Thursday, October 19, 2017


Whew . . . last night.  What a night for football!
So, let me just tell ya: these guys run us ragged this time of year.  There are times we're at the football fields every single day for weeks.  Football is expensive (K1's helmet alone was $200!) We have late nights.  I am constantly washing football gear.  I can't make any night time plans of my own because practice or game.
But you know what?
Their pure, pure JOY . . . their overwhelming love of the game . . . oh man, that makes it so worth it.
Last night was such a great night.  The boys had about a two week break thanks to timing and Fall Break.  I was a little worried how things would with such a long break but they came out swingin'!
K1's game was first.  They were playing the only team they'd lost to thus far.  And not only did they win but they won big!  The final score was 38-12 and they ran the clock for the entire second half.   My guy was a BEAST, racking up so many tackles.  He literally played the entire game, save for one play when he had to jog off due to a bleeding gash on his arm.

J's team played the later game and he was super nervous.  They were playing his best friend's team (more about that later) and, thus far, J's team is undefeated.  He - and his entire team - wanted to keep that undefeated status.

Yes!  The person I made!  The person I made had his first ever TD!  We were so, so, so excited!  Oh man.
I have his permission to reveal this ("just, please, not on Facebook, okay, mom?") but . . . the boy cried tears of joy when he scored.  (And his mama may have as well!)  Earlier in the day he'd been talking about the dance he would do if he scored a TD but instead . . . he was just so happy and so emotional and . . . well, I can't.  I get too happy and too emotional when I think of it.  10/18/17: first TD!
To balance out the good there has to be something else, right?   J was playing his best friend's team.  These boys . . . they're besties and the have major "bro love" for each other but, jeez, do they talk SO MUCH SMACK.  Oh my goodness.  So J scored a TD.  And his team won.  And now they're #1 in the rankings.  However.  J was playing tight end at the end of the game and he was intercepted . . . by T!  His best friend!  It was just one of THOSE moments.  Like, I would've been bummed at him being intercepted had it been anyone else but you know what?  You go, T!  Intercept that boy and keep him humble!  ;)

What a great, great night for football.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The REST of the Weekend

{{The title was said in my very best Paul Harvey voice}}

J's party and the subsequent Tigers game were not the only highlights of our weekend.  I just gotta share a few more!

For starters, J and his friend Z went to the Grizz game Friday night.  They had box seats -- which meant my kid took two videos of the actual game and roughly 98 photos of the box and food.  The highlight though?  They met the Grizz girls! 

According to J, he also got to talk to Mario Chalmers "you're awesome!'  "Thanks, buddy!" and Marc Gasol "wow, you're tall!"  "Well . . . "

Saturday afternoon, The Girl ran in the state qualifier for cross country.  When they met us at the game a little while later, Mark told me she'd PR'd and ran somewhere around a seven and a half minute mile (howwwww?  It was 90 degrees!)  

We learned pretty early on that her team had placed third and they were eligible for state, we just didn't know where she placed and if she would be on the state team.  Saturday night, I got the email: she was sixth (!!!!) on her team and she's going to state!  I let her read the email and he boys were whopping it up around her and so excited and, not going to lie, might've let a moment or two roll down my cheek.  She was SO proud and so excited and the boys were just as excited for her.  It was the sweetest moment. I love when they're happy for each other!  Anyway, Mark and the girls are Knoxville bound this weekend and, honestly, we're just so darn happy to have made state!  It's their school's first year ever to have a cross county team so it's a huge deal. Go Raiders!

And, finally, and not as big-ly as the kid stuff . . . the Cheecago Bears done messed around and got themselves a dubya during overtime with the Ravens on Sunday.  They blew a pretty impressive lead to make it to overtime and it went from "stupid bears" to "BEARSSSSS" at my house and, well, we're all happier when the Bears win!

