Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008's Top 10

I have decided that amongst all of the craziness going on in this world I live in I must find the happiness! So I have decided to make a list of proof that I was blessed in 2008. I am hoping it will help me see the true blessings I have experienced this year and will take away from the doom and gloom that seems to be hanging over my head...Oh Eeyore has had nothing on me and I'm tired of it!

I encourage you to do the same!

I will now reveal my top 10 in no particular order...


1...My Mom and Dad celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a vow renewal on the beach, their favorite place. It was an incredible event with all of my siblings together and one that I cannot wait to celebrate myself in another 33 years!



2...My In-Laws, I hate that term, celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. Family and friends from all over the country came to Florida to help them celebrate. Dinner was at the Columbia restaurant, the first place they ate on their honeymoon.

3...Babe and I celebrated our 16th anniversary in New York. 23 years as a couple ~ 16 married and I still love him madly (most of the time).


4...My beautiful and healthy oldest daughter turned 14.



5...My beautiful and healthy "baby" turned 9.


6...We celebrated the birth of 3 new babies

Anthony...

Bailey...

Emma...


7...I was able to go and watch my nephew Vaughn ~ #81 ~ race... TWICE!



8...I continue to be surrounded by wonderful friends who love me despite the craziness that I bring to the mix!



Our cruise to "I can't remember where ~ what ~ or why"!

My "Triangle" others have tried to get in but they have all turned up missing! I LOVE these women!  SERIOUSLY girls we need an updated picture of the three of us, this is sad!


9...I was so blessed to be able to help others this year...I hope I am teaching my girls that you can ALWAYS help.

Relay For Life "Crazy hat" lap.

Evening of Hope Angels Among Us

Pink Christmas Exchange ~ Proceeds to benefit three families across the country in need. P.S. I loved my gift!
Angels Among Us Christmas exchange, a local version of the Pink Christmas. Natalie and I organized this and were able to give a single mom of two $460 this Christmas! My gift was amazing, I haven't the words to describe what her gift means to me. She said because she didn't know me that well she was going to take me on a "tour of Shawn", showing me what she sees in me. Each gift came with the most amazing note of what she feels I am. I do not feel I meet any of her descriptions but it has given me something to strive towards, I hope one day to be worthy of her words!

10...And Finally, I am truly blessed to have the freedom to worship a great God here
The Crossing Church



Happy New Year to you all!
~Shawn

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

recipes & trivia answers

Mango Margaritas

2 cups tequila

1 cup triple sec

1 cup Amaretto

1 cup lime juice

1 container Mango juice or nectar.


Drink with caution..they sneak up on ya!


Baked Beans

3 large cans of Campbell's Pork N Beans {plain ol' beans nothing added}

Half of an onion diced and sprinkled on top

A generous helping of brown sugar on top of onions

Bake at 350 in a 9x13 pan until hot and bubbly


No bake cheese cake

2 packages cream cheese

1 large container of cool whip

1 cup powdered sugar

Mix and spread on top of a ready made graham cracker crust and top with one can of cheery pie filling. To snazz it up a bit use blueberry pie filling on 1/4 of the pie.


This is the easiest recipe ever and is always a requested!


1. 50 stars
2. one for each state
3. 13 stripes
4. one for each of the original colonies
5. 7 red, 6 white
6. the red is first
7. Betsy Ross

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas! It was full of family, friends and food.

It started on the 20th with a gathering of our nearest and dearest friends for dinner. We usually do a gift exchange but this year we all gave a gift card to the Zack Tucker Foundation, it was very nice to give in such a way when we all need nothing. Our gift cards will assist a family battling pediatric cancer for about 3 months. I am blessed to have such wonderful friends!

Then on the 21st we had 28 people over for Peanut's 9th birthday. Another wonderful celebration!

Christmas day we again had about 30 people here to celebrate the birth of Jesus. This year we did things very different, it was a hard adjustment for me but everyone else seemed to have no issues with it. With so many people I did not set a beautiful table for us all to sit around. Instead we all ate off of paper plates and plastic flatware and sat wherever we could find a place to sit. I also spent limited time in the kitchen. I had asked to please have the afternoon to play with the girls and the new toys they received. So of course my Mom and Sister stepped right in to help prepare the dinner while I sat on the floor setting up the K-Nex roller coater (never again by the way!)

Then on the 26th the 6 little girls got together for their gift exchange. We ate pizza and watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas. What a blessing these little ones are.

This is what Christmas is all about Friends, Family and Food! I hope your Christmas was as blessed as mine was!



