to show you a special gift of adoption, maybe He has a specific child that you’re supposed to adopt and raise, maybe that child you adopt will grow up to be president. 

You’re struggling to lose weight while your friend remains naturally thin. This one is tough for us women, isn’t it? But trust me when I say this, your thin friend has her areas of self consciousness too. Being thin doesn’t necessarily always mean being happy. Show grace.

Your brother and his wife just bought a new SUV while you drive a clunker? You can sit and fester in jealousy, hate your brother and surround yourself in a cloak of misery…or you can sit down and make a plan. 

It’s a choice. Sometimes it’s a hard choice. But when God tells us to take up our cross, He didn’t mean take up your fluffy, strawberry scented, ornamental cross….he meant take up your heavy thorny burden that cuts into your flesh, put your head down and follow. Follow blindly, but follow.

For some people their cross is jealousy. It rules their lives, their relationships, their careers….but it doesn’t have to.

You are not a slave to every thought that enters your mind. 

Make the choice to set yourself free! Before you succumb to the snare of envy, consider the journey the other person has traveled to get to the places they are. You will open yourself up to a whole new world of peace that you never knew possible. 

We are all worthy. We are all worth it. We are all equal at the end of the day. 

Summer time and the eating’s easy…

Recently the hubster and I enjoyed a lovely date in downtown Savannah Georgia (thanks Mamaw!!) 

We really enjoyed meandering the streets of downtown. I’m a die hard Paula Deen fan, so eating at her original restaurant, The Lady and Sons, was top on my agenda! 

During our uninterrupted meal we got the chance to talk…to really talk. One of the things we discussed was how busy we’ve become and how much we grab take-out lately. We used to sit around the table every night without fail, but cue in softball practice, cheer practice, church, extra night classes and well, just life in general…and you’ve got a family in a rut. We decided we really wanted to change our dynamic this summer. I used to take a lot of joy in preparing a meal for my family, I’m not sure when it became a daunting chore for me, but it has and I want to change that. 

Ever since we came back home to East Tennessee I’ve had fried green tomatoes on the mind, I blame Paula.  Tonight’s menu I had planned BBQ chicken. A quick, easy and delicious option that miraculously the whole family is enthusiastic about. Perfect time to bust out some FGTs!! 

I’ve seen and used lots of recipes, and they’re all essentially the same but I’ve found that I like a little more flavor, so I’ve added a few ingredients. 

Here’s what you’ll need.  (Oil not pictured, oops)


Cornmeal 

All purpose flour

Salt

Pepper

Garlic powder

Season all, or season salt 

Buttermilk 

1 egg

Two green tomatoes cut into 1/4″ slices (you don’t want ’em thin) 

Oil 

So if you’re like me, you don’t just keep buttermilk on hand, I’ve had this problem in the past and after a little interwebbing I learned that you can squeeze fresh lemon juice into regular milk. It works in a pinch!

Before you get started put your oil on. Enough to cover the bottom of your pan completely, but not drown your Tomato. I didn’t break out my cast iron for this because it needs a good seasoning. I put my oil on medium and before I put my first tomato in I tested the oil with a little pinching of flour, if it sizzles nice without burning, then you’re good to go! If not then turn up the heat a smidge. But always test between adjustments because I learned the hard way that too big of a variation can turn out a black tomato and that’s just a travesty. 

   

So about 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk (or lemon created buttermilk) whisked together with one egg. 

 
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, 1 tsp of pepper, 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of garlic powder and a nice healthy shaking of season all. I just shake it on in there until it looks like I want it to. Whisk this up. 

I forgot to take a picture of this, but in a SEPERATE bowl mix 1 cup of cornmeal and 1/2 cup of flour together. 

Step 1. Coat in the seasoned flour mixture, get it all nice and covered. 


Step 2. dredge it in your milk mixture.   


Step 3. The cornmeal mixture! This is the good stuff… 

 
Ahhhh yeah….

Carefully place them in your oil and cook about 3 minutes on each side.

   


They should look nice and golden like this 

 
Now here’s the important part and one I learned the hard way, Do NOT cool them on a paper towel!!!! It’ll stick and pull off all your delicious crunchy fried goodness. Cool them on a cooling rack…sprinkle a little salt on the finished product and serve. If you’re lucky you’ll get a little extra lovin’ tonight because these babies are melt-in-your-mouth heaven.  


There were only a couple left after supper tonight….there’s my midnight snack!     