We've got several more busy weekends coming up but I'm not sure how many will be as fun or as "good news" as this one . . . though the boys do have football playoffs coming up so we'll see!  What a weekend!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Tiger Tailgate Birthday Party

We had a super, awesome, amazing weekend.  Like, one of the very best in a long while!  Today, though, I'm only going to talk about J's birthday party.
A full year ago, he let me know what he wanted to do for his 11th birthday: "I want to tailgate at the Tigers game with my friends and then go to the game with a couple of them."  Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right?  Right.
Except.  We do not have a tailgate space on Tiger Lane as it takes an act of God and the blood of your firstborn in order to obtain one.  I tried to "rent" a space for this particular weekend but Memphis/ Navy is generally a good game (read: Navy is was our daddy and has had owned us for a couple years) so no one was biting.  I decided to improvise.  Tailgate at our house with J's school friends and teammates, three extra boys to the Tigers game with us with a Tiger Lane football game beforehand.  It ended up being - probably - my favorite party I've ever done!
For our tailgate at home, I kept things simple.  The decorations were a combination of things I already had, table cloths from Five Below, balloons found at Kroger, and being at Walmart at the right time.  Meaning: I bought that Tigers flag (with a pole!) for $7 and the plates, cups, and napkins were just 50 cents each!  Awesome, right?
We also decorated with "Go Tigers Go" and "Beat Navy" posters that we ended up waving at the game as well.
I set the dining room up with party favors and the cake, nothing fancy.

The ball was signed by every kid at the party.  Here's hoping the boys don't decide to play with it and it's a keepsake J has for years and years and years! The treat bags were just paper bags with football laces the kids drew on them.  Inside was a "tailgate to go:" Dr. Pepper, Doritos, peanuts, and a candy bar.  This lady does not do whistles and hand clappers and crap that annoys parents: just stuff that gets the kiddos all hyped and rowdy.  ;)

Since the Tigers played at 2:45 in the afternoon - hello, worst time ever! - we held our party from 10 am - noon.  Which, yes, was just plain weird for a birthday party.  Anyway, it mean that I served lots of brunch-y foods.  Our menu included:
Breakfast casserole
Sausage balls
Ham and cheese sliders
Pumpkin dip
Ranch oyster crackers
Fruit/ veggie tray
Chips and dip
The boys ate . . . fruit and chips.

We set up the football toss I made for J's party last year but, honestly, it mostly went untouched.  All J really wanted to do was play "real" football with his friends.  And that's what they did, with just one stop to eat.

We had SO MANY boys!  And so many there in Tiger blue.  I'm pretty sure most of these boys had a blast.  I'm 100% sure they were smelly and gross after playing football in the 85 degree heat.

They were all willing to take a break from their football playing for cake and presents.  As per always, when the kids don't want me to make their cake (*sob!*) I order it from Sam's.  This one was . . . interesting.  I could've sworn someone in the area had NCAA cakes.  Howev-ah, I was quite wrong.  So I just ordered a normal football one, had then write "Go Tigers" on it, and added the mini foam finger (a Kroger find!)

J's bestie had a birthday on October 1st so he insisted they blow out candles together.  Love it!

The kid MADE OUT when it came to presents.  Lots of Tigers stuff, a super cool Nerf gun, cold hard cash, and so many gift cards.  I posted about his party on his football team's Facebook page and one of his coaches actually showed up!  He didn't JUST show up: he had all kinds of gifts . . . the boys like to wear pink in October like the pros so he had socks, arm bands, eye "black" (that was actually pink), a Memphis Tigers football.  It was so sweet!  I loved that his coach showed and that he put so much thought into his gifts.

After the party, it was time for the actual Tiger tailgate and football game. 

THIS.  This right here is exactly what J wanted for his birthday party.  He was in heaven:

Playing at Tiger Lane is so much fun and we ran into so many people the kids knew: teammates, friends from school, "Hey, didn't I play baseball with you last spring?"  This is what I love about Memphis!  It's not a small town but it's totally a small town.

Finally.  It was GAME TIME!