Here is a picture of one of the gifts that my Pink Christmas friend sent me. I opened it on Christmas Eve and had to have it up right away, I just LOVE it! Thank you Cyndi!!!

The girls get new jammies every Christmas Eve, this year we went pink.

Mommy & Daddy got a couple massage from the girls, they had a little help from thier Aunt I think.


Anything Twilight was a hit with Honey!


The Jonas Brothers brought a smile to Peanut's face.

The "little girls", minus Cambree, opening their gifts.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy 9th birthday Peanut

Yesterday morning I woke up with a lump in my throat. My baby girl turned 9 making this is my last year with a child in the single digits. Now I know what everyone says, I say it too, ~ Enjoy them while you can they grow up before they know it.~ But SERIOUSLY this is happening way too fast!

We had a great day she chose to go to Cheesecake Factory for lunch then we went to get her ears pierced, 10 months before her sister did but they are two different children and I believe they need to be treated as such! Then we went to Build-A-Bear to make a penguin to match her Penguin Pajama birthday party.

I wish I could freeze the hands of time most days and others I wish I could speed it up to get to the "good years" I am so tired of the fighting! But having friends, yes that is plural, that have buried their children I guess the fighting is good. I know that on any given day they would trade anything to hear their children fight again. So I will count the fighting as a blessing, or at least I will try to.

Happy 9th birthday Peanut Butter. Mommy loved you first, I love you most but I will let you love me last!



Peanut about 2 months


Peanut loved Cinderella! So on her 2nd birthday we had her picture taken in costume. This is one of my all time favorite pictures! Doesn't every girl wish a frog could turn into a Prince!

Peanut celebrating with her friends on her 3 1/2 birthday


Peanut on her 9th birthday


She was so ready to have her ears pierced until she actually sat in the chair, then fear took over. Babe and I both had to go behind the counter to hold her hands while Aunt LaLa and sister watched. 
Honey captured some great pictures!


Everyone came dressed in their jammies for the party. She wanted breakfast dinner so having it a pajama party only seemed natural.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Walk Thru Bethehem

OH the things we do for our children.

A church in the area has been hosting
A Walk Through Bethlehem for 22 years. They do an amazing job of bringing you back to the birth of baby Jesus. They actually build the city of Bethlehem in the lot next to the church. The church members serve as the cast. Honey went about 8 years ago with our then neighbors and she loved it. We finally went with her 3 years ago and were just as amazed as she was. It is beautiful! We missed last year due to the typical crazy December schedule but I promised Honey we would go this year.

Well when I promised I never in a million years thought it would take us 4 hours, yes I said 4 hours, to do it! Tonight was the last night so I knew it would be busy, they opened at 4:00 and I wanted to be there when they opened but she wanted to go through it when it was dark. Taking into consideration that there would be a "wait" I agreed to wait a little and said we would get there at 5:30. My Mom met us there, so did Aunt Lora with her 2 children, all of the men opted to stay home to watch football!

Everyone was very well behaved while we sat on landscaping rocks for 3 1/2 hours, even Bobby (18 months) was incredibly good. God took care of us in that area that's for sure!

It was worth the wait, even Peanut said so and coming from the kid that waits for NOTHING, not even Mickey Mouse that's saying a lot!

We were told we smelled by the Roman Soldiers, offered a free bed of hay to sleep on by the owner of the Inn, and laughed at by the Women at the Well for asking if they had heard of the birth of the baby Savior that was to be born. It is just so well done!

We were reminded to not take Christ out of Christmas as so many do. So when someone wishes you Happy Holiday return the kindness and kindly correct them by saying Merry CHRISTmas.

Thanks Honey for making me go again this year and for making that sad face when I asked if we could leave. Because of you we stayed and were filled with joy by SEEING the story of the birth of Jesus!

I guess in this really is a post about "the things our children do for us"!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pink Christmas Is Here!!!

Ok so many of you know that I signed up to be a part of a Christmas charity called Pink Christmas. This is how it worked ~ For a sign up fee you are put into a random drawing with all of the other ladies that signed up. All of the money goes directly to 3 needy families across the country. Then the names are shuffled and you make/buy a gift for a stranger, like a Christmas swap. After seeing the potential behind this program Natalie and I did Angels Among Us here in our community. 

We are much smaller than the Pink Christmas but that only gives us room to grow right? There were 23 Angels this year, we collected $20 from each of them giving us $460 to give to our recipient. We choose a local single Mom that lost her son in June to cancer and has two daughters the exact age as mine. I cannot even imagine the extreme heart ache that she has to endure every moment of every day and to have Christmas just 6 months later...oh my heart just breaks for her! I pray every day for the health of my children, the unnatural experience of burying one of your children is something NO ONE should ever had to experience! 