  

Time marches on

This weekend we had one of those lovely pre-summer storms. The kind where rain blows in by the sheets. The next day wasn’t unbearably sunny or warm so the moisture soaked into the ground just perfectly. I decided this evening to go out and dig up the ground for my garden, since the ground was nice and soft. 

It was prime for digging. The ground was rich and very inviting, my shovel glided through the dirt nearly effortlessly. 

Isabella declared that she too, would dig a garden and joined me wielding a child-sized hoe. I dug up the sod, and she came behind me to hoe the earth until it was smooth. We worked together like that, dripping sweat and content with our labor. A team, she called us. 

Isabella chattered the entire time. I heard about her friends, her school, her bike wreck boo-boos, things she thought were funny and things she wanted to grow, the tomato plant she’s been nurturing, her rock collection, the neighbors dog, you name it. Together we giggled and chatted like that for over an hour, with the only interruptions being the occasional chip of my shovel meeting a rock. 

The nostalgia was thick for me. At exactly her age I dug my own first garden, I too chattered my mothers ear off while she worked the earth at my childhood home. It’s one of my favorite childhood memories. Probably because it’s one of the few times my mother and I were a unit. We worked together doing something we, and only we, both loved to do. It was a common ground that I alone shared with her. I eagerly learned everything she had to teach, likely the very things she had learned from my grandfather, who was also an avid gardener. These are those good memories that I’ve learned to cling to during the times of upset. These were times before things got difficult. Stresses of college tuitions and family crisis hadn’t yet piled high on her and my dad’s shoulders. I was still just a carefree freckled faced girl and she was my silly mom who was prone to accidentally singing show tunes at the post office. 

I didn’t realize it then, but I do now, that this was her love language.

When she used her valuable evening daylight to sit by me and teach me how to plant my cosmos and zinnias, she was telling me she loved me in her own way. When she didn’t bat at eye when I came in with my good clothes smudged from head the toe in dirt because I’d been weeding my garden, she was telling me she understood what was more important. When she hauled the waterhose across our big farmhouse yard to water my parched little plot, because a certain little girl had been too busy climbing trees to remember to water her flower bed, she was telling me she’ll take care of me. 

It’s been a tough year. I thought about these things the entire time I was outside with my own freckled face girl. I let her stay up until the very last drop of light was out of the sky. She got in bed an hour late on a school night and that’s ok. I nuzzled her frazzled french braids and hugged her a little tighter when I tucked her in.

Often times we get so caught up in our hurts and our tough situations, that we forget that things weren’t always this way. It doesn’t justify it, or make it ok to hurt the ones you love, but it’s more important than ever to find those good memories and let them take root in your soul. Cling to those lest you become embittered. Hold dear what you can with an iron fist, love from afar if you must…but love nonetheless. 

7 ways having multiple toddlers is like being an inmate

1. The food. It stinks here in the clink. Know what I had for lunch yesterday? Lucky charms. And a cold leftover dinosaur chicken nugget off of someone’s high chair tray. Don’t get your hopes up for finer fair, the cook in the mess hall has been cleaning up feces graffiti off of cell block Beckett-And-Nora and her culinary senses apparently went out with the Lysol trash. 

2. Bathroom visits are supervised. Oh, what number 2 isn’t a spectator sport in your house?  Your wardens must be older than 2. 

3. Showering. Also supervised. And timed. For the love of everything holy don’t take longer than 5 minutes. All I can say is, I hope your wardens have more manners than mine do. Being laughed at hysterically while you soap up and shave the vitals in record time is not exactly my idea of a confidence booster. 

4. There’s a good chance you’ll get shanked.  Last week I took a bubble chiv to the eyeball, a trip to medic and I’m right back to the big house. Here’s the chiv, man… Look out for these.

 

The expression of total and utter unamusement on the minion reflects my sentiments exactly. 

5. Let me guess, any attempts today to snuggle your adorable wardens was met with cool indifference? Squirmy disinterest? Yeah well just you try and sneak out of the house later for a coffee. BAM! you’ve got yourself a pair of 25 lb human leg irons. One for each leg if you’re as lucky as I am. Any attempts at escaping with those things on is moot. 

6. Poop graffiti. It’s a real thing. 

7. Cell inspections. Be prepared to have all your personal effects scattered on the floor. They’ll probably steal your stuff too. 

But I think I’ve  just about gotten the elements figured out here in the big house.  They key here is bribery, blackmail and opportunistic distraction. 
This here is Major Beck. I know, he looks tough. But that’s just his exterior…all he needs is a pop tart and you’ve bought yourself enough time to brush your teeth.   