So.  The Girl had a track meet Saturday afternoon; she ran at 1:30.  Mark took her to that and then they met us at the game after.  They had perfect timing, arriving just as we were walking to the box office.  Well.  Mark bought a pair of tickets from a scalper . . . $25 each for tickets on the 35 yard line just about 20 rows up.  Face value $70 each.  OF COURSE he snapped them up.  We needed nine tickets total so we purchased the others from the box office.  The two sets of seats were basically on top of each other . . . yet separated by roughly 23048298 steps.  No exaggeration.  J sat in the "good" seats for 3/4 of the game and we let the other kids rotate who sat down there.  It worked out really well.  They all had a chance to be right in the game AND J and his friend T ended up on the jumbotron with their birthday sign.

I ended up taking a total of six boys to the game . . . I do well with boys, I "get" boys, I would rather take six boys than six girls!  But I was still a little leery about my two eyes being able to keep track of all six of them.  I'm happy to report, that they all remained accounted for and, honestly, were as well behaved as you can ask six boys on a sugar-and-birthday high to be.

I told these two I'm going to put this photo in their wedding slideshow!

Finally, my very favorite picture of the game . . .


Memphis ended up winning the game 30-27, finally breaking the Navy streak AND meandering their way into the Top 25, yes ma'am.  It was SUCH a good game and the win made it so much sweeter. 

We rounded out the night with one of the boys' friends staying the night.  It was exhausting.  My legs hurt yesterday.  My butt hurt from the hard bleachers at the game.  My wallet really hurt.  But.  But, but, but.  These boys had so much fun.  And it HAD to be an 11th birthday party to remember!

He says he wants a party like this every year and, well, A-OK with me, buddy!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Fall Break 2017

I suppose I could have titled this post Fall Break fun but that would've been fake news, alternative facts, all that business.  We PLANNED to have a fun week and do lots of stuff but, you know, best laid plans and all that. 
Mark took Monday through Wednesday off and, well, he went to bed at 7:00 on Sunday night while I took a Walgreen's run for Nyquil.  Should've known then how the week was going to go!  I had to force him to rest Monday which meant he only made a Home Depot run, fixed the garage fridge, and tinkered around the house, replacing light bulbs, that kind of thing.  The man cannot sit still and rest!  The Bears played (and lost) Monday Night Football and J and the K's came back late from celebrating J's birthday with their dad.
Tuesday morning was J's 11th birthday!  And since the school I go to is stupid, my Fall Break is next week.  I had to go to class.  Wahhhh.  I was a little bummed to miss out on the birthday breakfast.  J was not: Mark made him bacon and eggs.  They were all full and happy when I got home.
This is 11!
And - can I just add - I'm a little tired of these 14-15-16-year-old hussies flirting with my kid RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.  Yes, he looks a little older but not that much.  He's 11!

So.  I was going to get J a Fitbit for his birthday this year but apparently those are now "so last year" and he didn't want one.  So his "big" present (he's getting a few more) was a $50 bill.  However, instead of just giving it to him, we put it a Ziploc bag, weighed it down with quarters, and froze it in a foil cake pan.  When I got home Tuesday afternoon, we told him we were doing cake and Mark went to the freezer to retrieve his "ice cream cake."  We all sang Happy Birthday, he took the foil off his cake, and . . . "wait, what?!?"  Between this and the "fake cake" at K2's birthday party, my kids are never going to trust me with a cake again!
The $50 was burning a hole in his pocket before he even got it out of the ice block so I agreed to take him to Dick's to spend it.  He bought a Nike sweat suit that he's very proud of but was a little bummed that it was 90* that day and he could only wear it in the house with the a/c on blast!
Perhaps the best part of our Fall Break happened Tuesday afternoon . . .

Meet Sammy.  He was swimming in our pool and is now living (in a larger container) in our garage.  K2 is obsessed with him.
J requested steak, macaroni and cheese, and green beans for his birthday dinner.  Mark handled the steak while I made the mac and greenie beanies.  Cady came over with some Fireball and I may have said something along the lines of, "I feel like everyone should be nice to me.  I mean, I had a C-section 11 years ago."  Ha!  Tuesday was easily the best day of our Fall Break.