So, Natalie and went to visit "C" yesterday, she had no idea why we were coming, I love surprises as long as I'm the giver not the receiver. So, anyway we met with her and presented her with the check, she was speechless! The thrill that both Natalie and I felt was beyond words as well and it carried us through the rest of our very busy day. 

Back to my Pink Christmas post...I came home today to a rather large box sitting at the front door. It had a beautiful address card, return address label and a note taped on the outside of the box. The note was giving me permission to open THIS box only, the rules are, DO NOT OPEN TIL CHRISTMAS. Now I am a rule follower but remember I do not like surprises unless I'm giving them. So I open the box to set the gift under my tree and to my surprise there are THREE gifts in the box one large gift beautifully wrapped with a gorgeous bow matching the Pink Christmas colors and 2 small gift addressed to each of the girls. Not what I was expecting! I have to admit I got an instant lump in my throat. This complete stranger from Utah thought of my girls? In such a busy time for all of us, a time when all of us forget how to say the easiest word there is to say, the first word we learn as babies...NO she kicked it up an notch and thought of my girls. 

I am a lot of things and a Mother is one of my favorite things. I love being the wife to my husband and I love being the Mommy to my girls. That's all I ever wanted was to be was a Mommy and God granted my prayer. Admittedly I  am a horrible Mom at times, too busy to play a game or watch a movie, too busy to drive one of them to the mall, to tired to have the patience I should have, to busy saying yes to people that really don't matter leaving me no time for them...yes, I am a lot of things. I love my girls fiercely and I hope and pray I am a better Mom more often than a rotten one. 

By opening this box and seeing those bags to the girls in it it reminded me that I am a MOM to two incredible girls and I am blessed beyond measure and that I love them more than anything and that someone else, just by reading a little snippet about me saw that. I needed that reminder!

I cannot wait to open the packages and I cannot promise that I will wait until December 25th to do it. They are right now screaming at me, I swear I can hear them all that way in my office, to open them. I don't know how long I can make it, but at least I've made it longer than Natalie did!  I also cannot wait to tell this sweetheart of a lady from Utah how much she touched me with her thoughtfulness.

I hope I have been a blessing like this to someone, after all that's what life should be all about!


Here are the packages that I received today. Aren't they beautiful?!?!?

Natalie and I presented "C" with her check for $460! YEAH!!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

All I want for Christmas is a new Bladder!

SERIOUSLY!!!!!!

This post is for the enjoyment of all of my friends and family, if you are a stranger then this is good for one laugh on me.

If you do not know me I whole-heartedly believe that everyone should laugh every day, not just a ha-ha laugh but a You-Have-Got-To-Be-Kidding-Me, make your cheeks ache laugh. If it has to be at my expense then so be it, I have learned through the years that I am kind-of funny so I may as well laugh at myself, everyone else does.

So here is my story ~ Let this be a warning to you all ~ If you have to pee I would suggest going before reading this.


I was on my way out today to run an endless list of errands, a list so long that it would take me at least 5 hours to accomplish and I only had 2 1/2. Obviously I was going to need a little help. So I swung by Sonic to get my daily energy in a cup ~ 44oz of Diet Dr. Pepper. Yes that's 44 ounces of lovin' in a cup. With cup in hand and a smile on my face I set out.

I was able to make one stop before my very small and inadequate bladder was screaming at me. It was screaming loud enough for other shoppers to hear, no really people were looking. So I'm on the phone with one of my very dearest friends and I think 'why stop our conversation for a mere trip to the bathroom, this is something we can share'. 

I leave my cart with the items in it, items that I had searched for for the friend that I was talking to, I am so adding personal shopper to my list of "things I bring to a friendship".  Anyway, I run, seriously I ran, into the first stall {ya know studies show the first stall is usually the cleanest} while holding my purse over my shoulder and the phone with my chin and doing the pee-pee dance, a very Elaine version but hey it works for me! I am already unbuttoned before the door is closed and then I see it...no purse hook. SERIOUSLY!  I'm already committed here people my pants are half way down I had full on plumber-butt. I just can't set Louis on the floor, Mr. Vuitton does have standards even if I don't. So with the phone still on my chin and the purse tucked under my left arm and I proceed to take care of business.