 See? He’s not even looking man…there’s your chance! 

   

Barbecue potatoe chips and chocolate milk. You might need a connection on the outside to procure these bribery tools…but you won’t be sorry. You’re looking at a cool ten minutes of contentment. 

  

Watch out for the unicorn though. It’s always watching.  

  The Big Chief. 

Blackmail gold. Level: Expert

I’m apparently  a social media nuisance 

 I have seen the same article circulating the interwebs a lot lately. I’d say this week alone I’ve seen it half a dozen times, and it’s only Tuesday. 

So either it’s a dang good read or someone’s trying to tell me something. The article is titled 5 Questions to Ask Before Posting to Social Media. Here’s the the link if you want to give it a gander for yourself.

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/tech/5-questions-ask-posting-social-media

What I took away from reading this is that you are only allowed to post about two topics and still remain social media acceptable:

1. Prayer requests

2. Recipes 

*ahem*

…..BOOOOOORRRRRRIIIIIINNNNGGGG!!!

I get that there’s some annoying posters out there, and I fully include myself in that category as I post the bajillionth photo of my children today at 9:47 am, but seriously y’all…lets throw each other some bones. 

I have the undeniable blessing of staying home with my kids. Never mind the fact that I hid in the bathroom yesterday and simultaneously cried while I ate my chocolate lunch. But seriously sometimes this is the only way my mom friends and I have to relate to one another during the day. Just because I post that I’m freaking stoked about my vacation doesn’t mean I’m bragging…it means I took a bubble wand to the eyeball last week, my husband and I haven’t had a conversation in months without having miniature limbs in our faces, and the demands of school schedules, pediatrician appointments and baseball has us tired and ready to rest. We’ve been wise and frugal with our finances all year so we could take this vacation and bottom line? We’re excited. 

When my friend, who is a brand new mother, posts a a modest picture of her cradling her sweet new nursing baby I’m not immediately tsk tsk’ing her for sharing private moments…instead I see a new mom relishing those intoxicating moments of brand new motherhood. 

Seriously y’all, we have the power to control our outlooks.

Just because my girlfriend vents about the guy that cut in line at the grocery store doesn’t mean she’s being ungracious or uncaring….it means she lugged her three preschoolers to the store to buy groceries so she could prepare a meal for her husband when he got home from work and some shmuck decided to make an unpleasant experience all the more unpleasant with his rudeness, and by cracky she just needed to tell somebody about it. 

I’m not just talking about stay at home moms here either…working moms have my utmost respect. Honestly I have no idea how they do it. So when they post a picture of their beautiful new minivan or their drool worthy Kate Spade bag, my knee jerk reaction isn’t jealousy…it’s freaking HECK YEAH you work, you manage a house, sports schedules and nurture a relationship with your husband all while helping bread-win for your family…you freaking earned that shiny new swagger wagon. Own it, sista. 

Currently I’m a human recliner 

  
I think more than asking ourselves questions about how our posts are going to affect everyone else, I think we should ask ourselves why am I reacting this way? 

It’s common sense not to be mean to each other on here, but seriously I’m not all about not sharing my joyous, hilarious, jubilant moments with my friends and family becauseit might annoy or hurt someone’s feelers. That’s something they need to reflect on, not me. 

Livin tha dream

What a weekend! We did normal things. It felt so nice to have a normal weekend after all of the stressful craziness we have had lately. 

Isabella had a softball game then she went to a sleepover, so the rest of us just chilled out at home. 

I was able to get my raised beds prepped for planting, and had lots of help. The twins ate dirt and dug for worms. 

 

  

  This little princess…she’s full of sass and afraid of nothing. Except lawn mowers. She hates lawn mowers. 

 
It’s probably bad that I busted a gut over this picture…someone bring me my Mother-of-the Year trophy!!! 

  
They left a ring around the tub that night. I love letting my kids be kids. 

We’re all loving watching Bella enjoy softball, she’s really found her thing. She and David have practiced a lot and it shows! She makes me proud.  

 

Beckett likes to be near the action, he idolizes his big sis. I think he’s already day dreaming of when it will be his turn.  

  
A quick hug for good luck! 

 

Just a boy in a superhero cape, clutching his bat and wishing he could play too. 

My kids are rotten little punks. My house currently looks like it’s been robbed, Bella rolled her eyes at me this evening, and today Nora drew blood on Beckett’s ear fighting him over a tube of Chapstick. I’m so lucky they’re mine. I love ’em to the moon and back.