We let J open one more present since he may want to wear it to the game Saturday.
Tuesday night was awesome.  Wednesday I woke up feeling like death.  I mean, there are times when you have a cold and then there are times when you have a COLD THAT IS SO BAD THAT YOU JUST WANT TO CURL UP IN A BALL AND DIE AND OMG HOW MUCH DO YOU MISS WHEN YOU HAD A NOSE THAT WORKED.  I slept until 10:30, guzzled hot tea and Dayquil, and was generally useless for the entire day.  I don't know if it was just the first cold of the season that did it or what but I was knocked on my ass.  I went to bed at 9:00 and slept until 8:30 the next morning!
I felt better on Thursday morning.  However, I did not feel better enough to take K2 and her friend A to the grocery story with me . . . which I did . . . and if I could undo any decision in the last 24 hours, it would've been that one.  You know how taking one kid to the grocery store isn't so bad but taking two is torture?  Taking two who are best friends is a special kind of torture.  They were loud and wild and I had to say, "you better keep a hand on my cart and you better do it NOW" no less than 85 times.  I didn't want to be at the store anyway. I certainly didn't want to be there with a couple rowdy kids.
I let them have a pizza picnic for lunch yesterday:

They spent the rest of the afternoon playing or just being lazy.  I'm trying to tell myself that's a good thing.  We've been so go, go, go since school started.  Maybe we didn't need to go skating and to the zoo and to Shelby Farms this week.  Maybe we just needed a week to calm down, catch our breath, relax, and prep for the rest of the track and football seasons.  As well as the crazy the holidays will bring.

Today was supposed to be a Friday the 13th party (Halloween themed lunch, a craft, then Hocus Pocus) but J's party is tomorrow and I didn't want to do back-to-back parties.  So today is going to be clean, decorate, and make food for J's party.  Happy Friday the 13th!  Do something scary -- cleaning my house after all the kids have been home all week will be scary enough for me!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


My boy is ELEVEN today.  Don't ask me how that happened because I don't even know.  Long gone are the days of chasing around a mischievous toddler.  Now I'm taxing around a sometimes mouthy pre-teen football playing violinist.  And it seems like just yesterday he was that sweet (okay, not so sweet but definitely loveable) two-year-old with all that hair! 

In the spirit of his birthday, I'm going to list eleven things about my J:

1) He is very outgoing and very much an extrovert.  He will volunteer to get up in front of the entire school at an assembly.  His teacher allows a student to "teach" the rest of the class what they learned that day.  J volunteers every single day.  He wants to be the kid who carries in their flag before a football game.  There is not a shy bone in the boy's body.

2) He is very good and very patient with his baby sister.  Look at me saying "baby" like she's not seven-years-old.  Anyway, with so many kids it's natural that some get along better than others.  J and the Girl Child butt heads like nobody's business -- probably because they're so much alike.  And with J and K1, it's pretty much a constant wrestling match in the house.  But over the past year he's emerged as K2's protector.  He's patient with her and stands up for her to the other kids.  Those two were never really close until this past year so it's been interesting to watch their relationship.

3) Football is seriously maturing - and humbling! - this boy.  He is a naturally gifted athlete and, honestly, went into football thinking that he would be the star.  And while he is very good, there have been hiccups along the way.  He's learned it's okay to be frustrated but has also picked up the "I have to do better next time" mentality.  He can admit when he's messed up on the field and works so it doesn't happen again.  He has real, raw talent and with the discipline he's developing right now he could one day really be a standout athlete.  He's also become more disciplined about what he eats and doing some form of activity on non-practice days.  He's dying to lift weights but probably needs another year or two before he's ready for that. 

4) He is a smart boy and does well in school.  However, he doesn't have my dad demanding perfection.   Meaning, when I was growing up my dad expected A's and only A's.  All I've asked of my kids is to do their best and, well, sometimes that can lead to some slacking off.  As J gets older, though, he's becoming better about that.  We're already talking colleges and how to get into a good school he has to do more than the bare minimum.  I think some of what I'm saying is sinking in!  And I'm not above bribery.  He's been promised a phone if he can get straight A's the entire year of fifth grade.  I know he's capable: I'm just giving him an end goal.