Now this friend is one that would take care of my "stuff" if I were ever to be in the hospital in a coma, yes we have talked about that. DO NOT make me wake up to find a 1973 afro living under my gown, I would be back in that coma so fast, a girl needs to be maintained ya know! So the fact that she can hear my pee hitting the porcelain is really no big deal. But this was more than the average pee, it sounded like I had jumped a plane and was visiting Niagara Falls, so I shifted and went for the "let it hit the side of the tank not the water approach", it's much quieter that way. This is where everything went wrong, very, very wrong! I said, 'oh crap, girl I can't set me purse down, let me call you back'. That should have been said 10 seconds earlier!

It appears that in my haste I had not gotten my britches pulled all the way down, I realized something wasn't right when the sound had gone away 100% after "the shift", the side of the tank thing isn't fool proof. When I shifted...OH NO...I was peeing in my pants!!!!!! Yes I said it, peeing in my pants! That's why it got so quiet. With the distraction of the phone and no hook I just didn't realize how high my pants still were, I was just concentrating on not wetting my pants and nothing else. Do you see the irony in that statement?

I'm saying to you that I PEED in my panties! 

Now I was almost finished before I shifted so a full bladder wasn't emptied but there was enough to make one heck of a mess.

Oh shit, what do I do now? This is way beyond taking a huge hunk of toilet paper and soaking it up, don't ask me how I know that works! 

My only option...the panties must come off!   

SERIOUSLY ~ Let's not forget I'm in a public restroom with a purse under my arm and a phone, one that hates water but is somehow drawn to it, balancing on the top of the rounded toilet paper dispenser. 

I had limited options and no choice, Louis had to be set on the floor ~ if a blue light could only see the bottom of my beautiful purse. UUGGHHHHH!

So after a look under the stall doors to make sure I was alone I balanced on one foot, as to not let me derriere touch ANYTHING, slid one leg out of my jeans while not letting them touch the floor...out of my wet panties...leg back in...other leg out...panties off...jeans back on...

Now I went quickly to the sink to wrap my panties in a blue-bloody ton of paper towels, shoved them in the bottom of my purse, it was already tainted, and washed my hands. 

I left giggling. What else was there to do at that point, like I said you have to laugh every day even if it's at yourself!

I will leave you with this.

How do people go commando every day, especially wearing jeans?  

Do you know where the seam hits a bare-bottomed women? NOT FRIENDLY!!!! 

Do you know a good urologist I can call?





Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas pictures

We took our Christmas pictures today in Ybor City. It is always loads of fun trying to get all of us to look good, not everyone can be a photogenic as me ya know!

The chosen pictures will not be shared here until after the cards have been received. But I thought I would post a few that didn't make the cut as a sneak peak.

Thanks Danielle for sharing your Sunday with us and taking these beautiful pictures!



Danielle told me I was bending his ear with my face. I thought that was funny so I licked his ear, I had no clue he was making a face while I did it. This picture so sums us up!

I really wanted our picture here, and I actually like it best but Peanut's hair ~ well it doesn't look good so I choose another one. But I love the "dirty" look of the stairwell.

Honey wanted to wear these yellow shoes, we both LOVE them. Watching her try to walk in these 3" heels turned out to be the joke of the day! She said "if I wore those darned things all day they better make the card".

Peanut is a harder shoot than Honey. She is right in the middle of that I'm not sure what my smile is stage. We're always getting something a little strained, a true smile is hard to come by. What does come natural is her attraction to poles ~ we are VERY worried!


Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Well we had a great Thanksgiving in Gainesville. We spent 4 days in a luxurious RV at one of my favorite places, the race track. For many of you that will come as a huge surprise but I swear I'm a totally different person once I hear the roar of those bikes!

We had Thanksgiving dinner around the fire on paper plates with my parents, brother and nephew. This is our third year doing Thanksgiving at the races and truth be told I really enjoy the simplicity of it. The fact that everything we eat on gets thrown away leaving little to no dishes to wash could be the reason.

Vaughn did pretty good, he has such a mental block on the big races, he refuses to see himself as one of the "big boys". He just can't understand that he's there because he deserves it and because he's as good as the rest of them! He did better in the qualifiers than in the main events but being among the top 40 riders in the country is nothing to shake your head at!

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving and are gearing up for a fantastic Christmas!



#81 ~ Vaughn Michael Mays

I was able to sneak to the front of the track to get some pictures of the start. I wish I had been there when he got whole-shot! Not a great start but when 40 bikes are zooming around one corner for the lead what can you do.


Standing behind the starting gate is such an adrenaline rush!

This was his best race of the week. He took 2nd and you can tell by the look on his face he was exhausted!

My Mom ~ once the ultimate racing Mom now the ultimate racing Nana!


Back at camp Peanut made her very first roasted marshmallow for smores.

My Dad and Vaughn having Thanksgiving dinner.


 
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