5) A couple examples of his budding maturity:  His teachers allow each student to correct two assignments they received a 60 or below on per subject per quarter for a better grade.  He was concerned with his math grade so went to his teacher - on his own - and asked for an exception to the rule, if he could correct a paper he made a 79 on.  And she let him!  We're working hard on taking responsibility for things like that and I was very proud of him.  Also, he received a conduct slip last week for forgetting a book (ahhhh, responsibility!) and when I went to sign it, I noticed he penned an apology note to his teacher on the bottom.  He's growing up!

6) The boy is VAIN!  He's good looking and he knows he's good looking and never in my life have I met a male who spends more time in front of the mirror.  One day last week, he changed his clothes three times!  I don't mind too much.  He's the only kid that I don't have to practically wrestle into the shower and his younger brother would be content to wear the same athletic shorts and t-shirt every single day of the week.

7) His favorite NFL team is still the Cowboys but now the Bears and Saints come in at second and third place.  He is a Razorback fan and also loves all the Memphis teams: Grizz, Tigers, and Redbirds.  Going to live games is one of his very favorite things.

8) He's trying a new activity this school year: orchestra!  He's playing the violin and so far he seems to like it.  He's pretty serious about practicing.  I was a little leery at first and let him know that if he signed up, he was devoted to it for the entire year.  He's still enthusiastic about it and, honestly, the practices aren't that bad.  I mean, I know my practicing "Baa Baa Black Sheep" on the trumpet in sixth grade was MUCH worse.

9) He is almost as tall as I am!  And when I say almost . . . I mean I MIGHT have a 1/4 inch on me.  He's taller than me when he's in shoes and I'm barefoot.  I'm 5'3.  He is going to be a VERY tall boy.  Sometimes he loves his height, sometimes he hates it.

10) Just as he has been always, the kid will eat pretty much anything.  There are very few foods that he doesn't like.  His favorites are steak and chicken wings and the boy has quite the sweet tooth. 

11) I'm so happy with and excited about the changes J has made in the past year or so.  We had a tough few years behavior-wise but he's really turned a corner lately.  I'm proud of him and can't wait to see more of the young man he's becoming! 

Happy, happy Birthday JayBirdieBird!

Monday, October 9, 2017

King Biscuit!

I feel like 2017 has been bad news followed by bad news followed by more bad news and telling yourself, "just keep going, just keep going."  Like, life can't just stop because of the bad news.  You know?  But, damn, sometimes it's hard to keep going with life when a smile on your face when there's all the negative everywhere.
I kicked off the weekend with lunch at school with J.  I started the tradition of having lunch with them on their birthdays several years ago . . . but this guy's birthday always falls on Fall Break!  So I have to go the Friday before.  Friday afternoon, I picked up pizza from Marco's and made my way to the school to have lunch with him and two of his friends.  Side note: J has been maturing SO MUCH lately and here's one example: he requested I bring pizza so he could share with his friends because "usually parents just bring Chickfila or something and that's no fair to your friends to eat it while they eat a sandwich.  I want something to share with my friends."
He somehow successfully talked me into signing him out of school early.  Sigh.  I swear it's the dimples!  So he and I hit up the Rhea Lana 50% off sale.  Rhea Lana is a consignment sale that's a Pretty Big Deal here in the south and you can usually find great deals.  I bought four shirts, four pairs of leggings, two pair of paints, and a pair of shoes and spent $30.

J scored 3 Ralph Lauren t-shirts like these (in white, red, dark blue) for $5 each.  He also found those shoes for $4.  I told him they were Pawpaw shoes but he wanted them and they were only four
buckaroos.  So whatever.
Friday night was enchiladas for dinner while watching the Memphis game.  Memphis scored 70 points on UConn . . . I kinda feel like anything out of the 60's is running up the score.  But I was glad to see Memphis bounce back after the embarrassing loss to UCF.
Saturday morning, J and the K's went with their dad.  Mark and I dropped the Girl off at Cady's house, then we headed for the delta . . . King Biscuit bound!  Russell is on a BBQ team that competes at Memphis in May every year and the King Biscuit festival in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas is one of the qualifiers.  We decided to head that way and hang out with them for a bit, enjoy some good blues and eat some good BBQ.  We had a great time but, man, it was SO HOT!  The hurricane/ tropical storm/ whatever in the Gulf meant our humidity surged once again and the weather was downright miserable.

We did what we came to do, though, we ate yummy food and heard great music.  It was really fun and I can't believe that an event of that magnitude goes on in Helena!  It's such a good time.

Helena is just minutes away from Lula, Mississippi, and the interesting thing about Lula is there's a casino there . . . the Isle of Capri.  We had a room there for the night.  So after leaving the festival, we made our way to the casino to lose a little money, eat a lot of food, then head to bed. 

We headed home Sunday and just spent a lazy day watching football. 

The kids are off all week for Fall Break, Mark is off through Wednesday . . .  but my break isn't until next week.  Wahhh!  No telling what we'll get into this week!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Foodie Friday: Loaded Potato Chips + Meal Planning

Man, has it been one heck of a draining week.  Jeez.  This afternoon, though, starts Fall Break for the kids (mine isn't until the week after - boo!)  We have some exciting news to celebrate this weekend and even have a sitter so Mark and I can make a little trip out of town.  We have a birthday next week, cross country is winding down, and we have a break from football because, apparently, we're the only people in G'town who are not going to Disney next week.
I've been dragging ass on blogging in general and Foodie Friday in particular so today . . . a recipe and some meal planning!
First up: loaded potato chips!
A few months ago, I found a recipe that involved potato chips and cheese and bacon and green onions and sour cream and I kind of banked it in the back of my mind with a "that sounds good but what if I did this instead."  The opportunity presented itself Saturday afternoon and following the HALLELUJAH AMEN THEY FINALLY WON AGAIN Hogs game, I prepped loaded potato chips.  They were easy.  They were simple.  And they were so, so good.
What you need:
1 bag Kettle cooked potato chips (I used the Clancy's brand from Aldi)
2 cups shredded cheese
1 pkg real bacon pieces or, you know, bacon that you actually cook then chop up
Ranch dressing
Jalapenos (optional)
What you do:
This is so simple.  Just spread the chips on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with the cheese and then top with bacon (and jalapenos if you wish.)  Bake at 350 until cheese is bubbly and melty and all that cheesy goodness.  Pull from the oven and drizzle with Ranch dressing.
This recipe is SO easy and SO good.  I fixed the whole bag of chips thinking everyone in my house (all seven of us!) would eat some.  It ended up that just J, Mark, and I ate the entire pan!  No one else had a chance.  Seriously, these are delish.
And, now, since we done went and ate good this week . . . a look at our meal plan.  Starting from last Saturday after the loaded chips!
Grilled Pork Loin
Mark did the work for this one!  As, honestly, he does for pretty much all of our meals all weekend, every weekend.  We did the grilled pork and then served it up with gilled zukes and salad.  Best part about this meal?  He and I ate outside alone after warning the kids that anyone who disturbed us would be sent to bed early!  Winning!
Cheeseburger Sliders
It went like this: Mark went to Sam's.  He picked up Hawaiian Rolls and also a package of ground beef.  I mentioned K2 had been requesting cheeseburgers.  We put two and two together aaaand: grilled cheeseburger sliders!  It was an easy meal, so delicious, and something we all loved.
Crockpot Lasagna
I woke up Monday morning wanting some pasta (unusual for me, I'm not much of a pasta girl) and it had been ages since we had lasagna.  The Girl had a track meet Monday night so I knew there was no way a traditional lasagna would work.  The solution?  Crockpot lasagna!  Seriously so easy.  Just do whatever you'd do for a traditional lasagna (or, in my case, cut corners and make a "poor man's" version) and pop it in the crockpot so it's ready whenever you are.  Pro Tip: this cooks SUPER fast so make sure to set it to "keep warm" less you end up with a crispy lasagna . . . not that I know anything 'bout that . . .
Smoked Sausage with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Veggies
Well, hey hey, hello there my most favorite meal!  I have spoken many a'time about how much I love this meal.  All I do is chop sweet potatoes and other veggies (just used bell pepper this time but I've done onion, zucchini, squash in the past), toss them with a bit of oil and onion soup mix and then roast at 400 until everything is done.  I generally add in smoked sausage about ten minutes before the veggies are done cooking but, on this night, I just heated the sausage on the stove.  This was also the night that life went wayyyyy off the rails and I was SO GLAD I chopped everything earlier in the day.  Otherwise, we'd have been ordering pizza!
Grilled Boneless Pork Ribs
Mark took over for dinner again.  The boneless pork ribs were another Sam's find.  We gave J the option of having them for his birthday dinner next week but he opted for steak instead.  So we had the ribs Wednesday night with grilled veggies and baked potatoes.  Another delicious meal.
Sliders, Sliders, Sliders
Thursdays have kind of turned into sandwich night over here and since we had leftover Hawaiian rolls, I decided to do sliders.  And I may have gone a little off the rails.  We had A LOT of lunch meat in the fridge and I used a little bit of everything.  I made Cubans, clubs, roast beef with horseradish, ham, turkey and cheddar, salami, and peanut butter and banana.  Yeah, considering we weren't having people over and it was just us, might have been a smidge overboard.  Everything was really good though and it was a fun twist on sandwich night.
Who knows what tonight is going to hold . . . J is going to beg me to go to the local high school game and, if he succeeds, we'll probably be having nachos and hotdogs for dinner.   We'll see!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

I Don't Want to Live in a World Without Tom Petty

I first discovered Tom Petty in 1993.  Middle school.  When my peers started having more influence over my musical choices than my parents (and I'm sure my parents were MUCH more appreciative of any fondness for Petty over the likes of Snoop, Eazy E, and Dr. Dre.)  Mary Jane's Last Dance was my gateway Petty song but pretty much the entire Greatest Hits album of 1993 takes me back to junior high. In fact, so many of his songs are just the soundtrack to my life.  He was the soundtrack to the life of the 90's kid.
A few months ago, we had some friends over for dinner one night and we sat on the back patio taking about the music legends we wish we'd seen in concert.  We laughed because my top three must see's make me seem more like a 60-year-old lady: Lionel Ritchie, Rod Stewart, Elton John.  Our friend poked fun at Mark for going to see Tom Petty a few weeks earlier but not taking me with him.  "He'll be back," was our consensus, "He loves playing Memphis."   We never thought he'd be yet another of those music legends taken way too soon.  How I wish I'd just let my kiddo skip baseball the night of that concert and gone to Petty!
In this house, we almost always listen to the Tom Petty station on Pandora.  All the kids sing along to American Girl and I Won't Back Down.  Mark's theme song when he was waiting to adopt The Boy was The Waiting is the Hardest Part.  One of my favorite memories from high school is driving down a country road with my friends Sarah and Julie with the smell of honeysuckle coming through the open windows.  Free Fallin' came on and we all Jerry Maguire'd it.  Loud and proud.  My K1 actually cried when I told him about Tom Petty's passing.  He cried because he listens to his music every single day and just couldn't believe he's gone. Tom Petty and his music are such central parts of life now, life then.
I'll leave you with some of my favorites --
I could go on.  And on and on and on.  But, for now, you belong among wildflowers . . . you belong somewhere you feel free . . .

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Love's Gonna Conquer All

Yesterday was full of first world problems.  The afternoon went completely off the rails.  If I'm being completely honest, I alternate between completely and totally laid back and "OMG EVERYTHING MUST BE DONE ON THIS EXACT SCHEDULE" type A personality.  And, in the afternoons and evenings when everyone has to be everywhere while also doing homework, eating dinner, showering, making lunches for the next day, well,  I trend more toward the latter.  The evenings are rarely shining parenting moments in my house. 

Yesterday afternoon, I had to tell myself . . . take a breather, just chill.  It was only a sick kid.  And another sick kid and forgotten football equipment and dinner going into the oven way late and missing Neighborhood Night Out.  But you know what?  We were alive.  We were okay.  There will be decades more of first world problems to face.  Not everyone is that lucky.

Like every single other American, I was heartbroken and sickened by the shootings in Vegas Sunday night.  Just when you think we're so desensitized that we don't even notice these things (hello, church shooting in Nashville a couple weeks ago that barely even broke the national news), something happens that completely rocks us to our core.  And this time . . . this time it happened in Vegas.

I don't think I've ever felt so much about a mass shooting since Sandy Hook.  Sandy Hook happened when I had a kindergartener and I can remember holding my baby so tight after I picked him up from school that day because . . . it could have been him, it could have been anywhere, any six-year-old.  And Vegas was that same kind of feeling.  I've been to Vegas many times.  I love it.  I also love country music.  I could have been there.  Pretty much every person I know either loves Vegas or loves country music, some love both, very few love neither.  If you ever talk to people about Vegas the conversation usually goes, "oh yeah?  Where'd you stay?  We love to stay at . .  *insert The Venetian or Paris*"  Vegas is just like America, it's a melting pot.  You can walk the strip for all of five minutes and run into three people from southern California, one from New York, at least two people from the Midwest, someone from Mississippi, and an Australian.  It's a melting pot.  And I think that's why this shooting felt so personal.

I just . . . I don't even know what to say.  We live in a broken, broken world.  A world where my children have "lock down" drills at school in case of an armed intruder . . . a far cry from the tornado and fire drills we had when I was their age.  We currently live in a world where you are not safe attending an outdoor concert, going to a movie, going to school

I don't know much but I do know this: our country, we have to do something about mental illness.  (For what it's worth, I'm not just saying the "mentally ill" thing because he was a white dude.  At this point, we just do not know.  But people who are mentally a-ok don't kill 59 people and they don't join terror groups.  All I'm saying.)  And we have to, have to, have to do something about guns.  I grew up in gun country.  Hell, we still got a day for deer season well into my school years.  I graduated well before Columbine and it was not at all uncommon to see a truck in the school parking lot with a hunting rifle mounted in the window.  I GET IT.  But assault weapons?  Silencers?  Get out of there with that.  It's time for an overhaul of both mental health AND gun legislation in this country.

How many more people have to die?

In the mean time . . . I'm going to donate what I can and offer up love and prayers for what I can't.  I'm going to hold my people and pray it's not us who are next, embrace those first world problems, and pray for those who will never face them again.  Love.  It conquers all.  It has to.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Memphis Monday: Eight Years!

This past weekend marked eight years that I've lived in Memphis.  As I was going through pictures, looking for some for this post, I realized just how much living we've done in those eight years.  I chose pictures that show various things around town but, going through the memories, some of my favorites were just "garage nights" at Mark's old place, pool parties with friends, and all the comforts of home.  Home.  That's what Memphis is to me now and I can't imagine ever leaving.

I did not want to move to Memphis.  I lived in a suburb of Dallas in a house that I loved.  We were less than twenty minutes from every major sport or entertainment venue you could imagine.  I had friends and family who were somewhat close: I knew no one in Memphis.  Plus, it was Dallas.  Why would I want to leave?

Because this is where I'm supposed to be.  This is where I was meant to be.  This is where my life would be turned upside down and then righted again.  Memphis is where my daughter was born.  It's where my marriage crumbled and where I found the love of my life.  It's where all of my children started school and, God willing, they'll finish right here as well. 

In Memphis, we have friends who feel like family.  The type of friends who just waltz right into your kitchen when your garage door is up . . . and those type of friends usually have a beer cooler in tow.  ;)  The type of friends you can text frantically on a Tuesday morning and they'll say, "sure, I can keep your sick kid."  The type of friends that are there the minute they're needed . . . family.

There was no way to know eight years ago what changes my life would hold.  And there was certainly no way to predict that I'd fall in love with this city.  But I did.  I heart Memphis and I love the life I get to live here!